Disclaimer: I own nothing but my OC's
Slash warning! Anyone who shouldn't or isn't allowed to read such things turn a blind eye!
CHAPTER THIRTEEN: THE DRUMS OF WAR
Harry stood on the cliffs of Du Fells Nángorörth overlooking all the peacefully sleeping Eldunarí that now rested quietly in their ancestral home. It had been only a day and a half since Harry had rescued them and his spell keeping them in a coma-like state was strong and holding steady. The elves had already laid their assault in the north and things were going good for them, especially with the assistance of two Riders. The Varden was stationed on the Burning Plains where Surda's border crossed the Jiet River. They had marched there two and a half weeks prior to Harry's and Scáth's return to Alagaësia when they had received word that Galbatorix had sent an army to invade Surda. The two forces had been just mere leagues away from each other when Galbatorix had discovered the loss of the two eggs.
Now, the two parties had met and were on the verge of engaging. Harry and Scáth had taken the past day to rest and prepare, especially since Remus and Hermione were not fully ready yet. They had decided that in the oncoming battles, they would freely use their magic along with their weapons so as to give them the upper hand so they weren't killed by a more skilled soldier. The revelation of their ease with magic would more than likely make them bigger targets but between the two of them fighting together and the wards that Harry had erected around them all, they all felt reasonably confident in their abilities to stay alive.
"Is everyone ready?" Harry questioned quietly to the other three who had been standing around him, also staring at the hundreds and hundreds of Eldunarí that were scattered about. Hermione and Remus nodded. "Then let us go earn our deserved era of peace."
The three of them all climbed onto Scáth's back, each properly spelled to be lighter than they were so as to increase Scáth's speed and so they didn't tire him out quicker. There only real concern was the approaching full moon. It was in a day's time and none of them knew how Remus' curse would react to being in a different world with different magics, even with the wolfsbane. Harry resolutely reminded himself to talk with Oromis when he got a chance about the possibility of freeing Remus from his burden. Neither Harry nor Scáth knew if it was possible but the man deserved a release.
Once they were all settled into place, Scáth crouched low before launching himself into the air. As the sun was only just beginning to rise over the horizon Scáth quickly and easily slipped through the shadows and reappeared over Du Völlar Eldvarya where the two armies were waiting almost a mile apart. The fumes being let off from the burning fires of the plains created a thick orange smog in the air, giving the entire area a surreal look, even this early in the morning when the sun was barely up.
Oh what a way to start the morning, Scáth commented dryly as over a dozen arrows came flying up at them a few minutes after they had appeared. About ten feet before they would've made impact each arrow burst into flames and lost all momentum and fell back to the earth.
"Handy wards," Remus commented as he watched the arrows fall, even as Scáth banked to the left to head towards the command pavilion. "Did you learn that here?"
"No actually," Harry answered as he turned back slightly so Remus could hear him better. "One of the books from the Black library. Sirius' great-great-grandfather Cygnus was rather paranoid and obsessed with wards and other protection spells so he collected as many books he could find on them."
"And you copied the entire library before leaving," Remus replied with a slight chuckle in amusement. "You'll have to let me read some of those books some time."
Harry just chuckled in amusement as Scáth touched down in front of the largest tent in the Varden's encampment. The three of them dismounted and Harry, who was garbed in his armor, greeted the guards that stood at attention at the front of the pavilion, two of which were Urgals. Hermione and Remus both noticed Harry stiffen at the sight of the strange, to them, creatures and how his hands twitched minutely. The guards announced their arrival and they were granted entrance.
"Lady Nasuada," Harry greeted with a smile and a deep respectful bow. "If I may, this is my godfather Remus Lupin and my good friend Hermione Granger." Everyone in the room greeted the newcomers, Hermione and Remus bowing respectfully to the obviously powerful woman.
"I'm happy you decided to join us Harry," Nasuada said as she turned her attention from those she had greeted back to Harry. "Though I am surprised you did. The others said you were busy with some other task, though they had deigned not to specify what exactly that was."
"I was spying on the King," Harry said bluntly, seeing no reason to hide what he had been doing. "During the course of which I saw him behead the last Ra'zac," he added with a slightly apologetic look to Eragon, who did indeed look more elf than human now.
"As much as I would have preferred to do that myself," Eragon said with a flash of annoyance that was gone quicker than it had appeared. "It is good that we do not have to worry about them causing any more problems."
"Indeed," Harry said, slightly impressed at how much the other boy had matured over the few months he had been gone. "Your cousin and the other villagers are also safe in the hands of the elves, who, if you haven't heard, have already attacked Gil'ead. I would not be surprised if it is not already fully under their control."
"This is excellent news," Nasuada said with a beaming smile, which quickly faded as she continued speaking. "Our own situation however is not so pleasant."
"Yes," Harry said, drawing out the word and exaggerating a small nod. "We saw the army on our way in. I honestly didn't think that many people existed in the Empire. However!" He continued with a raised finger before anyone could speak. He walked over to the side of the tent where a flap was, wandlessly conjured a full length stand alone mirror, and dragged it into the tent. "Things are not quite as bleak as you think."
"I wish I had your optimism," Jörmundur said somewhat sarcastically.
"Not optimism, practicality," Harry said and then said the words for scrying, using the version that would allow two way communication between him and whomever he was scrying. "Queen Islanzadí," he greeted after going through the traditional greeting of the elves. "How fair things with Gil'ead?"
