(124-05-15) Where Have the Dolphins Gone?
Where Have the Dolphins Gone?
Summary: An outing is planned to sail toward the dolphins, who have not arrived this year. The reason is the invasion of the lizard-lions, but there are some who think it's all a sign from the Mother, especially as the boat trip falls on an inauspicious day of death.
Date: May 15, 2017
Related: Dolphin Festival

Docks - Oldtown

It is a good day for sailing, the breeze is up and pushing the clouds across the sky, but not so brisk to threaten storm and there us no sign of rain. A small fleet of boats and yachts and the occasional small ship are ready to embark by the dock. A fine cart with the hightower sygil comes from Battle Island way, a becloaked Draghon and companions riding in it.

Marsei is quiet on the short trip to the docks. There is no air of exploration around her, nor anticipation of the dolphins she is so fond of seeing every year. Along with a cloak, she has donned an uncommonly seen gown of black, the bodice more structured than her usual preference and inlaid with panels of blue that have the seven-pointed star embroidered upon them in white and glinting silver beading; while finely, artfully made, it is a garment of mourning and piety. The expedition of sorts has been planned for this day, and so it goes on, but it is the same day on which the Hightower received word that it lost one of their own. A Rowan in name, their blood by birth, and it was after birth of a daughter that Marsei's cousin Margot met the gods. Marsei sees the occurrence as a time for mourning and the timing another ill portent of the Mother's will. She is not the only one, given a few absences in the expected crowd at the docks. As the time to disembark from the cart approaches, she holds her hands tightly on her lap, watching the clouds over the Sound. "I do not believe this trip is meant to be," she says, soft but insistent. "It is the wrong time."

Aelia, for her part, seems to expect a lighthearted outing and is dressed in brilliant blue. She doesn't seem to read the unease in the air as she alights from her cart, though her red-haired maid, Mae, is more reserved. She has surely heard the talk from the other servants.

Dhraegon is dressed rather severly in black with red and white pointings. He did not know the lady really, accept in passing and this was the best that could be done on short notice. He sets a large, soft hand on top of his wife's, and glances worriedly at Aelia, and away, "I am…not sure if there is such a thing as blessings or not, but it might…be good for my kinswoman to see some dolphins and take the air." He studies his wife clearly distressed, "I know boats are not…your favorite. If you are not… wanting to go I could represent you and keep the Little Bird company, but…" He squeezes her hand gently, "I wish… I don't know what is best in such a case. i've never read the seven pointed star."

Siyu arrives for his part, as a merchant, and carrying some social obligation to be a part of the various ceremonies and strangeness that the royal members of Old Town hold dear. He's dressed for sailing, not in silks, but linen and leathers, well cut and fitting to his exotic form, but something that can be dirtied by salt and spray and not be totally ruined. He brings his own retainers of guards and local merchants to participate. Politely greeting those he knows and listening to see what will happen today.

"Not at all?" Marsei looks down and tries to hide her disappointment, but her gentle features have been predisposed to sad, pensive expressions since the day prior. "The dolphins are an important symbol for the city," she says, as though attempting to convince herself. "Perhaps seeing them would give people a sense of joy. Of hope." She takes Dhraegon's hand, and as the cart gradually comes to a halt, she steps with a careful, practiced elegance out of the cart. She takes a few steps toward the docks and simply stops. She watches those gathering, casting a rather longing look at them as though she could pull them back from the water with her gaze alone. Maybe she could, if they looked her way. "I…" She shakes her head. "I cannot in good conscience go sailing. I wish that everyone would stay upon land. The Mother speaks to us," she says — in earshot of people, now, her voice soft but not so quiet, perhaps even hoping it carries. "If you go… I will pray for your safe return." Though her next words are to Dhraegon and Aelia, she looks to the others afterward, extending the sentiment to familiar and unfamiliar faces alike.

Matthias Fossoway, Jana Fossoway, and Ser Jesper Blackbar of Bandallon are waiting to set sail. Upon catching a hint of Marsei's words, only the men remain waiting for the boat; Lady Jana seems have opted out of sailing, after all.

Aelia blinks round, violet eyes at Marsei, smiling upon her. "You are a crow," she says, reaching for her hands. "And you don't feel like you will fly at all."

Dhraegon looks genuinely sorry, "I am sorry, My Beloved Asphodel. This is a thing in which you will have to be clever for both of us. I think… the idea was that knowing they are their even if we can't see them in the harbour might… help in some way. Symbols do matter, whatever the person's belief." He lifts her hand so he might delicately kiss it, gazing at her face with a deep love and longing, "I would like… I do wish the dolphins had come." Then he lets go his wife's hand so she might be free for Aelia. To his kinswoman he says, "No getting your feathers wet today, goose or not." his smile for her is gentle. Then he turns to Siyu, "Welcome! Did Flox send ou your latest share from the fleet? How are you?"

Marsei's look as Dhraegon kisses her hand and departs to greet Siyu is the loving but fearful-eyed look of someone seeing their husband off to war, not on a sailing excursion to see dolphins. Reaching to Aelia in turn, she gives her a little smile. "It feels strange to be a crow," she admits. "Keep your sharp eyes on the water," she advises. "And be safe. For both— " She looks to Mae, "For all of you. I do hope you find them. The dolphins."

"I thought there would be dolphins," Aelia replies to the couple, looking from one to the other. "Is that what we are watching for?"

Siyu steps up when Dhraegon recognizes him, he doesn't step into the circle of royals without recognition, and so he steps respectfully into the circle and bows politely to the Dragon Lord. "Of course, Lord Dhreagon. Your books are very well kept, and are of course beyond reproach, everything is paid on time and to the full amount. It's a wonder of efficiency." he flows his words politely. "As for myself, I feel…better. I had a trade adventure back to Essos and it did wonders to reset my mood. Perhaps I'll take one to the Summer Isles next." he laughs in amusement. He looks over to Marsei, and to Aelia, and ohs faintly, "So the Dolphin Ceremony is indeed, to find Dolphins hm?"

Dhraegon nods and smiles delightedly, "Flox is very clever!" He claps excitedly, "If you go to the Summer Isles I shoud love a book on flowers and plants and butterflies. I would happily have Flox buy any you bring back!" Dhraegon nods solemnly, "They were meant to be in the harbour months ago. Norm ally we do not have to go so far out…. My Beloved Hyancithe is not so good on boats and distressed about the recent loss of her cousin, so I think she will not come after all…. Some hope that if we see the dolphins, it will… bring back luck. For Mothers to be…" He looks deeply distressed, 'It would be so much better and safer if babies grew in eggs on vines like melons…."

"The dolphins did not come this year," Marsei confirms regretfully in the midst of a polite, if subdued, smile to Siyu as well as Aelia. "Instead, we have been given lizard-lions. But they are out there somewhere." And so, by her own logic, are the lizard-lions, prompting her to look out into the Sound with renewed worry. She looks then to Dhraegon, laying a hand upon his arm; soon after, she gives him a quick embrace, quick for they are in public, but not without sentiment. "You be safe, as well," she whispers.

"I think everyone is saying inauspicious things about mothering, but I think that is wrong," Aelia puts in firmly. "If it is a year when there are lizard lions, then we will make babies who are fierce and strong."

Siyu bows his head, "Ah I see, a travel out onto the boats, deeper into the water." he looks at the size of the boats and gently runs a hand through his longer hair. "I see." he considers, "Still it's a blessing isn't it, a gift you are looking for. I have a mild hand a sailing. I am by no means an expert, but I can handle a skiff." he looks over at Marsei, and bows his head to her. He looks at Aelia and bows his head again, though he doesn't' add any more. His personal thoughts on the religion wisely unspoken.

Dhraegon folds his wife in the long sleeve of his layered tunic for a hug. He kisses the top of her head chastely, and though he seems loathe to be parted from her on the journey, releases her, "It will be all right, My Marigold." Then he is giving his Kinswoman a bright smile and offering her his arm, "Let us hope that is so, Little Bird, and that all the eggs hatch strong and healthy." He nods to Siyu, "You are welcome to sail with us, Siyu."

Marsei actually looks a bit heartened by Aelia's words, giving her a dimpled smile. "I hope that is so." She truly, truly hopes. She nods her head in respectful gratitude to Siyu, looks at the others one more time, and keeps her head down as she walks to the edge of the dock to quietly pray over the vessel.

Closer to the boat itself, the aging Matthias Fossoway is jiggling his ear and squinting off in the direction of his former kinswoman Lady Marsei and talking to Ser Jesper, whose blank expression is already an indication that he doesn't know how to answer. "What did the lady say? Huh? She's not coming? Is that why Jana wandered off? Huh? Isn't this dock awfully loud?"

"Lizard lions are only little dragons who did not get wings," Aelia further opines, looking from Dhraegon to Marsei, and even glancing at Siyu lest he should defy her.

Siyu bows his head to Dhraegon, "If your highness will honor me with passage on your boat I could hardly refuse after all." he looks over to Marsei, and once more bows his head. "I am sure we will find your dolphins, after all, they have a love for all sailors." he catches the glare from the other dragon and he raises his hands, "To be honest, I do not even know what a Lizard Lion is, so I will believe whatever you say about them."

Dhraegon peers at the Fossoways, "You are the jouster, are you not? And you…you aren't the othher one that was talking about jousting at dinner, or the rude one…. I'm sorry, I don't remember your name." He smiles gently at his Kinswoman, "I think you are right and it is a very sensible thought. If I see Tellur Snow I will ask him. What colour are lizard Lion bones, I wonder?" To Siyu he answers, "I believe they are large lizards that eat seals and small…" he glances at Aelia and doesn't finish the thought.

"Wha— ? Oh, your grace," Jesper comes to life in slow motion, having stared off into space while Matthias rambled on about his hearing. His "focused" look on Dhraegon is, granted, also similar to staring off into space. "Yes, your grace, I hope to joust."

"Prince Dhraegon, an honour to sail with you! I am Matthias Fossoway," the red-cheeked, white-haired fellow answers, cheery. He harbours no ill will over not being remembered. "Me, I'm just an old man. I believe you are thinking of Lord Haemon and Roberd, who you should never pay any mind to. When are we setting out?"

Aelia rotates her body a little to make her full skirt sway. "I don't know about snow or bones," she says. "But I will make the finest children and nothing will eat them."

Siyu ties his long hair back into a loose pony tail, letting it flow behind him and he steps up behind Dhraegon to join the others in the boat, he takes an assessment of the craft. It wouldn't do to overload a small boat after all, and generally tries to stay out of the way of the noble people talking. He glances back at Aelia, and knits his brows, but says nothing about the last phrase. An interesting Royal to be sure.

Dhraegon squeals happily at making a new friend and launches himself at the elder Fossoway for hugs. "As soon as we are aboard!" He nods and says firmly, "you will fave a very fine baby I am sure.

"Oh! I see! The famous hugging!" Matthias, though he staggers as though about to be bowled over, wraps his comparatively (actually, simply generally) short arms around the Targaryen and pats him jovially on the back, laughing merrily. Jesper, meanwhile, stands stiff as a board, uncertain of how to react, and so he bows his head deeply to Dhraegon and goes to board the boat.

Dhraegon seems terribly pleased by Matthias, "You may share my cakes AND my flask!" Then he is offering to help Aelia into the boat, protective as a Mother Goose in his own Dhraegonish way.

Siyu clears his throat and he makes sure that the boat is secure to the docks still, he glances over to the Fossways to see if they, or some other servants are going to take up the rudder, or the sail, or if there is anyone to actually run the boat. Letting the Royals assemble and have their own time of it. A great honor to be on the Royal boat, of course, he wouldn't say no. But suddenly the stress levels of the day are rising.

Aelia takes Dhraegon's hand and makes her flitting way into the boat, hopping down onto the deck, Mae following watchfully behind her. Then she looks to Matthias and beams at him for being so affable.

