(122-07-06) Supper at Sunspear
Supper at Sunspear
Summary: The Targaryens are hosted by the Martells for a feast on the eve of the grand announcement that will bind their houses together.
Date: 6 July 2015
Related: Seeds of Peace
Players:
Torren..Rhaegor..Visenya..Xavia..

The Martells have certainly spared no expense for the feast that's currently in full swing. And it's not even the wedding! Just think about what that will bring. Or maybe don't think too hard about it. Either way, the high table is a rather pleasant one to be at. Torren is at his best in settings such as this; he's comfortable no matter how many people are there and how well he knows them, much more so than on the tourney field or in battle. He'd been very pleasant to his bride to be and, though no one could imagine that he was besotted with her, no one had cause to accuse him of indifference, either.

At the moment, he's sipping Dornish red, though he's not drunk, and leaning back a little bit in his chair, his eyes scanning the room absently. "That particular bard has always been somewhat tiresome," he asides to Rhaegor, who's seated next to him. They've talked throughout the evening, but it hasn't been anything of importance.'

Rhaegor takes advantage of their being between courses to similarly lean back in his chair and appraise the feast, indulging his diplomat's habit of observing people and their interactions with each other and filing away anything of interest to him for later benefit. He's seated next to Dorne's heir apparent, and the two have an easy sort of rapport even in spite of the circumstances that bring them together now, borne of Rhaegor's long diplomatic career and frequent visits to the court at Sunspear. This is but one difficult landscape they've had cause to negotiate in the past, and will hardly be the last.

The Targaryen prince enjoys the Dornish red in kind, his pale violet eyes flicking to the bard when Torren speaks. "Perhaps you ought make a gift of him to someone who's always irritated you, and enjoy two boons at once for the effort." He can't help but glance at Visenya, seated rather far removed from them both. A blessing and a curse.'

A little huff of a laugh escapes Torren at his guest's suggestion, and he says, "A fitting one indeed. But who I dislike enough to foist him on will take some deciding." He catches the look down the table, and follows it to its inevitable conclusion. It's not that he hasn't been looking at her throughout the meal but…well, all right, he hasn't been very much. His smile slips just a little bit, though it rights itself a moment after, and only the most discerning and head-on of looks would probably have noticed it. "I am sorry to have snatched your betrothed out from under you," he says, still in a casual tone of voice. "I hope that our friendship will not suffer for it." 'Friendship' might be a strong term, but he does sound sincere.

Princess Xavia is in attendance but as always the meek girl tries to draw as little attention her way as humanly possible. At the moment, in doing so, the teenager has inadvertantly made herself stand out in her own way. The hood on her dress and the long sleeves of the garment look even more out of place in Dorne than they do in The Reach. She puts her hood up casually, sat where she was away from the guests of honor but still at an important table. There is a woman in Septa's garb beside the girl who quietly leans in and whispers something to Xavia. The girl side eyes her guardian but pulls back the hood very slowly and sulks into the silence which follows between courses. She slouches in her seat, sinking down to make herself smaller and cross her arms. Her dour expression is rather empty as she watches the room.

Visenya has a carefully placed smile on her face. She laughs when it is appropriate. She is jovial and in general good company tonight. She even wears sandsilk robes dyed a brilliant cerulean blue as opposed to the dramatic black and red gowns she favored when she first arrived in Dorne. She appears to be making an effort to appear more approachable to their hosts. And for the most part she is doing quite a good job at it.

And then her gaze meets Rhaegor's, and the radiance of her smile fades ever so slightly. She glances downwards and takes a moment to put that amiable mask up again.

She sits on the other side of Xavia, and as the young girl begins to slouch and pout she picks up her own wine glass, and stealthily dumps some into the girl's goblet. She leans over to murmur into the girl's ear, "Drink that, and try sitting up straight. Your demeanor is your armor, little cousin."

Rhaegor does not notice the slip of his dinner companion's smile, having instead been watching the bard. "Should you want for a shortlist of suggestions, I might have one drafted and ink-dried for you by the hour of the bat," he ripostes in a wry tone. The humor is only ever-so-faintly forced. His own effort, perhaps, to cover the tracks left by his wandering eye.

But the Martell prince is keen on his trail, and so Rhaegor shifts in his seat to regard Torren eye-to-eye. "The betrothal was never recognized by King Viserys. It is not a theft on your part, but a grave oversight on mine to have thought to give a name to something not meant to be." His role in service to the Crown has necessitated this ability to separate emotion from the execution of duty, and he exercises that ability now, sounding neutral and businesslike. "It is in the interest of our continued friendship that we intermarry at all," he remarks.

Xavia blinks at the directive from her cousin and the wine, she'd just started drinking wine at her last name day on June 22nd so she cranes her neck to peers into the glass. In her effort she also fixes her posture. "My armor?" The girl wondered curiously as she took the glass and made sure to use itty bird sips on the wine. Her eyes waver with an uncomfortable nystagmus as she looks up at her cousin, the strange quivering gaze set in strange juxtapose to her smooth precocious monotone. "With whom am I at war?" Wonders the girl in her mousy monontone between demure bird sips, she blinks at Visenya and looks between her elder cousins. Xavia is preciously in the dark about anyone's drama. She holds her goblet in a naive two handed manner.

