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The setting sun is brilliant in the west, casting the Red Keep in sultry hues of purple, red and gold. In the Tyrell rooms, Reyna Tyrell sits in her window seat with that rare light framing her body.
Tywell and Andrys Rowan, the lady’s sons, are having their dinner with the septa at the table, and their chatter is a music that fills the room. From time to time their mother looks over to smile on them, a length of rose colored veiling framing her face with its embroidered fringe of twining vines and budding blooms. But always she looks back to the setting sun, and is silent.
Of course the visit is announced. Reyna will have her chance to refuse her guest if she sees fit. Kellyn has come with her usual guard and maids in tow - and she has come gloriously. Reyna may look out at the sunset, but the Lannister bride has arrayed herself in its colors. She is wine, garnet, ruby, and sunlight spun into a gown. Her hair? Set just so. Her chin? High. The blotchy marks of tears have been delicately tended to by her maids. While she is no great beauty of the land, she is in bloom tonight. As it is, she waits patiently outside the room - the better to enjoy a bit of peace and serenity. In addition to the adornments that go with Lannister wealth, though they are tempered so as not to be too showy, she bears a basket - similar to the one used to deliver a gift not so very long ago.
Reyna displays no such riches. She draws the veil across the left side of her face when her visitor is announced. “Tywell, dearest, and Andrys, Gysa is going to take you down to the yard to play for a while, I think. No, pet, leave Griffin here,” she adds, as Tywell reaches for the pup, leash in hand. He looks unhappy, but he allows himself to be herded past the Lannister lady without comment, and soon the room is silent.
As for Reyna… she cannot meet Kellyn’s gaze. She tosses the end of her veil over her shoulder so it will not be dislodged, and sinks into a curtsy fit for a king, from which she does not rise.
The small boys win a kind smile from Kellyn. She is a mother and wishes the boys no ill. She even reaches down to gently touch each of the boys’ heads in passing. The touch is almost a blessing with the tender looks she gives them.
Then they are gone and Kellyn enters the room proper. There seems to be no indication that she wishes Reyna to rise from that curtsey. Instead she is followed by one of the servants. In the servant’s arms? Another basket, though this one is larger, open and filled, filled and overflowing, with glorious roses potted somewhere within.
The wife passes the figure displayed so prettily at her feet and instead takes up the Rose’s place before the window. Her chin lifts so that she can feel the sun’s light playing over her features. The basket is lowered and opened so that Shepherd can poke his nose out, sniffing at the room before he catches his brother’s scent. He is free and bounding about before a moment can pass. Kellyn does not look at Reyna when she speaks. “It is too painful to look upon him now. A dog deserves to bring its people joy. He can certainly not do that for me any longer.”
“Griffin has given me pain since the moment my lady bestowed him upon me,” Reyna replies, remaining on her knees. She doesn’t watch the joyful reunion between the two littermates, or react to Griff’s joyful yipping. She remains with her head bowed, awaiting whatever will come.
The tone remains so calm, so blissfully serene. One might wonder if someone had invented valium at a very unusual pace. “You will not call me your lady or your anything. You and I are quite past that. I will have your tale now.” Kellyn’s hands fold primly behind her back, her attention only given to the glories outside, not the unsavory truths held within the room.
What would you have me say, lady?” Reyna’s voice is smallish, but steady. “I am a wanton who has lead your lord husband astray. If you would beat me, I would make no move to defend myself.”
Sarcasm would be too much energy. Instead her voice lilts, unerringly sweet and even - yet something, some burr of tension or unease spikes the words with a bitter spice. “Oh poor, poor Rose. So weak and apologetic now. She claims the strength to lead a man astray. Well then have the strength to own up to it.” The softness breaks and she turns, green eyes all fire as she looks down - most certainly down - at the creature at her feet. “Be a woman, rose. Are you nobility or are you just some soft and simpering thing tangled in your own head so much you think your cunny is the only thing of worth to anyone, the only way to gain any influence or vengeance. There is no questioning that much in you has been weak to the point of casting yourself in a fool’s humiliation. But now - now you drag me into the part of the lackwit, and I will have the whole of your sordid. LITTLE. Tale.”’
Reyna bears the insult without demure, without even moving. “He spoke to me as a lover would, and I kissed him to incite his lust, and had him among the linens. I gave him a key to my rooms. When his conscience pricked him, I let him go.”
She pauses for a moment to catch her breath. “When he accosted Lady Carmella Dondarrion, I called myself a whore to force him to fulfill his threat to throw me in the Blackwater should I do so in his hearing, and he did. It incited his lust once more, and I bid him come to me here, which he did. Once. No, twice. The second time was last night, when he came to order my complicity in a lie that would save his hide, and cast me nonetheless as a whore, but I am done with lies.”
There is a disgusted shake of the head as Kellyn continues to look down. “You are a woman, Rose. A woman and a noble and you do all of us a disservice in this.” A hand darts down to lift the other woman’s chin if she can, sharp and lacking in anything like demure. Not enough to hurt, but certainly forceful. “You spit in the face of every noble married woman in this city. You spit in the face of your dead husband should you hold yourself so low. A man speaks to you as a lover? That is what they do you nitwit!”
There is a smirk at the talk of him coming here last night. “Oh yes, you are so done with lies that you did not send word to me. When would you have given me your confessions, little rose with her petals fallen? He gave me his at last - at least he’d the balls to tell me himself.” She crouches then, looking fiercely at her face. “Did he hurt you? No… no, I do not wish you injury.” Just as quick she pulls back. “What kind of noblewoman are you?”
