Nettles, by Hylora ©
|Mixed (assumed Valyrian descent)
|In 113 AC, Driftmark
Appearance and Character
Nettles was foul-mouthed, filthy, and fearless.
According to Mushroom's Testimony, Nettles was a bastard of uncertain birth, born to a dockside whore. She grew up homeless in Spicetown and Hull on the island of Driftmark. According to Septon Eustace's history, Nettles's nose was slit after she was caught thieving.
During the Dance of the Dragons, when Prince Jacaerys Velaryon decided that the blacks needed more dragonriders in 129 AC, several "dragonseeds" on Dragonstone came forward to answer the prince's call. Nettles, sixteen years old, was able to tame the wild dragon Sheepstealer by bringing it a freshly slaughtered sheep each morning, causing Sheepstealer to become accustomed to the girl.
Nettles fought valiantly on behalf of Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen in the Battle of the Gullet in 130 AC. While her fellow dragonriders Hugh Hammer and Ulf White celebrated after the battle, Nettles was tearful, perhaps upset by the death of Jacaerys as well as the destruction of Spicetown and the butchering of its people. During the fall of King's Landing, Nettles landed Sheepstealer on Visenya's Hill.
Nettles and Sheepstealer joined Prince Daemon Targaryen, Rhaenyra's husband, and his dragon Caraxes in hunting Prince Aemond Targaryen and Vhagar along the Trident, as Daemon felt at least two dragons were necessary to confront Vhagar. The two dragonriders stayed at House Mooton's castle at Maidenpool, from where they continued their search every morning. According to Mushroom, Daemon had come to love Nettles, and took her as his bedmate, despite the fact that she was an unlikely paramour for a prince. Though Mushroom's veracity is often questionable, Gyldayn considers this story to be far more likely than most of his tales. Gyldayn further references Maester Norren's Chronicles of Maidenpool, which recorded that "the prince and his bastard girl" slept in adjoining bedrooms, but that they ate together each night and morning. Norren wrote that Daemon doted upon Nettles "as a man might dote upon his daughter", and described Daemon teaching Nettles common courtesies and giving her fine gifts, such as an ivory hairbrush, a silvered looking glass, a velvet and satin cloak, and leather riding boots. Norren further wrote that Daemon showed Nettles how to wash herself properly, and recorded that maidservants reported they often shared a single tub, washing each other.
After the treason of the dragonseeds Hugh Hammer and Ulf White at the First Battle of Tumbleton, Queen Rhaenyra's court at the Red Keep was outraged. Lady Mysaria, once Daemon's paramour, fed Rhaenyra's growing distrust of the dragonseeds with rumors of Nettles and Daemon's relationship. Rhaenyra raged, declaring that Nettles had used spells to bond with Sheepstealer and to seduce her husband, and that Daemon could not be relied upon while in the girl's thrall. The queen sent a raven to Manfryd Mooton, Lord of Maidenpool, ordering him to deliver Nettles's head but not to do Daemon any harm, only to tell him to return to the capital. However, according to Maester Norren, Manfryd and his advisors, fearful of how Daemon slept beside Nettles, unwilling to kill a guest or a young girl (or two guests, to prevent Daemon from becoming enraged at the death of the girl he was "more than fond of" and taking out his wrath on Maidenpool), disobeyed the queen and followed Norren's advice to pretend that they had never received the letter. When Maester Norren informed Daemon that Rhaenyra had declared Nettles a traitor, Daemon recognized Mysaria's actions in Rhaenyra's words, and and thanked the maester for the warning, before he allowed Nettles to escape the next morning. It is unknown how the two spent their last night together, but at dawn Daemon helped Nettles saddle Sheepstealer one last time. Nettles killed a large black ram and fed it to her dragon, then tearfully flew Sheepstealer into the morning mists of the Bay of Crabs. According to Norren, no word of farewell was spoken between Daemon and Nettles, but as Sheepstealer flew away, Caraxes let out a scream that shattered all the windows of Jonquil's Tower.
That same day, Daemon did not return to his wife in King's Landing, but publicly announced his departure for Harrenhal. He perished fighting Aemond in the Battle Above the Gods Eye. Since Daemon's body was never found in the Gods Eye, some songs claim that he survived the encounter and found his way back to Nettles. Rhaenyra was enraged by the disappearance of Nettles, and her husband's betrayal.
When King Aegon II Targaryen regained the Iron Throne after Rhaenyra's death, there were reports that Sheepstealer had been seen at Crackclaw Point and the Mountains of the Moon. In 134 AC, during the reign of King Aegon III Targaryen, Ser Robert Rowan led a royal army to the Vale of Arryn to support Ser Joffrey Arryn. Robert's men encountered Sheepstealer and a ragged Nettles in a cave, and in the ensuing fight sixteen men were slain and threescore more were wounded. Nettles and her dragon were last seen flying deeper into the Mountains of the Moon.
No sighting of Nettles and Sheepstealer was ever again recorded in the chronicles of Westeros, but to this day, the Vale mountain clans tell stories about a "fire witch" who once lived in a hidden valley within the mountains. An offshoot clan of the Painted Dogs, one of the most savage of the mountain clans, worshipped her. Their boys would prove their courage by bringing her gifts, and were only considered men after they had faced the flames of her dragon and returned with burns. Some of the maesters of the Seven Kingdoms believe that this practice was the origin of the tradition held nowadays by the Burned Men, where youths must give some part of their body "to the fire" to prove they have the courage to be a man.
—writings of Munkun
She is a common thing, with the stink of sorcery upon her. My prince would ne'er lay with such a low creature. You need only look at her to know she has no drop of dragon's blood in her. It was with spells that she bound a dragon to her, and she has done the same with my lord husband.—declaration of Rhaenyra Targaryen
—Manfryd Mooton's brother
—writings of Gyldayn
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Overthrown.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Short, Sad Reign of Aegon II.
- Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale.