(121-04-29) Baiting the Cockatrice
Baiting the Cockatrice
Summary: Arrick receives a letter from home, Alia's healing touch and a chastisement from Alaeyna.
Date: 29 April 2014
Related: n/a

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.

The white stone manse has been abuzz lately. No one is particularly sure why though. Of the possibilities, it could be because of Ser Arrick's recent thrashing of Ser Laurent Tyrell, it could be due to the recent tournament, maybe it's the losses at the trial or could it be that there are new arrivals to the place? No one knows for sure, but one thing is for certain, the manse on Starry Street has been rather raucous, definitely having lost the sad demeanor it held after the recent death of Ser Osric.

With a heavy bandage over his head and another set across his offhand, Ser Arrick Gargalen is laid up in the sitting room, greeting people as they come and go. He's been this way for about a day now and he looks to be drunk, or maybe still suffering from his head being smashed into the ground, at this point it's hard to tell. As of now the Salt Dornishman is seated quietly drinking a cup of wine, minding his own business, looking to be rather spaced out.

Hopefully Arrick has enjoyed the solace of the sitting room for a goodly while, because the arrival of Alia and Alaeyna are sure to see him disrupted. The pair come in from the streetside entrance, having been out for the better part of the day, but their chatter halts when Alaeyna catches sight of their countryman. That he's wearing the colors of his house makes recognizing him easy, in spite of the bandage wound about his forehead. "Darling, is that the Desert Fox I spy?" she asks Alia conversationally, not just invading Arrick's space but making herself at home in it, folding herself gracefully into a seat on one of the chaises near where he's currently laid up. But not before pouring herself some of that Dornish wine, first.

The little Rhoynish Sand uncurls herself from Alaeyna's arm, pressing a sweet kiss to her shoulder before letting her shrink away for wine and a seat. "I think you might be right, my love," she murmurs delightedly, moving in with hips a-sway to approach the laid-up lord. Trinkets slung around her neck and wrists tinkle like chimes as she moves, as do the long slivers of silver that dangle from her ears. "My, but how is your head, my lord," she drawwwwls, sizing up the bandages carefully.

AS the quiet of the sitting room is broken, Arrick's glazed eyes greet the sources of said noise and he offers in response, "Why yes, I am known as the Dornish Fox, in Dorne anyways." Arrick shrugs at that last part and he adds towards both arrivals in his own salty drawl, "Too bad we're not sitting in Sunspear, there'd be more of that to go around." Arrick motions with his goblet towards the wine being poured freely. Arrick looks over the two woman and he questions apologetically, "I know both your beautiful sun-kissed faces but…" Arrick lightly taps the bandage on his head and says, "I'm not entirely sure who is who lately.." Arrick winces as he repositions himself in the chair, his arm an obvious point of contention, "My head is better than yesterday but the fog upon my eyes and thoughts has yet to clear." Arrick peers down at his arm and shrugs, "This is but a bite of a sand crawler….."

Slaking her thirst with a deep draught of the Dornish red, Alaeyna watches Alia in idle amusement, tapping her lower lip with the tip of one of her slender, ringed fingers. "When last did I lay my eyes upon you, Ser? Was it at the tourney at Hellholt six seasons ago? Ah, but haven't you grown into your boots since then?" Her grin is devious, and when he laments the supply of wine, she tells him, "Worry not. We brought a crateful." When Arrick confesses to knowing neither of them by sight, she simply shrugs lazily, causing her gauzy silk dress to slip from it and bear the smooth, bronzed shoulder beneath. "Your nursemaid is the daughter of Queen Amarei, called Alia. You'll not forget the name again, I wager."

Alia reaches out slowly toward poor Arrick's head, wearing a sympathetic smile for the lord. "It must be difficult for you to distinguish one lovely vision from the other, hmm," she purrs. "I am just Alia Sand, and this is the most beautiful and esteemed Alaeyna Fowler with me, sweet Ser." She'd like to have a better look at those bandages, and as her thumb draws close, she tilts her head: "May I?"

