Collab with @Runic
The city’s night song was a seductive symphony of vice and violence. Men challenged each other for honor or greed, coin exchanged for thrill and drink, women to entice or be taken. It was the courtesan’s favorite time of day, as the sun finally dipped below the horizon and her day could truly begin. Her miscreants sought her out, a few words exchanged before slipping back into the shadows. She did not fear the night or those who claimed it as their own.
She was expected elsewhere, but there was one small task requiring her attention first. She turned down a small alley and ducked in through a rotting wooden door to a room that reeked of spoil. The woman barely noticed it, her eyes immediately moving to the form in a dimly lit corner. A man, slumped over, his breaths came in rasping wheezes. A dagger’s hilt was visible, the blade plunged between his ribs. He was in pain, panicked, but the poison she had dosed him with kept him immobilized. She had been curious if he would drown in his own blood or if terror would render him dead first. It seemed to be the former.
“You are an interesting man.” She paused as if to give him time to respond. Her voice was deep, but coldly smooth. “More resilient than I had estimated. Impressive, truly.” She smiled though the man would not see it, nor would it provide comfort if he could. “But I have no need for you anymore. Your house has fallen, extinguished. And your collection
, well, I will safeguard it, do not fret.” The courtesan took careful steps forward, ensuring nothing touched the trail of blood leaking from her victim. She bent, breathed in deeply at the foul smell of fear and sweat and impending death. Her face nearly brushed against him. “Night will fall for all, for now it claims just you.” Long fingers wrapped around the hilt. In a smooth movement she twisted the blade and withdrew it from between his ribs. Blood spilled out and the man’s wheezes turned to gurgles.
Blood had splattered against her, with annoyance she checked if it had stained her clothing. She’d hate to miss her appointment, and was satisfied to find only a few drops on her wrist. She held her arm up in the dim light, admired the deepness to it, the way it seemed to drink the light. She pressed her tongue against her skin, lingered where the man’s life had stained her. She was cleansed, the dagger dripped next to her, small thuds as the thick liquid dripped to the stone floor. For a moment, Tyanna of Pentos thought to keep the blade, but it was far better to remove it from use by anyone else. She wiped it clean with the man’s fine silk tunic. When her evening was finished, she would dispose of it in the bay, a watery grave for she had yet to find a way to destroy Valyrian steel.
An hour later as the city truly came to life, she was given entry to the exiled Targaryen’s manse. She was known, now, to the servants, though they cared little for her presence. Prince Maegor had yet to return, but that suited Tyanna. Men were simple things and posed no challenge to her designs. Women, though, required a different approach, and she needed his lovely, besotted wife.
“Lady Alys, I’m so sorry for the late hour.” Her head tilted in greeting, long raven locks twisted with white lace and black pearls hung freely around her bare shoulders. She was a stark figure even in the warm light. The courtesan bordered on being pallid, only exaggerated by her preference for dressing in cold, inky, indigo.
Lady Alys, the wife of Prince Maegor, the whore of Harroway. Her dress was light silk that wrapped about her curvaceous form. Her hair styled in the tumble of curls found in Essos was being brushed by a maid as the Pentoshi woman entered, and Alys raised a hand. Sending the servant off. They had learned to obey well and not risk their mistress’s sharp tongue. “Not at all, Lady Tyanna.” She doubted the woman was a lady at all, but she had few friends in the city and longed for Westeros, even if her own would mock her for marrying a man with one wife already. So what if he did? His father had taken two wives, and she was not sister to Maegor.
“Bring a goblet for her and vittles.” She directed with a curt snap of her fingers. Imperious as any Princess, which was her right. The maid scurried off to do so, while two others remained in the room, tucked out of sigh and ready to answer her call. It was just as she would have it. Everyone in their place.
Except her husband. Maegor, Prince Maegor, should have been home with her and working on an heir and spare, and home would be across the sea in Dragonstone. His rightful seat as the Lord of Dragonstone. Let King Aenys and his children control the realm, had her husband the mind they could have controlled the dragons. Instead, her Prince was off burning off some barbarian horses for Balerion’s supper. Not a unwarranted thing perhaps and it could gain him good will. Gods knew it was better to have a man let his temper wear off in battle than bring it his home, but still Alys would not lie to herself. She wanted children, she wanted Westeros and by all the Gods she wanted to strangle the next person who called her the ‘whore of Harroway’. “I trust the city fares well? With all it’s ruffians and glamorous sights?” She reclined in her seat, a small basket next to her with fine embroidery. It really was nothing but something to pass the time. A musician played behind a screen a soft song that she had halted not too long ago. Perhaps she ought to have him begin again?
