(121-05-06) The Ashen Prince
The Ashen Prince
Summary: Maelys Targaryen gets some visitors at his sickbed.
Date: May 6, 2014
Related: The Blackrood and the Prince of Ashes

Healer's Hall — The Citadel

The Healer's Hall of the Citadel is a long building with a high arched roof. It is only a single story, perhaps to spare the necessity of carrying injured or ill people up and down stairs. The corridors are very wide, and floors are made of broad smooth flagstones, polished by generations of feet. The plastered walls are lime-washed to a dull, clean white. There is very little decoration. Even the golden-oak doorframes are simple, and their color is faded with frequent scrubbings.

The long hall is lined with many doors. They're unevenly spaced — some lead to large hospital wards with many beds, some to smaller and more private sickrooms, and some to laboratories, workrooms, and libraries of various sizes.


An accolyte with three links carries away a heavy pan filled with soiled dressings. Maelys lies in a canopied bed in a large sickroom reserved for personages of noble birth. Two decantars of wine and water sit atop his bedstand with tiny via of mily of the poppy. The Prince's chest and left hand are covered in dressings, so too the back of his head and his left eye. He is attended by two servants, the Dothraki screamer with a chest even more scarred than Maelys's and his bravo-turned-squire. The former stands beside the door while the other sits at his bedside with a sheaf of papers in hand. "Your son writes that he has taken a contract with Volantis, my Prince." This earns a snear from Maelys, but he is in too much pain to deliver more than that.

This small gathering around the Prince of Ashes gains one more. Another prince of Westeros, younger and with no grand or fearsome title to drape about his own shoulders, one of Maelys's nephews steps into view beside the young bravo. "Uncle," Aevander greets with a faint smile and a dip of his head, when the conversation lulls. "This is beginning to become a habit with you. How do you fare?"

Maelys directs a grim smile toward Prince Aevander, his head dips into a nod, then he winces a bit. "Nephew, yes, two more duels and I shall be a very fine Cyvasse player, and perhaps as scarred as my screamer." Maelys's good eye darts toward the Dothraki's chest. "I am well enough. This morning, when I broke my fast, a young accolyte said that when they set my bones, I drank enough milk of the poppy to kill two grown men. Ser Quillian is perhaps the most puissant sword I have ever tried. Have you any news from the city, nephew?"

"It was an impressive battle," Aevander agrees, "though I confess I found that the might and skill displayed far outstripped the reason it was being put to use." He glances over, considering the ravaged chest of Maelys's screamer. "There is a tale there, I am sure," he muses before returns his attention to his uncle. "News of the duel spreads, though that can come as little surprise. You are spoken of fearsomely and in manners I am sure will please you. Ryzael… less so, though I believe he brought that on, himself."

"I confess, I thought the lad was lucky. The Swords of Morning is typically the finest swordsman in a line known for producing peerless swordsman." Maelys glances to his bandaged left hand. "I was wrong. After he gave me this, I realized how badly I'd misjudged Oakheart." Maelys is quiet, regarding his nephew with his good eye. "If Ryzael weren't a Prince, or if one line were struck from the missive you might well call it a young Lord's quarrel, but, one does not threaten to geld a Prince, nephew. I'll grant you, it's all a bit more than I had thought. Ryzael did raise his hand to Johanna, and whatever you might say on the matter, Quillian, as an annointed knight, was well within his rights to seek redress and after the way he beat me bloody, he deserves dragons' esteem. Ryzael? Well, I will counsel him to try honey rather than steel."

Aevander smiles faintly and gives a small shake of his head. "Uncle," he chides, the title low and nearly fond, "You cannot believe the letter sent to me was a serious threat on my cousin's wellbeing? If a man was fool enough to determine to geld a prince of Westeros, I should hope he had the wit about him not to write to his family of his intent to do so, first. The letter was a crudely worded expression of intent to challenge, and if the world 'challenge' was never uttered in it, that was still all I ever believed it to be. Indeed, after speaking to my family's own servants and guards who witnessed the events that led to Ser Quillian's arrest, I can tell you with certainty that the man came to the manse in person only to challenge Ryzael. He apologized for the crudeness of his letter and issued a formal and honest challenge on the spot. After which, Ryzael arrested him for doing so." He presses his lips together and gives a small shake of his head. "Honey, and a bit of temperance, would indeed serve Wisdom Ryzael far better than the inflated pomp and entitlement he currently wears."

Aevander is quiet another few beats before he adds, more gently, "Visenya was greatly distressed to see you fall in battle again. She feared for your life and was by your side as soon as the duel was concluded. My sister holds your ring and she asks that your recovery be overseen by the maesters here, this time, rather than by the Wisdom's potives. What say you to this plea?"

