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Westeros

Long Live the King

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The remains of the blessed King Baelor, the septon-king who had brought peace to the Seven Kingdoms and Dorne with his gentle piety, were given to the flames in the courtyard of the Red Keep in the watches of the night. A solemn ceremony, beginning from his death when the silent sisters were charged with the tending of the body and following through with seven days of lying in state and vigils by the knights of the Kingsguard, culminated in the king’s corpse being placed on the bier, a crown of flowers upon his brow. He had wasted away in his long fast, and there was little flesh to his bones, but even now some said he seemed greatly at rest, a beatific smile upon his lips. In attendance was much of the king’s court, the boy High Septon and the Most Devout, and many others besides. Most notably missing, however, were the king’s sisters, the three princesses in the Maidenvault.

When the remains had become little but ash and bone, they were collected once cool enough, placed in a gilded reliquary. A grand guard, led by Prince Aemon the Dragonknight, and a small army of septons escorted the king’s remains through the city, where many thousands of Kingslanders had turned out along the ways and streets to get a last glimpse of their beloved king, who had loved them best of all the Targaryen kings within living memory. And trailing behind this funeral march, with their own guard, were the princesses Daena, Rhaena, and Elaena, at last leaving the Maidenvault (with permission) wearing dark veils. Many whispered to see them, and some wondered if Daena the Defiant would claim her brother’s throne, she who had once been his wife and queen. They say Rhaena was the only one to openly weep, when that solemn company reached the bare bones of the great sept Baelor said the gods desired, where the reliquary containing Baelor’s remains would be entombed.

And after? The procession returned, the princesses were placed once more in the Maidenvault after having been kept at a distance from any who might have approached to speak to them. But only for a little while. Within the hour, a smaller gathering were summoned to the throne room, and where the late king’s uncle, the Hand, Prince Viserys, was crowned by the boy High Septon. Hailed as Viserys, the Second of His Name, he accepted the fealty of all those gathered there, one by one placing his hands about theirs, hearing their vows. At the end, three Kingsguard knights entered, and with them the three princesses. The king, seated high upon the throne, let all know that he wished to restore to them the freedoms that they had once had, and that he would make marriage contracts for them so that they would never be alone. One by one, beginning with Elaena, they came before him. He stepped down the high steps of that perilous throne. What words might have passed in private then are unclear, but what was clear enough was the portent here. First Elaena knelt, and Viserys accepted her fealty. Then Rhaena.

And then, after a long tense moment, Daena’s.

It was done. The Seven Kingdoms had a new king, and one who had made sure none of his brother’s surviving children would contest his claim.

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