(122-11-22) Noble Games
Noble Games
Summary: Literally! Games and festivities are held upon Battle Island, in celebration of the upcoming wedding of Marsei and Dhraegon. There's racing, dancing, and… cannibalism? That can't be right…
Date: 22/11/2015
Related: None

Light, joyful music drifts through the breeze, carried out to the Whispering Sound only to dance once again through the air from the fine string instruments and the gentle flute of the musicians.

Between the paths of cobblestones, fruit trees and gardens kept well by the servants of House Hightower, small round tables have been set up upon the grass and set with white tablecloths and plates of grapes, berries, biscuits and butter. There are no settings, only chairs to be tucked in close for what must count as a noble picnic upon the lawn. Pavilions are nearby, should it rain.

Noble children — and a few servants' children in their best attire who have snuck in and not been reprimanded, likely because the host is turning a blind eye — run about happily along the white walls that protect Battle Island from the basalt cliffs and water below, making up their own games in anticipation of the ones they've already been promised. The day is fair, the air is refreshing, and it's a lovely day to be outdoors. It is not a grand celebration or a formal affair, and the relaxation of such can be felt among the guests, although there are no doubt those who feel they are obligated to be present for Lady Marsei and Prince Dhraegon. The most formal of those upon grounds are the Hightower guards, who make sure the road is clear and business goes on as usual.

Lady Marsei stands near the musicians, her smile a'glow. Her gown is the most pastel pink, simple and elegant, and her red hair is woven with leaves of silver.

House Tyrell is represented by Lord Loryn Tyrell as so often, appearing in his finest green-golden outfit and with a small entourage of minor Tyrells and servants. He immediately spots the beautiful Hightower lady and walks over to her, hand outstretched for a greeting. "Lady Marsei! What a lovely little party!", he announces.

Marsei looks benevolently on the guests. She enjoys watching people have a good time, especially when she's brought them together. If gossip whispers on out of her earshot, her ignorance is bliss, and such a bliss is pretty upon her face. The same bevevolent expression brightens upon seeing the familiar Tyrell. "Ser Loryn! I am so glad you could make it." She greets him with a quick peck upon the cheek. "It will be livened by your presence, I am certain. And the race is about to start!"

Tyrell children immediately race towards the other noble children to steal their candy, er, to play totally nice peaceful games with them. Their mothers pretend to keep an eye on them while finding wine and gossiping about the outfits of other ladies. Loryn ignores them, his focus on Marsei instead. "A race? How jolly! What race?"

Dhraegon is all in white, white on white embroidery subtle unless one is very close up, long hair up in elaborate braids and pins. Just now, he is surveying the food tables, looking to see if there are any cakes tucked away amidst more sensible fare. With some regret, he fills a plate with fruit and biscuits before gliding over to his fair future bride. "Hello, Loryn. I wondered if you had any puppets yet? For your theater?"

"You'll know it," Marsei assures Loryn, tipping her chin up just when her smile starts to beam, "when you join it!" She holds Dhraegon's elbow lightly when he appears at her side and daintily plucks a tiny strawberry from the plate to eat.

A man in attire as colourful as a rainbow then runs past, aiming to engage every guest he sees with enthusiastic gestures and even bigger smiles. "Line up for the races! Line up for the races! Women on this side, here, men over here, facing each other! Take your places!" Lords and ladies line up, a few shuffling and giggling; it is hardly a tournament that's about to take place.

Marsei looks up at Dhraegon,, entertained. "Will you race for me, my prince?" Followed by, "You must!" Her voice is too pure and sweet to be an order, and yet…

Loryn seems a little surprised at what's going on. Apparently he missed a memo on this. "I don't even have a lady to race for!", he declares dramatically and eyes the Tyrell females who had come along. Some cousin would have to do and so he approaches young Lillyane Tyrell to do whatever race is expected of them.

Dhraegon eats a trawbeey too, but is not particularly ood at dainty. He seems happy enough to share with his intended judging fro his goofy smile. He does sigh as Loryn goes to select a cousin, "Why are their never any puppets?"

Marsei looks doubly entertained when Loryn rushes off to line up in front of Lillyane Tyrell. She gives Dhraegon a sympathetic smile (he'll have his puppets one day, one hopes) before she pulls a little on his arm and joins the line of ladies, gently sneaking into the middle. There's enough room that she may step forward in the space between. Despite her neat poise and natural smile, a slight air of uncertainty lingers about the sweet Hightower when all eyes are upon her, expecting her to talk all of a sudden now that the colourful jester man has stopped shouting.

"It is an old game," she starts. The music quiets, else it would overtake her voice easily. "We, the ladies, choose on whom to bet. Those men then race for us, and the first winner wins the first dance, and on it goes. So!" The women seem better equipped with knowledge — that it was this game — they were to play, and so begin taking bits of ribbon, coloured or bejeweled string from their hair or bosoms. "I will begin. Prince Dhraegon," she calls cheerfully, holding out a silver ribbon she slipped from her hair. "It is you I choose." It is traditional for the married and betrothed ladies to bet upon those who they are already bound to.

A young, short, dark-haired lady from House Crane chooses Loryn, however, leaving Lillyane quite free to choose whoever she desires — perhaps even that strong-looking Hightower knight over there. Many of the ladies giggle among themselves whilst the men are left rather powerless, but it is all in good fun.

The young blonde Tyrell lady actually sticks her tongue out at Loryn when he is claimed by a Crane and indeed focuses on the hunky Hightower who's rather nice to look at. Loryn chuckles good-naturedly and offers a little bow to his sudden partner, who hands him a blue ribbon with a graceful little gesture.

