The sky above is a brilliant blue, and the warmth is a lovers kiss against the skin. A soft breeze is gentle in its caress, causing the Blackbolt’s cloak to ripple slightly, in his stance amongst the fruit orchard. Not so very far from him resides a tall muscular destrier, taking pleasure from Ser Doran’s choice place of rest, all black he is and lathered up from a hard ride. He munches seemingly unconcerned on a group of rotting pears.
Doran himself has chosen a large apple, and he takes a large bite that causes his cheeks to bulge. Doran manages to take the bite in stride, keeping his mouth closed as best as he can as he tries to grind the fruit to induce swallowing.
As she enters the inner yard, Lanei throws, again, her cloak to the back. My, isn’t it warm in King’s Landing? Not as Dorne, of course, but, still, she has found out that, certainly, weather is here warmer than expected. Well, this is a good thing, for she has no garments fitting to face cold days, but a furry cloak and a couple of gowns… she guesses. In fact, the dornish lady has not cared a lot to unpack, so that she is not sure of what she will have at hand or not.
The Fowlers’ heiress stops by the entrance and looks at the sky. Lunch time draws near, indeed, and she cannot help but wonder if the meal they will be served would be as good as the one they were offered last night. Surely not, that was Viserys’ feast but she bets she will eat, today, with a better appetite. And, with these pragmatical thoughts, Lanei resumes her way—and her eyes fall upon Ser Doran Dondarrion’s figure. Rising a hand to him, in greeting, she approaches the knight. “Good appetite, ser!.”
A flush of crimson takes Doran’s face, and he offers a weak smile when he manages to swallow the bits of apple he had been chewing. “My lady.” He manages, straightening himself to give his formal courtesy. “Enjoying a walk?” He inquires, his left hand reaching up to the nearby apple tree and plucking one from the branch. “You’re blessed with enjoying King’s Landing in the summer.” He explains as he offers the plucked apple to Lanei.
To his own apple he takes another bite as he glances back to his stallion, making certain that Storm is still docile from his long run. This bite is much smaller than the last, and he chews it with as much elegance as a proper born knight could afford.
“Enjoying… a short excursion, I would daresay, ser” she answers, and even if the lady nods, she shakes a hand to decline the offered apple. “I thank you, but, if I accepted that apple, my appetite would get ruined, and I do wish to join my companions, so we will take our meal together.” Looking at her back, toward the outer yard, Lanei shrugs, faintly, “I went to explore the Keep, what it took me not long. Well, at least to explore the yards. With time, surely, I will know of the buildings around.”
Then, sighing, she continues, “We have been told that, for now, we are not allowed to leave this place, so, I am afraid that we will need to wait for that little riding you invited me.” Lanei points out the couple of Gold Cloaks at her back. “And even to walk around the Red Keep, we need to be escorted by them. For our safety, we were told.”
Doran nods as if understanding the Gold Cloak protection, he turns on his heels and begins walking back towards Storm. “I trust that now that we’re in King’s Landing the courtesy from other nobility has strengthened?” Doran offers the apple previously declined by Lanei, and Storm raises his head to accept it greedily. Soon the Blackbolt’s leathern glove is covered in thick gobs of phlegm from the lathered stallion.
“I would think now that you are at court, most knights will remember their vows.” He states, but it doesn’t seem he is entirely convinced himself. Doran rubs the excess slime off his hand on one of the pear trees, his face failing to betray any emotion in regards to the equine’s gift to his master.
Lanei’s eyes follow the Blackbolt’s hand as he feeds his horse, now her attention being drawn by the stallion. “At least, one of the ladies was kind to me, and to Liane” she says, distractedly, and reaches out her left hand which wrist is, still, bandaged- to pat the horse’s head. “And this is a wonderful mount, ser. I wish I had my mare here, but…” But she was left in Sunspear. Then, realizing her previous words, she starts laughing.
“Haven’t you spoken to your sister, lady Carmella, recently? We introduced each other, last night. And, indeed, she has proven to be kind and gentle, despite her youth, as her elder brother is. I think we will get along, if she stays in the city.”
“She has a private room in the royal apartments.” Doran replies in regards to his sisters lodgings. His green eyes turn to Lanei, and he offers a weak unconvincing smile. “She has always been fascinated with our mother’s land.” He allows his shoulders to lift up in a gentle shrug. “I figured you had much in common in regards to needlework.”
