The kingswood is aflame. The king’s host, that marched so bravely from the city weeks earlier, is shattered. His “dragons”, the seven engines designed to spew the wildfire of the pyromancer’s at the king’s foes, have all gone up in green flames. The war is done before it began.
Or so some claim, as ravens arrived in King’s Landing with such messages… and others arrived with milder messages: yes, the dragons are destroyed; yes, the kingswood burns with lambent green fire that consumes all before it; but the king’s host is not shattered, indeed, it marches on under brave King Aegon’s banner.
The truth? Somewhere in between. King Aegon does indeed march on, as best he can while attempting to assuage his followers that the flames will not catch up to them, that the lords of the kingswood and the region around will act quickly to subdue the wildfire by felling trees and ploughing up the earth to make fire breaks. His maesters, commanded to speak as he wishes, do not disagree with him… but there are many who feel he is overly hopeful, and it’s said Lord Baratheon has counseled the king to call off the attack because the supply train has been lost and the army most either disperse or starve.
Days later, and the fires have still not gone out, spreading from the aftermath of the explosion. But it could have been worse: two days after the conflagration began, a great storm blew through the kingswood, unleashing a deluge of rain that helped stamp out some of the spreading flames (and soaking the ragged host while it was it). But wildfire is tenacious, and here and there smoke can still be seen, and the jade green flames find new life.
The toll of losses is as yet unclear, though messages have arrived fitfully, listing some noted names that have been killed: Ser Tomas Rivers, the Bastard of Riverrun, killed by mishap while leading an effort to cut a way through underbrush for the king who was perilously close to the fire; Ser Aleyn Florent of the Kingsguard, his horse driven mad and carrying him through the flames and out of sight, the last glimpses of him fighting to control the horse even as his white cloak danced with green flames; Ossifer Staunton, Lord of Rook’s Rest, believed killed in the initial explosion that set off the inferno; Ser Alek Reyne of the City Watch, who saved the life of his son and a number of other men at the cost of his own; Ser Damon Darklyn, Ser Raynard Locke of the wardenry of the Kingswood, Lord Blackwood’s brother Ser Lucos, the master-at-arms at Blackhaven Ser Anders Dondarrion, Lord Ossifer Staunton of Rook’s Rest… and doubtless more, many more, especially among men in service to the king. The king’s own master of horse is unaccounted for, and the master-at-arms Ser Denys Bolling was found dead, much of his body burned, in the hours after the explosion.
And if that is not all, a second disaster has struck the king’s campaign against Dorne: even before the wildfire inferno, the royal fleet under the command of Lord Corlys Velaryon was struck by a huge storm as it moved from where it had stationed to Tarth to the southern shores of Cape Wrath to begin to raid and scout the Dornish coast. This storm was the very same that has helped dampen the flames, but before that it had scattered the fleet to the four winds. Reports have come in of disarray, of ships run aground and the drownings of hundreds of men (including the famed Ser Philbert Celtigar), and other ships limping into ports along Massey’s Hook or to the shelter of Tarth with tattered sails and exhausted men… and scores of ships still at sea, their fates unknown, apparently having been driven far into the narrow sea to ride the fury of the storm that tore through them.
And what now? The king has camped the remaining forces west of where the disaster took place, sending men to try and find stragglers and wounded, and consulting with his lords and captains about how to proceed. Message riders have urgently raced to the nearest castles and towns, including Tumbleton, urgently calling for supplies. It is only a matter of time before the king learns of what befell the fleet, whether by rider or by a raven sent to one of those close castles…