The Prince of Ashes is quiet while Prince Aevander speaks. His brows knit twice though, as if in though, or perchance when he shifts and is gripped by another flash of pain. "I doubt it was a serious threat, but it also has some of the attributes of Corey Tyrells blustering. Though, I think I think I could rather like Ser Quillian." Perhaps puissance at arms and courage are strange reason to like a man, but it seems enough for Maelys. "I could care less if he threatened to geld me, men in Essos have threatened much worse, nephew, but Ryzael is a Prince. I cannot abide such a threat, against Ryzael, you, or any of my family." Maelys is quiet for a moment he wets his dry lips and continues "Given the circumstances of Ser Quillian's quarrel with Prince Ryzael, I may well have tendered a similar threat, but that does not abjure me of the obligation to address said threat."

At the next, Maelys's brows knit, again. "Truly? He arrested Quillian because he tendered a challenge. I had thought, it was over the threat? I thought it odd that." Again, Maelys's brows knit. "Perchance I misread one of Ryzael's letters, but I thought he took Quillian in hand due to the threat, rather than the challenge. A challenge is no cause for arrest, certainly a threat of the nature Quillian tendered is, but not a challenge."

Maelys is silent for a moment. "I will, for the love I bear my sweet niece, though, I would see Ryzael while I am recovering. I value his counsel and perhaps we might turn our foes into allies. The Oakhearts aren't the true threat to the stability of the Reach."

Aevander listens quietly. "I believe, in Ryzael's mind, the challenge was an extension of the threat. He demanded that Ser Quillian apologize for his statements in the letter and also vow never to issue such a challenge. The ser conceded to the former, but, as you well know, not to the latter. But that was a request Ryzael had no right to issue and no right to act on in such a manner. I freely admit the reason Ser Quillian was released from the Hightower was because I spoke for him. After learning the true facts of the matter, for the honor and dignity of our own house if nothing else, I felt I could do no less."

He offers a smile and another small nod for Maelys's agreement to Visenya's requests. "She will be relieved and uplifted to hear it, uncle. Thank you. I believe the Oakhearts are not yet our foes, though they may bear no love for Wisdom Ryzael. But I intend to visit Ser Quillian during his recovery and smooth any bridges that have been shaken. He is an eccentric knight, I grant you, but a skilled warrior and, from everything I have seen of him, honorable. I do not think his fealty to the king and our family will be shaken, even by all of this." Aevander pauses to draw breath and consider his next words before he speaks them. "Value Ryzael's counsel, if you see worth in it, but measure it carefully as well. Our cousin sees the world in his own way, and his interpretation of events is not always the truth. It is my hope that you may counsel him to temperance, as I doubt there is any among us here whose opinion he holds so high as yours. Anything I say to him is dismissed as deceit, but your words hold weight, uncle."

Once more, Maelys listens, rather intently. Again, the furrowed brows and a few winces of pain present express of his thoughts. "It sounds as though the lad, meaning young Oakheart, insulted a prince, then tried to make matters right. "Extension or no, the lad, Ser Qullian, was within his rights to demand satisfaction, if he believed my my learned nephew's conduct demanded to be answered with steel." At the next Maelys is quiet. "I see. You did what you thought was best in the interest of our house and that is admirable. I disagree with your appraisal of the insult. An insult of that nature, directed at a Prince, requires some form of punishment, but, after Quillian's display of valor and skill, I think we ought to put an end to the matter."

"This matter over an arrest after a challenge, though. Challenges are a component of knighthood." At the last Maelys actually chuckles, then laughs aloud, then, finally winces in pain. "Uh, a bit of the dreamwine, good squire." The Bravosi pours and the Prince drinks. "You'll pardon me, nephew, but, ah, yes. I should like to have Ser Quillian round to for wine and meat, but no one has ever accused me of being temperate. Many have named me many things, but never that."

"I agree," Aevander says of the matter of Quillian and the insult cum duel challenge. "You have met him on a field of battle, before the eyes of gods and men. There can be no greater settling than that." A corner of his mouth lifts in a smile for Maelys's final words, though he waits until his 'dreamwine' is administered before the younger prince speaks on. "No, uncle, 'temperate' is not a word I would use to describe you. But for all you have done and seen, I believe you have an understanding of the world and the men within it. There is pride, but then there is arrogance and hubris. The first has a place in every Targaryen heart, but the latter two only make miserable fools of us. I believe you are a bold man, uncle, an impulsive, impetuous man. A hedonistic man. But I also believe you understand this truth, and I hope you will help Ryzael to understand it as well."

