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In the court of Sunspear, in the grand hall of the Sandship, amidst the revelery of the courtiers and ladies and knights who flock to the troubled halls of the Old Palace, a feast took place. A feast, and… an incident.
Thrown for vague purposes—the arrival of Lord Wyl’s heir seemed cause enough—the feast was well on its way when Prince Marence arrived with Coran Wyl (“Just Coran”, as he would note to those who prefixed “Ser” before his name; and that was a matter of speculation, that he lacked knighthood, stirring old gossip in some quarters). Wyl, a gracious man, made sure to reacquaint
A raven from Blackhaven arrives at King’s Landing, bringing long-expected word of King Baelor’s departure from Dorne after negotiating the peace and walking, barefoot, in a show of piety that was over-matched only by his first such journey to Dorne with the forty-nine hostages in his train. The Grand Maester received it eagerly from an assisting younger maester, and read it… and blanched.
Unease, and an immediate visit to the royal apartments in the middle of the night, awakening Prince Viserys from his sleep to inform him of the news. It did not take long for what came from Blackhaven to be
The negotiations between the King of the Seven Kingdoms, Baelor Targaryen, and the Prince of Dorne had ended. Word had passed through the court of Sunspear that among the terms of the new peace were the unmaking a marriage (that of the heir to Salt Shore, Joleta Gargalen) and, more importantly, the betrothal of Prince Marence’s daughter Mariah to the king’s cousin, young Daeron, the son of Prince Aegon and his sister and wife Princess Naerys. This was met with unrest in some parts of the court, concern that too much was being given away to this pious boy-king who thinks the Seven speak to
Three weeks now has King Baelor been at Sunspear. Three weeks in which he has prayed more than he has discussed peace between the realms, and three weeks in which Prince Marence seemed increasingly exasperated, and indeed the court. Yet the young king has given all signs he means to acquiesce to almost all the demands placed on him to make amends with Dorne. Some say Prince Marence should ask for more, far more, but it seems honor compells him to greater modesty. There is, however, one firm point, one bargain to seal the peace, that King Baelor has proposed ... and that has been
The court in King’s Landing has featured certain upheavals in the last month, following Lord Cargyll’s stepping aside as Master of Coin. The office was, to no one’s surprise, granted to Beron Buckwell, the King’s Scales. Buckwell—son to the influential Lady Taria—had more or less fulfilled Lord Cargyll’s duties when he was away from court, so this merey made the tacit situation official. Rumors claim Lord Cargyll’s long absence from court had less to do with famiial concerns and more to do with arguments he had had with King Daeron over the cost of his efforts to hold Dorne. Of course, others
It was a feast of welcome, and a feast filled with joy. Years ago, the hostages demanded by King Daeron departed for the Red Keep, and now free Dornishmen and women have returned to their native land. The shadow city and the Old Palace were lit with torches and lamps, music played, and wine flowed. Many were the lords and ladies from throughout the realm who were there to greet their kin and celebrate with them, from crippled Lord Gargalen to Lady Allyrion. Courtiers great and small were there as well, and with them came the talk of what to do next, what great challenges were before Dorne
The pious king Baelor’s long journey reaches its midway point, or near enough, after he departed Blackhaven—where he reacquainted himself with his former sworn shield, Ser Doran Dondarrion, somewhat recovered from the harrowing experience that was the flight across the Boneway—and began to lead the former Dornish hostages up the Boneway. Though the king was on foot—and bare foot at that, with scabs covering his rough feet and new cuts and gashes leaving a trail of blood behind him—the gods must favor him, for the weather was overcast, taming the heat of the sun. It’s said the hostages, some
Though autumn may be slowly turning leaves north of the Red Mountains, in Dorne the sun still burns nearly as fiercely as it did in the long, blood-drenched summer, though the night winds off the sea blow cold. Prince Marence has been said to have kept late hours, doing what he could to begin to repair the damage done to Dorne by the Targaryen invasion and conquest, and the rebellion that followed. Ser Mavros Uller, the former exile, is now accounted one of his chief advisors, though he holds no formal office (Prince Marence’s father’s doing, it’s said.)
Thoughts turn towards the matter of
Three days it took for a royal galley to bear Ser Ranulph Wendwater, one of the king’s justiciar’s, and Ser Jaesin Lannister, one of the king’s White Swords, to Crackclaw Point with three dozen men-at-arms. A week followed, as Ser Ranulph attempted to put to rights the troubles there, sparked when it was said that Lord Staunton kidnapped the young and wilful Lady Evelyn of House Boggs, who inherited from her brother when he and their father died in the terrible flight down the Boneway. But the lady had been promised, to a bold knight of House Brune, Ser Osney the Quick, and what followed was
The time had come: King Baelor was departing King’s Landing with the former Dornish hostages. It was a plan that the king had announced months before, and the court met it with a mixture of incredulity and concern. Some assured themselves that Prince Viserys would dissuade him, that the gods would bring him to a wiser course, that he would realize the folly of it… But none of these things happened. Indeed, the king’s resolve only grew as Prince Marence away in far Sunspear proved so agreeable, hardly arguing against any point in the king’s plan for peace with Dorne (some would say this was
Is it true? Can the slight, pious youth who is king—young Baelor, whom some call Halfsepton—really intend to depart for Dorne in two weeks time? That’s the rumor at court, and the actions of the king’s household and that of the king’s stewards make some suspect it to be true. Orders have been flying, sending gold cloaks and foresters south of the city, along the beginning of what would be the king’s route to Blackhaven and the Boneway beyond. Ravens, too, have been sent to the seats of the lords and knights along the way, allegedly enjoining them to deal with all the unrest and brigandry on
Word arrived late in the day from Blackhaven, and the words were as black as the wings of the raven that carried it:
The last part of the king’s army, believed to have been making its progress on the Boneway, had been due at Blackhaven two weeks or more by this point, if all had been well. Clearly, there was a problem. Yet scouts sent by the new Lord Dondarrion to explore the way south found no sign of the army, and there was concern. The garrison at Wyl, having entered the Marches after giving up the castle to its Dornish masters, said they had heard or seen no sign of them, either. What
The morning dawned with the king awake, after having knelt before the altars of the Seven in the royal sept in succession through all the previous night, fasting and praying in readiness for his coronation. Nearly a week of feasting had preceded it, each feast hosted by some gracious noble house—Crakehall, Gargalen, Tully, Baratheon, Lannister, and Arryn—and none could recall such a fine gathering of the great and the courtly since the coronation of the king’s late father, Viserys, whose crowning ended two harsh years of war. Lavish efforts were made to impress his grace and his court, as
It was, in a way, anticlimactic. When the bird arrived, tired from its long journey from King’s Landing, the Old Palace’s maester carried the message to the Seneschal, who in turn brought it before Prince Marence, who was at that time in conference with certain lords and ladies and knights, discussing the way forward for a war-weary Dorne. The message was read, and King Baelor’s terms—practically in perfect agreement with Prince Marence’s counter-offer—were, it seems, much as Prince Marence hoped. What were two more towerhouses in the Prince’s Pass and the Boneway, after all, when compared
Departing from the crowded afternoon service, King Baelor and many of his followers were outside the royal sept. The young king remarked on the sermon on charity from the sept’s chief septon, Septon Elwood, with a great deal of admiration. For some, that sermon was unfortunately timed, given what transpired afterward.
A knight of the royal household arrived and delivered word that a message had arrived from Sunspear, a long-awaited message: Prince Marence’s response to the Iron Throne’s offer of peace. The knight was to escort the king to the small council’s chambers . . . but there was a
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