Dhraegon, being Dhraegon, tries to line up next to Marsei in the ladies line, but eyes wide discovers he is meant to be racing. He does delicately kiss the ribbon when he takes it, and goes stand with the men, tittering nervously and blushing.

Even Dhraegon's quirkiness is swept up in the mood of simple fun. Even the musicians laugh; the mood is bright. Bit by bit, they pick up the pace of the same tune they had been playing. "You will be all right, my prince," Marsei calls across the line to Dhraegon, her good intentions carrying better than her voice through the other ladies' laughs and cheers. She makes a more concerted effort to carry her voice when she says, "I shall be cheering for you!"

When everyone has been matched off, she leads the women to one side, where they stand in clusters and sit at one of the small tables to await. Marsei stands, herself, bouncing once upon her heels. The jester reels in with a cartwheel and points the men to the red line that's been marked in the grass with a long strip of fabric. "On your toes, men! On three! One! Two! Thhhhhhhhhhrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

Loryn has fine boots made for running and running he does, not at breakneck speed as if some beast is after him, but fast enough to among the group of men that stand a chance to make it to the finish line.

Dhraegon looks rather alarmed by the Lady Marsei's protests of faith, but tucking her favor in his… bosom is possibly the wrong word, he gathers up his robes, as a lady might her skirts, and gamely makes the attempt. alas, delicate slippers and layered silks are maybe not the best choice for a footrace and not long after lumbering to a start, Dhraegon slips, the slick soles of the slippers having not much purchase on the grass. Down he goes, to lie dazed and staring up at the sky.

The cheers increase as the men get closer and closer to the line. All but Marsei's, whose cheer transforms into a soft but fond laugh as her horse in this race goes down. She places her knuckles delicately against her mouth and waits the race out in good spirits. With most of the women watching their chosen lords, and most of the lords racing themselves, there are only but a few individuals around to laugh to Dhraegon's folly, and most of them are children. The cartwheeling fool comes a'whirling in to offer him a hand up.

The group of men pushing toward that red line seem to speed up right at the end, exciting the crowd of ladies with a flurries of encouragements. "Ser Loryn!" the Crane croons. "Ser Janus!" shouts Lillyane. "Lord Norbert! Lord Hemry!" The chiseled Hightower chosen by Loryn's Tyrell cousin is making good speed just as Loryn's side. They bump shoulders, and just like that, it's Janus over the finish line. Marsei frowns ever-so-slightly behind her knuckles, but sweeps her hand toward a clear patch of lawn. "Lady Lillyane, you win Ser Janus!" The band slows their breakneck speed into something suddenly light and sweet to lead Ser Janus and Lady Lillyane in the first dance.

Dhraegon does take the fool's hand and get up again, flailing about in an ungainly fashion, and gamely lumbers at a more stately pace after the other men, the race being already well lost for him. He waves good-naturedly and tosses boiled sweets to the laughing children, produced from one of his prodigeous sleeves.

Brave Ser Loryn slips on a muddy patch of lawn and goes splot into the grass… which does nothing for the Tyrell's polished appearance. Yet he takes it in good spirit and claps for the winner - and his cousin who did after all back the right horse. He also bows to the Crane lady. "My apologies, Mylady. But perhaps you'll allow me a dance after all?"

"If you run in the second round, ser," the Crane lady replies to Loryn, implying confidence in his racing skills and blushing. For now, the makeshift racing track disintegrates into mingling and eating while the winning pair dance in an elegant, traditional style that allows them to converse closely where they might not have otherwise had the chance — a reason many an unmarried man and woman like (or dislike) this particular game.

Marsei makes her way to Dhraegon, all smiles with not a single sign of disappointment. "Have you a sweet in your sleeve for me, too?" Soon enough, those who wish will race again and again, until either everyone has had their dance or the rules are all forgotten.

Dhraegon produces a large sugar plum from his sleeve which he offers his Lady to suck with a flourish, "I always have a sweet for the Flower of Oldtown. I fear I am nowhere near as fleet of foot as these gallants. I would understand if you wish to bestow your ribbon on another." He is all good natured smiles and giggles.

Loryn sneaks away first to make sure that every bit of dirt and grass is cleaned from his pretty outfit before he goes to find a glass of wine to refresh himself and then see if there's a chance to run again and secure the favour of the pretty young Crane lady.

"There is no man I wish to give my ribbon to," Marsei beams at Dhraegon, her mood silly and fond, similarly good-natured. They're like to confound onlookers, given the odd pair they make. She takes the sweet between thumb and forefinger. "Anyhow," she gestures at the guests, "none of them have sugar plums."

After the first dance whirls to an end and the lords and ladies are refreshed with food and drink, the second footrace begins. Loryn need not fear the loss of the young Crane's favour; she cheers him on 'til he crosses the line — in victory!

By contrast to the Tyrell, Prince Dhraegon is oblivious to the large green smear the grass have left on his ample bottom. He beams at his bright haired lady as on the rarest and most lovely of blooms in the garden. Dhraegon attempts to stay by her side and cheer on the other races, though he will try again if she wills it, good naturedly obedient to her in all things.

Loryn does eventually win a race and thus the favour of the Crane lady. They dance, they flirt and at some point they can be seen strolling through the gardens in conversation, but that is all one sees of young Loryn Tyrell that evening.

Flox eventually lures Dhraegon inside for a quick regrooming and he returns with a lavender overobe that does not clash with his champagne coloured underobe and hair tidied back up to boot.

