(123-08-21) Live and Let Fly
Live and Let Fly
Summary: Dhraegon risks one war to stop a worse one on King Viserys' orders.
Date: Date of play (21/08/123)
Related: None

The large man with tan skin, wiry black hair and dark stubble, and an indifferent approach to hygiene, wearing clothes of indeterminate colour, carries his barrel inside along with the other morning supplies carried by various vendors and workmen. He is stooped, but hale despite his years.

Security is not exactly tight around here. There's no big city to make it needful. So, it's not hard to get inside Starfall's gates, except for the part about climbing the hillside from the ferry dock while carrying a barrel, and the paying of a penny for the little trip across the river. The man doesn't go entirely unnoticed, though. One of the advantages of a tiny town, an advantage that helps make the need for security so small.

A lot of goods are carried directly to the kitchen, through the kitchen gardens and avoiding the more 'noble' parts of the castle entirely. The back store-rooms behind the kitchens are underground, beneath the soil and stone of the upper bailey, a series of dark tunnels that connect Starfall from within.

If questioned he's a sailor who overslept and missed his ship and so found work on the docks and wherever would have him lifting and carrying, while looking for another berth. If not questioned, he is amiable enough but says nothing much of himself. He does look for a chance to slip off for the tunnels. but he has a few weeks if he needs and will imply do morning deliveries every day until a good opening presents itself.

Nobody really questioned, at least not very suspiciously. Sailor, day labour, sure. Most of the folks who make deliveries up to the castle are either local farmers or castle residents, neither of which are too fond of socializing with the crews of ships passing through. The first morning, the castle cooks keep an eye on him, showing him where to put his barrel. The next morning they're a little less interested. It's not hard for find the way out of the storerooms and past the big castle cisterns and into the corridors that lead back to the underground feet of the towers.

He establishes the routine. Shows up for day labour. Works cheap. Drinks what he doesn't use to buy his bed at night. He does nothing suspicious until the servants are lulled. Once he thinks he has a good chance, he brings a waxed pouch of fresh meat, and off he goes with his gear into the tunnels when he's sure he's not watched, looking for the place he last heard the hatchlings.

They're not too hard to find. It's a maze of corridors under here, but the dragonets are in the same room they were before. Locked, but not far from the stair that leads up from the underground rooms and tunnels and into the Guest Tower.

One can hear them, behind the heavy oaken door with its iron lock. Screeching at each other, it seems.

The large man checks both ways, then picks the lock quickly, careful not to leave scratches out of long habit. He has the meat out quick. He very much hopes they remember him from when they were smaller, but knows that is likely a vain hope.

It's a good lock, but not the best ever made, by any stretch. Inside, the room is dark. Something chirrups loudly.

The large man chirrups back, as best he can and holds out the meat in both hands, moving slowly and otherwise still, giving them time to get the scent of him and the meat.

One of the creatures in the dark room hisses.

The man slowly sinks into a crouch and gently tosses some liver in the direction of the hiss.

There's another hiss, and the sound of snapping, then light, from a spit of flame. In its brief glow Dhraegon can see the two dragonets, squabbling over the liver.

The man makes soft crooning noises like he did when they were small and tosses anoither peice, moving a little closer, making himself as small as he reasonably can, given the givens and keeping his body language as un threatening as he can.

The little beasts do not appear the least bit afraid. They snap up the liver, charred on the outside and bloody within. One then proceeds to attempt to bite the other's shoulder while the other looks up at Dhraegon hopefully with golden eyes.

The man makes a happy chirrup and moves a little closer still to offer them more liver.

The attentive one tries to snap the meat out of Dhraegon's hand.

Dhraegon allows it, while offering the rest of the meat to the other dragon with his other hand.

The second one spits fire at its offering of meat, and Dhraegon's hand holding it.

Dhraegon has his hand flat and the fingers as overextended back as far as they will go. He makes a soft squeak of alarm and drops the meat, pulling his hand back and falling back and away with his whole body.

