Ah, night in King’s Landing. It’s hot and sultry, the air heavy with moisture and the stars gleaming dully through intermittent clouds. In the great hall of the Old Keep, as most nights, there is merriment. A small band of musicians plays in one corner, though they are few and not very good. As it is too hot to dance, the lightly clad denizens of the Red Keep play at cards or draughts, and gossip in knots and clusters.
Reyna Rowan, but one day from whatever harrowing ordeal she suffered in the Kingswood, sits in a small group of ladies, chatting in a desultory manner. She is clad in a loose gown that covers her from throat to toes, and her hair is not in its usual elaborate knotting and braiding, but plaited into a single rope of honey-brown laid over her shoulder. The shadow she sits in makes the bruising of her face just another shadow among many in the flickering torchlight.
To the Rowan widow’s left there sits a woman clad entirely in dark blue, matching the sapphirine gaze that travels frequently to the features of the woman beside her.
“Can I get you something to drink, Ren?” Elanna Penrose queries in an undertone to Reyna, “Or perhaps something to eat?” Worry courses through every syllable of her queries.
>From outside in the hallway, the echo of heavy bootfalls can be heard. They grow louder with each step—and they are approaching the great hall. Their rhythm is one of insistence and purpose.
A shadow appears in the doorway, and the sound ceases.
It is Jonn Lannister, and his longsword is at his sword, his right hand resting on the lion’s head pommel. One look within, and his lips curl into a disgusted sneer.
Dressed in red, the Dondarrion girl sits beside Elanna, her attention briefly captured by the musicians, but it is not for their talent but the lack of it. Her nose wrinkles as another tune is mercifully brought to an end, only to have another started up to suffer the same fate.
When Carmella isn’t scowling at the musicians she’s got a concerned eye on Reyna, watching the older woman as if she’s expecting something to happen. What that might be, she doesn’t know, but she sits on the edge of her chair, as if ready to spring should there be need to do so.
One must eat, even if the sultry heat makes it a rather unattractive proposition. Maybe that is why Irena sits off in a quiet spot with a plate of sliced fruit and a cool beverage of somewhat indeterminate content. Even under the watchful eye of her septa it seems that the hall it holds more interest than her food. In may be noted, in the young lady’s defense, that there are only a few pieces left on her plate, and earlier their had even been some cheese on it, which is long gone.
A slightly determined look enters her eyes as she finishes of the last few piece and stands. Irena’s path around the edge of the room towards the gathering of ladies is paused as she sees ser Jonn enter.
“Gysa and Dalla have stuffed me like a winter goose,” Reyna says, turning toward Elanna and smiling. “Some wine wouldn’t go amiss, though.” The torchlight falls full on her face, and she ducks her head. “I’m alright, girls, I swear it.”
Elanna rises elegantly and moves forth to a table whereupon a number of goblets were filled with wine. She selects two, and returns to the lounges. Pausing a moment as her gaze alights upon the sneering Jonn Lannister. Her features pale somewhat, and her eyes narrow just a little.
“Coz,” Black Jonn says to the young Marbrand, his sneer dispersing only briefly enough to gift her with a flashing smile.
Then he takes a few steps from the door and turns to observe the room from this angle. His shoulders lift, his nose swiftly expands and contracts, and he closes his eyes but for a moment…
And then he continues on his way, all but ignoring the others.
While Elanna rises to get a glass of wine for Reyna Carmella indulges in some people-watching, her gaze wandering slowly over those that have gathered here this evening. Her expression is unreadable for the sneer at the music is gone and the concern she holds for Lady Reyna also disappears when she’s not looking at her. Her dark eyes alight on Lady Irena and she raises a hand in greeting to the other young woman.
When Irena’s attention is pulled elsewhere, Carmella’s is as well and she notes the arrival of the Lannister knight. Things must have gotten better between the two of them, for Carmella doesn’t look annoyed or disgusted by his arrival.
“If this hall gets any more crowded I might choose the humid night air over the stuffiness that is sure to come here,” she murmurs to Elanna and Reyna.
Reyna reaches out and takes a cup of wine. “Strange how stuffy it -gets- when that man arrives,” she says under her breath. “I never know how to feel when he shows up. Pleased or dismayed?”
Elanna thoughtfully watches Jonn stalk around the room for a moment. And her gaze slides sideways to regard those with her.
“Depends upon his mood, for the most part. Lately it is as though he has had his breeches filled with fireants.”
Irena returns ser Jonn’s smile with an honest, if slightly hesitant one, as she bobs a slight curtsy, before continuing on her earlier path, the one which takes her towards Elanna, Reyna, and Carmella.
“Perhaps Lady Kellyn has finally locked her chamber door,” Reyna quips, smiling over the rim of her goblet at the other women. She raises her cup to Irena, self-consciously edging her chair more into shadow.
Carmella turns her attention from Jonn as she rises to go get her own goblet of wine, suddenly finding that she has a thirst of her own. When she returns she takes a sip and begins to survey the room once more but catches what Elanna has said. “Because of Ser Harold,” she asks, her voice low, “or has something new troubled him of late?” She shoots a glance over at Reyna and laughs a little at her comment, but adds no commentary of her own.
Each of the ladies’ comments only bring a twitch of the Lannister’s lips.
It would appear they are safe for the nonce, as his path seems to lead him directly toward the wine. His tongue reaches out to moisten first the upper and then the lower lip.
Pouring himself a glass, there is a strange gleam in his eye. Perhaps he is already in his cups—or perhaps the nonce is nearly over.
There is a slight pause before Irena’s curtsy, as she gives Reyna a concerned look. Irena holds her tongue though, when it comes to that matter. She offers, her tone somewhat apologetic, “I am sorry for leaving so quickly the other evening. I hope nothing bad happened after I left…”
Seeing that her change may actually be entering a long conversation, Septa Mayre finally moves form her seat and around the edge of the room toward the gathering, trying her best to avoid Jonn at all costs, at least when it comes to the quickest route.
Elanna taps a forefinger upon her goblet, before glancing up at Irena’s greeting. Her lips press into a firm line, but at the innocence of the girl’s statement, she holds her tongue. A sip of her wine is better done, and thus she does. Though she does reply to Carmella’s query.
“I wish I could understand the mind of a Lannister, but it seems no one is privy to such secrets,” dry spake and unimpressed.
“Distribute this amongst yon ladies. I heard that if you flick your wrist, it travels further,” is the first thing Black Jonn says to the servant—at least the first thing that could be heard. He presses something into the young woman’s palm, smiles, and gestures with a wave of his wine glass toward the Penrose lady.
The servant departs quickly for his errand, though her eyes are locked not upon the recipients, but rather the gift itself. Her nose is wrinkled and she holds the stuff out at arm’s length.
Jonn continues to smile, hardly a friendly gesture, and now and again sips from his goblet. He begins to hum a tune, his lips buzzing only enough to reach his own ears.
“Perhaps some kegs are best left untapped,” Reyna replies a bit distantly. “Ser Jaesin is nothing like Ser Jonn. He seems to be precisely as he seems—a good man.”
Harold enters quietly, his eyes quickly noting the room’s contents ... and malcontents. His features harden as he steps fully into the room.
“It is difficult enough to understand the mind of another, no matter who they may be,” says Irena, “Although I will admit some are much more difficult than others.” Reyna’s comment about Ser Jaesin gains a nod from the young Marbrand, although not exactly a return statement.
The septa continues to edge around the room, but it seems she will soon near her goal.
“They are dissimilar,” Elanna agrees, “In so many ways..and yet..” she shrugs and looks as though she would continue, but for the arrival of one man. Harold Kenning. Her gaze darts to Jonn Lannister..who, as yet, seems intent upon some task or either - wine glass in hand.
Likewise do Black Jonn’s eyes narrow. His hand clenches upon the hilts of his sword, but he forces his attention back upon the servant, approaching the ladies with what looks like… a handful of flower petals? Surely, the Lannister is fully bereft of wits now.
In the interim, he sips from his wine.
Harold manages to capture a goblet from a passing servant and pauses in his advance to take a sip. Eyes close as he sips, seeking some measure of liquid resolve.
“I don’t think there’s a man I trust more in all King’s Landing just now,” Reyna says softly, crossing her arms over her chest with her hands at her neck. She clears her throat, and lowers her hands with a will, then sighs. “I wonder when Almer will be back from the Roost. Or if he’s coming back at all?”
Elanna removes her glance from Harold, and reaches out to Reyna. Her hand alights upon her shoulder and murmurs softly, “Have you sent him word?”
Irena blinks, a look of confusion crossing her features for a moment, “That is right, I have not seem Ser Almer for quiet awhile.” She adds after a slight pause, “Not that I saw him often in the first place. But I would have thought that you would have had some word of his plan. Did you not?”
“Of this? Gods, no. Can you imagine his wrath? Word will reach him soon enough.” Reyna clasps her hands in her lap, as if to keep them there. She watches the approaching servant with a very wary eye, and looks for all the world as if she’d as soon be deeper in the shadows.
The servant pauses a few steps from the ladies, and ever so hesitant, looks back over her shoulder at the Lannister, who nods encouragingly—again with that sly smile—and waves her on.
She throws her hand up in the air, flicks her wrist, and a rain of flower petals descends upon the ladies.
She then retreats quickly, very quickly back to the Lannister. He smiles, and places a dozen gold dragons into her palm. She retreats even quicker from him—her face so pale she could be the Stranger’s sister.
