(122-12-11) Then, The Feast
Then, The Feast
Summary: Following Dhraegon and Marsei's wedding ceremony, the feast is held at the Hightower, in which there are the literal king and queen, gifts, food, drinking, entertainment, rumours, violence, a call for a duel, mild treachery … and whispers of the greens and blacks.
Date: 12/12/2015
Related: The Royal Reception, The Wedding of Prince Dhraegon and Lady Marsei

Grand Dining Hall - The Hightower - Battle Island

This enormous dining hall is made to feast hundreds. There are wide double doors in the back which lead to the kitchens and the servants quarters beyond.

The walls here are decorated with huge tapestries depicting the Hightower, the acts of famous members of the Hightower family, the house sigil, famous parts of Oldtown, and the wildlife and flora of The Reach. Large oil lamps light the room, some from wall sconces and others from several massive chandeliers.

There are five long tables, each long enough to serve any ordinary grand feast. Their legs are carved in the shape of the Hightower itself, with the flame at the top leafed in gold. While they are narrow enough to allow people to pass things across them, they are so long that fifty might sit at each side. The great Head Table where the Lord and his family sit near the head is a little wider and a little taller, and is inlaid with blue and white and grey stone along its top. Carved chairs to match surround the tables.

The guests are mostly already in the Hall. A group of Whimsy musicians led by a diminutive and extremely thin and fragile looking man of Dornish and Summer Isles ancestry are warming up. The royal family are seated at the head table along with the all the important Hightowers and any Tyrells that turn up, Tyrell's being paramount for the Reach. Long tables stretch out below to allow as many guests as possible, with a wide clear space in the middle where another long table might be set to leave room for the entertainment. Lord Ormund and the bride and groom being slightly delayed upstairs, the servants have made sure all cups are filled to toast them.

Flox appears to give the nod to the musicians and they strike up a particularly dignified prossessional, blowing their lizzards, snakes, and serpants in a fanfare. Ormund takes hi place at the hightable. All eyes turn from the king and Queen to stare at the new spectacle. Is the Prince really poisoned? Is he alive?

Apparently so, for there is Prince Dhraegon, his hair impeccable, in his wedding clothes with a big goofy grin, holding the hand of his most elegant lady as they enter. Apparently his nap has refreshed him, for the Clown Prince is practically glowing with good cheer. He giggles and waves at people with his free hand.

There is a whole bunch of Tyrells, including Ser Loryn. He had turned up with some people from the Whimsy in tow and there's something very big wrapped in cloth set against one wall. Loryn makes sure that his actor friends are rewarded with a free drink before they need to depart from the hall full of nobility. He then returns to his own family while he waits for something official to start.

Desmond Snow enters a little late, his features already flushed with drink. He makes his way toward one of the tables near the front, towering head-and-shoulders above most present. He's grinning, speaking to another sellsword, the words loud enough to carry, though he seems to be stage-whispering. "His cock was so hard, I wager they had to milk him before he woke!" And they both laugh.

The glowing bride has appeared only in glimpses before the feast begun in earnest: once soon after returning to the Hightower, while the grand dining hall was prepared (though it couldn't have been said to be unprepared, given the servants' constant work), and once some time later when drinks had begun to flow before the feast started and Dhraegon was still … elsewhere. Then, she only stayed long enough, slipping away from rumours, to exchange smiles and familial words with those closest to her blood — one of them being Queen Alicent; now she looks settled in her proper place beside her new Targaryen husband, smiling as brightly as he, as if nothing remotely unusual happened at the sept. As if their betrothal from the start hasn't been unusual and subject of such speculations. They start for the table where a place of honour is laid out for husband and wife — naturally, a course that leads them closer and closer to Desmond Snow and his tale. Whether or not she hears him or not is another story; she holds tighter to Dhraegon's hand and leads on.

Dhraegon must have heard Desmond as he glances at his wife (His WIFE!) and looks away again, blushing scarlet. He gives her hand the gentlest of squeezes.

Princess Rhaenyra does not make a bold entrance this time; the Queen of Dragonstone is present among her kin at the high table, judging from on high, as it were.

Before reaching their seats, Marsei stops in front of those of the jolly King Viserys and Queen Alicent, who are surrounded by their children: the oldest Prince Aegon, Prince Aemond with his missing eye, the plump and happy Princess Helaena, and little Daeron, who has been instructed to sit rather than run off to play with Lionyl, at least for the time. With royal pomp, he rushes forward to present the couple with a gift in a jeweled box.

The flock of Tyrells has their heads close together as the elder family members explain who's who in the royal family, since none of the young ones have ever made it to Kings Landing or Dragonstone. They are patiently waiting their turn to present whatever gifts they may have.

Though Prince Rhaegor attended the ceremony proper with Emira of Dorne, she is notably absent from the feast itself. Instead, he is flanked at the hightable by the Princesses Rhaenys and Lhaeda. The latter, his sister, is seated adjacent to Rhaenyra, possibly lamenting the fact that her own name does not start with an R. The quartet converses amongst themselves, paying due accord to the recently wed couple upon their entrance. Rhaegor, at least, studies Dhraegon with particularly intent scrutiny, though his expression is otherwise unreadable.

Once he's found his table — well away from his companion, very near to the Nobility — Desmond's demeanor changes. He's still flushed, but he looks vaguely uncomfortable, gazing at Dhraegon and Marsei. Just for a moment, his expression is stricken as he watches the pair, and shamed. He does his best to keep a smile on his face, though, and very soon the expression passes. His attention turns to the Royal Family, and there it stays - he seems fascinated with them, gazing at each in turn, his smile growing more and more genuine.

Dhraegon tops when his Lady Wife stops, and seeing the child, crouches down to eye level, smiling to receive the box. the musicians wind their fanfare to a halt. He really does seem much recovered and genuinely fond of the child, whom he has likely played with in the gardens of Dragonstone and King’s Landing. His cheerful bass voice booms out, "What have you there?"

Marsei has greeted young Daeron with has much respect as the King and Queen, and now places a hand on Dhraegon's broad shoulder and looks down in lieu of crouching in her finery.

"A gift," the youngest princeling states — courteously, but with the obviousness of youth. He glances back at Alicent as if for confirmation before opening the box. Within is a small blown glass globe of remarkable clarity; within, an impeccable silver casting of the Hightower, with a red dragon wound about it. It has a whimsical look about it, rather than the faintly ominous choking it might to be at very first glance. How the Hightower got in the perfectly smooth globe is meant to be a clever mystery.

"How charming!" Marsei says brightly.

Dhraegon gives a happy little squeal, "It's very pretty! Thank you!" he looks inclined to hug, but the gift is fragile. Flox turns up to take it upstairs and away from what will likely be a rowdy feast.

Princess Rhaenyra turns away from what was a conspiratorial whisper to Lhaeda, tossing her head of long, braided, silvery blonde hair. Her lips seem to pinch as she observes the married couple address her father and — her Valyrian gaze narrows — step-mother. "I taste something sour," she says - to Lhaeda, Rhaegor, Rhaenys; whoever cares. She clearly assumes they all do.

Having stopped to talk to Luckin as everybody left the Sept, and without a horse of his own, Bryn had to rush to find his seat by Desmond, and thus didn't get a chance to pass on the Archmaester's request. Yet. He seems cheerful enough, however, and does have a small package with him.

Desmond plants his elbows on the table, grabbing a tankard of dark beer, and smiles over at Bryn. "Hello, lad. Got here alright? Feeling better?" His features are ruddy. He takes a long pull of his beer and nods down at the package. "What's that you have? A gift for Prince Dhraegon?"

After the throng of Targaryens have handed over their gifts, Loryn Tyrell gets up from the Tyrell part of the table with two younger cousins from Highgarden in tow. He comes to the happy couple empty-handed! He does offer both Marsei and Dhraegon a bow, then looks at the new-fangled husband. "Could I trouble you to take a few steps with me, Your Highness?"

Dhraegon must have heard the Princess as his face falls a little, but he must have spotted Bryn, for as he stands again he gives him a big smile and a wave. Then Lord Loryn is approaching. "A few steps?" He reluctantly lets go his Lady's hand and obediently steps closer to Loryn, expression one of innocent curiosity. "Is this about the Puppets?"

The king and queen have likely brought gifts as well, but they will be presented after; Marsei bows her head and bends her knee in an elegant curtsey before she's to be on her way to her seat. She catches sight of a few familiar — that is, familiar and friendly — faces, one already poised to shine to Loryn only to shine brighter when he approaches. "Ser Loryn." A twinkle in her eye, she waits.

Lhaeda Targaryen takes Princess Rhaenyra's bait; it's obvious from observing them why they are known to be thick as thieves. They're cut from the same cloth. Her bright, sparkling eyes dance between the bride and groom and the king and queen, and then she whispers something into her companion's ear with a sly, feline grin.

Rhaegor and Rhaenys, however, pointedly ignore the exchange. Any observers might note that the austere, formidable, intimidating Princess Rhaenys is giving her cousin Rhaegor a rather stern sort of lecture, and that he is bearing it grim-faced with only the occasional nod. Any attempted interjections are overruled by the sterling Queen Who Never Was.

