A royal masquerade was an event rarely heard of in the reign of Baelor, blessed be his memory, and that of the late Viserys who had so wisely steered the realm. But the reign of Aegon, Fourth of His Name, is a different one… not least because it was not his queen and sister, Naerys, who organized the event. By all reports, it was Missy Blackwood, the king’s latest mistress, who originated and arranged the event. Despite this, the involvement of the Red Keep’s master of feasts showed that the king himself had given the event his approval, and rumors swirled that Lady Melissa and he would make a spectacular entrance during the event. This led to weeks of the court taxing every skilled seamstress and tailor, who in turn emptied the best drapers of their bolts of finest cloths to execute rich garments that befit their patrons? station (and perhaps even exceeded it, to ruinous cost in certain cases).
When the evening came, hundreds had gathered in the enormous feasting hall, a riot of colors, of satins and silks and velvets decorated with costly accouterments and fanciful masks. The theme of the event had circulated among the attendees, and this had guided their choices as they attempted to find heroes of ages past to disguise themselves as. The range of figures was numerous: Galladon of Morne and Florys the Fox rubbed shoulders with heroes of the Rhoyne and ancient First Man witch queens, Garth Greenhand jested with Lann the Clever, an empress of ancient Yi Ti conversed with Daenys the Dreamer, and many more besides.
The aforementioned Daenys was none other than Princess Elaena, who along with Princess Rhaena (dressed as the legendary - and entirely non-existent! - Princess Daeryssa, oft rescued by Serwyn of the Mirror Shield) had been cajoled by Princess Daena to attend the event. Daena herself had come as a dragonrider, some dragonlord of Valyria who she was heard to say had tried to find the end of the world and had returned a failure. The princesses were not alone among the royal kin who were present, however. Princess Mariah of Dorne came as none other than Princess Nymeria, her storied ancestress… while the Prince of Dragonstone came as a strange, hunchbacked figure with a mask portraying a less-than-fair face who transpired to be the ancient founder of the Citadel, Peremore Hightower.
Grander still, however, was the entrance of King Aegon and Lady Melissa. They were carried in on a platform borne by liveried bearers, and on it were castles of spun sugar amidst a “desert” of more sugar blended with spices, and amidst them were the king and his lady wearing dragon masks. His was black, and hers was bronze, and in their hands were torches. A herald announced the arrival of the Dragon’s Wroth, and together Balerion the Black Dread and Vhagar set their torches to the sugar castles around them, making them bubble and melt. The spectacle of it brought cheers from much of the crowd… but not the Dornish knights and ladies dressed as ancient Rhoynar warriors, and not Nymeria, and not Peremore the Twisted.
They remained at the event after the king and his mistress dismounted the platform and sat at the high table, for a time, but it was clear the Dornishmen and women were not eager… and when Prince Daeron at last had occasion to speak with his father, all could see that the king was dismissive of him. Not long after, the prince and princess departed the event, and with them a number of their household and companions, a fact that raised eyebrows and caused many whispers in the crowded hall as it has been the latest sign in a division between father and son.