Blood of Dragons

The 'A Song of Ice and Fire' MUSH


The King’s Justice (and a Defiant Princess)
IC Date: Day 26 of Month 2, 167 AC
RL Date: October 09, 2015.
Participants: Ammena Piper, Aidan Dayne, Aisling Dayne, Arion Baratheon, Baelor Targaryen, Cleos Lefford, Elmer Crakehall, Elyana Mertyns, Elyse Meadows, Gelion Sunderland, Jonn Lannister, Orene Lefford, Orton Pryor, and Roland Hunter.
Locations: Red Keep: Throne Room

Summary: King Baelor holds court and demonstrates his approach to justice. During the proceedings, news reaches the King and the Hand that Princess Daena is missing from the Maidenvault.

The gathered court is dwarfed by the cavernous throne room, its dragon skulls staring down blindly at one and all. Men of the City Watch line the way to the Iron Throne, armor polished and golden cloaks pristine. Before the base of the monstrous seat are knights of the Kingsguard, led by the Dragonknight, Prince Aemon. Behind them, standing at the foot of the throne, is Prince Viserys the Hand, and standing to one side are the king’s small council. High above them on the perilous seat is the thin, white-clad figure of King Baelor. A septon’s crystal hangs from a chain about his neck, and on his brow is a crown of flowers.

Ser Orton stands to the right side of the gathered nobles, granting him a view over much of the crowd without the need to twist his head this way and that. His brilliant gold doublet is draped over with a thick, black cloak. His sword absent, as is proper for the Throne Room. For now, he holds his peace, awaiting those who would petition the King. A stonier face has never been seen.

The court has had time to grow used to the peculiar contrast that is the most pious king upon the warlike throne, but even so there are always those who look upon this sight with troubled frowns barely concealed upon their features. Others reserve such looks for another presence that remains bothersome; the members of the Dornish embassy, easily singled out by their colourful robes. Though one who stands with them does not share their way of dressing or their looks; Lady Aisling, formerly of house Ryswell but recently wedded into house Dayne. She watches the throne and the man upon it with an uneasy look upon her face.

Standing with the ladies in service to Princess Naerys, Lady Orene Lefford is the picture of courtly grace. In a gown of Lefford-blue velvet with gold embroidery, red-gold hair pulled back modestly in a netted snood, she stands with hands clasped in front of her. Her face is a perfectly-schooled, cool, neutral courtly mask.

Amongst the gallery of watching courtiers stands one Elyana Mertyns, attired for the day in a fine grey dress adorned with silver owls. It is patently her most luxuriant gown and yet, compared to the dresses of others at court, it is one that speaks clearly of the widow’s humble and unassuming nature.

She wears her hair tied up close against her scalp, and she cranes her thin, pale neck to gain a better sight of the young King on the Iron Throne. “It is truly him,” she whispers to the knight stood sentinel at her side. The man, her lord uncle’s loyal retainer, does not seem to share the woman’s awe. “It is truly him, in all his majesty,” Elyana sighs, biting her lip.

Only then does she fall to silence, eager to hear the business of the day.

The heir of Casterly Rock can be found amidst a group of westerlords.

Half-a-dozen knights and as many men-at-arms, arrayed as finely as they may be but with a somewhat antiquated air about their trailing, often faded, liveries, flank and attend a father and a son, a lord and an heir, an assemblage that looks as watery as its origin. The inevitable azure and verdant of House Sunderland is relieved mainly by the knightly retainers; here and there argent spider-crabs wriggle across girdles or glitter at throats; and the Sistermen seem to favour greys and browns, too, shades no doubt more practical than courtly, but oddly seemly in the lean days of the holy court.

Only upon the small affinity’s master, Lord Gelion, does gold bestow its passing touch, old gold, more green than red, some spun in gauze with craftsmanship that tells of Essos, but in the most part lumpen studs of dying, dull lambency. Brighter than these is the smile of the Lord of the Sisters, and the acuity in his glance, murky as ever, but humorous enough almost to belie his bended knee. The Sistermen have taken a fine position, however, to make show of their obedience, reverent as they are nearer the throne that aught else of the Vale, thus far; until the Lord of the Eyrie himself should sally to surpass them.

There are no ladies nor septas among the Sistermen, though it’s well noised that Lord Sunderland brought his wife, their daughter, and a bastard niece, of twice noble Vale blood but scandalous conception, to court also.

Elyse has quietly taken her place in the further rows, accompanied by her septa and maid. She dresses finely for court but with every inch of skin covered demurely and her long curls hidden up in a jeweled net as her usual style dictates. The trio watch silently, the young noblewoman’s eyes scanning the crowds.

