(121-05-20) A Game of Cyvasse
A Game of Cyvasse
Summary: Dornish catch up over events over a game of Cyvasse.
Date: Date of play (20/05/2014)
Related: In Blood Truth

White Stone Manse Starry Street
It is a summer day. The weather is cool and fair.

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.

It's a rare breezy day in Oldtown, and many of the ground floor windows in the Dornish manse have been thrown open to the fresh, pleasant air. Despite the many guests in residence in the manse, it's something of a quiet day, servants milling around but not so many of the lords and ladies. It would appear to be only Alaeyna mingling in the main hall of the manor, reading from a book while she paces the marble floor.

Breezy and not rainy, which seems something of a miracle in Oldtown these last weeks. Though guards are not so needed in the manse itself, Arnau is walking down the stairs with one of his own, speaking in low, quiet tones — though the conversation looks practical rather than intimate. The guard nods a few times during the short conversation and the pair split up at the bottom of the stairs. While the guard heads off to attend the duties so instructed by his Lord, the heir to Blackmont castle pauses, watching Alaeyna pace about with her book for a few moments before he feels the need to comment on it. "Most would choose to sit down in such an activity," comes his low, clear words, ringing through the main hall.

They are words that serve to stop Alaeyna in her tracks, cutting through the silence she'd been enjoying (enduring) in her silent stalking. She looks up from her book and to Arnau, at the bottom of the stairs, offering him in reply, "Call me restless, but there isn't much I find as tedious as sitting still." With a hint of a smile, she sweeps her gaze up the length of the stairway toward the upper landing and the hall of guest chambers. "I suppose our countrymen disagree. Half of them are still abed." Crossing the floors to greet him properly, with a kiss to each cheek, Alaeyna asks, "What adventures do the day have in store for you?"

"Ah. It seems I am mistaking in assuming that your use of birds to hunt for you was so you could sit still and wait." The large man is teasing, in his way, though it is hard to tell, the line delivered with a slow pace that is almost dry. But the corners of his eyes pinch and crinkle in a quiet sort of amusement. "Perhaps they had a long night." Who knows. Arnau greets Alaeyna in turn, especially polite kisses to each cheek. "Hopefully, none, lest adventures be mistaken for massacres and plots again."

"For me? I'd much rather say with me." Alaeyna is quick to correct Arnau, granted the tease is more evidently written in her tone than in her counterpart's. "I command, they obey, and together we devastate our prey." Indeed, the smile that blossoms on her face is predatory, and it deepens at his suggestion as to what keeps their fellows abed at midday. "Perhaps you ought linger and entertain me, then. I might suggest a game of Cyvasse, if you fancy one, though it is like to be a massacre, as poor as I am at it." She pauses, leveling Arnau with a more serious look, and tells him, "I spilled some wine with your lady wife the other night. I was so happy to see her."

"How generous of you to share the win with your avian servant." As is his former remark, this one is not cutting or meant for insult. Arnau bows his head slightly with a gesture of faux-acquiescing. "I would say that I could not possible get into any trouble over a game of Cyvasse, but I have seen brawls break out over the results some times. Still, I accept your offer for a diverting massacre." Of someone. It may even be him, though he does not make it sound like it. As she levels hm with a serious look, his own expression does not change, almost always leaning towards serious as it. "As I am certain she was happy to see you."

Stepping down the stairs a bit slowly, Ryam seems to be trying to make as little noise as possible at the moment. He pauses for a few moments as he sees the people present, before making his way further down the stairs.

"It pleases me to reward loyal service," is all the rest Alaeyna says on the matter, already turning her attention to an idling servant and summoning them up with a flit of her hand. "Darling, might you summon up a Cyvasse table for Lord Arnau and myself? I promise not to make a mess when he captures all my elephants." Or whatever it is one does with the elephants in a Cyvasse game. The attendant nods solicitously and departs, around about when Ryam joins them in the hall. "Hello, brother," she says to him, and then presents her kin to Arnau, "Ser Ryam Sand. You may recall that he accompanied me to treat with the Cockshaws on the matter of your ransom."

