(123-07-12) Deep Waters
Deep Waters
Summary: The secrets of ladies bathing include … winter, murder, and the threat of political upheaval as Visenya is concerned about a repeat of the not-so-distant past.
Date: 12/07/2016
Related: A Knight Accused, Again; Dishonor's Patient Harvest; past: Wickham's Nest plot

Bathing Pools - Upper Bailey - Starfall

This area is occupied by a number of stone pools, shaded by lemon trees and divided by trellises, hedges and bushes. Most bear flowers and fruit depending on the season, and they make a chaotic and busy display, informal but an effective means of partially hiding bathers while still allowing them awareness of who's present. A winding path allows one to wander among the pools. There's a stone-lined spillway from the water-source in the lotus garden, with little ornamental bridges where the path crosses it.

The large central pool is shallow enough for very young children to wade and splash about, with a deeper adjacent pool about twelve feet square. There a group of adults can recline on curved stones under the water, and soak. Elsewhere among the trees and hedges there are smaller tubs where a person can bathe privately. Some of these have canopies erected over them, with curtains that can be drawn to completely hide the bath within its own little pavilion.

None of the pools are heated — it's cool water from the Torentine, clear but tinged with green. However, while the rest of the pools are made from the same white stone as Starfall castle itself, one of the smaller private ones is lined with black granite and consequently gets quite warm.

The use of the stopcock in the lotus garden and the various metal flow-gates in the spillway and the pool edges allows one to empty or refill any of the various baths; the spent water flows into the clay-lined irrigation trenches that are half-buried and hidden throughout the upper gardens.

It is another oppressively hot day in Starfall. Luckily, there is a cure for the heat for the less shy, and Visenya is leading the way to the pools. A group of handmaidens follow carrying fabric to create screens so their mistresses may get in and out of the pool without being seen. Visenya is wearing a simple caftan of a watery blue. Her hair is piled on top of her head. "I received the most unusual message last night." She mentions to Marsei as the handmaidens hold the sheets out, and she takes off the caftan with no fuss before stepping into the water. "Well, more like a guest who had a warning."

Marsei is in constant state of fascination and admiration, so lovely are the bridges, the lotus garden, the pretty pools of water and enormous bursts of flowers; it is either her easy captivation with her surroundings or her reticence toward their actual purpose that keeps her steps just out of sync and behind Visenya. "Oh— ? More— " her curiosity hops to Visenya only to notice she's already stepping foot in the water. She looks instead to Siva, among the handmaidens but stands by with towels and clothing folded over than one arm while the others hold the sheets. "More unusual than Camillo coming from the Hightower to Starfall?" There is a faint hint of worry in her voice, given the recent happenings on Dorne — a warning does not exactly sound like well wishes. It is with remarkable swiftness that the Reachlady unties and sheds her loose emerald green gown to step into the cool water, and Siva is there in a flash with a thin blanket of sorts to drape over her fair shoulders that are already red from the sun. Her usually subtle freckles are in full force.

"Have a canopy set up for Lady Marsei, please." Visenya says to her handmaidens once they are both in the water. She lets out a little sigh, and dunks her head back into the water before lifting it just in time to hear that Camillo is in Starfall. "Has something happened?" She asks before she explains. "Lord Carolis Stark is here. He said Winter is coming early, but the maesters will not listen because the stars have not changed. But, I am more inclined to believe a Nothroner who just came from the North than a Maester who sits in Oldtown." She looks to Marsei, "Why is Camillo here?"

"Winter, though?" Marsei looks up at the canopy as she speaks, incredulous to the notion of winter regardless of what Carolis Stark has purportedly said. She spares no layer from the heat, clinging a bit to the fabric about her shoulders, although it could just as well be modesty. She does relax somewhat in the refreshing pool, however, surrounded by the clear, green-tinged water. She shakes her head, reassuring. "As I understand it, your brother invited Camillo." Her eyes narrow in what is likely a mere sliver of confusion compared to the servant's in question. "Of course he's joined the staff Dhraegon and I brought to tend to us while we're all here. But," her curiosity pipes up again, "who was your guest?"

"It sounds as if most of the men who were in the North are in agreement." Visenya says with a faint little shrug, "I spoke to Torren last night, and he is sending a rider to the houses on the Sea of Dorne to see if there has been increased storm activity." She turns her head a little when she says Daevon invited him before finally she says, "If you think my brother overstepped himself I will speak to him. He is…freer with servants than he ought to be." As to her guest she says, "Oh, Lord Carolis. Well, I suppose he is also one of Daevon's guests." This is said a little dryly.

"Oh, I didn't realize," Marsei says of Lord Carolis and the guest being the same. "How odd," she remarks; there is a certain benevolence even in this, a sweetness that doesn't go so far as to criticize the Stark lord who she so clearly doesn't understand. "Does it not seem like news that would be better brought to the maesters of Dorne?" Perhaps not if those in Oldtown did not seem willing to listen, but that point does not exactly seem driven home in Marsei's mind. "I hope there are no storms." A pause, and she sinks ever-so-slightly down in the water (not nearly so far as to dip her head, as Visenya did) and contemplates. "Oh— and I don't know, about Ser Daevon…. it just seems a bit strange is all. Having Camillo come all this way. But I don't mind. It's nice to have another familiar face about."

