The Ironborn Invasion of the North, also called the Kraken's Conquest by some, was a conflict that sparked during the Blackwater Rebellion but continued long after peace was officially reached.
After Ironborn invaders landed upon distant parts of the North while the main force of the region was in the south, ousting them proved a more difficult task than it seemed. By the time the North had truly come to grips with their foe, an edict from the Iron Throne commanded all hostilities to cease. House Stark asked the crown to intercede several times, but were largely refused. Though officially they were at peace with the Iron Islands, the Starks and people of the North continued to fight them until their defeat in 191.
In order to honour his late, pious brother, King Daeron began construction of a Great Sept on Visenya's Hill in the year 165AC. It proved to be an enormous financial strain upon the realm's coffers, an issue that the then High Septon suggested Daeron allay by enforcing a new tax upon those lords who did not follow the Faith of the Seven - namely, the Iron Islands and the North.
This move drove a wedge between Winterfell and King's Landing, pushing the Starks into backing Aegon Targaryen when he rose in revolt during the Blackwater Rebellion that began nearly twenty years later. The North dealt a stunning defeat to the loyalists at the Battle of the Bite, and were making ready to reinforce the Black Dragon's position in the Riverlands when word came from Flint's Fingers. The Ironborn had landed, and in great number, reaving the coast, slaughtering hundreds, and carrying off men, women, and goods in their longships. Unwilling and unable to abandon his people to the depredations of the Ironmen, Lord Stark and his army turned around, and began their march back north.
It is important to mention that during the Blackwater Rebellion,the West Coast of the North had already been attached on the Defeat of Blazewater Bay.
The Ironborn lost a big part of their navy,being a turning point to the defend of the West Coast of the North,by the hands of the veteran captain Lord Russ Blurson,the flagship of the Iron Fleet was sunk and hostages like the infamous Lord Drumnn were taken but despite the folly the sons of the sea regrouped and returned to the North for more war.
The Invasion Edit
Cape Kraken and Flint's Fingers Edit
The first fortnight of the Invasion saw sweeping victories for the Ironborn in Cape Kraken, as longships struck ground all along the coast of Blazewater Bay. Flint's Fingers was immediately put under siege, the ravens the defenders set loose shot down by their attackers. While a holding force remained behind to ensure the Flints stayed put, the rest of the Ironborn turned themselves loose upon the peninsula; sacking, burning, raiding, and reaving on a scale not seen since Dalton Greyjoy. For two weeks the men of the Isles had their way, before at last the Greyjoys called back their tide of blood - receding from the villages and holdfasts they had conquered, and returning to their ships. The Siege of Flint's Fingers was abandoned as well - the sun rising one morning to find the Ironborn encampment entirely abandoned. A rider was sent out, scouting the land - and bringing word of the chaos south to Lord Stark.
- Siege of Flint's Fingers - The Ironborn arrived from two directions in the dead of night, having sent landed ships from the isle of Harlaw further down the coast and sent riders to circle around the landward side of the castle. They blocked the main road as the others blockaded the sea, thousands more landing upon the shore and thickening the lines around Flint's Finger. The siege lasted weeks, and the Ironmen made no moves to try and take the castle in truth - preferring instead to let the defenders watch as lines of prisoners and loot slowly poured in from the Cape. When at last the Greyjoys called their men back, the besieging army abandoned their camp outside the walls, disappearing into the sea before dawn.
- The Rape of Cape Kraken - No maester can give an accurate number for the losses that occured during this time, both in lives and in property. The Ironborn moved about the Cape unhindered, making little effort to settle or stall. They lived freely and on the move, taking what they wanted before burning entire villages to the ground. Those of the Isle of Harlaw were purported to have brought horses with them, allowing them to foray further afield - but the men of Great Wyk knew stone-work better than their kinfolk, and were better able to break past the defenses of the more fortified villages. In the end, thousands perished, and hundreds more were carried off into slavery,action that would lead to the infamous Skirmishes.
- Skirmishes of the Saltspear- As the name described the inlet was the starting point of these liberation battles,where the Haze Fleet under the order of Blurson captains tried to recover prisoners of war from the Ironborn,not all would be lucky to survive the naval clash but thanks to this effort it is said that the territories would not be completely deserted and inhabitable after the War,which combined with Blurson's leadership would be a turning point restoring order to the Flint Peninsula,in time this action would allign the Flints of Flint's Finger as rebels during the Battle of the Woods.