The boat is the Hightower pleasure boat and there are proper sailors, though neither royal aboard is likely to be ordering them about, given the givens.

Boarding, Matthias bows his head deeply to Aelia. "Princess, lovely day," he greets, and shuffles his way here and there, hands folded behind his back, examining this and that. Ser Jesper simply stands still, looking like a fish out of water. On water.

On the docks, Marsei wrings her hands, watching with wide-eyed trepidation as the boat readies its journey away.

Siyu clears his throat, watching the last Dragon come aboard, and Dhreagon spread the hugs around, he makes his way back to the aft and bows his head to the captain, or at least the one nearest the rudder. "Our Royal contingent is aboard. I do believe that everyone who wishes to join is here. Perhaps we should set out now that the esteemed guests, Lords and Ladies, are enjoying themselves?"

Dhraegon sees poor Ser Jasper looking out of place so gives him a nice big hug too, since hugs fix everything, and this recipient, being a jouster, is likely not blind. Then he is off to the rail for goofy smiles and waves for his wife. At the suggested order, they cast off and are soon tacking to catch the best wind out of the harbour. Sharp eyes might spot shapes in the water, man sized and larger that are definitely not dolphins. Servants begin to set out an array of finger foods and lemon water and mint tisane for the refreshment of guests.

"Yes!" Aelia agrees with Matthias, very pleased, then goes immediately to look over the side of the boat.

Jesper endures the hugging with several polite grunts and an awkward pat of Dhraegon's arm that he immediately retracts because that's a prince's arm. He eventually makes his way to the side as well, peering over while Matthias happily takes a handful of snacks. "Are those, uhhh, safe to sail through…?" the young knight asks whoever listens, squinting at the log-like shapes in the water. "They won't eat up the boat like sea dragons?" Sea dragons, which are largely thought to be mythical, unlike these creatures.

Siyu remains on the aft castle and watches the progress and the flow, "Wow…they certinally are everywhere. Perhaps that is good reasons for dolphins to stay away…" he comments to himself, "They do look like rather large predators."

Dhraegon looks alarmed by Aelia's sudden rush to the side and hurries over to stand next to her in case of accidents or swimming attempts. he peers down at them, "I don't think they are large enough to harm a boat this size and they don't breath fire, so we should be fine if we don't swim."

"Safe as birds up here," Matthias agrees, popping some manner of filled cake in his mouth as he strolls over to get a look at the lizard-lions. "Sea dragons aren't real, my boy."

"Yes they are," Jesper says with the defensiveness of a child who still believes bedtime stories from his nan, except that he's a grown man. "They live at the bottom of the Sunset Sea, and, they eat leviathans."

Dhraegon looks confused, "Didn't one threaten the harbour a while back? I think poor Ormund had to put a man in stocks over it….

Siyu keeps a weather eye out, so far things don't look too bad, the barge is well stocked and well manned, he leans against the railing at the rear, watching the nobles, and contemplating if they will actually see any dolphins. He takes a breath and walks down to find a drink, "So, can one of you instruct me on what makes the dolphin such a portent?"

"Lady Marsei says the dolphins are sacred to the Mother," Matthias answers. "I'm a lifelong resident of Cider Hall, but I try to make it for the Dolphin Festival when I can … you do feel like you're seeing something special when you see a whole bunch of them, leaping out of the water like they do."

Jesper, still looking mightily pleased for his opinion of sea dragons being somewhat confirmed by Dhraegon, says, "Everyone knows they're lucky." He peeks out over the side again into the infested waters. Sure would be nice to see one now…

Dhraegon keeps a hand where he can make a quick grab if Aelia goes over. "It's really more a… faith of the seven ting, so my beloved Crocus would likely explain it better, but Dolphins are the symbol of the Mother, who is one of the Seven and who looks after… well mothers. So when they swim into the harbour it's taken by those who beieve in the Seven, as a sign that the Mother's Blessings are on the City and by extention the Reach." He wrinkles his nose, "I think? And with the lizard Lions scaring off the Dolphins this year and My Buttercup's poor cousin…. Peopl rather want to see the dolphins. They are very pretty and… free looking and they splash. I like the baking contests.""