"They will make a fine addition to my army," Arnau says with a slight tip of his head, regarding elephants, though they be only game tokens and he can't actually keep them. He pays not attention to the servant as they head to fetch up a game, rather he turns to look at Ryam as she appears and is introduced by his sister. "I do so recall." A tip of his head acknowledges the other man and the name given. "I hope, ser, you have made your sister apologize to you for having to suffer through those efforts to deal with such men stuffed full of themselves." He casts a brief glance sideways at the Lady Fowler, probably kidding about apologies.

Ryam smiles, offering a nod to the two. "Hello." A brief chuckle is offered at Arnau's words about an apology. "Ah, what kind of brother would I be if I'd have left her to suffer through it on her own?" Said a bit lightly now.

"Yes, and the apology he received was as fulsome as the one I got from you for being made to suffer the same," is Alaeyna's barb in reply, catching the sideways look thrown her way with one of the same cast in Arnau's direction. A pair of attendants, in the background, enter carrying an ornate Cyvasse table between themselves which they position in front of the windows facing the gardens. "You will find my brother a good deal more even tempered than myself," Alaeyna explains to the Blackmont heir, but not quite as though that were a good thing, by her reckoning.

"Mine," Arnau answers Ryam with a wry twist of his lips, referring to his brother's absence at the ransoming itself, though he did make an appearance later that evening. A brow is lifted just so at Alaeyna for her bard thrown in his direction, but that is all the response it gets. Clasping his hands behind his back, the Blackmont looks between brother and sister thoughtfully regarding tempers or lack of them before remarking, "I hope he at least strikes the flint of your temper less vigorously than I recall doing."

"It's probably some sort of balance," Ryam replies a bit lightly, before he smiles, "The temper is there, really, it just takes a bit more for it to ignite." Another smile as he looks between the two of them now.

Alaeyna spares an appreciative grin for her brother, confiding in Arnau, "In fairness, I've more than once had my hand on the hilt of a knife and been persuaded to let it go by his cooler head, only to thank him for it later. Perhaps he should linger, and ensure no blood gets spilled over our friendly game of Cyvasse." Good humor colors her words, particularly as she comments, at the last, "Only a select few have ever lit the fuse of my temper as proficiently as you once did, Lord Arnau."

"I know the feeling well." Although he has a particular gift for aggravating some tempers, as well. Arnau nods slowly in understanding, simply noting, "It is good to have those around with cool heads, lest action be taken that cannot be undone. Perhaps my brother, Ser Dickon, should spend time in your company as well. Though he certain means well by his actions." Even if they make him exceptionally late to things and spend time locked up for dueling. Lord Blackmont gestures at the table that has been set up by the servants with a steady hand. "Your brother is of course welcome to join us, should he wish." His lips press together in what is neither wholly a wry look nor entirely a smile for Alaeyna's good humored comment of her temper being lit by him. "At least it is an elite crowd."

Ryam smiles, looking around for a few moments now, before he chuckles briefly now. "Oh, you made it to that select few list, Lord Arnau?" It's spoken a bit lightly, as he looks around the room again for a few moments. "I'll watch the two of you play for a little while, at least. I was planning on going for a walk, to take care of a few things, but it can wait for a little while longer."

"How old is that brother of yours now?" asks Alaeyna, taking Arnau's cue and setting off towards the Cyvasse table, continuing their conversation along the way. "You ought see us reintroduced, though I'm sure you'd prefer he keep Ryam's company over mine, lest I influence him in the opposite direction, nay?" Seating herself at the Cyvasse table, the Lady Fowler begins arranging her pieces, dragons, elephants, forests, mountains and all, the set being a lavish one made of fine stone and minerals, the pawns all different colors and the board inlaid with gems. To Ryam, "I tease, of course. Don't let us keep you if you've business to attend. I'm sure I can manage to suffer defeat at this well enough to keep our friend, Lord Arnau, from being a two-time member of the elite club he already carries a card for."

