Targaryen campaign in Slaver's Bay

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Daenerys' War of Emancipation
Queen Daenerys - by Mario Teodosio ©
Daenerys Targaryen with her dragons - by Mario Teodosio

Date 299 AC-Present
Location Slaver's Bay, Essos
Result Ongoing
House Targaryen
Meereen (seat)
- Stormcrows
- Second Sons (switched sides thrice)
Windblown (switched sides)
Iron Fleet

Astapor (briefly)
Astapor (pre-sack)
Meereen (pre-conquest)
Yunkai and allies
-New Ghis
-Stormcrows (switched sides)
-Windblown (switched sides)
-Company of the Cat
-Long Lances
-Second Sons (switched sides thrice)
Notable commanders
Queen Daenerys Targaryen
Ser Jorah Mormont
Ser Barristan Selmy
Daario Naharis
Ben Plumm
Tattered Prince
Victarion Greyjoy

Cleon the Great
Cleon II
King Cutthroat
Queen Whore
The Green Grace of Astapor†
Good Masters
Wise Masters
Great Masters
Sallor the Bald
Prendahl na Ghezn
Daario Naharis (switched sides)
Ben Plumm (switched sides thrice)
Windblown (switched sides)
Gylo Rhegan

Daenerys' War of Emancipation is an ongoing conflict that is taking place on Essos, mainly at Slaver's Bay. As the name implies, Daenerys' main goal is to free all slaves in Slaver's Bay and abolish all slavery. This conflict is a primary military conflict depicted in the last three novels of the A Song of Ice and Fire series and continues into the unreleased sixth novel.


After leaving Qarth, Daenerys Targaryen travels to Pentos, but Ser Jorah Mormont manages to convince her to travel to Astapor and buy Unsullied.[1] Though sickened by the idea of buying slaves, she agreed to since she needed an army. Daenerys arrived at Astapor and was immediately sickened by the misery of the slave trade she saw,[2] but she still agreed to acquire from the slave masters all the Unsullied available for sale in Astapor - 8,000, another 600 guarding the city and 5,000 boys still in training - in exchange for her ships, the trading goods on board, and Drogon.[3]


Seat: Meereen
Allies: The Lhazareen, The Iron Fleet
Hired Mercenaries: Second Sons (Switched sides then switched back), Stormcrows (switched sides), Windblown (Switched sides)
Combined Strength: 25,000-30,000 all free men, Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion

Seat: Yunkai
Allies: New Ghis, Volantis, Qarth, Tolos, Mantarys, Elyria
Hired Mercenaries: Company of the Cat, Long Lances
Combined Strenght: 75,000-100,000 mostly slave soldiers

Seat: Astapor
Allies: none
Hired Mercenaries: none
Strength: about 3,000

The War

Sack of Astapor

Daenerys Targaryen vs. the Good Masters of Astapor

Targaryen victory, Astapor sacked

Other than the Unsullied, Astapor was poorly defended; its walls were old and crumbling, with no guards in the towers.[2] The exchange took place the next morning, at the Plaza of Punishment. Having closed the deal, receiving the harpy's fingers, a nine lashed whip that symbolizes her ownership of the Unsullied, she betrayed the terms of the deal and unleashed her dragons on the masters and the few remaining soldiers in the plaza, ordering the Unsullied to kill the remaining slave-masters of the city and freeing all of the slaves.[3]

Before leaving to Yunkai Daenerys left a council of three men, a healer, a scholar and a priest to rule. They were later deposed by Cleon, a former butcher, who led the people to believe that the three intended to return the Good Masters to their positions of power. Naming himself King after having the council executed, Cleon had all the highborn boys seized to begin training new Unsullied. Each pyramid within Astapor is now an armed camp and the dead lie in the streets and the markets of devoid of food and slaves to purchase.

