At this time of evening, there is a great deal of hustle and bustle centered around the kitchens as servants hurry in and out of that particular building, some with rather large burdens. Irena has managed to find a somewhat peaceful spot though, as everyone is too busy to bother with the small stand of fruit trees in whose shade she sits. In her lap sits a wax tablet, which she occasionally marks with the stylist in her hand.
Sitting on a nearby bench is an older woman, obviously a septa and leaning against the tree a guard whose orange and gray livery matches the colors of the dress the girl under the trees wears.
With all the activity, who would notice one more noble making their way to the vicinity of the kitchens, whether with a purpose or none at all? Certainly, the robed Dornishman who walks into the yard from the east is a figure that goes largely unremarked by servants who have better things to do. Whatever his purpose, it seems to bring him towards the stand of fruit trees. Perhaps he means to pass beyond them, to the kitchens proper, but a glance to the little company there and the young lady scratching away with a stylus, and courtesy takes over.
“Good evening, my lady,” the Dornishman announces, stopping at a short remove from her—he’s marked the guardsman—as he offers a brief bow of his head. “A fine sunset, is it not?”
The jerk of Irena’s head betrays her surprise at being spoken to, something that is quickly hidden behind her polite smile and nod. “It is, isn’t it? It’s not often that you see one that colors the clouds so.” After her comment she makes her way back up onto her feet, something that isn’t exactly graceful when still using a hand to hold the tablet, even if it seems something that the young lady at least has had practice with.
The guard looses his formerly bored expression when the Dornishman approaches his charge. He now watches warily, but makes not move to approach or intervene. The septa on the on, goes so far as to set down her needlework, stand, and move towards a position closer to Irena.
A violet-eyed glance of the eyes, to the guardsman and then the septa, and Aidan decides it’s safe enough to smile. He even nods to the septa, polite and proper. “Indeed,” he tells the noblewoman, eyes lifting up to the sky again, and then he says, “I do not believe we have been introduced—I am Ser Aidan Dayne, of Starfall. I have seen you about the castle, here and there ... Are you a Kenning, perhaps? The colors seem similar…” He gestures with a hand towards the gown.
The septa echoes her charges curtsy, even if the older woman’s is stiffer and not as deep as the polite depth Irena gives her own, “I am Irena Marbrand, of Ashemark.” She adds, seemly more amused by the mistake than offended, “The colors are /very/ similar. Orange and black or orange and smoke… or gray.” Her smile brightens her eyes for a moment, “Because smoke isn’t exactly a color.”
Furrowed brows match the silent mouthing of the house name Irena gives ... and then Aidan hazards, “Marbrand of Ashemark, and smoke? It makes me think of a burning tree. Is that right, Lady Irena? I saw such a banner, here and there, in Dorne. The smoke hue was quite cunningly done, I thought.” Like enough he saw the Kenning banner in the same place. He ducks his head with momentary embarrassment as he adds, “I’m sorry to disturb you with such questions and trifles, my lady of Marbrand, especially as you were at your writing. It’s only that I thought perhaps you were a Kenning.” He doesn’t explain further, and his smile is awkward. A look towards the kitchens, from which rich scents are beginning to waft, and he remarks with a certain conviviality, “A fine board as usual, I expect. I do not suppose you would think it lacks in spice?”
“I was just about to stop for the evening anyway. It’s getting too dark to see by.” Irena laughs and says with a shake of her head, “I am sure that my idea of spice and yours are about as different as night and day, if I understand such things correctly.”
The Septa glowers over her short charge, but holds her tongue.
Ser Aidan flashes a bright grin at that. “You’re quite right, Lady Irena. We love our dragon pepper and mustard seed in Dorne. It has taken some getting used to, the ... well, the blander food, if I may say so.” He seems almost apologetic as he says it. “Still, some dishes come close to our own, and the kitchens sometime provide us dishes we rarely see in Dorne. You have boar more often.” It’s all small talk, and the Dornish knight is full of graciousness and courtesy as he speaks despite having apparently dismissed the septa and guard from his mind.
A pause and then he shifts the topic of conversation, “Might I ask what you were writing, my lady? A letter for home, I expect. That’s what I would be doing, had I the opportunity.”
Irena considers her reply for a moment before saying, “I was writing to my sisters. They are still in Ashemark, and are constantly writing me begging for news and gossip, so I do try to write whenever I get the chance.” A faint frown crosses her features, “Are you not allowed to, ser Aidan, or is it just that you do not have the time?”
“I’ve sisters as well,” Aidan says, “two of them. One is in Oldtown, but we rarely heard from her once she was there. The other, Lady Alia, is at Starfall…” He seems set to say more, but changes tack and instead replies to the question, “We have not been allowed, my lady. Not while King Daeron is still fighting, we’ve been told. I fear it will be months yet before we can start to send messages to our kin.” An awkward silence, and then a shrug and he forces a smile. “But here, I did not mean to complain about it—I should not even have asked, truly; it was none of my business.” He glances to the septa then, and offers the stern woman a little bow as if to show he’s not forgotten her.
A sharp look from her septa gains a nod from Irena as her tone changes into somewhat awkward politeness, “My question, probably should not have been asked either.” She curtsies once again, “It is getting rather late, so I should be going. It was nice to meet you though, Ser Aidan.” Her septa and guard follow the young lady closely, especially wary as they pass the Dornishman.