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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
The occasion of the wedding of Ser Aidan Dayne, the famed Knight of the Twilight, and the lady Aisling Ryswell was an unusual one in some respects. For one, King Baelor himself presided over the marriage, in his capacity as a septon of the Faith. For another, despite neither being a great lord or lady, not one but two tournies were arranged for the occasion; a rarity in these more austere and pious times. The reason for it had more to do with the Dornish embassy to the Iron Throne, of which Ser Aidan was a part, than to any native desire of theirs to make such a showing. Regardless of the
The Seven Above must smile on the realm, and blessed King Baelor. Ever since the clamor at the miraculous healing of a beggar in the streets, the king himself has been ensconced with the High Septon and the Most Devout, the wisest and most learned men of the faith whose spiritual counsel proves increasingly important to the young king. Small council meetings of late have even included the High Septon, it is said, though he holds no official seat on the council, instead acting to advise the king and his most gracious Hand and councillors. Gifts have gone out from the Red Keep’s treasury at the
From the Citadel, pale wings took flight across the realm.
In Oldtown, bells tolled.
In Highgarden, the news was taken as reason for a winter festival to be readied.
In the bowels of Casterly Rock, Lord Loreon resumed counting his coins.
In Riverrun, the Tullys were occupied with the latest series of petitions and counter-petitions from the Blackwoods and Brackens, and considered the question of whom would attend the marriage of Jannia Tully to Lord Jarmon Buckwell in a few months time.
At Storm’s End, Lord Corwen Baratheon is said to have dismissed the news of a white raven’s arrival,
Day 15 of Month 9, 165 AC
The king’s return to health continues, and with it… more changes at court. Not, as it happens, offices (although there have been more movements there as well, in lesser offices, and certain other positions of greater note). Instead, the king has turned his eye to the spiritual health of the realm. Moved by prayers, by council with the High Septon and the Most Devout, by the plight of the kingslanders as reports filter even into the Red Keep of the city watch having to deal more and more often with rapers and prostitues who try to secretly carry on their immoral
Day to day, it is said, King Baelor’s strength grows. The long, long recovery from his fasting in the wake of Princess Naerys’s miscarriage seems nearer to drawing from an end, as he has been seen more often away from his apartments, and the private sept which he most frequents. He has attended services at the royal sept almost daily, now, and though he has yet to sit the Iron Throne in judgement, it is known that he even occasions to join the small council from time to time, though rumors has it that it is Prince Viserys who most often leads the council, save in matters touching on the
The victory at sea by the Sea Watch proved a vital blow against the forces of the so-called “king”, Red Rhys of the Scourge, and his ally Sullehman Saan. But though they had lost the battle, the war for Stonedance continued as the remnant of their forces remained at Stonedance in strength. Driving forward under the royal banner, the host under Prince Aemon Targaryen, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, joined with the outriders they had sent to sweep away the reavers and scavengers that Rhys and Saan had out. As they approached the walls, the giant Vaario Quanis could be seen bringing a man
The terror that has swept Massey’s Hook, when it was revealed that the Dornish robber-knight Red Rhys of the Scourge had allied himself with the notorious Sullehman Saan, has even come to the royal city where Baelor, slow to recover, prays… and where Prince Viserys, his uncle and Hand, rules. For in the city, an assault took place in which the lady Reyna Saltcliffe was injured, her guards killed… and worst of all, the young ladies Jyana Arryn and Elrone Darklyn were abducted and vanished. While throughout the city a search was made, it would not be for a fortnight before the truth was
Far to the south, Dornish galleys cross the narrow sea. Braavos is their destination, to attempt to win over that mighty Free City to an alliance with Pentos against Lys.
And unbeknownst to them, from King’s Landing have sailed a handful of royal war galleys, a mighty escort for a prince with a similar—yet opposed—mission. Prince Aegon Targaryen, son of the Hand Prince Viserys, cousin to the King Baelor the First of His Name, was named head (some might say figurehead) of an embassy meant to dissuade Braavos from taking part. Earlier efforts had been rebuffed, the emissaries sent back in
With all the turmoil in King’s Landing and its environs, from the near-destruction of a royal fleet by the notorious Saan to the over-running of Stonedance, the arrival of a royal galley and its escorts was little remarked; there are many such plying the narrow sea. But it was soon recognized as the galley sent, with an emissary and his aides, to Braavos, to meet with the Sea Lord. At court it was well-known that this was due to growing tensions involving Lys and Pentos, Free Cities nearly at war with one another and seeking allies. Prince Viserys’s old ties to Lys may well have been the
Blood on the high seas, and blood in the deep forests: war has come to Westeros, a strange one, waged by pirates and bandits against the Iron Throne.
Matters have taken a swift turn for the worse in the wake of Prince Viserys deciding how best to deal with the pirates Sullehman Saan and Vaario Quanis—growing ever bolder in their depredations along the coast—as well as the growing threat of conflict with the Free Cities alliance over the Stepstones. On receiving word from men of the sea watch and the Crackclaw Point wardenry that Saan’s lieutenant, Vaario, had broken with him—for the latter
Rumors of war across the narrow sea, a king disabled, bandits in the Kingswood—these are the kinds of troubles that are not unheard of in the Seven Kingdoms, but all at the same time they are a cause for worry. Some at the court of the Red Keep worry over these matters, and worry that King Baelor will not recover any further than he has from the disasterous fast that almost killed him. Yet others, it must be said, take heart in the fact that the king’s uncle, Prince Viserys, has been active in these and many other matters beside.
As Hand of the King, he has dispatched forces to strengthen
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,
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