The Golden Company is a company of sellswords founded by the Great Bastard, Aegor Rivers. They are considered the largest, most famous, and most expensive sellsword or mercenary company in the Free Cities. Despite the notorious unreliability of sellswords, the Golden Company is reputed to have never broken a contract. Their motto is "Our word is good as gold."
History The Golden Company was founded by Aegor Rivers, called "Bittersteel", a legitimized bastard of King Aegon IV Targaryen, after he fled Westeros with the younger sons of Daemon I Blackfyre at the end of the First Blackfyre Rebellion. When Aegor saw all the exiled lords and knights signing on with other sellsword companies, such as the Ragged Standard or the Maiden's Men, and saw the support of House Blackfyre ebbing away, he created his own sellsword company. Since then they have fought mainly in the Disputed Lands.
The Golden Company's reputation was quickly established when Qohor refused to honor the contract it had made. The sellswords of the Golden Company sacked Qohor as an answer to Qohor's refusal.
The Golden Company is said to be made up of exiles and the sons of exiles. The Golden Company were once headed by Maelys the Monstrous, the last of the Blackfyre Pretenders. Daemon Blackfyre, a cousin to Maelys, fought him over command of the Golden Company. Maelys killed Daemon's by twisting his head until it was torn from his shoulders. During the War of the Ninepenny Kings Ser Barristan Selmy cut a bloody path though the Golden Company's ranks to slay Maelys the Monstrous in single combat.
Their war cry, "Beneath the gold, the bitter steel" pays homage to their founder.
Daenerys recalls that when she was a girl her brother Viserys Targaryen once feasted the captains of the Golden Company in the hopes they might take up his cause. They ate his food and heard his pleas and laughed at him.
As the heirs of Bittersteel, discipline is like mother's milk to the men of the Golden Company. They are able to march quickly after a haphazard and disorganized landing without the chaos that would have inevitably delayed a hastily assembled host of household knights and local levies.
The high officers display a rude splendour. Like many in their trade they keep their worldly wealth upon their person: jewelled swords, inlaid armour, heavy torcs, and fine silks are very much in evidence. During the high officers meeting with Griff in Volon Therys, Griff notes that every man wears a lord’s ransom in golden arm rings. Each ring signifies one year’s service with the Golden Company.
The captain-general’s tent is made of cloth-of-gold and surrounded by a ring of pikes topped with gilded skulls.
The Golden Company consist of 8,000 men, several thousands horses and a number of war elephants.
A partial breakdown:
- 750 knights, each having three horses.
- 750 squires, each having one horse.
- 1,000 archers, a third of these archers are listed as crossbowmen while another third are said to be using double-curved horn-and-sinew bows of the east. The final part of the archers consist of men with Westerosi blood who use big yew long bows, and fifty summer islanders using great bows of goldenheart
- 100 War Elephants.
- Gyles Gargrave, a veteran on war. he had a part in the War of the Exile, becoming the Captain-General after the old General died in the War.
- Lysandro Rogare, Commander of the company Archers.
- Daemon Targaryen, Company Spymaster.
- Clayton Filarion, Company Paymaster
- Edwyn "The Flayer" Bolton, Company Dungeon Keeper
- Ardrian Sunglass, Serjeant of the Company.
- Jason Strong, Serjeant of the Company.
- Desmond Reyne, Serjeant of the Company.
- Arys Barlow, Serjeant of the Company.
- Roger Toyne, Serjeant of the Company.
- Durran Durrandon, Serjeant of the Company.
- Richard Storm, Baratheon Bastard and Daemon's Squire. Served in the Company for three years.