(121-03-24) The Empty Manse
The Empty Manse
Summary: In which Aevander and Daevon recruit Osric to their cause.
Date: Date of play (03/24/2014)
Related: Those tagged plot:wickhams_nest

White Stone Manse Starry Street

Mon Mar 24, 121 ((Mon Mar 24 12:11:20 2014))

It is a summer day. The weather is hot and stormy.

This grand manse faces the prestigious Starry Street. The first story is protected by narrow high windows that stop people from seeing inside, but the big windows on the back wall and the four upper stories make the manse bright and airy over all.

The first floor's main hall is brightly lit with lamps to make up for the shortcomings of the street-facing windows. The white walls and polished white marble floors add to the effect, making it seem airy and bright. There's a grand dining room separated from the entry hall by broad doorway. The house is richly decorated and well-appointed, with luxurious furnishings.

There are sitting rooms up in the floors above, as well as bedchambers. Like almost all of the houses in Oldtown, it shares two walls with its neighbors on either side, but the servants quarters, kitchens, and servant's stairs buffer the house proper from any noise that could possibly leak through the thick stone walls.

There's a pleasant walled garden in the back, viewed from the windows in the back wall. The upper stories have balconies to overlook it.

Contents: Osric

Exits: [O] Starry Street

Targaryen guards have kept the peace on Starry Street since the Dornish abandoned their manse — or were taken into custody by Lord Hightower's men. All save for Ser Osric Dayne, that is. The Sword of the Morning has continued to reside within the manse, and made no secret of it. There are candles lit in the night, from time to time, and smoke from a single chimney.

In fact, it is Ser Osric himself who answers the door this day. He wears a suit of fine mail and a tabard of pristine white that bears his personal arms, a pair of high boots and a baldric in matching black leather slung from shoulder to hip, and bearing the greatsword Dawn. His brow furrows over a pair of kind, violet eyes, as he sees before him an unfamiliar face. "Good afternoon, Ser," he says, stepping back to invite the visitor inside with a wave of his hand. "You're welcome inside, though I apologize for any deficiency in my hospitality. Still, it's better than the street."

The Targaryen on the doorstep looks over Osric, armed and mailed, and smiles faintly. "Ready for an invasion, aren't you, Ser," he muses as he steps into the house. "Well, much as one knight can be. Are you keeping well, Ser Osric?"

"Well enough," Osric says, grinning faintly as he looks himself over. Once the door has swung shut, he bars it, then leads Aevander in toward a sitting room. "I'm embarrassed to say that I don't know your name, Ser, though I do recognize you. Our homes being so close." He grins, self-conscious as he adds, "Which makes you a Targaryen prince, and this humble knight all the more embarrassed. I am Ser Osric Dayne."

"Ser Aevander Targaryen," the dragon introduces himself as he walks with Ser Osric into the sitting room. "Ser Daevon, Princess Visenya and Princess Cerys's older brother. Hello, Ser Osric."

Daevon's timing is either impeccable or terrible. He knocks on the door.

"I have met your brother, Ser Aevander," Osric begins, "And…" And there is a pounding at the door. Osric looks more concerned than surprised, and takes a half-step away from Aevander. "If you'll excuse me, Ser? I've released all of the servants, or sent them with my family to the Hightower." That said, he returns to unbar the door and draw it open. "Ser Daevon," he says, gladly, when he sees the Maiden's Knight. "Please. Join us."

Daevon smiles at Osric. "Ser Osric. I see you've already a visitor." He steps in and moves to the side. One of his guards is carrying a basket of fresh fruit and vegetables, some freshly baked bread, and there's also a whole fresh-fish. "I wasn't sure if you were still getting your food brought by a servant or not, so I brought some things."

Aevander's brows lift in mild surprise as there's a knock on the door, and they twitch a little higher as the knocker is revealed to be Daevon. "Hello, brother," he greets as the Maiden's Knight enters.

"There's hard bread, cheese and salt pork enough to last a year," Osric says, though he grins a grateful grin as he takes the food from Daevon's man. "But it has been days since I have seen fresh fruit. Thank, Ser Daevon, this was very kind of you." He places the gift on a low table, then waves Daevon over to join him in the sitting room with Aevander. "Is this coincidence, then," he asks with a grin as he moves to stand behind a chair, waving the two princes toward other empty seats.

"You're most welcome." Daevon goes and takes an offered seat. "Yes and no. Aevander said he'd come speak to you. I just wanted to be present." He looks at Aevander. "It would be foolish for me to speak with the Hightowers. That's where your skills lie."

Aevander nods as he glances at Daevon. "I'll speak with Lord Olyvar tonight." Glancing at Ser Osric, he explains, "My brother and I do not come here for a purely social visit. We have a task that we must ask of you."

"A task," Osric says, nodding. It can't have been unexpected. It's hardly a place to meet socially, after all. He works at the baldric slung across his body as he speaks, and once he's free of it he leans Dawn — in its scabbard— against his chair before taking a seat himself. "I am certain you both understand that I have obligations," he says with a look from one prince to the other, "But I would like to help you, if it is within my power to do so."

"Thankyou," Daevon nods to Aevander. He's terrible at small talk, and social niceties so he just gets right down to business. "I wasn't aware of the political ramifications of the entire situation. Princess Ashara enlightened me on a lot of things I hadn't realised. My brother and sister are looking to right the injustices against the Dornish. But we need to investigate exactly what happened. I want to pay a visit to the Blackmonts and find out if they're to blame. And to see if we can track down this woman who went missing."

Aevander offers a small nod in support of his brother's words and adds, "To this end, we are organizing a small party to perform this investigation. My brother will lead it, and we are including Ser Jaremy Strickland as well as Ser Arros Sand and the Princess Ashara." His lips thin, briefly, on that last name, but he presses on, "And you, ser, if you will concede to go."

