(122-12-27) Dornish Soiree at Garden Isle
Dornish Soiree at Garden Isle
Summary: Log Summary tbd.
Date: 27/12/2015 (Date of RP)
Related: Recent Dorne plots

Walled Garden - Garden Isle Manse - Sphinx Street

This large garden is a wonderland of splendor. Small trees and exotic flowers are in bloom, their aromas permeating the area. The entire garden is enclosed a high wall, covered in vines and ivy. There is an area where fresh herbs are growing, and another for roses of red, white, and of course, Tyrell gold. Other beds have daffodils, tulips, lilies, and pansies. Spread out and mingled amongst the rest of the plants are a variety of wildflowers. The two far corners are dominated by massive oak trees, which spread shade over the area. The luscious scents and beauty add to the natural feel of the atmosphere here.

Stone benches of polished marble surround a long pool, also of marble. There's a statue of a small dolphin above one end, spouting water from its snout. The pool isn't very deep, only about three feet, and small, colorful fish dart about playfully. Luxuriously soft towels are folded and placed on some of the benches. To one side is a lounging area, with outdoor furniture which comfortably seats six.

Another Soiree at Garden Isle is about to commence in the lavishly decorated gardens. The topic is Dorne this evening and not surprisingly, quite a few Dornish guests are already on the premises, mingling with the Tyrells and other locals. The decorations are Dornish too, with desert-like tents in which pillows have been strewn about. Low tables are set with delicacies from all over Dorne and there's a veritable wine fountain bubbling with dark-red Dornish wine. The usual little stage has been set up at the far end and right now the Whimsy players are entertaining the arriving guests with a selection of Dornish tunes.

Apparently unarmed, Desmond wanders through the Garden, examining the foodstuffs and speaking quietly with the servers, thanking a few. He's dressed in his best silks, black with slashes of red, the ones that Loryn's tailors made for him. He smiles at the fountain, crouching down to examine its workings, resting easily on the balls of his feet. For all the world, the huge Northerner seems like a man perfectly at ease.

Blending perfectly into the Dornish setting is Lara Gargalen, clad in a rather obtrusively colored gown of red Sand Silk, that shifts about her shapely physique in a rather revealing manner with each tiny little movement; movement that at the moment mostly pertains to strolling about the garden, hazel eyes drifting here and there, a goblet of red wine held in one hand, while the other moves over the fabric of her dress. Her black hair falls openly about her shoulders, a melodious chuckle escaping the Dornishwoman as she allows her gaze to drift quite appreciatively over the male guests as they arrive. A man in Dornish silk catches her attention, and she raises a brow in curiosity as she witnesses his crouching manoeuvre by the fountain. "Good eve," she intones, taking an elegant step towards Desmond. "Have you lost something, ser?"

Leandro's almost unrecognisable. He's gone out on the whole Dornish thing, with exquisite silks befitting any nobleman, dark liner around his eyes, his hair artfully styled, and he's even bothered to shave. He's mingling, wine glass in hand, speaking to one of the guests, his accent rich and thick. "Why yes, we do keep crocodiles as pets. They're far more obedient than dogs and far better suited to the sun… Yes, all the same tricks dogs do but far better."

Desmond looks up at Lara, his brutish features creasing in a broad smile. "Lost? No. Not lost, Lady. I'm wondering how they make the wine dance like this." His accent is unmistakeably Northern, despite the Targaryen colors he wears. His gaze travels appreciatively up and down the woman's frame as he rises up, cat-graceful despite his gargantuan stature. "I am Ser Desmond Snow, Lady. We've not met." Something catches his ear, however, and he covers his mouth with a hand to hide laughter, struggling to turn it into a cough.

Loryn Tyrell is watching the arrivals with a look of happy satisfaction. He stops to greet new arrivals with a few warm words of welcome before letting them lose on the Dornish wine and food. His eyes follow Lara for a moment, but seeing her join Desmond, he leaves them to it. Grinning a bit when his ear catches the remark on crocodiles as pets, he approaches an elderly couple from the neighbourhood to welcome them.

Red and black. The Scorpion's colours - the very colours he wears as well. Sand silk robes designed specifically for the Dornish, allowing agile movement and fashion at the same time. Leathers bind is midsection in a girth of belts and clasps, while over his shoulders, a vest overcoat of red spills over his shoulders and dangles with heavier tails with metal hoops near his knees. A dark liner has been used under his eyes and swooped down the one in honour of his household, while his hair has been drawn forward (as short as it was it did grow enough to do that). His wrists are wrapped with leather gauntlets, that for now hide most of the Scorpion tattooing underneath, save for the tail that sticks out. Without weapons apparently, but that depends on how well of a pat down he gets at the entrance. A blade may be discovered somewhere underneath all the leather and silks. He makes his way in, nodding to those Dornish that greet him. He's made enough of a stir that most should note him even if not personally acquainted.

Lara seems to be amused by Desmond's reply. Hazel eyes flit to the wine fountain and she lifts her shoulders in a shrug that makes the red sand silk dance about her shape. "I never really bothered much for such questions…", she admits with a chuckle, extending her hand with the goblet to refill it at the fountain. "Fact is, there is wine, and so much of it." Her lips purse at the assessing glance he gives her, "Lara Gargalen," the Cockatrice offers as introduction. The mirth on Desmond's face diverts her attention briefly to Leandro, before it is claimed by the Scorpion. Lara's eyes lingering on Manfryd Qorgyle as he makes his entrance, her own glance assessing very much in the same way, and even beyond the manner Desmond looked at her a moment ago. Should Manfryd look her way, she turns away, and her attention back to Desmond. "You are no Dornish," she observes. "How do you like the style of our clothes?"

"Oh no… not until we're 12," Leandro can be overheard saying to one of the Westerosi guests, in that oh so thick accent, fragments of conversation that catch beyond his immediate companion. "Then we wrestle the snake… No, not a euphemism. A real snake. They're specially bred… Well it truly depends on the size of the snake, sometimes there's one, sometimes there's a whole pit of them… No. They're not slimy at all, they're pleasantly warm and smooth to the touch. Why yes, it's actually a compliment if you ask a Dornishman if you can handle their snake. No, I don't think our customs strange at all."

Desmond rolls his shoulders, then swings his arms, testing his movement as he considers Lara's question. "Oh, I think I could fight in this, Lady." That seems like an endorsement, or at least the biggest endorsement he's going to give. He admits, "I'm nervous I'll ruin them. They're a gift from Ser Daevon, when I entered his service." He straightens out of his crouch and fills his own wine goblet. Gaze travelling to Manfryd, the huge northman's eyes narrow faintly.

But again, he hears something amusing, and turns toward Leandro, eyes twinkling. He's openly eavesdropping and, when the man answers his companion's final question, the Northman raises his goblet in salute. "In my family, Ser, we must pin a wolf two times out of three before we're considered men." His voice is too bland — smooth as butter. "Snakes seem perfectly reasonable."

Manfryd glances toward Leandro who seems well in his own interests entertaining Westerosi guests. There's little interests from the Qorgyle to do the same. Every step he takes has him swaggering with his confidence and with an air of command about him. He may be one of the lesser nobles of Dorne, but, the way he was acting, he knew that didn't matter to his fellows. Acts and deeds did. The joust raised him in many eyes and the recent rumours had built him a better following. As it was, he surveyed the scene, noting where Lara was and to whom she was speaking. That didn't sit well with him. OF COURSE he turned to approach them.

