(121-06-01) Love and Marriage and R'hllor
Love and Marriage (and R'hllor)
Summary: In which Daevon's betrothal to Mariya is discussed at length, and when Alaeyna's done recruiting Daevon to her cause, Parizad attempts recruiting her to his.
Date: 1 June 2014
Related: The Fiery Heart
Players:
Daevon..Alaeyna..Parizad..

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 Maiden's Knight receives a notecard, written in the Lady Fowler's hand, inviting him to join her one afternoon at the Acacia and Leopard Hall that they might get acquainted, having one thing in particular in common: a certain princess of House Martell.

It is said date and time, and Alaeyna awaits her guest, having arranged a private feast for them and some entertainment, as well. All she wants for is his arrival.

Included in the 'entertainment' is one Dornishman in a bright green tunic, who is reclined in a seat, sipping on some fine ol' Dornish strongwine. Parizad's hawk-faced features peer down over the edge of his cup serenely as he stretches out in his chair. His purple cloak, stitched with bells hangs over the back of it. He seems, well, just relaxed, and without a care. Which is a unique thing for him.

Daevon's dressed up, favouring light coloured silks in silver and violet as opposed to the colours of his house. His clothes are sleek, stylish as ever a Targaryen should wear, but cut to allow freedom of movement. There's a little bit more ornamentation and embroidery than he'd prefer but such is the price to pay for being royalty. He arrives when instructed to do so, his first time in he drinks in the surroundings as he is shown to where Lady Fowler is.

The Lady Fowler is in Parizad's company when Daevon arrives, but she rises swiftly to greet her honored guest, crossing the floor in flowing silver silks cut scandalously in the Dornish style, baring skin bronzed by the sun. "Ser Daevon," she greets him, brazenly offering each of his cheeks a kiss, a customary greeting among their countrymen, "Thank you for indulging my invitation. I am pleased to welcome you to the Acacia and Leopard Hall, our home away from home, and offer you all the boons of hospitality I have to offer while you are here. I have had a selection of Dornish delights prepared for us, but if you want for anything, please let me know." She turns to gesture to a little band of musicians, who begin playing a ballad at her prompting, giving the sense that this is not the usual entertainment the hall has on offer.

There's no real pomp and fanfare on the part of Parizad, to be honest. But the reclining man does in fact amble out of his seat in a smooth motion as he sets his cup down and nods his head in accordance with respect given to the royal family of the land. He's letting Lady Fowler do the talking now, it would appear, content to wait, linger, and watch. Although the curl on his lips is one that is clearly bemused by something or oather.

"Thank you," Daevon says a soft smile on his lips. "It is a pleasure to be invited here, Lady Fowler, and a delight to meet you. To what do I owe the honour of all this?" There's a hint of curiosity as he gazes around, at the musicians, the food, everything else. He offers Parizad a nod of greeting but no more than that.

Alaeyna ushers Daevon to the table reserved for their use, an actual table with chairs rather than the low lounge seating that is so popular amongst their kin, a deferential nod to the customs of his lands. But the food that's been laid out for them is native to Dorne, flatbread and olives and pastes of chickpeas and peppers and trays of cheese and fruit, all of it light and well paired with their legendary strongwine. "I suppose we may attribute it all to Princess Mariya, who is like a sister to me, and who I have adored seeing grow from a girl to a woman these last few years." When Parizad falls in with them, she indicates the Dornishman with a sweep of her hand, and says, "Allow me to present Parizad Uller, whose history is as storied as your own. I would propose he join us to table."

"Storied, in one way or another, your Grace." Parizad does speak in this instance, his accent lilting with the Rhoynish tones of Dorne but a hint of something — else, mixed in. He does, however, remain standing as he looks at the spread. Which is quite a spread. All things considered. He does, however, wait until called upon. Whatever the man's storied past, he's somewhat housebroken here. It's also notable that he's looking upon Alaeyna with a certain eye, it's not quite deference, but the look of a man who is letting another lead him without objection. Which might seem a little strange. To her.

"It is a pleasure to meet you," Daevon says to the introduction of Parizad. He takes a seat at the table, lingering on the fieriest of those peppers then searching for something other than that wine to drink. "She's grown into such a fine woman," he says of Mariya.

Once they've all been seated, Alaeyna motions forth one of the hall's attendants, who pours wine for she and Parizad, with refreshing pomegranate juice for Daevon, the fruit being a favored one among the sons and daughters of their homelands. "Please, take what you like," she says of the refreshments, wasting no time in partaking of some cheese and honey, regarding the Targaryen prince with an openly appreciative gaze. "A very fine woman, bound by her honor and her duty to Dorne."

Well, since nobody said 'no' precisely, the brightly-clothed Dornishman bounds from his seat to the table with a lazy, relaxed gait, his hands at his sides and making his way towards the table where Alaeyna and Daevon are currently dining and conducting business. He will seat himself at the Lady Fowler's right hand, if possible, sitting downwards in one smooth motion as his dark eyes linger upon the Targaryen Prince's form.

