(122-05-26) A Song of Dragons
A Song of Dragons
Summary: It seems inevitable that the betrothal party of Prince Dhraegon Targaryen and Lady Marsei Hightower would draw the blood of the dragon; no one expected it to call dragons with wings and claws down upon the Hightower.
Date: 26/05/2015
Related: Citadel and Sept Plot, A Song of Dragons Part 2

Butterfly Garden - Lower Gardens - The Hightower - Battle Island

It is a summer day. The weather is hot and overcast.

A fork in one of the paths leads to this spot, nestled away amid the bushes. The young shrubs and flowers here were carefully selected to attract butterflies, hummingbirds and songbirds. In fair weather and season, the little garden is graced with bright wings and song. There are ornately carved birdhouses, some made to resemble a few of Oldtown's more famous buildings. Hanging from tall spiral-wrought iron hooks are hummingbird feeders in the form of oversized blown-glass lilies and irises in glittering and fanciful colours.

The Butterfly Garden is positioned to have a particularly pleasant view of the ships in the Whispering Sound. A few smaller tables and benches are set among the flowers and rare herbs to take best advantage of the vista.

At the heart of the garden is a stone fountain featuring a statue of a woman strewing water droplets from her fingertips like they are petals from the broad shallow basket she carries. The basket doubles as a bird bath for those avian visitors who might prefer it to the little ornamental pond at the statue's feet, where the droplets from her fingers and the stream from the basket splash among water lilies of pink and yellow and white. The stone lady stands ankle deep in the water, and tiny colourful fish flit about her bare feet.

Dhraegon has tiger lilies braided into his hair, the small braids pulled into a crown and then left to dangle down his back with the rest of his hair. He is in his flame colouredtunic and black hose. Flox is behind him, gently pushing him towards the butterfly garden. Dhraegon looks as if he is seriously considering making a break for it.

The beginnings of the party await Prince Dhraegon and every other guest yet to arrive, an elegant and thus far quiet affair. Tables of cakes, an impressive variety, have been laid out, a whimsical addition to the stunningly beautiful butterfly garden that has been crafted by the prince himself.

Lady Marsei is, perhaps tactically, there ahead of her betrothed, a welcome face to meet him. Her choice of attire is simple and elegant, snowy white and long-sleeved but open about the collarbones; whimsical grey embroidery all along the upper front is embedded with rubies arranged in the shapes of flames, meant to signify the beacon light of the Hightower as well as the fiery dragon of House Targaryen. Marsei herself lightens the nature of the fiery sigils — not with her hair, which certainly matches, one braid over her shoulder, but with her characteristically sweet nature. As she greeted the first comers to the party, she'd been balancing the line between that of a modest, respectful recent widow and that of a bride-to-be, but now all her attention is on Dhraegon. "All is well, my prince," she soothes. A tent is arranged in one corner of the garden, looking like a refuge from the rain.

Camillo is of course serving at the party, in formal Hightower livery (assuming that exists). He has just attended some pressing duties in getting things ready in the kitchen and is just now emerging to take up a post in order to keep the insects away from foods until they're ready to be served.

Dhraegon perks up on seeing Marsei and the cakes. He rushes over to her, looking relieved and reaches for her hand. Flox looks relieved as well. Dhraegon gives her a big, goofy smile, "My Snowdrop! I dressed as the Beacon light!"

A flock of elderly Maesters arrive and look like they want to decend en masse on the refreshments, but decorum wins the struggle and they go to thank their hosts first. There is a bit of jostling amoung the younger members of the contingient, mostly quelled by dark glances from the three archmaesters in attendance. One is a friendly faced older gent of the extremely fit and energetic cast, one is rather sour, with dark eyes and almost no hair, and the third has wild white whisps and a walking staff, being rather bent and shrivelled.

Meanwhile, Lionyl is creeping towards the cakes through the bushes.

Ormund arrives with Lynesse on his arm, perhaps a little bit late, but of course, this gives everyone time to get ready. Or something. He's dressed for the occassion, in a doublet of dark grey velvet with the Hightower's sigil in white and red silk, edged with pearls and red topaz. Another beacon-light costume, but this one far more dignified.

And Lynesse is garbed to complement her husband, in a pale dove grey gown with pearls and fine beads decorating the bodice, her spun copper hair elegantly swept up with silver combs. She is splendid on his arm, a graceful woman who has a smile and a kind word for every guest they press flesh with upon entering the garden party. She notices little Lyonel and points him out to Ormund with a doting smile and a quiet murmur at his ear.

Hand-in-hand, Marsei falls in at Dhraegon's elbow, looking up at him carefully until she's certain enough he's alright, for the time being. "So you are!" she replies, delighted. They make a striking couple — perhaps strikingly strange, but at a glance, it's the physical: the large, flowery Targaryen next to the delicate lady who has never been called tall in her life. She's quick to meet the herd of maesters, smiling graciously to the men, perfectly polite. "Archmaesters," she greets them first, "how absolutely lovely of you to come."

Camillo is pretty serious about his cake duty, but he is mainly on the lookout for airborne threats, unaware that a terrestrial force is moving in.

Ormund replies to Lynesse's whisper softly, "I will never tell." He's watching Lyonel, too.

Another Hightower present would be Brynden, who is now making his way into the party, dressed relatively elegantly, although he's kept his clothing as toned down as he'd managed to get away with. Pausing for a few moments as he looks around, before he glances back in the direction where he came from, as if considering a tactical retreat, before he steps further forward.

Lynesse smiles coyly at her husband, glancing about the garden in search of Marsei and the Targaryen Prince. She spots them courting the archmaesters, and comments pleasantly to Ormund, "Look how lovely she is." As she's taking her silent account of the various assembled personages, Brynden catches her eye, and she offers her cousin the flit of a wave.

Dhraegon is even sober. He is perfectly groomed down to the freshness of the orange and black lilies in his hair. He does seem more comfortable now he has a firm grip on her hand, though the approaching flock fills him with obvious alarm again.

Archmaester Praesprys, the energetic one, bows his head in greeting, "My Lady, I am so pleased to have a chance to extend appologies for the way you were impportuned some montths ago." He glares back at the middle aged Maesters behind him, who stammer apologies of their own. Archmaester Blaeke, the sour one, glare at Praesprys, clearly irritated at not getting his apologies in first, "Yes, and I am terribly sorry that my protege suprised you in the Great hall some time back." Maester Lorrelys, the one with targaryen eyes, lifts his chin and looks sullen as he makes his own apology for the intrution. Archmaester Kubos, the arthritic one, gives her a roguish smile, "What a fine garden and a pleasant occation. Congratulations on your upcoming nuptuals." Dhraegon shrinks away from the lot of them and attempt to hide behind his much smaller intended, switching his hands so that he can still hold hers.

