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The pious king Baelor’s long journey reaches its midway point, or near enough, after he departed Blackhaven—where he reacquainted himself with his former sworn shield, Ser Doran Dondarrion, somewhat recovered from the harrowing experience that was the flight across the Boneway—and began to lead the former Dornish hostages up the Boneway. Though the king was on foot—and bare foot at that, with scabs covering his rough feet and new cuts and gashes leaving a trail of blood behind him—the gods must favor him, for the weather was overcast, taming the heat of the sun. It’s said the hostages, some of them at least, begrudge him his piety, for however swiftly he goes, it would have been twice as swift had he bent his proud neck and sat his proud arse in a saddle.
Even so, soon enough the road leading to Wyl, east of the mountain pass, was reached. And there, sitting in an iron cage with a handful of Lord Wyl’s guards and knights attending him, was Prince Aemon the Dragonknight. What tears started in King Baelor’s eyes, on seeing his cousin brought so low! It seems that Prince Marence, in far Sunspear, gave over the Dragonknight to Lord Wyl to keep him safe, a sign of his trust in him after he angered the proud mountain lord by signing away two of his watchtowers and the lands about them to the Iron Throne. Doubtless Prince Marence meant Lord Guerin to keep him at his castle, an honored guest ... but Prince Aemon’s conditions shows that Wyl had a different plan. The Dragonknight’s clothes were rags and his face marred by sunburn, yet he stood proudly when Baelor approached, and knelt when commanded. The Dornishmen did not interfere when Baelor brought his cousin water and bread, nor when he prayed with him. But when he asked them to release Aemon, they refused him.
Turning to the hostages, looking for support, few felt any willingness to come to his aid. Some did, however—Prince Cadan promised Baelor he would speak to Lord Guerin, Ser Aidan Dayne asked what honor was there to treat a foe in such a way, and one or two others besides. But to no avail. Baelor at last swore that once he reached Sunspear, he would ask for Marence’s intercession to parole his cousin.
When Baelor prepared to continue on, however, he did so with the knowledge that the Dornish hostages had agreed to take the road east to Wyl, to take ships to the Broken Arm and so cross at last to Sunspear, well ahead of the king as he dared the most treacherous passes of the Boneway. Now that they were in their own country, the young king, so full of piety, could not very well command them. And indeed, for his piety, he blessed them and wished them well on their journey, and that he hoped to pray with them in the sept of Sunspear when he came there. The Dornish accepted this with various measures of grace, some warning him to beware the bandits who would lurk there, suggesting he travel by night only, while others muttered they hoped he’d be lost and never return to his home alive…
Yet, when Baelor set out on the southward journey on the Boneway, climbing up to the highest point in the pass, he did not travel alone. Not all the Dornish hostages chose to take the easy route home, and one (at least) felt Dorne’s honor demanded that the king not travel such a hazardous way alone but for the gods.
And so where there was one journey, now there are two, and those who travel to Wyl take the shortest path to Sunspear.
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