(121-05-20) An Accordance of Blood
An Accordance of Blood
Summary: Lady Alaeyna Fowler arranges a meeting between Princess Ellia Martell and Ser Parizad Uller, a knight in exile for the dishonorable slaying of a Martell Prince.
Date: May 20, 2014
Related: In Good Company, Blades and Blood Oranges

Setting: Nestled in Ellia's first floor study in the White Door Manse.

Evening falls across the city to find the elder Princess tucked away in her study just like every night since her return from Sunspear. Even the servants have begun to whisper as of late of scarcely used bedchambers and candles burned to the wick within the study. A small tray of food chills to the side of her desk, clearly neglected from hours before, as Ellia signs her signature upon the parchment before her.

The Princess lets out a muted sigh as she rises from her desk and crosses over to peek out the window with a shake of her head. Turning to look back upon one of her guards looming near the door, she adds simply, "That will be all, for I have no intention of stepping out again this evening. You may be relieved." The guardsman grants a silent nod before turning and stepping out from the office, leaving the woman to her own thoughts for the time being.

When Parizad arrives at the White Stone Manse, Alaeyna greets him personally, invoking the rites of hospitality by sharing wine and bread with him in the main hall over a bit of small talk. Before long she leads him to the study. Hopefully Ellia has enjoyed her solitude, fleeting though such a thing must always be for a princess, because it's perhaps only a quarter or half of an hour before a rap sounds on the door. Alaeyna is the first to enter, the guard still stationed outside the door permitting the Lady Fowler access to the study, along with the guest she has in tow.

"Princess, allow me to present Parizad Uller," she says, slinking into the chamber with Parizad no doubt on her heels. She is dressed in bright cerulean trimmed with silver, an homage to her house and the role she plays as diplomat for the evening. And to the man in her company, she offers, "And she who needs no introduction, Princess Ellia Nymeros Martell, daughter of the revered Amarei, our first lady of Dorne."

It was a slow, strange, journey to the White Stone Manse, the official home in the city of Oldtown at this time for the scions of House Martell of Dorne. The named Parizad Uller had arrived visibly armed but outside the Manse itself stopped, silently and proceeded to perform a slow series of motions where he had surrendered his sword, a short-hafted spear with a comically large blade, a long knife and a wicked-looking curved knife that was clearly from Essos. Another knife in his boot. All of these were laid upon the ground in a gesture that was a bit excessive, but clearly had the trappings of some kind of ritual. The message of this gesture, however, was clear. 'I am placing my well-being in the hands of this house.'

Having entered, he didn't talk much beyond some raised eyebrows at the heraldry of this familiar line of Dornish Princes and Princesses. There was no need to speak to Alaeyna or anyone else here really, for this meeting had been plenty discussed already. As he is led into Ellia's study, the Princess can see him for the first time. While not freakishly tall he is not at all short, either. The man has adorned himself with some strange, exotic-smelling spice from the east that has a hint of clove or cinnamon. They do indeed perform strange things, over there. He is wearing probably the finest clothes he currently has in his possession, an emerald green tunic slashed with black and an embroidered purple cloak. Both of them are made from a relatively breathable fabric but the colors are brilliant.

As Alaeyna introduces him, he does not step any further forward, but merely bows his head a deep arc as he gets a good look at Ellia for the first time. "…Honor to your name, Princess Ellia Nymeros Martell, Daughter of the Revered Amarei." He repeats Lady Fowler's words. There's just a hint of a foreign lilt to his accent that tinges every few words of his more familiar Dornish one.

"So you are the infamous Uller, hmm?" the princess lilts curiously as her dark eyes make no motion to hide their critical assessment of him - scrutinizing the man from head to toe. Cloaked entirely in widow's garb - the finest silks to be found, but black as night all the same… Ellia acknowledges the man with a faint bow of her head.

Assessment taken, the Princess lets her attentions drift back towards the Lady Fowler with a polite nod, "I thank you for the introductions made, Lady Alaeyna. As for you…" her words trail slightly to lead her focus back to the Uller, "Honor and reverence aside, shall we not cut to the quick of things and address the question upon all minds present? Tell me, Ser Parizad - should I have reason to be concerned over your presence here in Oldtown?"

Alaeyna watches Parizad in silence as he addresses the princess, and if she was tense at all, she is no longer after he affords Ellia what she deems to be a suitable greeting. When she is addressed, she returns the nod at a respectful cant, replying to say "As I thank you, Princess, for accepting my petition for this meeting."