"Years ago," Arnau tells Ryam as he walks towards the Cyvasse table, though clearly the fact that the temper spiking events passed awhile ago does not make them forgotten by either party. "He is twenty-one years of age, though by my count, I would suggest closer to twelve, perhaps," he says, slandering a brother who isn't here to defend himself with a bit of a twinkle in his eye as he sits down to the game table. He is a little slower to arrange his own pieces, examining a few for their craftsmanship. "If he does not encounter you both on his his own, I shall do so, assuming I can pull him away from whatever damsel has been found in distress or lord he's challenged to a duel." It's a fond sort of disparaging. "It is a club best visited once, if at all," he notes dryly.

Ryam nods a little as he hears that. "Finding damsels in distress, and challenging lords to duels? Interesting brother you hace," he offers, before he offers a smile at his sister. "Not that it's not things that can wait, but maybe I should be going in not too long. After all, this game is a bit confusing to me." A chuckle as he hears Arnau's words about the club best visited once. "Well, if you were to visit it more than once, I would suggest making sure you can dodge quickly," he remarks, with a quick grin to Alaeyna again now.

Alaeyna flashes her brother a grin at his quip at the last, crossing her legs in her seat such that her slitted skirts part over her thigh, revealing the brace of knives she wears strapped to her leg. "Chasing damsels and dueling, at one and twenty years? What a rascal. I can hardly wait to meet him. Once he's ready for a bride, let us discuss the potential of Houses Fowler and Blackmont wedding at last. I've a pretty little damsel of a sister he can rescue from Skyreach's tallest tower if it please him." Alaeyna's fingertips linger over her king pawn as she speaks, pausing as she takes a peak at Arnau's strategy in arranging his pieces before turning back to shuffling hers a little further. To her brother, "It perplexes me still. Mayhaps because every time Lorenzo and I endeavor to play, we claim an article of the other's clothing each time a pawn is captured and never quite manage to see a game through to the end."

"Far more interesting than myself." Arnau inclines his head briefly with a touch of a wry smile for the words, being falsely modest. "Ideed, he is." A rascal. "It is as though he stepped from the pages of a written tale…though without the editing to make everything perfect and heroic." Poor Dickon. Somewhere his ears are burning. (And he's possibly threatening to duel them if they won't stop). "That is a discussion I do not recommend telling Dickon himself about, until our father has finally tired of his antics. Surely he would prefer that to finding himself with a Cockshaw bride." Even he of the micro-expressions does not try to keep the distaste off his face at the thought. "I will keep such advice in mind, ser," he tells Ryam, then slides a look over to his sister, brows climbing a little. "Perhaps that accounts for your poor skill at the game," he says, terribly innocently.

Nodding a bit as he listens, Ryam is unable to hold back a chuckle. "That would make sure the game would perplex you," he replies to Alaeyna, before he nods a little as he hears the rest. "Well, I should be going for those errands now," he offers.

Once she's finished setting up her half of the board with tiles, Alaeyna levels an expectant look on Arnau, who is far more meticulous than she with the arranging of pieces on the playing field. "The Stranger take the Cockshaws," she curses, giving her own distaste voice with her venemous words. "I will write to my brother at Skyreach and have him commission a portrait of my sister to send to Lord Blackmont." That decided, she offers Ryam a parting wave and says, "I know I needn't tell you to behave yourself, brother, but have a care that you don't cross the paths of any falcons in the streets, hmm?" Since she's had time enough to do it, she reconsiders one of her tiles, swapping it with another on the board. She smirks as she tells Arnau, "It absolutely does, but if you'd like to proceed on the same terms…"

Arnau is careful in setting up his board, each piece put in it's proper place, he overseeing the whole of it. "The Stranger will take them," he replies seemingly calm for for the low boil of anger beneath the words. "Someday. And I pray that is it sooner or that I find a way to make it so." A mountain may appear calm and still, but that does not make it less dangerous. He nods, a silent agreement to her decision. "Good day, ser," he bids politely if without any flashiness as Ryam declares his need to head off on errands. Alaeyna offers advice and words of caution, at any rate. "I am not so easily distracted, I think," he tells her with a short smile, his opening move being deceptively simple, moving one crossbowman one space forward.

