The tune was wild and energetic, clearly one which required someone of definite skill. Jyana doesn’t play often in public, in fact the last time was when Reyna asked her to pluck the harp while she sang. But the challenge of a dreadfully complicated piece seemed to fire up the showmanship of the young Jewel as she stands near where Carmella and others of Daena’s circle are by the window. The notes practically jump off the strings of her fiddle, her fingers working the trills and the melody.
Her feet tap on the ground, she would bob her head if she could, if it wasn’t so necessary to keep the bow against her shoulder in a way that kept it from slipping off at the wild tune and the quick movements and the sweep of a bow that required to keep up with it. It looked like, from any moment, she’d bounce on the balls of her feet and whirl around and around the room while still working the violin.
Dressed simply today in a deep blue gown, with a modest bodice, its elegance was definitely in the cut - it made her look taller, as Arryns should be. Almost stately, if she didn’t look as if she were about to bounce off the walls in any second. Jaesin had once told her that they thought a lot alike simply because they were both meant to rule….though Jyana herself was quick to correct him on that.
“Where? Here?” A deep, commanding voice manages to cut through the music; a battlefield voice if ever there was one, and it suits the lord to which it belongs. Lord Athell Connington of Griffin’s Roost, tanned, fit, and erect of posture as a knight half his age, looms suddenly in the doorway.
Accompanying Lord Connington are a pair of knights, one in Marbrand colors, and the other with the crab of Celtigar on his breast. Also with them is a rumpled but elegant-looking maester in dove grey robes. “Verily, milord,” the thin maester tells Lord Athell. “I am told that they are companions of the Princess, and are oft together. There’s one now.”
Carmella lingers near the open balcony doors, tempting what little breeze can be found to come inside to cool those, for even as the evening drifts on the heat is oppressive. Her dark eyes sparkle as she watches her dearest friend perform for them but her gaze is more lively than her lips, which only shows a hint of a smile. Perhaps there had been singing earlier, for while Carmella has no skill for instruments, she has a lovely voice, but for now it is silenced.
When the frivolity of the evening is interrupted by a booming voice it catches the Dondarrion off-guard. Her gaze swings sharply towards the door, noting the garb worn by the newly-arrived men, the colors and sigils familiar enough. She stands up a little straighter and brushes her hands down the sides of her gown of gold and red sandsilk, though a skilled seamstress has worked the light material in a style more befitting a Westerosi girl. She does not, however, move away from the balcony door, but neither does she attempt to hide her presence.
No one, however, has ever heard the caged bird sing. Her family, it seems, jealously guarded her voice as much as the rest of her body.
Oddly enough, Jyana doesn’t really catch the booming voice, or if she doesn, she seems too trapped with what she’s doing to acknowledge it - so engrossed was she in the complicated piece she was playing, and in the midst of a difficult trill when she spies Carmella at the corner of her eye straighten up. Perhaps her brother walked in? The Arryn girl manages to stop, and the gaggle of Daena’s girls that surround both she and Carmella stop their chatting and staring over at the Lord of Griffin’s Roost. And then, the excited whispers do, indeed commence.
There were rumors, you see, as to why Lord Connington suddenly decided to make the trek to the decadent court.
By courtesy alone, Jyana stops, and moves so she could secure the instrument back in its case, touching the varnish and shine with a delicate, but oddly loving touch.
The contrast between Jyana and Carmella is evident; golden and sable, sunrise and evenfall, and for a moment Lord Connington is undecided whom to approach first. Since Jyana’s music continues, however, he turns toward Carmella. The maester whispers something in his ear, and the other two knights grin and remain behind.
“You there. My lady.” Gruff and faintly bemused, Lord Athell covers the distance between himself and Carmella in a few long-legged strides. By the time Jyana’s tune ends, he is already standing before the Dondarrian maiden. “You’re Manfred’s girl, aren’t you?” the Stormlord asks bluntly, inspecting her with alarming frankness. “But you look like your mother.”
Carmella quickly covers her surprise at the rather brusque questioning by dropping her head and slipping down into an elegant curtsey. “Lord Manfred Dondarrion would be my father, yes my lord,” she offers as she rises to full height. She cannot, however, help the smile that comes when she is compared to her mother. “And yes, I do favor my mother’s side,” she responds to the already obvious comment on her appearance.
