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The day dawned warm and with a healthy breeze that hasn’t let up even after the sun has risen well into the sky. It bodes well for the afternoon, for it won’t be terribly humid in a few hours. It’s a pleasant day for a walk though Carmella’s walk is not a leisurely one, but rather one with a purpose. With her guards in attendance she heads into the Dornish tower, drawing a few looks from Targaryen faithful.
Once inside she proceeds to the Allyrion apartments, only to learn that the woman she is to meet is not there. With directions offered the Dondarrion girl changes her path and heads to the Fowler residence, though she approaches it with some caution. Her hand even hangs in front of the door for a few seconds before she actually knocks.
Promptly, the sound of ‘knocking’ answers Carmella from beyond the door and at least five feet further inside the Dornish residence. The raps even match the girl’s particular cadence.
Carmella glances back over her shoulder at her guards and then looks back at the door as if it had just sprung to life. She frowns and lifts her hand again and knocks a second time, this time she calls out to the person on the other side. “It’s Lady Carmella Dondarrion, I’ve come to speak with Lady Damarya Allyrion. I’ve been told she is here?”
At the sound of Carmella’s voice, a flurry of avian chittering stirs the silence beyond the door, all excitement and high-pitched squeaks. The commotion proves enough to rouse a dozing Damarya, though not to any kind of graceful activity; her movement sends the half-empty tea cup next to her sprawling across the carpets, its contents soaking into the rug.
“Unlocked,” calls a feeble voice, nearly drowned out by the chirping. “Come.” And, more feebly, a word or two that nice young Dondarrions should not attempt to hear.
Carmella gives her guards one last cautious look before she tries the door and does indeed find it open. She murmurs something to her men and leaves them behind as she steps into the Fowler’s residence. She’s dressed in a courtly gown so that none could mistake who she is, for this is not exactly a social call, but official business.
“Lady Damarya?” she calls out to the room as the click of the door’s latch falling closed sounds behind her.
Lady Damarya? ...is stooping on hands and knees over her tea puddle, pushing an old rag into the carpet. A fall of fuzzing brown hair shields her face from view, but the rest of her looks approximately the same as when Carmella last crossed her path: dingy dress, old slippers, and a body shrunk too small for both. On this particular occasion, wrapped in the light of the open windows, she cuts a slightly less dour figure than usual, and her motions seem - not wondering or weighted with sorrow, but - drowsy? Clumsy, at least. Getting up proves to be a major undertaking, and she addresses her visitor long before getting to her feet.
“Alive,” drawls Damarya, still masked in hair. A few yards beyond her head, a pair of finely caged little parrots continue to greet Carmella, scrambling eagerly back and forth in their enclosure as if unable to contain their delight.
The Dondarrion girl takes a couple steps in, enough to spot the frail-looking Dornishwoman and she looks quite embarrassed. “Please, my lady I hope I did not trouble you,” she worries, looking at the dropped cup and the stain on the rug. “Would you like for me to fetch a maid for you or would you like a hand…”
But that’s as far as Carmella gets before her gaze darts up at the frantic noise and she spots the parrots. Her eyes go wide and the hand she had extended to offer to help Damarya up trembles. She takes a step back, eyes back on the cage.
“No, no,” Damarya says idly, dismissively. “They gave me…” A hand touches her forehead, dipping through the hair. “I was… I don’t… remember. But I feel… little better. Bit better.” Finally, the woman swipes some of her tresses aside, and turns toward her guest. Her working eye blinks for a few moments, registering Carmella’s expression. “Welc—...you all right?”
Behind her, the hand-sized parrots have begun to lose interest. The individual with the bright yellow crest continues to chirp in muted decibels, lingering near the cage door, but the gray bird turns her back on the lot of them, and initiates a serious bout of preening.