“What in the ...” Carmella looks up at the shower of flower petals and then scowls as a couple fall into her wine. “I swear by the Seven, that man is quite drunk,” she says, fishing the petals out of her wine and then shoving the glass away completely, her taste for it gone. “Maybe you were right, maybe Lady Kellyn *did* shut him out of her bedroom after all,” Carmella says, leaning over towards Reyna, brushing a few more petals out of the way.
Elanna looks up as the petals shower down over them. The white pieces stick in her hair, and come to rest on the silk of her lap. She picks one up..and frowns.
“What on earth…” and there is little pleasure in her tone…for, after all, her own experience with flowers has been less than pleasant. A glare is cast toward the Lannister knight.
Resolve suitably strengthened, Harold finishes his journey across the room and bows to the group of ladies. “Noble ladies ...” he offers, brow quirking at the strewn petals.
A great many of the petals land upon Reyna, in her hair and on her lap. “Smells like lilies,” she remarks, picking up a petal between the tips of two fingers and touching it to her nose. “Nasty scent, though.” She rises to brush them off her, and is startled by Harold into sitting again very quickly. “Ser Harold, good evening,” she murmurs, scooching her chair further back into the shadows—she hasn’t much farther to go before she fetches up against the wall.
If Irena looked confused earlier, that is nothing compared to the look that crosses her face now, as she blinks and picks up one of the petals off her sleeve, “Flowers?”
Placing his wineglass on the far edge of the table behind him, Jonn Lannister smirks and leaps upon the edge. There he sits, legs dangling freely, and watches. He rests his sheathed sword on one knee and strokes it as though his palm were a whetstone. He commences the humming again, louder this time.
Carmella had picked up a few petals and sniffed them as Reyna commented on the scent. Considering what had happened a few weeks prior it might not be wise for Carmella to be smelling much of anything, but these are flower petals, surely nothing could go amiss with them. Her nose wrinkles a bit as she inhales and she nods to Reyna, “A poor variety.” Carmella crushes the petals in her fingers and tosses them aside.
She sneezes and quickly covers her nose with the same hand she had just used to crush the petals and again the scent is drawn in. “I think he attempted to woo his wife with these inferior flowers and she threw them back at him and *then* locked her door to him,” Carmella suggests before sneezing a second time.
Harold looks past the table, his eyes finding the Lannister’s. He pays his respects with a very formal nod, executed without hope of reply.
Elanna hurriedly brushes the petals from her lap, wiping her fingers on the fabric of her skirts. Like Carmella, she sneezes once..twice…thrice, rapidly in succession. She looks up at Harold, her eyes watering.
“It would seem that Ser Jonn wishes to play a prank on us…” a strangled sound comes from her throat as she tries to swallow another sneeze..and fails.
“By the Crone, Jonn, what the devil have you done!” she rubs her eyes, unwittingly making it worse.
“As you said,” Jonn comments in a most amiable way, “Lady Kellyn has refused an earnest gift from her devoted husband.”
He pauses long enough to smile and take a sup of wine: “And as you are likely they culprits in her poor behavior, I thought to reward you.”
A golden brow arches. “You don’t approve?”
“The bastard,” Reyna remarks, her eyes finding Jonn on his perch. She doesn’t sneeze, nor do her eyes water. Instead, they droop, and she rises from her chair in the shadows. “Do you seek favors from another, then?” she asks, reaching out to take the wine cup from the Lannister’s hand and drinking from it herself. “By trickery?”
The wrinkling of her nose definitely betrays out much Irena attempts to block a sneeze similar to the ones that plague her companions. It is not a battle that many would win, but somehow Irena manages. The look of confusion has yet to leave her face, even as she attempts to shake off the petals that still remain cleaning to her skirt.
Harold’s eyes are drawn back to the ladies, connecting the dots in the process. He shakes his head sadly, furrows appearing on his brow.
The sneezing stops and Carmella starts to get very quiet. There’s an odd look in her gaze as she looks around the room. It’s something more than curiousity, more like desperation as her eyes gain an unfamiliar sparkle. “Did it get even warmer in here,” she murmurs to no one in particular. There a soft moan in her throat and the wine she pushed away earlier is quickly reached for and downed in a very unladylike manner. But no, that doesn’t seem to make the odd sensation go away. Her fingers tap at her bottom lip where a few drops of wine still cling and her index finger is drawn in between her lips, not to suck off the wine but she finds it necessary to bite down as her eyes slowly sink closed.
The golden brow remains arched. An exercise in muscle stamina that Jonn has clearly mastered.
“Favors, from you?” The mere thought of it causes him to laugh forcefully enough to shake the table and the glasses upon it. He reaches up and pats Reyna patronizingly on the head. “You’ve the wrong Lannister for that.”
