(121-07-17) Of Princes and Princesses
Of Princes and Princesses
Summary: A chance meeting between Alaeyna and Visenya.
Date: 17 July 2014
Related: None

The Dragon Door Manse has a large walled garden behind. The tall stone walls have iron spikes topping them to prevent climbers, and a heavy double oak-and-iron gate leading into the alley behind. It's quite solid, though there is a little door in it that one might open to look out. Near that gate is the stables, with an attached mews on one side and kennels on the other. There's a small paddock for the horses behind the stables, and in front of it a space for training at arms, with a simple pell as well as a more complex practice dummy that can pivot when struck. These utilitarian areas are separated from the rest by a lower, and gateless, wall. Orange trumpet-creeper grows over it in most places.

Between this wall and the garden is a great fire pit, ringed in glossy black stones, each cut to interlock with the next and engraved with the image of a dragon. They're all in slightly different poses.

Nearer to the Manse is the garden proper. Its has winding stone paths and is planted thickly in flowers and trees. Most of the blooms range in colour from fire-orange to blood red. Deep purples are also included in the garden's otherwise limited palette. The pride of the plantings is an enormous flowering quince tree, some thirty feet tall — not large for a tree, but vast for one of its type. Clearly it has been pruned for generations to take on this form, single-trunked, with its branches curving up and then down in a fountain shape. Each of them nearly touches the ground and is heavy with bright red-orange flowers. One can step through them to stand hidden under the umbrella of blossoms, shaded and cool.

Most of Oldtown's grand manses have a fountain at the center of their gardens. Here there are only a few small ones, here and there along the paths. At the center there is, instead, a black stone pavilion, standing in the open and unshaded by any trees. It is seven-sided, with arched doorways on its East and West walls. It is otherwise glazed, including its domed roof. The glass is black and clear and red, pieced together to form the three-headed dragon sigil of House Targaryen. The image is repeated on the floor inside, in red jasper set into the black marble. The pavilion houses long curved benches of that same black stone. It gets tremendously hot inside.

An invitation from Daevon Targaryen sees Alaeyna attending Dragon Door Manse, as she has now and again had occasion to do at the prince's whim. They often meet out of doors, each of them having a penchant for being under the open sky, and so it strikes her as not at all unusual when the servant that receives her shows her through. She takes the opportunity, while awaiting the prince's arrival, to roam a garden path she's yet had chance to explore, gazing on lush flower blossoms that bloom in hues of red and orange and gold, all the colors of a licking flame. She's dressed in amber silk, cut scandalous in typical Dornish fashion, her dark hair tamed in a loose braid.

The small training grounds in the back of the gardens is empty. The gardens seem desolate save for the servants who lead the Fowler out into the garden. And one Targaryen Princess, judging by the luxurious weave of her pale gold satin, and the amethyst color of her large eyes. She carries a history of Nymeria's Landing under her arm, the same copy given to Daevon, and her short hair has a leaf sticking in it as if she were reclining somewhere in the garden. "Can I help you?" She asks as she runs across the Dornishwoman on her way back to the Manse.

When she's come upon by the princess, Alaeyna forgets the flowers, and their dazzling colors, and their cloying perfume, all in favor of turning her attention on Visenya instead. She takes her time at taking the woman's measure, her dark eyes traveling the Targaryen head to toe, and all before she hazards to offer reply to the question posed her. Once she's completed her brazen assessment, she meets Visenya's eye, and asks, every last word tinged with her Dornish lilt, "I assume what you mean to ask is what I am doing standing in your garden. The answer is that I was invited by the Maiden's knight, though I do not find him here to host me." Without warning, she lifts a hand, plucking the leaf from Visenya's blonde locks and casting it aside.

