Tytan stomped through the camp, pushing past those who got in his way, with a bowl of warm soup in one hand and a piece of bread he was dipping in it in another. His bulk made it easy for him to see well over the head of nearly every man there, and the crested emblem of the Golden Rose pinned to his fur short cloak ensured he was not molested by anyone that didn’t matter to him, not that he would have paid them any mind should they have tried. He chewed his food thoughtfully as his mind worked. “If I was the richest, and most important sod in the realm, where would I park my ass?” he mumbled as he looked for the gaudiest and nicest tent he could find. He finished his food with little thought as he made his way closer and closer to the goal of his little lady.
He threw his hand over the shoulder of another member of the Golden Rose when he saw them, feeling the man shake in fright at the sudden action before realizing who had done so with a blanched expression. “What is it Tytan? What do you want?” he said, almost sounding depressed. “Come now you sod, why the tone? You should perk up, the flame burns blue and it means we are gonna be in for a spot of fun! Who knows you might actually get your blade wet this time! I jest of course.” he said as he slapped the man's front playfully, though driving the wind from him a bit in the effort. “Now. Why don’t you point me in the direction of our Little Lady and I can be on my way. I can only assume that with all that is going on she will have a few things to say and do and it is our place to see them done.” he said as the man complied with a nod of his head and pointed him in the direction of Captain Garin’s tent. He moved forward, and bid his compatriot good bye, tossing the empty bowl on a stack of such dining wear as he passed a campfire where some food was being served. The large red knight had begun his trek towards his lord, simply bowling people out of his way as they got close.
Stretching in the saddle during the ride to the camp with Den, Mina glanced down at her clothing for the day, wondering if her father and sister would approve. Gone was the lacy highborn lady’s dress, since inevitably and against her sister’s orders she’d ripped the confining skirts to free her legs up for better footwork during her spar against Godric Tarly last night. Now it was replaced by brown riding breeches, sturdy boots and a green and white doublet with matching cloak. Mina felt more free and comfortable than she had in days, and Godric Tarly was as much a part of that as her change in clothes.
They’d fought up and down the halls of Hightower in bursts for the rest of the evening, talking in between bouts. The fighting was fun, she had the bruises to prove it, but it was the talking that really surprised her. Nobody had ever talked to her like Godric did, with no half-hidden disapproval or weighty expectation of who she should be in his voice. Father looked at her and saw the lady he hoped to shape her into, Bertrand looked at her and saw a joke, even Vittoria looked at her and saw the sacrifices they’d both have to make for their House.When Godric looked at her, it felt like he just saw her! More than that, rather than mocking or scorning her he’d actually seemed to like her. It was new and different and made her smile in spite of the grim atmosphere of the morning.
Still, the camp coming into sight reminded her of the circumstances of the day and sunk her mood like a stone. Den had abruptly woken her and Garrett up and rushed them all out of the inn. As soon as they were out the door, dark rumors of war swirled and hung in the air like flies buzzing around a corpse, just one of the many signs confirming something rotten. The Hightower’s flame burned blue and they were calling their banners, that much she’ld confirmed with her own eyes. As to the why…well, she didn’t yet know. More troubling still, Den had said her father was here unexpectedly early at the head of an armed host of a thousand men and that Vitta was meeting with him and Captain Garin already.
Mina had only been in one battle, caught above decks when some pirates had attacked a ship of the Redwyne Fleet. But the tension in the air, waiting for that ship to close in on them with its sails on the horizon, it had felt a little bit like this morning. She shivered, grateful for the reassuring weight and slight jostle of the water dancer’s blade at her side balanced by the dirk on her other hip. She reined her horse in closer to a still bleary eyed Garrett protectively as they entered camp. Whatever father thought of her being armed, whatever was really going on, she’d be ready today and keep her family safe.
Vittoria wasn’t surprised that her father’s pavilion had already been raised, or that it seemed to tower over every other pavilion and tent in the camp that was suddenly much, much larger than it had been, and was getting larger—the hill they had placed her father on gave her enough view to see the literal army behind it that was in the process of putting up more tents, more pavilions, some starting fires, some digging for trenches and other uses.
