Ultimately recognized as a clash of ideologies, the rebellion was the most recent - and to date the truest - test of the iron order established during the joint reign of Dagon Greyjoy and Alannys Harlaw as Lord and Lady of the Iron Islands. Like many the kingdom’s long history, the conflict was driven not by the rival claimants, but by the factions that had emerged behind them.
Rallying behind Loren were the disgruntled lords and priests, who sought to return to the Ironborn’s old ways of conquest and reaving, while Dagon’s rightful heir was backed by those that favored the reforms of their former liege. Although both factions had shared the goal of seeing their people into a new era of strength and prosperity, the vast differences between their methods had inevitably led to a polarization within Ironborn society, and in the end, only one side could prevail.
The Prophet of Winter Edit
Following the Mummer’s War in 407 AC, an uneasy peace had settled in the Iron Islands. While the task of washing off the so-called Fool’s stain from his House's reputation was left to Lord Dagon Greyjoy, few had the privilege of enjoying a true victory, and a bitter sentiment had spread its roots in the hearts of many Ironborn. It was defined by an untold desire to reclaim the glory once possessed by the people of the Iron Islands, and under the shadow of the Lord Reaper’s prosperous reign, it had blossomed. Ideas became whispers, whispers became discussions, and once uttered and believed, they gave birth to strife.
For decades, the nobility of the Iron Islands had presented no open opposition against Lord Dagon and his wife, Lady Alannys Harlaw. On the contrary; they held their Lord and Lady in high regard throughout their entire reign. In the winter year of 419 AC, the Lady of Harlaw had given birth to a Greyjoy son after three daughters, and the chief concerns about the Seastone Chair's inheritance had been dismissed as well. Only a few remained who would continue to voice their displeasure in private, and even then fearful of the ire of their liege.
Tensions arose during the Blue Winter, which was believed by some to be the catalyst of the series of unfortunate events that occurred over the next decade. Whether that held true for Westeros in the grand scheme of things has been unclear, but for the Iron Islands, it certainly did. Despite the highly efficient stewardship of Lord Dagon, the cold that struck the archipelago was a beast few could prepare their stockpiles for. Reminiscent of the Scarlet Winter, which was still alive in the memories of the Ironborn, the population suffered from famine and other shortage of resources throughout the season. And the efforts of the wealthier weren't enough to amend the plights of the poor.
It was the drowned priest Torwyn, who stepped up as the champion of the downtrodden. The man had no food to give, no warm hearth to offer against the cold, yet his popularity among the smallfolk of the Ironborn surged. He had been first recognized by the public during the last winter Westeros had known, and his words had found more than a few listening ears in the townspeople of Lordsport, and later in the populace of Great Wyk. He had advocated for a strict adherence to the Old Way, and declared that anyone who steered away from the ancient and sacred traditions, didn't deserve to be called Ironborn.
Alas, his preachings hadn't gained him as much traction as he had hoped for. The Islands had been enjoying a peaceful decade in relative welfare, the people loved their leaders, and Torwyn's popularity had thus remained at a stagnating low. Until the next winter had at once come. The powerful resurgence of the fanatical movement was no coincidence; tapping into the suffering of the poor, the sly priest won the hearts of thousands who felt cheated by their new way of life, which in their understanding was supported by no other than the highborn they served.
Naturally, the lords of Great Wyk weren't fond of the drowned priest's activity on their island, and their concerns were brought to the Pyke at the height of winter. Lady Alannys, who had regarded Torwyn with resentment ever since he had begun his activities, suggested to try and execute him for blasphemy and treason as a quick and easy means of stripping him of his popularity. Lord Dagon, however, was afraid of the possibility of such an intervention turning violent in nature, and not wanting to deal with an uprising or worse during winter, he didn't give the order.
What they both agreed on was that not acting could too, lead to the situation spiraling out of control. It was in good faith, that Dagon allowed his volunteering brother, Loren, to travel to Great Wyk and try to bring the zealots to terms with the local nobles. History would prove that this was a mistake, yet at the time, with cold winds rapidly descending from the North, it was the safest path to walk.
