"Lord Basit Tyrell has declared war on House Lannister, Your Grace." said Hand of the King Lady Rox.
The Small Council had its meeting again since yesterday with the political issues going on about in Westeros. House Lannister declared war on House Tyrell when a raiding party had raided southern parts of the westerlands. It was said that it was Lord Gaurav Hightower who was given the command from Lord Basit Tyrell to raid. Now, Lord Alexius Lannister, the firstborn and only child of Lord Tyrion and Lady Sansa Lannister, was mustering his host and marching down the ocean road.
King David response, "Send word to Lord Lannister and Lord Tyrell to lay down their arms. We cannot afford to plunge Westeros into another war like War of the Houses." to his Hand, Lady Rox Dayne.
She nodded. "At once, Your Grace, but I fear it is already too late." she said. "Master of Whisperers, tell our King."
"Yesterday, I received a letter from Crakehall that Lord Alexius and his massive host of seventy-thousand bannermen with him were marching down to Highgarden. Lord Basit responsed with raising his bannermen to about ninety-thousand and is blocking the road." started Lady Rachel, "I believe the Lannister host is a few hours away from meeting the Tyrell host as of now." The Lady of Whisperers said, concerned.
The King shook his head, unbelieving. "Who answers House Lannisters call?"
"Lady Tam Lefford, Lady Caitlin Clegane, Lord Jorn Westerling, Lord Iman Marbrand and many more, Your Grace. Almost every lord and lady answered to Lord Alexius' host."
"And?" asked Queen Annie to the Small Council.
Lady Rachel continued. "And House Stark is sending their army down south to help the Lannisters. House Martell is gathering their army as well to help the Tyrells."
"Another full-scale war!" roared Ser Luis Chavez, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. "War of the Houses ended a few months ago and now this! Unbelievable!" he exclaimed.
David Stark could only agree to his loyal Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. This had turned to another full-scale war with Lady Isabella Stark sending her army to support House Lannister. Prince Abhishek Martell was also sending his own to Highgarden to support the Tyrells. The Martells still wanted their vengeance over the late Prince Oberyn. This was a pointless war, and yet, it had already begun.
"We have to stop the Lannisters and the Tyrells from killing each other." King David announced to his Small Council. "Lord Akshay, can you send word to Lady Brittany Baratheon of Storm's End to summon her army to King's Landing?" he asked desperately to the former Lord of the Stormlands, now appointed Master of Ship.
He nodded. "I can, with thirty-five thousand bannermen. I will send word to her as soon as I can. Should I also call the royal fleet, Your Grace?"
"The Lannister fleet is larger than ours."
"The Redwyne fleet is larger than the Lannister's." replied Lord Akshay. "With the Royal fleet and the Redwyne fleet combined, they are forced to comply."
"Have you forgotten the alliance between House Greyjoy and House Lannister, Lord Alshay?" said Lady Rox. "They have the largest and strongest fleet with any of ours combined, the Lannister fleet is ranked second only to the Greyjoys."
"The Greyjoys will only want to gain their own benefits with this alliance, you called." David remembered what caused the Greyjoys and the Lannisters to make an alliance. "Lord Alexius and his fleet made a huge invasion in the Iron Islands five months ago and almost put everyone to the sword. He is ruthless like his grandfather Tywin."
"He can be reasonable too, if you are willing to confront him. He may have his grandfather's mind in strategy but he has his own mind in tactic. He also has his mother's compassion and mercy."
"Who remains neutral so far?" asked Queen Annie Stark.
"The Arryns of the Vale," said the King's Advisor, Lady Hayley. "They play a huge role in attacking the eastern part of the Riverlands and the Battle of the Twins. You know the outcome."
Andres Malla responded. "Arryn defeat." he said. "It was their first and last battle during the War of the Houses."
The Master of Ship shook his head dubiously. "It wasn't their last, Lord Andres. You should know this better than I do. After the Tully's victory at the Twins, the Arryns fled back, regrouped and raised more levies and march down south against House Stark of King's Landing. Lord Stefan Arryn won at Maidenpool."
