(121-12-12) Tea, Pits, and Pansies
Tea, Pits, and Pansies
Summary: Three ladies of house Hightower, the twins Lynette and Lynesse, and the recently widowed Lady Marsei, converse with Ser Edmund Lonmouth over a light repast, Tea, the Beacon
Date: Date of play (11/12/2014)
Related: http://gobmush.wikidot.com/log:121-11-05-desperate-measures

This expansive room serves as the library for House Hightower and their guests. While its book collection does not compare to what the Citadel might offer, the space is entirely admirable, and well suited so socialization as well as study.

Tall shelves line the walls. The ends of the wooden bookcases are carved with the Hightower sigil, an image of the very tower that holds this room. They are painted, and the flames of the beacon-fire covered with bright gold leaf. While the carvings are largely the same, the paint-jobs are each different, some showing the tower at night, some at dawn, some in rain, and so forth.

The shelves nearest the door hold, not books, but games of various sorts, most in wooden boxes. There are several large round tables to facilitate play, surrounded by chairs plushly padded with silk, some in silver and some in red.

Further back, the bookshelves are not pressed against the walls but arranged in stacks that divide up the space into small, semi-private areas. Hidden there are more tables, these ones small, as well as single chairs and plush couches.

The room is windowless, but kept well-lit by many lamps.

It's a fine day for the library, overcast outside the walls of the Hightower and welcoming within. To say the space is crowded, however, would be an understatement as grand as the building itself. A couple of remarkably well-behaved little lords play a boardgame while, in the back of the grand space, Lady Marsei and the servant who's been with her side since childhood, not terribly far beyond her in years, are tucked away upon a plush couch, bathed in warm lamp-light. She watches the page of a book while it's the dark-haired servant who reads them to her in hushed, finely spoken intonations. In front of her, on a small table, is a neatly arranged tray of tea with extra cups and a small platter of cake.

Despite being separated last night, the Hightower twins show a united front as they walk into the library arm-in-arm. "I'm telling you I left it here…" Lynette, the one in black pearls, says to Lynesse, the one who has been marked by white pearls since they were young girls. She spies the boys, and offers them the insipid sort of smile that is often offered to children. She says their names as she passes, but doesn't stop for discussion with them. (How dull!).

Ned Lonmouth stands just beyond the door of the library, goblet in hand, while the Lords and Ladies of Hightower, their servants, and maids take their leisure. Lonmouth's own retinue consists of a single squire, a youth from the Stormlands with the crest of House Wensington on a threadbare doublet. A pair of men-at-arms in Purple Cloaks stand watch just beyond the library; despite the return of law and order to Oldtown, the watch continues to find dead nobles in alleys and wynds.

Lynesse smiles at the Lonmouth as she and her twin enter the library, a much more genuine one than the vaguely pleasant but largely disinterested smile she offers the boys. She whispers something to her twin, and then spots Marsei, redirecting themselves in the direction of the sofa their Hightower cousin shares with her maid.

Marsei notices the incoming presence of the twins and sits up a smidgen straighter from what had become a cozy press into the couch by her maid's shoulder, and her long sleeveless gown comes to life in a ripple of fine, dark silk. The shadows caused by the lamps are friendly companions to the light, not ominous, but they do paint her attire black, when a close inspection would show hints of grey. Perhaps she plans to come out of mourning by gradient, or is simply representing her house. As the hushed reading comes to a soft close, Marsei stands up to greet Lynette and Lynesse. Her smile is fond for the mirrored image in front of her eyes. "Lady Lynette and Lynesse. My favorite pair of twins," she says, her pleasant self. "Will you join me? Please say you will. I'd say I'd had more cake than I can eat brought up, but I think we all know that's not true. But it's meant to be shared, I'm told."

The twins seem to prefer samite and other thick rich fabrics. Today they are dressed in a forest green that contrasts with their almost-always free and flowing copper tresses. When Lynesse murmurs into her ear she casts a look back at Edmund, and lets out a little laugh. Eyes still on him she says, "Won't you join us, Ser? You've been so busy in the city we've seen barely any of you." Then Marsei is standing, and inviting them for cake, "Oh, of course. Ser Edmund can give us all an update on the city."

The Knight of Skulls and Kisses is dressed in black lambs wool trousers and a black jerkin. His only ornament is a silver cloak pin etched with the arms of his house, grinning skulls and embonpoint lips, quartered. Ned directs a cold glare to the Green Cloaks who have taken up positions beyond the library. Then, without preamble, he turns to his squire and lifts one gloved hand. "I told you to bring Gray cloaks, these are the pansies men, boy. I want spearmen, not boy-fuckers. "Send them away and fetch two of my men for the barracks, and be quick about it." The squire dashes off and Ned turns to Lynette and Lynesse. Thence, to Lady Marsei. "My ladies of Hightower, my duties have kept me rather busy, of late, but the plague has abated. Lord Hightower's logisticians are still trying to arrive at a tally of the dead, the pits are overflowing with skulls and femurs."

Lynesse favors her cousin with a bright, mirthful smile. She follows her twin's eye back to the Lonmouth watchman, and after he debriefs them on the state of the city, Lynesse says, "What a natural talent you seem to possess, ser, for spoiling one's appetite for sweets with talk of the dead and dying. We'll never make fat wives for any man with you about to put us off our cake!"

Siva, the handmaid, closes the large, heavily bound book on her lap. It seems to be a collection of tales, the likes of which they all probably heard as children. Can anyone fault the lady Marsei a fanciful escape? The lady communicates with the servant by way of soft look and gesture and that is all that's needed for her to politely skirt her way out of sight, leaving more seating open. Marsei is congenially beckoning to the Knight of Skulls and Kisses despite, well, all things. "Ser Edmund," she greets and retakes her seat. "It shan't stop me," she says to Lynesse, reaching for a small plate to shuffle a piece of cake upon, yet the pink flush alongside the pallor of her fine-boned cheeks looks rather queasy, as a matter of fact. "I am glad to hear news." Actually, it sounds as terrible as did when she overheard a sliver the night before during the feast. "I worried over the fate of our fine city while I was bound to Cider Hall."

"They say" Lyynette says to Lynesse and Marsei in a discreet tone while Edmund tells off his squire, "That Lord Pansy had a giant gold statue of a naked man put right in the center of the Tyrell manse, and he and his 'favorites' would…" She trails off with a waggle of her well-shaped brows, leaving all assembled with that particular image. She sits down when the handmaid makes to leave, and casts an interested look at the cake, "It is a pity that there is no way to give the survivors their loved one's bones. As for my appetite? You could talk of femurs and skulls and cooking blood all day, Ser." She smiles, perhaps a little feral, "I would still want cake."

So too, it seems, does Lynesse, for she claims the spot between Marsei and Lynette and then wastes no time in helping herself to some of the cake, revealing her protestations to be not much more than teasing. The three redheads must make a pretty picture for Ser Edmund, who is left no room on the chaise to join them (not that it would be seemly for him to do so, in any event). The twin lays a hand on Marsei's arm, and tells her, "Your brother worked tirelessly on behalf of all of Oldtown's sons and daughters."

"Forgive me, Lady Lynesse, it was been too long since I have been in gentile company." Ned turns to the door, beyond the thick wood of the library door, there comes a clink of mail and gruff voices. He seems mollified by the sounds, the men of the watch of Oldtown are rather gruff, but none of them are the Pansies "favorites."

"But, truly, this cake is so" Here, Ned lifts a sliver of cake from the serving platter, plummy." He regards the sweet sliver with glare, then sets it aside and reaches for a flagon of wine.

"It was as bad as the minstrels and maesters said, Lady Marsei, Lord Ormund empowered the watch to conscript men from the household companies of Oldtown's ambassadors and guests, but at the height of the epidemic, even the reinvigorated Watch was hard-pressed to contain the rioting. "

Ned turns to Lynette, his brows descend and a look his nose wrinkles; aristocratic disdain. "My thanks for that anecdote, dear Lynette, I shall away to the Sept and thank the Seven that I am highborn, if only just, and not a man of common extraction." Again, another wrinkle of the nose. "Though someone ought to find the poor page who had to clean that statue after the Pansy and his favorites.. What a disgusting ordeal the boy deserves a Dragon and the attention of the Silver Archmaester."

