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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Ferreira

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BLOOD AND FIRE
a Story of Black Dragons

I greet you all once more to an AAR of mine. This time, we won't be writing about vikings and Russians, but dragons, High Valyrians, and Westerosi, as we follow the story of Daemon Blackfyre and his descendants. The style will remain pretty much the same, a narrative with hopefully interesting images, as I love editing and using as many as possible.

Even though I suspect a majority of members in the community are at least familiar with the work of GRRM, I'll try my best to explain the universe as we go through it. This is by no means me saying I'm a specialist in the lore, quite the opposite, actually(haven't even read The World of Ice & Fire). Most of my "in-depth" knowledge of the period we'll be in comes from the Wiki, so if you spot something wrong, please do tell, but, as we haven't exactly gotten the definitive book on Targaryen history yet, I'll be allowing myself some room for creativity. To that end, this won't be an Ironman run, nor will I block usage of the console, as it is a great tool - if used correctly - for narrative-like AARs.

For mods, I'm of course using the Game of Thrones Mod, enhanced with Novus Graphicus for AGOT, AGOT Interface Overhaul, Dynamic COAs, Realistic Battles, Wight's Nicknames, Sin's Dragon Tamer Laws, Start Feud, and DLC Portraits. Most of these can be found in the mod's forums or Steam Workshop.

As I'm currently ending my semester in college with finals early next month, my time will be a bit restricted, but I intend to pick things up during vacations. Also, sorry again if any of you had interest in my last AAR, I'll definitely revisit that period in the future. Hope you guys understand.

Well, enjoy!
 

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A not so Brief History of House Targaryen, part I.

For just short of two hundred years, Westerosi lands have been united under the Iron Throne, under Targaryen rule. Most of them, that is, as while the Reach, the Stormlands, the Westerlands, the Trident, the Vale, and even the Iron Islands and the North eventually bent their knees, their southernmost analogous still stood independent. Led by House Martell since times immemorial, the harsh lands of Dorne defied the Red Dragons' rulership for generations, being a thorn not only on their political side, but also an affront to their usual prideful selves.

Not even Aegon Targaryen himself, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, first Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, with the unmatched might of his and his Queen sisters' dragons, was able to subdue the resilient people. No matter their tactics, was it conventional ground assault, subterfuge, or even complete distruction of settlements through dragonfire, failure was the sole result of the war. After impressing and installing fear inside the hearts of Westerosi nobles far and wide with the burning of Harrenhal and the Field of Fire - as proven by the surrender of House Stark and the peaceful conquering of their lands -, the death of Rhaenys Targaryen, sister to Aegon the Conqueror, and her dragon Meraxes, by the hand of Dornish soldiers were a huge blow, and signified defeat.

However, the Targaryen strong grasp of their newly forged Iron Crown was not shaken, and Westeros, with the exception of its sandy southern lands, remained under their firm control. Consolidating their power, Aegon's Hill in King's Landing, where his host first landed, became site of the Red Keep, a true symbol of power, inside which the politics and machinations of a whole continent would take place for centuries to come.


From left to right: the kneeling of Torrhen Stark. The death of Queen Rhaenys Targaryen and her dragon Meraxes. The Red Keep.

The rule of the House of the Red Dragon would see conflicts and uprisings come and go, and of course, being foreign in a land such as Westeros meant challenges were plenty, some of their ways - mainly their acceptance, nay, encouragement of the practice of incest - completely different than accepted by proper Westerosi and the Faith of the Seven. Yet the Targaryen blood and heritage was strong, and remained at the top for generations. Some said their downfall was impossible, their position, with dragons that could singlehandedly be the bane of whole armies, too strong, but the astute would hardly make such a statement. Even while marrying almost exclusively their own kin, House Targaryen was quick to expand in numbers, which meant internal struggles for power were inevitable.

And indeed, in 129 After Aegon's Conquest, brother warred sister in what would become the doom of their house's symbol: dragons. This period, fittingly named the Dance of the Dragons, divided the realm in civil war for the succession of King Viserys I. By his first wife, of house Arryn, the Targaryan had three children, although only Rhaenyra, during her youth known as the Realm's Delight, lived to see adulthood. Lacking a male heir, Viserys sole daughter was named, at the young age of eight, heir to the Iron Throne. Hightower, from the Reach, was the house the King's second bride came from, who carried four of his children, including three males, Aegon II being the eldest. As expected, animosity between the appointed heir Rhaenyra and her now stepmother, Alicent Hightower, was almost instantenous, and with Viserys I's death, fractured the Seven Kingdoms.

Two parties were semi-officially formed, although the allegiances went back way before of the King's death, as war stood as a very real possibility. Siding with Rhaenyra were the Blacks, consisting of major houses such as Arryn, Velaryon, Stark, and Greyjoy, and of course many other minor ones. Their opponents, the Greens, counted with the Baratheons, Lannisters, and, apart from the expected minors, the Essosi Kingdom of the Three Daughters.


From left to right: Rhaenyra Targaryen and her personal embleme, adopted by the Blacks during the war. King Aegon II, the Elder, and the Greens' emblem. The death of Lucerys Velaryon, middle son of Rhaenyra and her first husband, in the hands of Aemond Targaryen, son of Viserys I.

Rhaenyra, before her father's death, married a Velaryon, and then, after the death of her first husband, remarried to her uncle, younger brother to Viserys I, Daemon Targaryen. Other than claiming the expected inheritance to take path towards the first male born son, and that the promises made to the would-be queen were not valid, a big part of the Greens' narrative came from that marriage. If Rhaenyra inherited the crown, surely power should rest on her husband instead. Unfortunately for the Blacks, control of King's Landing stood under the Hightowers, who promptly arrested any possible enemies in the capital, and coronated Aegon II Targaryen.

War raged on for two years, with quickly shifting allegiances and bloodshed in scale unseen since the days of Aegon the Conqueror. The Targaryens engaged their own kin in the skies, in majestic yet brutal fights between their ferocious mounts, and the deaths were many. Never before had the Westerosi seen such an elegant display of force that so suddenly shifted to ruthless combat, with a dragon's demise always coming in the most vicious of ways.

Although the Blacks found success in their taking of King's Landing, keeping it against an increasing number of revolts proved challenging, and the balance of power went on to favor the Hightower and the Greens after in one of those, the peasantry killed Rhaenyra's remaining dragons. The queen pretender fled to Dragonstone, not knowing Aegon II, to her and the rest of the realm missing since the loss of the capital, had also secretly escaped to the island after being badly injured. Convincing many of his sister's followers in the Targaryen Westerosi home-island to turn against her, he effectively conquered it.

Captured before even arriving in what she believed to be her home, Rhaenyra faced her brother and mortal enemy once more. King Aegon II, who came to be known as Aegon the Elder, in contrast to his sister's sole remaining son and prisioner of the Crown Aegon the Younger, was still accompanied by his dragon, Sunfyre the Golden, also extremely wounded from combat. Rhaenyra was powerless, and died as food to her brother's dragon - who did not survive for long after - as her youngest and last son was made to watch.


Rhaenyra Targaryen faces her brother's dragon Sunfyre the Golden, with Aegon the Younger held in the background.

The capital fell into the Greens' hands once more, although only for a short while. With not much in the way of reinforcements, the mostly Baratheon troops stationed there were nothing against the oncoming armies from both the North and Riverlands. However, even against impossible odds, King Aegon II refused to surrender, and in an act of defiance, an untilmatum against the Blacks, ordered cut the ears of Aegon the Younger and sent them to his enemies, warning that, if he died, his sister's legacy, the very thing they were fighting for, would also end. A few days later, King Aegon the Elder, second of his name, was found dead inside the Red Keep, before his rivals armies even arrived. Poisoned, though the killer's identity remains to this day a mystery.

