The last Dragonrider
Harry Potter/Inheritence Cycle(Eragon) crossover.
The sound of horses trotting along a dirt path filled the quiet forest, easily the most detectable note while many of the other inhabitants slept and hibernated despite the balmy temperatures this Winter.
The riders slouched in their harnesses from fatigue after the long nights of continuous strain, too little rest available even in the scant hours allotted, but while the physical from was exhausted, the mind was still as sharp and clear as ever.
It was the crack of a twig breaking from several meters down that alerted the riders ahead of the trap; the soft sound that should not have been heard above that of the horses steps, and yet the three of them stiffened at once before grabbing the reigns firmly and tautly between their fingers.
A whispered command halted the beasts of burden, and out of the darkness ahead a shadowed figure appeared.
"You know your fates, little elves," the figure stated with a lilt of amusement within its tone.
At once the figure crouched to the ground and then sprang forward with a harsh flutter of wind, and the riders cried out and split off amid the trees surrounding their path.
The figure landed exactly where the third rider had been, sniffing at the air, before smiling and dashing off after her.
The three converged minutes after they had departed, due mostly to their ability to communicate at large distances, and the path that they had originally set out upon was soon once more underfoot.
What weariness had been present within them was gone; their bodies were pressed flat up against the neck and backs of the galloping steeds, heedless of the thrashing and near-wild, reckless speed that was required to out-pace the threat of a Shade.
It was in vain, nevertheless.
Though bred true and bred hardy, wards were set up in advance, and the dirt path drew and sapped upon the strength required to uphold the beasts of burden, so that within only a minute of setting hoof to the soil again they had begun to tire and slow.
The first Elf cried out in dismay as he scanned the mind of his trusted companion and found it exhausted beyond due reason. The others too realized the truth of their situation, and the second male flanked the female as he drew bow and nocked a swan feathered shaft to it.
The almost silent leaps of their hunter could not conceal the crushing of the grass in his wake, however, and the first arrow shot forth with a clarity of aim that would have amazed a mortal marksman.
It missed by inches as the Shade twisted in upon itself in mid-motion and landed far short of the intended position, and then charged forward again with that maddening grin in place.
No banter passed its lips this time, nor did the Elves waste any of their breath trying to argue against it. They pressed their minds together and shouted their assault against it as one, a determination that this mission not fail after a hundred years in the making.
The Shade merely displayed the teeth and laughed in silence as the magic of the King deflected their otherwise-fatal spells aside, and the strain began to display upon their features the closer it pushed through them, until less than a dozen feet separated they from it.
Then the noise of thunder filled the forest, and the fabric of the air bucked and folded in upon itself as if some kind of invisible creature were contained and stirring to life.
The result was not immediately noticed, given the raw strength behind the noise; such that it felled the Shade to one hand into a crouched position, blood leaking from its ears as much as the sensitive Elves' own.
After a tense moment the motion ceased, as a hole was forcibly ripped open within the sky, and the force that had gathered to do such and the energy that was propelling a shape forward emerged.
The aftermath of Harry Potter's arrival was one of blood and gore, and the deaths of all others present save one, and even its own innate shielding could do little more than fracture by the end.
With steam still rushing up from his clothing and hair, and frost coating his skin where there was nothing to conceal it, the muddy-green eyes of the wizard spread open and he glanced around the environment for a moment or ten.
His hands and boots were damp with something he thought he should recognize, and sure enough the crushed chest cavity and lower torso of some kind of human-like creature was apparently his landing pad in this dimension.
"Huh." Lifting up the hand that was currently soaking up a large degree of pale, blood-like fluid and the shredded remnants of what he took to be the heart, he sniffed the substance for a moment before whipping his head away and coughing harshly.
"Son of a bitch, what was this thing ruminating inside of?" He coughed again to clear the terrible stench from the back of his throat and hastily climbed out of it, making sure to grind the heel of his boot into its fanged-face in the process as he stripped off his gloves and dropped them into the hole.
The smoke by then had more or less faded as the frost dripped off of his skin, and he stood up properly a moment later to go over the scene once more; he was always a little fuzzy after a trip, due in no small part to that part of his brain that couldn't even conduct a damn floo trip without throwing him to the ground.
"Right; trees, atypical. Warm weather, the same. Ground-up pseudovampire, probably normal for this world. Oh. Flash-fried thestrals', and charred maybe-vampire's atop them."
Walking over to the bundle of cloth still clinging by a thread to the nearest of the deceased figures shoulder bones, he rummaged around and felt a large spherical shape, which upon removal was revealed to be an opaque ruby-coated jewel about the size of an ostrich egg.
He tossed it from hand to hand and was surprised when a faint tendril of emotion protested, coming namely from the object in his hands. He rapped a knuckle against the surface and heard it echo through before muffling against something within, sending a spiderweb of cracks along the surface rapidly.
