(121-06-17) Some Fires Burn Eternal
Some Fires Burn Eternal
Summary: Alaeyna, Alaryn and Parizad converge in the great hall.
Date: 17 June 2014
Related: none

White Stone Manse

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.

Time has passed since Parizad Uller has first entered the halls of this Manse. On rare occasions he still decides that visitations are a necessary thing, though when he comes here, it is a peculiar thing one would notice — he brings neither bodyguard nor weapons inside. Either this is a sign of trust or a grudging paranoia of his name in the eyes of House Martell, but neither of these things are known. Today is one of those days when Parizad can in fact be found here.

Another strange fact — the named Uller never appears to be bored, and the look of boredom would clearly show on the face of many other men as he stands here, having removed his bell-adorned cloak and has a small bundle of scrolls tucked under his arm as he idly studies a Rhoynish tapestry hanging upon the wall with a bemused glance.

Alaeyna creeps up behind Parizad on bare feet, and though he is a man with a sixth sense for such things, she still does her level best to make it across the marble floors without him having detected her approach. She leans in against his back, and tells him, "You can stare all you like, but they shan't transform from thread to flesh." That particular tapestry depicts some Rhoynish sirens bathing in the river, the handmaidens of fierce Nymeria. Alaeyna is dressed in flowing black silk, her dark hair worn loose.

"I shouldn't hope so." Comes a delayed, and daresay pensive response from the Dornishman, who is clearly bemused by the thought. "I imagine I would have some many questions to answer, no?" With this, he wheels about after the Lady Fowler speaks, having given her some few moments to be silent beforehand. He looks her up and down. "This is a curious place." And with that, he smirks a tight, even smirk. Maybe she did surprise him, though. "The Martells have always had an eye for…luxury. As I recall the Court at Sunspear was only grander than this."

"Not as many as I expect you'd have of your own," Alaeyna answers him, offering Parizad a kiss to either cheek, before looking past him to the tapestry, that she might admire it herself. For her part, her gaze is purely appreciative, with none of the bemusement in his own eye as he stood in contemplation of it. She cants her head to the side, curiously, at his musing on luxury. "Grand and fine, indeed," she answers the exile, meeting his stare once she's had her fill of gazing on the woven piece. "Do you mean to say that Ullers do not?"

"Well, hello." It's a simple greeting but Parizad makes it more or less official, as his gaze is momentarily torn from the tapestry. That damnable smirk never goes away as he looks from her back to the wall, afterwards, pointing at the great spear Nymeria wields with the tip of his finger pointing out the Rhoyne. "Hmph. The Hellholt is not the same sort of place. There is luxury, for certain, but —" And that 'but' is not finished as he trails his finger to further highlight the river upon the tapestry. "You know, I have seen this river before. Numerous times. But I will always remember the first, no?"

Alaeyna flashes Parizad a glittering smile when he greets her, all official-like, and looks where he points with interest. "Firsts do have a habit of being memorable," she concedes, her eye following the Rhyone, where it criss-crosses and then ultimately disappears on the horizon line of the tapestry. Glancing sidelong at him, she prompts, "Won't you tell me about it, Parizad?"

"Hmph. So they do indeed." Parizad responds to this with with a guttural, rhythmic laugh as he turns from Nymeria to Alaeyna, with a certain amount of weight and pause to the gesture. He too follows the Rhoyne's trail upon the piece, and offers his take on the River and its charms. "It is a great, massive thing, cutting Essos in two, almost. Maybe not cutting, though. It might be a little something of its heart, no?" With this, he traces a finger through the air as if outlining it on an imaginary map of this continent.

"As one would expect, the heart of it makes it a very old thing. Every span of it you find some monument to a dead civilization. Even the Valyrians could not hold our ancestors. And that is what is the most striking, mm? The Rhonyish who returned. You can see them, sometimes. I did not understand before I saw them, but they left. Left this land, left Dorne, refusing to beg for Andal scraps."

