(121-05-14) In Good Company
In Good Company
Summary: The Acacia and Leopard Hall hosts a handful of Dornishfolk (and their guests) for an evening of leisure.
Date: 14 May 2014)
Related: An Accordance of Blood

Acacia and Leopard Hall
While the price is modest, membership at this hall is restricted to the Dornish, and entry is restricted to members and their guests. Unaccompanied non-Dornish visitors are quick to be shown the door. One can get a meal here at any time — Dornish cuisine rich with spices and dragon-peppers. Likewise, there's wine, a bedchamber for the night, and… other services. All of these things cost extra beyond the membership dues, and are no cheaper than other Oldtown inns. Members are presented with a monthly bill.

While the furnishings are not expensive, the place still manages to be quite luxurious, and considerably nicer than it appears from the outside.

This largest room serves as a tavern of sorts. Long low slung couches are set in little groups around small low acacia-wood tables. There are also big floor pillows about, and a few chairs. Everything is done in silks of yellow, orange, cream and the searing white-blue of a desert sky. The floors are covered in plush carpets, sheep skins, and leopard skins. On the walls are painted large murals of the Rhoyne, and its ancient river people.

There's a staircase in the back, and two doors, one leading to the kitchen and the second to a more private lounge.

The exclusive Acacia and Leopard Hall is a favorite retreat for the Dornish contingent in Oldtown, a place for them to dabble in xenophobia and debauchery at the same time. There are a few patrons enjoying food and drink and company in the main hall of the establishment, a swarthy-skinned lot whose cups are never empty long. Alaeyna is lounging upon one of the low couches, dressed in Dornish silks that are scandalously revealing by Westerosi standards, dangling a goblet of strongwine in hand. The cup is a personalized perk of membership, engraved with the hawk sigil of her house on its body and silver bands on the stem to mark her prestigious title.

You don't have to be a full member to enjoy the benefits of the little society for the Dornish in Oldtown. Or maybe you do, and that membership just never expires, because a certain Dornishman who truthfully has not set in Dorne for over a decade just came calling. He has taken his good sweet time in doing so.

Parizad Uller has indeed come to this place, without his Essosi follower or any other sundry companion. It's just him, and one would never know little gold he had to throw around when one takes a look at the loose-fitting, v-necked, purple tunic he wears. A simple black cloak bearing little abstract whorls of green embroidery is thrown about his shoulders, and he even makes the gesture of checking his weapons at the door. His hair is oiled back which only serves to emphasize the hawklike lines of his features more as he studies the entrance with an appreciative click of his tongue.

There are two girls playing at fighting with spears for the entertainment of the patrons of the hall, wearing little more than tatters that leave their merchandise on display, enticing the Dornish clientele to contract either or both of them for more private entertainment upstairs. One of the girls is making a daring lunge at the other when Parizad enters, and her gusto is met with an appreciative whistle from the Lady Fowler, whose cry of encouragement is not the only one that rings out as the whores spar. On a low table before the chaise lounge is a platter of finger foods, and Alaeyna plucks an olive from a bowl and savors it while she watches the match.

A small thing of a smile, it curls tightly upon the lips of the exiled Uller Lord. While there's a curiously muted reaction to display of pretend (of a sort) blood and real flesh, there is clearly nothing shocking going on to him here. And why would it? The rhythmic sounds his bootsteps make against the floor of the place are lost in the din of the merrymakers, and he makes a slow, measured walk further inside. Along the way, he spies his own unclaimed tray of refreshments, which has either not been doled out yet or its claimant is conspicuously absent. In either case, a couple slices of blood orange are snatched away and he methodically begins chewing, looking about and charting a course straight for the Fury of Skyreach.

Orange slices consumed, paces are walked, and the man closes the distance to Lady Fowler. "I see you have all the comforts of home here, Lady Alaeyna. Well, almost all." His tight smile widens just a tad.