"They report to the Citadel the same as any other maester." Visenya observes, her voice slightly distant as if she were thinking over the whole situation. She splashes water over her face again, and presses her lips together pensively. "Luckily it shouldn't effect your journey home since you'll be going up the west coast. If there are storms. It may be nothing, and Lord Carolis isn't a man of learning, but still…" She nods her head at Marsei in agreement, "It is strange, and I apologize on his behalf. He just….does things, sometimes." She sighs and rubs her forehead, "I'm slightly distressed about this Tarly problem."

Marsei gives a small, sympathetic smile when Visenya speaks of Daevon. Although she doesn't go so far as to voice her understanding outloud, she's a sister, too. The mention of Tarly prompts a gentle sigh in her throat, paired with an agreeing nod. Her gingery hair pools around her, unbound, and she squeezes water from a length only to let it fall. "It is… it is such an unfortunate thing. All around," she says softly, likely not for the first time, sincere to the point of slight fright. "Has… there been any news? Any word from the Tarlys?"

"No." Visenya says with a shake of her head and a sad look down at the reflection they cast in the pool, "Daevon was involved in the death of another Tarly. Well, I mean, I don't think he had anything to do with this man's death. It's just that everything that happened with that dreadful Ser Manfryd last year…" She trails off, and puts her hands over her face. "I regret making the duel so easy to come by. If I had not made the trap for Jason Tarly…"

"It's not your fault," Marsei is quick to insist, a small splash of water from a quick hand gesture punctuating her words. "I don't think anyone would have expected what happened … that is, except for the person who did it." A pointless assertion, she realizes with a helpless little frown. "I suppose I mean … everybody knew the duel was to happen, but the Seven were to see to the justice. Daveon would have won. I would have been less surprised if someone had attacked him before the duel instead, given what we know of Jason Tarly."

Visenya looks into Marsei's face before she says, "Of course a reasonable person would think that. But there are so few people who are actually reasonable." She leans back against the rim of the pool before she says, "I've learned that whenever something like this happens generally someone needs to be blamed, and people don't care about actual culpability or responsibilities. Chances are the Tarlys will retaliate. Other Reach houses will join their cause. They will blame it on Dorne. And why wouldn't they?" She sucks in a little breath, "I'm afraid there will be another Red Rookery. And— " She lowers her voice, "I've reason to believe some in the Reach have been waiting for such an opportunity."

"Surely not?" Marsei replies, an exclamation under a hush. A nave reaction and she knows it, for eyes that had widened — the green in them vivid against the reflection of the pool — seem to sink. "I'm glad I was here when it happened," she contends quietly, but with a growing confidence. "Even though I did not… witness what happened, and even if it were someone from Dorne who killed him," she ventures, her voice especially gentle through this what if, "I know murder was not wanted here. I'm glad to know you and Prince Torren and to meet the Daynes who have been so gracious to let us stay in their home. I will tell the same to Ormund and Gwayne! To Alicent if I must! To Ser Brynden, and to the Tyrells if it will help."

"You know Prince Torren is a man of the law." Visenya says in a hush little whisper as they speak of things perhaps too heavy for a leisurely bath, "And the Daynes are one of the most chivalrous families in all of Westeros." She sucks in a tense little breath, "And I'm so glad you'd be willing to speak to people, but we've seen in the past that the other Reach families do not value law, order, and justice as much as the Hightowers do. Ser Laurent Tyrell was part of the Red Rookery himself. If the Tyrells did not condemn him for that then would they really care…?" She sighs in a pained manner, "Oh Marsei, there is so much to say about it all…"

"It is well-known that Ser Laurent is the Thorn of the Tyrells," Marsei says to separate him from the rest, insistently optimistic — although she does not smile. Rather, her freckled features are forlorn. She opens her mouth to speak again, but hesitates, deep in thought; whatever distressing path her mind takes, she leaves it in favour of moving with a slight sway of water through the bath to sit just slightly closer to Visenya, enough to comfortably lay her hand upon her shoulder in comfort. "We must believe it will be all right in the end. There must be as many of those in favour of peace as there are those who wish to work against it. You don't have all of Dorne to worry about — at least not yet!" Her smile makes an appearance, tentatively sunny.

Visenya regards her friend's optimism with sad skepticism. Finally she says, "I hope it will be all right in the end. And I must remind myself that I am no longer powerless. I don't have to wait around for men to do things for me anymore." She gives the other woman a sad little half-smile, "I do have to worry about all of Dorne. I am a Princess consort now. These are my people now as much as they are Torren's and Aliandra's." She lies back in the water, "I will do my own investigation."

Marsei's willful optimism that all will be well translates readily into confidence in Visenya. "I trust you will get to the bottom of it," she proclaims, upbeat. She too leans back in the water, a matching pose. She stares out over the pool and seems likely to fall into quietness but for the turn of her head to say, "But if there is anything I can do…"

Visenya hesitates before she says, "Talk. As you were going to do before. Tell people the truth of what happened." She lets out a stressed little sigh before she says, "I hope I can discover what happened. Murderer or not Jason Tarly deserved justice, not that." She pushes the subject out of mind then, and tries to focus on something else instead of the recent troubles.

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