Skip to content

Through The Ruins

Ruined City, Old Valyria

Harry Potter

I drove Erebus down into the creature’s maw, piercing the back of its mouth and embedding the blade in the harsh ground beneath.

It was a testament to the chimera’s tenacity that it didn’t die instantly from the shock of the pain alone, but a twist of my blade settled the matter.

I stayed that way for a moment, staring into the monster’s eyes and seeing them go peaceful as they glazed over.

Another victim of the Valyrians. I thought as I gave the poor thing a final, mournful glance before pulling my sword out and closing its eyes. Rest in peace. I hope you reach whatever afterlife you believe in.

All around me, I saw that my companions were doing the same to their opponents. I got back to my feet with a huff, feeling the sweat drenching my body.

“This is insane.” One of our men said as he nursed a cut to his cheek. Beside him lay the prone body of his opponent, as well as that of his companion.

He looked at his friend’s corpse and then at me, as if this whole thing were my fault.

You are the one who signed up for this. I thought with vicious fervor.

“How many more of us will die before the day ends?” He said helplessly before he looked upon his friend once again. “He didn’t deserve to die like this, so far from home…”

“It is a miracle that we are all still alive.” Perros said before spitting out a tooth and glaring at the man. “Now get up, Patras. We are the ones who volunteered for this quest. Treno— or even Willam— wouldn’t want us to stop for them. they wouldn’t have, if it were us.”

What Perros said surprised me, because he had specifically blamed me for William’s death not an hour prior.

I wasn’t sure how he got to this conclusion, but I was heartened all the same. Less friction in the group was always a good thing, especially considering our circumstances.

The man named Patras looked at his dead friend and only laughed in reply, but the sound was dead and hollow. “He’d probably tell stories about it for the rest of his life, if he’d made it out.”

It was a second later that Perros got annoyed and pulled him to his feet. “Come to your senses, you insufferable cock wart! This isn’t over for us yet.”

But Patras only shook his head, gesturing towards the large tower in the distance as he spoke. “Coming here was a mistake, Perros. If we even make it to that damnable tower, who knows what we’ll find on the inside?”

“A hoard of treasure so vast and valuable that it would sate the desire of a hundred Kings!” Perros replied.

“Or maybe we’ll be the ones turned into these things.” Patras shoved the corpse of the chimera, budging it a few inches. “Or worse.”

“Lord Potter.” Barristan’s voice came from my right, cutting through the argument the other two were having, and I turned to see the man approaching.

He walked slowly, as if to conserve his strength, but he otherwise looked unharmed. His armor was tarnished, covered in blood and other fluids, but the man’s face was clean.

“Lord Harry.” Daenerys said from beside him, and I could tell that she was leaning on her spear a little too much.

Worry rose within me. I got to my feet, stepping over the corpse of my foe and moving towards her.

“You’re hurt.” I said, checking her over.

“My side.” Daenerys said, her violet eyes shining with both annoyance and fondness. “It’s nothing.”

“I’ll be the judge of that.” I said, moving to her side. I drew my wand and muttered an incantation over her ribs, frowning. “You’ve two cracked ribs and internal bruising.”

“It’s fine.” Daenerys said, raising her hand to wave my concern away before cringing and almost falling down.

“Your Grace!”

But Daenerys only glared at the man, keeping him at bay with her eyes alone as she got back to her feet on her own. “I will be fine.”

I poked her rib, making her cringe. “That says otherwise.”

She glared at me, eyes full of fury, but I was having none of it. “This isn’t the time for foolish pride. I’m going to repair the damage as best as I can.”

“No.” Daenerys insisted, shaking her head. “You’ve already been using too much of your power, as it is.”

I frowned. I’d been trying to hide my own fatigue from everyone, but it didn’t seem to have worked.

“Yes.” Daenerys continued, seeing my look. “You aren’t as stealthy as you think you are. You take deeper breaths when you think no one is looking. You’re using less of your magic in battle, instead relying on strength and martial skill against your opponents.”

I pursed my lips; she had a good point. I couldn’t afford to waste my energy on healing people to full, but at the same time I couldn’t just let her walk around this place with these kinds of injuries. “A compromise, then.”

Daenerys stared at me for a moment before nodding. “I’m listening.”

