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The Black Pearl


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King’s Landing is the greatest port on the western side of the narrow sea, a destination for ships from throughout the Seven Kingdoms, from the Free Cities on the opposite side of the sea, and sometimes even from further afield. Yet some ships at sea are famous, at least among sailors, and when one puts in to the port the word spreads. Thus, when a lean galley with purple sails pulled into port, a few dismissed it as another Braavosi merchanter… but others knew it for what she was: the Widow Wind, a merchant ship, aye… and a smuggling ship, and sometimes (it was rumored) a pirate ship. Its captain? The beautiful and infamous Bellegere Otherys, the Black Pearl of Braavos, daughter of a Sealord’s son and a princess of the Summer Isles. As captain she had indulged in all three activities with the Widow Wind, and others besides. Her vessel had occasionally docked at King’s Landing over the years, and there were rumors that her occasional guest aboard her ship or in the rooms she stayed at was no one less than Prince Aegon, now King of the Seven Kingdoms.

But the Widow Wind had not been seen in a year or more, and its arrival with no forewarning raised brows. For all the rumors, the Black Pearl had never once set foot at court, even when rumors claimed she had born a child, and then another, who might (or might not) have been the prince’s. So eyebrows were raised even further when she disembarked with a company of sailors as guards led by a queer woman carrying a curving blade from the East, a woman wearing near-black garments, and a fat eunuch. That last, in turn, carried something: a young child.

Few had a good look at him, but as Captain Otherys went about her business in the city, some learned more of the boy. Rumor of a master goldsmith from Lannisport having now setup shop beneath Visenya’s Hill had led a company of nobility to travel together to see his work and perhaps commission baubles, only to find the goldsmith occupied by the Black Pearl. When she exited, with her was the eunuch and the child, and it was clear to see he was a boy, tawny-skinned, his hair black like his mother’s… but his eyes a striking blue, almost purple. When she addressed him, she called him Balerion, and called him her little dragon as one of the party realized when they overheard her speaking in Valyrian.

Rumors, of course, ran wild after that. Had she come to deliver this boy to the king as his natural child? Or was she seeking to renew her dalliances with Aegon despite his present mistress, Missy Blackwood? Or perhaps she merely wished the city and the court to know of the boy, for her own reasons?

The days passed, and she was seen here and there in the city, trading: selling goods off the _Widow Wind_, buying supplies and different goods that might have value at her next port of call. The eunuch and his infant charge were also seen at times. But never at the Red Keep. Even when some courtiers visited the Widow Wind on business of their own, she did not reveal her intentions. The king seemed aloof to the infamous woman’s presence, though then again… Who knows where Aegon, Fourth of His Name, wandered on an evening? Even though he has a mistress whom he dotes on, the king still finds time to visit certain houses of ill repute when the mood takes him, and only his closest companions and his Kingsguard can truly say whether he keeps himself occupied there or finds other diversions…

When the Widow Wind finally departed, those who saw its captain and her crew saw the boy go with her. And the king? The king seemed oddly quarrelsome for a time after, even with his mistress and those who regarded themselves his friends.

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