Century of Blood

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The Century of Blood was a period of chaos in Essos which lasted for approximately one century. It began following the destruction of the Valyrian Freehold in the Doom of Valyria,[1][2][3] which took place in 114 BC.[2]

The Century of Blood is also known to readers as "the Bleeding Years"[4] and "the Years of Blood"[5] both term reported from readings by George R. R. Martin of an earlier draft of Aegon's Conquest from The World of Ice and Fire. However, Martin has thus far not used these terms in any of his released works.

Prelude

The Valyrian Freehold defeated the Old Empire of Ghis and took control of the Slaver Cities,[6] forced the Rhoynar into exile,[7] and founded eight of the nine Free CitiesBraavos, the ninth and youngest of the Free Cities, was founded by escaped slaves from Valyria.[8] The power of Valyria eventually encompassed the western half of Essos, ranging from the narrow sea to Slaver's Bay.[9]

In 114 AC[2] 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 dragons were consumed. The destruction of Valyria strongly reduced the number of dragonlords left in the known world.[9] 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.[2] Some other dragonslords — those who had not been in Valyria when the Doom occurred — survived as well. In Tyrosh, Lys and Qohor, it is said that dragonlords were spared, but they did not long outlive the Doom.[9]

The Century of Blood

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, Aurion, a dragonlord who had been visiting Qohor, 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.[9]

Volantis, then the mightiest of the nine Free Cities, laid claim to Valyria's empire.[9] Meanwhile, the Dothraki rode out of the east, sacking and burning towns and cities in their way,[10] leading to the destruction of several realms.[11]

War amongst Valyria's Children

As Valyria's "First Daughter", the Volantenes regarded themselves as the rightful successors of the dragonlords.[12] The so-called tigers, aggressive Volantene nobles descended of Valyrian blood, called for war upon the other cities. Taking control of Lys and Myr and commanded the southern reaches of the Rhoyne,[9][13] Volantis ruled their two sister-cities for two generations.[13]

Resistance began when Volantis attempted to take control of Tyrosh, however,[9] and in the end, all of the Free Cities, save for Lorath,[14] either rebelled against Volantis or joined the alliance against the Volantenes. Pentos gave Tyrosh aid in their resistance while Myr and Lys rebelled.[9] Qohor and Norvos made an alliance against Volantis[3] and destroyed much of the Volantene fleet controlling the Rhoyne at Dagger Lake.[9] The Titan's wrath was provoked in Braavos,[15] and the Sealord of Braavos sent a hundred ships to Lys for further aid.[9] Argilac Durrandon, the Storm King from Westeros, led a host into the Disputed Lands, where he defeated an army from Volantis attempting to retake Myr.[9][2][13] Pentos and Tyrosh also approached the last remaining dragonlords, House Targaryen on Dragonstone, and a young Aegon Targaryen agreed to join the alliance against Volantis. Mounted on his dragon, Balerion, he flew to Lys, where a Volantene fleet was preparing an invasion, and set the fleet ablaze.[9][13] When Volantis sent a fleet to reclaim Valyria, the fleet disappeared in the Smoking Sea.[13] The Dothraki also attacked weakened Volantis's eastern territory.[9]

In the end, a second political party, the elephants seized control of Volantis. 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.[13]

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.[13] Fighting devastated the previously-fertile Disputed Lands,[16] where the free companies were born in the struggle for power.[9] They continue to battle in the Disputed Lands even in the present day, when Tyrosh, Myr, and Lys go to war over their borders.[16]

Following the power struggles during the Century of Blood, Volantis has mostly been ruled by the elephants instead of the tigers.

Rise of the Dothraki

Because of the power vacuum left by the Doom, the Dothraki came from the east and the grasslands of central Essos exploded into war. Acting on the advice given by his mother Doshi, Khal Mengo united the sixty khalasars and focused on the west. The Tall Men of the Kingdom of Sarnor ignored the threat the Dothraki posed, instead attempting to use them in their own wars. 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.[11]

The khalasar of Khal Moro, Mengo's son, destroyed Sathar, slew its men, and took its women and children to be sold as slaves. Kasath and Gornath both claimed Sathar's ruins, which resulted in conflict between the two Sarnori cities.[11] Six years following Sathar's destruction, Kasath was destroyed as well, and 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.[11]

The Field of Crows and the destruction of Sathar, art by Paolo Puggioni.

