It is a dark night at sea, and the ship truly -is- at sea now, having rounded Massey’s Hook and entered the Narrow Sea. The rising tide has the great galleas rocking gently on the swells, and the wind has bellied the sails to fullness as the oars rest against the hull. There is no moon, but the stars… ah! the stars in their multitudes paint a vast canvas overhead, and it seems to draw the city-dwellers out of the stuffy holds to gaze at them.
Reyna Saltcliffe is here, wrapped in a warm cloak of green so dark it looks black in the dim starlight. She is sitting with her back to a barrel and her head resting on her maid’s shoulder, gazing upward with childlike wonder at the great vault of the sky, unimpeded by any light save the occasional lamp carried by a sailor at watch.
For the early part of the journey, Janden Melcolm has avoided being up on deck very much. He’s missed most of the fun, but there have been reasons. Even now as he does come up with something to chew on and drink from he looks a bit queasy, though the darkness helps in some small way. All the same, he keeps himself more to the center of the deck, away from the sides and railings.
Out of the depths, too, comes another woman, Katla Serry, in her Greyjoy’s black-and-gold but cloaked in Serry red and white. She moves easily with the gentle movement of the ship, and her shoulders are back, hair hanging in a fat plait down her back, a hand always trailing across whatever piece of equipment she comes near. Her path brings her along the railings, and only once does she pause, looking down, a hand on her belly for a moment, before continuing near to Reyna.
There is another figure in the dark, barely visible due to the black cloak that wraps her- but then she moves, and the telltale red skirt and copper hair on top of pale skin are just visible in the dim light. Elrone had been watching over the rail, watching the few lights on the coastline slide in the distance, staring for the better part of an hour in silence. Her face is pensive, though hard to see in this light, and it is only when she moves that she catches the dim sight of Lady Reyna standing not too far from her.
Reyna looks up from where she is sitting on the deck, taking a moment to find the source of her name. “Ah, Lady Elrone,” she says, and she sounds much more composed tonight than she did last. “How are you tonight?” The others are yet too dim for her to make out, though she bends her head just the same.
There are fewer people up here at night, the sounds of the ocean easier heard that way. Janden keeps a careful step as he draws closer to the women, wearing a dark brown cloak of his own over his regular clothing. “Good evening,” he speaks to those closest and in view, offering proper titles to go with it for each as he stops nearby. “I hope you’re all well.”
“Well met,” comes Katla’s voice after a pause, and she folds herself a few moments later atop a nearby trunk lashed to the deck, one hand always for the ship. She sounds relaxed, and the pose clearly declares her comfortable aboard the Baratheon ship. “I must confess a bit of surprise, to see so many out tonight, rather than tucked safely in their berths.”
“I have had some trouble sleeping, Lady Reyna… Lady Serry,” Elrone says, recognizing the voice more than the figure in the dark. “It is much more relaxing up here.” She peers toward the male voice, uncertain of the origin, but curtsies nonetheless. “Ser. It is a calm night so far.”
“I cannot sleep at night,” confesses Reyna, then smiles at Elrone, her teeth a flash of white in the starlight. “I cannot bear to be in a cabin and not know what is happening on deck at night, not if my husband is not nearby. So I have been sleeping in the day and coming out at night. Hallo, Lady Serry, Ser Janden,” she adds.
“The Gods be good for that,” Janden answers when Elrone talks of the calm night. “And I don’t sleep well on ships one way or the other,” he admits, moving to have himself a seat for added stability. “I’m just no good around an ocean, sadly. I nearly stayed back on land but I didn’t want to miss Storm’s End.” He drinks of his wine, helping with any frayed nerves.
Katla’s chuckle is soft, and then is suddenly stifled, almost caught off-guard. A moment later she chuckles again. “I understand all too well, Lady Reyna - the not-knowing. I might be well served to keep the same hours as you. Ser Janden, I think you feel the way around the seas that I feel around horses. I shall tolerate them, but find little love.” She leans back, then tugs her cloak back against a breeze. “Perhaps we should arrange fine evening gatherings, see what sailors have pipes I can abscond with.”
A large pile of cloth moves and groans from across the ship. Jack was sleeping peacefully above deck next to the rail, it was far too crowded below deck and he is getting tired of the looks of disgust he is getting from the rich. Its not his fault he is a poor bastard, why should they get to judge him that way? He never got to decide who his father was. While dozing he heard a few people start to talk loudly not far from him. Peeking out of his grey cloak he peers over and tries to make out who they are in the dark.