“One of these nights, I will convince you to join me for my journey through Pentos and allow me to show you all that she has on offer.” Tyanna gracefully lowered herself to a cushioned seat near the prince’s whore. Or so she had been called, it was at least alliterative. Her gown shifted with the movement, pooling in soft ripples around her legs, the neckline plunged deeply down her chest and cinched round her waist with white gold and silver chains. She was warmer to her companion, but just barely.
Food and drink was delivered and the courtesan enjoyed a long drink of the heady red. At least the Westerosi could identify a good vintage from time to time. “I have heard rumors of your husband’s exploits against the savage horse-lords. This is good for him, and for you. A battle won will increase his virility.” Her hand reached into folds of inky fabric near her waist. A hidden pocket, her fingers found the small vial she had prepared for Alys. Tyanna held it out in the palm of her hand, the liquid was an unsettling green color. “Drink it when he returns, but you must be sure that he beds you that night.” She spoke of fucking in a way that the prudish Westerosi seemed to prefer, euphemism and poetry. Tyanna had been introduced to Alys as courtesan yes, but also as a woman who helped women. She knew how to make women fertile, and how to end a life before it could begin. Or so some said.
Gray-green eyes, devoid of emotion, glinted as she watched Alys. “A child, an heir, what every rightful king needs - no?” For a price, always for a price and who would not pay for it if it meant a crown?
Alys was hesitant as she took the liquid, she had been married to Maegor so briefly, yet if she could quickly get with child? All the better, and better to insure it was a son. There was a flash of greed at the thought that Maegor could be king, she could be Queen and his marriage to his first wife could be put aside by his decree then. She would no longer be considered by the Faith to be a whore. “I shall remember and keep your words close.” Alys mused, her fingers holding up the strange liquid as she watched it before setting it into the small basket of her work. “But what could I offer for repayment? If it does work so well?”
“You are wise, princess.” Tyanna chose her words carefully, enunciating each syllable of the title. “I will not obscure that I seek something in return. But it is an easy cost, I only desire your continued friendship and passage with you to Westeros when you return.” The courtesan picked up her goblet, slowly tipping the glass before taking another sip. “You..intrigue me. You and your husband. You are destined for greatness, I know it.” She leaned forward, her arms crossed, the goblet held delicately to the side. “The Doom did many things, it weakened and sundered magic, is that not what your maesters teach? But I tell you, it is not gone, just hidden to most. Not hidden to your husband who can tame dragons.”
The private conversation between the two women was momentarily shattered by a crescendo of noise. The screeching roar of a dragon burst the air from on high, shaking through the manse. The staff, as used as they could be to such things from the previous presence of the Prince and Balerion, still recoiled in place from the surge of noise, as cries of alarm arose unbidden from the wider city. While Maegor had been in residence for some time, the common people were still not entirely used to the sporadic presence of a dragon in their midst.
The assumption among many, of course, would be that the Prince had returned to Pentos, back from his adventures to the South East of the continent among the haughty people of Volantis, but this was not the case. With a heavy tread that shuddered through the manse as much as the roar before, the large, but ultimately smaller than Balerion, form of Vhaegar landed in the great expanse of the courtyard, the dragon emitting another roar of challenge into the air, before lowering to allow her rider to descend. It was not the first time that Visenya Targaryen had visited her son in the East, and both the city and the staff knew to allow her entry, but that still did not prevent their pause at the arrival of the Dowager Queen of a continent.
It had been some years since Visenya had fully embraced the raiment she was most famous for. The dark plate armour and red flowing cloth of both tabard and cloak flowing in the air as she pulled herself free of her mount’s saddle. As if it were the day she and her siblings had landed upon the shores of Westeros, the silver-gold of her hair, still free of true-white despite her many years, was drawn into a tight but long braid, reaching far down the expanse of her back.
With force the armoured woman swept into the chamber, the cold intensity of her eyes falling on the pair of women, regarding Tyranna for but a moment, before refocusing on Alys.
