The massive hall is very nearly filled to capacity, with dozens of trestle tables accomodating hundreds of guests. In their finery, the lords of the Seven Kingdoms are brilliant with all their fine garb and jewels. Scores of servants scurry about, carving meat from roasted swans, boars, deer, and more, or ladling soups, or pouring out wine or beer to those who want them, and much more. It’s a frantic, frenetic race for them, while the nobles carouse and eat their fill.
At a tabled raised up before the Iron Throne sits Prince Viserys with Baelor at his side. Prince Aegon sits at his other hand, with Naerys—looking pale and wan—beside him.
Other noteworthies are seated at this high table, and among them are Prince Cadan and Princess Ariana. In descending ranks, tables radiate out from here, with lords and ladies more-or-less sitting by order of precedence, although the returning knights and lords seem to have been allowed to sit in the nearer few dozen tables. So, too, have the Dornish hostages, who have a table to themselves with unsubtle gold cloaks stationed close by. They receive a bevy of looks: some curious, some smirking, and some others angry.
Benedict strides into the great hall, on one side of Tancred with the young knight Bryce on the other.
Entering the throne room accompanied by Ser Benedict and Ser Bryce, Tancred quickly shifts from walking at Benedicts side to walk between the two knights. “Ser Bryce, I assume you will be spending some time in this fair city? I for certain would enjoy the company of a friend.” He offers the man a polite smile, though his face doesnt show much expression. “And you, Ser.. Benedict, will you be staying in the city for awhile as well?”
Liane, it seems, did not entirely escape the attention of the crowds, to judge by the scrape that mars her left cheek. Still, like the rest of the hostages, she is clean and arrayed in her Dornish finery of bright red and yellow. So far, she seems more than content to be seated with her fellow hostages, making up for time lost spread between ships and keeping occupied with conversation that doesn’t include their conquerors.
Once, Reyna might have shone like the brightest among bright birds. Once, she might have sat at a higher table, hung with green and gold. Now however she sits among her husband’s kin, at a lower table in white and gold, dull in her black weeds. Her face is nearly as pale as that of the Princess Naerys. Others carouse while she picks at her food, a slice of boar and some bread. She nods once at something that is said to her, looking now and again at the highest table of them all incuriosity.
Benedict stiffens his posture slightly, as if something has him perterbed. He pulls of f his basinet and aventain, holding them under arm. “Yes, my lord,” he replies to Tancred. “I have my father’s blessing to stay in the city and represent my House. For the time.”
Roving through the halls are tumblers, jugglers, jesters, and bards. These last make a particular show of themselves, for they sing songs of the conquest of Dorne. One sings of how the Stormbreaker brought low a Dornish prince and gallantly lifted him to his feet, embracing him as a brother knight before accepting his surrender. Another sings of Lord Tyrell, pious and brave, praying before the Rush. Yet another sings of the breaking of the Yronwoods, and there are more songs, many more. Prominent among them are those devoted to the Young Dragon and to the Dragonknight; young Daeron has impossible prowess, and the Dragonknight is as brave as the Warrior himself.
“I will,” Bryce replies bluntly, having kept his conversation to rather short exchanges during their trip up to the Keep. “I am here to represent the Lord of the Marches, as well as to experience the Court,” the Caron knight explains. Soon, however, Bryce falls silent as they enter the room proper, eyes widening at the giant feast.. “Oh..” he says, stopping in his tracks.
Benedict shares a sympathetic smile with Bryce. “Oh, indeed!” he murmurs. “There is no hall like this in Amberly.”
At the mention of Lord Tyrell, pious and brave, the Lannister table erupts.
The laughter is loud, full, and raucous. Clearly, something amuses them. Black Jonn does not laugh, however; no, he merely smiles like a cat.
Irena is normally pale, but she looks very nearly white after the return ride from the docks. She has taken her time to gather herself together before making her way to join the rest of the celebration. Only those ladies who road with her know just what a state she had been in before, even if she has calmed down. Her eyes scan the room as she heads towards her seat, although she pauses briefly, glancing towards the Lannister table as it breaks out into laughter.
“Now feast and enjoy yourselves, you have both earned it,” Tancred offers both knights a polite nod and makes his way towards the tables where members of the greater houses are seated. A servant captures his gaze and quickly hurries to point out the seat for the heir of Storm’s End. Offering a polite bow to those seated around him, he sits down, leans back in his chair and begins watching some of the bards and jesters with an expressionless face.
“And where in this assembly is there place for a Rogers and a Caron?” he mutters toward Bryce, as Tancred bids them farewell and joins the table of his Great House.
Seated with the rest of the Dornish, Ser Aidan seems to lack appetite, strange as that may be after weeks at sea. More than half a roasted haunch in a honey sauce sits uneaten. Though sullen and listless, he sits straight as a spear, his posture impeccable. He listens to what little conversation goes on near to him—few of the Dornish seem very talkative, and no wonder—and for a time he offers nothing unless directly spoken to.
The Vale maiden is a little disappointed that their company of foursome have parted ways for now, hidden aquamarine eyes watching Carmella and Irena as they go off to the lower tables. She lingers by the entrance, with the much taller Lady Marian, and the cowled head couldn’t help but tip her way this way and that at the proceedings. There were so many people, there was so much noise, but the hall was bursting with so much life that she cannot help but smile. She can’t help but feel the slight tension along the fine line of Marian’s arm, and she can’t help but squeeze it delicately, reassuringly.
One hand comes up to push her hood away from her head, long, golden curls tumbling out from the cloth. She shakes her head a little, to dislodge the tresses caught on the fabric, and she lifts her head to smile at the forcibly-smiling brunette. “I’ll see you off to your table, before heading to mine,” she offers quietly, in hopes to put the young woman at ease. She does look a little concerned however - what was going on with her?
Two siblings of Storm’s End enter, each clad in their way of the Baratheon, resplendant gold and sable. The shorter of the two, barely reaching the elder’s shoulder, is Elanna Baratheon, sister of the reknowned Stormbreaker, and her hand rests now upon his arm as they walk proudly into the feasting hall. Her gaze seeks out familiar faces within, and to Reyna Rowan amidst her goodfamily does she cast a smile, also to Irena as she passes.
“Shall we find our seats?” she looks up as she queries of her kin, momentarily distracted the the raucous laughter from those that might only be Lannister by their livery.
A booming voice echoes even over the laughter as Lord Athell Connington grips his tall son Almer, in an affectionate embrace. He seems to be extolling Ser Almer’s knightly exploits to a gaggle of admiring folk, much to Almer’s discomfort. There are more than a few young ladies in the group, who titter at the grave young man admiringly.
Almer, for his part, manages to disentangle himself with a few shreds of dignity left intact, and grabs a goblet from a passing tray. He steps quickly away from his relatives, searching for someone amidst the crowd, and then moves toward the Dornish hostages.
Having found herself at a table with the kin of her step-sister’s maternal family, represented most prominently here at King’s Landing by Lord Terin Ryger, Aisling is relieved to find that this means Sylvina is the one who attracts the most interest, leaving her free to restrict her conversation mostly to speaking with her uncle Henly. And, of course, to idly study the crowd in a disinterested fashion.
One seated at the high table is Jonothor Arryn; a blue falcon amongst the dragons and the tamed sun. He shares polite laughter with his austere company, though blue eyes search the hall keenly at each glance upward from his generously-endowed plate. A sip of wine later, he excuses himself from the Hand’s company, and withdraws from the high table to another.
This other holds the Valelords and their kin, and Jonothor temporarily finds himself a place to the head of their table, where he might greet some of his kinsmen.
“There’s No Song So Sweet as a Caron’s, and should be welcome at these tables. I am sure the heir to the Lord of the Marches is allowed to sit somewhere here.. come along, they’ll accept a Rogers too.” Bryce raises his chin proudly as he starts for one of the finer tables, where the finest of the returning heroes sit ( yet not those of the Greater Houses ). Bryce heads for the table, glancing around, still wide-eyed at the entire spectacle.
“Maybe we can find my relatives, the Darklyns too!” Bryce explains as an afterthought, adding a smile to it all.
Noting Jyana’s concern, Marian manages a somewhat more genuine smile for her benefit. “Certainly. And… you need not worry. I am merely allowing myself to fret over raven letters. Not all arrive in perfect condition, or agree. I had hoped to receive firm word from the ships today… but as you saw, no Northmen.” She smiles again. “Still, tonight is set aside for festivity, and we should seek to enjoy ourselves. Particularly at our first grand court event, no?”
Catching Elanna’s eye, Reyna smiles faintly, but the burst of laughter from the Lannisters brings a frown to her lips and crimson to her cheeks. “You’ve nothing to be ashamed of,” one of the Rowans says into her ear, his voice carrying rather far. “You’re a Rowan now, and Ser Colyn died well, so they say, so they say.” He bobs his head, and waves his empty tankard at a passing maid.
Songs of the Yronwoods sober Liane, who takes a sip from a glass of some wine hardly even noticed. “I can’t wait to hear what they say about Garyn,” she murmurs to her brother, a faint smirk tugging at one corner of her lips. “Imagine. He’ll be twelve feet tall, and breathe flames. Perhaps their Dragonknight will, as well.” Another sip is taken, a long breath released as she looks out over the reunions being held in silence.
Striding into the hall, his sister on his arm, Stormbreaker bursts into laughter hearing the songs of his gallantry. Bending his head low to catch Elanna’s words, the knight looks up and lifts his massive arm to point, “Our nephew sits there.” Behind them both, a tall slim shadow follows, wearing the stag head badge on his right breast.
The giant knight smiles wryly.
Bendict Rogers flushes red for a moment, swollowing a flush of anger. He hears the voice of Jyana and her companions beihind him, and quickly He moves aside, realizing that he had been blocking part of the entryway. He offers an awkward bow to them, the color draining from his face. He then follows after Bryce Caron, hazarding anoteher look over his shoulder at Jyana.
Benedict says, “I am happy that you hav friendly kith and kin in this city, Ser Bryce. I alone of my line have come thus far.”
Looking down at the food which is served dutifully by the servants, and listening to the songs, Lanei feels as if all her appetite -if she ever was hungry- had vanished. And, still, she forces herself to swallow, over and over, that meal. Her pallor grows every time a new song starts, a song that will serve only to praise the invaders - nothing wrong there, and that was expected. But to have them singing pure lies hit her stomach harsher than the tip of a dagger would. Nor the wine helps her to cheer her mood and soon, realizing that to drink might blunt her mind, asks for some water.
Carmella too seems a little disheartened at the tunes sung of Yronwood broken and as she turns her goblet in her fingers she does her best to ignore the whispers of those nearby, those that have known the dark-haired girl for a while. Whispers about a Yronwood mother drift around Carmella, but she pretends not to hear as she finally picks up her goblet and takes a sip. She draws her eyes away from the food in front of her and looks around the great hall, seemingly more interested in the colors and people filling the hall than in eating some of the grand feast set before them.
“Then…it is meet we should join him,” Elanna’s voice is smooth in reply, “Would it be too ...forward to ask that Reyna Rowan join us, you think? She has been as a sister to me in absence of my own dear kin.” Her hand lightly squeezes Sarmion’s arm where it rests.
Ser Almer Connington pauses near the Dornish hostages, offering their Prince and Princess a polite nod, though it is far from friendly. “Lady Liane,” he says in greeting to one of them; it seems he knows her.
And to the Knight of Twilight: “You must be Ser Aidan,” the stormknight ventures with cool courtesy. “I have wanted to meet you for some time. Your exploits are well-known.”
“Of course, but I trust even some of those in attendance are grieving as well…however, you’re most certainly right. We should try, in the very least. I chance this would not happen very often.” A brief smile curls on the edges of her mouth. “Come. I’ll walk with you to the table.” She winks. “I’m sure we can manage that, as long as your long legs don’t leave my shorter ones behind.” Still, a longing glance is cast over where Irena and Carmella had departed her company, before she takes a step forward, lifting her eyes towards where the Great Houses have seated and moving in that direction.
Chin propped upon a fist, a half-empty goblet in the other hand, Ser Dagur stares with rapt attention at a bard standing barely half-a-dozen paces away, singing a tale of the Hellknight’s last stand. It would seem the singer is not ignorant of the Ironman’s unblinking regard; there is a hitch in the tale, then another. Finally, the bard turns his back to the knight.
Straightening, the Ironman quaffs his beer—and nods to the Knight of Twilight, seated with the Dornish hostages at the table next to his, and the newcome Ser Almer: “It seems the Hellknight was ten feet tall and shot bolts of lightning from his arse. Your Prince should have loosed him upon us sooner, ser.”
Not being one of the heroes the singers include in their songs, and not being a voice and mind that matters.. yet.. Tancred sits rather isolated, not in the matter of people surrounding him, but in the conversation offered him. He eats from his plate, drinks from his glass of wine and watches the jesters and jugglers jumping around in the room. “Splendid entertainment,” he murmurs at himself, his voice not reaching above the noise, his lips showing no smile.
Irena is near enough to Carmella, although all she can offer her as a sympathetic look, not wishing to stir up the whispers anymore than they already are. Her eyes drift around the room and she appears to be more watching and listening than paying attention to food and drink.
Benedict Rogers seems lost in the crowd, and soon loses the one companion he had. Bryce Caronn joins the table of senior lordly houses of teh Stormlands. It does not take long for Benedict to realize that, alone of his house and even the neighboring lesser estates, he is badly outclassed by those in attendance. He awkwardly shifts his basinet and aventail from arm to arm, gawking at the tables, getting in the way of the passing servants.
Stopping in his stride, Sarmion’s brow rises and he looks at his sister. Looking back at his nephew, the Baratheon knight smiles, “Tell her that the Heir of Storm’s End begs the pleasure of her company.”
Then, letting go his sister’s arm, Stormbreaker makes his way to where Tancred sits, flanked by men in black and gold livery, his squire following. Pulling back a chair, Sarmion sits beside the younger Baratheon. Taking a drink from a wine cup, he looks at the Heir of Storm’s End with a heavy gaze.
“Tomorrow, we send your father’s men back to him,” the gallant Stormbreaker says with a glance at the Baratheon guardsmen.
Bryce is heading quickly for the table just next to the one with the Baratheons at it, placed high up among the ranks of the Houses. He offers quiet greetings to the Baratheons who were on the ship, as well as the other Stormlanders at the table he is about to sit at. Fetching a glass of wine, he slips into a seat as close to the grander table as possible. He sends a smile at the silent Tancred, before he realizes that Benedict seems to have gotten lost somewhere along the way.. the Caron knight looks for him, then shrugs lightly and gets to eating and drinking instead.
Liane looks up at Almer’s approach, brows rising slightly as she sets her glass aside. “Ser Almer,” she greets quietly in the brief silence before he turns to Aidan. Her gaze follows, assessing the young Dornishman. “Just ten feet tall?” she calls as Dagur speaks. “Nonsense, I’ll vouch for twelve myself. And don’t forget the viper’s fangs,” she adds with a sweet smile for the bard.
There’s little to be said for the occasion, from a Dornishman’s perspective. As the minutes run away, some expressions grow grimmer, stonier. Others force false levity, whispering remarks on the manners and appearances of the victors who fill the hall, but the laughter is bitter and brief. When the first of the inevitable knights come to mock the Dornishmen while in his cups, tension rises sharply ... but it’s not quite so simple.
