I rubbed my hands together, staving off the cold for a few more precious seconds. The warmth, while all-too-brief, had been a welcome change from the raging blizzard beating me down.
I repeated the process as I trekked through the snow, my feet breaking through the surface and forcing me to expend more energy to simply be able to traverse the terrain.
I looked up at the sky, trying and failing to figure out what time of day it was. Maybe it was noon, maybe it was the evening or maybe it was night time. There was no real way to tell anymore, and I couldn’t figure it out from my level of tiredness.
I was always tired. Sleep was tiresome. Walking was tiresome. Eating was tiresome. Making any movement whatsoever, in this extreme cold weather, weighed on me both mentally and physically.
Still, I continued to trek through the snow, not really understanding why. All I knew was that I would never give into something as simple as bad weather.
That voice… It was so familiar. An echo of something I recognized. Something I greatly treasured.
I narrowed my eyes, trying to see past the snowdrift with no luck whatsoever. I cursed under my breath and began to head towards the source of the voice. Who was it?
“Harry.” It called out again.
“Who are you?” I called back. “Where are you?”
There was no answer. I grit my teeth in a mix of frustration and anger, before sighing and trudging through the snow once again.
This was probably the right way, I thought. The voice seemed to have come from here. I rubbed feeling back into my hands. It was just so cold…
Oh, how I wished for a flame to bring life back into my bones.
“So tired…” I muttered, but continued forward. Nothing would stop me.
Finally, I saw something different from the endless expanse of white surrounding me. I saw something red on the snow’s surface.
I pressed on, watching as the minute amounts of red continued to increase, painting the previously pure snow with splatters of bright crimson.
It was blood, and a ridiculous amount of it, at that. The cold was driven away by the surge of adrenaline coursing through my body.
I would have drawn my weapon had I still owned one.
Not like it mattered, anyway.
Even if I did not have a weapon at my side, I still had my fists, and they would have to suffice.
I followed the trail of blood for a while, eyes darting left and right, waiting for the inevitable attack to come.
I frowned at the oddity, but shook the thoughts off, instead following the trail of blood to its source.
What I found chilled me even worse than the unforgiving blizzard around me. “How can this be?”
A massive pile of dead animals, their blood having been drained from their bodies and stained the massive field of snow red.
“So much blood…” I said and stared at the origin of the trail. It was Ghost. The poor direwolf continued to crawl feebly, its head glued to something ahead of it. I followed its gaze to see, a haunted expression settling on my face, its family. All dead. Disfigured, mangled beyond recognition.
“Ghost…” I knelt down to touch it, but my hands went right through it. What?
I frowned and got back to my feet. What had that been? I continued to stare at the poor wolf slowly making his way towards his dead family before staring at the other animals.
A stag with red, fiery antlers. A pair of krakens. Two lions— a small one, and a large one. A falcon. A red snake. A black trout having died defending a regular one. Many others. I walked through the carnage, burning the image into my mind.
“It’s too late.” The familiar voice said. I turned quickly to see the source of the voice. I felt hope rise in my chest at the sight of him, his back turned to me, staring at the horror surrounding us.
I knew this man.
“Jon!” I cried out, reaching out to him. “We can still finish this. We can—”
Jon grabbed my wrist, his hands colder than the blizzard. “It’s far too late, World Drifter!”
He turned to me, and glared with bright blue eyes. “YOU HAVE FAILED!”
Jon gave a toothy grin, materialized a massive blade of ice— so obviously a perverted mockery of Jon’s family’s Valyrian steel sword, Ice— and drove it into my chest.
I woke with a start, immediately cringing at the motion as my wounds flared in great pain.
What was that? I thought as I weathered the sudden pain. A dream? It was so vivid…
My eyes slowly drifted around in the tent, idly noting that my shirt had been soaked through with sweat.
“A nightmare.” I said quietly, the images of the dead direwolves, various animals, and Jon’s bright blue eyes still at the forefront of my mind. “It’s not real. I won’t let it happen… I—”
“Go back to sleep.” Erebus interjected, clattering in his sheath. “It hasn’t even been an hour since you slept.”
