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“Let me tell you a secret, Ned. More than once, I have dreamed of giving up the crown. Take ship for the Free Cities with my horse and my hammer, spend my time warring and whoring, that’s what I was made for. The sellsword king, how the singers would love me.”
- Robert Baratheon, A Game of Thrones

An A Song of Ice and Fire fanfic written by DubiousScrivener and posted on AH.com. Can be viewed here.

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The story diverges during Robert's Rebellion but picks up in the immediate aftermath.

Rhaegar never returns to lead the loyalists at the Trident, that role being filled by Ser Arthur Dayne and Lord Commander Hightower. While the Rebels still carry the day, and Tywin still sacks King's Landing, the Prince of Dragonstone still lives. And he subsequently flees across the Narrow Sea with the surviving Targaryeans and an army of loyalists.

The subsequent crisis of having to deal with a realm still bleeding from a vicious civil war, and the newly crowned King Rhaegar in Pentos, sends the Baratheon dynasty and its allies down radically different paths than canon.

Told mostly from Ned Stark's perspective; but the interludes let us see events through other eyes, typically far from the action Ned is involved in.

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It has since inspired another fanfic on AH.com, Chasing Dragons.

This story contain examples of:

  • Adaptation Name Change: The boy who would be named Jon Snow in canon is instead Jaehaerys Targaryen.
  • The Alliance: The Dragonhunt/Kingdom of Summer's military alliances with the Tattered Prince and Sallador Saan against Lys and the remnants of Myr and Tyrosh.
  • Alternate Universe Fic
  • Amazon Brigade: The Mormonts and their shieldmaidens. Some liberated slave women start to join this squad later.
  • Amazon Chaser: Whether metaphorical, or literal, Ned seems to be more interested in strong women.
  • And I Must Scream: Rodrik Greyjoy is captured by Tywin's forces during the Greyjoys' failed attack on Lannisport. Last we heard, Tywin was sending him home piece by piece until Balon withdrew from Lannister territory. Seeing as Balon never met Tywin's demands...
  • Arranged Marriage: Well, it is an A Song of Ice and Fire fic, so of course there are a few of these going around.
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    • Instead of Robert, it's Stannis who gets married to Cersei to secure Tywin's loyalty.
    • Renly is betrothed to Desmera Redwyne, in order to get at least some of the Reach on the Baratheons' side.
    • As soon as Daenerys is born, she is betrothed to her nephew (and fellow infant) Jaehaerys.
  • Artistic License – History: In-Universe:
    • Several maesters argue over the validity of famous stories told about the Dragonhunt.
    • During the chaos of the fighting for control of Laren, a prostitute gathers support by claiming to be descended from the King of Valyria, despite the fact that Valyria had no kings.
  • Badass in Charge: The Dragonhunt has Robert Baratheon in command, and his captains are three famed warriors.
  • Battle Couple: Ned becomes one with Dacey Mormont during the campaign against Myr.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Despite having a command in the infantry, Arnolf Karstark seems to mostly show up as this. And Eddard Stark is his superior in both rank and workload in these tasks it seems.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Any news of things going well for Rhaegar is likely to set Robert into a bad mood at the least. Or any suggestion that any man with Targaryen blood deserves mercy.
    • Ned also has a Rhaegar button, it's just not nearly as volatile.
    • King Stannis seems to have developed one for Robert and the Dragonhunt.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Felian Gaelyr, the leader of the Ashen Men, burns down her hiding place and slits her wrists rather than be taken prisoner.
  • The Caligula: The Tattered Prince seems to aspire to be this if what little we see of his reign over Pentos is any indication.
  • Celibate Hero: Jaime seems to be developing a reputation as one. As in canon this is very much averted by Robert. Ned, somewhat surprisingly, isn't one. Ser Brynden we have yet to hear about one way or another.
  • The Chains of Commanding:
    • Robert is essentially told to choose between his quest for vengeance and the Iron Throne. Averted when Robert chooses revenge, and abdicates in favor of Stannis.
    • Ned is a more typical example, with the weight he feels for the losses the Dragonhunt suffers, and the consequences of their actions.
  • Civil War:
    • Several Riverland houses which were loyal to the Targaryens (and the Freys) rise up against House Tully.
    • A political version happens in the Reach, between the Florents (who were made Wardens of the South by the Baratheons) and the Tyrells (who want their position back).
