(122-08-16) The Dragon's Still Uptight
The Dragon's Still Uptight
Summary: Lara Gargalen has another encounter with Prince Rhaegor Targaryen, this time on the ramparts of the Hightower.
Date: 20 + 29/08/2015 (Date of play)
Related: This first encounter.

Beacon - The Hightower, Battle Island

At the top of the narrow upper stairway, there's a trap-door. It is not flat against the roof, but at an angle so it can shed water into a groove to run off the edge of the tower. In good weather, it's kept open. A second low structure houses the lift that brings firewood up from the stockpile up at the top of the wider tiers well below. It also serves as a shelter for the tenders in wind and poor weather. Two men are always up here, unloading wood and feeding the fire when necessary.

The great fire dwarfs the structures, the men, and the little waist-high iron railing around the edge of the tower top. The beacon burns in cage of its own, the bars huge and heavy pillars of stone, with a conical roof over it to stop the rain from dampening the flames. It is kept constantly blazing, a bright bonfire some twenty feet tall, fed by logs and oil and wind.

The view is staggering. This is the tallest man-made structure in the world, and up here one stands eight hundred feet above the soil of Battle Island. The city is laid out below, stretching to the North, curving around the mouth of the Honeywine and seeming small compared to the distance of countryside one can see from here. The Whispering Sound opens to the South, widening into the sea.

The men that tend the mighty fire in the Hightower beacon do not seem too put out to have been joined by Prince Rhaegor at the apex of the formidable structure, and perhaps they are even used to his presence. He is inobtrusive, does not interefere with their work, but merely sits facing the incredible view of the city laid out below. On this occasion it is mid afternoon, and he works on something in absorbed, focused silence; a chunk of wood in one hand, a blade in the other. Carving.

The days at Oldtown must be boring indeed. At least for a certain Cockatrice, the Lady Lara Gargalen, who is looking like a caged exotic bird in her wide flowing gown of orange and red, the fabric of fine sand silk charming her comely form as she prowls the vast corridors of the Hightower. Her black hair falls openly about her shoulders, bouncing with every step she takes in her stride as she ascends the stairs that lead all the way up to the Beacon of the Hightower, opening that trap door and slipping through in one elegant movement that speaks of her suppleness. A curious glance cast about, until something that might become prey for this hedonistic woman is glimpsed. Or maybe just some cause of diversion to while away the long hours, when Princess Visenya insists on being alone with her husband, Prince Torren Nymeros Martell, for obvious reasons. Which occur sometimes even during the day. At mid-afternoon. "Your highness," Lara greets, her voice at a lower register that is easy on the ears. "I had no idea you would be up here at this hour…" The wink that follows, giving away her words are an obvious lie. The smile that follows looking pleased enough. Hazel eyes shift to the piece of wood in Prince Rhaegor's hand. "You are the creative kind? I had no idea…" The smile she gives him, looking indeed impressed.

Rhaegor is so consumed by his thoughts and the task at hand that he appears, at first, not to hear her, his head remaining bowed over his craft, the edge of the blade deftly at work. But at length he turns to look at her over his shoulder, because he does not recognize her voice, and he seems more irritated by her discovery than welcoming of her praise or company. Normally, he would take care to mask such a reaction, but there is no such effort today. "Lady Lara," he says finally, like it took him a second to recall her name. "I cannot imagine that Princess Visenya has any business that would bring you here." He does not rise to greet her, to kiss her hand, or anything of the sort. Instead he turns back to his task.

Lara's dark eyes flicker when she perceives those signs of irritation in the Targaryen, looking intrigued rather than shocked by his lacking courtesy. "Prince Rhaegor," she says, assuring him that way that she does remember his name as well. "You are right. I am not on any errand presently. Princess Visenya… has given me the afternoon off, actually, so I thought I could perhaps explore the Hightower for a bit, on my own." She remains where she is, shifting ever-so-slightly in her stance, her lips curling when she feels a light breeze tearing at her gown, aware of the play it creates across her frame. Still, his words require some kind of acknowledgement. "I am not disturbing you, your highness?", she inquires, her arms crossing before her, her head tilted to the side, dark eyes lingering on the Targaryen Prince with slight amusement.

