(122-05-22) Public Displays of Affection
Public Displays of Affection
Summary: Hightowers in their garden.
Date: 22/05/2015
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 paths 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 Butterfly Garden is on the South side.

Ormund is by the games courts, watching young Lionyl run about. The boy has a ball of rubber, pinkish stuff from the Summer Isles, a novelty, and he's bouncing it about.

Lionyl gives the ball a particularly exuberant bounce, and Lynesse surprises him by palming it handily as it comes into range of her skirts — a trajectory which had caused the boy to halt in his tracks, momentarily terrified he might lose it altogether. Instead, he lets out a cheer, beaming at the Lady Hightower when she tosses it back in his direction. Then she sidles up to her husband, letting her palm travel his sleeve as she murmurs something in his ear.

Lady Marsei is not often by the games courts, but catching sight of the joyful young Lionyl — then the pair made by her brother and the new Lady Hightower — merrily reroutes her step. A bit of a chill, only slight, has grasped the air as the day wears on, and she pulls a delicate blue wrap up about her arms as she makes her way over, the rest of her elegant fabrics trailing behind her. "You've a fair throw," she compliments Lynesse in humorous spirits as she comes up alongside before giving Lionyl a little wave and smiling to Ormund.

Ormund grins at Lynesse, pleased at her touch, and says, "I suppose we could get to work on that." Lionyl chases his ball about, laughing. It's not perfectly round, being a thing that someone moulded by rolling in their hands, and its bounce is erratic even when it doesn't hit the edge of a paving stone. The kid is having fun with it, even when it lands in the grass of the ball-and-mallet game court and doesn't bounce at all.

"Fair is a rather gracious representation," Lynesse says to Marsei in reply, sounding more sly than demur about the whole thing. She smiles at the redhead as she draws near them, her eyes drawn to the blue wrap as it ripples with a bit of the breeze. "That color's positively lovely on you," she praises, dressed herself in a pale periwinkle samite. Her palm makes itself at home on Ormund's arm, a demonstration of affection she delights in making now that they are wed.

Ormund leans on Lynesse for a moment, nuzzling her shoulder, and then turns to draw her to sit on one of the stone benches that allow a view of the games. Lionyl throws his ball into the badminton net.

"Thank you," Marsei replies rosily in her way that is ever modest and sincere, "You look lovely; of course, as ever. Speaking of pretty colours— " She glances around Lynesse to Ormund with a smile that borders on playful, if only because she suspects her brother may not be as enthusiastic about the subject as she is: "Have you seen your irises in the new garden, brother?"

Lynesse follows her lord husband's ushering, and she perches elegantly upon the bench with a doting gaze cast his way. She cannot help herself but to be momentarily distracted by Lionyll's antics; the boy is clamoring about after his novelty prize with remarkable alacrity.

Ormund smiles at Marsei, looking a bit bemused. "Have they flowered?" he asks. "I saw the glass ones."

Marsei steps just so to linger near the bench at the side of Ormund. "With the lilies," she confirms airily. "In honour of you, a deserved thanks." But the whole new section of garden that sprung up thanks to Prince Dhraegon was in honour of her, and she seems altogether humbled for a second, dropping her gaze. "The whole thing is just so lovely, if— " she nearly doesn't go on, but decides to admit, " — overwhelming. I do thank you again for granting the permission."

Ormund smiles. "It is an improvement," he says. He turns to stretch out on his back on the smooth stone bench, resting his head in Lynesse's lap and looking up at her. "And it has made you happy."

Lynesse is pleased by this arrangement, casually combing the tips of her fingers through her lord husband's hair, caressing his scalp in idle whorls. She smiles at Marsei, and quips of the garden, "We'll have to take care to keep Lionyl and his toy well clear, or I fear its fate."

Marsei tips her red, half-braided head to the side at Ormund, looking down at him with a smile that is part amused and part a barricade holding back some manner of polite, ladylike distress at his sprawl into Lynesse's affections. "It does make me happy, it truly does," she replies earnestly, smile gentling and blending easily into a chuckle at Lynesse. "As do I! Some of the things in that garden seem so delicate I fear a strong wind may take them away, let alone Lionyl." She doesn't truly sound too concerned, though, and watching the boy and his ball, she seems charmed by the toy and more by the way her young nephew is entertained by it.

"The ball, or the garden?" says Ormund, amused. "I'm sure he'll manage to throw it off the tower soon enough. The ball, that is. I don't think he's /quite/ energetic enough to throw trees over the edge. Yet." He's not really sprawling; he lies flat on his back quite neatly, with his legs crossed at the ankle.

Lynesse meets Marsei's eye as she combs through the hair at Ormund's temple, petting him with the indulgent sort of affection one might demonstrate towards a house cat. "I'd not discount him outright, between his enthusiasm and raw atheleticism." And what she says next might be too much for Marsei to take, even though she says it so airily. "He is, after all, his father's son."

