Century of Blood

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The Century of Blood, semi-canonically also known as the Bleeding Years,[1] was a period of chaos in Essos that lasted for approximately one century. It began following the destruction of the Valyrian Freehold in the Doom of Valyria,[2][3][4] which took place in 114 BC.[3]

Prelude

The Valyrian Freehold had defeated the Old Empire of Ghis and taken control of the slaver cities,[5] and the Rhoynar,[6] and founded eight of the nine Free Cities - Braavos, the ninth and youngest of the Free Cities, having been founded by escaped slaves from Valyria.[7] The power of Valyria eventually encompassed the western half of Essos, ranging from the narrow sea to Slaver's Bay.[8]

In 114 AC[3] the Valyrian Freehold collapsed when the Valyrian peninsula was destroyed in the Doom. Within mere hours, Valyria was gone and the Freehold was destroyed. It is said that the fire and smoke was so hot that even the dragons were consumed. The destruction of Valyria strongly reduced the number of dragonlords left in the Known World.[8] House Targaryen had relocated to Dragonstone, the westernmost outpost of Valyria located in the narrow sea, twelve years before with their dragons, thereby ensuring their survival.[3] Some other dragonslords – those who had not been in Valyria when the Doom occurred – had survived as well. In Tyrosh, Lys and Qohor, it is said that dragonlords were spared, but they did not long outlive the Doom.[8]

The Century of Bood

What followed the Doom of Valyria was struggle that lasted a century. The destruction of Valyria left a power vacuum in Essos. According to history, a dragonlord who had been visiting Qohor, Aurion, proclaimed himself the first Emperor of Valyria and raised forces from the Qohorik. With his dragon and an army of thirty thousand men he marched to claim Valyria's remains, but none were ever seen again.

Volantis, at the time of the Doom the mightiest of the nine Free Cities, laid claim to Valyria's empire.[8] Meanwhile, the Dothraki rode out of the east, sacking and burning towns and cities in their way,[9] leading to the destruction of kingsdoms.[10]

War amongst Valyria's Children

As Valyria's "First Daughter", the Volantenes regarded themselves as the rightful successors of the dragonlords.[11] The Volantene nobles descendend of Valyrian blood who were part of the political party known as the tigers called for war upon the other cities. Volantis succeeded in their efforts at first. They took control of Lys and Myr, and commanded the southern reaches of the Rhoyne.[8][12] Volantis ruled their two sister-cities for two generations.[12] When Volantis attempted to take control of Tyrosh, however, when resistance began.[8] In the end, all of the Free Cities, save for Lorath,[13] either rebelled against Valyria or joined the alliance against them. Pentos gave Tyrosh aid in their resistance while Myr and Lys rebelled.[8] Qohor and Norvos made an alliance against Volantis,[4] and destroyed much of the Volantene fleet controlling the Rhoyne at Dagger Lake.[8] The Titan's wrath was provoked in Braavos,[14] and the Sealord of Braavos sent a hundred ship to Lys for further aid.[8] Even the Westerosi Storm King, Argilac Durrandon led a host into the Disputed Lands. There, he defeated an army from Volantis which attempted to retake Myr.[8][3][12] Pentos and Tyrosh also approached the last remaining dragonlords, on Dragonstone. A young Aegon Targaryen was invited by the two cities to join the alliance against Volantis, and agreed to help them. Mounted on his dragon Balerion, he flew to Lys, where a Volantene fleet was preparing an invasion, and set the fleet ablaze.[8][12] Further misfortures occurred when Volantis sent a fleet to reclaim Valyria. The fleet disappeared in the Smoking Sea.[12] When Volantis was weakened, the Dothraki from the east fell on the city.[8]

In the end, a second political party from Volantis, the elephants seized control. Where the tigers had favored conquest, the elephants favored trade and peace. After having held power for almost a century following Valyria's Doom, the tigers were displaced by the rising elephants, and ever since, at least two of the three Triarchs of Volantis have been elephants each year.[12]

While Volantis had been the most powerful of the Free Cities shortly after the Doom, the Century of Blood left the city broken, bankrupt, and depopulated.[12]

While the Disputed Lands had originally been a fertile region, the battles during the Century of Blood left it devastated.[15] As a result of the struggle for power amidst the Free Cities during this century, the free companies were born in the Disputed Lands.[8] They continue to battle in the Disputed Lands even in the present day, when Tyrosh, Myr, and Lys go to war over their borders.[15]

Rise of the Dothraki

Following the power vacuum the Doom of Valyria left behind, the Dothraki came from the east and the grasslands exploded into war. Acting on the advise given by his mother Doshi, a with queen, Khal Mengo united the sixty Dothraki khalasars that had previously existed. His interests were to the west. The Tall Men of the Kingdom of Sarnor ignored the threat the Dothraki posed, and even attempted to use them in their own wars. Khal Mengo accepted all the Tall Men offered in return for his help, but took the lands they had conquered as well. The fields, farms and towns were burned, and so these lands returned to the wild state they had once had.[10]

