Disclaimer: Harry Potter is owned by J.K. Rowling and Berserk is owned by Kentaro Miura. I own nothing.
October 31st, 1990
Forbidden Forest, Hogwarts grounds,
Hooves lightly trampled the forest floor before coming to a stop at a small ledge that dipped down into a muddy creek. The head of the man that made up the torso of the horse body looked up to the sky. Night had yet to fall making it much more difficult to read the heavens, but the sign from last night had kept Firenze watchful.
Last night the stars and planets had been strange to read, not at all like their usual patterns. It had almost been as though the worlds had started to overlap on one another. And on top of that, Mars seemed to be a bit brighter than usual. Granted it was Hallows Eve, one of the most magical times of the year, but this seemed beyond any magic known to centaurs. It seemed more ancient, more vast, more predestined. That was if magic had anything to do with it at all; it could be fate itself.
Firenze doubted the Wizards had thought anything of it. Their seers would misinterpret all the signs, as usual, never taking anything beyond their first assumption into account. It was a bit hypocritical of him to think that way considering his first impression had been one of foreboding and had not changed since.
The sound of more hooves galloping along the dirt came from behind the fair-haired centaur. "You have seen the heavens as well, Firenze?" A deep voice asked.
Firenze turned to meet the other centaur. "I have indeed, Bane."
"And?" Bane inquired. "What did you make of it?"
"Indecisive," Firenze coined. "The way they were arranged, I haven't seen anything of that pattern before. I was unsure of its meaning."
Bane clipped one of his hooves and scratched at the hair on his chin. "It would seem you're not the only one. Malaborne is contemplative as well. He's been meditating since last night. He recommended I do the same."
"Did you?" Firenze asked. He knew Bane to be one of the more headstrong and stubborn of their herd, but that did not mean he did not listen to the council of his fellow brethren.
"Indeed." Bane's reply was curt.
"And, do you believe that yielded any new insight on this strange occurrence?"
Bane huffed and kicked at the ground. "I am unsure. I thought to have seen a premonition while I was in my trance."
Firenze's tail lightly flicked from curiosity. "Trance visions are not to be taken lightly. Perhaps there is truth yet to be seen in the stars." Bane still looked unsure.
"And more often than not, they are just as fail able as those seers. It wouldn't do to dwell on something that would prove fruitless." Did Bane actually sound, frightened? Firenze knew Bane to be many things, but afraid was not one he would use to describe his fellow centaur.
"What? What did you see?" Firenze persisted. "If you speak the truth, then it could shed light on this abnormality."
"Tell me, Firenze, how much of our history do you recall?" Bane asked, out of the blue.
"Our history?" Firenze questioned. "We are creatures of nature. We have always been. The forests have been our home for thousands of years. Our closest relatives in the world of magical beings are the satyrs, known for their musical talents."
Bane remained impassive. "A student from that Hogwarts could have answered as much. I expected more from you, Firenze. I meant our roots. How we came to be of this world."
Firenze racked his brain for the information. "I, believe we had migrated from a faraway land alongside many creatures muggles consider to be myths of old. Only a handful of our sister herd stayed behind on what became a small island." This time Bane looked more pleased.
"And how do you think we migrated? Our homeland is practically unreachable now, it exists in a land, not of this world. Instead, we now reside here, on this plane."
"And that is what you believe you saw?" Firenze questioned further. "Our first home?"
Bane was silent for a pause. "I thought I saw a large tree. And a white hawk."
#4 Privet Drive,
It would be unfair to call ten-year-old Harry Potter a normal child. Strange things always had a way happening to him. The incident when he had somehow evaded his Aunt Marge's dogs, and the time he escaped from his cousin Dudley's gang of friends by somehow ending up on his school's roof were two cases that came to mind. of course he never had an explanation as to how any of the stuff that happened to him actually happened. To another child, they probably would have answered saying that it was magic. Harry knew better than to say that.
