Thirty days of fasting. Thirty days of prayer. Thirty days to atone for the nameless sins that made the gods take Princes Naerys’s twins to their bosom, and nearly killed her.
Thirty days to collapse, body thin and wasted, eyes dimmed. Thirty days for a crown to roll across the royal sept’s floor, to end at the foot of the statue of the Stranger, who is death.
King Baelor fasted and prayed by day, prayed and fasted by night. He would take water on occasion, and bread occasionally (though more and more seldom as his fast progressed). The Grand Maester councilled him to eat more, the septons came and went, Prince Viserys as well. But he would not truly hear them: he prayed, and left the realm to others, for his duty was plain to him. The Dornish emissaries? As yet unseen by him, unintroduced in any formal way. The men that Lord Greyjoy sent to speak with him? Left to wait, to be entertained by Oakenfist on occasion as they become increasingly annoyed that this pious young king puts them off.
When he collapsed, dead to the world, the Kingsguard were the first to call for aid, and to carry him gently to his chambers in Maegor’s Holdfast. Instead, Baelor occasionally would ask the septons to fetch him a person, his request fervent, as if the gods moved him. What else could they do, but obey? But those who were brought became increasingly curious: one of the Keepers of the Keys, then a bailiff, then a scullion, then Lord Ryger’s northern niece (strangest of all, some might say, for she worships the old gods of the First Men), a mute who turns the roasting spits at feasts, a begging brother. What the king spoke of with them brought troubling reports: he spoke of visions, of the gods moving him, wishing him to do great things, but to do them humbly, and to take counsel in those whom they moved him to speak to. Others would not say at all (or could not, in the case of the mute; that must have been a strange conversation).
Now the maesters have gathered and do what they can, dripping honey and sugared water past his parched lips, tending him as ceaselessly as he prayed. Ravens have flown. The small council labors under the Hand’s direction to maintain order. And outside the Red Keep? The smallfolk gather for their beloved, pious young king, praying and singing praises to the gods so that they might restore him.