In King’s Landing, an air of unease blankets the city, as its inhabitants navigate the aftermath of King Aegon the Unworthy’s failed assault on Dorne. There have been fairs for the failed invasion’s widows to find husbands, pyromancers consorting with bankers and lords to find desperately-needed funds and support, knights dreaming of white cloaks, and more. The return from Dragonstone of the king’s heir Prince Daeron, married to Princess Mariah of Dorne and an outspoken opponent of his father’s ill-conceived campaign, has cast a chill over the Red Keep. Their chilly relationship hangs like a pall over the court, and while the prince is ever-dutiful, and the king no longer makes mention of declaring Aegor or any other bastard of his as his heir instead of the prince, there seems to be no true rapprochement. Daeron attends and participates in the king’s councils, but those who know members of the small council claim that father and son hardly spare a word for one another.
Rumors swirl through the city’s streets, whispering of a forthcoming tournament to select a successor to the fallen Ser Aleyn Florent, the famed Foxglove of the Kingsguard who met his demise in the wildfire calamity during the failed invasion. The anticipation of a new White Sword of the realm has woken anticipation among many young, promising knights, and even now there has been a notable increase in the amount of lordlings hanging about the court, hoping to be well-positioned to impress the king while proving their skill in arms. And in the high halls of the court some say the king’s plans are not so much about a white cloak, but rather about holding a contest in honor of his mistress, the Lady Melissa Blackwood.
Amidst the tumult, petitioners arrive at the royal court seeking answers regarding the fate of two noble seats: Stonedance and the Antlers. The lords of these lands, believed to have perished, have left their seats in a state that some have questioned. The king has chosen to affirm the new Lady of Stonedance and Lord of the Antlers, but there are kinsmen and neighboring lords who have raised questions and concerns and seek the king’s ear.
While King’s Landing brims with intrigue, it is also a city of contrasting splendors. Merchants from distant Essos display their wares, enticing passersby with vibrant silks and exotic spices, and there are said to be emissaries from the Iron Bank and other institutions making now regular visits not just to the Red Keep but also to the Guildhall of the Alchemists, where the pyromancers grow ever more worried about the fate of their order after the disaster that some say the king has laid at their feet. Not coincidentally, the steady progress on the Great Sept upon Visenya’s Hill has notably come to a halt these last moons, its constructionn surely hindered by the king’s financial needs following the ill-fated invasion…