News of Princess Daena’s escape from the Maidenvault arrived in Dorne just as King Baelor prepared to return to King’s Landing, and though he prayed for a swift wind to blow the fleet home, Lord Velaryon’s ships maintained a good, steady, but unremarkable pace as they crossed the Sea of Dorne, and Shipbreaker Bay, and finally beat against contrary winds to pass through the Blackwater. At certain points, the fleet sent swift, small galleys to resupply and to find out if there were any word of the princess, and to relay the king’s commands to have the City Watch do all it could to recover his sister. Yet there was no news, and all the efforts seemed so far for naught. When the king arrived, there was some ceremony, but Baelor seemed more interested in learning what news there was of his sister than anything else, and he was escorted to the Red Keep where he meant to pray for Daena’s return in the comfort of the castle’s sept.
Indeed, many efforts had been made to discover what had happened, led by members of the small council, by officers of the City Watch, and by the Kingsguard who had remained in the city while the king was away to Dorne. Her sisters and ladies were questioned, and it became clear that Princess Elaena had been the ringleader in helping the defiant Daena abscond from the Maidenvault. Yet despite pleas and reasoned arguments, the princess and the ladies held firm in saying they did not know where Daena intended to go once she slipped the Maidenvault, nor how it was she was able to escape the Red Keep itself. The search for her has gone from the filth of Flea Bottom to the ruins of the Dragonpit and even the high streets upon the Hills of Rhaenys and Visenya, and the watch on the gates have been tripled. And still, nothing. Rewards have been announced, each more desperate than the last, and searches have now gone well beyond the walls of the city, searching the roads to Duskendale and Maidenpool, following the Blackwater Rush, rummaging through the villages spreading like a quilted blanket about the city.
The search has even extended into the kingswood, led by Prince Aegon, who had been away hunting when urgent word was sent to him of Daena’s disappearance. Having been tasked with helping to prepare the hunting lodge of the late King Daeron for his namesake, Prince Daeron, and his Dornish bride, once apprised of the situation he insisted it was like as not she had made to hide herself away in the woods once she escaped the city, for every time she escaped before remaining in the city had been her undoing. In particular, he asked that the Sea Watch send ships to villages along Blackwater Bay, and especially to any known smuggler’s coves, and suggested that the same be done by the deputies of the Warden of Crackclaw Point to make sure that Daena did not hide herself away amidst the lawless bogs and hills until a ship could take her away to Seven-knows-where.
And away in Dorne? Many seemed happy enough to see the backside of King Baelor and his enormous following, but others wondered what would come next. The Iron Bank was still putting obscure pressure on the new Prince Maron, and rumors were rife that Sunspear would not resolve the concerns of the bankers before they began to withhold credit to Dorne’s merchants and lords. Some noble houses had banded together to help attempt to alleviate the concerns, extending loans by which merchants could get out from under the demands of the bankers, but without the Prince of Dorne opening the treasury, these efforts are a mere stopgap if the bankers shut their bank’s doors to Dorne. One effect of the Iron Bank’s presence seems to have been the expedited marriage of Amalea Parnel, the daughter of a family of Braavosi bankers, to an orphan of the Greenblood, and her leaving Sunspear for Planky Town with an escort of the palace guard. And all this has been a distraction for another whisper passing among the courtiers: that Prince Maron soon planned to make changes to his court.