In the court of King’s Landing, news arrives in dribs and drabs from the south, where King Daeron campaigns. The nws has been good, a string of victories now leaving the king in possession of the ground outside of Godsgrace, with room to make a siege that will bring down its walls and give the Young Dragon his final victory. The news from Oakenfist, that the Planky Town had been held against him—and partially successfully, at that—by foreign sellswords was surely disquieting, in the halls and chambers of the Hand and the small council. Where did they come from? From Pentos, or at least the coin that hired them.
Why Pentos? Because Braavos was allied with the king, and had sent him more than 1,000 of his crossbowmen as part of the invasion of Dorne. The Sealord, Ferro Antaryon, a man of great parts, had antagonized Pentos, Tyrosh, Myr, and even Lys, and fought wars against them that have raged across the narrow sea and the Disputed Lands. No great surprise if some of them turned their eyes to Westeros, to carry the battle there, and to do what they could to prevent the Young Dragon from ever being free of the shackle that is Dorne; Westerosi chivalry and siege engines would be too much for them.
In the wake of this news, then, Donalo Prestayn’s unannounced arrival at court takes on a new dimension. The merchant-lord, an erstwhile representative of the Iron Bank and previously a member of the Sealord’s entourage when Ferro negotiated his betrothal to the king’s sister Rhaena, arrived on the Sealord’s business he claimed. Ushered into the councils of the Hand and others of the small council, any number of meetings have since taken place. Many rumors were sparked as to the cause, but one has risen above the rest: the Sealord wishes to marry Princess Rhaena as soon as possible, well ahead of the original agreement, and Donalo has been sent to see it done. But why, one may ask? To beat out the news of Pentos throwing money into the war in Dorne at the behest of Ser Mavros Uller, a man some call the architect of the rebellion, perhaps. Yet now the news is revealed, and still, Prestayn persists. Is there some other cause to the Sealord Ferro’s urgency?
Perhaps the feasts that have reigned in King’s Landing these last days could reveal something, as Donalo has been invited to several. Celebrating the king’s nameday despite his absence, each feast and entertainment has tried to outdo the last. Perhaps matters will culminate with Lady Jyana’s feast in the king’s name . . . not least because Donalo is surely attending this one; how not, when he once pursued the Jewel of the Eyrie for his bride?