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Discovery and Maneuver

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Pentos and its forces have proved most stubborn, as the Dornish army on Bloodstone finds itself in a stalemate: holding half the island but not being able to push past that, as each day brings the opportunity for reinforcements from Pentos to change the balance of power. Siege and counter-siege, raid and counter-raid, skirmish and even a battle—but at no point have the allies been able to win an advantage, and this is owed almost entirely to the legion of Unsullied that Pentos has used as a stalwart anchor for its forces. Again and again the Unsullied have proved too disciplined and too fearless to be moved by charges, by rains of arrows of spears, and so the Dornish commanders have been in a fury at their inability to turn the tide. Had they three times as much horse as they have, they say, it would be an easy matter—but mounted knights are only a small portion of the force, and they have the hard task of dealing with the mounted sellswords that Pentos has in plenty.

Perhaps that was why that a peace banner went out, and now it was the Iron Throne and Dorne sending a company to parley with the Pentoshi in their chief encampment. There, an offer was made to end hostilities… provided Pentos withdrew from Bloodstone, and dropped all claim to the southwestern Stepstones. This proved fruitless, as the magister Mennio Quaranis claimed that in a fortnight turn they would have thrice their number on hand (an exaggeration, and doubly so) and would have no need to negotiate. Their counter-proposal entailed holding on to the entirety of the Stepstones, and that was soundly rejected by Oakenfist and Prince Rhodry both.

But something witnessed during that failed parley—not the fact that Mennio Quaranis been the magister to purchase the Unsullied from Astapor, which was already know, but instead the fact that he and he alone could command them—finally gave the allies a possibility to shift the balance in their favor. And so they left the enemy camp, and returned to their own to deliberate.

The Dornish put forward proposals to kill or capture Quaranis in the Pentoshi encampment: a maester’s poison in his food, an infiltrator’s knife in the dark, or even a traitor’s if some sellsword could be bought. Others argued that the Unsullied clearly guarded their master closely, as he had commanded them, and would be unlikely to be tricked or distracted from their charge. And so others proposed finding some way to get him from the camp, to ambush him and his companions, but that was far easier said than done when Quaranis seemed to only move with the majority of his Unsullied about him.

And so instead something bolder was decided: a deliberate provocation, a large portion of the Dornish force suddenly stabbing northward, drawing a response from Pentos. And then, at the right place and time… an ambush, not with the aim of bringing them to battle or to defeat them directly, but instead with no greater aim than finding the opportunity to cut their way to Quaranis, to capture or to kill him, and so hope (hope, for in the end no one knew for certain what the Unsullied would do when their master was no longer there to lead them) that the Unsullied would be unable or unwilling to act further in the defense of Bloodstone.

Even now, preparations are under way.

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