“I’ll fix the worst of it.” I said. “Make sure you can still fight and move, at least.”

“Fine.” She said, though she glared. “But only that much.”

“Fine.” I also said, pleased by her acceptance of the matter. “Ser Barristan?”

“Yes, Lord Potter?”

“Hold the Queen still for me, please.” I said and held the wand over her ribs. She almost flinched from the near-contact, expecting debilitating pain.

Barristan took her shoulders and held her firmly, to which I gave a nod.

“Ready?” I said, and Daenerys replied with a nod. “Brackium Emendo!”

Soft blue light seeped into Daenerys’ flesh, and the woman tried to flail, letting out grunts and whimpers of pain for a few seconds before she stopped, the blue light fading into nothing.

“Should be better.” I said, taking a step back and looking at Ser Barristan. “You can let go now, Ser Barristan.”

But the man didn’t comply, instead speaking to his Queen. “Your Grace?” 

“It’s fine.” Daenerys said and he let go at once. She poked and prodded at her side a few times before taking a step forward and nodding. “Thank you, Lord Potter.”

“You’re welcome, Queen Daenerys.” I said, nodding towards the other part of our group, which was approaching at a sedate pace.

I counted at least ten more chimeras strewn about the street— no human corpses.

“Only one loss this time.” Ser Barristan said, but his lips pursed. “Though every lost soul strikes us to the core. We are few in number.”

“But we make up for it in fighting spirit!” Arianne Martell said as she approached. Her cheer was not shared by the men walking beside her.

They seemed to be on the brink of exhaustion, though no one sported any particularly worrying injuries. Thank Merlin. I don’t think I can handle healing all of them.

I’ve been absorbing as much as I can from these chimeras.” Erebus whispered to me. “Enough that we can sustain this current rate of fighting for a while, still.

I know that. I thought back, sending him a mental shake of the head. But who knows how many of these monsters are just roaming the streets?

“This is the third group we’ve dealt with.” Patras said, looking at his friend’s corpse again. “How many more of them will we have to deal with?”

“We won’t know until—” Perros’ reply was cut short. I looked towards him, only to see the man staring at the other side of the street. I followed his gaze and smiled.

It was Joqo, back from his appointed task

“Joqo is back.” I said with a smile and moved towards him.

He met me halfway, clasping arms with me for a moment before nodding. “Khal Harry.”

“Well? Any luck?”

Joqo nodded. “Yes. I’ve done as you and Khaleesi instructed and scouted ahead.”

“What have you found?” Daenerys said as she approached as well, and I saw that everyone else had done the same.

He held out his hand, splaying it open. “Five. Five bands of these…. chimeres.”

“Chimeras.” I have a gentle correction before shaking my head at the ridiculousness of my own response. It wasn’t the time to be doing this. “Disregard that. Five, you said?”

“Yes, Khal.” Joqo said. “Eight to twelve of the creatures in a band.”

So, somewhere between forty to sixty more of these monsters— assuming there aren’t any more he just didn’t get the chance to scout. I thought, absorbing his information with a slow nod.

My expression changed into one of surprise at seeing the dried blood on the man’s arakh. “You’ve had to fight.”

“I was forced to kill one of theirs.” Joqo admitted with a grimace, rolling his shoulders. “It saw me and attacked. Did not survive very long, however.”

“You don’t seem hurt.” I said, looking over the man.

“I was able to kill it quickly enough.” Joqo said, grimacing. “Pulled my shoulder too hard.”

“Then we’re lucky that you got it before it had the chance to call out for its allies.” I said, trying to keep my tone light but failing as I checked over his shoulder to make sure it wasn’t dislocated. “Seems fine, you’ll just have to be more careful when moving… Well done, Joqo. This might be just what we need.”

“Yes.” Daenerys said, excitement lighting in her violet eyes at the prospect of progress.

“We should go immediately.” One of the Dornishmen said, raising his sword. “While they still aren’t aware of our presence.”

“Sooner or later, they’ll find their ally’s corpse.” Another agreed.

“I made sure to cover the body and erased any tracks that lead to the path I took.” Joqo said in disagreement. “There is time.”

“Time for what?” The soldier challenged.

