My eyes flew open as I woke up abruptly and scrambled to my feet, ready to deliver hell onto whoever was able to get past my Muggle Repelling Charm.
The sight that greeted me was Sansa and Arya embracing their brother, Jon, who was finally awake, while Clegane sat back, watching the whole thing unfold with what I later realized was envy, and a little amusement.
“Oh, Jon!” Sansa exclaimed as I calmed down, a slight tiredness creeping up on me.
I shook it off.
How much had I rested?
“Six, maybe seven hours now.” Clegane answered my unasked question, gesturing outside with a nod. It was the middle of night.
“Hm.” I grunted and drew my wand, incanting a quick “Tempus.“
Faint white energy formed in front of me, displaying the time of day:
I gave a noncommittal grunt before canceling the spell and pocketing my wand once more and staring at my hands, specifically my left one, which had been punctured by an arrow, not long before.
I clenched it.
I smiled and felt for my neck and back. The cuts were gone but the bruises were still there— though, nothing compared to the pain I felt before.
“All right there, Jon?” I turned to the boy in question, whose skin had regained some of its former color. Better yet, he was no longer sweating.
There were, however, heavy bags under his eyes.
“Yeah.” His voice was weak, but he managed to look around. His eyes landed on Clegane for a second, before he looked back at me questioningly. I gave a nod, telling him without words that the Hound was trustworthy, for now.
A flash of white came from the entrance of the cave— oh, it was Jon’s direwolf, Ghost, dragging what seemed to be a dead goat off to the side before diving into his meal with gusto.
My thoughts drifted to Lady, who was dead in King’s Landing.
“Arya?” I got the girl’s attention. “Where’s Nymeria?”
I hid a wince as Arya froze in Jon’s arms and then hugged the boy tighter.
“What happened?” Jon finally asked, when Sansa and Arya let him go and handed him some bread.
I sighed and ran my hand through my hair.
“Killings is what happened.” Clegane answered.
A simple question, though it felt monumentally difficult to answer, at that very point.
“Cersei’s attempt at taking the throne.” I said heavily, seeing Lord Ned’s face in my mind every time I closed my eyes. “I was led outside of King’s Landing before all of this started— she ordered Baelish to get me out of the way and kill me. I managed to survive that and came back to find Lord Ned and the King Robert dead. They made it look like Lord Ned killed him before dying, himself.”
“Lord Baelish wouldn’t…” Sansa said in confusion and a hint of hurt in her tone.
“But why?” Jon asked again.
I shrugged, swallowing the lump in my throat. “Greed. Revenge. Lust for power. Take your pick.”
“But that doesn’t matter now.” I said, changing the subject. “I promised Lord Ned I’d see you all to Winterfell. I have his body with me.”
They all looked at me in confusion, with the exception of Jon, who understood immediately, followed by Clegane.
“Shrunk him, did you?” Clegane deduced.
I gave a simple nod and pulled out a small, coffin shaped box. “He’s in here.”
Jon made to grab it. I let him take it.
“I—” Jon looked at the box hollowly, before pocketing it. “We should take him back to Winterfell. To the crypts. Father deserves to be there with his family.”
Arya and Sansa looked stricken throughout the whole thing.
“There’s also this.” I pulled out a sword the size of a toothpick, before releasing the Reduction Spell I had over it.
Ice grew back to its original size, as wide across as a man’s hand and almost as tall as Jon, the blade possessing a dark and smokey appearance.
“Ice…” Jon whispered.
“Lord Ned said to either deliver this to you or Robb.” I said, handing the Valyrian great sword to the already distraught boy, but he scooted backwards from it.
“What… He…” Jon said slowly, shame evident on his tired face. “But I’m not…”
“You’re just as much a Stark as Robb, Jon.” I said forcefully. “Lord Ned trusted you to use the sword for the right reasons.”
“Yeah.” Arya echoed what I said. Sansa, not really knowing what to say, kept quiet. Likely, she knew that Catelyn would disapprove of this, but in light of what happened, there really was no way this could be argued.
