The King Falls Alone
Ser Marston Waters
"This was not supposed to happen like this!" Brayed Ser Alfred Broome.
A loud and significant roar of anger followed to echo the sentence.
"Look Marston! Look what this...this...this bitch is doing! We can't let her kill the King! Do something! Man the siege engines! Promise recompenses to the archers! Shoot her down! But save the King!"
Ser Marston Waters did his best to keep an unfeeling face, lest his true feelings show. It would not do at all for the new castellan of Dragonstone to believe Marston thought him an imbecile.
"The dragons are out of reach of our scorpions and our ballista, Ser Alfred." He replied instead, a touch of frost in his voice. "Should I dare to order the men to shoot, at this distance we have better chances to touch the King than his opponent. Sunfyre is a lot bigger than Moondancer. And the archers we have here may be good, but they can't shoot a dragon thousands of feet away."
"But the King...Damn this bitch!"
Ser Marston threw a new cold look at Ser Alfred before diverting his gaze and going back to his observation of the clash happening in the sky.
A new roar of anger came from Sunfyre and Marston grimaced. King Aegon II Targaryen had promised them titles, wealth and prestige at his court when victory would be his against his half-sister Rhaenyra. Though she was nicknamed these days 'Maegor with tits' according to the latest rumours coming from King's Landing.
The plan had appeared so simple. With the biggest dragons and Rhaenyra away, slay Ser Robert Quince the castle's castellan, kill every soldier who had undying loyalty to the Blacks, and welcome King Aegon II Targaryen with the splendour and regalia a dragonlord of his rank deserved. Simple, right?
A new roar sounded, and it was one of pain. It seemed an arrow had struck Sunfyre's already badly damaged wing from the Rook's Rest battle, making the golden beast lose a little altitude before batting his wings faster to close the distance with his smaller opponent.
"How did the girl learnt to use a bow?" Screamed Ser Alfred.
The same way everyone does, thought Marston, becoming more and more annoyed at the Broome knight the further the fight went on. Although for the Lady Baela Targaryen to learn to fly her dragon and be an elite archer at the age of fourteen was an impressive feat, one had to admit.
"The greens will have our heads..." Moaned the castellan of Dragonstone as another arrow struck the undamaged wing of Sunfyre, eliciting a long hiss of suffering from the King's mount.
No. They will have your head.
It had been Ser Alfred Broome orders that only three men had to be sent to arrest the daughter of Daemon Targaryen and Laena Velaryon. No danger, the Broome knight had affirmed. The girl would be captured easily. One dagger in the eye of the first man, one dagger cut to make the second an eunuch and a large push from the balcony to deal with the third had proven the folly of 'three men are enough'.
The young Lady had managed to reach the stables where her dragon was kept, a slim and magnificent pale green dragon with pearl-coloured horns, crests and wing bones, then fly away before the men of Alfred and Marston could do anything to stop her. Ser Albert had thought the young Targaryen had fled to the Vale or another Black stronghold.
Ser Albert had been deadly wrong. As King Aegon made a remarked entry on his bonded golden dragon, Lady Baela Targaryen and Moondancer had appeared over Dragonstone and attacked.
"That got to hurt!" Remarked a knight on Marston's left as Sunfyre received a new arrow in the middle of his damaged wing. The royal monster tried to seize the tail of its tormentor in a vicious bite, but the attempt failed and Moondancer manoeuvred around Aegon's dragon with celerity.
The now-traitor to the black cause grimaced. The combat was long, too long. Normally, Sunfyre should have battered a nuisance like Moondancer in less than time it took to say it. The dragon of King Aegon II was a battle-dragon, easily six or seven times the size of Moondancer. The leader of the greens had far more war experiences and dragonrider skills than the fourteen-year old girl.
The golden dragon and his royal cavalier should have crushed the young dragon and its equally young partner. It had not happened. As tempting as it was to blame it on Sunfyre's old injuries, Marston was clear-headed enough to think it was only one of the reasons of the golden dragon's failure. Moondancer was a young dragon, extremely nimble and swift, and Lady Baela was riding it with astonishing skill. It was the worst sort of opponent for the big and massive Sunfyre. And the King had not come prepared for battle. Aegon II had the sword Blackfyre on him and his back and green armour but nothing else. Baela had brought a bow, and profited from every evasion and miss of her draconic enemy to shoot an arrow with devastating precision in the wings.
But the biggest issue was that only one of the dragonriders fought with all his head, and it surely by the Seven Hells wasn't the King. At this distance, it was impossible of course to see the expression on the visages of Princess Baela and King Aegon, but the shouts coming out from the King's mouth and the deadly silence from his young cousin were enough indicators. Marston had never ridden a dragon and never was going to for all the gold of the Seven Kingdoms, but he had seen enough fights and battles to know that when someone lost his composure in battle, the end was not far.
Now, only two things could happen. Either the girl on Moondancer was going to have a quiver empty of arrows, in that case Moondancer would be forced to flee or fight at closer range, the latter making a sure victory for Sunfyre. Or the dragon of the King would take one wound too important and die from the fall.
Apparently, the first had already happened. Lady Baela had stopped shooting with her bow, and now the two dragons were doing their best to carbonise and devour each other.
It was a magnificent spectacle. A lethal dance of pale green and gold, of flames and roars. The morning sun of autumn was making shine the scales of the fire-breathing lizards like a myriad of jewels. Attacks, counter-attacks, columns of fire, feints and blows which would have destroyed any being save a dragon. The only source of noise was Aegon II yelling now. All the spectators on the towers, ramparts and portcullis of Dragonstone were silent, unconsciously realising they were assisting to a spectacle they may never see again in their lives.