A strange cast comes to Elanna’s eyes. She blinks, and blinks once more. Her hand goes to her throat from where a flush rises unbidden. She clears her throat…or rather, tries to.
“Oh…oh dear,” and raises a hand to her brow, “Oh my…”
“Have I?” Undaunted, Reyna presses her suit, moving still closer to Jonn. “Have I really? What other purpose could you have in giving us such a… titillating gift.” She puts one hand on his knee, where his leg dangles over the edge of the table, insinuating herself between them. “In fact, I am quite sure you’ve contrived it very cleverly. You do think you’re clever, don’t you? Pulling such a vile trick?”
Like a snake striking, her other hand darts forward and grips his privy parts like a claw. Leaning forward, she speaks very softly in his ear. “Or have you started something you don’t mean to finish?”
Harold’s eyes widen as the ladies all exhibit ... distress. His eyes become saucers, however, when Lady Reyna performs her pat down. “Oh my ...” emerges unbidden from his lips.
“I thought it was just me, but it is /rather/ warm…” Irena says in a tiny voice, a flush clear visible on her checks. Her confused look still lingers, as she steps back from the crush of the room, to lean against the wall.
But before the claw has finished its grip, the Lannister has a very sharp, very golden dagger out of his waistband. The tip quivers a hair’s breadth away from that perfect little throat…
“It would seem that we are at an impasse,” Black Jonn says then. Sweetly.
Carmella opens her eyes with a soft mewling sound as her teeth release her finger, only to have her hand run slowly up through her hair and down the side of her neck until her fingers are brushing against her throat. Like the others her cheeks are flushed and her breathing has quickened, but in her eyes there is confusion.
Reyna’s behavior might intensify that confusion, but for some reason Carmella only leans forward a little to watch, lips parted in anticipation as she swallows hard.
A flush high on her cheek, Elanna Penrose regards the room through eyes wrought slumberous. Her gaze falls upon the moment between Reyna and Jonn.
“Ren!” she cries aloud and rises from her seat, “Jonn! What are you doing!” She takes a pace..then another forward.
Reyna does not loosen her grip, though she closes it no tighter. “Indeed, so it would seem. One blade or the other… what do you mean to do with the golden one?”
Harold moves now, closing the distance that does remain. His voice urgent, “My lord, by all that you hold dear, put your blade down.”
“You mean the hard one?” Jonn asks in a low, soft voice that surely can’t pass much past the two, moving the dagger slowly up and to the right. He places the flat against Reyna’s cheek and moves it slowly upward. A lover’s caress.
Harold stands beside Jonn and Reyna who appear to be locked in an embrace, save for the fact that Jonn has a dagger drawn, and Reyna has privies in check. Again he urges, “My lord, your blade. Put it away.”
“... ... as” Reyna purrs in his ear, disregarding the blade. “... ... ... what ... ... good ... ... Or ... ... ... ... me do ...” Her words are low, but there is horror growing in her face as the effects of the drugged petals begin to wear off. In the next moment, she is screaming
Carmella watches the slow path of the dagger up Reyna’s cheek and though she should be outraged she’s clearly not. As if following instruction her hand slowly raises from her throat and traces her fingertips up her cheek, mirroring Jonn’s movements. “I feel so ... odd,” Carmella murmurs, voice husky as she watches, almost unblinking, the actions between Reyna and Jonn. Her breathing is still quickened and she finds that she’s swallowing hard more than is usual or necessary. Eventually her fingers drift back towards her parted lips and the behavior starts all over again as her index finger is again sucked in between her lips.
Elanna moves forward, the effects of the drugged petals wearing off her in similar instance. Her face is blackly furious.
“You bastard, Jonn!” she snaps, “How could you?” She pushes past Harold, almost tripping on her skirts, reaching for Reyna to draw her back out of the mocking ‘lovers embrace’.
In an atmosphere redolent of so much tension, it is easy—for once—for Jaesin Lannister to slip into the hall without the usual masked stares and whispered exclamations at his arrival. With his customary lazy grace, he weaves between a pair of drunken men-at-arms toward a carafe of wine when a female scream shatters his reverie.
His eyes narrow and he whips around toward the source of the sound, to find Elanna enraged, Reyna in apparent danger, and his brother at the heart of it all. How terribly familiar.
Ser Jaesin grits his teeth and starts toward his kinsman and the women.
Irena’s eyes are dark are watching the room, but it is a long moment before she finally leaves the safety of her spot on the wall, even if her cheeks are still slightly flushed. Reyna’s scream is enough to send her in that direction, although she skids to a halt still a good distance away.
Reyna’s scream startles Carmella a bit. She blinks a few times and her finger slips from her mouth as she sits up a little straighter. Whatever affected them all hasn’t completely worn off on her yet because she’s still wearing a look that no maid should be familiar with. “What ... what’s going on? I feel so ... tingly.” She looks even more confused as she looks around the room to find others watching her as well.