Elrone’s eyes widen with pleased surprise at the mention of pipes, and she pulls a little wooden flute with Dornish markings on it out of her cloak. “I have this, if it will serve- I am just learning to play though, so my own skill is limited. Instruments have never been my strong point. Do you play, Lady Serry?”
Simona emerges from below-deck, followed by a guardsman in Tully colors who is carrying a child-sized bundle wrapped in a cloak. The bundle is whimpering. Simona looks like she has not slept; dark circles ring her eyes. Spreading out a blanket, she sits down on the deck, and holds out her arms for the bundle, which begins to cry softly. “Oh, my poor love, we’re almost there, I promise.” The Tully guardsman stands near the woman, and her child.
“We could sing, too,” Reyna says, seeming a little more lively and sitting up straighter. “I should like to, I think. It keeps the night at bay, and the sky in its proper proportions.” Then the little mother of five spies Simona and her bundle. “Here, lady, come and sit by me. Bring your poor babe, for I miss my own terribly.”
Jack groans loudly when he spots a young woman emerge with a bundle, that sounds as if its a crying babe. “Gods I am never going to get any sleep,” Jack mutters to himself. “Maybe I can just ignore it.” Then he hears a lady begin to talk about singing, now he knows sleep will never come to him. Rising up and peering out over the rail at the water, he debates on what he should. He could try to go back below deck and face his inner turmoil and problems or he could try and converse with this lot.
“By rights I should be captain of a ship in Old Anchor by now,” Janden explains to Katla, a frown marring his features along with the scar, shaking his head slowly. “But nearly drowning as a young lad ruined that dream. I can’t help it, but I’m all but useless around water. It’s enough just to stay calm up here without something to distract me enough.” Looking back to Reyna, he adds, “Listening to one of the best voices I know might help with that.” He squints in the direction of the flute Elrone produces.
The ironborn woman is clearly a bit surprised, and another laugh sounds. “I grew up first with sailor’s pipes - the flutes I have touched, but if you will let me practice for a moment, I think I should be able to make them do my bidding. If you and the Lady Reyna would wish to sing - and yourself, Ser Janden, and any others who would wish… I think we may have a fine enough little bunch. Perhaps,” she adds with a nod to Simona, “we might even soothe your little one.”
“I would love to sing.” Elrone looks askance toward Lady Reyna with a shy smile. “Especially with you, Lady Reyna, I have heard you have a very fine voice. You have been recommended to me on more than one occasion as a good singing partner.” She nods to the newcomer and the babe as she extends her hand with the flute toward Lady Serry. “Lady Simona, is there any tune you would wish to hear for the babe?”
Simona lets the guardsman pick up her daughter, who is a little girl of perhaps five or six, and stands up from her blanket to join Reyna, and the rest. “I ought not have brought her.” She says with a sad, guilty look, “But I didn’t want her to miss her Uncle’s wedding. Shes only been on small boats in the Trident.” Sitting down, she takes the girl back in her arms, and brushes the girl’s hair from her face, “Would you like that, Lysa?” Lysa nods weakly, her skin tinged green, but manages to be as polite as a seasick six-year old can be. “I’d like that very much.” She says weakly.
“Why, you aren’t a babe at all, are you?” Reyna asks the little girl, smiling from her maid’s side. “Do you know, my lady, that I do not like great big boats at all myself? I grew up riding barges on the Mander, and these great ships frighten me.” She nods solemnly at the girl, then looks around at the music-makers. “Something quiet to start, perhaps?” she asks.
Katla takes the flute in her hands, feeling the weight of it, and places her lips carefully at one end, splaying long weaver’s fingers across the holes. She plays one note, two, and then her fingers rise and fall and a stream of notes spill out in no particular tune at first as she gains an understanding with the instrument. “I have almost begun to understand what seasickness must be like,” the Lady Serry adds with a glance towards Reyna, no doubt unseen in the darkness; then she sets the flute back to her lips and begins to play something quiet yet merry - not melancholic, not this night.
“I think I’ll listen and tap my foot, else I might give you all reason to be queasy after you’ve listened to me any,” Janden says with a brief grin, shifting in place to make himself as comfortable as he can, cloak adding the faintest amount of cushioning possible on the deck. “If I were seasick on top of this, I’d be an even bigger wreck,” he comments to Katla, looking around with a tilt of his head, as if hearing other voices nearby.
