(122-12-05) Advance Wedding Party
Advance Wedding Party
Summary: A party is held in the Hightower gardens in honour of Marsei and Dhraegon's upcoming wedding. The guests are bored of the bizarre lack of alcohol until the Targaryens start lighting things on fire.
Date: 05/12/2015
Related: None

Butterfly Garden - Lower Gardens - The Hightower Battle Island

A fork in one of the paths leads to this spot, nestled away amid the bushes. The young shrubs and flowers here were carefully selected to attract butterflies, hummingbirds and songbirds. In fair weather and season, the little garden is graced with bright wings and song. There are ornately carved birdhouses, some made to resemble a few of Oldtown's more famous buildings. Hanging from tall spiral-wrought iron hooks are hummingbird feeders in the form of oversized blown-glass lilies and irises in glittering and fanciful colours.

The Butterfly Garden is positioned to have a particularly pleasant view of the ships in the Whispering Sound. A few smaller tables and benches are set among the flowers and rare herbs to take best advantage of the vista.

At the heart of the garden is a stone fountain featuring a statue of a woman strewing water droplets from her fingertips like they are petals from the broad shallow basket she carries. The basket doubles as a bird bath for those avian visitors who might prefer it to the little ornamental pond at the statue's feet, where the droplets from her fingers and the stream from the basket splash among water lilies of pink and yellow and white. The stone lady stands ankle deep in the water, and tiny colourful fish flit about her bare feet.


The party starts "after dark," according to the invitations. The butterfly garden is illuminated by lanterns with flower cut ots, so that the light is shaped like assorted blooms. The refreshments are all finger foods, nuts, fruit, cheese, rolls, and a dizzying assortment of bite sized cakes. There is fruit punch and lemon water, though no visible alcohol. Toy boats float in the fountain, long reeds nearby for blowing. There are blinfolds and a snap dragon set up and what looks like a pin the wings on a dragon game waiting for players. The central statue is an idealized and stylizedimage of the maiden, but sharp eyes might spot a subtle resemblence to the Lady Marsei, the Flower of Oldtown.

Dragon himself is resplendent in white.

Desmond Snow is a big man, and a powerfully-built one, and he seems utterly uncomfortable in woolens and a plain leather doublet. He keeps tugging at his neckline as he approaches the party, as though something chafes in the material. Clearly out of his element among all this finery, he approaches the party with a touch of wariness, gaze shifting around rapidly. He keeps to the fringe, at least for the moment.

Daevon's come in a very similar colour scheme to Dhraegon, how embarrassing. He's wearing an elaborately embroidered outfit, snow white tunic that glitters with silver thread, soft, dove grey trousers. His silver-gold hair's pulled back, and those amethyst eyes of his are the only real colour to him.

Jurian has come in black with restrained red accents. He doesn't like to overdo it on the red. He probably had a little something to drink in advance since it was given out that this would not be a boozy event. He is concealing his limp as much as possible, of course, and approaches the gathering with confidence.

Daevon looks around, his eyes widening somewhat as he takes in the lack of alcohol, and the party game set up. He spots Desmond, who he approaches first. "I didn't know it was this sort of party," he admits quietly. "Still, free food?" he offers a bright smile. "Come, I'll introduce you to Dhraegon." He starts walking over that way.

The guests are a curious mixture, true to Oldtown's nature. As it takes place in the Hightower gardens, many a lady and lord who stay there, whether by blood rights or courtly visitation, simply stroll from their chambers after dark to spill into the butterfly garden. The lady of the hour is easy to spot, even for the few guests who may not know her personally; if not by her soft red hair and the sweetness and beauty that dubbed her the Flower of Oldtown, perhaps it's by the way the other guests look at her and look at Dhraegon and wonder. Marsei flits from here to there, natural as anything in her own garden, decked out in a fine gown of many layers of almost sheer fabic in the softest shade of cream orange, circled at the neck and bare at the shoulders, giving nothing but glowing smiles to every face she meets. She's separate from her betrothed for this very moment, too set upon her mission of friendliness. The most familiar face she sees is that of Jurian, and so she greets him with the same glowing smile. "Your grace," she says respectfully, then catches a glimpse of Daevon. "Is that the Maiden Knight?" She turns as if to follow.

"It's an honor, Your Grace," mutters Desmond under his breath as he follows Daevon. It sounds like he's rehearsing. "It's an honor, Your Grace. It's…" He keeps it up as he lumbers along behind Daevon, standing quite conspicuous amongst the crowds. His gaze lingers on Marsei for just a moment, then hastily moves onward, toward Dhraegon.

Dhraegon spots the stranger and with a delighted squeal bounces over with wide open arms and attempts to grab him for a hug. "Daevon! Who is your friend! I'm so glad you are back! Did you see that I am getting married after all?" Dhraegon is entirely unarmed, not even sporting an eating knife. He smells of lavander and vanilla and has recently been cleaned, so is not at all sticky. Yet." Flox, a small, drab, nondescript man hovers in the background.

Daevon's hugged, and his smile and surprise are both genuine. "This is Desmond Snow, a good friend of mine. Desmond, this is Prince Dhraegon Targaryen." He nods. "I had heard Lady Marsei," he tries to catch sight of her amongst the crowds, "she's very lovely, and I've heard nothing but good of her."

"Lady Marsei," Jurian says in a somewhat cloying tone. "Do you know my cousin Daevon, then?" he asks. Then he eyes Desmond curiously, since he's been told the name.

As Dhraegon throws his arms around him, the huge northerner goes very still. "It's an..honor..Your Grace," he says, practically stuttering. And a little nervously, he reaches to very gently pat at Dhraegon's shoulders as the towering Targaryen hugs him. "I.. Yes. I am Desmond Snow." He seems utterly terrified, his scar-twisted visage turning aside to Daevon, as if for a rescue.

Daevon watches with amusement as Dhraegon greets Desmond. "This is Desmond Snow, a good friend of mine. Desmond, this is Prince Dhraegon Targaryen." He nods. "I had heard Lady Marsei," he tries to catch sight of her amongst the crowds, "she's very lovely, and I've heard nothing but good of her."

It's been a little while since Bryn has visited the Hightower, and then he was often dressed in his acolyte robes. Not tonight, however. He looks every bit of a boy with the Blood of the Dragon, dressed in fine clothes that are almost opposite in colour to what Jurian wears, mostly red with just a hint of black. He steps past the guards and into the garden, glancing around with obvious curiosity and a smile.

"Little more than his face and reputation," Marsei replies to Jurian, all cheer rather than particular disappointment; she's only curious, looking the way Daevon went. She cannot see him, nor his large friend, among the crowd, but comments all the same, "He so resembles Princess Visenya, don't you think?" She smiles more precisely at Jurian, looking again the way Daevon left; this time, however, it's to say, as if to guide him with her, "Prince Dhraegon was over this way, last I saw."

