In the shadow city, in the winesinks and the pillow houses, there is talk of many things, of news from places near and far. Merchants tell of the disruption of trade caused by fears over the Iron Throne fleet in the Stepstones meaning to do more than sweep out pirates, and of the real harm that the notorious corsairs of those waters have caused in the Narrow Sea. But others speak of the greater storm brewing between the Free Cities, a trade war that might become something all together more dangerous if they come to blows.
In the halls and chambers of the Old Palace, the nobles tell similar
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
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…
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
Only months before, Prince Marence had revealed the agreement made with King Baelor to exchange envoys to further the cause of peace between the two realms of Dorne and the Seven Kingdoms, and now the first party of envoys—those from King’s Landing—had arrived at the Planky Town. Greeted by the castellan Ser Laurent Dalt and certain other leading lords and ladies of the court, the envoys were welcomed into the citadel there to spend the night and to see their goods and gifts brought to the shore. The very next day, early in the morning, the lords and ladies and knights who made up the
Beneath the dome of the Tower of the Sun, the court of Sunspear in all its glittering, colorful elegance gathered to hear Prince Marence give audience to any who would speak. Most were there to hear, no more… but what they wanted to hear were the announcements that whispers said the prince planned to make, announcements that might shake the court. Some wondered if the prince was to reveal his intention to take a third wife, to see if he would have any more luck than with the prior two. There were those who muttered darkly about Yronwood, as well, wondering if the prince must reveal some huge
Prince Marence’s return from his campaign in the Boneway—a debacle, many say, though the lives lost were few—was not greeted with any great fanfare in the streets of the shadow city, nor within the halls of Sunspear itself. The less said of what happened at Yronwood, where Lady Yronwood had outmanoeuvred him and forced the prince to a peace that many consider humiliating, the better—or so those who cling to the prince and support him would have it. Marence himself has been a brooding man… and a busy man, too, though he has kept his counsel close. Ser Mavros Uller has often been seen meeting
And like that, the Yronwood rebellion in the Boneway comes to an end: not with a bloody battle, not with the Yronwood banners dipping, nor the Martell banners. But through a truce, a peace negotiated under the worst of circumstances: a ruse that left the Martell host ill-prepared, more than evenly matched, outwitted. And all because Prince Marence, good and just as he is, gave the Yronwoods one chance too many to surrender itself.
The Yronwood army had been forced—or so Prince Marence thought—to go to ground, to leave the Boneway itself and be driven, step by step, towards a dead end, an
The Dornish royal fleet travelling toward Yronwood had encountered contrary winds after it rounded the Broken Arm… and then a gale howling from Cape Wrath and the narrow sea split it apart—galleys racing west, fat-bellied cogs anchoring to weather the storm… and one last galley, leaking water and unable to stand such seas, forced to chance the storm. The Prince’s Pride carried notables: the heirs to Hellholt and Lemonwood, the famed Bastard of the Red Dunes, the illegitimate daughter of the infamous Ser Mavros Uller whose capture by Lady Yronwood precipitated this show of arms, and others
Hunting in a great company at the edge of the desert north of Sunspear, the Prince of Dorne was attended by courtiers, knights and ladies both, as they tried their hawks and falcons, and tested their bows and spears. Prince Marence had been in a notably glad mood, and the rumor about the court was that recently Ser Mavros Uller had communicated from Yronwood that negotiations went well and that Lady Yronwood would soon relent in her near-rebellious obstinancy. At a desert oasis, they hunted their fill, sending arrows at scattered birds that the hunters had raised. All was going well…
To settle matters in the Boneway—that has been the chief concern of Prince Marence, it seems, but some say he did not seem to find it an urgent concern, and others say that that’s due to the prince’s own slow deliberation, attempting to navigate the complexities of the situation. Lady Yronwood had provoked much and more, but she has kept her swords close since the flare-up in the Marches. Is it because Lord Wyl’s heir has been a guest at Sunspear, and rumors swirl that he is on the verge of betrothing Ariana Martell (other rumors say quite the opposite)? Is it because Prince Marence has
The storm howling out from the Summer Sea, hammering at the walls of Sunspear, had broken without much harm, save the collapse of a hovel or six, and water-loged alleyways. Sunrise showed a clear, crisp sky, wrack upon the stony shore, and a handful of scattered merchant ships from Dorne and the Free Cities—some listing quite badly—that managed to survive the onslaught, avoiding being driven onto the rocks. And day brought something else: a tired raven from King’s Landing, a note about its leg.
It should have been glad tidings that came from distant King’s Landing, the sort of tidings that
After years of dearth and destruction, with festivities few and far between, Dorne is free, no longer chained to the Iron Throne, and a mood of celebration has slowly returned. Why it took so long for the Prince of Dorne to sponsor a tourney, who can say? Feasts there have been, certain frolics, hunts… but not a tourney, though in the past Prince Marence had not stinted. Some whisper it was because the prince found playing at war distasteful for a time. Others that it was to spite his brother who had done well enough in the days before the war. And there are others still that say it was the
In the court of Sunspear, in the grand hall of the Sandship, amidst the revelery of the courtiers and ladies and knights who flock to the troubled halls of the Old Palace, a feast took place. A feast, and… an incident.
Thrown for vague purposes—the arrival of Lord Wyl’s heir seemed cause enough—the feast was well on its way when Prince Marence arrived with Coran Wyl (“Just Coran”, as he would note to those who prefixed “Ser” before his name; and that was a matter of speculation, that he lacked knighthood, stirring old gossip in some quarters). Wyl, a gracious man, made sure to reacquaint
A raven from Blackhaven arrives at King’s Landing, bringing long-expected word of King Baelor’s departure from Dorne after negotiating the peace and walking, barefoot, in a show of piety that was over-matched only by his first such journey to Dorne with the forty-nine hostages in his train. The Grand Maester received it eagerly from an assisting younger maester, and read it… and blanched.
Unease, and an immediate visit to the royal apartments in the middle of the night, awakening Prince Viserys from his sleep to inform him of the news. It did not take long for what came from Blackhaven to be