Jon looked down for a few moments, before right back at me, his gray eyes showing the steel the Starks were known for— but also the blue glow of his flames.
With a grunt of effort, he got back to his feet and held his hands out.
So I gave the sword to him.
I felt something shift in the air as him hand grasped the hilt. The sword pulsed, before glowing as blue as Jon’s flames.
“Whoa!” I said. I heard a clatter of plate against the rocky cave floor as Clegane drew back from the flaming sword, eyes wide with unadulterated fear.
Why would he— oh, right, the late Mountain put his face in a fireplace, or something.
The power died down, and Jon sagged before falling back on his ass, looking exhausted.
“What was that?!” Arya asked in awe.
A few moments of silence.
“I don’t know.” Jon managed to say. “It felt like the blade sang to me.”
“Hm.” I said. “Looks like Ice chose you. You were meant to wield it.”
Arya nodded excitedly, and even Sansa looked convinced at this point. Clegane was too busy looking at the sword in fright.
“I…” Jon started, but shook his head.
“You don’t have to say anything, Jon.” I said, before Engorging the wine inside of the almost empty pitcher as well as the small piece of bread remaining. They both grew back to their original size.
“Time to eat.” I said unnecessarily.
Breakfast was a subdued affair. I handed each of them as much food and drink as they could handle— water for the two younger ones. They— with the exception of Jon— still kept sneaking awed stares in my direction.
I supposed it would be incredible to non magicals. My mind wandered back to what Clegane had said.
He’d thought I actually created food and drinks.
I suppose he wasn’t wrong in the practical sense.
In reality it was simply the Engorgement Charm at work, for both the bread and the wine. It needed a base element before simply replicating more and more of it— though there was a limit to how much you could Engorge something.
I think if you over-Engorged something it would explode, though the size would have to be probably thirty to fourty sizes bigger— I was fuzzy on the details.
Still, the argument could be made: “but he’s still creating extra elements, even if he is using one of them as a base.”
And it was true, to an extent.
Conjuration took your energy, and brought something out.
Engorgement takes your energy, latches it onto the base material, and produces more— as if the item was a growing organism going through a series of mitoses. In that sense, it was a bit of a combination of Conjuration and Transfiguration that was somehow permanent despite the fact that both individual branches of magic weren’t.
How was that?
Hell if I know— I never took Arithmancy.
But that covered the food and wine aspect of this breakfast, I thought as I took another munch out of my bread, watching Arya sip at her water as the three siblings huddled up closer together, with Ghost sitting beside them like a guardian.
The water was not an Engorgement Charm. Nor was it a conjuration— though it always was always easier to refer to it as one.
Aguamenti, the Water Making Spell. Note that it doesn’t refer to creation in any way. It only says “Making”. So how was I making water, you may ask?
It wasn’t my energy being converted into water. It was a variation on two different charms: Summoning, and Banishing. The first step was to Summon all of the air moisture at the tip of the wand, and then Banish— at different levels of power, depending on what your intent was.
Theoretically, you could squirt someone lightly in the face, give them a full on bath, or you could compress the water and Banish it fast enough to cut through reinforced steel.
In essence, it was water manipulation through Charms. Most likely, it would prove to be extremely powerful in a rainforest, but in a desert?
You’d be lucky if you managed to fill a pitcher of water— with the lack of moisture in the air.
“Semantics, at that point, though.” Erebus chimed in. “While it’s not true Creation, you essentially have an endless supply of anything you could want— provided your preservation spells hold.”
“Your spells, you mean.” I thought back in amusement. “You have better control over the cold than I do.”
It was true, while Erebus was not the Emperor of Air, he still possessed a fair bit of control over the cold, due to his power of Darkness.
And I used him as a glorified fridge.
I ignored the flash of irritation Erebus sent me, finished the last bite and took a sip of the wine— an acquired taste over the few months I’ve been here— before adressing the rest of them.
