Blood of Dragons

The 'A Song of Ice and Fire' MUSH


Not Mine To Save
IC Date: Day 24 of Month 12, 163 AC. (about 3 pm)
RL Date: August 25, 2012.
Participants: Cadan Nymeros Martell, Caitrin Blackmont, Coran Wyl, Corrent Gargalen, Joscelyn Mallister, Orivel Dayne, Rhodry Nymeros Martell, Senara Santagar, and Tanyth Toland.
Locations: Sunspear: Courtyard.

Summary: A leading member of the Westerosi Embassy gives his thoughts on Sunspear and the Shadow City. The Dornish are not best pleased.

After the lunch hour on such a fine day sees the courtyard of Sunspear bustling with activity. A mild breeze keeps the robes of men and women alike ruffling, the leaves of those blood-orange trees rustling, and the unruly curls of a certain young girl blowing against her face.

Lady Senara stands in the relative shadow of one such tree, watching her daughter play a borderless hopscotch on the crunching gravel of the courtyard.

The Santagar woman is all darkness today, shade notwithstanding, an open scowl marring the dusky beauty of her angular features. She stands rigidly still, arms crossed together, while that gentle wind dares to disturb the light sheers and silks of her dress.

Fearlessly jovial, Prince Cadan comes strutting into the courtyard with his infamous bravo’s walk—all rolling gait and swaggering shoulders. It may be the norm for such men in Braavos, but here in Dorne it sets him apart, and he seems pleased enough with that. Or other things.

Biting into another of his beloved blood oranges with a lingering savor for the deep red juice, his gaze falls on his daughter at play. It is there that he directs his footsteps.

Corrent comes chatting with a guard of Gargalen house, the young knight is wearing a scarlet robe and his traditional glass eye. His brown eye met both Prince Cadan and Lady Senara, he approaches the last with a grin, “Lady Senara, such a relaxing afternoon, isn’t it?” The Gargalen asks. A waving is given to the prince.

Wandering into the courtyard on this fair autumn afternoon is a woman and a young girl. Tanyth Toland is a well-known sight at court, and her young charge—charge for the day, at least—has been here some months by now. Rosarya Sand, daughter of Elysa Dayne, looks to have more in common with Tanyth in terms of her colouring, though she’s threatening to soon surpass her height and she’s leaner and lankier than Tanyth’s likely ever been. The pair are speaking together as they draw nearer to those already present.

Heaving a sigh as he spies his friend Corrent, the middle prince of House Martell calls out to the man in a light-hearted voice: “Still no eyepatch? Cover that thing around my poor daughter, you lout!”

His tone, both light and dry at once, makes Cadan’s words impossible to tell for a jest or an actual command. Perhaps they hold a bit of both.

Impossible as it seems given her already locked stance, Cadan’s arrival causes his wife’s posture to stiffen all the more. Even the wind leaves off playing with her skirts, as if sensing the coiling rage that flickers in the woman’s dark eyes as her gaze takes in the Prince’s approach.

The Gargalen knight receives no relief from that baleful look—she slides her eyes to the side, gifting him the briefest of acknowledgements. The “Yes,” she murmurs, at odds with her obvious mood, is barely heard as Cadan calls out. The woman draws a deep breath.

Leyla, for her part, only laughs in response to her father’s jest.

“And you won’t see me wearing those things for a long time, I don’t want to cover my beauties.” Says Corrent with a smile to the prince, turning back to Lady Senara he speaks, “Aren’t those blood-oranges the sweetest in Dorne?” The young knight sits next to the lady, even if he wasn’t invited to.

“Poor Ser Corrent, does your eye not find favour here? A shame, it is so finely made,” Tanyth wryly remarks on the topic of the knight’s artificial eye. “Rosarya, what do you think?” she then asks her cousin’s daughter, while also giving the girl a nudge to curtsey. Rosarya does, then gives Corrent a close look. “Pretty, like a jewel,” the girl concludes, a wild smile flashing on her face.

If Cadan notes the stiffness or indeed, the anger in the pose of his lady-wife, he does not confess to it. Instead he follows their daughter with a fond smile, while continuing to happily berate the Gargalen knight.

“Your ‘beauties’ are the scourge of Sunspear, Corrent,” the prince quips. “Or at least, the glass one is. Are you scrying the future with that thing, or merely the bottom of another wine-goblet? Seven help us, it’s hideous.”

