Under is an unique excerpt from George R.R. Martin’s new ebook, Fire and Blood, an account of the primary 150 years of Home Targaryen’s rule of Westeros, lengthy earlier than the occasions in Recreation of Thrones. This part is about through the famed Dance of Dragons — the Targaryen civil struggle.
The setup: After the dying of King Viserys I Targaryen, two factions inside the royal household fought over his succession. The king’s appointed inheritor was his eldest daughter by his first spouse, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, who was supported by her uncle/husband, the fearsome fighter Prince Daemon. Her rival was her youthful half-brother, Aegon II Targaryen, who was supported by his mom, Queen Alicent.
On this excerpt, battles are occurring round Westeros as Rhaenyra and Daemon’s forces are on a marketing campaign to defeat the forces loyal to Aegon II (together with Lord Jason Lannister), seize King’s Landing, and unseat Aegon II from Iron Throne….
A homicide of ravens took flight from the twisted towers of Harrenhal.
On the Pink Fork, Lord Jason Lannister discovered himself dealing with the Lord of Pinkmaiden, previous Petyr Piper, and the Lord of Wayfarer’s Relaxation, Tristan Vance. Although the westermen outnumbered their foes, the riverlords knew the bottom. Thrice the Lannisters tried to drive the crossing, and thrice they have been pushed again; within the final try, Lord Jason was dealt a mortal wound on the hand of a grizzled squire, Pate of Longleaf. (Lord Piper himself knighted the person afterward, dubbing him Longleaf the Lionslayer.) The fourth Lannister assault carried the fords, nevertheless; this time it was Lord Vance who fell, slain by Ser Adrian Tarbeck, who had taken command of the western host. Tarbeck and 100 picked knights stripped off their heavy armor and swam the river upstream of the battle, then circled about to take Lord Vance’s strains from the rear. The ranks of the riverlords shattered, and the westermen got here swarming throughout the Purple Fork by the hundreds.
In the meantime, unbeknownst to the dying Lord Jason and his bannermen, fleets of longships from the Iron Islands fell upon the shores of Lannister’s domains, led by Dalton Greyjoy of Pyke. Courted by each claimants to the Iron Throne, the Pink Kraken had made his selection. His ironmen couldn’t hope to breach Casterly Rock as soon as Woman Johanna had barred her gates, however they seized three–quarters of the ships within the harbor, sank the remaining, then swarmed over the partitions of Lannisport to sack the town, making off with uncounted wealth and greater than 600 ladies and women, together with Lord Jason’s favourite mistress and pure daughters.
Elsewhere within the realm, Lord Walys Mooton led 100 knights out of Maidenpool to hitch with the half-wild Crabbs and Brunes of Crackclaw Level and the Celtigars of Claw Isle. By means of piney woods and mist–shrouded hills they hastened, to Rook’s Relaxation, the place their sudden look took the garrison abruptly. After retaking the citadel, Lord Mooton led his bravest males to the sector of ashes west of the citadel, to place an finish to the dragon Sunfyre.
The would-be dragonslayers simply drove off the cordon of guards who had been left to feed, serve, and shield the dragon, however Sunfyre himself proved extra formidable than anticipated. Dragons are awkward creatures on the bottom, and his torn wing left the good golden wyrm unable to take to the air. The attackers anticipated to seek out the beast close to demise. As an alternative they discovered him sleeping, however the conflict of swords and thunder of horses quickly roused him, and the primary spear to strike him provoked him to fury. Slimy with mud, twisting amongst the bones of numerous sheep, Sunfyre writhed and coiled like a serpent, his tail lashing, sending blasts of golden flame at his attackers as he struggled to fly. Thrice he rose, and thrice fell again to earth. Mooton’s males swarmed him with swords and spears and axes, dealing him many grievous wounds . . . but every blow solely appeared to enrage him additional. The variety of the lifeless reached threescore earlier than the survivors fled.
Amongst the slain was Walys Mooton, Lord of Maidenpool. When his physique was discovered a fortnight later by his brother Manfryd, naught remained however charred flesh in melted armor, crawling with maggots. But nowhere on that subject of ashes, suffering from the our bodies of courageous males and the burned and bloated carcasses of 100 horses, did Lord Manfryd discover King Aegon’s dragon. Sunfyre was gone. Nor have been there tracks, as certainly there would have been had the dragon dragged himself away. Sunfyre the Golden had taken wing once more, it appeared . . . however to the place, no dwelling man might say.
In the meantime, Prince Daemon Targaryen himself hastened south on the wings of his dragon, Caraxes. Flying above the western shore of the Gods Eye, properly away from Ser Criston’s line of march, he evaded the enemy host, crossed the Blackwater, then turned east, following the river downstream to King’s Landing. And on Dragonstone, Rhaenyra Targaryen donned a go well with of gleaming black scale, mounted Syrax, and took flight as a rainstorm lashed the waters of Blackwater Bay. Excessive above the town the queen and her prince consort got here collectively, circling over Aegon’s Excessive Hill.
The sight of them incited terror within the streets of the town under, for the smallfolk weren’t sluggish to understand that the assault that they had dreaded was finally at hand. Prince Aemond and Ser Criston had denuded King’s Landing of defenders once they set forth to retake Harrenhal… and the Kinslayer had taken Vhagar, that fearsome beast, leaving solely Dreamfyre and a handful of half-grown hatchlings to oppose the queen’s dragons. The younger dragons had by no means been ridden, and Dreamfyre’s rider, Queen Helaena, was a damaged lady; the town had as nicely been dragonless.