Marsei is content to watch the last of the footraces unfold, pleased to see the game unfold more or less smoothly. The lords are mostly gentleman, the only one who fell was Dhraegon, the ladies seem pleased with their dances, and perhaps there is even new romance in the air — flirting, at the very least, as evidenced by Loryn. She looks her returned betrothed just as the last of the dances ends and other pairs start to fill in, the open space gradually becoming spotted with lords and ladies guided by song. "Lovely," Marsei compliments Dhraegon's tidied visage. "Our turn now." It will be expected of them to join — or at least thought odd if they do not. Smiling encouragingly, she holds her hand out for the taking.

Here, at least, her snowy headed swain is no embarrassment. All those years at court have taght him to navigate all the fashionable figures with surprising grace, the long robes giving him the appearance of gliding. For once, the infamous Clown Prince is dignified as he turns her through the dance.

Marsei is happy to dance, and dances happily: already such a vibrant thing, she comes all the more alive to the sound of music. Like Dhraegon, she is at home with the movements of the court. They glide together, and when they turn it's in time, with a whirl of her pale pink silks and his pale robes. She smiles cheerfully not only at Dhraegon but up at those they pass in their dance, a watchful host even in the — remarkably — capable hands of her betrothed.

For all his Court perfect poture and unexpected grace at the dance, he is giggling happily as they glide through the figure, a characteristically goofy smile on his face.

Though not an active participant in the games or the dancing herself, the septa, Leire, has been a congenial attendant at the event, speaking with the highborn guests and the lowborn children with equal attention and good humor. She wears a pale gown of dove grey, her long hair twisted into an elaborate braid that sits over one shoulder, the seven-pointed star pendant worn at the hollow of her throat as much a reminder as her very presence of the blessings conveyed upon the couple by the Seven, evidenced in the happiness and good cheer of the festivities.

Children too young or inattentive to take part in the dancing are ushered from the septa by the hired fool to engage in what's certain to be a short-lived egg-and-spoon race, balancing speckled pheasant eggs in the curve of small spoons and running toward the red line on the ground. Their laughter peppers the music, adding overtones of joy. "Should we play more games, do you think?" Marsei asks Dhraegon as they spin; a hint of dove grey catches her eye between the colourful tones of the gowns and finery around her and she cranes her neck around him ever-so-slightly — the musicians speed up the song into a cheerful dervish just then, but she doesn't miss a step — and tries to send Leire a friendly smile. "I wanted to have more games, but some of them just seem so silly…"

Dhraegon nods, his lavender eyes so ple as to be nearly colourless, "As long as there are no more races for be with the men… Is that your septa friend? The Not-a-Florent?" His slippered feet flash now and then from beneath the long robes now as the pace speeds up. here at least he can keep up with his his swift footed young intended. "Silly games are the BEST games," he says with a childlike certainty.

One of the lowborn children is a girl with ginger red hair not so different from Marsei's own; a hint, perhaps, at some Hightower's dalliance with a member of the household staff? The girl favors Leire to the frenetic chaos of the spoon races, and the septa does not seem to mind. The pair find a spot to sit and watch both the dancing and the racing, and when the septa catches Marsei's smile, she returns it in kind, bowing her head to tell something to the little girl that prompts her to whip her own little ringleted head in the graceful noblewoman's direction.

"That is Septa Leire," Marsei confirms, smiling further to notice — between twirls — that her greeting from afar had been noticed, and further most of all to the little girl. She parts her hand from her dancing partner's long enough to gift the child with a sincere little wave. "Yes," she laughs in answer to Dhraegon. "But can you imagine…" She glances around at their dancing peers and lowers her voice. "Ser Janus playing a silly game?" The chiseled Hightower cousin so eager upon winning. "Or the Tyrells?" Laughing through her breath in secretive amusement, she goes on — not without a hint of caution, "Do you have any ideas?"

Dhraegon giggles, "That's more than half the fun!" There is a mischievous glint in his eye, "Like the time the Dornishwoman challenged me to a duel and I picked toy bot race and Ormund was going to ask Brynden to be my second." he smiles a little whistfully, "Imagine him in full armour and dignity presenting us with the boats…. Duck, duck, Goose, maybe? we should speak to your Septa though. About the… the Wedding night."

The little girl proves too bashful to return the wave, so Leire does so in her stead, and then the pair of them go back to their little conference on the bench, seeming fairly engrossed in whatever they are discussing, even though the septa's companion must only have seven or eight namedays.

Marsei is flush with entertainment upon imagining the would-be duel. Her mouth opens to respond, but the transition from toy boats to duck, duck, goose to wedding night provides altogether too startling. "I— " She spends a moment focusing upon exacting her dance steps with grace. "Here is perhaps not the— place," she advises quietly. "I will have plenty of time to ask for her help. I've asked her to stay at the Hightower." The song changes and there's a small pause; Marsei steps back, hand-in-hand with Dhraegon. When the music begins again, some of the dancers switch partners, despite their racing bets. "Perhaps you should go inspire a round of duck, duck, goose in the children. They should be wound up after the spoon race, and they love their prince."

Dhraegon glides along happily enough, not seemingly aware that he has said anything odd, "It is best we have as many allies about as possible. your safety is important to me, My Snapdragon." His big sausage fingers twine with hers a long moment, "your whim is my command, My Godetia." he lifts her hand to lightly brush his lips to her knuckles, before bounding off shrieking, "Who is up for Duck, Duck, goose? I have sweets for the winner!"

Marsei drifts from the makeshift dancefloor before her hand is asked for by any other. She smiles as she watches Dhraegon run off toward the various children; even the faint wince and wondering shake of her head as he shrieks is not unaffectionate. It's accepting. She pauses a moment alone before heading toward Leire, bending down ever-so-slightly to address the ginger-haired little companion as much as the septa. Her voice sweet, she asks, without seriousness, "Are you two discussing secrets?"

