Truthfully she did lack gold at the present time. A couple of gold dragons, some silver stags and more coppers than she needed. But clothes were not her concern and she liked what she had; black was her colour.
Alyx was patient in hearing him out, letting him lay down the ground rules for her. If she were to have passage then she would have to follow his law. She knew when it was appropriate to bend rules and when it was not; right now it was all in the balance and all about getting aboard his ship. She was more than willing to do her fair share of work, so long as it was not as an oarsman and that seemed ruled out already, so as he spoke she nodded in agreement. Alyx felt suspicious regarding her living quarters but she could not complain; her suspicion regarding it came from being young and nervous regarding those sorts of affairs. In the end, she got a bed that happened to be in the captain’s quarters which was a hell of a lot better than she could have hoped for on any other vessel. Almost too good to be true.
"I think those are generous terms. I can tell this is a special case and I’m flattered." Because really, how many captains gave such generous terms? This one was special.
"Of course. I’m Alyx Stone. Lady Sellsword is okay too though. I kind of like that." It was not every day she was called ‘Lady’, after all, because she was a bastard of the Vale.
"Do I get your name in return?"
He nodded, she was indeed lucky. And this was quite possibly his last generous offer before they set sail for eastern shores. Aurane wasn’t about to lose the claim as a pirate king because he aided those that wanted it. Not that he had that issue. He did however, take notice that she didn’t seem to agree with the living arrangements. The pirate couldn’t help but smirk, despite her discomfort. Not wanting her to assume that he would take advantage of her, he said, “You have no need to fear me. You will have your own space as I will mine.”
"It seems we have more in common than either of us had thought," he mused. "I am Aurane Waters… the bastard of Driftmark to some, The Lord of the Waters for those to come." The title seemed fitting, since he wasn’t a legitimized son of House Velaryon. In his mind he could just see his brother’s face, rolling his eyes out of irritation for the younger’s want to be an equal. Too bad the man died in Blackwater.
"It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Alyx Stone," he said more politely than he had spoken before.
His amusement unnerved her slightly and to her mind it was like he was not taking her seriously at all. That was something she had experienced all too many times as a female sellsword, especially with that young soft featured face of hers. Initially she scorned it, but then she came to see its benefits in regards to deception. She managed well enough in King’s Landing but this was a group of islands full of deviants and criminals. Sellsword or not, she did not belong here.
Alyx clenched her jaw as he quickly took her hands, not at all liking the physical contact, but she persevered with it all the same with her eyes fixed on him. She gave a one-sided smirk and her eyebrows raised, letting out a short laugh. Once he freed her hands though it was a relief to her and she let them fall to her sides just as carelessly as he had let go of them. The sellsword had no intentions of working as an oarsman. Her job was to kill and steal secrets occasionally, not hard physical labour. If she had it her way, then being up in the crow’s nest didn’t seem all such a bad idea. She would have a view of everything up there and she was so used to being at the bottom.
Meereen. Now that was an exciting destination! But she had heard rumours at the docks, both here and back on mainland Westeros, that the mother of dragons was dead, or she had left Meereen. The story varied from person to person. “I think it’s pretty self-explanitory. We wouldn’t be talking to each other right now if I wasn’t a capable fighter.” And she took little pride in the things she had done. They were justified in her mind, towards a bigger end, but that did not mean she had to like what she did.
The thought of sharing a vessel with a large group of distasteful men, some having done far worse than what she had ever dared do, did not bother her as much as it probably should have. She had killed men like those and she was sure she would do so again. The pretty captain would not like blood on his decks though, she was sure.
"I say… whichever one means you’ll actually take me on board. I know a lot of captains won’t take anyone on board unless they do their fair share of work. If that’s what it takes to get on a ship away from here then so be it. Buuuuut…" Now she took a slow step forward, crossing her arms over her chest and tilting her head up to look closer at the captain. "If I can get on board as a passenger, then that’s preferable. Just know that, passenger or crewmember, if any of your men try anything with me, I will kill them.” Or die in the attempt. She did not expect that to persuade the fair haired man, but she thought she would show some honesty for once. Alyx had heard somewhere that honesty was the best policy and she was yet to actually put that to the test until now.