Oh, Jonn has left his mark. When Kellyn raises the lady’s face, the veil falls away to reveal the split lip, the black and swollen cheek, and tears spring to her eyes at the mere touch of of the other woman’s fingers. “Why should I come and tell you what I have done, when I have called you friend, lady? When every sweetness from your lips was a thorn in my heart?”
The serenity returns, her chestnut hair crowned in glory as the sunlight comes at just the right angle to bring all the fire in it to life. Kellyn can not help it that for all she may say she does not wish Reyna injury, she still smiles at the sight of the split lip and cheek. It is only human, and for all that she seeks (and falters at moments) grace in this conversation, the heart within can not help but want blood. “When you have called me friend. When every kindness was a thorn in my heart. The Rose of Highgarden winces under my thorns? What a charming little turn of phrase you have.” She rises then, standing above the plucked and discarded bloom.
“You can not win a battle for my sympathy, good little harlot. I have but given you kindnesses which bore unintended barbs. You ... you called me friend and fucked my husband,” she says with the most graceful frankness to be found. “Your little cruelties tore out a heart I swore I would never let be hurt again. I know my husband is not a good man yet. But I hope someday he will be. And you let that ill suited boy have you. Oh, Rose. I would be so much crueller if I thought you were the least bit worth it any longer.”
“I do not seek sympathy, lady,” Reyna replies, bending her head once more. “Nor forgiveness, nor yet understanding. I only hope that one day you will believe that whatever else I have done, I did not wish for your pain. I have been you. It is my everlasting shame that I have cast another in my place, and I will repent it every day of my life.”
“And what you do not seem to understand, Rose, is what a silly lie that is. It can amuse me that you say it, but it should embarass you. You should feel so full of shame that you do not understand it.” Kellyn gestures to the servant with the great bushel of roses to approach. She inclines her head as she looks down, a benevoloent smile shaping itself. “You had the power not to hurt me, Reyna. You simply had to behave as a noblewoman ought to. As any woman with respect for herself, with knowledge, ought to have done. You did not wish for my pain, you say. But silly girl, you knew you had a hand in causing it. My pain, my pride, the slightest thought knew they were sacrifices on this altar for the pleasure you say is a whore’s. And you knew it. You did not wish, but you did not care! Now.” She steps back, sitting on the window’s edge and crossing her legs. “I hear tell that the lack of worth that is my husband has not taken up some duel or another. I do not wish him dead. He can suffer at my hands much more than that and for far, far longer. And I hear there is some talk of threats.” She waves a hand dismissively.
“Getting a threat from Jonn is little more than his way of saying, “Oh, look, you still exist. I have no social skills so I will say something stupid now.” So. You’ve done my family and I quite enough pain, Rose. You will put your dogs ... well, not Griffin and Shepherd .. at bay.”
She makes an almost contented noise before going on. “And that does not mean there is peace between us. I rather mean to make your life even more unbearable than you yourself have made it. But I will not do anything that would tear up your family. The boys shall have the pups to enjoy. They will smile and DELIGHT in what -I- have given them. You can look at every smile and have it rip at your heart with guilt. And next month Damon will have a glorious birthday party, and I will expect the boys there. I have not decided yet if you will attend. Whatever amuses me on that day I imagine.”
“I have no power to stop what is already in motion. Almer has cast me off for this, and will not see me. Ser Dagur only tolerates me because he is a knight and is so sworn. I cannot do as you command.” Then she raises her face at last, the full damage of it revealed to the light. “You do not know Jonn well, if you think his threats idle. I have felt the kiss of his blade on my throat, and the force of his hand across my face.”
Slowly she rises, a smile spreading across her broken lips. “You cannot command my sons, lady. You cannot rule any aspect of my life at all. No one can hurt me worse than I have hurt myself, no one can cast me lower. Only the Seven, and I wear their penance upon me now. Get out, lady. I have heard you.”
“You have no power, no power, no power. You keep saying that, and every time it is just another of your lies. I do not say Jonn’s threats are idle. I say he wouldn’t trouble himself with words if he meant the deed,” Kellyn says with an airy nonchalance. There is a hearty chuckle as she hears the talk of hurting and the Seven. “Fine. I can not command you. I will request of you then, if any small part of the things you say as some strange attempt at penance are true - I bring you these roses. They are the finest in the city - and no barb beyond the norm, no poison, nothing to do you ill. If there is the slightest truth to your apology? I ask you wear one on your person upon each day. If you would give me any hint that you are sincere, that would be it. A way to bear the honesty you did not give me yourself.” The roses are set down and Kellyn regards the smile. “Such a pretty face. I do wish you better fortune in the days to come, my rose. And I do wish happiness for your sons. And I hope you will remember every moment you had with my husband upon each day.” There is a smile of her own, the serentiy gathering again. “Do have a pleasant evening.” The maid steps behind her, taking a place at Kellyn’s back as the Lannister makes her way out.
Reyna takes up one of the stems, and raises the bloom to her nose. “An inferior bloom, lady, but as you wish. It will please the septon.” Thus spoken, she twines the stem tightly about her wrist until the thorns bite into the skin, and raise beads of blood. “Just the penance they have laid upon me, and the means of it come now through you. Thank you, lady.”
With the rose adorning her, she moves to the door. “Now get out.”
The little entourage makes it ways off, a mix of nervous giggles from some of the maids and more at ease laughter from others. And through all of it? The happy frolicking of puppies at play with one another.
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