The dragonet snaps up the bit of charred liver, ignoring the fact that it nearly burned the hand that feeds it. The other, having finished off its snack, looks around, blinks in a lizardly sort of way, and springs into the air. It's a big room, there's space for flight, at least while the creatures are still small. Even so, the skinny body is supported by what, eight feet of wing?

Dhraegon watches it with something akin to delight. For all he never dreamed of riding as a child, and finds the full sized ones alarming, he is still a Targaryen, and he finds them beautiful. He croons to them, how would you like to come where you could fly in under sun and moon, pretty ones, and be with your cousins and have all the liver you like?" He's no expert on dragons, but has been exposed to Tellur's theories a it. He pictures the Crownlands and the Kingslanding towers circled by dragons. He imagines goats and tasty slabs of liver. He has to try, after all and has limited tools to use in this situation. He's not committed to taking them today, though he'd love to do it and begone. If it takes multiple visits, that is what he will do.

The sleek little creature is lovely, all blue and silver and fire. It wings towards the door, swift, while the one that almost burned Dhraegon licks its chops.

Dhraegon opens the cage and reveals another small pile of chopped meat, crooning softly and thinking of the dragons and the spires and more meat in case Tellur happens to be right. If not, it can't hurt.

The flier hits the door and starts clawing at it, sliding down the jamb and trying to pull the door open. It's all rather awkward and it's not going to work, since the little creature is clinging to the door itself even as it tries to pull the door open.

Chops-licker stretches its neck forward to sniff at the cage and its contents.

Dhraegon reaches out a hand to gently stroke the dragonet's back with one finger, watching the other out of the corner of his eye.

The dragonet clinging to the door snaps at Dhraegon's hand, viciously. The one on the floor jumps into the cage to snag a piece of meat, then jumps backwards away again.

Dhraegon tries to grab door and slam closed the cage door with his butt in hopes of catching the floor dragon.

The dragon on the door snaps and hisses, but when Dhraegon withdraws his hand it goes back to trying to squirm its way outside into the corridor. The other bumps against the cage door, jumping back just as Dhraegon slams the little trap shut. The dragonet screeches.

Dhraegon makes a grab for the dragon trying to escape, lending a leg to the cage latch to try to contain that situation for the moment. He steals himself knowing he is likely about to bitten and/or burned. This is what his king wants and he loves his king and sees the reason of it.

It's true. Burned and bitten are about the order of the day. Also beaten with flapping wings. Still, the beast is too busy trying to figure out how to push a door open that it doesn't even try to dodge the hand grasping its ankle.

There are chickens, goats and poultices on the escape ship. Hopefully shock will carry him there. He tries to catch it with his whole body and both hands, careful of it's wings and mindful of teeth and claws.

The little dragon screams, then buries its teeth into Dhraegon's upper arm. It seems like someone ought to notice, but perhaps not — it's known that the dragons are noisy in their little shut off room.

He is counting on the noisiness of dragons generally and sane people wanting as little do do with them as possible. At least it can't shriek while biting him. He tries to ignore the pain of it and maneuver so he might thrust it in with the other as fast as possible without losing either the dragon in hand or the one in the cage.

The biting one has no intention of letting go. The result is a somewhat awkward situation, with Dhragon stuffing the beast into the cage, pushing its sibling back behind it, and then trying to shut the door on the creature's neck since it still has its teeth buried in his bicep.

Dhraegon holds the cage door as closed as he can without hurting a dragon, holds on with the bit arm and tries to pry it loose with the other, knowing full well this might cost a finger or worse, but willing to make the sacrifice at this point if it gets them the hell out without him being run through by spearmen.

The gods are with him. Or something. The first dragonet, having been shoved further into the cage when the second was stuffed in, gives a snarl and bites its sibling on the rear, hard enough to make the beast shriek wrathfully, and release Dhraegon's arm in the course of sounding this complaint.