Daevon nods at Alaeyna. "Thank you." It's those spicy peppers he heaps on his plate, with meat, the salty olives, and flatbread, it's all picked at with obvious relish, although he hardly gorges. "I've missed this." He speaks quietly. He offers Parizad a smile, then he nods to Alaeyna. "She is," he agrees.

"And she is so very fond of you. It is understandable, of course. I have a child by her father, and I was at Sunspear when she was brought home, and you her rescuer. I do not forget the way she looked on you then, as a true hero. And look at you now. Any girl would be thrilled to find herself betrothed to so fine a prince, and a virtuous knight besides." Alaeyna says all this conversationally, partaking of both the food and the drink with a similar gusto as Daevon himself, glancing occasionally at Parizad on her right, though the main thrust of her attention is for the prince.

Oh, Alaeyna, do not mind Parizad. The man is clearly amused by something, if it is a distant, wry amusement, as he helps himself to a portion of spiced fish and peppers, and an an exotic mix of what looks to be wheatgrains and oil. He meticulously arranges them all around his plate. "I understand your family is quite travelled, Your Grace."

"She is very dear to me," Daevon says, quietly. "She seemed so very young, back then, but then so was I. For all that she'd endured, she's only let it strengthen her, not turn her bitter. There's such a sweetness to her, a kindness and compassion. But then you know her well, better than I." He nods at Parizad. "We are."

"I'd not say any of us knows her better, but perhaps we know different sides to her, nay? She's always been such a sweet girl, and there are so many people who want so much for her, happiness most of all. I'm sure I need not ask if we are aligned in that desire. I can see it on your very face, hear it in the fond way you speak of her." Alaeyna smiles for the Maiden's Knight, tearing a piece of flatbread in her hands and then dabbing it liberally in a dish of oil as she speaks.

Daevon nods in agreement. "What do you think will make her happy? What is it that you want for her? What would you have me do?" He meets her gaze with his own amethyst eyes, trying to seek answers within. There's an earnestness to him, a sincerity.

In response to this, Parizad merely munches on a pepper that was dipped in a spiced oil spread, carefully adhering to manners that one would expect from a nobleman from a distingished line. Whatever his circumstances are, currently. He washes it down with some wine and sits up a little in his chair.

"If — I may. My Lady Fury? Prince Daevon Targaryen?" He finally purrs.

And Alaeyna is equally sincere, so that she is led to ask the knight, "May I speak plainly? I do not wish to cause offence, of course, and I hope you will forgive me for not being so adept at courtly manners. I have ever been the sort who speaks plainly, and I'm sure you can imagine that not everyone appreciates that particular habit of mine." In fact, it's only Parizad who cuts her off at the pass, prompting her to look his way when he rises. "Of course, do go on. I've been positively demanding the prince's attention since he sat down, haven't I?"

Daevon looks at Parizad curiously. "Of course." He then says to Alaeyna. "I would not have you speak any other way, and I do not take offence that easily. I prefer directness," he admits.

Well, Parizad spoke, so there's no stopping it now. He does wash down another bite with a mouthful of strongwine, but he is taking very measured sips. The cup goes 'clink' as it is set upon the table. "Amongst the Myrish, there is a saying. When courting a Lady, a man must ask himself what should please this lady now. And what should please her in five years. And what should please her in ten." He pauses a beat. "I assume it would keep going, and going, and going, but the longer these little proverbs run, the less effective they are, no? If I may be so bold as to ask — what do you intend to give Princess Mariya Martell as a legacy? Dornish women are also like this. They wish to be — remembered." There's a subtle glance at Alaeyna but he does not elaborate on it now.

Alaeyna tilts her head to regard Parizad as he sets about addressing the table, her eye wandering him from head to foot and back again in an unabashed appreciation for the figure he cuts and his fine presentation. His sentiment is one that brings her to nod, and when he glances her way he'll find he's won for himself a pleased smile. She reaches for her own cup of wine, drinking from it fluently as if to toast the sentiment. When she at length pries her stare off of him and pivots it back to Daevon, it's with an arch to her brows that speaks of an eagerness to hear what he might say.

Daevon considers Parizad's question, thoughtfully. Eventually when he replies it's with the answer chosen carefully. "That is something I will need to think on, and to speak to her of. It is a good question, a good saying. But I think any answer is between the two of us."

Daevon adds. "So many people want so much for her, as you say. But I think, it's important to respect not only what she wants for herself, but also what she chooses to do. I know she'll choose duty over happiness. I don't think they need be mutually exclusive though."

Well, Parizad's said his piece here so for the time being, he is content to concentrate on his refreshments, both food and drink in measured bites and sips. He does however, raise his own cup to Alaeyna in response to her raise. If he was looking like anything other than her henchman here, that image is slowly fading away. It is an — odd fit for him, for some reason.

"Sometimes duty is happiness. A clever Princess, Prince, Lord, or Lady can mix both."