When Khal Moro, Mengo's son, brought his khalasar to the gates of Sathar, the Tall Men realised the danger they posed. In the battle that followed, Sathar was destroyed, its men slain, and its women and children taken as slaves to be sold in the Ghiscari city Hazdahn Mo. Yet the destruction of Sathar was not enough to make the Tall Men form a united front against the Dothraki. Both Kasath and Gornath attempted to lay claim on Sathar's ruins, which resulted into a conflict between them.[10] Six years following Sathar's destruction, Kasath was destroyed as well. Gornath followed a dozen years later. By then, Khal Moro had been slain and replaced by Khal Horro. Following Horro's death three years later, his large khalasar splintered into twelve smaller bands, who continued the conquests. Sallosh, Kyth and Hornoth fell. Mardosh held on for six years, though the city's inhabitants were eventually forced to eat their own dead in order to survive. When the city could endure no more, the men killed their wives and children to keep them from falling into the hands of the Dothraki, after which they made one last charge.[10]

The Field of Crows - the destruction of Sathar, as depicted in The World of Ice and Fire.

Following the fall of Mordosh, the Sarnori united against their enemy, and faced the Dothraki in the tall grasses halfway Sarnath and the ruins of Kasath. The battle would forever be known as the Field of Crows. The battle ended in Dothraki victory, and a fortnight later, Sarnath was taken and put to the torch. With the Century of Blood drawing to a close, the remaining Sarnori cities fell to the Dothraki. The last to fall was Sarys, though it had been mostly abandoned by the time Khal Zeggo and his khalasar arrived.[10] The Kingdoms of Sarnor were destroyed. Saath is the only Sarnori city still standing today, but it has been greatly diminished.[10]

Yet the Sarnori were not the only ones to feel the rise of the Dothraki. Essaria, a Valyrian colony, fell to the Dothraki, as did the town Ibbish. As its inhabitants had abandoned the city, the Dothraki renamed the city Vaes Aresak, meaning the "City of Cowards".[16] In the Red Waste, Qaathi towns and cities were destroyed as well, including the city Qolahn, now known as Vaes Qosar,[17] the small city now known by the Dothraki name of Vaes Orvik, where a great number of slaves were taken by the Dothraki,[18] and the small Qartheen town now known by the Dothraki name of Vaes Shirosi.[19] Only Qarth survived, due to the protection its triple walls provided.[10]

The Ghiscari felt the power of the Dothraki as well. The hill city Hazdahn Mo, where the Dothraki had sold the slaves they had acquired at the Sarnori city Sathar, was eventually destroyed by the Dothraki as well,[20] as were the Ghiscary cities Ghardaq,[21] were two other Ghiscari towns now only known by their Dothraki names, Vaes Efe[22] and Vaes Mejhah.[23] Further did Yinishar, near the Bones,[24] and a city now known as Vaes Leisi, a former settlement of the Kingdom of the Ifequevron.[25] fall to the Dothraki.

In total, the Dothraki would destroy at least twenty-one majoy cities during the Century of Blood.

Three Thousand of Qohor

Khal Temmo awakens to the three thousand Unsullied at Qohor.
Main article: Three Thousand of Qohor

The Dothraki Khal Temmo attempted to conquer more westward, and eventually reached the Free City Qohor. The Qohorik had prepared for the Dothraki by strengtening their walls and hiring two free companies. As an afterthought, they sent a man to Astapor to buy three thousand Unsullied soldiers, for which that city is famed. The Dothraki reached Qohor before the Unsullied arrived, and defeated Qohor's defences. It was expected they would return the next day, to sack the city. And so they did, but when they reached the gates of Qohor, the twenty thousand Dothraki screamers found three thousand Unsullied defending the gates. The battle would last three days. The Dothraki charged eighteen times, but the Unsullied threw them back every time. Twenty-four hundred Unsullied died, but so did twelve thousand Dothraki, Khal Temmo among them. On the fourth day, the new khal led the survivors through the gates, and surrendered.[10][9][4]

Sothoryos

The Doom of Valyria and the Century of Blood that followed were also felt in in Sothoryos. Raids on Naath have become so frequent ever since the Century of Blood, that most of the Peaceful People have moved inland.[26] Meanwhile, Gogossos prospered during these years, growing rich and powerful. However, in 37 BC, the city was hit by a terrible plague, the Red Death. Gogossos was shunned for a century thereafter.[27]

Aftermath

Following the power struggles during the Century of Blood, Volantis became mostly ruled by the political party known as the elephants. The grasslands became known as the Dothraki sea, following the expansion of the Dothraki borders.[10] As a result of the Three Thousand of Qohor, the city guard of Qohor has been comprised of Unsullied.[9][4]

Cities fallen to the Dothraki

The Dothraki renamed the cities they sacked and destroyed during the Century of Blood. The following cities, towns and settlements have been known to have fallen to the Dothraki during this century:

Sarnori:

