Disclaimer: I own nothing
A/N: Ok everyone! This is a new story that I've been toying with on the side for a while now when I feel in the mood. To those following my other stories, I apologize for taking so ungodly long to publish the next chapter but I just recently moved and have been busy settling in. I am still working on the next update for both my fics but thought you guys would like something to read since I had this finished. I know some didn't particularly like my first attempt at a crossover but to be honest that was a rather poor choice on my part. I hope this one is better as it starts off as a cross instead of just jumping right into one in the middle of the story.
Please Note!I have not read the final book in the inheritance cycle even though I really REALLY want to but alas I've had to make due. If my description of something does not match up to something in the last of the books I apologize. I did the best I could so don't be too harsh on me.
Anyways. I hope you guys like it. Please review and let me know what you think.
CHAPTER ONE: A RIPPLE OF CHANGE
The waves of the ocean crashed against the shore in a gentle, endlessly persistent erosion. The ever-mighty power that was the element of water was the only witness to a single piece of driftwood that floated upon the calm waves. Upon this lonesome piece of wood clung an unconscious figure. His hair was darker than the space between the stars and a single, oddly shaped scar adorned the forehead of his young features. In the man's hand was an oddly shaped piece of wood and though the man was unconscious, his fingers never loosened their hold upon the stick. The driftwood the man was floating upon slowly made its way towards the sandy shore of land. The raven-haired man never stirred as he washed ashore. The bright light of the noonday sun shone down upon his unconscious form, warming his nearly frozen body. As heat returned to his battered form his ragged breathing slowly evened out and his eyelids began to flutter as his eyes rolled in their sockets as he battled dreams in his unconscious state.
A crunching sound suddenly disturbed the gentle washing of the waves. The unconscious man became suddenly alert and his eyes snapped wide open to reveal alert emerald orbs with pinpoint pupils. Though he was disoriented and confused, the man could sense danger. He had lived with it his entire life so he knew danger as if it were an integral part of him. The hairs on the back of his neck prickled and stood up. He was weak, that much he knew, but he was no stranger to strenuous situations and was well accustomed to fighting for his life when he was weary. Their came a second crunching sound and with it came the most repugnant smell he had ever come across and that was saying something. In a flash, the dark haired man shot to his knees and with a wordless shout, sent a jet of red light from the stick in his hand and in the direction of the source of the noise. Luckily, his aim was true and a strange, blue-skinned creature went flying a good ten yards away.
For a moment, the dark haired man knelt there staring at the strange creature. It looked half man, half beast. Horns protruded from his skull in strange twisting patterns. Its face was contorted to look inhuman while the rest of its body was bulging with muscles that threatened to shatter the plates of armor that were strapped to its chest and arms.
The disoriented and confused man didn't have more time to ponder the sheer oddity before him as it started to struggle to its feet. In mere seconds, the raven-haired man was on his feet and running quickly towards the forest he could see beyond the sandy beach. He had no idea what that creature had been but he knew he needed to leave it far behind. The only problem was that he hadn't the faintest idea of where he was. The land around him was so strange and unfamiliar. He had seen many pictures of distant and exotic lands but they were nothing like this. The trees, though they looked similar to ones he had seen many times before, held an ancient awareness to them that sent chills down his spine. The very air vibrated with an energy he had never felt before. It was all so strange and his confused and sluggish thoughts knew not what to make of it.
The man ran into the forest despite his fears. All around him, he could hear the chattering voices of the many animals that inhabited the trees and forest, protesting to his sudden dash through their territory. The only sound he paid attention to was the lumbering sounds of the beast that was following him. He knew not what it was but knew that nothing good would come from it capturing him. He sent more flashes of light over his shoulder in an attempt to impede the creature's progress. He couldn't help the satisfied grin that spread across his face when he heard an angry shout and then a tumbling roll as one of his missiles made contact. The man didn't let the small advantage get to him though and he ran on, continuing to fire more missiles of light over his shoulder, all designed to slow the progress of whatever the thing was that was following him.
Even after the sounds of the creature's pursuit had long since fallen silent, the stranger to this land continued his frantic pace, not about to allow himself to be captured. It was an ingrained instinct that he had learned very early in his life. Never get caught. If you did then your life was in jeopardy. There was nothing else to it. Don't. Get. Caught. It was as simple as that. So he ran. He ran well beyond when his legs were numb and sore. He ran long after the sun had set and the moon had risen. He didn't stop running until he suddenly broke out of the dense forest and came upon a huge and abandoned city. He could feel a strange rotting sensation coming from the city, not a sensation he enjoyed. It reminded him too much of something from his past. Something sounded from behind him and the man quickly reacted by cracking his stick over his head. His form shimmered before it seemed to vanish entirely. Satisfied that nothing would be able to see him now, the man quickly went into the city to seek shelter.
He didn't want to be in this disturbing city but he had no choice. He had no clue where he was or how he had ended up here and he was being chased by strange creatures. Therefore, he quietly made his way through the abandoned city streets. He didn't go near any of the buildings that he passed as he could sense things within, things that sensed him but couldn't see him. The man quickly but quietly made his way towards the largest structure in the city, the one place that didn't fill him with dread. It looked like a castle but not at the same time. It was made of stone and set into the side of a mountain. It was certainly large enough to be considered a castle but it wasn't shaped like any he had ever seen before so he couldn't be sure. As it was though, he quickly slipped past the destroyed doors and slid into its shadowy depths.
