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Parley to Nowhere

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The naval engagement had proved a victory for the fleet under the command of Lord Alyn Velaryon, opening the way for an assault on the large Stepstone isle called Bloodstone. Aptly named for its bloody history, the isle is key to control of the Stepstones ... or ending that control, as the combined forces of the Iron Throne and Dorne wish to do after the Free City of Pentos became too demanding with its tolls on ships that sought to cross those waters. But despite capturing a good portion of the fleet the Free City had raised, some of their war galleys escaped, and Bloodstone itself is heavily protected by companies of sellswords and, if rumors are true, a legion or two of the fearless, disciplined Unsullied brought from Astapor to fight on the behalf of Pentos.

Soon after the battle, a ship approached under a peace banner, offering an opportunity to parley. Despite resistance from some—most notably the Dornish prince, Rhodry Martell—Lord Oakenfist agreed. Several days later the fleet was approached by a great war galley of four hundred oars, _Magister Ferrio’s Glory_, with two smaller escorts. From it came the emissaries of the Free City, three magisters: Herrio Sentanis, Fillio Bopatis, and Mennio Quaranis. With them was a sellsword captain representing the companies of sellswords which Pentos had hired, and a slave who translated for the magisters (though it would transpire that the last and youngest of these, Mennion Quaranis, spoke the common tongue of Westeros).

The initial meeting was cordial, but very soon became tense as the Dornish contingent accused the Pentoshi of thievery and piracy, worse even than the pirates they forced out of the Stepstones when consolidating their control of the Free City. In response, Quaranis—who would prove the most bellicose of the three—retorted that Pentos had paid with money and blood to guard the Stepstones from pirates, and would not stand for any to deny them their due.

At this, the cooler heads of the older magisters suggested that the parley might profit from more privacy, and invited Lord Velaryon, Prince Rhodry, and certain others to join them aboard their vessel to discuss their respective positions. Oakenfist agreed… provided one of the magisters remained as a hostage, and the oldest of the three—Magister Herrio—agreed to do so after a short, somewhat argumentative discussion among the three magisters.

As Magister Herrio waited on the deck of the _Prince Daemon_, he came to speak for a time with the Dornishwoman Samara Sand, the daughter of the notorious Ser Mavros Uller who had once been a noted sellsword commander in the Free Cities. What they discussed in the Pentoshi dialect of Valyrian was something the woman kept to herself, although those overhearing and catching a few words recognized the name of her father more than once.

And when Oakenfist and the others returned? The parley had proved useless, much as Prince Rhodry had argued. There would be no solution for the Stepstones that did not involve more blood, and the Dornish spears and the ships of the Seven Kingdoms were prepared to shed it. Yet after _Magister Ferrio’s Glory_ departed and the results of the parley spread around the fleet, it’s said Prince Rhodry later brought Samara Sand with him to a private meeting with Lord Oakenfist, and rumors were rife that the old magister had used the opportunity of his stay aboard the _Prince Daemon_ to offer an alternative path to peace from his fellow magisters.

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