(123-07-20) On Justice and Peace
On Justice and Peace
Summary: Ser Laurent Tyrell seeks a Martell, any Martell, with whom to take up the matter of the recent murder on Dornish soil of the son and heir of a Tyrell bannerman.
Date: 22/07/2016
Related: Related Logs (Say None if there aren't any; don't leave blank. You have to use full URLs, like http://gobmush.wikidot.com/logtitle)

"Hold him here, Boy," comes a decidedly unpleasant voice from the street. Ser Laurent Tyrell, clad in armor of dark leather, and with sword and dagger belted at his waist, gives the care of an impressive specimen of horseflesh into the care of a somewhat less impressive specimen of humanity. A red-haired lad on the cusp of becoming a man, his similar leathers seem ill-fitted to his frame. One side of the youth's face is impressively scarred, making him seem either glum or sneering, depending on the angle he presents.

The knight, however, presents but a single mien: bellicose. He stalks toward the doors of the manse, long legs carrying him up the steps two at a time. "Ser Laurent Tyrell," he announces himself, his tenor voice pitched to be heard within the walls. "I'll see someone as bears the name Martell, or I'll know why I can't!"

"Seven above—!" exclaims a lady's voice.

A face framed by riotous dark red curls woven through with strands of white-golden pearls, appears leaning over a balustrade of pink marble where the grand staircase divides on its way up to the first floor. Elbows lean upon the edge of it, the sleeves of teal-green sandsilk robes falling away from slightly plump but undoubtedly shapely pale forearms. "You're the Thorn, aren't you?" she calls down to him pleasantly. "Ser Laurent Tyrell."

The guardsmen and servants mustering at Ser Laurent's command — an effete lot, Dornish to a (wo)man — look, oddly, not to him but to her.

"The Warrior's bleeding eyes, but I just…" He growls the words, biting off the end even as he comes up short on the stairs, his dark eyes narrowing as he regards the princess overlooking him. "You're the Hastwyck widow." It has the air of an accusation. He stands his ground, his feet each on a different step, left hand resting casually on the hilt of his sword. His eyes have swept the assembling servants, but now find no time for them, instead drawn to Joyeuse. "Who're you visiting," he demands, again finding his tongue. "Who's in residence? I've cause to speak to someone of consequence, and no mind to wait."

The temptation to put him off with a pack of mischievous fibs and then go out the front and in again the back way, has a tremendous, alluring power.

Nonetheless Princess Joyeuse Florent Martell (and won't any Tyrell knight be aghast to hear that one) proposes to do her duty as hostess and unofficial lady ambassadress. She only lifts her eyebrows at the Thorn and elucidates her change in state, in the same chatty and unintimidated manner. "I'm not the Hastwyck widow anymore — I'm the Martell wife… One of them," she concedes. "My husband has gone out; if you'd like to speak to me I suppose you may, as long as you can manage to do it a little more courteously." Now she sounds doubtful. "I didn't like to be harangued even before I was a princess."

Laurent's first response, in silence, is a gradual lift of the lip that might accurately be appraised as a sneer. "Then I expect you've a lifetime of disappointment behind you on that account, Princess," he finally concedes, "And I congratulate you on your marriage." If the words are turning, by degrees, more pleasant, their tone has made little progress at all. "I don't suppose it matters at all who I'd like to speak to, does it? I've a dead bannerman of no small standing, and I'll hear what's being done on the matter." His left foot joins the right, bringing the Thorn up a step, and his free hand finds the railing so that his weight might lean there. "If it were to either of our preference, Princess, I expect I'd be elsewhere."

As the Tyrell knight takes that next step up the stairs, two things happen. The princess on high straightens, removing her elbows from the balustrade and adopting a decidedly more dignified posture — and two guardsmen whose paths have converged, step nearer to this bellicose intruder whose hand is on his sword in the presence of a princess of House Martell.

