Our Bridges Don't Burn
House Baybridge Rebellions
Alesander Baybridge was named Lord of the House in 258 AC following the death of his father, Baelor. After sailing to White Harbor to meet his wife, Cassandra, Alesander often found himself feeling the call of the sea. He would routinely take Mariah’s Spear, House Baybridge’s prized ship, out sailing, traveling along the Narrow Sea coast. Traveling at sea so often earned him the name “Alesander Seaborn,” though in the inn at Ebonwood Village, it was not his seafaring that was discussed so much as his carousing and warming of maidens’ beds.
Lord Alesander had a reputation of traveling to coastal towns and bedding maidens with the promise of bringing them to sea with him. He would often fashion himself as a pirate or a citizen of one of the Free Cities on these excursions. His failed promises of bringing women out to sea with him earned him a foul reputation among the coastal small folk, who saw him as no better than the Ironborn, and really soured relationships between the Baybridges and several of the smaller houses in the Stormlands. To this day, it’s unknown how many bastards Lord Alesander may have sired.
Lord Seaborn’s trysts often left the house to be run by his wife, who was adored by the people of Ebonwood. This led to even more resentment for Lord Alesander from his own people. Despite all of this, Alesander Baybride was the first of the Ebon Lords to be invited to court at King’s Landing.
In 276 AC, to celebrate the birth of his son Viserys, King Aerys II Targaryen held a tourney at Kings Landing. All high lords were invited to attend, and due to the efforts of his father to expand and grow the influence of the house, Lord Alesander sat the seat of a high lord. So he took his eldest son Gerald to attend the Tourney of Viserys, where Gerald would be betrothed to Gwyneth, the eldest daughter of House Florent, though they wouldn’t marry for another three years.
During the tournament, one of House Baybridge’s knights, Ser Keaton Anders, won the marksman competition, hitting the bullseye all three times in the final round. This earned House Baybridge substantial notoriety at the tournament, impressing other noble lords who may have not otherwise been privy to House Baybridge. However, that may not have been the most noteworthy event involving House Baybridge from the tournament.
It’s rumored that, during the melee, Lord Alesander snuck away to the castle, leaving his son Gerald with their castellan, Archibald Buckler. While in the castle, Lord Alesander is rumored to have wooed Asha Merryweather, a handmaiden of Queen Rhaella. According to the rumors, Lord Alesander bed her in the King’s own bed, though there is clearly no proof of that. However, Lord Alesander did visit King’s Landing often afterwards, and almost always alone.
In 282 AC, Houses Baratheon, Stark, and Arryn raised their banners in open rebellion against King Aerys II Targaryen, who had come to be known as the Mad King after his internment at Duskendale. When Robert Baratheon called his banners, Lord Alesander sent a raven with a letter swearing his allegiance to House Baratheon and vowing to arm Ebonwoods’ war galleys. However, shortly after the raven took flight, Lord Alesander took to sea, taking Mariah’s Spear and sailing to King’s Landing. Though none know for certain why Lord Alesander went to the capital, rumors ran rampant that his loyalties lay with his handmaiden whore and her Targaryen caretakers.
Urged on by his new wife, Gwyneth, Gerald Baybridge declared himself the Ebon Lord in his father’s stead. With his first act, he sent a raven to Storm’s End, to Robert’s brother Stannis Baratheon, exposing his father’s treachery. He then armed the warships, as his father had promised the Baratheons that they would, but rather than sailing for King’s Landing, Lord Gerald led the fleet to Storm’s End, where they opened fire on the Tyrell forces besieging the castle and Lord Stannis, and providing enough of a distraction for Lord Stannis to sneak his pirates into the castle port.
Once the siege was broken on Storm’s End, the Baybridge ships sailed into Blackwater with the Baratheon fleet, breaking the Targaryen retreats and putting the remainder of the Dragon Lords to sea, allowing only a fraction of their forces to escape to Dragonstone. Lord Gerald entered the city with Lord Stannis, and they bent the knee together to the new King of the Seven Kingdoms, Robert Baratheon.
