(123-06-03) Landfall in Starfall
Landfall in Starfall
Summary: Prince Dhraegon Targaryen, Lady Marsei Hightower and suite journey to Starfall for the birth of the heir to the Dornish throne. Alas, the feast in celebration of their arrival is marred by grave news…
Date: 03/06/2016
Related: None

When the ship from Oldtown carrying the guests arrives at the dock near the ferry that goes to Starfall castle there is a small group at the docks to greet them. At the head of the small group is Princess Visenya. She is accompanied by her young red-haired lady-in-waiting Vynesa Manwoody on one side, and her Mistress of Keys Ynys Yronwood, dowager Lady Trant. Heavily pregnant the Princess still manages to look elegant in a gown heather purple sandsilk that is comprised of many fine flowing layers.

Dhraegon is all in shades of white and fresh as a daisy, cheeks pinked from all the sea air, his Lady wife on his arm. Flox trails after with a characteristic look of concern. Though luggage was sent in advance, travel is always a nerve wracking thing.

The older Dornishwoman at the princess's side was till six months past the lady of a Stormlands keep; on this sunny Starfall morning afternoon she seems to have left all that far behind, standing proudly and yet at her ease in a gown of green silk vivid against her caramel-hued skin, cut without sleeves to leave bare her shapely and muscular arms and the chaos of green and bronze and ochre bracelets which rise well past her wrists. An old scar high on her left arm suggests more than a passing familiarity with the knives worn at her hips. Her luxuriant black curls, silvering with the years, are held back by a bronze chain, set with green jade, woven through. She is smiling, though she doesn't know any of these people — smiling, because to welcome royal guests is a part of her role here, and it costs her nothing.

The lady of the visiting ship soon is easily in sight before they even set foot on the docks, not wanting miss an inch of the view of Starfall. All of Dorne is new to Marsei's eyes, and she's eager to drink it in — although she holds tight to Dhraegon's arm even well after she's no longer on the water. Like her husband, her cheeks are rosy - brighter, even, than the pale shade of pink gown she wears, all flowing, draping silks — lending a lively joy to her delighted smile upon seeing the familiar face of the princess in the waiting crowd. Her hair is loose, curling waves tousled by the sea breeze, but kept tame by braids at her temples. Beaming from Dhraegon (as if to say look, it's Visenya!), to the welcoming committee, the Reach lady gives a little wave and hurries her steps.

When Visenya spies her friend and uncle departing the ship a smile does form on her lips. Unlike so many of her smiles this one is not put upon. Instead, it is one of pure joy at seeing them. She starts off towards the gangplank both are descending at an energetic pace, but stops herself from running up it to greet them. "Lady Marsei! Look at you! You look prettier than I remember." She says excitedly before she adds, "And how dashing Prince Dhraegon looks."

Dhraegon answers his wife's smile with a shy one of his own. He has never been to Dorne, but his wife's pleasure is infectious. He is watching her face more often than the view. Visenya's smile is a reassurance to him and he gives her a big goofy one in return. "You look wonderful, Visenya. Very healthy!"

Lady Ynys follows two paces behind Princess Visenya, exchanging with Lady Vynesa a glance which conveys several different, carefully-modulated meanings, not the least of them being: don't crowd her. She herself remains politely attentive to the Targaryens exchanging greetings, but forbears to interrupt.

"Princess Visenya," Marsei states, warm and full of respect-and entirely too reserved, for she bursts out with a tremendously wide smile and a silly little laugh and goes in for a great big embrace as soon as the gangplank is behind them. "Nonsense! Dhraegon is right. You're the one who looks marvelous. A fair sight off from your letter! How good it is to see you." She withdraws, hands upon the princess's arm, to look her over and happily reaffirm her assessment. She hangs on rather tightly, though whether it's only out of joy to see Visenya or mingled with dizziness from her ocean journey is up for debate. Her wide-eyed curiosity for Starfall draws her glance momentarily beyond Visenya to Ynys, curiosity pairing with open friendliness in her gaze, trying to place her.

A small assembly of servants and Marsei's main handmaiden Siva, all well-dressed for the occasion, although not so finely as to stand out, and a septa who rather stands out from them, are soon to follow Marsei and Dhraegon at a distance.

