(124-02-13) A Proper Foundation
A Proper Foundation
Summary: … garment. Foundation garment. AKA underthings.
Date: February 13, 2017
Related: Babies and Cakes

Hightower Square - Oldtown

This is a broad cobblestoned square, ringed by grand buildings hewn from stone. A massive fountain, also hewn from the same strong grey stone, stands in its center. It is wrought in the form of the Hightower in miniature. A tiny flame burns at its peak, and crystal waters pour from its base, pouring down the stony pedestal into the mirror-smooth pond below.

Stone benches offer places to sit, vendors cry their many wares, merchants ply their trade, and all around one can see the finely-dressed Oldtown wealthy meandering about. There is a pleasant smell of cooking food in the air, tingeing the ever-present smell of the salt sea, and a hint of perfumes and spices.

To the west, the Hightower street leads away. To the south, the archway to the Beacon Boulevard rises. To the north, with the Watch House standing alongside, is a stretch of street leading to the Beacon Gate and out to the Roseroad beyond. The cobblestone market square is quite clean and fresh, with nary a sign of any beggars, street rats, or grimy peddlers hawking stolen goods. The buildings here are in pristine condition.

The crowds in Hightower Square are slightly thicker as people have flocked to the city for the late(but not dead) Dolphins. Still, life must go on, and while locals shop for produce for their dinners visitors to the city explore the stalls that contain more luxurious goods.

The mysteriously tattooed Maera Mormont is here. She is accompanied by her burley and whiskered bodyguard today as she often is. The lady is dressed in a jerkin and breeches, and a bow is on her back. This draws stares as much as her jade striped cheeks.

Lady Marsei is perusing the wares of Hightower Square this day as well, though she carries no purchases and does not seem to be accompanied by anyone who would, customarily, carry them for her, nor a bodyguard from her lofty tower. In acceptance of the coming winter — or at least the frequent rain — she wears, with gloves, a gown of the palest powder blue with a gown that flares prettily away from her hips, flowing into full skirts. She also wears an outer-layer with a hood, tailored so finely on top of the dress of the same fabric that it appears, at a glance, to be part of the very same garment.

She browses neither produce nor luxurious goods, but rather the odds-and-ends in the middle, curiously approaching a merchant who seems to be pushing herbs and superstitious fertility charms only to hurry backward as though spooked by one or the other: superstition, or fertility. It is in her quick-footed escape from the merchant's attention that she notices Maera Mormont and quite nearly re-enacts her backpedaling, instinctively startled by the woman's stripes as though she were a wild thing. Politeness — and curiosity — win out. "Lady Mormont— ?" she asks almost uncertainly, although there's no mistaking the woman.

Maera is in the process of heading towards a stall with women's undergarments in it, even warrior-women need smallclothes, but when she hears her name her head whips around to the source. She looks at Marsei for several moments before asking in her flat voice, "Lady Marsei, correct?" She pushes some of her dark hair that has fallen out of her braid behind her ear.

"Yes," Marsei answers, pleased to be remembered, easing into a friendly smile that banishes away the slightly too wide-eyed look she began with. Though she does not precisely stare as passersby do, she's full of obvious curiosity toward the warrior woman and her tattoos — but her gaze is too sparkling and innocent to be borne of ill-will. "It was good to meet you the other day." She glances away for an instant, smile turning more demure, perhaps remembering the spectacle of her husband at the party. It's short-lived; she looks, instead, the way Maera was heading a moment ago. "If … I may — " She steps ever-so-slightly closer and away from Maera's bristly accompaniment, for this is private business. "The stall across the way is finer," she ventures quietly. "I mean no offence to the kind merchant there; it is only that the other sews a better fit."

If Maera remembers the scene Dhraegon caused she shows no signs of it. Her murky blue-green eyes study Marsei as if she's trying to make sense of her, a bit ironically perhaps considering she is the more unusual looking of the pair. Her lips twitch upwards into a slightly wry smile when Marsei steps closer to inform her of the better quality goods, and she gives her companion an amused little look before she says to Marsei, "I will trust your judgement since your sense of fashion is much more refined than mine. Do you mind leading the way?"

