The time had come: King Baelor was departing King’s Landing with the former Dornish hostages. It was a plan that the king had announced months before, and the court met it with a mixture of incredulity and concern. Some assured themselves that Prince Viserys would dissuade him, that the gods would bring him to a wiser course, that he would realize the folly of it… But none of these things happened. Indeed, the king’s resolve only grew as Prince Marence away in far Sunspear proved so agreeable, hardly arguing against any point in the king’s plan for peace with Dorne (some would say this was because the king’s plan involved giving up almost every part of Dorne his lamented brother won, but that was only said behind closed doors among friends). Peace was at hand, and the crowning glory would be Baelor’s journey to reaffirm that peace before the gods. His piety would shield him, his righteousness would keep him warm when it was cold and cool when it was hot. Or so he said.
And so the king departs, with the forty-nine former hostages riding behind him, and no other escort to speak of. “The Warrior will guard me, and the Father shall lead us,” it was said that he stated before setting out from the Red Keep. The kingslanders lined the streets, thronging it anxiously to catch a glimpse at Baelor, and perhaps to pray as he passed that some accident or event would cause him to change his mind.
No such thing happened. He arrived at the docks, made his farewells to his queen, his other sisters, and the court, and then mounted upon a ferry, with Prince Cadan and Princess Ariana leading the way. The rest of the hostages followed after. The anxious crowd departed after a few fitful cheers, more dejected than pleased at the fine, brave showing of the young king.
Less than a week after, it was announced that Ser Conrad Arryn—the Knight of the Bloody Gate and brother to Lord Arryn—was appointed royal steward. Succeeding Ser William Waxley (and Lady Reyna Saltcliffe, who aided Prince Viserys in a post never held by a woman before, unless one wished to count Queen Alysanne—the maesters are divided on the subject…), the knight had survived the harrowing flight from Dorne over the Boneway, safely carrying away the ancestral sword of kings, and so it seemed a worthy reward. Prince Viserys now sits the Iron Throne in his nephew’s stead, and the birds fly by day and night carrying the crown’s commands to all the corners of the realm.