Holding her plate neatly, Marsei sweeps a thumb across her cheek on the way to sweeping aside a wave of reddish hair, most of it left to fall freely this day, save for what's braided and pinned in the back. It's hard to say whether the flush on her cheek is from Edmund's telling of the bodies, the conversation Lynette's gossip has bore, or from something unrelated altogether, to be honest. Her clever eyes don't tell, only move alertly from person to person to identical person. "I had faith in Ormund, though I … must admit…" Her brows, lighter than her gingery hair, come together in worry. Barely a wrinkle follows suit; she's blessed with abundant youth. Marsei's high, fine voice would sound as childlike as it did a decade ago were it not for the intellect that matures it. "I feared that awful disease would catch him. I would have been distraught if it wound its way into any of my brothers and sisters here in Oldtown — or my sweet cousins," she lays a hand on Lynesse's, the closest cousin to impress her sentiment on.

" … I have been too long gone," Marsei says. This, not a sentiment, but a comment on the talk of pansies and statues and favorites; it's a lot to put in order, and by her uncertain look, perhaps she'd rather not. She promptly lifts the cup of tea she'd poured earlier.

Lynette wisely makes no comment regarding the poor lad who had to clean the rumored statue. After all, it would be unladylike to further discuss the matter. Instead, she takes a piece of cake for herself, and puts a piece on her fork. The piece remains balanced there as she says, "It's funny. His health seemed to improve after the loss of Millicent Greyjoy." The rest is left unsaid: Millicent Greyjoy, Lord Ormund's dead love, was called the Sea Witch for a reason.

Lynesse seems to share that particular sentiment with Marsei, letting talk of pansies and statues and purple cloaks go by without comment. Instead, she assures her cousin, "I brewed a special tea for Lord Ormund in hopes of keeping him in good health, both of the body and of the spirit. There was want of some insistence to be sure he took it nightly, and it may be that it did little more than assuage my own fears of him taking ill, but here we are." She leans a little closer to Marsei, telling her in a low voice, "In truth, I think he would not have let the disease take him even if it had wanted to. Not with Oldtown left in the balance."

"Lord Ormund remained hale and hearty throughout the plague. I have no doubt Lynesse's tea fortified Lord Ormund. Lady Lynesse's tea is inimitable, and quite salubrious. And Millicent? Well, it is not my place to criticize my liege, but a few of my comrades called her an unlikely match. Her family keeps the Drowned God, and she was quite the shrew. You should stay in Oldtown, Lady Marsei, your fair cousins will have you politicking and intriguing with the best dragons and roses, or betwixt dragons and roses, and when your mourning is at an end, Lynette and Lynesse know all the best knights and lords."

Marsei tips her head to one side after Lynette's observation, considering. A sad expression tempts her lips, but she fends it off. "Still, I was sorry to hear of Lady Greyjoy… yet Ormund seems in good spirits," she chooses to say. "I am only glad for his well-being." There's an easy joyfulness to her smile that speaks to her family loyalty. She looks to the cousin at her side. "I choose to put my faith in Lynesse's handiwork as well," she concurs with Edmund, speaking like it's a point of pride, "My lady cousin knows her medicine."

As for politicking — the lady Marsei's friendly smile transforms in a more reflective state. She sips her tea, and the look behind the cup is knowing. Yet there's not a hint of slyness, smugness, or curiosity that quite indicates she's intrigued by the thought of, well, intrigue. "It is hard to think beyond a time of mourning," the smile fades, her dimpled chin tucking down, "I cannot see myself being in any hurry to meet lords and knights."

Lynesse smiles, when Edmund and Marsei both cast their votes in favor of her medicinal aptitude, but she demurs from further remark on the subject, not being the sort comfortable with bearing much by way of attention. Instead, she resumes the dainty devouring of her cake, offering a sympathetic squeeze to her cousin's hand when she makes the observation she does on mourning. "I've just finished reading a book of poetry that I think you might enjoy. I will have my maid pass it to yours." To distract her from her grief, if nothing else.

"That's very thoughtful, thank you," Marsei says in her kind way; that way that makes every courtesy genuine. She goes about eating her cake in a similarly dainty manner. "Or you could bring it yourself when you come for a visit," she invites Lynesse via statement. "What else has been going about the city?" she asks for pleasant conversation; therefore, besides death. "I heard quite an earful from Valora, but the news was mostly hers…"

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