She can do this, she can do this. She is a girl of the Stormlands and they’re just two birds in a cage. One’s even lost interest but the other…” Carmella shakes her head and pries her eyes away from the cage to look back at Damarya. “I am fine, my lady of Allyrion, I assure you.” That doesn’t bring Carmella much further from the door, however. “If you are unwell I could come and visit you another time?”
“I’m… always… unwell,” Damarya stammers in return, and not without a touch of dry humor. Her head swivels gradually, back, and forth, between Carmella and the cage at the window, the mind inside taking its sweet time to connect the dots. “The—birds?” An eyebrow has arisen.
Perhaps in compassion, or perhaps simply out of a lack of balance, the woman staggers back a short step, placing her fluffy head directly between Carmella and the object of her terror. Damarya then steadies herself with a grip on the couch nearby. “Did birds… take… your eye, ...too?” she asks. A slow grin creeps up on her distinctive face.
Deep breath in, deep breath out. Carmella does that a couple of times to try and calm herself and it seems to help. Or perhaps the Dornishwoman’s perception is what eases the Dondarrion girl’s mind a little. “I ... uh ...” she stumbles herself, though verbally rather than physically. “No, no I have ... both my eyes, my lady,” she says with something of a startled blink. “But in my dreams…” Again she shakes her head, best not to think on it.
She inches forward a little and comes further into the room, but her nervousness is still apparent. “I was hoping ... hoping that I could speak with you a little about Godsgrace, my lady?” She tries not to look at the ruin that is Damarya’s eye, but she cannot help but return her gaze there time and again.
“Mm. Lean on you?” Damarya asks abruptly. Her speech seems to be improving as the minutes wear on.
Behind her, the birds have gone all but completely quiet, save for the occasional ‘whrrp?’ from the prima donna yellow crest. Soft, warm breezes from the yard beyond stir their feathers, leading the gray to stretch herself in a moment of bliss.
She might almost forget the birds are there if she concentrates on Damarya, but that creates a whole different problem. Clearing her throat she takes another couple of steps until she is close enough to a chair to have a seat, but Damarya’s comment stops her from actually sitting. “I’m ... I’m sorry, my lady? Do you need some help?”
“Outside,” explains the Allyrion patiently. “You… feel better, birds stay here. But need to lean. Weak-feeling from… damn Keep Maester.” Knuckles turning ever paler in their grip of the couch back lend truth to her tale.
The light of understanding comes quickly to Carmella’s eyes and she’s eager to offer her arm or her shoulder, whatever makes Damarya more comfortable. Of course, that means that she herself will need to move closer to the birds, but they’re caged and it is only temporary. “You are incredibly kind, my lady, I shall not forget that.”
“Hmmhmm.” It’s half a giggle, half a sigh. It remains unexplained, however; Damarya concentrates now on shifting her weight from the furnishings to the Dondarrion, her thin hands curling around Carmella’s shoulder and upper arm. She leans close, and a little ways beneath her chin, something shiny sparkles into view.
Carmella begins to lead the older woman out of the room when the glint of something catches her eye. The glance had been rather innocent, just a glance to make sure Damarya was fine but it turns into a longer look. “That’s lovely, my lady. A family heirloom?” She nods her chin in the direction of the pendant, glancing away only once they get to the door so that she can grasp the handle and open it.
Once outside her guards snap to attention and upon seeing the strange Dornishwoman on Carmella’s arm their gaze narrows suspiciously. “We’ll be speaking out here instead,” she says to her men. “A change of plans, nothing to worry over.”
The question gives Damarya pause - literally. She stops the pair of them moving long enough to clasp her pendant in one hand and trace the feel of the cinquefoil leaves, her eye glazing as she does so. “A… gift.”
Beyond the Fowler apartments, the Allyrion pulls her helper toward the seating of the tower’s second floor, releasing Carmella when she comes within grabbing distance of a puffy, silken chair.
