They say those who lay their eyes on the ruins of Valyria are cursed.
Balerion the Black Dread is arguably the maximum famous dragon in Westeros’ records. When Aenar Targaryen departed the Valyrian Freehold for the island of Dragonstone, he added a total of 5 dragons together with him. However, Balerion outlasted all of his opposite numbers, and participated in some of the most pivotal occasions that fashioned the Seven Kingdoms for generations. He was ridden via Aegon the Conqueror while he set out to take over Westeros. His flaming breath melted the swords of the conquered into the Iron Throne. He changed into an device of destruction throughout the reign of Maegor the Cruel, and changed into last ridden through Viserys I Targaryen, played in House of the Dragon with the aid of Paddy Considine. Fans have seen many a dragon within the spin-off’s first season, however Balerion’s legacy looms large over all that could come after him, as well as the world itself.
Before he died of vintage age in ninety four AC (After Conquest), Balerion changed into known in the course of the Seven Kingdoms as the most terrifying creature alive, and he turned into no doubt the most fearsome asset to House Targaryen’s rule. As powerful and dread-inducing as he was, Balerion changed into additionally the last dwelling creature to have visible the former glory of Valyria before it turned into brought low by way of the Doom. During the reign of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, Balerion tried to return to the smoking ruins of the freehold, which inadvertently have become one of the most terrible and tragic moments all through the reign of The Conciliator.
Jaehaerys’ sister Rhaena Targaryen turned into no stranger to tragedy. Her uncle Maegor I Targaryen murdered her brother/husband and made her one among his “Black Brides,” and sent the youngest of her twin daughters by using her former husband to Oldtown to train as a Septa. However, looking to avoid Maegor’s legendary cruelty, Rhaena managed to escape her vicious husband along with her daughter Aerea, putting forward her aid for Jaehaerys and bestowing him the Targaryen ancestral blade Blackfyre. When Maegor died all of sudden atop the Iron Throne, cut and stabbed to ribbons, the younger Jaehaerys took his area and turn out to be famous as one of the finest monarchs inside the history of the Seven Kingdoms. Rhaena might spend a good deal of his reign on Dragonstone along with her daughter Aerea. However, Rhaena changed into a reclusive kind, and refused to allow her daughter or closest confidants to leave the island. Rhaena’s psyche grew even darker in subsequent years, as her lover Elissa Farman left Dragonstone against Rhaena’s needs whilst stealing three dragon eggs from the island’s hatchery. This disillusioned Aerea especially, who Farman had grown near with and had promised to educate the way to sail. Rhaena and Jaehaerys’ mom Alyssa Velaryon additionally died in the birthing bed soon after, with Rhaena blaming the kid’s father, Lord Rogar Baratheon. She remarked to the Storm Lord that if he ever remarried, she could kill him herself.
Balerion and Aerea Targaryen
Tragedy struck once more at the fingers of Androw Farman, Rhaena’s 1/3 husband who become overtly mocked via the family on Dragonstone and for whom Rhaena had no actual love for. Using a amazing poison called the Tears of Lys, Androw poisoned Rhaena’s closest buddies on the island, killing all of them. He confessed to his crimes, however earlier than the infuriated queen may want to have him seized, Androw jumped from a close-by window, killing him upon touchdown. In an act of revenge, Rhaena had her former husband’s frame hacked into portions and fed to her dragon Dreamfyre. The so-known as “Queen inside the East” fell into a deep depression, frequently locking herself in her room and lashing out at all people who tried to speak with her.
The loss of Elissa Farman and the callousness of her mom weighed heavily on Aerea Targaryen, who speedy grew to hate Dragonstone. She began to act out and misbehave in defiance of her mother, abusing her servants and insulting any traffic in court. Despite their estranged dating, Rhaena nevertheless believed that her daughter need to claim a dragon of her personal. However, terror gripped both Dragonstone and King’s Landing when Rhaena quickly found that her daughter had fled the island on the lower back of Balerion himself, who had made his lair on Dragonstone after the loss of life of Maegor the Cruel. Rhaena flew to King’s Landing, questioning her daughter had headed to the metropolis she frequently dreamed of, however become knowledgeable that neither Aerea nor Balerion were visible. King Jaehaerys despatched ravens to every corner of the Seven Kingdoms, demanding any data referring to the Targaryen princess or the Black Dread. Stories across the Narrow Sea in Essos even commenced to crop up, but maximum of the reviews had been both unreliable or fabricated within the wish of a praise.
The Death of Aerea Targaryen
After over a year, the Conciliator started to fear that his niece had died, thrown from Balerion’s returned anywhere the dragon had chosen to fly. However, on the 13th day of the fourth moon of fifty six AC, the blast of a horn had sounded in the course of the metropolis to sign the sight of darkish wings, pitch black towards the clouds overhead. The Black Dread were gone for goodbye that some smallfolk had feared that Maegor the Cruel had risen from the grave and had claimed Balerion yet again, seeking revenge. Instead, the knights and servants of the Red Keep determined Princess Aerea, nearly absolutely unrecognizable, landing with Balerion near Maegor’s Holdfast. She slid from the lower back of the large dragon and begged for help, her limbs “as skinny as sticks” and carrying little various tattered rags. Ser Lucamore Strong, Knight of the Kingsguard, lifted the lady into his fingers and without delay introduced her to Grand Maester Benifer for clinical assist. Ser Strong might later inform human beings that as he carried the princess, the warmth from the fever wracking her body will be felt even through his heavy armor. Her eyes were bloodied, and Ser Strong also remarked that there has been something alive inside the princess, inflicting her to contort and thrash as she become carried.