“All right.” I started, getting everyone’s attention. “We have to get to Winterfell, or at the very least, past the Neck.”
They nodded in agreement as I pulled out my map of Westeros.
“Any suggestions?” I asked, before marking our current position. “This is an estimation of where we are; somewhere close to Hayford Castle, near the King’s Road incidentally.”
“Take the Kingsroad straight to Winterfell.” Clegane said bluntly. The others nodded.
Jon scooted closer and studied the map for a second, before tapping certain points on the map. “Stop at the Ivy Inn, before we make our way to Darry.”
I frowned. “You sure? Won’t these be the obvious places to look? They could send ravens ahead to look for us.”
Jon’s eyes unfocused in calculations for a few seconds.
“Won’t be that fast.” Clegane shook his head. “If what you said’s true, then King’s Landing is now in chaos over the death of the King and the Hand.”
“Yes.” I agreed. “I’m sure Cersei will seize this opportunity to regain her former power— though, as to who’d be King, I have no idea. Perhaps Tommen will be King as Robert stated.”
“Joffrey.” Clegane disagreed with a grunt.
“It doesn’t matter.” Jon interjected, giving the both of us a look. “But the succession will likely be another hurdle, as well as the appointment of… A new Hand.” He choked slightly at the end.
I nodded in sympathy. Sansa and Arya just tried to understand it all.
“While I would like to go back in there and slaughter them all.” I said. “I made a promise to Lord Ned. You three will reunite with your remaining family. Robb will be the head of the Starks, I’m guessing. Then you guys can plan out how you’re going to respond to this.”
“Harry— what about you?” Arya asked, looking slightly concerned.
My anticipation rose and Lightning coursed around my body, bathing our surroundings in pale, blue light, overtaking the fire for a few moments.
“Oh, it’s simple. I will go and crush Cersei and Baelish.” I said.
“Alone?” Arya piped up. “You’ll die!”
“You’ve beaten all those men while we were escaping.” Sandor acknowledged. “But you’ve taken a beating, just look at you, Blackscale. You think you can take an entire army?”
“They’re right.” Jon agreed. “You can’t do that. I won’t let you.”
I glared at him, my Lightning writhing threateningly. He glared back unflinchingly.
“Cersei Lannister and Petyr Baelish will pay for their crimes.” Jon said calmly, though it pained him to say it. “But cutting off the head of the snake will only let another rise in its place.”
Jon was right. The world never lacked for greedy people. I took a deep breath, and reined my power back in.
I could think about this later.
Focus on the objective, Potter.
Winterfell is the objective.
“All right.” I said, nodding apologetically. “I won’t make any hasty decision. Let’s just get to Winterfell, first.”
Jon smiled, before relaxing and pointing at the map again.
“We’ll rest at Ivy Inn, best we move soon—”
“You’re exhausted, Jon!” Sansa piped up. “You can barely move.”
“Little bird’s right, boy.” Clegane said unflatteringly. “You look as if a good breeze would knock you over.”
“No, Jon’s right.” I said in agreement with my friend. “We have to move, and soon. The longer we stay here the more time they have to send their agents in everywhere.”
“And who’s going to carry him, you? I don’t exactly have my horse anymore.” Clegane sneered, though he looked a bit pained after he mentioned his horse. I guess he was attached to his horse like I was attached to Geryon.
“No.” I answered back, my mind whirring with the possible solutions, before it hit me. “See, I have this thing called magic that lets me create things, like a carriage.”
“Oh.” Sandor said, realization dawning on him.
“Yes. Oh.” I mockingly repeated what he said. “Jon can sleep in it while my horse Geryon takes us to Ivy Inn. From there… Well…”
I shared a look with Jon as I pointed at the Isle of Faces, which was Northwest of it.
“Do you want it, or should I have it?” I asked him lowly.
“You should.” Jon said immediately at the same level of sound. “We would have never known of its existence if you couldn’t speak to his ghost.”
And that was that.
