King’s Landing has suffered the scandal of Prince Aegon’s false marriage to a common woman now most often called Merry Meg thanks to the ribald songs presently popular among the smallfolk. She was eventually returned, in ignominy, to the smithy of her actual husband in Fairmarket by men of Prince Viserys’s household while her children were given to the Faith at young Prince Baelor’s pious suggestion. Prince Aegon made a public apology to Reyna Saltcliffe, which set the court abuzz, especially when hard on it were some sharp words traded between the prince and Ser Jonn Lannister, who had once been a regular companion of his.
Despite all this turmoil at court, the fighting in Dorne has continued apace. With Lord Tyrell kept to the Boneway thanks to the rebellious efforts of outlaws such as Red Rhys of the Scourge and Lord Manwoody, it was no surprise that King Daeron encouraged men-at-arms to help him. While Blackhaven sent forces under its lord and heir to scour the Marches for bands of men naming Manwoody as their leader, Ser Dagur Saltcliffe—the famed Iron Serpent—and a troop of men including Ser Anders Dondarrion and Ser Myles Hightower rode to the Boneway to lend more direct assistance. Using his skills as a leader of outriders, Ser Dagur and his men clashed repeatedly with the robber knight Red Rhys of the Scourge, defending trains of supplies from his predatory efforts. The most difficult fighting, however, came against Lord Manwoody’s more sizable forces. Though the occasional setback took place, Saltcliffe’s company had several notable successes until Lord Manwoody’s rebel forces withdrew from the Boneway for a space. This gave Lord Tyrell the ability to at last move away with his supply line secured—for the time being, in any case—so that he could tour Dorne, staying at a castle for a fortnight with his castle encamped around it before moving on to a new one. Word claimed there was unrest at Vaith and Godsgrace, and with his commendations of his good-brother he also assured the king that he would deal with it.
Ser Dagur returned with the company of knights, men-at-arms, and sellswords with an addition: Ser Edmund Wyl. A cousin of Lord Wyl, Ser Edmund remained a rebel when his liege lord bent the knee, and fought beside Lord Manwoody. Captured in a fierce skirmish, the Iron Serpent brought him to the city to face the king’s justice. There, the only sentence that could be placed on him was named: execution. Daeron and Prince Viserys were present with the Kingsguard when Ser Edmund was brought out into the Red Keep’s outer yard while the King’s Justice, Ser Crispin Donniger, prepared to carry out the sentence. The gathered courtiers included Ser Dagur and his wife Lady Reyna, the bastard Ryssa Waters, Lord Ryger and his niece Sylvina Serry and her step-sister Aisling Ryswell, and Dornish hostages including Valeria Blackmont, Joleta Gargalen, Ser Aidan Dayne, and the Toland siblings. The larger part of the onlookers, however, were the smallfolk allowed into the castle to see how the Young Dragon dealt with traitors.
The Dornishmen were dour and grim when Ser Edmund was brought out, fierce and proud despite his chains. He spoke defiant words, until Ser Richard Harte of the City Watch attempted to order him silenced while the giant Stormbreaker, Sarmion Baratheon, mocked the man and complained that he should be hanged. The Dornish grew unruly before all this, and Ser Aidan and others put up the call to let him speak his final words before gods and men. King Daeron acquiesced, and Ser Edmund’s last remarks warned the king that Dorne was already lost to him, but he did not know it. Ser Crispin did the deed, taking off his head cleanly, but matters grew chaotic when the commons took inspiration from the Stormbreaker and Ser Jonn Lannister’s foreign sellsword in abusing the hostages. As Valeria Blackmont screamed about the injustice, the smallfolk pressed nearer to the Dornish hostages until the gold cloaks responded and forced them back. A thrown apple struck Lady Valeria, but the Dornish escaped in good order while the watchmen forced the smallfolk out of the castle and the gates were shut. Those who looked on King Daeron claimed afterwards that if he had been a dragon, they would all have been incinerated by his rage at the farce.