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The Sowing, known by many as the Red Sowing and dubbed the Sowing of the Seeds by Grand Maester Munkun, was an event in 129 AC during the Dance of the Dragons.
Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen had been broken by childbirth, betrayal, and the death of her son Lucerys Velaryon. Following the death of Princess Rhaenys Targaryen and her dragon Meleys at Rook's Rest, Rhaenyra received the blame from Rhaenys's husband, Lord Corlys Velaryon. Her eldest son, Jacaerys Velaryon, stepped forth and took charge, sending most of his siblings to safety, with only his half-sister and betrothed Baela remaining on Dragonstone. Jacaerys next named Lord Corlys as Rhaenyra's Hand of the Queen, and together with him began to plan an assault on King's Landing.
At King's Landing, only Vhagar and Dreamfyre remained to defend the city, and Dreamfyre's rider, Queen Helaena Targaryen, had sunken into madness and was unable to fly her. Although none of the dragons on Rhaenyra's side could match Vhagar, Jacaerys expressed belief that Vermax, Syrax, and Caraxes combined should be able to defeat the older dragon.
Regardless, a call was made out to all "dragonseeds", Targaryen bastards or their descendants. Prince Jacaerys promised knighthood, lands and wealth to anyone who could master a dragon.
The attempt of the many men and some women to claim a dragon became known as the Sowing. Besides "dragonseeds", a score of Rhaenyra's household knights, including Ser Steffon Darklyn, made an attempt, as did squires, scullions, sailors, men-at-arms, mummers, and two of Rhaenyra's maids. According to Mushroom, he made an attempt as well, giving a long account of his attempt to mount Silverwing in his Testimony.
According to Munkun's True Telling, sixteen men died during the Sowing, and forty-eight men were burned or maimed. One of those who died was Ser Steffon Darklyn, who attempted to mount Seasmoke but was burned to death. Lord Gormon Massey was burned to death in his attempt to claim Vermithor. Silver Denys, supposedly a bastard son of King Maegor I Targaryen, was maimed when Sheepstealer tore one of his arms off, and was devoured with his sons when the Cannibal arrived.
In the end, Seasmoke was claimed by Addam of Hull, whose mother named him a bastard son of Laenor Velaryon, Queen Rhaenyra's late first hudband. Vermithor was claimed by Hugh Hammer, a blacksmith's bastard, and Silverwing by Ulf the White. Addam's younger brother, Alyn of Hull, attempted to claim Sheepstealer, but suffered burns and was eventually saved by his brother. The dragon killed many of the others who sought to ride him. Sheepstealer was claimed by a girl called Nettles, who brought him sheep every day until the dragon accepted her. Grey Ghost hid from all, and The Cannibal was out right avoided.
Lord Corlys Velaryon asked Rhaenyra to remove the taint of bastardy from Addam and his brother Alyn, making them true Velaryons, and he named Addam heir to Driftmark.
Prince Jacaerys Velaryon planned to fly together with the new-found dragonriders on King's Landing on the first full moon of 130 AC. Yet as the year drew to a close, news reached Dragonstone of the attack on the Gay Abandon, which had been escorting Jacaerys's half-brothers Aegon and Viserys, and its escorts by ships from the Triarchy. Instead of an attack on King's Landing, Jacaerys and his fellow dragonriders flew against the Triachy's fleet and fought them in the Battle of the Gullet. Jacaerys and his dragon Vermax died during the battle.