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Westeros

A Troubled Spring?

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If dark wings bring dark words, then what do white wings herald? Why, word of winter’s end, of course. At long last it has come, after nearly two years. The white raven came from the Citadel early in the morning on the 21st day of month 8 and soon thereafter criers across the city spread the word of the arrival of spring across the city. Meanwhile, the king is said to have spent the day in prayer, giving thanks to the Seven for the end of winter.

Curiously, the white raven is not the only white-winged bird to have been seen about the Red Keep of late. Several sightings report that cages of white doves have been brought there and some of the birds have been seen taking flight from the rookery as well, though no one knows quite what to make of such an oddity.

The welcome news of spring was not unalloyed with darker news, however, for far in the south the Pentoshi continue to stir trouble with their control of the Stepstones. A Kingslander merchant cog, having returned from a months-long journey as far as distant Qarth, moored in the Blackwater quays and revealed that near half the crew had been forcibly impressed by the Pentoshi who claimed it was necessary to keep their war galleys well-crewed to better “protect” such merchants from the pirates they claimed still lurked in the waters. The ship’s captain reported as well that it was clear the Pentoshi meant to hold on to the Stepstones without hesitation, attesting that one of Bloodstone’s small ports was reinforced by newly-built walls, and a garrison of recently-arrived sellswords to man them.

With Pentoshi ships and sellsails prowling the waters, and Pentoshi-hired swords on the isles, there’s little doubt that more such incidents will follow. Which may be why, increasingly, there are courtiers who speak of shipyards and galleys and what might be needed to launch an expedition to the Stepstones to beat back the Pentoshi, or otherwise force them to give up their strangelhold on the Stepstones.

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