Battle at Rook's Rest
|Battle at Rook's Rest
|Dance of the Dragons
|late 129 AC
|Victory for the greens
Ser Criston Cole, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard and the new Hand of the King to Aegon II Targaryen, devised a more aggressive strategy for the greens than his predecessor as Hand, Ser Otto Hightower. Criston planned a trap for the blacks at Rook's Rest, while also forcing the submission of the nearby crownlands houses that were allied with Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen.
Criston Cole marched out of King's Landing with 100 knights, 500 men-at-arms, and three times as many sellswords: thus about 2,400 in total. Lord Rosby and Lord Stokeworth had recently submitted to Aegon to avoid execution in King's Landing, and Criston forced them to prove their loyalty by adding the strength of Rosby and Stokeworth to the green host. The army was thus slightly under 3,000 men in strength by the time they reached Duskendale. Duskendale was caught completely by surprise and unprepared, and quickly fell to Aegon II's forces and was sacked. Lord Gunthor Darklyn was beheaded for treason, and most of his household knights swore their swords to Aegon, although a few chose death.
Lord Staunton had been forewarned of the approach of Ser Criston's army. He closed the gates of Rook's Rest, but was unable to prevent Criston from burning his fields or killing his smallfolk and livestock. When supplies in Rook's Rest began to run low, Lord Staunton asked for assistance from Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, sending a raven to Dragonstone.
Queen Rhaenyra's sons, Jacaerys and Joffrey Velaryon, were eager to join the fight atop their dragons, Vermax and Tyraxes, but she forbade them to go. Instead, nine days after Staunton's message, Rhaenys Targaryen, the Queen Who Never Was, and her dragon, Meleys, the Red Queen, arrived alone above Rook's Rest to aid Lord Staunton. However, Criston was prepared, and had his archers and scorpions fire at Meleys. The dragon was largely unharmed by these attacks, and she responded by burning Criston's soldiers with dragonfire.
Criston Cole then sprung his trap. King Aegon II Targaryen and his brother, Prince Aemond, appeared in the sky atop their own dragons, Sunfyre and Vhagar, and attacked Rhaenys and Meleys. The three dragons fought a thousand feet above the field. When Meleys closed her jaws around Sunfyre's neck, Vhagar fell upon them from above, causing the three dragons to crash into to the ground. Although Aemond and Vhagar rose unscathed, Meleys was broken and ripped to pieces from the fall, and Sunfyre had one wing half torn from his body. Aegon suffered severe burns and broken bones. The blackened body of Rhaenys was found beside the carcass of her dragon.
Aemond, Criston, and the surviving greens took Rook's Rest, and killed Lord Staunton and his garrison of one hundred soldiers.
The heads of Lord Staunton and Meleys were taken to King's Landing. The smallfolk of the city were greatly awed by the sight of the dragon's head, drawn through the city on a cart. Thousands of people left the city, until Dowager Queen Alicent Hightower ordered the gates closed and barred.
Ser Criston Cole lost eight hundred soldiers to Meleys's dragonfire. King Aegon II Targaryen was incapacitated by his burns for a year; Prince Aemond Targaryen became regent while his brother recovered. Aegon's injured dragon, Sunfyre, was flightless and too heavy to be moved, so was left behind in the fields of Rook's Rest to eat carcasses and livestock.
The loss of Rhaenys Targaryen and her dragon, Meleys, was a severe blow to the blacks. Rhaenys's husband, Lord Corlys Velaryon, was enraged, and blamed her death on Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, stating that if the queen or her sons had gone with their dragons, his wife might be alive.
Nine days after Lord Staunton dispatched his plea for help, the sound of leathern wings was heard across the sea, and the dragon Meleys appeared above Rook's Rest. The Red Queen, she was called, for the scarlet scales that covered her. The membranes of her wings were pink, her crest, horns, and claws bright as copper. And on her back, in steel and copper armor that flashed in the sun, rode Rhaenys Targaryen, the Queen Who Never Was.
Beloved daughter of Lady Jocelyn Baratheon and Prince Aemon Targaryen, faithful wife to Lord Corlys Velaryon, mother and grandmother, the Queen Who Never Was lived fearlessly, and died amidst blood and fire. She was fifty-five years old.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.