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The Reach is one of the regions of the Seven Kingdoms on the continent of Westeros, the second-largest of the kingdoms behind the North, and considered the most fertile and heavily-populated part of the continent. The Reach is often times called the home of chivalry in Westeros. It is the place where knighthood is looked upon with the greatest reverence and esteemed the most. It is also the place where the rules to tournaments are the most stringent and managed. Noble bastards born in the Reach are given the surname Flowers.
The Reach is ruled from the Hightower or High Tower, by House Hightower, the Lords Paramount of the Reach and Wardens of the South. Notable houses include: Ashford, Caswell, Crane, Florent, Fossoway, Merryweather, Redwyne, Rowan, Roxton, Tarly, and Tyrell.
The Reach continued to thrive under the Tyrell rule following the War of the Five Kings. During the beginning of Baratheon reign under King Stannis, the Reach (like the other Kingdoms) was skeptical of the Baratheon's rulership. Eventually House Tyrell would chose to lead the Reach in support of the Baratheons in the Red Stag War, aiding King Davos in vanquishing the Lightharts. Following the victory in the Red Stag War, the two houses grew very close, resulting in the Reach benefiting greatly from the Iron Throne's favor for decades.
Following the Great Council of 442 AC, the War of the Split Stag broke out, fracturing the realm in civil war. Lord Theodore Tyrell and his loyal bannermen backed the claim of Lyonel Baratheon whilst many notable Reach houses favored Durran Baratheon instead; including Hightower, Tarly, and Florent. Theodore later arranged betrothals between House Tyrell and the houses of the opposite faction when peace returned in 444 AC.
In 456 AC, the Tourney of Longtable was held by Lord Owen Merryweather in honor of the birth of then, Prince Renly Baratheon. Knights from all over the realm traveled south for the would-be twelve day event. It was cut short with the unexpected death of King Orys II's brother, Prince Colen Baratheon, at the hands of the Grey Knight.
The Lord Paramount Baelor Tyrell and his several children were closely bonded to King Harys Baratheon and his strongest supporters in the war later known as the Ascent of the Lion. The war began when Maude Tyrell, whom King Harys was infatuated with, was kidnapped from the Red Keep by Gylen Hightower and rushed away to Oldtown. Harys and the heir to Highgarden, Troy Tyrell, marched on Oldtown to return Maude, however, in a fit of rage at the Hightower, Troy assault Gylen, breaking guest right and resulting in the Tyrell and Baratheon forces being removed from the city. King Harys ordered his kingsguard, Thaddius Lannister, to escort the Tyrells safely back to Highgarden. The Lannister betrayed his king for his own family, taking Troy, Maude, and the younger Tyrell siblings, Benjen and Mellara, hostage. He marched them to Kings Landing where Damon Lannister had sacked the city and claimed the Iron Throne. Thaddius forced the Tyrell brothers to duel to the death along the Rose Road, resulting in Troy killing his younger brother while Maude and Mellara watched.
Upon learning of the Sack of Kings Landing as well as the kidnapping of the Tyrells, King Harys and Lord Baelor left Highgarden with much of House Tyrell's forces to reclaim the capital for House Baratheon. Meanwhile, Gylen Hightower and the Golden Company led by their Commander, Robert Manderly, attacked the Reach's capital. The Sack of Highgarden nearly destroy the entire castle as well as the surrounding lands.
In the final battle of the war, the Battle at the Kingswood, Baelor Tyrell's army was defeated by the Usurper's forces led by Jojen Stark and Thaddius Lannister. Maude Tyrell ended her own life while imprisoned. Baelor and Troy Tyrell were executed by the King's Justice for treason, and the Lord Paramountcy was handed to House Hightower for their service. House Tyrell was made effectively extinct, with only Mellara Tyrell and her sister Meredyth Tyrell, a ward at Horn Hill surviving the war. The Tyrell sisters' last brother, Olyvar, had relinquished his family name and inheritance rights some years prior, serving as a maester to the castle of Highgarden.
Robert Manderly was granted the lordship of Highgarden for his part in the Ascent of the Lion, while Gylen Hightower was granted the Lord Paramountcy. Robert took Mellara Tyrell as a ward to ensure the Tyrell loyalist houses remained in line. Meredyth Tyrell was forced to wed the new Lord of Highgarden to solidify his claim, while Olyvar swore himself to his new lord, remaining true to his vows as a maester.
The new heir to the Reach and son of Gylen Hightower, Gerold, was wed to King Damon's younger sister, Ashara Lannister. Lord Paramount Gylen accepted a position on King Damon's small council whilst Gerold and Ashara remained in Oldtown to oversee the governing of the Reach. As a council member, a strong distaste for King Damon and especially the new Queen grew within Gylen.