Dhraegon is soon organising children in a circle and making sure everyone knows the rules. Soon he has tapped a very small child on the head and is doing a rather flailing run around the circle, the determined toddler girl trundling after him. He seems to be in his element.

The little girl blushes, but finds her voice easily enough, put to ease by Marsei's sweetness and light. "Septa Leire says you invited her to come and live at the Hightower." The septa gives the child's little hand a squeeze, and tells Marsei, "This is Emmeline." Emmeline has begun to fidget by now, for there's only so much sitting still a child can do, even if they're inclined towards shyness, and the stampede of children to play with the Targaryen prince distracts her attention.

"Emmeline is a beautiful name," Marsei tells the child with the utmost sincerity. "Do you like that Septa Leire is coming to stay at the Hightower?" She looks up from Emmeline to the septa, her shining sincerity abiding here too; she turns her smile more pointedly on the septa, appearing grateful. "I know that I am," she says before addressing Emmeline. "Would you like to go play? Did you know that Prince Dhraegon has sweets up his sleeve?"

Dhraegon falls shrieking into his spot and giggling nearly falls over. The game continues. He might as well be one of the children really, from his goofy smile and open delight in the simple game.

"She said if she comes to live here, she could teach me things. With your permission, milady." Emmeline can't keep the words from bubbling out of her now, all of her initial bashfulness abandoned. Leire returns Marsei's smile with the same warmth, but then there's talk of sweets up sleeves. With childlike deference towards perceived authority figures, Emmeline glances up at Leire, receives a permissive, indulgent nod, and just like that flees the bench to catch up with the rest of the children, waving an exuberant farewell to the women as she goes.

The escalation in shrieking and giggling draws Marsei's attention, but she finds nothing of surprise in the antics — quite the contrary, and is soothed. Most of the adult guests are caught up in dancing and their own conversations. Smiling brightly at Emmeline, she lifts her hand in a wave as the girl runs off. Carefully arranging the fine silk of her dress, she sits next to Leire on the bench. "I hope you do teach her," she says and pauses before telling the septa thoughtfully, peacefully, "You look at home."

Dhraegon squinces over to make room for the new comer, and the game goes on, winners and losers each getting passed a sweat because he is a big softy.

Leire's agreement with the sentiment is a simple smile, watching as the little girl child settles into the circle before returning her gaze to Marsei. And then there's the bit about looking at home. "Do I? Maybe this is the reason why." And from her own slender sleeve, she produces a tiny, tightly rolled bit of parchment sealed with the High Septon's wax. Palm to palm, she offers it discreetly to the noblewoman, and suggests, "A gift, on this happy occasion."

Marsei peeks at the wax seal in all its importance, her gaze absolutely vibrant. Slipped from Leire's palm to hers, she holds the parchment snug. "A gift," she repeats, even without opening it. "What does it say?" she asks rather than opening it, sounding hopeful, "Was it really so simple?"

"Simple enough," Leire says in rather a noncommittal way, but her smile reflects her own satisfaction with the turn of events. She says something further to Marsei in a hushed voice, meant only for the noblewoman to hear.

Dhraegon is playing a boisterous sweets fueled game of Duck, Duck, Goose with a group of small children, only they've just changed it to horse, horse, Dragon, with the dragon roaring while chasing a whinnying horse. Dhraegon is completely unmindful of the lavender robe's safety and cleanliness, which is a shame as Flox only thought to bring one extra emergancy over robe. Poor Flox is looking rather torn, ought he leave his charge without a minder to run to Dhraegon's room here in the Tower for a replacement?

When guests are present there are always plenty of duties for servants, and so Camillo has been occupied, but now he is sent outside with a tray of refreshments. A few other servants bring similar supplies. Camillo surveys the scene for a moment, and seeing Flox's expression, moves quietly in that direction.

"That is wise him," Marsei replies to the septa's hushed words, sounding quite serious — although not without a delighted smile upon the corners of her mouth. She nods once, a happy little bob of her chin, and that is further answer enough. "I would suggest a celebration of welcome, but I am not certain what … befits a septa." She looks over her shoulder, as if sensing either Camillo, refreshments, or the ruination of Dhraegon's over robe, and hesitates.

Leire demurs from any talk of a celebration, though she does hazard to say, of the High Septon, "He is a very sagacious man." And then she follows the noblewoman's gaze and urges her, "Go to him. It is a lovely day. Enjoy it."

Flox gives Camillo a relieved expression as the servant approaches. He murmurs something to the man.

Marsei's gaze draws back to the septa. "I am," she says with a calm assurance and a gentling of her smile. She does start to stand, however. "You will have everything you need, I will make certain of it," she says, "although … nothing can surpass the constant beauty of the Starry Sept." With that, she departs from Leire, winding her toward Dhraegon with a pause along the way to direct a stray noble child back to his game.

Camillo gives Flox one slow nod at what is whispered to him and looks in Dhraegon's direction. He seems to plant himself about there on the lawn, folding his hands in front of him.

Dhraegon is being the dragon, running with his arms straight out in front of him to make the jaws opening and shutting and roaring between giggles as he hases a little boy. The game rather suddenly dissolves into a game of tag as the children scatter, shrieking their pretend fear. Dragon pretends to snap his jaws at whichever is closest, but manages not to catch anyone as they buzz him like hummingbirds. He is covered in bits of grass and rather out of breath.

Flox scurries off to search Dhraegon's new room in hopes the half of the Prince's wardrobe already unpacked contains yet another over tunic to match the champagne undertunic.