Aegon the Younger, third of his name and son to Rhaenyra Targaryen, bearing visible scars of the two-year conflict, assumed the Iron Throne at the age of eleven. The realm, under regency of seven chosen nobles, passed through a troublesome period, and as a result of the war, a majority of the known dragons in the world as a whole were killed. In the end, however, the almighty House Targaryen still stood in power over the Seven Kingdoms.
 
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volksmarschall

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Oh. Very nice indeed. Great aesthetics and writing all the same! Looking forward to this.

Cheers!
 

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A not so Brief History of House Targaryen, part II.

Five years did the Regency for Aegon III last, in a period that became known for political uncertainty. While the Targaryen held the crown and the Iron Throne, de facto rulership rested between the Hand of the King and the seven chosen regents, mainly figures of power who sided with Rhaenyra, and because of the machinations of the realm, would change more than once in those five years. With its many variables, each with their own agenda and objectives during their stay in the Red Keep, schemes were plenty, and blood was more than once spilled, this time in the form of assassinations, however, as the seven regents fought a political war between themselves. The Blacks had emerged victorious, and even though the symbolic marriage of King Aegon III and Jaehaera Targaryen, his cousin and daughter of the deceased Aegon the Elder, promised to keep disagreements among the civil war sides at a minimum, problems arose all around. The realm was united once more, but its nobility stood as divided as ever.

The death of Jaeheara Targaryen early in their childless marriage created a new point of friction, as Aegon III's choice to wed the young and charming Daenaera Velaryon, who would carry five of his children, went directly against the wishes of the realm's upper nobility. To his assistance came his brother Viserys, thought dead in the Battle of the Gullet, after the boat he and Aegon took passage in was attacked and destroyed by a Three Daughters' fleet siding with the Greens, who reemerged in Essos before being brought back to King's Landing, much to the joy of the King. Promptly appointed as Hand, Viserys, later crowned the Second, would be a cornerstone of not only his brother's government, but also his brother's children.

As the regency period ended, stability somewhat returned, albeit slowly. Aegon III's time as ruler of the Seven Kingdoms was, even after the turbulent times, unpopular. Known by some as the Broken King, although wishing prosperity to the realm, and at its core good, his personality drove his subjects away. Hardly a charismatic figure, the King was incapable of instilling confidence, and lacked some of the most important traits a ruler should hope for. Dressing exclusively in black, Aegon was distant towards most, not able to captivate nobility nor peasantry, and as rumors would have it, took long before bedding his wives, reluctant to accept intimacy. Catchint a smile on his face was a rare, if not impossible task, as he hid away in melancholy through the great towers and halls of the Red Keep.

Some would argue unwise to blame the King, however, as his scars ran deeper than most. A figure of extreme importance during the war, the then young prince was taken hostage after escaping the boat where his brother alleagedly died and having his dragon, Stormcloud, perish on his arms, ridden with arrows and bolts. Later, towards the end, he was made to watch his own mother's demise, brutally executed, given to the otherwise majestic Sunfyre the Golden. Fittingly, it was during his rule the last known dragon came to rest, in 153 AC. Her name not known, the sickly, infant female, who against the odds laid five eggs before dying, represented the end of an era, and while it is sometimes implyed maesters did it, the already unpopular Aegon III received the fame as Aegon the Dragonbane.

The situation during Aegon the Dragonbane's rulership was gloom from the start. Life had always been unfair to him, and his ascension to the throne could not have been any different. Ruling over a divided, broken kingdom, the king's melancholy was surely justified, and like the attaining of the Iron Throne, his death came as a last offense. At thirty six, King Aegon the Third, known as the Younger, the Broken, the Dragonbane, perished of consumption, and received a final moniker: the Unlucky.


From left to right: Sunfyre the Golden, said to be the most majestic dragon to ever fly. The coming of age of King Aegon III and the dismissal of the regency. King Aegon III towards the end of his reign.