To another observer, it probably wouldn't be as obvious, but after Torren's meeting with Visenya, and his earlier discussion, it may be on his mind more than on some others'. He meets Rhaegor's gaze without shifting under it, and at the response, nods once. This is nothing less than the truth; a betrothal of two such as them not acknowledged by the king was hardly that at all. But it doesn't make this particular situation any less awkward, or indeed painful, for anyone involved.

"True," he says, "but had you been a Dornishman, perhaps our continued proximity would not be in anyone's interests." His lips pull up into a smirk; or course his countrymens' tempers are notorious, though he himself has never been accused of that.

"Least of all your own," Rhaegor says in reply, a grin punctuating the healthily competitive nature of his remark. Among his own kin, Rhaegor has a reputation of level-headedness, and if he has the famed Targaryen temper, or a touch of the attendant madness, he has found a way to exert ultimate control over it. The key to his success as a political weapon, as well as a martial one, no doubt.

"Tell me," he says, gazing between the faces of Dornishwomen assembled at the table. Those at the high table he's familiar with, but there are several at the long table below he's not got names for. "Is your cousin Emira present?" Considering his habit of frequent visitations to the court, it is something of an enigma that he'd yet to meet the very Martell it's been arranged he wed.

Visenya holds up her own goblet for a refill of the fine Dornish red on offer, and takes more than just a sip. Xavia's question brings a smile to her lips that is a different quality from the one she fixes on her face for polite company. It is amused. "Everyone." She replies smoothly. A olive is picked up and nibbled on in a leisurely manner before she says to Xavia, "To be a Princess is to be an actress. You are being judged. Some will judge you less harshly than others. But right now? We are surrounded by those who would judge you severely, indeed."

Xavia looks down at her goblet and takes another sip as Visenya answered, 'Everyone.' Xavia answers back very slowly while still looking down with the ghost of a smile on her face. "I rather like that…" She almost misses the moment but manages to get her goblet refilled. "But…" And her seemingly non existent milk white brows draw down in honest confusion. "What if I don't care what they think about me? I'm always told to care but frankly only The Seven can judge me. Humans are cruel and their words…. Insights…mortal." Xavia sips her wine in the same delicate manner as before.

This time, the laugh that Rhaegor's words elicits is more natural, and Torren nods as though acknowledging a well-placed hit. "Indeed not," he comments, leaning a little bit forward to rest his forearms on the table. "My talents lie elsewhere than on the battlefield, and I have no desire to end up on the point of a passionate sword."

The question makes him straighten again, though, and he shakes his head. "She is not," he says. "She was feeling a bit ill earlier and did not wish her presence to weigh on the evening, but sends her regrets." It's perfectly appropriate, and the delivery is smooth, accompanied with a smile that is just a bit more sedate than it might be if he were perfectly happy to be giving this news.

"You have to care." Visenya says with a small little shrug, as if to say 'that's just the way the world works'. "The Seven may very well judge you. When you are dead. But you aren't dead, are you? And you are mortal just like the rest of them." She glances at Xavia then before having another modest swallow from her goblet. "But no one likes a quarrelsome or dour woman. And when people like you? They do things for you. When you are a woman your alliances and friendships are more valuable than jewels or gold."

"An underrated strength is the ability to identify our own weaknesses," Rhaegor says handily, lifting his cup toward Torren in the gesture of a toast. It's just congenial enough to keep the air between them light, to put to bay the notion that there might be any spearing of swords over the matter. When the Martell casts his gaze down the length of the table, Rhaegor tracks it, regarding Torren neutrally, but intently, when he explains his cousin's absence. There's only the edge to the look that passes between them to telegraph to the Martell that his polite excuse has been identified for what it is. What the Targaryen says, though, is, "I hope the lady makes a swift recovery." And then he gives Torren an out, too, remarking casually, "How very many cousins you must have. I begin to suspect the Martells rival the Targaryens for number of branches upon the familial tree."

Xavia knows when to be quiet, being quiet was one of her better talents. She wrinkles her nose in passing consideration of that mindset, having long been told such and long suffered it. "Not just like the rest of them." Xavia mutters under her breath when compared to the masses. She retains her good posture but nods to the final advice about having things done by others yet even that gets a steely broken eyed glower by proxy of her haunting nystagmus. Her slate violet eyes find the table politely and she nods softly. "Of course, Cousin. Wise words." This was spoken in place of what she actually muttered at a volume meant to be heard. The girl does /not/ glance at the men down the table. Xavia studies her hands in a shy manner below the edge of the table.

Torren lifts his glass as well, his smile twisting a bit more wryly when he's called out. Not literally called out, of course. But Rhaegor knows, and Torren knows he knows, and that's enough. "I will convey your condolences," he replies, "which I am sure will be greatly appreciated." The sardonic air he tends to have permeates his words, but he takes the rather gracious option his companion gives him at the end, and continues, "I do. I admit that for a long while I was not sure of even who they all were. In fact, I beg you not to test my knowledge until I have had an appropriate length of time to study the books which contain our family tree."

