Blood of Dragons

The 'A Song of Ice and Fire' MUSH


A Riot Crushed
IC Date: Day 25 of Month 12, 159 AC
RL Date: September 14, 2008.
Participants: Daeron I Targaryen (temped by Balerion), Dagur Saltcliffe, called the Iron Serpent, Jonn Lannister, Osric Vikary (temped by Reyna Saltcliffe), and Raynard Locke.
Locations: Inside the City: Manse Row.

Summary: The conclusion of the Dornish Bread Riot, as King Daeron personally leads a force to mercilessly crush the rioters following the failure of the City Watch to contain and control the problem.

A haggard Ser Richard Harte, looking very much his age, reports to King Daeron on his tall horse, taking to both knees as he does so from weariness. “The men at the last crossing road have broken, your grace,” he says, voice slightly quivering. “They’re coming up the road now. I—I fear they will take to some alleyways, to bypass us. I have sent order—”

The king’s voice, though young, is as hard as steel. “You and the Watch have failed,” the Young Dragon says, his squire at his side carrying the tall crowned helm of the king. About him are the Kingsguard, and certain captains and knights who have proven themselves before in the fields of Dorne and elsewhere; and beyond them, more men, retainers and men-at-arms. They are all attentive, but many avoid eye contact with Ser Richard. “If they want blood, ser, they will have it.” His eyes sweep back, at the Iron Serpent’s men, the scarred Dragonknight, and the rest, then back to old Harte contemptuously. “Take the men you have here and use them to take the old and the women to safety.” And it is clear, he numbers Ser Richard among those who must be gone for their own good.

At the Tyrell manse, the heads of men look over the walls at regular intervals, and it is as a keep under siege. No birds sing in the gardens, no women sing or children laugh. At the gate the captain of Ardon Tyrell’s guard, Stennis, watches grimly both the King and his party, and the ominously empty street before and around the manse.

Ser Richard bows his head in silence, and with the help of an underofficer gets back to his feet tiredly. He departs, broken and unlamented by the king, who already turns to Ser Reynard. “Have the trumpets sounded, and gather men beneath the banners.” He points to the banner bearers, and announces, “You—the first battle, led by Ser Reynard with the Tyrell retainers when they come. You, the second battle behind, where I shall be. And you, behind with Prince Aemon; fetch the Lannister retainers, ser, and be sure Jonn Lannister’s among them.” The Dragonknight, the long scar down his face still new, inclines his head in grim silence—it’s clear he doesn’t like where things have gone. He takes a man and rides for the Lannister manor, while Ser Reynard follows suit and seeks out the Tyrells.

The trumpet sounds, and criers go forth, “Knights! Men-at-arms! The king calls! Form beneath the banners! The rioters approach!” The call sounds up and down the row, and in the distance . . . in the distance, in the early dawn, flickering lights of fired houses and billowing smoke, and distant screams and shouts.

The mob bays like a pack of wolves that has scented blood; fires roar behind them in the poorer quarters, lending a hellish air to the grim morning. Looters throng the grounds of several manses, their gates all but torn off. Dead bodies are littered here and there, some of men-at-arms in their livery and some of those they managed to kill before being pulled down. A woman screams somewhere; another, trying to clutch her torn dress to her breast is dragged out of sight by a pair of ragged men.

“Fucking hells,” a pox-scarred man pushing his way through the mob swears. “Fucking hells,” he says again, panting with the effort of supporting the fair-haired man who limps beside him, blood soaking his tunic. “We should have gone out of the western gate and circled around the city.”

The wounded man starts to say something, then groans and clenches his teeth. The silent, scarred man supporting him on the other side merely shakes his head.

“Quiet. Move.” The man pushing his way through in front of them looks a looter—as they all do, soot-stained and in worn garb—but he has a castle-forged sword at his side and even crazed Flea Bottom thugs give way after a look at his cold, dark eyes.

At the Lannister manse, there are flashes of gold and crimson and steel from behind the gate which itself remains yet closed.

A face appears between two of the thick bars—green eyes, flecked with gold—and the man looks this way and that. No green boy is Ser Jonn Lannister; he understands the approach of Prince Aemon. The gate swings open but slightly and the Lannister retainers file out in an ordered, measured manner.

“You ‘eard ‘is Grace!” bellows Stennis at the Tyrell gates. In times past the men who file out in good order have been mocked for having pretty livery and being show-guards. Tonight they are full-armed and armored, seasoned men all. A handful remain behind to guard the walls, but there are a full score who come to Ser Reynard’s command.

