We cut off the flow of our combined magics, and stared at the terrible sight below us— a monstrous castle bathed in massive crimson and blue flames, lighting up surrounding lands for hundreds of miles in all directions.
Clouds of smoke billowed up into the sky, darkening it even further, contrasting against the light from the powerful flames.
The screams had stopped quite a while back; and, even if they were still screaming, we probably wouldn’t be able to hear them over the roar of the fires consuming anything and everything flammable in Harrenhal.
“Incredible…” Jon breathed, staring down at the destruction, before looking at his own hands, as if seeing them for the first time.
“Do you understand, now, Jon?” I asked calmly while patting Hestia on the head. “This is what magic is capable of. What are swords against that? What is an army?”
Jon nodded solemnly. “It is a terrible power, indeed.”
§I’m hungry.§ Hestia hissed a few seconds later, completely killing the serious mood we had going.
I sighed, rolled my eyes, and replied. §Well, let’s get going, then.§
“Jon.” I said, and nodded at Hestia, while invoking my Air Raid.
He got on her back without hesitation, and we took off.
A minute later, we landed at the same spot where I had left Tywin prior. A few Mallister men were waiting for us, giving us awed stares as we approached them.
“Take me to Tywin Lannister— and bring some meat, as well.” I ordered, reining my energy back in. The wings winked out of existence, the bluish white light going with it.
They took a second to register the words, before nodding hurriedly and leading the way through the large encampment of men who are also staring at us in awe.
“They’re the second coming of Aegon the Conqueror!” One whispered to his comrades. The dam broke as everyone began to cheer.
“The Flame Wolf!”
I smiled and waved, urging Jon to do same, though he did it half heartedly. Likely, he wasn’t used to such positive attention.
“In here, my lord.” We stopped at Mallister’s command tent.
I nodded. “Thank you. I assume Lord Mallister is also inside?”
“Yes.” One nodded.
“Good. That will be all for now.” I dismissed them before entering the tent, Hestia and Jon right behind me.
Lord Mallister was already inside, reading a missive, while Tywin Lannister was bound in a chair to the side. The table had already been cleared of everything that could possibly help the head of the Lannister House.
“Very thorough,” I thought to myself as Jason took notice of our presence.
“To an extent, you said?” Jason quoted what I had said to him not twenty minutes before, mouth quirked in a smirk. “A second Burning. I never thought I’d see its like. And, those blue flames…” He glanced at Jon, who looked away towards Hestia, who had settled in the back of the tent.
“Ah… An illustrious teacher, then?” Jason stated, eyes flying between Jon and I.
“Yes.” I confirmed as a few men came in with a basket full of meat, which they carefully placed near Hestia. The moment they backed away, she tore into it, cooking it with her fire breath.
“Jon had the magical potential. That’s why Ice chose him, after all.” I gestured to the great sword on his back, after we stopped staring at Hestia.
“Indeed?” Jason scratched his beard thoughtfully. “I had wondered why His Grace, King Robb, hadn’t taken the blade for himself.”
“Magic is not something to take lightly.” Jon said, repeating one of my many lessons to him. “You can learn it, feel it, become one with it, but it is a powerful force. Its choices carry incredible weight— I simply choose to respect its choice, and so does my brother.”
“Fascinating.” Jason said, before shaking off his amazement. “My apologies, Lord Stark, Lord Potter. I have allowed myself to indulge in my curiosity for long enough.”
“No worries.” I waved it off before turning my attention to the unconscious Tywin Lannister and pulling my wand out. “We might as well get started, though. Rennervate!“
Red light covered Tywin’s form for a few moments, seeping into the skin and bringing him back to the land of consciousness.
He shifted slightly, likely making note of his restraints, and stilled for a few moments, eyes still closed.
Playing possum? I supposed it would have worked had I not woken him up, myself.
“Lord Tywin Lannister.” I said, rolling my eyes. “You can drop the act. We know you’re awake.”
A few seconds passed, before the man’s eyes opened. Green speckled with gold landed at Lord Mallister, Jon and I, before they resumed their coverage of his entire field of view, though he seemed to completely ignore Hestia as he did so.
“He’s noting the exit, the tent itself, and likely using this silence to gather his thoughts.” Erebus whispered to me, slightly impressed. “A bold, and quite intelligent human, indeed.”
