kingwin

ROBERT’S REBELLION

WHAT FOLLOWED PRINCE Rhaegar’s
infamous abduction of Lyanna Stark was the
ruin of House Targaryen. The full depth of King
Aerys’s madness was subsequently revealed in
his depraved actions against Lord Stark, his heir,
and their supporters after they demanded
redress for Rhaegar’s wrongs. Instead of
granting them fair hearing, King Aerys had
them brutally slain, then followed these murders
by demanding that Lord Jon Arryn execute his
former wards, Robert Baratheon and Eddard
Stark. Many now agree that the true start of
Robert’s Rebellion began with Lord Arryn’s
refusal and his courageous calling of his banners
in the defense of justice. Yet not all the lords of
the Vale agreed with Lord Jon’s decision, and
soon fighting broke out as loyalists to the crown
attempted to bring Lord Arryn down.
The fighting then spread across the Seven
Kingdoms like wildfire, as lords and knights took
sides. Many alive today fought in these battles,
and so can speak with greater knowledge of
them than I, who was not there. I therefore leave
it to such men to write the true and detailed
history of Robert’s Rebellion; far be it for me to
offend those who yet live by presenting an
imperfect summary of events, or mistakenly
praising those who have since proved unworthy.
So instead, I will look only to the lord and
knight who ascended the Iron Throne at the
end, repairing a realm nearly destroyed by
madness.

Robert Baratheon proved himself a fearless,
indomitable warrior as more and more men
flocked to his banner. Robert was the first over
the walls at Gulltown, when Lord Grafton
raised his banner for Targaryens, and from there
he sailed to Storm’s End—risking capture by the
royal fleet—to call his banners. Not all came
willing: Aerys’s Hand, Lord Merryweather,
encouraged certain stormlords to rise up against
Lord Robert. Yet it was an effort that proved
fruitless following Lord Robert’s victories at
Summerhall, where he won three battles in a
single day. His hastily gathered forces defeated
Lords Grandison and Cafferen in turn, and
Robert went on to kill Lord Fell in single
combat before taking his famous son Silveraxe
captive.
More victories were to come for Lord Robert
and the stormlords as they marched to join
forces with Lord Arryn and the Northmen who
supported their cause. Rightly famed is Robert’s
grand victory at Stoney Sept, also called the
Battle of the Bells, where he slew the famous Ser
Myles Mooton—once Prince Rhaegar’s squire—
and five men besides, and might well have killed
the new Hand, Lord Connington, had the battle
brought them together. The victory sealed the
entry of the riverlands into the conflict,
following the marriage of Lord Tully’s
daughters to Lords Arryn and Stark.
The royalist forces were left reeling and
scattered by such victories though they did their
best to rally. The Kingsguard were dispatched to
recover the remnant of Lord Connington’s force,
and Prince Rhaegar returned from the south to
take command of the new levies being raised in
the crownlands. And after a partial victory at
Ashford, which led to Robert’s withdrawal, the
Stormlands were left open to Lord Tyrell.
Bringing the might of the Reach to bear, the
reachlords swept away all resistance and settled
in to besiege Storm’s End. Shortly afterward,
the host was joined by Lord Paxter Redwyne’s
mighty fleet from the Arbor, completing the
siege by land and sea. That siege wore on until
the conclusion of the war.
From Dorne, in defense of Princess Elia, ten
thousand spears came over the Boneway and
marched to King’s Landing to bolster the host
that Rhaegar was raising. Those who were there
at court during this time have recounted that
Aerys’s behavior was erratic. He was untrusting
of any save his Kingsguard—and then only
imperfectly, for he kept Ser Jaime Lannister
close at all hours to serve as a hostage against his
father.
When Prince Rhaegar at last marched up the
kingsroad to the Trident, with him were all but
one of the Kingsguard who had remained in
King’s Landing: Ser Barristan the Bold, Ser
Jonothor Darry, and Prince Lewyn of Dorne.
Prince Lewyn took command of the Dornish
troop sent by his nephew, the Prince Doran, but
it is said that he did so only after threats from
the Mad King, who feared that the Dornishmen
looked to betray him. Only the young Ser Jaime
Lannister remained in King’s Landing.
Of the famous battle on the Trident, much has
been written and said. But all know that the two
armies clashed at the crossing that would ever
after be called the Ruby Ford for the scattered
rubies on Prince Rhaegar’s armor. The
opponents were well matched. Rhaegar’s forces
numbered some forty thousand, a tenth part of
which were anointed knights, while the rebels
had somewhat fewer men, but those they
possessed were tested in battle, while much of
Rhaegar’s force was raw and new.
The battle at the ford was fierce, and many
lives were lost in the fray. Ser Jonothor Darry
was cut down in the midst of the conflict, as was
Prince Lewyn of Dorne. But the most important
death was yet to come.
The battle screamed about Lord Robert and
Prince Rhaegar both, and by the will of the
gods, or by chance—or perhaps by design—they
met amidst the shallows of the ford. The two
knights fought valiantly upon their destriers,
according to all accounts. For despite his crimes,
Prince Rhaegar was no coward. Lord Robert
was wounded by the dragon prince in the
combat, yet in the end, Baratheon’s ferocious
strength and his thirst to avenge the shame
brought upon his stolen betrothed proved the
greater. His warhammer found its mark, and
Robert drove the spike through Rhaegar’s chest,
scattering the costly rubies that blazed upon the
prince’s breastplate.
Some men on both sides stopped fighting at
once, leaping instead into the river to recover
the precious stones. And a general rout quickly
began as the royalists started fleeing the field.
Lord Robert’s wounds prevented him from
taking up the pursuit, so he gave that into the
hands of Lord Eddard Stark. But Robert proved
his chivalry when he refused to allow the
gravely wounded Ser Barristan to be killed.
Instead, he sent his own maester to tend the
great knight. In such fashion did the future king
win the fierce devotion of his friends and allies
—for few men were ever so open-handed and
merciful as Robert Baratheon.

