(122-07-08) Lovely Day for a Ride
Lovely Day for a Ride
Summary: Rhaegor and Torren continue their bromance in the stables, interrupted by Visenya's arrival.
Date: 8 July 2015
Related: Seeds of Peace

The events of the night before, if somewhat strained in parts, were generally thought to have been successful. Really, when Emira is involved in something of that nature, one can't really hope for completely uneventful. See, we can say that, because she's not here to defend herself. But whatever the case, the betrothals were announced, and considering how quickly the couples were to be married, those betrothals might as well have been marriages. A few days one way or the other makes not very much difference at this point. Amarei was not likely to let these fall apart as the other had.

They do have a day or two, though, and so today Torren was arranging to take Visenya out riding. He's having the horses prepared right now, though it's still quite early. Anyone looking for him for whatever reason — known only to themselves and possibly their players — would have no trouble figuring out where he was.

Rhaegor is the sort of person who likes to have his thumb on the pulse, to know comings and goings and intentions and all the rest. Information is a diplomat's best weapon, a fact of life Torren knows as well as he does. And so after the Targaryen prince finishes his morning spar, he opts to pass by the stables with his men, so that he can come upon the Martell in the midst of his preparations for the pleasure ride planned for that afternoon. "Prince Torren," he says in greeting, not bothering to posture as though the crossing of their paths had been by chance. He inclines his head at his men, indicating that they ought go on without him.

Torren does know, and he may even have expected the visit — or, if not quite expected, at least he's unsurprised by it. He turns away from preparing his horse when he's addressed, and when he sees Rhaegor, he nods to the other man, a little smirk turning up the corner of his lips. "Prince Rhaegor," he returns, leaving off what he's doing to move a little bit closer for ease of conversation. "I trust you slept well?" He probably knows — or has an educated guess — why the man is here, but that doesn't mean that he has to get to it right away.

Rhaegor has an interest in the famed sandsteeds of Dorne, and so he takes to inspecting one of the prince's horses while they converse, walking the length of the creature as he examines it. He doesn't bother to answer the question. Instead he says, "Princess Rhaenys was pleased with the presentation. She has already written her report to the King; I read it this morning. She will stay through your wedding to Visenya, and then return to King's Landing directly."

"I am glad she found it to her liking," Torren says amiably, for all the world as though it was the Targaryens, and not the Martells, who needed to be pleased with the ceremony. Only that little thread of amusement running through his words gives it away, but it's so subtle that it's not something that could really be called out. And of course, Rhaegor knows how he is by now. "I know that this is all being handled with haste; I hope the strain is not too taxing for her."

He watches Rhaegor look over the horse, before he says, "If you wish for a mount, I can suggest several that might be appropriate. It would be a shame for you to be here and not enjoy everything that Dorne has to offer." There's a little slightly sardonic lean on 'everything.'

Rhaegor offers the observation as bait; when Torren does not take it and confirm the Martells' own satisfaction with the exchange, the Targaryen prince looks from the horse to the man with a gauging look and nothing if not a bit of concern. "She will be content when it is done and amends have at last been made for…" Well, he doesn't need to say for what. For Daevon's failure. For House Targaryen's failure.

Running a hand over the steed's withers, Rhaegor once more returns his attention to the creature. "I should enjoy that," he says, in cordial acceptance of the offer made him. He lets the 'everything' pass without comment.

Torren fixes Rhaegor in his gaze for a second or two, the pause just long enough to be noticeable, before he lets him off the hook with a nod. "There is no shame in making amends for a child's mistake," he says, the irony dropping from his tone now. "I told Princess Visenya as much. We are pleased to unite with House Targaryen in this way." A lot less official, and more like they're friends. They aren't, quite, but they probably could be, though it may be more difficult under the circumstances.

"Good," Rhaegor says, that current of concern fading from his gaze, easing the gravity of his expression. If Prince Torren is content, so too is he. And when mention is made of Visenya, he says, "I thank you for hosting her so well at the feast." For keeping an eye on her, is what he doesn't say, genuine just the same in his expression of gratitude. "I fear your cousin did not find my company so compelling." His tone shifts to wryness at that, sparing the Martell a sidelong look as he turns from the horse. Emira disappeared from the feast before the dancing began, and did not return to it.

"Of course," Torren replies, both to the words, and their underlying meaning. The next words, though, bring a little bit of that smirk back, though it almost seems sympathetic. "My cousin rarely finds anything so compelling as her whip," he continues, resting a hand on the horse's neck. "I hope her…ah, spirited demeanor…did not distress you overmuch." That's about the loosest euphemism that has ever been uttered. "She rarely enjoys such spectacles as last night's."

In fact, Prince Rhaegor seems to demonstrate neither displeasure nor distress as regards his intended, even if by now he has realized there indeed might have been a message communicated in the selection of Emira as a candidate for the exchange. "To have the liberty of only attending the feasts and fetes one actually enjoyed," he laments to Torren, the pair of them sidled with a comparable obligation to participate in functions that no doubt are rarely more compelling to them than last night's was to Emira. He glances to the sky. "The day should make for a pleasant trip," he comments with polite indifference.

"Indeed," Torren agrees with a little wry laugh. "Not all of us are so fortunate." He quiets when Rhaegor does, and just nods with a quiet noise of assent when the other man comments on the weather. He's not looking at the sky, though, and his expression is more calculating.

"Wedding a Dornishwoman is somewhat different than a Northern one," he finally says. His words are delicate, and he doesn't really even seem to be implying that one is better than the other. Though he is probably implying something, and it's not too hard to imagine what, given the reputation of the people of his homeland. "Of course, you have spent much time here. So I know you will not disagree with me when I say that it takes a certain type of man who is not from here to be happy in a union such as yours." He surveys Rhaegor with a little more scrutiny. "I think you could be," he finally continues. "She will never accept a weak husband. She may wed you, but it would be a misery. You are not weak. Show your strength from the outset, and she will respect you very much more."

Rhaegor would never admit that this is the sort of advice he hoped to receive. Even to acknowledge it incites a bit of a war between head and heart, a fear of betraying Visenya pitted against the pressure of ensuring a successful political marriage to a woman showing every promise of being capable of killing him. There's a lot he doesn't say, that much is obvious. Torren was close enough to him at the dais to have seen the flicker of recognition in the Targaryen's reaction to the Lady Emira. "I appreciate your counsel," he tells Torren when at last he turns his attention from the sky back to the prince. "No woman ought have to accept a weak husband." What a pair of feminists.

He did hear, and see, and he may want to ask, but he doesn't quite yet. Instead he just nods, and says, "They should not. Unions are happiest when they are made between equals." He probably doesn't mean equal in rank. Now he does glance at the sky, and his smile gets a little bit more satisfied, for reasons known only to him, though maybe Rhaegor could guess at them. They may possibly not make him very happy if he does, but that's neither here nor there.

Torren brings his eyes back to the other man again now, and raises one eyebrow. "Were you acquainted with my cousin previously, Prince Rhaegor? I admit I do not remember whether she has attended any functions you have also been at, and you are so often here." His tone is just one of idle curiosity, though of course, it's probably anything but.

That both pairs stand a passing fair chance of proving the truth of his maxim is a thought that intrigues Rhaegor, as much as it agonizes him to find himself on opposite sides of the equation as his cousin. He doesn't miss the self-satisfied smile Torren directs at the sun, but he can hardly begrudge the prince that satisfaction whilst he's in the midst of soliciting intelligence about his betrothed.

"I'd not have needed ask after her on the eve of the feast if I had," Rhaegor says, "for I can't imagine a man alive as would forget having met your cousin. Or woman, for that matter." It's an effort at humor to divert himself from focusing too much on the fact that he's watching another man prepare to take Visenya on the sort of outing he would have taken her on just a month ago. But when he meets Torren's gaze, he recognizes there is more than idle curiosity there.

The answer certainly makes sense, and Torren does chuckle a little bit at the truth of that statement. However, he's still watching the Targaryen, and while he doesn't exactly look like he assumes Rhaegor is not telling the whole truth, he's more there than not. "True," he acknowledges. "However, sometimes one can see someone and not be properly introduced, so I thought perhaps you had met her in passing but never caught her name." He doesn't ask, but there's the idea of a question in there somewhere. It's subtle enough that Rhaegor could certainly pretend to mistake his meaning, though.

It's not in Rhaegor to be coy or feign ignorance; when Torren presses him, he proves forthcoming. "The night before last," he begins, referring to their outing to the pillow house. "You had already found your companion, and disappeared with her. There was a woman all in veils. I didn't notice her, at first. I was ensuring my men did not wreak too much havoc on the house mother, enthralled as they were to be experiencing one of the famed pillow houses of the Shadow City at long last. She spurned their attentions, but demanded mine."

The Martell heir may see, already, where this is going. "She did not reveal the truth of her identity. I had occasion to leave her company when Cordyn Velaryon sank that little bit too deep in his cups…" a reference to some sort of outburst that went down that the both of them know about "… and then she was gone."

A chance meeting at a pillow house? Unlikely.

Indeed, it's near immediately that Torren figures out the path of Rhaegor's explanation. 'The night before last' is obvious enough on its own. He doesn't interrupt, listening to the recounting with an expression that's more thoughtful now. There's a nod here or there to show that he knows to what Rhaegor is referring, though one eyebrow does tic up slightly at the end.

"Ah," he replies, "I see." He does see. "Well, I am sorry that such a short meeting resulted in the arousal of my cousin's ire. But no doubt it stemmed partially from being compelled to participate in the announcement of our betrothals."

There is no time for Rhaegor to respond in regards to Emira's ire for the sound of High Valyrian in women's voices is heard approaching, "I heard she takes multiple men to bed with her, Princess. And women." The next is said in a scandalized tone, "And dwarves!" A Celtigar lady walking hand-in-hand with Visenya through the stables says. The lady wrinkles her nose before saying, "It is unfortunate how this has worked out, but you are by far the better woman despite who you are given as wife." She pats Visenya's hand when Rhaegor and Torren come into view. It's clear the Celtigar woman did not expect to see Rhaegor because after an embarrassed flushing of the face she curtseys and turns to leave rather promptly.

Which just leaves Visenya. Her eyes slide from one man to the next before settling briefly on Rhaegor. She tries to keep her expression neutral, "Cousin. I did not expect to see you here." She says, switching seamlessly to the common tongue. She favors Torren with a small but genuine smile, "Prince Torren."

Rhaegor fixes the Celtigar woman with an intense, icy stare; a warning far more effective than anything he might have said in the heartbeat's time it took her to turn and flee the stables and his wrath. But it leaves Visenya as the next recipient of the look, his gaze sliding from the back of the retreating maid to fix, instead, on his cousin. "No doubt you did not," he replies in flat tone, glancing at the Martell when Visenya favors him with her smile, and then back to her again. "Or I imagine you'd have taken more care not to reveal the ignorance you condone in your chosen companions."

He pivots, and says, "I apologize, Prince Torren." And then, "I will leave you both to your diversions."

It is impossible that Torren doesn't hear the comments of the woman who had been with Visenya, but he gives absolutely no impression that he has understood them, just raises an eyebrow when she makes her hasty retreat. He doesn't spend any more time on her than that, though, instead turning to Visenya. The look he gives her is far softer than her cousin's, and her smile is returned as he replies, "My princess," just in time for Rhaegor's harsh words.

This is actually far more unexpected, so much so that he does not comment on them immediately. And anyway, there isn't much time to, because Rhaegor has begun to take his leave. "There is no need for an apology," he says, waving it away with one hand. "Please feel free to see the stable master if you would have use of a horse." There's a brief pause, before the side of his mouth pulls up at the corner in a tiny smirk as he continues, "And fear not, Prince Rhaegor. I believe it was only the one dwarf."

Visenya does not wilt under Rhaegor's icy glare. Instead her lips curve upwards into a triumphant little smirk, "Do not blame me if your intended has a bad reputation, my Prince. It was certainly none of my doing." She walks around him to hold out her hand for Torren's sandsteed to get a smell of her hand before she pets it's snout. When Torren gets in his one last jab about the dwarf she puts a hand over her mouth and laughs.

The look Rhaegor gives Visenya is one that communicates, quite clearly enough to her, if not to Torren, that it won't be the last that's said on the subject. The Martell prince's witty riposte earns a cool nod of the Targaryen's head, and a mild, "As you say. And thank you, once more, for your hospitality." He leaves them to the conspiracy of their shared looks and laughs, offering them each a bow of the head before turning to go.

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