The sea had always called to Pheynix, or Nix as she was called by those close to her. All bodies of water really. Her mother referred to her as a 'little sea dragon'; quite irritating now that she was grown. It made her feel infantile. She was twenty. Not an infant.
Sighing as she leaned against the ship rail watching the ship, Swift Lady, cut through the water. The spray barely reached her boots with tiny droplets that rolled off the oiled leather.
“LAND HO!!" The bellow came from far above the deck of the cog that Nix stood on. The consensus was that land was close since the gulls had started screaming at them. So the crew that had been impatient cheered to be relieved of their sea legs for a short while.
Nix straightened up standing so that the tips of her fingers were the last to leave the railing and she pushed gently swaying with the ship. The breeze picked up as the sun started to set and they would be landing in Dragonstone in about a half hour, possibly less if the breeze picked up and a cross current didn’t foil their landing. One could never be sure with islands.
A terrifying scream that was unearthly shattered the sounds of the crew who froze for a moment. The setting sun striking the stone molded to look like dragons gave off a menacing aura for a moment. Nix scanned the sky as much as she could to see the dragon that had made that trumpet. To her it sounded like it was grieving, but that must be Nix's imagination.
Men froze then scrambled to their duties of getting the ship ready to drop anchor and row in. Meanwhile Nix, rather distracted with pondering about a dragon, trance-like stepped out of sailors' way seemingly at the last possible moment. As the wind lifted the locks of hair that had come down out of the tight braids she had wrestled it into she pulled one of the braids over her shoulder. The heavy, thick braid shone ebony in the setting sun with a strand of snow white running through it. She stroked the reminder of her heritage and smiled.
Tossing her thick braid back over her shoulder Nix felt and heard it side across her back with a soft swish. The dress and jacket were the house colors, a deep ebony and a rich purple silk that had an iridescent shimmer. The collar was high and circled her long pale throat pinned at her clavicle with the house sigil of a shooting star blended with a bird that resembled a swan crossed with a raptor. The jacket sleeves were long and fitted to the wrist with an overlay of delicate smoke colored lace designed to look like smoke. The dress itself was fitted snugly to Nix's frame to her hips then spilled down like a waterfall, stopping mid calf in the front and floor length in the back. The hem covered the tops of the boots she had on.
A smaller childlike hand fitted in Nix's and brought the woman back from her daydreaming over what it took to build the imposing fortress. “Nixie was that a dragon?" Looking down at her sister Cassiopeia and smiling into her sea blue eyes, Nix leaned over and kissed the top of the child’s head.
“Yes." Nix rested her cheek on the girl’s head. “One of many. I hear that every one of our Targaryen cousins has one. And before you ask, we're not here to trade for a dragon egg. Mother would have my hide." She smiled as Cassiopeia pouted mockingly.
While Nix and Cassiopeia talked dragons, the two other Rahl children missed the dragoncall, as the sound of steel meeting steel was too loud. Below the main deck, Castor had deemed the area a practice 'field' during his and his siblings' journey. That was where he currently stood, clad in training weights to simulate armor and brandishing Shadowfang. His opponent was his younger brother Pyxis who didn't seem to really understand what he was doing. Pyxis simply stood, sword pointed upwards and outward and tried his best to slap at the Valyrian blade. "No, no Pix. You gotta move your blade where your enemy is GOING to move it, and not where it currently is. Try and think about the different attack angles and outsmart them." Pyxis simply shrugged and lowered his sword, walking over to his brother and placing a hand on his shoulder.
"I'm just not a fighter Castor. But that's OK, you got enough for the both of us. We should probably go and get ready to be presented to civil society, we'll be at Dragonstone soon and Nix will kill you if you show up in your fighting clothes." The younger brother had an easy tone about him, and a soft smile that seemed to tell you that he was right. Castor for his part just sighed and nodded a few times.
"You're right of course." Castor looked over to his various instructors and bowed toward them. "Gentleman, thank you for your training today. I still find something new to consider with every spar." The group of instructors just chuckled and shook their heads. They were a peculiar lot, with all different backgrounds. Ser Jeorry Redmont was a Knight of Westeros who had come close to being considered as a Kingsguard and who left the continent sometime after that to pursue new ways of fighting. Ilyro Saer was the opposite style, a water dancer of Braavos who had trained many fighters who eventually went on to compete and even gain the title of First Sword. Saavhos was a gladiator of the fighting pits of Meereen and had a more personal hand to hand style used with spiked knuckles. Zheirdas Shaqui, a Ghiscari Legionnaire preferring a spear and shield style and finally a native to Volantis who had been Castor's sworn shield since birth, Tychonos Orloris. The group began to pick up various weapons as Castor and Pyxis left, and would no doubt put the training area back to shipshape.
