(121-08-25) Formal Introductions
Formal Introductions
Summary: Lady Joyeuse runs into quite the social quandary at the Hightower.
Date: (25/08/2014)
Related: Valerio Vixenbought

Ser Orland's chambers, the Hightower

"Back in the days, when my legs were stronger…" Orland Hightower proclaims in his sonorous barritone, heaving his substantial weight on the myrish carpet that leads to a rich dinner that seemed to have turned (transition free) from afternoon tea to the opulent offering that has been prepared by his dilligent servants.
"Back in the days, when my legs were stronger, my breath was longer, I can assure you, mylady, I would have stopped to cite some verses of love to you, just for the hope of bringing a smile or even a whiff of rosiness into your face."
To whom is he speaking?
Lady Joyeuse, of course, a guest that has been always appreciated by the vainglorious Master of Coins.
"Alas, the age, the age has robbed me of so many things. And verses of love tend to be written by the heartbroken these days."

Although not quite formally expelled from the Citadel as yet, Amadys is beginning to feel ever less welcome before the hard, beady stares of his scholarly superiors; and as for the sort of reception his brother might give him back home in Storm's End, it hardly bears thinking about. More and more he finds the Hightower a venerable, ah, pillar of neutrality, where, out of either the inattention or the indifference of Oldtown's ruling family, he is still entertained as a nobleman of sorts, and, more indisputably, of parts. And of all the Hightowers of Oldtown, the one whose acquaintance is most useful for him is surely Ser Orland, the Master of Coin, in whose veiny palms lie infinite powers of credit, advance, loan and delay.

So it is that the Baratheon acolyte makes his way towards, then within, the old knight's apartments, his maester's links all but concealed by a fine, high velvet collar, satin in blue, grey, black and gold criss-crossing a fine new doublet, his dark hair aflight in a breeze that has strayed in through some lofty and neglected window pane, his blue eyes near as dark, too, as those tresses veering playfully about him, amused to the point of jadedness, readied against any surprise.

So it might seem. But when he has observed the Master of Coin's companion, the tall youth freezes to his spot as if pinioned for what seem like several long moments. Then he nips behind the oaken panel of a grand near-black closet, from where he can see but not be seen; and yet he may have nipped just a moment too late.

The widowed Lady Hastwyck, who has begun to consider that perhaps paying that unfortunate tax bill she received a month past and discovered again the other day crumpled in the toe of a violet silk slipper, might have proved the less arduous of the options which lay before her once she'd summoned her steward to Oldtown to explain it to her line by line — Lady Hastwyck, as we say, composes her faintly dusky features into an expression of interested sympathy and rests her forearm upon the edge of the dinner table, wrist and palm up, golden silk falling negligently away… "Oh, but surely we heartbroken," she remarks in the same warm, generous tone with which she has favoured the Master of Coin throughout their interview, hoping to inspire in him some warm generosity of his own, "we know love's glory best, for who could know the true value of such a treasure before it was lost?" She appears intent upon his reply; she is in fact intent upon the goblet of wine his servants have been refilling for her at ever-hastening intervals. At least until a spark of movement near the door draws her attention. A prospect of escape? She peers with unalloyed curiosity. "Why, Ser Orland, have you another guest…?"

"You speak nothing but the truth, mylady." Orland replies not seeming to have the decency to leave out the melancholy sigh.
The movement behind the furniture makes Orland stroke his beard, Joyeuse' remark gets him risk a glance with a puzzled huff.
Noticing the sly and remarkably unannounced guest of his, all melancholy seems to be chased away for a burst of boisterous laughter. "Mice, methinks, as grey and shy as this one seems to be. Greetings, young maesterling, I suppose your studies include darkness and dust today? Not much of a change, if you want to believe your chained friends!"

Amadys holds firm to his position of discretion; experience of theatrical endeavour has taught his impetuous heart certain lessons about when to wait quietly in the wings. When he realises he has not gone entirely unsighted - noticed by the lady no less - he considers emergence with a gentle bite at his lip, and a jerk of his left arm that makes the dark oak panel quiver infinitesimally - but for all that he holds to his post. Ser Orland at least seems not to have spotted him, his erstwhile…nocturnal companion…doesn't seem certain of the matter, and surely it's worth overhearing a little more…

And then the Baratheon is undone. Mouse as he is named, he emerges a little more dusty than he was, but still with distinctly unscholarly sartorial magnificence. "Ser Orland. Forgive my hesitance…I had no wish to, ah, interrupt the luscious rivulet of your rhetorical magnificence. Mayhaps you might, ah, introduce me to your friend of such surpassing fairness…?"