He liked castles. They were big and held many places in which he could easily conceal himself. The only downfall was that his enemies could do the same. Still, he was good at hiding; always had been. As he wandered through the dusty and dark halls until he came to a room that didn't give him the creeps and whose door was relatively intact. It was deep within the castle like structure which was good and high up as well. The dark haired man slipped inside and shut the door. He waved his stick over the door, repairing any faults it may have, before giving one last flick, causing the door to seal itself, preventing anyone from accessing the room. The man turned then to the rest of the room. A window was set into the wall opposite him and let in the faint moonlight, allowing him to see that the room was empty save for him and some scattered pieces of furniture. He held up his stick and light appeared on the end of it, illuminating the room even more than it was. He sighed in relief when he saw that neither his instincts nor eyes had led him astray. The room was empty and he was safe, for now.
"How do I get myself into these things?" He asked himself quietly as he settled down in a bare corner on the wall opposite the door and at such an angle where he would be prepared to defend himself should he be attacked. He truly was in dire straits. He had no food, no knowledge of his whereabouts or how he came to be here and mere fleeting memories of events that had transpired before he suddenly appeared in this strange land. He could easily defend himself but unless he acquired either assistance or knowledge of his surroundings, he would quickly become something else's meal. It was with these troubled thoughts that he fell into a restless sleep.
Several hours later, the dark haired man woke with a start. Something had disturbed his sanctuary. He didn't sense danger. No, he could always sense when danger was near. Still, something had disturbed his fitful rest. He peered into the gloom of his sanctuary. The sun was beginning to peak over the horizon and so he was allowed a little more light to see with, he didn't want to use too much for risk of attracting unwanted attention from unknown creatures. Nothing had changed from his brief glimpse from earlier. Shattered furniture and destroyed remains of what looked to be spears and shields littered the room but other than that, there was nothing. He checked the door from where he sat and was satisfied that it was still sealed and undisturbed. So what had disturbed him?
There! This time it was clear and audible. It was a squeaking and rattling sound. He looked around the room again but saw nothing. There wasn't even anything that a mouse or the like could hide in or under. Cautiously, the dark haired man got up and sidled over to the window and peered through it without revealing himself. Nothing, yet the squeaking sounds persisted. He listened closely and managed to discern that they were coming from the other side of the room. After ensuring that he still could not be seen, the man walked past the window and followed the squeaking and scratching sounds. They led him to a section of wall. He shifted his stick from his right hand to his left and cautiously placed his hand and ear against the stone wall. The sounds he was hearing were definitely coming from the other side. Unable to fight his curiosity, the raven-haired man ran his hand over the cold stone of the castle wall, searching for a secret switch or something of the like, hoping that he would not have to leave his sanctuary.
His hopes were granted when his sensitive touch felt a flaw in the stone that wouldn't be there naturally and had to be intentionally placed. He pressed on the flaw in the stone and quickly stepped back, stick in front of him, as a section of the stone wall slid away to reveal a small, yet deep cubby. Inside was the most beautiful black stone he had ever seen. It was about a foot long and shone brilliantly in the early morning rays. It was such a deep shade of black that the man knew he could spend hours upon hours gazing into its depths and would never get bored. His hands reflexively shot out and caught the stone as it gave a violent lurch and fell out of its hiding place. The man felt no threat coming from the stone so he placed his stick into his pants pocket where he could easily retrieve it should he need it and walked back over to the corner he had claimed as his and sat down.
The stone gave another twitch and proceeded to squeak and the green-eyed man realized that he was holding an egg not a stone. This gave the man great pause as he considered that fact. He knew of only one race of creature that would have a stone like egg that was this large. Given the fact that he was in a strange land he knew nothing about he knew all too well that he could be wrong but he didn't think so. With this in mind, the man felt both a little safer as he was given a sense of familiarity and a little more afraid as he had no idea what would happen if the thing were to hatch, which it looked ready to do. He could raise it, have the thing inside be friendly towards him, but that would likely only last a few months until the creature grew too large to manage. When that happened the thing would likely end up killing him, either intentionally or unintentionally. His heart was too big though. Whether it would kill him or not, he couldn't let a potentially benevolent creature starve.
His thoughts were diverted when he felt the egg beneath his fingers crack. He quickly set the on the floor in front of him and waited. He would've kept holding the egg but he didn't want the creature to start fumbling in his hands and end up wounding him. More cracks spread along the surface of the egg until the shiny black shell was riddled with them. Slowly, some of the pieces chipped away before they all just crumbled to reveal the very thing the man thought the egg contained. A gorgeous black dragon, no bigger than the egg, with glittering black scales that shone in the faint light of dawn, stood where the egg once was. It had a row of black spikes running from head to tail and two nubs of horns protruded from the top of the dragons head. Midnight wings were folded against the dragon's sides, giving its body a slightly distorted look. Two white fangs protruded from its upper jaw and the claws on its feet were as white as snow when compared to its ebony scales. Two glittering and gem like black eyes surveyed the room before they turned to him as if he were entirely visible when he knew he wasn't.
