Saturday, September 18, 2021

Kisah AKU n Red Lion of Castamere - The Lion and the Dragon


This is the third episodes for mini-series Red Lion of Castamere. Can check below links for previous episodes:

  1. E01: Red Lion of Castamere - A Cat of a Different Coat
  2. E02: Red Lion of Castamere - A Coat of Red

The year is 304AC. It has been a year after the end of Westerland Civil War with the installation of Lord Fredrik Reyne as the new Lord Paramount and Protector of the Westerland. The region relatively in a peace situation as it's wise leader passed numerous policies to improve welfare of the people such as land distribution, mining modernization and industrial reform. Military improvement can also be seen with the introduction of New Model Army which revolutionized the region military doctrine in total with the creation of professional, permanent and dynamic Westerland's army.

Although he managed to captured Lannisport, the principal city of Westerland, Fredrik retained Castamere as his ancestral seat and region capital. He spent a large portion of his private wealth to do major reconstruction of the castle and its surrounding villages.

In mid 304AC - Lord Westerling offered Fredrik to marry his daughter, Lady Jeyne who he gladly accepted, followed by a grand wedding feast at Castamere. The septon start the sermon - "Let it be known that Fredrik of House Reyne and Jeyne of House Westerling are one heart, one flesh, one soul. Cursed be he who would seek to tear them asunder. In the sight of the Seven, I hereby seal these two souls, binding them as one for eternity. Look upon one another and say the word..". Both of them say their vows together - "Father, Smith, Warrior, Mother, Maiden, Crone, Stranger..I am hers and she is mine, I am his and he is mine. From this day until the end of our days.."

Shortly after the feast, he received a raven from Dragonstone bearing a sealed letter from Queen Daenerys who demanded him to bend the knee and recognize House Targaryen as the rightful ruler of Westeros." Congratulation on your capture of Dragonstone. I do acknowledged your legitimacy to claim the Iron Throne, by birthright. But to bend the knee, I hope you respect our right for self-governance, we, the Westerlander fought hard for it. I promised not to interfere in your scheme of things.."

As expected, his response was coldly welcomed by the Targaryen's queen. She vowed to force the Westerland into submission. Fredrik quickly summoned his vassals for an emergency meeting at Castamere to discuss the potential invasion. Surprisingly, all lords voted to protect their independence and ready to die for it. "It took three hundred years for us to be free again. Our last King, Loren Lannister bend the knee to Aegon. We will not bow to the Targaryen again!" 

A capable ruler, Fredrik often spend his time visiting villages and castles within the region. He encouraged the people to save a large amount of provisions to weather potential Targaryen's invasion which primarily rely on their Dothraki's horde, known for their brutality in razing villages into the ground. By the time the Targaryen cross into the region, they will not find any villages to ransack as the villagers will be safe behind the castle with abundant of foods and clean water. Fredrik plan to play the war of attrition against Daenerys, should she choose to attack him. With a total number of 16,000 soldiers of the standing army, Fredrik decided to split his army into two group. The first army commanded by Lord Crakehall, around 8,000 men were being tasked to defend the southern front, protecting Cornfield. The second army with 8,000 soldiers marshaled by Lord Fredrik himself is guarding the central and northern front and hold up at Sarsfield. Another 5,000 reserved were left to garrison a number of castles within the region. 

Daenerys invaded Westeros with 90,000 men at two different landing zones - the main army under the Queen herself landed Blackwater's Bay after defeating the heavily outnumbered Royal Fleet. The second army under Ser Jorah Mormont and Greyworm landed at Crackclaw's Point. Their objective is to destroy the Royalist's resistance which is concentrated at Crownlands and blocking any relief effort from the Lannister's staunch ally, the Reach. 

A month after her invasion, Daenerys has controlled over majority of Crownlands region with exception of the capital, King's Landing. A sizable army of 30,000 men under Lord Randyl Tarly is entrenched at Tumbleton to protect the Reach's frontier. Khal Qhono's led 50,000 Dothraki's raider to attack Tarly's army, while Daenerys lay siege of King's Landing. King Jon Snow is advancing south with his 11,000 North-Riverland's troops, further joined by 5,000 Vale's knight led by Lord Yohn Royce to join their new Queen.

After Tarly's defeat at the Battle of Bittebridge, Khal Ponno move westward while demonstrating the infamous Dothraki's brutality across the Reach's fertile region. Razing villages, massacring innocent villagers, burning crops and many more. Lord Leyton Hightower gathered a great number of Reach's lords and combined their forces to protect their homeland. A pitched battle happened at the field of Golden Grove between 20,000 Reach's soldiers against 30,000 Dothraki's horseman. Despite their heroic action, the Reach was soundly defeated.

Two months passed, Queen Daenerys sent Lord Fredrik another letter with similar demand. "To Lord Protector of the Westerland. I summoned you once again to Dragonstone. Bend the knee now or face my wrath. I have the backing of the North, the Riverlands, the Vale and the Dorne..". It seems that the Dragon Queen managed to unite almost all Westeros to defeat House Lannister of Crownlands, with exception of the Westerland, the Reach and the Iron Island. As for Fredrik, his vengeance is over with the death of Tywin Lannister and he did not wish to exterminate the entire members of Lannister's household.