"Are you the new Flox?" Marsei comes to stand a few paces separate from Camillo, in good humour. She holds the narrow roll of parchment in front of her with both hands. Nearby, the dancing nobles carry on to the traditional, beloved instrumental songs, but many drift away, sitting at the small tables or wandering along the cobblestone paths with glasses of wine or cider, more and more settled into the relaxed, festive atmosphere of the day. Marsei feels it too: she waits for the perfect time to slip, laughing, into the waves of play, becoming — with one, unabashed decision — to become one of the imaginary creatures running from the imaginary dragon. She encourages them on. The giggles of Dhraegon and the children are too pure for her to worry what anyone thinks.

Tellur arrives. He is dressed so very neatly - Northron fashions, in Southron materials, so he does not melt. His long hair is tied back in its neat array of very small, very neat braids, its foxish red colour somewhat altered by the segments dyed grey, white, and blue. And he is carrying a large golden cage that contains two large birds within, melanistic pheasants with green iridescent feathers, a cock bird and a hen. Evidently gifts. The man himself has a drawn face, haunted shadows underneath his eyes, but he is presented immaculately. He has one of his inevitable dogs with him - a white brachet with red ears, and she is wearing a golden leather collar. She sticks close by him, occasionally nudging him lightly.

Camillo smiles a little at Marsei and inclines his head. "If it is helpful," he answers her, unoffended. He glances at the refreshments to be sure they're getting out properly, then returns his gaze to Dhraegon.

Dhraegon dragon spots Marsei. He puts on a burst of speed and tries to catch her in his "jaws."

Amid the game, Marsei notices the Northron man more for his animals more than any other singular detail, and sends the most brilliant of smiles his way in welcome before she's spun away in a curtain of red hair. The noblewoman's run about with the children is not unlike her dance with Dhraegon, all joyful whirls. As the "dragon" chases her, she barely escapes, playing up the drama by calling "help!" to the children. "Where are my knights?"

Camillo does see the human menagerie enter, and he looks that way, but quickly his eyes are back on the Prince, perhaps concerned lest he get tangled in his robes and tumble.

If anything is going through Tellur's head when he sees the shenanigans, it must be: Oh, so THAT is why Dhraegon is finally getting married, that makes sense. He puts the cage with its pheasants down on a table, and then subtly goes to find Flox. _He_ knows who is usually in charge of these things.

And the children respond to the plea for help, mobbing him and taking him down with many brave war cries based on popular knights from recent jousts. Uncle Dhraegon Dragon succumbs with feigned anguished cries and a comedically overacted death scene. He lies exhausted, his vanquishers striking various dramatic poses.

Bouncing upon her heels once, Marsei claps impassionedly for the brave "knights" who saved her from the vicious "dragon". She's a natural with them, it seems, even having never had any of her own. She crouches, then, offering kind and encouraging words children both familiar and not, adjusting their fine attire to look at least half less rumpled before she encourages them off toward their parents, or at least toward a septa. "Did they wear you out?" she asks half-seriously of Dhraegon.

Camillo doesn't overreact to the playing, but he keeps an eye on the dogpile. Accompanied by a small smile. Marsei is, after all, at hand.

Flox arrives, rather faced, blue overtunic in his arms.

Dhraegon nods, rather red faced himself. Sitting up slowly, he passes out more sugar plums and whispers, "Perhaps you would like some lemon water, My Hyacinthe?" Clearly he would, but is on his best behavior.

Poor Flox, because Tellur's essentially a glorified servant himself, and he waits, until the man appears and then pounces. He's brought pheasants. As a gift. For the happy couple. Flox can take care of it! And given how terrible Tellur looks, around the face, he does not seem to brook argument.

Marsei offers one small hand down to Dhraegon and stands, as if her diminutive form is somehow strong enough to ease him up with no trouble. "Camillo, would you fetch us some lemon water?"

Camillo steps up and reaches to help with the pheasants, so poor Flox won't get them all dumped on him. Although he pauses when Marsei asks for lemon water and inclines his head, hurrying off to get that and deliver it first before he touches live birds.

Dhraegon does his best to make it look as if his dainty lady is doing the heavy lifting, while not actually burdening her with his substantial weight. He just looks so innocently happy, despite the unseemly sweating and shortness of breath.

Flox was trying to figure out how to carry birds and tunic without the one pefowling the other. He casts a relieved glance at the rescuing Camillo, "These are lovely, Tellur Snow. camillo, do you think they would be comfortable in the butterfly Garden?" He eyes Tellur, "Are you quite well? Perhaps you ought to sit down."

Dhraegon gives Camilllo a relieved "Thank you!" as the refreshments are presented, and after a greatful downing of half the juice asks his lady, "Shall we go to see our gift?"?

Tellur says, realistically "They will very much enjoy a butterfly garden, but if they are not fed well, the butterflies may not enjoy their presence. I am fine. I have a new foal at home. I have not slept very much." He thinks about all of this, and then says "Lord Carolis is back." His voice is oddly wooden "How are you, Flox?" And he spots Camillo, and nods gravely to him.

Camillo takes the birds as soon as the drinks have been handed over. He doesn't have any trouble handling them even if they are live. He gives Tellur a quiet nod, expression a little more serious just in sympathy with the man's tone.

Lemon water now in hand, Marsei asks, "Gifts? Oh! Of course." On the proper approach to Tellur, Marsei inclines her head toward Dhraegon to quietly ask, "Do you know him?" She's half-startled by Tellur, his face and appearance unfamiliar to her, but it's a soft startle, easily overcome by a warm smile, although the noblewoman — so very groomed and elegant now that she is not running about with the playful children and Dhraegon — looks as though she doesn't know what to make of him. And so she exclaims, "What pretty birds!" It's true; she admires the sheen of the pheasant quite sincerely.