The guards linger not too far away, keeping an eye on the two women, as if the expect Damarya to spring at their charge at any moment. Never mind that it looks as if the Allyrion woman can barely stand on her own, they’re still watchful. “Well, it’s quite lovely, a charming gift,” she says, waiting for Damarya to take a seat before she sits herself.
“Before we begin, my lady, please understand that I do not mean to put you under any undue stress, nor to upset you. If you feel it is something you can no longer talk about, don’t hesitate to let me know.”
Wincing, Damarya sinks into the chair and attempts to give her companion a half-faced smile. “Too many words, Lady. Fine talking, but… shorter? For my head?”
Carmella blushes a little but nods. “Of course, my lady.” Then she goes quiet for a moment, lest she ramble on and completely ignore the other lady’s wishes. “I’ve come to talk about Godsgrace, on behalf of Prince Viserys.” This was all mentioned when Carmella made the appointment to speak with Damarya, but given the woman’s condition, a repeat probably isn’t a bad idea.
“My home,” says the Allyrion, nodding slowly. Sunlight beating against decorated windows has painted the image of a fruit bowl on her upper torso, and, at the moment, the purple of ripe grapes dapples her pendant and the brown of her skin.
Carmella nods quickly and smiles. “Yes, my lady, your home. I ...” She pauses, realizing she’s about to get too wordy once again. So, she begins again, and slowly, taking it one step at a time. “Have you heard that there is talk of renewed trade with Dorne?”
Her head lowered to contemplate the grape pattern on her skin, Damarya chuckles through tightly closed lips. “Hmm. Hmmh.” The mirth tastes bittersweet. Unhurriedly, she lifts her one-eyed gaze, bringing it to bear on Carmella’s pretty face. “He chops up the body… and wants to trade with the bloody bits?”
It is the words rather than the gaze that make Carmella jump a little, for certainly young noblewomen in King’s Landing do not discuss blood and chopped up bodies. “I ... I suppose that is one way to look at it,” she responds slowly, her voice uncertain. “I have read much of the reports and know that Godsgrace suffered greatly.” She pauses a moment before adding, “This may help.” In that, she sounds quite sincere.
The eye bores into Carmella, noticed or not. “He suffered… greatly,” Damarya nods, her voice soft. “But he didn’t scream.” Long fingers return unthinkingly to the five-pointed, red leaf. “Even when they sawed his body to pieces… he didn’t scream.”
Carmella lowers her voice a little and leans towards Damarya ever so slightly. “I know, my lady,” she whispers. “He was very brave.” Her eyes catch on the pendant again and her lips curl thoughtfully as she sighs and settles back into her seat. “But perhaps this might help him heal. An injured man needs food and medicine and trade could provide that.” There’s a brief pause, as if she’s wondering if she’s said too much, but there is yet more to say. “If you think that Godsgrace might welcome it.”
Blinking, startled, her eyebrow arching up for a moment with a look of curious hope at the first words of sympathy. Carmella’s talk of ‘helping him heal,’ however, burns the brief look cleanly off Damarya’s face. Her mouth purses as she, too, leans toward Carmella, pulling her pendant out on its chain and clenching it deep inside a fist. Her voice drops to a matching whisper too soft for the guards, though her secrets are far less benign.
“He is /rotting/, little girl,” seethes the Allyrion, “in five corners of my world. Ravens pick gobbets… from knees, from nose, from nipples in cities long… stormed by your king. His decay dangles… before eyes of children too red from crying… to see, to be afraid. But… perhaps food… and medicine… and… trade?” By the end of her monologue, Damarya is quivering, rocking with deathly silent laughter. Her empty eye giggles along, winking at Carmella within the sun-shadow of a tangerine.
When Damarya leans forward Carmella copies her, but not for long. Her face goes blank and then turns pale as she watches the woman who never seemed all there to begin with. “My lady,” her voice trembles softly as she struggles to regain her own composure and find something meaningful to say. “I am sorry, Lady Damarya,” is all she can find to say, she can only apologize. “I did not mean to ... I only wanted to help and with all that Godsgrace has suffered…” Nervously she bites on her bottom lip and looks uncertain as what to do next.
