(122-06-10) A Deal Done
A Deal Done
Summary: The oaths are sworn, letters are exchanged, and a vase is befouled.
Date: Date of play (122-06-10 IC)
Related: An Oakheart at Skyreach; Of Bloodoaths and the Blackrood


Dinner at Skyreach is a raucous, rowdy affair. The long trestle table in the Great Hall is host to Fowlers and Targaryens and Sands and Essosi sellswords, the combined numbers of Skyreach's household and the Prince of Ashes' men swelling the numbers so that every night seems like a feast. But Alaeyna receives Jervis in a private dining room, much smaller and more intimate. The Prince of Ashes is just on his way out when Jervis is shown in, and he gives the Oakheart boy a head to foot stare that's utterly intimidating and unnerving. Alaeyna, for her part, is warm in the reception she offers. "Come and join me," she says, lifting a hand and waving him in. The table is set for the two of them, and there are platters of fruits and cheeses and olives and flatbreads and tapenades arranged, some of them already picked over by the departing Prince. She has a cup of wine to hand, and she leans back in her seat, popping an olive into her mouth and chewing thoughtfully while she regards Jervis. There is an attendant on hand, and he pours a cup of wine for the Oakheart.

Ah, cold looks, it reminds Jervis of what has served as 'home' these past few years. Honestly, it gets to the point where he'd feel uncomfortable if he wasn't feeling uncomfortable. He waits for the Prince to pass by and then offers Alaeyna both a smile and his typical, polite bow. "My lady," he says. "Good evening." He has brought, aside from himself, a single sheet of parchment, with writing upon it; this must be the letter to his brother, then. He sets the parchment on a side table, where it is not in danger of being spoiled during the course of the dinner. And then, to the attendant, he gives another easy-going smile and a nod. "Thank you," he remarks, and no hesitation before sipping on the wine.

Alaeyna has apparently eaten with her Targaryen paramour, though there is some food left on her plate, which she grazes upon as gestures permissively at the table, indicating that Jervis ought serve himself and sup. "Will you read the letter to me?" she asks, her gaze flicking to the attendant who'd just served the Oakheart wine. A Dornishman, who seems to regard Jervis with the same disdain the Prince of Ashes did. As though serving an Oakheart anything were an insult. But he indulges the Lady Fowler and goes to the side table to retrieve the parchment. She says to Jervis, "Unless you prefer its contents be known only to myself."

Jervis shakes his head, unconcerned. "No, that's all right, please," he says, making a small motion toward the attendant with his hand, to go ahead. That ought to annoy the man even more, as if he were to take orders from an Oakheart. Sometimes, it's the small things in life. He settles back in his chair before moving a bit of bread and cheese onto his plate, though after a small bite of the bread and a sip of the wine, he seems practically done with the meal. "You'll have to excuse me this evening, I fear my stomach is a bit troubled."

Alaeyna cannot help herself but to smirk at this little affectation by Jervis, and she gives the Dornishman a look and a wink of the eye, and he grudgingly retrieves the parchment and recites its contents aloud.


I am writing you from Skyreach, having arrived here from Blackmont some small number of days ago. It seems that I am here at the invitation of Lady Alaeyna Fowler, the Fury of Skyreach, who arranged for my transfer at some expense, as she kindly pointed out.

She is willing to release me to our home for 500 dragons, but would like you to be the one to come to Skyreach to retrieve me. She will swear a blood oath to the Seven that you will be given rights and protection when you do so. I, in return, will be swearing a blood oath not to act against Dorne upon my release.

I would, of course, very much like to return home, but I leave it to your discretion on whether to accept the offer or not.

Your brother,
Jervis Oakheart

When he is done, Alaeyna takes a drink of her wine, tilting her head. "It will suit. I will send it on my fastest rider at first light." Her smirk lingers, but fades into a smile, and she takes a wedge of cheese from her own plate to pair with the strongwine. He speaks of stomach troubles and she says, "Is it? Did they not feed you much at Blackmont? Or are you anxious for home?"

Jervis drums his fingers absently against the rim of the wine glass. "Oh, no, the food there was plentiful, of course. It's just a bit of a stomach bug, I imagine." He does rearrange the cheese and bread on his plate, so that it would at least seem he ate more. Unfortunately, that trick stopped working when he was five years old. "So, my lady. I was hoping that you would bring the letters from my family to dinner. As you might imagine, I would rather like to hear some news from home, old though it may be."

"Indeed. I did." They are not readily visible or apparent, and no doubt this is the way she wants it. "First, the oaths. I have arranged for a Septon to come to witness them." Alaeyna turns her gaze to the Dornishman once more, nodding at him. He departs, presumably to retrieve said Septon. In the meantime, Alaeyna rises from her seat, content to abandon her plate since Jervis has no interest in his own. What is to come is of more interest to her than all the bread and cheese in the Seven Kingdoms. She guides Jervis into an adjoining room, its windows facing the mountains providing a stellar view. The furnishings are simple, and there is a table prepared with candles, a ceremonial silver blade, and a bit of cloth.