Stannis Baratheon was the one who caught Alesander Baybridge attempting to flee King’s Landing. When caught, he was alone and claimed that he had sailed here to slay the Mad King himself, but that Jaime Lannister had beaten him to it. King Robert did not believe Alesander, however, and, at Stannis’ urging, sent the former Ebon Lord to the gaoler with the other traitors.
For his loyalty, King Robert returned to Lord Gerald Mariah’s Spear, and made him a part of the council at Storm’s End. When King Robert tasked Lord Stannis with building a fleet to seize Dragonstone from the Targaryens, it was Baybridge ships that he commissioned, though no members of the Ebon House sailed with him, as there were many affairs to get in order back at Ebonwood Islands. King Robert also sent Lord Gerald’s brother, Rodwell Baybridge, to Storm’s End as an anointed knight.
Lord Gerald lived the first year of his reign in relative isolation, some say in guilt over betraying his father, though the vast majority of the people of Ebonwood supported that decision. It had been the Baratheons that had always supported Ebonwood, at least since the time of Prince Baelor Breakspear, and Lord Geralds great-grandmother was a Baratheon. Having the Baratheons on the Iron Throne was good for the Ebon Islands, and having Alesander off of the Ebon Throne was even better. Still, it can’t be easy for a son to betray his father.
A few short years before the rebellion began, Gwyneth Baybridge gave birth to Lord Gerald’s first son, Baldwyn. During the time that Lord Gerald spent alone at Ebonwood Castle, it’s said that he spent much time with the young Baldwyn, telling him stories of his great-grandfathers deeds and how he had built House Baybridge to prominence. Sharing these stories with his young son must have inspired Lord Gerald into his lordly duties, because soon thereafter he had sown another seed in Gwyneth and emerged from Ebonwood Castle with vows to restore House Baybridge to it’s status under his grandfather, Lord Baelor.
He first called for the clearing of the forests on the smaller Ebonwood Islands to commission the production of nearly two dozen new warships, which would more than replace the ships that Lord Stannis took to Dragonstone. He then commissioned a great statue of Baelor Baybridge be built on the castle grounds, a statue that stands outside of the castle’s Great Hall to this day.
A few years later, Lord Gerald received a letter from his brother, Ser Rodwell Baybridge, announcing that he had been named Master-at-Arms at Storm’s End, under the command of it’s castellan, Ser Cortnay Penrose. Lord Gerald saw this as a fine opportunity to teach his son and heir some of the finer things about nobility that he never properly learned, himself, so he sent Baldwyn to foster and study under Ser Rodwell and Ser Cortnay along with King Robert’s bastard son, Edric Storm.
In 289 AC, Balon Greyjoy declared himself King of the Iron Islands and launched a rebellion of his own against King Robert. Balon Greyjoy launched a surprise attack on Lannisport, burning the Lannister fleet at anchor and sacking the city in the Ironborn’s traditionally barbaric way. King Robert ordered a counter attack, and Lord Gerald Baybridge manned Mariah’s Spear and led twenty of his best ships in with Stannis Baratheon and Paxter Redwyne against the Iron Fleet. Balon Greyjoy’s forces were severely outnumbered and outmatched, and the Iron Fleet, captained by Victarion Greyjoy, was smashed against the rocks, all while Eddard Stark and Thoros of Myr led the assault on Pyke. When the fighting was over, House Baybridge had only lost one ship.
Shortly after the Greyjoy rebellion was put down, Lord Gerald came home to great renown and acclaim among nearly all of his people. However, he is not without faults of his own, as it seems that Alesander Baybridge’s oldest son may have inherited some of his worst traits. To date, Lord Gerald has fathered three bastards; one he sent to foster with House Fossoway of New Barrel, one he sent to apprentice with the shipwright at Ebonwood Village, and one he keeps at court at Ebonwood Castle, much to his wife’s dismay.
Yet, despite his predilection for the tastes of wine and young women, Lord Gerald had also shown some of the best traits of his grandfather, as his victories in both Robert’s Rebellion and Greyjoy’s Rebellion had earned him significant favor with House Baratheon. He brought Baldwyn back from Storm’s End to a seat at his own council, and he has looked to expand House Baybridge even further than even his grandfather could have envisioned.