The Second Hammer Uprising was the spark that lit those fires and brought them to life. The reformation of the Warsmiths and their call to arms would act as a firebrand. The fires of war, and chaos spread throughout the heart of the Seven Kingdoms, leaving none untouched. What began as a minor rebellion among the smallfolk of the Reach quickly blossomed into a multi-pronged war that set the stage for all that followed.
Only the North remained untouched by the fervor of those conflicts, that found purchase even upon the shores of the Iron Islands, and within the desolate sands of Dorne. The conflicts will forever define the reign of Rhaegar II, and marks one of the more tumultuous periods for House Targaryen since the Second Conquest.
The Second Hammer Uprising began as a direct result of the Great Synod of Lannisport and the marriage of the Prince of Dragonstone, Aegon, to a second wife, his half-sister, Visenya Silvermoon. In the latter moons of 431 A..C, the Warsmiths were reformed by Ser Duncan Hammer, who claimed descent from the infamous Brynden Hammer from the original Hammer Uprising. The hedge knight was able to pull off this reformation thanks to the patronage of a series of benefactors, some known, while others yet loomed in the shadows. Notable, although unknown, among those benefactors was the then Master of Laws, Septon Bryce, Archmaester Ellendor along with other figures within the Conclave of the Citadel, House Fowler, House Serret, and House Spicer.
The uprising began in the city of Oldtown when the Warsmiths infiltrated the city. There they contrived to murder the Starry Septon who had represented the interests of the Starry Rites at the Great Synod. Within the Citadel a fire blossomed, and using this distraction, the Warsmiths were able to abduct Addam Hightower, brother to the young lord Arthur and second son of the regent, Lady Aelora. This dastardly act ensured that the might of House Hightower would not be used against them as they canvassed the southern half of the Reach for supporters.
The Warsmiths gained momentum during the year of 432 A.C., and Ser Duncan Hammer was able to amass so great a following as to ignite a general uprising in several towns, villages, and settlements within the Reach and the Stormlands. The latter was due to the support of one of House Baratheon’s most powerful bannermen, Lady Ravella Swann, who was the central figure of the Warsmiths’ activity within the Stormlands. Her great cunning proved instrumental in the early successes of the uprising, and her strong position in the marches proved a titanic endeavor to overcome.
The response of House Targaryen was not quite as swift. Lord Perceon Vance counseled moderation to King Rhaegar and cautioned him against the use of dragons. With the aid of Lady Visenya, who likewise thought the use of dragons could only embolden the rebels, the Hand was successful. Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen took the opposite view, and ever pressed upon her father to unleash the might of House Targaryen and the Golden Company.
The success of Ser Duncan and influence of the Warsmiths eventually spread as far as the Riverlands. This led to the Defiance of Fairmarket, which would launch the Riverlands into chaos despite the swift response from House Tully. This is due, in part, to the contrast struck with others being much slower to react, most notably Lady Elana Frey and Lord Perceon Vance. The latter was, naturally, fixated upon workings within the capital.
In 433 A.C., the High Septon known as the Gregarious One perished, and Septon Bryce, the once Golden Septon and then Master of Laws, was elected by the Most Devout to succeed him. As High Septon he would come to be known as the Cunning One, for how deftly he was able to earn the favor of the king despite the goings on within the realm. After persuading the King to make a procession to the Great Sept of Baelor so that he might beseech the gods for their aid. Rhaegar remained cloistered within the Great Sept for three days and nights, and thereafter sanctioned the reformation of the Faith Militant.
The Warsmiths gained a lot of ground, taking over various key areas of the Reach, the Stormlands, and the Riverlands. Within the Reach they had control of Oldtown, Ashford and Bitterbridge. In the Stormlands they were permitted sway within the Marches. In 434 A.C., the Warsmiths raided the palace of Summerhall. This, coupled with the rebellion in Dorne and failure of the Faith Militant to lay low the Ser Duncan and his Warsmiths, was sufficient to awaken the Dragons.
Several battles occurred in that and the following year. The royals spread themselves far and wide based on the recommendations of Prince Aegon and Princess Rhaenyra. The Prince of Dragonstone coupled with the Baratheons, were able to reclaim Summerhall and with the aid of the Marcher Lords, scour the mountains for the remaining pockets of followers. Lord Stark came from the North, and so order was able to be restored within the Riverlands.
Rhaenyra and her father made their way into the Reach. At some point in 434 A.C. Addam Hightower who had been left in the care of one of Ser Duncan’s lieutenants, was able to slay his captors and escape. Eventually he came upon Golden Company and the royal host, and so remained with them for the duration. He was knighted by King Rhaegar himself, after he was made aware of the manner of Addam’s escape. At the Battle of Bitterbridge, Rhaegar was felled from the sky, but the royal host found victory. Thereafter Rhaenyra had full command of the host and made her way to the final bastion of the Warsmiths, where she melded with the Tyrell forces in Ashford.
Before the taking of Bitterbridge and final clash at Ashford, and after word had reached Lord Arthur and Lady Aelora, the Warsmiths were expelled from Oldtown with the help of the chapter of Warrior’s Sons and the City Watch. Many of their leading figures within the city were either killed or jailed.
It was in Ashford that saw the fiercest and greatest amount of fighting. Rhaenyra was unwilling to employ Silnax’s gilded flames upon the town proper, and so set her forces to taking control of the town street by street. Upon the field of battle, however, she ignited the Warsmiths. As the battle reached its pitch, Ser Duncan issued a challenge, and Rhaenyra obliged. She dueled and slew the famed knight before the staunchest of his followers. This would mark the final true clash of the Second Hammer Uprising.
In the aftermath, Perceon Vance was removed as Hand of the King, some were dubious of the High Septon and his Faith Militant. Aegon and his wives were coronated, and during this period Rhaenyra, hot on the heels of victory, wielded her greatest amount of influence, thus cementing her place as a power player within the royal court. Many of the highborn supporters of the Warsmiths were pardoned during a series of tribunals held in tandem with the crown’s justiciars throughout the Southron kingdoms. Yet for all that were pardoned yet more found themselves at the mercy of the headsman’s axe.
The Three Banner war was a military conflict and civil war between the Houses of the Westerlands. Beginning in the early moons of 432 AC, it would not see it’s end until mid-way through 435, when Tysane Lannister, the Lady of Casterly Rock, returned home after taking Castamere and ending the line of House Spicer.
The war devastated the West. With the death of two of Casterly Rock’s heirs, and it’s lords, the years after the war have been a slow effort at reconstruction after relations and much more were made to suffer during the conflict.
The conflict truly began after the abduction of Tysane Lannister by Lord Sylas Spicer, who was believed to have started the Great FIre of Lannisport. Over the next several moons, lines were formed and allegiances made. Lannisport was assaulted three times, and never fell. Though Lord Spicer and those Lords of Lannister met on the field multiple times, no one found an advantage until late in the war, when Lord Marbrand marched during the Battle of Three Banners, and betrayed Lord Lannister and his kin. The battle shattered both the armies of the Lannisters and the Spicers, and shortly after, Lord Marbrand secured control of Lannisport.
It was not until a blockade ended Lord Marbrand’s hopes and Lady Tysane saw to the end of Lord Spicer’s resistance that the war came to an end. To this day, the West still reels from the effects of that long war, and many lords advocate for peace in the West, until such day as everything is well.
The Iron Islands became embroiled within a civil conflict of their own, driven by a desire by many of the Ironborn to return to their old ways. With chaos reigning in the mainland, there was a general belief that they should exploit that situation through a series of raids to the benefit of their coffers. Ultimately this led to a clash which saw House Greyjoy split in two.
While Lord Dagon and his wife were staunchly against breaking faith with the crown, even though the results of the war were yet uncertain, several lords and captains favored opportunism. Most of them, of course, refused to take action without their liege’s permission. A few, however, were more than willing to risk invoking his wroth, if only to prove to the rest of the islanders what was their true calling as a people.