Everything stopped when people began pointing up, and a shadow streaked across the camp in the form of wings. A Targaryen? It was the last thing they needed as she walked up to Davos and asked him if he invited them, pointing to the bluish and purple dragon that streaked overhead.
“Uh, no,” was his half-chuckled, half-serious answer.
She went to take a step before she nearly ran head first into the former Wilding. Was he a former Wilding? Could one ever be a former Wilding? Were they always a Wilding? The academic debate of the term quickly left her term as she looked up at the man, and stifled her own little laugh.
“Do pardon me, Ser. I don’t suppose you could go see about that dragon?” She said, pointing to the dragon that circled once, twice, and then again as it descended onto the field between the walls of Oldtown and the Tyrell camp. “Just escort them to my father, you can’t miss his pavilion.”
Tytan blinked once, looking over the leg of mutton he had in his hand. “Uh? Me? Talk to the big lizard?” he said as his eyes moved over to the others and flattened. “Yea Me. The others might piss themselves when they see the Iguana.” he said as he tossed the leg to a dog nearby. “As you command Little Miss.” he said as he rose up, picking his twin axes up off the log he had buried them in and holstered them behind him. He placed on his Red Skull Helm, and moved out with purpose. The massive Wildling practically growling already as he marched out to the open field, the area most likely for the dragon to land closest to the camp. He stood there and waited, one hand on the head of and axe, as his thumb dragged over it questioning what he first move should be. It was clear Vitt was not looking forward to this, granted her tone, so he would do his best to make this as ‘Amicable’ as he could. The thought twisting a grin on his hidden face.
“You look fun. You also look nothing like a Westeros Knight.”
Vaera Balarys was all leather and chainmail and attitude as she patted the dragon of bluish purple scale, or as the dragon twisted, coiling, it became purplish blue, and other times nearly all purple, and it’s other side all blue, as hues danced and dappled across the body of the great winged beast. Eyes of similar shades stared hard at the big man that was a tiny ant to the creature.
Before she stepped away from it, Vaera patted its nearest leg, chuckling, “Relax, Saeryx. They’re scared because of Targaryens, not us.”
Her sword looked near black as she unsheathed it from the saddle-bound sheath, transferring the bastard sword to her back with a dip of her head and a nearly amethyst glow from the blade as the sunlight of the morning struck it. The long dagger she put on her hip was similar, her long silverish blonde hair tossed behind her shoulder, and her lilac eyes back on the oversized man.
Cutting him up would be easy, she thought. Men like that never expect Valyrian steel to slice through their armor, their flesh, like a hot knife. They were arrogant. Fast, but almost never fast enough. She motioned with her head past him, to the camp beyond, not the city and its walls behind her.
“I’m Vaera of House Balaerys, ruling house of Volantis. I’m to be fetched to your lord, is it? It’s always the same, really, no matter what continent I’m on. Eh, let’s get it on with then, ‘Ser’,” she said the title in exaggeration, a not-so-subtle jape of a tone as her lips played with a wicked little smile. “Don’t worry about the dragon, it won’t move unless I don’t come back or someone threatens it.”
Neither she would suggest.
Tytan scoffed as he saw the same look in her eye, the one born of confidence and arrogance, then again he held the same look. He knew of the magic metal she held, he was not a fool and he had been here long enough to know better. “Meh, I don’t care who you are. The Little Miss said come get you, so I came to get you. I’d much rather be eating but what the little miss says, goes. So yea, come along then little lizard I am sure his rosy greatness will love to see you.” he said as he stepped aside and began to walk back not caring if she actually followed. Though he imagined she would if only to try and throw more barbs at him.
“You see when the little men see your big lizard flapping through the clouds, their wee balls shrivel up to their throats and they start pissing themselves and asking for their mothers. I am sure that has the Lord all giddy inside, as if some had walked up and started giving his cock a nice stroke I am sure.” he said with the same humor in his tone that she had. “But I am sure you will be fine, after all what will they do? You have the flying death trap waiting, so I imagine it will be a short conversation.” he said with a huff. “They get their conversation, I get my food, and they don’t all die to an angry lizard and their balls can finally vacate their throats. Win Win all around I say.” he said as he began walking up the path to the High Lord’s Tent.