Visenya must be bored with dispensing sage wisdom to the younger Targaryen maiden because her attention wavers from the girl to the faces at the head table. She discreetly looks over what the Ruling Princess is wearing before examining the costume of the other occupants at the table. Finally her eyes fall on Torren and Rhaegor. She keeps a rather passive look on her face as she watches them interact. "Who do you think is more handsome?" She poses to Xavia then, "Prince Rhaegor or Prince Torran?"

The bard starts to play a poignant song, even though it's altogether too early in the evening for that, and not nearly enough of the strongwine has been imbibed. Rhaegor spares the unfortunate musician a sideways stare from across the room, but perhaps it is the lyrics of this particular ballad, one of lovers conspired against by fate, that moves him to address the Martell prince with rather a little more gravity than he had til now. "It is a consolation to me that Visenya marry a prince of Dorne. Her finest qualities will be more appreciated here than they have ever been at Dragonstone or Oldtown. She is sharp as a razor, and isn't like to let you forget it."

Once her older cousin took to ignoring her again Xavia happily basks in the silence- and wine. She is getting used to sipping the goblet one handed. "Oh." And her milk white skin takes to a blush rather readily in the moment. The wine aides her answer as she side eyes the faces in questions from where they sat… "Rhaegor. I don't like dark colored eyes." Coldly logical and generally rather indifferent to the feelings of others; the wine only helps with her boldness. "Why?"

Torren's gaze moves to the musician, as well, and he lets out an almost imperceptible sigh. He raises his voice to be able to cut through the chatter — he does that quite well, it seems — and says, for the benefit of the bard, no doubt, "For my part, I generally prefer something a little less maudlin after only a glass or two." Though the tone is casual, as though he's addressing an acquaintance, his meaning cannot be mistaken. The bard cuts off, and looks up to find Torren staring at him impassively. He blanches, and quickly takes a different, more upbeat tack.

Torren turns to Rhaegor as though this exchange has not happened, and moves on smoothly, "I had the same thought. I do not wish to have a weak wife who thinks herself too demure to form an opinion of her own outside of mine. I do not know the Princess Visenya well yet, of course, but I expect she will be an asset to Dorne."

"Prince Rhaegor has beautiful eyes." Visenya says in agreement, a bit of a wistful sound in her voice. "But I think Prince Torren has the more dignified profile. Rhaegor's face is a bit coarse. In a handsome way, of course. It's very masculine looking, and when he smiles…" She doesn't finish her thought, and instead says, "But it is not as noble as Prince Torren's." She has a swallow of the wine before saying in an easy tone, "No reason at all. Boredom, I suppose. I wish they would clear the table so we could dance. These Dornish linger overly long on the meal."

And Torren wins himself a little more of Rhaegor's gratitude for the maneuver, the bard opting for a lively, instrumental shanty next, sparing them the further sound of his singing voice. It suits the Targaryen fine, draining what's left of his strongwine as he remarks to the Martell heir, "Were she a man, she would enjoy a place of privilege in the King's court. Her future is a brighter one as a princess consort of Dorne." And in so remarking, perhaps he proves his love for her, too; her happiness at the expense of his own.

Torren's gaze moves to the musician, as well, and he lets out an almost imperceptible sigh. He raises his voice to be able to cut through the chatter — he does that quite well, it seems — and says, for the benefit of the bard, no doubt, "For my part, I generally prefer something a little less maudlin after only a glass or two." Though the tone is casual, as though he's addressing an acquaintance, his meaning cannot be mistaken. The bard cuts off, and looks up to find Torren staring at him impassively. He blanches, and quickly takes a different, more upbeat tack.

Torren turns to Rhaegor as though this exchange has not happened, and moves on smoothly, "I had the same thought. I do not wish to have a weak wife who thinks herself too demure to form an opinion of her own outside of mine. I do not know the Princess Visenya well yet, of course, but I expect she will be an asset to Dorne."

"Prince Rhaegor has beautiful eyes." Visenya says in agreement, a bit of a wistful sound in her voice. "But I think Prince Torren has the more dignified profile. Rhaegor's face is a bit coarse. In a handsome way, of course. It's very masculine looking, and when he smiles…" She doesn't finish her thought, and instead says, "But it is not as noble as Prince Torren's." She has a swallow of the wine before saying in an easy tone, "No reason at all. Boredom, I suppose. I wish they would clear the table so we could dance. These Dornish linger overly long on the meal."

And Torren wins himself a little more of Rhaegor's gratitude for the maneuver, the bard opting for a lively, instrumental shanty next, sparing them the further sound of his singing voice. It suits the Targaryen fine, draining what's left of his strongwine as he remarks to the Martell heir, "Were she a man, she would enjoy a place of privilege in the King's court. Her future is a brighter one as a princess consort of Dorne." And in so remarking, perhaps he proves his love for her, too; her happiness at the expense of his own.