“…” I stared at the sheathed sword. “Only an hour… I feel worse than I did before sleeping.”
I coughed a few times before reaching for my waterskin and taking a deep gulp of refreshing liquid.
I took my soaked shirt off and placed it beside my bedding, where Balthazar was sound asleep.
His body heat was intoxicating, the temperature easily seeping into my extremities and banishing away the feeling of utter wrongness pervading my body.
It had been kind of Daenerys to feed me and let me get enough rest in this tent. Of course, it figures: the time in which I need the most sleep, it doesn’t come to me.
Another long swig of water, and I sighed as I laid back down on the bedding— made out of stitched up patches of fur.
Sleeping on the ground would have felt beyond awful, had I not invoked a Cushioning Charm on the bedding. I’d barely had any power to cast it, and had immediately passed out afterward, but I dared say it was worth it.
As it was, I could almost say it was like sleeping in my own bed in Gryffindor Tower.
I sighed. Thinking about such things would lead me nowhere— just a bad dream and sensitive memories dredged up by my own state of weakness.
I closed my eyes and took a nice, deep breath, trying to clear my mind of all thoughts.
My grip tightened on the furs. I opened my eyes.
“What I’d do for some Dreamless Sleep…” I continued to stare up at the tent’s ceiling.
It took a while, but I eventually managed to focus on the bustle of the war camp and slowly closed my eyes, falling back into merciful sleep.
I felt the headache hit before I even realized I was awake again.
“Fuck d’you want?” I asked in annoyance, my words slightly slurred as I focused my attention on the tent flap. “I just closed my eyes, damn it.”
“Apologies, great Khal Harry!” Came the unfamiliar voice— that of a young lad. “I come bearing a message from Her Grace, the Queen Daenerys.”
I didn’t answer, instead taking the time to gather myself and my thoughts.
A long moment passed. “Khal Harry?”
“Right…” I sighed and slowly rose from my sleeping position, the headache growing duller by the second. “Come inside and relay your message.”
Immediately, the tent flap opened, revealing a young boy, not even ten years old by my reckoning.
It was a testament to the effect that this world had on me that I took this sight without a single blink, despite this boy being younger than I was before I’d learned magic existed.
It was just the way of this world.
“Her Grace bids you to come to the main tent, it’s urgent.” The boy said, scratching the back of his brown hair uncomfortably, sending me nervous glances, but not daring to meet my eyes.
Was I that intimidating?
“All right. Thank you. I’ll head there as soon as I can.” I tried to say as kindly as I could manage.
The boy nodded and left quick, the kindness completely lost on him.
“What was that about?” I shook my head at the boy’s jittery behavior.
“You look like you’ve been through a meat grinder.” Balthazar supplied, coming out from under the furs. “Dumbass.”
I sighed. “You’re not going to let this go anytime soon, are you?”
“What do you think?” Came the acerbic reply.
“Enough of your tantrum.” Erebus cut in, filling the warm air with his chill. “What’s done is done, and we need to move on if we want to finish this fight and get back to what’s important.”
‘Like finding Hestia’ was left unsaid, but I understood Erebus’ intent all the same.
“Fine, whatever.” Balthazar grumbled his way into silence again.
That was probably the best I was going to get from the irritable snake, I thought as he merged with my arm once again, the black scales clicking into place— bringing me a feeling of security I hadn’t known I was missing.
With a quick wave of my wand, I cleaned my clothes. With another, I repaired them before stowing the stick away.
“Tsk, I’m not back to full strength.” I said, still feeling a weakness in my body. “Much better than before, though. How long did I sleep? Another hour?”
The light coming from the gentle sway of the tent flap said otherwise.
“A bit over five hours.” Erebus provided the answer. “You honestly need more sleep.”
I shook my head.
“This much will have to do.” I got to my feet and squared up to full height. “There’s no time to waste.”
Getting into my clothes was much simpler than it had been before. “Good, I’ve recovered the majority of the range of my mobility.”
A minute later, and I was set. My hand traced against the prominent scar on my neck.
