Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Kisah AKU n Red Lion of Castamere - A Lion Still Has Claws


This is the final 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
  3. E03: Red Lion of Castamere - The Lion and The Dragon

It has been three months after the sack of King's Landing and the Royalist's ultimate defeat which saw the end of Cersei Lannister's reign. Queen Daenerys has finally restored House Targaryen as the paramount ruler of Westeros, almost twenty years after Robert Baratheon seized the throne from her father, Aerys II Targaryen. "My queen, perhaps it wise for you to focus on the internal issues first. We can always go West. The Reyne will never win this war. They're bleeding now.." The Queen's Hand, Lord Tyrion Lannister advised her to halt further invasion while focusing in rehabilitation of newly conquered land, more engagement with her vassal states and to rebuild the Royal army. The Targaryen's invasion of Westeros has caused Daenerys of around 60,000 dead or wounded. "Let's strike while he bled. His people will pay for his defiance.." Instead of considering Tyrion's advice, a reckless Daenerys shifted her attention to crush two regions who resisted to bend the knee, the Westerland and the Iron Island. 

Fredrik was aware with the development in the capital. Thanks to his network of spies who continuously feed him the latest information on Daenerys' movement. He knew the Targaryen's queen will surely aim to destroy the Westerland to ensure total submission of Westeros into her reign. But this time, it will not only the Dothraki but the entire army of the five kingdoms! 

Two months later, the Royalist forces are all over at the very gate of the Westerland. From the South, Lord Andres Yronwood is leading the Dornish army of around 9,000 soldiers advancing to Crakehall via Ocean Road. Unable to provide land forces due to its decimation in the hand of Khal Ponno previously, the Reach's send its fleet under Lord Paxter Redwyne and besieging Lannisport from the sea, trying to hunger its population which rely on trade and fisheries activities. To the east, a confederate army under the Queen's nephew, Prince Aegon Targaryen is marching westward with 16,000 troops marshaled from the North, the Riverlands and the Vale. The second forces led by Khal Qono with 13,000 Dothraki just left King's Landing to participate in the invasion. In total, the Royalist forces numbered 38,000 men and 100 ships were assembled to invade the Westerland.

As for the Westerland, they are now left with only 16,000 men including field army and castle garrisons. Fredrik knew if he want to defeat Daenerys, he need to mobilize the entire army to achieve his goal. Leaving almost no garrison, the Westerland supreme commanders decided to divide his army into two divisions. "Lord Crakehall, take half of our forces and ride south. You know the region well. Let's do it again.." His most experience general, Lord Roland Crakehall was being tasked to block the Dornish army at the southern front while Lord Reyne himself leading some 8,000 soldiers to fortify the crossroad of Tarbeck Hall. The site where he defeated Lord Tywin Lannister and sealed the fate of his rebellion a few years ago. He intend to adopt similar approach in dealing with Prince Aegon.

Determined to fight for freedom, King Balon Greyjoy of the Iron Island also lent his support to the Westerland by sending 4,000 Ironborn under the immediate command of his brother, Victarion and remnant of the Iron Fleet, around 60 War galleys led by his daughter, Yara sailing from Lordsport towards Lannisport in order to break the Redwyne's Fleet.

"Ser Podrick, ride your fastest horse to Banefort. Victarion will land there. Guide his army to Pendric and wait there..". Confident with his army capability to block Aegon at Tarbeck Hall, Fredrik sent his trusted knight, Ser Podrick to Victarion who scheduled to land at Banefort. He ordered the Ironborn to maintain their position there as he need them for surprise element against much larger Dothraki's army under Khal Qono.

Fredrik intentionally left the gold-mine of Nunn's Deep to lure the Dothraki, hoping to delay them from merging with Aegon. The strategy works as Khal Qono ordered his horde to plunder the mine and proceed to razed the abandoned village. Unknowingly to him, the Westerlanders had already poisoned the well, as a result most of Qono's troops and horses fell sick and unable to advance further.

