(124-05-02) Birds and Seeds
Birds and Seeds
Summary: Aelia has been residing at the Hightower since her wedding and Jurian's subsequent death and spending plenty of time with Dhraegon and Marsei, who respond to her current… surprise?
Date: May 2, 2017
Related: The Seasons Change, How Lovely to be a Woman, Empty Nest

Butterfly Garden - Lower Gardens - 3 - The Hightower Battle Island

A fork in one of the paths leads to this spot, nestled away amid the bushes. The young shrubs and flowers here were carefully selected to attract butterflies, hummingbirds and songbirds. In fair weather and season, the little garden is graced with bright wings and song. There are ornately carved birdhouses, some made to resemble a few of Oldtown's more famous buildings. Hanging from tall spiral-wrought iron hooks are hummingbird feeders in the form of oversized blown-glass lilies and irises in glittering and fanciful colours.

The Butterfly Garden is positioned to have a particularly pleasant view of the ships in the Whispering Sound. A few smaller tables and benches are set among the flowers and rare herbs to take best advantage of the vista.

At the heart of the garden is a stone fountain featuring a statue of a woman strewing water droplets from her fingertips like they are petals from the broad shallow basket she carries. The basket doubles as a bird bath for those avian visitors who might prefer it to the little ornamental pond at the statue's feet, where the droplets from her fingers and the stream from the basket splash among water lilies of pink and yellow and white. The stone lady stands ankle deep in the water, and tiny colourful fish flit about her bare feet.

Dhraegon has been rather preoccupied, but he has been less reclusive and apt to be seen puttering about the gardens doing the usual Dhraegonish thin gs of an afternoon. More recently, there have been preparations for the upcoming Lizard Lion and dolphin events.

Aelia has kept to her room almost entirely since Jurian's death, but now here she is out in the garden, trailed by the red-haired Mae. She's looking placid and pleased with herself, though this is not necessarily unusual.

Marsei has been preoccupied as well, in large part by the same things Dhraegon has, yet by different angles of each. Presently, the lady has perched herself on the edge of the butterfly garden's fountain, partly in the shadow of the statue that resembles her so. It's a tranquil respite from the stormy weather that's been circling the tower off and on. She wears a thin pair of gloves on one hand; the other has been delicately peeled off and she trails her bared hand in the water, watching in a distracted sort of fascination as fish kiss her fingers. She is not so caught in reverie that she doesn't notice Aelia and Mae, however, and gives them a friendly, beckoning smile.

Dhraegon looks up from where he is kneeling to inspect for aphids and other pests and spotting their guest, rises, all smiles and the flutter of winglike sleeves.

Aelia looks delighted to be noticed, but then she seems to remember to look demure. Mae has put a dove-gray cloak on her to keep the chill away, and this catches a bit of a breeze as she moves closer to Marsei, looking at her hand in the water. "Sometimes geese and fish eat together because the goose dips food in the water to soften it," she says.

Marsei smiles at the image Aelia summons. "Perhaps the garden ought to have geese," she suggests with a look up to Dhraegon, only to softly frown, looking back to stirring her hand slowly about and watching the shimmer of fish scales beneath. "I suppose not, though… people might complain that they make noise," she says regretfully, but smiles the notion away, glancing aside to Aelia to ask warmly — and with a very observant look, though it is quick, "How are you feeling today, Aelia?"

Dhraegon nods wisely, "I like when everybody is happy about things at once." He drifts over, teasing gently, "I hope you are not planning to nibble My Sweet Asphodel's hands though." he looks a bit concerned, "Geese bite and chase people. It is peaceful without, though I have though maybe some pretty little lizards….?" He peers worriedly at Aelia, holding his breath for the answer.

"Once there was a city somewhere that was saved when soldiers tried to invade by night and they tripped over some geese and the geese cried out and everyone woke up," Aelia shares with Marsei. She smiles. "I threw up but then I ate a lot of lunch."

"Lizards?" Marsei sounds a bit worried, her hand drifting from the water to spill tiny droplets from her fingertips that the fish chase after hopefully. She gives Dhraegon something of a searching look, less on board with the path his thoughts are taking, particularly in light of the stories of lizards of the lion variety emerging from the damp corners of Oldtown. Realization is quick to dawn on her face, though she doesn't seem less worried — now it's simply for a more concrete reason. But when she tells Aelia, "That's good," her warmth is, as always, genuine. "Has that been happening a lot?" She includes Mae in her query.

Dhraegon nods, and reassuringly adds, "The tiny ones that change colours, not lizard lions, who would likely eat all your fish and birds." The Prince looks hopeful at the mention of vomit, but sensibly lets his lady Wife pursue the questioning, "Perhaps a little mint tisane…?"

"Yes," Aelia replies. "Mae always holds the pot." Mae gives a nod to confirm this symptom. "I think, um…the Seven must have blessed my marriage." She looks between Marsei and Dhraegon with a slightly doubtful expression as if wondering whether she's said the right thing. "And I will get fat like a goose."