Dhraegon lets Desmond Snow and Daevon go, beaming at them, all goofy and childlike. He seems oblivious to the Northerner's quite sensible terror. His voice is a deep bass, but his delivery is that of a seven year old. "Are you any relation to Tellur snow, Master of Beasts for House Stark? Did you bud on the same tree? Daevon! There is so much I want to talk to you about later!" He gives Daevon a pleading look. For all his exhuberance, there is a hint of shyness in his expression when he addresses the maiden knight. he retreats a little so he might try to take the Lady Marsei's hand, "This is my precious Tiger Lily. I would wish you a wife as fine as she will be to me…. Oh! Jurian! Will you be running the snapdragon tournament tonight? You are so good at it?" He spots Bryn then, his height having advantages, "Bryn! have you met Jurian?"

The blur of questions comes at Desmond fast, but he rallies quickly and offers a grave bow toward Dhraegon, including Marsei in the gesture. "I'm afraid I'm no relation, Your Grace. My father is Lord Uryk Umber, who is a bannerman to House Stark." On a sudden hunch, the huge man adds, "It is said we are part-giant, Your Grace, if it please you." He smiles genially and then stands back, seeing attention shift.

Daevon's of absolutely no help at all. He's likely glad he's not the one being embraced. Or perhaps not. He is smiling though. And then he spots Bryn, he offers the boy a nod and smile in greeting. He nods, politely in response to Dhraegon. "Certainly later." There, a promise.

"Oh yes, in many ways," Jurian concludes with a little smile that isn't entirely nice. As they walk up to join Dhraegon, he inclines his head. "Yes, Uncle," he agrees on the subject of snapdragon, but then introductions are being offered. He looks at Bryn as if trying to understand what the significance of him is.

Once they've approached Dhraegon, a look of concern crosses Marsei's gaze, seeing all of his exuberance and surrounded by so many people; but it's followed by a smile that could be said to be fond. She's only checking in, making sure he fares well enough. Her smile turns modest upon being called Tiger Lily, and the rest of her introduction, and she nods her red head at Daevon and Desmond. "Prince Daevon, an honour." She pointedly doesn't mention being good friends with Visenya. As the focus is put upon Bryn, it takes her a moment to recognize the boy in his finery, and she lights up as though more familiar with the boy than she is. "Bryn, I almost did not recognize you!" Perhaps because they're not underground. "How grown-up you look in red and black."

Desmond again studies Marsei, this time with curiousity rather than nervousness, and then looks down at Bryn with a broad, indulgent, smile. He falls short of reaching out and tousling the boy's hair. Absently, the huge man hooks his thumbs through his belt. Gazing through the room, the huge man seems very content to not be the center of attention.

Dhraegon announces to Desmond, "I'm just big!" After some thought, he adds, "I don't think i know any Umbers. Do you like cakes?" His tone when he asks about the cakes suggests it is a question of GREAT IMPORTANCE. His eyes plead with the Maiden Knight, "You are most kind, Daevon. Did you make friends on your travels?" he must have caught Jurian's look towards Bryn, as he tells jurian, "Bryn is an excellent scholar, Jurian. We have high hopes of him." He hangs on to the lady's hand, the only obvious sign of nervousness in a crowd this large.

Bryn looks back up as he hears Dhraegon's voice, and quickly makes his way over closer, smiling to him, Daevon, and Marsei. "Hello!" He shakes his head to the question, but vows to Jurian, "Prince Jurian." He smiles again to Marsei, "Thank you, Lady Marsei!"

"The honour's mine, Lady Marsei," Daevon replies, politely. And since Bryn's nearby, he offers some more introductions. "Desmond, this is my good friend, Bryn. He's likely smarter than all the rest of us, he's studying at the citadel." And then he asks Bryn. "How're your studies going? Have you forged any new links?"

Jurian makes a vague nod at being told that this kinsman-looking boy is some sort of great young scholar. "You should meet my brother Andyrs, then, at the Citadel," he comments.

Desmond answers Dhraegon with utter gravity, bowing slightly, as though to imply honor at even having been asked. "I love cakes, Your Grace. And yes. The Blood of the Dragons grows larger by far than that of giants." As Daevon speaks to him, he turns and, again, bows, this time toward Bryn. "Good evening, Bryn. I am Desmond Snow, and if you study at the Citadel, you are -certainly- smarter than I am." The Northman's accents roughen his attempts at gallantry.

Where does an Ironborn lord first go upon landing in Oldtown? To crash a party at the Hightower that appears to be at least eighty percent Targaryen, apparently, for that's exactly where Dalton Greyjoy makes his first stop. Well… for the most part, anyway. Based on the slight dampness to his hair and visible body (primarily just his neck and head), as well as the particularly sharp scent of sea salt, he probably spent a good portion of his stay near the docks. Fortunately for everyone involved, he's left his crew behind to see to the official business of keeping their longship moored in the city, so he's alone.

When he arrives, he's almost certainly stopped by whatever guards man the front entrance, likely both for his lack of actual invite and the valyrian steel longsword that rests on his hip. The only reason he hasn't been completely turned away, or perhaps even restrained, is because of his name and title which he keeps nonchalantly repeating to whichever guard approaches him. "Well we're at a bit of an impasse here," he explains with an easy smirk. "I'm not leaving until I get some booze and see what a party looks like here on the green lands, and you're not going to drag me away because I'm a bloody Greyjoy, so why don't you go find whoever's givin' you orders and bring them here so I can talk to 'em."

Daevon shakes his head in response to Dhraegon's question. "No, after my return. I love cakes." He answers the question not directed at him, and then suddenly something clicks, and appropos of nothing he goes 'oh' and laughs at some thought he has. "I really should listen to Eonn."

Dhraegon boasts, "Bryn's an acolyte now! And so young!" He is as proud as if he fathered the boy himself, as unlikely as that clearly is. He listens with a serious expression to Desmond's answer. "That's good. About the cakes." Then he is tittering in a rising pitch, "Sometimes I think it would be easier if I really were a dragon! With wings and things! Then I would eat horses!" He gives daevon a quizzical look, "Listening to him is often a good thing to do. he is a good friend, I think."

There are indeed plenty of guards, at the bridge, the tower entrance, and up here. Somehow they let the Ironman through, possibly because Dhraegon has some very peculiar friends indeed. At the commotion around the Greyjoy, Dhraegon casts a worried glance at his lady, as if for orders.

"Always listen to Eonn, Your Grace. And to Prince Dhraegon when he says so." Desmond smiles, perhaps a -hint- more familiarly than would be appropriate. He looks down at Bryn and says, collegially, "I'm honored to meet an acolyte of the Citadel. Knights of the mind, I have heard Maesters called." But then a Greyjoy is announced, and Desmond slowly straightens to his full height. He does not reach for the ugly longsword at his hip, but the gravity in his gaze has nothing to do with fear or social anxiety. He glances casually around, his gaze lingering on the various guards, and uncoils a bit.

Marsei stands close — respectably close, for a lady who is not yet married — to Dhraegon, his hand not a burden in hers despite its size. He may not have giant blood, but he looks one next to her. She smiles in clear amusement upon this talk of cakes, going so far as to give Desmond a quick look of mischief, although it's nothing but sheer innocence. "You may have as many as you can eat in a moment, or a best friend," she comments in a joking tone of warning.

