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 isles first, pressuring the Pentoshi by perhaps isolating Bloodstone and convincing them to sue for peace.
However, when the scouting galleys returned, it seemed clear that the choice was taken from Oakenfist’s hands: the Pentoshi themselves were gathering all their galleys near the waters of Bloodstone… and seemed likely to intend to attack Grey Gallows in force, to catch Oakenfist’s fleet while it was still near the harbor. Rather than risk that, Oakenfist commanded his captains to make ready to beat to sea .... and to prepare for a naval battle the likes of which he had not seen since the last time he came to the Stepstones to deal with the greedy, grasping Free Cities three decades earlier.