Arrick laughs for a moment and says as if something came to him suddenly, "Ahh yes, Hellholt! I was but a squire then… I competed and won a saddle that day!" Arrick grins at such a memory and then seemingly loses track of his thoughts as he sits still for a moment. Snapping back to reality, Arrick feels Alia's soft hand upon his head, her offers in that drawl he's used his entire life, "So many lovely visions and not able to focus properly, how tragic…" Arrick's eyes shift between Alia and Alaeyna and he says softly now, "My apologies to you Lady Fowler and to you." Arrick reaches up rather painfully with his hand and he takes hold of Alia's offered hand, "At some point, my vision will clear and we shall drink and I will be more enjoyable."

Tracing the rim of her goblet of wine with an idle fingertip, Alaeyna grins with delight as Arrick recalls the tourney at Hellholt. "Indeed you did. You won my darling cousin's heart that day - she had but thirteen summers at the time - and I had to listen to her mooning about what a pretty boy you were all the way back to Skyreach at the festival's end." Side-eyeing his bandages, though, Alaeyna asks, "Have you been seen to properly? No matter. You will be now." She glances in Alia's direction, her fierce gaze glittering with mirth, but her matter of fact tone demonstrating her confidence in the Sand beauty's skill for the healing arts.

Alia laughs, a collection of breathy, musical syllables, her smile lighting in her deep brown eyes. "We do not need for your apologies, darling," she assures Arrick with a swift rise of her brows as he catches her hand. "But you are a delight already, my lord. It would be my pleasure to attend your wounds, if you will have me, hmm?" Over her shoulder, she can't help but to glance back to Alaeyna, licking her lips.

Arrick set his goblet down and then reaches up with his newly freed hand and begins removing the bandage, saying as the wrapping comes undone, "The maester has just kept this in a chilled water that probably needs to be replaced." The wraps comes off, revealing a bit of matted hair, wet from the cooled water used on the bandage. "My arm is healing… I would rather you not worry about the bruising Lady Alia." Arrick leans his head back on the chair and asks, "Do you think this fog will lift in the next day or so? Princess Mariya will be released and I wish to greet her without the shadows moving through my eyes." Arrick blinks a few times as he stares up at the ceiling. He's been waiting to greet the Princess since the moment she ransomed herself in place of Ser Arros. Prior to his injuries it was the only thing he spoke of.

Alaeyna catches the look thrown at her, sharing a conspiratorial grin with Alia. She continues to nurse the summerwine, being a glutton for even the simplest of pleasures, but her expression grows serious when Mariya is mentioned. "It is our will to see her freed as swiftly as possible. In case we need your assistance in so doing, it's absolutely imperative you recover yourself as soon as possible." I mean, really, moping around with a damp cloth on his forehead? "Lord Ander would expect no less of you, I daresay." Though she's a little provocative with her choice of words, it's all in the name of lighting a fire under the Dornish knight's proverbial ass.

Alia laughs again, helping — or hindering, as the case may be — the unwrapping of bandages by tangling her hands with Arrick's. She may have shot a wink at Alaeyna. "I am no lady, my darling, but I have many years of collecting and learning about the healing arts, hmm? If your eyes are still fuzzy in the coming days, I should be very much alarmed. I shall bring you some tea, though, if you would like?" She spends a moment overlooking the bruises and batterment, her touch light and gentle, skin almost melting against skin. "My littlest baby sister will be glad to receive you, no matter," she promises, emptily.

While the Gargalen's eyes were soft in speaking of Princess Mariya, Arrick's eyes go dark as he turns towards the Fowler woman, sneering at the mention of that name, "My father is of no concern to me. He's likely sent a letter warning me to steer clear of Sunspear or Salt Shore until I recover Ser Osric's honor. I expect a letter to arrive bearing his sigil any day now." Arrick grumbles a moment as he reaches back for his wine, which he draws from with a great big gulp. "You shall find that even in my state, I am a formidable warrior and will do as you command." Arrick removes the bandage from his arm revealing a blue/black bruise rising up into the silk covering his arm, "Ser Laurent Tyrell's mace nearly shattered my arm only a few days past and yet here I am, clutching a goblet and if you need milady, I will clutch a sword." Arrick turns back towards Alia and loses his edge rather abruptly, "I just would hate for the Princess to see me in a weakened state, she values my strength more than most others and I value whatever she values."