Loren Greyjoy was a truly pious man; he had dedicated his life to his family, his people, and his god. He was often brash and quick to anger, but his honesty and unwavering faith in the Drowned God came to be appraised by his Ironborn. It came as no surprise, that after his audience with Torwyn, the two emerged as fast friends. Loren persuaded the priest to steer his followers from cultivating animosity towards their lords, and in turn, having a common vision for the future of the Iron Islands, he promised that he would aid him in extending the true blessing of their god to all faithful Ironborn.
Winter came to an end in the following year, and as the hostilities on Great Wyk died down, Torwyn moved to the holy site of Nagga's Hill on Old Wyk, where he would continue to conduct his sacred duties. Over the years, commoners, captains and high lords alike made the pilgrimage to listen to the priest's prophetic words and to reaffirm their faith by going through the drowning ceremony at the elevated priest's hands.
While the turnout was considered to be the success of House Greyjoy, it was Loren who was ultimately owed the credit, and Lord Dagon who had to bear the consequences.
The Calm Before the Storm Edit
In 432 AC, after almost three decades of uninterrupted peace, Westeros was once again engulfed in war. Beginning in the Reach, chaos, born from religious tension, spread across the continent like wildfire, and it wasn't long until it consumed the Iron Islands as well.
The first year seemed to have almost entirely evaded the archipelago, and that gave the Lord Reaper confidence that his people might just weather the war without bloodshed. Expecting that the Targaryens would eventually unleash their dragons and end the fighting sooner or later, he made a declaration that the Iron Islands would remain neutral, and not raise arms unless explicitly called upon by the Iron Throne.
One might say the convenience of long-lasting peace had made Lord Dagon and his wife naive, but truthfully, they were anything but. Aware of their people's bellicose sentiments that resurfaced partially because of the events of the Blue Winter, they were prepared to quell radical opinions. Particularly, those that claimed the Ironborn should see the infighting of the greenlanders as an opportunity to raid the western coast, and seize it.
Several longship captains, and some of the principal lords came to Pyke to petition Lord Dagon for sanctioning raids, and their requests were turned down one by one as the Lord of the Iron Islands stood by his decree. The Great Hall of Pyke was smeared with the disappointment of disgruntled, proud Ironmen, but even in their anger, they all abided by the will of their liege. That was, until Urron Blacktyde, a renowned captain and heir of his father's lands, called a gathering of like-minded Ironborn to plan a treasonous move on the mainland.
The Westerlands was being ravaged by a civil war for almost a year, and Urron planned on raiding a weakened Lannisport while her Lannister masters were being distracted fighting their rebels. By the Eighth Moon of 432 AC, he had recruited two dozen captains and nearly a thousand reavers from various islands behind the Lord Reaper's back. He had just the right numbers to wreak havoc along the coast and get away unscathed, yet as lucky as he was throughout the preparations, he wasn't so much in the execution of his plan.
News of Urron's exploits reached Pyke later that moon, and the order to capture him was promptly issued. The son of Blacktyde lost most of his support as a result, but unwilling to submit himself, he chose to flee with his remaining longships. He didn't get far though, as shortly after setting sail, the warships of Tess Stonehouse caught up with him, and without even a skirmish, he was apprehended and submitted to the Vice Admiral by his own men, who were promised the Lord Reaper's pardon in exchange.
Charged with disobedience, conspiracy, and treason, he was tried and sentenced to drowning by Lord Dagon in the Great Hall of Pyke, and among the lords that stood witness to his trial was his father, Aeron Blacktyde. The Lord of Blacktyde begged his liege to spare his son from death, to send him to the Wall instead, but his pleas were rejected. What Urron committed had set a dangerous precedent for such tumultuous times, Lord Dagon reasoned, and his only option was to call for the most severe punishment.
What happened next was something nobody present had expected. Blinded by fury and desperation over the pending execution of his heir, Lord Aeron pulled a knife and gutted the Lord Reaper. The sight shook everyone in the Great Hall, and while Alannys ran to her collapsing husband's side, Loren Greyjoy was the first to act; with a well-aimed strike of his greataxe, it was said, he split the Blacktyde's head in half.
Dagon Greyjoy, Lord Reaper of Pyke and Lord of the Iron Islands, passed away the next day from blood loss, uncertain in his final moments if he had done everything for the preservation of his legacy. It was without question though, that his death marked the beginning of the calamity that would befall the Iron Islands in the years to come.
