(121-03-13) Of Blood and Sand
Of Blood and Sand
Summary: The Cockshaws and associates return to tell of the razing of Wickham's Nest, touching off tensions toward the Dornish in Oldtown.
Date: March 13, 2014 (DD/MM/YYYY)
Related: A Black Masque; Fire and Circumstance; Others

Harbourfront — Oldtown

The Honeywine River widens into the Whispering Sound here, and on to the sea. The tranquil blue waters of the Whispering Sound are plied by large ocean-going ships from all over the world, in every color and sort imaginable. River-boats from the Honeywine's course, skiffs, dinghies, and the grand warships that protect the Oldtown Harbour - all travel these waters.

This is where many of Oldtown's newest arrivals first catch a glimpse of the ancient city of stone. It sprawls along the Sound, straddling the Honeywine, a multitude of wooden bridges, grey stone manses, docks, cranes, canals, towers, walls, flights of stone stairs, and squat stone buildings stretch to the North as far as the eye can see.

Dominating the harbour is the Hightower, a massive white stone tower some eight hundred feet tall, its top aflame with an enormous beacon fire. It is both castle and lighthouse, and a staggering wonder to behold. It stands out on Battle Island, a sheer-cliffed rock that sits out in the sound, just beyond the river's mouth. There's a bridge leading to it, guarded by knights sworn to House Hightower. Hightower Street leads North from the foot of the bridge.

The column of nearly a dozen men ahorse had ridden into Oldtown by the southern gate and gone directly before the great white bridge at the foot of the Hightower. Numbered among the riders are such notables as a Tyrell, several Cockshaws, an Oakheart, Florent, and several others, which has drawn great attention as the grim procession is hailed by the Hightower guards. Calls for the Lord of Oldtown to hear them result in a guard hurrying toward the home of the Hightowers, while a crowd begins to gather.

Crusted with filth from the trail, filth from the search, and his own sweat, Laurent sits atop a destrier that looks as if it might be black were it not similarly dusty. His squire has peeled off from the group to lead his spare horse and a pack animal back to the manse, escorted by the handful of men-at-arms that accompanied the group. The Thorn sits tall in the saddle, a fine horseman, though fatigue from the journey shows in the dark circles beneath his eyes.

Riding rank and File, Ser Quillian Oakheart is easy to pick for his Oak leaves over sable, And because he doesn't have Abram Florent's ears. His helm sits on the horn of his saddle, while one hand drakes lazily to the side. The other holds the reigns as he moves to flank Viggo Cockshaw on one end, with a motion for Abram to cone on his right. Quill's visage is grim, much fitting to the mood the riders arrived in. When they slow sliw, The knight turns to spit in the direction of someone asking if that was the blackrood that passed by. "I wonder how many roaches are hiding in today?" Quillian asks, the knight close to him.

Ashara should likely have had better sense than to go searching out the returning party and the news they carry, but sense and caution are not exactly her defining characteristics. She has at least dressed plainly, in dark clothes, and there is a small contingent of guards with her as she joins the growing crowd.

All these men of all these Houses. But not a Blackwood. He's actually been going about his business on the town today and has drifted into the crowd, having witnessed the commotion and incoming group. He's acompanied by his large, long-suffering squire Tel who appears indifferent to the ongoing events as per usual. The big man is carrying a large basket.

Riderch, however, is doing what could be best described as 'lollygagging.' He gestures to the big man, whispering something. "I don't think this is a drunken horse race, no." Well, that was a bit above whisper-volume.

Gaunt and dark with fire his his eyes, Ser Viggo Cockshaw leads their number as they ride into town. His own brown leathers marked by dirt, dust, and likely some degree of blood. There is no fanfare in this solemn parade with eyes straight ahead and expressions drawn. "The question is not where they hide today, Ser Quill, but where they hide when we do not think of them," he growls, hands tightening on the reigns. He scans the crowd with only a cursorary interest. Gesturing to the Thorn. "Think that they will see us now?"

It would seem that the Lord of Oldtown has been unable to come out at the moment, so instead, the guards got hold of one of his cousins. Ser Brynden Hightower makes his way out with the guards, looking around as he sees the arriving party. Stepping forward a bit more, he looks to see which one of them that might be the one that's going to say anything now. "What news do you have?" he asks, after a few brief moments.

Among the gathering crowds are some very blonde heads, and one of them belongs to Aevander Targaryen. When word of the returning party reached the Dragon Door Manse, Ser Aevander, his sister and his newly arrived squire made their way down to the harbourfront to see the weary warriors return and learn what news they might carry. Aevander is on a black gelding, so that he might have a better vantage point (and not have to walk).

Abram looks several days seperated from his last night of good sleep, guiding his horse to Quillian's right and sniffing sharply at the question asked and Viggo's answer.

Kevyn rides in dusty and travel-worn atop his plodding gray mare, sticking close behind Ser Viggo Cockshaw. The young man's face is somber and drawn, and he could use a shave. It makes him look somehow older than usual, albeit probably not in a way he'd really have wanted.

Having been assigned new duties has Bastion being in the area as well, nearby to where Ashara is, among her other guards. Dressed in his armor, with shield on his back and morningstar at his side. Standing straight, and having quite the imposing size as he easily looks over the area. Waiting for the arrivals as well.

