So here is the first chapter of my new fic. My old one was a bit impractical and I wasn't that happy with it. I tried writing the next chapter and felt like the whole fic wasn't up to the level of realism I wanted from it. So I left it. If someone wants it go right ahead. Thank you for all the messages and ideas people sent me for that fic as well.
The intention behind this fic is that Harry has not made this journey alone and so this will create unexpected challenges for him, rather than his magic giving him ultimate power. The presence of these wizards is going to have large and hopefully logical ramifications so don't expect the story to stick to Harry in canon. Alliances will be different, as will enemies and results.
So without further ado let's begin. Short chapter but it's more a scene setter/intro.
Chapter 1: A Brave New World
Harry raised his hand to protect his eyes from the spray of a wave breaking on the bow of the ship, a longship by the name of the Silence, so named for its crew of mutes, Harry suspected. He had been travelling on this ship for almost a week and was now hoping to see land, Westeros, his captor called it. The man did not say Harry was his prisoner, preferring the term 'guest' but his host was a muggle and, despite Harry's lack of talent in the art of legilimency, his thoughts were as easily made known as the salt spraying across the young wizards face.
He had been happy when the boat had appeared after so long alone on that island amongst the ruins of a long dead civilisation, the Children of the Forest he had learned later. Harry had watched beneath his invisibility cloak, his only clothing, as the crew scoured the island, searching for something. Then, as they seemed to be giving up and were returning to their ship he had revealed himself, not wanting to be left behind, and then he found out it had been him that they were looking for.
"Have you seen it yet?" Asked a voice behind him, breaking the black haired teen from his thoughts. "We will go one day, but not yet, much still to do." The man thought Harry cared about his plans, that he would help him out of thanks, but Harry knew the man cared nothing for him and the wizard would be nobody's tool, not again.
"I can see it, in the distance. A cliff side." He answered, turning to the Greyjoy. He was a serious and cruel man. He had told the boy from Earth of how he had cut the tongues from his crew members rendering them mute; Harry could not understand their loyalty after such an experience.
"Your people are there, the others we discussed." Harry remembered that conversation; Euron had at least been somewhat useful, telling Harry all he could about the very reason Harry had made his journey through the Veil of Death. It had been a gamble on Harry's part, relying on the Hallows to see him through safely, though it ended up being mute as it seemed that all others who had made the journey had survived also.
Euron had tracked the appearances of these people, beginning about three years ago, with the start of the wizarding war. According to the Greyjoy these people had demonstrated remarkable powers over the natural world, animals, other people or even the dead, each person's power appeared quite specific to them but any magical power in a world of muggles made these people important and lords began buying them up.
"How overjoyed my brother had been, gaining the loyalty of a sorcerer who could bend the sea and the wind to his will." Euron had complained, obviously jealous of his brother's wizard or witch. Such was his jealousy Euron had begun searching for his own sorcerer and had found a trend in their appearances, the ruins of the Children of the Forrest. So he sought out the ancestral home of the Children, far to the west of Westeros and had found Harry. The man had no explanation for the appearances occurring only at these ruins.
The man had wanted almost immediately to see Harry's power and Harry had shown him, glad to get a ride back to civilisation. In his time on the island Harry too had developed a power, likely specific only to him as with all the others, the ability to heal almost anything. It had been revealed to him when he had fallen from a rock while hunting and broken his leg. It had been excruciating and Harry had not thought to use his wand through the pain, while gripping his leg a warmth spread from his hands and the bones reset themselves, good as new in almost an instant.
Euron tried and failed to conceal his disappointment at the revelation. He was a violent man and a healer was of little use to such a man. If only he knew the extent to this power he would not be so bitter. Still Harry made no effort to enlighten him, nor did he mention the elder wand, something the others likely did not possess, no need to make the man more disappointed when Harry disappeared. Harry's lack of offensive powers made the Greyjoy confident he could hold him if necessary.