Flox gives Tellur a friendly nod, "The work is never done in our lines of work. I am well."

Dhraegon explains quietly, "He is Tellur Snow, acknowledged of the Starks and their Master of beasts. A good and honest man, and kind enough to give me Rosebud." Rosebud being the riding bull he rode here today, Flox holding the lead. And then he too sees the birds and gives a little squeal of of delight, "Oh Tellur! They are lovely! Have they names? What ought we feed them?"

Tellur's appearance is a little odd - given the appearance of his clothing, he is likely from the Weirwood Manse in the city, but he is wearing no insignia of rank. As Marsei approaches, he inclines his own head, sweeping a bow that indicates - if nothing else - that he is no noble "They are gifts from House Stark in honour of your approaching marriage. The chicks are very entertaining to watch, and it is a pleasing little family to have in a garden, as they shepard them back and forth. If she has a safe place that is secluded, she and he will produce one forthwith." He then says to them "Grain, but some small insects - mostly grain. They value corn more than anything, but it is a sweet to them - you can use it to bribe them to sit on your wrist." The topic of beasts has him brightening.

Camillo seems maybe a little surprised that the birds are for keeping in the garden and not eating, but he handles them with appropriate gentleness. He listens carefully to Tellur's feeding instructions in case the responsibility should fall to him.

Marsei's fine eyebrows shoot up in surprise to learn that Tellur was behind bringing the … unique gift of Rosebud to Dhraegon. Beyond that, her face is the picture of delight. "It is lovely to meet you, Tellur Snow. Please thank House Stark on my behalf." She beams at the birds, unshy about reaching toward the feathered creatures although she does stop short of outright petting one, that narrow parchment still rolled tight in her pale hand, sealed by the High Septon. "Chicks, really, do you think? Oh, are you certain they will be safe in the garden? They shan't fly over the walls?"

It never occurred to Dhraegon to eat them, the birds being so pretty, though presumably if some of the offspring were served to him at a later date, he'd likely not notice. As an after thought, he quietly adds to his description of Tellur for Marsei, "Tellur does not like to be hugged." Just in case. Louder, "They relly are very nice. We love birds and it is a thoughtful gift. Do tell young Carolis thank you and we hope to see him at the Wedding." He is careful not to ask about the High Septon's gift, or the details of the foaling for that matter.

Tellur says bluntly to Marsei "His grace said he did not like horses." Whatever his social ability is, it seems to be cracking, badly. He is not attempting to be rude, but it may well be coming across such. "I shall, thankyou, my lady." He considers "I have clipped the flight feathers on one wing, but they are not great fliers when there is food, safety, and walls close by." His brachet, in her pretty gilded collar, licks at his fingers, and then prances up to Marsei, sits up on her hind feet, and waggles her paws. See? SHE knows how to behave. She knows she is a pretty doggie who knows lots, and lots of tricks. Tellur says to Dhraegon "He will be coming. He has ridden hard from Winterfell. Matters got…" Tellur tries to think of a nice word for a lady "…political with the uprising and the prisoners."

Camillo looks down at one of the pheasants he holds. "We will give them good feed," he agrees with Tellur, "And that will keep them with us." Also the clipped-wing thing.

Marsei smiles closed-lipped at Dhraegon's words about Tellur; she will take that under advisement (but she seems rather unlikely to have needed them). She's attentive to Tellur's wisdom about the birds, caring for the well-being of the creatures right from the start. She gives a gentle laugh at the brachet. "Well, look who's a sweet dog," she says, admiring. "She is very well-behaved in front of the birds," the lady notes before moving on to the more formal matter, "I may not know Lord Carolis personally, but I am grateful he arrived safely from the North."

Dhraegon looks very much like he wants to hug Tellur, but keeps a good grip on his lemon water and laces the fingers of the other hand with that of his fuure wife so as to limit the temptation. "I would very much like to know more about his travels." He says in the tone children use for telling campfire tales, "I heard they were eating smallfolk up there." Then he is dropping to fondle the Brachett and murmur nonsense at her in hopes of getting to rub her tummy.

Tellur smiles to Camillo, suddenly. Yes. Other people at his level. That sort of thing is a bit less stressful to think about than anything else. And the brachet, who's collar says 'Fiona', moves back and play-bows to Marsei, then Dhraegon, because surely someone will have a treat, yes? Tellur nods, quietly. He is starting to possibly relax "He did, yes. Everything has been quite complex and." Horrific. "And…" He then says to Dhraegon "Oh, I -" Eating. Small…Tellur goes a really terrible colour "Yes. Yes, they were."

Camillo bobs his head at Tellur's smile, acknowledging. But then he watches his face carefully as it changes color at this talk of eating smallfolk. He blinks. Not that he is personally excited about smallfolk being eaten. But this is probably the longest time he's ever looked at Tellur's face.

In the midst of being delighted by Fiona, and listening to conversation she expects to be political, Marsei is rather blind-sided when it turns to the topic of eating smallfolk. Rather expecting Tellur to dismiss it immediately as gossip, she's left with delicately stunned, open-mouthed expression, staring at the Northron man. After an uncertain pause, looking a bit ill herself — granted, the picture of health compared to Tellur — she attempts helpfully, "Perhaps Tellur would like some lemon water, Camillo…"

Dhraegon's head is down as he is making a fuss over the little dog. He orders a passing servant to fetch some sort of treats. As a result he misses Tellur's colour change, "Or it it just sailor stories? Not that being taken by slavers is much better…." Then Tellur's words sink in, "They really were?" He wrinkles his nose, "That's disgusting!" he does seem genuinely horrified now that it is a thing confirmed by someone he considers extremely honest and not some wild tale. his open mouthed expression rather matches his future wife's as he stares up at Tellur.