The brewing conflict at the garden entrance goes past her notice until the last second, when Dhraegon notices too. One of the Hightower men is not long in striding importantly toward Dhraegon and Marsei. He briefly looks uncertain as to which one to address, but Marsei squeezes Dhraegon's hand reassuringly and moves off just slightly to meet the guard to speak quietly with him. "I will be back in a moment, my prince," she says, breezy, over her small shoulder. 'Whoever's givin' orders' , thus, winds up to be the delicate, red-haired 'Flower of Oldtown', who is all glowing smiles at the Greyjoy, although she decidedly does not get too close. Nor would the guards let her. "I am Lady Marsei Hightower," she says with sweet diplomacy, a question to her voice, as if waiting to get a measure of him.

Jurian looks toward the gate, as there appears to be some sort of kerfuffle unfolding there, but he doesn't say anything about it. It isn't his problem.

Daevon glances over at the commotion. Not his party, not his tower, certainly not his place to intefere. He does smile at Desmond and Dhraegon's advice, but he's distracted watching as Marsei walks off to speak with the Greyjoy.

Dhraegon doen't seem to notice anything odd about the Northerner's behavior, or the tension between him and the Greyjoy for that matter. His eyes are so pale a lavender as to be nearly colourless and are as empty as a cloudless sky. His grip on his Lady's hand is gentle, for all his size and his hands are as soft and uncalloused as a toddler's. He smiles at her, and declares solemnly, "My cakes are your cakes. Even… Even the strawberry jam cakes with the clotted cream." He looks utterly bereft as she abandons him to deal with the gate crasher. His eyes dart around wildly, and he whispers "If only I had a flask…."

"We shall share all the cakes, Your Grace, and I shall serve you the best of them, as a leal servant." Desmond reaches up to scratch at the tip of his nose for a moment, tugging his lips off to one side in thought. "I beg Your Grace will excuse me," he murmurs softly. "I thirst." And with a slight bow, the giant northerner ambles toward the center of the room, closer to Lady Marsei and the Greyjoy. He busies himself pouring a tankard of lemon-water, but lingers over-long in the task.

Dalton chuckles briefly as the Order Giver arrives and it turns out not to be a Captain of the Guard, but a Hightower Lady. Either way, he straightens up slightly, not so nonchalant as before. Sure he's an Ironborn, but he's still a 'Lord' as they put it — he can at least be so kind as to give a little more respect to green land nobles than their guards. "Dalton Greyjoy, Captain of the Crimson Sabre, the Red Kraken, and heir to the seastone chair," he begins, hastily appending, 'My Lady,' as if in afterthought. Clearly Lord and Lady isn't tossed about as often in the Iron Isles. "I heard there was a bit of a party here in the Hightower and I thought I'd come see if it was deserving of the name. I promise not to steal away with any of your belongings."

"Where can we get these strawberry jam cakes?" Daevon asks Dhraegon. "I'd like to try one. If they're as delicious as you say." His words are quiet, polite as ever, although his brow somewhat worried. His gaze does dart after Desmond as the man walks off, but he doesn't follow.

Bryn nods quickly to Jurian, "I've met Maester Andyrs, sort of. Never done any lessons with him or anything." At the question of whether he's earned anymore links, he shakes his head, "Not yet, but I think I will soon! I think I'm ready for more tests, I just have to take them." He smiles to Desmond, perhaps a little more as he hears the name Snow, and properly introduces himself, "Bryndon Flowers." Seeing Dhraegon starting to panic without Marsei, he says to him, "She'll be right back."

"He and I had the same father," Jurian tells Brynden. Which…should be obvious, since he referred to him already as his brother. "He's rather brilliant, I understand. I always consult him when knowledge is required."

Seeing that the Greyjoy seems to be behaving himself — at least until he discovers that this is a Sober Party — Desmond turns and makes his way back to the conversation, clutching his lemonwater. He shades the tiniest of winks toward Daevon, as though to reassure the Maiden Knight, and listens attentively to Bryn and Jurian. The huge man seems about to say something, struck by a thought, but decides against it. Still, he shies a few steps closer to Bryndon, looming at his right.

Flox sidles up and quietly takes hold f the elderly Prince's elbow. He is gazing after his bride to be anxiously. He nods hurriedly to Bryn, though he does not look convinced.

The Hightower lady turns out to be much more receptive than the guards, for better or worse. Her pale brows rise faintly as the man's title goes on, as though surprised or even impressed by it; granted, it's subtle enough that it could be easily be fright, given stories of reavers. She gives a soft, not-quite-laugh at the vow to steal nothing. "You of course have my hospitality, captain," she says, putting the guards somewhat at ease. "You've come upon a celebration of my impending wedding. We've plenty of food — and games. Please do come meet Prince Dhraegon Targaryen."

Daevon smiles in response to that wink. He may not have a clue what the wink's for but nevermind. "Prince Jurian," he greets, as if the man had not been standing nearby all the time, and he's just noticed him. "It is good to see you here. This is the man I was telling you of, Desmond Snow."

"Prince Daevon," Jurian returns, since Daevon's being formal about it. He even makes a slight bow. And he doesn't say anything nasty. In fact, he looks interested when Daevon offers him that introduction. "Yes," he says. "I heard the name. And I saw you practice a moment at the Manse." He looks Desmond up and down. "You had not mentioned that he is enormous." He doesn't look worried that Desmond will be offended.

Introduced once again to a Targaryen, Desmond bows toward Jurian. His gaze fixes on the other man, gauging, measuring. His features are perfectly respectful as he straightens. "Your Grace. I am honored to be presented." He doesn't seem insulted at all. After all, he is enormous. "If I may be of any service, Your Grace, it would be my pleasure."

"I hadn't known it would matter," Daevon says. "He's descended from Giants. They breed them taller up North, supposedly. Are you enjoying the party so far?"

"A celebration for a wedding?" Dalton repeats, if not surprised, at least… bemused? 'Green Landers and their silly traditions,' Dalton's face seems to imply, though he gives Marsei a slight grin and bows overdramatically, "Congratulations then, Lady Hightower." When he stands up again, he crosses his arms calmly over his chest and glances past her towards the gathering, "Prince Dhraegon, eh? Surprised I didn't hear about that…" The fact that he's crashing a Targaryen wedding celebration seems to knock a bit of the cocky swagger from Dalton's stride as he moves to follow Marsei. If there's anyone that can set a Greyjoy ill at ease, it's a Targaryen, especially when you ruin their parties. "Where's the booze," he finally asks, picking out Desmond among the crowd and giving him a brief once over, sizing him up briefly before smirking and asking a second question. "That one there. He's no southerner, and his hair makes it obvious he's no Targaryen either. He's got a hard look to him. Who is he?" All thoughts of 'My Lady' has gone from the Ironborn's head, apparently.

"You can be, in fact," Jurian returns right away to Desmond. "I am just beginning to gather a force to battle pirates to the south, and Cousin Daevon says I must hire you." He looks back to Daevon. "Well. I don't know what Uncle means not having any drink. But we'll play Snapdragon later."

