Blood of Dragons: Tidings

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Sites of Interest
The Shatter of Lances
IC Date: Day 15 of Month 9, 162 AC.
RL Date: May 21, 2011.

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 state of the treasury that was behind it. But the wealth has slowly grown again, and a prince must show largesse, and not only through feasts and gifts.

And so the tourney, thrown in honor of Princess Ariana’s 17th name day, though rather belatedly—the tourney for such an occasion could not go on without her father, after all, and Ser Quinlan had lately retired to a private estate north of Sunspear, for reasons unknown… but much speculated. But return he did, and the tourney took place, and it was a grand affair with over thirty knights in all their pagentary, with lords among them, a mystery knight calling himself the Lord of the Bones, and Prince Rhodry, the Sand Dog Ser Laurent Dalt, bold Tamlyn Toland, Ser Joris Yronwood, Ser Valerin Dayne of the prince’s guard, the Lord Bailiff Ser Galwell Dalt, Ser Darion Fowler from distant Skyreach…

... but it was not, in the end, their day.

Instead, it was a knight only lately returned to court after a long sojourn in the west, in Starfall and thereabouts: Ser Aidan Dayne, the Knight of the Twilight. He defeated all before him, driving the infamous prince from the saddle, unmasking the Lord of the Bones as Lord Aryard Manwoody of Kingsgrave, sent his cousin Ser Tamlyn hurtling to the ground, and in the end defeated the Sand Dog to collect the purse of 2,000 golden suns worth of precious stones, and the crown for the Queen of Love and Beauty which he delivered, most gallantly, to Princess Ariana.

For some, such as Ser Tamlyn’s twin and certain other of the hostages, the result was practically a foregone conclusion. But for others… As interesting as the contest was, the wagering in the stands among the courtiers was fully as captivating, as many coins passed hands back and forth. Darius of Valin, notably, wagered hugely, using the wealth of his orphan kinsmen with remarkable freedom, and losing it with a consistency nearly as remarkable. Mavros Uller’s bastard daughter won herself a rich amount betting against the prince, and Caitrin Blackmont enriched her purse quite well, though in her final wager to determine the number of lances broken she was made to pay a forfeit: a kiss on the cheek. At least, that’s what Darius if Valin stipulated… but Lady Caitrin, grown great with child, had other ideas, and kissed Darius the Chaste in a most unchaste way, before the gathered courtiers. Some swear Darius whispered to a factor that he had made a grand mess for himself, since her husband Ser Laurent is the influential castellan of the Planky Town…

Afterwards there was a feast, for nobles and smallfolk alike. Some gossiped of light matters, of affairs and paramours, of duels in alleys and quarrels between boundaries. And others? They spoke of larger topics, of pirates in the Stepstones, on bandits in the Boneway. And that last led to other discussions, of the Yronwoods and the Wyls. Coran Wyl was not present for the tourney, having made excuses, something some made light of, much as they made light of the fact that he wasn’t a knight. A matter of some illness, some said, and others thought that a thin excuse for a man so obviously healthy and fit. Prince Marence has kept Wyl as a guest much longer than many expected… and in the meantime, Lord Wyl has avoided enflaming matters in the Marches, putting an end to the rare skirmishes between his men and those of the Dondarrions and other marcher lords. But some note that he still seems to harbor Red Rhys of the Scourge whenever that robber knight happens by, and he and the Witch Alyx Sand seem to do what they do with impunity.

And Lady Yronwood? She’s worse, with some saying some of the robbers that accost merchants on the Boneway are her own men, with their badges of allegiance hidden or removed, and others say she’s arming more men for a raid on the Marches.

Will a marriage between Lord Wyl’s heir to Princess Ariana be enough to turn the Wyls fully to Sunspear, so that might hold the Boneway against such madness? So do some wonder…