"Aside from a few pockets of resistance the city is ours," Islanzadí said blandly and with a blank face, her usual expression. Harry did note however that she had undertones, small though they were, of contentedness, something Harry attributed to the slowly healing relationship between her and her daughter.
"Fabulous," Harry said with an acknowledging nod. "I have news of great importance and was wondering if Arya svit-kona and Osthato Chetowä were available to speak as well."
"They are," Islanzadí said somewhat stiffly. She relaxed a second later. "As he has already revealed himself, I see no reason to continue keeping his presence hidden." Harry nodded in agreement and waited patiently while Islanzadí sent off an attendant to fetch Arya and Oromis.
"What news do you bring?" Oromis questioned after the traditional greetings had been dealt with.
"The only heart he now possesses is made of flesh," Harry said, confusing everyone who was listening except for Oromis. Said elf immediately became slack jawed and stunned. "The others have been safely hidden away. I have also managed to make him temporarily forget every last true name he has ever learned."
"Wh… h… how?" Oromis stuttered in complete shock.
"The details can wait," Harry said waving off the shocked question.
"No," Oromis said firmly, interrupting whatever else Harry had been about to say. "As your teacher, I require to know just how you did what you say you've done."
Harry sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. "May I?" He asked aloud. Oromis was confused, thinking that Harry had been talking to him, and was about to say something but Harry nodded and continued speaking. "You know of one called Umaroth yes?"
"As do we all," Oromis said with a nod, growing more and more confused. He watched as Harry messed with something around his neck and muttered a few indecipherable words. Seconds later, a trunk appeared out of nowhere on the floor next to Harry, who immediately knelt down and immediately started fussing around inside. "He was Vrael's dragon, the head of our order. He perished during the fall."
"Only in body," Harry said with a nod, though no one could see it, as he was very nearly waist deep inside his trunk. He gave a grunt and groan before coming back out of his trunk carrying a white Eldunarí about thrice the size of your average watermelon. "Though he may not remember it, Glaedr and Umaroth hatched a plan to save several hearts, one of which was Umaroth's. They contacted me, asked me to retrieve them, and they assisted in freeing the other hearts."
"This… this, is… beyond words," Oromis said in stunned amazement as he reached out a hand, attempting to touch the heart.
"What are these 'hearts' exactly?" Nasuada asked in confusion and wonder as she approached the heart in Harry's hands.
"And how many do you have?" Eragon questioned as he approached the, to him, mysterious trunk. He innocently laid a hand on the open lid, intending to lean forward to look in, but he quickly pulled it back with a yelp of pain. The trunk had shocked him quite painfully before snapping shut and vanishing with a few sparks of electricity.
This can wait, Valdr said suddenly only to Harry. A sudden influx of images flew through Harry's brain and it took him a few moments to decipher them.
"Prepare for battle," Harry ordered suddenly to everyone, even Oromis, Arya, and Islanzadí. He quickly touched Umaroth's Eldunarí to his neck, causing it to vanish and return to his trunk. "An army is approaching Gil'ead and our end is about to be attacked."
Harry didn't wait for any sort of response from anyone before he whirled around and marched from the tent, ending his scrying spell in the process. He marched at a quick pace towards the front lines, magically amplifying his voice to shout at everyone to prepare for battle. Scáth had already taken flight, always being more effective in the air than he was on the ground, even during the day. By the time Harry had reached the front lines, the Empire's forces were already marching and their war engines were being prepped to launch giant ceramic balls.
"Istalrí burthro abr fyrn, rïsa fra du deloi un ach iet weohnata!" Harry commanded in the ancient language as he drew Bhuailteoir and his elven sword.
The fires that burned beneath the earth, creating The Burning Plains, suddenly rose up from the ground between the two opposing forces. Three balls of fire started coalescing high in the air above them. Every single body in the vicinity froze in what they were doing to watch the spectacle Harry was creating. When each ball resembled a miniature sun, Harry commanded Thrysta and each one made a beeline for one of the Empire's war machines. The soldiers all scrambled as the fireballs closed in. Upon impact, the fireballs exploded in wrathful fury for over a quarter mile in every direction.
"Their oaths will bind them to do as they are ordered," Harry said turning to the soldiers behind him. He absently noted that Nasuada, Eragon, and Murtagh had reached the front lines. "What say you, Lady Nasuada? Shall we give our enemies cause to fear our blades?"
"Let us turn this tide back to the black gates of Urû'baen!" Nasuada commanded inciting eager and battle ready cheers from the surrounding soldiers.
"Harry," Hermione said in concern. Plan's aside, this was a very different form of war than either her or Remus had ever experienced.
"Stay close to me," Harry said as the surrounding soldiers began marching forward over the plains, which had calmed once again. "But don't cross in front. It is very different fighting this way, I'll admit. Just remember that these people have been forced into their positions and it's not necessary to kill them. All you have to do is incapacitate them. Use your spells to your advantage."
The other two nodded their acquiesce and started marching forward with everyone else. As they marched, Harry noted that Eragon had mounted Saphira and Murtagh was striding confidently next to Fëon. The last two, Harry noted with a slight smirk, were marching closer to Harry and the others than Eragon and Saphira were. Hermione noted his smirk and looked over where he had been looking seconds before. A smirk of her own grew on her face as she turned back to give Harry a look that clearly said she could tell where Harry's mind had been wandering.