"They'll damn well see us now," Laurent growls at Viggo's question, spurring his horse ahead from Viggo's left hand. "Ser Viggo Cockshaw," he announces, his baritone booming over the crowd. Never mind he's not a servant, it doesn't seem to bother him in the least. The stallion whickers, prancing a bit to one side, and the Thorn curbs it with a jerk of the reins. He nods when Brynden steps forward, though the Hightower lord's presence does nothing to soothe the scowl on his face.

Tyraxeus rides just behind Quillian and Viggo, a greyscale presence in matte-dark maile among black and grey leather, grey dappled mount, the abbreviated curls of his own dark hair and the stubble at his jaw. He follows Cockshaws and Oakheart, looking as grim as any if less weary and heartsick than some. He remains more vigilant for it, carefully scanning the crowd with a keen gaze. When Ser Brynden steps forward, he draws to a halt, spotting the Targaryen party in the crowd and studying them curiously as others greet the Hightowers' representative.

Garvin and eight men in Tyrell colors and purple cloaks ride south on the road, as fast as they can through the crowded streets. The man in front shouts for people to get out of the way, and the pace of the horses causes smallfolk to scatter before them. "There they are!" Garvin shouts, pointing toward the returning party. He and the men alter course until they've ridden up alongside the party, with Lord Pansy maneuvering to place himself between Laurent and Quill's horses. "What'd you find?" he asks, barely sparing Brynden a glance.

Aegon Targaryen flanks his knight, or is it the other way around? It's an interesting dynamic, to be sure. Ahorse beside Aevander, the squire cranes his neck for no good reason, tipping his weight forward in the saddle. His mount responds by shuffling forward, and hopefully anyone in the way will — move.

Riding a finely boned gray palfrey is Visenya Targaryen. Despite the Lady's rather unorthodox return to the city yesterday, she rides beside her brother in lavish and rather official looking black and red with her back held rather straight. She winces on occasion in discomfort, but manages to keep her face stoic for the most part.

"No. Shhh." Riderch utters a quiet interjection as he points at the exchange between the now-present Garvin and the returning men. Which he looks at in turn — A lot of familiar faces, given how little he lingers upon each. A sandy-colored eyebrow does arc as he takes in the arrival of the Targaryen Lady but doesn't linger overlong.

Blackwood often one to point out the obvious, and makes a show of looking at the various Dornish as well after getting a better look at his surroundings. He turns to whisper something else to his squire yet again.

In the contingent with Ashara, Mariya stands toward the back. She is plainly clothed and looks as if she should be a handmaiden or a lady's maid. However, she watches the proceedings with interests and also with trepidation.

"Dornish." It's a single word, from Laurent to Garvin, the Thorn's dark tone making it clear that to him, at least, that one word says it all. His expression is as black as any as he looks from his lord cousin to Ser Viggo, then to Brynden as he waits for Viggo's exposition.

"Nothing like a parade or an execution to bring people together," Viggo grumbles, more to himself although the knights around him have no trouble hearing his bleak words. "They damn well better." He lifts a hand in thanks to Laurent's introduction, clapping the man on the shoulder as they come to a halt. His horse is reigned in well, not fidgeting as Garvin slips between them. "Hail Ser Brynden, Lord Tyrell." Swallowing down the rasp in his voice, he raises it so all can hear. So all can witness. "We sought answers," he calls, tournament tones ringing loud and clear. The edge of his voice, the rasp, much changed since his victory. "What we found was a slaughter. Men and women alike executed without mercy, like cattle in their rooms, along with the horses and my family's lodge burned. The blade of a Blackmount…" Turning his head he spits. "On a dead guard." He waits, letting that sink in.

Quillian remains silent, allowing Viggo to do the talking. Though at the mention of slaughter and ripe stream of sourleaf is spat out.

Aevander is quiet as Garvin demands the news. That's what they've all come to hear, have they not? Still, as his squire lists forward, he murmurs to Aegon, "Lean back. You'll trod on someone." And then the Thorn speaks, but a shingle word that is further clarified by Viggo Cockshaw, and Aevander falls silent.

Kevyn sits his horse, silent and still, as Viggo gives an account of what they found at the lodge. His eyes scan over the crowd. The faces of the Hightowers and Tyrells are looked across, but it's the Dornish his eyes settle on.

Brynden nods a little as he listens, eyes narrowing as Viggo describes the slaughter. "Blackmont…" The name spoken relatively calmly, but those that know him can see in his eyes that there's something far from calm there. One fist clenching as it's held at his side now.

Ashara has a vested interest in hearing what's happened, and so she manages to work her way close enough to those speaking to hear the report. She draws a swift breath when the verdict is laid down, though she doesn't allow the surprise to show beyond that. Hands clasped lightly in front of herself, she keeps her back straight and her shoulders straight as she watches the knights. For the moment, she holds her tongue, though her eyes narrow slightly in thought.

"When I was little, my uncle had this hound. A big shaggy grey dog. He used to have this habit of pissing in the corner. Even when, you know, I was watching." Riderch chats softly with his squire. "Especially when I was watching. Thing is, he never would do it when my uncle was in the room." He trails off though, looking back over to take in Viggo's story.

"Right," quips Aegon aside, jerky movements bringing him back to upright in his saddle. "Uh, sorry." It's insincere, and he starts to lean to one side instead, ears pricked for the news. "Sorry," he mumbles once more, eyes darting between Viggo and Aevander both, "I think I… I might have missed something here."

