The Dance of the Dragons was a major civil war in the history of the Seven Kingdoms. It confirmed that the law of male primogeniture as practised historically in Westeros did apply to the ruling Targaryen dynasty. The war was also important in that it destroyed many cadet and lesser branches of the Targaryen family, and also eliminated almost all of the surviving dragons at the time.
King Viserys I Targaryen ruled well during a time of peace and plenty. He married an Arryn of the Vale and they had one child, Princess Rhaenyra. King Viserys' wife died and he raised his daughter to succeed him, making her privy to the deliberations of the small council and seeking her counsel in matters of rulership. This was widely accepted, as if a ruler should not have any male heirs, then his female ones could inherit.
However, years later, King Viserys did marry again (to a Hightower of Oldtown) and this second marriage produced two sons and a daughter in short order. Under the law of male primogeniture as practised throughout Westeros (bar only Dorne, which was still an independent state at this time), it was expected that Viserys would confirm his eldest son as his heir, but instead continued to treat Princess Rhaenyra as his successor, and she continued to act as if she was going to inherit the Iron Throne. This defiance of tradition alarmed the other lords of the Seven Kingdoms, but the Targaryens had never previously ruled on if they would obey tradition in this situation or not, leaving the situation confused. Viserys' continued treatment of Rhaenyra as his heir did eventually lead to an expectation that she would be crowned and, as with the Targaryens' polygamy and incest, this would yet be another area in which the Targaryens would not be bound by the same laws that limited the other families.
When King Viserys passed, Ser Criston Cole of the Kingsguard took up his crown and, instead of passing it to Rhaenyra, instead placed it on the head of Prince Aegon, Viserys' eldest son by his second wife, and named him King Aegon II. Rhaenyra was furious, denouncing Cole as a traitor and summoning her armies.
The Black Council Edit
Rhaenyra made her own council, called the Black Council. Participants were, amongst others, Rhaenyra’s husband Daemon, her three eldest sons Jacaerys, Lucerys and Joffrey, Lord Corlys Velaryon, and his wife Princess Rhaenys.
Despite having more dragons, the Blacks knew that wouldn’t be an advantage, since the Greens possessed Vhagar, and from the nine dragons belonging to the Blacks, only five were big enough for battle.
Believing to have allies in the Riverlands who were only waiting for a place to gather, Prince Daemon decided to conquer Harrenhal as a base, using his dragon Caraxes, while Rhaenyra would remain on Dragonstone to recover her strength. House Velaryon closed off the Gullet, and Princess Rhaenys expressed hope of goading Aegon the Elder into a rash attack, believing him to be a green boy.
Princess Rhaenys was convinced that Storm's End would declare for Rhaenyra, since Lord Boremund, the deceased father of Lord Borros, had always been a supporter of Rhaenys herself. Though they believed the North to be too remote to play an important part in the war, the Blacks decided to send messages to those lords as well. Jacaerys, Rhaenyra’s heir, would bring messages to the Maiden of the Vale, the Starks of Winterfell and the Manderly’s of White Harbor. Lucerys, Rhaenyra’s second son, would go to Storm's End, a safer, shorter journey, according to the Blacks.
After these decisions, Rhaenyra was crowned a Queen, using the crown her father and great-grandfather had worn, thanks to Ser Steffon Darklyn, who had arrived from King's Landing. Prince Daemon, Rhaenyra’s husband, was named Protector of the Realm, and Jacaerys was officially named Prince of Dragonstone, and heir to the Iron Throne. Declaring Otto Hightower and Queen Alicent traitors, Rhaenyra allowed for her half-siblings to be forgiven if they would bend the knee. Upon hearing about these developments, King Aegon II declared Rhaenyra and Daemon traitors as well.
Hoping for a peaceful end to the war, Grand Maester Orwyle was allowed to visit Dragonstone and speak with Rhaenyra. The terms he brought with him, allowed Rhaenyra and all their supporters generous terms. Rhaenyra refused. Soon after, Lord Corlys’ ships took sail to close off theGullet, and Jace and Luke left on their dragons with their messages, and Daemon left on Caraxes to the Trident.
Harrenhal fell quickly to Daemon. Ser Simon Strong, the elderly castellan, was captured. Daemon had a dozen valuable hostages (including Ser Simon and his grandsons). In the mean time, Jace allied Lady Jeyne Arryn, and the Lords Manderly, Borrell and Sunderland, and Cregan Stark to Rhaenyra’s cause.