The lands that were most ravaged in Westeros during the War of the Houses were in the Westerlands, the Crownlands, the Reach and the Riverlands. The Second Siege of Pyke was a significant victory for the Lannisters. A cold and bittersweet revenge for what happens when the Greyjoys sack Lannisport for the second time. Lord Alexius had installed Lady Sofie Greyjoy as the Lady of the Iron Islands and the Lady Reaper of Pyke. After that, Alexius went on his campaign down south against the Tyrells, winning him four battles at Old Oak, Goldengrove, Bitterbridge and Highgarden. Lord Basit Tyrell only won him at his ambush against the Lannisters smaller host at Horn Hill but that wasn't a significant loss to the Lannisters. When the Tullys won their victories at the Twins, they marched their host down to the Golden Tooth and sieged House Lefford, which subsequently made Alexius and his host march back to the Westerlands all on horseback and defeat the Tullys at Golden Tooth. David remembered the day he was defeated at Maidenpool. David remembered that day, the Siege of Maidenpool. What a devastating defeat for House Stark of King's Landing. David and Annie lost about twenty-thousand bannermen that single day to Lord Stefan Arryn of the Vale. Their Knights of the Vale were quick and relentless.
War of the Houses, or War of the Great Houses, was a complete all-out-full-scale war in Westeros. When House Greyjoy sent vast caravels and war galleys to the coasts of the North, the Westerlands and the Reach. The Greyjoys did it for their own benefit. They sacked Lannisport for the second time and Oldtown for the first time. In response to that, House Lannister, House Stark and House Tyrell declared war on House Greyjoy. Preparing their fleet in Lannisport, the Arbor and White Harbor. Simultaneously, Lord Akshay Baratheon of Storm's End declared war on Lord Roshan Targaryen of Dragonstone for the rightful Baratheon claim on that fortress. House Tully declared war on House Lannister for the death of the Blackfish and the Red Wedding orchestrated by Lord Alexius' grandfather, Lord Tywin Lannister. House Stark declared war on House Lannister as well for the Red Wedding, but also on House Frey, which forced Lord Daniel Tully and Lord Mbusiseni Frey to declare war on House Stark. Lord Stefan Arryn saw the political situation of Westeros and too, declared war on every of the Great Houses.
Lord Prakash Stark, the Warden of the North, and Lady Isabella Stark, the Lady of Winterfell gathered their host of forty-five thousand bannermen down south for their revenge. After the victory of House Tully against the Arryns at the Twins and with the Stark's host going south through the kingsroad, House Tully quickly mounted their bannermen on horseback and attacked the rear of the Stark's host and made Lord Prakash and Lady Isabella Stark with their host of forty-thousand bannermen move up to Moat Cailin, leaving their five thousand lancers to screen their retreat. They remained at Moat Cailin for the rest of the duration of the War of the Houses. With their victory at the kingsroad against the Starks and with the Arryns fled back to the Vale, Lord Daniel Tully was more confident to invade the Westerlands with Lord Lannister and his host campaigning against the Tyrells in the Reach. Lord Tully marched from the Twins, to Riverrun then to Golden Tooth, besieging the castle. Lord Jorn Westerling and Lady Tam Lefford were at Lannisport with their small host of eight thousand, all riders. Receiving the news, Lord Lannister marched back up to Lannisport and joined with Lord Jorn and Lady Tam at Oxcross with all their bannermen on horseback and flanked and crushed the Tully forces at Golden Tooth, leaving no survivors behind.
At the Stormlands and the Crownlands, Lord Akshay and Lady Brittany and their host clashed against Lord Roshan Targaryen at Stonedance when the Targaryens landed and put Sharp Point to the torch. The victory was given to the Targaryens when the reinforcements from Dragonstone landed nearby at the coast and smashed the Baratheons' rear lines. House Baratheon of Storm's End lost about eight thousand that day but they managed to keep most of their host intact when they retreated to Haystack Hall. Again, they retreated to Castle Bronzegate with their host and set up some lancers and shock cavalries in the Kingswood. Lord Roshan Targaryen laid waste to Haystack Hall and proceed to siege Castle Bronzegate with his mighty Targaryen army. What the Targaryens took by surprise was when Lord Akshay led the cavalry hidden within the Kingswood and striked through the heart of Lord Roshan's army. Dismayed and shattered, the Targaryens fell back with the remaining forces to Dragonstone, accepting defeat.
