|A Bluebird Among Butterflies|
|Summary:||Prince Dhraegon and Lady Marsei host a garden-party to welcome Princess Aelia to Oldtown. (Note: this log is incomplete; if you have the rest, please add it! :)|
"Hammocks? And climbing statues?" Marsei repeats as if she's not entirely sure what either of those things are but trusts they're great for the garden, hearing the whole idea. "How magical. Lionel will be so— " Something, as she's interrupted by noticing the tiny bird drawn to the maid's hair. She brings the back of her fair hand to her mouth to politely hide her amused expression. "Every now and then there are colourful warriors — they come to the big tournaments," she says, once recovered. Mostly recovered. A light playfulness still dances about her expression. "But I don't think any are as pretty as a hummingbird. Or as fast."
Dhraegon is all in white, hair up in a particularly elaborate style. Guards dressed in civvies are posted along the wall in case the bird tries to fly, so they might catch her if she get too close to the edge. Wee boats are in the fountain. Sees cakes, fruits, and various savouries and cakes shaped like various things birds eat are set up around the central smace as well as tea and lemon water. The drinks are served in flutes in the same shape and style as the flower feeders for the hummingbirds. The servants have been breifed. Lady Marsei happens to match her Targaryen spouse this day; she wears a white gown not unlike in style than the one she was wearing in Hightower Square when she first met Princess Aelia, only it's decorated in turquoise instead; shimmering gem-and-embroidery leaves around the neckline, and a gentle wash of dye at the very bottom of the long skirt, which glides safely over the clean garden path. She's surrounded, vaguely, by dispersed handmaidens — current and some past, as well as a small smattering of kindly noblewomen, young and old and none in-between, who Marsei deemed trustworthy for a party such as this, kind of heart and all of whom are quite quiet. Lady Aelia is drinking from a flute of honeyed lemon water. her maid is glaring at a hummingbird.
Dhraegon contemplates the birds and Aelia's stories, "Daevon is very pretty. Perhaps he is a hummingbird." He covers his mouth to hide his giggles at the maid's distress. "A fine favour for his lady wife's nest…. They will be animal statues, at various sizes designed to be good to climb on. Ormund… asked some awkward questions, but I think my answers satisified him."
The maid attempts to regain her dignity by schooling her posture a bit, but now she's a bit skittish of the flying noises around her. She yet keeps admirably still for the most part. She blushes at Dhraegon's compliment but stays silent. Aelia finds herself soon drinking down the entire contents of the flute she holds. "Hummingbirds make noises with their bodies," she further volunteers.
"My lord brother can be quite plain with his questions when he wants to be," Marsei says, fondness in her tone for said brother's way and an inquisitive look building toward Dhraegon, suspecting that if the questions were awkward, there was likely a fair enough reason at the time. "It's remarkable," she tells Aelia sincerely. "How do they move so fast?"
Long after she'd been given up as not coming after all Lady Joyeuse Hastwyck flits into the butterfly garden. She has dressed in a hurry, in layered Dornish robes of cherry-coloured sandsilk and one of her simplest hairstyles, from which her remarkably cunning dark red curls have already begun to make their escape with the intent of framing her face; a slight pink flush paints her cheeks, not unbecomingly, and her voice as she drifts at once nearer to Prince Dhraegon and Lady Marsei betrays that running-down-stairs breathlessness often the property of the Hightower's inhabitants when they're running late and care more for their apologies than their appearances. "Forgive me, please… Your Grace, you mustn't think I wasn't delighted by your invitation; it's only that I'd no notion of the time," and she favours her host with a quick but graceful up-and-down bob of a half-curtsey. "Oh!" And her eyes upon Lady Marsei widen; "What a perfectly divine gown! How the two of you look together…" The curtsey has hardly slowed her progress forward; for she knows she's liable to receive a princely hug.
Dhraegon gestures and more lemon water and some cakes with candied hibiscus on them are brought forth. "I have often wondered how they move at all, being so different from other birds. perhaps they are like dragons?" One of the non-hummingbird songbirds trills in a higher tree. He tells his wife, "I am fond of him, My Jonquil." Another bird, not to be out done by his rival buzzes by to snatch a strand of Marsei's hair. He giggles and waves to Joyeuse, keeping his voice gentle and soft, "It is fine. Come meet Aelia. She is a hummingbird, so very thirsty." he opens his arms for a hug, his sleeves like great wings.
"The males are especially tiny," Aelia says, looking up at Dhraegon who is by no means tiny. Then she hops back a little at the sudden advent of this unknown person! She ends up treading on her own hem and stumbling a little, but the red-haired maid is quickly at her elbow to help her get her feet back on solid ground. Luckily, her glass was empty. Mae takes it from her hand. Then she blinks at Joyeuse curiously. "I am a hummingbird!" That is the first order of business, to solidify Dhraegon's introduction.
"Oh, Lady Joy!" The delight is infectious; Marsei beams, and then squeaks, landing in the odd middle ground between fright and glee when she hears — then sees, barely — the buzzing bird intrigued by her hair. She's more familiar with the phenomenon, spending so much time in the gardens, but her reaction never differs. She calms instantly when she realizes what it is and, enchanted, watches the hummingbird zoom off. She's not so distracted as not to introduce, enthusiastic, "Aelia, have you met my cousin, Lady Joyeuse Hastwyck?"
The prince's great wings enfold Lady Joy's small round figure and she holds tight to him in turn, breathing in lavender and vanilla; and then when she leans away she looks up into his face and her smile broadens at the reflection that, truly, he doesn't mind. He is a sweetling. "Thank you," she sighs. "A… hummingbird," and she nods, to reassure him that she remembers what was so cautiously explained. And when she turns to the young princess to whom she's being so unconventionally introduced, she hears it confirmed. Well, two competent authorities… She beams at her, as though hummingbirdishness were quite the nicest state of being she knows. And then Lady Marsei's little winged friend catches her eye and draws forth a giggle in association with a fond look for her beautiful cousin; and then she confesses, "No, we haven't met… but I am so pleased to make your acquaintance, Princess Aelia. I hope you're enjoying your stay in Oldtown as much as I am mine… The city has such beauty in it, don't you find?" And she looks about her as though to say: just look!
Dhraegon nods wise agreement with his tiny kinswoman. "Aelia Hummingbird, this is Joy. She's very nice and gives good hugs. I am very glad you came, Joy." He is all goofy smiles and calm.
Dhraegon is all in white, hair up in a particularly elaborate style. Guards dressed in civvies are posted along the wall in case the bird tries to fly, so they might catch her if she get too close to the edge. Wee boats are in the fountain. Sees cakes, fruits, and various savouries and cakes shaped like various things birds eat are set up around the central smace as well as tea and lemon water. The drinks are served in flutes in the same shape and style as the flower feeders for the hummingbirds. The servants have been breifed. Lady Marsei happens to match her Targaryen spouse this day; she wears a white gown not unlike in style than the one she was wearing in Hightower Square when she first met Princess Aelia, only it's decorated in turquoise instead; shimmering gem-and-embroidery leaves around the neckline, and a gentle wash of dye at the very bottom of the long skirt, which glides safely over the clean garden path. She's surrounded, vaguely, by dispersed handmaidens — current and some past, as well as a small smattering of kindly noblewomen, young and old and none in-between, who Marsei deemed trustworthy for a party such as this, kind of heart and all of whom are quite quiet. Aelia has an empty flute. joy has just arrived.
Aelia blinks a little at Joyeuse, then smiles broadly, easily led by the gesture to look around the beautiful garden yet again. "I am very happy," she agrees, swiveling a bit so that the hem of her lavender gown spreads and swirls. "This garden is like a dream garden. And it is always sunny in Oldtown," she reports quite wrongly, "Which is good because rain is very heavy to hummingbirds for they are very small."
Daevon's all dressed up in his formal attire, shades of purple and silver. He steps in, escorted by one of the servants, and looks around.
Siva reappears, some distance behind Lady Joy, having taken a much less hurried trip through the Hightower. Nearing the cluster near Aelia, she gives a polite, subdued smile to her, bowing her head. She pauses by Marsei, handing her a tiny, plain cloth bag, earning the lady's thanks while said lady is occupied with wistfully imagining a perpetually sunny Oldtown. "Prince Daevon is here," Marsei announces then, mostly to Aelia, "Look! He wears a lovely shade of purple." This is relevant. She smiles in the Maiden's Knight's direction, her cheerful countenance beckoning him toward them.