She may as well not be there, for all that Rhaegor remains intent on his carving rather than on her, or the catch of the wind in her dress. What he works on appears the right size for a child's toy, but the form he seeks to replicate is yet unclear at this stage of his work. Some sort of creature, but which remains to be seen. Even seated, Rhaegor makes an imposing silhouette; broad shouldered and tall, even when idle giving the appearance of some capable predator in repose. He grunts as the edge of his blade bites into his flesh on a clumsy turn of the knife, and maybe it's that he chalks it up to the distraction of her presence that he says in response, "Do you imagine I seek refuge here for the promise of sociality it offers, or of solitude?" Just his voice alone indicates which of the two is the correct answer.

"Solitude," Lara offers, in reply to Raeghor's rhetorical question. "But as I can see, the solitude you've found has done little to cheer you up, if I may say so?" Her fingers move to push some black impressive curls from her view, a slight jingle from the golden bangs she wears about her arms the inevitable consequence. When she sees he has cut himself she instinctively moves over to reach for his hand to check the damage done - her fingers darting forward - which he may evade of course, if he sees it coming. "I am sorry, your highness. Am I that much of a distraction? You should be used to charming company, with your own betrothed hailing from Dorne just like me. Perhaps…" She smiles, dark eyes glinting with mischief, "a more extensive exposure to charms might help you to cope with them. Like… a knight gets trained to endure blows, you could be trained to endure… enticing creatures like me." The Gargalen chuckles, obviously amused herself at her train of thought - and not at all worried about irritating a certain Targaryen prince even more.

"I do not seek cheering," Rhaegor says in contradiction of her logic, none of the lightness in her speech reflected in his own. And when she rushes him at the cut of the blade, well, he isn't quick enough to keep her fingertips from their contact, but he waves his hand dismissively as if to discourage anything further. "It's nothing," he says, and there's only a bit of blood anyway. His eyes narrow when Lara speaks of Emira, his gaze flitting over the Dornishwoman standing before him, his pale violet stare devoid of the amusement she's inspired in herself. "I require no such training," is his flat response. Then he looks past Lara, to the expanse of sky beyond, his gaze tracing the horizon.

His hardly encouraging reply seems to baffle Lara for a moment, her dark eyes glinting as they narrow just so, lingering on the Targaryen as they are, she trying to figure him out. "So I've observed," she states after a moment, that smile still curling her lips, the tone soft and showing that same optimism. The touch of her fingers is gentle, and she withdraws her hand slowly when he waves off the injury as being minor, if at all. "I… feel responsible, I've startled you obviously, which was not my intention.", the Gargalen continues then, wetting her lips with a quick flick of her tongue. She seems to hesitate for a moment, before she inquires: "Have you always been like this?" Her eyes rolling ever-so-slightly, she shifting a little in her stance, smiling even more when she feels the light breeze tear a little at her gown of fine sand silk.

It's either her words or the movement in his peripheral vision that brings Rhaegor's stare back to Lara, briefly, before he resumes the work on the child's toy he'd been carving when she interrupted him. This time he takes more care as he applies the blade to the wood, the pile of shavings at his feet serving to indicate he'd been at it a little while, at least, before she came up to join him. "Like what?" he asks at length, without looking up from his arts and crafts project.

Lara cants her head a little to the side, arms crossed before her, she meeting his glance with a brow that is raised in silent question. Her own gaze will follow his to study what he is working on. She indeed seemingly content to observe rather than ruffle his feathers with further impertinent remarks. Until he counters her question with another. "Refusing to enjoy yourself.", she sums it up, twirling a strand of black hair about her finger. "You seem to like children, though," the Cockatrice states, glancing towards the toy Rhaegor is working on. "Not that it would be my business, but I find that… relieving. For whom are you making it?"

Rhaegor works quietly, efficiently, even as she speaks. "My daughter," he answers plainly, when Lara puts the question to him. At last he pauses in his work, his hand holding the slender blade hovering in the air, as if at any moment he might resume, putting it back to use. But for the moment, he elects to inspect Lara instead, studying her face and then the way she twirls that strand of hair around her finger, his gaze moving from her head to her foot before going back to the beast emerging from the chunk of wood. "Who are you to measure my enjoyment?" he asks, sliding his stare back toward her as he says the words.