Proof that you’re not invincible, Potter. Part of me said. You need to be better, or you’ll really lose your head next time.
My gaze hardened as I took the powerful sword and placed it on my waist. “Are you ready? Erebus. Balthazar.”
The scales glowed red, while Erebus pulsed in his sheath.
“Let’s end this war.” I stepped out of the tent and was immediately greeted by a waiting Bronn.
“You still look like shit.” Was the greeting.
I snorted despite myself.
“So, still better than you look?” My emerald eyes glittered with sudden amusement, before shaking my head. “Where are the others? My kos, my Unsullied?”
“Took the liberty of sending ’em out to mobilize the troops half an hour ago.” Bronn nodded as we fell into step on our way to the main tent. “They should be ready, or close to it, by now.”
I smiled before stopping the both of us briefly. “Good. You’ve done well. You’ll be with me for the battle plans. Can I count on you to manage the troops, to keep them in line and their morale high?”
He didn’t immediately answer.
I nodded to myself. “If it’s too much, then it’s all right. You’ve been a great help over the last few months, and I—”
“Yeah.” Bronn cut me off. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but yes.”
I shut my mouth, a strange mix of elation and confusion welling up within me.
“When I got caught by the Dothraki.” Bronn gestured towards the men on horses passing us by and giving us nods of acknowledgment. “I didn’t really believe in anything.”
He gave a wolfish smile. “Magic. Dragons. The Gods.”
From his mocking tone, I knew what he thought of all that. “Old tales told to children— not that I’d ever had much of a childhood…”
He paused for a moment, his black eyes focusing onto me. “Killed a woman before I was twelve, traveled the world, and it was all the same shite. ‘Noble Lords’ hiding behind their finery, grinding everyone up into dust— not that I cared. Got paid to kill many of these Lords’ enemies, in fact.”
Where’s he going with this?
“But, then I met you. Knew you were a ‘goner the moment I saw you.” His smile widened in morbid amusement. “But then you started pulling men straight off their ‘orses without even tryin’. Strength which makes The Mountain look like a newborn kitten. You challenged that cunt Khal to a fight and killed him like he was nothin’! Not even a steppin’ stone.”
I stayed quiet.
“But then you surprised me again when you started changing things.” Bronn shook the astonishment out of his voice. “I never thought I’d see the day when the Dothraki would peacefully exist with those dickless cunts. Never thought I’d see a dragon. Never thought I’d see miracles with my own eyes. But, here you are.”
“What’re you trying to say?”
Another long moment of hesitation.
“I’m saying my sword is yours, Harry Potter. Khal Potter, or Lord or whatever it is you call yourself.” He drew his sword and laid it at my feet, kneeling. “I’m complete shit with oaths, but there it is.”
I stared down at his kneeling form, not really knowing how to deal with this. Bronn was the most opportunistic person I’d met in this world. His morals were fiercely skewed, and I never expected him to do anything remotely like this.
“You said I create miracles, Bronn.” I smiled, feeling a strange amusement over this entire affair. “But I think you’ve created a miracle of your own: belief in someone else. I hope I can be worthy of it.”
I hope I can redeem myself and find Hestia. The thought came unbidden, causing my gaze to harden again.
Bronn didn’t answer, likely stumped by the revelation.
He did so and sheathed his sword. “Just don’t expect me to wear bright, fancy armor with a cape.”
Aaand we’re back on familiar, comfortable ground.
“Perish the thought.” I laughed and gestured towards the main tent in the distance. “Shall we?”
The rest of the trip was uneventful, and we soon found ourselves entering through the main tent’s flaps.
“Lord Potter. General.” Daenerys greeted us politely, gesturing for us to come closer. “Be welcome. I trust that you’ve slept well?”
She’s dressed for a battle. I noted as my eyes quickly took her appearance in: she was dressed in all browns, all hard leather with plates stitched in between the fabric. The armor was obviously meant to take a few hits, but wouldn’t provide much defense against a dedicated assault. Can’t be the Dothraki who made this, they don’t like wearing armor.