Now it's Daevon who is the subject of Alaeyna's measuring gaze, and when she speaks it's in the same pleasant manner as their conversation has been to this point, even as she says, "But surely you know that there can be no choice for her in this matter. Your betrothal has been decided by higher powers than either of you. She would marry you so very happily, and would delight in doing that duty. She has herself enumerated for me the many reasons that you'd make her a fine husband." There's a definite "but" left unsaid, and it seems as though it may be right on the tip of the Lady Fowler's tongue.

Daevon speaks that word. "But?" he asks Alaeyna. And then he sighs. "What would you have me do? Can you see a way out of her duty for her? Something that would free her from this marriage that has been dictated? Would you have me shatter it to pieces?"

"There are much, much worse men that Princess Mariya Martell could be betrothed to, one would assume. These duties are the plague of every bloodline, it would seem." Parizad says, conversationally, as he scarfs down a piece of flatbread. "I have heard that she has been treated well." This is directed towards Daevon with a good-natured bemusement.

She did ask if she might speak freely, and so she does, paying no heed at the moment to Parizad's interjection. It's Daevon she addresses directly when she says simply, "Yes." Alaeyna punctuates the word with a draught of her strongwine, lingering over it and savoring the taste. "I would like nothing more than to give our princess the gift of choice, but it seems to me that in this instance we must put our heads together and determine how we might do that, if it is that we are in agreement she should have it." She reaches for an olive, and pops it into her mouth, regarding Daevon thoughtfully as she chews.

"Do you believe her mother would have allowed her to be betrothed to any of those worse men?" Daevon asks. "Mariya is well loved by many. I have wondered why me? The King does not know me, I have older brothers who are unwed, I am hardly in a strong place politically. But I have spoken with Princess Amarei Martell and she had the chance to watch me for months. That she's deemed me worthy to wed her daughter, that's such an incredible piece of trust she's placed in me." He sighs softly. "And I know that there's more going on and there's so much politics behind this."

"Politics do not interest me. I speak to you as someone who cares not for them, and who cares singularly for her. She might have great happiness in a love match, but she'd never put that happiness before you, so great is her admiration and appreciation for your friendship." Alaeyna offers the words gently, but plainly, forgetting the food and drink altogether in favor of their conversation. "There is always a solution to be had, if one is sought. You need not pay the price."

At this point, Parizad's outside of the political game, at least this would be notable if one were to measure the look on his face. His hawk-nosed features are brought up in a measured glance between Dornish Lady and Targaryen prince. And what does he do? Munch on a piece of flatbread. And then comments. "Many have been placed in unhappy matches. Sometimes their names have been 'Targaryen' and sometimes 'Martell.'" He observes, but his tone is carefully neutral.

"Nor I," Daevon says. "I would have her marry for love if I could. I just don't know how it is to be accomplished. If there were another Martell," he sighs. "Princess Shadi has absolutely no interest in living outside Dorne though, and I can think of no other who would take Mariya's place. I just do not know. I do not think they will offer her to be wed to another Targaryen. I do not care what price I need pay, as long as Mariya does not need to. I'm not a clever man though and I can see no solution."

"It sounds as though you have need of a clever friend," Alaeyna tells the Targaryen prince, flashing him a winning smile as though to imply she fancies herself that clever friend. "A clever friend who has clever friends besides. If you say to me that you seek a solution, I will say to you that I will help you find one." She sits back in her chair, the better to regard Daevon across the table.

"The world is in need of a clever friend." This is all that Parizad says, in fact. He chews slowly but offers no pithy Essosi witticisms or anything else. He merely looks between the two who are dining. And finally he does offer something here. The obvious. "I am sensing an…agreement between two great leaders, no?"

And there's that damnable Parizad Uller smirk.

"Please," Daevon says to Alaeyna. "If you can find a solution, please do." He's looking pained though as he says it. "I want Mariya to be free to marry the man she loves." He just looks at Parizad, thoughtfully.

The pained concession prompts Alaeyna to touch a hand to her chest, as if terribly moved. "And in those words I see everything she told me was great about you, ser. I knew I might have an ally in you to hear that sweet girl speak of her affection for you. She is a great measurer of character." She looks sideways at Parizad, his words prompting her to smile. "Let us enjoy our food and drink and speak of solutions another time, nay? The Shadow City wasn't built overnight."

"But the City itself was an idea. Before a stone was laid." Parizad counters helpfully towards Alaeyna. The hawk-nosed man smiles altogether-too-politely. He dips his remaining flatbread in a sauce of tomato and pickle, scooping it up and downing the whole thing. His fingertips drum on the table's surface.

"Thank you," Daevon says, turning his attention to the food. He picks at it, for all that it's delicious fare, washing it down with the pomegranate juice. "So, what brings the two of you to Oldtown?" he asks finally.

This is a subject Alaeyna speaks on with rather less relish, and it's evident from her expression. "I was charged with delivering ransom monies for our kith following the Trial of the Seven. I linger for love of Princess Mariya and her sister, who mourn, as I do, the loss of our greatest champion. They have both known great sadness these past weeks, and it is an inauspicious circumstance to be visiting Oldtown, but I am pleased if I might leave here one day with new friends for it." It's as much said to Daevon as to Parizad, and it's the latter her gaze lingers on as she speaks.

