The war that King Aegon launched has ended before it began. The aftermath of the wildfire disaster in the kingswood—hundreds dead, supplies destroyed—was bad enough, but the news of the fleet preparing to attack Dorne having been shattered by a great storm that howled up through the narrow sea finally made King Aegon pause. With his chief vassals and captains urging him to call off the war, Aegon at last agreed to do so, allowing many of the lords and levies to go back to whence they came. The remaining forces, returning to the crownlands or the riverlands for the most part, would follow the king’s banner to Tumbleton where Lord Footly would open his granaries and larders even as young Lord Leo Tyrell (newly-knighted after a tourney victory at the tender age of sixteen) sent barges up the Mander with more supplies. The march to Tumbleton was relatively swift, no longer burdened by the “dragons” that so spectacularly went up in flames, but it was a hungry march, with the empty tents of deserters counted each morning and even so the common men were reduced to half rations by the time Tumbleton came into view.
At Tumbleton, Lord Edger Footly and his lady wife Arrene, as well as the dowager lady Genna, greeted the king and welcomed him and his host. Tumbleton’s walls had been rebuilt since the Dance, but there were great empty areas within those walls even still, and the whole of the remaining host was able to set up an encampment within the walls. The town square, with its pavilion still holding the skulls of two dragons, served as a place where the weary soldiers and footmen could eat their fill, while the lords and knights with the king were welcomed to the castle where a feast was readied. All went well, and King Aegon greatly enjoyed the hospitality of the Footlys. When the feast ended, the king was welcome to sleep in Lord Edger’s own chamber, but the castle was otherwise crowded with knights and even lords sleeping on the floor of the great hall, while others paid exorbitant prices for places in inns or even private homes.
The king enjoyed the hospitality so much, in fact, that he has decided to stay week, to let the host recuperate and to allow more supplies to arrive on the Mander… while also commanding the barges that have arrived to stay put, and to be ready to carry him, his household, his companions, and more to the headwaters of the Mander when they are ready to resume the march. In the meantime, many are the men who have paid a penny to see the dragon skulls, and some have even paid a stag to touch them. Lord Edger has spoken of some trouble, however, outside the walls: an increase in banditry and outlaws, a matter bothersome enough that he has personally ridden out with some of his own knights and men-at-arms to chase down and deal with it. Though Lord Edger did not say it, it’s like enough that some of the deserters from the king’s own army have turned to robbery and murder.
At Dragonstone and King’s Landing, at Massey’s Hook and Sharp’s Point, as Duskendale and Driftmark, ships from the scattered fleet have appeared in dribs and drabs, ships of the royal fleet that was scattered by the great storm. Lord Corlys Velaryon, the erstwhile admiral of the fleet, proved to be alive as well, leading six ships with him as they reached Driftmark. All in all, three quarters of the royal fleet has been accounted for… but of the remaining quarter, some are known to have been lost with all hands, or nearly all, and others are feared to have suffered the same fate away from the coast. Notably, Lord Massey and his heir, as well as Lord Buckwell, are still missing, their ships not having been seen. It’s said that on Dragonstone, Prince Daeron has taken to commanding ships sailing on to the Free Cities to make inquiries as to whether any of the lost ships have been seen and having any ships arriving at port questioned as well as to whether they have seen sign of the king’s ships.
And in Dorne? The news of the disaster was delayed by deliberate efforts to keep it quiet, but it has at last escaped to Dorne, where Prince Maron was so heartened by the news that he gathered his court to inform them. However, the young prince showed some restraint when some—notably, Lady Kerenza of Vaith, widow of the heroic Lord Caston the Leopard, and the prince’s infamous uncle Rhodry—urged an attack against the Marches now that the invasion seemed blunted and on the verge of complete collapse. Others spoke against this, warning of the danger to Princess Mariah and her children, or suggesting (as Prince Cadan did) that efforts should be made to reach out to some of the chief lords to now urge the king to end the war. In the end, Prince Maron promised that Dorne would act if King Aegon continued his march—that news, that it had been abandoned, had not yet arrived—by seizing back watchtowers that Dorne had ceded to the Iron Throne in the peace that had been made with King Baelor. But until then, Dorne would stay quiet… though festivities were planned in Sunspear, to celebrate the misfortune that may have averted the invasion, or at least changed the course of it.