Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine, I just mess around with 'em.

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Chapter 1: The Predator

Dawn rose over the sleepy little hamelet, nestled between two mountains that rose protectively into a cloud-strewn sky. The rooftops of the humble cottages and the meadow beyond seemed so serene in the rosy light, all inhabitants peacefully slumbering.

All, that is, but for one, a stranger from a land so distant these poor village folk did not recognize its name, let alone its language. But money speaks volumes, and this foreigner had more of it than most of the villagers would ever have in their whole lifetimes. So, he had been able to gain a room in the tiny local inn (and the good favour of the people) with relative ease. That morning, the innkeeper awoke to find the strange man, in his outlandish clothing, already in the common room, honing a wicked-looking blad. The innkeeper was a simple, relatively sheltered man who had lived his whole life in this valley and the weapon unsettled him. Just what do you need that for? asked he, pointing a trembling finger at the outlander man.

Without looking up, the stranger answered, Hunting dragons.

The man's name was Harry, and he was not a man at all, rather he was a boy of a mere sixteen years. But he was tall, a bit narrow in the shoulders but no one seemed to notice, and his life had given him the look of a hardened soldier quite early on. For Harry was a dragonslayer.

"Dragons?" said the innkeeper, a man by the name of Yanil. He was taken aback by both the statement and the fact that this, this stranger had spoken in understandable, if slow and strangely accented, Voldarian, when he had shown no understanding of the tongue before this moment. "You're wasting your time, friend. 'Tain't no more dragons left in these mountains. Why, dragons have been extinct for damn nigh two hundred years now!" Harry gave Yanil a politely bland smile and continued to sharpen his poniard. Yanil shook his head and walked to the counter to dry dishes, but he kept on eye on Harry.

Inwardly, Harry sighed. With his shock of dark hair that he simply could not contain, his relatively muscular build, and his tanned and heavily scarred skin, Harry supposed he did look strange to the fair-haired, light-eyed, willowy folk of this eastern continent, even without the dragon-slaying business. Inevitably, though, it was always the colour of his eyes, not his hair or sking or what he said, that did him in. Their vivid green, like that of growing things, of spring, had cast him the pariah's lot on more than one occassion. They marked him as a Gryphon.

'Dragons,' Harry mused. 'This man says they are extinct... just as he did. But they aren't extinct! No, not extinct... just... well-hidden.' King of his realm, Albus of the house of Dumbledore. In the end, Albus had been unable to keep his favourite Gryphon mewed and tethered like a falconer's bird. The old man had begged Harry not to leave, to abandon this mad quest of his. Harry simply could not do it. He had been killing dragons for so long, he knew no other way to live. Dragon hunting was his past, his present, his future. So, when there were no dragons left in his homeland, he left.

For two years, Harry traveled, alone and preferring it that way. He stopped in tiny hamlets such as this, but rarely for long, and never long enough to make friends.

"'Tis a fool's errand," Yanil said again after an hour or so of thoughtful silence.

Harry continued to sharpen his sword.

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A/N: Yes, I am aware of completely and totally AU this fic is! . And of how short the first chapter is. ==' But ne'er you fear! The second one is slightly longer, and the third is WAY longer. .; Big things are going to happen in this fic! Please, read and review! Even flames are appreciated, though they will be picked apart for the entertainment of the masses.