(121-05-02) We Are Dorne
We Are Dorne
Summary: Lady Alaeyna Fowler and Ser Lorenzo Yronwood encounter the Martell Princesses for a discussion of Westerosi customs and the political climate of Dorne at the moment.
Date: May 02, 2014
Related: None
Players:
Ellia..Alaeyna..Lorenzo..Mariya..

White Stone Manse - Starry Street

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.

***

Evening falls across the city like a thick wet blanket for those from the land of Sand and Sun - doing little to improve upon the conditions of hospitality so frequently denied to them. At least within the White Manse, efforts are made to try and offer some measure of decency and respect to those who take refuge within. A bit less populated this evening, perhaps by personal choice more than anything else, the elder Princess in residence appears to be seated within the room dedicated as a study. Her once fine and brightly elaborate gowns have been traded for a much more austere and somber shroud of black - still just as refined in its design, but assuredly suitable as royal widow's garb.

Not even her personal guards appear to be in attendance this evening, as Ellia pens yet another letter for home. Her quill dips into the small well of ink as her fingers glide across the parchment with an uncanny element of precision. With ransom delivered and the youngest princess once again safely within the care of the Dornish contingency, business continues as always. Slowly lowering her quill, the young widow takes a moment to close her eyes and rub the bridge of her nose with forefinger and thumb, mumbling softly to herself, "Damn you, Ashara."

Laughter from the hall announces the arrival of a pair of Dornishfolk who are new to the manse, but quick becoming a common sight together. His arm slid around the waist of the beautiful young Lady Fowler, Lorenzo walks into the study with his typical slow swagger, snatching his fingers back from Alaeyna's teeth. Hanging from the hand at her waist is a bunch of dark, sweet grapes. He groans approval as he slips the index finger of his free hand between his lips to suck away the sweet juice of the fruit so recently snatched from him, but a rough chuckle dies in his throat as he sees Ellia seated in the room that was apparently their destination. He says something under his breath to Alaeyna, which spreads another slow grin across his sculpted features before he offers Ellia a deep nod and a single word of greeting. "Princess."

They're a raucous pair, fiery enough as individuals and positively scorching as a couple. Lady Fowler is smiling toothily at her lover in the wake of having captured a prize grape from the handful he teases her with, utterly at home against his side. Indeed, she seems ready to take his hand and lead him to one of the hall's fine chaises for a bit of a lounge when his whisper stops her in her tracks, prompting her gaze to dart from him to Ellia. "Princess, forgive us. You ought punish the both of us for interrupting your affairs." Though she sounds contrite, the sparkle in her fierce, dark stare gives away the playful undercurrent wrought in her choice of words.

The sound of merriment elicits a turn of attention from the elder Princess. Hand lain flat upon the desktop, Ellia rises slowly to offer the couple a simple dip of her head in greeting, "Ser Lorenzo, Lady Alaeyna…" Her gaze does not miss the faint intimate gestures between the two as she cautions gently, "I would advise you both be a bit wary of the displays you offer in public amongst each other. These Westerosi are most uncomfortable with our practices and I would not wish either of you to be sullied openly by their ignorance and fear." She pauses for a moment before gesturing to some comfortable chairs before her, "Please do join me? That is if you both think you might be able to spare a few moments of your time. I promise to be brief so that your entire evening need not be spoiled." Without quite waiting for their response, Ellia gradually lowers herself back into her own chair and begins to put her letter aside for the time being.

Lorenzo's head jerks slightly, surprised — perhaps by the invitation? At any rate, he steps away from Alaeyna briefly, dragging his hand across her before draping himself over one of the mentioned chairs, taking the second of separation to pluck one of the grapes and put it into his own mouth. "I might spare a moment, if my lady wills it," he says, using his free hand to smooth his trousers, a not-so-faint invitation to Alaeyna to join him in the same chair. "I care nothing for their delicate northern sensibilities, Princess. Lady Fowler and I have sullied ourselves in public and in private several times since our arrival here. Care for a grape?" He says it all in the same slow drawl, as though the offer of a grape weren't at all outside the topic that came immediately before.