"I'm awfully glad I came, too," admits Lady Joy to Prince Dhraegon; "a breath of air was just what I needed, only I didn't know it! And all this…" Again she glances about the butterfly garden, an irrepressible smile tugging at her reddened lips. "It is just like a garden in a dream," she agrees with Princess Aelia, "and more beautiful to me than ever now I know I shall be leaving it soon… You're so fortunate to have just come, and to be seeing it for— is it the first time? It must be," she laughs softly. "I recall the first time I walked along these paths — I could hardly breathe, I was so excited to see what would be round the next corner! Prince Dhraegon, you truly did build a paradise here…"
"Lady Marsei," Daevon greets. "Lady Joyeuse. Prince Dhraegon." All very polite in the greetings, accompanied by smiles. "And you must be Princess Aelia?"
Dhraegon beams at Aelia, "I tried to make this the most beaitiful inviting place I could think of. I am glad you are all happy here. Daevon is the one I was telling you about, the warrior. You'll have to tell us if he'd make a good hummingbird…. I wanted to show Aelia my roost."
Jurian manages to happily spin round once before Mae sets her up with another glass of 'nectar.' Then she turns and cranes her neck with great interest to see Daevon, even though she /does/ live at the Dragon Door Manse. "He will settle it, then! Are you a hummingbird?" she asks him. It seems important.
The way Marsei looks from the butterfly garden and up to Dhraegon, she might as well have been speaking in unison with Joy, agreeing so truly. She bows her head politely to Daevon. "I'm glad you could come, Prince Daevon," she greets, her manner sincere as ever. While waiting for the all-important answer to Aelia's question, she skirts around Dhraegon to sit on the nearest bench — still close to the group — and begins to gently toss and scatter grains and seeds toward the bushes.
Something of the sparkle has gone out of Lady Hastwyck's demeanour since her initial effervescences on the subject of her host and hostess's garb and the beauty of this garden which symbolises their love. She answers Prince Daevon's greeting with a much more sedate half-curtsey than she offered to Prince Dhraegon, and a murmur of, "Your Grace," and turns again to Princess Aelia, apparently as intent as anyone upon the girl's ornithological classifications.
Daevon shakes his head at Aelia's question. "Not a hummingbird, no." He's surely heard of her oddities by now, even if he's not met her the servants certainly gossip. "They're much smaller than I am, and faster, and with more of a fondness for flowers." If anything he's the one responsible for all the cats in the manse, and their frequent gifts of dead birds from the garden, well Eonn really, but still. He smiles and nods at Marsei, and then his smile drops as he notes Joy's change of demeanour.
Dhraegon gazes upon Marsei in adoration with an expression that suggests how much the garden was for her. He must have caught something of the change as he looks between Joy and Daevon with some concern.
Aelia nods at the denial and turns back to everyone else. "He is colorful, but not a hummingbird," she reports as her official diagnosis. She looks curiously back at Joyeuse and smiles even though Lady Hastwyck's effervescent manner is flattening a bit. "Do you like songs?" she asks.
Lady Marsei notes Joy's demeanour, as well; a certain pensiveness crosses her face, but her own sparkle remains intact, and she goes back to scattering grains and seeds upon the ground. To no avail, for the creatures she's trying to lure remain elusive, at least for the time being. "I hope so," she pleasantly interjects. "Princess Aelia has promised one!"
"I do very much, Your Grace," confesses Lady Joy, smiling to Princess Aelia, as though what she has said is almost a secret between them. Then, upon Lady Marsei's revelation: "Oh! I'm terribly sorry to miss it… I'm sure with a manner such as yours you must sing very sweetly. Will you forgive me?" she entreats, taking a step nearer, smiling. "Perhaps when I'm next in Oldtown I shall find you still here, and have the privilege of hearing you after all."
Dhraegon takes a flute of lemon water to sip, otherwise staying still and giving Marsei and the birds some space. The twittering increases. A bold songbird landing a distance away and hopping warily closer. "We did rather hope you would sing, Little bird." He looks startled, "Leaving so soon, Joy?" He drops his voice hoping the Bird princess won't notice, "Perhaps… the two of you might want to talk about, what might distresses you both. Quietly."
Daevon's looking awkward. He sighs. "I hadn't planned to stay. I just wished to say hello. I'll depart now." And he walks for the door.