Princess Joyeuse waves her hand at the lads. "You needn't fret," she promises them; "he isn't going to slaughter me where I stand. I'm a Florent, too, remember? That might be the beginning of a civil war in the Reach, to say nothing of Dornish opinion; and he wouldn't like to have to account to his uncle for that, I shouldn't think. I thank you," and she looks again to Ser Laurent, and indeed looks him up and down, "for your congratulations, ser, for I'm always pleased to be wished well. And if you're referring to Ser Jason Tarly — you can't be much more appalled than I am by what befell him," she declares firmly, grey-green eyes gleaming with a sudden ire which reflects his own. "I am sorry my husband isn't here to receive you, as I'm sure you'd prefer; but if you'll leave your baldric with those fine young Dornish boys who'll be so distressed if you keep it any longer, you may come up and say to me anything you wish to say, and I shall pass it along."

Thought Laurent's attention was focused away from the guardsmen, he nonetheless bristles as they approach, drawing himself up to an impressive height, his broad shoulders suddenly square. He eyes one, then the other, but in the end his chin dips in agreement. "You're in no danger from me, Princess." Though his timbre makes it something near a complaint, he means the words. "I'll leave my baldric, but throttle any one of these fine young Dornish boys as plays casual with it, won't I?" Glancing aside at a man-at-arms, his eye flashes closed in a wink that seems almost friendly, his fingers beginning to work at the buckle.

"The very man," the Tyrell lord continues, now looking down at his work, watching until the weight of blades and leather falls into his hands. "I expect he deserved to have his guts carved out, and we're being honest; what appalls me," he grunts softly as he gathers the loose belt, wrapping it about his scabbard, and holds the heavy package out on offer, "Is the lack of a missive detailing how it's being pursued."

The princess gives the guardsmen a triumphant "You see?" sort of look; and waits patiently with one beringed hand upon the balustrade until Ser Laurent has divested himself of his weaponry and come up to join her.

"I have heard no good of Ser Jason, and a great deal of bad," she goes on in a more moderate tone than either of them have employed thus far, leading him a scant few paces across a landing to a door which she opens herself, "but no man deserves to bleed to death in his own latrine." The chamber beyond is got up to look like the tent of a Dornish prince: draped with billowing silks in many hues, and carpeted with overlapping Myrish rugs and piles and piles of fringed and tasseled pillows amongst which Martell colours predominate. The tent flaps open upon windows overlooking the garden's greenery, the Honeywine river, and the towers of the Citadel beyond. "Sit down, won't you?" she suggests, stepping out of her slippers as she glides over to her customary comfy corner. "I'll say again what I've always said, that justice must be justice, even for people one doesn't like… Oh, sweetling," and now she's addressing a lissom copper-skinned Dornish handmaiden, following behind her to pick up her slippers, "will you fetch wine, and a bite of something to eat? Red or white?" she asks Ser Laurent, looking up at him from where she has disposed herself upon a landscape of pillows. There are no chairs.

"Red for me," Laurent answers the most important question first, his eyes drifting from Joyeuse to follow the handmaiden for a moment, his interest bordering on rude. Leather creaks, a man grunts, but perhaps surprisingly Ser Laurent shows no hint of uncertainty at falling into a well-prepared nest of pillows. The ease with which he situates himself almost suggests familiarity.

"Justice must be justice for the heir to House Tarly," he snorts, sprawling now to occupy a great deal of the room's floor space. "Or we're all thrown to chaos, and the Father himself'd be right to chuckle as we burn."

A scant couple of feet from where he sits, this lady of the Reach who bears the title of a Dornish princess sprawls rather invitingly with the sandsilk which is her adopted country's greatest gift to high society outlining every curve of her pleasingly opulent figure. "Goodness, you look comfortable," she observes, in an approving tone; "half the visitors I have hardly know what to do with their legs in here." She widens her eyes at him, a gesture of hers as habitual as it is theatrical. "Now, what have you heard? What can I tell you that you don't already know? We were at Starfall at the time it happened — all of it," and she makes a face; "it was only a handful of days after our wedding, and what a way to be brought down from the clouds."

The tableau is not lost on Ser Laurent Tyrell, whose dark eyes roam the figure of Princess Joyeuse as though the pair were much more familiar. "Good they've you to advise them, then," he counters. "The Dornish fashion suits you, Princess." Rather than a compliment, he makes it a salacious observation.

