The Dornish court gathered in the Prince of Dorne’s throne room, beneath the golden dome of the Tower of the Sun. The cause? Word had at last had arrived from King’s Landing. and rumors had it that the new king Baelor, pious to a fault, spoke of peace. The Prince arrived in company with his brother, Prince Rhodry, whose expression was murderous. Everyone soon discovered why, when the prince read the letter from the king. Though Baelor wished peace, and offered to exchange all the hostages held in King’s Landing in return for the Dragonknight and certain other prisoners, he had been convinced that the surest way to peace…
... lay in holding on to Salt Shore and Wyl. This sparked outrage. With the small harbor at Salt Shore—presently under siege by Ser Manfryd Qorgyle and Lord Blackmont, but with the rumor of supplies and men coming from the Arbor which would make the siege all but fruitless—the Targaryen king would have a knife at the back of Dorne. Peaceable Baelor believed that this would encourage the Dornishmen to give up their raids into the Marches that they have carried out since time immemorial. No wonder that the Dornishmen—especially the representatives of the Blackmonts, Wyls, Fowlers, and the other mountain lords—rejected it for the most part.
But it was Marence who caused more uproar. Though he agreed that he would never accept a peace where Wyl and Salt Shore remained in the dragon’s claws, he felt that a swift peace was of such importance. Therefore, he proposed to give to Baelor three watchtowers in the northern end of the Prince’s Pass, and three watchtowers at the northern end of the Boneway. With these towers and their lands—taken from the Manwoodys and the Wyls—the Marchers would have a greater buffer, and a greater chance of sending out a warning in case of a Dornish raid. What Marence proposed was the prospect of a severe curtailment in raiding, and this was not welcome by many.
Some argued from the perspective of tradition, where raids were a chance for glory and for wealth, but others refused on the ground that the Targaryens had wrought great harm on Dorne, and now that they were defeated, why should even a single grain of the red sands be given away? “Better the red sands than our red blood,” Prince Marence responded. Though Caitrin Blackmont and others argued that the women in Salt Shore and Wyl—brutalized beyond belief—would surely rather die than live in a Dorne which was not whole, others spoke in support of the king’s plan, such as Lord Manwoody’s widow and the limping, recovering Lord Gargalen.
In the end, matters were decided, in their way, by Prince Rhodry. His criticisms were some of the harshest, and his rejection of Marence’s position was blunt to the point of rudeness. Any other man would have been dragged away and clapped in chains, but it seems that being the Prince’s brother and a hero of the rebellion protected him. Before storming off, he called Marence’s plan a slave’s peace. What Marence made of it, none can truly say, but he looked grim as he watched his brother retreat. He then announced that instead of three towers in each pass, he would instead off two to begin with. He departed the throne room with his councillors, and among them some would note was Ser Mavros Uller, the former exile, now considered one of the chief architects of the rebellion.
The next morning, two ravens could be seen winging their way north, beginning the long journey to King’s Landing.