“Well, okay.” I said, louder this time. “We’ll go along the Kingsroad past Darry, to the Crossroads Inn; but it doesn’t look like there are any more places to stay, afterwards.”
“There are.” The Hound disagreed. “I’ve stayed in a few of them. Out of the way, though.”
“That’s fine.” I said. “Better to sleep on a bed than on a tent. You think we’ll be followed?”
“We’ll be followed everywhere we go.” Clegane answered back with little to no care. “Just kill ’em and keep going.”
I nodded, having considered the same method many times over throughout the discussion.
“We’ll eat our own food.” I said, waving my wand at the bread and wine, shrinking them to a satisfactory size and sealing the jug so the liquid wouldn’t spill. “On the off chance that they poison us. Ambushes, I can handle, but I have no idea how to counteract ingested poison.”
I learned my lesson on poisons. Almost dying because of poison tended to do that to you.
“Any objections?” I asked, looking at each and every one of them.
“How will we hide Ghost?” Arya said.
“Good question.” I said. “I actually almost forgot about him. Thanks for reminding me little one.”
I turned to look at Ghost, before pointing my wand at him and incanting. “Reducio.”
Arya’s irritated reply was cut short as she watched the large form of Ghost grow smaller and smaller until he was the size of a puppy.
And then he barked, the sound coming out more squeaky than anything.
I heard the sound of concealed laughter, and turned to see Sansa trying her best not to lose it at the sight of the formerly large direwolf trying its best to look threatening.
He barked again, irritated at the slight against him.
She lost it. Her laughter was infectious, it seemed, as Arya, Jon and I also joined it, with even Clegane rumbling in amusement at the sight.
It was uplifting, like a heavy weight had been lifted off of my shoulders for a moment.
“It’s okay, Ghost.” Jon took the miniature wolf and gave him a hug. “They’re just jealous of you.”
Ghost didn’t seem convinced, until Jon began to scratch the back of his head soothingly. It was difficult to forget that Ghost was, what, two months old? If that?
I waited for the amused laughter to die down, before folding the map together and stowing back inside my enlarged pocket. I got to my feet and dusted myself off.
“You guys pack everything up.” I said. “I’ll go make a carriage. There’s a forest out there so it should be easy to fashion it out of wood instead of creating it outright, myself.”
“What’s the difference?” Clegane asked as I began to move.
“Lasts longer, doesn’t drain as much.” I said easily, walking past the Muggle Repellent Charm and cancelling it with a quite Finite.
I stared out to a small forest to the east, watching the sun slowly rise behind it.
No time to lose.
I made my way down the hill, noting that moving was much easier when I was not suffering from debilitating pain— what were the odds of that?
I cut down a few trees with the Severing Charm, using it over and over to form the necessary planks to form the box.
It wasn’t going to be a nice looking carriage, but it didn’t need to be.
A few applications of the Sticking Charm removed the need for screws and nails, making my life much easier. I placed the planks of wood, side by side, before beginning to work on its sides. I figured the walls of the box had to be a few feet high, and adjusted the planks accordingly to make an entry way.
Okay, so far so good…
I had a box.
Next up, was wheels and the chassis. For wheels, I used magic to bend the wood’s shape until it was as circular as I could make it, before cutting up even more wood, as I realized that the wheel wouldn’t turn without the support on the inside— pretty easy, though a little time consuming.
The chassis, thankfully, was a much quicker task. Two bars of wood, one in the front, one in the back, each with a wheel on the side. Then, connect the two bars together with two more, going from the ends of the rear bar to the center of the front bar— with smaller bars to hold the frontal side together.
With that done, I simply levitated the box onto the chassis, before sticking it there with the Sticking Charm.
After the all of that was the thing that hooked up with my horse.
“Harness.” Erebus supplied.
“Yeah, that.” I muttered. I would need Geryon here to do that, which meant I had to wait until they came here. There was still some work to be done on the matter. I made fixes here and there— such as actual seats, caps for the wheels so they don’t just slide out of the bars I had put them in, Unbreakable Charms on the integral parts of the chassis and the wheels themselves, as well as coloring the whole thing a dark brown.
