Orphans of the Greenblood
Orphaned from their Homeland
The orphans still mourn the loss of their distant homeland in Essos and so continue to practice the traditions of their river-faring ancestors.
They consider themselves to be “orphans” as they are of the Rhoynar and have been orphaned from their “Mother,” the river Rhoyne, which in their faith also holds a divine status. Therefore, they also identify the river as "Mother Rhoyne."
Way of Life
The orphans live on rafts along the river Greenblood. It is said that when they first came to Dorne they built their smaller boats from the burned carcasses of the ships they used to cross the narrow sea.
The orphans of the Greenblood pole their boats up and down the river and its tributaries, fishing, picking fruits, and doing whatever work is required. They go to Planky Town to trade with the carracks, cogs, and galleys from across the narrow sea. Some have been known to sell cloth and spices up and down the Greenblod.
The orphan boats are pole boats. They have hardly any draft to speak of and are painted and carved. They have low roofs and wide beams. Daeron I Targaryen disparaged them as "hovels built on rafts," but that is hardly a fair assessment; all but the poorest orphan boats are wonderfully carved and painted.
A Feast for Crows
The pole boat that ambushes Princess Arianne Martell and her companions when they reach the Greenblood is painted in shades of green, with a curved wooden tiller shaped like a mermaid, and fish faces peering through her rails. Poles and ropes and jars of olive oil clutter her decks and iron lanterns swing fore and aft.
Nymeria’s blood is in me, along with that of Mors Martell, the Dornish lord she married. On the day they wed, Nymeria fired her ships, so her people would understand that there could be no going back. Most were glad to see those flames, for their voyagings had been long and terrible before they came to Dorne, and many and more had been lost to storm, disease, and slavery. There were a few who mourned, however. They did not love this dry red land or its seven-faced god, so they clung to their old ways, hammered boats together from the hulks of the burned ships, and became the orphans of the Greenblood. The Mother in their songs is not our Mother, but the Mother Rhoyne, whose waters nourished them from the dawn of days.
References and Notes