(121-03-31) A Gentler Inquiry
Log Title
Summary: In which Elionys questions Laurent regarding Wickham's Nest.
Date: 03/31/2014
Related: Ones tagged plot:wickhams_nest

It is a warm, overcast day in Oldtown. The breeze does much to lessen the humidity on the Garden Isle, so the windows are thrown open to fill the Grand Hall with the smell of the Isle's rich gardens — some would call them the finest in Oldtown. Ser Laurent Tyrell would call any who professed not to share that opinion liars. The tall Tyrell knight slouches in a high-backed chair of carved wood near the great hearth, dressed as if for court. A tight fitting brocade jacket of green and gold with a high collar, fine leggings, high black boots and a belt of matching black leather. Sitting atop a table at his right hand is a shapeless hat of dark green decorated with an ostrich feather dyed gold. He rises as a page announces Princess Elionys Targaryen.

It is in muted shades that Elionys has dressed herself in today, a modest dove gray gown with silver accents, and in spite of the heat, it has long sleeves. Modest silver earrings and a small matching pendant are the extent of her decoration. She waits until she's announced before stepping into the room and smiling at the knight warmly. "Ser Laurent, I apologize for the unexpected visit. I hope I do not intrude too greatly upon your day?"

"Princess Elionys." The warmest tone Laurent can muster still sounds like a growl. "You are a Targaryen," he says, as if that answered the question. "Please." He gestures toward an empty seat across from his, and two cupbearers stand ready to pour for the princess. One with red wine, one with gold. He gestures to the two boys, but adds, "I can send for something else, if you'd prefer."

"Yes, I am," Elionys agrees as she moves to the open seat opposite of Laurent, settling in it and glancing up at the cupbearers. "Gold would be lovely, thank you." Her hands fold neatly in her lap as she waits for the wine, gaze drifting back to the thorn across from her. "I know you are a busy man, Ser Laurent, so I will come directly to the point. I was hoping that you might tell me about what you, and the other men, discovered during your investigation of Wickham's Nest."

Laurent settles back into his own chair, nodding at the other cupbearer. "The red for me, Boy." And as the two pages pour, the surly Tyrell knight leans forward in his seat to put his weight on his elbows, and his elbows on his knees. "That's been some time ago, Princess," he says, his dark eyes narrow. "I expect you've heard the tale. We found three dozen good folk of the Reach, massacred by the Dornish."

Elionys glances up at the young man pouring her wine, giving him a small smile and nod, and then her focus returns to Laurent. "I know it has, and I apologize that I am so tardy in making this inquiry. Had I come to Oldtown sooner, I would have made the effort in more timely a fashion, but between the chaos of settling into a new city and home, and you being gone on a hunt, there was not much time to do so." She pauses long enough to take a sip of wine. "You are also correct in that I have heard stories of it, but I prefer to hear it from the lips of someone that was present, rather than rumor alone. If I may ask, what evidence did you find that suggested the Dornish were responsible?"

"A dead Dornishman," Laurent snorts, shaking his head. He reaches to take up his cup, but lets it hang between his knees, held in both hands. "Princes, what is it that makes you skeptical, where so many knights — of good reputation — were convinced on seeing it? Where Oldtown's Master of Laws was convinced, on hearing it?" His cheeks color as the question draws out, but he manages to keep his volume even, if not his tone.

"I have made not claim of skepticism, Ser Laurent, let me assure you of that," Elionys answers at once, her tone remaining even and soft. "It is a desire to understand, and to hear the facts from someone who was present to witness them. As to the evidence, finding a dead Dornishman there is fairly damning. I've heard something about there being a woman involved somehow? A Dornishwoman? Is there any truth to those rumors?"

"There is," Laurent says, his nod confident, though his frustration mounts. "Princess," he presses her, "If you are not skeptical, then why come here? Why speak to me at all? My testimony is on record, as is the testimony of better men than me." The tip of one finger taps at his wineglass, and he struggles against it, but can't help but add, "With the recent trouble between our families, I can't help but wonder whether you question my testimony to provoke me."

"Because a record cannot have a conversation, Ser, however detailed it may be," Elionys answers him, the glass in hand set to the side as she sits forward in her chair. "Ser Laurent, I have no desire to create further strife between our two families, quite the opposite, in fact. Nor do I wish to insult you with my questions, born only of a desire to understand what has happened, and not to cast doubt upon your good name, or those of the other honorable men involved."