Down the grand staircase comes Alia, a vision in red silk. She must be one of the most spoiled bastards in the entire world, dripping gold and jewels enough for any legitimate Princess of Dorne — or anywhere, for that matter. Barefooted, she makes little noise save for the gentle clinking of her bracelets and anklets as she descends, a troubled look upon her face. She shields her eyes, as one might from the sun, peering about.

Alaeyna's first move is to march a little spearman foward, vaguely in the direction of the crossbowman. "Admittedly I do not take often to prayer, but that's one I'd be delighted to join you in," she tells her opponent over the board. The pair are positioned on opposite sides of a Cyvasse table against the windows overlooking the gardens, and Alaeyna senses Alia's arrival either by the delicate chiming of her jewelry or by some other bond between them, turning to glance over her shoulder just as Amarei's beautiful bastard comes down the stairs. "There you are, darling, at last. I'd wish you a good morning, but it's well past."

"It is not one I stand in vigil over at the Sept," Arnau replies, as though he is often found there standing in vigil, though it is just the opposite, "It is a will of mine own heart and in these lands I will take any help the Gods may see fit to deliver after they so abandoned us on the field." Without comment on the game itself, which has only just begun, the Lord Blackmont moves one of his horse pieces next. It isn't until he does it that he looks slowly up from the board for the source of the clinking of jewelry, expression thoughtful if anything.

"Ah, my sweet lover," Alia greets, gliding over toward the cyvasse table as though pulled by an invisible thread. She drapes her hands gently over Alaeyna's shoulders, planting a kiss to the Fowler's temple and glancing idly at the board as her eyes trail over to Arnau. She has a smile for the Blackmont heir, warm and lazy. "My lord," she drawls. "I do not suppose either of you have seen my little Prince scampering past, hmm?"

Forgetting the game entirely for the sweet moment that Alia's lips grace her flesh, Alaeyna turns from the table to rake her paramour with an indecent gaze. She murmurs a quiet, "You look divine," pressing a kiss to one of the hands on her shoulders before following her lover's glance over to Arnau. "Have you been introduced to Lord Arnau?" she asks, slyly moving one of her own crossbowman forward, leaving it laying in wait for the horse to come into range on a later turn. To the Blackmont, "Alia Sand, daughter of Amarei Martell, my prize paramour."

"I do not imagine I have," Arnau answers impassively, the only person still paying attention to the board for a few moments. It is debatable if he even really understands the question, but he has seen few enough people this morning that it is a calculatedly safe answer. Alaeyna's movement of a piece is sly, certainly, though not beyond his notice. "Another Sand," he observes as Alia is introduced not so long after Ryam Sand was. The Blackmont heir sits straight backed with little sign of repose in his seat, legs wide and feet firmly on the ground as if it were a throne and not a seat before an idle game. "I see. I find myself in particular company today. It is well to meet someone deemed a prize. I am Lord Arnau Blackmont, heir to House Blackmont and current whipping boy for arrogant Reach knights."

"As do you, my darling," Alia murmurs in response for Alaeyna's compliment, sliding down cheek-to-cheek as she hovers behind. She is troubled, only briefly, by the lack of cub-sightings, but the tug of frown upon her plush lips is easily defeated by another smile for the introduction. "We are everywhere," she laughs low and breathy, of Sands, "For there is much passion in Dorne, mm? But the pleasure, it is mine, Lord Arnau. The Reach knights, they are… a different kind, aren't they?"