"I am here, merely, because it is the best place for me to be." Parizad finally states after a long measured pause, considering Daevon's words. "I spent long years in Essos as a Captain in the Second Sons, and Captain-General of the Company of the Black Hand, but Sellsword Work does little to nourish a man's soul."

So basically Parizad managed to tell a great, complicated story without actually confirming anything. Alaeyna's gaze is met though, indicating there is much more to the story of why he is here than he is letting on.

"Ser Osric's death was a great loss," Daevon says. "He was a good man. And I am glad to know Mariya has a friend such as you in the city." He nods at Parizad. The names of those companies cause his eyebrows to raise slightly. "What do you find does nourish the soul?"

"Thank you," says Alaeyna at length when the knight remembers her cousin with his words, leaning forward to retrieve her goblet of wine, spill a drop of libation, and drink in his name. When Daevon poses his question to Parizad, she casts her gaze in his direction, studying him intently in anticipation of his answer.

There's a curious response from Parizad here as he lingers around his winecup and sets it down now, addressing Daevon's question, head-on. His arms are crossed as he eyes the Maiden's Knight and the Fury of Skyreach with what appears to be equal measure (even if he spends more time with the latter). "What I find nourishes the soul? Challenge. This is where the challenge is." Well, that made sense.

Daevon nods in response to Parizad's words although he seems uncertain as to what to say in response and so he says nothing, instead choosing to eat more food.

Alaeyna nods too, similarly lavishing the Uller with her attentions, even going so far as to lean in and whisper at his ear before returning to her plate and a wedge of cheese and saying to Daevon, "How do you like our little Dornish oasis, ser? I would be pleased to host you again another evening, if you wish." Oh right, that band is still playing, and now they're on to a Dornish folk song that's rather lively and has a few dirty words.
You whisper, "Continue biting your tongue, and I shall see it handsomely rewarded when we are done." to Parizad.

To this, Parizad's attention merely lingers upon his plate, his dark eyes lolling towards the Lady who leads the conversation for now. It is a diminishing thing, just crumbs and ends of bread and olives and grapes, which he added later. He eyes Daevon now with a tilt of his head after Alaeyna speaks, as if anticipating the answer to the question.

"Thank you, I would like that," Daevon says with a smile. "It's lovely. Not as much as Dorne is but… well lovely." And then there's a flash in his eyes as he remembers. "There is a musician, Madrighal Sand, he's extremely good. Have you had a chance to meet him, he's recently arrived in the city and he's currently staying at the Quill."

"Madrighal," Alaeyna echoes the name, it sounding musical on her tongue, for the Dornish lilt that colors her every word. "I cannot think of meeting him before. I must compliment you for keeping company with a Sand. You are much more progressive than many of your peers. We have not been well received by Oldtown, as a whole." A servant arrives to clear out the picked-over platters, leaving behind a plate of fruit for dessert.

"There are more Sands in Oldtown than there are grains of sand in the Hellholt." Parizad's smile is flashed at Alaeyna before his gaze drifts over to study Daevon. And dessert. The man is all smiles, it would seem. "Again, I see you are well-travelled, your Grace." He concludes, awaiting the final plate but not taking advantage of it first.

"There are several Sands that I would call friend," Daevon says. "I do so because they're good men, not because it's progressive or not. I mentioned Madrighal since I think he's seeking employment and somewhere safer to reside." He smiles. "Not as well travelled as you. I long to see Essos one of these days."

"Please give him my name, and bid him seek me out here," Alaeyna asks of Daevon, leaning forward to take a blood orange, already peeled, from the plate of sweet offerings. She rips it in two, offering a half to Parizad and letting her hand brush his in a shameless demonstration of affection.

And to that, the Dornishman's head inclines to one side in a curious regard towards Alaeyna but be does not elaborate beyond a small smile shot in her direction. And then that smile looms towards Daevon. "A Man's path is ordained by those Higher than him. Perhaps you will, Your Grace. And with your blood, it is a good thing to know where you come from." Oh well then, dessert has arrived. He starts reaching for the fruit.

Daevon nods. "I will. Thank you." He nods at Parizad. "I intend to, well after the year is out I suppose, since first the wedding matter has to be resolved."

"We shall see it resolved, I am confident," Alaeyna says to Daevon at the last, peeling a section of her orange and biting into its dark, sweet flesh. "I know that you shall have a life-long friend in her, and House Martell by extension, for your selflessness."

"And to the Fire, this is offered." Parizad offers a lift of his winecup in a toast. What a strange man. He seems to have done this in response to the accord displayed by both Alaeyna and Daevon though, and his expression is entirely congenial.

"Perhaps," Daevon says, softly. He takes an orange himself, delicately eating the segments, getting juice all over his fingers. "I do love her, you know, dearly. Too much so to see her shackled to a marriage to me. Too much to take advantage of her youthful infatuation. She's strong in so many ways I am not. I do envy the man who has her love and he had better do right by her. If he ever hurts her I will be seeking him out. But I think they deserve the chance of happiness, it's so seldom we nobles have the chance to marry for love. And for all you Dornish have your paramours, I know that she'd always hoped to find everything she could in the man she married."