Visenya laughs as well when Marsei embraces her, and she hugs the other young woman back before she says, "Well, you don't know the work it took to get me to look like this!" This is said jokingly, and when she and Marsei break she favors Dhraegon with another smile. "Uncle Dhraegon." The words are said affectionately. "How are you?"

She must notice Marsei looking at Ynys because she moves a little so both women can have a view of each other. "Lady Marsei, this is Lady Ynys Yronwood. She is Lord Trant of Gallowsgrey's mother, and my Mistress of Keys. Lady Ynys this is Lady Marsei Hightower and her husband Prince Dhraegon Targaryen." She then nods her head towards Vynesa, who did hang back after that look from Ynys, and the young lady curtseys to both Marsei and Dhraegon. "Lady Vynesa Uller. A Manwoody by birth, and my lady in waiting."

Dhraegon waits politely until Marsei is done hugging Visenya to offer his own hug, careful lest the Princess be acisendtally squished. He beams at her, "Very well. I am the happiest I have ever been. I really am! Ormund is letting us make another new garden! How is Dorne treating you?" He turns to the other Ladies being presented and recites in a stilted tone, "It is a pleasure to meet you." Then he giggles and attempts to hug the Dowager Lady Trant. His hands are clean, luckily.

The Mistress of Keys returns Lady Marsei's curiosity with an inclination of her head; then, presented, she takes a graceful step nearer. "Your Grace, Lady Marsei, welcome to Starfall." And that's as far as she gets before her prepared speech is overtaken by princely exuberance, and her stance wavers for an instant between 'lady' and 'warrior' before she wraps her arms in turn about the vast bulk of Prince Dhraegon and laughs out loud and gives him an affectionate light slap on the back. Well, if that's how we're playing it. Close to she's intoxicatingly fragrant, her skin and her hair and her garments carrying different layers of a spicy, honeyed scent all her own. She leaves the prepared speech and stands back, smiling broadly up at him, then looking to his Hightower wife to include her as well. "I hope you'll find your chambers to your liking; Lady Dayne has been very gracious in accommodating Her Highness's guests, and I saw to the rest myself. We are all very pleased to have the honour of hosting you on your first visit to Dorne, and if anything is lacking for your comfort or your pleasure I hope you won't hesitate to come to me."

The who's-who tucked away to memory, Marsei turns her smile on the other ladies. Although not as broad and familiar as that directed to Visenya, it is sincere beyond mere politeness. "Lady Ynys, thank you so much — I do look forward to having a place to stay that isn't within the confines of a ship," she greets — only once Dhraegon has gone through with his customary hugging — then nods to the lady-in-waiting, "Of course, Lady Vynesa." Taking up Dhraegon's arm once more, preparing to venture forth into Starfall proper, she looks to Visenya and up at the prominent Palestone Sword. "And how is Prince Torren?"

Visenya returns Dhraegon's hug easily enough. "I am adjusting well. It's different here, but that doesn't mean it's not enjoyable." She lets him move past her to greet Ynys, and once that is finished they all start moving towards the ferry. "In fact, I think Starfall is perhaps one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. I thought Dorne would be all desert, but-" She motions towards the rather green looking isle that Starfall castle sits on. The question about Torren causes her to give Marsei an apologetic look. "He's well. He was going to join me in greeting you, but a messenger from Sunspear arrived with what he said was urgent news. We're waiting for Princess Amarei and the Prince Consort to arrive so I think he was worried."

Dhraegon blinks at Lady Ynys rather confusedly, "Are you made of carnations and spice cakes?" As with all his hugs, his hands stay in appropriate places and his manner is rather like that of a very trusting child hugging an adult despite the size difference being rather the opposite than it would be in that case. he does release her promptly andhugs the other Lady he was jut introduced to as if all this were normal. Once the hugs are finished he retreats to his wife's side again pleased to have her on his arm again, "Thank you very much! The hard part of travelling is not having means to make a good blanket fort when one needs one!" To Visenya he asks, "Oh! I was hoping to meet your Torren! And your dragons? Are they eating well? I expect the heat pleases them."

Lady Ynys turns her head very slightly as she studies Prince Dhraegon in turn. "No, Prince Dhraegon," she answers, her tone even lower and more purring than before; "I am made of contradictions, like any other Dornishwoman."