    • Braavos borders on one between a faction which, for Realpolitik reasons, wants to ally with the slave-holders in Lys, and another which holds hardcore to the Braavosi tradition of being anti-slavery.
  • Co-Dragons: Ned and the other Great Captains to Robert.
  • Cool Uncle: Ser Gerion, to Jaime literally and he assumes the role in part for Ned while they are in Braavos.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Greatjon Umber and Jon Connington both fall during the Battle of the Stones.
    • Victarion, Balon, and Euron Greyjoy, as well as Jorah Mormont, are all killed during the Greyjoy Rebellion.
  • The Dreaded: Robert and the Dragonhunt are presumably this to the Targaryeans and their loyalists. They seem well on their way to being this to the magisters of the Free Cities.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Jon Connington manages to fight Ned and his forces to a stand still, and even after being killed by Ser Lyn has cost Ned enough time and and casualties to ensure Rhaegar will live to fight another day.
  • End of an Age: In-universe historical texts suggest that the Dragonhunt is going to overthrow all the Free Cities, or at the very least completely destroy their status quo.
  • Fictional Political Party: The two main political factions in Lys are the Spicers and the Scales, with a smattering of lesser groups jockeying between them.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Jaime becomes this to Ned and Robert over the course of the Dragonhunt's campaigns.
  • For Want of a Nail: Rhaegar chooses to stay in Dorne to guard Lyanna while sending Ser Arthur and Lord Commander Hightower to lead his family's forces at the Trident, rather than the other way around as per canon.
  • General Failure: Haenion Maegyr, who completely screws up Volantis' war with Qohor and Norvos, with only Rhaegar's efforts keeping the campaign afloat.
  • Government in Exile: The court that Rhaegar and his loyalists establish in Essos.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Victarion Greyjoy meets his end when the Hound throws him into the sea, the full plate armor he insists on wearing causing him to sink and drown.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Ned is this to Robert. Pretty much anything that can't be solved with violence or Robert's charm ends up falling into Ned's inbox.
  • I Die Free: The slaves freed by the Dragonhunt make it clear that they'd all rather die fighting than risk being put back in chains.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Lyanna Stark is confirmed dead, presumably from childbirth. It's confirmed Rhaegar handed her body over in Oldtown for proper care before fleeing Westeros.
  • Insistent Terminology: The Dragonhunt has a seemingly minor divide on whether to call Robert King Robert or Lord Robert after he abdicates the Iron Throne.
  • It Gets Easier: Jaime is initially disturbed by the Salt the Earth tactics employed by the Dragonhunt against the countryside territories controlled by the Free Cities, but quickly finds himself numbed to it all.
  • Kangaroo Court: The so-called "Court of Knives" which the Tattered Prince runs after conquering Pentos. It's implied that no one brought before it survives.
  • Klingon Promotion: The leadership of the town of Laren, a tributary of Myr, goes through a series of these in close proximity as numerous people try to take advantage of the power vacuum created by the Dragonhunt.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Rhaegar has gained a reputation in this timeline as the King Who Ran. Whether it's a result of wisdom or cowardice likely varies immensely on who you talk to.
  • La Résistance: The Ashen Men, a group of Myrmen opposed to the rule of the Dragonhunt.
  • The Lost Lenore: Lyanna Stark is still this to Robert.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The Dragonhunt is completely upending the status quo in Essos.
  • Puppet King: As Warden of the North, the crippled and drug addled Brandon Stark becomes this to the Three Regents (Roose Bolton, William Dustin, and Rodrik Ryswell), who do their best to tarnish his image so that they can eventually take direct control.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: The Dragonhunt's sellsword allies have a tendency to do this. When it gets out of hand in Myr, Ned starts having them executed in mass.
  • Realpolitik:
    • The Dragonhunt's alliances with the Tattered Prince and Sallador Saan, despite most of the leadership not liking either of them.
    • Braavos allying with Lys, despite historically being opposed to all the Free Cities which practice and support slavery.
    • The newborn Kingdom of Summer allowing the Faith to establish septs in their territories with tax exemptions the right to raise their own soldiers (albeit on a limited basis). All done to provide further aid to their new subjects, as well as way of drawing more men from Westeros in a way that gets around King Stannis' prohibition on the Dragonhunt recruiting new forces.