"I suppose." Xavia agrees sounding equally bored in response to her cousin's wistful musing. "I only really loved one face. The rest, since he passed, just look like noses and eyes to me…" She trails off mildly distracted by her goblet again but not openly ignoring Visenya. A wane smile lights on the girl's lips as she agrees conversationally, "Yes, dancing. Can I ask you what you think of The North, I'm afraid I've got a smitten Stark I can't shake…" Just more drunken girl talk.

"He keeps sending sparrows." Xavia adds with a silly confused smirk.

"Fourteen and you've already had your one big love?" Visenya sounds positively amused by this. "I think nothing of the North." She says with a sardonic little smirk, "But I can tell you what I think of the Northmen. Lord Stark is disarmingly handsome, but far too honorable to be any real fun. His younger brother Lord Carolis is not quite as handsome, but he is a very good conversationalist, and very fun to flirt with. The rest?" She wrinkles her nose a bit to indicate her opinion. "Which one is this? And sparrows? That /is/ odd, and not a very good gift. I wouldn't say anything until he sends you something with more feeling." She swallows more wine before saying bluntly, "Like a ruby."

This tune much more pleasant, certainly, and easier to relegate to the background, which is exactly what Torren wants to do. "I admit I do not understand the penchant for keeping women from more direct rule," he replies, "but I suppose I had a different upbringing. Your vote of confidence weighs heavily in her favor, Prince Rhaegor." He takes another sip of wine, glancing over at Visenya again briefly, then back to his companion. He studies the other prince's face for a quiet moment, before he adds, "I hope to see her at least somewhat happy in this union, eventually." There's a little bit of a softer note in his voice now, which conveys more than he's saying.

Xavia actually giggles and she raises a hand to hide her mouth. "Sparrows with love letters." She clarified, "They are rather charming and he is helping me build a toy boat for Uncle Dhrae's name day gift. Lord Wylliam is very good with his hands-" Xavia blushes and her hand covers her mouth as she added. "He is a skilled craftsman. Lord Stark's nephew." She buries her stupid smile in a sip.

"Nor I," Rhaegor says simply, but definitively, in agreement. Perhaps it's something they've spoken about in the past, one more ideological commonality between them to promote the healthy rapport they share. He allows a servant to refill his cup with a grateful tilt of his head, and then takes a prompt draught of the strongwine. It is nothing to him to commend Visenya to Amarei's heir; it is as much to put Torren himself on notice as it is to assure him of the quality of his betrothed. The message is a clear one. He prizes her, even if he can never marry her. "She is young. Too young to turn her back on hope of happiness."

Visenya gives Xavia an askance look before she says, "I would invite him over to watch me feed them to my dragonets." She says it as if she still has them. She will totally get them back! "Prince Dhaegon will like that. Are he and Lady Marsei continuing on with their…marriage…?" The slight wrinkle in her forehead indicates just what she thinks of such a match. "I don't think you should set your hopes on young Lord Wylliam." She's had enough wine to loosen her tongue. "I was to marry Prince Rhaegor, and now I am to marry Prince Torren. We really have no choice at all. It's better not to set your hopes on any man until he is your husband. And even then…"

"Mm." Torren sets down his cup, waving away a refill for himself and settling back in his chair. The feasting seems to be winding toward its natural conclusion; Visenya and Xavia may get their wish for dancing in a couple of minutes. He, for the moment, is focused on Rhaegor, and he doesn't miss the undertones in his last words. "Yes," he agrees, "she is. Very young." The corner of his mouth pulls up into a smirk, and he adds dryly, "I don't fool myself into thinking that a maiden as young and beautiful as her is happy to trade you for me. But I will do my best."

"My heart was already broken when I felt my brother Xavier die." Yes, she may know the tale, Xavia lived at Dragonstone four years ago when her brother died and rumor has it she foretold the event before the crows or messengers. She claims to have felt and seen the event occur. "I am only passingly concerned what happens to the pieces at this point. I thought to dedicate myself to the faith… Until the sparrows started arriving." She shrugs and goes for her hood again but a delicate hand comes in and stops the gesture with polite guardianship. Her septa stepping away after…

"As far as I know…" Xavia added belatedly to the questions of their Uncle's wedding, "They were happy together at my name day."

"I fear you mistake me, Prince Torren." Rhaegor adopts the formal title, employing it at the precise moment he hazards to tell the heir to Dorne that he is wrong. This dragon will decline to dance in Dorne tonight; that is to be reserved for a later time. Instead he continues in his private conference with the Martell, oblivious to the efforts of the bard to make up for his earlier misstep in the musical programming. "I meant only that we have the both of us lived much more of life than she has." Yet another thing they have in common; they've already lost their first wives. Rhaegor looks into his cup before taking another drink of the strongwine. "It would be a great waste were she not to find it where she can."

"Were that Daevon had died young." Visenya says in a bit of a cold, hard tone of her twin, "Perhaps if he had I could love him still." She finishes up the wine in her goblet then, and her attention goes to the reel that is forming in the portion of the hall reserved for dancing. She stands up from the bench and announces, "I think I shall dance. You could join me." That said she walks away from the table in a purposeful stride without waiting for Xavia to rise of follow.