Aidan looks to the stormlord who speaks to him, eyeing his garb. “You are kind to say so, my lord of Connington.” he offers with his own brand of courtesy, stiff and brittle. “You are Ser Almer?”
Marian stiffens a touch at Jyana’s reference to grieving, but manages anther smile for her - then a broader one and a slight finger-wave as her eye is caught by a young maid in Locke colours sitting beside Ser Elfram near the middle of the hall. Returning her attention to the Jewel, she chuckles and briefly pulls a mock-pout. “Why the Seven make all you Southerners so short, I have no idea”, she teases amiably. “Of course, my own family say I must be a Karstark at heart, to be as tall as I am.”
Unable to reach higher, Elanna kisses the tip of her finger in the manner of their childhood and places it squarely upon her brother’s cheek with a bare stretch. Unaccompanied then, she makes her way toward Reyna’s table, dipping into curtsey’s and bowing her head to those she passes.
“My lady Reyna,” she speaks formally as she approaches the table, dipping into another curtsey, her fine skirts pooling elegantly, “The Heir of Storm’s End begs your company for a time if your good family can spare you?”
Despite her best efforts to remain aloof and show little interest in the proceedings, eventually Aisling finds herself asking her uncle to identify a banner there and a knight here, in order to sort out the various notables mentioned in both overheard conversations and quickly-composed songs. It seems that even she cannot avoid being slightly overwhelmed by the circumstances, and she finds herself studying closely certain dignitaries featuring prominently in the tales being told.
As a servants offers her a tray, Lanei rises a hand declining, for, eventually, the dornish lady has grown filled to satiety… of both, food and songs. And, if she had not enough of them, there are some good ‘sers’ to make this feast more miserable and ruined. The new song about Ser Garyn Uller elicits a smirking, her lips curving up quickly as a silent response to the bard. A good thing that, at least, Liane looks to be in a better mood than she is. Enough, at least, to make her speak. She will not, though, and her eyes scan the large hall, trying to guess who is who, by their colors or lookings. Some of them are well-known but others, alas, are strange to her.
There is a clap on the back to some Royces; and a dutiful greeting to some Corbrays, before Jonothor sweeps toward his first sight; the Jewel of the Eyrie, in company with the northerner. A pathway is forged by the Arryn lord’s tall frame, before he voices a greeting.
“I did not know you had made the journey, Jyana!” Jonothor says. “Come, you must join me at the high table. The Martells are proving limp company.”
Reyna raises a brow, and for the first time her smile is genuine. She rises, and passes along the table a few paces to bend and speak into the ear of Lord Rowan. He listens, then smiles and touches Reyna’s face with a fatherly hand. “Go, child, and find some joy of the evening.” His eyes are bright, but he speaks in earnest, and Reyna kisses his cheek before rounding the table.
She returns Elanna’s curtsy. “I should be glad to accept the gracious invitation of the Heir of Storm’s End,” she says formally, eyes glittering with something that is NOT grief.
The Blackbolt enters the large extravagant hall, his left hand fiddling with his cuff, gauging the scene before him. “A little more comforting than a ship.” Ser Doran Dondarrion’s speech is to none other than himself, for no guard or squire follow in his wake. His eyes dance over to the hostages, taking note that some faces are unfamiliar, and must belong to the other galley of guests. Yet his eyes do not seem to tarry long on the hostages, before they scan over the rest of the nobility with desperate eyes.
Elanna arches her head and offers Reyna her arm as accompaniment and when they draw close she whispers, “Having a fine time?” as they start back to the Baratheon table. She nods her head in silent greeting as she passes her brother’s one time squire, Almer Connington.
“I am Almer Connington.” He seems genuinely interested in Ser Aidan, if not particularly so in the rest of his countrymen, or his Prince. “Do you hunt, ser? Or hawk, perhaps? Though I would have preferred to make the acquaintance of so famous a knight on the battlefield, rather than here, I see no reason that former enemies cannot share sport.”
The grey-eyed knight glances over at Prince Cadan. “In the interests of peace, of course,” Connington adds with a faintly challenging smile.
As the towering giant sits down next to him, Tancred offers him a polite nod. “The bards sing that you have been hugging Dornishmen, Uncle.. I saw no hugging, only slicing.. Is there any truth in their tales?” He looks at Sarmion, expressionless, but with a hint of amusement playing in his eyes. He brings the glass of wine to his lips and sips at the red liquid.
Bryce is sitting now, but seems to have lost the two brief friends of the journey up to the Keep itself. Tancred sits only a few feet away and the young Caron knight keeps looking in his direction to see what is going on there. When nothing is happening, he starts eating in silence while letting his deeply set blue eyes look out over all the heroes, ladies, older Lords, fathers, mothers, jugglers and assorted others than occupy the great room.
Her steps are light in easy, if Jyana was nervous about there being so many people around, she doesn’t show it. Passing Benedict as he had moved aside for them in the entryway, and bows courteously to the both of them, she favors him a quiet smile. “Thank you, ser,” she remarks quietly when she and her taller companion have passed. At Marian’s teasing about her height, she laughs. “I wouldn’t know. I’m of Andal blood, I’m -supposed- to be tall, but in the end I think that quality favors more our males than our females. And perhaps you are, but I certainly wouldn’t know as I’ve never met a Karstark in my—”
She pauses, aquamarine eyes falling on several faces at the table where the great houses are. First, at Jonn, and the second…who calls her name. Breath expels from her mouth, an accumulation that she wasn’t even conscious of holding. “....uncle….” Alive, and not only alive, but intact. He has all of his arms and fingers! ....from where she could see anyways. She walks Marian partway, before slipping away for just a moment after a murmur, to head for her uncle’s direction. She would hug him, if tables and seats and cumbersome clothing wouldn’t make it so awkward. There is a bright smile on her face, lighting up her expression.
Jyana whispers to Marian.
“I am now,” murmurs Reyna, nodding here and there to familiar faces. She pauses as if to speak to Almer, but seeing him engaged merely touches him briefly on the shoulder and moves on to the Baratheon table. There, with a glance at Sarmion, she curtsies deeply to Tancred. “I am most grateful for your gracious invitation, ser,” she murmurs in a voice of pure courtesy.
Carmella catches one of the looks from Irena and gives the other girl a warm smile, as if nothing was the matter. She even nibbles a bit on some of her food, just to further prove it. Besides, the minstrels have moved on to other tales and great deeds by this time. Sitting up a little straighter, Carmella continue to study the hall, abandoning her food a second time, glancing towards the hostage table before drifting over other tables or great houses and lesser before her dark eyes fall on a familiar figure, her brother. Her smile brightens considerably and no matter what she might have heard of Doran’s deeds on the battlefield, she appears to ignore them now as she gets to her feet to go and meet him.
Benedict stands off the the side, the servants swirling about with trays and trenchers. He grabs a horn of ale from one, ripping it and taking a drink with an angry scowel. His eyes land on the table with Dagur, and he makes his way over to it. A lesser table for lesser company in the asseembly of Grandees.
“But of course. I thought me the bard was was lying”—the Ironman raises his empty goblet to Liane. He puts it away then, and leans back: “But viper’s fangs or no, he seemed fearsome enough from the tales I heard…poor things though they were compared to the singing here.”
Elanna widens her eyes at Tancred, perhaps to pass upon a small unspoken message, but hears instead his latter query of Sarmion. She tilts her head, and asks of the Stormbreaker, “What does he mean?”
“I trust I made Prince Rhodry Nymeros Martell most familiar with my gallantry,” Sarmion says with a feral grin. As the women come upon them, he comes to his feet and bows low, waving a hand solicitiously, ignoring Elanna’s question.
“Please, good ladies. Join us.”
Irena spots Doran as he enters, and even if the torchlight can guess as to the colors he wears. She can’t help but look relieved for Carmella, about as she turns back to the rest of her table, she looks slightly lost and out of place, as others have drifted towards their families for the most part.
A rustle at the table, as some doubt the stormlord’s sincerity. Yet it is to Aidan to respond, and he does so after the briefest of pauses. “When I had the leisure to hunt and hawk, ser, I did so with pleasure,” he responds, still stiff. “I fear it is not for me to say whether I may indulge such pursuits now ... now that I am a ‘guest’ of your king.” The bitter turn to that word is clear enough. A breath, and then he adds, “Yet, I thank you, ser. Perhaps if it is permitted, we shall have the pleasure of the hunt.”
As a break between courses occurs, Lord Terin stands up from his place and gestures for his niece to rise as well. “Sylvina, I have in mind to introduce you to some people,” he tells Aisling’s step-sister, prompting her to rise as well. A brief pause, then, and he looks to Aisling. “And you, Aisling, why do you not accompany us? My sister did have hopes that perhaps matches for both of you could be found here in King’s Landing.” After casting a quick glance at her uncle Henly, as if to ask whether perhaps she could deny this request, Aisling finds herself rising too, with a poorly concealed sigh, and then Lord Terin leads the two young women off towards some of the other prominent tables.
Marian offers a polite nod to Benedict as she passes him with Jyana, though given his apparent lack of interest in anything save her beautiful companion, she doesn’t pay him much heed herself. When the Jewel pulls away to greet Jonothor, she dithers briefly, then opts to move to meet him as well. It’s not as if she has any kin of her own to demand her attention, after all, and any senior member of another great house is likely to be worthwhile meeting for the sole Stark in the city. She loiters politely just on the edge of conversational range while the cousins reacquaint themselves with each other, waiting to be noticed.
“He was the Hellknight,” is Liane’s simple response to Dagur, reaching for her own glass to take another sip of wine. If the men and women of the Targaryen host will celebrate their champions, dead and alive, so too will she. “Though your Ser Jaesin expresses no fear of what he might have been, no tale of battle and valor is complete without a skilled foe. And you can name no better than Garyn. Breathing flames or killing kittens or whatever have you,” she snorts with a glance towards the singer.
Benedict slides onto a bench at the table all too near to the hostages. He offers the Ironman a curt nod of his head and murmurs, “Ser Dagur. Greetings to you…” His voice is hardly full of excitement, and he quickly downs a deep quaff of ale.
“Very well.” Almer seems pleased at Aidan Dayne’s reply. “Perhaps the gods will smile on us, then. There is fine hunting in the Kingswood.” When he feels the brush of Lady Reyna’s hand upon his shoulder, he turns, startled.
“Ladies, my lords,” he says hastily, by way of leavetaking, and turns to follow the young woman as she passes.
“That Lannister..,” Bryce mutters to himself as he takes a long draught of the wine he carried with him. He winces somewhat when the taste wasn’t as easy going down as expected, but shudders and shrugs it off. In a way, he’s the picture of an introvert knight who sits drinking alone in a fashion more suited for someone of much lower station. Soon enough, however, the pattern breaks off as another young knight from the Tyrell host approaches the Caron knight - the two quickly begins talking about the feast, and Bryce seems to be pulled away from his earlier introvert manners.
“My invit..” Tancred blinks looking at Reyna suddently appearing before him. He quickly glances at Sarmion and Elanna, eyeing especially the latters facial expression. “Of.. course..” He hesitates a little, “.. milady Reyna.. I am pleased that you will join us at the table here, there is not much beauty to be found in the faces of the old veterans of my house.. Yours will surely outshine them.” He offers her a smile and then leans closer to Sarmion, whispering through his teeth, “..is this your doing?”
Doran’s verdant eyes continue their desperate search across the hall, his seeking pauses only briefly as famous faces are recognized. His search is ended when he finally spies Carmella, and a true smile spreads across his features. “Carmella…” he whispers softly to himself as he begins to walk towards her.
“You have grown, little sister. What has father been feeding you?” Mirth fits comfortably into his facial features as he speaks, and his strides slow as he approaches.
“And you must tell me who your companion is; a Stark, no doubt.” Jonothor’s glance at Marian’s direwolf pendant tells as much. Briefly, a rare smile graces the Valelord’s features, as he offers his arm to his cousin. “Come, you must be my companion on this night. I received a raven from Maester Arett; Lira and my newborn son cannot travel the mountain passes to King’s Landing, yet.” Men have seldom seen the often frosty Arryn lord in such high spirits; as he speaks, it is clear that the cause is the news of his family.
A momentary glance to the other hostages, perhaps wondering how his response—courteous, truly, despite the brittleness of feeling behind it—is taken by his fellow hostages. Some feign a lack of interest while others are frank enough. Clearly, not all appreciate such courtesy. Aidan gives the knight a brief nod as he takes his leave, and he returns to considering his meal. It has cooled considerably, and he looks for a server. Or perhaps he’s giving the ironman conversing with Liane a look over, for certainly his eyes linger there before he’s distracted by a serving man just about to pass him by.
The Ironman shrugs: “Ser Jaesin is a bold man. I will admit to wondering what it would have been like to cross blades with Ser Garyn”—and in that moment, there is a glint in his dark eyes—“but I cannot admit to being certain I would have walked away after such a duel.”
He nods to the Rogers knight in greeting then: “Ser Benedict.”
Elanna hides a smile behind her hand, the unanswered question forgotten, as she seats herself in one of the highbacked chairs.
“Nephew, your charm is inspiring,” she speaks in all solemnity, as she tugs her chair closer to the table. Her sparkling eyes look to Sarmion briefly.
“You are too kind, Ser,” Reyna says to Tancred, giving no indication that she is aware of his apparent discomfort. But Almer’s approach -does- catch her notice, and she turns with a genuine smile. “Almer,” she says, holding out her hands to her cousin.
Benedict looks up and down the table of Dornish hostages. He rests his gaze on Liane for a moment, a flash of recognition visible on his face. He then looks to Dagur and smiles wryly as he talk talks of Ser Garyn.
Lanei does not miss Doran’s arrival, and the look in his eyes, as if searching for someone. His family, she bets. His sister, perhaps, the one he mentioned to her? He said she would be around, and the dornish lady wonders if the Blackbolt will be ready to tell his sister… But, after all, that is not her business. Apparently distracted with the rings she is playing with, in the end, and at next Dagur’s words, she cannot refrain herself to add, softly, “You would not wonder anymore, had you met him, for you would not be here. He, on the contrary, would.
A laugh is all that answers Tancred, as Sarmion turns his dark blue gaze on the Connington knight, “I am sure, good nephew, you shall not object to Ser Almer joining us. He is this good lady’s cousin,” he says motioning toward Reyna, adding, “I think.”
His eyes glitter as he retakes his seat, hiding his mouth with the same goblet as before.
Liane seems determined enough not to let being surrounded by captors and conquerors defeat her, though no doubt her regular sips of wine are contributing something to her boldness. “Ser Benedict,” she greets as well, though there’s something forced in her faint smile, a grimace hiding behind the expression. “There are few enough who can tell tales of walking away from battles with Garyn,” she continues to Dagur, looking towards the dias and not quite hiding a flicker of a smile. “I can’t see one this evening.”