Clash of Krakens Edit
The King of Nagga's Bones Edit
After the funeral ceremony concluded, Lady Alannys had the rightful successor, Lord Aeron Greyjoy seated upon the Seastone Chair, but due to his young age, she assumed his duties as the Lady Regent of the Iron Islands. This move, coupled with her intention to continue enforcing her late husband's policies, further alienated the discontented lords, and Loren Greyjoy was quick to take sides with the latter.
Bound by ancient traditions, Loren couldn't tolerate a woman holding influence over his people, especially not her, whom he saw as a covetous whore, purposefully grabbing for power she did not deserve. Convinced that Alannys was unfit to rule and that her children were cut from the same unholy stock as her, he considered himself the only rightful claimant of the Seastone Chair. And he wasn't short of potential supporters.
Lady Alannys was right in perceiving her goodbrother as a threat, and ordered him seized the first chance she got; but when her men failed to do so, she gave him only the perfect excuse to declare against her son. After fleeing Pyke with haste, Loren found a powerful ally in Lord Meldred Drumm, whose sister he had taken as his rock wife years earlier, and who was now eager to help his ascension. It was, however, with the aid of his old friend, Torwyn, that Loren Greyjoy got what he wanted.
The priest of the Drowned God needed no convincing from Loren and his already growing alliance, and on his own volition, he called for a Kingsmoot. While those still loyal to the incumbent Lord Reaper saw it as a fool's affair and deigned not to heed the call, the malcontent lords and captains who showed up were enough to make a change. The sole candidate to step forth promised independence and conquest, and the absolute restoration of the Ironborn's former glory. His speech was received with the loud applause of some two hundred captains, and once Torwyn placed the driftwood crown upon his head, they all swore fealty to King Loren Greyjoy.
As news of the event reached Pyke, the young Lord Reaper declared that the coronation was illegitimate and an act of open rebellion and the perpetrators behind it were to be branded as traitors. In the Eleventh Moon of 432 AC, the Iron Islands formally entered a state of civil war.
The Great Wyk Campaign Edit
Preparations on either side began well ahead of time. The Kingsmoot was nothing more than a token ceremony, and so the Lady Regent opted not to foil it. To combat this enemy, which was not a single individual, nor an alliance, but the ideology that drove them, they had to let it take shape and reveal itself in its fullest. With Loren crowning himself king, Lady Alannys' predictions proved true, and she was ready to put out the fire.
Amassing the Iron Fleet in Lordsport, and a host of four thousand from Pyke's locale and the men of the loyalist Houses of Botley, Wynch, Sunderly, and Merlyn, the Lady Regent set sail for Old Wyk. She hoped for Loren to act as reckless as was in his nature, yet she also expected that the lords in his following would advise him for caution against her. Where she made an error in calculation was overestimating her enemies.
Intelligence from the Kingsmoot was very specific in the identification of the rebels. Put aside the entire naval might of House Drumm, roughly two hundred captains bearing the sigils of Farwynd, Orkwood, Saltcliffe, Tawney, and Codd had been present. With that, Lady Alannys could make an accurate estimate of the numbers commanded by her rival, and she made an educated guess that he would try to muster that force in one place. That's where she was wrong though; Loren's army was nowhere to be found on Old Wyk, sans the garrison that was left behind at Drummhold. As she soon learned, Loren opted to strike where it would hurt the most.
She received a report from Great Wyk that the small town of Pebbleton had been sacked by rebel forces, and an army led by Loren himself was on the march to Hammerhorn - harrying every village to weaken Lord Aeron's second most powerful ally. Unbeknownst to her, however, that was only one half of the crowned kraken's plan. Her strongest vassal, Lord Steffon Volmark, had entered a secret pact with her goodbrother prior to the coronation, and whilst she would be distracted on Great Wyk, he orchestrated Harlaw's invasion from within.
Striking at both of the strongest houses might have not been so foolish as one would have thought. The Lady Regent's second daughter, Arwyn, was married to the Heir to Hammerhorn, which made her a most valuable asset to House Greyjoy. She was no doubt the reason Loren targeted the island, and if his intention was to coerce his goodsister into making a rash decision, he definitely succeeded. Lady Alannys set Great Wyk as the next destination of her fleet, and left the fate of Harlaw in the hands of her son.