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 so-called Field of Crows 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.[11] Saath is the only Sarnori city still standing today, but it has been greatly diminished.[11]

The Valyrian colony Essaria fell to the Dothraki, as did the Ibbenese town Ibbish. As its inhabitants had abandoned the city, the Dothraki renamed the city Vaes Aresak, meaning the "City of Cowards".[17] In the red waste, Qaathi towns and cities were destroyed as well, including the city Qolahn, now known as Vaes Qosar.[18] The small city now known by the Dothraki name of Vaes Orvik, where a great number of slaves were taken by the Dothraki,[19] and the small Qartheen town now known by the Dothraki name of Vaes Shirosi also fell to the horselords.[20] Only Qarth survived, due to the protection of its triple walls.[11]

The Ghiscari hill city Hazdahn Mo, where Dothraki sold the slaves acquired at the Sarnori city Sathar, was eventually destroyed by the Dothraki as well,[21] as were the Ghiscari Ghardaq,[22] and two towns now only known by their Dothraki names, Vaes Efe[23] and Vaes Mejhah.[24] Also conquered by the Dothraki were Yinishar, near the Bone Mountains,[25] and a city now known as Vaes Leisi, a former settlement of the Kingdom of the Ifequevron.[26]

The grasslands of central Essos have since become known as the Dothraki sea, following the expansion of the Dothraki borders.[11]

Three Thousand of Qohor

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

Temmo, a Dothraki khal, rode west to Qohor, one of the Free Cities. 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 defenses.

When the Dothraki attempted to sack Qohor the following day, the twenty thousand Dothraki screamers found three thousand Unsullied defending the gates. The Unsullied withstood eighteen charges and killed twenty-four hundred Dothraki, including Temmo. On the fourth day, the new khal led the survivors through the gates to surrender.[11][10][3] As a result of the Three Thousand of Qohor, the city guard of Qohor has since been comprised of Unsullied.[10][3]

Sothoryos

The Doom of Valyria and the Century of Blood that followed were also felt in in Sothoryos. Raids on Naath have since become so frequent that most of the Peaceful People have moved inland.[27] 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.[28]

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.[29]
  • Kasath, which had also been known as the City of Caravans, currently in ruins. Renamed Vojjor Samvi, meaning "The Broken Gods", by the Dothraki.[30]
  • Hornoth.[11]
  • Kyth.[11]
  • Mardosh, which had also been known as the City of Soldiers. Renamed Vaes Gorqoyi, meaning the "City of the Blood Charge", by the Dothraki.[11] 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.[31]
  • Sarnath, currently in ruins. Renamed Vaes Khewo, meaning "City of Worms", by the Dothraki.[32]
  • Sarys, currently in ruins. Renamed Vaes Graddakh, meaning "City of Filth", by the Dothraki.[33]
  • Sathar, which had also been known as the Waterfall City, currently in ruins. Renamed Yalli Qamayi, meaning "Wailing Children", by the Dothraki.[34]

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.[35]
  • 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.[22]
  • 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.[23]
  • A Ghiscari town whose original name is unknown, and which is currently in ruins. Renamed Vaes Mejhah, meaning "City of Whores", by the Dothraki.[24]

Qaathi:

  • Qolahn, a city currently in ruins. Renamed Vaes Qosar, meaning "City of Spiders", by the Dothraki.[18]
  • 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.[19]
  • A small Qartheen city, currently in ruins. Renamed Vaes Shirosi, meaning "City of Scorpions", by the Dothraki.[20]

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).[38]

Notes

References

  1. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 25, The Windblown.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Qohor.
  4. The Wertzone: The full story of the Targaryen Conquest in A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE (September 4, 2012)
  5. So Spake Martin: Chicon 7 Reading (September 02, 2012)
  6. The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Rise of Valyria.
  7. The World of Ice & Fire, Ten Thousand Ship.
  8. The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: Valyria's Children.
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Doom of Valyria.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 8, Daenerys I.
  11. 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 11.11 11.12 The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: The Grasslands.
  12. The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Volantis.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
  14. The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Lorath.
  15. The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Braavos.
  16. 16.0 16.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: The Quarrelsome Daughters: Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh.
  17. 17.0 17.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Aresak (Ibbish).
  18. 18.0 18.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Qosar (Qolahn).
  19. 19.0 19.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Orvik.
  20. 20.0 20.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Shirosi.
  21. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Diaf (Hzdahn Mo).
  22. 22.0 22.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Krazaaj Has.
  23. 23.0 23.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Efe.
  24. 24.0 24.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Mejhah.
  25. 25.0 25.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Jini (Yinishar).
  26. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Leisi.
  27. The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: Naath.
  28. The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: The Basilisk Isles.
  29. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Leqse (Gornath).
  30. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vojjor Samvi (Kasath).
  31. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Athjikhari (Sallosh).
  32. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Khewo (Sarnath).
  33. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Graddakh (Sarys).
  34. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Yalli Qamayi (Sathar).
  35. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Diaf (Hazdahn Mo).
  36. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Khadokh (Essaria).
  37. The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: Ib.
  38. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Adakhakileki.

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