The Main Plots of Before The Conquest
WesterosCurrent Political Status:
It has been twenty years since the Doom of Valyria, all that remains of what was once the more powerful civilisation the world had ever seen is a smoking ruin that men have said is cursed. Ships sent to investigation or hoping to plunder its treasures say the place is cursed, wise men suggest it is now a place of demons and death. Sailors have started to believe to pass by Valyria close enough just to see it in the distance is bad luck and so they avoid it all together.
All that remains of the Valyrian families are now based in the Narrow Sea. House Targaryen, House Velaryon and a smattering of lessers.
Westeros itself has just emerged from a five year winter said to be particularly harsh by the Northererns and Maesters, not the longest but the hardest in living memory. Though it has been spring for a year already, much of what was lost has not yet been rebuilt.
Across Westeros the people are moving, Winter has come and gone and it is time for the actions of men to resume, love, war, politics and everything else that makes life miserable for those without power.
Winter will always hit the North hardest and when it is a harder winter than usual it will be all the worst. Snowstorms and blizzards in all their fury devastated the North for five long years, people died in their beds unable to avoid the cold, villages were buried under the fall and Castles have been damaged. The sheer scale of the damage only became apparent during Spring when the storms finally died down. Like the rest of Westeros the Northerners have started the process of recovery and rebuilding. Spring has not yet been kind, first harvests and proved poor and there is wide spread hunger.
In an attempt to fill some bellies a band of Northmen sailed on the Three Sisters, they sacked each Island and took not only what food they could find but anything that could be bartered for food. Though they brought back food and distributed it to many hungry people it was an attack on the Vale and the consequences of that attack will no doubt arrive soon.
The North is hostile
towards the Vale
The Iron IslandsCurrent Political Status:
House Hoare and the Ironborn did not waste time after the winter. As soon as they were able to sail they moved, a quick and decisive invasion of the Riverlands. When they arrived the Riverlands was under the control of House Durrandon of the Stormlands and they were distracted by their own difficulties. The Riverlords were still recovering from winter, nobody expected an attack and they were without the support of their liege. They were forced to bend the knee and King Hoare now styles himself 'King of the Isles and the Rivers.' But getting the Riverlords to bend the knee is just the first part.
The Storm Kings were never welcome in the Riverlands, they were not loved by its people but at the very least they were almost of the same culture and for the most part worshipped the same Gods. The Ironborn are a different matter, they have different laws and they worship different Gods. They are not loyal and they do not respect their knew Overlords. Troops must be kept in place to ensure the new King's peace. The King has relocated to Fairmarket and begun construction of a monumental new Castle, once completed it will be the largest in Westeros and will be a testament to the power and prestige of House Hoare and the Ironborn. For now however they must keep the peace and protect their own borders but invasion was rushed and bloody, resources are stretched thin.
The Iron Islands are currently subjugating
Winter was harsh but the Riverlands are a fertile land, they can always find a way to feed their people. The land offers much to feed its people but it is an exposed place, hard to defend and even more so when they do not expect attack. That the Ironborn would invade so quickly after winter was unexpected, that they would invade for conquest and not just plunder and thralls so quickly after winter unprecedented. But they did all the same. The Riverlords rallied but by the time they could assemble a host it was too late. They reached out to their liege lord in the Stormlands but Storm's End sent no support.
The Riverlords were forced to bend the knee and accept a new King. They were not fond of the Storm Kings but at least they worship the same Gods, practice largely the same laws. The Ironborn are a different beast entirely. Even worst they have started construction of some obscene Castle and are stripping the Riverlands of resources and bodies to aide it. If the Lords of the Riverlands wish to be free of their Ironborn masters, they will need to be clever, they will need assistance and they will very likely need both. Current Political Status:
The Riverlands are currently occupied
by the Iron Islands.
