(123-01-02) The Demands of Dragons
The Demands of Dragons
Summary: Prince Vhaegor Targaryen comes up with a brilliant plan for scoring one off Princess Vhaerys. Or… something like that. Yes. (Warning: Some grown-up content. Not very.)
Date: 01/01/2015
Related: A response of sorts to this scene the previous day.

The dragonseed handmaidens in the service of Princess Vhaerys Targaryen have no lives, no thoughts, no personalities of their own. This is known and understood by all those Targaryen princes who have ever made a wistful study of their cousin's silvery-haired, violet-eyed attendants.

Nonetheless, time and custom do reveal slight differences… Amongst the present trio the younger two are separated by an inch in height; and the third is senior by years enough that, when all three appear together, she may be distinguished by the riper beauty of a woman in her middle twenties. She is the one who leaves the manse most often upon their mistress's private errands, or who attends her during her most secretive meetings. She, above her sistren, is a tempting treasure to those who entertain an inappropriate curiosity into the princess's business… She, with her hair braided and drawn into a simple chignon, with her lithely curved young body clad in a gown of pale violet linen and not a single jewel but her eyes, knows better when she meets finely-tooled leather boots in the hallways of the Dragon Door Manse than to raise those eyes to the men who wear them. She only curtseys exquisitely, steps aside, and waits for whomever the fellow may be to pass her by.

This time, however, those finely-tooled boots do not pass her on by. "You're Vhaerys's girl," the man in question asks, identifying himself immediately as Vhaegor Targaryen even as he leans back and to the side sightly, clearly trying to catch her eye without actually ordering her to look up at him. "The eldest," he largely guesses before pressing a thumb and forefinger to each of his temples, looking as if he's deep in thought suddenly, before releasing a disappointed grunt past a grin, "You'll have to forgive me. I don't believe I've ever had the pleasure of learning your name." He doesn't introduce himself of course, as there's little doubt she knows exactly who he is.

The girl continues to present to him that slightly bowed, beautifully silvery head of hers; "I have the honour to serve Princess Vhaerys, Your Grace," she confirms in a voice smoothly melodic, well-educated, with traces still of a Dragonstone accent… She has lived long among royalty and even the tones in which she speaks are calculated to please Targaryen ears. After a pause, during which it becomes clear that he expects still more of her, she offers with gentle hesitance: "My name is Talia, Your Grace."

"Talia," Vhaegor murmurs, filing it away in the short list of non-nobles that he actually knows by name. "A beautiful name for a beautiful girl, Talia," he continues, offering her a smile she likely doesn't even see with her eyes glued to his boots. After a moment or two of watching her, waiting to see if she'd lift her head, he chuckles and adds, "I don't bite, you know. At least not often. There was one incident, but honestly, the man was asking for it and I didn't have my knife close at hand." It would be easier to express the fact that he were joking if she was looking directly at him to see his easy going smile, but since she isn't, he throws in a further chuckle.

And Talia agrees most dutifully with his declaration that he's not a biter. "No, Your Grace," she murmurs, standing just as she is, with her clean, soft, short-nailed hands clasped before her waist, her eyes lowered, and… is that a hint of a smile just touching the pale pink curve of her mouth?

Vhaegor rubs at his temple, eyes briefly observing the dragonseed's ghost of a smile before he lets out a sigh. "You're trained well, Talia," he observes, reaching out a single hand to her chin to try and gently lift her eyes to his if she won't volunteer them, "But you need not stare at the floor with me. I'm sure my great, Golden Cousin has told you I'm hardly worthy of the name Targaryen, after all." He drops his hand with a shrug before his other palm rises, this time to cup the back of his neck and rub at it as if a great amount of stress sits on his shoulders. "Surely I only proved her right the last time we met in these halls. She's a hard one to please…"

The texture of the handmaiden's skin is as silky as a princess's might be; and as she lifts her eyes to look into his, obediently immodest, she inflicts upon him the full power of a princess's beauty, too. The blood in her veins can only be the highest. Higher perhaps than some would consider Vhaegor's own…

"It is in your nature, you dragons, to demand a great deal," allows Talia gently, holding his gaze with violet eyes so much softer than Vhaerys's; "but Her Grace has kindly given me to understand that I please her well."