Alaeyna is slaking her thirst on some punchy Dornish strongwine when she spots Parizad, lifting a bracleted and banded arm to bid him join her, though he evidently had the same designs. With a lazy, pleased smile, she greets him in kind when he reaches her, unabashedly responding, "But for a stallion between my legs, I want for little else. Join me, and let us take in this delightfully ridiculous spectacle together." Her gaze slides over to the girls battering each other ineffectually with their play spears, having moved not an inch from her wanton repose for her guest's sake. "If only those spears had real blades, nay?" Dark eyes sparkling, she admires the Uller exile and his smart attire, indicating her tray of Dornish delicacies and the decanter of wine and telling him, "Take what you like."

"Hmmmph. If only." Comes a muted reply from Parizad. There's a twinge of mirth to the response though as he takes a long, slow look at the girls. "And that would be such a tragic waste of such pretty specimens, no?" The slight lilt of Myr again touches his speech, although it takes a moment of listening to truly detect. His smile remains firmly affixed as he looks back at Alaeyna, with a simple nod. "I see the Wardens of Prince's Pass have much to teach these Westerosi of hospitality." And with that, he deftly reaches for a cup and begins to pour. "Thank you. So this is how to pass the time in Oldtown, hmmmm?"

One of the girls manages to land a blow on the other, to great applause all around. The crowd are raucous, but the atmosphere is reminiscent of home, and Alaeyna seems to be kept in good humor for it. She holds out her goblet for a well-timed top up when Parizad helps himself to the wine, answering him to say, "Here, I find myself forgetting, for a few hours, at least, my disdain for this city and its people." Stirring from her recline, she leans over to the table to retrieve a wedge of hard cheese, which she consumes while looking between the whores and her companion. "Hospitality is a word few of them seem to know. But then again, if we were to make a list of concepts beyond their ken, we'd want all the ink in Oldtown to blot it all down." And then, apropos of nothing, "I'm pleased to see you again."

"Every city has its charms, I am sure, but this is a far cry beyond the attractions outside this place's walls." The once-resident of the Hellholt observes. "These Reachmen seem to love wallowing in their own filth and then trying to cover it up with perfume, I am beginning to discover. There are some places of refuge, though." Strongwine poured, Parizad hesitates to drink yet as he himself reaches for a small bunch of grapes and pops one in his mouth. The others are claimed for later.

"I am surprised to confess two things. One, that I am treating with one of my people here at all and, two, that I am quite pleased as well." He holds the vessel up in a sort of toast, although it's not specifically called out. "Then again, I never expected to find the great Lady of Skyreach in this place so perhaps my expectations were entirely — hmm, in error?" His smile bears a flash of teeth. "I will never understand why Maelys chose to come here. I shall ask him soon, I hope."

And oh yes, he tops off Alaeyna's wine. It would be a bad idea /not/ to do so.

All that Alaeyna has to add on the matter of the Reachmen and their unsavory habits is a derisive scoff, though if her expression is any indication, she finds his quip amusing, even in her scorn. Her goblet refilled, she holds it aloft, tilting her head in reciprocation of his unspoken toast. She adds words to it, just for flavor. "May our enemies die screaming." And at that she drinks, her throat working for the deep, steady draught she takes from the ornate vessel marked with the Fowler hawk. That Parizad couples 'great' with 'Lady of Skyreach' wins him a fleeting smile, but it's the remark that follows that moves her to ask, "The Prince of Ashes?"

Truth be told, the mockery of the yokels here was more for jest and to pass the time on Parizd's part, but he smirks some at Alaeyna's expression. "May they die screaming." The toast is completed and he sips generously. "That — is something I have not tasted in a long time." He savors it momentarily but then feels the need to add a little correction. "They needn't die screaming. Simply dying is enough for me. But I am a weary man who's probably gotten his fill of such things. The Lord is not unduly cruel." The predatory wine-stained smile that emerges afterwards though indicates that such traits may not extend to him.

Sliding his thumb over the side of his vessel, he peers back over its edge at the Lady's question and provides a simple response. "The very same. Although when I knew him he was Captain-General Maelys — I was a captain in the Second Sons myself in those days, mind you. We had — an understanding. Men who understood the burden of Exile, but could not shed a sense of purpose."