“Of course, I mean to introduce her to you properly,” Jyana tells her cousin quietly, but still, the cheerful note, and a much relieved expression, is on her face at that. She gestures for Marian to come closer, and then turns to the taller lord yet again. “M’lord cousin, this is Lady Marian Stark. Marian, this is my cousin, Lord Jonothor Arryn. Marian has been my riding companion in these last few days, she has been very obliging in her instruction, she is so very patient with me.” She nods slightly. “My good-aunt Lira sends her regrets, if circumstances were different, she would have made the journey with me. But with Eldred being so young, and with Maester Arett’s experience with dealing with newborns…” And she says his name warmly. “I thought myself that the advice was wise.” The arm is offered, and she laughs, taking it with a delicate touch. “Ah, cousin, but I would be hardpressed to refuse you as something as that. I would be happy too, as happy as I am to see you here and safe.”
Carmella offers her brother a qarm embrace to welcome him home, or as close as home can be at the moment. Her eyes sparkle brightly as she smiles up at the Blackbolt, hinting that she knowns nothing yet of his deeds. Or perhaps this isn’t the time or place for such discussion. “You look well, dear brother,” she says as she steps back to take a long look at him. “But it is not from father’s table I’ve been eating, not for many months.” There’s a brief moment of self-conciousness as she glances down at her own figure and then follows her eyes with her hands, smoothing her palms over her sides and off her hips, looking worried. “I’ve only grown upward, I hope, sweet brother?”
“Hello, Rey.” Almer seems hesitant to come near Reyna, strange for a young man known for his daring and pure physical courage. But the pet name comes smoothly to his lips, and he takes his cousin’s offered hands. “Forgive me for not coming to see you sooner.”
He looks over at the Stormbreaker, his nephew, and Lady Elanna. “Ser Sarmion. Elanna. You’ve grown up since I saw you last,” Connington says politely, as if grateful for a distraction. “And Tancred, newly spurred. Congratulations.”
“Ser Almer, it has been such a long time,” Elanna adds her own greeting to the Connington knight, “And please join us! More pleasant company on such an eve.”
Benedict nods his head politely at Liane’s greeting. He seems somewhat chasened by this day, less haughty than when he prowled the deck of the Falcon like a lord of guards. “Lady Uller,” he says, “You look well and lovely today.”
Led around with her step-sister by the latter’s uncle like a pair of prize cows, Aisling’s expression is anything but pleased. There’s a small storm brewing in those dark eyes, and the set of her chin is defiant. No wonder, then, that most of the lords and knights that she and Sylvina are introduced to barely give her a second look, preferring instead to concentrate their flattering words to the latter. And after a while, Sylvina and her uncle even fail to notice that she purposefully falls behind, straying further and further from their company and the need for yet another polite curtsey.
“Perhaps,” agrees the Iron Serpent equably as Lanei speaks. “Perhaps not. The Seven alone know, now.”
And he follows Liane’s gaze to the dias: “There is one such man, at least. But not here, it is true.”
Tancred looks at his aunt without smiling at first, but from the time he squired to Ser Jerion he became rather close to his aunt and a moment later he simply cannot help grinning at her. When Ser Almer is introduced by his uncle, Tancred quickly replies, “Certainly, the cousin of the fair lady Reyna is most welcome to join us.” He offers Almer a polite smile and gestures at a seat with his hand, “Please sit down, Ser and milady.”
Marian offers Jonothor a deep and graceful curtsey, inwardly relieved that Jyana’s cousin does indeed take after the Andals in his height, preventing her from the awkwardness that always follows when she levelly meets - let alone looks down upon - a knight’s gaze. “Milord, it is an honour and pleasure to meet another falcon from the Eyrie”, she says before politely falling silent while Jyana and Jonother exchange family news. Still, she moves to claim a vacant chair beside them, apparently keen not to find herself entirely isolated among total strangers at the high table.
Reyna presses a chaste kiss to Almer’s cheek without lingering, then draws away. “Do join us, Almer. I am so… I’m so -glad- you are well!” She releases his hands, then sits finally next to Elanna, across from Tancred. “Who was that Knight in black at the docks? I saw you speaking to him, but could make no sense of his badge from so far away.”
Liane raises a thumb to the scrape left on her cheek, smile wry. “Your people thought less so, Ser Benedict,” she says in a low voice. The compliment from the knight isn’t exactly well-received by the young man sitting next to her, no doubt her younger brother Serion, though it seems a well-timed kick under the table keeps him from saying anything aloud. Another sip of wine steadies her, before she shakes her head and looks towards the Gold Cloaks around the table. “I think I was six the last time I was told I wasn’t to leave the table until my plate had been cleaned,” she notes with quiet dryness.
Benedict clears his throqt at the table, drinking down the rest of his ale. He shifts his gaze ack and forth between Dagur, Liane, and Lanei. He adds t break the silence, “Ser Utheryn was a great rider. “
Irena sets her goblet on the with a clink that it easily lost within the noise of table around her. With Carmella having gone to meet her brother, Irena sees less and less need to stay at her table, and not wander among the assorted knights and ladies.
“Marian Stark.” The name is weighted carefully in mind and tongue. At last, Jonothor adds, “A sister to the Lord of Winterfell, if I have my houses aright? I apologise if it is not the case. Studying heraldry and lineages has not been a priority at sea. I did not see any other Starks present, however?”
Jonothor moves once more to the high table with as much dignity as one can muster in the crowded circumstances, Jyana upon his arm. “It would do you well to meet the Hand, and others of the royal family.” His voice grows softer as they approach the high table; with a glance upward at each of his words, however, his meaning is plain - identifying each of the lords and ladies to his cousin.
Benedict looks at h young Serion, then bak to Liane. He smiles faintly, nodding slowly. “I was…surprised by the reaction of the crowd, too. It was not my expectation, I must admit.”
And yet, and despite Dagur’s statement, the Fowler lady is pretty sure that, indeed, the Iron Serpent would be no match for Garyn. Didn’t they need to send their best knight, the Dragonknight, to face him?. Anyway, it is useless to wonder about. The Uller knight will not join them tonight. Still playing with her rings, Lanei chuckles. “I was told the same, but the Seven know how much tired did my septa become since I did not use to do as she said.” And yet, she would understand the lady’s lack of appetite if only she were around.
A laughter will take Doran Dondarrion, and it would seem all pensiveness is sated in his eyes. He drops his hand down to Carmella’s shoulder, and speaks in a voice filled still corrupted by mirth. “You are as beautiful as mother, sweet sister.” the Blackbolt drops his hand from his siblings shoulder, and turns his gaze to the direction in which she came.
“You’ve made friends, I suppose?” Doran’s tone comes now in more of a question, “I do hope I am not going to regret our lord father putting me in charge of your well-being.” the half-dornish knight looks back to Carmella, still offering her one of his rare true smiles.
“Him? Oh, that was the Iron Islander knight.” Almer takes an empty chair at the table and sets his goblet down. “His name is Ser Dagur Saltcliffe, but his men call him the Iron Serpent.” Connington shrugs eloquently. “Don’t ask me why. He’s a good man with a blade, though. Not the sort of fellow you’d want for an enemy.”
He cannot help but mark both Elanna’s and Reyna’s selpulchral garb, and frowns, but makes no comment. Instead, he takes a long swallow of his wine.
The name of Utheryn Uller being spokne nearby does catch Aidan’s ear, and he looks in the direction of those speaking about him. The arms of the knight speaking with Liane seem to spark no recognition, however.
Bryce finally looks away from his meal and wine, and strangely enough, spots Irena out of all the people in the room. His deeply set eyes focus on her among all the people, and he smiles oddly to himself before sipping some more at the red wine recently poured up.
He has it right on both counts, but Jyana will let Marian field it. Instead, as Lord Jonothor steers her through the crowd, she keeps up with her cousin, used to his pace, as this isn’t the first time they have walked together and speak while doing so. The quieter voice catches her ears, despite the din, and she nods, her expression coming from cheerful to serenely serious - as she was oft to do. “I understand,” she tells her cousin softly, lifting her blue-green eyes to the higher table as the two both follow Marian into getting seated. “I was determined to make the journey, no matter how rought it had been, to see you and my half-brothers a proper welcome. I also know, however, that my proper introduction is far overdue….I can only regret not doing so sooner, but as you and I know, it cannot be helped.”
“You were surprised that the smallfolk were not pleased to see us, Ser Benedict?” Liane asks bemusedly. “Perhaps you should explain to them why you think so.” Mention of Utheryn sobers her somewhat, lips pressing together for a moment. “We rode quite a bit,” she offers simply to that. “Utheryn was very good at a number of things. As,” she adds, with forced patience, “I’m sure many of the dead were.”
“Which one is he?” Elanna asks of the knights there present, her eyes casting about the room for one who be the Iron Serpent, her interest apparantly piqued.
“Do you know him, Sarmion?” she asks of him.
“Mother’s notion,” Reyna replies sourly, plucking at a black sleeve. “Until… did you bring him?” She drops her voice to a near whisper. “I saw… I saw the casque, but it might have been Lymon. I didn’t want to assume.”
She gives her veiled head a toss, and feigns a smile then. “When Colyn is safely in the hands of the Silent Sisters, Lady Jancia said I may put off mourning.”
Tancred looks from Reyna to Almer, listening to his reply. “Some men you wouldnt want as a friend either, Ser.. A man might be good with a sword, but it is for the tasks he uses it, that he shall be known as a worthy friend.” He brings the glass of wine to his lips and drinks slowly before he puts it down again. His eyes then fall upon Elanna, “How have your travel to this city been, dear aunt?”
Looking over the crowd to where the Iron islander stands mincing words with the Dornish, Sarmion shakes his head, “Not well.”
As the Stormbreaker’s gaze finds the Lannisters, he adds, “He has no love for Ser Jonn of Lannister.”
Marian allows herself a merry laugh in response to Jonothor’s query. “I am only fourteenth in line to the North”, she says with a wry smile. When she has a chance to respond further, without interrupting Jonothor’s identification of notable persons to Jyana, she does so. “I am flattered that your studies of our family line were so complete as to place me accurately. But yes - I am at present the only Stark in King’s Landing. My cousin, Ser Elfram Locke, is here with his daughter, and is in command of a body of my brother’s men, while I supervise the hospice we have created.”
As Liane subtly mourns the Dornish dead, Benedict nods slightly. He glances at Aidan, perhaps aware of the man’s gaze upon him for a moment. Finally he murmurs, “The smallfolk should have paid less mind to matters beyond hteir ken or care. The King’s mercy to the Dornishmen is his affair. For the smallfolk to threatened or challenge his hospitality…” he simly cuts himself off.
Usually Carmella would be pleased with her brother’s compliments, but today that enthusiasm is dimmed a touch. It’s her mother’s beauty that is making her a touch uncomfortable as of late. “Thank you, I can see that your compliments and kindness have not diminshed in your absence, brother.” She half-turns to look back over her shoulder but some many familiar faces are lost in the crowd. “A notable few,” she answers, turning back to smile up at her brother. “But I image they are all busy with their own families at the moment, no doubt you will meet them soon.” Carmella moves to slip her arm through Doran’s, hoping to escort him towards a table. “As for you looking out for me, I daresay I’ve gotten on quite well these last eight months. Freedom is a dangerous thing, brother, I fear should you attempt to put the reigns back on.” At that she laughs and motions to where she had been seated earlier. “It is good to have family again.”
Having successfully extracted herself from the company of Sylvina and Lord Terin, Aisling finds herself not far from where the hostages are seated, and curiosity gets the better of her. Dark eyes, black in most lights but oddly tinted by purple at times, make a close survey of the Dornish lords and ladies. Keeping herself politely circumspect is not, it seems, one of her strong sides.
“As well command the tides, ser.”
Dagur refills the goblet: “The smallfolk will think as they think. It was a mummer’s farce, neatly played, and they did not even know it.”
Irena stands from the lower table after another moment, but it’s not until then that she notices Bryce’s look. She is not used to someone paying any sort of attention to her, and in result she freezes for a moment.
“One cannot expect hospitality, from those who have been given no cause to be hospitable, sers,” Aidan says suddenly, interjecting into a conversation he has been happy enough to only listen to for now. “Smallfolk will do as their lords would have them do.” Though he does not say it directly, in truth it seems he is in accord with the ironman.
Liane arches a brow slightly at Benedict. “Do you honestly believe-” And then Aidan and Dagur make the same point more obliquely, and she quiets. “It’s of no consequence now, at least. Though I’m sure it will be adequate excuse to keep us caged here in the Keep, for our own safety,” she adds, looking towards the Gold Cloaks again.
To those who would glance at the high table; it is now somewhat enlivened. Clearly some introductions are being made, as Jonothor returns to the table, with a bow to the Hand and the other Targaryens, before the Lord of the Eyrie introduces Jyana, and acknowledging Marian also.
“I did not say he is unworthy, aunt, for me to judge that I would need to know him better,” Tancred smiles at Elanna and leans back in his chair, “.. I am only saying that just because a man knows how to handle a sword, doesnt mean that he knows how to -use- a sword in a honorable way.” He turns his attention to Reyna, “I am sad to learn about the loss of your husband, Lady Reyna, their sacrifice will hopefully secure the peace for many years to come.”
Bryce seems surprised that Irena noticed that he looked at her, and he glances around quickly to see if she might be looking at someone else. When that doesn’t seem to be the case, he quickly looks back to her and offers her a short, respectful half-bow. Next to him along the Stormlands table, the other conversations keep up, but the Caron knight doesn’t seem aware. Instead, Bryce seems to be in his own little space, only now invaded by Irena’s presence from afar.
“It is the game of thrones.”
“Yet,” and Dagur raises his eyebrows, “bear in mind that the smallfolk would have acted as they did whether the Prince willed it or no. He used it, true enough. But it sated them and that is no bad thing.”
The Lannister table has been strangely silent for a time—with whispered conversations passing between several young knights, some staring without shame at certain ladies at other tables. Oft times their stares go unnoticed, though a few do illicit blushes, after which small golden dragons change hands beneath the table.
“Alright, enough already,” says Black Jonn, raising his wine glass to his lips once more. It seems he has hardly touched it, or rather, he has hardly touched this glass. “Ante up, boys.”
They all groan, all except for Jonn. He has the bigger pile of coins, each glittering brightly. However, none of their glitter is as bright as that in his eyes.
Doran offers a weak smile, the poignancy slowly beginning to creep back into his features. He accepts Carmella’s arm around his, but pulls her in a different direction rather than to the place the younger Dondarrion motions. “I have a better idea, little sister. Let me introduce you to someone.” He guides her instead towards the Dornish table, his eyes narrowing cautiously as he scans some of the knights that sit in the large hostage group. His eyes finally rest on Lady Lanei, and he tries to find her eyes as the Blackbolt guides his sister where the captives feast.
Liane snorts softly. “I am ever so grateful to have been a part of sating the smallfolk,” she murmurs, managing to keep enough sarcasm from her tone to avoid too much notice. Another sip of wine is taken, bitter, before the empty glass is set aside.
The Stormbreaker laughs as Doran Dondarrion passes the Stormlords table on the way to the Dornish.
“You should be,” observes Dagur mildly. “Your blood might be noble and theirs common, lady, but it would flow just as red if they took it into their heads to spill it.”
“Who is that knight?” Elanna asks of Sarmion, as Doran passes their table.
Aidan’s response to Benedict is a slight shake of his head, and he does not choose to continue the argument. Ser Dagur’s words come closer in accord to his own thoughts, but he does not speak up in their support. In truth, he does not seem pleased to involve himself in arguments. He turns his attention elsewhere, to passing nobles.