Vhaegor considers Talia for a few moments, trying to decide if that was actually snark coming from the handmaiden. It didn't sound like it in tone, but the words said definitely seemed to imply that she finds it easy enough to please the one who so clearly dislikes nearly everything about Vhaegor. After a few more seconds' worth of consideration, he clearly decides it was likely more loyalty to Vhaerys then disrespect towards himself since he flashes her a small grin and nods once, "If only we all were as well trained as you, then, Talia… Are you running an errand for your mistress? I wouldn't want to get you in trouble."

There is indeed no disrespect for Vhaegor himself in the handmaiden's tone, or in her demure small smile — it's only that she's been trained in what to say as well as in what to do. She couldn't very well complain of her mistress's exacting ways, could she? Or repeat any remarks she may have overheard, for good or ill, about Vhaegor. Or say what a shame it was that Princess Vhaerys had only just begun his training, and had obviously got to him too late. No, she said something sweetly loyal, to reflect well upon her absent mistress and not at all poorly upon her interlocutor.

And now the fair Talia looks, if anything, a little taken aback at having her circumstances taken into account — and by a prince. "Not at present, Your Grace," she confesses, "though it is very kind of you to consider me."

Vhaegor raises an eyebrow, and takes his turn to seem surprised. "You seem… shocked. Truly, I thought it would have been obvious…" he murmurs, partly to himself, but certainly loud enough for her to hear. He smirks and then shakes his head once, before offering an explanation with a slight shrug, "I have been considering you quite a bit, Talia, and for a while now. Honestly, I thought you had noticed. I didn't think myself entirely subtle about it, though, now that I think back, if you only looked at my boots this entire time…" he trails off with another grin. "As I said… A beautiful name, for a beautiful girl."

The becoming pallor of Talia's face is suffused by a sudden, faint, rosy pinkness, betokening another surprise received from Vhaegor — and though she has been looking at him all the while, it being his wish, her gaze sidles away again down his body to, yes, his boots. It might be conjectured that she takes in rather a good view of him along the way. "Her Grace prefers that we conduct ourselves modestly in her service," she explains to his handsome footwear. "I had not— Your Grace, I did not suppose that—" She hesitates.

There is some game to this. Vhaegor is not nearly dumb enough to entirely believe the doe-eyed, gorgeous figure before him was left completely defenseless from an attack of this angle. The unfortunate, insidious nature of the ploy, however, is that it works just as well even despite raised suspicions.

"I can imagine," he replies, his smile growing wider as Talia's eyes fall back to his boots, "I'm sure my dear cousin values modesty highly. I should have realized sooner, of course, that you wouldn't have noticed. You'll have to forgive me for springing this on you so suddenly." He takes one step closer, again trying to find her eyes, though he doesn't raise them to his this time, and instead takes up leaning slightly to the side once more. "If you aren't busy with some errand of her's, will you come with me somewhere a little more private?" Whatever he means by that, the obvious explanation is, well, obvious. If he's aware of it, however, he maintains his perfectly innocent smile well.

"… Such a choice is hardly in my hands, Your Grace," the dragonseed girl murmurs softly, submissively, neither acceding to his will nor making any attempt whatsoever to escape it. She doesn't appear tense, or alarmed, or fearful — and so near to her he can smell on her skin not an expensive fragrance imported from the Free Cities, but perhaps the soap she washes with: fresh and clean, scented subtly with honey and orange blossom.

At any other time, that sentence alone likely would have driven Vhaegor to stop, to question what it is he was doing. The fact that the choice is entirely out of her hands would normally immediately halt any forward progress. Today, however, this week… Something has been lit in his blood, and the fact that he has absolute power, even in something so relatively trivial as this, only further cements the current course of action in his mind. He doesn't respond to her implication except to gesture her to follow as he winds his way through the extensive halls of the manse until he comes across his chambers and leads her inside. The room is, compared to most Royals, rather sparsely decorated. What furniture there is — a dresser, a pair of chairs and a bookcase, the bed of course, and a table with yet another pair of chairs — is all expertly crafted out of the finest, darkest wood, but little else sits within besides the multitude of leather-bound books in rows upon the bookcase and a pile of various parchments littered about the table. "How extensively has she trained you, Talia?" he asks suddenly, abruptly, as he takes up a post by his bed, "In these matters, that is."

The girl's footsteps are as good as silent as she follows him with that silent obedience so gladdening to a Targaryen heart; even her skirts, being linen, lack the distinctive rustle of silk. She is a handmaiden. A creature of pure discretion. Only when she's spoken to, does she speak. "In which matters, Your Grace?" she inquires in that soft, pretty voice of hers; and perhaps it's a fair question. Matters of correct, modest behaviour — of intrigue between one Targaryen and another — or of such chambers as this…?

