(121-05-18) Blades and Blood Oranges
Blades and Blood Oranges
Summary: Alaeyna notifies Parizad a meeting has been arranged with Princess Ellia.
Date: 18 May 2014
Related: In Good Company, An Accordance of Blood

Back Lounge - Acacia and Leopard Hall
This private lounge is intimate. It is furnished much like the main room — low couches, low tables, floor pillows, sheepskins and plush carpets. In here, everything is deep purple and gold, with little suns embroidered into the fabrics. The walls are hung with fabrics woven in the old Rhoynish style, making the room seem tent-like while muffling the voices so they cannot carry through the walls.

When Parizad arrives to entertain Alaeyna's request for a meeting, he'll find her in the back lounge of the Acacia and Leopard Hall. She's in the midst of a darts game, taking turns against an opponent in throwing knives at a shield slung up on the wall. She wears her weapons in a sheathe on her thigh, retrieving one on each of her turns and then flinging it with exacting precision at the target, more often than not striking at its heart. The blade she's throwing when Parizad enters is her last, the lupine grin she wears as she turns away from the toss suggesting she's the victor. Tossing a purse of coins at her feet grudgingly, the Dornishman she'd been wagering against takes his leave of the lounge, passing Parizad without so much as a glance as he storms off to not brag about having been bested with knives by a woman.

There are curious customs found all over the world. While Dorne's are strange to this place, there are those that are strange to all of Westeros, both in name and geography. Sometimes, no custom is stranger than fashion. It is a pastel teal coat that the exiled Uller is clad in today, the fabric light and breathable, suitable for these summer months. His cloak is night-black, and with every step Parizad makes, a series of tiny silver bells woven into it jingle. It's almost as though he is aware of the rhythm they generate as he gently measures every step.

As a sign of goodwill, he has again surrendered his weapons, as has the man behind him, a large Volantine fellow with a clean-shaven, bald head and face decorated with a series of intricate tattoos. This man is wearing a lightweight shirt of metal scales, but he too is also unarmed.

It's just as well, really, the man's visage is given a horrifying quality based on the tattoos alone. He hangs back behind Parizad with the mien of a hireling or servant. Or bodyguard, as it were. He stands at the door, waiting, and as-of-yet unbidden.

Meanwhile, Parizad takes stock of the flying knives and his immediate reaction is a tight, wordless smile. He knows what is going on with those knives. "Lady Alaeyna." Comes his simple greeting.

The Lady Fowler is prying out her knives where they are embedded in the shield, replacing them one by one in the sheathe strapped to her thigh. She wears a leather bodice that is scandalous by Westerosi standards, demonstrating lush cleavage where the laces tie up and fail to keep it all constrained. Beneath are flowing silks dyed copper, slit at either thigh so as to render her barely fit to leave Dornish company for fear of enflaming men and enraging women for how brazenly she bares her flesh. "There you are," she says in reply, turning from the shield to stalk across the floor, greeting Parizad with a kiss to each cheek. "Did you see my victim as you entered? Is there anything so tiresome as a man who whines like a babe?" The purse of coins is still on the floor, and she doesn't bother to retrieve it, at least not for now, her sparkling stare snaking over to the retainer who hovers at the entrance. "Is he joining us?" she asks, half-serious.

The pastel robe swishes as his boots lift across the floor, again accompanied by a jingle. There is a moment that passes as Parizad accepts the greeting. "I must repeat myself but I believe I said you have become — impressive as the years have gone on." His smile is entirely too serene, his dark eyes lock upon her for just a moment. It would be indecent by Westerosi standards, for certain, but is almost tame in comparison to how many of the Dornish here conduct themselves. Including herself.

"If by 'tiresome' you mean 'entertaining,' I would highly agree." He says, throwing his head back for a quick pair of laughs before turning back over his shoulder. "He should. But I have found that sometimes he elicits — amusing reactions when I bring him to places in this city unannounced. Serdar!"

