It is midday, and that means a crowd.
Smallfolk jostle each other as they bustle about the day’s business, muffled curses and oaths coming from some parties, while others just stare hatefully. All in all, another fine day in King’s Landing.
Before the war, nobles could traverse through the plaza with little or no guard, but now things are different. Yet some nobles are still themselves, and pay no mind to the less privileged. Jonn Lannister is among them. Clad in resplendent crimson and gold, he has brought no guard with him, and he leans with his back against the grimy wood of the Inn, watching the crowd idly pass before him. If the smallfolk get to close, he seems all too pleased to frown and shove them away roughly.
Unlike Jonn, Carmella does not have the luxury to travel unaccompanied and today her entourage is a little bit larger than just Ser Amond. In fact the familiar knight is nowhere to be found. Instead, the Dondarrion girl is with another woman, servant most likely, and a pair of guards in Dondarrion colors. It is the latter who do the work of keeping those they deem undesirable away, leaving Carmella and the other woman to talk. Or rather argue, in this particular case.
“I told you, nothing at all happened. You’re making far too much of this as it is,” Carmella scowls at the other woman who is behaving in a less than servant-like way, she’s actually talking back to Carmella as the day’s errands are forgotten. “It’s the appearance of it, Lady Carmella. That’s more important than anything and I say you’ve behaved poorly.”
Carmella issues one last scowl and stalks off, though the other three are quick to catch up.
Victor is amongst those nobles risking themselves in the face of the smallfolk, without escort of any sort. A Knight needs no such guard, though the young heir seems hesitant to make contact with any, more from fright of disease then fear of conflict. He lingers beneath one of the plaza’s larger statues, gazing outward with an obviously idle expression.
The conversation between Carmella and her lady companion seems to be of particular interest to Ser Jonn, for he cranes his head to listen, smiling all the while. But he remains at his repose for the time being, catching the conversation as best he can.
Apparently it wasn’t too interesting.
As his gaze sweeps the plaza idly, he makes note of the young Heir to Castamere and pushes himself off the wall, caught in a moment of indecision.
“Perhaps I should send you back to Blackhaven with the others,” Carmella says when the other woman catches up to her, gaining only a look of ‘I’ve heard that threat before’ in the other woman’s eyes. In short, it does little to make her back away. The two knights, on the other hand, give each other looks and keep a short distance away. Carmella’s dark gaze momentarily lands on the Lannister knight as she looks over at her maid and ever so slightly her eyes narrow before she turns her attention elsewhere.
“I’ll do it too, you and Ser Amond can go back, gossiping like little girls all the way,” Carmella mutters on as she looks over some ribbons being offered by a trader who had set his wares up right in the plaza. No doubt hoping the afternoon crowd would be plentiful. He’s not wrong, but he hasn’t sold too much either.
Victor seems to see his fellow Westerman as well, and with a shrug pushes from the statue and forces his way through the crowd, physically moving those who’d dare to block his path. “Ser Jonn, how goes your day?” He asks as he nears, before grumbling as he shoves a smallish smallfolk to the side.
The Lannister’s golden brow arches indelicately, a haughty sneer coming to his face—
And then it is interrupted by the arrival of Victor near to him. The expression melts from his face like warm butter, replaced by an infinitely more amiable smile. “Is it always so boring in this city, Reyne?” he asks by way of answer. “A million people, and not a damn one of them doing anything.”
He grunts at a passing peasant to show his displeasure.
Victor flashes a grin, and then a laugh, now safe from the crowd which gives the two nobles a wide berth. “Of course it is. It’s the damned city! All they do is walk from one place to another, pretending to be doing whatever it is they do. What I wouldn’t do to be in Castamere!”
The maid was paying enough attention to her mistress to make note of the change of her expression, and for the first time this afternoon the Dondarrion’s ire isn’t directed towards her. She turns and watches the Lannister knight approach Victor and she shakes her head.
“Now those are the kinds of knights you should be associating with, Lady Carmella,” she says, leaning towards the dark-haired girl and bearing an almost snobbish tone in her voice. Carmella doesn’t say anything, she simply continue to look through the ribbons while the merchant looks at her.
At first he looked pleased to see a customer, but as he studies Carmella his smile fades and he looks quite impatient as she slowly picks over his wares. Occasionally his green eyes fall on the maid and then the knights, but it isn’t too long before he’s looking back at her as if she’d just handed him a dead rat as payment.
Jonn gives an emphatic nod in agreement. His ears pick up the conversation between Carmella and her maid and then he too laughs. “Aye, Casterly Rock would be a welcome sight after this squalor. At least I could go for a swim without the threat of infection.”
“Though,” he rubs his chin thoughtfully, his eyes passing over Carmella and her maid, “I must say there’s more variety to the whores in a city this big.”
Carmella has, until this moment, be unaware of the merchant’s glowering for she’s been happily selecting some new ribbons. A trivial thing, really but it is as if she’s looked at each and every one before holding out her selection to the merchant. Her maid is too busy watching the Lannister and Reyne knights to take much notice of the man’s look.
“I’m not so poor as I need to accept money from Dornish scum,” he scowls, arms across his thick chest, making no move to interact with Carmella. “Your lot is the reason my brother and his sons are dead. Got enough proper ladies in this city to sell to.” He even goes so far as to spit, though he does so on the ground rather than directly at her. Carmella’s left, too stunned to speak.
Victor laughs softly, his gaze following Jonn’s. “I do suppose, Ser. Looks like trouble. Shall we play the dashing gentlemen?” He inquires, glancing from the Merchant’s rage to the shocked Carmella. At the spit, Victor is obviously angered, and begins stepping in their direction. “Regardless of incident, no Lady should suffer at the hands of the Lowly.”
“Why not?” Jonn replies with a shrug.
As he walks he appears more bemused than enraged—but regardless there was no doubt he was ill-pleased as the words first reached him, regardless of who they were directed at.
“Who was your brother?” his voice snaps as he draws close enough to be heard quite clearly.
Carmella finally finds her voice, once the shock of the insult and the spitting has worn off. “I am Lady Carmella of House Dondarrion,” she nearly spits at him as she tosses the carefully chosen ribbons at him. Her maid stares on in shock, her hand halfway to Carmella’s shoulder before she thinks better of the gesture and pulls back. “And those from Dorne here in King’s Landing are to be treated as any other guest under the King’s protection, or have you ...” Carmella’s furious words are cut off as she hears an all too familiar voice - one she’d rather not hear - pose a question.
The merchant stammers a little but doesn’t make any word of apology. He looks to Victor and Jonn and only then does he seem more willing to cooperate.
“His name was Willem,” he finally answers, “my lords. We’re just a humble merchant’s house, lost my brother’s caravan a year back to Dornish bandits in the Prince’s Pass.” He casts Carmella a brief but hateful look, as if this was all her fault.
Victor comes with a much greater force then Jonn, his face alight with a pointed fury. “Do you think you’re the sole man to lose someone in the damned wastelands, Merchant?” He spits the words out, his hand closing into a fist. “You weren’t even fucking there.”
“Ser Victor,” Jonn says not without amusement, “remember there are ladies present.” He gives Carmella and her maid an apologetic smile.
Then his hand goes to the lion’s head pommel of the sword by his side, and he turns to the merchant. “I think I remember the very caravan. Quite a mess, it was. My squire retched into some boy’s decapitated head.”
He smiles. A very scary gesture. “But nevermind that. Shall I tell you how they died?” His right hand flexes and unflexes upon the golden lion’s head.
Oddly enough, Carmella is looking far more thankful towards Victor with his crude words than Jonn who makes attempts to remind them of her presence. Of course, she’s still visibly upset while her maid begins to look ill. Carmella’s own knights are right there alongside her, stony eyes watching the merchant. One moves the maid away and then moves to Carmella, but she shrugs it off without even looking at him.
The merchant pales and starts to stutter. That us, until Jonn brings to light some rather gruesome details. “My kin died loyal men to the throne,” he says, searching for a bit of pride and failing miserably. “You have no ... no right to spread the grizzly ... details. And no, we weren’t the only ones to lose family. Weren’t the first and won’t ... won’t be the last. Those Dornish are savages.”
Victor seems to calm slightly, just enough to ponder his words before he speaks them. “Did Lady Dondarrion slay your brother? Did she hold the sword?” He asks, lifting a finger in the man’s directions. “Recall your insults, and beg the Lady’s pardon.”
“I’ll take that as a yes,” Jonn says, still smiling. “I believe it was something along these lines—”
His last words are filled with an impetus that causes his tone to strain a little. And in that instant, he rips his sword from its sheath and, in one fell downward cut, complete with a grunt, proceeds to destroy the merchant’s stall with cruel efficiency. The sound of ripping, tearing, and breaking fills the area.
He puts the point of the sword to the man’s throat then. “Do as he says,” he advises in a growl, his green eyes nearly wild with… something.
The merchant stares at Victor for a moment, looks to Carmella and then back to the Reyne heir. “N ... no, of course,” he finally answers, almost insulted by the question. Funny, since he has no right to be insulted by anything. “It’s just ... Well look at her, looks like one of them hostages. Can’t know every lady in King’s Land ...”
But that’s all he can get out before Jonn attacks his stand. The merchant squawks out a protest as he dives out of the way. Wood and fabric go flying and in the confusion of the moment a few rather dirty looking children grab a few stray ribbons and run.
Carmella jumps back too, a wordless cry jumps from her lips as she nearly steps back into the closer of the two Dondarrion knights. She looks at the wreckage of the stall and then at Jonn but there’s not much in the way of gratitude. Wariness, yes, but little thanks.
The merchant remains cowered on the ground, pieces of his stall and wares scattered on and around him. Slowly he blinks and looks up at Carmella but doesn’t get to his feet. “I’m ... Forgive me, m’lady, for having mistaken you for less than you are.”
Victor looks to Jonn, half in shock, half in awe. “Jonn! Lower your sword, dammit!” He exclaims, reaching for the man’s arm to push the sword down. “Are you some brigand, or a Knight?” He demands, the shock and awe replaced by a resurging anger.
With the sound of metal on leather, Jonn resheaths his sword, even before Victor has requested it of him. He slaps his hands together, rubbing them vigorously; and in conclusion he spits on some of the broken wares. He seems amused by Victor’s words. “That was a demonstration,” he says, addressing the merchant rather than the Reyne. “Do I make myself clear, merchant?”
The merchant’s words do little to soften Carmella’s smoldering temper. Once Jonn is quite finished with his demonstration she steps forward, one hand holding her skirt as she hops over some of the debris, care of Lannister steel. “My mother is a proud Dornish woman and the Lady of Dondarrion,” she nearly hisses at him. “And I am proud to be her daughter, that does not make me lesser,” she adds, voice low but venomous.
Taking a step back she looks at Jonn briefly, but her gaze settles on Victor and her voice softens. “Thank you. I appreciate you assistance but that was ... unexpected.” With the last word she glances to the Lannister knight. Behind her, her maid is shaking, eyes wide with fear and she gives Carmella look begging the noblewoman to leave this place. Carmella gives her a quick nod, but doesn’t depart immediately.
The merchant, still on his knees, tries to gather up as many of his ribbons as he can, though many are ruined and no good for any noblewoman’s hair. “Who’s going to pay for all of this?” he asks in a last burst of defiance, looking pitiful as he does so.
Victor slips between the two, his eyes narrowed. “This was unneeded, Jonn. The man was making his apology before you drew your damned steel. Do you forget your oath that quickly? Protecting a Lady’s honor does not give you the right to bully those beneath you.” At the merchant’s question, he makes sure to keep himself between the ‘Lion’ and the ‘Mouse’. “I shall pay the man for your acts, for it was my call to action that inspired you to join me.”
Jonn laughs. It is hard, harsh, and without amusement.
“And when he insults the next Lady who passes by, at least we will know whose gold enabled him.”
Then with a displeased grunt, he turns and departs.
Carmella had just turned away to depart when she hears Victor’s remarks. She stops and even takes a step back. She looks to Jonn first, the gaze longer than any she’d given him today. But while she might be looking at the Lannister, it’s the Reyne she speaks to.
“Whatever this was, it wasn’t about protecting this lady’s honor, Ser Victor. You cannot protect what you yourself are happy to tear down.” She even chokes out a laugh and her dark eyes break from Jonn’s visage to look at Victor once more. “But again, I thank you for your kindness.” To him, she even gives a small smile, barely glancing in Jonn’s direction as he heads off.
Victor sighs softly as he watches Jonn depart, slowly shaking his head even as he turns to Carmella. “I merely honored my vows, my Lady.” His hand dips into a coin pouch at his side, and just enough coins to cover the merchant’s losses is handed over. “Has Ser Jonn slighted your honor?” He inquires, choosing to forget the whore comment made a brief while ago.
The merchant scrambles over for the coin, murmuring his thanks as his fingers clutch the money greedily. Carmella no longer pays him any mind, her focus is solely on Victor. “It seems my brother at one point long ago paid some insult to Ser Jonn and it has not been forgotten. I had no part in it, I was not even there when it occurred for I was all of nine years old, but for some reason he seems to take pleasure in including me in whatever feud he carries for my brother, Ser Doran.” She shakes her head and even laughs a little. “I an find no other reason for his behavior.” An impatient whimper from her maid draws Carmella’s attention away and again she nods to the other woman.
“If you’ll forgive me, Ser Victor,” she says, looking back at the knight, “I should be on my way as well. Again, you have my sincere appreciation.”
Victor bows deeply, “Farewell, Lady Carmella.” He says, slowly turning. “Stay safe.” With these words he sets off, pushing his way through the crowds.