“Rest.” Daenerys said, gesturing around to all of us. “I believe we could all use the time to recuperate.”

“Agreed.” I said, nodding. “Much as I would love to storm the tower right now, we all still need to rest, if only a little.”

There was a moment of silence in which everyone took in the information before giving slight bows of deference. Reason and logic had won them over, for now. It was with that realization that we all sat down, shedding our absolute vigilance for the time being.

“Twenty minutes.” I said, drawing in as much air as possible into my lungs before exhaling. “Enough to take the very edge off. And then we move.”

Everyone nodded, though no word was spoken. Seems that they’re more tired than they probably thought they were, huh?

Acting tough.” Balthazar replied into my mind. “Trying to keep their allies from panicking? Hard to say.

I nodded and banished the matter from my thoughts, focusing on relaxing. Yet, I couldn’t help but think back to Gerion’s words to me. He mentioned the silver-hairs. He was talking about the Valyrians. Could they really still be alive? They’re all supposed to be dead, except Dany and Jon. What gives?

No answer came, and so my gaze moved towards the Final Bastion, which stood tall in the distance. Its black, sleek and pristine form dwarfed all others around us, with only the roiling smoke emerging from the ground rising above it.

Lightning struck beside the tower, and I narrowed my eyes as the sound of thunder hit us. It’s a miracle that the Bastion is intact… Or is it? Gerion spoke as if the silver-hairs were still alive. Could there be any remaining dragonlords holed up in there?

If so, then I wasn’t sure just what was going on, here. If there were still Valyrians living in a hell of their own creation, I highly doubted that they would be amenable to us in any way.

Considering the way they’d dealt with Gerion and anyone who dared to try and plunder their treasure… I thought. I definitely don’t see them aiding us in any way, when our presence is revealed.

A quick look towards Daenerys showed that she was deep in thought as well. Would these remaining Valyrians show her any favoritism for being a survivor?

It was hard to say. I wasn’t sure if House Targaryen was one they had any respect for, considering that it had left the Freehold to settle on Dragonstone, instead.

Aegon’s ghost hadn’t been particularly helpful back when I had been in King’s Landing, either. He’d never been alive during the heyday of the Valyrian Freehold’s reign, so all he had to offer me were half remembered tales given to him by the elders in his youth, as well as the bits and pieces of history they had kept, back then.

Before I knew it, everyone was getting up. Time’s up. Already?

I let out a deep sigh and got to my feet, smiling a little as I realized it took a little less effort to do so. “Silver linings, I suppose…”

“What was that?” Daenerys said from my left, frowning.

“Nothing.” I said with a shrug. “Just talking to myself.”

Daenerys stared at me for another moment before nodding. “Very well. Are you ready?”

“As ready as I’ll ever be.” I rolled my right shoulder and took a deep breath before addressing everyone here. “What about the rest of you?”

Everyone nodded.

I stepped forward towards the fallen Dornishman and tapped his body with my wand, covering him in bandages before shrinking his body and placing it in the hands of his friend, Patras. “Protect him well. Will you see him to his family?”

Patras stared down at the miniature, covered corpse for a few seconds, saying nothing. Then, he raised black eyes towards me and nodded, unslinging his pack and placing the corpse inside of it, ensuring that it was safely stowed. “Yes. I swear it.”

“Good.” I said and turned my gaze to everyone else. “Let’s go.”

“This way.” Joqo said, taking point without needing to be asked.

I followed closely behind the man with Barristan and Daenerys behind me. Arianne was surrounded by three guards, while the rest of her court defended the backline and the sides, in case of ambush.

One could not take too many risks, after all. Joqo led us through long, ruined alleyways, through a few broken down buildings full of molten glass, and one which had housed a few sets of armor, though the metal had cleanly fused into the broken, half-rotted wooden mannequins.

Joqo exited the building, only to stop us in our tracks and usher us back inside. He held his hands up, shaking his head without making a single sound. He made a fist and pointed towards his right.

Enemies nearby. I thought and nodded, before holding my hand up, keeping everyone inside for the moment. We waited a minute, and then another before I nudged Joqo to go and check.

