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Ser Alyn Velaryon and many of his captains have been returned to their fleet at the command of Prince Marence, discharging his duty to them according to the ancient laws of guest right, though few of his subjects are pleased by this decision. Soon after, it was said that a pair of galleys from the fleet—having halted its plans to assault Sunspear to free Oakenfist, now that the master of ships was freed—were seen off the coast near Sunspear, making all sail for the Broken Arm. Doubtless, they carried word to the king of the latest events. This did not alleviate the concern that the king’s ships might attempt to seize control of the Planky Town once more, and from there assault Sunspear to quickly bring about the capitulation of the rebels in the Boneway and the Prince’s Pass.
For this reason, Prince Marence called a gathering of the chief courtiers, lords, and knights at Sunspear to provide their council. The debate was attended by the Blackmonts and Ser Robin Dayne, by Ser Laurent Dalt and Lady Lyssane Manwoody (once a Caron of Nightsong), by the dispossessed Lord Davit Gargalen, and more. Prince Marence arrived with his father, Ser Quinlan, who had once served as Lord Protector while his son was still in his minority, and for the boy Prince Malor. He was brief, and to the point: Lord Blackmont was receiving aid from Starfall and Skyreach to threaten the king’s garrison at Kingsgrave, Lord Manwoody and Red Rhys had control of the Boneway between Wyl and Yronwood, and Ser Mavros Uller was leading Qorgyle spears to join with Hellholt to threaten the seat of the Yronwoods. Yet Velaryon and his fleet sat at Salt Shore, the Bright Banners still held Vaith, and a strong garrison controlled Godsgrace—and with it, access overland between Yronwood and Sunspear.
The question: what should the prince do? Many offered their suggestions. The Blackmonts sided with Ser Laurent Dalt, the Sand Dog, that Vaith and Godsgrace were key to being able to resist King Daeron’s efforts to suppress the Dornish rebels. Lady Lysanne asked if Salt Shore was not a greater danger, with its fleet and many hundreds of soldiers so near and able to strike at the Planky Town or Sunspear, and Lord Davit—eager, perhaps, to win back his seat where so many of his kin stand hostage—argued in favor of launching an attack there. Dalt argued against it, making light of Lord Gargalen’s argument, only for the old lord to make a retort that would have been scathing if not for Ser Quinlan’s intervention.
All the while, Marence listened as opinions were voiced, while his young son and heir Malor sat beneath the dais mimicking his father’s attentive manner. Eventually, however, the prince spoke—Dalt and the Blackmonts had carried the day, and Sunspear’s first task would be to free Vaith and Godsgrace. With them in hand, Prince Marence promised Lord Davit that Salt Shore could then be freed with the Dornish forces from those regions. Commanding the force of spears raised by Ser Ulwyn Uller and Ser Perrin Blackmont would be Ser Laurent Dalt and Ser Baduin Santagar, the Red Spear; both men have had experience across the narrow sea with sellsword companies, and perhaps this is why Marence chose them. Hundred of spears would go to Planky Town, some staying behind to reinforce it against assault, the rest to be ferried north on the Greenblood by the orphans. Before sending all but the captains and chief councillors out, the prince suggested they would take one thing more with them . . . but what that is, none will say.
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