"Hello little one," The man said in a soft voice so as to not scare the beautiful dragon.
He gently held out his right hand for the creature to sniff. It eyed him with far too intelligent eyes for a long moment before it gently touched its snout to the palm of his hand. White-hot pain lanced through his entire system. He had experienced such searing pain before but this was different. He could sense some… thing make its way through his mind, body, and soul, searching for something while binding with him at the same time. It wound around his very being and became a part of him. It was strange and invasive yet he felt no hostility from this invading presence and it actually felt quite comforting, almost as if he had spent his entire life as only half a being and was now being united with his other half. It was a strange thing to experience but it had only lasted a few moments. When his vision cleared, the man found himself lying on his side with the black dragon lying next to him, staring at him with those black, gemlike eyes.
"Curious one, aren't you?" The man asked with a tender smile. He had never heard of a dragon encounter like that before. The dragon squeaked at him in response to his query.
The man froze slightly when he felt something brush up against his mind. He held back briefly and examined the contacting presence. It was vast and alien to him but he felt no hostility from it. Indeed, he actually felt a great curiosity coming from the mental probe. A little hesitant the man approached the mental contact and touched it in an attempt to find out where it was coming from. The mind that touched his was great indeed. He felt massive amounts of power coursing through the mind, along with sensations of curiosity and a ravenous hunger. He also caught brief glimpses of ancient memories of a long forgotten era. The blood of war, the peace of alliance, and the sting of betrayal all swirled within these ancient memories. Amazed, the green-eyed man looked down at the dragon.
"You are certainly no dragon I've ever met," The man remarked as he gently rubbed a finger along the top of the dragon's head, between the eyes. It squeaked happily and the man felt pleasure radiate from the mental contact and that only served to strengthen his belief that it was the dragon's mind that had touched with his own. A loud grumbling sound suddenly radiated from the dragons stomach and it squeaked in protest. "I'm sorry little one," The man said with great regret. "But I don't have any food." The dragon squeaked unhappily. "Perhaps some water will help abate the hunger until we can find some food,"
The man said as he dug out his stick. He pointed it at a broken chair leg and gave it a slight twist. The piece of wood shimmered briefly before morphing into a small bowl. With another gesture from his stick, the bowl was filled with crystal clear water. He slid the bowl forward and offered it to the dragon, who drank from it gratefully. The man felt the raging hunger subside slightly and he was glad that he had managed to help a little bit. When the dragon had drained the bowl, it went over to the man and curled up in his lap. He smiled down at it lovingly and stroked its head as he tried to think of a way to get some food for the creature. Unfortunately, since he didn't know anything about the land he didn't know what was edible and what wasn't.
Carefully the man stood, cradling the dragon in his arms, and went over to the window and surveyed the land in the light of a new day. Far off in the distance he could see another land mass, one that looked quite large. This made him suspect that he was on an island of some sort. Sadly, though the land looked to be dozens of miles off shore from where he was currently so he nixed any thought of trying to sail across the sea in an attempt to find safer pastures along with food. That left him with whatever could be found on the island and that presented him with an annoying little quandary. He needed food but he didn't particularly want to leave the safety this room provided him. He didn't know what dangers lurked on this island or how powerful they might be. He also didn't want to leave his newfound friend alone and in possible danger, nor did he wish to take it out there where something far large than it could tear it to pieces.
As if some deity had taken pity upon him and his plight, the man looked down to the courtyard area in front of the castle and saw an animal that he easily recognized as a deer grazing. Reacting quickly, the man snapped out his stick and gestured at the deer. It instantly fell dead to the ground, its neck having snapped at the man's gesture. It was a brutal and unfair way to hunt but the man was not about to pass up on an opportunity for free food. With another flick of his stick, the dead deer shot into the air and through the window into the room. The man laid the deer down on the floor. After several flicks of his stick, the deer was skinned, its horns removed, and was prepared to be cooked. The man set the deer floating in the air above a glowing orange fire. As it floated unsupported in the air, the deer continuously rotated so it would cook evenly.
At the smell of cooking food, the dragon, who had fallen into a light doze in his arms, perked its head up with eager anticipation. Several times the silly creature had attempted to launch itself from his arms and onto the cooking carcass but each time the man restrained it and held it to his chest.
"Patience little one," The man said with a chuckle after the dragon's fourth attempt to get at the food. "You will have your share but let it cook first. I realize you likely don't need for the food to be cooked but I do and I would prefer to simply cook it all at once and be done with it. Not to mention that this will have to sustain us both for a while until I can figure out how to obtain a steadier source of food."
As if it had understood every word he had said, the dragon grumbled petulantly but settled down to wait within his comforting arms. The man realized then that this was definitely not the kind of dragon that he was used to dealing with or rather, what he had come to expect to deal with. It was far too intelligent for it to be merely a mythical animal that raged uncontrollably. This was something else, something more. It had thoughts and feelings. It could understand the things he said even if it couldn't actively speak, be it mentally or physically. As they finally started eating, the man stared at the little creature in amazement and had to wonder how something so spectacular could have ended up bonding with him.
