(122-03-04) Judgments
Summary: Marsei and Camillo walk back from the Dragon Door Manse and speak of Targaryens; Marsei reveals some of her troubles and gives recompense for Camillo's.
Date: 08/03/2015
Related: Beauty to Brighten

Just as Marsei and Camillo were leaving Visenya's presence, Camillo made excuse to return inside for a moment. He only seemed to linger a minute or two before rejoining Marsei, apologizing for the delay. "Do we return directly to the Hightower?"

Surrounded by a loose grouping of waiting guards, Marsei is staring blatantly up at the Targaryen manse, already in a kind of daze when Camillo returns. She startles visibly, then smiles it off; a more languid expression than usual, which could be attributed to the brandy taken with Visenya. "Hmm? Oh, yes. Yes, please, and quickly, if we could." She sets to it with a sweep of her gown along the street's clean cobbles. She looks to Camillo and past him again, to the building, questioning lightly, "What was that errand?"

"One I told you about before," Camillo says quietly, keeping up with Marsei. "She asked of me something that could turn back an attacker. I gave her the most stinging kitchen spices she could fling in eyes, but nothing more. She believes this a secret between herself and me. But of course, I serve the Hightowers."

Unsurprised, this must have been what Marsei expected; she nods, an approving gesture. It's also contemplative. "And it is much appreciated, Camillo. I am fond of Visenya…" she returns quietly, sincere. She looks back at the Dragon Door once again over her narrow shoulder. "I do hope her intentions are good after all. There are always the rumours, with certain Targaryens…"

"What rumors, my lady?" Camillo asks, perhaps predictably. The question, of course, doesn't mean that he hasn't heard any rumors. He looks from the path ahead to Visenya's face.

"The madness," she says, ever so quietly, her face cast down as Camillo looks upon it. "I do not speak poorly of them," she thinks to insist hurriedly afterward, looking up again, worried that she may sound otherwise, "Nor even think it."

"I understand," Camillo answers, nodding solemnly. "But a…weakness, even if in-born, coupled with royal standing and dragons…"

"The dragons!" Marsei exclaims through a whisper that could easily turn into a laugh were it not for the nervous energy thinking of the creatures produces. "… even a tame cat can claw terribly, and they are no cats. I do not think I can ever become accustomed to sharing the same room with dragons," she admits; after a pause, thoughtful and perhaps even a touch oddly sorrowful, she adds softly, "yet my family is married to dragons."

"Nor I, my lady," Camillo admits, perhaps glad to hear Marsei shares the sentiment. He inclines his head. "We do not always choose our alliances," he says. "All we can do is to stand a prudent distance from what is dangerous."

Marsei takes Camillo's words as seriously as any counsel. For a spell, she walks in silence, quite deeply contemplative. The Hightower men around lady and servant keep their distance to allow Marsei privacy. Maybe it's the brandy, which she drank more of than intended; maybe it's her mood; maybe she feels comfortable with Camillo. Whatever the case, her words are sudden and quiet and strange when she says, "I think I am dangerous."

Camillo looks toward the ground a moment, then to Marsei's face. "And what makes you say that, my lady?" he questions softly, keeping close by her without being overly familiar.

She may regret her words, for she struggles to produce more. She comes to a halt there in the street; her long gown still travels about her legs until it catches up to her pause. "There is a prince who wishes for my hand," she reveals, quieter still, and though her voice sounds young as she speaks the words, it bears none of the girlish excitement often inherent in marrying a prince. Rather, she simply sounds small, worried, and worn down.

"You have no affection for him?" Camillo seeks to verify first. He doesn't sound as if that answer would surprise him. Quite the contrary, his tone acknowledges that nobility rarely choose their mates for love.

But Marsei smiles, a small expression, soft and fond. And fading. "I have only met him on occasion," she says. "But how terrible am I, Camillo? That while Visenya spoke of her troubles, I sat with the knowledge that I can simply choose to be married, to no less than a Targaryen as well, and it would likely be so, yet I waver— " Breath catching in her soft, high voice, she puts movement in her step again, ushering along slow continuation of their travel back to the Hightower. Her hands clutch at her gown at her hips as if that may gain her composure. She glances over at Camillo, half-apologetic for speaking of such things with him, yet carries on; perhaps she has no one else to tell. "They are not all like Visenya's Rhaegor, strong and bold and free to do as they choose. This prince, my would-be prince … he is so gentle. I fear I will hurt him. I fear I already have."

"Is it terrible, to want something different from what others want?" Camillo asks, as if it were a real question and not rhetorical. He falls in step at her side. "Is it…? I would not pry, but…" He doesn't ask the name directly. He looks thoughtful, instead. "How do you think you have hurt him? By remaining undecided?"

"Yes," Marsei says, clipped and to the point, except that she does not specify which line of questioning she's answered. Perhaps the last; perhaps all. An animated expression, discomfited and sheepish, is turned Camillo's way before her chin tucks down. She watches the cobblestones change as the streets change.

Camillo seems to think Marsei's answer, or non-answer, over very thoughtfully despite its ambiguity. Or because of that. He, too, looks at the street. "If you ever wish to speak of it more in private, we may," he says softly. "You may find that I… make fewer judgments than those who are born to lives easy enough that they make few truly difficult decisions."