Moondancer bit the golden dragon in his right flank, and Sunfyre breathed a large column of fire, that the pale green dragon avoided with huge difficulties.
The two dragonriders were over the heads of the citadel now, both flying in a roundabout manner to retake their forces before a last assault. Then the ravenous Sunfyre and the swift Moondancer accelerated the cadence of their wings and rushed against each other at speeds a horse would have been way unable to imitate on land.
"FIRE AND BLOOD!" Roared Aegon II, Sunfyre exhaling a cloud of flame so powerful it partially blinded the eyes of every man watching the aerial fight.
But his pearl and green smaller enemy had avoided the inferno and rose again to...was that an arrow?
In an instant, Ser Marston understood, much like Aegon he was sure. The Lady Baela had not been short of arrows, she just had pretended to be. It had all been a way to lure Sunfyre closer...and it had worked.
The shot was magnificent, and the scream which shook every human's heart scores of leagues in the vicinity was strident and agonising. Ser Marston couldn't see where the projectile had found its mark, but the shrilling scream was definitely not good.
Then Sunfyre fell from the skies with no warning. One instant the dragon which had been admired and considered the most beautiful by both nobles and smallfolk was breathing fire in defiance, the other it fell like a stone.
"NO! NO!" Shouted Broome.
The impact when Sunfyre touched the ground in front of the Stone Drum Keep was particularly heart-breaking. The royal dragon had fallen on its undamaged wing, leaving only the crippled one risen, showing anyone the severe damage the projectiles had done, shredding the non-armoured skin and tendons. It was then everyone alive heard Aegon II, King of Westeros, Protector of the Andals and the First Men, Defender of the Faith and Protector of the Realm, pushing a scream of agony and untold suffering. Ser Marston raced ahead, in his own mind doubting it was going to do anything. Aegon II had not had the time to unseat and jump off his doomed dragon. And the immense majority of dragon deaths were invariably followed by those of their rider.
As the crowd formed around the doomed dragon, the reason of the fall was clear. From Sunfyre's left eye pointed a black arrow, so deeply ensconced only the fletching and the nock were visible. A killing shot if there ever was one. Sunfyre was not emitting any roar or rumble. The golden dragon was dead.
One look on the other side was enough to know it was way too late to save the king too. Aegon II had not managed to extricate himself from the chains of his saddle in time. Sunfyre has collapsed on the lower part of his master, crushing his legs and everything below the torso. No maester could heal major wounds like that. Already, the skin of the King was losing all colour and the pool of blood was widening around the dragon.
"I... I...am ...the ...King." Managed to say Aegon II, blood gurgling in his mouth, the effort to speak evidently costing him a lot of his remaining energy.
Then his eyes closed, his breath slowed before completely ceasing. The crowd of knights and men-at-arms around the dragon's body made no whispering or murmur. They were all in shock.
"The King is dead..." Whispered Ser Alfred Broome before repeating louder "The King is dead!"
A roar of victory answered, and Ser Marston and the entire garrison saw Lady Baela Targaryen and Moondancer swirling over the citadel in a dance of victory before flying at full speed eastwards.
"What are we going to do? What are we going to do?" Ser Alfred Broome was in full-panic mode, his wits having left him.
It was the worst thing to say. The castellan of Dragonstone had just admitted he had no plan to deal with the situation in hand, in front of the whole garrison. Unavoidably, the mass of soldiers had ideas. And ideas...
"Long live the True Queen! Long live Rhaenyra Targaryen! "Bayed a knight in Celtigar colours before piercing the throat of Broome with his longsword. Ser Broome collapsed, his near-decapitated head showing stupefaction.
"No! Aegon is the True King!" Screamed a man in brown armour. "Kill the Blacks!"
Ser Marston unleashed his sword against a low-born sergeant wielding an axe, cutting his right leg and terminating him in the same movement.
Around him, the walls, the courtyard and the towers of Dragonstone were the scenes of a madhouse, fighters of every House reconsidering their allegiance at the worst moment possible. Spears clashed with pikes. Swordsmen and axemen fought in a dance of blood and death. Archers and the servants of ballista turned over their weapons to slaughter those who had been their comrades a moment ago.
The Queen will never forgive us for this.
But as a man in Bar Emmon colours evaded his sword and kicked him in the face, Ser Marston Waters realised he really didn't care.
The Dance is over.
And on this last thought, he let darkness claimed him.
Point Of Divergence
The aerial fight over the island of Dragonstone took an even worse turn for Aegon II Targaryen than possibly thought, thanks to the young Baela Targaryen taking her favourite bow with her and slaying Sunfyre with a perfect shot in the eye. King Aegon II Targaryen was unable to jump from his falling dragon in time and got crushed by his agonizing mount.
Following his death, the garrison of Dragonstone, who had been about to greet their new lord after having killed the castellan named by Queen Rhaenyra, slaughtered each other in a deadly and improvised civil war. While the men truly loyal to the Green cause finally emerged victorious and in possession of the Royal Valyrian sword Blackfyre, the damage had been done. King Aegon II was dead and Baela Targaryen, eldest daughter of Prince Daemon Targaryen, had long escaped on her nimble dragon Moondancer.
The consequences of this regicide did not make itself wait. At King's Landing, Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen widely celebrated the news when she heard of her half-brother's death and proclaimed victory. Unfortunately for her and her family, this proclamation was way too premature, the capital being on the verge of a major insurrection, thanks to the brutal and merciless policies of the woman having earned the not flattering nickname of "Maegor with tits".