Prince Aegon Targaryen or best known as Jon Snow is a capable warrior, but never a battle strategist. He almost led his army into a crushing defeat against House Bolton during the Battle of Bastards at Winterfell a few years ago. Luckily his step-sister Sansa Stark, came to the rescue with 5,000 Vale's knight to strike the Bolton from its rear and won the battle for the Northmen. His opponent, Lord Fredrik Reyne is a proven strategist and field commander, having crushed the Lannister and recently, the Dothraki out from the region. He is also known for his swordsmanship, defeating the best swordsman in Westeros, Ser Jaime Lannister in a duel at the Battle of Tarbeck Hall.

Aegon outnumbered Fredrik almost two to one in number, this led him to order the attack hastily. His advisor, Ser Davos Seaworth urged him to wait for the Dothraki and make use of their agility to soften Fredrik's defence first before launching a frontal attack. In addition, the terrain is not favorable to them as the Westerland possess a high ground with nature at their flanks. However, the delay led Aegon to ignored the advise and decided to strike at once.

He send most of his troops, around 10,000 men directly into the Westerland's left flank at Tarbeck River, intending to envelope Fredrik's position from there. Lord Robar Royce with his Vale's contingent, around 4,000 troops and Aegon's Stark division of some 2,000 men were being ordered to stand down as reserve forces. A brutal fighting occurred with the Northmen led by Aegon himself fight ferociously to capture the ramparts. A flanking cavalry support by Lord Edmure Tully failed to offer significant impact as Tarbeck River gave a natural protection to the Westerlanders who under the command of Lord Rolph Spicer.

Despite their futile resistance, the Westerlander's line begin to collapse against sheer number of the Royalist army. A portion of Tully's cavalry also managed to join the fighting after hard crossing the Tarbeck, pressing the attack to break Spicer's defenses. Unable to absorb the relentless pounding, Lord Spicer ordered a general retreat to the center and regroup with the Reyne and Kenning. 

Seizing the collapsed of Fredrik's right flank, Lord Royce led his Vale's contingent to storm the Westerland's left wing at Tarbeck Hill manned by the Westerling's army. Around 1,000 mounted knight supported by 3,000 infantry ascending the hill under heavy fire from Westerling's missile unit. Volley after volley of arrows were directed against the Vale which succeed in killing its commander and many soldiers.

Even with heavy casualties, the Vale's troops now led by Lord Lyonel Corbray continues their advance and eventually reached Westerling's fresh infantry. Lord Westerling tried to maintain the cohesion of his line by tirelessly shouting war-cry to boost the morale of his countrymen who are now fighting for their land against the common invader. The Westerlanders is now completely being pushed to its center after the fall of Tarbeck River. With victory at his grasp, Aegon signaled a general attack directed against the ruins of Tarbeck Hall manned by 3,000 Reyne and Kenning's infantryman headed by Lord Terence Kenning. In the midst of savage fighting at the center, Aegon sensing something is not right. "Where is him? Where is the Red Lion of Castamere?" He is nowhere to be seen at the battlefield. Is he fleeing from the battle?

Yes. Aegon is indeed fallen into the trap. Lord Reyne with his massive cavalry forces of around 1,400 Westerland's knight emerged from dense forest near Tarbeck River. This is his grand plan to put the final nail in Aegon's coffin. Tywin fell on similar trap but the execution is somewhat difference. The Lannister's army was burnt to death, but for the Northmen, the defender are about to unleash their blades and spears. A day before the battle, Fredrik noticed the hilly plain near the river is too narrow for any flanking maneuver, thus he planned Lord Spicer to put up early resistance and feigned retreat to allow Aegon to push them to the center, away from the river bank. As this happen, there will be enough space for Fredrik to mount his massive counter-attack.

Leading from the front, Fredrik and his cavalry contingent smashed Aegon's rear and proceed to slaughter a shocked North-Riverland's troops. Once the line stabilized, Fredrik pick up half of his cavalry and ride hard to reinforce Lord Westerling who fiercely defending the hill from the fearsome Vale's knight. 

