The War of the Lords Scorned began as a minor dispute between the Crown and various minor lords, who took to calling themselves the Lords Scorned, before evolving into a full scale rebellion in 333 AC.
When Aegon VI landed in the Stormlands, the Golden Company was at his back, led by Captain-General Harry Strickland. The Golden Company were the first to come to the King's side in his conflict, and remained there until his crown was won.
After the war, the company was disbanded and the members splintered off. Some returned to Essos to take up the sellsword life once more, others took positions in city and town watches, or personal guards of castle garrisons. Many others were granted lands and titles by the new King, most notably Harry Strickland himself, who was named Lord of Harrenhal.
As the years progressed, mistreatment of these newly-made lords became apparent. Their peers did not treat them as equals, and King Aegon did little to resolve these issues. They persisted for many more years, decades even, before the insults could be taken no longer.
Prelude to the War Edit
In 332 AC, Harry Strickland was on his deathbed, and his only son and heir, Mycah Strickland, sat beside him. For his entire life, Harry had proclaimed loudly, 'gold for four generations,' taking pride in his family's storied history in the Golden Company.
Mycah Strickland was born in Westeros, and new nothing else save for the life of an heir and a lord, though had noted the mistreatment of his father and his father's companions his entire life. As his father died, he reminded him of who he was - 'gold for five generations,' he said. From that moment onward, the new Lord of Harrenhal never forgot who he was, where he came from, or the men he owed his true loyalty to.
The Tourney at Harrenhal Edit
Harry Strickland passed in the late months of 332 AC, and as such, his son organized a lavish funeral and tourney to remember his father by. All were invited, namely those who had served in the Golden Company with him, but the guest of honor was to be King Aegon himself.
It had been Harry Strickland's aim for many years to wed Mycah off to the King's granddaughter, Aella, and so his only son and heir had been left unwed until the girl some fifteen years his junior was come of age. Only a few short years away from that date, Mycah invited the King to attend the tourney, to celebrate the life of one of his most loyal servants, and to ultimately ask the King personally for Aella's hand.
The King declined the invitation, choosing instead to remain in King's Landing. In his place he sent his only son, Prince Rhaegar. Rhaegar was of an age with Mycah, a good man and a fine prince, but it was an insult nonetheless. After so many years, the King hadn't even the courtesy to see off the man who won him his crown. Mycah's mind was made up.
When the tourney began a few months later, in the early days of 333 AC, lords, ladies, knights and scions from all corners of Westeros came to take part in the lists, and to watch on from the stands. Most notable of all the guests was the Prince of Dragonstone himself. The funeral was had and the celebrations commenced, and when enough time had passed, Mycah Strickland enacted his plan.
The gates of Harrenhal were shut, and all those inside were taken hostage, including the Prince. Many minor lords that were once Golden Company men, and other lords, namely Jason Bracken, Strickland's cousin, had convened in secret, and had agreed to enact this plan. Together, they took to calling themselves the Lords Scorned, an alliance of those lords - great and small - whom the King had neglected for so many years.
Together, the Lords Scorned made their demands as they rallied their armies to Harrenhal. Equal rights and treatment for all lords was to be given. Simple terms, in truth, and should they not be met, Prince Rhaegar's life would be forfeit. To ensure others did not flock to the King's aid, the countless hostages under their control ensured those houses remained idle in the conflict. Meet the terms and all would be spared, that is what the Lords Scorned asked.
Open Rebellion Edit
Armies flocked to Harrenhal, at the summons of their lords. Within a few months, twenty two thousand men had answered the call, while Aegon mustered an army of his own. The plan of the Lords Scorned worked in negating the enormous numerical advantage held by the King. Most of the great houses remained idle. Should they side with the rebels, they would be openly declaring treason against the King. Should they side with the King, they would be openly looking down on the lesser lords, and could face rebellions of their own.
Within a short while, Aegon had rallied fourteen thousand men to his side, significantly less than the Lords Scorned. Aegon could not march on Harrenhal, for it would mean the death of his son, and most of the Lords Scorned were content to wait. Others urged for war, and discontent grew among their own ranks, as they sat for weeks, pondering their next move. Eventually, their hand was played for them.
The truth of the matter remains uncertain, with some arguing that it was an accident, others arguing murder. All that is truly known is that in those early months, Prince Rhaegar was dead, the leading story being that he had slipped on the stairs and snapped his neck. without their primary hostage, the Lords Scorned were forced into action. The longer they waited, the more likely it would be that the news of the Prince's death would escape Harrenhal, and so they marched south, hoping to take the capital before the news got out.