Her eyes study the lord for a moment without actually meeting his gaze directly, not for an extended period of time, certainly. “I am Carmella Dondarrion, my lord,” she offers as a formal introduction, her expression polite. “It is a pleasure to make the aquaintance of the Lord of Griffon’s Roost,” she adds with her smile increasing just a touch. “Might I also introduce Lady Jyana Arryn, the Jewel of the Eyrie?” The question is posed as she looks and gestures towards the pale girl.
Maybe the rumors were true, though it isn’t as if Jyana gave off the impression that she even heard rumors, much less listened to them. She pauses, after closing the case and flicking the latch in place with a fingertip. Truth be told, if it wasn’t for the sigil that Athell wore, she wouldn’t have had any idea who he was - and if she did, there would be crazed thoughts about knocking the man with the case and yell at Carmella to flee. Ever since that nasty bit where Sarmion asked for Carmella’s hand, and the distraught look on her dear friend’s face when she recounted the tale in sobs, she was leery of people her cousin’s age approaching the Night to her Day for some shady proposal or another.
But since this is Almer’s daddy, the case-to-the-head plan isn’t going to do, so instead she prays that this is about something else.
When she’s called, this snaps her out of her reverie, turning sideways to blink at Carmella - catching the introduction, Jyana drops a curtsey towards Manfred. “Lord Connington,” she greets, pleasantly, and straight to the point.
“You are the very image of your mother,” Lord Athell agrees, allowing himself a smile at Carmella. “Fortunately for you, my lady.” As introductions are made, he glances over at Jyana and nods distantly.
“Aha. So this is the little songbird from the Eyrie that my son has told me about,” the hard-eyed Stormlord remarks to Jyana. “You’re a pretty thing, to be certain. I suspect half the lads in King’s Landing have been sniffing round Jonothor’s door for your hand, eh?”
The maester, hovering in pained silence at the periphery of the conversation, goes an appalled shade of white, and the two knights that linger in the background laugh.
Indeed it likely would be a shame if Carmella had looked like her father, all red-haired and masculine, and it is well-known that she is pleased to look like Loreza, so she holds her smile and turns her attention towards Jyana as the Lord Connington greets her. While she doesn’t pale as the maester does, her eyes do widen a bit at the question and she must bite hard on her lower lip to not laugh or any any other amused but unlady-like sound. Only when she has herself under control does she allow her teeth to release her lip and give a proud smile in Jyana’s direction. There may be jealousy from other girls towards Jyana, but there is obviously none of that in Carmella.
She blinks, but instead of looking shocked and appalled, Jyana laughs, unable to contain it like Carmella does - which perhaps might surprise the other two knights laughing (and probably bring some relief to the poor maester who looks about as gray as his robes after that). She shakes her head. “I am loathe to contradict the Lord of Griffin’s Roost within two minutes upon making his acquaintance, but no such thing has happened,” she says with a grin. “I think it’s perhaps because word has gotten out that while my dear uncle is, indeed, the Lord of the Eyrie and at present the master of my fate, his deference to my grandfather has left the final decision of such matches to my father, who is still in Dorne serving in the King’s pleasure. So it is quite logical, you see, for them not having been crowding around my uncle’s door because those who are serious for my hand have probably alreay spurred their horses back to the front to try and look for Papa.”
“That’s all well and good, sweetling,” Lord Connington replies to Jyana with an indulgent smile, “but if you think your papa will have the final say in whom you end up wed to, then you’ve a thing or three yet to learn.” The words are sharp, perhaps, but there is kindness in his cold grey eyes.
He glances back at Carmella. “You’re about the right age, my lady. And you seem healthy and bright enough, at least for Marcher stock.” It’s unclear whether Lord Athell jests or no.
“Do you know my son, Ser Almer? He’s easy on the eyes, I’m told, and can charm when he tries, which is seldom enough.” Athell frowns thoughtfully. “Or perhaps my eldest, Gallard… not a knight like Almer, of course. But he’s a touch milder in temperament. He might suit you, and he’s my heir.”