"I envy you," Alaeyna says at length, after his little anecdote on the Rhoyne and the people he speaks of having returned to their motherland. "You have seen so much of other lands and of their people." Though she speaks plainly of her own provinciality, she stands in quiet consideration of the tapestry a little longer, finally regarding Parizad to say, "My darling Alia would love to sink her feet in that great river. It would make her blood sing." And then, of shirking Andal fetters, she says, "Who could blame them?"

"There are times, Lady Alaeyna." Parizad continues after gauging her reaction with an odd cant of his head. "That I view my exile as a gift and not as a curse. Indeed, I wonder what my days at the Hellholt would have been like. Hunting, gambling, whoring my hours away with whatever pretty thing strode through and made willing eyes at me." He snorts. Although there is a certain wonder at a life he has left behind and never truly was his in the first place, even if that same smirk is on his face.

"I am one of the few Dornishmen this side of the sea who has seen the great Rhoyne. And where our people truly began. But Alia-of-the-Greenblood would likely appreciate this other river, too. As do those who just left. They sing. It is a strange thing to think of, but they sing all the time. Mmm? I considered simply falling in with them. But they are not a warlike people anymore. They worship the great river like it was their God and I do not begrudge them this as I do so many of these other Gods. But it is not my God."

"Perish the thought," Alaeyna says of hunting, gambling and whoring. Her tone laced with a flirtatious tease, she adds, "I might have been your poor wife, forced to suffer your boresome indiscretions." But really, it seems she is inclined to agree with him, if her earlier admiration for his worldliness is any indication; her airy smile fades, in short order, into a more genuine one.

Looking back to the tapestry, as if to imagine the women at the riverbanks before they crossed the sea to Dorne, when they, too, sang at the Mother Rhoyne, she says, "I begrudge no men their gods." It's an absent thought, and it's a sentiment that speaks to the success of their rekindled friendship. It reminds her, too, of their night before the Fiery Heart, and though it's not directly related to their current subject matter, she says, "I still feel the heat of R'hllor's holy flame on my face, when I but close my eyes and think of it."

"Well, given how things turned out — " Parizad muses, rather coldly here if willing to take this stroll down what-if street with Alaeyna with a narrowing of his dark eyes. "I imagine you would have been in a worse position than me, mm? Or worse — one of the first my Uncle would have tried to kill. Tchh — so these things are foolish things to concern yourself with." Note he said 'tried.' With a sharp wave of one hand, he too turns back towards the tapestry, the man does make a consideration of gods and faith, after all. "R'hllor's presence often feels like that." He simply states, before elaborating further. "I used to think I did not. For I was raised with the Seven, much as you and most were. But there are those that seek to use these gods for all justification of all stupid, stupid things, mm? Sometimes I feel as though they make their own False Gods."

"Men will always say they are moved to action by their gods. I am more interested by men who cite passion; hate, love, some combination of the two. At least they take their own destiny in hand." Alaeyna turns similarly chilly when Parizad does, and rather than linger any longer at his side or before the tapestry, she moves to a sideboard where a decanter of strongwine is laid in wait of just this very moment, and pours herself some into a cup. "Tried to kill," she echoes, even after it seems that she will not speak any further of that particular activity in what-iffing, an indication that she marks his nuance well enough. "And are you the sort of man who'd let such a fate befall his wife? Killed? What about… kidnapped?"

"Careful, Lady Alaeyna." Parizad cautions here. It's a gently contentious tone, mirthful as one might expect given the subject matter and his odd approach to it. "I do not speak of the whims of fools who claim their folly comes from divine form." He notes, just watching her pour the wine as he stares off at the tapestry again. "Such a thought can come to a very unpleasant end. Over this, I gladly slew a member of the very House who grants me hospitality here, and although I swore to Ellia Martell an oath, I did not include a thing in that oath." He pauses a little here, and his smile is wolfish. "Regret. For I have none, for what I did in those days. So tell me, Lady Alaeyna — what do you think I would have done?"