Tancred looks at Reyna, not certain if she really did reply with sincerity and when he looks at Sarmion for a brief moment, the hunch that he somehow missed a point grows stronger, which is read in the expression of his face. When the conversation is directed towards Jyanas presence he looks at her and falls silent, his fingers lightly touching his glass.
Irena returns Bryce’s bow with a somewhat startled curtsy. Hazel eyes turn briefly towards the Lannister table, but there current ‘entertainment’ keeps her from heading in that direction, so after a moment of consideration she begins to make her way towards the table taken by the Stormlands.
Laughing, the Stormbreaker remarks, “But I call him Boltless!”
Coming through the entry doors, an older woman appears. Lady Taria enters as if not late, perhaps allowing the young to satisfy their initial appetites before joining herself. Her garnet tiara glitters under a pale yellow silk shaw draped over her head and falling around her shoulders.
“Yes, I noticed that when we made it back to the keep,” Liane responds to Dagur with a dry look. “My point being that they were somewhat less than sated anyhow.” Absently, she picks at a slice of bread before looking up at Doran’s approach.
Carmella glances up at her brother, worry showing on her features as she realizes where he is taking her. Ever so slightly her hand tightens on his arm and her bottom lip is drawn inward as she bites on it. “Is this wise, brother,” she whispers, leaning into him as they draw closer to the hostage table. Her brother knows her well enough to know her own feelings, but this seems to be an ill time to be making introductions with the king’s hostages. She tries to ignore looks and laugher directed towards them, eyes forward as she follows her brother’s lead.
Casting his eyes around the large assembly, Jonn makes note of the location of several personages. While the Stormlords table is far from that of the Westermen, it would be difficult for him to miss the passage of Doran…
...and nigh impossible for him to miss the Stormbreaker’s bellowing. He smiles and raises his voice. “Tell me, Elmer, which one is the woman?” he asks the man sitting beside him, a Crakehall judging by his size and the boar embroidered into his shirt. He gestures towards Doran and his sister, waving his wine glass in an offhand manner.
When introduced to the Hand, and the Targaryens, Jyana dips a curtsey, and bestows upon them her own well wishes to their health and family, smiling faintly and inclining her head - speaking directly, of course, when addressed. And when given leave to go, she joins her cousin, and Marian, at the table, a hand reaching up to tuck back a lock of hair behind her ear and looking around at all the livery.
Bryce starts to rise, then stops himself and instead sits down with a bit of a held back expression, like he cannot decide what to do. He seems momentarily confused, eyes strictly focused on the wine glass in front of him, before he reaches a decision and looks up to send Irena another look, hopefully managing what can be taken as a welcoming look with a very small smile to accompany it, nearly invisible if one doesn’t look right at him. The rest of him is withdrawn and introvert like always.
“Rotten tomatoes and horse turds?” Beckoning a serving man bearing roasted capons, the Ironman smiles faintly, “That was the smallfolk of King’s Landing being kindly.”
But there is no humour in his eyes; if he loves the city, he hides it well indeed.
Apparently the conversation at the Stormlands table had briefly adressed the presence of Jyana, making more than one glance fly in her direction, including the blue eyes of the heir of Storm’s End, which currently seems to be rather fixed on her.. Actually it appears that the ‘Boltless’ conversation has passed him by for now.
Lady Taria moves through the crowded throne room, her gaze falling on various knights and ladies as she passes, until she head reached the head table. She then gives a curtsey to the Targaryens and the Hand, “Welcome home, my Lords.” She remains with her head down for an appropriate amount of time before rising slowly with a soft smile.
The Stormbreaker levels a hard gaze on the Dornish table.
Still off the leash, as it were, Aisling makes her way down the length of the table at which the hostages are seated, having first cast a glance or two over her shoulder to ensure that Lord Terin and Sylvina are elsewhere occupied. Which they are, with the Master of Laws introducing his well-behaved young niece to a tall young knight with an unfortunate head of carrot-coloured hair.
“Lovely, isn’t she?” Reyna says to Tancred of Jyana, before following Sarmion’s gaze toward the Dornish table. Again she spies Dagur, and this time she raises a glass to him.
“Joy.” Liane murmurs the single word in response to Dagur, still picking quietly at the bread. She’s quiet for a long moment, looking around the crowd of people, tables, servers, and singers, as she pales save for spots of color in her cheeks, looking suddenly ill.
At the high table, Jonothor can be heard to call a compliment to the Hand, Prince Viserys - his words appear to include Ser Alyn Velaryon in them - before quieter conversation is resumed with the two younger ladies of Houses Arryn and Stark. At Tarya Buckwell’s entrance, the Lord Arryn smiles in greeting.
Doran winces noticeably at the familiar voice of Ser Jonn Lannister, but as he did the last time he endured him at banquet, he ignores the knight. Instead he focuses his attention on Carmella, attempting a smile to shield her from any insults thrown at him. “Courage, Carmella.” the half-dornish knight speaks softly, offering that simple word in response to her question.
Doran smiles as he stops a few feet from the hostages’ table, “Lady Liane, I would like to introduce you to my sister, Carmella.” Doran pushes the teenager foward, encouraging her to show the proper courtesy. The Blackbolt’s gaze however move to the others gathered at the hostage table, finally falling upon Ser Aidan, Knight of the Twilight.
Tancred finally snaps back to the conversation going on at the table, “Dear Uncle, I do not find it wise to question the strength of the Dondarions or mock them in public as here, they are our allies, and I have seen with my own eyes that the Dornishmen did fight honorably,” He says, looking at his uncle with a slight frown on his brow, “.. maggots or not..”
Moving through the crowds and tables is far from easy for the petite Irena, especially one she pauses, casting a concerned look after her friend, Carmella, but she finally stops within a polite distance of the table, the smile directed at Bryce is at the least friendly, although her cursty is now directed at the group in general.
The Ironman glances at the Dondarrion knight then, and past him, to the Stormlands table where a goblet is raised in his direction. There is a moment of hesitation, a flicker of surprise—and then, he raises his own in response.
Ser Aidan is apparently restive, not keen to take part in the conversations at his table, nor to try and see what will happen should he choose to leave early. So he takes such opportunities as he can to learn something worthwhile. The Dondarrion knight’s gaze briefly meets his own, but it’s taken away by a young noblewoman just passing by. “I must beg your pardon, my lady,” he says to none other than Aisling, ducking his head in a brief bow from his seat. “If I may ... whose sigil is that, of the horse’s head? I do not know it.”
For a moment, Liane doesn’t quite seem to register the presence of the Dondarrions in front of her, though as soon as she does, she quickly rises from her chair, taking the excuse of a proper greeting to escape the confinement of sitting. The paleness remains, along with a vaguely ill expression and not quite concealed look of panic, though it starts to fade as she forces in a deep breath. “Ser Doran,” she nods to the knight. “Lady Carmella,” she adds, a brief smile finding her lips.
Benedict rises glumly from the lower table qt which he sat, apparently not liking something said by either Dagur or Liane, or both. He nods curtly to the hostages remaining there, almost as an afterthought.
Smiling in return, Lady Taria steps up to the head table and offers her hand to Jonothor, “Lord Arryn ...” Her deep, alto voice loses none of its femininity even in age, “... it is a pleasure to have you in King’s Landing ..” She also gives a nod to those with him, “... and we are eespecially gracious that you have allowed your young cousin, Lady Jyana, to comes as well.”
Bryce, finally noticing Irena’s troubles with the crowds, and some of the lower born in her way, rises up. His blue eyes narrows somewhat at the people milling about without noticing the young lady, and he leaves his wine and meal. “Make sure that one stays mine.” he says to a nearby knight before he takes a long stride around the chair/bench he was seated at. He, unlike Irena, isn’t easily ignored with his sturdy build and he quickly starts making way with more or less polite “Get out of the way, a lady needs to get through” or just “Get out of the way.” said to the people who happen to block his path. When he gets past the last person, he once again spots her much closer now, and he offers a bow. “My lady,” he offers.
Carmella doesn’t need to brother’s encouragment to be polite, she’s been well-trained in such behavior. Trained enough that she refrains from glaring at Doran though a quiet glance does pass from sister to brother. It lasts but a moment before Carmella drops into a graceful curtsey to the woman Doran has named Lady Liane. Others may have been rude to those from the southern realm, but Carmella displays no such attitude as she speaks, her voice faintly touched by a drawl she had picked up from her mother. “A pleasure, Lady Liane,” she says, rising from her curtsey, a brave smile in place. Briefly her eyes scan along the table, taking the moment to study a few others in turn before her attention is back on the Uller woman. “I would say welcome to King’s Landing, but I can’t imagine those words would be appropriate, given the circumstances.”
She seems oblivious to the comments whispered, or the eyes cast her way, for Jyana is quite engaged with speaking to Jonothor and Marian about her newest cousin. This is of course, until they are joined by Lady Taria. Aquamarine eyes lift up to look at the regal, white-haired lady, and she gives her a quiet smile. “It is most fortuitous that I get to see you again after a short amount of time, m’lady,” she tells her softly. “My cousin had not known I would be able to make the journey himself, it delighted me to surprise him.” An impish grin is cast Jonothor’s way.
The Stormbreaker rises to his feet and with dark looks, leaves the Stormlands table and the hall.
“No, no, Elmer,” comes the loud response from Jonn, placing a hand on his friend’s large forearm, “there is no need to go lift up her skirts and prove your doubts. I am quite sure Ser Doran is the woman.”
Another round of fierce whispering.
Black Jonn erupts in laughter. “You mean the Caron boy? Aye, they would make a dashing couple. But I’m not sure the Mother would approve.”
Benedict Rogers makes his way fromm the lower table, trying to hold his chest up high as he moves back among the crowded floor. He finds another servant with a tray of ale, snags another flagon, and makes his way toward one of the galleries, seeking fresh air and a little quiet.
Marian looks up as Taria approaches and introduces herself, already seeming to be somewhat used to being all but ignored in favour of the famous Jewel of the Eyrie. “Milady”, she murmurs politely, not quite sure who the tall old woman is.
Liane looks almost relieved at Carmella’s closing words, some of the tension leaving her shoulders. “No, not terribly,” she agrees quietly, summoning a crooked smile. “But thank you for knowing it.” She glances towards Jonn and his crowd, rolling her eyes slightly before looking back to the Dondarrions. “Your brother was-” She stops, struggling past some emotion. “Your brother was kind on the ships. You should be proud of him,” she manages to force out.
Beer fumes hang heavy in the hall; the clamour of a hundred different conversations is a tide crashing against the stone walls, scarcely any softer than the clamour at the docks. And the Iron Serpent, it would seem, has had his fill of it.
The serving man with the capons is waved away even as he approaches, the goblet set down almost untouched. Rising, he threads his way through the roving lords and ladies; the darkness outside swallows him.
It startles her briefly—knowing virtually no one here she hardly expected to be spoken to—but then Aisling turns her attention to the Dornish knight who addressed her. She regards him thoughtfully for a moment or two, perhaps wondering what would prompt such a query, before consenting to give a response. “That would be the sigil of House Ryswell of the Rills, ser.” As an afterthought, or as if she suddenly remembered to mind her manners (it happens, if not all that often), she adds a slight curtsey. “Some distance north of Dorne,” she notes then, for no real reason at all.
The bards never seem to be out of songs, and the songs of the conquest—fabulous constructions that they are—are the most popular at all. Strolling near the Dornish table, perhaps daringly so, is one young bard who shares a song of Oakenfist breaking the Planky Town.
Irena smiles, not quiet able to keep a little bit of relief out of her expression. People do not generally get out of the way of someone barely five feet tall. She finally curtsies properly to Bryce. “Greetings, ser.” Her eyes dart briefly towards the Lannister table at the outburst, but they return to Bryce shortly, as she does not yet know his house.
Tancred looks at Reyna with a calm expression on his face, “I would prefer to keep my house on a friendly term at least with the vassals who support us, milady.. There is no honor in mocking a man.” He continues looking at her, without smiling, “I appreciate your concern of my future lordship.. I do however not pretend to be what I am not, yet I am not without honor.”
Reyna widens her eyes at Tancred, and responds with a little “Ah.” Then she glances at Elanna and rises. “I thank you for the hospitality of your table, Ser Tancred, but I would be remiss now if I did not greet those I know. By your leave?”
“Oh, I see several ladies we would should greet, Ren,” Elanna remarks softly, as her brother departs, “Our company grows thin and we should speak to them before all leave.” She rises with Reyna, and offers her arm again.
“Ryswell of the Rills,” Ser Aidan repeats to himself, committing it to his memory among all the other arms of noble houses he can recall. And then with an easy courtesy he says in his soft, Dornish drawl, “My thanks, my lady of the Rills. I did not wish to seem ignorant, and there are many arms here ...” A slight shrug and he simply states, “I am Ser Aidan Dayne, of Starfall.”
“Of course,” Tancred replies, offering both Elanna and Reyna a polite smile, “I have enjoyed your presence and your kind conversation and advice.” He reaches for his glass of wine and raises it in salute to the two ladies departing. Then he takes another sip before putting it back on the table.
More or less shouting himself with his powerful voice to be heard through the clamor and festivities, Bryce has a hard time hearing what Irena said, but he seems to get the point. Speaking loudly, he introduces himself: “Greetings.. I am Ser Bryce Caron, Ser Albar Caron’s son.” He gestures widely, making sure none get too close to the small lady. “Care to sit down and avoid.. these?” The gesture is to the lower born, servants and all the others who got in her way, then in the direction of the Stormlands table, naturally, right next to the Baratheons and the empty seat there.
Linking her arm with Elanna’s, Reyna bobs a curtsy to Tancred then turns to make a survey of the crowded hall. “Let’s make our courtesies to the Hand, and then see what we will see,” she suggests, aiming them at the highest table.
The Blackbolt continues his weak smile as his sister affords the proper courtesy, and his eyes drop from the Knight of the Twilight to be returned instead to the Uller. “Carmella has always asked me of questions about Dorne when growing up. I thought perhaps you’d be a better one to tell her more information than I could ever.”
Elanna nods and replies softly, “Yes lets.” And looks toward the Hand as the twain of sable clad women approach. Elanna drops into a curtsey before their table and waits for the acknowledgement of their presence.
“Entirely too many,” Aisling half mutters to herself, not precisely in response to Aidan’s comment. To that, she offers a polite smile and a dip of her head, “Well met, Ser Aidan. Though I don’t imagine you are any more interested in spending time here in King’s Landing than I am.” A rather frank and outspoken young lady is what she would seem to be, with little concern about who might overhear even her less carefully considered remarks. “For my own part, I think I would rather have you all back in Dorne as well. Were it not for this foolish war, I’d still be a good many miles away from here.”
While Liane glances towards the Lannisters and their japes Carmella keeps her eyes on the hostage table, though her shoulders stiffen as the insults towards her brother reach her ears. Forcing out a smile she waits for Liane to look back at her before addressing her again. There’s still tension in her shoulders, but her smile is more relaxed. That is, until Doran speaks and her cheeks go red. Is it embarrassment or anger? Hard to tell, for she swallows back whatever she wishes to say. Lifting her chin slightly she looks at her brother out of the corner of her eye before responding. “A childish desire,” she says tightly as her gaze eases back towards Liane. “Our mother is of House Yronwood and my curiousity was greater than my sense, I fear. I am please, however, to hear of my brother’s kindness towards you on the ship. I imagine there was little to be found.”
