That is the word circulating about the ship. A hush has fallen for the setting of the sun, and most of the ladies have paused in their revels to line the western rail in reverent admiration of the beauteous sunset. Purples, reds, golds and pinks streak the sky as if the gods themselves have ordained this show for this very day, this very moment.
Even Reyna Saltcliffe, whom all witnessed earlier in complete panic, has come to see and admire. Her golden gown matches the display well, and the colors paint her bare shoulders in rosy hues as she stands to one side, smiling and with eyes hooded, serene.
And no so bare shouldered, Kellyn Lannister joins in that serenity. The fire painted in the sky gives her a sense of ease amongst all this air and sea as it breaks the gradients of blue. A bit of whimsy steals into her features as she leans towards another of the ladies and speaks soft, but clear enough to carry, “I remember my mother in one of her softer moments used to talk about listening to try and hear the songs the moment the sun would disappear.” She tucks a curl behind her ear and lifts her goblet. “While I do not think our hosts can take credit for the sunset, my praise for their forethought in bringing us here at this hour.”
And no - there has been no unseemly combination of sea and morning sickness, thank goodness. The rocking and the parasite seem to have come to some sort of agreement to let Kellyn enjoy the day rather than enjoy her breakfast again and again and again.
It seems as if one of the hosts might miss the sunset entirely, for at the moment there seems to be no sign of the Dondarrion girl. Ser Giles is lingering about, walking the deck like a caged animal so she couldn’t have gotten far.
“I believe such beauty calls for some wine,” calls Carmella’s voice as she comes up on deck, Sariah close behind her and with the maid another servant, both carrying enough cups and wine to satisfy all of the ladies on board. Carmella’s gaze looks towards the painted sky and she grins even brighter. “And this glorious sunset is good enough reason as well,” she adds, motioning to Sariah to begin pouring the wine.
The golden Rose of Highgarden turns toward Kellyn. “We cannot claim credit at all, but I -am- glad it’s so lovely. It seems all the trouble of arranging it is worth this moment.” Her face glows with the warmth of the sunset colors as she reaches for a cup of wine.
Kellyn accepts a refill to her refreshment, gathering up a few pieces of fruit as well. Too much wine without something to soak it up, you know. “So did you hide musicians in the rigging as well then? What mischief shall we get up to without our menfolk about, but that will not give Ser Giles cause to tear his hair out, do you think?”
Carmella rolls her eyes a little at the mention of her guard and casts a look in his direction over her shoulder. “There are a couple gold cloaks here with Lady Liane, perhaps someone might slip them some dice so that they might entertain themselves for a while,” Carmella says, looking back at Kellyn and Reyna. The guard, thankfully, it too far away to hear her. “I cannot imagine that they will enjoy the evening and it isn’t as if we’re going to suddenly jump ship and swim for the shore.” She smiles and takes her own cup of wine. “Yes, the musicians were below, going over a couple of new songs. We’ll enjoy they songs soon enough.”
“The deckhands have been paid to lure the guards to a bit of dicing and grog,” Reyna says, lowering her voice to speak confidentially. “They will disappear sooner rather than later, I think, and we shall all be free to do as we please.”
“I do not mind the watchful eyes of those who would protect us. I do not imagine we are the sort to do anything untoward,” Kellyn says breezily before a sip of the dark wine. “But I am pleased to know they will have their entertainment. So what is it, then, that we shall please to do?” She settles back against a pillow, reclining at ease and turning her head to feel the fading rays of light on her cheek.
Carmella wanders closer to the railing and leans over enough to watch the water caress the side of the boat as the skim down the waterway. “No, I don’t imagine the trip will come to anything scandalous but sometimes it is nice to simply breathe without someone’s shadow lingering over you, watching every move that you make.” She sips her wine and watches some of the other women who are caught up in their own conversations. “I am grateful for his presence, I simply wish it were not so oppressive.”
“Try having the Smiler breathing down the back of your neck at every turn,” Reyna counters, curling herself onto another bench with her feet beneath her skirts. “-That- is the meaning of oppression. Half the people we meet are either too intimidated by him to speak to me, or want to fight with him!”
After a brief puckering of her lips, Kellyn is quick to take another drink. Perhaps that is what is keeping her stomach steady - she has been a bit more fond of the drink than might be the norm today. With that done, and a delay of a few seconds before she speaks, she answers, “Oh, every man comes with his burden. Yours is intimidating, Lady Reyna. Yours is oppressive, Carmella. Mine thinks Jonn is a good role model for behavior. And these are only our guards, not our husbands or fathers! But let us credit them that they protect our pretty necks with their lives as needed. Whether it be for loyalty, affection, or a purse of gold. May we always be so fortunate.” And a deep breath, then, from the bracing, salty air.
Carmella gives a nod and moves over to one of the benches and draws her legs up beside her. “Oh, I certainly am grateful for his presence. The Seven know I’d never even think of leaving the Keep without some kind of protection.” She sips from her wine and looks out over the water. “But tonight we do not need to think on such things,” she says as she sits up a little straighter. “And see, the music has arrived!” The musicians come up on deck and start up a lively tune that extols the virtues of Westerosi women. Certainly a tune created just for this occasion.
Reyna laughs at the singers, and seems at ease. “I’ll admit, especially lately, that I have often been glad of Smiler’s company. But it is a measure of my lord’s trust that he kept him -home-, as well, and I am even more glad of that.” She raises her goblet. “To trusting husbands!”
Carmella laughs a little at the toast but it seems odd for her to join in, seeing as how she is yet unmarried. “May I be as fortunate one day,” she adds before taking a drink. “Though remind me to thank your lord husband, Reyna. I imagine that Smiler’s presence might have frightened a few of the women, especially knowing they would be trapped on a ship with him.”
“He thought of that, trust me,” Reyna replies, drinking her toast. “But he has been asked to do an errand for one of my brother’s bannermen, and wanted Smiler by him for it. So when I get back, I’ll have to make do with Ser Edmund and Ser Osric.”
“Well it is fortunate for us whatever the reason,” Carmella notes as she reclines back onto the bench, her elbow and a couple of pillows help to prop her up. “I am simply happy to have a chance to get out of the city for a while. I wonder if I’ll ever learn what fresh clean air smells like,” she adds wistfully. “Even down in the Kingswood you can get whiffs of the city if the breeze is right.” She takes another sip. “Speaking of which, did I tell you that I happened upon the new cousin of the Stormbreaker’s in the Kingswood the other day?”
“Ugh, the one who shot an arrow at you? What a strange man.” Reyna makes a face, and tempers it with a sip of wine. “Did he take a swing at you with his sword this time? He woos like the Stormbreaker.”
“Thankfully the only violence was done to a few rabbits he had been hunting,” Carmella says as her gaze drifts back and forth between the two women. I had four of my house guard with me so if he had tried something foolish again I dare say he might not have returned as well as he had left. “He’s a bold man, that one. Fond of speaking of his triumphs, though I imagine that could be said for any man, especially a knight.”
“Oh, I don’t know. Dagur never brags on his deeds. Though he has to have -everything- pried from him by force.” Reyna swirls her wine and looks at it in the fading light as the deckhands go around lighting the small lamps that hang like fairy lights from every available place. “He keeps everything close. But I suppose many women would wish -their- husbands were so quiet.”
