New Story Drop
Harry looked down at his hands and winced once more. They were once again burned and it almost felt like they were pulsing in pain to him.
His Aunt Petunia had started making him cook for the family and had decided this would be a good 'punishment' when he messed up their food to encourage him to do better next time. He had apparently left the steak on the stove to long and had burnt it. His uncle had been furious and after his hands were burned, he was locked in his cupboard with no food. They would likely leave him here for a few days before pulling him out again.
He tried to take deep breaths and not concentrate on the pain. It was actually something he was good at after so many years. As long as he could make it through the night, he knew his hands would likely be fine in the morning. Most of his wounds were like that. He still got scars from the really bad ones when his aunt and uncle went a little too far but most seemed to disappear overnight. It was both a blessing and a curse since it also meant no one believed him about his treatment at the hands of his relatives and after the last time he tried to speak out to someone, well, let's just say it would be the last time he tried something like that.
'Come on Harry, you can do this. Just breathe and go to sleep, it'll be better in the morning.' He repeated this over and over in his head as he shut his eyes tight and did everything he could to try and not think of the feelings of pain in his hands.
He could feel his consciousness slip and embraced the feeling as much as he could. It took a while to learn how to do that. If you paid too much attention to the process of falling asleep you would end up not falling asleep because you were suddenly thinking of falling asleep. It took so long to figure out how to recognize you were falling asleep but simply ignore the fact and even push further into unconsciousness.
Harry blinked for a moment and then blinked again. How strange, it felt like his eyes were open but it was completely dark all around him. This… this didn't feel like his cupboard. In fact, this didn't really feel like anything. He looked down at his own body and he could see it with no problem. He could see it extremely clearly too which was weird since there was blackness around all around him and it looked like he was in the dark and yet… It was all wrong. Nothing was making any sense.
Harry gulped for a moment and tried to keep himself from panicking. He knew how to do that. He just needed to breathe and not directly focus on the thing causing him to freak out. He took the breathes for a few moments and reclosed his eyes. After a moment he reopened them and finally noticed something.
The blackness that surrounded him right now was different from the pitch blackness that he saw when he closed his eyes. Now that he saw the difference, the blackness that surrounded him right now seemed almost… reflective maybe? It was almost like he was in a room that was painted the color of something like oil maybe? It had a strange sheen to it that shined somewhat despite there not being any light. He wasn't sure what else it could be though. He looked down at the floor and touched it with his hands. It didn't feel like a liquid. It also didn't feel like it should. He looked down at his hands.
His eyes widened as he noticed his hands were fully healed. It looked like they had never been injured in the first place. That being said, as he clenched and unclenched his hands his sense of feeling seemed to be… not what it was. He clenched his hand even tighter until he couldn't press further, yet, it didn't hurt. He could feel himself doing it but it never got painful, it didn't even get uncomfortable. Hmm, how strange.
"Who are you?"
Harry immediately felt his body tense up and freeze for a moment before he processed the noise he had heard. It was a voice, a woman's voice. It sounded young and it was coming from behind him. He realized he was still sitting down on the floor of whatever this room or place was. After a moment, nothing seemed to hit him so he determined that he was at least partially safe for now.
He turned his head and looked into the direction of where he heard the voice. Though he knew it sounded like it, he was still somewhat surprised to see it was an actual young girl. He was even more surprised to see a young girl wearing what appeared to be some sort of princess costume. The girl was very… pretty? Her features certainly looked like that of a princess. He wasn't sure what it was called but she certainly had the look. The thing he noticed most though was her hair. It looked like it was almost white!
Her eyes were next to gain his attention. They were green just like his were! Well not quite just like it his. Hers were a slightly different shade, almost blue in spots, than his but she was the only other person he had met that also had green eyes.
Harry blinked as she spoke once more. He had been taking in this strange girl in front of him so much that he had totally forgotten what she had even said to him.
"What?" Was all Harry could think to say back. He saw the girl roll her eyes at the question and felt himself shrink in on himself a little. He knew that was something people did when they were annoyed with you. He didn't like it when people were annoyed with him because they might complain to his aunt and uncle and they might punish him for it.
