(122-04-08) Head in the Clouds
Head in the Clouds
Summary: Dhraegon visits Marsei, who doesn't quite seem to want to talk about anything important, which is just as well.
Date: 04/08/2015
Related: Everything Marsei/Dhraegon, As You Wish, But...

Lower Garden - The Hightower Battle Island

It is a summer evening. The weather is cool and fair.

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 garden is a natural meeting place, most of all when the visitor is Prince Dhraegon. There had been nothing especially official or specific about Marsei's call on him to join her at the Hightower; simply this, a breezy summer evening surrounded by flowers and the garden's rings. The Hightower lady sits neatly, hands tucked at her sides, on a bench in the lower garden, her pale yellow dress seeming aglow compared to the dimming skies. Her mood seems pleasant as ever, if prone to quiet spells, but she's relying on the intrigue of the garden's many plants to fill any silences.

Dhraegon has left his entourage downstairs. This time he has what appears to be a simple wildflower in a pot the pale lavender of his eyes. The flower is the humble Septon's Lace, a bunch of tiny white flowers clustered in a circle on the end of each branch like a mushroom's head. The Prince himself is in blue, well scrubbed and obviously anxious as he approaches her deferentially. His knee length hair has a long thin braid on each side of his face with a matching ribbon threaded through the braid. "You have changed some of your petals. You are all daffodils and narcissi today. I…I am sorry if I scared you. At the party. I never meant to, but I felt very strange. Visenya was very angry about me… touching you. Like that." He looks genuinely distressed, "I did not mean to bruise your petals!"

Marsei rises to meet him and his distress. Smiling at once, her expression is warm and apologetic; as if she could apologize on Visenya's behalf. If only. "Visenya," she points out gently, "should perhaps take into account the effects of the pink drink. I think everyone was behaving a bit unusually, that night," she tries to reassure. She starts and stops a further attempt — a small opening and closing of her mouth, nothing more. She lowers back down, just as she was. "Will you sit down," she offers politely, "and show me what you've brought?"

Dhraegon still looks incredibly guilty and distressed by his own behavior, but gives her a sheepish smile and offers her the flower, "This Lady is Septon's Lace. I know she is quite common, but I am fond of her. I… I like lace which is pretty and delicate looking, but much stronger than it looks…." He studies her face to see if she is insulted, or if she understands.

Marsei tips her head to peek into the pot and looks fondly on the plant, taking in its details with care just as she takes in Dhraegon's words. "She does not bruise so easily," she assesses quietly, with a smile; understanding, and with a touch of good humour. No insult mars her gentle features when she looks up at him, yet her gaze does not stay for long.

Dhraegon gives her a bright, childlike smile, like sun coming out during a rain shower, "Yes! And she can defend herself though she has no thorns." The smile is gone again, "Lady Marsei…. I… This is truly me as I am here with you, but how I am in public… Well note the weird way the pink drink made me feel, but the… the rest of it. That's truly me too. When I am upset or overwhelmed…. I know it's embarrassing for you and… and others. When it's quiet, I can try to be as other people are, but I am always much worse after. I am not good at being…." He takes a deep breathe, "I know people think I am simple, but I'm not. I'm just different and I have trouble… I know I not right and that it's a burden for you and I won't be angry if it is too much for you and you would like me not to Court you though I hope we will still be friends because I like you and I think you are, are good and if you do want to marry me it is all right if you want to make fun of me to others so that they won't laugh at you."

Her eyes seem to grow in size as they grow in undefined sentiment — the more Dhraegon speaks, the more touched Marsei is his words, his intent in saying them. For one, glimmering flash, she suddenly appears acutely troubled, bright eyes shining with distress. "I would not make fun of you," she tells him, almost frantic to say so, thinking the notion horrible. She turns her head away and looks down, grazing narrow knuckles to her chin. "…And I would very much like not to hurt you," she says more quietly. A notion just as horrible. She looks to Dhraegon again quickly, her expression transformed into one of hope and inadvertent sweetness, yet worry tenses her brow. "Can we not talk about such things as… courtships and marriages, today? Can we speak of anything else?"

Dhraegon very nearly reaches for her hand at that moment of distress, but pulls back, not sure if that would make things worse. Instead he listens, wide eyed and worried himself, but then he gives her a goofy smile, "What would you like to talk about? I am always speaking of gardens. What things do you like, Marsei? Or we could play hide and seek or… or blind man's bluff, or sit and see if their might be shapes in clouds." he blushes again, "I am at your service, you know."

Grateful, Marsei relaxes in increments. "I don't believe I've played hide-and-seek in the gardens since I was small, and then hardly, let alone blind man's bluff," she admits through a soft laugh, charmed by the thought, but perhaps just the thought. She's in no hurry to go hide in the bushes at the moment. "You know, I was asked only the other day what I liked, what I was good at," she confesses thoughtfully, "It is a strangely challenging thing to answer, beyond what a lady is meant to say."

Dhraegon listens with a real seriousness, head slightly cocked, "I think it is an important question. If you have not the answer I would be happy to listen to you think about it. sometimes telling someone makes everything clear in a way thinking by yourself doesn't." He lowers his eyes, "I am not very good at meant to, and do not care if your answer is not the one people think it ought to be."

"How truly right you are," Marsei states, all the more sincere for how casually it is said. She smiles agreeingly and tips her head to one side, deciding to give in to that wisdom — talking until it makes sense. "I suppose it's… not a matter of not knowing what I like, I do, it's rather that much of it is what one might expect. Fashions and family and flowers and the Seven?" She pauses, in perfect poise, but for her slightly humorous smile. "… it's true — I love all of those things! But the rest is more… abstract for most conversation, isn't it? I like the view across the Sound, and playing strategy games I always lose, and hearing stories, and learning new things. There are so many things, everywhere, all the time. I like to see the beauty."

Dhraegon listens open mouthed, the way he is prone too, with that odd blank look he gets. He does seem to be following, despite the apparent gormlessness, "There is nothing wrong with liking expected things if you truly like them. I did suspect you were more than that though. The night I saw you at your brother's party. It is beautiful here and peaceful. I do not blame you for loving it. Would you… would you like to teach me cyvasse? I never learned." He giggles good naturedly, hiding behind that long, fine hair, "Who would think to teach me, really? Most of the stories I know are about history. What sort do you know?"

"I could teach you cyvasse," Marsei obliges easily, smiling in light amusement at the thought, "but if you learn the tactics from me, the game will be sure to crumble in a matter of moments." She's good-natured about her shortcomings as a game strategist, not seeming to mind at all that it's not her strong suit. "Who would've thought to teach me, really, only I convinced Siva when I was small." She looks up toward the clouds. "I always remember the most fantastical stories the best. The adventures. Some of them were true."

Dhraegon giggles again, lowering his lids shyly like a young maiden might. "Still, it might be a fun way to spend a rainy evening with mulled punch at our elbows and looking out the window at the bay. We could tell each other stories and see who is worse at cyvasse."

Marsei smiles at that, too. A soft, distant gaze travels to and from Dhraegon through the gardens. "That does sound nice," she says quietly, pleasant yet ever-so-gently melancholy.

Dhraegon says very gently, "Marsei. I know you are sad. If there is any way for me to ease you or help you with your burden, let me know. I am… fond of listening."

Marsei ducks her head demurely a little upon the assessment that she is sad. "I thank you for it, Prince Dhraegon," she says in true kindness. Whatever her sadness, it hardly tarnishes her optimism. "But for now, I think all I need is a walk around the garden, and perhaps a story. Do you know any about the Hightower?…"

Dhraegon stands to offer her his arm, "I know one about a Valyrian trader who was blown off course and had many strange adventures including discovering a peculiar maze on Battle Isle back in the Dawn Age, when Old town was a mere trading post…."

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