"Some are my people, others I think will be less than pleased to see me. MacNair and Yaxley chief among them." Harry shook his head, annoyed that these cursed people had made it here, likely trialled and sent through the Veil as they had done to the others that preceded them to Westeros, muggleborns likely.
"Dangerous enemies to have, a necromancer and mindbender." The Greyjoy grinned cruelly at the thought of those two powers, he seemed to sober quickly though, it seemed the disappointment of Harry had resurfaced.
"Yes well, their time will come, again. Euron." Harry said, his voice stern and commanding, breaking the Captain from his thoughts. "You rescued me and for that I am thankful, but I will not be your tool in whatever violence it is you intend. It is time I take my leave, I hope that we do not meet again." The man appeared startled by the statement and then grew serious, hand falling onto his sword. Harry was not worried, with a turn on his heal and an explosion of air that knocked the kraken to the ground, he disappeared.
Somewhere near Oldtown
Harry looked about from the top of the cliff he had seen in the distance. His new home stretched before him and it was not the least bit interesting thus far, certainly no place of great beauty. In the dark of twilight all he could see were grey grassy wind swept hills rolled out on all sides, only to drop off to sheer cliffs and raging seas behind him. The only foliage to be seen was some equally windswept shrubs and small bent trees. In the distance some lights shone through the black clouded night, likely a small town.
Harry set off towards it, having no real better idea of where to go. He apparated much of the way and then took the rest on foot. It was indeed a small town, only a few houses, most of which seemed surrounded by pens of livestock and one larger building, an inn most likely. The houses were all thatch roofed stone cottages, giving the place a quaint warm atmosphere, only improved by the warm glow and boisterous noise from the inn.
Harry pushed the door open and was instantly assaulted by warm stale air smelling of men, meat and beer. The patrons were chatting loudly while corseted barmaids, for lack of a better term, slid professionally from table to table, taking and delivering orders, all the while avoiding obvious gropes from their customers. Harry's stomach grumbled.
A middle aged man was behind the bar; stereotypically he seemed to be absentmindedly wiping out an ale mug. He was a big man, broader then Harry certainly, and his hair seemed to have migrated from his head to his chin as he was clean smooth on top but was sporting a neatly trimmed greyed beard. The man looked up as Harry approached.
"I am hungry but I don't have any money, is there any work that I might do instead?" Harry asked hopefully, a wand would make light work of whatever task the man needed doing. The barkeep grunted at the request.
"Be gone with you lad." He growled in a deep grunting voice. "We'll have no free loaders here." The man turned away then and Harry sighed in consternation. His hand slipped onto his wand tucked in his pants and he was not a moment away from confounding the man when another voice interjected.
"Dun lissen to tha old bastard." A distinctly female voice, deepened with age and severity, cut in. Harry turned and found one of the wait staff, older than the other girls but carrying an tray filled with large mugs of ale showing just how strong she was. Harry assumed most of the people of this world would be like this, working class people, worn with time and effort but much stronger than the middle class fat white collar workers he had grown up around. "If you clean out te stables we'll see you fed an you can sleep the night there."
"Thank you ma'am." Harry grinned and slipped out before the bartender could disagree. He could hear an argument erupt almost immediately after he exited. The stables were a shoddily built structure behind the inn, there were no horses at present which Harry was glad for, the cold of night wouldn't bother him as his invisibility cloak was more than enough to ward that off, but horses might have been a bother. With a simple twirl of the elder wand the place was as clean as it was ever going to get, the straw piled neatly, food tidied up and the water fresh once more. With a smile Harry decided to hang about until it was time to go back inside, a good hour should suffice.
As he sat and pondered on this new world he had stumbled into, it's odd seasonal patterns, caste system and all the feudalistic tendencies that came with them two men on horseback arrived.
"Boy!" One of them called, but Harry did not stir from his musings. "Oi! Stablehand!" At that Haryr jumped from his bed of straw. There were two men, quite tall and dressed in leathers. They both had swords at their sides and were holding the reigns of their horses, one brown, one cream. "Take the horses and give em a feed, hurry up now." The front most man ordered.
