Battle of Harlaw
King Robert stood at the helm of a landing cog, waiting for the inevitable. As soon as the ships landed, he and his army would need to hack their way through the IronBorn that stood ready all along the cliffs leading up to Ten Towers. While Robert was doing this, his soldiers would have to drag siege ladders and even a battering ram up the treacherous path. A brutal assault like this is the only way to crush them, as a prolonged siege would be impractical due to the infertile nature of the Iron Isles. A victory here will give him a base of operations to take out the rest of Harlaw.
Stannis is not present, as he and his portion of the Royal Army is currently fighting their way through Great Wyk. Davos Seaworth was with him, and is on orders to move on Old Wyk as soon as possible. Oberyn Martell is currently smashing Blacktyde into submission with his Dornish Spears. Even Eddard Stark, Robert's strongest supporter and closest friend, was in Saltcliffs to battle it out with Lord Volmark. Robert was away from his supports, and so had to do this alone.
I can do this. Time to show these Iron Bandits that The Storm has come.
Robert turned around and addressed the knights who stood on the deck behind him.
"Now, the time for battle is almost upon us. The IronBorn strut around arrogantly, bragging about how great they are at burning villages, but really it is they who should be scared. They will have to fight against us; Andal Knights. We have the best armor and weapons, the best spirit, the best Gods, and it is clear we are the best men in the world. I almost have pity for the sorry bastards we are about to fight against, and I'll swear to that at The Mother's Alter. We won't just crush those butchers, we're going to make them wish they had never been born. We won't stop until every murdering reaver is wiped out!"
This caused the majority of the two hundred or so knights standing on the decks to pump their fists into the air and to cheer. But Robert knew some of them were still afraid, and he would need to address them as well.
"Now, some of you are still unblooded squires and green boys. You might be be afraid that you will die, or that your courage will falter and fail you. Have no fear; I can assure each and every one of you that you will bring honor to yourselves and your families. The IronBorn are our enemies, so shed their blood until it is up to your ancles. You saw what they did along the Westerland shore; you saw the graves of children they buried and heard the lamentations of women they raped. Imagine how you would feel if it was your mother or sister or daughter, and you'll know what to do."
Now the entire deck was shouting their support. "Death to the IronBorn! Death to the IronBorn!"
The cogs landed, and the Royal Armies rushed out. Throngs of peasant levies armed with spears and sickles, lines of pikemen and men-at-arms, and rows of archers and crossbowmen. But the most devastating among these was without a doubt the Dismounted Knights lead by King Robert himself. These warriors clad in steel made a fearsome sight on the battlefield. Though slow moving, these apostles of The Warrior are truly a sight to behold.
The fighting started as soon as Robert's Men set foot on the gravely beach. Swarming at them from all sides were IronBorn Warriors wielding axes and swords. Their attacks were hit-and-run, striking fast and leaving before the Greenlanders could engage them. Fortunately, Robert was prepared for this.
"Soldiers, close ranks."
The soldiers complied locking themselves shoulder-to-shoulder and depriving the IronBorn of weak spots to attack. Those who charged anyway in the vain attempt of finding one were hacked to ribbons. In this tight knot, the Royal Forces marched up the beach.
Once they were off the beach, they have to make their way up the hill to the gates of Ten Towers.
We are vulnerable here. If the Iron Bastards try to spring a trap, this is the place to do it.
And sure enough, the IronBorn descended upon them from all sides. Great steel clashed against steel as the Reavers tried to hack their way through the Royal Army ranks. All around Robert could see his men dying and bleeding, their screams easily drowning out any other sound.
To stay here is to die. Their archers are easily picking us off while their axes sew confusion.
"Soldiers, push forward!" Robert bellowed, "protect the aInge engines at all costs!"
Leading the van, Robert marched into the swarm of IronBorn that were all around him. One unlucky axe wielder tried to charge at The King from his royal side, only for Robert to swing his warhammer with enough force to rip the man's head clean off.
With the backwards momentum, Robert swung his great hammer at another attacker, sending him flying through the air into his ranks.
Yet another Reaver tried crossing swords with Robert, and received a swing so strong it broke his iron shield in two and nearly tore his arm off.
It was like this every step of the way, all the way to the gates of The Ten Towers. As Robert was the king, every glory-hungry IronBorn went after him in the hopes that killing a king would be a battle worthy of a song.
Though he he will be in a song. A song about how I killed him and a hundred of his buddies.
In his other hand, Robert held a massive shield. So great was it that he knocked out an enemy warrior with one smash of it.
By the time Robert's forces actually reached the gate, his hammer was painted red and his veins were pumping with adrenaline. A trail of corpses had been left behind, and for every one IronBorn corpse there were about three Greenlanders who wouldn't be returning to their families. But it was all worth it to hear the smashing of the gate to splinters.
By by then it was all over. Robert's men rushed throughout the castle, swarming the building and slaughtering the defending Reavers. Once all the fighting stopped, the non-combatants and those few IronBorn Warriors whose surrenders were accepted (not that many surrendered to begin with) were herded into the courtyard like cattle. After the battle, there was merrymaking amongst the surviving soldiers. Wine and ale were liberated from the cellars, as were several salted meats and pickled fish.
Robert did not take part in the merrymaking, as he had a Kings duty to preform. Sentences to hand out and information to gather. While a handful of Reavers yielded and were taken alive, they were not out of the woods yet; any who were identified by the freed thralls or the castle's inhabitants as rapists or murderers were dragged begging and pleading to freshly erected gallows. Apart from that, Robert had to order four of his footsoldiers gelded after they raped one of Lord Harlaw's daughter-in-laws. Then he had to have a fifth flogged to unconsciousness for injuring a brother-in-arms during a squabble over some loot (if the stab wound had been more serious, this fifth perpetrator would have hanged alongside the IronBorn Rapists).
Next there were the non-combatants and remaining prisoners of war to deal with. The latter were sent to the dungeon, while the former promised the Kings Peace and Protection. While Robert expected a cold welcome, he was pleasantly surprised when several thralls (who became free as a result of this victory) praised him. One salt wife, who was several months great with child, even declared her intention to name her firstborn son after King Robert.
Finally, Robert had to organize his campaign plans to take the rest of the island. Fortunately the solar was nice and quiet.
And may this this bloody day be finished.
This was Robert's thoughts as he crawled into the Lord's Bed. He intended to keep his vow to his wife, so Robert went to bed alone with only a mental image of Lyanna for comfort.
The Iron Islands are on their way to defeat. Now it is a matter of when. I hope to The Seven I can live to see the victory, and to return to my beloved.
Author's Note: The pre-battle pep talk Robert gives is based on a portion of Patton's speech to the Third Army.