Jonothor looks up from the conversation at the high table and offers a courteous greeting to the two ladies, arm-in-arm, who approach. “Good evening, dear ladies. Are you here to see…?” Further words escape him, clearly as does their identity.
“My betrothed was an Yronwood,” Liane informs Carmella with a faint, sad smile. “And if I grow homesick, I’m sure an interested party to listen to my memories would be welcome. There is little enough of danger in talk of Dorne. Is your mother here, in King’s Landing?” she asks with quiet curiosity.
Rising from her own deep curtsy, Reyna looks toward the Dornish table, then shakes her head. “I think not,” she murmurs under her breath, just as Jonothor speaks. “We are merely doing our duties to their Graces,” she says, lifting her chin.
As the people who have been seated around him has left, Tancred moves on his feet and makes his way out of the throne room as well, seeing no point in spending more time in isolation when one can get a good nights sleep instead. He offers polite nods to those he pass on his way towards the exit and then disappears into the night accompanied by a few guards from his house.
A brief smile is cast upon Elanna and Reyna as they head up, and her cousin greets them, Jyana standing up and dropping a curtsey to the two of them. But she doesn’t say anything, perhaps she is a little overwhelmed. Already she could feel fatigue in her bones. It had been a long day, it was hot and hazy outside, and she was feeling a little lightheaded. She retakes her seat next to her cousin once pleasantries had been exchanged, and she takes up a cup of cold wine for her to drink.
The frank words are from Aisling are perhaps a trifle unexpected. Aidan looks at her as if she’s something somewhat more than a display of heraldic arms, trying to determine if it’s some jest at his expense. Then he responds with mild courtesy, “I am sorry to hear that you are inconvenienced, my lady.” A glance at those at his table, including those who conquerors rather than conquered, and then he adds, “As you say, it is not an inconvenience you alone feel, yet here we are.”
Irena’s voice is surprising strong for someone with such a small frame, so she does manage to make her reply to Bryce heard, “I am Irena Marbrand. Granddaughter of Lord Seldon of Ashemark.” Neither name nor place are likely known to those from outside the Westerlands. She continues with a shake of her head, “I am honored, but I won’t like like to take someone else’s place.” Her tone and expression remain friendly, design declining the seat.
Marian also rises, taking the chance to return Jonothor’s early courtesy. “Miladies, before I make my excuses and slip away, may I present Lord Jonothor Arryn. Lord Jonothor, these are the Lady Elanna Penrose, sibling to the Stormbreaker, and the Lady Reyna Rowan, wife to the late Ser Colyn.”
Taria remains at the head table, speaking or so it seems to Marian Stark, Jyana and Lord Arryn. Her attention, or at least her gaze, does move about the room however.
Doran remains quite as both Carmella and Liane converse, instead he places a comforting hand on the shoulder of his younger sister. His eyes continue to roam the hall, examining all those about him. Eyes that are caught amongst those recognized are offered a nod of courtesy.
“Ah - kin to the mighty Stormbreaker, and I believe Lady Reyna is also kin to Lord Tyrell,” Jonothor says, with recognition. “Pleased to make your acquaintances, Lady Elanna, and Lady Reyna.”
“Sweet Marian, thank you,” Reyna says softly, smiling at the tall Stark maid. Then she and Elanna make deep curtsies to the Warden of the East. “It is a pleasure to meet you, my lord. Indeed, Garvys is my brother,” she says in a smooth voice, rising. Then she smiles at Jyana. “And to see you again, Jyana.”
“Then we were to be cousins,” Carmella notes quietly, the tension slowly leaking from her shoulders as she finally takes a seat at the table. “I am sorry for your loss, Lady Liane, as I am for all that fell on your sands.” She smiles weakly. “I fear I have not the mind for wars and battles,” she adds quietly. “It seems that the King has afforded you and yours some courtesies, it would be ill of me to not offer the same.” Perhaps a touch cruel, considering that none at this table are here by their own will, but they could be locked in dark cells instead of dining with the other nobles of the kingdom and Carmella will take gifts where they come. “I too and far from my home, sent away lest the fighting had reached our keep.” Carmella smiles a little more. “I fear I did not get the name of your house, Lady Liane,” she hints, noting the colors the woman wears, not not wishing to assume anything.
“Ah..” Bryce says, suddenly chewing on his lip and looking around, not knowing what to do now. He glances back at the short lady, looking in the normal, slightly disgruntled or just distant fashion that the Caron knight often does. “Of course. My apologies..” Another pause and he bites his lower lip as he tries to come up with something to say.. and fails, looking a bit socially lost.
Dark brows arch at that response; no doubt she thinks it far too well-mannered. “An inconvenience? That, I think, is not quite how I would put it, ser, were I in the position of yourself and your companions.” Here Aisling casts another glance along the hostage’s table, before looking back to Aidan. “Nor do I suppose you are the one who should be apologising for being invaded. Though I do suppose you could have done what the rest of us did and bent the knee when faced with the dragons, and we would not have had this mess here and now. It seems a little odd, to be honest, that you would find yourself conquered now that they are all dead and gone.” A brief pause, then, and a quick glance at the high table. “Well, the fire-breathing ones, anyway.”
It takes a keen mind to fling insults about a room whilst your eyes are fixed on other points. But so Jonn Lannister has done, and now his eyes narrow but slightly. His gaze is affixed on Bryce Caron and the small woman he talks to—a Marbrand, a cousin no doubt.
“Stay here,” he says to his companion at the table, before rising and swiftly moving towards the pair.
Turning her attention to those that Lord Arryn is speaking to, Lady Taria smiles to the two, “Lady Reyna ... Lady Elanna,” she offers in greetings.
Jonothor rises from his seat to greet both the ladies Reyna and Elanna with a short bow.
“Irena?” Black Jonn inquires, his eyes narrowed on the small girl. “Is that really you? Damn me, but you’ve grown!”
Entirely by accident, he bumps into Bryce, and murmurs a noncommital apology.
“My Lady Buckwell,” Reyna replies, as both ladies curtsy again. Then Elanna murmurs in Reyna’s ear, and slips away toward the doors with an apology to those at the table. Reyna watches her for a moment, the returns her attention to the high table. “I hope the evening finds you well?” she asks Taria.
Amidst the growing group at the high table and after the introductions have been made, Jonothor draws nearer to share a word with the Hand, Prince Viserys, momentarily leaving the ladies to their conversation.
For her own part, Marian remains quietly unnoticed and largely ignored beside the Jewel of the Eyrie, solemnly watching and listening as the evening unfolds.
Irena does not quiet have a chance to finish saying to Bryce, “There is no need…” before Jonn’s interruption. A smile brightens her face as she says with a laugh, “Not too much! I still have to look up at everyone.” She notices the accident, but remains from commenting.
Taria nods to Reyna, “It does, my dear ... though you may call me Lady Taria. Despite rumors to the contrary and years of seemingly carrying the burden, I am not the ruling Lady of the Antlers. In fact I have not been to the Antlers in nearly twenty years.” She offers Reyna her hand, in the feminine sort of sisterly way as her other hand lightly holds Reyna’s arm, “And Jarmon would probably throw a fit if he heard it.” A little wink is offere from the older woman.
Lips slightly parted, Aidan seems taken aback for a moment by the Ryswell woman’s remarks. They’re not, it seems, what he would expect here. Yet he is not left silent for long. Mindful of where he is, he speaks elusively. “King Daeron planned well, and had great champions to his cause, my lady. And not only those. I do not think he felt a lack of the Targaryen monsters.” Companions at the table overhear him, and the full meaning seems clear enough to them by the looks they exchange.
“Lady Taria, then,” Reyna replies, her cheeks pinking as she takes Taria’s hand. “I hope, my lady, that you will forgive me. There are so many to greet…” She waves a small hand at the crowded hall.
“Uller,” Liane supplies to Carmella with a small smile, slowly lowering back into her chair and accepting a refill of her wine from a passing server. “Heir to Hellholt.” A passing singer’s tale is met with a faint smirk. “Cousin to the Hellknight and the Knight of Flame.” She takes a drink, letting out a quiet breath. “I will be grateful if we are able to move about within the Keep, Lady Carmella. The ship, large as it was, is certainly no great space.”
Bryce gets bumped into, but then, Bryce isn’t a man easily moved, not even by an equally large fellow, or larger, like Jonn Lannister. However, when the Lannister starts talking, Bryce takes a step to the side, eyes narrowing and eyebrows furrowing together. “Jonn..” he says, shaking his head. His right hand is kept in a fist now, knuckles whitened. “I was talking to lady Irena.” He looks at her, only now realizing that she didn’t react hostile towards the Lannister and he loses whatever he was going to say.. “Well..” he tries, then fails to come up with something more.
Taria nods, “Not at all, Lady Reyna. It is so good to see everyone returning.” Lady Taria smiles as she looks out at the crowd, “King’s Landing is meant to be place of joy and laughter, or so ... I always thought. It seems to sullen during the war. And now ... well life returns.” She takes a deep breath, sighing a bit, “I’m feeling rather invigorated by it.”
Ser benedict returns from the courtyard, cooled by the night air. Perhps he has drunk a touch too much ale, for his complexion is still faintly red. He retreats over to a lesser table, again near the hostages, and watches the festivities around him.
“It is exciting, certainly,” Reyna offers, smiling faintly as she turns to move away. She skirts the Dornish table, eyeing the hostages warily and bumping into Aisling as she does. “Oh, do excuse me!”
Benedict glares surreptitiously at Reyna as she steers so visibly clear of the Dornnish table, and the lower rungs seated nearby. He takes another horn and drinks deep.
The looks exchanged between the hostages following Aidan’s remark do not pass Aisling by unnoticed, and her dark eyes narrow faintly as she considers the young knight’s words more closely. “No, it would seem that King Daeron had just the tools that he needed. Not the least, I would imagine, the Dragonknight.” The mention of Prince Aemon is made in a faintly challenging manner, as if to see what a Dornish knight might have to say about the greatest knight in the Seven Kingdoms. Just then, however, she finds herself distracted as Reyna bumps into her. “Certainly, my lady. Even this great hall is crowded tonight, after all,” she responds, politely enough.
Carmella offers a somewhat apologetic smile to the Uller woman. “I fear I know nothing of what will be afforded you and your here and I could only hear parts of what the King’s Hand said to you earlier.” She had, however, taken note of the ships as they came in and she can nod in sympathy at what it must have been like on the open water. The Dondarrion girl accepts a glass of wine from the same server who refilled Liane’s glass and she begins to look a little more comfortable, though her gaze still darts away from her current conversational companion. “Hellholt is surrounded by desert, is it not?” The question is asked as she takes a sip of her wine.
“Ah, were you now?” asks Jonn, eyebrow arched. He smiles apologetically to his cousin Irena, and says, with self deprecation: “Please, forgive me, ser. But I have not seen my favorite cousin in nigh on a year, so I’m certain you will look past any offence I have caused.”
His eyes twinkle merrily, and he gives Irena a serious look—the, one word, and I’ll toss the bum out look.
“It is,” Liane answers with a small smile of memory. “Shifting sands that hide the jewels of the desert from those who do not know them well. The sand gets everywhere, but so does the sun, and in the evening it cools, and the breeze off the sands blows away the heat of the day, leaving only the warm stones of the keep to share its memory.” She tucks a strand of hair behind her ear, smile faint. “The desert is a fine place for those who know it well.”
She watches the older ladies keep their conversation with a sight smile, Jyana draining the rest of her wine, and then easing to stand up. “Forgive me, my ladies - I think I might need to take a breath of air,” she tells them softly. “Please do excuse me, it is wonderful to see you all again.” And when given leave to do so, she will curtsey, and the young Arryn maiden finds herself moving away from the table, and closer to the windows by stepping down from the dais and moving on. She exhales softly, the excitement being too much that she has forgotten to eat - but she’ll certainly remember it later once her stomach starts growling.
Benedict sips at his horn of ale at a lower table off to the side, closer to bards and servant entrances than the main scene. Yet he hazards a gaze at Jyana as she sweeps pastdown the aisle towtoward the window beyond. He takes a very deep drink and swollows hard.
Taria nods to Jyana before set takes a seat again at the head table, next to Jonothor and Prince Viserys. Taking a sip of wine she watches the table with the Dornish hostages quietly, eyes missing nothing as the young nobles seem to be acquainting themselves with each other.
“I doubt it was the wine, at any rate; I’ve had none,” Reyna replies with a good-natured smile. “Is that the Ryswell badge?” she asks then, curiously. “I’ve never met so many Northerners in my life. I’m Reyna Rowan.” She bobs a curtsy… and freezes on rising as she catches sight of Aidan. “Ser,” she says a trifle stiffly.
Aidan’s gaze falls on the woman in the arms of House Rowan, as distracted as Aisling is by her. After apologies are exchanged, and Reyna makes her introduction, Aidan offers in courteous response, “I am Ser Aidan Dayne.” Aisling’s remarks on the Dragonknight are left unresponded to, the needs of courteousy taking precedence.
Irena almost seems shocked at Bryce’s reaction to her cousin, although in all honesty she isn’t, as she is well aware that Jonn is not the… easiest person to get along with. She says after a moment, her voice neutral, “We had just began our introductions.”
“I’ve only ever lived at Blackhaven, and here in King’s Landing,” Carmella says, taking note of the fondness with which Liane speaks, but having no memories of her own with which to compare. “I’ve not seen a desert such as that, not any that have not been imagined in my own mind.” Carmella lifts her goblet and takes another drink. “I imagine it is a poor copy of the real thing.” There’s a pause for a moment, a touch of discomfort as she glances up and notices the Lady Reyna nearby. “Are there many of your family here,” she asks next with a look down the table as if she could pick out others of Liane’s family with simply a quick glance.
Benedict rises from his table and strolls about the lower hall, toward the window by which some minstrels are performing. He speaks with them a moment, and then the air of a minor Southron melody can be heard. It is a quaint tune from a quaint provincial land. The singer intones words evoking “the stormy shores of Amberly, which sparkle fair and true…” It seems to provide the knight some comfort.
Aisling’s smile is rather more polite than pleasant, though this time she does remember to mind her manners. “Well met, Lady Reyna. It is, indeed, the arms of House Ryswell, and I am Aisling Ryswell.” Following Reyna’s glance back to Aidan, she gives him another thoughtful glance, then turns back to the other woman. In doing so, she catches sight of Lord Terin a table away, a frown passes across her face. It would appear he might be looking for someone. “If you will excuse me, however, I fear my presence may be expected elsewhere.” A dip of her head and she’s off, black and red silk rustling about her legs as she strides away in a rather less than ladylike fashion.
Left abruptly alone with the Dornishman, Reyna seems, for a moment, at a loss. “My brother spoke highly of the Daynes in his letters to me,” she says, finally. “He said you were all fine fighters, and honorable men.”