The Hand looks up to the king, and Baelor gives a nod, and so the Hand in turn gestures to an officer of the Watch. “Bring them forth!” he commands, words faintly echoing in the huge space, and down at the end of the hall the great doors yawn open and several men and women are brought forward in chains: some look mean and ill-fed, born out of the squallor of Flea Bottom

The Hand looks up to the king, and Baelor gives a nod, and so the Hand in turn gestures to an officer of the Watch. “Bring them forth!” he commands, words faintly echoing in the huge space, and down at the end of the hall the great doors yawn open and several men and women are brought forward in chains: some look mean and ill-fed, born out of the squallor of Flea Bottom; others are somewhat wealthier by the look of them, though none seems to have spent a comfortable time in the king’s dungeons.

The first of them, a gaunt-faced woman, is dragged forward by a man of the Watch. The Master of Laws, Lord Ryger, speaks up then: “This woman, Tansy, is accused of having defied the king’s edict against prostitution. Who accuses her?” he asks, and the goldcloak with her says, “One of our own, m’lord. Says he caught her at her work in Pig Sty alley. The men, they run off, but he got ahold of her.”

“Do you have anything to say for yourself?” Lord Ryger bluntly asks.

“I-I never, m’lord. I screamed for help, I did, th-th-they attacked me! I’m an honest woman, selling pins, but—”

“Don’t believe her lies, m’lord!” the gold cloak says, interrupting her gruffly. “Skirts about her waist, a few coppers in her hands, she screamed because one of them hadn’t paid when he made off.” The woman immediately begins to protest, but Ryger tells her to fall silent, and turns to look up at the king. “Your Grace—”

“Thank you, Lord Ryger,” the king says in his reedy voice. “Goodwoman Tansy—do you go to the sept as the Seven-Pointed Star guides you to do?”

Arion lingers near the back, leaning heavily on his cane, a household knight at his shoulder. Quietly, he settles himself to observe the proceedings, a raised eyebrow his only reaction to the alleged prostitute being brough forth.

“Selling pins,” the heir of Casterly Rock grunts, eyes twinkling with mirth.

But at the King’s question, his expression darkens notably.

Elyana’s lips curl in distaste and there is little doubt to be had that she judges Tansy guilty. When the woman attempts to address the King, Elyana shakes her head in disapproval, scant believing one so low and villainous would dare speak to on so blessed. Yet for all her anger the widow remains silent, hands clasped idly by her chest.

The Meadows girl just shakes her head distastefully; guards and pin-seller and the whole ugly thing.

Gelion’s sidelong, vigilant observation skims from the septon-king’s latest mummery to the obeisant crowd. For an instant his wandering look catches a Valeman dwelling nigh to his own land, Ser Orton Pryor, and his smile becomes more definite. He murmurs something to his son, the squire Arnos Sunderland, who gulps, nods, and retreats quietly to approach the island Valeknight. But now the Lord of the Sisters’s eyes are back as firmly upon the touching scene as if such a being as Ser Orton has never existed.

As one who does not attend the sept, no matter what the Seven-Pointed Star says, Aisling seems rather indifferent to the matter. A sidelong glance is given to her husband, Ser Aidan, but then her eyes return to the end of the throne room. This time, however, they fall upon the Hand, a thoughful look on her face.

“Y-yes, m’lord—Your Grace,” Tansy corrects herself. “Every seventh day, with m-my little boy.”

“A son? That pleases the Mother,” the king says from on high. “Where is his father, goodwoman?”

“At that, Tansy flushes. “H-he… he’s dead, m—Your Grace. Dead of a pox.” The goldcloak scoffs at that—but a quelling look from the Hand makes him keep his mouth shut. Eyes turn to the king.

“He is in the Mother’s bosom now,” says Baelor. “I shall leave you in the custody of septas, who will help you cleanse your body and unburden your soul of your sins.” And with that, the case seems closed. The goldcloak’s jaw drops, but shuts again and he bows to the king and stiffly leads the woman away as she babbles her thanks.

And then the next case comes. An accused thief, with three different witnesses who saw him making off with a basket of fresh-baked bread.

Elyse just raises her eyebrows. Her hands fold neatly over her waist as she bows her head to the King’s merciful wisdom. The bread thief is met with a more curious look, however.

Orton’s monitoring of the proceedings is broken by a young man wearing the colors of the Sunderlands. Some words are whispered in the knight of Pebble’s ear. Orton’s face is a mask, yet the mask seems to grow harder at the boy’s words. He mutters something in return, then follows the boy slowly through the gathering towards the Sunderland entourage.

Upon arriving amidst the Sistermen, Orton mutters quietly to Lord Gelion, loud enough to be understood only by those within a pace or two of him.