“Form up! Form up!” sergeants call, bodily moving men afoot into place, and letting horsemen sort themselves out. The king waits for Prince Aemon and Ser Reynard to return with the men of House Lannister and House Tyrell before he announces, “We will come down in three waves, and force them to the Little Square,” he says, tone decisive, his plans all made and merely waiting soldiers to fulfill them. “Ser Reynard leads the vanguard. He will clear room for the two behind. The force with me will cut to the north, up Rhaenys’s hill, to block them from seeking the high ground or the shelter of the Dragonpit and its ruins,” he explains, and then turns his gaze to the Dragonknight and Ser Jonn. There’s a long pause and then he announces, “The rearguard will help shore up any gaps in the line, and any men left will work their way down the southern road. You’ll need to dismount to take one of the alleyways back up, to take the villains from behind.”

He pauses, and then asks aloud, “Am I understood?”

The three men with their wounded companion are almost in the clear, outpacing all but the leaders of a mob more intent on looting than advancing. And then, the tall one in the lead slows, staring at an undefended manse, its men-at-arms slain or fled as a roaring pack of rioters approaches the gates at a run. In a window on the upper floor, a pale, terrified face appears, then vanishes. The man looks ahead the empty road, blanketed in smoke with no way to tell what lies ahead, then back at the manse.

“Bugger me with a spear,” the pox-scarred man groans; he seems unable to keep his mouth shut. “He is going to do it. He is going to do it, isn’t he?”

“He is going to do it,” the fair-haired man agrees, blood bubbling with every word. Their leader swings back, ignoring the exchange: “Put him down by the wall there. Osric…we will be back. Keep that blood on the inside.”

And with that, he turns and strides towards the manse as the rioters start hammering at the gates. One of those at the back turns to him with a feral smile that turns surprised as he dies, skewered by the dagger that drops from his sleeve into the tall man’s hand. He walks past without breaking stride.

“AYE!” roar a score of Tyrell tongues, Stennis at their head. “We follow the Young Dragon!”

Meanwhile, back in the mob, the blonde man between the two Reavers tries again to speak, swallowing hard as he lifts his head. “Oh, aye, I’ll try,” he says to Dagur with a feeble attempt at his usual swagger. He spits a bit of blood from his mouth then looks up at Poxy. “Do it gentle, eh? I’m in no mood for having it rough when you lay me down.”

There is only a nod from the Lannister heir from his place behind and to the left of the Dragonknight.

He turns his horse about and relays the orders to his retainers, giving further instructions as to how they are to form up behind him. Several—younger than the others, and perhaps not veterans of the Conquest—seem to hesitate, their hands shaking. The Lannister frowns and approaches them, dismounting and standing before them. In this way he addresses and calms them, and they take their places with more courage than before.

“I know you will not disappoint me,” King Daeron, the First of His Name shouts aloud after that. “Nor the people of King’s Landing, who pray to the Seven, who work and live honestly, and who obey their lords and their king.” He shifts in his saddle, and pulls from the scabbard at his belt the sword of the Targaryen kings, Blackfyre. He lifts it high and says, “These villains will meet their end, and with the blood they shed peace will be restored. Grant no quarter!” And with that, he looks to see all is ready before he turns at least to Ser Reynard and nods his head.

The vanguard starts forward, slowly at first to make sure the troop of horsemen and the footmen pressed close behind keep good order. Then Caron increases the speed. King Daeron waits a good half a minute before his sword rises and then dips to begin a similar movement down the hillside towards the riot-plagued Little Square.

“Gentle as a man with a maiden, ser,” Poxy grunts, lowering the blonde man to the ground and leaning him against the wall. A worried look stills his tongue and he lays a hand on the great artery at the side of Osric’s neck, then squats beside him: “We will be done soon enough. Just a while longer now.” Casting around, he spies a fallen sword and leans over to get it, closing his wounded comrade’s hand around the hilt: “Here. Now don’t start thinking of using it.”

And with that he straightens and takes off at a run, following his mute companion to their captain.

Whose sword licks out to open another rioter’s throat. Around him, the others start to turn, becoming aware of this new threat. He kills another man in that time, clearing a space at the gate and turning so that it is at his back.

“Leave,” he suggests, his face hard as stone. “This manse is under…”

Whatever he means to say is drowned in the mob’s roar as it attacks.

Lannister sends a few of men ahead with the other lines—there are gaps that he notices instantly, and the men fill them like water.