Glancing briefly away from the girl at play, his gaze falls on the notorious Tanyth Toland and her young companion. “A jewel? You can’t -mean- that,” he scoffs.

It’s like to break her stiff neck, the way Senara twitches her head to the side to look down her prominent nose as Corrent sits on the bench, just there beneath the tree. “The sweetest,” she deadpans her response, and remains standing.

Tanyth and Rosarya approach, joining in the joke of the Gargalen’s false eyes. She bothers to murmur a proper greeting to both women, at least, and looks past them to where her daughter skips around the Prince. It’s the girl, rather than the man, who receives her attention—and that look softens Senara’s hard features only slightly.

“Thanks miladies, the dragonglass was a bit expensive, but it is pretty enough, had to ship it from Myr.” Informs Corrent, “But no, divination isn’t a thing that I’m able to do with it, however that would be nice at some situations.” He draws a grin on his face.

“Why not?” is Rosarya’s response to Cadan, followed—after a nudge from Tanyth—by an added “my prince”. Tanyth’s lips quirk into a wry smile, though it fades somewhat as she takes the time to observe the interactions between Cadan and Senara. In the end, she chooses to address Corrent once more. “A good choice. If one has to have a glass eye, making it Myrish craftsmanship is the thing to do. Though I rather hope it does not have to become a fashion.”

“If it threatens to become a fashion, I’ll poke his other eye out,” the prince snorts. Then turning his gaze back to the twirling girl Leyla, his daughter, he indulges another smile and tells her, “You -are- a wonder, lass. Don’t mind the rotten Ser Corrent and his Evil Eye.”

They come from the Lesser Gate, from the Shadow City: a small group of men. Two of the men are guardsmen, armed and armored and bearing the livery of House Wyl: a black adder biting a heel on a yellow field—for at the head of the small column strides Coran Wyl in quiet conversation with the grey-robed maester, Kennos.

“... know that these things take time,” says the heir to the Boneway, his voice carrying on the wind before him. “He has -had- time—and plenty of it.” The maester begins to repond, his voice far more hushed than Wyl’s, but it is then that Coran espies the noble gathering. With a wry smile, and absently waving off the maester, he makes his approach.

“Even I would not replace my eyes with jewels,” notes a new voice, low and purring. Caitrin Blackmont has approached, clad in a rich new gown of purple trimmed in yellow. “And I will put a gem into anything.” To illustrate her point, she twirls the white lock of her hair around a finger, and it is indeed beaded with amethysts and citrines today.

Glancing up and away from his daughter at the approach of Caitrin Blackmont, the Prince smiles a bit wryly—then holds up a hand in a muted gesture of patience to all around him. A second maester has come, this one eyeing him with a beady look.

With first a single backstep, and then another as prelude, Cadan pivots on a heel and moves a few feet away, beckoning the maester to join him. The fellow does, and soon the pair are engaged in a hushed conversation, nearby but conveniently removed from earshot.

“Have you learnt nothing from our jousting days with the northerns?” Says Corrent to Cadan with a wry smile. “My eye is just one of the things that cannot be rebuilt.” He sighs and then pick one blood-orange from the leather bag that was tied to his belt, handing over to Lady Senara, “Do you want one milady?” He asks with a smile, “I’ve got plenty for everybody here, they are just popping throught Dorne.”
Leyla preens beneath her father’s indulgent attention, making childish mockery of the Gargalen’s missing eye by covering one of her own. With a laugh, the girl dances away from the Prince and approaches her mother.

“Manners, dear,” Senara reminds the girl, who dips her curtsies and gives her greetings with rote perfection. The Santagar lady is less than perfect in her own execution of courtly grace—merely noting the newly arriving nobles with a brief nod.

Her eyes are on her husband, tracking the path he and the maester take.

“Anything?” Tanyth wryly asks of Caitrin, though at least the Black Tempest leaves it at that, perhaps due to the presence of the the two young girls. “That does suit you, though,” she continues, with a nod to the beading in Caitrin’s hair. Rosarya eyes it too, with a hint of jealousy. It seems the girl has something of a magpie in her, attracted to things that gleam and glitter.

But the heir to the Boneway never reaches the group; Maester Kennos moves quick enough to speak into the Wyl heir’s ear. Coran stops, looks aside to the man, nods. And the pair change their course, moving toward the Sandship, once again speaking in hushed tones.

