Battle of the Redgrass Field

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Battle of the Redgrass Field
Redgrass Field.png
Daemon Blackfyre leads the charge during the Battle of the Redgrass Field, as depicted by Jose Daniel Cabrera Pena in The World of Ice & Fire
Conflict First Blackfyre Rebellion
Date 196 ᴀᴄ[1]
Place Redgrass Field
Result Loyalist victory
Combatants
Loyalist forces (supporters of King Daeron II Targaryen) Rebel forces (supporters of Daemon I Blackfyre)
Commanders
Prince Baelor Targaryen
Prince Maekar Targaryen
Brynden Rivers
Daemon Blackfyre †
Aegor Rivers
Strength
unknown unknown
Casualties
Lord Hayford
Wyl Waynwood
Knight of Ninestars
Roger of Pennytree
Daemon I Blackfyre
Aemon Blackfyre
Aegon Blackfyre
Ser Quentyn Ball
Ser Edwyn Osgrey
Ser Harrold Osgrey
Addam Osgrey

The Battle of the Redgrass Field,[2] often simply called the Redgrass Field,[3][4] was the largest battle during the First Blackfyre Rebellion, effectively ending it and confirming King Daeron II Targaryen's rule of the Seven Kingdoms.

Prelude

King Aegon IV Targaryen's trueborn son and heir, Daeron, was born to his sister-wife Naerys in 153 ᴀᴄ. Seventeen years later, Aegon's cousin, Princess Daena Targaryen, gave birth to the king's eldest known bastard son, Daemon Waters.[5][6] King Aegon IV publicly acknowledged Daemon in 182 ᴀᴄ and gave him the Targaryen Valyrian steel sword Blackfyre,[5][7] which had previously been passed on from king to king ever since King Aegon I Targaryen, the Conqueror. Because of this, there were some who felt that the sword symbolized the monarchy,[8] and that Aegon's public gift of the sword was an indication that he wanted Daemon to succeed him. Aegon's gift would eventually start the first talks that Daemon should be king.[9] Following the acquisition of the sword, Daemon took the name "Blackfyre" for himself.[5] On his deathbed in 184 ᴀᴄ, King Aegon IV legitimized all of his bastard children, including Daemon.

In 196 ᴀᴄ, Daemon claimed the Iron Throne, thereby challenging his half-brother, King Daeron II Targaryen.[10] The war that followed was known as the Blackfyre Rebellion (and decades later as the First Blackfyre Rebellion). The was lasted nigh on a year, during which time battles were fought between the rebels and loyalists in the Vale, the westerlands, the riverlands and the Reach, among other places.[10]

The war came to an end after nearly a year at the Redgrass Field. On the eve of the battle, Ser Quentyn Ball, one of Daemon's key generals, was slain by a common archer.[4] Meanwhile, Lord Bracken had gone across the narrow sea to hire forces, but storms delayed the return of him and the Myrish crossbowmen he had hired.[3]

The battle

The two armies collided on a unnamed field. Lord Costayne was on the left of Daemon's host, while Lord Shawney was on the right side with Aegor Rivers, who was known as Bittersteel.[4] Lord Leo Tyrell, one of Daeron's most powerful supporters, did not arrive in time for the decisive battle.[2]

Daemon was unstoppable that day, cutting Lord Donnel Arryn's van to pieces, slaying Wyl Waynwood and the Knight of Ninestars before coming upon Ser Gwayne Corbray of the Kingsguard. A famous fight took place between the two with Valyrian steel swords, with Daemon wielding Blackfyre and Gwayne using Lady Forlorn, before Daemon managed to severely injure his opponent, leaving him blind and bleeding. Daemon paused then, to make sure no more injury came to Ser Gwayne, ordering Redtusk to carry Gwayne back to the maesters in the rear.[3]

By that time, Brynden Rivers, known as Bloodraven, and his company, the Raven's Teeth, crested the Weeping Ridge, gaining the high ground from where he showered Daemon's position with arrows. Bloodraven spied Daemon's banner and slew the elder of Daemon's twin sons, Aegon, knowing that Daemon would never leave his son on the field, and then pierced Daemon with seven shafts, killing him. The younger twin, Aemon, picked up Blackfyre when his father fell, and Bloodraven slew him too.[3]

With their leaders fallen, the rebels began to flee then, until Bittersteel, who had commanded the right at the beginning of the battle, was able to turn the rout into a charge at the enemy. He personally fought a great battle with Bloodraven, taking his eye during a battle that was second only to Daemon and Corbray's.[3] At that point, Prince Baelor Breakspear struck the rebel rear with a host of stormlords and Dornishmen, shattering their lines and the battle was ended. Maekar led the rest of the forces to crush the rebels between them.[3] Lord Shawney nearly died from his wounds, while Lord Ambrose Butterwell lost two sons who fought on opposing sides. Ser Buford Bulwer allegedly killed forty men during the battle.[4]

Aftermath

Ten thousand men died on what would later be known as the Redgrass Field, presumably for all the blood sucked red.[3] Daemon Blackfyre and both of his eldest twin sons, Aegon and Aemon, were slain in the battle, effectively ending the rebellion and confirming King Daeron II's rule of the Seven Kingdoms. However, Bittersteel fled to the Free Cities with many others (including the five surviving sons and several daughters of Daemon)[4] and the Blackfyre Pretenders continued to plague the Targaryen dynasty until Maelys the Monstrous was slain in the Stepstones.

It is suggested that the Redgrass Field was a close thing and if Daemon had not stopped for Gwayne, he might have broken Maekar's left before Bloodraven had gained the ridge and Baelor arrived.[3] Then, with the Hand slain and the road to King's Landing open, Daemon would have had little opposition.[3]

Amongst the dead were Lady Rohanne Webber's first husband, squire to Lord Wyman Webber;[3] Roger of Pennytree, Ser Arlan of Pennytree's squire;[3][4] and Lord Hayford[3] slain by Lord Gormon Peake.[4]

References