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The Bloody Dance

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The terror that has swept Massey’s Hook, when it was revealed that the Dornish robber-knight Red Rhys of the Scourge had allied himself with the notorious Sullehman Saan, has even come to the royal city where Baelor, slow to recover, prays… and where Prince Viserys, his uncle and Hand, rules. For in the city, an assault took place in which the lady Reyna Saltcliffe was injured, her guards killed… and worst of all, the young ladies Jyana Arryn and Elrone Darklyn were abducted and vanished. While throughout the city a search was made, it would not be for a fortnight before the truth was discovered at Massey’s Hook, where outriders under the likes of Sarmion Stormbreaker, Dagur Saltcliffe, and Mathin Lannister, had begun to sweep away “King” Rhys’s men from the hills they so viciously fought from. Under the rainbow peace-banner came a messenger from the so-called king, carrying tokens: a golden necklace, and a dragonglass pendant, identified by the men as belonging to the two abducted women. They were “guests” of his king, said the messenger, and suggested it would be a shame if some harm should befall them…

This rightly led to outrage from Ser Jan Marbrand, the Warden of the Kingswood, and those others who witnessed this sham of a parley. None countenanced surrendering their just cause to Rhys’s threats. As Prince Aemon Targaryen, the Dragonknight, oversaw the plans to defeat the foe with the aid of the heir of Storm’s End, Ser Arion Baratheon, plans were made to destroy the strength at sea that the self-styled Prince of the Narrow Sea had at hand. The Sea Watch had been reinforced at last, and with the reinforcements came cases of wildfire. In the furious battle that followed, Saan’s right-hand, Vaario Quanis, was forced to take a small part of the fleet away to safety… leaving the rest to be largely destroyed. Even Saan’s flagship was stormed, and there the bloodiest fighting took place, a battle where many died. Most notable among them? Ser Ammon Massey, Ammon Blackhand, who fought with a rage in his heart for the woe that Saan had brought upon his family: a sister murdered before his eyes, a home taken and ravished, more kin surely murdered. They say, afterward, that Massey sought ought Saan, and there on the deck the two fought.

In the songs, the honorable knight vanquishes the evil blackguard. But this was not a song, and for all his valor and his rage, fortune left Ser Ammon, and so did life when Sullehman Saan ran him through. In the aftermath, the pirate-prince was able to escape capture, to dive into the sea and swim away to one of his own vessels as it fled the battle. Unable to catch him, the royal vessels could only watch as they beat a hasty retreat toward Stonedance.

And so half of Rhys’s and Saan’s power has been swept away, with this decisive victory, even as the bandits and brigands the reaver-king of Stonedance calls his vassals have been driven back by fire and sword from the hills, and the royal host under the dragon banner draws ever nearer to Stonedance. But what new wickedness will Red Rhys and Sullehman Saan concoct, in their desperation to preserve themselves? Some do not think of it, but there are those who say Prince Aemon and other lords and captains in the host get little sleep as their minds cannot bend away from their fear.

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