(122-11-08) Smiling at the Scorpion
Smiling at the Scorpion
Summary: Loryn and Marsei have the pleasure — or not — of meeting Ser Manfryd Qorgyle, leading to tension. And leering.
Date: 08/11/2015
Related: None

Golden Maiden Inn Lower Hightower Street
Sun Nov 08, 122 ((Sun Nov 08 11:35:19 2015))

While the wine here is excellent, no ales nor ciders are served. The Golden Maiden Inn is not a drinking establishment, but a place of lodging for the dignified and the precious — ladies can stay here without risk nor question of their honour. Meals are available at demand, and some visitors come here only for the food.

Warm oakwood walls contain the Common Room of this dignified Inn. Large candelabras have been hoisted up on chains to hang up near the ceiling, lending a warm light to the room and playing up the golden colour of the wood. A large counter, again of golden oak, stands near the entrance. It is there that drinks are poured, and food brought out from the kitchens behind.

The place houses at most twenty people at its round wooden tables. The chairs are cushioned in the same deep merlot coloured fabric as the table-cloths. In the center of each table is a thick white candle on an oaken pillar-stand.

The scent of warm breads and cheese permeate the room, as does that of choice cuts of meats. Everything is crafted to pair well with wines that are the House's speciality.

The Golden Maiden's busiest table is occupied by warmth and laughter on this summer day. A radiant source of both is the soon-to-be-married Lady Marsei Hightower, who laughs softly and claps her delicate hands at a joke the cluster of ladies — some of them her handmaidens — and lords next to her have conspired on. Plates of food and cups of wine line its cloth almost all the way 'round, though it is not full to capacity; every so often, members of the party depart and others join. That is the atmosphere that is fostered, one in which guests may come and go, friends and strangers alike.

Occupying a smaller table nearby is Ser Loryn Tyrell, dressed glamourously in finely spun gold, silver and Tyrell green, radiating nobility. The recipient of the show is an elderly man, equally finely dressed and on the well-fed side. He is sipping wine calmly while Loryn entertains him with some story that requires dramatic hand gestures.

The door to the Inn thuds back almost to full swing on its hinges as a Dornishman holds it open with a forearm upon entering, dark eyes sweeping the oakwood common room. The only acquaintance he has with him is the spear on his back, settled overtop of sandy robes sinched at the waist with a sash belt. Sweeping the inn, he finds two tables quite entertaining. One, that Tyrell lord looks like his face could be a little less pretty, or two, the laughter bubbling up a cluster of ladies. He'll go for the latter, letting his arm swing forward to release the door in a cocky display as he strides forward, sneering at Loryn as he ambles by. The sneer turning toward an appraising leering, as if each woman was a mare he was gathering stock on to see which one would be a more interesting ride.

Although Marsei does not lead the party at the busy table — her voice quiet, her attention only on one or two guests at a time to give them each friendly intimacy of conversation — the sweet and recently gossiped about Hightower is often the subject of attention at the table. When two visiting knights depart the table for some other duty — reluctantly, it would seem — they leave an open space through which Marsei calls gently to the familiar, dramatic example of of a Tyrell in gold and green. "My lord, and Ser Loryn! Would you join us?" Her smiling offer is still warm upon her face when she cannot help but notice the Dornish newcomer's approach, half-covering a faint startle to be met with his leer. Nevertheless, her red head ducks down politely, as if in welcome.

Loryn gets interrupted in his narrative by Marsei's call and looks over to her, nodding a bit distractedly. Then the haughty Dornishman wanders past and he loses the thread completely. But his elderly companion seems to take it in good spirit and gets to his feet. "Join the beauties, Ser Loryn, I shall let you know my decision soon.", he says and makes his departure, bowing deeply to the ladies at their table in passing. Left alone, Loryn picks up his wine cup and approaches Marsei and her friends. "Lady Marsei, always a pleasure to see you."

It is said that Dornishmen are always up for two things; fighting and sex. Far be it from Manfryd to show these northmen any different. The sandy Scorpion's eyes follow the knights rising from their seats, coming to circle around the busy table to follow them, in what could appear him to be some anticipation of a fight the way he stalks just a mere stride or two behind their retreating forms. Regretfully they don't turn to him, so he prowls back toward the empty seats, the same time that Loryn approaches the table. His dark eyes flashing toward the red head that ducks it. His brow quirks. Interested. His hand grabs the recently vacated hair, twists it about, to sit down in it backwards, arms resting on the back of it as he straddles the chair, smuggness surfacing. Not a word to go with it. The Dornish didn't need to have words, he only had to make one feel as if they were already naked - a well to do stare currently levelled at the sheepish Marsei.