A curious squeak came from the dragon and pulled the man out of his thoughts. He looked down to see the dragon staring at him curiously, its tail flicking back and forth, almost like a cats.
"What?" He questioned with a small chuckle. He knew it didn't want any more food as he could no longer feel the ravenous hunger that had come across their mental bond. Another squeak and a mental image of him interspersed with confused curiosity came from the dragon. "Who am I?" He clarified. His belief that this dragon was far more intelligent than any he had previously met was growing stronger. A happy squeak followed by positive feelings coming across their link informed him that he had guessed right. The man sighed briefly and stared out the window at the sunny sky in thought before answering.
"My name is Harry Potter." He said heavily. That name had brought him a great deal of pain and strife.
The dragon squeaked in curiosity at his bitter tone as it climbed into his lap and nuzzled his chest. Harry had no doubt that the little creature could feel things from him just as he got from it. In response to its silent inquiry, Harry showed it flashes of his life. How he had been raised by people who hated him. How he had been rescued from their clutches only to be shoved violently into a world that constantly put him on some glorified pedestal only to yank him down every chance they got, and how he had finally had enough of the wizarding world and ran away from everything when he was only fifteen. He had only managed to spend a few days on his own before his old mentor, Albus Dumbledore, had tracked him down and attempted to force him back to the world he had left behind. Unwilling to comply though, Harry had attacked the unsuspecting man. He disarmed him, took his wand and fled to the sea where he stowed away on a ship. Those were the last clear images Harry could remember before he woke up on the beach in this strange land.
The dragon stared at him with black, mournful eyes and attempted to sooth the hurt it could feel coming from its bonded by wrapping its wings around Harry in a hug. Harry smiled and hugged the little creature back.
"Well," Harry said as he looked down at the dragon's cute and adorable face that was angular and roughly shaped like a triangle. "I suppose you'll need a name won't you?" A positive squeak came from the dragon and stared eagerly at Harry. "In order to give you one though, I have to know one tiny little thing first," Harry cast spells over the remaining meat from their meal to preserve it and prevent it from going bad. He also cast spells over the deer hide to clean it, treat it, and preserve it, effectively creating a deerskin rug/blanket in mere seconds. He hadn't relished in killing the creature but he needed food. The dragon in his lap squeaked curiously, wondering what Harry needed to know before he could give it a name. Harry chuckled and said, "I need to know if you are a boy," He sent a generic picture of a boy to the dragon. "Or a girl." He sent a generic picture of a girl. The dragon squeaked in understanding and returned the image of a generic boy.
"A boy eh?" Harry mused as he settled them down on the deerskin rug in the corner of the room. He prattled off a few names as he admired the shining silver mark that had appeared on his palm after the initial contact he had made with the dragon. It was rather strange and he couldn't help but wonder why it had appeared, though he suspected that it had something to do with his new bond. "Awfully picky aren't you?" Harry joked when the dragon had rejected all the names he had provided. "How about Scáth then?" The dragon squeaked in curiosity. "It's from a language in the land where I come from called Irish. It means shadow. I avoided it before since it is somewhat common, despite the different language." The dragon thought on it for a few moments before it seemed to purr in happiness and started butting Harry's hand, demanding to be petted. "Scáth it is then," Harry chuckled and obliged Scáth and began stroking his head.
Harry stood in front of the enlarged window of the room that had become his home over the past three and a half months. Scáth's growth had been explosive during the past three and a half months so Harry had been forced to expand both the room and the window so he could still fit in their safe haven. It wasn't enough though. With Scáth's growth, he required more food, food that was difficult to come by on this dangerous island. Not to mention that the longer they stayed on the island, the more dangerous things became. Harry could feel the eyes of the islands inhabitants watching the castle and not all of them were friendly. Several times those blue-skinned creatures had attempted to storm the castle to find both him and Scáth and it was only because of his great advantage point that Harry was able to ward them off by sending powerful curses into their midst that caused several of them to either die instantly or explode, showering their brethren with blood and gore.
That was something else that Harry had noticed over the past three and a half months. Both he and his magic had changed since he had bonded with Scáth. Despite what people thought back in his world, Harry was very well read. He had spent countless hours hidden away in Hogwarts' library reading many books on anything and everything, so he knew that the Elder Wand he had procured from Dumbledore before fleeing to the sea would augment his power, making him stronger. Ever since he had came to this land and bonded with Scáth though, his power seemed to have expanded exponentially. Oh, he still had limits, there was no doubt about that, but his spells were much more powerful than they had been, even with the Elder Wand. In addition, he could now freely see into the minds of other beings. It was as if the walls surrounding his mind had fallen away, allowing his mind to roam wherever it pleased. He could re-erect the walls and conceal his mind from the world but given his current surroundings, that left him at a major disadvantage. Therefore, he left himself open and alert to the world around him. He never managed to gain any real information about anything more than the creatures themselves. He had learned that the blue-skinned creatures were called Urgals. Not that that gave him any real information but it was still nice to know what he was dealing with.
