The king’s march has come to a halt, after the inexorable push down the south had proved so successful. After the Battle of the Rampart, the Dornish forces seemed to lessen their raids against the march, although outriders could often see enemy horsemen on swift sand steeds shadowing the march, and signs of Dornish spears having been just ahead of them. Still, contact with the enemy was rare. But each day drew the force a little nearer to a river cutting across the Boneway, a river in a deep gorge, its only crossing a ford at the base following a narrow and winding track. Such a place where the Dornishmen might ambush the king or, worse still, such a place where they might hold the opposite side of the river against him.
Thus it proved. Lord Mors and Ser Laurent Dalt had drawn up their forces across the river, where the gorge was shallower and more accomadating to their force. When outriders reported this, the Young Dragon called his captains to him to discuss what to do. In his previous campaign, he had set the Dornish to flight before that point and had seized control of the ford before they raised an effective defense. Now, it did not seem so easy, even though his strength was relatively greater. What came of these discussions were many plans—direct assault, as many bodies fed into the mill of Dornish spears as necessary; experienced mountaineers finding a way across the gorge up or down river and attacking the Dornish from behind; outriders to explore the river to find another ford suitable for the king’s army—and few decisions. For once, King Daeron seemed ... indecisive. He called a halt for the day, despite the stretched limits of his water supply, and remained ensconced with his knights and captains into the night.
And then he decided to attack the ford the following morning, and to see what came of it. At the same time, however, he sent outriders east and west to follow the river and see if there were any other fords, and finally a strong force to escort men to refill the camp’s water supplies from some safer part of the river away from the Dornish. That would prove easier said than done, however, when the river banks are within bowshot—and sometimes of spear throw—of one another. The attack proved fruitless, though losses were light—spears and arrows sent them back across the water before any fightin began in earnest—and the second attack that followed later that day was little better. The outriders returned with no good news to speak of, while those who had attempted to refill the swiftly-draining water supply of the king’s host came back nearly empty handed, thanks to the surprise of a Dornish ambush on that side of the river that threw them into chaos and forced them back. The king sent Ser Almer Connington to chase after these Dornish later that day, but they climbed inaccessible tracks and avoided contact.
Though the cover of night may allow some water to be replenished, King Daeron seems set on another try the next day, and another series of assaults on the ford to try the Dornish strength. The Dornish rebels on the other side of the river seem in no haste to depart their strong position, and some of them have been seen displaying or calling rude taunts to the king’s men. The water situation is uncertain now, but a day more before the river without a crossing or securing a sure supply will make it grim. The only fortune for the king so far has been a cooling wind from the west, which has made the hammer of the sun less crushing than is its wont in the Dornish summer.