This time, he drew his arakh and moved towards the hole in the wall on the tips of his toes. He checked his immediate surroundings for a moment, and then another, before taking a careful step outside. He stood there for a few more seconds, scanning the surroundings before nodding to himself and gesturing for us to follow.

I gave everyone a nod, and off we went.

We continued in this manner for the next half-hour, going through buildings, taking shortcuts through half-destroyed alleyways and streets, keeping to the many shadows cast by the buildings and the abundant clouds of smoke wafting up from the ruined earth.

It was eerie to go through this city and imagine where people’s homes and places of business were. Something was nagging at the back of my head, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

It was probably nothing, but I couldn’t help but get this sinking feeling in my stomach. There had been no attack for nearly an hour, now, and we were just about at the center of the city.

We stopped at a large enough building to recuperate from the trek.

“Something’s been bothering me.” Daenerys said, a deep frown marring her face as she turned her violet eyes to meet my own. “I feel like there’s something I’m missing.”

“You too?” I said in surprise, and then narrowed my eyes.

“I, too, have noticed that my perception is far more cloudy than it should be.” Erebus rattled from within his sheath of bone.

Come to think of it…” Balthazar said, his head poking out of my open palm to speak to everyone. “I think— something’s definitely messing with us.

“I have not noticed anything as such.” Ser Barristan admitted, but he seemed just as worried. “But, I will say this: there has been a distinct lack of enemies to face in the past hour.”

I pursed my lips as I took in the man’s meaning. “That means—”

“An ambush?” Daenerys cut me off, doing her best to keep her voice low enough so as not to attract attention from our other party members.

“No.” I said, shaking my head. “If they wanted to ambush us, there were a few spots they could have chosen where we would have made for easy pickings.”

“They outnumber us three to one.” Joqo finally began to speak. “They would have chosen the courtyard a few buildings back. It’s what I would have done.”

Ser Barristan nodded in agreement, likely having had the same idea.

The trek we had to go through just to get to this point had been risky enough. Joqo had made us walk over unstable ground, skirt the edge of magma pits, and squeeze ourselves through crawl spaces which forced us to throw our weapons ahead just to be able to fit.

Just to name a few things. I thought and tried to make sense of it. “Magic to befuddle our scrying attempts. Foes who are absent with the exception of a single sighting…”

“I cannot say for certain, since they were moving fast.” Joqo said with a deep frown. “But I believe they were also heading towards the tower.”

My head snapped towards him. “Towards the tower…”

“Whoever is in control of them has called them back.” Ser Barristan said, echoing my own thoughts. “They want us to engage them in a direct confrontation.”

I looked around the large space as I pondered this turn of events. “They could have continued to whittle us down into half our number— why stop now?”

“Perhaps they cannot detect us.” Daenerys said, but I shook my head.

“They were able to use magic to interfere with our scrying.” I said, pointing at myself. “Wouldn’t they need to know our exact position to do this?”

Not necessarily.” Erebus said.

“Hate to agree with the idiot.” Balthazar added in, his voice sour. “But he’s right. Enchantments can be placed on general areas rather than specific targets. They might not be able to detect us within their domains, but they sure as hell can use spells that affect it.”

I opened my mouth to answer before closing it, realizing that he was right. It made sense; why have bands of roaming chimera if they could ascertain our exact location? At best, they knew that their foot soldiers were being killed, and were calling them back to base.

“So, we will be fighting sixty enemies.” Daenerys said, her gaze sweeping over our group. “Even if we had been at full strength, I would not have considered our odds anywhere near good.”

“But we aren’t.” I said, my face grim. It would be a most difficult battle, indeed.

“But we are indeed not.” Daenerys repeated, nodding. “We must find a way to fool them.”

“…I’m listening.”


Some Time Later, South of the Final Bastion, Old Valyria

Daenerys Targaryen

“What’s the likelihood of this plan even working?” The words were muttered in the corner of the large, broken down shop, but Daenerys was able to hear them just fine.

She turned her head to see three men, not belonging to her, Harry or Arianne, sitting in the corner and chatting amongst each other. The remaining volunteers not sworn to us— only three of them remain, now.

Daenerys shook her head.

When they had begun this journey, their band was nearly forty strong; but now, they had lost more than half their number. Whether it was from the hallucinations, the krakens, the deadly, bubbling water, the pits, or now the chimeras— Daenerys couldn’t imagine which fate was the worst of the lot.

