Far to the south, Dornish galleys cross the narrow sea. Braavos is their destination, to attempt to win over that mighty Free City to an alliance with Pentos against Lys.
And unbeknownst to them, from King’s Landing have sailed a handful of royal war galleys, a mighty escort for a prince with a similar—yet opposed—mission. Prince Aegon Targaryen, son of the Hand Prince Viserys, cousin to the King Baelor the First of His Name, was named head (some might say figurehead) of an embassy meant to dissuade Braavos from taking part. Earlier efforts had been rebuffed, the emissaries sent back in ignominy after having failed to secure an audience with the Sealord of Braavos. There are those who wondered if the Pentoshi did not bribe certain functionaries to make sure that the efforts failed… but it is clear Prince Viserys will leave nothing to chance, now: to turn away a prince of the blood would be a grave insult in such dangerous times, enough of one to insure that whether Braavos remains neutral or not, the Iron Throne itself might throw the full weight of its strength in support of Lys’s struggle with Pentos over the Stepstones.
There are older, more experienced men in the prince’s company, to be sure; given his reputation, many expect that whatever he negotiates is intended to be done by taking the advice of this wiser lords… but given his reputation, there are those who fear he might be capricious and overzealous in pursuit of whatever notion came into his head. If Viserys fears the same, it is said the Hand did not show it when Aegon took his leave and mounted the gangway to the great galley that was to carry him to Braavos. But of course, Viserys is occupied with many matters of the realm, not least the horrors that have befallen Stonedance, seized by the bandit Rhys of the Scourge with the aid of the notorious pirate Saan. His younger son, Aemon the Dragonknight, now leads the royal banners raised against the self-proclaimed “King of Stonedance”, after defeats and hard battles offered in the treacherous hills and mountains of Massey’s Hook.
It is a hard time to be Hand of the King.