Leandro makes a phbt sound at Desmond's declaration, waving a hand dismissively. "Why, that's practically cuddling the creature. I can't see how that's at all difficult at all. Sounds like Northern foreplay. The things you must do to entertain yourselves in the cold winters. You should try it with a bear instead, and get it right first time, then you wouldn't need three attempts."

Another Dornish arrival is the man known to most as Elyas Seafarer. He suddenly appears at Leandro's side and gives the man a hearty slap on the back. "Leandro, my old friend, what am I hearing? You are entertaining yourself with a bear in the cold winter nights? How brave of you!" His eyes take in the big northern man he speaks to and … his beautiful nemesis, Lara Gargalen. Who receives a frown in greeting, albeit a frown accompanied by a twinkle in his eyes.

"Of course," Lara replies to Desmond's verdict of being able to fight in these clothes. "And I tell you something… I could as well…" A slightly dark flicker there in her gaze, as she adds: "Ah, Sir Daevon. I am lady-in-waiting to his sister, Princess Visenya, now of House Martell." Her gaze follows Desmond's glance towards Manfryd, and her lips curve ever-so-slightly upwards. Even more so when she sees him approaching them. Her hand lifts the goblet to her lips and she takes a sip from her wine. Attention now on Manfryd, as she overhears the exchange between Desmond and Leandro, which draws a chuff of melodious laughter from her lips. "Bears? Snakes?", she echoes, not averting her gaze from the Qorgyle. "I do prefer Scorpions."

"Ser Elyas," Lara offers to the Jordayne knight, her smile deepening at the frown on his features, as her free hand is playing idly with the red sand silken fabric of her dress. "What a delightful surprise to see you here."

"Bears get frisky," Desmond says with a laugh. "They don't know how to keep their paws off the sweet spots." He doesn't seem to take offense at the other man's ribbing. "But now that I've reached my full growth, perhaps I'll try it, the next time I see home." He grins between Leandro and the new arrival, Elyas. But his attention is brought toward Lara again, and he smiles. "I'm quite certain you can, Lady. I saw Lady Emira Martell in the melee, holding her own nobly." At the mention of Lady Visenya, his expression lightens further. "A wonderful, gracious, Lady."

But then Manfryd is approaching, and Lara seems to be praising the man. Desmond raises his wine-goblet in a polite salute to the Dornish Scorpion, his features growing still, good humor and wrath both sliding away.

Leandro rather glares at Elyas as he's slapped on the back. "You." He retorts. "Oh no, not me, I was simply telling them of your new paramour. Such an unfortunate incident that. I mean how were you to tell the difference between a Northern Girl and a shaved bear? Well don't worry, plenty more fish in the sea and all that." He glances around as Lara mentions scorpions. "Are there any of those honeyed ones here? They're quite delicious." He laughs at Desmond. "Ah, yes Elyas knows all about that then."

Manfryd's smile is one belonging to a predator as he approaches, meant for Lara but his dark eyes hardly take a moment away from Desmond. "There's no use pretending," he declares to Desmond, "You stand out as much as the Stranger's cock would in those." He doesn't remark over the salute he gets, snorting at the attempt as he looks to Lara, then back to Desmond. Maybe he's offended by the simple fact the northman would wear silks. Either way, he offers to Desmond, "Always good to see a friendly face again." Disdain and contempt there. It was anything but friendly.

Elyas rolls his eyes at Leandro although he clearly had it coming. "I see we're well-stocked on wine and food here, but what about the girls?", he wonders, looking around to see what other Dornish girl are present except for Lara. But his eyes return to the group he had joined, picking up on the venom between Manfryd and Desmond with an amused quirk of an eyebrow.

Side by side, Emira Martell and Rhaegor Targaryen step foot into the garden, their appearance as bold as their reputations - both separately and together. The Dornishwoman's dark eyes are gleaming, taking everything in with entertainment which she shares with her counterpart by way of secretive laughter, leans, and critical gestures at the decor, bubbling wine, and Northman in Dornish attire (she seems to think this ridiculous). Her wild hair has been tamed and tied higher than usual, scarcely, but she otherwise has not dressed up for the occasion, her sandsilk skirts a dull yellow with a faint sun-and-spear pattern, the top of her attire structured for ease of movement over fashion, bare-armed and partially bare-ribbed.

"There's plenty of girls here too, looking for a taste of the exotic," Leandro replies to Elyas. "Why I was just speaking to one, who was interested in handling a Dornishman's snake. Alas, I didn't have one of my own to show her. I could introduce you though if you like. Or better yet, why don't you go over that way yourself," he waves in the direction, "and offer to show them your snake."

"No need to pretend, then," replies Desmond levelly. He sips his wine, watching Manfryd. "I think you look positively dashing, Ser. Beautiful silks. Beautiful hair. I commend your squires for their good service." The words are perfectly pleasant, his expression suitably genuine. Where the Dornishman is sneering and contemptuous, the huge Northman — by contrast, rather out-of-place in his silk — seems to be making an effort to be polite. Or at least, more subtly insulting. "Excuse me."

He turns away from Manfryd, showing the man his broad back as he addresses Leandro and Elyas. "Accidents do happen in the North," he admits. "Bears, giants.. odd things slip between the covers in a long winter." He offers Elyas a sympathetic smile. "Myself, I once made love for three days and nights to a woman that I'd thought was a bear. Cruel hard disappointment."

Lara smiles, tilting her head to the side which makes the wealth of long dark hair rearrange about her shoulders. Her gaze shifting from Desmond to Leandro, amusement glinting in her dark eyes at his comment about honeyed scorpions. "Indeed, they are…", she agrees with a mischievous smile. "Delicious." Her eyes now on Manfryd as he seems to be more interested in Desmond than her. An eyebrow lifts in silent question. "That is when they have not turned sour." And now she takes a few steps away from the group, as Lara has glimpsed Princess Emira with her betrothed, the Targaryen Prince Rhaegor. "Good eve," she greets casually, in passing, giving Rhaegor a longer look, and Emira a respectful incline of her head.

Manfryd doesn't like to hold back. But it's clear he's holding back for some reason or another. The party, was likely the answer. Though his eyes flash with that white-hot rage behind them, when Desmond leaves, along with Lara. His lips lift in a half snarl as he turns from them and proceeds to wander… maybe to check out the food and drink.

It's Rhaegor's first public appearance, aside from his reported sparring on the tourney grounds, since his duel with Desmond. He paints a rather staid picture, at Emira's side, dressed in his usual Crownlander attire, his pale violet eyes flicking here and there at the Dornishwoman's prompting, but his expression remains relatively neutral even as he returns her low remarks. He notes Manfryd's presence and disposition, from afar, but is distracted by Lara's approach. "Lady Lara," he greets her, with an incline of his head to match the one she offers. It has been rather a long time since their last meeting, and he notes as much with a polite comment.

"I didn't know you had to relinquish your snake, when you joined the fuddyd—- Maesters here.", Elyas replies to Leandro with a grin. He watches the arrival of the Dornish Martell princess and her companion and wrinkles his nose at the sight. "She's way too good for a bloodless Targaryen.", he grumbles under his breath. But Lara is already off to join the nobles with Desmond in tow and Manfryd wanders as well. "Eh, seems we're not exactly popular today, eh?", he grins at Leandro.

Leandro's affecting disinterest at the arrival of the Royal couple. More wine? Don't mind if he does. He does chuckle at Desmond's comments though. "Well, if they can say one thing for Northern men, it's they do have stamina. Not as much as a dornishman would, mind you. Why we'd call three days a quickie." He grimaces as Elyas mentions Maesters. He was here in disguise, without a maester's chain in sight. "You must have mistaken me for someone else." He looks over at the Martell Princess. "You don't fancy your chances with her, do you? Perhaps he'll share her with you if you ask. Maybe he'd ask to watch you show him how it's done?"