Harry just grinned and turned his focus towards the oncoming battle. He rubbed his thumb along Bhuailteoir's handle and the sword immediately started to spark with energy. The white strip in the blade began to glow ominously. Remus, who was closest to the blade, eyed the mystical sword warily and even took a few steps to the side. He trusted Harry but that didn't mean he couldn't have reservations about a sword he knew nothing about. When the blade was practically leaking energy, Harry took several leaping strides, putting himself a few feet in front of the other soldiers.
As if he were stepping on invisible steps, Harry leaped into the air several feet and started spinning. No one took notice for everyone was focusing on the approaching forces. Harry spun faster and faster. At some point, not even Harry was sure when, he had sheathed his other sword and was holding only Bhuailteoir, which he had extended and was holding with both hands. As Harry spun Bhuailteoir started releasing its pent up energy, creating a giant halo. When the halo was fully charged and Bhuailteoir was completely drained, Harry suddenly stopped spinning and dropped almost seven feet, the tip of his sword remaining perfectly level with the center of the halo and not a single centimeter below the bottom edge.
Harry swung himself back and then forward. On his way back again, Harry offset his momentum so he would swing out to the side. Again and again he did this until he was swinging in a full circle. As he swung round and round, the halo started to copy him until they looked like some strange pendulum. At just the right moment Harry swung his sword with all his might in the direction of the Empire's forces. The halo went spinning through the air, creating a humming noise as it went, no one noticed. Harry plummeted back to the earth but wasn't fazed in the slightest and immediately started in on hacking through the forces of the Empire. The halo on the other hand went sailing a good mile into the opposing forces.
"How are we supposed to stay close when you go off and do something like that?" Hermione demanded angrily as she flourished her wand and sent three soldiers flying backwards, knocking several others unconscious when they made impact.
Harry grinned in amusement and said, "You could grow wings." Hermione scowled at him but didn't bother to comment given that she was preoccupied.
It's active. Scáth informed him almost two hours later after he had finished unleashing a torrent of flame upon a section of soldiers.
Good, Harry said as he dented a soldier's helm with the pummel of his sword. Inform the others. Make sure they stay out of the air and keep yourself at a safe distance.
"Harry what did you do?" Remus questioned mere moments later after rendering someone unconscious. The air had started moving, creating a pulling sensation northward where the halo was. Every soldier who wasn't a part of the Varden was being forcibly pulled towards the source.
"I ended this war," Harry said with finality as the fighting gradually stopped all around them.
All around them, the Empire's forces were being pulled away from the Varden. A tornado started forming of all the soldiers that the halo was sucking in. More and more soldiers were pulled in. It seemed like an endless stream of bodies that would never end. The halo pulsed with power as it seemed to only grow stronger and more powerful, sucking them all in at a faster rate. The Varden crowded around at a safer distance and watched in awe and wonder. Eventually, the last of the Empire's forces were sucked into the vortex. With the last of the soldiers sucked in, the halo collapsed.
"What did you do?" Remus questioned again, shock and just a little bit of fear evident in his voice.
"Like I said," Harry said as he reached out his hand and plucked a necklace out of the air that had suddenly come zooming towards him. It was nearly identical to the invisible one around his neck that contained his trunk. "I ended this war. The soldiers were bound to oaths they were forced to swear in the ancient language to Galbatorix. Most, if not all, never wanted to be in the army, in any army. It wasn't right to have to kill them just because of one man. So I imprisoned them. They'll be perfectly fine. They're just kept in a state of suspended animation."
"You are a great warrior Lightstriker," a nearby Kull stated in its harsh and gurgling voice. It had been close enough to listen in on Harry's explanation. "And wiser than any human I have met." Harry stared at the Kull briefly before he lifted his head and bared his neck, a sign of respect and trust among the Urgal culture.
"Wise indeed," Nasuada said as she marched towards them. "I would greatly like to know how you did that."
"A secret from my home world," Harry said as he handed over the prisoners. "A secret that cannot and will not be shared. When you are ready I will release them for you."
"Can you do this again?" Nasuada questioned as she gazed into the mesmerizing little diamond.
"One time trick," Harry lied through his teeth, though Hermione and Remus were the only ones that didn't believe him. "My I go rest my lady? That took a great deal of energy."
"Yes. This battle took less time than we all anticipated thanks to you and you have definitely earned a reprieve, we all have." Nasuada said with a nod, gesturing to all the soldiers around her as she said that last.
Harry nodded and marched off back towards the heart of the Varden encampment, Hermione and Remus following close behind. Half way towards his destination, Scáth landed next to the trio and proceeded to follow them. Harry picked a place on the edge of the encampment where no one else had set up a tent. He proceeded to conjure a tent and place several other spells on and around it so the three of them could fit comfortably inside and would be alerted should anyone nearby come within a certain distance, giving them ample time to prevent anyone from noticing anything out of the ordinary.
"So what spell did you use?" Hermione questioned eagerly once they had entered the tent and settled down. "I've never heard of one that was able to do something like that. Was it something else you learned in the Black library?"
"Actually it's from one of the books in the Restricted Section," Harry said with a bit of a weary sigh as he relaxed into a comfortable armchair he had conjured. "I first used it to store my trunk so I would always have it with me and wouldn't have to worry about dragging the thing all over the place, which is what the spell was originally designed for. It took me two years to alter the spell and prepare for that moment."
"What made you think to alter the spell for such a purpose though?" Remus questioned as he conjured some tea and poured everyone a cup.