The rogue captains weren’t successful in their endeavor, but their actions served as a catalyst to the most unfortunate events that followed. After the trial and sentencing of the rogue faction’s leader, the Lord Reaper was gutted by an angered father and died the following day. Beside the rightful heir, the late Lord Greyjoy’s younger brother, Loren, was also eager to fill in the power gap left behind.
At the holy site of Nagga’s Hill, Loren Greyjoy was crowned King of the Iron Islands by his supporters, composed chiefly of the malcontent and fanatical captains, who sought to return to the Old Way.
Meanwhile, the young Aeron Greyjoy, who rightfully occupied the Seastone Chair, was backed in his position by the might of Harlaw through his mother, and the houses of Great Wyk through his sister’s marriage to the Goodbrother heir. Having a vested interest in the preservation of the Ironborn’s progressive ways, the loyalist faction was ready to defend Lord Dagon’s legacy in the bloody civil war that ensued.
The Razing of the Red Temple Edit
Despite the king’s reluctance to directly confront factions such as the Warsmiths in the early days of the Second Hammer Uprising, he had been swift to restore order within he Crownlands when activity encroached upon the heart of the Seven Kingdoms. Yet, in 433 A.C., for a period of five days, it was not the King’s Justice that reigned within the poorest quarter of King’s Landing. In the moons after the reformation of the Faith, men and women flooded into the capital to answer the High Septon’s call. This was reassuring to some elements within the city who thought this force would soon be deployed elsewhere, for King Rhaegar had allowed the resurgence of the Faith Militant as a means of combating the zealous supporters of Ser Duncan Hammer and his ilk.
Many of their number were sent to the winds by the command of the High Septon and the other potentates of the revived hierarchy within the renewed military order. Yet, many more remained, and what was more, sought to impose their own will upon the city. A dark tenor began to rise within he city as heralds, whose masters were unknown, began to whisper that the High Septon’s predecessor, known to all as the Gregarious One, had not died of natural causes but had been murdered by the agents of the Red God. These incendiary rumors finally bore fruit when, spurred by the damning rhetoric of Septon Archibald of the Most Devout, a large mob was formed with a band of Poor Fellows at their head to make their move upon Flea Bottom.
They began by raiding the Red Temple that had been constructed, killing all those who could neither fight nor flee. They set the temple ablaze, and such was the conflagration that a firestorm akin to that which decimated a goodly portion of Lannisport, threatened to consume nearby quarters of the city. Outside of the flames, roving bands of Poor Fellows went from home to home conducting mock trials and executing those believed to be among R’hllor’s faithful. The royal response was swift, and with the aid of Prince Baelor Targaryen, the goldcloaks were able to restore order.
Despite the alacrity with which the powers that be sought to restore order, the purging of Flea Bottom went on for nearly five days until, at last, the persistent members of the mob were rounded up and taken to the bowels of the Red Keep. That the fire created by the razing of the Red Temple did not arc into other portions of the city was considered a miracle by some. The Seven, it was said, had intervened on behalf of the truly faithful. Others offered credit to the many programs that had long been fostered by Perceon Vance, and indeed the Hand had dispatched his own guard to aid the goldcloaks in the taming of what could have been a most catastrophic immolation.
Septon Archibald, and the other ringleaders of the mob were all executed on the authority of the King. A move that was praised by the High Septon, whom had elected to genuflect to royal jurisdiction. This was among the first instances in which the Cunning One showed his willingness to distance himself from the more regimental, zealous sects of the Faith. It was possible, more cynical courtiers noted, that the High Septon’s disposition was born of a fatalistic pragmatism, for it was easy to see the danger such figures could pose to the regime he had curated since the Great Synod of Lannisport.
All in all, the razing of the Red Temple in King’s Landing was indicative of the backlash against the tolerance for the heretical worship of a foreign god that had been brewing since the reign of the Black Queen. It had been during Visaera’s rule, after all, that near-radical policies of religious tolerance had been fostered, and in some ways, enshrined within the temple that had been so brutally destroyed.