Alaeyna seems pleased, rather than surprised, by the Princess's hospitality. "Of course I do," she tells Lorenzo, offering Ellia a respectful incline of her head. "You're positively gracious, as always, Princess Ellia." Lady Fowler takes her seat upon her lover's knee, preferring his lap to the sad and solitary fate that'd befall her if she chose the other chair. She winds an arm around his shoulder, settling into a relaxed repose against his chest. His bemoaning of Westerosi customs causes her to chide him with a halfhearted click of her tongue, and she offers Ellia something of an apologetic look. "It's so good of you to remind us, Princess. Though I've not a fig for such straitlaced sentiments, I know it is your will that we advance ourselves in the esteem of the Westerosi while we are guests in their lands. But surely you'd have us be our true selves while enjoying each others company? Home away from home, nay?"

"Ah, yes. If truth be told, Ser Lorenzo, upon a personal level whether or not we slight their sensibilities matters to me little. However, they seem to have a most irrational desire to either slay or imprison that which offends their sensibilities - a habit I find most problematic for our continued stay within these Northern lands," Ellia counters easily, her dark eyes lighting upon the man.

To Alaeyna's words, she nods with a faint curl of her lips, "In the privacy of this Manse, you may do as your heart wills. The statement was not meant to deny either of you your desires, simply to remind you of the dangers of this foreign environ we find ourselves hostage to." The Princess settles back within her chair as her attentions drift between the couple before her, "In light of that warning, should either of you find yourself at odds with any of these Westerosi, please do let me know. While we may be 'guests' in this most inhospitable land, you are both still under the protection of House Martell and any seeking issue with either of you should be bringing it to my attention."

Lorenzo nods at Ellia's words, though his smile seems to offer something other than concession. Something altogether unrelated, in point of fact, judging by the way his eyes linger on her lips as she speaks. Only for a moment, though, and they return to the grapes in hand. The next he plucks is offered to Lady Fowler, who is seated on his lap. The renowned Dornish Casanova himself is draped over a chair, lounging comfortably in front of Ellia's desk.

It's obvious Alaeyna's disdain for the Reachmen wars with her instinct to defer to the will of House Martell, for though she conceded politely enough on the matter of keeping their more depraved Dornish proclivities indoors and out of sight, she's hard-pressed to bite her tongue on the idea of suffering further hostility from the Westerosi. "Let them come," she says. "They have taken so much from us already. Your husband, my cousin, Dorne's greatest knight. The sons, brothers and cousins of our countrymen embroiled in decades of border wars. My father. House Fowler is prepared to lend the full weight of its power and resources to you, if you see fit to teach these Westerosi vermin the meaning of House Martell's words." Though she's draped over Lorenzo like a house cat, her words are laced with the venom of a viper.

Arching a brow slightly at Lorenzo's smile, Ellia nods slowly in response to Alaeyna, "They have indeed and if we are not at least somewhat willing to concede to the smaller rules in place - they will take a great deal more. No one disdains complying with Westerosi customs or expectations more than I, Lady Alaeyna. But there is a time and place for every battle. We are alone within enemy lands. They do not play by our rules and I shall not risk watering their soil with our own blood - not in vain. The day will come when we will meet them upon the fields of battle, but that day is not now."

Ellia reaches for her quill as she lets it roll between her fingers, "There is a storm coming - one far greater than I think even my Mother can fathom. And when it arrives, no measure of peace, not even a marriage between House Targaryen and House Martell will be able to stay the outcome. We are not yet ready for war. Even with all the support of House Fowler, we cannot engage without grave losses. To win, yet lose so many, is no real victory. For now, we /must/ bide our time and grow in secret."

"As you say, Princess," Lorenzo agrees offhandedly, shrugging the shoulder that does not at the moment support Alaeyna. "I am a simple knight in the service of that mighty house, I know little of such great matters." He plucks another grape, this one for himself, and grins at Ellia as he slips it between his lips. One bite, comically overwrought, and he swallows it, then plucks another to offer to his lover. "I serve. In this," he says with a lift of his perfectly sculpted brows, "And all things."

Did someone mention a marriage between House Targaryen and House Martell? As if summoned, the youngest Martell princess manages to wander into the room unannounced. Seeing her sister as well as Alaeyna and Lorenzo, Mariya pauses, blinking, "Oh, pardon." Markedly, she starts taking small steps out of the room. "I did not mean to intrude." Her eyes drift to Alaeyna, draped over Lorenzo. As he says that he will serve their House, she frowns and pauses. "Is there something happening I should be aware of?"