“My brother,” Liane answers Carmella, kicking the young man next to her under the table again until he looks over with a forced smile of his own. “Serion. I have some cousins among our numbers as well,” she adds, chin rising. “The Toland twins, on my mother’s side. I’ve an aunt who married the lord of Vaith, so that makes Jossart over there a cousin as well. To be honest, though, we were so split up on the ships, and everything happened to fast…I’ve not had much time to find out.”
“Yes.” Bryce manages to say, even if he seems strained even doing so. “I’m sure I would have found your cousin very pleasant if we had gotten past the introductions,” he says after a long time of thinking, apparently not the quickest social ninja. Then, he quickly corrects it to: “I find her pleasant now as well, of course..” Pause. “I meant, that I would find her personality pleasant too, if we had.. talked more. But yes, of course you shall speak with your cousin.” He doesn’t look pleased over that fact, tho.
Taria continues to quietly watch the evening progress, her look is calculating, like she was watching pieces situating themselves before having a hand at a game herself. Sipping the wine, she leans on the armrest of her chair and just smiles.
Watching the abruptly departing form of Aisling, it takes a moment befor he can respond to Reyna. “Pardon, Lady Reyna? Your brother? He is gracious, to say so of me. He spoke the truth of my uncle, Lord Aeron…” Perhaps he would say more about his uncle, yet the hint of pain about the mention is enough to put an end to that. Instead he remarks, “I am sure your brother fought well, as well, my lady. There is much honor among your chivalry.”
Jonn bows his head politely to Bryce, very demure and noble.
“Of course I shall, Ser Bryce,” he says politely. Well, for him anyway.
But then he ruins it: “Though your permission eases my suffering a touch.”
“Some would dispute that, Ser,” Reyna replies, with a bitter taint to her voice. “My brother is Lord Tyrell.” She glances toward Jonn, some way distant, then shakes her head. “I suppose that folk will think of him as they will. We in the Reach have heard many stories of the fine heroes of Dorne.” Diplomatic words, if only just properly delivered.
As introductions are being made Carmella does her best to offer a warm smile. No doubt the Dornish men and women have had few of those. Again she looks down the table, taking note of those Liane picks out of the crowd, nodding with each name as if putting it to memory. “I imagine you will have ample time now to catch up with those who were not on your ship,” she offers, the suggestion certainly is bittersweet. Carmella leaves her cup on the table, but slowly turns it between her fingertips in an idle gesture. “Though I imagine those on both sides of the conflict will have much catching up to do with family and friends not seen in many months.”
Leaving the central area to move to the side was refreshing, and Jyana couldn’t help but breathe a quiet sigh. The night has fallen, the place was less crowded and stifling, and the cool breeze blowing in was doing wonders for her color and constitution. Still with her cup, she touches the rim absently, looking over the rest of the revelry with a small smile. She can see Carmella chatting with others, and Irena with Jonn, but she does not join either of them - for now anyways. It wouldn’t do well to be exhausted so quickly, when the gathering is in full force. Instead, she watches, still with that same, absent smile.
Marcia’s daughter returns back to her chair after the little chat she had with some others of the hostages, those she had not had the opportunity to speak for weeks, right after they were shipped to King’s Landing. And, going by the smile upon her lips, it is evident that she has had a good time. Now that she resumes her place, Lanei finds out that a couple of persons joined their table. One of them, Ser Doran, the lady knows already, so the lady inclines her head to the Blackbolt and offers a smile that, surely, the knight will miss, for he looks fairly distracted speaking to another ser. Carmella receives a curious glance and a faint nod in greeting. “Well, let’s hope they will lead us to our rooms… soon” she comments to Liane.
The Lannisters are not the only ones who think poorly of Lord Tyrell, that’s true enough. Aidan’s pleasant courtesy shifts a little, becoming stiffer than before. “Lord Garvys .... no one could doubt his courage. I saw it with mine own eyes, more than once,” he tells Lady Reyna. There seems nothing more for him to say on the subject of the lady’s brother, however, that would not be in some way discourteous. So he leaves it at that.
“I imagine many of us will want to stay in our quarters,” Liane agrees quietly with Carmella. “Though it’s not something I generally choose to do. There’s comfort in familiarity and safety, but I won’t spend the rest of my life hiding in a tower here if I don’t have to.” She takes another drink, casting a small smile towards Lanei. “Forced dinner party,” she murmurs bemusedly. “One can hope they won’t all be like this.”
Irena cannot keep the amusement out of her expression as Bryce struggles with what to say, although she is more than polite enough not to actually comment on it. “It was nice to meet you, Ser Caron, if only briefly,” Jonn’s words are noted, and waits for the reaction, as she does not doubt there will be one.
Taria’s green eyes finally seem to rest on Liane, as the young Dornish woman speak to Carmella. Continuing to sip her wine and sitting at the head table, she is a bit of a distance from the hostages. But it seems the young woman from Hellholt has caught her attention and it is her that the old dowager has seemingly decided to watch for the time being.
But Reyna replies with a knowing half-smile. “You are too kind, ser,” she says. “I hope you will excuse me. It has been a very long day. I… hope your quarters are comfortable.” She bobs a curtsy, then all but flees.
Like a dog that has caught a scent, the faintly displeasing of the words ‘Lord Tyrell’ reach Black Jonn’s ears, and they seem to perk upward a little. He swings the corner of one eye and spots Reyna at the Dornish table. His head bobs imperceptibly, as though making a mental note of something.
For a moment, the pleasant face he was making at Bryce shifts subtly; for a moment, it seems the man knows something, and what he knows might not be of the most pleasant sort.
Carmella has been keeping an eye on those around them, so she takes notice of Lanei’s arrival, her gaze curious as the woman gives her a nod. That the woman looks to her brother as well provides Carmella with evidence that she, too, had been on the receiving end of Doran’s kindness. “Good evening, m’lady,” she says in way of greeting before offering an introduction, hoping to inspire Lanei to do the same. “I am Carmella Dondarrion, sister to Doran,” she says with a brief tip of her head in her brother’s direction. “He was kind enough to introduce me to Lady Liane.” There’s a brief look between the two women before Carmella asks, “Are you cousins, perhaps?”
In her haste to depart Aidan’s company, Reyna grows unwary of her surroundings and jostles Jonn’s arm with her elbow. Her apologies die on her lips, however; she bobs him a stiff curtsy and turns away.
“If you’d only earned it first,” Bryce says with his deeply set eyes filled with held back irritation and frustration, but the Caron knight avoids any breaches of etiquette. At least the violent kinds. He offers a bow to Irena, then a long look at Jonn that promises a follow up.. and his planned retreat is halted by Reyna’s ‘accident’, and he watches Jonn’s reaction in mid-step away from the two.
“If you’d only earned it first,” Bryce says to Jonn with his deeply set eyes filled with held back irritation and frustration, but the Caron knight avoids any breaches of etiquette. At least the violent kinds. He tries to smile at Irena and offers a bow: “Same to you”, then a long look at Jonn that promises a follow up. His planned retreat is however halted by Reyna’s ‘accident’, and he watches Jonn’s reaction in mid-step away from the two.
“Lady Rowan, isn’t it?” Black Jonn says aloud.
“Bare—I mean, Ser Colyn’s lovely young wife?” he calls after her, not seeming to regret his near slip.
“Nor I would, if I can dodge it” Lanei comments, taking her cup and sipping. “Despite the welcome we were given. Too bad we do not know, still, if we will be allowed to leave the Keep, for I have been invited to go outside, to ride and, who knows even if to hunt.” As if going to take the third sip, the cup does not arrive to reach her lips. “Oh?” the dornish lady says, placing the cup back on the table. “I have heard of you, lady Carmella, and hoped to be introduced to you as well.” With a nod, she offers her name, “Lanei Fowler, from Skyreach. And - nay, the lady Liane and I are not cousins; however, we are vaguely related, as everyone in Dorne seems to be.”
Reyna stops and turns. “I fear I do not know you, ser,” she says very stiffly, “though I will guess you are a Lannister. What is that you nearly said about my husband?”
Liane’s smile quirks at Carmella’s question. “No, Lady Carmella, I believe Lady Lanei is related to the half of the Dornish nobility I’m not related to,” she chuckles softly. “You were invited to go riding?” she asks wistfully at Lanei’s words, looking towards the world outside. “I could use a ride that didn’t involve ducking offal. Even if there don’t appear to be any sandsteeds here.” She looks to Carmella then, brows rising slightly in question. “Do you get many of them, here?”
Irena’s curtsy to Bryce is brought short as Reyan runs into her cousin. She glances between the two, hazel eyes wide.
Ser Benedict listens to the last strains of “stormy shores of Amberly” and raises his ale horn in salute to the minstrels. The singer bows, though it seems to anyone watching that he is glad to be done with the provincial melody. The young knight takes a few steps backwards toward the airy window, perhaps a bit unbalanced by the consumption of ale. He nearly collides with Jyana who also stands by the window. He wheels about and beholds her, his eyes widening. “Pardons, my lady…” he murmurs.
The younger son of Casterly Rock observes Reyna for a moment, his lips pursed. Then he smiles; it is a disarming gesture, at least, it would be if he meant it. “Oh, we soldiers have names for each other,” he waves his hand vaguely in the air, as if to gesture at something. “But you need not concern yourself with that.”
Bryce looks at Irena, then at the others.. and he quickly turns and takes the chance to retreat from the room, from Jonn Lannister and from everything else. Away from everything else is also lady Jyana.. and, as it happens, Ser Benedict. Bryce starts for them both.
Carmella does allow herself to laugh a little at Liane’s response to her question. “As it seems to be with nearly every noble house; there are bloodlines so old that I imagine I am related in some small fashion to nearly ever person within this hall.” Surprise alights in her eyes when Lanei speaks of knowing her. Now she knows her brother and this Fowler lady have met, and enough to speak of family. “I do hope my brother was complimentary in his description, I would hate to have to overcome some suggested shortcomings.” She smiles as she says that, the words offered in jest. “In any event, it is a pleasure to meet you as well, Lady Lanei, though I imagine the conditions in which we do so are less than favorable to you.” She takes a drink from her cup as the talk moves to hunting and horses. “I ... I do not know how many Dornish horses you might find here in King’s Landing, if any, Lady Liane. An inquiry at the stables, if such is allowed, would provide you with an answer, no doubt. There are some lovely places to ride outside the keep, but I do not know what freedoms will be afforded you. I’ve enjoyed them more and more as the population of King’s Landing has swelled these past few weeks.”
There is a quiet exhalation of breath, Jyana taking an absent sip of her wine, and smiling pleasantly at what she sees. There were so many people, and the hall was full of life. Her gaze would linger, occasionally, at the higher table where Lord Jonothor remains chatting amicably with Lady Marian, and when two people she liked got along as well as they seemed, it did well to raise her spirits. The exhaustion is forgotten, and before long she will be able to join the festivities again. And with a step towards the side, she manages to stay her step before she manages to collide into the knight who had just ventured where she is, blinking once, and tilting her head up, at the much taller knight. And then, she smiles at Ser Benedict, who she recognizes as the one by the entryway when she and Marian had passed. “It’s alright,” she states softly, shaking her cup just a bit, and her smile growing somewhat impish. “Even if we did collide full-flush, there wouldn’t be much wine to spill.”
And so the night continues, seen vaguely through the haze of smoldering braziers and crowds of merry-makers. The depths of the great throne room and the shadows of evening lend some slight obscurity to the far ends of the hall, where servants and guests pass to and fro through the great oaken doors, propped open as they are. And so another guest might go unnoticed….
Unless, that is, by some quirk of fate any one of the great and glorious has not yet come calling on King Daeron’s celebration. Most notable by their absence have been Prince Aemon, yet abed, and his faithful friend of—
Wait! It is almost as if a tidal roll of whispers and rumor arise from the furthest galleries, heralding a tall and dashing figure in crimson and gold. The name that is caught on a thousand tongues cascades slowly toward the dais….
“Ser Jaesin Lannister! He’s come at last!”
The cool night’s breeze wafts in through the window, but it does little to subdue the flush in Ser Benedict’s face. There is no doubt that the knight immediately remembers Jyana from their brief encounter at the door. “I…” he says, “I would lament making you spill even one drop upon your comely dress, my lady.” His neck bows, and then his waist, either a gesture of deep respect or deep drunkenness…or both.
“Benedict! Who’s this beautiful lady you have encountered!” Starts Bryce loudly, and maybe a bit encouraged by the wine, before he actually lays eyes on Jyana and they widen somewhat. Before long, however, all his attention is pulled away in the direction of the latest grand arrival, Jaesin Lannister himself and he is soon torn between the sight of the knight once more in full grandeur or the Jewel of the Eyrie.
At Liane’s words, Lanei starts laughing, softly, almost giggling. “Well, Garyn’s lady wife is one of my Dalts cousins. Yet, I think that’s all. I have lost track of all the second and third cousins I have spread around Dorne’s Houses. And yes” she nods to Liane, and points out Doran. “He did. And I do fervently hope we will”.
She turns now to Carmella. “Indeed, this is not the best of the occasions to get introduced. As for your question, I could not say, lady. When Ser Doran mentioned you, he claimed that you and I shared the same love for needlework. I had just thrown my embroidery frame to hell… more or less.” Lanei chuckles and adds, “Now, seriously, I would daresay that your brother loves you well, and missed sorely your company.”
Taria’s white brow arches as she catches the whispers that the Heir to Casterly Rock has arrived. “Joy.” She states quietly to herself, sitting just on the opposite side of Lord Arryn and the Hand, Prince Viserys. For a brief moment, her green eyes flicker over to the incoming Lannister, but then pull back again to watch Liane instead.
Benedict starts at the boistrous greeting of the teenage knight behind him. His ale-horn sloshes about as he brings himslf back up o his full height, a splash of beer landing on his mail corslet. “Ser Bryce…” he murmurs, his eyes still on the Jewel of thethe Eyrie. “I did not know you were still here…”
“I’ll have to ask,” Liane nods to Carmella, glimpsing towards the head table as though to gauge the intentions of the King’s Hand there, though it’s Taria’s attention that draws her eye once she does. She blinks once, though she returns the scrutiny for a long moment before nodding and turning back to her conversation partners. “Do you stay in the city itself, Lady Carmella?” she asks with polite curiosity.
A smile, warm and gracious, for a comrade here—a quick gibe, or a joke, for a fellow-knight there; so passes Ser Jaesin Lannister through the throngs of his allies and rivals. He navigates both admiration and jealousy with equal savvy, but never do his steps stray far from his goal—
The High Table, and the King’s Hand, Prince Viserys Targaryen.
“Ah,” replies Reyna, with an up-tilt of her chin. “For a moment, I thought you insulted him. But as…” She turns to watch Jaesin’s dramatic entrance, the sniffs as if a bad scent had just passed under her nose. “Ludicrous,” she mutters, reaching for her first goblet of wine.
Irena turns from watching Jonn and Reyna somewhat nervously to glance towards the direction of the whispers, and Ser Jaesin. After casting a brief smile in his direction she turns back to the others just soon enough for Reyna’s comments, which brings a faint frown to her features.
With Jaesin now approaching, Lady Taria feels inclined to watch him. It is a look that older women sometimes give young, good looking men. Appreciative and somewhat dangerous. Young women simply can’t quite get the look down. It takes years of practice. Not really a ‘I’d like to ravish you’ look, but more a ‘If I decided to, you wouldn’t survive’ look. She smiles as she leans in towards Viserys and whispers something to him.
