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" Rhaenys returned on Meraxes, intent on avenging herself against Meria Martell, but Dorne was no longer empty. The Dornish kept Meria's promise and fought even while burning under dragon flame, and they won. One day a bolt pierced the eye of Meraxes and knocked the dragon out of the sky. House Martell remained unbroken, unlike the unfortunate Rhaenys."
Varys[src]

The Siege of Hellholt was one of the most important engagements of the First Dornish War, which resulted in the death (or capture) of Rhaenys Targaryen, the youngest of the sister-wives of Aegon I.

History

Prelude

Following Aegon I Targaryen's coronation at the Starry Sept, Rhaenys returned on Meraxes, with Aegon atop his dragon, Balerion, and Visenya Targaryen atop hers, Vhagar. However, they found Dorne virtually desolate, as Dorne knew from the Field of Fire and the Burning of Harrenhal that it would be highly unwise to engage against three dragons. Aegon installed a royal garrison and castellans for each Dornish stronghold, as House Targaryen ruled from the Red Keep in King's Landing. However, the hiding Dornishmen revolted against the Targaryen army, throwing castellans off the towers of Sunspear and deserting the garrison in the deserts of Dorne.

The Battle

Rhaenys returned on Meraxes, intent on avenging herself against Meria Martell, but Dorne was no longer empty. The Dornish kept Meria's promise and fought even while burning under dragon flame. One day a bolt pierced the eye of Meraxes and knocked the dragon out of the sky, killing Meraxes and then Rhaenys upon contact with the ground.

Aftermath

In their wrath, Aegon and Visenya set flame to every castle and city but Sunspear, trying to turn the people against House Martell, however, the Dornish stayed loyal to their Great House.

In the books

In 4 AC, Aegon I began a new campaign against Dorne. Rhaenys led the first assault on Dorne, seizing castles and burning Planky Town while approaching Sunspear. However, the Dornish lords once again refused to give open battle, and abandoned their seats. When Rhaenys and Aegon eventually reached Sunspear, Princess Meria Martell, as well as most others, had fled. Rhaenys and Aegon gathered the few courtiers and functionaries who had remained behind and, declaring themselves victorious, proclaimed that Dorne fell under the rule of the Iron Throne. Rhaenys and Aegon returned to King's Landing, leaving Lord Rosby as Sunspear's castellan while giving Lord Harlan Tyrell the charge of a host to fight the last revolts. However, they had barely reached the capital when the Dornish revolted with extreme rapidity, leading to the deaths of both Lord Rosby, by the hand of Princess Meria herself, and Lord Tyrell, who vanished in 5 AC with his army while marching to Sunspear to retake the castle. Entire garrisons were put to the sword, and the knights in charge were slowly tortured to death.

The next few years of the war became more and more violent. The Targaryens returned to Dorne to unleash their dragons, and the Dornish responded with fire of their own. In 10 AC, at Hellholt a bolt from a scorpion pierced Meraxes through the eye. The dragon fell from the sky with Rhaenys on its back, destroying half the castle. It is not certain whether Rhaenys outlived Meraxes. There are those who say that Rhaenys lost her seat and fell to her death, while others claim that Rhaenys was crushed to death beneath Meraxes in the castle yard. A few accounts claim that Rhaenys survived the fall and died a slow death, being tortured by the Ullers. Due to the uncertainty about Rhaenys's exact death, history records that she died in 10 AC at Hellholt in Dorne. Her body was never returned to King's Landing.

See also

A Wiki of Ice and Fire favicon Siege of Hellholt on A Wiki of Ice and Fire