1850-11-09: Introduced
Summary: Jaren Cassomir begins the first day of his new duty as protector of Lord Arturo Tracano's daughter.
Date: 1850-11-09
Related: Selected and anything else Jaren/Alysande related
Alysande  Arturo  Jaren  

Jaren Cassomir checked himself over one more time as he prepared to step out the door. A pair of servants had already come to take away the modestly-sized trunk of belongings he had with him in the Lancer barracks at Sunsreach. Matias had lent him his squire to see to the disposition of the arms and armor he wasn't going to be wearing, and they too had already been moved to what would, for the forseeable future, be his new home. By all accounts, Lord Arturo's manse was one of the more luxurious in Sunsreach, especially as it was formerly the Ducal Manse of House Farrant. As was typical of House Greycen, they had chosen to build a newer and more grand manse for themselves rather than simply occupy the Farrant's old holdings. So Lord Arturo had paid House Farrant fairly for the home a few years ago, helping to bolster that now-diminished house's flagging fortunes.

A magnanimous gesture, to be certain, but none of that quelled the bit of disquiet Jaren felt as he started from the room. His Lancer's plate was still so new that the leather bits had a creak to them. Acutely self-conscious of the sound, Jaren grit his teeth at the subtle reminder of just how new to his position he was. He strode out of the barracks, and managed a smile and a nod for Sir Donnel Durante, who bid him a cheerful farewell as he passed. He stepped outside the barracks to where his War Horse awaited, took the reins from Matais' squire, and climbed astride the powerful charger…a gift from his father upon his knighting. A well-trained animal of Haldis stock. Abruptly, his thoughts were interrupted as someone handed his helm up towards him from the side opposite where the squire was standing.

"Careful. Clench your teeth any harder and you'll grind them into nubs." Jaren's elder brother Matias, who had preceded him into the Royal Lancers, held the helm up towards him, a mirthful grin playing on his lips. Matias always seemed to have a smart-assed remark for nearly any situation, and no matter how many times their father had chastized him for it (including a few beltings in his younger days), he steadfastly refused to let it dampen his sense of humor. "Don't be so glum, Jaren. Lord Arturo is a good man, and the royal steward besides. There's plenty of honor in serving him."

"I know…" Jaren replied, "I just…" He shrugged, "It doesn't matter. I'll do my duty."

"Of course you will. You're a Cassomir. Even I manage that much, I still manage to be an ass about it though." Matias' grin turned cheeky at the last, "Make the most of the opportunity, Jaren." Matias' grin faded to a gentle smile, his tone more serious. "Lord Arturo takes care of those that serve him. If it's glory you're after, he'll find a way for you to earn it. Hell, he might even find some noble lady of better station than you deserve that's crazy enough to marry you, if that's what you're after. A word from him goes a long way in Rivana."

Jaren rolled his eyes, "As many brothers as I have, I'm sure I don't have to worry about marriage anytime soon. Likely never." Jaren smirked now at Matias, "Besides…you first."

Matias affected a mockingly taken-aback expression, "Me? And give up being Sunsreach's most ardent admirer and patron of the Courtesan's arts? Many tears would be wept at the Academy." He grinned once more, "Or at least they would until my coin ran out."

Jaren just shook his head, chuckling, but the tension had faded somewhat. He nodded to Matias, then pulled his helmet on, strapping and fastening it down properly, before lifting a hand in both salute and farewell, "Until later, Matias…and thank you." After all, it was just a move halfway across town…not exactly a journey beyond the bounds of the West.

"That's what I'm here for." Matias chuckled, and lifted his hand as well, "Until later, Jaren." He waited until Jaren was well across the courtyard before calling out, "And write to Raelyn! Father will tan your hide if she gets the fool notion to hike all the way out here just to see what's going on with her favorite brother!"

Jaren winced inwardly. He had been lax in that of late. But he'd been so busy with the Selection and…well, there were no further excuses. He'd have to write to her tonight, once he was settled. He urged the horse onward with a flick of the reins and a touch of his heels, and made his way down the well-maintained roads to Lord Arturo's manor. A few of the roads were crowded, which delayed him, but thankfully he had left quite a bit before he was expected. Though it took nearly an hour, eventually he arrived at Lord Arturo's manor. A stablehand took the reins of his war horse and politely informed him where he would be staying, before another servant saw Jaren inside.

Jaren had met Lord Arturo Tracano many times. He had been a frequent presence in Ironhold, being one of his father, Baron Aric Cassomir's oldest and closest friends. But the last handful of years had been spent training intensively with Sir Raymund, and he had rarely spent time in Ironhold in that span. He knew from Raelyn's letters that Arturo still visited, and recalled that Arturo's young daughter, Alysande, had been a playmate to Devlin in his younger years. He remembered a warm man with a rich laugh, who always seemed to be smiling. It was a comfort then, when he was seen into Arturo's study, and the man looked up with that familiar smile upon his face.

"Sir Jaren! Right on time, I see." Arturo rose from his chair as Jaren bowed, and waved a hand dismissively, "Oh, don't worry about all that formality here. Come in, be at ease. Would you care for some refreshment?"

"No, my lord. Thank you." Jaren straightened from the bow and smiled politely, "It's an honor to serve. What would you have of me?"