“Your sentiments are quite kind,” Jyana states softly with a broadening smile at Benedict. “To worry so at the state of my dress. But I assure you, it is but mere fabric, and a drop of wine or two upon it certainly won’t cause me any distress. Please don’t worry yourself over it.” At the loud declaration, she flushes, but her eyes meet Ser Bryce’s unflinchingly, and she drops a curtsey to the both of them.
“My name is Jyana Arryn,” she tells them both straightforwardly. “Good evening to you both. Are you both enjoying your grand ‘welcome home’? I’ve never been to a gathering so big as this myself.” And when she straightens up, at the call of a familiar name, she cranes her neck just a bit - but she does not see the newcomer. It’s just too crowded. However, she shakes her head once, and turns to both sers that she is conversing with.
It is not admiration or jealousy that Jonn Lannister watches his brother with.
No, the younger son of Loren does not even acknowledge the elder.
“Insulted him?” he inquires of Reyna, eyebrows shooting up. “No, my good Lady Rowan, I leave that sort of thing to your Lord brother.”
The murmurs reach the hostage table and are loud enough to distract Carmella from the company of the two women. She turns to watch the Lannister knight approaching the head table, studying him for a moment before her curiousity is sated and she turns back to Liane and Lanei. The latter earns a quirk of Carmella’s brow, for love and needlework are two words that should never be together in Carmella’s presence. But further explanation has her laughing. “Yes, I fear that my embroidery will never be more than passable and I’ve broken more than a couple of my hoops when they had the misfortune of meeting the wall.” Again seh glances in Doran’s direction and then back to Lanei. “And I have missed him, both of my brothers, though I’ve not yet seen Anders.” That does leave her with a lingering feeling of dread. She might worry over it more were it not for the warmth the wine is providing. “I reside here in the Red Keep, actually. Blackhaven played host to the King and his men, and he was kind enough to offer those of us my Lord Father wished away from possible fighting a place here at the keep.”
Reyna regards Jonn a long moment. “I see,” she says finally. “I will not try to stop you; I shall just remove myself from hearing.” And she turns to smile sympathetically at Irena. “Alas, we cannot choose our kinsmen,” she says to the younger woman.
“lady Jyana, you do me great honor. I am…” he swaollows hard before he can continue, “Benedict Rogers, son of Lord Arson of Amberly.” He gestures to the approaching youth and adds, “And here is Ser Bryce Caron.” He turns his gaze back to Jyana’s dress, and the n her face. “I am happy to be home in Westeros, my lady. In Dorne, I saw far too many horses and far too few visions of such loveliness as you.” Ale makes him bold .
“Do so with my blessing, Lady,” he says formally, bowing his head as if to give her permission to remove herself.
Bryce winces lightly at the ‘welcome home’ part and looks at Jyana. “Neither I or Ser Benedict have much home here.. my home is closer to Dorne than it is King’s Landing.” He shakes his head, then nods in agreement with the Rogers knight. “You -are- a pretty one, much better than them Dornish hostages. Spend a month on a ship with ‘em and all that..” He does a kind of ‘oops’ expression, bites his lower lip and changes that to: “I mean.. I meant to say that you were a very beautiful and graceful young woman..” Pause. “Are. I meant are.”
At length Loren Lannister’s eldest son attains the dais, or at least the space immediately before it; he makes a fine leg before the King’s Hand, and rises with a straightforward smile. His eyes are for Prince Viserys alone, and the cheer there is evident.
It is a look that the Hand reads well and swiftly.
“So Aemon is well?” The question hangs there momentarily, until Ser Jaesin replies with a curt, formal nod.
The Hand replies in turn, relieved. “Go then, Lannister, and make merry. You have been a loyal friend to our House, and your service is welcome again to King’s Landing.”
And with that, Ser Jaesin turns to survey those about him once more—but closer, this time.
“I wish we had our horses here” the Fowler lady sighs, “But I suppose that to ask them to ship them would have been too much… Well, so long as they allow us to ride those horses from the Royal Stables, I will be pleased enough. This, or I shall check for my funds to see if I can acquire one. Still, that mare I rode, was a fine one… finer than expected, I mean.” As a servant skirts the table, Lanei orders for more water to refill her empty cup.
“He is Ser Jaesin Lannister” Lanei says to Carmella, noticing the eyes of the young Dondarrion lady turning to him. “Of ser Anders I cannot offer you news, though, for I have not had the pleasure to meet him. But if he is the same kind that ser Doran, I do not doubt that we should get along as well. So… you were sent away home too? My family did the same… but to no avail. It would have been better to stay at Skyreach.”
“Ah, I see,” Liane nods to Carmella with a small smile, though she watches Jaesin approach the head table, glancing towards the older woman there again once more. “Perhaps we will have plenty of time to speak of Dorne, then,” she says more quietly, a wistful note slipping unbidden into her voice.
Irena curtsies to Reyna, but her voice is neutral as as she says, “It is true that we cannot.” She’s honestly fond of Jonn, although she far from approves of the sport of Widow baiting.
Benedict shoots a sideways glance at Bryce, as if even Benedict thinks Bryce is too drunk. And given the truly heroic quantity of ale he has imbibed, that is saying quite a lot.
The golden hair and handsome features of Jaesin Lannister are well-known, then, but the depth of his sapphire gaze is less talked about. A pity, as Ser Elmer Crakehall—who knows it too well—quickly finds himelf the victim of a withering look from the heir to the Rock.
Ser Jaesin moves slowly toward Elmer’s table, or at least begins to.
For at this elder Lannister’s first step, Ser Jonn’s boon companion pales visibly, stands, and with mumbled excuses turns to bolt from the throne room.
“A pity,” Reyna murmurs to Irena, glancing over her shoulder at Jonn. “How are you, Irena? I didn’t see you at the docks, which is hardly a surprise. You weren’t buffeted about too much, I hope?”
Black Jonn surveys his brother closely as he moves, and his frown first appears and then deepens, in quick succession.
Clearly, purposefully, he takes several steps towards Ser Jaesin. But he does not call out.
Aquamarine eyes blink, and while a pink flush steals over her cheekbones at the compliments bestowed upon her by the two knights - but her gaze does not flinch away from them. Jyana bears her blush openly, nor does she cover her face up demurely. “My lords do me great kindness in making me feel welcome in these surroundings,” she states with a small smile. “By being so generous with their compliments. But there really are so many things to marvel at here, and I certainly would not forgive myself if I undeservedly took up much of your attentions” Her voice cuts off just a bit, catching sight of someone leaving the throng and moving to pass near them. Was that…?
Carmella nods in recognition of the Lannister name. “I have heard of him many times, but this is the first I’ve seen him,” she says, refraining for stating what she’s heard of the man or if his appearance lives up to the stories. “It seems, if nothing else, this trip has provided me the opportunity to put faces to the many names I’ve heard over the years.” She finishes her wine and sets the cup down and looks to Lanei. “Would that we had the gift of foresight, Lady Lanei, but no doubt what was done was done for safety’s sake. The Seven know my father would not well tolerate a castle filled with soldiers around his unmarried daughters. But my mother had chosen to stay with her husband for a number of reasons, I imagine.” Considering that now the Dornish men and women are hostages, it is probably a good thing that her Dornish mother is not here as well. “There should be plenty of time to speak on a number of things,” Carmella says with a glance towards Liane, noting the wistfulness in her voice.
Liane catches Taria’s look again, distracting her from the conversation at hand. Quietly, she reaches for her wine to take a sip before leaning closer to Carmella, asking a question in a low voice.
Irena shakes her head and says after a moment, “I was not. Lady Marian, Lady Carmella and I went to the docks as a group, and that allowed me to avoid the worst of it.” Her eyes dart briefly towards Jonn and then Jaesin, but they quickly return to Reyna, as is polite.
Liane whispers to Carmella, “Do ... know ... ... ... ... at ... ... table might be? ... get ... ... ... ... ...”
Benedict bows again, deeply, to the young woman. “No sight that can be beheld in the Seven Kingdoms could rivel the Jewel of the Eyrie, my lady.” He lifts hismself back up to his full height, cupping the ale horn in both hands. “farewell for now, Lady Jyana.” He turns about and beasts a retreat while his wits are still about him.
Blood calls to blood, they say. The old folk sooth is as good a cause as any, it seems, for why the Lannister brothers seem suddenly drawn together. For Ser Jaesin has seen his kinsman, now, and long, confident strides carry him with unerring swiftness toward Ser Jonn.
“You look well,” Jaesin says, absent formal preamble or even, names; such as these need neither. The selfsame eyes that sent Ser Elmer running consider the man before him, but a year his junior, so alike—and yet so very different.
“I am glad we are off that ship. I had been… concerned.”
“No risk, my lady,” Bryce says with his usual disgruntled appearance returning to him, and he gets a more introvert look about him and he looks at the other Stormlander, as well as tries to follow Jyana’s gaze at whatever she was looking at. Glancing back, he nods slowly. “My attention has hardly been fought for by anyone, and my own has mostly been spent trying to avoid Black Jonn, despite his best efforts to provoke me.” The Caron knight’s features darken visibly, but shuts up after that, crossing his arms over his chest and retreating up against the wall, with a nod offered to Benedict at the knight’s parting.
Benedict leans in towqrd ‘Bryce as the youth himself withdraws from the lady’s presence. He mutters, “You are a man grown, are you not, lad?”
Bryce looks surprised, eyeing the knight before him. “I am the heir to Nightsong and a knight,” he says proudly, like that clearly answers the question, and he looks a bit offended.
There is a faintest of disturbances as Elanna Baratheon returns, looking a little flustered but worse the wear for her journey. With swift strides she approaches Reyna and links her arm through the other woman’s. She whispers something soft in her ear.
“As we cannot choose our kinsmen,” Reyna says with a flash of a smile, “I will leave you to yours.” Finishing her goblet of wine, she reaches for another while the servitor relieves her of the first. “Good even, Irena,” she says politely, continuing her drift toward the door while trying to avoid the two Lannister cubs.
She stops when Elanna reappears, and listens. “Not to worry,” she murmurs back. “I think it’s time to take our leave just now, at any rate.”
Benedict sways a bit unevenly before Bryce, but soon steadies himself. “But you are not long to the spurs, ser. Did you not train in gentle speech when you squired, or are their no women in Nightsong?”
“He is a kind ser… kinder than others, certainly, aside the obvious, meaning one of your best knights.” Lanei frowns, recalling some of her meetings while they sailed to King’s Landing, and then, lets Liane whisper quietly to Carmella, wondering what on earth would she need to ask her in such a secret. Where does the privy lie?. “I know naught of foreseeing, I am afraid, but if the Gods blessed your parents with such a gift, I will not question the Seven. My mother stood in Skyreach, and does, still. The seat, as Kingsgrave, has not yielded still… to my knowledge.”
Changing the topic, she nods to Carmella. “Be my guest. I guess that I will be always up to speak about Dorne, if you want to learn more of my people. As you said, and unfortunately for us, the hostages, there will be plenty of time to speak, since our stay will be… long.”
“Ah…thank you kindly, Ser Benedict, and farewell for now,” Jyana replies quietly, and she drops him a deep curtsey to respond to his bow. Watching him leave, she can’t help but observe him for a moment, his gait and the way he walks - liquid courage, her father would say. And once the older knight has taken leave of them…she is perceptive enough to catch the whisper, and she couldn’t help but turn her face away, keeping her face averted and smoothed over while Bryce mutters back to Benedict. But the color in her cheeks heighten. Perhaps she can blame it on the wine. And then….the Heir of Nightson mentions Jonn. She pauses.
“....Black Jonn? Jonn Lannister?” she inquires softly.
“Of course,” Elanna frowns with some concern, “Everything alright, Ren?” She looks around at the others present, with a bright Baratheon gaze.
Even at five horns of ale, Benedict has sense enough to grow wary when a lordling and a lady share a connection of that great wealth and repute. His liquid courage runs cold, and his native good sense asserts itself. He falls silent by the window.
And Ser Jonn, Black Jonn, stares right back into those eyes. They are like his own, save of a different hue. The emphasis of the final sentence is not lost on him.
“The captain was a canny sailor,” he replies, cluelessly. Or perhaps, mock-cluelessly. “What was there to be concerned about?”
Irena curtsies politely to Elanna, as the older women nears, before nodding to Reyna and saying in return, “Good eve to you as well.” She turns to watch the Lannister brothers, curtsying to the older, once he is a distance away where politeness requires it.
“Outside,” Reyna replies, darting a glance at Jonn before turning to smile at Elanna. “It’s nothing serious, Ella. Hardly anything. Shall we?” And she all but drags Elanna along with her out into the night.
Bryce looks up from the muttering between him and Benedict, and nods with an odd look of restrained frustrated anger. “Have you encountered the stinking, dishonorable, laughable wretch of a man already? I’m sorry for you.” He makes a disgusted look and shakes his head. “That man, in Dorne..” Something is clearly making Bryce more than just a bit angry over the issue. Then, he takes time to look at Benedict with eyes that say ‘Not Now’, and he clenches his fists tighter, arms still crossed.
Elanna trips along with Reyna, looking a little bewildered.
“The honor of our King, perhaps,” rejoins Ser Jaesin to his sibling, watching Jonn carefully. There is no warmth there, but neither is there disdain; it is a studied neutrality that the elder lion addresses the younger.
“His Majesty swore safe and honorable passage—aye, and lives here in King’s Landing—to those that would swear him fealty. I heard tales aboard ship…” Jaesin pauses, then, and says only this more:
“A bottle of wine makes a poor companion for a child of Casterly Rock.”
With that, he turns abruptly, and stalks from the hall.
Through a good deal of the conversation Carmella has been aware that Liane’s attention has drifted up towards the dais. She had imagined that the Uller woman was glancing at the King’s Hand or the extended Targaryen family. It was only when she turned to watch Ser Jaesin’s arrival did Carmella take notice of Lady Buckwell seated there as well. So when Liane leans over to whisper her inquiry, Carmella is not forced to turn and stare at the subject in question. She whispers a brief response before sitting up properly and continuing the conversation at hand, as if there were not any interruption at all. “I do not believe my parents possess such a gift, unless desiring safety for one’s unmarried daughters could be considered a gift in some fashion.” She’s smiling again as an offer of her own kindness, lest it be said that Doran is the only member of the family to offer such. She waits while her cup is refilled before continuing on. “Once you have been provided with what is and is not permitted I would welcome the opportunity to show you some of the keep as well as the nicer parts of the city, if you’re of a mind to see it.”
Carmella smiles a touch. “... ... ... ... Taria ... ... ... considered the ... of ... ... society. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... to ... ... ... ... imagine ... is eager, ... ... ... to ... the hostages, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... is ... you ... ... draws ... ...”
While her attention is retained on Liane Uller, Lady Taria begins to carry on a quiet conversation with Prince Viserys. From the looks of it, it is a serious discussion.
