The Iron Islands
Current OOC Lead: Citadel (roiafcitadel)
Current IC Lead:
The Iron Islands are home to a fierce seafaring people who call themselves the ironborn. While some say the archipelago is named after the abundant iron ore on the islands, the ironmen claim it is instead named after their own unyielding nature. It is often said that every captain is a king aboard his own ship, so the islands are also called "the land of ten thousand kings".
House Greyjoy have ruled the Iron Islands from the Seastone Chair on Pyke. None since the Red Kraken has posed a true threat to the Seven Kingdoms or the Iron Throne, but few can truly be described as loyal and faithful servants of the crown. Kings they were in days gone by, and even the passage of a thousand years cannot erase the memory of a driftwood crown.
Notable houses include Greyjoy, Blacktyde, Botley, Drumm, Goodbrother, Harlaw, Saltcliffe, Merlyn, Stonehouse, Sunderly, Tawney, and Wynch. Bastards of noble origin from the Iron Islands receive the surname Pyke.
The Lord of the Iron Islands, Vickon Greyjoy, passes away, leaving behind many sons and daughters from his first and only rock wife. He is succeeded by his eldest son Beron Greyjoy.
196 AC - The White Seas
While the Ironborn could briefly use the confusion of the Blackfyre Rebellion to reave along the western shores of the mainland unopposed, it didn’t last for long. Few places were struck as hard by the winter of the ‘White Death’ as the Iron Islands. The snow and storms made the waters much more treacherous than they already were and combined with the Ironborn’s fearlessness to sail this lead to a lot of death, failed raids and needless losses.
198 AC - The Brothers’ War
It only took a few years until the despair of the White Death caused strife and conflict among the starving ranks of the Ironborn, even the leading family of the Greyjoys fell to internal disputes and disagreements. It was the beginning of even more misery for the Ironborn who were now thrown into a civil war during an already harsh winter. Lord Beron Greyjoy was declared unfit to rule by his younger brother Urik Greyjoy with the support of the Drowned Men wishing for a stronger return to the Old Ways and a call for a kingsmoot. Instead of a kingsmoot what followed was several long cold years of bloodshed and slaughter, kin against kin.
Houses Saltcliffe, Blacktyde and Stonehouse remained loyal to Beron, while House Botley, Drumm and Merlyn were prominent Urik supporters. House Goodbrother and most of the Harlaws remained neutral alongside Dalton Greyjoy, a younger brother of Beron and Urik. Torwyn Greyjoy, another brother, was declared exiled since offering support to Balerion Blackfyre with some Harlaw and Saltcliffe men and hasn’t been seen since.
203 AC - Dagon Drumm’s Disappearance
After an argument with Urik Greyjoy over a salt wife one of the most infamous reavers, Dagon Drumm the Undead, ended his support for Urik, yet did not leave the Iron Islands without first leading a bloodied attack on the Stonehouse, with which they held old disputes. It nearly left House Stonehouse extinct. Afterwards Dagon’s fleet took to raiding despite the cruel winter and shortly after disappeared north leaving behind a few sons who were brought up with a near fanatical admiration for the Old Ways.
204 AC - The Iron Maidens’ Slaughter
Beron Greyjoy earned himself the support of the numerous reaving women on the Iron Islands, including one of his own sisters, Denys Greyjoy. The Drowned Men on Urik’s side however insisted that by the Old Ways women had no place on ships or on the battlefield. It is after one particularly brutal battle on Old Wyk during which Urik was victorious that they took all the women present captive, brutalized, raped and slaughtered them. It was such a horrific event that since then the very thought of sending women to battle makes the Ironborn unsettled. Denys’ head was returned to Beron, her cheeks still stuffed with the seed of the many ironborn that violated her before her death.
A decree by Beron soon followed that reinstated and described the place of the woman as a housekeeper and a companion to the ironborn man, either as rock or salt wives. Urik and his Drowned Men more than gladly agreed with the decree. Seafaring and combat was no longer taught to women from that day forth.
206 AC - Bitter Spring
The long winter and the endless civil war finally breaks, but in a most unexpected manner. Lord Dalton Greyjoy outlived both of his elder brothers and in the end claimed the Seastone Chair without opposition. The story goes that Lord Dalton Greyjoy slew both his older brothers and their fiercest supporters to bring an end to the conflict, yet this seems most unlikely as Dalton Greyjoy had been struggling with his health since before winter, as a result of wounds suffered during distant raids and the greyscale he contracted. There are horrific tales regarding a mysterious iron box being at the root of the final slaughter. Others claim that shortly before his death Beron had fallen to madness and had been responsible for killing Urik before taking his own life.
While many are grateful for an end to the conflict and due to his fearsome reputation Lord Dalton Greyjoy has met no opposition, some at least begrudge him holding the Seastone Chair. One because he is a cripple and no longer seems to have an appetite for reaving and sailing, but most of all because he keeps an enthralled Septon close to his ear and has more openly welcomed the Faith of the Seven back into the Iron Islands. Yet even so he remained cautious in denouncing the Old Ways as to not upset the Drowned Men and those with dreams of past glory and conquest.
Under this new leadership however trade and Maesters were slowly brought back to the Iron Islands bringing an end to the starvation and poverty of winter. Reaving was kept to a minimum and often rather encouraged on distant shores, Essos, the Summer Isles and Basilisk Isles, rather than close at home. But just like the sea ironborn are difficult to contain. With this the lords of the Iron Islands were reunited in an approach that compromised between the new and the old.
211 AC - King’s Landing
Upon invitation of King Aeron Targaryen some of the Ironborn join the court at King’s Landing. Lord Dalton Greyjoy with the rumored further intent of taking on the Faith of the Seven and to see some of his sons knighted while the crown seemingly needs the infamous Iron Fleet in deterrence against the Golden Company. It is rumored the crown seeks to pay in coin, grain and wood; commodities most sparse on the Iron Islands.
Despite the perceived cautious approach to the Faith of the Seven the traditional Ironborn culture and admiration for the Old Ways has remained a strong influence on the people of the Iron Islands. The occasional reaving and raiding on Westeros’ shores continues and makes for an uneasy alliance. But what the ironborn might fear most above all is yet another winter of blood and starvation.
“You may dress an ironman in silks and velvets, teach him to read and write and give him books, instruct him in chivalry and courtesy and the mysteries of the Faith,” cautioned an Archmaester once, “but when you look into his eyes, the sea will still be there, cold and grey and cruel.”