The Frost Uprising of 337AC, also known as the War of the Frost, was a conflict in the North that took place from 337-338AC, when Hoarfrost and his Companions began to sack towns and villages south of Winterfell.
The winter of 337 was a hard one for many, food growing scarce in some parts of the North. As often occurs during such times, men of the North took it upon themselves to spare their kith and kin starvation, marching off into the howling winds of winter, never to return, allowing their loved ones to ration their food that much easier.
This time, however, rumours had spread of a man taking in all those that were willing - deep in the Wolfswood a simple forrester named Hoarfrost had assembled a group of men and women he called his Companions, who hunted, fished, and foraged in hopes of surviving on their own. A better chance than merely wandering, it was, and so many joined - swelling his numbers into the thousands.
As winter deepened, Hoarfrost and his men were forced to head south in search of game and supplies. They offered themselves up as mercenaries, labourers, hunters and workers, but food still proved scarce, and in the heart of winter there was little enough work to be done. On the brink of starvation, Hoarfrost and his Companions did what many before them have done - they turned to banditry, beginning what came to be known as the War of the Frost.
The War of the Frost Edit
As the Companions emerged from the Wolfswood and began to head south, they stopped by those holdfasts and villages they drew near and sought what succor they could. Most simply turned them away - winter had been hard for all, and no one could deal with the sudden appearance of two thousand hungry mouths. As village elder after village elder and minor lord after minor lord turned them away, Hoarfrost realized that if he was going to feed his men and keep them alive through the winter, they would need to take drastic measures. If need would not drive men to generosity, fear might - and so he hardened his heart, and prepared himself for what was to come.
The Sack of the Square Edit
After weeks of traveling in search of food and supplies, Hoarfrost and his men finally had enough. They drew near Torrhen's Square, an army of some two and a half thousand strong, and descended upon the village outside the walls.
The unprovoked attack came as a surprise, catching the Tallharts entirely off guard. Those men that could be found rallied to the defense of the village, cutting down large numbers of the poorly armoured invaders - but numbers and desperation were not on their side, and they fell back into their keep. Hoarfrost and his men looted the town, setting buildings alight and taking cattle, grain, and supplies of all kinds. Several ships were burned at anchor, though some debated taking them to raid along the Saltspear. The sacking lasted well until evenfall, even as ravens winged their way toward Winterfell.
With the smoke of the village still rising into the air, Hoarfrost and his men continued their journey south. Any village they neared they took, burning out the inhabitants and slaying those that resisted. Food, clothing, cattle and grain were all taken, the men put to the sword and women carried off or slain out of hand. Many saw the raiders as little better than the Ironborn, worse, even, for they were Northmen, one and all. Slowly the lords of the North began to gather their armies - their forces smaller and collected more slowly due to the depth of winter.
Battle of the Barrowlands Edit
A few months later, however, the North was ready. Hoarfrost and his Companions had lived freely in the Barrowlands for the entire time - taking a small keep called Barrowhall and putting it's lord to the sword. From there they launched raids on the surrounding countryside, hunkering down whenever winter raged its worst - but after a particularly stable spell, House Stark and it's vassals were ready to strike.
Three armies converged on Barrowhall - men from west, north, and east all converging on the small keep. By the time Hoarfrost knew of their approach there was little to be done to avoid the coming conflict; and so he rode out to meet them head on, driving his army into the forces approaching from the east, hoping to destroy them before they could rejoin their fellows.
So began the Battle of the Barrowlands - an extended conflict that raged for three days. Hoarfrost and his men managed to punch through the eastern army, winning their way to the Kingsroad - but the victory had been hard fought and costly, slaying near five hundred of Hoarfrost's Companions.
Battle of the Kingsroad Edit
For a moment it seemed as if the rebels had emerged victorious; but the remainder of the eastern army was joined by the horse of the western one, which had ridden ahead, and the full might of Winterfell and it's northern vassals. This united army stood near six thousand strong, dwarfing Hoarfrost's Companions three to one; nearly ten to one in horse. They pressed their advance upon the brigands - and battle was joined in the latter months of 337AC.
The casualties were heavy upon both sides, but the North carried the day - Hoarfrost and his men fled south along the Kingsroad, seven hundred of their dead left behind them.
Frost upon the Road Edit
The loyalist army of the North followed closely on the heels of the Companions, intending to put down the brigands once and for all - but a sudden storm arose, sweeping across the Kingsroad with sheets of hail and snow. Neither army could advance during such a period, giving Hoarfrost a respite to plan.
With heading northward out of the question, south was the only option left to them. Hoarfrost tapped the image of Moat Cailin on a map with a heavy finger, saying;
|“|| There. It's half a ruin, but it's stood for nigh a thousand years. It'll hold that much longer - long enough to keep us from these howling wolves and winter winds.
- Hoarfrost to his men
They struck out south, racing toward the key to the Neck, and the North.
The Flight to Moat Cailin Edit
As the passing of the storm allowed Hoarfrost and his Companions to move once more, so too did it free up the Northern army. Snowdrifts piled high, however, slowing all men down - but neither side could afford to lag, for the Northmen knew where Hoarfrost had set his eyes. The flight south was a hard and bitter one, those horses that fell lame serving as the supper of their riders come evenfall, and as the sun set and the campfires were lit, half the countryside seemed to glitter with miniature fallen stars. The camp of the Companions were always just within sight - while Hoarfrost and his boys could see the smoke from their pursuer's campfires blot out the pale of the moon.
Battle of the Fever Edit
Finally Moat Cailin loomed high upon the horizon, and both sides knew that battle was drawing near. Hoarfrost and his men redoubled their efforts - only to draw up short as they reached the castle.
Reinforcements had come, men from White Harbour and Oldcastle and Hornwood and Ramsgate, and they sat camped just east of Moat Cailin, banners waving in the wintry wind. Advance further south was impossible, now, and the east was blocked as well - behind them on the Kingsroad the original army approached, their pace increased as they scented blood. Hoarfrost had little choice - he pulled his men west, toward the Fever river, hoping to lose their pursuers in the hills.
It was not to be. Desperation, fear, hunger and exhaustion all took their toll upon his army, while the exhilaration of a near victory spurred the Northmen onward. Eventually Hoarfrost could run no more, and near the headwaters of the Fever river, he turned his army round, and waited.
The combined armies of the North approached, outnumbering the remaining Companions some five to one. Horns sounded, the two armies rushing to meet one another on that snow plain - northman fighting northman in horrific conflict.
It is said of Hoarfrost that he fought like a storm of black and silver and scarlet, his axe whirling in deadly arcs that trailed lifeblood in crimson ribbons. He slew man after man, roaring his challenge to any that dared defy him - with a mighty blow here he had nearly hewn a man in two, while a back-handed blow there caved in a breastplate, chest, and ribcage. Hundreds died on the field that day, Hoarfrost among them - slain in single combat by a northern nobleman who then took his axe and cloak as trophies.
As Hoarfrost fell his men lost hope - but they fought on, like creatures possessed, till only a few managed to escape into the countryside. Nearly a thousand companions perished by the Fever river, and for days afterward its waters ran brackish and red.