The first reports to come to Sunspear was a swift raven dispatched from the Planky Town, of fishermen reporting the sighting of three galleys bearing the sword-and-falling-star of the Daynes… and above them, the sun-and-spear of Dorne. The ships approached from the west, coming to the end of their journey from Starfall. The castellan of the citadel at the Planky Town had already had an honor guard from the Old Palace garrisoned and ready to ask as escort, while the orphans of the Greenblood flocked with their poleboats about the quays where the Prince of Dorne, Marence Nymeros Martell, would surely show himself after so long away.
It was as the sun was setting that the three ships pulled into their berths, and the honor guard presented itself before the largest of the three galleys. More knights and men-at-arms appeared as the gangway was lowered, presenting a fine picture in all their silks and linens and bright-burnished armor. The crowds of Dornish men and women gathered watched as at last the prince himself appeared, his son and heir Prince Maron at his side. What they saw might have caused disquiet, but it was masked by the cheers for the father and son both; Marence looked frail still, prematurely aged, but he stood on his own feet and he raised a hand to his people.
The prince made his slow way down to where a palanquin waited, Maron beside him every step, and not far behind was the lady Elysa Dayne. After them came others, members of the prince’s household, lords and ladies of the western reaches who had decided to accompany their prince to court for a time, Prince Maron’s knight Ser Aidan Dayne and his pale, Northern lady Aisling, Prince Rhodry’s bastard son Lewyn Sand, and many more.
Given the late arrival, the party made its way to the citadel to reside the night. Ser Jordan Dayne, the castellan, gave over his chambers to the prince, and hosted his guests with a feast. The next day, shortly after dawn, the great mass of the prince’s entourage—escort upon escort, lords and ladies, knights, men-at-arms, servants, and more—made their way onto the road to Sunspear. Word had spread well ahead of them, and along the route east were many who cheered the prince and his son. Sunspear itself, with its Winding Walls, would have been impassable were it not for the shariffs and guards who cleared the route. Yet some who followed along with the train made note of the fact that Marence only appeared briefly out of his palanquin during the journey to the city, and even though his father Ser Quinlan Qorgyle, the Lord Protector of Dorne, greeted him at the last of the Threefold Gates he remained in the palanquin.
And so the prince returned, and many were glad… but also saddened, to see the prince seemingly little better than he was when he was last in Sunspear, following the mysterious poisoning that nearly killed him. And among the courtiers, many wondered still whether there was more to Marence’s return than simply the desire to see the wedding of his daughter to Prince Daeron Targaryen (and, perhaps, that of his brother Prince Rhodry to Tanyth Toland). After all, among all those knights who came in the prince’s company, a few noticed one in particular: Ser Mavros Uller, once Prince Marence’s right hand, formerly Keeper of the Tower of the Sun, and (as many recalled) an arch-rival to Ser Quinlan…