As the most religiously diverse region in Westeros, Dorne was a fertile ground for an uprising of the faithful. But in the Stone Mountains - where Andal culture and the Faith of the Seven predominated - the Warsmiths struggled to gain any traction. Instead, anti-R’hllor sentiment was channeled into a rebellion of its own making. With many grievances to raise against the Martells, the stony lords rallied around Tommen Blackmont, who took on the storied title of “the Vulture King.”
The houses of Dorne were divided roughly along geographic lines in a war that pitted the east against the west. During the first phase of the War of Stone and Sky, the Vulture King’s army swept across the sands and occupied Vaith, from which it staged numerous guerrilla raids throughout the fertile river banks of central Dorne. Preoccupied with smaller uprisings in the east, it took Prince Trystane Martell nearly a year to mobilize his full strength against the Vulture King.
In the end, it was deceit that allowed the Martells to secure a decisive victory. By feigning a naval deployment of his army to the Torrentine, Trystane made the east appear vulnerable - and lured the Vulture King into a battle at Godsgrace. To the rebels’ surprise, Prince Aerion Targaryen arrived upon his dragon, Vhaegon, and incinerated the stony host. The Vulture King’s insurrection amounted to a complete failure; House Martell’s position was only strengthened in its aftermath. After a few of the war’s key perpetrators were tried and executed, the other rebellious lords were pardoned - and Dorne returned to its status quo.
The Gulltown Massacre was the last of many events that plagued Westeros during the time of the Bleeding. Beginning in the early moons of 435 AC, it would last for four moons, until Ser Darryn Shett was presented peacefully to Lord Arryn.
With distrust growing in Gulltown over Lord Gerold Grafton’s professed practitioner of the Red God, faithful within the city, emboldened by the High Septon organizing the beginning of the new faith militant, began arming themselves. After their captain, Ser Criston Templeton, a knight and man of great renown, was set upon in the night, Lord Darryn led his men to confront Lord Grafton of the murders.
When he refused to answer, the number of faithful within the city grew. The Red Temple in the city was sacked, and by the end of the month, Lord Shett had taken control of the city. When at last they managed to apprehend Lord Grafton, he was summarily hanged, drawn, and quartered.
Lord Arryn swiftly marshaled his knights and began a siege of the city. Achieving a blockade was easy. Some reckoned that an assault might prove quicker, and in the one battle of the Gulltown Massacre, Saera Targaryen, rider of the she-dragon Blue was slain by a scorpion bolt. Her death was said to be especially gruesome.
Not a month later, Gulltown surrendered, but Lord Arryn spared the would-be Knight, and sent him to King’s Landing, where he was sentenced to death by a jury of Seven, and like Lord Grafton, hanged, drawn, and quartered.
The Bleeding was a long, devastating affair for the Seven Kingdoms. Only the North remained relatively untouched by the chaos that had been sewn throughout all the land. It began, and indeed ended, with the Second Hammer Uprising. Ser Duncan and his Warsmiths had set the kindling that had remain lambent for decades, and from his disruptive, efficacious machinations the realms were set down a most perilous path. In the end the powers of the realm endured, but victory was paid for with a heavy price. The King, Rhaegar II Targaryen, had been slain and all of the great families of Westeros felt the lash of the anarchy and rebellion.
A series of tribunals was held throughout the realm by virtue of the lord’s right and the royal prerogative of the new king, Aegon VII Targaryen. Of these the most notable, and perhaps longest lasting was the one held in Highgarden, where many of the leading figures of the Warsmiths had been imprisoned during the course of the uprising. Many highborn lords and ladies were pardoned for the roles they played, but the severest of traitors were either executed or sent to the wall. There was little mercy for those such as Lady Ravella Swann, who met her end in King’s Landing by Aegon’s own decree.
The snows of winter had begun to fall even as the conflicts of the realm had begun to yield. What came after was a harsh, terrible winter that was quite as dreadful as the one that had come before. The elements were not as cruel as they had been in the Scarlet Winter, but the detritus of war left many with ill tended crops and holdfasts that had not been able to properly prepare. Thus, the Seven Kingdoms, wounded as it was, could only just begin to mend.