(122-11-09) Dragon's Snare
Dragon's Snare
Summary: Jurian has something for Marsei.
Date: 09/11/2015
Related: None

The Hightower Battle Island

The great tower is all of white stone, ancient and beautiful, but for the lowest part, which is seamless black, akin to dragonglass, and more ancient still. This lowest tier is quite wide and grand enough for any palace. There are two stories of this bottom part of the tower, and while the grand entry is wide and open, the corridors are a twisting maze of black stone. The tower has a narrower white stone tier above, and a circular balcony-garden on the roof-space left unoccupied.

The ground floor is dominated by this grand receiving hall, and the great main doors lead directly to it. High windows let in light that reflects off the glossy walls and makes the space airy and brighter than one would think black stone would allow. It is here that the Lord of Hightower holds his local court, from a large chair on a tall wooden dais. Both chair and dais are carved with images of the tower itself, and with dolphins and sea-dragons. They are inlaid with stones of white and grey, and decorated with silver-leaf. There's space for the Lord's councillors to sit alongside him, but visitors seeking audience must stand.

Past this grand hall there is a wide gracious stone stairway allowing access to the higher levels. Hidden behind the wall behind it and to and on one side, ramps allow wagon-loads of firewood for the beacon to be hauled up.

By her handmaidens, ladies in her circle, and the many hands employed in assuring her wedding comes together flawlessly, Lady Marsei has been treated more like her sister Queen Alicent in the days leading up to the big event. Even as she exits the grand Hightower, where the wedding is to occur, she's surrounded by a flurry of such well-dressed women and one who only holds finely spun material, talking the lady's ear off about table dressings. Only steps from the doors, Marsei whirls about, her gown bright and sunshine yellow against the humid grey day, and fends them off all at once: it's her kindness and thank-yous but not nows that send them packing back inside, every last one, leaving her relieved to be unaccompanied.

Jurian is not the least bit cowed by this flurry of female activity. He happens to be heading toward the Hightower just now, and indeed when he sees the Lady Marsei, his path is corrected in order to intercept her as soon as possible, especially now that the retinue is receding. "Lady Marsei," he greets, inclining his head.

Taking a moment in her newfound quiet, Marsei is doubly surprised by Jurian's presence. She whirls about again, to better face him, another swirl of her dress before its luxurious skirt has had time to still from the first time. "Oh!" Her hand goes to her chest as much in surprise as to immediately, politely quell it, before she's even quite realized who's intercepted her. "Prince Jurian," she greets, a stun lingering, especially in her widened eyes, but her voice is, of course, friendly. "I— did not see you approach!" she apologizes. "What brings you to the Hightower?"

Jurian takes time to note the fluttering of the skir and the movement of Marsei's hair, then smiles. "Lady Marsei. You are more finely attired each time I see you," he greets, coming closer after having paused a few steps off. "Why, it is your nuptuals to my uncle that bring me here, of course. I wanted to see you and convey to you how eager we are to bring you into the fold."

"Oh?" A further pause overtakes Marsei's features, her light brows raised just a touch; again, innocent surprise, this time as if the thought of Jurian coming to visit her on such a mission of welcome is touching — or, at least, unexpected. "How absolutely lovely of you, Prince Jurian. I'm eager to be part of the family."

"I think you're much needed. We have no sense of balance, you see," Jurian explains, tilting his head slightly. "Half the time we very unimaginatively go marrying our sisters, then we run all the way to Dorne for a half-civilized crop of brides." He smiles and shakes his head. "How welcome you will be."

Smiling, Marsei tips her own head to the sign in unintentional mimic of Jurian, looking curious. A soft laugh escapes her; half of one, truly, the other half made up of quiet uncertainty. "I suppose I am following my sister's footsteps, then … both doing our part," she says, a soft, convivial note of jest to her tone. "I'm glad to be so welcome. I admit the topic has not come up much, given…" Her brow ghosts at furrowing; ultimately, it smooths to porcelain, and she smiles brightly. "Anyhow, thank you, Prince Jurian."

"I thought I'd give you an engagement gift," Jurian continues, not to be put off by gracious thanks. "Since it is finally ready. I thought it might please you to have it before your wedding day." He brings, from a pocket, a black velvet bag, closed with a red drawstring.

Surprise upon surprise, Marsei takes this latest one modestly. "You shouldn't have," she says, but it sounds like little more than a politeness, spoken with gratitude rather than dismissal; what lady would (or should) deny a gift from a prince for her engagement? "I hope it is not too grand," she insists, however, as she reaches for the drawstring bag. There's a fleeting moment of trepidation as her fingers touch the velvet before she takes it. "Should I— should I open it now, my prince?" She looks to Jurian uncertainly. Perhaps she's not exactly used to receiving gifts on the doorstep of her home.