The death of Aegon II was the candle which lit the inferno. Led by a crazed prophet named the Shepherd, a crowd of bloodthirsty men formed and stormed the Dragonpit. It was a slaughter to make the veterans of the civil war pale. There were only four dragons chained in the Dragonpit, but each fought with claws and fangs, before breathing inferno consuming everything. Tens of thousands died, and with the death of the dragon Dreamfyre the Dragonpit collapsed, burying the survivors forever in the rubble. The carnage was incredible. And it was not the end.
Enraged beyond measure, Queen Rhaenyra mounted Syrax and flew on to devastate this rebellion in fire and blood. Six times Rhaenyra gave the fire command to her dragon. Six times Syrax obeyed, plunging entire blocks of the city in a sea of fire. But there was no seventh attempt. On Visenya's hill hundreds of smallfolk archers had taken position, and the lack of military experience of the Queen had ensured they were not remarked until it was too late. Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, eldest daughter of King Viserys I, died from three arrows in the back. The dragon Syrax, made uncontrollable by the death of his mistress, provoked thousands of deaths before being ultimately brought down, though there were few left alive to claim they had done the deed.
With the death of the two last major claimants for the Iron Throne, the succession order was completely in ashes. Normally, Rhaenyra's heir should have been her eldest surviving son Joffrey, but the boy many suspected to be a Strong bastard had rushed to fight and been slaughtered in the battle against hundreds of the smallfolk. Aegon the Younger, who would have been the next best choice was dead too, although the circumstances of his demise were far less clear. For the Greens, Prince Aemond Targaryen was next, but the bloodthirsty man having burnt half of the Riverlands rushed to challenge his uncle Prince Daemon at Harrenhal on Vhagar. The most formidable and experienced dragonriders and dragons of the Dance clashed over Harrenhal and the God's Eye, in a deadly battle. None emerged alive, Daemon managing to stab Aemond in the eye with Dark Sister before clashing with the surface of the lake when Vhagar and Caraxes killed each other.
Still, the Greens had one more card to play in the person of Prince Daeron, younger brother of Aegon II and hero of the Battle on the Honeywine. From the Second Battle of Tumbleton and the surprise assault of Ser Adam Velaryon, Prince Daeron was the only dragonrider to emerge alive, the Two Betrayers and Ser Adam clashing and dying by treachery or dragonfire. The massive Hightower army was down to barely one third of its numbers after the black Riverlands forces retreated from the battlefield, but urged by prince Daeron they persevered and made their junction with Lord Borros Baratheon forces.
King's Landing having collapsed in chaos, it was fairly easy for the Green army to storm the city and bring back some semblance of order. In front of the Iron Throne, Prince Daeron Targaryen was crowned, becoming King Daeron Targaryen, First of the Name, with thousands of swords from the Stormlands and the Reach acclaiming him.
And yet the Dance is not over. The Lads, the main Riverlands army has now reformed again at Harrenhal, forcing the last Green loyalists of the area to submit and killing the pregnant mistress of Prince Aemond, the sorceress Alys Rivers. In the last days of 130AC, the River lords have been joined by plenty of Vale knights now that the number of dragons has strongly decreased, and a formidable army of the North under Lord Cregan Stark himself. In the Vale, Baela Targaryen has been crowned Queen at the Eyrie, becoming the de facto leader of the Blacks.
King's Landing is calm for the moment, but with the food situation particularly problematic, there is no way to know how long it will last.
On the West coast, the Ironborn are reaving in actions never seen since the Hoare era, and the Lannisters who are still alive are powerless to stop them. The order of things has collapsed in countless places, and now brigands, warlords, deserters and monsters reign in the countryside. With food storages and granaries having been burnt by the dozens by one side or the other and war continuing, the winter to come is going to be terrible...
The Current State of Westeros as of 131 AC
The Green Dragon
King on the Iron Throne: Daeron I 'the Daring' Targaryen, third son of King Viserys I Targaryen and Queen Alicent Hightower, and now their only surviving child. Courteous and of above average intelligence, the young man of sixteen name-days has been elevated to the throne, a title which by all accounts he did not desire but took by duty. King Daeron is handsome, but to the displeasure of several noble ladies has already married Lady Arianne Baratheon to seal the alliance with the Stormlands in blood and marriage.
Now the last dragonrider available to the Green faction, as the Two Betrayers have fallen and all his other siblings or relatives have had their dragon killed, in the majority of the cases with the dragonrider's life shortly preceding or following them. Bonded to the dragon Tessarion, the Blue Queen.
King Daeron I has inherited from his brother a realm torn apart by treachery, fire, starvation and multiple centuries-old feuds, and is not particularly enjoying it. Moreover, his Small Council is deeply divided between opening negotiations with the Blacks or keep fighting until there's only one side left standing.
Queen Consort: Lady Arianne Baratheon, Lord Borros's eldest daughter. In the first negotiations, Lady Arianne was promised to Prince Aemond, a betrothal which did not augured well for the girl, as Aemond had already a reputation of womaniser, cruelty and debauchery. But the Prince went to his doom at Harrenhal, and Lord Borros was rapid to change marriage targets when he heard the news of Aemond's death.
Not a great beauty by any stretch of the imagination, Lady Arianne has a colourful figure with her black hair and brown eyes, and many report the King and her have established a working relationship.
Princess of Dragonstone: Princess Jaehaera Targaryen, last surviving children of King Aegon the Second of the Name. A sweet and simple girl. Due to the Green opinion that a boy always passes before a girl in the royal succession, her uncle Daeron I has been preferred to her for the throne.
A choice many find good, since the young Princess is by all accounts unstable, understandable as the Princess saw her older brother be murdered before her very eyes and wait at Storm's End with Ser Willis Fell as the rest of her family fell one by one in the civil war.
Her dragon was Morghul, who died in the storming of the Dragonpit.
