(122-07-30) Dinner Theater
Dinner Theater
Summary: The Dornish/Targaryen party makes their way to Blackmont.
Date: Date of play (30/07/122)
Related: None

After the excitement — to put it mildly — at Skyreach, the Targaryen party, along with a contingent of Dornish and Torren Martell, have left to continue on to Oldtown. They are currently riding toward Blackmont, the next stop on their journey, though this respite will be a lot more brief than the one at Skyreach.

There are riders in the front of the caravan, including Torren himself, as well as his new wife. As they have approached Blackmont, he has gotten a little more subdued, though those who do not know him well would probably find nothing amiss, and those who do know him well would understand the reasons behind the change in his mood.

The Targaryen Princess is carefully wrapped in a sheer sandsilk veil to protect her pale skin from the harsh Dornish sun, and her eyes are painted to reduce the glare off of the desert on the edge of the Red Mountains. From a distance she almost looks the part of a Dornishwoman. She rides alongside Prince Torren at the front of the caravan, and like him she is subdued. Perhaps she senses her husband's somber mood, and is respecting it. Either way they both ride on in relative silence.

A few whistles and absent calls are typical in a caravan. In this instance, they speak of a change out. One of the knights riding along in the front gets switched out, more likely do to the fact natural does eventually call each to water the sand. In his place, one scorpion Lord, riding a dusky animal that was his pick to replace the one he ruined on his run to join Torren's party. Manfryd settles in, shoulders hitched up, confidence aligned despite the fact that he got the tar beaten out of him in the tournament. Whatever injury he took had been seen too and apparently minor. He's riding on Torren's side of course, sending a curious glance to the mute couple.

The castle is in front of them now, and Torren pulls up his horse to a stop, dismounting and passing it off to one of the stablehands who has come to greet them. He addresses the young man by name; he has been all over Dorne, of course, but perhaps it is not that surprising that he knows the people here better than many other places. "Not as majestic as Skyreach," he says as he reaches to help Visenya down from her horse, "but more homely." If one can call a castle homely. It's certainly smaller, and does have less of a grand feel. Once she's down, he turns to Manfryd and continues, "You may be easy about your horse; the stables here are second to none." This as one of the other hands comes to take the one he's riding on.

"I have met Lord and Lady Blackmont." Visenya says as she swings a leg over her mount's back so Torren only has to hold her by the waist to get her down from the horse. There is a heaviness in her words; the last time she saw the Blackmonts it was during a duel between Lord Blackmont and her brother. She has never been to Blackmont castle, but she remembers the people, and that is enough to put a damper on her mood. She holds onto her horse's reins until a stablehand comes out to take the sandsteed. A glance is not given to Manfryd. It is as if she is intent on ignoring the Qorgyle completely.

Manfryd half leaps off the horse, bright eyed and peppy. He tosses the reins at the poor stablehand who comes to claim the beast, warning in low tones of what should happen if the animal is not seen too properly, veiled threats that catch the attendants alertness. His eyes then turn toward the castle before them, walking with the usual impertinence.

"Ah," Torren says, "of course." He doesn't mention why this should be, but perhaps he heard of the duel. He squeezes Visenya's waist gently, then releases it, and goes to see about settling everything in its proper place.

It doesn't take that long, and soon enough, it's time to eat. Compared to the feasts at Skyreach and at Sunspear, it might be considered meager fare, though it is quite good and there is plenty. Some people might appreciate the relative lack of formality, as well. The hall is set up for the guests, but there is much less ceremony around it, and most people mill about instead of staying seated in an assigned place.

Salvad Blackmont is a Dornishman in his silver years, but still stern and impressive despite his advancing age. He had sent his son and heir, Arnau, to receive Torren and his new bride on their arrival at Blackmont, but he has joined them for the evening meal. Father and son, side by side, are practically mirror images; the Blackmonts are proud and confident and a little vain, but they are distinguished and urbane in their carriage as well as in their outfitting. It is likely the first time Torren and Lord Blackmont have seen each other since they met to mourn the death of the former's wife, the latter's daughter, at the massacre on the Red Rookery. The trace of that memory is written in Salvad's expression when he says to Torren, "It is a welcome thing, to have you in our halls once more, your highness. And to have the opportunity to celebrate this occasion with you." The occasion of his new marriage.

Arnau does not seem to share his father's enthusiasm. But then, when has Arnau ever seemed enthusiastic about anything? He drinks his strongwine rather than make an empty pleasantry like his father, and though he is not outright rude, he is aloof and that may well read as arrogance.

The feasting is finally over, it seems. And no one is more relieved than Visenya. She dresses as befitting her station, but it is not in the overly elaborate manner that she has taken to dressing for all of the hollow revelry and celebration. Tonight it is just dusky blue sandsilk with a strand of black pearls around the neck. She sits at the high table next to Torren, who has been given the seat of honor next to the Lord. Their party has dwindled to a size that all of the visiting Dornish and Targaryen nobles have a place at the High Table. To her displeasure on the other side of her is seated Ser Manfryd. It is the same as during the ride here; she tries not to look at him and most certainly does not speak to him.

Manfryd made sure to clunk and thump everything that he had near to him. A little over emphasis on the tankard put on the table, the clatter of dinnerware when discarded animal bones are let to fall once meat was stripped from them. The sluuuurrrrping of every drop of wine. Yes, slurrrrping by your ear Visenya. A cough that was much too loud, exaggerated exhales of breath and maybe even a BURP. At least not a fart, nope, not yet. The aloofness that Arnau is not represented in Manfryd, the arrogance however, quite so. He was doing everything in his power to pester Visenya in a way that wasn't /too/ obvious, just that nettling reminder he was -right- there.

Torren greets Lord Blackmont with all the affection of a longtime son-in-law who actually enjoyed the company of his wife's family. Well, most of her family. His greeting for Arnau is less warm, but it is reciprocated in kind, so it isn't exactly like something is amiss there. "Thank you for your hospitality, my lord," he replies. "It has been too long since we have seen each other." His own expression speaks to the sincerity of that, as well as his own grief, though he is well able to keep any potential awkwardness at bay when he continues, "Please allow me to present my wife, the Princess Visenya Targaryen." He might have said something more, but his attention is drawn to the other side of her, and he eyes Manfryd for a second with an impassive look that still somehow manages to be cutting.

As a father, Salvad Blackmont may have been overly doting upon his daughter, Kella, who by all accounts was his favorite. But as a man, and a Dornishman at that, he is practical and shrewd. It is not uncommon for mothers, fathers, husbands and wives to be lost with the constant border skirmishing between Dorne and the Marches, and remarriage is a needful thing, even if one is not the heir to Dorne without heirs himself. So there is no awkwardness on Lord Blackmont's behalf, either, when Visenya is presented to him. "It is an honor, Princess Visenya, to host you. We were aggrieved to hear of what transpired during your travels. If House Blackmont can be of any assistance, you need only name it and it will be done."

"Lord Blackmont. Thank you for your hospitality. And it was a harrowing experience, but luckily not a fatal one. Thank you for your offer of aid." Visenya bows her head low to the silver-haired lord in a show of respect. And then she says nothing else. It is not like the Blackmonts are probably overjoyed to see a Targaryen take the place of the much loved Kella Blackmont, and so she remains unobtrusive for the most part.

Or at least she tries to. She manages to not look at Manfryd as he slurps, burps, and coughs right next to her for quite some time, but eventually it gets to the point where her hands are tightening on her wine glass in irritation. Finally, she looks in his direction, and sweeps her violet eyes over him cooly before asking, "Ser, are you well?"

Manfryd extended his tankard up to his lips, likely for another round of SLURPs when he notes Torren's impassive look. It's not exactly remorse that features on Manfryd's expression, rather the opposite, denying everything with a blameless quirk of a brow. Innocent though he is not, he rolls the wine about in his tankard prior to swishing the last few mouthfuls down, very cavalier about his further posturing.

Visenya's reaction, finally, draws about a rougishly facetious twist to his features, eyes slanting more so in the corners, "Well enough that I still exist, yes." Unlike some, his tone suggests the underlying words not spoken.

Torren converses with Lord Blackmont with the enthusiasm of a friend who has been too long away from another, and as he does, some of the grief fades from his expression, replaced with less difficult emotions. Arnau is mostly ignored, except for a few words here and there. However, through the conversation, his attention catches on the exchange — such as it is — between Visenya and Manfryd. He pauses in whatever he was saying before, and again he fixes Manfryd with a stare, before he says, "How fortunate for you." There is certainly underlying meaning in his tone, as well, which really cannot be mistaken.

Lord Blackmont regales Torren with updates on the Blackmont holdings and livestock, on a profitable new trade agreement recently struck, on all manner of tedious subject matter that is likely of no interest to anyone but Torren on account of how, indeed, he is like a son to the patriarch of the house. And it's neutral ground that can hardly be offensive to anyone, even if Arnau looks vaguely annoyed to be playing second fiddle to the Martell prince at his own table, the table he envisions himself one day sitting at the head of.

When Torren turns to chastize Manfryd Qorgyle, Lord Salvad graciously pretends not to notice, taking the opportunity to signal something to one of his attendants. Within moments, a chest is produced to the table. "A small gift, on the happy occasion of your marriage," Lord Blackmont says.

Visenya says nothing in regards to Manfryd's quip about still existing. Instead her eyes roll as she turns her head away from the Qorgyle Knight just as Torren deals with the young warrior, and lifts her own cup up to her lips to take a little swallow. The appearance of a gift causes her back to stiffen a bit, and she looks to Torren briefly before waiting for him to open it. After all, no one would try the same thing twice. Right?

The Qorgyle does not entirely realize that Torren was actively alert in ensuring the Scorpion did not sting the Dragon too openly, for when Torren's words are heard, that is when Manfryd has enough sense to look reprimanded and enjoy the sights beholden unto his lap and then whatever strange floating things he can see in the bottom of his cup. Unapologetic however, that certainly can be witnessed as he waits for the prospective moments to pass and the heat to die off, for he's just going on absently, gesturing for a servant to fill his wine. Roaming dark eyes eventually land on Arnau for some release of boredom that surely not being able to pester Visenya now causes.

When it seems that Manfryd has been appropriately chastened — or at least shut up, for now — Torren turns back to their host just in time to be presented with the gift. "How thoughtful, my lord," he says, and he looks over at Visenya just long enough to give her some reassurance, though he does pull the chest more toward him, and not her. Not, it seems, for caution, but to set her more at ease; he does not seem worried about the contents, and as well, he's loathe to insult his former in-laws. With that, he opens the chest to peer inside.

There are no apparent dangers lurking in the chest. But neither is the offering of Lord Blackmont the most extravagent wedding gift they will have received, for the house has never been lavishly affluent. There are two chalices laid upon a swath of velvet cloth, each engraved with the respective initials of the bride and groom. As Torren reveals them to Visenya, Lord Blackmont says, "May you enjoy them in good health, and may your wine always be strong." Arnau has taken to studying Manfryd since Torren's address drew his attention to him.

Visenya looks into the chest down at the matching pair of chalices. "They are lovely, my Lord." She reaches into the chest to pick up one of the chalices to look over the details on it. "Thank you." After going over it in a gracious manner she places it back into the chest, and smiles in a sweet manner at the aged Lord of Blackmont. She turns a little more in her seat so Manfryd can partially see her back as if she is silently taunting him with her ability to ignore him double-hard.

The prospective stare down begins. Really, Manfryd's boorish manners convert into a debonair brandishing of testosterone, body language saying more than he ever could. It's the posturing expected of a Dornishman when come against the draws of competition. An openly cockiness triggers the half-swept sneer that finds its way onto his lips, a trigger point being a quick bobble of his chin. His eyes only disengage when the chest is brought forward, tension curling around the tankard, prepared to react in some fashion should it be another attempt on Torren's life. Thankfully, just chalices. At which point he notices the positioning of Visenya, a fact that his his brows twitch, perceptively so, with ire drawn in a crease across his brow.

Despite Manfryd's attitude on the surface, Torren probably appreciates his loyalty; there is a reason that he has pardoned the man and also brought him with them to go to Oldtown. So, when he notes the Qorgyle's vigilance, he gives him a nod of gratitude that is quite different from the looks that he had been giving him when he was antagonizing Visenya. And who know,s maybe now he can antagonize Arnau instead! "Thank you," he says, turning back to Lord Blackmont and taking out one of the chalices himself to examine it, obviously finding it quite satisfactory despite its relatively humble look compared to some gifts. "A very fitting gift. You know how I enjoy drinking." This gets a little smile.

The antagonizing of Arnau is a success. Lord Blackmont's heir does not miss the way Manfryd tenses at the presentation of the chest, and when he speaks it's over top of his own father and the Prince of Dorne, accusatory and short-tempered. "What is it, ser? Do you think the Lords of Blackmont would do violence to Torren Martell and his new bride at their own table? He who used to sit in that very same seat with my sister by his side?"

Visenya remembers the drama surrounding Arnau Blackmont's wife Yael and her brother, and the duel that resulted from it. As a result she dislikes Arnau Blackmont. But, Arnau just dueled her brother. He didn't actually kill him. And she sort of totally hates Manfryd. So, watching this? It's like dinner theatre for Visenya where someone she dislikes is bound to get hurt in some hysterical manner. She has bite down on her bottom lip to keep it from twitching upwards in glee, and finally she does lower herself to look at Manfryd to await his response.

Manfryd's head does a languid turn toward the accusation, a menacing narrowing of his eyes that would speak to the boiling Dornish blood. His sable gaze is lowered upon Arnau, off white teeth flash for but a brief instance as his lips curl to a scornful smirk, broaching on measure of intimidation. "I'm impressed, Lord Blackmont, of your abilities to read my mind over and above anyone else present. It must've taken you an extremely loooong and thorough amount of time to study me," he waits for it, that punctuated pause, insinuating that Arnau admired him, "Enlighten us further. What else am I thinking?" There's no denying it. Manfryd's eager and angry as a hot stallion, ready to lash out and sting. His chin tilts up as he raises a brow in mockery, "It would've been easier to not yell across the room if you wanted my attention and spear." Cue the wink and the subtle laugh that carries fully with the hint of ridicule.

Torren is perhaps a little bit less eager for a fight, verbal or otherwise, to break out between his former brother-in-law and Manfryd Qorgyle, especially considering that, as has been stated, he used to sit here with his former wife. "Ser Manfryd is simply being cautious," he says to Arnau, his tone basically normal, though with a tiny hardness to it. "As would any of my men-at-arms, after what befell my lady wife barely a week ago." He turns to the elder Lord Blackmont again, and now that edge is gone from his tone, and it is merely apologetic. "You understand. The gift that had been given before was given in ignorance; it was another who had set the viper inside. We would never suggest that anything of the sort would happen with your knowledge."

"Arnau." It's a warning, father to son, lord to underling. Who knows the Blackmont heir's tempestuous temper better than the Lord Blackmont himself? Rather than be made to stay and listen to a single further syllable uttered by Manfryd Qorgyle, Arnau kicks back his chair and rises to his feet. He offers Torren only a curt nod, Manfryd is given a black stare, and then he stalks off to be alone with his quiet rage. Salvad watches him go without comment, and when Torren seeks to confirm his understanding for the caution? The Lord Blackmont says, "There is no need to explain," and waves his hand in the universal gesture of the same. And then, for no reason other than to change the subject, he asks, "What is your next destination?"

Visenya looks slightly disappointed when Arnau Blackmont retreats from the table as opposed to staying to quarrel further with the Qorgyle. She hides her slightly crestfallen look with a swallow from the wineglass, and a nibble of an olive. But, she cannot help but throw in a jab to Manfryd at this point; "I can assure you, Ser Manfryd. No one wants your spear at all."

Manfryd clips off his commentary after many things happen at once; Torren's explanation, Salvad's rebuke to his son, and the underlings swift rise and retreat. Manfryd cannot help but laugh, quietly at least, as he turns a nod toward the elder Blackmont and his liege lord for resolving the situation. A satisfied smirk does settle onto his features and as he carries on with a drink, that amusement and twinkle of his triumph situated in his eye will be there for the rest of the evening. At least, it's been a complete diverson from Visenya ignoring him utterly and his attempt to antagonize her. The retort back to Visenya, bluntly, "Lady Lara might disagree." Smug bastard.

Torren relaxes a little bit when Arnau stalks off; there's one issue dealt with, at least. He may catch the jab from Visenya to Manfryd, and the latter's retort, but instead of inserting himself there again, he replies to Lord Blackmont's question. "We will be taking the river into the Uplands as far as the Kingsroad. It shall be a bit of an adventure after so much feasting, but I am sure that the Targaryen retinue is eager to return as quickly as possible with shorter stops along the way."

Visenya's head turns then to stare at Manfryd for a moment as if she cannot believe what has come out of his mouth. "Pardon me?" She says, and one of her silvery brows raises before she looks to Torren and Lord Blackmont. "Excuse me, Lord Blackmont. My Prince. I don't think I can remain at dinner any longer." She turns then to stare coldly at Manfryd before saying, "Not when Ser Manfryd so blatantly mocks his position as a guest to you, Lord Blackmont, and then insults my dear friend, Lady Lara. A truly chivalrous Knight does not speak of women so crassly. You lack honor, Ser." She stands up from her chair then and says to Lord Blackmont, "Forgive me." And a hand is laid on Torren's shoulder briefly before she turns to leave.

Lord Blackmont is about to no doubt about to make the sort of overbearing and irritating but ultimately well-meaning suggestions any fatherly figure makes a son with any kind of a plan, because there's always room for improvement. He's been paying the Qorgyle no mind, because outbursts between hotheaded, cocksure Dornishmen is just a regular thing around here, and so perhaps he misses the comment that brings Visenya to her feet. Salvad certainly does not have the appearance of a mocked man, but neither does he presume to tell the Targaryen princess that she should stay or go.

Manfryd's expression turns cool at Visenya's dramatic decision to escape the table. He doesn't repeat himself, letting her simmer on the fact of what he already said, unapologetic. Why would he be apologetic about that? He's a Dornishman. He just seems amused when she exclaims he has no honour, failing to try and provide explanation or 'exuses' when the woman is already on her way out. He may shrug a little, sitting back with pointed reason to look everywhere but Torren.

When Visenya stands, Torren looks up, and he doesn't have much time to say anything before she's walking out. This time, however, he does not apologize, which may indicate who he thinks is in the right at this particular moment. Instead, he waits until she has gone, before he moves over to her chair so that he is next to Manfryd instead.

"I appreciate your service to me," he says lowly, his words meant only for the Qorgyle, though of course anyone looking would be able to guess their lean, if not their exact contents, "but that does not give you the right to antagonize my wife. Do not think I have not noticed your behavior. You killed one of her kinsmen. Put yourself in her place, and imagine how you would feel if someone had done that to one of yours, and then sat with you at dinner and behaved as you are at this moment. She has a right to wish not to associate with you without you forcing the issue like a spoilt child. Keep a civil tongue in your head, especially as it pertains to her, or my patience will be at an end."

That precise reason why he was searching for any -other- spot in the room to look at descends to a seat beside him. He was loyal to Torren, to House Martell, and that ever creeping sense of dread settles as Torren does. The young man keeps his hands to either side of his plate, to show his liege lord there was no intent to harm while punishment was to be delivered.

Yet, his eyes took a chance to raise slightly at least, to indicate to Torren he was listening to the lecture that begins to unravel. His eyes gleam, incensed by the words, looking to the corner of his sockets to regard the Prince's lean toward him. Despite the ask, he says in a low tone in response, "She's -your- wife, my Prince… but you -are- Dorne's Prince, she is not. Do not let her rule you because of the act my spear created. Her kin died with the chance to kill me in return, but he didn't. She has to learn our ways, not you and the rest of us Hers." His tone is low, "I herald no disrespect, for I would give my life to you at any minute, should you ask for it. We do not want you to… lose yourself to the dragons, for you are our sun, of which all depends on." Was it his place to say something? Who the hell knows but he did and he bows his head if he overstepped, willing to take that risk.