"No." Visenya says, and punctuates this with a easily-formed smile. "This isn't just my garden, my Lady. We have many family members living here, and they often have guests. I truly meant it when I asked if I could help you." She isn't intimidated by the brazen look over, and when Alaeyna moves to flick a leaf from her hair she lets out a bubbly little laugh, "Ah, see? It turns out I needed your help. …As for my brother. Well, sometimes he just runs off, and I've no idea where he's gone. How rude of him not to send you a message."

"Ah, to be a prince," Alaeyna says airily in reply at the last, seeming not altogether too surprised (or, for that matter, disappointed) to learn her host is unaccounted for, which may indicate she's been witness to this disappearing act a time or two herself. She shrugs a lazy shoulder, the tilt of her head and unstraying attention of her stare implying that perhaps she finds her present hostess a touch more intriguing than her intended one. "Are you enjoying it?" The book, of course. Her gaze wanders to the tome tucked under Visenya's arm.

"Hmm?" Visenya asks before her eyes alight in comprehension. "Oh. The book. Yes. It is more…" She trails off in search of a word. She smiles faintly when one finally comes to mind, "-exciting than I thought it would be. Have you read it? One of the Martells was kind enough to lend me his copy." She turns her head to look over Alaeyna again, "Oh, here I am complaining about Daevon's rudeness, and I haven't even told you my name. Princess Visenya."

"A time or two," Alaeyna answers, of having read the book, her gaze leaving its spine and returning to Visenya's. Oh, a Martell? "I wonder which," she muses rhetorically, wearing a sanguine smile that bares a feral flash of teeth. Though the princess offers her name, it's naturally unnecessary, and the Lady Fowler only says, "Of course you are. What a delight it is to have occasion to speak with you. When last I laid eyes on you, you were rather preoccupied at tearing a strip off the Desert Fox. Tell me, have you become friends again? He is a favorite of mine, even if he often inspires in me an urge to point a knife at his throat."

"I think our friendship is at an end." Visenya says this in a tone that suggests she is quite over the whole ordeal. The subject is promptly changed. "You are Lady Fowler. How exiting it must be. Being a ruling Lady, I mean. Mistress of your own destiny." She turns to touch her fingertips to a peach colored blossom before plucking it, and bringing it up to her nose to sniff.

"I've thought as much a half dozen times," Alaeyna concedes, but brooks no further argument where Arrick is concerned, particularly with the decisive shift of their subject of conversation. "Exciting?" She echoes the word, the same one used just a moment earlier to describe the book, but seems not entirely pleased with it as a descriptor. "Satisfying," she says decisively. And then, "Surely the daughter of dragonlords exercises the same privilege."

"Perhaps more-so than young women from lesser houses, but I still must answer to my father." Visenya confesses as she twirls the plucked flower between her fingertips. "Were I the son of dragonlords? Ah, then perhaps I could do as I pleased. Dornish women are afforded more freedom than even maidens of House Targaryen, I'd wager."

"Fathers everywhere have designs for their daughters," Alaeyna suggests, her tone enough to intimate that hers was no different. "But we shall want for wine, I think, if we are to speak of disappointing them." She watches the blossom spin between Visenya's fingertips, and says, "Perhaps it is that Dornish women do not ask their men for that luxury, and in so doing give them no opportunity to deny it." But, too, she says, "I know you to be a friend of Mariya, and so I think you appreciate well enough that a princess of Dorne is subject, too, to expectation and obligation."

"It's getting late. We'll sit by the fire, and have some wine." Visenya moves to lead the way through the maze of flowers towards the great big fire pit surrounded by the stones engraved with dragons. She offers Alaeyna a comfortable seat before a servant approaches, and is sent for the requested wine. Visenya settles down into a chair next to Alaeyna's, and holds a dandle-clad foot to the stones to feel the heat radiating off of it, "Indeed. I understand the hardships that come with being betrothed to a man like my brother."

