Blood of Dragons

The 'A Song of Ice and Fire' MUSH


Let Us Speak of Happier Things
IC Date: Day 23 of Month 2, 158 AC.
RL Date: November 22, 2006.
Participants: Carmella Dondarrion, Elanna Penrose, Jonn Lannister, Jyana Arryn, called the Jewel of the Eyrie, and Lanei Fowler.
Locations: Red Keep: Maegor's Holdfast <Carmella's Rooms> and Red Keep: Maegor's Holdfast <Guest Apartments>.

Summary: The day following Ser Doran and Ser Sarmion's confrontation in the yard, Carmella is paid a visit by a couple of ladies, including Lady Jyana who had stayed with her through the night.
Red Keep: Maegor’s Holdfast <Carmella’s Rooms>

Not much has changed with the Dondarrion maid since she took refuge in her chambers a day earlier. Most who had come to her door were turned away, save for Jyana Arryn who she had allowed to stay with her. Carmella’s been rather quiet on what had happened in the yard, deciding she’d rather not talk much on it for the timing being. She’s still in shock over what she witnessed and she’s often been rubbing her knuckles where she had hit her brother. There had been a powerful spirit in her at that moment, but now her hands are sore from that tirade. Food and drink has been brought, but Carmella’s barely touched it, her thoughts elsewhere as she tries to make sense out of the drastic changes witnessed in her brother’s behavior.

Her fair-haired friend doesn’t force her to eat. Carmella was healthy after all, and the last thing Jyana was to see her lose the food she had just eaten so it was best, perhaps, to wait for her to calm down first. She is sitting near her, keeping her quiet company and lending her an ear should she need it. She also has a brush in her hand, rolling it down through the girl’s dark, lustrous curls - so different from her own, she observes, with the faint, crimson highlights when hit by bright light. “Are you feeling a little better?” the Jewel ventures quietly, gently tugging out a bit of a tangle on the ends of her hair, but holding it close to the ends so the tugging wouldn’t reach Carmella’s scalp and pain her.

She was not around the yard, but news travel fast than ravens within the walls of the Red Keep and, surely, it had not passed more than an hour as Lanei learned of ser Doran and ser Sarmion’s… little incident. At first, the Dornish lady paid not a lot of attention, why should she? Sarmion Baratheon is one of those men that were born to cause trouble to the entire world around him, no wonder that ser Doran ended up clashing with him. Then, as she started to know more of the tale, and what transpired there, the Fowler lady pondered and pondered and…

...and now she stands before the door of Carmella’s rooms. More exactly before that hedge knight her brother put to escort his sister, while today’s Goldcloak on duty stays at Lanei’s back. She speaks just a few words, soft spoken, aye, but at the same time there’s some firmness in her voice. “Tell your lady that lady Lanei Fowler is here, and would have a word with her, if she feels up to.”

“Hmmmm?” Jyana’s question draws a belated response from the quiet Dondarrion girl, reluctantly pulling her from her thoughts, whatever they might be. “Fine. I’m ... I’ll be fine, thank you,” she responds, finally finding words instead of just a humming acknowledgement. Carmella turns her head to look at Jyana, though stops when she feels some tension where Jyana’s holding her hair. “Lady Jyana, you’ve been so very kind and I appreciate your company, truly.” She’s even smiling a little as she says that, but it doesn’t erase the sadness lingering in her eyes.

Outside the room there is some hesitation on Ser Amond’s part. Both because he knows that his charge has been quite adamant on restricting visitors as well as the fact that Lady Lanei is a Dornish hostage and personal feelings momentarily cloud his judgement. With a resigned sigh he asks the Fowler woman to please wait while he goes into the room to announce her presence.

“Please, show her in, Ser Amond,” Carmella requests as she smoothes out her skirts and sits up properly. Turning to Jyana she asks, “Have you met Lady Lanei of House Fowler?”

“You have been kind to me ever since I’ve reached King’s Landing,” Jyana states, removing the brush from Carmella’s hair and sets it aside, letting the dark curtain cascade gently back down her spine. “How could I not return such a thing, especially when the last day or two has been particularly trying for yourself?” She glances over at the nearby window, her gentle face serious. “I’m glad to know that you will be fine - your spirit will not accept any other outcome, but I can only imagine how painful it must be. To be honest I certainly hope your brother does not approach you for a couple more days….sometimes, I found, it’s best for these things to settle and cool for a while.”

She pauses, and turns her head to look back at Carmella.

“He is your kin, however…” she says straightforwardly. “You’ve lost enough of them in this war. I hope for his sake that he has not lost any chance of a reconciliation with you.”

With an almost imperceptible nod to ser Amond as he grants her entrance to the chamber, Lanei walks in the room, only pausing once, and briefly, to tell the Goldcloak, “You might wait here, I deem, for I do not think that neither lady Carmella nor this ser would welcome to have you around such a fine and young lady’s private rooms”, and quietly turning to Doran’s sister as she spots the Dondarrion lady, she moves forward and performs a curtsy. As she rises, her eyes examine the unknown lady with a quick glance.

“I was told of yours and your lord brother’s problems and wanted to check how were you doing, Lady Carmella” Lanei states. “I did not intend to disturb you and this lady”. A faint bow is offered to Jyana. “If you wish, I will take my leave, though, and be certain that I shall not get offended. But, pray send me word, if you ever need… a friend to speak with, either to weep on her shoulder or to vent up.”

Carmella takes in a deep breath and studies her folded hands in her lap before looking up at Jyana. “That wasn’t my brother,” she says quietly but with an underlying strength in her voice. “Not the brother that left Blackhaven, that I know for certain. He’s ...” She shakes her head and glances towards the door to await Lanei’s entrance, which comes with her last comment to Jyana. “There will be time for such, trust me, but not right now. We both need some time.” The words are oddly spoken, for while they are directed at the Arryn maid, they are said with a smile meant to welcome the Dornish heir. Carmella smoothly rises to her feet to welcome her guest.

“Lady Lanei, you are always welcome here,” she greets, mirroring Lanei’s curtsey with one of her own. “Lady Lanei, may I introduce you to Lady Jyana of House Arryn?” Carmella’s dark eyes fall back to her blond friend. “Jyana, this is Lady Lanei of House Fowler.”

“War changes people,” Jyana remarks softly, meeting Carmella’s dark eyes. “Perhaps one day you can relate to me what he was like before he left for Dorne.” As for the war itself, she does not express an opinion, but when the other maiden’s face turns to smile at the Dornish hostage, the Jewel of the Eyrie rises to her feet, and gives Lanei a formal curtsey. “You needn’t leave,” she says, tacking on her comment after Carmella’s greeting and introduction. “It is very kind of you to see how Carmella is faring, I wouldn’t wish to turn away anyone with such benevolent intentions on account of my presence here.”

