The aftermath of the dismissal of Lady Barba Bracken, sent back to Stone Hedge with her royal bastard Aegor Rivers, was not entirely what some expected. There were members of the court who expected King Aegon to explode with anger at them, especially the members of the small council. Others thought the king would instead unleash his outrage at the Prince of Dragonstone, Daeron, and mayhaps his own brother Prince Aemon the Dragonknight for having led the intervention. But that is not what happened. Oh, the king did sulk, and assuaged himself with his usual recourses: wine and women. But as the days passed, word among his companions was that the king spoke of having started to grow tired of Lady Barba, however magnificent her bosom was.
The celebration marking the new year—a feast, long in the planning—did not see Queen Naerys in attendance, though all accounts are that she has slowly begun to recover her strength after a long uncertainty. However, the king was there, enjoying the rich foods, the free-flowing wine, and the pleasing examples of the fairer sex at court. One, in particular, was striking: the slim, black-haired Melissa Blackwood, daughter of Bloody Ben, Lord of Raventree Hall. Missy, as her friends and family call her, was a new arrival at court, having come to reside with her brother Seth and his lady wife, and perhaps even becoming a lady-in-waiting to one princess or another. The more cynical courtiers might have wondered at the timing of her arrival, given the famously eternal feud between Blackwood and Bracken. Whatever the case may be, she was at court, a novel beauty among the women and maidens still at court (so many having quietly returned to their homes in the months since Aegon’s ascension), and the king took a fancy to her.
And now, but a few days later, gossip runs rife that the king was more than captivated, that indeed he’d already wooed and bedded her. Thus does a king acquire a new mistress.