Following the tragic deaths of both princes, cries for vengeance echoed from both sides of the conflict. Lords across the realm rallied their forces and prepared for war. In a bid to avenge their fallen prince, House Blackwood, loyal to Rhaenyra, launched an assault on the territories held by the pro-green House Bracken.
Blackwood forces ravaged villages, desecrated septs, and caught the Bracken army off guard during their march. The battle that ensued, known as the Battle of the Burning Mill, ended in defeat for the Brackens. The surviving soldiers retreated to Stone Hedge, only to discover that the blacks had seized the castle in their absence. Faced with no other choice, the Brackens surrendered, marking a significant blow to King Aegon II as he lost his last supporter in the Riverlands.
Battle of Burning Mill
The Battle of the Burning Mill marked a significant event near the beginning of the Dance of the Dragons, standing as the first true battle in the civil war, contrasting with the bloodless fall of Harrenhal.
House Blackwood, aligned with Rhaenyra Targaryen, clashed with House Bracken, supporters of Aegon II Targaryen. Lord Samwell Blackwood’s raiders incited retaliation from Ser Amos Bracken, leading the Bracken forces to Blackwood territory. The battle unfolded near a mill by a river, believed to be the Red Fork.
In the heat of combat, Amos Bracken killed Lord Blackwood in single combat. However, he met his own end from a weirwood arrow, allegedly shot by Samwell’s sister, Alysanne. The mill became engulfed in flames during the intense fighting. Eventually, Ser Raylon Rivers led the surviving Bracken forces in retreat to Stone Hedge. Unfortunately, Prince Daemon Targaryen had already seized control of the Bracken castle, marking a pivotal turn in the early stages of the Dance of the Dragons.
Taking of Stone Hedge
The taking of Stone Hedge, also known as the storming of Stone Hedge, transpired in the early stages of the Dance of the Dragons.
In response to House Blackwood’s raids, Lord Humfrey Bracken dispatched his son, Ser Amos Bracken, with a formidable force. Tragically, Amos met his demise in the Battle of the Burning Mill. The surviving green soldiers, led by Ser Raylon Rivers, retreated to House Bracken’s territory.
Seizing the opportunity, Prince Daemon Targaryen led a robust coalition comprising Darrys, Freys, Pipers, and Rootes to assault Stone Hedge. The black forces stormed the castle with most of the Bracken forces absent due to Amos and Raylon’s expedition. They captured Humfrey Bracken, his remaining children, his third wife, and his lowborn paramour. Upon Raylon’s return to Stone Hedge, he surrendered to Daemon, effectively ending green strength in the riverlands.