"Of course!" Marsei ducks her head down, flattered — or self-aware underneath the study. Above all, she's simply sincerely happy to help, giving the Mormont woman an absolutely sunny smile as she sets off across the Square. "He started out his business by selling men's things, and I suppose he thought to turn a better profit selling ladies' garments," she confides on the way toward a stall almost a straight line across Hightower Square from the first. There is a hint of soft-spoken caution in her voice for the mere fact that she's talking about smallclothes, but she seems to have taken a stranger's proper undergarments on as an worthy cause. "But he still tailors as though for a man. Women need…" She glances quickly at Maera's attire — a man's attire, by most common standards — and her words fall away. Undeterred, she goes on brightly, " — well! This merchant's— " Up ahead, the stall boasts a variety of smallclothes, most of them very plain and standard but, indeed, finely made. " — are made by a woman, so … well, they just fit how they ought."

Maera listens to what Marsei has to say regarding the smallclothes seller, and nods at the appropriate moments. She doesn't smile like Marsei does. She doesn't look like she has a face prone to smiles. She does let out a huff when Marsei looks at her clothes before she supplies helpfully, "Hips? I find nothing has enough room for my hips or bosom." Once they arrive at the stall she begins searching through the smallclothes. "You're married." She states bluntly. "Which ones would a man like?"

Marsei smiles agreeingly and gives a soft sound just a bit too quiet and full of breath to be a laugh when Maera fills in the blanks. The question that follows as the other woman browses seems to confound her at first. "Men, but these are for… oh, I see," she realizes her silly folly mid-sentence and ducks her dimpled chin down in embarrassment. "Um…" She strides closer to the stall nevertheless and, with the faintest of blushes under her freckles, lifts her head with determination. It takes the noblewoman a moment to focus, but she takes on the array of smallclothes with near tactical precision. "Being married doesn't make me an expert,but … perhaps… these…?" She selects the garments that have slightly thinner material and happen to more obviously cater to things like bosoms and hips; granted, she also chooses some that have little bows and ribbons and other subtle embellishments likely less important to men than the rest.

Maera schools her expression into something bland while Marsei takes her up on her challenge, and tries to find something suitable that a man would like. She follows after Marsei, and pretends to inspect the ones she holds up carefully. "Oh yes. The little bows will work nicely." And now she can't keep her expression schooled any longer, but she does take the rather girly smallclothes all the same, even as she grins. She also grabs a few pairs made more sturdy and with much less embellishment. After she exchanges them for coin she says to Marsei, "Thank you. I hate shopping."

Marsei seems to have stopped blushing by sheer force of will, but no longer quite looks straight at the smallclothes or their intended wearer — enough to notice that grin, mind. She's as pleased to be finished with that task as she is happy to have helped. She steps back from the stall as Maera pays and folds her hands atop her chest; her slim-fitting gloves are white, too pristine to ever have touched a speck of dirt. "You're very welcome! I enjoy shopping for things in the Square, though I … usually send a girl for items such as this. It's all a bit embarrassing, I think." Yet there's her sunny smile again, out in full force. "Are you betrothed, then?" she asks with cheerful curiosity, lady to lady, even though Maera does not at all resemble any lady the sweet Hightower has known. She looks more like a near-mythological character in one of the frightful stories about the North.

"I don't have a girl. I have him." Maera jerks her thumb towards her whiskered bodyguard. "I think if I made him buy my smallclothes he'd revolt." As for the next question she shrugs her shoulder. "Perhaps. I've been betrothed so many times I don't put too much thought into it anymore." She takes the wrapped package from the vendor, and carries it herself. She then adds wryly, "If I actually marry this one I suppose I'll start thinking about it a little more."

Marsei gives the bodyguard an amused little look as she steps in line beside Maera to stroll away to the merchant, who she also smiles at despite not having made her own purchase. "Oh, I see … I hope it works out this time," she encourages — with a soft addendum, "That is, if you want it to."

"It will or it won't. Only the Old Gods know what is in store for us." Maera says casually, as if marriage were not such a big thing. "Good luck in your marriage, Lady Marsei." She says, mostly because they are on the subject, "And thank you for your help again. Do have a good day." And that said she heads in the direction of the street that leads away from the square.

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