Emira's greeting to Lara is less formal and more of a sly grin in passing; whether it was predatory on purpose or not is up for debate, her features simply lending themselves to mischief. The same look is directed at Manfryd when she sees him wander, although she doesn't approach him just yet; she simply winds from one side of Rhaegor to the other, meeting a few gazes on the way, that of Elyas and Leandro among them.

"Your highness," Lara greets back, the tone of her voice low and of a register that is easy on the ears. The faint amusement that so often dances in her expression dimming away, as she returns his gaze with an attitude of genuine respect. And as it would seem odd otherwise, the Cockatrice offers Emira at his side the same courtesy. "Princess Emira." Her dark eyes alighting anew when she notices the mischief in the other Dornishwoman, as Lara returns that look, and meets that sly grin with a confident smile.

"Fuck you.", Elyas tells Leandro almost affectionately, his eyes following the princess for a bit before he manages to tear himself away. "Even I know that the Martells are out of our league." He decides to focus on Desmond instead, looking up at the Northerner. "What's your beef with him?", he wants to know, his head pointing towards Manfryd, "Except that he's an intolerable arse at times, I mean. That's just the Dornishman inside him."

Desmond smiles faintly at Leandro's first comment, then lets his brows creep up at the rest. Undisguised surprise crosses his features; he glances around to make sure no one's in earshot. Ah, there's Manfryd, off getting food. Just for a moment, his bland mask slips, a wicked glint in his eyes as he watches the Scorpion. He covers it quickly. "I don't doubt.." he mutters, much of his smoothness fading, "That a Dornishman can ride his stallion for a week straight." It's distracted, lacking his earlier vibrance, gaze still thoughtfully on Manfryd. And then, in a bit of a defensive tone, more to himself than his companions, "Do I truly look so stupid in silk? It's good Riverlands cut." Elyas's question jerks his attention back, and his mouth narrows a bit. "Well. He insults me every time he sees me. He mocked me the day of the tourney, in front of everyone who could hear. He knocked Prince Dhraegon flat. And then there's another matter." His candidness is, perhaps, surprising. "I'm trying to let it pass, for today."

Rhaegor invites Lara to join the pair of them with a subtle gesture, speaking amongst the Dornishwomen with a casual inquiry as they continue to make their entrance to the fete. As they make their approach toward the entourage surrounding Desmond Snow, Rhaegor makes a point of bowing his head to the Northron knight in greeting. "Ser Desmond. Allow me to present Emira of Dorne." And so Elyas and Leandro are given opportunity to gauge, up close, what chances they may or may not have with the Martell princess who's rumored to have a temper surpassing even that of her Qorgyle cousin.

"Speak for yourself, The Martells are certainly not out of my league. If you set your sights on the sun, you may get burned," Leandro says to Elyas. "But surely the pain is worth it, to say you held that flame in your hands. You should walk over there, right this moment, and say, 'threesome?' I mean what's the worst that could happen. Here, have some liquid courage," he presses a wine glass into Elyas' hands. "We're all rooting for you." He smirks at Desmond. "Oh not straight, the key to riding a stallion for so long, is in the zig zags. Never go straight, ride where they least expect it, otherwise what's the point in the journey? It's far more than just the destination. Might as well enjoy the scenery, take a few detours." He looks Desmond up and down. "If you dress a wolf in fleece, it's still a wolf, still acts like a wolf, still prowls like a wolf. Are you a wolf, or a sheep? You should have come here wearing the pelts of every creature you'd slain with your bare hands." Of course, then there's the royal couple they were speaking of, and sure enough they'll have heard some of Leandro's comments. Some might be embarrassed, he doesn't appear to give a damn.

As the garden has by now nicely filled with guests, Dornish and Non-Dornish, Loryn Tyrell climbs onto the little stage and waits until he has at least -some- attention from the guests milling about. He welcomes them all to Garden Isle, encourages them to try the spicy Dornish food - no, it definitely won't kill them - and to welcome a special star guest from Sunspear, the popular songstress Desdemona. Amid a round of applause she sashays onto the stage in a short golden-red clingy number, accompanied by her own musicians. Soon enough the garden is filled with well-known Dornish music, sensuous and fiery like the desert that gave birth to it.

Manfryd doesn't care a whole lot that anyone would be watching him, apparently, as he takes a whole tray of spicy poppers and heads to one of the tents with them and a pitcher of booze - not just a glass, a pitcher. His eyes flash back with heat toward the Northern bastard - who is apparently getting a personal welcome by Rhaegor. Well if that just ain't great! He plops down in the bed of pillows in one of tents, drink and food in hand. One could almost visibly see him trying to unwind with every snarling chomp and slug of wine.

Desmond smiles amiably to Rhaegor. Any ill-will the two might have borne one another, once, seems to have faded. "Your Grace." He offers Rhaegor a bow, then turns his attention to Emira, his smile widening a bit further. He bows again. "Lady Emira. I was in a tavern, not long ago, and heard a song. The bard was praising your skill, the day of the tourney. I was there, of course. I thought the singer underestimated you." A true story or a false one, he delivers it with decent gallantry. Leandro's comments cause him to raise his brows, smiling hugely. "A wolf? Might be." His northern accent thickens. "I've not room enough for every pelt I've collected." Again, his gaze drifts toward where Manfryd reclines, just a tiny dart of his eyes. "And some are worth much more than others."

Elyas rolls his eyes at Leandro once again, But before he can snark back, the royal couple has joined them and he directly looks at Emira. "Princess, Leandro here is thinking you'd join us for a threesome?", he asks with a grin. ANd unless he's slain on the spot by her, he looks back to Desmond and then to Manfryd. "Man, are you chickenshit or what? If you hate his guts so badly, punch him in the face.", he suggests to the northerner and grins. "Could do with some proper Dornish entertainment here. The lady on stage is wearing way too many clothes for my liking."

"Almost never," Emira whispers, amused, to the Gargalen lady and Rhaegor in response to their quiet chat. Her mood is slippery and distracted as she is introduced to Desmond; a moment prior, and she might've been dancing off in another direction - but once the Snow Giant looms in front of her, her eyes lock on, Leandro's comments, if she heard any of them, shunned for the moment. The Martell princess is small in stature, but she has a way of looking at tall men as if they are eye-level, and there is a seething, dangerous heat behind her gaze on Desmond. Her dimpled chin tips up, cocky for an instant, and she huffs through her nose at his story. "You will call me Princess," she replies harshly, almost dismissing him there on the spot, but goes on to test his name, "Ser Desssmond." Her gaze flicks sharply to Elyas and Leandro, then; no shock colours her face, but her eyes narrow, and as she follows Elyas's meaning to Manfryd. "If any of you threaten my cousin, the only threesome you will be having is with your own guts." The threat in her own voice is as heavy as the amusement, but the danger is a hell of a lot sharper, coming from another scorpion.

<FS3> Manfryd rolls Alertness: Good Success.

The garden of Garden Isle is filled with people of all ages and backgrounds, though not surprisingly, the Dornish numbers are higher than usual. There are colourful tents set up in the Dornish style, laid out with cushions and low tables with spicy Dornish snacks on them. An actual wine fountain is supplying a steady stream of fine Dornish red. There is a little stage, where currently a popular Dornish singer is presenting a selection of her greatest hits, accompanied by her own musicians. Tempers among some of the Dornish visitors are high, but so far there is no sign of violence.

