The Dondarrion girl’s apartments are still heavily guarded by men in purple and black but a few non-family guests have been allowed access to the ailing noblewoman, though curious Dornish friends are quickly turned away. The guard remains doubled and not only are the Dondarrion guards present, but there’s also gold cloaks wandering the guest quarters on their regular passes through the Holdfast. A couple of maids are stopped at the door on their way in, their linens searched by one of the guards before they are allowed entry.
There is the sound of ruffling papers and a few deep sighs. An amused voice booms from without, “I am far more frightened of my wife than your sword, Ser,” and moments later, Jonn Lannister himself is ushered in. The guards seem worried, clutching their hilts as they glance at him. But the Lion himself is unconcerned and moves swiftly, a purpose about him.
The guards might indeed have reason to worry, though that worry would stem from the lady herself, once she realizes who her newest guest is. Carmella’s seated on a small settee pushed near to the window. Her legs are drawn up on cushions and a thin blanket laid over them, covering her to her waist. A small table holds a cup of tea and a vase of flowers that appear to have been trod upon before given to her. Her septa frets at her side, giving the girl some medicine that Carmella takes grudgingly.
“Take this away,” she says, not of the medicine, but of a book in her lap. “I can’t focus on the letters and ...” The sound of footsteps draws the attention of both the septa and Carmella and it is difficult to say which is more surprise.
“What by the seven hells are you doing here?” Carmella demands to know, her voice too weak to sound convincing. Strangely enough, her septa doesn’t reprimand her for the curse.
But the Lannister only smiles and observes the lady for a moment.
“I see you have deceived my lady wife,” he says, “for surely those were never the words of the—” he pauses for a moment, as if trying to recall the exact words, “ah yes, the soul of courtesy.”
“Your lady wife has never given me reason to be anything but,” Carmella says, holding her blanket in one hand as if to draw it up further while with the other she braces herself to sit up further. “Septa, please see that our guest is given a glass of wine, we would hate for him to leave feeling he’s been treated rudely.” Carmella’s eyes never leave Jonn as she speaks.
The septa does so, scowling as she passes the Lannister knight. But she doesn’t leave the room entirely, it would not be appropriate, but she goes to the door to summon a maid.
“Again, I ask you,” Carmella says, “why are you here?”
Upon noting the scowling septa, Black Jonn bites his lip forcefully—and after a short moment, the urge has passed. He locks his arms behind his back and watches Carmella for a long moment before speaking.
“I came to apologize to you,” he says with as somber a tone as he can manage. There is no hint of amusement or falsehood about him. He seems very serious indeed.
Then, after a moment has passed, he smiles, but slightly, and adds: “And to discover what I can of the events that led to your current condition.”
That does little to put Carmella at ease, no matter how somber the Lannister’s tone. She continues to look uneasy, but that may also be a lingering effect of the drug, to look as if one might throw up at any moment. She keeps her dark eyes on him, waiting for some kind of surprise.
“Perhaps you might investigate your own house, Ser Jonn. I have no doubt that your wife is innocent in this, she has always been kind to me but if someone wanted to gain your favor…” Carmella lets that hang there for a moment.
Carmella’s septa returns and takes a seat, picking up her needlework while a maid trails behind her with a cup of wine she offers, with a curtsey, to the knight.
“Thank you Oslynne, that will be all,” Carmella says, sending the young woman away. “What in particular have you come to apologize for, Ser Jonn?”
“For insulting you so grievously,” the Lannister says. The words sound only partially rehearsed—but at least they are his own, and not those of his lady wife. He pauses, his golden flecked green eyes watching the young woman carefully. “Though I must admit, it was all a lie. Such things were never said of a lady in my hearing, regardless of who her brother might be. I fear I misjudged you.”
Septa Helane looks up from her needlework and even Oslynne pauses at the door to turn and look at the knight. Carmella blinks a couple of times and shifts uncomfortably on the settee. Does she believe him? “It was ill of you, Ser Jonn,” she finally says quietly. “Quarrel all you wish with Doran, the gods know I do enough of it myself to not refuse others the pleasure, but…” She sighs and sinks back into the cushion at her back.