By then, the Lannister fleet was fully rebuilt and Lord Lannister along with his vassals lords and ladies raided the Iron Islands and put most of the Greyjoys inhabitants and their bannermen to the sword. Lord Jorn Westerling and Lady Caitlin Clegane saw to it that the Iron fleet was all put to the torch as well. The Greyjoys were forced to sue for peace and Lady Sofie Greyjoy was named as Lady of the Iron Islands and Lady Reaper of Pyke. King David saw that Westeros was exhausted and the opportunity that everyone had returned to their homes, they called every Lords and Ladies of the Great Houses to the first Great Moot at Isle of Faces at God's Eye. Everyone agreed to sign the Treaty of King's Landing and Westeros was at peace again, though exhausted and devastated with the war.
King David spoke after a long while, as if nothing was amiss. "It doesn't matter now. We have to stop Lord Alexius and Lord Basit from going on another war again. I find it quite weird for House Stark to support House Lannister. Something is up between these two houses." he said, paranoid. "If there is a union between the Lannisters and the Starks, we have to kill this union in its crib."
"Very well," agreed Lord Andres, "I will see to it that your bannermen are ready before next week. Lady Hand will send a raven to Lord Lannister and Lord Tyrell. In the meanwhile, I expect Lord Akshay to send word to Storm's End and have Lady Brittany's host join ours at King's Landing. I will also recruit and train more men as well."
King David agreed with a satisfied nod. "Queen Annie and I will march our combined host with the peace banners when we meet Lord of the West and Lord of the South. I expect them to trade words before clashing their steels against one another before we can arrive to stop them, I fear that. Alright then, the meeting is adjourned."
David and Annie returned to their bedchamber in the Red Keep. They didn't talk much, their only concern towards the growing tension again between the lions of the west and the roses of the south. David had to comfort his wife. They were greatly concerned with the situation of Westeros. The secret alliance between Lord Alexius Lannister, Lady Isabella Stark and Lady Sofie Greyjoy was a great mystery and a deep threat to the continent once again. Lord Alexius was only twenty-three of age. Lady Isabella Stark was about nineteen of age. Could it be a secret marriage alliance? But Alexius had always rejected every ladies-in-waiting for him, always. Alexius had the blond of hair from his father Lord Tyrion but has the beauty of his mother Lady Sansa. He had blue eye in his right and green eye to his left, which is an addition to make the ladies in court crying for him. Alexius payed no heed to them and only attended the royal court at the Red Keep for important matters only. But if there was a secret marriage planned, then David had to stop it. The lions, the wolves and the krakens could threaten Westeros into another full-scale war again. If they did declare war then they would win this war unlike the previous one. The Treaty of King's Landing was made to rebuild Westeros. With Lord Basit Tyrell wanting vengeance against the Lannisters by sending his raiding party to plunder the southern parts of the westerlands.
He talked to his wife and Queen. "We'll stop the lions and the roses from killing one another. They have to. Lord Tyrell will have to comply or he will be forced to renounce all his titles and lands." he said, comforting.
"The Lion of Westeros is the best battle-commander we have seen. We can expect him to take Highgarden today or tomorrow or within this week if he wants to. There's no way to stop him. His bannermen are calling him the King of the West." she said. "It's not the war that troubles me. It's the letter that Lord Commander Taimoor sent to me. He is currently ranging beyond the wall with six hundred rangers. So far, they have found nothing but cold dead bodies within the Haunted Forest. All the wildlings he had saved from beyond the wall, he gave them the Gift to settle in."
"Yes, I've heard about too. The New Gift was also given to them I think. What of the cold dead bodies they found in the Haunted Forest?" he asked. It certainly made David have chills run down his spine.
"They had left about a week ago. First Ranger Zabin had reached Hardhome with a hundred rangers. When they arrived, the place was in ruins, ash and desolated. The disturbing part was that they found fresh footprints on the snow grounds." she said, disturbed. Her expression too were uncertain, which made David uncomfortable. "Whatever it is, I don't think the Wall is safe."
"We will talk about that later. For now, just get prepared for the day after the morrow. We'll march as soon as we can to stop Lord Alexius from killing more Tyrells. Get some sleep. I'll have Ser Anina and Ser Jorge guard the door."