Lyonel hides under the table and snakes a hand up to snatch a cake.

Ormund smiles at Lynesse's comment. "She is. And you lovelier still," he says. He, too, gives Brynden a nod. Then, to Lynesse, "Look, they have come to thank me for protecting the Citadel, do you think?"

Now that hand, Camillo does see, and since there's no head cook here to mercilessly wield a wooden spoon, Camillo goes to the back of the table and crouches down to peer under it. "Do you think you ought to ask permission, my young lord?"

Marsei squeezes Dhraegon's hand reassuringly, facing the maesters well enough. She seems to harbour no ill will toward the scholarly men, if her kind smile is any account, although she notably does not thank them for their apologies; she only bows her head in understanding. "We thank you for your kind words on our impending wedding," she says specifically, looking at them each in turn. "I very much hope you enjoy the party. Will you have some cake?" She steps aside, theoretically nudging Dhraegon to do the same, to give the clearest view possible of the desserts.

Lyonel is already munching it, on the grouns they can't confiscate what he's already bitten. He looks up at Camillo with big eyes, "Aren't they for eating?"

The Prince takes a hint, edging towards the cakes, but unwilling to let go of Marsei, even with such a large temptation set before him as an entire table of assorted cakes.

The scholarly flock bob and murmer their thank yous, and then decend on the food like a plague of locuts, much to Prince Dhraegon's visible dismay.

Lynesse returns Ormund's smile warmly, though she demurs from his praise. Her eye wanders back to the archmaesters when he mentions the Citadel, watching the triad as they set upon the refreshments without having offered their respects, first, to the Lord of the Hightower. Her smile fades a bit for it, though the remark she makes to Ormund is mild. "The Seven know the thanks your subjects give for your faithful stewardship and governance."

"Nosy creatures," says Ormund, happily. Then he steps closer to the happy couple to tell Dhraegon, not all that quietly even, "Not to worry, Prince Dhraegon, there are more hidden away."

Returning the nods and waves along with a smile, Brynden steps even further into the area, heading in the direction of the rest of the people. "A lovely evening, isn't it?" he offers, a bit quietly.

"Yes, young lord," Camillo says, settling into his crouch, "But if you don't think you're eating a little early, before the guests, then why take the food from under the table?"

"Do they eat well at the Citadel— ? I knew we would need a lot of cakes, but…" Marsei says airily as the cake proves a successful distraction. She beams up at Dhraegon and beams all the more as Ormund steps in. "One hopes! Hello, brother," she says, all kindness and jest, "I'd say thank you for coming, but it wasn't far to go." Regardless of the fact that they likely encountered each other indoors before coming into the garden, she greets her brother with a friendly, buoyant kiss on the cheek, followed by the same greeting for Lynesse and then Brynden, all requiring that she lift herself up on her toes, and all whilst attached to Dhraegon by the hand.

Lynesse returns Marsei's greeting in kind, smiling brightly at her cousin as they part from the kiss. "It all turned out beautifully," she quietly assures the bride-to-be, before offering Marsei's betrothed a polite and formal greeting. "Good afternoon, Prince Dhraegon. May the Seven smile on your union with my sweet cousin, and bless you with every happiness."

Dhraegon perks up at the promise of more cakes, "You always take such good care of me here!" He lowers his eyes shyly, "Do you… think the garden turned out well?" He spots Brynden and calls, "I remember you! From the Northern Party!" To Lynesse, he says, "And you were at the beacon lighting! I'm dressed as the Beacon!" And then he is launching himself at the three adult hightowers he is not betrothed to and attempting to hug them.

Lyonel sighs and looks chastened. Cake eaten he says a quick, sorry, then darts out towards the fountain, who's central figure is idealised, but very subtly resembles the Lady Marsei, particularly about the lips and hair. The lad climbs onto the rim to study the fish, a suspicious angular bulge under his tunic.

Ormund does not want to be hugged, and looks almost alarmed about it.

Camillo stands up again and shoos away a few curious flies, but now that the cakes are indeed being served, it is time for him to go and fetch drinks. He tries to pretend he doesn't see Dhraegon about to embrace his future in-laws.

Indeed, so too does Lynesse, who evades Dhraegon's reach by turning against her husband's side. Her smile does not much falter, likely out of loyalty to Marsei, and for the benefit of onlookers.

Marsei brings a hand up near her mouth, hovering there in limbo. She is both distraught and understanding over Dhraegon's reaction, and quiet about both; her smile to her family is gently apologetic.

Among the guests are a few mothers of eligible lords who had lofty dreams of wedding their sons to one of the Hightower sisters of the Queen. They would do well to hide their sour demeanours behind some sweets. In lieu of cakes, not wanting to disrupt the maester feeding frenzy, they eye the Dhraegon distastefully.

Brynden blinks a few times as he hears Dhraegon's words, "You do?" A brief pause, and a bit of a nod. That hug catches him off guard, and he blinks a few more times, nodding a little bit again now. "Ah, yes…"

Dhraegon seems oblivious to the distaste of others, though his face falls at the lack of enthusiasm at his greeting. Bryden's failure to escape wins him an extra squeeze and then he lets go, "Yes! They had all this strong flavoured cheese and a chewy sort of dessert and honey cakes! It is very sad they do not have puppets at the Whimsey!" He gives Ormund and Lyonesse a brief, disapointed look.

Lyonel, meanwhile is now attempting to pet fish.

Looking to Lynesse and then Marsei, Ormund says, "We should have sent for puppets."

Lynesse smiles and nods as a matter of habit while Dhraegon speaks, but does not say much now that she has resumed her place on her husband's arm. She smooths his sleeve over his forearm, and when he laments the lack of puppets she remarks, "Oh yes, we ought have."

Camillo has no objections to Lyonel petting fish. Not his problem. He is back with the drinks, which he is offering to the most sour-faced of individuals first. Often obstructing their line of gawk.

"I thought about inviting Ser Loryn's actors for entertainment, but they … can get quite boisterous," Marsei comments. She smiles at Dhraegon. Settling in amongst her family and betrothed, she looks out over the party, smiling at Camillo and beyond to the boy petting the fish, which earns a fond smile. There are a few out-of-town guest that haven't travelled terribly far, namely Lady Jana Fossoway, a few years younger than her friend formerly of Cider Hall. Diminutive like Marsei but round of face and dark of hair, she's accompanied by a scattering of younger Fossoway maidens who wanted any opportunity to take a trip to the Hightower, not to mention to see lady amidst rumours of Prince Dhraegon. They all linger a bit shyly at the outskirts, but Marsei's bright gaze tries to flag their attention.

Dhraegon is rather pleased by this suggestion, "You have puppets you could send for? Oh yes, please!" he leans over to kiss the top of Marsei's head fondly. He spots Fossoway colours and the attempt to catch his Lady's attention, and then he is bounding that way. "Hello! I am Prince Dhraegon Targaryen!"

