The initial impression someone would get when entering the underdeck of the Falcon is dark and cramped. Unfortunately, this initial impression doesn’t improve very much as the weeks pass by, and dark and cramped seems to have gotten everyone in a suitably bad mood.
Bryce, who seems to be feeling better, is just leaving his little cabin that he shares with a few other knights. He’s rather pale and in the darkness, the hollows around his eyes are deep-blue sickly-looking pools, brought forth by bad sleep, no food that stays down for days and general seasickness. However, he is not currently throwing up, so the fact that he is feeling better still stands.
Liane doesn’t look particularly thrilled to be coming belowdecks herself, wrapping her arms around herself once she steps down from the ladder and looking up towards the low ceiling. A vaguely ill look crosses her features at its proximity, though the expression flees her features when she looks down to catch sight of Bryce. “Sir Caron,” she greets quietly, summoning up a weak smile.
“My lady,” Bryce replies, a slightly tilted smile appearing at the form of address. “You seem discomforted,” he states bluntly, more power in his voice than could be expected from such a weak looking young man. His yellow doublet looks more brown than yellow down here in the darkness, and he gives a rather shaggy impression in general, stubble of several nights passed coating his chin and rising up across his cheeks.
“I’m just a little- A little tired of this hull, is all,” Liane says with another weak smile, trying to shrug it off as she takes a deep breath and looks around. “No doubt everyone else is growing tired of it as well, though. You’re feeling better?” she asks, quirking a brow as she looks him over.
“Obviously,” Bryce says, his former smile retreating back into his disgruntled features - his permanent expression, it would seem, and he’s once again all shades and wrinkles, despite his young age. Partly, the strange lighting is to blame, but he seems to be constantly frowning. “Lady Liane..” he says, thoughtfully, watching her, like he’s trying to judge the name and her character for his inner eye.
“Yes?” Liane asks, turning back to him as he speaks her name with a slight arch of her brow. Patiently, she watches him, crossing her arms over her chest again, though there’s a slight protective cast to the posture, rather than her earlier defiance.
“Is it true what they say,” Bryce continues, looking gravely serious, “that you Dornish women are fiercer than the men you harbor?” He doesn’t give a hint of a smile, but instead studies her like he really wants to know the answer to this.
“See,” he continues, just before she’d reply, “I never fought one of you, yet I heard I could expect the lot of yer in the fields. So what happened?” He tilts his head somewhat, scratching at his ill-kept beard with his right hand.
“Do you mean do we go into the field of battle?” Liane asks, a quirk of a smile tugging at one corner of her lips. “There have been some. The ways of Dorne are more suited to a woman’s battle, after all. An ambush from a mountain pass, a strike from the desert before melting away into the sands. In such situations, the difference of size and strength are less important. I know my way around a bow, a crossbow, a spear. I ride, I suspect, as well as most of your knights. My cousin Alyx knows more than I do of such things. Which, no doubt, is why she and her paramour are terrorizing what remains of you troops in Dorne,” she sighs quietly. “Ferocity, though, is not limited to the battlefield.”
“I heard about the ‘bedside one too, but that ain’t so interesting for me, not planning to bed one.” Bryce shrugs lightly and scratches some more in his beard, muttering something about ‘shaving and cleaning’ and ‘King’s Landing’, the words nearly incomprehensible beneath the constant sounds from the ship. He looks up at her from having stared at his feet, continuing his speech: “Mind, I ain’t ‘sactly the best of Sers right now, you’ll just have to put up with it. Been sick and all that.” He pauses, then adds: “And no wonder you lost, women wawing weapons instead of teachin’ yer men when to bend.”
“Our men are not like yours, either,” Liane observes with a faint, wry smile. “Westeros is iron and plate, raw power and strength. Dorne…Dorne is gold and leather, finesse and grace. Your men and your women are so different it’s as though you live in different worlds. In Dorne, there’s more balance between us. If the women of Dorne do not teach the men of Dorne when to bend, it is because they already understand the concept.”