"Well, your charge should be down here in just a few moments. Just relax until then and we'll make proper introductions." Arturo chuckled as he glanced back to the correspondence he'd been answering, moving to sit back down and continue writing.

"I…my charge, Milord?" Jaren blinked a couple times, frowning just a touch, "I'm…not here to protect you, Lord Arturo?" Jaren was confounded…Lord Arturo had no Lancers assigned to him before now. Being the only one to be chosen for that duty, Jaren had assumed he wanted him to command his security detail.

Arturo looked up, and seemed to read something in Jaren's face. He considered a few moments before shaking his head, "No. Not me. I'm a more-than-fair hand with a blade and I have guards that are very good at their job, and have done it well for many years." He grinned a bit, humor touching his eyes as he noted, "Not that I'll argue if you happen to save my life in the midst of your other duties at some point, but no…I'm tasking you with the protection of something…someone…far more precious to me than my own life." The Tracano Lord glanced to the side entrance to the study and smiled warmly, "And here she is now…Sir Jaren, may I present my daughter, Lady Alysande."

Jaren already half-expected the new arrival. Technically, he had met the young Lady Alysande Tracano before…a few times, really, but only in passing over the years, and only in brief moments. He knew she had spent time in Ironhold, and had been an occasional playmate of Devlin and more infrequently Raelyn while he'd been off training with Sir Raymund. She was a pretty little girl, but there was something to the cast of her features and the set of her shoulders that spoke of a certain…stubbornness.

Alysande moved across the room with all the dignity a girl of not even ten years old could muster, standing next to her father and turning to face Jaren. She gave a most proper curtsey, and Jaren bowed in response as much by ingrained habit as anything else.

"My lady." Jaren greeted her, and blinked a bit when the brilliant smile lit up her face.

"I am his lady now, aren't I?" Alysande looked up to Arturo, still beaming.

Arturo's features betrayed an expression of thorough amusement, "Yes, but it would be more appropriate to say that he is your knight."

"Oh." Alysande replied, thought furrowing her brow as she considered the words, before a questioning look was again given her father, "Does he have to do what I say?"

"Well…sometimes." Arturo glanced to Jaren, then back to Alysande, "But he's here to protect you. Not to be your servant or maid. So when there is danger, you will have to do what he says."

Alysande frowned, not seeming entirely comfortable with this arrangement, "But when there's not danger, he has to do what I say?" She peered back at Jaren now, a dangerously thoughtful expression on her face, as though she were already plotting how she might turn this situation to her best advantage.

"Alysande, he is not a toy." Arturo's tone was admonishing, even if laced with a touch of humor. "He will be a companion and perhaps a friend, and he will be a protector, but he's not really here to be a playmate." Arturo's glance to Jaren was mildly apologetic now, but Alysande actually looked a bit crestfallen.

"Oh." The young girl repeated, a bit glumly. "I see."

"Well…" Jaren frowned a bit, and finally seemed to find a moment to interject his own words, "If it's not something that interferes with my duty to protect you, I suppose it would not be so much trouble…" Little point in starting off with a young charge already in a somber mood when it wasn't necessary.

Jaren could swear he saw the corner of Arturo's mouth tic upwards for a half-moment. A knowing, amused expression that the young Knight immediately understood as recognizing the young girl had successfully maneuvered him right where she had hoped.

"Good!" The blonde-haired young lady chirped, brightening immediately, and promptly walking over to grab Jaren's hand and start tugging him towards one of the doors, "Papa, may I show him my drawing room?" She seemed to realize just in time that she was supposed to ask before she simply walked out on her father.

Arturo stepped closer and leaned down to kiss Alysande's head, again looking thoroughly amused as he straightened and made brief eye-contact with Jaren. "I think that sounds like a splendid idea, Alysande. Why don't you go do just that?" He clapped Jaren on the shoulder lightly and noted, "Dinner will be served in a few hours. I will see you both then." He actually outright grinned before silently mouthing "Good luck" to Jaren.

"Of course, my lord." Jaren started to bow, but it was made a bit awkward by the young girl tugging upon his arm with all her strength and weight. He blinked at Arturo's silent words.

"Come on Sir Jaren. I will show you my paints and pencils and drawings. You're Devlin's brother, aren't you?" She glanced up at him, sticking her lower lip out in a childish scowl, "I'm very cross with Devlin. He spilled blue paint on my new dress the last time I visited Ironhold." She said quite matter-of-factly. "Uncle Aric was very angry." She giggled, "Devlin couldn't sit down properly the rest of the time I was there!" The last bit was said in an almost-conspiratorial whisper. Finally, she seemed to realize that Jaren hadn't yet budged, and released his hand, putting both her fists on her hips and frowning once more.

"Are you coming?" Alysande queried more than a bit petulantly.

Stifling a bit of a laugh, Jaren nodded, gesturing towards the door.

"Of course, Milady…lead the way." Jaren offered his best smile, and was surprised at how pleased he was to see her return it, before she turned and practically skipped out of the room and down the corridor.

Well…at least Raelyn will likely get quite a laugh out of all this… The newly-minted Lancer thought as he paced after his new charge. I suppose I shouldn't complain. How hard can guarding one little girl be?

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