The big man snaps to attention as Parizad gestures him over. "You remember the Lady Alaeyna." His sworn man, bodyguard, minion, employee, gives a pleasant enough grunt before slamming his fist to his chest towards the Lady Fowler. "Hail to the Lady Alaeyna!" He shouts before relaxing a little. The big man's eyes are still way too wary as he makes a show of looking around the room.

Tame though the look may be by Dornish standards, it's enough of an invitation that Alaeyna hazards to touch a hand to Parizad's chest, briefly fingering the collar of his pastel coat in a gesture that's vaguely appreciative of its unusual aesthetic. He wins a knowing smile for his compliment, but all she says is an idle, "This is lovely," of the garment she's smoothed with her touch. She turns away from him to greet the hulking manservant, which is to say she gazes upon him with interest, only endeavoring to speak to the creature once he's pounded his chest and bellowed her name. "Hello again," she says, evidently amused by his antics if at a loss for knowing what now to do with him.

The big Volantine grins in response to Alaeyna and nods his head. The lines the tattoos form create a sort of rictus effect on the foreigner's face, which have a hideous and terrifying effect in the eyes of your average onlooker. This is precisely the sort of quality one would look for in a sellsword, which likely explains why it was done. Not to say that any onlooker in here is necessarily average.

"Thank you. It is Myrish, but I know the right questions to ask a trader to get one like it." His eyes drift upon her form in a gaze of an aesthete, pursing his lips. "It is well-suited to this climate. But I think a deeper green might look better upon you, no?"

Though the Volantine commands attention, Alaeyna's invariably strays back to Parizad, catching him in consideration of her form. "Green. Do you think so? What of silver? A vision I'd be on horseback, my white hawk on arm and sand steed to match." She travels over to a low table set out on a plush carpet, lowering herself to sit at it with her long, slender legs curled beneath her. On its surface are food and drink, as is the custom of this house of physical pleasures, and she plays the hostess in pouring some strongwine for her guest, and then for herself. "I think you might leave your man in the servant's hall when you come to pay on Princess Ellia," she suggests casually, steering their conversation where she wills it go.

"Silver. And maybe Blue." Parizad states the obvious here as he follows up on the mention of hawking, and of course, the sigil of House Fowler. "I only said green because it brings out a certain, hmmm" He purses his lips as he follows Alaeyna after a few seconds of reflection, making his way to the low table with a relaxed walk. "One day I will have to find a way to repay you in kind for this hospitality. I find it may be — unwise to dig myself so deeply in debt, otherwise." There's a flash of teeth as he smiles a brief mirthful smile at her.

The man in question seems comfortable standing. The tattooed one that is. He doesn't say much. However, he does let his attention wander, eyeing up the servants. One would assume he isn't one of those Eunuchs one finds here and there in Essosi society.

Parizad finally arcs a thick eyebrow as he helps himself to his wine, — he was about to hold up the cup. "Mm? Oh, I am sure Serdar can find something to amuse himself. He always does." There's a certain guarded quality to the Dornishman's glibness here if a listener were to pay deep attention. The implication is clear. He'd prefer /not/ to leave the man behind. Still, he doesn't say anything out loud to that effect.

Wine poured, Alaeyna wastes no time in tasting it, washing down the sweet taste of her victory at the throwing knives with a deep draught of strongwine. When she tears from it, it's with an easy smile, no small measure of provocation in her voice as she suggests, "On the contrary, I think you're precisely the sort of man I'd like to have in my debt. Not that I should ever give credence to the notion that I offer my hospitality only to those from which I expect to receive something in return." She sizes Parizad up in silence in the wake of her suggestion that he abandon his sellsword during the course of their meeting with the Martell princess, and his objection, however mildly noted, prompts her to reassure him, "I take good care of my guests." There's a pomegranate knifed open on the tray of refreshments, and messy though it is, she helps herself to some of its sticky seeds, licking clean her fingertips in turn. "I have spoken to her, and she has asked me to see the meeting arranged."