Osric takes a long moment considering all of this, his expression thougtful. He doesn't look at either brother, but rather at the floor between them, his violet eyes distant. "Ser Jaremy Strickland, Ser Arros Sand, Princess Ashara, and myself," he says softly, "led by Ser Daevon Targaryen. To Vulture's Roost, I assume?" His elbows find the arms of the chair so that he can steeple his fingers in front of his face. "Who thought to include my name in this?"

"I'd like you there," Daevon says. "If you'd rather remain here though, I understand. I know that your honour makes demands of you." His words are quiet, understanding.

"I did," Aevander replies. "We are trying, as best we can, to form a party with interest on all sides, since we cannot manage one with interest in none. You are known as an honorable knight who places chivalry above his own wants. It is well known how you became the Sword of the Morning, ser. You risked your own life to spare a Reach lord and stop a relative from behaving dishonorably. In joining this party, you bring your good name, impeachable conduct and honesty. We need all those, if what the party finds is to be heard without bias."

"Ser Daevon," Osric says, looking up to meet the eyes of the younger knight, "What would you do, in my place?" He notices his steepled fingers, and appears to dislike the gesture, frowning as he lowers his hands to hold the ends of the chair's armrests. "Or you, Ser Aevander? I would have your counsel on the matter." It's not an idle question — he is genuinely interested in the answers. "And I would know your reasoning, if it please you, Sers."

Daevon looks at Osric, thoughtfully. "I'm still not sure why you're here. Is it to provide an easy target if anyone wishes to attack the Dornish that they'll go for you and not those in the Hightower? In your place I let them take me prisoner and I behaved. And my prison had walls not bars but it was still a prison. I still don't know what's to gain from remaining here. It's a stand? That you've done nothing wrong and so you remain?" He looks at Osric. "I don't need you on this trip. Your presence would make things easier on us. But it may make things harder on you. I trust you. I know that with you at my side I will not be riding into a trap. I will not have to worry about daggers in my back. I will be able to deal with people in good faith and I will be able to trust whatever we discover will be the truth, and that that truth will be told."

"I would go, ser," Aevander replies with a glance to his brother. "To stay may be to put up the appearance of innocence, but to go is to learn the truth of it, and that seems the loftier goal in my mind. If there is trechery afoot, I would wish to know of it, just as I would wish to bring solid proof of my people's innocence if it could be found and shown. I could do neither from within an empty manse."

"You echo my thoughts," Osric says of Aevander, "Though I would caution you both. My presence at your side does not guarantee that you do not ride into a trap. Only that you ride into one that I have not laid." A grin tugs at the corner of his mouth, and he adds, "Any man that would raise arms against a princess of Dorne and two Targaryen knights will not hesitate to strike me down as well."

"One Targaryen Knight," Daevon corrects. "And I spoke ill. I meant… well yes, not a trap you've set. And I've little doubt you would assist me."

Aevander smiles as well and dips his head into a small, crips nod. "Good," he approves. "Very good. I'm glad we are all in agreement."

"I would, Ser," Osric agrees with a nod, though his tone is grim. "No doubt my friend and chaplain would accompany you as well, if you would have him. A man of the Reach, but at home in Dorne. Such a man seems uniquely suited to the task, to my mind."

Daevon nods at Osric. "I trust your judgement on that."

"A man of the Reach who pledged himself to Dorne," Aevander replies. "And I fear, if the balance of the party tips too heavily in favor of the Dornish, it will be discredited."

Osric nods again at Aevander's words, though his brow furrows. "Only if the Dornish are found to be innocent in this," he says, his tone soft and curious. "Is that what you expect, Ser Aevander?"

Daevon listens to them, keeping his thoughts to himself.

"I expect," Aevander replies, "that whatever happened is more complicated and more personal than 'the Dornish wish to raze Westeros'."

"My assumption was along the same lines, I confess," Osric agrees. "And you, Ser Daevon? Speak your mind, if it please you. I would not have anything left unsaid between us, if I am to agree to this venture."

"I think if we find the truth of what happened to that woman, who she was and such, we may find the truth of the massacre," Daevon says.

Aevander allows a small nod. "If a woman was indeed at the center of it, that seems likely to me as well."

"When do we ride, then," Osric asks, rising from his seat. "I will make the preparations, and inform my family." He pauses a moment, a surprised look coming to his face as he says, "It may be safest if I were escorted to the Hightower, though I'll not bear a charade arrest. Could that be managed?"

"Tonight," Aevander replies. "I will speak with Olyvar Hightower later today and inform him." He sniffs softly before he considers, "If you will not agree to be 'arrested' then you will have to go to the Hightower under cover of dark."

"I understand," Osric says, staring toward the door. "I will make ready for the trip, then, and meet you at the Hightower."

"Safe travels," Aevander agrees as he and Daevon follow Ser Osric to the door, "to the Hightower and beyond."

"I thank you, Ser," Osric says, unbarring the door. "Both of you. For your well-wishing, and for your confidence in this. I apologize for leaving this house unattended — I know it is a concern for your family, but I can hardly expect men to guard it, given the circumstances."

"We will keep our own guards posted to keep the street from being vandalized," Aevander replies. "The seven willing, all shall be as you left it when you return."

"The Seven willing," Osric agrees, drawing the door open, "And with the help of your house. Thank you, Ser Aevander. Ser Daevon." The Dornish knight's head dips slowly and pauses before he straightens again. It could almost be a bow, were it deeper. "I shall see you soon."

Aevander returns the deep nod with one not quite so deep, but still quite courteous. "Until then, ser. A fine day to you." And so saying, he slips back out of the manse.

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