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The First Blackfyre Rebellion was one of the greatest civil wars in the history of the Seven Kingdoms. It was fought in 195-196 AL between forces loyal to King Daeron II Targaryen, known as the Red Dragon, and those following the banner of Daemon Blackfyre, styling himself Daemon I Blackfyre, the Black Dragon.
It was the first of five notable attempts by House Blackfyre to seize the Iron Throne of Westeros. These rebellions culminated in the War of the Ninepenny Kings, the death of Maelys Blackfyre and the extinguishing of the male Blackfyre line, more than sixty years after the first conflict was fought.
The Blackfyre Rebellion was the culmination of several dynastic quarells within House Targaryen. The first seeds of the rebellion were sown when king Aegon IV presented the twelve year old Daemon Blackfyre with the ancestral Valyrian greatsword of Targaryen kings; Blackfyre. Aegon IV had countless bastards, but his most prominent were the so-called Great Bastards, all born of noblewomen, of whom Daemon was the most notable. It is rumored that Aegon IV grew to dislike the meekness of his heir Daeron II Targaryen, who surrounded himself with septons and maesters and avoided conflict.
On his deathbed, Aegon IV legitimized all of his bastards. Daemon was well loved throughout the realm, and many admired his skill as a warrior. Dissatisfaction with Daeron II's reign was widespread. Many whispered that King Daeron II was in truth a bastard, born of a tryst between Queen Naerys and the Aegon IV's brother, the Dragon Knight, and many disliked the heavy Dornish influences on his government, courtesy of his wife Myriah Martell. Many, especially Daemon's advisors and friends, suggested that he press his claim to the throne. As the legitimized son of Aegon IV and Daena Targaryen, he was a clear choice to replace the king.
Despite this, Daemon would remain loyal for 11 years after Aegon IV's death. The direct cause of the rebellion was the betrothal of Daeron's sister Daenerys Targaryen to Mors Martell, Prince of Dorne. Daemon and Daenerys were in love, and Daeron had refused Daemon's wishes of marriage. The marriage, Daemon's growing resentment at being a bastard, and the whispers of his councilors led to the rebellion. Daeron sent the Kingsguard to arrest his half-brother, but Daemon escaped the Red Keep with the help of his friend Quentyn Ball, the master-at-arms at the keep.
Course of the war After more than a decade of building tension, open warfare erupted. Daemon Blackfyre mustered a sizable army against Daeron and was joined by his half-brother Aegor 'Bittersteel' Rivers, a fellow Great Bastard. Brynden 'Bloodraven' Rivers, another Great Bastard, remained loyal to the King. Daemon began minting his own currency, bearing his royal sigil.
Heavy fighting would follow over the next year, with the Riverlands at the center of the conflict. Ser Quentyn Ball led an attack on the Westerlands to great success, killing Lord Lefford at Lannisport, defeating Lord Damon Lannister and slaying all of Lady Penrose's sons, save the youngest, whom he spared as a courtesy. A greatly important general and advisor, he was slain on the eve of the final battle of the rebellion, by an unknown archer.
The rebellion culminated at the Battle of Redgrass Field. In 196 AL, Bittersteel and Blackfyre led a mighty army against the Targaryen host led by Prince Maekar and Hand of the King, Lord Hayford, who would fall in the battle.
During the battle Daemon Blackfyre came face-to-face with Ser Gwayne Corbray of the Kingsguard, wielder of the Valyrian blade Lady Forlorn. Their duel was said to have lasted nearly an hour before Daemon gained the upper hand and blinded Corbray. Instead of riding him down, he asked for him to be sent to Daemon's personal maester. However, by this time a second Targaryen force was approaching from the south led by Prince Baelor. At the same time, Bloodraven and his elite archers, the Raven's Teeth, captured and assumed a position atop the Weeping Ridge, which overlooked the battlefield and allowed them to rain arrows down among Blackfyre and his commanders. Bloodraven personally killed Daemon Blackfyre and his twin sons Aemon and Aegon. The rebels began to rout, but Bittersteel rallied them by leading a charge against the Raven's Teeth, taking out Bloodraven's eye in the process. However, Prince Baelor's Dornish spearmen gained the battlefield and crushed the rebel army against Maekar's shield wall.
Bittersteel was able to recover the sword Blackfyre from the battlefield and escape to the Free Cities, where Blackfyre's other sons had already fled. It is unknown how many men took part in the battle, but it is known that more than ten thousand died in the engagement, earning it the name Redgrass Field after the field was stained red with the blood of the dead and wounded. Singers would later immortalize the battle with the song The Hammer and Anvil, referring to Baelor and Maekar's strategy.
In 197 AL, one year after the battle, Dorne formally entered the Seven Kingdoms through a marriage between King Daeron's sister Daenerys and Prince Maron Martell of Sunspear. While Daemon perished, his heir would continue to fight for his claims in subsequent rebellions, until the extinction of the Blackfyre line with the death of Maelys Blackfyre at the hands of Ser Barristan Selmy during the War of the Ninepenny Kings.