(122-07-23) Venom and Misdirection
Venom and Misdirection
Summary: Visenya gets bit by a viper that was meant for Torren; a convoluted plot is revealed.
Date: Date of play (23/07/2015)
Related: Seeds Of Peace

It is after midnight when the parties of Prince Torren and Prince Rhaegor converge on the agreed upon spot where they will hold back to give Lady Fowler's men time to get to Skyreach and prepare to the guests. It is an oasis with a fine Spring in the middle and an ancient Keep that dates back to the time the First Men crossed the Arm of Dorne to war with the Children of the Forest. In the distance the Red Mountains can be seen.

The keep has been kept in working condition as a resting point for travelers across the Dornish desert, and many have begun seeking refuge within the cool stone halls instead of setting up their tents. A fire has been built in the ancient Hall to chase away the coolness of the desert night, and to provide illumination. Many of the noble travelers have come into the hall as their things are placed into rooms within the keep. The wine flows freely, as it often does at gatherings, and there is bread, cheese, olives, peppers, and various cold meats with which one could sup on.

Two of the travelers who are already settled in the hall and partaking of the food — and wine — are Torren and Visenya. Their things were amongst the first to be settled in the keep, of course, and there is not much else for them to do but relax from the several days' ride that they have been on from Sunspear. Now, at least, it is almost concluded.

Torren's cup is in his hand, and he takes a sip from it, then turns to his new wife and murmurs something to her, the corners of his lips pulling up into a small smile.

Among those noble travellers is Lady Lara Gargalen, related to the Fowlers through her mother's side; this perhaps not the main reason for her to attend the upcoming nuptials at Skyreach, as she travels as part of Princess Visenya's retinue. The lady has changed into another garb for the evening, a gown of green sandsilk, charming her form, but leaving her slender arms bare. Her black hair falls once again about her shoulders, not worn in a braid, like it had been on their travel through the desert. Lara has settled herself on a cushion, somewhere near Visenya - albeit not too near, her gaze downcast as she contemplates the wine in her goblet. The murmur Prince Torren Martell has for his wife barely reaches her ear. At least she does not seem to pay attention, as she lets her gaze wander pointedly over who else may have gathered in the hall.

Rhaegor's party was the first to arrive at the keep, and so he takes a prominent role in ensuring that the second group is settled quickly and efficiently, their horses seen to, their belongings unloaded as needed. Which is to say that he oversees a number of men accomplishing each of these needful tasks, before at last he comes in from outdoors. He finds himself wine, and then he goes to the fire, to bask in its heat a moment or two.

Emira arrived with the Dornish party, and has been easily bored and hot-tempered through most of the trip, finding every opportunity to wander off and come back; the oasis is the perfect distraction, allowing the restless Martell the freedom to roam. She does so now through the cool passages of the keep, carrying half a handful of olives from her last quick traipse through. She eats them one by one, tipping her head back to drop one into her mouth as she reappears at the edge of the Hall, just out of the fire's brightest reach. She pauses there, watching the others; Rhaegor, in particular. She's still clad in her riding clothes, dusty from the day's travel, evidently not prioritizing syle or comfort; the only comfort she needs, until it's time to rest, is the coiled whip at her hip.

Torren's eyes sweep the hall, settling on Rhaegor when the other man enters, finished with his duties for the moment. He gestures for him to come and join them at the table, when he is ready. His eyes catch on Emira, as well, and he gives her a nod, motioning to the table for her, as well, though he doesn't look so expectant that she will come at his invitation. Though, with her, who knows!

Rhaegor espies Emira from across the hall, and when parts from the fire to engage their reunion, he brings with him two cups of wine. He greets her with her name, "Emira," and the strongwine he's procured for her, his gaze going to the whip she wears on her hip, the constant reminder of her deadly prowess. Torren has caught his eye, and Rhaegor offers him a nod from their distance, but first he asks her, "How was the ride?"

The movement at the corner of her eye is noted somehow, at least Lara lifts her eyes in the moment Torren looks towards Rhaegor, and she notices him as well. Her lips curl ever-so-slightly, when she observes this Targaryen prince she has encountered sometime during the wedding at Sunspear; especially when she notices the whip at his betrothed's hip. She shifts a little to the side, one arm supporting her as she raises the goblet of wine to her lips, to take a good sip from it, shaking her hair a bit in place while her dark eyes continue to observe.

Emira meets Rhaegor's gaze, brief and intense, her expression tempestuous between a smile and the opposite of one. Ultimately it's neither, and she looks off toward the table. "Long," she complains frankly. She does not take the strongwine; first, she nods her head toward the table, sauntering toward it. As it happens, it's to disinterestedly throw an olive pit directly at Torren, in an ignoble yet familial fashion. "It is more lively in the desert than it is in here." She looks for Rhaegor again, arm extended to take that drink.

It is probably lucky that Torren is looking in Emira's direction when she tosses the pit at him, since he's able to block it before it hits anything more than the palm of his hand. He bears it with nothing more than an exaggerated, long-suffering sigh, surely loud enough to be heard by those closest to him — and probably that loud on purpose. However, he then returns to his meal, wrapping a pepper in some flatbread and taking a bite.

Rhaegor follows, because of course he does. "Prince Torren. Princess Visenya." He greets them each in turn, offering that strongwine to Emira, at last, when she reaches for it. And then, finally, last but not least, "Lady Lara." His gaze moves between each of the them, and then he asks, "Will you joust at Skyreach, Prince Torren?" perhaps prompted by the demonstration of the Martell heir's agility when he swats at the olive pit.