It wins a genuine smile from Alaeyna, this speech, and she assures him, "It is clear that you love her. A lesser man, with other motives, would not be capable of speaking as judiciously as you have on this matter. And now that I have spoken with you myself, I regret what I have asked you to do, even if it is the righteous thing to do in these circumstances. Please know that for this, you shall have a life-long friend in House Fowler, too."

"There are many things that have been said about the House of Targaryen." The words are uttered by Parizad conversationally here as he leans back in his seat and nurses his wine. "Here." His accent lilts slightly. "In Dorne." Another. "In Essos, and her cities, of which I have had some experience." And with that, the blood orange he snagged from Alaeyna gets popped in his mouth. "And here, you have confirmed all of the most noble of them. This reflects well on the Blood of the Dragon, no?" His smile is charming. Probably deliberate, but — well, is anyone honest these days?

Daevon shakes his head. "Do not regret it. I would marry her, you know. I think we could find happiness together. Certainly a strong partnership. We are good friends and that is far more to build a marriage on than most have. I do not think we would argue, nor be cruel to eachother. But, it's not the fire, not the passion she deserves, and certainly not the great love. And… well politics would have her held here, a hostage to prevent a war. I don't want that, she's so much more than that. She deserves more than to live in a country where the people hate her simply because of who she was born." He smiles at Parizad. "Thank you, although…" he cuts off what he was about to say and smiles wryly, repeating. "Thank you."

And it's as excellent a desired outcome of their meeting as she could have hoped for, so much that Alaeyna is bid to rise to her feet and kiss Daevon on each of his cheeks again, inspired by the sentiment of his speech. "We are of one mind on this matter, and I'd not dared dream to hear you say those very words. She is a treasure of our nation, and it is a credit to her nature that you are able to see her as such, too. I cannot thank you enough for having accepting my invitation, and for the easy sleep I shall know tonight with one less worry on my mind."

"Mmm. I was not raised to mutter needless platitudes. But I am thankful to see this through, and speak truthfully." Parziad observes, standing upon his own two feet, rather swiftly, and raising his cup. It is a happy, cheery toast. "May there be friendship between House Targaryen and the House of Martell. And friendship between Westeros and of Dorne. And of —" Well, he was going to say something else but his own reluctance to cut him off. He's grinning all the same.

Once the group have exchanged all requisite pleasantries and Alaeyna has seen her guest from the hall, she returns to Parizad's company, ordering a fresh decanter of wine be served to them at a couch near the back of the hall, where they might sit and converse. More patrons have started to trickle in now for a bit of recreation to see them through the evening hours, the whores coming out to mingle and lure clients upstairs every so often. All this to say, it's good timing for the Maiden's Knight to have taken his leave.

Settling into a comfortable repose on the low couch she's claimed for their own, Alaeyna cannot help but smile like the cat that's got the cream, taking a sip from her freshly filled goblet and bidding Parizad join her with a pat to the seat at her side.

And join he does. Parizad Uller has risen from the table, with an empty goblet and a cheery, if drawn expression after having spent some time watching the Maiden's Knight leave. It takes a few long minutes as the Uller man settles into a chair. His own expression is bemused, holding on his face as he considers, "I believe I understand why the Fury of Skyreach is so regarded now, mmm?" He inquires, tilting his head to one side as he refills his cup.

A triumphant vision in silver silks, Alaeyna's smile borders on obnoxious, particularly when it deepens as a result of Parizad's musings. "Regarded?" she echoes, looking about them inquisitively. "By whom, I wonder? By yourself?" She takes a drink of her cup of wine, eyeing him over its rim, and once she's slaked her thirst well enough, she leans across the distance between them, as if to confide in him, and confesses wickedly, "Victory makes me wet as the Scourge."

"That is a thing about this land. The titles are given out by others. Always by others." Parizad intones, in a tone that is a little bit dismissive, a little bit, well, smug. He's not talking, really, beyond that. But, he does acquire a refill, and for all the man's steady drinking it becomes clear that he is careful at rationing these things.

He arcs his head to one side in a gentle motion to study Alaeyna with a careful focus of his attention and murmurs one thing. "Then one must tread carefully. For it is easy to lose one's footing." He pauses a beat. "In the rain." Oh, did he say that? He said that.

"You're right. It is a victory only half won, and there is work yet to do. But I shall drink all the drink the same, for victories are hard won in this city and my spirits are high." Alaeyna drains what's left in her cup in a devouring draught, refilling it in short order with fresh supply from the decanter. Now it's her turn to study Parizad, and she does so with a look that's altogether more serious than her speech might indicate her to be prone to for her mood. She tells him, "I was pleased to have you by my side. And I meant what I said of new friendships." It's a funny word for whatever game they're playing at, but friendship suits well enough.