The dagger snaps away from Reyna’s cheek. No blood is drawn.
With one motion, he leaps upon the table—sending glass and pottery crashing to the floor around him. With wild eyes, he points the dagger at Elanna.
The touch of Elanna’s hands stops Reyna’s screaming, but she throws them off reflexively. She reels away, her eyes wild and her face pallid under the still-dark bruises. She turns blindly, hands reaching and grasping for anything—or anyone.
And then another, different Lannister is there, catching Reyna’s wrists in a firm grip and saying quietly, “You’re well, you’re safe, just calm—be calm. It’s Jaesin. Jaesin.”
And this is Jaesin, and so even as he speaks so kindly, his sapphire gaze glares daggers over the lady’s shoulder at his suddenly wild-eyed brother. There is a promise in that gaze, and not a gentle one.
Elanna stumbles slightly as Reyna pushes her off. She gasps, and utters a soft cry as she witnesses the blade turned upon her. All memory of warm, fuzzy feelings are dashed away like waves upon the rocks of Storm’s End. When Harold steps between them, relief floods her features…and she witnesses Reyna taken hold of by Jaesin.
And Reyna calms, breathing heavily in her shapeless, all-covering gown. “I… don’t touch me, Jaesin. Don’t foul your hands.” And she yanks her wrists free—or tries to. “Deal with your brother. His flowers have driven all of us mad.”
Wild green eyes come to rest on Jaesin and Reyna. Hoarse, dry, laughter follows.
The young Lannister crows, “My dear brother, the hero!” Then he screams at the top of his voice, all his considerable lungs put into the sound, and leaps…
But not for Jaesin or Reyna or Elanna. It is for the window.
Septa Mayre, nearly forgotten as she watched in stunned silence manages to gather herself together enough to walk over to Irena and lay a hand on her charge’s arm and says, her tone hushed, “We should leave, this is unseemly.”
Irena continues to watch the unfolding seen, a stunned and slightly horrified expression on her face as her cousin becomes rather intimately acquainted with the wall.
Harold tenses as the table dancer moves to leap, but the trajectory is clear enough, and he can only watch in shock as the man falls. He turns, his eyes first finding Elanna, and then Jaesin. His voice still has its urgency as he addresses the older Lannister, “My lord, what is to be done?”
Clearly knowing nothing of flowers or foulness, Ser Jaesin seems ready to release Reyna’s slim wrists—but as his brother laughs and screams, the famous knight freezes in horror. His strong jaw drops, and his eyes go wide as if seeing a nightmare made flesh.
“Dear gods, what sorcery,” he gasps, forgetting to move, even to let Reyna go. “Kenning… I… seven hells…”
Carmella rises from her chair, or attempts to anyway. Her knees are oddly weak and she finds she needs to grab for the back of the chair, lest she find herself in a similar position as Jonn, though probably without the intense pain. Her eyes are still a little glassy as she looks around, as if watching the action in a dream, for this is far beyond any reality she can comprehend. Even Jonn’s dive towards the window doesn’t appear to shock her as greatly as it otherwise would have. She’s too busy trying to shake something out of her head to be concerned with Ser Jonn’s state.
Elanna reaches forward and grasps for Harold’s arm. With wide eyes she watches the airborne Lannister launch…then crashland.
“The Father help him…” she murmurs…and moves forward a pace, two, then three. Her breath coming shortly and sharply she moves forward.
“Jonn?” her voice is cautiously concerned, incredibly wary. A glance is cast toward Jaesin, then Harold in turn.
“Have a maester brought. It is the only option. Madness has taken him…”
But Jonn is not moving, much less responding to inquiries.
His nose is a bloody mass, and there is a deep gash in the center of his forehead that sends blood down his face in a river.
“Let me go, Jaesin.” Reyna struggles, tugging her hands down with more and more desperation. Her eyes, calm just a moment ago, are panicked as she struggles. “Please, Jaesin, let me go, let me go, LET ME GO!” And her knee rises swiftly up between the Knight’s legs, her only goal to free herself from another man.
And so Jaesin Lannister, champion of a dozen tourneys great and small, hero of the Tor, Young Lion of Lannisport, is brought low—not by an enemy�s sword, or Dornish poison—
But the well-timed knee of a woman he’d been trying to save.
Doubled over, the young knight saves himself from falling to the floor by barely catching a bench with his right hand. He staggers, and a low moan escapes him, but no words.
Harold steps forward with Elanna, not so much restraining her as obstructing her. Her words, however, have their desired effect. A nod. A maester. He makes move to bellow, and his breath is caught in his throat. A coughing sound is all that issues forth as he witnesses this gelding of the Lion.
