(122-07-05) Hightower Hospitality
Hightower Hospitality
Summary: Mischa Mullendore presents himself at the Hightower and receives a warm welcome.
Date: 5 July 2015
Related: None

Even a single tier of the great white stone tower is grand enough for any palace, and this floor is one is the grandest of all. The third level houses the Hightower family themselves. It has many suites of private rooms, as well as suites with multiple bedchambers, each enough to serve as a noble house in themselves. The open part of the level includes shared parlours with large windows that light the tower's interior. The floor is polished stone in three colours, red-orange and white and grey, laid in a pattern of chevrons. The grand gracious staircases are accessible from near the center of the tower.

It's a hot summer day in Oldtown, but the thick stone walls of the Hightower keep its rooms pleasantly cool. When Mischa arrives, he is dutifully informed that the Lord of the Tower isn't expected to emerge from his daily council meeting for the better part of an hour. Instead, he is shown up the grand staircase to one of the family's parlors, a splendid room with polished stone floors, bright and airy on account of its many windows having been thrown open to catch the odd summer breeze. This would seem to be a favored gathering place for courtiers, with instruments and games tables and plenty of places to sit and socialize.

Lynesse is one half of the famed Hightower twins, reknown both for their beauty and for how impossible it is to tell them one from the other. She has recently married Lord Ormund, and it is to her that Mischa is presented when escorted into the parlor. "My lord of Mullendore," she greets him warmly, extending her hand. "You're not likely to remember this, ser, but when my sister and I were silly girls of ten-and-six we saw you ride in the tourney at Blackcrown. Lynette was absolutely besotted with you and begged our father to see if you mightn't be wanting for a wife."

Politicking, if you ask Mischa, is a sport best left to his elder brother. Not that presenting oneself as a representative of the house one is sworn to is a particularly political act, but it is a formality that requires tact and politeness. Still though, he seems to do rather well with the whole business. The man might protest too much.
He's only been in Oldtown a day or so, and has only just washed enough of the road off him to be presentable in polite company. Armor has been exchanged for cool linens, but even so, the coolness of the tower is quite welcome.
"If you are speaking of Lynette, then you must be the Lady Lynesse. Thank you for avoiding the whole awkward business of asking. I'm not exactly a smooth-talker and I'm afraid I would have rather put my foot in it. A pleasure." He bows towards her and smiles. "Your sister flatters me, my lady. There are certainly more dashing and younger men who compete well in the tournaments."

Lynesse's smile lingers as he makes his bow toward her, mirroring it with a slight tilt of her head. "I am indeed. And you needn't apologize for having thought of asking; our own lord father struggles to know which of us is which on the best of days. I shan't admit to us ever having taken that to our advantage, so don't think to ask."

The redhead looks to one of the servants attending on the noblemen and women enjoying their afternoon in the parlor, a group of six — seven, now, with the Mullendore — and when she's caught the liveried man's attention, she says pleasantly to Mischa, "We've some fine arbor wine poured, but if it's not to your liking, I can have something else brought for you." The servant hovers on hand, ready to go and fetch whatever the knight might request. With a dainty sip of her own wine, Lynesse persists, "As I recall, your showing at Blackcrown was a fine one."

Lynesse is one half of the famed Hightower twins, reknown both for their beauty and for how impossible it is to tell them one from the other. She has recently married Lord Ormund, and it is to her that Mischa is presented when escorted into the parlor. "My lord of Mullendore," she greets him warmly, extending her hand. "You're not likely to remember this, ser, but when my sister and I were silly girls of ten-and-six we saw you ride in the tourney at Blackcrown. Lynette was absolutely besotted with you and begged our father to see if you mightn't be wanting for a wife."'

"Well enough, my lady. Though my brother tells me I am perpetually self-critical. And I say that Cantric could do with being slightly more self-aware. So between the two of us, we even out to one reasonable Mullendore." Mischa cracks a wry smile. "The wine sounds quite pleasant, thank you." He nods once to the servant.

