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The King Speaks

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The king, returned to his royal city with a holy fervor in his heart and a body made weak by predation and the venom of vipers in the Boneway. Still, after a time of rest and contemplation, occasionally closeted with the High Septon and less occasionally the Hand, the king held court for the first time since his return. The glittering court gathered to see the young king, and hear his commands. Some noted that the High Septon and members of the Most Devout went before the king in his arrival, and the High Septon stood near the dais with the royal kindred. The four knights of the Kingsguard accompanied the wan, pale young king, who wore—to the surprise of some—plain, undyed woolen robes and the slenderest of circlets for a crown. Behind him came the radiant Queen Daena, who seemed graver than usual, with her ladies.

Leaving the queen to take a place near the dais, the king first greeted the Hand, his uncle Prince Viserys, and thanked him for his service. And then he mounted the dais to speak to those gathered. The king spoke of his journey to Dorne, and his many prayers for peace, and their answering in the similar views of Prince Marence Martell. Revealing his intention to hold to the agreement he had made with the prince at Sunspear, the king announced his young cousin Prince Daeron would be betrothed to Marence’s daughter, Princess Mariah. Moreover, with the aid and advice of the High Septon, he anulled the marriage of the former royal huntsman, Ser Ethos Mertyns, to the former hostage, Joleta of House Gargalen, the heiress to Salt Shore.

For many at the court, neither announcement was a surprise. Nor was it a surprise when he named his cousin, Prince Aemon the Dragonknight, the truest and most honroable knight in the realm, and named him also the new Lord Commander of the Kingsguard; together, they would find three worthy knights to fill the ranks of the White Swords. But then…

Then the king began to talk of things less expected. His command to empty the gaols and dungeons could not have pleased the commander of the City Watch, Ser Richard Harte, especially after two men had assaulted his gold cloaks. His remittance of all fines for mischief and criminal conduct, to see the coins donated to the Faith instead, made the Hand frown. And then he spoke of his dream from the night before, which he said the Seven sent him: standing on the battlements of the Red Keep, looking out across the great city, and seeing the glorious sight of a huge sept atop Visenya’s Hill. If the gods sent it, he suggested, it was meant to be—and so he ordered that no tariff, tax, or toll would be raised in King’s Landing over the next month and a day which would not be given over to the project. The master of coin, Beron Buckwell, semeed nearly read to faint when he heard that, and it was clear to the wiser members of the court that the king’s sudden generosity to his subjects and the Seven were determined without consulting the Hand or the small council first.

If any of them wished to argue him away from piety and towards reason, they held their tongue… or perhaps he gave them little opportunity: stating he was tired, he shortly after departed, hardly speaking to his queen, giving nothing but a farewell to his uncle, and instead falling into conversation with the High Septon as the Kingsguard escorted him not to Maegor’s Holdfast and its apartments, but to the royal sept, where he intended to pray and contemplate.

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