“This is a poor time for jests, Ser Jonn. I pray you are speaking true,” she adds, enough of a hint of wariness in her voice to suggest that she isn’t quite trusting.
“I would not jest with one so ill,” Black Jonn replies defensively. He takes a breath and removes something from a pocket in the front of his tunic. It is neither perfume nor a flower, but a simple medallion. “You may keep this,” he says, holding the heavy golden circle forward, “as vouchsafe against my good behavior. You have made my wife’s transition from Casterly Rock to King’s Landing easier, and for that I am thankful.”
He pauses again, “Perhaps my household is involved in the matter, but I think not. My guess is that someone is after Lady Elanna still, and you merely touched what you ought not have.”
Carmella attempts to sit up a bit, but it is the septa who rises to take the offering from the knight, looking it over a few times before reluctantly handing it over to Carmella. She holds it as if it was made of glass as she considers the gift.
“I ...” There’s much she could say right now, but instead she says, “Thank you, Ser Jonn.” Her tone is neutral; she doesn’t seem overly pleased, but neither is she defensive any longer. “Yes, Lady Elanna has suffered some poor gifts, I had hoped that was finished with, but perhaps not. There is ... so much confus ...” The medallion falls from her hands as Carmella slumps back, exhausted, but still awake. Septa Helane is quick with the tea, her look to Jonn is apologetic. “It comes and goes,” she explains as she gives Carmella some tea.
Jonn inclines his head slightly and watches Carmella closely, observing the symptoms and the way in which it affects her. It causes him to frown. “This is no Dornish sickness,” he informs the Septa. He waits patiently, casting his eyes about the room.
There’s a snort of disdain from the doorway where Oslynne still lingers but the Septa sends her a glare to silence her. But it is Carmella who speaks, her throat dry even with the tea. “I’ve been nothing but polite to them,” she says, this to her septa, “I would like to ... believe that Ser Jonn ... is correct.” She takes another sip of her tea, though the septa steadies the cup.
“You are educated in Dornish poisons, Ser?” That comes from the septa, looking over to Jonn, a little disbelieving that he might know of such things.
“They are fond of dipping the tips of their spears in poisons,” Jonn says to the septa, looking at Carmella again. “A wound that by rights ought to heal will not, and the man will die of it.”
He shakes his head, “I cannot imagine that a Dornish assassin would target two of the Stormlords’ daughters, in any case.”
“Let us pray it is as you say,” Septa Helane says, taking away the teacup when Carmella waves it off. “It was quick,” she continues, leaving Carmella little rest, though the Dondarrion is paying close attention. “From what one of her maids said, it reacted quickly to both she and Lady Elanna. Our Lady Carmella was lost in sleep to us for an entire day and even now she is extremely weak, as you can see. She barely eats and gets dizzy spells quite often.” Carmella nods with all of this, though her eyes show her frustration. “One of the maesters suggested it was some poison a whore might use. Can you imagine that, Ser Jonn. Some whore’s spell in a lady’s solar?”
Jonn nods at the Septa, “She breathed it through the nose. I can only imagine it will not purge in a day’s time, though she isn’t like to die from it,” he says reassuringly, flashing a brilliant smile as only the Lions of the Rock can.
The smile turns instantly to a frown as he turns to Carmella. “A whore’s spell, you say? It is entirely possible. The Keep does lie flush against some of the city’s less desirable elements.”
There’s a quiet scoff from Carmella but her septa gives her only a brief glance. “The Lady does not associate with whores, Ser Jonn. I can’t imagine how any of them might have gotten their filthy wares anywhere near us,” says Helane haughtily as she gives Carmella another look.
“I think, Ser Jonn, that the lady needs some sleep. Perhaps you might question her further at another time,” Helane says, not ready to accept anything other than agreement from the knight. Carmella nods sleepily. “Thank you, Ser Jonn,” she murmurs, the trace of a smile on her lips.
“The pleasure was mine, Lady Carmella,” the Lannister knight says with a sweeping bow. And then he turns to go, before saying to the Septa: “I will do whatever I can to discover the cause of this. They have insulted Casterly Rock, and that simply will not do.” He gives her another of his flashing smiles and is gone.
The sounds of the guards and the knight jesting can be heard from outside the doorway.