Loryn beckons Dhraegon to follow him, including Marsei in the invitation with a little smile. He leads the prince to the far end of the room where the giant box is waiting, wrapped in cloth. On Loryn's signal the two cousins step to either side of the box and remove the cloth with a flourish - revealing a large puppet stage. The proscenium arch has been carefully carved from fine wood. A red velvet curtain is hiding the stage. But after a moment the curtains open to reveal a puppet on stage - a puppet about two feet high bearing an uncanny resemblance to Prince Dhraegon himself. The puppet price takes a bow, then gestures to the wings, from whence another puppet emerges - this one a fine redhead lady ressembling Marsei. Puppet-Marsei takes Puppet-Dhraegon's wooden hand and leans in to peck his cheek. Two more puppets walk onto the stage, these more generic-looking, one in Targaryen colors, the other in Hightower colors. And then, surprise, a puppet dragon descends for a fly around the stage.

Bryn waits back to Dhraegon cheerfully and then nods quickly to Desmond's questions. "I think I figured out my dream. Mostly. But I have to ask Prince Rhaegor something, when I can." He seems much more confident, however. Then he nods again, holding up the package, "I made it myself. But it isn't as nice as what other people are giving," he adds, looking to the present the Prince gave Dhraegon and Marsei. And then, the even more impressive puppet stage.

Desmond stares at the puppet show in fascination, nodding over to Bryn. "Aye, look at that! A little dragon." He seems enchanted. And in a lower voice, he adds, "I'm glad you've got that figured out. But I want you to have a word with Ser Daevon as well. He's a smart man, like you." He grins sideways at the young Acolyte.

Dhraegon's pale lavander eyes are wide with delight and he bounces up and down clapping like a toddler offered cakes. His high pitched squeal of delight rings out, "You remembered!" He attempts to hug Ser Loryn. At least he hasn't had time to become sticky. "I've never been a puppet before! Look, My sweet Snow drop! You are a puppet too! Oooo! A dragon! Like in the play!"

Marsei gasps — not in surprise, no, she seemed in fact to expect the puppets — but glee as they appear, although she looks modest when the imitation of herself appears on the miniature stage. She's eager for Dhraegon's reaction, beaming. "I know, my prince!" She looks gratefully to Loryn, nodding her head.

A few of the kingsguard actually tense when the puppets are revealed and a murmur goes up among several of the Targaryen guests. Representations of Targaryens and dragons as such a farce and mummery have been known to bring about harsh repercussions in some places, but as it seems to be approved by Prince Dhraegon - to put it lightly - the tensions freeze without action.

Loryn gets hugged! Not that he really minds, glad that his present is as well-received as he'd hoped. The curtains on the puppet theatre close and soon two more young people emerge from behind the stage - the puppeteers obviously. "These are Arsan and Tursan.", Loryn introduces the chaps to Dhraegon, "They will be happy to teach you in the way of manipulating the puppets to your liking." The youths, clearly flustered to be in such elevated company, bow hurriedly and nod.

Dhraegon attempts to hug the puppeteers too, poor youths.

Having been called away for a little while, Brynden slips in again as he looks around. Trying to return into this feast without interrupting anything. Looking around, he smiles as he sees Loryn's gift being well received.

Bryn nods quickly, again, "Ser Daevon was one of the ones helping me figure out the dreams, I'll tell him everything. But I need to know something first." He watches the presentation of the puppets and puppeteers, looking down a little more unsurely at the package in his hand.

Desmond laughs aloud as Dhraegon envelops the two youths in hugs. He leans aside to Bryn, smiling. "So you got to meet the King, eh? What's -he- like?" He nods his chin toward jolly Viserys. "Wish that I could meet him." And then he glances aside at Bryn, more attentively. "What is it you need to know?"

Marsei gives a soft laugh — and a look of sympathy toward the puppeteers. Spotting Brynden, she ushers him over, reaching for his elbow. "Cousin! We were just about to go sit at our table."

Rhaenyra has fallen into a hush, eavesdropping on the Queen That Never Was giving Rhaegor a speaking to and looking coolly disgusted at the puppeteering — which her father King Viserys, on the contrary, seems not to mind at all, happy as can be watching it all. After a moment, she speaks up again within that closed circle of hers; but even from afar, it's abundantly obvious that she's talking about the couple by the way she eyes them. "I wouldn't be surprised if she was responsible for the debacle at the altar. She's all honey now, but she is Alicent's creature. And the Hand's."

Dhraegon tries to hug poor Loryn a second time, "You are a very clever knight!" And then he is bouncing over to Bryn, booming, "What is that you have?" He does not seem to have understood the whispers against his new wife.

Loryn is content to see his gift well-received and gestures for the puppeteers to wrap up the stage in cloth again for now and find themselves food and drink in the servants' hall or something. Then he returns to his own table, grinning a little at his family. "Job done", the look seems to say.

Desmond watches Rhaenyra for a few moments, during his scrutiny of the Royal Family. His smile becomes a touch forced; he looks up as Dhraegon comes bouncing over and rises, grinning at the Targaryen happily. "I'm so glad you've gotten married, Your Grace. Well done. You've plucked the rarest of flowers." He smiles past Dhraegon toward Marsei.

"Congratulations, Your Grace." He bows toward Dhraegon, and there's no hint of the mockery that he had indulged in earlier. And then, in an inspiration, "Everyone seems so very happy."

Bryn brightens again, and answers Desmond, "He's very nice." Then Dhraegon is there, and he stands up, offering the package to him with a smile. "I couldn't afford anything special, so I made this for you."

Marsei follows a moment after Dhraegon and smiles benevolently at Bryn on the way; the same smile meets Desmond, but grows slightly tense at the corners. She walks past, though it's with polite nods, moving to take her seat at last. Siva appears from behind, almost as ever-present as Dhraegon's Flox, prepared to help the lady into her seat given the taut fit and long trail of her gown.

Dhraegon atrempts to hug Desmond in response to the compliments. "They tell me I did not dream it, though it seems like a dream!" He ruffles Bryn's hair fondly, "It was kind of you to think of it." he opens the present with a child's simple delight.

Desmond hugs Dhraegon fondly, patting his back several times. Marsei's smile in his direction is met with one in return, though his eyes are a little sad as he catches the tension in her expression. "It was no dream. You did very well. And you get to sit with the King. That has to be very exciting, Prince Dhraegon." He casts a look toward the King, still apparently fascinated by that crown.

Inside the package is a belt buckle. It's simple, made of steel and lacking any kind of jewels, but etched into the front is as close to the representation of Rose, Dhraegon's riding bull, as Bryn could manage. Bryn watches nervously, well aware the gift isn't nearly as impressive as the others.

Dhraegon grins and hugs the lad, "It's Rose! How clever! I will wear in next I ride him!" He looks worried, "Oh! I wonder if they remembered to move him to the stables here and if he is scared of all the horses…."

"We will have someone check," Marsei says from the table, reassuring. "Come sit, my prince?" It's expected; only then can the true feasting begin. Already the table is lining with gifts since she sat down, and she smiles gratefully at each and every one.

Still gleaming about the eyes, wreathed indelibly in smiles, Lady Joyeuse Hastwyck arrived from the Starry Sept in conversation with Ser Loryn Tyrell — deep in conversation, regarding the Whimsy's once and future theatrical offerings and the costuming thereof — and having been invited to sit with him at the table of Tyrells, where a place was found for her by kicking out some minor cousin nobody likes anyway, she then proceeded to abandon him and work her charming (or indeed shamelessly flirting) way about the room, renewing old acquaintances, and incidentally spreading at every table the tale of Prince Dhraegon being overcome by his bride's beauty and his love of her and the sheer relief of finally having won such a marvelous creature for his own.

The puppet show transfixes her just where she is: sitting with a party of Reachlords and their ladies, in someone else's abandoned and annexed chair, laughing merrily, plying her painted ivory fan through the air and then snapping it shut again to applaud. Of course as soon as the puppeteers begin their work of dismantling the stage she extricates herself from her present company and rustles in a graceful hurry past the table of someone else clad in red silk and adorned amply with pearls, to alight upon her previous seat and exclaim: "Sir Loryn, what a delight—! Only if you could have brought the Whimsy itself into this hall, could you have offered a more amusing gift, to all of us gathered here." She has of course a cup of wine in her hand; she's had that cup or another within reach since she crossed the threshold. When she's leaning so near to speak above others' chatter, her breath reveals, unavoidably, this fact. Doesn't seem to be doing her any harm, though…

"There may be some performance when the hour is later.", Loryn assures Joyeuse with a smile, "But Prince Dhraegon kept asking me about a puppet show in the Whimsy, which naturally, we did not have. So… he's getting his own puppet theatre." He lifts his own cup in a half-toast to the lady, then takes a sip and falls silent to watch what other gifts are being given.

Bryn smiles happily at Dhraegon's reaction, returning the hug. Then, he sits back down, as Dhraegon is called back to his bride. Reassured that Dhraegon liked the present, the boy is looking his more patient normal self as he waits for the feast to begin.