The first naval engagement in the war had taken place just off the eastern coast of the island, where the Iron Fleet met with the tail of Loren's armada and completely devastated it. There were few who could match the Admiral's prowess at sea, and her first victory was a testament to that. Although she enjoyed superiority of numbers, not a single enemy vessel escaped from her grasp, and the only lives she spared belonged to the highborn she had taken as hostages.
She landed her army in Pebbleton afterwards, and promptly dismantled the token force Loren had left there. Lord Merlyn, who had previously sent five-hundred arms to her aid, was grateful to the Lady Regent for freeing his township from occupation, but had only troubling news to serve. The castle at Corpse Lake where Lady Arwyn had stayed with her husband, came under siege overnight, and there was no word about the couple's escape. It was an obvious bait, yet her only choice was to go for it. Her daughter was likely trapped still, and she couldn't let her fall into Loren's grasp.
Leaving her warships docked, she marched her host through the hills to reach the besieged castle, but by the time they arrived, the assaulting force had already dispersed. It became clear to her that Loren didn't want to meet her on the field just yet, so she wasn't going to chase him around like a fool on a rocky island only to exhaust her men. However, they couldn't stay at Corpse Lake either. The castle was weak, and it was merely luck that Loren hadn't enough time to break through its defenses. Their best option was to press through the Hardstone Hills and take shelter at Hammerhorn.
Lady Alannys was only interested in seeing Arwyn to safety before resuming her pursuit of the rebels, confident that she could bring about their defeat in a series of skirmishes. The endeavor was risky, as the narrow mountain paths weren't fit for a marching army, and their ranks would be open to ambuscade as well. With that in mind, and trusting only herself with her daughter's protection, she took four hundred men to accompany her and ordered the rest to regroup with the force she had left in Pebbleton.
War was the game of the Lady of Harlaw, yet ever since she had set foot on the island, she was being played by her enemies. On their way to Hammerhorn, her company was set upon. Scattered throughout the hills in tactical positions, Loren's soldiers were waiting for them, and as soon as they came within their range, they were welcomed by a rain of steel.
Falling to the arrows unleashed on them, the shock of the ambush left the company in disarray, and their vulnerability prompted the attackers to engage them in a skirmish. When armed men began to descend on them in the dozens from multiple directions, Lady Alannys ordered her goodson to take Arwyn and ride ahead with an escort, while she'd remain behind to keep the enemy at bay. The pair made it to Hammerhorn in safety, but at a cost too great.
The ambush was headed by none other than Loren Greyjoy himself, whom after cleaving his way through dozens of bodies, took on his goodsister in single combat. A more than capable fighter on her own, Lady Alannys stood her ground against the behemoth warrior, but as her men fell one by one around her, she realized that she had at once, faced her final and only defeat. She wouldn't be captured and made a parade of, and as Loren swung his greataxe at her, she let it come her way.
So it was, that Alannys Harlaw, Lady of Harlaw and Admiral of the Iron Fleet - and arguably one of the most controversial figures in the recent history of the Iron Islands - met her ultimate end. Some say that had she wielded Nightfall that day the war would have been finished by the spilling of the very man's blood, who bested her, but alas, no one will ever know. Her death meant the end of an era for the Iron Islands, and what was to come was left to be decided by the victors of the war she had started.
In the months following her passing, Loren crushed the remaining loyalist forces on Great Wyk, during the Skirmish at Corpse Lake and the Second Sacking of Pebbleton, and slowly solidified his control of the island. Although he could never take Hammerhorn, the Goodbrothers were weakened enough to be unable to support his nephew. Meanwhile at Pyke, the young Lord Aeron tried to hold what remained of his own following together.
The Storming of Harlaw Edit
Chaos and discord were the hallmarks of the three long years of the Bleeding, and like an infectious disease, they seeped even into the hearts of the people who had known lasting peace better than all others in the Iron Islands. Beneath the aegis of House Harlaw, strife had grown in the same womb as harmony. Harlaw was ever strong, and the loyalists were confident that the unconditional support of the Greyjoys' strongest vassal yet meant their inevitable victory. But alas, the Lady Regent was betrayed by her own.