Carmella laughs a little at that. “Well whatever the case I am sure that Ser Sarmion will take care of him should he get out of line. Or perhaps he’ll encourage the behaviour, who is to say?” More wine is drunk and another song starts, just as lively as the first. “He certainly does seem quite certain of himself,” she says, though the words taste a little bitter on her tongue.
The Stormbreaker is a touchy subject. Reyna frowns and drains her cup, holding it out for more. “He’ll tell his kinsman to keep clear of the Saltcliffes, that’s for sure. He’s already convinced Ondryn Waters. I’m quite finished with Baratheons, I tell you.”
That causes Carmella to frown a little and she looks into her cup. “Well I do not have that luxury and my father would be wroth with me if I even suggested I wished it,” Carmella says before taking a big drink from her cup. Sariah is there quickly to refill the cup for which Carmella is thankful. That brings to mind something else and Carmella is nearly scowling. “Ser Sarmion actually told me that I wasn’t attending to his nephew nearly enough and that I should pay him a visit soon. I barely know Ser Tancred, I believe that the Stormbreaker has me confused with some other maiden.”
“That would not be too much of a surprise - we must all look rather similar from his height,” Kellyn interjects between drinks.
“He was inviting you so he could instruct you in the error of your ways, Carmella,” Reyna replies, taking a newly-filled goblet. “You run the risk of betraying the Baratheon by keeping company with a woman such as I.” It is impossible to tell if she is being sarcastic or self-deprecating, but serious she certainly is.
Kellyn’s comment causes Carmella to laugh and a couple of other ladies nearby seem to have found the jest amusing as well. “I shall hope that was the case, Kellyn. I would hate to think what a man like the Stormbreaker would be like with an addled mind.” Reyna’s comments help to dampen Carmella’s smile a little. “Oh, I am certain he would love to instruct me in the error of my ways, but I would imagine that my friendships among the Dornish would be higher on his lists of things that I’ve done to disgrace the Stormlands.”
“Ah, well, at least I needn’t pay him any attention if I don’t wish it,” Reyna says, leaning back on her bench and resting her head, the hand with the goblet hanging off one side. “I just wish all the japing would end. Just when I think folk have tired of it, someone starts in again.”
“Would that it could, but I don’t imagine there will ever be true peace throughout Westeros,” Carmella says sadly. “At least, not in King’s Landing. It seems that the city is filled with people with different personal interests and there are those who either help or hinder those interests.”
“True, as always, but you’d think someone -else- could create a scandal to deflect interest!” Reyna turns on her side and raises her head to drink some more. “I was only vile for a month. I’ve been good most all my life, before and since! People only remember the bad things. I could walk barefoot down the Boneway for peace in Dorne and no one would even mark it.”
There is an awkward silence around Kellyn after Reyna’s comment about the japing and folks having tired of it. The Lannister stiffens considerably, her bearing becoming far more frost than her usual earthy warmth. She breaks the silence by flinging the goblet and wine over the side of the boat, the splash sadly dulled. No crashing vase. “Tell me - do you think of who you are with before you speak and try to invite trouble, Lady Reyna? Or is it a certain social clumsiness that hinders you?”
Reyna raises a brow at Kellyn’s outburst. “Yes, Lady, I do think very clearly. You have no idea what I have endured to make me speak so frankly in this company. Or what I will continue to endure for my crimes. I regret if I’ve not suffered enough to suffice you.”
There is a rather open look of disgust to be seen in Kellyn’s features. A slightly older woman reaches out and settles a hand upon her shoulder. “I do not ask you to suffer more, but I find, for myself, that the less mention made of those “crimes” and your poor, poor suffering, the better for continued civility. I do not think it beyond the scope of reason that the less said on that subject while we are in the same place, the better for all in our presence.”
“All I said, lady, is that I wish the Stormbreaker would leave off. He has been especially odious of late, and I should think that you would be concerned as well, when he is attributing authorship of his scurrilous verses to your own husband.” Reyna lolls back on her couch, lulled by wine and whatever else she might have imbibed to calm her fears. “He’s a menace, he is.”
Sariah cowers a little as the cup is thrown overboard and Carmella sits up a little straighter, her own shoulders bearing some tension. “I think Kellyn is right in this, perhaps some topics should not be discussed in present company. I don’t wish to see anyone thrown overboard in anger.” She pauses briefly and looks to where Kellyn threw the cup. “Or for any reason, for that matter. Sariah, find another cup for Lady Kellyn please?”
Kellyn holds a hand up to Sariah. “Something other than wine, if you would. I think my tongue is quite sufficiently loosened by now as we can all attest.” Carmella’s words help to soothe the bristled spirit and she reaches back to touch the hand of her companion before another deep breath. “So - if a Baratheon will not do for you, Carmella, whoever shall we see you married to? You must have quite a few suitors!”
Sariah curtsies and scurries off the deck like a mouse surrounded by cats, happy to have a reason to escape. Carmella watches her maid depart and only half-hears what Kellyn has said. “Suitors?” She turns and blinks at Kellyn and then laughs. “I am afraid you’re quite mistaken, Kellyn. It is Lady Jyana who commands every man’s attentions, not me.” She sips from her wine with her eyes still on the Lannister. “Your husband, however,” Carmella says after swallowing, “seems to think my place is in Sunspear, suggesting that Prince Marence could use my council.” She laughs again, this time at herself. “I dare say I never know what goes on in Jonn’s mind.”
What was -in- Reyna’s wine? It has apparently had an exceedingly soporific effect, for she is too serene to react at all to further antagonize anyone.
“There are those who favor the moon and those who hold with the sun, Carmella. I am certain that there are those who hold you in esteem.” Green eyes manage to catch a bit of the last light of the sun, sparkling for a moment as Kellyn grins at the dark haired woman, shedding the ill mood with an alacrity that is likely spurred by alcohol and hormones. “Oh changer of subjects, trying to put the burden of conversation on him. Jonn’s mind is an evershifting landscape where what is up at one moment might quite logically be down the next. The less time trying to map it the better for you, my dear.”
If there is one subject Reyna can absolutely NOT discuss in the presence of Kellyn Lannister, it is Jonn. So she keeps her silence, humming along with the musicians on the other side of the deck and occasionally trying a few words of chorus with the singer.
Reyna (R) pages: Would we have a good chance of getting out if we’re belowdecks?
Carmella smiles at Kellyn with a warmth that had been lacking during the earlier frostiness. She is certainly more at ease now though she does keep an eye on the quiet Saltcliffe lady. “When he seems to be plotting to send me into the midst of a war you’ll need forgive me if I try and figure out his intentions,” Carmella says to Kellyn kindly. “Though I imagine he was simply attempting to gauge my reaction and nothing more. I know how he enjoys his sport,” she says dryly.
“Well let me speak for myself then, and I am certain it is not for him - goodness knows I can not imagine what his words might be. I certainly hope you will keep yourself out of the way of flame and arrow and sword as much as is possible. Well. Except for when you tilt at the Quintain.” Kellyn looks down at her own abdomen, patting it and saying, “You see the things you keep me from - I have none of these adventures in the lists that my companions do!”