"If only we were all so lucky." A beat, reserved, cold effervescence. "I could?!" Xavia agrees and adds a slightly overwrought sigh once Visenya strides away. It suggests she didn't want to dance and once she's alone she mutters, " I'd rather not…" Yet the willful Wallflower only sits there for a few long moments she finishes her wine and eventually gets up to at least drift in the general direction of the dance floor with an expression both brooding and curious.

Torren raises an eyebrow at the first words, though that's the only indication that the words might have been an overstep. Though tonight, he just lets them pass, and instead nods. "Yes," he agrees, "we have. And we both know how difficult it is to forget one's first love. Do we not?" A shadow passes across his face and he looks away and out over the hall, though not at one any person in particular. He's not focused on what he's actually seeing at the moment. But soon enough, he turns back, waving this away. "Too much wine and bad singing," he comments dryly. "Forgive me. Will you dance? I think I have not the temperament for it tonight." His eyes move to those who are dancing, though, and specifically his bride to be.

"Do we not?" The question he poses elicits a nod from Rhaegor and nothing else, the pair of them watching as couples join each other in the dance. "I'll not," the prince demurs, needlessly remarking, "I've no appetite for it," in echo of Torren's own sentiment. "I think perhaps I will take the air, now that my presence is unlikely to be missed."

<FS3> Visenya rolls Dancing: Good Success.

Visenya puts the mask-like smile on her face again as she joins the reel line. She is not precisely familiar with the Dornish style of dance, but she catches on very quickly by mimicking the movements of her partners, and manages to look graceful enough while doing so that it seems that she knew the dance all along.

<FS3> Xavia rolls Stealth: Success.

Xavia hangs away from the the dancing and tries to hide in the crowd. The normally stealthy princess is her own undoing in the elaborate black gown. She disappears, certainly, but it won't take long to pick our Xavia if someone were searching.

"An excellent plan," Torren concedes to Rhaegor, and pushes up from his chair. "Though forgive me if I do not join you. A host's duties must be observed." He inclines his head to the other man, and though he looks like he may be angling to join the dancers when Rhaegor takes his leave, despite what he'd said before about his mood, he waits for the prince's reply before he does.

"It would please her if you danced with her," Rhaegor tells the prince, once he's put down his goblet of wine and risen from the table. He spares Visenya a last look before he takes his leave, and then returns his gaze to Torren. "I have promised my men that they might experience a famed Dornish pillow house while we are here. We ride at the hour of the bat, if you might find opportunity to join us."

"Well, then I shall make an attempt." Torren smiles, and starts to turn away, but the offer brings his gaze back, and after a second, the smile shifts to a bit more of an amused one as his eyes flick past Rhaegor to the others of the Targaryen retinue. "I believe I could manage that," he confirms with a nod. "Good night, Prince Rhaegor." With that, he moves to join the line himself. He may not be quite as talented a dancer as Visenya, but he's perfectly good, and he also has the advantage of knowing all the steps.

One minute Visenya is dancing with some faceless Dornishman, and the next minute she is dancing with the Prince. She manages to hide her surprise behind that smiling mask of hers, and she doesn't miss a step or a beat. "My Prince." She says by way of greeting as they link arms to do a particular step in the orderly line dance. "I hope you are enjoying yourself?" Her tone is completely cordial and neutral. As if he never found her weeping in the garden last night.

Torren has the advantage of knowing that he is going to meet up with Visenya eventually, and so when he does he's ready for it. He returns the smile, his own less of a mask than hers. Though maybe it is one, in its own way. "I am," he replies, perfectly content to leave what was said in the garden behind them. For now, at least. "And you? I hope the food was to your liking. Some visitors find it too hot for their tastes."

"I enjoy the heat." Visenya says of the food, although she may actually mean more than the food when she says she enjoys the heat; she seems to be blending into Sunspear easier than some of the others in the Targaryen envoy. She is watching his face as they dance and speak; the dance steps are already memorized to the point where she doesn't have to think of what exactly she is doing. "You will come to Oldtown with us I imagine?" She is feigning ignorance regarding her knowledge of their match.

He's watching her, too; it's probably the most that Torren has looked at her the whole evening. Not that he'd avoided looking at her, obviously, but they haven't had much of a chance to converse tonight. His smile twists a little as she says this, but he doesn't give away the game. "I believe that was spoken about," he confirms, or at least seemingly. It's not really a confirmation, of course. "It has been quite a while since I was there. I imagine it's changed since last I saw it." Of course, he's been in Dorne, learning — and then maintaining — the running of the kingdom. "Though it is difficult for me to leave here. I never feel quite settled."

"I imagine it would be difficult." Visenya says as she passes close to him in one of the steps, her fingers accidentally brushing over his side. "Leaving your duties and everything you were occupied with." She continues watching his face, and her eyes move over his features as if she were trying to make up her mind regarding something. "I know I should be sad if I were unable to finish certain business in Oldtown. Or, at least the surrounding area."

