Friday, July 9, 2021

Kisah AKU n The Grey Wolf - The Stark Remembers


Another spin off. Sebelum ni we already delved into the world of Westerlanders' King Fredrik Reyne dan juga Valyrian's Lord Fredrys Blackfyre. This time aku nak bawak korang masuk dalam dunia War of the Five Kingdoms in the perspective of Northmen pulak. Terimalah, a saga of The Grey Wolf.

The year is 298AC. With the death of King Robert Baratheon, the realm is in turmoil as the usurpers came forward to claim the Iron Throne. Robert's brothers, Renly of Stormland and Stannis of Dragonstone both moved their armies to the King's Landing to challenge the legitimacy of Joffrey Baratheon, a bastard of Lannister. Other High Lords, such as Prince Doran Martell of Dorne, Mace Tyrell of Reach, Edmure Tully of Riverland, Lysa Arryn of Vale however remained neutral.

At the capital, Lord Paramount Eddard Stark was being seized by the Gold Cloak and imprisoned by the order of King Joffrey Baratheon resulted from his denial of Joffrey's legitimacy to the Iron Throne. This caused a skirmish between the Royalist and the Northern forces which led to a riot in King's Landing. Our hero, Fredrik was there slashing the Lannister soldiers while making his way to escape the carnage. However, the outnumbered Northmen were being overwhelmed and defeated.

He was being saved by Ser Jory Cassel, Lord Eddard's chief Household Guard and later the two met at the crypt beneath the capital. Unable to send raven to Winterfell, Ser Jory asked him to bring the message to Lord Robb Stark with the news of his father's false imprisonment by King Joffrey. 

Fredrik agreed to take the dangerous mission as duty to his overlord is above all. He quickly rode to Winterfell, taking Kingsroad while evaded capture by Lannister's search party led by Ser Amory Lorch whom being tasked to find the survivor. 

After a week of hard ride, Fredrik arrived at the gate of Winterfell, and met Lord Robb Stark. Enraged with the news, Robb called his banner and preparing to march to King's Landing. At the same time, he command Fredrik to ride to Castle Black for an important mission to the Lord Commander of Night Watch, Jeor Mormont.

Before embarked for another journey to the North, he stopped by at his fortress of Wolf's Den to meet his sister, Sharra to inform on the outbreak of war and prepare their host. Over five centuries ago, House Greystark served as the cadet branch of House Stark where a young son, Rodrik from Stark's family was given the keep to form his own dynasty. Three centuries later, despite their allegiance to their overlord, Lord Torhen Greystark rebelled and joined the Bolton's Rebellion which led to their downfall. For their treason, they were being stripped of their fortress, lands, titles and exiled to Eastwatch. 

Only after seventy years ago - the Greystark was being reinstated by Lord Willam Stark due to their bravery in repelling the Wildling invasion on 228 AC led by Raymun Redbeard. Whilst their ancestral seat of Wolf's Den is cease to exist as it was being handed to House Manderly and renamed White Harbor, Lord Willam granted a small region within Winterfell to Greystark and thus, the new fortress of Wolf's Den rejuvenated, together with Greystark's black-red Wolf banner and now headed by a 20 years old Lord Fredrik Greystark.

He started his journey and arrived at Castle Black to meet Lord Jeor Mormont, the secret mission was actually to investigate the presence of mythical creature called the Wights, the undead people who lives Beyond the Wall. 

Travelling the land Beyond the Wall, he quickly made friend with Jon Snow, Lord Eddard's bastard son where they regularly practice their swordskills and participate in training the fresh batch of the Night Watch's rangers.

Near Fist of First Men, the contingent of Night Watch ranger under Jon Snow was being ambushed by Wildlings led by Tormund Giantsbane. However, the elite Black warrior stood their ground and managed to repelled the attack.

After a month of investigation, the Night Watch contingent led by Jon Snow was being attacked by the Wight near Thenn, most of the recruits were killed as the undead creature cannot be killed with common sword. Luckily, Fredrik and Jon both have their own Valyrian sword which able to kill the Wight and escaped.

The duo returned after a month of pain journey back to the Wall. Lord Mormont, impressed with his bravery invited him to take the black and join the Night Watch. Fredrik politely declined as he is the last Greystark's male and wished to keep the lineage. During his tour, he managed to tamed a dire wolf and named him Greyfire, it's not a surprise since Stark's blood are known for their ability to tame a wolf, hence became their house's sigil.