As Carmella introduces Jyana to her, a new formal curtsy is performed, as well as a few words, “It is a pleasure, lady Jyana.” However, Lanei’s features look serious, as if touched by sadness and concern alike, no trace of mirth upon them. “I will stay then, since you asked me to do. But, again, you have no need to… bear with me.” Looking around her, the Dornish lady decides to take a seat, choosing a comfortable armchair next to the place where the ladies are.

Hands clasped together on her lap, she nods once, to Jyana. “I take, lady, that you must be related to Lord Jonothor Arryn. Are you, perhaps, his daughter?”. Even if the Lord Arryn is young, he is of an age enough to be this lady’s father. At least in Dorne he would. “Ser Doran has been more than kind to me, and lady Carmella was also. I find… natural, to pay them with the same coin in retribution.” Azure eyes move now to seek for Carmella’s. “And… may I ask how are you doing?”.

Carmella makes a vague gesture towards the table where a tray of food has been left for Carmella and her guest, as well as a silver pitcher filled with iced milk that has been sweetened with honey. Since the Dondarrion girl has a guest - two now, actually - her maid brought small treats appropriate for entertaining, even if Carmella doesn’t feel much like a charming hostess at the moment. “Trust me,” Carmella offers with a smile that’s just a little too perfect, “I am happy to see you and would enjoy the company. Not that Lady Jyana hasn’t been the perfect companion, of course.” The latter is hastily added with a quick smile to the blonde and a light hand rested briefly on Jyana’s arm. “I am doing well, though still in a bit of shock over my brother’s actions yesterday. It’s just ...” Carmella’s full of sighs today as here comes another. “It was all quite a bit more than I expected, that’s all.”

“No, not as such,” Jyana responds, with a faint, if somewhat reserved smile towards Lanei, her demeanor a little more formal now that there was a stranger in the room. “But I am his niece, and he has been like a father to me.” She nods. “But Lord Jonothor does have a child of his own - just recently born.” The treats go unhandled by her, for she isn’t hungry herself, but despite her state, Carmella hasn’t neglected her guests. A glance to Carmella after she lays a hand on her arm and she laughs. “You know I wouldn’t take offense,” she says cheerfully. “After all, I think the more people with you now, the better. Get your mind off things for a while.”

A new nod to Carmella and the Dornish lady, feeling free to pick up what the tray has to offer to her, decides to try the iced milk which is, indeed, as good as expected. No food, though, and for a while Lanei simply plays with the spoon, removing the milk as if it were some sort of a game. “Your lord uncle is a veritable knight, my lady. I have had the chance to meet him, and few sers showed his kindness and to be so well-educated as he did.” Once again she plays with the spoon.

“I…” she starts saying, but pauses to clear her throat and to take a sip, “The shock shall leave soon, eve if the pain will remain there for long, my lady. But surely you meant your bother’s actions in Dorne? Forgive me, for I might be wrong, but I heard and was told that ser Sarmion insulted him, and ser Doran reacted as any knight would.”

“Not too many,” Carmella answers Jyana quickly, holding up her hands to stay off invitations for more ladies to join them. Isolation may not be ideal, but she’s not looking for crowds either. Unfortunately, even though Jyana suggests it, it seems there will not be a chance to take their minds off of it just yet.

“He’s a kinslayer,” Carmella says softly, not quite looking at Lanei as she says so. “I am not so naive to think that none die in war, but to knowingly kill one’s own kin is ...” Carmella shudders even though it is quite warm.

“But it isn’t just that,” she continues and pours herself a glass of honeyed milk. “He was ... yesterday he had lost his senses. The yelling, the crying, the demanding of Ser Sarmion to fight him then and there. It wasn’t like him at all. I don’t know who that man was, but he wasn’t the brother I knew. He ... he scared me,” Carmella quietly admits, dropping her gaze to her goblet.

A small smile, a little more openly, graces Jyana’s lips at the talk of her uncle. “Uncle Jonothor is more of a soldier these days than a knight,” she states simply. “If the King has vowed to treat his hostages with a certain degree of respect, m’lord uncle knows that his actions towards them will reflect on his ultimate commander, and thus interacts with them in an appropriate degree. While he may not go out of his way to be friendly, and while he has his moments of pride that our family is infamous for, he is a good man, and one of the best I know.”

She takes a seat then, once everyone has, and leans back. Her fingers link together, and she listens quietly to what Carmella says. “Of course not too many,” she says soothingly. “This is a private gathering. Too many would turn it quite public.” A more sober look enters her face as Carmella says the accursed word.

Indeed. War changes a man.

“To be honest I thought he should’ve told you in private himself,” she says softly. “Instead of letting you go on and hear it from secondhand sources. Personally I thought that was his biggest crime of all, even bigger than kinslaying…he was in a war. I could understand if he was ordered to or even forced to by its circumstances. But to not confess it to family afterwards? I am not a woman grown as of yet but from what I understand, an adult has a responsibility to owe up to one’s actions to those who are affected…knights most of all.”

Considering how things are turning, and the kind of talk they are having, the Dornish lady considers more appropriate to nod Jyana’s words, so that she can turn her full attention back to Carmella. “Do you know, my lady…” Lanei says, weighing her words with no few caution. “We lived quietly in Dorne, had a life ֖ a good life, I daresay. And then, the King waged war upon us. Our men were summoned, our seats prepared to face the enemy’s army and his sieges. But, in the end, we lost the war, and were utterly humiliated, our family’s men killed, our castles invaded, our land broken. And, still, we are eyed as the enemy’, as those which killed your people… as we fought for our lives and independence, for our Prince and folk. And now, ser Doran…”

She takes a deep breath. “Ser Doran, the brother you prided of, followed the King as he was expected to do. He also fought for his life and lord and, in the end, had the bad luck to meet one of your lady’s mother lineage. It was his life or your uncle’s but, still, he did what he was expected to do, that is, to kill the enemy. And thus he became a kinslayer. How do you think he feels about, lady Carmella? For now he lives, as we hostages do, with the scorn of some styled-sers; in his case, because he regrets, deeply, his deeds. Meanwhile, he needs to deal with himself, for he truly knows that he is a kinslayer, and so, the Seven will doom him.”

A new pause. “And, as if he had not enough, now he will live, too, with his own family’s disdain? How would a man cope with this all, my lady? He truly loves you, and your lady mother, and I deem he feared… he feared the moment you both would learn of what he did, of your uncle’s death. He needs your love, my lady, and your understanding. War changes men, they say, and you still wonder your brother’s reaction, last night, at ser Sarmion’s words, before you?” Lanei tilts her head. “Of course, I cannot read his mind, but I have come to know him a little. The Seven help me, for I might be wrong, but I think that, last night, your brother sought for his own death, so that in his eyes he would redeem himself і and would not need to face you. Aye” she nods. “I think I understand him - fully.”

