(121-05-04) A Volt of Vultures
A Volt of Vultures
Summary: The trio of Blackmonts return to the White Stone Manse after being reunited.
Date: Date of play (08/05/2014)
Related: Directly after The Return of Lady Blackmont

White Stone Manse Starry Street
It is a late summer night.

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 walk from the Dragon Door Manse to the White Stone Manse is thankfully uneventful (particularly considering that they are essentially next door to one another). For his part, Lord Arnau Blackmont is quiet and has been quiet since walking out of the sitting room of the Targaryens, walking beside his wife. Those that he brought with him, that minor entourage mostly to make an entrance and a point, walk both ahead and after the group of Blackmonts. Guards are there to make way, though hardly anyone is about at this late hour, and to ward off anyone considering trouble. Also, to open doors, which they do, allowing the nobility to enter the manse proper.

In terms of arcetecture, the manses along the street to not differ wildly, though in terms of decoration there would be a marked difference between the comforts of the Dragon Door Manse, likely styled in the ways of the Crownlands or at least the Reach, and this one, which is pieced together from bits of Dorne, a home to many houses of the kingdom. "It is not quite home," he allows after a moment with a sigh that speaks the rest of his thoughts for him. But it's home for now. The benefit of dragging a small retinue with you is that you instantly have servants to order about, which Arnau does, insisting that some portion of food and drink be brought to a seating area.

For her part, Lady Yael Blackmont greets the uneventful if short distance with more regard that one outwardly might think it worth. Her fingers tensing in her husband's hand, shoulders tightening and mouth thinning as the guards move to open the doors and allow them within. A thundercloud of a thought carries across her features, dark eyes seeming all the more so as she scans the area with a pointed interest. "It is closer," she drawls, incling her head towards Arnau with what is almost a smile. Closer than where she was before. Uncommonly affectionate, she makes a point of sitting next to him as food and drink are brought.

Dickon makes the journey with a bounce in his step, the sort that involves practically pouncing at every shadow and noise on the way, wheeling about to peer down the single alley they pass, hand always on his sword hilt. He's stopped muttering angrily to himself by the time they get inside and he's snatched up a cup of wine and drained it thirstily, but his blood is still up and his attempts to lounge against a doorway are clearly affected. "It is no worse than any other place in this wretched town," is all he has to say for their accommodations.

"A small step." A small step closer. Arnau is not quite so passionate in snatching up wine and downing it as his brother is, though he certainly takes a cup when it is brought to him after he has settled heavily in a seat. Yael is the recipient of a smile, though small it may seem to others, it course his lips as well as touches his eyes. "And how much of this town have to managed to see?" He, who has mostly seen the inside of the Garden Manse for weeks, asks of Dickon with a slow tilt of his head and a rise of his brows for a moment. "The tourney field, I assume." Har har, he's hilarious.

Receiving her own glass of wine, Yael takes pleasure in drinking it slowly and — for the first time in months — without fearing for poison. A low note of delight curls in her throat, the rich and pungent flavors curling on her tongue. "I rather enjoy the ambiance which hints lesserly of looming death," she quips with a dark edge of a smile on her lips, resting her cup on her knee. She does not join the men in sinking back into the couches, poised still for the moment. "It seems rather better to me." Angling her head, opposite her husbands, she lifts her brows to look at her good brother through her lashes. She does not try to hide her amusement at the question.

Dickon scoffs, affronted to be the butt of his brother's exceptionally mild joke. "I rode through the town on my way in," he defends, voice rising as he reminds, "I've only just arrived! I was. Detained. Along the road." He mumbles something into his cup that might be 'several times', but it's mostly drowned out by wine. But he swallows rapidly so that he can ask, "And are you truly well, Yael? How did they come upon you? How did they treat you? If they have so much as looked at you untowardly you need only tell me."

This time, Arnau does not smile, not even a darkly humored one, though dark is a good way to describe the expression that does cross his face, reminded (as though he had ever really forgotten) of the danger she was in—is still in. Shadows across a mountain face. "But only lesserly." Still, being able to drink a wine from your home without fear that is has been poisoned is something. Just not enough in his eyes. Dickon is given a rather more patient look, with a dry humor born of familiarity. "It seems to be a theme in this family." Getting detained. Dry, dry, dry. "Do not let him badger you into answering all his questions if you are too tired," he informs Yael, protective despite wanting to hear answers himself.

