|On the Natural Resources of House Targaryen|
|Summary:||Siblings. Blonde hair. Venom.|
|Related:||Prince Jurian Requests the Pleasure.|
Coming in from the garden Princess Vhaerys Targaryen is a luminous figure in the dusk, in the breeches and vest of burnished dark golden leather she often wears casually about the manse. The white silk shirt recently donned is likewise a staple of her wardrobe — she must have a dozen of them, to appear always so fresh and unwrinkled — and the dagger at her hip with its carved dragonbone hilt, and the rubies and black pearls clustering at her earlobes… But her long, gleaming, white-golden braids have vanished, apparently for good; her hair is cut in a sleek, silky long bob, parted to the left and combed to cover the rightmost part of her forehead. In accentuating the strong line of her jaw and the rather lovely shape of her head, it suits her. Nonetheless it may prove an astonishment to eyes accustomed to seeing her draped in shining, hip-length golden tresses, or else war-braids in Queen Visenya's own image.
There's a lightness in her step and a sense of purpose to her movement; nonetheless, sighting another Valyrian-pale head, she lingers with her hand on the back of a chair and her rangy body poised on the verge of passing onward, and engages her cousin in conversation. "Jurian. My thanks for that… rather instructive evening you provided for us, out on the water." One corner of her wide reddened mouth quirks. "I might have made up the lists for each boat somewhat differently, but I can only applaud the concept."
Jurian has been sitting slouched comfortably with a glass of dark wine, but when Vhaerys addresses him, he does make the effort to sit up straighter. "Ah," he says. "I was surprised you decided to attend." He offers a quick smile that has nothing to do with his eyes. "But delighted, of course. Let's see. Who did you disapprove of on our barge? You threw darts at Lady Marsei, but even if it weren't perfectly clear that I /must/ have Uncle and his wife on my boat, I'd want her anyway. Was it Ser Loryn and his septa-wife? Or the Florent girl who flirts with everyone?"
When Jurian names himself 'delighted' by her attendance Vhaerys leans her forearms upon the back of that chair and regards him with wry smile. It may have seemed an easy gamble, that a woman who hadn't been seen out of her chambers in so many weeks would ignore his invitation as she had any number of others. He lost. She's amused. But only, alas, fleetingly.
"Yes, a pretty face will go any distance with a young man… Did you know," she asks him with studied casualness, "that when Dhraegon is unwell, now, the Hightowers will not permit his family to see him? I am his closest blood kin and a trained healer, and they surround him with guards and turn me away. They keep him locked up — a prince of our house," and here she can't but sound indignant, "a veritable prisoner in their tower. They have taken my cousin from me," not to mention King Viserys, a thought surely in both their minds though even here she doesn't voice it, "and they will take the rest of us too if we should be so foolish as to provide them with pretext and opportunity." She runs long, neatly-curved fingernails along the upholstery, the claws of a dragon seeking an outlet for her displeasure. "I find even the pawings of those Tyrell children, and the drunkenness of House Florent's old maids, innocuous by comparison. Though I do hope," she says dryly, "that when you and your little bird are joined together you'll find in yourselves restraint enough to refrain from making the whole city spectators to your lovemaking."
"Are you indeed his healer?" Jurian asks, sipping from his wine while he regards Vhaerys with both interest and a certain hint of caution. "Well, he /must/ be allowed to come and go as he pleases, mustn't he?" he says. "I wonder if there's anything we can do about them putting the leash on poor Uncle. I'll talk to Lady Marsei, perhaps." He smiles again, gaze still cold. "Now, now," he says. "Have you ever seen me to misbehave with my sister in public? Anyway, the less anyone sees of our marriage, the better, I should think. I don't exactly consider her a diplomatic asset in furthering my interests."
Vhaerys lifts a hand in elegant protest; "I am not his particular healer, but I am assuredly the last person to do unwitting harm to my kinsman when he is in a delicate state. And when they will not let me see him, at a time when familiar faces would surely be of benefit to him — and when they answer my questions about his condition only with generalities — I am concerned." Her lips press together; her eyes, interrogating Jurian's, gather that he is not so, and she leaves it there, despite its being such a matter of principle with her.
"Of course not," she says, answering his rhetorical question. "You at least have a sense of the proprieties… You know, of course, that I think your marriage is not without its merits. Aelia loves you and will be loyal to you," she reminds him, with a hint of reproof in her tone as she champions the side of devoted dragon-sisters, "and you do owe her your protection. You'll be looked on with approval in certain quarters," she hints, "for your filial piety and your adherence to the customs of our family… That may prove more valuable than you suppose. I don't think you need despair of your interests just yet," she says delicately. "That is, provided you do marry the girl…?" And now her disapproval of his delaying tactics is more than just a hint.
"Surely they will mend when they understand your reasons and expertise," Jurian says. "I'll have a word with Lady Marsei and see what we can do. it really doesn't do for them to bar us from the tower, for whatever reason. Does it." He looks into his glass. "Shall we call for wine for you?" he wonders, looking up to meet her eyes again. He shows a palm briefly to Vhaerys. "Don't misunderstand me," he says. "I do not mean to say that marrying my sister is without advantage. Our bloodline is fine and pure, she is beautiful, and we need not find some place with her with people who may not understand. The fact of her is useful. In public, however…" He rolls a shoulder. "She is limited. But of course I intend to marry her. Within just a couple of weeks. But better not to make too much of it in case she says something odd. Uncle's marriage was spectacle enough."
"Oh," Vhaerys drawls, "I assure you they do understand. They are merely indifferent to his family's concern for him, as though he truly had left our house and joined theirs. Dear Lady Marsei was standing with the guards to bar my way…" She shrugs. "He seems to have recovered and to be allowed out and about again, but I wonder about the next time, and the next—?"
With a waft of her hand she dismisses the offer of wine; she hasn't sat down, either, and perhaps she doesn't plan to expound her own theories of correct Targaryen behaviour versus Hightower iniquity for long enough to work up much of a thirst. Her eyebrows lift however at Jurian's news, and she appears diverted. Pleasantly so. "You have chosen a date? It's certain this time? Then I shall look forward," she informs him approvingly, "to another of those beautiful invitations of yours…" Her newly-bobbed golden head inclines courteously toward him. "A small ceremony does seem suitable. I advised as much in Dhraegon's case as well, to keep from overwhelming him; but, of course, Hightower brides must always be wed in the Starry Sept," she drawls, "with the greatest of fanfare. And we all know how that that went."
Jurian chuckles. "I hope there are medicinal uses for venom, Aunt Vhaerys," he says as insults against the Hightowers pile up. He drinks again. "Yes, yes. The date is set. The movement of the ends of her hair draws his eye. "But you've changed your hair, haven't you," he observes belatedly. "It does become you. Makes you look younger."
"… You might be surprised by what can be medicinal," the princess purrs, on the subject of venom — and then she smiles, broadly and boldly, for that thought more than the compliment to her hair. She straightens from her posture half-leaning against the back of that chair, and runs a hand through her sleek short tresses. "Thank you," she says mildly. "I find it less trouble."
"You are ever the pragmatist, Aunt Vhaerys," Jurian replies, which may or may not be some sort of backhanded compliment. He drinks. "I expect we could've had cushions stuffed with the excess."
"I kept it — perhaps I shall do something of the kind," suggests Vhaerys, with an oddly whimsical tilt of her head and twist of her lips. A quality one does not customarily associate with her. "But you must forgive me," she explains smoothly, taking a step back. "My brother is waiting; and it seems we must decide at last upon a wedding gift for you and your sister."