(123-02-23) Water Races
Water Races
Summary: Another traditional fixture of the Dolphin Festival: a swimming race with a beach party to follow. (Note: the log is incomplete, please add the end if you have it!)
Date: 23/02/2016
Related: None really.

There are already pigs roasting over fires and barrels of drink set up for the celebration after as well as tables of other foods ready to be handed out after the racing has done. Right now city guard are directing men to stay on the wide beach, but encouraging women to cross the high jetty, where there is a temporary ramp. On the other side of the spur stretching out into the bay, is a smaller, sheltered beach, where in the near future, the seals come to spawn. Right not there are brightly coloured tents set up on the flat, where women might leave their clothes without the eyes of men staring down at them. A number of septas are stationed on the jetty to act as judges and to make sure there are no shenanigans with clothing during the swimming. Out in the bay are some floating docks and small craft set out in a line, with strong swimmers in case people are need of rescue. This also serves as a line to tag before turning to swim back.

Killian is on the men's side and has already shed his gear. For once, he has been convinced to wear small clothes instead of striding about in full naked glory, but his tattoos are on full display and he there is no sign of him having even a hint of modesty. Or tan lines. He does keep his sea coloured eyes fixed out at the water, already impatient to be in it.

Miranda stands with her grey-robed sisters although she wears a slightly different garment, more loosely worn and with a high collared shift underneath. She assists the propriety and direction.

Off to the side, Ayla stands with her hands folded before herself. She doesn't look to be in any rush to change for the swimming contest, instead here to watch. A polite smile is turned toward the Septas, along with a nod of acknowledgement and thanks for their guardianship over the women changing.

On the spur of the moment today, and without a word to the goodsister who is her hostess in Oldtown, Lady Ynys Trant puts her swimming clothes in a bag and wanders south through streets filled with revelry to the city's favourite beach and the contest hosted thereupon. Why not? It's a blindingly beautiful day to be in the water. She enters one of those colourful tents on the seals' beach clad in a bright sleeveless linen gown dyed a shade of orangey red which would wash out any lady with colouring less richly vivid than her own; she comes out again barefoot in suitably minimal swimming attire, a short-sleeved shirt laced at the neck and trousers to match, in peacock blue linen rather than white, fitting her loosely at present but destined later on to be plastered to her long lean form. Her luxuriant black and silver hair is constrained into braids, beginning at her temples and gathering in more and more strands as they go along… Whilst natural interest compels her to glance over the water to the men's part of the beach, her fingers reach up to check the ties binding them. She appears satisfied; otherwise, nonchalant.

A septon moves onto the beach for the menfolk and a aged septa takes her place before the women. While they speak separately to the gathered, their blessing is the same. "Holy Mother, giver of life, of love, of mercy- smile upon your faithful sons and daughters that gather in your honor. Grant them the strength and speed of your blessed dolphins as they compete today. May all who enter the water return refreshed and full of your love."

Miranda moves into one of the decency tents and emerges in what the sept deems proper for swimming. Her hair is still covered by her tight white wimple and a high necked gown with tight sleeves of grey linen is cut loose from the hips down, her linen trousers close cut. She smiles excitedly as she moves for the water. "I haven't swam in ages, this should be grand."

Killian casts a glare at the Greenlander Heretic and his prayer to false new Gods, before going back to gazing out to sea, the surf not quite lapping at his toes.

At almost 13 years old, Bryn apparently considers himself enough of a man to compete with the men in the swimming contest. So, he, too, stands in his small clothes on the beach. The leather thread holding his three links is tied tightly around his neck so he won't lose it.

Ayla is hardly dressed for the summer weather with her shoulder-to-ankle gown of black, though she seems to take the weather well enough. As bad as it may be for keeping cool, it's worse for traversing beaches. She draws the bottom hem of her skirt up as she crosses out onto the sandy area where she can get a better view of the participants. The water is given a skeptical look. The young Lady is not used to beaches, it would seem.

