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Of Setting Suns and Tears in Rain

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In the annals of Westerosi history, few events have captured the essence of chivalry and deception quite like the Tourney of the Setting Sun. Set against the backdrop of an unruly king’s machinations and personal vendettas, this grand spectacle unfolded amidst rumors that ran like wildfire, painting a portrait of King Aegon IV’s clandestine designs. Forbidding the Kingsguard from participating in the event, the king sought to manipulate the tourney to honor his mistress, Melissa Blackwood, as the Queen of Love and Beauty; knights indebted to him, friendly to him, or seeking his favor had especially been urged to give the crown to Missy. Despite the cloak of secrecy, whispers of the king’s intentions echoed through the court, setting the stage for a contest rife with intrigue.

Despite the name for the event (meant to slight the Dornish, as represented by Princess Mariah, wife of the Prince of Dragonstone), torrents of rain drenched the tourney grounds, a pall of uncertainty hung heavy in the air. The absence of Queen Naerys and Prince Aemon, juxtaposed against the presence of the king’s paramour as well as his cousins the royal princesses, cast shadows over the proceedings. Yet, amidst the downpour, champions and challengers alike braved the elements, some eager for glory, a few desirous of the honor of donning the white cloak.

Four champions began the day to face all challengers, despite rain and wind and mud. Ser Jarwen Hollard, Ser Blayne Condon, Ser Myles Hightower, and Ser Dennis Lannister, each connected to the king’s service, stood ready to defend their honor. Yet, their dominance was soon challenged by a motley crew of jousters, each driven by their own aspirations and desires. The initial jousts saw Ser Malwyn Hightower, emboldened by his audacious request for Princess Mariah’s favor, facing off against the formidable champions of the king’s household. As the clash of lances resounded across the field, Ser Malwyn’s daring display drew both admiration and ire from the assembled courtiers.

With the champions duly challenged and replaced, the stage was set for the emergence of new contenders, including the brash Dornish squire, Lewyn Sand, of infamous lineage. Despite the absence of his far-famed mentor, Ser Aidan Dayne, Lewyn’s prowess in the lists soon became the talk of the court. His bold request for Princess Daena’s favor, against the backdrop of simmering tensions, only served to heighten the intrigue surrounding his participation.

As the tournament progressed, each tilt brought fresh surprises and upsets. Ser Toren Tully’s victory over Ser Balon Selmy showcased his skill and determination, while Ser Malwyn Hightower’s defeat at the hands of the heir to the Ring, Ser Jon Roxton, underscored the unpredictability of the jousting field.

Princess Daena’s spirited wager on Lewyn Sand’s success led the king to angrily agree to wager an ancient torc of gold from Valyria against the defiant princess’s favorite ruby ring, exciting the court. When the squire unhorsed the stalwart and renowned Ser Argos Waxley, the king seemed apoplectic in anger, while Daena cheered and laughed with glee. Despite the rain and wind and mud, the resounding clash of arms echoed again and again through the arena, as more champions met challengers, and some prevailed, and some did not. Ser Symeon Westerling emerging triumphant over Ser Otho Royce, presaging the greatest feat of arms on the day, while one of the king’s favored knights, Ser Morgil Hastwyck, won a place among the champions by defeating Ser Toren Tully.

As the day wore on, the tournament continued to unfold with breathtaking intensity. Ser Arros Beesbury’s victory over Ser Merys Lydden marked yet another chapter in the saga of triumph and defeat, as the assembled knights battled fiercely for honor and glory. Across the field, Ser Morgil’s decisive defeat of the challenger, Ser Doran Dondarrion, once sworn shield to Baelor of blessed memory, underscored the unforgiving nature of the competition.

However, the king’s mirth was short-lived, abruptly halted by the unexpected arrival of his wife and sister, Queen Naerys, who made a dramatic entrance despite the inclement weather. In a gesture of deference, Missy Blackwood graciously yielded her seat beside the king to the queen, solidifying the notion of their amicable relationship.

As the final challengers stepped forward to test their mettle, the red-haired and fiery-tempered Ser Quentyn Ball, known as Fireball, emerged as a formidable contender. With a display of unparalleled skill, he bested Ser Arros Beesbury, claiming his rightful place as the last of the four champions, and setting the stage for the tournament’s thrilling conclusion.

Amidst the flurry of the tournament’s climax, a figure shrouded in mystery emerged as a final challenger. Clad in armor from helm to heel, a white surcoat adorned with blue teardrops over his armor, his dappled grey destrier showing more than a little lineage tracing back to the sun-kissed sands of Dorne. Whispers danced on the wind, hinting at the origins of both horse and rider, weaving tales of distant lands and hidden alliances. Granted entry despite his enigmatic guise, for it looks poorly to turn away a mystery knight, the silent Knight of Tears cast his gauntlet into the ring, challenging all four champions. And not only did he challenge them, but he defeated them, one by one: with a brazen audacity that left the crowd spellbound, he bested Ser Quentyn Ball first, followed by Ser Luthor Rivers and then Ser Morgil Hastwyck, until only the valiant Ser Terrence Toyne remained to test his mettle.