"As to what I've heard? Little enough: Ser Jason Tarly - on the very point of a duel with Ser Daevon Targaryen - were murdered as he shat, no one suspected for the deed, and no news since." His mien changes at the mention of the Maiden's Knight, making the name a mild curse. "Right enough?"

The princess answers his leering with an unmistakable smirk. "Oh, don't let's stop at that — everything Dornish suits me," she declares, winking at him. She does tend to take that sort of thing as a compliment. (And what lady wouldn't, so perilously near to her fortieth birthday?)

The wine arrives, a decanter and a pair of silver goblets studded with dark red gems, borne upon a small square table her handmaiden sets equidistant between them. "Your Highness…?" she murmurs, making of the words a question.

"Nothing more at present, bless you." And Princess Joyeuse affords her servant a small smile before turning again to pick up a goblet and to address Ser Laurent once more. "To justice, then," she declares, lifting hers nearer to his in a toast, "which needs all the help it can get…" The door shuts softly behind her maid. "Well, what you say is true enough. The duel was— It's said it was arranged," she confides, "the opportunity created a-purpose for the child to denounce Ser Jason, and for Prince Daevon," her lips press together in a line which suggests she is no more an admirer of him than is the Thorn, "to… step in. It was Prince Torren who asked that it be postponed, rather than see the celebrations of his daughter's birth sullied with such a matter. Another date was chosen, four days hence, but on the morning of the day itself… Ser Jason was found dead. It seems he had been drinking heavily the night before, as I suppose a fellow might who had to face Prince Daevon on the morrow; he had gone often to that latrine, and the last time… He simply didn't return to his tent." She drinks again, deeply. "A message was left in blood — his blood, it must have been," she shudders, "on the cistern in the lower bailey. 'There are no small folk'," she quotes, sounding a trifle dubious.

"Justice." Though he lifts his goblet, the word has a wry taste for Ser Laurent, who chases it away with a substantial drink of Dornish red. "Truly, everything Dornish," he muses, his heavy brow knitting over eyes that chase the princess's curves through a haze of sandsilk. This occupies his attention as he sucks at his teeth, wine forgotten almost immediately in his hand, thinking through the tale that Joyeuse relates. "The Smith's unwashed balls, but that duel must've been a certainty — was Ser Jason so poor a swordsman? I've not seen the Maiden's Knight take the field in a cause that mattered, were the outcome in doubt, the bards be buggered." Again he broods in silence, but not for near so long this time before he adds, "Have you ever heard anything so damnably foolish? Of course there are smallfolk, in Dorne as in the Reach."

Princess Joyeuse makes a face at his language, but doesn't dwell upon it. "Well, of course there are," she agrees, "but I suppose it was meant to mean that everybody matters to somebody — that every life is precious to the gods — that Ser Jason, whatever his birth, had no right to treat that young acolyte's mother as he did. And of course he hadn't, anybody would agree — but how anyone could deny the justice of the gods by taking the matter into his own hands, and then presume to prate against an unjust killing…" She lets out a small sound of vexation, and takes a deep breath before she can even go on. "It beggars belief, doesn't it? Two wrongs don't make a right, and I'm sure your nurse told you that even as mine told me. It's such a simple idea, isn't it? But it's still too much for some people. The duel did seem so certain — say what you will of the Maiden's Knight," she sighs, "but he's accounted a fine swordsman, and if it was the will of the gods that he prevail, he surely would have done — and I can't think why whomever it was couldn't have waited another few hours, to let the gods have their way with Ser Jason… I do think he was killed because of that business, and not any other, though he did have enemies enough," she points out, rolling her eyes toward the silken canopy above. "The message on the cistern makes it so clear, don't you see? I don't think it was done to allay suspicion, to point the finger in some other direction — because the lower bailey was still simply crawling with half the men of Dorne and a good few from the Reach, who'd come for the tournament and stayed for the duel. It was such a risk to do it, that it was surely only done sincerely, and not cynically."

