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Alternate History: What if King Aerys II Kidnapped the Baratheon Brothers


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The Story of Rhaegar Targaryen

Chapter 1: Robert’s Rebellion

Greatness and madness are two sides of the same coin. And as mad as King Aerys was, he was also great.

Great at kidnapping.

King Aerys didn’t send Prince Rhaegar to meet Robert in battle. No. Instead, he conceived of a scheme to snatch the Baratheon brothers. All three of them.

This stag hunt proved an easy one. Robert was caught with his breaches about his ankles in a brothel by a squad of pardoned crooks from the black cells, snatched at sword point, and scurried away to the Red Keep. Stannis and Renly were sold out by the men-at-arms of Storm’s End, chained, and jailed.

King Aerys, as great at kidnapping as he was, was also batshit crazy. When Varys the Eunuch informed him of the success of the scheme, Aerys proclaimed himself as “Balerion the Black Dread reborn,” spread his arms wide, roared, and leapt from the highest tower of the Red Keep.

He fell to his death.

Prince Rhaegar had been unaware of all this. As his father’s genius scheme was transpiring, he gathered the men of Dragonstone, summoned his closest friends and allies, and sailed to Gulltown.

Now, he was preparing to face the combined armies of the Vale and the North, commanded by Jon Arryn and Eddard Stark.

On the eve before the battle, Rhaegar sat with his war council.

"They have us ten to one,” exclaimed Jon Connington. “We must retreat and wait for royal reinforcements.”=

"Aerys has abandoned us,” said Ser Arthur Dayne. “We must face the rebels here and now.”

Rhaegar sat at the head of the table. Silent. Considered his choices. Wondered if he would see his lovely, lovely Lyanna again.

Then, all of a sudden, a bald, fat man entered the tent.

"Lord Varys? What are you doing here?” Rhaegar asked.

"I have come with gifts, my lords,” Varys said, stepped aside, and gestured as the three Baratheon brothers, in rags and in chains, were led into the tent.

"Welcome, Baratheons,” Rhaegar said, grinned, clasped his hands, and ordered, “Arthur, cut off Stannis’s head.”

Without hesitation, Arthur stood, walked up to Stannis, and said, “In the name of Aerys of the House Targaryen, Second of His Na-”

"Aerys is dead,” Varys interrupted. “He decided that he was a dragon and tried to fly.”

Rhaegar, now King Rhaegar, sighed. He could not say that he was surprised that his father would do such a thing.

"Very well,” said Arthur Dayne, then turned to Stannis again. “In the name of Rhaegar of the House Targaryen, First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, I, Arthur of the House Day-”

"Get it over with!” Stannis demanded.

"I think I’m supposed to read your sentence now,” Arthur said.

"You’ve said the words, damn you!” Stannis bellowed.

Arthur glanced at Rhaegar.

"Get it over with, Arthur,” Rhaegar commanded, “before he demands trial by combat. He might actually be able to beat you.”

Arthur raised the Sword of the Morning and sliced off Stannis’s head.

Young Renly wailed.

Robert cursed under his breath.

Rhaegar said, “Bring Stannis’s head to Stark and Arryn. Tell them that if they don’t surrender by dawn, I will send them two more stag heads.”

Ser Arthur Dayne obeyed the order.

Stark and Arryn surrendered.

And that was the end of Robert’s Rebellion.


Chapter 2: Rhaegar’s Reign

Rhaegar sat upon the Iron Throne. The iron crown of hard Maekar rested upon his brow. And the traitors knelt before him.

"To the wall with all of you,” said Rhaegar. “And you heirs shall not inherit your lands.”

And so it was.

Trusty Jon Connington became the new Lord of Storm’s End. Bold Myles Mooton held Riverrun. And young Richard Lonmouth was granted the Vale. And Ser Arthur Dayne was named Hand of the King.

Rhaegar traveled south, then. To the Tower of Joy, where his beloved Lyanna awaited him. She was heavy with child. His child.

As she embraced him, she asked, “What have you done with my brother?”

"I spared his life,” said Rhaegar.

"Thank you,” she whispered and rested her head upon his broad shoulder.

"You will be my queen,” said Rhaegar.

And so it was.

King Rhaegar and Queen Lyanna traveled to King’s Landing. A joyful wedding. A happy marriage. Theirs was a true love story. Pure Bliss.

But it only lasted for five days.

Then, she died upon the birthing bed.

Grim Rhaegar sat by his dead wife’s bedside. Clutched her dainty hand. Stiff with death. Cold with loss.

But he held his newborn son. “Aemon,” he said. “You, Aemon, will be the Lord of Winterfell when you become a man. When you earn your spurs.”

Many years of peace followed. Peace and quiet, as the melancholic king sat upon his Iron Throne. The first wrinkles appeared on his brow. His back grew stiff with age. He would fall asleep upon the Iron Throne, for he could not bear to sleep in the bed he had once shared with his Lyanna.

He would wake in the night, screaming, “Lyanna!”

Then, as sleep would be lost to him, he would wander about the Red Keep. Sullen and silent. Dark and hopeless. He was surrounded by his couriers and his friends and his family and his children. But he was alone. Always alone.

And as the king grew older, so did his heirs.

Rhaenys was a playful girl. Rowdy and rambunctious. She would run about the Red Keep with her friends, painting upon the walls, adopting kittens, and calling herself Queen of Westeros.

Aegon was a sadistic boy. A bully and a craven. He would sit in the corner and stare at his father’s courtiers with impatient eyes. When Lord Jon Connington of Storm’s End suggested that the prince was as mad as Aerys had been, Aegon stated, “If I am indeed mad, then I will set you alight first when I am king.” Jon was always polite to the prince after that.

Aemon was more of a hooligan than his sister. He joined his first tourney at the age of eleven. And ran Lord Karstark through with a lance on his first tilt. Rhaegar never let Aemon participate in another tourney after that.

One day, when Rhaegar was brooding alone, Ser Arthur Dayne approached him. “My lord, there is a matter on which I must speak to you.”

"Speak,” said Rhaegar, without looking at his old friend. He was looking at Lyanna, then. She was not there. Not truly, but she was on Rhaegar’s mind. Much more so than Arthur.

"My lord,” began Arthur. “Might it be best for the realm if you remarried? Aft-”

Rhaegar burst out laughing.

Arthur said nothing. Turned to leave.

“Wait,” said Rhaegar. Looked at Arthur, then. “You have served me loyally for many years.”

Arthur nodded.

“You deserve a reward,” said Rhaegar.

“Serving you is reward enough.”

“No, no,” said Rhaegar. “Aemon must be betrothed. He will be a man soon. And your youngest sister. Allyria? Is she betrothed?”

“She is not.”

“What do you say Arthur? Shall we make Allyria the wife of the future Lord of Winterfell?”

“We shall, if it pleases you, my lord.”

“Good!” Rhaegar exclaimed.

And so it was.

Aemon and Allyria were betrothed.

Many quiet years followed. Prosperous years for the realm. Good harvests. Long summers. Short winters. Quiet years. Unremarkable years.

But on one fateful day, lonely Rhaegar was visiting Summerhall. The place of his birth. The place where so many Targaryens had been burned to ashes. There, amid the ruins of salt and smoke.

He sat there. Reminsced. Planned. Pondered. Wondered. Recalled kings past. Considered the kings who would come. Thought of Lyanna. Thought of the other children they might have had, had she lived.

But a woman was there too. She emerged from the ruins. A red woman with hair of red and a buxom frame and a face as fair as Lyanna’s.

“Maiden,” said Rhaegar. His eyes alight. Alight as they had not been for many years. “What is your name?”

“Melisandre,” she said.

“Melisandre,” he echoed. It was a soft name. A name that could be sung. A name that rolled off his tongue.

And Rhaegar felt something he had not felt since that fateful day Aemon was born and Lyanna died. He felt something for this lowborn stranger.

“I need a new Queen,” he told her.

“That you do,” she said.

And so, a triple wedding was held in King’s Landing. Aegon married Rhaenys. Aemon married Allyria Dayne. And King Rhaegar married Queen Melisandre.

And a magnificent wedding it was. The wine flowed and the feasting was delicious. The smallfolk ate like lords and the lords ate like Targaryens and the Targaryens ate like the Old Gods and the New. Not a soul in King’s Landing went hungry that night. The city was alive with song and music and dancing. Rhaegar and Melisandre danced the night away. Danced like Rhaegar had not danced since Lyanna was lost to him.

Melisandre, the foreign queen with her foreign gods, influenced the king. “My prince who was promised,” she would whisper to him at night and stroked his long hair, as he rested his head upon her bosom. Rhaegar slept easy, then. Fell asleep as Melisandre sang him the Song of Ice and Fire. And so, he took her faith as his own. The dragon king prayed to the Red God. He forged a new crown. A red crown of red flame for the Red God of his red woman.

Though Rhaegar found love and peace, his body did not. His joints swelled with gout and twisted with pain. Milk of the poppy soothed him. And made him numb. Turned his long face to mush. He would spend days in bed, halfway between sleep and wake, with only the red woman to accompany him.

And as the king grew weak, the Blackfyres returned.


Chapter 3: The Sixth Blackfyre Rebellion

Aegon Blackfyre and the Golden Company landed upon the shores of Westeros. War returned to Westeros.

But ill Rhaegar could not muster the strength to leave bed, let alone face Aegon Blackfyre in battle.

The King’s Hand, Ser Arthur Dayne, sent a raven to Rhaegar’s heir, Prince Aegon of Dragonstone. “Lead your father’s men,” was all he wrote.

Aegon, son of Rhaegar, spineless as he was, ignored the raven. Sent no reply. Only holed up on Dragonstone.

But Aemon arose, then. Aemon, son of Lyanna. Aemon, son of Rhaegar. Aemon the second son. Aemon, who was destined to rule Winterfell. This Aemon stepped up when the realm needed him most.

Rhaegar’s second son called the banners. And a vast host assembled. Though the Martels, kin of spurned Elia, ignored the call to battle, the rest of the realm rallied to Aemon’s side. Connington and his Stormlanders were there. And Mooton’s Rivermen. Lonmouth was caught up in a rebellion in the Vale, but sent a contingent to fight for the red dragon. Many others rode to the red dragon’s side. Lannisters and Tyrells. Greyjoys and Northerners. All, heading the call of Aemon, son of Rhaegar.

The royalists met Aegon Blackfyre, son of Maelys the Monstrous at the Battle of Sharp Point.

“Charge! Charge for your king!” Aemon Targaryen shouted to his cavalry.

And they charged at Aegon Blackfyre’s camp.

The Golden Company formed their battle lines and rained arrows down upon the royalists.

Many valiant knights of the Seven Kingdoms were shot down that day. Lord Paramount Jon Connington of the Stormlands was pierced and fell from his mount. Ser Gregor Clegane perished too. Seven arrows in his massive body. Harry Rivers’ stallion was killed by an arrow to the eye. And when the Bastard of Stone Hedge leapt for cover, he hit his head upon a rock and perished. Baelor Hightower took two arrows to the gut. Half a dozen fucking Freys died at Sharp Point too (not enough if you ask me).

Prince Aemon was grazed by four arrows, but he rode on. His own blood smeared across his armor. A scream of rage in his throat. “For Rhaegar!” he shouted.

"For Rhaegar!” the battle cry echoed through the royalist cavalry. “For Rhaegar! For Rhaegar! For Rhaegar!”

And the royalist riders rode down the Golden Company. Blackfyre’s host was outnumbered, outmanned, surrounded, and slaughtered.

Aegon Blackfyre stood in the center of it all. His house’s Valyrian steel sword held high. “Stand your ground!” he hollered to his fleeing men, who were running to the Narrow Sea, for there was nowhere else to run. “Stand your ground!”

Ser Jamie Lannister of the King’s Guard saw Aegon Blackfyre and shouted, “For Rhaegar!” He spurred his horse towards Aegon and lowered his blade to take off the pretender’s head.

But the swift pretender went to one knee.

Jamie’s blade missed Aegon Blackfyre by mere inches.

Instead, Aegon drew his Valyrian steel sword down the horse’s throat and across the King’s Guard’s leg.

Jamie screamed, as wounded man and slain horse thudded to the ground in a heap of dust.

As Jamie lay there, in a pool of his and his mount’s blood, with his back crushed under the weight of the dead animal, and his thigh slashed, Aegon Blackfyre walked up and pierced his throat.

That silenced Lannister’s screams.

But it was then that Viserys Targaryen, brother of the king, spotted Aegon Blackfyre, standing over the dead Lannister.

Viserys had been ignored all his life. Forgotten. Just a second son. The younger brother of a legendary king. He was an ambitious man, but owned no lands. No inheritance to speak of. No prestigious marriage. Not a single copper halfpenny to his name. But on that day, at Sharp Point, he proved his mettle.

Viserys’ horse had been shot out from under him. But the king’s brother stood. He stood and he fought and he pushed through the fray of battle.

When Viserys set his eyes upon the pretender, he shouted, “Blackfyre!”

Aegon Blackfyre glanced at the blonde, purple-eyed, dude with an incredibly punchable face running towards him. He raised an eyebrow and asked, “Who the fuck are y-”

Viserys cut Aegon Blackfyre down.

So ended the line of Daemon the Black Dragon.

A massacre followed. The Golden Company was slaughtered to a man. The few survivors who lay injured after the battle were put to a swift death.

The royalists returned to King’s Landing. Aemon, Viserys, and Arthur Dayne went to Rhaegar’s bedchamber and kneeled before their king. Years before, they might have come before Rhaegar sitting the Iron Throne. But Rhaegar was in no shape to climb those sword-forged steps.

The bedridden king could hardly look at them through his puffed up eyes. Melisandre sat cross-legged in place of the pillow and propped the king’s head on her ankles, just high enough for him to look at his kinsmen. She rested a gentle palm on Rhaegar’s forehead. A frown marked her pretty face. She knew what they all knew. What not a tongue in the Seven Kingdoms spoke out loud. King Rhaegar was nearing the end.

“Arise,” Rhaegar said. His quavery voice so quiet that all had to strain to hear it.

The trio rose.

“What is that you have in your hands, little brother?” asked Rhaegar.

Viserys raised the sword Blackfyre for the king to see. “The sword Blackfyre. For you.”

“Keep it. You earned it,” said Rhaegar. “Is it true what they say? Ser Jamie Lannister was cut down by that blade.”

“Aye, my lord,” said Ser Arthur Dayne.

Rhaegar shifted his head a little, as if he was trying to nod, but could not. “Viserys, how would you like to trade your red dragon cloak for a white one?”

“It would be an honor, my lord,” said Viserys.

Rhaegar spoke to Aemon then. The prince was bandaged. Bruised. But he stood tall and proud. His mothers’s black hair flowing. “You were shot by arrows, I heard,” said Rhaegar. “How many?”


“And you fought on?” Rhaegar inquired.


“Let men know you as Aemon Ironside, then. For you, my son, are as hard as iron. Lord Paramount Aemon Ironside of the North, it is time you took your mother’s seat. Viserys and Arthur will accompany you North.” Rhaegar said. Then, the king tried to sit up, but only groaned and collapsed back.

“Shhhh, my love,” cooed Melisandre and hugged his shoulders. Kissed his forehead. “Stay still.”

Rhaegar then commanded Ser Arthur, “Keep these two knuckleheads in line. R’hllor knows I won’t live long enough to see their beards turn gray.”

Melisandre frowned. A single tear flowed down her pale face.

Arthur chuckled. “I’ll do my best, brother.”

“Very well,” Rhaegar said. “Leave, all of you. Leave me alone with my wife.”

Rhaegar passed away in Melisandre’s arms later that day, as she sang him the Song of Ice and Fire.

RIP King Rhaegar I

259 AC - 301 AC

Legends Never Die

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