(122-09-10) The Road Ahead Leads Back
The Road Ahead Leads Back
Summary: Marsei and Camillo are on a journey to face their respective pasts.
Date: 05/09/2015
Related: Everything Fossoway

Roseroad - The Reach

The Roseroad is a wide and well-travelled route, spanning a great distance. It stretches Northeast away from Oldtown, leading through meadows and light woods, and in the distance, the rocky hills that are the mild Westernmost edge of the Uplands. Keep going long enough and you will reach Highgarden, where you might continue all the way to King's Landing, or diverge to take the Ocean Road to Lannisport.

The Beacon Gate represents the Southern terminus of the road. It is Oldtown's largest city gate, made of grand white stone, and lit with torches day and night. It arches over the road, and while the enormous iron-banded wooden gates are almost always open, the gate is also always guarded, with murder-holes in the arch above.

Livestock and other foodstuffs entering the city often go a little further South, to where the Roseroad and the Tower Road meet in a wide hard-packed flat area just outside the Farmer's Gate.

Near to Oldtown the countryside is spread with farms and vineyards, and smallfolk and their livestock can fill the fields during the days. As one travels further from the city the farms become fewer, and clump together into little villages.

The last time Lady Marsei travelled this far along the Roseroad, she was headed in the opposite direction, toward Oltown. Jarvas had died in the weeks past, then, and she was returning home — her childhood home, always her truest home, the Hightower — a new widow, raw with mourning. She's still a widow; the death of her husband set that in stone for her, until it's to be etched off by her looming wedding to Prince Dhraegon. Just like that. As if it's so simple.

The Roseroad and the surrounding fields and hills are bathed in a dull and dimming light that seems almost violet from the mixture of an approaching sunset through the overcast sky above the slowly travelling enclosed cart containing Marsei and two handmaidens and septa surrounded by an arrangement of horses and men, most of whom are visibly armed and wearing Hightower colours. The party is not large, by any means; only just enough protection befitting the daughter of the Hand of the King, the sister of the Queen of the Realm and the Lord of Oldtown. Perhaps too small, by some counts, all of that considered.

Though they should be coming up on an inn soon enough, they've stopped to meander off the road toward a small brook where the horses take to water. Men dismount, stretch their legs, relieve themselves, and banter. Marsei also steps foot on solid ground, though her companions stay behind, perhaps rocked asleep by the wagon wheels. It's her assemblage, yet she's out of place here. Out in the open, surrounded by the well-travelled and the wilderness, but that isn't the only reason she's out-of-sorts as she stands near the brook, her arms lightly held about herself.

Camillo originally balked at the idea of coming to the Fossoways', but here he is now nevertheless. He doesn't ride particularly well, but they've been going slow enough to accompany the cart, so he's been managing. He chews a bit on some travel rations after having helped get the horses settled at the edge of the water. He approaches Marsei. "My lady, are you cold?"

"Not really," Marsei answers, sounding distant, quite like she hadn't considered whether she was cold or not before now and still hasn't. Long sleeves do at least protect her arms. Her gown is green: simply green, not emerald, without sheen, fitted over frills of white lace at every edge and hem. It's meant to be understated, plain and comfortable for travel, but her notion of travel-wear is debatable. She still stands out against the backdrop of grass and rock. The wide outdoors brings out the near fragile milkiness of her skin and red of her hair. "Perhaps I should have stopped in to visit at Honeyholt," she says in the same tone with an added regret — she would have plainly been stalling the trip to Cider Hall if she had.

"…On your return, perhaps, my lady?" Camillo suggests gently, gaze drifting from her to the sky to the trees. Lovely trees.

"Yes," Marsei agrees, a slight optimistic turn in her voice, although her thoughts are still truly caught elsewhere. She looks to Camillo with a small smile, grounding firmer in the present. The men mill about at a distance, deeming themselves far enough from the noblewoman to be themselves, even if that means being loud enough for their racuous joking to, in fact, be in earshot. She doesn't seem to mind, if only because she barely seems to notice. "I'm glad you've come along after all, Camillo," she says, earnest — only to look down at the brook and struggle with an altogether conflicted expression.

"I think I may try to darken my beard with soot," Camillo says, as if that will be an even greater comfort. He, too, looks at the water. "I will try to go to see him while we are there."

Given her conflict, the sound which emerges from Marsei, as delicate as the bubbling of the brook, is unlikely: a small bit of laughter. "How— funny," she says, unfolding her arms to reveal that she has, in her possession, a small, white candle. "I was just about to ask if you could make a fire, so I might light this and pray."

Camillo looks up a little at the unexpected laughter, but then he nos. "Yes, of course," he says. "May…I join your prayers?" That asked, he quickly sets about gathering some tinder to start a fire.

"Please," Marsei replies, spoken insistently, as if Camillo had not asked at all and it was she who is asking him to join. She lowers herself neatly to the ground in front of the fire-to-be, careful that it is only her hidden knees that press into the damp earth and not the fabric of her gown. There is no image of any face of the Seven to put her prayer candle beneath, only distant trees, and she is no northron worshipper of trees; she has only faith that her gods are all around them, listening, and so she takes a rock from the side of the brook, smoothed by years of slow, trickling water, and places it in front of her for the candle to sit on.

Camillo has a flint box round his neck that he strikes sparks with once the tinder is gathered. He blows on the tiny embers until the tinder catches, then starts patiently feeding in a little kindling. "My lady," he broaches carefully, "If I get into any trouble, you must say you had no idea of my connections with the house."

"… I understand," Marsei concedes after a moment. It's wisest all-around, but that doesn't mean she has to be at peace with the possibility that such a thing will happen. The thought turns her lips down ever-so-slightly; she turns them up to say, gentle and insistent, "But I will do all I can to prevent any such trouble."

