The great hall of the Old Keep saw amusement and revelry, as the king and his court watched the antics of his fool, the dwarf Tall Tom. Surrounded by courtiers—many of them young gallants, veterans of the Dornish campaign, and others fair maidens—and at times dictating letters to a scribe, the king was most happy when his sister, Princess Daena, entered the hall with her train of ladies. The king welcomed them and had seats freed beside him for Daena and her companions. One in particular, Carmella Dondarrion, had the king’s particular attention as the two discussed matters of her home in Blackhaven—Lord Dondarrion, the king said, was doing stout work helping to defend the Marches from the rebels in the red mountains of Dorne—and then came to discuss, with the queen, the impending marriage and the visit of the Sealord of Braavos.
Occasionally men were introduced to the king by courtiers, and among these was Ser Harstyn Tully. Ser William Waxley, the royal steward, misremembered his name—calling him Harry—but he did recall the task that Lady Tully had kindly leant him for: the knight was assisting in gathering knights to serve in the guard of honor for Prince Baelor and Princess Daena, to escort them from Visenya’s sept to the Red Keep after the nupitals were spoken. His grace thanked the man, giving him leave to go after stating that his duties as a deputy of the Warden of the Kingswood kept him busy.
And so matters went on awhile, when a messenger arrived. A bold man, he named himself Ser Gregor Wendwater, and bore word from the Lord of Wendwater, the king’s vassal: his men-at-arms had captured another of Starion Flower’s bandits, and they believed they had sufficient information to pinpoint the notorious bandit, called the Starveling by some. The king quickly rose and departed the hall, giving leave to the courtiers to continue with their revels, while he consulted with Ser Sarmion the Warden and Ser Dagur, Lord Commander of the City Watch, on an expedition to put an end to the villainy in the kingswood.