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Westeros

The Marital Melee

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With the wedding of Princess Mariah to Prince Daeron fast approaching, there have been incidents that have raised concerns whether the guests that accompanied the northern wedding party would be able to survive their visit to Sunspear. Tense meetings, a few beatings, and even a suspect death or two have made the lords and knights in King Baelor’s company all the sharper with their Dornish hosts. And the Dornish hosts have wondered much the same. A particularly dangerous incident in the practice yards of the Old Palace, involving Princess Mariah’s uncle Rhodry Nymeros Martell, brought matters to a head when knights and squires began to threaten one another with weapons in hand. Only Prince Maron’s intervention, and that of Prince Daeron, prevented bloodshed in earnest… but after, Prince Maron announced a melee between both sides, a chance for the men to win one another’s respect through the practice of arms and chivalric deeds. King Baelor, no lover of melees, eventually assented to Maron’s decision, but he would absent himself from the melee the next day.

More than five scores knights and squires gathered in the melee grounds outside the shadow city, with thousands of Dornishmen gathered to watch, and hundreds of lords and ladies besides from the north and Dorne both. The men-at-arms sworn to the Iron Throne were a splendid force upon one side of the field, and the Dornishmen another. Famed names there were on both sides, men who had been champions or won fame in arms, and there were others hungry for such acclaim: Elmer Crakehall, Prince Rhodry Martell, Durance Darklyn, Marius Dalt, Dermett Corbray, Valerin Dayne, Loren Lannister, Sebaston Vaith, Malwyn Hightower, Mycah Sand, Burton Crakehall, Balon Selmy, and on and on.

Perhaps the most notable man on the field was no man at all, however: Jinny Sand, the Little Witch. There were ladies among Baelor’s contingent who were shocked at such a thing, but none could doubt that once they saw her fight that she was a warrior of great skill, wielding a poleax to great effect. In the first charge, two dozen men on either side fell, and others were locked in wild, chaotic combat. The Little Lemon was driven from the saddle by Ser Burton Crakehall while Ser Dermett Corbray sent Sebaston Vaith tumbling and the Little Witch hammered Ser Elmer Crakehall from horseback. Yet his kinsman Ser Burton offered some revenge, knocking Ser Emeric Santagar down. All the while, Prince Rhodry gave blow for blow to the bold squire, Loreon Lannister, who amazed many by his resilience as the prince tangled with him; yet in the end, the prince overthrew him. By that time, the score seemed to favor the northern chivalry, who had unhorsed more of the Dornish than vice versa. Matters grew particularly grim when Valerin Dayne was defeated by Balon Selmy, and Mycah Sand by Ser Malwyn Hightower.

Every effort Prince Rhodry made to cut away and join the remaining Dornish, especially Jinny Sand who was dealing with two foes at once in Durance Darklyn and Dermett Corbray, was blocked when northrons rushed at him. Yet the infamous prince, the man who slew the Young Dragon in the bloody sands of Dorne, showed his skill, overthrowing Balon Selmy and Burton Crakehall in quick succession, and Malwyn Hightower as well. By the time he could reach Jinny, however, she too had fallen—though not before defeating the Warden of the Kingswood, Ser Dermett Corbray.

By the end, it came down to two: Prince Rhodry, bruised and battered, and Ser Durance Darklyn, who’d fought fiercely… and who had a keen anger towards the prince that had killed his king. The two met, and Ser Durance at first had the advantage, but with a thrust of his spear Prince Rhodry managed to overthrow the knight and carry the day. An enormous roar came from the crowd who watched, drowning out whatever words the prince offered to the fallen knight.

That evening was full of revelry… at least, Dornish revelry. Some knights did take to heart Prince Maron’s wish that the melee would end all further strife, and there men from north and south alike who were cheered on. As to the victorious prince? He retired with his lady wife, Tanyth Toland, it is said… but not longer after was seen in the company of Jinny Sand and others, carousing through the streets and pillow houses until he took his leave of them past midnight, though it was not until well past morning that he returned to the home shared with the Black Tempest.

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