“As well as can be expected, considering the circumstances— Queen Daenerys.” I hastened to add. “I’m not quite back up to full, but I’ll have to make do with what I’ve got.”
“Well said.” Ser Barristan gave me a nod. His armor was shining extra brightly today— something for the masses to gawk at and get inspired by, I reckoned. The old man turned to his Queen. “With your permission…?”
She waved for him to proceed. Barristan bowed once more before getting all of our attention and directing it to the map at the center of the table.
“From our scouts’ information, we’ve mobilized two of our divisions here and here.” Barristan lightly tapped the map at two key points.
“Flanking point.” I stared down at the terrain.
“You were right.” Bronn admitted to the old knight, frowning as he looked at the map. “They have no plan.”
“But, they do have the numbers.” Jorah entered the conversation. “They are expecting us to wait for them, but make no mistake: when we corner these men, they will turn all the more vicious.”
“We’ve got three dragons.” Bronn added in un-elegantly. “Begging your pardon, my Queen.”
The highborns tutted, displeased at the man’s outburst.
I shook my head, taking over in case they wanted to chastise the man. “They’re definitely growing stronger, but alas, they’re not quite ready for a battle of this scale. I had to train Hestia—” I forced my tone to stay the same. “— for weeks before I could get her to perform the most basic of attacks. Dragons are formidable creatures, to be sure, but they require training to follow their commander’s orders, rather than rampage. One mistake, and they could find themselves swarmed by the enemy.”
“Death by a thousand cuts.” Daenerys finished for me, a grim expression on her face. “My children are not ready.”
Bronn nodded. “Aye. I suppose you’re right. My apologies.”
“Nothing to forgive.” I smiled, nodding towards Daenerys. “We’ll have to win this one through our own martial might. Though I may not have Hestia with me…”
I lifted my hand and summoned up my Lightning, filling the room with blue light for a few moments before closing it into a fist, causing a small shockwave to rattle those around me. “I am still very far from weak— something the enemy will learn, soon enough.”
“And with the… Fortified weapons and armors Lord Harry’s army was happy to provide—” Naharis interjected, tapping the pommel of the unfamiliar blade at his waist. “We should do fine. They’re not my ladies, but they’ll do in a pinch. A generous gift indeed, Lord Potter.”
“So glad that I have your approval, Naharis.” I favored the flamboyant man with an impish smile.
He gave a mock bow in response. “My lord.”
“Very well.” Daenerys cut in, the amusement in her eyes betraying the serious tone of voice she projected. “We are as ready as we’ll ever be. Ser Jorah, you and Daario are to lead the flanking divisions. The rest of you… You know what to do.”
There was a flurry of motion as all the battle hardened men in the tent cleared out, leaving only Bronn, Ser Barristan, Daenerys and myself again.
This looks familiar.
“No need to say it.” Bronn patted me on the shoulder. “I’ll be waiting outside, my Khal Potter.”
Ser Barristan bristled at the informal way the sellsword talked to me.
“Sounds good.” I nodded. “We’ll head over to the army and give ’em a rousing speech.”
“As my Khal commands.” And so, he left.
An awkward silence followed in his wake.
“Why do you allow him to speak to you in this way?” Daenerys asked, sounding almost curious. “He is your subject, is he not? To behave so disrespectfully…”
Ser Barristan didn’t add anything, but I could tell he was also curious, if a little disgusted.
I’m not from this world. Where I’m from, we don’t believe in the nonsense that a single person is divinely ordained to rule over billions of people. Not anymore. I thought, but didn’t say anything.
“He is rough around the edges, I’ll grant you that.” I admitted, smiling slightly. “His honesty has been invaluable, however.”
“I’ve also never been much for formality, though I do observe it when the need is required.” I added. I considered my next words carefully. “Besides, holding men and women to certain standards based on the circumstances of their birth has always been something I disagreed with. People should be judged purely by their own merits, not by any other way.”
At least, in the civilized parts.
“Truly? You believe it should be this way?” Daenerys seemed surprised by the provided information. Ser Barristan didn’t say anything, but it was obvious that he thought the idea was ridiculous.
He is an old man, after all. I thought. An honorable, good man, but ignorant, and set in his ways. He hasn’t seen what humans are capable of after breaking their past chains. He doesn’t know like I do.
But, Daenerys— she certainly seemed interested.
“Perhaps, we’ll speak more of this after the coming battles. Your Grace.” I smiled, ending that line of discussion.
“Hmm.” Daenerys paused, her violet eyes scrutinizing me closely. “I’ll hold you to that. Lord Potter.”
She turned her head. “Ser Barristan.”
He nodded in response, walking by her side as they exited the tent, leaving me alone to my thoughts. I closed my eyes.
Wherever you are, Hestia— be safe.
I opened my eyes and left the tent. There were speeches to give out, battles to win.
I was greeted by the sight of Bronn speaking with Joqo, my right hand amongst the Dothraki.
The two noticed me and bowed.
“Khal Potter.” Joqo said. “We are ready for battle.”
“Well done.” I nodded. “Let us address the men.”
As the two vocally agreed, I wondered what exactly I’d need to say to get them ready for a fight.
The self righteous speech about justice would be pointless— half of them are Dothraki, they live to fight. The other half is bloodthirsty when it comes to masters trying to enslave them. I thought as we slowly broke off from the camp proper and into the assembled army ahead of us.
Both of my Dothraki and Unsullied parted their ranks for us to pass through. In no time at all, I was already standing before them, quickly assessing the morale.
Restless, a little anxious. I nodded minutely as Bronn began getting everyone’s attention by hitting the flat of his blade against the scabbard.
“We’re about to head into battle.” I smiled. “I know many of you are excited to show these washed up cunts how real warriors fight— especially with how you’ve all been training in the past few moons.”
There was a general cheer at that.
“That’s right.” I nodded. “They’ve come here to kill us, to turn us into their slaves.”
The crowd shouted at that, their anger slowly building.
“They think they can come to us and make us kneel!” I continued, watching as they got angrier and angrier. “Make us clean their shit, eat their rotten food, and worse!”
“Imaginative.” Erebus’ voice was barely a whisper, but I ignored it in favor of riling the army up further.
“You know what I think?” I took a page out of the Greatjon’s book and spat on the ground garnering laughs from the warriors. “I think these milk drinking, weak armed pansies have been so busy pushing slaves around that they don’t know how to fight someone who can actually fight back! Real warriors!“
A booming roar of approval.
“So let’s go show them how it’s done— show them how real warriors do battle. Are you with me?!”
The army— my people— continued to chant for quite some time before I clenched my hand into a fist and raised it sky high, roaring to the sky. They immediately followed suit, the sound wave hitting me like a shot of Strengthening Solution.
I turned to Bronn, fist still in the air. “Ready?”
“After a speech as rousing as that— how can I not be?” He smirked, before nodding to the group composed of Joqo, a few more kos and Unsullied sub-commanders. “You know what to do.”
We made good time, I thought a few hours later as we crested over yet another hill. The new horse I’d asked for was one apparently provided by Daenerys— a brown-maned, well-behaved, well trained horse.
I felt no connection with it, like I’d had with Geryon. I supposed that was for the best. Thinking of Geryon made me sad. It was yet another companion of mine that I’d failed.
Beside me, Daenerys, Ser Barristan, and Grey Worm stared silently ahead at the plains ahead. We hadn’t shared a single word outside of general army management since our conversation in the tent.
“Over there.” Bronn pointed off in two directions towards several outcroppings of rocks. “The two points we talked about.”
“Yes.” I agreed, frowning as I halted my horse’s momentum with the reins before signaling for the army to stop. “They’re quite a distance away from each other. With our division’s size, we should be able to hold out until then, but…”
“Aye. ‘Should’ is not the same as ‘will’.” Bronn said atop his own black steed. “We’ll be doing the lion’s share of the fightin’.”
“Such is the way of war.” Came Selmy’s wizened voice. “We can only pray to the Gods that they grant us their favor today.”
Bronn scoffed, but said nothing further.
“Scout ahead!” One of the men shouted, pointing towards the figure in question. We turned to see the man in question— “one of ours. He’s coming by pretty quick.”
He was crying something out, but I couldn’t properly hear him, as he was still quite the distance away. I waited a few seconds, listening intently as his shouted words began to gain more and more coherence.
“They’re coming!” Was what he was saying.
“Alert our forces.” Daenerys said crisply.
“Way ahead of you.” I pulled my wand and placed it against my throat. “Sonorous.“
“Warriors! Though we hail from many different places, pray to different Gods, and follow different leaders— today, we are all brothers and sisters in battle!” I called out, my voice reaching the entirety of the combined force without my needing to shout. “They’re almost on us. Are you ready?“
The army roared, filling the air with anticipation and deadly intent.
That was all I needed. “Get into position!”
The men and women began to move, assuming their formation— the Unsullied spearmen in the frontline, archers right behind them surrounded by squadrons of warriors with the specific task of defending the archers.
On the sides were the bulk of the Dothraki. Their job was quite simple: defend our flanks. With their horses, they had the mobility to quickly react to enemy flanking movements.
It wasn’t a perfect plan of attack, but it was all we could’ve realistically come up with on such short notice. Hell, I hadn’t even been present for most of the planning period, but I trusted the tactical minds of Ser Barristan, Daario, Bronn and even Ser Jorah.
Never let it be said that I let my personal dislike of someone blind my judgment. I thought without humor as I felt the first stirring of the earth. It was a very light sensation, like a small, consistent vibration.
And it was getting stronger.
“They’re almost on us.” I nodded and took a breath.
“You are sure—” Daenerys said before stopping herself. She’d felt the rumble, as well. “Yes. Their steps.”
“You often hear them before seeing them.” Barristan agreed before pointing off to the distance. “And soon, they will be on us.”
Daenerys reached down to her side and drew a weapon from her horse’s saddlebag— a short-to-medium length spear. It was a finely crafted piece, with an ebony shaft and a sharp, bladed tip.
Its only decoration was a red tassel, secured between the shaft and the blade. The beautiful fabric swayed in the wind.
“A spear.” I commented lightly, turning my eyes back to the slowly approaching enemy army. “Good choice.”
“I’m still new to the ways of combat.” Was Daenerys’ reply as she stared fondly at her weapon. “When I was a child, I’d always wanted a sword, like Ser Willem did.”
I frowned at the name, but did not comment.
“He swore he would teach us when we were older, and ready.” Daenerys gripped her spear more tightly. “And then he died.”
I didn’t reply.
“My ancestor, Visenya, used a sword.” Daenerys said suddenly, as if we weren’t facing possible doom. “Did you know?”
“Dark Sister.” I nodded. “A blade with an infamous history.”
“Lost to time— just like the rest of my family.” Daenerys had murmured the last part, but I’d heard it all the same.
I stifled a wince. There were still two members of her family who were still alive. An old man at the Wall and… Jon.
The image of Ghost feebly crawling in the blood soaked snow flashed in my mind once again. My mouth set into a grimace of resolve.
One problem at a time, Potter. First, this army.
A few moments passed as the enemy army continued to approach, almost in range of fire.
“Hold fast, men!” Bronn shouted as he moved ahead to better coordinate the men. “Archers! Nock!”
The archers drew their arrows and Nocked them on their bows.
“Draw!” Bronn called out. “Just a little more…”
He waited a bit, before —”Loose!”
In an instant, the air was filled with a silent rain of death. Many of the arrows flew true, striking the enemy soldiers and knocking much of their frontline down on the ground.
As Bronn continued to shout commands to the archers, the enemy started preparing their men to do the same.
“Shields up when they loose!” I called out.
Even if I had been at full power, I didn’t really know of any spell which would banish all of the arrows simultaneously. I cursed my lack of knowledge on spellcrafting— something I’d been working on ever since my first real battle in this world.
Not that I was very good at it.
Something like a modified illusionary spell hadn’t been all too difficult, but altering Flipendo or Depulso?