The Maesters decend on the drinks tray, academics being notoriously fond of free food and drinks.

Ormund laughs, shaking his head, and turns to Lynesse, "Will you excuse me, my lady?"

Lynesse inclines her head in deference to her lord husband, offering him a smile as she relinquishes his arm. "Of course," she tells him, and as Dhraegon bounds away she sidles up to Marsei, instead, snaking her arm through her cousin's. "Shall we follow your betrothed?"

Camillo tolerates the swooping of the Maesters, who wipe out his supply. So he darts back into the house for another tray and rounds next to serve the Fossoways. Maybe he should be serving the Hightowers, but perhaps he is saving them for last as the host family of the day. He mostly keeps his head bowed, but does sneak the odd glance at Fossoway faces.

Ormund strides off, to find one of the serving boys that are usually running about, and see if the puppeteers from down by the Whimsey might be persueded to come up.

The younger Fossoways start to scatter like a flock of birds being chased by a large animal, all but Lady Jana. The rest quickly regain their well-bred manners and they all curtsey formally, saying their hellos.

Marsei seems more alarmed at Dhraegon's enthusiasm toward the Fossoways than she did when he attempted to embrace her own kin, giving a startled step forward that translates simply into a swish of her gown; she steps back. She goes so far as to nestle in next to Lynesse, glad for her arm, and breathes "oh, dear" very quietly under her breath. "I think we ought to," she agrees and takes the first stride.

"Prince Dhraegon, it is an honour," Jana says. She has one of those voices that sounds older and more refined than her appearance. "Lady Marsei speaks … fondly of you. I am Lady Jana, and this is Lady Alysa, Lady Beth, and Lady Isa."

Lyonel, growing bored with the fish, settles on the pond rim and takes out a set of metal pipes, and begins to blow into them seemingly at random.

Luckily, Prince Dhraegon does not attack the Fossaways with hugs. In the stilted tone of a child reciting a memerorised speech he says, "It is a pleasure to meet you!" He starts repeating Jana to himself several times, then seems bewildered by how many of them there are. "So many apple blossoms…." He looks make at Marsei for encouragement, then drops his voice conspiratorially, "I am very fond of her, you know."

Camillo sees Dhraegon served, too, since he is at hand, and Marsei. He looks up from his tray at Jana when her name is mentioned. But he doesn't stare too long.

Something draws Lynesse's attention to the sky, a window higher up on the tower than the garden level. She murmurs something quietly to Marsei, and then detaches from her cousin's side, pausing on her way back into the Hightower to greet those guests she missed earlier or who have only recently arrived.

Lynesse whispers: I think I'll see if I can't draw Lynette out to the festivities. You'll let Ormund know where I've gone off to, won't you?

Ormund is still speaking to a servant boy.

Dhraegon takes the drink, but actually sips it like a grown up. Then he gets an odd look on his face and shivers, "It's like someone stepped on my grave…."

Ormund looks up at the sound, frowning.

Marsei comes to a slow halt near Dhraegon. It's only Lynesse who might feel her struggle: wanting to burst from her arm one second and cling to it the next, but then she receives her cousin's whisper and nods, seeing her off. She's beaming brightly at Lady Jana and turns the look to Dhraegon as encouragement.

Jana isn't sure what to make of the prince, staring at him just shy of gaping, but her she gains her feet, bowing her head toward Dhraegon as if conspiratorially right back and gives him a surprise smile. "We are all very fond of Lady Marsei, I think."

"Lady Jana," Marsei greets — again, as sheand the few Fossoways reunited earlier in the day upon their arrival. She steps in to kiss the lady on the cheek as she did her family before taking the drink that's served. Just then, a sound drifts into her realization… as if from another age. Her fair face goes paler still. She finds herself frozen. "Camillo…" Her red head whips about, searching. "Ormund— " She races for her brother, searching all the while for the source of the sound. She's been so precoccupied, she hasn't glimpsed her nephew since he was petting the fish.

Having been speaking with someone a bit quietly now, Brynden nods at something the other person, a member of House Vyrwel from the look of it. There's a brief grin and a chuckle, and then a pause at the sound as well.

Camillo can even be distracted from Lady Jana by this. He looks up, too. For a moment he looks uncertain, then he darts off in the boy's direction to see if he can get those pipes in his own hands.

Ormund turns to head back to the little group of Hightowers as Marsei comes racing towards him, "Something?" he asks. "Who is making that —" And then he sees the source of the sound. His eyes widen. He strides towards Lyonel, hurrying and trying not to look like he's hurrying.

Dhraegon responds to the surprised smile with a big goofy grin of his own, "I really am happy to meet you…." He gets a bemused look, "Are you getting…sort of feelings like colours in your head only not colours?" He shivers again. "Like a…a tuning fork."

Lyonel's eyes widen as he sees Camillo and Ormund bearing down on him, and he darts away under Dhraegon's new hiding bush with the pipes clutched tight.

"Lyonel!" Ormund demands sharply. "Come out from there!"

Marsei follows after, and all of a sudden two Hightowers and their servant are rushing toward the noble child. The typical graceful hurried footsteps of a lady are threatened, such is her intensity, but Marsei strives to follow in the literal footsteps of her brother. Nevertheless, people all over the butterfly garden turn and are starting to stare.

A couple of Fossoways shake their head at Dhraegon, feeling no such thing, but they do look peaked, Jana most of all, watching Marsei. "Wh-whatever is— ?"

Marsei slows near the bush. Her voice is quiet and gentle, instead. "You've done nothing wrong, dear Lyonel," that may or may not be true, "but we need you to come out. Please!"

Camillo keeps his mouth shut, but he circles round the opposite side of the bush. At least as far opposite Ormund as he can get. Just in case.

"Rubbish he hasn't," says Ormund, irritably.

More random toots of the pipe answer Ormund's command and Marsei's entreaty, followed by, "I'm not hurting them, I just want to play with them!" Dhraegon drifts towards the bush giggling. "It tickles!" More random atonal playing emerges from the bush.

"And they belong to me," says Ormund, sharply. "And you did not ask. Come out and give them back before I become angry." He sounds very angry already. Dads.

"Shhhhh," Marsei soothes, and it's rather unclear whether it's directed at her nephew or her brother. She looks worriedly, uncertainly, at the bush that disguises the boy.

A few more random notes and a chasened child crawls out, "I just wanted to try them…." Dhraegon wriggles like he really is being tickled as the boy plays, "Doesn't anyone _feel_ that?"

Ormund holds out his hand, scowling at Lyonel.

Camillo looks superstitiously to the sky when the boy crawls out, then to Ormund.

There's a little flash of movement by the garden wall, where its view of the sea is offered.

Lyonel hangs his head and hands the steel pipes over to his father.

