the year 300AC, the Freehold of New Valyria was born - created by Daenerys Targaryen, the breaker of chains. Though once a single city, the Empire has grown to encompass vast swathes of land as ancient and proud cities of old were brought to heel, with the city of Volantis having become the most recent addition in 350AC.
The House of Targaryen has itself grown, too, with several generations of Targaryens now living and ruling over the Freehold, all descended from Daenerys and Aegon VI. Today, it is led by the son of the late Daenerys, Rhaegar Targaryen.▔▔▔▔▔
What was a period of rapid expansion and growth in Essos for House Targaryen was instead a long period of relative peace in Westeros. Joffrey Baratheon reigned alongside his Queen, Sansa Stark, until his natural death in the year 344AC. His reign was not a popular one - and while many houses have lingering resentment toward the Royal Line from interactions with the late King Joffrey, none have acted to disrupt the wider peace. After the stillborn death of their fisrt son, the inheritance would fall to the second-born, Orys Baratheon, who would inherit at the age of 24.
A sickly man, Orys was an absentee king who allowed the Small Council to rule much on his behalf. Notably during his reign, House Tyrell began to exert increasing influence as they challenged House Lannister for positions within the political center of King's Landing. Indeed, the Small Council became increasigly divided as the individual members took advantage of the weak king to further their own wealth and power, rather than rule the realm as perhaps they should. King Orys would eventually succumb to illness at the age of thirty in 350AC, leaving his only child by Gwyneth Blackwood to inherit the throne - the current King, Galladon, who was born only four years before the death of his father, in 346AC.
The first ten years of his reign was marked by the regency of the Small Council, in which the brother of King Orys and Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, Tytos Baratheon, played a vital role. Despite his guidance, the opportunity of a regency after such a weak king has only encouraged the nobility of the realm to pursue their ambition.
King Galladon himself, now twenty-four and having ruled for twenty years, is a kind-hearted if not similarly absent king. Giving more attention to the rule of the Seven Kingdoms than his father, certainly, Galladon is still however an easily distracted man who prefers to spend his days sparring and enjoying the company of courtiers, leaving much of the actual rule to his current Hand of the King.
Despite his prior years of inattentive rule, a decision taken by King Galladon in the summer of 368AC would prove to have far-reaching consequences for those across the Seven Kingdoms.▔▔▔▔▔
Across the Narrow Sea, there was anything but peace across this period of seventy years. For while Westeros stagnated and struggled to maintain an uneasy peace, the Freehold of New Valyria cemented control over her holdings and continued to aggressively expand. With the most recent conquest being that of the City of Volantis in 350AC, though that is not to say the past twenty years have been peaceful. Border conflicts and rising aggression with Tyrosh, Lys and Myr in particular led to growing threats of war, which culminated in the Freehold declaring a 'rightful conquest' over the three cities ten years ago. Failed revolts and a struggle to maintain control over their lands plagued the Freehold for the first half of the decade, and the second has been spent transporting troops and equipment from their power-center in Slaver's Bay to the city of Volantis.
Meanwhile, the Free Cities of Lys, Myr and Tyrosh reached out to appeal for aid from Braavos and Pentos. Taking advantage of the slowed Freehold advance, a 'Coalition of the Free Cities' was formed after two years of painful negotiation, with the express intent of challenging Targaryen expansion.
When the first major battles began to be fought towards the end of 368AC, the Freehold demonstrated it had not lost it's touch in matters of war. The forces of the Coalition were forced from the remaining lands in the region of Volantis, and fled to make camp in the Disputed Lands, where most of the fighting remains focused to date.
It was late in the hot summer of 368 AC that the Coalition gained a new ally, when King Galladon of Westeros declared war upon the Freehold. Concerned over future Targaryen expansion into Westeros itself, King Galladon pledged 35'000 men to the cause, from across the Seven Kingdoms. The banners were summoned and levies were raised as troops gathered in the Crownlands to be transported to the coast of the Disputed Lands. It has taken over a year, but the forces of Westeros have now arrived in Essos, joining with several armies of the Coalition. War, on this scale, has never before been seen - and only one thing is certain.
The world will bleed.