"Can you feel it?" He asked aloud as he stared at the landscape before him. The forest on the island spread out below him and led to the calm wash of the sea and beyond that rested the hazy line of what Harry presumed to be a continent, or at the very least an extremely large island. A continent seemed more plausible though.
Yes, a deep rumbling voice sounded from within Harry's head as Scáth walked up to stand beside him. The dragon was lean yet strong, lithe yet firm. His black scales sparkled dazzlingly in the light of the setting sun and appeared to be almost multicolored as tiny flecks of dark purple, dark green, dark blue, and dark red shone in the bright sunlight. Scáth now stood a good deal taller than Harry did. The dragon's shoulder was several heads higher than his was. Its giant claws could wrap completely around his body with ease and could shred him to pieces with little trouble at all. His wings, when spread in flight, were several times larger than his body. As Scáth grew and he and Harry became closer, the dragon had gained the ability to speak words with his mind, allowing them to communicate easily with each other, even if they weren't near each other, which was extremely rare. We are being called.
But by what and to where? Harry inquired as he examined the far off shoreline of the mainland. For the past day or so, both he and Scáth had felt this strong urge to make for the mainland.
The only way to know is to follow the pull. Scáth reasoned wisely.
"And if it leads us to danger?" Harry asked aloud.
That is why we approach with caution and under the cover of night when we are all but invisible. Scáth said logically.
Are you strong enough to make such a trip without stopping? Harry questioned with concern. He didn't want Scáth to suddenly collapse from exhaustion and be swallowed by the sea. From what I see there aren't any places where you could stop to rest.
Scáth was silent for a few moments as he surveyed the landscape and judged the distance between the island and the shoreline. I could easily make the distance by myself, he said eventually. But with your added weight, I would likely tire quicker and the chances of reaching the shore before I needed to rest decrease.
And if my weight wasn't a factor?
I'll not leave you here to fend for yourself, no matter how capable you are. Scáth said with steel in his voice as he glared at Harry.
I didn't say you would, Harry explained calmly, not at all perturbed by the harsh glare he was receiving. I asked if the problem of my weight were removed from the situation if could you make the distance?
Hmmm, yes but I don't see how your weight could be removed from the situation without removing yourself. Scáth said with a hint of a question to his voice.
"You forget my jeweled shadow," Harry said with a smile at his bonded dragon. "That I am not native to this land and I know many magical spells and it just so happens that I know one that will make me no heavier than a single feather."
Scáth laughed deep in his throat, making it sound like thunder was rolling through the sky. Indeed, I had forgotten. When do you think we should leave?
Now, Harry said as he went over to their pile of food. He started wrapping it in the giant skin blanket that he had made from the various animals, mostly deer they had caught, killed, and ate. There is no reason to delay and something tells me that the longer we wait then something bad is liable to happen.
I agree, Scáth said as he crouched down and allowed Harry to tie a rope around his neck so he could carry the makeshift bag of food. He was delighted to note that the bag, which should have been at least fifty pounds, was no heavier than the rope it was tied with. The weather is perfect for the trip as well. The sky is clear for many leagues in all directions so we should have an easy flight. Harry could feel an eagerness coming from Scáth. The two of them had never been flying together as it was dangerous with so many enemies around and before now, Scáth had not been big enough for Harry to ride.
I believe we will, Harry said with a nod as he climbed up Scáth's foreleg to settle in the gap of the dragon's spikes where his neck met his shoulders.
I'm concerned about you freezing though, Scáth said as he stood up and approached the edge of the enlarged window. He felt Harry's weight lesson considerably. Winter is quickly spreading through the lands and we will be travelling at night which will be much colder than if we did so during the day.
Oh, don't worry about that. Harry answered offhandedly as he spoke foreign words aloud. His pants thickened slightly and became extraordinarily durable. He wasn't about to risk skinning his legs on Scáth's scales. I have spells that will warm my clothing should the cold become too much.
Very well, Scáth said as he crouched low in preparation of leaping out of the room. Are you ready?
"Let us fly my friend," Harry said with a big smile on his face.
Scáth grinned happily and leaped from the room. They dropped towards the ground for one terrifying moment but then Scáth snapped his wings open and gave two powerful strokes. Harry's heart raced happily in his chest as they climbed higher into the sky. In his opinion, it had been far too long since he had flown and he was happy to do so once again. Riding a dragon though was vastly different from riding a broomstick. He could feel the sinuous muscles of Scáth's body shift and move beneath his clenching thighs as the mighty dragon battled gravity for several more minutes before they leveled out and rode the wind currents as a ship rode the waves. He could hear Scáth's wings strain slightly as they pounded against the air a few times before stretching to simply glide and catch the currents in the air.
"Oh how I love flying," Harry mused happily, as he sat up from clutching Scáth's neck. He closed his eyes and just enjoyed the sensations of being in the air. The wind rushing past his face and the soft thud of Scáth's wings as they kept them balanced.
Did you fly often before you came to this land? Scáth questioned in a neutral voice but Harry could detect a flicker of jealousy from the mighty dragon.
Only on brooms dear one, Harry said with a chuckle as he patted the scaly neck beneath him.