"I do like battling pirates, Your Grace," Desmond admits. Was his voice -meant- to carry? He smiles aside to Daevon. "Your cousin is far too kind, but in this, Your Grace, he is also correct. I would be delighted to sail with you." He seems about to add something, but hastily changes it to, "We must meet and discuss it further, Your Grace." His attention keeps slipping back over to Dalton and Marsei, but he sips his water carefully. "Perhaps Master Brynden could come with us as well. We shall have need of a skilled healer." He grins down at the young man, with genuine friendliness. "Would the Tower give you leave, do you think?"

Dhraegon says, "Pirates are bad for my boats." He guestures at the toy boats bobbing about in the fountain. His attention is also mostly on his lady, "Perhaps we should start the games? Or eat the cakes?""

Marsei smiles allowingly as she's called Lady Hightower. "I suppose word spreads slower across the sea. I must say it is almost refreshing to meet someone who hasn't heard of my wedding," she says, although it's without a hint of bitterness. With a faint 'umm' under her breath, she's still contemplating how to break it to the man that those kinds of refreshments are unusually absent when he draws her attention to Desmond. "He is from the North," she answers. "I admit to only meeting him now." Marsei is in a hurry to return to Dhraegon; she walks quickly, but makes an effort not to show her haste, and the many layers of her airy gown flow elegantly about her feet as she crosses the garden path with the Greyjoy. She does not move too fast, however, to take a small plate of artfully stacked, tiny cakes and pastries from an arrangement on her way.

Daevon steps away to find himself a cake and some lemon water to drink.

"Yes, I daresay we must," Jurian agrees, but the fact that he isn't being rude must mean that he approves of Desmond. The 'your grace'ing doesn't hurt a bit. He eyes Bryn uncertainly.

Bryn brightens at Desmond's suggestion, and nods quickly, "If Prince Jurian requested, I know they would. I've gone on trips with Prince Daevon before, and even Lord Stark once. I think Archmaester Luckin likes when I get practical experience. And I have my silver link, so I am a qualified healer."

Desmond crouches down - it takes awhile - until he's on an eye-level with Bryn. "It would be warfare," he says quietly to the boy. He's speaking gently - it's obvious that he has taken a shine to him. "It would be hard, as you well know, and bloody, and sometimes dangerous. And you would have to do what I tell you, and what the other officers tell you." He takes it for granted, it seems, that he would be appointed some sort of officer. "You could be of great use, lad. But it's not a trip."

The word 'pirates' stands out from the rest of the conversation that Dalton and Marsei are en route towards, though he misses the rest of the conversation. At its sound, the Greyjoy's omnipresent smirk seems to intensify. "Well, he's got the look," he responds to Marsei, glancing from Desmond to Jurian to Daevon to Dhraegon and finally to Bryn, though the last one is given a skeptical look. "Which one's Dhraegon?" he asks, for once lowering his voice slightly, looking to get confirmation from Marsei before he starts making introductions to the wrong member of the ruling house of Westeros. Not for the first time, he begins making plans to drown the dock worker that mentioned this party, a thought that reminds him: "Where's the booze, again?"

Dhraegon's face lights up, though whether it is his fair lady of her tower of cakes it is hard to tell. "You went with Lord Stark? What happened?" He towers over both the Maiden Knight and Prince Jurian both, but is likely in the neighborhood of twice her age. Odds are it is not Bryn, who is a bit young even for an aristocratic wedding.

"Who's going to be angry with me if I get you killed?" Jurian asks Bryn bluntly. "I don't want to risk someone jumping down my throat at taking a stripling into battle." He's blunt, but Bryn does indeed appear fairly young.

"There's no alcohol," Daevon informs Dalton, all proper and polite for all that he offers no introductions. He's not particularly looking like he's enjoying himself, but then perhaps this primness is Targaryen fun. "Instead we are to engage in other activities in order to have fun. I believe there's to be party games."

Marsei pauses just for a moment as she looks upon the same array of Targaryens, considering an apt descriptor. "The…" she considers, "tall one." Who just so happens to be the least likely candidate, by all appearances. "I know it's rather uncommon," she says to Dalton after they approach, her tone nevertheless upbeat as if to let him down gently. She lifts the plate of cakes in example in support of Daevon's claims. The Greyjoy isn't the only guest who's thirsty; more than a few complaints drift around the garden. It's essentially unheard of, after all. She goes to Dhraegon's side. "We simply have another guest, my prince; Dalton Greyjoy, Captain of the Crimson … Sabre, the Red Kraken, and heir to the seastone chair," she says, a bit of a recital, carefully remembered.

Dhraegon gives another unhinged sounding titter and tryies to embrace the rather alarming Greyjoy, "Do you prefer blindman's buff or pin the wings on the dragon or snap dragon to start with, My Cosmos?" Hopefully Marsei is the flower and not the Greyjoy, though Dhraegon appears to be unravelling rather under the pressure of being at a party sober, so one can't be sure.

Bryn instantly goes more serious, nodding to Desmond again, "I understand. I swear, I'll do whatever I'm told." He looks to Jurian, and answers honestly, "Archmaester Luckin is the Maester I work with the most, and sometimes Archmaester Thane. But probably the one you almost have to watch out for is my friend Kelinyx." Yep, he classes the former street rat's wrath as more dangerous than Archmaester's. To Dhraegon, he answers, "Some of Lord Starks men disappeared on the way to Oldtown. We went to investigate. It ended up being a Qarthian Warlock, he was after something that he thought Lord Starks men had, and made a fog that made people sick, and it already killed Lord Starks men before we got there. I helped Archmaester Luckin treat everybody when we got back." He looks back as the Greyjoy is introduced, bowing to him.

"I'm very glad you understand, and that you're already seasoned, young Bryn. I'll be trusting you with my life." And then Lady Marsei and her guest have joined the cluster, and Desmond stays quiet as the conversation flows around him for a few moments.

His eyes flash up to Dalton's from where he crouches by Bryn, as the titles are recited. He comes to his feet stiffly, a hand loosely drifting toward Bryn's shoulder, then arrests itself. "The Red Kraken," he says mildly. "I've heard of you." He considers for a moment and adds, after a beat, "My father is Lord Uryk Umber."

Dhraegon looks alarmed at the mention of Quarthian Warlocks. He says in an eerily calm voice, "We should burn them all with dragon fire!" More mad tittering. Dalton is released without harm.

The lack of booze is… disappointing, to say the least. Dalton's face falls almost immediately upon hearing this grave, grave news. It's so shocking and appaling, in fact, that he stands before at least four Targaryens of various age and station with an open-mouth stare directed solely at Daevon. Denial follows, as he looks about the area with a smirk that's clearly convinced they're pulling the Greyjoy's tentacle. When he finds none within eyesight, denial turns to anger, his open-mouth falling into a grim line. Anger to bargaining, as he begins to mentally devise a way to convince the Targaryens and Hightowers to allow him to bring some in, 'Just for him' he'll insist. Bargaining moves on to depression, but not one to linger to long with sadness, Dalton takes a deep breath and accepts his fate.

