(121-04-07) In Service
In Service
Summary: Tameron and Magden are back from Dorne and talk in circles about whether not Osric is right; under news of the Trial of the Seven, Mariya and Embry meet the interesting new squire, and then conspire.
Date: 08/04/14
Related: Wickham's Nest Plot

White Stone Manse

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.
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. The grand staircase that allows residents and their guests access to the upper stories is of white marble veined with a pleasing yellow-tinged pink.
There's a pleasant walled garden in the back, viewed from the windows in the back wall and accessed through a glass-paneled door.

Sers Tameron and Osric returned from Dorne early this morning with little further learned than what was known before Tameron left. Still, the trip wasn't a full loss, in so far as Tameron has brought back a young woman, presumably acquired somewhere in Dorne. The early arrival meant the travelers stabled their horses and grabbed a few hours of sleep, and now Tameron's surfaced again, heading down into the kitchens to see about something to eat.

Magden, the young woman in question, never really went to sleep, waiting a polite few minutes after being dropped off whever she's sleeping, then slipping back out again. She's spent the interim meitculously familiarizing herself with the house — all the windows and winding stairs, back passages and servants doors, the trees and vines that reach up near windows and where the chimneys go. She's changed clothes since that last escapade, and made an effort to wash up a bit, but it's possible that when she, too, is drawn down by the smell of breakfast… there's still a smudge of soot on her nose.

Tameron's found some bread that was baked earlier in the day and some butter and jam to slather atop it. He lifts his head to blink over at Magden as the girl drifts in. He blinks again when that smudge of soot catches his eye. "Poking your nose into chimneys?"

Magden freezes, quite caught out, and turns to squint at herself in a seriving tray. She wrinkles her nose and scrubs at it with her sooty nose. "Uhm." She glances over her shoulder at Tam as she abashedly sets the tray down. "Yes?" Her steps carry her to the table, and she reaches for some of the bread — but stops. "May I?"

Tameron nods, nudging the remaining loaf over and passing her a kitchen knife. "Why?" he asks, "What's in a chimney that's so fascinating?"

Magden smiles, happily slathering butter and jam onto her bread. Breakfast is awesome. She seems to forget she's having a conversation until she's crammed the buttery, fruity deliciousness in her mouth. "Oh!" she says, looking apologetic as she chews her ginormous mouthful. "Hydig? Anda woof!"

Tameron just blinks and lifts his brows in silent query. Try again, Magden.

She swallows and wipes her mouth on her sleeve. "Chimneys are good for hiding. And roof access."

Tameron considers and give a small nod. "Escape routes are less of a concern, here," he offers, though after a moment an a small frown he amends, "probably."

"I'll sleep better, knowing where things are," explains Magden, shrugging and taking another huge bite of bread. The average things. Kitchen. Privy. Impossibly small, non-standard express exits.

"Mmm," Tam murmurs around a bite of his own. He chews and swallows before he notes, "There's a marketplace, here. We can get you clothing that fits properly and kit as well."

"My clothing is fine," says Magden. She darts a glance around the kitchen and goes to retrieve a couple of mugs, ladeling them both small beer from a barrel thereof. "We should talk, maybe. Before you spend any more money on me."

"Thanks," Tameron tucks in the last of his bread, chewing and swallowing before chasing it down with several gulps of small beer. "All right. What about?"

Magden perches on a stool, mug cradled in both her hands. "Your knight is very worried."

"Oh?" Tameron asks, taking another swallow. "What about?"

Magden hooks a tendril of hair with her fingers and tucks it behind her ear. "You. He thinks I'm going to cause you harm." She frowns. "You should, I think, seriously consider whether he's right."

Tameron's head cants a little. "Well, you do twirl a dagger very nicely, but I don't think you'd stick one between my ribs without reason, and I cannot imagine Ser Osric presuming otherwise."

"That isn't what he meant." Magden examines Tameron's features. "You know that isn't what he meant."

