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It’s late for women to be moving about unescorted. Luckily for Liane, there are those handy Gold Cloaks always about to make sure she doesn’t run away. She seems comfortable enough ignoring them, however, as she paces towards the sept, stopping some distance away to consider the building critically.
A long shadow falls from the slender argent White Sword Tower, and Black Jonn Lannister stands beneath it. Idly, he tosses an apple up and catches it in his left hand. He considers it for a moment with his flecked green eyes, as though contemplating which is the more entertaining: the sound of the apple smacking his palm or the feel of it filling his stomach.
Then, decisive as ever, he tosses and catches it once more.
Ah, now there’s an easier subject to contemplate than the goals and motivations of the Seven. That smacking sound draws Liane’s attention away from the sept with little difficulty, a brow arching slightly at the Lannister. “You don’t seem the sort to consider the Kingsguard, Ser Jonn,” she muses from a distance.
Now it is Ser Jonn’s turn to give his eyes a long-suffering roll.
“Kingsguard?” he asks, sounding thoroughly shocked and at least partially abhorrent. “Me? No, I think you’ve mistaken me for Ser Jaesin.” The last two words drip with sarcasm that is neither gentle nor delicate in its application.
“Ah, so you’re waiting for your brother to stop waiting on your Dragonknight?” Liane guesses, approaching slowly and looking up towards the tower. “Does he stay there? As a prince?” she asks curiously, tipping her head to one side as she looks at the windows.
The apple flies from his hand, traversing upwards without spin…
“I wait on no man,” he says, suddenly contrite as the apple slaps down into his palm. “He stays in the Lannister Manse,” he informs her then, his good spirits having been returned, it would seem, by the weight of the apple in his hand. “And he is but the eldest son of the Lord, though he may yet fancy himself a prince among men.”
“I meant the Dragonknight,” Liane notes, though there’s a note of amusement in the slight smile that tugs at one corner of her lips. “Your Dragonknight killed Garyn. I’m slightly less impressed with your brother.” She brushes her bangs across her brow, away from her eyes, as she turns from tower to knight.
“He also took a poisoned arrow for his King,” Jonn says keenly.
“Would your Garyn have done the same?”
“I am certain,” Jonn adds, “that it was simply a matter of which got to your cousin first, my lady. Do not underestimate my brother, for all that he smiles and speaks in riddles: the more honor he stands to gain, the more skilled his blade becomes.”
“Garyn left Hellholt, his own land, for the prince,” Liane points out, quiet. “I’d say that sort of decision is worth as much.” She shrugs one shoulder on the topic of Jaesin, quiet. “Garyn’s dead, Utheryn’s dead, and there isn’t much of Dorne left to match them, so it’s rather a moot point.”
At that, Jonn snorts indecorously. “Do you take me for a fool, Uller? Do you think I can’t see what it is you REALLY want?”
Liane quirks a brow at that reaction, another flicker of amusement crossing her features. “Please, Ser Jonn, enlighten me,” she responds, gesturing him on politely.
For a moment the word hangs in the air like a sword poised to draw blood.
“I wanted it too,” says Ser Jonn then, his eyes sharp and bright. Then he smiles, very dangerously. “And I got it.”
Liane smiles faintly. “Nonsense, Ser Jonn,” she replies smoothly. “Thanks to the Hand, you’ve seen all of us swear our oaths. Revenge is for enemies. We’re all one kingomd here now.” She even manages to maintain that polite smile as she recites the proper words.
“Nonsense,” Sir Jonn comes the nasally imitation of Liane’s own voice. He flutters his eyelashes coquettishly. “Revenge is for enemies. We’re all one kingdom here now.”
Then he grunts, and runs a hand through his hair. “But you’re just like everyone else in this squalid fucking city. Oath this, oath that—and yet every word a lie.”
“It’s not a lie until it’s broken,” Liane shrugs one shoulder, crossing her arms loosely over her chest as she looks towards the tower again. “And it isn’t as though we have a list of options when they decide who they’ll send. Check here if you’d like to be a hostage with an expectation of support from your family, here if you’re not entirely sure how you’ll support yourself, here if you’d like regular visits him.”
With an air of bored dismissal, Black Jonn flicks his wrist at Liane’s words. “More shit from the crow,” he says then, pushing himself forward from against the wall of the Kingsguard Tower, standing up straight now.