Victor makes his way down the street following the sound of a growing crowd. Slowly the tall dark dressed knight makes his way through the crowd towards the front trying to stay out of the way and watch what is happening at the same time. A raven is perched atop his shoulder and watches with him as his dark blue eyes study the newly returned group.

There's a gasp from Mariya: low and soft. How could they know, how could they be sure? However, now is not the time to speak out to the crowd. Instead, she looks to Ashara and then back towards those of the crowd. What they had feared would happen has. The Dornish are blamed.

Garvin's upper lip curls in a snarl, not a very pretty look for him. Not terribly intimidating either. "Blackmonts," he snarls, turning his head to spit as well. He looks at Brynden then, lifting his chin. "This outrage can't go unanswered. My lord father will hear of this. It's infamous!" He's nearly shaking with rage, eyes darting around the small crowd that's gathered. "The Dornes here in Oldtown must be protected from retribution until our leaders have decided what shall be done. I won't have Dornish blood spilled in the streets. Ser Brynden, will you have Ser Gwayne inform the Dornes of the danger they face if they remain in the city?"

Visenya watches the somber announcement with sharp eyes. After Garvin speaks she leans over slightly on her horse to whisper something to Aevander.

Laurent himself is much less concerned for the safety of the Oldtown's Dornish than his kind-hearted cousin. His dark eyes settle on the small contingent that's near to hand, and there's an evil glint in them as he looks them over one by one. The guardsmen protecting them aren't spared that gaze either, though it passes more quickly for them.

Ty Dondarrion is not even of the Reach; he has no standing here. But still at Garvin's words he leans forward, attention pulled back from the crowd and intensely directed. "You have here hostages, likely conspirators, perpetrators. You would let them escape your grasp by aiding their flight?"

Victor listens quitely as the others talk around him. He is silent taking everything in with sharp eyes and a calm expression. He shows no sign of anger, outrage or any emotion really. He is controlled and thoughtful as he assesses the situation.

Quillian snorts briefly as he looks towards Ty and then back to Brynden. "Round em up and put them to flame." The blackrood snarls out. "Give them ten to what they gave us!" And with that Quillian sits taller in the saddle. " If the Nest was not safe what does that mean for others? Raise your banners Hightower."

Aevander leans to hear his sister's words and offers a small nod before replying quietly, "But not intentionally, perhaps," he returns quietly. He raises his voice to ask of the returning men, well, shout more than ask as the tide of discontent begins, "And is this the only proof you recovered, sers? A single Blackmont weapon?"

Garvin glances toward Tyraxeus, one brow raised. "You mistake me, Ser. The Dornes won't flee. Rather, they'll be guarded by the City Watch and my own men, to ensure no harm befalls them…and that they remain here." He turns to Brynden again. "Isn't that what you'll tell Lord Hightower, Ser? To put the citizens of Dorne under guard?"

Much like the Dondarrion man, Riderch is essentially a stranger here. His big squire squints, wrinkles appearing on his forehead. "M'lord." He begins, nudging Blackwood in the shoulder. "If I may."

"I know, Tel. I know exactly what this looks like." He looks back towards the Dornish contingent, scanning the crowd as his hand falls to his side. "This may get ugly, very fast."

Ashara arches a brow slightly at Garvin's outburst, chin tipping upward as she takes a step forward. When she speaks, her voice is pitched low, carrying the slow accents of Dorne, but carries nonetheless. "You may consider the Dornish warned, my lord." Her gaze is steady as she looks among the knights seeking vengeance, voice rising ever so slightly at Quillian's call to raise the banners. "And as we have offered, still we say that we would be glad to provide what assistance we can. I can assure you that no such attack was sanctioned by my aunt."

Abram clears his throat a bit and leans closer to Garvin, noting idly, "By the by.. it's 'Dornishmen', not 'Dornes'. Carry on," he adds with a dry, short lived smile.

"What more proof is needed," Laurent snarls out above the rising din. A flick of his reins starts the destrier a few steps away from the knot of riders so that he can look out into the crowd. "Good men rode out to make sense of the massacre at Wickham's Nest. Skilled trackers and sharp minds, and this is the conclusion that they came to."

Peasants start to chatter amongst themselves, a general distaste for the Dornish the undercurrent of their mingled voices. On the heels of the Blackrood's violent suggestion, a voice cries out, "Burn them! Burn them all!"

Bastion does seem quite calm and neutral as well as he stand near Ashara and Mariya. Perhaps recognizing at least some of those returning. Giving a glance and a nod to Brynden as well when he spots him, especially when hearing his word and seeing his expression. Knowing him fairly well. Eyes focusing on Viggo then though as the man speaks. Jaws clenching a bit. Moving forward a bit as Ashara does. Keeping an eye on the Martell company, though as well as the surroundings. Nodding towards Garvin at his words to Brynden. "My lord, ser Gwayne has set me to it." He assures them. Looking to Quillian as well, studying him a moment, keeping his position. Looking to Ashara as she speaks as well.

Kevyn turns his head at the calls from the peasants. He still looks more somber than anything else, but he definitely tenses as shouts of burning start going up. He looks to Viggo, and tries to appear vaguely ready. For what, he likely doesn't even know.

