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There is a certain hush across the darkened lawn here, around the Dornish tower. Even those sultry desert folk seem for the most part to have extinguished their candles and taken to bed. A nondescript figure, partially obscured in the shadows, sits against the wall, his features turned heavenward.
Her septa would likely be upset to know that Carmella is out at this hour, but it isn’t the first time the Dondarrion girl has left her rooms in the darkness of night and headed towards the guest towers. She walks briskly, casting a brief glance over her shoulder, not out of fear of being followed but to see if a certain knight *is* following her. As always, the guard appointed by her brother is trailing her well, even through the dark. With an annoyed sigh she starts walking a little faster; even her skirts rustle to compliment her growing annoyance at the constant supervision.
“You’re out late.” The voice travels some across the lawn towards Carmella, obviously beginning with the figure in the shadows. He is watching her now, that much she can tell, for his golden eyes refuse to yield their feline regard to the darkness. “Is everything alright?”
Carmella comes to a quick stop as the first few words reach her ears, but Ser Amond is not so affected by the words. His eyes attempt to pierce the near-darkness for the source of the voice, with his fingers curling around the hilt of his sword as he nearly catches up to his charge. Carmella ignores him and heads, slowly, in the direction of the voice, seeing more shadow than man from this distance. “I’m fine,” she says, a little defensively, not one to cower to shadows it seems. As she draws closer she can finally get a better look at the man and make out more than a general shape. She stops again and holds a hand backwards to stay her guard.
“Ser Jossart. Please, forgive my tone, I did not know it was you.” She’s smiling a little now and the defensiveness is gone. “I was on my way towards the rooftop gardens to watch the stars. My study in astronomy has slackened as of late and I enjoy the peace of the evening.” There’s a pause as she adds, “I might say the same of you. The Gold Cloaks allow for an evening prowl?”
The Dornish knight is quick to his feet, stepping beyond the shadow thrown by the tower so that he is more visible in the moonlight. “The Gold Cloaks have a weakness for dice, like most men,” is Jossart’s cryptic reply, the cast of his golden-hued gaze tossed over Carmella’s shoulder to regard her escort and his motions to the sword. His lips begin to part, and then close, banishing the words from the air between them. “The rooftop gardens must be beautiful this time of night…”
“Then you must be quite skilled at the game, for I see them often practicing,” Carmella says with laughter in her voice. “And here I had thought it some strong Dornish wine that had been too tempting to resist.” She follows his gaze and glances back over towards Ser Amond and again she sighs with annoyance. “He won’t hurt you,” she tells Jossart, looking up at the man’s unusual amber eyes. “Not unless he thinks you mean me harm.” Her lips quirk a little but no real smile comes. “He’s a gift, from my brother who seems to think I’m not fit to be on my own.” Carmella shakes her head impatiently. “But he is no matter, truly boring, to be certain. But to answer, yes the gardens are quite beautiful and from the top of the tower you can see for many leagues in all directions.” There’s a pause before she lifts a hand in the tower’s direction. “Would you like to see it?”
“I don’t fear his harm…” Jossart assures the young woman before him, his darker expression towards the knight banished with a quiet bit of laughter. “I’d never waste a good bottle of wine on these Gold Cloaks. They’d just get drunk and stupid on the stuff, and never appreciate the treasure they’d been given.” He draws his lower lip between his teeth as if in thought, before he offers out an arm to Carmella. “I, on the other hand, always appreciate the treasures of life. Please. I’d like to see these gardens.”
Ser Amond doesn’t seem all that pleased when the Dornishman accepts Carmella’s invitation, which only makes the Dondarrion girl smile all the more as she slips her arm through Jossart’s. “He doesn’t approve of you, you know,” she says as they head towards the guest towers, the older knight following reluctantly. “Not you, in particular, but everyone residing in the hostage tower. I think he believes I’ve been too polite to you and your kin. But, I imagine you’ve already had your share of that here.”
Ah, but the Dornishman seems all to ready to cause discomfort for the elder knight. Jossart offers her a smile as the young woman threads her arm through his, and makes an expansive gesture forward. “You’ll have to lead the way, I’m afraid I’m still getting used to where everything is.” He chuckles, lowly. “A few words and a smile from a welcoming spirit like yourself is armor enough against all the sour manners, my lady.”
Though they walk side-by-side, Carmella leads the knight up to the top floor of the tower, pointing out a few apartments they pass on the way. The hour is late enough that the only people to be seen are cleaning maids and household guards that patrol the halls. When she pushes open the door and steps out onto the open air patio, Ser Amond lingers in the hallway as he often does, though the he offers his charge a heated glare. “Your brother shall hear of this,” he mutters before she’s out of earshot. Carmella shakes her head and laughs, continuing out into the gardens.
