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Westeros

Racing and Reconciliation

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In the days following the marriage of Prince Daeron Targaryen to Princess Mariah Nymeros Martell, King Baelor and Prince Maron, both, have busied themselves with matters that have interested them. Between audiences, councils, sermons, and entertainments, both men have been busy. King Baelor, a septon in his own right, was greatly moved by sermons made by Sunspear’s septons preaching reconciliation and forgiveness on the anniversary of the Submission of Sunspear. So much so, in fact, that he personally carried out acts of reconciliation, meeting privily with Ser Mavros Uller and Prince Rhodry—the one considered the architect of King Daeron’s death in Dorne, the latter being the king’s killer—to pray with them and repeat the forgiveness he had pronounced in King’s Landing when word first reached him. It was fortunate, some say, that the prince seemed in a relatively pleasant mood, for the audience ended without incident.

The next day, the king continued this effort, turning his attention to the famous Ser Michael Blackmont and the new-made knight Ser Loreon Lannister. Their meeting in the wedding tourney, where Loreon—then but a squire—disguised himself as a mystery knight to attempt to avenge Ser Michael’s killing of his father Ser Landyll, had drawn the king’s attention and with Prince Maron’s assistance he summoned them both to speak to them, to pray with them, to exhort them. And it seems that his efforts succeeded, for her certainly would say so later. But others noticed that Blackmont had entered one of his darker moods, and was grim and silent, while Ser Loreon would only speak with care about what transpired and whether he had truly forgiven Landyll Lannister’s killer.

As to Prince Maron, besides being the perfect host, he has had other matters to attend to, and not least among them the presence of an emissary from Braavos and representatives from the Iron Bank. Rumors have run rife among guildsmen and merchants that the Iron Bank was preparing to call in debts from throughout Dorne, leading to great uncertainty. It was well-known that the prince’s uncle had lately been in Braavos, and that while he was there the First Sword was killed and then, some time after, the Sealord himself deposed and replaced with a man who had been his rival and an adherent to his own predecessor. But why the Iron Bank should take exception with Dorne, that the Martells did not share. Prince Maron would meet with Lord Toland, the Keeper of the Tower of the Sun, and his grandfather Ser Quinlan Qorgyle, and other advisers; and he summoned Prince Rhodry to the Old Palace, and the Braavosi woman Amalea Parnel, and even one morning Samara Sand and her father Ser Mavros Uller.

After these various meetings, and word that Mistress Amalea was soon to be wed to an orphan of the Greenblood, the prince finally admitted the bankers into his presence in a private audience attended only by Ser Quinlan. What transpired, none would say, but the bankers seem no more likely to depart or be mollified than they were when they arrived. But it seems to not be the end of meetings, for it is said that the bankers will meet with Prince Rhodry, Mistress Amalea, and Mistress Samara in due course, doubtless to discuss happenings in Braavos. But all is speculation, whispers and rumors and fears, for Prince Maron reveals nothing to his court, and the bankers keep their mouths shut.

In the days since, a great race, the flower of races, was held in the deserts of Dorne, with Prince Maron and King Baelor attending. A grand affair, scores of riders racing through hills and deserts and canyons, showing the great endurance of sand steeds, was attended by over a thousand spectators, high and low alike. Yet it almost became a disaster, thanks to a flash flood that drowned two riders and led to the deaths of several horses, as well as the momentary disappearance of a pair of noblewomen who were part of the race. A search party was sent out, Ser Aidan Dayne racing ahead for his lady wife was among the missing, and knights and ladies alike helped to treat wounds, bring mercy to horses too injured to recover, and bring the lost back to the encampment. The race’s winner was Joleta Gargalen, heiress to Salt Shore, and behind her was Ser Aloran Celtigar, called Crackclaw.

But things stir elsewhere in Westeros, even beyond the red mountains of Dorne. Such as the news, a fortnight after the raising up of a new High Septon, that Princess Daena Targaryen, once wife and queen of King Baelor, has once again vanished from the Maidenvault—and that she had been gone two, or even three days, before anyone realized, thanks to the connivance of her sister Princess Elaena and certain other maidens in the keep. A search has immediately been made, the maids have been questioned, and there have even been efforts to search outside the city for fear that she managed to get past the walls.

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