“Well, such decisions are not entirely mine to make anyway,” Carmella says to Kellyn, “though I have little intention on wandering onto a battlefield,” she adds with a smile. “But such things are in my mother’s hands, or were when she was here last. I trust her judgment enough to not fear too greatly for the future. What comes will come at the grace of the Seven and with King Daeron’s triumphant return to King’s Landing.”
Rosalind emerges onto the deck, inhaling deeply of the salty air. The Lannister bastard takes tentative steps, having not quite acquired her sea legs, but manages to not look like a complete lubbar all the same.
Music attempts to soothe nerves rattled by a brief volley of verbal shots between Kellyn and Reyna. The gentle glow of a soon to be gone sunset warms the woods and silks of the ship. The first shadows are being banished by newly lit lamps, the stars beginning to look down curiously on this gathering of women.
Kellyn lounges comfortably as she converses with Carmella, mood buoyed once again. “You are quite certain you will not be joining the battles? I am glad to know all that play with lances is not practice for a new calling!”
Carmella holds her hands up towards Kellyn, or does her best, considering one hand is holding a cup of wine. “I have no intentions on taking it any further than what I already do. I think I would die of fear if I had to face another armed jouster charging at me with a lance pointing in my direction. I admit that I enjoy the games, but the quintain shall be my only opponent. I have no desire to don armor and take up a real weapon.”
Sariah arrives not long after Rosalind makes her appearance, her hands cupping some warm tea for the Lannister lady. “I was told this is good for a lady with a babe in her belly,” the maid offer shyly, not really looking at Kellyn as she hands over the tea.
In the same cluster of couches, Reyna reclines in silence, quietly listening to the rise and fall of conversation all around her. She watches the play of emerging starlight against the waning purple of sunset and the lamps burning everywhere with their tiny flames, and seems content with it.
Taking tentative steps, Rosalind approaches the other noblewomen. Choosing to bow her head respectfully, in lieu of a curtsey on a rolling ship, she says softly, “A fine evening to you all.” A little smile.
Kellyn accepts the tea with an approving nod to the maid as she takes hold of the drink. No sips yet. For the moment she is simply letting the lazy evening settle in her bones. “Ahhh - there you are. I had begun to think the sea was not being kind to you. Come, sit with us,” she tells Jonn’s cousin. “Did you enjoy the sunset?”
Preceded by a rustle of silk, Marian emerges from below-decks. Releasing the grip on her skirts that helped her ascend the steps, she takes a deep breath, gazing up at the sky for a few moments before pacing towards the gathering of women. For a second, her gaze lingers on the cup in Kellyn’s hands, but the curtsey and smile she offers as she nears the group seem to be directed to all. “Good evening”, she murmurs politely.
Reyna opens her mouth to speak to Rosalind, but is forestalled by Kellyn. She settles for a quiet “I’m glad you came,” then sits up and moves her feet to make room for Marian, look immeasurably glad to see the Stark.
Again the Dornish maid is moving, this time to pour some wine for Rosalind, which she offers with a curtsey. Marian’s arrival comes only moments later and again Sariah is offering something to drink, this time to the Stark lady. “A beautiful evening,” Carmella says with a nod to Rosalind and then to Marian. “Clear skies above, the stench of the city is nearly behind us and we have lively music to entertain us until we decide to retire for the evening.” She looks around to each lady and laughs. “Why had we not thought of this sooner?”
Rosalind smiles at her cousin’s wife, moving to sit near her. “Nothing that a little ginger couldn’t fix.” She smiles, glancing at the cup as well briefly. “The sunset was glorious indeed. It is a fine evening for such an outing.”
Marian accepts the offered drink with a grateful nod and a smile to both Sariah and her mistress, before she quirks a grin at Reyna, accepting the silently-offered space from which the lady’s feet have just been moved. Looking a touch self-conscious, she sips carefully and peers around, gaze flitting from stars to rigging to her companions and on to the water and the shadow of the land beyond. “I am used, myself”, she ventures, to thinking of a ride beneath trees when I wish to relax. Water-borne pastimes are rather less common in Winterfell, and I failed to adapt my thoughts to my new surroundings, it seems.”
“Carmella proposed it when I mentioned lolling about on barges on the Mander back home at Highgarden,” Reyna replies to Marian and the ladies in general. “I nearly had apoplexy at the very thought, but here I am, nonetheless, and not too much the worse for it.”
“We never had such things at Blackhaven,” Carmella explains on the heels of Reyna’s comments. “But Reyna made it sound so enticing that I just had to see it for myself. Since I am not about to travel to Highgarden anytime soon this seemed to be the best alternative.” She sighs heavily and leans back onto her bench, eyes open to the stars above. “Now I wish I had brought some of my charts with me, this is a perfect evening for watching the stars. My maester back home would be upset if he knew.” She laughs a little at that.
Rosalind turns her face toward the breeze. “It does make for a cooler evening.” she comments, “And when the weather is fair, it is a relaxing pastime. But I think when the wind blows and the seas toss, it’s less so.” She looks skyward, at the stars.
Laying on the couch listening to the other ladies, Desmera smiles, watching the sky above them turn from rosy red to a blue misty color to finally night black. ” It feels good to be.. away from things, from the Red Keep.” she smiles as Carmella mentions star chars. “Sounds nice, I mean… star watching.”
The slapping of waves on the hull seems to mingle with the music as if a-purpose, but the wind -is- a bit cool, and Reyna signals to a maid. “I left a shawl on my hammock,” she says indolently. “Would you fetch it for me?”
She replies to Carmella then, still lazy and even daring to lean against Marian a little in companionable affection, rather like a tumble of puppies. “It’s a bit different than the barges, to be sure. Those were anchored, and the air smells of roses there, but this is very fine as well.”
Marian tilts her long neck back to peer almost straight up at the sky, before flashing a quick grin at Carmella. “I do not think that I knew you were an astronomer. I know the old names for various constellations about which tales are told in the North, but I confess that is near enough the end of my skill with the lights set into “night’s velvet shroud”, as one of our poets named it.”
Distantly the shouts of men can be heard onboard, the dicing games must be in full swing. “I hope they aren’t up too late or drink too much,” Carmella says to no on in particular as she looks in the general direction of the voices. With another contented sigh she leans back, turning her head towards Desmera. “It’s a favorable pastime, one I began a few years back in Blackhaven. The sky is enormous there, nothing but the mountains for as far as one can see. At night it is like a blanket of black and the stars are like diamonds. If you engage it in it here in King’s Landing I would suggest the rooftop gardens, they provide and adequate view.”
Desmera tries to keep from grinning from ear to ear. “That’s lovely, perhaps I shall join you when we return to Kings Landing on one of those star-watching adventures Lady Carmella.” she turns to look at Carmella. “I think my Septa might want me not too, but I can’t let that old owl stop me.”
Rosalind gets carefully to her feet and gingerly steps over to get herself a goblet of wine. She comments, “I’ve not been to the Stormlands before.” Then she glances at Desmera, “It may feel that your Septa dogs your steps, lady, but she does perform a valuable service.”