Marsei smiles encouragingly over Aelia's wording. A glimmer — uncertain emotion, but certainly emotion — rises in her eye as she stands up from the edge of the fountain. "And perhaps as fierce as one," she replies with a soft little laugh; she hesitates a bit uncommonly, clutching her one unworn glove, before stepping forth to embrace Aelia tightly. With her head upon the princess's shoulder, she tells Mae and Dhraegon, "She should be examined by a maester, to be certain."

Dhraegon gives a delighted hih pitched squeal and sweeps the Princess up in a hug. "I am so happy for you, Little Bird! I am sure Jurian would be pleased to know there will be an egg after all if he were here! I know we are!" The Prince is clearly picturing a strange man approaching his delicate kinswoman in such a familiar way, "Might it not be better to have a healer woman in?"

Aelia hugs Marsei tightly, wiggling just a little in the hug. She wraps arms around Dhraegon in his turn, then steps back to blink at them both. She doesn't seem to know whether a maester or a healer woman is better.

"A healer woman?" Marsei is almost, but not quite, as wary of these words as she was the notion of lizards. She keeps a hand upon Aelia's arm after the embrace. "Do you know one who is not a witch?" she asks Dhraegon earnestly. It's simply the way of things: however uncomfortable the fact, maesters have always been part of such delicate matters. "Septa Leire was well-versed in midwifery, but unfortunately she is— " Marsei looks down, "she is not here. I could ask Lynesse," she says softly. Her cousin — and acting Lady Hightower, Ormund's wife — has been known to have a healing touch.

Dhraegon nods. "I do. She is not… strictly respectable, being from Essos, but she's made draughts for me before in emergencies, is kind hearted, helps women in…less respectable professions find good work in other fields, feeds the poor, and is not a witch. She has a child of her own who is healthy and well cared for… Oh, I did not know Lynesse was a Midwife. That might be better than a man she does not know."

Aelia looks between the two as the conversation goes on. "I will be very good," she puts in. In case that's at issue.

"Do you mean Peri…?" There is a hesitating moment in which Marsei might seem likely to ask Dhraegon if he's sure she's not a witch, but the moment passes smoothly after that initial concern. "She seemed very well-intended when we spoke, a good friend to you. If you trust her— then perhaps. Lynesse is not … not a midwife, but she is knowledgeable about certain potions— like you! Particularly those which help women," she says. "Especially if something were— " Marsei shakes her head and softly smiles, dismissive. She squeezes Aelia's arm. "You will be well taken care of," she assures, either way.

Dhraegon grins at Aelia, "Of course you will! I just think it's best not to upset a bird when there is an egg in the offing." He kisses the top of his kinswoman's head, the lightest of touches and releases her, "You will be well taken care of. We are very fond of you, and terribly happy. I did tell you that Viserys says you might stay here or at the Manse and there will be no trouble about you having to go north again if you don't wish."

Aelia shifts her shoulders forward, smiling at the praise and assurances. "Yes," she says. "I am very happy to be here. I like the room." And Mae gets to go up and down all those stairs!

Elusive tension forms around Marsei's rosy lips, though she smiles genuinely; her face is so ill-suited to such duality that it increases her dimples rather than dissuades them. She gives Aelia's arm another squeeze before going to Dhraegon's side to lean against his arm slightly. "Have you felt it yet?" she asks Aelia wonderingly, "In your tummy?"

Dhraegon slides an arm around his wife's waist. "We are terribly happy that you enjoy it here. we do want you to be happy little bird and if there is anything you need, be sure to tell us." The Lady's question has him peering excitedly at his kinswoman's middle.

Aelia looks wide-eyed. "No, I don't feel it. What does it feel like?" she wonders. Then she looks to Dhraegon. "But you bring me even things I've never thought of," she says.

Marsei's gaze had travelled, almost without her notice, to Aelia's middle as well, but her gaze drops somewhat discomfitedly— modestly, perhaps, if only for a moment. "I can't say … for certain," she admits in the seconds before she looks back up to Aelia. "I'm told it feels like flutter inside, like a bird flapping its wings."

Dhraegon blushes to his ears.

Aelia tilts her head curiously. "Well. It must be all right," she concludes. "I will feel it if it flaps, certainly."

Marsei only smiles and leans her head on Dhraegon. She tilts her head to look up at him wide-eyed and a bit bewildered, delicate brows raised high, awed.

Dhraegon gazes back at his wife, expression one of sudden delight, "Maybe it is a good sign…" He gently lays his hand on his wife's belly for just a moment, expression so vulnerable and hopeful.

Aelia twirls once to watch her skirt flutter. "I hear rain many days," she says. "That's why it is wise to be a water bird."

"We could use more good signs." Marsei's expression softens in line with Dhraegon's, a meeting of like hearts and minds. She reaches as though to reach after his hand when it moves, but in fact is finally putting her glove back on. "Very wise," she obliges Aelia — and with a look up to the turbulent skies and back, adds, "It looks like it may rain again at any second. I do not have goose feathers, so I think I will get ahead of it." Though she does have a cloak, and gloves, and has never been too skittish about the rains in the gardens, she starts to step away.

Dhraegon nods, "It is good to be adaptable and geese are fierce, especially in defense of eggs." He offers his wife his arm, "Shall I escort you back? It is good the children's garden is finished if there is going to be a little one about in a few months."

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