The tall dark Dornishwoman who happens to be standing next to Miranda gives her a lazy smile and puts in, in her words accented not by one land nor the other but a velvety low mixture of both, "Neither have I. Good fortune to you… septa?" Who else, really, would be wearing a wimple to swim in.

Miranda bows her covered head to the Dornish lady as she smiles. Her cheeks are tan, as her hands. What little of her is exposed is used to the sun but still smooth with youth and lack of care. "Mother's blessing as well to you." She starts to stretch her arms out a touch, standing on her bare toes.

The Elderly Septon and Septa, signal all to line up. A thrird septa up on the dividing jetty lifts her hands high. Swimmers line up at the edge of the surf, watching for the drop of the arms. "In the Mother's Name!" Her arms drop. Swimmers dash into the surf on both sides.

Killian runs in long strides into the water until he is deep enough in to launch himself under a wave, and is off like a dolphin.

Bryn grins, readying himself, and then runs forward to jump into the water with the rest. Or, that's his intent, though his short legs might just leave him a little behind.

Miranda takes off into the harbor with a cheerful whoop. Far too excited for a septa. She keeps the longer portions of her overdress on her arm until she can fully start to move in the water, starting strong and sure.

Mid-stretch when the signal comes to line up in readiness, Lady Ynys flashes a very white smile at the young septa and then turns to watch her elderly colleague. When the latter's arms begin to fall she rises onto the balls of her slender brown feet; and then she's away, long-limbed and sure and quick, soaked to the skin by the splashing of her passage even before she dives deep beneath the waves. The line of colourful boats in the distance beckons.

For the most part the field starts out strong. It is the first length where people are freshest. Out beyond the line of water craft, the dolphins can be seen frolicking, Further out, a single dark fin is sporadically visible.

The Iron Man swims with a relentless regularity once he's resurfaced.

Seaweed brushes legs and occasionally wraps around them. The water is chilly compared to the heat of the beach. Some of the swimmers begin to tire and are faced with the choice of trying to make a floating dock, or of trying to let the surf carry them back. Some slow a bit, but go on well. Others swim on strongly. A dolphin breaches high as if in blessing.

Miranda is a bit out of practice- after all how often is the Faithful called on to swim? She loses a bit of her initial stamina but continues at a good pace towards the flotilla.

Bryn starts out well, able to glide in the water better than the larger adults. It doesn't last long, however. He put everything he had into the first stretch, and he tires out fast. He soon slows, falling way behind, just doing what he can to make it to the rafts, where he can rest.

Killian touches the side of a yacht and kicks hard off it for the trip back, only then noticing Bryn. He casts a worried look in the direction of the youth, opting for a back stroke to better keep an eye out just in case.

From her spot on the beach, Ayla watches the swimmers with an unimpressed expression, though that's often just how her face looks. The doplphin's appearance earns an arch from her brow, but before long she cracks a reluctant smile. It doesn't last long, however, and she's soon back to craning her neck to spy who is in the lead.

The water's chill is bracing upon skin well-warmed by the sun. Whenever Lady Ynys's head isn't turned to the side so she can draw in deep breaths, she's grinning down into the depths of the Whispering Sound… She feels alive, today, and it's about damned time. She lets out a wordless exclamation of delight as, bobbing up next to some boat or another, she has occasion to notice how many swimmers are lagging sadly behind her; and then she draws in another great gulp of air and kicks off the side of the boat and ploughs straight back the way she came, with a strength she'd forgotten she had.

The dark fin moves closer, scattering the dolphins. strong hands from those stationed on docks and boats, pull up those who left nothing for the swim back.

Bryn starts to get into trouble, and the usually calm and rational boy starts to panic. Dragon fire? No fear whatsoever. Drowning? That's another story altogether. If he was thinking, like he usually does, he'd call for help. Too many formative years of having nobody come to his rescue, however, leaves him unable to come up with the thought in his panic. Of course, some spot that he's in trouble and throw the rope anyway, but it doesn't come far enough to reach him. Then, all of a sudden, he does find help. He suddenly lifted from the water as the owner of that dark fin comes up underneath him.

