(121-03-30) Friends Who Listen
Friends Who Listen
Summary: A pair of eavesdroppers strike up a quick friendship.
Date: 30 March, 2014
Related: Wickham's Nest

Hightower Square, Oldtown

This is a broad cobblestoned square, ringed by grand buildings hewn from stone. A massive fountain, also hewn from the same strong grey stone, stands in its center. It is wrought in the form of the Hightower in miniature. A tiny flame burns at its peak, and crystal waters pour from its base, pouring down the stony pedestal into the mirror-smooth pond below.

Stone benches offer places to sit, vendors cry their many wares, merchants ply their trade, and all around one can see the finely-dressed Oldtown wealthy meandering about. There is a pleasant smell of cooking food in the air, tingeing the ever-present smell of the salt sea, and a hint of perfumes and spices.

To the West, the Hightower street leads away. To the South, the archway to the Beacon Boulevard rises. To the North, with the Watch House standing alongside, is a stretch of street leading to the Beacon Gate and out to the Roseroad beyond. The cobblestone market square is quite clean and fresh, with nary a sign of any beggars, street rats, or grimy peddlers hawking stolen goods. The buildings here are in pristine condition.

It's early evening and the hot days have finally given way to something cooler and more comfortable. The square is busy, vendors peddling their wares as people mill about, some just passing through, others shopping, and several clustering about in groups having heated conversation on the business in Dorne, much of it not terribly sympathetic to the Dornish. It is near a cluster of men having that very conversation that Elionys can be found, seated on one of the stone benches with her eyes on the group, keenly listening to as much of it as she can while still keeping a relatively safe distance. There are, as always, a few guards who loiter nearby, keeping an eye on the younger Targaryen.

Gossip about the matter in Dorne is of marked interest to Haywood. For reasons that are obvious to him and his fellows, but he hopes less so to others. The bench where the young Targaryen sits seems a stellar place to sit and listen, doesn't it? And so the Cockshaw heir sweeps up toward her, casual as can be, but without settling in uninvited. "Lovely day today, isn't it?" When in doubt, start a conversation about the weather.

Elionys' focus on the conversation taking place is such that she didn't notice the approaching man, not until the greeting is issued, and then her gaze snaps over to him. It's a few seconds of study first, and then a dazzling smile follows. "It is, isn't it? I might usually prefer it a bit warmer, if I'm to be honest, but there is something terribly refreshing about a cool day."

"Agreed!" Haywood flashes his most winning smile. It's a well-practised one that he has good luck with when it comes to charming people. Especially lovely ladies. "Would you mind if I join you?"

That smile seems to work again, as after it's flashed, Elionys' smile brightens just a little more. "Yes, of course." She gestures to the open stretch of bench beside her, then folds her hands neatly in her lap. "I don't believe we've met before, have we?"

Haywood sweeps his cape aside as he sits down next to Elionys in one smooth motion. "I would certainly recall if I had met a woman as pretty as you. I am Alyn Cockshaw, but please call me Haywood. Everyone does." He's already beginning to forget he came here to eavesdrop.

"A pleasure to meet you, Haywood," she can't help but to look pleased at the flattery, even if her cheeks to color slightly. "I am Elionys Targaryen." She pauses a beat, considering him rather than continuing to listen to the debate taking place a short distance from them. "How did you get the name Haywood?"

Targaryen. Well, that makes sense, now that he gives it some thought. They tend to have a certain aesthetic, don't they? This doesn't diminish any of Haywood's enthusiasm for this exchange. It just means he'll be more apt to mind himself. "As a boy, I spent quite a bit of my time in the woods. My brothers came up with the name, and it stuck. Not nearly so lyrical as yours, but I enjoy it."

They do, and she looks every bit the dragon. "You enjoy being in the woods?" asks Elionys'. "I've not spent much time there myself, I was raised in King's Landing, and unless you go outside of the city, which we didn't do much, the nearest thing was to wander the gardens. Don't get me wrong, they're lovely, but there is something so…" she doesn't quite know the word she's after, making a leading sort of gesture with her hand. "…pleaceful, about it." The compliment on her name gets him yet another smile. "Thank you. It's a combination of my mother and grandmothers name, and so… well, it's different, which is nice. Better than Aegon. I'm not sure I even know how many of those we've had in the family."

"Hunting is an important activity in my family," Haywood explains. "I'm very much at home there, though not to the point that I'd rather live there than within a city." That would just be uncivilised. To the origins of her own name, there's a brief spark in his eyes. "Ah! I empathise. Alyn is a family name as well." If there's a certain sort of pride he's meant to take in his given name, he doesn't seem to have embraced it.

"Would you think me terrible if I admitted that I'd never been on a hunt?" asks Elionys, gaze flicking over to the group of men as one more joins their ranks. "My brothers would go sometimes, especially when someone important invited them along, though I don't think they ever were quite so fond of it."

"Not at all!" His assurance is genuine, and he hopes to convey that with another brilliant smile. "It isn't for everyone. There are plenty of things that I don't enjoy. Poetry, for instance. Unless it's very good." Though that's no small wonder, given that he's endured his younger brother's poetry for years, and it's not good. He follows the woman's glances and leans toward her conspiratorially. "Heard anything interesting?"

"I don't know of anyone that claims to enjoy bad poetry," Elionys teases as she leans in just a touch closer. "It's just that some people are not able to tell the difference between what is good and bad." There is a moment to consider the assembled men before them, nodding slightly. "A great many people appear to be in favor of the retribution, so far as I can tell. These men certainly seem to think it was deserved. If anyone thinks otherwise, they don't seem inclined to voice that opinion."