Kellyn lets out a chuckle as she listens to Rosalind. “Clearly it is something in the Lannister influence, that its women seem to think so highly of our minders.” She smiles at her near cousin. “I was just speaking well of those who guard us earlier. Now you praise the service of our septas. Someone might think us well mannered!”
Desmera sighs. “I suppose she is doing a great service for me, but I don’t want her to always be there. I can’t learn anything if she keeps hiding me away from people and the world. I have to be my brother and me…” she takes a moment to consider that statement. “I have to be able to do things on my own… more like a northern woman I suppose, able to hold my own.” the young women smiles. “Does anyone have ways of removing a thorn of a Septa from ones side? Just if only for a few moments of peace?”
Marian allows herself no more than a faint chuckle at the discussion of the merits of septas, turning her gaze to her drink and the dim reflections cast upon it, then takes a long sip. She leans into Reyna - pressing harder for a moment, before settling into a more comfortable position.
Carmella laughs. “I would welcome the company, my lady. And I can promise your septa that there will be adequate protection around you at all times. Though I do hope it does not become too dull for you as I can get quite into my work at times.” Carmella does offer that bit of caution before she downs the rest of her wine. “I think I could fall asleep on the deck, right here on this bench, and not mind in the least,” she says, handing her cup to maid to have it refilled.
“... ... ... ...” murmurs Reyna to Marian, not entirely kindly. ‘Imagine, if you will, poor Ryssa. She was meant to come, but my septa has confined her to her rooms! So she’s had to miss all this, because of someone else’s behavior. Septas are not -always- right.’
The boat shudders.
A shout sounds.
A deckhand trots easily past the ladies to the foreward deck. “Nothin’ to fear ‘bout, m’ladies,” he says assuringly as he passes.”
Rosalind smiles to Kellyn, “It cannot be easy to be a young noblewoman’s tutor and minder-” She breaks off suddenly at the shudder and the ‘nothing to worry about’ from the passing deckhand does not seem to have reassured her much. The bastard girl’s eyes narrow slightly, looking over the water.
Sariah squeaks and nearly jumps out of her skin at the sound against the hull. Her dark eyes watch the deckhand as he hurries by, but his words don’t seem to comfort her that much. Carmella sits up immediately from her bench and tries to determine where the sound came from.
Marian starts in surprise at the sound, but laughs and shakes her head - before glancing rather worriedly at Reyna to see how the Saltcliffe lady has responded to the unexpected incident.
Turning towards the deckhand, Desmera makes a face of… less than believability. “Do you think we should go and investigate, I mean that was… loud, and boats don’t make that noise do they?” the young woman asks looking towards the other women.
A glance up at Carmella after the scrape. “Well, maybe sleeping on the deck would be a bit more difficult with that racket,” Kellyn opines. A bit of the tea spills during the rock, drawing a little cluck. It is set aside and she moves to her feet. “Perhaps we’ve found a bit of a sandbar or the like?”
Reyna does react. She glances over at Marian, the light of panic flashing through her eyes. But she only takes the younger woman’s hand, inhales deeply, and gives a game smile to her companions. “It’s nothing, I’m sure. Dagur declared her as sound as a ship could be, and he knows ships.”
The boat carries on her course after the scraping jolt. The wind, turning westerly and cool, fills the sails and snaps the awnings over their heads. The musicians, after a pause, play all the louder and it seems all is well.
Or is the deck listing just a bit to starboard?
Marian chuckles again, giving Reyna’s hand a warm squeeze. “I heard far louder sounds during the voyage South from White Harbor”, she says reassuringly. “Most likely, we just nudged against a driftwood log caught underwater”, she surmises.
Rosalind sets her goblet down on the ship’s railing, peering inside her cup carefully at the wine inside. “Ships leaning. We’re not level on the keel?” The bastard girl announces, though she seems uncertain of the term.
“I am certain we are in excellent hands, but just in case - what would we do were the ship to come to grief? I don’t suppose it does any harm to have a plan should things go amiss at this point.” Kellyn keeps her voice calm even if there is a small crease of anxiety along her brow.
A few more deckhands run past, summoned by a shrill whistle.
And there is another jolt.
Not passing quickly.
This jolt is sudden and violent, and the ship comes to a dead stop with an ominous pair of splashes forward.
Before Carmella can stop her, Sariah dashes for the stairs that lead belowdecks, leaving Carmella calling after her. Or rather, she gets out ‘Sar-’ before the jolt knocks her backwards, knocking her elbow against the edge of the bench she’s seated on. “Ow!” she cries out, holding her arm as the tingles rush through her arm. Not broken or injured, she just hit the funny bone. She draws in a hiss and looks towards the railing, but the wide river and banks beyond are dark shapes looming in the distance. “What by the Seven,” she breathes in shock.
Marian’s grip tightens sharply on Reyna’s hand as the vessel lurches. Then she takes a deep breath, pouts, and peers at her wine. “I suppose that I should be glad that I lost most of my drink overboard rather than onto my own or anyone else’s gown”, she says softly. “As for a plan… I can swim tolerably well, though I fear that I should have to strip naked to do so, rather than attempt it in this dress. I would, however, counsel waiting for the officers to pass judgment on the situation. I doubt that they will forget what passengers they carry, whether or not anything is truly amiss.”
At the hard shudder, Rosalind grasps the railing in an attempt to keep her footing, or at the very least, keep from falling over. She goes down on her bottom, less than gently, but is fortunately on /this/ side of the rail. Her wine glass is not so lucky and tumbles overboard. “How did we stop so suddenly?” she wonders aloud. “We must be stuck on something below.”
Reyna is only knocked into her pillows, held fast by Marian’s hand, to which she clings. But she is clearly undone by this, for she looks close to screaming with fear. “The barrels…” she manages in a strangled voice, looking for Carmella as she pulls herself upright.
The slapping of waves that was earlier so musical sounds a death knell now, for it is the rush of the tide as it comes in. And now it serves to batter the ship upon the rocks which have caught it—another hour, and the hapless vessel would have cleared them easily.
There are shouts aplenty now, most of them aimless and of great concern to the ladies wondering what’s happened: “Where’s the captain!?”
And, even more chilling, the eventual response: “He’s there on the rocks!”
Carmella has dropped her glass of wine. Some of it splashed onto the butter-yellow gown she is wearing, the rest of it falls to the deck as the cup rolls away. But she doesn’t pay any attention to that, she’s looking around for some sort of explanation, but it seems there is none in coming. She struggles to her feet, a dangerous idea considering the state of the ship and the amount of wine she’s already had this evening. She slips on the wine she spilled but catches herself and pulls herself over towards the railing, trying in vain to get a better view.
Other glasses and cups fall to the deck as the ship lists, spilling more drinks and leaving shards of glass across benches and the deck itself. A couple of the hanging lanterns sway with the tilting of the ship and a couple of them break free and fall.
One falls harmlessly into the water, another shatters and the oil burns a dark spot into the wood before it flickers out. But the third?
The third lantern lands in a pile of pillows. There’s some smoke at first, though it can easily be missed in the chaos. But bright flames greedily eating at the fabric cannot. The opposite side of the ship is soon alight with dancing flames of yellow and orange, eager to lick at anything they can reach.