Vaera grinned, “That what she is to you? A personalized pet name? That’s cute. Adorable. I’ve met her, we hosted her with a triumph in Volantis. Smart woman. Pair of teats on that woman, pretty face like that? I think I’d give her a personalized pet name, too.”
She shrugged, “They know I’m coming. I don’t tend to make a habit of surprising cities and towns with a dragon. Killed an old Master in Mereen when I did that as a younger woman, just had a heart attack at the sight of Saeryx on the horizon. They were plenty pissed, but fuck them—she was old and scared. Maybe don’t live in tall pyramids surrounded by slaves who’d sooner kill you than serve you if you’re terrified of dragons. Where are you from?”
“What are you staring at girl?” Vaera asked as they passed two children unmounting from horses.
Mina had just swung down off of her sand steed and paused to look at the dragon rider trailing Vitta’s Wildling.It seems the Valyrian took notice and offense, given her derisive tone. “A whore’s fake pearls in an iron clamshell, apparently.” She half-muttered in her best and rudest Low Valyrian. Then she helped Garrett down from his mount and started on her own way towards her father’s tent to present herself.
Tytan couldn’t help but stop and laugh at that, the sound like a war drum being beaten, as he turned to face her. His eyes staring into her own, “I like you. You have balls, bigger than most of the men here at least.” he said as he eyed her up and down. “Tiny thing like you, will have them quivering as much as your mount. I am Tytan, I am from the North and that is all your getting out of me until we share a few drinks.” he said as he slapped her shoulder once. “You can’t tell a person’s true nature until they have had a few cups.” he said as he grinned.
“But you are right, my little lady is a very beautiful woman. I am sure many a young man here has fantasied about her at least once in their time in the camp alone. And as bountiful as her chest may be, I find her Steel far more beautiful. A woman is no good if she has no fire! The best lovers, the best women, the best mothers to strong children. A strong woman, there is no better gift from the gods.” he said as he felt something stir inside him.
“Consider me crazy, but it is the dangerous women that have value. The rest are no different than the woman you find on the street. Common or Noble, they have no worth hiding behind the skirts of others. You have one life, fight to defend it, stand up for yourself alongside the men. Sword, Shield, Spear, Bow, it doesn’t matter. If your at threat, or those you love, you take up your weapon and you murder the fuck doing the threatening.” he said as he stopped by a fire and took another cut of meat. Taking his helmet off, and holding it beneath one arm as he turned to face her again as he ate. His fire red hair shining in the sun, as his black eyes glowed in the firelight like smoldering coals. “Forgive me then, Little Dragon.” he said as he discarded the lizard title, out of respect. Resuming his trek as he ate, he spoke again. “I tend to ramble when I am stoked up.” he let out with a chuckle.
Vaera found herself chuckling, “I hate boring. And boring people, men or women, aren’t worth the fuck. They’re barely worth a blade. Enjoy your meal, find me after this and we’ll have that drink.”
It was a promise, and she tended to keep those whenever possible. The Lord’s pavilion was an obvious thing; wide, tall, green with the Golden Rose she’d seen Vittoria Tyrell wear so prominently when the woman had come to visit Volantis.
Guards stepped up, flanking the entrance, telling her to stop and relinquish her weapons. Vaera just stared, until another voice cut in, one from behind them—the pretty girl with the pretty chest, herself, Vittoria Tyrell.
“She can keep them. Hello, Vaera. A pleasant surprise after seeing a dragon overhead.”
Vera just grinned all the wider. Gods, I’d have fun with that… Only a moment’s pause for the thought, and her head bowed just a notch, “Lady Vittoria,” she started, stealing a sharp glance to either guardsman before moving forward and into the oversized tent with the woman, “you should lose the armor more.”
“Why’s that, Vaera?”
”More fun that way. For me, anyway,” she said, adding a little shrug as she looked around. Pelts and rugs covered the floor, braziers to keep away chills, she didn’t see a bed but saw several off-branching sections hidden by green canvas curtains, meaning it was probably hidden off in one of those nooks. A long table was on either side, with a wide and empty path from the front to the back, where the main pole of the pavilion was, and past the pole, nearly at the back, where the big chair was.
