Renly Baratheon's Game of Thrones
The Blackadder War
The Blackadder War by Lester Matteson
For the campaign against House Agros, King Renly gathered two armies and had them march in a pincer. House Baratheon, House Bannatyne, and House Crawley marched west from Storm’s End across the Storm Mountains. King Renly took personal command of the army and led from the forefront of the crusade.
Of the battles through the mountains little is recorded. His majesty famously said “a dozen grandmothers with broomsticks could have held the mountains against the full might of the Targaryens of old, and the Agros had a slight bit more than grandmothers.” For six months they would battle across the Storm Mountains, pass by pass, outnumbering their foe ten to one and making slow ground, on many occasions advancing less than a mile a day.
The second part of the pincer formed in the Shadow of the Black Tower. House Matteson formed the vanguard of the army, and all three sons of Ser Werner Matteson were at the forefront, Ser Hagen Matteson, Ser Edmund the Black Adder, and young Lester Matteson on his first campaign. 6,000 men came under the banner of House Matteson and their vassal fiefs, 6,000 men of the Dornish Marches. It’s said the men of that war torn land are taught to hold a sword before they bother learning to farm and even their womenfolk are skilled with hunting bows. They had well-worn armor and many men carried family blades or polearms. They’d made the march from Vigilant Keep to the Black Tower, some 200 miles through mountainous terrain in only fourteen days. An incredible feat of generalship only made possible by the iron discipline of the soldiers. It was joked that Lord Werner hadn’t left a single soldier to defend his own lands, so invested was he in having two of his sons become the Lords of Great Houses.
House Shroud formed the second largest contingent, some 2,500 men, men who could not have been more different from their Matteson allies. Sailors, merchant sons, craftsmen… but even the lowest infantry men wore heavy armor. The archers didn’t carry bows nor even longbows, but heavy plate piercing crossbows. Even the least of the knights was resplendent in elaborate full plate.
The smallest of the Great House contingents was from distant House Dinar. When Lady Saris Shroud heard that the war was to be fought on the doorstep of her childhood home, she did beg her husband to send aid. Yet Lord Thorin Dinar was a wise man, and he knew that with the bulk of King Renly’s forces in the south and west he could not afford to move his armies so far from his home. Still he could not refuse his wife and allowed her to depart with a small force of knights and heavy infantry, some hundred men.
With so few of the Great Houses involved I will take a moment to mention the three lesser houses that mobilized alongside the allies. House Raven was a small house from the Rainwood, some six days ride east of Grayfalls through jungle most vile. Their heraldry is a swooping raven, against a field of three blue and two white horizontal stripes. House Gianna, a house located high in the mountains between Grayfalls and Valley Forge. Their heraldry is Twin Mountains on a sunset red field. House Swann as a small house from perhaps a day’s ride north of Grayfalls. Their heraldry is two battling swans, one black one white, on two alternate fields of white and black. Including the honor guard from House Dinar, these Houses would muster roughly 1,000 men.
The first sign of trouble came from the venerable Ser Trevar Shroud. A veteran of the Ninepenny war, the Greyjoy Rebellion, and Robert’s Rebellion, the old knight refused to be placed under the command of the Matteson brothers and demanded generalship over the combined force. The soldiers of House Matteson sneered at their Shroud rivals, and the slur toy soldiers became common. The men of the Dorneish marches were unimpressed by their counterpart’s fancy livery and expensive equipment. The men of Grayfalls and the small houses had as little liking for the Matteson men trying to lord over them. Just when it seemed the army would split into open violence, the Matteson brothers yielded command. The brothers wisely acknowledging that the slight loss of face wasn’t worth the cost of the campaign.
With the matter settled, Ser Trevar wasted no time in moving his army north across the valley into the waiting army of the traitor house Agros. Lord Ansom Agros, a cousin to the main line had declared himself Lord of House Agros until such time as Kaegren was rescued. He’d placed his army well, at one of the narrowest points of the valley, choking the river and forcing his opponents to fight uphill against his well-positioned army and while under a constant bombardment of arrows, ballistae bolts, and stones hurled by catapults.
It was a challenge General Trevar Shroud accepted, funneling his army against the Agros forces. Outnumbered 3:1 Agros forces turned the valley into a killing field, time and time again the loyalist forces broke against their unflinching shield wall and bloodied blades while trebuchet and ballista fire tore great holes in the loyalist ranks. It was Ser Edmund Matteson who turned the tide. He’d moved a small force of knights, no more than a score of men, and he led them in a brazen charge down the side of the mountain deep behind enemy lines. With a serpent’s fury they slaughtered the crews of the war machines, in an instant ceasing the deadly rain on the main lines.
The men let out a great cheer, seeing that the bloody toll reaped upon them had not been in vain. The infantry moved aside and the great knights that had been waiting eagerly for their moment formed into lines and began to canter. Then men of Agros, so long emboldened by their warmachines now quailed and pulled at their beards in fear. The great force of knights did pierce the failing line like an arrow pierces a man. Many were the heroes that day. Ser Edmund Matteson who had commanded what many thought a suicide mission fought like a man possessed and no warrior could stand against him. Twenty knights had ridden with him and such was their skill that surrounded and alone behind the lines four did survive. Ser Trevar Storm, Ser Mikel Gianna, Ser Ibram of House Clark, Ser Bonin of House Matteson, heroes all.
But for all the glory and honor won that grim day the cost was high on both sides. Ser Ansom Agros and Ser Balatyn Raven slew each other fighting near the warmachines. Lord Trevar Shroud was pulled from his mount by Agros pikeman, and though he survived his injuries were too sever to allow him to stay in the field. He would die a mere three years later, one of the first victims of the Red Pox. Lady Saris Shroud’s mount was slain by a ballista bolt, the shock from the attack and the fall from her horse sending her into labor. Apparently she’d been hiding the pregnancy for some months and even her guards were unaware. She gave birth to Fili and Kile Battleborn not two hundred yards from the battleline. She was sent back to the Black tower after the battle by no less than the combined authority of all three Matteson brothers, her own brother Silas Shroud, and Lord Balon Swann.
In the wake of the costly victory and his father’s departure Silas Shroud yielded command of the army to Haggen Matteson…
Once King Renly emerged from the mountains, and Lord Haggen Matteson arrived at Valley Forge the Rebellion was at it’s conclusion and the Agros forces surrendered. To the surprise of all the new lord, Ser Edmund Matteson of House Blackadder was surprisingly generous with pardons, forgiving many of the soldiers and even nobles who had fought against him. While the peasantry of Valley Forge adored him for his mercy, there was some resent among allied soldiers and nobles.