"And how do you find the taste? A homecoming upon your tongue?" Alaeyna chases the words with another drink, evidently something of a lush. Having had enough of the savory, she opts next for the sweet, peeling off a wedge from a fat blood orange on her platter, sinking her teeth into it with not a care for the juice that bursts forth and spills down her chin. She swipes it away with her thumb, which she then gives brief suck to, replying brazenly, "I am still young and full of fire, and I would hear them scream." The grin she offers to match Parizad's is feral in its own right, as provocative as everything else she does and says. It's with interest that she drinks in the details offered about his time spent in exile, oblivious to the fact that one of the whore's tattered dresses has been destroyed in their melee, rendering her newly naked to the cheers of patrons all around. "Fascinating. How long ago is it, now, that you left Dorne?"

"A surprising, well, lack of bitterness that I would have otherwise expected in a lesser house." Parizad's gaze gently lolls to the mock combat. Or maybe the disrobed combatant with an appreciative nod. It's just lascivious enough, but it's clear that his years abroad have probably made him a little less vocally enthusiastic about this sort of thing when compared with other Dornish. "Her — form could have used some work, but she moves well. I suppose were I to lead an army of whores, I would happily accept her into my service." A clear, sharp laugh is exuded as he breaks the topic just to make this observation.

"Maybe bloody victory is a thing for the young and hale." comes a dry response as he joins her in feasting, working on some of those remaining grapes, speaking after one is ripped apart and swallowing. "Eleven years." He says, pensively. "Enough time for my little cousins to be close to coming of age. Enough time for my dear Uncle Tirdad to grow fat and complacent in a seat that should not be his."

The very idea of such an army wins a laugh from Alaeyna, whose gaze has followed Parizad's to the duelers just in time to see the naked one give a well-intentioned battle cry and lunge at her opponent, managing to wrestle her to the ground and claim her victory in the same stroke. "Would your army not have room enough for them both?" she asks, her tone flirtatious. She has reached for another section of the orange, and chews it contemplatively while she gives Parizad's next words due consideration, but ultimately protesting, "You speak as though you'd lived three lifetimes, and yet I see before me a man yet young and hale and fierce besides." And of his uncle, she asks bluntly, "Will you contest him?"

"I do not know. I have not really seen the other one's form yet." Parizad's lilting, foreign-touched accent chuckles mischeviously as he unmistakably makes a sort of joke, after all. And then he hides his face in his flagon for a few seconds more as he drinks. Or considers. Or…both. Finally taking it away, the Dornishman who is clad in the purple, robed tunic wipes a bit of excess wine from his lips with the back of his hand. "Not three lifetimes. Just too many lands. All the troubles of this silly little place seem to melt away once you've seen Braavos. Myr. Volantis." He names them off slowly and with emphasis.

The question of his uncle banishes his smile a bit. "Challenge? Not openly and not just yet. He still has too much power there and even if I were to do so, I am not the heir. My cousin is. I need to be certain we do not replace one cretinous pretender with another, no? Besides, this is a game that is not played quickly if one hopes to win. It is a strange thing — First, Ciro Martell interferes where he does not belong, and then there is no Ciro Martell. Second, and just recently, I had made my last trip to Myr to pray for guidance. And less than two months later I had word brought to me that the corrupt little pretend Septon who declared my actions in violation of the will of the Seven just — died. Fell. It was swift, and sudden that his health failed him. So I knew I was given a sign." This little explanation is rattled off to the Fury of Skyreach with a strange, matter-of-fact distance.

"So I am here. I was wondering, and a little surprised? Why are so many of my — countrymen here? What brought you here, Lady Alaeyna?" He tilts his head to give her a pointed, inquisitive glance.