Shortly after he arrived at Winterfell, the Northern army under Lord Robb Stark already marching south to free his family members - Lord Eddard, Sansa and Arya who held captive at the capital by King Joffrey. 23,000 men quickly assembled from House Stark, Manderly, Umber, Karstark, Glover, Mormont, and Bolton is now on the move to assist Riverlands which is under attack by the Lannister. Having reached Wolf's Den, Fredrik decided to muster 2,500 Greystark's troops while leaving 500 auxiliary to defend the fort.  Before his departure he left his sister, Lady Sharra Greystark to take good care of the people before push on southward to join Robb's army.

Upon learning Robb's action, King Joffrey sentenced Lord Eddard to death in front of Sept of Baelor and ordered the King's Hand, Tywin Lannister to mobilized the royal army to repulse the invading Northmen. 

A total of 45,000 Westerlanders comprising troops from House Lannister, Marbrand, Prester, Clegane, Swyft, Brax and Lefford is advancing from Casterly Rock. From its total strength, 25,000 men led by Ser Jaime Lannister scored his first victory at Golden Tooth and proceed to siege Riverrun, while Lord Tywin pushed to Harrenhall to block the Northmen from entering Crownland from the East. With the Riverland's army broken and scattered after Jaime's swift attack and its capital under siege, the war is essentially loss to House Tully of Riverlands

In a brilliant maneuver, King Robb Stark divided his forces - 3,000 men led by himself will strike Jaime's position at Riverrun, while another 20,000 troops command by Lord Roose Bolton is to head eastward to provoke Tywin at Harrenhall. Fredrik, having managed to join the main army regrouped with Robb and followed his stealth march to Riverrun.

After his victory at Whispering Woods, Robb managed to lift the siege, and captured Ser Jaime in process. He also received additional 10,000 troops from House Tully and Frey to renew his attack against the Lannister. The army moved westward to invade Westerland region which is lightly defended as most of the lords currently occupied with campaign far from their home territory. 

Lord Fredrik's vanguard met with Ser Stafford Lannister's army at Oxcross. 2,500 Greystark's troops have been pinned down by 8,000 Lannister's troops near Yellow Fork River. The two armies however did not immediately commit into battle as Stafford's delayed his attack to wait for favorable ground due to heavy rain. 

Isolated from the main army, Fredrik sent raven to Ser Stevron Frey to reinforce his untenable position, however remained unanswered for the rest of the day. Stafford sent his Lannister infantry to test Fredrik's center with around 3,000 men commit into the first attack, support by missile troops. In his attempt to encircle the Greystark's position, the Lannister commander personally command his cavalry to shadow Fredrik's movement. 

As for Fredrik, this is his first experience to command the battle. Despite outnumbered almost three to one, he is determined to hold the position and hoping to buy time before Frey's reinforcement arrive. He deployed a shield wall formation to minimize the missile attack and placing the famous Northern's sharpshooter at the hill behind to give a tactical advantage. A contingent of Greystark's Household Guard protecting his both flanks in a spear wall formation to deplete any cavalry charge. 

At 5pm, the two armies clashed again with 3,000 Lannister advanced uphill, a rain of arrow continue to shower their advance with high ground provide extra damage from the Northern's sharpshooter. 

When the Lannister reached the Greystark's battleline, they were met with a hail of spear thrown by the Greystark's spearman. The first attack was indeed, a disaster for Ser Stafford as he failed to instruct any follow up attack after the first wave.

Later, he ordered 2,000 infantrymen to smash Fredrik's line, with a flanking attack by cavalry. This maneuver managed to pressure the Northmen as the sheer number of Lannister's troops starts to overwhelm the Greystark's army. 

The center starting to waver despite their futile resistance, both flanks however managed to counter the cavalry charge. Fredrik ordered his left flank led by his squire, Bronson Snow to pressed the pincer attack and surround Stafford's troops.

At the height of battle, Fredrik personally led his cavalry to circle around and strike the Lannister from its rear. The battle is over with total decimation of Lannister's army including its commander, Ser Stafford. King Robb Stark spearhead the blitzkrieg, razing Westerland's villages and taking The Crag, ancestral seat of House Westerling. 

After his decisive win at Yellow Fork, Fredrik was sent by King Robb Stark to negotiate with King Stannis Baratheon of Dragonstone. According to the late Eddard, Stannis is the rightful king by line of succession after the death of Robert. This is due to the fact that the present king, Joffrey and his siblings Tommen and Myrcella were a product of incest between Queen-Regent Cersei and his brother, Ser Jaime Lannister. Lord Eddard was being imprisoned shortly after learnt the truth and later executed. With Robb didn't have any intention to claim the Iron Throne, King Stannis agreed to mobilize his army to crush the Lannister. However, the youngest of Baratheon, Renly already made his maneuver by sealing alliance with the Reach and march the Stormland-Reach army, around 80,000 men to intercept Stannis's meagre forces of 10,000 at Storm's End. By using black magic initiated by the Red Priestess, Melisandre, Renly was being assassinated and most of his army flock to support Stannis. 40,000 Reach troops led by Ser Loras Tyrell retreated back to Highgarden as the alliance was dissolved with the death of Renly.