"He's as hotheaded as ever," Lara replies to Rhaegor's remark in a likewise whisper, brows lifting as she smiles in obvious amusement. "And that despite all my endeavours to teach him some temperance." She sighs, as slight eyeroll there, as she shrugs again, her gaze flitting to Emira. The Cockatrice seems to be content to remain in the background for now, apart from a glance to the tent in the direction of which the Scorpion has vanished. "Should I…" A half inquiry, directed at the Martell Princess, before Lara moves to refill her goblet at the fountain and then strolls after Manfryd Qorgyle, her outwardly innocent demeanour clearly not reflecting her intentions.

Manfryd's dark eyes lift from where he was pounding back the poppers and slogging the wine, to hear his cousin's threats. Even from where he was sitting, the tone in the threat, even if he couldn't hear all the words, made him snarl. Was someone giving his cousin a hard time? His eyes fall on Desmond. They narrow. The white-hot rate returns as bright as the Dornish sun. He's as tense as a coiled cobra, ready to leap to his cousin's defense. The look he wears, he could probably chew glass and not feel a damn thing.

The presence of the Faith at a celebration such as this turns heads and raises eyebrows. But nonetheless, the young Septa Miranda makes her way into the festivities. She doesn't wear the dower expression most of her order would, but instead smiles as sweetly as any maiden of the courts. Her wimple head turns this and that away to find the hosting Tyrell so she can greet. Other dignitaries are met with polite nods and murmurs of blessing when asked.

Rhaegor Targaryen looks between each of the men as Emira of Dorne makes her broiling address. Though he studies Elyas in particular, there is no indication that the Dragon will take umbrage with his remark on Emira's behalf. After all, she swiftly turns her attention on Elyas and his companion when she is through with Desmond. At Manfryd's name, he turns his gaze toward the tent he'd earlier seen the Scorpion disappear beneath, watching as Lara goes in search of him, perhaps telegraphing his own intent to follow suit. But not before their little tete-a-tete is through. Rhaegor's silence merely serves to lend steadfast solidarity to the Martell princess and her words.

Leandro smirks at Elyas. "Who's this us?" He looks at Emira. "Your cousin, Princess? If he's threatened by our sense of style, well certainly I'm sure one of us can share the names of our tailors. Well not I, but Elyas perhaps? He doesn't look like he's having much fun though, perhaps your presence would brighten up his day, lift his spirits and enable him to start enjoying himself. It must be terrible to be so shy."

Amusement and anger vie for attention in Desmond's voice as he replies, striving to remain polite, "I've never threatened your cousin, Princess. I wish he'd afford me the same courtesy." He glances toward Manfryd dismissively, then back to the woman before him. He watches her expression thoughtfully, head canting. "Frankly, Princess, I think I'd be more worried about you than about him. I know danger when I see it." Again, the amusement as he turns to Elyas. "You see? It's not cowardice. If I responded to the man in kind, I'd offend Prince Rhaegor's wife. And I'm on orders to behave myself as best as I can manage." A second glance at Manfryd, perhaps this time seeing the rage. He seems genuinely at a loss, as though unsure of what more he can do to remain obedient to his instructions.

Loryn seems a little surprised when he sees the young septa arrive, but he hurries to welcome her with a warm smile. "Mylady, what a surprise! Please do come in! I hope you enjoy yourself at our little party. There's food and drink and music and…" A bunch of highly irritable Dornishmen. But he just gestures vaguely towards the garden. He himself is fairly busy, darting here and there to chat with people.

"Wouldn't dream of it, Princess.", Elyas assures Emira quickly, "I'm merely curious. Seems that Lara is happy to soothe whatever crossed your cousin." He quirks his brow at Desmond with a chuckle. "Annoying the Scorpion right now, with a bunch of hot-tempered Dornishman around, might not be the brightest idea, my northern friend. Though honestly, I think I wouldn't mind a good old brawl…"

"Doesn't seem like I can do a thing to not irritate him," mutters Desmond. He finishes off his wine and sets it aside, bowing again to Emira and Rhaegor. "Prince Rhaegor. Princess Emira. I'd, perhaps, best be going." It's not without regret, as he casts a look around the party, that the Snow Giant banishes himself.

Madrighal is still wearing a loose brightly coloured caftan that hides his figure as much as possible, and the small braids in his hair form a horse's mane down the center of his head. he is still too thin, but the diminutive Dornishman is starting to get his looks back. He has a mandolin on his back, but does not head for the stage where the woman sings. His smile fades as he spots trouble brewing. Large, dark, long lashed eyes are fixed on the trouble even as he wends close to Loryn. His expression is more tired, than distressed.

Manfryd glances toward Lara as he sees her coming his way and as the bastard Snow walks out, he reclines back into his pillows. Seems the other Dornish figured out the best way to remove the Northerner without bloodshed. He'll coax out an arm for Lara to join him and share what grub he's taken, while his attention drifts to the stage to watch the singers and appreciate good Dornish entertainment. Much missed.

Emira's gaze jumps from man to man as each of them speak; she becomes increasingly more annoyed by their words, as if the pleasantries are worse. Certainly, she understands the language of threat better than this and, losing interest, particularly as the Northman excuses himself, impolitely turns away with little more than an incoherent "mmf" of a murmur to say for her departure. Grabbing Rhaegor's elbow roughly, but with a distinct familiarity, she leads the way to the Scorpion.

"Madrighal, hello, good to see you!", Loryn turns from the septa to the Dornish singer, a regular at the Whimsy, "Are you feeling quite alright? Have some food and wine… there's still plenty of time until Desdemona is done singing.", he explains, nodding towards the singer who's on stage right now. "Hope you have some good songs ready to … uh, soothe the high tempers of your countrymen.", he grins.

"Madrighal Sand," Leandro's dressed all Dornish, in silks, clean shaven, eyes rimmed with black, and his hair artfully styled, without a hint of anything that might suggest he's anything other than yet another Dornish nobleman. "I do hope that you're not planning to work here." He strides over that way. He's scowling at Loryn, deep and dark. "You asked him here to perform, not as an honoured guest?"

Rhaegor offers no protest; he ushers Emira towards the tent where Manfryd and Lara await with wine and food. He greets the Scorpion with a manly forearm clasp, and then he offers Emira the seat flanking her cousin. The Dragon pours wine for himself and for her, and then he joins the three of them, carefully lowering himself with a hand braced upon his ribcage. He offers Manfryd a pointed look, and then he speaks.

Madrighal's accent is very Dornish, but hard to pin down to a region. In a way, he sounds like all of Dorne at once, evidence of a life spent travelling throughout. "I promise to eat and have been very pampered after last week's contests. I am fairly sure I have found people to give the horses to…. What is going on, exactly?" his own eyes are kohl lined as well, but subtly. He looks rather alarmed at the Maester's scowl, "I volunteered to sing and play later. It is fine. Lord Loryn is a good host." His eyes widen at this last, in warning to Leandro.

The interfering Dornishman takes Loryn by surprise. He shrugs as Madrighal supplies his own explanation. "He's popular, he's Dornish, I don't see why he should not be doing here what he loves best." Leaving Madrighal to fend off the man's protest, he vanishes again amid a bunch of other people.

Manfryd sits up enough to clasp forearms with Rhaegor, giving the man a firm nod. Of RESPECT. Other Dornishmen can take note! There's even a smug curl of his lips for Rhaegor, his response kept for the immediate circle. His wrist gives a twist and reveals a flicker of metal in the palm that shoots back up his sleeve as his eyes swing over toward the doorway then back, when the snow bastard was gone. He says a few more things to the group, leaning back with a shrug and a dark eye upon Rhaegor.