Perhaps it was a little bit too much to hope that suddenly asking such a vague question might catch the girl off guard, allow him to get a glimpse of her current train of though. Vhaegor just grins when she effortlessly sidesteps his 'trap,' whether by luck or skill. "Of the matters that tend to crop up when a Prince who has had his eye on you leads you to his bed chamber," he replies, treading the line between tact and blunt honesty. Her skirts, linen as they may be, have started to draw more and more of his focus, as does the rest of her body ever since he stepped in close enough to smell the fresh scent of her soap, and, whether her eyes are on his boots or elsewhere, he doesn't seem to care.

Her answer is slow enough in coming that, even now, he can't rely upon knowing what she really thinks… Certainly he can't rely upon her eyes being the windows to her soul, when she's standing there with her gaze resting demurely in the vicinity of— his knees? Is that progress? "… Your Grace, I don't believe Her Grace understands," she ventures softly, "the dilemma of living in a manse full of dragon princes." Whilst being, needless to say, a nubile Valyrian beauty bereft of the surname and the status of a true princess.

Vhaegor has to force himself not to laugh, "It is no secret that I am not on the best of terms with my cousin at the moment, but that does not mean that I don't respect her. You can be sure that she knows full well the… dilemma you are apparently in. I take it, however, that you have recieved no instruction on what's expected of you? Expected of you by my dear cousin, mind. What I expect is likely not quite what you think it to be, but that's unimportant for the moment, at least." There's a slight impatience in his stance by now — whatever ploy he's truly after, the journey to it is clearly proving more enjoyable than he initially assumed, and anticipation is causing his fingers to drum a steady beat into his arm as he folds them over his chest.

The dragonseed girl unclasps and re-clasps her own hands, fingers knitting together, in an unconscious gesture of… what? She has admitted to a dilemma; but what she supposes it to be, what it is in truth, these questions grow by the moment less clear. "Your Grace, I don't understand what it is you wish of me," she says simply, her eyes still not daring to reach up again to his.

Vhaegor waves off her question, only to realize a moment later he may as well be making gestures at the blind since her eyes are still on his knees. "I am… holding a conversation primarily with myself, I think. I apologize. My mind was trailing off elsewhere and I was confusing the matter," he admits, reaching a hand up to rub at his temple, "Let us simply say that a lot has happened in the past couple of weeks, not all, or much of it, good. I just need something… good, for once. Even if only for a few hours." If that still doesn't make it clear, he steps over to her, closing the distance between them with a few, unhurried strides. One hand finds her waist, the other the back of her neck, and just like that, he's kissing her. He doesn't ask, he doesn't hesitate or give her time to react to his sudden change, he just leans in and kisses the dragonseed girl. After a moment, he breaks away to catch his breath and ask, "Does that answer your question?"

The kiss is at first all Vhaegor's own, delivered unto a handmaiden breathless with surprise not at what he's about (not quite what she thinks, he says? Really?) but at the sheer suddenness with which he takes hold of her and claims her lips for his 'something good'. But after those initial instants of doubt and reluctance, that faint tensing of her body against his — she settles, and she begins to answer his evident desire with a discreet enjoyment of her own, as though hinting that she might not have followed him here with heavy footsteps and a heart full of dread. The colour has returned to her cheeks; she's pink and white, as well as silvery-gold and violet-eyed. These girls might be Vhaerys's daughters, if they weren't her servants. Her hands, trapped briefly between them, slip out again and rest at either side of his waist, not daring an embrace, but touching him nonetheless, just gently.

And her question…? "I— I think so, Your Grace," she confesses.

Oh, the trap is cleverly laid indeed, though the victim is not quite who Vhaegor had hoped it would be. His focus is too fragmented, his target too soft and pink, and just a bit too much truth in his explanation for him to have any hope of truly holding all the control. When he gets a good look at her slightly flushed face, hears her tentative response, something primal in his chest lurches and he follows its urging, leaning in to renew the kiss long enough to taste her lips again before his own turn aside and trace her jaw to her earlobe, his left hand at her waist already inefficiently drawing up her skirts with grasping fingers.

