(121-03-14) Braided In
Braided In
Summary: While the Dornish are guarded from leaving their manse, Princess Mariya plays music with the window open and the new but loyal servant braids her hair.
Date: Date of play (14-16/03/2014)
Related: Of Blood and Sand, Unfriendly Escort, general Wickham's Nest plot

Evening has fallen on Oldtown. Though evening, the weather is hot and cloying for the guards standing on guard below. Upstairs in one of the rooms that faces the street, Mariya has thrown open all the windows and has taken up her instrument. In fact, she's placed a chair almost right next to the open space. She has been playing and singing for almost an hour, clearly directing her music to the window so that those outside can hear her.

While those outside are certainly graced with the music of the princess, so are those inside. Footsteps outside the door of the upstairs room are so light, they barely make a sound; nothing to interrupt Mariya's song. They belong to the small, soft-footed new servant; Embry stops as she moves past the door, gently resting a hand on the frame to look in on Mariya with a gentle sort of awe in her eyes. Even after listening for only a few moments, the song has drawn a smile.

Wise enough to not sing a song of Dorne, Mariya sings a song of Valryia and dragons. Perhaps it was inspired by Daevon's visit earlier in the day. However, as the last chords sound and final word of lyrics ring out, she waits for a moment. Instead of starting another song, she notices Embry and smiles. "Evening, Embry," she greets the servant kindly.

"Princess," Embry greets, offering a polite nod and bright— if restrained from being too beaming— smile. She's taken Ashara's words on toning down her formality when greeting princesses to heart. "I didn't mean to interrupt," she hurries out, gesturing minutely around the cleaning rag she has clutched in one hand. She takes a somewhat wary step inside. "I just came t'polish." And listen to Mariya's song.

The princess in question glances toward the window and then back at Embry with a smile. Mariya stands and steps back from the window so that she can speak plainly. "Oh, you're not interrupting at all. I'm merely practicing. I thought that the guards might like an interruption from their tedium of guarding such unexciting people such as us with some song." She glances about the room. "Though, if I am interrupting or hindering your work, I can easily move."

Embry's smile oscillates in waves; rising and falling softly when she looks to the window and the reminder of the guards below. Her small face bursts into animation as she shakes her head, then. "Oh, no, you'll never be my way, princess," she rushes to assure Mariya. Embry's the only one who can interrupt, see. Princesses don't interrupt servants. She bobs her head; today, her braids — two on either side of her head, curving toward the back — have been intertwined with delicate, red ribbons. She further enters the room with small steps, on the lookout for something to dust. "You play wonderful," she adds, shy to say so, but utterly, innocently sincere.

"Thank you," Mariya replies absently as her attention is still drawn toward those outside than the woman right in front of her. After a moment, she snaps back to attention and smiles at Embry. "I'm sorry that you came to us and are now immediately under house arrest. It certainly is not fair. If you'd like to go back to your family and return once the trouble has passed, I can talk to Gareth and Ser Osric. Many have been fond to tell me how dangerous it is to be or be associated with the Dornish these days."

Embry fidgets with her cleaning rag, balled between both her hands as she hesitates near a shelf. Small lips parted, she contemplates carefully. "I … think it's better I stay here, princess," she decides, "'cept to fetch anyfin' any've ya need. It's a terrible thing what happened, but you ain't got anyfin to do with it. I know I ain't been here long, but I believe in your goodness, the goodness've your Houses. I can see it, here in these walls. I ain't gonna run."

After Embry says her peace, there is quite a pause before Mariya replies. When she does, it's with a warm smile. She attempts to put a hand on the servant's shoulder for a moment, glad of the camaraderie. "Thank you." As Embry is a woman of Oldtown and not from Dorne, it is good to hear others on their side. "You know, I had asked for help with my hair and have yet to properly request for the time. If you should help me braid my hair, I will play you any song you should wish to hear. Should I know it, of course."

Many a thought swirl around in Embry's head, before and after Mariya's touch to her shoulder. The princess's offer calms the waters; her blue eyes twinkle. A nonspecific not-quite-word emerges from her lips — she all but vocally trips over herself to agree, settling on a nod and tight-lipped smile (to keep her fumbling tightly sealed). Except for the suddenly urgent realization: "I'll need to wash my hands."

Embry's response garners a soft, but sincere laugh from Mariya. "If you feel you should." It is obvious the young Martell does not think of such distractions, despite being told how she was just dusting. "I'll be here. I feel as if I should play more. People have lighter hearts when listening to music, don't you agree?"

"Oh, I agree!" Embry answers eagerly as she stuffs the cleaning rag in the convenient pocket of her dress. "Especially when the music tells a story. I'll — " she pauses only a moment to ponder a way to properly run in and out of the room. " — be with you in a moment, princess." Her hands show no trace of dirt, despite her dusting duties, yet the servant scurries determinedly out to find a basin.