Gathering his grey cloak around him he moves his way towards the sound of a flute. The tune is a joyful one and it lightens Jack’s heart a bit, it is a tune he seems to remember but he is not sure from where. Sliding his feet slowly in the dark to make sure he does not lose his footing he makes his way towards the shapes he can barely make out in the pitch of night. From deep inside his hood his voice comes out in a low tone, “You are quite talented with that flute my lady.” Slowly peering at the other individuals he can not seem to make out who they are so he resorts to saying, “Well met.”
“No, My Lady.” Lysa says softly. The little girl bemoans to Reyna, “I do not like boats at all, My Lady!” Simona holds Lysa in her arms, and lets the little Tully put her head on her mother’s chest while she rocks her gently in her arms.
“Then we shall be friends, I think. I am Lady Reyna, and you are Lady Lysa?” She glances at Simona for confirmation, smiling a conspiratorial, maternal smile before looking back at the girl. “Now, listen. And if you can catch the chorus, sing along, yes? It will take your mind off things if you do, and I do need the help.”
She turns then and, after a pause to catch the tune herself, sings merrily in her high, sweet voice:
Come loose every sail to the breeze.
The course of my vessel improve;
I’ve done with the toils of the seas,
Ye sailors, I’m bound to my love.
Ye sailors, I’m bound to my love,
Ye sailors, I’m bound to my love,
I’ve done with the toils of the seas,
Ye sailors, I’m bound to my love.”
Elrone does recognize the man’s voice, having only made his acquaintance recently. “Good eve, Ser Jack,” she says, though her ear is tilted to the music as she gives her mind to it and prepares to enter her voice. She pitches in on the next verse, her own voice a delicate mezzo to Reyna’s higher melody, and smiles at the child warmly in encouragement.
The Greyjoy merely nods her head at Jack, her fingers dancing along the length of the flute, and as her head dips, the music does, then rises again as if to crest a wave. Katla seems pleased - pleased, and then some, as she keeps the flute going. She is competent - no fine musician, no expert - but she can do well enough with such tunes, the lifeblood of the sailors.
Simona nods her head softly to Reyna. Lysa responds primly, “It is a pleasure to meet you, Lady Reyna. I would like that very much.” She then closes her eyes, and lets out a little groan as a wave of nausea washes over her. Simona begins to sing along softly. She is somewhat flat. Lysa mouths the words as well, her eyelids fluttering as they grow heavy for want of sleep.
Janden remains quiet during the singing, Jack getting a simple nod of acknowledgement along the way as he returns his focus to the song being sung and those that join in, nodding slightly to the rhythm.
Reyna sings on, adding more verses until she ends with: “Then hoist every sail to the breeze,
Come, shipmates, and join in the song;
Let’s drink while the ship cuts the seas,
To the gale that may drive her along.
Ye sailors, I’m bound to my love,
Ye sailors, I’m bound to my love,
I’ve done with the toils of the seas,
Ye sailors, I’m bound to my love!”
Taking a few moments to listen to the song, Jack tries to remember the face that goes a long with that voice. Then it hits him, “Good eve to you as well my lady of Darklyn. I fear I haven’t gotten to speak with your brother yet.” Then turning to the lady that lets out a low groan. “A secret I learned long ago when I first started traveling over the sea, if your stomach is upset, look at the moon or pick a star in the sky to gaze at for a few minutes. The feelings of sickness should pass.” Then Jack slowly leans over to rest against the rail while he enjoys the music.
Elrone smiles widely as the song ends, clapping. “Well led, Lady Reyna. Do you feel much better, Lady Lysa? I know I do.” She turns to Katla. “I wish I could pick up this instrument as well as you, Lady Serry. I do not think my fingers have the practice of yours.” And then she leans back on the rail, letting her copper hair drift over the edge as she looks to the stars in the sky, a happy tint on her tired eyes.
Lysa’s eyes slide closed, and she begins to doze. Simona looks relieved. “Thank you, Lady Reyna.” She says softly to the other woman. Elrone gets a soft smile that eases the strained look on Simona’s face. “Shes sleeping, Lady Elrone. Thank you.” Jack is given a nod, “I shall remember that for when she wakes, thank you ser.”