Supported by Lord Volmark, Ravos Harlaw of Harlaw Hall declared for the Iron King of Nagga's Hill, and simultaneously laid his claim on the island of Harlaw to depose Alannys and her thought-illegitimate heir. The host he rallied was joined by the levies of House Kenning, and the assistance Loren Greyjoy had promised was on time as well. Commanded by Lord Mikken Tawney, a massive fleet from Orkmont landed near Grey Garden, which combined with the numbers of the local rebels, were enough to challenge the might of Ten Towers.
Relying on the element of surprise, Ravos employed the same guile his false king had, and struck at the pillars of Lady Harlaw's reign. Spreading out his forces, he targeted her most loyal subjects all at once, and in the short span of a week that came to be known as the Storming of Harlaw, he assaulted and seized the castles of Grey Garden, Harridan Hill, and Hangmyre, and laid siege to the Ten Towers shortly afterwards. The island was set ablaze in the flames of rebellion, and with Lady Alannys leading her fleet to Great Wyk, the task of suppressing it and bringing the perpetrators to justice was left to her son, Theon Harlaw.
At the time, the Heir to Harlaw was staying on Pyke heading a sizeable host of his own, having been charged by his mother to oversee the island's defenses and to protect his Greyjoy siblings with his life. When the Lord Reaper's court received news of the siege of Ten Towers, Theon was stuck between a rock and a hard place. His wife and children were trapped in a castle manned by a depleted garrison, and that put both his home and legacy at stake. Besides, losing Ten Towers could well mean losing the war, so in spite of the Lady Regent's orders, he took thirty longships and made for Harlaw with haste.
Some might have expected him to rush headstrong into danger, but it wasn't the Ten Towers he entered the fray. According to his wife's letter, the rebel fleet blockading the harbour that supported the castle was larger than what he could mobilize at Pyke. As much as he wished to come to his family's rescue, he knew that Theomore's Gift could hold a siege for months to come. First, he needed to salvage through the initial setback Harlaw had suffered, and that meant rallying the vassals still loyal to his mother. Landing his ships along the southern shore, he led his men toward the fortress of Greyhearth - the seat of House Stonetree situated in the hard iron hills in the heart of the island, which Ravos failed to conquer.
On their way though, there was much to be done. Armies had to be fed - especially one as large as Ravos' - and Theon knew his turf like the palm of his hand. Unlike any of the other great islands of the archipelago, Harlaw was ample in streams and green in-land valleys that made for fertile farmlands. Most of them were conveniently scattered through the lands seized by the rebels from Volmark to Harlaw Hall. Theon needed no war council to see the purpose of their strategy, and deploying scouts and small raiding parties, he broke every supply line feeding the rebel army at Ten Towers.
In less than a fortnight after his landing, the future Lord of Harlaw crippled the Master of Harlaw Hall without meeting him in battle once, and fielded an army large enough to relieve the siege. As he had anticipated, his ranks were reinforced by eight-hundred swords at Greyhearth, and roughly three-hundred from Hangmyre. Having the manpower to take on his cousin, at last, Theon did not bide his time any further.
As the bulk of his forces began the march north at nightfall, he returned to his longships with a smaller host and sailed up to the castle to take care of the blockade and retake the harbour. Shrouded by the dead of night, his plan was to flank the rebels from both land and sea, and leave them with few options for a retreat. Ravos had already broken through the outer wall, and the perimeters of his siege were fortified and prepared to fend off an assault. But too confident of his blockade's strength, he did not reckon with Theon's bold cunning.
Carrying no banners and wearing the colour of the night, the loyalists set upon the rebel camp at the hour of the wolf, and mayhem swiftly followed in their wake. The rebels lost their heads like a herd of frightened sheep at the sight of one fox, and while they were trying to muster a response, Theon and his reavers were given the window of opportunity to carry out their seaborne assault. Sending their empty longships pushed by naught but the night breeze towards the blockade as a decoy, the Harlaw soldiers - all from the vanguard trained by the Lady of Harlaw herself - swam into the harbour unseen and climbed the enemy warships from beneath waves.