The two Rahl brothers made their way to their shared room and washed up as best as possible, each ignoring the cold water and then dressing in their family colors. Castor opted for a more elegant choice, his purple tunic made with the exotic and expensive silks of the East. A black leather robe-jacket was worn overtop, the buttons all gold and engraved with the Rahl sigil, the purple from his shirt peeking out at the neck. A heavy belt went around his waist, tied and knotted tightly to carry the weight of first the Valyrian sword Shadowfang, and then two separate knives. A gauche at Castor's right, and a more curved and wicked looking throwing knife behind his back. Castor didn't even bother with his hair, the cursed mess of pale blonde did what it wished and only got messier if the Rahl attempted to tame it.
The boys now ready, they walked onto deck just as the final approach was being made to Dragonstone. Finding their sisters wasn't difficult as the four of them truly stuck out from the sailors despite the Rahl colors and sigil being all too common on the ship. Castor moved to his eldest sister and smiled happily at her. "So, it seems that we've finally arrived in Westeros. The edges I'll admit, but it feels weird to finally be at a place you've only read about."
“True. We shall have to take the long boats ashore. Seems Dragonstone was made more for flying in than boating. Rather proud of those dragons are they not?" Nix rolled her eyes and Cassie giggled. “Alright we have a few things that the sailors can not fit into one trip. So multiple trips it is. We are all going on the first trip."
All four of the siblings climbed into the long boat and set off for the row into Dragonstone. As the shore came closer into view Nix scanned the sea and shore to see who had come to greet them. Upon seeing the singular Valyrian man with a couple of guards and a handful of servants; Nix looked over at Castor with her eyebrow arched in speculation. This was not the welcome they had anticipated, and the enthusiasm -or lack thereof- was rather disconcerting. The Valyrian man was tall and lean with long white hair dressed in black. His grave countenance made the Rahl siblings look to each other then back at the waiting party.
Edwell Celtigar watched the long boat pull up with the Rahl children within it. He silently admitted wryly that they were a captivating bunch and that he wished that he were a younger unmarried man as his gaze covertly roamed over the young woman with raven hair. The calm blank faces that gazed back at him were almost unnerving especially when compared to the wariness of the sailors that pulled the boats ashore. The two males had more of the Valyrian look with the silvery blonde hair. The younger of the two had sea colored eyes that were both blue and green, as if they did not want to be tied to one color. Coltish and lean the boy looked like he only had a few years before he would be close to his older brother’s height.
As Edwell set his sights upon the elder of the brothers, he saw the full force of the Rahl’s Valyrian heritage. The man, for that is what he was, was tall and graceful with a wiry build. The pale hair that topped his head was disheveled in a way that looked like he had just risen from the attentions of a young woman. Violet eyes were intent on Edwell’s own orchid color as Edwell greeted them. “My apologies to the House of Rahl. We have not had good tidings of late. I am Edwell Celtigar, Lord of Driftmark.”
"Indeed, our cousins always have liked their dragons. I can't honestly blame them but still I imagine supplying the island a nightmare with constant trips with longboats." Despite his words, Castor was deeply impressed with the formidable looking fortress that stood before them. Even from the sea it was imposing and Castor vaguely recalled the year of its construction. "We'll go first and take Guilermo or Seb so they can see where our rooms will be and direct our belongings." It was phrased as a question and as a statement, the way that Castor and his sister Nix communicated. Each knew that they could seemingly override one statement and suggest another. If agreed upon the matter was dropped, if not then it would go back and forth doing other activities. It was quite intriguing to watch but most of the time the two of them agreed.
In any regard, Castor and Pyxis found themselves being rowed to Dragonstone. Pyxis had a blank expression on his face but Castor could tell that the boy was impressed and taking in every single detail. Pyxis was the kind of boy that would look at each segment of the wall and try and determine which mine in old Valyria it came from all while silently being a beacon of calmness to everyone else around him. Castor envied his brother a little for that. Castor himself struggled to remain inwardly calm unless his sword was bared and in the middle of a fight. It seemed that only then was he truly alive. Though, he supposed that he did also like to just have fun, but it was different, almost like a thin sheet placed over top of Castor's true nature.