One prince departs, another enters: Prince Rhodry, alone, perhaps come to pass an idle hour… one of many, doubtless, that he has before him today. And so he sees various figures, some familiar, with the same thought. Perhaps that would detract from the pleasures of the courtyard, for some, who prefer solitude and contemplation, but Rhodry is not cursed with such desires. So he appears, and offers a nod and, “My lords, my ladies,” as greetings. His dark eyes take in Tanyth and her ward for a moment, thin lips set in their usual, arrogant smile before he turns to Senara and says, “What business does Cadan have with a maester, my lady? It must be important, to leave you alone with the likes of women and children. And Ser Corrent, of course.”

Trying to not make Senara ignoring his offer being noticed, Corrent starts to eat it. “Prince Rhodry.” He greets politely, before turning to Caitrin, “Milady, where can I found adorments like those? I’m planning to give my sister Joleta a gift.” The knight asks.

The arrival of Rhodry draws a thoughtful look from Tanyth, though soon enough she flashes one of her usual smiles his way. “Prince Rhodry. Your boy is turning out to be surprisingly well-mannered, all considered,” she tells the prince, presumably in reference to his bastard Lewyn, of late page to Ser Aidan. “Though I do not imagine you can take the credit for it.”

“Anything,” Caitrin says to Tanyth, widening her eyes a little before looking around at Corrent and laughing. “Any jeweler worth his pay can make you beads from gems,” she informs him. “But I doubt Lady Joleta would care to be caught emulating -me-. And if she did, I would have to change my own way of dressing my hair, for I do not care to emulated by her. A terrible situation, I fear. Hello, my prince. Lady Senara. My lady,” she adds, bowing gravely to Leyla.

Senara’s gaze snaps away from Cadan only as Rhodry addresses her. Standing as still as stone, arms still afold beneath her chest, the woman turns her head ever so slightly so that she might meet the youngest prince’s gaze directly.

“I wouldn’t know, my prince—your brother does not share /all/ of his… business with me,” the lady supplies what answer she can with a sour twist of her mouth.

At Senara’s skirts, one hand clinging to the silken fabric, Leyla gazes at the bejeweled Blackmont woman with open wonder.

On the heels of Coran Wyl strides another. The diminutive Joscelyn Mallister, Joscelyn the Just, strides purposefully through the Lesser Gate. He walks alone, dressed in the indigo slashed with silver of his house; his chin is held high; his eyes look down the long, crooked, beak of his nose as they settle upon one face and the next: Blackmont, Gargalen, Santagar, Toland—and Martell. A nod of his grey-dappled head, and the Westerosi lord makes his way over to the assemblage.

“Ladies,” says the soft-spoken Lord of Seagard. “My lord of—Gargalen,” he continues, with an eye to Corrent and the Gargalen guardsman, “my lord of Martell.”

“I didn’t mean that, Lady Caitrin,” Says Corrent with a smile “It is just that that jewels make your beautiful hair even glamorous.” The smile of the knight just vanishes when the northern approaches, however he is able to give a polite greeting to the Lord, “Lord Joscelyn.” It is everything that he says.

Rhodry does not, plainly, take credit for his bastard’s manners: he shrugs his shoulders at what Tanyth says. When Senara responds as she does, there’s a moment’s lift of fine, dark brows. “Does he not?” Rhodry asks her, though utterly incapable of feigning incredulousness. “I shall have to chastize him.” But that’s the sort of thing he would say, this inconstant prince, and his attention is soon caught in the approach of Joscelyn Mallister.

“Lord Mallister,” the Dornish prince says in greeting. “How do you find Dorne? Have you a liking for the Old Palace?” The questions are not, precisely, asked in a friendly tone.

Tanyth, too, offers a greeting to Lord Mallister, and while not warm her tone is at least polite. “Lord Mallister, you rode well in the tourney,” she tells him. A slightly wary look is given Rhodry, as if she wonders what the prince might get up to. Though, the guests have survived unharmed for several weeks, have they not?

“Did you ride well? I was watching your opponent,” Caitrin asks Joscelyn. “My lord.” She adds this as an afterthought. She gives a last smile at Leyla, then promptly forgets she is present. Caitrin is not known to be the most motherly of women, in spite of having her own.

Prince Rhodry’s comment works as good as sympathy, such as it is, and Senara’s tight frame loosens by a small degree. Her dark eyes move from the prince to the Mallister, though the expression on her face lacks much in the way of welcome. “Lord Mallister,” she repeats the pleasantries of others, and there, too, her tone is as wooden as her posture.