Killian relaxes his neck as he sees the lad will be fine and refocuses on winning the race.

Miranda was doing so well. The young septa tagged the float and started back rapidly with an almost dolphin like ease. But the sprint tires her out or perhaps her garments have taken on enough water to drag her and she slows considerably on her plod back to the shore. Slowly bobbing her way back in like so much driftwood.

The results of the race don't appear to have shocked Ayla from her usual haughty demeanor. She does watch Lady Ynys and Lord Killian with particular interest, especially the former, though it may be due to their relative lead. Something in particular draws her closer to the shore line, near enough that the waves coming in come just shy of lapping at the sand-dusted hem of her dress and slippered feet. When the Septa grows too weary to keep up, Ayla frowns, seeming particularly displeased by that development. It looks as if she had a favorite.

With the whale's help, Bryn is able to get to the rope and be pulled up to safety. He just lays there for a moment, catching his breath.

Apart from curious dolphins, there's a handsome tattoo'd creature sharing the waters with Lady Ynys. Her dark eyes wide open in the clear salty water catch sight of him now and again, the patterns inked upon his flesh passing by in too great a blur to be discerned as they each pass one another in turn, each powerful body striving to outdo the other's. It's in competition with him, more than any of the others, that she draws out from herself a final burst of speed, her bared brown arms cutting cleanly through the water, her long legs kicking with all the ferocity she can muster.

Suddenly there's only sand beneath her, so near her fingers graze over it: one last kick and then she's on her feet where water meets land, taking a few desperate dashing strides up the beach with water sheeting off her.

A beautiful young male orca breaches, then dives below the boat line.

Perhaps his worry for the tow headed lad slowed the Iron Man. He finishes strongly, but not quite fast enough to catch the Dornishwoman on the other side of the jetty. He rises from the spray, bright hair water dark, skin glistening to jog up onto the dry.

The Oldest Septa points to Ynys, first, and then the tattooed iron Man. A Septa and a Septon, lift the arms of the first and second place winners.

Ynys is presented with a gold pendant with a dolphin cradled in the mother's hands. Killian is given silver. the stragglers are helped from the surf or pulled from the water. No one drowned today. Small craft start bringing in those stranded at the half marks. Cooks start slicing off slabs of pork. The bungs on the barrels are opened.

Near to the water's edge as she is, Ayla shuffles toward Miranda once she's beached, and offers her hand in silence to the Septa. A cloak is shaken from her soulders so that she can offer that, too. After all, soaked and wearing a bathing outfit isn't likely the look a Septa wants to be known for. "You did quite a good job," she says at last, though her tone is rather placid despite her praise.

Miranda gives Ayla a thankful smile as she bundles up. "It's been ages since I swam," she confesses. "I pushed too hard."

Having proved her superiority over the tattoo'd man she could see in the water most of the way back to the beach — as near to his side of the jetty, as she was to hers, and keeping pace with her so dauntlessly — Lady Ynys doesn't realise she's beaten the rest of the field, too, until as she stands there with her bare feet planted wide apart in the sand, laughing and gasping for breath, the elderly septa takes her hand. She turns to her with a questioning smile and understands at a glance that she's just won. Her head falls back and she laughs again, and makes some incredulous remark to the gods' appointed arbitress. But her thanks for the pendant are genuine and she puts it on straight away; and after catching Killian's eye long enough to give him a friendly wave from her side of the beach to his, she trudges off over the sand to the tent where she left her real clothes. The immodesty of having so much blue linen plastered to her figure bothers her less than the clamminess!

Once Mirana has been dried, Ayla retrieves her cloak and turns to examine the winner and runner-up from afar. She draws the damp black thing about herself, humming a thoughtful sound, then circles the beach in a roundabout path toward where the rest of the crowd has gathered.

Killian accepts his prize, peering at it in some bafflement, then grins. "A gift for my Lady Wife, then!" He gives a respectful nod to the Dornishwoman, smile friendly enough, from what can be seen over the rocks. Then he strides towards the fires, trailing a rather worried Middle Aged Septon, trying to convince him to put some proper clothes on lest he scare the Ladies. he bares his teeth and lifts a hand to strike, but then sighing goes to get his tunic. Rather than lace up the top he lets the top hang loos from his weapons belt like a kilt. The pendant is tucked safely away, and then the is striding about in search of a good slab of meat and some ale.

Out in the bay, crews are racing, captain Killian's seal Prince amoung them. Afternoon sun glints on pale sails. The orca having swum off, the dolphins are back.

Once he's recovered, Bryn sits up, looking out to watch the ships began their race, then looking back towards the shore.

Not long thereafter the Dornishwoman who snatched such a handsome prize from local hands — shocking, isn't it, the way they keep doing that! — emerges again into the sunlight with her hair still in wet braids, and the caramel-coloured skin of her arms and her throat faintly damp after only a very hasty drying. She has donned again that gown the colour of blood oranges, in the narrow and low-cut 'V' of which gleams her golden dolphin pendant; her wrists are laden now with umpteen colourful bracelets in a pleasing asymmetrical disorder, and on the third finger of her left hand she wears a heavy golden signet ring too precious to take into the water.

Having come without a servant she's carring a bag of heavy striped blue and white cloth, holding her swimming clothes wrapped in her towel; moreover she is alone amongst strangers. But her manner is nonchalantly confident as she follows her nose to where the pigs are roasting, and where she's tolerably certain she'll be able to find the drink she rather think she deserves.

Killian nods to the winner again. up close, his sea coloured eyes have an unfocused look, and his face is not unkindly. His accent is an outlandish thing indead a mingling if the Far North and the Iron Islands, with archaic grammar, which like his tunic is centuries out of fashion, "Though dost swim so well I might have taken thee for one of our own woman." he seems to think this a compliment from his tone. "I height Captain Killian Farwind, heir to Lonely Light."

Bryn is finally help back to shore, shivering a little by that point, but he quickly makes his way over to the fire. He moves to sit down nearby, perhaps a touch closer than most would find comfortable, but then smiles up to the winners, "Congratulations."

Up close the man Lady Ynys saw so much of underwater proves to be about the age of her sons — and capable of moving well on land, too. Her friendly gaze flickers over what there is to be seen of his tattoos, where his tunic is less than correctly laced, and then reluctantly lifts to his eyes: "Thank you… You're ironborn, then?" She offers him her hand, not reluctantly. "Ynys Trant," she explains. "One of the many widows of Gallowsgrey."

Killian's rolled r's are a thing to behold. "I'm glad though art well, Lad. Thou didst swim with heart." He takes her hand and kisses the knuckles politely, very correct, whatever else might be said of his people. His eyes unfocus further as he realeases the hand, "I fear I know naught of Gallowsgrey. My people more often range North than South. Is it coastal land? Thou dost certainly swim with a familiarity of one born to Ocean.

Smiling a little sheepishly, Bryn nods, "Thanks. Swimming in a race is a lot harder than swimming for fun." He extends his hands towards the fire. Far too close, it seems, but not only does the boy seem comfortable, he's almost entranced by the flame. It's also doing a good job of drying him.

"Gallowsgrey is in the stormlands; the woods are very thick but one comes upon a great many rivers and lakes… I am not so used to swimming in the sea, but I've done so sometimes," explains Lady Ynys, "off Sunspear and Starfall." At first she didn't hear the young man by the fire when he spoke; but now she half-turns, her left hand resting on the curve of the bag slung over her shoulder, to bring him as well as Killian within her sight. "I didn't see you swimming," she mentions, canting her head of gleaming wet silvery-black hair; "but… were you the boy they tell me was saved by an orca?"