The strongwine poured, Alaeyna wastes no time in taking a deliciously long, deep draught of it, brazenly swiping some from her lip when she's done. She is standing at a sideboard near the far end of the hall, dressed in jet black silk, and across from her Parizad is studying one of the tapestries on the wall, and has just turned to caution her. They speak fairly intensely, but the Dornish have a habit of such impassioned speech, so it's nothing out of the norm, really. Still, she regards Parizad warily, as one might a stalking beast. "Gladly, was it? A word wisely kept off the tip of your tongue when that oath was sworn." She takes her time at another sip of the strongwine, still studying him, and says, "You have taken care to remind me that the man who stands before me now is not the one that would have stood before me then."

A skeptical eyebrow is arched as Parizad tucks the scrolls under his arm and crosses said arms in front of his chest, leaning on one leg slightly as he shifts his weight from foot to foot. He is not, in fact, drinking now himself but continues to eye the tapestry on the wall. And Alaeyna, in turn.

"Gladly." He repeats, succintly. "I have taken a blood oath that I mean to keep, Lady Fury. Make no mistake of that." His strangely-accented speech from too many years in Essos clings to the words. "And indeed, I said I am a different man now than then. But if you wish me to pretend that I am sorry that I killed a man who dared raise arms for base, cowardly, and treacherous reasons in defense of a man whose name should be synonymous with treachery and cowardice I believe I must sorely disappoint you." He pauses ever-so-slightly. "And had his name not been 'Martell', none would have cared, except a few sycophants." Pause. "As opposed to a lot of sycophants, no?"

Drenched from the summer rain that thunders outside the manse's sanctuary, Alaryn Martell might seem rather out of place trudging into the environs even with the cursory efforts that have already been made to wring himself out. Flowing, silken robes the color of a desert sunrise hang heavy, water-darkened on his form, rendering the crimson embroidered sigils stylized to evoke Nymeros Martell all the closer to blood. His hair is similarly plastered to face and neck, haphazard and wild, though if the Prince has any particular care for any of it, it doesn't show in his stride or disposition, a smile coming to his face as he takes in the pair and gracefully approaches, one hand poised delicately on the golden pommel of the agile sidesword at his hip, its red leather sheathe swaying to and fro as he walks.

"You wound me," Alaeyna protests, raising a hand ringed with a half dozen slender gold bands, as if the very gesture might help allay his concern. "When have I asked you to play at pretenses, Parizad? I hope very much that your answer shall be never. And let me say to you that never shall I, for pretending is not a thing that is done between allies." She takes her time with the last of her words, as if the delicate care with which she pronounces it might lend more credence to the assurance she attempts to make him.

The entrance of the rain-soaked Martell prince wins a smile from her, and though it is likely wholly unnecessary that she does so, she gestures for one of the servants attending the hall, instructing, "Bring a towel." She pours a second cup of wine, so that she is standing there with it at the ready for him by the time he crosses over to them. "And how was your walk, my prince?" she asks Alaryn, knowing better than to think that getting caught in the rain might dampen his spirits.

"And are you suggesting I would have regrets for running my spearpoint through the very brain of a man who would stand against you, Lady Alaeyna?" Parizad counters with a sort of playful petulance. His accent is thick here, hints of Myr, and other places the Valyrian Freehold forgot mixing with regular Dornish tones. "You see — that wounds me." The catlike smile he wears upon his face indicates that the depth of the wound is probably very small. But he did say it.

The word 'prince' does snap his attention too, now, as he wheels about. He is unarmed, but Alaryn might have noted a careful pile of weapons surrendered near the door. He does that. And he blinks, just once, the Brightly-clad Dornishman does.

The servant's certainty is certainly redoubled with Alaeyna's commandment, and just such an errand is immediately undertaken. A sharp shake of Alaryn's head sends dark strands flying to either side before a lithe hand is lifted to brush sodden hair back from his brow more fully, his smile only warming when it meets the Fury's. "If it were a man standing against Alaeyna…" Aryn observes as he crosses those last few strides to stand with them, sparkling eyes cast from the Lady Fowler to Parizad, studying the man intently even as he appends, "The brain would be a poor choice of weak points." Soaked or no, he steps in closer to Alaeyna and seeks out her cheeks with his lips, brushing closer to the corners of her mouth than not. "It brought me here, did it not?" He answers her question with a question; one rhetorical enough to make the sentiment quite clear.

"So it did," Alaeyna answers in kind, returning Alaryn's kisses with a pair of her own, flashing him a pleased smile for his answer to Parizad's question. She appends it only to say, of having regrets, "On the contrary. Rather a poor ally you'd make if you did." She offers the Martell prince the freshly poured goblet of strongwine, and lets her cup touch his before taking a drink. "Prince Alaryn, allow me to present to you Parizad, lost son of House Uller, recently returned to Oldtown from Essos. He enjoys the hospitality of Princess Ellia."

"Hmph. On the contrary, Prince, I believe a man to challenge her would have already shown an opponent that the brain was in fact the weakest point." Parizad counters with a simple bow of his head, now that he is introduced. He's looking quite bemused, here. "And your hospitality too, Lady Alaeyna, when occasion permits it. But," he hesitates here for a moment.

There's another glance to that tapestry he was eyeing so intently moments ago, and then his dark-eyed gaze lolls to Alaryn. "Prince Alaryn Martell. It is an honor." He says with a perfectly polite smile.

"Of course he does." It's offered somewhat enigmatically, in the moments after that toast, and his first drink of strongwine, and only after the Raptor's eyes are torn from Alaeyna's from over the rim of his own fine goblet. The rich, red vintage is delicately swirled within the cup as the infamous Martell's sharp eyes shift towards Parizad, and a smile precedes a fairly hearty chuckle. "Point well taken." His cup is lifted to the exile, conceding the point— or at least enjoying the turnabout in both their not-quite-jokes.

The fine, fluffy towel that's brought to Alaryn is taken in one hand and used to rub and pat dry his hair, first, wiping the rain's remnants from his face before doing little but draping the thing around his shoulders to attend his clothing; easier to just change. "It is good to have you here." Aryn offers to Parizad with a trace of wariness, but no dishonesty. He may not entirely -trust- the man, yet, as that is how he do— but logistics are what they are. "We need all the allies we can get."

"But my hospitality only extends so far, and it falls short of that of House Martell," Alaeyna says to finish the thought, pouring a third cup of wine and walking it to Parizad, because what worse fate is there than to be the only one not drinking? "I am pleased to have you two in the same room. I think you will find that you have all the makings of allies indeed. Dare I say friends, besides?" She flashes the Uller a sideways look, still wearing a toothy smile that serves to indicate that she does, indeed, delight in their paths having crossed. Once he accepts the wine, she returns to Alaryn, running a hand up the damp sleeve of his robe, to his elbow. "Perhaps you ought shed this," she suggests casually.

"Mmm. Thank you, Lady Alaeyna." Parizad finally accepts the glass, it's almost an afterthought, but he does, grasping it and arranging those scrolls he was carrying under the bright emerald green sleeve of the tunic he is wearing under his other arm. "I was not drinking because I did not think to. It is a good thing that there are those of us here to remedy these — mistakes some of us make, no?" With this, he wheels about towards the named Martell prince with a curious expression. Yet it is friendly. Enough.

"Mm, Prince Alaryn. In truth, I did not come to this city expecting to find so many Dornishmen, let alone those of your family here. The situation has brought me some measure of surprise." He pauses a beat. "These Oakhearts. And Targaryens with the blood of Maelys who share none of their traits. And so many others. And of them all, I was most surprised to see Lady Alaeyna Fowler here, grown so tall and so fierce from the time I had last seen her."

"Oh, you make do." Alaryn offers somewhat teasingly towards Alaeyna at the humility with regard to her own hospitality. His eyes linger there a long moment, considering the woman— and the rest of her words. Any thoughts he may have on the matter are further delayed by a double-sip of his own strongwine, savoring the flavor; then savoring some more. "I think the situation has brought most of us a measure of surprise." The Raptor of Dorne finally admits, considering Parizad anew. "Nonetheless, we adapt." His own voice is touched by ample travel through Essos, though still more tinged by his native Dorne than Parizad's, in all likelihood. Still, it lends credence to the Prince's own adaptability; to say nothing of Dorne's.

"These are dangerous times." Though this doesn't seem to frighten him— when are they -not-? "But Light willing, our flame will be enough." A somewhat sly, mischievous look is cast back towards Alaeyna, even as he motions the servant back to take the sodden robes that serve as overcoat, passing off his wine momentarily before the shrug and flourish leaves him bare from the waist up— and entirely shameless about it, "Fetch me another." He murmurs aside, pausing to lean towards the servant and address him directly before returning his eyes to the Fury, "I have similar thoughts… every time we meet again."

"One tries," Alaeyna agrees, of making do, even going so far as to drink to the sentiment. She watches as the prince sheds his coat, and when he bids the servant bring another, she objects, "No, don't," with a sly smile. It's Alaryn's invocation that prompts her to snake her stare sideways at Parizad once more, tilting her head in her regard of the once-exile, standing now as he is before a prince of Dorne. "How bored we would be, if not for surprises. And how fortunate are we three, that we speak of pleasant ones?" Skyreach's lady drains what's left of her wine and helps herself to a little more besides while the pair of them speak about her. "If I ever cease to be ferocious, I trust either of you to smother me with a pillow while I sleep."

"Times have been dangerous ever since the Valyrian Freehold levelled the hopes and dreams of our Ancestors and forced Nymeria across the sea, Prince Alaryn." Parizad notes, conversationally. "The very fabric of our being bears the threads of war and strife, no?" He swirls the strongwine cup in front of him and takes another sip but it's a measured one. The man seems to be, well, besides fairly cool-headed bordering on creepy, a social drinker. "And yes, our Flame will be enough." He wheels about to study the Prince now. "For my Lord calls to us, and those of us who can heed His brilliance will answer." He's all serene smiles now.

"I am afraid, Lady Alaeyna, that I must disabuse you of such notions, or seek another. I am afraid I already have too many names set on my path, like a map of sorts." Yep, she'll have to get someone else to push the pillow.

A brow arches at Alaeyna's request— or sly command. It's not so much questioning as it is amused, and perhaps notably, Alaryn does as bidden, waving the servant off with a small smile as he drains the rest of his glass, and— now that he's not dripping water— steps in next to the Fury and snakes a familiar arm around her waist, drawing her close with a sigh that suggests it's been difficult to wait that long. "Since before that, I suspect." Still, Parizad's point is made, and not really contested. He holds his own goblet out for Alaeyna to refill, noting intently, "Yes, we shall." He's seen that brilliance, heard that call. While his own affiliation might be news to Parizad, he's clearly aware of the Uller's own devotion.

The grin that punctuates Parizad's denial of Alaeyna's seemingly morbid request is wicked, and for a moment, might appear positively unduly wanton, given the topic, "I'll wield that pillow for you, lover." He offers in hushed tones, eyes fixed on Alaeyna, "If only long enough to stoke that fury once more." It's likely more a symbolic thought than a literal promise— but he's never been shy about fighting her when she needs it, before; or vice-versa.

Alaeyna sports the prince's affection with an easy familiarity, and when he slinks to slide that arm around her waist, she runs a hand along it in a fleeting caress before seeing to his own cup of wine. All the while, she smiles a self-contented, knowing smile, looking between the men in her company as they each declare for R'hllor in turn. When Parizad denies her, though, she seems genuinely devastated. "Truly, you would not? What's a moment, to end the misery and suffering of a friend? Surely the others might wait their turn?" But Alaryn's hushed words cause her dark stare to sparkle with her own fiendish delight, and she takes one of his hands in hers, lifting it to kiss his palm, thereafter lacing their fingers together.

"I see that you have no shortage of able-bodied sorts to fulfill this request. And so I would spare myself more blood on my hands, mmm?" Parizad muses as he finishes the cup of wine, setting it down on a table. He smiles a smile which could only be described as bemused. Again.

To Alaryn now, curious. "I believe. Yes. Yes, before then. It has been a long Night." He observes. "And we will see how things appear at dawn."

The knowing, intent smile that's fixed on Alaeyna throughout her motions, and Parizad's response, tends to further reinforce the idea that he's not exactly talking about taking the woman's life. Everyone needs a periodic reminder of who they are, however— and as they've already agreed, it's a violent, sometimes bleak world. So who could begrudge another that need? A hearty swallow is all that's taken of his new goblet before it's set aside next to Parizad's, allowing his hand to be taken even as he steps in closer still, wrapping the other arm more fully around the Fury's midsection and drawing her back against his chest in a rather fond embrace.

Alaryn's further words are murmured past Alaeyna's dark hair, a small smile playing across his lips, "The way they always do, at dawn. No matter what terrors or darkness may precede it. None of us are done fighting." Some things never change; war, perhaps chief among them. "Some fires burn eternal." The double-meaning is unapologetic and clear, spoken as it is so near to Lady Fowler's ear.

"A very able body," Alaeyna agrees, saying nothing more of blood; Alaryn's pledge transcends her initial teasing request, and sparks a smile that positively simmers upon her lips. Rather than abandon her goblet with wine still in the cup, she drains it in a single, deep draught, and then casts it aside. She wears the Martell prince like a lush coverlet, draped about her as he is, pulling him even closer and luxuriating in his hold. Alaryn's heated words cause her to murmur something to him in return, turning her face to his to find his ear.

Meanwhile, Parizad is left with an empty cup of wine and a bemused look which has still not left his features. The brightly-clad man shifts from eyeing the tapestry of Nymeria and the Rhoyne, again watching the Prince and Lady with a small, pointed smirk. "No. None of us are done fighting. Which reminds me. I have a certain — business to attend to with Princess Ellia. Perhaps I should take these to her before the information in them becomes sadly, hmm, obsolete." His smile is catlike. "And I should see to the flame in the temple before I take my rest. Which is a long time coming."

There's a low chuckle at Alaeyna's words, Alaryn's chin resting on the Fury's shoulder to better facilitate the murmur she seeks to deliver. His initial response is a deep, profoundly resonant breath, eyes darting aside to her, and then back to Parizad. At which point his own expression takes on an air not unlike the exiled Uller's own, if tinged with a bit more warmth— and distraction. "I could take them to her, if you like." It's a genuine offer, but not one that Aryn expects to be taken up on. Much as he might be curious about the contents of that intel delivery meant for his fairer twin. This tinges the entire statement with a trace of amusement— no attempt is made to pretend otherwise.

Regardless. "We'll have to speak again, Parizad." This seems to be something that rather appeals to the Martell prince, "Of the battle, the war, and the Lord of Light." Important things, in his estimation. "You are always welcome." Whatever Alaryn thinks of the past, and Parizad's deeds— it's not the most relevant point in these nights. A gentle kiss is planted to the side of Alaeyna's throat before he says anything to her, his own words a breath to her ear.

Alaeyna catches the prince's whisper with a cant of her head, but rather than return it with another of her own, she speaks to Parizad, as much as to Alaryn himself. "And you see? Was I not right? I have ever been a fine judge of such things. You should see how well I arrange marriage matches. A dozen babes squall in Dorne tonight thanks to my advice." Though her tone is a playful one, it grows serious, long enough to tell the Uller, "And I should like to have your company, as well, Parizad, before long."

Either Parizad did not catch all the whispers or he simply pays them no heed, but in any case, he nods his head. "I should be proceeding to my business, then. And company you shall have soon, Lady Alaeyna. Prince Alaryn." His tone is still a bit more guarded as he addresses the Martell Prince but it is not, one would note, on the hostile side of things.

"Before long." He repeats. And to Alaryn finally, he notes. "Those flames burn bright. Maybe I shall see you in the temple before long, no?" With that, he turns on his heel and proceeds to make his way out of the main hall.

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