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Westeros

A Prince and a King

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It had not even needed the landing at the Planky Town for the royal wedding party to learn that there was a new Prince of Dorne: a Lysene ship on its way back to its home port shared the news as it passed, and there was much wonder and surprise. King Baelor led the day’s prayers with a benediction for young Prince Maron, and for his ailing father Prince Marence, as Viserys and others of his councillors quietly convened to discuss the matter. The next day, the fleet under Lord Velaryon’s command arrived at Planky Town, bearing peace when once his ships had brought war. Disgorging the royal party, the king was greeted by representatives of the new prince who escorted the king to the Planky Town’s fastness where he could rest. Much of the rest of the court had to make do with a few places in inns and hovels, or with tents pitched beyond the Greenblood’s east bank.

The next day, a great parade of nobility followed the Targaryen king from the Planky Town, riding to Sunspear. The prince’s honor guard for Baelor was substantial, but there was no need for much of the way: the Dornishmen in villages along the way did not turn out in any great number, looking on with sullen and sometimes angry expressions. It was more of the same in the shadow city approached, until the sun-and-spear banners appeared in profusion above the grand company awaiting to escort the king through the Winding Walls. There was the new prince, Maron, who welcomed the king afoot, and there were his kinsmen and his chief councillors and many of the leading lords and ladies and knights of Dorne. But Prince Marence, the former Prince of Dorne and Lord of Sunspear, was not there. The prince and the king rode side by side through the Threefold Gates, into the Old Palace where the Sandship’s great hall was laid out for a feast. Words of greeting were spoken, and Maron asked the king to offer a prayer. At the high table was Prince Marence, who greeted the king as well, though he seemed drawn and sad and ate little of the bounty placed before him. At his side was his daughter, the Princess Mariah, and it was there that she would first have opportunity to speak with her betrothed, Prince Daeron.

Beneath the high table, a deliberate effort had been made to place northrons and Dornish together in mixed groups. Some were seated with the lords and ladies who would act as hosts—the shadow city and Sunspear is no grand city, and the enormous number of noble guests meant that the Prince of Dorne—Marence at the time, but Maron reiterated the need—required the manses of the noble and the wealthy to accommodate some part of the guests and their households. Even so, outside the shadow city a town of tents has risen for the long tail of the royal party: men-at-arms, guards, grooms, pages, servants, and the like. Not since the Young Dragon’s host surrounded Sunspear has the shadow city seen so many people in and about it.

In the days since, there have been many private meetings between Maron and Baelor, and Daeron and Mariah have spent time together under the watchful eyes of the gathered courts. Both king and prince alike speak of peace and look towards a bright future, but for many in the hall all they could readily remember was war and bloodshed, of kin and friends slain in battle, of fields and villages razed, of castles stormed. It made an uneasy feast. It was only in the days since that there have been flares of temper—a Caron man-at-arms chasing after a Dornish boy whom he claimed filched his purse was be pelted with stones and beaten with sticks and was saved only by the Prince’s shariffs; a group of Dornish squires who came with their knights harassed a pair of squires who had lingered too long in a tavern after dark, and in an alleyway stripped them of their clothes and sent them running naked to their encampment; and one guardsman for a westerlord was found dead with a broken neck, apparently having fallen out of a pillow house window. Prince Maron has had the Lord Shariff double the shifts of all his men, and to recruit more if needs be to keep the peace, while King Baelor has impressed upon his followers that the gods themselves are watching and that all men should follow the example of peace.

And far away, in King’s Landing, the bells toll announcing the decision of the Most Devout, and the investment of a new Voice of the Seven on Earth. Doves wing throughout the Seven Kingdoms—to uncertain result, to be sure, at this experiment commanded unto the Faith by Baelor—to tell of the new High Septon… but they do not tell that even with one of the Most Devout whispering in his ear, he could barely say the words or lead the prayers that were expected to him, nor do they speak of the bitter factions that now exist among the Most Devout over the choosing of an unlettered stonemason at the king’s behest.

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