Dowager Queen: Lady Alicent Hightower. Released from the prison Queen Rhaenyra had thrown her into, the second wife of King Viserys I is in constant depression these days. In theory still a member of the Small Council, but in practise has not attended since her imprisonment.
Mourning from the death of her children, Lady Alicent has released all matter of state and rule to Daeron I and is quite slim and gaunt these days. Many at court expect her to not pass the year.
The Small Council
Hand of the King: Lord Borros Baratheon, Lord of Storm's End, Lord Paramount of the Stormlands. Tall, broad and black-haired, Lord Borros is a very belligerent man. He is also completely illiterate, and a muscled brute who is only said to find pleasure in the battlefield.
While he officially supported the Greens due to Prince Aemond officially agreeing to a marriage with his eldest daughter, there are some who affirm in the shadows the Lord of Storm's End refused to think a woman should ever sit on the Iron Throne.
Following the incident between Prince Lucerys Velaryon and Prince Aemond Targaryen, he gained the nickname 'the Perfidious Storm' among the Black lords. One of the main lords thinking the civil war has to be fought until every Black knight, lord or supporter has been slain.
Is for now busy preparing his army of 15 000 Stormlanders to march to Harrenhal for a new campaign in the Riverlands. Lord Borros has notably alienated himself from several Reach commanders for his bloody methods, his insulting manners and his general conduct during the conflict.
Master of Laws: Lord Durran 'the Crimson Lion' Grandison, Lord of Grandview. A well-feared Lord of the Stormlands, Lord Durran has crushed personally two attempts of House Peasebury and Rogers to go to the Black side. During the retaking of King's Landing, the Lord of Grandview executed by his own hand, a score of surviving Goldcloaks, despite his word they would be allowed to join the Night's Watch.
One of the major commanders under Lord Borros Baratheon, fights in the hope his second and third son will have lordships for his loyal service. Believes the war has to be fought to the bitter end, extremely confident of the ultimate Green victory.
Under his tenure, the streets of the capital have taken an eerie calm, though it is unknown whether it is because the dragons have killed so many people or Lord Durran has beaten them into submission. Or a combination of both.
Master of Coin: Ser Tyland Lannister, brother of the late Jason Lannister, who was Lord of Casterly Rock before Ser Pate of the Longleaf killed him.
Upon his assignment at the beginning of the war, Ser Tyland took over the Royal Treasury, and divided it into several parts, one deposited to the Iron Bank of Braavos, one to Oldtown, one to Casterly Rock and the rest was spent in hiring sellswords and bribing key lords and knights.
When Queen Rhaenyra entered the capital, the Lannister knight was given to the torturers in the hope he revealed where and in which proportions he had hidden the gold. Ser Tyland refused to talk, and paid a horrible price: he was gelded, blinded and mutilated by the torturers. His health, despite his liberation, is awful and he can only attend one third of the Council meetings as his injuries provoke high-level amount of paint.
But the worst of the affair is that his efforts may come to naught. The Greens have still control of the Royal treasury, but with Westeros aflame from Oldtown to the Twins, food become increasingly scarce and even the Free Cities refuse to tread in Westerosi waters where the Blacks and Greens clash, thus all the gold is progressively becoming irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. What the Seven Kingdoms need are food and men...and so far these two resources are not overabundant.
Master of Ships: Lord Corlys Velaryon, Master of Driftmark, Lord of the Tides. Former Master of Ships of the Blacks, Corlys was imprisoned by Queen Rhaenyra in the black cells when he warned Addam Velaryon from his imminent arresting for unjust causes.
Released and pardoned by King Daeron I when the Greens retook King's Landing, but his influence and power have greatly diminished. Driftmark is an island smoking of the devastation brought by the Three Daughters' fleet, many ships of the Velaryon fleet are destroyed or have gone over to Gulltown to serve his granddaughter Queen Baela.
Lord Corlys is not a young man, and with his health diminishing, is seeing all he had hold dear progressively collapse. Holds Queen Rhaenyra responsible for the death of his wife and Ser Addam.
Supporter of peace, the Lord of the Tides believes more war will only result in further tragedy.
Master of Whispers: Lord Larys 'Clubfoot' Strong, Lord of Harrenhal. His father and his older brother died in a fire under mysterious circumstances in 120AC, making him a target for suspicions and rumours at court. Enigmatic and cunning like most Master of Whisperers before him, Lord Larys has proved his worth time and again to the Green cause, managing the escape of the King and his children when Queen Rhaenyra took the city. Unfortunately, his advices and news have also been ignored several times by Prince Aemond and Ser Criston Cole, who both disliked any type of subterfuge and misdirection (that the two are dead and Lord Larys is still alive has been noted by pretty much everyone of importance).
Has slowly started to support negotiations between the Blacks and the Greens, as the damage of the war is becoming painfully evident and the opposing armies are too evenly matched.
Grand Maester: Grand Maester Orwyle. When Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen took King's Landing, the old maester was arrested and escorted to the black cells, before he had a time to send a single raven to sound the alert to the Green forces. There, he wrote his account of the war ravaging Westeros, trying to paint himself in the best light possible.
When the Greens retook the capital, Grand Maester Orwyle was freed from his imprisonment though it has left a heavy toll on him and many expect him to die before 131AC has ended. Advocates for peace, but his loyalty has been called into question recently due to his writings.
Master of Arms: Lord Unwin Peake, Lord of Starpike, Dustonbury and Whitegrove, a treacherous and ambitious man. Was elevated to his present honour for his participation in the Caltrops conspiracy, allowing to slay the Two Betrayers in the Second Battle of Tumbleton. Desires war, if only to boost the gains he has already received.