Where he sat, talking to Knights and Maesters huddled about him like pets.
Vittoria laughed out loud, eyes wide in some level of shock. “I’d forgotten just how direct you can be, Vaera. Are you here to see my father?”
“Came for the Citadel, but saw the camp, saw the banner. Had to say hello…and no worries on having forgotten, Lady Vittoria, I’m always happy to offer a refresher,” Vaera said, smiling, turning her eyes to stare at Vittoria’s big, pretty, brown eyes.
That Lady Vittoria blushed was enough to make the trip down south all worth it. “How is your brother?”
“Eh,” again, Vaera shrugged, “Overburdened by his own mind and emotions. Seems to have taken to that prick Maegor. I think he’s headed to Westeros, himself, maybe with Maegor. Who the fuck is that?”
Vaera motioned to the man that kept stealing glances of Vittoria and Vaera, even as he talked to a few others. Vittoria looked back at the man, and back to Vaera, smiling that certain kind of smile. The smile was enough for Vaera to groan, “Him? Ugh…I’ll have to congratulate him.”
“Be nice, Vaera,” despite herself, Vittoria grinned.
Vaera Balaerys looked utterly wounded, “My Lady, I will always be nice to you.”
“Lord Baratheon, too.”
Vaera’s eyes half-rolled, as if some great thing had been demanded of her by the Ardent Maiden, “Gods, sweet woman, you are demanding. No wonder you’re good at what you do…fine, fine. If I behave, can I come visit you later?”
Vittoria Tyrell laughed, and nodded, “Of course, Vaera, I’m always here for your stories.”
It wasn’t just stories that Vaera had in mind, this time, but it also wasn’t ripping the laces off that woman’s bodice and shoving her on a bed, either. Instead, Vaera had more serious things on her mind. Westeros, for one, and dragons, for another.
"That's my father, and brother now, I suppose." Davos corrected with a grin as he drew closer, managing to shed the various hangers on who seemed utterly enthralled with the ides that he was among them, although mostly in a negative sense. It was strange, he imagine for anyone, to hear the term Lord Baratheon and not think of his father. He was more than family to Davos, a near mythological figure, almost of equal renown to the Conquerors themselves, and a little less contentious in some circles. He doubted his brother felt differently, but he hid any sense of inadequacy well. "Davos will do just fine." The Valyrian woman was certainly a firebrand, in more of the literal sense than usual, an intensity of rebellious energy among the orderly and affluent Tyrell camp, a thought which provoked Davos's next words to Vittoria.
"Do you think someone should let your father know that to go camping you aren't supposed to bring your castle with you?" It was a lighthearted murmur of words, kept low, but despite the jest there was a real sense of concern to his voice. When dragons were about, marking yourself out by the largest pile of kindling seemed less prudent than perhaps it once was. That, and his own father would have laughed as the ostentation, but he kept such words to himself.
“It’s all power projection,” was all Vaera commented about the affair.
Vittoria took a different approach, “Different culture, different expectations. My father rules more smallfolk and banner lords than anyone other than the royal house. It’s a lot of a lot, and he’s always taken a very active, direct, hand in it all, despite all the stewards and maesters and septons hover about him constantly.”
There were times she understood Bertie, because there were times it was as if their own father was too busy for them.
Mina had entered the tent and was waiting for a good time to approach Vittoria and their Lord Father, though for now she just watched and listened as the different interactions played out. She couldn’t help rolling her eyes at the way the acidic Valryian woman seemed to act much more warmly towards her older sister, and note Vitta’s body language in kind. Another on the list of those apparently flirting with Highgarden’s steel rose, though Mina doubted she’d ever understand the point of it all. Seeing her opportunity, she slipped into the little group with a little flourish of her cloak to show off the Braavosi blade and dagger at her waist.
“In my experience, all you have to do to get the maesters and septons away from Father and grab his attention is sing a few bars of ‘Her Little Flower’ in public. I can demonstrate, if you like!” She grinned, rather pleased with herself over not having to act quite so demure as she did last night. She glanced at Vitta and Vaera and arched an eyebrow. “Will you introduce me? We met briefly outside but as usual it seems you know everyone already. Also, what is it we’re all doing here? All of Oldtown’s in an uproar.”