And with little more ado the combined party of hosts and guests boards the ferry, and is drawn across to the smooth white walls of Starfall proper.

Marsei, who had been admiring the scenery, comes 'to with slightly wide eyes to be reminded of Visenya's dragons. A short-lived expression, replaced, as ever, by her smile. "Let us hope it was nothing too serious," she says with the happy tone of someone who has already set aside the possibility. "I'm sure we'll see the prince before long!" she assures Dhraegon as they board the ferry, upon which she looks back to assure the others in their retinue are safely among them. "There is something alive about the air here, isn't there?"

Poor Lady Vynesa, a girl of perhaps six and ten, looks a little overwhelmed when Dhraegon hugs her. Still, she allows it, and after a moment she gently pats his back. "Welcome to Dorne, Prince Dhraegon." She says in a soft almost meek little voice.

Visenya's smile widens to a grin, and her lips twitch upwards as if resisting the urge to laugh at Dhraegon's question to Ynys. "They have grown a little since you last saw them." She says of the dragons. "Yes!" She says almost excitedly to Marsei, "The climate is similar to Oldtown, but the air feels fresher. More alive. Probably because there is no city?" The ferry moves smoothly to the island, and when it approaches the dock at Starfall Vynesa comes forward to help Visenya up to the dock.

Dhraegon giggles delightedly at Ynys' quip. "It is nie to meet you Vynesa, parhaps we can play with kites later!" On the ferry ride, he stays close to his wife, aware of her dificulty aboard ships and is always ready with a steadying arm. "It really is pretty here. What sort of garden have you? I am glad your dragons are well."

"The Daynes have a fine garden in the Dornish style in their upper bailey," puts in Lady Ynys who, watching over Lady Vynesa's attentions to the princess, stands always unobtrusively ready to aid, yet judges always that such aid would constitute pointless harassment, "planted with local flowers, and a great many lemon trees. There is also a small herb garden. I would be delighted to show you over them once you've rested from your journey…?" she suggests to Prince Dhraegon, again including Lady Marsei with a glance from warm brown eyes, a slight deepening of her smile. Of course it's another part of her role to ease the burden of hospitality from a hostess in her ninth month of pregnancy — particularly the standing, walking kind of hospitality…

"I look forward to seeing the lemon trees," Marsei replies buoyantly to Ynys, though she's watching Dhraegon for his reaction more. She lets the prince step off the ferry first so that she may be helped down by the grace of his courtesy and height, the latter of which is so contrary to hers.

Dhraegon's eyes light up at the mention of local plants, "Oh! I'd love a tour! I'd like to know all their names and families! I do love flowers very much." He gazes in a besotted fashion at the Flower of Oldtown as he hands her down carefully, all solicitude. Whatever the Prince's personal failings, a lack courtesy and consideration toward his wife is not one of them. "I would love to meet them all after a nap and some cakes!" Flox trails unobtrusively behind in case of mishaps.

Once the ferry has dropped the assorted nobles and royals off to the castle the guests are shown rooms in the same tower that Prince Torren has taken up as his own for the duration of the stay at Starfall. Once the guests have been given a chance to unpack and rest a proper Dornish banquet is held in the main room with low tables, and pillows on the floor to recline on. There are many Dornish dishes, although the spiciness of the dishes has been tempered to suit the guests uninitiated tongues. And there are plenty of cakes. Nubile dancers do the spear dance to entertain the guests.

Visenya has changed into pale gold robes that cling to her full figure. Her arms are now also bare, and adorned with jeweled armlets. She reclines on pillows strategically placed to accommodate her larger than normal size, and nibbles on an olive as she watches a pair of dancers. "What is the newest gossip in Oldtown?" She asks generally.

Dhraegon changes into formal House colours in his favoured Dornish inspired layered silks. His long white hair is loose down his back except for two small braids framing his face. Dhraegon gives a happy squeal at seeing all the comfy floor pillows and smelling the spicy dishes. his voice is a little too loud as he exclaims, "It's like in a pillow fort! We should do this at home!" His enthusiasm seems real enough. His eyes go wide as he spots all the cakes and he beams at his lady wife, "Oh look!" He has no eyes for spear dancers alas, but he does know good cakes when he sees them. He does notice the change of clothes for his hostess as he says, "Your petals are like dragon scales!" He casts about for something she might consider gossip, "Young Jurian is to marry his sister. I like her. She is name Aelia and likes hugs and games."