The feminine arm resting so peacefully upon the edge of the table tenses at the sight of the young man addressed as an acolyte of the Citadel; Lady Joy's lips part, her grey-green eyes widen, she's taken aback. "Why, Ser Orland!" she exclaims, her gaze riveted upon the young newcomer for another long moment before she can bring herself to look away to her elderly host. "I had not thought it your habit to consort with… But can it be you've been deceived?" Wide-open, incredulous feminine eyes look up into his, revealing as plain as day her ignorance of whatever's going on — but she's saved from digging herself in more deeply by her sudden, passionate need to subsume whatever wine is left in her goblet. This she does, without breath.

Last quiverings of his laughter bring a good-humoured undertone to Orland's next elaborations. "Consort with the things that emerge from my cupboard? Pray, at least the lad seems to have young ears. Do not fear, for I will make sure the lad will do no harm to you."
Assuring himself of that promise he wipes a bit of dust from one of his new companion's soothingly spindly arms.
Being asked for the courtesy of an introduction he is more than eager to offer the gesture "This, young lad, is the beauteous Lady Joyeuse…" he hesitates when it comes to assign the specifics of her noble house "…a blossom the Reach is proud to have grown. And this mylady…" again he hesitates, stroking his whiskers again in a baffled manner "…is a noble flouncily dressed lad who has proved to be able to speak for himself."
Ah, how satisfied he is with the way he has been wiggling himself out of this. A little nod and a hidden smile behind his beard praises himself in a way less subtle way than he would have believed it to be.

Maintaining an open stare of almost painfully azure innocence, Amadys only narrows it in the faintest, most affectless kind of puzzlement at Lady Joy's exclamation. He didn't lately become a strolling (well, lolling) player for nothing.

"Lady Joyeuse," he repeats with the unillusioned, frank excitement of the very young pondering the very novel. "A beauteous name to fit your outward…carriage. And yet, your face is as strangely familiar as it is searing in its radiance. Do you know the Stormlands at all, good my lady? Might we have e'er intermingled at Stonehelm, or my father's old court at Storm's End in glorious days, alas, gone by? Come, we must not bore Ser Orland's grave board with our trivialities. Where do you lodge? I will gladly escort you thither."

"Oh, the name, by the way," he adds as a decorously apologetic afterthought, "is Amadys of the Citadel. Well, Amadys Baratheon, that is, until I take my vows, of course."

Oh, he's a noble flouncily-dressed lad, is he? … Whilst the two men are consorting with one another Lady Hastwyck glances down into her goblet and calmly switches it with that of her host, who is surely too occupied in dusting sleeves and pronouncing introductions to notice that 'his' goblet is now a) empty and b) two inches to the right of where he left it.

And, in memory of certain frenzied evenings spent in the company of the brightest star in Oldtown's theatrical firmament, once the lady has wet her tongue she bites it. "Ser Orlands," she murmurs pleasantly, the soft plural surely an overlookable artefact of the blurring of her vision, "would you forgive me were I to…? I'm afraid the hour has grown late while I've been enjoying your stories," lightning fails to strike her dead, "and," she sighs, so regretfully, "I've such an early appointment in the morning… I'm certain I couldn't be safer than with this young acolyte, unless of course," that melting smile he's seen half a dozen times in recent hours, "I were still with you. Oh, please say you'll bid me goodnight as a friend?"

The courtesies are attended to, fulsomely; the genial old Master of Coin sees his guests to the corridor but no further, for it's an awfully fine dinner awaiting him, and once he's safely tucked away in his own chambers Lady Joy commences trying the other doors on this level in hope of an unlocked room. She can see two of each of those, too, so it takes her a while.

For his part, the acolyte - surprisingly enough - is almost dry thus far, having turned up at the Hightower on something approximating to his best behaviour. His steering of Lady Joyeuse once he has hold of her arm is thus practical, and purposeful. It guides them neither further within the bowels of the tower, nor out into the warmth of the night, but instead slips behind a tapestry, weighty with cloth of gold and encompassed gems, showing the coronation of some High Septon or other. The perfect place to do some explaining.

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