Finally over coming her shock enough to at least move, although she mutters under her breath as she moves, quickly enough that if the distance was any further that she might’ve said to running, “This is a dream, I’m going to wake up in the morning and it’ll all have been a dream. She can’t help but notice the blood though as she nears Jonn and kneels down near him, reiterating Elanna’s earlier statement, “Someone get a maester.” Her eyes fall on her Septa, who rushes out of the room to do so, or at least find a servant to do so.
Carmella is still shaking her head to clear it as another Lannister goes down. This time, however, there’s actually a wince of sympathy as she watches Reyna deliver the blow. “Reyna!” The cry is useless, of course, but Carmella can’t help but utter it. “What by the Seven is going *on* here?” She sees it happen, but she doesn’t quite comprehend it.
“Oh gods…” gasps Reyna, hands flying to her mouth as the force of her action pulls her off balance. She falls to her knees, staring in horror at the fallen Lannisters. “What have I done? He was right. He was right about everything…” and she buries her face in her hands.
“By the Seven…” Elanna can only breathe out as she bears witness to the next chapter in this disaster. What rumors will fly in the morning! Then upon witnessing Reyna’s distress, she flies from Harold’s side to kneel beside her friend, moving to wrap her arms around her, if the Rowan widow allows it, “Ren…Ren…” she murmurs softly, “Come..come home with me. I will keep you safe. It was too soon. Come…”
Clearly, Jaesin Lannister is done here. The world has gone mad all around him and it is evident, by the confusion in his eyes, that he understands none of it. Yet neither is he some unblooded whelp to lash out in this state. Summoning whatever shreds of gravity are left to him, the knight straightens painfully.
“Kenning, see that my brother is treated,” the elder Lannister tells his bannerman. His eyes narrow suspiciously as they briefly follow Elanna and Reyna, but he says no more; his jaw clamps shut and the golden knight staggers away from all of them. Out of this eighth hell, out of the Dragonkings’ fortress, and quite possibly beyond.
“I should just run to the brothel straight away,” Reyna says dazedly, rising slowly to her feet and looking at Elanna with bewildered eyes. “Ser Jonn’s done me a favor, really. I’m a whore, just like Errol said I was. He’s dead because of me. And look at poor Jonn! And Jaesin! Who will be next, Ella? Maybe I should wait and try to melt Ser Dagur? Or dear Ser Harold there? Pity Bryce Caron’s run off with his cousin; I could have had him, too! You shouldn’t take me to the manse, Ella; I’d have a go at your brother.” And she begins to laugh unhingedly.
Harold nods to Jaesin’s words before their meaning fully registers. Pursed lips, an odd precursor, proceeds the aforementioned bellow, “Summon a maester at once! Bloody hell, summon the lot of them! And an escort for all of the ladies!”
He crosses to the fallen Jonn, eyes ensuring first that the dagger is no longer in hand, and then and only then that the man is still breathing.
“I’m fucking blind,” he mutters.
It couldn’t be much more obvious that Irena has absolutely no idea what to do with the injured Lannister, as she watches him nervously, occasionally glancing towards the doorway and fidgeting. “It can’t take too long for a maester to get here, can it. Surely he can’t be that injured…” She’s speaking mostly to herself though. She looks relieved by Jonn’s statement. Her first reaction is to ask, in complete seriousness, “Are your eyes open?”
“No..no, honey,” Elanna utters urgently, trying to placate her friend with both word and touch, “Think not like that! You cannot believe that bastards words.” She looks across at Jonn, her eyes narrowing, gaze darkening, “You cannot trust them. You have your little darlings to look after…think of them!”
The world is clearer now but Carmella’s still feeling a great deal of confusion as she looks around the hall. She looks to where Jonn is crumpled on the ground, but the large amount of blood has her near gagging and she looks away, only to be confronted by Reyna’s outburst. Her jaw drops open and all she can do is stare at her friend as she breaks down in front of them all. Cheeks that had been flushed with an unnatural fever pale now and she’s frozen where she stands, uncertain just what she should be doing, if anything.
“They left for Highgarden yesterday,” Reyna says dully, shaking her head. “I won’t have them there in this city where shit is gilded and passed as gold.”
Harold kneels now beside Jonn. “Ser Jonn, you are bleeding from your head. Stay still and a maester shall be here for you shortly. Tis just the ground and blood before your eyes.”
Yet another knight into the fray; it is no dashing lion who enters this time but the man they call the Iron Serpent. He is glancing over his shoulder into the yard outside where Jaesin had vanished, a frown creasing his forehead. Then he turns, takes in the tableau before him—and halts.
“Well, now,” he murmurs bemusedly.
In a surprising show of force, Jonn’s arm snakes out toward Harold. “Could’ve killed them both,” he informs the other knight before he goes slack again. His arm never makes its target; it falls limp at his side far before that.