Marsei sits in what looks like an elegant and comfortable pose upon the Dornish pillows despite a brief moment of reticence earlier in sitting down so close to the floor among everyone. Changed, her new gown does have a few basic elements in common with the Dornish style of dress: the loose, flowing layers, the absence of sleeves, and the sandsilk the outer layer, a diaphanous canary yellow. Otherwise, however, it is distinctly the height of fashion in the Reach, not Starfall. She's drawn from a bemused stare at the spear dancers to respond to Visenya promptly after Dhraegon, "And Ser Loryn is getting married to a Merryweather! She…" Marsei's attention drifts mid-sentence, beyond the tables and the pillows to the septa, Leire, who she's brought on the voyage to Starfall. "Is quite sweet actually," she finishes before lifting a hand, "Will you join us, septa?" Her offering is so friendly and hopeful it might as well be a form of insistence.

Leire might perhaps be one of the few from the entourage who has not changed, wearing the same pale grey robes she arrived in. She wears a moonstone circlet and a seven-pointed star at her throat, and the Daynes are so faithful to the Seven that she seems altogether at home in their keep, even if she is unfamiliar with Dorne and with most of the guests in attendance at the feast. She stands apart from most, and when Marsei singles her out and calls her over, she demurs.

"Prince Jurian is getting married?" Visenya asks with a little raise of her brow. "To his sister?" While she doesn't say it outloud the undertone of her voice seems to carry another meaning. Poor girl. Still, she smiles when Dhraegon remarks on her petals. "Do you like it? An emissary from Essos brought it as a gift. Lys, I want to say?" She shrugs lightly, as if receiving gifts from foreign dignitaries is now old hat for her. Her attention falls onto Marsei and she says, "Oh, well everyone is getting married, then? I'm not familiar with the Merryweather's. They are at Longtable, right?" She smiles broadly before she adds in a delighted tone. "You had those silks made into a gown! It looks lovely on you." Then Marsei is inviting Leire over, and she sits up ever so slightly to give the Most Devout a respectful bow of her head. "Septa."

Dhraegon is watching his Lady's face as she describes Loryn's intended, his eyes empty and his face hard to read. He nods sadly to Visenya's question, "She's such a sweet gentle little bird, and he… has not been able to make himself another match." He seems happy to move away from the subject, "The petals are unusual and suit you well, Visenya. I really am happy to see how well you look generally." There is real relief under the repetition of the sentiment in his tone. He really was worried for her. He beams at his wife, "She always has such well arranged petals." he blinks a little wide eyed at Leire, never sure what is expected with Septas, "Did you want a hug?"

"Yes, Longtable," Marsei confirms, more eager to comment upon Loryn's future bride rather than Jurian's and already smiling brightly to realize Visenya has recognized the cloth of her dress. As she's about to answer, Dhraegon is asking the demurring Leire if she would like a hug, however, and she pauses to give the septa a knowing smile, the apology at the corners of her lips subtle but present. "Oh, it only seemed fitting!" she continues to Visenya, "I've you to thank. I've used most of the other silks in gowns as well and they're all wonderful. Do you know Septa Leire?" She transitions seamlessly, with equal enthusiasm, looking hopefully between them. "I had hoped she would give you and your child a blessing during our visit."

Leire lowers herself into the sea of pillows at a place that's quite close to Marsei, but away from Dhraegon, which might answer the hug question without requiring an actual verbal answer. She smiles at Visenya, and returns the greeting with with a similar bow of the head. Her lady suggests a blessing for the infant and the mother, and she responds with genuine zeal, "It would be my honor."

"Perhaps he will be more gentle with her because she is his sister." Visenya says of Jurian, and there is some hopefulness in her tone. But she moves on to Lord Loryn's intended as Marsei does, although the look on Dhraegon's face does get a brief and curious glance from her. However, when the topic changes from marriage to gowns she seems happy enough to talk about that instead. "I'm just glad it looks as lovely on you as I suspected. Most women can't pull off yellow, but you look like it was made for you." She looks to Leire, and smiles, "No, but I had heard of the Septa when I was in Oldtown. I would be grateful for a blessing. Thank you, Septa."

