Marsei Hightower glows with gentle warmth and the liveliness of youth, still bright past her twentieth year. At five feet, four inches, her frame is small with the proportions of taller figure: a long neck, long limbs. There's something almost delicate in the way her bones shape her features, in the defined jaw and cheekbones, the obvious divet in her chin and long, thin nose, all of which could appear hard and commanding on another face that are all gentle on hers, every would-be sharp edge softened, elegant, and diminutive. Flanked by smile lines, her mouth is made for laughing and sweetness. Her pleasant eyes are a murky seawater colour, hazel-centered. Her skin is markedly pale and smooth as milk, dusted with the lightest cinnamon freckles, but only at close inspection.
She has inherited red hair to match those freckles, a middling shade that seems vivid copper or dulled ginger blonde depending on the light, styled with exquisite elegance, often a different collection of soft waves, braids and jewelry each day. The same attention to detail and beauty is exhibited in her clothing choices; opulent, but not over the top — by noble standards. She seems to favour pastel and bright hues, sparkle, and only the most cheerful-looking embroidered flowers, and dresses that flow and hug her gently rather than squeeze tight. Lady Marsei clearly wears the pride of her name and the richness that comes with it, yet there is no arrogance or aloofness to her demeanor; her gentility seems benevolent.
The Abridged Version.
Born to Lord Otto and Lady Annette Hightower, one of the younger of their offspring, but not the youngest, Marsei (mar-see) was a pleasant girl, delicate and small in appearance, full of joy, abiding by the rules and rarely if ever too loud. She had all the ideal makings of a fine highborn lady. She enjoyed the same pasttimes, hopes and dreams as the other maids her age, all of whom were selectively chosen to be her playmates by adults who made such decisions of friendship for proper young ladies; among them, her siblings and her favourite pair of twin cousins. She grew up polite, naturally so, never laying on the airs she'd been taught too thickly. It was easy for Marsei to act kind when she had a kind heart to start with, even if she didn't always agree with the intentions of everyone she encountered — perhaps a trait of her father's, the (sometimes) Hand of the King, that eye for knowledge. She understood others easily, and liked to learn their ways, their motives; she loved to learn in nearly every area of study there was to learn.
Yet young Marsei struggled more with words on paper than voiced by people, a source of frustration for her, those trying to teach her, and the family demanding she be taught. Not a maester in the Citadel could teach her to read the letters in a proper order, and it was estimated, in all their wisdom, that she never would. She did just fine in most of her other lessons, and a servant who could interpret words read them for her; a source of some discord between friends and relatives close to her age, and something of an embarrassment for Marsei; the servant wasn't even highborn — or of Westeros! — and could read better than she could. But she liked listening to the girl's voice and hearing more stories from her mouth than any septa was willing to read to her. They became friends, and from then on, Marsei took her nearly everywhere she travelled.
Marsei didn't need to read clearly to be well-spoken and clever. Nor beautiful, which was perhaps more prized in a woman, and she was that. Lovely as she was, she nevertheless grew up in the shadow of her lovely oldest sister, who eventually happened to become the Queen of the Realm by marrying King Viserys I Targaryen when Marsei was about eleven. She looked up to all of her siblings in different ways, and Alicent was no different — Marsei admired her greatly, but was never jealous, only pleased for how well her family was faring. She herself didn't stand out until later, when her natural charms blossomed alongside her intellect, putting a finer shine on her benevolent warmth — that was the rare thing, rarer than the beauty which elevated year by year.
She spent significant time at King's Landing, summoned to court as a teenager as Alicent had been. She was steeped profusely in the intrigue and political running around that kept the realm turning. She mostly stuck by her family members there whenever they so needed, and served as another pretty Hightower face to shine every additional kind light on their reputation.
She was a noble lady through and through, and a Hightower, an old and proud line. Despite her distant parents, family was always important to her; she couldn't conceive another way of thinking or feeling when it came to loyalty. When her betrothal to Lord Jarvas Fossoway of Cider Hall was arranged a few years later and she was sent to Cider Hall at the fork of the Mander and Cockleswent to await marriage, she did as she was accustomed to: she put up no fuss and acted pleasantly.