Course of the warEdit
The Seven Kingdoms divided almost evenly between those loyal to Queen Rhaenyra and those loyal to King Aegon. The Targaryen family itself became divided, and dragon-rider battled dragon-rider in the skies over Westeros. During the war many dragons and younger scions of House Targaryen were slain.
The Dance over Shipbreaker Bay Edit
Lucerys had meanwhile flown to Storm's End, arriving before a gathering storm. When he arrived, however, he found Prince Aemond and his dragon Vhagar already present. Aemond tried to goad Lucerys into a fight, insulting him, calling him a Strong bastard, but Lucerys, having sworn to his mother not to fight, refused him, and instead delivered his message to Lord Borros Baratheon. Lord Borros responded by asking which one of his daughters Luke would marry, should he do what Rhaenyra wanted him to do. Luke, already betrothed, told Lord Borros he could not marry any of the girls, upon which Lord Borros told Luke to leave.
After that, Lucerys went outside, mounted his dragon, and left. Lord Borros then told Aemond that he could not tell Aemond what not to do when Aemond was no longer beneath his roof, upon which Borros’ men moved aside and let Aemond out.
Outside the storm was raging. Though younger and faster, the storm was slowing Arrax down, leading to Vhagar catching up. The fight between the two dragons did not last long. Vhagar, being five times bigger, had the advantage, and Arrax fell broken. His head and neck would wash ashore three days later, along with the corpse of Prince Lucerys Velaryon.
Blood and Cheese Edit
Rhaenyra collapsed when learning of Lucerys’ death. Prince Daemon, at Harrenhal, send a raven to his wife. The letter said "An eye for an eye, a son for a son. Lucerys shall be avenged."
Daemon Targaryen had friends in the low places of King's Landing and at court, and followers amongst the gold cloaks. One of his friends enlisted the help of a former sergeant in the City Watch, known to history as Blood, and a rat-catcher from the Red Keep, known to history only as Cheese.
Cheese sneaked Blood into the Red Keep, using secret tunnels and hidden doors, bringing them into the Tower of the Hand. Blood killed Queen Alicent's bedmaid, whilst Cheese bound and gagged Alicent herself. Then they waited for Queen Helaena, who would visit her mother every evening with her three children. As Helaena and the children entered, Blood barred the door and killed the guardsmen accompanying Helaena. Cheese picked up Maelor. ”Which one you want t’ lose, Your Grace?” said one of the assassins.
Calling themselves debt collectors, they gave Helaena the choice of chosing which of her two sons would die. In the end, Helaena chose Maelor, but Blood did the opposite and killed Prince Jaehaerys, six years of age. True to their word, they did not hurt anyone else, but fled with Prince Jaehaerys’ head. After this event, Queen Helaena slowly went mad, staying in her chambers, no longer being able to look at her son Maelor, knowing she had named him to die. Dowager Queen Alicent took over the care of the remaining two children.
The Battle at Rook's Nest Edit
After the fall of Harrenhal, King Aegon II suffered defeats at the Burning Mill and Stone Hedge, making the young king realizing his situation was severe. Ravens returned from the Reach, and while House Hightower of Oldtown and the Arbor stood firmly behind Aegon, Lord Costayne of Three Towers, Lord Mullendore of Uplands, Lord Alan Tarly of Horn Hill, Lord Thadeus Rowan of Goldengrove and Lord Grimm of Greyshield all declared for Rhaenyra, as did the Vale, White Harbor, Winterfell, the Blackwoods and other riverlords, who were assembling at Harrenhal.
This, and the closing of the Gullet that kept going, made Aegon angry at his Hand. Ser Otto believed that Daemon, Rhaenyra’s greatest pillar of support, was her greatest weakness. He reached out to one such foe, the Kingdom of the Three Daughters across the Narrow Sea, hoping to use them against the Sea Snake.
Aegon II was running out of patience, however, and fired Otto as Hand. Ser Criston was named in his stead, and decided actions were necessary.
Larys Strong had a list of all those who had gathered on Dragonstone to attend Rhaenyra’s coronation. Those lords living on islands could not be touched, but those on the main land could. Duskendale fell easily, and Lord Darklyn was beheaded. Ser Criston then turned his attention to Rook's Rest.
Lord Staunton closed his gates and defied his attackers, but could not protect his small folk. His provisions running low, he send a raven to Dragonstone, asking for help. The help that arrived was Princess Rhaenys on dragon Meleys. Unbeknownst to the blacks, however, Ser Criston had been expecting a dragon to appear. His men attacked the dragon with scorpions, longbows and crossbows, but it only served to anger Meleys.