The man’s friends let out hums of varying degrees of volume before one spoke. “I don’t know. I’m not sure at all. Even to a man of the Blackscale’s ability, fighting many swarms of these… monsters— I don’t know if he will be equal to such a task. Not if they all swarm him at once.”

“We must trust in him.” Joqo stepped up to them and said in a harsh tone, startling the huddled trio as they turned to face him. “He has never led me or my people astray. Khal Harry will open the path for us— of this you can be sure.”

“Not particularly inspiring or reassuring when the words are coming from a Dothraki screamer, is it?” The man who’d spoken before said with a scoff.

Joqo glared, and it almost looked like he was about to attack the man, but he shook his head, turning away with a deep exhale before heading towards Daenerys and the others.

“You have done well.” Daenerys made sure to say as he approached. “A lesser man would have resorted to violence.”

Joqo’s angry gaze moved to her before they softened and he looked down, letting out a sigh to vent off his frustration. “We cannot afford to lose a single one of our party, no matter how… annoying they might be.”

He cleared rubble from the floor and took a seat, staring ahead of him for a long moment.

“They are afraid.” Daenerys said, breaking the silence. “After everything we have seen, to have Harry leave our side— well… It may make them feel vulnerable.”

Joqo threw a look towards her, as if to say: ‘is this your fear or theirs?’

Daenerys held the man’s gaze, unwilling to admit to such a thing.

Eventually, he turned his eyes away again. “He is indeed a powerful presence to have by our side.”

“Yes.” Daenerys said simply, not elaborating.

“How strange fate is…” Joqo said, blinking more slowly as he relaxed his shoulders, calming down a little. “When I first saw Khal Harry, Khaleesi, I thought him to be half of a man. He was standing alone and horseless in a field— with his small stature, he did not seem to be a threat. I did not expect him to live for very long.”

Daenerys nodded with a small frown; she knew how the Dothraki operated whenever they found hapless travelers in their path.

Knowing Harry, he must have done something very daring.

She leaned forward with interest. “What did he do?”

“A few fighters in our khalasar had him surrounded, and were about to capture him with ropes.” Joqo said, throwing Daenerys and Ser Barristan a quick glance before moving his gaze forward again.

“He pulled our men off of their horses— by their lassos— with nothing but the strength of his arms.” Joqo continued, shaking his head. “His physical prowess was great, but his… presence revealed itself more so. He was toying with our fighters, just as they thought to toy with him. He defeated them without use of weapons— threw them upon the ground, many spans away from his body.”

“To say that he did not require them for such foes.” Ser Barristan said, nodding in understanding. “I have seen him perform similar feats before.”

“Yes.” Joqo said, nodding. “Eventually, the previous Khal, Moro, challenged him. Khal Harry finally took up his sword and killed him— and his bloodriders— as if flies to a great stallion.”

Daenerys hummed. “It seems he does that sort of thing every time he meets potential rivals for the first time.”

She remembered their first meeting well— how Harry had made fools of her and her subjects, all on his lonesome. A few chimeras, in comparison, shouldn’t be an issue for him.

Still, he is worn and weary… Daenerys thought, worry creeping into her thoughts. Battling the Krakens, casting spells to heal our injuries, maintaining the very magic allowing us to breathe… How long can he maintain such efforts before he collapses from the sheer exertion?

Daenerys did not know just what kind of a drain using that level of power placed on him. She hoped that Harry would be fine.

He knew his limits, after all. He wouldn’t take things too far.

I must believe in him.

“And now, he goes to battle, yet again.” Joqo said with a strained smile, getting Daenerys’ attention, but then he grimaced. “I wished to go with him. To fight by his side. What purpose is a Khal’s kos if he is sent far from his Khal’s side?”

“A far greater one than you would have been, otherwise.” Ser Barristan finally cut in the conversation.

“Ser Barristan.” Daenerys said in a tone of warning, and the man had the grace to at least bow his head.

“My apologies, Your Grace.” He said, his tone of voice a little more respectful. He looked up at her with hardened, pale blue eyes, however. “But the truth is the truth. One must never shy away from telling it. And we need you here with us, Joqo.”

