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A hot day, as most days are in the summer in Sunspear. Few venture out into the fullness of the light where the blazing sun baking the stones and tiles . But there are shady places, small gardens like jewels amidst the mottled greys and browns of dusty bricks and aged stone. In such a place is Marence, the Lord of Sunspear and Prince of Dorne, sitting alone beneath one of the orange trees. A scroll is in his hand, being read. A pair of palace guards shadow him at a distance affording him privacy. News from the north, doubtless, where even now Dornishmen fight to free Dorne of King Daeron’s chains.
In this place is also a woman with a birthmark that obscures her otherwise reasonable looking face and neck. She is reading some sort of book, how scholarly for a woman.
The prince sighs, and looks up in thought. There are dark circles under his eyes, and his brow is furrowed. A hand lifts, to stroke at his bearded jaw as he considers whatever it is that is before him. The task of ruling Dorne is a heavy one, at this of all times. Perhaps, then, it’s why he welcomes the distraction of his daughter’s tutor passing by with a book. He turns, and says something to one of the guards.
The knight comes forward, and clears his throat. “My lady. Prince Marence wishes a word with you.”
Elicia gets up as the knight calls out to her, and moves over to prince Marence, “Yes, your highness?” She asks in a friendly manner.
“Good day, Lady Elicia,” Marence replies from where he sits, the scroll rolled back up and resting in his robed lap. He regards the Yronwood lady a moment more, and then asks her, “I wish to know how my daughter does of late, under your tutelage. I see her little, less than I would wish.” There are many reasons for that—the war first and foremost. He goes on to say, “And ... does she miss having a mother? She will not remember Lady Tristana. But Lady Cordelia was kind to her before ...” Before the death of his second wife, he means, while giving him a son. But he does not say it.
“She misses you, your higness.” Answers the tutor with a friendly nod, thinking for a moment about his other questions, “While I think she’s doing well, I think she could also do better. As for missing having a mother… she speaks little about that.”
Marence nods his head slowly, taking in the response. “Well, at least she has not forgotten me,” he says, with a sad, wry tone, trying to make the best of it. “Just as well. Perhaps we may find some time for her to accompany me ... oh, down to the sea, perhaps. Or the Greenblood, to talk to the orphans…” A hand gesticulates, emphasizing his indecision. It’s emblematic; many are the whispers about the castle, concerning the prince seemingly unable to commit to any course, but instead half-measures for everything. “At least she has a good tutor, to help her learn all she needs to learn, and to keep her company. Though she has her ladies as well, of course.”
Elicia nods slowly as well, “I understand your need to attend to war, your highness, and I believe your daughter does as well.” She gives a friendly smile, “It is difficult for her, however, for she is still so young. I hope you understand.”
“Of course.” Marence says, tone indicating acceptance of the facts, but not happiness. He falls silent for a little while, a calloused hand toying with the scroll in his lap, dark eyes restless. Then he notes, at a tangent, “Your kinsmen in Yronwood—I thought you should like to know, I’ve had word of them. The castle’s still under siege by Ser Mavros and Lady Uller, but they have negotiated with the king’s garrison. They’ve sent out some of the children.” Taking up the scroll, he gestures with it as he says, “Ser Mavros has that he will have them escorted to the river, for the orphans to bring down to the Planky Town. We’ll have them here at Sunspear. I believe Lady Linnet’s daughter, and her youngest boy… Perhaps the girl will be a companion for Mariah.”
Elicia nods at the prince and gives a friendly smile at those words, “I have no doubt she will be a pleasant companion, perhaps even distract her from how much she misses you. I think she feels… lonely.”
Made uncomfortable by his daughter’s apparent loneliness, the prince shifts in his seat slightly. “Well, we shall see. Perhaps… perhaps I’ll take the princess to Planky Town, to greet our new guests and escort them back to the city.” It sounds almost, but not quite, a question.
“A magnificent idea, your highness.” Answers the tutor, smiling event though she still has her head canted slightly, “I think she would both like your companionship, as well as the companionship of the girl.”
Marence is put somewhat more at ease with that. “Good,” he says, his eyes narrowing unevenly as he calculates something. “It will be ... oh, three or four more days before they arrive at Plank Town. Inform the ladies of her household to be ready for a day’s journey later in this week, if you will, Lady Elicia.”
Elicia nods at Marence, “I will, your highness. Did you require anything else?”
“No, my lady. Thank you for your time,” Prince Marence says. “A good day to you.”
And off she goes, no doubt to inform the ladies of the impending journey.
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