"Sometimes I wonder how you would fare as a Sellsword, to know of time like this." Parizad observes idly as he fingers his wine cup with careful, spindling motions before he has his own refilled. "I was pleased to have served by your side. You granted me succor in a place I would have not expected to find it, or you.." He admits. "No? And friendships are a good thing no matter their nature, I would assume." He is in high spirits, or at least content enough to feign such.

"Terribly, I expect," Alaeyna says of sellswords, her grin lingering at the very notion. "I don't very much like following instructions, and I imagine it would want for rather more discipline than I've ever been inclined towards. I do well enough when I am motivated by my cause, but fighting another man's battles?" A mild cluck of her tongue says all she need say, and then she's tossing back a little more strongwine, her dark gaze sparkling with the fire it lights in her blood. At length, she finds his name upon her tongue. "Parizad Uller. I'm pleased that fate has seen fit to throw us together again. I wonder what my father would make of it." And she spills a drop for his memory of the wine, then treats herself to another drink in his honor for having invoked his name.

"All war is is fighting another's battles, except for a chosen few." Parizad observes with a certain wry distance, his smile forming abruptly here as his smile turns into a predator sort of thing. "To be those chosen few, My Lady Fowler, is a privilege few will ever know." The pause that ensues is long and deep as his dark eyes sparkle, leaning upon his chair.

"Perhaps this is why we two understand each other. What you did now was a clever thing." He indicates as he slams back a very measured sip of the Dornish strongwine. "This Prince Daevon is not entirely how he was described to me. Tchhh. If he loved the Princess Mariya as he says, he would take better care to ensure her safety. I do not understand how this royalty remains in power."

"For a man. But a woman may pick her battles and fight only the ones of interest to her." Alaeyna's riposte is a defiant one, and it's with a sly joy that she gainsays the Uller, arching her brows at him as she speaks. She sits curled up like a cat, her legs tucked beneath her, an arm slung over the low back of the couch, goblet of wine to hand. Between sips from it, she admits, "He was unlike my own expectation. I'd thought he would require more… convincing."

"And this is a woman's way of making war." Parizad states, as he reclines a bit in his seat with left hand cradled underneath his chin. His dark brows arch a little as he gives her a slow, and very weighty regard. "Well. That is a thing to worry about. Are you concerned for the Princess Mariya? Then do you think giving her a weakling husband is at all doing her a favor? No. Of course I do not, either." Speaking of cats, his smile — that is catlike.

"I am but a woman, after all," Alaeyna says with a helpless spread of her hands, as if to undermine her own potential in his estimation. But it's evident from her smile that she attaches little weight to her words, and it's the princess and her (hopefully) aborted betrothal she'd prefer to speak to. "I fear I may be forced to respect him, loathe as I am to use the word in the context of a Westerosi. He is alive to the fate that would befall her were they wed, and seems, in earnest, as eager to see it thwarted as I am. I must appreciate him for that. I can see why she admires him."

Speaking of cats, Alaeyna slinks with feline grace toward the end of her couch nearest to Parizad's seat, so that the pair are close enough for him to smell the perfume dabbed at the hollow of her throat, a wanton, spicy musk. She casts her gaze out over the floor of the hall, flitting from whore to whore, and asks him, "Which would you have for your pleasure tonight? I promised your tongue a sweet reward.

"He is a pliant, useful creature who serves what purposes he claims to stand by. In a way, this is noble." Parizad describes Daevon now, musing over his cup of strongwine as he sets it down again. "There are many such men in this world, no? Still, it is nice to see that in this land of so many faithless there are a few that would rise above their lesser counterparts." His lips turn upwards as his teeth flash again into a predatory smile at her.

This done, Alaeyna brings the conversation to another topic, taking in a shallow breath with a whiff of his nose. Yes, he smells it, most definitely, as he looks to the girls indicated with a muted display of interest. Each one receives a narrowing of his eyes while that smile never leaves. "I see I am a faithful man, whatever certain of our countrymen would say of me. I would tell you what I would ask." His head turns towards Alaeyna now, expectantly. "I would have you accompany me. To a place you have never gone." He holds up his free hand. "And not in a way that would bring you dishonor, Great Lady Fury." Unfortunately his smile is entirely too much of a potent thing here.

It's an apt description, and it brooks no argument from the Lady Fowler, who only reaches across the divide between them to touch her goblet to his, a brush of metal on metal that harkens something of a toast. "To rising above our lesser counterparts," she intones, taking a drink to punctuate her words. Now the whores get her attention again as she tries to trace Parizad's gaze as it shifts from girl to girl, watching them and then, in turn, watching him, as if to attempt to measure his interest as he assesses each one. The smile Skyreach's legendary fury offers her companion is a toothy, pleased one when his attention returns to her, intrigue written plain on her face to hear the request he makes. "Very well. I have placed my trust in you once already today and found myself rewarded for it. Why not a second time?"

To this, the cup is raised, and the smugly smiling man offers no reason to drop it for the time being. "To our lesser counterparts. May they be blissfully ignorant of the struggles we face." His smile turns wicked, for just a touch. And Parizad drinks as he again eyes these whores, these women paid to dangle their attentions in this place. "Mmm. That one has some hips, no?" He observes. But he doesn't really follow up on this, fully squaring himself in his seat.