The relatives with whom he lived, his aunt and uncle, the Dursley's absolutely despised the word magic. Whenever they heard it Aunt Petunia would turn white as a sheet like she had seen a ghost, and Uncle Vernon would glower red with frustration while the veins in his fat neck and head would bulge. Harry guessed they reacted that way due to their relative "normal" way of living. everything had to be a certain way in their household; from the way, they ate meals, to the job Uncle Vernon worked, to the way they spoiled their son, Harry's whale of a cousin Dudley. Everything had to be perfectly normal.
And that was probably why they despised Harry the way they did. His raven black hair was always a mess no matter how it was cut and grew back at an alarming rate, His eyes, which were partly obscured by his thick rimmed glasses, were a unique shade of emerald green, just like his deceased mother's as he heard Aunt Petunia mention once. And the most abnormal thing about him; the lightning bolt-shaped scar on his forehead.
Harry had had the scar all his life since he was an infant. The one time he asked about it he was told he got it the night his parents died in a car crash and had been, in Uncle Vernon's words: "Dumped on our doorstep and have been ungrateful ever since." Although Harry didn't really see what he had to be grateful for living with the Dursley's.
The place he called his room was a small cupboard under the stairs. There was room enough for a mattress but not much else. The second bedroom on the upstairs floor was out of the question since it was used to house all of Dudley's possessions; most of which his cousin broke a few days after receiving them. But that didn't matter; whatever Dudley wanted, Dudley got no argument.
No. Harry had little to actually be grateful for. Especially today, considering what day it was. Halloween. It was one of Dudley's favorite holidays because it meant he could pig out more than usual on free candy and sweets. It wasn't even nighttime yet and Dudley was already parading around the house in the costume his parents had bought him. Dudley was going as a very fat Superman.
"Oh, look at him Vernon," Petunia cooed as she watched Dudley run around dressed up in a costume he looked like he was about to spill out of in Harry's opinion. "Isn't he just precious?"
Uncle Vernon smiled from behind his thick walrus-like mustache. "Little tyke's all giddy with excitement, that's for sure. Dressed up like his favorite superhero and everything."
He should go as a whale, Harry thought, thinking the costume choice would be much better suited. But he knew it didn't matter, if Dudley wanted to wear a certain costume, then he would wear just that. But he knew Dudley cared little for the costume itself, he would just rip it later, it was all about the candy he would horde all for himself. And while Dudley was out Trick or Treating, Harry would be stuck home in the cupboard under the stairs.
"Boy!" Uncle Vernon hollered at him "Go grab the camera, I want a picture of Dudley to send to Marge this year." And with more than a slight smack to the back of the head, he sent Harry to retrieve the camera. When Harry brought it to him, he didn't receive so much as a thank you.
But it could have been worse. At least Vernon had called him Boy instead of the usual Freak. Those were the two names he was known as around the Dursley household. They never said why he was a freak, only that he was, and that his parents had been freaks too. They were always so quick to anger when it came to him; was that what made him a freak?
Harry watched as Petunia took photo after photo of his overweight cousin. It was getting closer and closer to nightfall, and Dudley was getting more and more anxious. "I want to go trick or treating now!" Dudley whined.
"You don't want to wait until it gets darker first ?" Petunia asked, but it was clear to Harry what the answer was going to be.
"No! I want to go with Piers, and when I get to his house it'll be dark." Dudley argued. And, Harry had to admit that was probably the most sound bit of logic he had ever heard Dudley speak.
"Alright then Dudders," Petunia called Dudley by the nickname she had given him. "I'll take you over to your friends' house. Will you be alright here, Vernon?"
"Of course, Tuney. Just so long as the boy keeps to his cupboard and doesn't make a ruckus." Harry could feel Uncle Vernon's beady gaze on him.
He nodded obediently. "I won't be a bother."
"Right you are," Vernon said, not shy at keeping the threat in his tone a secret. "Now go on. Get into your cupboard, Boy."
"Yes, Uncle Vernon," Harry answered as he undid the latch and shut the door behind him. almost cloaked by darkness, Harry reached above his head and pulled the chain that would turn on the single light bulb which hung from the bottom of the stairs. The light is dimly shown in the small cramped space, but just enough that anyone could see the dust particles floating around.