"Take your—-" But Embry is already out the door. Mariya truly does not mind that hands that have dusted wold braid her hair, but she does not want Embry to feel embarrassed or out of place, so she waits in the room. With a few strums of the strings, she attempts to think of a good song to sing for the young maid when she returns.

Embry returns swiftly (if ever-so-slightly out of breath), rubbing her hands together lightly between a fold of her dress, already dipping her head in apology for her absence. Her smile is light and buoyant, however; she's not only cleaned her hands, she's brought a small, plain hand-mirror from the servant's quarters, and she steps around Mariya to try to balance it against the window ledge. "If— you could sit in front'a the mirror, princess— "

Noticing that Embry is out of breath, Mariya glances behind her and then toward the mirror that she brought with her. "I didn't mean for you to rush, Embry!" It's clear that she doesn't want to put the servant out for asking her to divert her attention from the house arrest. However, as the request is made, she gladly seats herself back in her chair and arranges it properly. "Of course." AS she settles, she asks, "Have you lived in Oldtown long?"

Embry just smiles in a manner she hopes is reassuring over Mariya's comment on her little sprint. She didn't mind. She stands behind the young woman, checking the angle of the mirror. Perfect! "All my life," she answers, chipper, only to realize— "A— almost. But I was born here. May I?" She reaches to touch Mariya's dark hair, running a few fingertips through and reflecting, "Your hair's thicker than me 'n' my sisters…"

"Of course." Mariya waves a hand to show that whatever Embry thinks is right to style her hair is fine by her. "I've only been her a few weeks. I've loved what I've seen. What's your favorite place, if I may ask?" If she can't experience the outside, perhaps she can live vicariously through Embry.

"Crescent Beach," Embry says without much thought — she doesn't need it. "It's nuffin' fancy, but it's a lovely beach, and you've got a good view a' the Hightower from there… it's all sand 'n' little pebbles 'n' the water's fun to swim in." All the while, she runs her hand through Mariya's hair, gently persuading the waves to all run in the same direction before she gets as enterprising as a braid. "Did you miss the Dolphin Festival?"

"That sounds lovely." Mariya closes her eyes and puts her hands in her lap as Embry starts to manipulate her hair into a workable fashion. "I arrived at the very tail end of it." She pauses and laughs. "No pun was intended. However, I did not get to participate in any of the activifites. Was it a good event? I've heard a few tales that took place during the time."

"I didn't get to see much," Embry admits, but there's not much disappointment to be found in her young voice. She's just pleased for the conversation with the princess. "I heard a dolphin bit a Tyrell lady at the beach," she adds, just shy of bubbly, "But— that— that don't usually happen!" she assures, after having just spoken so well of that very beach. "I wanted to see the tourneys." She starts to separate a few strands of hair near Mariya's left temple, her fingers working delicately so as not to tug and hurt. "The trick for a proper braid is to get three strands and make sure they're all runnin' the right way…"

"I saw none of the tourneys, but I was told that Ser Arros bested Ser Daevon in the jousts." That is all that Mariya can say for the festival. "They are both good men, so I could have hardly rooted for one over another. However, Ser Daevon saved my life and while I am quite fond of Ser Arros, I would have shamefully been rooting for the Targaryen in that fight." As Embry starts the braiding, it takes a practiced patience to not nod as she explains. "I know it may sound simple, but it is quite a difficult atristry you've master, Embry."

Embry's smile — just visible in the mirror pointed at Mariya — is humble, but happy as can be for the comment … not to mention, the girl is barely containing her desire to ask several very pressing questions. "You'll learn it too, princess," she assures with a natural, sincere sweetness and certainty. Now that she's got that out— "Ser Daevon— saved your life— the Maiden's Knight Ser Daevon?!" Despite her clear, girlish excitement, she precisely twists Mariya's hair this way and that into the beginnings of a thin braid.

There's a small smile at the questions Embry asks. Mariya, however, answers the questions quite seriously. "Yes, he did. It was how I met him. He rescued me from the terrible clutches of a Reachman and returned me to Sunspear. He is a true knight and a good friend." It's clear of the way that she speaks of the man that she thinks quite highly of him. "The stories of his bravery and his chivalry are quite true."

"Well that's good to hear, princess," Embry says in awe and reverence. "Imagine!" She is, Mariya clearly doesn't have to! The excitement over a real life story of such adventure and true knights sparkles in her eyes as she looks into the mirror — but she quickly turns her gaze down, focusing on her task. The servant girl becomes quite involved in her braiding, arms going this way and that as hair twists and twine. "It took me a long time to get the… I guess… what you'd call rhythm down, see? You gotta bring the first one this way— and the other this way— and then this, see— but you still gotta pay attention to the first and second— "

With a soft chuckle, Mariya resists the urge to nod her head. Rather than talk more about the incident, she instead watches in the mirror as Embry's arm move to and fro as she braids. "It's a well learned skill," she agrees. "Did you learn all this simply from braiding your sister's hair?"