"Yes sir." Harry complied, feeling it better to just play the part then make any trouble, better to keep a low profile. Taking the first man's reigns and leading the horse to one of the pens. The other man laughed in response.
"He ain't no ser lad, the Reach knights are too pretty and Bori here too ugly." The first man, who had been barking orders, Bori, frowned at his companion. He then took a coin from a pouch at his waist and passed it to Harry as the wizard came to collect the second man's horse. It was a copper coin with a star on it.
"See they are fed and watered." The man ordered again then marched off with a scowl, his laughing friend following behind. Harry cared for the horses for a while and then made his way back inside to see about his meal. The crowd was just as boisterous as when he had left but the two men from outside had joined what appeared to be a card game in the back corner.
Just as Harry sat back down at the bar the older lady from before appeared with a bowl of some sort of stew and a piece of bread. In all the meal was rather bland, Harry assumed that spices were expensive in this world and much of his meals would be like this, but it was warm and filled him up all the same. The older lady came and spoke to him for a moment as well, she was the wife of the barman he found out, and had lived in this town all her life, growing up as a farmer's daughter. She, Lyndia, loved her husband a great deal and she went to great lengths to show Harry that he was a good man at heart; he even took in her bastard son. The gravity of this deed was lost on Harry but he guessed that this would have still been a big deal even back on Earth.
Just as things seemed to be slowing down for the night, patrons drunkenly stumbling from the inn a commotion in the back erupted, though Harry could not see what was going on. Shouting men bellowed at each other and the table crashed to the ground, spilling its contents and startling the workers. A girl who had been approaching the table screamed in fright as blades were drawn.
"Cheat, you fucking cheater!" Harry finally made out of the yelling then suddenly another shout. "BORIS!" Cried that jocular man from outside. Two men turned the corner then and ran off out the door into the night, knocking over a curios patron as they passed. Only then did Harry have enough room to see what was happening.
The gruff man was on the floor with the other holding his hands around his throat, cards and alcohol cover the floor around them and people simply watched on, doing nothing. At first Harry thought that the joker was trying to kill his companion, and then Harry noticed the blood covering his hands as he tried to stop its escape, still nobody did anything. The man was crying, pleading for his friend to hold on, still nobody moved. Then Harry did.
He rushed to the man's sides and gently tried to move the joker's hands. The man resisted but Harry kept going, trying to show the man that he would take over. Boris coughed some blood and a low whining noise escaped his lips. The joker needed to move out of the way faster. Harry then shoved the man with his shoulder, unbalancing the joker and making him lose his grip, blood flowed freely. Harry's hands shot to the man's wound and he pushed the warmth forward, out from his hands, then the joker tackled him.
The punch was fast, faster than the tackle, the second was faster, or maybe Harry was just slower, he didn't know, the third though, the third was fastest of all and the darkness followed with it.
The wizard wasn't sure if it was the pain or the sun that woke him but each was more horrible and unwelcome than the next. He rolled over, away from the sun and winced as a cut of bruise was disturbed; perhaps the joker had broken a bone. Harry moved his jaw to be sure and sighed as he felt it click and pain spiked through his mouth. Without much thought he felt the warmth of his healing powers engulf his body, correcting the damage of the night before.
With that done and the pain gone Harry sat up from his bed. He was in a sparsely furnished room with only a chair and a table in it. Still, he was glad they hadn't put him in the stables. He then looked around for his belongings, with a sigh of relief all the Hallows were thankfully accounted for, the wand was in his pants and the stone in the bottom of his shoe where he had hidden it. The wizard put his boots back on and made to leave when the door opened just before he reached for it. It was Lyndia.
"Oh you're up." She sounded surprised. The old lady was carrying a pitcher of water and a bowl with a cloth in it, Harry assumed she was going to treat the mess they had made of his face. "And all better too!" She didn't sound surprised at that though.
"Yes, thank you for putting me up in this room; I'll get out of your hair now." Harry ducked his head in thanks and made to move around her.
"Nonsense! You saved that man's life last night, t'was te least we could do."
