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Westeros

News of the Realm

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The wages of life for mortal men on the earth are good and bad both, and so it is for the realms of men: there is good and ill that happens in every corner and part of them, happy tidings and wicked, occurrences shocking and delightful, endings joyous and onerous. Of late, this last moon and more, has seen more of these of note in Westeros.

A ship from White Harbor bore tidings of a great melee at Last Hearth which drew famed warriors from throughout the North, only for nigh a score men to be killed in the process, and many more besides sore wounded before all was said and done. The occasion for such a fracas, which was said to have raged over the better part of a day? The celebration of the nameday and betrothal of Lord Umber’s eldest daughter. Some say that some of the deaths at the melee were aggravated by hard feelings between certain Northern houses, and rumors of bloody private wars in preparation seemed allayed only by Lord Cregan, the Old Man of the North, calling for the belligerent lords to meet at Winterfell—a call none dared refuse, for though he might be old, he was still the feared Wolf of Winterfell.

That news was followed hard on its heels by happier tidings in King’s Landing, when the Prince Daeron’s Dornish wife, the Princess Mariah, gave birth—with little difficulty—to a son. Great was the joy at court, and greater still when the king learned that his cousin wished to have him named Baelor as well, as he himself was named for the king’s late brother. The king ordered a modest celebration and extravagant prayers of thanksgiving to mark the occasion. News was dispatched to Dorne, to inform Prince Marence and his court of the princess’s safe delivery.

Yet if her labor and birthing went well, the growing belly of the cloistered Princess Daena, in the Maidenvault with her sisters and her attendants still, has remained a great concern to the king. The babe she carries remains fatherless, for Daena has defied any efforts to convince or coerce her to name him. In the wake of this, King Baelor has become ever more zealous in his devotions. He has given rich alms, has visited the sick and impoverished, has even invited courtiers with him to perform acts of piety such as the washing of leprous feet (it’s said Lord Belgrave bathed in vinegar and wine at a maester’s suggestion after the experience, and found cause to return to his seat shortly after). It is Prince Viserys now, the Hand of the King, who more often leads meetings of the small council and sits in judgement on the Iron Throne, for the king is more and more occupied with prayer.

And the king has cause to pray, for the latest news is the most grievous to him, and fresh: after a sudden, short illness, the High Septon—once a stonemason until exalted, at the king’s behest—passed away in his bed despite the prayers of the Most Devout and the efforts of the maesters. The bells of the city range to mark his passing, and the king—tears on his cheeks—joined the Most Devout in their vigil over him as preparations were made for his entombment. Seven days of mourning are to follow before his remains, readied by silent sisters, are ready to be interred in the very foundation of the king’s great sept. At every hour, brothers and sisters, septons and septas, pass through where his body lays in state, chanting and praying that the Seven welcome their voice on earth to sit among them in their golden halls in the seven heavens.

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