(124-07-02) Testimony
Summary: After much planning and considerable stalling of the Fossoways, Marsei's case is brought to Lord Haemon (graciously NPCed by Camillo).
Date: Sept. 9, 2017
Related: Fossoway Folly plot

Servants are coming and going from Haemon's chamber as he prepares to depart, hurrying lest they incur the displeasure of the sometimes short-tempered lord.

Dhraegon is in full Targaryen coloured court dress, hair eleborately looped and braided, Flox and the bedraggled healer along behind, as well as whoever else in on the situation could be mustered up as entourage.

Lady Marsei is quietly following Dhraegon. They walk together, but her head is down, and it is the prince's footsteps she follows. Her gown is one of cheerful blues and greens, reminscent of the sea and the high seat of the Hightower some floors below — so light-hearted and typical of the Flower of Oldtown, and perhaps that is why she wears it. It does not match the staid mood she carries with her.

Siva trails dutifully behind them, dressed finely for her station. She looks sharp, and she looks determined.

Old Matthias Fossoway is not far behind either, though it isn't quite clear at a glance whether he's with them or simply flitting (albeit slowly) about with preparations to depart, same as Lord Haemon.

The Prince draws himself up before Haemon's door and knocks firmly. He lifts his chin and tries to look properly Dragonish, though his wide eyes suggest a certain distress that the haughtiness of his demeanor are attempting to hide.

Normally, Marsei would give Dhraegon some small gesture to acknowledge and try to calm his underlying distress. Today, she seems too lost in her own head, or else somewhere far outside of it, simply trying to soldier on, staring at the crack between the floor and the door to the room that has been Haemon's for too long now.

Siva pauses behind them, and Matthias lingers in the hall, uncomfortably clearing his throat.

A servant opens the door, but Haemon is standing just inside. "Who is that?" he asks, and spotting the prince there, he says, "Well. Come in then, what is it? I suppose you know we're about to leave."

Dhraegon's expression shifts as he meets Haemon's gaze. He is, just not doing his best impression of Rhaegor at his most Princely. He strides in in the best aproximation of his kinsman's military walk, despite his bulk, and brushing past the servant as he beelines towards the Fossoway, pale gaze pinning him like a moth to a board. His tone is borrowed from the Maiden Knight, on the occation of one of his duels, "I have come to answer the aspertions cast on my wife at your welcoming banquet. I have brought your kinsman to be a witness of our talk, and a person who I believe can cast light on what is murky."

Marsei follows Dhraegon inside without looking at Haemon. She does regard her husband, though, and it is his admirable demeanour that changes hers, if only slightly: she makes an effort not to hang her head, knowing it makes her look guilty, even if she feels guilty; even if she is. She does, however, keep subdued for the time being, standing, hands folded, with Siva just inside, next to the door.

Matthias ambles his way in a moment later, giving a respectful, but strained nod to Haemon. "My lord," he greets.

Haemon stands up against this transfixing look rather well, but he is conscious of the fact that he is being confronted by a prince. He looks between Dhraegon and Marsei. "Well?" he replies. "Then have your say. Tell your…person to say on." He gestures vaguely.

Dhraegon guestures to Flox, who brings the person in question forward by the elbow. Dhraegon says gently, "Tell the truth, and you won't be harmed."

He's a small, spindly, wispy-haired man whose joints are more swollen than his muscles are strong. He has a certain sturdy wiriness to him all the same, and keen, clever eyes sunken into his face. He wears loose, robe-like garb, dusty from travel or else a permanent layer of dirt. He wriggles elbow in Flox's grasp— but not too much. He doesn't appear happy to be here, but he's got sense enough not to put up a fuss. "Lord Haemon. Lord Fossoway? My lord," he rasps. He happens to glance around the fine room the same time that Marsei glances nervously at him. For what it's worth, he doesn't seem to register her as more than pretty furniture. "I were the one who sold Lord Jarvas poison."

"Sold Lord Jarvas?" Haemon repeats, frowning. "And what is it they've threatened you with today to come and give this testimony?"

Dhraegon's tone stays gentle, "Tell the whole of what happened, and do not fear."

"I have to admit, I'm no easy man to uproot," the fellow says in his scratchy, throat-sore voice. "I have my path, I have my spots, where I sell my wares, and it's an all mighty inconvenience," he looks sideways at Flox, "to drag my arse over here, so I will say it took … some doing. And besides, it's not good for business to go talking about my customers… but in this case…" He sighs at length. "Don't get it wrong: it saddened my old heart to hear when Lord Jarvas died, especially the way it's said he died. But if he died from poison that was his own mistake, or maybe his goal all along, I don't judge a man for how he wants to go. He came to see me not far from that tavern off the road 'tween your neck of the woods and up Ashford way, you know the one?"

"Show some respect," Haemon snaps at the witness. But he does listen. "You're saying my kinsman bought poison for himself?" He doesn't seem to like the sound of that. "And why would he do that?" He looks to Marsei. "Lady Marsei?"

Dhraegon turns to his wife and says with deep and obvious regret, "You have protected your late husband's reputation at great cost to yourself, Love, but surely you have suffered enough for his sake by now. If it were me you were protecting at such cost, though I were dead, I would want you to protect yourself by telling the truth."

The merchant of such deadly goods has the audacity to look a bit offended as well as confused, not realizing he wasn't showing respect.

