While the realm has been calm since the ascension of Aegon, the Fourth of his Name, many would say that this has little enough to do with him: it has been his small council and the other office-holders of the Crown who have done the work. What has Aegon done, then? Enjoyed the fruits of wearing the crown, largely in commanding entertainments to please him, and all the while desporting with his mistress, the Lady Melissa Blackwood. The King’s Hand, Lord Bracken, has proved capable enough at holding meetings and delegating to others, but there has been a slow creep of kinsmen (by blood and by marriage) finding sinecures in various parts of the royal bureaucracy.
This has led to the usual round of complaints, but on the other hand the wags at court remark that Lord Bracken must be allowed _some_ benefit of the office, given that a Blackwood has supplanted his own daughter when it comes to the disposition of the king’s embraces. Older, more seasoned courtiers might remark, as well, that Lord Bracken has been uncommonly careful not to go too far in his nepotism, no doubt because of the loss of influence that came with Barba and her bastard Aegor Rivers being dispatched back to Stone Hedge.
And so the king entertains himself: hunts, balls, idylls on the Blackwater on his fine new pleasure galleas. His brother, Prince Aemon the Dragonknight, is sometimes present for them ... but only as a White Sword, guarding the king’s person. Queen Naerys does not attend, on the other hand, nor does Prince Daeron ever since he departed with his wife and much of his household to take up the rule of Dragonstone. Sometimes one of his cousins, the daughters of the late Aegon III, attend his revels, while suitors flock about them. Elaena still grieves the missing, and now declared dead, Lord Velaryon, however, and Daena is rumored to take more fancy to brief flirtations with lovers, while Princess Rhaena most often absents herself and is increasingly cloistered among septons and septas.
Some of Prince Daeron’s household returned from Dragonstone in the weeks after his departure, including Dornish lords and ladies, who are there for when he chooses to return and resume assisting his father in the management of the realm. But there are those who question whether he will, because of the tensions between them after the king so slighted Queen Naerys when she was on the threshold of death, and if these household men and women are not instead spies to keep him informed of what goes on at court.
Among the king’s favorites are now a number of younger, hot-blooded knights who have shown open distaste for the Dornish at court, seeing them as potential rivals for influence at best, at worst as spies not just for Daeron but also for the Prince of Dorne. It has not helped matters that Prince Maron has written a recent letter, complaining of some marcher knights breaking Baelor the Blessed’s promised peace by robbing Dornish merchants traveling the Boneway, followed by protestations of innocence from those same marchers who argued they were responding to attacks from alleged Dornish reavers.