Alaeyna regards Arnau with a bemused look when he introduces himself, evidently not having thought it necessary to explain who he was to her lady love. "I haven't seen him at all today," she finally says of the terror Alia keeps as a pet. "It's been altogether too quiet for him to go unnoticed." At the press of the cheek to hers, she's further distracted from the Cyvasse match, pushing forward her spearman aimlessly in an unthinking move that demonstrates why she isn't particularly skilled at the game.

"I suppose that there is," Arnau says of the passion in Dorne, not sounding much like he is one of their number in the moment. "A kind who swear oaths only to turn around and break them," he says of the Reach knights with more heat, anger stirred so that he is willing to cast them all in the same harsh light. It is with a sigh, not a glow of pride in victory (however minor), that he captures one of her pieces, so carelessly placed on the board with one of his own. "Your distractions will betray you," he warns mildly.

"Mmm, the men here have a very distinctive definition of honor," Alia responds to the welling of anger in Arnau, wry are her Rhoynish-lilted words. She laughs again as the Blackmont capture's Alaeyna's piece, countering, "But when the distraction is sweeter than the game… hmm?" A light shrug. Perhaps it's to prove her point that she turns her cheek, planting another sensuous kiss upon her lover's cheek.

Alaeyna hisses when her piece is captured, shooting Arnau a pointed look of displeasure and shoving her dragon forward in a reckless, rebellious move that volleys a deaththreat at his crossbowman, overkill in the extreme. She slumps back in her seat thereafter, turning her cheek to catch Alia's kiss and observing, "I expect that much will prove as true in life as in our game." Of knights of the Reach, she says, "I seldom have occasion to wish I'd been born a man, but I'd be a proper liar if I didn't admit to desiring the same for the opportunity to face them on the field and cut them down."

No more is said by Arnau of the Reach men's their honor, or lack of, his features hard and jaw set as he stares a hole into the Cyvasse board. It is clear enough he bears no love for those on this side of his Red Mountains. The expression softens to something more serene as Alaeyna hisses and looks at him with her displeasure. Unmoved by it, though he lifts his brows at her move of a dragon, for its overkill. He shakes his head, and though his following move does not capture another piece, it sets him up well for future moves even as the cost of his crossbowman. "I suppose. If you do not mind losing." It is only a game, though. "Sometimes they cut you down," he reminds of battle, the wounds his his own body healed, but the ones to his pride still felt deep.

"How does your lady wife fare, mm?" Alia begins to knead gently at her lover's shoulders as she changes the subject, keeping her face close to Alaeyna's. "It has been some time since last I had the pleasure of her company."

Alaeyna dramatically seizes the crossbowman and plunks it down out of the bounds of play, as if she's proven some kind of point in her recklessness. "If I was a man, no one would cut me down," she says heatedly, as if having that extra appendage might render her invincible. Rather than take her next turn she abruptly stands from the table, ushering Alia into her seat. "See if you can't get the best of Lord Arnau in my name, won't you, darling? I think I'll go make sure your little beastling isn't terrorizing the horses." Which is to say, eating them.

For all the Alaeyna is dramatic in her seizure of his piece, Arnau simply moves another of his own without fanfare, though it encroaches on the space of her king. "You would be called Alaeyn the Undefeated, until one day you were, for a man without defeat only finds himself more and more challenged by those looking to make a name for themselves at the cost of his own." Such explanation is delivered mildly from the man who has been warrior and general both. His lady wife he speaks of more lightly, "She fares well, no longer a captive, though she might say otherwise as hostile as this land is and how I am concerned for her well-fare in it." His gaze goes up as Alaeyna stands abruptly. "Terrorizing the horses?" He shakes his head, then bids, "I am spared your temper then. Fare well."

"I should hope I'd have a more handsome name than that," is Alaeyna's counter, her good humor returned as swiftly as it momentarily left her. She flashes a toothy smile at Arnau, and then winds her arms around Alia's shoulders to give the woman a brief squeeze before she takes her leave, wandering out into the gardens in search of her lover's hulk of a housecat.