"He needed only bring a hammer to the duel," Laurent opines, "Ser Daevon's baffled by anything not a blade." It's very matter-of-fact, and likely telling that he responds first to claims of the Targaryen knight's prowess. "At any rate," he huffs, "We've the heir to a key house of the Reach, murdered — as you suggest — likely by some skulking peasant, and nothing being done about it?" The Thorn shifts in his pile of cushions, now propping himself on one elbow while he puts his glass aside. "I'd expect better, Princess, even in Dorne. It's enough to provoke some ire, this side of the Red Mountains, don't you reckon? It might be as Ser Jason weren't much loved, but folk will forget that as the story spreads, and hear only that one of ours were murdered by one of yours, and no accounting had. What follows that, by your estimation?"

The princess shakes her head, not to disagree but merely to disapprove of this state of affairs. "I suppose I still hope there shall be an accounting," she admits, "though I ought to be old enough to know better, oughtn't I? … I have seen good punished so often, and evil so rarely." She shakes her head, gleaming dark red curls shifting about her shoulders. "The investigation has been left to House Dayne, because it all took place in their castle…" A beat. "Princess Amarei is still at Starfall, but I don't know whether you've heard…? Her consort was stricken by a dreadful illness on the way there, and she has been more occupied with his care and his company than anything else. She has lately left the greater part of the burden of ruling in Prince Torren's hands — and of course this was a family matter for him, through his wife — and so the Daynes were much the best choice to look into it, for nobody could suppose them to be partial. But the keep was thronged with hundreds upon hundreds of visitors, half the nobles of Dorne and all their retinues, and any number of lords from the Reach and beyond, and their retinues — and of course they couldn't all be detained, every single one of them, till somebody had to got to the bottom of it all, and so there's every reason to suppose the culprit fled weeks ago — to the Reach, I should think. I really don't believe it was a Dornishman did it," she informs him sincerely. "Prince Torren is beloved in his own land, and to commit such a brutal murder whilst all Dorne was celebrating the birth of his new heiress, when all one would have to do is wait a few hours for the gods to have their justice… I think it can only have been a heathen, don't you? And a heathen from the Reach, where Ser Jason was known far better than in Dorne, and where the acolyte and his mother came from. If it wasn't because of them, if it was because of some other smallfolk he'd mistreated — surely that, too, happened among the people of the Reach. Apart from one or two tournaments he hadn't set foot in Dorne, had he?"

Laurent's laughter rings loud and harsh in the small space, so that it's quick death is a kindness. "Never the Dornish at fault, is it," he asks bitterly. "No, you may be right this time, and it's some lowborn man of the Reach as murdered Ser Jason while he were voiding hisself. Just as likely though, he might've forced himself on some Dornish girl — they do draw the eye — so as her brother (or father, or her intended, or even a son) did for him. It's a fresh wrong as makes a man's blood burn, and puts murder in his mind, isn't it?" No surprise that Ser Laurent might suspect a Dornishman of the murder, though it's said with no more (though also with no less) venom than has accompanined any other piece of his mind. "So in the absence of royal justice, does House Dayne mean to make any effort at all to see this through? I might've thought they'd at least make a show — round up smallfolk, have a few flogged, mayhaps send someone to Oldtown with a fabricated charge, that sort of thing. Even the merest show of justice, no matter how false, would be preferable to silence, wouldn't it? The Maiden's dewy nethers, but if they wanted to send a party to chase Ser Jason's murdered here, I shouldn't think Lord Ormund would object. Doesn't budge his arse off its seat much these days, and never to say a cross word to a Dornishman, not so's I've seen."

