Activity in the harbor of King’s Landing, at the mouth of Blackwater Bay, has roused talk and gossip at the court. Three ships—the royal flagship and two other gallies—are being supplied with every amenity, and with supply enough to feed a small army of men-at-arms and servants. The sailors, as sailors do, may talk of it in the winesinks… but in the court, it’s officers of these ships, and certain courtiers (some quite high in the command of the realm) who speak of the obvious:
King Baelor is well, or well enough to travel at least, after months of recovery at Storm’s End as a guest of Lord Baratheon. Having been treated by the brilliant maester at that ancient, formidable castle, Lord Baratheon’s sister recently arrived at court and was ushered into an audience with Prince Viserys. A private audience, as it were. And the word that followed was that the king was much improved, even if there was no immediate word of his return. But now that day seems to be nigh, if the rumor can be believed: those ships, filled with an escort, will bring the king home. On the morrow they’ll launch, to travel out of Blackwater Bay, rounding Sharp Point and Massey’s Hook to sail through the Strait of Tarth to Storm’s End on Shipbreaker Bay.
What changes this will mean for the court, who can say? Baelor might still be weak, he might be fully pleased with all his uncle the Hand has done, he might prefer to give himself to prayer and let his small council decide the rule of the realm. But…
hey say Princess Naerys has been seen praying at the statue of the Warrior in the royal sept, perhaps in thanks for the safety of her brother Prince Aegon the Dragonknight, perhaps for his imminent return. They say Prince Aegon, on the other hand, has done a different sort of worship entirely, spending days and nights carousing in the less couth quarters of the city. They say Prince Viserys stays up until late hours, dictating letters, overseeing bills, dispatching ravens—to Dorne, they say, and the Marches, and Storm’s End; to Winterfell, and Castle Black, and Pyke; and who knows where else—in a fashion that suggests putting things in order before the king’s arrival.
If the weather holds and all goes well, the king may be back on his throne before the end of the first moon of the new year. Already, there are Kingslanders shuffling into the lesser septs of the city, praying for the king’s safe return.