The Lady Fowler is thereafter content to let the pair take each others' measures, unobtrusively gravitating to a sideboard set up in the study with a decanter of wine, pouring some for herself while Ellia addresses the Uller exile, shooting a pleased look over her shoulder when the princess cuts right to the point.

There is an almost-imperceptible upturn of Parizad's lips as the word 'infamous' is uttered. It's not enough to be considered impolite or mocking, and he simply nods his head at this moniker. And the smile falls completely flat as he stands with his hands formally tucked behind his back. A sidelong glance is delivered to Lady Alaeyna Fowler, but for once, she is not who he is here to see. And so he clears his throat and begins, that odd lilt clinging to his words.

"Thank you as well. First, as a formality, I would like to offer my condolences over the passing of Ser Osric Dayne." He offers. "Whatever my reputation, I know of the man who would be called The Sword of the Morning, and this one in particular, and that name commands great respect. This world is a little more shrouded in darkness with his passing. But you did not receive me to hear these things." He apparently grasps obviousness. "Actually, I regret having not come earlier. It would have been…refreshing to fight at the side of Prince Maelys Targaryen again. I wanted to speak to you personally to assure you that you have many reasons to cast a shadow over my name. And I — have never had cause to take issue with you, or any member of your house. So no, Princess Ellia, you should not be concerned over this thing."

There is a visible twitch upon her lip at the mention of her fallen husband - her posture stiffening with the faintest degree before she manages to smooth herself once again into a measure of control. His words elicit a slow arching of her brow as Ellia listens in silence to each utterance with rapt attention. The clarity of his words seems to phase her little as she adds with simple sentiment in return, "You are most correct, for I did not agree to this meeting to hear you relay your condolences for my loss nor regale me with the measure of a man my husband was. Though it is welcome all the same."

Ellia pauses for a moment, her brow furrowing slightly before continuing further, "If you are aware of all my husband's finer attributes, you will do well to note that he was far better than I. Your reputation does indeed proceed you." The Princess slowly wanders back towards her desk, a gloved hand brushing over the surface idly as she does so, "Honor is something I hold in high regard and you, Ser Parizad, are a man reputed to have none." Her dark gaze lifts to regard him fully, "How is it, do you expect, I should weigh your assurance not to bring harm to House Martell… or any other House under my personal protection? After all, how does one trust a man who is reputed to have no honor? Were you in my place - what would you suggest?" She queries simply.

At mention of her fallen cousin, Alaeyna can be seen to take a particularly deep draught of the wine she's pilfered from Ellia's personal supply, in silent commemoration of the Sword of the Morning. She watches Ellia with a look that's both empathetic and admiring, lending the princess the full of her attention while she speaks, as if in a demonstration of solidarity. More than once she is prompted to nod, or to make low sounds of agreement at various of the formidable Martell woman's statements, and when her final query is posed to Parizad, Alaeyna's gaze shifts to him, as much scrutiny and calculation written in it as in the princess's own stare. She is testing him as much as her liege lady is, even in her observation.

There is a lateral twitch of the Exile's head after the Princess speaks — that, for which, is a period of time where he is carefully still. The matter of Osric is dropped as promised. "Hmmmmmmmmm." He begins, altogether smoothly, and his lips curl upwards in a tight smile. "I have already had a chance to treat with Lord and Lady Blackmont, in a chance encounter, and I regret that in my time in Dorne we had never met them in the Hellholt. Lady Alaeyna Fowler as well — " He now actually lifts one of his hands in a sharp gesture to the Fury of Skyreach, "is one who has never directed me an unkind word or injury, real or imagined. It is a surprise, I must say. I came to Westeros not to treat with the Dornish, but found they were already here."

He clears his throat as he now gets closer to the heart of the matter. "As for assurances, I have…certain regrets at the matter with your late cousin." This is a truthful, but /very/ measured statement. "The manner of our disagreement was never about House Martell, but rather, a private matter within the halls of my family. Whatever one may say about my Uncle and I, we have concerns about being counted as kinslayers. There was simply nothing more to do there. When I was offered a chance at a new life outside of Dorne, I took it. That life has since…changed. But this is all rather long-winded, Princess Ellia, and for that I must apologize, no?" That damnable accent! "Were I in your position, the first question I would ask is not 'can I trust this man,' but 'what does this man want?' And what this man wants, is no further conflict with the House of Martell. I actually came here to see Maelys Targaryen, after I had left the service of the Company of the Black Hand, and the Second Sons before them." Now /there/ is a story.