  • Gornath, currently in ruins. Renamed Vaes Leqse, meaning City of Rats", by the Dothraki.[28]
  • Kasath, which had also been known as the City of Caravans, currently in ruins. Renamed Vojjor Samvi, meaning "The Broken Gods", by the Dothraki.[29]
  • Hornoth.[10]
  • Kyth.[10]
  • Mardosh, which had also been known as the City of Soldiers. Renamed Vaes Gorqoyi, meaning the "City of the Blood Charge", by the Dothraki.[10] The Dothraki name refers to the last stand of the men from Mardosh.
  • Sallosh, which had also been known as the City of Scholars, currently in ruins. Renamed Vaes Athjikhari, meaning "City of Sickness", by the Dothraki.[30]
  • Sarnath, currently in ruins. Renamed Vaes Khewo, meaning "City of Worms", by the Dothraki.[31]
  • Sarys, currently in ruins. Renamed Vaes Graddakh, meaning "City of Filth", by the Dothraki.[32]
  • Sathar, which had also been known as the Waterfall City, currently in ruins. Renamed Yalli Qamayi, meaning "Wailing Children", by the Dothraki.[33]

As Saath is the only Sarnori city that survived, the Sarnori city Rathylar is likely to have fallen to the Dothraki as well.

Ghiscari:

  • Hazdahn Mo, a city currently in ruins. Renamed Vaes Diaf, meaning the "City of the Skull", by the Dothraki.[34]
  • A Ghiscari city whose original name is unknown, and which is currently in ruins. Renamed Krazaaj Has, meaning "Sharp Mountains", by the Dothraki. The Dothraki name refers to the pyramids that once stood in the city.[21]
  • A small Ghiscari town whose original name is unknown, and which is currently in ruins. Renamed Vaes Efe, meaning "City of Shackles", by the Dothraki.[22]
  • A Ghiscari town whose original name is unknown, and which is currently in ruins. Renamed Vaes Mejhah, meaning "City of Whores", by the Dothraki.[23]

Qaathi:

  • Qolahn, a city currently in ruins. Renamed Vaes Qosar, meaning "City of Spiders", by the Dothraki.[17]
  • A small Qartheen city, currently in ruins. Renamed Vaes Orvik, meaning "City of the Whip", by the Dothraki. The Dothraki name refers to the great number of slaves taken when the city was destroyed.[18]
  • A small Qartheen city, currently in ruins. Renamed Vaes Shirosi, meaning "City of Scorpions", by the Dothraki.[19]

While explicitly states to have been attacked by the Dothraki, the city Vaes Tolorro is likely to have been amongst the Qaathi cities that fell to the Dothraki as well, due to its proximity to Vaes Orvik, Vaes Shirosi, and Vaes Qosar, and the fact that Qarth is the only Qaathi city that survived.

Other:

Adakhakileki, meaning "The Cannibals" in Dothraki, a ruined small city on the shores of the Poison Sea, might have fallen to the Dothraki as well, as it is in ruins, and known now only by its Dothraki name (its original name having been lost to history).[37]

References and Notes

  1. The Wertzone: The full story of the Targaryen Conquest in A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE (September 4, 2012)
  2. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 25, The Windblown.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 The World of Ice and Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 The World of Ice and Fire, The Free Cities: Qohor.
  5. The World of Ice and Fire, Ancient History: The Rise of Valyria.
  6. The World of Ice and Fire, Ten Thousand Ship.
  7. The World of Ice and Fire, Ancient History: Valyria's Children.
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 The World of Ice and Fire, Ancient History: The Doom of Valyria.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 8, Daenerys I.
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 10.12 The World of Ice and Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: The Grasslands.
  11. The World of Ice and Fire, The Free Cities: Volantis.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
  13. The World of Ice and Fire, The Free Cities: Lorath.
  14. The World of Ice and Fire, The Free Cities: Braavos.
  15. 15.0 15.1 The World of Ice and Fire, The Free Cities: The Quarrelsome Daughters: Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh.
  16. 16.0 16.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Aresak (Ibbish).
  17. 17.0 17.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Qosar (Qolahn).
  18. 18.0 18.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Orvik.
  19. 19.0 19.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Shirosi.
  20. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Diaf (Hzdahn Mo).
  21. 21.0 21.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Krazaaj Has.
  22. 22.0 22.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Efe.
  23. 23.0 23.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Mejhah.
  24. 24.0 24.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Jini (Yinishar).
  25. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Leisi.
  26. The World of Ice and Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: Naath.
  27. The World of Ice and Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: The Basilisk Isles.
  28. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Leqse (Gornath).
  29. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vojjor Samvi (Kasath).
  30. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Athjikhari (Sallosh).
  31. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Khewo (Sarnath).
  32. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Graddakh (Sarys).
  33. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Yalli Qamayi (Sathar).
  34. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Diaf (Hazdahn Mo).
  35. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Khadokh (Essaria).
  36. The World of Ice and Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: Ib.
  37. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Adakhakileki.

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