Without quite taking her attention off the Dornish stranger — aware of his whereabouts although she looks to Loryn — she asks the Tyrell, all smiles, "I hope I did not interrupt and all is well?" She chances a glance to the elder Tyrell departing amid the knights. The blonde-curled lady at her left, a noble handmaiden, makes certain to slide a plate of fine cheese welcomingly toward one of the empty seats as an enticement to sit down, although her hands start to retreat uncertainly when the Dornishman takes a spot. Similarly, Marsei's fold upon the table close to her, half beneath the pastel violet of her sleeves, demure, conscious of his eyes upon her. Yet her smile remains welcoming with an air of well-bred civility. "Hello," she greets, pleasant, in lieu of knowing his title.

"I'd hope so.", Loryn replies following her look briefly to where the elder gentleman is departing, "He may be investing in my new play…" His voice begins to waver slightly when he sees the Dornishman simply invite himself to their table. "Do you know this man, Lady Marsei?", the Tyrell asks, still standing, eyeing the stranger.

"Not yet," the sandy Dornishman says with a self-assured curl of his lips, eyes having never wavered away from the red head, "I'm certain that'll change. In due time." Cue the leery smile as he reaches toward the fine cheese that was pushed toward the empty seat and thus, toward him. He'll scoop a couple pieces, plopping one into his mouth suggestively with a wink tossed at the handmaiden. He goes right back to observing the red head and her antics, of how she's trying to ignore him. Northfolk always do that. A game they want. Dornishwomen at least know how to behave. He's not yet once looked back to the Tyrell, on purpose. To ignore the man who was staring at you, was a tactic to entice him further to display his colours. Cheese popped into open mouth as he softly chuckles, as if a joke were made and he was the only one who could hear it.

Marsei gives a smaller smile to Loryn, meant to soothe the way he eyes the Dornishman, despite the rise in her own tension; it starts as hardly a visible thing, given the perfectly proper way she sits, but the way her seawater gaze sneaks on and off the stranger belie her discomfort … or else appear as a coy game and fluttering of lashes she does not intend. "Are you visiting Oldtown?" she asks him, sincerely determined to be convivial.

"Apparently he missed the manual on manners beyond the Dornish border.", Loryn says icily, remaining on his feet beside Marsei in an attempt to be all manly and protective towards the lady. "Around here, it's considered good manners to introduce oneself to a lady, Dornishman."

Manfryd will believe the latter. The coy game of fluttering eyelashes. He might systematically lean his interest that way, grinning as he chews down another piece of cheese. "I wasn't spit out here from the Stranger's one-eye, by the looks of it," a crude way to put it, but he's still grinning ear to ear, "that makes me a visitor." He was doing his best to ignore the Tyrell, but, then Loryn had to go all knightly on him. Manfryd slowly leans back, so his hands are both braced against the back of the chair, his dark eyes lifting to meet that protective posturing, "You are quite a tit on a spit, aren't you?" He eyes Loryn up and down, turning his attention back to Marsei, "Where I come from, a lady endeavours to discover that when she's clinging and hot faced from dancing with our spears." He tips his head, "It's a lot more interesting to find out that way. But if you'd rather me tell you now…"

"Ser Loryn," Marsei says gently with a slight hush to her voice; it's shy of a chastisement, too kind, but certainly does have an air of embarrassment for fear of Loryn making a fuss. Her throat goes rather tight and her mouth speechless as the Dornishman goes on. "I, u-um…" Her hands pry from each other, one swiping across a cheek that's turned slightly pink beneath her gentle freckles, and gestures at Loryn. "This is Ser Loryn Tyrell," she introduces instead, as if they were having an entirely different conversation, one more up to her polite standards. "I am Marsei Hightower." It's said with a smile and the assumption that her name will mean something, although it is not spoken with any haughtiness. "Do you know Prince Torren?"

Loryn presses his lips together when the Dornishman starts to insult him. "You might want to apologize for offending the ladies' ears.", he tells him coolly, though he doesn't make a move towards anything physical right now. Since Marsei is doing her best to keep things civilized, so will he. Although he keeps eyeballing the man.

Manfryd starts to chuckle with amusement at Loryn's instance, "Do I look like your dog, Sir Tyrell—" the name slurred sardonically, baiting the other in the way 'the Scorpion' in known for, "She is not offended. Her cheeks blossom." He was aware of the woman's reactions. That /was/ why he decided upon the table. Oh and his eyes do mark the table and her with suggestive seconds lingering between. It wouldn't be hard to tell what he was thinking about. Her name that comes with a smile has Manfryd pointedly gesturing, "See, she smiles." And for her he leans back into the chair, chest pressed against it as his arms crossed, keeping aware of where Tyrell is in case the knight chooses to continue being baited. "We should be getting acquainted by other means," he offers her, reluctantly so giving his name, "Ser Manfryd Qorgyle." The last question is addressed with a tip of his chin.

Merrymaking carries on around them; ladies chatter, lords with them; a few concerned or intrigued eyes are cast their way, but aside from the ladies closest to Marsei, most have moved on to other subjects now that they're absent her attention. Her smile tenses at the corners, self-conscious. How often the sweet Hightower smiles, so sincerely, and how often in turn it must lead to this. She picks up her half-full cup of wine; it pauses halfway to her mouth when Manfryd says "other means," and she doesn't quite remember to drink. "I have been learning about shipping and trade to and from Dorne," she says, on a more monotonous note. Is that "other means" enough? "Although I admit I know little about your House, Ser Manfryd." And of his reputation as the Scorpion.