Brooms? Scáth questioned as he gave Harry a confused look over his shoulder. Harry chuckled again and showed Scáth an image of him riding a broom back at Hogwarts. You rode a stick?
Yes, Harry chuckled as he surveyed the passing landscape. They had already passed the island's borders and were well out to sea. They were enchanted to fly. Their main use was for witches and wizards to play a game while riding them.
Interesting, Scáth remarked and the two fell into companionable silence.
Into the night they flew. The lack of moon made it impossible for anything that might be observing the night sky to see them. When they were half way between the island and the mainland, Harry finally had to pull out his stick he used to cast spells with and charmed his clothing to radiate a faint heat to ward off the chill of the winter night. Before he put it away he cast a few spells over the rope holding their food to repair any damage rubbing against Scáth's scales might have made and then to strengthen the rope's integrity so it would last longer before he would have to make any more repairs.
You know, Scáth said a while after Harry had stowed the stick. Scáth caught an up draft and rose a little higher. They had finally reached the shoreline and were now following whatever was calling to them over land and towards a mountain range. You never did explain what exactly that little piece of wood is and how it allows you to perform magic so effortlessly.
I'm surprised you haven't figured that out already from my thoughts and memories. Harry remarked in mild surprise as he surveyed the land passing beneath him. Scáth and him were so intimately connected and bound that they rarely didn't know what the other was thinking.
You have never actively talked about it, Scáth explained as he turned a little more towards north, guided by the pulling sensation. And I would never pillage your mind just for answers to my questions. Furthermore, I sensed that it was connected with your past, which is a sensitive subject for you and I wished not to pry. Besides, it has never really mattered.
Thank you, Harry said, suddenly emotional. He leaned forward and hugged Scáth's neck.
The black dragon hummed happily but asked nonetheless, What for?
For respecting my privacy like that, Harry explained not bothering to end the hug. Despite the intimacy of our bond, you chose not to take advantage of it. No one has ever respected me like that and I can't tell you how much it means to me that you did so.
If I do not respect you, I do not respect myself, Scáth rumbled with pleasure and anger coming across their mental link; pleasure at the hug and gratitude coming from Harry and anger at those who had treated his bonded so poorly. You are a part of me little one, as much as I am a part of you. But this does not mean we are not separate individuals as well. No longer will you have to fear of people disrespecting you in such ways. I will ensure that.
Thank you, Harry whispered quietly, his hug tightening. Scáth rumbled deep in his throat, almost as if he were purring. In answer to your query though, this little piece of wood, as you call it, is called a wand where I come from. It allows a witch or wizard to channel their innate magic and bend it to their will through the use of certain words or spells. This particular wand though, was never initially mine. It has a long and bloody history among my people, though they had come to believe it only myth. After causing much strife for many people, the wand came to rest in the hands of the man who I once considered my mentor.
The man with the long white beard and hair I saw in the images you showed me when I had first hatched? Scáth interjected gently. The man who confronted you when you ran away?
Yes, that is him, Harry answered with a nod of his head. His name is Albus Dumbledore. He was the… head teacher I suppose you would say, at a school I attended. It wasn't until him that the wand had started being used for good things instead of merely causing bloodshed.
Why did you take it from him then? Scáth asked in mild confusion as he silently started to descend towards a small valley nestled in the mountain range. Harry could see small pinpricks of light behind his eyes indicating minds below.
He did something I couldn't forgive, Harry explained, the hurt evident in his voice. And if I hadn't he would have forced me to return with him to a world I have come to hate with a passion.
I am sorry little one, Scáth said sadly and left it at that.
As they approached the valley, the tiny lights behind Harry's eyes grew stronger and he was able to discern that they belonged to actual humans. There was a great deal of confusion, concern and fear resting in those minds. There was a cluster of minds within a single, two story house (though Harry couldn't see it given his altitude and the moonless night) that were the strongest. Harry guessed this was because they were all awake and talking. From the jumbled thoughts of at least four different minds, Harry was able to deduce that something strange and big had happened two days ago, which resulted in a farmhouse being blown apart and one of the villagers being gravely injured.
Evil has passed through this valley, Scáth remarked darkly as he circled the small little village silently.
How can you tell? Harry asked as he continued to examine the minds in the valley. He was surprised to learn that this land he had so mysteriously appeared in was devoid of anything even remotely technological and that if it existed in his world, it would likely have existed in medieval times, long before technology existed.
I can sense it, Scáth explained. And the house you saw in their minds, I can see from up here. Not well mind, but I can see the tracks of one of my kin around the remains of the house but no sane being of my race would have wrought such mindless destruction.
Why not? Harry asked as he examined the recent memories of the sickly person everyone in the two-story house was concerned about. Images of an ancient war flashed through his mind from Scáth.
Because of ancient oaths and promises, Scáth answered vaguely but Harry didn't press. He knew there was much about this world that he was unaware of but there would be time for information gathering later. Right now, he needed to concern himself with a rather interesting fact. Two minds within the valley, one in the second story house and one elsewhere, were aware of his presence and while one reflexively flinched away from his presence, the other circumvented his probing presence and attempted invade his mind in an attempt to discover who exactly he was.