I backed away from my work and admired it from a distance.
“Not bad at all…” I said to myself.
“It will suit the purposes of this trip.” Erebus replied.
I scowled. “What do you think, Balthazar?”
§S’ok.§ Balthazar piped up, still sounding extremely tired.
I ran my hand through my hair, before the sound of approaching footsteps reached my ears. I turned to see Jon and the others, carrying bundles of fur and the like, Geryon trotting over to me.
“Hey buddy.” I patted his head. “You think you can drag this carriage for us?”
Geryon looked at the carriage, and then back at me, before nodding.
“Awesome, boy.” I smiled, before motioning for him to stand where I was. The horse obeyed.
I went to work, removing his saddle and placing it in the carriage, before conjuring a decent enough harness, which I linked to the chassis.
“Try dragging it.” I said. Geryon complied and easily dragged the carriage— as if the weight wasn’t even there. Perfect. I watched as he ran long circles around me, testing the thing behind him out, understanding how far he can turn before the hole thing went upside down.
And then, he came back to me.
I smiled, and rewarded the mighty steed with a carrot, before turning to the rest.
“Okay, before you get on…” I conjured a few cloaks and handed them to Sansa.
“Wear these on the way to the inn, we won’t get recognized as easily— if at all.” I said, and helped them get situated in the back rows. One for Sansa and Arya, and one for Jon and the Hound. I would sit at the front.
“No reins or whips, Blackscale?” Clegane asked curiously, ignoring the horse’s snort of challenge at his words.
“No need.” I said easily, patting my buddy’s side. “Geryon and I are partners. Isn’t that right, buddy?”
A whinny for an answer. I smiled and took my position.
“You guys ready?” I asked and got positive grunts in reply. “Okay, let’s go.”
Geryon snorted and began to tug at the carriage as it began its roll on the uneven, rocky terrain— though none felt it on the carriage.
The wonders of magic.
We headed west for a while, going over all sorts of terrain until I saw a castle in the distance— Hayford Castle, I realized.
“There’s Hayford Castle.” I said.
“Aye.” Clegane said from the back. I glanced back for a second.
Arya and Sansa wore their cloaks already, their hoods down, though I could easily tell they seemed shaken. Jon was napping in the back row, while Clegane looked uncomfortable in his own cloak.
I smiled at the girls. “Don’t worry, it’ll be all right. I’m definitely going to get you to Winterfell.” Then, I turned to Geryon. “Go a little to the right, buddy; that way we can hit the Kingsroad at a better angle and avoid the castle, just in case someone’s lying in wait, there.”
Geryon gave a snort and began to slowly turn to the right, steadily changing our direction from westward to north-west.
A few minutes later, we merged onto the Kingsroad, and I grinned.
“So, how much do you reckon it’ll take us to get to the Ivy Inn?” I asked.
“Two days, maybe.” Clegane said. “Hayford is half a day’s ride from King’s Landing, and Ivy Inn is farther than that by at least five times.”
I gave a hum of acknowledgement. “Okay, you heard that, Geryon? Half a day to the Ivy Inn.”
“Have you gone deaf, Blackscale?” Clegane said in irritation. “I said—Woah!”
Geryon began to channel his strength and sprinted, easily dragging the carriage along with him as we reached a speed five times as much as the typical horse.
I sneaked a glance to the back and saw the wonderment— delight, in Arya’s case— of my passengers, as they watch their surroundings pass up by at a speed they’d never thought was possible.
What was even more amazing, was the fact that the carriage still felt as comfortable as it did standing still.
Clegane scrunched his hideous face under his hood, though I didn’t see it, and began to mutter. “Shouldn’t be surprised. He creates food and drink, shrinks things, creates carriages, and the horse is as strong as ten other horses combined. What else, he has a pet dragon?”
Check on everything except the dragon— that would be later, when I reached the Ivy Inn, I thought to myself.