Annie perked her head up to him. "Where are you going?" she asked.
"I have court to attend to. People demand they want justice and compensation for their loss because of the war. Thanks to Lord Alexius for paying the Iron Throne debts for us, our treasury is now starting to fill again but the war hurts the innocents and the lands the hardest."
Indeed, during the Treaty of King's Landing, the Lord Lannister payed off all of the expenses of the war effort and compensated everyone who lost their beloved ones. House Lannister’s wealth was vast that paying off all the Iron Throne's debt meant nothing to him. It could be one of the reason why House Greyjoy and House Stark wanted to ally themselves with the Lannisters, since Alexius was the one who installed Lady Sofie to be the Lady of the Iron Islands and there was Stark blood running in Alexius' veins through his mother. Sadly, Lord Lannister wasn't married and had no children to be his heir. He could be very open to threats and attacks for his position, and yet, no one dared to oppose him directly or indirectly. From David's perspective, the Lord of the Rock was kind, gentle, courteous and had a good behaviour. Lord Basit Tyrell was the one really wanting to war against the Lannisters for pointless reasons. It seemed that having the fertile lands of the Reach wasn't enough for him to his rule. The Lord of the Reach was only getting himself ready to lose another battle, or war. A war he cannot hope to win.
When David arrived at the throne room with his four trusted kingsguard members. Ser Sharon, Ser Tom, Ser Jared and Ser Ebaad. The rest were training in the courtyard of the Red Keep with Ser Mark. As David took his steps up the iron throne, his kingsguard took their post around the throne too, protecting their king from threats with their gold armor and helmets, white cloaks and their longswords. He sat down. He could see many of the royal household within the throne room itself, lords and ladies from minor houses and vassals. There were also the Stark Royal Guards with their sallet helmet and leather and plate shoulder armour and armed with swords and spears.
Many of the commoners came before David in a single straight line. Their expressions were depressed, shocked, sad and angered. David felt bad for not suing for peace during the midst of the War of the Houses quickly. He did but no one even answered. The first person came with the appearance of amber hair and a fiery beard, and perhaps green eyes from what David could see. He was skinny and lump but the sadness of his face... He did not want to know. He was holding something in his hands. A vase of clay color.
"Forward." David said with his hand waved. The person came forward and bent to his knee. He placed the vase in front of him. "State your business, good folk." Ser Tom and Ser Jared was ready to draw their swords should the person do anything threatening. He did not though.
"I came... Your Grace... with... with..." the person's voice was so low and hollow like the dead, and started to sob. David was starting to know what had happened to him. "My son... they... they... killed him. They burnt his body too. Left me nothing but his ashes." The contents inside the vase were the ashes of his son.
David felt bad. He felt so bad that sitting on the Iron Throne made him a bad person while the innocents had to suffer the hardest. "I am... so so sorry for your loss. Is there anyone or any banners you know who did this to you?" Perhaps if you know the bandits or soldiers who have done this, they may be called up to court and get some justice.”
"...the Targaryens..." he said with much of his venom after a long while. "Not only did they put Sharp Point to the torch but most of the people as well. My son was one of them."
There had been many talk of the wrath and the raging berserk for blood of Lord Roshan Targaryen when he landed at the northern end of Massey's Hook. Raping, plundering and slaughtering were all his doings. So was Haystack Hall. It was Lannister gold that payed to rebuild Sharp Point of House Bar Emmon and Haystack Hall of House Errol, not the Crown's treasury. It was really dark and sad to see his subjects being treated like this by soldiers and raiders. "And... your wife?"
He looked down with sorrows. "They raped her in front of me... and they took her head after that and staked her head on their spear, cheering and laughing." He regretted asking the whereabouts and status of his wife. His son was already a huge hint. He continued. "They took our lands and livestock with them. I am left nothing with."
"I'm sorry for what you had to bear this." said David. "I cannot return you your loss, gods be good, but I can compensate you with better living and fertile lands and new livestock for the rest of your life. I know money can't bring back your loved ones but that is all I can provide. I will make sure that Massey's Hook will be patrolled day and night." Lord Alexius and Lord Basit had come to a hard agreement to spare golds and silvers from the westerlands and food and livestock from the reach. David would compensate the man with five thousand gold dragons, a fertile land in the Crownlands and livestock to live the rest of his life better. Perhaps he could even start his own minor house and swear allegiance to David. If he wanted to. The rest of the court went almost the same. Dark and sorrows and people demands for justice and heads. Most of them demanded justice of Lord Targaryen of Dragonstone but David had to refuse every time. The Treaty of King's Landing cannot be broken. It had a scratch marked on the scroll when Lord Lannister and Lord Tyrell went to war again this month. This week, specifically.
David retired to his bedchamber. He slipped into his nightshift wear but did not join his wife in the bed. Instead, he sat on the chair and a table beside him on the balcony that had a view of the Narrow Sea. He poured Arbor red into his goblet and took a series of small sips of it. Sweet. he thought. Sweet as summer when the Arbor was in production, but as bitter when the fleet of Redwynes came to lay siege to Dragonstone and King's Landing. When the large Redwyne fleet arrived and lay siege with their ships of war. But when the Greyjoy's Iron fleet arrived to raid the coast of the Reach and the Arbor, they were immediately called back to counterattack. That was when Lord Alexius took the initiative and striked the heartland of the krakens, the Iron Islands. Leaving a good garrison to defend the west and Lannisport, Alexius left Lannisport with his fleet and bannermen to attack the Iron Islands once and for all. Accepting the defeat of the Greyjoys and capitulate and burnt most of the Iron fleet.
He remembered well the day when he and the first great meeting of lords and ladies in the Isle of Faces for signing the peace. All of the request and tributes.
"Good lords and ladies, please, have you not thought of what you have done to the innocents and Westeros with your war and battles?" roared David to everyone. "When I arrived at Sharp Point all I saw was dead bodies, burnt and impaled and headless on the grounds."
"I will not tolerate anymore raidings on the westerlands again by Tyrells and Greyjoys. I will not forgive what they did to my parents when they were at the Roseroad. No more when I have to accept their peace." responsed Lord Alexius harshly. "My lord father and lady mother went to the reach to increase our Houses' relations and they murdered them."
"Your aunt caused the death of my aunt and uncle in the destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor!" he shouted at the Lord of the Rock.
"I am not responsible for that. That is my aunt's doing yes, but not me nor my parents. So I came down and destroyed your armies and plundered your lands all the same. You're lucky that I did not lay siege to Highgarden or you would see your seat in rubbles and ashes. I showed you mercy that you did not show my parents. Consider yourself lucky."
"Lucky?!" exclaimed Lady Sofie Greyjoy. "Where was your mercy that you showed to my people and my bannermen when you raided the Iron Islands? Where was your mercy when you took my father's head? You are no better than your grandfather, Lannister." she put as much exasperation. Lannister.
"That is what happens when your lord father raided Lannisport twice. The view of Lord Euron's head on a spike still gives me satisfaction. You do well to remember that I put you on the throne of Pyke."
The news of Alexius' parents death spread across all of the Seven Kingdoms when they were on their way from King's Landing to Highgarden. Lord Tyrion and Lady Sansa Lannister were trying to increase the relationship between the Great Houses to House Lannister. Instead, the Tyrells and Martells ambushed their envoys and murdered the Lord and Lady of the Rock. Alexius was about sixteen at that time when it had happened. Years and years passed, and in revenge, during the War of the Houses, Alexius marched down and lay waste to Old Oak, Goldengrove, Bitterbridge, but he did not lay siege to Highgarden. He proceeded to attack the main forces of the Tyrells around the Reach. First, the Battle at Old Oak. It was a bloody and crushing defeat for the Tyrells. They lost about fifteen thousand that very day. Next, Lord Alexius won his second victory at Goldengrove, causing a stunning casualties of twenty-three thousand Tyrells bannermen. The Battle of Bitterbridge was his third and the Battle of Highgarden gave Alexius his fourth victory and significant one to put the Tyrells in position to sue for peace. They lost about twenty-nine thousand bannermen.