With so many adults at present and going about their business, Leyla skirts another curtsey and dashes off to play in the courtyard again.

Lord Mallister speaks to the lady first, inclining his head a hair’s breadth as he does so. “I thank you for saying so, my lady. I knew your men could fight, of course, but I wondered at the quality I might find in the lists. And now I know.” This last with a flat look to Caitrin.

And then to the prince. “I find Dorne to be more welcoming then when I was here last, to be sure. The Old Palace is a marvel; my apartments are more than I could ask for. And the city!”

Joscelyn closes his eyes a moment, breathes deeply. “Oh, the city! I have taken to walking her streets, did you know? Day or night—it matters not. And do you know what I’ve found, my lords and ladies?” He pauses, awaiting their answers.

“That the shadow city is as welcoming as our sand, my lord?” Rhodry asks, a false smile on his lips, when Mallister pauses for effect. “I’m told you like the sand well enough, having rested on it once or twice during the tourney.”

At long length, Prince Cadan finally disengages from his conference with the grey-robed, balding maester. Dismissing the man at last with a muttered word, he puts on a look of cheerful indifference and finds his way back toward the small knot of men of women.

They are gathered, conveniently enough, near where his daughter plays—so Prince Cadan merely nods to his brother as he rejoins Senara, Corrent and the rest. The Mallister receives a vague study as well, but his daughter draws the most of his attention.

Corrent chuckles to Rhodry comment, but the disconfort is still evident on his face. Trying to drive his attention away from the northern he turns towards Tanyth, “Lady Tanyth, it is been a while since we last met, what have you been up too?” He asks, showing some curiosity on his tone.

“Oh, Father,” the little princess calls as Cadan comes near, and swiftly even that famed courtier’s mild mask of courtly pleasaunce falls—revealing true delight as he sweeps her up in his arms. Twirling the girl around once, then a second time, her sire sets her down on her tiptoes with a laugh.

“All men fall, my lord of Martell,” begins Lord Joscelyn, “that they might learn humility, and arise the stronger for it.” There is no humor in Mallister’s eyes, nor is there rancor. “What I found is that your city is a pit: greed; corruption; violence; lust!” Now there is rancor. Each word is spoken more harshly than the last.

“A woman lifted her skirts to me on the street—in broad daylight!—offering her charms for a beggar’s price. Your city has fallen from the grace of the Seven, my lord.”

“Never have I seen such a hive of scum and villainy.”

“That the shadow city smells better than King’s Landing?” guesses Caitrin, smiling sweetly at the northman. When he explains, however, her face closes like shutters coming down. “My princes, our guest dislikes his accomodations. Whatever shall we do?”

The exchange between emissarie from King’s Landing and Prince Rhodry retains most of Tanyth’s attention, though as Corrent addresses her, she glances in the Gargalen knight’s direction. “Little of consequence, Ser Corrent,” she begins to say, and then Lord Joscelyn gives his response. The look that crosses her face is a mixture of alarm and irritation.

She forgets, alas, about her companion at this point, failing to notice the evident interest with which Rosarya listens to the fiery proclamation.

Something in Mallister’s speech—his words, his tone, his diction, perhaps even his accent—draws the attention of Rhodry’s elder brother. Quickly schooling his face in another mild expression, the change seen only to his daughter, Cadan whispers something in Leyla’s ear.

The little girl eyes the northern lord with eyes briefly wide, then suddenly carefully composed… and turns to skip blithely off out of earshot.

Only then does her father stroll back toward where Rhodry and the Mallister trade their talk. He tries to draw Senara’s attention toward their daughter with a flicker of his eyes.

By the time Cadan’s attention breaks from the maester’s and settles on their daughter, Senara attention has full caught upon the verbal jousting between the prince and the visiting northron lord.

“Is this what passes for civility from the devout? I had not noticed a septons robes upon your person, Lord Mallister,” the lady remarks dryly, her derisive gaze slipping from the man’s face and out to the courtyard—

Where her husband’s flickering glance causes the woman a moment of indecision. Her face darkens in response to his silent note—but Leyla’s beckoning call does not go ignored. She steps away from the gathering, momentarily joining her daughter’s side.

