(122-12-13) In the Garden, with the Children
In the Garden, with the Children
Summary: After the spectacles of what some are already calling the Yellow Wedding, two Targaryen princesses both find their minds upon… dragons. Who'd have thought it.
Date: 12/13/122
Related: Again follows on from something that hasn't been posted yet. Hope the date's right!

When two yellow dragons met in the sky in a mating dance Princess Vhaerys Targaryen's only thought was to seek higher ground and a better view — and from the roof of a house near the tourney grounds her admittance to which was secured by her personal guards she gazed long and lovingly up into the blue.

In this spectacle so alarming to smallfolk and nobles accustomed to having their feet on the ground, she saw not only beauty but an odd familiarity tickling still at unknown places in her mind, as though with an oiled feather taken to secret bolts and padlocks left to rust too long. Her mood has brought her thus home, to the Dragon Door Manse, but not to her own chambers — rather to the gardens behind, where she has over the years planted many a rare specimen, only to lose quite a few lately to the flames of a kinswoman's baby dragons. Not a trade she's had too many complaints about: there are other plants, and a dragon is a precious creature, to be nurtured and spoiled.

Vhaerys is a tall woman, and still sometimes for comfort or habit or both dresses as the dragonrider she was; her stride is long in dark golden leathers over a white silk shirt, and her whitening golden hair is worn in the long braids often favoured by the women of her house trained for war. The sight of a weed poking its tendrils through the soil in the vicinity of a blood red rosebush brings a chill into her eyes and she slows her confident prowl through the garden to stare down at it as though it were a personal enemy.

The kinswoman who is bonded with the two twin juvenile dragons is in the garden right now, actually. Married to the crown Prince of Dorne it is unsurprising that there are many a Dornishperson milling about the interior of the manse after what happened with the larger dragons earlier. But in the garden Visenya is alone.

The Targaryen turned Martell Princess dresses in the clothes of her husband's people; a lavish gown of brick red sandsilk with a pattern of gold suns is worn with a collar of gold and rubies. Despite her lavish clothing she is sitting on the ground with both dragonet's heads in her lap stroking them. The infants are twins with steel blue scales and silver horns and spurs. It is fitting, perhaps, that they are called 'silver' and 'blue' in High Valaryon. Kastys and Gelion.

At the end of an internal debate regarding what to do about the weed — namely, how severe the punishment ought to be for the gardeners whose negligence permitted it to sprout — Princess Vhaerys continues toward the figures she has glimpsed, low to the ground, through the foliage. She bends to pinch a leaf, releasing its sharp fragrance to add to her own, and inhales deeply… She straightens; and she calls in the low, admiring purr of a Targaryen who would never spare such interest for human babies: "Your children have grown since last I saw them, Visenya. You look very fine together."

Visenya strokes a hand down the spine of one of her dragonets. They are the size of hounds now, and capable of flight and of dragonfire. But now when there is no threat and they are with the first face they saw when they sprung forth from their egg, and so they are content to rest their heads in her lap. "Thank you." She says at the compliment, and then she smiles prettily before saying, "The wild dragon that mated with Syrax? It was their mother."

The elder princess's wide mouth broadens into a smile. "The glorious Whoremaster… I believe I saw Rhaegor tearing off his armour in his impetuous, loverly haste to get there before Syrax." Her tone however is absent mockery; it's only natural, isn't it, for a rider bereft to feel such passions? She strokes the petals of a red-orange bloom somewhat rarer and spikier than a rose, careful to avoid the flower's nectar, and adds: "I wonder if we'll see another such pair of strong young children as yours, born to Syrax in the coming days, or the subject of some great quest among our cousins… It does lend an interest, doesn't it?" One hand on her hip she breathes out pensively, as though she has something more on her mind.

Visenya lets out an amused little sound at Vhaerys' joke. "Rhaegor has gotten the fever. Badly." She says with a fine little wrinkle of her nose and a sigh. "I regret planting it into his head that he ought to be the one who will ride the creature. He will get himself killed and be in a horrible disposition while doing it." She nods her head a little before saying perhaps a little snidely, "Perhaps Prince Jurian will expect the eggs laid in his lap. He came out here demanding to know how I got two. As if dragons are a right." She rolls her eyes, but at that pensive look her expression sobers. "What is it, cousin?"

"If Rhaegor dies in pursuit of a dragon he'll still have lived more than most — and risked nothing he oughtn't," is Vhaerys's opinion, delivered with an easy shrug of her strong shoulders. "Though our house may rule half the world there are one or two things even we can't have by demanding without deserving; if Jurian hasn't realised that yet, at his age, he's ineligible in any case by his own nature," and that's her other opinion, included gratis. Her other hand finds her other hip and she gazes, still thoughtfully, down at those young dragons nuzzling into their mother's lap. "I don't know what it is," she grants softly, "but I intend to find out…"

"Well, if he could go about it while in better spirits than I would be glad for it." Visenya says of Rhaegor with a quirk of her lips. She shrugs regarding Jurian, "I think that he is unfit is clear. And it is not his disfigurement that makes him so." One of her dragonets stands up and dashes past Vhaerys' legs to take flight and perch on the roof of the pavilion. His brother soon follows him. "A notion, perhaps?"