A true smile flashes across the Blackbolt’s face. His eyes seeming to alight with a chartreuse mirth. It is now that he seems to take the time to examine the garb and appearance of the Fowler before him. “I am glad to see you again, my lady.” Ser Doran seems ready to dispense courtesy, and he’ll keep his true smile long after he speaks.
“Oh, I know. She told me that your lord father hosted the King and his knights before…” a little pause there, “before the war, and in retribution, he—the king ֖ offered your family his hospitality. But” the dornish lady laughs, softly, “I think that we have in common more than our… love for needlework. To start, lady Carmella likes to launch questions, even about Dorne, and, in this, we are alike. I do like asking too, and to know of new peoples and lands.” However, Lanei does not just because she is forced to know of the enemy’s customs being a prisoner.
Patting again Storm’s head, which seems to like enjoying Lanei’s caresses, she nods again. “You look… well, my good ser, better than you did there at the ship. More… relaxed. It is good to be back home… even if King’s Landing isn’t your home, but, still, here you have your friends and family, or a part of them.”
Two golden specimens, one a man grown and the other considerably younger, emerge from the Red Keep’s inner halls and tunnels. The second appears rather serious, a light frown dusting his otherwise fair features; while the first is tall and broad of shoulder, and laughter is in his eyes and all about him.
“Come, Mathin,” says the first to the second, “there’s no need to be such a bore.”
“Jonn,” the other says nervously, “Prince Aemon…”
“Don’t give me that, boy,” says Jonn, shaking his head, “You are a lion, not a dragon!”
Irena makes her way into the inner yard. Her path is one that would take her to the stand of fruit trees near the Tower of the Hand, but she pausing, having spotted Doran for the second time today. Her pause is brief though, but the one when she spots the Lannisters is longer, and even though she probably wasn’t noticed in the large yard, she curtsies politely.
“Relaxed?” Doran inquires, his brow lifting as he considers it. “Yes, I suppose I am.” The Blackbolt removes his gaze from Lanei and focuses now on the nape of Storm’s neck, running his hands along the muscles of the behemoth warhorse. “I think amongst most knights it’s easier to journey on horse rather than boa—” Doran’s soft voice is silenced as he catches Jonn’s voice on the wind, his brow suddenly furrowing considerably.
The Blackbolt looks over the large destrier to see the form of Jonn and someone else, and an audible sigh escapes his lips. “Why do the Seven seek to torment me with that man?” His voice is quiet, but it is brooding with contempt.
Young Mathin sees Irena first, and begins to bow to her, sinking to his knee. But that is stopped soon enough, as Jonn reaches out and gives him a firm clout on the ear. “We don’t bow to family, fool,” he says, shaking his head and hauling to the boy to his feet.
“I am sorry, Irena,” he says then, making his way over to her, embarrassed Mathin in his wake. “He’s spent too much time around that knight of his.”
As soon as the incoming voices are heard, Lanei’s eyes move fast to the corner, just to meet that, as she guessed—feared - Jonn Lannister has enter the yard. Offering him no more than a brief glance, the dornish lady turns back to Doran and his stallion, and as she does, she notices a young lady approaching them… or not, for she halted her paces. Yet, Irena is offered a polite nod, but Lanei will turn her attention back to the Blackbolt.
“I might ask them the same… but I will reserve my questions to the Gods for more important and pressing matters than this one. Now, you were saying?” she frowns, as if trying to remember. “Ah, yes, knights and horses. Well, do not think ever for a moment that I would not have liked to ride, instead sailing. Dust and all, I would have welcomed the roads.”
Mathin seems to have noticed the way the other two in the courtyard look upon his brother, and rage boils in his twelve year old eyes. But he blinks, and it is gone, and he follows his brother’s longer strides towards the Marbrand cousin.
With a shake of her head at Jonn, Irena points out, “I did curtsy first after all.” But the rules for someone of Irena’s rank are slightly diffrent. Her smile is bright and friendly. The reactions of the other group in the yard to Jonn are noted, although her reaction does not show as clearly on her face as it does on her younger cousin’s, passing as only a brief frown in their direction.