"Ah yes, the magical question of what it is you truly want. That might be an apropos question for me to ask and perhaps I may have even done so had I not believed my first would yield that answer all upon its own," Ellia echoes plainly before finally lowering herself into her chair as she gestures to other seats before her in offering of respite.

The elder Princess maintains her focus upon the Uller man, clearly not wishing to turn from his sight as she continues, "It has been my experience, Ser Parizad, that when one allows sentimentalities and emotions to enter the fold all they do is cloud one's vision from what is truly of import. I was not present for the slaying of my kin, and in truth, no measure of punishment or venom shall raise him again to the realm of the living. It is not for me to bear the burden of guilt for that day - the onus is upon you and you alone." She pauses for a moment of consideration before adding in a quieter manner, "Perhaps in some small way, that is a punishment greater than any I could ever bestow."

The mention of conflict inflicts a wry twist of her lips as she replies simply, "Conflict, Ser Parizad, is inevitable in Oldtown. I believe you shall find whether exile or not - the mere fact that Dornish blood pumps through your veins will be enough to mark you an enemy of most. As for House Martell? We have far too many enemies begging to spill our blood upon these streets amongst the Westerosi, I would rather not have the same from our own kinsmen as well. Exile or not, here and now you are Dorne still. The relevance of your actions back home has no bearing upon those in these city walls. If you so choose, Oldtown can be your road to redemption - a way back into Honor's grace and passage home. It all falls upon you to decide what you want most."

Rather than move to take a seat, Alaeyna stays relegated to the fringe for the moment, using her vantage point at the side of the room to look between the princess and the exile as they converse, herself content to partake of the wine while she listens to the questions posed and the answers given. Her dark stare is intent on the exchange, missing not a beat of it, and at the last, the promise of redemption dangled by Ellia as though a carrot before a horse, she flits her attention back to Parizad, studying him with a marked intensity that seems to be attempting to read what his response will be even before he gives it.

"I am not implying you are mercenary, Princess, and if you received it that way, I apologize for phrasing this improperly." Parizad says again. His eyes do drift to the Lady of Skyreach but he is quite clear on who he is here to see. He /also/ does not elaborate on Ciro Martell's death. Whatever he thinks of it, although word had it he had a grand laugh that day.

"From what I have seen of these people of the Reach, they are exactly as Prince Maelys describes them." Maelys, Maelys, always Maelys. It's like he clings to the man's name like a lifeline, either oblivious to that man's own black reputation or hedging a calculating bet. "I pledge to you this. You may take it in the name of the Faith of the Seven, but I also pledge this in the name of the Lord of Light. You will have no cause to fear me, or my actions, in this city or this place. And if I may be so bold as to offer, the Dornish I have met thus far are far and away preferable to any people I have treated with of any nation or city for many years. My reputation may precede me, but it also may carry to the ears of your enemies, no? There is the matter of my Uncle, but he is not here and I have already made it clear I will not raise my hand against him should he show his face." The smile there was genuine and very smooth, but when Dear Uncle is mentioned, it turns a little cold.

"Pledges are all well and good, Ser Parizad, but until they are upheld with actions they sadly mean little. I urge you to convince me, not in words, but in action that I do not misplace my faith in believing you worth the investment of time and leniency," Ellia remarks easily her gaze finally sliding to regard Lady Fowler for the first time in a while. The mention of his reputation does elicit a bow of her head agreement as she continues, "No one shall dispute your martial prowess upon the field and you are very much correct in stating it can be an asset to our people."

The brief chill of tension is not missed when he speaks of his Uncle, once again drawing the attentions of the elder Princess as her brow arches with interest, "Whatever blood exists between those within House Uller is of no concern to House Martell nor will it be unless it ceases to be contained within the confines of your own walls. Familial disputes remain outside of our jurisdiction unless they seek to threaten peace between houses of Dorne or foreign relations."

Again the Princess rises from her seat, her hands resting easily upon the desktop as she declares simply, "As you came to me, in good faith, and seem to be willing to make amends - I see no reason to deny you the hospitality extended to each and every Dornishman currently in residence within the city. Given the lack of foreign hospitality and disregard for simple civility those under Targaryen rule seem to have for our kind, I hereby extend to you, Ser Parizad, the protection of House Martell in Oldtown until such time as you prove otherwise unworthy. Essentially with this comes the expectation that you shall not seek out trouble and should it find you - inform me so that I might intercede on your behalf before it becomes too irreparable. While it may not be much, it is the best I am at liberty to offer given our location."