As the anger and the discontent of the crowd washes over Mariya, she feels her hands begin to shake. Slowly and deliberately, she makes her way to Ashara. They are there among the danger despite disguises and plans. "What should we do," she whispers to her cousin. "They were already predisposed to hate us before they rode out. I thought cooler heads would prevail, but it would seem that everything is a nail to a hammer."

"The sand roaches! We suffer them! They hide in their manses, chattering amongst themselves! WHY ARE THEY EVEN HERE?!" Another shout from within a crowd of smallfolk. "They probably don't even worship the Seven!"

There's a look from Brynden to Garvin, and it loks like the Hightower might say something, before he hears Ashara's words. Turning to look at the Dornish woman through those narrowed eyes, he raises his voice briefly. "How long since you last had contact with your aunt? And if you can get any information about this, deliver it to my cousin right away." Then looking back to the others, frowning as he does.

Though she began near the back of the crowd, curiosity trumps sense and Johanna presses forward through those gathered, the better to both see and hear the exchange. This effort doesn't get her far before she's stalled by one of the guards that follow, almost immediately trying to urge her back in the other direction as the shouting begins.

Viggo says, "I will see no woman or man burned this day," Viggo growls at the crowd and at Quillian, his dark eyes flashing towards Aevander in disgust. "Not just a a Blackmount weapon, good Lord. A guard's blade of castled steel and the earring of a woman. Unaccounted for." He looks towards Ashara with a snarl, "No, Princess. I imagine your Aunt would select a greater battlefield. I do not see blood from all Dornishmen, but believe you me. The Blackmounts will bleed for what they've spilled."

"I had one try to sell me a horse, he did! It wasn't even a sand horse, it was some lame fat nag from the Riverlands! Cheats, the whole lot of them! Worse than the Braavosi, they are!" More disgruntled shouts from the crowd.

"I will see no woman or man burned this day," Viggo growls at the crowd and at Quillian, his dark eyes flashing towards Aevander in disgust. "Not just a a Blackmount weapon, good Lord. A guard's blade of castled steel and the earring of a woman. She is yet unaccounted for." He looks towards Ashara with a snarl, "No, Princess. I imagine your Aunt would select a greater battlefield. I do not seek blood from all Dornishmen, but believe you me. The Blackmounts will bleed for what they've spilled. Twice as many." Sucking in a sharp breath, he quivers with anger in his saddle. "I would hear what aid you would suggest then."

"I feel like I've heard this story before." Riderch begins, holding in a breath as his eyes glint to his squire.

"You're not talking about the dog anymore are you m'lord?"

"No, I'm not. Let's see if I'm needed. /We're/ needed, I mean." The poor squire looks like he just got voluntold.

"He did it on purpose." Visenya says darkly to her brother. And then the crowd begins to scream for Dornish blood. Grabbing a hold of her reins, she guides her horse slowly through the crowd and towards those who have identified themselves as Dornish. Seated sidesaddle, she will unhook her leg and slide off of the side of her mount with a sharp exhale of breath.

Laurent's face, the set of his shoulders, the tension in his body. Everything about the man says he feels the crowd's rising tension as keenly as anyone, and he too is leaning toward violence.

"A waste of men," Ty calls guarding the Dornish, though he speaks in a lower tone than before, mostly just to Quill and Laurent's ears. "They will likely as not strike again, the sand roaches are never satisfied. Your outlying settlements need guarding, and a force must be raised to strike back, fast and hard. They will hear no other rebuke."

"The Dornish put a woman in charge, no wonder this is what comes of it!" comes another cry. "She'd go to war like as not because her gowns don't please her no more or her nail chips!"

Aegon squints, his little eyes almost obscured by the heavy crease of his brow. "Ah. Ser? Unless Visenya's dragon's coming back for her, it might be best if we take her back to the manse." He watches with an overprotective frown as the Targaryen lady moves through the crowd. "Swiftly."

Ashara reaches out a hand to set her fingertips lightly against Mariya's forearm, reassuring, as she stands tall. Or at least as tall as the slender woman can. "Steady, cousin," she murmurs. "It has been a month or more since the last letter I received, Lord Garvin," she concedes with a dip of her chin. "And yet it seems to me that the Princess would hardly have sanctioned such actions knowing full well that two of her own daughters were currently residing in the city. Nor would my father have counseled her so." She pauses, head tilting as she watches the knights. "If you'll judge a ruler by her gender, then perhaps you ought to include the Mother's care as well."

Quillian glances to Viggo, before he os looking to Brynden."Would you have us return bodies?" A shake of his head before he's kissing his teeth. "There cautious and theres too cautious." Already this knights mood has been risen and he will not be easily cowed." Someone get to the ravens and warn the border lords. By the seven, do something proactive."

Put your nose where it doesn't belong, Blackwood! And that is, to be fair, exactly what Riderch does, as he leads his squire around the crowd, getting a bit closer to the Dornish. "Listen to your Lord Tyrell!" His voice rings out, directed towards a man deeper in the crowd who just yelled out some other random jeer.

Garvin looks over to the Dornish women and their guards, then turns his attention again to Brynden. "Will Hightower act, or must I take matters into mine own hands again? There are two Dornish here, and their lives are being threatened even as we speak. Will you act to protect them, or no?"

"Do you think he's clever enough to manage it?" Aevander returns to Visenya with some skepticism. He watches as his sister walks towards the princess and her men, though he remains where he is in the crowd, glances over at Aegon and holding a hand up in case the lad plans to pick a side as well. "Not yet," he replies. "They will not strike a Targaryen." Bold words, those.