The trip ended up taking a bit less than ten hours, though it could have been even shorter if we didn’t have to slow down in the village of Brindlewood, a bit after the halfway point between Hayford Castle and the Ivy Inn.
If we’d barrelled right through, that would’ve been easily noticeable. Luckily, we simply rode our way past the village, and no one tailed us.
I suppose it made sense. Everyone at King’s Landing was most likely still reeling, and haven’t sent anyone out, yet. Or. they have, and we simply were too fast for them, as it would take over a day and a half’s ride, nonstop, to get from King’s Landing to Brindlewood alone; another day to get to the Ivy Inn.
Still, there were other threats in this medieval shithole.
Jon and I had killed those magical assassins— who could change faces. They were the Faceless Men from Braavos, I realized. I had stumbled upon them when I was researching all things magical, and they had come up as an infamous guild of assassins whose services must have cost a fortune.
How much did Cersei pay for them? I wondered if she could afford more. Or, would the guild of assassins take it as a personal insult and hunt me down?
I didn’t know, and I didn’t want to find out anytime soon.
But, yes, we’d made it to the Ivy Inn. Jon had woken up halfway through, only to fall asleep again. The rest hadn’t managed much. Arya had slept a few hours, while Sansa only managed a bit less than thirty minutes. I wasn’t even sure Clegane was capable of sleeping— he’d been awake every time I checked.
I had managed to sneak in a couple of hours, trusting Geryon to see us part of the way through without any guidance— and he did not disappoint. How could anyone screw up sticking to one road, anyway?
We entered the small village, really just another set of worn wooden buildings who looked like a good breeze would rip them to shreds, with a few men tending to their farms, and women knitting and cleaning, and stopped at a building covered in ivy.
As if that wasn’t enough of a hint, there was an actual sign saying:
I turned to see Jon jostling his sisters awake as Clegane got off the carriage. The bags under his eyes had disappeared completely, and he moved with a lot more fluidity and strength.
If he wasn’t already fully healed, he would be, and soon.
It seemed to be getting close to night time, again. After a few grumbles, everyone got off the carriage and went inside the inn as I set on putting Geryon in the stables. I unhooked the harness, looked around to make sure the coast was clear, and shrunk the entire carriage so that it was the size of a peanut, before pocketing it.
“Geryon.” I said to my companion, who didn’t look tired in the least, even after ten hours of riding and dragging us along with him. “I’m going to need your help soon, so eat up.”
Then I gave Geryon an Engorged carrot and left him to devour it, going inside the inn.
There was barely anyone here, I noted as I saw Jon handing the innkeeper some silver coins and exchanging pleasantries with him.
He then turned to me.
“I got us a couple of adjacent rooms. One for Sansa and Arya. One for you, me and him.” Jon informed me as the innkeeper led the way. The rooms were on the ground floor. I glanced around the common room he was leading us out of.
Two entrances, easily defensible in case of any sudden attack.
With any luck, nothing would happen while I was visiting the Isle of Faces. I decided that I would do that tonight, rather than tomorrow. That way, no time would be wasted.
“Here are your rooms, friends.” The innkeeper smiled and went back to wiping a mug at his bar. My lips quirked upwards, comparing the innkeeper with the stereotypical bartender from the Old West. The resemblance was uncanny.
I shook off my amusement and we entered our rooms, but not before making sure everyone had enough to eat. With that done, I surreptitiously threw a stunner at Clegane, who was lying on his bed. The flash of red light impacted him, making sure he would remain unconscious for a good while.
Until morning, at the very least, if I took his exhaustion into account.
“Why…” Jon started, but I shook my head.
“He wasn’t sleeping one bit.” I said. “He’d be useless to us in a fight if he went on like that.”
Jon gave a nod of understanding as he ate his bread slowly. Ghost was lying on the bed, drooling off the side as he immediately fell asleep on the comfy bed.
“I’m heading to the Isle of Faces.” I said, smiling at the shrunken direwolf slightly.
“Now?” Jon asked incredulously.
