The evening is warm out in the garden, clouds skidding across the starlit sky. Some lanterns have been set out within the garden at a small, stone table upon which is set some papers, ink and quill. A middle-aged man, obviously a servant by his dress sits there while nearby a tall, older woman stands near a rose bush, her head covered with a light, silk shaw that also drapes her shoulders. Even on warm nights, older women get cold. “The letter must be exact, Holk ...” Her deep alto voice is a patrician’s yet feminine air, “... I do not wish to prick their thumb ... so to speak, ” Just as she snips off with her fingers a dying rose on the bush. The servant appears to be writing down something as she speaks.
“Oh, not just there!” It is not a loud voice from the newcomer, but rather one of dismay as the rose is snipped off. “You’ve taken it mid-stem; no new bloom will grow there.” Reyna Rowan is but face and hands in the shadows, the rest of her black-clad as the darkest raven, from the sheer veil covering her hair to the hems of her light silk gown where it brushes the flags.
But she is ever-ready, this one. Reyna produces a small folded knife from her pocket, which she opens. “Will you permit me, my lady?” she asks Taria, as she comes into the light and indicates the molested stem with a gesture.
A little more homesick that she would admit herself, Jyana manages to find the very top of the Guest Tower by patiently walking up all the flights of stairs. Somewhat winded now, from the top, she does not wear a shawl, but a simple gown of dark blue, with silver embroidery of vines and leaves trailing down her sleeves and the scooped neck. Upon seeing the garden though, she looks rather delighted. Her love of flowers obvious, she steps closer to one of the flowering bushes, dropping down just a bit to inhale the delicate scent of them and smiling absently to herself. She’s ready to spread out her arms, and do a lazy spin….only to realize she isn’t alone.
There are others on the roof with her. And both are familiar. Aquamarine eyes catch sight of the regal, white haired lady on the side snipping rosebushes, and the manservant to the side. It was the same older woman from this morning, the one who flashed her that quiet, somewhat knowing smile.
Lady Reyna is there as well, whom she recognizes, but it seems she has moved towards Taria already. She isn’t one to intrude, however, and so she just stays where she is, pausing for just a moment.
Taria looks over at the black-clad woman and offers a thin smile. The sound of Holk’s scribblings also stops. “Pruning sometimes demands that rose not grow again, no?” She then steps back, “But please ... You are ... Ser Colyn’s widow, yes?” She gestures with her hand towards the rose bush offering her permission for the woman to take over. Her other hand raises and she just gives a short turn of her hand and Holk quickly and quietly collects the papers, quill and ink and disappears. She does not offer the words of condolences. She is an old hat at widowing.
“Yes, my lady. A Tyrell by birth. Which is why I wonder who would not wish a rose to grow back.” Reyna smiles as she bends and snicks the stem off at a lower point, just above a pair of sprouting leaves. She bends then, and buries the cut bit of stem in the earth at the bush’s base, then rises dusting her hands.
“I daresay you are Lady Buckwell.” she says with a smile.
When Reyna identifies the lady, Jyana’s eyes widen from where she is - at the same time, she is too polite to intrude or impose upon the two older women her curious questions. Storytime, perhaps, will come at another time. Taking a sliding step or two backwards, she starts moving to the other side of the roof, her arms folding behind her back even as both ladies carry on their conversation about rosebushes. Or…were they about rosebushes? Finding the very end, she finds a spot that she could lean on, resting upon one of the sturdy crenellations and looking out over the landscape.
“On the contrary, I believe one of the most important parts of any garden are the roses, Lady Reyna.” Taria watches the woman prune the bush with more experience, “You are newly arrived in King’s Landing, my dear? I was just writing your mother a letter ... perhaps I should mention that we have become acquainted?” Although her servant, Holk, has gone he might easily be noticed by the young Jyana, standing near her within the foliage and watching, as if waiting for a sign from his mistress. Quill, ink and paper having been placed in a leather bag at his side.
“It would please her enormously to know I’ve made your acquaintance so quickly, Lady Buckwell.” Reyna leans forward to smell a bloom that is crimson brilliant, even in the lamplight. “She was most anxious that I should do so without delay.”
She catches Jyana’s movements from the corner of her eye, and watches her come to rest at the parapet. “The Jewel of the Eyrie,” she says softly, nodding in Jyana’s direction.
By all rights it was a beautiful night, and while it was hot downstairs, it was cool up here, and Jyana relishes it. She sighs quietly, contently even, breathing in the air, which was understandably less crisp as it would be back in the Eyrie. Still, the roses seem to thrive plentifully under these conditions, and the other flowers on the roof. She folds her arms on the top of the crenellation she is leaning on, propping her chin up on one hand and letting her eyes half-close.
