The winds blow, and ships from all corners of the world sail from port to port, bringing trade, bringing travelers, bringing news. From the Summer Isles, where the rarest of woods grow, the tidings are of the Stepstones being of late swept almost clean of corsairs and pirates and reavers; their swan ships are rarely disturbed, and they speak of great war galleys flying the Velaryon seahorse beneath the Targaryen three-headed dragon as an explanation for it all. From Qarth, where silks and jewels and rare antiquities can be found, the pale sailors tell of a war between the men of Yi Ti and
The victory at sea by the Sea Watch proved a vital blow against the forces of the so-called “king”, Red Rhys of the Scourge, and his ally Sullehman Saan. But though they had lost the battle, the war for Stonedance continued as the remnant of their forces remained at Stonedance in strength. Driving forward under the royal banner, the host under Prince Aemon Targaryen, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, joined with the outriders they had sent to sweep away the reavers and scavengers that Rhys and Saan had out. As they approached the walls, the giant Vaario Quanis could be seen bringing a man
The terror that has swept Massey’s Hook, when it was revealed that the Dornish robber-knight Red Rhys of the Scourge had allied himself with the notorious Sullehman Saan, has even come to the royal city where Baelor, slow to recover, prays… and where Prince Viserys, his uncle and Hand, rules. For in the city, an assault took place in which the lady Reyna Saltcliffe was injured, her guards killed… and worst of all, the young ladies Jyana Arryn and Elrone Darklyn were abducted and vanished. While throughout the city a search was made, it would not be for a fortnight before the truth was
Far to the south, Dornish galleys cross the narrow sea. Braavos is their destination, to attempt to win over that mighty Free City to an alliance with Pentos against Lys.
And unbeknownst to them, from King’s Landing have sailed a handful of royal war galleys, a mighty escort for a prince with a similar—yet opposed—mission. Prince Aegon Targaryen, son of the Hand Prince Viserys, cousin to the King Baelor the First of His Name, was named head (some might say figurehead) of an embassy meant to dissuade Braavos from taking part. Earlier efforts had been rebuffed, the emissaries sent back in
From the Tower of the Sun, where the court of the Prince manage the affairs of the realm, an official pronouncement is issued declaring as true something that had been rumored and gossiped about for weeks: Dorne is indeed sending emissaries to the court of the Sealord of Braavos to discuss important matters concerning trade in the narrow sea. With rumors of corsairs growing bolder—news from King’s Landing, filtered through galleys and couriers alike, made that more than plain—and Lys and Pentos approaching open war over the Stepstones and trade routes, Dorne’s interests are plain enough. But
With all the turmoil in King’s Landing and its environs, from the near-destruction of a royal fleet by the notorious Saan to the over-running of Stonedance, the arrival of a royal galley and its escorts was little remarked; there are many such plying the narrow sea. But it was soon recognized as the galley sent, with an emissary and his aides, to Braavos, to meet with the Sea Lord. At court it was well-known that this was due to growing tensions involving Lys and Pentos, Free Cities nearly at war with one another and seeking allies. Prince Viserys’s old ties to Lys may well have been the
Blood on the high seas, and blood in the deep forests: war has come to Westeros, a strange one, waged by pirates and bandits against the Iron Throne.
Matters have taken a swift turn for the worse in the wake of Prince Viserys deciding how best to deal with the pirates Sullehman Saan and Vaario Quanis—growing ever bolder in their depredations along the coast—as well as the growing threat of conflict with the Free Cities alliance over the Stepstones. On receiving word from men of the sea watch and the Crackclaw Point wardenry that Saan’s lieutenant, Vaario, had broken with him—for the latter
In the shadow city, in the winesinks and the pillow houses, there is talk of many things, of news from places near and far. Merchants tell of the disruption of trade caused by fears over the Iron Throne fleet in the Stepstones meaning to do more than sweep out pirates, and of the real harm that the notorious corsairs of those waters have caused in the Narrow Sea. But others speak of the greater storm brewing between the Free Cities, a trade war that might become something all together more dangerous if they come to blows.
In the halls and chambers of the Old Palace, the nobles tell similar
Rumors of war across the narrow sea, a king disabled, bandits in the Kingswood—these are the kinds of troubles that are not unheard of in the Seven Kingdoms, but all at the same time they are a cause for worry. Some at the court of the Red Keep worry over these matters, and worry that King Baelor will not recover any further than he has from the disasterous fast that almost killed him. Yet others, it must be said, take heart in the fact that the king’s uncle, Prince Viserys, has been active in these and many other matters beside.
As Hand of the King, he has dispatched forces to strengthen
The news trickles down from high to low: the king is safe. Under the constant care of maesters and septons since his collapse following thirty days of fasting, the worst is over and the Grand Maester believes he will recover… in time. Never robust, the king’s fast left him on the precipice of death and his painfully-thin form is now almost cadaverous. He is too weak to even speak for more than brief periods, and when he has the strength he prefers to pray and consult with septons. But Prince Viserys has spoken with him, and at the king’s behest it will be the Hand who will hold court and sit
Thirty days of fasting. Thirty days of prayer. Thirty days to atone for the nameless sins that made the gods take Princes Naerys’s twins to their bosom, and nearly killed her.
Thirty days to collapse, body thin and wasted, eyes dimmed. Thirty days for a crown to roll across the royal sept’s floor, to end at the foot of the statue of the Stranger, who is death.
King Baelor fasted and prayed by day, prayed and fasted by night. He would take water on occasion, and bread occasionally (though more and more seldom as his fast progressed). The Grand Maester councilled him to eat
It was at the end of the third month of the 164th year since Aegon’s Conquest that the Dornish embassy to the Iron Throne departed the Planky Town. The weather had been fair enough, despite the autumn season, and the captain of the ship carrying them to King’s Landing had plotted a cautious route that would protect them as much as may be from the autumn storms that sometimes roared up and down the narrow sea. Three weeks, they supposed, the journey would take if thigns went fairly; perhaps even two, though that was likely too much to hope for unless the Seven willed it. So a fortnight passed,
Princess Naerys Targaryen, daughter of the Hand and wife of Prince Aegon, was quite suddenly brought to the bloody bed after months of the most careful stewardship of her pregnancy. Never the strongest of women, the birth of her sole child Daeron having nearly undone her, still she bore up bravely as she remained often abed on the advice of the maesters and her companions. But while she entered her labor, there were worried looks among those self-same maesters and companions: it was too soon, and too sudden. If Naerys realized it, she did not say, instead closing her eyes and mouthing
There have been scandals, both lesser and greater, that have wormed their way into the gossip of the court, from a lady assaulted by common hands to a disgraced knight riding in a wedding tourney to a coterie of young lords and ladies becoming ensnarled in whispers of a lewd, foreign book and its scandalous drawings that would make a septon’s hair rise on end. That last scandal led to the dismissal of one woman from the court, its said, to lead a life of penitence in some distant motherhouse. Yet otherwise, despite these troubles, these problems with the morality of the Kingslanders and the
Ser Rynos Prester has certainly created a stir with his book of lewd and lascivious drawings! Just a week ago, Septon Elwood gave a fiery sermon in the Royal Sept, where he called out all the congregants for their sins of lust. He chided the married woman for lusting after her husband, and the maiden for lusting at all. He was most particularly inspired by Prester’s vile book, and seemed to single out those known to have seen so much as a page of the book, or to have made inquiries as well. Not everyone was best pleased; Ser Albyn Crane was especially furious to have been looked upon in what