Dhraegon blushes, pats the youth's shoulder and dutifully goes to sit with his wife at the table, leaning to playfully touch his forehead to her hair, barely touching, lips moving slightly, mostly hidden by their matching elaborate hairstyles. Then he stands again. "Before we begin I would like to make a toast!" He lifts his wine goblet. He recites much as a child might, carefully mouthing each word he clearly learned in advance, those his smile seems genuine enough, and there is a twinkle in his eyes as he gazes at the Flower of Oldtown, "To our most beneficent king who sent me here to marry! Though I never thought of matrimony for myself, I am incredibly blessed by this union, now…" He hesitates and pronounces the next word slowly and carefully, it being a difficult one, "So.lem.ni.fied today, a year to the day of My lady and I first meeting at a feast here in this hall." This next is less stilted. he tears up a little, "May we all be as lucky in having duty and happiness be so well combined in service to our gracious king!" he drinks and sits down all flushed with the embarrassment of giving a complicated speech before so many.

Desmond surges to his feet, raising his tankard and declaring loudly. "Hear, hear! Well said!" The Northman's voice carries like a battle-cry. He drains his tankard with aplomb before settling back down, absently wiping a bit of spilt ale on his silk tunic. He then remembers it's silk, and his scarred face takes on an almost-comical look of dismay. He peers aside at Bryn. "How easy is it to clean silk?"

Marsei's red head twists ever-so-slightly when Dhraegon leans in; she smiles fondly all the while, but a quiver of discomfort tenses her features in place at his whisper. Whatever it was, it's forgotten as he makes his toast; she beams upward, the picture of a perfect glowing bride, proud. Applause, cheers, and shouts erupt around the hall, and she claps among them. "Well done," she says quietly, recognizing how difficult such a recital must have been. "You do make me so proud, my sweet prince." She drinks to the toast and, as she sets her goblet down, more wine is poured in by a waiting servant. The servant pauses above Dhraegon's cup and looks to him for confirmation or denial, obviously under orders of caution.

Dhraegon looks incredibly relieved that she approves of his toast. He waves the servant to fill his cup. After all food is on it's way.

Indeed a veritable army of servants parade in with a everything from a boar with an apple in its mouth to venison steaks to swans, to two subtleties (one in the shape of the castle at Dragon stone and one in the shape of the high tower), as well as a variety of Dornish dishes, and savory pasties because it is known Prince Dhraegon isn't allowed sharp things.

"How thoughtful," sighs Lady Joy to Ser Loryn, her folded fan touching his arm for a moment to emphasise her sentiments. And then Prince Dhraegon proposes his toast; and she looks up with a fascination very thinly veiled indeed at the royal couple she has thus far been too diplomatic to approach. (With another few cups of wine in her, however…) She listens; she beams with the radiant benevolence which is only natural on the wedding day of a beautiful and well-pleased friend who has just become a princess; she snaps open her fan again and employs it, the next time Lady Marsei is facing more or less towards her, to catch her eye and raise her cup to her. It's awfully good work, securing a husband of whom one can be so fond.

Daevon arrives late. Just in time for the feasting. He's not wearing his armor, having changed to something in silver and violet silk, with exquisite embroidery. He's quiet as he enters, trying to go unnoticed, and certainly doesn't want to make a fuss by finding a seat beside his family. So he ends up where Desmond and Loryn are, and he's going to hope he's unseen. The food, after all, is a wonderful distraction.

Still smiling as he watches the proceedings, Brynden is keeping silent as he looks around at the people.

Marsei catches sight of Joy over the head of a boar; she gives a buoyant little smile and a wiggle of her fingers in hello across the distance. She recognizes the Maiden Knight's armour when her gaze travels away from the Lady Hastwyck. While he does not earn the silly wave, she smiles at him from afar without drawing anyone's attention to him. Soon the hall is awash in the lavish spreads of food and the enjoyment of it. Wine flows heavily, and the after a time, the hall is raucous with festivity, absolutely loud with voices and music. Shouts and laughter erupt from almost every table — with the exception of some of the Targaryens (namely that held by Rhaenyra and Rhaenys; King Viserys is much quicker to laugh). Every so often a cheer springs up to the new husband and wife or king and queen all over again, an excuse to drink.

Daevon's staying sober, not drinking from the alcohol offered, but with a goblet that disguises that fact. The food he partakes of a little more freely, although he certainly doesn't over indulge.

Desmond appears drunk. The huge Northman has been steadily downing tankard after tankard, as though someone had wagered to see how much he could consume. He lurches to his feet, raising his tankard toward the High Table, and begins to sing. "A bear there was, a bear, a bear!" Really, he's not that bad. He launches into the Bear and the Maiden Fair with vim and vigor, if not panache. The huge man even dances a little reel, his oversized longsword bouncing at his hip.

Dhraegon peers at Joyeuse shyly, and asks his Lady, "Which one is she? She looks familiar. Did I share sugar plums with her during the fight in front of the Manse?" He flashes a relieved smile when he spots the Maiden knight, but it is brief. He is much mor interested in his food, despite cakes not yet being in evidence. He is trying to drink sparingly, honestly he is, but there are so many toasts to his lady, and he can't NOT drink to her can he? Soon he is flushed and giggly and trying to tipsily hug people at the high table. His unhinged sounding titter rising steadily in volume and pitch as wanders up and down looking for hugs. As Desmond starts up with the Bear and the Maiden Fair, Dhraegon tosses his head to get the fine white hair that is escaping from his pins out of his eyes and shambles rather bearlike down to try to dance with Desmond.

The tiny Dornish musician rolls his eyes but blows accompaniment on his serpant, with the other musicians joining in on various instruments.

The King and his hand laugh at the antics, and are soon singing along, being bluff, jolly types.

Marsei is entirely uncertain about any fights and sugar plums. "Lady Joyeuse Hastwyck," she provides over her savoury meal, "My cousin, on the Tully side. Her father is a Florent."

Even the new bride becomes a bit flush with wine, evidenced by the pink in her cheeks and the way she laughs freely at things that aren't necessarily funny. Her sweetness only heightens with the sweet plum wine and Arbor red she's been served. She's beaming at Desmond's song (tensions about his rumour-spreading briefly ignored) and further when the King and Hand join in. She's about to drop her hand on Dhraegon's arm to tell him something apparently hilarious when he clambers down. She looks unsurely on, but something else catches her eye in the crowd. She turns her head suddenly to Siva who stands behind her. "Will you check on Jana? See she does not drink too much. And— look for Camillo…" She falls into whisper.

Surprisingly light on his feet for a brute, Desmond kicks up his heels, demonstrating a reel to Dhraegon. "Now you, Your Grace." It's a pretty complicated piece of dancing for a drunk Northerner, but the flush in his face hasn't faded. He beams toward Marsei, the King, and the Hand, and belts out the next verse. His booming baritone is a touch off-key, but the musicians provide him with a solid foothold, keeping him somewhere in the neighborhood of the true tune.

Daevon's all seriousness. He grimaces at the sound of that song. He drinks some more. He looks for dessert. He glances to Bryn. There's a question he wants to ask. This Prince definitely not dancing.

While most boys Bryn's age would likely have taken advantage of being away from the centre of attention to try some wine, Bryn doesn't. He does, however, eat a heaping plate of food, sampling everything. Feasts like this are a rare thing at the Citadel. Once stuffed, however, and it becomes obvious he can now leave his place without getting in trouble, he stands up, grinning to Desmond's song. He pauses, however, as he sees look from Ser Daevon.

There is a bustle around Princess Rhaenyra, who has suddenly stood from her seat. It is difficult not to notice the Queen of Dragonstone in her blood red gown gleaming with more precious gems than that of the bride, and weighing down her throat and fingers besides. Servants surround her holding a box draped in red silk.

Daevon's not going to spoil the boy's fun, no, so he just flashes a smile at Bryn. They can speak later. "Have fun," he smiles. His gaze flicks over to the bustle of Targaryens.

Evidently Rhaegor has had rather enough of the Queen Who Never Was; surprising, given their history of working together on Crown and familial business. Following a rather tense-seeming one-sided exchange, the prince seizes the opportunity, once dancing begins, to push back his chair and stalk away from the high table. He ignores the protests of his sister, Lhaeda, and Princess Rhaenyra, but as he goes he is most ungraciously bumped into by Desmond Snow. He has a few choice words for Daevon's man before he brushes past.

Hearing all this music, Brynden is unable to hold back a grin. He claps to the music, with a grin as he looks between the others present, offers nods and grins as he does. There's a few brief moments as he studies Daevon very briefly, before he goes back to looking around again.

Rhaegor spends 1 luck points on To punch Desmond in the face..

Dhraegon shrieks drunkenly and points at Desmond, "Bear!" and himself, "Maiden!" he tries to copy the jig, but with the long robes an the layered silks and all those toasts, he quickly trips and falls forward flailing wildly at the Northerner and departing Prince for balance.

Desmond certainly didn't bump into Rhaegor apurpose. Surely not. But he does respond to the Dragon Prince's whisper with some words of his own. Surely the man is just too drunk to realize that he's disrespecting a -prince-. Surely he doesn't disdain Rhaegor that much. But then, here comes Dhraegon, falling right into him. Desmond is distracted, trying to steady the falling Prince, turning toward him and reaching out with a massive hand to grab the prince's robes.

Bryn smiles again, "Thanks." He turns again, starting towards the high table, only to pauses he apparently missed his chance. The Princess is standing up, and Rhaegor is angrily stalking off and possibly getting into a fight. Well, he has a promise to keep first, so he approaches the Princess. "Your Grace, Archmaester Luckin asked me to ask if it would be at all possible if your Dragon could find somewhere other than the Citadel roof to rest."