Next, Sunfyre and Vhagar appeared. Meleys had no chance against Vhagar and Sunfyre combined. The dragons fought a thousand feet above the ground. Meleys’ jaws closed around Sunfyre’s neck, and Vahgar fell upon them, causing all three dragons to crash into the ground. From the ashes, only Vhagar rose again. Sunfyre had one wing half torn from his body, whilst his rider, King Aegon II, suffered from several broken bones and severe burns. Princess Rhaenys was found completely burned next to the dead body of Meleys. After the battle, Prince Aemond and Ser Criston took Rook's Rest and put the garrison to death. The head of Meleys was brought back to King's Landing, inspiring fear amongst the small folk, causing thousands to flee the capital until the gates were barred by Dowager Queen Alicent.
King Aegon II was brought back to King's Landing, where maesters attended to his wounds. He was severely wounded, sleeping nine hours out of every ten, under the influence of milk of the poppy. Sunfyre was too large to be moved, and due to his injuries unable to fly. The dragon thus remained at Rook's Rest, where guards were posted to keep him safe and feed him. With Aegon unable to rule, Prince Aemond assumed the style of Protector of the Realm.
The Dragonseeds Edit
Lord Corlys, upon learning of the death of his wife, threatened to leave Rhaenyra’s side, until Prince Jacaerys named him Hand of the Queen. Together, grandfather and grandson planned an assault on King's Landing, send Prince Joffrey to the Vale with Lady Rhaena and three dragons eggs and Joffrey’s dragon Tyraxes. Prince Aegon the Younger and Prince Viserys were sent to Pentos by ship, to be fostered with the Prince of Pentos, a friend of Prince Daemons, until Rhaenyra had secured the throne.
With only Vhagar left to defend the city (Dreamfyre was at King's Landing as well, but could not fight due to her rider being unable), Jacaerys wanted to attack the capitol with as many dragons as possible. With six riderless dragons present on Dragonstone, Jacaerys called out to the dragonseeds, vowing that any man who could master one of the dragons would be raised to knightship and gain wealth. Many men tried, and some women as well. Sixteen men died, amongst them Lord Commander Steffon Darklyn, and forty-eight were burned of maimed. Four people eventually succeeded: Vermithor was claimed by Hugh Hammer, Silverwing by Ulf the White, Seasmoke by Addam of Hull, and Sheepstealer by a girl named Nettles. Lord Corlys asked Rhaenyra to remove the taint of bastardy from Addam and his brother Alyn, making them true Velaryons, and named Addam heir to Driftmark.
Meanwhile, ninety warships were sailing from the Stepstones chanced upon the Gay Abandon, carrying Prince Aegon the Younger and Prince Viserys. The escorting ships were sunk or taken, and Prince Aegon managed to escape by clinging to the neck of his dragon, Stormcloud. During the flight, Stormcloud was injured terribly. Prince Viserys, having only a dragon egg, had no such option, and was made a captive of admiral Sharako Lohar of Lys.
Prince Aegon’s arrival on Dragonstone, with Stormcloud, spread the tale, and so Prince Jacaerys mounted Vermax and flew to the Lysene galleys, quickly followed by the four dragonseeds. The warships tried to flee, and all seemed lost for the Lyseni, until Vermax flew too low and crashed into the sea. Jacaerys leapt free, and managed to hold on to a piece of wreckage, until he was pierced by quarrels. The prince was swallowed by the sea.
The lysine ships, who had set sail originally with ninety, sailed back with only twenty-eight ships. They passed Dragonstone, but believed the island too strong to take. Instead, they sacked Spicetown and butchered men, women and children. High Tide, containing all the Sea Snakes treasures, was consumed by fire, one third of his fleet brought down.
The Battle on the Honeywine Edit
A fortnight later, Lord Ormund Hightower found himself stuck between two armies: Lord Thaddeus Rowan and Tom Flowers, from Goldengrove and Bitterbridge, came down on him from the northeast, while Ser Alan Beesbury, Lord Alan Tarly and Lord Owen Costayne were cutting off the retreat route back to Oldtown. They closed around him, when Prince Daeron on his dragon joined the battle. Tom Flowers died, Lord Rowan fled, the Alans were captured, and Lord Costayne was dying. The victory lead to Lord Hightower knighting Prince Daeron, naming him Daeron the Daring.
Fall of King's Landing Edit
Tide turned for the blacks. Jace’s death seemd to give Rhaenyra strength. Filled with anger and hatred, she resolved to use her dragons.
Meanwhile Lord Mooton retook Rook's Rest, and attempted to kill Sunfyre, who still remained there, wounded. The dragon fought back, and burned three score men before the others fled. Lord Mooton himself died as well. When the survivors dared to return to the field again, the dead were still there, but Sunfyre had disappeared. There were no tracks, suggesting Sunfyre had taken wing again despite his wounds.