"How provincial we must seem in comparison, who have seen and tasted so little of the world," Alaeyna says in reply to Parizad, where the pair are engaged in conversation at a sitting area composed of a low couch and matching table, feasting on Dornish delicacies and drinking strongwine. For the moment, he is doing most of the talking, but she listens raptly to the words he spins her in his lilted accent, in equal measures familiar and foreign to her to hear it. "I think you will find opinion varies on the matter. Some have forgotten. Others have not. Here and there lines are drawn in the sand. If you like, I shall see you introduced to Ellia Martell. The pair of you should speak, if you have any desire to return to Dorne." And then, when she's asked about her own presence in Oldtown, she says vaguely, "I had an errand to do."

"And yet none of those cities are home." The purple-clad Dornishman retorts to Alaeyna. It's not necessarily an apology for condescension, but it's a way to mitigate offense. He steps a pace to the table and refills his cup before offering to top off Alaeyna's in turn with a swift, wordless gesture.

"That is a valid point though and I mean to speak with the Martells, if only to mollify any fears they may have of my carrying a vendetta. Well, against /them/." He considers that matter settled. "Still, I cannot help but note — there are many voices that say I put a blade through the eye of a surrendered, clearly beloved fighter of House Martell." But beloved by whom? To the Lady's vague response, he considers a bit further and lifts his cup again deciding not to fully press the issue. "And I hope, then, that your errand is a simple and painless one. I would offer my assistance, if you would think my involvement would be a blessing and not a curse."

Appreciative for the free flow of wine that sees her cup filled anew, Alaeyna has a drink, asking, "Not a one of them, even in eleven years?" Her tone is curious rather than salty, the easy manner in which she asks the question making clear he hasn't inflamed the Fury of Skyreach's notoriously hotblooded temper. "It would be unseemly if you did not add your voice among them. Ellia is her mother's daughter. She will make her own assessment." And finally, when offered his assistance, she says, "My business is since concluded, but if the fortnight I've spent in this city is any true indication, I may yet have occasion to enlist you."

"Neither the Second Sons nor the Company of the Black Hand consider a stationary life to be suitable, and truth be told, it is not good for the business of blood. It is the nature of such cities that they do not want to see free companies linger overlong. It tends to get messy. We were destroyers. Nothing more." Parizad had filled his cup with a little less wine than one might have thought, and drinks at it freely. The man adjusts his cloak a little as he looks towards the center of the room before idly peering back at Alaeyna, standing a couple feet from her. He's not much of a sitting man, it would seem. His smile is thin, but by all accounts, genuine.

"I cannot refuse such a meeting then after all. And perhaps some small hope remains that this situation would only be better. As for offering, it is a small repayment both for your kind hospitality and as a token of goodwill from those days so long ago, in the Hellholt. You've grown to be —" he visibly waits while fishing for the word. "impressive."

The door admits two figures. One, a Dornishman and the woman on his arm an Essosi. Despite the posted warnings on the door, Finnuala is accompanied and therefore does not seem to mind being surrounded by Dornish. The politics of this land do not tend to concern her. As her skirts swish and she loops her arm through her companion, the fortune teller glances over those gathered with calculating eyes. Though most do not seem to interest her, she does notice Parizad's flame pin. As they pass by where he and Alaeyna are seated, she murmurs to the exlied Dornishman, "The night is dark…" but she does not linger. Luckily, though, her companion has chosen a seat nearby.

Where Parizad stands, hovering, as they converse, Alaeyna is sprawled lazily upon a couch, the pair of them on the fringe of the hall where they share wine and other refreshments. Nursing her strongwine, Alaeyna nods contemplatively, her companion edifying her on the life of a sellsword, "I see. It's a way of life I had heretofore known little of. I expect you have no shortage of stories from your travels, though I'd wager it's rather fewer you'd relish retelling. Mayhaps you will indulge me an evening, when we want for beauties with blunted blades to amuse us." As for arranging his meeting with Ellia, she waves a ringed hand dimissively, as if he need say no more of it, but she takes wicked delight in his compliment at the last, preening very much like the prize hawk that is her house's sigil before his assessing gaze.