"It is only as grand as it should be," Jurian says, and makes a gesture to the bag. "Please," he invites, watching closely to see what her reaction will be. Inside is… It seems to be a bracelet, but the clasping mechanism isn't immediately apparent, so it could just be a jeweled bauble. It is a long, thin dragon, black enameled gold set with rubies, mouth open in a roar. Red enamel wings are folded close to the body.

Marsei's study of the gift is thoroughly inquisitive once she pulls it from the bag, turning it onto her palm and delicately touching the enameled surface with her opposite fingertips, appreciative of the style. "It's beautiful," she says, her normal sincerity even underlined to express it moreso — even if she may not be sure what it is, beyond a pretty dragon, by the way she brings it in for a closer look.

Jurian watches as though he might need to quantify her reaction at some future date, taking in each data point quite seriously. "Shall I put it on you?" he offers, but thankfully doesn't completely invade her space uninvited.

"I don't see a clasp, how interestingly it's made," Marsei says, fixated on examining the dragon now confirmed to be jewelry. Her wrists and hands are so small and slender, perhaps it's possible she could slip it on unaided; perhaps not. She glances up to Jurian, her lashes ever-so-briefly lowering with reticent flutter afterward, before smiling her gracious smile and holding her wrist out to him.

Jurian steps forward and takes the bracelet, fastening it round her slender wrist by feeding the tail into the mouth until there's a delicate 'click' sound. It seems to fit well despite Marsei's petite frame.

Marsei waits with perfect poise for the bracelet to be clasped. She's more interested in the mechanism of its action than in its beauty or in Jurian until it's well-secured around her wrist. To her, it seems so stark against her skin; a winding predator, aggressive with its roaring mouth and red wings that clash with the sunshine yellow of her cheerful gown. "I am on my way to looking like a true Targaryen."

It does clash a bit, both with the gown and with Marsei's personality, however beautifully it is made. "Does that please you?" Jurian wonders. "Or do you worry that children who play with cripples soon start to limp?" Perhaps he's being deliberately provocative with that question.

Marsei looks up suddenly from the bracelet, lowering her wrist. The dragon's tiny ruby eyes stare up from beside her hip; she stares at Jurian with a concern that borders on apprehension over his provocation, held back by those sincere manners. "I'm sorry, Prince Jurian, I'm… not certain what you could mean."

Jurian smiles. "I mean," he says in gentle tones, "That I am sure you love my uncle. But is it worrisome? To be brought into our family with its /unique/ traditions and attributes?"

The clarity, absent the odd metaphor, seems to put Marsei slightly more at ease; she looks away, considering with a soft smile upon her face. "No," she answers after a moment, looking up to find Jurian's gaze, "I was made welcome at King's Landing, and I am welcome here, as you've assured me. What worry should I have to be among the greatest family in all the realm?"

"You are brave," Jurian says, "But that is because you have great poise and breeding." His eyes are still quite open, drinking everything in despite his smile. "You are right. You will slide in among us with ease. But. If you find yourself lonely amongst us, you must come to me."

"Lonely?" Marsei asks as though the word, the very concept as spoken by Jurian, is foreign. Her sweet voice is nothing but innocence, confusion, but it all melts away with her warm smile. "I'm sure I shan't be lonely, my prince," she assures. "Nor do I feel brave. It is a rare honour to marry a Targaryen, and you know how fondly I do think of your uncle."

"Do you never get lonely, Lady Marsei?" Jurian asks, as though quite surprised by the idea. "I do." And therefore everyone should. He reaches for her wrist. "Shall I show you how to remove it?"

How poised Marsei is, yet how caught so off-guard by Jurian. It's as though her carefully attuned empathy skips a beat with him, and she cannot quite predict what he'll say, leaving her uncertain. Her mouth opens to impart words, lips parted to form them, but she has no answer to give — at least, not one she wants to share, only staring at his open gaze. Jurian's aim for her wrist provides a distraction. She looks down and quickly lifts her wrist to meet his hand before it reaches all the way. "Oh! Yes, please."

Jurian seems satisfied at least that she'll let him show her the trick of the bracelet. "Here," he says, and reaches out his finger and thumb to squeeze the dragon's horns, which releases the latch and lets Marsei's wrist free again.

"How clever," Marsei commends brightly as it unclasps and she slides it free. A coincidence that the sunshine of her smile matches that of her attire once the dragon no longer encircles her wrist. "For safekeeping," she says, tucking it back into the pouch and drawing the string tight. "I would wear it out," she adds with apology, "but I fear it does not match my gown."

"We'll have to have you made some things in our colors," Jurian says, maybe thinking he's being generous." He watches what she does with the pouch. "Shall I leave you be, then?"

She smiles graciously as can be, even if she doesn't chase the topic of Targaryen colours. "I was just on my way out, I'm afraid, and I suppose I should be going…"

"Well, then," Jurian says, perhaps not pleased that Marsei doesn't invite him along. "I hope you will keep well and safe until the wedding."

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