Harry heard the sound of Dudley running past the cupboard, followed by the sound of the front door opening. Plopping himself down on his mattress, Harry laid down. This would be how he would spend the rest of his night. It would be boring. While Dudley was out gorging himself on all sorts of sweets, he would be right here in his cupboard, trying hard not to make a sound while Uncle Vernon watched the telly in the other room.
Sighing in boredom, Harry reached under his mattress to pull out the few toys that he did have; a couple of knight figurines. They had originally belonged to Dudley, but he broke the lance on one of them and decided to just throw all three figures away. Harry saw him do it, and at night had snuck out of his cupboard to pick them from the trash.
He would occasionally make the figures do battle with each other, and he would usually let the white knight win most of the time. He still liked the black knight better because he thought it looked cooler, but he always saw the white knight as being the good one. But that didn't mean he didn't give the black knight a few wins too. After a few minutes of fake jousting, Harry set the figurines back where he had gotten them. Even though it wasn't that late, Harry could feel himself beginning to nod off; just out of sheer boredom.
Harry closed his eyes and began to drift slowly into sleep's embrace.
And he dreamed that he was a knight. He knew he was a knight, he was sitting atop a horse after all. Looking down at his arms, Harry saw they were covered by chain mail, and there was a dagger sheathed on his waist as well. But he wasn't the only one, oh no. He was in a line up with other knights dressed similarly to him.
But those Knights looked to be older than him by a few years. Some of them even held banners. The design was rather simple, a white sword with wings over a blue background. As the wind blew past, it sent ripples through the banners making the sword design almost resemble a bird of some sorts.
Just then, a war cry was given, and all the mounted knights charged forward giving yells of their own. Maybe because it was a dream, but Harry felt at ease riding a horse. On its back, Harry almost felt like he was flying, or gliding through the air. The sounds of swords clanging against each other weren't even enough to distract him from this newfound feeling of freedom. about the only two things that caught his attention was a massive man with short spiky black hair wielding a giant greatsword, who knocked three enemy knights from their mounts. Harry was glad he had dreamed that guy on his side.
The other was the man leading their charge. He was clad in white and silver armor, crafted in a slender but elegant design. On top of his head, he wore a hawk like a helm, from which Harry was able to see his pale flesh underneath through the eye and mouth holes. It had to be a dream. With the way they were dominating the battlefield, it had to be.
Even in a dream, there still had to be- Thunk!
Harry looked down to see an arrow piercing his chest. His grip on the reigns loosened. He was falling backward. So much for it being a- dream. The feeling of falling washed over him.
Sitting up bolt right, Harry found himself inside the cupboard under the stairs. Lifting his shirt, Harry checked himself for an arrow wound. Of course, he found none; some bruises, but no arrow. It had only been a dream after all. "Look, dad, look!" The voice of Dudley rang from in the living room. "Mum took me and Piers out to every neighborhood! Look at how much we got!"
"Atta boy Dudley!" Vernon praised his son. "And we got very few trick-or-treaters here this year, that means you can have our left over candy." Harry knew that was probably a lie. Tons of children came down Privet Drive during Halloween. Uncle Vernon probably only gave them a few pieces, keeping all the big candy for Dudley. Risking a glance, Harry peaked out of his cupboard.
All three Dursley's were gathered in the living room. Dudley sat on the floor, a pile of candy lay before him. Dudley's costume was ripped underneath the arms, but the boy hardly seemed to care. He had his candy, that's what was important. A quick glance at the clock showed him that it was about a quarter to midnight. Aunt Petunia must have kept them out as long as she could if they had just gotten back.
Slowly, Harry closed the cupboard door as to not alert his relatives he had been watching them. Plopping himself back down on the worn mattress, Harry threw the tattered cover over himself and waited for sleep to come once more. Maybe he would have that knight dream again. Even if it was a dream, and he could control what happened, he would still like to see how everything panned out. He wouldn't lose in his own dream. Closing his eyes, Harry prepared to reenter the domain of Morpheus once more.