With both Desmond and Leandro gone, Elyas wanders to rejoin the main Dornish group with Emira, Manfryd and Lara as well as the apparently honorary Dornish Targaryen. He can't think of anything smart to say though and busies himself with replenishing his drink and ogling the girls.

Leandro's looking Madrighal up and down, with a maester's eye. "Of course you did." He looks at Madrighal. "Yes, he's popular, he's one of the best." Then to Madrighal. "Eat. Take proper breaks. Don't overdo it."

Emira kneels on the pillow next to Manfryd, half-seated only a fleeting moment to listen and smirk at Rhaegor and him in turn before she tosses an arm around cousin's shoulders. She leans heavily into him; rather, it better resembles a shove, and her arm more like a choking snake, but never mind; she smiles a toothy smile all the while. "They all speak nonsense," she says, loud and free and with a dose of spite.

Rhaegor eyes the flash of steel at Manfryd's sleeve, taking a deep drink of the wine as they converse amongst themselves. To onlookers, the Dragon prince is rather at ease amongst the Dornish contingent, no doubt a result of his long campaign in Dorne. He eyes Elyas, as the man endeavors to join them, and then presses Manfryd with a question.

Madrighal's wary attention is still mostly on the drama unfolding among the nobles. His smile is amused and genuine enough, "I promise to take breaks and eat. Why is everyone always fussing at me to eat? I am fine!"

Manfryd's eyes lift toward Elyas, though there is no warmth in them for the other Dornish. He may have very well noted the amiable way that the man handled himself with Snow. Still, Rhaegor diverts his attention with a question, frowning at the matter. "I was in the baths, paid my dues, and that woman who runs the place gets all grabby with me. I wasn't there to whore around but to wash up. She went to pat me on the head, like a common mutt, and I grabbed her wrist, told her she wasn't welcomed to do so without my consent. She figures she can do as she pleases in her bath house. Asks me to leave when I don't let her do as she pleases to me." He chuckles, "Wouldn't have been so bad if that bastard and his simpering pretty liege weren't there when I got out. The bastard blocked me in and the pretty boy Targaryen was trying hard… as you predicted he would, to taunt me into action. He all but insinuated that I had a romantic affair with my Prince… He had a vivid imagination, I'll give him that." His free arm will embrace his Cousin's snake-like choke hold, smirking at her, "Yes. And your good man here convinced me not to be seduced by their nonsense, even though I'd very much like to shove a spear so far up that bastard's arse he'll choke on it." Elyas can hear him, for being close by.

Lara who was likewise draped along the Scorpion's impressive frame, shifts back a little, when Emira leans into him. "They do," the Gargalen agrees with the Princess, "speak nonsense, all of them." Her hand moves to play with a pendant she wears on a silver chain about her neck, Lara shifting into a sideways lean, and the fabric of her red dress shifting with her. The whispered question of Prince Rhaegor draws her attention, and she shoots Manfryd a curious glance. "They caught the Scorpion without his sting?" The question more of a half-taunt, even so her dark eyes sparkle as they lock on the Qorgyle. To Elyas she offers a smile then. "Pray join us, ser. That is, if you can bear the presence of a Cockatrice."

Manfryd's explanation draws a melodious chuckle from Lara's lips, and she smiles, clearly amused. "I can't blame that woman, truly, I can't." Amusement washed down next with another good sip from her goblet of Dornish Red.

Elyas laughs loudly at Manfryd's last threat, then shrugs. "Eh, the little Targaryen is just a boy. Surely it's beyond you to get involved with a bloodless kid like him. I've heard it say, he's some awesome warrior knight but I've yet to see proof of that." He looks at Rhaegor, as if the other Targaryen might be able to supply that. At Lara's invitation he smirks a little. "I suppose /I/ shall survive the encounter.", he tells her with that strange little emphasis on the I.

"You're too skinny," Leandro replies to Madrighal. "Besides there's all this delicious food. Have you tried those stuffed peppers? They should put a warning sign on them."

Rhaegor sits with one hand upon Emira's thigh and the other gripping his goblet of wine, his appetite for the Dornish red rivaling those of the Dornishmen and women themselves. His expression darkens, to hear the account Manfryd offers him, and when the Scorpion implies Rhaegor'd been right about something, the prince meets his eye and nods. "I will investigate the matter," he avows, flatly. "You did well to remove yourself from the situation, rather than to allow them to entrap you." Elyas's presence may be tolerated, but Rhaegor certainly does not return his look or pay heed to his words.

"A bloodless kid who's got a bastard dog on a leash," Manfryd retorts to Elyas, "The very reason I should put the mutt down-" this to Rhaegor, as if searching for the man's… approval? Something akin to that at any rate. He regards Lara's half-taunt with a raise of his brow, "Yes. I was naked. Though, I used a towel and some blood to win me freedom. They are quite afraid of blood. Should've heard that brat squeal in mortification over it. Of course, that only incensed the woman at the baths… she was about to fling something at my head. I attempted to convince the Targaryen down from his high horse, told him to come outside… He never did." A shrug. "Suppose they enjoyed the unfair advantage…" his eyes flash toward the exit, "And with that Bastard wearing my HOUSE colours… I figured there was more to his presence here."

At the warning about the peppers, Madrighal looks delighted. He immediately helps himself to one, "Have they Greenblood white, do you think, Leandro?" He looks pained at what he can't help over hearing from the nobles. his voice drops, "I think I have found someone to take most of my instruments in case of more riots. I am sorry now I raced last week. I remember how bad it got the first few months I was here and that Lannister…." He shudders. "I do not want more intruments at the Acacia than I can carry if there is trouble."

Manfryd's (violent) predilections prompt a knowing look in his cousin's eye, agreeing easily - and just the same, to Rhaegor, on his response. She unwinds from Manfryd to lean back comfortably against the pillows and partake of the wine that was poured for her in what is more than likely an extremely temporary spell of mostly quiet as she listens, smirking every now and then at the corners of her lips.

Manfryd looks to Rhaegor for approval, and does not get it. Rhaegor cants his head firmly at the suggestion, closing it down with just the mild gesture. Still, he seems to be processing the rest and is for the most part silent while the Scorpion speaks. He leans toward Emira, touching a kiss to her cheek and murmuring low words in her ear.

"You drink that swampwater?" Leandro chuckles at Madrighal. "I'm sure there's a bottle about somewhere. You know, if you needed room for them, I've rooms. The citadel, or the Hightower. I'm sure there's space in either of them." He smirks. "Don't be sorry you raced. Made me a small fortune, you know. They laughed when I placed dragons on you. It was a sure loss."

"A pity I wasn't there," Lara Gargalen quips towards Manfryd when he elaborates on the circumstances of him being cornered in the Baths. Her hand is extended and placed upon his shoulder. A brief gesture of mild concern and obvious interest, her fingers leaving him already in the next moment as she reclines on those pillows to take another sip from her goblet. The whispered exchange between Rhaegor and Emira she observes with less obtrusive curiosity, that Targaryen kiss to a Martell cheek earning the both of them a slight lift of a brow.

Elyas doesn't seem fazed by the outburst of violence by Manfryd. But since Rhaegor is still giving him the stinkeye, he abandons his plan to chummy up to Emira and gets to his feet to go and find another female companion somewhere in the gardens.