Marsei hesitantly steps away from the boy and toward Dhraegon, laying a would-be calming hand on his arm. "It's…" Her explanation fades before it's begun. While Camillo looks suspiciously to the sky, it's the violet-eyed maester Marsei tries to seek out with her own gaze, jumping then to the garden wall.

Ormund nods to the boy, sharply. "Thank you," he says, coldly. He tucks the pipes away inside his doublet. "We will discuss this later."

On the crenellations of the wall, something squeaks.

Camillo takes a few steps toward the wall. Apparently he put his tray down at some point.

The violent eyed Maester is frozen, shivering just like Dhraegon, staring in the direction of the pipes. He at Dhraegon look towards the falsh of colour very nearly in unison.

Lyonel says, "I'm sorry." He tries to slink away, coincidentally in the direction of the cakes.

It's blue and silver. A little dragon. About the size of a small-to-middling dog, though it's much slimmer and lighter. It's landed on the white stone and is looking around with golden eyes. "Yarp!?" it says, loudly.

At the squeak, Marsei looks to Dhraegon for his reaction. She knows what it is before she sees it, but tries to disguise her alarm with a smile at everyone near, trying not to look, perhaps an ill-fated attempt to prevent the entire party from noticing the creature as well. "I think the rains will be upon us soon," she announces casually as she can muster — which is a remarkable calm. "Shall we move the festivities inside?" She steps toward the cakes, reaching for the chastised boy's hand.

A moment later something comes diving down from around the other side of the tower and sails over the little garden. Another little dragon, identical to the first, steely blue with silver horns and wing-spars.

Camillo backpedals a couple of steps, but he can't possibly hide behind nobles, so he's left awkwardly standing in the middle space, gaping at these things.

Ormund stops and stares at the dragonet on the wall, and then startles as the shadow of the second one passes over him.

Dhraegon walks quietly towards the dragon, hand out, much as one would for an actual dog to sniff, and says in a cooing tone, "What are you doing out? I haven't got any mice…" His head whips around as the other arrives, semingly amused rather than worried, "Visenya will be put out you are flying about without her! Did you eat my slippers?"

The violet eyed Maester is edging towards them, fascinated.

The Maesters as a group seem torn between curiousity and not wanting to be bitten or set on fire.

Lionel hasn't the sense to be frightened, so instead runs towards the small, but dangerous beasts with a look of wonder on his face.

The dragon on the wall blinks wisely at Dhraegon. The one in the air circles down again, and flaps its wings in an attempt to hover and land on the Prince's head.

Marsei tips her head up. The small dragon's distinctive shadow passes over her too. There's scarcely a party guest now that hasn't noticed. In the split second that she's distracted, her nephew slips from her and she goes chasing after him, grasping for his little shoulder. This time, it's an outright run. The Fossoways have started to hurry over toward Marsei like the diminutive redhead is some kind of improbable safe harbour, but halt and huddle amongst themselves in distress when she goes running and the creature tries to land on the Targaryen.

Dhraegon attempts to scritch the wall dragon and doesn't seem to mind the attempted head landing. He makes happy cooing sounds at them.

Lionel is so caught, "Aaaaw! I wanted to pet them!"

Maester Lorrelys of the violet eyes is creeping towards the wall dragon with a look of pure desire.

The dragon on the wall chatters at the one on Dhraegon's head, and it chatters back. They look exactly alike.

Ormund says, "I think my sister may be right," but he doesn't stop staring at the creatures.

"Lady Marsei!" Camillo shouts when she goes running toward the danger. he doesn't even notice the dragon swooping for Dhraegon's head in his haste to get to the lady and the boy. He seems relieved that Lionel is restrained, but tries to motion them back toward the herd. "They're dangerous," he says.

Those who are outdoors might see it — a winged shape approaching the city from the Southeast.

Marsei leads her nephew to Ormund and transfers his little hand safely to his father's custody. She catches sight of Camillo and nods to him. "Inside— everyone, will you help get them inside," she implores. But Marsei carefully approaches Dhraegon again — it's with trepidation and respect for the dangerous creature he seems to befriend. She doesn't come more than half a foot closer. "Is it Visenya's?" she says uncertainly. "Dhraegon," she says quietly, serious but without visible panic although her eyes bear exactly zero comfort, "… when dragons are called, is there a way to… send them back."

Maybe it's just a bird. No. It gets bigger. It's coming fast.

The small dragon perched on Dhraegon's head has to flap its wings for balance — the man isn't really a big enough landing spot. Almost, but not quite. It turns its head to look off to the east, hissing.

Ormund takes little Lyonel's hand, but still doesn't move, watching the twin dragonets.

"HONORED GUESTS," Camillo announces with a voice bigger than most who know him would think he had, "THE LADY MARSEI GRACIOUSLY INVITES YOU ON TO MORE REFRESHMENTS INSIDE THE TOWER." Or rather, the same refreshments once Camillo and staff bring them inside. With that, Camillo begins the herding process in earnest, less polite than he ordinarily would be, given the circumstances.

Dhraegon is cooing at the twin dragons as one might to babies, oblivious of the rather larger danger approaching. "Oh, these are definately Visenya's. She's not been letting them out much lately though. I am surprised to see them here without her. have you any live mice or the like in your kitchens? they like live food best and I bet you two are hungry, aren't you pretty ones? That was a very long fly for tiny wings…. I don't know, My snowdrop. I never had eggs, nor meant to be a Rider, so I never learned the art of it." he reaches a hand up to help steady the one on his head. The hissing gets his attention and he peers worriedly in that direction.

The dragonet on the outer wall also turns to look Eastward. It too hisses, and then emits a jet of blue flame, accompanied by a little roar. The creature is big enough to make an alarming sound.

The shape in the sky becomes quite clear — the dragon Whoremaster, steel blue and poisonous mustard-yellow, winging its way directly towards the city. Folk in the streets begin to scatter, running to jump into the canals.

Marsei startles when Camillo's voice takes over, not instantly recognizing it as his; a secondary startle strikes up when she suddenly becomes worried it may startle the baby dragons, in turn. The fiery breath and cry of the little dragon jolts fear into her eyes and she steps back. Her gaze jumps about, making sure she sees familiar faces heading in the right direction. Jana all but runs into her and she holds her hand. "Are there any dragonriders here? Your kin?…" Marsei asks of Dhraegon in haste. She looks all about the riled garden party. It's the maesters her eyes land on. The maesters she tried to keep out. "Leave them, Dhraegon. They— they were called here. It was the pipes— you heard it. It was an accident. We must go in! Now!" She looks to the east and starts to move.

The Maesters look like vultures who have spotted a carcass as Marsei explains about the pipes, but having sense, all but Maester Lorrelys flee inside. Maester Lorrelys is staring at the approaching dragon with open fascination, likely having fantasized about riding his whole life.