Marian briefly eyes her mostly-empty goblet, then opts to drain it in a gulp, setting it carefully down before turning to try to catch Reyna’s eyes. Squeezing again on the hand she holds, she musters what she hopes is a reassuring smile. “I am going to put you in Carmella’s care for a short time”, she says firmly. “I am going to go to get my supplies, in case anyone is hurt. Do you understand? I shall be back in… oh, dear.”
Her voice fades away as the fire takes hold of the pillows. “It seems I had best hurry”, she says weakly, before attempting to disengage herself from Reyna.
Reyna nods, pushing grimly at Marian. “Go. Hurry.” Now that the worst has come to pass, she seems in full possession of her wits. Then she kilts up her skirts, kneeling behind her couch to keep upright, and knots them efficiently on either side of her hips. “Tie them up, ladies, or take them off,” she says in a sharp voice that carries.
Acting quickly, Rosalind grabs hold of the bucket of ice and water, used to chill the wine. She takes out the wine bottle, but dumps the cold water and ice onto the fire. “Kellyn, are you hurt?” she asks, even as she does this.
The fire sputters angrily and hisses as the cold water hits it, but it isn’t deterred and continues to eat anything around it.
“Cut loose the barrels!” Knives flash as the deckhands try to cut the ropes lashing the Iron Serpent’s barrels to the ship’s sides, loosing them to bob in the water on both sides of the beleaguered ship.
Carmella moves quickly over to Reyna as Marian darts off and she tries to calm the woman, though it is difficult as she herself isn’t entirely calm. “Reyna? Reyna, are you alright?” she asks, trying to crouch down alongside her friend. She hasn’t yet noticed what Reyna’s doing with her skirts.
A little scooting and a tighter grab at the railing sees Kellyn getting a touch further away from That which is burning. “Well - fear that your concern with traveling by water isn’t going to be much improved by this, Reyna!” When she has her balance a bit better, she imitates Reyna’s movement, though it’s been a little while since she’s done such a thing. “Bruised, but I will be fine, Rosalind - well. In theory.” Her attention moves to the decks, looking for anything else that might be good at floating.
“Tie up your skirts, Carmella, or take them off,” Reyna says, in that cold, calculating sort of voice that has taken her over. “My mother taught me when we took the barges. Tie them up high, or you’ll get dragged down. But if you take them off, you’ll be naked on the shore.” She glances at Kellyn without really seeing to whom she speaks. “Not really the time for small talk, eh? Rosalind, leave it. Tie up your skirts. We’ll go in any minute.”
Once again accompanied by the rustle of silken skirts on wood as she squeezes her way down the narrow ladder, Marian hurries at the fastest scamper she can manage in her burdensome gown. Ducking into the ladies’ sleeping quarters, she evades the swaying hammocks and the dislodged scatter of pillows on the floor, dropping into a crouch in front of her trunk. That is opened quickly, and from inside is drawn out a somewhat battered and weather-worn leather satchel, heavily waxed and clearly well-used.
“Elyn! And anyone else in here. Time to get up on deck. You’ve probably noticed that we quite literally hit a serious problem.”
Rosalind grits her teeth as the fire continues, undaunted. She goes over to be near her cousin’s wife, then does as Reyna suggests and ties up her skirts.
“Always time for small talk in emergencies to keep nerves under control,” Kellyn suggests as she tucks some pieces of fruit that had been rolling across the deck into pockets of cloth created by tying up the gown. No knowing how long they might be bobbing out there, or waiting for rescue. “We’ll be alright, Rosalind. Jonn was kind this morning - I’m quite determined I can’t die unless the last thing he does is sure to make me want to throttle him.” The things people say to try and reassure one another…
Having already been either dumped out of her hammock or risen from it with a bit more dignity, the previously napping Elyn blinks bleary eyes at Marian, reaching up to check the ribbon holding her hair back. “What hap-” The query cuts off as she recognizes the satchel Marian pulls from the trunk. Casting a glance towards the stairs, suddenly wide awake, Elyn picks up a bag that had been lying beside the hammock and slips it over her head and one shoulder, before making her unsteady way towards the stairs, less encumbered than some by the simple skirts of her indigo gown. Splaying her hands out to attempt to steady herself, she makes her way up on deck, all color leaving her face at the sight that greets her.
Carmella looks at Reyna, eyes wide and surprised to find the woman in this condition. It obviously wasn’t what she was expecting. But something inside of her tells her to move and quickly her fingers are fumbling with the fabric of her dress, hiking it up and tying it as best she can. It’s an amusing piece of work, but likely no one will be laughing right now. At the shout to cut the barrels Carmella turns pale and rushes towards the railing. “No!” She turns back to Reyna. “I thought Ser Dagur told them to tie those there to keep us floating?”
The flames spread, slowly but surely, racing the waves for the lives of the women who grab whatever they can as the water slowly claims the ship. “They’re for us to float -on-,” Reyna says to Carmella, coming to the railing. She catches the end of a silk throw as it slips from a couch, and ties the thin fabric over one shoulder and under the opposite arm. “Grab whatever you can.”
And the deck tilts steadily toward the water.
Ser Giles finally makes an appearance, as do the few other gold cloaks that were on board. The gold cloaks hunt for the Uller woman traveling with them and Ser Giles rushes over towards Carmella. She looks at him, eyes frightened and pushes him back. “Sariah! She went below! Find her!” The knight takes a second to comprehend that before he turns and rushes towards the stairs, hoping to find the maid before it is too late.
Carmella looks around her frantic to find anything. She grabs another blanket and does as Reyna does, even if she doesn’t understand the reasons for it.
Rosalind quickly hunts along the railing for any usable lengths of rope that may have been left behind. “We need to stay together here. It’s dark, we don’t want anyone left behind.”
For a moment, Reyna’s composure cracks, and she looks every bit as terrified as Carmella. “It’s not like my dream,” she says hoarsely to her friend. “Not at all like it. Save for the rocks. But they’re different rocks. I know they are.” She grips Carmella’s hand, already strange with her white legs bare and a silken throw tied across her chest. “There’s a rope here, Rosalind,” she calls a moment later, a coil sliding down the sloping deck and colliding with her already bare feet.
Marian dallied where she was to make sure that the waterproofing on the satchel was properly secured, while inwardly debating whether or not she had time to change into her leathers in case a plunge in the water was indeed imminent. Now, she finds herself taking a quick glance around the room in case anyone else remains there as yet too frightened to move, before she yields to her own fears of being trapped below-decks and hurries back along the tilting corridor. Confronted at the end with a distinctly canted view of the smoke-streaked sky, and by the sounds of frantic and frightened activity above, she whimpers nervously, dithers, then sets about scrambling as rapidly as she can manage out of the cumbersome gown.
“Then that’s good, right?” Carmella tries to reassure her friend as the ship sinks around them. She grabs a nearby pillow and clings to it, having no idea why she’s done that. She watches the opening to the lower deck anxiously until she sees Ser Giles awkwardly carrying Sariah back up onto the deck. The girl’s got a bundle clutched to her chest and she looks scared to death. The knight is as gentle as he can be with the maid, but his frustration is showing. Carmella reaches a hand out towards the girl, urging her forward with an anxious look in her eyes.