"My good name," Laurent snorts, leaning back to slouch into his chair. He raises the goblet to his lips for a short, slurping drink, and shakes his head once he's done. "Let us say, then, that you don't wish further strife between our Houses." He lifts his eyebrows, but says in no uncertain terms, "Someone does." Another short drink, and he speaks again. "So I will answer your questions, but tell whomever sent you that I saw the slight in them. Ser Aevander, perhaps, or…" He grimaces, choking off the next name, anger robbing him of his speech for a moment.

"I cannot deny that there is strife between our two houses, Ser, but my visit was not born of malicious intent, of that I can assure you," Elionys replies, gaze steady on him. "You may choose to think my words false, Ser, but I speak nothing but the truth here today. No one has asked me to approach you, I chose to do so on my own. I merely wished a conversation with someone who would know all of the facts on this, and not only rumor or speculation."

"Then ask," Laurent says, waving the Targaryen princess on with his free hand. "I have your answers, Princess, though you may find them ugly. They point toward the heir to a noble house murdered, along with his entourage, smallfolk… Women and children, Princess. Killed over a woman, by the Dornish. And with no response from the crown, who cowed the Warden of the South into inaction as well."

"The truth is sometimes ugly, Ser, but that does not make it any less true," Elionys' smile is faint and fleeting, and as she listens she reaches for her wine again. "I had heard that all were slain, I am saddened to hear that it was over a woman, that—…" She shakes her head slightly. "Did the Warden of the South say why the crown chose not to act?" she asks, and for the first time her tone is uncertain.

Laurent sneers his answer, unable or unwilling to hide his contempt for it. "Peace with Dorne is more precious than the lives lost. Mayhaps that's true," he allows with a shrug. "But the manner in which they were killed? And over a night's sweating with some Dornish whore? That peace will not keep if Dorne thinks us willing to submit so easily."

Elionys' lips part to reply, but the words that follow are delayed by the glass that she lifts for another sip. "I am so sorry for those poor people. They did not deserve it, nor is it something that I would ever want to see happen again." She lowers her gaze a moment, brows furrowing for a beat, but the worry is smoothed away in the next. "What do you believe should be done next, Ser? If you were to decide, what would you do?"

"Call the banners," Laurent says readily. "March on the border. Try the diplomatic channels if you will, but it's better done with swords and horses in the border forts." He takes another drink of his wine, a healthy one, near draining the glass. The empty is put back on the table, and his right fist smacks into his open left palm as he growls, "That will make Martell take us seriously, won't it? Give them some incentive to bring their banners in line." Behind him, the page refills his goblet.

"Do you think that by not doing so, we invite further violence from those on the border?" asks Elionys, head canted to the side just slightly. "I do imagine if we were to call the banners and march to the border, they would be forced to take this matter more seriously than it sounds like it has been. Do you think it likely that it would come to war if something like that were done?"

"Wouldn't that depend on Dorne?" Laurent leans forward, his eyes narrow as he appraises the princess. He's clearly looking to see, here, whether he's being mocked. He purses his broad lips as he searches her face, but in the end comes to no real conclusion. "It would force them to the table, and if it did come to war? We would win every battle along the border. So long as we didn't pursue them into Dorne, what would we stand to lose?"

Though there is no mocking in either her tone, or expression, it's not hard to find evidence of something if one expects for it to be there. "Yes, I imagine that it would greatly depend upon them, I was only wondering at how likely it is. I would hope that should it come to that, they would be willing to come to the table and discuss the matter."

"The Warrior's swinging cod, Princess," Laurent curses thoughtlessly, "They ought to bow to the Iron Throne anyway. So damn them, if they don't want to discuss it. They can burn in seven hells if they don't — every man, woman and child of them."

The crude language, rather than offend, gets a momentary smile, but the serious nature of their discussion quickly washes it away. "What do you think might come everything after the raid on Red Rookery?" she asks, not seeming as though she's making an accusation at all, but merely asking his opinion.

Laurent's eyes widen slightly, then narrow, at the mention of the raid. Telling though it might be, he doesn't voice anything aloud. He takes a moment to gather his thoughts instead, and shakes his head. "That won't be an end to it," he guesses. "No one is ever content to leave things even, are they? Anyone who's anyone wants to finish with the upper hand. I expect there will be more blood, this time ours."

Elionys nods slightly as a soft sigh is exhaled. "That is what I expect as well, as much as I hate to think that more innocent people might be at risk." She finishes the last of her wine, empty glass set aside again. "Thank you for being so forthright with me, Ser."