The First Battles Edit
Three thousand men under the command of Jason Bracken remained at Harrenhal to keep the castle secure, while the remaining nineteen thousand marched south. On the road south, a further two thousand men splintered from the Lords' Scorned army. Their mission was to take the Antlers to the east, and then march north on Maidenpool, cutting off Crown access to the Trident. The rest of the army would continue on and take the capital, enforcing their demands.
The Battle of the Antlers was an easy victory for the Lords Scorned, and the first battle in the war. The strength of the Crownlands had been drained and collected at King's Landing, so that a full-sized army might oppose the attackers. As such, many castles were left poorly defended, and Antlers fell easily enough. From there, the two thousand marched north and besieged Maidenpool. While this happened, the King could no longer sit idle and allow the Lords Scorned to march south. He marched his army north, and though fearing for his son's life, met them at Sow's Horn.
The Battle of the Horn was a bloody affair, and proved that this was no minor revolt against the Crown. The Lords Scorned and their superior numbers pushed back King Aegon's forces and took the keep. The King could not afford to lose men in the field, while the Lords Scorned had that luxury. At the end of the fighting, Aegon's fourteen thousand were reduced to eleven, and they retreated south. The Lords Scorned lost two and half thousand men in the fighting, but now had the King on the run. Maidenpool was not yet taken, but when it was, the Crownlands would be ensnared.
A War of Attrition Edit
After defeat at Sow's Horn, King Aegon knew he could not lose in the field again. His army had no hope of contesting theirs in open battle, and so a desperate plan was devised to defend the last few keeps north of King's Landing. Of their remaining eleven thousand, the bulk headed south on the Kingsroad. Six thousand went to Hayford, the last keep on the road before the capital, two thousand were split between Rosby and Stokeworth, and the remaining three thousand were sent east to Duskendale.
The King's hope was that this spreading of troops would force the Lords Scorned to take the keeps one by one, particularly Duskendale, or be faced with being surrounded on all sides. Though they had less numbers, fully surrounding the enemy would give them a significant edge in future fighting. Fortunately for Aegon, the invaders took the bait. Mycah Strickland diverted his army and marched them east to take Duskendale. With Duskendale secured, fears of being surrounded would be quelled, and the march on King's Landing would resume.
Duskendale was a heavily fortified port town, and was reinforced by three thousand men, who were now fighting to protect their King and their homes. The Lords Scorned, running out of time, had no choice but to attack. The Assault on Duskendale was a brutal affair, and at the end of the day, both sides had suffered heavy losses. Almost all of the town's defenders were killed, with only some being taken prisoner. Three and a half thousand men of Strickland's fourteen had died assaulting the walls, but had succeeded in taking the town.
The Assault on Duskendale made it increasingly clearer that while a war in the fields benefited them, the Lords Scorned could not afford a war of attrition in which they needed to take keep after keep, one-by-one. Aegon's lesser numbers could negate those of the Lords Scorned from behind high walls, and with two or three more keeps to take before King's Landing itself, the rebels could not afford such losses. Both sides of the conflict knew that only a few battles remained in the war, and so they put all their efforts into winning them.
The Lords Scorned had taken their entire army east to capture Duskendale, and now had only the eastern roads to march south on the capital from. As such, Aegon regrouped his men, bringing all eight thousand he had left to Rosby, where it was his hope they would make a final stand against the invaders. The Lords Scorned took their time regrouping at Duskendale, and word had arrived that Maidenpool had been secured. They were a few months away from victory. However, their worst fears imaginable soon came true.
The Turning of the Tide Edit
Again, it is not known exactly how this occurred, with some saying the news was released voluntarily, others saying it simply slipped out. As the Lords Scorned began their march south from Duskendale, news spread like wildfire that Prince Rhaegar was dead. Fear for the Prince's life was soon replaced by a burning desire for vengeance, and the key asset of the Lords Scorned was now lost to them. Not only had they lost Rhaegar, but other families, who had themselves been fearing for their hostages, began calling their levies, believing their kin were likely dead, too.
The Lords Scorned had a choice. They could march south on Rosby and likely lose a great deal of their forces taking the town, they could march to Duskendale and risk being surrounded, or they could march back to Harrenhal, to regroup behind their formidable walls. The last option was the one taken, and at a great pace, they fled northwest. King Aegon followed quickly behind them with his eight thousand men, while more and more lords marched their levies to the defence of their King.
Aegon kept a good pace on the fleeing aggressors, but was eventually forced to concede ground in order to retake those keeps that had been captured in the earlier months. Duskendale was freed, followed soon after by Sow's Horn, and the Antlers. The Crown's forces were nearing Harrenhal, and there they would be able to lay siege to the castle, forcing the Lords Scorned to concede defeat eventually. It was Mycah Strickland's plan to sit inside Harrenhal, too, but when his army arrived at his keep, he found himself unwelcome in his own home.