“Ah, she’s a sweet thing,” Reyna says in a low voice of Lysa. “I’ve five of my own, and I know how they can be in a strange setting. I will sing for her anytime she is not well, Lady… Simona, is it?” She gives the other lady a sheepish smile, then listens to Katla’s pipe for a while in silence, her own head on her maid’s shoulder.
Janden has a smile for Reyna, speaking quietly. “As good to hear as ever, my lady. Thank you.” He takes in Jack, nodding to his suggestion. “Would that was the only problem I had aboard a ship,” he murmurs, head shaking slowly before he pushes up to his feet. “But if you’ll all excuse me, I’d best get back below deck. I feel closer to being able to rest.”
At the end, the flute is set down and Katla smiles to Elrone. “It is the weaving that gives me long and nimble fingers, and if I can at least turn them to harp and flute aside from my loom, well - it means I have more than one use, I suppose.” She laughs softly, dabbing at the end of the flute with her cloak, and passing it back to the young lady of Darklyn. She pauses, glancing to Reyna again, and shakes her head. “How you managed five, my lady, I haven’t a clue. I don’t know if I’ll manage with the one or if I’ll cast myself over the railing in the meanwhile.” A wry smile, unguarded, and the ironborn woman rises from her trunktop seat. “And I had best return to my walking for a time, I think, lest I suddenly turn green.”
“You have my thanks, Lady Reyna.” Simona says. She nods, “Simona Tully.” She introduces herself, “Wife of Ser Edmure.” Shifting so as not to disturb Lysa, she waves her guardsman over. The man picks up Lysa with ease, and moves to carry her back below decks. “If you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll try to rest while she sleeps.” Standing up, she brushes her skirts, and follows the guardsman below deck.
“Good night,” murmurs Reyna to the others as they go, one by one, to their beds. She makes no move, however, and seems content enough to sit with her Lysene maid and watch the stars. “I had never heard that about the stars and seasickness,” she says absently. “What does one do in the day?”
A hand reaches out in the dark to receive the flute back, and Elrone puts it back into the depths of her cloak. “Good eve then, Ser Janden, Lady Serry, Lady Simona. Rest well, all.” She turns to Reyna as the others depart. “Maester Talbard recommended some herbs to me, for my sleep- perhaps he knows of some cure for the seasickness as well. Though I admit I find lying down on the ship’s roll easier than standing. And somehow… soothing.”
Jack looks over at the young lady and chuckles. “That I could not tell you my lady. The old man that told me about that has been dead for a long time and I fear he never told me that secret.” Looking over at the woman, he nods and says, “I am Ser Jack Flowers, I am not sure if we have met yet. I have met so many new people on this voyage and I have a horrid time with names and faces.”
“From the Reach?” asks Reyna in obvious interest. “I am Reyna Saltcliffe, but I was born Reyna Tyrell. My father was Lord Loras.” She smiles at Elrone and shakes her head. “Alas, I do not get sick at sea. My troubles are of a very different nature, and one not easily treated with herbs, save those that make me sleep.”
“Ships tend to sink when she is aboard them,” says a lazy voice from the shadows.
Moments later a smiling face appears—though the smile is, perhaps to some, not an overly pleasant site—framed by golden hair and a week’s worth of similarly hued stubble.
“I think she does it on purpose,” the Lannister concludes. For with golden hair and nearly palpable arrogance, what other house could he belong to?
“Ah.” Elrone nods with a more serious look, having some idea of what the lady means, but leaves the issue for the nonce. “I think I shall have to try one of those teas for sleep myself… for other reasons.” But then she is startled by the voice from the shadow, and jumps slightly. “Ah-” she starts awkwardly, before managing a proper curtsy, a fresh blush in her face. “Good eve, ser.”
Jack nods at Lady Reyna, “Aye, I grew up on the streets of Oldtown, before my uncle, Durton Grimm, took me in as his squire. After that I traveled far and wide.” When a voice comes from the shadows, Jack turns and looks at the man. This particular man reeks of arrogance, he must be a Lannister. “Err…Ser I do not know you, but from your looks I would assume you are a Lannister? Perhaps the heir to Casterly Rock?”
Reyna doesn’t move from her cozy spot on the deck with Amalia. “Shut your mouth, Jonn Lannister,” she says lazily. “Only one of them sank.”
