Thursday, June 24, 2021

Kisah AKU n Reyne of Castamere - The Return of the Starks


This is the final episode for mini-series Reyne of Castamere. Tak tahu nak buat apa dah, sekarang pun tengah peace, cuma later kalau rajin aku try trigger Targaryen's invasion to complete the story.

The year is 322 AC, it has been two years after Queen Cersei won a hard fought campaign against the Tully's rebel. The Tully Rebellion, eventhough short-lived but brought a massive socio-economic impact to the realm. Once fertile Riverland is now a desolated region with town such as Riverrun, Fairmarket and Maidenpool all being razed during the war, villagers are suffering due to the rebel's scorched earth tactics which brazen the land. As for its military reputation, inability to levy new standing army and heavy reliance on the Westerland's lords rendered a dissatisfaction among great houses of the West. While its true that the Vale and the Reach both marshaled their armies, but it was at the final phase of the campaign. The war has been won by Lord Jaime's swift mobilization of the Westerland's army into the heart of Riverland at the early stage of the rebellion. Subsequent capture of Riverrun, coupled with decisive victories managed to halt the rebel's tempo which ended with the destruction of the entire rebel forces by Lord Fredrik Reyne.

Gloomy news from the Winterfell, Lord Roose Bolton has been assassinated by his bastard son, Ramsay. Enraged with the death of his Hand, Queen Cersei quickly summoned Lord Ramsay to the King's Landing. He rode to the capital and met the Queen to answer for his crime. Lord Fredrik was at the trial, representing the West when Ramsay confessed the wrongdoing after revealing the truth about his father's plot that killed Tywin Lannister. "Yes, my Queen. I was there, at Golden Tooth when I found this letter..It's House Bolton's seal". This answered his refusal to join the Riverland campaign supported by evidences gathered by Fredrik. The Queen later pardoned Lord Ramsay and retained his title as Warden of the North.

Lord Kevan Lannister passed away at the age of 78 surrounded by his family at Lannisport. Whilst Tyrion already condemned by Tywin and exiled to Essos and Lancel is serving as Queen's Guard, this left a 38 years old Fredrik as the caretaker of the West until Duncan Lannister, Jaime's surviving son come of age. The appointment as the Warden grant him new title, the Lord Paramount. A few weeks later, he was being hand picked by Queen Cersei to serve as the new Queen's Hand. The new role requires him to be at the capital, advising the Queen and lead the council meeting. 

With the death of Kevan, Fredrik is now the owner of Lannisport. With three castles in the Westerland - Lannisport, Kayce and Castamere, it made House Reyne the most powerful house in the region surpassing the power of House Lannister.

However, the realm is now at the very abysmal state. People are suffering due to constant war which undermined welfare, the Royal army need to be reorganize and Riverland need to undergo a massive rehabilitation process. A skilled statesman himself, Fredrik introduced migration initiative to the commoners in order to speed up the program. The restructuring of the Great Dam of Tumblestone ensure growth to boost the Riverland's economy. More people starts to flock in and the region is now booming. 

Other region such as war torn Dorne also received a hefty sum of fund to rebuild the city, especially the expansion of Sunspear Port to accommodate trade demands from Volantis. Agrarian reform was introduced to the Reach to maximize the agriculture output. The Westerland and The Vale are two Westeros regions unaffected by war, however royal fund were also given to each Warden to optimize the mining industry, respectively. 

325 AC - The realm enjoyed a peaceful period while continue to prosper under the stern leadership of a 40 years old Queen and the brilliant mind of her Hand. No internal rebellion, no external threat from Essos and of course, not even a single assassination nor attempt recorded during his first term. Only a wild rumors on the relationship between the duo, which described by Lord Varys as "too close" where both were last seen at the Queen's chamber during a feast at Sunspear. "This is wrong Cersei, I shouldn't be here.." . "You will do what your Queen command, Lord're my 'hand'."

Far to the North, a massive army of Wildlings was sighted at the Last Hearth. This rag-tag army is led by Lord Jon Snow and Wildling's chief, Tormund Giantsbane. According to the letter sent by Lord Ramsay, a total of 50,000 Wildlings is now set their way to Winterfell. In addition, the entourage which also joined by Sansa Stark managed to rallied an alarming numbers of lord from various Northern houses loyal to the late Eddard Stark. House Mormont, Karstark, Manderly, Umber, Glover, Hornwood, Talhart and Reed were all joined forces and declared their independence from the Iron Throne. In total, more than 70,000 troops gathered by the North under the leadership of Queen Sansa Stark with his brother Lord Jon Snow commanding the army.