She opened her mouth to say something in response when Joqo shook his head. “The old knight is right, Khaleesi. I am not as strong, nor as fast as Khal Harry is— a liability when he can afford to have none. I cannot protect his back when I cannot protect my own front. He would be distracted trying to keep me alive.”

Daenerys frowned, the man’s words hitting a little too close to home, even though they were directed at himself. She steeled her resolve and placed her hand upon Joqo’s shoulder.

“Still.” She said, her violet eyes shining with determination. “We must make use of the opportunity he is giving us. Ser Barristan’s words are true, however harsh his delivery may have been: we will have need of your strength when we cross into the Bastion’s threshold. Who knows what manner of defenses its owners have built?”

Joqo nodded with a hum as a commotion came from the upper floor.

“I see something!” One of the Dornish men said, his voice carrying all the way down. “A shining red spark rising up to the heavens!”

A moment later, the sound of thunder and explosions reached everyone’s ears.

“That’s the signal.” Daenerys said, the excitement and finality in her voice bringing everyone up to attention. Everyone gathered and quickly fell in line. “This is our chance. Let us not waste it.”

They all replied with nods as Daenerys scanned their faces; they were all full of purpose and determination.

Daenerys nodded back  and smiled for a moment before her gaze hardened. “Let’s go.”

Stay alive, Harry… She thought, leading the group outside of the building, with Ser Barristan and Joqo flanking her. We’ll help save Hestia.


A Little Earlier, West of the Final Bastion, Valyria

Harry Potter

I continued to set everything up as I circled around the tower, having left my previous position with the others a few hours before. I adjusted the route I would take, and made sure to mark everything down so I could identify the traps I had set more easily.

I don’t think it’ll get any better than this. I thought, stopping to think for a moment. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to give everything one final look.

And so it was, I doubled back to check through my improvised traps, ranging from pitfalls to deadfalls, and a few other tricks I had up my sleeve.

I wasn’t sure whether any of this would work or whether it was all a waste of time. I was comforted by the fact that, if my tactic did indeed fail, then all I needed to do was join the rest of our party in battle.

Not a particularly enticing prospect, fighting against sixty chimera, even if I do have help. I thought, shaking my head. They’re all quite capable, but I can’t watch over every single one of them.

It was annoying enough trying to keep them alive every time we got ambushed, and that was when we were fighting just eight to ten of them. To fight more than five times that number?

We’d be left with two, or three people.” Erebus said, and I couldn’t help but agree.

I spent another ten minutes making sure that everything was in place and uniquely marked so I wouldn’t accidentally get myself killed before I took position on the tallest building close to my position, giving me a direct line of sight towards the large force gathered at the base of the tower.

I felt my lips purse in annoyance. “Fucking hell.”

Joqo had done his best, but he could only do so much while wandering around an unfamiliar place and trying not to get killed. That he managed to count five different squads was impressive enough. That he had made it back at all with relatively minor injuries was even more so.

But he was wrong, because, by my count, there were closer to ninety of these creatures than sixty.

“I think Joqo was a little bit off.”

“You don’t say.” I said and swore, sighing at the worsened odds. “And these are just the footsoldiers we see. Do they have more inside?”

“No way of knowing.” Balthazar said in frustration. “I can barely sense ten feet ahead, at this point.”

I snorted. “That’s more than me.”

It matters not. Even before our senses were befuddled, I could not glean into the inner workings of that tower— except that it felt familiar, in some way.”

“Temen Ni Gru.” I replied. “The tower which brought us here in the first place. Do you think…”

“You think it can bring us back?” Erebus voiced my unspoken thoughts. “It’s possible. From what little Balthazar and I have been able to glean, we know that it was meant to be some kind of conduit between this world and another.”

“Yes.” Balthazar confirmed. “One of fire, to be more precise.

I leaned back against the half-broken wall behind me and stared at the structure. “Maybe that’s what caused the Doom. They tried to open a portal to another world— a fire world. Maybe to R’hllor or some other god?”

“That’s what the Keeper’s scattered memories and knowledge tell me.” Balthazar said, and I could tell that he was irritated. “Sorry, it’s been a miserable time trying to piece it all together.”