Orton whispers to Gelion, “You ... me, ... ... ... ...”

“The King is merciful,” Elyana says, her eyes never quite leaving the woman Tansy until she leaves the hall. “The King is good. No soul is beyond saving.” She nods her head, her prior anger dissipating with the blessed writ of the King.

She glances back to Baelor and clasps her hands tighter. She is smiling; awed and inspired by his authority and his grace. She scans her eyes across the crowds around her to see whether her fellow courtiers share her joy.

They settle on Lord Sunderland nearby, surrounded as he is by a coterie of retainers. Her gaze lingers past the point of comfort on that oily mop of a man. Her interest intensifies when Ser Orton Pryor leans in to speak to him.

Elyse whispers to Orton.

Orene watches the proceedings impassively—almost boredly. She takes the opportunity to discreetly people-watch with quick side-long glances.

Again the king questions the man about his attendance at septs, and the man readily admits he does. And then adds, “It was for my children, Yer Grace. You can see their little ribs and they cry themselves to sleep every night. Why, I told my wife—”

“Liar!” the chief accuser, the baker who was robbed, protests. “Wat’s woman been dead three years, and they never were wed, Your Grace.” And then realizing he spoke up out of turn, he mutters a beg pardon.

“He don’t know nothing, Yer Grace. I talk to my Viola every day. She’s in heaven now, but I speak to her just the same.” And then he loudly sniffs, as if fighting back tears. There’s a guffaw from the court at that….

... but the king seems more moved. “You must not steal,” he says gently, “even if you and yours hunger. There is a reason for all things. Turn to the Seven, and they will feed you, body and soul.” And then he says to Lord Ryger, “My lord, see to it that this man be entered on the alms roll for the royal sept, so that he may recieve of our generosity.” Lord Ryger nods and with a whisper a scribe assisting him makes a note. The thief, too, is led away, babbling his thanks.

Elyse whispers to Gelion.

Gelion nods, casually, indeed absently, at first, when the younger, but hard-bitten looking Pryor knight is admitted to his side. His concentration appears fully applied to the pious farrago before them - until he veers slightly to one side, a hair’s breadth away from Ser Orton’s angle, aware with long-instilled wariness of an intense stare upon him. Taking in a fervid, indeed faintly deranged, looking female of a pious complexion in the colours of some far southern house, he shrugs just infinitesimally, before returning that caressing, hungry watchfulness to the king’s judgments again. And then, at last, he appears to recall his acquaintance, and murmurs close and private in Ser Orton’s ear.

Gelion whispers to Orton, “Ah, the ... ... majesty…fascinating…who ... ... model ... ... by ... ... I ...”

A few more cases follow, each quite similar in kind: theft, assault, fraud, and the like. Each and every one is gently dealt with, with many references to the Mother’s mercy, to the goodness of the Seven, to the need to follow the precepts of the Faith. With each case, the accused grow bolder in claiming piety and genuine need, and the king accepts them all. Some in the gathered court, used to this approach to criminal matters, simply take it in with blank faces. Some seem less pleased, however, none can deny it.

When the last criminal case is dealt with, the Master of Laws seats himself again and makes a whispered comment to the Grand Maester who sits beside him. At the same time, the Hand calls out, “His grace the king will now hear petitions from the court. Come before the Iron Throne if you have some need that the king may address.”

Elyana scowls at the whispering Valelords, then turns her attention back to the King. Again she cranes her neck, shaking her head at the bread thief, but again she is duly astonished by the edict of the septon-king. “A lesser man would have taken his hand,” she says to her guardian. “But Baelor puts coin in that hand instead. Seven bless him.”

Orton also faces forward, regarding the King and his judgements with a passive face. He carries on his subdued conversation.

Elyse leans in to her maid and mutters something about piety being all-important in life, and being glad she devotes herself to her frequent visits to the sept - encouraging the girl to come along more frequently. Her septa nods approvingly to the King’s verdicts, but the noblewoman herself looks less impressed at those a more dubious claim to religious sincerity.

Orton whispers to Gelion, “Ah, ... ... ... ... Widow ... ... Meadows ...”

You know how you can almost always hear your name being said in a crowded room? Elyse glances at Orton and then over to Elyana. Dark slender eyebrows raise.

Orene notes the whispering nobles and tries to catch Elyse’s gaze, arching one eyebrow ever so slightly in a silent query.

Lord Gelion has been some time risen now, since the beginning of proceedings, and not ram-rod straight either, but with an easy, lounging air. Now he stiffens, nods a brisk and temporary parting to the knight from Pebble, takes his son’s hand firmly, and with a dignified if just slightly rolling, marine gait, strolls up to the throne’s vast and ominous loftinous, his knights serried about him (the lesser soldiers left back with young Pryor). All eight of these (relatively in some cases) nobly born Sistermen bow low, and kneel in practised humility.

“Your Grace,” he calls, low but resonant, “the blessings of the Seven rain well upon your sessions and assizes. My father was Maron of House Sunderland, who served your father well, Aegon, Third of His Name, of noble memory. My brother served yours in the war of Dorne. But I, Gelion of House Sunderland, must crave where they toiled. I would ask a great boon of the Iron Throne.”

Elyse whispers to Orene.

Orton watches on, but with less passivity now. A side long glance is afforded to the men-at-arms about him.

“I thank you for the leal service of your house, Lord Gelion,” King Baelor says from his high seat. “Such things are never forgotten. In the Seven-Pointed Star it says that dutifulness is one of the great virtues, pleasing to all the Seven.” He smiles his wispy, vague smile, and seems satisfied to wait for the rest.

Viserys, on the other hand, is more willing to prompt. “What boon may that be?” Purple eyes look out shrewdly from beneath thick, beetled bows as he regards the Lord of the Three Sisters.

Elyse mutters something else to her maid, grey eyes rolling slightly. Her septa scowls at it and pinches the young noblewoman severely on the arm as punishment for whatever the remark is. Looking contrite, Elyse bows her head and lowers her eyes.

Now quite interested, Orene ceases her peoplewatching and observes the proceedings with rapt attention.

Lord Gelion acknowledges the king’s graciousness with an almost abashed further bow. “We did but as we have ever sworn, Your Grace, Lord Hand, since your mighty ancestor and ancestresses showed clemency to our isles, in the matter of the Sister-Queen’s brief turbulency. Gratitude ancient in name and sound do we owe to House Arryn, but it is ever the Crown for which we have lately learnt to bleed, and by which we still know ourselves nourished. Accordingly, I must admit I lay no light matter before you.”

Even this lord, generally regarded as a sly cynic, old in his task for his relative youth, appears to gulp in his task before he goes on. Proceed he does, though. The bright and severe gaze of Viserys, at least, is never long or wisely neglected.

“Your Grace, it is with sorrow that I confess there is still old and twisted belief abroad in my territories. Heresy, aye, and even, I fear, sorcery and witchcraft. Simple people, too simple, let the sludge of blasphemy harden in salted hearts…and by nursemaids, serving men, witches of the island copses and caverns, not even our nobility is quite free from taint. I ask, then, in the first place, for septons, aye, and maesters, as skilled as can be spared, to be sent to aid my smallfolk, aye, and even unto my bannermen, in their councils.”

He pauses, but from his tense, careful breathing it is crystal clear there is more to come. “Furthermore, Your Grace, it is my sorrowful duty to report that a noxious sorcerer, who died under my men’s questioning, mentioned his foul practices had their nursing place closer to here by far…in Crackclaw Point, no less. I ask your authority to go myself, furnished with my own men and whatever more the realm may fitly render, with some commission from the throne, to seek out and destroy whatever perverse teaching links my poor rocks to Your Grace’s leal shores.”

Elyse gasps in shock. Her eyes go wide and her hand flies to her lips. This is clearly not what the Reachmaid was expecting the lord of the Sunderlands to bring mention of.

Orton’s brow furrows. Whether with concern or scrutiny, it is difficult for one to say.

“Crackclaw Point?” Elyana clearly has no notion of what Lord Sunderland speaks, and she turns to glance at the people around her for guidance. She receives none. Once awed, now frightful at the talk of sorcery, the widow is at once anxious and in thrall to the words of the Valelord. Her guardian rests a hand upon her shoulder to settle her; a gesture she looks to be grateful to receive.

Dark brows arch slightly and restrained curiosity, but curiosity nevertheless, registers upon the pale features of Lady Aisling. Not to strange, perhaps, if one has given heed to the rumors surrounding the Northern lady, from talk of a peculiar interest in the subject of magic to the gossip that claims the King’s interest in her has to do with dreams that appear to have hinted at certain events before they occurred. The king, of course, appears to have attributed such (if indeed the gossip speaks truly) to the voice of the gods, perhaps he will look upon these claims of sorcery in a similar fashion?

Baelor on his throne seems troubled, and clutches at the crystal at his neck. “May the Crone’s light bring the foolish to wisdom, and may the Warrior guard those sore beset by false idols,” he murmurs. And then he looks—not to the small councillors, nor to the Hand, but to the High Septon. “Your High Holiness, are there septons here in the city who may make the journey when it is convenient, to help rid the Three Sisters of such a blight?”

And the High Septon allows that there are, and will see to the suitable preparation.

