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Dawn is coming, aye, but no Sun will show up this rainy morning, for the dark grey clouds set on the sky will take good care to hinder what, in other circumstances, would make a fair sunrise. No wonder, then, the almost deserted deck. Most likely both, Sers and Ladies, will be resting, still, or secluded within their cabins, fighting and dealing with the seasickness the best they can.
Not Lanei, certainly. Even so soon in the morning or late in the night, this would depend of the point of view- she has left her cabin and is ready to wander the deck ֖ hopefully alone and saved of some… sers’ company. For, who would join the place, to cope with such a poor weather?. With this hope, and praying the Maiden to grant her wish, the dornish lady arrives to the deck and paces, quietly, to the rail.
Not the best of the ideas, alas, for the wind, even if warm, carries the rain with it, and soon her cloak gets wet, entirely soaked. But, stubborn as she is, Lanei Fowler won’t leave. For now.
A tall figure stands at one end of the railing, clad in a sky-blue cloak, clasped by a silver falcon. The cloak is well enough to ward the rain for the nonce, as Jonothor makes his way from the forecastle.
“My lady,” he says, quietly, in greeting. “The sun will not rise today, if a sunrise is what you seek.”
And thus Falcon and Hawk meet, the Fowler thinks, and tilts her head to the right. “I won’t pretend that I wouldn’t rejoice to feel the Sun’s warmth again, my lord of Arryn” Lanei says, offering a short curtsy. “Aye” she nods, “the Sun won’t greet us today, but it will sooner or late. No one can fight it forever.” Neither the Sun nor the Spear, she adds to herself before to continue.
“Have a good morrow. Hopefully I won’t disturb you? Should I, and I would search for another place to take this… moment of respite.”
Upon the forecastle a tall shadow can be seen sillouetted on the grey horizon. A hooded figure descends from there, passing over the center, his booted feet ringing off the planks that separate the rowers pits. His black cloak snaps wetly in the wind, and badge upon his shoulder shines gleams in the soft light. He passes the mast and arrives at the aftdeck to where the Fowler woman and Arryn Lord now meet.
To the Arryn, the tall and massive shouldered figure slightly bows, “Morrow, Lord Jonothor. It is good to be upon the sea…” He says, exhaling. The Stormbreaker, who this hooded figure is, known by his stature as by the badge upon his shoulder, turns his dark eyes upon the Dornishwoman.
He says nothing, as if waiting for her to address him.
“You are not disturbing me in the slightest.” Jonothor tilts his head toward the sea, listening to the lap of the waves at stout frame of the Falcon. “Though one would think my arrival has disturbed you?”
“Ser Sarmion. It is a pleasant sensation to be sailing, no? Before this war, I had simply deemed it a most excellent way to give battle without having to exhaust oneself travelling there. But seafaring has proven to be much more than that to me.” Jonothor then falls silent.
“Nay. My lord” she shakes her head. “You did not. More than that, know that it is… gratifying… to meet someone that, for a change, will not try to—” Whatever Lanei was about to say, Sarmion’s arrival makes the lady to cut her words short.
She looks back at Sarmion and remains silent as Jonothor, but eventually, and even if for the sake to show him that she has been taught some manners, offers the tall man a faint nod. “Neither I was used to sail, but short trips. Still… it is a pleasant way to travel. Yet, I do like riding.”
“I have not sailed for long and long, my lord,” Sarmion answers the Lord, still waiting for the Fowler woman’s reply. “But to feel the heady swells move underfoot and to stand upon the prow and feel the spray, that is what I treasure most of my memories when last I did.”
Seeing the woman’s nod, the Baratheon knight smiles slightly, his eyes narrowed. Turning back to Jonothor, he says, “Yet, for all of that, I will gladly find myself ashore again. My men grow restless and long for exercise.”
With a smirk, he adds, “I offered them a turn upon the oars, but they declined.”
“Doubtless many of them wish to return to their holds, and their lady wives. I shall welcome the reception we receive at King’s Landing.” At the last, the Arryn lord smiles. “It is too bad. My quartermaster says the oarsmen long for their home. They shall spend some time ashore at King’s Landing, yet they still have many a row to make it back to Gulltown.”
To Lanei, he adds: “I ride, though for practical reasons, not enjoyment. Tourneys do not hold much interest for me; and horses are not held at the Eyrie.”
“Alas, my men are all orphans or widowers to the war, my lord,” Stormbreaker offers, glancing at Lanei, “They long for shore to stretch their arms, yes, and ride on horseback. They are not men, such as we, who can abide long confinement to these close borders.” His hands divide to show the deck space narrowing towards the prow.
Smiling ruefully, the Baratheon adds, “In truth, I do not know why I find it not so. But that I am thrown back to younger and less sorrowful days.”
“You should make them train here, if they linger so much for practice” the dornish lady suggests, her voice even. “Unless they fear the rain, or to get a cold, which is not the case. Seasickness in the danger they should fear to face.”
Turning to Jonothor, Lanei nods again, “I do live too…” biting her low lip, she makes a pause, “...lived in the mountains, but we often went down to hunt, and to ride. Tourneys? I have seen a few, but I cannot participate. Nor I wish, of course. Even a green squire would defeat me. My interests lie elsewhere.”
“Hunting is for other lords also; those who have time for their extravagant leisures.” A hint of disdain shadows Jonothor’s voice. “So what of these other interests, then?”
To Sarmion: “Widowers and orphans we will mourn, but new knights there are, also. Would that we could have some of our fallen back. Many of my bannermen, and mine own cousin, were slain.”
