(122-07-07) Seeds of Peace
Seeds of Peace
Summary: Seeds of peace are sown at Sunspear; betrothals are announced.
Date: 7 July 2015
Related: Seeds of Peace; In Blood, Truth

Sunspear. The Old Palace. Noblemen and women have gathered in the throne room under the stunning gold and glass dome of the Tower of the Sun. The Dornish and the Crownlanders combined number at least a hundred-and-a-half heads, most dressed in the colors of the noble houses they represent. They intermingle, the atmosphere one of anxious anticipation, for the hour of the announcement that's been expected since the Targaryen party arrived in Sunspear has finally arrived.

From the entrance to the hall comes a resounding clang of metal on metal, a clash of Dornish spears, heralding the arrival of Princess Amarei Nymeros Martell and her Prince Consort. She is a formidable woman, even in her advancing age, and when she ascends the dais and takes her rightful place upon the spear seat before the watching eyes of the Crownlanders, there isn't a Dornish heart in the hall that doesn't swell with pride. Her consort takes the sun seat by her side, as he always has; hers is the true power.

Following Amarei toward the dais are Rhaenys Targaryen, the Queen Who Never Was, and Corlys Velaryon, Master of Driftmark. They are the ranking guests of honor from among the Targaryen party, and they enjoy the privilege of standing below the Princess of Dorne.

From the spear seat, Amarei addresses the audience. "This is an auspicious day. Today we at last solidify the pact of peace between the greatest houses in the realm; Martell and Targaryen." Martell first, of course. Always Martell first.

Jurian is wearing his finest, in house colors. It really isn't the best palette for him, but this is a struggle shared by many Targaryens, whose violet eyes and pale hair will tend to clash with severe red hues. His eyes are somewhat hooded as he watches the royalty sweep in fron the sidelines. He shifts his weight slightly when the speechifying begins.

Amarei Martell is well matched in awesomeness by her Targaryen counterpart, and just as Amarei speaks on behalf of Dorne, Rhaenys speaks on behalf of the Crown. "I once proclaimed in the eyes of gods and men that Daevon Targaryen and Mariya Martell would be wed. It was to be done within a year, but that year has come and gone. We regret that we have failed to make good on our word." At this, Rhaenys turns from addressing the crowd to addressing Amarei, inclining her head with due solemnity.

From the dais, Amarei mirrors the gesture in kind. "I present my son and heir, Prince Torren Nymeros Martell." And she lifts a hand as those same spears clang to announce the prince's arrival to the hall. Heads turn to look.

Efforts… have been made with her attire and Princess Xavia looks slightly less 'over dressed' for Sunspear this night. Her hooded gown has been replaced with an opulent dress made from layers of quilted sandsilk. The garment is heavy, yet, by Dornish standards, still seems fitted to the climate. Her outer layers are styled in a deep red to black ombre, the bodice conceals any skin in a smooth crimson lace collar that extends high. The sleeves of her dress are sheer and trail to the ground behind her as another ombre in white, black, crimson elegance.

Xavia wears bicep length, demure white gloves and her long white hair is styled simple and straight to her lower back. A subtle circlet of pearls and rubies is her only finery. The internal folds of her dress are decorated in a brocade pattern, crimson flames against crisp white silk. As one gets closer it becomes apparent the lace is patterned in the same flames as the underskirt. The dress is cinched around her solar plexus with an ebony colored belt. She has the stealth of a mouse as she sneaks up beside Jurian and quietly attends to listening as speech began already.

As soon as he is announced, Torren Martell enters the room, clothed in the colors of his house, as is customary. He looks as comfortable in this setting as he does in any more intimate one; of course, he has been doing this sort of thing all his life. …Well, not precisely this thing. But similar things. He may have been made for this, as he never was for the battlefield.

He makes his way to stand just below the dais, bowing to his mother and Rhaenys in turn. Everything about him is just as it should be — his manner, his address. He's even held off on the smirk that he tends to wear in favor of a softer smile. At least so far.

Rhaenys bows her head to Torren, and in response to the presentation of the Martell heir, decrees, "We present Visenya Targaryen." The sterling Queen Who Never Was is dressed in Targaryen crimson, the color of freshly spilled blood upon her pale, snow white skin.