"I'm sorry." He whispered out before she could say anything further. She frowned at his words and seemed to glare at him for a moment. He shrank away from her as she moved her own face closer to look at him.
"What's wrong with you? Why are you looking at me like that?" She demanded. Harry blinked back at her in confusion.
"I'm sorry." He said back again not really sure what else she wanted from him.
"Stop apologizing and just answer the question. Why are you looking at me like that?" She asked.
"Like you think I am going to whip you like a dog if you look me in the eye." The girl demanded. Harry shrunk back again at her harsh sounding words.
"What did I just say about apologizing."
The girl sighed and leaned away from him once more. She looked around wherever they were before looking back at him.
"I don't suppose you know where we are, do you?" She asked him as she once more looked backed at him.
"No…" Harry responded quietly to the strange girl.
"Of course, you don't… Do you know anything useful?"
"Probably not…" Harry admitted. Which was true since he knew nothing about where they currently were or even who she was.
"What was the last thing you remember?" She asked him pointedly.
"I… I fell asleep, and when I woke up, I was here." Harry answered honestly. This girl, while seemingly gruff didn't seem to have any harmful intentions for him, which was a win as far as he was concerned.
"Hmm. It was the same for me. Perhaps we are in some sort of illusion…"
"Illusion?" Harry asked before he could stop himself.
"Yes… You know what an illusion is right? You know, magic?" The girl asked.
"Magic is real?" Harry asked tentatively.
"Of course, it is… How do you not know about magic? Are you from some isolated village or something?" She asked.
"No. I'm from Surrey." Harry answered honestly.
"I have never heard of Surrey. Where is it?" The girl asked him curiously. Her voice had lost some of its edge which caused Harry to lose some of the tenseness in his body.
"It's near London. In the United Kingdoms." Harry answered honestly.
"The United Kingdoms. I have never heard of an alliance known as that. Which kingdoms are in it?" She questioned.
"Um… It's England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland I think." Harry said. The girl gave him a strange look.
"I have never heard of any of those places before… Are they smaller Kingdoms?" She asked.
"Well… physically yes, I suppose. Though England was once the largest empire on the planet known as the British Empire." Harry informed the girl slowly. He had never heard of someone not hearing of the U.K before. Maybe it was just because he lived here. Maybe she lived somewhere else where they didn't really teach about the U.K?
"The largest Empire?"
"Yes… Where do you live, if you don't mind me asking." Harry asked before quickly amending.
"I… I am from Cintra."
"Cintra? I don't think I have heard of Cintra. Could you give me it's relative position?" Harry asked slowly, not really sure if it was his place.
"It is one of the Northern Kingdoms, North of Nazair and South of Verden and Brugge." The girl said, she seemed to speak with some amount of pride when speaking of where she lived Harry noticed. He wouldn't comment on it though. Instead, he thought of the names she had given him. He didn't recognize any of those names. They sounded like they could be European but he wasn't quite sure. He didn't know too much about geography.
"I don't recognize the names… Do you know what continent they are on?" He asked. The girl looked at him with a strange eye.
"What do you mean which continent? They are on THE continent." She answered.
"That… Doesn't help. Like… is it on the continent of Europe, Asia, Africa?" He tried once more. She frowned at him.
"I have never heard of those names either." She told him. Harry blinked at that. Maybe this girl wasn't from a place with a strong education system? Or maybe she was homeschooled.
"I'm sorry then. I can't tell where you are from." Harry told her. She frowned but shrugged.
"I suppose it doesn't really matter…" She said before looking away. She seemed to be thinking about something. Harry had a question that had been niggling in his mind for a while but he wasn't sure if he should ask it. He didn't want to upset her. He thought about it for a moment before he figured she seemed nice enough and probably wouldn't snap at him for asking a question.
"Can I ask… Why are you wearing that" Harry asked. The girl looked at him before looking down at her clothes. She then sighed.
"This is what I fell asleep in. I normally change into my nightgown but… I got into an argument with my grandmother and was too angry to change." She explained.
"Why were you wearing a princess costume when you fell asleep? Is it a holiday where you are from?" Harry asked her curiously. The girl looked like she had been slapped in the face though she didn't look like she was angry, more just surprised.