Kellyn feels her legs starting to give, the slant of the deck warring with the attempt to tie on a blanket, to lean against a railing and stay in place. She groans as she tries to keep her footing near the other women. “Yes, yes. Small talk. When do we jump off the burning, drowning thing?”
The water rises, almost at the rail, and Reyna stares over them at the waves and the barrels bobbing in the flame-lit water. Then she looks bleakly at Carmella, over her shoulder at the other ladies and the ruin of their pleasure cruise, and leaps into the water as it comes to meet her.
Ser Giles hangs back, shouting for anyone else on the ship to come to the sound of his voice. He also tries to point out the barrels to the women, though that is not entirely necessary. Sariah creeps forward, arms still clutching the bundle to her chest as she looks ready to faint or to cry. “Come on, we’ll have to grab for a barrel,” Carmella tells her maid as other women are jumping into the water as well, scrambling for something to grab hold of. The Dornish maid shakes her head and looks petrified, but she’s close enough for Carmella to grab a hold of and drag her along with her. “We have to,” the Dondarrion girl says with more force than she meant. The maid squeaks as they both struggle through the water for a barrel.
Rosalind keeps close to Kellyn, protectively. “Let’s jump, cousin. We’ll grab the barrels and we’ll tie them together so we don’t get lost.” When the Crakehall woman is ready, the Lannister bastard will jump with her.
Kellyn watches Reyna leap into the water and then murmurs, “I guess now,” before she lumbers herself up and over the railing and drops down to the water at Rosalind’s side. It will be up to the other girl to lead the way in getting to one of the barrels after Kel comes up spluttering.
Elyn’s face, gone slack with shock, tightens into a grimace as the ship lists even more than before. Reaching out to grab a hold of the nearest couch with both hands, she manages to brace herself against it long enough to take a better stock of the situation.
“Oh, for Gods’ sake.” She mutters, reaching down to tie her skirts up as the other women have done, mirroring their actions.
“Take a nap, Mari says. You won’t miss all the fun, Mari says.” Elyn grumbles quietly, gritting her teeth to keep them from chattering as she’s confronted with the realization that the ship really is /sinking/. “I suppose next time I ought to make them promise not to have so /much/ fun. Or at least to avoid it while we’re so far from shore.”
Lifting her voice, Elyn calls, “Marian!” As she sees her friend surface and begin to strip out of her gown. Grabbing a silk throw from the couch she’s clinging to, she lets go, lurching in the Stark woman’s direction and trying to hand the material to her to cover herself with, if she manages to grab it. Unfortunately, for all her intentions to the opposite, the Ryswell maid loses her footing at the same time, and goes sliding into the frothy, dark water looming up from below, clinging tightly to her bag with a cry that is swallowed by water. Or maybe she swallowed the water.
When she comes up from her plunge, it’s hard to tell Reyna’s state of mind. She is soundless as she struggles through the waves to the nearest barrel. Once she’s caught it, one arm around the gaily painted life saver, she yells at the top of her voice: “KELLYN!” And begins stroking toward where she last saw the Lannister woman with her free arm.
Rosalind jumps into the water with Kellyn, surfacing near the woman. She comes up, sputtering, then trying to keep her head above water, looks around for the barrels. Swimming awkwardly at best and trying not to swallow half the ocean in the meantime, Rosa tries to guide herself and her Crakehall cousin to one of the floating barrels. “We have to..
.. suction… down.” Trying to direct and swim at the same time.
Marian was quite oblivious to Elyn’s attempt to reach her until it went awry, having been rather more pre-occupied with divesting herself of the layers of soft doom in which she was clad. She does, however, catch sight of Elyn toppling into the water - gaping for a moment before kicking free of her dress and shoes. Then she braces herself in the crazily-tilted mouth of the stairwell, swings the satchel around behind her, takes a deep breath, and launches herself for a clear-looking patch of water… the fire and possibility of drowning at sea quite effectively distracting her from the fact that her silk stockings and choker are almost all that is left of her attire.
Sariah turns frantic as the water hits her. She and Carmella go in at the same time, sputtering and struggling to reach a barrel, but quickly the maid starts to panic. She screams as if she were dying and she releases one hand from the bundle in her arms to grab at Carmella. Meanwhile Carmella’s making awkward grabs for the nearest barrel with the damned pillow still in one hand. Sariah gets there first and suddenly the Dondarrion girl is shoved under the water by her maid.
Kellyn spits out the water she’s managed to down and then paddles along at Rosalind’s side weakly. She isn’t the world’s finest swimmer or athlete, but her survival instinct is quite alert, for herself and the child. So she drags herself through the water. But she is largely quiet as she focuses on not swallowing more water. She hears her name shouted, though, and flails out her arm to draw Rosalind’s attention to it.
Rosalind looks back at Kellyn’s flailing, then spots Reyna with barrel, paddling toward them. The bastard girl adjusts course then, somewhat struggling in the water, but keeping her cousin’s pregnant wife within arm’s reach.
Highgarden’s children learn to swim in the Mander, but Reyna hasn’t swum in a long time. Still, she struggles toward Kellyn with the barrel with more success than less. She bobs low in the water as she pushes away from it, shoving it right at Kellyn and Rosalind. As she comes up she spits water from her mouth, then turns to look for another barrel for herself.
A trine of heartbeats pass before Elyn’s dark head breaks the surface again, coughing roughly and attempting to get breath back into her lungs. She clings to a rough piece of wood still attached to the ship, clearly too frightened to let go just yet and struggling to keep not only her own head, but her satchel above water. Letting go long enough to get a dunking and release the clasp on the bag, a wet, sable creature swarms out and clings to her neck and shoulders with clear displeasure for the wetness of his fur.
With the marten safe from drowning, Elyn refastens the bag’s closures, but continues to cling to the bit of ship she’s grabbed onto, looking between it and the increasing distance to the barrels with indecision.
Sariah reaches the barrel and tosses herself up on top of it, but there seems to be no sign of her mistress, nor does it appear that she realizes what she’s done. “Lady Carmella!” the girl screams looking around as she kicks at the water. Ser Giles jumps into the water and swims over towards Sariah at the shout of his charge’s name. The maid keeps kicking until she kicks something other than water. A quick frantic exchange happens between the knight and maid before Ser Giles dives into the murky water, dragging Carmella up with him.
Marian surfaces briefly, gulps in air, then sinks beneath the surface for a few moments more as she struggles to resettle the satchel. That done, she manages to tread water, glad of the braid that is mostly successful in keeping her hair from her face, though the sting of sea-brine makes her eyes water. Casting about, she spots Elyn in part because of Lann’s presence, and strikes out towards her friend with some confidence. “You should let go of it, you realise”, she says as calmly as she can manage. “Give me the bag, if you need to free your hands.”
“Reyna, hold on to the bloody barrel,” Kellyn shouts. There is, hopefully, room for three. She isn’t overly concerned about interpersonal relations at the moment. Instead, she scrambles to get a good and secure grip that will keep her nose and mouth above the bobbing waves, and to leave room for others as needed. One hand fishes for Rosalind’s arm, just for the comfort of a human touch. “Do we *cough* Need to tie down?”