“...I have…” Jyana says softly, her expression saddening considerably at the words that leave Bryce’s mouth. “He is my good cousin. He used to read to me, when I was a child, and entertained me as best he could when I had been bedridden and ill through most of those years. If he was a laughable wretch, he has never exhibited such behavior towards me.” She curtseys to the both of them yet again. “Forgive me, for not lingering longer, but I….think that the air outside would do to improve my current constitution. Good evening, m’lords - please enjoy the rest of the gathering.” And with that, she turns, to start heading down the hall and folding her hands together in front of her.
Benedict closes his eyes and leans back aagainst the wall, hitting the back of his head against the stonework a couple of times. “Gods, lad!” he hisses. “What possessed you to speak so to a lady such as she?”
Liane nods slightly to Carmella’s answer, flashing a swift, slight smile in grateful thanks for the answer before straightening herself. “I’m not sure I’ll be ready to venture outside into the city for a bit longer,” she admits with a rueful smile, brushing a thumb over the scrape on her left cheek. “At least not until passions die down a bit, or it’s enough of a cloudy day that they’ll not notice my heritage. But I would be grateful for someone to show me where things are. The Godswood, perhaps,” she muses, twisting in her chair to look outwards.
Bryce raises a hand in objection, then just gives up and offers a “Well, he displayed those things plenty enough in Dorne.”.. He waits until Jyana has left, then turns to look at Benedict. “Well, fuck me,” Bryce says to himself and maybe Benedict after the girl has left. “I swear, the Lannisters must have buggered around like few others to produce all these cousins.” He simply shakes his head. “I figured the chances of there being more than one woman who found the man tolerable was next to none.”
It is a quizzical expression that Jonn gives his brother’s retreating form.
Then he turns, for his original table, where the empty bottle of wine. “Speaks in riddles still,” he mutters to himself, filling up his wineglass. “Like a fucking sphinx…” He takes a swig, “Not a word of thanks…” Another swig, “Just more lectures.”
Then, he spots the blonde-haired Jyana Arryn cross his path and he drops his wine to the table. Fortunately, it is empty and of superior quality, so it does not shatter.
“Jyana?” he cries, looking at the young woman in surprise.
He rubs a hand across his eyes—for all his young cousins have become objects since he departed.
“See, lad,” Benedict mumbles to Bryce, “that i whwere you are confused already. Buggering doesn’t produce anything except…well, it certainly does not produce cousins!” He sighs and asks suspiciously, “What did this Lanniester do to you in Dorne?”
Slowly, Lanei takes a sip from her refilled cup and nods. “How would I decline such a kind offer?”. Look, septa, she can keep her manners well enough. Of their whispers, Taria’s name is heard, as well as some glances are not missed, but at this, Lanei shrugs faintly. “I will accept, and gladly, should we allowed to wander freely the place, of course. We were told that we would keep our freedom… to some point. But who knows if someone changed her mind. Still, I would like to explore the city, why not? The nice parts and the rest too, if we are provided an escort”. It is not as if they had a lot of things to do.
Looking puzzled at Liane, she cannot refrain herself to ask the Uller lady, “The Godswood?”.
Irena spots Jyana as the other woman goes past, worry showing clearly on her face. She takes a step towards her, but stops, glancing around and rather unsure of what to do, at least not without elbowing her way through the crowd.
“No, it produces bastards, like the fifty or some that Black Jonn Lannister has left behind in Dorne,” Bryce says, tossing his hands up into the air. “A man can do a lot of things wrong and be forgiven, but you don’t piss at family honor when someone’s dead.”
“Buggery and bastards are not the same thing, lad!” Benedict growls angrily. “There are worse conditions in the world than bastardy, for one may yet inherit a greater measure of wisdom and nobility than many a trueborn!” He pounds the rest of his ale horn and glowers.
Liane lowers her voice a bit to Lanei. “It’s some Northern thing,” she murmurs. “But the good thing is, it’s bound to be /outside/. And quiet, thank the seven. You can’t have a woods that’s inside, can you?” She shifts in her chair then, as though the reminder of wide open spaces has brought the walls in on her again, some of the color draining from her features before she takes a bracing swallow of wine.
Taria gives Prince Viserys a quick peck on the cheek as their conversation is apparently at an end and then rises from the table. She moves around it and then gives a more formal curtsey to the head table before turning back and begins moving through the room, it seems for the exit, although her walk is slow and she offers various smiles to those who greet her.
“It was just a way of saying. What do I care, they have a whole lot of cousins, that’s all that matters,” Bryce says, irritated at the situation in general and at Benedict in particular, given how the knight misunderstands him. “Incredible. At least the Dornish had the sense to see man for what he is.. I am leaving.” He smoothens his doublet and avoids looking around.
Benedict swaggers a bit at Bryce’s remark and snaps, “Best you give care to your ways of saying, ser. For they are not received as well in every part of the Seven Kingdoms.” He tosses the drinking horn to the stone ground with a faint clatter, himself irritated, perhaps more by drink tahn anything else. “It is well that you leave before we cross more than wods!”
Carmella laughs a little and drops her head for a brief moment, the idea if an indoor woods amuses her, it seems. “No, the keep’s Godswood is indeed outdoors. I’ve been to it but a couple of times myself. But perhaps you might speak with Lady Marian Stark. She keeps to the old gods and knows more of the Godswood than I. She and I have become friendly lately and even discussed the attributes of the old gods and the Seven. If such a thing interests you you would find her to be quite a font of knowledge on the subject. I would be pleased to introduce you to her,” Carmella says, having no idea if Marian would appreciate the same offer.
“Don’t go to far with your threats, or I’d just have to hurt you. Goodbye Ser Benedict..” Bryce says without even turning to look at the man, and he starts walking out and away from the Hall, away from the people, the feast, the strange land and the complete mess that he made of everything. “If I only had somewhere to go..” the Caron knight mutters on his way out.
“I do know of the Old Gods. Well, I have heard of them…” Lanei says to Liane and, as the Uller lady did, lowering her voice too; however those next to her, as Carmella, would heard what the dornish lady says. “But I do not know if they will have a Godswood here; after all, this is the not the North.” Neither she knows if they would be allowed to enter the Godswood but, listening to Doran’s sisters, she learns of the place. “Well, a Sept might serve you the same. And now, I wonder if there is one here, in the Red Keep?” the question is addressed to the Dondarrion lady. “I should visit one… as soon as we are settled.”
Also departing, Lady Taria pauses to allow the well-beveraged Ser Bryce to precede her. She looks at him critically.
“If it isn’t sitting inside stitching and weaving, I would be pleased to learn as much as possible about it,” Liane replies to Carmella with a wan, crooked smile. “Besides, if I’m going to be here for an undetermined length of time, then I may as well take advantage of it to learn what things I may here and not at home. The sept, no doubt,” she adds more quietly, “Is bound to be crowded.”
“Hurt me? It takes more than a pair of spurs strapped on to a squire to speak to a trained knight…” he strides out afterer Bryce…
She thought she heard her name mentioned, and Jyana was quite determined to free herself from the stifling confines within the hall, but the familiarity of the voice stops her in her tracks. She turns, and lets her gaze fall on Jonn. The expression she wore upon leaving Bryce and Benedict remains on her features, but in a second or two she smoothes it over, and she gives him a quiet smile, from where she is. It has been a while, after all, since he has seen her.
“Jonn,” she says softly, simply - her greeting is rather straightforward, but kindly meant and laced with fond affection.
“I was given spurs for a reason, and it wasn’t because I dressed fancy or spoke eloquently.” Bryce growls back quietly at the man, “And if you really want to try, go ahead.” He turns away agin and continues his stride towards the doors.
Benedict follows Bryce outside…
The young Lannister watches his good-cousin for a long moment, his head shaking slowly from side to side. The disbelief is evident on his leonine face, and he can do nothing but stare for a moment. However, soon he comes out of it and walks up to the girl, as though he will engulf her in a massive bearhug and swing her ‘round like they did all those years ago.
Benedict slows down pursuing Bryce when the Lady Taria approaches and finds her eggress halted by the storming Bryce and swaggering Amberly knight. He lowsers his head to her, somewhat shame-faced.
“There is the sept in the city, a beautiful building to be certain. I cannot imagine they would not allow the hostages proper worship, especially since you hold to the Seven as well.” Carmella isn’t so sure how accomodating they would be if the Dornishmen worshiped different gods. The evening has carried on quite well, but it comes to an hour when more and more men have been drinking more than is suitable and at such a time young women should be seen out. That is the thinking of the Dondarrion girl’s septa, who approaches the table and lays a hand on Carmella’s shoulder. She looks to the two Dornish women with a bland acceptance of their presence, but nothing more. “The hour grows too late for such company,” her Septa says, unspecific as to whether she means the guests as a whole or the Dornishwomen who have occupied most of Carmella’s time. Carmella knows better than to argue, so she simply sighs and releases her wine glass before getting to her feet. “It has been a pleasure to meet you both and I do hope we might continue our conversation at a more appropriate hour.” With a curtsey Carmella offers her farewells to both Lanei and Liane.
Irena turns to watch the group heading for outside, although not really knowning what’s going on, she lacks either as smile or frown to show for it. She then turns back to Jyana and Jonn, although she seems content to let them have their reunion without her interference.
Liane gladly accepts the excuse to rise and return Carmella’s courtesy, smile faint. “A good evening to you, Lady Carmella,” she murmurs, turning a sweet smile on the septa as well, though the latter seems more formed for discomfort. “And thank you for your kind presence this evening.” Quiet, she lingers standing behind her chair, glancing towards the Gold Cloaks over her shoulder.
She turns around to face Jonn, even as he walks up to her, and when he is close enough, she reaches out to take his hands and squeeze them gently. “I suppose….I ought to be more used to people speaking ill of you, from what I have witnessed just now.” Jyana remarks quietly, with the same, faint smile edging the corners of her mouth. “I haven’t seen you in so long. I’m so very happy you’ve managed to come back home….and with all of your tickling fingers intact.”
“It has been a pleasure to meet you, lady Carmella, as it was to meet Ser Doran. I do trust… to see you soon, if your septa does not mind. Have a good night, lady” Lanei offers, before to turn to Liane. “Let’s hope they will us visit the Sept, be the Gods good. Even crowded, or watched by hundred guards, I will go to there. Perhaps, at nights, it will be more empty. Anyway” Lanei shrugs, “I need to visit the place. But, for now, I will go with the Princess, to check how is she doing. The poor lady looks really tired.”
Rising to her feet, she still delays to take a last sip. “See you in the morning, my dear. Try to rest - I will too.” Again, should their… hosts allow them. Pacing to the High Table, she will stand not far from her Princess… and scaning the hall and those within from her, now, better position.
Light, easy laughter comes to Jonn’s lips. “Yes, yes, dear good-cousin, it takes more than a few grains of sand to stop me.”
“What, the Caron boy?” he inquires then, his brow marred by a crease. “I know he has a harsh grudge against me,” he continues, the crease deepening, “though I cannot recall why.”
“Oh certainly not, good cousin,” Jyana banters back easily, putting on a mock-serious front for him. “You’re much too clever to be thwarted by mere grains of sand.” But the mock-serious expression gives way into a much more relaxed smile and she speaks, fondly. “It’s so very good to see you. I feel it’s been years.” She inclines her head a bit as to where Bryce disappeared to. “It was certainly apparent by the harshness of his tone,” she agrees. “But we needn’t dwell upon that.” She smiles at him brightly again. “Have you heard? Good aunt Lira has born a son. Three months ago, I don’t know if the ravens we have sent had managed to reach you.”
As her companions depart, Liane lets out a slow breath, reaching up to rub a hand at the back of her neck. She remains standing behind her chair, cheeks flushed with wine and the closeness of the crowds and tables, though she seems grateful for the temporary relief in the press.
“A son!” says the Black Lannister, clapping his hands together once. “I imagine she is more fussy than ever now. I must make that dreadful climb sooner than I had hoped, I guess.” He feigns disappointment at the news, and the lie crushed by a conspirational wink.
“I’m certain my lord good cousin is much too clever to be thwarted by hundreds of feet of rock and stone,” Jyana remarks with a straight face, and she smiles at the conspiratorial wink. “And I wouldn’t actually call her fussy, but she is more….ah…-concerned- about what goes on around Eldred, naturally. Sadly this is why she cannot make the journey here. Maester Arett has recommended not moving the mother and the babe for long distances as of yet. Hence, I have gone in her stead to meet Cousin Jonothor.” She beams at him. “I didn’t think that I would see you so soon - I heard you were knighted.”
There is a momentary scowl as the name is mentioned.
“Did Lord Jonothor choose the name?” he asks, rhetorically, for not a second later he answers his own question: “Of course he did, that sounds like his kind of name.”
At the mention of knighting, he nods gravely. “I was, by Lord Tyrell himself. I did him a great service,” he pauses, smiling crookedly: “Both personally and physically.”
Liane glances towards the Gold Cloaks again, then towards the doors, pensive. Idly, she reaches for her glass of wine again, draining the last of it before straightening fully.
“Well he—” Jyana would of course answer the question honestly, but Jonn answers it himself and so she lets that slide. She inclines her head a little bit….was the name an issue? She thought it was a good name for the child. Still, when he smiles crookedly at what he says about his knighting, she couldn’t help but feel her lips lift upwards in a broader smile. “One day perhaps you would oblige me and tell me the story as to what you mean by that,” she tells Jonn softly.
Irena heads over towards Jon and Jyana, although only briefly enough to cursty and to say to Jonn, “I will talk to you later, as it seems you have much catching up to do with Lady Jyana.” The day of crowds and even the brief ride have taken their toll on Irena, and she is using the dispersing group as an excuse to get to someplace a bit more quiet and hopefully get some rest.
“Oh….goodnight then, Lady Irena,” Jyana greets, favoring the shorter girl with a smile, and curtseys back.
“Of course, coz,” Jonn says, bowing his head to the departing Marbrand.
“Eldred. I think our wet-nurse was Mildred. Or something like that,” he waves it away flippantly. “It hardly matters. I’m certain my dear sister will scarce allow her son to become a wetnurse when he becomes a man grown.”
“......” Jyana’s face blanks out a little at what he says, and then, pushing the horrendous visuals out of her head, she smiles slightly. “I think that there’s not even the remotest chance of that happening in the least.” She closes her eyes for a moment, before opening them again to look at her cousin. “Forgive me, good cousin…I’ve been feeling ill all evening. I would love to catch up further, but you’ve just got back from a long journey and I’m sure the last thing you need are more aggravations. Will you permit me to retire for now? You’ll still be here in the morning, won’t you?”
As the party starts to break up, the hostages are finally allowed to depart the hall. Some leave quickly, others linger in small groups. Liane, for her part, slips away from the table in the company of one of the Gold Cloaks, headed towards the outside with steps just a little swifter than strictly proper.
“Certainly,” says Jonn with a swift nod. “I have been riding on a horse or a boat for a very long time. I need to stay in one place for a while, I think.”
Then he, restless, begins to move off, but not before some parting remarks: “Say, don’t they call you the Jewel of the Eyrie now? Amazing. Well, you’ll always be a too curious little girl to me, no matter how long your knight-train grows.” He winks, and then returns to his table, where Elmer Crakehall, surreptitiously, has returned.
“Jonn!” Jyana protests, blushing furiously at the remark. But she does smile at him, and with a parting wave, she turns to head out of the hall and back to the guest towers.