A bored guardsman takes it a haze rolling up from off cooling rocks some leagues from the fort. Over the course of a half hour, the haze becomes red and dense. A trumpet call sounds from the ramparts of the old fortress as the cloud approached. A desert storm? Or perhaps riders. They see them, albeit only imprecisely, some minutes later, a score of riders within a cloud of dust. As they approach, the sun sets and al color bleeds away from the cloud and the riders. They halt upon a ridge a short distance from the fortress, and here two footman unfurl the party's colors. A golden wyrm on sable, atop three shattered swords; and a hooded azure hawk on argent. The party twists down a trail clinging to the ridge. Half-a-hundred men amount, half of them mounted archers. The Prince follows in the rear of the party, his robes caked with red sand. A beautiful woman, with long black hair rides at his side, not half as grimy as the Prince; the Dornish. But for the violet eyes, the Prince might pass for a freakishly huge, cruel looking sellsword, but the woman has the bearing of a Princess and the poise of a spearmaiden. Behind the Prince and his betrothed: a Dothraki screamer, his chest a patchwork of scars, and in the Dothraki's left fist, a tether. A score of sand steeds follow after the Prince, Spearmaiden, and screamer. Each of them looks well-fed, sprightly, and swift. Clearly, these are the finest specimens from a large herd, or beasts caught in the wilds.

Gemon Targaryen is the sort of man who gets along with everyone. He likes to drink. He likes women. He is also exceedingly generous. Perhaps this is why he is one of the few to remember Princess Visenya's nameday, and has brought her a gift in a basket that his Mistress, Marella Flowers, carries under her arm. He walks over to where Torren and Visenya are sitting and motions for Marella to put the basket down on the table in front of the pair. She gives them an apologetic look, and quickly moves their cutlery, but does not disobey her lover.

"I did not get you a gift for your wedding or your name day, little cousin." He says to Visenya with a small smile. "So, it is for both of you. But I am told Marella put something for Prince Torren in there as well. Deep under your gift. You should open it together."

"Prince Rhaegor. Princess Emir-" And then Gemon is there with his Mistress and his basket. "A gift." Visenya says to Gemon, and she smiles despite herself. "You didn't have to, cousin. Thank you." And since Gemon is so clearly keen for them to open it now she turns her head to give Torren an askance look before asking, "I'll untie one end and you the other?"

That olive pit attack on Prince Torren reminds Lara that she should perhaps get herself something to eat as well, to go with the wine. She gets to her feet, a single elegant movement, the goblet still in hand; and starts to go for a moderate stroll about the hall, arm bands jingling, the green sandsilk of her gown flowing about her frame. "Your highnesses," she offers to Emira first and then to Rhaegor, indeed with a tiny hint of a curtsey and a smile. She will not linger long. When Gemon Targaryen passes her with his companion, the Gargalen turns, as curiosity gets the best of her and she trails after them, right back into the direction from whence she came. "A nameday gift?", she echoes, looking excited as she appears at Visenya's side just in time to get a glimpse.

Alaeyna Fowler enters the main hall with Maelys Targaryen on her arm (or is it the other way around?), his men following in behind them. Her dark stare reflects the licking flames of the fire when they pause before it, and she turns to her lover to whisper something at his ear. They gravitate toward the newly married Prince of Dorne and Princess Targaryen, in time to observe the offering of the gift. "Hello, lovelies," she greets the entire sweeping entourage at once, flashing a knowing wink at Lara. "Cousin," she says warmly, wryly.

Emira nods to Lara, not indulging in much formality, particularly between eating and spitting out olive pits. She had started to lean into the back of a chair opposite Visenya, seeming to gather half a notion to speak to her Targaryen counterpart as she learns of her nameday, but now the approaching party brings a smile to her face and she rushes, lively, toward the impressive assortment; in particular, Lady Fowler. "Alaeyna," she greets with a mischievous friendliness, strong little arms open wide.

Rhaegor's question gets a laugh from Torren, and he shakes his head. "No," he replies. "I no longer enter the lists, as I never acquit myself as well as I wish to, and no doubt would do even worse amongst those who plan to ride in this one." He takes a sip of wine as Alaeyna, Maelys, and their entourage enter the room, a polite nod for the Targaryen and a warmer one for Lady Fowler. But then he is confronted by VIsenya's cousin, his mistress, and the gift, and his eyebrows raise. "How thoughtful," he says. "Thank you." He looks toward Visenya then, and nods, beginning to undo his end.

Alaeyna abandons Maelys long enough to meet Emira in an affectionate embrace, offering the Martell princess kisses to each of her cheeks. "What a delight it will be to have you under my roof again," she says to Emira with a suggestive sort of tone, but when doesn't she? "I will count on you to put my brother to shame at the tournament, since I will not be able to compete and keep him in check." Her grin is toothy, and she offers it to Torren, too, when she tells him, "And all the women sigh for it, their dreams of being crowned the queen of love and beauty by your hand dashed."

"Lady Fowler," Lara greets back towards Alaeyna, some sentiment flashing in her dark eyes. The wink is not returned - be it that courtesy forbids it, or that the Gargalen mayhaps is not inclined to at the moment. What she returns is a smile, her free hand toying with one of her black strands of hair as she tilts her head a bit to the side. "The big day is drawing near, hmm?" Her gaze shifts to Maelys at Alaeyna's side. "Your highness." A brief smile flashes over her mien, before she lowers her gaze. And turns her attention back onto the gifts that are being unwrapped.

