Pentos and its forces have proved most stubborn, as the Dornish army on Bloodstone finds itself in a stalemate: holding half the island but not being able to push past that, as each day brings the opportunity for reinforcements from Pentos to change the balance of power. Siege and counter-siege, raid and counter-raid, skirmish and even a battle—but at no point have the allies been able to win an advantage, and this is owed almost entirely to the legion of Unsullied that Pentos has used as a stalwart anchor for its forces. Again and again the Unsullied have proved too disciplined and too
The war to free the Stepstones of the oppressive control of the Free City of Pentos continued after the parley proved a failure. Oakenfist withdrew his fleet to Gray Gallows in a movement that surely surprised the Pentoshi… but it was merely a stratagem, a way to quietly divide the fleet into three parts that would assault different parts of the isle of Bloodstone. With the help of natives to the Stepstones, Oakenfist determined three locations that would be the likeliest place where men could be landed… and though some of them might be well-defended, it was hoped at least one would prove
The naval engagement had proved a victory for the fleet under the command of Lord Alyn Velaryon, opening the way for an assault on the large Stepstone isle called Bloodstone. Aptly named for its bloody history, the isle is key to control of the Stepstones ... or ending that control, as the combined forces of the Iron Throne and Dorne wish to do after the Free City of Pentos became too demanding with its tolls on ships that sought to cross those waters. But despite capturing a good portion of the fleet the Free City had raised, some of their war galleys escaped, and Bloodstone itself is
The stubborn citadel, manned by Unsullied, falls at last on Grey Gallows—but at a bloody cost, as 300 Dornishmen lie dead in the storming of the fortress. Yet with the harbor secured, and a toehold won in the Stepstones, the question that followed was what to do next. The Dornish leaders wished to fight aggressively, to aim for the Pentoshi strongholds on the isle of Bloodstone, but Lord Velaryon who commands King Baelor’s fleet refused to move so quickly without a chance to send galleys ahead to scout the isles nearest to Grey Gallows first; indeed, Oakenfist’s preference was to take lesser
As Lord Velaryon’s fleet, carrying the Dornish forces under command of Ser Laurent Dalt and Prince Rhodry Martell, sits in the waters of Grey Gallows as the citadel guarding a small, lonely harbor on that stony Stepstone isle is blockaded and put to a fitful siege. After swift victories at sea driving away or capturing the Pentoshi ships—some its own galleys, some sellsails from Myr and elsewhere—Oakenfist found that the foothold he hoped to make on Grey Gallows was contested by the well-made fortress garrisoned by two hundred Unsullied and a dozen sellswords. Their leader, the sellsword
As preparations for the joint force of the Iron Throne’s fleet and the Dornish spears continue unabated, the Planky Town has remained full to bursting of Dornish levies and knights and men-at-arms on the one hand, and northron sailors and lords and soldiers on the other. The great increase in the Planky Town’s watch has proved necessary, for the confines of the Planky Town have seen a number of disputes, brawls, and four stabbings since the ships arrived. It’s true that much of the friction began only as time wore on… and saw an increase, too, with the results of the tourney pitting knights
Ravens had flown from the Broken Arm to Sunspear, to report the first sighting of the Iron Throne’s fleet of ships that had come not in war, but in peace and alliance. Longships were dispatched from Sunspear to meet the vessels and escort them on to the Planky Town where the Lord Protector had raised thousands of men to provide an army for that fleet to carry to war. Though the court and lords of Dorne are nervous—as are at least some of the leaders of the fleet (the Stormbreaker’s demand that no Dornishmen set foot on his own vessels comes to mind)—and a handful nurse secret (sometimes
The wind does not stir, and has not done so for three days, now. Blackwater Bay is calm, a gray sea covered by a gray fog. Ships lie in that bay, and at the docks, waiting for a breath of air from the west to carry them out to sea, and to begin the long journey to Dorne. In the halls of the Red Keep, it’s said that Lord Velaryon consults daily with maesters. The septons gathered at Baelor’s behest to join the fleet (it would not do to leave any sailor, man-at-arms, or knight without the solace of spiritual council) join the king each day in prayer… but some worry that among them are those
There are those who say that King Baelor has asked Grand Maester Clement to convince the Citadel that doves would be as reliable as ravens, and more pleasing to the gods beside, and the Grand Maester has dutifully experimented. From the drum tower of the Grand Maester, ravens still fly… but sometimes, too, white doves beat their wings to race away bearing messages (some have found their way to stoop on eaves and roofs of the city below Aegon’s High Hill, their messages apparently not so urgent; and a few besides have found their way into bowls of brown in Flea Bottom.) Still, the Grand
Rumors run rife, as they always do in the city of the dragon-kings. But they reach a new fervor on the topic of the Stepstones, controlled with increasing ruthlessness by the Free City of Pentos who extracts protection tolls in coin and goods and sometimes even flesh. For the realm of King Baelor, it is a nuisance, but not a great one—or so some argue. And yet in the highest of councils, the king’s own small council, the tenor of the conversation is quite other: the Master of Ships is in favor of a joint expedition proposed by the Lord Protector of Dorne; the Master of Coin would prefer that
If dark wings bring dark words, then what do white wings herald? Why, word of winter’s end, of course. At long last it has come, after nearly two years. The white raven came from the Citadel early in the morning on the 21st day of month 8 and soon thereafter criers across the city spread the word of the arrival of spring across the city. Meanwhile, the king is said to have spent the day in prayer, giving thanks to the Seven for the end of winter.
Curiously, the white raven is not the only white-winged bird to have been seen about the Red Keep of late. Several sightings report that cages of
As the sun rose on a cool winter day in Sunspear, the heir to Yronwood received his knighthood in the sept of the Princes of Dorne. His vigil through the night had been undisturbed and serene, as such things should be, and at dawn septons entered and with them also were Ser Quinlan Qorgyle, Farien’s mother Lady Linnet, and other lords and ladies of note from the court and from throughout Dorne. They witnessed as Farien was raised to knighthood by Ser Quinlan, the Lord Protector of the Realm, on behalf of his son Prince Marence.
There were some who thought Lady Yronwood seemed not best
Almost a fortnight was past since Princess Daena had vanished from the keep called the Maidenvault by some at court, where she and her sisters had been immured soon after King Baelor’s ascension. The revelation of her disappearance brought to an abrupt session the king’s court, as he fled to pray for his sister’s safe return and as others at court such as the Hand Prince Viserys hurriedly arranged a search for her. The City Watch combed the docks and the city, but the news of her flight was kept to the Red Keep for all of a day before it began to circulate throughout the city. Nothing the
In Sunspear, the Lord Protector Ser Quinlan Qorgyle named the date for an open court session, his first since ascending to the position when his son Prince Marence Nymeros Martell retired to Starfall to continue the long, slow recovery from his poisoning the previous year. Ser Quinlan, who had returned from virtual exile at his son’s call, showed himself to retain all his experience from when he last sat the throne during Marence’s minority: he briskly dealt with criminal issues, judging quickly and decisively. Afterwards, he announced to the court the appointment of a new Keeper of the Tower
In the royal court of King’s Landing, the septon-king Baelor prepared to hear cases and petitioners as the glittering nobility gathered in the cavernous throne room of the Red Keep. All the king’s councillors were there, from the Hand Prince Viserys to the master of laws Lord Terin, and the Kingsguard led by Prince Aemon the Dragonknight, and more besides. So too were many significant knights and lords, including the emissaries from Dorne and other worthies.
The first matters to be heard by the king, high upon the Iron Throne, were criminal cases: alleged whores, thieves, and the like, the