"Party games? Ah, so you will at least be doing the finger dance, then?" Dalton asks, deciding things were already looking up. Perhaps these green landers aren't so crazy, even if they're holding a sober party. As for greetings, he finally remembers himself and nods to the Targaryens and sole Northerner in succession, allowing Marsei to introduce him before he offers Dhraegon, "Congratulations, Your Grac-" And then he's being embraced. By the Prince. To say confusion sets in would be an understatement, as Dalton akwardly tries to remember if he's met Dhraegon somewhere before. Deciding he hadn't he gives a weak sort of nod and adjusts his clothing, before latching on to Desmond's words like a drowning sailor. "What? … Oh, yes. Uh… Yes, Lord Umber. I wasn't expecting to see a Northerner here," he says, briefly stumbling over his words as he tries to slip back into his nonchalant attitude.

"I'll speak to them," Jurian says to Bryn. Presumably he does not mean Kelinyx. "If you are as impressive as they say, it could be worth the trouble." He glances at this Greyjoy being Dhrae-hugged and then just looks the other way.

Daevon shakes his head in response to Dalton. No finger dancing it would seem. With everyone's attention elsewhere he's going to attempt to fade into the background, and avoid anything resembling fun party games. In fact he's slowly working his way towards the exit, glancing in that direction, and pondering the ease of maybe slipping out.

Dhraegon gives the Ironborn a look of deep sympathy as he goes through the grieving process, one he is all to familiar with himself. Then he shakes his head, sending the long fine white hair twirling, "Oh no! I am not allowed to have sharp things!" Then he is falling upon Marsei's cakes, stuffing them messily into his mouth and getting jam and cream everywhere, "Daevon! At least hve some cakes!"

Marsei's answer is delayed as her betrothed embraces the Greyjoy. She seems utterly unsurprised by this turn of events. She reaches for Dhraegon's elbow, gently pulling on it as if to anchor him nearer to her after the fact. She rests another hopefully calming hand upon the same arm, saying quietly, "Perhaps we should not talk of burning anyone with dragon fire," she leans in to say quietly as she can; problem solved as Dhraegon stuffs his face, anyhow. Hopefully, a limited number of guests overheard him. "Pin the wings," she finally says then with aplomb. "But I expect our guests would enjoy some rounds of Snapdragon better," she admits — for the greater good, she's determined … albeit uncertainly, clearly wanting to please the all the nobles in the garden who grow restless without wine or ale. She puts on a brave face when she looks toward the set-up of the Targaryen game.

"Nor I, to meet an Ironborn princeling here, my lord." Desmond speaks with quiet courtesy, or at least the appearance of it. He flashes a brief grin down at Bryn, and seems to be enjoying watching Dalton's discomfiture. Daevon's interjections have the corners of the huge man's mouths twitching. But he takes pity on Marsei, at least, and takes a long sip of his lemon-water. "This is the finest lemon-water I've ever had, Lady," he interjects loudly.

And looking toward the prepared party game, he puts on the bravest face he can. "Perhaps Prince Dhraegon would be so good as to explain to me the rules." He seems a little nervous - and he doesn't even know what the game is yet. "I beg the honor of playing first."

Dhraegon's worry about qarth is forgotten. There are cakes and Marsei and soon there will be games! All is well in the land of Dhraegon, even if he is uncharacteristically sober. he enthusiastically explains, "We bob for raisins in brandy! It is very fun!"

"Shall we have the bowl lit, Uncle?" Jurian proposes. He looks to those who are not initiated. "If you are lucky, you may find other treats as well. Sometimes we add almonds or figs. Of course, you may not want to take the time to hunt for your favorite."

Alcohol fuelled shennanigans are not really Daevon's cup of tea. In fact parties like this really aren't. He has little sense of fun at such things. There's a small part of him that's tempted to stay and watch. But Dhraegon's calling out to him has him further trying to vanish towards the door.

No booze. No finger dancing. Not even any sharp objects. Dalton immediately begins wondering if anyone would care if he turned around right now and walked out. Perhaps if he said he had a dock worker to nail to the prow of his ship, they'd allow him to leave to attend to his business. Then someone mentions brandy, and the world regains a tiny bit of its color. "I heard there was a party," Dalton replies to Desmond with a look and tone that implies he heard terribly, terribly wrong, "So naturally I thought I'd attend."

Bryn doesn't look all that interested in the description of the game, until, that is, Jurian mentions lighting the bowl. "Lit?" Suddenly, he seems interested. At least in watching.

Marsei shines a bright smile of gratitude to Desmond for making a point about the lemon water; her smile makes easy light of the situation. "Are you certain?" she asks the man, then, "Perhaps it would be best if one of our princes went first…" A layer of nerves makes its way beneath her soft voice.

"Bowl..lit?" Desmond looks suddenly uncertain. He gazes around, seeking Daevon, and finds the Prince hurrying off to the door. Eyes narrowed briefly at the man's retreating back, the huge Northman rallies himself gallantly. "Right. Yes. Flaming brandy. That makes sense." His eyes lock with Dalton's, and there's a mixture of amusement and despair. But he's spoken now, and it doesn't seem a good idea to back out.

"No, My Lady. Truthfully. I'll.. be fine." Sweat runs into his scarred cheeks. He takes a sip of his lemon water and forces a smile. "Mm. Delicious."

Dhraegon sets a big hand on Bryn's shoulder, "Yes! Fire! It is a family tradition! It is a very fun game for children!" Flox stands on tiptoe to tie back his Master's hair with a long suffering look. Servants circulate with ribbons for the players, "Light it up, Jurian!"

Jurian seems perfectly happy to go first and give a demonstration. It isn't the first time. A servant comes with flame and Jurian steps up to light the bowl with a flourish. "Tie up your hair if it is long," he advises in prelude, voice raised so all players may here. "You must lean in and pluck a fruit with your mouth. When you close your mouth, the fire will go out and you can eat your prize." He comes round the front of the bowl to dip into the flaming liquor, come away with a plump raisin, and extinguish it in his mouth. When he stands up straight again, the chewing distorts his grin only a little.

It's a party. Leandro's here, of course he is. Dressed Dornish for the occassion. There may be a no alcohol party, but he's been stealing sips from a flask of his to help the occasion along. It's medicinal, or something. He's not even trying to be overly circumscript about it. But no sharesies, not even to the nobles who give him envious looks for his foreplanning. He joins the crowd to watch the party games.

Marsei eats pastries throughout the preparations — delicately, but at a rather determined rate. She watches some of the crowd form and watches Jurian; a flinch afflicts her face ever-so-slightly at the flames, and again as she pays close attention to Jurian's face. "Oh, I hope it goes well, Dhraegon," she asides quietly. "I've been doing so well to forget what happened last time we had a party in the gardens."

Bryn watches the bowl being lit with fascination, staring at the coloured flames almost as if he was looking at a beautiful sunset. He's only distracted from the flames as Jurian makes his attempt, and when he comes back up chewing on the raisin, Bryn claps excitedly with a big grin.

Last time? Desmond walks toward the flaming bowl as though he is moving toward his execution. He turns his head briefly to lock eyes with Dalton again, seeking the unlikeliest of allies, and then squares his shoulders back. The huge man looks down at his tankard of lemon-water and takes a long gulp, as though that will save him if he messes this up.