“Do you ask for my interests, Lord Arryn?”. Lanei frowns, as if thinking hardly, and after a brief moment, and weighing her words, the lady replies, “For long, they were focused on my future. To be a good wife and mother, when time arrived, and as I was told, to learn how to rule my family’s seat. Now, alas” she shrugs helplessly and drops her eyes down, as if looking at her hands, “I lost my betrothed, and am being sent far away from home. See, Ser Sarmion, we all are mourning our people.”
“So, where would lie my interests ֖ now? Perhaps on my people, those I have at hand. To seek for their wellfare, and to aid them, if I can. And, of course” Lanei lifts her eyes, “To honour my House as I did always.”
“Many died before this war began, my lord,” Sarmion smiles wryly, “Reavers struck my wife the fatal blow that slew her in the birthing bed, when she delivered me an breathless son.”
Still smiling, his dark eyes look on Lanei and dwell there for a long moment, until it carves itself slowly into a sneer and then into a frown. His jaw clenches, but he says nothing to the woman for her words of mourning.
“You would do honour to your house by remaining at court at King’s Landing. A ward you are, but it shall hardly be imprisonment.” The fair-haired Vale lord continues; “And I am sorry to hear of such things, ser. Have you found the justice you seek?”
Laughing bitterly, Sarmion says, “Hardly.”
“Then may the Warrior strengthen your arm to find it, and the Father guide you as you seek it.” And Arryn’s gaze briefly turns to the sky; before the errant rain forces him downwards again.
Indeed, Sarmion’s sneer affected her more than his frown. Was he mocking her losses? By the Mother! Beneath the cloak, Lanei notices her hands clenching into fits, and she opens her mouth, ready to offer the Baratheon’s Ser her answer, just in case he dared…
But he does not and, although Lanei is pretty sure that only Lord Arryn’s presence stopped him to display his temper before her, she says nothing more. “A ward? Or a prisoner? Ah, I am afraid we would hardly agree there, my lord of Arryn. Yet, I wish the rest of your people were as kind as you are. Our new lives would be… easy to cope with.”
“May the Stranger grant all my enemies His kiss,” Sarmion echoes Lord Arryn, “After they have felt of Mercy.” He strokes the pomel of his sword with his shield hand. Looking on the Fowler woman he just smirks and shakes his head.
“How gracious in defeat these Dornish people are.”
“A prisoner lies in a dungeon. A ward has immeasurably more freedoms. There is something of a difference. And nay, do not call me kind. I merely do my duty to convey you safely to King’s Landing, and as master of this fleet, I must ensure the peace.” A sardonic smile softens Lord Arryn’s otherwise stark mien.
At Sarmion’s last words, Lanei cannot help but to look at the sky, as if asking the Seven altogether- to grant her enough patience to deal with Sarmion Baratheon. “Aye, we are gracious and courteous, even to those deserving not our kindness, be in wartime, or in peace time. But we have, also, our limits, ser, and these have growing shorter in the last year.”
“I am glad you do” the lady offers to Jonothor. “And I will pray the Seven to grant you their blessings, if you would grant that peace.”
“The Seven will do as the Seven will, and sometimes the pleas of mortals will go unanswered - the septons tell me their ways are inscrutable.” Jonothor makes a cynical face. “Would that they made themselves clearer, and we’d be a good deal the wiser.”
“I trust you are acquainted with the other Dornishmen here? Ser Artys’s Falcon has a significant number of them, and not all of them I know by sight.”
“Indeed, the days dwindle as the blades of grass that grow in Dorne,” Sarmion says as he steps away from the pair. Nodding his head, “Farewell, my lord. Lady…” he adds with a glance at the Fowler woman.
“Farewell, ser.” Jonothor nods toward the tall knight.
“Farewell, Ser Sarmion. Have a good day…” she offers shortly before to turn back to the Arryn. A significant number of them? Forty-nine, no less. “I am, of course. Why do you ask?” Lanei asks, puzzled. “A couple of them are Fowlers as well, my first cousins. And I know the others too. Did they… disturb you? I heard nothing about.”
“I should like to know them,” Jonothor says simply. “Or of them,” he adds. “For a surety, there are some names amongst them, and I do not know all, nor am I familiar with many of them. I have seldom had cause to make acquaintances with Dornishmen, but it appears that with the turn of events, now such a reason exists.”
“Then, Lord Arryn, I do hope that they will not disappoint you, whatever you might expect of my companions. You may find that we are not the… awful people some of your friends think we are” she says, her eyes following the leaving figure of the Baratheon, and turning quickly to meet Jonothor’s eyes. “Perhaps, once you get used to our company, you will think better of us.”
“That will be a while coming, I fear,” Jonothor says, a touch brusquely. “As I have said earlier; I have lost kinsmen and bannermen, and my memory is not so shallow. Nevertheless, the Arryns are an old and honourable house; proper courtesy must be respected, and it ill suits noblemen to trample upon a defeated foe. But for now,” and here, he draws a deeper breath, “I must go below deck once more. I shall speak with you again, I am sure.”
The dornish lady’s answer comes all the swift. “And do you think our memory is thinner than yours, lord, or that we mourn our men less than you and your people do? For we do not.” She sighs. “Fowlers are also an old and honourable ֖and honoured- House, and it has been thus for years and years, even before the times of Queen Nymeria’s wars. Ancient blood runs within our veins too, Lord Arryn, as within yours. But, ah, there is no time to deal about such issues now, you have your duties to attend, as well as I do. Princess Ariana will need me, if she woke up.”
The ghost of a smile plays upon Lanei’s lips. “At any rate, I have enjoyed our meeting, lord. Have a good day”. And the lady walks away, searching for the cabins once more.
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