It was discovered that Queen Aeslyn and Robert Manderly were having an affair that had begun during the previous war. Aeslyn fled Kings Landing to escape her husbands wrath and instead, King Damon wed Danae Targaryen. Danae assisted Meredyth Tyrell and Maester Olyvar in poisoning Manderly as a belated wedding gift to her new husband.
During this time, Gylen converted to the faith of Rhllor, practicing the eastern faith in secret.
Gerold Hightower visited Highgarden to investigate Robert Manderly's sudden death. Unable to prove anything however, he settled for forcibly taking the youngest Tyrell, Mellara, as a ward to House Hightower. Meredyth Tyrell became the Lady of Highgarden as Robert's widow.
Lord of New Barrel, Jon Fossoway, began farming Dornish lands when his own holdings were devastated by the Spring Without Sun. Jon was sentenced to death by the Master of Laws but pardoned and instead took the black, enraging Princess Sarella Martell and causing a greater rift between the Reach and Dorne.
Gylen's hatred for the King and Queen hit a boiling point. Hightower resigned from the small council and renounced his fealty to the Iron Throne, naming himself the King in the Reach and sparking war once again.
The War of the False King as it would be known ravaged the already damaged kingdom of the Reach. Gylen began by assembling his lords and naming many to a small council of his own, Lord Ferment Redwyne was named Hand. The lords of the Reach did not defy Gylen, fearing for their safety if they did.
Ferment Redwyne led the Redwyne Fleet to defeat Aemon Estermont, Master of Ships and captain of the Royal Fleet, in the Battle of the Straits, the first conflict of the war. The Iron Fleet captained by Dagon Greyjoy, however, attacked the Shields at the same time, crushing the small resistance they met and besieging the islands.
Upon learning of the the Shields defeat and capture by Ironborn, Gylen Hightower took his son's wife, Ashara Lannister prisoner, and forged a letter to King Damon in her hand, urging him to march south from Kings Landing. Damon did exactly that, leading the armies of the Crownlands himself, capturing various castles on the way to Oldtown including Bitterbridge, Cider Hall, and Longtable. At the same time, armies from the Westerlands marched along the Ocean Road, taking Old Oak and Red Lake. Dagon Greyjoy sailed his fleet up the Mander, taking Highgarden and Lady Meredyth Tyrell hostage.
Ferment Redwyne was captured when the Redwyne Fleet met the Iron Fleet in the Battle on the Sunset Sea, and later lost his sword hand as punishment for treason.
The Dornish, still enraged from Jon Fossoway, began attacking New Barrel and surrounding lands. Gerold Hightower took forces to investigate the sudden violence, as well as destroy significant portions of the Rose Road to make Damon's march south more difficult. While returning to Oldtown, Gerold and his army were ambushed by Damon's and quickly defeated. Many notable lords, including Marq Beesbury were taken captive but Gerold escaped and fled to Oldtown. Upon his return, Gerold discovered Ashara Lannister was pregnant with his child and had been taken captive at the top of the Hightower by his father, Gylen. Damon Lannister's armies were days away from besieging the city.
Attempting to fool Damon into believing his sister was dead, Gylen Higtower had his ward, Mellara Tyrell, burned alive and hung from the gates of the city. Gerold, seeing his father's madness and having a change of heart, pled to Gylen to release Ashara and end the war, but Gylen refused and took Ashara to the top of the Hightower, holding her at knife point.
Danae Targaryen arrived on the back of her dragon, Persion, while the Lannister armies led a siege. First burning the Redwyne Fleet at harbor, Danae then flew to the top of the Hightower and saved Ashara Lannister when her dragon drove its spiny tail through Gylen's chest. Gerold was spared by the queen only at Ashara's insistence.
Ashara Lannister became the new Lady Paramount at her brother, King Damon's insistence. Gerold was forced to forfeit his father's titles as punishment for the war. Ashara later gave birth to a son and the heir to the Reach, Loras Hightower.
As a result of Danae's contribution to the war, she demanded and received equal say in the governing of the Realm from Damon. A feast in honor of the new diarchy was held in Oldtown, and Ferment Redwyne attempted to poison the King and Queen, still bitter from losing his hand and the war. He was caught and sentenced to death, along with his lands be subjugated to Ironborn occupation. A lesser branch of the House was granted the Arbor, but suffered under the occupation for years to come.
The King and Queen's travels back to Kings Landing were severely slowed by the destruction of the Rose Road, causing them to make many stops along the way.
Lady Meredyth Tyrell hosted the Crown when they reached Highgarden, holding yet another feast in their honor, as well as in secret celebration to having the Ironborn leaving her home. At the feast, Danae fell dangerously ill from what was allegedly poison, resulting in Maester Olyvar intervening to save her life. As reward for his service, Damon Lannister granted the maester a boon of his choosing. Olyvar asked to be relieved of his chain and granted the titles and holding of House Tyrell and Lordship of Highgarden, bringing the house out of near extinction. Damon reluctantly accepted. The new Lord Olyvar Tyrell promptly delivered the winemaker of the poisoned wine to the Crown. He was sentenced to death by dragonfire. Danae began to find an unlikely friendship in Meredyth Tyrell, asking her to join her in Kings Landing as a Handmaiden. Meredyth later discovered in secret the truth of the entire affair. Her brother Olyvar had staged everything, adding nutmeg to the wine to create the symtoms of poison and framing the winemaker.
A blight began in the Arbor and southern most Reach, afflicting wildlife and farmlands alike.
The blight ravaged on, spreading throughout the entirety of the Reach and showing no sign of ending. Arbor wines were no longer able to be produced as well as many other notable crops derived from the Reach.
A smallfolk uprising in Appleton occurred in no small part because of the blight and lack of food. The Appletons and Inchfields put down the uprising and a tourney was hosted in the town to lift the spirits of the region. The Appleton Tourney ended prematurely when the heir to Inchfield was killed by a Sloane knight in the melee.
Olyvar Tyrell was wed to a daughter of Lord Merryweather, a longtime Tyrell loyalist, beginning the slow process of restoring his House its former prestige and power.
With Autumn arriving and the blight worse than ever before, the Reach grew fearful of how they would manage to survive the looming Winter.
Highgarden saw a completion to restoration efforts from the vast damages it received during the Ascent of the Lion and War of the False King.
The High Septon and Faith sent caravans of food and aid to the Reach in an attempt to assist in the growing damnation. Half of the aid was stored at Highgarden and the other half was brought to Oldtown, to see to distribution throughout the kingdom.
King Damon arrived in the Reach for the first time since the War of the False King. He and Lady Paramount Ashara held the Reach Council with most of the lords in attendance to address the many issues the kingdom faced. At the meeting, Olyvar Tyrell and his supporters, notably Lord Owen Merryweather and Lady Leonette Tarly, caused the Lannister siblings great distress. Damon ordered the Faith's aid be removed from Highgarden and brought to Oldtown, flustering the Tyrell. It was agreed upon during the council that the Crown and reach lords would split the cost of repairs to the Rose and Ocean Roads, which were still in ruin from the previous war. Olyvar Tyrell slighted the king when he revealed to the entire council Damon's intent on rewriting the laws of the Iron Throne. When asked if it were true, Damon begrudgingly revealed it was. Throughout the meeting, Olyvar and Ashara's distaste for one another grew quite apparent, hitting a boiling point that resulted in the council being called to an end by Damon.
Following the Reach Council, a knight of House Bulwer, Garth Bulwer, sought out Lord Tyrell and attempted to hatch a plan to usurp the Lord Paramountcy for House Tyrell. Despite his dislike for Ashara and House Lannister, Olyvar rejected Garth's plea. Bulwer went ahead with the plan despite Olyvar's rejection, forcing Olyvar to seek an unlikely ally in Ashara Lannister. Together, the former rivals worked together to discover Bulwer's plans and put an end to them.
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Desiring to bring some light to the otherwise weakened and distraught kingdom, Ashara decided to host a ball at the Hightower, for all the reach lords and many guests from outside her realm. Many notable attendance were present at the Lioness' Ball, including Joanna Plumm, Meredyth Tyrell, and King Damon and the Prince Desmond as well. At the Ball, Olyvar with the assistance of his allies, Lord Jon Roxton and the lord's eldest daughter, Margaery Roxton, put an end to Garth Bulwer's plot with a glass of wine laced with Tears of Lys.
Winter worsened after the Lioness' Ball. Storms repeatedly hit the Reach from the west off the Sunset Sea and the blight continued to ravage the kingdom, combining to cause the harshest southern winter in living memory. Dornishmen led by House Dayne caught word of the Reach's tragic condition, and sent an open invitation to nearly every noble and merchant in the kingdom. The bad blood between the two neighboring kingdoms proved too great for most, leading to only a handful of nobles and merchants answering the Daynes. Highgarden was chosen to host the trade negotiations, with Lord Olyvar Tyrell being the most noteworthy response to House Dayne's letter. Houses Merryweather and Roxton attended along with a score of merchants. The trade deal was signed by the negotiators after many days of deliberation. Lord Tyrell proceeded to sell his surplus of Dornish goods to Houses Meadows and Tarly, bringing them into the fold as well.
Whilst conditions in the Reach worsened, and those signed to the trade deal awaited the arrival of the Dornish goods, the peasants began to riot. Highgarden, Horn Hill, Oldtown, and Appleton saw uprisings to varying degrees. Horn Hill's smallfolk, led by a councilor of Lady Tarly, nearly killed the lady in their attempt to overthrow her.