When Aegon and his dragons burned Harren the Black and all his sons at Harrenhal, the days when men feared the sight of our longships were over. Aegon would not permit mauraders and raiders in his Seven Kingdoms. With Harren died our empire and the old way that forged it. But what is dead may never die. Six years after Robert Baratheon won his crown, my father Balon Greyjoy sought to restore our ancient rights. He declared the Iron Islands independent and himself its king, and sent the Iron Fleet in a daring raid on Lannisport, where they burned the Lannister ships at anchor, making us unchallenged in the Sunset Sea. This was the seed of our undoing. My eldest brother, Rodrik, led a frontal assault on Seagard, a town built to protect the mainland from us. After ferocious fighting beneath the city walls, he was slain by Lord Jason Mallister, and his men defeated. By this time, Stannis Baratheon had brought Robert’s fleet around Westeros and somehow managed to trap the Iron Fleet at Fair Isle, smashing it. Robert’s victory was now all but assured. Yet we made him bleed for each island. Stannis Baratheon captured Great Wyk, the largest of the Iron Islands, and Sir Barristan himself subdued Old Wyk. Robert and Lord Eddard Stark led the main assault against the island of Pyke. They razed the town of Lordsport to the ground before Robert turned his full fury on our family’s stronghold. When they breached the walls, the first through was Thoros of Myr with his ridiculous flaming sword, followed by every minor lord of Westeros hungry for glory. My other brother, Maron, was killed when the siege engines brought down a tower on his head. I was now my father’s only living son and heir to the Iron Islands. When my father saw his cause was lost, he wisely conceded defeat to Robert, who otherwise would have pulled down our castle stone by stone with us in it. As my father said to me then, “No man has ever died from bending his knee.” He who kneels may rise again, blade in hand. He who will not kneel stays dead, stiff legs and all. As it stands, Robert allowed my father to keep his lands and title as Lord of the Iron Islands, King of Salt and Rock, Son of the Sea Wind, Lord Reaper of Pyke. For a price. His last son and heir shipped off to Winterfell as an honored guest. I would eat at the starks’ table and play with the Stark children. And if my father rebelled again, Lord Eddard Stark would take his sword and cut off my head. It would be his duty.