“I suppose he can always be cut off by the Hand with the right and exceedingly persuasive petition, but I’d like to think the Hand is much too busy with affairs of the state and have other more important things about than to wrest control away from those who are perfectly capable of making a decision,” Jyana remarks, her tone mild, the smile retaining its grin - but the eyes are what Almer have probably described before: Stubborn. Stubborn. And Stubborn.
She inclines her head over to Carmella as she takes up his interest. If she were a more crueler person, she’d take this opportunity to jump out the window, and land on the bushes she knows will be waiting for her. But ....curse it, she’s not. So she’ll stay by her friend’s side.
What semblence of a smile was on Carmella’s lips fades as soon as the attention is drawn back to her, quite well-aware of what is going on here. While she doesn’t cross her arms, there is a change in her posture that makes her appear a bit more stand-offish. The comment on Marcher stock is given no response, she simply watches the Connington lord.
“I have had the pleasure of meeting your son, my lord,” Carmella says in a tone of practiced politeness. “He is a good knight, from what I have observed of him,” she adds with a slight nod of her head. “Though our encounters have been but a few, the most recent a dinner with my mother and the maid he keeps in his company,” Carmella continues, knowing not what the lord things of the half-Dornish Keira. “Of your other son I know almost nothing,” she adds, again with a slight nod, but no smile blossoms again.
“Dinner? Really? How intriguing. He never mentioned that detail to me.” Athell’s eyes narrow and he studies Carmella with renewed interest. The comment about his son’s frequent companion goes unremarked, however. “I had heard your mother left the city. A shame. I should have liked to speak with her about your future. I think Gallard might like you. But there will be other chances.”
Waving a hand dismissively, Lord Connington now turns the considerable weight of his regard back upon the Jewel of the Eyrie. “And you, my lady. You speak like a maester, yet you look like you’d blow away on the next gust of wind. And we have a great deal of harsh weather in the Stormlands.” The Stormlord studies Jyana for a long moment. “But even so, I think Almer fancies you. You’d be a good match for him, don’t you agree?”
Carmella’s expression doesn’t change, in fact she looks as if she were wearing a mask, whatever she’s thinking on the inside is kept deep inside. “I am sure my mother would be disappointed to have not met you as well, my lord. She has taken a great interest in my future and has made inquiries of her own.” Carmella delivers the words with the lack of emotion she wears on her face and while the tone isn’t insulting (at least it is not meant to be) it could be suggested that she’s not entirely impressed with this sudden ambush on what was a lovely evening. Only when she looks towards Jyana does her expression soften, some sympathy for the friend caught up in this with her.
A new entrant to the Solar, this older than the maids there present. She is accompanied by a guardsmen, and the tall form of her good aunt, Janyse Penrose. A tilted smile on the features of Elanna Penrose as she regards the girls, and ...their companion. She approaches on swift feet.
“Why, Lord Connington,” she holds out her hand in greeting, “I had heard you were in the city. How lovely to see you once more.” Her voice is smoothly calm, her dark blue eyes sparkling a little…one might suspect with mischief.
She frowns. “I’m not that much of a milksop!” Jyana protests with the sort of girlish innocence. “I can ride, and I can run, and I’ve spent many a time frolicking in the middle of a storm and not having to keel over because of the wind.” Ouch! See, it was like telling a girl she wasn’t pretty, except in this case, the girl -was- pretty, so the first scenario doesn’t really work. There’s even a small pout.
But it seems as if she’s actually just pulling the Stormlord’s leg, for she grins right afterwards.
....until the last. She laughs and shakes her head. “Oh, that can’t be true,” she says. “He’s—” In love with two other women but she can’t say that now, can she? Quick, think! “—....set on enjoying his youth!”
Jyana nods sagely. “He told me so. Something about all the women in the Red Keep being absolutely insane and that he might have to import someone less crazy off a far-off land if such a woman exists.”
“My lady Carmella, my lady Jyana, how lovely to see you both also,” Elanna adds shortly after.
“Serion.” If Liane’s voice preceeds her up the stairs to the solar, it’s by an act of sheer will - apparent in her tone - that it isn’t a shout. “Oh /Serion/. I do hope you’re not hiding-” As she reaches the top of the stairs, Liane’s words stop short, a barely contained scowl flicking to surprise and just as quickly to schooled neutrality as she finds no brother, but a collection of Westerosi in the solar. Clearing her throat, she manages a brief, barely composed, “Apologies,” before stepping to the side of the room, peering up to the balcony to make certain her brother isn’t in hiding there. Speaking of crazy women.
A throat is cleared, and the weedy maester comes up to Athell’s side. “Ahem-hem-hem,” his throat chatters, and then he speaks. “This one has scrawny hips, m’lord,” the man says, looking at Jyana. He takes from his voluminous robes a pair of calipers, and holds them up as if to measure the young woman’s hips from afar. “You see, if you calculate this measurement here, with the distance and allowing for the bulk of the lady’s garments… Ahem-hm-hm, not promising, Lord Connington. Not promising at all.”
“.....I’m not one to defy the wills of someone educated in the Citadel besides!” Jyana says, flawlessly(?) taking up the man’s expert opinion and even finishing that off with a deferential and humble seeming bow. But oh god, she’s laughing. On the inside. Oh yes.
“‘Inquiries’, of course,” Lord Athell replies to Carmella with faint impatience. “Probably wants to wed you off to a petty Dornish lordling. It’d be a waste; you’re a beauty, to be sure, and don’t deserve to wither away in some sandy holdfast.” He shakes his head. “Lady Loreza is well-intentioned, but it’s your father I’ll be having a word with, I think.”
He eyes Jyana’s little tirade impassively. “Almer mentioned you in one of his letters, my lady. And apparently Jonothor doesn’t approve of your association?” The Griffin Lord seems annoyed more than anything. “Yet another thing I’ll have to discuss with him.”
He nods politely to Elanna, looks curiously at Liane, and then frowns as the maester delivers his verdict. “She’s thin as a willow, to be sure, Merrick,” he agrees. “But hips aren’t everything. She claims to be vigorous, and she’s got a temper, it seems. That’s something.”
Carmella drops a quick curtsey for Elanna, her smile is fleeting however, for she hasn’t forgotten what is going on here. “Lady Elanna, a pleasure as always,” she greets just before she hears a familiar voice speaking an even more familiar name. Surprisingly she smiles a little more as Liane enters the solar and even offers the Dornishwoman a curtsey as well.
Lord Connington’s comments pull her attention back to him and again the smile withers quickly. “I would think the Hand would appreciate a House willing to offer a daughter in such a union, for certainly many houses would not wish such a fate for their girls. It is certain to happen,” she adds before letting the conversation turn back to Jyana, gladly.
While the maester fusses over Jyana’s hip size, she looks back to Liane, hoping to catch the Uller’s attention. “Lady Liane, a pleasure as well. It has been too long, certainly. You’ve not lost your brother again, have you?” She tsks at that and shakes her head. “He hasn’t misbehaved again, has he?”
“A most unfortunate development indeed, m’lord, for I very much hold your son’s friendship with high esteem,” Jyana remarks. “But as you can see, it’s not as if their disapproval is one of my choosing, I don’t recall doing anything so wrong with him that my family has suddenly found my connection with him so odious. However, as they are family and since they have given me no explanation save to trust them, then trust them I must.”
Oh, fine, Carmella, LEAVE ME with Lord Connington, why don’t you??? Aquamarine eyes glance at her friend as Liane comes in. She can almost see Carmella running towards her and hiding behind her Dornish friend.
And the last….she refrains from palming her face. In fact, she almost does it, but this turns into an oh-so-feminine brushing back of her hair from her shoulder.
“Lady Elanna,” she greets, with a smile and a small curtsey.
“But your sons have fat heads, my lord,” the maester says sniffily, turning his calipers on Carmella. “Now this one… good hips, ahem-hm-hm-hm, yes, and a bosom too. No problems with this one, no, hm-hm-hm.”
Elanna drops her hand from her greeting of Lord Connington with an arched brow, where it has remained hovering for a few moments. She turns to regard Carmella, her lips quirking at the words of the Maester.
