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Prince Viserys seems perpetually busy with matters of state, and not even for an audience will he set aside his quill or parchments. As Carmella come in, he’s behind a great dark desk, singing something or other while a steward holds the Hand’s seal. As he slides the parchment to him, the man does the work of getting the sealing wax and seal in place. The knock at the door and then the announcement that Lady Carmella is arrived merely earns a brief glance of dark purple eyes beneath bushy brows as the lady is ushered in.
“Lady Carmella,” the Hand says, considering the young woman. “My pardon for having other matters to attend to during this audience, but matters cannot wait. I am well-practised in such matters, at least. You won’t find me slow.” Even as he speaks, his eyes are drifting down to the next matter before him, but his hand gestures as he says, “Now, I have been told you’ve a proposal of some sort. Something to do with Dorne, is it?”
This is something of a nervous experience of a young noblewoman but as Carmella is shown in she does her best to appear that she is not a complete bundle of nerves. She immediately drops into a low curtsey, well-practiced and meant to show the deepest respect for the man behind the desk. “My lord, I am deeply appreciative that you have allowed me some of your time, I shall strive to be brief.” There’s a nervous quivering of her lips into a smile, but the expression is slight at best.
“Yes, my lord, I was hoping that I might make inquiries into the status of trade from Dorne, more specifically here to King’s Landing. I understand that there are still some rebels in the south making trouble, but I have spoken with some of the ladies at court, as well as some of the hostages on the matter, and there is interest.”
“Interest in trade from Dorne?” the prince inquires, voice somewhat flat. An eye glances up as he dips the quill into an ink pot, preparing to sign some other matter. “I am not greatly surprised. Dornish yew, oranges, lemons, sandsilk, sand steeds, pepper…” That brief litany seems to speak volumes, at least as far as he can see it. He signs the parchment, dusts blotting sand on it, and slides it over for the steward to take care of. His expression is frank when he looks at Carmella, and his voice franker. “The rebels are proving more persistent than His Grace expected. Blackmont in the west, Manwoody somewhere in the mountains, and this Lord Vaith are only part of the problem. Even the smallfolk seem content to fight, without any urging from their lords. How shall trade be carried out, given the conditions? Has your lord father some thought on the matter that he has not shared with me? Or your brother?”
“It is my feeling that many are simply wishing to see the fruits of our success, my lord,” Carmella states politely, keeping her voice even, though there’s the occasional flutter to her words. Each time she quickly clears her throat and carries on. “Ladies hear of such things from Dorne and I fear it is in our nature to possess it if we can. But as to the matter of the trade itself…” Carmella pauses and there’s a momentary feeling of uncertainty as she glances down briefly.
“I have not spoken of this with my father yet, my lord, though I certainly intend to do so. The Boneway would, I imagine, be the main route by land and my father would need see to its safety. Perhaps with Yronwood under control those loyal to the King might see to its southern protection?” She hadn’t meant for it to come as a question, let it does. She continues. “Perhaps some incentive might be offered to those in Dorne who help preserve trade. I know little of warfare my lord, but I do know that it scars the land and cities and if the avenues of trade were to eventually run both ways those that prove most loyal would receive the best contracts. I ... I had spoken with Prince Cadan Martell, my lord, and he seemed amiable to the idea, even with the offer of sand steeds from his own stables. Princess Daena has such a passion for riding, surely she might enjoy the experience of one of Dorne’s famed mounts?”
Viserys is patient as the maiden speaks, though his ink-stained hands occasionally twitch as if he’s ready to get back to work. When she’s done, he offers a brief smile. “You seem to have thought it through, my lady. I had thought perhaps your lord father had put you up to this, but I suppose not.” The urge to continue his work finally wins out, as he starts reaching for another scroll even as he speaks. “There’s something to what you say. Trade will do more to bind the Dornish to us than chasing after rebels can. His Grace is, I think, aware of this but of course he has more pressing concerns. And I ... why, there’s little enough to be done here from King’s Landing to effect more trade.”
A shrug and the prince bends his eyes to the next edict he has to sign, though he pauses only a few brief moments before he’s starting to sign it while continuing. “It is something I shall send on to him and to Ser Alyn. The Qorgyles seemed amendable enough when His Grace gifted them Lord Qorgyle’s son, perhaps some of these others—the Allyrions, perhaps; do you know their heir?—might be similarly willing to help if they receive such promises.”
