(121-08-25) Informal Explanations
Informal Explanations
Summary: Amadys is interrogated…sweetly…by Joyeuse.
Date: Date of play (25/08/2014)
Related: Formal Introductions

Hastwyck Manse, Oldtown

It having been the burning intention of Joyeuse, Lady Hastwyck, to demand from her least licit lover a fulsome and grovelling explication of his antecedents and his recent behaviour, the very instant he towed her daintily-drifting silk-robed self behind that tapestry where they might exchange Words in privacy — it's a puzzlement, a very great puzzlement, to that lady, to wake in her own bed in her own chamber with a head pillowed upon her opulent bosom, dark tresses mingled with her ruddy curls, and still no real idea of the young mountebank to whom head and tresses belong. How could she have let him twiddle her round his finger like that, and get away (as it were) without telling her one little thing she wanted to know? Merely because she had a bellyful of good wine and his caressing hands curled about her?

… Behind her eyelids, which have slipped shut again, Lady Joy abandons herself to the composition of a list of reasons why indeed a woman, any woman, could cheerfully permit this 'Valerio Vixenbane' or 'Amadys of the Citadel' or, Seven hells, 'Amadys Baratheon', to postpone any display of his lesser eloquence in favour of his greater. Between her list and the faint customary matutinal pounding in her skull she's occupied just where she is, a goosedown pillow crooked beneath her smirking countenance and her fingers creeping into the tangle of their hair, till he should happen to awake.

As for Amadys, he is breathing, tangibly. It's an agreeable, amiable, breezelike sound and motion, definitely, by no means, a snore; but it has a certain touchingly animalistic quality anyway. The breaths leaven out into a sort of purring groan as the acolyte's so abundant black hair gets twisted about a bit - defensiveness, perhaps, towards one of his most undoubted assets, spurs him into wakefulness.

"Mmmrmjoyuhm," he mutters, "mostmrrrmnice. Mmm,yestermmm. Ol'orlan'. Lotsamoney. Olefren'. Mmmm. Breakfast?" And, in a characteristic display of maturity, he turns his mouth as opposed merely to his temple to Joyeuse's bosom.

Like so many other things Amadys is wont to do in her bed, and her carriage, and her windowseat, and behind tapestries, and in his dressing-room at the Whimsy, and at her dining table — this draws from Lady Joy a rich, gurgling laugh of amusement twined inextricably with pleasure. "Sweetling," she murmurs, and clears her throat, extracting one hand from its silky nest to prospect on the table beside her bed for something to drink, "I can't make out a word, with you buried there… you might," she suggests, doubtfully, "try speaking into my ear…?" Her hand, none too graceful at this hour, guided by memory rather than eyesight, scatters a necklace of topazes and a crumpled handkerchief and a tinderbox into the floor, before fastening round the cup of water her serving-maid leaves out every night. Distasteful substance. She coughs, and puts it back.

"… Oh!" she recollects. "I'm cross with you." And her still-tangled hand tugs at his hair in gentle reproof.

"Like it here," 'Valerio' replies with simple, sensual, sulkiness, but he has wriggled to a faintly more even keel not so long afterwards just the same. Then those blue, ever so slightly blood-tinged eyes grow large and bright. "Like other places more…" A long and insatiable palm is in the process of indicating where, when the sometime actor is jolted from this favourable circumstance by the remorseless grip in his locks.

"Cross?" he replies in a tone of rapid, slightly affronted, almost suspicious innocence, at the same time withdrawing his hand with retributive, painstaking continence. "But darling Joy, you aren't ever cross. It must be your head. Get the servants to bring us more wine and soon you'll feel much better."

As is inevitably the case, Lady Joy's traitorous body takes its own instinctive decisions, accommodating itself to her boy's hand with a lazy sensuality which makes a nonsense of her protestations of displeasure… A cloud passes through her sleepy eyes when that terribly familiar touch flickers away. "If," she sighs heavily, "if I call for wine now, and drink it, and let you coax me the way you always do, I shall forget to ask… Sweetling," for that, rather than 'Valerio', is her customary name for him, "who are you? And to whom have you been lying? Old Orland, or everyone, or… or just me?" This she asks in a tender, rather distant whisper, for no stridency is necessary or suitable when two heads lie so close together in such an untidy bed. Her other hand rises over his shoulder to cup his cheek. She has her eyes open now — and they are fixed upon his.

"Lie…lying…liar, such hard words," the youth protests mellifluously. "I lie with you, my lady, not to you. I did not lie, and you did not ask. Thank the gods. To do so would have been so dull, as dull as that ridiculous old Hightower. Most gently born folk in this venerable city need a herald, a septon and a maester to make their introductions for them. Surely we're above such pettifogging…?"

Amadys sighs, leans back and briefly up. "But as to the rest of the matter, it is true, I have come to lead three lives. The one I was born with," and he kisses her gently and deftly above one eye, "hailed, aye, from Storm's End. The one I had to take on," and he pinches her lightly where throat turns to breast, "was the acolyte's calling. And the third was the stage. And that third," he emphasises as he begins to renew the most intimate of ministrations, "has for some time been at your command…"

They can't have slept long; the curtains are hardly lightened by the dawn, and sounds from the street are sparse and rare. Two or three candles are burning because two or three candles are always burning: Lady Joy has no taste for the dark. But how natural to give oneself up to this pleasant almost-dark, to the comfort of a good soft mattress, and the soft hands and lithe young body of a boy who, she understands now, has never undertaken any labour more arduous than sharpening a quill… never ploughed a field, curried a horse, swung a sword… No, he was made for far more delicate endeavours, one of which he seems — so very agreeably bent upon… Something within her unfolds at his touch; she gives that reliable little sigh of surrender and shifts against him, her silky fingertips questing for his skin. "I didn't know… I didn't know there was a question to ask," she sighs; "it would have been the decent thing to tell me. You know it's different for a woman, to live as I do — you know… the risk is immeasurably greater…"