"You have provided me with opportunities I had not considered possible. Ever. For that, I am in your debt. And for that, Lady Fury, I would offer the dubious distinction of trust. You may trust me in this. I would only take you to a place to see it for yourself, and judge for yourself. The Temple of the Lord of Light, R'hllor." Oh whaaaat?

Alaeyna follows his gaze to the woman favored with Parizad's attentions in the wake of their toast, still wearing a wicked smile of her own (his has proven infectious) as she eyeballs the whore shamelessly. She leans in toward him again, that she might make her pledge in a low purr. "She will be waiting for you when you return to your rooms tonight. My gift to you." And this in spite of his revelation of where he seeks to take her. Perhaps it's the wine or his silver tongue or her high spirits, but she indulges his invitation with an incline of her head. "I would know more of this god who has earned your esteem."

"I am sure she will be — delightful company." Keeping with the cat motif, Parizad's conversation is catlike here as he eyes up the woman. As his lips slide deeply to an arc, the man carefully hides his mouth in his strongwine before continuing. Little sip. After little sip. That's all they are, really, as it becomes clear that this man is something of a social drinker.

"It is one thing to ask of the God R'hllor. It is another to meet Him, the Lord of Light. But I will attempt to try." He leans forward now, spying her. "Tell me, Lady Alaeyna — you were raised among the Faith of the Seven as I was, were you not?"

Alaeyna has by now drained her goblet of the last of the wine, and rather than quit their close conversation to refill it, she lingers in place with an empty cup — a fate she'd not suffer in lesser company. She seems hardly to notice it now. "I was, of course," is her direct answer to Parizad's query. "My habit has been to look to a different seven altogether when my prayers want for answering." And now she lets her free hand drop to her lap, pulling aside a swath of silver silk to bare her thigh and the brace of knives she wears strapped to it, seven slender silver blades that ring her flesh like a fine piece of jewelry.

"I was not," Alaeyna answers as she lets her skirts fall back into place, her knives concealed anew. "But that isn't to say when word reached me I felt any less sick for not having witnessed it by my own eye. I know in my blood that justice did not prevail that day, and I've not taken a knee before the Seven a once since." She's a little more daring with her speech than she'd have care to be in other company, but they have spoken of trust, after all, and she further demonstrates how much she places in him for the admission.

"And under the sign of the Seven, I killed a man, a man with arrogance and greed in his heart, and a man who deserved to die." Parizad narrates after giving Alaeyna a careful measure of his attention as she speaks. There's little smugness or surety there, just the cold gaze of one who asked questions and pays deep attention to answers. "I was raised with the Seven. Like you." He repeats. It's sort of a mantra. "I was taught to believe they were arbiters of goodliness and justice. And then I saw a Septon himself take tainted gold to press the claim of a man who broke all their rules. And the Seven did not care."

"What care does a king have for the hopes and dreams of every last peasant living under the shadow of his throne?" Asks Alaeyna, seeking no particular answer for her question. She bids a servant come, and one does, and she whispers intructions in his ear, casually pointing out the curvaceous beauty Parizad had earlier expressed his interest in, making the promised arrangements. When it is done, she returns her attention to him with a knowing smile, evidently of no mind to judge him for the confession he makes to her. Instead, she asks, "And would you bring your new god home to Hellholt?"

"A king should care. Because sooner or later, every peasant, Lord, Soldier, Merchant, Priest, or whatever malcontent that stirs beneath him may topple him if he is not careful." Parizad says smoothly with a haughty toss of his head in the air. Of course, Uller's dark eyes travel towards the girl in question but it's a gentle thing that he directs towards her.

And back to Alaeyna. "What I am saying, Lady Fury — have you ever prayed? Truly laid a prayer for the wicked to taste their reward? And experienced the taste of victory as that prayer came true? The Lord of Light offered that to me. Long after I was in His service, but it was offered as a token."

Lingering on the last question, he strokes his chin a little. "I make no designs on doing such a thing. Although I feel Dorne does itself a disservice by clinging to Westerosi gods. I know that some of our people still remember the Greenblood."

The look Alaeyna fixes on Parizad borders on unreadable, her dark, fierce stare an intent one that cannot seem to sate itself. Indeed, it lingers even as she speaks, her voice low for want of keeping this conversation from traveling too far beyond their intimate tete-a-tete. "There have been nights I've invoked the Stranger's name as passionately as a lover's, and as frequently besides," she admits, looking distant for the span of a heartbeat, the thought triggering some memory that temporarily transports her to another time and place. But when she refocuses her stare on the man opposite her, it's evident she's not known the satisfaction he speaks of receiving from his red god.

"The Lord of Light is not some fanatic's brand, although I have been told there are those, far to the East, who treat Him as such." Parizad admits with a certain note of distaste, pursing his lips firmly. "And the Lord of Light has no Stranger. Only the Enemy. Whose Name Shall Not Be Spoken. Who is the enemy of justice, light, warmth, and all that is good and true in this world. R'hllor, the Lord of Light — is a Warrior's God." He just lets this lie. For a moment or two, watching Alaeyna carefully, even as he swirls his wine-cup. The girl with the great hips is not noted now.