When her fingers brush against him, Torren glances down at their hands for a brief moment, before looking up to meet her eyes again with his dark ones. "I am sure that no one will attempt to keep you from it," he replies, and though the statement is a little bit non-committal, the way he says it sounds a lot more like a promise. He's silent for a few steps as he contemplates her, before he speaks again, and when he does his words really seem to have nothing to do with his thoughts. Or, little to do with them. "You dance beautifully, Princess Visenya."

The mask breaks. When that subtle promise is uttered she smiles her first genuine smile of the night. Her jewel-like eyes meet his dark orbs and lock in for a heartbeat or two before they flick downwards. She may be flirting with him, and at this point what is the harm in flirtation with him? "I dance only as well as my partner allows me." She says, "So really you must be the beautiful dancer, my Prince."

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Visenya=charm Vs Torren=Empathy
< Visenya: Success Torren: Success
< Net Result: DRAW

That real smile, directed as it is at him for the first time, is affecting. Torren, as he'd said to her, is not a green boy, but he's not so callous that a smile like that from a beautiful maiden leaves him absolutely cold. It's that, more than the more overt flirting, that seems to charm him. He's flirted and been flirted with for many years, and in the court in Dorne, probably much more heavy-handedly than that. But he suddenly feels just a little bit happier about things, and so he allows himself to enjoy it, despite seeing it for what it is.

"A flattering statement," he says, "if slightly untrue." But though his smile is still a bit sarcastic, as it tends to be, it's less cutting and more diverted. "If you are enjoying Dorne," he continues, "perhaps you would consent to ride out with me and let me show you more of it."

"It is not untrue." Visenya argues amicably, and her widening smile suggests that her quarreling is just meant as playful sparring. "If you were a bad dancer I would try keeping pace with you and not the music, and we would both be out of time and I would look nearly as ridiculous as you." Her eyes find his again, and they remain there longer than they did before. Inevitably, however, they glance downwards again as if staring overly long into his eyes overwhelms her. It may be a game she is playing and not sincere feelings, but she's very good at it. "I should like that." She says of the ride, "The day after next perhaps?" Tomorrow they can't go considering their engagement will be announced.

“I am certainly glad that I am good enough not to embarrass you in that way," Torren replies, his own smile growing a little bit. "You seem to have developed a very accurate perception of terrible dancers. A shame that one so young as you would have already experienced so many of those. I would not have thought that of your cousin's court." He glances past her for a moment to survey a few of the Targaryen retinue who are not as talented as her, and a little wry laugh escapes him, before he looks back. The game is amusing, too, and he lets himself be drawn into it, leaning into her almost imperceptibly when the dance brings them closer that it could be accidental, if he ever gave the impression that anything he does in this way is accidental.

Her acceptance of his offer, though, gets a real smile from him as well. "The day after tomorrow," he confirms. "We can spend the day away from the contrivances of court. I'm sure it will be a welcome reprieve after so much ceremony."

"Oh. Well…" Visenya leans in as he does. Enough so that she can whisper into his ear, and he can likely feel the pleasant vibrations from her sweet and high voice, "They all believe they are very good at dancing. In fact they would probably brag about it. But if you asked the women at court?" She draws back to give him a mock cringe to indicate just what she feels regarding her cousin's dancing. When he agrees with her she smiles a light little smile, "I would be glad to be away from court after such a taxing day."

The laugh that Torren gives at her words is a little bit lower when she speaks so close to his ear; he lets himself enjoy that, too. "I am glad to allow you to showcase your talents to best advantage," he says, and he nods at the end, just before the steps whisk them away from each other again.

However, the song is almost over, and when it is, they're still close enough that he can reach to take her hand, bringing it to his lips. The kiss he presses there is exactly as it should be, neither too long nor to lascivious, but the way his eyes find hers brings it to an altogether different place. He's not willing to be outdone, it seems. At least, that's probably what it is.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Torren=Charm Vs Visenya=Intrigue
< Torren: Good Success Visenya: Success
< Net Result: Torren wins - Solid Victory

Visenya's skin is a milky alabaster that is a sharp contrast to the tans and bronzes of his countrywomen. When he looks up at her in that manner the apples of her cheeks flush a pretty pink; she may flirt with precision and wear a mask, but this she cannot hide from him. "You honor me unjustly, my Prince." She states before her eyes turn to indicate a little alcove with a window where they can sit and speak freely without having to continue to dance.

That little blush suddenly reminds him of her age, despite her very poised demeanor and practiced flirting. But this time the reminder seems more pleasant for him than not. Torren smiles, and squeezes her hand before he lets go, shaking his head. "Only as much as is your due," he corrects, before glancing over at the place she indicates. He nods, then moves over there, settling down on one side while still leaving her plenty of room, so she need only be as close to him as she wishes. Well, unless she wishes to be across the room.

Visenya sits down on the bench but leaves some space between them. She may be flirting with him, but she's not quite ready to be so familiar with him as that. Her head turns to look at the high table where Rhaegor once was and a guilty little shadow settles over her face briefly. She smooths it away with one of her fine measured smiles before looking back to Torren. "Pardon me for being direct, my Prince." She begins, "But how soon are we to be wed after the announcement?" Daevon had stalled for over a year. She doubts the same mistake will be made twice.

