12 Chapter - 11

Finally, after a half month of marching south without resting, twenty-one thousand five hundred Northmen crossed the Twins and reached Seagard; there are ships waiting for them to board and regroup with the King to storm the Pyke islands just three days ago Seagard had repelled Ironborn attack and Jason Mallister personally killed the Rodrick Greyjoy. Since Stannis had already taken great Wyk while Ser Barristan Selmy, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, has just begun the attack on Old Wyk, and the Pyke is a prize for the King and his old friend Warden of the North. The Northmen sailed to Banefort from Seagard, where they were greeted by The King on the pier, who stood there with his routine behind him stood his Retinue, courtiers, kingsguard, Stormlords and Lannisters.

Ned Stark was first to descend from the ships; he quickly knelt on one knee, "your grace," he greeted, as did the Northern other lords, his sons, and his personal guards behind him descended one after another as they descended from the ship on the pier. The black-haired bright blue-eyed six and a half feet tall heavy Muscled King built like a brick shithouse, no longer a maiden's fantasy with stubble for a beard grabbed him into a bone-breaking bear hug.

Eddard introduced his boys to the King; there was no need to introduce the lords behind him. The King had known them all since most of them had been at the trident when Rheagar fell.

The King ran his hard hands over both Robb and Alaric, "Fine lads, gonna be mighty warriors, are you lads?"

"Yes, your grace," Both had replied politely.

"I have brought fine wine from the King's Landing and the special gift from the King's Landing for you Ned, care to join," The King offered to his best friend.

"I don't dare your grace," Ned replied. If he joined the King, his wife Caitlyn would castrate him; he might have to join Varys as company after that.

"Hahaha," King boomed in a storm like laughter, "as you say, Ned," The King now gazed at everyone, " Today we feast here! tomorrow we feast at Pike," he continued.

Soon Everyone was escorted to their quarters to rest until the feast. Ned being an exception, had decided to join his old friend to catch up on the old days.

A great feast was held at night; wine flew like water, so did the flesh paid hired by King's treasury. If Balon the blatant mockery the King had shown for his revolt, he might clutch his hair in anger and brood over it for the next hundred years like late Lord Walder Frey, Alaric thought at the prospect of the feast.

The feast was just like any other that involves Robert Baratheon, wine flew in the hall as water, and women roamed more around the King than others, a cask of ale rang in the air, Robert's favourite song.

Alaric had wanted to inquire about the Naval battle of Fair isle, but all he got was gibberish; maybe he will have to ask Stannis himself.

The feast ended everyone went to bed. Alaric and co were woken up by loud shouts from outside at dawn; there were more ships on the docks and the pier than there were yesterday. They knew the time board the ships was coming. Among all the ships stood the most magnificent and powerful ship throughout the Westeros, a triple-decked war galley manned by three hundred oarsmen, a deck covered completely with scorpions, and rotatable catapults mounted fore and aft.

It took hours for the Baratheon force and Stark forces to board the ships and go on a two day sail for the Pyke islands.

For the two days combined forces sailed to reach Pike Islands; there was no way such huge movement could be hidden from Greyjoys since they still had their traditional longships ships to carry out reconnaissance

and patrol around the island. Along the way, Ned lectured his boys about warfare, honour, Cavalry and Vanguard. During one of his lessons, Alaric noticed one thing that may be really had a role in shaping the future conflict.

"Sometimes A vanguard must move rapidly with little concern to supply and communication lines to seize the initiative in the conflict." Ned finished his lessons with this sentence; Robb had a very serious look on his face as he listened intently.

On the morning of the third day, they had been notified of the approaching coast; due to the surrounding waters being stormy, only one place could be used to make a landing. As they approached, the view became more clear the coast had been covered with cheval de frise (a defensive obstacle). The only relief was that there were not many Ironborn on the defending side maybe a thousand or two.

Eddard Sighed when he gazed at the Ironborn, and the stormy water beside him stood the King in Plate armour, surcoat of his house, a great antler helmet above his head and a spiked hammer in his right hand.

Landing soldiers will have to row on boats towards the coast then fight the enemy under that state which won't be easy.

The First Baratheon assault began with fifty boats; a total of a thousand men rowed hard towards the coast half a kilometre away from the ships, and It was spectacularly repelled by the Ironborn with Bows and arrows rained down upon the approaching Royal forces.

It was a tragedy for the royal forces to row in the stormy waters, face arrows raining upon them after landing face The Ironborn in scale and chainmail armed with axes and shield, the only relief that Ironborn archers not organised to fire arrows in volleys they were firing as they saw fit.

Without suspense first attack was repelled. In the second attack, royal forces decided to send 50 boats on with thirty soldiers per boat, An extra ten to protect their companions rowing the boats with shields. This time they were able to land and remove some of the obstacles before moving forward, but they were thrown back to the sea and their boats by the desperate counter charge from Ironborn.

Next chapter