As word of King Aerys' erratic and troubling behavior spread throughout the Seven Kingdoms, Lord Rickard Stark continued to serve his king faithfully
as Warden of the North. The proud father of four children, his daughter Lyanna was engaged to Robert Baratheon, the young lord of Storm's End.
Centuries of peace between the North and the Iron Throne ended the day Rhaegar Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone, abducted Lyanna.
Enraged, Brandon Stark rode to King's Landing demanding the release of his sister and the death of Rhaegar. Aerys arrested him for treason and called his
father to come to the capital to ransom him.
When Lord Rickard complied, Aerys, now utterly mad, arrested him for treason as well. Lord Rickard demanded a trial by combat. Aerys declared fire the champion
of House Targaryen and had Lord Rickard suspended from the rafters of the throne room while pyromancers lit a blaze beneath him. As he burned, Brandon was
brought into the throne room, a leather cord attached to a strangulation device was wrapped around his neck. Aerys told Brandon his father was a dead man...
but there was a chance to save him. A longsword was placed on the floor just out of Brandon's reach. And the more he struggled to reach it, the more the cord
tightened around his throat. Brandon Stark strangled himself, trying to free his father... who was roasted alive in his own armor.
The entire court stood and watched this atrocity take place... Ser Jaime Lannister and the Kingsguard among them. The Mad King was reported to have laughed
hysterically as these two noble men were tortured and brutally killed before him.
Seeking to rid the world of all his supposed enemies, Aerys called for the head of Rickard's youngest son, Eddard Stark, and Lyanna's betrothed - Robert Baratheon.
He sent word to Lord Jon Arryn - who had fostered both young men at the Eyrie - to apprehend them. Instead, Lord Arryn joined Houses Stark and Baratheon in rebellion.
Robert vowed to kill Rhaegar Targaryen and get his beloved Lyanna back.