  • The Remnant: After Lys conquers Tyrosh, the Archon and the surviving magisters manage to escape to several of the city's tributaries with a chunk of its military forces, before dividing over disagreements on the best way forward — the Archon, who wants to reclaim Tyrosh and his power, camps out in the small trade port of Bluestones, while the magisters, who want to maintain what power they have left, shore themselves up in the lesser cities of Berosh and Vakar and give up on Tyrosh.
  • The Resenter: Stannis still has a chip on his shoulder regarding Robert. The fact Robert basically made him king because Robert preferred seeking revenge to The Chains of Commanding that come with the crown, and left Stannis to deal with Westeros after taking a huge amount of the treasury to fund his army, means Stannis does have some reason to feel this way.
    • It seems to have become a Berserk Button for him to even have Robert mentioned. Likely because of the implication it is no secret that people still think of Robert as a great king.
  • Salt the Earth: The Dragonhunt starts doing this to the lands controlled by the Tyroshi remnants in order to undermine them.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: The magisters of Myr learn how much Robert respects a truce banner when you present him with the heads of fourteen slave children as a warning.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • Young Aeron Greyjoy pulls this on the Ironborn after an informative talk with Rodrik Harlaw. Namely that this Greyjoy Rebellion is doomed like canon, but its greater success means every great lord wants Ironborn blood by the buckets. So he grabs his niece and nephews, loads them on a ship, and sails for the Stepstones.
    • Unlike in canon, Varys fled King's Landing after Robert's Rebellion.
    • The reason that Rhaegar is called the King Who Ran in this timeline is his habit of this. He fled Westeros for Pentos after his family was overthrown, and Pentos for Volantis after it looked like the Dragonhunt were going to catch him.
    • When the Dragonhunt assaults Myr, those magisters who are in a position to flee the city by ship with their wealth and kin do so.
  • Secret Police: The Second Sons are reorganized to serve as this to the Dragonhunt after they take over Myr.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • Rhaegar and his mother, Rhaella, are still alive after the Rebellion, having fled to Essos.
    • Brandon Stark was only imprisoned and tortured by the Mad King, rather than being executed with his father.
  • The Spymaster:
    • Orton Merryweather becomes King Stannis' Master of Whisperers.
    • As Lord Intendant, Tybero Istarion serves as this to the Dragonhunt.
  • Status Quo Is God: Averted. The traditional order in Westeros and Essos is seeing far more of a shake up than in canon.
    • In Westeros, Stannis strips every house that followed Rhaegar into exile of their holdings, replacing them with either loyal Stormlanders or promoted loyal men from the smallfolk.
    • King Stannis tops this with the Greyjoy Rebellion here. Not only does House Greyjoy lose rule of the Isles but they are outlaws with only Aeron, Theon and Asha in Essos still being alive. Every house that supported the Greyjoy Rebellion has been stripped of land and title and replaced with lords appointed by Stannis from across Westeros. And finally the Isles have been stripped of their status as a Lord paramountcy ruled instead by a Warden who reports directly to the King.
    • In Essos the Dragonhunt helps the Tattered Prince seize control of Pentos. His subsequent purge of the Magisters leaves the old order of the city quite dead. And then there is the slave revolt that the Dragonhunt has been inspiring...
  • Title Drop: Summer Crowns is the name of an in-universe historical text about the Dragonhunt's actions in Essos.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In-Universe popular history seems to regard the Myrish commanders as this. Though the texts we see offer some explanation for events beyond one side being stupid.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: The North coming under the control of the Three Regents.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Ned and the other POVs clearly have their biases, and Word of God is that the historic document segments have authors who are also not devoid of bias.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Some characters have fallen out of focus:
    • Despite the claim the Greyjoys sans those who fled with Aeron were wiped out we get no details on the death of Maron or Euron in text.
      • Word of God confirms Euron was caught and hung in the Riverlands near Fairmarket.
    • Jon Darry is the only one of King Aerys' Kingsguard to not be mentioned.
  • You Are in Command Now: A very non-affectionate one occurs when Robert throws the crown to Stannis. It's only later it is done officially, but that act sets the tone for the passing of the throne between the brothers.
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