Camillo nods softly. "As will I," he promises. "But if it should happen, please simply return home," he requests, getting the flame to something approaching actual 'fire' status.

"I will," Marsei answers. It begs for more assurance, one of her glowing affirmations that nothing will go awry, but she simply quiets and stares down at the little growing fire. She extends the fresh wick of the candle toward the flame — a bit shy of it, for a moment, as it crackles amongst the twigs — and lets it ignite. She sets it down, venerable, as it is now a religious object, by her thinking.

Camillo kneels down when the fire is at a stage where it can sustain itself, and bows his head. As always, he seems humble and sincere in his approach to prayer.

Marsei's approach is much the same. Her prayer is silent, but her sincerity is nigh on palpable over the reaching flames. The fire itself overshadows the small candle, but it burns brightly and determinedly all the same, the focus of her prayer even after her eyes close. Her hands grip her knees, then one another, knuckles bound tight— a turn to desperation over humbleness, after a time. As the wax melts, a seven-pointed star is gradually revealed to be at the center of the candle.

Camillo is quiet, but he too seems to have some tension about his prayers. Perhaps it is the simple desire to do better as a spiritual and moral being on the earth. Finally, he sits back and must feed a little fuel to the fire. He stays quiet a little while longer lest he disturb Marsei.

Marsei drifts out of her prayers without looking quite satisfied; in fact, she seems disturbed, but she gives an earnest look of hope down at the prayer candle all the same. She touches a drip of wax with her thumb in thought, but pulls it away before more spills; she seems on the verge of speech, but instead stands up. "I will let it keep burning, as we go, to shine our path."

Camillo nods a little. "Will we be move on through dusk, or camp soon, my lady?"

"I'd prefer we keep on until we make it to the next inn to avoid camping, but I suppose I shall leave it up to…" Marsei looks toward the men, trying to pick out the one who had been leading the way. "Ser Arron," she says, although she doesn't look certain that she's found him amidst the similarly garbed figures. "I should not like anyone, man nor horse, to go tired." She glances to Camillo, hesitating before asking, "Are you… does it frighten you, to go back? … Perhaps frighten is not the right word— " Perhaps it's her word.

Camillo looks thoughtfully at the earth. "Yes," he agrees. "For several reasons. And you, my lady?" he asks, gaze lifting to meet hers.

But she looks down, away from his gaze again. "Yes," she replies in kind. She smiles with her head bowed, only for the parallel of her answer: "For several reasons." Her gaze fell to the prayer candle; it jumps off quickly and she wraps her arms about herself again. "Not the least of which is I feel I am going backwards. I left those halls under such— dark circumstances…"

Camillo tilts his head slightly. "I suppose I can understand the feeling, my lady," he says. "I… There is a strangeness to it. I thought at first I should not go under any circumstances."

The bow of Marsei's head turns into an understanding nod. "I know I will… I will be welcomed there," she says, although it's with a subtle undercurrent of unease, "and so perhaps we are different in that. Yet at first I could not bear the thought of going at all," she admits, lifting her eyes to Camillo after all in the firelight that becomes more prevalent with the growing dusk, "but… I pray the Crone has given me enough wisdom to navigate my way through." She smiles hopefully, encouraging, if tremulous; she has just barely convinced herself. "I suppose we both must face our pasts."

Camillo nods faintly, though he doesn't look happy about it. "Yes, my lady," he agrees. He pauses, then mentions, rather out of nowhere, "I returned the necklace to Ser Malcolm."

It does strike her by surprise, brightening her face; not with joy, simply that she's stirred out of her distant, tangled thoughts. "You did?" Marsei looks curiously at Camillo, her brows lifted. "What did Ser Malcolm say?"

Camillo looks thoughtful. "Not very much," he says. "He thanked me and allowed me to keep the box." Which is perhaps a strange way of putting it, since the box definitely never belonged to Malcolm.

And indeed, Marsei gives Camillo a bit of a strange look, but it's gentle and tempered by an earnest smile. "And do you feel better now that it's back in his hands?" she asks, more importantly.

Camillo has to think about it, of course. "I think it is right for it to be," he says. "I think it was not right for me to have it."

Marsei nods once, accepting and confirming Camillo's logic. "I'm glad, then." Glad that he's made a decision that he thinks is right than whether she thinks it is or not; that's not the point. "You do think things through, Camillo," she says, warmly commending and inquisitive at once. She starts to step away from the brook, the fire, and the candle, pausing to add, "Another reason you coming along on this trip will work in our favour, I think."

Camillo tilts his head slightly at that praise. "I am not particularly quick, my lady," he says. "So I have to take time to think about things."

"Perhaps not quick when it comes to decisions regarding the rightful ownership of jewelry," Marsei grants with a light-hearted jest, carrying on back the way she came. There's a slight hill she didn't notice going down, and she wheels her arms out rather daintily to balance. "But you have a good sense of things." More specifically, she goes on, "I know you've been thinking on this much longer than the necklace." This being the reason — at least one of the pressing reasons — for Marsei's journey, if not the journey itself. "And you know the Reds better than I do. That will be helpful, once we're there."

"I know some of them. The…ones I've asked you to speak with, at any rate. I… Well. I will do everything to make certain in advance that there will be no disruptions in return for your kindness," Camillo promises.

"I know," Marsei replies with certainty, looking back at Camillo with an easy smile. In this, she has no worry at all; the source of her concerns seem to lie elsewhere. And before she recalls them and stalls the trip rather than facing them, she decides, quickening her step, "I will inquire as to our plans for the night."

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