Battle of Yunkai

Daenerys Targaryen v.s Yunkai

Targaryen victory, liberation of Yunkai

Yunkai commands 5,000 men, holding the middle with a 4,000 strong infantry slave army, supported by two mounted sellsword companies in the flanks: the Stormcrows on the left and the Second Sons on the right. Both sellsword companies have about 500 men each. Daenerys's host numbers 10,000 Unsullied and several thousand ill-trained armed freedmen. Her forces are stronger both numerically and qualitatively and could easily defeat the Yunkish army. Nevertheless Daenerys, worrying about the cost, extends an invitation to the slavers and the leaders of the sellsword companies to meet with her separately, trying to turn the sellswords over to her side and lure the Wise Masters of Yunkai to release the city's slaves without a fight.[4]

The battle plan is outlined by Daenerys herself: a surprise attack on both enemy flanks by the Unsullied, led by their captain, Grey Worm, and Ser Jorah, the supreme commander of the army. Near midnight, the Unsullied catch Daario Naharis of the Stormcrows approaching the camp. He reveals he has killed the other captains of the Stormcrows, Sallor the Bald and Prendahl na Ghezn, and he surrenders the Stormcrows over to her. He pledges his sword and Daenerys accepts, aware that she risks being betrayed. Before he returns to his men, he is told to attack the Yunkish in the rear when the attack begins. The attack is launched a few hours after midnight, and the Stormcrows attack the enemy in the rear, as promised. The Second Sons are too drunk to fight and are unable to support the slave army. Surrounded from all directions, the Yunkish troops break and throw down their weapons, while the sellswords yield.[4]

Yunkai surrenders and gives in to Daenerys's demands, freeing all the slaves. In return they are allowed to remain in control of the city. The freed slaves swelled the ranks of Daenerys's freedmen and cemented her reputation as the "Mother" among her followers.[4]

Siege of Meereen

Daenerys Targaryen vs. Meereen

Targaryen victory, occupation of Meereen

The Meereenese, warned by the fate of Astapor and Yunkai, did not allow contact to be made with Daenerys, retreating behind the formidable defense of Meereen. They stripped their land and nailed a disemboweled slave child up on every milepost along the coastal road from Yunkai, with an outstretched arm point toward Meereen as a message to Daenerys. Daenerys, followed by 20,000 soldiers and 60,000 refugees from Astapor and Yunkai, was starved of supplies and could not afford a prolonged siege. Daenerys commanded her fleet to be dismantled, to construct battering rams, mantlets, turtles, catapults, and ladders.[5]

The fighting was bitter and bloody for most of a day and well into the night. Daenerys sent rams to batter the city gates, whilst her archers fired flights of flaming arrows over the walls and her forces stormed the walls. At nightfall she sent a diversion force, to set fire to the hulks in the harbor, while allowing Ser Jorah Mormont, Barristan Selmy, Strong Belwas and a small force to infiltrate the city sewers, under the cover of darkness. Once they found their way into the city, they went to the nearest fighting pit, where they released the slaves. Within an hour, half the fighting slaves in Meereen had been released, and soon after a ram broke through the eastern gate and the defenders broke.[5][6]

In contrast to her previous Ghiscari conquests, Daenerys chose to remain in Meereen and installed herself as Queen taking the Great Pyramid as her seat. This was because at this time, she received word that her ruling council in Astapor had been overthrown by a tyrannical butcher resulting in much suffering. Not wanting to let this happen to Meereen, she decided to stay. Her Unsullied finally restored order, but the sack left a plague of problems in its wake.[6]

Siege of Astapor

Yunkai and allies vs. Astapor

Yunkish victory, Astapor falls

Battle begins when the new Unsullied march out the city’s gates on the sortie against the forces of Yunkai and its allies and sellswords. The sortie immediately proves to be a disaster, the new Unsullied march right into the iron teeth of a legion from New Ghis and are cut down to a man by the legion, and the sellswords, who quickly join the battle and finish the massacre. It was Caggo who finally cut the Butcher King down, fighting through the King's protectors on his monstrous warhorse and opening Cleon the Great from shoulder to hip with one blow of his curved Valyrian arakh. Dead Cleon’s fall broke the Unsullied; they threw down their spears and shields and ran, only to find the gates of Astapor shut behind them. Slaughter followed; the Windblown rode down the frightened eunuchs, slashing right and left through the Unsullied.[7]

Soon there is nothing left in Astapor but corpses. What Astapori that still survive creep out of their hidey-holes and pour out into the countryside, hundreds of them, maybe thousands, all starved and sick – many have the bloody flux. The Yunkish command the sellswords to hunt them down and turn them, driving them back to Astapor or north to Meereen to prevent the Astapori from going near the Yellow City.

