(122-07-03) Silk
Summary: Prince Jurian creeps finds Marsei in the Maidenday Gardens.
Date: 03/07/2014
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.

An evening stroll turned into a longer walk, and a walk turned into a visit to the Starry Sept, which naturally, as it so often does for Lady Marsei, turned into a visit to the Maidenday Gardens. The sun is setting over the city, a few breaks here and there in the sky turning fleetingly gold and rose-pink, a fair match to the gown she wears, neatly arranged as she sits on a bench. Her gaze is aligned to a wooden statue of the Maiden with flowers at her feet and, beyond it, at a further distance, children playing; girls, watched over by a septa who will likely soon usher them home. Marsei appears lost in thought and content to be so, yet there is something tense about the way she sits alone, hands folded on her lap.

Jurian is often to be found in a garden, and this evening is no exception to that tendency. Marsei has not had must time for her seated reverie before the recently arrived prince appears around a bend in the path. He watches the girls play for just a moment before his gaze lights on Marsei, and he moves her way, unhurried, correcting as much as he can for his limp.

Marsei's fingers squeeze together ever-so-slightly, some small, perhaps subconscious, indication that she hears Jurian's approach … but her gaze remains aloft, not moving from its direction; she's quite attached to her thoughts, watching the children run in a circle, waving about a silken ribbon likely meant to be tied at one of the Maiden's shrines.

Jurian stands nearby, tilting his head slightly as he watches Marsei without greeting for a few moments. Finally, he says, "My Lady Marsei. How fortuitous to see you here."

It's Jurian's presence that starts to pull Marsei out of her thoughts before he speaks. At first, she still looks at the statue, the children cavorting so freely, but her attention is on the move. When he speaks, she relaxes her hands from their grip on one another and looks to the prince. To Marsei, Jurian's face in the garden is a new one, however frequent a visitor he might be now that he's lingered in Oldtown. Her smile comes second, small and gentle, followed by a push of her feet, hidden beneath her skirts, to begin to stand. "Prince Jurian— I love Maidenday. It's one of my favourite places in the city."

"And mine as well," Jurian says, then hastens to add, "Please, don't get up." He makes a little gesture aimed at easing her back into her seat. "Instead, allow me to sit with you." If she doesn't object, he moves to lower himself down to the bench beside her. "I have made it a habit to come here at different times of day, in different weather, to get the full effect."

Marsei sits easily, hardly having raised up from the bench, nodding her gratitude. "I have made the same habit, although I cannot say it's for the same reason," she remarks lightly, smiling while studying Jurian, finding his reasoning curious, "rather, I find it hard to deny a stroll through the garden after visiting the sept, even when it's wet out." And she will visit the sept in wind and rain.

Jurian smiles. "You are devout," he observes. "Of course that is no surprise, since by all accounts you are so kind and fair." He looks curiously at Marsei's face. Some might find his gaze too attentive. "When will your wedding to my uncle be? I understand it is not to be rushed."

Marsei smiles at Jurian's observation, meeting his gaze, but winds up looking down from it humbly. "We are not entirely certain yet," she says, adding, "of… when it shall be." She looks up with a stronger smile. "It does depend, as these things do. Upon when is best for our families. Both Targaryen and Hightower." Mostly Targaryen, all things considered.

"Mm," Jurian replies, eyebrows lifting just slightly. "Of course. These things do take time." He reaches over and plucks a flower from a stem. "You know…many had not expected Uncle Dhraegon to marry." He cups the blossom in his palm. "Do you have a dress yet?"

Marsei watches the blossom travel from its home amid the greenery to Jurian's palm; her regard tilts her head down again just a touch, half-shading her expression. She has a small, pleasant smile that her features seem to melt into naturally between words; it's there while she's quiet about Dhraegon, and flickers brighter upon mention of her dress-to-be. "Oh, not yet," she dismisses rather modestly all the same, but goes on, "it's only imaginings at the moment."

Jurian regards the flower for a long moment before he turns his wrist to offer it to Marsei. "I expect you have a fine imagination, my lady," he says. "I happened to recently hear of a connection through which some very fine silks could be purchased, Dornish silks. Would that interest you?"

Marsei takes the flower delicately, distracted halfway through by Jurian's other offer, the beginnings of her modest reaction to flattery cut off before it quite starts. "Oh? Really?" she responds with bright interest — although her eyes do narrow the slightest amount, wondering, not immediately sold. "May I ask… from … where, or— from whom?"

Jurian smiles slowly. "I believe you know him. The young Tyrell lord, Clovis," he says. "We saw him at the Whimsy. He and his father, it seems, have connections in the Dornish silk trade, and I think they would both be very pleased to supply the gorgeous silks that would be appropriate for the wedding of a Targaryen prince to a Hightower beauty."

"Oh, Lord Clovis," Marsei replies, relieved. She brightens easier to know it's a Tyrell connection to the Dornish silks, her smile broadening. The sun is near to setting in entirety, and in the dimmer eve, her eyes glitter to think of the finery. "You flatter me," she says with a small dip of her head before going on, "I would absolutely love to have some silks for my dress. Not to mention to support the Tyrells their trade with the Dornish."