The doors on the opposite end of the hall open, and in steps Visenya Targaryen, twin to the previously promised Daevon. She does not wear the black and red of house Targaryen; instead she wears a lavishly purple silk gown painted with gold and silver cut in a simple style that clings to her willowy figure without revealing too much. Her shunning of black and red may be seen as an act of submission to her future house and in-laws; a sign that she is willing to set aside the pride of her bloodline.

She is no weeping maiden. Visenya's head is held high as she walks through the crowd of Dornish and Crownlanders towards the dias, and there is no sign of distress on her face. Instead it is a beautiful mask of congeniality. She curtseys lowly three times; first to Amarei, secondly to Rhaenys, and thirdly to Torren.

Jurian sighs faintly. Admiration for the splendid appearances of the principals? Or something else?

Xavia side eyes her cousin Jurian as he sighs at the entrances. She rolls her eyes at him but is obliquely positioned so the gesture is more for her own benefit. "Lovely dresses." She mutters in a whisper- just in case he hadn't noticed her nearby.

Once Visenya has reached the dais, Rhaenys turns to regard Amarei with an air that seems expectant. The Matriarch of Dorne takes her time, regarding the woman that House Targaryen has nominated as a worthy bride for her son and heir. It's part of the pomp and circumstance, of course, but there is a palpable current of anticipation before at last she decrees, "House Martell accepts. Prince Torren Nymeros Martell and Princess Visenya Targaryen entered this hall on their own, but they will leave it together. You are all witness to their betrothal, and we hope that you will join us as witness to their union before the Targaryen procession departs Dorne."

Jurian glances at Xavia, lifting an eyebrow. "Yes, it's true," he murmurs. "Visenya looks good in purple."

When Visenya comes to join him, Torren bows in turn. His eyes linger a little bit more on her than might strictly be necessary, but after that long moment, he takes her arm, turning out again and toward those gathered there. He's still smiling easily, and his lips move as though he's speaking to her, but it would be impossible for anyone else who is not her to hear what he's said.

Rumors of the last year say that Alaryn Martell, one of Amarei's younger children and the notorious Raptor of Dorne, had done the unthinkable— turned away from the courtly life, from the legend and glory attached to his bloodline and personage to study at the Citadel, to live the cloistered and scholarly life of a Maester. Yet here he is, dressed in full Martell finery, arrayed amongst the royal Dornish contingent on the flank of his mother and elder brother, watching the goings-ons with a warm, pleased smile. His garb is of resplendeny, flowing silks and embroidered satins bearing finely detailed stylizations of the sun and the spear— two of Dorne's most formidable comrades. Of course, today that list gains one more under the watchful sigil of the three-headed dragon.

While this alliance has hardly been without its detractors, and this ceremony is not yet more final than his little sister's aborted betrothal to Daevon Targaryen, for his part Prince Alaryn seems to have no qualms with the renewed good blood between Dorne and the Iron Throne. His own murmurs are spared to speak to Lady Alaeyna Fowler, watching the ceremony at his side; rumors about THAT pair simply take too long to recount in detail, here.

"She looks good in every color." Xavia agrees with Jurian in her standard metered monotone. There is a faint political plastic smile on her normally dour features as if someone has been coaching her on etiquette before this evening. "They make a grand couple. I wonder what the babies will look like…" Xavia looks on faintly and if others start to clap she'll join with a belated and distracted air.

There is a slight widening of Visenya's eyes as Amarei announces that the wedding will take place before the procession leaves Dorne, but otherwise she shows no reaction. She stands arm in arm with Torren, and when he whispers into her ear she smiles a small but genuine little smile.

Indeed, there is a bit of clapping. The entire production is just the theatrical sort of thing adored at court, and even those who harbor suspicion towards the Targaryens seem to take care to comport themselves with a measure of neutrality in the wake of the grand announcement. Murmurs go around, and more than one lady's heart has broken to think that her dreams of taking the heir to Dorne to husband now lack hope of being realized. The crowd thinks that it is done, that this has been the big reveal. But then the Queen Who Never Was begins to address them again, and they fall quiet once more.

Jurian claps as appropriate. "Well, they're sewing this up quickly, aren't they?" he murmurs to Xavia.

"Well.. after the last time.." Xavia quips during the clapping but falls silent for the Queen Who Never Was as she moved to speak again.

"House Targaryen wishes to ensure that it honors its word to Dorne, to make amends for the dissolved betrothal of Prince Daevon and Princess Mariya," Rhaenys begins, looking from Amarei to the lords and ladies assembled before her. "And so we present Prince Rhaegor Targaryen, that Dorne might still gain a son, in addition to a daughter."