“As to maesters, we must ask the Citadel if there are suitable men,” Baelor then says to Gelion. “As to Crackclaw Point…”

“... As to that, Your Grace, we must consult with Ser Dermett Corbray,” says Prince Viserys, and Baelor nods slowly. “Yes, of course,” he says to his uncle, and then to Gelion he says, “But we will pray for your people, my lord, and those of Crackclaw Point, and hope that in faith will come relief from the wickedness of which you speak.”

Orton returns his face to its usual, stony state at the mention of Ser Dermett.

Save for the faint trace of a smile.

Elyse’s expression goes from shock to suspicion to dry amusement. It only takes the threat of a look from her septa for it to vanish.

Lord Gelion nods evenly as his first suggestion is granted, his second considered; but at the name of the young Warden is hissed forth by the more worldly of the dragons, his smile is broad, easy, and perilous. “The young raven and his gallant uncles. I am certain they will consider my men’s intelligence with all the due care, caution and prudence for which their house is so justly famed, Lord Hand.” There is scarcely an ironical half-inch in his latest bow.

But he is still not quite, yet, done. “Your Grace…you must forgive my far distant folk. They have scarce set eyes upon a dragon since Prince Jacaerys’s journeyings. My lands have a certain beauty and truth, all the same, all of their own. We should gladly welcome your own light, Your Grace, among our lesser lamps, if the capital could spare you so long.”

At the talk of a Corbray knight—apparently one of the King’s warriors—Elyana loses all comprehension of the discussion at hand. She glances around again to those within the viewing gallery, espying a dear friend with septa at her side.

Carefully, as to not distract those who are watching Lord Sunderland and the King, Elyana shifts to the side of Elyse Meadows. “My lady,” she smiles in greeting, gaze quickly drifting back to the throne.

Elyse murmurs back, “My lady Elyana. A pleasure to have you join me.” She gives a polite nod and then takes her voice to quieter levels.

Elyse whispers to Elyana, “... ... ... ... I wonder ... ... ...”

Elyana looks to Elyse in the corner of her eye, then shakes her head. She leans to whisper in her ear.

Elyana whispers to Elyse, “Ours is not ... motives ... our ... ... know not this ... knight ... if Lord Sunderland ... ... quarrel ... him then I am ... he ... ... make ... it ... ... and court.”

“I am needed here, Lord Sunderland,” Baelor replies with devout certainty, “but I am not the only one of my blood. I will pray on the matter as well.” Gazes turn to Viserys and Aemon, wondering if the king might decide to dispatch one of them in his stead. But with that, the king seems to feel he has enough to pray over. “May the Seven defend the Three Sisters from ill, Lord Gelion. You shall hear more soon, when the proper consultations have been made.” he says, pious as ever, bringing Sunderland’s petition before the king to a close.

Elyse whispers to Elyana, “... ...” She glances casually around the court, mostly looking at the entourage the Sunderland’s lord brought with him. “It ... ... I can ...”

Never let it be said that Lord Gelion is slow to grasp a hint, and his bow is smooth and elegant - if a little over-obsequious in its depth for these days - before he and his martial looking train process, formally and backwards, to their somewhat opportunistic place at the head of the court’s Valemen.

Cleos whispers to Orene.

Orene inclines her head slightly in acknowledgment to her cousin, face bearing the slighesf hint of a smile.

With that, the Hand then says to the king, “As His Holiness has been invoked, your grace, mayhaps it is a suitable time for the announcement?”

Baelor nods to his uncle then, and with that the Hand announces, “After much consideration, the king has determined that there is a need for another seat to be added to the small council. It is his desire that this seat be taken up by the High Septon, who shall now be a temporal councillor as well as a spiritual councillor.”

There are some stifled murmurs at this unprecedented thing—no High Septon has ever sat on a king’s small council. But Viserys presses on, saying, “His Holiness has accepted this seat, and prays he will be suitably guided by the Seven to assist His Grace in his wise rule of the realm.”

With that, servants come forward bearing a seat—exactly like that of the other small councillors—and place it down. The High Septon, flanked by members of the Most Devout, moves from where he stands and seats himself.

Cleos whispers to Orene.

Ammena looks over to the members of the devout as the septon moves to take his seat. She is watching with interest, her eyes move to the King and his councilors before they move around those gathered.

If there is any sort of murmur of disapproval from amongst the viewing public, Elyana does not add to it. She looks askance to Elyse at her side, then nods her head in approval. “It surprises me that no man of the Faith has yet been appointed to the council. The King is wise,” she remarks, “but not so proud as to heed no counsel on matters of the Faith.”