“Ah, you brought her,” says the Lannister with a insouciant wave of his hand at the Lysian maid. “I hope she and Lyam do not overturn this vessel with their bedsport.” A shake of his head marks his amusement.
He turns his attentions now to the Darklyn lady and the Reachlands bastard. “A good guess,” he answers Jack first. “Yes, I am Jonn Lannister. Leave off with the ser.” This last is directed at the both of them.
A bow of his head to Elrone, and a quiet “My lady.”
Elrone’s head tilts slightly, and she raises an eyebrow just a breadth higher. “Jonn, then. Well met.” She breathes a moment, some of the blush fleeing her face. “I was sorry to hear about your late wife- Lady Kellyn was my cousin. My condolences to you.” She glances askance to Lady Reyna, a bit unsure about the forces at play here.
Jack nods at Jonn, “Well met then Jonn Lannister, how fare you on this evening?” Jack notices the tension between Reyna and Jonn, but decides to not say or do anything and just wait to see where it goes. Leaning back and raising his head to gaze at the stars for a few moments, Jack exhales deeply. “This night air is amazing, I forgot how clean the air is out on the open sea.”
Amalia, engaged in smoothing her mistress’s hair, looks up at Jonn and nods once. “There,” says Reyna. “They won’t.” She yawns and lets her eyes droop a little, but is disturbed when Amalia shifts and fills a cup from a flask. “Drink, milady,” she says to the Silver Rose, in tones only a close servant could get away with. And Reyna drinks.
A shrug is the only form of sadness that the Lannister heir is able to muster for Elrone. “That makes one of us who is sorry. I am certain the gods shall be pleased,” he says with a touch of anger in his tone. The cause of Lady Kellyn and Ser Jonn’s falling out prior to her death is not widely known, but it is clear he has yet to forgive his late wife her transgressions.
“Well enough, I suppose,” he says to Jack with a chuckle. “It is cleaner than King’s Landing, that much is certain.”
He looks at Amalia with little trust. “It’s not her who worries me,” he informs Reyna.
The brow raises a bit higher. “Indeed.” Elrone dips another small curtsy. “Forgive me, I did not introduce myself. I am Elrone Darklyn, my lord.” And then she clasps her hands and puts her back to the rail again as the Lannister looks to the maid, her copper hair attempting escape over the side of the ship.
“Ah,” Amalia says, quite without shame. “I will be restraining of him,” she assures Jonn as she rises and helps Reyna to her feet. Reyna gives Jonn a long look, but says nothing save: “Good night, Jonn,” in a sleepy voice that explains the contents of the cup all too clearly. “Good night, Ser Jack, Lady Elrone.” And then she is gone, the maid assisting her through the hatch and below.
Jack laughs at Jonn’s jest, “Aye it is indeed cleaner here than it is in King’s Landing. I have not been in King’s Landing for very long myself. Are you planning in participating in the joust at the wedding? It shall be my first joust in over a year.” Then turning his head he gazes at Lady Elrone and admires her copper hair. Remembering where he is, he quickly turns his gaze from the young lady, cheeks reddening a bit.
Black Jonn’s eyes narrow and he looks more closely at the copper-haired Darklyn. “Olenei is your mother, yes? I see it now. There is much about you that is Crakehall.” He gives the young girl a smile—perhaps too late, considering his earlier words.
He shakes his head slowly at Jack. “I doubt it. The lance is not my best weapon.”
Elrone looks a moment between the two men, her face carefully blank but pale eyes thoughtful, before she comes to some internal decision. “Yes, S- Jonn. Olenei is my mother.” She smiles back toward the Lannister, very politely and carefully composed. “I am afraid the hour is rather late. I ought to go below lest my brother look for me and worry.” She curtsies to the two men. “Ser. My lord. Good eve.” She pushes off from the rail and makes her way to the steps down, wrapping her cloak more tightly about herself.
Jack nods his head at Jonn, ” That’s too bad ser, I suppose there will be plenty of other Lannisters to face.” With that Jack winks at Jonn and rises from the rail. “Lady Elrone, allow me to escort you down below deck. I do not trust all these sailors on here. It would be my honor.”
“There may be,” Jonn admits. “But they’re all much better jousters than me.”
This said with a wry smile as he turns back towards the railing, leaning forward out over the sea with his elbows resting on the banister.
Elrone pauses to look at Jack as he nears and nods, with a quiet “Thank you, ser,” waiting for him to catch up before she disappears down the steps.