Vittoria lips curved in amusement, “Of course, La—”
The hand of Vaera Balaerys touched Vittoria’s unarmored shoulders with a quickness as the Valyrian woman stepped forward in the small space within their little circle. The act both silenced Vittoria, and made Vaera the sole focus of the moment with her step towards Mina. Vaera’s lilac eyes held the intensity of dragonfire in the moment, and though she was a shade shorter than Vittoria, it turned her into a giant of the moment.
“Introduce yourself, girl. Would you like an example? Very well: I am Vaera, of House Balaerys, one of the last scions of the Freehold. I offer no title or rank, for I NEED. NONE. I am a dragonrider, warrior, and adventurer….do you like the clamshell now?”
It wasn’t until the very end that Vaera let the grin slip on her lips.
Mina grinned back, truthfully more than impressed and enjoying the boast and the acknowledgement of her earlier insult. Though, if she were being challenged to introduce herself as well…
“I am Mina, of House Tyrell. I shuck clams and kill pirates off the coast of the Arbor in my spare time, My lady.”
“That’s a lady,” Vaera said, jabbing her thumb in the direction of Vittoria, “you would do well to learn the difference.”
“AT LEAST ON THAT WE CAN AGREE,” the shout came from the high chair flanked by men at arms in mail, the Knight of Ambrose, Ser Aldon Ambrose, an impressive figure in armor under the sigil of his house, standing just off to the side as septons, maesters, and stewards filed out past the assembled group. The loud boom of a voice came from the man atop the high chair, dressed in dark green leather, dagger at his hip—the dagger of the Order of the Golden Rose. His brown eyes took them all in, but when his eyes hit Vittoria and Mina…he finally broke into a smile.
“Lord Manfred armed you? Gods forgive him.” A short chorus of chuckles came from the assembled men-at-arms and lords and knights along the two long tables, and standing about the pavilion. “We are here, daughter, because the banners of the Reach have been called. The King is dead, his heir, Prince Aegon, is dead. There is no word from Dragonstone. Lords Rowan and Oakheart have decided to call banners for the defense of the Faith, I am told without my leave, or the leave of the High Marshall of the Reach.”
Dennet and Godric Tarly entered just then, Theo Tyrell’s eyes looking past the assembled group in the center at the sight of them, “Ah, good. Let us do this.”
“LADY MINA, LORD GODRIC, APPROACH,” came the command from Ser Ambrose.
Ser Dennet Tarly trailed Godric, as Vittoria nudged at Mina as their little group broke into a line, all facing the Lord Paramount of the Reach.
Mina half-stumbled at Vittoria’s nudging and approached her father, using her green cloak to approximate an awkward curtsey, eyes down, waiting and wondering what this was all about, her mind already reeling from the news her father had given her. Were they in trouble for sparring at the Hightower party?
“Dennet, I have received your father’s raven. You represent him here, now?”
Ser Dennet stood tall, proud, and serious as he nodded, “I do, my Lord.”
“Good,” Theo Tyrell said with the force and quickness of a man officially sealing a deal already agreed upon, “I am honored to receive the request by Lord Sam of House Tarly of Lord Godric of House Tarly for the hand of my daughter, Lady Mina, in marriage. With the authority granted in myself, Lord Theo Tyrell of Highgarden, by the Royal House of Targaryen, under the eyes of the Seven and men alike, I declare you both betrothed.”
Lord Dennet was the first to shout in celebration, even as Vittoria gave a cheerful whistle and excitedly squeezed the shoulder of her younger sister. Lord Godric a sturdy squire with a handsome, boyish face under a wild mop of dark brown hair, on the strong frame of a young man given to the barest hint of blush as he nodded and accepted the strong handshake of his eldest brother, before turning to Mina amongst the cheers all around. “We will fight together, Mina, until our last days, I swear to you.”
As soon as the word ‘betrothed’ left her father’s lips, Mina’s world suddenly started to spin. Not out of horror, in fact her own lack of horror was the cause. Betrothed to Godric! Godric, who saw her for herself, who just now was promising to fight together with her, not sit her at home dying of boredom.