"Some of them burn bright, and some of them fall under a dark, dark shadow. The stories tend to get more ridiculous with the telling, too." Parizad's thick eyebrows knit as his dry smile allows a flash of teeth to the Dornish Lady. Setting down his empty cup, he nods stiffly. "Unfortunately, one of my men needs seeing to. It seems you can quit a Company, but some of them still want to follow you, and I have no doubt that the Feeble Lord will take a dim view to a foreign sellsword with too much wine and a problem he cannot solve without his Captain." It's a foreign gesture, clearly. "Fury." He says, granting her the title with no small amount of good-natured bemusement. "I believe that it was very nice to have seen you again. Thank you for your hospitality and we will do this soon, mm?" With that, he waits a moment to confirm his self-dismissal and wheels on his bootheel, slowly making his way out after getting an eyeful of some of the, err, entertainment.

And then he stops suddenly in his tracks as his brows go up, further accenting the hawklike qualities of his face (much like the sigil on Lady Fowler's cup), narrowing his eyes upon the Dornishman — and Finnuala. Well, specifically her when she speaks. "And full of terrors." Confirming what the woman no doubt suspects. There's a bit of a gleam in his eye. "For there are demons in this world, and we will send them screaming back into the darkness from whence they came." Hmm. Maybe he does like making his enemies scream after all? He doesn't tarry overlong though, and continues to head on out towards the drab, dull city that is Oldtown.

There is wine brought for the Dornishman and for Finnuala. His sigil is of a Yrnwood. Hers is blank. Even if she were a regular here, she has no house with which to engrave a symbol. Curiously, she murmurs into her companions ear and then leans over to glance at Alaeyna once Parizad has left. "I did not think the Dornish ones to follow the Lord of the Light." Her voice is soft, but tends to carry. "Unless he was merely your guest. Forgive my intrusion, but it is always good to find a brother in a foreign city. Do you also follow his way of truth?"

Alaeyna greets the foreigner's Dornish companion, evidently at least passing acquaintances, but then he turns away to speak to another patron and Finnuala unabashedly addresses her, and so her attention shifts to the woman instead, likely taking her to be a lady of the night, but seeming not to judge her for it. "I know no others who do," she answers openly, in one fell swoop confirming him as Dornish and herself as a nonbeliever. "Our friend has failed to see us introduced before forsaking two beautiful women to talk trade with his countrymen. Shall we correct his grievous oversight?"

Not one to care for addresses or manners, Finnuala switches allegiances without a second thought. She does, however, make sure to care for her wine glass as she moves to Alaeyna's table. Whatever the Dornishwoman may think of her is no concern. She is here for whatever her own reasons are and she will fulfill them in one way or another. "So he is a singular man. Interesting." Her eyes glance toward the door Parizad retreated through. Without sparing a glance to the man she has just abandoned, she sips at her glass. As long as she is with someone of Dornish descent she is safe to remain, so she does not worry. "I am Finnuala. A pleasure."

Lady Fowler drinks from a goblet engraved with the hawk that is her house's sigil, but being dubious about her sudden companion's knowledge of Dornish heraldry, she tells her, "I am Alaeyna Fowler. An unexpected one." Her gaze wanders to yonder Yronwood and then back again to Finnuala, whose name she repeats as if trying to make sense of the combinations of sounds that make it up, uncommon in her home lands. Her voice carries a similar lilt to many of the others present when she speaks, casting a different cadence to the name than it's told to her in. "Finnuala. Charming." The name or the woman, but it doesn't much matter, because Alaeyna does not turn her away. "Where do you come from?" she asks idly, leaning over for a snack from the platter of finger foods, offering that Finnuala do the same with a gesture of her hand.

The door opens with a crack of light slicing through those nearby, before admiting a pair of Dornish guards marked with the gleaming arms of House Blackmont. The vulture and the tender babe. Only footsteps behind them follows the Lady Yael Blackmont draped in gauzy black silks cut to a Westerosi sensibility and fitted to a Dornish one. Her golden snake bracelet slithering over her arm in a delicate loop of gold. Dark eyes slide over the room briefly, catching on the pair of women with a flicker of recognition.

Finnuala does not correct Alaeyna as she stumbles through the phrasing of her name. Especially as she comes upon it in the end. "Lovely to meet you Lady Alaeyna." She does not know the sigils of Dorne, but she is a quick learner. "Ah, that is certainly the question. I was born on Asshai, but I come from many other places." She plucks one of the foods up and nibbles on it gingerly. As Yael enters, her eyes drift to the Blackmont woman. Her own companion does not seem to be missing Finnuala's absence just yet and she is happy to be making new acquaintances.

"Go on," prompts Alaeyna, evidently finding her new companion in conversation to be the most interesting thing going in the wake of Parizad's departure and the conclusion of the naked spear fight. Her curiosity makes her hungry, and she reaches for some grapes, in so doing noticing Yael's arrival to the hall and gesturing her over.

The wave of a hand causes Yael's features to brighten subtly with a coy smile, her steps guiding her towards the two women's table with a slinky saunter. Her gaurds are left to follow in her wake as she approaches. "My dear Lady Fowler," she greets with extended hands. "May my interruption not be too unwelcome," she adds, glancing towards Finnuala with an extension of her smile.

At the prompt to move on, Finnuala gives an enigmatic smile. "I am not sure there is much else to say on the matter, m'lady. I traveled over much of Essos on various crews and offering the word of truth and the path to help guide one's feet in the future. Eventually, I came to rest here in Oldtown. I am sure one day I will find myself elsewhere." As Yael approaches, she is not one the one to deny her presence. It is not her table. "I am sure it will not be. We were just discussing origins."

Devouring the sprig of grapes one by one and then leaving the stem aside, Alaeyna listens with interest to Finnuala's tale. "Guiding those who walk in your lord's light?" she asks mildly. When Yael reaches them, she stands to offer the woman a kiss on each cheek, her delight plain in her voice when she says, "Of course it isn't. I'm so happy to see you safely returned to the fold. I hope you and your husband had a sweet reunion. Come, have some wine." Resuming her place on the low couch, Alaeyna makes room for Yael to join her.

The slight edge of Yael's smile blooms to a brilliant crooked thing as Alaeyna stands to meet her. Her kisses are soft and lingering enough to show just how the other woman was missed. "I am very happy to be so returned. My thanks for delivering him for me. We had a reunion that was as sweet as ours was likely to be," she says with a broad smile, before sliding onto the couch to set next to the Lady Fowler. "Oh were we? A fascinating topic."

"His Light is the only true light." Finnuala speaks as a true believer, but she does not push her thoughts any further. "It is with his Light that I am able to discern glimpses of the future to help others find their way." She takes another sip of wine from her unmarked wine goblet and smiles as Yael finds her seat among them. "I am glad you are back where you should be. If this is where you should be. At the very least, I am glad that you are able to join us for a glass of wine. It is a fine night to do so. The Lady Fowler asked me where I was I came from. It is not as an easy question to answer as one might think."

"You needn't thank me for that," Alaeyna tells Yael over a sip of wine. "I would have done it for any of our champions." Remembering herself, she says, "Lady Yael Blackmont, let me present Finnuala, who is a guest of one of Lorenzo's Yronwood cousins this evening. He's made himself scarce just now, a boon that grants us the company of this beautiful creature." Favoring Finnuala with a smile, she asks, "And does he light the path for all, or only for his own?" She's seemingly intrigued by something about the foreigner's words, but cautiously so, treading the line of heresy.

"Of course I must," Yael chides smoothly, pouring a glass for herself once one is so offered. "You did it for my husband." She regards Alaeyna with a fond smile, one which again carries to Finnuala with a flit of her dark-eyed gaze. "A pleasure, Finnuala. It is certainly his loss this night." Taking a sip of the wine, she lifts her brows in idle curiosity as the conversation takes a turn towards beliefs. "What makes it so difficult? Location or choices?"