No clashing of spears precedes the prince's arrival to the hall; by the time most turn to see his entrance, he has already begun his approach to the dais. While his cousin is bedecked in purple and gold, he wears his armor and Targaryen black on his back, stark and severe. All due deference is paid to the dais and to the other high ranking personages surrounding it, and then he takes his place, presenting himself to the watching eyes of the assembly.

Torren takes the applause as a matter of course, and and also of course, is unsurprised at the second announcement. He merely stands at ease with his promised bride — this promise one that Dorne will apparently not so easily let slip from their grasp as the other had, judging from the haste with which it is due to be fulfilled.

And now, in a perfect reversal of their roles from the first stage of the ceremony, Amarei lifts a hand and announces, "Dorne presents Emira Martell." There is that clang of spears again to herald the entrance of the Princess of Dorne's niece, the heir apparent's cousin. Fixtures of the Dornish court know this to be something of a scandalous choice, among the marriageable women in the Martell clan, to present to the Crownlanders. There is a ripple of murmuring through the crowd, heads turning to see her arrive.

While any number of those assembled my gasp or murmur at Rhaenys' encore, the sudden double dragon thing doesn't seem to prompt more than a second round of pleased applause from Alaryn Martell and several others among the royal contingent. A meaningful if brief look is cast to the dais, specifically towards Amarei, though the Raptor's smile never wavers. A second murmur to the adjacent woman only warms his expression further, offered amidst the hall's— and his own— affirmation of this development. Emira's appearance only seems to entertain Alaryn all the more, and this round of applause, his contribution is robust. To his credit, the 'Scandalous! /Excellent/.' remains un-uttered.

Alaeyna Fowler is one of a few Dornish heads of household who have traveled to Sunspear to pay witness to this spectacle, and she wears her colors — cerulean blue and silver — proudly for the occasion. She seems to share in Alaryn's delight at this turn of events, joining him in his applause, admittedly with much more gusto than she demonstrated for the first announcement. She slips a hand to the crook of the Crimson Raptor's elbow, leaning in to conspire with him in a private conference of whispers, wearing a grin all the while.

Princess Emira Martell is through the doors before they have fully opened. She has been most absent from court, an enigma then as now, at least to the visitors, and she wears her unveiled mystery with entertainment, appearing boastful as she stalks toward the dais. She's a striking sort of beauty, sharp and lean instead of curving and soft, small in stature — yet there's no denying that the Prince Rhaegor's intended bride is also an intended warrior. As Visenya before her, she is no weeping maiden; nor is she a shy princess, hiding from her groom-to-be, nor a woman taken ill as her cousin Torren excused her as at the feast.

Radiant is her tan skin, doing her house sigil proud, while her eyes are cutting and dark, darker even than her long hair, which has been tamed down to hang straight and gleaming. It's been shorn, in a wholly functional fashion, above her thick jet brows, and over this, she wears a slender bronze band that appears to conjoin in the middle as a spearhead in the sun. It looks more like a serpent.

She's attired richly in the colours of blood, sand and sun in robe-like Dornish dress, elevated to a certain level of extravagance for the occasion but nevertheless practical, her arms bare, her legs free to move in and out of the loose sandsilk. Eyes on the spear seat, she looks at no one in passing except for a dignified Dornishman with silvering hair and black scorpions embroidered upon his vest, her father Madyn, a Qorgyle of Sandstone. After a respectful curtsey to Amarei, a thrum of knowing tension goes through some of the Dornish court … before she indeed shows the same show of respect to the Queen That Never Was. Further breaths are held, tenser still, as Emira approaches Prince Rhaegor; hers is not among them. She comes to a halt in front of him, looking him dead in the eye and standing boldly, one foot forward, giving her the image of a statue come to life; a lion or harpy perhaps, with spirited onyx eyes, ready to leap from its block and devour.

Jurian shifts his weight again, watching the engagement theater unfold. He looks at Emira with mild interest and listens to some of the murmurs around him, but he doesn't have any comments of his own.

Xavia watches on rather impassively as all the formal announcements take place. The girl claps when required and smiles with the same wane manner. Her slate violet eyes widen with the second announcement and she watches the Princess Emira more closely than the rest up there. "Fascinating development." Commented again during the clapping which followed.

