(124-06-15) What Is Right
What Is Right
Summary: Dhraegon, Marsei and Camillo come together to discuss where they're at in regards to the Fossoway predicament; Marsei struggles to get her view across.
Date: August
Related: Fossoway Folly plot; follows A Matter of Honesty

West Suite - 7 - The Hightower Battle Island

This is one of the smaller of the Hightower's suites, but it is still grand. It offers a fine view from its large window — from the opening one can overlook the western side of the harbor with the trailing edge of the city at its banks, and in the distances the bright splash of the massive fields of fireweed that top the low cliffs along the sound around the Blackcrown Road. The window has a wide padded sill large enough for two to sit comfortably and take in the scenery. The room is decorated in pastels, with a frequently reappearing motif of various wildflowers in the paintings and needlepoint tapestries. More exotic flowers from all over the known world are woven into the seafoam green carpet that covers the floor. Vases of flowers sit on all the tables and are kept fresh with blooms and greenery and there are a number of live plants kept where the sun can reach. In the large sitting room are velvet-cushioned chairs and couches.

On one side of the suite an archway leads into his aid's room, and on the other there is a door leading to a bedroom. In the sleeping chamber a large four poster wooden bed rests in one corner, with a gray and pink coverlet and ridiculous number of assorted pillows. There are two wardrobes to match the bed, and a nightstand with an oil lamp painted with dragons and Septon's Lace. There is also a large vanity table with a big mirror of real silvered glass. The surface is neatly organized with ivory handled brushes and combs, as well as several pots of fragrances and emollients. There is a long shelf with a wide variety of books from children's primers to serious tomes on botany, gardening, and history. The wall that leads to the sitting room is equipped with a hearth that heats both rooms should it be needed. In one corner sits a large copper bathtub and in times of strife there is often a large pillow fort with chairs to hold up the blanket ceiling in another corner.

Dhraegon is at the table he prefers for work, as the light there is best, studying fossoway family trees, with a history tome by his elbow. He is in grays today again.

Marsei's entrance into Dhraegon's room is so unobtrusive it nearly seems as though she's been here the entire time. She has her arms wrapped about her yet holds a cup nestled at one elbow, half-filled with a drink that was meant to bring her comfort but has been mostly forgotten — a frequent occurence as of late. Not much has brought her comfort, including the encouraging words and wise plans of those she trusts. The turquoise hue of her dress is too vivid for her mood. She drifts next to Dhraegon, looking over his shoulder at the genealogy. "What are you doing?" she wonders aloud.

The fire keeps the room pleasantly warm, and the Prince has honeyed nettle tea at an elbow. He gives his wife an absent minded smile, "They are rather a tangle aren't they? Almost as bad as us." Including his hightower wife amoungst the Targaryens casually. Then he is riding to take his wife's hands, "Researching mostly. There is no such thing as too much background information…" He studies her worriedly, "Have you eaten, Love?"

The tangle, such as it is, draws a little smile out of Marsei. "Almost," she agrees with faint and fleeting humour. She sets her cup down on Dhraegon's table, safely away from the history tomes, and squeezes his hands. "Earlier," she answers to reassure. Her attention is drawn back to the family tree, though she doesn't focus on any one part. "It feels like studying an enemy," she remarks rather regretfully. "I do wonder if they're starting to feel like prisoners here."

Camillo sidles in when he is meant to, and not much more noisily than the lady. He knocks faintly, but only after he's come in, on the door frame.

Dhraegon nods, and draws her to sit, "Some of them are, My Cornflower. I wish it were ot so, but it is." His look is far away at the moment as he contemplates the longer term threat of Green and Black and the cracks it is forming in his own family. Then he sighs, "they have brought it on themselves. Let us hope Camillo's little whistlers will help… Oh, Camillo! Come in!"

Marsei starts to wince in uncertain disagreement — did the Fossoways bring it on themselves, truly? — but finds herself beckoning Camillo just as Dhraegon does. "Whistlers— ?" she asks, meanwhile.

"I saw the stableboy," Camillo says without preamble as he moves further into the chamber. "He doesn't know what he saw, he's sure of that now. And that Roberd tried to pressure him. I told him he should recant to Lady Jana…" he looks to Marsei. "Did you catch up with her, my lady? If there's no…give to her now, then I ought to redirect the boy."