His eyes settled back onto me, before stopping for a few moments and flying wildly back to Hestia, who was busy tearing through the meat offered to her. He stared at her for a long moment, before schooling his features and turning his eyes back to me.
“Who are you?” His voice was cautious, but strong.
“Straight to the point, then?” I smiled humorlessly. “My name is Harry Potter.”
His facial expression barely shifted as he took in the name. I had to hand it to the guy, he could hold a pretty composed expression.
“You are the Blackscale, then?” There was a hint of disdain in the way he said it.
I showed him my right arm, in response. The hexagonal black scales of Balthazar gleamed in the torchlight. He stared at it for a while, and then back at my eyes.
“I’ve burnt Harrenhal to the ground, much like Aegon Targaryen did, almost three centuries past. Your army is in shambles. Your levies at Oxcross are likely being slaughtered as we speak.”
I waited a few moments before talking once more. “The Ironborn attack your lands with impunity. Your coastal cities burn, and you can do nothing to save them.”
I let those facts sink in for a few, long moments. “I only really have one question for you.”
I fixed him with a piercing gaze. “Were you the one who hired the Faceless Men to kill the King Robert and the Lord Stark?”
He didn’t answer, his face betraying nothing.
§He’s confused.§ Balthazar hissed to me. §I can smell it.§
“You’re confused.” I noted condescendingly. “You don’t understand why I would ask such a question. Clearly, they were hired with your money, so why do I simply assume it was on your orders?”
Tywin didn’t give a single sign that I’d gotten to him, but I knew I’d pretty much said what he was thinking, word for word. No way in hell I didn’t get to him.
“The answer you give will determine your fate; either death or banishment. I’m sure you can tell which answer leads you where— and, a lie leads you to death, just so we’re clear.” I explained calmly.
I raised my left hand and drew my Lightning forth, filling the tent with a low chirping noise and a strong bluish white light. “Answer carefully, Tywin Lannister.”
“What will happen to my House?” Tywin replied with a question of his own.
Amusing; he thought he could get control of the conversation, even in this situation? I was half tempted to just kill him and move on.
Still, I supposed such brass was to be rewarded, even if it was irritating as all hell.
“Your son, Tyrion, will rule the Westerlands.” I ended up humoring him.
His face turned even stonier.
I hadn’t thought that was possible.
I also didn’t care about how he felt.
“As for Cersei Lannister, her life is forfeit. I will spare her two younger children.” I continued, his body language not affecting me in the least. “Joffrey dies, and so does his mother.”
Tywin opened his mouth to speak, but I closed my hand, the Lightning exploding with a shockwave which rattled the man, along with the chair he was tied to.
“They could have worked to better their situation peacefully.” I almost snarled.
“Joffrey would have inherited the whole of the Westerlands; is this not so?” I questioned, staring at my left hand. “Their greed and lust for power has led to war.”
“A war that you’ve lost horribly— make no mistake about that.” I reminded.
“So, I’ll ask you again.”
“Tywin Lannister.” I turned back to him and held eye contact. “If you don’t answer, this time, you will die. Did you, or did you not hire the Faceless Men to kill King Robert and Lord Stark?”
A long moment passed.
“I did not.” He finally said.
§He’s telling the truth. I feel nothing but apprehension and a healthy amount of fear from him.§ Balthazar hissed to me. Erebus echoed in agreement.
I stared at the head of House Lannister for a few moments, before nodding.
“I believe you.”
And then I waved my wand, Vanishing the man’s bindings. I stifled a grin at the expression on his face.
I could tell he was trying hard to seem nonchalant about the impossible feats he was witnessing.
“Your sons will be here shortly.” I said, waving Hestia over and making to leave. “Lord Mallister will decide how your exile shall progress. Until then, you shall be our… honored guest, shall we say?” I nodded to Jason.
“Of course.” Lord Mallister replied dutifully.
§Hestia!§ I hissed towards the back of the tent and left the tent.
The most dangerous man in Westeros… What a joke!
§Certainly, dealing with our own enemies in our home world has greatly skewed our understanding of the word ‘dangerous’.§ Balthazar hissed to me while Hestia nodded in agreement without understanding— as all children are wont to do.