Visenya appears in the doorframe of the little room where they've placed Maelys. She looks over her brother and uncle before saying, "Aevander. I'm surprised to see you here." She steps into the room, walking past her brother to sit down on the edge of Maelys' bedside. "How are you feeling?" She inquires as she looks down at the injured man with half-lidded eyes, "It's as if we spend more time in this damned Citadel then we do anywhere else."

The Prince drains his goblet and sets it beside the decantars of, water and wine. "I find the Gods' sense of justice fickle and capricious, but Oakheart's valor is beyond refute." He is quiet for a time, considering Aevander's words. "I have seen a great many things and taken the measure of a great many men, nephew. Prince Ryzael, he is cunning, clever, and learned; he can also be as bold and brash as I was at seven-and-twenty." He doesn't say anything more on the subject, the implications of the last statement are, well, rather weighty.

Maelys turns his head, his unbruised eye locks upon fair Visenya. "Sweet niece." The Prince places a heavy, dark calloused hand over Visenya's delicate pale hand. "You look positively spent. Ah, yes, I have spent far too much time in the Citadel, but, astonishingly, the Archmaester says my wounds aren't so grave as the wounds I took from the Thorn and Ser Abram, I should return to Purple Sill Manse within a week." Maelys looks to Visenya's throat to the chain round her neck. "Maester Luckin and his fellows have assured me as much. They have been quite dilligent and after we should sail down the Honeywine."

Aevander offers Visenya a soft smile as she arrives. "Hello, Visenya. Well, the duel was fought admirably on both sides. I suppose I was… rather impressed by both men. And, whatever else the Prince of Ashes has done, he is our uncle and he is wounded a second time in as many months. I would have felt remiss if I had not visited." Looking back to Maelys, that parting comment about Ryzael makes him frown a little over those implications. How many Princes of Ash does any man want in his family, after all? Still, he pushes the worry away for the moment to smile for Maelys's prognosis. "That is fine news, then, uncle. Very fine."

Visenya turns her hand over so her palm touches' Maelys, and says teasingly, "Nonsense. I look ravishing." There's a pause, and she gives him a look-over before flicking her eyes up to meet his, "At least you look better than last time." That said, she leans forward to kiss his cheek. At the mention of Ryzael her smile fades, "Ryzael is not like you. He hides behind others, and lets them take the fall for him. I told him to apologize to that Oakheart woman before you bled to death, and he snarled at me about how I was not one to give him orders. His pride was more important than your life or your well-being. I don't like him."

"Yes, Aevander, the Maesters are quite skilled, so too Prince …" He turns to Visenya and leans close to his niece to return the kiss. It is very chaste, tendered to her cheek, though he lingers close to her and something passes from him, to her. "As lovely as your namesake." A look but no more. He settles against his bedrail and winces a bit. "Ryzaels talents like elsewhere, dear niece and he is young, still. Seven know I have had more than a few rowes with lordlings and ladies, during my time at King's Landing and Driftmark. I will counsel Ryzael to treat with the Oakhearts sweetly, Blackrod is a worthy ally." Maelys lifts his goblet and lowers it. He looks to his squire. "Just a drop more dreamwine." Turning to his niece and nephew he speaks "The Oakhearts are a small house who, evidently, produce fine swordsmen."

This is becoming a familiar process, making her way through the city and into the citadel with the intent of visiting her uncle. Elionys moves past whatever security might be in place, and after a brief knock, slips into the sickroom. A faint smile graces her features as she looks around to the others present.

Aevander and Visenya sit at Maelys's bedside in the company of the fallen prince's braavosi squire and his large, scarred screamer who linger quietly. Aevander is quiet, too, as he observes that kiss and that something that passes between Maelys and Visenya. Whatever he may think of such a moment between his sister and an exile, he says nothing. The quiet is brightened, anyhow, with the arrival of Elionys, and Aevander stands to greet her. "Cousin," he says with a smile that's more pleased than relieved. "Hello, we seem to be making quite a crowd of ourselves."

Maelys turns to Elionys as his niece slips into chamber. "Hello, dear niece, yes quite the crowd. I wanted to ask if you ah…" Then, quite abruptly, the Prince slumps against his bed. His squire smiles and approches the edge of the bed and takes the cup from his master's hand. "Ah, pardon, Princes, Princesses, but we have been giving him milk of the poppy with every goblet since mid day, in the hopes that he would sleep. The Maester said pain is a gift from the gods, but sleep is sometimes more salubrious." A bow to Aevander, Visenya, and Elionys, and the bravo draws the drapes over Maely's bed.

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