(123-01-21) Dornish Poetry Evening
Dornish Poetry Evening
Summary: Evening at Starfall. Prince Torren and Princess Visenya receive their sister Princess Ellia — and two other visitors rather less expected. Poetry and criticism are exchanged.
Date: 21/01/2016
Related: None

It is raining outside. Yes, it does rain in parts of Dorne. Night has fallen on Starfall. The village surrounding the castle has little to offer by way of entertainment for the nobility residing within, and so the nobility often entertains themselves within the castle proper. This is where the Prince of Dorne and his Targaryen wife are this evening. The Prince and Princess have seemed subdued since their arrival, strangely her a week before him with nothing but her dragons and an injured Qorgyle in her possession, and while they are polite and sociable when is required they've kept to themselves in their apartments, although the Princess ventures out of the apartments more often now that the Prince is here.

Tonight is the first night they've remained to socialize beyond what is required. They sit together on a chaise, and make the appropriate responses one must make to be courteous, but neither have added much to the conversation after that.

Torren has not had much to say about their departure from Oldtown — or about the fact that they did not arrive together. Speculation abounds, but any inquiries have been met with scrupulously polite requests that still somehow manage to deter them from asking anything more. He's good at that.

At this exact moment, there is a small lull in the conversation, and he leans over to murmur something low to his wife, raising an eyebrow when he pulls back to look at her.

A woman who arrived at House Dayne's ancestral seat hard upon the hour of the evening meal and so broke her own fast in solitude whilst washing away the dust of the road, appears now before the most illustrious of Starfall's guests, changed into a gown of burnt orange sandsilk, sleeveless, its plunging neckline edged with fine scalloped golden lace. She has the caramel complexion and bountiful dark curls of a sandy Dornishwoman, the latter liberally threaded now with silver, worn in a loose mane about her shoulders — she is not a young woman nor yet an elderly one, and she bears herself with dignity in her approach to two young royals she happens never to have met.

Held loosely in her right hand is a rolled parchment, kept pristine during its travels, a reason in itself. In that moment of recognition, when it is understood on both sides whom she is approaching, she lifts it.

"Prince Torren, Princess Visenya." She inclines her head in greeting, an unhurried gesture which her demeanour turns almost as formal as a bow. "Her Highness, Princess Amarei, charged me with bearing this letter to you." She takes two further steps (till her own spicy, honeyed scent reaches them) and offers it not to the Martell prince but to his Targaryen bride: angled however so that both might see the Princess of Dorne's personal seal, unbroken.

Visenya leans in ever so slightly when her husband murmurs into her ear, and when he pulls back she does as well. She looks poised to answer him when the older woman approaches them. She turns her chin up to look over the woman curiously, and when she is offered the letter she looks a bit befuddled that it is going to her instead of Torren, but she takes it all the same, and breaks the orange wax seal to read it. After she has read she passes the letter off to Torren so he may survey it's contents himself.

Then her attention focuses on Ynys. "I am very sorry to hear of your loss, my Lady." She says first, and then she seems almost at a loss of what to say before finally she settles on, "Her Highness Princess Amarei recommends that I take your guidance in running my household. The Princess is wise to my needs, of course." Of course, Visenya would never disparage her goodmother out loud, so of course she says she is wise. "You are amendable to this, of course?"

The woman's approach turns Torren's gaze that way, and now his raised eyebrow is directed at her, instead. Curious, and just a little bit calculating. He takes the letter when he's handed it by his wife, and his eyes drop down to read it, though he doesn't linger on it long. Instead, he lets Visenya answer, and when she has, he adds, "No doubt you will be a welcome addition, Lady Ynys. My mother's suggestions have always proved valuable."

"Torren." A voice as clear and musical as the notes of a harp carries from the entrance to the salon, from behind the Martell prince and his princess bride.

Ellia sweeps into the room dressed in the colors of House Dayne, of her late husband, the beloved Sword of the Morning. Her Osric. She has been in residence at Starfall for months now; there are whispers that she sometimes spends hours gazing upon the greatsword Dawn, holding quiet vigil. Too young to be a widow. But then, in Dorne, so many are.

Ynys is still presenting the parchment to Visenya when Ellia arrives and interrupts, her pale eyes pointedly dancing on its seal.

And Ynys Trant, the lately widowed Lady of Gallowsgrey, returned to Dorne after too long a sojourn in the stormlands, repeats that rather sober small nod in answer to Princess Visenya's condolences. "Thank you," she murmurs; and then, "Her Highness makes as always a convincing case. But the matter rests with you, princess. If you feel I may be of use to you, then I hope it shall be so." It can't be said she appears thrilled by the thought of such an appointment — or reluctant, as an Yronwood, to serve again the needs of House Martell — but instead serene, as her gaze shifts to the prince in turn.

"I remember you, Prince Torren, when you were a small boy," she admits, her warm dark eyes looking for a moment straight into his; "it is a pleasure to meet you again."

"If Her Highness believes you will be of use to me than you shall be of use to me." Visenya says easily with a faint smile to Ynys. Ellia's entrance draws her attention, and she greets her goodsister with a nod of her head and a, "Princess Ellia." She falls quiet then so both women may have a word with the Prince.

"Oh?" Torren tips his head just slightly to the side when Ynys meets his eyes, studying her even a little more closely now, and after a few seconds, says, "And you as well, my lady." He might have had any number of things to add to that, but he's distracted by the arrival of his sister. "Ellia," he replies. "Your arrival is well-timed. Princess Ellia," he repeats, though with the title, "the Lady Ynys. Apparently sent by our mother. Though she neglected to send greetings to either of us." This last is said a little dryly.

And maybe that's exactly the thought that passed through Ellia's mind as she flicked her gaze over the seal, because when Torren says the words, she quirks her brow and purses her lips. "So it seems." She sweeps her gaze between Ynys and Visenya at this revelation.

Her attention fixes on the latter. Ellia fought openly, and vocally, to keep her precious younger sister Mariya from wedding Daevon Targaryen. Instead, her elder brother has married Daevon's twin. "Welcome to Starfall, goodsister." She may have been notably absent from their wedding at Sunspear, but there is no malice in the greeting she offers the Targaryen princess now.

When Ellia's gaze settles on Visenya the younger Princess offers her goodsister a polite smile. "Thank you." She says easily enough before she looks back to Ynys, "I shall speak to the Dowager Lady Dayne in regards to appropriate chambers for you below our own." She lets her hand settle on the curve of her belly then, and leans in slightly so she is closer to Torren.

Ser Herold Dayne, of High Hermitage, knows how to make an entrance. Doors are pushed open, suddenly, a moment passes, and he strides in as they swing shut behind him, closing with a slam that heralds his arrival, his shadowed silks whispering around him.

The advent of another Martell leaves the Yronwood in the room feeling still more superfluous a quantity, for all the talk of her usefulness. Lady Trant nods to Princess Ellia as they exchange glances and takes a smooth step away, yielding the ground nearer the chaise to the lately-arrived goodsister of the young royal couple. "Thank you. I've already imposed much upon Lady Dayne," she murmurs with grave amusement to Princess Visenya, "and she has been gracious in accommodating me… Is there anything you wish of me at present?"

"Mm." Torren nods once to his sister. "No doubt she was occupied with more important matters." His tone is somewhat amused, and he leans over to murmur something to Visenya again, then rises from where he is seated. "A pleasure, my lady," he says, inclining his head to Ynys. "I look forward to more of the same. Pray excuse me, though; I must see to a few things." He turns then to start to walk out, though before he does, he catches Ellia's elbow. "When you have a moment, sister. Not now. But soon." That said, he starts toward the door, nodding as well to Herold as he leaves.

Not now, Torren says. But Ellia isn't known for heeding the advice of her brothers; she's notoriously willful, and being told not now is an instruction she disobeys directly. "Goodsister. Lady Ynys." She salutes them both in farewell with a warm smile before she leaves them to their conversation in favor of pursuing Torren, her skirts moving in a swishing flourish as she follows him from the salon.

Visenya murmurs something in return to Torren, and watches him as he rises from the chaise to depart. "Princess Ellia." She says in return to Ellia as she departs. A polite nod is given to Herold when he enters the Salon, but she says nothing else to the man. Instead she focuses her attention on Ynys, "I don't think so, my Lady." And once Torren and Ellia are gone she studies the Yronwood lady, her amethyst colored eyes that are so similar to their host's searching her appearance as if she could gleam more about this unknown Dornishwoman. "I suppose." She finally says quietly, "You are to educate me."