“Fair enough point.” I replied as Jon also emerged.
“So, now what?” I asked as we made our way through the camp, the soldiers greeting us with cheers and congratulations. “House Lannister is beaten.”
Jon was quiet for a few moments. “It will depend on what Robb wishes to do, but I believe we shall be dealing with the other Kingdoms. Stannis and Renly, most definitely.”
I said nothing.
“There is also the Wall…” Jon suggested.
I shook my head and sat down on the dirt floor. “No, not yet.”
“We’ve ensured the Westerlands will help us when the time comes.” I replied. “But, our chances are maximized with the rest of the Kingdoms. We’re missing the support of the Reach, Dorne, the Stormlands and the Vale of Arryn. Maybe even the support of the eastern continent, if it comes to it.. What we need is more information.” I reasoned it all out.
“So, wait for Robb, then?” Jon said to clarify.
“And, in the meantime?”
“Train and relax?”
And so, the waiting game began.
A few weeks had already passed when we received word of Robb’s victory at Oxcross, which meant that he was probably already back in the Riverlands, possibly even at Riverrun. This led to even more celebrations- these people celebrated things at the drop of a hat.
At least the food wasn’t too bad.
The drinking games were a thing of legend— but then again, with Tyrion as part of our crew, it was to be expected. Jaime was also pretty good, in that regard, though not many wished to talk to the man— some reputations just can’t be fixed, sadly. Perhaps, in time.
Jon mostly trained with Hestia, further developing his friendship with the she-dragon. Strangely enough, the two could understand each other through body language alone—something I never gave much thought to, but could probably attribute to Jon’s Targaryen lineage from which he tried so hard to escape.
“Look at them go!” One of the soldiers said as they watched one of our spars.
It was something Lord Mallister had convinced us to do, I thought as I ducked underneath a horizontal slash from Jon’s practice greatsword.
He had said it would be a good pastime for the men.
With nothing else to do but sit around and wait for orders, there was no doubt that everyone would get antsy and start doing their own thing— which, in turn, would lead to general chaos.
So, to avoid it, many measures were enacted, from sprinting races, to archery contests, to friendly spars, like the one I was having with Jon.
But, our spars were different than the others, as there were certain rules and restrictions in place to keep things interesting.
Yesterday’s rule was that we had to have one of our hands tied behind our backs as we duked it out.
Today’s rule: a four way battle between Jon, Hestia, Ghost and I, with no magic, or fire breaths, what have you.
Jon made to continue, but was blindsided by Ghost’s tackle, sending him flying into Hestia’s tail, which was used as a clothesline. I winced as I watched him spin and slam into the dirt, before groaning and trying to get back up.
“Ooh!” The crowd grimaced as one as they witnessed the whole thing.
Loud barks drew my attention back to Ghost, who was sprinting to me, fangs bared. I knew it was pointless to try and dodge the great big direwolf, as Ghost could easily change his trajectory to match mine.
Instead, I met him head-on, grabbing onto his snout with my right hand, while I maneuvered myself to his left side, jumping over his back so I wouldn’t lose the tight grip I had on him. Then, I pulled his head down, in an effort to make him submit.
He struggled mightily, but I had positioned myself in a spot where his legs— neither front, nor back— could reach me. It was only a matter of time before he would—
That was as far as I got as I felt Hestia’s tail snake in between the two of us, holding us tightly together.
I’d thought she was still busy with Jon.
My eyes turned to the prone form of Jon, who was slowly getting up. He must have been more disoriented than I thought.
§I got you!§ Hestia crowed at me as she held Ghost and I down to the ground.
§Oh yeah?§ I challenged, grabbing her tail and putting it close to my mouth. §Well, I’m going to eat you!§
§Noo!§ Hestia almost shrieked and let us go the moment I opened my mouth to bite. §Not fair, father!§
§Life’s not fair!§ I retorted and looked to Ghost. “Team up?”
Ghost made no move to reply, aside from turning his head to the large Hestia. Good enough for me.
Ghost immediately went to work, leaping onto Hestia’s back, driving his forepaws into her neck. The blows barely did any damage, but they weren’t supposed to.
