(121-05-17) Secret Webs
Secret Webs
Summary: Eva pays a visit to the Targaryen manse to deliver news to Daevon, striking an interesting conversation about murder and secrets between the hand of the Black Eel and the Maiden's Knight.
Date: 05/17/2014
Related: Send the Eel Swimming, Wickham's Nest

Dragon Door Manse Starry Street

It is a summer day. The weather is hot and drizzling.

This is a grand and enormous manse maintained by the Targaryen family for royals and their guests when they happen to wish to stay in Oldtown.

The house faces the prestigious Starry Street. The first story is protected by narrow high windows that stop people from seeing inside, but the windows on the back wall and the four upper stories are tall and wide, making 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 those windows, and the walls are covered in rich tapestries depicting dragons, and the acts of Aegon the Conqueror and his sisters. There's a grand dining room separated from the entry hall by a great arch formed by carved stone dragons, and another such arch leads to a smaller, though still huge by most standards, sitting room. Everything is opulent, beautifully made, and as luxurious as befits the royal family.

There are other sitting rooms up in the floors above, as well as bedchambers, game rooms, and even private baths. 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.

There's a large and gracious walled garden in the back, and wide windows open to it. Those on the upper stories have balconies.

The servants will show Eva throw to one of the downstairs sitting rooms when she arrives, and Daevon steps out of the garden and in to join her, shortly after. Refreshments are brought, fine wine, lemon-water, small things to nibble on, such is Targaryen hospitality, and then they depart. "You're here so soon. What news?"

An unusual visitor to the royal family, Eva; yet, sitting with crossed legs and a flowing gown of a finer, more colourful, exotic make than last seen, her tempestuous hair tamed into slightly more behaving curls, the black grease around her eyes only sharp lines instead of bold smears and her poise easy grace, she's made herself as comfortable around the Targaryen finery as she did amidst the riffraff at the docks. "Ser Daevon," she greets, drawn out in Lorath accented indulgence. She sets down her wine and stands to curtsey to the prince; quick and imperfect, there's yet grace in it, despite the slyness of her smile. "It has been an illuminating search, but perhaps, I'm afraid, not in the way you expected."

"Hmm," Daevon says, sitting down. He gets straight to the point. "What did you discover then?"

Eva lowers as well, smoothing layers of alternating fabrics over her legs, an idle, relaxed motion more than any fretting over her loose attire. "I am here so soon because I found no trails to follow; no riches have been made from this jewelry, not here, through the Undercity," she delivers, frank. Her hand lifts, twirling palm-up in a slow, questioning, unconcerned gesture. "What thief or sellsword would keep items worth such a fortune?"

"That tells me a lot in itself. In your opinion," Daevon says. "Would something have been likely to have shown up in Oldtown? It seems the likeliest place. The easiest, most convenient, if not sold here directly, then… so much gold and stones of value."

"Indeed, it is so." A reply laced with amusement and knowing, as if Daevon's the one who has caught up to her way of thinking. The woman leans slightly ahead over her knees, further engaged, as though they're in conspiracy together. "It is the logical place, Ser Daevon. Plain market, black market… as you know, there is more trade, here, than anywhere in the Reach. And as you asked, I have spoken to those who have ears, eyes for this very sort of thing. They have seen nothing, heard nothing. Those rings; the…" Eva searches a moment in the Common tongue. "Signets. They are worth more than the trinket. I would guess— whoever has them either means to use them for themselves or never intended to sell them at all. And then you must wonder." Her eye gleams at Daevon.

"Indeed, you must wonder," Daevon echoes. "And so if the items have not been sold, perhaps some misfortune fell upon those who took them. Or the one who took them has no need of such wealth. It has been several months. I am due you money for this information. Do you wish to walk away now? Or will you tell me what you are wondering?"

A smile spreads slowly along Eva's rounded face without revealing teeth. "If they met misfortune, they are well hidden in death," she points out. "Scavengers would be quick such wealth from their bones and fence them through the Undercity. Or…" Her hand curls beneath her chin until she rests on her knuckles, further curling her posture; she's in no hurry to walk away. Her other hand winds for a snack of Targaryen hospitality beside her wine. "I only know whispers, rumours, what news is allowed to reach the streets of what really happened at Wickham's Nest." Her still gaze questions Daevon curiously. "Can you say, for certain, that these things were stolen at all?"

"The items were taken," Daevon says. "Those who searched for evidence would have had no reason to conceal them. There weren't any traces of the melted metals or the precious stones. But it was not an attack made for monetary gain. Everything missing was easily taken. So I'm left with some more questions. Who hated Ser Eryk Cockshaw enough to kill him in such a brutal manner? Who hated the Cockshaws enough? Why was the one Dornish woman spared, when all from The Reach were slaughtered. I do not think it was bandits. There were none in the area, not even a whisper of a rumour of them. Wickham's Nest is frequently empty, to attack it in such an organised fashion, and then take only trinkets, to slaughter everyone so there would be no witnesses. That speaks to me of someone with a vendetta. It seems something planned."