When Arrick recovers his fiery Dornish temper, Alaeyna bares her teeth in a feral, appreciative smile. She's utterly unapologetic for having provoked him, her delight in having succeeded in doing so plain. "Your wait has come to an end, Ser," she tells him, at mention of a letter. "I have one such upstairs in my chamber, sealed by your father's own hand and given unto me for safekeeping." She rises from her repose, setting her goblet of wine down as she crosses the floor to where Arrick sits, until she stands looming above him, her gauzy silk dress doing little more than blurring the curvaceous form beneath it. Touching her fingertips to Arrick's bruised and battered shoulder, she inspects the Reachman's handiwork, and then drops her gaze to the fist that clenches tight around the goblet in demonstration of the power he still possesses. "Very good. I am convinced." She tops off his goblet with a steady stream of wine from the nearby decanter, sparing an errant caress for Alia's cheek.

Feather-light, Alia traces fingers along the outline of that bruise, checking it over carefully, peeling back the silk of his robe where necessary. She allows quietly for the exchange between Gargalen and Fowler, a deep breath sucked in as the latter approaches, let go with a low, throaty hum as her hand grazes her cheek. "Your fingers," she interjects, raising brows again at Arrick. "They bend with, or without pain? I have a salve for all this bruising."

Arrick's eyes turn back from the softened state as he looks to Lady Fowler an angry drawl saying, "Lady Alaeyna, I could easily jump up from this lowered seat and retrieve the letter you speak of, don't make me…. I wish to know my father's words and I wish to know them right now." Arrick drinks down the last bit of his wine and he adds with an annoyed tone, "I have waited since I came to Oldtown and yielded at the trial for my father's hate to come upon me all the way from Dorne and you have it in your room…" Arrick pauses as Alia asks him of his hand, he then bends the questioned fingers with a slight wince and offers cooly, "There is a slight pain here." Arrick gently brings Alia's hand to his wrist, "But it's nothing. I know this pain shall pass."

Alaeyna abruptly ceases pouring the wine, unimpressed by the tone with which she is addressed. She returns the decanter to its place on the side table, taking Arrick's measure with a silent, but steady stare. She's wordless for the moment, hanging back while Alia works to assess the state of the knight's injuries, waiting until he's answered her questions before telling him, "I'd be absolutely delighted to see the letter delivered to you, as I promised Lord Ander I would. Do you know what they say about honey, Ser Arrick?" She catches the eye of a servant idling in the hall, summoning him to her with a flick of her hand. At her instruction, he departs to retrieve the letter.

"Mmmm," is all Alia murmurs of fingers still working, a smirk tugging her smile aside. "She stirs the anger in you," the little Sand woman observes softly, shifting a hand to trace it along poor Arrick's chest to soothe him, head canted to watch his response. "Careful, darling, or you will find yourself with a worse aching in your head, hmm? Your father, he is a hateful man?" It is only an innocent question, prompted by the knight's own words.

Arrick eyes Lady Fowler and grumbles, "I do know what they say about honey milady…" Arrick sighs and lets his head fall back to the chair again as Alia's hands run rampant over his chest, "If only it could make the light and shadows disappear from my eyes…" Arrick's sigh continues rather loudly as he then says upon its completion, "I apologize for my outburst. You have done a great service to me, even though it's very likely that the contents of this letter are rather negative." To Alia the Gargalen knight says, "He is a man of Dorne, there can be hate and love from moment to moment." Arrick stares back up at the roof a moment as he continues towards the Fowler he's angered, "You are a great women of Dorne Lady Alaeyna, I could only forget such a fact for only a moment." Arrick's hand rises to his head and he adds solemnly, "Remember, I am prone to such for the time being." Arrick lets his head raise from chair and he peers down at his leg saying with remorse evident in his voice, "I fear a knife in my leg would be a forever reminder of my poorly chosen words." Arrick seems to be recalling some rumor or other about Lady Fowler, it seems the fog in his head may be clearing yet!

