House Targaryen, of the blood of old Valyria, dragon riders and conquerors came to the island now known as Dragonstone some three hundred years before the conquest when Daenys the dreamer dreamed of the Doom. When the doom came, the line of House Targaryen survived, whilst all the other dragonlords died, and the free cities and the slaver cities and the Dothraki emerged out of the ashes of the once great empire.
This story however, is not about the Doom of Valyria, nor is it about Aegon's Conquest. No this story is about the years that followed the first Blackfyre Rebellion, the Tourney of Ashford and the Great Spring Sickness. Now as most of Westeros knows the seeds of the Blackfyre rebellion were planted in the 184th Year after Aegon's Landing, when King Aegon the Fourth of his name, otherwise known as Aegon the Unworthy legitimized all of his baseborn children and placed them in the line of succession after his trueborn son and heir Daeron the good. Now two years before his death, Aegon had knighted his bastard son Daemon waters, and upon his death bed bequeathed the Targaryen ancestral sword Blackfyre to Daemon. This started several rumours that it was Daemon whom Aegon wished to succeed him, not his bookish son Daeron, whom rumour had it was believed to be the product of an illicit affair between the King's brother Aemon the Dragonknight and the king's sister and Queen Naerys. Now by the time Aegon died, both his brother and his sister had preceded him to the grave, and so neither of them could answer these rumours, this did not however, stop several ambitious nobles such as Robb Reyne and Lord Damon Strickland insinuating themselves with Daemon from the day of his father's death.
The rumours kept being fuelled as the years of Daeron the good's reign progressed and more and more nobles became disillusioned with the bookish and Dornish flavour of the King's court. Daemon had taken the name Blackfyre, and had started a new house, and was seen by many to be the warrior come to life. He excelled at all martial skills, and he was charming and had many of the characteristics that the more martially inclined nobles of the court believed that a king should have. He was also very charismatic something that his half brother Daeron the Good was not, at least not openly. This coupled with Daemon's increasing resentment of his bastard status- despite being legitimised- increased the tension between the two brothers, and it is said finally escalated when Daeron the Good decided to marry their sister Danaerys to Maron Martell the Prince of Dorne, as per the agreement struck by King Baelor the Blessed all those years ago.
It is widely claimed that Daemon Blackfyre loved Danaerys, and was loved by her in turn. That is what the singers and the maidens whose heads are filled with songs and the happiness of youth and childhood claim. The reality may be much darker and much less romantic, for by the time Danaerys was betrothed to Maron Martell Daemon had already married and fathered seven sons and three daughters, so it may have just been a case of Bittersteel's whisperings finally getting to Daemon, but the man raised his banners- a black three headed dragon on a field of red- and marched to war.
The first Blackfyre rebellion lasted for one full year between 195 and 196 A.L. There were several small skirmishes between loyalist and rebel forces, at Lannisport, on the banks of the Mander in the Reach and in the Riverlands. Victories were won for either side, but the deciding battle was the Battle of Redgrass Field. Both armies met and a fierce fight was fought, Daemon smashed Lord Arryn's van killing Lord Arryn and the hand of the King Lord Hayford. And engaged in a legendary duel with Ser Gwayne Corbray, whom eventually died from his wounds, but as Daemon allowed Ser Gwayne to be sent away and tended to his half brother Brynden Rivers, who had stayed loyal to Daeron throughout the war gathered his Raven's Teeth and reigned arrows down upon Daemon and his twin sons Aegon and Aemon, killing all three.
The rebel army looked likely to flee, but they were rallied by Bittersteel whom fought a fierce duel with Brynden and took out one of his eyes. The rebel army fought back fiercely and may have broken through the loyalist force, had it not been for Prince Maekar and Prince Baelor's hammer and anvil tactic. The rebel army broke it on the loyalist shields and spears, and Bittersteel sensing defeat fled with some thirty loyal rebels, and fled across the narrow sea with Daemon's remaining sons and daughters.
