(122-06-12) Seal of Truth
Seal of Truth
Summary: An unlikely confession to one of the Hightowers.
Date: 12/06/2015
Related: None

Maidenday Gardens Starry Street

The Maidenday Gardens are perhaps the loveliest of Oldtown's public gardens. The gracious footpaths are paved in white stone and lined with with flowering trees and rosebushes bearing pink and white blossoms. The beds alongside them are thickly planted with narcissus, lily-of-the-valley, trilliums and wood anemones. An occasional arbor arches over the path, supporting a clematis or wisteria, a virgin's bower or a honeysuckle. Most of the flowers are pale or blushing, but splashes of bright yellows, purples, and blues are not uncommon. True red is all that is absent. In the evenings little lamps hang from slim iron posts to light the paths.

There are benches here and there, and pavilions enshrouded with flowering vines. There are also shrines to The Maiden throughout the garden. They feature statues of stone or wood, some painted, some plain, some large, some small, some dressed in real clothing. All are beautiful and all have a little altar before them. While this is a public garden the rest of the year, on Maiden's Day it is closed to all but maidens. Those girls who feel the ritual at the Sept is not enough to express their piety may, under the watchful eyes of the Septas who maintain this place, light candles at these altars and sing more of their songs of innocence.

Quiet reflection is the theme of the evening for Lady Marsei, who can be found strolling the lovely paths of the Maidenday Gardens, fresh out of prayer at the Starry Sept. The lilac-hued skirt of her tress is long, trailing behind her on the clean path; combined with the elegantly styled red hair and delicate frame, her identity would not be hard to guess, to those who might know it. The stars of the sky have just emerged to match the jewels of the sept, twinkling in the dimming sky above Oldtown, and every so often Marsei raises her gaze from the flowers and her thoughts to look up at them. The Gardens are especially quiet at this time of night, a different sort of peace than in the daylight hours.

Camillo stays away from the train so that he won't tread on it with his dirty boots, but there he is just a few steps away from Marsei. Whether he's gone with her as security or as another devout worshipper, only they know. He lets her have her peace for now.

Strolling in the opposite direction a young woman can be seen. She is short, impish and pretty - shorter than Marsei and not in the same league of beauty. But she carries herself lightly half skipping across the path. And it is not only her manner but her reasonably decent bustline that would mark her as attractive. She is very well dressed in a blue embroided number. When she sees Marsei she beams at the woman exuding a flaky charm. Half skip half walking towards her the woman approaches and says, "Lady Hightower might I have a word?"

Marsei eases out of her contemplation without startle, tipping her chin down from a glimpse up at the stars in order to see who wants her attention. Her demeanour is immediately kind, welcoming. Seeing how the other woman beams, she nearly beams as well, albeit without the flaky charm. "Of course, certainly!" she says, as if it ought not to be a question.

Camillo steps up beside Marsei, just one pace behind the line of her shoulders, looking at this woman he has not seen before.

"Recently I have some into possession of something that I believe rightly belongs with your family," the woman says - her pleasant demeanor not changing. In fact this woman seems quite cheerful on the whole overall. Still chipper she hands Marsei something - upon closer inspection - the missing seal that so much trouble has been had over.

Marsei reaches for the item politely, a gesture of gratitude; when she sees what it is, there is a slight ripple of change in her body language. She places a hand over the seal, drawing it slowly close her; it wouldn't do to have any passing visitors see what it is, should anyone indeed pass. She folds her arms gently, allowing Camillo a glimpse of it. "And how did you come upon such a thing?" she asks, keeping her own friendly, casual tone.

Camillo's gaze flickers from the seal to the woman's face, body stiffening a little as his knees bend just a fraction. But he makes no move.

"Well let me see," Aralynne says, "I dressed up as a servant. Entered the Hightower. Walked up to your brother's table - waited till he was looking the other way. Then I took it and left. Wanted to hang around and see what happened after - I'm sure it was a riot. I even sent him a little missive. He imprisoned the courier - poor show." The woman blows on her fingers carefully measuring Marsei's reaction.