The Westerland cavalry encircling their enemy, trying to wreck fear among the trapped Vale's troops before lining in single wedge formation and wield their bloody swords and spears to the air, Fredrik then waving his Red Rain to commence the onslaught against Corbray's army. 

As expected, the Vale was broken instantly as the swift charge managed to destroy the enemy rear-guard, coupled with heavy pressing from the Westerling's knight at the front. Most of Vale's levy gave up their arms, while a few portion of proud Vale's knight continues to fight rather than surrender to the enemy. It's the chivalrous code of honor which obliged Westerosi knight to fight to their death.

Fredrik rushed towards Lord Lyonel Corbray and jumped from his horse to challenge him for a sword duel, after a brief exchange of blow. The old Vale's lord was being killed due to lacked of stamina against much younger Fredrik. His brother, Ser Lyn Corbray step forward to avenge his kin. Picking up Corbray's ancestral Valyrian sword, Lady Forlorn, a tempered young knight underestimated his opponent. After drawing a few casual move, Fredrik decided to end the duel and slashed his Red Rain into Lyn's neck, instantly killing him. With the death of the two brothers, House Corbray is ceased to exist due to the end of its male line.

Aegon's attack at Tarbeck Hall also crumbled as they failed to keep the momentum after the sudden Westerland's cavalry charge. Soon, they were all being trapped by the Reyne and Kenning who gradually pushed the Northmen back to their original position at Tarbeck River. With nowhere to run, most of them surrendered but a few hundred chose to wade the river which later become an easy picking to Westerland's missile unit. 

Fredrik has scored a first victory against Daenerys with the near annihilation of her nephew's army at Tarbeck Hall. Aegon lost 10,000 dead or wounded, 3,000 captured and 3,000 missing, most probably drowned at the bottom of Tarbeck River. The Westerlanders also suffered heavily from the battle with 5,000 wounded or killed which left Fredrik with only less than half of the army to face the second impending attack against the Dothraki. However, he still have its ally, Victarion Greyjoy with his Ironborn, patiently waiting their chances to join the battle.

"Lord Reyne, my father won the battle at the south. The Dornish is retreating.." Fredrik was relieved to received Ser Lyle Crakehall, Roland's son who brought an important message of his father's victory against Lord Yronwood at Ocean Road. The furious battle saw the Dornish army was being crushed and retreated back to the friendly region of the Reach. In spite of the enemy retreat, the Westerland's lost around 5,000 men in two days battle. 

The Iron Fleet led by Yara Greyjoy also scored a thrilling victory against Lord Paxter Redwyne, exterminated the entire Reach's fleet and relieved the siege of Lannisport. With three successive victories, the Targaryen's invasion of Westerland seems to lost its way. However, there's still a large number of Dothraki's horde presence in the region. Fredrik need to act fast. With Aegon in his dungeon, Fredrik can leverage him to persuade Daenerys to settle the conflict in a peaceful negotiation rather than to shed more unnecessary bloods and tears. He sent raven to King's Landing urging for a parley between the two factions, citing the destruction of the Royalist army and fleet while mentioning Aegon's imprisonment. Acting like a true mad Targaryen, Daenerys rejected the parley and gave her response - "My Dothraki is more than enough to finish your dwindling army.. I know you too had suffered so much. For Aegon, I'm glad to see his head. Iron Throne is mine!"  

With the recent Daenerys' response, Fredrik concluded that peace would not be an option to end the war and decided to strike the Dothraki before they received further instruction from their mad Queen. His target - the gold mine of Nunn's Deep where Khal Qono establish his temporary camp to tend his poisoned soldiers and stallions.

4,000 Westerlanders formed a large square formation at the grass plain near the gold mine, around 800 metre from the Dothraki's camp. Without much hesitation, Lord Westerling ordered the missile unit to commence the arrow barrage against the unready enemy. The unanticipated attack caused havoc among the Dothraki's rank as Khal Qono instructed his ill-troops to quickly mount their weak stallion for a counter attack. 