Carmella slowly raises her gaze to look first at Jyana and then at Lanei, though she finds it more difficult to look upon the Dornish lady right now, feeling the sting of her words. “He should have told me,” she murmurs quietly. It is a poor excuse, to be sure, and a echo of what Jyana had said but it doesn’t make it any less true. Her next words are slow to come because she’s not yet sure what to say herself.

“I know little of warcraft; I find no pleasure in the study of it but I know that men loyal to their king must fight when he bids them to and those to be attacked must defend themselves or surrender peacefully, though most would find little honor in the latter. It’s just ... No doubt my lady mother has been pained by this to a greater extent and I fear for her heart, for she loves Doran more than I could express with words.”

There’s another long pause from the Dondarrion girl, interrupted by a sip of her drink and a need to try and organize the thoughts that had been a blur since yesterday. “To have to come out in such a public matter as it did, he was humiliated before numerous members of the court. One’s actions reflect not only one’s self, but one’s family as well. Our father bends knee to Baratheon, what damages might have been caused by what happened yesterday? I just ...” Carmella drops her head again, obviously tangled in her own turmoil.

“It would’ve been less hurtful, perhaps,” Jyana remarks softly, her face serious, but also serene, to soften her opinion. “If he would learn how to deal with himself for himself as opposed to dragging half a castle’s yard with it. I can understand that he must be under a severe weight that would perhaps never be appeased no matter how much he visits a sept to atone for his actions, but I highly disagree with how he chose to ‘deal with himself’ as you have concluded, Lady Lanei. I don’t profess to know him, but I am wondering for something already as notorious as this that he would leave his sister to hear about such things in public, as opposed to speaking to her behind closed doors. He was already shamed, and the Seven help me, if I had the power to change it for the sake of my friend, I would….but it was poorly done.”

Her aquamarine eyes rest heavily on the window adjacent to her seat. “Aye…” she remarks softly. “I think it was very poorly done.”

She shakes her head slightly. “I don’t wish to downplay Ser Doran’s own sacrifices, and my opinions are said out of the concern of how yesterday’s display will affect Carmella and her own. I am merely saying that things yesterday could have reached a different outcome if those involved took a moment to stop and think….I understand that there is a lot of pain involved, and such would render one’s mental faculties into such a state where thinking may not be possible - but I saw no effort to do so. I saw plenty of guilt, but not enough humility to bow and walk away before any damage could be wrought.”

After her long speech, Lanei needs to take a sip. As a matter in fact, what she does is to empty her glass, more or less, and this in two or three quick draughts, and this at best. Either if the lady did because she felt that thirsty of just because she was not up to withstand Carmella’s eyes, should Doran’s sister look eager to do so, will remain unknown. Instead to reply in a rush, the Fowler lady listens, quietly, to what the ladies have to say, mildly relieved to see that, at least, her words have not caused a havoc, or their wrath.

“Of course he should have spoken to you, to tell you what happened, in private, and as soon as he met you again, lady Carmella. I cannot but agree there and, truly, I was about to suggest him to do so, several times; yet, I realized that it was not my position to advice him, nor I know if he would have welcomed my words. I do know this has been a more than painful topic for him, and dodged to speak about.”

Turning to Jyana, Lanei nods once more. “I cannot say that I would agree there too, my lady of Arryn, for your words are wise and rightly spoken. Yet… I have found out that many men, even if brave and fearless at the battlefield, or at the hands of the septons when they are about to die, cannot deal with themselves or those they love.” She shrugs, helplessly. “Thus is the nature of men, I am afraid. But, as said, I think that ser Doran’s actions aimed for another purpose, darker than expected, although the lady Carmella could not guess it. Now…” the Dornishwoman looks at the Dondarrion, “you know, and it is on your hands to decide what to do, either to understand your lord brother, and to forgive him, showing him the love you feel or felt for him, or to lose him forever.”

Carmella turns to look at Lanei again, her eyes bearing no emotion where earlier they had held sadness. “It is far easier, Lady Lanei, to speak pretty words and offer such wisdom as you have done than to act on said advice. I know you mean well, but things must come in their own time and for now the wound is still fresh and no phrase, however well-intended is going to soothe this pain. I need time and I imagine so does my brother, for as you say, he has his own demons to handle.” Carmella takes a sip from her goblet, eyes fixated on Lanei as she drinks.

With a tone that more than suggests that she’s finished discussing that particular subject, Carmella lowers her glass and looks over to Jyana feigning a smile as best she can. “Surely there must be far more interesting things to discuss than warfare?” She forces the smile a little brighter. “From what I saw at the banquet our Lady Jyana is quickly becoming quite popular among some of the younger knights at court.”

A hand reaches for a goblet of honeyed milk, Jyana easing back comfortably onto her chair and taking a quiet sip of it. She listens to Lanei’s address to Carmella, and her disagreement of her opinion, but she shakes her head just a bit, tucking one ankle underneath the other as she adjusts her sitting position. “Perhaps,” she says softly, catching on to what Lanei is implying. “But I’d certainly hope that Ser Doran has enough strength of character not to go through such lengths, and by challenging a member of the family he is sworn to serve no less. However it does not change the fact that the entire affair was poorly done. There is enough pain, and to add more upon it, on anyone’s part, would do any of the past sacrifices made a great disservice. I do not wish to speculate on the hows or whys of what happened, for I am not a mind reader, though sometimes I wish I were.” A small smile graces her lips at that. “But from what I saw, what happened caused more harm than good.

She honors Carmella’s entreaties of changing the subject. She blinks however, at what Carmella says, and she sighs. “While part of me is flattered of it,” she says with a faint smile. “I cannot help but be somewhat unnerved by all the attention. I feel as if most of the men here speak so strangely….I’m not too used to grand gestures. The men I am acquainted with are more practical men, and I am often at a loss as to how to respond to such overtures.”

Of course she is stubborn, especially when she has some purpose in mind and has set it; thus, at Carmella’s words, Lanei presses her lips together and shuts them on a thin line. They will only be open to drink what remains of her iced milk, what the lady eventually does. Placing the already empty glass on the tray, Lanei resumes the same position she got when starting: hands clasped together and resting upon her lap.

“Indeed, my good lady, our roles have changed heavily today and, if in the past,  you offered me the same easier words of comfort, right after our arrival, I am afraid I had forgotten them too quick, enough to dare to repeat them to you. As well as I forgot the frustration and tiredness my words would cause you. So, as for the lady, which is truly a beauty, what can I say? I know little, even nothing, of Lady Jyana, but considering her loveliness, I deem that most of the sers around the Red Keep must be after her. May I ask if you dwell here too, my lady? Within the walls of the Keep, I mean.”

The forced smile disappears quickly and Carmella lingers between anger and hurt at the Dornish woman’s words. “Then I apologize, Lady Lanei, if my words offered as a welcome were ill-received. I’ll do better in the future to not speak them at all.” Her fingers tighten around the stem of her goblet as she lifts it to finish off her honeyed milk, hoping the sweetness of the beverage my stay any further bitter words.

“Lady Jyana,” she says, setting the goblet down on the table, “has indeed caught the eye of many a knight in King’s Landing, though one could easily see why. She has been ever kind as well, no doubt that is as much of an attraction as her pretty face. For a lady can be lovely but be a shrew and her appearance suddenly loses its appeal. It seems Lady Jyana, however, does not suffer from such a stain on her personality.” Carmella gives the Jewel only the briefest of glances before she gets to her feet, finding that she has need to walk, perhaps distance herself from the conversation.

She smiles faintly. “I stayed here in the last evening so I could keep Carmella company,” Jyana responds truthfully. “However I reside in the family manse in the city. I do spend most of my time here as…well…” Her smile turns sheepish. “The royal library has so many books I’ve not encountered before, and most days I could lose myself in them, while away the hours and yet not being aware that time is passing so swiftly. And I also enjoy meeting new faces, I’ve never had the opportunity such as this where I could speak to so many people from different walks of life.”

She watches Carmella carefully from where she is. “Carmella I don’t think she meant any harm by it,” she says softly, trying her best to soothe. “I think perhaps Lady Lanei was only professing her certain desire to comfort you, but is not certain as to how.” She hopes she’s interpreting it right, in the least.

At what Carmella says, she rubs the back of her neck in an embarrassed fashion. “I am not without my faults,” she begins soberly, before she laughs. “For that I can very well assure anyone. That doesn’t mean, however, that I would ever deign to show them if I can help it.” She grins impishly at that, but when Carmella rises to her feet, and walks a couple of distances away, she sets her goblet down, and chews on her bottom lip.

Lanei shakes her head, slowly. “Fear not, my lady, for they were not, or I would not be here and now, nor I would have dared to speak as I did.” But perhaps the ones Carmella offered her a while ago were, and how. Her eyes cannot miss the way the Dondarrion young lady grasp the goblet and, at this, the Dornishwoman cannot help but to shrug, inwardly. Indeed, Doran’s sister is young, time she will have to learn a few things.

Turning to Jyana as soon as she speaks again, Lanei nods politely at her. “The Royal Library, you said? I myself have grown used to wander the place, when I have time and, most important, my mood is up to learn new things. One of my favourite places, I must to say, and no less frequented than the Royal Sept.” Suddenly rising to her feet, the Fowler lady walks toward Carmella, but as passes by Jyana’s side, she squeezes, briefly, one of her shoulders, as if trying to encourage or cheer up the young lady. “My lady? Would you be so kind to allow me visiting your privy?”. And perhaps, as she comes back, Carmella’s mood has been improved.

Carmella wanders slowly along the row of bookcases, leaving Lanei and Jyana to the few words they might exchange. Having felt her usual temper rising, Carmella felt it better to get away from the situation for a few moments and calm herself rather than push through it and cause herself further embarrassment. Lanei’s request is met with a slight turn of her head and then a gesture with her hands towards the door. “Right through there,” she adds softly, the temper receding, leaving her voice flat. Her eyes follow the Fowler woman as she momentarily departs the room and when she’s gone, Carmella turns with a heavy sigh to look back over the room at large.

It was not as if she really needed to pay Carmella’s privy a visit, but Lanei deemed it might help to cool things. So, after a few minutes, she joins back the chamber. Against her best expectations, it does not look as if the ladies were having the most entertaining of the talks, and Skyreach’s heiress sighs. “Well, what are we speaking of?” she ventures, sitting back. “I think it was about sers, and how much they are interested on the lady Jyana? But surely you have a few suitors as well, lady Carmella, haven’t you?”.

Carmella hasn’t left the bookcases she had been glancing over when Lanei left for a short while. Her eyes scan over the spines, but she’s not really processing what she’s seeing as her thoughts drift elsewhere. As Jyana’s words had done earlier, no too do Lanei’s draw her from inner contemplation. There’s a curious look on her face when she pauses and turns to look at the Dornish hostage and where she in a better mood she might smile in thanks that the earlier topic had been abandoned for now.

“Suitors, Lady Lanei?” The words are spoken with faint amusement and are soon followed with a shake of her head. “No, nothing that could be deemed anything more than momentary flirting or an exchange of compliments, I’m afraid.” Carmella speaks plainly, no trace of disappointment in her voice at that. “I am a bit particular when it comes to that, I do not offer favors lightly.”

“Well, my lady, you are still young” Lanei chuckles. “Time you will have to offer men your favor, and to enjoy your time. May I ask how old are you? Sixteen?.” Still grinning, the dornish lady continues, “Ah, but for what I have seen, I think that men are always the same, north and south from the Mountains of Dorne. Well, more or less. I would like to think that ours are bolder but, of course, I am a bit biased here.”

Marcia’s daughter winks an eye and surveys the tray again, taking a little of cookies, which are soon conveniently eat. “Still, you should not give your favor lightly, for if you did, then you would miss a good part of the fun. The game is the same entertaining, or more, if it lasts for a while”.

Carmella’s eyes widen a little when Lanei guesses her age. “To the day,” she says, the surprise transferring from eyes to voice as she turns more towards the Dornish woman and away from the rows of books. “There are girls my age and younger who are already wed and bearing children, but I am appreciative that my father has not yet sought to add me to that number.” Her dark eyes lift to watch the door. “Though the loss of a septa’s presence seems to be an advantage to marriage,” she adds, looking back at Lanei, smiling faintly. Earlier tension begins to ebb away but Carmella retains her distance for now.

“There are bold men to be found throughout Westeros as I imagine there to be Dorne, if the stories I’ve heard hold true,” she continues with a slow pace of the room. “And one day I am sure a lord or knight might catch my eye enough that I might ...” She blushes fiercely and looks away, the topic drifted too far from what her Septa would deem proper. “Though that lord or knight might not be the man my father chooses as my husband. It rarely is the case, is it not? I hope to enjoy my last few years as a maid in my father’s care, though perhaps not scandalously so,” she adds, flushing again and forcing to hide a smile.

“My septa’s presence never stopped me to…” Her azure skilled eyes examine, quickly, Carmella’s figure, trying to know how much ripe is the girl’s body to be taken. By her words ֖and her blush-, it seems she has been never with a man? Well, she was sixteen the first time she joined a man’s bed. Brushing seventeen, really. Suddenly, Lanei tsks, looking amused but, at the same time, somewhat embarrassed as well.

“I am afraid I had forgotten whom I were speaking with. Evidently our customs are very different, and I would deplore to shock you, lady Carmella.” Lanei shrugs, yet keeping her smile. “I do not think ladies and lords are deeply in love when their parents arrange their marriage and they bed, but there are things more important, as is… convenience, and to know that your husband, or your lady wife, will make a good match.”

Carmella cannot help her eyes widening again and once more she looks to the door as if expecting her septa to stroll in any moment. “So it’s true,” she breathes in a whisper as she walks towards Lanei. “It’s not just northern stories to discredit Dornish men and women?” Obviously this is something her mother didn’t see fit to talk to her about. Quietly, as if still trying to evade her septa, Carmella gathers her skirts and sinks down into a chair near Lanei, tilting just slightly forward to further address her. “So, that means you’re not ... I mean you have ...” The poor girl is just bursting with her virginity, being embarrassed to even actually mention bedding aloud. Poor sheltered Westerosi girls. There’s a pause and she adds the unnecessary, “Have you?”

She has been silent all this time, letting Lanei and Carmella slowly, but surely, get back into speaking terms. In fact at present, still in her original place, Jyana is holding a book in her hands, one of the many in Carmella’s chambers. And while the snippets of conversation causes her to redden now and then, though by no means does she shift uncomfortably - for these were things women talked about, despite her lack of exposure to such, her attention is mostly at the window overlooking the yard, the book in her lap and a thoughtful expression on her face.

She is relieved, however, that whatever tension that had risen earlier seems to be gradually ebbing away.

Her head cranes to the side, for Carmella’s sudden pacing catches her attention, but she returns her eyes to the window, as if she didn’t see Carmella’s surprised stare, or her sputter. But this line of the conversation does catch her attention - she can’t help it, fingers paused in turning the page as she diverts her gaze yet again towards the two other women.

“I am afraid I fail to understand where the discredit lies in this issue, my lady” Lanei shrugs. “Although it is not something to be advertised, it is known, aye, that we are more… open mind, so to speak.” She manages a new shrug and plays with the edges of her long sleeves, her eyes moving to the window where Jyana, apparently, is oh so busy reading some dusty book. Yet, the dornish lady deems that if the Arryn girl does not feel interested on their talk, she must be, certainly, the most silly Boring? Prudish?- of the ladies.

“I am twenty, my good lady” she replies to Carmella, tilting her head to one side, her eyes locked, purposefully, on Jyana Arryn. “What of you? And what of the lady Jyana? Assuming she has been listening to us, that is.” Her lips curve up in a faint smirk. “Yet, I wonder if this is the… most convenient of the talks. I do no want your family asking for my head on a pike, should they know.”

There is the sound of a dry voice from the corridor outside, “Might I enquire if the Lady Carmella is in? Do tell her the Elanna Penrose wishes to see her briefly.”

Experience? One has to be kidding. Jyana looks up when her name is called, and when she is addressed to contribute to the topic, she falls silent. While the lovely face glows tellingly with a blush, there is a very long, drawn out pause. What would be her answer? Yay or nay? Finally, she sets her book down and smiles cheerfully, inclining her head in a manner that would give her the air of mischief, a lock of curl escaping her loose coiffure and dropping to caress her cheek.

“Not really,” she states easily, cheerful despite her sheer embarrassment of being dragged into the discussion. “I’ve never been so much as kissed, and I’ve grown believing that a man touching me in any way is tantamount to a death sentence.” She stretches out her fingers. “See, m’lord uncle Jonothor is rather protective, my younger uncle is the Knight of the Bloody Gate, my own father is quite experienced in dealing with the ways of philandering men for he is a notorious philanderer himself, and my grandfather may very well be of a skill level where he could decapitate anyone who tries with a finger.”

She grins mischievously. “I wouldn’t wish for such a deadly line,” she says, dramatically, and mock-seriously. “Upon a dashing young knight in the prime of his youth.”

Perhaps the Jewel was being facetious? She may very well be jesting, but such a lineage and the fact of being quite untouched are very much true!

Well, at least Carmella isn’t the only one blushing, as is evidenced by Jyana’s similar reaction. If anything that makes the Dondarrion girl a little more at ease. “Well, Lady Lanei, I believe the stories are meant, in some fashion, to make the Dornish people appear less civilized, less in control.” Whether Carmella agrees with that or not, she doesn’t say, she simply states it as she knows it. She’s hanging on Lanei’s every word and seems a bit disappointed when the woman seems to hesitate in the telling. “You are assuming, of course, that I would even think to spill a word to my septa, Lady Lanei,” she adds deviously just as the voice sounds at the door.

In an instant Carmella looks embarrassed again and out of sorts, believing she’s just been caught, but it is not her septa at the door. With a sigh of relief at the lady’s announced name, Carmella nods and makes a motion with her hand. “Please, show the Lady Elanna in, she is welcome here.”

Elanna sweeps in, her dark skirts trailing the floor. She looks upon all in repose and smiles warmly.

“I am glad to see you have company, Lady Carmella. I had heard it was your birthday?” she whisks forth a delicate pile of fine creamy silk, “For you. It was given to me upon my sixteenth birthday, and I should like you to have it. It has the tiniest birds stitched upon the hem.” And hands it thus to Carmella.

“Jyana,” Elanna smiles at the Jewel, with a crinkling at the corner of her eyes, a curse of encroaching age, “And…” she turns her gaze upon the Dornishwoman.

“I am sorry, my lady, I do not believe we have been introduced…though if my memory has failed me, please do forgive me…”

“What was the topic of discussion, I heard?” a raise of her dark brow, “Something of kissing and…other less maidenly things?”

“A dashing ֖and- young knight may be good” Lanei starts saying, “And, certainly, he will have all the strength. But, as a girl grows, she starts appreciating experience as well. Despite I must to say that, some young knights, being but seventeen or eighteen, keep a good amount of experience that no good and smart lady would decline to taste” she adds, and turns to the incoming lady, rising to her feet and waiting for someone to introduce her.

“Lanei Fowler, from Skyreach” she offers. “And, certainly, we had not met, at least to my knowledge. But surely we can remedy this, in the days to come.” For she, certainly, is going to stay around the Red Keep for long… “As for the topic of our talk, we spoke about men. And” she refrains a chuckle, yet badly, “what to do to them… or when”.

Not decline to taste?

We’ll see about that.

Jyana keeps herself from twitching her lips in any revealing way. But when Elanna enters the room, she stands up to greet the widow properly with a sweeping curtsey. “Lady Elanna,” she says with a grin that bears a slight flash of teeth. “It’s good to see you again.” Her greeting, while short and perfunctory, is sincerely meant, and when the older lady presents the gift, she sinks back down onto her seat, and looks over at Lanei yet again.

“Yes,” she agrees. “Men.” Ah, but what ABOUT men, is the question. Though she doesn’t seem to be contributing to the discussion in any substantial way.

The gift is quite unexpected and Carmella is left with a moment of stunned surprise. “Lady Elanna, you are far too kind,” she says with awe in her voice as the gift is handed over. Every so lightly do her fingers trace over the embroidery, though there is a pause as she noticed the images of the birds. “It ... it is lovely and I thank you deeply for your generosity. Please, have a seat Lady Elanna,” she offers before turning to look for a place to put down the garment where it doesn’t have a chance to be ruined.

“There is chilled honeyed milk and some delightful treats, if you’re feeling at all hungry or thirsty,” Carmella adds with a motion towards the table. A couple glasses and a few cookies missing suggests that some of it has already been sampled. With introductions underway and food and beverage made available, Carmella again takes her seat while fighting off another blush from Elanna’s innocent questioning.

Lady Lanei was simply offering us some of her personal insight into the difference in customs between Dorne and the rest of Westeros,” Carmella explains as diplomatically as she can. She has no doubts that the widow knows of what the Dornishwoman speaks.

“A second gift also,” Elanna continues, producing a green corked bottle of summerwine, “From the Baratheon cellars. Open it when you wish.” Her eyes twinkle then.

“The Maid knows that men are such tiresome creatures. They should be put into stocks very young and only let out when they have been very very good, or you wish to be very very bad.” Aye, no fainting viriginal maid is this, nor innocent.

She leans forward to Lanei.

“Is it true what I have heard about your ladies and your use of silk in the bedroom?” she raises an interested brow.

“The iced milk is, simply, delicious” Lanei points out, really waiting for Elanna’s next words, even if to check how would she react to the topic, or say about. “But I did not know that you were born today… sixteen years ago? Then we should celebrate your nameday one of these days.” Shaking her head, the dornish lady ventures, “But, I am afraid, I was not really telling them of all our customs. Yet, as expected, they… or lady Carmella at least, feels curious about.”

As the Penrose lady speaks, she cannot help but start laughing, and folds her arms to the chest. “I deem, my lady, that you had no luck with the men you met, or you would speak another. Tiresome? Most of the time they are, I agree, yet they have some uses that cannot be replaced.” Unless, of course, she likes to bed women. Would she?. Who knows.

“As for your question, you have aroused my curiosity. I, certainly, can think of a good number of things to do with a piece of silk. But would you please elaborate your question a bit more? What have you heard?”.

Carmella accepts the offered wine as graciously as she had the veil, quite surprised by both. “I shall save it and we shall all enjoy it together,” she says in a vague invitation to all of the women in the room. It too is set aside and Carmella leans back into the conversation again. Attempting to hide a blush is a lost cause by this point.

“Silk?” The single word spoken as a question comes from the Dondarrion girl who has the look of one who should probably understand that, but having the look of a Dornishwoman doesn’t offer the knowledge of one. “What would one do with a piece of silk in the bedroom? Wear it?” Her innocence is showing a great deal at this point, but if Lanei and Elanna are going to toss back and forth suggestions she doesn’t understand, she going’t ask for clarificaiton. “Aren’t you supposed to be naked for bedding?”

“Oh,” Elanna’s smile grows a little distant, “There are still a few good ones left. Not all belong in the stocks, I suppose.” She rests back in her chair.

“But nay, it was not by birthday today. My birthday is not until next month. I was given the veil -then- when I was sixteen,” she explains again. Her hand rests against her stomach gently as she looks at Lanei with faintly twinkling eyes.

“Perhaps the rumours are not so true then,” she tilts a smile at Carmella, “Nakedness is overrated, never underestimate the appeal of making him wait for what he wants, and then not letting him see it…” Nary even a blush.

She is there, but she remains silent, listening. Jyana props her chin on one hand, surveying the landscape out of Carmella’s window. She is half listening to the curious questions posed to Lanei, while the other half is letting her mind wander freely. She seems content in doing so, and while she would blush now and then, she doesn’t pose any questions, strangely enough. But her quip from earlier had done wonders for having to answer the earlier inquiries seriously.

“Oh my love!

“Oh my darling!”

“Love puppet!”

“Oh, you wild stallion you!”

The maiden gapes at the spectacle occurring outside of Carmella’s window. She rolls her head back, and comically puts the open book over her eyes as she hangs on her chair like a limp ragdoll.

The world was conspiring against her today.

“As said, lady Carmella, I can figure out many uses for silk, even in the bedroom. And, certainly no one would involve a nightgown made of silk, if not to remove it - and as soon as possible. As for to be naked, or not, that would depend of many things, as are how you planned your night, where would the… meeting take place, or even if you are in hurry or not.”

She pauses and nods to Elanna. “Or, as the lady says, to have them waiting is good. But once the moment arrives… gowns interfere a lot. Yet, my lady, I think that this is no convenient chat for young maidens, at least in this part of the world.” Her attention is turned to the Penrose lady now. “May I presume, my lady, that you are married? I—” The sounds -well, sort of- coming from the yard distract her… fairly. “And I wonder what is going there? Aside the evident, that is.”

This is a lot of information for the Dondarrion girl to be taking in, but she seems to be happily absorbing any tidbit of information offered to her. If anything, it has proven an able distraction to her earlier pains. “So then, you don’t have to be ...”

That’s about all Carmella can get out before the voices from outside drift into her window, silencing her immediately. She looks from one lady to the next, gauging reactions and trying to make sense out of what they’re hearing. She’s not so naive as to not have an inkling of it but ...“Outside, in the middle of the day,” she says finally, getting to her feet as if she were going to actually go to the window and look outside and find the source of the ‘distraction’. She is the curious sort, after all.

“Silk around the eyes, also,” Elanna smiles again, “As for appropriate..” she shrugs, “It is the duty of married women, Westeros over, to advise our youngsters, lest they be disappointed. ‘Tis better for them to know than to be horrified…” she frowns, “Unless you are both horrified…?” She looks upon Carmella first, and then Jyana…with quite a suprised stare.

“I -was- married, my lady,” Elanna continues..somewhat distracted, “Well now.” She stands with Carmella to go look.

“Is it so hard to get a room in this Red Keep? Or to search for a better place to have their fun? I do not think that a yard, in the afternoon, could be considered the best place to fuck as they do, especially as they are the yelling types.” She frowns upon this, paying no heed to her language, for once.

Lanei lowers her voice a little to comment Elanna’s words. “Ah, to play the blind, or to blind your man, as well as to tie him to the head of the bed… sure, all those things are fairly interesting. And… many others things are too. But if you were married, and lost your husband… I can only offer you my condolences for your loss, although by your words, surely to light a candle to the Mother in gratitude would be more appropriate. Take whatever suits you the best, then.”

“Oh no, I’m not horrified,” Jyana says, her voice muffled on the pages of the book left in a pyramid over her face. “Certainly, not at all. Please continue, Lady Elanna, Lady Lanei. Don’t worry, I’m listening. While trying to ignore the extramarital tryst happening outside.”

The nearby copse of trees partially hide two figures locked in a passionate embrace. Things might escalate, as they usually do.

Ah, but how did the young lady know?

She pulls the book away from her face and sets it down on her lap. “Different house colors,” she states, by way of explanation.