In response, Lord Paramount Fredrik Reyne called the banners in the name of Queen Cersei Lannister to pacify the Northern rebels. With the death of countless youth and men in the past ten years, the realm is unable to field a large army. On top of 5,000 Royal troops, the other Westeros lords managed to field around 30,000 troops collectively from Westerland, Dorne, Reach and the Vale. In addition, 8,000 Northern loyalist command by Lord Ramsay is now in the desperate situation as the Stark loyalist overrun most of the region with the defection of many lords.

Jon Snow split his army into four main forces - Lord Wylis Manderly's host is to hold the strategic fort of Moat Cailin, Lord Smalljon Umber's army is to advance eastward and seize Bolton's fortress at Dreadfort, the third led by himself will advance to Winterfell to give battle to Lord Ramsay. The final group led by Lord Cerwyn is to capture loyalist' stronghold of Barrowton and block Winterfell from the south.

Fredrik also drew similar plan against his Northern counterpart which to split his army into a few forces. However his plan is more defensive due to logistical and time factor to assemble the army from many regions. "Ser Lyman, send raven to Lord Loras to follow up with us later. We are moving now. The longer we wait, the Northmen will have time to organize their defense.." The first army comprising 20,000 Westerland-Vale and Royal troops commanded by Fredrik is striking first to capture Greywater Watch, the Reach-Dorne's army led by Lord Paramount Loras Tyrell with a 15,000 strong will be their rear. In addition, two fleets - Iron Fleet led by Lady Yara Greyjoy is to besiege Flint's Finger by sea and the Royal Fleet under Lord Rayford Rosby sailed from King's Landing to lay siege the North principal city-port of White Harbor

In his latest campaign, Fredrik is followed by his firstborn, Ser Edric the commanding officer of House Reyne's army. "Edric, my son. I taught you everything I know about tactics and sword. Use it well. Good luck boy, may the Seven protect us.." A medic contingent led by his personal maester, Sylva and his new Lord's Guard - Ser Podrick Payne who replaced Ser Barristan Selmy whom retired due to old age.

He also brought his fearsome Unsullied Legion, a veteran unit which saw combat experience in his many glorious military campaign such as Stormland, Iron Island, Dorne and Riverland. From the initial 5,000 commissioned men during 300AC campaign, the number has been greatly reduced to 2,000 fighting soldiers recently. 

Shortly after the capture of Greywater Watch, the Westerland-Vale army waited before resume northward to secure Moat Cailin. There, the first pitch battle of the campaign begin with Lord Wylis Manderly blocked the key crossing to the old fort. Seeing the Westerlander's frontline yet to form their rank, the overconfident Northmen broke their defensive stance and charge forward hoping to strike first.

However, it was indeed a fatal mistake to the Northmen as the Unsullied Legion quickly positioned themselves as the vanguard of Fredrik's army. Unlike the other Westerland unit, the elite warrior in-black did not take much time to form their shield wall. By time the enemy crossed the bridge, they crashed into a solid turtle formation. The Westerlander's longbowmen continue to rain arrow to the advancing enemies and turns the bridge into a bloody killzone.

The battle was over at 4pm with dead bodies piles up on the bridge. Around 8,000 casualties recorded for the North army, and surprisingly for Fredrik's army only suffered less than a thousand killed or wounded. Intended to maintain his element of surprise, Lord Fredrik quickly crossed the bridge and spearhead his blitzkrieg into the heart of the North.

With the fall of Moat Cailin, Fredrik can now start to devise his grand plan to pacify the rebellion. A raven from Winterfell arrived with the news of Lord Ramsay's defeat in the hand of Lord Jon Snow. "Lord Reyne, Ramsay was defeated. He is now falling back to Barrowtown to link up with Lady Dustin" A seasoned Fredrik responded. "It's true then, send marching order to Lord Tyrell. He is going east to capture White Harbor. I'll deal with this Stark's boy" The capture of White Harbor is essential to ensure steady supply network by sea from the Vale's port of Gulltown. Fredrik also received further reinforcement from the Iron Island, with a 6,000 Ironborn led by Theon Greyjoy sailing from Great Wyk Harbor to reinforced his sister at Flint's Fingers.