Tameron's gaze lifts and rests on Magden. "What did he mean, then?"

Magden frowns all the more. "Why are you being obtuse?" She doesn't sound angry, just perplexed. She sighs. "He said a lot of things, but most of it was about how I'm going to ruin your reputation, and that it was almost as important as your honor. That you won't be respected."

"If my reputation can be so easily mislaid, I'm not sure it was worth much of anything to begin with," Tameron replies. "I thought we discussed this, already. Have you changed your mind?"

"No," Magden says, shaking her head. "But you probably should. I know you think he's wrong about a lot of things — so do I — but he probably knows more about this than either of us. Men and their prejudices and traditions — how angry and stupid they can be." She looks down into her mug. "He doesn't like me. He thinks I — he thinks this is my fault. He thinks what will happen to you will be — my fault. That I'm — " She blows out a breath. "I'm nothing, Tameron. Ser. And I know that. I come from nothing and I'll always be nothing… But I'm not…" She looks at a loss. "I would never wish you ill."

"And should I pander to that, then? To their anger? Their stupidity? Is that the kind of man you would see me become?" Tameron asks quietly. "Hang them and their traditions, this was a vow set down between you and me. What is it you wish, Magden Quick?"

"I don't know," says Magden, in earnest, glancing up at Tameron and averting her eyes just as quickly. "I only — if I thought there were gods to hear me pray, I'd wish a city burn to the ground and the ashes scattered." But that's neither here nor there. "If you want me to be a squire, I want to be a squire."

"Mmm," Tameron agrees with her wish with a small nod. "But if I do not want you to be a squire, you do not want to be one?"

"You're the only person I'll serve," says Magden, simply.

Those words cause the corners of Tameron's mouth to lift for an instant before the expression is schooled and half-drowned in another hearty gulp of small beer. "Never mind serving," he tries. "If you… imagine a future that would please you. What would you be?"

"I don't have any practice imagining the future," Magden says, looking embarrassed. Then, with something like a quiet plea in her voice, "…Ask me some other time?"

It's later afternoon and Tameron and Magden are in the kitchen, pilfering bread, butter and jam and speaking quietly to one another over at the table. He gives a small nod and then tries, "How about tomorrow? Can you imagine that?"

From the front door, Mariya enters the Manse. With a sigh, she shuts the door behind her and makes her way to the kitchens in hope of pilfering some food in order to lift her spirits. Immediately, she recognizes Tameron - Magden not so much - but it is the former squire that she focuses her attention on. "Tameron!" She's forgotten his ser for the moment. "You've returned!"

A flash of red and orange fabric appears behind Mariya, the girl within scurrying after the princess. But there is only one member of Dornish royalty in their midst; up close, this dress proves to be less finely made, its style that of a modest Oldtown gown, if more flowing than most smallfolk styles. It draws the eye, more than every other detail of its wearer combined; in contrast, her dark brown hair, though styled with many looping braids, is washed out, and the colours bring out every freckle on Embry's simple face. "Princess— " she hurries, a mix of politeness and true happiness to see Mariya back, all interrupted when— "Tam— Ser Tameron! You're back!" With a guest. She attempts to stand nice and straight and quieter to behave like a proper lady. Or lady's maid, at the very least.

Magden almost smiles, but tucks it quickly into the corner of her mouth, smirking instead. She nudges Tameron's ankle with the toe of her boot. "You're a — " Then enters the princess and her companion, and the pale wisp of a young woman is on her feet and backing up a step, looking like she's been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. She just stares at the two other women. And blinks.

Tameron stands as well, though more for courtesy than because he's startled. Mariya gets a warm smile and a nod. "Hello, princess. Yes, we returned early this morning, but spent most of the time between then and now sleeping. Ser Osric is well and being either coddled or yelled at by his lady wife." It takes him a moment to recognize Embry in her finer gown and looping curls. "Embry? Well, don't you look very fine. Highness, Mistress, this is Magden Quick." A slight turn of his head includes the little blonde in their discussion. "Magden, this is the Princess Mariya Martell and Mistress Embry."

The streak of color following Mariya into the kitchen is enough to garner the princess' attention. With a blink of surprise, she grins at her maid warmly. "Oh! Embry, is that a new dress? It's lovely! I certainly approve of the colors." Then, however, her attention is taken up by Tameron. "I am sure it is the latter. A Trial of Seven, Ser Tameron? I can't tell if Ellia will maim Ser Osric to keep him out of it or everyone else to ensure his victory. Have you the names of the knights who will stand for Lord Blackmont?" In the middle of her inquiry, though, she blinks and nods at Magden. "Oh! Forgive me, a pleasure Magden Quick."

Before the newcomer is even introduced, Embry's smile to Magden cheerfully crooked, showing her gap teeth. Her smile softens modestly toward Tameron and his compliments, and she ducks her head, near to flushing for even being spoken of in the same sentence as Princess Mariya. That dress might be too big for this girl in grandness if not in size, even if it is dull in comparison to anything the Dornish women wear. "Thank you, your grace— " she says in earnest, then nods to Magden, her thoughts a'whirl— she can't seem to help but blurt, counteracting her attempt to be quiet, "A Trial of the Seven? Is it true?"

"Hello. Princess. Miss," Magden awkwards a greeting to both women, stepping liberally back and a little behind Tameron. Not hiding, per se. Just clearly a subordinate.

"Not all of the names, Princess, though Ser Osric and myself will be among those that take the field for Lord Blackmont," Tameron replies. "Ser Osric was more in Lord Blackmont's company. He may know if others have been chosen."

Nodding solemnly to Embry, Mariya holds up the letter that she has with her. "It came by raven from Ser Osric before his arrival." As Tameron answers, she nods once, as if making up her mind. "I intend to test the waters with a few knights in Oldtown to ensure a full seven if nothing else. It may also help to show that it is not simply Dorne versus the Reach." And perhaps the more people who would help Tameron keep Osric safe, the easier it will be to keep Ellia off a warparth. It is not that she has forgotten Magden, merely that her attention is elsewhere and that the young woman's steps to place herself behind the knight has done their duty in allowing her to fade into the background.

Embry's eyes widen a the thought of the battle. A thousand questions run rampant, bright in her otherwise dully hued eyes, but she stays quiet with them, this time; she'll save them for later. She watches Magden behind Tameron from behind Mariya, herself. Two blonde lowborn girls and their superiors, only one of them's wearing a fancy dress.

"Is it not Dorne versus the Reach?" Tameron asks with a lift of his brows and a small curl of his lip. "That notice must have been posted whilst we were trapped on Battle Island, hiding for fear of being mauled and hung in the street." Perhaps he'd say more, but a servant pokes his head into the kitchen, clearly annoyed that he's had to go fishing for the person he was sent to seek. "Ser Tameron, you are needed." Tameron blinks in mild surprise but nods. Glancing over at Magden he says, "Finish your breakfast. We'll continue that conversation later, all right?" He offers Mariya and bow and a 'highness' and then Embry a smaller bow and a 'mistress' before he slips off to follow the servant.

What? No — wait! Magden startles and opens her mouth to protest Tameron's abandonment, but he's already leaving and he told her to stay and… and…

Well. Balls.

She clears her throat and perches back on the stool she'd abandoned, reclaiming her butter-and-jam slathered bread and cramming a champion portion into her mouth. Chomp.

"It is—" But Mariya is interrupted by the servant and Tameron slips out the door. Determined to continue her argument, despite the fact that the audience for it is gone, she adds softly, "It is more than that. There's apparently far more to this than meets the eye. The Blackmonts say the Reach may have started this and the Reach is convinced the Dornish started this." With a sigh, the princess slumps down in a seat, forgetting that she came here for a snack. "If there are a few Reachman amongst our numbers, it bolsters our cause, that makes sense, does it not?" She glances up to Embry and Magden, then smiles. "Forgive me. I've been talking myself in circles all day." Then, focusing on Magden, she asks, curiously, "How did you meet Ser Tameron?"

Embry is an attentive audience in Tameron's absence. "What of Ser Daevon?" That gets one of her eager, budding questions out of the way. She looks to Magden with a parallel curiosity. "Can I getcha something, princess," she offers meanwhile, and steps a bit further into the kitchen around Mariya as if to make good on her offer right away, if need be, although clearly her thoughts of such big current events have caused her eyes to go a bit distant.

Magden swallows her mouthful and washes it down with a sip of small beer. "The Reach will do on saying Dorne started it and Blackmont will do on saying the Reach started it," she says, lashes lowered to the pattern of the wood grain on the table. "The Sword of the Morning thinks the gods will tell the truth by favoring one side over the other in combat." She doesn't sound convinced. As for meeting Ser Tameron, "In Dorne." She clears her throat. "We were… uhm… going the same way."

Ser Daevon's name causes Mariya's face to fall just slightly. "No, there will be no help from Ser Daevon. He is a Targaryen and they cannot choose sides in this matter, nor would I ask him to, despite all wishing. I know a lady of Redwyne whom I might ask advice on the matter." As for food, she nods. "Oh, yes, that would be lovely, thank you Embry. Just some bread and butter will suffice." To Magden, she nods. "Yes, I'm sure they will look down on us, but I am channeling my sister in the thought that it would not hurt to give the Seven a little help in making sure we have the best fighters for our cause." The explanation gets a slight uptick in her eyebrows. "Both on your way to Oldtown? Will you be staying long here, then?"

Embry's face falls in suit, her head bowing a touch. Of course, she should have known better, Ser Daevon being a Tagaryen. She's quick to set about fetching some bread, happy for the task. "Ser Osric is wise and fair," she adds in while retrieving a knife to spread the butter; her young, slightly hoarse voice is pure in her words, innocent and plain, without particular argument.

"As long as Ser Tameron needs me," says Magden, glancing at the princess and down again. "He. Uhm. Made me his squire." She takes a breath and hurries on, "But women can't be knights, and Ser Osric is convinced Ser Tameron will be ruined even for making me a squire, so… maybe I'll just be his… uhm…" She squints, at a loss. "We'll just have to find something else to call me. Unless Tameron is very stubborn and says balls to what anyone thinks. Which he may." She looks acutely uncomfortable at having spoke so much and drinks deeply.

"Yes, he is. I am quite lucky that my sister has found such a good husband," Mariya replies to Embry warmly. As Magden hurries on, the princess' eyes widen quite a bit and then her face lights up. "Truly? A woman squire? That is wonderful! So you wish to be a knight?" A bit of the optimistic and story-crazed princess starts to shine through. "If I know Ser Tameron at all he will say, 'hang it' to ruin. And Ser Osric means best, I'm sure. Maybe you cannot be a knight, but Nymeria was no knight and she conquered Dorne. My namesake was no knight, yet she refused to bow to Aegon the Conqueror. As a Dornishwoman, you can still be a warrior."

Embry's mouth opens in surprise over the news that this girl is a squire; she thinks it as impossible as it is by law, but — like her princess — deems it lofty and amazing, solidified as Mariya speaks of warriors of yore. She looks on Magden with all the more awed curiosity for it. She shan't be distracted from her task, though, quickly arranging the snack upon a small platter to deliver to Mariya.

Magden shrinks and hunches her shoulders a little at the enthusiasm — but looks strangely, cautiously grateful. "I… like to think of myself as Dornish," she says. "I spent the best years of my life traveling Dorne. But, regardless — no, Your Highness. I don't want to be a knight. But Ser Tameron… wants my service. I think. And… I think he's worthy of it."

As the platter is placed in front of her, Mariya gives Embry a grateful smile. "Thank you. Please, sit with us, Embry," she adds. However, she does not dig right in to the butter and bread just yet. Instead, she nods and smiles at Magden. "Then, you are Dornish," she decrees. "There are far too many people right now how would disparage the idea of being Dornish. So, as a Princess of Dorne, I will say that if you believe yourself one of us then I would let none tell you otherwise." As for Tameron, her smile softens. "He is certainly worthy of a good squire and a good hand to help him. I trust that if he found you worthy of squiring, that is all I would require. Despite the laws of this land, when Tameron deems you ready of knighthood, find me or my mother and we can place you in the guard of Sunspear."

"P'raps they'll be stories about you, too, some day," Embry offers up pleasantly, smiling 'til her gap teeth peek. Mariya's words to Magden brighten her friendly smile all the more, both respectful and fond of the princess. She slips in near the others, having fetched a small slab of bread for herself. "Princess Mariya is so gracious, and all in this household true to their word."

"I…" Magden gapes at the princess, completely dumbstruck. She snaps her mouth shut. "I… have no idea what to say, Your Highness. Such an honor is — it's… I'll strive to be worthy of it." She tries on a smile for Embry, but only manages a weird twitch of her mouth. She looks down, blinking rapidly. She must have something in her eye. "Princess, miss — I… Could I beg your leave, please?" She stands. "Something about all the trees and flowers, here — "

"Yes, exactly." Mariya is quite fond of the idea of anyone being worthy of songs and stories. Perhaps she'll write one herself. "You're too kind, Embry. I merely have faith in Ser Tameron and his judgement. If he's deemed the lady worthy of squiring, then that is the way it shall be. But, I would certainly speak of the true nature of the rest of the household." As Magden gapes and then stands, exiting quickly, she stands as well. With a surprised and bewildered expression, she turns back to her maid. "I did not upset her, did I? I did not mean to, certainly. Perhaps I should not have been so open. She is on the path of the warrior and I should have been gruffer."

Embry finds herself clutching her dress one-handedly as it unfamiliarly tries to get in the way of her feet as she stumbles to watch Magden depart. She eases back into some semblance of grace. "Oh, I don't think you have needa worry! I suspect she's just overwhelmed by your grace's kindness. If she's anythin' like me, princess, bein' lowborn— " Her mouth pinches delicately, sincere eyes widened but shy, "such big kindesses don't come often. It's like, if a person's used to carryin' one apple all their life, and that's all they got to eat, suddenly they're offered a whole bushel and they're scared've of dropping it all on the floor."

Automatically, Mariya reaches forward to ensure that Embry does not fall. But, once it is assured, she sits back down and frowns at her bread and butter. "That saddens me," the princess replies. "I believe you and Magden should always have full bushels. You are certainly a good woman and if Ser Tameron has vouched for Magden, then she must be as well. You both deserve much happiness." She sighs before giving Embry a bit of a conspiratorial glance. "May I confide in you, Embry?"

Embry's smile stretches far and true, but she proves her own words when her mouth fumbles and her cheeks stir to pink under the accolades, even though she accepts them graciously. "Thank you. Your kindness, and everyone's," most everyone's; she's been avoiding Ser Arros, "has made my employ most worthwhile through all these frightful politics." She inches closer, glancing this way and that. There are usually folks coming and going around the kitchens. She lowers her voice. "Of course, princess."

"Yes, I'm sorry you've been caught up in the whirl of Dornish hatred. I'm sure Ser Osric never meant for that to be a part of this, and I certainly never wanted it." Mariya sighs, but then, she can't help but grin, having someone among the house to confide in. Softly, she confides, "I have been and wish to continue to go out amongst those of Oldtown dressed as a serving woman to explore. It's much easier to see things when not bogged down by guards. And no one will take notice of you, like they do now as a Martell princess. I talked to a man tending horses who thought me a servant girl. I fed his horse. It was so freeing."