Hundreds of smallfolk streamed out the town gates, carrying their youngsters and worldly possessions on their backs, to hunt security within the countryside. Others dug pits and tunnels underneath their hovels, darkish dank holes the place they hoped to cover while the town burned (Grand Maester Munkun tells us that most of the hidden passageways and secret subcellars underneath King’s Landing date from this time). Rioting broke out in Flea Backside. When the sails of the Sea Snake’s ships have been seen to the east in Blackwater Bay, making for the river, the bells of each sept within the metropolis started to ring, and mobs surged via the streets, looting as they went. Dozens died earlier than the gold cloaks might restore the peace.
With each the Lord Protector and the King’s Hand absent, and King Aegon himself burned, bedridden, and misplaced in poppy goals, it fell to his mom, the Queen Dowager, to see to the town’s defenses. Queen Alicent rose to the problem, closing the gates of chateau and metropolis, sending the gold cloaks to the partitions, and dispatching riders on swift horses to seek out Prince Aemond and fetch him again.
As properly, she commanded Grand Maester Orwyle to ship ravens to “all our leal lords,” summoning them to the protection of their true king. When Orwyle hastened again to his chambers, nevertheless, he discovered 4 gold cloaks ready for him. One man muffled his cries because the others beat and sure him. With a bag pulled over his head, the Grand Maester was escorted right down to the black cells.
Queen Alicent’s riders acquired no farther than the gates, the place extra gold cloaks took them into custody. Unbeknownst to Her Grace, the seven captains commanding the gates, chosen for his or her loyalty to King Aegon, had been imprisoned or murdered the second Caraxes appeared within the sky above the Pink Hold . . . for the rank and file of the Metropolis Watch nonetheless beloved Daemon Targaryen, the Prince of the Metropolis who had commanded them of previous.
Queen Alicent’s brother Ser Gwayne Hightower, second in control of the gold cloaks, rushed to the stables, meaning to sound the warning; he was seized, disarmed, and dragged earlier than his commander, Luthor Largent. When Hightower denounced him as a turncloak, Ser Luthor laughed. “Daemon gave us these cloaks,” he stated, “and they’re gold no matter how you turn them.” Then he drove his sword via Ser Gwayne’s stomach and ordered the town gates opened to the lads pouring off the Sea Snake’s ships.
For all of the vaunted power of its partitions, King’s Landing fell in lower than a day. A brief, bloody battle was waged on the River Gate, the place 13 Hightower knights and 100 men-at-arms drove off the gold cloaks and held out for nigh on eight hours towards assaults from each inside and with out the town, however their heroics have been in useless, for Rhaenyra’s troopers poured in by way of the opposite six gates unmolested. The sight of the queen’s dragons within the sky above took the guts out of the opposition, and King Aegon’s remaining loyalists hid or fled or bent the knee.
One after the other the dragons made their descent. Sheepstealer lighted atop Visenya’s Hill, Silverwing and Vermithor on the Hill of Rhaenys, outdoors the Dragonpit. Prince Daemon circled the towers of the Purple Hold earlier than bringing Caraxes down within the outer ward. Solely when he was sure that the defenders would supply him no hurt did he sign for his spouse the queen to descend upon Syrax. Addam Velaryon remained aloft, flying Seasmoke across the metropolis partitions, the beat of his dragon’s vast leathern wings a warning to these under that any defiance can be met with hearth.
Upon seeing that resistance was hopeless, the Dowager Queen Alicent emerged from Maegor’s Holdfast together with her father, Ser Otto Hightower; Ser Tyland Lannister; and Lord Jasper Wylde the Ironrod (Lord Larys Robust was not with them. The grasp of whisperers had someway contrived to vanish). Septon Eustace, a witness to what adopted, tells us that Queen Alicent tried to deal with together with her stepdaughter. “Let us together summon a great council, as the Old King did in days of old,” stated the Dowager Queen, “and lay the matter of succession before the lords of the realm.” However Queen Rhaenyra rejected the proposal with scorn. “Do you mistake me for Mushroom?” she requested. “We both know how this council would rule.” Then she bade her stepmother select: yield or burn.
Bowing her head in defeat, Queen Alicent surrendered the keys to the citadel and ordered her knights and men-at-arms to put down their swords. “The city is yours, Princess,” she is reported to have stated, “but you will not hold it long. The rats play when the cat is gone, but my son Aemond will return with fire and blood.”
Rhaenyra’s males discovered her rival’s spouse, the mad Queen Helaena, locked in her bedchamber…however once they broke down the doorways of the king’s flats, they found solely “his bed, empty, and his chamberpot, full.” Aegon II had fled. So had his youngsters, the six-year-old Princess Jaehaera and two-year-old Prince Maelor, together with Willis Fell and Rickard Thorne of the Kingsguard. Not even the Dowager Queen appeared to know the place that they had gone, and Luthor Largent swore none had handed via the town gates.
There was no strategy to spirit away the Iron Throne, nevertheless. Nor would Queen Rhaenyra sleep till she claimed her father’s seat. So the torches have been lit within the throne room, and the queen climbed the iron steps and seated herself the place King Viserys had sat earlier than her, and the Previous King earlier than him, and Maegor and Aenys and Aegon the Dragon in days of previous. Stern-faced, nonetheless in her armor, she sat on excessive as each man and lady within the Purple Hold was introduced forth and made to kneel earlier than her, to plead for her forgiveness and swear their lives and swords and honor to her as their queen.
Septon Eustace tells us that the ceremony went on all via that night time. It was nicely previous daybreak when Rhaenyra Targaryen rose and made her descent. “And as her lord husband Prince Daemon escorted her from the hall, cuts were seen upon Her Grace’s legs and the palm of her left hand,” wrote Eustace. “Drops of blood fell to the floor as she went past, and wise men looked at one another, though none dared speak the truth aloud: the Iron Throne had spurned her, and her days upon it would be few.”
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