THE E ND
BIRDS FLEW AND couriers raced to bear
word of the victory at the Ruby Ford. When the
news reached the Red Keep, it was said that
Aerys cursed the Dornish, certain that Lewyn
had betrayed Rhaegar. He sent his pregnant
queen, Rhaella, and his younger son and new
heir, Viserys, away to Dragonstone, but Princess
Elia was forced to remain in King’s Landing
with Rhaegar’s children as a hostage against
Dorne. Having burned his previous Hand, Lord
Chelsted, alive for bad counsel during the war,
Aerys now appointed another to the position:
the alchemist Rossart—a man of low birth, with
little to recommend him but his flames and
trickery.
Ser Jaime Lannister was meanwhile left in
charge of the Red Keep’s defenses. The walls
were manned by knights and watchmen,
awaiting the enemy. When the first army that
arrived flew the lion of Casterly Rock, with
Lord Tywin at its head, King Aerys anxiously
ordered the gates to be opened, thinking that at
last his old friend and former Hand had come to
his rescue, as he had done at the Defiance of
Duskendale. But Lord Tywin had not come to
save the Mad King.
This time, Lord Tywin’s cause was that of the
realm’s, and he was determined to bring an end
to the reign that madness had brought low. Once
within the walls of the city, his soldiers
assaulted the defenders of King’s Landing, and
blood ran red in the streets. A handpicked cadre
of men raced to the Red Keep to storm its walls
and seek out King Aerys, so that justice might be
done.
The Red Keep was soon breached, but in the
chaos, misfortune soon fell upon Elia of Dorne
and her children, Rhaenys and Aegon. It is
tragic that the blood spilled in war may as
readily be innocent as it is guilty, and that those
who ravished and murdered Princess Elia
escaped justice. It is not known who murdered
Princess Rhaenys in her bed, or smashed the
infant Prince Aegon’s head against a wall. Some
whisper it was done at Aerys’s own command
when he learned that Lord Lannister had taken
up Robert’s cause, while others suggest that Elia
did it herself for fear of what would happen to
her children in the hands of her dead husband’s
enemies.
Aerys’s Hand, Rossart, was killed at a postern
gate after cravenly attempting to flee the castle.
And last of all to die was King Aerys himself, at
the hand of his remaining Kingsguard knight,
Ser Jaime Lannister. Like his father, Ser Jaime
did as he thought best for the realm, bringing an
end to the Mad King.
And so ended both the reign of House
Targaryen and Robert’s Rebellion—the war that
put an end to nearly three hundred years of
Targaryen rule and ushered in a new golden era
under the auspices of House Barathe