Rhodry seems ... amazed by what Lord Mallister says. A hand lifts, to rub at his mouth seemingly, yet the smirk behind it is plain enough with those with eyes to see. “A beggar’s price, you say?” Rhodry then asks, sounding concerned. “You might have a different opinion of our vices had you tried one of the pleasure houses on the Street of Sighs, instead.” That his niece skips away, he does not notice or seem to care—truth be told, he hardly noted her at all when he arrived; he’s not the most thoughtful of nuncles.

The commentaries of the northern make Corrent frowns, “Maybe some northerns have something to do with it, the war affected Dorne,” He says in a harsh tone, staring at Joscelyn with his red glass eye, “and its citizens, would you like to visit Salt Shore someday?” The knight asks, “I’m sure that we have a lot of things to show to your emissaries.” A grin is seen on the Gargalen face.

“What is considered a vice in King’s Landing is not necessarily thought of in the same fashion in Sunspear,” Tanyth fills in after some of the others have already given their responses to Lord Mallister. Her voice is a touch strained now and she is plainly torn between attempting to continue avoiding a more hostile approach to this particular emissary. “Customs differ,” she concludes.
Cadan has connected.

“What is considered a vice in King’s Landing is not necessarily thought of in the same fashion in Sunspear,” Tanyth fills in after some of the others have already given their responses to Lord Mallister. Her voice is a touch strained now and she is plainly torn between attempting to continue avoiding a more hostile approach to this particular emissary. “Customs differ,” she concludes.

Now it is the turn of Cadan Martell to interrupt. Smoothly interjecting himself into the talk betwixt Prince Rhodry and the erstwhile ambassador of the Targaryens, the velvet-voiced princeling with the bravo’s swagger calmly clears his throat.

“Do not be so hard on him as all that, Rhodry,” Cadan interjects. “Nor you, friend Corrent. It is grown quite clear to me that our fine Lord Mallister merely misses the comforts of home: hard benches in his Sept, and the like.”

“I’m quite sure,” Cadan continues softly, “that his lordship will even set himself a penance for such talk of his honored hosts, when the Shadow City can barely hold a candle to the filthier warrens of King’s Landing. You shall—” he looks at Joscelyn now with those dark, dark eyes, smiling innocently, “shan’t you, my lord?”

Joscelyn’s attention is solely for Rhodry. If he notes the words of the others, if he notes their presence, he gives away nothing.

Until Corrent speaks. Lord Mallister’s head whips toward the younger, one-eyed man; Joscelyn’s own eyes widen. And he nods.

“And there you have it!” the lord of Seagard exclaims! “It was His Grace’s folly that led to this! Daeron, in his youthful exuberance! It was we who brought the war upon you; it was we who forced the faithful upon this path.”

That finished, Joscelyn turns to Cadan with a nod. “One man alone cannot win back a city from the depths of sin, my lord,” he says, closing his eyes again and cocking his head to one side. A heartbeat passes, two, and the lord’s eyes flutter open. “But though we northerners have a hand in this—the city is not mine to save.”

Caitrin rolls her eyes and turns to Tanyth. “I’m off home,” she mouths to the other woman and her companion. She bobs a curtsy to the Princes and Senara and even the northerner, then sweeps away with her mouth pressed together so firmly it is clear she is swallowing down nasty retort to the emissary.

“The whores on the Street of Sighs would have been much harder on Lord Mallister,” Rhodry protests, the smirk not leaving his thin lips. “I’m gentle as a lamb, by comparison.” His black eyes travel up and down Joscelyn the Just’s short height, and then he seems to be reminded of something. He asks the others, “Is this not the old one Rachelle Qorgyle spoke of? I was half drunk, being as it was noon, so perhaps I misremember.”

“Not his to save,” Cadan repeats smoothly, as if underlining a point. “You see, my lords? The man cannot be held responsible for his words, when he neither knows of what he speaks,” he explains with a grateful nod to Tanyth Toland, “nor carries the weight of it on his shoulders.”

He glances back to check the progress of Senara and Leyla, before affording himself an admiring view of Caitrin’s retreat. It is during this moment of thoughtful contemplation that he says to Rhodry, almost offhandedly, “It is.”

“So eager to sit in judgment of our fine city, this one,” purrs Orivel Dayne, overhearing the conversation as he limps across the courtyard in a flowing purple robe, lined with fox fur, an ever-present smile across his face. Behind him trails a young page, arms overloaded with scrolls, and he taps the boy on the back with his staff to indicate he should hurry.