It is not before claiming a kiss from Alaeyna that Alia takes up her place, settling to recline in the chair. "I would be more worried about the birds," opines the little Sand woman, amused. She sees Alaeyna off with a wriggle of her fingers waved, before turning her attention to the board. "She is a capable woman, your wife, mm? — I must admit, popular as this game is, I do not know the rules. I thank you in advance for your patience, Arnau," she says, looking up from under a thick fringe of lashes to smile again. She lifts the dragon piece once more, turning him back toward the king with a questioning rise of her brows?

"You would know, would you not? Though you said it has been awhile since you last saw my Lady Yael, I cannot believe she would have changed so much. It seems to me she was never anything but formidable," Arnau answers mildly as is his way, though there is a bit of a question there as well. As for the game, he sighs in a slow, resigned sort of way. He is patient, though, as his large hand moves slowly to point at the pieces, explaining how each moves and waiting for questions should they arise. It is better to at least get a refresher of the rules before one begins. His upturned palm at her tentative move says 'well, you certainly can do that'.

Alia chuckles, smooth soft sounds drifting across the table. "But of course," she agrees with the assessment of Yael, delighted to share such esteem for the woman. "She was one of my favourite companions at court in Sunspear." Even after the explanation, she still chooses the dragon to go backward, demonstrating quite clearly her lack of vision for the field. "Will you remain here, then, with your darling lady? To avenge the injustice the Gods served, mm?"

"She does have many connections from her days in Sunspear." A place far, far away from the Red Mountains and the Marches where he has spent most of his time. Arnau watches Alia make her move, expression impassive, silent and thoughtful for a moment. One who doesn't know him might think he is humoring her, acting as though his next move requires greater thought than it does. He does not press forward against the king, but rather moves one of his elephants on the board, which by all appearances, does nothing that round. "We will remain together, here, until House Blackmont receives justice for having been so wronged, or until none can be had."

Alia contemplates the elephant, by all appearances trying to figure out exactly what the intent behind such a move is. As beginners tend to, she copies, sending out one of her own. "Not to sound too much like a Lannister, but it is a debt owing, hmm? Pray that justice is found for you, and soon, that none of us need remain this far from home for long."

Arnau has an excellent poker face. Or Cyvasse face, in this case. His expression hardly moves at all, the barest flick of his eyes as he examines the board after her similar move of an elephant. What he does next is not so seemingly innocent: One of his horses captures one of her spearmen. "I think of it more as plain vengeance. For the blood of ours that has been spilt time and time again, for the words of peace that are not honored in action. Though if there is justice to be had for what my wife has suffered at their hands…" He does not finish his sentence, on hand balled into a fist atop the pommel of the knife on his belt.

"It might be the dragons you seek justice from, for her, mm?" Alia arches a shapely brow, peevishness flashing across her features for the capture of her spearman. Spearmen are, after all, so highly esteemed by the Dornish. She shifts her elephant again, marching him forward some paces aimlessly.

"The dragons have done us insult in what they claimed are good intentions, but I doubt it was they who took my wife in the first place. They are far too interested in peace and stability and these events have brought anything but to two lands." Arnau is a little remiss in paying attention to the board, moving a crossbowman forward a place after a pause or thought.

"Because they say the intentions were good, does not make it so," says Alia, somehow gentle despite the sting of her words. She shifts her dragon in response to the crossbowman, though it opens up her king once more. "But of course, you are right. They are not the only ones owed retribution."

Arnau's gaze flicks up sharply from the board, his green eyes bright and hard as they stare at Alia as though he is holding a blade at her. It is but a moment though, a flash, even as his expression remains hard, looking down at the board. "I know how little words can mean," he says firmly. "But it is not my family that will have to marry one of the dragons." It is less tactical and more pointed that he moves one of his dragon pieces towards her board, though it does not put the king in danger just yet.