“It’s fine.” I waved it off and took a breath to sort all of this information out. “So they tried to open a gate into some kind of world of fire.”

I couldn’t help but think of the biblical Hell, even as I said these words.

“Much like the fool Arkham had done, with Temen Ni Gru.” Erebus said, and I frowned. He’d mentioned the man a few times, here and there.

“Both him and Lilith— complete fools.” I said, remembering the Succubus demon before shaking such thoughts away and focusing on the tower ahead. “I can’t get distracted by the past— not now.”

Yes.” Balthazar said. “We can talk about all of this later— after we save Hestia.”

Erebus clattered in his sheath in full agreement.

Maybe the tower held the answer to the way home, and maybe it didn’t. None of that mattered right now. I had more important things to worry about.

“For Hestia.” I took a breath and got to my feet. “Time to get to work.”

I brought my wand out and pointed it up at the sky. “Periculum!

A bright spark of red rushed forth, flying up, up and up before it became still, high in the sky. I stared at it for an instant before turning my attention to my enemies.

Digging deep within myself, I nudged my power awake and felt the Lightning surge forth from my heart, filling my body with energy.

I directed it all to the palm of my hand before concentrating. I moved my attention to the tightest group of chimeras, standing right in front of the entrance of the tower.

Let’s see how you like this.Bolt Rain!”

The condensed ball of Lightning streaked forth towards the group, and I held my focus over it, extending my hands out and moving them to adjust the ball’s trajectory as the energy became harder and harder to control, the farther it got.

I stopped it just above the chimeras and let out a roar, splaying my hands open and bringing them down, hard. The tightly packed group of monsters tore their eyes away from the red flare in the sky towards the ball of electric blue and had just enough time to open their mouths before Lightning Bolts rained down upon them, piercing through many of the monsters and ending their lives in a single instant.

I huffed with the exertion, satisfied with the result of that move. That’s a good number of them.

The chimeras roared and they began to rush towards me. I smiled wolfishly. “Perfect.”

I leapt off of the building’s edge, wings of Lightning erupting from my back and letting me glide towards the beginning of the path which I wanted to take these chimeras on.

Swerving around two buildings, I increased my speed, reaching the road and gliding down its entire length until the buildings ceased and the open plain before the tower began. I dropped into a controlled roll and got to my feet quickly, assessing the situation.

I saw the chimera rushing towards my previous position and extended my hand towards them, sending a flurry of Bolts their direction. The lightning bolts flew true, smashing against their flank and killing a few of their number.

The chimeras yowled, roared, howled and mewled as they shifted their attention to me, changing directions and crushing their fallen comrades into smears against the hot earth beneath as they made their way to me.

That got their attention. I kept my eyes open as the bands of vicious beasts approached, checking the base of the tower and nodding to myself with a small smirk. Good, my gambit’s paying off. It seems that whoever’s in control of the tower can’t really make these poor people do exactly as they say. Limited to general commands, which probably won’t work on them when faced with the prospect of a human who can kill them.

The smirk fell off of my face as I turned my back to the horde and began to run. Follow me, then; I’ll give you the sweet release that you’ve been longing for all this time.

I reached halfway through the street and slowed my pace, waiting for my enemies to catch up just a little more. And… now!

I doubled my running speed, pretending to look back at them with fear in my eyes as I continued my way forward, turning a corner and hopping over a certain precariously positioned piece of metal shoved into a small chink in the wall.

“Flipendo!” I drew my wand and snapped it towards the rock in the hole, sending a blue jet of light towards it. The spell impacted and drove the metal in further, deepening the cracks until the entire wall was torn apart and sent tumbling down onto a hapless group of chimeras, snuffing out their screams within an instant.

I turned another corner, only to stop as I saw a jackal-like chimera in my path, already lunging at me. I ducked reflexively, feeling the thing’s claws brushing against my forehead and drawing five, thin lines just over my left eyebrow.

An inch below and that would have been my left eye.

I winced and got to my feet quickly, changing directions and entering another street, the jackal right on my heels with the rest of the monsters following closely. I felt a pain in my back as the jackal’s claws barely struck me again, and I turned to the left, rushing into an alleyway.

The jackal’s howls echoed against the walls of the alley, and soon the sound of his comrades’ cries joined his own in an unearthly mixture which would have frightened the hardest of men.