"I knew we would be coming back to a full scale war," Harry said after taking a relaxing sip of the surprisingly delicious tea. "I also knew that a good deal of the people didn't want to fight for the Empire. I started thinking over how we could possibly minimize the loss of innocent lives that had likely been forced into service against their wills. It was actually Scáth who had the stroke of genius." Outside Scáth rumbled in embarrassment and Harry smirked in amusement. "He asked me if it were possible to use the spell I used on my trunk on something living. Thus sparked my two year endeavor to alter the spell."
"Are you sure they'll be alright though?" Hermione questioned in concern.
"I tested the spell several times throughout the process," Harry said with a slight grimace as he recalled the first stages of his experimenting. "The first few tries were a bit… messy but thankfully I was only testing it on insects. Once they started surviving, I moved onto larger creatures. I even tried it on Dumbledore a few times." He couldn't help but add with a vindictive smirk.
"Is that why he disappeared for three weeks around your birthday?" Remus asked in realization.
"I honestly haven't a clue as to what you are referring," Harry said in mock innocence, so convincing that for a split second the other two actually believed him. "Come on in Murtagh." He said suddenly, confusing his friends briefly before Murtagh walked into the tent.
"You never stop watching do you?" Murtagh questioned in amusement as he walked in. He paused momentarily to marvel at the space differential between the exterior and the interior of the tent. However, since he had just witnessed Harry imprison an entire army, he quickly moved on.
"Nope, habit," Harry said in way of explanation as he gestured to the spare chair he had taken the liberty of conjuring before the other man had shown up. Outside, Harry felt Fëon land next to where Scáth had been laying. He smirked when he felt a spike in his dragon's attention and eagerness. He would've teased Scáth about it if his own attention hadn't spiked when he felt Murtagh's approach. "So what brings you over this way?"
"I wanted to avoid more heart attacks so I thought I'd come spy on you," Murtagh jested with a pointed smirk at Harry.
"I bet Oromis feels the same way," Harry laughed. His smile brightened even more when Murtagh joined in the mirth. "I swear I thought he was going to have a stroke when I told him I had rescued all those Eldunarí."
"Speaking of," Murtagh said when he had regained control over his breathing. "Is that how you…?" his voice trailed off as Harry nodded in affirmation. Murtagh was silent for a few moments before speaking up again. "Why did Oromis not teach us about these Eldunarí?"
Because a dragon's Eldunarí holds their very life, Umaroth answered just as Harry was about to. Also, as you've seen, they can amplify a spell casters strength greatly. In the early days of the Rider's order, it had become somewhat common for the younger dragons to disgorge their hearts just to impress their Riders. This led to… less than agreeable happenings and usually resulted in the dragons greatly regretting their decision. It had then become the practice of the older dragons to teach and encourage the younger ones to keep their hearts secret until they had been bonded with their Rider for some time and the two of them came to know each other better. Even then, the dragons of our order were not encouraged to disgorge their hearts. Only when one reached a great age did they finally make the decision to do so or not.
"Aptly put," Harry said with a nod, knowing that everyone had heard the dragon's words. "How are things progressing in Gil'ead?"
Well, Umaroth answered after a brief moment of silence. Two Riders and a host of elven warriors is not a force to be trifled with and the force sent to Gil'ead had not actually been expecting to be attacked.
"Good," Harry said with a pleased nod.
"What about the king?" Murtagh questioned, thinking that Umaroth and the other Eldunarí that Harry had with him were spying on the king as they had been on Gil'ead.
"My memory wipe is slowly fading," Harry said as he scratched his chin in thought and assessed his monitoring spells. "His knowledge of the Ancient Language is still lost to him, even though he is no doubt attempting to read the many scrolls and tomes he stole from the library on Vroengard. Everything else I wiped though is slowly starting to come back. I would not be surprised if he regained full awareness within a week. At which time he will likely march from Urû'baen and hunt me down himself."
"By which time you will have a plan in place no doubt," Remus said, half joking, half serious. "I have no doubt that you would not have created such an opportune window and fail to use it to its fullest."
"Oh you know me to well Remus, too we–"
Harry cut himself off as he suddenly went ridged and his face scrunched up in pain. Scáth let out a menacing and feral half snarl half growl as he attempted to aide his Rider in the mysterious fight. Unfortunately, they weren't prepared for something like this and they ended up failing. Harry let out an extremely painful wail as he clutched his hands to his head and suddenly vanished in a flash of light. The others scrambled about in confusion and worry while Scáth let out a defiant and horribly angry roar that echoed for miles and miles around and struck fear into the heart of every living creature that had the miss fortune of hearing the sound. Even Saphira and Fëon, two creatures that had no reason to fear Scáth, felt the paralyzing sensation crawl into their hearts.
"Seize him!" Someone ordered when Harry had rematerialized and the pain had ceased. Harry, who had rematerialized on his knees with his hands to his head, immediately felt two sets of arms grabbing both of his and he was hauled to his feet. With the pain gone, Harry managed to look around the room. He was in a massive cathedral, one that rivaled the size of Hogwarts' Great Hall.
"I'm impressed," Harry quipped as he was dragged down the aisle towards an altar. He played the part of helpless prisoner well and attempted to fight the soldiers dragging him towards the altar. "I didn't think simple human magicians could muster such complicated magic."