Siyu ahs, "A the Seven I see. I will comment that most sailors in Essos view Dolphins as good luck. They are said to fight sharks, and there is more than one tail of a dolphin saving a sailor from drowning. It is most certainly bad luck to kill one, even when starving, and their presence is viewed as lucky by most. They are good to have around. So it appears to be a universal belief."

"Fascinating!" Matthias is quite delighted by what Siyu has to say. "I suppose if something's gone awry with the dolphins it's a poor portent for sailors, too." He frowns and scrapes a hand back and forth across his round whiskerless chin. "I hope they're just wisely waylaid."

Dhraegon nods, "As I said, My wife would know better about her Gods. I believe in cakes, mostly. And Gardens. They are cheering to watch and if it makes people happier to know they are here then that is good. If there is truth to the belief, then even better. Melons would be safer." He looks said thinking of Lady Margot and other women he knows apt to face this sort of danger.

Once past the mouth of the harbour, the bumpy ridges are less in evidence. The Prince muses, "If Dolphins fight sharks and lizard lions fight dolphins, do sharks eat lizard lions?"

Siyu looks around the harbor, "I am not exactly a sailor by trade, I do not know if sharks travel this far or not. I know in Slaver's bay they threaten rebellions aboard slave ships with being eaten alive by sharks. Simply drag the poor slave behind the ship and the sharks will come. But other then that I must admit I have never seen one. I tend to stay, ah, well below decks." he looks over at Matthias, "It could be simple economy. I would assume Dolphins eat fish yes? Just as Fishermen sail to find fish, so must Dolphins swim to find them. In the end it's all down to economics." he considers, "it may be why dolphins are so treasured by sailors, there are far more fisherman upon the sea then any other sailor."

"Ah!" Matthias breaks into a big smile and laugh. He points a finger up in the air, considering Dhraegon's question. "I suspect you're onto something, my good prince." He listens intently to Siyu, grimacing at first — feeding people to sharks and all — but nodding, every so often saying "mm-hmm, mm-hmmm" in enthusiastic agreement.

Ser Jesper tries to listen, but his focus disintegrates, retaining very little after Siyu pauses. But he heard Dhraegon. His tall brow furrows very hard. "You could get the sharks to eat lizard-lions," he says slowly, "but you can't bait sharks without baiting lizard-lions." He remains locked in the conundrum, staring into the water. He's better at swords than he is thinking. Theoretically.

Dhraegon looks very impressed by Siyu's theory. Though he says, "I don't approve of slavery. It's MEAN." He produces a flask, takes a swig of peary and offers it to Matthias. To Jesper he says, "Oh that IS a shame, as I think everyone would be happier with dolphins instead of lizard lions, except maybe for our Little Bird here."

Siyu is left musing, and he ahems, "Ah I apologize if I was rambling. I still wonder if the Maesters will let me add a few links. I consider myself as much a scholar as a merchant and as such I can ramble on in esoterics…" he finds some liquor or some beer and takes a drink. "Still. To the Dolphins, a most noble creature yes?"

Matthias happily takes a swig from the flask — "To the dolphins! Bless 'em!" — and hands it back.

Jesper is too engrossed in the difficult task of considering his impossibly circuitous plan to properly respond to Dhraegon with more than a gape-jawed, "Yeahh."

Alas, the only liquor abourd is in flasks the guests might havesnuck on. There is mint tisane or lemon water set out on the buffet, but no proper drink, the Lady Marsei being known to be a tea totaller, and her Prince supposedly trying to cut back. Dhraegon gives one of his high pitched childlike giggles and echoes the toast, tossing back enough of the liqueur to make him cough and offering it around to the other male guests.

Siyu nods his head a toast to the dolphins seems best, and he takes himself some tea with a faint sigh and some finger food as he let's the nobles talk again, not wanting to add more to the conversation and attempting to step back.

It is at that moment, a lookout spots the shapes of Dolphins leaping in the distance and the Sailors are suddenly very busy changing course to meet them.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License