There is too much noise, and Reyna is too grimly set on her course to hear Kellyn, but there is a barrel at hand. This she clings to, her cheek pressed to the rough wood and her face lit with the last flames of the dying ship; it has sunk as far as it can in the shallows, but the mast and sails have all gone up in a billow of fire, bright on the waters and showing the way to shore—for so long as it lasts.
Rosalind clings to the barrel with Kellyn, likewise glad for the human contact. She rests there a moment, catching her breath, then looks around for the other ladies. “We should…. it’ll give us easier handholds. Where is everyone else?”
It’s a good thing that the Dondarrion knight is a good swimmer because Carmella is dead weight to him at the moment. He tossed her up against the barrel, as best he could manage, which sends Sariah screaming again, her feet kicking wildly at the water which isn’t helping them at the least. Cooler heads prevail and Ser Giles attempts to steer the barrel with the two women on it towards the black looming shape in the distance that looks like shoreline.
“I’m not sure,” Kellyn admits to her cousin. Just a few seconds to gather herself, to breathe, to let her body regroup. Then she groans. “Well - how far are we from shore?” Yes, Rosalind gets to be in the lead this time.
Shore. Reyna catches the direction Ser Giles toils in, and she begins kicking her feet. Do or die, Rose of Highgarden! So she does, kicking alone through the water toward shore and safety.
Rosalind pulls herself up a little, to get a good look around. “That way.” she tells Kellyn. She loops her bit of rope around the barrel, making it easier to grab onto, if nothing else. “We need to kick together. We’ll make it.” She keeps looking for other stragglers nearby, but clearly the priority is getting the pregnant woman to safety.
There is still some firelight to be had, casting an eerie glow over the dark water and those that float in it. It also occasionally highlights some rocks poking up out of the water, making the trip towards the dark shore tricky at best. Ser Giles lets out a loud curse as their barrel slams into a rock and Carmella nearly slips from her precarious perch atop it. Sariah is still screaming, her voice going hoarse now, but there’s still a panic about her.
“There’s rocks from here to the shore,” the Dondarrion knight shouts back over his shoulder. “Don’t kick too hard, you’ll likely break your foot!”
As the flames begin to claim what’s left of the ship, Elyn finds herself forced to follow her friend’s urgings, although it’s all she n do not to panic, by the look on her face. “Mari- I *sputter* haven’t swum in a long *cough* time.” Elyn lifts the bag over her head and gives it over, its weight a dead one in the water, though not overly heavy. The marten scrambles to Elyn’s head as her shoulder and arms sink into the water, cutting through it awkwardly as she fights her way towards the closest of the unoccupied barrels.
“Mind the rocks!” Reyna yells hoarsely, echoing Ser Giles in a mindless attempt to pass the word along. In the next moment, she curses as she grazes her shin along those same rocks, but she uses them as well to kick off from, to propel herself along with the tide rolling toward the narrow strand ahead.
Marian moves slowly along behind her friend, watching her attentively. Once at the barrel, she lets Elyn grab firm hold, before setting Elyn’s bag atop it and making sure that her friend has hold of the one piece of baggage the Ryswell saved from the wreck. Then she lines up the barrel with the shore and starts kicking. “Take your time. No rush. The land’s not going anywhere”, she points out. “And if you need a rest, just say.” For her own part, she sounds rather out of breath, but is either too shocked or too level-headed to panic.
One of those Gold cloaks manages to find their way to the Lannister Barrel (which is not, amazingly, trimmed in gold). At least the women will be able to have a hand with the more rigorous parts of the journey. But somewhere in the mess, they’ve managed to find the injured one, making it something of a three person coordinated effort of kicks, paddles, scrapes, and potential hazards through the rocks. For her part, Kellyn is already one petered out boat guest, though
Her breath coming in ragged gasps that sound suspiciously like sobbing, Reyna gives up kicking and just clings limply to her barrel. It’s big, and she’s small, and one side of her skirts have come unknotted to tangle about her legs. So she lets the waves carry her forward, only flinching now and then to keep her feet off the rocks.
Even with the warning of the rocks shouts of pain can occasionally be heard in the darkness as limbs strike stone. Ser Giles doesn’t bother to shout out the warning again, he’s got one unconscious lady and one frantic maid who has finally stopped kicking, likely because she’s let out some yelps of pain already.
Also tiring, Rosalind kicks along with Kellyn and the injured gold cloak. She stifles a cry of pain as her shin collides painfully with a rock, leaving a gash in the flesh. The slight girl in the water-laden dress struggles, but keeps trying to progress to shore.
Elyn nods in response to Marian, keeping one hand firmly on her bag, pressing it into the barrel, and the other arm clinging firmly to the barrel itself. Lann is left to cling to her head and shoulders, eliciting occasional painful winces from his mistress as he digs his claws into pale flesh. Although she attempts to keep herself calm and heed Marian’s reminders, her kicking is at first frantic, and then quickly slows, after several painful encounters with the rocks below, earning a yelp of pain.
Some of the debris and the first of the survivors have reached the shore, staggering up onto the sand to collapse beyond the lapping waves. Reyna, lighter than the others as she is the only one on her barrel, finds the sand under her feet sooner, and half staggers, half crawls to the safety of solid ground—only to collapse in hysterical sobbing once she is sure she is safe.
Marian seems to have enough on her mind not to renew her advice to Elyn, though she does glance at her companion once or twice in response to those yelps. For her own part, she tries to keep quiet about whatever discomforts she’s undergoing while slowly forcing the barrel and her friend towards shore, though a few half-spoken imprecations escape her lips from time to time.
And probably one of the last to arrive will be the three legged race of the Lannisters and Lame Goldcloak. Between the three of them, it’s an almost comical flap kick ow for the girls to shore, and a grunt pull argh for the gentleman. Or at least it might be comical under other circumstances. Right now it is desperate and yearning for an ending.
Rosalind stops kicking at the last, letting the current finish pulling them to shore. She staggers onto shore, compounded by the slightly bleeding gash in her left leg. Once out of the water, the bastard girl sinks to her knees, then collapses onto the sand. She is not unconscious, but completely exhausted and it will be a few moments before she can tend to her own wound or the injured gold cloak.
As the barrel reaches the shore Sariah scrambles off of it, ignoring the scrapes and cuts she’s gotten all over her legs. She’s sobbing and coughing as she turns back to watch Ser Giles carry Carmella to softer land, though this section of shoreline is littered with rocks.
Elyn remains quiet for the rest of the journey to shore, attempting to be more help than hindrance, although she continues to wince every time she hits another rock or Lann shifts on her head. Bloody and battered though her feet probably are, she can’t help but let out a sob of relief when they feel semi-solid, sandy ground under them upon nearing the shore.
Free from the dragging weight of a dress, and apparently more accustomed to swimming than her companions, Marian might be considered to have fared rather well… if she were not now lurching up from the water clad in next to nothing. Indeed, she seems to have lost one stocking en route, and the other is sagging around her knee as she takes hold of Elyn’s elbow and urges her up from the tide-line.
Fingers dig into the sand as Kellyn claws and drags herself up, trying to get out of the reach of even the touch of water. Once she’s there, she can’t quite make up her mind whether to collapse face first or roll onto her back in exhaustion. Finally she picks “curled on her side and gulping for air* from the options, body shuddering.