Torren may notice that glance and guess the reason for it, but if he does, he chooses to overlook it. Instead he leans a little bit back, resting his hands on his knees as he regards her. Her direct address of their impending nuptials doesn't phase him; in fact maybe he appreciates it. "Quite soon," he replies, though a little more delicately than he is generally known for. But he doesn't dissemble. "Before the month is out, would be my guess. My mother has a great wish to see me married again and does not wish to wait." It's a lie. Or, if not quite a lie, than not the whole truth. Her brother's broken betrothal has a great deal to do with that, but they both know it, and there is no need to mention it. "Preparations must be made, of course, so not immediately. But soon."

"I see…" Visenya says, and she takes in a tight little breath. Less than a month. She feels dizzy regarding how quickly things are progressing. She understands that what he says is for her benefit, and the look she gives him indicates that she appreciates it. It allows her to save face, and bear less shame for her brother's refusal to honor his obligations. "Will…" She swallows, "Prince Rhaegor and his bride be married at the same time?" She knows she has to attend Rhaegor's wedding, and he hers, but to do it simultaneously may be too much.

This next question sobers Torren's expression a little bit more, and he doesn't respond immediately, looking out instead at the dancing that's still going on. He seems to be considering the question thoroughly, rather than just being reluctant to answer. Finally, though, he does. "I would imagine not," he says, in the way he has of speaking circumspectly, while implying something else. "One ceremony will be taxing enough to carry out. Two in one day may cause much unnecessary strain."

Visenya relaxes visibly. Her long elegant hands fold neatly in her lap, and she looks over the planes of his face a moment before asking, "I would think that perhaps you would like something a bit less lavish? I imagine this is difficult for you on some level as well, and I am grateful that you are making this easier for me." She hesitates as if afraid of bringing it up before she finally says, "I was afraid I would have to pay in some manner. For my brother Daevon's insults."

"Yes," Torren confirms after a second or two, "I would prefer that. However, I have as little say in how it is carried out as you, though it might not seem like it just now." Another wry smirk is given at this, and it might not be quite the truth, but the underlying principle is. He did not choose her any more than she chose him.

He looks back at her at her last words, his eyebrows raising in surprise. Perhaps that she would bring such a thing up to him. "Your brother is a child," he says, a little bit harshly, but not at her, "who apparently does not understand how things are done. He offered us a great affront. But it was not of your doing, and you are trying to make it right despite your own feelings. That, to me, speaks of great strength." There's none of his usual attempts to disarm, or biting wit. He's just truthful, and he may never have seemed quite as much like what he is — the heir of Dorne — than at this moment. At least, to her.

Visenya does not look guilty or embarrassed when Torren speaks of her twin in such a manner. Instead she looks vindicated. "He takes great pride in his Knighthood, and his riding about the countryside rescuing maidens, but he has never came through for me when I needed it most." She looks sad a moment before she says, "I shouldn't burden you with this. Just know that I do not condone what my brother has done, and while I may not have chosen this-" She looks up at him, and there is sincerity in her face, "Having met you makes this easier. So much easier."

The description of her brother does bring a bit of the smirk back, but now it's more as though Visenya and Torren are comrades in arms in this, somehow. "Brothers," he replies, "are such troublesome creatures, are they not?" An echo of what he'd said the night before, though no less truthful. But when she goes on, he meets her eyes, and now, instead of seeing her youth, it's suddenly hard to believe that she is barely older than his sister. When she's through, he shakes his head, and replies, "When we are wed, your burdens become mine to share. I don't wish you to hide them from me." Though there's a laugh in his voice when he continues, "I am glad of it. That I am not five-and-sixty, balding and run to fat, helps a great deal, I'm sure."

"He is my brother only in the sense that we shared a womb." Visenya says a bit darkly, some of the fire that Targaryens are famous for shining through in her eyes. But, she drops it with a tense little sigh. Instead she looks back at him, and some of that tension that built up in her back from speaking of her brother melts. "It is my hope that I shall prove my competence to you, and you will share in your burdens with me, your highness." She smiles in an enigmatic fashion then, and says, "I mean no offense to your uncles." And yet she doesn't deny it.

Of course, the Dornish are not known tor meekness in their women or men, and while Torren may not be outwardly as hot-blooded and spoiling for a fight as many of his countrymen, he may appreciate a woman with a spirit such as hers. There's a little satisfied smile when he sees that look, though he doesn't dwell on it, but lets it pass. "I am sure I shall," he confirms. "I have never desired a weak wife."

Her last words get a louder laugh, loud enough that some heads turn toward them. Or, some more heads. They are certainly being observed, and the closeness with which they are sitting and speaking, despite it being perfectly appropriate, especially for Dornish standards, is probably cause for some speculation. But he doesn't pay it any attention, just says, "Even if you did, I shall keep it to myself."

He falls quiet for a second as he studies her face, before continuing in a bit of a softer tone, "You looked at me in a way that you had not before, when we were dancing. May I ask what you were thinking of?"