"It seems to be a theme of the whole of the family," Yael muses lowly, mouth tinted red with another sip of wine. All of them kept in places other than their liking. She ignores her husband's dark expression, or at least affects to do so as she offers Dickon a crooked smile. Another drink of wine, with a gesture at the servant to refill all their cups, delays her response. Arnau's protectiveness earns him a smile and a brush of her hand against his knee. "No, I do not mind to say. Dickon, I have been kidnapped, tormented, taken into protection, and left in fear for months… so in this moment I am better than I have been in the longest of times," she answers, just a touch breathy with relief. "They found me once I had already made my escape. They treated me kindly for the most, although had I but known that my people were right next door…" Heat flares in her voice, dark eyes flitting from one man to the other in irritation before she breaths out a sigh. "I should not have stayed so long. Certainly Ser Aevander, the other man you met, would have done away with me so soon as it was conveinent. Ser Daevon's well-meaning intents apparently were so deigned to leave us all in the dark."

"By whom?" Dickon is straightening upright again, wine briefly forgotten, "Any who have held you against your will — these Targaryens, whatever other Reach dogs — my brother and I will see that they pay dearly for their crimes against you, good sister Yael." So dearly. As soon as possible, too. Just point him in the right direction and watch him go.

"Father would be so proud," comes Arnau's dry drawl once more, knowing full well that that Great Lord Blackmont is anything but proud at the moment. Not that he himself is particularly impressed with out certain events have transpired. The weight of Yael's words settle heavily on him like a thick gloom, his expression getting all the more stony with every explanation. The knuckles on a hand turn white as he curls it into a fist, the other that holds his wine he manages to not break—though he cannot bring himself to drink it either, just at the moment. "Well-meaning though he may be," and he's not yet convinced of that, "he has kept many in the dark and you to himself and his kin. It is so in the Reach. Liars abound and their good intentions mean little without trust." And he is not (surprise, surprise) feeling very trusting at the moment. "I would love nothing more than to put all those guilty to the sword."

"Yet, he laid not a hand upon me," says Yael, the words do not seem like censure such as they are spoken. They are fact. "In fact, except to steal and toy few hands were set upon me. But, by all, dear Brother. I would have made my way through the red spokes of our mountains if I'd had a chance of it. The Targaryens, or at least their man, found me just within sight of them." Her words begin heatedly and cool as they slip away, shoulders sinking as she edges back into her seat. There is regret there. She would have made it home. "Indeed. Intentions or even words mean little without it."

"We cannot just let them get away with it!" Dickon's outburst is perhaps more general than specifically timely, but he's prone to bubbling over like this, as easily touched off as a powder keg. "They slander our House, slay our friends, kidnap our— your lady? I see no good intentions! And I would care nothing for them if I did!" he adds, still more emphatically, with a sweeping thrust of a fist through the air. "These curs, these vile curs, they mistreat us and malign our good names and it cannot be borne!"

Arnau is perhaps a little mollified for a moment as Yael speaks of hands laid upon her, or more precisely, the lack of them. It is brief, though, knowing she has not been entirely untouched. Not that he expected that. In truth, she makes it sound much less worse than he expected. But if he means to ask her more about it, he does not do so now. "How convenient for them, to have found you just before you were beyond their reach." It is the cooling of her heated words that prompt him to gently lay his fingers atop her arm in a show of sympathy and support. "Though I suppose there is the chance that even there you would not be safe." It has been a very stressful couple of months. He has not made a lot of friends during them. "We are not letting anyone get away with it," he finally snaps, at his brother, words short and bitten off harshly in a brief show of temper. A sigh of frustration is huffed through his teeth. "Try not to kill anyone before we are sure of what they have done."

"Exeptionally convenient. I had no choice to trust, or at least seem to, their care…I could not ride from a man with a fresher horse," Yael says, words soft with husk. She leans back against the press of Arnau's hand, lifting hers to hold it against her skin as she takes a drink of wine. A little of her fire licks at her eyes with Dickon's outburst, a foundation of vengence burning there. "No. We should not, for they have done all of those things. Just which them? I do not know it to be Ser Daevon at the least from what time I have spent in his company. He's not the voice nor the heart nor the size to be my captor." In contrast to the men, her voice cools sharply. "I should like to see them bleed."