It doesn’t take Reyna long to realize she is sobbing into mud, and she endeavors to stand, clinging to a rough spur of stone jutting up from the noisome beach. No clean sand, no kind anything to give succor to the castaways as they seek it. Still crying, like a child who can’t stop now she’s started, Reyna moves a step, then another, then another, seeking anyone of her fellows with feeble calls.
As the knight lays her down on a large relatively flat rock Carmella starts to cough. The first couple are little sputters, the last is enough to nearly smack her head back into the stone with the force of the effort. Ser Giles turns her to her side to she can cough out the water she’s taken in while Sariah watches, rocking back and forth and sobbing. All three of them are a right mess, with torn and missing clothing and the many scrapes across exposed flesh.
Her skirts in swollen knots about her legs, Elyn manages to release the barrel finally, putting an arm around Marian’s waist in an attempt to both receive comfort and offer it. At the sight of her friend’s attire - or lack thereof - Elyn affects a weak smile. “At least leathers leave something to the imagination, Mari. But I guess if you want to advertise your wares…”
Dropping her bag to the sand beyond the tide’s reach, Elyn reaches down to unknot the fabric of her skirts, Lann hopping from her head to the sand as she does so. Tugging at her waterlogged underskirt, Elyn pulls the strained material free and, using a knife from her bag, cuts it in half, handing the larger piece to Mari with an arched brow. The rest are quickly torn into sizes more suitable for bandages, several of which are bound to Elyn’s own legs and ankles where they are already scratched and bleeding. That done, she shoulders her bag and begins to look around her for others who might need tending.
Just another minute or two to try and get her breath together and then, finally, Kellyn begins testing her limbs. Yes. Arms and legs work. Hands. Toes. She looks through the night for the movement of shapes. And then she lifts her voice after a few coughs and clearly calls out, “It’s Kellyn. I’m here. Who else is ashore, and where?” She hasn’t bothered with the standing yet. The ground is beautifully steady and firm at the moment.
A flat rock reposes in the middle of the strand, its surface more smooth than rough, and more than big enough for several people. Reyna drags herself atop it, out of the mud and begins looking around, when Kellyn’s voice reaches her. “Here, Kellyn! I’m here, it’s Reyna.” And she weakly waves her battered arms over her head.
Rosalind pushes herself to a sitting position after a few moments, wincing at the pain in her leg as she does. “I’m here. Rosalind.” She echoes her friend and cousin. Then she looks to the injured gold cloak, nearby.
Marian rather firmly deposits Elyn on a rock so that she can take over the task of bandaging her friend’s injuries, though she is now beginning to be rather acutely aware of the predominantly male crew and her lack of garb and fails to find a witty retort to Elyn’s jest. Still, it’s dark, and the prospect of wrapping a brine-soaked half-skirt around herself doesn’t make her heart leap with any evident joy.
Soon enough, however, she finishes her efforts with Elyn, and straightens up to begin trying to work out how to cover herself with a salty and comparatively brief portion of ragged silk. “Can”, she starts, before coughing to clear her throat as best she can, before calling out. “Can anyone who’s up to it check for injured, and start gathering people together?”, she calls out. “Myself and Elyn can provide some assistance. I have medical supplies. And if anyone has flint and steel, a fire would be welcome!”
A few sharp smacks of Ser Giles’ hand to Carmella’s back has her spitting up more water. He murmurs a few words to her as Sariah weakly gets to her feet. “Here! We’re over here!” she shouts, though she neglects to identify who it is that’s shouting. The Dondarrion girl slowly opens her eyes, clearly dazed. “Where ... where are we?” she asks rather groggily. Ser Giles explains to her what happened while Sariah continues to shout.
Wincing at the salt stinging the open gashes on her legs, Elyn gives Marian an apologetic grin for the state of her previous underskirt - all she could spare without going naked herself - and then steadies herself with a hand pressed to a rough rock. With a final glance at her friend, she begins heading towards the sound of the nearest shouting, which happens to be Sariah. As Ser Giles and Carmella also come into view, Elyn pauses, inhaling a deep breath. “Does anyone need a healer’s assistance?” She asks, giving them each a quick once-over, wavering on unsteady feet.
As each name is called out, Kellyn makes a mark in the sand - an arrow pointing in the direction of the voice and the initials. Her legs are still, torso twisting to make the marks so she can feel them out in the dark. When each voice has spoken out, “Rosalind can help with the healing as well. Does anyone have shelter - an outcrop, something near where they are? Or that feels like it will be secure from the tides?” The voice is sea roughened, but steady. The finger wavers towards Elyn and ... Marian? It quickly becomes more firm when she catches a glimpse of extra skin in that direction. The C under Carmella’s direction is also a questioning one. Already she feels the pull of her eyelids, the desire just to collapse into slumber.
“There’s a big, flat rock here!” Reyna calls. “Room enough for everyone!” Fingernails break and bleed as she unknots the silk blanket tied across her chest, but when she makes the effort to snap it open, it is clear why she grabbed it. It is big enough to cover the rock and then some, and will soon be dry in the brisk wind off the sea. That finished, she slides down from the rock and begins making her way in the direction of Kellyn’s voice—and finds her not ten paces away. “Here, Kellyn, lean on me. There’s a rock over here, and a blanket. Come, I’ll help you.”
Rosalind is near to Kellyn, working on the injured gold cloak as well as she can with little light and no supplies. At least convinced that he will not bleed out, she helps him to the rock and blanket.
Marian spends a little longer pondering and struggling with the drenched portion of skirt, during which time she divests herself of her one drooping stocking. Then, using the rock on which Elyn was perched as an aid, she further rends the unfortunate garment, ripping a third or so of the remaining material away from one of the long sides. That smaller strip is now tied around her chest as a crude bandeau-style top, before the remainder becomes a brief and wet-clinging sarong, knotted firmly over her hip.
No longer all but sky-clad, Marian picks up her satchel of medical supplies, pauses, then sets off in the opposite direction to Elyn, trying to round up sailors, women, musicians, servants, and everyone else whom she comes across, trusting in part to her outlandish appearance to support whatever authority her height and noble tones might already command.
“I think I lost my shoes,” Carmella says, still in a daze. She looks down at her bare feet and bare legs, her skirt is bunched up around her thighs, but right now she doesn’t much care. She looks to Sariah, not remembering what happened. “Did you lose your shoes too Sariah?” she asks her maid, in an odd sing-sing voice. The maid looks down and then nods her head sadly. “A pity,” the Dondarrion girl murmurs as she slips closer towards sleep.
“See to her,” Ser Giles says, though it is difficult to tell if he’s talking to Elyn or the maid. Before either could ask he strides off to find some of the other guards. Someone is going to have to stand watch tonight. Sariah looks doubtfully up at Elyn. “She was under the water,” she explains in a quiet voice.
There is little that can be done in the darkness. The last flickering flames of fire out on the ship go out, leaving only the small sliver of the moon to serve as a source of light. Sobs can be heard and they echo off the water, but slowly they subside as tired ladies find some small spot to sleep. The few guards that accompanied the ladies prepare for a long night of standing guard, though from what can be seen there isn’t much to guard, or guard against.