Win or Die
The Blackfyre Rebellion
The rebellion started a year an a half ago. The conflict lasted for just over a year and ended with the death of Daemon Blackfyre. Six months has passed since the end of the war.
The Blackfyres concentrated many of their forces in the Riverlands during the recent Rebellions, with 10,000 mounted knights and 25,000 footmen composed of units from the Blackfyres, Tullys, rebellious Starks, and their bannermen. They were met in the field by the Army of the Vale, commanded by General Ser Rugar Arryn of House Arryn, with 4,000 mounted knights and 11,000 footmen composed of units from the Arryns, loyal Starks, their bannermen, and some units led by adventurers from other parts of Westeros and the Golden Claws, led by General Kennrick Brax leading them in the field, with 2,500 mounted knights and 8,000 footmen composed of units from the Lannisters and their bannermen.
The Blackfyres quickly solidified their support in the Riverlands at the beginning of the rebellion, with many local lords coming over to their banner. By the time that some of the more southern rebellious Stark-aligned lords had begun arriving in the Riverlands it was clear that those who would remain loyal to King Otto Targaryen would have to respond.
Ser Rugar Arryn raised the Army of the Vale, which was primarily made up of knights and troops from the Vale, but would include significant aid in the form of Jace Stark and a number of northern soldiers who wished to support King Otto, and proceeded to invade the Riverlands from the east with General Brax and his lieutenant Tyrek Hill leading their army into the Riverlands from the west shortly thereafter.
The Blackfyres had numerical superiority, but they were under attack from two directions and suffered from a number of fractures in their command structure. The Army of the Vale found itself primarily facing the core of the Tully forces under the command of Lord Danmore Frey, a cunning and aggressive leader who became known for his repeated raids and attacks, while the men of the West were faced with the Blackfyres, who were still busy sorting out who would lead their forces in the Riverlands.
The conflict was bloody and desperate, with the Blackfyres and Tullys preventing the Arryns and Lannisters from linking up. The Army of the Vale made itself into a bulwark on the southern border of the Riverlands, beating back any Blackfyre attempt to make an advance on King’s Landing. Ser Rugar empowered some of his subordinates to act individually and two of his smaller companies, the Stormheart Irregulars and the Bloody Spades, raided deep into Tully territory.
By the time a year had gone by all four armies were ground down to shadows of their former selves, with Daemon Blackfyre and Aegor Rivers, otherwise known as Bittersteel, leading the combined Blackfyre and Tully forces. The Blackfyres made to push towards King’s Landing for final victory, but Ser Rugar had intelligence that put the Blackfyre army in the woods north of Maidenpool.
Standing in the road leading into the Crownlands, Ser Rugar set a trap for the Blackfyres. He directed his master to oversee the construction of sturdy defensive breastworks and the emplacement of several powerful scorpions and catapults. Ser Florin Arryn, Ser Rugar’s son, coordinated the Army of the Vale’s two mercenary units specializing in asymmetric warfare in setting up an ambush in the woods to flush the Blackfyres into the well-engineered defenses. Finally, Ser Rugar sent several ravens to Tyrek Hill and Kennrick Brax, detailing his plan to draw the Blackfyres into his lines and requesting that they come and close the jaws of his “dragon trap” when the Blackfyres had become fully engaged.
The Blackfyres fell into the trap, but there were more of them than the Arryn’s intelligence had indicated. The Army of the Vale had dwindled to 2,000 mounted knights and 6,000 footmen, but a much larger force was pushing through the forests north of Maidenpool. Ser Lachley Tyrell’s Bloody Spades and Captain Orrin Snow’s Stormheart Irregulars did excellent work in bleeding the Blackfyres and leading them directly into the Arryn defenses. The clash on the road to Duskendale was stupendous.
The Army of the Vale held, but just barely. The battle began in the morning and by noon the men of the Vale were bloody and soaked in the trenches as rain had begun to fall. Visibility was bad that day, minimizing the value of defensive archery, leaving the two armies to charge, stand, and counter charge. This was not the kind of battle that the Arryns had wished to fight, having been much more successful mounting mobile defenses and raids against such superior numbers.
Then the Lannisters arrived. Delayed on the way to Maidenpool slowed the arrival of the Golden Claws to the battle. Driving in from the northwest the Lannister cavalry had outpaced their footmen as the din of the battle to the south had become apparent. Seeing the Army of the Vale outnumbered and pinned to their own scorpions and catapults, Brax and Hill drove their knights into the Blackfyre rear. During that charge General Brax took a spear and fell from his horse. Tyrek Hill, at the age of twenty, took command of the Golden Claws and drove them deep into the Blackfyre forces until their resolve broke. Ser Rugar, his brother, Broderick Arryn, and Jace Stark had been personally commanding the central part of the Arryn lines and had been nearly overwhelmed when Hill arrived. Jace Stark fell when he personally led an assault on the pretender, Daemon Blackfyre, with Daemon himself cutting him down as he attempted to lead his troops through the Arryn lines.
The Lannister knights caused the battle to descend into a deadly general melee, the surviving parts of the Army of the Vale charged forward from their prepared positions and joined the pursuit of the broken Blackfyres. Daemon Blackfyre was slain on the field and Bittersteel recovered his body and sword, then led a portion of the Blackfyre army off of the field at Maidenpool, but not enough to continue the rebellion. Ser Rugar, known as the Iron Owl among his men for his resolve and cleverness in battle, met Hill on their field and offered the Lannister bastard a salute of genuine respect. Between them, the Arryns and Lannisters had broken the rebellion in the Riverlands. Many lords, knights, and common soldiers died upholding Otto’s claim to the Iron Throne, but by the end of the Battle of Maidenpool, his claim was safe.