With a private smile for Lorenzo as she takes a grape, sinking her teeth into its sweet, juicy flesh, Alaeyna shifts her hand to rest on the back of his head, burying her fingertips in his dark, oiled curls. She heeds Ellia with all due accord she might similarly pay the Princess's mother, seeming to absorb the sense of her words even if she takes no joy in doing so. "For now," she repeats. "And when the time comes, I know that it would not be House Fowler standing alone at your side. Gargalen, Ladybright, Wyl. If it meant vengeance on the Westerosi, I think even the Bloodroyal would be swayed to your cause. Vaith. Manwoody would surely rise at House Martell's call." She's in the midst of pressing a kiss to Lorenzo's cheek when Mariya speaks, and she rises from his lap to greet her. "Princess. Of course it isn't an intrusion."

Glancing her sister's way to dip her head in slight greeting, the elder Princess looks back towards the couple before her, "When the time comes, House Martell will sound her call. Until then, we shall show these Westerosi that Dorne can be accommodating to a degree, but we are neither lap dogs nor shall we yield unless a compromise of equal measure is offered forth on their part as well. We are done with this dance of bowing and scraping before them as if we are nothing more than servants. We shall respect their traditions in public, and relegate to our own in private. And while we shall not draw first blood, if they prick us, we will respond in kind."

Ellia pauses before focusing her full attentions back upon Alaeyna, "Which brings me to a question perhaps you might be able to assist me with, Lady Alaeyna. While I am familiar with some of the border skirmishes, has House Fowler retained any trophies from amongst those they have slain? Perhaps bones of the fallen Westerosi warriors?"

"Not at all, Princess." Lorenzo answers Mariya more slowly than Alaeyna, but comes to his feet as well after she has. He bows at her side, deep and graceful, and straightens slowly before dropping back into the chair he shares with Lady Fowler. "Please, join us." The words are as innocuous as the empty chair beside his, but the sparkle in his eye suggests a different seat entirely. If his free hand dusts across his empty knee at that moment, it may well be coincidence. Possible. At length his eyes are drawn back to Ellia as she speaks, and his easy grin shifts toward something sour as she finishes. Though he will let Alaeyna answer the charge herself, his expression is an adamant negative.

Despite all the assurances that she is not interrupting, Mariya glances to all the involved parties and hesitates. While not leaving the room, she does not yet settle herself among them. Not in the empty chair and certainly not in the implied one that Lorenzo's eyebrows seem to suggest. "Ser Quillian often spoke of his brother's bones being kept by the Blackmonts." Not that she has much sympathy for the man, but that is all she truly has to contribute to the subject. Her eyes drift to each member of the room. "You can't truly be speaking of war? I thought the announcement of my betrothal to Ser Daevon would have quelled it for at least a year until the vows were said."

Once Lorenzo reclaims his seat, Alaeyna follows in kind, though once she's perched upon one knee she drapes her slender, bronzed legs over the other, such that it is no longer on offer to the younger princess. Though she entered the discussion in the highest of spirits, the matter at hand has sombered her and it's evident she's mulling over everything Ellia has said, listening to her attentively and even venturing to nod once or twice. She doesn't miss the expression on her consort's face, and she's fluent enough in reading him to know what sentiment it reflects. Torn between the two of them, she ultimately says, "House Fowler concedes to your will in this. We are outmaneuvered for the moment, yes, and so we have little choice. But when the time comes… Let us soar."

Lacing her fingers with Lorenzo's, she is visibly shocked when Ellia implies she may be harboring remains. "Absolutely not," is her singular reply, and if the suggestion had come from almost anyone else, she'd be certain to have met it with more than a mere curt tone.

When her sister speaks to add clarity, Ellia turns to regard her with a slow nod, "I had suspected Blackmont, but needed to be certain regardless." Her gaze slides back towards Alaeyna apologetically, "It was a formality, Lady Alaeyna. I did not wish to show preferential treatment, especially not with a situation that is liable to be as delicate as this."

Dark eyes slowly gravitate back towards Mariya as she continues, "While I admire your faith in marriage and its ability to secure peace in tempestuous times - this is not one of them. The truth of the matter is that Ser Daevon is a poor offering from a house too twisted by madness to adhere to any contractual agreement its elders might put to parchment."

Ellia pauses before continuing, "Charming, to you, he may be. He is responsible for nearly increasing the ransom recently paid in triplicate all for his lack of decorum and diplomatic finesse. If he is such a friend to Dorne and bears such great fondness for you, dear sister, as you seem to profess - why then is it he could not be found to stand in defense of Dorne during the Trial of Seven? Surely it was not because such things were forbidden to Targaryen, as Ser Maelys had no qualms taking up such a mantle. This marriage is nothing more than smoke and mirrors - an illusory attempt to bide time between two kingdoms upon the brink of war. It shall never come to pass, and if it does, it is highly unlikely you or Ser Daevon shall live long enough to enjoy any fruitful union."

"The Maiden's knight," Lorenzo muses idly, laying his head on Alaeyna's shoulder so that he speaks into the join of her neck and shoulder. "I've little use for maidens myself, what do you suppose he sees in them?" That quirks his full lips back into a roguish grin, which he brushes across his lady's skin before he straightens to pluck another grape from the bunch. He holds this one up to suck it between his lips into his mouth, then offers the remainder of the bunch to Mariya with a lift and a slight bounce of the fruit.

Ellia's apologetic tone gets her a nod from Alaeyna, not quite forgiving, but at least understanding. She says nothing, though, as Mariya comes under fire, looking between the two princesses as the elder one speaks so bluntly of the younger's betrothal. Not only does she brook no argument, she nods at several of Ellia's points, even if so doing hints at some of her own thoughts on the matter. Lorenzo's quip about maidens tickles a laugh out of her, that it's not quite an appropriate moment for laughter only making it that much harder not to. To silence herself, and also because it's been at least a half hour since she tasted her lover's lips, she kisses him shamelessly before the two sisters.

To Mariya, it feels as if she has come into a full political discussion without preparation. There is a long pause between Alaeyna's and Ellia's statements before the she answers for herself. "Ser Daevon is more than charming. He saved my life, Ellia, as you will well remember." Despite her intentions of not entering into a political debate, she has seemingly found herself in one. "I do not know of the triplicate that you speak, but he often and repeatedly attempted to pay the ransom I was held under to ensure that I was no longer under captivity of the man who slew Ser Osric. It was I that repeatedly told him that House Martell would take care of the ransom and no one else. As for the Trial, Prince Maelys is no Ser. He only participated to take Ser Laurent's head." The grapes offered by Lorenzo are ignored. Instead, she crosses her arms and glares at her sister. "He would not see me harmed and I would not see him injured, either."

"Mari, knights are honor bound to save the lives of ladies in distress. The fact he did so makes him a good knight, nothing more," Ellia counters simply, her tone neither harsh nor overbearing. Sparing a momentary glance back towards the couple, the elder princess straightens a bit within her seat - once more attentions drifting back to her sister, "Whatever the incentive for 'Prince Maelys' to take up arms against his own kind, it was still more inclination than Ser Daevon showed at the Trial. A knight who genuinely cares for a Lady shall tilt at clouds for the sake of her hand. You are Dorne, Mari. That Trial was for all of us, including you. Those men that stood for Dorne? They did so to protect you and I. Ser Daevon was not amongst them, yet he could have been. Offering to buy your freedom with coin is no different than offering to pay a whore for services rendered. We are Dorne. You cannot buy our loyalties. Such things are earned in blood."

Ellia gives ample pause before adding in a quieter tone, "What he would see thrust upon you and you upon him, has no bearing upon any issue. You are pawns upon a grand chessboard, Mari, to be shuffled about at the whims of the throne. You will never survive the Targaryens, nor will he survive the land of Sand and Sun. Build your castle upon the cloud if you so desire, but know that a foundation built upon a cloud has nothing to hold it up but mere vapors."

Lorenzo's attention is stolen by Alaeyna's kiss, and he returns it with an enthusiasm that is altogether unseemly. He even goes so far as to lay the grapes aside, fumbling blindly to drop them onto a low table so that he can lay his hand on Lady Fowler's thigh. He growls his approval, shaking his head slightly as the kiss breaks, and then is forced to play catchup with the conversation, puzzling pieces of it out from Ellia's words. "Better by far to build a castle on stone," he opines, "Under the hot sun, and surrounded by a sea of sand." Perhaps he means it would be better were Mariya wed to a Dornishman? Or perhaps he is merely doing his best to contribute, though the conversation has largely left him behind.

"Forgive me, Princess, but I agree," says Alaeyna to Mariya, when Lorenzo alludes to making a match from among her countrymen. "When news of your betrothal came home to us at Skyreach, there were many of us left disappointed by the tidings. Our beloved princess, caught in the claws of some dragon, and not even the fiercest or mightiest of them?" She looks to Ellia after having said so, perhaps concerned she's spoken out of turn. "Perhaps we should leave you two to your familial affairs," offers Lady Fowler.

