(121-04-03) Pricks and Singes
Pricks and Singes
Summary: In which Laurent loses his temper with Aevander.
Date: 04/03/2014
Related: Wickham's Nest
Players:
Aevander..Laurent..

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In contrast to the previous few days in Oldtown, this evening is neither sweltering hot nor drizzling rain. It is fair and cool, with a breeze on the garden Isle that even makes it chill in certain moments. This time of evening finds Ser Laurent Tyrell in the garden with his squire, a red-haired teenager with a pugnacious set to his jaw. At Laurent's demand, young Willem is holding a sword straight out from his body at arm's length. The blade wavers, but every time it dips Laurent strikes the lad's arm or leg with a thin rod carried in his right hand. His left hand hangs casually on the pommel of his sword as he walks in circles around his squire.

Aevander is shown to the gardens by one of the Tyrell servants, in his usual black garb, his hair glinting silver and gold in the pleasant sunlight. Arms crossing, he leans up against the high garden wall as he regards the lesson in progress. "You know, I always hated this bit of squiring. There has to be a more productive way to build muscle strength."

Laurent's dark eyes flash toward the sound of Aevander's voice, and he gives Willem an entirely undeserved strike across the back of his right leg. "Go on, Boy. Get cleaned up, and sharpen that blade." The young Fossoway lad winces at the strike, but runs off without another word, looking more and more grateful the further he gets from Laurent.

The Thorn watches his squire until the door closes on him, then begins to cross slowly toward his visitor, using the rod to idly strike at a painstakingly shaped bush as he passes it. "You're an expert on it, then?" The growld question is Laurent's greeting to Ser Aevander, apparently. "I'm shit at training a squire, myself."

"Doubtful," Aevander replies, pushing away from the wall to walk over to Ser Laurent, arms still crossed lightly across his chest. "But I remember being one. Wasn't so long ago. Welcome back to Oldtown, Ser Thorn. Word on the wind is that your hunting trip was… quite successful. Many, many kills."

"Is that the word?" Laurent doesn't seem interested either way. He's red-faced; something about the line of questioning — or about Aevander's presence — has his temper beginning to simmer. Instead, he opts for his own question. "What brings you to the Garden Isle, Ser Aevander?"

"It's a word," Aevander allows with a slight lift of his brow. "I wanted to bring word to you. My brother and I have been further investigating the occurrence at Wickham's Nest, and I wanted to share with you what we'd learned so far. Well, you, the Cockshaws, the Hightowers. The whole hunting party, really." He laughs softly, smiling brightly. "What a funny coincidence, that."

"Ah, good," Laurent says with a nod, though his tone says it's anything but. "Your cousin was by recently to say that my word, and the sworn word of a half-dozen good knights of the Reach, wasn't enough. I was wondering who they'd send to sort things out." He takes another lazy swing at the same bush with that thin rod, then looks sidelong at Aevander as he adds, with a smile that edges on a sneer, "Who they might think clever enough to puzzle it out, weeks after the trail was cold."

"Of course it wasn't," Aevander replies calmly. "There is a reason the phrase goes 'blinded by grief', after all. And when the stakes are a full-on war, I can hardly put all my trust in the emblem on the dagger pommel of one dead man." his head cants to the side. "We didn't bother with the trail. My brother rode to High Garden and Cockleswent. Dirt has no memory, but men do."

Laurent snorts his opinion of that, turning to look full on at Aevander. "Ah, your clever brother," he says with a flash of his teeth that can hardly be called a grin. "He'll not be blinded by grief, I think. So few mourn for Ser Eryk and the men and women of Wickham's Nest." His heavy brow raises as he adds, "By love of the Dornish? Perhaps. But not by grief for his vassals. Not the Maiden's Knight."

"My brother is just," Aevander replies calmly, "and he wishes only to find the truth of this, as do I."

"The truth of it was found, Ser," Laurent snarls, "At the bottom of a well in Wickham's Nest. You can find it yourself, in a mass grave not far from where the stable burned." He looms over Aevander, the words coming heated and fast, now. "If you seek another explanation, best set to crafting it yourselves."

Laurent is a large man, and if Aevander is not short, neither is he tall. So close, he s obliged to tip his head back a little to continue to meet Ser Laurent's gaze. "You have no interest, then, in what was learned at High Garden? At Cockleswent?"

"Little and less," Laurent spits, shaking his head. "You learned that a Dornishwoman was with their party," he hazards, "Which is not news. That she was Ser Eryk's lover? It is not news. You've learned nothing that absolves Dorne of their guilt in the raid." He doesn't know it, but he's convinced of it nonetheless.

"Well, we did learn who it was not," Aevander replies, "and the name of the woman. But, of course, you are too clever for me, Ser Thorn. You have already devised all the answers you need within your own mind."