"You knew I was a princess?"
"Well yeah… I mean, it's a pretty good costume." Harry told her and it was. The dress looked very pretty and she even wore a necklace and bracelet that looked very real to him.
"Costume? It's not a costume." She said back giving him a curious look. Harry's eyes widened at that.
"So… You're a real-life princess?" Harry asked.
"Well… Yes. But don't tell anyone alright." She demanded. Harry nodded at her slowly as he reeled slightly from the revelation. He never thought he'd ever meet a princess before. He read stories about them but he never thought he'd ever actually meet one. His relatives had made sure he knew he would never be worth to meet royalty and had snatched away the book where he read about them almost immediately.
"What's it like being a princess?" Harry couldn't help but ask. He bet it was a lot better than the situation where he lived.
"Dreadfully boring. Lots of learning about boring things and manners that I hate using. I have to wear uncomfortable dresses and present myself to all sorts who are also boring. Everything is decided for me by my grandmother."
"Oh… You said earlier you fought with her?" He questioned not sure if he should push even further but honestly, he was just happy to finally have someone willing to actually speak with him. Dudley made sure no one at school would associate with him so he never had any friends to speak with.
"Yes… She picked out someone for me to marry and I did not like her choice." The girl admitted.
"Marry… but you look like you're my age. Isn't that illegal?" Harry asked suddenly feeling uncomfortable. Perhaps this girl was in danger and being forced into something she didn't want.
"I won't marry them soon. It's more like a contract saying we will get married at some point in the future." She explained dully.
"Aren't you supposed to marry someone you love?" Harry asked.
"Unfortunately, as royalty, I do not get such an option." She said back. She sounded upset and said when she said it and it made Harry sad to hear her sad.
"I'm sorry… That doesn't seem fair. A nice girl like you should be able to marry who they love." Harry told her. The girl looked at him and tilted her head. Maybe he had gone over the line with the last comment.
"Are you flirting with me?"
"Flirting?" Harry felt like he had heard that word before but he couldn't truly place it.
"You don't know what flirting is?"
"I… Don't think so." Harry admitted shyly.
"Flirting is saying and doing things that you think will make someone you like, like you back." The girl explained to him slowly. Harry blinked.
"Should I not want you to like me?" He asked.
"No… I mean like-like. As in… more than friends. Like courting." She tried once more. At that, Harry was able to understand what she meant. He knew what courting was from his classes on history. It's what they used to call dating in olden times.
"Oh, like if I was in love with you?"
"Well, you don't need to necessarily be in love with someone to court them. You could want to be in a relationship with them simply because it might benefit you in other ways." She told him. Harry thought back about how she had said her grandmother was forcing her to court someone she didn't like.
"Oh." Harry said sadly.
"I just… I know you said you were upset about what your grandmother did. I didn't mean to bring it up again. I didn't want to upset you."
"I'm not upset with you. You're not even the one who brought it up… What's your name by the way?"
"I'm, um, Harry." He told her as he shifted uncomfortably at the attention, she gave him.
"Harry… Well, I am Cirilla. But, if you call me anything but Ciri, I'll knock your teeth in. Actually, I take that back. You look like you would take that too seriously." She said giving him a strange look. It was a good thing she corrected herself considering he had been about to take her seriously.
"Stop apologizing. I'm more likely to smack you if you keep doing it and keep acting like you're my whipping boy." She told him.
"So-… I mean, I'll try to stop." He told her.
"I want to believe you… But I suspect you're just saying that to appease me which is just as problematic. Do your parents hit you or something?"
"No, uh, my parents died when I was little. I live with my aunt and uncle." He told her hoping she would drop it at that.
"Oh, I see. Do they hit you then?" She asked. Harry froze at the question.
"I'm pretty sure you heard me and you've already made me repeat myself enough for today." She said shooting down his attempt to steer the conversation somewhere else. At this point, she was glaring sternly at him again. It looked similar to when some of his teachers when they believed he did something wrong and wanted him to admit it even though he never actually did whatever they thought he did.