Entrance accomplished. As the Sun flees the Night, Herold watches the Martell's flee his presence, right they are to do. For sure as night follows day, this is all about him. He stands, to the side, the light catching that silver streak in his hair and he openly studies the Dragon Princess.

Some polite courtly nothings leave Lady Trant's lips as the two Martells by birth excuse themselves from the gathering; and then, as she steps nearer to the princess, her orange sandsilks just grazing the tops of her sandaled brown feet, she smiles — and the lines about her warm dark eyes soften as they didn't before. "Your goodmother works, then, in mysterious ways. I have hardly set foot in Dorne for twenty-four years," she explains, by way of an apology; "I know little of the present… climate." A beat. "Perhaps she supposed that a woman with so few friends, would have a like number of enemies?"

"Sit with me." Visenya entreats Ynys as the older woman steps closer to her. Perhaps with the absence of her husband at her side she hopes to have someone she can at least pretend is on her side near her. Or perhaps Ynys hovering over her makes her nervous. Either way, the invitation is issued, and the Princess moves a little out of the space her husband occupied so Ynys may be allowed more room than she gave Torren.

"Perhaps she thinks a woman who is accustomed to Northroners will be a more faithful friend." She observes softly to Ynys. Feeling Herold's eyes on her she turns her gaze on him a moment before saying, "I do not believe we are acquainted, ser. Is there anything I might do for you?"

"Yet I have heard so much of you, Princess Visenya," Herold replies, prowling towards her and Ynys. He dips a bow so extravagant that it might be seen as mocking. "I am Ser Herold Dayne, but they call me the Dusk Star."

It must be said Lady Trant is a tall woman; and when released from her hovering by royal invitation, she sits straight-backed and yet very much at her ease, one leg crossed over the other at the knee beneath her vivid silken skirts and one forearm draped with feline grace over her thigh. Princess Visenya's words give her eyes cause to narrow: "Accustomed? … My children are Westerosi," she answers, softly too, "and my grandchildren besides. On which point—" But then the young man whose staring gaze she has become aware of only since shifting her vantage comes nearer and introduces himself. "Do they really?" she drawls, looking him up and down with a considering glance. "I know a Burning Star…" Ser Vorian Dayne. "I don't know a Dusk Star."

"Technically, my Lady, we are all Westerosi. We dwell in Westeros instead of Essos or Sothoryos." Visenya gives the Lady Trant an apologetic look, "Forgive me. I had a maester who would often remind us that when he taught heraldry." She lets her gaze shift from Ynys to Gerold. "Satisfy Lady Trant and my curiosity, Ser. Why do they call you Dusk Star?" She does not address the things he has heard about her.

Herold's lips curl into something of a sneer as Ynys claims not to know him, still it is soon replaced with a cruel smile as Visenya asks him that question. He studies her once more, with those strange eyes of his. He pauses, dramatically, letting them wait upon his response, before declaring. "For the Dusk is the end of the day, and the heralding of the night, and there is nothing of the Dawn about me. Dorne is no more part of Westeros, than the Night is part of the Day."

"Many spoken usages, I think, are an affront to maesters…" Lady Trant murmurs sidelong to Princess Visenya, whilst her gaze cools with each shift in Ser Herold's mercurial expression. "Though not such an affront as my husband would have taken, if I'd called him a northerner," she muses. She tilts her head and her thick mane of black and silver curls; "I don't believe you have yet answered Princess Visenya's question, Ser Herold," she prompts him. "Is there anything she might do for you, or…?"

"Perhaps I shall use the more colloquial terms." Visenya comments to Lady Trant in a soft tone. She favors Herold with an almost bored expression when he gives her that cruel smile. "How poetic, ser." She says in a disinterested voice, "But…yes. As Lady Trant says. I'm afraid your poetry leaves us wanting for a better explanation." She lets out a huff at his last words, "Oh? Well, perhaps you should consult the mapmakers who continue to put Dorne on the continent of Westeros. Goodness…" She looks at Ynys in an almost theatrical manner, "I did not know there was a sea between the Red Mountains and the Reach and Stormlands."