"Well there were four of them princess, so I got a lot've practice." Embry's smile, thinking about her younger siblings, is fond. She finishes the small braid and lets it hang loose, moving to Mariya's other temple to craft the same in symmetry. She's quicker this time, going on to create another braid just under that one, just like her own current style. "I try to pay keen attention to ladies' hair, and then try to copy it at home. I just like fashion," she explains cheerfully, a mild furrow of consternation forming between her brows all the same in focus or thought. "I don't know much about Dornish fashion yet … you're all so— " she can't help but glance down at her plain gown, slightly out of place, " — pretty."

"I like looking at all the different gowns and hair of Oldtown," Mariya agrees with a smile. "Well, you've only had a limited amount of Dornish people to see. We're quite varied. It's very hot in Sunspear. Not quite like here, though. A dry heat. It lends to people wearing much less clothing than here." There's is no shame in her voice. It's the way of life in Dorne and she is not ashamed of it. "It's nice that you would braid all of their hair. That must have been quite a lot of work!"

Although Embry's happy as anything to hear any hint of Dornish fashion, hot climate or not, the thought of less clothes is exotic and immodest and brings a mild blush to the servant's cheeks, her chin tucking down. "They like it, and I like it, so it's not really work at all," she answers then. The more she twines Mariya's hair, the less daunting the task of braiding the hair of a princess seems.

They could just be two girls — braiding hair, talking fashion. Nevermind their separation of class; certainly never mind guards outside the manse, barring their exit. Once Mariya has gained two braid on either side of her head, Embry joins them in the back. "You can't see this…" she realizes, fussing.

"That's true. I didn't mean to insinuate that you didn't enjoy it." It's a good natured reply. Mariya doesn't sound hurt, just truly as if she wants to make sure the other woman understood her meaning. As the braids are finished, she tentatively presses her fingers from her forehead all the way to the back and looks to the mirror. There's a large smile. "But, I can see the front and it looks lovely." Now that she's free to move, she twists slightly. "Thank you, Embry. I love it."

Embry practically glows, her eyes alight. "You're welcome, princess, it's my pleasure! I think it suits you. It's better with— oh, hold on!" She reaches her arms behind her own head, tugging a short, slender red ribbon free. It's only a minor disruption to her style; her braids loosen a little, but she won't take no for an answer! At least until Mariya sees her plan: tying the ribbon into the princess's hair, artfully securing the braids, criss-crossing along them and tying at the bottom. "Now it won't come apart," she says buoyantly. "It's hard to practice on your own head. You— can practice on mine any time if it please you."

Mariya does attempt to protest, however Embry is quite insistent and so she allows the girl to weave the ribbon into her hair. "It looks perfect." Again, she looks in the mirror to admire the other woman's expertise. "Thank you," she repeats again. "Well, if you don't mind me tugging on your hair a bit, I'd appreciate that. I'll be honest, I've never been one for braiding."

"I don't mind a pinch," Embry assures again, ever sincere. She inches a bit closer to the window next to Mariya, not-so-subtly looking at the young woman's instrument and, then, with the tiniest bounce of her toes, angling a glance out the window toward the street. "Do you think they've enough water, princess? I bet they're missing your song." Or blessing the silence. It's hard to tell.

It's ever hard to tell with those outside. Especially as they don't often get a chance to speak with them. However, Mariya nods. "There's someone to make sure they do. I'm not sure if it will make any difference, but it just might." Her eyes also glance toward the window as Embry does. She smiles. "I'm not sure if they miss my singing, but I hope they at least enjoy some of the music. I imagine it makes the time go by quicker." Gingerly touching her hair again, she nods to her instrument. "Either way, I should practice. It's not just for them, after all. Thank you for braiding my hair, Embry. If you'd like, you can stay. Or, if you'd like a certain song I might be able to play it for you."

Embry spends a moment — sure to not hesitate too long — gnawing on her lower lip before her brows lift brightly. "D'you know 'Two Hearts That Beat As One'? I think the streets could use a love song," she suggests, eager. She gives Mariya a nod and retrieves her cleaing rag once more; she'll be here, dusting, to the tune of the princess's playing.

As Mariya picks up her instrument, she smiles. "I do." She knows a fair bit of love songs, in fact. Finding her opening chord with her fingers, she takes a deep breath and then starts to sing, not minding or possibly even noticing Embry as she continues her dusting about the room. She's focused on the song.

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