Let it not be supposed that Lady Hastwyck's late arrival at this soiree to which Ser Loryn Tyrell invited her so particularly, betokens a lack of interest on her part in the panoply of delights offered tonight to his friends and acquaintances. It was only that— well— she simply couldn't have got here an instant earlier than she did; and so she soon explains to three friends of her own, in three different sweetly mendacious variations upon the tale, her smile already brightened by wine and her bountiful ropes of white-golden pearls gleaming against dark red sandsilk and riotous curly tresses of the same hue as she floats and flutters nearer and nearer to… The stuffed peppers. Oh, yes. She sinks her teeth into the one she's chosen and laughs at the sudden tears in her eyes and hastily drinks another drop of the Dornish white which struck her at first taste as the ideal pairing for such. Oh, marvelous. Oh, what jolly good show. Another bite.

Manfryd smirks to Lara, "I should have anticipated that they'd seek the one place I would be … to get an eye full of the Scorpion." He laughs then, then moves to stand, "I'll be back. Keep the cushions warm.."

Madrighal says, "I do not like my wine sweet…. I think Tellur Snow ought to have won, but his horse was not in her usual form." He sighs, "It is a shame Lady Daena Yronwood wasn't about. She was magnificant the year she road in the races. Still, i am glad you won your bets then." He smiles a dazzling smile at Lady Hastwyck, "These peppers are amazing, neh?" He helps himself to another."

Whatever Rhaegor says in her ear, it encourages Emira to down the rest of the Dornish wine in one hearty gulp. "Do they have these … events often, here? How funny it is, to try to look like Dorne when it is so clearly not," she comments, critical but entertained, as though by an interesting oddity. She is quick to sit up from her spot, however, and to set down the cup and uncoil to stand after Manfryd does so. Side-by-side with Rhaegor, the pair mean to leave as they entered, making their way through the redecorated Tyrell garden.

Leandro smirks at Lady Hastwyck, since they are all eating the same peppers. "A little spicy?" he asks, rhetorical question and all. He helps himself to one as well, crunching on it with little effect. "If Tellur Snow had won, then I'd be a far, far poorer man."

Elyas appears by the peppers too, even though that brings him back to Leandro's side. "Hey.", he greets Madrighal the singer with a cheerful smile, "Do we get to hear you sing tonight. And who's this lovely lady?", he asks, looking at Joyeuse curiously.

"Oh, they're bliss, aren't they?" sighs Lady Hastwyck to the pretty caramel-coloured Dornish boy who shares her appetite for eye-watering spices. … Well, he doesn't appear to have tears in his eyes; but perhaps they wouldn't look as pretty in his as they do in hers. Just a discreet limpid gleam, you know. She nods vaguely to the other young men, looking from one to the other, picking up quickly upon the salient point: "Oh, you sing…? Do say you shall," she insists at once, recklessly, with no knowledge whatsoever of Madrighal's talent or lack thereof; "I promised Ser Loryn I'd try to recall the words of some of the Dornish songs I used to know, for tonight, but I'm certain a real Dornishman would have a much better memory for such things! … I'm Lady Hastwyck," she adds at last, beaming. "How do you do?"

The Cockatrice is not easily baffled. But when she is left suddenly to her own devices, in an admittedly quite admirable display, draped as she is over the cushions, her dark brown eyes widen when first Manfryd moves to stand, and then soon after Emira and Rhaegor rise and take their leave. Which seems more than apt encouragement for her to down all what is left in her goblet. And a sigh, as her dark gaze wanders, scanning what she can see of the gathering from her position. Red sand silk and pearls catch her eye, then her gaze proceeds towards Elyas, who seems obviously interested in the un-Dornish but Dornishly clad redhead. A smirk curls Lara Gargalen's lips as she drops the goblet where she is and then moves to stand, her stroll perhaps a little too deliberately casual as she approaches the group around Leandro, Elyas, Madrighal and Joyeuse. "Nice dress," she breathes towards the latter as her arm snakes about Elyas Jordayne's midst, she leaning against him in a decidedly intimate manner, a daring glint in her eyes as they shift from Joyeuse to Madrighal and then Elyas who suddenly seems to have become her prey. Catching Joyeuse's introduction, she follows her example, with a casual and unassuming, "Lara, of House Gargalen."

Madrighal says, "But there would be less talk of mobs burning us all out…. I should sing in a bit. Perhaps It shall perform 'Horse Pursuit'… at least there is a good chance of me not being asked to sing 'The Bear and the Maiden Fair'." He wrinkles his nose in disgust, "It seems all these reachers want to hear once they get a bit of wine in them. I _hate_ 'The Bear and the Maiden fair.' So cliche. I am much more interested in variations of songs we all share, or in new compositions." He bows to the Lady, "I am Madrighal Sand, acknowledged of Towland. I will happily sing if people wish." He lifts her hand to his lips for the gentlest of kisses." He bows to the Lady Lara as well, ut given the givens does not assay a kiss to her hand."

Elyas might flail when he realizes WHO is snaking an arm around him. Ew. "Do you like your Jordaynes, don't you?", he grins at the woman, though his focus is still on the redhead stranger. "Are you a singer then, Mylady? Madrighal is one of the most renowned Dornish minstrels here in Oldtown. Perhaps you'd like to join him for a song or two?"

"No women all night, then two come along at once," Leandro says to Elyas. "My aren't you popular." He laughs at Madrighal. "But I thought that was your favourite song. Otherwise why would you sing it ten times in a night. Could you do Mother Rhoynar?"

Lara's gaze lingers briefly on Madrighal, her lips slightly curled as she nods to his introduction. "A song… yes. That could be entertaining," she agrees with a smile, her arm staying where it is, about Elyas Jordayne at the moment. Whose light panic at her sudden assault seems to amuse her immensely. "I do like my Jordaynes," the Gargalen confesses in a soft purr. "But maybe I've decided to try out what a younger generation of that House has to offer." Scandalous admission, that. "Are you afraid?" Then a low snort, towards Leandro's comment. "Ah… I actually never pay too much attention to the lyrics of a song," this the second scandalous confession, "as I tend to get distracted by other matters usually." Her dark gaze shifts to meet Joyeuse's gaze. "It seems we two might be too overwhelming for Ser Elyas, after all…", is added with a wink, as her arm finally slips away and gives Elyas free.

Madrighal shudders at the thought of singing 'The Bear and the Maiden Fair' ten times in one night. "You are very wicked, Leandro. Do you want mother Rhoyner in Rhoynish or the more common tongue?" To Lady Lara he says, "'Horse Pursuit' is my own composition and told without words."

Quick! A Change of subject. Anything but Jordaynes. Leandro gives Elyas a warning glare, just in case, of course he's hard to read at the best of times. "Lucky them," he comments to Lara, but it's Madrighal who gets most of his attention. "Oh sing it in both."

Lady Joy offers her ruby-bedecked hand with delight for the minstrel's kiss, and as his gaze lifts again to hers in the moment afterward she lets her smile be deepened by the suggestion that she really is pleased to meet him, baseborn or no. It's on the tip of her tongue to say that if he's half-Toland he might be acquainted with her daughter — but that, she swallows again, and chases the taste away with another bite of the stuffed pepper held still in her other paw, for to discuss one daughter is sooner or later to discuss them both, and she isn't in Dorne now, is she… She's a little pensive thus during the succeeding banter. "I'm scarcely a singer," she protests, with an effort at modesty which can hardly hope to convince, coming from a woman clad in shifting, shimmering sandsilk robes; "I often have much the same trouble as Lady Lara, only not being able to keep one's mind on the words is a much greater failing when one is meant to be telling them to everyone else…" The boldness of that lady's talk and of her behaviour toward… Ser Elyas…? has the effect otherwise of rendering her unusually shy, for a suspicion has flitted through her thoughts and she can't quite get away from it.