Here goes. He turns his head briefly, seeking Marsei's, and lifts his tankard in a brief salute before setting it aside. And then he plunges his head forward, closing his mouth around a raisin and yanking himself backward as quickly as possible. He rubs at his face with one hand as he steps back. And after a moment, his features take on a triumphant expression. It is done. He has faced the fire.

Dhraegon pulls Bryn with him to the brandy bowl, eager to stick his head into the fire. he claps for the men going before him, oblivious to any danger. "It will be fine, My Marigold. Even small children play it in Dragonstone, but best you not play, lest you singe your fine petals so close to the wedding." Flox has done his master's long hair in a loose braid for safety. He looks eager as any child as he plunges his face in, stealing a mouthful of brandy along with some raisins. He is wild with delight as he swallows it all down. "Try it, Bryn!"

"Mouth?" Leandro exclaims. "What twisted version of this game are you playing?" He's shaking his head in disbelief. "Targaryens." He mutters, taking another swig from his flask.

Hmm. No thrown axes, but a bowl of fire to the face? Strange, but at least there's the inherent risk of danger that makes a party game fun. Seeing Desmond's glance, Dalton misinterprets it as a friendly challenge and flashes his teeth in wide amusement, offering a nod as if to say, 'Challenge accepted, Northerner.' He waits his turn behind the Targaryens, unable to hide the fact that Desmond's success actually impresses him, if only briefly. Sure the Dragons would find it amusing and harmless, but the Umbers are made of ice, not fire. Still, those with salt water in their veins surely have no fear of the flames, and when it's his turn, he takes a quick moment to try and sight a raisin before plunging his face into the fire. His aim is off, unfortunately, and it takes him longer to surface, but he manages to grab one in a few seconds and pulls his head out of the fire, his face a dark red, and his eyebrows perhaps a little singed around the edge, but grinning all the same.

Bryn claps again for Desmond, and then Dhraegon. Then, apparently, it's his turn. He looks just as excited and unafraid as Dhraegon, even though he's never seen the game before. He steps up, looking at the bowl in an almost calculating way for second, then leans in to make his attempt. He cuts it closer, but he's experienced enough with fire do know exactly how long he has, and comes up completely unburnt. And laughing.

Some in the crowd cheer; some gasp. Some would have more enthusiasm in either direction if they were inebriated. Others challenge their friends and families toward the flaming brandy, and a brave unknown soul in the back even challenges Lady Marsei, who's meant to become part of the Targaryen family, after all, and, they shout, //"What way is better than by test of fire?"

While the games go on, so far without great injury, Marsei smiles on as well, the supportive bride-to-be and benevolent Hightower host; as ever, her cheer remains in the smile left on her face, but as she watches the men — and boy — play and laugh, not all of the thoughts in her head are as cheerful. Something weighs on her, and it distracts her gaze until the call brings it to the crowd unsurely.

Desmond points straight at Dalton and begins to guffaw. He nudges at Leandro's shoulder - he's somehow ended up near the man - and points. "Do you see," demands the Northerner between his booming laughter, "The Red Kraken?" He grabs at his tankard of lemon water and quaffs it, then looks a tad disappointed, remembering that it's only lemon-water.

As the boy goes, and then the cry for Marsei's turn comes up, he grows a touch more somber. He seems far more nervous than Bryn when the Flowers boy bobs, and a little nervous again as he glances toward Marsei. But he's only a Northern bastard, and he knows nothing to say to help, so he keeps quiet for now.

Dhraegon giggles happily at Bryn's success and claps him on the shoulder, giving him that proud Uncle look again, the one that says, 'one of us,' whoever his Mother might have been. Then he must have caught his lady's expression as he is making his way that way, and brushing his lips lightly on the top of her bright head, and murmuring something to her. He seems baffled by desmond's quip. Nearly a minute later he gets is and gives another mad giggle.

Jurian seems in a fairly good mood while watching the game. After all, as master of ceremonies, he is clearly causing all the smiles and laughs. That is the sound of the people's gratitude to him. Surely.

Dalton's vaguely confused by Desmond's comment, unable to see his own face as he is, but eventually it dawns on him that the fire may have made his face a bit… flushed. It's an amusing jab, so he laughs with Northerner and Dhraegon and attempts to make whatever brandy clung to the raisin last before he finishes the morsel and approaches Desmond. "So, man of Umber, what brings you so far from your home? Surely not the promise of entertaining party games."

Marsei drifts slowly out of her thoughts and looks away from the crowd, slowly dismissing the yell from the back. "All is well, my prince," she says aloud, turning just so to look up and assure Dhraegon with a gentle smile. "Perhaps pin the wings while Snapdragon still goes; they do have fun, and Prince Jurian seems in his element," she says with a glance at the ongoing games as if she still doesn't quite comprehend the appeal but accepts it all the same.

Desmond considers Dalton for a few moments, his gaze measuring. But the younger man laughed at his jest, which buys him a little goodwill. "Ah, well, Greyjoy, it's a long tale. I've not been in the North for more than a few years." He glances around as though seeking someone in particular but, not finding them, carries on. "A bastard makes his own way. I've been plying my trade up and down the Southron lands for years, and over in the Free Cities as well." Judging by the huge man's face, it's an easy guess at what trade he follows.

"What is it they say on your Isles? I pay the iron price for my coin." He offers a narrow smile, then shrugs to the other man. "And you? I would have expected to hear of the Red Kraken -reaving- along this coast, not playing party games." He says it without heat. It's an observation, not an accusation.

Dhraegon waves for Flox to bring the blindfold, a soft red and black scarf, "Would you like to go first, My Alstroemeria, or ought I?"

Jurian is having a fine time. He watches a noble lady step up to try. Unfortunately, she has not heeded all his advice. She has tied back the top of her hair, but not the trailing tendrils on her shoulders. She also hesitates when selecting her fruit, and as she is leaning over the bowl, her hair catches fire. She doesn't notice the significance of the gasps around her at first, but when she finally sees it aflame, she starts screaming, dropping the raison out of her mouth. There are two lucky things. One, the proximity of the fountain, and two, the fact that a certain servant has prepared the others for this eventuality. A teen serving boy with a blanket rushes up to swaddle the noble lady, however rough it may be, to put out the flaming hair. Meanwhile, a nobleman rushes up to a table, grabs a bowl, and scoops up water from the fountain. By the time he gets back to the lady, the fire is already out, but he is in too much of a panic to wait to see, and douses her anyway. "Yes, do tie up all your hair if you intend to play!" Jurian announces. People seem less interested in playing, suddenly. A ring forms around the crying noblewoman. But luckily, she is not bodily harmed. A large chunk of her hair has been burnt, though.

Bryn smiles happily again at Dhraegon's 'one of us' look. The boy may be destined to be a Maester, but for now, nothing seems to make him happier than feeling he's part of the family. His smile vanishes, for the moment, as the woman's hair catches on fire. He pushes his way through the crowd around her, pulling the string with his silver link from under his tunic so it's visible, but relaxes as he sees her skin, smiling to the woman as he says, "You're fine, except a bit of burnt hair."