All her life, she had expected to have to struggle against whatever husband life forced on her, give up who she was and what she wanted for her duty to house Tyrell, like Vittoria and her mother had both told her. She’d been braced for it, pushing against it, dreading it. Now that was gone, and like anyone who’d been pushing against a force that suddenly wasn’t there, she almost fell flat on her face from sheer shock. Vittoria’s hand on her shoulder steadied her and instead of fainting, she did something even rarer: The Thistle of Highgarden blushed bright red like the maid she was. She took Godric’s hand and smiled at him, almost shyly for a change rather than her usual cocky, troublemaking grin. “Right. Together for the rest of our days. I…Thank you, Godric. Truly.”
Mina was spun, fast, with force, coming face to face with the person with the strong hands that took her shoulders and spun her about: Lord Theo Tyrell smiled, wide, and hugged his youngest daughter tighter than he ever had before in her entire life. To break the embrace, Theo held her just a foot apart, just enough to look at her, “I am proud of you, Mina, truly I am. Congratulations.”
His hands patted at her shoulder once more, before releasing her back to his right, to Godric, even as his smile seemed to fade as he found himself face to face, now, with his eldest daughter. Vittoria felt her heart nearly stop, her breath slow, deep, in a breath to steady her nerves. Cheers had died down, and silence seemed to reign as Lord Theo moved his eyes from Vittoria, to Davos.
“Lord Davos of House Baratheon, I’ve no word from the Lord of Storm’s End on your purpose in the Reach. Why is that?”
Davos somewhat booming laugh, as he congratulated the newly betrothed, finally stilled as he was addressed, the long height of the man straightening as Lord Tyrell made suit to notice him.
"Well, if they'd have known I was coming, they wouldn't have let me in, my Lord." Davos spoke with the careful combination of proper respect and irreverence that his father had tutored him in from a young age.
You are the Conqueror's blood boy, don't let them forget it, but even Aegon had manners.
Without much flourish, Davos retrieved a letter from the inner chest pocket of his outerwear, pausing for a moment as he studied it, as he had many times on his journey over. He was often a man to give pause to words on paper, but few had meant such import to him, even as chaos seemed to sweep the realm. When did it not? Waiting for calm would be akin to trying to command the waters of Shipbreaker Bay.
It felt like a long moment for the Baratheon, but truly he barely hesitated, handing the letter, sealed with mark of the Crowned Stag, over the Lord Tyrell.
"I wish to wed your daughter, you'll find my brother's permission and request there, full of all the good reasons as to why our Houses should be joined." He stepped back away as soon as the missive was passed over, giving a look towards Godric as if to say 'don't worry, not your one.'
His attention turned swiftly to Vittoria, a smaller, gentler smile than normal, but one brimming with just as much emotion. "My own reasons are rather more selfish, and had she not been too busy making heroes of men who did little but watch her work, I'd have done so far sooner." He paused once more, before addressing Lord Tyrell once more, "Fear not, I'm sure she'll steer us through whatever dire portents lay ahead of us no matter what cloak she's wearing."
Vittoria stood straighter than a dagger, hands clasped together in a tense, nervous, moment. Lord Theo regarded Davos with a look, and though Ser Aldon moved to take the letter for the Lord Paramount of the Reach, Theo signaled with a half raised palm for the Knight to stand down, taking the letter himself.
I should’ve made sure this was done in private. Her father was different behind closed doors than he was in public, officious, moments such as this one. He would’ve taken the unusual way House Baratheon went about the marriage alliance better in private, she told herself.
Theo raised his eyes to Davos from the delivered parchment at the comment of being unlikely to be let in, his tone drier than before, “perhaps that makes two of us, Lord Davos.” He then turned and made steps back to his seat, reading through the document handed to him as he went, though once Davos broached the issue of the cloak she may wear, Theo turned once more, eyes straight on his eldest daughter, his tone as serious as it could ever be, “You understand what happens once those vows are made, girl?”
She nodded, slowly, “Yes, my Lord.”
His gaze lingered for a few beats of her heart, and then turned back to Ser Aldon, handing him the parchment, “Very well.”
