Promise made, promise kept - this morning as the bright sunlight shines outside, Lilah Gargalen has come to pair her end of the agreement with the Sun Guard Captain. Dressed in split skirts for riding but with breeches beneath, the skirts cut to cling rather than conceal, and leather boots much battered and abused by wind and sand. It’s an odd sight, a lady of blood rapping on the door to the guardsmen’s barracks, no end of eyebrows raising and a few crass words uttered, though quickly hushed.
Lilah stands in the doorway, eyes seeking out the Captain in question.
The barracks are mostly empty aside from a few off-duty men and a few night watchmen who are asleep in the pallets against the walls. A sergeant stands, moving over to Lilah, a confused expression crossing his face for a moment. “Excuse me, my lady, how can we help?” He asks, his voice with a rough accent.
Lilah’s eyes glitter as she skims the room. “Your Captain,” she says with a hint of mischief in her voice, “if you can find him, let him know the Lady Lilah Gargalen seeks him out for their agreed-upon practise.”
The man blinks once. “Ser Valerin is in his office.” The guard motions to the specified room. “Would you like me to go fetch him, or would you like to go yourself?”
For all a rebel, she knows her limits - and the reputation she must uphold. “If you could fetch him, it would be a courtesy well-appreciated.”
The sergeant nods, bowing slightly as he moves off to the office and knocks on it. After a few minutes, there’s nothing. He knocks again. Nothing. So the sergeant takes a bucket from next to the door, opens the office and there’s a splash, splutter, some cursing and some muted conversation.
The giggle is unmistakable, breaking out into the full peals of laughter as the sounds carry to Lilah. Leaning more against the doorframe, a step inside, she grins and covers her mouth with her hand, trying to keep a tiny sense of decorum, but it fails miserably. “My lord Dayne,” she calls out, “should I perhaps come back later?”
A few moments after that call, Ser Valerin appears himself, though still looking half asleep and a bit, shall we say, damp. “Ah! Lady Lilah.” The captain says, smiling. “I must apologise for that little scene.” But by the way he’s grinning, it doesn’t seem much of an apology. “While I take a nap in my office when not on duty, I tend to sleep rather solidly when I do, so the method you just saw is the…ah, best way to get my attention.”
Lilah chuckles again, straightening her posture. “I shall bear that in mind, Ser Valerin, if I do ever need to catch your attention. Do you prefer warm water, cold water, or a goblet of wine? It would be most helpful to know what is most effective.” Another smile creases her face. “If this is, however, an inconvenient time - I can return when you’re more… alert. I would not wish to impose upon you.”
Lilah pouts slightly, melodramatic. “Well, I couldn’t let them lose their fun, though I admit the idea of having leave to douse the Captain of the Guard with a bucket of water is a terribly tempting thought. I’ll defer to you, if you have a suggested place for practise - whether the courtyard or elsewhere.” She shrugs slightly, shoulders rippling beneath the linen. “I can wait long enough for you to break your fast, however!”
Valerin waves a hand dismissively. “Fear not for me, my lady. I had merely finished writing reports when I decided to take a brief nap, is all.” He starts to move out from the barracks towards the courtyard. “I’ve been told that taking a few naps helps you readjust to the daylight hours.” He explains.
Following him through to the Outer Yard, Lilah looks around considering, and steps away, out of the bustle and traffic. “Indeed. And soon it will be winter, and you will be more than well pleased not to take the night shifts, I venture,” she adds after a few moments. “I cannot blame you for that… there have been more than a few days where I have gone to the Godswood to nap, and enjoy the sun and solitude.”
Valerin looks about, obviously choosing the best place to have their little practice session. “Oh, I wouldn’t let a little thing like winter stand before my duty.” He comments. “How about the inner yard, my lady? That seems to be quiet at this time.” He offers, nodding to a few of the palace guards who are hanging about. “And the Godswood is peaceful, I agree, but I wouldn’t want to anger the Old Gods by sleeping there.”
Lilah nods, and allows him to lead, speaking as she walks beside him. “It is what the Godswood has become in many places… They would likely appreciate enjoyment of their presence, rather than the fear the septas cultivate when you accidentally drowse in the sept!” She shakes her head, mock-shuddering.
Valerin nods, grinning. “A fact that I can attest to.” He says, “I nerely drowsed off several times when I was practicing for my all-night vigil in the sept for my knighthood.” He progresses into the quieter inner yard, stopping in the centre. “Now, this looks a bit better.” He smiles.
Lilah follows, and nods, looking around the yard. “So, then - where would you have us begin?” She looks around, kicking the ground with one booted foot. “Will you run my through my paces like one of my cousin’s horses or hounds?” The bite from that is softened by the quirk of lips, amused.
Valerin grins lightly, drawing his dagger. “First, I’d like to see exactly what you’re capable of beforehand.” He says, the blade, though blunted this time, still gleams in the sunlight. “Do you have a blunted weapon, my lady?”
Selara walks through the Threefold Gate followed by her septa and a servant loaded with packages of all shapes and sizes.
Lilah pulls out a small, blunted dagger. “Small blade is what I know - that and, as you saw, the bare beginnings of the bow. Lest I cut you with my dangerous skills,” she says, only half sarcastic - knowing an ill-trained warrior can be more dangerous to foe and friend alike than a fully trained one - “here’s one I have.” She pauses, catching sight of Selara, the septa and servant. “Well,” she chuckles with a bit of a grin. “It seems I am not the only one who has been busy this morning.”
Valerin glances to the side, his violet eyes regarding the new arrivals. “One of your acquaintances, my lady?” The captain asks, curious.
The septa tugs at Selara’s sleeve to draw her attention to the looks thrown their way. Selara turns her head, shading her eyes from the morning sun. “Cousin Lilah! Such a fine morning.
“Septa Gawesse, thank you for accompanying me, I believe I will go and greet my cousin and her mystery companion. You may go.”
Lilah’s carefully coiffed hair doesn’t move much as she chuckles slightly. “A cousin, one of the Dalt ones,” she explains to Valerin with a smile. “We’re fairly well crossed, our lines. Selara’s great-aunt on her father’s side is my grandmother, on my father’s side.” She pauses, a frown creasing her brow. “My mother is something like her third cousin twice removed, or somesuch.” She waves a hand, regardless. “It is good to see you, coz. This is Ser Valerin Dayne, Captain of the Guards here at Sunspear.” This information is delivered with a grin, and she steps back to make the polite introduction.
Smiling, Selara heads towards the pair. “Pleased to make your acquintance, ser. I am Selara Dalt.”
Valerin listens in to Lilah’s explanation of their relation, smiling lightly. He then bows to the introduction. “Lady Selara, so nice to make your acquaintance, and delightful to meet yet another fine cousin of Lady Lilah.” He says, flashing a grin to Lilah.
Selara grins a little. “Ever since I came back to Sunspear it seems like it’s cousins everywhere.”
Lilah grins at Valerin, and brandishes the small blunted dagger teasingly. “You had best watch yourself, ser, or you’ll find yourself married into the Gargalens or Dalts, and then you too will have more innumerable kin!” Lilah turns back to her cousn. “So, coz - what brings you to Sunspear? It’s been awhile since I’ve seen you - any particular grounds for this return?”
Selara says, “Lady Joleta was kind enough to take me as one of her ladies-in-waiting. I have to confess that I was finding Lemonwood rather… dull after the years spent at the Red Keep and I was yearning for the excitement of the life here.”
Valerin smirks. “Would that my father find a suitable wife, I’d happily marry into a Westerosi family.” He comments back
Selara boldly measures Valerin up and down. “Are you not Westerosi yourself, ser?”
Lilah frowns, that last comment unpleasant to her. “That we will fain have,” she says sharply. “Westerosi weaklings. No stolid Dornish blood for them, no—and none of them polluting ours.” Her eyes flicker, dark and harsh, and somehow she seems to push it aside. “Excellent, then - things here have their various levels of excitement, and I think you’ll do well under Cousin Joleta, as she certainly gets around and ensures that things are handled properly.” Something seems to settle in her, and she’s not quite back to her cheerful self - but almost.
Valerin quirks an eyebrow at Selara. “Pale though the Daynes are, my lady, we’re as Dornish as the rest of you lot.” He says, taking no real offence to that comment. “And I am hurt that you should think I am.” HE says, in mock hurt, grinning shortly after. He looks to Lilah. “My apologies for that comment, my lady, but I did say /if/ my father finds a suitable wife.”
Selara blushes a fierce crimson. “I meant no offense, ser.”
“There are no suitable wives amongst the Westerosi,” Lilah says as if this is given fact, established knowledge. “Perhaps for them, but… not for us, no. Imagine how they would manage under Rhoynish law! The ladies would fall in shock, require palanquins, unable to survive. I do not know how those who were hostage managed it - I am thankful I was not one chosen to be a hostage, for I’d as like have killed myself as suffered it.” She shakes her head. “How you managed, coz, I’ll never know, nor Cousin Joleta, nor even Ser Madyn.”
Selara says, “I was fortunate to have Lady Joleta and my uncle Galwell at my side, they helped me get through the worst of it. And you are quite right, from what I’ve seen the ... Westerosi treat their women like chattel. Although there seem to be a few with a little more spirit than the rest of them.”
Valerin waves a hand to Selara’s comment. “Do not apologise, I have had to explain the same thing many times.” He then looks to Lilah, grinning. “Of course there aren’t, my lady. Hence the if.” He sighs in mock distress. “I fear my father may never find me a wife.” He says, still grinning.
