Great figures of the court and the city have come and gone to pay their respects to King Viserys on this, his third day of lying in state and the fourth since his passing. Each day has seen King Aegon—though he wears no crown, as of yet, for it’s rumored he wishes to wait until after his father’s burial—make a visit with close companions and acquaintances, or sometimes even alone, and others have been as dutiful: Prince Daeron and Princess Mariah, the lords of the small council (save the exiled-in-all-but-name Lord Alyn Velaryon), Princess Rhaena (but not Princess Daena, yet), Princess Elaena (only the once, and briefly), the High Septon, and on and on. Other, lesser figures have waited outside the sept to wait for when the great potentates have gone so that they could shuffle pass the king’s body. And so there’s a milling crowd here, gossiping, talking quietly, watching which great names have come on this day, at this hour. Minor functionaries, knights of the city watch, masters of the city’s guilds, lesser lords and knights, and on and on.
“... not seen Queen Naerys at all with the king ...”
“... heard she is ... upset ... and in delicate health ...”
“... ravens sent to Driftmark ... the king prefer he stay away?”
“Never heard of ... new master of coins?”
“... strange if he follows Viserys ... Must name a Hand…”
So the gossip and rumors swirl, in the knots and whirls of the crowd. Among those standing away in one group is Ser Aidan Dayne and his wife Lady Aisling, waiting without with several courtiers (some of them from Dorne) as Prince Daeron and Princess Mariah again pay their respects and offer prayers for King Viserys’s soul. The Dornish talk quietly, less about the gossip of the day with its rumors of changes at court, and whom hopes to advance in King Aegon’s favor and whom might even be considering leaving the court for fear of King Aegon’s attentions, and more about the rumors of the king’s grand coronation plans. “It is not unheard of, a tourney for a coronation,” the Knight of the Twilight can be heard to say. “But I would not go to the Street of Steel to see if I could get a new suit of tournament armor, without knowing. It may be this king will prefer masques and feasts, no?”
The Knight of Twilight says the word ‘tourney’ and the lady of Caswell’s interest is piqued. Elyse, along with the rest of the household of Caswell, have come to pay their respects now that things have quieted. “The King,” she says, not looking at the deceased one, “holds his seat very well. I had the honor of watching him ride at Storm’s End long ago. I do not think he would abstain from the courtly pleasures, like hunting and dancing, as good Baelor did, Seven rest him.”
A troubled frown persists on lady Aisling’s pale features (looking even more so than usual when she wears unrelieved black) as her husband speaks of what the coronation might bring. “I could see either,” she replies to Aidan, though it is plain she is distracted. “And perhaps it will give us a sense of what else will follow.” The frown deepens a little, making her words seem more concerned than anything else.
Dressed in fine court clothing, darker than usual for the occasion but still featuring orange dyed silk threaded into the burning tree of his House sigil, Ser Jonas watches the assembled Princes and Princesses, Councilors and captains, pay their respects to the King of a mere year but the ruler for more than a decade. The Westerman stands in a hint of shade as he takes in the crowd which shuffles along but never seems to lose mass, his facial features betraying a somber tint to his attitude.
Among the mingling mourners stands the Dower Lady Buckler, stoic and (for once) bereft of all jewelry, save a single banded ring of dark-hued jasper. She is scarcely recognizable in a muted gown of greys and blacks, even less so with her high hair coiled modestly around her shoulders in a woven braid, and seems an entirely different lady from her usual ebullient self. For this most somber of occasions, she seems contented enough to fade into the background, perhaps lending herself to a snippet of gossip here and there, and all the while making a careful study of every noteworthy personage come to pay their respects. “...the seventh king in my own lifetime,” the old lady can be heard to say, glancing at the as-of-yet-uncrowned Aegon. “Smallfolk in the Reach will tell you this augurs good luck… though, our primary concern should be the fortunes of King Aegon, to be sure…”
Dark is the clothing, but still the relatively simple finer cloths he usually wears. Bryar is among the group of people mourning the death of the King. He keeps quiet for now as he listens to the people talking, expression rather thoughtful.
“But would he ride to celebrate his own coronation?” Aidan asks, at Lady Elyse’s remark. “Mayhaps he would. As you say, he rides well.” Though not as well as his illustrious brother, but that goes unspoken. Speaking of said brother, Prince Aemon has stood vigil since the morning over King Viserys’s body since the morning, with two other knights of the Kingsguard. Soon three others will come, to take their turn and relieve their sworn brothers.
“Seven kings, my lady?” Ser Aidan then says, hearing Lady Lynesse. “That is a goodly number.” But whether he thinks it lucky or not, he does not say. He, of all the Dornish in King’s Landing, might have the most reason to doubt the good fortune of the Seven Kingdoms now being ruled by Aegon, after he had urged the execution of the Dornish hostages after the Young Dragon’s death.