"I find men who are overly concerned with their place in the lists to be dull." Visenya says to Torren with a slow blooming but beautiful smile. After she affirms her husband's masculinity her attention turns back onto the gift. And Visenya loves gifts. Which may be why the arrival of her Uncle and his betrothed goes ignored as she unties the ribbon on her side. She pushes up her side of the basket lid eagerly, and spots bolds of myrish lace in various colors. "Oh! How lovely! If I were not a freshly wed woman I should surely kiss you for it, cousin!"

Emira's embrace of the Lady of House Fowler is tight and familiar, and as they draw back her smile is all the more vivid and wicked just at the edges, in light of mention of the tournament. "You may place your bets on me," she assures, humoured. She pays note to Maelys, giving him a nod.

Visenya's excitement with the gift draws a pleased chuckle from Gemon, and he urges her on with a wave of his hand. His Mistress, Marella Flowers, a beautiful girl with red hair who is rumored to wear her hair in buns over her ears to cover up her overly large ears, adds in a soft voice, "Do not forget that it is Prince Torren's gift on the bottom, your Highness."

Visenya's comment is no doubt appreciated, though the smile is more so, which Torren returns. "I am sure there will be many more hopes dashed when my cousin emerges victorious," he comments to Alaeyna as he finishes opening his end of the gift, revealing the lace. "Quite lovely," he agrees, though leaves Visenya to the task of digging for his gift, since it is obvious that she is more interested in whatever it is than he.

The Prince dismounts and a page rushes forward with a basin of water. The boy stands for some seconds as Maelys instructs his men. "See to the horses, wash the sand from your arms." He washes his hands, face, and upends the basin over his head. A moment to dry his face and hair with a cloth, and the Prince turns to the noble party. "Lady Gargalen." Maelys smiles when the maid averts her gaze. "You were rather flush when last I saw you." The Prince turns then to his fair niece. "Ah, Visenya. Forgive our tardiness, I was … ah, winning a portion of the tourney purse."

Maelys turns to the Martell party. "Prince Torren, Princess Emira. This place, defensable, well-provisioned, and the keep, it looks as though the castillian has made some recent improvements?"

"Who else would I put my coin on?" Alaeyna asks Emira, in that sly conspiratorial way they have, before she returns to Maelys's side, placing one hand on the crook of his arm, and the other on the swell of her belly. She overhears his address of Lara, and she laughs. "She must take after her Gargalen kin in that; Fowler women can drink their weight in wine and be no worse for wear for it."

Lara had only meant to keep herself out of trouble. After all staring at certain princes was considered an offense occasionally, these days. When Maelys greets her back and offers her his observation on a rather flushed complexion, her eyes shift immediately back to meet his. "Is that so?", she asks, looking a bit at a loss. "I can't remember." That should trouble her, should it not? It is Alaeyna's remark that draws Lara's attention next, and she chuckles. "Ah. It must have been that evening…" Her attention then shifting to Myrish lace and other contents of the gift, her cheeks slightly pinkened as she tries to digest that Prince Maelys had seen her that way when she was obviously too drunk to remember afterwards.

"Uncle Maelys." Visenya says as she lifts her head very briefly to look up at the dark-haired Targaryen. "Who were you gambling with?" She puts her hand into the basket, and withdraws an old gold coin. It is not a gold dragon; instead it is old Reach coins from before the Conquest when the Gardners ruled over the Reach. She turns it in her hand before putting it on the table, and taking out another bolt of lace. There is one last bolt on the bottom that is green with gold roses stitched onto it. She turns her head to Torren and says, "I see nothing for you. Perhaps it is under this last bolt?" She motions that he ought to pick it up to reveal his present.

"The keep indeed has strong walls," Emira confirms to Maelys, made less serious in sound by the fact that she's grinning knowingly over Fowler women holding their weight in wine, even at Lara, despite the Martell not being in on this particular bit of mischief.

Rhaegor stands sentinel at the fringes, keeping a watchful eye on the festivities, now that the two parties have been reunited. There are no imminent threats; the Crownlanders most prone to act on the discord with the Martells have already left Dorne. But one can never be too careful. Finding everything in order, he returns his attention to the the more intimate gathering occuring around him. Perhaps the enthusiasm and insistence of the Flowers girl strikes him a bit wrong, but he merely observes her warily. After all, a girl with big ears is hardly a threat to Dorne or to the Crown's diplomatic relations.

"Prince Maelys," Torren returns as Visenya focuses on the gift. "There have, yes. Those who last stayed here noted some few things that could stand improvements." He glances over his wife's shoulder as she moves aside the bolts of fabric, and when she comes to the last one, a little bit of his smile fades, but not all of it. He's courteous enough, at least, when he reaches to move it aside so that the mysterious gift can be unearthed.

Maelys chuckles at Lara's response. "I ought not to remind your fair niece of her overindulgence, Prince." Here, Maelys looks to Torren, then to the walls of the keep. Clearly, some portion of the keep has been improved. A portion of the stone looks fresly quarried. Maelys looks on for a few seconds as his betrothed and Emira speak of the tourney to come. "A shame, my betrothed cannot ride, she might well name the Queen at her own wedding t…" Then, the Prince of Ashes catches sight of the coin. An old thing from centuries past when the Gardners ruled as proper kings; the Tyrells, for all their blustering and wealthy, were little more than upjumped stewards. A soft hiss, the sound of steel kissing leather. The Prince leaps forward dirk in hand, intent on stopping Torren's hand from reaching at the rose embroidered cloth.