As the servant retreats to the serving board to retrieve a fresh cup and fill it with the fine arbor wine, Lynesse shares in Mischa's smile, amused by his good humor. "Shall we sit by the window?" she asks, leading him that way once he's got his cup of wine to hand. She introduces him, too, to the other noblemen and women taking their leisure here; two Tyrells, a Fossoway, and two of her Hightower cousins. Once they've seated themselves, she asks, "When did you arrive in Oldtown, ser?"

Ormund comes along, rubbing his chin a bit.

"Certainly," says Mischa. For his part, he does what he can to remember names and titles. He's crossed paths with one or two of them before, usually at tournaments. He does his best with the polite smalltalk en route to their window seat. "Oh, not even two days, my lady. Just long enough to properly wash the road dust out of my hair and to adjust myself to the pace of life. I'm not quite there on the latter, I'm afraid. The former is up for debate as well." He grins and sips his wine.

Lynesse laughs in response, and says, "You prove your brother's words true, Lord Mischa. I can very hardly smell the road on you at all." Her tease is slight and good-natured, and she's only just settled herself into the chaise by the window when Ormund comes in from the hall. She rises again to greet him. "Good afternoon, husband. Won't you come and sit with us, or must the council have you back? Allow me to present Mischa Mullendore, who has only just yesterday arrived in Oldtown."

Ormund nods his head slightly, "Ah. Ser Mischa." He smiles. "Welcome." And then, to Lynesse, "I think, my lady, that they can do without me for a time. I can certainly do without them. And with some wine. Somebody will bring up bread and cheese in a moment."

"Ah, please don't tell him you're on his side. I'll never hear the end of it," Mischa drawls to Lynesse as he sips from his wine. He rises as well as Lynesse crosses towards Ormund. "My lord," he says with an incline of head. "I bring you good tidings from my uncle. He hopes to visit soon, but the business of Uplands keeps him occupied. He hopes to make the journey by season's end if his health holds."

Lynesse catches the servant's eye once more, gesturing subtly to him from across the room. Just like that, he materializes with wine for the Lord of the Hightower, presenting the goblet to Ormund with a bow. "Wonderful! Though I do hope your session was a productive one." Maybe it's the way he was rubbing his chin that she reads into, like Lynesse has learned how to read some of his cues in the short time they've been wed. She resumes her seat, this time at Ormund's side, and listens with interest as Mischa recounts his kin's intentions.

Ormund smiles at Mullendore, and says, "I shall look forward to it. For the time being, we'll enjoy your company and consider ourselves lucky. Are you staying here?"

"In Oldtown? For a time, yes. My brother handles trade for our house, but his wife is with child and he's asked me to take care of a few things while he tends to her. He is a fussy sort and tends to read medical texts and let his imagination run away with him." Mischa shakes his head and rolls his eyes, but he does so with a soft smile.

"Oh, how splendid," Lynesse beams, when Mischa mentions his good sister's condition. She glances sideways at Ormund, though her cheeks color faintly when she meets his eye, and she sips her wine to hide it. "My mother had a recipe for a tea meant to promote the good health and strength of both mother and babe. I'll make a copy of it tonight, that you might send it home to her."

"You are of course welcome to take a room in the tower," replies Ormund.

"That's very kind of you," says Mischa to Lynesse. "I'm sure my brother will appreciate it." He nods to Ormund, "And that is kind as well, my lord. Thank you." He sets his wine aside and looks around the room before returning his attention to his hosts. "And do let me know if I can be of any service."

"Say nothing of it," Lynesse demurs with a smile, slipping her free hand into the crook of Ormund's arm companionably, another sideways look offered his way. "And have you yet found occasion to marry, my lord, or shall I tell Lynette there is hope for her yet?"

Ormund settles down beside Lynesse when somebody arrives with bread and cheese and salt some cold meats on a tray. "Please," says Lord Ormund. "Join me. I didn't get a chance to eat, for the council." He looks at Lynesse, "Is your sister so keen, yet?" he asks.

"I was telling the good ser that we saw him in tourney some few years ago and that Lynette was positively besotted with him for a time afterward," Lynesse shares with her husband, just a little mischeviously, as he sets about his bread and cheese.

"Not yet, my lady. Much to my father's dismay. I was betrothed for a time to a young lady from Beesbury, but I waited too long and she married another." Mischa lifts a shoulder. He smiles at Lynesse's comment and inclines his head a bit sheepishly.