"In Dorne rape is considered an even graver crime than it is in Westeros — and it's less shaming for the woman, too," the princess points out, always swift to defend her adopted kingdom. "It doesn't destroy her hopes of marriage, or spoil her husband's care for her if she's already wed. There would be no difficulty in obtaining justice openly… And if it were that, well," she shrugs, "in a castle so crowded with people, I rather think it would be known by now. I can't imagine there are many secret corners for that sort of thing, and how could a visitor from the Reach know them—? No, I'm quite sure this is to do with the trouble he brought with him to Dorne, and not any trouble he found there. I don't like to agree with you," and she does sound unhappy; "for myself, I had rather see no justice than false justice… How can there be such a thing, anyway," she muses, as though to herself. But then her focus returns to the Tyrell knight, and she pushes bravely onward. "But this once, when people on both sides of the border are so accustomed to thinking the worst, each of the other, when making war is easier and more habitual than making peace, I would dearly love to have an answer that would discourage the tensions of which you speak. I do believe what I'm telling you, Ser Laurent, that it was far more likely a man of the Reach than a man of Dorne who did this; I would that there were some way I might convince you, that you might then do your part in convincing others in Oldtown. It's part of the reason my husband and I came here so swiftly, after all," she admits; "to explain what happened, as best we can, and to discourage the people of the Reach from rushing to blame a Dornishman, on no better evidence than that they enjoy blaming Dornishmen."

"It's not, Princess," Laurent counters, his eyes again taking their liberties with the form hinted at beneath her Dornish dress, "That I enjoy blaming the Dornish. It's rather that I often find them to blame, and am inclined toward the truth when it's an option." His thick lips drawn into a line, the Thorn's tongue can once again be seen working at his teeth — heard too, in the stillness before he speaks. "No, I can't imagine what you might do to convince me entirely, and I shouldn't like to throw myself behind an opinion as I didn't truly hold with. Not," he's quick to underscore, "When it's justice as we're discussing, and my own reputation on the line. I've no doubt and you're persuasive, but that may be beyond even your… Considerable charm."

"And I certainly shouldn't like you to repeat any opinion of which you weren't certain in your own mind," the princess is quick to assure him, and if he happens to be looking anywhere near her eyes (the odds aren't good) he'll see in them only wide-open sincerity. "Perhaps, though, if you're asked, you might say that we don't know the truth, that it would be foolish to blame a Dornishman or a man of the Reach when Ser Jason Tarly had made so many enemies in his life, and we simply don't know which of them at last took that decisive step…? Or… well, one hardly likes to speak ill of the dead, when they can no longer defend their reputations; but I know you must know even more dreadful stories about him than I do. He behaved terribly, terribly, especially with women… Much as I do deplore what happened, I can't persuade myself that such a man is worth anyone fighting a battle over — or any of our young men of the Reach having to give their lives because he lost his," she declares, once again in a passion very much in keeping with her fiery hair and vibrant attire. "I know the dowager Lady Dayne to be an honourable woman, and I know she and her people are doing their very best in a difficult situation… If they are slow to speak, it is surely because in so grave a matter they don't wish to speak falsely."

If the princess has eyes, Ser Laurent may not yet be aware of them, or so suggests a roving gaze which finds little time to search them out. "I might say as much." The words are soft, reluctant in the extreme, "Though I've little cause to, and a bit of trouble on the border might suit me fine, wouldn't you think? It's the only way a bloody-minded man rises in anyone's estimation…" He reaches again for his glass of wine, but only toys with it, rolling it between his fingers. "I appreciate your confidence where House Dayne is concerned, but I truly can't imagine that you know to a certainty as they mean to pursue this matter with any great vigor." A quizzical grunt turns that last into a question, one brow lifted in its expression. "Leaving us at an impasse, Princess, unless there's something as I fail to account for."

"I could speak to you of my conversations with the dowager and her kin; I could quote chapter and verse," remarks the princess — but then she shakes her head, "but I know I can't expect you only to take my word for it. My husband's, perhaps," a rueful smile, "but not mine… I can only ask you to consider that this outrage took place upon Dayne lands — in the very heart of their keep — and when they were graced with a visit by their overlords, and honoured by playing hosts for the very birthing of the next heiress to the Dornish throne. It is a matter of honour for House Dayne to pursue the truth in this, as far as such a truth can be pursued under these rather difficult circumstances. I should hope a son of House Tyrell," she goes on earnestly, gazing into his eyes even if he has no time to spare for hers, "would understand such considerations… And that he would consider the peace of the Reach, and the lives of men sworn to Highgarden, above his own aggrandisement. I fear, Ser Laurent, there's never a shortage of trouble in the world… If that is what suits you, you surely shan't have long to wait for it to come again; and in a manner in which you would be blameless."