When Lord Alexius was done with the Tyrells, he marched down to visit the Martells with his host and smashed the defending forces of Prince Abhisek Martell's at the Prince's Pass. Meanwhile campaigning in Dorne, Lord Basit Tyrell was regrouping and gathering more bannermen in hoping to smash the Lannisters at their backs but the plan turned to ashes when the Tullys lay siege to the Golden Tooth. A letter came to Lord Alexius from Lady Tam Lefford, David supposed, and the Lannisters marched back up to the westerlands and defeated the Tully host at the Golden Tooth.
They continued. It was Lady Isabella Stark who spoke to support the Tyrells and Greyjoys. "Did you have the satisfaction when your family murdered my uncle and grandmother at the Red Wedding?" Lady Isabella Stark was the only child and daughter of Lord Brandon Stark, a younger brother to King Robb Stark.
You could see the expression of disbelief on Lord Lannister’s face, annoyed and then sighed. "You can blame that on my Lord Grandfather and your Bolton allies. At least you have your bittersweet revenge when my lord father put crossbow darts to my grandfather and when Stannis mounted Roose Bolton's and Ramsay Bolton's head on spike. Did you thank King Stannis before his head was mounted too?"
"Enough!" shouted David at the commotions. Each and every lord and lady had brought their guards of somewhere between fifty to hundreds in case of a plot. But there wasn't any. "That is the past and we all must work together now. Cast aside your petty differences and hatred towards each other. Help us repair the foundation of the Seven Kingdoms and build its future."
"Yes." supported Prince Abhisek Martell.
"Don’t you blame the Lannisters for their crimes in the Red Wedding? Your uncle and grandmother were murdered there at the Twins, orchestrated by the Lannisters, Boltons and Freys!" replied the Warden of the North, Lord Prakash. How David was related to the Stark family was that his father was Lord Rickon Stark. His queen and wife was Annie Karstark from Lady Alys Karstark and Sigorn of the Thenn.
"I do, but Lord Alexius is right. It was his grandfather that orchestrated the plot of the Red Wedding and not his parents nor him. If I was in your place, I would blame the Tyrells for murdering Lady Sansa Lannister of House Stark. And didn't you forget that it was Littlefinger, Lord Baelish was the reason why he sent Lady Jeyne Poole to play as Arya Stark to wed to the psychopath Bolton bastard?" Everyone was in silent now. "Good. If we all can just work together and sign this treaty, I would be glad. You will all also have to pay tribute to what you have done to innocents and lands of Westeros."
Lord Lannister sighed and conceded. "I will pay most of the expenses for the war disasters we have given. Lannister gold. I expect the Tyrells and everyone to contribute as well. I will pay off your all your debts you owed to the Iron Bank."
And they all signed, everyone was satisfied except the Lord Lannister. After he signed the treaty, he left immediately without any word to them. The vast shipments of gold dragons and silver stags to King's Landing, in total amount of fifteen million gold dragons flowed through the Gold Road. The Tyrells sent their livestock and food shipments from the Reach through the Roseroad. The rest did too when they sent their annual tribute through the Kingsroad.
David decided he had enough for the night thinking about the past. It was dreadful and brutal with victories and defeats, a war that won nothing to any of the Great Houses. It was a war of retribution of the past. He finished his goblet contents and slip into his large bed and lay beside his wife. There was the line that his wife told him earlier that gave him the chills. The disturbing part was that they find fresh footprints on the snow grounds. He tried not to think about it and closed his eyes to sleep. Whatever it is, I don't think the Wall is safe.
The next morning, he and his wife woke up to the sound of knocking from the door. It wasn't a rough knocking but it implied that it was urgent. "Your Graces. Lady Hand has a letter to deliver it to you."
"Come in." said Queen Annie.
The door opened and the sound of armor and mail skirt produced from Ser Mark. He gave the letter to David and walked out of the bedchamber, closing the door behind him. He opened the small paper and read the contents written on it.
I could spare no time to deliver this words to you but Lady Brittany Baratheon has answered your call and her host are marching up the Kingsroad to join us. Your bannermen are all ready to depart on your orders. Do make haste and stop the Lannisters and the Tyrells from spilling more blood on Westeros. I will be joining you the day we leave King's Landing. Ser Rakibul Mobin will see to it that he trains more recruits and watchs over the city.
Your Hand, Lady Rox Dayne
David gave a small smile. His wife asked, "What does it say?"
"The bannermen is ready early than I expected. We leave at noon." he replied.