"A pleasure," Finnuala gives Yael a pleasant smile, raising up her goblet of wine to her at the introduction. "I honestly do not know the man well who invited me here. He thought it prudent for me to read his fortune, but he must have gotten cold feet." With a slight shake of her head, she responds to Alaeyna. "His Word is truth to all, m'lady. His wisdom shines true to all that may seek it. Should you wish to inquire further in to your future, just ask for Finnuala in the market place. They will lead you to the right place." Her eyes sweep over Yael, including her in that offer. "The entirety of it." Her welcoming smile turns into something of a grin. "I come from one and many places. How might I choose a single one?"

"Truly?" Well, that's a scandalous bit of gossip, and Alaeyna searches out the missing Yronwood on the floor of the hall, spotting him and marveling that one of her countrymen might have been dabbling in such things. "How judicious a lord you revere," Alaeyna says to the Essosi. "I hope your companion won't be too irate with us for commandeering your company. I spy him coming our very way. Before he snatches you up, let me say that it was refreshing to speak with you. Mayhaps we will again. I suppose your lord of light knows the answer already." Yael's thanks are met with a gracious smile, and she says, "You're welcome, darling."

"I may yet need to," Yael says of Finnuala's services in considering the future, her gaze dark and sharp with interest. "Oh, dear Alaeyna. You say such like we never sought the same as girls…although we did not run from it being told upon procuring it." Her smile cuts at the corner in recollection, before she grins back at the Essosi woman.

"If he is, I am sure he will forgive me." After all, Finnuala is the one that holds the future in her cards. Glancing over her shoulder, she notices the Yronwood has finished talking with his business partner and gestures for the woman he brought with him to the Dornish Club. "I, then, look forward to seeing you both again." The fortune teller takes another sip of her wine and then slides out of the both in a rustle of skirts and pouches. "It was a pleasure to speak with you both." She bows once she stands to the ladies and then allows her arm to be taken up by the Yronwood, where he leads her to a more secluded back room so that he might see his future in a more secluded setting.

"We did, didn't we? Do you remember the one that said we'd marry a pair of brothers, and then those Vaith twins came to Skyreach for my fifteenth nameday and we thought we'd met our husbands?" Alaeyna's grin is amused, as she and Yael reminisce, fading away as Finnuala takes her leave. "The Seven wouldn't like my saying so, I'm sure, but I shouldn't like to find myself on the wrong side of this Lord of Light either."

"We did," Yael recalls with great pleasure, dark eyes brightening as she recalls the event. "We had thought we might be sisters and waves all at once with that pair. Our children beautiful with their light eyes and dark complexions." Laughing sharply, she takes a sip of wine in the wake of Alaeyna's words. "A serious Lord, he seems. We would suit him ill, I think and better serve our own Gods."

The memory summoned back up, Alaeyna is similarly amused by it, leaning towards Yael while they reminisce, sipping her wine and letting her mind wander to another time and place. She sombers, though when her companion invokes the gods. "Still, I'd be lying to say I wasn't perishing of curiosity to know what Ser Yronwood is learning of his future tonight." And then she changes the subject entirely, taking Yael's hand in hers and saying, "Tell me, what befell you these last months?"

It is a more pleasant memory, even if the outcome was not what they had wished at the time. Swirling her wine in her cup, Yael shifts so that her knees press companionably to the side of Alaeyna's own. "Had I less of an escourt, I might suggest we listen in…" However, her gaze flits towards those numbered guards who stand nearby if just out of hearing. As her hand is taken, she sets aside her glass of wine to regard the Lady Fowler. "It is what the best of the rumors said, but not those the Reachmen favor. I was taken when Wickham's Nest was raized, only to escape…and be collected once again by the Maiden's Knight as he is called." Just facts told in a lyrical manner, her fingers curling around Alaeyna's in recollection. "Arnau fears for my safety." Ergo the guards.