A grin, brought on by the notion that bad poets don't know thy're bad, slowly fades from Haywood's face as he listens to the summary of the conversation. He nods once, a slow downward tilt of his chin. "And what's your opinion, if I may be so bold?"

The humor fades from Elionys' expression as she considers a topic far more serious than bad poetry. "I suppose that's a difficult thing for me to answer," she admits. "Obviously I don't approve of what was done at Wickham's Nest, and clearly whoever was responsible should pay for it." Or have paid, but she doesn't touch that subject just yet. "I know there was an investigation into it, but I fear I've not spoken to any of the men who went to hear what they've had to say."

Her response doesn't make her an ally necessarily, but it means that she isn't immediately against what's been done at least. Not that he's about to admit to it. That would be beyond folly. "There are no easy answers," Haywood admits with a tone that's similar to sympathy, but not quite. If he has any doubts about the fairness of the raid, he's not about to voice them. "Is it of interest to you personally? Or do you just enjoy following public opinion?"

"No, there aren't," Elionys agrees, looking momentarily solemn. "It's of interest to me, if only because it should be of interest to my family to know what is happening to the people of Westeros. Don't you think? Not that—…" she breaks off there, lips turning up in a wry smile. "I am no one important in my family, I have no illusions about that, but I want to understand, and help our people, even if it's only in some small way."

Haywood's brows lift upward. "You are wise, though. And you should be proud of that." It's perhaps not charitable that he expected her interest to be rooted in a love of gossip rather than civic concern, but that speaks more to his experience with other nobles than anything specific to her.

"I've had a lot of time to sit and think about things," Elionys tells him, and though she sounds playful as she says it, the words hint at a larger truth. "What of you, Haywood? What is your opinion on all of this?"

Haywood's expression darkens. "I think if the Dornish were responsible for what happened at Wickham's Nest," and for the sake of his own conscience, he has to believe that this is the case, "then they got precisely what they deserved." He makes a conscious effort to relax his posture then. "But I don't want to trouble you with such… heavy thoughts."

"The thoughts do not trouble me," Elionys is swift to assure him. "What troubles me is that the people of Wickham's Nest were slain. If the Dornish did have a hand in the matter, as so many believe they did, I cannot fault anyone for wishing to repay that in kind."

He smiles thinly. "Very nicely said." He's still troubled by the situation, but obviously grateful for her words. Haywood gently steers the conversation in a different direction. "Do you make your home here full-time now, Elionys?"

"Thank you." Elionys' gaze moves from Haywood to the men again, but their conversation has grown quieter and it's become much harder to hear. "I do. Now. I was raised in King's Landing, but felt it was time to see something else for a while. I can't say that it's too different, the faces and names are largely different, but the politicking is very much the same. I suppose that's true of most places though, isn't it?"

"So it would seem. I tried to stay away from all that, but it seems unavoidable now." Remaining uninvolved is a luxury Haywood no longer feels he has. "I was hoping that you live here. I hope you don't mind my saying that I would like to see more of you. You're quite a breath of fresh air."

"Avoiding politics seems almost as much an art as navigating them," Elionys' smile returns after the words pass her lips, and only grows after his last comments. "I do not mind it at all, I have very much enjoyed speaking with you, and would welcome the chance to do so again in the future. I'm staying at my family home here."

"I am regrettably making my home at the tavern currently." Which is to say that Haywood's not exactly living in the lap of luxury, full disclosure there. "I am glad that we shall have opportunity to run into each other again. Perhaps we can continue to navigate local politics together."

"I've been there," Elionys perks up, pleased at least being familiar enough with the city that she can recognize the name of some places. "I think I might like that as well, Haywood. It does help greatly when you've an ally, does it not?"

"It does." One corner of Haywood's mouth curves upward in a lopsided grin. "It is my fervent hope that we will be allies. Getting up to speed with the events of this place will be much more enjoyable when I've someone so beautiful to discuss them with."

Elionys' smile brightes and her cheeks color yet again. "Thank you. That's very kind of you to say. It's— it is also useful to have friends who listen for things," she offers up, trying not to appear at all flustered and rather failing at that.

Haywood is all too proud of himself for this, but he finds her reactions endearing. And it goes a long way toward brightening his mood. "It certainly is. We seem to be of a like mind on this matter." There's a sparkle to his eye as he winks.

"We do," Elionys is quick to agree, gaze dropping a moment as she grins, then flicks back up to him. "I'm very glad that you decided to stop here today, with everything so… hectic here since my arrival, it's been hard to meet people. Well, people that I'm not related to."

"That makes two of us." Glad that he decided to stop here, that is. He had expected to endure a bit of vapid conversation that he'd smile and nod to while trying to pick up juicier tidbits nearby, but this is a vast improvement over that, and a wonderful surprise. "I have an appointment I must keep, but please, let's see each other again soon, my lady." He moves to rise from the bench.

"You have proven a most excellent diversion." Haywood reaches forward, not swiftly, to take Elionys' hand in his own, dipping down as he lifts it to his lips, dropping a kiss onto the back of her knuckles.

Elionys allows her hand to be taken, gaze following him as he leans down to bestow the kiss. Her cheeks turn a bighter shade of pink, but she continues to smile. "As have you, Haywood."

He lingers for a moment before releasing her hand, and smiles once more. "A good evening to you." With a tip of his hat, Haywood is off to weave through the crowd and disappear.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License