Suddenly the activity around Rhaenyra is nothing compared to the chaotic exchange around Rhaegor. It's confusing even to those with a front row seat, but there's choice words exchanged and there's Dhraegon crashing into Desmond. But then, inexplicably, there are the sounds of gasps as Prince Rhaegor delivers a sound, shameless punch to the Snow man's jaw.

Rhaenyra, flanked by the servants from Dragonstone, begins to approach the bride and groom's table. She is unconscionably interrupted by three things in quick succession: one, Siva reappears with Lady Jana Fossoway, leading her to Marsei. Two, Dhraegon falls in the midst of Rhaegor and that dancing beast of the North and Rhaegor throws a punch. Three, which she barely notices at first, there is a child asking her a question. She stares death at every and each barricade. "Beg your pardon, who are you?"

Marsei rises at once from her seat, hands planted upon the table. "Dhraegon— Rhaegor!" Her shout is small and does not carry far; what it does carry is concern above all. It wouldn't be her place to chastise Prince Rhaegor for hitting a bastard sellsword, even if he does seem to be affixed to the Targaryens in some way.

The King freezes mind laughter and starts to rise. The music trails off.

Daevon's up on his feet almost automatically as punches are thrown. He's glaring icy daggers at Rhaegor, although he takes in enough of the situation that he doesn't intervene. Well not yet.

The blow connects with Desmond's jaw just as he's steadying Dhraegon's footing, his hand still tangled in the other man's robes. He goes reeling backward, but fails to let go of Dhraegon. Accidentally pulling the huge prince forward as he falls back, Desmond finally manages to get unentangled - but he's sent Dhraegon right toward Rhaegor. And as the king rises, Desmond finally falls, landing on his arse right at the foot of the High Table.

Dhraegon is wide eyed with alarm at the sudden, unexpected violence, his nearly colourless irises a bit eery with the whites being blood shot. he is falling, a fist is flying by his head. In his confusion and panic, he attempts to hug his heroic kinsman.

Rhaegor steadies Dhraegon, as he comes crashing toward him next, but just as swiftly and agilely discards the lumbering prince as soon as he's regained his footing. As more attention shifts his way, Rhaegor declares, "This man would insult a Prince of the Blood at a Royal Feast." He finds Daevon in the crowd; it's easy, because Daevon is staring daggers at him. "Prince Daevon, I insist you excuse your man from these halls. In return, I will waive my right to satisfaction."

Dhraegon teeters as he's set on his feet, but it is clearly all too much for him. he sits down hard, and starts to weep loudly and copiously like a startled and possibly overstimulated toddler. "It's all ruined! Can't we all just hug and have a drink?"

The servants are sleeping in shifts, as this celebration is likely to go round the clock. Camillo took an early shift so as to be up by the time people really got drunk and dangerous, but apparently he missed that mark. Hurrying discreetly is a challenge, but he slips quickly into the room.

In contrast to the groom, Lady Hastwyck is… well, all right, in the last half an hour her head has been buzzing enough that she's made an effort to pace herself; but as is the way of things at such feasts her cup is never empty, and it arrives at her red-stained lips with jovial frequency. The tableful of Tyrells, once divided upon the subject of Ser Loryn's addition of her to their midst, for the majority of them are of an age to have heard talk, have imbibed freely enough themselves to have decided she's all right after all — that was a pretty funny story about the maester and the pot of honey — and she has twice removed a hand from her knee under the table before just giving up and leaving it there. Its owner's bound to be under the table in full before much longer and then the problem will solve itself, won't it? She smiles past him up at the high table, this time chuckling at the groom's "dance" and reflecting upon the good fortune of marrying a fellow who doesn't take himself too seriously… The prigs, they're the worst.

Then the hand moves. So does Lady Joy. Abruptly up out of her seat and over to the said table, in her cherry-red sandsilk and rope upon rope of pearls and the enormous ruby ring which was a wedding gift from her besotted second husband. Several of her dark red curls, having had hours to plot their escape, have freed themselves from the governance of her pearl-tipped hairpins to frame her face and her throat and her beaming smile. The dragons throwing punches and obliging her to veer off and approach from a different angle (certainly not to turn back) provide a sufficient distraction that she's unaware of Rhaenyra Targaryen in a different shade of red and even more jewellery, on an apparent collision course; she's the next to reach the bride, both hands extended, to offer… congratulations? "Goodness, cousin, your wedding feast shall be accounted the sucess of the decade; the fights don't usually start till much later in the evening," she laughs.

Lord Hightower does not look best pleased. Neither does the King.

It's probably not proper, but Bryn meets the Princess's gaze. His face is full of respect, and definitely a little fear, but the boy has enough Targaryen in him that he won't cower. "I am Acolyte Bryndon Flowers, Your Grace." He looks worried then, as he hears Dhraegon so audibly upset, but he doesn't want to disrespect the Princess by turning his attention away.

"I witnessed no insult save for the fist you threw unprovoked. Make your demands of Prince Dhraegon," Daevon replies to Rhaegor, his words ice cold. "That man is here as the groom's guest, under his explicit invitation. If you wish to dictate the guest list, then do so to him. And please explain to him why you're attempting to ruin his wedding. I would have expected better of you."

Camillo is quickly to Dhraegon with a large and sturdy handkerchief, saying something quietly to him. Then he looks up, and the gaze he sends at Rhaegor and Daevon is as sharp as a servant dare give.

Marsei lingers at the table more than she wants to, with eyes upon her for her reaction as much as Dhraegon. She reaches eagerly for Lady Joy's hands. "Oh Lady Joyeuse, you do have a way of with words," she says, her eyes slightly teary around the edges on account of all the wine and emotion at once. "My prince needs such words now." With an apologetic look Joy, as well as to Jana — not Rhaenyra who, besides, isn't looking at her — she carefully maneuvers her way out of her seat and around the table to step down to Dhraegon. "It is not ruined, my prince. What feast hasn't a few brawls?" Most of them don't involve the Crown Diplomat to Dorne, but never mind. "Come have some cakes. We will dance, when the music picks back up." She looks across at Camillo, grateful.

Desmond clambers onto his knees and looks over at Rhaegor and Daevon. He doesn't try to rise, his expression one of baffled innocence. He does not speak, just remains kneeling, quite still. He has the sense to keep his hands well away from his sword. His eyes gleam for a moment, before he looks down at the floor, resting his hands on the stones.

Brynden shakes his head a bit as he sees the brawling, while moving to get himself something to eat and drink. "Interesting entertainment…" he remarks, expression a bit thoughtful.

Rhaegor watches Daevon intently, his jaw setting at his cousin's reply. "I now understand your man's bad manners; you would encourage him to insult your kin twice by having the first repeated. Very well. If you would defend his insolence, then I will have my satisfaction from you. Let the Seven decide who between us is just." He does spare Dhraegon a look, and it might even be apologetic, but there's no diverting the dragon from defending the double slight.

Dhraegon clings to Camillo's legs and lets the servant whipe his face. Alas, digity, thy name is not Dhraegon. And then his Lady wife is looming over him and he tranfers his clingy hug to her skirts, "Cakes? And dancing?" He is pressing his face agaiinst her leg. "We were going to have the acrobats again later…."

The King's voice is cold and hard, "This was meant to be a celebration."

"Flowers," Princess Rhaenyra says ponderously down at the young acolyte. His heritage is clear to see; if it were not, perhaps she would dismiss him sooner. It's difficult to say. She does not bother keeping a steady gaze on him, more occupied by eyeing the tense situation beyond. "Tell your Archmaester that my Syrax prefers a tall roost." She whisks past Bryn.

The huge Northman, source of all this trouble, turns when the King speaks. "He's right," he mutters to himself. Pressing upright, he sticks a finger in his mouth, drawing it away red. He makes a face. "I'm the one who was struck." His voice is calm. There's not even any anger in his gaze as he watches Rhaegor. "And the prince says that I insulted him. Does a man not have the right to answer these claims himself?" He appeals to the room, gaze sweeping back and forth, then looks back to Rhaegor. "I appeal to your own courageous reputation." And then he looks to Dhraegon and smiles slightly. "I beg, Your Grace, to be given the honor of meeting you in the lists tomorrow. But for tonight.. May we not feast, and rejoice? Dawn comes soon enough." The man sounds surprisingly sober.

Lady Joy's mirth melts into a sympathetic smile as she looks into her cousin's eyes and sees more there than (having an imperfect sense of the undercurrents in this company) she expected; she holds her hands very hard for a moment, then not only frees her but follows her, a lively splash of red against pure bridal white. "Why, Your Grace," she says to Prince Dhraegon, who seems to be taking the quarrel awfully hard, "not every man holds his wine with a spirit as gracious as yours; and it's just as your lady says, that a wedding is always the occasion for— shall we say, strong feelings? Really, it speaks well of you as a host, that your guests have had so much to drink so soon!"

Like a dog on a leash, Rhaegor is brought to heel by the King's words. He pivots toward the high table, and bows his head deferentially. "Yes, your grace," he answers, without pause. The Snow man is only further broadcasting his insolence, as far as Rhaegor is concerned, by attempting to gainsay him, but all that the dragon prince seeks is his satisfaction, and when the challenge is duly accepted, he turns back to Desmond. "Sunrise," he says, simply. And then he seems intent on returning to the high table, meeting Rhaenyra somewhere in the middle.

Daevon's response is interrupted by the King's announcement, that this is meant to be a celebration. And then by Rhaegor. "You issued the challenge. I set the terms. Since it is the King's wishes that this remains a celebration, I will respect that. We will not do this here and now." He is frowning at this. "We will meet at the tournament tomorrow." There's a moment of hesitation, of calculation, but he says. "Swords. And until one of us yields."

Camillo gets Dhraegon as cleaned up as he possibly can, but can do not very much more than that. He certainly receives Marsei's look, though as a servant his can hardly be too meaningful in public.

Bryn nods, bowing to the princess as she moves past. And that's over, so he can turn his attention to the confrontation. Not that he can do much to help. Disease and injury he knows how to help, but not anger or hurt feelings. He can't even choose a side, genuinely liking everybody involved. So, he just stands there, looking from one person to the next.

Princess Rhaenyra meets Rhaegor; something passes between them — words, not meant for any other ears. She looks him solidly in the eye. Her lips, which had grown petulant, turn upward. "Of that, you can be certain," she says aloud with pride, then whispers in the prince's ear.

Dhraegon sniffles and unburies his red face enough to peer at Lady Joyeuse rather balefully. After some thought, he asks her as if this is the most serious question in the world, "Do you like Brandy cakes? We were promised brandy cake with honey?"

The King seems satisfied that the duels will be put off until tomorrow. He signals and the musicians strike up a popular figure dance in the hopes of distracting the guests with less violent fun.

Marsei shuffles the tiniest bit away from Dhraegon; she holds her hands down instead, further encouraging him upward and onward. "The brandy cakes and honey," she places pleasant request with Camillo. Her look toward Joyeuse is ever-so-slightly apologetic, this being her cousin's first meeting with Dhraegon.

And now Rhaegor is caught in Rhaenyra's orbit. When the King calls for music, it is indeed a sign that the festivities have resumed, and Rhaegor further obeys by bowing, just ever so casually a fraction, before the Targaryen princess and giving her his hand that they might enter the dance.

Stolidly, looking from Rhaegor to Daevon once, Desmond resumes his seat. His jaw is purpling as he prepares himself a plate of meats. He draws his eating knife to mince the meat down into chewable portions. His shoulders hunch in slightly as he eats, looking rather miserable and -almost- smaller. He keeps looking up at Daevon, an expression of something akin to shame on his battered face.

Drunken men, children, small alarmed animals — Lady Joyeuse Hastwyck has a way with such creatures, and just at present Prince Dhraegon resembles a composite of all three. When he looks at her smile deepens, and while her answer is issued rather more lightly than his question she looks into his eyes as though it were, indeed, the most urgent piece of business which could possibly be before her. "I think brandy cakes are almost my very favourites… I shouldn't like to say so absolutely, though, lest your wedding feast prove to offer even greater delights — I shouldn't be altogether surprised if it did, Your Grace." She lifts her gaze to Lady Marsei and gives her a friendly little quirk of her eyebrows. She does want to like him, for her cousin's sake. She always starts off wanting to like people. And later on she'll say that, well, isn't a husband who weeps when he's drunk better than one who lashes out with his fists—? Plenty of those sorts on show this evening, to provide an apt comparison…

Before taking Rhaegor's hand, Princess Rhaenyra gives an irate eye to the empty seats of Marsei and Dhraegon and her servants waiting to deliver what appears to be a mysterious gift. She sends them off; she waited too long, now she no longer seems to care. She sweeps into a dance with Rhaegor.

Dhraegon's white eyelashes are tear darkened starfish as he blinks up at his new friend. He responds with instinctive obedience to Marsei's urging, scrambling awkwardly to his feet. He explains earnestly, "The Strawberry jam cakes with clotted cream are my very favorite, but I ate too many at the party the other night and I thought brandy is best for weddings. What are your very favorite?" He tries to press against Marsei, rather like a shy child might against a mother when introduced to a stranger. She is tiny next to his massive form. He must have caught something out of the corner of his eye, "Is that another present?"

Jurian has been quietly enjoying the conflict between his more famous kinsmen from somewhere where he can enjoy some savory food and drink, and where he can talk to whatever eligible women come within striking distance.

Once Dhraegon is calm and moving cake-ward, Camillo retreats and joins in the duties of the other servants. There is much to do, taking out empty plates, bringing in fresh ones, changing jugs of wine, mopping up spills…

As Prince Dhraegon rises Lady Joy's gaze follows him up, and up, and up. "I think…" Her untidy red head tilts, her eyelids lower as she muses — and then snap open as she confesses to him, "My very favourite cake, is whichever one is set before me. Though there's much to be said for strawberry jam cakes, Your Grace. I am fond of almost anything red and I think you must be too, aren't you?" she suggests gently. "To wed my beautiful cousin."

Dhraegon giggles happily at Joyeuse's clever answer and attempts to give her a big friendly hug, his distress mostly forgotten. And look! They are carrying in big platters with cakes, including the honey cakes soaked in brandy and people have started dancing. Dhraegon looks to his Lady Wife, "Would you like cake or dancing first, my Asphodel?"

"There are so many presents— " Marsei tells Dhraegon, her tone uplifting, appealing to his childlike joy without condescending it. "I cannot keep track of them all. It does seem Princess Rhaenyra has a gift…" Her hand is caring upon his arm, leading the way. He's in good hands with Marsei and Joyeuse all the way to the table. She laughs softly at her cousin's quip. "Cakes! Of course."

Just then, Lady Jana, who has waited patiently with Siva, places the small jewelry box on the table, where her hands remain with an air of imploring. She bows her head. Touched by the gift-giving, Marsei lays her hands over those of her former goodsister. "May you find happiness in your new life," says Jana, sounding sincere enough through exceptional elocution. "I have tried to put it all behind me…" She nearly begins a less forgiving tangent, but lands upon, "And I am sorry."

Istor, too, has been permitted the party with extra guard. Perhaps they kept him to his room a bit at first to be sure he would not create too much of a scene while the party was getting underway, but he is here, now, with two burly men on either side failing at being unobtrusive. The party might be rather overwhelming to one who was lately kept in a dungeon, but it would be wasteful not to make the fullest use of a brief period of freedom. Camillo notices his arrival but, after a pause, goes back to collecting plates.

Rhaegor guides Rhaenyra entirely through the dance, though she's hardly the sort who prefers to be led rather than to do the leading herself. The cousins are a well-matched and handsome couple, and when the musicians take up a new song, he leads his partner from the floor and, it would seem, back toward the high table once more, but not without pausing to gauge her whim.

Desmond plods on through his meal, his jaw now bruised and a little swollen. He pours from a tankard and takes a long gulp, and pours again. Rubbing at the back of his neck, the huge man mutters something to himself, looking around for a friendly face. The dancing catches his eye, and he watches Rhaegor and Rhaenyra without any apparent malice, but with plenty of curiousity.

Princess Rhaenyra pauses with Rhaegor and smiles, looking out over the feasting as though she is above it all.

Rhaegor defers to Rhaenyra's will, but rather than join her in making her return to the high table, he executes a crisp bow and delivers a kiss to the knuckles of her right hand. They have some further, brief, words before parting, and then he leaves her, melting instead into the throng of revelers in the hall.

It's all a bit unreal but, squiffy and happy and with the prospect of more squiffiness and happiness to come, Lady Joyeuse surrenders to the hug and wraps her own arms as far as they'll go around the great big prince who loves his wedding cakes possibly even more than his bride. Who can say? She's mildly surprised that his hug is only a hug and not a pretext — she's been on the receiving end of more than one dodgy 'familial embrace' in her time — but then, he's standing six inches away from his bride, isn't he? She accompanies the newly-wedded couple to the high table, on Prince Dhraegon's other side, for she still hasn't said what she meant to say — whatever that was, she can't quite recall — but it's bound to come back to her… When next there's a pause in the conversation (or she can by sheer impetuosity make one), she turns her broad, pleasantly inebriated smile from groom to bride and sighs, "The two of you are the picture of fondness; I don't only hope you'll be very happy together, but somehow I feel I know it."

The hug is definitely not a pretext. his hands are all correct and there is no sign of an agenda beyond really liking hugs. Dhraegon comes along dociley where Marsei leads, "Shall we see what's in it? And then might I feed you cake? I think I should very much like to feed you cakes!" Up close he smells of lavander and vanilla and the wine from the toasts. He seems happy enough to walk between the two red heads, his head swivelling as he tries to look at presents and pick out the cakes we would like at the same time. he giggles happily, "Cakes and presents!" He smiles a goofy clueless looking smile at Jana. Subtext, what subtext? His pale eyes are empty of thought as cloudless sky. He beams at Joyeuse, "I was really, really scared when they said I was to marry, but I stopped being scared because my Snow Drop is the best wife… better than I could ever imagine and I want her life from hear on out to be all smiles and delight." He tears up again, this time from happiness

As things returned to normal, Bryn relaxes a bit. He starts to return to his table with Desmond and Daevon, but he still has a question to ask. As he sees Rhaegor split off from the princess, he hurries to catch up, "Prince Rhaegor, can I ask you something?"