With the North assembling forces, Ser Criston saw danger, should these troops join up with Daemon at Harrenhal.
The host Prince Daemon had gathered at Harrenhal was still growing, and Prince Aemond believed him to be the real danger, not Rhaenyra. Aemond and Ser Criston rode forth from King's Landing with a host of four thousand and the dragon Vhagar. Daemon knew of their plans even before Aemond had left the capitol. He hastened south on Caraxes, staying well away from Criston’s line of march.
Expecting to find Daemon, instead Aemond and Criston would find Harrenhal abandoned after a nineteen day march, and would believe themselves victorious. The truth was very different. With Vhagar away from King’s Landing, only Dreamfyre remained, and Helaena was in no condition to fly. Daemon and Caraxes had not fled, but joined up with Rhaenyra and Syrax above King's Landing, leaving the small folk below in terror. The Sea Snakes ships sailed into Blackwater Bay, and the only one left to defend the city was Dowager Queen Alicent. Grand Maester Orwyle, trying to dispatch ravens asking for help, was arrested before a single letter could be send. The riders bearing messages were arrested at the city gates, and the seven captains commanding the gates we killed or arrested, all by those gold cloaks still loyal to Prince Daemon. The city gates were opened for the men arriving with the Velaryon fleet.
King's Landing fell in less than a day.
All those from the green council who had been in King's Landing when the attacks began were arrested, safe for Lord Larys Strong, who had disappeared, taking with him King Aegon II, Princess Jaehaera, Prince Maelor, and Ser Willis Fell and Rickard Thorne of the Kingsguard. The other green council members yielded, and Rhaenyra took her place on the Iron Throne.
Dowager Queen Alicent would be spared, but her father, Ser Otto was beheaded, as was Ironrod. Ser Tyland Lannister would be given to the torturers, in the hopes of regaining some of the gold he had hidden.
While Rhaenyra’s return to King's Landing was cheered and celebrated at first, the amount of head on the spikes and increasing taxes made the small folk dub her “King Maegor with teats”. Despite this, Princes Joffrey and Aegon the Younger were called to King’s Landing.
Battle by the Lakeshore Edit
While the news of the fall of King's Landing reached Prince Aemond, fighting in the Riverlands continued. A Lannister host was on the move, lead by the old Lord Lefford. At the western shores of the Gods Eye, they came across Roddy the Ruin with his Winter Wolves, who had combined his forces with Lord Forrest Frey and Red Robb Rivers. From the south, Longleaf the Lionslayer, Lords Bigglestone, Chambers and Perryn locked him in. Lords Garibald Grey, Jon Charlton and Benjicot Blackwood joined up with the army from the north and riverlands the following day, whilst Lord Leffords ravens were all shot down. The day after, they began their battle, which would be called the bloodiest land battle of the Dance. Hundreds died that day.
Prince Aemond and Ser Criston Cole at Harrenhal could no longer agree on a plan of action. They were running short of food. Criston wished to withdraw to the south, to join strength with Lord Hightower and Prince Daeron, while Aemond, enraged by losing King's Landing and the outcome of the Battle by the Lakeshore, wished to attack the capitol. And so they parted ways, with Criston taking the army south, whilst Prince Aemond remained to ravage the Riverlands, waiting until such a time when Rhaenyra would send out “a dragon or two” to stop him, so Vhagar could destroy them.
The Feasting Corpses/The Battle at the stony ridge Edit
Aemond burned Darry, Lord Harroway's Town, Lord's Mill, Blackbuckle, Buckle, Claypool, Swynford and Spiderwood. Ser Criston, going south, found everything in front of him dead: forests, villages, horses, men. His scouts found scenes where armored corpses sat beneath the trees, rotting away, a mockery of the fallen throwing a feast. Four days out of Harrenhal, attacks made Criston lose a few men every single time. Seeing multiple “corpse feasts” Criston and his men grew accustomed to the sight. At Crossed Elms, however, the corpses were no true corpses at all, and attacked Criston and his men when they were riding past. In his flight, Criston fell upon the Lords of the Trident, with Roderick Dustin leading. Criston died and his army broke and ran.
Living in fear of Vhagar, Lord Mooton had meanwhile invited Daemon and Nettles to take Maidenpool as their base. Aemond still terrorized the Riverlands, striking at Stonyhead, the Mountains of the Moon, Sweetwillow and Sallydance, and many more. Each day Caraxes and Sheepstealer would take wing from Maidenpool, and each day they would return, with Vhagar unfound.