Elyse blinks. She seems surprised but -not- surprised all at the same time. She makes a polite curtsey as the High Septon takes his place, head demurely bowed. “It is not surprising in the least, my lady,” she replies.

Lord Gelion shoots somewhat wry looks at both his heir and the stalwart knight of Pebble, but it would seem even his bountiful supply of fine glozing has for the instant run dry.

Nodding a little as he listens to the announcement of the High Septon joining the small council, there’s a brief smile on Bryar’s features, as he glances around to see how the news is taken by the others nearby.

In the looming oak and iron doorway a gaggle of Goldcloak officers enter, swaggering. Behind them comes Ser Roland Hunter, still in the drab browns and blacks of a man about business. The scent of horses and bustling streets lingers on his person, but his swordbelt is empty of the customary longsword.

He slips through the murmuring crowd, a latecomer looking for a familiar face - until he draws abreast of the Meadows. Her companion goes unrecognized, but the Valeknight offers them both a nod. “Lady Else. What have I missed?”

It all happens so fast. She has not expected her plea to be heard this day, in public, yet before she realises what is happening her name is called.

Forward steps a dainty woman in a gown of grey, her hair tied up in a demure fashion. Whereas Lord Sunderland’s approach was all swagger and exuberance, encircled as he was by his liveried followers, this woman approaches alone with all the confidence of a green squire called to battle.

Before the small council, before the Hand, before the Iron Throne and the King seated upon it, the woman falls to her knees in due reverence. “You Grace, my name is Elyana Mertyns,” she calls out to the King in a meek voice that struggles to carry throughout the hall, “and I come to the city seeking spiritual guidance.”

That she should be called now, as the High Septon takes his new seat, is perhaps not so much of a coincidence.

Elyse smiles at the Hunter knight and gives him a polite nod. Her septa frowns, as septas are wont to do when single men saddle up to their charges. “Sunderland ... ... Crackclaw. Says ... ... afoot ... ... his ... ... ... to send septons ... Dermett is ... ... go ... ... rage ... ...” She murmurs more freely once Elyana moves to stand before the massive throne and its’ frail occupant.

“The widow you named,” Lord Gelion murmurs to Ser Orton, but now clearly enough to be overheard by most of those hard by. “Some kin by marriage to the Meadows girls, you said? She seems…commendably…enthusiastic.” His often gloomy eyes seem to glimmer now as he looks on sharply, evidently entirely reengaged with the court’s proceedings for all his own possible setback.

Cleos looks thoughtful for a moment, before letting out a very quiet burp. After that he just looks a little more relaxed.

As those goldcloaks saunter towards the Iron Throne—under the eyes of so many, the swagger they affected melts away from them and their pace picks up a little as Viserys’s gaze scrutinizes them—the king smiles down on Elyana. “Do you not have a septa, Lady Elyana?” Baelor asks, openly curious.

Orton whispers to Gelion, “Overly ... it ... ...”

Roland glances around the crowded room, shifting from one foot to another until he can spot Lord Gelion - conversing with Ser Orton. The young knight looks amused. “How curious. And who is the pious thing before the Iron Throne? I have seen her once or twice about the keep, yet never gotten her name.”

Then, caring not a wit for her septa, the Hunter leans very close and whispers in the maiden’s ear. “... ... the ... talking ... I ... ... ... missing ...”

Cleos leans forward to focus on the courtly proceedings.

Elyana does not yet stand, only lifting her gaze to the frail dragon upon his throne. “I d-do, Your Grace,” she says, nervously, before correcting herself. “Or I did once. Long ago b-before I was wed. My husband perished in Dorne fighting for your brother.”

All too aware of the Dornish gathering nearby, Elyana bows her head in respect. Her pale cheeks flush crimson yet she continues unabashed. “Septas chasten, septas scold. They remind us of our duty to lord and father but on matters of Faith they have no answers for a woman with a heavy heart.”

Elyse watches the Mertyns maid before the throne and murmurs back to Roland, “My once good sister, Elyana, returned to her house when my brother died in Dorne.” Elyana herself confirms much the same only leaving out that husband was Dandon Meadows. That information shared, Roland then provides a bit more news and she blinks. Eyes go wide and she turns to him, the Iron Throne entirely forgotten in delighted shock. “What. NO!” She clasps her hand over her mouth, realizing the last was perhaps too loud.

The Lord of the Sisters grins through the scraggling stubble on his cheeks and chin, and mutters in a warmer tone to the Valeknight beside him.

At her outburst, Orene turns to look to Elyse, concerned.

Ammena moves over to Elyse as she watches her speak to Roland. The Piper maid moves along side her and brushes a hand to Elyse’s arm. There is a smile to her cousin before she looks over to her exclaiment “are you alright M’lady?”

Orton mirrors Orene neatly, brow furrowed at Elyse, although not blindly.

“The Seven-Pointed Star has answers to all questions,” Baelor says gently, sounding more septon than king. “But if a septa cannot guide you, mayhaps a septon can. Yet…” He pauses, lilac eyes sweeping the gathered court. “If you wish to consult privately with a septon, my lady, it would be better to go the sept. But—”

He’s interrupted, then, by the outburst from down below. He seems puzzled, but presses in. “But if it is something you wish to ask before the court, let your own heart guide you.” As he speaks, the group of goldcloaks reach the base of the Iron Throne, and consult quickly with the City Watch officer in charge of the company of watchmen present here. The brusque consultation then leads that officer, and one of the newcomers, to detach themselves from the rest and to move on to speak with Prince Viserys and Prince Aemon the Dragonknight in furitive whispers.

Gelion whispers to Orton, “... ... ... ... veins ... ... pale mien ...”

Elyse flutters her hand, motioning to her lady friends that she’s fine. She places her finger in her mouth and bites down on it to stay silent, trying to stay guardedly neutral. No doubt the commotion at the throne will distract them.

Orene’s attention is, indeed, distracted by the hubbub on the royal dais.

Roland, in contrast, looks as innocent as the Maiden in male form. He cannot help but to send a wink to Lord Gelion, however. He opens his mouth to speak, eyes on the dais - but abruptly redirects the conversation, sounding stumped. “Why is His Holiness seated?”

The commotion at the foot of the throne might distract some in the court yet Elyana proceeds as though nothing is awry. The words tumble from her mouth in a well-practised rhythm.

“Ten years h-have passed since my b-beloved husband, Dandon Meadows, was taken from me, Your Grace. I knew him only a short time but I loved him as dearly as any woman must love her husband.”

Her bearing grows firmer as she thinks of him. “On the day of my wedding, the septon proclaimed in sight of Gods and men that Dandon and I be man and wife; one flesh, one heart, one soul, now and forever.”

She looks to Baelor as though it is only she and him within this hall. His counsel, it is clear, she values above all others. “Yet my lord and father wish me to wed again. I must obey them, that is my duty, but how can I bind myself for evermore to another man when my /very being/ is bound eternal to Dandon?”

For some, this question must sound trivial. The idle prattling of a woman who should know better. Yet this is a burden that has weighed heavily upon the shoulders of the frail, young widow for a long, long time, and she looks to the septon-king is a desperate plea for salvation.

Elyse is trying her best to not burst into a grin; not here, not now. She bites on the knuckle again and does her best to keep a straight face as she catches Roland up, “... ... consult ... ... of ... temporal ... as ... ... our bodies ... our souls .” She does manage to say this fairly straight faced. Elyana starts to mention Dandon and it gets far far easier for Elyse to sober her expression. If her elated amusement had an opposite expression, this is it.

Ammena smiles, once she sees Elyse smile .. and she takes a step back to allow her to continue her talk to Roland, her eyes on Elyana watching her and those who watch her with intrest.

Cleos lightly taps his teeth with the tip of his nail as he listens. Despite Elyanas practised and impassioned words, the closest anything has come to moving him was his earlier passing of wind.

The Lord of the Sisters is still watching with unabashed interest, almost as if he might just have the odd suggestion for consoling the forlorn widow of Mistwood in her hour of spiritual confusion.

Roland looks disapprovingly at Elyse, though his gaze softens as hers turns to stone. He leans over once more. “... ... be ... discreet, my ... of ... ... family ... ... her ... ... Her ... ... ...”

Bryar listens thoughtfully to what’s being said, keeping silent as he listens. Most of his attention on the happenings, but he glances around at the people nearby once in a while.

Ser Roland was not the only late-comer to the court… and these other men who followed on his heels seem to have been similarly involved in whispering. As the king speaks of holy matters, the faint rustle of passing gossip, from one set of lips to another set of ears and on and on, begins to fill the court, spreading rapidly. Prince Viserys, at the foot of the throne, seems anxious after his approach by the goldcloaks and looks up to his nephew Baelor to find a time at which to intervene. “Maidenvault,” may be heard more than once, passing from person to person. So, too, “princess”. And “missing.”

The king looks grave at that question. “The Mother does not wish any of her daughters to suffer in bereavment, my lady,” he says to Elyana. “When the Stranger takes a spouse, the marriage may be considered ended

Ser Roland was not the only late-comer to the court… and these other men who followed on his heels seem to have been similarly involved in whispering. As the king speaks of holy matters, the faint rustle of passing gossip, from one set of lips to another set of ears and on and on, begins to fill the court, spreading rapidly. Prince Viserys, at the foot of the throne, seems anxious after his approach by the goldcloaks and looks up to his nephew Baelor to find a time at which to intervene. “Maidenvault,” may be heard more than once, passing from person to person. So, too, “princess”. And “missing.”

The king looks grave at that question. “The Mother does not wish any of her daughters to suffer in bereavment, my lady,” he says to Elyana. “When the Stranger takes a spouse, the marriage may be considered ended; for no true husband would wish his wife to be bereft in life, nor no good wife her husband. And it is said also n the Seven-Pointed Star, that the Seven make certain that none of their blessings cause harm rather than good.”

Then the king gestures to the High Septon and begins to speak when Viserys interjects, “Your Grace, may I approach?” Whether Baelor indicates yes or not may be a matter of debate later, but in the moment it seems Viserys recieves assent and the Hand quickly climbs up the many steps to consult with the king.

Elyse shoots the taller Hunter a glare, tilting her head upward to do so. “... ... ... ... looks, ... ... ... news of ... Princess ... ... ... ... sharing such ...” The king’s gentle words to her widowed once good-sister draw a sad smile out of her but it fades.

Overhearing the whispers of a missing princess, Orene cranes her neck, unashamedly trying to listen in for better context, eyes wide with worry.

For a moment, the Hunter knight looks hurt. Then he straightens, shoulders back, petulant frown on his face. “I shall remember not to offer you counsel unasked in the future, my lady. Pray excuse me.”

Without waiting for his response he presses forward in the crowd, eyes on the Prince Hand and ears open to the murmurings around him. It is towards Lord Sunderland and the Pryor knight he heads.

Ammena too tries to catch any news of princesses being missing though her attention goes back to the Hunter and then to the king quietly. She frowns a little as she watches the ongoings and her fingers fold in front of her.

The few whispers coming from the goldcloaks and the Hand’s sphere or intrigue are enough to have Lord Gelion, his son and his men…discreetly…yielding their primacy near the throne and winding back towards the threshold where they left their arms. It doesn’t do for Sistermen to be altogether too close to the seat of authority when princesses go missing, unfairly or not. But upon noticing his young ally the bailiff Ser Roland nearing, Gelion himself clearly determines to put a bolder complexion on things, and veers back towards him, and Ser Orton, as nonchalantly as possible. “Ser Roland. You’ve just arrived, and I hope your spurs are still warm. You once found a missing son of our liege lord, did you not…? It may just be that you are soon asaddle once more…”

The wounding seems to be mutual. Elyse looks contrite as Roland pulls away from her and moves to the crowds. She toys with the pendant of the meadowlark about her neck as she frowns.

These are words that Elyana has doubtlessly heard spoken before in her months of grief and yet, uttered as they are by the King, they seem to lift her spirits immediately. “Thank you, Your Grace,” she says, arising at last. “I shall do you as you bid.”

She has no real opportunity to speak any further as the Hand has ascended the throne. The commotion in the commons is apparent to her now and her hasty retreat to her guardian is not too dignified. He cocks a curious brow at her, before the pair are glancing around to try and understand what is amiss.

Viserys turns from the king, and climbs down from the throne. Baelor himself stands, and it’s for Viserys to say aloud, “This open court has come to an end, my lords and ladies.” And then he immediately moves to where the small council sits, and whispers hurriedly to them. The crowd, caught up in the swirl of gossip, reacts at the dismissal out of hand as proof of what the whispers say: Daena Targaryen, the king’s sister, once his wife and queen and of late an unwilling guest of the Maidenvault, has gone missing from the castle.

Roland’s answering expression is cool, though he offers a nod to the Sunderlad that almost borders on polite. “Perhaps,” is the reply, as the Valeknight’s hazel eyes sweep over the gathered Sistermen. Turning, the Hunter returns his gaze to the top of the Iron Throne where king and Hand converse. “What’s this I hear about wishing for more pious smallfolk, my lord? My sister might think you and your heir would be better suited with my uncle’s hand than hers.”

As court is dismissed, Roland snorts softly, turning again to his companions.

Cleos stretches his leg with a soft sigh.

Cleos looks around at people.

When his policy, his boon, is questioned, the Sunderland’s gaze upon the youthful Hunter bailiff is a trifle less amiable than usual, though as ever with Lord Gelion he maintains his restraint. “Mayhaps when you spend more time among your mother’s folk you may understand the favour I asked of the Throne this day, ser. For the present, it’s the King for whom your sword is most immediately drawn. You might be better advised to help avert his mislaying of his immured sisters than enquiring for the present into those three bleak Sisters of mine.” But he smiles easily in the next moment, and slaps Ser Roland companionably upon the shoulder before he spins about to rejoin his men.