"There are many things The Princess /might/ do for me," Herold's voice is velvet smooth. "Tell me, have you ever tried to cross the mountains in a boat? Which is the greater division, waves made of water, that serve only to aid travel, or those of impassable rock? What do your mapmakers know of the true division of land. Dorne is, and always will be, Dorne."

"The lords and ladies of my house will be astonished," agrees Lady Trant (and her luxuriant mane brushes Princess Visenya's shoulder for an instant as she inclines her head nearer, nodding), "to discover the Stone Way we've guarded so long was but a mirage…" She draws in a sharp breath. "How could we have been so duped! And when the truth was plain to read all along in the poetry of the Dusk Star." She shakes her head and lets out a sigh and then flicks another glance at Ser Herold. "… I don't cross the mountains in a boat, boy," she explains sardonically, "and I don't waste other people's time."

Visenya gives Herold an amazed look that is followed by a slow blink. "…What?" She asks finally before she shakes her head. "Dorne is Dorne because of Nymeria landing her thousand ships, and uniting Dorne under one banner with Mors Martell. Be advised Ser that I am Visenya Martell now, and am in every way my husband's wife." Her amethyst colored eyes glitter with annoyance as she brushes her hand across her pregnant belly. "So think well of how you speak to me."

"Are you indeed?" Herold replies to the declaration that she is Visenya Martell, filling that question with doubt. "And so well versed in our past, why thank you, for the history lesson." He sneers the thankyou. "Yet you've left out a part." He pauses, dramatically, to let that sink in, before finishing. "What could we do, without Westerosi, telling us who we are, and what to do, in our own homes of all places."

The annoyance posed by Ser Herold is briefly forgotten as Lady Trant regards, more fully, the Martell princess at her side… Though who is at whose side, is a question open to interpretation. She recalls her gaze to the boy almost absently when he's been speaking again for another moment or so; and then asks of him, "Are you going to write a poem about that too?"

"Perhaps you should ask my husband if I am." Visenya says in crisp response to Herold as she rises slowly but smoothly from the chaise. She smirks then, and steps towards Herold until she is barely inches from him. She tilts her head back to gaze up into his eyes then before her smirk turns into a full-fledged smile. "You won't, of course." She looks him up and down as if sizing him up and finding him wanting. "None of you ever do. You've enough courage to insult me when my husband is not here, but you're too much of a coward to do it to his face." That said, she turns away from Herold. "I think I shall retire, Lady Trant. Goodnight."

Is that a challenge? Herold's eyes flash with anger, as this interloper dares to question his courage. The Dusk Star is no coward! How dare she? He doesn't say that out loud though, instead he silently fumes. "Simple statements of facts are not insults, what thin skin you must have." He turns on his heel, in order to leave dramatically, before anyone else can, midnight silk twisting about him. "Tell me, how many months has it been since the wedding?" he asks, as a final riposte, before striding out the doors.

When Ser Herold has shot the last of his pitiful quiver and fled the scene, silence reigns for several long seconds between the two ladies who have risen from the chaise, one after the other. Then Lady Trant murmurs in an arid undertone, "Shall I walk with you to your chambers?" And then, her real question. "… Do little shits like that often presume to speak to you?"

Visenya laughs at Herold when he claims to speak fact. "Perhaps you should go inform Princess Amarei of the facts. She accepted me as bride to her son. Unless you're a coward?" And then she smiles victoriously as Herold leaves. "Oh look. He counts as well as he composes poetry." At Ynys's question she says in a softer tone, "Thank you." They head out the door then. "Oh yes. Whenever they can catch me without someone they are afraid of."

Herold is, as the night, having disappeared off into the shadows, no sign of him when they step outside.

The tall Dornishwoman digests this circumstance. "I could start throwing knives at them," she suggests, and not moreover in a jesting tone; "but it is you, princess, they ought to learn to fear. Just enough."

"I think they do fear me." Visenya admits as they step into the bailey and move downwards towards the keep. "They fear what they think I represent." She smirks then, "I am the Whore of Valyria come to swallow Dorne with what is between my legs."

An incredulous look; a shake of silvered curls. "… Then Dornishmen have lost all their senses since I was here last," opines Lady Trant, chuckling, "and you ought to tell them what to do and how to know friend from foe, or they'll find themselves very soon tied in all manner of knots."