A couple small torches are left here overnight for visits such as this, but even so the garden is filled with long shadows. But it is the sky she comes here for, not the foliage. “It’s a shame, the skies are not completely clear,” she says, disappointed at the few thin ones that are scattered across the heavens. “But the view is still quite breathtaking.”
He is attentive to the doors Carmella points out on their way through the tower, its confines not familiar yet to the Dornish hostage. But he is pleased all the same when they come to the garden and escape into the night air, a deep breath of the stuff filling his lungs as the elder knight Ser Amond is left behind. “You’re right,” Jossart almost-whispers, his gaze lingering on Carmella. “Breathtaking.”
“Oh look,” Carmella says enthusiastically as she points towards the heavens, missing the Dornish knight’s glance. “There, where the clouds have parted, you can see Queen Alysanne’s Dragon.” She obviously means in constellation form, for the queen and her dragon have long since left this world. “And the ...” Carmella pauses and turns, her dark eyes finding Jossart, a smile slowly creeps across her lips. “Are you educated in the patterns in the stars, Ser Jossart?”
His lips purse together in a quiet bit of amusement, though it is subdued with his nod. “I am,” Jossart admits, and looks up towards the stars, “Though only in the vaguest sense. I’m no Maester… I’ve spent much more time learning about the ground I walk on, then the lights that twinkle above me.”
Carmella laughs and looks back up at the heavens, searching for the aforementioned patterns. “I suppose it is one of the benefits of being a lady, we have not the training of weapons to busy ourselves and not all of us are taken with the more domestic arts. We have time for such distractions as this.” There’s a pause. “Us northern ladies, that is. I have heard that yours are not forbidden the lessons of swords and bows.” She continues to scan the heavens, only to frown as a large cloud has moved across the sky, blocking her view.
“Of course, with Princess Daena’s desires, I now wish I had such training, so that I wouldn’t look such a fool. No doubt the entire court will enjoy the entertainment of jousting ladies.” The latter is said with little amusement.
“It will be amusing in some fashion, I’m sure…” Jossart lowers his gaze from the sky and returns it to Carmella. “But it is truly a sport meant for knights, and I doubt the humor of poor jousting ladies will not last long.” He reaches out to finger a blossom in the foliage near where they stand, questioning, “How did your interest in the heavens come about?”
Carmella draws her gaze from the skies and moves towards the nearest bench to have a seat. “My curse,” she jokes. “I’ve always been terribly curious, a flaw my septa had wished would disappear once I started to truly learn to be a proper lady. But alas, she’s left with a young lady who, I fear, will never fully be sated.” Her eyes follow him, glancing ever so briefly at the flower at his fingertips. “Not that education was not encouraged, mind you, but my desires would come and go on a whim. I could but hear or something or see it and that would become my fascination, if only for a brief while. Some of them have continued on to be studied at length, others I’ve left quickly, finding no pleasure in them.” Carmella takes a deep breath and blushes, surprised to be speaking so much of herself. “I think Princess Daena delights to know there are few things I won’t try, it gives her incentive to be creative.”
“Curiousity is a fine trait,” Jossart opines, the bloom slipping from his fingers as he ventures with Carmella towards a seat. “Why focus on one thing, to the exclusion of others, if you need not? The world is wide, and varied, and there are many tastes to sample from…” His words trail off at the sound of footsteps, a look shot over his shoulder.
It’s one of the hostages, a young boy, with a Gold Cloak in tow. “Ser Joss!” he calls, his voice cracking in the fashion of a boy yet to become a young man. “Auric’s having the nightmares ‘gain,” he complains, taking steps towards the knight and the Lady.
His approach is stopped with a hand. “You should bow when we are so graced by Lady Carmella’s company, Lord Morgan.” Jossart’s tone is firm, though not unkind with the lad, whom obliges with a bow. “I should go tend to Auric. He has… troubles, some nights. I’d hoped he might sleep peacefully this evening. Will you forgive me this intrusion?”
Carmella smiles kindly and dips her head. “Of course, Ser Jossart. Please, see to the young lad and try and soothe his terrors away. I can imagine he has had enough real ones that he needs none while he sleeps.” She rises from the bench, but doesn’t move to follow them, for this was her intended destination after all and the heavens are partially favorable for star gazing. “I will pray that he is quickly granted pleasant dreams, Ser Jossart. And thank you, your company was greatly appreciated. No doubt we will see each other again soon.”
“I would have it no other way,” Jossart insists, as he reaches to touch the boy’s shoulder, and offer it a good squeeze. “You were right to come find me, Morgan. Very wise of you.” The knight then turns, and offers a fluent bow to Carmella. “Might the Seven grant you favourable skies to watch your stars.” That said, he turns with the boy and makes for the hostage tower.
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