The Crisis of the Sparrow was a conflict that occurred in 308AC between the Iron Throne and the High Sparrow, leading to several dozen arrests and the dissolution of the Faith Militant.
During the Second War of Conquest in 300AC, the armies of Aegon VI Targaryen met with Randyl Tarly outside the gates of King's Landing. Many expected an extended siege; there were nearly five thousand gold cloaks within the walls, and both Lannister and Tyrell men circled from a distance. King Tommen and his court prepared themselves for a long and arduous trial - but it was not to be. The High Sparrow named Tommen born of incest and illegitimate following the Slaughter of the Septry and the results of Ceresi Lannister's trial by combat, and the Faith Militant managed to wrest control of the Mud Gate, opening the city to it's besiegers. Lannister men fell back toward the Red Keep while divisions arose among the rest of the City Watch, men favoring either side of the conflict. In the end, the Watch bends for Aegon, and the siege moves inward to the gates of the palace itself.
After several weeks of occupation the Red Keep surrenders, King Tommen having succumbed to the infection that took hold in a wound received during the Slaughter. The remainder of his court is captured, and in the first month of the year 301AC, King Aegon VI Targaryen is crowned by the High Sparrow.
The Crisis Edit
In the years that followed the Aegon VI's conquest, the already powerful High Sparrow steadily grew in strength. His aid in Aegon's rise to power gave him a strong political position, one that was ruthlessly abused in the early years of the young king's reign as Aegon attempted to secure his rule, and his Hand, Jon Connington, suffered from greyscale. The High Sparrow grew bolder by the year, taking captive those that he saw as offending the Seven and trying them in religious courts - inside King's Landing there were few that could resist him, for with the backing of the Faith Militant and the smallfolk themselves he was all but untouchable.
The Silk Street Seven Edit
In the middle months of 308AC, the Faith Militant imprisoned a group of seven nobles - dragging them out from an upper-class brothel on the Street of Silk for trial and execution. This was nothing new; for years in King's Landing brothels had suffered greatly, the Faith Militant and it's spies circling them like lions about a watering hole. This time, however, was different - for one of the Seven was a man named Dick Cole, a veteran of the Golden Company and the brother of the Lord Commander of the City Watch, Willam Cole. Dick Cole was executed after a brief trial in a public forum, leading to outrage among his old companions from the Golden Company and the fury of his brother, Willam.
The Gold Cloaks and the Sparrows Edit
Tensions spiked between the City Watch and the Faith Militant, several scuffles taking place in dark alleys, and members of both factions turning up dead. Crimes against the Stars or Sparrows went unsolved, while several key members of the Watch were captured and imprisoned for crimes against the Faith. In the seventh moon of 308AC, the actions of a group of Poor Fellows caused a terrible fire to burn through much of Flea Bottom, the inferno lasting for four days. The Fire of Flea Bottom soured many of the smallfolk's opinion of the Faith Militant, and drew the King's attention back toward the city.
In the end, Aegon could no longer ignore the outcry of Will Cole and other members of the Golden Company who had joined the Watch. The Faith's increasing arrogance and continued flaunting of the King's law made his position in King's Landing far too unstable - to many, it looked like the High Sparrow saw himself as the head of the Realm, and the King drew his power from the Septon. Such a situation could not long last, and in the latter months of 308, Aegon VI sent for the High Sparrow.
The King and the Septon Edit
Near the end of 308AC, King Aegon VI Targaryen, his Small Council, and the High Sparrow met in several meetings to determine the future of the Faith Militant in both King's Landing and Westeros. The talks went for hours, slowly growing more heated - for the High Sparrow refused to yield, his iron will unbreakable and unbendable. In the end the young King grew angry, and gave the Sparrow an ultimatum - the dissolution of the Faith Militant and the acceptance of the King as the highest mortal power in the realm. The High Sparrow refused.
Not long afterward the Faith Militant began to denounce the King Aegon in the streets of King's Landing, demanding that he repent for his sins and bend to the will of the Seven and their Voice on Earth. Where once such talk might have incited zealous revolts in the streets, the smell of smoke still hung heavy across the city following the Poor Fellows' Fires. The Crown and the Gold Cloaks had worked hard to stamp out the flames, winning the favour of the people - but when word arrived of the High Septon's denunciation, King Aegon realized that the time for talk was over.