Dhraegon must have cught something of Marsei's expression, "They did choose to keep the distasteful flowers in their bossom, knowing what he is, but I still intend to do as little harm as possible to those innocently taken in, My crocus." He smiles at Camillo, "Oh! That is excellent. Come sit." He looks expectantly at his wife, ever hopeful of some improvement in her relationship with Lady Jana."

"Oh?" Marsei looks curiously to Camillo, some manner of hope in her gaze conflicting with an entirely more defeatist sentiment. "I did." And she caught up with Jana without any terrible incidents on horseback by herself, but she leaves that part out for Dhraegon's peace of mind. "She…" She trails off, setting her jaw, trying again. "She believes me, I think. Up to a point. It was … just horrible for her to hear that Jarvas meant to harm Owen, even in a stupid, drunken moment, but she knew him better than I did. It's not that part she had trouble believing. I think she was angrier at me for not telling her sooner. But she knows me, too, and … " She looks down, going to sit in the seat just 'round the corner from Dhraegon, across from the seat Camillo seems meant for. "She can't help but believe there's more to the story. She's right. I can't tell her she's not right." She runs her hand over the nearest book, not looking up. "But I saw her again, just for a moment, and she did seem … I don't know— confused. Perhaps the stableboy did as you said."

Dhraegon nods sadly, "You have a very kind heart to sheild her so long at risk to yourself, My Iris, but it did need telling. I could… try talking to her again, if you think it might help. Confused is better than judging, I think."

Camillo takes his seat last of all, listening careful to Marsei all the while. "Good," Camillo says. "She wavers in her resolve, she knows Roberd's story may be false, motivated by other means. And the boy will even testify in public should it be necessary." He looks to Dhraegon. "I promised him employment should he lose his."

Marsei is quick to shake her head at Dhraegon, though it is tempered with a gentle, albeit distracted, smile. She glances to Camillo, looking relieved that the stableboy, innocent in all this, is both helpful and will be cared for. She's soon focused back down on her hands, which tangle and fidget with the worn corner of an old book cover. "She yet judges," she says. "She has every reason to." Her light voice manages to be heavy with guilt. "Even if her resolve and faith in evidence has faltered, she won't let it go. That is who she is. I… will talk to her again."

Dhraegon flashes Camillo an encouraging smile, "I'm sure that won't be a problem. I can't imagine Ormund saying no and there is always the Manse if there is trouble with the Tower, with a suitible pay raise, the city being more expensive than the country. Good job, Camillo!" He touches his wife's hand very gently, "It speaks well of you that you are distressed, but a momment's hesitation shouldn't be allowed to ruin a second life, and not just that of the one making the terrible decition." To himself, he resolves to catch Lady Jana again for a little chat.

Camillo inclines his head in respones to the praise, though of course he still looks concerned. "I hope Lady Jana will see the light. Meanwhile…I have made arrangements to trouble the waters between Haemon and Roberd. They should be working soon."

Frustration is a rare thing in Lady Marsei; it rises quickly, tensing nearly every muscle, heating her face with a mild flush of her cheeks, racing to match every delicate freckle. "Can no one see— !" she exclaims, her soft voice heightened but no louder. She folds her hands tightly, stilling them. She breathes, and calms, at least on the surface, and asks Camillo more levelly, back to normal, "How?"

Dhraegon smiles encouragingly at Camillo, "How is that going?" He peers in alarm at his wife, "My Iris, I really think he was racing towards destruction at tome speed. Even if you had impeded him that time, I still think he would have found it, perhaps in a way more horrible for all involved. What if you had stopped him drinking from the cup? What would stop him from trying again, perhaps more openly? What if he'd attacked his brother, or tried again and succeeded? What if he tried again with poison and some innocent drank from the cup? How much worse for everyone who cared about him and anyone else injured?

Camillo looks to Marsei. He pauses a moment, then says, "With mocking song, my lady. Nothing violent or that can be traced." He pauses again, then ventures, "I gather my lady is…displeased, but…" Whatever it is, he doesn't get it. Then he looks to Dhraegon. "I heard it in the tavern. It is spread."

"But don't you see, that isn't the point," Marsei insists, interrupting the calm she worked to attain a moment ago, looking searchingly between Dhraegon and Camillo, her eyes so pained and determined that they seem too wide, too white. "I wasn't thinking of any of those things, even if they are true. And even before that night, I was a terrible wife to him! Everyone— everyone who knows has been so quick to tell me they understand, that, one way or another, it's all right— and there was a time I would have been eager to accept it, but I am tired of being treated as though I can do no wrong."

