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The news trickles down from high to low: the king is safe. Under the constant care of maesters and septons since his collapse following thirty days of fasting, the worst is over and the Grand Maester believes he will recover… in time. Never robust, the king’s fast left him on the precipice of death and his painfully-thin form is now almost cadaverous. He is too weak to even speak for more than brief periods, and when he has the strength he prefers to pray and consult with septons. But Prince Viserys has spoken with him, and at the king’s behest it will be the Hand who will hold court and sit
Thirty days of fasting. Thirty days of prayer. Thirty days to atone for the nameless sins that made the gods take Princes Naerys’s twins to their bosom, and nearly killed her.
Thirty days to collapse, body thin and wasted, eyes dimmed. Thirty days for a crown to roll across the royal sept’s floor, to end at the foot of the statue of the Stranger, who is death.
King Baelor fasted and prayed by day, prayed and fasted by night. He would take water on occasion, and bread occasionally (though more and more seldom as his fast progressed). The Grand Maester councilled him to eat
It was at the end of the third month of the 164th year since Aegon’s Conquest that the Dornish embassy to the Iron Throne departed the Planky Town. The weather had been fair enough, despite the autumn season, and the captain of the ship carrying them to King’s Landing had plotted a cautious route that would protect them as much as may be from the autumn storms that sometimes roared up and down the narrow sea. Three weeks, they supposed, the journey would take if thigns went fairly; perhaps even two, though that was likely too much to hope for unless the Seven willed it. So a fortnight passed,
Princess Naerys Targaryen, daughter of the Hand and wife of Prince Aegon, was quite suddenly brought to the bloody bed after months of the most careful stewardship of her pregnancy. Never the strongest of women, the birth of her sole child Daeron having nearly undone her, still she bore up bravely as she remained often abed on the advice of the maesters and her companions. But while she entered her labor, there were worried looks among those self-same maesters and companions: it was too soon, and too sudden. If Naerys realized it, she did not say, instead closing her eyes and mouthing
There have been scandals, both lesser and greater, that have wormed their way into the gossip of the court, from a lady assaulted by common hands to a disgraced knight riding in a wedding tourney to a coterie of young lords and ladies becoming ensnarled in whispers of a lewd, foreign book and its scandalous drawings that would make a septon’s hair rise on end. That last scandal led to the dismissal of one woman from the court, its said, to lead a life of penitence in some distant motherhouse. Yet otherwise, despite these troubles, these problems with the morality of the Kingslanders and the
Ser Rynos Prester has certainly created a stir with his book of lewd and lascivious drawings! Just a week ago, Septon Elwood gave a fiery sermon in the Royal Sept, where he called out all the congregants for their sins of lust. He chided the married woman for lusting after her husband, and the maiden for lusting at all. He was most particularly inspired by Prester’s vile book, and seemed to single out those known to have seen so much as a page of the book, or to have made inquiries as well. Not everyone was best pleased; Ser Albyn Crane was especially furious to have been looked upon in what
After many months of negotiation, waiting, and speculation, and a fortnight after plans were at last announced, the Dornish emissaries to King Baelor’s court at last departed by ship from the Planky Town. The feast the evening prior to their departure had been without any noteworthy incident. Prince Marence had arranged no joust or melee to go with it, perhaps for fear of what might happen; little more than a month before one of the Iron Throne’s own emissaries—the famed Lord Mallister—had come to a horrible, disfiguring jousting injury thanks to the prince’s own brother, Prince Rhodry. The
For those who had traveled to the riverlands months earlier, who witnessed a wedding and a feud and the unquiet spirits (if such they were), the return to the royal city of King’s Landing may well have been greatly welcome. But though the city may have been welcoming, it had not stopped in being what it was, the center of the realm, the heart of it, the high seat where lords and knights and ladies existed in King Baelor’s court. Beneath the shadow of the Iron Throne, and the shadow of the Maidenvault where the three princesses now linger, life went on.
And so for those who returned, the
It was with anticipation that the court and the people of the shadow city met the tourney that Prince Marence had called, though it was not necessarily a welcoming anticipation. The rumors were rife that the tourney was an occasion for the Prince of Dorne to name the date at which a party of emissaries would leave for the Iron Throne, counterpart to that foreign embassy already in the city. Many doubted the efficacy of such a plan, the trustworthiness of the lords north of the mountains, or even of the gods-mad king that rules the Seven Kingdoms. Yet still, perhaps the rumors were wrong…
The feud between the Brackens and the Blackwoods came to an end—not with a siege, not with a battle, but with the judgement of the Lady of Riverrun, Tinessa Tully. She came to Stone Hedge at the head of a host, but it was not to wage war against those ancient walls. Instead, meeting with Lord Bracken, she followed the example of her late father, using words to win peace. Though Bloody Brus Bracken raged against the injustice of the murder of his son, Ser Hoster, that he laid at the feet of the Blackwoods, Lady Tully promised justice—justice, and the truth. What she meant by that was unclear
The news spreads throughout the encampment that has gathered outside the walls of Riverrun, growing larger each day as lords from throughout the riverlands have sent banners to Lady Tully’s call: the host will march tomorrow under the command of the heir to Riverrun, Ser Edmure Tully, to join Ser Patrek Vance and Ser Brynden Tully. Last warnings have flown to Raventree and Stone Hedge, it’s said. The feuding Blackwoods and Brackens have found their efforts constrained by the presence of the Tully advanced force patrolling their boundary… but despite this, they’ve still persisted in their
The feuding has burned between the Brackens and the Blackwoods, and the slowly growing gathering of banner at Riverrun and endless ravens have done nothing to end it. Raid and counter-raid, ambush and skirmish, these have been the ways in which Raventree Hall and Stone Hedge have exchanged their scorn. It seems even the efforts of Prince Aegon Targaryen and an entourage of followers including Jaesin Lannister of the Kingsguard and Lord Serry of Southshield were incapable of dissuading either side from their course. When Prince Aegon returned to Riverrun to report the failure of diplomacy to
A messenger came swiftly down along the Red Fork, flying through the encamped nobility in the fields beyond Riverrun, and taking the first ferry over. Many guessed that his urgent news had to do with the Brackens and Blackwoods, the feuding noble houses whose ancient disputes had flared up again at the tourney to celebrate the wedding of one of Lady Tinessa’s daughters, but little did they know how right they were…
For, despite her efforts and the ravens she had sent winging to Stone Hedge and Raventree Hall, the feud had reached new heights of bloodshed: the messenger reported that the
The morning of the wedding tourney to celebrate the union of Ser Willard Ryger, heir to Willow Wood, and Andrya Tully, began well. The field outside of Riverrun was crowded with the pavilions of great lords and knights from throughout the riverlands, and even beyond. More than eighty knights and esquires had entered their names in the herald’s rolls, and among them were well-known names: from Raventree Hall came Balian Blackwood and his kin, from Stone Hedge came Bloody Brus Bracken and Othan Blackmane and more kinsmen beside, the surviving Twin of the Crossing Ser Halder Frey, Argett
Weeks had passed since the emissaries from the Iron Throne had arrived at the Old Palace of Sunspear, and the lords and knights and ladies in that company seemed to have found a place at the court that was, if not comfortable, at least safe. Though there were tensions—snide remarks and sullen glances, whispers behind backs and any number of minor discourtesies offered them by some of the Dornish—it had seemed peaceful enough. Perhaps in the cause of improving relations further, perhaps merely to show his strong support for the embassy, Prince Marence commanded a tourney with rich prizes. It
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