The reference to the Old Way of the Ironborn causes Dalton's eyebrow to rise marginally, clearly surprised to hear the iron price mentioned by a northerner in Oldtown. "Rich as these lands may be, the Greyjoys keep their reaving to the lands beyond Westeros," he replies, the monotone edge to his voice giving it a repetive air, as if it's a practiced line. "As for why I'm here…" he thinks for a moment, "Perhaps I feel a storm brewing, and the Drowned God brought me here. Or perhaps I'm tired of my current salt wife and I'm looking for a new one. Never can tell with an Ironborn," he replies, serious one moment, lighthearted the next. "Since you mention reaving, however, I heard something about pirates as I approached. You wouldn't have been talking about me, by any chance?"

Dhraegon sees the hapless guest and tries to block the view of the alarm from his intended, in case more than her hair gets burned.

The Princess Xavia has her hood up and the half veil she has been know to wear in public is in fact in place this evening. A piece of finely woven crimson lace hangs down from the top of her hood and it covers her eyes and nose, leaving only her mouth readily visible. She moves with calm metered steps. She has a closed book under one arm and she is coming from some quiet corner where she was waiting out the party with a good book. Her quiet soft shoed approach behind Jurian is made apparent when she states, curiously, "What's all the screaming about?" Not concern. Curiosity.

The woman reaches to touch her hair and the burnt chunk plops right into her hand, severed choppily from the rest. Jurian turns and regards Xavia. "Oh, someone's done it wrong and gotten a bit singed," he tells her as though this were mildly off-putting. "Would you like to take a turn and show them how to do it properly?"

Desmond is distracted by the fire, and watches Bryn rush forward with a nod of approval. "Well done, lad," the sellsword mutters to himself. Flowers, Snow. Bastards make their own way. He glances toward Dhraegon and Marsei and quickly away, hiding a smile at the gallantry of the Dragon Prince. There is a newcomer in a hooded robe that seems to catch his attention as well.

But finally, the big swordsman returns his attention to Dalton. "Pirates? No, as a matter of fact, not. This time." He smiles wryly at the Greyjoy prince. "Some trouble down south. I'll be dealing with it, looks to be." Such self-confidence. And something else catches his ear. "A storm?" He casts a curious look at the man. "A conversation for another time, might be."

"Alstr— " Marsei begins to repeat in soft amusement at her newest moniker when the lady's hair catches fire. She gasps, moving away from Dhraegon's attempt to block and watching most of it unfold in front of her widening eyes. She brings her hand to her neck in alarm, just as concerned when the woman is doused in water. Her first instinct is to go help, but the servants, Bryn, and an oncoming flock of noblewomen seem to have it under control. "Actually, I…" she says, half-breath, and steps forward. "I will set them at ease," she determines somewhat distantly, intending to go stand next to Princess Xavia, whose arm she lightly touches in greeting and fellowship, of sorts. They can do this together, Targaryen and Hightower combined.

Dhraegon trails after his fair lady, determined to hold back her hair himself just in case, his admiration obbious, for all his childishness and peculiarity of demeanor.

Xavia looks around for her Knight, her hidden gaze behind the veil searches the crowd for Auraine. "I suppose." Xavia answers back to Jurian before she pulls back her hood. "I hadn't even realized we were playing Snapdragon." Her gaze is fractured by her nystagmus but only those close enough to make eye contact are apt to notice- just yet.

Once Lady Marsei comes to rest a hand lightly on her arm Xavia looks up and over at the older woman. The teenage girl has a (rare) genuine smile for her soon to be aunt. "You wish to play?" Her sweet grin curling devilishly at the edges. "This is a surprise." A little nod and a confident step toward the bowl. "Yes. Together." The young princess has her own hair in a severe bun which should keep it out of the fire.

Jurian seems surprised that Marsei volunteers, but he looks very interested indeed, and claps his hands. "How unfortunate," he says with a certain lack of sincerity, "But our hostess Lady Marsei and my fine cousin Princess Xavia will show you there is nothing to fear!"

"Thank you, my prince," Marsei delivers quietly to Dhraegon as her long hair is tied back by his ribbon. Already, braids swept it back from her temples. She will not fall prey to the last woman's folly. She gives Jurian a solid smile that lingers a moment in its sincerity, as he's said exactly what she wished, and as she steps even closer to the heat alongside Xavia, she turns a brighter smile to the crowd. Then, it's time to steel herself and literally face the fire; she swallows visibly, and her smile is gone. True to her word, and not letting go of the young princess's arm — in fact holding firmer — she swoops her head down as a blaze of fire sweeps across the surface of the brandy. It's quick — a few tiny droplets of hot liquid assault her bared shoulders, but when she rises, it's with a brandy-soaked raisin and a very taut smile and slightly watering eyes.

As Marsei approaches and bobs for the raisin, and comes up successful, Desmond blurts out - very loud, without seeming to strain - "We Light the Way!" It seems apropos and Desmond thumps his hands together in applause. He grins, looking around at the other nobles here before commenting softly to Dalton, "Some of these Southerners have true cold iron in their bones, Greyjoy."

Dhraegon says, "Xavia! I love your boat! I am glad you could come to the party!" Then he is watching blank faced as his intended plunges her face into flaming brandy, and on seeing her safe wraps a protective arm around her, his expression one of fierce pride in his future wife."

Xavia has played this game before so instead of staring at the flames she has a sidelong gaze that skirts toward Marsei as they approach the flames. Her grin is confident and she takes her turn the very instant that Marsei comes up successful. Xavia's own style has her face near the flames a bit longer than Marsei kept her's there, the Targaryen blood making Xavia's attempt more of a dodge and dip. She moves her face left at the last second as the flames flicker and move around the surface of the brandy. After the overlong dip the Princess too stands back up with a current in her lips. She grabs Marsei's hand holds it up victoriously in her own. With the fruit in her mouth Xavia hails a muttered cheer that sounds sort like a, 'Muzzah!' She spits the fruit out and giggles with a light singe on her face, "Of course, Uncle. Thank you."

Jurian claps for Marsei, smiling at her smile. And he lifts his hands to clap again to applaud her success. He applauds for Xavia, as well. The guests are a little less horrified now that the burnt woman has been herded inside and two others have been highly successful. "Well done!" he says for everyone's benefit. "Not the sort of noblewomen to be cowed."

Marsei's face is certainly lights up when she looks to the source of the shout. She beams at Xavia as their hands rise in victory. "I feel as though I've drank a whole bottle of brandy," she admits in a pleasantly disoriented tone, quiet and mostly to Dhraegon, a likely overstatement by a longshot; it's the adrenaline more than anything. She makes no speech, her example set and Jurian having spoken.

Bryn turns his attention back to the game now, watching Marsei and the new Targaryen he doesn't know yet make their attempts. Smiling brightly again, he claps for both.

The boat Xavia gave Dhraegon is among those floating in the central fountain right now, the pride of his toy fleet on display for all to enjoy. Whatever the rumors say about Dhraegon's lack of interest in matters pertaining to the bedroom, his goofy smile and adoring eyes suggest that he does dote on his beloved Marsei. He does give the northerner a nod of approval at his apt use of the hightower words, after the usual delay for him to figure out what is intended by them. Giggling, he announces, "We will be playing pin the tail yonder while the Snapdragon game continues, in honor of my fair Marigold!" Dropping his voice he inquires, "Xavia, have you met your cousin, Bryn Flowers? he's very clever and already an acolyte." He gestures that way in case of confusion.