Her virtue's not in particularly imminent danger, with this fellow in charge of the assault, that much is clear from his fumblings — and, oh, what glowing remarks have been made in Talia's hearing on such subjects as his loyalty, his valour, his stalwart and true heart, his service to House Targaryen. She has a compliment of her own to add and so she does as his lips nibble their way rather pleasantly over to the sensitive flesh of her earlobe: it comes out in the form of another confession, another reluctant admission, forced from her (so he might assume) by the sheer princeliness of one Vhaegor Targaryen. "I think your hair is beautiful," she sighs, burying her fingers in his raven tresses to hold his head close in against her own.

What hope did poor Vhaegor, still somewhat chasing the noble idea of a True Knight, angry at the nearby world for causing him so much stress over something so simple as hair and eye color, have against a comment like that. He can't even hide it, though something deep inside him knows that he probably should, for he instantly hesitates. The careful exploration of soft, pink Talia's ear falters for a moment at her words, before he begins again, more urgent than before while he continues to hike up those quiet linen skirts. Some part of him almost certainly knows that he's lost. That he's been well and truly beat.

With one simple sentence, the trap was sprung and Vhaegor was caught.

Quite some time later the dragonseed girl persists, no matter what he says, in squirming out of the arms and out of the bed of the raven-haired prince who can pride himself now upon having given as well as taken the pleasure he sought. 'Something good', indeed.

"… You know I can't stay," she repeats, pleading and apologising all in the same breath, as she looks about her for her shift; "the others will have lied for me, we always do when we must, but sooner or later— you know I can't stay. She'll want me. She always wants me, most of all."

It's an unwilling thing, but Vhaegor lets his prize go, though he watches her as she busies herself with getting presentable again. "You are her favorite?" he asks, though he doesn't really expect much of an answer — he probably doesn't even want one. It's just more confirmation of what he knew the second she complimented his hair, but the fact is, he doesn't care. He was played. He's accepted it — in fact, considering what it resulted in, he's even embraced it. He may even begin to see exactly what Vhaerys was talking about, and he's not even remotely sorry for the trip.

Watching Talia dress herself (crumpled, fragrant linen pulled over her head; laces threaded to enclose her breasts) is a display of feminine grace almost as alluring as — well — the undressing of her. Almost. Not quite.

She casts the prince upon the bed a fond and regretful glance… "I am the eldest," she admits, as shyly as any woman would make such a statement; "I am more useful to Her Grace, I think, because I know her ways better than the others. I… I've served her a long while."

Vhaegor nods once, one hand already on his face to rub wearily at the exhaustion already settling in. "Find me the next time you have no errands to run," he orders, though there's no real authority behind it, and he's obviously primarily being playful. Whatever energy he had before has swiftly faded and he simply contents himself with offering her a tired smile as his eyes drift closed. He'll get no information from her now — he likely wouldn't have the heart to even ask had he not been positive Vhaerys had successfully outmaneuvered him on that score, probably without even being aware of it. However, despite all that, he doesn't seem to care as he listens to her depart, content for the first time in two weeks.

Talia doesn't answer him aloud, but as he lies there in his tumbled bed with his eyes shut and his body slowly relaxing into sleep her hand passes once more, tenderly, over the dark hair she has caressed and pulled and kissed.

"A beautiful name for a beautiful girl," drawls Princess Vhaerys, her voice dripping with disdainful incredulity. "Really, he could do no better?"

She sits ensconced in a carven, dragon-backed armchair, facing a lurid orange and gold sunset over the gardens of the Dragon Door Manse and the distant Honeywine and the Citadel beyond, with her narrow bare feet in the care of the handmaiden recounting to her this tale of the seduction of Vhaegor Targaryen — one foot in the girl's lap and the other in her grasp, two well-trained thumbs pressing earnestly into the arch of it.

"He approaches the arts of the bedchamber with more enthusiasm than experience, Your Grace," is Talia's demure explanation. "I believe him to be a desperately lonely man, who had not touched a woman for many months — perhaps years? — before this afternoon… I believe he is often ashamed to approach the women he might like," she adds with a judicious tilt of her silvery head, "because he has not the usual appearance of a prince. It seemed almost as though… I might have to offer him some encouragement."

"If you did as I instructed you," the princess promises her, "it would have been encouragement enough." She smiles faintly; her foot flexes in the dragonseed girl's clever, capable hands, one now stroking, the fingers of the other working between her toes. A handmaiden indeed. "And what then…?"

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