Perhaps you could simply ask your questions, Harry sniped to the invading presence as he swatted it aside like an annoying fly. Privately to Scáth he added, Find a safe place to land and rest. The pulling sensation is leading to that two story house and I'm guessing that I'm supposed to help the person they're all concerned about.
Agreed but guard your back, Scáth said as he angled towards the forest surrounding the village. The ones that did this are likely to be in the area still.
I will, Harry promised as he ducked a branch as Scáth entered the forest. But you guard your back as well and stay hidden.
When he landed, Harry slid down Scáth's front leg and untied the food. He then cast a spell over both the food and Scáth, making them impossible to see. After a parting hug, Harry wove through the trees towards town, making himself invisible as he did so. As he neared the house where the sickly person was slowly fading away, Harry felt that previous invading presence touch his mind again.
Who are you? The presence asked in shocked wonder.
Why should I divulge my secrets to a complete stranger? Harry retorted as he snuck silently through the front door and up the stairs. One, I might add, that did not even bother ask me anything before attempting to pry into my mind.
I have my reasons boy! The voice snapped irritably. And I could say the same to you, prying into innocent minds like you are.
As you said, Harry said with a smirk as he slid into the sick room were an aged man with graying hair laid on a bed, clinging to life. A woman sat in a rocking chair with a pair of knitting needles resting unused in her lap. Another woman, younger than the first, knelt in front of a fire with a pot of melting snow and a pile of clean rags. He quietly snuck over to the sick man and began casting spells in order to determine what exactly was wrong. I have my reasons. I, at least, did not attempt to force myself into your mind once I was aware of the fact that you were aware of me. I understand that it would be considered immoral to go filtering through defenseless minds but it is better to be aware and prepared than blind and dead because you didn't see an attack coming from behind you.
The voice went silent at that and Harry started casting several powerful healing spells. That was one of the first things he had studied after the happenings of his second year at Hogwarts. He wanted to know as many healing spells as possible in case he ever needed them, which was a big possibility when you considered the luck he had. In a matter of moments, the man's fever reduced drastically and several of the burns that littered his flesh mended themselves. Memories of how the man had become like this flashed through Harry's mind from the man on the bed and he fought to hold his stomach. He felt Scáth's rage and hatred run through him when he saw flashes of the cloaked figures through Harry. He wanted to question the dragon about it but he didn't have the opportunity right now. He could feel the other person in the valley that was aware of his mental presence approaching the room. The shields surrounding the mind, keeping it blind to the world around it, weren't very strong so Harry was able to catch various scattered images. He saw a frenzied and terrified flight into the mountain range called The Spine that surrounded the valley on the back of a young dragon.
Since he couldn't dash from the room, Harry backed himself into a dark corner of the room. Seconds later the door slid inwards to reveal a brown haired boy about Harry's height with brown hair and eyes. He walked stiffly and with a slight limp in both legs. Harry noted that the boys thighs bulged oddly, indicating that both were wrapped due to injury. Harry suspected that the flight he had undergone with his dragon had stripped his thighs of flesh. The boy turned to look at Harry's corner but was unable to see anything. A confused expression travelled across the boy's face. He could obviously sense Harry's mind in the corner since it was pressing against his as it blanketed the entire town.
He is like me isn't he? Harry asked Scáth. They had never discussed their bond before as they were both more concerned with staying alive than anything else.
Yes, Scáth answered in an almost revered tone. He, like you, is a Dragon Rider.
And the other one who can sense my mind?
I am not sure. Scáth said hesitantly. He has attempted to locate my mind and speak with me but I have evaded him, unsure of whether he is friend or not. I sense a diminished power within him though. At the very least, he is a potent figure. He should be treated with caution. You should also know that I can sense this young Rider's dragon nearby. She has yet to notice me but I have managed to catch snippets of conversation between her and her rider. They are discussing your presence and the creatures that attacked the man you just saved.
Do you know of those creatures? Harry asked curiously. He wanted to ask about what being a Dragon Rider was and what it entailed but that was a discussion they could have at a later date.
Only what my broken ancestral memories have shown me, Scáth answered after a moment's thought. I know they are very dangerous creatures and should be obliterated from existence completely. They are vile creatures that would not hesitate to slit your throat while you sleep.
Hmmm, Harry hummed in thought. Well I cannot sense them in the valley. Are you able to?
There was a few moments of silence and Harry observed the boy as he went over to the bed and stared down at the face of what Harry presumed to be a relative of some kind. The boy stared in shock when he saw that the burns had diminished or disappeared. He laid a hand to the man's head and his jaw dropped when he felt that the fever had gone down drastically.
"Gertrude!" The boy said in shock causing the woman in the rocking chair to jerk awake, which caused her knitting to fall to the floor. The other girl in the room looked up from her place by the fire and washing rags. "Gertrude, tell me I'm not seeing things."
"What're you talking about Eragon?" The woman, Gertrude, asked as she got up and went over to the bed.
"His burns, they're gone. And his fever has broke," Eragon whispered. There was a hint of desperation to his voice, as if he wanted nothing more than for Gertrude to confirm what his eyes were telling his brain.