Elanna turns to look at Lanei in brief amusement, her gaze briefly sharp, “You think it inappropriate to talk about my life with my husband now that he is gone? Or shall I forget him and only reminisce his feats of arms and not his ability as a husband,” She utters a brief snort and folds her arms across her chest, “For I have had no other lover since him, or before.” She frowns and turns back to the window.

Carmella reaches the window, heedless of what is proper or improper at this point in the interest of educating herself. Her hands grip the window’s ledge and she leans out a little, looking for the couple making the rather amusing noises.

Then she spots the couple doing all kinds of things with hands and lips and ... Carmella gasps in surprise at the sight of hitched up skirts and breeches around the ankles and the intensity of it all. But try as she might, she can’t get a good enough look at their faces, though she’s certainly getting a good look at the man’s pale backside. “Oh my, that’s ...” There really are no words, so Carmella just quiets and continues secretly watching.

“There you are, ladies,” Elanna interjects briefly, “If you ever wanted to know…there you are.” She gestures.

She blinks at Elanna, then Carmella watching, and Lanei looking amused. Jyana can’t help it. Despite what’s going on, and no matter what her feelings are in terms of infidelity, she bursts out laughing. “Dirty voyeurs!” she exclaims. “ALL of you! Oh woe, that I be seen in such shameless company! Oh Mother, forgive your pure and devoted servant!” She clasps her hands in front of her, and bows her head. “I promise to visit the sept -seven times- tomorrow!”

Jesting? Of COURSE she is. Hence why she’s bowing her head, so no one would see the mirth in her eyes.

“Well” Lanei laughs, softly shaking her shoulders, “I am not going to ask for their Houses trying to know if the get along or not. Nor I am interested to know if they are married or are high-born. But I would ask them to be more… discreet. If they are caught in the middle of such a meeting, they are going to regret it, and deeply.”

Turning back to Elanna, she shrugs. “I do not like to judge the rest of the world, as I do not like to be judged, so, I could not say what is inappropriate or not. That would depend on you. At any rate, I admire your devotion to him. And now, with your leave, and the ladies’, I will return back to our Tower. It is getting late and, after all, I came for a brief visit. My thanks for all, lady Carmella. Hopefully we’ll meet again soon” she curtsies and gets ready to depart.

“Ah, and for what is worth… I have had no other lover since my betrothed was killed before Hellholt’s seat.” With this, she turns on her heels and leaves the chamber.

While the initial shock was entertaining, as Carmella continues to watch she starts to feel a bit uncomfortable, mostly for the couple who have no idea that there are eyes watching them. Jyana provides enough of a distraction to pull Carmella’s attention away from the lovers and back into the room, though the Arryn’s words cause her to jump. She turns her back on the lovers and even takes a few steps away from the window - avoiding temptation perhaps - and stares at Jyana until she realizes the girl is likely joking with them, and then she laughs a little.

Lanei’s departure is somewhat unexpected but Carmella understands her need to leave. “As always, I’ve appreciated your company,” Carmella says, ignoring the earlier conversation that set them at odds. “I hope you have a pleasant evening, Lady Lanei.”

“A pleasure to meet you, my lady,” Elanna watches the girl with that same look of vague amusement, and bows her head.

“I am sure we shall see each other again.” She turns back to Carmella.

“Well now..” she drawls, “That was interesting. You really do need curtains.” Her eyes sparkle with mischief.

Of course she was joking! Jyana removes her face from her hands and stands up from where she is. “Good evening, Lady Lanei. Thank you for the discussion.”

She looks between the two remaining ladies, and she folds her hands behind her back, rocking slightly on her heels. “Some nice, thick curtains,” she agrees, nodding sagely and winking over at Elanna.

She exhales softly, and tucks a lock of hair back behind her ear. “I really should depart as well, unless you would like me to stay again, Carmella? My septa would understand,” she says, a more serious expression directed to her friend.

“Curtains might be a good idea,” Carmella says, glancing at the windows and ignoring the shutters that have been left open. She’s smiling a little more now and that’s a big improvement over yesterday. At Jyana’s question she shakes her head. “I appreciate the offer, but I think I will be fine on my own. I’ve been given some things to think on and I think some time to do so is necessary. But I think you for staying with me, the company was most welcome.”

As long as she is offering her thanks, Elanna is not to be left out. “And I have not forgotten your kind offer yesterday, for a place to stay at the Baratheon manse, Lady Elanna. If I was residing in the Dondarrion apartments I might have had need to accept, but the offer is no less appreciated. You both have been very kind to me.”

“Of course. Perhaps we could go into the city? I have no idea as to what to get you for a gift,” Jyana states simply, with a smile. “So I thought it might be a little more adventurous if we walked around and you could pick one.”

She drops a curtsey towards both women. “Thank you very much for having me, Carmella. It’s good to see you, Lady Elanna.” Turning, she opens the door, and heads on out.

Elanna shakes her head, “You have the protection of your liege lord, whether he is in residence or nay. Your house is among the bravest amongst Corwen’s bannermen, and I know it.” She tilts her head and smiles at the girl.

“In any case, I grow weary of having all these…men, around me. One mopes and follows me with puppydog eyes because he feels I kicked him, the other…” she shakes her head, “...well, he stomps around like a bear with a sore head.”

Carmella gives a little shake of her head. “I honestly do not understand what happened but I am ill over what it could me. I do hope that this does not bring trouble between my lord father and Lord Corwen for I know my father is ever dutiful to House Baratheon.” And without realizing it, the conversation comes full circle, though Carmella is feeling a little better about it the second time around.

“I know it is not my place, but if there is anything I might do, should unforeseen problems arise, please do let me know.” As to what she could do, Carmella could not say. The shame is not hers, as Lady Reyna mentioned the day before, and it should not be hers to correct, but the offer is still given. “But I do not mind a visit, if only to help you to bear the presence of men, a presence I’ve not been subjected to for a while, but am having to learn to live with again.”

“I imagine so,” Elanna smiles at the girl, “There will be no ill feeling between our families, I know it. He made his own choices.” Her words were now soft.

“He must now deal with the consequences, as shall Sarmion.” She stands.

“Shall I fetch you anything? Milk? Wine?” she gestures at the summerwine.

Red Keep: Maegor’s Holdfast <Guest Apartments>

Dusty? For certain.

Dirty? Some women might think so.

But drunk? The aroma of wine does not waft from his body, nor are his cheeks blustery with it. Yet there is some strange way that he carries himself, some hitch in his step, some gleam in his eye, that does not suggest he comes here as the Seven intended. Or is that gleam simply…

...Jonn being what he is: A Lannister of Casterly Rock.

“Thank you very much for letting me stay, Ser Amond,” Jyana says, curtseying to the Hedge Knight, and being as polite as always. She turns around then, stepping away from the door of Carmella’s apartments, and walks down the hall. Before she rounds it however, someone catches her attention, stepping into view.

