(122-04-26) Through the Mist
Through the Mist
Summary: Marsei becomes conflicted again when Ormund speaks to her about Dhraegon a second time.
Date: 26/04/2015
Related: As You Wish, But...

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.

Ormund is at the Southern edge of the garden ring, staring out over the sea.

Marsei adores the gardens; it's typically only a matter of time before she's bound to visit them each day, and today is no different. She's absent accompaniment when she makes her way along the path, a lone figure in a soft violet gown, looking upward and wondering at the sky and its penchant for drizzle. It seems a solitary stroll around the ring is in store until she happens to spot Ormund and gently reroutes her path. "Lost in thought, brother?"

Ormund turns his head to look at her and smiles. "I'm not lost at all," he says. "More's the pity, really. I was hoping to. Watch the ships, but it's a little too misty." He shrugs.

"Anything could be out there, in the mist." It could be an ominous thought, but coming from Marsei, it's nothing but optimistic. She looks from the misty waters to Ormund and smiles. "It only takes a little imagination."

Ormund looks back out over the shrouded waters and says, "I'm not sure I want to call on my imagination for that. I'll hope it's ships, trading ships. And dolphins."

Marsei smiles both wider and softer at that, warmed in some way that her brother hopes for dolphins. Her expression dims ever-so-slightly as she follows Ormund's gaze back out over the water. "Have you heard from Father recently?"

Ormund closes his eyes against the drizzle. He's silent for a while.

Ormund's response — or lack thereof — does not exactly foster a sense of peace in his sister, but Marsei decides to keep quiet as well. Utterly quiet. Even the drizzle, soft as it is, patters faintly on the rich fabrics of her gown. She studies his face with animated, searching eyes before watching the waves turn choppy where they peek out from beneath the mist here and there. Everything below the Hightower seems far away.

"You probably ought to marry," says Ormund, "If you want to be with him. It would not be a bad idea at all, really."

Marsei is quiet, still. For a moment longer. It takes that moment to be certain she's interpreted his words correctly, her soft features tensing on the verge of speech or some emotion that isn't allowed all the way to the forefront. "I don't understand," she says, even then.

Ormund turns his head to look at her again. "No? I mean about Dhraegon Targaryen. Obviously you can't marry Father."

That brings a soft laugh out of Marsei. She smiles up at Ormund for the absurdity of it, but the lightness dissolves like so much drizzle. "No, but I thought… I mean… where is this coming from? Is it what you really think is best? Or…" The alternate option brings confusion to her face, tensing pale brows. "Has Father said something?"

"I do," says Ormund. "It is best. Now that I've thought about it."

Marsei looks perplexed more than surprised; more than anything, she appears clearly conflicted, not certain what to say or even think. She holds a forearm against her midsection, keeping her poise. "You've still said nothing of Father's view on the subject," she points out quietly.

"Well," says Ormund. "That's what he thinks. And he's right." He shrugs. "Why not? If the man's going to court you, you can't very well marry somebody else. If you marry him… there are advantages to that. And disadvantages to seeming to be. Erm. Carrying on with him while refusing to marry him." He shrugs, a little tensely, and says, "Are you quite sure?"

The quiet conflict in Marsei rises all the more, knitting a brow that hardly seems capable of the expression. The phrase 'carrying on' sparks uncomfortable colour in her cheeks and she looks down. "I quite sure that I am not sure of anything to do with this anymore," she admits in low tones, but goes on to lifts her chin more assuredly than all that. "But if it is for the best…" she tells the mist more than Ormund, "if you and Father are agreed, then I am as well."

Now Ormund furrows his brows, looking worriedly at Marsei. "I.." he stops, and falls silent again. He runs a hand through his drizzle-dampened hair.

Marsei glances over. The worry alighting in her own eyes is for Ormund, for the worry in his eyes. She gives him a soft sort of half-smile; halved it may be, but it's fully genuine. "Prince Dhraegon will be so pleased," she says as she looks away, sounding truly uplifted by that thought, even though there's melancholy lurking in her gaze.

"And you won't," says Ormund softly. "Not truely." He sighs, gently. "What did you hope would happen? Really?"

"I am pleased, in a way. He is a friend." Marsei shakes her head slowly as if to dismiss Ormund's question as gently as possible. "I just… hoped," she says, open-ended, unexplained. "Anyway," she smiles in a way she— well, hopes— is encouraging, "Dhraegon was not wrong in the offer he brought to me. You and father are not wrong to think the marriage advantageous, in its way. Is that not enough?"

Ormund watches her face. "I think," he says slowly, "That a long betrothal might be the thing for this. It will require. A lot of planning, don't you think?"

"Yes — yes, you're right," Marsei agrees with a hint of fond gratitude in her tone. "I'm — in no hurry to jump into a wedding, as lovely as they are. I am— still a widow, after all." She reaches up to tuck a curling loop of hair behind her ear. She turns further toward Ormund. "I think I will go in, out of the rain, brother."

Ormund nods. "I too. I should dry off and warm up." He reaches to take her hand.

Marsei takes his hand in turn, warmly, and turns to walk along the familiar path that will lead them back inside. Regardless of any quiet conflict she may be going through, it manages to be a peaceful stroll.

Ormund squeezes her hand, briefly. He lets go before he steps inside, to head for his suite.

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