Aunty Por begins preparations for Thorton’s coming of age party, which she makes no secret of using as an opportunity to find him a potential bride. She arranges to borrow a spectacular amount of money from Pentosi bankers to ensure the event will be the biggest event in the history of Blackcliff. She then puts everyone to work, especially Dominika, who she has seemed to take a liking to (as much as you can tell with Aunt Por).
With a third of the entire Blackcliff fortune being spent, the celebrations and tourney are the talk of the Vale and Riverlands beyond. Over 500 knights make the journey to Blackcliff lands, and all available space is filled with a tent city. In the week of festivities that follow, the newly knighted Ser Thornton makes a name for himself not by winning the joust, but by staying in the saddle after three passes with the mountain that rides. Por uses this to Thornton’s advantage, using his increased status to arrange a few ‘dates’ with Corianne with the intent of seeking her hand in marriage.
In the Grande Melee, a “Mystery Knight” surprises all by besting favorites such as Miroslav, the Mountain That Rides and Yern Brittlebone with a Bravosi blade. The cunning and dexterity shown by the lightly armored victor is dismissed by the crown and other competitors as cheating, but the win is valid and the prize money is paid. The mystery combatant is of course Dominika, who now finds herself fabulously wealthy.
A grand ball gloses the celebrations, giving the areas most influential (and a lucky few smallfolk who have done well in the games) an opportunity to mingle. Dominica flits between distracting Corianne’s potential suitors and working to keep Thornton from getting uproariously drunk, and Miroslav manages to have a good time despite himself, allowing Thornton to look after himself now that he is a man grown.
After days of wrangling, cajoling and horse trading Aunt Por secures a betrothal for Thornton, and sets the date of the wedding for one year’s time. She then seeks out the widower Aurtur Manning for a private celebration.