Dhraegon looks wildly disappointed by the lack of hugs but soldiers on. He looks sad, "I have made sure she knows she is welcome to visit me in the Hightower and that the guard know to send her right to me." He beams at his wife, "I love seeing her in so many different colours of petal."

As both septa and princess agree, Marsei is pleased as can be, looking upon Leire with clear admiration bordering on pride. "Aelia?" Her smile falters ever-so-slightly when she acknowledges that half of the conversation, only to turn fond. "The more she visits the more I worry she won't be allowed," she remarks quietly, but is eager, again, to move on. "If there were more colours, I would be happy to wear those too," she says with a bright smile to Dhraegon, laying a hand on his arm — some measure of comfort for his lack of hug from the septa, perhaps, as well. "There seems to be no shortage of them in Dorne. I admire the ladies of House Dayne having such a pretty lilac colour to aspire to on their sigil."

Lady Ynys Yronwood is a late entrant to the feast — detained perhaps in seeing to the comfort of Princess Visenya's guests, or in some small territorial dispute with the Dowager Lady Dayne's people, or upon whatever business is keeping Prince Torren away from his wife and her kin…? She has changed into another sleeveless Dornish-style gown, this one of burnt-orange sandsilk beneath a shimmering outer layer of something diaphanous and golden; she hasn't done anything different with her hair, beyond putting in order what was disarranged by the breeze off the water, but the bracelets which chime about her wrists with every step have altered their hues. Her gown's neckline is edged with scallops of golden Myrish lace which almost, but don't quite, conceal all of the caramel flesh revealed in its deep and narrow plunge.

She comes first to the princess, bending lithely to one knee to murmur a word into her ear from behind; she straightens, and smiles warmly at the honoured guests sitting close by; then, further along the low banqueting table, she kneels again to exchange a few low words with the girl sitting on the farther side of Lady Vynesa Uller. Seeing them together places them immediately as mother and daughter, though the one is flagrantly Dornish in her attire and the other is wearing a very correct Westerosi gown in blue and black, the colours of House Trant of Gallowsgrey. Anyone who had the misfortune of crossing paths, or blades, with Lady Alysia Trant in her earliest days at Starfall might well be cheered, or relieved, to see her smiling and enjoying herself and sitting on Dornish cushions and tucking into Dornish dishes without a word of scorn.

These obligations discharged Lady Ynys looks for an empty place — and a courtier of Prince Torren's, in receipt of a glance from her, yields his, close beside the guests from Oldtown. "My thanks," the Mistress of Keys murmurs to him in an undertone, folding herself up on the cushions with leonine grace. Her dark, honeyed fragrance arrives with her. She helps herself to the vanquished knight's goblet of wine as well, until another should prove forthcoming. She doesn't interrupt, yet, this recital of news from the princess's old home.

Leire leans forward, laying her palm on Visenya's belly. It's an intimate gesture, and it immediately establishes a connection between the princess and the Seven, through their holy servant. She closes her eyes, and then when she opens them she turns them skyward, or at least ceiling-ward. "May the Seven bring blessings of health and joy to you and the prince of Dorne, and bathe your child in holy light and love." It's murmured reverently, and her hand passes over the swell of the Targaryen's stomach before her touch is withdrawn. She reaches for her star pendant, touching a kiss to it to seal the blessing.

Dhraegon leans towards his wife, like a flower towards the sun. "I love lilacs….Oh look it's the lady who smells like spice cake!" He waves enthusiastically, forgetting his indoor voice, "Hello Cake Lady! do they make that lace in a Septon's lace pattern, I wonder?" He eyes the goings on of belly touching and blessing with some concern, muttering to himself, "Vines. Vines would be safer."

Visenya perks up at the sight of Ynys, and when the older woman leans down to whisper into her ear her expression turns slightly grave. "Thank you, Lady Ynys." She murmurs slightly. And she may have said something regarding the chatter around them, but Leire is putting her hands on her belly. She still has that slightly bothered look on her face. Still, there is a clear attempt to relax as the woman provides the blessing of the Seven, "Thank you, Septa." She says a little distantly, and she picks up her goblet of wine to take more than a decent swallow.