Visenya comes to stand in front of Mariya and Ashara. That done, the young Targaryen maid calls out to the crowd, "Round them up and burn them?! Are we not better than them? More civilized than them?! Our Knights are all brave men. They are not cravens who would burn and murder children and women as those uncivilized fiends. Instead, our Knights will meet those who committed this atrocity with fierce justice! Until then we must remain civilized, and calm, and keep the King's Peace!"

The rage and the hatred toward Dorne cause Mariya to grasp her hands about her. Restless, but scared, she almost steps forward when Ashara places her hands upon her arm. It is enough to quell her, her eyes dart about the crowd and those talking. She glances to Ashara, unsure of what to do. She does not want to believe the crowd would be willing to turn to such violence against them, but she also cannot account to why she is so frightened.

"Blood demands blood," Laurent spits, guiding his horse back into the small warband with slow steps. "The banners must be called," he echoes, looking to Garvin rather than Brynden. "These Dornish women be damned," he says, dismissing the princesses with a wave of his hand. "Neither of them rode on Wickham's Nest. But we'll have the head of any man who did. And their brothers. Their sons. Their brothers' sons." It got away from him there at the end a little bit.

"Protect them?? PROTECT US!!" One peasant in particular is not impressed with Lord Pansy's sentiments.

Victor's mask finally cracks a bit in favor of a small frown. He turns his eyes glancing over the angry crowd and he glances around carefully his gaze thoughtful. He turns to make his way twoards the two Dornish women trying to stay between them and the angry crowd. He offers them a little nod as he stands watch over them. His hands are tense and near his blades as he watches the crowd carefully ready to spring to action at any sudden moves twoard the women.

Bastion is already standind and guarding. Making sure to make people have a bit of distance from the dornish folks. Just in case. Turning towards Ashara and Mariya, "Do you wish to stay?" He asks in a low voice to them. Looking to Garvin again. "As I said, Hightower has already acted to protect them for the time being." He offers, having his hand on his morningstar, not pulling it up but being ready. The shield brought to his hand though, to be able to push people away if it comes to it. Letting his deep voice boom as he speaks out loud. "We protect all! We need no bloodshed!" Having a neutral face on his face as he draws close to the dornish ladies. For security. It is his duty currently after all.

"If none else will step forward — /I/ will offer a Knight's assistance, Lord Garvin." Riderch's voice rings out, his hand stretching into the air. "Within the bounds of the law. But I am one Knight." He looks up at Garvin now, grimacing a little as he makes a pointed stare back at the Martells and their followers. His look is a little hesitant, despite how quickly his words came, but it disappears. Just then, a rotten apple is tossed in the air by someone and pelts the Riverlander on the back of the head. It wasn't a hard throw, and made no impact beyond a ridiculous 'splut' sound.

"I wish any number of things," Ashara answers Bastion with a faint grimace. "But that the good people of this realm should be harmed protecting me is not one of them," she allows, shaking her head slightly. "Princess, thank you, but discretion is likely the better part of valor now," she says quietly to Visenya. "We should depart." Looking back to Mariya, she levels a steady look on her cousin, an offer of silent support. "Gracefully, Mariya. One step at a time."

There's a look towards Ashara and Mariya, though our hard lots in his Russ the knight sifts a nod. "If you're wise Northman, You would get those fool women out of here now." Quillian may utterly Jayr the Dornish, but his actions will likely never match his word "Now before the crowd riots."

Frowning as he looks out at the crowd again, Brynden steps forward a bit further, before he raises his voice. "PEOPLE OF OLDTOWN, LISTEN TO ME!" A brief pause as he waits for the crowd to react, but only for a few moments. "We have all suffered by this, and I promise you House Hightower will do everything to bring those responsible to justice, swiftly and decisively so. But nobody gets burned today." Another moment of pause, as he adds, "The City Guard are here to protect everyone from each other. And if we all fall down to the level of killing anyone from the same parts of the world as those we believe responsible, we do not only fall down to those villainous scum's levels, we also piss on the memories of each and every person dead." Stepping further forward, before he adds, "My heart grive as much as you, for I have lost someone close to me as well. But know that any person who use this to start trouble will be dealt with. We are civilized people, and will act as such!"

Garvin turns narrowed eyes on Bastion then. "How has Hightower acted to protect them? I see two women with a couple of guards, surrounded by a mob demanding blood and fire." He shakes his head, turning toward Laurent and Quill. "My lords, I brought only eight men with me, but add them to those you returned with. Escort our Dornish guests to the safety of their manse…and ensure they remain there. I shall send more men from Garden Isle to surround the place." He looks to Ashara and Mariya then, adding a small bow. "For your protection, of course." Back to Laurent. "If anyone attempts to interfere with the task I've set you, you have my leave to use force most lethal."

"AYE! But they ain't civilized! I heard they' breedin' pox in the baths, they is! That's why they don't bathe!" A headless fish carcass comes flying through the air, vaguely aimed at one of the Dornish knights.

"Perhaps, my lords," Tyraxeus suggests to no particular Reach lord alone, "If you called it 'taking the ladies into custody' the people might not so resent your attention to them."