“Yesterday…” Elanna seems surprised at Reyna’s reply, and her eyes are drawn to the door. A groan and an utterance decidedly unladylike beneath her breath.
“Oh just…brilliant,” she growls in surprising echo of her sibling, the Stormbreaker…just on a lesser scale, before jerking her head around to witness Jonn’s thrashing into unconsciousness.
A frown, “What the seven hells possessed him?”
Irena glances once more towards the door, muttering under her breath, “How long does it take to find a maester, surely they are not all abed…”
She jumps started at Jonn’s outburst, needing a few deep breaths to get back any semblance of calm. It’s not the best one, as her eyes are two wide and her movements quick and jerky, but it’s a rather good attempt. “This is not normal… even for Ser Jonn.”
“How opportune!” Reyna cries, freeing herself from Elanna in the other woman’s distraction and looking across the hall at Dagur. “Speak a demon’s name and in he comes… come avail yourself of the Whore of Highgarden!”
In a single movement, her eyes unfocused and seemingly insane, the polite, mannerly daughter of Tyrell whips the shapeless gown over her head and away…to stand before all assembled as naked as the day she was born, with only an unraveling braid for decency.
The maesters finally make their appearance, a mismatched pair—one old, one who appears to be barely shaving. They push past the crowd that has gathered at the hall’s main entrance and pull up short, caught by surprise by the scene before them.
Harold starts at the last gasp of the fallen man. He shakes his head rising, and calls out. “Over here!” And then he too is pulled up short.
Carmella just ... stares as she watches the events unfold. She has to rub her eyes a couple times to make sure she’s not dreaming this but no, there’s a naked woman still here in the hall, free for everyone to see. “Sweet Maiden and Mother,” she gasps, reaching for the chair again. Eyes wide, she looks to Elanna and even takes a short step away from the table. To do what is uncertainly and with the hesitation in her steps it seems she’s not quite sure herself.
“But then Ser Jonn is hardly normal himself,” points out the Iron Serpent reasonably behind Irena as he picks his way through the extravagant ruin of the hall—women, wine and tables all in equal disarray.
Only to be brought up short as Reyna calls out.
He turns—and pauses, at an utter loss for once, mouth agape. For a long, long moment, he merely stares at her blankly. Then:
“Fuck’s sake,” he mutters, seeming to shake himself awake. He stalks across the hall, pulling his long cloak free of its clasp.
“That is true, but…” Reyna’s disrobement seems to prove the point that has yet to make it out of Irena’s mouth, as she continues rather weekly, “Tonight has been most odd.” If she notices the knight is more than likely no longer paying attention, she doesn’t seem to care, the situation around her having rendered her into open mouthed shock.
Elanna gasps aloud and stumbles forward to prevent Reyna’s action, but too late. Her eyes widen upon the approaching form of Dagur, “Oh, Ren…” her eyes are awash with unshed tears for the plight of her friend. As she witnesses the removal of his cloak, her expression clears into one of gratitude as she tries to gather up the folds of the dress that has come to a rest at her feet from where Reyna tossed it.
It seems poor Reyna’s mind has gone as vacant as her eyes. Her laughter is nothing but unhinged as she holds out white arms to Dagur, the dark bruised prints of fingers marring the lily flesh. Indeed, she is marked everywhere on her arms and torso, as one who has been very badly treated.
The older maester recovers first from his shock, and responds to Harold’s call, hobbling across the hall. The young maester, however, remains in gap-mouthed awe, unmoving.
Harold manages to close his own mouth before any flies take residence, and informs the approaching maester, “He has hurt his head with a fall, and ...” He pauses. “And there seems to be a touch of madness about. Perhaps a poison?”
Septa Mayre, nearly forgotten as she watched in stunned silence manages to gather herself together enough to walk over to Irena and close the young woman’s mouth by pushing up her chin.
The old man unwinds a linen bandage from a leather pack, and calls over his shoulder, “Pyter, please hand me the bag with the vapors and salts. Pyter?” It is only then that the maester notes he is alone. Cursing, “By tits and teeth, Maester Pyster, to your blasted duty!”
The younger maester, a beet in the flesh hurries to heed the call.
Harold steps back allowing the men to work their aid, his head shaking in reflexive disbelief.
Forward the ironman walks into Reyna’s embrace—only to wind his cloak around her, swiftly and with ruthless firmness, pinioning her arms. “What…” he begins, only to shake his head, glance over his shoulder at the prone Lannister, then shake his head again.
“What,” he tries for the second time, speaking to Elanna over the Rowan noblewoman, “...happened here?”
“Thank you,” Elanna utters in soft thanks to the Iron Serpent, then frowns.
“That explanation…” a pause, “That explanation would take a little longer. Jonn drugged us with..something then..” a shake of her head, “Reyna could not cope. I need to get her home, to Baratheon. I will have our maester care for her.” She eyes the Saltcliffe knight imploringly for perhaps the first time ever, “But she has become insensible.”