"I don't know any other way to be," Laurent says with a short bark that might be laugh. If so, it's an unpleasant one. "I thought that must be why you sought me out, if not to test my patience." He looks the princess over another moment before he speaks again, his tone still surly. "Answer me a question then, Princess. If it were you as made the decision, what would be the Reach's next reaction?"

Elionys again seems as though she's about to speak, and then doesn't. Not for a few beats. "It is a difficult position to be in, Ser, to be asked these questions when members of my family have made their positions known. If…" she glances around at the servants in the hall, then back to Laurent. "If I may have your assurance that what I say will be kept only between us, it might ease my mind."

"Damnit, I gave you my opinions easily enough," Laurent complains, but waves her request off with his empty hand. "No one listens to me anyway, Princess. I'm half an outcast in my own family. Speak your mind." Almost as an afterthought he fixes a stare on first one page, and then the other. "Mother's mercy, are you boys deaf? You heard the princess — piss off!" And so they do, at the double, leaving Elionys and Laurent alone.

At this Elionys' cheeks to color somewhat, but she doesn't speak again until the boys clear the room. "I apologize, Ser, it's only that my family here has—…" she makes a vague motion in one hand. "I am new here, I would like to keep the peace in my home if possible. That said, you have been honest with me, and so I will be so as well. I would call the banners, ser, and then ask Dorne to the table to see if we could find a peaceful end to this, rather than see any more lives lost on either side."

Laurent shakes his head, snorting his opinion of her family here. "Good luck in that, Princess," he says sourly. "You share a residence with Ser Maelys Targaryen, do you not? He's not a man given to peace." He shakes his head, picking at his teeth for a moment with his tongue, before he adds to that, "Speak to someone on that point. Send word to King's Landing," he urges. "Surely someone will see sense, if it comes from a Targaryen."

"No, actually, he has taken up his own residence," Elionys answers him, though it's said with a very faint smile. "I am only left with the others now." Her opinion on them is withheld. "I will write my father, Ser, he has more sway with the king than I've ever held, and see if he can at least tell me whether or not there is any hope of support from the crown."

"If my uncle is to be believed, there's none," Laurent says with a shrug. "So we'll bleed again, and again after that, until someone decides we've lost enough sons and daughters." His bottom lip pushes forward, his nose wrinkles, and the corners of his wide mouth drag his whole face into a frown. "In time, perhaps we'll stand up to it. But I doubt that will be any comfort to House Cockshaw, will it?"

"I wish that I could be of more help in the matter, Ser," Elionys admits as she sits back in her chair as well, sagging briefly beneath that defeat. "But I have no comfort to offer, nor any answers that will see this resolved."

"I didn't expect any," Laurent says with a shrug, "So don't think yourself a tremendous disappointment. If there's another raid, I'll take what men I can muster to one of the border forts, and ask other like-minded lords to do the same. Even if the banners aren't called, we can do that much."

"I shall try not to," Elionys murmurs, perhaps more to herself than to him, though it's loud enough for him to hear. "If there is some way that I can assist, please do let me know. You may not think much of my family, there is reason for that, but I only wish for as few lives lost as possible." She spreads her hands in a somewhat helpless motion, then allows them to drop. "But I have come and said my piece, and I don't wish to take up more of your time. I'm sure you've much to see to."

"Then put a leash on Ser Maelys," Laurent interjects, daring to talk over the princess when she speaks of holding the loss of life to a minimum. Standing, he adds at the end, "I'm sure that I do. I'll see you to the door." The way he trails off turns it into a question rather than an outright offer.

"I might have an easier time convincing the king to back you against Dorne," Elionys quips, perhaps before she realizes she's saying it, because in the next moment her lips are pressing togther in a like and she's bowing her head. She slips from her chair and rises, turning to move for the door, though she waits for him before actually approaching it.

Laurent obliges, walking with Elionys across the width of the grand hall to open the door for her himself. "Call again," he says, though it's impossible to mistake his heavy tone for anything other than dutiful. "It was a pleasure to meet you, of course," he claims, though if that's the truth he's hiding it well.

"I will, Ser, thank you," Elionys answers, glancing up at him as they cross the distance. "It was a pleasure to meet you as well, Ser. I only wish it could have been under better circumstances." She takes a step toward the open door, smiling. "I hope that you have a good day."

"I won't expect one, despite that," Laurent says, finally grinning. That grin is a sorry thing, more spiteful than glad, and it's a welcome thing when it vanishes quickly. "Give your uncle my regards, next you see him." And with that, he waits until Elionys is clear of the door and lets it close behind her.

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