Visenya ignores the stares. She is used to being the subject of rumors and speculation. His question surprises her, and that surprise is evident on her face. "We've only met a handful of times, your highness. There are many ways in which I have not looked at you yet." There is a bit of a coyness to her voice, and it looks like she may flirt with him to distract him from the question. But, after a moment she responds frankly, "I'm embarrassed to say." She admits before her eyes turn downwards briefly. "I…I tend to be a bit more passionate than some of my kinswomen. It has always been my downfall." Her eyes remain tipped downwards, and it is hard to tell if she is truly being sincere or teasing him, "That and handsome men."

The answer amuses him, and he laughs again with a nod of acknowledgement. "I can only imagine the myriad of looks that are preparing to be directed my way," he says, and whether or not he's conscious of it, he seems as though he may allow himself to be distracted away. But then she answers, and his eyes narrow very slightly, though the smile remains. He may be attempting to discern whether she's being truthful, or not. The last words tip the scales into the latter, though. But he doesn't seem to mind. "Woe betide me to be marrying a Targaryen who is more passionate than her kinswoman," he says instead. "I shall never have a moment's peace."

"No." Visenya says in mock sympathy. "You never will have peace again. Poor man. I truly do pity you." She looks up at him then before her voice grows more serious. "I had an idea of what my life was going to be." She says, "And when I looked at you then I think I was embracing this new path. It's sad when something ends, but this has more possibility and promise than I ever thought it could." She presses her lips together briefly before asking, "What colors do you like? I do not think it is appropriate for me to wear the orange and yellows of Martell yet, but I would like to wear something for you tomorrow."

"You will only be the first of many to pity me now," Torren replies, though the attempt to look depressed about it is marred by the twitching of his lips. He can't seem to hold it for too long, though, and especially when she reveals the real reason behind the look. "I had one, too," he admits after a second, "for many years. But perhaps we shall make this into something worth having, as well."

Her last question gives him pause, and his head cants to the side just a bit as he considers. “Purple," he finally answers. "To match your eyes. I think that would suit you very well." This may be an understatement to what he's actually thinking, judging by his tone.

The look Visenya gives Torren when he says he had a vision for his own life is sympathetic. "I cannot begin to understand." And it's completely truthful. She may not be able to be with who she wants, but at least she knows he lives and is well. Death is so final. "I would like that. Building something together." But she embraces the change in the conversation when he says green. "Purple." She repeats. She must sense that he has more on his mind so she asks, "And?"

Torren probably appreciates her words, but just as much that she segues easily into the lighter topic. "And gold," he says after a second. "That would be what I would choose, if I were choosing for you." He smiles a bit wryly here, but it seems to be directed more at himself this time. "I am vain enough that announcing my engagement to such a beautiful woman sounds like something I shall enjoy quite a bit." His eyes don't leave her face as he speaks.

"Oh?" Visenya knows she is beautiful. But she likes being reminded that others notice it as well. Her face blossoms into another pretty little smile. "I am vain enough that I will enjoy being betrothed to a handsome man." She waits a beat before adding, "Who is not five and sixty and who has not run to fat." She watches his face then, same as he watches hers, before finally she says in a low voice, "I hatched a dragon's egg several months ago, and two live dragons were born from it. Twins. …They flew away from me because of a mishap beyond my control. I must retrieve them before my family has the opportunity. …But I could give you dragons."

Torren has fallen into a comfortable flirtation with her, enough that when she throws his words back at him, he laughs instead of anything else. "You shall have to remind me of this moment at our wedding feast, so I can skip the richer dishes," he replies.

However, her next words are so wholly different that they draw him up short. Dragons. One does not think of Targaryens without thinking also of dragons, but this more immediate reminder makes him straighten up a little bit. It is not hard to see what he thinks, the excitement that this thought brings him. "That is your business in Oldtown," he says, and he also speaks more quietly, though still with intensity. And it's not a question, either. He knows it must be that. What else could it be? "You shall have everything and anything that is within my power to give you to help you get them back, my princess."

"It is." Visenya says with a small affirmative nod. "Perhaps this is why my family sent me. They mean to take my dragons and give them to someone higher in the succession. They are /mine/. And now that they are mine they are also yours. When I marry you I become a Princess of Dorne. My allegiance will be to you, and to Dorne. This I pledge to you." She seems sincere in her words. "I have been a pawn for far too long. Thank you, my Prince."

The words she speaks seem to make Torren angry. His anger is not like hers, or indeed, like what is commonly thought of as Dornish hot-bloodedness. No, his is a cold-burning fury, that one could imagine would outlast any of the more short-lived rages that spark, and then fizzle out with nothing to direct them. He reaches for her hand then, but it is not with the same seductive motions as before. This time he grips it tightly, and there is a strength there that belies his indifferent performance whenever he'd entered in the tournament lists. "They are yours," he agrees. "When you are my wife, you shall have power in your own right. You shall no longer be something to be dispensed with as is seen fit, whose only value comes from who she weds, as your Northern lords believe. We will get them back, and no one shall take them from you again."

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