The cloak’s embrace, the brisk efficiency with which Dagur wraps her in it, and his matter-of-fact reaction all combine to break through Reyna’s madness. She sags against the Iron Serpent, sobbing helplessly as a child.
At some other time Carmella might have laughed at the red-faced maester, but today she simply glares in his direction, as if he was also at fault for what happened to Reyna. There’s some faint relief as Reyna is wrapped in the cloak, but it’s a little kindness compared to everything else that has gone on tonight.
A passing servant is moving with steps slowed, eyes on Reyna and that’s enough to spur Carmella to some action. Her hand snaps out and she grabs at his arm and simply holds it, as if wondering just what to do with him. At least it pulls his eyes away from her friend. Spying the remaining petals on the table and floor she waves her free hand towards them. “See that all of these are cleaned up and disposed of so that no one else can get their hands on them. And for Seven’s sake, don’t let anyone smell them!”
The smelling salts bring the Lannister awake again.
“My wife’s got a tighter grip,” he nonsensically informs the young maester before breaking out into a fit of giggles. The maester shuts his eyes tight for a moment and mechanically resumes his work.
Harold settles into his role as a stony-faced sentry. He breaks character only to murmur, “We should remove him from the hall as soon as possible. Can he be moved?”
Septa Mayre announces, just to be sure that someone in the room is aware, “It is late, and if no one has any issue with it, we will be returning to the Marbrand apartments.” She does not seem to care much about replies though, as she is already hurrying her charge towards the door.
Irena’s eyes stay on the rest of the room, rather than the path in front of her, but she offers no focal argument, now that others more able to handle that situation are here.
Glancing down at Reyna as she leans against him, the ironman mutters under his breath; whatever it may be, it sounds distinctly unpleasant. Then, he nods to Elanna: “Come.” And he sounds thoroughly disgusted, whether at Jonn, Reyna or the situation he finds himself in is difficult to say.
Stooping, he slips an arm behind the sobbing woman’s knees and lifts her as easily as one might a child. Without waiting to see if the Baratheon noblewoman is following, he turns and strides towards the hall’s entrance; on the way, he catches Harold’s eye and shrugs.
Elanna clutches Reyna’s dress to her as she follows Dagur mutely to the door, sparing Carmella and Harold both an uncertain glance. Not a whit of sympathy does she cast toward the unconscious Lannister scion.
“He only hit his head on the wall. A mild concussion, nothing more,” the old maester says, rubbing his eyes. He bends down, squinting, and looks hard at the Lannister. “It was a good mummer’s show though. Lift him to his feet,” he says with a wave of his toward Harold.
Suddenly, the ironman stops and drops Reyna unceremoniously on her rump. Running over the to prone Lannister, he kicks him in the crotch, giggles, and dives through the nearest window.
It is a slight miracle that Irena makes it to the door, as the only thing really keeping her moving forward is her Septa’s strength and her own attachment to the arm the older has a death grip on. The only thing that marks the manners long engrained on the young lady is a stumble when she attempts to curtsy while still being dragged forward. Otherwise she continues to stare the entire way out the door.
Carmella’s look to Elanna is a sympathetic one as she watches them leave the hall. There is no septa to drag her away and for a moment she looks as if she’s lost. The servant has returned with a small sack to sweep the petals into. Carmella watches him for a moment before she decides he’s doing well enough to be trusted with the task. With a nod to him she turns and starts to head out of the hall. She pauses and looks over at Jonn on the floor but can’t seem to muster up much sympathy for his current state. She looks to the maester and asks, “Is that going to leave much of a scar?”
Harold answers the shrug with a shake, and at the maester’s instruction bends, grabbing Jonn under his arms and lifting him bodily to his feet.
“On his mind,” the old maester asks of Carmella with a dry cackle, “or on his forehead?”
Carmella studies Jonn for a moment. “I think his mind is scarred enough,” she says, looking up innocently at the maester. “But no, I mean his forehead.” What’s the look in her eyes, it is ... hope?
The maester shrugs, “No idea. There’s a lot of blood to shed up there, and you don’t need a deep cut to get it.”
He turns his head to look at the slumping Lannister, “But if what I heard it true, and he jumped at the wall…” he pauses, coughs politely, and continues, “...then his forehead’s the least of his worries.”
Harold barks. “Enough. We leave now.” He gestures to the door. “All together.”
Carmella looks at the Lannister knight one last time, anger now in her eyes as she looks as if she might spit. Thankfully, Jonn is spared that as she instead looks back at the maester. “Good.” With her back straight and her chin lifted she strides out of the hall and back to her own apartments, not sparing a look back.
The maester gives Harold an arch look but continues toward the door all the same.