"Well then what are we going to do?" is Dickon's demand of his brother, "I can't just sit here and do nothing! You've had plenty of time to think, surely you must have schemed something up?"

"You did what you had to." She would have likely been safer on the other side of the mountains, but Yael is here now, an that is better than many alternatives. Arnau draws his fingers slightly along her skin as she leans into his touch, taking a breath to try and regain his calm. It's only successful for a moment. "I did what I could when I had a direction! And it helped nothing. Yes, brother. I have had plenty of time to think. Plenty of time to think about how little I know. How I have been blamed, stolen from, lied to until the truth seems like it will never be in my grasp. How much has been lost and how I have been able to do nothing about it. How we are seen as villains here so that no one believes us when we say we are not responsible. How easy it would be to just fight all out problems away, but we are outnumbered and anything we have suffered is seen as deserved. So no, I have not schemed up anything in my one night of freedom."

A breath of calm, but no more. While Arnau's temper flares, Yael continues to hold his hand, taking a fortifying draught of wine to steady herself. "We need information. We need to know what they do, I've only heard bits and some of which was to blame it all upon me as a masterful scheme," she scoffs bitterly. Her thumb gently strokes the back of her huband's hand, eying Dickon warningly through her lashes. "Use the Targaryen's, but another day. It is late. I know not what befell either of you this day."

Dickon makes an angry gesture at his brother's scheme-less agreement and Yael's desire for information. His grumbling isn't even really words but it's clear the idea of hunting out more info and staying his hand in the meanwhile does not thrill him. He finds his cup empty and uses it to gesture with. "It is late," he agrees, "And I have journeyed far. If I am not to fight this Maiden's Knight Targaryen then I will retire. Good evening."

Look, you just have to not kill anyone for a little bit Dickon, is that really that hard? Not like anyone is expecting you to not get in fights. Arnau certainly isn't, not having tried to forbade fighting or duels, just adding any more death laid at their doorstep. He has rather abruptly lost his patience, however, frowning over at his brother, jaw set stubbornly. "I am sure you will find a reason to fight him another day." For reasons real or imaginary. A deep breath is taken, which is lets out slowly, forcing himself to lean back in his seat again. "It is late. We should all retire and begin again on a new day."

"Good evening, Little Brother," Yael offers with a fond smile for his boisterousness. "No doubt you shall, he's all but promised to you." Even if the Maiden's Knight might have promised the original fight to Arnau, she'll take a little pleasure in the bought. Swirling her cup of wine before drinking the last of it, she turns at the waist to regard her husband with a cant of her head. "Should we go to your room?"

The wine cup that had been so abused in his hand and the wine that had been so neglected finally get to serve their intended purposes after Arnau watches his brother exit the room. The remaining wine gets drunk down in a sudden and not terribly gentlemanly way, which makes it the second time a son of House Blackmont has behaved so this evening. With a little wine and the absence of more argument, some of the weight falls more heavily upon his shoulders, snuffing out the fire that had suddenly blossomed within him. "Please." Before someone else shows up to ask questions. He sets the cup aside for a servant to pick up after and pushes himself to his feet, the weariness finally beginning to show in his figure, nearly absent as he is of audience. He offers Yael his hand to rise and that, at least, is still steady.

"Like oil and water at times," Yael muses quietly of the brothers, within easy hearing of one of them. Her words and ruefully amused tone are familiar, if all too long unheard. Dark lashes shadow her cheeks as he rises, broad shoulders strong and weariness heavy, and she takes his hand. No more questions, at least for the moment. She rises, palm warm in his, and silk whispering to fall in deep red drapes.

Arnau snorts softly at her comment, though Yael is close enough to hear it. Oil and water, indeed. Yet it brings something of that smile back to his eyes, familiar as it is. Questions will be tabled for another time, when people are more rested. Where he might have let her hand go upon her rise before, now he tucks her arm in his, elbows crooked as much as they can be in one another. "I am unused to seeing you dressed like so," he murmurs, quiet in a way that might be read as uncertainty. "But then, it has been so long, perhaps I have forgotten." He guides them away from the seats and up the stairs, to the room he has been given. A room that has largely served as storage, for the little time he has spent in it. Even today, he has barely had time to himself.

The light it brings back to his eyes is enough to draw something of the same to her lips. Familiar, but not unwelcome. His delicate turck of her arm in his, elbows hooked just below, is unfamiliar but no less welcome for it. "It is not mine. This dress was a gift from the Princess Elionys," Yael admits, smoothing a hand down the shimmering fabric and over the curve of her hip. "It is unlike mine, but suits well enough." The material is thicker, the cuts different, less sheer, more fitted to the curve of her body. "What do you think? Is this a style I should keep?" Her voice remains smooth, words light as a hint of playful husk touches them.

"Mhmm." A low noise of understanding follows her admission, though he seems unsurprised by it. What Arnau does seem surprised by — marked by the dart of his eyes towards Yael, brows raised a touch — is that she asks his opinion of the style and if it is one she should keep. In fact, her husband appears quite tongue-tied for a spell, nearly missing a step and then behaving as if nothing happened. When he puts his thoughts together he smiles, the corners of his eyes crinkling, their green softened. "I am just glad to see you, my wife, no matter what you wear." He dodges the questions, but he does so with an especially heart-felt sentiment — usually so, even.

It is rare enough she asks his opinion, rarer still that she asks his preference in what she chooses to wear. In this small thing, Yael looks to please him. Gently, she says, "You would make me think you have no opinion, husband. I am gladder to see you, I think."

Arnau sighs, but he recognizes what a rare moment this is, so he stops in the hallway lined with doors to rooms and suites a bit before reaching his own. There, he unhooks their elbows and takes a step away from her, though he does not let go of her hand, and turns to face her, rather than standing by her side. He makes a point of looking at her, really looking beyond the quietly star-struck glances of before. "Whether I agree with that assessment or not, I will concede you this point, and not argue it." Which is something of a gift in and of itself. It's visible, it not plainly so, the gears of his mind turning, the flex of his jaw in thought. One might almost think he is gearing up to say something uncomplimentary. "You are as welcome and beautiful a sight as the red of the sunrise over the mountain's peak after a cold and cloudy night. That is what I think. Keep the dress."

Under his scrutiny, hand still locked with his, Yael lifts her chin and dark eyes as if an improved angle with account for more under his measure. In some ways, she is every bit the woman she was. In others, the months have worn her thinner with cheeks that are more gaunt and eyes that are bleaker in their darkness. Much as she holds his gaze, they dance and dart at sounds behind closed doors with readiness. The red dress flatters every curve, but it does not compare to smile that touches her lips. Stepping closer, Yael lifts her hand to cup his cheek. Following the gesture with a tender kiss to his mouth, she whispers, "Very well. I do believe I missed you."

The bleaker look to her eyes that months of fear have brought stand out to him more than the thinness found in face and body, as long as it has been since he has seen her, weeks before her disappearance, even. It is the look in her eyes that weighs on him, unseen before and familiar to someone who has witnessed horrors himself, if different ones. This look she should never have had in the first place. But that she is here at all, that she is unbroken, fills him with a warmth that is somewhat surprising. Almost as surprising that he smile makes him feel lighter, like a little of the weight has been lifted from his shoulders. Arnau's brow furrows as if confused, though his eyes do not stray from Yael. A slow blink meets her cup of his cheek, his kiss just as tender, more than either of them might have expected, lips shivering just a little at her touch. Gently, he draws the backs of his fingers and the pad of his thumb along her cheek. "I am glad I was missed," he whispers in return, voice sounding just a little unsteady.

Unbroken. Unbowed. The experience has marked her with dark eyes and gaunt cheeks, but she stands. Whispers leave their words against his mouth, fingers brushing Arnau's cheek with a light touch. "You were," Yael confirms, words a rough husk of sound as she pulls away with a slight smile. "We should rest."

"Yael." Her name falls from his lips like a heavy weight, like a secret, unspoken for too long, seeming to echo in the wake of it being said. His voice sounds rougher than it usually does for a moment. Arnau closes his eyes and takes a deep breath before opening them again, clear green and fixed on her. "Yes," he agrees with a gentle smile that touches lips as well as eyes. Hand still in hers, he guides her the rest of the way to his room and opens the door for her so they can both finally get some rest.

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