Right away Harry could tell that it was different than before. He was no longer a knight, he was the same scrawny boy he was in real life, dressed in Dudley's oversized hand-me-downs. He was on solid ground, yet it felt like he rather weightless. Like if he were to jump, he might never come back down again. And then there was the mist. Much like his eyes, it was green in color, but carried a certain chill to it; almost as if it were rising from the grave. Whatever this new dream was, he didn't like it. Not one bit.
No matter which direction he looked, Harry was met with the mist. It looked like he was trapped in an endless void of the stuff. As the mist grew thicker, the less it began to feel like a dream, and instead more like a nightmare. He wanted to wake up. But how? Harry closed his eyes tight and counted to three he opened them. The mist still remained.
"C'mon," Harry urged himself, closing his eyes once more and counting now to five. Opening his eyes, nothing had changed. No. that wasn't entirely true. For a flicker of a second, Harry thought he could see a large dark shape moving through the mist to where he now stood. More terrified than ever before, Harry quickly closed his eyes once more, this time counting to ten. Before he even opened his eyes, he felt different. It wasn't a good different, but it was something. He would open his eyes and be back in the same old cupboard as before.
Harry opened his eyes to a horse. Not a regular horse, this one was larger, skeletal, and the same could be said to the rider who mounted it. The rider looked to a mix between a human skeleton and medieval armor. A sword hung from his waist and a shield on his arm. But what truly captivated Harry's attention were the glowing pair of red eyes emanating from his skull-like helm.
Feeling his heart rate start to accelerate, Harry found he could so nothing but simply stare up at the skeleton knight that stood before him. Despite knowing that this was all just some vivid dream of his, Harry's mouth felt completely dry and his legs unsteady. It felt as if he were to reach out, he would be able to touch and feel the bony nature of the horse. And perhaps that is what frightened him the most. The "Skull Knight" craned his head to look down upon Harry, assessing him with those glowing eyes.
"You are afraid." The Skull Knight stated, rather than asked in a deep yet hollow tone of voice. Harry's mouth was too dry to answer, his body too stiff to move. The mouth of the Knight hadn't opened to speak, yet it talked to him all the same.
"...I... d-d..." Harry at least managed to get out. He just wanted to wake up already.
Skull Knight seemed to understand. "You would be a fool if you weren't." He didn't say it sounding threatening, it almost sounded more... cautious.
"W-who... are... y-you?" Harry plucked up the courage to finally speak. His voice was weak compared to the Skull Knight's, he knew that, but at least it was better than before. Being in the presence of the Skull Knight made him feel weaker than he was. He didn't want to feel like that. This was all his dream, after all, he should sound strong. Right?
The Skull Knight seemed to ponder over his question as if to decide how to answer best. At last, he settled on: "A foe of those who would gorge themselves of humanity." Was he a friend of humans? Looking at his appearance gave the opposite impression. Harry shouldn't believe him, not yet. The Skull Knight could be a liar, someone who said they were a friend only to try and kill him before Harry woke up.
"...W-why are you in my... dream?" Harry questioned. It was a stupid question, he knew that. But when he felt a chill go down his spine every time the Skull Knight spoke was cause for concern. Skull Knight looked away from Harry and to the ever expanding mist that surrounded the pair of them.
"You do not know."
"...What?" Harry asked, reluctantly.
"In your world, it is the Eve of Hallows, is it not?" Halloween? Harry slowly nodded. "It is a strong day for magic. The layers have all but aligned on this night. The veil between layers, easy for those who have the means to influence the happenings." Harry felt more confused than ever. Layers? Veils? What was this knight talking about? And magic? There was no such thing. Uncle Vernon had made that clear many times when he had to physically reprimand Harry when he had once said the word.
"...Magic isn't real..." Harry spoke in a soft tone. The Skull Knight turned to look down on Harry. He had heard.