326 AC - The capture of coastal cities of Flint's Finger and White Harbor helps to secure Fredrik's flank. Nevertheless, his mind is distracted with the fact that there was a minimum rebel activities during the first year of campaign. The scout were unable to track the armies, and sometimes failed to return.This made Fredrik's feel anxious on his next move. Unable to wait much longer as the Queen is expecting progress, he gave another marching order to his army. The main army commanded by himself will push on to Barrowtown to link with the loyalist there. Lord Tyrell will head northward for Hornwood. Greyjoy's Ironborn will navigate Blazewater River and raid Torhen Square by surprise.

Fredrik further split his army at the Kingsroad junction, he took 15,000 troops and forge ahead to Cerwyn while the Vale's army under Lord Waynwood swing westward to link with Barrowtown's loyalist. A steady march was interrupted by the sudden ambush by Lord Cerwyn against Fredrik's army near White Knife. 

The number of both forces is evenly matched but the Westerlanders held their ground, moving slowly in a large square formation to protect the baggage train. Fredrik now realized his tactical blunder as they were no loyalist at Barrowtown. Lord Snow want him to think it that way, by splitting the Westerland and the Vale, he can execute the defeat in detail's tactic against Fredrik's army.

With due haste, he instructed the army to halt and setup defensive fortification. The Westerland will make their camp here. Concurrently, he sent raven to Lord Waynwood informing him to abandon the plan and rejoin the army. However, every raven were being shot by Northern sharpshooter hiding in the forest. A messenger was also being sent but later killed upon reaching the treeline. This were Cerwyn's tactic to demoralize Westerland troops before the real battle happened.

The camp is no longer temporary as it was being transformed into a bailey-motte fort with White Knife River at the back. Fredrik knew the enemy is out there waiting to lure him into the trap, he does not want to take further risk and keep his enemy at the bay. In the eastern front, Lord Tyrell lay siege of Hornwood while the Ironborn stormed the lightly defended Torhen Square but forced to retreat due to large incoming reinforcement from Lord Talhart. Unlike the other two, the central front has became a war of attrition between two seasoned commander. 

Two weeks later, the Wildlings chief Tormund Giantsbane decided to attack Fredrik's position with a total of 30,000 wildlings. Thinking their sheer number can overwhelm the fort, Tormund ordered the attack in three direction to wreck fear among the Westerland ranks. The missile troops released their load in a discipline manner, the sky turns black to the advancing Wildlings as thousand of arrow crashed into their warriors. Thousands of them lay dead or wounded before ever reach the Westerland fort.

Despite the missile mayhem, the exhausted Wildlings managed to reach the bailey fortification and start to attack the Westerlanders. A brutal hand-to-hand fighting ensued in the next two hours with Fredrik's troops held their ground. Due to Wildlings sheer number and their brute forces, the first line was broken and forced to retreat into the camp area. 

From his motte fort, Lord Fredrik later gave instruction to Lord Addam Marbrand to sally forth from the rear gate and attack Tormund's army from both of his flank. 

The Westerland arbalasters released a thousand of arrow against the now outflanked Wildlings. At the same time, a flying column led by Ser Edric Reyne crashed into Tormund's army from the back and complete the encirclement. The Wildling chief was later being killed by arrow shot, according to eyewitness he was struck by ten arrows before lay dead. The Wildlings army was being totally wiped out in the battle, with the leaderless survivor fled the battlefield.

With the Wildlings threat was successfully neutralized, Fredrik now can restart his advance to the North's capital of Winterfell. The previous battle caused him 3,000 dead and wounded. Still there were no news coming from Lord Waynwood, fearing the worst he sent another raven to inform the Vale commander of his situation. This time the raven made its way to Barrowtown and returned with a coded message from Lord Waynwood which agreed to ride northward to regroup. The Vale, however was being ambushed by the Northern's army led by Lord Jojen Reed but managed to fend off the attack with heavy casualties from both sides. 

Fredrik's intuition was right, Lord Ramsay was defeated but he would never try to march his army to Barrowtown in a hostile territory. Instead, he must dug in somewhere in between and Cerwyn Castle might be his last known position. A week later, the Westerland scouts captured a Bolton's messenger whom later was brought to Lord Fredrik. "Lord Ramsay is besieged at Cerwyn now. He is holding the castle...but it will not last long. His messenger were all dead. He don't have any raven's left. Will you march North, my Lord" After a long discussion with his war council, Fredrik decided to break camp and push forward to link with Lord Ramsay. 

The Westerland army arrived within the castle's horizon at 5pm, but to his surprise there is no siege happening at Cerwyn Castle. "Well, something is not right. I don't see any siege happening here. Where is Jon Snow's army? In front of him is just a contingent of Bolton's army, around 5,000 troops marching forward to meet him. "Edric, ready your troops in a battle formation. At the double. Now!" To his thinking, the rear gate might still be under Ramsay's control but in a precautionary measure he ordered his army into their battle formation. Here, Lord Jon Snow is about to showcase his warfare masterclass against the Westerland's commander. After defeating Lord Ramsay in the Battle of Winterfell a years ago, House Stark is already in majority control of the North region with exception to Barrowtown who remained loyal to Queen Cersei. Knowing Fredrik is coming for him, a cunning Lord Jon plays a series of false flag against Lord Fredrik with intention to make him believe there still a sizable loyalist army at the front. He provide false information on Ramsay's retreat to Barrowton in order to split the Westerland-Vale armies, Wildlings attack against his fort at White Knife is a smokescreen to renew the Westerland's will to fight and most importantly, the "Bolton" messenger was actually a spy sent to deceive Fredrik to move his army directly to Jon's trap and here near Cerwyn, the fate of the North independence will be decided.

The Westerland was being caught off guard by the initial deceptive attack by Northern's vanguard led by Ser Jory Cassel dressed in a Bolton's uniform. A sound of war horn heard from both of Fredrik's flank with a total of 22,000 troops from House Stark, Reed, Hornwood, Mormont and Glover start to present on the battlefield. Lord Fredrik's which only left with 10,000 men was totally outnumbered but still, he remain calmed and organize his defense to prepare for another long battle. 

Lord Jon Snow join the battle at 5.30pm and personally led the attack against the Royal's levy commanded by Ser Lancel Lannister at Fredrik's right flank. During the battle, Ser Lancel was being killed by a sword thrust to his neck. With the death of their commander, the newly recruited Royal troops panicked and start to lose ground. 

At 6pm, another heavy thrust against the center which put Fredrik's position untenable as the Westerland's infantry struggling to maintain cohesion against the numerical superiority of the Northern army. Lord Halys Kastark reinforced the North's center with his band of Karstark Guard to follow up on the first wave. Fredrik's line is getting thinner after every attack mounted against his centers as he was left with only one reserve division of 2,000 Reyne's heavy knight at his disposal.

The only failed Northmen's assault were at Fredrik's left flank commanded by Lord Roland Westerling, he command the Westerland veteran troops as well as the loyal Mormont Guard whom fiercely held their line and killed Lord Hornwood in process. Wave after wave of fresh attack was being thrown by the Northern commander against Westerling's battle hardened troops but failed to break the discipline of his army. 

Seeing his wavering center, Lord Fredrik rode quickly together with his final reserve to join the battle in order to boost the morale of his troops. Even with the presence of their general, the line was broken at 7.30 pm. Fredrik was last seen fighting horseback together with his loyal bodyguards. A contingent of retreating Reyne knight led by Ser Sybel Spicer rallied back in an attempt to rescue their master. Despite their effort, the Northern brute force is far too superior as the Westerland center was totally crushed. 

Unable to stand due to his leg's wound, Lord Fredrik continue to fight like a lion resembling the sigil of House Reyne. "Father, I am coming to meet you..I fought and I lost.."Perhaps this is the ending he wish for, a warrior death at the field of battle. 

Having cleared the left flank, Ser Edric Reyne led a valiant charge with 300 Reyne heavy cavalry to rescue his father and reinforced the failing center. "Father, Lord Waynwood is coming. Stay strong. We can win this battle.." He managed to pulled Fredrik from the killing zone and join the fray although being outnumbered. When all seems to fall apart, 5,000 Vale knight led by Lord Waynwood finally arrived at the battlefield in the nick of time and smashed the Northern's infantry fighting at both left and center. It turns the tide of the battle as the panicked Northern troops fled the battlefield. The battle was over with 20,000 Northerners wounded or dead and the Royalist suffered close to 12,000 casualties, almost 75% of its original strength making the Battle of Winterfell the deadliest battle in the campaign.