Should he tell her? Could he tell her? She seemed nice but she wouldn't be the first seemingly nice person who he had placed his trust in. He had told a teacher once and nothing had changed. In fact, when the Dursleys had found out they had punished him worse than ever. Then again, he didn't know this girl and she didn't know him. She didn't even know where Surrey was, so the likelihood of her telling his aunt and uncle and getting him hurt was low.
In fact, now that he thought about it, this might actually be helpful. He had always wanted to have someone he could talk to and be friends with. If this was all just a dream anyway then there wouldn't be any consequences for it. A friend that Dudley couldn't scare away from interacting with him.
"Yes…" He whispered.
"What did you say? I couldn't hear you." Ciri said back leaning in closer to hear him causing him to flinch away though he did his best to not shy away from her as every instinct in his body told him to do.
"I-… I said yes. They hit me." He finally repeated. He took a breath as he finally managed to finally get it out. It was quite strange. He almost felt… relieved? It was like a giant had been sitting on his shoulders pushing him down and it finally lifted off of him. It didn't really change his situation but it was nice to finally get it off his chest and quit pretending it didn't affect him.
"That's awful. Why do they do it?"
"They say it's punishment for doing things wrong but… I think they just hate me. I'm not even sure if I ever did anything as I can only remember them treating me the same way since I have known them. My aunt speaks poorly of my mother, her sister, and my father. I think she didn't like them either… I don't even know why they took me in. They always act like I'm a huge burden on them and they make me do all the chores at the house. If I mess up on one they'll hit me. Before I fell asleep and came here, I was actually locked in my room and I probably won't be let out of it for a few days. At least until they get tired of doing the chores themselves.
"That's awful! Is there nothing that can be done about it? Do you not have anywhere else you can go?" she asked him.
"I don't think so. I tried to tell my teacher once but he didn't do anything about it. I think my aunt and uncle convinced him I was lying about it. After that, they beat me really bad and I never bothered to tell anyone else. Even if I did, what would it matter? They would probably just send me to an orphanage and I hear those places aren't great either. I lose no matter what I do." Harry told her sadly. She looked at him with an something similar to pity. He didn't let it bother him though. He wasn't happy about it but she was nice enough to listen to him.
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have pushed you so hard to tell me… You mentioned a teacher. Are you from a noble family?" She asked. He looked at her strangely.
"No. Why would you think that?" Harry replied back.
"You mentioned a teacher. Is your family well off then?"
"No. Well, Uncle Vernon is paid decently, I think. But were certainly not wealthy."
"And yet you can afford a teacher?"
"I just go to school where they teach us. It's required for all kids to go to one." He explained. Again, he wondered about where she was from if they didn't even have a standard education. He knew certain poorer countries were like that.
"All kids? How strange. Who pays for it?"
"I'm not really sure, the government, I guess?" Harry tried. He wasn't sure himself but that's what he would assume.
"Why do they pay for it?"
"To make sure that we're educated?"
"But why bother?"
"Well… For countries to stay up to date and advanced they need to make sure they have as educated a population as possible. I think to make sure more people can make inventions and things so they can stay on top." Harry tried to explain again as best he could. He never thought of such things so he could only truly guess at the answer himself.
"Hmm. That's interesting. I wonder why no one here has thought of that…" Ciri responded thoughtfully.
"I couldn't tell you. Most places I know of are the same way." Harry told her. She made a noise to show she was thinking on what he had said.
"Should… Should we try to figure a way out of here?" Harry asked her nervously. She looked at him then looked around for a moment.
"Do you have an idea about that. I don't exactly see an exit and I imagine this is just some sort of dream. I figured it would just be best to wait it out." She told him. Harry nodded slowly at that. It's not like he minded. The more time he was here with her, the less time he was stuck in his cupboard in pain.
"So… Can I ask about you then?" He asked.
"I suppose that's fair. What do you wish to know?" Ciri asked sitting down next to him suddenly. Harry froze up again at that but untensed a moment later. He would try his best to make sure not to do that around her. He didn't want her to think he was weird and scare her away.
"Well… Is there anything fun about being a princess?" Harry asked.
"Well… Not really no. I mean it has its benefits, I guess. I have all my needs met easily and a grandmother and grandfather who actually care for me. So that's something." She told him.
"Are your parents…"
"Yes. They died several years ago." She replied sadly and looked away. Despite the sadness of the statement, Harry couldn't help but feel something of a connection with her at her words. She was the only other child he knew who also lost their parents.
"I'm sorry I brought it up." Harry told her feeling slightly braver now.
"It's fine. It's not like you had anything to do with it. Besides, it would be rather hypocritical of me when I brought up the memory of your own parents wouldn't it?"
"I don't think being hurt is a good enough reason to hurt someone else especially if the person didn't actually mean to hurt you."
"What about your family, your aunt and uncle. It sounds like they deserve to be hurt."
"Well… Maybe they do, but I don't want to hurt them. I just wish they would stop hurting me. I wish I could leave and live somewhere else without having to deal with them at all. They probably have a reason for the way the act even if its not likely a good reason."
"Well, I want to hurt them and I don't even know them." Ciri said while crossing her arms and frowning. Despite not wanting to hurt them himself, it did make him feel a little happy to hear she was upset on his behalf. Did that mean she cared and wanted to be his friend? God, he hoped so.
"Thank you. I appreciate it. Can I ask another question?" Harry asked her. She seemed to calm at that and nodded.
"Um… Your hair, is it a common color where you come from?" Harry asked. He had never seen hair so pale before. It looked like it was almost white to him. She smirked at his question before bringing her long hair from behind her back to over her shoulder.
"My hair huh? No, I suppose it's not. I heard it was more golden blonde in color when I was younger but it's been slowly getting paler and paler. They think it might even turn fully white in a couple of years. Do you think it is weird?" She asked.
"No! Not at all. It's very unique looking. I think it makes you look even prettier." Harry told her earnestly. Harry watched as she looked away and her face suddenly became very red.
"There you go with that flirting again." She grumbled.
"I'm sorry. I wasn't trying to; I was just trying to be honest. I think your hair is very pretty. I've never seen any natural hair like it." Harry said as he looked at the hair. It was so unique and different from any other he had seen. His relatives would probably hate it considering how much they didn't like anything that wasn't normal. They'd probably hate Ciri's hairstyle.
"You think so huh… Well, I suppose it looks pretty great. Well, anyway, do you have any more questions… and not about any part of my body this time!" She told him sternly. He tilted his head in thought. Had he said something wrong to her. She didn't seem upset, or at least not upset enough to get away from him. Or maybe it was because they were simply stuck together and she couldn't go anywhere.
"Hmm… You mentioned magic earlier too. Is there magic where you come from?" Harry asked. He had been kind of curious about that. He wasn't even allowed to mention the word around his relatives without them flipping out and punishing him. On tv, magic always seemed so cool.
"Yes. Everyone knows about magic, I think. I even have a druid in my castle with me. He's an old man named Mousesack or Ermion. He mainly knows nature magic and magic dealing with the world." Ciri explained. Harry leaned in at that. Nature magic? World Magic? What could that mean?
"What does nature magic mean? Could you give me an example?" Harry asked with excitement.
"Well… Like, he can make plants grow for one thing and listen to his commands. He can summon nearby creatures and have them do his bidding. He likes to use birds to keep an eye on me sometimes when I go out to play in the city. Though he thinks I don't know about that. Random crows don't follow you all day though." She told him while pouting. Harry couldn't help the small smile that appeared on his face seeing her with the look.
"Can he control like lightning and storms and stuff?" He asked.
"I think he can exert control over them but I am not sure if he can fully control them or not." She told him. Harry nodded slowly at that. That was incredibly cool.
"That's amazing! Can anyone learn magic or is it something you have to be born with?"
"Mmm, well… I think maybe both. Like it might be possible if you're not born with the talent but it's a lot harder to do, at least, I think that's how it works." She answered.
"That's so cool! We don't have magic in my world." Harry told her sadly.
"Not have magic? But Ermion says there is magic everywhere. Especially places with a lot of life. He says even different worlds have magic. The only time this isn't the case is if the world has died or is young. Do you live on a dead world?" Ciri asked. Harry frowned.
"No, it's definitely still alive but… I mean no one can do magic here. At least as far as I am aware. I mean we have it in our stories and legends from a long time again. I don't think they are real though." Harry told her.
"Well… Maybe they just haven't figured out the right way to do it." Ciri pointed out. Harry frowned and thought about that. That would be a pretty crazy thought.
"Do you know how they to do it where you are from?" Harry asked.
"I think they use hand gestures and certain chains of words in Elder Speech but I am not sure on the intricacies." Ciri told him.
"But… Maybe when I wake up, I can ask and if I see you again, I can tell you and you can check." Ciri told him. Harry smiled at her words but couldn't help but feel sad at her words. It was quite obvious this was likely a dream and there was a pretty big chance that they wouldn't see each other after this.
"Yeah… That would be great…" Harry told her trying not to show her his sadness. He clearly didn't do a good enough job as she also frowned and he could see her looking sadly at him too. She looked like she was about to something before her eyes widened.
"Harry, look at your hands, they're fading!" Ciri told him pointing down at his lap. Harry looked down at his hands and noticed she was right. His hands were already almost gone all the way to his wrist. He looked up at her before noticing her own hands were doing the same.
"Ciri, look your hands are fading too." He tried to point which was unfortunately impossible in his current situation. She did still look down though and saw she was indeed fading.
"You're right… I suppose this must mean I am waking up… It was nice to meet you, Harry." She told him looking up with a sad smile on her face. Harry could feel himself panicking though he wasn't sure why.
"Wait, Ciri, I… If we ever meet again, would you… Would you be my friend?" He managed to ask her as more of his body continued to fade away. There was a desperation in his voice so obvious that even he heard it, but at this moment he couldn't bother to care. She had been so nice to him and may be the only chance he got to truly make a friend.
Ciri looked at him surprised before giving him a big grin in return.
"What are you talking about you dolt, we already are friends aren't we? You don't think I talk this much with every person I meet do you? I'm a princess you know." She teased maintaining her smile.
Harry felt his eyes start to water as he looked at her and he gave her the biggest smile he could manage.
"Thank you…" Was all he managed to get out before his vision faded, and this time it wasn't from his tears clouding it up. It faded into full darkness and before he knew it, he saw a light slowly start to spread across his vision. Before he knew it, he was looking at a familiar brown ceiling.
He blinked for a moment before looking around once more and noticing he could see some light coming through the cracks in his doorway. That meant it was likely morning already. He looked down at his hands and just like his expectations they were already healed and the burns were faded almost fully from his hands. Despite no longer being in pain, he couldn't help but feel tears come to his eyes as he mourned what he was sure was the loss of his first friend.
For the rest of the day, he did nothing but mourn the lost feeling he had found in his dreams while trying to be as silent as possible.
The aged druid blinked before looking to his doorway where he saw the young princess standing looking well rested and eyeing him intently.
"Ciri. Well, this is a surprise. I didn't expect to see the days where I wouldn't have to drag you to your lessons. What's the occasion may I ask?" The druid teased his young charge. Ciri frowned for a moment before stepping into the room.
"No, I… I was wondering if you could teach me about magic." Ciri told him. Ermion felt his eyebrow raise at that. Ciri had never expressed such an interest before besides enjoying when he performed a few tricks for her. He wondered what the sudden fixation was for.
"Magic? May I ask why you seem to suddenly wish to know?" Ermion asked carefully.
"It's nothing it's just… I made a promise to someone is all… So, will you teach me?" She asked again. He studied her for a moment before determining that it couldn't do much harm.
"Very well. Was there a certain type of magic you had in mind. Keep in mind my knowledge is rather limited."
"No that's fine. I was more curious about how one would first go about learning how to perform it. Like how could they tell if they could perform it?
This will, without a doubt be my longest story to date. I've already put a lot of work into it and have many chapters completed or partially completed so hopefully updates will be regular, at least for awhile. The story itself will go through all of Harry's Hogwarts adventures as he is growing up before moving on to focus more on the Witcher side of things when he reaches young adulthood. Anyway, hope you enjoy it