Carmella is startled by the smile from the Hand. The reaction is not huge, just a widening of the eyes and a delay in her own reaction, but she does eventually smile a little. “I understand it would be a difficult undertaking, my lord. I certainly would not expect to see bolts of sandsilk in the market in a couple of weeks. But I greatly appreciate your time and your consideration in this. I would think that those who are suffering the most from this war would be more supportive towards those who would seek to help rebuild and offer a stable life over those rebels who only seem to seek more death and chaos.”
“Allyrion’s heir?” Carmella thinks about that for a moment and then frowns a little. “I have met *a* member of that house, my lord but I fear to say she seemed quite out of her mind. I am not certain if she even possesses the ability to understand, but I will make the attempt to speak with her again.”
“Out of her mind?” the prince asks, more to himself than anything. He glances to the steward—who’s finishing pressing the seal to the hot wax on the latest edict—and the man leans over and murmurs something to him. “Oh, yes. Lady Damarya, that is her name,” Viserys says, and a note of disgust seems to creep into his voice. “I’ve heard tell of her ... condition. May the Seven cure her of it, as an addled woman is not like to be of any great help to us here.” He falls silent, on to the next piece of business, until he seems to recall something. “You said the princess Daena might wish to ride a sand steed. Has she said as much to you and the other companions?”
“I will offer prayers in the sept that she might not suffer much longer,” Carmella adds, seemingly troubled by the strange woman’s affliction. “As you say, she is of little use in her current condition and it is a shame to see an heir reduced to such a state.” Carmella glances away and takes in a deep breath, only to look back as the Hand asks the question.
“Not as such, my lord. I would not dream to appear to make promises that could not be kept and the princess has been quite kind to Lady Reyna and myself.” Whether that is entirely true or not isn’t the issue, she’ll not speak poorly of the princess. “But she is quite a skilled rider and it might provide her with a new challenge. I know that Lady Liane Uller speaks highly of them and I am under the impression that she has a great deal of experience with them. Perhaps she might be afforded the opportunity to give the Princess lessons with particular breed, if some were brought to King’s Landing, of course.”
“Perhaps Lady Liane might be suitable,” the prince says, quill scratching away at the latest parchment before he passes it on to the steward. “Even if trade does not reopen quickly, it may be that His Grace will wish to send some gifts to his siblings from Dorne. No doubt he would prefer to do it personally, but…” He allows a frown to escape, as his brows furrow, “... I fear he will be delayed longer than any of us desired. I shall send the thought on to His Grace, along with your notions for trade, Lady Carmella.”
Viserys adds as an afterthought, “You are shrewd, for one so young—your Dornish blood, I suppose. I understand it your lady mother has come to court. Given the condition that His Grace left the Yronwoods, I do not suppose she would know any of her remaining kin very well… ?”
“I am greatly honored, my lord,” she breathes and then slowly smiles at the compliment. “We all offer prayers to the Seven that His Grace will return to us soon and whole. It is my hope that the gods will hear those prayers,” she says and then the smile fades a bit. “I am what my mother has made me, my lord and I know she would be proud to hear your words. But in the end I simply wish to see the end of all this death, that there might be some peace. A silly woman’s notion I know,” she adds with a blush.
“Lady Linnet is the daughter to mother’s sister,” she comments of the Lady of Yronwood. “But we have not yet spoken much on her kin. I think it still pains her, my lord. Yronwood took a great loss, as you well know. But, if you think that there is need for my lady mother to speak with her niece, I believe she may be willing to do so.”
The prince nods at that, and seems to make a mental note of it. “It is a kind thought, Lady Carmella, well suited to your nature.” He starts to rise—he didn’t do that before—and goes on to say, “If it proves needful, I will make Lady Dondarrion aware of our need for her to appeal to her niece. Mayhaps it will not come to that, but I’ll place no wager on it given these intractable Dornish,” he says, rueful. “Now, I fear I must return to other business. I thank you for this visit, my lady, as it’s rare to have such pleasant petitioners.”
Again the Dondarrion girl drops into a deep curtsey. “You have been far too kind with your time today, my lord. It has been an honor and I appreciate you taking the time to listen to my ideas. You have been quite kind.” Rising to her full height it can be seen that Carmella is smiling again. “May the Seven continue to bless you and your family, my lord,” she says before turning and leaving the chambers.
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