“Ah hah…” The laughter vocalizes for an instant, but dies away the minute it finds breath. Damarya rolls her single eye and flops back onto the silk, sprawling rather inelegantly. Her head tilted, she takes her time in examining Carmella, the bile gradually seeping out of her expression. Finally: “Mother will want to know.”
Is that a bit of sanity in what has been an incredibly surreal morning? Carmella sits up a little and looks at Damarya fully, though she doesn’t quite lean in towards the Dornishwoman again. She’s keeping a distance for now, for the Seven only know what she might do. “Your mother, Lady Allyrion? She would wish to hear of this? Hear of an offer?”
“From. Me.” Relaxing her jaw, Damarya also relaxes her clutch on the metal leaf.
Carmella tightens her lips in thought. “I can make no promises, my lady. Such a decision would need to be made by Prince Viserys. But ... But I will tell him of your request. He might prove generous.”
“Hmm.” Damarya’s mouth quirks, gentling her visage. “Soft girl,” she muses, half pityingly. “Remind him, ehm? ...Generous letters buy generous, generous terms.” Her eye eases off the Dondarrion, falling to contemplation of the crystal in her pendant and its associated scintillations.
Carmella goes silent, watching Damarya watching the crystal, thinking on what has been said. The ‘soft girl’ comment didn’t pass her either, but the hint of pity is only met with a look of confusion from Carmella. “A small kindness can go a long way,” she notes quietly in response. “I will see what I can do for you, Lady Damarya. I hope I can bring you some good news, some peace, however small.”
“Nnh,” grunts the Allyrion, now holding her treasure directly up to the light. The crystal refraction finds its way to the back of Carmella’s hand, and Damarya, peering at it, breaks into a sudden smile.
Carmella looks down as the colors of light dance across her hand and slowly she looks over towards where the Dornishwoman sits. Until that point her face had been a mix of emotions, none quite prevailing so that she’s left with an odd expression. But the unexpected smile on Damarya’s lips eases her features and soon she is smiling in return. “I should be going soon, my lady. Duty calls, I fear. Would you like help back to the Fowler’s apartment?”
A little head-shake answers Carmella. “Better now,” murmurs Damarya, tilting her face almost to the horizontal as she ponders the rainbow light.
“As you wish,” Carmella says, rising to her feet to immediately drop into a curtsey before the heir to Allyrion. “My lady, if you have need of me, please do not hesitate to call on me. I thank you for allowing me some of your time.” She rises and just a quick glance towards her knights lets them know she’s ready to leave.
The woman nods absently, then tips her gaze up. The dark, liquid eye is direct, as is its maimed twin. “Yronwood…” Searching for the words she needs.
Carmella had turned to go, but the mention of her mother’s house brings her to pause. She looks back at Damarya and gives the tiniest of nods. “Yes,” she says softly. “My mother, she is a Yronwood.”
Frustration clouds the ruined face. “Your mother… nhh!” Damarya’s palm suddenly wraps like death around her pendant, and squeezes hard. When it opens again, five pricks of blood glitter in the room’s colored light. “/Your/ blood,” intones the other’s voice, husky with sudden feeling. Another closing and opening of the fist leaves the redness smeared across her brown. “Lady… keep it a’mind.”
Carmella is sure what to say to that, but Damarya’s words leave her stunned. Her guards are looking at her curiously, and not in the amused way. Carmella ignores the looks, her eyes focused on Damarya, unblinking until they begin to tear. It’s then that she blinks quickly, her mind coming back to the present and she smiles a little. “As you say, my lady,” is all she can find to say, her own voice hushed before she turns again to leave.
The eye watches Carmella turn and depart, and the pendant gleams after. Waiting nearly too long to be heard, Damarya, holding her five-pricked hand, murmurs, “Seven bless.”
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