"Then you would be pleased to note that it cost us four of our strongest magicians." The same person spoke, drawing Harry's attention to a slew of corpses, one of which was merely a mutilated torso with a head attached at the top.
"It would have cost you more had I been prepared," Harry said as he took stock of just what he was being dragged towards. On the altar were two eggs, hideous eggs. They were black but appeared to be oozing a black, tar like liquid. It really was disgusting and nearly made Harry empty his already vacant stomach. "Ra'zac eggs I presume."
"You are to be their first meal," the man said. He was obviously a priest of some sort but having never been to Dras Leona before (he discovered as much from nearby unguarded minds) Harry could not be sure. "We were alerted when the last of our lords perished and per their instructions, we are to raise them once more."
"Oh well that's nice," Harry said with fake sincerity. "Would you mind if I give you a bit of advice before you kill me?"
"What could you possibly have to offer from your position?"
"Always disarm your opponent when you have the chance," Harry said with a vicious smirk.
Everyone in the room barely had enough time to look down at Harry's waist before Harry exploded into action. Far stronger than his captors had taken him to be, Harry pulled his arms across his chest and slammed the two soldiers into each other, rendering them unconscious. In quick succession, Harry had his swords drawn and had demolished both revolting eggs to bits and pieces. A host of arrows suddenly flew at Harry from unseen archers but they burned to ash before they even got close. Instead of fleeing, as he should have and would have in the past, Harry threw Bhuailteoir at the priest. The blade sunk hilt deep in the man's chest but continued flying, pulling the man with it, and sunk itself into one of the black walls of the cathedrals.
"Solvite," Harry commanded in Latin as he turned and calmly stalked back down the aisle towards the cathedral's doors. This was another little trick that Harry had planned during the two years he had been in service to the gods. He had never truly planned on using it, indeed he had hoped that he would never even have to consider it, but the things he had found in the minds of the people of this city… such revolting things. The things these citizens put up with, the things they tolerated, made Harry sick to his stomach.
The minute the word left Harry's mouth, Bhuailteoir reacted. It started sucking in both the light and darkness, absorbing the energy from both opposing forces. The black diamond in the swords pummel began to visibly pulse with power and the remaining soldiers in the room looked at it in wonder and fear. The body that was pinned against the wall slowly disintegrated with the force of energy radiating from the powerful blade. The stone wall of the cathedral began to crack and split apart. The giant pipes that allowed the entire city to hear the insidious songs of the warped religion began to sing a new song, a song of warning; a song of death.
The cracks in the wall spread farther and farther. The building began to quake and grumble. The soldiers began to scatter in fear as fire erupted from the cracks and giant slabs of stone started to fall from the high ceiling. Harry was oblivious to it all or he appeared to anyways. He just calmly walked towards and then out of the doors. He continued walking until a line of soldiers, who had noticed his drawn sword, stopped him. They demanded that he relinquish his weapon and immediately surrender but Harry just stood there staring at them.
Seconds later the cathedral collapsed in on itself causing shock to spread among the nearby faces. That was nothing though compared to what happened next. The stone pile that had once been a hideously beautiful building dissolved into nothing as Bhuailteoir continued to suck in the power it needed. The blade kicked up the wind as it rose into the sky and started to spin. Faster and faster it spun, much in the way the halo had done mere hours before. Fire erupted from the heart of the whirling tornado, turning a simple beauty into a deadly force.
When there was nothing but a pillar of spinning fire in the heart of the city, Bhuailteoir slammed down into the earth and released in full its absorbed energy. A shock wave of enormous proportions pulsed from where the sword had struck the earth, spreading the fire tornado everywhere. Every building in the city had been eradicated but the wave didn't stop there. It traveled all the way to Helgrind and, with seeming ease, leveled all four peaks. In a matter of moments, Dras Leona was nothing more than a scorch mark next to Leona Lake and Helgrind a pile of pebbles. When the smoke cleared enough to see, it was obvious that nothing was left. No trinkets or baubles, no family heirlooms, not even charred wood from the homes. Dras Leona had been destroyed in every single way.
"Your lives have been spared," Harry called loudly to every human that stood where they had been before their city had been eradicated. He held our his right hand and Bhuailteoir came flying out of the ground and came to rest in his outstretched hand. "Galbatorix will be eliminated. I suggest you choose your allegiances wisely. You've been warned."
Harry stalked forward and vanished into the shadows created by the clouds of dust and smoke. He reappeared on the other side in Nasuada's tent, where everyone had gathered in an emergency council to discuss how Harry had disappeared and who would've had the means to do so. He didn't stop to sooth the feathers of the people he had startled and he completely ignored the weapons that had immediately been trained on him. Instead, he started pacing back and forth in front of Scáth, who had his head stuck in through one of the flaps of the tent just like the other two dragons. It was obvious he was agitated and as he still had his swords in his hands, no one wanted to approach him.
"Harry," Remus finally dared after watching the youth pace agitatedly for several minutes.
"They had to know," Harry declared suddenly as he slammed his weapons into their sheaths and crossed his arms over his chest, never once missing a beat in his pacing. "After all, how could they not?"
"What are you talking about Harry?" Hermione questioned, relaxing a little bit more when Harry's agitation seemed to wane slightly and no longer looked ready to slay anyone who crossed his path.
"The gods!" Harry said almost hysterically, emphatically thrusting out his hands with his fingers curled as if he were about to choke someone. "The gods! They had to have known what would happen, otherwise why would they sentence me like that, forcing me to spend two years making preparations when I wasn't tending to Riddle's soul, which in all actuality wasn't that difficult."