"We have more blood to spill than womens," Viggo agrees lowly to Laurent, voice just carrying over the cries of the crowd. He eyes the teeming, supportive mass with a grim smile and holds up his hand. As if he could soothe it. "Blood demands blood. Ser Quillian, send those ravens and warn the borderlands. I want every ear to know what has occured . One to my father first, if you will be so kind." He breaks off as Brynden Hightower steps foward to give his address, acknowleding it with a nod. "There is no truth to find here. Not in those women." He smirks at Tyraxeus's suggestion.

"All suffered," Laurent snorts, derisive. "The Stranger's bleeding arse we've all suffered. The Cockshaws have suffered," he spits, "And-" And he's cut off, as Garvin speaks. Though the men who rode out with him have returned to the Garden Isle, he nods his agreement, though it's clear he loathes the task. "Aye, Lord," he says to Garvin, then waves to the purple cloaked men of Lord Pansy's guard. "They'll not be harmed," he says grudgingly as he lets his horse turn to follow Bastion and the princesses. "Unduly."

Kevyn tenses, even more than he was already tense, when that apple strikes the Riverlander. He's holding his breath now, though he manages a nod when Viggo and Laurent speak of blood.

Quillian glared at Garvin, before he is moving his horse in the crowd. He's moving quick and will nudge Smallfolk out of the way. And there he leans forward and down to speak with Ashara. Before he rises up and draws his sword. Blade kept low thetes a motion to a smallfolk man. " Ladies if you please."

Garvin leans over his horse toward Luarent, whispering something.

A Stark in this place will stand out like a sore thumb. Riderch spies the man and raises a hand of acknowledgement, pushing his way through the crowd before closing in on the Dornish. "I don't know if it's a good idea to be a foreigner here at /all/ right now." He observes. His boot comes down on a piece of thrown fish-carcass. "What a waste." Finally, he looks over at Quillian. "Need an extra sword. Or two, Ser?"

Ashara's look at Garvin says quite clearly that she knows exactly what he means, but she feels no need to spell it out. Nor does she acknowledge any of the other knights as she turns and starts back toward her own manse, back straight.

Riderch still has ungainly bits of rotten apple in his hair. It's quite stylish, really.

It's as the fish goes flying that Aevander spurs his mount forward, pushing the horse through the crowd and over to his sister. "Come away, now, Visenya. This crowd is like to become a mob soon enough and would do better letting the Dornishwomen return to safety."

Quillian says, "Aye, come Blackwood. There blood is roused and so is mine."

And this time, more things are thrown from the crowd. Oatcakes, several oatcakes, in fact. Mushy oatcakes. One is actually hurled in Garvin's vague direction, another hits a random smallfolk in the back. One even goes sailing in the Targaryens' direction. "AYE, BRING YOUR BLOOMING TEATS OUT AGAIN AND BURN THEM WITH THE DRAGON!"

There is no argument from Mariya when Ashara recommends their departure. It is now that she realizes Ser Arros' warnings of what those City Watch would become their jailers as well as their protectors. "My mother would never have sanctioned such an travesty," she hisses to Ashara. It is low, as she is scared and trembling. "What good would breaking the peace in such an obvious manner do for Dorne? I may not be well versed in politics, but I know that should Princess Amarei of Dorne truly wish for war, this would not have had such a warning."

Bastion nods to Ashara, "Of course. Though some of us will do so anyway." He assures her. Moving to be able to keep with them, and depart as needed. Glancing towards Quillian. "Calm yourself, we are leaving." He tells him. Gesturing to some of the other guards around to help clear a path. Being a well enough known face among the Hightower guards and city watch. Giving Brynden a nod as he tries to take hold of the situation. Looking to Garvin. "No harm has come to them, has it?" He offers, making sure it remains that way as they move. Not having too much issues really. Though as Garvin does offer the support he won't deny it. Standing next to Ashara and Mariya as Quill comes he does keep a close eye on him. "No need to draw blade, you fool." He tells him, easily pushing people off with his shield. Grinning over at Riderch. "Perhaps not. Though I am a foreigner by birth mayhaps, though I've been here as long as I remember." With all others moving to leave with the dornish.

Tyraxeus turns to look down at Riderch, and shrug. "I think you will find yourself safe enough if you do not put yourself on the side of the Dornish, Ser. And well-ignored in practice no matter which seems the true size of it." His mouth takes a sour turn as he watches the Dornishwomen escorted away, looking about at the gathered lords and the seething crowd.

The purple cloaked soldiers form a loose circle around the Dornish party, using shields or spear-staves to push folk out of the way at Laurent's behest. As the crowd grows more unruly, he too draws his sword, and a jerk of his head asks that Garvin accompany him.

"Any troublemakers will be dealt with," Brynden repeats, loud and clear for the moment. "And believe me, none would want too much knowledge of what that means." As he hears some of what others are saying, his fists clench once more, as he takes another few steps forward. "NOW GO ABOUT YOUR DAILY BUSINESS!" A few deep breaths taken as he glances back towards the Hightower, then out at the crowds again.

"I will go with them. Do not be afraid for me, brother. If the Seven wanted my life they would have taken it earlier this week." That said, Visenya moves to mount her horse, only to have a mushy oatcake splat on the train of her dress. This seems to change her mind. She mounts with a grimace, and wheels around her horse to stand next to her brother. "King's Landing must be informed of this." She says to Aevander, before adding lowly, "I do not trust the Tyrells to do it."