Laurent's cheeks redden, his dark eyes flashing upward now to catch Joyeuse's green ones. "I'm hardly to blame in this matter, Princess," he seethes, quiet but forceful. "I've a very well founded lack of faith, and have come to present it in good faith, absent your royal husband. There's likely some snivelling wretch of a peasant to blame, Dornish or not; Ser Jason Tarly himself; those as are burdened with justice in the matter, and have begun to let it fall by the wayside; but not me, nor mine. We both want justice for this, Princess, and you want something else besides: that justice to come at a hand other than mine." There's the beginning of a smile as he says, "A fair thing to want, I think, given the talk about me. And I've other things pressing on me just now, so if you've some reasonable suggestion I'd hear it, but don't appeal to my own guilty conscience - I have none, not in this matter."

The princess's reddened lips form a perfect 'O' of surprised and dismay, which shift in expression her interlocutor may well see for a change. "But that wasn't what I meant at all," she protests; "of course there's nothing here to blame you for," she scoffs, "because you weren't there and you hadn't even heard the whole tale of it till today — how can you think that that was what I meant? It's absurd! It was only that you seemed to be implying that you might say… something else, rather than what I suggested you might say, because it suited you, yourself, to have such trouble to take advantage of for your… career. And if you did that, well, of course you'd be culpable then, as surely as you're not now. I don't know you well enough to know what you would do or you wouldn't — I had only your own words to judge by, and they were a trifle ambiguous, don't you think?" And she pleads softly, apologetically, for his understanding.

"As far as not wanting justice from your hand, I suppose that's— almost correct. You weren't there, we're you? You didn't see the body, or speak with the people, or… or feel the feeling in the air. And so you don't seem to me to be the most suitable person to take charge of the investigation, whatever your zeal. You see how frankly I speak to you," and she smiles. "I only speak the truth, Ser Laurent, because I'm not clever enough to remember webs of lies. I don't believe you do have a guilty conscience — I said what I said only in the hope you'd keep from getting one. I hope you'll find you can place your trust in House Dayne, as have the Martells and the Targaryens both. It is a matter of their house's honour," she repeats, "to find the truth, as much as it is House Tyrell's honour to see justice for a bannerman, whatever his faults; and they are in the best position to bring this about."

"Their being in a position isn't worth a hair of the Father's arse to me, unless they use that position to pursue justice," Laurent retorts, and though he has brushed past Joyeuse's protests, they seem to have softened his tone somewhat. "You find me unsuited to the task, by reasons of experience or of temperament, and I don't disagree. I only note that, if those more suited fail in their appointed duty, if that task should fall as far as me, then it will fall no further. Whatever else I might be, I'm an anointed knight, and a man as stands for justice." Still his eyes remain level, searching the Martell princess' face now, his anger held in check.

"No, if it comes about that the Father's justice is not served, I'll take no solace in the fact that it were House Dayne's failure. There will be blame enough for me, as well, and for anyone as ought to have taken umbrage at their fecklessness in seeing to the matter." His lips twist again now into a grimace as he lets his eyes fall into the deep red of his wine, but he only watches it, rather than partaking. "No, I've little care for Ser Jason's memory, and less for House Dayne's honour. My concern is for House Tyrell's duty to its banner houses, as it ever has been, and however I might wish our minds aligned in this… I don't find them precisely so."