Maelys is too late; Torren has already moved it back by the time Maelys has drawn his dirk. The moving of the bolt causes a sudden rustling of the basket. Visenya yells a warning, "Torren!"

And then she darts her hand forward and grabs a viper that suddenly emerges from the basket to strike Torren in the face. Torren's face is spared from the serpent's venom-dripping fangs. Visenya is not so lucky. It has a new target; the pale flesh of Visenya's forearm. It snaps forward in her hand and buries it's fangs into her.

The sudden discomfort in Maelys's mien causes Lara to shoot him a curious glance. Curiosity turns into concern, when Maelys darts forward and tries to keep Torren from getting his gift out of the box. Visenya's warning is heard, dark eyes turning towards her, widening when there suddenly is a viper in Visenya's hand; a viper that bites. The Gargalen's arm is raised - but apparently Lara is paralyzed with her fear, and not close enough to do anything anyway.

Emira's attention on Visenya and Torren's receiving of gifts has been scarce, having little interest in Myrish lace or Gemon Targaryen and his mistress; it comes as a surprise when Maelys so suddenly launches for the table with his weapon. She follows suit, uncertain what she's doing, but certain that she's doing it— until, "Viper!" She rushes not to the snake, but to the gift-givers, instantly plucking her dagger threateningly from her thigh.

The sudden view of the snake causes Torren to let out a surprised cry, but before he can do anything, Visenya's reaching for it. "No!" he exclaims, but it's too late, because the snake has already bitten into her arm. He doesn't waste a moment, though, before he's grabbing it by the tail and twisting it hard, the other hand grasping it behind the head to force its jaws open. It's only a second or two before it lets go — though with vipers, that's certainly enough time to do some damage. He reaches quickly for his cup then, bringing it down to smash against the head of the snake until it is no longer moving.

Rhaegor is too far removed from the couple to enter the fray, and Maelys is on hand with his blade, anyway. So the Targaryen prince skirts the group, a hand instinctively going to the hilt of his blade, sheathed as it is in the leather scabbard at his waist. It would seem he and Emira have the same instinct: To descend on the gift-givers. Whoever his betrothed draws her blade upon, he does the same with the other, and between the pair of them they have Gemon Targaryen and his big-eared mistress in their crosshairs.

Maelys comes within inches of the viper, but is too late to stop the serpent from biting his niece's arm. The Prince moves to take hold of Visenya as Torran smashes the serpeant's head. Maelys looks to the girl's arm and the wound, blood welling up from the bite. His knife descends in a shallow arc.

Alaeyna, for her part, realizes something is amiss from the moment Maelys tenses at her side. The pair have been in combat together, and she reads the presence of the threat before he's even drawn his blade. Her hand goes to the brace of knives she wears on her thigh, producing one of them even without yet knowing what it is she will have cause to aim at. But then the viper appears, latching itself into Visenya's flesh. There are too many bodies in her way to have a clear path at the writhing snake, her dagger being just as likely to strike an errant arm or hand from her distance. In a flash, Torren has handily beaten the serpent, and she rushes in to Visenya's side, instead, telling Maelys, "Steady her." The Lady Fowler takes a knee, but for once it's a forearm she intends to give suck to from that particular position. She probes the bite with her thumbs, assessing it, and the swell, to see how severe the damage is. Her face splatters with blood when Maelys slashes his blade, but then she descends.

"No!" Gamon cries out when he sees that viper's head rear up, and when it bites Visenya's flesh he seems shocked to the core. "…How could…" And then Rhaegor and Emira are approaching them with blades drawn. "I did not do this!" He states in an impassioned tone.

His bun-headed Mistress takes a step away from Emira, "It was not us!" She cries out, "But…but I am certain I know who did it!"

The closest assumed culprit in Emira's sights is Marella Flowers. The cleanly sharpened blade of the Martell princess finds its way quickly to her throat; with all her ferocity, she seems liable to spill blood, but now it is only a threat… a stark one. She grabs for the girl's arm, trying to twist it behind her and force her down toward the table. Her eyes all but burn holes into Marella, judging harshly, her suspicions running almost as high as her temper. "I doubt that very much!" Nevertheless, she jostles the girl hard and shouts, "But talk!"

Visenya has a dazed look on her face after the viper sinks it's fangs into her. When Torren pulls it out of her arm she doesn't react save for a widening of her amethyst colored eyes. Once it is gone she stares down at the oozing bite wound before Maelys grabs her. She watches as his dagger comes down in an arc over her pale forearm, and a scream frees itself from her throat, and seems to bring her back to reality. She lets out a shaky sob, and buries her face into Maelys shoulder so she doesn't have to watch the rest.

Rhaegor is torn; he keeps his stare trained on his kinsman and the general vicinity as he rushes the man, fighting the instinct to rush to Visenya's side. Torren is there, and Maelys. But still, Rhaegor steals a glance that way, just before he presses the point of his blade at Gemon's neck. "To your knees," he hisses, flatly, devoid of the same impassioned energy the other Targaryen uses to proclaim his innocence. He glances sidelong at Emira, who is pinning down Ol' Big Ears, and then back to the upturned face of the Targaryen that kneels, reluctantly, before him. "Do not so much as blink but by my leave," Rhaegor tells him.

The snake dealt with, Torren wastes no more thought on it, instead turning to Visenya. Maelys and Alaeyna have that in hand, though the scream from her brings a flash of agony across his own face. "Get the maester!" he yells, pointing directly at one of his men so that there is no confusion about who he's speaking to, therefore causing everyone to think that someone else is going, and no one actually go. The man doesn't hesitate, just jumps up and fairly runs out of the hall to do as he's bidden.

Alaeyna has taken Visenya's forearm in both hands, careful to hold it gingerly; the slightest bit of pressure might inflame the bite and encourage swelling, trapping the venom further inside her pale flesh, which begins to purple around the fang marks. When she parts from Visenya's arm, she ducks her head to expel the extracted fluids from her mouth, and mostly it looks like a bunch of blood. But then she repeats the gesture, latching onto the princess's forearm just the way the viper had, but with the opposite intent. Again and again. Suck, spit, suck, spit. The trouble with this method is its success is hard to gauge, the ultimate proof being the life or death of the bite's victim.

Marella lets out a frightened little sound when that dagger is pressed up against her throat. She begins to weep, and lets out a scream of pain when Emira twists her arm behind her back. "We didn't! I swear it! But it was that Tyrell's squire! I saw him lurkin' about earlier but now I just realized that he is so suspicious!"

Gemon yields to Rhaegor, but as he does so he shakes his head in disbelief. He says in a hard, defiant tone "I've known Visenya since she was a girl. I wouldn't do this."

Just then Ser Faelys Targaryen bursts in with what may be a familiar sight to some held by he scruff of the collar; Williem Fossoway squire to Ser Laurent Tyrell. In his other hands are a bundle of letters. "Prince Rhaegor!" He bellows out frantically before he realizes that the room is in chaos. "Smith's fucking cock! What's happened in here?!"

Emira essentially bends the Flowers girl over the table, pushing her head down, messing her hair in the process. Her blade is never far from Marella's throat, not retreating as she continues to plead innocent. She looks over at Rhaegor, assessing him and his own situation with the other Targaryen in his grasp, occasionally sparing quick, skeptical glances to the attempt to spare Visenya's suffering. The same burning gaze she gave Marella is transferred to this Tyrell squire. "Tyrell?" she repeats distastefully, her force leaving Marella just long enough to threaten to grab her whip. Whether or not she believes it, it's not a difficult jump to make. She hisses accusingly, "Then it was meant for Torren!"

Rhaegor's men are quick to action; when Ser Faelys comes in with the squire, a Velaryon and another Targaryen descend to encircle the captive. And as if there weren't enough swords pointed at a single squire, a few Fowler men come out of the woodwork, the Dothraki screamer not far off. Rhaegor beckons forward another Velaryon to keep watch over Gemon, who he allows to stand but does not let off the hook just yet. Blood proves not enough to discount conspiracy. Emira's hiss rings true; Rhaegor looks between Torren, Maelys and the preoccupied Lady Fowler. "Prince Torren, I suggest the prisoner be remanded into the custody of Lady Fowler and transported to Skyreach for questioning." The sort of questioning that shouldn't take place in a crowded hall of mixed company.

It isn't too long before the man Torren had sent is back, the maester he had been sent to fetch in tow. The older man is red-faced and out of breath, but he does hold a vial of something in his hand. This is Dorne, after all. There are sometimes mishaps with poison-tipped spears which need to be remedied. He sees what Alaeyna is doing, and gives her a nod, saying breathlessly, "Most astute, Lady Fowler. Now let her take this, and then all we can do is wait." Since it isn't exactly 100%. But he sounds hopeful, at least. "Drink this, Princess Visenya, quickly."

Torren has no eyes for anything besides his wife, up until the Fossoway bursts into the room. He looks up, his face a hard mask, and replies to Rhaegor, "See it done." Because he has no plans to leave Visenya's side at the moment, is the implication.

Alaeyna at last surfaces from servicing Visenya's forearm, testing the flesh surrounding the bite with her fingertips, laying a thumb on her slender wrist to assess the strength of the beat of the Targaryen's pulse. By her reckoning, the maester has arrived just in time. Maelys takes the vial from the maester, helping Visenya to drink, tipping back her head to force it down, little by little, until it is empty. "The wound wants for washing and dressing," she says, as if the maester needs to be told; he moves in to take her place, offering Alaeyna a hand to bring her to her feet before assuming the same position she had been in. Alaeyna dispatches a rubbernecker with instructions for hot water and cloth. "Keep her awake," she says to Maelys, even though she hardly needs to. "She'll slip into fever dreams."

All the while, the Prince holds the Princess while his betrothed sucks the blood from out of her wound. Maelys's eyes remain upon the Lady of Skyreach and his fair niece's pale arm. Then, the knight, Ser Faelys, bursts in with a squire held by the scruff of his collar. The Prince's gaze moves from the boy to the bundle of letters. Maelys stares at the boy, for all of a half second, then he's moving. The Ashen Prince is a crismon and sable blur, flying at the squire. One Sworn Swords is thrown from his feet, by the force of the Prince's bullrush. The Prince swings for the squire's mouth.

Alaeyna takes a cup of wine right out of the closest bystander's hand, swilling several mouthfuls and spitting, just like she'd done with the venom, to rinse her mouth and tongue of any traces left by her effort to draw the poison from Visenya's flesh. She's clearly overheard the command Torren has issued. She assures him, "I have just the cell in mind, but I can't say he will enjoy his stay." Maelys has already rushed the squire, and she does not seem inclined to stop him.

Bouncing on her feet and gritting her teeth, Emira is as a vicious dog at the end of a self-imposed leash, wanting to chase after the squire right on the heels of Prince Maelys while, at the same time, approving of the plan of custody to Alaeyna at Skyreach. But she isn't going to be the one to stop him, either.

It's the rare man who will come between the Prince of Ashes and his prey; the squire is no match for Maelys Targaryen or his rage, and Rhaegor's men stand aside with the Fowler swords, not a one coming to the Fossoway's defense. After he's landed several choice blows without sign of relenting, Rhaegor intervenes. "Cousin," he says, sharply, to Maelys. The Fossoway is already leaking blood out of his face. "Prince Torren will want the sorts of answers a dead man cannot give us." Not that he would presume to tell Maelys to stand down; only to suggest it, carefully.

Ser Faelys releases the Fossoway's scruff just in time to step out of the way of Maelys. Willem Fossoway's eyes widen as the huge Prince of Ashes bullrushes and swings for his face. There is a bit of a wet sound when Maelys' fist connects with Willem's face, and he crumples like a wilting rose.

Ser Faelys holds out the bundle of letters for Rhaegor to take. "Far as I can tell by what's written that little shit was planted on me by the Tyrells to murder the Dornish Prince." He runs a hand through her pale hair before cursing, "If I had known sooner…"

Torren takes Visenya from Maelys easily, holding her upright to make sure that her arm is below her heart. "Visenya," he says, firmly enough so that she will hear him over the chaos. "Visenya, look at me." He puts a hand to her face to tilt it up a little bit, flashing Alaeyna a grateful look, before he looks back to his wife. He doesn't bother with any of the rest of it at the moment, trusting the others to handle it as he has said.

Visenya does as she is told. Perhaps she is still in a daze. Perhaps she simply wants to live. With assistance she drinks the vial offered by the maester, and then she slumps into Torren's arms. Her heart is hammering in her chest, and her vision has begun to narrow. "Torren…" She says softly in reply. Blood begins to leak from one of her nostrils. "…Where is Rhaegor?" She whispers, dazed. "He ought to be here, too." And then her eyes roll backwards and she becomes nonsensical.

Emira can't handle it anymore; she lets go of Marella roughly — she could hardly sneak off in this tense, armed room at any rate, could she — and stomps her way toward the crumpled Fossoway and the men that surround him, fuelled by rageful vengeance. Blessedly, so far, she only wishes to spit in his face.

Prnce Maelys towers over the comatose squire, dirk in hand, seething in rage. After Emira spits upon the youth, the Prince roars aloud. A booted foot collides with the squire's chest and Maelys towers over him. Looking down upon him, he spins the bejeweled knife in his hands and looks to Emira, thence to his betrothed, washing the taste of the viper's poison from her mouth. "We ought to return the gesture. Send the Pansy a gift." Maelys grabs the squire by his hair and hauls to boy from off the ground. "Head, ears, or prick?" The Prince looks to Emira, to his screamer, to his betrothed, and to the Princes, as if soliciting their suggestions.

Frothing sweat coats the hard labours of a stead that comes charging toward the oasis, sand coated and hot, the rider of the mount is pushing the beast to full speed. This was the evidence of extending the animal's endurance, such a decision to sacrifice the animal which spoke of urgent need. Sandsilk robes were flying like a sail behind the rider, until at the moment of arriving near the old ruins, the beast is brought to an abrupt halt that drags the back of its hindquarters low to the ground, sliding in the sand. The rider, none other than the one who was supposed to be sailing to Essos, one Manfryd Qorgyle, springs off the back of the mount and heads toward the old keep. That being said, with tensions high, he'll have to get beyond the bristling forces locking the place down. He slows himself from a jog through the sand to come up toward the nearest man loyal to Martell. The urgency is passed on and soon enough the young Qorgyle has a few trailing behind him and head of him, piling up into the keep at a quick sprint.

The small group comes within, Manfryd scans the immediate situation, looking almost frantically for Torren. Spotting the man his expression says it all, relief, save for the woman on the ground. Right. "Your Highness!" To break over the others, his face red, sweat beading down it…

When Maelys hefts the squire by his hair, well, Rhaegor is spurred to action. "Uncle," he says, pressing the matter, a note of warning in his tone. He's sheathed his blade, but his hand goes to the hilt now, like he considers drawing it again. There's no time for that, though. Stand aside, boys, this is a job for a woman. Or two women, as the case may be. Alaeyna Fowler, fearless, does not hesitate the way Rhaegor does to stand in the Prince of Ashes's way. "Lover," she says, having come up behind Maelys while he was beating the shit out of the squire. "Won't you let me have a turn with him?" It's a question, but it's not. She glances at Emira, sidelong, and then presses herself against Maelys's back. "Visenya needs you," she says. "Emira and I will take the prisoner to our room." She motions at one of the Fowler man, one that bears a familial resemblence, to carry the squire there, since the Fossoway's legs are no longer fit to stand on.

And then Manfryd Qorgyle bursts in, but Alaeyna is intent on taking the situation in hand, while Torren is preoccupied. She nods at Emira, as if to say, Let's go.

When Visenya drinks from the vial, and answers him, Torren relaxes minutely, but that only lasts as long as it takes for her nose to begin to bleed. "He is here, sweet," he replies calmly, "everything will be all right." He takes a linen from to table and holds it to her nose to catch the blood, and starts to says something else in what's probably a vain attempt to keep her talking, but at that moment, Manfryd bursts into the hall. He looks up; this arrival is almost as unexpected as that of the Fossoway. He says nothing, but his expression is enough to encourage — demand? — that the younger man say whatever it is he's going to say.

The rage of Maelys only inspires Emira's, starting to put to rest her more logical notions; her tan face tense with anger, teeth bared, she's on the verge of picking a body part for slaughter when two things happen: Alaeyna intervenes, and her Qorgyle cousin bursts in. Something like a confirming growl answers Alaeyna. She stares at Manfryd, confusion and even concern flashing through the blood-boiling of moments ago, but bends to roughly grab one side of Willem while the man grabs the other, preparing to extricate him. "Let us get his ugly face out of here."

Manfryd only has seconds before they cease him, he's sure. A pendant is riffled out of his pocket as he approaches Torren, thrusting the item out toward Torren. A Fox Head is stamped on it. "Highness, someone's plotting to have you killed and blame it on the Tyrell's," he nods his chin toward the pendant, "And who ever it is, she wore this." His eyes turn toward Visenya, "She came with the Targaryens."

Maelys turns to his nephew, holding the boy aloft. The Fossoway stirs, his nose bloodied from the Prince's fist. "The boy tried to kill your cousin, Rhaegor. But don't worry, I'll just give him a tickle." Maelys twiste his dirk and brings the blade up to the squire's left ear, then he stops. Her words cause his brow to knit. "You and the Princess, you can compel the lad to sing?" A look passes between the Prince and the Fury of Skyreach. He opens his hand and deposits the boy at her feet. A moment to sheath the dirk and Maelys reaches for Alaeyna's hand and gives it a squeeze. "See that he sings, my lady…" Maelys turns to Emira and nods. "He stinks of poxey reach whores…" The Prince turns then to the new arrival, Manfryd Qorgyle. "My Lord of Qorgyle, you have missed the assasination. My fair nieces has been grievously wounded. I smelll false cordiality of Rose…" Then he looks upon the pendant. "How far is Brightwater from Skyreach?"

Marella Flowers eyes widen slightly when she sees that pendant hanging in Manfryd's fist, but she remains silent. Just then SOMEONE ELSE bursts in. "Ser Faelys?!" A young Celtigar maid runs into the room, the very same who spoke ill of Emira in the stables where Rhaegor and Torren could hear, and lets out a scream when she sees Willem Fossoway being dragged off by Emira while unconscious. "No!"

Alaeyna rewards Maelys with a squeeze of her hand in return. Emira and the Fowler knight have already begun to drag the miserable wretch of a squire away, but before she joins them, she returns to Torren to ask, "And what of the Targaryen and his lady?" her dark, flinty stare going to Gemon and Marella. She gestures, preemptively, to a few of her men. "Shall we take them as well, my prince?" Already the Fowler men relieve the Velaryon of his post, awaiting only the final nod from Alaeyna to hustle the couple off after Emira and Willem.

Torren takes the pendant from Manfryd and looks at it for a second or two, before his fingers clench around the fox head, hard enough that his knuckles turn white. He turns to stare at Marella, his eyes boring into hers, and they don't leave them even when Alaeyna speaks. He does nod once, though. "Yes," he says, "take them and hold them as well. I shall come to question them myself." Finally he rips his gaze away from Marella to look back at Manfryd, and says, "Consider this your pardon, Ser Manfryd. Anyone who takes issue with it may come see me directly." If they wish to, though it's probably unlikely that many people who see him looking as he does right now would wish to.

Alaeyna gives her men the nod they were waiting for, and Gemon and Marella are marched off to be stashed away in separate chambers, kept under Fowler guard until Torren instructs otherwise. And before she leaves the prince, she suggests, "When he is able, the maester ought see to the squire." She studies Visenya with genuine concern, inspecting the work the maester has done at cleaning the bite and binding her forearm. Alaeyna, for her part, is looking a little pale, but putting poison in your mouth will do that. "I will be with Emira," she informs Torren. And then she goes to follow the retreating figures of Gemon, Marella, and her sworn swords.

Emira's head whips around, her hair wild, her eyes wilder, searching until they fix on the Celtigar lady. She doesn't rip herself from the limp body of Willem, but it's close. "What is your care, girl?" she says, threat and suspicion every which way, low, though her voice carries. "Take her too," she orders someone, glancing at Torren and the newly pardoned Manfryd before she goes on seeing the prisoners out.

Manfryd glances toward Maelys; a perceptive mind might see the hot blooded youth's temper rising, a hitch of his shoulders drawn up and that clenching of his jaw which awards Maelys almost casual mention of missing the assassination. There's an ache in his jaw for how tightly he's keeping his mouth sealed, eyes instead swiveling over toward the directed lady that accompanied the Targaryen when Alaeyna calls to their presence. The words from Torren have his gaze swivel back toward the Martell, bowing his head with a self-effacing impression. "What would you have me do, Highness?"

Visenya is still alive. That is all that can be said of her; she is still alive and she is breathing. Sometimes she even opens her eyes and clutches at her heart which is beating at a frantic pace, and her brilliantly violet eyes take on a frightened, panicked look.