Daevon's still here, making nice with his younger relatives, finding their company far easier than he does the adult Targaryens.

The Flowers boy is at his heel, suddenly, but Rhaegor keeps walking. Rather than disabuse the boy of the notion of following, though, he says, "You may." Assuming, of course, Bryn can keep stride.

Istor takes his opportunity to get a plate full of the finest food and even a cake. No mold on anything, how refreshing.

Desmond watches Bryn run after Rhaegor with a sudden smile. He mutters, though it may be audible to others, "Boy has stones like mountains." There's definite approval in his voice. He pours again from a pitcher, gulps it down. As a servant passes by, he touches her arm. "More water, if you please," he says, rapping a knuckle against the empty pitcher. His voice is very quiet, as though he's embarrassed.

For her part Lady Joy wafts about in a heady, spicy fragrance which like her sandsilk suggests Dorne more than Westeros; she laughs merrily at the thought of being fed cakes by a Targaryen prince, which is a pastime she's only just realised she's been waiting all her life to partake of. He speaks of his new princess and, impulsively, she takes his hand in her own: "Do you know, that's almost the very thing my second husband said to me when we were wed?" she exclaims with a sigh which mingles delight and regret. Tears spring into her eyes. "He's been gone now almost two years, Seven rest him; but he kept his promise till the very end… I know you'll do the same, Your Grace." Call her a crazy optimist, but she really does have a good feeling about him.

Bryn keeps up, though it takes him about two steps for every one of Rhaegor's, "Do the colours green and black mean anything in regards to Princess Rhaenyra and either Prince Aegon or Princess Helaena? Or both?"

Indeed the savories are rather spicey. It turns out the Clown Prince not only has a sweet tooth, but a fondness for peppers and other spices, when they can get him to eat savouries. Dhraegon is so moved by Joyeuse's good wishes he gives her another big friendly hug. Then he is shrieking, "Cakes!" Coincidentally just as Bryn brings up the green and black, and throwing himself at a platter to find the perfect one to feed his Beloved Flower.

Marsei must not quite trust Jana's apologies, for though she met them with gladness on her face, from her heart, she bids Siva near and whispers to her after the Fossoway leaves. The handmaid follows Siva, after a spell. Marsei scarcely misses a beat with Dhraegon, though; she laughs softly, entertained by his notions of feeding her cakes (although she's more likely to feed them to herself). She's more demure about his barrage of compliments; all the more for their obvious sincerity. She rests her hand upon his wider arm and smiles between Dhraegon and her similarly red-haired cousin. "Look, this one is a … oh, a dagger." Engraved and gleaming. "I suppose we've no need for that, but we shall thank the… um," she looks unsurely at the note within the wooden gift-box, signed by a lord and lady Manwoody, "they were Dornish."

Rhaegor pauses in his purposeful striding, as if it's the last possible question he'd have anticipated from the boy. "The court at King's Landing often refers to the Queen and her ladies as the greens and Princess Rhaenyra and her ladies as the blacks. I don't recall how it started, precisely, but I came back from my travels in Qarth and it was so. Nothing to do with Aegon and Helaena." For another five years, anyway. And now he's taken to studying Bryn. He puts a hand on the boy's shoulder, which might outright terrify the child if he wasn't himself a Dragonseed.

Desmond watches this exchange between Rhaegor and Bryn intently, pouring and drinking, pouring and drinking. He rinses out his mouth and swallows. He drinks some more. And when Rhaegor places his hand on Bryn's shoulder, he tenses for just a moment. And then he relaxes, turning away to gaze at the dancers and the feasting men.

Dhraegon peers at the dagger, blinking slowly, "I suppose you could wear it on ceremonial occasions?" As if Marsei were any more likely to stab someone than Dhraegon it. "Are those gazelles?" He thinks he has told a hilarious joke regarding gazelles, and his alarmingly loud and daft sounding laugh peels out again. "Ga. Zelles!" Because repeating what he thinks is a punchline clearly makes it funnier, he cackles even louder. So loud. So distracting. Then he is offering his new wife the first bight of cake, all wide eyes and earnest, "The first and best should be yours."

Oh, my! Another hug. The last one was so warm and cosy and innocent and vanilla-scented that Lady Joy doesn't object to seconds; she pats the prince's back fondly with the fan still held in her hand and then, social mobility having been the order of her day in any case, perches upon the edge of the chair on the other side of his. Goodness knows whose it's supposed to be; but it's empty now and at the drunken, squabbling, potentially dueling stage of a wedding feast it's every guest for herself. "A dagger?" she inquires doubtfully of Lady Marsei, leaning her forearm upon the table and peering at it. "Whatever do the Manwoodys suppose you'll do with that, sweetling? It must be something somebody else gave them that they want to get rid of," she decides; "really, how tasteless. They might as well not have sent anything at all. I do hope you like mine," she adds, eyes widening, "I sent it instead of bringing it, because boxes are so awkward to carry, and I gave my maid the evening free so she could go to one of the parties down in the city if she liked…" A thought strikes her. "I don't suppose she did, though."

Indeed, Bryn actually seems reassured by the hand on his shoulder. He says softly, not wanting his words to carry beyond Rhaegor and make anybody worry, having made that mistake during the wedding ceremony itself, "I told you about my dreams. About what the Mother said was coming. In the first dream, the dragons that were fighting, that both fell from the sky, one was green and one was black."

"What kind of ceremony?" Marsei can't imagine one, and similarly, looks both blank and bright as Dhraegon bursts into laughter, rather like she doesn't know what gazelles are, if they are, in fact, anything more than a bizarre word he heard somewhere. "I thought they were birds with long legs." As the first piece of cake is offered, Marsei swiftly takes it delicately in hand and smiles through the bite of sweetness. She beams; it passes the test easily. As if there was one. "Perhaps it is traditional in Dorne," she wonders toward Joyeuse with a glance to the dagger, "Oh— never mind. Of course you would know better than I do!" She beams, "I'm absolutely certain I will love your gift, Lady Joy."

Desmond rises to his feet after a time and makes his way back toward the High Table, a little nervously. After all, he did just provoke a duel. He carries himself like a man weighted down, as he had been weighted down earlier in the day, carrying Dhraegon from the Sept. Maneuvering through the dancers takes longer than he expects, as he nearly gets tangled up by a pair of children running in circles. But he manages. He draws to a halt before Marsei and Dhraegon, smiling up at them despite his swollen jaw. "Is it gazelles, then, Your Grace?" By his tone, he knows it is.

Dhraegon grins happily enough at Joyeuse, and says with what passes for dignity with him, "I think you should make a toast. I think you would be really good at it." Then he is giggling again, low and innocent. "I'm not sure what they are either. Or if they are even real. Gazelles, Not birds. Can birds dance? they have long legs. They COULD be gazelles. GA Zelles!" More hysterical laughter. He looks pleased at her taking of the cake and helps himself to one too.

Istor trails his guard all over the room, pretending as if they are not there, greeting nobles here and there who have absolutely /no/ idea how to respond to him since it's been years since anyone's heard from him even if they /don't/ know the rumors.

Rhaegor's hand closes on Bryn's shoulder, and the Targaryen glances back to the high table, looking directly at the Princess Rhaenyra, where she sits among their kin. He leans forward to reply to the boy in similarly hushed tones, his expression rather intense.

"I'm afraid Gylbert and I received quite a lot of those sorts of gifts," explains Lady Joy with a knowing wink; "because our marriage came about so suddenly. People sent us any old thing they had to hand. We did laugh… Oh, I hope you shall like it; I was shopping in King's Landing, for myself, and I thought I'd like to make you a gift that would be truly useful in this new time in your life." Though that mischievous twinkle in her eyes serves almost to belie her words. She turns to Dhraegon when he addresses her again and her eyebrows lift. "A toast? Oh, Your Grace, I don't think I ought to…" She inclines nearer to him, that red sandsilk heroic in its efforts to restrain her bosom. "You see," she confides, "my cup has been overflowing with so much very fine wine that I've no notion what I might say!"

Marsei's happy beaming directed at Joy goes unchanged as her cousin speaks about the gift she's to receive, unchanged when she sees that twinkle - it's as though she hasn't even imagined mischief at all.

Her hand firms upon Dhraegon's arm as Desmond approaches.

Dhraegon giggles and tries to hand Joyeuse a drunken cake, "That is the best time to make toasts…. Desmond! Desmond made and AMAZING toast at my party!" And there is the Desmond in question, even." He throws a friendly arm around the shoulders of the battered Northerner, "Do you think these irds could be gazelles? Or maybe Jurian knows!" He seems oblivious to what alarming object might be in the package. he is instead gazing adoringly at marsei, "He said such beautiful things in your honor, i wept and wept!"

Jurian hears his name from not far off and approaches, looking curiously at Desmond for a moment. "Jurian knows what, Uncle?" he asks smoothly, glancing too at Lady Joy to offer her a smile. See. They did meet again at the wedding.

The jokes at the high table are getting rather ribald. The musicians are playing a wilder, country dance. guests finding the spinning on top of the drink periodically fall out of the circle, laughing.

