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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 himself with his fellow former hostages from the Red Keep, from the Toland twins through to Lady Joleta Gargalen, and so too did the prince introduce him to Caitrin Dalt and her husband, Ser Laurent. It was all quite proper, even if somewhat strange, given the tensions between the Wyls and the Martells. It was even remarked that Prince Marence and Coran got on well, better even than Marence got on with his actual brothers. Perhaps it was the kinship that made them so easy, for Coran is half a Martell, old Princess Lyrella’s son. Or perhaps it was the fact that Marence made all efforts for his guests, while making sure he had the seat next to Princess Ariana, with whom Coran spent a good deal of time conversing (there were many knowing looks among veteran courtiers, at that).
But matters, as they often do, took a turn. After a fine time at the high table, where Coran spoke with several other guests at the table, most notably Princess Ariana, Prince Marence departed for a time to attend to some matter ... and hot on his departure, Prince Rhodry arrived, to make a rare spectacle. Seeming quite sober despite the smell of wine about him (a dangerous sign), he clashed briefly with the Toland twins before setting his sights on the high table. No matter what efforts were made to distract him, he seemed set on being rude: taking his brother’s place, hoping out loud he’d have the chance to kill Coran’s father, speaking of Davit Gargalen as a cripple and Mavros Uller as a woman, and worse, or so it was said. Matters came to a head when he knocked aside a cup that Wyl, an acquaintance from the days before the Young Dragon’s invasion when the prince and his paramour were often at Yronwood, proferred to him. Setting it spinning, reminding Wyl that he takes no man’s leavings, matters looked poorly.
Then they became worst. Because the Black Tempest, who for a time was well-known to be keeping his company (but no longer), could not stand his boorish behavior anymore. From her place at another table, she shouted at the prince, and what she said turned a few heads. She claimed he had forgotten where he was, that he must think they were his slaves but that he was mistaken; but if he wanted to own people as if they were property again, he could go back to the Free Cities.
And then Marence arrived, mercifully, before matters escalated… though there were those who felt the moment to learn some new enormity of the prince’s doings was dashed, because of it. Marence, a man known for his even-temper, was in a cold rage. He threatend to send the prince, his brother, to the terrible, desolate prison-isle of Ghaston Grey if he said another word, or refused to depart.
Rhodry retreated. And after, after it was said that Marence spent a great deal of time speaking with Coran Wyl, who seemed not-so-very-charming after the incident. Has youngest of Princess Malora’s sons, the ill-omened prince, ruined a hope to resolve these matters peaceably?
Prince Rhodry departed the Old Palace for his manse in the shadow city. But not, someone observed, someone who knows men with watchful eyes, before passing by a smaller manse in another quarter of the city, a manse owned by Ser Mavros Uller, a manse used by his bastard daughter, Samara Sand, a woman he fetched from the Free Cities under mysterious circumstances, and one who is presently approaching her time to deliver herself of a child, the gods willing.
In the Marches, King Baelor remains weak, but he lives. Blackhaven’s maesters declared him fit to travel with great care, in a slow-going litter, and so the Dragonknight now escorts him, little by little, to Storm’s End, where Lord Baratheon’s maester is said to be renowned for his study of serpents, their venoms, and the treatment of the same. And all the while, Prince Viserys sits on the Iron Throne as the Hand of the King, watching the ravens fly between the Red Keep and the Tower of the Sun, keeping his council, and (some say) biding his time.
Also in the Marches, the notorious bandit, Red Rhys of the Scourge, and a troop of scoundrels and broken men numbering variously from forty to two hundred, fell upon a Marcher village in the small hours, it’s said, pillaging it and putting it to the torch; most of the villagers survived in the shelter of the holdfast, but not all. When local knights—already much-angered by what had befallen the king, and only barely restrained by the efforts of Lord Dondarrion—learned of it, they sallied into the mountains, and set alight a Dornish hamlet… one without a holdfast; there were few survivors.
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