Aerea Targaryen’s circumstance had worsened so dramatically that after King Jaehaerys and Queen Alysanne arrived to the Grand Maester’s chambers, he denied them entry, mentioning that they could now not want to see the princess in her cutting-edge country. The simplest different person to see Aerea in her circumstance changed into Septon Barth, who turned into despatched internal to perform the proper rites for the demise. King Jaehaerys and his Queen remained outside the door, and loads crowded into the Red Keep’s Sept to hope for Aerea Targaryen. Late into the night, Septon Barth emerged from the Maester’s quarters to announce that the princess had died.
It became announced that Aerea had died from a terrible fever, and discussion at the princess’ demise changed into stored to an absolute minimal. The handiest files that recount Aerea’s very last moments are those of Septon Barth, who revealed that a fever turned into best the start of the torment she changed into going via. Barth remarked that Aerea’s skin wasn’t just hot, it became burning. When he laid a hand on her head to feel for himself, he wrote that it became as though he had “thrust it right into a pot of boiling oil.” Underneath her gaunt pores and skin had been bulges that could increase and retract. Milk of the poppy did not anything for her ache, she begged for death thru “cracked and bleeding lips” and smoke rose from almost every orifice on her body. After some time, her eyes burst from the sheer heat inside her.
The Real Horrors of the Story
The greatest horror came when Benifer and Barth attempted to lower the child into a tub of ice. The sheer shock of the temperature is said to have stopped Aerea’s heart, or at least Septon Barth had hoped so, to spare her from what happened next. Creatures that had been residing within the princess’ body began to burst out, and they terrified the Septon and Maester. They were referred to in Barth’s writings as:
Worms with faces… snakes with hands… twisting, slimy, unspeakable things that seemed to writhe and pulse and squirm as they came bursting from her flesh. Some were no bigger than my little finger, but one at least was as long as my arm… oh, Warrior protect me, the sounds they made…
Fortunately, the horrors that erupted from the princess’ corpse thrashed and died within the ice tub, as they had been really creatures of smoke and flame. With that, the body became organized, and Aerea’s remains had been cremated in a funeral provider in step with Valyrian subculture. However, Septon Barth nonetheless questioned as to in which the princess and Balerion had gone. Reports in Westeros had failed to yield consequences, and no one within the Free Cities had credible memories about both. Balerion himself become certainly too large to overlook, but how had he escaped word in both Westeros and Essos? The Septon had deduced that the incorrect question were asked. Instead of questioning in which Aerea had taken Balerion, it changed into extra suitable to ask in which Balerion had taken Aerea. After all, the princess turned into now not even thirteen but, and there was in reality no way she could have masterfully commanded the Black Dread on dragonback. Clearly, Balerion had long gone wherever he thrilled, and Barth determined that the oldest and largest dwelling dragon attempted to go back to Valyria.
At the time of King Jaehaerys, Balerion was the only residing creature that had seen what Valyria became like before the Doom turned it into a burning wasteland. Causes for the Doom of Valyria vary, with some blaming their gods and others their practice of blood magic and other darkish arts. What is known is that every hill for hundreds of miles exploded, the volcanoes of the Fourteen Flames fired molten rock into the air, and dragonglass fell from the sky. Earthquakes ravaged wonderful temples and palaces, and ash and smoke and fire choked the sky so densely that dragons died midair and fell to earth. The Valyrian Peninsula turned into fragmented, growing the Smoking Sea, and adjacent japanese towns and islands have been obliterated by way of tsunamis. Since the Doom, few have ventured near the ruins due to stories of demons roaming the place along side other unspeakable horrors and dangers.
Despite this, Balerion by no means noticed the Doom for himself, as Aenar Targaryen’s daughter Daenys the Dreamer had seen the cataclysm in a prophetic dream, ultimately main the upstart dragonlord to are trying to find refuge on Dragonstone. The Black Dread possibly sought to return to in which he became born, and simplest discovered loss of life and destroy. We’ll in no way realize what happened whilst Balerion and Princess Aerea reached the ruins, however even the potent dragon failed to return home unscathed. When he touched down, the most fearsome dragon in Westeros’ history possessed a 9-foot gaping wound on his left facet, in addition to several 1/2-healed scars. Whatever ought to harm Balerion on this fashion could probably do some thing it wanted to the younger princess, and given her situation on her go back, evil had infested her from head to toe.
To hold this horrific event from ever habitual, King Jaehaerys positioned Balerion inside the newly-finished Dragonpit and formed the order of Dragonkeepers. The group of seventy seven keepers might make certain that any try to scouse borrow away House Targaryen’s dragons would fail. Furthermore, the king declared a brand new edict: Any ship coming back from the Smoking Sea might be denied access to the Seven Kingdoms, and any Westerosi who tried to journey to the ruins of Valyria could be executed. Since then, most effective the most daring of adventurers are becoming remotely close to Valyria, and the vicinity is universally known as one of loss of life and melancholy. Unfortunately for Princess Aerea Targaryen, she had no desire however to be taken there, and we may also never realize what terrors she witnessed and changed into ultimately plagued by means of.
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