"On the contrary," Jurian says. "Such banal words hardly do you justice. I noticed you the moment I arrived in the town square, you know." He lets his gaze wander the line of her arm down to her fingertips. "Lord Clovis will be very pleased to hear that. He is young, yet, and did not want to offend you by approaching you directly for tawdry mercantile matters, but I believe wholeheartedly in the strength of his commercial connections. I am sure the fabric will be superlative. Which is what you deserve. As such a blessed couple."

While Marsei doesn't follow the line of the prince's gaze precisely, it might as well be as apparent as a garden insect crawling down her arm. She slowly moves her hand, holding the flower, from where it's rested upon her lap to the edge of the bench beside her leg. She remains humble to the flattery, smiling a polite but uncertain smile and looking away from Jurian's eyes. "I will be certain to extend my thanks to Lord Clovis," she ensures, sincere as ever. "Actually, I would like to ask him more about his Dornish trade."

"I am certain he would welcome that," Jurian replies, gaze returning to Marsei's face. "Though art is his heart's passion, there is yet something of the merchant in him." He smiles fondly.

"I suppose it is fortunate he has a chance to deal in things of beauty in trade as well as art," Marsei replies. Noticing Jurian's fond smile, her eyebrows lift as she inquires, happy to continue conversation (that isn't about her), "Have you made quick friends with Lord Clovis?"

"Why, yes, I think I have," Jurian says, as if the thought is only now occurring to him, but pleasantly. "Because I am so fond of the arts, it seems to have been a natural development. He is terribly charming, the young lord. If you do business with him, I am sure it will be pleasant." He gives a tilted smile. "And with that let me promise to conclude all business talk."

"You needn't," Marsei says lightly, "particularly if all business talk concerns silks and art. It has certainly been no council meeting, in my imaginings." Her tone is airy good-natured jest, but she smiles and gives Jurian and agreeing, deferring sort of nod after the fact. When she tips her head back up, it's all the way toward the sky. "I did not quite intend to be out after the sun fell…"

Jurian looks up, following her line of sight. "Oh, but the stars are beautiful, are they not?" he replies. "And you did say you make a study of this garden at all times and seasons, did you not?"

"That's true," Marsei concedes, her gaze to the stars easily turning admiring. Her certainty over remaining in the garden much longer is less than solid, however, as she glances briefly over at the Targaryen prince beside her on the bench. "But there is no better view of the stars in all of the Seven Kingdoms than the view from Hightower on a clear night."

"I see," Jurian says, dropping his eyes from the sky. "You're…uneasy. Alone with a stranger at night away from home. Shall I walk you back to your tower, or release you from my company now?"

"I am not alone, Prince Jurian," Marsei replies in a quiet encouraging tone — to him, not herself, while easing that hint of distress out of her expression when she looks at him directly. "You're here, after all. A stranger perhaps but— a fine prince, I am sure. But you… are right that I am not accustomed to being by myself." She lifts her light brows at him in a small inquiry, her voice hopeful. "Would you? Just as far as the bridge?"

Jurian seems pleased that Marsei is asking to be walked at least as far as the bridge. He smiles, eyes widening a little, perhaps the better to see her in the gloom. He stands and offers her his arm. "It is my privilege," he replies.

The playing children are long gone, septas nowhere in sight, and the stars are not bright enough to reflect off the usually glittering Starry Sept from this angle; however, Marsei is in no hurry to see the prince's eyes in the growing gloom. She simply says "thank you, your grace," and stands to take his arm.

Jurian seems very contented as he begins to walk Marsei toward the bridge, pace leisurely. Of course, there is something about being walked by a man with a limp that some might find off-putting. The rhythm is just slightly off. "You and Uncle Dhraegon seem very devoted to one another."

"Yes," Marsei is quick, in fact pleased, to agree. She seems to naturally adjust her steps to Jurian without changing pace, exactly; they are fated to be out of sync. Her arm is a delicate thing in his, but she curls her hand tight to hold on in perfect poise. It won't be far from the gardens to Starry Street, but until then, it is mostly darkness. "Were you near him often, growing up?"

"No, not at all," Jurian says in a very pleasant tone, as if that were a fun revelation. "He was far closer to real court than I ever was. But he said that I should call him uncle, and I think we are fast friends. We played at boats in the fountain."

"I'm pleased," Marsei says, sounding earnest; there's a fondness in her voice, thinking of Dhraegon playing toy boats, that warms her tone. "He is quite easy to get along with, once given the chance."

"I see no reason not to give him every chance," Jurian says. "He seems as pure-hearted as…well. As you, my lady," he mentions, head turning and tilting slightly to emphasize the point. "And now I think I've brought you as far as you cared to go. I hope…you will be so kind as to speak to me again, since we are to become family."

"Of … course I will," Marsei says, pausing to turn and face Jurian, her arm slipping from his as the escort comes to an end. Now that she's on her way home, her uneasiness is a scarce thing. It's been left behind in the dark — or tucked away. "My family and yours are already so joined. In my eyes, we are already family. It will simply be yet another strong bond when I wed Prince Dhraegon." She smiles; nods her head. "Good night, Prince Jurian."

"Yes," Jurian says, evidently very taken with that idea. "Yes. You're right. We are already family." It sounds different, somehow, when he says it. "Good night, Lady Marsei."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License