She sees something shift just a bit at the corner of her eyes. Turning around, she takes in the quiet, attentive eyes of Holk, trained towards Taria from where he stood. She would have smiled, and waved, engage him in small talk, but there was something about the rigid spine, and his full attention upon his mistress that discourages her. Even if he doesn’t look it, she knows that he is working. However if he ever glances at her way, she’ll smile at him cheerfully. She can’t help but look at him though, there was something about his attentive body language that has caught her attention.
Lady Buckwell nods to the comment as she too turns at Reyna’s words singling out Jyana. Her green eyes regard the young lady and a white brow arches. “So this is the young Lady Jyana Arryn.” Her deep voice is speculative but friendly. “Please join us, my dear…” One arm gesturing to the Jewel. “Holk. Spring wine,” her attention not leaving Jyana however. The servant disappears again.
“Do come, Jyana,” Reyna urges as she chooses a chair for herself. In deference, it is not the one nearest Taria. She takes a moment in settling her skirts decorously, then sits with her hands in her lap, smiling at Jyana all the while.
Holk. Was that his name? Jyana is still looking at the servant, until her name is called. She turns around, blinking once and, finding the two women looking at her direction, her cheeks bloom with an embarassed flush. She takes a step further away from the servant, and makes her way tentatively towards the Lady Reyna, and the regal looking lady whom she had not identified as the Dowager Lady of Antlers until Reyna has said something. When she gets close enough, she drops into a curtsey - yet again showing proper respect to her elders. “Forgive me, m’ladies, if I was intruding. I had not known the gardens were occupied. It is a pleasure to see you again, Lady Reyna.” Her eyes turn to the tall, white-haired woman. “And thank you very much for the invitation, Lady Taria.”
“Not intruding at all, my dear ... please do sit.” Taria remains standing, throwing off the silk shaw off her head so it just drapes on her sholder, her garnet tiara glittering a moment. “Welcome to King’s Landing ... It has been many years since I have been to the Eyrie. It is well I hope?”
“And you, Jyana,” Reyna returns politely, smoothing the lay of her mourning veil over her hair.
“It is,” Jyana says, perking visibly as Taria mentions her home, and taking a slow, sinking seat on the chair near Reyna and folds her hands on her lap. “Quieter now that my cousin and brothers have gone to Dorne to aid the cause…” She also nods. “I was but a mere girl in your last visit….I only managed to catch a glimpse of you walking past my room when one of the stewards was showing you the new additions in the castle.” She doesn’t embarass herself, however, by stating why she had been hiding behind the door of her bedchambers when she had visited, or if it could even count as hiding.
Holk returns with a silver tray upon which is a crystal pitcher with some summer wine and three glasses. A glance is given to Taria who merely turns towards the silver tray he has set on the table and he takes his cue to depart.
Lady Buckwell takes it upon herself to pour the glasses as she speaks, “Not so long ago then ... Years at my age become one with another at times.” She holds out a glass to both Reyna and Jyana, “Do you both come to King’s Landing to welcome the victors home? It has been ... rather quiet here the last six months or so. We have missed our men very much.”
“I promised my good-mother I would see Colyn’s… Colyn into the hands of the Silent Sisters, and set them on the path to Goldengrove,” Reyna says quietly, looking at her hands. “As for my brother… are there any who would wecome -him- home? As well he remains in Dorne.”
“Ten years ago at least…I was very young, but I remember it,” Jyana says softly, watching the regal woman pour the glasses of wine. It seems she is slowly developing a taste for it - something her cousin probably would not approve, but a glass or two now and then shouldn’t hurt. And when offered it, she will accept the cup graciously with two hands, and murmur her thanks. And when asked the question, she nods. “Yes…I hope to, at least. I was determined to make the journey.” She also falls silent when Reyna says what she does, glancing over at the woman, and a faint trace of sadness on her face.
Taria considers Reyna’s words as she takes up her own glass and takes a sip, “I am sure Garvys will be made welcome ... here.” A hestitancy in the words, but it is almost too precise, her green eyes considering the fellow widow, “I look forward to seeing him.” She does not offer why, “We are not as well known as Highgarden for our vineyards, my dear…” having turned to Jyana, “... but I make sure to produce some summer wine on the Maiden’s Back. Riverlands wine ... perhaps a bit sweeter than one is used.”
“Perhaps when he has proved his wit,” Reyna says, not without rancour. She takes up the goblet finally, and tastes it briefly. “Sweet indeed, but not unpleasantly so, my lady,” she says eventually, taking a deeper drink. “Quite nice, in fact. I thank you for sharing it.”