Marsei meets Lynesse's gaze seamlessly, perceptive, as if expectant; however, the words referencing her brother pass by without fazing the sweet Hightower … until, delayed, not unlike a maiden rather than a widow now betrothed again, does she realize the implication and her smile does falter. She looks deliberately across to the playing boy. "Any day now," Marsei says anyway. "Sometimes I think he looks older every day."

"Of course," says Ormund, missing the reference entirely, or ignoring it. He smiles up at Lynesse and the sky beyond her. "We must foster some other boys, soon, for him to train with."

Flashing Marsei a playful, knowing smile over Ormund's oblivious head, Lynesse lets the coy tease go without further colorful remarking on the matter. And when her lord husband mentions fostering, she follows his eye to Lionyl. "Indeed, we ought. I suppose it must be a matter for you to ponder at some length, nay? Which families to honor, which to cultivate relations with."

Off a knowing look to Lynesse, Marsei's gaze turns thoughtful, though the subject of fostering is not one for her to make decisions. "A fine idea," she commends only, in support. She lays a hand on the bench before taking a step back from it. "I think I shall talk a walk through the butterfly garden before going in."

"Which families have boys of an age," says Ormund lazily. "And of a character worthy of my son's company. It is easy for a boy to grow fast brutish, when in the company of a brutish boy."

"Won't you join us, cousin?" Lynesse asks Marsei in earnest appeal, abandoning her caressing of Ormund's lordly head in order to nudge him to make room for the addition to their party. "The air is still rather pleasant for sitting out."

Ormund is nudged, and blinks, a bit confused, before he sits up.

Marsei looks down the path she intended to go, but she does not stand, torn, for long, though she does give Lynesse a faintly surprised look as Ormund is gently rooted from his spot. "I would not want to interrupt," she says with her kind smile, "but if you do insist." She sits delicately with her family members, flashing a briefly apologetic smile to her sibling. She re-adjusts her wrap about her arms, so as not to be in the way. "I hope the weather remains fine, for the betrothal celebration," she says with a look to the sky and an undertone of worry that isn't precisely about the weather.

Lynesse smooths any of her lord husband's feathers that may be ruffled by laying a gentle hand on his leg, now that they are made to sit so closely side by side to allow for Marsei to join them on the bench. She leans against him in a companionable manner, offering his sister a reassuring smile at the nigh imperceptible current that colors her speech. "I'm sure it will be perfectly lovely, even if the weather is not."

Ormund seems unruffled. "I will order good weather," he says. "As best I can. But what else would you like, my sister?"

Marsei smiles gratefully to her cousin and delights in amusement at the thought of Ormund ordering the weather. "Lord of the Hightower, Defender of the Citadel, Beacon of the South— Commander of the Skies? Don't you have enough titles already, brother?" she jokes good-naturedly, a laugh to her voice, before letting it slowly fade. She settles more comfortably where she sits by Lynesse. "…I just want it to go well, without… well, too much spectacle, I suppose… and I hope that it does not become too grand. You know how Prince Dhraegon gets when things become too much." Spoken with concern for the Targaryen in question, not in annoyance at his unusual behaviours, as some might.

"Shall we set up a little tent for him, before the party?" says Ormund, sounding amused himself. "That is not a proper betrothal gift, though. What else?"

Though she reclines against Ormund, Lynesse favors his sister with her attentions, watching the shift in her humor and her nerves as she worries over the myriad details that make up the impending ceremony. She lays a hand on Marsei's arm as though in demonstration of solidarity. "You'll find strength in each other. And if you want for a little more, you may simply come and borrow some from me." Her tone is light and airy, and it stays that way when she chastizes Ormund playfully, "The best part of receiving a gift is not having had to ask for it."

"It isn't," says Ormund. "The best part is getting something. You must choose, then, wife."

Marsei nods to the notion of a tent as if it's a given; the rest, she has no answer for, and Lynesse has that well-covered, anyway. Lynesse also captures her attention, and her appreciation, from thereon out. She smiles her gratitude once again, broader and brighter. "Thank you for your kind words," she expresses, emphasis on kind. "Especially when it is sometimes strange to think that I am even concerning myself again with betrothal and celebrations when it was not long ago I returned to the Hightower a widow." Will everyone be so kind to receive the partnership that is Marsei and Dhraegon publically, that's the question; she smiles off any such thoughts, touching a hand to Lynesse's in acknowledgment and turning to optimism. "It is just a party, so far. Of course you're both right."

Lynesse leans towards Ormund, dotting his cheek with a kiss. "As if I haven't the perfect gift in mind already, husband," she teases him, before peeling away from his side. "I think I shall impose upon your sweet sister and accompany her on a turn through the butterfly garden." She gives Marsei a conspiratorial nudge, eager to dabble in the sort of talk women only engage in amongst themselves.

Ormund shakes his head a little, and laughs. "All right," he says. "I shall play with my son, and you can get up to your wicked women's deeds in peace."

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