As the Reach is relatively losing the war after the destruction of its two armies, Khal Ponno's war horde were ordered by Queen Daenerys to invade the Westerland to punish their neutrality. Invading from the South, the horde around 20,000 horseman entered the region unopposed and proceed to raid the countryside. However, the Westerlanders were already prepared and took shelter in their lord's castles together with large provisions such as livestock, crops and clean water. Realizing he was outwitted in the attrition warfare by the Westerland, Khal Ponno ordered his horde to advanced deep into the region, trying to find supplies while making its way to their ally's land at Riverlands.

Upon reaching the village of Golden Sheer, the Dothraki came across a granary and livestock pen with a small river-stream. A miraculous coincidence for the ill-supplied Dothraki's horde. The unsuspected Khal ordered his men to build temporary camp, before planning to resume their advance to Riverlands. Unknowingly to him, this is a trap set by Lord Fredrik to destroy these invaders.

During nighttime 8,000 Westerland's troops under Lord Fredrik Reyne approaching the Dothraki's camp in stealth manner. The left wing is commanded by his father in-law, Lord Westerling with 3,000 troops and the center led by himself with 5,000 troops. Together, they setup a defensive perimeter to block the Dothraki from escaping the village.

At 6.30am, the Battle of Golden Sheer begin as Lord Fredrik ordered the commencement of missile barrage towards the Dothraki's camp. Thousands of arrow were being released simultaneously from three sides. The initial attack was so swift as the unready Dothraki's horseman totally caught-off guard. With no steel armor like their counterpart, the attack has become a massacre with almost 4,000 Dothraki instantly killed or wounded.

In response, Khal Ponno ordered a counterattack against the Westerlanders and deploying their famous Cantabrian maneuver with the raider shooting arrow from horseback, while the screamer charge straightly into the Westerlanders to break their line. Nevertheless, the trained infantry managed to absorb the attack supported by a numbers of mobile wooden stakes deployed before the battle. 

Fredrik joined the battle, fighting on-foot together with his men to maintain their cohesion against the cavalry onslaught. For a long two hours, the Westerlanders steadily hold their position while the missile troops shooting arrow to counter the horse-tribes. 

The Dothraki's, having made pointless charges suffered terrible losses with another 8,000 dead or wounded, including Khal Ponno. Without any infantry support, the Dothraki were unable to break their enemy line, trapped with rocky hill at their back and a determined enemy at the front. 

The stand-off lasted for another two hours with the trapped Dothraki's continues to suffer losses, a demonstration to the Westerlander's comprehensive conflict preparation and Fredrik's warfare masterclass. 

Under the flag of truce, Fredrik offered ceasefire and surrender terms to Khal Iddo, Ponno's second in-command. "Surrender now Dothraki, I shall give safe passage to your surviving men and escort you back to Riverlands..". Khal Ponno replied. "What are your term, Andal?". "In return, I demand you to give up your stallions and arakh.." Stallion is religious deity for Dothraki and considered as sacred, Fredrik's demand was unacceptable thus leaving both commanders with no option but to resume the battle.

"Lord Reyne, you offended them with your term..what are your plan actually". A curios Ser Lyman asked Fredrik. "I know they will reject the offer. I want to destroy them here..". The survivor which left with only 8,000 horseman attempted to punch a hole against the Westerland's center, firmly held by their solid line of spearwall. While the charge managed to break a portion of the wall, fighting horseback against well equipped halberdiers is proven catastrophe for Khal Iddo's troops. Most of them were easily pulled down by the halberds and killed instantly.

The Westerland's supreme commander continues to motivate his troops while providing direct order for a new battle tactic adopted in their military reform - rank switching. A tactic to continuously replace exhausted troops by switching them with a fresh rank to maintain the cohesion. This tactic has successfully held the wall for almost six hours. The left wing also succeed in putting heavy resistance to the Dothraki's horseman. No quarter were given to these foreign invader who dared to commit war crime in attacking neutral faction. 

Daenerys shall be answerable to her decision, Fredrik shall not forget this vile act from the Targaryen's queen. "Let the destruction of her Dothraki be the first taste of defeat and warning for any potential invasion in future.." 

At 1pm, the battle is over with total decimation of Khal Ponno's horde with a staggering loss of 12,000 horseman, 4,000 wounded and 4,000 captured. In addition, Fredrik managed to captured around 3,000 stallions that could be use to improve his New Model Army. In the aftermath of the Battle of Gold Sheer, the Westerland loss 5,000 killed or wounded in action. 

The triumphant Lord Fredrik entered Lannisport to share his thrashing of the Dothraki with his people. It is no doubt that he gained a huge popularity after his victory against the Lannister, but this triumph against the Dothraki is really meaningful for him as its confirmed the status and reputation of House Reyne as the Protector of Westerland. Fredrik sent raven to Queen Daenerys, condemned her action against his people. While he does not have any intention to go for war, he hoped Daenerys will learn from her recent defeat and will not dare to attack the Westerland again. In a manner of good faith, he ordered the surviving Dothraki to be escorted back, unarmed to Westerland-Riverland border. 

Further news from the East, the Targaryen managed to destroy the Royalist's army and the Iron Fleet at the Battle of King's Landing. Daenerys's forces proceed to sack the city - committing a terrible atrocities towards its inhabitant by burning houses, massacre innocent peoples and mass execution of the surviving Royalist troops. On top of that, the entire Royal household including Queen Cersei Lannister, her brother Ser Jaime and uncle, Lord Kevan were also being executed shortly after the fall of Red Keep. With that, the only surviving member of House Lannister is Lord Tyrion who conspired with Daenerys to put an end to his family's regime at Crownlands. How the Mad Queen would response on the defeat of her Dothraki? Will she learn from this crushing defeat and conclude peace with House Reyne? 

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