He scowled at her reply, knowing full well that if she could not get herself better clothes, her purse was not overflowing with gold. And not being one to offer free passage, he really had to think. Should they encounter ships while at sea, the girl would be useful. And since they were sailing east, there was always risk of encountering other pirates. Not to mention, should she be lying about her skills, their enemies would dispose of her and there wouldn’t be problem.
Now the only issue lay with her gender. The crew was filled with men, not to mention that they were all criminals of some fashion. Aurane’s eyes scanned her once more, determining that it wouldn’t be too bad to have some female company. But even then, he wasn’t the sort of man to take advantage of a young woman. ”You will do what you can to make yourself useful,” he said in a calm voice, his expression now relaxed. ”However. I advise you to stay in the Captain’s quarters with me. They will eventually find out you are a woman, given time.” The pirate crossed his arms across his chest and clicked his tongue a single time as he was cautiously finding his words, “You are not required to do anything for me except your fair share of the work on deck.” He voice didn’t falter as he spoke, in fact he was giving her the set of rules she needed to follow if she wanted to survive this journey across the sea to wherever it was the needed to be to find the Targaryen princess. The last known location was Meereen, and so they would sail first to Lys to find out more news. It was frustrating enough that he only had rumors to go by.
"I do expect you to fight when and if we get attacked by other pirates or if there so happens to be a bout when we port. You are a sellsword who is getting free passage… Make yourself worth it," Aurane muttered the last words irritably. He wasn’t fond of being overly generous to others, let alone sharing his well-earned cabin. But he didn’t let that bother him. He rarely slept on the bed in there anyways, so it was the perfect place for the girl to stay.
"If you do not disagree with the terms, then I welcome you to the crew," he said as he took an elaborate bow. In a way he was poking fun at her, since she was a lady that was unlike those that would require the gesture. "However, if you are to be a part of the crew, Lady Sellsword. I must be able to call you something. Unless I am to call you ‘sellsword’ every time."
Pure luck, it was, that she had encountered the owner of all these ships and he was now her biggest hope of getting off of this wretched island. She had no time now for idle admiration as she held onto every word, her pale gaze following his every movement like a hawk. “From what I’ve heard, Sweet Cersei isn’t that sweet.” This captain was young and handsome, so it was no doubt that the queen favoured him enough to grant him ships. He probably fucked her for them, She initially thought. This man had wormed a harbour of ships out of the queen and that was admirable.
Alyx’s gaze met his and not once did they flicker elswhere. Staring people dead in the eyes usually unnerved most and that was why she had made sure to be good at it. With a smile she shrugged her shoulders, hands up in surrender for a moment. “Me being alone is nothing unusual, believe me. The black clothes was a mistake, I admit… but black was always my colour. A sellsword can’t always afford to dress as pretty as you, captain.” With a sweeping gaze over his clothes she shrugged again.
"As it so happens, I’m here because I wanted to cross the Narrow Sea to start a new life away from Gulltown. This is as far as I’ve got. Now I don’t know which way to go." She made sure to sound solemn, hoping to win some sympathy before she went any further.
"Where exactly are you and then queen’s former ships heading? Perhaps I could tag along. You can’t have honest intentions if you’re stopping off here."
His gaze remained stern for moments longer, but his lips gave way as they cracked into a smile. The girl didn’t realize the ship itself was named after the imprisoned dowager queen. Sweet Cersei was in fact a lovely ship, more elegant in some ways than Lord Tywin, and even more so than the woman it was named after in his opinion. But while he would admit that the once queen was as beautiful as many say, he had managed to avoid falling prey to her grasp. And instead, had managed to woe her with words and his striking familiarity to the former Prince Rhaegar Targaryen.