Jervis takes a moment to admire the view, and perhaps to compose his thoughts as well. He seems contemplative now, moreso than the norm for him. "You will, I assume, be swearing your oath to extend guest rights and protection to my brother here as well?" It is half a statement, half a question. "You know, this will be the second blood oath I've sworn, the first being in regards to Ser Durmont when I became his squire, and that was more than a few years ago."

Alaeyna allows him that silent reprieve at the window, waiting until he speaks to join him there and admire the view in just the same way. A view she never tires of admiring, no doubt, as Lady of Skyreach. "I will," she confirms, her easy smile giving way to a more grave demeanor, in light of the undertaking they are about to engage in together. "Your brother has robbed you of the realization of your potential. Most would have sworn an oath of knighthood to the Seven by your age."

Jervis says, mildly, "I've been a squire for over five years now. This scar, here." He brushes the fine white line that crosses his left cheek with a finger. "This was on a hunt, from the claws of a bear. Ser Durmont was into his cups that evening, and the bear nearly disemboweled him when he was, ah, relieving himself, begging your pardon my lady. I was seventeen at the time, and held my own against the bear, unarmored and unarmed, until others arrived, saving Ser Durmont's life. Some may have seen acts such as that, those and others, the sort that proves a man a knight, but it was not a view shared by the Blackmonts." He almost manages to hide the bitterness in his tone, but not entirely. "Such is how things go, though."

"Such is not how things go," Alaeyna tells him, surprisingly fierce in this particular conviction. "If you'd borne a different name they'd have sent for a Septon that night, if not the next day, to recognize your feat. If you'd a different brother, but the same name, even. This is the legacy he has left you, and whether he is tried for his crimes, lives or dies, it will cast a shadow upon you all your days." She takes a drink of her wine, and then puts the cup down on the window's edge. "And those that celebrate what he has done? Well, if those are the men that you seek to earn your spurs alongside, I have no words of advice that will be of worth to you."

Jervis cannot hide his surprise at the woman's surprisingly passionate words on the matter. "You surprise me," he says after a moment, acknowledging as much, before shaking his head. "I'd rather not dwell on the past. In truth, I don't know what I'll do after I return home." Even saying the words sound strange to him, a distant concept, connected to some former life that's become all but forgotten. "When I was a child, I wanted to be a maester, but not now. Still, I'm not sure if I even wish to become a knight at this point. I have to assume that my squirehood to Ser Durmont is over at this point." And he's shedding no tears over that. "I'd thought— well, to be honest, I've not thought much about what I might do, after."

"The Citadel? How interesting. Why do you discount it now? You have the rare gift of beginning again, and it seems as likely a place as any to find happiness." Happiness. Like Alaeyna reckons that's a viable option. Her prickly temper is smoothed by the shift in their conversation, and there's the sound of footsteps in the stone hallway beyond the small dining room which prompts her to turn her head in anticipation of the Septon's arrival.

Jervis also gives a glance toward the door, parroting the motion. "It seem as if that ship has long passed, for one thing. Though I suppose there are those who enter at ages older than my own. I'd also thought, once upon a time, as serving on a city watch somewhere. A quiet life. Settling down to a family, perhaps." He's rambling, now that he's gotten off on this train of thought. It really is quite rare that he's allowed himself to think too far ahead. It's with the Septon's imminent arrival that he shakes his head, an effort to focus himself.

The Septon is an old man, but then so many of them are, and Alaeyna has just finished saying, to Jervis, "It sounds as though you are spoiled for choice," when he enters. The Dornishman that had escorted him makes himself scarce, leaving the Lady Fowler to receive him. The Septon is himself a Dornishman, and it is evident that they are not strangers. "Septon Harryn," she greets him cordially, lifting a hand to indicate Jervis. "Allow me to present Jervis Oakheart."

The Septon has a stern expression, not the fat and soft sort of septon you might encounter in the capitol, but one wrought of sand and the desert. His robes are plain, and the sleeves are rolled up. He wears a seven-sided crystal around his neck, and he spies the table and its accoutrements and knows that it is for him, evidently having been debriefed on their purpose. "Jervis Oakheart," he says, giving no indication of whether he recognizes the name or the significance of the man's presence at Skyreach. "Let us offer a prayer to the Seven before the oaths are sworn." And then he begins, invoking the names of each of the faces of the Godhead but the Stranger, delving into a prayer that's at least five minutes long but feels like an eternity.