The Far North Edit
The Ironborn disappeared from Cape Kraken, but not from the North as a whole. They blazed a trail of blood up the western coast, sacking villages in the Rills and Barrowlands thought the Stony Shore remained strong.Their depredations eventually brought them to seize Sea Dragon Point,House Blurson and Tallhart defended the peninsula.
The Greyjoys craving vengeance for their astonishing defeat during the Blackwater Rebellion,carried on the threat made to the Blurson Ruler, with a cunning and a strategic play the Ironborn tried their best to burn the West Coast.
- The Battle of the Stormy Night-Lord Greyjoy played a cunning trick wearing House Blurson colors infiltrated the lands of the Bay of Ice,where the Ironborn did their massive betrayal killing the guards settled on Sea Dragon Point while other force rode for the Bear Isle.After killing his lordly captives for this defiance,Russ Blurson raised his banners and settle his land forces in the area,where they met the unexpected aid of House Tallhart.The Ironborn frightened when the Northern soldiers wore seal's oil on their skins,they began loosing men when a Storm started on the land,Lord Greyjoy believed thatLani's was a sign that the region was cursed by the Storm God.The combination with Blurson's relentless charges forced them to sail to Bear Isle,the only profitable peace of land this far North.On the aftermath Russ Blurson decided to send a little force to Mormont lands conserving the Haze fleet on Blazewater Bay to smash Ironborn retreat.On the other hand House Blurson took over Sea Dragon Point claiming it historically as theirs.
The Mormonts were fierce - but numbers were against them. The Battle of Bear Isle mirrored the Ironborn conquests to date; it was swift, brutal, and saw the Ironborn emerge once more victorious. With most of the Mormonts already south, the men of the Iron Islands soon occupied the castle, and used the island as a central point from which to launch their depredations. The Ironborn invasion struck deep into the heart of the Wolfswood, piercing Glover defenses. As the Ironborn slew and conquered, thralls were brought back to a slave camp upon the coast - put to work for their newfound masters, hewing timber and preparing the defences.
- The Battle of Bear Isle - The battle of Bear Isle was hardly a battle at all - the defenders of Mormont Keep were joined by a suicide party of 600 men sent by Lords Tallhart and Blurson who openly didn't care for the island's fate.And the Ironborn descended upon their island from all directions. Though the gates held for a time, and scores of reavers met their end staring up at the oaken walls of the holdfast, in the end they proved triumphant, seizing the castle for themselves. The island as a whole was turned into a base of operations for the Ironborn, the castle claimed for the Lord of the Iron Islands.
The Wolf Returns Edit
The Starks rushed northward to defend their lands, sending a contingent west to ensure the Cape was clear. Worrying about a potential assault on Winterfell, Lord Stark and a contingent of cavalry rushed forward to reinforce the border and defend the southern reaches.Russ Blurson joined Lord Tallhart defend of Tohrren's square along Lord Dustin forces they held the castle. They arrived to find that all was well - though refugees poured in from the Wolfswood, bringing tales of loss and horror.
When at last the foot arrived, the Northmen wasted little time - immediately they set out towards Deepwood Motte, marching through the Wolfswood. Ironborn scouts harried them all the way, striking from within the trees - but the Northmen knew the woods better than their foes, and returned the losses they took with eager blades. As Deepwood Motte at last emerged from the forest, the Northmen were greeted with a terrible sight - Ironborn besieged the castle in ranks four score deep, with all of the armaments of war.
The Battle of Deepwood Motte was the largest battle in the war, and saw the largest amount of losses for the North and Ironborn in both the Kraken's Conquest and the Rebellion. Just short of ten thousand men died that day, though House Stark and the North would emerge bloody, bruised, and victorious.
- The Battle of Deepwood Motte - The Ironborn battered upon the gates of House Glover's castle, surrounding it with thousands of experienced reavers and warriors. When the Starks arrived and battle was joined, the Northmen struck from three directions, crushing their foes against the walls of the castle. The Glovers and the Forresters who had taken up in the castle sallied forth, striking at their occupied besiegers and cutting through their ranks towards salvation. The Ironborn did not yield easily, their preparations and fortifications tearing through the initial Northern cavalry charge. In the end however, they could not hold. Retreat was called, and slowly they withdrew towards the north, defeated.But for the suprise of many Blurson forces occupied the Southern Wolfswood claiming the holdings of Houses Bole,Branch and Woods for Lord Blurson all while recovering part of the slaved population earning support for the inevitable final battle.