Desmond smiles as Dhraegon swings an arm around his shoulder. He pats the other man's massive ribs, then gently disengages himself. "I am glad that I pleased you then, Your Grace. But I was less fortunate tonight." He clears his throat "I have come to apologize, Your Grace, and beg to be brought into the light of your goodwill." The words are formal, stilted, and so obviously rehearsed that it's painful. He looks ridiculously awkward saying them to Dhraegon, trying to impart the importance behind them. "I also…if Your Grace forgives me…thought we might try dancing that reel again. Perhaps we'll tie up your robes a bit."

That is a very good point and as she accepts the proffered brandy cake, dropping her fan upon the high table the better to eat it with her fingers after the style of her genial host — the dagger aside, there don't seem to be many sharp eating implements within reach, who knows why — Lady Hastwyck says so. "You know, I think you may be right, Your Grace!" she laughs. She breaks off a piece of the rich brandied and honeyed cake and pops it into her reddened mouth. Straight away her eyelashes flutter and her expression melts into pleasure. "Mmm—!" she moans behind closed lips; and it is thus that she catches sight of Prince Jurian and gives him a friendly little wave.

"Oh— how, um… thank you." Marsei smiles at Desmond, slightly more diplomatic than her usual free sincerity, after the words she overheard and the disruptions earlier. She listens curiously through the apology, and her pale brows lift gently as the sellsword asks her husband to dance. Well. Stranger things have happened. "I hope you shan't steal him too long before it's my turn," she says in a … mostly jesting tone; at least a sign that she is still in good spirits. A turn of her head, "Prince Jurian, hello!"

Before anyone can dance, and with Bryn so recently having learned the budding history of the blacks and greens, the queen of the blacks herself strides to the front of Dhraegon and Marsei's table. Rhaenyra's smile is flawless, yet if one dares to look her straight in the eye, they would not find the spirit of generosity or festivity. "An offering in honour of your union. To Lady Marsei… and Prince Dhraegon… so beloved… of my father. And their… companions," she glances barely at Joyeuse, Desmond, and Jurian, who she looks at longer as though trying to place him. She slides right in next to him while servants place the red silk covered box on the table. "I insist that you open it," she tells them.

Jurian lifts his eyebrows slightly at Lady Hastwyck's cake moan. But he talks to the wedding couple first. "Congratulations, Lady Marsei," he says. "You have finally managed to capture my Uncle—" he breaks off briefly while Rhaenyra is talking. Er…gift. He has the sense to be quiet while it's opened.

Red silk! How pretty. Lady Joy is as interested as anyone in seeing what's inside; though with one eye lingering upon the one who offered it, reckoning up the worth of her jewels.

Dhraegon gives Desmond a blankly confused look, mouth open. I seems he's forgotten his earlier upset. Eventually the light dawns and he gives the other man mountain an freindly shoulder pat, "It's all right, Desmond. Would you like a cake? There are all sorts here… I… think this dance might be a little fast for me. I might land on someone I don't know!" Including ones not thoroughly soaked in strong drink. he himself has another brandy cake to keep the ladies company, "Aren't they marvelous? cmillo found them. He checked all the cake makers in town so we might have the best of each… Jurian? Are these birds gazelles?" More happy giggles. The the Princess is there. Dhraegon give her a big friendly oblivious smile, "I am so happy you came! Your dragon is so big and pretty!" He moves as if to hug her, but says something too quiet to be herad instead, thinking better of it at the last minute. Then he is eagerly opening the present, surely too innocent to suspect any trouble.

Desmond doesn't speak; he's already in enough trouble for speaking around certain Targaryens. He moves to stand just behind Dhraegon's shoulder, smiling politely as he watches the gift-giving. But his eyes are considering as they weigh up Rhaenyra.

Bryn continues to whisper with Rhaegor, looking worried about something. Still, he does look over curiously as well, as the Princess presents her gift.

Marsei is poised to reply to Jurian's congratulations but, like him, she knows not to interrupt Rhaenyra's machinations, generous though they presently seem to be. She bows her head politely to the princess, looking with distantly dubious curiosity as Dhraegon says something so quietly to Rhaenyra. "It is our honour to accept," she says, lifting the silk with her husband.

Rhaenyra smiles broadly at Dhraegon before glancing away to criticize Desmond heavily with her gaze; she deigns not to spend much time looking at him, however, watching the unveiling.

Beneath the silk, on a gilded tray, stand two glazed, fired ceramic goblets rimmed with small, square rubies and round garnets. Between them is a tall, narrow bottle of thick, dark glass. "It is a firewine from Myr," she states. "I had it aged with extra spices. Try it." Her golden-silver head tilts, seeming to reconsider as she looks at Dhraegon. "At least your bride, of course, and your closest companions."

Dhraegon's whole face lights up as he realizes what it is, "Oh! I do love wine! Firewine! From Myr!" He looks into Princess Rhaenyra's eyes with his wide, eerily empty colourless ones, "I will drink your health and that of your father's with this excellent gift. Will you drink with us?" He is already pouring the drinks, utterly trusting and so terribly eager to try the wine.

Desmond gazes at the two goblets thoughtfully. He meets Rhaenyra's disdainful look full-on, his own features draped in dumb innocence. He looks back at the wine, and then to the Prince pouring it, and there is a look of dull despair on his face for a moment. Once again, it is swallowed up, cloaked in apparent stupidity. But he's bold enough to try to catch Marsei's gaze.

Jurian eyes the wine, then looks from Dhraegon to Rhaenyra. "Yes" he agrees after a hesitation. "It would be a rare honor for all of us, to share a cup."

Marsei dare not look away from Rhaenyra, just as much as she dare not refuse the wine. She seems to feel Desmond's look, though, her gaze skirting to its very edge in the split second that the princess's sights are set on Dhraegon and not on her.

"Of course," Rhaenyra says smoothly. She sweeps up the goblet meant for Marsei and brings it to her own small lips, drinks heartily and unflinchingly, and sets it back down while watching the Hightower woman closely. Perhaps such a quick show was not what Dhraegon meant by drink with us; Rhaenyra is unbothered. She waits.

Marsei holds a hand out to steady her … used goblet so that it may be filled again.

Rhaegor nods, briefly, at the Flowers boy, and then lets go of his shoulder. They still seem to be conversing, and still discreetly.

Dhraegon drinks his own down eyes closed and with obvious delight in tandem with the Princess, no hesitation, with no sign of any understanding of the tensions at this wedding. He gives his most delighted giggle, "It is like drinking fire! It sets the blood aflame! What a wonderful gift!" He pours two more cups and offers them to the ladies, apologizing to Jurian, "There are only two cups and ladies ought to drink first, but there is enough for more rounds!"

Jurian waves a hand lightly, looking for once not displeased to be left for last when it comes to ominous gifts of wine. He gives his most charming smile.

Meanwhile, Camillo gradually does his chores over in Istor's direction.

Bryn nods quickly to something that Rhaegor asks him, whispering back again. He, too, is oblivious to the nervousness. After all, Princess Rhaenyra may not be the nicest person, but the boy can't imagine anybody would want to hurt Dhraegon, let alone the Princess. Once he saw it was wine, his attention returned entirely to Rhaegor.

The bride's cousin with the chequered past doesn't expect to find herself so honoured in the midst of so many Targaryens; but it seems her host's kindness knows no bounds. Lady Joy wipes fingertips stickied by cake upon a napkin someone left lying upon the table in her vicinity and accepts the cup of fragrant Myrish wine with a glowing smile. "Chivalrous again, Prince Dhraegon," she teases, and lifts it to her lips cradled protectively in both hands. The enormous ruby upon one finger and the assortment of pearls adorning her other paw gleam in the candlelight. At the first taste her eyes widen — she drinks again, more deeply, and utters another sound of rapture. Then and only then does she address herself to Princess Rhaenyra: "Your Grace," she murmurs, "what a truly superlative gift…"

Desmond watches the wine go down, his adam's apple bobbing as though he too were drinking from the jeweled goblets. He watches, helpless, as the Dhraegon beams about and as Marsei prepares to drink. Even the sight of the Princess taking the first sips does not put him at ease. Though he struggles to keep a placid face, an observant watcher would see his big fists ball and relax. He seems absolutely lost, casting a brief glance toward all the other alcohol in the room. It's a wistful glance.

Dhraegon's enthusiastic review of the wine does not leave Marsei excited about drinking it. Drinking fire is less appealing than flaming brandy in Snapdragon, at least when it's presented by Princess Rhaenyra; her trepidation shows as she looks at the wine, but she receives it nothing but graciously. "Thank you, your grace," she says, taking a drink from the goblet. Instantly, the fire and spice hit her tongue and accost her throat; while the others enjoy it, quite literally chokes it down, clamping her teeth, unable to conceal one quiet, desperate little cough. She keeps her poise, otherwise, but her eyes water.

Meanwhile, off to the side, the acrobats can be seen limbering up. Yes those acrobats. They are six rather androgynous young people with long blond hair (likely dyed for the occasion). They are dressed in identical hose and doublets, with the doublets stiffened to cover as much as possible, but not quite everything as they tumble, though the hose are cut fairly loose on this occasion, so there is not much to see beyond a bulge through fabric or lack of one. They are make up and tailored to look as much like each other as possible. Very close inspection will allow one to discover that three of the six are women, but it may not be immediately obvious. The musicians play on as if there is no tension at all in the room.