Jervis takes a moment to surreptitiously study the material of the chain, expecting to find iron, the mark of warcraft knowledge, amongst the links. The man has the look of it, after all, though looks are not always something to be counted upon. Still, it is long after his measure of the man has been made that the prayer finally, eventually, at long last concludes, though if Jervis is impatient or anxious, it does not show. Much. There is it a bit of fidgeting to his fingers on the hand that rests over his stomach.

Alaeyna is as still and serene as a statue through the entirety of the prayer, one hand rested atop the swell of her belly, the other cradling it below, as she absorbs the Septon's words. Only when he is done and he reaches for the ceremonial blade amongst the lit candles does she step forward, volunteering herself to go first in the swearing of oaths. She approaches the table, and the Septon holds the blade over the licking flames of one of the tapers. Lady Fowler holds out her palm, and she does not so much as flinch when he makes a shallow cut across it. "In the eyes of the Mother, the Maiden, the Crone, the Father, the Warrior and the Smith, speak only words as true and genuine as the blood that springs up from your flesh."

Alaeyna holds out her palm, the tract of the cut springing with blood in a shallow, slender line. Her voice is low, but clear and purposeful, her tone serious in its gravity. "I swear on the Seven that Quillian Oakheart will be given bread and salt at my table, that the laws of guestright will not be broken during his stay at Skyreach. That he will be allowed, freely and clearly, to retrieve his brother Jervis and leave with him without harm or impediment."

Jervis listens carefully to the words but, just as importantly, he studies the woman's face as she speaks them, most especially the eyes. Years living amongst Dornishman has made him tightly attuned to the emotions of others. Of the words, he has no doubt as to their veracity; one does not swear an a blood oath with the intention of breaking it, after all. He seems quite satisfied by the oath as it is sworn. Now, he steps forward to give his own words, sworn on his own blood. He waits for the Septon to once again take his lead.

Alaeyna's expression speaks of a certain resoluteness of purpose, a determination that colors her words. When she is done, the Septon lays the swath of cloth across her palm to blot the blood, and he touches the crystal worn around his neck with a nod. She steps away from the table, then, and she meets Jervis's eye. The Septon has already raised a hand to beckon him. He purifies the blade in the flame, ready to recite the incantation when the Oakheart presents his palm.

Jervis presents his right palm, no hesitation, and waits for the Septon to speak his part in the ceremonial oath. And then, the Oakheart speaks his own words. "I swear on the Seven that I will take no harmful action against the people of Dorne, through physical acts or otherwise. Nor will I act purposefully against their interests or their property in any act of vengeance or retaliation. This is swear on the Seven."

When it is done, the Septon motions Alaeyna forth, and he takes the cloth from her palm, turns it over, and places it upon the upturned palm of Jervis so that his blood soaks into the fabric just as hers did. Then he sets fire to the scrap, letting it burn away to nothing, leaving the ashes littered upon the table. "In the eyes of the Seven, it is sworn. In the eyes of their servant, it is heard and witnessed." He makes direct, unwavering eye contact with both Alaeyna and Jervis, as if to further impress upon them the solemnity of what they have sworn.

"It's done," Jervis says to Alaeyna, with a tone of finality to the words. He's sworn his oath. He's played his part. By the looks, he is very well expecting Alaeyna to uphold her own end of the agreement. Still, there is something that seems to nag at him, some little doubt or unease that even the oaths sworn haven't lessened. His hand, now ever so slightly bloodied, rests again on his own stomach as if it's paining him still. "I trust that you're satisfied, my lady?"

And just like that, the Septon takes his leave, and Alaeyna and Jervis are once more alone. She opens and closes her hand in a fist, testing the cut, finding it bearable and superficial. "It's done," she echoes, turning her gaze back upon Jervis when his hand goes to his stomach. "I am satisfied. Are you? And are you sure you're quite well, Jervis?"

Jervis glosses over the last question and chooses to answer the former. "Satisfied to the oath, but uncertain and… concerned, as to your intentions with my brother, your lady." He hesitates over the choice of words there, before settling on the appropriate one. "You were quite specific in which brother should retrieve me from here. I naturally can only assume that my presence is to serve as bait to lure him here, and that you have some design on him. Do you seek to merely confront him? To goad him into a duel which, I suppose, properly offered and accepted would fall within the acceptable bounds of guest rights?"

"I would think you a dimwitted man if you did not suspect as much," Alaeyna tells him in reply, brooking no insult to his accusation. She goes back to the window where she'd left her cup of wine, taking a hearty drink of it. "I swore I would not harm him while he is a guest of Skyreach. But do not mistake me. I wish to see Quillian Oakheart made to pay for his vile conspiracy against Dorne, for the men and women and children he has slain, for the lives he has cut short and the losses we have been made to pay at his hand, by his design. I will not sleep easy until the day that all of Westeros knows him for the villain that the people of Dorne already know him to be. A duel?" She laughs, suddenly, and it's a little wild. "Do you know how many times I have challenged your coward brother to a duel? No, he will not fight a woman with a weapon in her hand. He will only cut her down as she runs, screaming, with a babe on her breast and her husband's blood on her flesh." Her words are as keen as the edge of a blade, the disdain dripping from every last one. "No oath can protect your brother from the reckoning that is due him."