There is a blood orange here. And soon it will not be here, as Parizad's fingers idly drift towards the fruit and begin to slowly and methodically tear into it, peeling out one slice after another. "Oh, I am quite aware. And I would not expect anything less from a woman of your measure, hmm?" The crimson innards of the blood orange pop into his mouth and Lady Fowler is delivered a mischevious smile, eyes fixed upon her for a moment overlong.

"Make no mistake, I only brought Serdar here to be social. He likes to see new things. So I take him to see new things. I am not worried about being /your/ guest and I already know you do." The implication is clear. His name may not be in the book of the greatest friends of House Martell, as she already well knows.

"It will be a busy day for me. Tomorrow I go to visit Maelys Targaryen as well. From what I gathered he seemed /eager/ to see me." He washes down a bit of strongwine here, pensively, as his bodyguard inspects a serving girl's skimpy clothing with an approving nod.

Perhaps it's the presentation, but the manner in which Parizad rips into the blood orange leaves Alaeyna with a sudden craving for the same, and so she leans forward unapologetically to help herself to a section, peeling it from the greater whole and sinking her teeth into its flesh before her guest can object. The gesture brings her near enough that he might smell the spicy perfumed dabbed at the hollow of her throat, and for the heartbeat of that closeness she she shares in depraved smile. "What you should not expect from a woman of Princess Ellia's measure is a warm reception for the suggestion that you'd find her hearth to be a hostile one," offers the Lady Fowler, slinking back into her seat, devouring what's left of her bit of orange and licking her lips with relish thereafter. "How pleased I am you were able to indulge my invitation, with so many demands on your time," she's helpless to resist adding, with a sip of wine.

After the orange is down to the rind, Parizad reaches for a small bunch of grapes, lightly plucking them out of the pile of fruit and although pulling one off for himself, he dangles the bunch in the air maybe a foot or so from Alaeyna herself, at about eye-level. The manner of the gesture seems matter-of-fact, but the smirk on his face all ends up creating a picture of something a bit unwholesome.

"I must admit, I am not distrustful of Princess Ellia." There's an unspoken word there. That word is clearly /much/. "Still, I will accept her hospitality with dignity. I must be clear, one does not live long doing the things I have done by being simple, no?" He finally says, proceeded by a sharp laugh with a twisting of his hawklike features into a broader smile. "I seem to spend my time with all the best, though. I have it found to have always been — rewarding. It has been that way for some time." The odd lilt of his accent makes /this/ even sound a little like a laugh.

The dangling of grapes near her face is met with an unceremonious swat of her hand, not ineffectually, as if at a gnat, but purposefully enough to disabuse him of the notion that she might eat from his hand. This flare of her temper is a fleeting one, though, and the smile on her face never waivers, deepening nigh imperceptibly with the hint of a challenge. "What hope can you have of an accord, if you cannot treat with her long enough to take each other's measure without fear of each one burying a knife in the other's throat? She is a Martell princess, not one of your Braavosi bandits."

Oh, a challenge? Well it never hurts to try. The inclination of Parizad's head indicates one simple admission. 'You win, Alaeyna Fowler' without him saying a word. And even still, he himself does not let the his own smile waver. The once-proferred grapes are popped from the bunch into his own mouth, one at a time. But now, this got serious.

"It is not he Princess I am concerned about, but whatever — vermin my uncle may have swayed with stolen gold and false promises that may pass through its halls. But know this one thing. I will trust her in this /on your recommendation./" And the grapes are gone. "The Braavosi are a surprisingly civilized and elegant people. Even their bandits." He pontificates. "You would like Braavos better than this city full of fools."

Alaeyna shifts where she sits on the plush carpeting, rearranging herself so that where her silk skirts fall, the gleaming ring of knives worn on her thigh is visible. They are a stark contrast to her sun-kissed, dusky skin and the soft whisper of fabric, but she herself is made up of several contradictions. With a flash of her teeth in a feral smile, Alaeyna watches her guest make quick work of the grapes, tilting her head with interest to hear tell of Braavos and its people. "I should like to see it," she admits, giving credence to his claims to agree, "No Braavosi has slain any of my kin, that I know of." Idling over her cup with a long sip of wine, she finally tells Parizad, "Formidible thing that you are, I'd not dream of playing you false in this. I am honored by the esteem of your trust. May it herald good relations between us, at least, if not ultimately between yourself and House Martell."

