Sails were spotted on the horizon three hours before the great galley and its escorts, all of them purple-hulled, arrived at the docks of King’s Landing. In the hours between, the Red Keep and the royal household flew into activity, making sure all was ready so that the king might show the power and wealth of the Seven Kingdoms to best advantage before the mightiest lord of the Free Cities. As the _Titan’s Fist_, a great galley of four hundred oars, and its escorts pulled into the docks, it seemed half the city had turned out to try and catch a glimpse at Ferro Antaryon, the Sealord. Called the Lion of Braavos by his own people, Ferro had won great victories at sea, defeating rivals and increasing the influence of Braavos in the last several years. Young for a Sealord by Braavosi standards, and with talent to match ambition, some would say that he was born to be fast-friends with the Young Dragon.
This proved to be true, when the two embraced, Daeron taller than the older man who proved—in his somber garb, his lean figure, and his plain face—to be less majestic or exotic than some expected. This hardly dampened the festive atmosphere, however, and it was helped by the escort that came down the gangway from the galley. More than a dozen guards followed him, and chief of them was a swaggering man who was whispered to be the First Sword, the finest waterdancer in Braavos and the personal guard of he Sealord. Behind them came various dignitaries from Braavos, among them Donalo Prestayn of the Iron Bank. And last, but not least, was the beautiful Essella Antaryon, called the Daughter of the Sands, a famous courtesan whose mother is a notorious woman of Dorne. Travelling by horse to the Red Keep, the Sealord found himself and his large entourage installed in the Kitchen Keep, from which most of its inhabitants had been kicked out on short notice and placed in much more cramped confines in the various towers and buildings of the castle.
The feast that followed proved to ride on the knife’s edge of disaster, servants and stewards alike overwhelmed. Seating was haphazard, with scions of mighty houses—Ardon Tyrell and his sister Reyna, or Jonn Lannister—found themselves regaled by the merchant-lord Donalo, who proved charming and intensely interested in talk of business and wealth. Elsewhere, the Daughter of the Sands spoke with a young stormlord, Ser Ethos Mertyns, only for the man to break off conversation, discomfited for some reason. Mistress Essella drew many eyes as she moved to join Donalo Prestayn, chiding him for his bringing business to the table. And all the while, the Sealord and the Young Dragon got on famously, despite their differences in ages, united by their interest in deeds of arms and military affairs. The Sealord was introduced to most of the most notable courtiers, and seemed to look forward to meeting some of them in more private venues, as King Daeron had let him know that a number of fetes and special events were being prepared on his behalf.
The feasting went long into the night, and it was only after the Sealord and his entourage had retired that the gossip began to turn, once more, towards the reason why a foreign potentate would come to King’s Landing in his own person.