Lord Commander Ser Gyles Belgrave. One of the two survivors from King Aegon II's Kingsguard. The cost of the war in terms of lives and friends, added to the weight of losing his monarch, had left the man tormented and he rarely smiles anymore. The knight of House Belgrave hates the black supporters with every fibre of his being, as the holdings of his family in the Reach have been wiped out to the last babe by Lord Rowan and his army. Has the heavy task of making the smallfolk forget the disastrous legacy of Ser Criston Cole, massacred at the Battle of the Butcher's Ball.
Ser Willis Fell, the last survivor of King Viserys I's Kingsguard. Ser Willis is the personal guard of Princess Jaehaera Targaryen since his departure from King's Landing when the capital surrendered to Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen. A proud and loyal man.
Ser Mervyn Flowers, the bastard brother of Lord Unwin Peake. Sworn into the Kingsguard for his performance in the Second Battle of Tumbleton. While no one can dispute the prowess of the man with a weapon, his morality and his honour are frequently put back into question behind his back.
Ser Baldric Dondarrion, a cousin of a cadet line from the Lord of Blackhaven. Distinguished himself in retaking Rhaenys Hill and the surrounding quarters when the Baratheon army retook King's Landing.
Ser Bayard Mullendore, third son of Lord Mullendore. Ser Bayard showed an extraordinary amount of bravery and skill during the two Battles of Tumbleton, slaying by himself more than a hundred Black knights and men-at-arms.
Ser HowardChyttering, cousin of Lord Chyttering. Not particularly renowned for his prowess on the battlefield, this appointment is mostly a political one, King Daeron I looking for appeasement with the Crownlords, after the bloody actions of King Aegon II, Prince Aemond and Ser Criston Cole.
Ser Lorimar Fossoway, third son of the Lord of Cider Hall. Fought well in the Battle of the Honeywine and the First Battle of Tumbleton. Knighted by then Prince Daeron, now King, and sworn to the Kingsguard after Aegon's coronation.
Lord of the North: With the lands of the North in open rebellion, there is currently no Lord Paramount of this region as of this moment, and short of a negotiated solution, there probably won't be for a long time. Lord Cregan Stark has firmly united the North under a single banner, and the Greens have been unable to find any lord they could rally to them with lands and titles. The actions of Lord Rodrik 'Roddy the Ruin' Dustin have moreover been an inspiration for thousands of Northmen, who now want to bath in Southerner blood and avenge his death.
Lord of the Riverlands: With the lands of the Riverlands in open rebellion, there is currently no Lord Paramount of this region as of this moment. The one-man war Prince Aemond Targaryen did on his dragon Vhagar has pretty much killed any possibility on that side. Lord Mooton is one of the rare lords to have defected to the Greens, but every side agrees he had not the choice considering the insulting orders Queen Rhaenyra uttered in the last days of her reign.
Lord of the Vale: With the lands of the Vale in open rebellion, there is currently no Lord Paramount of this region as of this moment. Given the coronation of Queen Baela on the Eyrie before all the major Vale Lords, it is unlikely the Greens will find any base of support here, and with the death of all the sizeable battle-dragons, the Vale has become an extremely tough nut to crack.
Lord of the Iron Islands: With the lands of the Iron Islands in open rebellion, there is currently no Lord Paramount of this region as of this moment. And with the destruction Lord Dalton Greyjoy had dealt to the Westerlands, the possibility of King Daeron I pardoning the Lord Paramount of the Iron Islands is non-existent.
Lord of the Reach: Lord Lyonel Tyrell, a babe in the arms of his mother, who had officially remained neutral while their bannersmen torn each other apart.
Lord of the Westerlands: Lady Johanna Lannister, Lady of Casterly Rock and Warden of the West, Lady Paramount of the Westerlands. Has risen to the position following the death of her husband in the Battle of the Red Fork. With the massive reaver raids of the Ironborn plaguing the coast and the core of the Westerlands troops annihilated at the Battle by the Lakeshore, the West is not in any measure to provide help for the time being.
Lord of the Stormlands: Lord Borros Baratheon, Lord of Storm's End and Hand of the King. With the Stormlands united behind him, his is the most important block supporting the new King Daeron I.
The Black Dragon
Queen on the Iron Throne: Baela 'the Intrepid' Targaryen, the First of the Name, Queen of Westeros, Lady of the Seven Kingdoms, Defender of the Faith and Protector of the realm. Eldest twin daughter of Prince Daemon Targaryen and Lady Laena Velaryon, Lady Baela was born in Pentos but was not granted the title of Princess at birth, King Viserys I obviously disapproving of the union. During the initial phase of the Civil War, Lady Baela stayed at Dragonstone, her dragon Moondancer being judged too young and small to be considered battle-ready. The assumption of this affirmation was revealed as wrong when Baela killed Sunfyre in aerial combat, a victory which killed Aegon II and did enormous damage to the Green cause.
Flying towards the Vale, Lady Baela landed at Gulltown and was not long in spreading the news of the king's death, an announce which made some hesitant nobles quickly reconsider their sides in the Dance.
With the death of Queen Rhaenyra and two of her children at King's Landing and Prince Viserys believed dead, Lady Baela has been crowned Queen Baela at the Eyrie, acclaimed by Lady Jeyne Arryn and all her bannersmen.
The Blacks have awarded here the nicknames of "Young Dragoness" and "Intrepid" for this action. The Greens have labelled her the "Kingslayer".
Bonded to the dragon Moondancer, so far has proven to be the most skilled dragonrider of her generation.
Now, with the support of House Stark, Tully and Arryn, firmly intends to reconquer the throne the Blacks have lost. Moondancer has been seen flying to Harrenhal, and the Black armies regrouping there is certainly not a coincidence...
King Consort: None. However, the new Queen being of age to marry and being beautiful, the competition is expected to be particularly ferocious.