Despite the chaotic order, Khal Qono managed to assembled around 6,000 Dothraki's raider and screamer to initiate the first counter-attack against the Westerland's square, leaving another 7,000 to guard the camp which filled with wounded troops and large amount of gold looted from the nearest mine.

The Dothraki execute their famous Cantabrian circle to lessen the Westerland's defence by showering arrow from horseback. At the same time, the Dothraki's screamer repeatedly charging at full strength with intention to ram the enemy's shield wall. However, most of stallion were in a weak condition. Whilst the tactic can be lethal against the rookie army, the Dothraki are now dealing with the Westerland's professional army who dedicated their training doctrine to counter various tactics, including the Dothraki's warfare style. 

Watching the battle from the top of Pendric Hill, Victarion ordered his Ironborn to storm the Dothraki's camp from the east. A master tactician as well, the Greyjoy commander put the famous Kraken formation into the battle by launching a surprise attack from three sides. The attack was carried out in a meteoric manner as the defender were caught off-guard and encircled in a very short of time. Unlike Fredrik, a merciless Victarion proceed to slaughter every Dothraki in the camp and executed a number of camp followers. 

After razing the camp, the surviving Ironborn sallied forth and formed its own version of shield wall in order to divide Khal Qono's horde into two. The battle seems lost for the Dothraki as both exit; west and east were being blocked by the coalition of the Westerland-Iron Island's army. Whilst surrender is not an option, Khal Qono rallied his horseman and make a last ditch attempt to punch through the Ironborn. If they succeed to pass Victarion, at least they will be able to escape with their life to the friendly Riverland region. 

Seeing his ally is in imminent danger, Fredrik ordered his cavalry squadron to mount their horses and raced to the battered Ironborn. Here, he was struck by an arrow to his shoulder and nearly collapsed. Despite his injury, the Westerland's supreme commander continues to fight bravely in order to save Victarion from the desperate Dothraki

The final battle of the Targaryen's invasion of Westerland ended with a complete destruction of the last Dothraki's horde brought by Daenerys from Essos. Both the Westerland and Iron Island suffered a combined total of 6,000 casualties in this battle. Despite its heavy loss, the war is now turn on their favor as the Royalist were soundly defeated at all front - land and sea.

Shortly after his total victory against the Royalist, Fredrik sent another raven to Daenerys to cease the conflict in a peaceful manner. Having counseled by Lord Tyrion, the Queen agreed for a parley and invited Lord Fredrik Reyne and King Balon Greyjoy to come to King's Landing. A peace treaty was signed by the conflicting parties on 310AC to end the war, followed by subsequent recognition of the Westerland and Iron Island separation from the Iron Throne. The war has been won! 

At Castamere, Fredrik organized a grand feast to celebrate his hard-fought independence against the Targaryen, attended by Westerland's lords and its stalwart ally, the Greyjoy. There were also a few high lords representing other part of Westeros regions such as Wardeness of the North - Lady Sansa Stark, Warden of the East - Lord Robin Arryn and Warden of the South - Lord Gendry Baratheon came in to pay respect to Lord Fredrik Reyne as the legitimate Lord Protector of the Westerland. Hence, the Red Lion banner of House Reyne flying high across the Westerland region. A fairy tale end for our hero in his journey to avenge the tragedy of Rain of Castamere with the successful rebellion against his sworn enemy, the Golden Lion of Lannister until the ascension of Red Lion of Reyne as the new paramount house of the Westerland. 

And who are you, the proud lord said, 
That I must bow so low
Only a cat of a different coat
That's all the truth I know
In a coat of gold or a coat of red, 
A lion still has claws...

Yup, that's the end of my short mini-series Red Lion of Castamere. Hope you guys enjoy this fanfiction. After this we shall wait for the AWOIAF version 8.0 and see if there's any exciting quests or item. Tapi rasanya sudah-sudahlah menaip cerita ni. Haha 

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