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Liane emerges from below looking more than a little bit shaken and wide-eyed, though she’s quick to duck her chin under the pretense of gathering her hair at her nape, drawing in a deep, steadying breath. Quickly, she moves away from the ladder to belowdecks and towards the rail, closing her eyes to the wind of passage.
Behind her comes Bryce Caron, unshaven as of 7 days, unwashed for the same amount of time, and more or less recovered from the perpetual seasickness that has been plaguing him for the last few weeks. When studied more carefully, the focus seems to be on ‘less’, rather than ‘more’. He is hollow-eyed, that much is clear in the faint lighting of the deck, but fortunately, the rest of his sickly signs are hidden by the darkness. He is walking steadily now, but supporting himself with his right arm once in a while.
The ship wallows in the still sea, all her grace stolen by a fickle wind. The sails hang limp and empty and the rhythmic splashing of oars is the only thing that drives her on. There are few people about at this hour; on another night, it might not have been so but the still, humid atmosphere is scarcely any better than belowdecks.
Darkness shrouds the seas, leeched of starlight or moonlight. The deck is a long expanse of shadow relieved only occasionally by voices or glimmers of light. And in that shadow, a darker shape yet—a vague form seated upon a pile of cordage near the railing, his back against a barrel, long legs stretched comfortably before him.
There is a glint of steel in his hand—the only bright thing about him.
Liane doesn’t look like she’s in a condition to notice shadowy figures quite yet, drawing in a deep, grateful breath of even the still air. Before she opens her eyes, she tips her head back to the sky so that, once she does open them, it’s the vast vault of the sky she sees, prompting the calming release of that earlier breath. Her arms uncross, shaken loose in a brief motion before she finally, slowly, looks over her shoulder to see Bryce emerging.
There is the thick thunk of steel biting into wood; the dagger quivers in a knot upon another barrel near the seated man. Stretching out an arm, he tugs it out and weighs it in his hand. Head cocked, he regards the woman standing at the railing:
“Abroad without your golden guardian dogging your steps today?”
He flips the dagger home again into the knot.
Bryce, following Liane as if they came together, stops a few steps behind her. A place as good as any, eh? He leans against the closest thing with more stability than thin air and watches her, as well as watching the darkness from where the voice comes from.
Though Liane turns rather quickly at Dagur’s words, startled, it seems more in startlement than fear of the sound or flash of the dagger. For whatever reason, she doesn’t seem concerned by the blade. It isn’t defiance, or bravery, but the simple acceptance of a woman used to being around men with sharp pointy objects. “Ser,” she greets after a moment, dipping her chin. “I did not notice you here.” She flicks a glance towards Bryce for a moment, the shoulder nearest him rising slightly in an unconscious gesture of defense, before returning her attention to Dagur. “I have no guardian to dog my steps, ser.”
The voice seems faintly amused; if the face reflects it, it is for the darkness masking it to know. “Here’s one,” he nods to the knight who has followed her. “The mighty Ser Sarmion another. And…”
He reaches out and tugs the dagger free again, “...the golden Lannister, of course.”
Liane rolls her eyes at the mention of Jonn Lannister, a habit that seems to be growing on her. “Ser Jonn is a case all his own, I’m certain. And, it would appear, neither Ser Sarmion nor Ser Bryce here seem overly fond of me.” She reaches up to twist the hair at her nape into a rope, flipping it over one shoulder and leaning a hip on the rail. “Do you suppose they’re following me to see if I start exhibiting signs of the infamous Uller insanity?” she asks with an arch of her brow.
“Like, dislike.. what does it matter”.. the mutter is heard from Bryce’s position and the Caron knight watches her in silence. He doesn’t sound all that convinced himself of which one it is, and he doesn’t expect her to hear his words either.
There is a shrug, more felt than seen in the shadows: “The Stormbreaker is following you because he wants to kill you. The Lannister cub because he wants to shame you. Or bed you. With that one, likely both. And lest I forget, the gloomy Ser Doran probably wants forgiveness at your feet.”
“Nothing but guardians, Lady Liane. And you thought you had none.”
He pauses then as the knight mutters befoe calling out to him, “What of you, ser?”
“Honor,” Liane supplies preemptively for Bryce, without looking at the Knight. “That one wants to honor his word. I assure you, ser, that I am nothing to any of them beyond a symbol of conquered lands.” And, to judge by her glance out to sea and the flicker of relief in it, that’s the way she likes it.
Let’s shout some over the deck, lets do that.. poor Ser Bryce, never any rest. Bryce looks up, first at the call from Dagur, then at Liane’s words, and he frowns. “Nightsong is as much a part of this war as Dorne itself is. It would dishonor us if we did not see the hostages of the conflict safely to where our King needs them.” he calls out, pride in his words, despite his weakness.
“The strong do what they can, the weak suffer what they must.”
Tilting his head back, the shadowed man drinks deep from a wineskin; silence reigns for a long moment. Lowering it then, he wipes his mouth on the back of his sleeve, “The honour of war. Your Prince lost his gamble and now his people will pay for it.”