Embry's eyelids fling to their limit. She's one part thrilled, one part scandalized. "Princess!" she exclaims in an excited hush. "That must be right fun — I mean, I can only sort've imagine. It'd be like me, dressing up as a high lady or a princess, 'cept I bet you're a far deal better at pretending to be a servant girl than I'd be at bein' a noble. No one might recognize you, but aren't you scared your family will find out!"

"Well, I'm hoping my family doesn't find out." Mariya gives Embry a conspiratorial grin and a laugh, finally taking a large bite out of her bread and butter. After chewing and swallowing, she glances about and then continues. "I am just so sick of being trapped in the Manse and then trapped in Hightower and then back here. I came here to explore and see new sights. Not to be trapped in a room to fester. Though, honestly, I would love to attempt someone else being a lady and cementing myself as a servant at some point. Or, possibly, just the two of us going out so I can see if I'm missing anything in my portrayal. I want to make sure I'm not called out for a silly reason."

Embry glances about again, though this time it's more in the spirit of things. Her eyes are a'glow. "All right. You could wear one've my dresses!" she whispers eagerly, "One've me older ones. It might be a bit big, but all the better for lookin' as if you can't afford a new one." Embry is the tiniest bit taller than the princess, hardly a noticeable difference, but the Dornishwoman is thinner all over. Embry clamps a giggle quiet with a palm before taking a bite of bread.

Though at first worried that Embry would be wary and tell Osric at the first opportunity, the look in her eye is quick to assuage that fear. With a broad grin, the princess leans forward, happy to have a co-conspirator. "That's great! I was just using old servant clothes that I had found. I had a good disguise when I traveled Dorne under cover, but my mother made me burn those clothes. It took me quite awhile to gather reasonable substitutes. This would be perfect." She seems quite happy to have a woman her age to conspire and gossip with. "This would be perfect. I have so many more places I would like to explore and it will be all the harder now with the Trial of the Seven soon. Most of my time will be in helping Osric find the proper knights to fight with, but I wish to also see other sights without the burden of Dorne on my shoulders."

"It must be a heavy burden, your grace. Important, but heavy!" Embry's hooked solidly into this plan, for better or worse. For now, all she sees is the excitement, pleased, herself, to have someone her age to conspire and gossip with just the same, even if that person's a princess of Dorne. Their positions matter less, in moments like this. "I can show you 'round my neighbourhood, which ain't much, but it's close to the town square, and oh, there's lots've places. It's always such a procession whenever you go anywhere, noble ladies and lords, I can understand wantin' to walk free from time to time."

"Which is why it's good to get out from under it from time to time," Mariya agrees, glad to have someone understand. She could never tell her family. Both Ellia and Osric would lock her up should they find out that she was sneaking out in Smallfolk clothing to explore. "That sounds marvelous. Let's do so sometime soon. It will be good to have a distraction from this Trial. It will be good to walk unnoticed and she how they are taking the trial. I don't believe one has happened in quite some time."

"I don't think it's happened long as I've been alive, at least not anywhere close! I don't rightly know all the rules of it. It's something from stories, not real life!" Starry eyes for stories mingles slightly uncomfortably with real life, but she's soon beaming. "I'm sure it will come out on the right side!" She bobs her head. "A pub or a winesink's the best place for gossip of the sort, not usually any place for a princess." And, therefore, now a mission goal.

A string of servants whisk by just then, aiming to gather food, and Embry ducks her head down and suppresses girlish laughter, sharing a conspiratorial look with Mariya.

"The idea is that each side have seven people to represent the seven. You must make each member of the other side yield in order to declare victory." There is worry over her face as she thinks of Osric participating in such a contest. "I am sure there will be stories of the battle, and I hope they will look favorably upon us." Or at least upon her Goodbrother. Then, she gets caught up in the conspiracy. "Then that is exactly where we must go. For, while I am out I will not be a princess, someone who would go to the winesink for gossip. Who knows, perhaps it will help us in our cause!" And even if it doesn't, it is a good adventure of Mariya and she is glad to have Embry there to help.

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