Aurane’s grin eventually broke to where he chuckled softly, finding the girl’s wit to be rather quick and her personality thus far amusing. It was true, a sellsword wouldn’t be able to afford fanciful clothes, but to go so far as to call his outfit a dress? Some would take it as an insult. But he found humor in it, knowing fair well that the fashion sense of the south, let alone the east, varied far from what the girl was used to. Silks and odd fashions were only seen on foreigners, and possibly even whores from expensive brothels to show exotic tastes. But nevertheless, he brushed off the comment like it were dust in the wind.
Feeling a light breeze, he raised his hand to the sky, letting the wind lick his fingers and swim through the fabrics that he wore to cool himself. His white-gold hair flicked gently behind him like paper does as it floats to the ground. But once the soft wind slowed, his hand dropped to the hilt of his sword and he shifted his weight from one leg to the other. He cocked an eyebrow at the girl’s interest to join his crew, and then studied her more intently. She seemed to be younger than him, but not by much. It was probably because of her face shape, not as angular like some of the older women he had encountered before. Her clothes seemed worn, not nearly as clean like she hadn’t seen a fight in her life. Not to mention her bow hung behind her back and her quiver was full of arrows that seemed to have seen more than one fight each. Aurane’s grey-green eyes glanced over her figure, noting that she didn’t seem overweight and the clothes she had on seemed more fitted to her which caused him to disregard the idea that she was frail.
Lastly, he glanced at her hands. They weren’t clean like most women’s. Dirt hid underneath her nails, and she seemed to have callouses on her fingers where she would grip her arrows. Taking a few steps forward, rather nonchalantly, he grabbed her hands and examined them more closely. ”Well, I don’t think you’ll be able to be an oarsman,” he said sarcastically, as his eyes glanced back to her face to see her reaction. ”And you probably don’t have the strength to work the deck besides cleaning or possibly waiting in the crow’s nest.” The Lord of the Waters carelessly let go of her hands as he took a step back and reassessed the possibilities of bringing her on board.
"I plan to take the fleet east, quite possibly towards Mereen," Aurane grinned at the thought of sailing once more. Besides waiting for his ships to be fully operational, he had been waiting for the winds to liven up so their journey could be swift. "I hope you are more of a capable fighter than you would be a valuable crew member," he continued in a now serious tone. "You do realize this fleet’s crew consists of all sorts of criminals that would have normally be sent to the Night’s Watch? Unlike the Crows perched upon the Wall, these men have sworn their loyalty to me… and I do not dictate what they do with their spoils of war." The pirate’s gaze hardened as it locked with the young woman before him. "Now, the question is, am I taking you on as a passenger or as a member of the crew? Miss?
The unfamiliar voice snapped Alyx out of her daze and made her flinch, before she turned her pale gaze to the man approaching her. She huffed in amusement and let a smirk spread across her lips at his words. “Lord Tywin? I have to say, the ship looks a little better than the real Lord Tywin.” But then again, that was hardly any competition, especially since the real one was rotting in the ground after an unfortunate privy accident.
Slowly and casually, Alyx turned her whole body to face the man properly, brushing the back of her hand against her forehead to rid it of sweat from the burning sun. Stepping towards the fair haired man, Alyx’s smirk remained plastered across her lips, each step carefully placed. “Forgive me, but I never truly mastered manners very well. And frankly, I don’t care what others think. I wouldn’t be here if that were the case.” I would still be in Gulltown if I did, probably the wife of some stinking sailor or working in a brothel.
"I take it this is your ship?" As if that was not already painfully obvious to her, she had to make sure. With that said she turned her gaze back to Lord Tywin, sneering slightly as if mentally criticising the vessel. If this man was the captain of this ship, then perhaps she could persuade him to let her join him to… wherever it was he was heading. Anywhere was better than loitering the Stepstones.
"I’m curious now. Why is this ship called Lord Tywin? Any interesting story behind that? Or are you just an admirer of the man?”
He mused at the thought that the young woman before him was inquiring if the ship before them was his as if the others belonged to someone else. ”Yes, this one belongs to me. As do the others in this harbor, ” he smirked as he studied her features. Brown was her hair, and her skin tanning from the suns rays. She was outfitted in black, a color many would be discouraged to wear in the south. He tried his best not to laugh, at his initial scrutiny because she seemed to hold herself well.