Loryn doesn't seem to be impressed by the man's name. Minor Dornish nobility, meh. He watches Marsei carefully and leans closer to her. "If you wish me to accompany you home, you only need to say the word, Mylady.", he tells her softly. Obviously he hasn't responded to the bait, but he does remain where he is, eyes on the Dornishman.

Unfortunate that Loryn didn't rise to the bait. Manfryd's eyes told of that disappointment. It was a fleeting thing. He couldn't bash in every man's skull that he came across. Pity. His spear was dry as a bone without the blood of another's upon it. Still, he did not mind the conversation, as much tension as there was from the other parties at the table. Tension made things fun. His remark to Marsei is drawled, "That is tedious and not near as fun as learning about other customs." He shrugs a bit at the last, "I could educate you." Leer.

Marsei's look to Loryn is swift, but contains a rather concentrated amount of gratitude for his offer, as though it will soon be taken. "I— " she begins to reply to Manfryd, with enthusiasm, even, before she thinks to reconsider his words and therefore her response. The customs of which he speaks may not exactly line up with her more intellectual curiosity. "… could you …" she says for lack of words, a good deal more awkward than usual, allowing skepticism through, the tiniest tremble of her polite manner. Certainly not an invitation. "I am blessed to count Princess Visenya among my friends. I have been learning about Dornish ways from her," she explains but, suddenly uncertain of how that sounded, as well, the soft-spoken lady puts her cup down and presses her hands against the edge of the table, considering fleeing.

Poor Loryn has to actually bite his lip when Marsei blunders through the conversation which doesn't mesh well with trying to be all knightly and menacing towards the Dornishman. He clears his throat and shifts position a little, but otherwise remains silent.

Arrogant and smug. "I could," self-assured posturing that had an implied undertone to it, "Easily. You'd learn fast." Loryn was falling off his radar as the knight clams up and seems an unfortunate decoration at the table. Pretty but otherwise useless, so says the casual flicker of dark eyes to the other knight. The drop of Visenya's name has him straighten a ways, "She is your friend?" Mirth twinkles in his eyes, "I believe you're being well educated then, though she still lacks the blood to properly understand all of it." He is alert to her decision to flee, which he might just take as her wanting to trod off with him somewhere. It was promising.

Despite her blundering, the topic of Visenya gives Marsei something to hold onto. Thinking of her friend brightens her gaze. "Of course, she will always be a Targaryen," she agrees, "as I will be a Hightower by blood, when I marry into fire and blood." A small reminder that she is a betrothed woman. "But seems well-matched to Prince Torren. He seems a lovely man, and kind." Unlike Manfryd, perhaps? She reaches up slowly toward Loryn until she has looped her arm with the knight's and rises to her feet.

Targaryen. A name that has Manfryd's features darken. "Aelyn was one too," he tells her, "the name did little to shield him from sand." A suggestion that Visenya may be better off associating herself with her new name or that Marsei couldn't possibly flee from the sand storm that was brewing in Manfryd's eyes. He was clearly interested in her and ready to pursue, more so, when she declares that she was betrothed, in such a subtle way. "Fire makes sand turn to glass. And sand, quickens to absorb blood." He rises when she does, a sign of delayed politeness or that he was willing to chase her, nodding at the praise that Torren gets - or he doesn't.

The brewing storm in Manfryd's eyes does not escape Marsei. It intrigues her as something to take note of, to be wary of — and to not get sucked into. She's quick to avert her gaze from its dangerous center. "Glass can be forged strong," she adds, pointed, only to smile her bountifully optimistic smile after the fact. "Let us hope in this instance the marriage of Visenya and Torren will be as dragonglass, strengthening the bond between our kingdoms as it's meant to do." Sensing, perhaps, that Manfryd might not hold the same optimism, she steps back with Loryn and bows her head. A few of the ladies near her rise as well, quick to follow. "The hour grows, and I I should be returning to the Hightower."

"Should that very glass break, there will be such sharpness in it, like none have seen before—" He was certain of that outcome, it was only a matter of when and not if in his mind. His eyes flicker between her and the other ladies that rise, only to return, with avid interest in the red head who means to make her escape now but not exactly disinterested in him either. For a Dornishman, he was at least decent too look at, but it was those eyes that held such intensity which could make any one's blood hot. "A shame, Lady Hightower. I had only just begun…" He hadn't even warmed up! That smile on his face is predatory as much as it is attractive. The table was fortunately enough for her, between them.

Taking his words in, Marsei decides to leave them be. "Ser Manfryd," she offers simply in parting. She's soon escorted quickly around the table by Loryn and surrounded by her flock of ladies, every now and then ducking out of their protection and in-between other guests at the table to smile tirelessly and say her goodbyes to other friends and acquaintances until she vanishes from the Golden Maiden.

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