Her new husband was the brother of the head of house, and not a terrible person. He held a position of some sway at his brother's ear, looked after the coin, was liked among many nobles of the Reach, and could be said to be moderately handsome. He was forever entrenched in one delicate matter or another. He was kind enough to her, prone to harmless spells of drunkenness and bouts of ranting about politics; the latter was more dangerous than the former, especially when they occurred in that order and in earshot of anyone else. She earned his trust by becoming his confidante and moderator. By most accounts, they seemed a decent pair, and pleasant, kind Marsei was beloved by many. However, she never became with child.
Four Years Later
Jarvas died suddenly and unexpectedly after drinking poison.
Marsei was briefly under suspicion, along with a few other folks about the hall who were near and might have more of a motive, and the Redwynes, who had recently delivered the gift of wine the poison was poured in. It did not take long to confirm that he had obtained the poison himself, and it was determined that Jarvas had taken it himself, dead by his own hand, and the matter was set to rest.
The mourning widow was soon whisked back to her familial home at the Hightower in Oldtown, loaded down with gifts of cider.
"A gold heart and a silver tongue," her shrewd mother once said of Marsei. She could and would weave a tale, manipulate, scheme with the best of them, but do a wrong and it would afflict her kind heart forever.
|Gold Heart||Silver Tongue|
|Hightower Then & Now||Marsei is a Hightower, on the main line, borne of Lady Annette (a Tully) and Lord Otto Hightower (the current Hand of the King). Her siblings are more obviously influential than she; among them, it need not be said, her sister Alicent the queen. Her brothers Ormund and Gwayne are the Acting Head of House and Lord Commander of the City Watch, respectively. Marsei grew up in the Hightower alongside many a lord, lady, servant, and everyone in-between with cause to exist in the grand building. Those who knew her as a youth may recall a sweet child who couldn't read and needed a servant to read her lessons. (To this day, Siva acts as her handmaiden.) The older she got, the prettier and the cleverer, making many connections; she will talk to nearly anyone, regardless of their station. She now resides again Hightower and remains there even after her new marriage, an active presence at court and warm presence in general.|
|King's Landing||She spent significant time in King's Landing, where her eldest sister, Queen Alicent, sits in the Red Keep alongside King Viserys I. Marsei was there most consistently as a young lady, a pretty, polite Hightower face to shine kindly on their name. Even then, she had a keen ear and a keen mind, exercising her sweet charm to become involved in the subtle goings-on; who knows what she might have heard or did. Do you?|
|Widow of Fossoway||Marsei spent over four years with House Fossoway of Cider Hall, married to Lord Jarvas, the brother of the head of the Golden Orchard Fossoways, Lord Owen Fossoway. Anyone familiar with the Fossoways during that time could have met her, or know of her through Jarvas, who handled the Fossoway's coin and was overall well-liked by many nobles of the Reach. She was largely beloved at Cider Hill as well, though opinions may, of course, vary. Some thought it was odd that she never bore a child and Lord Jarvas died of poison.|
|Secrets & Intrigue||Marsei knows things and wants to know more things; she's ever so inquisitive and always provides a kind word and listening ear. Tell her your secrets. She's loyal to House Hightower and a good tool to have on your side.|
|Faith||Being born in Oldtown, the seat of the Faith of the Seven, rubbed off on Marsei. She prays regularly and with genuine, pious faith. She can be found often seeking the counsel of the gods at the Sept.|
|Ties to House Targaryen||Besides being the sister of the queen and thus being around Targaryens during her time at court, some time after returning to the Hightower a widow, Marsei became betrothed to Dhraegon Targaryen. They wed toward the end of 122 AC. It is an unusual arrangement, one that causes much gossip— and even contention among some. She is also known to be good friends with Princess Visenya.|
Logs featuring Marsei.
Logs that refer to Marsei.