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The rebellion in Dorne continues apace, with Lord Velaryon holding Salt Shore still, now awaiting word from King’s Landing for when he should strike against the Planky Town and Sunspear, and in the Boneway Lord Manwoody has achieved notable victories even as the stormlords march towards Blackhaven under the Baratheon banner; even the garrison at Wyl is threatend, it is said, and a number of watchtowers have fallen to him and to Red Rhys of the Scourge and Alyx the Witch. But in the south, a force under the Martell finally stirred to threaten the king’s garrisons that still hold along the Vaith and the Greenblood. Commanded by Ser Laurent Dalt and Ser Baduin Santagar, two famous knights of Dorne, the force had departed Sunspear to deliver reinforcements to the Planky Town before the orphans ferried them north and then onto the river Vaith. Their aim: to seize the Red Dunes from the Bright Banners, a sellsword company of the east commanded by the infamous Beslon Smallwood, Beslon the Bad.
It would not be easy, however. Smallwood was aware of their approach, and though he lost at least one outrider to the Dornishmen, he had the choice of the fighting ground. Rather than hiding within the walls of the town and keep of Vaith, he sallied forth with the greater part of his sellswords to stand athwart the rode that ran along the Vaith. There, the two armies clashed. Smallwood’s officers—such as the Braavosi waterdancer, Trellio, and a former pit-fighter out of Meereen, Krazdan Big Nose—led the infantry and the cavalry, while Beslon the Bad held the reserve. The contest was a pitched one to begin with, even though the sellswords were outnumbered nearly two to one. It’s when Smallwood sent his cavalry against the Dornishmen that matters began to turn in the Dornish favor. The foreign cavalry withdrew to a burned-out olive grove after suffering the darts of the Dornish, regrouping, and in the midst of the slaughter among the foot, the waterdancer Trellio was injured by a Dornish youth.
Smallwood threw in his remaining reserve, buckling the flanks of the Dornish, only to see Laurent the Sand Dog follow suit against his right. Yet in the distance, from the northernmost end of that olive grove, a force of horsemen appeared to ambush the Dornish supply wagons which would be so very vital for a siege. With much of the reserve and only a minimal guard left to protect them, the horsemen managed to burn more than half a dozen of the great wagons using pots of wildfire, though a deal more were protected by the remaining Dornish guards. When the Sand Dog and Ser Baduin, the Red Spear, fell upon the sellsword’s flank and rear, the battle was done—Smallwood called a retreat, leaving almost half his force dead or soon to be killed on the field, his Norvoshi temple-trained axemen fighting to the last man to cover the retreat of the rest. Many were the sellswords who surrendered, seeing their leader abandoning them; every one of them was cut down in cold blood.
A costly defeat now, for the Bright Banners, but with so much of the needed supplies destroyed, it seems Beslon the Bad gambles that with enough time he’ll find support from Salt Shore or Godsgrace to crush the remaining Dornishmen.
... And far to the north, in King’s Landing, a wedding was to take place which would prove to be bloody in its own right. The marriage of the king’s huntsman, Ser Ethos Mertyns, to Joleta Gargalen, heiress to Salt Shore, was to take place when Ser Anders Dondarrion, son of the Lord of Blackhaven, appeared armed and armored demanding to fight Ser Ethos to the death to save the lady from such a marriage. Honor and chivalry demanded a response, it seemed, and the two duelled there outside of the royal sept, ignoring calls for calm from bystanders. Both knights took wounds, and Dondarrion might have killed Ser Ethos when Prince Viserys appeared with his household knights to prevent any further bloodshed.
The king arrived soon after. Joleta Gargalen claimed Ser Anders was the victor, but in the king’s mind, she was his to give away, and Ser Anders never did appeal to him for the right to fight for her hand. In other words? The duel was meaningless. Ser Ethos was aided by his sister in dressing his wounds, and the wedding proceeded as the king commanded. Ser Anders departed in ignominy, though if the king means any further punishment, he has not mentioned it; but neither did he stay for Ser Ethos’s wedding, and he seemed as little pleased as his uncle the Hand by the whole, sordid affair.
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