Then with a look at the Dragonknight, he turns his horse about and moves for the southern road, his knights behind him.

And just ahead of the rioters at the manse the Reavers have gone, a giant form appears out of an alley way, moving more swiftly than his size would indicate. He stops before the fallen Osric, and looks down. “I will protect the pretty little boy,” he assures with a deep rumbled, thickly accented with the tones of Tyrosh. A pair of bloody, curved knives appear in his hands, seemingly falling out of his sleeves.

Ser Reynard leads the vanguard inexorably down the road. The pace is steady for a long minute, the horsemen and soldiers eerily silent behind him. And then: a shape, two, ten, more, and more, glimpsed amidst smoke and fire, running savagely, shouting, laughing with lust. A scream can be heard, a woman’s, or perhaps a girl’s. Gross laughter follows, and the sound of a smashing door. The troop of horse is as yet unseen, but not for long as Caron lifts the longaxe in his hand up . . . and then lowers it as he kicks his destrier forward. A wall of horseflesh and steel begins to barrel the final distance into the square, and the sound of shod hoofs at last brings the notice of the looters and rioters. Some, shocked, do little but stand and stare. Others shout alarm and start to run. Others still, their blood up, prepare to stand and fight, or—worse still—seek cover amidst the half-broken fences and walls of surrounding buildings, waiting for the horsemen to barrel past.

Slumped against the wall, Osric draws the sword close to him, laying it across his lap. Then he looks blearily up at the Tyroshi. “Might stop me being trampled,” he says, nodding painfully toward the thundering horsemen. “You’re Amalia’s man. Help me to my feet. I’d not die on my arse if I can help it.”

The Tyrell retainers are afoot, and it falls to them and their fellows to cut down whomever they can reach. No quarter, the King said, and none is given. Swords clash with whatever weapons the rioters put forth, and blood spills on the stones of the street.

The first man to attack the Iron Serpent collapses in a gutless heap. The second reels away, keening and clutching the stump where his arm used to be. The third snarls at him and has the dagger jammed in an eye as the ironman snarls back. But he is pushed back by sheer weight of numbers. A slash appears upon his chest; a club thumps into his shoulder, making him drop the dagger.

Then, Poxy and the Smiler are through to his side, clearing a space. The fight tilts in their favour, then back again against them. Warriors they might be, but they are three against more than a score. The ironman fights like a cornered wolf, silently, savagely, his blade a scything blur, but another man steps up every time he downs one and the three of them take more wounds.

And the main body of the mob emerges from the smoke, sees then, stops, then howls and charges. He braces himself to meet them with his companions, dark eyes empty for a moment before catching fire with battlelust again: “Osric! Get…”

He is cut off by the thunder of hooves approaching from the other end of the road and risks a glance there as he parries a blow.

A massive hand extends downward to the wounded Osric, after switching the knives to both hands. “It is nothing,” Lyam of Tyrosh says without much concern. He grins, “I will make Amalia stitch it. Hers are prettier…”

Somehow, one of the rioters has escaped the horsemen and others of the vanguard and comes dangerously close to the twain of sellswords. He comes right at the Tyroshi now, his eyes filled with rage, a shiv clutched in his hand. Lyam tosses one of his knives with expert precision, taking the rioter in the very centre of the throat. There is a gurgle and the man falls dead.

A man screams, scrambling, trying to run—then the sound cuts off, strangled, as Caron’s longaxe bites into the back of his head. The Lord Commander of the Kingsguard doesn’t even pause as his horse goes past, dragging the axehead from the falling man’s skull. To left and right of him, several knights follow suit, chopping with swords and swinging maces, crushing and killing all before them. In many cases, they hardly need to, as men are ridden down screaming and trampled under the heavy hoofs of the warhorses. Bloodthirsty shouts turn into screams of terror as the full weight of the horsemen crashes into knots and groups of rioters, coming out of the smoke like demons from the seven hells. Cries end in strangled, gurgling screams, and the horsemen press on, refusing to stop, sweeping and slaughtering all before them.

And just behind, another wave of horse with the royal banner at its head and the crowned helm of the king beside it.

And as the horsemen thunder towards them trailing blood and smoke, the mob at the manse gates breaks and begins to flee. The Iron Serpent wades into them mercilessly, butchering them as they run until they are all either dead or gone. He looks up just in time to raise a hand to the van as it thunders past.

And stumbles back, barely avoiding a crushing blow from a mace, then twists desperately to avoid another. “fucking hells,” he curses, trying to stay unhurt without striking back as more horsemen crowd the three ragged, blood-soaked men who look no different from any looter.

There is a golden flash as a crowned helm catches the sullen light. “Your grace!” he cries above the ringing of steel. “Your grace…Daeron!”

Osric, when he hears his name, looks round. “Bloody hell,” he mutters. “Here, the captain’s pressed hard. If you are with me…” he pauses to cough and spit blood onto the stones again. “If you are with me, then come. There’s work to be done.”

And though he can barely hold his sword up, Ser Osric Vikary throws himself back into the fray, finding some last reserve of strength to lay about him on his way to Dagur’s side. If the men he cuts down are not dead, nor yet even mortally wounded, no matter; they are easy prey for the foot soldiers whom come behind as Osric stumbles into the small manse’s yard and comes at last to his captain.

Flanked by the White Swords, the Young Dragon crashes towards the square with the larger part of his host, more than two hundred knights and men-at-arms. As Caron’s troop forges forward, the rioters scrambling away and dying before him, Daeron’s troop follows after. They trample wounded and dead alike, and cut down any man left standing. The din is terrible. Daeron’s sword goes unbloodied at first, as the Kingsguard seem to intercept anyone who so much as glances at his grace. As Prince Aemon’s force comes behind, Daeron shouts aloud, “Right!” and his troop veers that way, finding fresh foes as the troop forges up hill to close off the hill-ward side of the square. Blackfyre rises and falls at last, the Valyrian steel biting deep and mercilessly as the Young Dragon fights with a will, and the Kingsguard and knights beside him do likewise.

Some of the hardiest, cruelest rioters, having taken to the safety of walls and buildings, watch through smoke and fire and bloody melee to see Daeron’s company break rightwards. Shouts are lost in the din, and hidden men are easily forgotten . . . until they pour out from the sides, and suddenly horses are struck with cleavers, with wood-axes, and men are bodily brought down on Caron’s right flank and Daeron’s left. The weight of horsemen, beginning to be packed too close together ringed as they are by buildings and bodies, begins to lose its forward momentum and the fighting grows hot and furious. Many rioters flee, but others—out of terror or bravado—turn berserk, and fight like wild animals.

Lyam of Tyrosh pauses only long enough to gather his dagger from the fallen rioter’s throat ere following behind the wounded Osric Vikary. After a moment he is in front of the Vikary knight—his strides are longer and more fluid at this juncture—and he grabs two rioters by the neck and tosses them aside. There is a crack of necks as they fall…

The Lannister and his forces crush up behind those of the King. He barks, “Left!” and his company moves that way, along with the Dragonknight, running full force into the group of rioters that have poured forth from the shadows. It is hot and furious indeed—what golden hair of the Lannister’s that escapes his helm is bright red from spattering blood after only a moment of fighting.

Cursing again as the King sweeps past, the ironman ducks under the next blow and draws back to the gates. Behind him, Smiler hammers at the chains holding it shut with his sword and Poxy swings around to grab Osric’s tunic and pull him to safety as the mounted knights press forward.

The Tyrell force fights fiercely, but the maddening horde begins to tell and two of their number fall. There is no time whatsoever to stop and give them aid; the others are pressed too hard as they advance in the van, their progress harried but inexorable.

Osric grunts and almost hits Poxy in the face with a fist. “Damn you, let me die like a man!” he says, blood on his lips.

Axes, swords, maces threaten to bring a bloody peace as the Little Square begins to fill with bodies and the blood seems to pool—many rioters slip in it, only to be crushed by horse hoofs—yet now the square is full of men and steeds, and there’s little room to maneuver as thugs attack Caron’s flank. Shouts of alarm are raised as the line of horse buckles a little, and someone shotus for Ser Reynard’s attention. The old knight disengages himself from the front, gore and blood half way up the handle of his longaxe, and turns in place to quickly scan the surrounding and try to direct the situation. He rises in the stirrups, half-blind behind the narrow slots of his greathelm.

Prince Aemon fights with cool precision, Darksister rising and falling; few rioters need a second blow. With Ser Jonn beside him, he forces a way down the road, sending rioters flying. At a certain point, however, he pulls his horse to a stop and shouts, “Hold here! Ser Jonn, we must dismount—this alley’s the swiftest back up to the square,” he says, gesturing with his gauntleted hand, the white enamel darkened with blood. “Have some of your men stay behind, to guard our rear—I fear our stopping will embolden some of these rioters to attack us otherwise.” And then the Dragonknight dismounts, and other men follow suit.