With 40,000 soldiers at his disposal, coupled with more than 150 ships, Stannis lay siege of King's Landing to draw Tywin's attention. After defeating Lord Roose Bolton, the King's Hand decided to abandoned his position at Harrenhall and raced back to reinforced his other son, Lord Tyrion who organizing the defense of the capital. The Battle of King's Landing ended with Stannis's shocking defeat to Reach-Lannister army, this event push Stannis out from the war for a while as his army was being decimated and will take longer time to rebuild the force capable to challenge the might of ever-growing Lannister.

299AC - At the central front, Tywin already gave up Riverland to save the capital. King Robb seized the opportunity and merged with Lord Roose at Harrenhall. Shortly after that, he resume the advance to Crownland with his 18,000 men before being intercepted by Lord Tywin at Antlers with around 30,000 Reach-Lannister's men. Heavy battle occurred for a long two-days with neither side refused to yield. 

Lord Fredrik met the King and suggest him to send a detachment to circle around God's Eye and strike the Royalist at Sow's Horn, the attack will be able to disperse the unready Royalist's army under Mace Tyrell. With this diversion maneuver, Tywin's left flank will be exposed and incite the Old Lion to strengthen the defense there. Should the plan worked, the main army under Robb can smash the Royalist with full frontal assault and trapped them.

Whilst the plan is risky, Fredrik volunteered his Greystark to undertake the complicated maneuver, later he was joined by Lord Rickard Karstark - the two cadet branches of House Stark pledged their never-ending fealty to King Robb Stark and sworn to return Sansa and Arya to Winterfell. 6,000 men from Greystark and Karstark's host break camp and left the main army, circling around the God's Eye and arrived at Sow Horn. 

A day later, the Northmen under Lord Rickard engaged 14,000 Royalist soldiers under Lord Paramount Mace Tyrell in a surprise morning attack which managed to wreck havoc on the enemy entrenched position at Sow's Horn field.

Shocked with the sudden attack, Tywin woke up from his sleep and ride to assess the situation, as expected he moved Lord Damon Marbrand's troops to reinforced his failing left flank.

Westerland's heavy cavalry squadron led by Ser Addam Marband smashed Karstark's vanguard and inflicted heavy casualties including the Lord of Karhold himself. Despite under heavy pressure and leaderless, Karstark troops hold the line to buy time for Robb's grand attack against Tywin's center. Fredrik took command of the army shortly after he was being informed on Lord Rickard's valiant death.

Lord Fredrik joined his army into the battle, punched through the line with his Greystark's cavalrymen to provide support to infantry attack led by Lord Rickard. Having successfully push the Tyrell from their position, the Northmen forge ahead to strike the unready Marbrand's infantry who still in their marching column.

Robb Stark led a full frontal attack against Tywin's position and encircled the Royalist with a swift cavalry charge, followed by wave after wave of infantry attack. Unable to absorb the brute forces of Northmen, the Royalist lost its cohesion and trapped in a large pocket. 

Seeing the battle lost, the Royalist commander, Tywin and Mace organized a general retreat. However, the retreat were haywire and chaos erupted among the Royalist's rank. The retreat turns into a general rout where the survivor were being chased as far as village of Brindlewood. 

The aftermath of the battle is massive, where the Royalist lost half of its troops - 15,000 dead or wounded, 6,000 captured and the rest scattered but managed to regrouped orderly at Rosby. The Royalist has been soundly defeated and victory is in Robb's clutch now. 

Robb congratulated Lord Fredrik on his brilliant plan and bravery in the twin battle of Sow's Horn & Antlers, he promised to reward the Greystark with a place in his King's Council after the war is over.

After Robb Stark's decisive victory at Crownland and no further army stand his way with the capital, King Joffrey was persuaded to enter into a peace treaty which was signed between the Royalist and the North on 300 AC. He agreed the captive exchange between the two house - Sansa Stark to return to Winterfell, in favor of Ser Jaime Lannister to Casterly Rock. The North shall secede from the Iron Throne and be recognized as an independent kingdom on its own including lands and castles seized during the campaign, by the right of conquest.

Heading back North, most of Robb's army now camped at The Twins to attend a wedding feast between Lord Edmure Tully and Lady Roslin Frey which will be held here, organized by Lord Walder Frey. King Robb Stark and his vassal were invited, including Fredrik who represent House Greystark.