The situation with Maelys defused, no thanks to him, Rhaegor finally makes his way toward Torren and Visenya. Mostly Visenya. By now the maester has done most of what there is to be done, and the Targaryen prince edges the man out of the way, forcing him to hover from a distance. He takes a knee at Visenya's feet. Torren is engaged with the Qorgyle, so Rhaegor asks the maester, instead, for the full account of her treatment and her status, as far as the man can tell. He takes Visenya's hand in his, when at one point she opens her eyes in that terrified, stricken expression.

Maelys look to the Qorgyle knight. "My lady and Princess Emira have taken it upon themselves to make the boy sing." The Prince turns and approaches a table beside Torren and Visenya's place beside the hearth. He takes a silver cop and fills it with a decantar until wine sloshes over the edge. Maelys lifts the goblet and drains it. Then, he looks to Torren and Visenya. He fetches the smashed snake from Torren's table and tender the thing to the Maester. "This may well be the largest viper I have seen."

"See to her, please," Torren replies to Manfryd, gesturing toward the hysterical Celtigar woman who is clutching at the Fossoway's feet as he's being dragged away to his imprisonment. "After that is done, make sure that Lady Fowler has everything she requires for the prisoners. If anything is amiss, come and let me know." With that, he turns back to Visenya just in time for Rhaegor to take her hand. He is silent for a moment, until Visenya's eyes open. "Breathe," he says calmly to her, "breathe, and be still." he turns to Rhaegor then, and continues, "We cannot risk moving her until the drug has had time to do its work. We must just try to keep her calm."

"But you are all wrong!" The hysterical Celtigar girl screams out, "I heard Ser Faelys say Willem tried killing the Prince from all the letters found, but Willem is too gentle and kind to kill anyone! And he wrote me a letter, and I have it here! Please!" She trusts out the love letter from Willem in the hopes that anyone will take it and compare the handwriting.

Visenya's hand squeezes Rhaegor's, and her other hand frantically grips at her heart before she reaches for Torren's forearm, and squeezes it. "I don't want to die." She finally manages to whisper out hoarsely, and there is an edge of fear in her voice. She seems to be fighting the black void of unconsciousness; her eyes flutter shut before opening. When Torren tells her to breathe she sucks in a breath, and her chest heaves from the tightness in it.

Manfryd shares a look to Maelys again, though it is fleeting since Torren is giving him a direct order. There is nothing to get in the way of that, currently, since he's just been pardoned on the spot. Though dealing with a hysterical woman is certainly not on his bucket list. He'll do it, just with an exasperated 'Im worth more than this' expression washing over him as he turns to the task at hand. Lucky to have avoided that ship, one can get over the wailing of a woman shortly. "I'll see to it, Highness-" a sharp salute is made before he's stalking over toward the Celtigar girl, nothing nice about him as he scoops his hand up underneath her arm to haul her to her feet. He'll take the letter she's holding out, "Let's have that here."

Rhaegor has that pile of letters, from Faelys, on his person. He'd taken them in the chaos, and promptly forgotten about them. He tells Torren now: "There are letters." The maester has done all he can for the princess, and now he leaves to see to Willem, as Alaeyna had requested. Not that either of them are intent on much more than monitoring Visenya. He looks to Maelys. "Uncle, is there anything we might give her that would help her?" He's not much for knowing how to deal with viper bites, but Maelys has spent so much of his life in the field, he reckons that the Prince of Ashes is the man to ask.

"You will not die," Torren replies to Visenya, and his tone is confident. It's not even a promise; it's as if this possibility is so remote that he doesn't have to promise it. Of course she isn't going to die. He looks at Rhaegor and says, "She took the drug that works against the venom, but it needs time to work, and if she moves too much, her blood will carry the poison too quickly. She needs to rest for now." The mention of the letters gets a nod, though.

Maelys looks on as Torren clings to Visenya, the Prince lifts hsi goblet and drains yet another cup of wine. He does not answer his nephew, at first, but turns to the younger Prince after refilling his goblet. "Alchemists and hedge magicians can distill potions from viper's venom. I have heard they alleviate the worst of it, and I have heard they do nothing to alleviate the pains of a snakebite." Maelys turns to the Celtigar girl. "You have terrible taste, child. A Fossoway, and a Tyrell intimate. If he had any part in this attack upon my niece, I will send him back to Highgarden in a barrel, dressed and butchered."

The Celtigar girl lets out an outraged sound as Ser Aelyn's killer /manhandles/ her. Th letter is taken from her hands. Maelys's words draw a sob from the girl, and she tries to squirm out of Manfryd's grip. "Let go!"

The best thing Manfryd can do is to shunt the woman from the room, holding the woman's arm with enough force to make her -want- to move, putting pressure on the back of her upper arm, while he shoves the letter into a belt pouch to be reviewed later. Maelys' interjection toward the Celtigar girl has Manfryd glance over at him, which gives the Celtigar enough room to squirm but not enough to escape the scorpion's grip. He puts more pressure on her, liable to leave bruises as he escorts her from the room, roughly.

After the appropriate time, Visenya was deemed fit to be moved, though not to move herself. She was carried to her and Torren's chambers, where she is resting now, though not peacefully. Rhaegor had stayed for a little while, though Torren had — gently — asked him instead to make sure that the prisoners were secured, and to have his and Torren's men check the rest of the caravan, just in case. It is something that needed to be done, but perhaps that was not the only reason that he had asked the Targaryen to go elsewhere. Either way, Torren is with Visenya now, the latter having fallen into a fitful sleep, though at least it is sleep, and not just unconsciousness.

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