The knights follow the ironman and the chains hold behind him. It is only a matter of moments before he must be felled and his Reavers with him—Poxy obstinately tries to pull the Vikary knight clear and sets himself beside him when he cannot—when a voice well-used to battlefields roars: “Saltcliffe!”

White hair visible below his helm, dripping longaxe in his fist, Ser Reynard Caron breaks into the circle as he pulls back from the square to order his line: “Back! Are all of you blind?”

Lowering his sword and wiping blood fom his brow with his forearm, Dagur steps forward to exchange words with the Commander of the Kingsguard. Whatever is said, he nods and mounts a riderless horse led forward by a man-at-arms. Pausing only to lean from the saddle and call to his men—“See him safe!”—he is gone towards the square to join Ser Reynard’s line.

“Crakehall!” the Lannister barks, dismounting from his horse at a leap. He lands with the heavy ring of steel, whirling around almost before he lands. “Keep ten behind, and have the rest follow me.” He does not wait for a response, instead moving after the Dragonknight—close at the Targaryen’s heels.

A handful of men are detailed to join Ser Dagur’s men and help see the wounded back behind the lines to safety, while Ser Reynard and the Iron Serpent rejoin the troop and redouble their efforts to force the rioters back. The two knights move towards the right flank to shore it up, driving looters and villains back towards the remains of a manse garden. It’s nearly chaos on all sides, as King Daeron’s troop slows as it reaches the uppermost side of the square. Moaning and groaning men crawl on the ground in the wake of his assault, trying to find safety, but many are stabbed by horsemen with long spears who come up behind the king’s host, or by men-at-arms afoot with their long swords. In the midst of the fighting, the Young Dragon shouts a command, and slowly the horsemen begin to dismount as well, creating a solid line of heavily armored footmen who are veritably impenetrable. The rioters break after awhile, and flee, only to regroup and be emboldened when a knot of looters who had been stuck in the warrens of Flea Bottom finally join them, unbloodied and still vicious.

And unbenknownst to any of them, Prince Aemon and the heir to Casterly Rock lead their force afoot through a winding alley, circling up and behind the main body of the fiercest Kingslanders who dare to try and stand toe to toe with knights of the Seven Kingdom.

Osric has little strength left, and he spends it as a man should, in thrusting his sword through the heart of a looter—even as the sword of a crazed man pierces his own from behind. Poxy cuts the man down, and only just catches Osric in time to hear his last words—then he must be left for the fighting. Poxy, alone now, cuts his way out of the manseyard and toward the Reavers fighting in the King’s van.

Lyam of Tyrosh bends down over the fallen form of Osric Vikary, preparing him for his journey to the afterlife in some strange, somber way that seems important to him. Then he too is off, joining the rest of the Iron Reavers in the fray…

Meanwhile, the Lannister heir emerges from the alleyway ere all the others. One of the rioters dances from foot to foot before him.

Lannister reaches forward, touches him gently on the shoulder…

And when the man turns, he is met with a smile and a golden-bladed dagger shoved into his throat and twisted brutally.

“FUCK THEM! FUCK THEM!” a huge rioter shouts, carrying an iron-spiked cudgel in his meaty hands and smashing down a fallen knight—the blows are hard and brutal, crushing the knight’s helm in the first blow, and the skull beneath in the second and third. The man roars, face smeared with blood, and he leaps to fight the next man-at-arms who struggles forward unhorsed amidst Caron’s company. Around the thug, other brutes gather and start to cause real trouble when they manage to cut down not one but two destriers, who topple over and thrash a hole in Caron’s line of men. Hard-pressed to hold the villains as it stands, the line buckles again while Ser Reynard and Ser Dagur are caught up on the right flank. Daeron’s force has better luck, cutting down the remaining rioters upon their side of the square, to the point that small bodies of men plunge forward, seeking out wounded to put an end to, and clearing out a few abandoned manses.

The roaring giant, hammering down another man-at-arms, turns and sees Ser Jonn, and then other knights coming behind. He sees red, and charges, and other men with him.