"Your daughter?" Now, this is an interesting piece of news. "You have been married, then?", Lara Gargalen inquires, in that soft voice of hers that is easy on the ears. "How old is your daughter?" Dark eyes meeting his when she feels his assessing gaze, the smile curling her lips indicating the Cockatrice does not mind at all to be subject of such inspection. There may even be a bit of confidence in the way she pushes her hip to one side, one hand drifting over the fabric of her gown as if to adjust it. "I am your cousin's lady-in-waiting, loyal to House Nymeros Martell. I am curious, nothing more. And while I would not dare to measure your enjoyment…" She smirks. "I would be glad to offer you help to enhance it."

Some of the obvious tension actually seems to fade from Rhaegor's posture when Lara claims ignorance on the subject of his former marriage. In some circles, it was a matter of minor scandal, and he seems, for the first time since she joined him at the beacon, to not be outright irritated by her presence. And so he says, "I've two. The elder is eight, the younger five. And a son of ten." He's not blind to the way she cocks her hip, but he does say, apparently having remembered his manners, or perhaps softened by speaking of his children, "Thank you, Lady Lara. I think you'll find there are plenty of potential suitors who will be properly appreciative of your attentions. Princess Visenya can no doubt assist in helping you to identify them."

Lara may be ignorant to a great deal of things, but she knows how to read the body language of others. She nods. "Three children. I didn't know," she admits with a slightly apologetic roll of her eyes (oh yes, she can master quite a number of different variations of that Gargalen eye roll). It is his next remark, however, that draws an amused chuckle from her lips. "Oh, I wasn't meaning it that way," she says, when perhaps in fact she did mean it that way. "Like, in a conversation… But I am aware… as you are maybe missing out on some Dornish customs, I am too, on yours." A tiny step takes her closer. "Princess Visenya has already been helpful in that regard," Lara admits then, softly, with a slightly ironic twinkle in her dark eyes. She falls silent for a moment, regarding the Targaryen with a bit of hesitation, before her curiosity gets the best of her and she asks: "How are you getting along with Princess Emira? She is a very… spirited woman."

Rhaegor's sideways gaze is cutting, when she chuckles; but he does not speak to their cultural differences. His interest in her conversation proves fleeting, lost when the subject changes from his children. It goes back to the carving, to monitoring the edge of the blade and its handiwork upon the chunk of wood. Invocation of Emira's name prompts him to say, "I presume you are not well acquainted with her, to ask that of me rather than of Princess Emira herself." He pauses to inspect his handiwork, a shape slowly emerging from the block.

Lara does note his attention shifting pointedly away from her and back towards his carving efforts. "Indeed, I am not," she admits. "I was, as in so many things, merely curious." She finally allows a soft sigh to escape her lungs, shifting now her attention for a moment from him, towards the impressive view to be enjoyed from this position. Her eyes roaming the distance with a slightly thoughtful and, yes, sombre note. "Are you encouraging me to ask her?", she asks, following her whim to speak her thoughts without really contemplating them first.

All at once, Rhaegor goes from sitting and carving to standing, putting away his knife at his belt but pausing to enjoy the very same vantage point Lara does. "That is why I come here," he says, after a long silence, holding the partially formed block of wood in one listless palm, hanging at his side. He moves as close to the ledge as the structure allows, closing his eyes to the sky and the wind briefly before taking in what seems like a weighty, final view of the horizon line. As if committing it to memory before an imminent departure he's yet to announce. He doesn't answer her question; just one more among several she probably hasn't received the response to that she was looking for.

"I understand," is all the Gargalen offers to his few spared words, seemingly content for a moment to stand there beside him, even if her lips curl a little, feeling the breeze on her, aware as she is what that will do the fine fabric of her sand silk gown. A sideways glance towards Rhaegor telling her that he may be about to leave, that unanswered question not minded that much perhaps, because it had been more a thought than an actual inquiry.

Finally, at last, Rhaegor turns from the sky, affording her a brief nod of his head and a "Lady Lara," before he turns to go. But before he does, with a glance toward the chunk of wood, he says, "It will be a dragon, eventually." Obviously. She hardly needed to ask. And with that he descends the stairs from the beacon to the landing below, leaving her to enjoy the very solitude he claimed he'd been seeking.

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