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The King and the Vipers

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A raven from Blackhaven arrives at King’s Landing, bringing long-expected word of King Baelor’s departure from Dorne after negotiating the peace and walking, barefoot, in a show of piety that was over-matched only by his first such journey to Dorne with the forty-nine hostages in his train. The Grand Maester received it eagerly from an assisting younger maester, and read it… and blanched.

Unease, and an immediate visit to the royal apartments in the middle of the night, awakening Prince Viserys from his sleep to inform him of the news. It did not take long for what came from Blackhaven to be revealed to the rest of the court in that early morning hour: King Baelor was on the verge between life and death. The Wyls had betrayed the peace he had forged with Prince Marence, leaving the king to free Prince Aemon from a cage beside the Boneway ... a cage that hung over a pit of vipers. Trusting to the gods, he walked into the pit, and despite his prayers, was bitten many times. He freed the Dragonknight, who was able to carry him up to the top of the cage and out of the pit without further harm, but already the king was unconscious. Naked and defenseless, still, the Dragonknight carried Baelor over his shoulder for cold night and a hot day before a pious septon in a Dornish mountain village provided aid.

With a cart and a donkey to pull it, Prince Aemon moved as quickly as he could, but the journey from outside of Wyl to Blackhaven was many days. Now while the Dragonknight was being treated for the ill effects of exposure, the king himself had only lately come out of a coma, and he remains feeble and disoriented. Lord Dondarrion’s maester stays by his side, and the sept at Blackhaven is filled with the faithful, praying to the Seven for the health of the king. Even now, the royal sept, Visenya’s sept, and all the other septs of King’s Landing are beginning to be similarly visited.

Prince Viserys has since met with the small council, and ravens have already flown. Later in the day, another raven arrived: certain knights of the Marches have begun to gather not far from the Boneway, intent on punishing the Dornish. Prince Viserys now meets with certain Marcher lords, and more ravens are flying, and messengers as well.

Is the peace, so hard won, to prove even shorter-lived than the Young Dragon’s conquest?

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