Dhraegon did lace some sedative into the meat, but honestly, who knows if that will work on a dragon? His hope at this point is speed. He engages the extra locks. He does quick bandage the wound, but doesn't tend it properly. The goal is to slow bleeding until they make the ship. He cracks the door to see if the dragon squeals have drawn guards, while rather hoping the sound of angry dragons will encourage people to find somewhere else to be.

The winding corridor seems empty. The dragons fight briefly in the cage, and then screech because there's not enough room to fight.

Dhraegon belts the cage to his back because he's apt to be needing his hands, shoulders the rope and tries to make his way as quickly as possible to the Lotus garden, using routes apt to be empty at this time of day.

The dragons squeak. They do seem to be getting sleepy, but they also want to complain about their predicament. One tries the cute approach, peering at Dhraegon appealingly. It's not too far to the gardens, if one goes directly up to the ground floor of the guest tower and out, a route that may be well-traveled.

Dhraegon croons gently at them. "More meat at the boat, I promise little cousins." And then he goes quietly. He hates doing this. He hates caging them. He hates doing this to Visenya, of whom he is genuinely fond, but Viserys is right: in a generation having multiple Martell dragon riders will cause a war that might destroy nearly everything. The war this is apt to start will at least not be fought in the air as well. Dhraegon sighs and steels herself to the danger of it all and the good odds this will end at spear point. Let's hope they haven't many guests. Let us hope that Dhraegon can duck into unoccupied rooms in case of trouble.

The door to the bottom floor anteroom of the guest tower is open.

Dhraegon peers around the edge to see if it's clear.

The room is silent, warm after the stuffy dank of the tunnels.

The boats look like work boats to casual inspection, but have soft thin, grippy soles. Dhraegon chances it.

It's across the room and out into the garden, and then one must only turn and go through the gap in the hedge to the Lotus Garden, or one might climb further up the tower and get onto the walkway atop the wall through the door two levels up.

Dhraegon checks corners, listening before looking. If things stay quiet, it's up the stairs to gain the advantage of the wall. This is already going to be an exhausting endeavor for an elderly, wounded spider.

One of the little dragons croons sadly. A light breeze stirs the staircase, warm and fragrant with garden air.

Dhraegon croons back very softly in a reassuring tone, before taking another turn up.

The other beastlet scrabbles at the bars of the cage.

The tower remains silent, sleepy.

Dhraegon makes haste, up and up, hoping against hope that it stays sleepy. If Dhraegon believed in gods, he'd be praying. Instead Dhraegon believes in doing what must be done, and so up.

And there's the little passage to the top of the wall, where guards go.

Dhraegon pauses to listen and peek, hoping he's timed it right.

It's quiet. The front of the castle faces the sea, the back of the castle is pointed upriver, and those keeping watch expect a foe to attack by water, since one can't assault Starfall without crossing the Torrentine anyway. This western wall is clear, as far as can be seen.

Dhraegon unbelts the cage, ties the rope extra securely to the best placed crenelation, and ties the loose end of the rope to the top handle of the cage. She double checks that the area below is clear before lowering the beasts over the wall.

It's a little noisy at the ideal spot, what with the clattering of the chain from the water-wheel pump, and the splash of its payload as it enters the lotus pool. It seems a terrible long drop to the river below.

A little noisy is good, covering the sounds of the theft. The terrible long drop is alarming and Dhraegon would rather be home in the pillow fort drinking Peary Brandy and eating cakes, but it can't be helped. It must be done for the sake of future generations, and so it must be done. Dhraegon lowers the cage as quickly as he dares.

The cage, too, will need to drop eventually; the rope will carry it to below the wall proper, but not all the way down to the water. The dragons do not seem the least frightened, and one seems to have fallen asleep, but the other looks up at Dhraegon as if to ask what he's doing.

Makes another soft croon, hooping the water will cover it. He really does think of them as kinfolk, for all the physical differences. Once they are at ropes end, he checks the knot again and down he goes after them, trying not to look down.