That violent gaze is met with just the slightest narrowing of thick-lashed eyes, a certain edge to her expression, too. "If you would prefer that honor go to one of yours, please," Alia responds, slow smile spreading as she flicks her fingers in invitation. "Joking aside, Arnau, all of Dorne stands behind you in the quest for vengeance, mm? You must know this, even if it provides you little comfort." The dragon piece prompts a smirk, and she moves one of the rabble to make way for a spearman next turn.

"My family has already had a similar honor bestowed on it by the Queen," Arnau reminds in case she had forgotten or had not heard in the first place, arriving on these shores after he did. "Another wedding between Blackmont and the Reach, this time to House Cockshaw instead of Oakheart and likely just as full of empty promises and continued tensions." He shifts a thus-far unsused mountain out onto the field of battle, lips pursing slightly, shoulders set in a broad line as he leans back a little in his chair, though not in a way that gives in a look of ease. "Behind me as long as this quest does not bring another war to the border."

"Ah, yes," allows the Sand woman, glancing down to watch his next move as he speaks of the other marriage decree. "It is… insensitive, no? This is the way of politics." A way that she bears no fondness for, given the dryness of her tone all of a sudden. She shifts up her spearman, bringing him one step closer to being able to claim a victim. "Oh, officially, of course. But do you think it is Dorne who fears war? We have turned back the dragons before, we will do so again, if needs be, hmm? If war is coming, better it be before we give away two of our most lovliest brides to the enemy."

"Marriages are meant to seal alliances, but it requires both parties to be willing to to join hands. You can order the body around, but you cannot change the heart if it is full of anger," Arnau says generally of these sorts of politics, sounding far more calm than he feels about his personal situation in them. "Something you are freed from, Sand." Some privledges of the nobility, but far less likely to be a bargaining chip. "I think we are still suffering the wounds from the last war, which are only beginning to heal, and the rulers of two kingdoms to not want to see another descent into chaos so soon." It is a strategy he can understand, not wishing himself to be part of another such war if need be. He moves a spearman forward decisively. "The Reach will not take another bride from Blackmont. An arrangement must be mutually agreeable to both houses and we will not repeat a past mistake, serving some girl as a sacrifice for false peace."

"This is all true," Alia agrees easily, of marriages and her own freedom from such shackles. "But though I am beyond the reach of such arrangements myself, it does not save me from the slight, mm? Mariya is my sister, she is in my heart as your kin is in yours. I would no more see her wed to a dragon for this false peace than you would give a bride to those curs of Cockshaw, Arnau. There is little room for my mother to bargain here, and sometimes the rulers, they… hmmm." She moves her spearman again, ready to claim one of his rabble.

"If it makes you feel any better," Arnau begins with a tone that is as dry as the Dornish sands, if not so hot, "My wife vouched for Ser Daevon in a way. In that, she believed he meant her well, even if he was a fool about all things." That probably does not bring comfort and he does not look as though he expects it too. Rather, he inclines his head in understanding of the problem. Problems. The mountain piece is moved across the board, blocking some of her pieces, save the ones farther out and the dragon.

Alia watches that mountain move, a crease appearing on her brow. "This game is rather annoying," she admits, heaving a little sigh and moving her spearman back. "It makes me feel no better, no, but I think you already knew this? I would fight in a war, to see her wed to a deserving Dornishman instead of this rogue who has eyes for her cousin. He is more maiden than Mariya," she laughs, mirthlessly.

"It is less annoying if you know how it works, like many things." This does not console anyone watching them be slowly and systematically decimated in game, however. Arnau sighs quietly, though his face is largely impassive except for a tightness at the corners of his mouth. He knew such words would not be consoling. "It is easy to say you would fight a war knowing little of warfare." He does tip his head in mild confusion regarding the cousin remark. "He does style himself so, this Maiden's Knight — more a maiden made knight than a champion of maidens."