"Is that what you think of us?" Marsei comes to life with a mixture of fascination and mortification, a rare glimpse of offense, "That most of us have not made hard decisions, had difficult lives just because they are different than others?" It all crumbles and dissipates a few seconds later, her shoulders falling. Regret and apology touches her gaze — and Camillo — vividly and immediately.

Camillo shakes his head gently. "No, my lady," he says, brows knitting slightly as he looks off to the side of the road, not lingering on Marsei's apologetic look. "You… Forgive me, but I believe you assume I speak of class when I do not." He is quiet a moment longer. "I speak of…fate. There are many, rich and poor, high and low, who live easily. And many who do not. But the easier the life, the easier it seems to judge others, I believe."

"You are right again, of course… I have known that to be so as well," Marsei replies with a tentative smile. "… Apologies, Camillo," she says in all her ample sincerity. "I think… most of those I know have been through hardships; except the very young, and the most privileged of men; but…" She's ponderous, choosing her words carefully. "…that does not always mean their counsel is good." Or safe. "Thank you for your kindness. And your counsel."

Camillo inclines his head. "I only wish to be of use," he answers. "Not to cause pain, my lady. And…you will forgive my presumptuousness, but I know you to be good, whatever you have done, or may yet do. I know you would have reason, if ever you were to do someone wrong. Grave reason."

Marsei accepts what Camillo's said with a fluttering of her lashes and a tensing of her mouth. There's a faint roll of her shoulders as if she means to better her posture … or to adjust a heavy load. There's gratefulness in her gaze again, although it's vacillating, not lingering, when her head turns just slightly. "I would not like to do anyone wrong, not at all, not ever." The words are absent defensiveness. "One day," she starts and in her determined way. "I will ask you what experiences have led you here, good Camillo."

"I know that," Camillo says, seeming to accept her statement at face value. "That is why I say you are good. If you were not good, you would not look…burdened." Her last comment draws a glance from him. "The story would be very long. But perhaps I would trade it for yours."

"Hm!" Marsei laughs once suddenly under her breath, smiling brightly in spite of the subject matter. "Yes," she agrees — theoretically, "Won't that be a day." She looks ahead almost wistfully, rather similarly to the way one might look forward to to the ending of a fantastical tale.

Camillo smiles, too. A rare gesture, even though it is a bit wan. "I think it will, my lady," he agrees. "We will learn whether we have more in common than thought, or less." He clears his throat. "I watched after your girl. She was unharmed during the festival."

Marsei gives a faint "oh!" upon the subject change. "Thank you for looking out for her. I do hope it was no trouble." She's barely expressed her thanks before her hands fly together in front of her, clasping an idea. "The ball Visenya and I are throwing— it is masked! Would you like to attend? As recompense for your good service, it would be easy to arrange a costume for you. No one would be any the wiser, and it is all in good fun! Oh, I love masked balls!"

Camillo seems stunned by the offer. He's without words for a silence long enough that it's almost awkward. "I…would not know how to behave."

Marsei is unfazed. "It's all the better to be mysterious in costume," she says, progressively more and more upbeat about this new idea of transforming the drably dressed servant into some kind of sparkling costumed stranger. "All sorts come to these things because of that. I'm having masks made for my handmaids. You are not obligated to go, of course, but I know you would be well-behaved."

Camillo gives some more thought to this. "I cannot dance," he says, "I have no conversation. Your guests would find me dull." But he hasn't quite said no, despite Marsei's making that option clear.

"That does not mean you could not enjoy the food and entertainment," Marsei counters merrily, pointing a finger at him. "And make sure Visenya's fire-eaters do not set the gardens ablaze," she adds in jest. Mostly in jest.

Camillo smiles a little at the last comment and nods thoughtfully. "Will you let me think on it, my lady?" he requests. "And decide whether I would be best as guest or as servant there?"

"Of course," Marsei allows without thought. As she looks up at the Hightower, grander and grander in front of them, a spritely, subtly comical sort of smile settles in. "Did I mention we might also dress up the servants…"

Camillo smiles a little and inclines his head. "Then I hope each does his duty well, or else we might all be blamed for one man's mistake," he says, but it seems like he's mainly joking.

"Hmm. Then perhaps we will adorn them each with a different colour," she replies, and while it seems that she's mainly joking as well, she does seem to be cheerfully considering it after the fact; a happy distraction. Any excuse to make the party even prettier and more colourful is likely to become mandated by the likes of Lady Marsei and Princess Visenya.

"And what will you look to enjoy most, in the festivities?" Camillo thinks to ask, looking Marsei's way curiously.

"What people think to wear," Marsei replies straight away, "the most artful and inventive. And my dress. Unfortunately I expect I will be rather recognizable." She smiles over at Camillo. "If you keep asking such questions, you'll be forced to listen to another rendition of fashion talk."

Camillo ducks his head. "I do not mind, my lady, though I fear I would be a poor partner in such conversation. I know nothing of the fashions, or creativity."

Marsei only smiles, considering Camillo's style or lack thereof, and doesn't feel the need to go on anymore about gowns and masks. The arched bridge looms ahead of them. "I think I will stay a moment in the gardens once we reach Battle Island. You can go on ahead."

Camillo bobs his head at that. "Yes, my lady. I hope you will find them refreshing. Thank you for your kindnesses, as always."

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