Daenerys Targaryen receives the news of the fall from three escaped Astapori: a brickmaker, a weaver and a cobbler.

Second Siege of Meereen

Daenerys' host vs. Yunkai and allies

to be decided

Yunkai and her allies march on Meereen in order to cast down Queen Daenerys Targaryen and retake Meereen. Daenerys marries Hizdahr zo Loraq, a Ghiscari noble of the city of Meereen, in order to broker peace. Daenerys holds the wedding feast in the Great Pyramid, with the Yunkish lords and sellsword captains in attendance. An exchange of seven hostages is arranged in order to ensure the peace. The Yunkai'i remain encamped outside of Meereen and the peace does not last after Daenerys goes missing on her dragon Drogon. Her Hand, Ser Barristan Selmy has to take command in her stead along with the ruling council of Meereen. Meanwhile Tyrion Lannister and Ser Jorah Mormont escape slavery and join the Second Sons, who have gone over to Yunkai, encamped outside the city.

The battle begins shortly before dawn. Dead men and dragons move through the sky, whilst warships crash and clash on Slaver's Bay and Ironborn are swarming ashore. The battle is split in two, one out on the bay, another one beneath the city. The Brazen Beasts man the city walls to replace as many Unsullied as possible. They will serve as the city’s last line of protection if Ser Barristan’s attack fails and Dany has not returned.

Ser Barristan leads the charge on the Harridan with all available cavalry fighters, while all of the Unsullied he could muster pour out the city gates to form a shield wall and face the bulk of the enemy force. A number of Meereen's pit fighters also join the attack. The Harridan is being defended by a Ghiscari legion six thousand strong and six ranks deep. Ser Barristan is making a feint at the Harridan and he suddenly turns away from the legion guarding the trebuchet at the last minute and heads for Paezhar zo Myraq's Herons defending the Harridan. The Unsullied finish lining up outside the gates. In the air Viserion is snatching and devouring corpses being thrown by the Wicked Sister while some corpses set fire by his flame mid-air land and indiscriminately set fire to men below.

The Second Sons are commanded by the Girl General to defend the Wicked Sister. The closest fighting is a good league (3 ½ miles) off from their encampment. They have a meeting in Brown Ben's tent. By this point the trebuchet the Ghost of Astapor is already down. The Mother's Men broke the Long Lances like a rotten stick and dragged the trebuchet over with chains. Viserion has now flown back to his lair in the Pyramid of Uhlez. A Yunkish nobleman then comes to the tent to inform them that Morghaz zo Zherzyn, supreme commander of the Yunkai'i, wants them to defend the Harpy's Daughter instead, as the Unsullied are advancing toward the trebuchet while Bloodbeard and two Ghiscari legions stand against them. The Second Sons are then informed that Gorzhak zo Eraz has been slain, cut down by the Tattered Prince - meaning that the Windblown have gone over to Daenerys Targaryen and the Drunken Conqueor is now supreme commander. The Yunkish nobleman suddenly recognises Tyrion as an escaped slave and demands he be turned over. Ser Jorah Mormont answers the nobleman by killing him with his sword. Brown Ben Plumm then announces that the Second Sons have always been the queen's men and that rejoining the Yunkai'i was just a plot.

Meanwhile Ser Barristan’s attention has been drawn to the bay, he recognises the banners of House Greyjoy but he is not sure what is going on, he sees that ironmen are coming ashore, fighting the Yunkish, and says, surprised, “They are on our side!”


To be determined.

References and Notes

  1. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 8, Daenerys I.
  2. 2.0 2.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
  3. 3.0 3.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 27, Daenerys III.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 42, Daenerys IV.
  5. 5.0 5.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 57, Daenerys V.
  6. 6.0 6.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 71, Daenerys VI.
  7. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 25, The Windblown.