The Lannister rips his sword from its sheath and prepares for the charge, knees bent but slightly and body turned to give the smallest part of him as target. Several knights wearing the sigils of the Westerlands come to stand on the side of him, their own swords drawn, faces grim…

The rioters, largely unaware of the presence of the knights coming up behind them, throw themselves at Caron’s line which begins to buckle for want of space to maneuver and for the blood-soaked ground they stand on proving slippery. King Daeron, perched on a climbing roadway, sees the plight and shouts orders for his men to join Caron’s troop. The Kingsguard around him stay put while others follow the king’s command, until Daeron himself—brilliant in his black plate and golden mail—moves to rejoin the fighting, leaving one of his household knights in command.

The huge brute swings his cudgel with terrible force, preparing to hammer down the Lannister heir, reckless of the men-at-arms pouring out around him . . . until a black sword snakes out, punches neatly into his throat, and then comes out again with a spray of blood. The Dragonknight, just behind and to the side of the Lannister heir, says nothing of that to Ser Jonn, merely, “Lead your men to the right, ser, and I’ll press forward to distract the villains. You can take them in the flank there, and help Ser Reynard break them.” And with that, the noblest knight of the day wades in with Targaryen retainers around him, and with every stroke of Darksister a man seems to die.

Likewise, the Lannister says nothing—although there is a flicker of disappointment that he himself was not able to dispatch of the foe—and with a jerk of his wrist gestures with his sword to the retainers behind to follow him to the right. A man does not die every time his sword snakes out—perhaps every other time, at least—but he leads his men with a veteran efficiency and it is not long before they are in place at the flank.

For a moment, Caron’s line is poised to crack, for the press of rioters, the closeness of the space, and the blood—in pools past the ankles at some points—and bodies make it difficult to keep one’s place easily. And then Daeron is there, joining Ser Reynard and the rest, the Kingsguard and a body of men with him. The line solidifies and holds, and the rioters are thrown back only to realize that they’re virtually ringed in now that Ser Jonn and Prince Aemon have led their force through the alleyway and into the square. The Dragonknight and his company, clearing a space through their butcher’s work, pull back to a narrowing of the square and form a line of steel closing off any hopes of escape in that direction. Beginning to grow panicked, some rioters try to flee in other directions, and a few even start shouting, “I surrender! I give up!” just when the Lannister retinue starts to hammer away at the flank of the villains.

Raynard stood there his blade drawn, struggling to hold the line with the other men. The pain in his side seemed to be nothing now as he found himself subconciously dropping the blade as the troops pressed forward. He wasn’t thinking as he swung, and fought to stay up with the other’s. He only prayed that Rosalind was safe,

There comes a moment when a battle turns to a rout, and that moment seems to be . . . now. The roar of the rioters, fierce and defiant and thirsting for blood, begins to turn more and more into screams of terror. Amidst smoke, amidst flames, amidst the ruins of manses and bodies, men start to throw down weapons and run. The Lannisters press in from the flank, rolling it up, while the king and the Kingsguard lead a push forward that crushes the opposition before them. More and more men try to run, try to plead for mercy, but they find none. Some, daring, try to force their way through the Dragonknight and his line, and by the end of it Prince Aemon’s white raiment is drenched with blood. Screams and shrieks rise, a terrible sound, and the Young Dragon is brutal in his indifference to pleas for mercy, cutting down men on their knees with their hands raised in pleading submission.

It was butcher’s work before, some might say, but what follows gives it the lie; it is wholesale, relentless slaughter. Some knights hesitate, even quietly withdraw as if to catch their breath, but their eyes are averted.

Raynard raised his sword high above his head, ready to bring it down on man in fron of him, when he heard his sobbing pleas. Pausing for a moment he pondered what he was supposed to do. Honor saide he should give mercy, but his orders were to give no quarter, he stumbled back as his blade fell harmlessly to the side. His eyes surveyed the carnage about him as he regained his breath, and his senses.

So ends the Dornish Bread Riot as it began: in blood. Groaning wounded are dispatched by battle-hardened men, and the king lifts off his crowned helm to sweep back a sweat-matted lock of pale gold hair and then survey the results with a dispassionate eye. The Kingsguard around him are watchful and on edge, and a few ignore wounds from weapons that managed to find gaps in their armor; but they are all on their feet, and that’s good enough. When the last of the rioters is killed, screaming his surrender, the Dragonknight and Ser Jonn move to join the king and consult with him. There’s a long silence from Daeron, as he regards the Lannister heir, and then he commands them to retrieve the men they left at the alley mouth and hunt down any straggling rioters who escaped downhill. He turns away with little ceremony, and seeks out Ser Reynard Caron, giving orders for the City Watch to now be called in to begin disposing of bodies and clearing out abandoned manses of any villains seeking refuge among them.