The Vale Current Political Status:
The Vale is a land not so far north to suffer the full brunt of winter yet it is not so south so as to escape it. The snows came all and kept noble & commoner alike confined to the safety of shelter where possible. They did not suffer as much as their more northern neighbors and during the first year of spring they were able to see to a healthy harvest and repair anything damaged by the harsh winter. The Vale did not escape unscathed however and it is at the very heart of the Vale that perhaps it is most keenly felt. The Royal family of the Vale has lost its heirs. Winter has taken the sons of King Arryn.
His eldest daughter has now become his heir and she will need a husband, It is not without precedent for someone to marry a Princess and take the name of his new family so the House may survive but the choice is a difficult one. Marrying the son of a powerful family into the Royal line may give that House too much power and influence, taking a son from a family too weak may leave House Arryn vulnerable against ambitions Lords from more powerful Houses.
An opportunity may have arisen to assist King Arryn in finding an ideal candidate. Nearly two thousand years ago the North attacked the Three sisters and started a war that went on for a thousand years, now they've done it again. The Three Sisters have been brutally sacked by a force of warriors from the North. The Lords of the Three Sisters are demanding justice and many in the Vale are willing to raise their swords to see it realised. The man who gains justice for the Sisters may also win the hand of a Princess...but that is for the King & Queen of the Vale to decide.
The Vale is currently hostile
towards the North.
The WesterlandsCurrent Political Status:
The Westerlands did not emerge from a five year winter without damage but the Westerlands possesses gold and gold is ideal for cleaning up just about any mess. The Westerlands troubles however have only just begun. While winter caused them few problems they now find themselves surrounded by enemies. The Ironborn have sacked Lannisport numerous times, they are if anything an ancestral enemy of the Westerlands, now they occupy the Riverlands and by all accounts need resources, with the Westerlands being arguably the most resource rich Kingdom in Westeros it makes the Ironborn threat clear.
The King of the Rock and the Lords of the West cannot dedicate themselves to secure their borders against the Ironborn however, an attack which may come by sea or land. In the south they have been attacked by the Reach. King Gardener has declared war on the Westerlands and invaded. The Westerland army has resisted and thrown back the Reach armies thus far. The Westerlands are winning the war thus far but their situation is clear, they are surrounded by enemies on all sides and they have no allies in Westeros, they are alone.
The Westerlands are currently in open war
with the Reach.
The Narrow SeaCurrent Political Status:
The Narrow Sea (or perhaps more accurately Blackwater Bay) is one sense all that remains of the Valyrian Freehold. While Essos has no shortage of people places established by Valyria and people that descend from Valyrian blood the last of the Dragon Lords are now located off the eastern coast of Westeros. House Targaryen, House Velaryon and a smattering of others throughout the bay.
They are in a precarious position however. Valyrian power is derived from its dragons and House Targaryen possess the only remaining dragons, five in total. Two however are fresh hatchlings only born during this first year of spring and as such are much too small to be of any use. Two dragons are on the opposite end of the spectrum, all agree this winter was their last and though dragons are a very long lived creature these two are already beyond the point when most of these fearsome beasts would concede to old age. Even now it is clear they prepare to leave the mortal world.
One however is an ideal dragon to ride and fight. A single viable dragon is still a tremendous asset, the armies of House Targaryen and its vassals however are do not compare to the scale of what the Kingdoms of Westeros proper can bring to bear. But with a dragon it may be a different matter. If House Targarayen wish to see the power of Old Valyria continue it may need to realise some ambitions of its own, whatever they may be. How to proceed however rests entirely in the hands of the Lord of Dragonstone.
None; House Targaryen and the Houses of Blackwater Bay are currently not directly involved in the political stage of Westeros.
The ReachCurrent Political Status:
The Kingdom of the Reach is the breadbasket of Westeros, more fertile than the Riverlands and much further south where winter has less of an impact. They endured the five year winter as well as could be hoped and their supplies kept the people fed. Dorne however suffered no winter at all however and as soon as it was possible attacked. It was an ambitious assault to take as much land as possible. It what was a surprise to many the Dornish attack on not just the Reach but also the Stormlands resulted in a temporary alliance between the two Kingdoms. Dorne was sent back to Dorne and gained nothing for their effort. Their position with the Stormlands is good but the alliance is sealed by nothing but mutual need.
Not all has gone well however, Though in his younger years King Gardener was considered a wise and just ruler there is some vile rot in his mind, a madness that festered all throughout winter. When Dorne attacked they the Reach Lords could have sent everything they had to their defense and suffered almost nothing at all but the King declared war on the Westerlands, firmly believing his very many enemies to their north would attack imminently.
At full strength the Reach is perhaps the most powerful single Kingdom but the King sent but half the might of the Reach north and another half south to fight the Dornish, taking command personally his feverish mind fumbled every strategy and has thus far failed to achieve victory in a single battle against the Westerlands. Now he has returned to Highgarden and left command to another but it may be too late to turn around the war to the north and keep the south secure.
The Reach is currently in open war
with the Westerlands
The Reach is currently under temporary alliance
with the Stormlands
The Reach is currently hostile
towards Dorne.The Stormlands
Like most of their closer neighbours the Stormlands suffered only a rather mild winter compared to much of northern Westeros, their troubles only began during spring. Dorne believed the Stormlands & Reach would require more time to restore their full strength after winter and launched an ambitious invasion to take fertile land. It was poor timing for the Storm King as his vassals in the Riverlands were attacked by the Ironborn. With the Stormlands army rallying to drive back the Dornish invasion which was hitting the Stormlands harder than the Reach it was impossible to send a force north to aide against the Ironborn.
Dorne was driven back beyond the Marches but the Riverlands were lost and with it the fighting power of its troops and the great quantities of food that it could produce, far from ideal so shortly after the worst winter in living memory, even so far south. Now the Storm Lords must keep their eyes peeled to be sure Dorne will not strike again but perhaps also look to the Riverlands, the Riverlords were never pleased with their Storm King Overlords but they may be more receptive after suffering under the heel of the Ironborn for a time. At the very least the attack from the south fostered a temporary alliance with the Reach, though a marriage may be required to see it solidified or perhaps the Reach's failing invasion to the Westerlands will make them vulnerable to attack from the East.[/align]Current Political Status:
The Stormlands are currently hostile
The Stormlands are under temporary alliance
with the Reach
DorneCurrent Political Status:
There is no winter in Dorne, during the five years that blizzards and snowstorms battered the northern Kingdoms not one flake marred Dorne. While the other Kingdoms endured, Dorne prospered. When the Maesters estimated winter was ending the Prince of Dorne and his Lords put a plan into effect. It would be the most ambitious attack they had ever attempted, success would see the conflict in the Dornish Marches ended and Dorne brought to new heights.
As soon as the scouts and outriders advised the roads were sufficiently clear of snow the Dornish army moved, a swift and terrible attack against both the Reach & the Stormlands. In early spring the were met with a string of successes until the unthinkable happened, the Reach & Stormlands put generations of mistrust aside, the Stormlands abandoned the Riverlands and they united against Dorne. The Dornish Host suffered enough losses for the Prince to see the shift and pulled back into the safety of Dorne before they lost too much, though they were forced to abandon the land and castles they had obtained.
None the less Dorne's power is in Dorne, they know the land and how to operate in it in a way no attacker will ever understand. Even with the victories the Stormlords & Reachlords had achieved beyond the Marches to attack Dorne itself would be suicide. Dorne was safe from reprisal but nonetheless its nose had been bloody, Dornishmen were dead and nothing had been gained. The power and prestige of House Martell and Dorne must be made clear before anyone mistakenly believes a failed invasion means Dorne is weak. Now as ever they stand Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.
Dorne is currently hostile
towards the Reach
Dorne is currently hostile
towards the Stormlands