Of course, summoning their weapons was basically a death sentence. I stifled a sigh. Without the time to prepare, I had to deal with a head-on battle.
Both sides continued to release arrows at one another for the next minute before— finally— we were barely feet apart.
“For the Queen!” “For the Khal!” “Kill them all!” And many other things were said, all hell breaking loose as their men crashed into our front line, which held its ground.
I drew my wand, snapping it towards the flying projectiles and sending them flying away, one at a time.
Our frontline held, I thought as I watched the fearless Unsullied drive their spears around and past the enemy shields, breaking through their own frontline and stopping their advance flat.
“They’ve stopped them flat.” I Banished more arrows away from us, before finally spotting the groups of bowmen in all of the chaos. “Bombarda Maxima!”
The ground at the center of a group of bowmen exploded, sending debris and chunks of earth flying in all directions, seriously injuring and killing most, while the resulting shockwave knocked the surrounding soldiers over and caused chaos among the ranks.
I barely reacted to the carnage, turning my wand to the next group of archers.
A stream of flame erupted a few feet from my left, flying over our army and descending on the enemy archers like a pillar of fiery death. Its source?
“You’ve taught me well.” Was all Daenerys said as she cut off the source of her energy. She frowned. “Though, I can’t do that too many times.”
“Save your energy— but don’t hoard it, either.” I agreed, turning my wand to the next group of archers and unleashing hell upon them, as well.
“And what about you?” Erebus whispered, though his voice was loud and clear in my mind. “Your energies are still not fully recovered.”
Daenerys merely sent me a glance, repeating Erebus’ opinion without the need to state a single word.
“Stand your ground, men!” Ser Barristan called as the disoriented enemy slowly began to reclaim its footing. “Do not falter!”
They charged us again, this time with fear, hatred and anger in their eyes. They crashed into the frontline and broke through it at the center, even as men continued to cry and shout orders at each other, their words disappearing in the cacophony of sound that is war.
I heard something unintelligible from my side and turned to see Daenerys staring at the line of soldiers with a strange mix of anticipation and fear.
“Her blood sings to her.” Erebus called out. “But, is she ready?”
I checked the two spots Bronn had pointed out earlier, but already knew there still wouldn’t be anyone there. All of the fighting, all of the death— and it had not even been five minutes.
“Signal the Dothraki to begin attacking from the sides.” I ordered a few nearby soldiers. “We need to let them think that we’re fully committing to this fight.”
They merely nodded in response, before turning to Daenerys, who had a few orders of her own.
“Archers should keep their assault for as long as they can.” Daenerys added. “Continue making sure they are well defended, and well stocked, if necessary.”
They nodded again, before rushing off in opposite directions, to the end of our formations.
I dismounted my horse and walked forward, drawing Erebus in the process. The sword pulsed with a barely restrained lust for blood. “I leave the army to you. I’m joining the front lines.”
I turned to see a conflicted expression on her face, but she nodded in acquiescence. “Very well, but you’d better come back alive!”
I snorted at the sheer gall of the demand. “I’ll do my best. Your Grace.”
Erebus pulsed with power again as the frontline ahead of me continued to break, letting a few of the enemy soldiers through— straight into my path.
I parried the hastily thrown diagonal slash, twisting my wrist and lopping the offender’s head off at the shoulders, pushing his twitching body away without breaking my stride. Another two came and died just as quickly, Erebus tearing its way through their shoddy armors and into their hearts and kidneys.
Space made, I rushed towards the broken line and joined the men in their struggle for survival.
“I’ll hold them off until you reform the line!” I shouted over the rest as I grabbed an enemy’s spear and pulled, dragging him towards me and stabbing Erebus into the side of his neck.
I barely acknowledged the life leaving his eyes while I kicked him away, already in the process of dealing with the man behind him.
He gave a desperate cry and telegraphed his vertical hammer swing. A backstep later, I watched the momentum of his weapon taking him along with it and embedding itself into the earth.
With a quick swing to the neck, I ended the man’s life before he got the chance to even realize the grave mistake he’d made.
And so it went, for a while. I lost myself in the slaughter, keeping the thought of holding the line firmly in mind as the rest of my perceptions sharpened with the adrenaline rush.
I sidestepped a thrust and slashed diagonally, tearing through the enemy’s ringmail and the soft flesh beneath. He would die quickly enough.
I turned and blocked a sword with my armored right arm, driving Erebus into the offender’s neck and killing him instantly.
I took hold of the fresh corpse and shoved it towards the enemy attacker on the left to bog him down. I decapitated him along with the corpse as he scrambled to extricate himself.
I parried a slash and drove Erebus straight down, tearing through the enemy’s wrist and slicing his stomach open— I watched him panic for a moment as he realized his organs were in danger of slipping out of his body.
Another swing, and he was put out of his misery.
Onto the next.
I turned to engage the next enemy, but he was blindsided by one of his fellow soldiers fleeing and knocking them both down on the ground— What?
I wasted no time and finished one off while the other was killed by another soldier— no, it was Bronn.
When had he gotten here?
The two of us exchanged quick glances before assuming our previous positions, ready to weather another assault.
Except, the enemy was now retreating— no, that wasn’t it.
I cursed and wiped the blood off of my face, taking a moment in the lull of the fighting to relay information. “This is a trap. Look at their side lines. A circle.”
“Fuck me.” Bronn agreed after a moment’s breath. “We have to spring it. Otherwise they make distance and run before the cavalry divisions arrive.”
Letting them leave could cost us the entire battle and leave us in great danger— especially considering the existence of the other army to the Northeast. I thought quickly and desperately. But ordering my men to run into a death trap just to stall long enough for the two cavalry divisions to arrive?
I knew that, if I’d ordered it, the men and women of my army would run to their deaths without question.
Thus, I found myself at an impasse.
I caught Bronn’s gaze and was immediately reminded by his recent words.
Miracles, huh. I honestly never thought he’d say anything like that.
A quick check to my energy levels showed that they’d only slightly dipped in the time since the battle began.
Maybe I was being too careful— an image of Euron Greyjoy came to mind. He’d almost killed me.
But these soldiers were just that. They had no magic, no red priests and certainly no one eyed Greyjoys.
I nodded to myself and broke from the ranks of men. “Do not chase! It’s a trap. Relay the message.”
Bronn joined me. “D’you have another miracle in store, then?”
I didn’t immediately answer.
Miracles. Inexplicable phenomena which could never organically occur in nature.
I was capable of them, but I was taking them for granted; the fight against Euron had turned me cautious— too cautious, I was now fully realizing.
I glanced at Bronn for one last time before activating Air Raid. Bright blue wings of sparking electricity erupted from my back.
I took to the air, my eyes trained on the enemy army as they stared at me, as if transfixed.
I pointed down at one of the soldiers and shot a small bolt down— not strong enough to kill him, but enough to knock him into unconsciousness.
The men panicked as their fellow soldier continued to convulse on the ground.
“Erebus, fear effect, full blast.” I said before pulling my wand out and placing it against my neck. “Sonorous.”
“I grow tired of toying with you.” I said, looking as if I was floating around without a care in the world as my booming voice projected itself like a physical sensation against all around me. “So I will give you all a choice.”
I watched the soldiers as Erebus’ fear effect began to hit them. And hit them hard, it did.
I pointed both hands at them for dramatic effect. They all visibly braced themselves, the memory of my Lightning Bolt still fresh in their minds.
With a frown of concentration, I channeled my Lightning and formed hundreds of spinning Lightning Blades— drawing most of my energy in the process.
“Kneel to me and surrender.” I shouted. “Or die in a whirlwind of lightning! You have ten seconds.”
They all began to look around, eyes quickly turning towards their leaders, who looked just as spooked as they did.
“Ten! Nine! Eight! Seven! Six! Fi—“
At the five second mark, I noticed a few of the men throwing down their weapons and kneeling.
Like an avalanche, the rest of the enemy fighting force followed suit, laying down their arms and kneeling in surrender.
Finally. Something is going right.
For the first time in the past few days, I felt satisfaction again.