"They are too stupid to realize that they insult their lieges with such talk." Visenya observes thoughtfully. "Do they really think Princess Amarei would have encouraged such a union if she thought it would result in her or her son bending the knee?" She sighs, "I had higher hopes for the Daynes. Ser Osric always stuck me with his chivalry. He was a true knight."

"Boys like that one, they know nothing — they understand nothing." And Ynys Trant, who has raised three sons to adulthood herself, shrugs. "Perhaps their tantrums were too much indulged when they were children and they expect to receive the same consideration now." A roll of her eyes suggests it's not likely to come from her. "I know some of the older Daynes," she admits, "and Ser Osric only by his high reputation — and I have truly never heard, by rumour or by letter, of Ser Herold. I think he may be a distant cousin," she muses, "perhaps a son of the cadet branch…?" A dismissive headshake. "Only a little fly who thinks he has the right to buzz about your head…"

"He probably is a no one." Visenya says then. "And good practice for when a more prodigious son comes at me with such words." She gives Ynys a sideways look before she asks, "Do you think I handled him appropriately? Or should I do something different next time?"

The older woman slows her steps for a pace or two, considering. "You were more patient with him than I would have been," she begins, and though they appear to be quite alone in this corridor at this hour she lowers her voice and chooses each word with deliberation. "I would have given him less time. The time and attention of a princess of House Martell are valuable quantities… the more a man receives, the more important he will feel, the more credence you will seem to give his words and to the task of destroying them. You're right, it was good practice — you made very good points. I liked best what you said of Nymeria and of just such a marriage being the foundation of all that is precious to us. But perhaps, use such practice to…" She lifts a soft, well-kept brown hand, miming the action of pinching something to a smaller size between thumb and forefinger. "Condense and refine what you wish to say, so that next time, you can demolish such a man faster, and waste less of your life in dealing with him. You changed tone also a number of times… You fought with a number of weapons. Sometimes your opponent will do so and it is as well to be ready to meet him — but if you can finish him off with just one, with just your boredom or your mockery or your ire, instead of switching back and forth, that might be good also. Perhaps you do that — I don't know," she smiles an apology, "I don't know you yet."

Visenya listens to Ynys as she speaks with a thoughtful and pensive expression on her face. When she is finished she says, "You're right. I've nothing to prove to such a man. If he thinks that of me then he shall always think that of me, and I need not waste my time on him. He had proven himself to be a fool before he spoke." She hesitates a moment before she says, "He was wrong about me on all counts save for my thin-skinnedness. I need to grow scales like my dragons have."

The curve of Ynys Trant's full lips begins to signal her approval even before she gives a little sideways nod in the princess's direction. "And he proved it again and again each time he did open his mouth," she agrees. "I don't know you," she repeats, "but I know Princess Amarei; and it is as you say. You would not be wed to her son if you were a threat to Dorne. The matter is exactly that simple. By all means, don't let rude boys talk back to you where there are ears to hear and tongues to carry the tale, but don't forget either that they are the ones who wait upon your convenience, who must prove their points to you, and not the other way round. … I speak to you as plainly as I do, so soon," she adds then, a trifle wryly, "because I'm a long way out of the habit of anything else, and because I can't be of help to you by telling you half the truth."

"Wise council." Visenya says of what Ynys tells her. "And I am grateful for it. So far my ladies are a woman who was sent to seduce my husband, and a girl who is under my protection." When they enter the guest tower she climbs the stairs more carefully than she might were she not burdened with child, one might assume. When she is nearly onto the floor she occupies with the Prince she stops to look at Ynys, "So someone who can offer me actual help.." She doesn't finish, but her meaning is clear.

Following a couple of steps below, holding her skirts out of the way with a practiced hand, Lady Trant lets out a quiet 'mmm'. "… I don't want your husband," she explains with a ripple of laughter in her voice, "or your protection. I have thought no further ahead than to live in the sunshine again and, as I said to you: Princess Amarei makes a convincing case."

"She is persuasive." Visenya acknowledges, and she favors Ynys with a smile that is perhaps more sincere and real than any other expresson that has crossed her face. "Good night Lady Trant." And then she steps into her room.

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