Jervis stance stiffens with the response, eyes hardening. "As you say, my lady, but every coin has two sides, and every tale is shaped by those that come before it." Finally, his hand has dropped from his stomach to his side, though here inside the house there is no sword sheathed at his side, no reassuring pommel for him to rest his hand upon. "I believe, however, that this is a subject best not discussed tonight, and that I shall retire to my room. I would appreciate if you would have the letters from my family, those that have been kept from me these past years, delivered to my room. At your convenience, of course, my lady," he concludes, with icy politeness.

"Until your brother comes to retrieve you, you will take your leave by my word, not yours," Alaeyna tells him, her tone favoring ice over fire in perfect harmony with his own attitude. "I should not expect him for at least a fortnight, if he is inpired by your letter and chooses to come for you immediately. And so I would think that you may wish to reconsider the words with which you part this evening, for they are very likely to set the tone for the remainder of your stay." And, after all, the letter hasn't even been sent yet. Alaeyna tilts her head, a challenge issued.

Jervis's jaw is set, his own eyes smoldering in a way that is, for all their differences, rather reminiscent of the angry look that Quill can get in his eyes, when his own ire is burning bright. They are, after all, brothers, and though the physical resemblance is not as strong as it could be, there are moments when Jervis does seem a younger echo of his more infamous older brother. But then something in his expression changes. It might be difficult to detect at first for what it is, which is nausea. Though Alaeyna is the one here who is pregnant it is Jervis who finds himself abruptly casting a look about the small room. He settles on a wide-mouthed ceramic vase which has the unfortunate luck to be just a few strides for him, and after traversing those few steps is promptly, and ignobly, sick into it.

Alaeyna isn't one to be impressed by a bit of vomiting, nor prone to typical female sympathies, maternal or otherwise, even in spite of her condition. So she merely observes the befouling of her vase with an impassive expression, unmoved from her frosty position.

Jervis spends a few miserable moments divesting himself of some long-past meal, an earlier mostly-digested lunch perhaps, then draws in a steadying breath as he wipes the back of his hand across his mouth. That rather ruined the moment on his part. It's hard to maintain one's fiery rage when one's stomach is holding its own treasonous revolt at the same time. Now he looks as much sick as angry and perhaps moreso, leading to a rather miserable, and mortified, state of existence. "My apologies, my lady," he says, setting the vase somewhere that's away from them both. Some poor servant will have to clean that now, no doubt cursing Jervis the entire while. "I fear I am still somewhat ill, as I was earlier today."

"Indeed. And it would be unfair of me to judge you too harshly for the ill-advised words your bout of sickness inspired. You are hardly yourself at this moment, would you not agree? A good night's sleep, and perhaps you will find your head again." Alaeyna gives him an out, and it's more than she has to do, but the look in her eyes unflinchingly telegraphs that he's not likely to get another such opportunity. She moves back into the dining room, and when she returns she has a bundle of letters, neatly tied with a cord. They're well read, between the Blackmonts and herself, and there's no telling if this is a complete inventory or if some are still in Blackmont possession, or in her possession now. Its contents, when he goes through them in his chambers and spends the next few days reviewing them, are utterly innocuous. Well wishes from his mother. Brief, business-like accounts from his father. There is nothing from Quillian.

Jervis's emotions are about as roiling as his traitorous stomach, truth be told. And he has to put more effort into disguising the fact, and at least feigning the role of well-behaved 'house guest', under these circumstances. With a sour taste still in his mouth — and that is in the literal sense, in this case — he accepts the bundle of letters with a respectful nod. His tone is much better tempered, and a touch weaker, and there's no longer that Quill-like smolder of seething anger in his eyes. "You have my thanks, my lady, and my apologies. You are quite kind in passing these letters along. If there is nothing further that you need of me, I would like to retire, as I fear I am not the best company at that moment." That is meant in more ways than one, though he gives a regretful glance toward the vase. Poor, poor house servant.

Alaeyna merely eyes him without comment when he begins shoveling it on in exchange for the letters. She wouldn't have expected anything else. And when he begs his leave again, this time she is predisposed to agree. "Take them and go. Your letter will be dispatched at first light." And this time, when Jervis goes back to his chamber to turn himself in for the evening, there's the sound of a chair being dragged to his door, and the tell-tale thud of an occupant taking up residence upon it. It's not the same guard every day, because they are men of action and have other shit to do, but there is always someone there, and he is no longer given free reign of the fortress without direct observation.

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