As the final blow resounded across the field, the silent knight claimed victory, seizing the coveted silver-and-gold crown of the Queen of Love and Beauty. With a flourish, he bestowed the symbol of honor upon Queen Naerys’s lap, eliciting a chorus of cheers from some of the assembled throng and silence from those who adhered most to the king. A palpable tension lingered in the air as the mystery knight departed without a word, soon lost to sight amidst the crowds, and efforts to follow him seemed to go astray. As whispers spread like wildfire in the aftermath of the tourney, speculation soared to new heights. Many were quick to attribute the silent knight’s valor to none other than Prince Aemon himself, casting him as the clandestine champion who dared to defy his brother’s command for the honor of his sister, Queen Naerys.

Yet dissenting voices echoed amidst the clamor, pointing to the conspicuous absence of one of the few knights in the realm who could challenge the Dragonknight, Aidan Dayne, while his lady wife was present. Was that not strange? And was it not curious that the Knight of Tears rode a horse with sand steeds in its lineage when Aisling was known to keep a private stud of fine horses—sand steeds from Dorne among them, gifts from her husband—and had dabbled in crossing lineages? And yet… why would Dayne forsake tradition and crown another woman as Queen of Love and Beauty when his heart belonged to another? And why not reveal himself, as so many mystery knights do, to the benefit of their renown? Such questions lingered unanswered, fueling the mystery that shrouded the identity of the enigmatic knight.

As the dust settled and the tournament’s echoes faded into memory, Prince Aemon’s whereabouts remained a subject of fervent debate. Some claimed he had vanished into the shadows, orchestrating events from afar to safeguard his sister’s honor. Others would later say that he admitted making a small, private pilgrimage undertaken in the quiet solitude of King’s Landing’s septs, great and small, a gesture of gratitude to the gods for the blessings bestowed upon his family, not least being the recent safe delivery of a new Targaryen princeling, Maekar, son of Daeron and Mariah. In the wake of the tumultuous tourney, a pall of discontent hung heavy over the royal court, the king’s absence a palpable reminder of his simmering fury. As the evening waned, the feasting hall lay eerily silent, bereft of the usual revelry and mirth that accompanied such grand events.

It was not until the following day that the courtiers learned of Ser Terrence Toyne’s exaltation to the esteemed ranks of the Kingsguard, his valor on the field of battle earning him the coveted white cloak. With solemn determination, Ser Terrence embarked upon his vigil within the hallowed confines of the royal sept, his steadfast resolve a beacon of hope amidst the gathering storm.

The day of his vigil was also set as the day of the melees that would conclude the festivities, though they were festivities that the sulking King Aegon refused to participate in. A pall of gray hung low in the sky, a somber reminder of the deluge that had drenched the tournament grounds just a day prior. The earth, still sodden from the downpour, bore the weight of countless hoofprints and the imprint of countless feet. Despite the overcast skies and the lingering chill in the air, the atmosphere crackled with anticipation, for the melee promised to be a spectacle with scores of knights planning to compete. Knights and spectators alike gathered upon the field, their spirits undaunted by the dreary backdrop against which the day’s events would unfold.

As the melee unfolded upon the rain-soaked field, two knights emerged victorious amidst the chaos and clamor of battle. Ser Arros Beesbury, his armor dented but his spirit unbroken, fought with the ferocity of a lion, his blade a blur of motion as he laid low his foes with each resounding blow. With unwavering determination, he carved a path to triumph, his name destined to be etched in the annals of history. But alongside Ser Arros stood another champion, his valor and skill no less remarkable. Ser Omrys Baratheon, his armor gleaming in the muted light, proved himself a stalwart defender upon the field of combat. With courage and cunning, he met each challenge head-on, his resolve unshakable as he battled his way to victory.

And as the final blows were struck and the dust settled upon the battlefield, it was Ser Arros who emerged triumphant, his name revered by all who witnessed his valorous deeds. For his efforts, he was rewarded with a prize befitting his status—a purse of five hundred gold dragons and a fine destrier from the king’s own stables, its flanks adorned with richly embroidered caparison and gleaming armor.

Yet Ser Omrys too was duly honored for his bravery and skill, his victory a testament to the indomitable spirit of the Westerlands. For his triumph in the foot combat, he was bestowed with a purse of three hundred gold dragons and a suit of silvered plate from the king’s armory.

In the aftermath of the tourney, rumors and speculation ran rampant, each whisper adding fuel to the fire of intrigue. From whispers of Prince Aemon’s clandestine involvement to the enigmatic knight’s true identity, the truth remained elusive amidst a sea of deception. But from these whispers, bards began to weave their songs, and soon enough the winesinks and pot shops resounded with words of the Knight of Tears and Queen Naerys, many of which would hint at the Dragonknight by referencing love like a dragon’s flame and the white of his surcoat sullied only by the blue of his tears.

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