"My concern is for justice, and for peace," insists the princess; "and I should indeed put them in that order, for I don't believe we can make and keep a true peace without the Father's justice. If justice isn't done, if it only appears to be done when in truth people have lied and cheated to bring about a false imitation of it, then I think someone will always find it out — eventually. It has not been so very long," she suggests. "Perhaps if this had happened in Tyrell lands, Ser Laurent, you'd have brought justice more swiftly. But for the time being it remains House Dayne's task, and I ask you… I only ask you, with all my heart," though as she leans nearer to him, the more appropriate phrase might seem to be 'with all my magnificent cleavage', "not to stir up the lords of the Reach to violence against Dorne, so soon, when there is no proof that a Dornishman was at fault. I don't know how long these things usually take — I'm afraid I'm rather a frivolous woman," she admits, "and I haven't always paid the best attention, in the past, to matters which didn't touch me; but I think it is early, still, too early to give up on House Dayne, when they are so deeply concerned in it all. I hope and I pray that this justice shall not fall to you to give, Ser Laurent, for you have spoken to me today of wishing for— for a show of justice, which is far from the truth of it. Much as I do worry about letting it… continue on, for too long, I worry too that neither the Reach nor Dorne would be well-served by a travesty of justice. A man in your position might do much to encourage a sensible, rational view of it all, as I suggested… Your word counts for a great deal in some circles, I think. Would it help if I were to send my husband to you?" she asks, as a last ditch effort. "I don't speak for House Martell; but, in Oldtown, he does."

The mention of a husband engenders a brief but energetic shake of Laurent's head, to break the spell cast upon him by the princess's fetching and well-presented form. "Send him if you must," in a tone as indifferent as the words themselves, "Or call upon me yourself, if you'd prefer, with word of his opinions. I'll not strive to incite violence myself, Princess, not just now. I trust that's well enough?" A sip of his wine, now, and the Thorn puts the glass aside on the low table once again. "But should I perceive a reluctance in House Dayne, or a failure of their will, I'll not long stand idle, and take justice however I might come by it — lashing men until I find one as fits a noose, or horses and swords — and make a show of whatever justice I take. We understand one another?"

"… I think we do, ser," sighs Princess Joyeuse, managing to convey a wistful regret that their understanding cannot be more complete, that they can't be wholly and utterly on the same side. She has long since drained her goblet, and privately regrets that he's put his down, denying the prospect of generous mutual refills. "I shall convey your words, and your intentions as best I understand them, to those who ought to know… And I hope you'll convey to House Tyrell our very great regret that such a thing happened on Dornish soil, and our determination to see the culprit answer for his crime. It is the will of those who govern Dorne at present, that there should be peace between us," she insists, with the passionate sincerity which becomes her as well as her sandsilks; "a peace built not only upon justice, but upon a mutual respect I hope we do all strive in our own ways to— to foster… Why, consider my own marriage," she offers, with a small laugh. "The second time in less than two years, that a prince of House Martell wed a woman born north of the border. What does that say to you of Dorne's wish to be on good terms with its neighbours?"

"It must be a very great burden," Laurent manages, deadpan, leather creaking as he gathers himself, his intention clearly to stand, "Your marriage to Prince…" He clears his throat after a moment's fumbling, then amends, "To a Dornish prince, though as we've agreed the Dornish fashion quite favors you." A fact attested to by the way Ser Laurent's eyes have roamed throughout their conversation, by the way he leers even now. "I shall convey to Lord Tyrell your assertion that we are, for the moment, in the hands of House Dayne, and that you at least are earnest in your belief that they will acquit themselves well. And," he suggests finally, rising to his feet with a grunt, "You shall call on me if you find you need a reprieve from the Dornish, or shall send word if there is any development." Sullen Ser Laurent, never eager, never one to look forward to anything with great zeal, at the least does not shrink from the prospect of a further meeting with Princess Joyeuse. If that speaks more to his appreciation of her physical charms than to their like-minded stances on justice for Ser Jason Tarly, the faint glimmer of hope is not diminished by that lamentable fact.

It is the wont of certain Targaryens to flaunt themselves upon elaborate chairs when receiving petitioners; not one of them looks so much at home as Princess Joyeuse Martell upon her Dornish cushions, with the folds of her robes draped to conceal her feet. She is obliged to lift her gaze to follow Ser Laurent as he rises, but she seems undiminished by this disparity: confident, at her ease, nonchalantly alluring in her ways as she offers him a beringed hand in leavetaking. "No burden at all," she assures him; "I have been looking for some time now for my rightful place, and I have found it at Prince Auberyn's side," she explains simply. "We shall be sure to let you know when we learn anything House Tyrell has the right to know. Good day, Ser Laurent; my maid will show you out."

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