“Now, to the crux of it,” he says with a devilishly handsome smile, “let’s say I told you I know who killed your precious Yronwood. What would you say then?”
Liane tenses slightly to that, though she tries to hide it, chin rising slightly. “I’ve been told it was Ser Osbert Bettley who claimed that honor,” she says as smoothly as she can, nodding towards the white tower. “So I would say that there is some reason you feel a need to remind me of his death.”
“Because,” Jonn says leaning forward and speaking slowly, “if I were killed and my wife learned his identity, she’d avenge me.”
“Oath or no oath,” he adds almost as an afterthought.
“Knights of the Kingsguard are a bit beyond my means, Ser Jonn,” Liane points out dryly. “And Berec would not appreciate it if I got myself killed taking on something I had no chance against.”
“Some might say,” Jonn begins, smiling, “that revenge upon Lord Tyrell is a bit beyond the means of a younger son of Casterly Rock.”
“Some might say,” he says softer, leaning back against the cool stones of the tower again.
Liane arches a brow at that, looking unimpressed. “Last I heard, Lord Tyrell was alive and relatively well in Dorne. Aside from the ruins of his host, but that seems to be going around these days,” she adds with a faint grimace. She shifts her weight then, taking a few steps to one side before looking back to him. “Why do you care about Berec anyhow?”
“He is alive,” says Jonn, “though once, early in the campaign, he might have died.”
A dramatic pause. A leonine smile.
“But for the timely intervention,” the last two words are so devious, so full of hidden meaning that his expression is aglow with it, “of an intrepid young Lannister.”
He shrugs petulantly as she steps to the side. “How could I not care? I have a son, I have a wife. And those nightmares have haunted my dreams for too long.”
“How is saving his life revenge?” Liane asks, amused and confused both, though it’s all replaced with sobriety at the reminder of loss. “Nevermind,” she says quietly. “There’s nothing to be done to bring him back. I gave an oath. And even if I hadn’t, it isn’t as though I could walk up into that tower and take on Ser Osbert.” She pauses, looking away from the tower and over her shoulder. “Maybe from a distance, with a bow. But that seems equally unlikely.”
“He decided to attack a defile near Blackmont,” Jonn says, explaining, “and counted on my support in his back. But he had committed a grievous error the previous night: he had impunged the honor of the Lannister house, from father to brother to sons. I waited until all was lost for Lord Tyrell, until he himself, surrounded by three men, was near to death. The Lannister host remained back from the fighting, and then, when all was lost for Lord Tyrell…”
He pauses for effect.
“I had saved his sorry ass. I made him swear that as long as he should live, he would never speak ill of any Lannister, and I made him apologize to me for his slight on men nobler than he.”
A smile, very catlike. “He did all this and more. He knighted me.”
“Now,” Jonn continues, “don’t you see, lady Uller? My brother has ever failed to understand this: revenge is a many faceted jewel, and some are brighter than others.”
“I would have found it a much brighter facet had you waited until Lord Tyrell met his end,” Liane points out with a grimace, though there’s still something thoughtful behind the expression, pensive. “But I understand.” A faint smile touches the corner of her lips, gaze narrowing slightly. “What I fail to understand is why you would speak words of revenge to a hostage.”
“Perhaps I was bored,” comes the shrugging reply, “perhaps this is the first step in your education. Only time will tell.”
“My education,” Liane echoes, shaking her head and looking down to hide something that resembles a smile. “I was unaware we were going to be educated, as well. That should certainly fill a few more hours of the day. Will all of our instructors be so charming, Ser Jonn?” she asks as innocently as she can.
A smile comes to Ser Jonn’s face then—it is self-deprecating, as though he is laughing at himself. “I don’t know. Is Ser Doran charming?” he asks rhetorically.
He then turns and begins to walk away, but not before winking with sly intent and saying, like an aged Maester. “There will be a written examination one week from today. Good-bye, student.”
His long legs till the stone easily and he is out of earshot in a matter of moments.
He seems very pleased with himself.
Liane’s smile slips crooked into a wry smirk. “Not particularly, no. Nor is Ser Bryce, nor Ser Benedict, but they are all terribly well-meaning. You, I suspect, may be less so,” she notes bemusedly, though her curtsey and the dip of her chin are suitable for any ancient septa. “I shall study my hardest,” she assures with all appropriate sobriety, hand on her heart, before she watches him go.
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