No, I cannot sense them in the valley anywhere, Scáth answered Harry as the occupants of the room rushed about the bed in shock and wonder.
Then we should be safe for now, though it would be a safe bet that they will eventually return. Harry reasoned as he managed to extract himself from the quickly crowding room.
Agreed, Scáth said and there were a few more minutes of silence before he asked, what was wrong with him?
Those creatures that attacked him used some sort of oil to burn his flesh, Harry answered as he ducked aside a rushing woman on the stairs. From his memories, I saw that they managed to force some of it down his throat, though thankfully not a lot. That coupled with a night unprotected in the snow is what was causing his fever. I managed to clear his system of the burning oil and heal most of the damage. The rest of it is up to him but he has a much better chance of surviving than he would if I hadn't healed him.
You are very skilled little one, Scáth said with pride and pleasure in his voice.
Harry's face flushed as he snuck out the front door, only to come face to face with a silver haired, blued eyed man with a long beard and a curved staff. He had a penetrating look on his face and a sapphire ring with a strange symbol on it that Harry had never seen before on his right hand. The man looked uncannily like Dumbledore that for a brief moment Harry thought his old mentor had somehow managed to track him down to this strange land. However, Harry quickly shook his mind of such thoughts for they were foolish. He knew that this man was the one he had been speaking with mentally earlier, a belief aided by the fact that the man was staring right at him. Given that their minds were brushing against each other, the man obviously knew that Harry was standing there but he was astounded over the fact that he couldn't see anyone. The aged looking man extended a gnarled hand, the one that wasn't holding his staff, and reached out in an attempt touch what he couldn't see.
"One shouldn't touch what one can't see," Harry whispered quietly as he dodged the hand and stepped fully outside, allowing the door to close. "You never know if it's going to bite." The man jumped at the voice and again when Harry allowed his spell to fade and he became visible once more. Harry smirked at the reactions before turning and walking away.
"Who are you?" The man asked once again, though a slight amount of respect laced his voice this time. "And where did you come from?"
"Neither of your queries are your concerns," Harry answered as he stowed his wand and he eyed the man next to him as they walked towards the forest where Scáth waited in the shadows of the pines. "Especially since you have offered naught but disrespect towards me."
The man seemed to bristle at Harry's words but his tone remained calm when he spoke again near the forests edge. "I apologize for my rudeness. My name is Brom." He held out his hand with the ring on it for Harry to shake.
"Harry," Harry returned after a few moments. He briefly shook the old man's hand but when Harry made to pull his hand back, Brom unexpectedly latched onto his wrist and forced Harry's palm upward revealing the shining silver mark that had been there ever since Harry had encountered Scáth as a hatchling. A deep rumbling growl that radiated from the shadows of the forest was the only warning Brom received before he had a face full of hot dragon breath and was staring at mouth full of razor sharp fangs. "It would be wise of you not to make any threatening gestures towards me." Harry said as he pulled his wrist free from Brom's limp fingers.
"I can see that," Brom whispered softly, never taking his eyes from those pearly white fangs. "I did not realize you were a Rider before now. My apologies," Scáth huffed out a plum of black smoke but backed off nonetheless and retreated so most of his form was hidden but his eyes never left Brom.
"What do you want from me?" Harry asked as he surveyed the surrounding area for any signs of observers.
"My initial intent was to determine whether or not you were a threat," Brom explained as he glanced between Scáth and Harry. "Now I am curious as to how you came across your dragon."
"And why is it you wish to know that?" Harry asked in the hopes of wheedling out some answers to his many questions. Scáth, having been nothing more than a hatchling when Harry came to this land, was not that much help when it came to learning of where he was and what was going on around him. The ancestral memories that the dragon possessed were only good for a faint background of the land but not the name of the country they were in or any present situations.
"Shouldn't the answer to that be rather obvious?" Brom asked with a reproachful look on his face. Harry raised a defiant eyebrow and glared at the man, not willing to let on to the fact that he knew little to nothing of the world around him. "Surely you know that the dragons have been all but extinct since the Riders fall?"
Scáth growled unhappily and Harry received images of a vicious war between two different sects of Riders. Harry was about to respond but something caught his attention in his mind's eye. The light that had represented the wounded man suddenly flickered out. Anguish poured from the boy Harry knew to be Eragon. Harry's heart lurched for the boy. He knew what it was like to lose someone you cared for. He sighed deeply with sadness but a grim smile spread over his face when Scáth gently rubbed his nose along Harry's arm.
"Be that as it may," Harry said turning his attention back to the man before him. "Answers will have to wait for later. The young Rider Eragon just lost someone dear to him. I suggest you go comfort him."
"Garrow died?" Brom questioned in shock.
"Aye," Harry answered as he grabbed the sack of food and threw it over his shoulder before climbing onto Scáth's back. "The boy grieves greatly and I wouldn't put it past him to do something reckless given his youth and inexperience."
"And what of you?" Brom questioned with an uncertain tone in his voice, as if he was torn between going to the Eragon boy and staying with Harry. "Where are you going?"
"For now, we will wait, and we will watch," Harry said enigmatically before Scáth leaped into the air and disappeared into the night sky. Brom watched them for a few minutes before turning and walking back into town.