Alaeyna is briefly heartened by the idea of eavesdropping, but the point is well made about their present inability to be inconspicuous, and so she contents herself to settle in with Yael, drawing closer to her for their intimate tete-a-tete. Her dark eyes stay fixed on the Blackmont bride as she speaks, nodding as though her suspicions have been confirmed about the veracity of the rumors swirling around. "Collected?" she repeats, as if she can't quite comprehend the connotation of the word in this particular context.

"Collected," Yael drawls, voice like a brush of hot sweeping sands that prick of deeper emotion. "One does not refuse the invitation by a Targaryen Prince's armed man while running on a spent horse and lost in the woords." Her expression flattens, choicer poisoned words lingering on her tongue. "I took his blade at least, before I joined him."

She nods now, with better comprehension. "Collected." Alaeyna exhales, equal measures relief and disbelief. "Did the Princess Mariya not realize your whereabouts this long while? Why did he not give you unto her immediately?" Her answers only spawn more questions, each one less of a joy to ask than the last.

"In defense of Prince Daevon," Yael offers dryly, fingers squeezing Alaeyna's hand, "His intentions were well meant. As for the rest, I know not why. Only that I was told that it might mean my death to leave, so uncertain was this land for me and it was best to wait on my husband. I knew not that the Princess knew of me until my husband came so recently upon his release." Her scarred lips thin in recollection. "She said she told no one for fear that it would stir the Tyrells and Cockshaw to action. Also that she did no come for she was serving Ser Arros' ransom time."

The revelation that the princess knew of her companion's whereabouts strikes Alaeyna amiss, and it's written plain on her face that she doesn't like it, she being the type to wear her emotions right on the surface. "I regret that I did not know. But you are here before me now, and so I suppose that enough is worth drinking to." To punctuate her words, she takes a deep drink of her wine, her free hand still toying with Yael's, twining their fingers this way and that as they speak in an idle demonstration of affection. She lifts the other woman's hand to her lips at one point, kissing her palm.

"There now," Yael soothes, setting aside her wine glass to stroke Alaeyna's cheek along with her own temper. "I regret just the same. The Princess might have felt pressed to keep to the Targaryen will in this, but I would rather have been with my people." It is done, but not forgotten. "I too will drink to sitting with you." She does just that, taking a draught of the procured wine. Her expression softens as the other woman presses a kiss to her palm, her wine set aside to brush a lock of hair down against Alaeyna's shoulder. "It is so good to see you. I had thought I might not again."

Taking her solace in drinking and being the subject of soothing murmurs and caresses, Alaeyna is putty in Yael's hands. The fierce flash of her temper subsides, leaving her content with being grateful for their reunion. "How has married life suited you?" she asks lightly, to change the subject lest they dwell into their cups overlong on the parade of grievances against their countrymen since the raid at Wickham's Nest.

Yael seems content to have her there, fingertips stroking bronzed cheek with a slight smile. She does not seek to steal her hand back from Alaenya's hold, content for the moment. "We are like sand and the mountains. Compatible, but in odd way. He seems pleased to have me back." The thought does seem to please her as well. "And what of you? That boy of yours must be running by now."

"He spoke of you with grave concern and affection," Alaeyna assures her friend, smiling at the analogy about the sand and the mountains. Mention of her son brings a smile to the Lady Fowler's face, if one was not already brewing for the gentle caress on her cheek, and she says, "Running, and jumping, and practicing to hold a blade already. He's with his father at Sunspear."

"He speaks of everything gravely, are you certain you were not just mistaken?" Yael wonders with a flash of old mischief beneath her placid expression, dark eyes dancing at the thought. Placidity softens to a warmer smile, corners of her eyes crinkling with the broad edge of her smile at Alaeyna speaks of her sun. "So soon! I remember well when he was just in your arms and small as one of my snakes, how swiftly they grow," she muses. "Tell me more of your home and of the news I have missed?" She bids, content to wind away the last of her time away with her friend. Time will come where she'll be bid to return to the manse, guards in tow, but for now they might drink and enjoy one another's company a little longer.

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