The First Battle of Tumbleton Edit
Aemond still remained a threat in the Riverlands, striking unexpectedly. Yet the real threat was Prince Daeron and the great army of Lord Ormund Hightower. Slowly advancing on King's Landing, they were defeating the Queens loyalists wherever they went, as Rhaenyra’s armies fled before Tessarion. To defeat Aemond and Vhagar, Prince Daemon and Caraxes had left for the Riverlands with the girl Nettles and her dragon Sheepstealer. To defeat Daeron and Tessarion, Ulf the White and Hugh Hammer flew to Tumbleton.
Rhaenyra´s forces at Tumbleton greatly outnumbered the Hightower army. People fleeing into the city for safety from Lord Hightowers army, were secretly part of the army, and infiltrated the ranks of defenders. In addition, Ser Ulf the White and Ser Hugh Hammer, since then known as theTwo Betrayers, changed their allegiance. Though Lord Ormund and his cousin Ser Bryndon died in the battle, killed by Roddy the Ruin as he himself was mortally injured, the Hightower army kept the advantage, as Vermithor and Silverwing joined Tessarion in the air, and loosened their flames upon Tumbleton unexpectedly. A savage sack followed.
Upon learning of the betrayals, Queen Rhaenyra ordered the city gates closed and barred. The Betrayals at Tumbleton made the Black Council question the loyalty of the other dragonseeds, Addam Velaryon and Nettles. Most of the Black Council urged Rhaenyra to arrest both, and only Lord Corlys spoke in their defense, declaring Addam and his brother Alyn true Velaryons. His protests, though passionate, were in vain. Rhaenyra, already suspicious, ordered the arrest of Nettles, at Maidenpool with Prince Daemon, and Addam, currently guarding the dragons in the Dragonpit. Ser Luthor Largent went to arrest Addam, but upon his arrival at Rhaenys's Hill, saw Seasmoke take wing, with Ser Addam on his back. Ser Luthor arrested Lord Corlys instead, since the old man did not deny helping his heir escape. Slowly, chaos started to arise again in King's Landing.
In Tumbleton, meanwhile, chaos reigned. Lord Hightowers army remained there. Ormund's sons remained in Oldtown and were still green boys. Though Prince Daeron had been knighted, he was still a boy, used to following commands. Ser Hobert, another Hightower cousin, was presumed to take command. Prince Daeron commanded Ser Hobert to stop the savage sacking, but Hightower proved to be very ineffective. Ser Ulf and Hugh were worse. Ser Ulf drank heavy and fed women to his dragon, and became angry when he was named Lord of Bitterbridge, dreaming of Highgarden instead. Ser Hugh was even worse, dreaming of a crown of his own.
In the Hightower army, no decision of a course of action could be made, and the army became smaller every day due to desertions.
Dancing Dragons at Dragonstone Edit
Around the time of the First Battle of Tumbleton, the merchant cog Nessaria made a stop at Dragonstone for repairs and provisions, having been driven off course by a storm. They had passed the Dragonmont before arriving at Dragonstone´s port, and there they had spotted two fighting dragons.
Inspired by the story from those of Old Volantis, local fisherman took their boats out for a look the next morning, and they reported having seen the burned and broken remains of a dead dragon. From the color of its scales and wings, they concluded the dead dragon was Grey Ghost, completely torn apart. Ser Robert Quince, Dragonstone's castellan, named the Cannibal as the killer. Only later in the war would the truth surface.
Fall of Dragonstone Edit
Having smuggled Aegon, Jaehaera and Maelor out of King's Landing, Lord Larys dispatched Jaehaera and a Kingsguard to Lord Hightower, and Maelor and another Kingsguard to Storm's End, while he disguised King Aegon and smuggled him to Dragonstone, Rhaenyra’s seat, the last place anyone would look for him. Aegon was kept hidden in disguise, and would have remained such, had Sunfyre had not found them. Tragically, Prince Maelor and Ser Rickard Thorne were ambushed and killed at Bitterbridge. Unbeknownst to those in the castle, it had been Sunfyre who had fought and killed Grey Ghost, and not the Cannibal.
Rider and dragon went out flying again, regaining strength, while Aegons loyal men had found people enough who were willing to betray Rhaenyra, due to the mislike for her. Dragonstone had not been well defended, and it had fallen easily. There had only been one problem. Lady Baela, Prince Daemon’s daughter, had managed to escape her attackers and mount her dragon. She met Aegon II and Sunfyre in the sky, unexpectedly, where the two dragons fought. Sunfyre blinded Moondancer with fire, but the younger dragon fought on. The dragons eventually fell on the earth. On the ground, Sunfyre won the battle. King Aegon had jumped off Sunfyre’s back before the dragon hit the ground, but had broken both his legs. Baela had stayed strapped on Moondancer, and was burned and battered. She was taken captive, and King Aegon the Elder now held Dragonstone.