Elyas actually responds to Leandro's glare before it's even reached him, frowning at Lara when she talks of younger generations. "Afraid? Of you? Don't make me laugh.", he smirks and leans in closely: "And don't think I'll ever forgive and forget, sweetie.", he says in a lower tone and quickly pecks her cheek before she lets go of him. He picks up on the look on Lady Joy's face and quirks an eyebrow at the woman. But since he's free of Lara's tentacle arms, he seizes the opportunity to excuse himself from the group and seek other company somewhere.

Madrighal seems pleased enough to meet the Ladies. His speaking voice is high and rich and sweet, "Perhaps I should sing now she is finishing. Last chance for requests?"

Lara Gargalen studies Joyeuse Hastwyck with evident curiosity. "I am hardly singing for my distractions," she admits, "so I'm in no danger of spoiling the performance that way." The shyness which might be unusual for Lady Joy, it does not strike the Dornishwoman as that odd for a Northerner, and so she does not react to it, apart from a slightly encouraging smile. Turning her head just so then as to catch her younger Jordayne's remark, her lips that are so full of promise curve into a smile. "You obviously don't know that side of me yet, ser.", Lara offers in both tease and a mild threat, chuckling even as Elyas makes his rather hurried exit. "Poor man," she states once he is out of earshot, in a tone of outward concern. "He can't get over me being acquainted with his great uncle." A nod comes to Madrighal's suggestion. "Yes, please. I'd love to hear your songs, Master Madrighal."

"What's it called again?" Leandro asks Madrighal. "The bear one?" He's teasing though. He swigs some more of his wine down, and grabs a refill. "I'm sure you're a splendid singer," he tells Joy, it's the offhand polite comment that people are meant to give though and there's little focus behind it. He looks Lara up and down and suddenly chuckles. "Perhaps he's scared he'll end the same way?"

<FS3> Madrighal rolls Music: Great Success.

The feeling that all these people know something she doesn't, has been plaguing Lady Hastwyck — but a mention of such a fellow's great-uncle, upon the lips of such a lady, clarifies the matter marvelously and the last bite of her stuffed pepper is heralded by a naughty little giggle. Her social sense demands that it be converted to a cough (blame the pepper, yes yes) but there's nothing to be done about the dancing of her eyes as she regards the other lady in red sandsilk and feels her own half-formed apprehension lessening. Of course it's not to do with her. How silly. "If I were so bold as to make a request of you, Master Madrighal," she adds to the musician, after a quick sip of wine to clear her throat, "I'd ask only that you play a favourite of your own — the more the player loves a song, the more pleasure the listeners will have from it, don't you think?"

Madrighal elbows the Maester, which is likely a rather pointy proposition from the boney troubadour. He bows to the ladies and goes to replace the woman singer on the stage, quickly taking his mandolin from the case and checking the tuning. The diminutive musician may not be quite what he was performance wise, his charisma a little dimmed, but oh do his fingers know their instrument. This must be the 'Horse Pursuit' he was on about before. It starts slow and soft, the rhythm of a walking horse woven into a tune that sounds like a coastal road. Soon, the tapping of his other foot adds a second set of hooves coming faster. The first rider takes off, veering from the road into a musical poem about the wild beauty of the desert and likely the wild beauty of one of the riders. The song builds in speed and volume as the pursuit carries on. Finally, the first horse stops, then the second. This hands freeze, a moment of silence stretching, and then somehow the music conveys the sound of a fierce battle with knives, ending in a soft cry of pain, his only use of voice in the song, his countertenor leaving the sex of the loser ambiguous.

Miranda was quiet, keeping to herself, and generally observing. The septa, young though she is, is not the sort to mingle. She tried the foods, sipped the wine very sparingly, and mostly did her best not to disturb the nobility. But as Madrighal takes the stage, the grey-robed woman wanders forward to better hear.

And what an interesting display for such unspoiled specimen of a woman the confrontation between two rather diverse beauties in differing shades of red sand silk must be! Lara Gargalen, olive skin and long black hair, showing off the confidence of a true Dornishwoman, standing in front of Joyeuse Hastwyck, a more ripe sort of beauty who sports a darker shade of red but an immense wealth of pearls to go with it. "Of course," Lara replies to Leandro with a slightly predatory glint in her eyes. Referring to Elyas Jordayne there. Then attention back on Joyeuse, as Lara observes the naughty giggle, and her smile deepens. "I have always appreciated full commitment in any arts," she states with a smirk, stepping aside now as Madrighal moves to perform.

Leandro settles down to listen to Madrighal's music. Joyeuse' request actually has him smiling. "I'm stealing that one," he informs her. "Well spoken. Although I think that is the one. Horses and music. You know he won several of the races at the tourney." He's quiet as Madrighal plays, listening, for once.

<FS3> Madrighal rolls Singing: Success.
Madrighal spends 1 luck points on I can do better!.
<FS3> Madrighal rolls Singing: Great Success.

"I saw him ride in the mounted archery," Miranda says quietly to Leandro, as so not to disturb the song. "He has the perfect build for a racer. And a beautiful steed." The septa ducks her head apologetically for interjecting the information.

Madrighal flashes them all a smile that has the sort of intimacy to it that invites each one watching to take it as for her or himself alone. While he was playing the mane of braids half covered his face. The gesture of tossing his head to clear his view of the audience is very horse like. His high voice is very Dornish, but hard to pin down to a region. In a way, he sounds like all of Dorne at once, evidence of a life spent travelling throughout. On stage he is more alive and at the same time a little shy, as if despite being out of seclusion for more than half a year, he is still not used to being looked at. Where once he was all dazzle and charm, now there is a softer, more vulnerable eghe to him. "Though we Dornish share some of the same Andal and First Men heritage with you, our hosts tonight, the blood of the Rhoynar flows through our veins, even as the Greenblood runs through the heart of Dorne. This performance would not properly represent us if it did not include this part of who we are. For the next song, I shall sing the verses in the common tongue we share, but the refrain will be in Rhoynish as it is spoken and sung still on the Greenblood. And so I give you 'Mother Rhoyne.'"

He closes his eyes and begins to play, his counter tenor rich and expressive. The song is in the Dorian mode, sad and archaic sounding and full of longing. He starts with the refrain, which sounds like a lover yearning for a beloved, a simple four line lament in Rhoynish. The verses make it clear that these are the turtles of the river singing to the Mother of Waters, though the lyrics evoke boatmen as much as turtles. In the end the turtles beg for an end to their exile from mother Rhoyne's affections, and she takes them back into her arms, like a Queen would her consort. The last cords and his voice soar on the last note, loud and high, large dark eyes opening to peer out at them pleadingly. Once his fingers are still, he drops his head again. The keen observer might notice he has begun to shake subtly with the effort of a standing performance, and perhaps a little worn from last week’s tourney and playing at the whimsey.

Leandro nods at Miranda and agrees. "He does." He listens to Madrighal's performance, fixing most of his attention upon the musician. He listens in silence, even at the end.

When the pretty Dornish minstrel begins to play Lady Hastwyck falls out of the conversation and into a convenient pile of pillows, her slippered feet tucked demurely out of sight, her cup of wine lately refilled by one of the manse's wandering servants held earnestly in both hands as she listens. And it must be that she's had just enough wine, for her heart seems to beat faster with the horses' hooves as they pick up speed — it can't still be the pepper and its spices leaving that single tear upon her almost-dusky cheek at the end — and the turtles, oh, how can turtles be quite so romantic…? Her impulse is to leap up and rush across to tell the boy he's marvelous; but she hasn't a friend there to give her a hand up from the cushions (the Dornish style of decorating has its hazards) and so she settles for attracting a servant with an urgent little wave, and insisting that he take a goblet of wine over to the stage at once for the minstrel's poor parched throat.