"Harry you're not–" Hermione's words were cut off as Harry continued ranting.
"I mean seriously," Harry said, his voice returning to a more reasonable level as he once more crossed his arms. "Riddle mangled his soul, which would fall under the category of the manipulation of a human's soul, so why sentence me and not him unless they had other motives."
Harry! Scáth said firmly and with a snap of his jaws as Harry made another pass in front of him. Even I am having trouble following your thoughts.
"Sorry," Harry said as he finally stopped his pacing and took a deep breath. Not bothering to hide anything, Harry waved his hand and conjured yet another mirror and once again brought forth an image of Oromis, Arya, and Islanzadí. "My point was," he continued before activating the alteration to the spell to allow two-way communication. The three on the other end were having an apparently heated conversation and Harry didn't wish to interrupt. "It is my belief that the gods sentenced me the way they did simply to keep me there and gave me plenty of time to prepare and come up with several little tricks and surprises for the Empire before returning to the war."
"What do you mean sentenced?" Eragon questioned in confusion as Harry finally altered his spell to allow two-way communication when the argument between elves seemed to have ended.
"When I returned to my home world I ended the war there in two days," Harry said bluntly, seeing no reason to hide the fact that he was a stranger to this land any further. His nativity would become suspect anyways in a few minutes. "I would have returned then if it hadn't been for the fact that roughly fifteen figures shrouded in white light froze all of space and time and sentenced me to being the keeper of Riddle's soul for two years as punishment for using the ancient language to manipulate that same soul." He paused briefly as he started pacing again, only more controlled this time. "I don't understand why they did this when Riddle had mangled his own soul in an attempt to gain immortality. The only reason I can think of as to why they did this was that they were, in their own weird way, attempting to aide in this war. They were trying to make sure I took the time to prepare."
"Harry," Oromis said after a few moments of thoughts. "What you're saying is impossible."
"Ah ah ah ah," Harry said raising a finger at the aged elf, who looked slightly offended at the action. "I understand the elves beliefs, or lack thereof, but I have the memories to prove it. I had been just as atheistic as any elf but this wasn't just a random, drug-induced hallucination. This was a deliberate intervention by divine beings that gave me plenty of time to find, alter, and prepare a spell that I just used to completely level Dras Leona and Helgrind when priests of that hideously disgusting religion kidnapped me and attempted to sacrifice me to two Ra'zac hatchlings."
"You leveled an entire city?" Nasuada questioned in shock. "On your own?"
In response, Harry uttered another spell of scrying. The mirror he was using split in half and displayed a new scene while keeping the contact with the elves. The new scene showed an aerial view of Leona Lake. On the eastern edge was a huge scorch mark that marked the place where Dras Leona once stood. A few miles south was a massive pile of pebbles that marked the remains of Helgrind. In between both was a large line of people that were heading south along the edges of the lake, likely heading towards Belatona, the nearest city that could offer any sort of support for them.
"Other than the priests," Harry said a few minutes later after he ended the second spell. "Everyone is still alive, even the animals. The spell I used was originally designed to destroy whatever it was directed at but I managed to alter it and change it so it would only destroy nonliving things. The fact that it destroyed everything was simply a result of the amount of power behind the spell."
"You have that much power?" Hermione questioned in shock. She didn't think anyone had that much power, not even Voldemort or Dumbledore.
"No," Harry said with a snort of amusement. "Part of my alteration to the spell was that it took its power from magic itself, with the caster as the governor so it didn't simply eradicate all life on the planet."
"We really must have a chat when this is all over," Oromis said with a wistful look in his eyes. It was very clear that the old elf wanted nothing more than to learn the complexities of Harry's type of magic.
"As you wish," Harry said with an indulgent smile on his face. He then waited patiently while Oromis endured one of his many seizures. When the elf had collected himself, Harry continued on. "Back to the war though, we have a window on our hands that is rapidly closing."
"The memory wipe you performed on Galbatorix," Nasuada said, rejoining the conversation.
"You said you made him forget every word in the Ancient Language?" Arya questioned as she recalled the brief conversation that had stunned her, her mother, and Oromis beyond words only that morning. When Harry nodded, she continued. "Then he would be no more than a man who rides a dragon. If we could take advantage of this, our biggest threat would be Shruikan."
"My thoughts exactly," Harry said but continued before anyone could get too hopeful. "However, there is the problem of getting to Urû'baen before he remembers everything. Scáth and I could easily get to the city in a matter of moments but even with his lack of information regarding gramarye we would be sorely out matched. The five of us," he gestured at the other Rider's. "Would have a decent chance, more than decent actually, of taking him and Shruikan down but he no doubt has little pet magicians all around him that would come to his aid. We need the force of the Elves and the Varden there to distract his forces while we take him down."
"With Dras Leona eliminated, we no longer have to worry about guarding our backs," Nasuada said as she unfurled a map on top of the large table that took up most of the tent. "Belatona would still be at our backs but they have to cross The Jiet, which would slow them greatly. The same goes for Feinster. Even if we left this very moment we would not reach Urû'baen for at least a month, if not more, especially since we would have to take the time to either skirt or take Melian. It is too small to pose a huge threat but they could still be troublesome if we left them unchecked."
"One of the numerous problems when it comes to trying to take advantage of this window," Harry said with a sigh as he started pacing back and forth. "I have a feeling that we won't be able to take advantage of this window at all and all I've done is bought us some time in which to further our strides towards taking the Empire."