By the time their brethren that manned the vessels realized what was happening to them, they had been overrun. Ravos lost his naval superiority in that instant and his potential retreat was blocked from the sea. His men fleeing on rowboats were shot down by arrows and crossbow bolts in the dozens before it got to them that ships they tried to climb had already been taken. The rebel forces were routed before dawn, and the siege of Ten Towers, as successful as it had begun, was relieved in the Third Moon of 433 AC.
Ravos and Lord Steffon managed to escape with a company of their host ran back to Volmark, while the Ironborn from Orkmont led by Lord Mikken fled north where their longships had been docked. They were defeated but given respite for the time being, for Theon had to face new realities upon returning home triumphant. Only a couple days after his victory, Ser Emmon Greyjoy arrived at the Towers on an urgent visit from Pyke, and he brought grave tidings. Theon had to learn it from his would-be uncle and friend that his mother fell during her campaign on Great Wyk.
Instead of crippling grief, the newfound Lord of Harlaw felt only a seething, vengeful fury, and he wanted to exact his wrath on all of his enemies. Few could dare to calm him then, and that same fury would guide him through the final stage of the war. Ravos and his allies from Orkmont rallied for another attempt at challenging fate, and Theon rode ahead with his full strength to meet them on the field. Fought just a few miles off Volmark, the Battle of Scarlet Scythes brought a catastrophic defeat for the rebels, and this time they had nowhere to run. Although Lord Mikken fled once again and scurried back to Orkmont, the Master of Harlaw Hall, along with Lord Steffon Volmark, was slain in battle.
It did not end there, however. After they took the castle of Volmark, the requital that followed the insurgence was brutal. Not heeding Ser Emmon's counsel to practice mercy and fixed on sending Loren's supporters a message, Theon slew Ravos' sons one by one with Nightfall. No Harlaw before him had bathed the pristine steel in the blood of their kin, but to him, right then, it felt like justice.
The Serpent and the Dragon Edit
Great Wyk was lost, Harlaw was being torn apart from within, and in less than half a year, House Greyjoy was robbed of its most powerful supporters. The news of Lady Alannys' death was a shock to the court, and her children were left with a burden of responsibilities they didn't know if they could bear. Lady Victaria, the firstborn of her parents' matrimony, was quick to step up as Lady Regent, but at the same time, her young brother was also eager to take a more active role in his reign.
The only advantage they directly possessed was their fortified position on the island of Pyke. With loyalist houses surrounding them, four thousand men at their command, and a fraction of the Iron Fleet still docked in Lordsport, they could fend against any attacking army presented by Ironborn, at least for a year. The danger lied in their uncle potentially turning all the other islands against them. With the enemy at their doorstep, they needed a plan, and they needed allies.
Well into the year of 433 AC, it came quite unexpectedly that a dragon landed at the gates of Pyke, ridden by the young Prince Baelor Targaryen, who was dispatched by King Rhaegar as soon as news of Lady Alannys' death reached King's Landing. Emboldened by the active role he had taken during a crisis in the capital, the Prince wanted to further prove his worth to himself and to his family, and it was he who asked his father to send him to the Iron Islands instead of other dignitaries.
With Loren having declared himself King, there was no doubt which side would the Iron Throne support, but the on-going uprising was exhausting Targaryen resources as well, so the question arose; what could the Prince bring to the table? Dragons mean sheer power, and a single one of them can influence the outcome of a war, Lord Aeron pointed out, but Victaria had remained a skeptic. The rationale that unleashing a dragon in a war, which was ideological at its core could easily backfire in the long run, was hard to debate, and their discussion bore little fruit. The Prince was eager to help, but he probably understood that without the full might of his dragon, he would be only a burden to these people.
Debating possibilities had to wait though, for they had more pressing matters to turn their attention to. While the false king Loren persisted in his siege of Hammerhorn, Lord Ronnel Saltcliffe led his king's fleet to Pyke to begin carrying out attacks. The Lord of Saltcliffe, also called the Serpent, was one of the most accomplished generals to have participated in the War of the Three Thieves, and according to a few courtiers, he was also the mind behind Loren's strategic success. He was a man to be reckoned with, and his presence meant that the rest wasn't far behind.