Torren had not intended to make a scene — he is not one for scenes, as most of the people here know. At least not public ones. His anger is slow to wake, and usually slow-burning. If it's noticed, it's always under the surface, and let out in actions, rather than words. However, at this moment, his expression turns dark, and he leans toward Manfryd now, not bothering to keep his voice down. He's not shouting, but certainly the people around could hear him.

"You would do well to note," he says through gritted teeth, "that my wife has done nothing since she has been here besides attempt to learn our ways, despite being repeatedly insulted, including being called a whore at her own wedding feast. She is 21 years old in a land full of people who hate her, and her kin, and she is made painfully aware of that fact every day. And yet she still wears our clothes, takes our ladies as her companions. She took a viper bite to save my life with no through for herself. I would say that she is also willing to die for me. So you will show her the respect that she deserves." His hand on the table is clenched into a fist. He is not a violent man — but then, he's already hit Manfryd once.

Someone had to say it? Someone had to tell Torren he was being questioned! Someone whose young and stupid, right? Hot under the collar and bold, the Qorgyle was that person. Timing? Well, 'No Middle Ground' speaks to how the young man was raised. It was all or nothing. However, earning the ire of his Prince so soon after the initial cause for being nearly exiled, has Manfryd want to weep like a girl inside. Ohhh the agony. In actual fact, his posturing is starting to crouch in and slump. He was loyal to Torren to a fault, which is really what prompts him to say this:

"There is a -reason- why people hate her, my Prince. They hate the idea of what her rule here will mean. The dragons … they will try to blot out the sun! If not by spilling blood by breeding blood."

As has been said, it takes a lot to make Torren angry. Of course, at this point, there's no turning back for Manfryd. The minute those words leave the other man's lips, Torren's hand comes up to grab the front of the Qorgyle's robes, his other fist cocking back to punch the man right in the jaw. Torren is not an experienced fighter — he's strong enough, but it is probably not as painful as it might have been were it someone who had a lot of practice punching people. But it probably hurts, and the significance of it is probably more important. "The Martells rule in Dorne, not the dragons, and that shall not change no matter who I wed nor who my children are!" he exclaims, before he rises to his feet and starts out of the hall without even making his apologies to Lord Blackmont. He shakes out his hand as he goes; the punch might actually have hurt him more than Manfryd.

Ever get that 'aww fuck' moment running through your head? This would be Manfryd's. Fighting against instincts to block the in coming or some how twist out of Torren's hold takes more effort than what shows. He would not dare to stop Torren from his intent.

The chair he's in scuffs against the floor in the suddeness of Torren's grab, twisting the Scorpion to face the fist of the Sun. Now, while it may go to show that Torren doesn't have a lot of practiced power behind that punch, the loyalty factor does enough for Manfryd to make sure that despite it, it shows as powerful. The reason? So Torren is not humiliated by a weak hit and to further the emphasis on the punishment. Weakness, at a time like this, with a dinner hall watching, would trickle down like wildfire. So while Torren's shot scores him one and lays a good wallop to him, the momentum of the swing allows Manfryd to 'showfully' heave out of his chair. His father taught him well. No Middle Ground. You're all in or you're out. Manfryd's all in. Buckling to the floor, he remains on his hands and knees and makes sure to spit a gob of blood on the floor. All in. "Forgive me, My Prince…" comes the pathetic mutter from Manfryd. It was needed right then, as his hand demonstrated the force of the punch as he sat back on his knees, fingers glistening red, for there was blood coming out of a split lip. His head was bowed, submissive.

Torren doesn't even look back. The plea for forgiveness goes unanswered for the moment. He simply continues his walk down the aisle of the hall and out into the man part of the castle and leaving the Qorgyle to ponder the possible consequences of his words, as well as the mitigating factors of his actions, should there be any. Whether or not the display is enough to spare him will remain unknown, for now.

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