The Dornish royal fleet travelling toward Yronwood had encountered contrary winds after it rounded the Broken Arm… and then a gale howling from Cape Wrath and the narrow sea split it apart—galleys racing west, fat-bellied cogs anchoring to weather the storm… and one last galley, leaking water and unable to stand such seas, forced to chance the storm. The Prince’s Pride carried notables: the heirs to Hellholt and Lemonwood, the famed Bastard of the Red Dunes, the illegitimate daughter of the infamous Ser Mavros Uller whose capture by Lady Yronwood precipitated this show of arms, and others still. But most notable of them all was Prince Rhodry Nymeros Martell, Prince Marence’s youngest (and, some might suggest, least loved) brother. The ship nearly went down with all hands as the storm swept over it, and only by the grace of the gods was it afloat the next day. But no unharmed: its mastwas torn away, its hull sprung and leaking water in such amounts that all the oarsmen worked in shifts to bail, its anchor lost so that it was blown many miles from sight of shore or fellow ships. In such a fashion were they found by the first ship to happen by…
... and it was a Free Cities slaver, as chance was. The slavers made a bold effort to board and take the ship, and the fighting was furious as the exhausted sailors of the Prince’s Pride defended their ship and their lives with the aid of the few Dornish knights and squires aboard. Even the women, Liane Uller and Samara Sand, did their part with bow and spear and blade. The boarding effort was repelled, but there were knights killed in the fighting, and sailors in good number. The slavers withdrew out of bowshot…. and then they stayed there, regrouping, reconsidering. The captain spoke that they were like to attack by night; that, or withdraw if they decided that the Dornishmen were too many and too skilled to be taken.
The latter seemed to be the case, as the restless day was followed by restless night, shifts of men bailing, other shifts standing watch, peering into the darkness at the lanterns on the galley. And then it seemed that the ship was turning away, sailing north again. The crew began to rejoice, even as others wondered why they would decide to leave—
When the shouts of relief turned into cries of terror. The departing ship was merely a distraction, to turn eyes away to the several boats loaded with men that had swiftly and silently made their way around to the far side of the ship. The first men pulled a boarding net behind them, affixing it to the Prince’s Pride. More followed, as they swept through the tired, shocked crew. Prince Rhodry led the defense with a roar, plunging down to the deck from the rear, calling for a bulwark of men to hold a line before the new, jury-rigged mast. It was a brave effort, and great feats of heroism were done… but they were despearate feats, as well, for inch by inch, body by body, the sailors were giving way, and there were knights falling before the onslaughter. The prince’s line buckled, the captain was dead, and the sailors began to break and run for the hatch to cower below deck and pray.
Matters had taken a black and deadly turn, but then victory was snatched from the jaws of defeat. Not by any effort of the men and women on the Prince’s Pride—theirs was only to survive as long as they could—but due to those who looked to the enemy galley that had turned and was now coming in to join the battle. Because now it was brightly lit by fires that raced among its cables and sails, and there were silhouettes in black that seemed to be fighting… and there was anothe galley, backing oars, pulling its ram out of the slaver ship. And now it turned to join the battle. The slavers on the Prince’s Pride finally saw this, and the shock of the sudden turn led them to lose heart. Rhodry and Jarvis Sand led the remaining defenders to chase down the fleeing slavers, killing a few, but the bulk scrambled down the boarding nets and onto the boats. They pulled their oars as men possessed, fading into the night, some hoping to make the shore of Dorne, others still attempting to skulk around the new vessel and reach their own galley as its crew tried to put out fires and deal with the great hole torn in its side.
The new galley, the savior of the Prince’s Pride, was the war galley Nymeria’s Spear. Dispatched by Prince Marence when the fleet realized that the Pride was missing, it had come on the scene of fighting and rammed the slaver galley before it was even aware that it was under attack. Seeing the state of the Prince’s Pride, the captain of the Spear took on most of the crew, all of its passengers, and the bulk of its stores and supplies. Thus lightened, and partially repaired, it could limp south to a fishing village to ground itself and be repaired. Nymeria’s Spear turned west, and moved to rejoin the fleet, to distribute its passengers among the other vessels.
And so the fleet continued towards Yronwood, the winds now favorable, and land fall only days away…