Even were all the gowns created equal the Dornishwomen could still be told apart from the Westerosi ladies simply by their instinct for reclining upon cushions, in dangerously thin sandsilk robes, whilst showing themselves always to best advantage. Lady Ynys, bereft of her knives and stretched out almost supine, is a prime example of this tendency. It isn't for anybody's benefit in particular, of course: she has simply made herself comfortable. A servant reaches over her shoulder with a fresh goblet; she sips from it, one eye always on Princess Visenya, even as she's parrying questions about her lace. "Good evening, Prince Dhraegon. I don't know about this lace… I had it on another gown before this one, when I lived in the stormlands; I am not certain anymore where it came from in the beginning," she admits to Prince Dhraegon, lifting and letting fall the shoulder she isn't leaning upon.

Marsei falls into a hush the moment Leire leans toward Visenya. She presses her hand on Dhraegon's arm as if to inspire the same quiet - or at least a likeness of it — in him, although the effort may come too late. She watches reverently, with a keen eye for Visenya's expression. When it seems to be nearing an end, and she's smiled gratefully to Leire and peeked around to welcome Ynys with another smile - delayed, if only fleetingly, for noticing how supremely comfortable the Dornishwoman is — she herself leans slightly toward Visenya. "Is everything alright…?"

Dhraegon beams at Lady Ynys, "Oh! you can call me Uncle. It's so hard to remember so many names and titles, don't you think? I wish my bodice was as nice as yours!" While not in a Dornish reclining position, he looks very comfortable and his silks and hair are fanned out to charming effect. "I love how the whole feasting hall is like one big pillow fort!" He looks apologetic as he realises he was meant to be quiet and still, and does belated make the effort, trying to figure out if more is coming as the tummy fondling continues.

When the blessing is completed, Leire offers Marsei a furtive smile, and then she rises and excuses herself from the gathering of noblefolk, the better to melt back into the background of the festivities.

Visenya briefly observes what is going on around her. Dhraegon's happy comments about the pillows and bodices. Leire slipping away. She seems to hear it and yet none of it until Marsei leans over to ask her if she's okay. "The Prince Consort has fallen ill on the trip to Starfall, and they are detained. That is why Torren is not here. Lady Ynys just told me. I…" She sucks in a breath, "I don't even know why I am so upset. I barely know the man." She looks into Marsei's face then before she asks, "Would you hate me if I retired early? I feel as if I ought to be with my husband."

Dhraegon's eyes go wide, "Oh! I'm so sorry he is ill! And of course you need rest. Did you want us to walk you to your room? Do you need melons? Or lemon water or cakes?"

Marsei only interrupts her concerned watch on Visenya to notice Leire slip away with a modicum of regret, then rises from her pillow to relocate near Visenya's side. "It's perfectly alright. And it's natural to care for his well-being, and for everything to go as it should so close to the celebrations for the birth of your first child," she assures softly, placing an encouraging hand on her shoulder. "I will find Leire and pray that all is well. Let Dhraegon walk you to your room?"

After a polite word to Prince Dhraegon on the subject of bodices, a concession that perhaps, yes, her own is not without merit, Lady Ynys's large, thoughtful brown eyes focus more fully upon Princess Visenya. The only outward sign she gives that anything might be the matter — until it is spoken aloud, and with another sip she sets down her goblet and pushes herself lazily up onto her feet again. She catches the arm of a passing maidservant to ensure that wine will keep flowing all the more freely for those who still wish it; then, as the princess is excusing herself from her guests, as plans and fruits are being suggested, she comes round the end of the table to offer her a discreet hand-up if such should be appreciated, and her company thereafter.

"Thank you for being understanding." Visenya says to Marsei with some relief, and when Ynys comes to offer her a hand up she takes it and hoists herself up from the floor. "I would be so glad if you could walk Lady Ynys and me to my chambers, Uncle Dhraegon." She sucks in a tired little breath before she places her hand on her stomach and winces ever so slightly. "Thank you all so much for coming. And thank you for that." The last bit is said to Marsei when she says she will pray for her. She turns to depart the hall then.

Dhraegon gently kisses the top of his wife's head, and comes to offer his Kinswoman his arm in case she wants steadying on the stairs, looking almost as a proper Prince would.

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