That the Lady Fowler sits in earnest contemplation of Parizad's proselytizing is testament to the esteem he's won from her since their reunion in the streets of Oldtown, her mind open to a conversation another's would be closed to before it began. The blood of Dorne sings in her veins, and she's as predisposed towards interest in this fierce god as she is in the fierce creature that serves him, so that the more he says, the more intently she seems to listen. "A warrior's god," she echoes. "And you would bring me before him?" she asks.

"A Warrior's God. As I first Witnessed in the East, as She who Lit the Way in Myr spoke His name upon Her Lips." Parizad suddenly cuts in here, with a zeal of not a fanatic, but the deeper one of a convert. His eyes widen a little. "I have spoken the names of those who corrupt this world, into the Fire. Once there were Seven. Then there were Six. Now there are Five. Five is not so great a number, no?" His wine cup is set down now as he eyes her in askance, a thousand questions upon his lips.

"You speak with a fire that unnerves me, even as it thrills me," Alaeyna admits at length, a cautious revelation that reveals the power of his words and the mystery behind her dark, attentive stare. Perhaps it's enough to be a victory, or at least it heralds a turning of the tide in Parizad's favor. Better yet, in the Lord of Light's. But it's a lot for one evening, and even as she confesses it, her uncertainty is palpable. Though she's admitted her own skepticism toward the very Seven they were both raised to revere, they are prove difficult to let go of.

"I would not speak idly of this thing, but — perhaps you would see for yourself. And if My Lord is not to your liking, I will not speak of it again." Parizad continues, playing with a long-empty cup as though it were some idle prop now, finally tiring of the thing and setting it down. He nods his head slowly. "I ask you, first and only you to consider this because, as I said, the Lord of Light is a Warrior's god." He pauses a good while, squinting at Lady Alaeyna.

And there is a raw emphasis on this here. "There is no call to behavior counter to decency or honor here. And I asked you of a Warrior's God, because Lady Alaeyna, I see a woman. But I see a Warrior. And not one carved of Stone like that of the Seven." He finally lays this proposal at her feet. "Please consider this an invitation to join me in worship soon. And you can witness away the singing of the Night, as the Fiery Heart burns into the Glorious Dawn. For that is what my God heralds." He just lets this invitation lie now. "I am a patient man, so please. Think. Think of this, if you would do this thing. If not?" He gestures in the vague direction of the wide-hipped girl again, indicating he's already made out fairly well, as exiles go.

Laying aside her own cup in a gesture that mirrors his own, Alaeyna heeds the emphasis and care with which Parizad chooses his words, her face flushing with fierce, hot pride for the compliment he pays her and the esteem it belies. It has what is no doubt the desired effect, courting her ego and her vanity and satiating the part of her that longs to be seen as an equal of men despite having been born a woman, especially this one, who transfixes her with his fervency. "Only flesh and blood," she assures him, taking his hand in hers and pressing it to her chest, the beat of her heart thrumming beneath his palm. "I do not remember when last I received so enthralling an invitation. I think just now I'd follow you any place you asked me to." But she follows the gesture with her gaze, seeking out the whore again, and then bids him, "Go and enjoy her, if you would."

"Hmm. Maybe I will. I suppose she was trained as an — expert Cyvasse player." Parizad says coyly. It has been known amongst Westerosi that Dornish are known for their, well, passions and appetites, but it is a difficult thing to read Parizad's, given the way he generally carries himself, and truth be told, the little public attention he pays to such things. Who knows? The girl may be in for a boring evening. Or not. The Exile looks her up and down but she is only given something of a secondary bit of attention here as he leans forth in his chair, glancing back at Alaeyna after she was given the pitch (as it were) for his Red God.

"Be careful where you follow such a man as me to, My Lady Fury. No doubt you will emerge the victor, but some places are not a pleasant journey. He closes his eyes as he gives her a deep smile. "I think I shall take your advice. And maybe you will take mine soon? You need but send for me." And right there, he does something bizarre — that military salute that Serdar so often makes, a fist slammed to the chest? Parizad makes it now. Must be an Essosi thing.

Alaeyna rises to her feet to see him off, sending Parizad to the girl with the pleasing hips, but not before pressing a kiss to either of his cheeks. Slowly, deliberately, lingering longer than is necessary for what is a traditional greeting or parting gesture among their countrymen. It's at this close proximity that she assures him, "I shall take care," her lips still ghosting upon his cheek, before at last she peels away from his side, bemused by the salute but duly appreciative of it just the same.

And to this, the only response from Parizad is a mischevious smile. Maybe he is going to try his luck with the greatest hand at Cyvasse amongst all of Oldtown's whores. Alaeyna does get a bemused smile as he departs, glancing back at her once and offering this one thing. "Steady through the Night, Lady Alaeyna. For the Night is Dark. And Full of Terrors. But there are no terrors I believe you could not vanquish, mmm?" Maybe he believes this too. And then he is off.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License