There's a shake of head. Despite the kisses and the grapes and distractions, there are a few words that she grips onto. The youngest Martell grips her hands together in fists and then releases them. "No, there is no cause for you to leave. There is not much to discuss on my part. Ser Daevon is a good man. Our mother thought fit to give me to him to ensure a peace. I am not his whore to be bought. He did not buy my loyalties a week ago. He bought them with a blade, defending my life against Rycard Tarly." With that, she turns to leave. "I will leave you to your discussion, forgive me for interrupting."

"A man is defined by the weight of all his actions - not just by one solo act. Mother never gives anything without having something deeper in mind, remember this, Mari," she pauses. "Nothing ever is as it seems when it comes to her," Ellia counters thoughtfully before letting her sister take her leave. Attentions glide back to the couple before her as she offers in a warmer tone, "Have you both had a chance to settle into proper quarters within the Manse? If you have need, I can have one of my maids prepare my children's chamber for you. They shall have no need of it anytime soon and are safely in the company of my Mother back in Sunspear." Her dark eyes drift over to regard Lorenzo as she continues, "I could arrange a second room should you wish, but somehow I doubt it would garner much use."

Lorenzo raises one brow quizically at Ellia's offer, considering her a moment before he asks, "Are they attached to your suite, Princess? That's a very generous offer." His hand plays up and down Alaeyna's thigh, perhaps thoughtlessly, and he shares a look with his lover before he adds, "We tend to use our rooms vigorously, I fear we might keep you awake. Unless…" His dark eyes drift back, now, from Lady Fowler to the princess as he asks, "You are a heavy sleeper, perhaps? Or have some other reason to think the noise might not be an inconvenience?"

Alaeyna has something of a regretful look when Mariya storms from the room, like she hadn't anticipated the princess' impassioned defense of her betrothed. It's Lorenzo's hand caressing her thigh that shakes her from it, a wicked grin sweeping across her face when he speaks so provocatively to the elder princess. With an attentive nibble to the lobe of his ear, she shares that look with him, and then extends a knowing nod to Ellia in regards to noise concerns. But not only does she not rescind his suggestion that they share adjoining rooms, she seems to eagerly await a reply. "What say you, Princess?" she asks, curling her fingers in Lorenzo's hair and pulling back his head, as if to demonstrate to Ellia what a fine catch she has on offer.

Lips curl faintly at the offering, as the elder Princess looks on upon the couple, "They are not, no. But I would not worry too much about rousing the rest in residence. I am certain they are quite attuned to overlooking certain… sounds, as you will." Ellia once more takes up her quill, idly playing it again between her fingers as she continues, "As for me, I do not rest much these days nor will I until all of my people in Oldtown are safe. I have rested for far too long and in doing so, paid a price no one should be willing to pay for such idleness."

Her words fall silent for several moments, allowing her thoughts to wander slightly before she finally ads in a soft manner, "The hour is growing late and I do recall a promise not to waste your entire evening with talk." Gradually, the elder Princess rises from her seat, "Be off, both of you, and enjoy whatever pleasures remain of this night. If you have need of me, I shall be down here for a few more hours still."

The soft sound that escapes Lorenzo when his hair is pulled can not possibly be mistaken for protest, and he tests Alaeyna's grip by leaning toward her to nip at her jaw with his teeth. His dark eyes flash bright, eyebrows climbing his forehead as something in Ellia's words seems to suggest one answer, but they fall again as he realizes it is the other. He rises though as the pair is dismissed, bringing Alaeyna to her feet as well. "Need, or want," he asks softly, turning his body full into Alaeyna as he begins toward the door, taking his lover with him. "If you have want of us, follow the song of my beautiful bird." This clearly, from its sound, being a pet name for Lady Fowler.

Rising with Lorenzo, Alaeyna shares in his disappointment, but not being one to admit defeat prematurely, she fixes her gaze on Ellia even as Lorenzo sweeps her up to lead her away. "My cousin would want happiness for you," she says before the pair leave, his memory coloring her words with regret but also resolve. "It will take practice to find it again, but in this matter as in all others, you'll find me keen to prove my fealty." With that, she lets her consort pull her away, leaning in close at his side to whisper something at his ear.

Princess Ellia says nothing more to the couple, instead bidding them a final silent dip of her head before once again lowering her body regally back into her seat. Hands slide back to the previously discarded pieces of parchment as she lets her fingers brush over the now dried ink with a faint sigh. Taking a moment to recompose her thoughts, she lifts the quill to dip the wick into the inkwell before letting her own flourishing script once more pen the page.

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