Lara Gargalen leans over, red sand silk tightening about her form as she holds out her goblet beneath the line of wine trickling down from the impressive wine fountain. Dark eyes scanning those still present in a quick but quite effective glance over her shoulder as she does so. But with her usual pursuits already vanished… the Scorpion, the Uptight Dragon and the cute Jordayne with that charming late great uncle, she finds herself leaning against a pillar, sipping from her wine, as she allows the music to wash over her, her gaze going distant, corners of her lips lifting ever-so-slightly, as if her thoughts were engaged quite elsewhere, with some scandalous memory or hypothetical thought, as she continues to drink from the wine in slow but quite generous sips.

Madrighal accepts the drink with a bow and lifts it as if in a toast before sipping it, "And now, Dancers!" He steps carefully down and a trio of musicians strike up a cheerful tune, and dancers begins to demonstrate popular styles from various regions of Dorne. He gives the Maester a pleading look.

"That was wonderful," Leandro says to Madrighal as he walks over and offers the minstrel an arm to help him over to some cushions.

Miranda claps with genuine warmth for the lovely song, calling, "Bravo! Beautifully done!" Dancing holds less interest for her so she turns her focus away and tries a small bite of the sauteed snake from a circulating tray.

Goodness, the minstrel's coming to her! Lady Joy's delight knows no bounds; she beckons Madrighal and his companion nearer, encouraging them in a friendly sort of way to settle near her. "Oh, I was right, Master Madrighal — we were much better off with you singing than me," she declares warmly, raising her cup to him; "and better still when you weren't singing! I hope that's not too awful a compliment to try to give a minstrel; but, you see, your 'Horse Pursuit' is quite the most brilliant thing I've heard in a long, long time… I could truly hear the horses, and see them too! Well, not really horses, but the idea of horses, if you see what I mean… Not what a horse looks like, but what a horse is." And, now that he's nearer, now that she can see him better, her pleasure ceases to rattle along and crashes into dismay. "Oh, but you look exhausted…! Are you quite all right?"

Madrighal takes the maester's arm and walks csrefully that way. He nods to the septa, then beams at Joyeuse is real delight, "Do you like it? Really? I am still working out how I like the battle to go at the end. Someday, I will make it perfect. You understand exactly! It is not enough to sound like a thing, but to feel like it….It is nothing. I am a little tired, that is all."

Miranda salutes Madrighal with her toothpick before chuckling warmly. "Indeed," she agrees with Joyeuse. "I closed my eyes and felt the wind on my face and hair blowing behind me." She touches her hand to her wimple. "A reminder of happier days. Save the end of course."

Leandro fusses over Madrighal somewhat. He get some more wine for the minstrel, and a small selection of things to nibble on. The music talk doesn't seem to hold his interest.

"I like it immensely," Lady Hastwyck promises Madrighal; "or I promise you I shouldn't say so. Do please sit and rest," she urges him then, waving expansively to the cushions and carpets about her as though she were their mistress for more than an hour, "and tell me, if it's not too dull for you to go over what you already know so well, how you came to think of it… Or how you came to be," her grey-green eyes search his, full of innocent curiosity, "beguiling audiences so far from home…?"

Madrighal settles in amoung the cushion, cradling his instrument a long moment before setting it aside. He does eat some nibbles including another stuffed pepper. He beams at Miranda, "I am glad of that. I will tell you Ladies both a secret, if you like? About the song."

Miranda remains standing, her hands folded neatly in the oversize cuffs of her septa's robes. She glances at Leandro and chuckles faintly as if running a private jest in her head. "I would not want to ruin the artistry," she says politely. "But I am curious." She looks at the languid beauty in red and adds, "If the lady does not mind it?"

Waving a secret beneath Lady Joy's nose only makes her sit up straighter. "Oh, but I adore secrets," she declares easily, "and I think sometimes knowing how a thing was done only makes it more impressive, mmm?"

"I'm going to dance," Leandro declares, and he leaves the small group to their secrets, as he goes off in search of a willing partner.

Madrighal drops his voice so only the two of them might hear, "I got the idea for it watching two Ladies, one of them also a great horse woman, play the knife game one night. I wanted to capture some of that… spirit in music."

As he lowers his voice, so does the more resplendent of his two listeners lean in, sandsilk rippling about her luxuriously curved form, pearls swaying in the air… And then Lady Hastwyck's eyes light up and she laughs as she leans away. "Oh, how marvelous!" she declares. "Oh, do you know, I think I can imagine that, too, a little—? I wish I could ask you who they were," she sighs, sipping her wine, "but I don't expect I'd know, in any case. I'd only know their mothers, or their grandmothers. It's dreadful to be so far behind in all the gossip. Every conversation I've overheard here tonight has been mystery upon mystery to me. Thank you for being the only one to give me an explanation, Master Madrighal," she says sincerely.

Miranda keens her head as the Maester departs. She just continues to smile her bemused little smile. "Is there a link for dancing," she asks in rhetorical amusement. "I'm afraid to ask what the knife game is," the young septa says to the singer. "But it was spirited for certain."

Madrighal makes a little sound of surprise, "Oh! You must have been a very young child when you were in Dorne then!" Lowering his voice again, "I fear neither lady would much remember me as all that was shared was conversation…. Still, I like to imagine at the end, it was not so much a fight as a game….The knife game is one person stands against a wall and the other throws knives to just barely miss. It shows bravery and trust on the part of the target and skill on the part of the thrower. The closer the knives come without hitting the more impressive the display."

At some point in time, in the frenetic dancing, Leandro manages to lose the outer layers of his robes. It's hot business keeping up with the beat of the musicians. He'll find it at some point later, surely. It's not so much about the partners as the dancing itself.

Miranda bows her head in understanding. "How adventurous," she replies politely. "But if you excuse me. Seven Blessings to you both," she says to the pair as she withdraws. "I should return to my duties."

Madrighal watches the dancing from under long lashes, amused. He looks surprised at the septa's going, "Oh! Well I hope you enjoyed yourself tonight." He looks rather curious about her, but is too polite to ask. His eyes begin to droop and his goblet tip.

Oh, isn't he sweet—! A very young child. Lady Joy chuckles softly but forbears to commit to any dates; and, really, she thinks to herself, she was young, wasn't she, when she was first a bride at Sandstone… Hardly more than a child. "There are quite a lot of knife games in Dorne," she confesses to the septa, "and sometimes I think whenever three Dornish are together with a jug of wine, they make up a new one! … Oh, must you really go?" What a coincidence. "Seven bless you too, sweetling," she says congenially; and her attention swerves without faltering back to Madrighal. "I won't tell a soul the other story of your song," she promises, "but next time I hear it — I do hope I shall hear it again, one day? — I'll see if I can't think of both at once… Sweetling," it's him now, "you do look worn out; had you better go home? Shall we find that friend of yours? Or — I rather think you could have a lovely rest just here and no one would notice."

Speak of the friend, and there's Leandro, taking a break from the dancing it would seem. A servant thrusts his coat back at him, and he just throws it over his shoulder, sauntering over to where Madrighal is. "Time to get you back to the Hall, I think." And he'll offer Madrighal a hand up. "Unless you do want to just sleep here? Probably best not, you'll be sore when you wake."

Madrighal smiles gently at her, "I am always playing around with it. I am sure you will hear it again…." he turns as sleepy smile on Leandro, "Yes, I think it is best I go home now. It was a pleasure meeting you though." Another light brush of soft lips to knuckles and then he is toddling off on his friend's arm, sleepy with wine and the exertions of the last week, all fragile beauty like a drooping flower.

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