Alia flashes mild amusement at the remark on warfare. "Little, yes, but not nothing mm? I say again, Arnau, I would fight in this war." Her small smile remains in place, as she ignores the board for a moment to continue, "It is not the first I know of Daevon Targaryen. At Sunspear, some years ago, it was the hand of a different Dornishwoman he sought — a cousin. This match, it may cause some tension, you see. I do not want that for precious Mariya."

"Your fight will have to take place off the field of battle," Arnau replies, well aware that men hacking away at each other with weaponry is not the only way a war is fought. "And why was he denied that hand at the time? Perhaps my imagination is lacking, but I find it hard to think that the opinion of the Queen would change so quickly from then until now. Ser Daevon Targaryen is barely a man at all and still looks like a boy." In other words: It could not have been long ago at all he would seek anyone's hand, young still to be married. "Many matches cause tension, though I understand the desire for it not to." One corner of his mouth lifts in a smile that carries no joy.

"He was a prisoner," Alia explains, "And Shadi a princess of Dorne. The feeling between them was mutual, I think, but her family could not consent to the match." She shrugs, a smooth gesture, chased by a weary sigh. "This dragon, the Maiden's Knight, I think he tries to shirk his duty to little Mariya already. There are rumors, and they do our family dishonor. The peace between our realms is as false as the peace between your House and these Reachlords, and it will not last." Of this, she is convinced.

"Marrying a prisoner would not look well for any family." Those chains and cages are supposed to be less visible. "I would not rely too heavily on rumors as facts," Arnau cautions, though he holds up a finger to still any protests that may spring to lips too quickly. "My House is widely believed to have razed this Wickham's Nest, but it is not so. Still," and here he lowers his hand again. "If he seeks to dishonor, then he should be at least spoken to, reprimanded…challenged, if that is not enough. The Targaryens cannot command peace and make efforts at every turn to undermine it." Though he does not look like he expects great things. "No peace lasts."

Ah ah ah! That finger is well-placed, for Alia had thought to interrupt, and instead allows him to continue, quietly amused again by the gesture. "It is the Targaryens who have come out the best from all these lies, hmm? It would be well for them, to hold a princess of ours when they come to try and take Dorne again. Perhaps the young knight chafes at this marriage because he knows." And again, she shrugs; it's entirely speculation, but plausible in her mind. "This talk is all very morbid though, no? I am sure we can find some more pleasant things to discuss for a time, Arnau. Is it my turn?" She glances back to the board.

"I do not think all the moving pieces of it are connected. It is not so simple as a game between two players. These pieces do not have minds of their own. There are no unexpected actions or consequences." Arnau gestures at the board between them with it's finely carved but still pieces. He is not a man convinced the Targaryen's are behind all that has happened. That they might take advantage of what has already befallen people, well…that seems far more likely. "It would be well for them. Perhaps they should bargain for a Targaryen Princess to come to Dorne as well." Then everyone has ball and chain hostages. "But I do not think Ser Daevon would chafe at a plan that seems above his ability to understand." He nods once and simply. "It is your turn, but yes. Let us talk no more of royal commands of marriage and debts of blood." After a pause he adds wryly, "If that is possible."

Alia can't help but to trill a little laugh, at the comment on her sister's betrothed. "The poor boy," says she, picking up her dragon again and sweeping him across the board rather poetically distant from the royal pair. Who even knows if the move is allowed — certainly not she. "But of course it is," she chides, turning the conversation instead to Dornish gossip. "Did you hear that Parizad Uller graces us with his presence once more?"

In this move, Alia is lucky she moved the dragon piece, as the only one that can fly over the mountain, but unlucky in that it puts the king in danger. "That…is not getting away from talk of debts of blood. I do not believe blood and death lay only in his past." Arnau moves one of his heavy horse pieces into the space the dragon once stood. "Your king is in danger," he warns as they continue to play and speak of new subjects.

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