The Dance over Harrenhal Edit
Lord Manfryd Mooton found himself in a difficult situation, when the message from Rhaenyra arrived from King's Landing, telling Mooton to send her the head of Nettles. Nettles, during her time with Prince Daemon, was said to have become his lover, according to Rhaenyra, and was thus guilty of high treason. Prince Daemon was to not be harmed. The decision Lord Mooton had to make was a difficult one, for Nettles was a guest beneath his roof, and killing her would mean breaking the guest right, and facing Prince Daemon's wrath. Refusing Rhaenyra, however, would mean being attainted a traitor. The maester suggested that they had never read the letter, and later that night, went to inform Daemon of Rhaenyra´s command. The next day, Nettles mounted her dragon Sheepstealer, with tears on her cheeks. Daemon and Nettles spoke no word of farewell, but when Sheepstealer climbed the sky, Caraxes gave a scream. Nettles and her dragon disappeared that day, and were never seen again.
Prince Daemon told Lord Mooton to spread the word that he would fly for Harrenhal, so Aemond could come face him, alone. Once Daemon was gone, Lord Mooton took down Rhaenyra’s banners, and raised the golden dragons of King Aegon II.
Prince Daemon took Harrenhal from the few who still remained there, and waited for thirteen days. On the fourteenth day, Vhagar appeared in the sky, and on her back rode Prince Aemond and his bedmaid, the pregnant seer Alys Rivers. Dropping Alys on the ground, Daemon and Aemond had one last conversation before both Targaryens mounted their dragons and climbed into the sky. Caraxes fell down upon Vhagar, starting the fight. Their fight ended as the two dragons, locked together, tumbled down towards the lake. According to the tales, this was when Prince Daemon leapt from one dragon to the other, with Dark Sister in his hand. Aemond looked up in terror, but was chained to his saddle, and could not do anything when Daemon ripped off Aemonds helm and drove the sword through Aemonds blind eye. The dragons struck the lake half a heartbeat later.
Caraxes lived long enough to crawl back onto the land, beneath the walls of Harrenhal, where he died. Vhagar died in the water, and was found some years later, when the Dance was over, with Aemond’s armored bones still chained to the saddle, and with Dark Sister still in his eye-socket.
There’s no doubt that Prince Daemon died that day, as he could not possibly have survived the impact. His remains, however, were never found, causing singers to tell that he survived to spend his last days with Nettles. It was the twenty-second day of the fifth moon of the year 130AC.
The Riots at King's Landing Edit
In King's Landing, the Velaryon fleet, counting more than half the army that had sailed from Dragonstone, had abandoned Rhaenyra when they learned Lord Corlys was in the Black Cells. Those who remained could no longer be trusted.
That same day, Queen Helaena threw herself from her window in Maegor's Holdfast and died impaled upon the iron spikes that lined the dry moat below. The stories told of Helaena’s death on the streets and in inns, by nightfall, were much darker. The people believed she had been murdered, as her sons before her. The rumours were believed very quickly. Tales tell that at the moment of Helaena’s death, her dragon Dreamfyre rose with a roar, snapping two of her chains.
That night a riot rose in King's Landing. The chaos was big, and neither noble nor lowborn was spared. Sailors unable to return to their ships attacked the River Gate. Ser Luthor and his Gold Cloaks went to Cobbler's Square, to disperse the rioters, but after the first had fled, there were ten thousand more, and they believed Luthor to have killed Helaena: the mere sight of him angered them even more. The rioters were ten thousands where the gold cloaks were only five hundred, and so the Gold Cloaks were slaughtered, Ser Luthor amongst them.
A hedge knight, Ser Perkin the Flea, crowned his squire Trystane, declaring him to be King Viserys’ bastard. Ser Perkin then began dubbing all those who would support Trystane knights, and so many fled to their cause.
The next day, some order was restored to parts of King's Landing again, but in the rest of the city, chaos remained.
That night Rhaenyra learned about Maidenpool's betrayal, and Nettles' escape. Rhaenyra send ravens to Winterfell and the Eyrie, pleading for more aid, and named a new Lord Commander to her Queensguard, Ser Glendon Goode. Prince Joffrey donned his armor and begged to fight, but he was forbidden.