And that — wasn't exactly a victory, /but/ it was a reason to keep fighting. Parizad weighs Ellia's statement and accepts her weight of judgment before him. "You just said, Princess Ellia Martell, all I was hoping to hear. The Hellholt is not a hospitable place and if my uncle truly has little influence here, my pledge is simple. But these things are never simple."

He bows his head deeply and rises, managing a respectable enough expression. "I would also offer one thing — the small inroad I have with House Targaryen might benefit you, /and/ me. But you have done me an honor here. And you will find that those of the blood of the Hellholt have long memories." His smile and words are actually gracious, now, and it is truly an odd thing.

And finally the Lady Fowler speaks, once a seeming accord has been struck between the pair. "Princess, Parizad, might I propose the shedding of a few drops of blood to seal the peace between you?" Even as she asks, she palms a knife from the sheathe of them worn on her thigh, a slender thing with a keen point that could do some damage, if so inclined. But what she proposes is merely ceremonial, the pricking of fingers or palms to bind the bond forged between them in good faith.

Ellia remains silent as she digests the Uller's words, consideration furrowing her brow once more as she offers in a direct manner, "Nothing is ever simple, this is true. While this is not Dorne and my powers here limited in that regard - I can promise you this. Should your Uncle come here seeking to bring whatever issue lingers between you two here, he will be dealt with accordingly. Oldtown is too small and our people facing far too many enemies amongst them, to endure them within our community as well. I shall not let anyone, regardless of their standing, jeopardize whatever limited peace we can sustain for our people here."

The mention of the seal of the accord inspires a turn of her head as Ellia nods once in agreement, "If it is agreeable to Ser Parizad, I see no reason why not." Even as she says so, the Princess begins to remove the glove from her right hand - finger by finger, before laying it upon the top of her desk and holding out her palm.

"And then you, Princess Ellia, have offered this man who has traveled a very long way all he could ever ask for. And this man sees that you have remained true to your reputation." Parizad Uller states, his hawk-like nose tilting upwards as he eyes the woman.

"I have shed blood in the name of causes that were not righteous. This is a thing I would do freely, no?" He looks towards Lady Fowler again. Not deferent, necessarily, but there is no illusion here that he is not eyeing her as a guide. He cautiously takes a few steps forward and raises his hand. With an upturned palm.

As the arbiter of their armistice, Alaeyna does the honors. Blade in hand, she first presses its tip to the meaty part of Ellia's palm, just a prick shallow enough to summon up a bead or two of blood, and then she lends the same treatment to Parizad's proffered palm, letting her knife bite him deeper than she dared cut the princess. "House Fowler bears witness to this accord between Ellia, daughter of House Martell, and Parizad, son of House Uller. He or she who dishonors it risks invoking not only the wrath of the other, but of House Fowler as well. May we build our alliance on the backs of our enemies."

By the way, she presses the bloodied palms together as she speaks.

"Let it be so," Ellia echoes simply as her hand is pressed palm to the exile of Uller's own - allowing their blood to seal the pact. She allows the hands to meet long enough to cement the deal before eventually withdrawing her own as she glances between the pair, "If there is nothing else in need of address, I do still have a few more invoices to look over regarding a recent shipment of supplies." Letting her gaze linger a few moments more upon the Uller, she adds simply, "As you are now amongst us, Ser Parizad, you are welcome to come and go from the Manse as you so please. I ask only that you do not bring any of the Westerosi within without first informing us in advance. Ser Maelys being an exception of course."

Ellia's pronouncement, and Alaeyna's pronouncement both are received with a curious, respectful detachment on the part of Parizad Uller. He's following rather than leading, which is a truly odd thing for the man's demeanor. Parizad's hand is held to the blade, as he says this in a soft tone of voice. "May our enemies fear us, and may their deeds be brought into the light. And may our purposes run together like the great River." This is strangely — sincere? If he's bluffing, he's doing a damn good job.

His hand is brought to clasp in the oath and his thick eyebrows rise sharply. And there is a twitch of a smile when Maelys is mentioned. "I am glad we are of a common cause in this. I have been led to believe from my interactions with the Prince that he can help me, and help you. Whatever these fools in this city say of him."

Whatever bit of blood clings to the tip of her knife, Alaeyna swipes it off on her thumb, replacing the blade in the sheathe and suckling briefly on her fingertip. Her dark stare sparkles as Parizard embellishes their pact, a predatory smile spreading across her face for the words he so sincerely swears to. "I think you ought by now know that both Princess Ellia and I are women who prefer to make our own judgments than to adopt blindly those of others."

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