Dhraegon spots the large, rather alarming Dragon and attempts to scoop up the second dragon before starting his alarmed scuttle towards safety. he tries to keep his voice calm despite his obvious alarm, "My Snowdrop? I think you and… and Jana, had best be taking cover. I am coming, My Flower!"

Camillo is gently prodding a few slowfooted nobles when the creature roars and flames. He ducks instinctively. It's quite clear that, though he's doing his best to guide everyone to safety, he's frightened by the diminuitive dragons. And then he looks up. "Get inside!" he starts telling the stragglers, decorum dropped.

The little dragon takes wing, trying to avoid Dhraegon's swoop. The one on the man's head sinks its claws into his scalp and leaps off.

Ormund wises up and turns, now dragging Lyonel by the hand to head inside. He doesn't run. He's a lord, still.

Dalt was putting his horse away, but then realizes what's going on, and just grabs the pack from it, and sword and shield… This is going to be an interesting day….. He starts running towards the castle, trying to get his horse to follow.

"Dhraegon!" Marsei exclaims just short of shouting as the small dragon leaps. She's on the run, but one of the slow nobles despite her every intent to rush out of the gardens. She looks imploringly back at the prince as if not entirely convinced he's moving fast enough away from the impending threat for her liking. "Hurry!" she calls before she's swept up in the wave of partygoers toward relative safety, aided by the pull of Jana Fossoway.

Dhraegon winces and gives a high pitched squeal as he's clawed. He calls worriedly, "It's not safe, little ones!" Still, for all the umors of him being a fool, he is also terrified now. He runs towards Marsei, and thus towards theoretical safety.

"Get below," says Ormund. "To the black levels." He speaks loudly, and with authority, as he crosses the threshold to get inside the tower.

The two little dragons are on the wing now, zipping about over the gardens and the space of sky beyond the walls, screaming.

Camillo casts a worried look at Dhraegon, but she can see Marsei has him. He winds his way amongst the crowd to get out in front of it inside and light the way down the stairs.

Whoremaster's shadow passes over the city, and the fiery cinnamon smell that pours off its beating wings blows over the streets as it makes its way directly towards the Hightower.

The half Targaryen Maester stands on the parapet, arms open imploringly to the Dragon, as if to embrace his destiny.

Carefully, before the descent becomes treacherous with too many people on the grand staircase at once, Marsei makes her way closer to Ormund. Despite her distress, she has soft, quick words of reassurance and comfort for those she passes on her way, even the bitter old ladies who had given her sour looks earlier in the party. "I saw Lynesse go in earlier," she assures him, "I— am certain she and Lynette will know where to go."

"She's no fool," says Ormund. Lyonel isn't as eager to get to safety as Lord Hightower would like, though, and he bends to pick the boy up.

Dhraegon makes his way to Marsei and looms behind her, like a large, rather puffy shield between her and the dragon, his expression uncharacteristically determined despite his obvious terror.

Flox looks wildly relieved his master is being sensible and sticks close to the Prince and Hightowers.

The Maester calls to the approaching dragon, "Let me ride you, magnificent beast!"

Dalt walks to the guards, and points up, "That thing's coming in! We need to get the people into the castle! Come on!" He gets on his horse, and starts to ride towards it, starting to yell, and motion to it, "In, in! Go!!" He starts to usher anyone confused or frozen in fear to the castle, as he himself rides, with a horse, into it as well. Once in, he gets off the horse, putting the saddle bag back on it, as he runs outside with his sword, sheathed, but in his hand by the scabbard, and his shield, "Come on!" He seems to be taking some charge of refugees. When one of the guards challenges him for it, several others just keep helping.

The smoke-and-cinnamon breath off the great dragon's wings sets Dalt's horse to screaming and rearing. The guards on the bridge, standing staring stupidly up at the sky, finally respond to the shout, and turn to run. A gardener, an old man, tries to push his barrow back towards the tower's doors, somehow fixated on saving the tools and the young plum tree he was planting.

The great dragon is still higher than the level of the butterfly garden as it wheels in the air to circle the Hightower, turning one molten-gold eye to look down at the shouting Maester.

Inside, it's a wonder Marsei can focus on moving ahead when she keeps looking behind her to keep an eye on everybody else, though her vision is largely impaired by Dhraegon; but he's just as much a focus of her concern. Once she sees that Jana's just behind and nobody has tripped over themselves yet, it's all eyes ahead while she asks hurriedly, "Are you all right?"

"Don't run," says Ormund, commanding. "And don't dawdle." He carries his son down the grand staircase, taking his own advice. The boy stares, wide-eyed, over his father's shoulder.

Camillo has picked up a torch to provide better light, especially since the crowd blocks out light from the torches above on their way down. He too keeps Ormund's pace.

Maester Lorrelys pleads, "You are my destiny! Obey me!"

Prince Dhraegon is looking over his shoulder too, worried about the baby dragons. A little trickle of red mingles with the white of his hair, but he doesn't seem to notice, "I hope Visenya's little ones are all right. They wouldn't come with me. I should have had mice. They like mice." he sticks with her, ready to shield her if the tower burns, "I hope the garden will be all right…."

Dalt holds on to the horse as he rears, "Whoah, boy, come on, calm down boy. Caaalm down… Good boy. Gooood boy." He sighs, "Come on!" He latches on his sword belt, and /runs/ to the gardener as he puts his shield on like a backpack. He grabs one side of the wheelbarrow, and starts moving it quickly. "Go, go! I have this! Go inside! I'm a Knight, I won't lose or steal it! Just go!"

"You're bleeding," Marsei points out; this is more important, it seems, than the little dragons or the garden.

The tower is white stone, but for its black lower levels, and that stone is thick and heavy. Still, those on the stair can feel it rock with an impact.

Above Dalt's head, the great dragon wheels, diving down and then tossing up to slam into the Hightower, the hooked claws of its wing-knuckles gripping the crenelations of the tier, right where the Butterfly Garden overlooks the sea. Its great snaking muscular neck bends as it peers down at the Maester, smoke rising from its jaws.

Ormund says, "Shit."

Those in the city, at least those who are not hiding, can see the big blue-and-mustard dragon wheel about the Hightower. From the docks and out on the sound, one can see it land, gripping the tower wall from the battlements on the second lower tier.

Dhraegon giggles, "Am I?" He lightly kisses the top of her head again. "It's nothing, really. Are you all right? No one bruised your petals in the press did they? As he tower shakes, he puts his arms around her gently, Dhraegon being large and harder to knock about."

The more sensible maesters are nearly knocking each other over in their rush towards the great hall in hopes of getting a chance at the carvings there.

The Targaryen Maester peers up at the massive dragon with true wonder and reaches a hand out as if to touch.

Camillo puts a hand on the wall to be sure not to lose his footing. "Take your time," he advises the crowd. "Watch your feet."

More from fright than loss of balance, Marsei stumbles to one side on the stair into Dhraegon and gives a little squeak. She doesn't miss a step, for all that. "It cannot hurt the tower, can it, Ormund? Not really? It can't. We have stood strong for all these years, it— we will be safe." She doesn't mean for it to sound like a question, but the massive beast outside has set fire to her certainty.

Dalt finally gets the wheelbarrow inside, "Here, my good man. Get inside. We'll do our best to keep your safe." He looks up from the entryway as people finally are getting into the castle. He says to the guards "I suggest you keep the doors just slightly open, as you can let people in and out. Just be prepared to close them if he starts to come down." He now takes the shield from his back, and arms himself with it… It's better than nothing, anyway, and waits as he sees the dragon up not /that/ far above him.

The old gardener who's barrow Dalt has just wrestled inside takes it back, bowing in thanks and babbling a little. Whatever he's saying doesn't make much sense. He pushes the barrow into the great hall.

The tiny smallish-dog sized twin dragonets whirl in the air about the big dragon's head, screaming as the beast lowers its muzzle to peer at the Maester who's standing by the wall up at the Butterfly Garden, trying to. Pet it?

Dhraegon steadies his lady, and keeps making his way down, oddly calm at this point, despite the whole massive wild dragon shaking the tower. The flowers woven into his hair are in disarray, and one escapes to be crushed underfoot by the crowd. A thin thread of blood stands out against his long white hair. Flox is sticking close to the Prince and the Hightowers.

Maester Lorrelys is very much trying to pet the big wild dragon.

Dalt's horse, still not calm, bolts across the bridge and into the city. Horses. Possibly brighter than previously thought.

Dalt screams, "No, Jack, no!!" He yells, "DAMMIT!" He sighs, and says, "Fuck. Ok, well…" He shakes his head… He'll have to hope for the best later. Jack's a well-trained horse. He'll be back… Dalt hopes.

The monster lowers its head to allow the man to touch its jaw. Unfortunately for Maester Lorrelys, said jaw is hot as a forge.

Ormund reaches the lower staircase, still carrying his son. He says to Marsei, "No, my sister. I do not think we are safe. It's not as big as Balerion, but. The fires." He shakes his head. His voice is calm, but there's sweat on his brow, and he's pale.

"Then— " Marsei's seawater eyes fill up but do not spill, stayed at the last moment when she catches sight of the young Lyonel over his father's shoulder. "We will pray."

Maester Lorrelys nearly touches the dragon. He is handling the heat well, but at the last minute he pulls back. He looks into it's eyes, "Take me with you?"

The creature emits a loud rumbling noise. The sound vibrates from its chest and into the stones of the tower.

Whilst everyone and their mother is going one way, the brave and foolish are going the other. Straddling the razors edge between those two categories is Nechtan, who is not only pushing his way against the tide of screaming faces, but is grinning broadly as he does so and occasionally whooping. You can take the man out of the north, they say..
The oversized and thuggish northman finds himself dodging a bolting horse closely enough to see the spittle flecking its muzzle, "Thats a nice ride, that,: he comments to a passing refugee, who looks at him as if the man in the furs and mail has lost his wits, even as the big man shoulders past. "Ain't ever seen a dragon before!" he calls out as he comes roughly level with Dalt and looks upwards, "Its gorgeous!" Okay, so maybe he has lost his wits.

Dhraegon keeps holding his intended very gently, and presses his cheek to the top of her head. He croons, "It will be all right. I will order new cocoons…."

Dalt is just about done working with the guards, getting the people in the courtyard inside into relative safety. Now comes the hard part of waiting. He turns to one of the guards. "We should report this to the Castellan, or to the Lord, if he's somewhere to be found. Someone… Is he.. up there, with the dragon?"

The Maesters rush to the Great Hall to fondle the finials. Like you do.

In the Great Hall, down where the tower is a fortification of fused black stone, it feels more solid, safer, and the rumblings of the creature above are muted. Ormund stops, and looks up the stairs, anxious.

Camillo is so busy helping people get into the hall, he seems not to notice that he is literally stepping on the toes of nosy Maesters.

Maester Lorrelys steps carefully around and tries to get on tip toes to stroke the beast's neck.

The dragon's nostrils emit sparks into the air as it lowers its head further, eyeing Lorrelys balefully. It uses its wings, gripping the crenellations with its clawed knuckles, to pull its body up higher, its clawed feet digging into the tower's smooth white stone walls, seeking purchase.

"Away from the doors," says Ormund. "Get into the narrow corridors, the stone is thickest." He makes to do just that, still carrying Lyonel, who is now starting to squirm and cry.

Maester Lorrelys is scritching the dragon, look of triumph on his face. Vindicated!

In the open air of the great hall, Marsei nods earnestly to Dhraegon … wanting to be comforted by his words (and thoughts of butterflies), but tense from keeping it together. Freer to move, she whirls about, the lady's snowy white fabric of her skirt spinning, a shock against the black stone. As nobles and servants alike spill into the hall, she checks for friends, family, the familiar — and some new; they're no matter now, though. She bypasses them as she bypasses the bogglingly single-minded maesters, following Ormund. Siva and another of her handmaidens come drifting down from the back of the line and she rushes to them and ushers them near, stopping once to hug the Fossoway lady who hasn't strayed. "Oh Jana, I could not be more sorry!"

Outside and above, the tiny dragons are still wheeling and screeching while the big one watches the dragonspawn Maester scratch its scaly neck. The beast's yellow eyes seethe.

Dhraegon notices Lynel's distress and tries to sing a high Valyrian lullaby, but throat dry from the climb down, it comes out more of a croak.

Maester Lorrelys is as oblivious to the Dragon's mood as he was to Lady marsei's distress when he accosted her at the Starry Sept. Scritch scritch!

Dragging his eyes from the dragon with no little reluctance, Nechtan makes his way into the safety of the keep. Once inside, he looks around the great hall and lets out a long low whistle, mere steps behind Dalt, "Aye, Aye, as you say," he grumbles at a guard who encourages him into the Hall proper, "I'm in!" - Then all that's left for him to do is loom in the corner and look about the folk.

Dalt gets in further, and starts trying to make his way through the people, looking for the Lord of the manor, or Castellan, or someone that can act in their stead. He asks one of the guards to help him out - they know the people here, after all.

There's a great crackling hiss and roar from above. The beast has flamed?

It's not too hard for Dalt to find someone who's at least sensible enough to point out Lord Ormund Hightower to him, Perhaps not sensible enough to say much more.

The dragon has emitted a little bark of flame, thin. It melts one of the hummingbird feeders to glass-slag, and burns a flowering cherry tree, but it seems more a gesture of impatience.