“Where is Maegor? The matter is urgent.” Her tone was not entirely dismissive for the woman who her son had gone into exile over, who’s ceremony she had overseen, but it was direct. Time, of course, was of the essence.
The arrival of the dragon had brought Alys to sit upright, no longer lounging at her pleasure in the open room. It was a large enough roar to be Balerion, yet her heart stuttered as she felt a pang for who it was. “My husband is in the east culling the Horse Lords.” Her curtsy was deep as she sank back into her seat. “Along with the Dragonlord of Volantis. What is so urgent to call him back?” She gestured and a servant bowed, offering Visenya a goblet of wine. There were many who disdained Visenya, but Alys was not one of them. She was rather impressed by the woman. Having been through so much and still strong. She could understand the wear of time. “My Lady Dowager Queen Visenya Targaryen may I introduced Tyanna of Pentos.” She did not design to off the woman the title of Lady before Visenya. It was not so much a slight but a fact that she knew her mother by marriage would see Tyanna for what she was.
“A woman of skill and interesting conversation.” She smiled gently and cocked her head. “Yet, I must ask again. My Lady, what has brought you so swiftly? Are we called to return to King Aenys?” There was scorn in her eyes as she sneered the name, unable to completely hide her dislike. It was not as if Aegon had not taken two wives and yet Aenys had called out his brother for the same thing his father had done! Then went and married his son to his daughter! Hypocrite!
Tyanna’s eyes narrowed, if only for a moment. This was an unexpected visit, and for her, an undesirable interruption to her plans. She was not so quick to rise and bend herself before the woman. She may have been a queen in Westeros but in Pentos she was just
a dragonrider. It left a bad taste in the courtesan’s mouth, like a swallow of wine that had been left to turn to vinegar. Still, she was a resourceful woman and it was not the first time carefully laid plans had needed adjusting. “Queen Dowager Visenya, what a fine pleasure to meet such an illustrious woman.” Her head bowed with respect, her face kept stoically blank even as she tried to put together the pieces of the impromptu visit, the urgency behind it.
“The matter is not for the ears of others.” Visenya’s tone was stern as she regarded the Pentoshi woman once more, but as previously, her focus did not linger, settling instead on Alys, a few of the hardest edges of her features disappearing as she did so. “I will call for Maegor’s return, until he does, none may leave.” She turned to leave, to be about the business of calling her blood to her, before she paused, willing to offer the Westerosi woman at least some measure of catharsis. “His destiny is upon him, and his chosen wife shall be at his side.” Without so much more as a brief nod, she swept from the room in full, the doors opening before her as she moved, without a hint of delay to her stride.
So the matter would have to be discussed later. Alys sighed and inclined her head. “As you wish it.” For it could be no other way. If Maegor’s destiny was upon him… Had something happened to Aenys and his children? A small seed of greed in Alys snarled in glee at that thought. “I shall be delighted to see Maegor’s return. He has been gone far too long.”
It seemed she was trapped tonight, how inopportune. Tyanna leaned back again, effortlessly letting her body sink into the chaise. Better to not let Alys see her annoyance. The woman was clearly on good terms with her mother by law. Visenya was much as she had heard but seeing the woman in person certainly put things in perspective. She twirled the goblet of wine, thinking quickly. “Lady Alys, it seems I must impose on your generosity for longer than expected.” Destiny.
The word played over in her head. Destiny, for Maegor and Alys, destiny that called to Tyanna. Destiny, if only the queen knew of what she spoke.
“I am not often left alone for an evening.” A glint entered her dark eyes, a softer look than her clients received. “Whatever shall we do to keep ourselves entertained?’
“Denying the Dowager Queen is rarely something I saw attempted or wise. The woman is iron.” Alys commented with a dry tone, so like her nephew Elmo’s. “My apologies for this imposition. I shall see you compensated for it.” After all, it was reasonable to do. Tyanna had her own business to be about and Alys, thought a noblewoman, could understand that. “If you wish, I can have musicians, entertainment and other such amusemsent summoned.” She shrugged in a nonchalant way that made her voluptuous chest move. The weeks spent in exile with little to do aside from being entertained had left the ‘Whore of Harroway’ with a bit extra about her curves. “I have the benefit of being able to summon what I desire, without having to leave.”