He was broken out of his thoughts when the ship landed and he almost revealed his true shock as he realized their welcome was quite Individualistic. Castor realized he had unconsciously locked eyes with this individual and as Edwell introduced himself Castor nodded respectfully and stepped off the Longboat. "I understand, while it is unfortunate that we could be greeted by our hosts, our family more than understands that at the end of the day family comes first. I thank you for introduction I am Castor Rahl and allow me to introduce to you Pheynix, Cassiopeia, and Pyxis Rahl." Castor indicated each of his siblings as he introduced them and then tilted his head to the right. "We have been traveling nonstop since Braavos, and are looking forward to having ground under our feet again. You mentioned bad tidings, what news do you have for us?"
Edwell sighed heavily as if the news weighed heavily on him, which it did. "The Crowned Prince Aegon, heir to the Iron Throne, and his bride Rhaena were attacked. Aegon was wounded and died. King Aenys has also passed."
Cassie's hand flew to cover her mouth as Nix turned her sister to cover her reaction. Stroking Cassie's hair in a soothing gesture, Nix looked up at Edwell, her large golden green gaze like a cat's in the fading light. With her raven hair and cat eyes Edwell thought she could be the picture of Nymeria from ages long past. Until you took in the classically pale complexion and angular features that screamed Valyrian which were only softened by her sex. She was almost an opposite of her brother, Castor, as if two sides to the same coin. One side in light, the other in shadow. Pheynix Rahl stood as tall as the Princess Melyssanthi or the Dowager Queen Visyena but rather than their svelte figures the Rahl girl was voluptuous and willowy.
As the Rahl girls turned to give Cassie a moment to compose herself Edwell also noted that the younger girl, Cassiopeia, would also turn out to be a real beauty. Her hair was a deep mahogany color and her complexion like her sister's was as pale as moonlight. Eyes that had shone with tears before Pheynix had turned her. Edwell could only say that they looked to be a deep blue. The family as a whole were striking each in their own way. He sucked in a breath at the dramatic streak of pure snow white that was divided and ran through Pheynix’s braids.
Looking over her shoulder at Edwell and noting the direction of his eyes, Nix recalled that she had wanted to wrap her braids around her head like a crown. Everyone was startled by her hair. She liked to think it was her mother’s stamp on her since she looked so much like her father’s side of the family. Ever the diplomat Nix rubbed her sister’s arms. “Lord Edwell, our condolences for your loss. We shall express our condolences to the family in person." Nix indicated the imposing fortress above them.
The things were gathered and the stairs were negotiated. Swiftly the trunks disappear to rooms that have been prepared. Nix nodded to Guilermo and Seb as they cast looks of question at both her and Castor. She knew that Castor had already spoken to the two of them and that they already had a plan. Cassie thankfully had composed herself and though mournful for their Targareyn cousins was not openly weeping. The quick spate of tears that the girl had was enough for the present. She would be better till she saw the family Nix was sure.
Ah, that would explain the lack of a large welcome and the overall somber mood that seemed to smother the area. Pyxis for his part nodded sadly and then kept his face blank. Castor didn't even nod and instead gave a sigh and glanced back to see if the second Longboat was about to arrive. He returned his attention just as Pheynix spoke and he quickly added his own words as was expected. "I share my sister's regrets and hope that our presence might be a small distraction and perhaps even offer some comfort if at all possible." Pyxis gave a nod of approval as if a voiceless echo.
The four were escorted up into Dragonstone proper, and then separated. Pyxis and Castor were taken to one shared room which seemed quite large and well furnished which meant it was obviously suited to noble visitors. Castor could only chuckle as he looked over to his younger brother and pointed to the larger bed. "That one will be mine." Pyxis merely plopped down on the other bed, having already thought what Castor was going to say. The two then looked to the door where a servant had curtsied and cleared her throat.
"Pardon me My Lords but did you require anything while waiting for an audience? Food? A bath?" The servant's eyes couldn't help but linger on Castor as she spoke and her cheeks might've even reddened a bit.
"Ah, for the moment I believe we are OK. Thank you, just let us know when we are prepared."
The girls had been escorted to their rooms just as the boys had been. They were also asked if they needed anything. Nix smirked at Cassie. "Baths. And no matter what our brothers told you they need one too. Sea baths do not get you clean." Nix grinned as they waited for their baths to be drawn.