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Beneath the dome of the Tower of the Sun, the court of Sunspear in all its glittering, colorful elegance gathered to hear Prince Marence give audience to any who would speak. Most were there to hear, no more… but what they wanted to hear were the announcements that whispers said the prince planned to make, announcements that might shake the court. Some wondered if the prince was to reveal his intention to take a third wife, to see if he would have any more luck than with the prior two. There were those who muttered darkly about Yronwood, as well, wondering if the prince must reveal some huge indemnity he would have to pay to Lady Yronwood for her forbearance and loyalty. Once, men might have scoffed that a Prince of Dorne would do such a thing… but no longer: Marence was a different sort of prince.
The prince entered with his kin—his son and heir, his brothers—and his chief counselors, and took his place upon one of the two high seats. Ser Perros Blackmont, the aged seneschal, called for petitioners to come forward to speak with the prince. The first, Lord Aryard Manwoody, came forward… and was direct and bold in his desire of the prince: permission to court Princess Arianne, Marence’s sister. This caused whispers and shock (and anger on Lord Manwoody’s part), for it was well known that Coran Wyl, the heir to Wyl, whose father had so openly flirted with rebellion only to stand aside at the last, had been in Sunspear for months bargaining with the prince over the matter as he attempted to settle the divisions peacefully. And so everyone thought, when Prince Marence said that Lord Manwoody has forestalled one of his announcements, and then that he could not give permission for her hand was already promised, that the Wyl heir had already been betrothed to Arianne…
But no, that was not the case. Marence revealed that before he departed for Yronwood, Coran had approached him and advised him his belief that Arianne’s hand might serve to settle the larger problems with Yronwood, and he willingly gave up his claim to it. This Marence kept to himself, it seems, until that fateful day when Lady Yronwood’s host had trapped the Martell banners in the Boneway. Marence announced it: Arianne was promised to Farien Yronwood, Lady Yronwood’s heir, and they would wed when he won his spurs. To do that, of course, he would come to Sunspear, to serve as a squire there—and that at least was wise, for it made the boy a hostage should his mother ever recant her promise of fealty and leal service. Lord Manwoody was disarmed by this revelation, having supposed that Coran Wyl was his rival, and the lord was seen to laugh at it and to say to the prince it was well played as he withdrew his request.
Then the next petitioners: Lady Liane Uller, the Heir of Hellholt, with her cousin Ser Ulwyn, the old master-at-arms at Sunspear who had long been in service to the Martells. Together, they pled for clemency for Alyx Sand, called the Witch, Ser Ulwyn’s daughter who had run off with the notorious robber knight Rhys of the Scourge and played first rebel and then bandit in the mountains of Dorne. It was thanks to them, some said, that Lady Yronwood learned how to move her forces secretly around to trap the prince’s host, and many eagerly anticipated their deaths. For the aid Hellholt had given, and most of all for Ser Ulwyn’s long service (and that of his sons, who had fought in the prince’s household, and one of whom had died in his service), Prince Marence agreed. No one pleaded for the life of Red Rhys, however, and the prince pronounced that he would hang…
Only for the Witch, contradictory as ever, to proclaim that she might as well be sentenced to death, too, if Rhys was going to be killed; it was plain she meant she’d die by her own hand, if need be. Liane and Ulwyn both argued at her, pleading, but she was steadfast. And then Red Rhys offered the solution: he would take the black, going to the Wall to join the Night’s Watch. The two outlaws, lovers both, argued briefly, but Rhys was adamant. And Marence? Perhaps he had had a fondness for Alyx, once, when she and her siblings were being raised in Sunspear. He commanded that it be done.
And after that, the announcements… at least, those that had not been pre-empted. First and foremost, the prince revealed what had long been suspected: King Baelor was sending an embassy to Sunspear, to further the cause of peace, and Marence intended to do likewise with an embassy to King’s Landing. There were those who found it distasteful and little to their liking, but others seemed to see opportunity to it. Some—like Lord Manwoody—left the chamber after that announcement. And later Prince Rhdory was to follow him, but for quite another reason: a second announcement, that Ser Mavros Uller—the man who had guided the Dornish rebellion to fruition, who had helped to liberate the Planky Town, who had shared command at Godsgrace and Yronwood when fending off King Daeron, and who had lately been one of Marence’s closest confidants—was to be Keeper of the Tower of the Sun, and he would play a leading role in selecting lords and knights and ladies to join the embassy to King’s Landing.
As Rhodry had been Keeper of the Tower of the Sun until moments before… well, one could see why he let. or why Prince Cadan, charming and easy as always, gave Mavros a long look, as that had once been his office, and rumors said he aspired to it again once he convinced his brother to displace Rhodry. Though Prince Marence suggested Rhodry would take up new duties, many seem to think that he will sooner leave Rhodry to pursue his wastrel ways rather than risk his holding any power.
And so the audience concluded, and the court had much to discuss, much to consider… not least, who would be so unfortunate as to be asked to travel to King’s Landing as part of this embassy, and who would lead it?
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