Seeming slightly disgruntled, Lilah fidgets with the dagger in her hands. “And perhaps those we could breed into some lines, if they proved themselves adaptable. My kin held hostage, my home under siege - these are vulgarities from those wretches in King’s Landing that I cannot forgive. Their King came to return the hostages, walked - it is the smallest part of the reparations due.” She inhales deeply, and exhales slowly, and smiles at Valerin. “We’ll see what can be found for you,” she adds, almost coyly. “I am sure it’s simply because the net has not yet been properly cast, to use a seaman’s saying.”
Selara looks slightly uncomfortable at all this talk of match-making and marriage.
Valerin smirks lightly. “There is, of course, a chance that one of the fishermen does not wish to find his perfect matched fish. At least, not yet.” He looks to Selara. “So, another who was held at the Young Dragon’s pleasure. Was it truly as bad as I hear?”
Lilah leans back, and lets Selara speak.
Selara frowns, chewing her lip. “Being taken away from your parents and siblings is always bad. We weren’t mistreated though and there was many a chance to learn, if one would keep their eyes and ears open… and their minds.” The last words are said with a furtive glance at Lilah.
Catching the glance, Lilah chuckles. “Better you than me, coz. I would rather my intrigues here, my lovers here, my life here. My princess is home, and I serve her now as a lady in waiting, and that is fine enough for me. The most travel I wish to do is Dorne - east to west, north to south. Perhaps to such exotic lands as Braavos, or the like, but… No, I am happy with my seas of sand. I will let others be knowledgeable of the Westerosi, and watch them when they come here.”
Valerin nods. “I just hope that when next they come, it’s not with steel in hand as before.” He scowls. “Too much blood was shed for a young boy to have everything.”
“I did not mean to give offense, or belittle your love for Dorne, cousin.” Selara adds hurriedly. “I’ve lost kin to the war and the Dragonknight killed one of my uncles, I have no love for the Targaryens and their lapdogs. It’s just… I don’t know. I’d love to see the library at the Citadel” she blurts out.
Lilah’s nod is a bit mournful, oddly. “Too much blood was shed in sum,” she says softly. “Too many kin lost, too much destroyed. I saw what they did to Salt Shore, heard from Lord Aryard what they did to Kingsgrave, and the work he still has to recover it. I would that if they came again, it was not with steel in hand - or we had the way to push them back, properly.” She shrugs. “And that’s fine for you, coz - you may have the sense to use it. Not everyone would. Perhaps,” Lilah adds thoughtfully, “you could start the construction of some library here, to compete with it.”
Valerin chuckles. “And another excuse for the Westerosi to tighten their grip on Dorne, no doubt.” He scowls lightly, showing what little love he has for the northern men. “They want what they do not have.” He says, “Do not think Starfall got off lightly.” He growls under his breath. “Our lord was killed and our lady was nigh on raped by that pig, Chester.” He folds his arms. “I am glad she slit his throat.”
Her eyes had brightened at the mention of a great library, but now she clenches her jaw and scowls. “I hope they leave us alone” she says in a low, fierce tone.
Lilah nods. “If you’d like,” Lilah says thoughtfully, “I’ll introduce you to Lady Azalais Dayne. She’s another one of Princess Ariana’s ladies in waiting, and another of the scholarly type. She rather likes to paint as well—she’s done many a commission. Between the pair of you, you might find some success in putting together a scholarly few chambers, and work on an admirable library.”
Valerin smiles lightly. “Aah, my dear neice Azalais.” He brightens considerably. “She is quite the talent, indeed.” He comments.
Selara beams at her cousin’s words. “Truly? Oh, that would be so splendid! I mostly like to read history, but I would love to study other things as well, shame I wasn’t born a man so that I could study at the Citadel… but perhaps this is just as good. We’ll build a palace of knowledge and scholars from all corners of the world will flock here.” A dreamy smile plays on her lips.
Nodding solemnly, Lilah keeps her face even, a slight quirk at the corner of her lips the only sign of a smile. “I will see what I can do for you, and make the introduction - or perhaps Ser Valerin can. I am sure that two minds such as yours and Lady Azalais’ would see things put together in short order. The Westerosi will shake in their boots as you manage to put things together, and they will quake at the Dornish influence.” She finally can’t hold it in any longer, and the smile breaks free for a few moments. “We’ll see what can be done in deed.”
Valerin chuckles lightly. “A war won by words. Who would think such an idea.” He smirks at the thought, but there’s no mirth behind it. “Now, come, Lady Lilah. We should get this practice done before my duty calls me away!”
Selara smiles broadly. “Thank you for your wonderful suggestion and your offer of help. I shall not keep you any longer. Ser Valerin, it has been a pleasure.” Selara bows slightly and takes her leave, servant trailing behind her.
And with that, blunted daggers in hand, and to the bemusement of passersby, the Captain of the Guard takes the young Lady Gargalen to task.