Elyse smooths a hand over her dark skirts, embroidered as they are with white flowers as she is wont to do, for her father’s house of Meadows. “There is danger, of course, in riding in the tourney held in your honor; as there is at any such competition. He does not seem the kind of man to shy away from danger though,” she replies with a smile at Aidan. “Seven Kings, then let us hope truly it is auscpicious,” she agrees.
“Goodly,” Lady Lynesse agrees with Ser Aiden, “and auspicious, Gods willing,” to Lady Elyse, “though what is providential for the smallfolk is portentous for us, I’ve also heard it said. Perhaps we should relegate our superstitions to the word of the Seven-Pointed Star, rather than the hearsay of rabble?” she offers with a pious gesture.
Seven is not a number that Aisling, being a follower of the Old Gods, places any particular importance on. However, the talk of whether the new king’s reign will be an auspicious one or not only seems to cement the frown on her face. Turning away for a moment, to look towards the sept within which the late king lies in state, she remarks, “Perhaps we ought to speak less of what the new king will bring so soon after his father’s passing. It is a shame, I think, that King Viserys had so little time to leave a legacy of his own.”
“His children and grandson are his legacy,” Ser Aidan says to that, stoutly. “And his good rule as Hand for the years before he came to the crown, as well. He will surely be remembered for that.” That seems honest enough an assessment from the Knight of the Twilight, though to be sure, Prince Daeron is his patron in a way as he serves as the head of Mariah’s personal guard. He looks to his wife for a moment after that and then says, “Though he was king little more than a year, what ill can be said of his reign then? It has been a time of peace and plenty.” And plenty of royal bastards, but that’s neither here nor there…
Something akin to shame washes over the dowager’s face, but is quickly swept away by a desultory assent to save face. “Oh, to be sure! Our King Viserys was a sage one, and no doubt had much more to offer the Realm… had the Gods not seen fit to call him home so soon, that is. Certainly, his short reign will leave a lasting impression, as Ser Aidan says.”
Bryar nods as he listens to what’s being said. “His legacy is, all in all, far more than what he accomplished just in his reign as the King.” It’s offered quietly and with a smile. “But I agree it is sad he never got the time to leave an even larger legacy as a King as well.”
“So soon,” Elyse echoes, shaking her head at the truth of it. “He was always a force of stability, a knowledgable Hand, and a wise king. Has it truly been only a year? It felt much shorter than that. And yet also longer, for all the time that he served as Hand before it.”
“For certain,” says Aisling, appearing to agree with both her husband and Lady Lynesse. Still, it seems plain enough that she is particularly troubled by the brevity of King Viserys’s reign—or perhaps rather by the reign that now will follow. “One hopes, of course, that the good rule he had time to demonstrate as Hand will have set a fine example for his son. After all, King Aegon is unlikely to look to King Baelor as a role model for his reign.”
“And so sudden,” Josella adds to Elyse’s comment, approaching the party from nearby. She is fully clothed in black for the day of mourning, wearing little ornamentation; her raven-colored hair shrouded by a dark veil. “A tragedy of our age. Yet the king was the eldest sovereign to ascend to the Iron Throne.”
“King Aegon.” She tries very hard not to frown. “I suppose we ought to also be looking for the arrangements as to when Prince Daeron is officially invested as Prince of Dragonstone,” she remarks to the acquaintances that serve the crown prince directly.
“It will be a fine thing,” Lady Lynesse starts to the others, careful not to infringe on the legacy of blessed Baelor, “if the son favors the father regarding matters of state. As his subjects, we’ve all been most fortunate to have benefited from the… prudence, of King Viserys. It should only serve his own blood that much the better.”
Elyse bites her lip rather than smirk, for that would be unseemly. But the idea that Aegon would have anything in common with Baelor has her mildly amusesd. “It was a swift passing,” she agrees with Josella. “I can only hope it was peaceful.” She turns back to Lynesse and ponders, “I wonder what he would have done with Baelor’s sept. If he would have continued the same plans and designs or left his own mark upon it.”
Ser Aidan cannot disagree with Lady Lynesse’s sentiment, although whether the realm shall be so fortunate is another question. Just then, before he speaks, three of the Kingsguard enter to relieve Prince Aemon and the others. This moment of solemnity brings a passing quiet to the crowd. As the Dragonknight takes his leave from the sept, some can seen how drawn his face is, worn down by grief and by duty.
In the wake of his most famous rival’s departure, Aidan seems to have lost the thread of the conversation, turning thoughtful intead.
“I believe the investment will happen after the coronation, so it depends how long it takes to plan the latter,” replies Aisling to Josella’s remark regarding Prince Daeron. “It does not feel like very long ago at all that we travelled with then Prince Aegon to Dragonstone.” And left it again rather suddenly, but she does not go on to say so. Instead she, like her husband, falls silent in the wake of the Dragonknight’s departure from the sept, her eyes following the departing Kingsguard.
Ser Jonas watches the departing Kingsguard, his head bowing slightly in respect for vigil performed by the white cloaked Knights. As for the conversations, the knight from the Westerlands stays silent - others served various Princes and Princesses of the Palace and knew of courtly gossip involving the Dragon Lords while his duties kept him between Kings Landing and Crackclaw Point and due to his position most of Ser Jonas’ interactions were with those who handled the day to day business of the King. Still he lowers his head again and speaks a mostly silent prayer to the Seven for the soul of the late-King, whose work as Hand and King made certain that governance of the realm ran smooth and made Ser Jonas’ position far less of a headache than the knight originally assumed it would be.
“Perhaps we should be departing again, lest the prince wishes to stay here… in this city,” Josella remarks absentmindedly, looking to Prince Aemon in turn. Once he is out of sight, her thoughts turn to mourning once more: she bows her head to offer silent prayers to the Stranger.
Lady Lynesse’s nasally timbre breaks the pall of reverence following the Dragonknight’s exit (perhaps a few beats sooner than was collectively acceptable), continuing her previous exchange with Lady Elyse. “Our second Viserys always seemed an unpretentious man, for all I could see from court. I doubt that he would have seen fit to disrupt the holy work of King Baelor for his own aggrandizement.”
“I would find myself in agremeent,” the lady of Caswell replies with a faint smile. “He was rather a keep-to-himself sort. But after his age and years of service, I could see him with a lack of interest in more day-to-day affairs that entertain idle courtiers like myself,” she laughs at the self-deprecating humor.
“He seemed to have left the builders to their work,” Ser Aidan adds to the conversation, coming out of his reverie, “but mayhaps it will become tradition to inter a king’s remains there, as King Baelor’s were.” There is a note of sadness in his voice and expression when he mentions the septon-king. A moment’s pause, and then his thoughts turn to the question of Dragonstone. “It is early yet, to know the prince’s plans. It has been long since a Targaryen has made the citadel their home, though, I know that much. Made it their home and _continued_ to make it their home, I should say.” There’s a twitch at the corner of his mouth, a suppressed smile at that.
“I shouldn’t suppose to inquire about plans yet, with the royal household still grieving,” Josella states on the front of King Daeron. “The Sept’s work will continue as planned, I hope… let us hope for the continuity of the late king’s wise judgement in all matter of things,” she wishes, though seems to doubt the aptitude of the newly ascended royal.
Bryar’s expression turns distant as he hears the talk about King Baelor, nodding a bit quietly. He keeps silent for now, simply listening as he glances around.
The matter of Dragonstone seems to turn Aisling’s thoughts to a new concern. “I found Dragonstone…intriguing,” she admits, in reference to their relatively brief stay there, “Though there are some aspects of living on an island that are less appealing.” Considering her love of spending time on horseback—not to mention breeding her own stock—one might assume this plays a part in her divided feelings about potentially being relocated to Dragonstone. “But we will know in due time.”
“There will be many prayers to that end, I think, Lady Josella,” the Dornish knight says, with a grave expression. It’s clear enough that there’s reason to worry, a little, about the reign of the lusty, pleasure-seeking Aegon as compared to his far mor sober, dutiful father. Yet still, he is a good knight, intelligent as such things go, charming enough ...
After that, Aidan considers the crowd and turns to a different subject. “Surely, there shall be more changes at court after the coronation. I do not think King Aegon will go without a Hand, as his father did. And the small council… do you think he will want younger men in these offices?”
“I cannot say. I don’t pay much attention to his favorites,” Josella remarks. “I assumed the king was waiting for the right moment, but the council has served for many years. Lord Ryger for over a decade; Lord Preston too, and now Lord Velaryon is gone… well, and I suppose he can do nothing about the Grand Maester or Prince Aemon. Yet it would not be unusual for a new king to honorably dismiss members of his council, as long as his replacements are just and fair,” she says, with little confidence that any appointments will be as such.
“It was hardly a surprise that the Small Council stayed unchanged under King Viserys,” says Aisling, no doubt referring to the fact that the late king had much to do with the running of the realm during the reigns of his two nephews. “But I would be very surprised if King Aegon does not wish to make his own mark on the court as a whole, not the least the Small Council.” Looking to Josella, she seems to consider whether to speak further on the matter, and then does so, “But as you say, some positions cannot be changed.” There seems to be an unspoken “fortunately” somewhere within that response.
“Puh,” Lynesse puts in. “These offices are not so sacred… surely some of them were chosen by our most revered kings of recent memory, but this is the province of King Aegon now! They are his to dismiss, or resume their duties, or to do anything he very well pleases.” She smiles confidently, but fiddles with her jasper ring throughout. “That is one thing we have in common with such notables—and with the smallfolk, for that matter.”
“You speak truly, Lady Lynesse,” Ser Aidan says after the barest pause, “and yet… something may be said for continuity. If we say King Viserys brought peace and stability, surely we must say his councillors did so as well?” But then he realizes that perhaps he goes too far to raise the question. “Still, sometimes new blood is more important than experience.” Did the appearance of Prince Daeron and Princess Mariah have anything to do with that? Perhaps. It seems that they have completed their prayers on behalf of the departed king, and are ready to depart to Maegor’s Holdfast with their companions.