"The Docks of Valura" by FrankAtt on DeviantArt
Reidyn Sand
House: House Freitas
Kingdom: Dorne
Date: 293/06/14

Another long day followed the bright orange sun into the cool waves at the horizon. Reidyn felt the last few drops of wine trickle down his throat as he tipped his flask over his mouth. The smooth Dornish drink soothed the throbbing headache he had endured that afternoon. The celebration at the Red Port was amusing, but the reveling cheers for the competing duelists did not flatter him. Reidyn was at home by the water. The warm taste of salt on the air, the sinking sand under his feet, and the soft crashing of the waves on the shore called him to the shores of the Narrow Sea. A sharp ache fought against him as he stood up, reminding him of the hours he had spent training earlier in the day.

Reidyn picked up his worn leather sheath and brushed off the coarse sand. It was heavy, but the substantial weight was justified by the blade it bore. He strapped on the belt and tightened the rusty buckle, then dexterously drew the dagger from its sheath. He gratefully recalled the fateful day that the Tyroshi mercenary had left his dagger jabbed into the dirt under his tent at the harbor, beckoning for Reidyn to claim it. In the fiery, glowing reflection off the spotless, artisan-crafted steel he met his own rugged face. The dark bags that underlined his keen brown eyes were new to him. With a nonchalant sigh he twirled the dagger by the hilt and sheathed it effortlessly. Reidyn’s calloused hands hesitantly released the tattered leather grip. He instantly missed the satisfying balance of the weapon, but began to lackadaisically turn and wander toward the lights down the shore.

As night drowned the world, the distant bustling of the crowded Red Port sunk the whispers of the waves. The marketplace had just been constructed; today the nobles of House Freitas had crossed the Broken Arm to celebrate the hub’s completion and hosted a tournament for duelists from all over Dorne and the Free Cities. While the emptiness of Reidyn’s pockets made him light on his feet, it had chained him to the spectators’ seats during the competition. He could not afford to compete. The challengers were hardly skilled; nonetheless, he had observed intently, learned from the contestants, and trained between matches. He knew that one day, the world would recognize his prowess.

As he stepped from the loose sand onto the rigid planks of the docks, a sharp scream found his ears, followed by an eerie silence. Reidyn froze, peering intently across the pier. Out of the corner of his left eye, he saw a small shadow sprint across a narrow alleyway and disappear into the winding maze of boarded buildings.

“Leave her be. She won’t be an issue no more. This one, however...”

The gruff voice was carried by a rushing wind that sailed across the wharf. Reidyn slowly crept toward the wind-beaten shack in front of him and peered around the corner at the harbor. Cradled in the water rested a massive ship, heavy sails folded, anchored and tied to the dock. Reidyn recognized the shape and form: a pirate’s vessel that cast a looming shadow over the moonlit boardwalk.

“Oi, you think you can steal from us? Maybe I will let Flick at yeh.”

The unsavory dialect forced its way into his ears like the sharp lashing of his slave master’s whip. These three men were pirates, no doubt. Relentless brutes, arrogant ruffians, merciless criminals. Though the Red Port was Freitas territory, it was also a sanctuary for hardened folk from The Narrow Sea. Sometimes, the men that landed there were dangerous and unwelcome. The girl they had cornered was small, slender, and scared. Mercy for the pitiful child began to stir an anger inside of Reidyn’s body.

“That’s enough, Tankard. Dispose of her.”

Wrath boiled in Reidyn’s gut. Conviction fueled his steps as he drove himself at the trio. His eyes were fixed on the big one, Tankard, who had the girl in his arms, screaming, fighting, crying. Reidyn felt his hand grip the hilt of his dagger and slide the blade out of the sheath. The balance felt natural in his hand, but he wielded the weapon loosely, willing to unleash. Reidyn’s vision was tunneling; nothing concerned him but his concentration on his opponent. With a confident cry, he grabbed the marauder’s sweaty shoulder and buried his blade deep in the man’s calf, then released his grip. As he backed up, Reidyn winced as the man’s screams surged through his ears and shook at the sudden thud of the girl collapsing on the edge of the planks. His heartbeat told him he was thrilled, but his mind was mortified by his own visceral will. Before he could reconcile his own action, Reidyn felt the weight of another man crash onto his back.

The fight was effortless. Reidyn’s training kicked in instinctually. He threw the assailant over his body and onto the hardwood below. The whole dock shook as the man came crashing down onto his back with a painful screech. Reidyn danced around the third, whose punches were slow, movements were clumsy, and balance was unpracticed. With one swift motion, Reidyn grappled the ruffian and tripped him onto the ground. Looking up, he followed a trail of bright red blood to see Tankard crawling away, defeated. His friend was far ahead of him, sprinting into the cover of the alleys. With a kick and a nod Reidyn sent the fallen pirate darting after his retreating companions.

Smirking with satisfaction, Reidyn watched the foolish trio scamper fearfully into the dark. He kneeled and caught the girl just as her grip released from the ledge. She embraced him, and he felt her tears soak into his linen tunic.

“The water is nothing to be afraid of, girl.”

“I can’t swim.” Her voice trembled as she spoke. “I need to find my father, Lord Freitas.”

A noble. This Lord would surely acknowledge his great deed.

“Your father owes me a new blade, princess."