Dragons don't alarm Vhaerys in the least; rather than flinching at the sudden motion of a potentially flamey creature she turns fondly to watch the child's passage, another smile tugging at her lips. They're beautiful in motion, even at this age… She looks back to Visenya and remarks, "I had a feeling I'd seen a yellow dragon and a blue mate before; although now when I come to consider it I can't name the dragons or the occasion. I am not usually forgetful." And this is so; this princess is a font of information on a variety of scholarly subjects, in particular House Targaryen and their dragons and their history, even if some of that knowledge is apt to be — disquietingly — relayed to her by an invisible twin. "I shall have to ask Vhaeron if he recalls it," she says casually, as though her brother-husband hadn't been dead these fifteen years, "although — do you?"

"No, I do not." Visenya admits, and she does not seem bothered by the mention of Vhaerys' dead brother-husband. "But I do know that Daevon found Valyrian steel saddle chains in the Whoremaster's lair along with artifacts from the freehold. My theory is that the Whoremaster was ridden by a Valyrian dragon lord, and something happened to him to bring him to Westeros before Aegon."

The elder princess's violet eyes narrow. Intent upon her cousin she takes a step nearer, in her finely-tooled boots of dark golden leather. "I had not heard that said," she murmurs with genuine interest. "Will you favour me, Visenya, with the full tale—? I meant always to ask you, but your pursuits and my own have rarely followed the same line in this past year…"

Visenya rises from the ground slowly. She is showing the telltale signs of pregnancy, and although she is past twenty it is her first, and so she is unused to the subtle changes in balance. "I can." She says with a small nod and a shrug, "It's not that enthralling a story, really. I chased after the dragon, and fell into it's lair. Instead of eating me it smelled my blood, and let me take it's eggs."

Till now Vhaerys has looked only at her cousin's face and her dragons, rather than her body; her eyes run up and down her as she rises and she draws certain conclusions, though rather than speaking of them she pursues a topic more after her own heart. "But the chains, the artifacts — what was found?" she inquires. "Daevon, you said — which one is he?" Displaying thus a blithe disregard of younger relations who haven't dragons to their names. "When did he visit the cave in his turn? After you rode Veraxion to Oldtown?"

"Daevon is my twin." Visenya says. "The pretty one who looks similar to me?" Of course he would look similar. He is her twin. "He pursued me after I left on my own for the dragon, and when I flew away on it's back he searched the beast's lair." As if to confirm Vhaerys suspicions she lays a hand on her stomach.

Pretty one, looks similar — how does that narrow it down, within House Targaryen? Vhaerys lifts an almost-white eyebrow and drawls, "I shall have to find him and ask him what he found…" Her gaze drops precipitously to Visenya's midsection. "How long, then, till your Dornish child is born?"

"I have the saddle chains." Visenya says. "Would you like me to send them to you to be examined? They are most certainly from the Freehold, however. No one uses Valyrian steel for saddle chains anymore." She glances down at her abdomen, "Four months, I'm told. My mother is very sad over my marriage." She admits before she smiles, "But my child will be ruler of their own realm. Even if they are Dornish."

That notion brings the second pale brow up to match the first; "I would like that very much," Vhaerys acknowledges, smiling again, "and you won't need them for a while yet, will you?" This with a nod towards the roof of the gleaming black stone pavilion whereupon the dragonets are sunning themselves. "I wouldn't care to see my daughter wed as you were," she states, "but your alliance at least offers… benefits, to our house…" Over them in imagination, perhaps, is the shadow of the Hightower. "For your sake I hope your husband will learn to cherish you with a brother's love."

"I won't." Visenya says of the chains. She listens to Vhaerys hopes for her marriage with an ever-growing smile. "There are some…advantages. To being wed to a Dornishman. They are very accommodating to their women. And my husband's mother is ruling Princess. He is accustomed to treating his womenfolk well." She smiles a little with the corner of her mouth before saying, "Very well." She glances down briefly before looking up at Vhaerys, "Do not worry for me. I am pleased with where I am."

At that Vhaerys lets out a quiet sound of amusement. She stretches, shrugging her shoulders, looking up for a moment into the sky. "In those matters I'd worry for him sooner than I'd worry for you," she says plainly, looking again into Visenya's eyes with all the pride of her own birth; "a Targaryen princess is more than a match for a mere Dornishman. But whatever the lands your child will call his or her own, you must still make the sacrifice of living away from your kin in order to see that day come — and I can only think that must be a lonely task." She, whose mind famously cracked beneath the strain of that loneliness, appears serene now at the prospect of another's facing it.

"Perhaps Daevon will join me in Dorne." Visenya says of her twin, choosing not to address the rest of what the older woman has said. "At this rate I doubt anyone in our family is happy with him." That said she offers Vhaerys a small smile, "I shall have those chains sent to you so you can study them. Good day, Princess." And with one last glance towards her dragons she turns to go.

"My thanks."

And the flowers and the weeds, and the dragonlets at their ease, provide entertainment enough for Vhaerys Targaryen for some while longer, her speculations proceeding along several most intriguing paths.

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