“There you are, my lady Carmella, your worth is known…you have good hips and bosom. Are you not now quite content?” her eyes dance with unexpressed laughter.
Failing to find Serion on the balcony or in the rafters, Liane releases an exasperated sigh, grimacing. Half-way through her turn toward the door, though, Carmella’s words reach her.
“No,” she answers, summoning up a rueful smile. “Well, he has, but that’s not the problem at the moment. His /cat/ has completely destroyed a scarf that I brought from home.”
Brushing her bangs away from her eyes, she sighs, though this one seems to calm her somewhat. “I can’t decide if he’s hiding because he knows, or if it’s just one of his usual disappearances. Anyhow.” A curious glance is cast toward the male members of the crowd, and she arches a questioning brow to Carmella.
“Put those away, Merrick. You’re going to frighten this poor girl.” Lord Athell looks icily at the maester, then glances back at Jyana. “Don’t mind him; he’s been in the Dornish sun too long, I think. He’s addled. Much like your uncle.”
He follows Carmella’s gaze to Liane, then glances at Elanna. “Lady Elanna. How pleasant to see you again. How’s your brother, ill-tempered as ever?” Still his eyes linger on Liane, unspoken questions on his lips.
Carmella looks down in shock at the maester’s intrusion and she nearly jumps back as her hands fly up. “Please be careful, this gown was costly!” she exclaims, looking not at all impressed at their assessment of her. Pleading eyes go to Elanna and her response to the Penrose’s comment is a dry laugh, but she is not amused.
Liane also gains a pleading look from Carmella, a silent plea for help, though there really isn’t anything anyone can do for her right now. She might show some sympathy for Liane and her scarf, but this whole affair has her quite rattled. “I hear that his pet is no end of trouble,” she says, trying to sound calm as she addresses the Dornishwoman. “I do hope it can be salvaged and if not, then Serion owes you a very fine gift indeed.”
Maester Merrick bends his head, then skulks around behind Lord Connington, the calipers hidden in the folds of his robe. From there, he surreptitiously holds them up to Liane. Whatever he sees must please him, for he nods and smiles and the calipers disappear into his robes, having never come even close to actually touching any of the women in question.
“Aye, he can be a little off at times, but I think that’s just part of his charm,” Jyana states with a smile, and taking the jab at her beloved uncle in good grace. Jonothor? Charm? The irony isn’t lost on her, but she says it anyway just to be contrary. “Like most of my relatives, he is protective of my wellbeing. Did you have a good journey from the Roost?”
Elanna moves to rest her hand on Carmella’s arm, “It’s alright, my dear,” she replies soothingly, before turning her direct blue gaze upon Lord Connington.
“Lord Baratheon ill-tempered?” she tilts her head queryingly, an innocent look upon her face, “Surely not. He is the most even-tempered of men.” A pause.
“Or perhaps you refer to the Stormbreaker?” a vague gesture with a hand.
Liane’s brow rises further at the sight of the calipers, noting the amusement, exasperation, and nerves of the women around her. “Well, done is done,” she murmurs to Carmella on the subject of Serion’s cat and her scarf. “I do hope I haven’t wandered into anything of a…personal, medical nature?” she asks, lowering her voice.
“I only stopped at the Roost for a night, my lady,” Lord Connington replies to Jyana. “A brief pause on the way up from Dorne. But it was a fair voyage, thank you for asking.”
“Yes, yes, Sarmion. Who else?” he replies to Elanna with some impatience. “I blame him for Almer.” That cryptic comment goes unexpounded, and he turns once more to the Dornishwoman nearby.
“You’re the Uller lady,” Lord Connington says to Liane with his usual directness. He does, however, possess tact, and refrains from any comment on the deeds of the lady’s kin during the Conquest. “Quite lovely. Make a note.” This last he directs to the maester, who produces quill and parchment, upon which he scribbles something. “Alas, fair ladies,” Athell says, “I am due at the Tower of the Hand. But I am sure I shall see each of you again soon. It was my very great honor to have made each of your acquaintances.”
With that, Lord Connington, his maester, and the two grinning knights all turn and troop out of the room as if they are marching off to some fresh conquest.