As for Lord Fredrik, he suffered multiple wounds on his body. Luckily he got his personal maester, Sylva to attend on his injuries. With less than 3,000 troops, Fredrik chose to rest his troops at Cerwyn while sending foragers to replenish the provisions. Lord Tyrell managed to occupied Hornwood after defeating Lord Smalljon Umber. The Royal Fleet continues to supply provision and fresh garrison to White Harbor and Ramsgate. 

After a month of siege, Fredrik offered an honorable terms to end the siege to the Winterfell's defender. Among the terms - safe protection of both civilians and army, treatment to the wounded rebels, food supplies and shelters to the inhabitants. "Lord Reyne, I surrendered the city on behalf of my family and my people. I know you are a good man and true to your word..". "Lady Sansa, your people are safe now..I promised with all my life..In order to avoid further bloodshed to her people, Sansa Stark accepted the terms and open the capital gate to the Royalist army. True to his word, Lord Fredrik honored the agreement and quickly won the heart of the Northern peoples.

The North finally bend the knee after a long three years campaign. The war has been concluded by Lord Paramount Fredrik Reyne and with the royal decree, the loyalist Lord Helmann from House Dustin has been appointed Warden of the North. Sansa Stark and her siblings - Arya and Rickon were being escorted to King's Landing with full protection from House Reyne. However her brother, Lord Jon Snow doesn't have plan to bow to the Iron Throne, instead he left Winterfell with his loyal men and march northward to regroup with Lord Smalljon Umber.

Two weeks later, both commanders caught each other near Molestown with 8,000 Royalist troops against 12,000 Northern rebels. Although Lord Jon have the numerical advantage, however his army is currently in a dire situation where the provision is running low and was being denied entrance into Wildling territory via Castle Black by the Night Watch. This forced him to make his last stand near Molestown. The Royalist command by Ser Edric Reyne siege the small town to starve the defenders. In a desperate attempts, the Northmen sallied forth to attempt breakthrough. Despite their valiant effort, Ser Edric steadily held the line and deploy a swift counterattack to finish off the rebels.

Inherited his father tactical genius and combat prowess, the young Red Lion won a stunning victory. In this battle, the bastard of Eddard Stark was being killed by Ser Edric

328 AC - A victorious Fredrik reached the capital after a long three months journey by sea, under the protection of the Royal Fleet. He greeted by Queen Cersei together with a young girl who oddly have brown hair instead of the Lannister's golden. For the people of Westeros, she is Tysha Lannister, the heir of House Lannister of Crownland. The father? The Queen claimed it as the miracle from the Mother to her after losing three children previously. All of them, Joffrey, Tommen and Myrcella were victims of assassination by the Lannister's enemies.

Later, he was silently approached by Grand Maester Qyburn who revealed the truth. "Lord Reyne, you are her father. She was conceived during a Royal feast four years ago at Sunspear. I doubt you remembered it. Both of you were too drunk at that time..". "How many people know about this Maester Qyburn?". "The Queen, me and you.." While what happened that night was unintentional as both under the influence of alcohol, Qyburn mentioned the Queen is indeed in love with Fredrik.

Ignoring the disturbing news, Fredrik left King's Landing and rode back to Castamere. He will be away from his duty as the Queen's Hand for a couple of weeks to spend time with his family while looking to the welfare of the Westerland's people due to his status as the Warden of the West.

As for now, that's the end of the saga of Reyne of Castamere. A once traitorous Reyne, destroyed by the Lannister. Only to rise again from the rubble of their sunken castle, the Red Lion banner fly high as the Lord of Castamere defeat his enemy. Who would have thought a Reyne alliance with Lannister through marriage, by affiliation and now, by a royal bastard...What a strange world they live.

Takde plot twist kan? Of course lah aku taknak hero kita ni buat kerja gila nak take revenge on Lannister and seize the crown. Cliche sangat tu. Well, quite shocking juga - tetiba je ada affair dengan Queen. Haha. Yup, sampai situ setakat ni. Kalau ada lagi episode pun more to spin-off lah. 

P/S: Semalam aku dah triger Targaryen invasion, so maknanya akan ada one last episode. Cuma ni take time sikit, sebab invasion ni beribu jugak askar. Menang tu sudah semestinya, cuma ambil masa sikit.

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