“Much easier to do so when you have no stake in the matter,” he continues, nodding in agreement with Prince Cadan. “Ser Joscelyn, I can only presume,” Orivel says with a deep bow, followed by a second bow to the rest of the gathering.

Corrent follows the prince advice, giving a nod to him, but the frown on his face show that he hasn’t forgotten what the northerns did to him and his land. He stands up and approaches Cadan, leaning towards his ear. “You ... never trust ... ... my ... ... my ... ... and ... how ... my ... is.”

Idly, Prince Cadan lends an ear to the quiet confidences of his friend, Corrent Gargalen. The prince nods slightly, absent-mindedly stroking his stubbled chin—the growing beard is thickening now—but gives no verbal response. Only that gesture of agreement with whatever was said.

Caitrin’s departure seems to make Rhodry contemplate whether he ought to do the same, if for no better reason that now seems a fine time to have more wine and resume a pleasantly inebriated state. “Is it?” Rhodry replies, giving Joscelyn another look before addressing him. “My lord, how can a man judge vice if he has not sampled it? You might find your ... relations ... improved, if you had.” And after a silence, he adds, “With the Seven, I mean. Is it not written in the Seven-Pointed Star that one should love sinners as one loves oneself?”

(It’s not.)

Despite her previous attempts at a more…diplomatic demeanor, and despite her concerns about what might arise from the encounter between Lord Mallister and Prince Rhodry, Tanyth has to make an effort to restrain a wry grin in the wake of the prince’s comments. “If it were, Rhodry, then no one could accuse you of not trying your best to follow that tenet,” she dryly tells him.

But that lapse seems to settle matters for her. She waves Rosarya over to her side—the girl had been wandering off—and then turns back to Rhodry. “Might I have a word or two with you, in private?”
Joscelyn bows to the departing Caitrin, but he pays no heed to her retreating form, unlike the middle prince. But the arrival of the justicar draws his attention. “Lord Joscelyn,” he says. And that’s that, for Joscelyn turns back to the princes.

“I fear I’ve not met the lady Rachelle. Not yet.” Another cock of the head as Rhodry speaks, a furrowed brow. “It is not, my lord of Martell—though it does say that one should not love oneself overmuch, lest one places oneself ahead of the gods with their love.”

“I have a soft spot in my own heart for sinners,” confesses Cadan in the wake of his brother’s mis-quote, perhaps to the surprise of none at all. Yet the sparkle in his dark eyes catches flame as he adds with a more devilish undertone, “And they say some sinners from Lys can coax better worship from a man than the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone together.”

“They say much of sinners from Lys,” comes the tight, dark voice of the Lady Senara as she rejoins the group of nobles. Her careful, deliberate steps give the woman the look of a stalking leopard—and much like the one on her family sigil, the lady’s mouth bares teeth in what must pass for a forced smile. It does little to make light of the surely barbed comment. “They say /much/, indeed, my lord husband.”

Turning a blithe and innocent look on the Lady Senara, the elder of the princes smiles a knowing little smile. It is, altogether, a look entirely too pleased with itself. “I am sure that much and more of it is true, my dear. I thank you for the reminder—I have business in the city to attend to. My lords? Ladies.”

Then with a nod of his head and little more, Prince Cadan turns and moves away, his bravo’s swagger carrying him along with an effortless grace.

“Ah, well,” says Rhodry, mocking a crestfallen look. “The septons tend to hide the _Seven-Pointed Star_ whenever I’m about.” And then, thinking on it, he suggests, “Self-love is a northern vice, Mallister; we need only pay a ‘beggar’s price’, if that, here in Dorne to allow someone else provide the service.” His brother and good-sister speak, and for an instant he seems thoughtful.

Tanyth addresses him, then, and it seems that that’s a fine excuse to leave the field to the Seven-mad lord and those who amuse themselves with him. “Why not three or four?” he asks her, before gesturing with a hand. “Lead the way, my lady.” He starts to go, and then gives a bow as his way of farewell.

“I never tasted the Lysene girls, but if half of they say is true, then I should set sails towards Lys tomorrow.” Corrent grins at his own joke. The knight takes another bite on his blood-orange before waving a farewell to his friend, the Prince Cadan.

Orivel chuckles softly and bows again, even deeper this time. “Of course, Lord Mallister. My mistake,” righting himself again with his staff. And he keeps chuckling quietly to himself, along with the banter from Prince Cadan and the arrival of Lady Senara, before giving them both a nod in farewell. “Such talk of sinners! And thank the Seven for them, else the saints would have little to tell us,” he says quietly, still grinning.