Vittoria’s breathed deep, a mix of relief and tension, as she felt a hand on her back and turned to see Vaera, nodding at her. Back to his seat, Theo motioned to the Valyrian woman, “Vaera of House Balaerys of Volantis, as expected, will you stay the evening with us at our camp?”
Vaera gave a nod, as respectful and polite as she had ever looked in her life, “Of course, Lord Theo. I had hoped to speak with you in private.”
“So you shall,” Theo nodded back, before looking to Ser Aldon, “are we done?” Ser Aldon said something quiet enough to only be heard by Theo, something that made the Lord of Highgarden go ‘ahh’ and nod a few times, “Yes, thank you. Friends, thank you for coming. Food and feast and music at the long pavilion across from here, please enjoy. Would my daughters stay? Lords Davos and Dennet, you both as well.”
Godric gave Mina a smile that was far too big before he pulled himself away. Vaera left a grin for Vittoria along with a graceful tiny bow, before emptying out with the rest, striking up conversation with Godric about the quality of ale to expect. It wasn’t until they were all gone that Theo, back on his seat but leaning forward, elbows on thighs, spoke again.
“This duel is madness. We’ve talked to both men?” Dennet and Vittoria both responded that they had, to which Theo simply shook his head,
“The best we can hope, then. The squire is recovering?”
“He will recover in full, my Lord,” Dennet reported.
Theo seemed content with that news, at least, “Mina, the daughter of this Captain Garin…Ryalla?” He said, unsure of the name, looking to Vittoria for confirmation which she gave with a nod before he continued, “She will be a Lady in Waiting for you as of today. You will both dress as Ladies and act according when expected, but otherwise you both will train together, and she will likewise act as a bodyguard for you. We’re taking in the rest his family to Highgarden?”
“His wife, Martella, and their littlest, Myrna.”
Theo gave absent nods, “Very well. Get your people out of Oldtown. Before sundown.”
“Already ordered, my Lord,” Vittoria informed him, much to his apparent satisfaction. “I must deliver someone to the Citadel, but after
that I shall head straight to the inns. Lord Thaddeus is already rounding up those at the Rose Garden.”
“And we know why Vaera is here? Besides scaring our camp with her dragon? Her message spoke of her desire to visit the Citadel, is this all of it?”
Vittoria hesitated, as someone might if they’d rather not speak of a subject before other sets of eyes, “There is more to it…”
Theo’s lips pressed together and brows raised, but he let it be for now, “Later, then. We will meet for council at sunset. Lord Davos, we will, the three of us, speak more upon your return. Let us make this an easy day, all of you…okay, Aldon, let’s go.”
It was then Septon Pater snaked his way through the small crowd to Mina, “Lady Mina, could you do me a great favor? One of our newest lads, Dake, asked to see Lady Vittoria again before they depart the area, and she has graciously agreed. Could you retrieve him from the Sept close to the Rose Garden?”
Mina had let go of Godric’s hand reluctantly, but now kept her eyes down again as her father explained the situation to her. Though this time rather than just hiding her anxiety, it was also so he couldn’t see her excitement. In fact she had to dig her nails into her palms to look suitably pained. True, this new order to act and dress like a lady when appropriate was…restricting. But Rylla was Captain Garin’s daughter, the Dornish girl who’d beaten that squire, wasn’t she? She was going to teach Mina to fight! Not just daggers and water dancing, but the Dornish style of combat that had vexed her family and aided her sister! Besides, this was someone her own age and, judging by the way she’d put that squire in his place, maybe even similar to her? The extra restrictions her father had placed on her might just be worth it!
Mina glanced back up as Septon Pater addressed her. “I…well…yes Septon of course.” She was a little disappointed at being denied her chance to see the duel everyone had been talking about, but after all the good news she’d received today so far, she was practically floating. Besides, if she hurried up and fetched this Dake boy, maybe she’d get to see the tail end of the duel after all. She took her opportunity to dash out of the tent, pausing only to squeeze Vitta’s hand and whisper a congratulations to her before running out at full speed, grateful she’d chosen boots and trousers today and wistfully thinking that she’d miss being able to wear them whenever she liked after this.