(121-12-15) This Too Shall Pass
This Too Shall Pass
Summary: Ser Brynden comes upon a cousin and her servant in the Lower Garden; talk of trouble and rumours is shared amidst better news.
Date: 15/12/2014
Related: None

Lower Garden - The Hightower Battle Island

The bottom two levels, giving some forty-five feet of height to the tower, are below, and the next tier of the white stone structure looms above. The second tier is narrower than the first, and the roof-space left behind supports this garden. It's a large ring, some twenty-five feet from the wall to the interior of the tower to the battlements at the roof edge. There's a paved walk along those crenellations, but the rest of the space has been floored in rich deep soil.

The garden has two winding path around the rings, twisting among beds of flowers and blossoming shrubs. They bloom profusely, and in every colour. A few small fountains are nestled amid the plants. The soil is not deep enough for large trees, so there are canopies of colourful fabric to create the shady spots. White stone benches and tables grace the shaded areas. Still, the rich earth is deep enough for small trees, and little plum trees and spreading berry bushes offer their sweets on some months.

There's a games court on the western side of the ring.

The Lower Garden of the Hightower has always been a favoured place of Lady Marsei. Since her return home, widowed, she has not been deeply social, save for joining the recent feast in celebration of Oldtown and in honour of her brother, their lord. When she has been out and about, it's been in quiet corners, like here in the garden; her chosen spot is on a white stone bench under a canopy, although the evening dims and shade is not necessary. She sits with her handmaid Siva, the same dark-haired girl that's been with her since childhood. In a fine, dark gown, Marsei is marked by her styled red hair more than the shade she wears; the dreary colours are uncommon to her usual gentle disposition, and do not suit her.

The lady talks quietly to her servant, clutching her hands. The garden had been otherwise empty, and she seems to assume it still is. " … should rightly forget everything. If I could procure something from my dear cousin to forget, I would take it, and give it to you as well," she's telling Siva in soft but woefully insistent tones.

Stepping out into the garden, Brynden is heading over in the direction of somewhere he can stop to look out into the distance. He hasn't noticed Marsei yet, as he seems a little distracted, so far.

That makes all of them distracted. "My lady," the servant begins and is gently interrupted by Marsei, whose voice, though small, travels in the quiet garden. The summer breeze is quiet this eve, and other sounds of the Hightower sound distant. "I don't want to speak of it again," the lady goes on, forlorn rather than commanding but ever so insistent; no trifling matter, it would seem, "I don't wish you to speak of it again, to me nor anyone. Pro— " A shadow, a step — some little detail alerts her to someone else's presence. Marsei is startled, but her good graces kick in immediately as she stands and steps out from under the canopy. She steps onto the path, seeking to determine who's there. Even as she approaches the knight, she's not certain just yet. "My pardon…"

Still looking out into the distance, those words makes Brynden pause, and he turns around now. "Yes?" As he sees who it is, he comes to a stop, watching her carefully for a few seconds. "Cousin…?"

"Ser … Brynden?" Is that relief or surprise in her voice? Marsei is still startled from mere moments ago, a faint pink flush having risen to her fair skin, at her cheeks, but it's the only indication of a rabbit heart underneath her manners and a subtle one at that. Her smile for the knight is warm, genuine. "It has been too long, cousin." She nods her head deep, though the top of her head is already presented to the more towering Hightower. "You startled me; how long have you been here in our quiet garden? My apologies if I disturbed you." Rather than the other way around.

"Yes, that's quite correct," Brynden replies, offering a smile now. "And it has been far too long." A shrug, before he offers a brief grin. "Not for long, I more or less just got here a few moments ago. How are you, all things considered?"

"I see no end to mourning," Marsei replies — pleasantly, as if determinedly not wishing to make things grim, "although I have been assured life will go on, if not as it was. Unfortunately, I am not the only widow or widower in the Hightower these days." She smiles, the sadness it's tinged with not touching her warmth. "How do you fare, good ser? What of your lady wife?"

Brynden nods a little as he hears that part. "True. And I believe life will still go on, yes. Which is a good thing, I suppose." A smile is offered in return. "We're both well, my lady wife and me. Not long now until our firstborn should arrive, after all."

Long lashes flutter too fast for an instant. "How lovely," she congratulates, radiant, "may the Seven bless you all." Behind her some distance, her maid lingers back by the bench, hands neatly clasped, dutiful and quietly watchful. "I do hope the rumours from Cider Hall, about the Redwynes regarding my— husband's… " Marsei starts, her best intentions trailing off, troubled. She quickly rights her words, polite, sincere, and apologetic. "I hope they did not make it to Lady Anika. They were of course— wholly unfounded! It would be silly to think otherwise, but … " Her dimpled chin lowers delicately; she looks delicate altogether in that moment. "There were so many conclusions being leapt to…"

"I heard there were some rumors, but I don't believe they made there way to her." Brynden replies, before he reaches over to place a hand on her shoulder now. "I know… It's not the only time people have jumped to conclusions, lately." A brief grimace as he speaks now.

Tension has wound its way into Marsei's thin shoulder, but it was there long before Brynden placed his hand there. Marsei gives a grateful nod and smile and, seeming bolstered, lifts her head. She studies his grimace very specifically, curious.

Brynden pauses as he sees her studying the grimace. "Just been quite a few last months. Lots of troublesome things happening. Some friends of mine were… accused of something, and it turned into a Trial of the Seven…" He sighs, shaking his head now. "We managed to clear them through the combat, but still…"

Marsei's gaze is empathetic. "News of the Trial spread far. I'm sorry your friends were caught up in such troubles, but I was glad to hear of the victory. With all our people have been through, I pray the city's troubles are over for some time," she says with the optimism of the faithful, even though her personal troubles seem to have found a loophole. Still smiling at her knightly cousin, Lady Marsei takes a step back. "I shall wish you a good-night and take my leave, Ser Brynden."

Brynden smiles, nodding as he hears that. "Let us hope so. We've all been through so much," he replies. Nodding as she prepares to take her leave. "Of course, dear cousin. It was good to see you again. And if you feel you need someone to talk to, I'll listen," he offers.

"You are too kind," Marsei tells the other Hightower sweetly, a kindness upon kindness. She's soon arm to arm with her servant, who looks back to Brynden over her shoulder with something like suspicion, fitful and short-lived, replaced by a dutiful gaze to her lady, and they disappear into the mighty tower itself.

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