"I've seen this sort of thing before, Ser." Riderch intones to Quillian. His big squire follows, and the Blackwood lord has his hand on his swordhilt. He looks pretty on-edge. Glancing to the Dornish, he gives a brief, half-smile to Ashara and Mariya. "We'll see to your safe departure." He notes. His hand finally relaxes as he turns back towards Lord Stark with a bit of a nod. "Gods be with you all the same, Lord Stark." He pauses a beat. "Never hurts to pray." He suddenly shoots the man a nod of his head and a wide grin before returning to the task at hand.

Garvin ducks the flying oatcake, scowling as he turns his horse to join Laurent and Quill. "I'll have a letter sent at once to Highgarden. Father will want to call the banners. Where's Ser Viggo? He should write to any border lords, warning them of this. I don't trust Hightower to do anything, especially after the way my concerns were dismissed at court a few days ago. Let's get these women to their gilded cage."

"I do not fear for you," Aevander replies, his expression darkening as oatcake splats on his sister, "but we cannot show such blatant report of one side over the other when I am not yet convinced one way or the other what befell Wickham's Nest." There is a nod for King's Landing. "I will write the King, and if he recieves more missives on the subject than mine, so much the better."

The oldest city in Westeros is, according to certain accounts, more than fully prepared for war and utter unrest. It may be according to a few lesser accounts that one of the Hightower captains, at the head of a band of hardened and mailed fighters, is the Lord of Oldtown's dubious hireling captain, Lord Volmark. "What, in the drowned progeny's gasps," the leader of these newcomers expostulates, "is at work, here?"

"I know that, Mariya. And you know that. And anyone with reason knows that. But this is a mob, and mobs do not reason," Ashara explains to her cousin in a low, even tone as she walks, breaking her forward gaze long enough to offer faint, grateful smiles to Quillian, Riderch, and Bastion as they join the escort. "We will deal with this from the manse, like the civilized people we are." Civilized people who may be walking as quickly as they can without overtly fleeing.

Bastion nods to Riderch, "And thank you." He offers. Stepping to be in front, to use his size along with a few other Hightower guards to plow a way, trusting Riderch and Quillian, and anyone else, to keep the side. As well as the purple cloaks. As more cake flies one does hit his shield, at least staying in the way so they don't hit the ladies.

Ashara heads up Hightower Street.

Bastion heads up Hightower Street.

Glancing around for a few moments again now, Brynden reaches out to stop one of the Hightower servants, instructing the servant to make sure what is needed to send a message is brought to him when he steps back inside. There's some mention of King's Landing and the Hand of the King in that message, before sending the servant on his way. Eyes narrowing a bit further as he looks out at the people now, offering a bit of a nod at Bastion as he sees the man working on getting the ladies out of there. Turning slowly around as he sees them starting to get out of the way.

Riderch is true to his word, and departs with his little escort.

Mariya heads up Hightower Street.

Laurent heads up Hightower Street.

Garvin heads up Hightower Street.

"Yes," Viggo agreees. Nodding to Kevyn, he turns his horse into the teeming crowd and towards the rookery. "Ravens first. Blood will come." The anger still teems in the crowd bubbling under the surface as the Dornish are escourted away.

"Who else could it be if not the Dornish?" Visenya asks Aevander with a little shrug of her shoulder. "But, you are right. We owe it to King's Landing to give them a proper, unbiased account." There is a pause as she gives her brother an askance look, "You will not ride out there, will you?"

"I'm not on the side of the Dornish, Ser. I am on the side of House Tyrell and offering service to Lord Garvin." Riderch's voice is steady as he responds towards Tyraxeus — he's careful, his tone sounding neutral here. "If you will excuse me." He probably remembers the drubbing he got from the Stormlander's polearm, the last time. He then follows the Dornish, and Ser Quillian.

Riderch heads up Hightower Street.

A brief pause as he looks around again, as Brynden's gaze falls on Viggo again. "Ser Viggo," he offers to the man, voice a bit softer now.

Kevyn follows Viggo, still silent, still far grimmer than looks comfortable for the lad. But it's not a look he can seem to lose.

Abram bids Quillian farewell and seeing Viggo approached by Brynden, guides his horse toward the Targaryens. "My Lord Aevander.." he calls to the man, recalling him from the ride to Uplands. "A word with your Lordship? There is more you ought hear of what were found."

"Not unless it becomes necessary. For now, a raven should suffice," Aevander replies, watching the slowly dissipating, agitated crowd and the retreating dornish. "I don't know who, but I do know the Dornish are easy suspects. A Blackmount weapon and a single earring?" His brows lift skeptically. "Do you mean to tell me in a battle of seasoned men, not a single of the attackers was slain? No more than one weapon lost? That all that should be found is one weapon clearly belonging to a Dornish house and a single earring ever a reachman can identify as Dornish at a glance… it seems suspect. Or, at the very least, I do not find it conclusive."

And then his name is called and Aevander turns his steed to face Abram. He nods and leads the horse over as he regards the knight. "What further was found," he requests.

Viggo stills his motion as Ser Brynden address him, offering the man a solemn nod. "Ser Brynden…I, I am sorry for your loss. That which befell your kin while in our care." He ignores Aevenders words with a grit of his teeth, sliding from his horse with a toss of reigns to Kevyn to offer his hand.

"It is quite suspect." Visenya says in agreement with Aevander, "But who would want to blame it on the Dornish, and be barbaric enough to kill so many people? There are easier, more honorable ways to try and start a war." Then Abram approaches, and she quiets to listen.

Abram bows in the saddle to the Targaryen, before speaking. "They took any of their wounded with them, into the Red Mountains, save one. A Dornishman that fell down a well, we only found when the squires tried to water the horses and brought up a bloody bucket. His sword were gone, but helm and dagger had the maker's mark of the Blackmont castle armory. Ser Tyraxeus knew it, on sight.". He draws a fresh breath, adding a short bow of the head and shoulders to Visenya, but his eye goes back to Aevander. "Near a dozen men on horseback rode out to the south, our trackers followed them into the Red Mountains, before losing their trail in the rocks."

Brynden nods a little as he hears Viggo's words, expression softening a bit as he hears that, taking the offered hand for a few moment. "Thank you, Ser Viggo." Spoken in quiet for the moment, he lets out a brief breath. "The bodies of the slain, will they be recovered. I'm sure my brother would like for his son's remains to be returned home." A brief pause, before he adds, "And I'm deeply sorry for your loss as well, Ser. It is a tragedy to all of us, and the sooner we have the ones responsible brought to justice, the better."

Aevander listens and his expression grows more grim as the rest of the findings are laid out. "I see," he replies, his fingers drumming on his knee. "And the man in the well, he was dead when discovered? What of the earring, ser? What was made of that?"

Abram nods to the queries, adding dryly, "He were, by way of an arrow to the eye. Armored for battle, with a yellow silken favor on his elbow. A plain riding cloak worn over it all." The latter inquiry is met with a short exhale. "That's a bit of a puzzle, m'lord. Were found on the trail, some miles into the foothills. Gold, and in the Dornish fashion. Near as we could figure, there's some suspicion that.." he lowers his voice for privacy, "That Ser Eryk were entertaining a lady, who may have been carried back into Dorne."

"They are in the care of the Silent Sisters, Ser Brynden," Viggo promises, clasping Bynden's hand with care in his own grubby one. "House Cockshaw will see that all the bodies are returned to their proper homes." The promise comes with a darkening of expression. "It is one I will personally seen brought to justice. We would welcome your help, should you join us in seeing it through."

Visenya's silvery brow cocks upwards. "You're telling me this massacre is because of a woman?" She lets out a disgusted sound and a shake of her head. "If that is the case than those Blackmonts are truly uncivilized."

"But possibly not unprovoked," Aevander replies thoughtfully, "if such were the case." He nods again as he considers the other knight. "Thank you, Ser Abram, for informing me of the rest. I believe I will write to my uncle and speak to the dornish princesses. If they are sincere in their offer to help, they may have better luck investigating the Blackmounts than Tyrells or Cockshaws." He exhales a small sigh. "If they can be believed and trusted."

Brynden nods a little as he hears that, offering a momentary smile, although it's a worn one, as he hears Viggo's words. "Thank you, Ser Viggo. And you have my help, whenever it is needed, I promise."

The Florent knight affects an uneven shrug, answering the Targaryens, "I can't say why, nor whether a lady were at the heart of this… but I've fought the Dornish before. Seen some very bloody sights, but this were a piece of slaughter without honor or care. The younger squire were naught but a child. Horses were roasted in their stalls, Ser. You'll not find much trust for Dornishmen in any man who smelled that, m'lord."

"I will recall that, Ser." The Cockshaw man turns his head to the still burbling agression of the crowd, frowning. "We may require it. Would you ride with us? When it comes to it?" Viggo asks. Not if.

"It does not make sense," Aevander murmurs, more to himself than to the Florent. The hand drumming on his knee moves to rest on his horse's neck, instead. "I understand, ser. Thank you for your information and your counsel."

"I will ride with you, Ser Viggo. For m… For Jothon…" Brynden speaks his now deceased nephew's name a bit softly, but keeps his gaze on the Cockshaw knight now, nodding to him.

"Ser." Visenya says to the Florent Knight with a gentle smile and a nod of her head, and watches quietly as the Knight turns to go.

"I'm sorry for your nephew, my lord," Kevyn says to Brynden. It's muttered, but at least he manages words. A pause and he adds, "Thank you."

Abram bows again and guides his horse back a step. "Should anything further be needed, my lord, I and some others has vowed to do all we can to see justice done. We are at your disposal Ser. My Lady," he adds to Visenya, before turning his horse back toward Viggo.

"We will be proud to have you," Viggo vows, offering the Hightower a sharp bow. Reaching for his reigns from Kevyn, he pulls himself back onto the horse with a graceful gesture.

Brynden nods again as he hears Viggo's words, before he looks to Kevyn as well, studying him for a few moments, before he offers a polite nod. "Thank you." Waiting for a few moments longer, before he starts turning back in the direction of the Hightower, rather slowly.

Aevander draws his own horse away and gestures for Aegon's to fall in near theirs. "Back home, I think, sister. Give the town the night to settle and the Hightowers the time to adjust security as they will."

Visenya nods once to her brother, and turns her horse to ride towards the beginning of Hightower street. "Teats…" She says as she rides next to Aevander, "What /are/ people saying about me now?"

Aevander heaves a deep, exhausted sigh as the three Targaryens head back to the manse. "Truthfully, sister, you don't want to know."

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