Everyone evidently wishes to hear Aelia sing and she is not about to disappoint. So she sets on looking for the highest point she can easily climb to: the seat of a bench or a ledge of a fountain. Mae hurries to go with her and be sure she will not slip while she ascends. She at least appears to be oblivious to whatever trouble is between Daevon and Joyeuse.
Marsei lays the grain aside and claps her hands together softly when Aelia climbs up (although she briefly has the same concern as Mae), watching so expectantly she doesn't quite see Daevon's turnabout.
Lady Hastwyck affects incomprehension. "But I'm not distressed in the least," she claims with purposeful lightness to Prince Dhraegon; "and even if I had been, how could such a gathering upon such a beautiful day be the time and place…? But I have such a lot I ought to be doing — you see, I couldn't even bring my maid," she declares, gesturing to the empty air behind her where a dour-faced female of middle years is typically hovering, "she's so occupied with my packing! — and, oh, if I don't see you again before I go…" She smiles again at Princess Aelia; and she takes a step nearer to Prince Dhraegon and incidentally to where Lady Marsei is engaged in tempting the very birds from the trees, and holds out both her hands to the great big dragon prince: "Know how happy you've made me with all your kindnesses."
Dhraegon waves his sleeves encouragingly at Aelia. The first songbird peks a seed. More alight when they see that one is unmolested. "Packing? where are you going, Joy?" He does take her hands. To daevon he asks, "Don't you want to hear our bird sing?"
Daevon hesitates as Dhraegon calls out to him. He nods, seemingly he'll stay just to hear Aelia sing, but he remains where he is, that distance away, still looking uncomfortable.
Aelia does not bother for everything to be settled or for people to quiet down. She just starts singing. Although she is small and slight, her voice is unexpectedly loud. Some might be bracing for an unfortunate moment, but it's evident that she has benefitted from serious training, although some listeners might find the piping coloratura piercing over time.
Surprise turns to delight as Marsei listens to Aelia's song, her hands pressing together tighter, her smile cheering the princess on. However intent she is on the singing, however, she doesn't miss the exchange between Lady Joy and Dhraegon. "Oh, but must you go!" Now, ever. Still keeping an eye on Aelia, she rises from the bench toward Lady Joy, her own hands outstretched. "Anyway, you mustn't say goodbye now," she insists, smiling brightly over her alarm, both sentiments utterly sincere as they share space. "For there shan't be any sadness here in the garden." A cheery announcement, as if that is that, and it can't possibly be any other way.
Just as the songbirds begin to peck comfortably at the grains and seeds, they're forced to the side by two birds several times their size, walking, not flying, out of the bushes. A pair of plump pheasants attend Aelia's concert, remarkably not startled despite their shyness - as though drawn by the Targaryen's high song. Surely a coincidence? They're quite nearly the opposite of hummingbirds, except for the pretty green iridescence the male sports.
Dhraegon was hoping this would be the case, but braced for if it wasn't. He is wildly pleased that something generally pleasing is coming from her mouth. He beams up at her, all delight, having moved near to be eactra arms in case of accident.
Holding Prince Dhraegon's hands a moment longer Lady Joy beams up at him. "To Dorne, of course!" she exclaims softly, beneath Princess Aelia's song; and then, favouring the songbird with another, brighter smile, as though she has in mind some infinitely cheering thought, but of course not interrupting her again, she draws her hands away and turns a warmer smile upon Lady Marsei and takes two steps back before flitting colourfully away over a winding path.
Daevon listens quietly, and without comment to the singing.
Aelia may not have come to the end of the song as written, but she comes to the end of the part that interests her and terminates there, hopping several times and looking down at the people she knows, ignoring all the other guests. "I do not remember the name of the song!" she announces officially.
Dhraegon nods at Joy's answer, and says softly, "We will miss you, but perhaps we will see you when we visit." He claps softly, "It was very good!"
Upon a warmer smile, Marsei starts to wave to Joy and winds up holding her hand out as if the lady slipped out of her grasp - but never mind, now! She gives Aelia applause, and the other ladies in the garden follow suit in she and Dhraegon's wake. "You have a beautiful voice," she delivers in genuine compliment. "Thank you for sharing it." Movement out of the corner of her eye catches her attention, and she waves a hand gently toward the area beside the bench she vacated, where the cluster of birds cautiously peck. "Look, you've drawn an audience."