"You want decent," Amadys observes with mock-reasonableness, "don't go picking up mummers, darlin'." Some time, a couple of bites, an overturned candle, a small, swiftly extinguished chamber-fire, and an entertaining game with wax later, panting cheerily, he appends, "…or stags, for that matter. You think I'm indecent? You should meet my bloody brother…"

He narrows his eyes in lazy curiosity as he adds, "I didn't ask questions of you, either, my beneficent lady. At first, I admit, I vaguely thought some very rich merchant had got very lucky. When you first took me back here…well, I adjusted, and I caught the word Hastwyck from among your varlets. But up at the Hightower they say the Hastwycks are duller than anyone. You must be someone quite else, really, too. I'd say…well, you remind me vaguely of a tart young Florent I used to know. Only the lineaments. She lacked your…taste…in…atmosphere…and was a fearful vixen-bitch anyway, besides. I didn't byname Valerio for her…"

The lady, still more disheveled than when she awoke and simply glowing with renewed good temper, tugs her boy down into the bosom from which she recognises now she was quite wrong to exile him earlier. His new pillow is quivering deliciously with laughter. "Oh, the Hastwycks really are dull dogs… And how they hate me! Sweetling, a wench they cast out and I took in swore to me that Lord Hastwyck," a note of scorn enters her voice, "keeps a portrait of me in his chamber, and flings knives at it each morning when he's come from his garderobe — for his marksmanship, you understand… I suppose it's fair of you to say. I suppose I'm someone else too. But you never asked either, did you? Three lives… Oh," she gasps, giggling, "tell me about your Florent bitch, sweetling! I wonder whether I knew her? I was a Florent once."

"Her hair might have passed for yours in half-light," Amadys assures Lady Joy, "though it lacked a jot of your tresses' style." A less tactful flatterer might have said, art. "But I was actually much more interested into a kinswoman of hers by wedlock. She'd been born a Redwyne, and I'd always fancied getting well in and close with a decent cellar. Talking of which…" He gazes quizzically about the dim, deep drapes of the room, seeking for the warm glint of candlelight upon good, old green casks.

"I had thought of marrying myself, my lady, from time to time," he admits to his blissfully overmarried companion by the by, "and my brother, who likes me me almost as fondly as that Hastwyck you mention does you, was not unwilling to see it done. But they all turned out dull, or wearying, or mad, or frightening, or frighteningly, wearyingly, madly dull."

"Oh, well, marriage," giggles Lady Joy dismissively: who could expect much of that estate? She plays with her boy's hair with tender fingers now, stroking his scalp, straying down occasionally to rub his shoulders… She's terribly fond of playing and cuddling like this, afterwards; to be torn away from him really does make her cross, though then, of course, he's not there to suffer from it. "I was born at Brightwater Keep; my father was Lord Florent, my mother's name before she wed was Tiriana Tully. In their great wisdom they wed me to a Dornish bugger by the name of Darion Qorgyle who could hardly be coaxed to touch me; I was luckier in my paramour," she sighs, unconsciously tightening her grip upon Amadys, "though the lives of Dornish knights are so short… My Hastwyck was the pick of the basket, I promise you. He took care of me beautifully always and saw to it I'd never want. Perhaps one day, sweetling, if you're a very good boy, I'll show you my manse by the sea." Which possession has not yet been mentioned between them; this is after all the longest conversation they've ever had.

"Tully…manse…sea…" the acolyte muses learnedly… "s'that where you whisked off your kissing-cousin, then, I wonder…?" He rolls away in mock grievance, his eyes suddenly scrunched shut and his full mouth contorted with suppressed mirth. "So depraved, but what are we noble for if not a little depraving now and then? I was packed off here on account of my good-sister, to start with, the bonds of the gods," he suddenly mimics, not very well by Whimsy standard's, a septon's whine, "being quite as sacred as those of blood…"

Sliding pack over, he pokes at the lady's generous flank with his swift, sharp touch. "And what of the fabled Ser Orland? Does he e'er have a chance of gazing on the manse by the sea? In the stead of other revenues, perhaps?"

That accusing, interrogatory poke brings Lady Joy rolling toward him, not away, till all her opulent pale flesh is nestled against his leaner body in the mode they've found so natural since two or three minutes after they met. "Seven hells, I hope not!" she giggles. "I usually try to avoid bringing the nobility into my bed… Though if I can't persuade him to overlook this little bill of mine in any other way… I need the money, sweetling, your comfits and your doublets don't come for nothing. I don't grudge you, you know that, but—" And her hand, which has ventured down as far as his posterior, always a favourite resting-place, squeezes. "If you're a Baratheon of Storm's End, why am I paying for your new costumes? Are you a second cousin thrice removed, mmm? Was your pa disowned for behaving just as you do?" It's a very stern interrogation, this, with her hands stroking him and her already faintly swollen pink lips near enough to be kissed.

He yelps, briefly, then sighs in a strange hybrid of luxuriance and contemplation. When he has composed himself, his voice is articulate but under the circumstances, oddly sombre. "It's rather a long story, sweetest chuck…but the latest instalment is briefly told…" Amadys coughs, a little pinker in the points of his cheeks, but paler in general at the same time.

"…I don't suppose you've heard of a certain Lady Cora Baratheon…?"

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