Dhraegon says, "Perfect, Camil…." He blinks at his wife, "We all make mistakes. We all have moments of weakness. It's not that you can do know wrong, but that you are human. Like the rest of us. Do you want us to blame you for being imperfect when we are so far from perfect ourselves?""

Camillo looks thoughtful at Lady Marsei's objections. "My Lady, I think…it is not for me to judge you for what happened before I even knew you. It is for the Seven. And I am sure you have made your prayers to Them. Did not the Maiden send you a dove? Is that not a sign of innocence and forgiveness?"

Marsei gives Dhraegon a look that is appreciative in the split second before it is hopelessly exasperated. Upon a deep breath, her mouth opens to refute his point of view with her own, but Camillo speaks, and only a small, uncertain noise escapes her throat. "I … I don't know," she admits meekly. "I wish They would condemn me. I've broken holy vows. Maybe they are condeming me. Maybe that is what all this is at last."

Dhraegon looks at her with great sorrow and distress, "This is not the doing of Gods, but of one particularly malevolent man, but would it help? Being punished I mean?" Dhraegon rolls this new idea over in his mind, then blushing, looks down and away from them both, "Sometimes… it is comforting to… to follow orders when I'm upset. To give my will over for a time. It is… a little like punishment."

"Perhaps the Seven have given you the most difficult role of all, which is to do the right thing for the wrong reasons. To commit a sin but…not have the punishment you think you should. Perhaps that is even harder than being punished. But it must be what They have chosen. There is no telling that the punishment you imagine is what is right." He looks toward Dhraegon, brow troubled.

Marsei hears them both out carefully. Her expression is not dissimilar to Camillo's when it comes to considering Dhraegon. She nods slowly to Camillo, understanding his logic, perhaps even accepting it, before she looks worriedly at Dhraegon for a moment longer. "I am … not certain I understand, Dhraegon," she answers. "If it were in service of the sept…" She bows her head. "But I… cannot." She straightens her mouth, flattening her hands on the table, and adds, wary of her own idea, "However… that is where Jana could be sent."

Dhraegon says, "The discipline of it, I mean…." Relieved at the change o subject, "Oh! Yes! Camillo suggested a word to a friendly Septon might be a fine idea, so Flox arranged it before he left. Next she goes to pray, words of forgiveness and understanding will fall in her ears. It did not trouble the man's conscience at all.""

"Forgiveness is an aspect of the Seven too easily forgotten," Camillo theologizes softly.

Shifting ever-so-slightly in her seat, Marsei appears somewhat nervous over the news of the septon being directed in such a manner, but leaves that feeling undecided as she goes on to say, "Yes… and … should she continue to— … perhaps she won't be any kind of problem any longer if Roberd and Haemon and the stableboy are all in hand — but if she is… there is always the motherhouse. Please, just— either way, leave her to me," she pleads softly, confident in this, if nothing else.

Dhraegon studies her, "If you're sure…. Love, might it help? Doing something… disciplined to…" He looks to Camillo, not sure what the right religious word would be. "Show the Gods you are sorry?"

"My Lord means a penance," Camillo puts in.

"All I want to do is repent," the lady replies zealously, nodding in urging.

Dhraegon flashes Camillo a greatful smile, "That's it. Would a penance help, do you think?" Dhraegon blushes again all the way to his ears, but that sidewise yet clever mind is working. "What if we… scrubbed the floors of the sept on hands and knees ourselves, or went and personally refurbished the maidenday Garden. You know weeding, and clearing the cracks in the stones of moss? Would that work? Or would you like better something for the Fossoways specifically?"

Marsei watches Dhraegon closely and with a tinge of confusion every time he blushes, but she is too focused on the penance (far from a new concept by itself). She nods a little; each idea sounds good to her ears, yet none are enough. Little is. "I will give it thought and pray."

Dhraegon's tone is gentle, "I know I'm not… good at this sort of thing, but I do want to help, and you know you can always talk about things even if I don't always understand at first. Please be patient with me. I am trying."

Her smile starts out difficult and tired but gains strength and warmth, bit by bit. She reaches out and lays a hand on Dhraegon's hand.

Dhraegon squeezes her hand very gently, and smiles back, also a little tired, but hopeful.

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