“I seen a lot of men who ought ta have bent instead of fought, the last months, my lady,” Bryce says, continuing: “Just as they ought to have years ago, when fighting the Lords of the Marches for all this time. If it ain’t their wits and cunning that’s lacking… ” Nothing else need be said. Many words for someone usually so quiet, but it seems to be something close to his heart. He sounds weak now, but there’s a hint of strength in his voice when he speaks about it. “Shoulda laid down, and bent.” he repeats, eyes narrowing.
“Even dragons cannot fly above the sun, the prince said,” Liane murmurs quietly. “Sunspear was not made to bend.” She looks up then, tipping her head to one side in curious inspection as she looks over the knight. “Would you have bent, Ser Caron?” she asks.
“The Lord of the Marches would not bend if he saw weakness” the young Ser replies “And neither would his heir”, He keeps his perpetual frown and just watches her, trying to comprehend the situation. “Stronger blood, stronger will and stronger arms.. what did you hope for? We bent our knees once, to Fire and Blood, and now Dorne has as well. Just took longer to teach you.” His eyes are dark, his expression weak, but his words are iron.
Liane’s lips twitch in a faint smile. “You claim stronger blood, stronger will, and stronger arms, and yet it took Dorne until now to bend. How would you explain that, Ser Caron?” she asks, still watching him with a quiet sort of amusement.
Bryce seems offended at the notion she puts forth and for the first time, he scowls and gestures out with his hands in an upset fashion. “Cowards in castles. You bled for naught, you died for naught. If I hole up in Nightsong, I could hold out for long too, yet my death would mean little the day they take the walls.” He shakes his head at her, like he’s convinced that these women are truly the cause of the foolishness that is Dorne.
“As you say, Ser Caron,” Liane allows with a polite dip of her chin, the motion hiding another flicker of a smile. “It’s all something of a moot point now, isn’t it? Dorne is defeated, and you hold many of us as security for the good behavior of our relatives.”
“Yes. The dead lie dead and the living are still here, doesn’t get simpler than that.” Bryce looks a bit dizzy again and glances around, raising his right hand to support himself with and his left hand to his brow, wiping some cold sweat from it. He tries to maintain a steady look, but it’s clear that his weakened state wasn’t improved by their little discussion.
Liane continues to watch him, tipping her head to one side. “Perhaps you should return above, Ser Caron,” she suggests gently. “I find the cool breeze of our passage eases the discomfort of sailing.”
“Yes, it does,” Bryce mutters in response and heads off for the upper deck, moving somewhat unsteadily in the crammed passage. However, in his path stands Liane, and a small confrontation of a sorts is inevitable, the passage hardly enough for him to pass her without hinder..
Liane steps to the side, pressing her back to the wall to make space. Still, she keeps her arms crossed over her chest to maintain some semblance of propriety, turning her head to look away as he passes.
Bryce comes to a halt for a few brief moments, then mutters something that could be an indication of an excuse, before he tries to move past. He is a rather wide and muscular fellow, so it isn’t the easiest task, especially not in his condition. So, trying to balance his way to avoid touching her, his feet suddeenly fails to keep him steady, and he reflexively reaches out in both directions to support himself - !
Liane half-ducks, shifting away from the flailing as she can. For a moment, there’s a look of panic in her eyes as the hallway and the knight close in on her, and her breathing speeds as she starts to shake. “Perhaps I should get out of your way first,” she says in a voice made hoarse and uncertain by an attempt to control it before ducking to the side and towards the ladder. There’s something of a panicked lunge for air in the motion, though she stops at the ladder to take a deep breath.
Bryce quickly steadies himself with both arms, knuckles whitening for a moment before he manages to stand straight again, his sick look and dark hollows around his eyes making him look.. not quite capable of managing himself. But, mere moments after he manages to regain control of himself, his gaze dart over to where Liane went, and first it seems like he’s irritated. Shrugging it off, the Caron knight simply nods, saying “Maybe that’s best” before moving on and towards the ladder.
Liane doesn’t look particularly steady, drawing in another breath before nodding. “My apologies, Ser Caron,” she murmurs, voice shaking before she makes her way up the ladder just a little bit too quickly.