"Is it?" Jurian asks, sounding less than fascinated.

"I didn't expect to see /two/ wedding announcements… let alone one." Xavia laughs very softly and it more mimed than heard in the din of the court mummers. "But what do I know?"

Upon the dais, Amarei meets her younger son's stare, offering him a glance in return that communicates nothing outside the implicit bond of mother and son. She sits still, statuesque, upon the spear seat as Emira Martell makes her entrance, ever so faint a flicker of relief releasing some of the tension from her exacting posture when the warrior princess meets her intended eye-to-eye.

Rhaenys is alive to the undercurrent that inflicts the assembly with the presentation of this particular Martell, and she watches the woman's approach with an impressively impassive expression. She is a reknown dragonrider, practically born upon the back of a wyrm, and it is nothing for her to stand before a harpy.

Rhaegor, for his part, has been steadfast in his solemnity, sharing in none of the smiles exchanged between the other couple now standing to the side of the dais, while he awaits Emira front and center before it. Even amid the electric reaction of the assembly to his intended's name, his attitude did not falter. He does not recognize the name, it is clear. Her reputation is unknown among his kin.

And then Emira marches her way toward him, and he wavers, recognition dawning in his expression. Ringing in his ears is the sound of the Queen Who Never Was, proclaiming, "House Targaryen accepts."

Jurian rolls a shoulder. "I barely know any of them. Why does no one ask /me/ if I want a Martell?" he asks, carefully keeping his voice from reaching beyond the cousin next to him. "It's very tiresome being an audience. Must we stand all the while?"

Xavia has a coy grin on as she refuses to answer that particular question from her older cousin. Just to be cutting she responds with, in equally conspiratorial aside, "Do you want a Martell?" She didn't care but he wanted to be asked and so she provides in mocking form. "I agree though.." And her eyes shoot around a few times… "Is this all there is to court?" The teenager honestly wonders.

As Rhaenys speaks, Princess Emira, her expression dangerously defiant so near the faces of royalty, looks sharply away from vivid eye contact with Rhaegor with a reflexive flick of her head toward the Queen That Never Was. When her intense mien turns back to her fresh intended, she wets her lips, staring. Her lips melt into a smile, but it cannot be said to be kind; it's something far more primal, always with a sly edge. Her eyes widen for an instant, her gaze jumping at him like a challenge. "Prince Rrrhaegor," she starts to roll his name elegantly on her tongue, but it ends harsh and hissing. "Did you hear that?" She speaks lowly, but outside of a whisper (and altogether more than she ought). Rather than lower herself to him or stand dully at his side, she raises her hand quickly — to take, or to avoid, is unclear — showing off her ring, a carved black scorpion with a wicked little ruby-tipped tail. Poised to strike. "House Targaryen accepts. How quick. There is no time to dance."

Jurian lifts an eyebrow at Xavia, but says nothing. His lips roll together.

Visenya remains arm-in-arm with Torren, but her attention is on the meeting between Rhaegor and Emira. She watches with an impassive look on her face, and the only thing of note is the intensity in which she watches.

When Emira speaks, Torren tenses. It's very slight, and likely would not be noticed by the onlookers, though Visenya, arm in arm with him as she is, can no doubt feel it. The smile hardens on his face as he watches the exchange, but that, too, could certainly be overlooked by at least the people who are further away from them.

Against all odds, Prince Rhaegor smiles. When Emira lifts her beringed hand, he does nothing more than take it into his own, exerting a firm and definitive grasp. A demonstration of solidarity in the wake of Rhaenys's proclamation. An acceptance of the challenge Emira issues him.

Princess Amarei leaves no further room for her niece to disrupt the proceedings, and turns once more to address the assembly. "Two unions to bind House Martell and House Targaryen, to sow the seeds of peace and harmony between us, to join our bloodlines rather than to divide them. In the eyes of gods and men," she says, an echo of Rhaenys's own proclamation, "so shall it be."

The Matriarch of Dorne has the privilege of the last word, descending the dais on the arm of her consort and leading the procession from the hall. Rhaenys and Corlys fall in behind her, and the betrothed couples behind them. They leave the throne room and travel to the feasting hall, marking the completion of the ceremonial exchange and the commencement of the merriment and revelry. Some of the nobility files out immediately afterwards, while others linger to socialize with those they'd not had the opportunity to greet earlier.

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