Doran nods his head, seeming to dismiss Jonn for the moment as his unconvincing smile spreads across his face. “The road, however, is long from Dorne. Not to mention unsafe.” The Blackbolt takes in Lanei’s face as he continues, still offering the false smile. “I argued for sometime with the Lord Dondarrion, it’s apparent that there are some in Dorne who do not know the war is over. He wished me to stay in Blackhaven until I at least quelled a group of bandits that took up sword when Sunspear fell, they were ransacking hamlets in the marches.”
“He’ll try to marry you like as not,” is Black Jonn’s laughing response.
A blushing Mathin comes to join them, “No, I… would never.”
“What was that, Mat?” says Jonn, with a wink at Irena. “Cat got your tongue, boy?”
“Shutup, JJ,” Mathin mutters.
One of the hazards of a pale complexion is how quickly it is to show any sort of blush, even if as just a hint of rose across Irena’s cheeks. Her attempt at changing the subject is rather transparent and comes after a slight pause, “I was not expecting to run into the two of you here, although I suppose I did know you must’ve been in the city.” It’s actually much more odd that Irena is in King’s Landing, than the Lannisters.
Unsafe? Perhaps roads are, for them, considering they are filled of outlaws, those that escaped the invaders’ spider web and roam, wildly, around the mountains. But for dornishmen? Hardly they would curse their kinsmen, should they attack the westerosi troops. If only she had had a chance to run away! Lanei is sure that she would have managed well enough to wander Skyreach’s mountains unnoticed, used the lady as she is to explore them since she was a child.
Doran’s next topic is met with a smile, yet filled with pride. “I do not know if my lady mother got the raven that Prince Marence sent to her or not; and I have no clue of what is going there, or at Kingsgrave, but be certain that they will not surrender their seats… that easy. And the Seven know that both places are really hard to take over - if you meant them. For outlaws do certainly know that the war is… over.”
Mathin has busied himself—by nodding to Jonn and Irena, and at the same time pitching his ears to hear what Doran and Lanei might be saying.
“I imagine Mathin will be here for quite a while,” says the elder brother to Irena. “He is The Dragonknight’s squire. I will remain until I am certain he is upon the right path.”
“Proud knees do not bend.” The Blackbolt’s voice is ominous, his eyes growing distant as he considers the ‘outlaws’ still left in Dorne. It seems the consideration does not last long, however, for he once again turns his eyes to focus on the Lady Lanei, offering him still one of his disarming smiles. “I just hope the King’s peace is found soon, for I prefer when they considered me a tourney knight. The blood is the most horrible aspect of the title ‘Ser’.” Doran clears his throat, dismissing talk of the war once again.
“I have been working on procuring a ride for us, Lady Lanei.” The change of subject is clumsy and uncomfortable, but Doran seems to manage as he spares a glance once again to the Lannisters. “I am not certain how long my request will take, but I will eventually get us a chance to venture outside the Red Keep. The Iron Throne does seem to express concern for your safety as a chief concern, rather than my loyalty.”
Irena cannot help but seem amused by the second part of that statement, although it is the first part that earns a real reply; a nod and a smile tempered with, “But I am not be sure how long /I/ will be here, as my grandfather’s whim can take me from the city as easily as it brought me here in the first place.”
Lanei bites her low lips and looks down at her hands, starting playing with her rings or figuring out she’s busy with them, removing and putting them on their fingers, as if checking. “Proud knees do bend, Ser Doran. Yesterday you witnessed it… again, if you missed the moment in Sunspear. But wills do not. As for tourneys” she shrugs, stilling looking at the rings, “many good knights have been—” Lanei stops on time, “have passed away. Still, I do trust that some of them remain, enough to attend a tournament.”
His next words make the lady rise her head, though. “As I told, you… you are not allowed to leave the Red Keep. I am afraid I cannot go riding with you, Ser Doran. But… so long as my companions aren’t allowed to leave as well, I will not, and stay within these walls. Surely you will understand.”
“Well,” says Jonn, looking at Mathin who has just whispering something into his ear. He frowns. Darkly. “He does have a great many whims, for such an old codger, that much is certain.”
“It’s been trouble trying to gain permission to lead one of the hostages outside the protective walls of Red Keep.” Doran’s voice is sullen and quiet, and he begins to move around the horse, adjusting the destrier’s cinch. “I should return to the stables. I’d like Tarell to not miss his evening meal because he had to brush down Storm.”
With a sudden swift movement, and with a grace only the most skilled of knights could muster, Doran mounts the massive stallion. “Perhaps you would have your evening meal with me, Lady Lanei. That is if you do not deem it improper?”
Irena nods slightly before saying, “I have found that out through experience, but I must humor him. I am glad that I was able to come here though, even if it is not exactly the easiest time to be here.” Her eyes dart briefly towards the knight and the hostage, but her comment is restrained on that point.
“Oh,” says Mathin, stepping up as Jonn’s attention wanders back towards the Knight and the hostage. “It’s not so bad as all that, surely? The smallfolk are always throwing fruit at someone or other. But the…” and then he pauses, realizing what he was about to say, “but the other stuff, I’ve never seen that before.” He recovers well.
“Pardon me,” Jonn murmurs, stepping away from Irena and his young brother with a nod, moving purposefully toward the Dondarrion knight.
He does not accost either of them… yet.
“I see you do not understand, my lord of Dondarrion” Lanei ventures. But the smile has left her lips and a frown graces the lady’s brow. “Perhaps, in the future, we will have time to speak about” she adds, looking up at the rider and pacing backwards to make him room.
“Aye, I should be going as well. As said, I do not wish to miss today’s lunch” the first hostages will have. Surely they will have a moment to speak, too, quietly, about their new… circumstances. “As for what I deem improper or not, I think your people would care about more than I would ever do. So, I will accept your invitation, ser. Will your sister be there, too? Although, thinking on the meeting… perhaps you would like to visit us, in our quarters?” She pauses. “Have a good day, ser Doran”. And, turning on her heals, Lanei Fowler walks away, searching for the Tower where, now, she is forced to dwell on.
Irena shakes her head and smiles at Mathin, admitting, “Of there have been some parts of being here that I have enjoyed, so I cannot say it’s been bad at all.” She nods politely as Jonn as he leaves, before turning her attention back to the younger Lannister.
“Which parts?” inquires Mathin, seemingly very interested in what his older cousin has to say. He does move, surreptitiously, to block her view of wherever his elder brother is going. It is not a conscious thought—but merely a habit from someone who has lived his whole life thus.
Doran Dondarrion offers a weak smile to the passing Fowler. “I will call upon you before too long, my lady.” His voice trails after her, and the call will send Storm into a restless side pacing. The Blackbolt turns down to the horse and runs his fingers through the mane. He turns the horse, and sparing Jonn a single glance, he gives the destrier his head, and storms off towards the stable at break neck speed.
The elder Lannister is beset by helpless laughter.
“Did you see, Mathin?” he calls out, turning toward his younger brother. “Dickless Doran still fears Black Jonn!” But he can say no more; for laughter fills his lungs once more, and lasts a good deal longer this time.
Mathin’s face, if faces could do such a thing, looks as though it would like to slide from his bones and slink away like a snake into the weeds.
“Nevermind him, coz,” the 12 year old mutters to Irena, by way of apology, “he’s just… excited. Sometimes he just can’t control himself, you know?”
Dealing with a certain cousin sometimes requires a great deal of selective viewing on Irena’s part, but she really can’t ignore his statement, at least not very gracefully. She nods after a moment, saying in reply, “Everyone who deals with him, comes to realize that. I would not still not be on good terms with him if I was truly bothered by it.” The reply to the original question is lost for a moment, as Irena attempts to gather her thoughts back together again, after they had been scattered so thoroughly.
And so Jonn Lannister saunters back up to his brother and his cousin. “Well, they do tend to disperse when they see me,” he notes to both of them, light and gay in his posture and attitude. He laughs softly again and asks Irena, “Has your grandfather provided you with lodgings in the city, or did his whim not extend that far?”
Irena has to look around for a moment before spotting and waving a hand in the general direction of the Guest Tower, “I have apartments in the Guest Tower.” She adds after a moment with a smile having recovered from Jonn’s earlier ‘outburst’, “It’s not as if he could send me somewhere with no place to stay at all.”
“Apartments? Guest Tower?” says Jonn loudly, incredulity everywhere in his voice and actions. “When we have an entire house in the city, Irena?”
He frowns and looks at Mathin. “Is she pulling my leg, bro?”
Irena definitely does not appear to be joking, “That I would have rattled around in, with no one else there. It takes time to prepare such places anyway, and I was sent here so suddenly…” A Marbrand cousin also probably does not rate the preparation of such a place all by her lonesome.