Rather than point out the irony of Arrick seeming to meet the description he offers of his own lord father in this particular moment, Alaeyna allows him to reel her back in, his apology bidding her to return to his side. She places a sandaled foot on the chair between his legs, the gesture causing the skirts of her flowing silks to spill and bare her thigh. It reveals to him a sheath of knives worn strapped to the supple, soft limb, one of which she slides free and turns over ponderously in her hand. Planting her foot back on the floor, she stands before him and Alia both, considering the blade and his thigh in turn. Leaning over him with a press of the knife's tip to the leg proffered in remorse, she puts her lips close to his ear and tells him, "Luck is on your side today, Ser Arrick. As my precious paramour can attest, I cannot abide weak-willed men, and for all that the past few months have wrought, I'm heartened to find your spirit remains strong. But please don't mistake me and think that I make a habit of brooking insult. I think we have the makings of fast friends."

Alia continues to caress Arrick's chest, quite the contrast to her threatening lover standing over him. She seems pointedly to ignore Alaeyna, concentrating her attentions distractingly on the knight; that is, until the Fowler lady needs room to lean in and whisper her sweet nothings. The Sand siren steps back, deferring, and snakes her hands gently around the lady's waist, unable to help herself. Moments pass, whispers shared, before she announces quite suddenly: "My darlings, touching as your words are, it is time I find Ellia. Be good, Alaeyna," she purrs in farewell, "And I will see to you the tea, most handsome Ser." Her hands linger longingly on Alaeyna, but she draws away, sashaying off on her errand.

Arrick peers up at the woman with eyes of wonder as she reveals her thigh and most importantly in the reveal, a deadly offering and he says rather darkly, "Your vicious nature has found a willing companion Lady Fowler, we are fast friends indeed…" Arrick's eyes turn towards Alia, who Arrick nods towards as she leaves on her errand. Arrick's eyes quickly move back to Alaeyna's and he say rather evilly, his features growing dark, "Your wickedness is as profound a trait as I can remember in a woman. I have been away from our homeland for far too long. I find myself eaten alive with remorse and sudden wishes of making it up to you any way that I can." Arrick's pain and suffering seems to be lifting, these women have cast a spell no chaste maester could understand or fathom.

Alaeyna finds herself forgetting Arrick altogether for the moment in which she and Alia share their quiet conference. Lady Fowler steals a kiss from her companion before she takes her leave in search of Ellia, and only after Alaeyna's finished feasting on the divine vision that is Alia's retreating form does she remember Arrick, his dark growl recapturing her attention quite effectively. In her absent-mindedness, the point of her knife has likely strayed from the immediate threat it only just posed to his meaty thigh, but she wastes no time in repositioning the blade as she meets his gaze. His wicked words are just the honey she was after, her depraved delight plain in her fierce, sparkling stare. With a sigh, she lets the fingertips of her free hand touch his cheek, her sympathy roused. "I can't begin to fathom how sick your heart must be for our homeland. Two days in this city feels already like an eternity." She relents, finally, withdrawing the knife and returning it to the sheath. "We will have time enough for the logistics of how best you'll repay me. For now," she pauses, beckoning forward the servant who has returned with the letter. She offers it to Arrick, continuing, "your father's words demand your attention." The seal on the letter is unmolested, bearing the Gargalen arms.

Arrick gently takes the offered letter and he strips the seal, losing sight of the dagger, the beautiful noble practically on top of him, his lust for returning to Dorne and everything else going on in this terrible city. The man intently reads the words for a few moments and he sighs a few times as he reads over a few lines repeatedly. The man then crumples the letter and looks up with the same darkened eyes as before, "I was correct in believing my father to be wicked." Arrick angrily crumbles the the letter in both hands now and he adds, "Not wicked in the way you've offered, so sensual and fine. No." Arrick bites his lip and simply says, "Wicked in asking me things that I do not believe I can deliver with the suggestion that I not return until…." Arrick grips the letter rather tightly in his good hand and then lets it fall between his legs, a crumbled piece of parchment with a cockatrice seal torn in two.