Desmond offers a grave bow toward Marsei as she looks toward him, and raises a fist in a crisp salute to the noblewoman. But his eyes are a little duller after the initial excitement fades, and he glances around at the party. After scooping something off a table, he drifts nearer to Dhraegon and bows to the man. "Your Grace, forgive me. I must begin to say my farewells, and I wished to thank you for including me on this day." He hesitates for a moment. "With Your Grace's permission, I should like to thank Lady Marsei as well. I shall be very sorry to miss the Pin the Tail game, but I've brought you this." He produces a strawberry jam cake from behind his back.

Dalton follows Desmond's gaze and grunts softly, legitimately surprised. "It appears so. I wouldn't expect a southron lady to shove her face in a bowl of lit brandy, but I suppose there are those with salt in their veins and iron in their bones even here. Gives me hope," he replies, glancing back to Desmond shortly before he departs, "That I'll find that new salt wife." When the Northerner begins to leave, Dalton raises no objections, and in fact begins to pick his way through the party for the exit as well. Flaming brandy may be similar enough to finger dancing to keep him engaged, but pin the tail is where an Ironborn must draw the line.

It might be a bit unbecoming of a Princess but Xavia spit her brandy soaked fruit on the floor. She wasn't one for imbibing, even the adrenaline and excitement has brought a flush to her milk white cheeks that has her fanning herself theatrically. Her strange gaze seems a bit distant as she took a step away from the crowd, her uncle's words draw her back though with a distracted smile. Her gaze shivers, she looks between the noble guests gathered 'round and even when she focuses on a face she never really focused. Her nystagmus makes her eyes always sort of shake in their sockets, it is this fractured cold gaze which she sends down her nose at younger boy.

There is a long studious pause before Xavia says anything, the expression on her face is one of weighted words best left unsaid. Finally, her political smile resurfaces as she mused, "An Acolyte? I'm impressed." She nods to Bryn but goes to pull up her hood and veil her eyes now that the game was played. "A noble calling I hope to hear in my dreams one day." Her face fading back into the heavy shadows cast by her hood and framed in a lining brocade with dancing Dragons.

Marsei visibly approves of the sellsword's manners, and delights as the strawberry jam cake is revealed. "How lovely!" she says with a soft laugh and a look to Dhraegon as if to commiserate. "It was lovely to meet you," she tells the man.

Dhraegon squeals happily and takes the jam cake. After a brief struggle with himself, he gallantly offers it to his lady first, then tries to hug the Northerner again, all delighted giggles and sugar fueled squirming.

A few more people begin to step up for snapdragon again, although they're extra-cautious now and a few get scared partway through and don't end up with any food at all. But who cares! Fire! Danger! Treats!

Desmond throws his arms around the Targaryen Prince, far more relaxed than when he first arrived. He seems genuinely fond of the mountainous man, and pats his back very gently, ignoring the sugar that scrapes onto his plain doublet. "You honor me, Your Grace," he says as he oh-so-gently disentangles himself. And then he steps toward Marsei, making the best leg he can manage. It's serviceable, but nothing like what the court is used to seeing. "Lady. I was remarking to the Ironborn pup — excuse me, to Dalton Greyjoy — that you have the cold iron of the north hidden beneath a southron beauty." He takes a breath. "If I can ever be of service to House Hightower, Lady, my blade is yours. As it shall be at the tourney in My Lady's honor."

Bryn smiles do Xavia, bowing to her, "Nice to meet you, Princess." He gets a curious look as he notices the shaking of her eyes, but it's the look of a scholar, no judgment in it. Nor pity. The look goes way quickly, as his attention returns to what she's saying, "You get the dreams too? They're so strange sometimes."

Dhraegon hugs with the innocence and complete lack of self consciousness common in young children. So trusting. So very, very trusting. he is sticky from cakes and brandy. He does not resist the disentangling. He seems pleased enough by galantries played to his future wife. He remarks to Xavia, "Our blood runs strong in his veins."

After generously trying to convince Dhraegon he can have the sweet, Marsei smiles down at Desmond as he takes the knee. She presses her hand to her chest, modest. "I do not know about cold iron," she admits, and though she's rather uncertain that she wants to have cold iron in her veins, she makes a good showing of taking it demurely as compliment. "I only wanted to light the way, as it were," she says, smiling as though they share a bond in the saying. "But you honour me. Thank you. I look forward to seeing you in the tournament."

"I was being poetic." The Coldly Logical Xavia imparts softly to Bryn with a smile, her eyes are once more hidden by the half veil hanging from the front of her hood. "I don't often call what I experience dreams as they so often take me while I am already awake… They are visions.." Her vacant smile is seemingly sympathetic. "Mine come from The Maiden."

Xavia has something softer in her smile when she speaks to her Uncle. "Does he?" She wonders curiously but no unkind, she continues, "Tell me, how does one play this tail game?" If her tone is patronizing it is only in the loving way one speaks to a small child they adore. She obliquely ignores the exchange with the Northern… not a fan of strange Men.

Desmond rises carefully, a big man surrounded by smaller ones. It wouldn't do to knock Marsei off her feet by accident. His face seems alight with genuine pleasure - it cannot be often that a bastard-born sellsword is welcomed among the Great and the Good. "And you shall, Lady," he promises. His grin briefly is one of battle, and it looks more natural on his face than pleasure. "You shall."

Turning, he makes another bow toward Jurian. "Your Grace, I shall wait upon you soon regarding the pirates." And as he passes Bryn and Xavia, he pauses to address Bryn, crouching down again and speaking, as it were, man-to-man. "It was a pleasure, Bryn. I look forward to serving with a brother." It's a strange sentiment, perhaps, but the huge sellsword seems to think Bryn will know what to make of it. He straightens, and turns to finally make his way out the door.

Dhraegon eats the sweet after all, giving his fair ladu his most adoring of smiles. Then he is leading the way to a table with felt dragon tails on tacks, "I'm not usually supposed to have sharp things, but they let me for this! It is more fun with lots of brandy…." He hastens to reassure her, "But still very fun. you blindfold someone and spin them until they are dizzy, then point them at the Dragon." The dragon is in Hightower colours. "They try to pin the tail where it goes. Whoever get closest wins the prize!" He drops his voice, "It's ear drops, but it's a secret."

Jurian remains behind to oversee the last of the snapdragon game. Perhaps it would be beneath his dignity to be spun around.

"Fascinating." Xavia agrees as she drifts past the tail table with her hands folded near her solar plexus, she doesn't seem very inclined to play as she deigns politely. "I think I'll watch the boat a while…" Before drifting off slowly to the fountain.

"Did he say pirates?" Marsei says after a beat once the big sellsword has left the gardens, her attention that had been focused on he and Dhraegon now encompassing the others nearby, particularly Jurian, but decides to let it be in favour of lighter things — like the new game afoot. "You first, this time, my prince!"

There are reeds for blowing on the boat sails by the fountain. Dhraegon kneels on the ground for blind folding, obedient to his lady in all things.

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