Killian ruffles the lad's hair, friendly enough. "It's a lot further than most swim regularly and the excitement makes many burn too fast early on. Practice helps. At least the water wasn't too cold." He says nothing of Orcas though the ones on his arm are clear enough. He stares into the fire, as he eats a bit of roast pork off the end of his dagger, "Storlands… We saw a bit of thy coast sailing up to the Battle of the Bay. Sunspear I know a bit better. We refitted there after some pirates in the stepstones." He gives them both a fiercely alarming smile, "Fine cargoes on a pirate ship, if a man catches her winging home."

Bryn nods quickly, smiling, "That was amazing! I didn't even know it was there, it was just pushing me up out of the water, right when I needed it." He then nods to Killian, "Yeah, the water was nice." He giggles at Killian's words, "Stealing from pirates, brilliant." Then he adds, "I'm supposed to help hunt some pirates soon. Well, I'll be there to help heal."

Rather than alarming Lady Ynys that smile from Killian broadens her own in response. "It's not my coast, though," she disclaims with a shake of her head, "but it's a fine one, isn't it, from out at sea… the green of the rainwood, the shining blue waters of Tarth." She listens to what Bryn has to say of orcas and then the gaze of her warm brown eyes wanders over Killian again, possibly just in discreet admiration of his physique, or possibly with a more intellectual curiosity vis a vis the orcas swimming round his left arm. "Marvelous creatures we have in our seas, wouldn't you agree?" she says wryly.

Killian sips his ale, "Amazing indeed. I was worried I'd have to swim back." he can not hide the sharpening of his attention, "What pirates are those?" he nods agreement to Lady Ynys, "Good strong timber for prows, plentiful game for eating. Rough rocks when we sailed close though. A bit like home only so warm and green. Uncanny almost…. Marvelous indeed." He chews some more pork. In a casual, light tone, "I was here for the sea Wyrm hunt, and a good thing too. That Madman Wildling mutinyed in the other boat and they tried to drive it into the harbour instead of away. Beautiful thing though and a shame to kill."

Bryn nods quickly in agreement, "I'm going to read about orca's, I think, as soon as I can. They must be smart, can't be an accident it save me." Then, he answers Killian, "I don't know, some that are to the south. That's all the Prince Jurian said."

"Warm and green," agrees Lady Ynys, "and always so wet… I live in the sunshine now; it's much more to my taste! It was good to meet you," she adds to them both, and with one more nod to Killian she excuses herself and steps away to see about pork, ale, and somewhere to sit down and enjoy them.
Killian nods, not looking at Bryn, "Some of the smartest things in the sea, like dolphins only more violent." He nods, "Let me know if he needs more ships. I'll not let some Greenlander Lord order me on my ship, but extra hands help, especially if it's a fleet they're up against. Odds are them up in the hightower'll vouch for me. I saved people from the mutineers and brought back their leader as a prisoner. Those idiots tried to fire my Seal Prince, can you believe?" He still can't from his tone, nor are they forgiven. Then he is on his feet to kiss her hand farewell.

Bryn waves to the Lady, as she leaves. Then he looks back to Killian, and nods quickly, "I will. I haven't heard anything since before the wedding, but I'll ask them."

Killian refills his trencher whiles he's up and offers it to the lad when he sits, "What wedding?"

Bryn normally doesn't drink, but this time makes an exception. He was very spooked, even if he's not admitting it. "Thanks. Prince Dhraegon's wedding, it happened a couple months ago."

Killian shrugs, "Greenlander politics." He eyes the boy. With the Lady gone, his speech is less formal. "Ye get yer stomache full of warm meat and drink a good tot. Ye'll need it to get the cold from yer bones. After that a good sleep somewhere warm. I bet yer limbs are nigh Aspic right now. I've no horse, or I'd offer ye a ride…. Have ye a way back?"

Bryn nods, he is indeed feeling that way. He looks around, and then nods again, indicating some of the other acolytes and novices who came to the event. "I can get a ride back. Thanks." The boy gives a smile, but then stiffly stands up. Waving, he heads off to collect his clothes and get his right back to the Citadel.

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