"Mrrf," says a sleepy dragonet, at Dhraegon's foot when it touches the cage. The rope sways against Starfall's white walls. The chain-pump clatters inside, under the layer of stones.

Dhraegon closes his eyes and tries really hard not to think about the next step. He opens them again and looks out towards the river to see if back up is in view. Drawing a small knife, she pushes away from the wall with all her leg strength and cuts them free. If several very rude high Valyrian words are said on the way down, best to gloss over that.

And so, Dhraegon and the cage swing away from the wall, and drop. The water-wheel that powers the pump is in a partial undercut of the island, and so they fall well clear of it, into the green water of the Torentine, deep and swift-flowing.

Dhraegon hangs on to the cage rope and swims for dear life, hoping the men in the john boat are swift and as trustworthy as he and Flox believed.

Trustworthy? Maybe. Swift? Not very. The river flows fast, and flat-bottomed Johnny-boats do better on flatter waters. They oar towards Dhraegon. The dragons in the cage wail a complaint when pulled up to the surface again.

Dhraegon attempts to tread water and keep the dragons high enough to breath, "I know, little cousins, I know, but there will be food at the end of this…."

The little creatures flap in the cage, weakly, and complain. The river carries Dhraegon alongside the island, a few dozen yards before the john-boat intercepts him and there's a man reaching for his collar.

Dhraegon weeps with relief and tries to hand up the cage first.

The sleepy, angry, addled dragonets try to snap at hands through the cage. They are not good at it now.

Dhraegon calls worriedly, "Don't hurt them! Be gentle with the humans, Cousins! I'm coming!"

The men manages to get hold of the rope instead of the snapping cage, and they haul the dragonets aboard easily, even as the boat wobbles with the effort of the first fellow to drag the heavy Targaryen over the gunwales.

Dhraegon gives one of his strange unhinged titters in relief, but has presence of my to give the order to be away. He sits by the cage of agitated predators, crooning delightedly at them and telling them how brave and patient and good they are and promising them a delicious goat if they wait just a little longer.

The retainers are shy, now that Dhraegon is here. A prince, and a weird one. Also, dragons. They eye the cage nervously, and row faster.

Dhraegon is terribly tempted to let them out, but free dragons is a terrible idea in this place. There are larger cages and dragonet sized chains for airing on the boat. There is more sedative. Dhraegon feels like a monster for not comforting them right away, but burning the boat and the sailors is a terrible idea, so Dhraegon keeps crooning and thinking of the ship and the fine chickens and goat for them to eat there.

The little beasts do not appear to read minds. They do appear to be drugged. One seems to sleep. The other rests its head on its sibling's back and watches the crew, balefully.

Dhraegon eyes the sleeping one, checking to see if it is breathing.

Its toes twitch.

Dhraegon is wildly relieved. Dhraegon thanks the sailors, and watches for pursuit.

They move swiftly now, with the river helping the oarsmen. The wakeful dragonet tries to hiss, and sneezes instead.

Dhraegon keeps crooning to the wakeful dragonet, guilty to the core at being the world's worst Dragon Uncle.

The creature appears annoyed at having sneezed, and it glares at Dhraegon, who is obviously to blame for all of this. One of the men in the boat hazards, cautiously, "They won't burn the ship, will they?"

Dhraegon giggles at the glare, "Fair enough, Little cousin." Dhraegon takes the question seriously, "I've more powder for their food, but best we keep full buckets on hand in case of the occasional small accident. They are small enough, it should be all right." Dhraegon has no idea whether or not he's lying, but thing must be done. "Early Autumn winds should make the passage a swift one."

The second dragon starts to doze off. The sailor looks at Dhraegon a bit doubtfully, then back to the wonderous creatures. They are beautiful and draw the men's attention.

Dhraegon beams at the sailors, "See? It's fine, and there'll be double wages for all when we make Kingslanding."

They nod, but they don't smile as they did when the offer was first made.

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