Over the course of a moon, several raids were carried out on the island of Pyke, yet as the attackers had seemingly come from the nowhere and vanished right after, it was difficult to root them out. Utilizing the autumn fog that had settled around the island, Lord Ronnel's longships moved around like ghosts and possibly hid in secret coves along the rocky coastlines. They pushed further in-land with each attack, and the smallfolk had to suffer the consequences. Neither the Lord Reaper nor Prince Baelor was fond of being forced into idleness, so they put their heads together to devise a solution.
Despite his sister's sentiments about the matter, Lord Aeron still thought that the dragon and his rider could be useful. Besides, if nobody had to bear witness, ideology mattered little. To lure Lord Ronnel from the shadows, they scouted the jagged coasts of the island on the back of Aegorax, and had the dragon fire up each of the coves they had found. Their plan seemed to have worked; they caught and burned several hostile longships in the act, and the attacks eventually ceased. But it wasn't the last they had seen of the Serpent.
A dragon was something Lord Saltcliffe hadn't expected to have to deal with, but he regardless showed up knocking at Lordsport, with an impressive war fleet at his back. Comprised chiefly of Drumm and Saltcliffe sails among a few others, captains from almost every island had joined the assault of the bay. The remnant of the Iron Fleet sailed ahead to meet them at sea, while a large host remained in Lordsport for the event should it come to the worst. With so many banners present, this was exactly the type of engagement Victaria had cautioned against. But while his dragon remained out of sight, Prince Baelor took armor, shield, and sword, and joined the city's defense at Lord Aeron's side.
Lord Ronnel was prevailing in the battle of the bay, and seeping through the weak lines presented by the Iron Fleen, his galleys and longships started to make their landing. The city itself came under assault, and in a matter of hours, the streets of Lordsport became a bloody urban battlefield, but eventually, the defenders proved more successful. Knowing the city like the palms of his hands, Lord Aeron proved an excellent - if situational - tactician, and through a clever coordination of troops, he prevented Lord Ronnel's men from gaining the sought advantage.
In truth, the defenders were outnumbered, but the attacking forces had suffered so many casualties that they had to give up and retreat, leaving many of their ships behind in the process. The headcount of the deceased was likewise in the hundreds on the victorious side, but the cost paid was worth it. Their victory wasn't an overwhelming one, but because of the reaction it fostered on Loren's part, the Battle of Lordsport is considered as a major turning point in the war.
Strangled in the Cradle Edit
Due to the mutually heavy casualties, Lord Ronnel perceived the retreat he had to order at Lordsport the result of a stalemate, not a defeat. And from many angles, he was right. Returning to his king, he urged him to move on Pyke immediately, arguing that the island was weak and that even his foes were beginning to see him as their rightful monarch. The odds did indeed favor him, and he too saw the opportunity in crowning his achievements with the conquest of his family's ancestral seat. Commanding a host of thousands and owning the loyalty of a hundred and fifty captains yet, Loren was confident in his final success.
The King of the Iron Islands rallied his followers at Sealskin Point in the First Moon of 434 AC, and set sail shortly thereafter to take back what was his. The surprise was ultimately his when the fleet of his enemies greeted him half-way, with a least anticipated adversary heading them. Sailing up through Nagga's Cradle, the Greyjoy fleet from the Battle of Lordsport was joined by the warships and longships of Harlaw, and their combined might almost rivaled the numbers of Loren's armada.
The battle at sea seemed set to end in a stalemate, but the timely arrival of the Blacktyde fleet turned the tides in Aeron Greyjoy's favor. His eldest sister, Victaria, had recently visited the Blacktyde court to secure an alliance with the house that arguably initiated the crisis - and her diplomatic finesse at last paid off. Theon Harlaw boarded Loren Greyjoy's flagship and captured him, bringing an end to the war.
In the end, it was a triumph of those who remained loyal to the late Lord Reaper - but like the other conflicts that comprised the Bleeding, the Black Prophet's Rebellion revealed the grievances that still lingered in the hearts of many ironborn. With the backing of the likes of Harlaw, Blacktyde and Goodbrother, Aeron's succession was secure - albeit at a great cost.