"If your spell is not permanent and already fading," Oromis said with a thoughtful frown on his face. "Then I would have to agree with that assessment. Our best course of action would be to act as if Galbatorix is still acting at full capacity."
"I believe that is best," Nasuada said with a nod. She was about to say something else but stopped as she and everyone else gasped aloud and fell to their knees.
Who freed us? We are free. Free we are. Why? The sound of a thousand different voices echoed within their minds, even the well shielded minds like Nasuada's. Who? You! They all said, focusing in on Harry, who was only partially shielded by the Eldunarí around his neck. We see the memories. You freed us. We are grateful. Grateful we are. Freedom we have. Why?
Because it was right, Harry responded in the ancient language and with a painful whimper. The power behind the voices, who were obviously the Eldunarí that had woken from the slumber that Harry had placed them in. And because it would weaken the Black King. With you out of the way, his defeat would come at a lesser price.
Grateful we are, they said, their voices resounding painfully. Magic we feel. Gift we give. Concern we see. Control we shall grant. Remus was suddenly engulfed in a soft, multicolored glow. He gasped and curled in on himself. It seemed longer but in reality it only lasted a few seconds. He is cursed but it is his curse now. Thank you! With that the voices left everyone, leaving behind an almost painful silence.
"What was that?" Nasuada questioned as she struggled back to her feet.
"The Eldunarí," Harry said, still lying on the ground panting. His mind was still recovering from such an ordeal and trying to figure out just what the Eldunarí had done to Remus, who was lying on the ground almost completely unresponsive. "They broke the sleeping spell I placed on them. They were, evidently, very grateful for what I had done."
"What did they mean when they said that the curse was his now?" Eragon questioned as he looked over to Remus, who was finally starting to move.
"It is a private matter that only he may discuss should he choose to do so," Harry said as he managed to get to his feet. He looked briefly to Scáth to make sure he was alright. Being a dragon though, Scáth was much more capable of handling the mental intrusion of his own kind. "Are you alright?" He asked, directing the question to Remus.
"I think so," Remus said as he shifted to lay on his back. "Just let me get back to you on that."
"So," Harry said with a smirk at Remus' comment. "Where were we before we were once again interrupted?"
"I was agreeing with Oromis," Nasuada said as she sat down in her seat, rather miffed at being brought to her knees in such a fashion. "We will cross the Jiet River tomorrow since it is already approaching sunset. I suggest you all go and rest. Today has been one very busy day."
"Harry," Oromis called as everyone else filed out.
"Yes Ebrithil?" Harry said as he approached the mirror.
"If you plan on continuing to use your type of magic openly I suggest you guard your back more carefully," Oromis cautioned with a concerned expression on his normally reserved face. "You were not informed but Galbatorix has spies everywhere. Whether he remembers or not right now, he will likely have ordered his pet magicians to target you as you, right now, are one of his biggest threats and it is quite possible that they will target your friends in order to get to you."
"Thank you, Ebrithil," Harry said with a deep and respectful bow. "I will take extra precautions."
With that, Harry ended the scrying spell and left the tent, following the same path his friends did towards his tent. Once there, he collapsed heavily into one of the armchairs, allowing his resolve to drain. The stress of the past several weeks finally caught up with him and he just sat there trying ignore his sore muscles. After a few minutes, he built up the strength to move and started removing his armor. Hermione and Remus were off in their own sections of the tent, likely cleaning up and removing all the sweat and grime that had built up on their bodies during the few hours of fighting they had participated in before Harry captured all the soldiers.
"So," Harry said when Remus came out into the main living area, clean and refreshed. "Do we know anything of what the Eldunarí did towards your affliction?"
"As far as I can tell, nothing," Remus said as he sat down in a chair next to Harry's. "I can still feel the wolf in the back of my head like always. However, it seems... calmer almost. It doesn't seem to be quite as bloodthirsty as it has once been."
"Well, I suppose we'll see later when the moon rises." Harry said as he wearily rubbed his face. Tonight was the fool moon and they were all preparing for what Remus might go through with his curse in this strange new world but since none of them knew how Remus would be affected here on a night of the full moon they could only do the best they could. The Eldunarí had just complicated the issue.
"Harry?" Someone called from outside their tent as a knock sounded on the frame. Harry recognized Murtagh's voice and immediately bade him entrance. "I just came to see how you all were doing considering everything that's happened today."
"Yes, it has been a rather busy day today hasn't it?" Harry mused with a heavy sigh as he gestured for Murtagh to come in and take a seat next to him. "It's hard to imagine that so much can happen in one single day."
"Unfortunately, that is war." Remus said with a sigh of his own. His skin was itching though oddly not as madly as it usually did on a night of a full moon.
"It's almost night fall." Hermione said as she cast a tempus spell to check the time. "I'll go help Remus prepare."
"Call if you need anything!" Harry called to the two retreating forms who acknowledge his words with a backwards wave of their hands.
"What, if I may, are they preparing for?" Murtagh questioned hesitantly, turning his attention to Harry.
"Remus was cursed when he was a young boy, five I think." Harry started explaining, rubbing his forehead in weariness before conjuring some tea, hoping the caffeine would wake him up a little. He would not rest comfortably until he knew what was going on with Remus. "Every month on the full moon he is forced to endure a transformation that turns him into a ravenous beast consumed with bloodlust. Over time a potion was developed that allowed him to retain his human mind on nights of the full moon. We have no idea how his curse will react while he is in this world and the Eldunarí have only given us more questions than answers."