With the Blackfyre rebellion ended, peace was brought back to the Seven Kingdoms. King Daeron named his eldest son and heir Prince Baelor as his hand, and the Prince along with his father brought stability back to the realm. Princess Danaerys married Prince Maron, thus sealing the alliance of Dorne and bringing it in to the realm, making Aegon the Conqueror's dream of uniting all Seven Kingdoms a reality. Misfortune thought would strike the royal family soon enough though.
A mishap during the Trial of Seven during the Tourney of Ashford led to the death of Prince Baelor from a head wound he received from his brother Prince Maekar. Then the Great Spring Sickness of 209 A.L. came and claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people in the Seven Kingdoms. The major cities affected the most; it was bad in Lannisport, worse in Oldtown, but worst of all in King's Landing, where four in ten succumbed to it. A strong man could wake up healthy in the morning and die by the evening, so swiftly did the plague strike. Dorne and the Vale of Arryn did not suffer from the Great Spring Sickness, as they closed off their access roads and their ports to all travellers. The sickness also claimed the lives of King Daeron the Good, his last hand of the King and his immediate heirs Prince Valarr and Prince Matarys.
As a result of this King Daeron's second son, Prince Aerys Targaryen ascended the throne in the seventh month of the 209th Year after Aegon's Landing, and was crowned King Aerys Targaryen, the first of his name, King of Westeros, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm. Aerys had developed a reputation for being a bookish and shy man, and named his uncle Brynden Rivers as Hand of the King, and left it for Brynden to deal with the aftermath of the Great Spring Sickness as well as to deal with the raiding Ironborn. Meanwhile Aerys spent his time reading books and prophecy.
It was often said that Aerys would rather take his books to bed than his wife, Aelinor Targaryen had married Aerys- her brother- as in the Targaryen tradition of marrying brother to sister. Aerys and Aelinor married in 186 A.L. and remained childless until fourteen years into their marriage when Aelinor gave birth to a girl whom they named Daenys, after Daenys the Dreamer. Another daughter Myriah followed two years later, and then two years after that a son was born to them, the boy was named Aenar, and was a strong and healthy child, but he too succumbed to the Great Spring Sickness and died at the young age of five, leaving Aelinor heart broken.
Two years into Aerys' reign, Aelinor gave birth to another son, whom they named Brynden after their uncle Brynden 'Bloodraven' Rivers. Brynden was born in 211 A.L. and was a small babe, but he would be remembered in later years as having brought the joy and life back to his mother, Queen Aelinor loved all her children fiercely, but after Aenar's death some part of her died as well, but Brynden's birth brought something back to her and so Brynden grew up cherished and loved by the women in his life, his mother and his two sisters. Aerys had very little to actually do with his son at all. And Brynden would learn most of what it was to be king from his uncle Prince Maekar and his great uncle Brynden Rivers.
Across the narrow sea, the remenants of House Blackfyre sat and plotted their return to Westeros. Bittersteel a harsh man with a cold temperament made use of the friends Daemon had made in Westeros particularly the Lothstons of Harrenhal to gather information about the Seven Kingdoms. This information was put into use during the Whitewalls Tourney, held in the first year of Aerys I's reign. Many of the nobles who attended were dissatisfied with the bookish nature of the king and wished to put a more martially inclined King on the throne. Bittersteel sent Daemon II Blackfyre to the Tourney to rally support, but the attempt failed and Daemon was captured and later imprisoned in the black cells of the Red Keep so that Bittersteel could not crown his younger brother Haegon king. The lords who met at the tourney accept for Lord Frey were all punished and had their lands or titles taken from them. However, the Blackfyre threat was not over just yet, Bittersteel fought off ill health and disease and kept a close eye on events in Westeros and in Essos and when Aerion Targaryen was exiled and sent to Lys, he sent one of Daemon's daughters to the Brightflame prince in disguise and had her seduce him and take him to bed, planting the seeds of Targaryen and Blackfyre, for a fall back should the trueborn sons of Daemon Blakcfyre not succeed.
This story begins in the year 211 A.L. Brynden Targaryen the eldest surviving son of King Aerys and Queen Aelinor has just been born, and the Greyjoy raiders are about to be dealt with.