Dhraegon's giggle is distinctly louder and more out of it sounding, a response to Joyeuse's honest delight in something he loves as much as the best jam cake, possibly more. "It's the best wine ever! I could drink it foreeeeeeveeeeer!" Apparently some threshold has been crossed. He is still holding the bottle, though at a slight tilt. He watches Marsei's face as she drinks, and seeing her cough he takes an unsteady step closer to steadier himself. He must be feeling all that wine for he kisses the top of her head firmly rather than merely brushing his lips to her hair. He murmurs something to her, before letting her go.

Jurian rather politely reaches out to take the bottle from Dhraegon, since he's been promised a drink, and since Dhraegon is now sloppy-drunk and doesn't need any more fuel.

To anyone who fell in love at first bite with Dornish cuisine the spices are an all-consuming bewitchment. Lady Joy takes sip after sip, small tastes because she wants to make it last, frequent ones because she can't resist plunging headlong into her goblet of fire. "Cinnamon… cloves… cardamom… ginger… star aniseed…" she murmurs, almost to herself. "What else, I wonder? Truly, it's like fire," this to Prince Dhraegon; "I wonder if this is how a dragon feels?" Her laughter joins with his, though she too notices that the bride is less than delighted with the fruits of Princess Rhaenyra's kindness, and she begins to evolve a plan to spare her from it, just as soon as that hawklike gaze should wander elsewhere.

Desmond relaxes a bit at the sight of Marsei overwhelmed by the fiery taste, and by Dhraegon's sudden onset of shitface. He even smiles at the huge prince's antics, and turns to amble a few steps away. But he's keeping close to the high table, now that he's been forgiven for getting punched. He casts a look around for Bryn and, seeing him still speaking with Rhaegor, nods to himself. Turning his attention to the acrobats, he folds his arms across his chest and allows himself to enjoy the show.

Marsei takes another sip under the watchful eye of Rhaenyra, like a child forced to eat their vegetables or face punishment.

"The mysteries of Myr, and the secrets of the dragon," Rhaenyra replies idly the listing of spices. The Targaryen princess, satisfied, nods and moves on.

"But there are acrobats!" Marsei exclaims after Dhraegon's, bobbing to her feet to applaud for them cheerily. The rush to her feet rushes pink to her cheeks, courtesy of the special firewine.

Jurian gets just a taste of the firewine, and seems not terribly the worse for it, but when Rhaenyra moves on, he's glad enough to cork the bottle and put it somewhere out of the way. You know, just in case. Hey, acrobats!

Bryn whispers something more to Rhaegor, but then his attention, too, is drawn by the acrobats.

Camillo moves right up to Istor and past again, picking up glasses that belong to people who have gone, or stopped drinking.

Soon Lady Joy's blood is aflame and her cheeks becomingly pinkened; and the acrobats, boys and girls alike, look prettier than anyone has any right to be; and these are all just the nicest people. Those rumours about Princess Rhaenyra were obviously pure nonsense. She's a delightful lady. But… heavens, where did all that firewine go? There's hardly a drop left! She drains her cup and, rather than set it down, catches her cousin's eye across the dragon in between. An inclination of her head suggests something to be whispered — and, while nobody else is looking, she steps behind the broad bulk of Prince Dhraegon and tilts her cup toward poor dear Marsei, revealing its sorry state to one pair of eyes and one alone.

Dhraegon sighs, happily, a noticeable slur creeping into his voice. "Madeofire. Fire." Delighted giggles, "And Gazelles!" He tries to hug Joyeuse again, this time murmuring something to her. In his can't figure out hoew loud or soft a speaking voice is meant to be bellow, "Best. Wine. Ever! I love you all so mus-much!"

The last measure of a dance ends and the musicians switch instruments and start to play something brasher and more showman like. The acrobats tumble into the clear space once the dancers clear out of the way. They begin to dance, lifts and rolls and flips worked cleverly into the dance

Bryn smiles up to regular, and says, "Thanks! I will!" Then, he turns, running to return to his seat to be able to watch the acrobats.

Desmond settles back into his seat next to Bryn and pours himself some more…water.

Her throat may still feel as though it is disintegrating, but Marsei's mood is up there with Joy's; the whole world seems warm. She cranes her neck, smiling, toward her cousin. In the state that suddenly has her with bleary eyes, it takes the typically clever lady a second before pouring the majority of her drink out of the gifted goblet and into the other. Of course, Dhraegon erupts into a hug just at that moment.

And now everyone's happy! Even Prince Dhraegon who, oblivious to the cunning feminine operations underway, imperils Lady Joy's relief supply of firewine with another impulsive embrace. A few drops are spilled on his scarlet sandsilk tunic, but red doesn't really show on red and, honestly, who'd expect his garments to get through a feast unblemished anyway… Her eyes widen at his whisper; as they separate she holds his eye long enough to nod seriously, placing another half a dozen points in the Good Husband column. Then, sipping again that marvelous flamey concoction she seems to hold rather better than its intended recipients — albeit with a film of perspiration upon her brow — she takes a few dainty steps round the prince and slips her arm in a familiar way through that of his bride. There. She can't escape. "… Heavens, what a somersault!" she comments, eyeing the acrobats; "do you know, are they all? Are they—? Some of them are boys, I'm quite certain of it, but I rather think some of them are girls… I'm not wrong, am I?"

Jurian idly watches the acrobats, but he's seen them once before, so already the novelty is wearing off. His eyes pass over the crowd as well. "People /are/ getting potted," he comments, to no one in particular.

Camillo quietly approaches Dhraegon after he's done hugging to murmur something in his ear.

Easily swept in close to Joyeuse, Marsei is more than happy to watch the acrobats, although a hint of cleverness still sparks bright behind her firewine gaze and she knows there was whispering. "Are you conspiring, Dhraegon?" she laughs in good-natured jest before studying the acrobats in earnest. "I cannot be sure, but — I think you might be right," she replies, a bit baffled and amazed at once. "My lord brother held a … celebration here… a year past — when I first met Prince Dhraegon, and I remember a— what was she called? A contortionist?"

Dhraegon beams benevolently on all the proceedings. Acrobats! Red headed ladies cuddling! No one hitting anyone! Bones all wonderfully melty! "He notices his lady's empty cup, finally, and waves Jurian over. "This is wonner..mazing. Try?" He is waggling the bottle alluringly at his kinsman. His forehead wrinkles as he tries to figure out what the servant is saying. Then he is lurching to his feet to clumsily hug Camillo, all fire wine fumes and exuberant cuddliness.

The music quickens, Another horn is added, as the conversation is very loud in here. Luckily the two people mostly likely to be distressed by salty talk are floating in a warm sea of fire wine. It turns out that they are also contortionists. The tumbling dance begins to include rather risqué displays of flexibility.

Camillo staggers a step, not having expected to be hugged just then. He looks round to be sure it's not causing too much derision. "My Lady," he says to Joy, making a vague gesture over his shoulder, "If your name is Joy, one of the gentlemen at that table was desiring to see you urgently."

"I'm quite sure," and Lady Joyeuse agrees with herself, "look at their necks, sweetling, their ankles, the size of their hands… That one," she nods, "must be a girl, and— and perhaps that one too…" Whereupon acrobatics segues into contortionism, placing a very great strain upon the conscience of the widow Hastwyck. She sips the firewine, determined to keep the flames coiling about inside her at a lovely steady burn just as long as ever she can. And then she can't resist whispering a little secret to her cousin.

It's then that, smirking mischievously, she turns to the servant who has accosted her out of nowhere and remembers all at once that she does have something to do that's a trifle more urgent than ogling that sextet of well-matched blondes. (A trifle.) "Oh, will you tell him to wait, then, please?" she answers sweetly. "I shan't be long, only my cousin has promised to slip away with me for a moment so that I might give her my wedding gift — he'll understand that, I'm certain." Her arm slips round Marsei's waist and, leaving her fan behind but not her cup, she pilots the bride insistently in the direction of the nearest exit, white silk train streaming behind.

Camillo simply bows to Joyeuse, powerless to actually draw her away if she is unwilling to go. His brow furrows a little, but he's off soon.

Jurian does finally appear after being called by Dhraegon. "What was that, uncle?"

Dhraegon looks horrified that Camillo has called attention to… whatever it is and shakes his head vigourously enough that he has to clinging to Jurian to keep from going down, "Nonono!" He articulates carefully, "You should…should drink. To our joy! Married! We're married! Did you see? All..Alla servants should have some…something to toast joy!" And then his head swivels and focuses on Jurian, "You have GOT to try this… Dragon fire. in bones! So, so wrm!"

Marsei stares in a daze at the contortions while she listens to Joyeuse. Her cousin's little whisper widens her eyes, as though she may stagger backward, although of course she keeps her elegance even with this firewine in her veins. "O-oh, well I— how— " Camillo's presence reminds her of thoughts far beyond the warmth of wine and she starts to address him, but she's whisked away by her lady cousin, turning her head over shoulder to look through the crowd; she thinks she sees Camillo again, and wonders if that gaunt man she glimpsed was Istor; they're all a bit of a blur, and then she's out of the room with Joyeuse talking in her ear all the while and turning her cheeks pinker.

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