Tellur does not lie, at least not very well. He says "Things were _very_ political, but now Lord Carolis has executed the last of the guilty parties -" Ahhh, Starks. Starks do not employ headsmen "- and he is back here. I am afraid, ah…" Fiona is jumping, and then she offers Dhraegon a paw. Look, a distraction! Tellur rubs at his temples "Yes, I am very sorry, I am not fit for company. I have, ah, not slept - we had a very busy night last night. A new foal was born and the Maester of Winterfell died."

Camillo probably wants to hear more of this, but he nods immediately at Marsei and trots off. He transfers the birds to another servant with strict instructions that they are to be placed in the garden and the cooks are not to be allowed to have them, then gets another lemon water and comes back with it immediately for Tellur. It's offered silently, but politely.

Marsei attempts to soften the shock in her gentle eyes. The politics of the Reach may have their sharp edges and the Hightower its ancient history, but the hard North might as well be uncountable leagues away from this small noblewoman in her pink silks and polite sensibilities. "I'm very sorry to hear that," she says, her sincerity true.

Dhraegon momentarily distracted by the shaking of the paw, 'I should send over a cask of Sapphire eye whiskey for your master and a barrel of strawberry wine in honor of your foal. I… I am sorry, Tellur. I did not credit the report I'd heard. Would you like to sit down?"

Tellur nods as he takes the lemon water, though he surreptitiously sniffs it first. He has been around Dhraegon enough to realise the man puts sugar in everything. Tellur says "I am terribly sorry." But then he says "The foal is a sable silver champagne, with freckles on his nose. His father was a sand horse, grand champion." And his mother is the ugliest horse on earth and Tellur loves her to pieces. And the Master of Beasts adds "No, I am sorry - this is your celebration. It was merely a rather difficult time, and I managed to get myself full of arrows and had to come back south before Lord Carolis did to heal here where one can be certain the meat is not. Ah. Hmm. Well. Food is getting scarcer up there."

Camillo does not say anything while the conversation is so delicate. But this is not so unusual for him, particularly on a day when he is serving at a relatively official event. But he's certainly paying attention.

As inwardly — and, yes, a little bit outwardly — horrified as Marsei is when Tellur mentions meat again, she's so quick to shine yet another smile upon him. In one fell swoop of that smile, all questionable conversation topics seem easily forgiven. "How lovely he sounds. At least a new life came into the world after the unfortunate death of your maester."

Dhraegon's eyes go wide and he very nearly launches himself at Tellur to hug him before restraining himself, "Oh Tellur! You… you didn't EAT someone?" His tone suggest he very much hopes he is wrong.

Tellur smiles at Marsei. It is a grim smile - but she is doing very well, and he really does love his endless - and likely boring to others - discussions about his beasts. He says "His mother is the perfect mount - with this Southron blood added to the Northron, I think we can breed beasts that have the Northern stockiness and heft, with the light feet of -" Dhraegon! Tellur coughs, and lemon water goes backwards, as he leaps up again "No no no!" Another cough "I'd never, your Highness!"

"Your Grace," Camillo interjects quickly, "I instructed a servant to take the birds to the garden. Shall we see how they are settling in?" It's very unlike him to make such a direct suggestion, and his voice is a bit louder and words quicker than usual, but he seems keen to jump in before anyone else speaks.

"Oh— !" Marsei exclaims quietly as her patient interest in Tellur and his beasts is interrupted, drawing her arms up to her chest in surprise at Dhraegon's outburst. She'd spill her own lemon water, if she did not hold it so carefully. She steps aside to plant it upon a nearby unoccupied outdoor table and places her free hand upon her future husband's broad back. She can scarcely reach — it's just her fingertips — but places a hand upon his far shoulder and tugs backward. "I should like to see the birds settle in too," she says, flashing Camillo a grateful look.

Clearly Camillo's suggestion is a clever one, and Marsei's restraining hand effective, as Dhraegon is suddenly all enthusiasm, "Oh! You haven't seen the butterfly garden yet, have you Tellur! Do you have hummingbird in the North?"

"Yes," says Tellur, taking Camillo's suggestion with unseemly immediacy. Fiona, meanwhile, is pressing against his leg, wagging her tail desperately. There is only so much a Good Dog can do, alas. Even if she is the bestest dog in the world. Tellur does pet her head, lightly. And then he says to Dhraegon "We do not, I have seen a dead one, but I have only watched them from a distance, your Highness, here." He adds "Lord Carolis keeps bringing cats into the Weirwood Manse, you see…"

"Sometimes I'm frightened one of the cats from downstairs will get into the butterfly garden," Marsei admits, but her optimism is not far behind. "But they usually don't bother with so many stairs." All the food scraps and mice are closer to the kitchens. Tucking her coiled parchment into her sleeve and keeping her arm close abreast, she takes Dhraegon's elbow. "Shall we to the gardens then," she says, glancing at the festivities behind her. "They shan't miss us for a little while."

Camillo quickly sets off to lead the way up the tower toward their butterfly garden, where no one ever needs to talk about cannibalism.

Dhraegon explains to Marsei, "Tellur is fascinated by flight. He's very clever." He comes along dociley enough, expression cheerful and the cannibaliam seemingly forgotten.

Tellur follows along behind. Fiona seems glad, she even darts forward to catch up to Camillo and lick his hand, if he is not careful. She has such huge, glossy eyes. Tellur says, in utter betrayal "I like cats, but not close to the ravens I am training - the outcome of that fight is never certain." He then smiles, awkwardly, and looks down "I find animals and plants very interesting. I enjoy making notes about them. It's so generous to invite me here - I shall be certain to tell Lord Carolis."

Camillo is startled by the hand lick, but when he looks and sees that it is this lovely dog Fiona who is making his hand wet, he reaches down to give her a scratch between the ears. Now that they are up here and the topic is not the eating of human flesh, he seems more relaxed.

"Lord Carolis is of course also welcome to visit at any time," Marsei extends. The Hightower's impressive gardens in the sky roll out before them first: breath-taking tiers quite literally written about in the history books. The lower gardens gives way to the butterfly garden, which is resplendent in the light. The day has even warmed as it's gone on, giving them a reprieve from the breeze. Even Marsei looks around in appreciation of the scenery, not taking it for granted even now. The information she's gleaned from Tellur's conversation leads her to naturally ask, "Are you studying to become a maester?"

Dhraegon steps into and open area and spins until he falls down giggling and dizzy, "I love how it smells here in the afternoon. All the flowers and growing things and fresh breeze…."

Tellur looks around the garden for a moment, and Fiona tries to communicate to Camillo non-verbally that she is clearly starving to death - look at her glossy coat and good health! Starving! Tellur peers at the plants. His lips move a little. Foxglove. Wisteria. Hydrangea. Lilly-of-the-valley, chrysanthemum, oleander, anthurium…he is distracted, and then he blinks at Marsei, and he says "I don't…know, my lady. I'm Lord Carolis' man, I do as he bids me. The…Maester who passed, he wanted me to go to the tower to study to replace him. I sometimes think on it. But I have always served Lord Carolis."

Camillo luckily doesn't have any food on him, because who could resist such beautiful pleading eyes? He pets Fiona's head again in silent apology. …Wait, cannibals' dogs don't eat people, do they? Do they eat other dogs? He watches with some mild concern as Dhraegon flumps down, but as long as he doesn't seem hurt, he's content to stay where he is, petting the dog.

"Oh— " Oh, well, there Dhraegon goes again; on the ground. She can only smile, really. She strolls along the path more traditionally, but enjoys it just as well. "Perhaps you could one day be the Maester of Winterfell," she says brightly to Tellur. A lot of confidence to instill in a man she just met (and one who, quite frankly, came bearing strange stories), but such is the purity of the lady's optimism.

At least Dhraegon is entirely sober. "Someone shoud be bringing a bit of cheese for her." He reaches out to stroke the flower of Septon's Lace delicately, Can you not serve lord Carolis as a Maester?"

Fiona might have something to say about it all, but…she cannot. Dog. She was once a person, but…well. Sometimes Wargs jump before they die, and thus? Particularly smart dog. Her reaction to the big man rolling around is to tilt her head on one side. Quirk? Tellur is eyeing the Prince, but must be familiar with the odd behaviour "Perhaps. It…" Hiccup. "It would not be a bad. Position for me, as a Snow. But when the Lord rides out, I go to protect him, I am not sure a Maester often rides into battle?" He adds "…riding into battle is less amusing than it seemed when I was a boy." A slight smile, and he says to Dhraegon "I…could. Our previous Maester _was_ very interested in the…North and our stories."

Camillo looks from Fiona's face to Dhraegon's. He doesn't blame the dog for her uncertainty.

"I know not of battle…" Marsei demurs as she strolls along. "But I know there is more than one way to fulfill one's duty." She wanders off-path into the open space where Dhraegon rests and reaches out in a friendly attempt to pet Fiona — cautious, but not nervy, her sweet nature is one animals and children alike tend to like.

Dhraegon seems oblivious to odd looks he garners, which given the frequency with which be likely garners them is likely no surprise. "I've never been in a battle. i'm not suppoed to have sharp things." His hand lightly brushes Marsei's, him reasing at pet at the same time but he yeilds to her. At least he sits up. It is about this time a servant turns up with the cheese Dhraegon ordered for Fiona. The servant looks between them and ends up deciding Marsei must be the only responsible party in attendance and so offers it to her.

Fiona's life got simpler when she died. Marsei has pets? Marsei is great, according to Fiona. Her tail wags and she bounces on her hind legs lightly and happily. Tellur is quiet now, though he is well aware that Fiona will want cheese. Indeed, he is looking around the garden with a very odd expression on his face. Finally he says "My duty will always be to my Lord. That is what my Maester asked of me. So if…my Lord wants me to be a Maester I will." The devotion is possibly just utterly blind.

Camillo's brow furrows a little as he watches Tellur's expression, but he's hardly one to stare at people. His eyes come to rest on the garden path.

Lady Marsei is the unlikely administrator of dog treats, but does not seem to mind. She tosses a couple of pieces of cheese up into the air for Fiona, to avoid a mess, before walking over to hand Tellur the dish. Maybe he ought to be in control of how much cheese his dog devours. "That's very loyal of you," she commends. There's something behind her tone— thoughtful— but she does not dwell. "I am going to stop by my chambers for a moment," she tells them all, walking past Tellur and sliding the letter she's been carrying around form her sleeve. "I will be back soon. Stay as long as you please, Tellur."

Dhraegon peers up at Tellur with those wide, nearly colorless eyes, expression innocent and genuinely curious, "But what do you want, Tellur?" and then his lady is leaving and he is up, to lightly touch her elbow with just the fingertips, and lightly brush his lips to her hair, "this is by far the best party I've attended sober."

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