“Why do you people insist there is honor in war?” Liane asks with a soft snort, shaking her head. “I see no honor. I see no single combat, no great heroes. I see sieges and ambushes, and battles in sandstorms. War is life and death, not honor. It’s the peace that follows it that demands honor. For which,” she sighs, a grimace crossing her features before fading away, “I should just be grateful, I’m sure.”
“Then,” comes the voice drily, “here is your chance to prove yourself more honourable than any knight. The Hellknight and the Knight of the Flame outdone by their cousin.”
“This -is- after the war, and it is now that I’m upholding the honor of Nightsong.” Bryce says, frowning and gesturing lightly, still speaking loudly enough for both of them to hear. “Not two months ago, not three. Now.” he glances over the railing and spits, sending saliva out over the water.
Liane crosses one arm over her chest, placing a hand to her cheek. “Garyn should have stayed at Hellholt,” she murmurs low, letting out a slow breath before forcing a wan smile towards Dagur. “‘Ryn always looked up to him. Fourteen years apart, no wonder. It used to be my job to keep him and Serion out of trouble.” She looks back to the water, genuine memory twisting her smile. “I never was very good at it.”
“A commendable ambition, ser,” the serpent knight replies neutrally.
He studies the woman then, before speaking again: “No, you weren’t. He did die. On the other hand…”
He swigs from the wineskin again, “...you would have needed an army to save him in that place.”
Bryce retreats back into inactivity, watching the darkness out over the seas.
“Alas, that would have been Garyn’s job,” Liane murmurs with a flicker of a grimace. “But he always was more for clearing the road so we could get into our own trouble than keeping us out of it. I suppose it wouldn’t be fair to resent him for it now.” Her hand moves from her cheek to her nape as she tilts her head back for a long moment.
Another swig, another moment of silence—and then, the serpent knight cocks his head: “They say the women of Dorne are trained in the use of blades and bows. True?”
“True,” Liane nods, looking back down and turning to lean her back against the rail. “Well. Those with the inclination,” she corrects herself after a moment. “And the women of Westeros are forbidden such. True?” she asks, looking over with an arch of her brow.
“I wouldn’t know,” is the brief reply.
For a moment longer he remains as he was, head cocked, a dark form in the night half-turned towards the woman. And then, there is a pale gleam of teeth in the shadows; slow and one-sided, he smiles.
And then flips the dagger towards Liane to quiver in the deck by her feet.
Leaning back, he nods at the barrel with the knot, a dozen paces from her.
Liane looks down at the dagger at her feet, quirking a brow and looking around the rest of the deck. “Not trying to get me in trouble, are you?” she asks with a flicker of a smile, looking back without bending to take the dagger.
“If you wanted to kill yourself, the sea would serve better than that. And if you wanted to kill me…but you wouldn’t. After all, you swore an oath. And…”
With that glimmer of amusement in his voice, he echoes her, “...after all, it is the peace after war that demands honour.”
“Neither my death nor yours concerns me overmuch,” Liane laughs softly. “But more what’s likely to happen if one of my guardians, as you’ve dubbed them, wanders past as I happen to hold a dagger in my hand. You know Dornish women, after all,” she says with a sharp smile. “Treacherous snakes.” Still, this time she moves to sit cross-legged on the deck, the dagger before her as she considers it, and then the indicated target.
“Treacherous snakes, is it?” the serpent knight drawls. He raises the wineskin again but only a few drops dribble out this time. Shaking his head, he leans back: “They call me a snake too, after a fashion. But not treacherous.”
“Not to my face, at least.”
Liane finally reaches out to take the hilt of the dagger, twisting the blade free of the deck with a certain practiced ease, betraying some familiarity with the weapon. “You,” she notes, testing the edge with one thumb, “Are a watersnake. And I,” she muses looking towards the barrel again and testing the balance of the blade, “Am a sidewinder. A sand viper. I suppose.”
“And the Targaryen have pulled your fangs.”
Head leaning against the barrel, the knight’s eyes gleam faintly, half-slitted: “Whatever will you do.”
Liane shrugs one shoulder, passing the knife lazily between her fingers once. “Spit, perhaps,” she muses with a ghost of a smile. After another moment, she lets the knife fly with a flick of her wrist. It isn’t a perfect shot. Indeed, it’s a good four or five inches high of the knot, but it’s at least in line with it, and sunken into the wood. “I prefer the bow,” she notes, wrinkling her nose at the knife.
“Not bad,” the serpent knight allows, reaching out to tug the dagger free. He rises then, the wineskin dangling from a hand; he seems steady enough for all that it is empty. There he stands for a moment, looking down at the woman—and then, again, that slow smile.
“Next time,” he suggests, “geld the Lannister cub.”
And tossing the wineskin into the sea, he strolls to the hatchway.
Liane smirks at that, shaking her head. “Alas, he wasn’t nearby when you tossed a dagger at my feet. Next time toss me a dagger when he’s within reach.” She watches after the knight, smile eventually fading away to a pensive frown.
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