And then there were three.

For his part, the lord of Seagard pays as little mind to the departing princes as he did to any of the others. His eyes flick toward Senara, his chin inclines a hair. “The Lysene are notorious sinners, my lady. It is known.”

And then, to Shortfoot, “One does not need sinners to be saintly, to set an example for those less fortunate, to help our fallen brothers back to the righteous path.” Joscleyn peers down his long nose at the crippled Dayne as he continues.

“There are so few amongst you Dornish that have shown a true faith. The Knight of the Twilight,” he pauses. “And the one they call the Dread Ser Daven—and look how the Seven smile upon these two men!”

In the wake of Cadan’s glib departure, his lady wife struggles to maintain a composure of courtly grace.

That the Mallister man drones on about his beloved beliefs does little to mollify the rage working wonders with her darkly beautiful features. Her lips twist together as if tasting something squirming and sour.

At last, the ire she’s held with an iron will comes bursting out of her lips: “Spare us your false compliments, my /lord/. I rather think you better off leading by example—go find some quiet corner to pray in. Preaching in the courtyard will not win you any favor here.”

Orivel grins slyly at the Mallister’s preaching, and arches an amused eyebrow at Senara’s curt reply. “True, perhaps my lord should pray to those who created such a sinful world, no?” he poses wryly, though mostly he awaits the northerner’s response to the lady.

The Lord of Seagard looks to Senara, eye to eye—indeed, the lady stands taller than the northerner! There is a sadness there, as he looks down his long, hooked nose at her. Joscelyn is silent for some time as she speaks, as Orivel speaks. A chill wind swirls amongst the orange trees, and Joscelyn the Just listens to it, breathes it in.

And then he steps closer: one step, two, three. He and the lady are -almost- touching now; almost, but not quite. When he speaks, he speaks softly. “The things they say, they cannot keep it from listening ears—not even northern ears. You are angry, and rightly so, for your husband is a whoremonger, and a sinner in the eyes of gods and righteous men. But take comfort in that you are innocent in this one thing, and the gods only give to us what each one of us can handle.”

He reaches one hand out, scarred and callused from long years of fighting—from long years of killing the Dornish—and places it gently upon Senara’s shoulder. Squeezes gently. Withdraws it.

And steps away. ‘When you are ready, lady, perhaps we can pray together of a morn. When you are ready, and not before.’ With two bows, one to the lady and one to the Justicar, Joscelyn turns on his heel and moves away. Toward the sept, no less.

In those silent moments between the wind and the footsteps the Mallister takes, the Lady Senara meets the man’s direct gaze with the full weight of her derision laid bare on her dark, sneering face. She makes no move as he approaches—but when Joscelyn’s soft words reach out to her, the lady flinches.

Not only does she flinch, then, as his comforting murmur continues, as he lays a hand on her shoulder… the Santagar woman begins to tremble, stunning her scowl into a look of open-eyed shock.

His departure goes wholly unremarked as the woman stands there, mouth agape, a hand slowly raising to rest shakily over her middle.

Then—with a choke that bursts across the courtyard like the snapping of a bone—the lady Senara, heir to Spottswood, wife of an infamous Martell Prince, begins to cry.

Simply leaning on his staff as the northener whispers what he will, Orivel proffers the Mallister another deep bow in farewell, but his attention quickly turns to Lady Senara as she begins to weep. “There, there, my lady,” he murmurs, producing a handkerchief from the folds of his robe and handing it over. “A silly man who thinks indulging oneself is a sin but bringing a lady to tears is the work of a saint, in my opinion. Shall I walk you back to your husband?” he asks respectfully, pointing his staff towards the towers.

As fast as those tears come, Senara is nearly as quick in staunching their flow with a growling ferocity. Her hands ball into fists, shoulders stiffening from the effort to will her body back to obedience, and the lady’s face twists again into a panting, tear-streaked scowl. The cloth the man in front of her offers is not taken, and neither is his offer. “Don’t—don’t—touch—me,” comes hissing from her mouth like a snake warning of its strike.

With a whirl of skirts, Senara turns and rushes off—stopping only to grab at the hand of her daughter, whose play stopped the moment her mother’s sob echoed across the courtyard. Together, they disappear quickly into the distance towards the Tower of the Sun.