Heiress to the Throne: Princess Rhaena Targaryen, the youngest twin sister of Queen Baela. While the dragon in her cradle mishatched at birth, a new dragon egg from Syrax has accepted the cadet twin of Prince Daemon and Lady Laena Velaryon, allowing Rhaena to be considered a dragonrider. The new dragon is called Morning, though it will be a while before the Princess is able to ride in the skies.
The Small Council
Hand of the King: Lord Cregan Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North. With winter nearly there, the wolf banners have finally been seen south of the Neck, Lord Cregan marching at the head of an army of 12 000 men, old and young soldiers who do not want to burden their families when the temperatures grow cold and the food becomes scarce.
Most of the initial armies mustered in the Dance being reduced to shadows of their former selves, the Northern army is a truly dangerous force, one which inspire fear and respect, the actions of Rodrik Dustin in the Reach and the Riverlands having justified the war prowess of the Northerners.
Named Hand of the King by Queen Baela, with the general assenting that in war-time you need a war leader and Lord Cregan is a commander with few equals and a massive army at his back.
Master of Laws: Lord Thaddeus Rowan, Lord of Goldengrove. The senior commander of the Blacks in the Reach, has regrouped to his lands of Goldengrove to train and reequip new forces before marching south again to defy the Hightowers.
Following the Battle of the Honeywine, it seemed awfully risky but after the Second Battle of Tumbleton, many Black lords having been captured like Lord Alan Tarly and Ser Alan Beesbury were murdered/executed, erasing any leverage on the Houses having sided with Queen Rhaenyra.
Now, with the Hightower army stationed at King's Landing and too far to intervene, Lord Rowan prepares a new campaign to plunge a fatal strike to the Green cause.
Master of Coin: Lord Eon Grafton, Lord of Gulltown. A loyal man to the Blacks, Lord Eon has begun shrewdly the coinage of new money in gold and silver, seconded in this effort by Lord Wydon Manderly of White Harbor.
The effects of his work are already significant economically, Lord Eon having managed to put in place edicts forbidding the spending of coins not bearing the Queen Rhaenyra or Queen Baela effigy. The debts to Myr, Tyrosh, and Lys have all been repudiated, and Braavos has been signified that as long as they detain part of the Royal Treasury in the name of the Greens, there will be no new accords or trade overtures.
Master of Ships: Ser Alyn Velaryon. Brother of Ser Addam, was burnt on the back and the legs when he tried to ride the dragon Sheepstealer and failed. Heir to Corlys Velaryon, the young man has taken command of the remaining ships available to the Blacks in Blackwater Bay and joined them with the fleet of Gulltown. His naval forces are now operating in the Narrow Sea, destroying or capturing the convoy of sellswords and food sent by the Free Cities.
Master of Whispers: Lady Sabitha Frey born Vypren. Widow of Lord Forrest Frey, Lady Sabitha has gained an infamous reputation of sleeping with numerous women and decapitating any Green commander who meets her path. Under her guidance, agents of the Blacks are infiltrating every part of the Seven Kingdoms, giving a deep coverage and source of information to the cause of Queen Baela.
In exchange, Lady Sabitha has been promised the life of every member of House Reyne, their lord having killed her beloved husband at the Battle by the Lakeshore.
Grand Maester: Grand Maester Borlor. The Hightower controlling Oldtown and the nomination of any potential Grand Maester, it is the maester of the Eyrie, Maester Borlor, who has been elevated to this rank by Queen Baela.
A man in his late forties enjoying climbing and the high altitudes, the new Black Grand Maester is a fervent supporter of the new Queen and is already planning his first book on the subject of dragons.
Master of Arms: Lord Benjicot Blackwood. A boy of only thirteen, but a veteran of the Dance, guided and trained by his aunt Alysanne Blackwood.
Lord Commander Ser Adrian Redfort, one of the two Kingsguards from Queen Rhaenyra to have escaped King's Landing when Syrax began to laid waste to everything. He is now the fourth Lord Commander the Blacks have had since the beginning of this war, and harbours a certain grimness when it is question of the capital.
Ser Harrold Darke, one of the two Kingsguards from Queen Rhaenyra to have escaped King's Landing when Syrax began to laid waste to everything.
Ser Tommard Ryger, a knight veteran of countless battles against the Lannister, nicknamed 'Double-Face' after he was nearly incinerated by the breath of Vhagar.
Ser Duncan Woolfield, one of the rare knights in Northern service having followed Lord Rodrik Dustin south and surviving the First battle of Tumbleton.
Ser Sandor Grafton, a cousin of Lord Eon, the man has managed three times to escape Vhagar in the Riverlands, a feat which gave him the name of 'Flame Survivor'.
Ser Andar Hunter, second son of Lord Hunter, has gone to fight in the Riverlands and been awarded a place in the Kingsguard for his performance.
Ser Jared Paege, a young man knighted at the Second Battle of Tumbleton for the killings he made in the middle of the Hightower camp.
Lord of the North: Lord Cregan Stark, Lord of Winterfell, Warden of the North, Lord Paramount of the North and Hand of the King. Very satisfied the North is granted plenty of titles and privileges for their support, and busy planning the development of the Pact of Ice and Fire. His son Rickon is a promising fighter, and could marry the Queen or her Heiress...
Lord of the Riverlands: Lord Kermit Tully, Lord of Riverrun. His father Lord Elmo was Lord of Riverrun for only forty-nine days before dying and passing the title to him. Has slain Lord Swyft during the Fishfeed, and killed many Reach knights during the Second Battle of Tumbleton. A dangerous man, is currently talking with Lord Stark about organising a campaign in the Westerlands to take the gold and the food his lands require to survive the winter.
