(122-08-23) Keeping Watch
Keeping Watch
Summary: Rhaegor and Visenya discuss each other's fates, dragons, and Dorne.
Date: 23 August 2015
Related: Slavers in the Sands

Camp is a makeshift situation, when traveling in the Dornish desert, but there are temporary shanties erected for each of the couples and a third for the extra men. Riding by night means sleeping by day, but sleep hasn't come so easy to Rhaegor in recent times, and so he volunteered to double his watch and allow the others the benefit of some added shut eye. The wound he sustained in the bandit-busting was superficial, and has been wrapped, seeming not to affect his gait at all as he roams the perimeter of their camp, pausing to check on the horses.

Visenya cannot sleep; perhaps it is the bright desert sand leaking into the shanty or perhaps it is just the impatience of knowing her dragons are near. For whatever reason she slips out of the dark and relatively cool shade of the shanty into the brightness beyond. The sun blinds her, and so she lifts her veil up and over her eyes to shade herself before meandering towards the smoldering coals of the cooking fire.

The horses seen to, Rhaegor stoops to peer inside the flap of the lean-to he shares with Emira before joining Visenya at the fire. He studies her, the bit of her revealed by the slit in her veil, the most important and telling part of any person; their eyes. The fever she'd seen in his own days earlier has been tempered, the pale violet of them not burning the way they had when he'd accidentally pointed his blade at her. "Do you sense them?" he asks, without ceremony.

Visenya sits cross-legged in the sand, and leans over to rummage into one of the saddlebags for one of the many skins of water they have taken with them. When she finally finds one she pushes aside her veil to drink from it. It is then that Rhaegor returns. She takes the waterskin from her lips, and her veil falls back into place. She looks into Rhaegor's eyes a moment before she nods once.

Rhaegor's own riding attire is a blend between his usual armor and the Dornish style garments meant to ease traveling through the high sands, as if he still straddles both worlds. Her nod has the effect of an electric current, visibly coursing through him in the wake of that slight, subtle gesture. He tenses, as if with a fresh wave of purpose, duty, determination, discipline, like every bit of focus helps now to keep the fever in check, even as they draw nearer to its cause. Dragons. He scans the horizon, breaking their stare. "I am anxious for it to be done." An understatement, as true for him as it likely is for her. And once they have the hatchlings back… he can allow himself the risk of attempting the very thing that calls to him and robs him of his sleep. Flight.

In contrast to Rhaegor Visenya might as well be Dornish. Rhaegor has probably spent more time around her since taking her to Dorne in the first place, and can observe this change in her if he is so inclined to pay attention. She seems to have become less angry when she does not get her way, but more bold in speaking. As if she finally believes her words have weight. Thoughts of possessing her hatchlings again seems to have emboldened her further. "As do I." She says to him, and for once she doesn't feel like she has to say anything else to him. Instead she drinks more from the wineskin, and gazes out into the direction they travel as if she looks hard enough she will be able to see them in the distance.

There is some silence, as the pair of them respectively look to the sky. And then, finally, "It suits you," Rhaegor says, of the veil and everything it symbolizes. "Daevon's failure is your boon. Prince Torren is twice any husband you might have had from home." Evidently he has noticed the transition, and how good it looks on her. And evidently he includes himself in the potential husband head count, making the admission much more easily now than he might have when they'd first ridden for Dorne.

Visenya's head turns a little to look at Rhaegor a moment before she nods her head once. After it sees like she is going to continue pantomiming a silent sister she finally says, "Do you know what I did when we courted?" She smiles under her veil, "I planned parties. I did charity events that were really just excuses for parties. Silly frivolous things that never mattered. I was amusing. Now…" He cannot see her smile widen save for the change in her eyes, "I serve as Torren's secretary. I am currently learning Dornish Law in Depth because when we return I shall serve as a justicar."

Rhaegor's found a spot to sit by the fire pit, and he lays his sword across his lap to check its edge, honing it with a stone that fits in the curve of his palm. He pauses in his work to regard Visenya when she speaks, lowering his stare and fixing it on the blade when he replies. "Your life will have purpose now. You will be measured by more than the sons you'll bear." And perhaps it's that very monotony she initially describes that drove his first wife to her misery, a flash of the same rippling across his features. "Any opportunities I might have offered you would have fallen short of the ones you now have. I am glad that you embrace them."

"I know." Visenya says, for lack of anything else to say. She hesitates for a moment before finally she says, "I believe you will find happiness with Princess Emira." She raises the waterskin to her lips again for another drink before she says, "You both have the same love for adventure, and I do not think you feel obligated to speak for her or to represent her in any manner." She falls silent again before finally she says, "They will be bigger."

At Emira's name, Rhaegor looks from his sword to the shanty he shares with her, where she presently sleeps even though he does not. "I have already," he admits, his voice low and careful, as if making the realization at just the same time he says it aloud. As if, too, it's the final betrayal, even though Visenya has the same with her new husband. There is comfort in the accuracy of the rest of her assessment; as a Dornishwoman, and especially as a woman of her particular character, marriage to Rhaegor will not forfeit Emira to the same stifling fate it might have Visenya. At length, he says, "We have, against all odds, found partners to which we are well suited." And with that his eye goes back to the sword's edge, to keening it with his stone, until Visenya speaks once more of the dragons. "It's almost as if they know that Dorne will be home to you both."

"I'm glad." Visenya says, and it hurts her a little to say it, but she is glad for him. Perhaps it is because she has always perceived him as having more of a choice in this than her, and so when she realized she could be happy with Torren she felt less guilt. The blame for this has always been on Rhaegor, and so it was easier for her to love Torren. "I suppose we have." She finally says. Then she is glad for the switch to dragons. "I wonder how they will be received. There is much fear amongst the Dornish nobility that any child I bear will eventually try to unite Dorne with the Kingdom."

"Perhaps Torren's leadership, and your marriage, will in time foster an appetite for it," Rhaegor reflects, having gone back to the maintenance of his blade. He pauses, holding it up and inspecting the edge, before turning it over and going to work on the reverse. Or perhaps the opposite, of course, but he doesn't say that. "It is certainly an aspiration of the crown."

"It will not." Visenya says with a small shake of her head. "I know it is an aspiration of the crown, but they will only take Dorne by force…" And it has already been proven that Dorne cannot be taken by force. She must yield willingly. "Besides, Torren has no appetite for it. And I do not blame him. Would you want to bend the knee if you were him?"

"I do bend the knee," Rhaegor says, seeming to take her question more literally than she intends it. But maybe it's that the concept of living outside of crown rule remains foreign to him, even having spent the last year ferrying the King's agenda to Dorne in the name of diplomacy, even having experienced their way of life and their culture. Even having embraced much of the same.

"If you were him." Visenya repeats carefully. "Not if you were Prince Rhaegor. But if you were Prince Torren, and someday you would rule Dorne, and at this point you already do a good portion of the governing? Would you want to give that up? Pay taxes to a King who still would not protect you from your bloodthirsty neighbors? Give up the traditions that make you who you are?"

Rhaegor's stone strikes off the blade he's restored to its sharp, forbidding edge, and upon testing it deems his work done. He stands to sheath the blade, asking impassively as he does, "And what if Lord Baratheon styled himself a prince, invoking his right to rule the Stormlands, to keep the taxes he collects on the King's behalf in his own coffers, for our failure to protect his marches against Dornish raids?"

"Lord Baratheon holds the Stormlands because Aegon the Conquerer loved his ancestor, and made him one of his generals." Visenya says with a little shrug of her shoulders. If there is one thing she knows and takes pride in it is the history of her house. "The King has a right to the Stormlands by conquest, and by granting those lands to Baratheon." She looks at Rhaegor hard then, "Dorne existed before Aegon the Conquer came. He did not take it by conquest. Should a King just have whatever he wants simply because he is a King?"

And it's not the diplomat speaking, when Rhaegor turns from studying the glowing embers that are all that's left of the fire in the pit, having stared at them distantly for much of what Visenya's said. His response is simple, dispassionate, resigned. Blunt, even, as if the usual care he would take to soften the words is focused on keeping other things in check out of necessity. "No. But you should see your marriage for what it is." A pause. "The prelude to a conquest." He does not say the words as if the conquest of Dorne is something he himself desires or is eager to achieve. But rather as if he relays something black and white that he has no control over.

"Do you think the great-granddaughter of a King is enough for a Kingdom?" Visenya asks, and then she draws away her veil from her face. Her brow is raised slightly. "Why do you think Dorne was so willing to accept me instead of Princess Helaena?" She smiles then, "Oh, they made a bit of a show of me being offered after Daevon slighted Mariya, but in the end they gave in, didn't they? Because they knew a Princess further from the main line would be less inclined to remain loyal. And you know what? They were right. I will not forget how I was ignored, and then sold. I don't care if it was for my benefit in the end."

Rhaegor peers up at the sun, roughly attempting to gauge the hour and accordingly how much time is left on his watch. It's in this particular moment, perhaps more than the ones preceding, that the change in his state is most obvious. Ordinarily her words would be enough to inspire a sophisticated argument. Enough to prompt some pro-Targaryen, family values pontificating. But his response is flat, and almost given as an afterthought, even though he turns to study her, catching her smile but not mirroring it. "Any heirs you give Torren will have Targaryen blood. The people of Dorne are right to be wary."

"I know that." Visenya says. "I never said they do not have a right to be wary. They have every right, and if I were them I would not trust me." She reaches over into the saddle bag then to take out a beaten kettle, and the bag of tea she drinks from daily. She pours some water into the kettle before learning forward to put it over the flame. "But my husband was married for years, and loved his first wife deeply." She says to Rhaegor then, because she trusts him still, and is not afraid to speak freely with him. "And it did not come to fruit. Princess Ellia and Ser Osric's children will inherit his throne."

Rhaegor watches as she sets about preparing the kettle, speaking as freely to him as he has to her. "You are young. You have a long marriage at your feet." It's said genuinely, in recognition of the blessing such a thing is, when it's a happy one. "But if you are right, it will be easier for the people to embrace you." He goes to the lean-to with the rest of the men, pulling back the flap to call for one of the Velaryons by name, rousing him from his sleep. Rhaegor waits by the fire after the Velaryon emerges, stalking off into the distance to have a piss and generally wake himself up and ready himself to take the next shift.

"Perhaps." Visenya says with a little shrug of her shoulder. "If my husband and I are not murdered or assassinated in some creative or gruesome manner." It may be morbid, but she is not wrong for thinking it possible. After all, it almost happened. She pointedly looks away from the man to give him the privacy he requires, and reaches for the kettle. The metal handle should require a cloth to hold it, but Visenya uses her bare hands without flinching.

Rhaegor concedes, "If not that," without any trace of humor. And then he waits in silence until he spies the Velaryon making his return. "Thank you for your company," he says to Visenya just before he turns toward his and Emira's tent.

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