The Betrayal of the Bracken Edit
Lord Jason Bracken, the cousin to Mycah Strickland through his aunt Bess' marriage to Harry Strickland, had had hesitations about openly fighting the Crown. He was content with hostages and making demands of the King, but open rebellion did not sit well with him. He was left behind to defend Harrenhal for this reason, with twenty-five hundred men of his own, plus a further five hundred of the castle's garrison.
Lord Jason held Harrenhal for many months without a word of trouble. News came from the south of their victories, and all the while he sat behind the walls, content with watching over the hostages and defending his cousin's keep. However, these months were a drain on the Bracken Lord, and eventually he realized the error of his ways. Some argue that it was Lord Jason that allowed the news of Prince Rhaegar's death to escape the castle walls, but the only deception that is certain is that he turned on the castle's garrison and took it for himself.
When Mycah Strickland marched back north to enter into his castle, he found it shut to him. Jason Bracken had taken control of it, and shut the Lords Scorned out. The armies of the Lords Scorned had nowhere left to hide, and were forced to meet the Crown armies in battle, a battle that would almost certainly end in their defeat. They attempted to run a while, but were eventually caught on the banks of the God's Eye, and battle was had.
The End of the War Edit
The Battle of the Banks marked the final battle in what came to be known as the War of the Lords Scorned. Aegon's eight thousand had now become eighteen, while Mycah Strickland led only eleven thousand men, having taken serious losses on his march south. The battle was swift and ruthless, and the broken rebels suffered heavy losses in the fighting. Strickland and his conspirators were taken prisoner, while a detachment marched east to relieve Maidenpool.
Many of the Lords Scorned were allowed to bend the knee, having only hostages taken. Others were sent to the Wall, including those at Maidenpool, having surrendered the keep immediately upon the arrival of the Crown's army. The rest, most notably Mycah Strickland, were summarily executed for their treason. The fifth generation of gold would be the last, and the war was brought to a close, half a year after it had began.
It was the late months of 333 AC when the war finally subsided, the conflict having dominated the year. Only half a year long, the war had resulted in the deaths of many thousands. Harrenhal was left short a lord, and Westeros was left short a prince. Prince Rhaegar's passing meant that his brother, Aemon, became the new Prince of Dragonstone and heir to the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.
Aegon took the warning of the war, and passed into law the decree that all lords were to be treated equally among peers, and that no man might look down upon another of the same titles. The war had also taught Aegon the need for a stronger presence north of the capital. The War of the Lords Scorned would not have been nearly as effective if it was not fought out of Harrenhal.
The monstrous keep allowed the Lords Scorned to launch a full scale rebellion, and Aegon came to truly note and respect the value of such a castle. With Mycah Strickland dying without issue, houses around Harrenhal, most notably Strong and Lothston, vied for control of the castle. Aegon's decision was a different one, though.
In 334 AC, on the first day of the new year, Aegon named his thirdborn son, Maekar, as Lord of Harrenhal, styling him the Prince of Harrenhal. From that day forth, Maekar and all his sons would serve as Princes of Harrenhal, establishing House Targaryen of Harrenhal, and providing the Crown with a strong military presence in the north. Never again would a small rebellion be able to march so easily on the capital.
Not only was Maekar awarded with a keep, he too was awarded with a bride. A man barely into his twenties, Maekar had remained unwed in life thus far, but as a lord, he would need heirs of his own. For his stalwart aid and defence against the rebels, King Aegon rewarded Lord Mooton by wedding his sister, Morganna, to Maekar.
Battles and Notable Events Edit
Listed in chronological order:
- Eleventh Moon, 332 AC:
- The death of Lord Harry Strickland of Harrenhal.
- Second Moon, 333 AC:
- The Tourney of Harrenhal takes place.
- The War of the Lords Scorned begins.
- Third Moon, 333 AC:
- Fourth Moon, 333 AC:
- The Battle of the Horn.
- Fifth Moon, 333 AC:
- The Siege of Maidenpool ends.
- The Assault on Duskendale.
- Word of Prince Rhaegar's death begins to spread.
- Seventh Moon, 333 AC:
- Eight Moon, 333 AC:
- Ninth Moon, 333 AC:
- The Relief of Maidenpool.
- The War of the Lords Scorned ends.
- Tenth Moon, 333 AC:
- Various houses, namely House Strong and House Lothson, begin vying for Harrenhal.
- First Moon, 334 AC:
- Establishment of House Targaryen of Harrenhal.