“It’s…delicious,” Jyana says, taking a sip of the sweeter wine, she who had a very persistent sweet-tooth. When the women talk about Garvys, however, she listens quietly. She knows very little of what has happened, but since the two ladies are more well informed than she, she will listen for now, watching both her elders talk about the war. Perhaps she could learn something new.
Lady Buckwell takes another sip and finally takes a seat on the other side of Jyana from Reyna, “Your brother is still young after all, Lady Reyna. In the end I believe he still proves himself in some regards. Garvys still has much to show us for Highgarden’s future.”
“I fear that Highgarden itself looks askance, my lady. Garvys… we have had the ravens, and feel the shame his actions have caused.” Reyna tosses her head, the sheer veil fluttering and falling back to her shoulders. “But he is in Dorne, and the war is over. To peace!” And she lifts her goblet high.
A delicate hand lifts upwards to join Reyna’s toast, Jyana smiling faintly at what Reyna says. “To peace,” she echoes softly, as this is certainly a sentiment she can share and agree with, and proceeds to taste the wine yet again. It was, indeed, of a sweeter vintage than what she is used to, and she can’t help the warm feeling in her stomach once it settles in. She also looks over at Taria as she finally joins them sitting down, giving her a shy smile when she settles near her.
“To peace…” Taria takes a sip and smiles quietly to the two women, “It seems to have been so long ago when I was your age, Jyana ... when the Kingdom was long in peace and the summers full. I hope you will enjoy memories such as those.”
“I should like to visit the Eyrie some day, though I don’t know how I would fare on the ascent. Is it true one must ride donkeys, and dangle in baskets to reach it?” Reyna seems a little more at ease as the wine sweetens her tongue. “I find it hard to imagine, but I have never left the Reach before, so…”
“I hope to see many more years of it, Lady Taria,” Jyana says softly with a faint smile. “When days are full, still, of worries, but of the sort that are less dire.” She sets the goblet on her lap, and she glances over at Reyna to give her a brighter smile. “And yes, it is. An adventure in itself going up and coming down. It takes so long however, a day at least, donkeys can traverse upwards, but the rest would have to be on foot, and on a moonless night it is quite perilous. But I hope you would visit it sometime, the Vale is very beautiful in the summers, and in the Eyrie, it is cool year ‘round.”
You say, “Yes. Always cool. Warmth does not reach the peak.” The dowager smiles to both pleasantly and then slowly stands as she finishes the wine, “And now I must apologize, my dears. It is getting late and I still have much to do.” She leans forward and if allowed gives a light kiss on Jyana’s forehead and then nods her head to Reyna, “Lady Rowan. Good evening.”“
Reyna rises from her chair and bobs a curtsy. “Good evening, Lady Buckwell. I hope you will give my lady mother a good report of me, and be sure to tell her I am wearing my mourning, as I promised her.”
She sits back down, and looks back at Jyana. “Is it not true that the Vale is best reached by sea? I have heard the trek through the mountains is perilous and rife with bandits.”
When the Dowager Lady of Antlers rises, Jyana stands up herself along with Lady Reyna, dipping a curtsey. “Thank you very much for sharing wine with us, Lady Taria,” she replies, quietly, but sincerely…and with her dropped head, when she lifts her face up just slightly she is surprised as the grandmotherly woman places a light kiss on her forehead and lets her rise. She flushes, unused to the sort of motherly affection bestowed, but since she is smiling, it is most certainly not unwelcome. Watching the lady leave, she turns once more to Reyna when she poses her question.
Easing back into her seat, she nods. “It is recommended. The mountain clans tend to raid, they’ve caused trouble for us for many centuries,” she remarks softly. “Armed escorts are often necessary up the mountains and passes. As beautiful as my home is, it is sadly rife with danger.” She smiles. “Though I hear wonderful stories of Highgarden as well, about how lush and fertile it is.”
Taria turns to depart, returning her silk shaw over her head. Holk appears nearby and whispers to a young male servant and while staying out of the way is left to wait upon the two young ladies. Holk however then follows his mistress as they go through the glass doors to Taria’s apartments across the hall.
“I share your admiration for my own home, it’s true,” Reyna says, laughing. “I am as passionate about Highgarden’s charms as you of the Vale and Eyrie; Highgarden has the added benefit of not requiring a sea voyage to commend it, as well. Pleasant, well-guarded roads or a leisurely barge upon the Mander, through fields of golden wheat and fragrant flowers…”
The lady from the Reach laughs again, a bit self-consciously. “You should be most welcome there, if you ever wish to visit. It is warm and balmy the year round; the breezes keep it from being so beastly hot as King’s Landing.”