There is a small blink, and she smiles.

“Jonn!” she calls out, with the same enthusiasm in her tone whenever she greets him, trotting towards him.

Red Keep: Maegor’s Holdfast <Carmella’s Rooms>

Carmella shakes her head and moves to take a seat again, though her eyes drift towards the tray of sweets. “No, please I am fine, there is no need to trouble yourself,” she says, only to be momentarily distracted by another yell from outside, causing another quick blush to rise. “I hope they’re finished,” she says, bending down to pick up a book that had been left. She barely even looks at the cover as she crosses over to the bookshelf to put it back.

“No doubt both of them have thought over what had happened. Though that it did not come to blows makes me happy for while my brother is well-trained, your brother’s legacy is well-known, Lady Elanna. But, as you say, that is their concern.”

“Indeed, I would prefer we remain as friends,” Elanna affirms with a smile, “Let them sort it out between them. Sarmion knows how to stay his blade though…when to wield it, and when not…” She frowns at the doorway then.

“Who comes?”

Red Keep: Maegor’s Holdfast <Guest Apartments>

The Jewel steps up, and unabashedly hugs her good uncle around the waist like a little girl welcoming her father home. But Jyana pulls away after, smiling up at the taller Lannister. “What are you doing here?” she asks, folding her arms behind her back. “I thought you were staying at the Lannisters’ manse today?”

Simple enough questions. She gestures slightly to the side. “I was just coming back from seeing Carmella.”

Black Jonn pats the Jewel on the back—and there is no awkwardness in the gesture, despite the rumors that float around the young Arryn and all of Lord Loren’s children—smiling down on her either benevolently or mock-benevolently—likely the latter. “I was going to,” he says, “but Jaesin and Mat are saying their prayers to the Dragonknight shrine in the kitchen, so…” There is a smirk on his face as he says this, and it is entirely unclear whether he jokes or not.

Red Keep: Maegor’s Holdfast <Carmella’s Rooms>

Carmella was halfway into a chair when Elanna’s question is asked, but the Dondarrion girl doesn’t have an answer for her, she’s as lost as Elanna. “It seems as if there is no lack of visitors today,” she murmurs, getting back to her feet and crosses over to the door herself. She had heard Jyana speaking to someone, but the voices were cut off as the door closed, not that she would have recognized the Lannister’s voice.

She opens the door to find Ser Amond still there, watching Jyana and Jonn without a flicker of amusement. He could be a statue for all the good he’s doing at the moment. “Lady Jyana?” Carmella holds the door open, should Elanna follow behind her. “Is everything all right?”

“....why would they be praying to the Dragonknight?” Jyana says with a furrow of her brows, looking up at Jonn with a confused expression. “Isn’t that a little heretical?” She didn’t peg Jaesin to be a blasphemer after all, though Mat…well, Mat seemed like a playboy, but he seemed an honest-to-goodness Seven-worshipper.

Elanna does not follow, she remains seated rather, by the window this time, a goblet of honey milk in hand from which she sips periodically.

“Who is it, Carmella?” the Penrose widow queries.

When Carmella pokes her head out, Jyana turns and smiles, waving slightly to her. “Everything’s alright,” she says simply. “It’s just my good uncle. I was greeting him.”

There is a moment of silence as Jonn considers his good-niece’s response, and then his eyes, utterly inscrutable, his face giving away nothing, flash toward Carmella.

But his smile? No, there is none; he merely looks at the woman, as though judging her for some heinous crime.

Still, he says to Jyana, but softly: “The Dragonknight is second in my brothers’ esteem only to the Seven, if it be heretical otherwise.”

The Dondarrion’s dark eyes look to Jonn, meeting his gaze but when he does not smile, her own smile slips. She blinks and then looks back to Jyana, the confusion retreating as she gives her a brief nod. “Then I won’t trouble you any longer,” she finally says before stepping back into the room, letting the door close behind her.

“It was an uncle of Lady Jyana’s,” Carmella explains to Elanna, just now realizing she never got the man’s name. “I would guess Lannister by the look of him, but perhaps not.” The expression had faded from Carmella’s eyes as she turned back towards Elanna, but the confusion begins to rise in her voice. “I don’t believe my intrusion was welcome,” she adds.

“With Lannisters, they rarely are, dear,” Elanna drawls airily, “So which is it? Jaesin or Jonn? Or is there more uncles in King’s Landing I know nothing of?” She sips again.

“Come sit, dear, if he intends on visiting, I am sure he shall.”

“I remember seeing Ser Jaesin at the feast and that certainly wasn’t him,” Carmella says, taking the seat suggested by Elanna. Her brow furrows, that look given still lingering in her mind and she looks to be trying to puzzle something out. “Though I can’t imagine why he’d be visiting, I don’t even know the man,” she adds, looking over at her current companion as the lines on her forehead begin to fade.

“Lady Jyana had mentioned a trip out into the city,” Carmella starts again, changing the topic to once again, something more comfortable. “I do hope you would join us. I fear to say I don’t know what the lady has planned, but I think a visit outside the Red Keep might be a fine idea, I’ve only seen a small amount of King’s Landing.”

“Oh dear,” Elanna chuckles, “So Ser Jonn it is. This should be interesting.” She casts a sparkling glance at the door only briefly before turning her attention back to Carmella.

“Where do you plan to go? I have been to the Dragonpit…and…” she frowns, “Oh yes, the Three Hills Inn. Charming place. quite…rustic.” Snobbish, much.

“Rustic,” Carmella repeats, letting the word roll off her tongue, it has a familiar sound to it. “Would that be the same inn that you and Lady Reyna were telling us about?” Carmella remembers the discussion well and the place didn’t sound all that inviting at that time either. “I had once a mind to visit the Street of Silk when I first arrived in King’s Landing. That is, until I was informed of the kind of offerings are to be found there.” Carmella actually smiles a little at that, considering their earlier conversation on silk in the bedroom.

“Aside from that, I’m afraid I don’t know. I suspect that Lady Jyana might have some ideas, though if she does not I am sure we can find some establishments to entertain us.”

Elanna arises slowly, “I am sorry, dear, I really should go. I have an appointment this evening to keep.” She addresses Carmella with a smile.

“For a Dondarrion to unhorse a Lannister,” says Jonn, “no matter the age, it is a great accomplishment.”

Carmella rises when her guest does, preparing to see her out. “I do appreciate you taking the time to visit and again, thank you for the gifts. I am sure we will see each other again soon. I pray you have a good evening, Lady Elanna.”

“I shall!” Elanna smiles again, “Please come see me soon and do enjoy wearing that veil. I did.” She reaches out to squeeze Carmella’s hand briefly, before making for the door, tilting her head at Jonn Lannister and a smile for Jyana, before disappearing down the corridor.