"It’s not just Lord Tywin that has an interesting story, all of the ships in the harbor are named after various members of the ruling houses,” Aurane spoke quickly as he walked past the woman in black. His gaze started from the base of the dock and scanned his flagship from its base to the tip of its mast, his eyes glinting with pride. ”Long story short, I have Sweet Cersei to thank for these ships,” he continued as he nodded in the direction of the second ship he just mentioned. If he could have named the ships differently without being questioned, he would have. But to play his cards right, he had to feed the lioness some bait to come out on top.
Aurane turned now to face the girl that was seemingly engrossed by the sight, “As for your third question, I admired the man for his tenacity. A truly fearsome creature to behold, no matter if you were his ally or foe.” The pirate then crossed his arms and stared into the stranger’s eyes, his voice unwavering, “Now, what is a young woman like yourself doing in a place like this all alone? Not to mention, you are dressed in black in the south.” Her blunt mannerisms amused him greatly, and because of it, he was able to rule out the possibility that he was in the midst of a noblewoman. And if she was? Well, then she had stronger balls than some of his crew, to talk the way she had just done.
Why did I think getting a ship to the Stepstones was a good idea?
That question ran rampant in the sellsword’s mind the entire time as she paced the harbour, hoping to find a ship to take her across the Narrow Sea to a new life. There were troubles up in Slaver’s Bay she had heard and war was the perfect opportunity for a sellsword. There were probably thousands others like her hoping to do the same thing, except she figured that they had managed to get one ship all the way across the Narrow Sea and not half way.
The Stepstones were dangerous and notorious for being the hotspot for pirates, sellswords and all sorts of other troublemakers. I should fit right in, really. Not only did Alyx think it incredibly stupid to land herself here, but also to wear black from head to toe. Her leather and light armour was starting to make her sweat down here in the south. If this is hot then it’ll be even worse across the Narrow Sea. I should have thought this through better. But… anything to get away from Gulltown.
Alyx approached the nearest ship that looked in good repair, admiring it for a few moments while she thought out her plan of action. Someone must need a sword or a bow somewhere, and I need a ship to get off these hell stones. Suddenly she was feeling anxious. This place should have been the perfect place for a sellsword like herself but it made her uneasy. My place is in Westeros… Now she wondered which side of the sea she wanted to travel to. And while she faced this conflict in her head, she simply stood in front of the ship staring up at it, oblivious to the world.
Stepping out of the tavern, to take a breath of fresh air, Aurane blinked as the light from the sun hit his face. It was refreshing, compared to inspecting the galleys of his ships, or joining his captains for a few drinks as the days passed. They had been in Torturer’s Bay for some time now, repairing the damages done to the ships that he had absconded with from Kings Landing. He snorted at the thought of how incredibly easy it was to have not only convinced the former queen to agree with his request, let alone to take them out of her grasp. It was a wise move to play the Lannister, thankful that she was gullible enough to believe he held an interest in her.
He made his way towards the docks, glancing around as he saw members of his crew stumbling about, drunk, and laughing amongst one another. A sight he was more comfortable with rather than being in a keep with nobles scrutinizing your every move. But Aurane was still being watched. He did happen to take the Stepstones recently and label himself as Lord of the Waters. A feat that many pirates will not overlook so easily. But they were not for him to worry about. He had already earned the trust of those he had inducted into his fleet, and their numbers outweighed that of the original occupants of the islands. The feat itself was amusing, possibly his greatest yet, but he still had plans.
White hair started to cling to his face once he made it to the docks. His slender fingers brushed them out of the way as he took a string to tie the locks back to he could have a clear view of the dock. But standing in front of his flagship was an unfamiliar figure. His fair face frowned as he noticed the undesirable person blocked the potential enticing visage of his ships docked in the harbor. Shifting his weight and resting a hand on his hip, he called out to the individual that seemed to be in complete awe. ”Lord Tywin truly is a marvel to behold. You have good taste,” he mused, ”It isn’t wise to just stand there and stare, there are few who would think it rude.”