These are strange times in King’s Landing, with a scholar from far, mysterious Yi Ti having captured the attention of half the court, rumor of new conflicts stirring in the Free Cities, unrest at the king’s continuing failure to choose a Hand to share some of the burden of all the tasks he has set for himself and his reign. All seems well—or seemed well, in any case, until an unexpected discovery set the court into chaos: Princess Elaena, the king’s niece, was with child. The uproar that followed cannot be overstated, so soon after her elder sister Daena herself had already given birth to a fatherless bastard. King Viserys himself was heard to shout at her in her apartments, a thing rarely seen in him since the blush of his youth had left him. Why he grew quite so angry was explained in time by two facts.
First, it transpired that not only Princess Elaena was pregnant, but that she was many months so, having conspired with certain maids (and, it is rumored, one or both of her sisters) to hide her condition for as long as possible. Second, and most troublingly, she did _not_ decline to name the father, as Daena had done in her defiance. No, she proudly named him, and did not recant when pressed to make sure she was not making wild tales.
The name she gave? Lord Alyn Velaryon, Lord of Driftmark, master of ships, far-famed admiral, royal kinsman… and more than thirty years her elder. Suffice it to say, tongues wagged, and if Viserys shouted at Elaena, he roared at Velaryon. There were those who thought Velaryon might be clapped into chains and consigned to the black cells, or at least sent into exile . . . but no, these things have not happened. Not yet, in any case. For Elaena, it is said, threatend to do herself harm if her lover (who at least had the honor not to deny it) was sent away, and that even the Grand Maester counselled the king similarly. And so a kind of stalemate exists: Lord Velaryon remains at court, but his duties on the small council are dealt with by a deputy who speaks for him, and otherwise he stays well away from the king; and the king has left Elaena in the care of septas and maesters until she gives birth to her child.
In far away Dorne, a much more minor scandal has developed. After months of searching and negotiating and courting, the young Prince of Dorne had finally found his bride: the lady Lorinda of House Manwoody, sister of Lord Aryard Manwoody. To many, this was a surprise; fair enough she may be, and well-born enough to be sure, but it was said that she had been born sickly and was slight and frail to this day. Some at court spoke of love, not duty, having grown between them, and perhaps that is so. Regardless, with the announcement of their betrothal, many in the realm looked on with envy at the fortunes of House Manwoody, holding the wardenship of the Broken Arm and now soon to provide the Prince of Dorne’s consort.