Intruiged, Eva tips her head to one side, just the tiniest shift of her chin upon the cup of her palm, and it's as good as an agreeing nod by the acknowleding, thoughtful look in her eye. "I would expect the mind behind the murder to be someone very close," she says — spoken with a certain … wealth of knowing, of imagining herself in such a scenario. It is, after all, a criminal who sits in this lovely Targaryen manse. "Has anyone ever truly wondered: why was this woman spared. That perhaps she was not spared. Perhaps she had murder in her heart, crafted the whole thing and fled. Hm?" She smiles rather cheerfully at this — this, of all things, flashing a row of teeth. "We are capable of such power, you know, us women."

"That is a thought," Daevon says. "Certainly something that is suspected. Yet, if such were the case, if she'd so meticulously planned the raid I would have expected her to get away safely. She would have slipped through the mountains with the attackers and returned to Dorne. Instead she was found in the forest, terrified and lost with clothes and scars and eyes that spoke of her ordeal. Those wiser than I think she spoke the truth. She is certainly a woman capable of murder, but I don't think this one. But certainly, it's still a possibility."

"Even the wise can be fooled by the wiser," Eva imparts, that devious twist upturning her lips. She eats, lifts her head off her hand, takes a hearty drink of wine. "If not the Dornish woman, someone near. Perhaps, even, someone trusted. Trust no one, Ser Daevon. Of course," her head tips the opposite way, "perhaps no one will ever know the truth. In cases such as this, with you Westerosi nobles, your secrets and your fighting, is that not sometimes best. I hear— " she points around her wine cup, "the truth starts wars." Another twinkle in her eye; a smile that plays at sweet but is nothing of the sort. "But what do I know; I am from the Free Cities."

"I think this truth will certainly start a war," Daevon replies. "But if there's someone out there who would massacre so many, then I would like to work out who." He smiles. "Well, here I am trusting you with secrets. I do not like the politics of secrets and fighting." He smiles. "I would imagine you know much more than I about people and their secrets. Is gathering information something you have a skill in? Although I suspect that what I need to know is to be found in different places than the undercity."

Eva's eyes narrow. It is more the half-closed look of a content cat in the sun than a suspicious squint. "It comes to me, and sometimes, as you see, I go looking." She cants her head back. "Most of the time, I am paid to keep it. Some say— the Black Eel knows secrets that could start wars, too," she states, bold yet casual; casual yet calculating, her watch of the Maiden's Knight precise.

Daevon considers this and then nods. "For a price though? To keep that secret and stop that war? There's such power there." He's looking troubled as he tried to debate whether to offer more information or not.

"Such things are not my concern," Eva answers, perhaps callous but at least earnest. "Politics. I have a business to run for the Black Eel. Secrets kept are business earned. How-ev-er… war is bad for business." An amused mischief turns her mouth, again, and she leans back with her wine raised near her jaw. Dark lashes flicker as her gaze studies Daevon further up and down. "Most information does not come to me in ways such as this. You are considering something, Ser Daevon. What is it?"

Daevon nods at Eva in response. He's serious even with the joke she makes, nodding as she says war is bad for business. "I have suspicions. But such things should not be spoken of without evidence. You have a very clever mind, and you think in twists and turns. You have insights different from others I have spoken to. And it's oh so very tempting to ask for your help, your advice on matters. You found no information and from that you deemed it a success not a failure and you teased out the information from within. Information which confirmed a suspicion that I had held, that money was not the purpose."

"A smart dragon," she commends. "The world is twists and turns. A web that can be drawn if one knows the weaving pattern." Eva seems contented by this conversation, entertained despite the serious subject matter behind it. "I would help, given reason. Unlike others— I have no family allegiances that bend and barricade the mind, and I am not a seller of secrets." She lifts dark brows, pausing the act of lifting her cup to her mouth. "But I have also said to trust no one, Ser Daevon. So the choice is yours."

Daevon smiles. "I like you." He says, offering that compliment freely. "But I'm not certain of the wisdom of this. Not yet, at least. I have another avenue to pursue. I suspect that once I have done so I'll be seeking you out again."

Something of a laugh builds in Eva's throat with the potential to be joyous. It's quelled into a huskier sound before it reaches that point, but her smile appears truly pleased. "I am glad," she offers back. "When you have … pursued… your avenue," a foreign saying for the foreigner, "I will be here." She finishes her wine, sets it down, and takes a sip of lemon water for posterity before moving to rise to her diminutive height.

Daevon smiles and nods. "Thank you." He rises as well. "I have yet to have the chance to speak to my sister about your reward. I shall do so shortly though. I hope you have a wonderful day." And there, Eva dismissed, he calls a servant over and speaks quietly. Before Eva leaves that same servant brings a pouch of coins to Eva. A generous payment especially for what information she gave, perhaps a little too much so, but Daevon's free with his coin, rich enough to afford it and he's certainly placed value on what she's had to say.

"And you." Departed from Daevon with one of her smiles and a bow of her dark-haired head, Eva, once she has the bag of coins in her hands, clutching it and pleased to feel its weight, is seen out. All the while, there's a quiet grin on her face and a jewelry-heavy finger trailing lightly over walls and the beautiful art of the Targaryen home until the manse has slipped from her grasp.

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