A day before the feast, King Robb Stark summoned Fredrik to his chamber where both of them discussed on the plan to recover resources lost during the previous war. The War of the Five Kingdom truly gave a devastating impact to the Northerners, especially on its dwindling military forces. The King appointed Lord Fredrik with a title: Master of Coin in his council to advise on the socio-economic policies. In addition, he also offered him an affiliation to the Stark's family and wished Fredrik to protect the Stark's household if anything happened to him. 

During the feast, he was being approached by Lord Harald Karstark, the new Lord of Karhold with a suspicious scheme against Robb Stark where he incited Fredrik to be a part of the Great Northern Conspiracy. Fredrik, sensing a treasonous motives decided to ignore the plotter.

At the early stage of the campaign, King Robb Stark promised to marry one of Walder's daughter in return to access for The Twins. However, the king broke the agreement and married Lady Talisa Maegyr. The furious old Walder demanded the King in the North to honor the promise. The Stark refused and instead offered his uncle, Lord Edmure to wed the Frey's girl. 

Despite his blessing, Lord Walder Frey together with Lord Roose Bolton conspired to assassinate the king in the infamous Red Wedding which saw the massacre of the king's entourage including himself, his mother Catelyn Stark, together with a number of lords from the North & Riverlord great houses. The massacre was instigated by Lord Paramount Tywin Lannister in response to his shameful defeat against the Young Wolf.

The remnant of Greystark's contingent of around 1,700 soldiers led by Bronson Snow already reached Greywater Watch when the news of the betrayal came in. Fearing his lord's safety, Bronson decided to fortify the crannog of Greywater Watch.

A day later, Fredrik arrived with another survivor, Lady Dacey from House Mormont riding together all the way from the Twins. As expected, 5,000 Frey's soldiers led by Ser Lothar Frey invade the North and attack Greywater Watch which is located at the frontier of North-Riverland. Prior to battle, he sent raven to his sister with the news of Robb Stark's death and Lord Bolton's treachery. He urged Sharra to prepare their people to pack up and leave Wolf's Den should she did not received any news from him within three days. 

Despite their meager number, the quality of troops decide the battle as Lord Fredrik managed to repulsed wave after wave of Frey's attack. At the heat of skirmish, he successfully killed Frey's commander, Ser Lothar in process, together with his brothers Ser Olyvar and Ser Waldron in a one-sided swords duel. Unable to enjoy their victory, the Greystark abandoned the crannog and retreat northward as the scout reported a massive army of 20,000 led by Lord Roose Bolton is advancing to claim the North in the name of King Joffrey. He was joined by the traitor Lord Greatjon Umber and Lord Harald Karstark, other Northern lords were either killed (Lord Gregor Forrestor, Lady Maege Mormont, Ser Wendel Manderly, Ser Robin Flint) or captured during the Red Wedding.

After his final victory, the Greystark forced a night march to their ancestral seat. Upon his arrival, he quickly ordered his people to abandoned the fort and set sail to Castle Black via White Knife River. The war is over but for Fredrik, it has just begun as the new Warden of the North would surely hunt those who remained loyal to House Stark. In a short ceremony performed by Maester Rowan, he wed Lady Dacey Mormont. So much happened between these two within a week - they survived the Red Wedding, escaped from the Twins, fought together and won the battle. Fredrik gladly take the shield-maiden Dacey to be his wife and sworn to protect her till the end of his life.

With the fall of Winterfell to Ramsay Bolton's troops, and shift of allegiance from House Dustin of Barrowtown, House Manderly of White Harbor, House Umber of Last Hearth and House Karstark of Karhold, Wolf's Den is in a very critical threat as it located at the center of the new Royal's influence. Despite that, majority of the Royalist army is now away from the North and thus gave Fredrik's opportunity to retreat further north. 

After a bitter two weeks of navigating the river, some 2,000 troops and 10,000 civilians successfully landed at the ancient jetty of Long Lake.

The Greystark's refugee moving inland to Castle Black without further resistance. He greeted by his friend, Jon Snow who is now the Lord Commander of Night Watch. Mourning the death of Robb and Catelyn, as well as unknown whereabouts of his half-siblings - Sansa, Arya, Brandon and Rickon. Jon Snow determined to take revenge against House Bolton, and other traitorous North house. The Greystark proven to be a valuable ally to their overlord, unlike the Karstark who sold their loyalty in favor to the bastard-king. As such, although the war is over, the Stark's loyalist will never surrender and continue to resist House Bolton's legitimacy as the ruler of the Northern people. As the Northerner's oath after the execution of Lord Eddard Stark - "The North Remembers.." slowly faded but "The Stark Remembers.."

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