I sped up, trying to reach the end of the alley as soon as I possibly could before turning around and facing the horde, focusing on the damned jackal first.

“Bring it!” I roared, drawing Erebus and meeting the jackal halfway.

I stepped to the side, evading its frenzied swipe and bringing my sword up. The blade met little resistance as it tore into its side, slicing through its spinal cord with no issue. The jackal stopped mid-flail and fell down into the unforgiving floor, its corpse spasming as it attempted to process the shock to its nervous system.

I ignored its death throes in favor of moving my attention to the dozen or so chimera right on their leader’s heels. My gaze hardened, and I raised my wand, waving it at the top of the walls. Bombarda! Bombarda!

The stone structures exploded with great prejudice, bringing the rubble down on the monsters and burying them alive. I watched the destruction for a single second, trying to pick out any survivors before I saw it. Some of the rubble shifted, revealing a battered and bruised chimera with a ram’s head.

It attempted to stand, only to fall back down with a wail of agony.

It’s not a threat anymore. Keep moving. I thought, turning and resuming my path, even as I ignored the cries of agony behind me. Fifty left?

I had no idea anymore.

All that was left was the struggle for survival, now.

Kill them all before they kill you.

Fifty, seventy— who cared? As long as I kept them away from everyone else while they entered the tower. With a huff, I pressed on ahead, collecting myself as I heard the sound of rumbling and crashing throughout the street.

The rigged roofs.” Balthazar said, and I gave a quick nod of acknowledgment. “They went for the rooftops to cut us off and ended up triggering those traps.

“Which means…” I moved my gaze to the right, where I saw another band of the monsters emerging from yet another alleyway. “There they are.”

With a downward slash of my wand, the wall before them split, and out rushed a torrent of highly acidic water, sweeping them in its wake and all but ensuring their death.

I didn’t wait for the water to reach me, instead turning in the opposite direction and booking it. I chanced a glance behind me and widened my eyes— the water was gaining on me. With a quick swish of my wand, I blasted the water back and turned a corner, the water rushing out and down into a magma pit, causing a dangerous steam to begin fogging up the air around it.

It may not have been dangerous to breathe, considering I had my Bubble Head Charm up, but I certainly didn’t want any of that vapor reaching my skin.

“Bombarda!” I cried out, blasting the earth apart and rerouting the water to go around the deep pit. A quick cast of “Ventus!” blew what few vapors there were away.

Nodding to myself, I began to sprint to the final location.

All around me, I could hear the sound of chimera falling into the traps I lay within the buildings, certain to weaken them if not kill them outright. Animalistic cries reached out and up into the dark heavens, only to be silenced an instant later.

I kept my thoughts on the objective ahead, the place I had chosen to make my stand. I burst out of the alleyway and into a large, ruined courtyard. “Made it.”

Raising my wand up high one more time, I incanted. “Periculum!

Another red spark flew into the sky, signaling to the others that I was still alive, and drawing the attention of all remaining chimera. I stared at my scaled hand for a moment, before turning my gaze to one of the other two paths which led out of this courtyard.

I saw a large group beginning to approach. that’s one.

From the other road, I saw the beginnings of more chimera arrive and smiled as the street beneath them shuddered and crumbled into nothing, dropping them into a deep pit of magma, their cries short.

I turned my attention back to the remaining group and waited for just the right moment before launching another spell behind them, towards the weakest support structure of the building. Bombarda!

The building shuddered, much like the road had and fell down on them with heavy purpose, but I had mistimed my spell and only managed to crush half of them in the ensuing destruction.

Damn it all. I berated myself for all of a moment before I narrowed my eyes. I suppose I shouldn’t have expected it all to go so well.

The fact that I had reduced ninety of them to this spoke for itself. It was only ever going to end like this.

I counted fifteen among the remaining chimera, who were slowly getting back to their feet, and hardened my soul. Those were more numbers than I had been hoping to face.

“Fifteen against three.” I said out loud, stowing my wand away and seeing the creatures glare at me with hate. “Pretty bad odds.”

Balthazar answered as I closed my fist, my body writhing with power waiting to be unleashed.

For them.

Published inUncategorized

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply