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Westeros

The Dragon’s Court

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The court had gathered to see the king’s first public appearance of any note since his crowning. All the great lords and ladies in the city flocked there, some only lately arrived in the time since the death of Baelor and the enthroning of Viserys. Most of the Kingsguard were present, and all the small council, and all the royal kin—even the new Prince of Dragonstone, Aegon, and the king’s three nieces—are witness to when Viserys entered with two knights of the Kingsguard as his escort. He wore his late brother’s simple, plain golden crown, and dressed no differently than when he was Hand of the King. The only notable absence, one may say, is that of the High Septon, whose predecessors had been constant fixtures at Baelor’s court… but this may be because the High Septon is a mere boy; instead, some of the Most Devout were gathered to represent the Faith.

The king took little time to have many new edicts announced: the rescinding of a number of taxes and levies and restrictions (including, it later transpired, the ban on brothels and prostitution), the removal of the exemptions from taxation for households with maiden daughters, the reduction of tariffs and duties in the port, the command of an accounting of the royal revenues and expenses following these changes, the determination to open an additional royal mint, the establishment of a council to assist in the revision of the codes of law, an increase in the number of royal justiciars, and a the issuing of an invitation to the Nine Free Cities to send emissaries to discuss issues of trade on the narrow sea including the protection of merchants from corsairs and pirates. Numerous decisions on matters on law and trade, some quite obscure, were announced before the court, and many were amazed that Viserys had moved so quickly to address changes so soon after Baelor’s death.

Once the edicts were done, courtiers were invited to present requests or issues before the court. Perhaps overawed by the breadth of the king’s commands, only a few came forward. Of the more notable petitions, one was from Ser Balon Selmy, an officer of the Kingswood who wished to swear himself to Viserys as a retainer in his household. This Viserys accepted. The first to come forward, however, was most notable of the day: Princess Daena, the defiant daughter, sister, and niece. She baldly demanded seven years of household funds that had been kept from her and her sisters by Baelor’s edict placing them in the Maidenvault. Many at the court were shocked at her raising the issue before them all, but she was fearless… and the king himself seemed to be irritated by it, at least as first, especially when she complained about Baelor placing her and her sisters in the Maidenvault. Yet Viserys had to allow that her argument had some merit, and though he did not agree that the full funds were owed, something was, and directed the Master of Coin to determine what was due to the princesses.

The day’s court ended with judgements, as criminals were brought before the king. Unlike Baelor, who inevitably forgave all who came before him, the king listened and made his determinations according to the law almost invariably. Murderers and rapers held in the black cells, in particular, were almost all sentenced to die—except in one case of a remorseful young man who killed a friend in a drunken dispute. In that case, King Viserys gave the youth the choice either to hang, or to take the black.

After the king departed, the courtiers gathered to talk about the petitions, edicts, and judgements, and to share their views (with care, of course). In the days that followed, more edicts of various note followed, largely to do with matters of administration and bureaucracy. But there was other news beside, such as word that Prince Daeron’s wife, the Princess Mariah of Dorne, was with child. This invariably followed jests about the other piece of news regarding the royal kin, namely that Daeron’s father Aegon, now Prince of Dragonstone, was tasked with preparing a visit to his seat. All signs suggested that Aegon was most unwilling to leave the pleasures of King’s Landing for the remote Dragonstone, but the prince’s father would have his way sooner or later.

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