Rumors, always rumors. The king’s meetings with councillors, with high lords, with knights. Doings at the docks where royal galleys come and go, and Lord Corlys Velaryon visiting all of them lending credence to other rumors about the empty office of Master of Ships. Even a rumor that the king had several times visited the Guildhall of the Alchemists, where the pyromancers practice their arcane arts to control fire and make the substance called wildfire. And arguments, always arguments with Prince Daeron—the tension between father and son had only grown in recent weeks.
There were other rumors, always, about Aegon the Fourth of His Name: of his beautiful mistress Missy Blackwood, of other women of the court besides, of serving women with swelling bellies and no husbands, of certain brothels growing more and more opulent due to some wealthy patronage… but on this day, a fine, hot summer day, the rumors that mattered most were also the ones that would be confirmed: the Iron Throne had declared war on Dorne. There was no great gathering of the court to hear the declaration from Aegon himself, for he gathered his courtiers for feasts and frolics and debauchery, and otherwise let his Hand and the small council see his will done.
But ravens began to fly, and the king’s councillors began to spread the word themselves, and then heralds were sent out to every part of King’s Landing to make the declaration, and some traveled beyond to the seats of the lords of the crownlands. The declaration was brief, and simple: that Dorne had failed to uphold its promises in the peace pact that had been forged by Baelor the Blessed, that such perfidy would never be accepted, and that the king would protect the realm by placing Dorne once more beneath the authority of the Iron Throne.
A second declaration, less formal, would follow soon after: a great tourney would be hosted by His Grace the King, and promised spectacles and the greatest prizes seen since the days of the Young Dragon’s Grand Tourney. Ravens and riders sped with word of that as well, clearly an encouragement for the best and boldest knights to hasten to King’s Landing to gather for the event… and to stay for the great army the king intended to gather for the assault on Dorne.
The tourney was even given a name in this proclamation: The Tourney of the Dragon.