Ormund raises his eyebrows. "My word. Well, I suppose she will either be very pleased to see you, or not at all happy about the same."

Lynesse sips at her arbor wine, smiling sympathetically at Mischa and dipping her head apologetically to have touched upon a sore subject with her question. "Forgive me, ser. I did not realize." No doubt she assumed he would be wed by now, on account of his age. "I shall be certain to introduce you around the Hightower," she offers ever so faintly slyly.

"No, no, not at all," says Mischa. "It's a fair question. And I'm quite aware that I'm getting long in the tooth. My family doesn't properly let me forget it. So much of my time is spent with other business that I never quite got round to it. A poor excuse, I realize." He doesn't comment on the mention of 'introducing' him around, but his eyebrows do go up and Lynesse gets a faint little smile. He knows what that means.

Ormund pushes a little plate of bread and salt and cheese to Mischa, then goes on eating.

"Shall I ask another question that puts me at risk of treading into territory I ought not?" Lynesse wonders aloud to her companions. "I think I shall. I'm far too curious to know what brings you to Oldtown. You are more than welcome to tell me it is merely the splendor of the city at the height of summer, and I shall know better than to press you further." She returns his smile conspiratorially.

Mischa politely takes a bit of food from the plate and nods his thanks to Ormund. As he chews the bite, he ponders Lynesse's question. Or rather, how best to answer it. "A host of reasons, really. I have a few young noblemen to train. Their fathers want them to at least know what it is to lift a sword. Training is something of a specialty of mine. The other is keeping an ear out for trade opportunities in my brother's stead as he tends to his wife. And the third is, well, you've hit upon it. My family doesn't believe I'll find a wife by patrolling the Uplands for bandits."

Ormund listens. He smiles, rather sympathetically.

"Not a pretty one, at least," Lynesse parries in reply while she watches him eat, favoring her wine over the refreshments. But her curiosity seems duly sated by reasons one and two, and she nods with interest as they are recounted. "And how lovely to hear of two brothers so aligned in duty and purpose. Have you toured the Uplands, my lord husband? I should love an occasion to visit."

Mischa chuckles softly. "Not unless it turns out like some song where a farmer has a lovely daughter and it's a prelude to a forbidden love story." He sips his wine to wash down the bite. "We'd be delighted to host you, of course. I recommend a visit in high spring if you wish to see the butterflies that adorn our house banner. It's really quite a sight to see so many gathered."

"I have," Ormund tells Lynesse. "But I would not recommend it for my wife…" He hesitates, "That is really something you should like to do?"

"I would positively adore that!" Lynesse exclaims at the promise of butterflies, turning to Ormund to see his reaction to the invitation. Her enthusiasm is mitigated promptly by his hesitation, however, and she glosses serenely over it with a dainty sip of her wine. "You would know better than I, of course," she concedes. "And only the Seven know what may be in store for us between now and the spring."

Mischa, wisely, stays out of this particular discussion between husband and wife. "Well, whatever you decide, you need only send word to my uncle." He finishes his wine and sets the glass aside. "I feel I've already taken up too much of your time. Thank you very much for your hospitality and your welcome."

Ormund looks at Lynesse, rather dotingly. "I suppose it depends on, mm, what sort of tour," he says. "We could arrange it."

Lynesse's delighted smile returns when Ormund reconsiders, betraying the coyness of the way she says, "If you think so, my lord husband." She kisses him on the cheek, but then she puts down her glass, too, when Mischa announces his leave-taking. "Return when you've time and I'll fetch you that recipe. It was so pleasant to visit with you, ser."

"And you as well, my lady. My lord, a pleasure to meet you." Mischa inclines his head to both of them and then stands. "I do hope to enjoy more of your company during my stay here." And with a warm smile, the knight turns to take his leave.

"Ser," says Ormund, pleasantly, by way of a goodbye. He then turns his attention to Lynesse.

"Come, wife," says Ormund. "Let us retire for an hour or two?" he smiles.

Lynesse leans against Ormund's side to give him another kiss to the cheek before she rises with him. "Let's," she says in reply, slipping her hand into the crook of his arm.

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