With a half step away from Aevander, Laurent titls his head back to bark a harsh laugh. "It doesn't take a clever man, Ser Aevander. Why do I give a damn which Dornishman it was that murdered Tyrell bannermen?" His eyes are narrow and hard, his knuckles white as he holds the stick in his right hand and the pommel of his sword in his left. "I don't give a single louse from the Crone's slick snatch for who the woman was, Ser Aevander. Does it matter to you?! What name is worth the death of Ser Eryk? Of young Jothon Hightower? Of two of Ser Kaspar Royce's kinsmen? Of three dozen good folk, down to a girl no taller than your waist, Ser Aevander?"

"The point is not the worth of her life, the point is the motive behind it," Aevander replies, keeping his voice that much calmer for Laurent's rising ire. "The point, Ser Laurent, is that you are being used, and in your righteous fury you are assisting those you would most like to see slain."

"Hah!" It's not a laugh, but a single harsh word, derisive. "Hah. So you've come here, Ser Aevander, to convince me that in my eagerness to see justice done, I'm serving the whims of the very Dornishmen who murdered the Cockshaw heir?" His lips twist into a sneer, and he shakes his head. "You'll find me difficult to convince."

"Just so, Ser Laurent. Just so," Aevander replies with a small nod. "I already find you difficult," pause, "to convince."

Laurent shakes his head, his dark eyes blazing. "Because you're on a fool's errand," he says, "And presenting a fool's argument. I may not be a clever man," his voice leaves no doubt that he thinks Aevander clever, and cleverness a trait of little worth in this. "But I've clear enough sight to see past this."

"Do you, ser?" Aevander asks. "Then tell me, with all your clear sight, how a raiding party sent by Lord Blackmont was able to reach Wickham's Nest more than two days faster than it's possible to travel."

"Two days? Hardly," Laurent says dismissively. "The party rode from one of the border settlements, or a camp between. They were a dozen men, no more. You're a fool if you're dismissing Blackmont because his men couldn't have made it. They did, and the proof is it is rotting in the ground at Wickham's Nest, though you've not the stomach to look on it."

"None of the border settlements belonging to Blackmont could have gathered a team of armed men and rode on Wickham's Nest as quickly as these men did," Aevander replies. "Nobody is disputing that the Nest was razed, but snarling at the wrong villain not only makes you a fool, it makes you a pawn."

"They were Blackmont's men," Laurent counters, as stubborn as he is angry. "And they could have ridden on Wickham's Nest in time. There are no less than three Dornish settlements that would serve, if the men knew their business. I've the word of men I trust on that point, Ser." By contrast, his voice says, to Aevander, whose word on it he gives no weight.

"And which men might those be, Ser Thorn?" Aevander queries with a small lift of his brows.

"Men who know the border," Laurent says, his voice full of scorn. "Ser Abram Florent, Ser Quillian Oakheart," he lists, "But you need not trust mere soldiers, My Prince," he spits. "My maester will tell you the same, or any honest man as can read a map."

"We're actually sorting though those maps right now, so why not allow them to prove you right or wrong." He head cants. "Where is Ser Abram, anyway? He rode out with the lot of you, but I've heard nothing of his return."

"Family business took Ser Abram elsewhere," Laurent says, his face stony. It's not the face of a man who is good at lying, but it is clearly the face of a stubborn man, who will never admit the lie. "Look to your maps, Ser Aevander. The verdict you find there will name you true," he says skeptically, "Or false." The last is said more pointedly.

"Mmm," Aevander agrees. "Well, I suppose I'll see myself out." He turns as if to do just that before a thought seems to suddenly occur to him and he looks back at Laurent. "Oh. There was one other thing. Why do you suppose Lord Blackmont would have arranged to have his own wife abducted?"

"You may," Laurent snarls his permission, continuing to press against protocol. When Aevander stops, though, Laurent follows after him to close the distance. "I don't give a damn why," he seethes as he closes the distance. "I don't give a damn if it was Blackmont that ordered the raid, or one of his knights. A jealous brother, or some ignorant prick of a Martell prince. It was Blacknot men that did the deed."

"No," Aevander returns placidly, "it was not. Good eve, Ser Thorn. May you sleep well." And then he does turn, walking back into the manse proper so that he might see himself home.

"I don't know if you believe this yourself, or you think I will," Laurent calls after Aevander as the prince walks away. "I don't know which troubles me more — that you might be such a fool, or you think me one," he rages. "You call me a liar, you harbor my enemy, your family insults mine at every turn. You are a false friend, Aevander Targaryen, and spreading these lies will name you a craven as well!" Laurent's baritone voice echoes from the garden's walls as the long-suffering Targaryen knight heads toward the door.

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