Lord of the Vale: Lady Jeyne Arryn, Lady of the Eyrie and Warden of the East. A woman in her fifties, Lady Jeyne was forced to leave her forces home during the greatest part of the conflict, the Vale being extremely vulnerable to dragons and the passes being buried under hundreds of snow feet. But now, with so few dragons living, transports of Gulltown have begun ferrying troops in the Bay of Crabs for a campaign which will decide the course of the war.
Lord of the Iron Islands: Lord Dalton 'the Red Kraken' Greyjoy. Received from Queen Rhaenyra the royal authorisation to reave and sack the Westerlands and Reach coasts, and so far has done exactly that, plundering Lannisport, conquering Fair Isle, burning Kayce, Feastfires and even briefly besieging Castamere.
Lord of the Reach: Lord Lyonel Tyrell, a babe in the arms of his mother, by necessity neutral, though the neutrality in question is suspected by a lot of persons to be a facade as the Tyrells close their eyes and leave the Hightower crush the dissenters to their authority.
Lord of the Westerlands: With the lands of the Westerlands in open rebellion, there is currently no Lord Paramount of this region as of this moment. And with how many Western lords the Riverlands army has killed since the Dance started, reconciliation is pretty much in the realm of impossible. Houses Lannister, Lefford and Reyne wants the Blacks dead yesterday if it is possible, and many Houses which could have replaced them have been crippled by the Ironborn raids.
Lord of the Stormlands: With the lands of the Stormlands in open rebellion, there is currently no Lord Paramount of this region as of this moment for the Blacks, and it is going to be difficult to find one, Lord Borros Baratheon and his right arm the Lord of Grandview having killed the ones who harboured ideas of defying their authority.
Prince of Dorne: Prince Qoren Martell, Lord of Sunspear. A careful and prudent man, has openly declared his complete neutrality in the conflict ravaging his northern neighbour. When asked if he wanted to intervene, Prince Qoren affirmed that Dorne had already danced with dragons, and paid the price. The most powerful man of Dorne declared his willingness to sleep in a bed of scorpions before making the same mistake again.
As a result of this position, Dorne is the only area of the continent where nobody is preparing for war. Trade is flourishing with Essos, and Dornish-owned ships have been extremely demanded to avoid some unpleasantness on the seas. And yet there are things agitating in the desert among the snakes, the scorpions and the other venomous animals.
There are some lords who are willing to pay back the Targaryen in blood for the Dornish War and the wrath of the dragons, and now that the fire-breathing reptiles are less powerful and less numerous, this option is becoming more seducing. For the moment, only 'brigands' of Lord Wyl have done some raids in lands belonging to the Marcher lords.
But should the Dance continue and with the elite forces of the Stormlands away, the civil war could take a new turn...
Status of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros
The Stormlands: When war came to the Stormlands, Lord Borros Baratheon and his main bannersmen struck rapidly in support of the Greens. Any of their bannersman who had the will, the thought or the conviction to stand with the Blacks was ruthlessly put to the sword.
And yet the Stormlands were forced at first to stay at home. Former pirates once having sworn their allegiance to Prince Daemon Targaryen made several attempts to capture Tarth, forcing thousands of men-at-arms to defend the Sapphire Isle. There was also the risk of leaving the Marches without most of their forces, leaving the path open for a Dornish invasion.
But the Dornish stayed at home and the pirates were ultimately vanquished. Never the most patient of men, Lord Borros Baratheon started his march northwards with 15 000 men and retook King's Landing in time to greet and crown King Daeron I, the new King of Westeros.
So far, the war has been extremely beneficial for the Stormlands, with most of the lands intact and the food stores unspoiled. But it is not enough for many of the Stormlords, who now are preparing for a new campaign, one which will surely crush the last of the Blacks and confirm King Daeron I as the sole and only claimant for the Iron Throne...
The Reach: When the war started, House Hightower thought the allegiance of the Reach in their favour was a done-deal. The Lord of Highgarden was a babe nursed by his mother, and their influence at the capital was at its peak. They thought wrong.
The wealth and the influence made many jealous and angry lords, including House Rowan, Tarly, Beesbury, Footly and Grimm. Many of the Blacks were defeated on the Honeywine and at Tumbleton, but in the end these victories have been self-defeating.
House Hightower has imposed higher and higher taxes, the hostages they take have a frequent tendency to end dead, though the Blacks are always blamed for their demise.
And while the big battles have gone the Green way, there are dozens of minor skirmishes in the countryside and the hills between Greens and Blacks, ambushes and minor battles which bleed the Reach manpower in a thousand cuts. At Goldengrove, Lord Rowan has gathered back three thousand or so men, and hundreds of brigands, sellswords and outlaws are pillaging thorough the Reach. So far only Tumbleton has received the wrath of the dragons, but food is definitely becoming scarce, and the winter which approves promise to be difficult for the unprepared Southerners...
The North: Like the Vale and unlike the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, the North has not suffered any damage in the civil war, its only losses consisting in the two thousand men Lord Rodrik Dustin took with him in the South and who largely perished at the Fishfeed and the Second Battle of Tumbleton.
But now 12 000 Northerners have crossed the Neck. It is not only the thirst of glory which animates this brave and hard old and young men, but a phenomenon far more implacable.
Winter is coming.
With Lord Cregan Stark leading them, the North has slowly mustered, letting the Southerners tire and massacre themselves. But now there are here, and the Game of Thrones is not going to be the same again. Lord Cregan and his allies want to punish Casterly Rock, Storm's End and Oldtown for having sided with Aegon II and nobody in the Black side is disagreeing with them...
