Renly Baratheon's Game of Thrones
The Early Campaigns of the War of Five Kings
The Early Campaigns of the War of Five Kings, years 298 to 318 by Maester Paeter
In the fifteenth year of the Baratheon Dynasty (298 by the old Targaryen calendar), the seven kingdoms were torn asunder by the death of Robert Baratheon, 1st of his name, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm. The troubles only made worse by the revealed heresy and treason of Cersei Lannister and the vile circumstances of the births of her three children Jofferey Waters, Myrcella Waters, and Tommen Waters (Still erroneously called Baratheon by some). But all was not lost, for Renly Baratheon, the favored brother of the late King Robert 1, took upon himself the mantle and duties of King.
Ravens were sent to every lord south of the Neck and across the dukedoms the call was heard. Many a noble lord and countless knights pledged service to the one true king of Westeros. Among them Lord Mace Tyrell brought all the Dukedoms of the Reach, House Anzo, Bagheera, Darkwater, Hightower, Kumo, Lux, Redwyne, Saint-Claire, and Stormwind. All the Dukes of the Stormlands were just as quick in their ancient oaths to the Lords of the Stormlands, House Agros, Aquila, Bannatyne, Corax, Crawley, Dinar, Ghannam, Matteson, Noire, and Shroud. So great was the Kings muster that 80,000 soldiers were ready to lay down their lives for the cause of righteousness. Of his host perhaps 1:10 were fully trained knights, 5:10 were trained men at arms, mounted yeomen, or sailors, but a full 4:10 were naught but peasants who had nothing but the cause of justice and hasty training to prepare them for the horrors of the upcoming war.
To help organize his armies and rule his kingdom Renly established a system of noble ministers, to aid his various masters in governing the kingdom. Though listing all the positions and the worthy and unworthy souls is a task that has been taken up by other maesters, though Masters (but not ministers) shall be listed by name and title when they appear in events concerning the war.
The first task the King chose to undertake was to bring his wicked brother Stannis to justice. Stannis, who falsely claimed the crown that rightfully belonged to the one true king. Stannis, Lord of the Island of Dragonstone, who consorts with foreign gods and priestesses, and ordered the looting and pillaging of churches to the 7. Though it pained him to harm his own flesh and blood, Stannis’s wretched acts were too much for any man of virtue, much less a knight, to ignore.
Splitting his fleet into two smaller groups, one under the command of His Royal personage supported by no less than His Excellency Randyl Tarly the Master of War, and a second fleet under the command of His Grace Vladimir Aquila the Master of Laws. But here, on the verge of total victory, his majesties plans were undone by nothing less than treason. The Agros Rebellion had begun.
Beginning with the murder of Vladmir Aquila by Kaegren Agros and Varian Stormwind, the damage caused by this betrayal was horrific. As the King and his court prepared for a trial, A great host emerged across the Storm Mountains, the full might of House Agros joined by traitors loyal only to Varian Stormwind. Together they numbered nearly 12,000 men, of which a full 7:10 were trained men at arms or mounted yeomen, another 1:10 were Knights resplendent in their armor, and a mere 2:10 were hastily drafted conscripts unready for war.
The good and loyal forces of King Renly were caught completely by surprise by the scale of the treachery. Most of his army was away, some 50,000 men, off to deal with the false king Stannis. Including his smaller deployments the army of the one true king at Storm’s End numbered only 20,000. And while a full 2:10 were knights, many there to observe the trial, only 3:10 were men at arms or mounted yeomen, and a full 5:10 were peasants or hastily recruited men to fill loses in the early battles against Stannis.
His Grace Robert Crawley, Hand of the King, and accounted a wise and just man by all concerned, went forth to try and parley with His Grace Kraegor Agros. But there could be no speaking to a man who placed no value in oaths and honor. Even while his lips offered words of loyalty to Renly his black heart served only himself. With a single thrust of his blade the fallen Lord Agros cut down the noble Hand, his vile act a signal to his army to attack. A rain of boulders flung from the masses of trebuchets crashing down on the loyalist forces. There are rumors that claim Ser Agros was mad, but I tell you they are false. No madman can make an army dance as he did, or move a force so large unnoticed through so many mountains. No madman could use a blade so well.
It is a truth of the world that all battles are bloody, and leave no dignified remains. But there is something about famous battles, the ones destined to be recorded, the ones whispered about for generations, and the carnage they leave behind. Few battles have earned the reputation of that dread siege. Fully 1:3 men who fought on that field died that day. Lord Crawley was merely the first, slain, then trampled by horses and men trying to storm out of the fortress gates.
It was a day of Legends. Ser Edmund Matteson the Black Adder, who loved the ruby eyed Lady Gabrielle Aquila, stormed forth and into the heart of the enemy lines. So great was his wrath that when he his blade broke upon another knight’s shield he used the king’s banner as a spear with nary a thought of retreat. Ser Kavron Agros, whose loyalty to the king was unequaled, raced forth against his own family and was grievously wounded by a ballista bolt but fought on despite his wounds. Lady Saris Shroud rode out, with nothing but a white dress and her valyrian blade for protection, carrying a desperate message from Ser Varian Stormwind to Ser Edmund Matteson containing full plans of the conspiracy. Sadly the letter itself was lost in the aftermath of the battle and is unable to be reproduced today. Ser Trevar Shroud leading a flanking force fought and slew the traitor general.
It is unknown why Varian Stormwind turned against the conspiracy so, or why he would break free from prison leading his henchmen Ser Kaegren Agros and Ser Keager Storm in an attempted escape. The escapees took the guards from behind, murdering half a dozen and stealing their blades. Were it not for Ser Nero Corax the Master of Laws, and the posthumously knighted Guardsmen Travis the three would have escaped back to the traitors fold.
When dusk set the victory was won by Renly’s forces, if only just. The survivors of House Agros forces were rallied by Lords Osmund and Tramennis, lords and knights from a minor house near Valley Forge, and they fled back across the Storm Mountains. The Forces of Renly could not follow, with winter setting they had to sit and wait.
But the campaign season was not yet done. As the new year began, snow began to fall and even in far southern Dorne a cold wind blew. While his advisers urged His Grace Randyl Tarly the Master of War to turn his fleet back, he pressed on against Stannis’s reaver fleets commanded by the lowborn Davos Seaworth and numerous pirates. Seven times did the fleets clash. Seven times Randyl Tarly was driven back, but once more he drove his shattered ships forward and the heathen king Stannis had not a ship to oppose him.
The Master of War was the first man on the beach of Dragonstone, with the greater might of the Reach and Stormlands behind him. It was, many thought, his finest hour. But all was for not, as the Red Witch Melisandre left a foul sorcerous trap behind. A trap that sprung when the Master of War secured the ancient Targaryen Keep. It burned. It burned so hot that the fortress sagged and buckled, and remains a ruin to this day. While the victory belonged to the side of justice, it was a hallow one, Randyl Tarly burned clear to his bones, so badly that some called his surviving more a curse than blessing, thousands of men lost to the blaze, thousands more in the campaign, over eighty priceless ships lost at sea. They say Stannis’s witch laughed long and hard as her Master fled to the Vale where he remains to this day.