"Um." The wizard shuffled nervously. "About that, do you think that we could keep this our secret?"
"No, fraid not. Whole town likely knows by now." Harry nodded his head in resignation at that, having already suspected the answer. "Now come on down, those men have been waitin all night te see you." Harry conceded to her request and followed the innkeeper down to the bar. Harry knew last night had ruined his plan to be anonymous here, in this new world. He had enough fame and glory in his nineteen years to last a life time, all he wanted was to find his godfather and then settle down somewhere, maybe be a farmer or something, have a family. That was next to gone now, all to save some grumpy gambler.
The Grumpy gambler in question was sitting at the bar with his companion, who appeared to be watching Boris as if he could keel over at any moment. Both men spotted him at the same time and leapt to their feet in uniform. Harry approached them cautiously and nobody said anything for a time, the whole group standing awkwardly about. Then, suddenly, the men drew their swords and took to their knee, holding their swords out before them.
"Um, what are you doing?" Harry asked, uncomfortable with the gesture. It was the joker who spoke first.
"We are pledging ourselves to your service; you saved my brother's life." The man answered.
"You needn't really." Harry argued, trying to get the men to stand from their prostration.
"By the grace of the seven I, Elric, swear my services to you until my debt is paid." The man intoned, ignoring Harry's protest, Boris then did the same. The men then finally stood up and ended the wizard's embarrassment.
"Fine, then when or how will this debt be paid?" Harry asked, frustrated by the whole thing, he really didn't need these men slowing him down. The answer was, once more, the one Harry was dreading.
"With our lives of course."
"Of course." The wizard groaned. "Fine, let's have something to eat and you can tell me about yourselves."
The two brothers, Boris the older and Elric, were from old town. They had been sons of a fisherman but had wished for a life of adventure instead of mending nets, so they became sellswords and had been travelling together ever since, running minor protection jobs and the like. They were, by their own admission, not accomplished swordsman or anything of the sort, just men with blades.
Harry told the men some of himself too, about his powers and his desire to find someone. Once telling them this they had suggested that they travel to Highgarden, the capital of the Reach and its largest city, it was the closest place to find information. Having no better ideas Harry agreed.
The next day, when they were due to leave, a crowd was waiting for them outside the inn; all were stricken with some form of malady, begging for Harry's help. Harry couldn't reject these people, they lived a hard enough life, one of the children was even so sick he might have died. Harry cured all of them, and in return they gave the wizard and his companions what they could, food, coin or other small things, one man, whose son had a severe tooth infection, even gave Harry a horse. The wizard was not looking forward to riding everywhere. Eventually they were able to leave, but not before promising Lyndia that they would visit.
The next town and the one after were the same, it seemed word had spread of his gift and people were desperate for medical treatments. It was a frustrating experience, for someone who had wanted to remain anonymous. At the same time it didn't hurt to have some coin. It wasn't until the fourth town they passed that this trend caught up with Harry.
Harry was treating a small girl with a broken arm, a wound that might have otherwise crippled her for life, perhaps even killed her. When a man pushed through the on looking crowd. He was dressed in a green surcoat with a flower emblem on the front, beneath the coat he was wearing heavy chain armour and leathers. This was a man from Highgarden, a Tyrell guard.
"So you're the sorcerer the small folk have been going on about. A man that can heal any wound, cure any illness." The man stated. More of his men pushed through the crowd and forced them to disperse, leaving Harry and the brothers alone in a circle of guards. Harry stood up to face the captain.
"I suppose so. How can I help you today?" Harry asked, trying to keep the mood from getting hostile, though if it came to blows Harry was sure none of these men could harm him.
"Your presence has been requested at Highgarden." Not a request, an order.
"And if we refuse?" Harry asked, he was going there anyway but didn't wish to appear too eager.
"What my lord wants, my lord gets." A threat. He hoped these Tyrell lords were nicer than their guards, though he doubted it really mattered, at the end of the day these men were the public face of their lord and they appeared to be rather brutish.
"Very well, I suppose we should not keep lord Tyrell waiting then."