"It sounds like he has led a difficult life." Murtagh said with sympathy leaking into his voice.
"We all have." Harry replied with a slight scowl before it vanished.
Before he could say anything else, Harry was stunned into silence as he found his lips suddenly occupied by the very lips he had dreamed about and missed for two years. Sighing in bliss through his nose, not daring or wanting to break the kiss, Harry raised his hands to wrap around the other boy, one going high enough to tangle in Murtagh's thick, long brown hair. A slight yank of his arms had the other boy in his lap with a slight squeak of surprise. Harry smiled into the kiss, finding the squeak immensely adorable. He pulled back briefly to gaze into the steel grey eyes that he found himself falling so deeply for before he captured those delicious lips once again. Not once did either of them notice when Hermione came back from deeper in the tent intent on asking Harry something but freezing when she saw what the two were doing. A slight blush marred her cheeks even as she smiled before she quietly retraced her steps.
Distantly, Harry felt Scáth close their connection enough to give the two Riders privacy but still not completely closing it. Harry also distantly felt that Scáth was busy with enjoying the presence of his own crush in Fëon, though not as physically as Harry and Murtagh were currently getting. Harry felt his blood heat up in passion when Murtagh gasped when Harry slipped a hand under the other boy's shirt to run his hand along the bare skin and well-toned body. Feeling that things were about to get a little explicit, Harry surged to his feet with Murtagh in his arms, causing the other boy to squeak once again. Thinking that the other boy was going to be squeaking for the rest of his life if he squeaked again, Harry moved them into the bedroom he had claimed as his earlier.
Laying them both down on the full sized bed, Harry divested Murtagh of his shirt so he could have full access to that sculpted torso. He removed his own shirt when Murtagh's hands complained and fidgeted with his garment. Harry ran a thumb over one of Murtagh's beautiful, quarter sized and aroused nipples and the other boy arched, gasping in unexpected pleasure. Smirking deviously, Harry latched his mouth onto the sensitive nipple and began teasing the boy beneath him, using his hand to toy with the other nipple. It did not take long for Murtagh to become a writhing mass, so far gone in the haze of lust and pleasure that he did not notice Harry's hand moving until it had suddenly slipped beneath the waist line of his pants and gripped his erect member with a calloused yet soft touch.
An unconscious spell from Harry had them both completely naked. The green eyed teen slowly started kissing his way down Murtagh's stomach, occasionally lingering long enough to leave a few love bites, until he surprised Murtagh for the hundredth time by taking almost all of the boy's seven leaking inches into his mouth. Murtagh let out a chest deep moan that reverberated through Harry's chest. Harry knew the other boy was quite possibly close to releasing so he took things slow and light, making sure not to tease the head too much.
Letting Murtagh fall out of his mouth, Harry mouthed his way down the shaft until he reached the base on the underside and began nursing that area. Moving them into a slightly more convenient position with him resting between Murtagh's spread legs; Harry silently lubricated one of his fingers with his own spit before moving it to Murtagh's entrance and gently slipping it in. Neither teen had any experience under their belt, though Harry had fantasized quite a lot, so Murtagh had not been expecting the intrusion at any point, or even what Harry was doing. However, he was so lost in the haze of pleasure Harry had induced in him that the only thing he could do was fist his hands in Harry's hair.
When Harry had worked three of his fingers into the other boy, he stopped his ministrations and moved up to capture those moaning lips once again. He moved his hips a few times to make their members rub against each other, causing pleasure to race through both of their systems. When he could not take the teasing any longer, Harry took one hand and positioned himself before pushing forward gently, entering Murtagh. Harry gasped in pleasure as warmth enveloped his member, nearly causing him to climax right there and Murtagh gasped in a combination of shock, pleasure, and pain.
"Harry." Murtagh moaned, his conflicting sensations showing in his face and voice.
"Ok?" Harry questioned, surprised he could manage even that.
Murtagh's response was to press their lips together in a fierce kiss while raising his legs to wrap around Harry's back and waist. Before he had even finished pushing all the way into Murtagh, Harry pulled back and then pushed back in, starting out slow and sensuous but quickly building up momentum. Air seemed to become an unnecessary commodity as the two moaned in time with Harry's thrust. The occasional slap could be heard when Harry slammed forward all the way before quickly pulling back again.
On one of Harry's thrusts Murtagh broke their kiss as he gasped and arched in shock and unprecedented pleasure. Harry was not sure what he did but he aimed to do it again, loving the look that had taken up residence on Murtagh's face. It took him a few tries of angling himself right before he found the spot again and Murtagh arched again, this time moaning. Again and again Harry hit that spot, sending them both to higher heights as Murtagh twitched uncontrollably in pleasure. Before long, they were both crying out as they spilled their seed with the force of a freight train. Murtagh's had such velocity behind it that it managed to hit the underside of Harry's chin and coating both of their chests in the sticky fluid.
When they were both spent, Harry collapsed on top of Murtagh, panting in exhaustion and contentedness just like Murtagh. Sleep tried to take him then and there but he fought it off long enough to roll off Murtagh and cast a cleaning spell on them both before covering them with the blankets. As sleep took them both, Harry pulled Murtagh close to his chest and nuzzled down into the other boy's neck.