Bow Before The Sun

Charlotte IV

The Maiden's 5th

Mauro answers the door dressed in fresh clothes, hair still wet from a recent bath brought to his quarters. He stands with the aid of a cane, which is something new for him to be using. All in all, he looks refreshed, more sober, and less on edge then he was last night. Perhaps nearly being killed will sometimes do good for the spirit?

Mauro: {Half smiles.} “Come to see if I’m still breathing, Lady Charlotte?”

Charlotte: {instantly alert} “Still breathing? What’s happened, Mauro? Are you alright?”

Mauro: “I’m still standing, which is better then alright after two assassins climbed through my window last night. I killed one, spared the other so he could be interrogated. I’m sure he’s getting acclimated with your dungeons as we speak.” {Smirks} “How do you like my third leg?” he asks, tapping his cane against the floor. “…Maester Llewellyn’s idea of course… He had it made for me some time ago but I refused to use it until today. A brush with death can do wonders to reorient one’s priorities! I’ve been far too stubborn, bitter and prideful of late. A man’s got to cope with his limitations or else be undone by them, wouldn’t you agree?”

Charlotte’s stomach flared with renewed fear, childhood nightmares making her hands shake-and she hated it. But as unsettled as she was, she would not condemn without trial, would not judge without facts. Mauro was obviously not the simple man he had presented-death had followed him into her home, but it was also he that had warned her about the possibility of danger to her grandmother. She needed answers.

Charlotte: “What I agree is that we should leave the philosophy for after you explain to me precisely what is going on, Mauro. Who you really are, why you are here, why assassins are trying to kill you, and if you are in any way connected to the slaughter of those poor people in Graybrook?”

Mauro: {begins to frown.} “Slaughter? What slaughter?! I am unaware of any such thing, and frankly I am saddened that you think I could be connected to it!” he says with an edge of pain in his voice before he takes a deep breath. “I have nothing to hide Lady Charlotte but I understand why you would ask… There is more you should know… I didn’t see you after the feast so I spoke with maester Llewellyn. I warned him that something like this might happen.”

Charlotte: “People with nothing to hide don’t usually warrant assassins I’m thinking, Master Mauro, and with all due homage to our time spent together, trust died with my family 16 years ago. I am glad you are unharmed but I am very interested in this, ‘more I should know’; do you need to sit?” {looks at stairs} “Because I certainly could use it.”

Mauro: “Please, be my guest, join me at my table if it pleases you?” he says, moving away from the door to pull out one of the two chairs for her. He does this also because he does not want to be the one to decide if it would be appropriate or not for him to close the door affording them more privacy? Thus he lets Lady Charlotte make that decision for them and moves to the table first. There were more reasons to leave the door open than to close it so after only a momentary hesitation, Charlotte took the offered seat, her eyes tracking Mauro around the table expectantly.

Mauro sat and paused for a moment to collect this thoughts before his gaze found Charlotte’s eyes asking for his secrets. It was true he was saddened by her questions, and her tone, but that discomfort wouldn’t make him defensive. To the contrary, he hoped his words would soften her judgment.

Mauro: “Lady Charlotte, you know something about my years in the free cities, yes? A life of roguish mirth and merriment, full of dangerous duels and even more dangerous liaisons…” {raises brows} “Those tales paint a fancier picture of those days than was reality I’m afraid.”

“The truth is as a sellsword I was most often scared out of my wits! I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights I spent worried about assassins in the dark, or what dangers the day would bring. There was no honor in that lifestyle. No matter what scum I killed there was always someone who wanted revenge. If I gave them half the chance, they’d slip poison into my drink as readily as a knife in my back.”

“I did many things I’m not proud of, but I never murdered anyone, Lady Charlotte, but I came close.” {swallows} “Before I came back to Dorne, I was on a mission for a Magister of Pentos to acquire a rare and deadly poison that could only be found in Lys. I was given a large sum of gold to pay for it, and my trouble, which helped me put thoughts aside about what I was really doing… and then I met her.”

“Laurel made me realize that love is more precious than gold. She had no idea what I was doing when she met me, and I grew loathe to tell her even though it killed me to keep secrets from her. I stopped looking for the poison because I didn’t want to find it anymore. I didn’t want to lay with her knowing that I’d effectively made a bargain to provide the means to end someone’s life. It made me feel unworthy.”

“I planned to return the gold to the Magister, but then my mother sent word that my father was ill. I couldn’t trust a messenger to deliver the gold for me so I had to bring it back with me to Dorne. Then of course, I tried to track my father’s killers into these mountains and ended up laid up in this keep. Now that months have passed, the Magister who hired me sent Norillo, that fat, red-bearded Pentoshi I pointed out to you at the feast, to get it back one way or another.”

Charlotte: “We reap what we sow, Mauro. You say you are saddened that I could think you connected to wrongdoings yet you tell me of a life trading your services to men of vile character for gold. You know something of my history as well, or at least the history of my family-surely you can understand my apprehension at this revelation. I value truth, Mauro, plain and simple honesty; a fantasy, no doubt, as this world has an appalling and disheartening lack of such. But I have not forgotten that it was also you that warned us of possible danger to my family and for that I am grateful. I need time to think, Mauro, and I must check on my grandmother. I wish you a speedy recovery and a good day.”

Mauro: {Stands when she does to observe the proper courtesy.} “Lady Charlotte, I also value truth, even when it’s hard to stomach. My time here has helped me realize what a wretch I’ve been. I owe your family a great debt and I am very sorry for the danger my presence has brought to your home. It pains me to see you in such distress. I’ll do whatever it takes to make things right.”

Charlotte: “Your words do you credit, Mauro, and give me food for thought. As for making things right, perhaps you could start with returning the gold and seeking justice for your father, instead of vengeance.”

Mauro: “I can’t be in two places at once lady Charlotte. If I leave to return the gold to the Magister, there’s no telling what I’d have to do to get it back or how long I’d be gone. I fear the trail of my father’s killers may well go cold in the meantime. Besides, even if I did manage to return the gold, there’s no guarantee the Magister will let me keep my head. Who then would seek justice for my father if not me?”

Charlotte: {sad sigh} “So you’ll be hunted for the rest of your natural life until either they kill you, or you kill the Magister, all the while pursuing justice, hopefully, for your father. Quite the life you have mapped out for yourself, Master Mauro-perhaps we should both do some thinking.” She nods slightly and walks quietly out of the room, headed towards her grandmother’s quarters.

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