The night came once more, and Ser Perkin and “King” Trystane were gaining strength. The King's Gate and the Lion Gate were opened by rioters, the Gold Cloaks at the King's Gate having fled, and those guarding the Lion Gate having joined the rioters. With Ser Perkin holding the River Gate, three out of seven gates were now open to enemies.
The people of King's Landing no longer believed Rhaenyra could protect them and a mob twice as big as the one of the night before formed in the city. A crazed prophet made the mob turn their attention to the Dragon Pit and the entire mob moved towards Rhaenys's Hill to kill the dragons. By the time they reached the hill, their numbers had doubled. Rhaenyra was watching all this unfold from Maegor's Holdfast. Prince Joffrey pleaded, fearing Tyraxes, his own dragon, would be killed, but Rhaenyra would not listen, insisting the mob would burn. Joffrey, dissatisfied, went outside and mounted Syrax, Rhaenyra’s she-dragon, the dragon that was not his own, to fly to the Pit. All attempts to get him back failed, as Syrax threw Joffrey off her back as arrows and spears flew up from below. Joffrey, not having used a saddle, fell from Syrax’ back and crashed into the ground.
The battle in the Dragonpit began. Four dragons there were: Shrykos, who died first, was slain by a woodsman who slammed his axe into her skull. Morghul was killed by the Burning Knight. Tyraxes went into his lair and roasted many before finally dying. And last Dreamfyre, who broke free of her remaining bonds, plunging into the mob with fire, tooth and claw. Dreamfyre slew more than the other three dragons combined, until a crossbow blinded one of her eyes. Dreamfyre then tried to leap free, and the weakened dome cracked under her force, only to crash down on both dragon and dragonslayers.
Syrax was still alive and free in the air, and descended on the survivors. Rhaenyra, watching from atop Maegor's Holdfast, would not dare let go of her last remaining son, Aegon the Younger… until she saw Syrax fall.
Rhaenyra’s councilers agreed that the city was lost. Rhaenyra was persuaded to leave the next day, slipping through the Dragon Gate, starting the journey to Duskendale.
The Second Battle of Tumbleton Edit
News of unrest in King's Landing reached Tumbleton, making the Hightower army believe they should advance upon the city, but Ser Hobert doubted, and the Two Betrayers refused to join unless their demands were met.
With Aemond slain and Aegon still missing, the Greens found themselves without a leader and a king. Prince Daeron was now next in line for the throne and there were some who wanted to name him Prince of Dragonstone, or even King, but the Two Betrayers did not agree. Lord Hugh Hammer wanted to be crowned king, by the rights of conquest. He had the oldest and largest dragon alive, trice as big as Tessarion, Daeron’s dragon.
Offended by the arrogance of the Betrayers, the lords and knights of the Reach, and Prince Daeron, grew wroth. The Two Betrayers plotted together Hammer's coronation, and indeed Hard Hugh later wore a crown of black iron. When insulted, Hard Hugh’s men came to blows with loyalists, and Lord Peake and Ser Hobert summoned eleven other lords and landed knights, who together became known as the Caltrops, as to discuss what to do about the dragonseeds. They agreed that disposing of Ulf the White would be easy, but that Hammer was dangerous, surrounded by men and women day and night. They decided Hammer had to die first.
With Prince Daeron's consent, the Caltrops carried out their plans. But the day the Caltrops planned to strike, the people at Tumbleton woke at night to find themselves under attack. The dragon attacking was Seasmoke, with Addam Velaryon on his back, and with an army of four thousand loyal to Rhaenyra behind them. The great host encamped at Tumbleton outnumbered their attackers, but due to their long stay, they had grown lax.
Ulf was asleep inside Tumbleton, his dragon outside the town. They tried to wake him, but he slept through the entire battle. Hard Hugh did respond, and rushed to the yard, screaming for a horse so he could go and mount his dragon, when Lord Jon Roxton, one of the Caltrops, met up with him. He offered Hammer his condolences, and when asked why, he told the new made King he had died in battle, before killing Hammer. He was shortly after killed himself by Hammer's men in revenge. Prince Daeron died in the battle as well, though no one knows exactly how. Three different accounts exist on his death.
The three dragons encamped at Tumbleton were unchained, however, and all had been roused by the battle. Addam turned Seasmoke to meetTessarion, and the two dragons danced around each other in the sky. Vermithor eventually rose into the sky as well, attacking everything he came across. And thus Addam turned Seasmoke towards him, to protect those men who were helping them, although he must have known Seasmoke could not beat Vermithor. The dragons were so locked together, neither could get free. Tessarion joined the fight, which ended with Vermithor ripping off the head of Seasmoke. Vermithor, due to his wounds, died next. Tessarion, after trice trying to fly, remained in pain, until Lord Blackwood ordered her killed to end her suffering.