I gave a short nod. “Can you watch over the rest of them? I don’t think this will take long. If it does, then I’ll just give up and come back.”
Jon sighed and gave his consent. “I’ll be waiting for you.”
He extended his fist.
I bumped it.
“Don’t worry.” I smiled, and went through the room’s exit, speaking as I closed the door. “I’ll be back before you know it.”
The door’s closed with a click, and I took a breath, before walking outside of the inn, and to the stables again, where Geryon stood there, already waiting for me.
I quickly put the saddle on the powerful stallion, and we rode northwards, out of the village.
Following the map, I told Geryon to go north-west of our current position. The faithful steed took off at maximum speed, easily twice as fast as the speed he had when pulling the carriage. I held on to the reins— more for remaining on the saddle than actually steering.
We eventually reached an unnamed village— I wasn’t sure if the writer of the map simply didn’t know the name of the village, or that it simply didn’t have a name. I supposed it didn’t matter.
The important bit, was that the village rested on the shore of the God’s Eye, the lake surrounding the Isle of Faces. I got a few strange looks from the local villagers, who were already turning in for the day.
“Excuse me.” I stopped next to a woman who was about to enter her home.
“Yes? Can I help you?” The villager answered warily.
“Do you know anyone that can ferry me to the Isle of Faces?” I asked.
“No, I don’t.” The villager replied, looking irritated and muttering about foreigner idiots always wanting to go to the Isle, before she slammed the door.
So I knocked on another door, and another, and another, and ano—
“What is it?” A gruff man, in his late thirties asked.
“Do you know anyone who can ferry me to the Isle of Faces?” I asked for the millionth time.
“You’re lookin’ at him.” The man replied. “But it’s late in the night. Come by tomorrow.”
He tried to close the door, but I stopped him.
“You think you can get me there right now?” I asked, and pulled out two gold dragons. His eyes widened at the amount— it was likely more than he made in a year.
“I—” The man stared before regaining his wits. “Yes.”
“Good.” I smiled, and gave him one coin. “You’ll get the second one when you take me back.”
We made our way up the muddy shore of God’s Eye, on our way to where I assumed the man’s boat was. I could hear the sound of crows everywhere as we finally reached his boat. It wasn’t the best of crafts, but it would do well enough.
I left Geryon there, with express orders to wait for me, though I pretended to tie him to a tree to avoid the boatman’s strange looks.
The crossing was a slow, and silent affair— though I managed to speed it up with a few animation charms on the boat itself. The boatman would likely believe that the waters were simply cooperative this day.
We arrived at the Isle of Faces, and I immediately understood why it was called such. Even as I disembarked from the boat, I could see the huge forest made purely out of weirwood trees. I could feel the energy in the air, similar to the barrier I felt in Winterfell, but on a different scale of power altogether.
“How long do you want me to wait?” The boatman asked as I began to walk away from him.
“As long as it takes, friend.” I smiled back. “The money I’m offering you will last you years in terms of food and lodgings— either that or a few fun nights at an expensive brothel.”
The boatman simply nodded in response, excited at the prospect of making bank.
After a minute of walking or so, I pulled my wand out. “Point Me Balerion’s Egg.”
My wand jerked a bit to the right.
I followed its path, making my way through the white and red forest— a strange sight, as I was accustomed to brown and green. The faces carved into the trees looked unpleasant, but I simply couldn’t help but get the feeling that I was perfectly safe in this domain.
Perhaps not from other vanilla humans, but definitely from any magical ones.
A few minutes later, I reached what seemed to be a temple of sorts— only it was made out of weirwood. Perhaps temple was not a good way to describe this place; it just looked like a big house, with plenty of mats inside.
What was more interesting was the small group of men, dressed in green robes and wearing what seemed to be horned headdresses.
“Welcome, Harry Potter of the Blackscale. Our ally, the Bloodraven, has spoken highly of you.” One of them stepped forward. “How may the Green Men assist you?”