A spark of defiance enlivens the Hightower lady's gaze, to hear the theft spoken about so straightforwardly, especially when the woman mentions Ormund. Her gentle features turn affronted, at least at her brow … but keeping her mild temper, she does not turn to anger. "Why steal it at all?" she asks, made so curious by this offense that she sounds fascinated. "Only to return it?"

It's very hard to read Camillo's expression. He just goes on looking at the woman, her face, her clothes, even her shoes. But especially her face.

"Just a prank my Lady - it went a little bit too far - strayed into the realm of manifest disrespect. Well at least more disrespect than I meant. In truth I've lived in other city's under different Lords and I happen to know that your brother isn't half bad. In fact for the most part your whole family isn't." The impish thief sighs, "So I came here to return it and humbly apologise. I know it wont make any difference - you'll still hunt me - mutilate me or kill me when you catch me. But that's the sort of thing that tend to happen to Master Thieves alot anyway. Happened to my master the Black Fox. Though he lived a long time my time is likely to be shorter. We're an extremely term limited bunch. But there's no point being mean to a man who is certainly anything but tyrannical. Or for that matter his family. So sorry…" The perpetual cheer is dropped for an awkward raising of the eyebrows on the impish woman's cute little face. She realises how bizzare this situation is apparently - not just for Marsei but for her as well.

Marsei listens closely to the thief's every word — off to a rough start with 'prank'. Confusion narrows her gaze on some parts as she tries to work out the young woman's motivations. Her whole story. And as it comes to an end, the sweet Hightower sighs in regret. "You will… have to come with me," she says quietly, like a reminder… gentle, yes, but decidedly firm. "To the Hightower," she adds, offering a small smile perhaps meant to be encouraging, "But I won't have any talk of killing and mutilating in the place of the Maiden. And my brother is not a tyrant, as you said." Marsei glances back to Camillo, purposeful, a silent request.

"Of treason," Camillo mentions, very softly, in reply to what Aralynne is saying. He moves slowly, just a few steps beyond Marsei, almost beside Aralynne. But he makes no threatening gesture or move, and his hands remain empty. "It is only right that you explain to Lord Ormund," he says quietly. "His was the honor dented by this embarrassment."

"Oh… by the Seven!" Aralynne says rolling her eyes up in her head and silently weighing things up. "I suppose it would be better for me if I went voluntarily - lucks got to run out sometime. But I couldn't just be returning the seal - he'd want something else." Aralynne runs through the scenario rehearsing it in her head with increasing frustration. She turns to Marsei, "You'd petition for mercy for me my Lady?" she asks hopefully.

"Any dent in my brother's armour is quick to repair," Marsei says, her tone agreeing perhaps in spite of her words. It's if this ought to settle the woman's nerves. She considers the thief, mouth parted as she look her over with a hint of worry — for whom, it's unclear. Slowly she does smile again, a kind and benevolent expression for the woman who could be called a traitor. "I might," she says. "I don't like to see anyone suffer. You would have to agree to pray with me; to petition the Mother's mercy as well as mine. Will you? I can promise you shall be given every fairness." Keeping a tight, protective hold on her house's seal, she offers her opposite elbow to the thief hopefully, only to try to calmly slip her arm in hers, a ladylike escort.

Camillo is very quiet. There are, perhaps, things that he could say, but he does not, letting Marsei's message be the one that rings out. He just stands there, by Aralynne's shoulder, a presence.

Ack! Praying. Aralynne gave little thought to the gods since her time in Fleabottom as an urchin. The predations of the Sept and her own horrible circumstances erased any notion of a benevolent divine from her mind. But she had little choice in the matter her. Deflated the impish little thief surrenders her arm to the larger more elegant beauty. "Very well my Lady. I surrender. I am yours to lead."

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