"You do not know." Once again it was more statement than a question.
"Of your destiny. Of the power that you truly possess." Skull Knight paused. "Of those who wish you and your world harm." Did someone want to hut... him? Harry Potter; the boy who had no parents, and lived with his ghastly relatives? The boy whose room was the cupboard under the stairs? It was unreal.
"...You- you're wrong," Harry said trying to sound confident. He could almost feel the Skull Knight's glowing gaze on him as he looked to the ground. "I'm just... Harry. I'm not special. I don't have magic, and I don't have enemies. I'm... just-," and Harry felt it. It wasn't a tremor, no it was more like an a-a heartbeat. Low, and imposing, invisible, but there all the same. The chill that had come with the mist seemed to intensify.
"They know." The Skull Knight cryptically said.
"Wha? Who-?" Before Harry could finish, Skull Knight had grabbed him by his shirt and pulled him up onto the horse. "H-hey!" Harry protested as Skull Knight urged his horse onwards. "S-stop!"
"That would be unwise," Skull Knight warned. "Your destiny lies not with them."
"Who?!" Harry demanded. What was even going on?! He saw Skull Knight reach for the sword that was on his hip and pull it free from its scabbard. His eyes widened as he watched the jaw to the Skull Knight open before he proceeded to swallow the sword up to the hilt. When he pulled it free it was now glowing, and covered in various eyes, noses, and mouths. The sight made Harry want to throw up.
"You would interfere? In this world?" It was not the Skull Knight who spoke. The mist had begun to fade, leaving only darkness, but in that darkness, a voice came. It was expansive and eerie, much like an endless void.
Another voice spoke from the darkness; this one much more seductive and feminine. "And we thought it wasn't in your nature to do so. You know the law of causality, your majesty. And this young boy has such a colorful destiny indeed."
Two more voices spoke; one sounded more impish, and the other hollow. "You think we would offer him to become one of us?"
"It is not his destiny to do so. That lies to another."
Skull Knight spoke next. "And yet your presence is felt here. For what other reason to offer him one of your trinkets. And if not him, his rival, the one who marked him with this fate."
Skull Knight swung his sword down, and Harry had to close his eyes to keep the sudden glow out. The void like voice spoke again. "Destiny cannot be stopped. It is, some transcendental entity that governs all."
"Then you should know that this one's fate is set as it is," Skull Knight shot back, and spurred his horse forward to where he had cut with his sword.
When Harry opened his eyes, he was in a new setting. Gone were the cramped confines of his cupboard, the Dursley's chatting idly in the living room was nonexistent, number four Privet Drive was gone as well. He was on a grassy hill overlooking an expansive plain below which was playing host to a large camp site of sorts. Tents were pitched all around, and he could see various fires lit as their embers and smoke drifted off into the growing night sky.
Bony, but strong fingers grasped onto Harry as the Skull Knight set him down upon the ground. Harry immediately fell to his knees as he took the sight in for himself. It really hadn't been a dream.
"The wheels of causality have been set in motion," Skull Knight said. "Those unholy abominations shall see to it one way or the other."
"W-what...? What is this?" Harry asked. He couldn't keep the tremble out of his voice. He had gone from Privet Drive, probably for good. He had hated it for sure, but it had been where he had lived all his life. Not a home, not for him anyways, just a place of familiarity. This place... where even was he?
Skull Knight made to turn his horse around, away from the encampment below. "My world, within the astral layers of existence. Life here is much different than your own. Take heed, child, some dreams will only lead the path to hell." Skull Knight spurred his horse once more, "We will meet again, Wizard." and took off amongst the grassy hills, leaving Harry staring down at the sparking embers of the campfires below blow away in the breeze, just like the life he once had.
A/N: So that is the first chapter, and if you read the other fic I posted about this story, it is going off the first choice. Also a special shout out to penmaster cole for giving me his feedback on the first half of this chapter. And Harry will not be without magic if anyone was wondering. I do not know when the next chapter will be finished, but I don't plan to go on hiatus either. Thank you for reading.