Huh. That’s a relieving change in pace for once. Though who the hell was the Bloodraven?
“Ah, I believe you simply refer to him as the three-eyed Raven.” The Green Man said.
I gave a nod of thanks and stated simply. “I’m here for Balerion’s egg.”
The Green Men now looked at me with far more intensity than they had a second ago. The atmosphere around us— the wards of this island, I realized— reacted in response to their behavior, and it felt like my soul was laid bare.
“…How do you know of it?” The same man said calmly, dangerously.
“I was told to come here and retrieve it.” I said simply.
“Told by whom?”
“Aegon the First.” I said. “I met his ghost in the chamber which held the skeletons of all the dead dragons. He told me where to find the egg, and he told me how to hatch it.”
They said nothing, so I took that as my queue to continue.
“I know what’s north of the Wall.” I continued, noting their uneasy looks. “The Others, they bring death and destruction with them. With the help of a dragon, I could help turn that around.”
If it’s anything I learned from what happened to me at King’s Landing, it’s that I had the tendency to overestimate my own strength, and underestimate my enemy’s.
No more. I would need all the help I could get.
“So, can I have it?”
You may. I heard a familiar voice sing in the air around me.
“Raven.” I greeted as the Green Men began to whisper among themselves. “We meet again.”
Indeed. Raven replied. It has been quite some time since we spoke last.
“Yes.” I said. “I journeyed to King’s Landing— total shit hole, by the way.”
All too true. It was that way, even back when I was Hand of the King. Raven agreed, not caring if he revealed anything about himself, as one of the Green Men approached me with a light blue, scale covered egg. Balerion’s egg. If I had known the secrets of hatching it— or even its location— I would have attempted to hatch it, myself. But, it is yours now.
“Thanks.” I said as I held the egg awkwardly. I would have to conjure a sack for it, before I went back to the boatman. The less he saw, the better. “I’d love to stay and chat, but I have to go, now.”
Ah, yes. Raven spoke softly. Accompanying the Stark children back to their home.
I stiffened and answered in a clipped positive.
Be at ease, Harry Potter. Raven tried to placate me. The forests speak to me, sometimes. With your presence in this world, my powers have even increased to catch snippets from non magical woods. I have been watching over you to the best of my ability.
I supposed that was all right, even if I didn’t trust the being behind the voice all that much. He could watch but he couldn’t tell anybody.
“Right.” I said, and turned to leave, my dragon egg by my side. “I’ll be going now. Thank you for the egg.”
“Think nothing of it.” The spokesperson of the Green Men said. “It is our duty to aid in the fight against the Long Night, in whichever way we can.”
I nodded, and walked away, conjuring a knapsack for my egg when I was out of sight of the Green Men. I placed the egg inside and tied the sack to my back..
I wish you good fortune on your endeavours, Harry Potter. Raven gave me his parting words, before I felt his presence slowly fade. You will need it.
“Tell me something I don’t know, stupid Raven.” I muttered to myself as I made my way back to the boatman.
I smirked as a thought occurred to me.
“Hagrid would be green with envy if he knew I was going to hatch a dragon, just like he did.” I smiled to myself as I thought of better days. “Though I am not calling the dragon Norbert.”
§How about Orochi?§ Balthazar piped up.
§Fully awake, are you?§ I asked as I made my way back to the boat. §And, no. That’s a stupid name. Orochi is a snake deity, not a dragon.§
§Um, Zoma?§ Balthazar asked again.
§Baramos?§ Balthazar tried.
§Divinegon?§ Now it was just getting ridiculous.
§No— Are you just naming boss monsters from Dragon Quest? How do you even know what that is? I’m the gamer, here. Not you.§
§Okay, I’ve got a name. For real this time.§
§What?§ I hissed back in irritation.
§Slimedragon, since the egg is blue, maybe the actual dragon is blue like a slime.§ Balthazar reasoned.
§Just shut up, Balthazar.§
§No! Go back to sleep.§
Balthazar hounded me the rest of the way back to the boat.