Marsei is becoming more uncomfortable by the second; she no more wants to be here than she wants to walk on hot coals, and her tension is plain. Her smooth features are fractured with stress. She directs the depths of sadness in her gaze at the floor, even as she's addressed. Try as she might, it's hard to not feel — and look — like she's on trial. She steps forward after Dhraegon speaks, tightening her hands together before she manages to raise her chin to look at Haemon. For a moment, she seems unable, or unwilling, to speak, but upon a steadying breath, she goes forth. "My lord, it…" Soft, pained, polite. "It makes me sick to my stomach to speak ill of Jarvas," she expresses with sincerity so true her eyes shimmer. The measured cadence of her words very quickly falters, giving way to the more raw sincerity. "That's not what I … you must understand: when he drank, he … made poor choices. He chose with his temper and his resentments. He chose in the moment. That is … what he did, I'm afraid, when he poured the bottle of poison in the wine meant for his brother, Owen. And the whole council— you might have even been there that night, my lord, I do not know. I know it wasn't what was in his heart. I tried to stop him— to get him to see the reason he'd see clear in the morning — and in the midst … he confused his own cup with the tainted one. I only wish— " she chokes on emotion and freezes, looking away.

Haemon is really most comfortable when he can bluster, but Marsei's sincerity is too clear and her words too right for him to find anything to bark back about right away. There is a moment's calculation, then Haemon rubs a hand over his face. "Women, they are no end of trouble," he mutters, as though Marsei's sex had anything to do with her testimony. "And so this is what you wish me to report to Owen? That it was a drunken attempt on his life gone wrong?"

Dhraegon gazes at his wife with a profound empathy for her distress. When she is done speaking, he strokes her back with the lightest of touches and glares at Haemon in anger at what his suspicions had forced her to admit. His fury at Haemon is controlled, his voice soft, but the more menacing for it, "She blames herself for not acting fast enough to save him from his folly. She has protected him at great cost to herself, and now you and your… creature came to torment her with it publically under her father's roof." He growls, the glare of the Old King in displeasure in his lavander eyes, "No. I want you to help her protect her late husband as she has tried to do so long and so honorably. Tell him that Jarvis bought the poison with his own coin and poured it with his own hand and drank it of his own volition, if by accident. It WAS an accident. I want you all to stop tormenting the kindest and gentlest of women, who until your creature's cruelty forced me to ask it of her, has never spoken an unkind thing of any of your house. I ask that this be the end of it." He looks Haemon in the eyes, "Can you give me your word that this ends here?"

Marsei lowers her head. "Dhraegon," she breathes quietly; where he shows anger, she is the opposite, overwhelmed by the strong stance taken against Haemon — even now, after all they've been through these many weeks past. "In earnest … my wish is that Owen would never hear it, for fear the memory of his brother would be corrupted so unfairly," she admits. She opens her mouth to speak again, but quiets so as not to contradict Dhraegon.

Matthias Fossoway steps forward. His cheeks are even redder than usual; he is not a man who likes conflict, by any means. It is with his own brand of sincerity that he says, "I don't know, my lord, maybe they're right… there's a place for the truth just as there's a place for not adding salt to old wounds."

"There's no need to be insulting to me, Prince Dhraegon," Haemon says, frowning dubiously at that princely fury. "You're much mistaken if you think I ever wanted to be mixed up in any of this headache in the first place." He looks Marsei over with considerably less empathy than Dhraegon seems to have for her. His gaze then moves to Matthias. "Then you think it right that we should make our own decision and not give the full extent of the testimony before Owen?"

Dhraegon subsides on seeing that there is sense amoung the Fossoways. He puts a winglike arm around his wife and lets the calmer folk talk.

"I only think that the dead can't be punished more than they already are," Matthias says reasonably. "Perhaps the Seven already tried poor Jarvas for his errors, though it pains me to say."

It pains Marsei, too, though she can't truly fault Matthias. She turns away on instinct, however, taking refuge close to Dhraegon's shoulder and lifting a hand delicately to her face, which is struck with regret.

Haemon heaves out a brief sigh, but says, "Our house hardly needs more shame at the moment," he says, looking Marsei over again. "And I don't suppose we're in any danger now, whatever the truth. I suppose I am more inclined than not to leave it. It was Roberd forced my hand in the first place. On a lot of shaky stories, it now seems."

Dhraegon curls his arms around her protectively, the massive sleeves a barrier of silk. His tone is calmer as he says, "I do not want this Roberd under any roof where I stay from this day forth, and I ask that this sort of thing not happen again. This could have been settled by sensible people behind closed doors instead of… how it's been done. If you had doubts, you might have asked and the truth be found with less grief to your house and mine. I ask that you remember this in future."

Camillo says nothing in reply to that. It's obvious that he's offended, but also that he knows he has no grounds on which to complain. "Well, Your Grace, if that will be all, I think it is time we departed."

Dhraegon nods, "I agree that that is wise." With great dignity he murmurs, "Come, My Crocus, I have tisane and cakes ready in my room. I think it is a good time for the Blanket Fort." Still shielding her, he guides her towards the door.

Siva precedes them, making sure the door is open for their departure. Marsei goes easily on Dhraegon's arm, but she stops before leaving to turn and regard Matthias and Haemon with the utmost seriousness. "I am sorry for all of this." Her apology runs deep, deeper than she's said, even if it is not truly meant for Haemon.

Dhraegon's attention and concern is all for his wife. Fond as he has become of Matthias, the mess left behind is a Fossoway mess. It is his wife's distress at not telling the whole of her truth that is his focus now, and once they are shut away safe from the ears of others he plans to be whatever she needs him to be to get through it.

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