Hestia’s full attention was on Ghost, as she tried to shake him off, or slap him off with her tail— but he avoided every single strike with great ease. A roar of challenge came from the side as Jon leapt onto the back of Hestia’s neck, using his considerable weight to bring it down.
I knew what I had to do. Her attention shifted to Jon as her tailed whipped towards him, only for it to smash against my scaled arm. Wasting no time, I grabbed hold of her tail and used every ounce of strength I had to hold it down, as well.
Hestia struggled to get free, and we struggled harder to keep her down.
She almost succeeded, a few times.
§Give up!§ I hissed.
§No! Let me go!§ She cried, trying to unfurl her wings with no luck. Ghost had that area pretty covered— literally.
§Give up, or…§ I trailed off with a grin. §I’ll eat you, for real this time!§
§Okay! Don’t bite me!§ She agreed immediately, and stopped her struggles, much to the pleasure of the crowd around us.
“They did it!”
Cheers rang out as we let go of Hestia and stood up, dusting ourselves off.
“Good show!” Lord Mallister congratulated.
“Indeed.” A familiar voice agreed.
I turned to the source and saw an unknown, cloaked man. At least, he was unknown until he lifted his hood, revealing…
“Robb!” Jon exclaimed and made to move to his brother, before stopping himself and looking around sheepishly. “Er— I mean, your Grace!”
Robb rolled his eyes and extended an arm, which Jon took.
“Your Grace!” Many more exclamations broke out as the men around us knelt.
“Enough of that!” Robb looked amused. “On your feet, men!”
They complied immediately.
“I have missed you, brother.” Robb said, grinning slightly.
“It has been too long.” Jon agreed, mirroring his brother.
“A month, I believe?” I cut in, extending my hand. “Glad to see you well, King Robb.”
“Lord Harry.” Robb nodded. “I’ve heard all about what you two have done to Harrenhal, but to see it for myself.” He glanced out at the still smoking ruins, in the distance. “Incredible.”
He shook his head. “But we have other concerns. Follow me.”
And then he walked off, the crowds parting before him. We rushed after him, our respective companions following us.
Come to think of it, where was Grey Wind?
As the excitement over seeing Robb again faded, I began to notice some very odd things. He walked differently; tensely, I would say. He seemed to favoring his right leg. My mind raced with ideas and scenarios on the way.
What happened? Where was Grey Wind? Where was Geryon, for that matter?
Why wasn’t Robb accompanied by a host of guards?
Was he attacked and forced to flee his guard? Perhaps that was why he gave off the impression of being wounded. But, if he was attacked, why was he so calm about it all?
I shook my head of these thoughts and kept following Robb into a nearby outcropping of rocks, away from prying eyes.
“This should be far enough.” Robb said, looking around.
“What’s going on?” I asked immediately. “Where’s Grey Wind? Your royal guards? My horse, Geryon?”
“Were you attacked?” Jon added in.
Robb looked us both in the eye.
“How do I know I can trust the two of you?” Robb asked.
Jon and I were both taken aback. Now that came out of nowhere.
“What?” Jon almost spat out. “Of course you can trust us! I’m your brother! Harry’s our friend.”
“Yeah.” I threw in. “What he said.”
Robb kept staring. “What is it you told me the first time you beat me in a spar, Jon?”
Jon frowned in frustrated confusion. “What? I don’t understand how—”
Robb drew his sword. “Answer my question, brother.”
Jon took a step back, holding his hands up in an attempt to calm him down. “I apologized for hitting you because I was afraid the Lady Catelyn was watching us.”
Robb stared at his cousin for a while before nodding and turning to me.
“How did you react when Theon tried to call you on your bluff of being the strongest swordsman?” He asked.
I stared at him for a few seconds, before saying. “Bluff? I wasn’t bluffing, and I even asked him if he wanted to deliver my challenge to Jaime Lannister personally, or if I had to do it, myself.”
He nodded and sagged in relief.
“Thank the gods.” Robb said, and fell to his knees, his legs unable to support his weight any longer.
“Wh—Robb!” Jon was at his brother’s side immediately. “Robb!”
“Not so loud…” Robb winced as he weakly looked around.
I pulled out my wand and conjured a large table.
“Get him on the table.” I ordered, and Jon complied, hauling the man onto the table with ease, before backing away, giving me the space I need to work.
“Ghost.” Jon simply said, and his direwolf nodded, turning around and standing guard.
Hestia was already doing the same, good girl she was.
“I’ll keep anyone away.” Jon said and took up another spot to stand guard.
“Thanks.” I replied gratefully. “I’ll see what’s wrong with him.”
I followed up by conjuring a tent around us, just to be sure.
“Okay…” I said. “I’m going to take off your cloak, Robb.”
Robb weakly nodded in reply. “Just be careful.”
I gently untied the strings before slowly taking it off, revealing the damage below. My eyes widened as they roved over his form. His chest armor looked almost pristine, except in two locations, where it looked like it was cleanly punctured through.
I removed his armor. His shirt underneath was soaked through with blood.
I swore under my breath, before doing the same with his legs.
“So that’s why you were limping.” I said slowly as I waved my wand over his body to confirm the extent of injuries he had. My eyes unfocused for a few seconds as I took in the information.
“Fractured left wrist, severe bruising on your left arm, stab wound on your shoulder and your right side. One stab wound through your leg— through the bone… What the fuck happened to you?”
Robb groaned but I silenced him.
“Don’t answer that.” I cut him off. “Jon!”
Jon immediately came inside. His eyes landed on Robb’s form, and widened in alarm.
“Go get me Erebus, and my sack.” I said urgently, before turning to Robb.
I heard Jon’s hurried footsteps as I pointed my wand at his left leg. “This is going to hurt. Brace yourself. Silencio. Brackium Emendo!”
Blue light flew from my wand, connecting with Robb’s left leg. Immediately, the sound of clicks and hissing filled the tent as the bone began to speed through its metabolism process, increasing the rate of cell multiplication a thousand fold.
The sound of Robb crying out in agony would have been heard— had I not cast the Silencing Charm on him. As it was, all that showed his pain was the thrashing of his agonized body and the pained cringes and grimaces that marred his face.
I cursed the fact that my healing magic, even as empowered as it was by this world, was still not fast enough. I remembered Madam Pomphrey casting spells like this with incredible ease, and producing results within a fraction of the time.
Finally, after what felt like hours, but could only have been minutes, it was done.
I checked his leg with the charm, and nodded to myself.
“The bone on your leg is healed.” I said, letting out the breath I was holding. “It was completely punctured through, so that took a big chunk of my power to fix. Your wrist should be much easier. Are you ready?”
A grimace, followed by a nod.
“All right.” I pointed my wand at his wrist. “Brackium Emendo!”
The tent was bathed in blue light, once more, as his wrist snapped and clicked back into place, the cracks disappearing as the bone fused itself back together.
“That one was much easier than the one, before.” I repeated, panting slightly. “Not as much bone to regenerate. Finite Incantatem.”
The sound of Robb’s agonized groans and pants filled the makeshift tent.
“Harry!” Jon burst in with my sack and the dark blade sheathed in pure white bone. “I’ve got what you asked for.”
“Okay, good. Good.” I waved my wand, and another table appeared next to me. Jon did not need any further orders and simply placed the sack on it, before standing back and watching intently.
I smiled slightly and reached into the sack, before pulling out a small, cylindrical container which held the Murtlap Essence, which I immediately began to rub over his shoulder, his side, and his left leg.
With a hiss, the flesh began to knit itself together at an incredible rate. I applied some more Essence over his bruises and scratches, watching as the color began to return to his skin and his breathing returned to normal.
“All right.” I said, running my hand through my wild hair before turning to Jon. “I think he’ll be fine.”
“Robb.” Jon sighed in relief as he approached. “What…” He went quiet.
I turned back to my patient, only to see him in a deep sleep.
“He must have walked all the way here through sheer willpower.” Jon said in amazement. “What happened?”
“I’m not sure.” I frowned down at the fellow teenager, who had been on the brink of death, not a minute past.
My gaze hardened.
“Betrayal?” Jon wondered. He was probably right.
“I don’t know, Jon.” I shook my head. “He’ll tell us when he wakes. For now, will you watch over him, while I sort things out with the army?”
“Always.” Jon nodded as I pocketed my wand, grabbed Erebus and placed him on my right side.
Nothing ever went as planned, did it?