"It is good to treat with one you respect." It's a strange look the Dornishman gives Alaeyna here. It /is/ one of respect, but also a certain wariness, even towards her, that he has not entirely shed. It's the look that one predator gives to another before determining that they are not fighting over the same game or territory.

"Maybe one day when we both have boundless time. I can tell you all about it. And some of it may even be true." He takes a methodical additional sip of the wine from his cup and leans forward.

"It is more than just trust, Lady Alaeyna. I have seen enough in my short time here to know the way forward. I have seen things in the Fire. Enough to tell me that while there is danger here, it does not wear your face." Nothing of Princess Ellia for now, but, as they say, one has to put one foot forward at a time. "I am no priest or seer, but one is not needed for this, mmm?" He waves the notion away. "In any case, You are better company than those slovenly cowards I see slouching through the streets. Or the bloated lordlings who once would shower us with gold, before. Much better company." He's all smile here, and quite composed. "When this is over I will probably owe you many dead foes, no? I imagine you might find that quite boring. Surely you would want some — for yourself." He eyes the throwing knives, pointedly.

It's a reflection of the same look she wears, really, or at least a similar one, equal parts fascination and reservation as she basks in the Exile's attention, the subject of his singular stare. "Mayhaps you can consider such a repayment of your debt," she replies to the offer of tales, tall or otherwise. "In some small part, at least," she tacks on for good measure, lest she relinquish all leverage she has over him too easily. When he leans in to her, she does the same, an unconscious mirroring of his posture, or at least an impulse bidden by the fervor of his speech as Parizad invokes his Lord of Light. She is intrigued by it, if not duly wary of the threat of this fiery deity and his mortal follower. "You can truly see so much?" she asks, her usual bravado usurped by incredulity to hear the zeal that tempers his words and renders them convincing. And then he turns to a more palatable subject - dead foes - and she regains her bright smile, but demurs with a sip of wine, her quick wit failing her in light of all that heresy.

"Some can see. Some can look. Me? - Sometimes more subtle things point the way." This is all Parizad says to Alaeyna he drinks again, still holding her face firmly in his gaze. It's — no, it's not quite /zealotry/ exactly, but /surety/. He has come to the bottom of the cup.

The Exile /and/ apostate both slowly begins. "And now we come to the least favorite part of this meeting." He rises fluidly to his feet as he scrambles into a standing position, little bells jingling. And his face darkens in a mild affectation. "The part where I must say farewell. I have a meeting with an old friend." There's a hint of quotation marks around the word 'friend' of course.

Rising to her feet when her guest does, Alaeyna gathers herself up with a fluid sort of grace, abandoning her cup of wine so that she might place her hands on either of Parizad's forearms, telling him, "I look forward to presenting you to the princess. Thank you for your company." The Lady Fowler glances past her guest to his hulking manservant, extending her farewell to him, as well. "Until next we shall meet, nay? I think you shall find that the wine flows as freely at the White Stone Manse as it does here, and that the hospitality is no less warm, if the atmosphere is a touch less debaucherous." Her smile is toothy, and she wastes no time in offering Parizad the same cheek kisses she did on greeting him, only releasing her hold when at last they part.

"No debauchery? Mmmm. You see, now I am almost disappointed." Parizad accepts Alaeyna's farewell as easily and readily as he accepted her greeting. The bells jingle some more. "I suppose we will have to make up for it with wine and charm, as we do."

Serdar hasn't wandered too far away, thankfully, as he's gotten eyefuls and eyefuls of the local help and has maybe decided that this 'dornish girl' thing is a good concept.

"Come along Serdar." He calls to his sworn man and stops, pausing just a moment to turn his head back over his shoulder, eyeing his hostess with a sly smile, watching her as a goes. It might be unsettling to a lesser onlooker, but not her.

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