Alaeyna is content to sit by the fire, to feel its heat on her flesh, and for a moment she is absorbed by the seductive licking of the flames, even if the evening is a warm one in its own right. "He would make a good husband," she says of Daevon, falling on the side of genuine rather than diplomatic. "Just not the sort of husband she needs." To hear her speak of Mariya is enough to discern her own affection for the princess. She seems grateful when the wine arrives a short time later, and she asks Visenya, "What will we drink to?"

Visenya waits for Alaeyna to receive wine before taking some for her own. "Daevon cares." She says, "I suppose that's better than what a lot of men do." She turns her eyes downwards to stare into the darkened glass as if in thought before looking up and announcing, "To hoping things work out the way we'd all like. To getting our way on something. Anything." She raises her cup in toast to that, and has a swallow.

"I didn't expect to like him," Alaeyna confesses, where Daevon is concerned, looking at her own cup of wine and considering the toast proposed. Never one to shy from wine guzzling, she does pause before consummating the toast to remark, "Getting my way is something I'll never tire of drinking to." Drink she does, heartily, her thirst only further stoked by the blaze before them.

"Almost everyone likes Daevon." There may be a tinge of bitterness in Visenya's voice, but it's hard to distinguish. She has another decent swallow from her cup of wine before balancing it on her knee, "You know Princess Mariya well, then? She and her siblings? Goodness, are they all in Oldtown now?"

"Not everyone," Alaeyna disagrees, the smile she wears one of genuine amusement. Her stare is a keen one, and her ear is as avid, and she is open in her consideration of the princess while they share in the heat of the hearth. "She is as a little sister. I have a fierce affection for her. I would bleed for her. But I would bleed for so many sons and daughters of Nymeros Martell. Only three of her siblings are here at Oldtown. There are a great many more at Sunspear." Taking a drink of her wine, she shares, "I've a boy by her father. For a time, I was his paramour at court."

"It's hard not to feel affection for her." Visenya says of Mariya, and instead of the bitterness present with Daevon there is only warmth in her voice. The mention of Alaeyna's child, a half-sibling to the Martells, causes a curious little glance to be cast Alaeyna's way. Paramours are a legend straight out of a Dornish fairytale for most Northerners.

"She is beloved in Dorne," Alaeyna agrees, as pleased by the warmth in Visenya's tone as she is by the glow of the fire. She makes swift work of the wine while they sit and speak, and isn't oblivious to the look that's thrown in her direction. "The heart is a curious thing," she admits. "But it soars when it finds its match." Once her cup has been drained, she moves to rise, and though she seems she might be content to languish before the flames all the night long, she says, "Thank you for your hospitality. Allow me to repay you in kind anon. For now, I leave you to your book and to whatever designs you had on your own destiny this evening. And scold your brother for me, nay?"

Visenya's eyes flick downwards when Alaeyna mentions the heart being a curious thing, and a small, pensive little smile forms on her lips. "The heart wants what the heart wants. How lucky that you got to spend time with a man you so clearly cared for." There is some sadness to her tone. She rises from her seat as Alaeyna does, "It was lovely to meet you formally, Lady Fowler. I'll tell him he missed you."

Alaeyna shares in that smile, and confesses, "I have great affection for him still, though I have rare occasion to see him. My boy is with him now at Sunspear. What I never predicted was Alaryn, but sons have a way of usurping their fathers, do they not? And when he chanced to take my heart in hand, I capitulated without hesitation. I would bleed for the sons and daughters of House Martell, but I would die for him." Standing in front of Visenya, her cup of wine cast aside, Alaeyna fixes her with her dark, intent stare, and then moves in to kiss either of her cheeks before parting.

"Alaryn?" Visenya sounds confused for a moment, and then her eyes widen slightly, and she says softly, "I had no idea." The next is added in a shaky tone, "That Prince Alaryn was attached." And then she forces up a smile, although her eyes have gone glassy. "But I understand the appeal." The smile on her face is so fixed it might as well be cut out of stone as she watches Alaeyna go.

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