The Hour of the Nightingale Edit
It was the early hours of a fairly chill morning when Aegon VI Targaryen gave the word to Willam Cole. Gold Cloaks filed through the streets in silence, armed with warrants and writs signed by the King himself. They struck several known haunts of the Faith Militant, capturing nearly a score of Warrior's Sons and several lieutenants among the Poor Fellows. As dawn rose over the city, however, a cry went up - and the ambush was uncovered. The Faith Militant took up arms - and the Battle for Baelor's began.
The Battle for Baelor's Edit
No doubt the streets of King's Landing would be forever stained red had the Gold Cloaks been armed with swords instead of cudgels. King Aegon had insisted, however, that as many lives be spared as possible. When word spread of the abduction and imprisonment of many key members of the Faith Militant, those that remained rallied on Baelor's hill, setting about a full-scale riot as they demanded the release of their compatriots. The Watch, under command of Will Cole, responded in force - advancing on Visenya's Hill and the Great Sept of Baelor in numbers.
The way was clogged with Poor Fellows, small folk from across Westeros filled with zealous passion and armed with anything they could hold - sticks, staves, axes and cudgels. The Gold Cloaks held tightly together, laying about with weapons of their own - and though they bore few sharpened blades, the unarmored peasant folk still fell in large numbers. Those not involved in the fighting fled screaming, blocking roads and alleyways and causing several casualties under stampeding feet. Still the Watch advanced, the Poor Fellows giving ground inch by inch.
The Capture of Theodan the True Edit
Theodan Wells, Commander of the Warrior's Sons, hastened to ready his men. As the City Watch advanced up the steep slopes of the Hill, the pious knight decided to buy time for the rest of his folk to arm, marching down the narrow road toward the oncoming force. Nearly score of Warrior's Sons marched with him, meeting Will Cole and his soldiers by the Guildhall of the Alchemists.
The battle between the two forces was swift and fierce, long-term rivalry now given release in blood and steel. The Warrior's Sons, each brave and skilled fighters, still lacked the cohesion and the numbers of their foes, and one by one they fell - some never to rise again. Theodan Wells himself was taken captive, his small force defeated.
The Battle on the Hill Edit
At last the Watch reached the top of the Hill, the Great Sept soaring high above them. Before it, standing together at the stair, stood the remainder of the Warrior's Sons, and hundreds of Poor Fellows, and the Holy Hundred, led by Bonifer the Good. Will Cole called out to his men, and the chosen among them drew swords and axes and spears - real, sharpened weapons, unblunted and made for killing. The Cole would have vengeance for his brother, he swore, and send those that had slain him to meet him in the afterlife.
The forces joined in terrible combat, the Gold Cloaks more numerous and better armed, while the last remnants of the Faith Militant fought with great and fatal zeal. Bonifer the Good was slain in the fighting, hewn from pauldron to chest by a mighty blow from Will Cole himself.
Here the hard heart of the Faith Militant fell, near two score Warrior's Sons, the whole of the Holy Hundred, and an unknown number of smallfolk perishing in their efforts to keep the Gold Cloaks at bay. In the end, no amount of faith could substitute good, solid steel, and even as the last of the Poor Fellows broke and ran, Will Cole and his host advanced upon the Sept itself.
The Sparrow Edit
Though he was coated from head to toe in the blood of septons and saints, Will Cole was still a faithful man, and dared not enter the Great Sept in such a horrific state. Word was sent to the Red Keep, and Aegon VI himself rode to Visenya's Hill. It is said that he wept when he saw the slaughter, flanked by five of his Kingsguard in their cloaks of brilliant white.
Aegon VI entered the Great Sept with trepidation, expecting one last final bit of resistance from the High Sparrow and his followers. Instead, they were met with silence. The Sparrow had flown, and taken most of his followers with him - those that remained knew nothing of where he had gone, or even when he had left. Aegon sent men to bar the gates and search high and low for the Voice of the Seven on Earth - but they all returned empty handed.
Following the violent events of the Battle of Baelor, King Aegon IV disbanded the Faith Militant, forbidding their assembly and reinstating the laws revoked by Ceresi Lannister. A new High Septon was chosen, the other lost and presumed dead - but still wanted for treason, and inciting a revolt. In the following years many feared that he might reemerge to denounce the King and lead some sort of religious popular revolt - but the High Sparrow never resurfaced, and slowly his name faded from the minds of men.