- The Battle of the Woods-The last conflict of the Ironborn Invasion was not other than blood spilled between Northmen.House Stark moved all the remaining troops of the North to the liberation of the Wolfswood but to their surprise the Blursons occupied the territory,after several talks and Blurson denial to retreat their forces,a battlefield would be born.House Blurson bathed with prestige during the Ironborn invasion were appealing enough for several Houses of the North that were tired of the Stark participation in the southern conflicts to join their side such as Houses Bolton,Tallhart,Dustin Karstark and Flint of Flint's Finger.Thought the wolves remained the feeling of sorrow and betrayal was bigger than ever,Lord Blurson surrendered after the death of his eldest son by Lord Ryswell's hands.
The End of the War Edit
The Ironborn withdrew in good order, and the Northmen pursued. A half dozen battles were fought beneath the Wolfswood, when at last word came from the south. Aegon was dead, his rebellion defeated - King Daeron I sat the Iron Throne uncontested. The victorious Targaryen demanded that Winterfell stand down, and all hostilities between loyalists and rebels come to an end. The Starks resisted; their foes still held large swathes of land across the northern coast, and Bear Isle was still very much occupied. Daeron refused to yield however, the Starks having backed his rival in the war, and the North was given two choices - yield, or be branded as traitors. The Starks had no choice at all.
Lord Blurson was stripped of all the lands he conquered during the caos of the Ironborn Invasion and was branded as a traitor by the Northern Council still when they sent men for his capture,the Smallfolk of Stony Shore and Sea Dragon Point raised on another rebellion defending his liege,claiming that the Blursons were the only protection they had during the Ironborn attack.The Lord Paramount of the North after several fights that make the North suffer more,decided to spear Russ' life after swearing again fealty to him.
For the first time in 200 years, the Iron Islands held lands outside of it's native isles in a time of peace.
Secret Strife Edit
The following years were punctuated by a series of appeals to the crown from House Stark about the Ironborn, both their depredations and abuses as well as their continued occupation of traditional Northern lands. These went largely unheeded, King Daeron unwilling to relent. In the meantime, while the Starks remained nominally at peace with their foes, the houses of the North waged quiet, bitter war against the Ironmen, who were only too glad to further bloody their new rivals.
Scores of battles, skirmishes, and ambushes took place in those following years, the Ironborn 'town' on the mainland swelling with thralls and captives. Thousands died on both sides, and many more were wounded. But slowly, and surely, the Ironborn lost ground - numbers and righteous fury working against them.
The Sack of Shadow Tower Edit
Main Article: The Slaughter at Shadow Tower
Desperate to retain their conquests, the Ironborn deployed a new strategy. Messengers were sent beyond the Wall, with gifts of gold and steel. Word spread through the Lands of Always Winter, and then, in 191AC - the Ironborn struck.
The castles along the Wall long ago had their southward fortifications removed, to enforce their oaths to take no part in the conflicts of the realms of men. Because of this there was little in the way of defense from what came next - a band of Ironborn appeared with the early dawn, and cut down the defenders of Shadow Tower in a battle that lasted only an hour. The Black Brothers were few in number, and not at all prepared for attack from the south. When all were dead or fled or captured, the Ironborn threw open the gates to the far North, and wildlings poured through in their hundreds, armed with the weapons and armour of fallen Northmen, and sweeping south upon the Gift.
The True End Edit
As word spread of the horror at Shadow Tower, and the atrocities the wildlings committed thanks to the support of the Ironborn, opinion finally shifted against them. Though many in the south had enjoyed the conflict - seeing it as wars between pagans or the Starks and their northmen finally being taught a bit of humility - this last act proved too much. King Daeron sent word a fortnight later: the Ironborn were to abandon all holdings in the North, and House Stark was to be restored to all previous favours. At first the Greyjoys proved unwilling, but as the Northern forces closed in upon their mainland holdings and the Crown began to arm, they relented. In the sixth moon of 191AC, the Ironborn at last withdrew from the North.
The war in the North cost thousands of lives, many of which shall go forever unknown. There are no ledgers of the lost, no recordings of the many battles and skirmishes - at least, not in the south. When the Ironborn at last left the Northern coast, both sides were bloodied and war-weary.
The Ironborn lost near a half hundred vessels at least in various conflicts, and abandoned nearly a dozen in their final flight, most of which went to House Mormont, newly returned to their ancestral island. The legacy of the Ironborn in the North did not leave when the prows of their longships at last pulled away, however; after the Slaughter at Shadow Tower thousands of wildlings yet roamed the Gift, pushing further south each passing month. The Starks would spend several fortnights driving the invaders back beyond the Wall.