Maester Lorrelys attempts to climb onto the beast's neck.

When the Maester is little better than half aboard, the Whoremaster takes wing again, pushing off from the tower with its hind legs and spinning in the air to get right way up as it takes off.

Above, there's the grinding sound of the stones rocking that tiny bit when the dragon pushes off from them.

One of the Maesters has out some notes and is consulting quietly with the energetic Archmaester. The younger of the two boosts another man onto his shoulders and that Maester starts fondling finials in a particular sequence, under the Archmaester's orders..

Dalt makes his way to Lord Ormund Hightower, trying to get his attention, he moves up to him, and does a bow, a slight one, as he is rushed "Lord Hightower! My Lord, we have ushered in everyone from the courtyards into the castle. The door is slightly open, so we can bring more people in, and some of your guards are waiting, ready to close it quickly should the dragon come down. Do you have any instructions?"

Maester Lorrelys slides. He screams as he falls.

He is screaming to his death now, yes.

Dhraegon remembers he still has a goblet. He takes a sip himself and sheepishly offers it to his Intended.

The big dragon ignores the screaming man slipping off its neck and falling. It vaults upward on strong wingbeats, circling the tower and again landing, now on the heavy iron cage that surrounds the beacon fire. It pays no mind to the flame licking at its belly.

Noticing Dhraegon's attempt to sing to soothe Lyonel, Marsei squeezes Jana's shoulders; still, she tries not to shed tears. She parts from the quiet expressions and apologies to hurry after the others. Looking up at the ceiling as if it could provide answers for the source of that noise — for ill or good — she picks up where Dhraegon left off; her lullably not in Valyrian. It's the Song of the Seven, sung in a sweet but plain singing voice. The maester's scream cuts into the first verse.

"The Father's face is stern and strong, he sits and judges right from wrong. He weighs our lives, the short and long, and loves the little children…" She sings louder to try to drown out the scream. "…the Mother gives the gift of life, and watches over every wife. Her gentle smile ends all strife, and she loves her little children…"

Maesters, when they hit the paving stones of the courtyard outside, make a sound that goes a little bit like, 'rutch.'

People in the city can see the dragon alight on the heavy thick iron cage that surrounds the beacon fire on the top of the Hightower. The beast seems quite indifferent to the flames licking at its belly.

"What are you doing?" Camillo finally snaps at the Maesters. "Have you not been asked by the Lord of this tower to leave off these investigations? Could your wisdom not help these frightened people?""

Ormund turns and looks at Dalt, when summoned. He seems about to speak, but then there's that screaming and that horrible crunching impact sound.

Ormund just winces.

The big northman cranes his neck to listen to the falling scream and, to his credit, flinches slightly at the crunch that ends it, "Well, that's something you don't hear often," Nechtan says in passing as he looks about the place to see if theres anyone seems to know what they're doing, caring not a whit if he looms near commonfolk or kings.

Dhraegon gives Marsei a look of admiration and relief, leaving the singing to her and taking solice in the cup. He starts rather at the 'rutch,' and starts looking around for more wine rather desperately.

The energetic Maester says, "Investigations? Nonsense! Just keeping the lads occupied." The lads are at minimum forty.

Marsei's eyes squeeze shut at the sound. She accepts the drink from Dhraegon a moment later. The sip she takes more abrupt and deep than usual, meant to be fortifying. After that, she hands it back to Dhraegon with some still left for him. "The Warrior stands before the foe, protecting us where e'er we go…" Some of the younger residents of the Hightower, regardless of station, and the visiting Fossoway maidens try to find some semblance of comfort her faithful song, as well.

"The last thing we need—" Camillo begins to push back uncharacteristically, but then he hears the awful sounds from outside and pulls his chin downwards.

After a few moments of lurking and listening to the chatter of his fellows, Nechtan finds himself an archway to lean on and, slipping a wineskin from its hoop at his belt, takes a swig, "Decent voice on 'er, that one," he mutters, listening to the song, "Not bad at all.."

Dalt is waiting for Ormund's answer when he sees him flinch, suddenly realizing there was a crunch of some kind. He looks around, "What was that?" He starts moving, quickly now, to the door, to look out into the courtyard, "Did any of you hear that? What was that?"

"Shit!" says Ormund again. "Where did it go?"

Dhraegon drinks the rest down and goes back to hovering.

Archmaester Blaeke makes a strangled sound of horror and tries to get out of the Tower to go to his fallen protege.

"With sword and shield and spear and bow, He guards the little children…"

Out in the courtyard there is, well. A splatter. Not the worst of them, since the fall was from not much higher than lowest of the Hightower's tiers, but the man did hit the paving stones.

Archmaester Blaeke kneels by the body, a look of horror and grief on his face.

Ormund looks about, then shouts, "If you idiots don't stop poking at my walls, I'm going to have you go out and look for the damn thing!" at the nosy Maesters. Lyonel starts weeping afresh, in reaction to the anger in his father's voice, and the volume.

Dalt grumbles, "Seven Hells…" He rushes out there to the broken body, holding his shield, and looking up to see where the dragon is as he does. "What happened?" He kneels down to look over the body… Sometimes people survive falls, even if they're maimed….

"The Crone is very wise and old, and sees our fates as they…" Marsei trails off and, for the time, the only tune is Lyonel's cries, sparking a few other children to start wailing. The redhaired lady stares in something of a daze at the men who rush out to check on the fallen maester. "They sh— " She's too quiet. "…They should get out of the courtyard…"

The Maesters, who were poopooing orders by a mere servant do stop when Lord Hightower gives the order. This is lucky, because Archmaester Praesprys's team was about to fondle the last finial in the sequence and people are standing on a certain bit of floor….

Archmaester Blaeke's robe is bloody. "He was the son I never had….."

Dhraegon finds a sugar plum covered in fluff in his sleeve pocket and worriedly offers it to the hightower child.

Ormund looks around, satisfied with the Maester's leaving the finials alone finally. "Now. Where is it?" he ask.

Lyonel is still too busy crying to want lint-covered sweets.

The big man watches people run back out and shakes his head, "You'll let all the heat.. in," Nechtan says, screwing his face up at the contents of his wineskin and frowning, "southerners.." he mutters.

Dalt sighs, "May the Seven grant him peace in the next life." He looks up, to find the dragon, and looks around for the guards, or the Lord of the castle, "Do your people have a means to fight back? Ballista, or large harpoons, or something of the kind?" He looks at the Maester, "If this Dragon murdered a man like your son, then it is likely to kill again. Do we have a means to defend the people against it?"

The Archmaester looks at Dalt like he is touched, "It's a dragon."

Ormund echoes the Archmaester, also looking at Dalt, "It's a dragon."

Dalt blinks, and shrugs, "You have used them in wars in the past - surely someone on one side or the other has figured out how to harm them - or there would be millions of them around the world now. Even if it can't be killed, we certainly wouldn't want it running around murdering people - surely they can be subdued, or wounded. It has big wings…"

"Do you want to try to slay it?" ask Ormund of Dalt, still looking at the hedge knight as if he's crazy.

It is this that sets the gentle Prince off. He is a mountain of a man, really, and when he straightens and strides out full of wrath, for a moment, he might be channeling the Old king. he points at Dalt, "No one is harming that dragon. You will just anger it and the city will melt!"

Marsei jumps slightly when Dhraegon angers; she is startled from her daze. It's not fear that she looks upon her intended with, only curiosity, and the intensity of her agreement. She stays with the flock of women and children flags down a servant to whisper a request to bring food and drink around to calm everybody. They don't know how long they may be here, waiting.

Dalt blinks, "No, I am a man and only have a sword and a bow. I'm no match for a dragon - but surely the Order of Maesters have devised a tool which could repel them, or protect us from these scourges. This monster is a scourge…" He looks around, an shrugs, "Well, I guess not. No offense was intended, My Lord. I apologize for any offense I gave, I only wished to inquire so as to protect the lives of your family and your smallfolk from this creature." He sighs, "Well, I'd better get to searching for my horse. I am happy to assist you in any way I can, but I am responsible for that horse." He stands up now, and stops to bow to Lord Ormund. "If I may have your leave, my Lord."

Ormund frowns. "As you will, Ser…?" he says.

Knocking back another slug from his wineskin, Nechtan watches the goings on with interest, especially the raised voices and the talk of the city melting. His eyebrows raise and a smile cracks across his face at Dalt's interest in the smallfolk, but eh, there's not likely to be drinking or whoring to do here tonight! The door is open and the big man is remarkably stealthy as he makes his escape.

Dalt uums… "Ser Dalt Sand, my Lord. We've met before." He turns, and bows to Dhraegon, "My Lord…" He's never met the Prince before - so he just rolls with it. He starts to step back to step away now.

Dhraegon glares at Dalt with his nearly colourless pale lavender eyes, "No one is harming that dragon. I am a _Prince_! My blood is very pure: My parents and Grandparents were brother and sister wed!"

Ormund shakes his head. "As the Prince says," he says quietly. Then he goes to his chair, the one he sits in to receive audiences, and sits with Lionel in his lap. He wipes the boy's tears and speaks to him quietly.

Something the hedgeknight said reminds Marsei and she looks to the maesters. It is difficult to look away from Dhraegon as he acts in this way she's never seen before. Besides, for a moment, she hesitates, not wishing to rile their academia nor interrupt their grief. "Please, maesters," she says quietly than the other conversation; her earnesty carries her otherwise subdued voice, "if you have ever heard of a way to uncall a dragon… accept our penance and impart your knowledge."

The Maesters looks at each other questioningly. Archmaester Kubos clears his throat, "It is said that in old Valyria they had means, but no dragons flew here until the Time of Conquest."

Dhraegon calms as Marsei directs the conversation away from harming Dhraegons. he returns to her side, "Maybe we could lure it? With sheep or goats?"

Dalt stops, and turns to the Maester, and Dhraegon "There. A way to stop them without harming them - just make them lose interest. Perhaps they are repulsed by certain smells, or certain sounds, like horses and dogs are."

Archmaester Praesprys suggests, "Surely if you can call it one place, you could call it somewhere else?"

Ormund looks up from his son's tearful face and says, "And do you want to be the one to be there when it comes?"

The lady nods along thoughtfully, somber. "Who can safely call a dragon but its rider, and it doesn't have one," she says, her chin falling disappointed.

Ormund looks at Dalt now, thoughtfully, still caressing Lyonel's hair with one hand.

Dhraegon squeeses Marsei's shoulder gently, and looks deeply distressed to see the child in tears. He looks down, his knee length hair half curtaining his face, "I… I could do it, but I am scared of horses. If there were a cart? And a driver?"

Dalt shrugs, "Well, I wouldn't see myself being there as any worse a risk than a battle. My horse is fast enough, and if there is other more appetizing food in the area, it will most likely pursue that. It may not have a rider, but it's still an animal, and still eats." He looks at the Archmaester, "The real fear is that it would still see this place as an attractive place to visit or attack. If we can't get it under control, we want to make this place something the dragon won't want. Maybe there is a smell or a sound, even if I can't hear it well, that could do the trick, like the way dogs smell and hear. I don't know - I'm just throwing out ideas - and I'm willing to be the one taking the risk. It's my duty as a knight."

Ormund looks to Dhraegon, and says, "My Prince?" He gestures for the man to come closer.

Dhraegon looks around in case there is another Prince, but the only other one with blood of the Dragon is now meat jam, so he steps closer to Ormund, head still down. He squirms a little under the attention, but his fcus is still on the child's distress. He offers the linty candy again, just in case.

Ormund looks at Dhraegon. "Would you trust him?" he asks, indicating Dalt with a movement of his head.

Marsei gives Dalt and uncertain look of gratitude before turning to wonder at Ormund as Dhraegon approaches him. Trying her best to be a comforting presence, she wraps one arm around a young member of the Hightower household and the other around the youngest Fossoway visitor who keeps staring at the ceiling.

Dalt shrugs, "I'll do it, but it doesn't have to be me. If you have a man you prefer to do the mission, then do that. You still need the Maesters to actually make the solution work. I was focused on saving lives and trying to recover my horse. This started when I asked if you had a defense prepared."

Dhraegon looks at Dalt, all wide eyed and open mouth, expression vacant as a crumpling hut. Eventually he says, "Alright. He can take me. Out… out to the Old Cave. Where that knight died and Visenya lost her hair. Someone will have to draw him a map, for I do not know the way…." He looks at Marsei, hopeful.

Dalt shrugs, "What's in the cave, my.. Prince? Did you already have something to repel the dragon?"

Marsei stares back with growing unease. "I don't understand," she says slowly. "Must you go as well, my prince?"

Dhraegon takes Marsei's hand in his and lifts it to his lips, gently brushing the knuckles. his eyes look into hers, "Would you hand your house treasure to anyone else, My Snowdrop? I am… least likely to be burned and he and I are…are expendable."

"You are not expendable to me," Marsei says, soft but with insistence; her voice firms as she goes on,looking straight into his pale eyes. "Nor to the gods or anyone else. You just said yourself you are the blood of the dragon. But you are not a dragonrider. If you are to leave the Hightower at all, should it not be to find someone at Dragon Door? Princess Visenya? Prince Rhaegor?"

Ormund listens, scowling.

Dhraegon looks at her with a surprised earnestness, "I'm… I'm not? But I've always been…." He takes a deep breath, "If another can be found quickly…. We could… could do it and ride away quickly?"

To Be Continued…

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