Though having won the battle, the Rivermen had not been able to take the town. Tumbletown's walls were closed, and without a dragon or equipment, they could not start a siege, so the rivermen took all that they found useful and left. Only one dragon now remained at the city: Silverwing.
Eight of the thirteen Caltrops had died in the battle, and one would die the next day. Ser Hobert and Lord Peake remained, and both found Ulf the White, the last dragonrider, proclaiming himself their last hope. White now proposed to take the throne for him, since Prince Daeron was dead. And so Ser Hobert visited him the next day with two casks of wine, one red for himself, one golden arbor for White. Ulf, however, became suspicious of Ser Hobert, and insisted they drank the arbor gold together.
And so Ser Hobert drank deep, and asked for more. Having seen this, Ulf drank three cups, and died shortly after due to the poison mixed in the wine. Ser Hobert tried to retch, but for him it was too late as well, and he died within the hour.
Without a leader, and without a rider for Silverwing, the army started to fall apart. And so Lord Peake called defeat, and retreated. King's Landing had been saved.
Rhaenyra’s retreat to Dragonstone Edit
Yet Rhaenyra did not know about this. She had been refused entry at Rosby and was allowed to stay only one night at Stokeworth, half her Gold Cloaks deserted on the road, and attackers killed several of her knights. At Duskendale they were admitted, but not allowed to stay long. Refusing to part from Aegon, and without ships, Rhaenyra sold her crown to buy passage on a Braavosi ship. And so she returned to Dragonstone, where she knew were more dragon eggs, for she needed a new dragon.
At Dragonstone, Rhaenyra found her castellan slain. As Ser Alfred, angered when he had not been named castellan, showed Ser Roberts burned body, his men killed all of Rhaenyra’s men, and imprisoned Rhaenyra, her ladies, and Aegon the Younger. Once inside the gates of the castle, Rhaenyra stood face to face with Aegon II and Sunfyre.
Not long after Dragonstone had secretly fallen to Aegon II, ravens had arrived telling him about Rhaenyra’s return to Dragonstone. This had given Aegon the opportunity to prepare for the arrival of his half-sister.
And so it was the Queen found her brother in her own seat. Aegon wasted no time, and had Rhaenyra fed to his dragon, whilst Aegon the Youngerlooked on. With the chance that Rhaenyra’s loyalists would continue the fight in her sons name, Aegon the Younger became a hostage. It was the twenty-second day of the tenth month of 130AC.
On the ninth day of the twelfth month, Sunfyre the Golden died on Dragonstone. After this, Aegon started planning his return to King's Landing. Though Rhaenyra had died, her cause lived on. Aegon would sit the throne again, but it would only lest another half of a year.
The chaos of King's Landing, known as the Moon of the Three Kings, was finally ended when Lord Borros Baratheon imposed order in the city. Lord Corlys was freed from the dungeons and joined Aegon's council. Since Jaehaera was Aegon's only surviving child, she was betrothed to Lord Borros.
The Battle of the Kingsroad Edit
An army of 4,000 men from the Riverlands, led by the 21-year old Lord Kermit Tully, the even younger Lord Benjicot 'Bloody Ben' Blackwood and his aunt Lady Alysanne Blackwood marched to King's Landing by the Kingsroad.
Determined to defeat Rhaenyra's remnants once and for all, Lord Borros and the Stormlands' army confidently faced the opposing army, since they were led by two young men and a woman.
Despite being heavily outnumbered, the Riverlands' army was experienced and determined, and the overconfidence of Lord Borros led to his army being defeated. Lord Borros kept fighting, killing Lord Darry and Lord Mallister in the process, before being killed in single combat by Kermit Tully, ending the final battle of the Dance.
The war concluded with the death of Aegon II and the ascension of Aegon III, Rhaenyra's son. It appears that this outcome was a negotiated settlement between the two sides. Since both claimants died in the conflict, neither side that started the war was technically victorious. The grievous damage done to House Targaryen also meant that it was hard to judge who had emerged from the war as a victory.
Most of the remaining dragons were killed in the war, leaving only a few, somewhat sickly weaklings behind. The last of these died several years later, leaving the Targaryens without their dragons. The war also thinned the Targaryen bloodline, leaving it perilously close to destruction. Thankfully, Aegon III and his successors increased the size of the family once more through the many children they had, although never again to such numbers as before the war.