While Arrick tears the seal and examines the contents of his father's letter, Alaeyna retrieves her goblet of wine and then perches on a chair adjacent to his, watching in silence as he pores over the message from home. When he breaks the silence to lament the whims of his father, she hears him out, but wastes no time in inquiring of him unabashedly, "What does he ask of you?" She takes a sip of the Dornish red, tilting her head curiously as she studies Arrick.

Arrick closes his silken legs on the crumbled parchment and he turns slowly and says, "Forgive me milady, I will not say. I fear the words would get back to ears of those I'd rather die than see hurt by my father's suggestions." Arrick sighs again as he looks over his emptied goblet, "I almost expected this. His wishes reflect an arrangement I suggested to him before I left Salt Shore. I arrived here only to have any hopes of my dreams becoming reality awash with the fire and blood of a Targaryen Prince swooping in and tearing them to pieces." Arrick's wishes work against him daily, he speaks in code but the truth of the situation is as murky as the Gargalen's eyesight.

"You wound me, Ser," says Alaeyna in reply, drowning her sorrows in another draught of the Dornish wine. She licks her lips slowly after they part from the rim of the goblet, her gaze narrowing as she focuses singularly on the knight opposite her. "I do not betray my confidences. If you will not speak plainly, do not speak at all on the matter." But still, in spite of his attempt at coding his speech, she studies him with a knowing sort of gaze, like she's already fitted a few puzzle pieces together.

Zerina comes down the stairs with a book in hand reading as she walks. She glides gracefully down th steps and onto the main floor following the sound of voices till she spots Arrick. She offers him and the woman with him a soft shy little smile. "Good day Ser Arrick…I hope you are well?" She looks to the woman curiously. "I don't think I've seen you here before…I am Lady Zerina Blackmont, a pleasure to meet you." She smiles that warm yet still shy smile looking to Arrick. "Are you feeling any better Ser?" She steps forward with concern in her eyes.

When Zerina wanders in from the floor above, Alaeyna studies her with a similar sort of curiosity. She and Arrick are engaged in a little tete-a-tete, but the new arrival prompts her to divert her attention. With a smile, she says, "My companions and I arrived last evening. I am Alaeyna Fowler. The pleasure is at least half mine."

Arrick motions to the bandages that have been left to the floor and he offers proudly towards Zerina, "Lady Fowler and Alia have cured me of many of my ills." Arrick then reaches between his legs and shows the piece of paper there and he adds in an annoyed tone, "This has created new ones…" With pained etched across his features the knight rises from his seat and he places the parchment beside Alaeyna with a look of offering. The Gargalen painfully stretches his wrist a moment and says in that Dornish drawl that tends to go in and out, "I shall go about my business, I do wish both of you well." Arrick peers down at the seated Fowler and says, "You've lit a fire inside me milady that I do not think can be put out with mere water." The knight motions towards the fallen paper and says in a questioning tone, "As you delivered this message, could you please see to it being destroyed by another fire of your creation?" Arrick doesn't offer much more as he groggily makes his way out of the room.

Zerina smiles shyly for Alaeyna inclining her head to the woman. She looks to Ser Arrick and smiles. "This is good…perhaps they will teach me thier secrets to healing?" She looks to the woman again her curiousity growing even more. She steps to one side letting Arrick pass by her. Looking to Alaeyna she blushes just a little. "My apologies if I have interupted something." She looks down at the book still open in her hands breifly before peeking up once more.

When Arrick offers her the letter, Alaeyna rewards him with a smile, taking it carefully in hand and rolling it back up, smoothing out the creases borne of the knight's agitated crumpling. "You've made two wise decisions this evening, Ser. I'll give you no cause to regret either one." She rises from her seat, offering Arrick a kiss to each of his cheeks before he withdraws for the night, assuring him, "Once read, it will be destroyed." After he's gone, she turns back to Zerina, kissing her too, because that's just her way. "No need to apologize, darling. I need to dash upstairs and into a bath, but I very much look forward to curling up with you for a chat. In the morning, perhaps, over blood oranges?"

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