The Riverlands: Of all the kingdoms of Westeros, the Riverlands are probably the area which has the most suffered from the war, with the Westerlands a very distant second. The one-man war Prince Aemond did on his dragon Vhagar has burnt hundreds of villages, scores of forts, six castles and uncountable hamlets, houses, wells, bridges and constructions. And as the cadet brother of Aegon II made no difference between Green and Black holdings, everyone from the lowest peasant to the highest lord has now an immense hate against the Green faction and their royals.
Dragonfire has torched the Riverlands on large areas, annihilating the food stores, launching thousands of smallfolk and deserters on the roads. Orders in some places has collapsed entirely, and several knights and lords are right now leading bands outside the Riverlands to raid the resources of the neighbouring Westerlands and Reach.
The Westerlands: First promised rich holdings in the Riverlands and the Northern Marshes for their support, House Lannister and the Westerlands saw quickly the war turn against them. At the Battle by the Lakeshore (more commonly known at the Fishfeed) the Western armies lost twenty thousand men, and before it their Lord and Master Lord Jason Lannister had already been lost.
In two engagements, most of the knights, lords and renowned men of the West were killed. And then the Ironborn attacked, sacking Lannisport and slaughtering their way through the hills and the rich fields having made the prosperity of House Lannister.
Mines were pillaged. Children, women and men were taken captive by the Greyjoys and their captains to serve as thralls and salt wives.
The Ironborn could not take Casterly Rock, but the rest of the Westerlands was aflame. Less and less men were alive to fight the tide of darkness, and a quarter of the grain and the livestock has already disappeared in the longships hulls or the flames of the raids.
Now, the Westerlands inhabitants hope for a miracle. A miracle which would allow them vengeance against the murderous Riverlords, and allow them to repulse the Greyjoys. Of course, the massing troops on their eastward frontier could lead to the opposite scenario...
The Vale: Extremely vulnerable to the dragons, the Vale was forced to concentrate most of his strength at home despite being overwhelmingly loyal to the Blacks and Queen Rhaenyra. The passes being completely blocked by snow and ice left only Gulltown to leave the Vale anyway.
But now the dragons have fallen, the mighty beasts shining by their absence. The Vale has crowned a new Queen.
Entirely spared by the war until then save the lone pirate, the food stores of the Vale are undamaged and its armies powerful. Like Lord Cregan Stark and the North, Lady Jeyne Arryn and the Vale lords have seen the opportunities. And as 131AC starts, thousands of Valemen have begun to muster and leave for the Riverlands...
The Iron Islands: The Iron Price has made a triumphant come-back with the civil war. Lord Dalton Greyjoy decision to side with the blacks has brought more wealth, plunder and thralls than in the Ironborn's wildest dreams. In the course of two years, the reavers have left a trail of destruction visible from the top of Casterly Rock.
In the halls of Pyke, Harlaw, Great Wyk and all the other major islands, songs rise to recount the exploits of the fearless captains who have cut their way through the greenlanders. And now with the West in flames, Lord Dalton Greyjoy is turning his attention further south. The tendrils of the Kraken are always hungry, and now there are new preys to be pursued...
Status of Important and Famous Individuals
Dragons and Dragonesses
The Cannibal, a wild dragon, never tamed, living in the interior of Dragonstone island. All who have tried to make him submit have finished in his stomach. The volunteers are somewhat lacking after a litany of failures.
Sheepstealer, a dragon mounted by a dragonseed named Nettles. After Queen Rhaenyra decreed Nettles was a traitor, dragon and dragonrider disappeared from Maidenpool and have not been observed since.
Notable Characters of the Crownlands
Prince Viserys Targaryen, by the laws of gods and men, the young prince should have been crowned King Viserys, the Second of the Name, King of Westeros by the Black faction. Unfortunately for him, Prince Viserys is thought dead as he is held captive in the city of Lys, and no one of the Blacks is aware of the problem to change the situation.
As the union of the Three Daughters dissolve in Civil War and the waters turn to blood, the possibility of returning to Westeros for the moment is utterly non-existent for the exiled Prince.
Notable characters of the Riverlands
Ser Symond 'Let's Surrender' Strong, Castellan of Harrenhal. The poor knight has had the bad fortune of surrendering seven times his castle since the beginning of this war, and he is reduced to hope each time will be the last surrender. Maybe.
Lord Manfryd 'the Poor Traitor' Mooton, Lord of Maidenpool. Forced by the insane orders of Queen Rhaenyra, Lord Mooton holds the distinction of being the last loyalist lord of the Riverlands on the Green Side. And everyone knows the man wish to be on the other side. Already, ravens have flown, demanding the price of a pardon to the daughter of Prince Daemon.
Lady Alysanne 'Black Aly' Blackwood, aunt of Lord Benjicot Blackwood, commander of the Riverlands archers. A fearsome leader of men and women, and an archer without equal. Is said to have slaughtered over a hundred Westerners lords and knights with her arrows, danced over the fuming ruins of Stone Edge naked and plenty of other outlandish tales.
Notable characters of the North
Rickon Stark, Heir to Winterfell. A handsome young man, attracting plenty of attention by his performance with a warhammer and his rogue looks rarely seen south of the Neck. An appearance which is leaving several ladies and noblewomen far from indifferent...
Men of the Night's Watch
Lord Commander Ramsay 'the Joker' Bolton, 942nd Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, brother of the current Lord Bolton, Ramsay is somewhat an anomaly among this House in that he is always smiling and playing jokes with his subordinates. Extremely popular among the ranks.
There are unfortunately worries among the ranks on the Night's Watch. Two more forts have been closed under his tenure, and the current civil war is not leaving many prisoners taking the black, a consequence of dragons toasting everyone and fatal accidents happening to everyone which surrenders.