"You alive in there?" He asked as the same tendril cried out slightly higher than before in alarm. "Huh. Great, finders-keepers. I could always use a little entertainment while I try to figure out where Voldemort's hiding in this world."
By the time he had finished his sentence, the numerable cracks converged and finally broke the entire shell apart, leaving a gooey coated, tiny red lizard with even smaller transparent wings clutching at his robes for purchase.
"What do I name you?" Harry pondered quietly a few days after initially hatching the ruby-coated lizard from his egg.
A flash of images from the tendril of thoughts in its mind tried to occur in order to suggest something, but he swatted them aside and pointed a warning finger at it disapprovingly.
"What did I tell you about banging around inside my skull with a thousand fiery images of mayhem and doom?" He chastised the Dragon.
A wave of irritable apology followed from him as the Dragon nipped his finger sharply enough to draw blood.
"Right. Names- either Avada Kedavra, just to freak the hell out of Voldemort when he hears me say the name and then you come hurtling out of a subspace portal directly above his head, thus inciting the single best death I could render against him, or..." Harry trailed off in thought.
"Ferrovax, after that bastard in the last world. You look like a Ferrovax, actually. Huh." Looking closer, he could make out certain similarities between the Drakon and his own Dragon, and if the way it wormed into his mind so easily was any indication, allowing it to learn any Name magic could be highly bothersome.
Only a couple of weeks after winding up on this world, where Dragons did not attempt to eat you, where magic did not respond as it should when chanted aloud, and where he had twice-now encountered something to give a troll a run for its money in the ugliness department, and Harry Potter was finding himself very much unhappy about his general sense of affairs.
Normally when he made a jump, it tossed him out at a point where either A, he could acquire something to make his job easier, or B, Voldemort had already arisen or else otherwise shown up and settled in nicely.
He had yet to have one with the other, and for that reason he could confirm that this was the former, and that his newly acquired weapon of mass intimidation and spit-firing was the reason he had been spun out here.
The downside was that it was growing, and how.
Already as long as he was tall, Ferrovax was hunting and snatching up all manner of squirrel, rabbit, and it had lead him into the troll-esque creatures while chasing after a deer more than once, as previously noted.
That was when he had discovered that magic does not respond like it should have.
It was also when his dominate arm was snapped in half by one of its enormous hands, and he was forced to drive a pillar of flame straight through one eye and out the back of its thick skull with one of his lesser-preferred flavor of magics acquired on a previous trip- blood magic.
Regardless, he killed the creature, set and sealed his arm in place until he was any surer that he wouldn't end up lopping it off by mistake while trying to heal it, and promptly chewed the Dragon's ears off for two minutes for nearly getting itself killed.
He himself wasn't exactly unduly concerned about getting shuffled off of the mortal coil, blood magic being one of those very firm reasons, but the over grown lizard couldn't exactly say the same.
Then it happened again a few days later, as if on purpose.
He followed that up by muzzling the Dragon and binding the legs together in heavy rope he happened to have within his pockets, and left it next to the fire until his own bleeding had ceased and the deer meat they had acquired for it was promptly cooked.
"You do that one more time, and I'm taking a chance on transfiguring a bloody chain to hold you. You leave the perimeter when I'm pissing again and I'll let you fight your own way past the beast, got it?" He warned it once the meat was done.
A shaky tendril pressed against his thoughts and he grimaced. "Right. But it came this close to cutting my johnson off with those talons since I had to respond immediately to your cry of concern," he responded to its message, then loosened the main knot and drug the silver and silken rope free.
Ferrovax rolled loose and keened in a mixture of rough apology, hunger, irritation, and what might have been a threat in return.
Harry barked a laugh and offered the leg of meat out. "That's more like it. No 'sorry' while we're together." He answered even as he brought up his own strips of deer.
Few sensations in all of creation could keep apace to the simple rush of wind through your hair and the whistling in your ears that came with it, held aloft by a thin shaft of wood only a tenth wide and sometimes longer and sometimes shorter than your own body was.
Physical pleasure could near and, on the occasion, surpass it for a few intense moments at a time- an actual battle where lives were at stake and the consequences of losing were too incalculable to mention, the next nearest and more common in its own ways.
But a sixteen foot long Dragon from tip to blazing tip, with a wing span almost to match, rushing and diving and spiraling about with not so much as a bloody saddle strapped to its back and just your own natural grip, however tight that may be?
Yes, after a Firebolt, Harry Potter could place riding a Dragon commando, completely unaided by magic of any sort, to be the greatest sensation he had ever felt.
His heart was rapping out a heavy staccato beat within his chest, and he could hardly hear over the blood thundering through his eardrums, eyes squinting against the fierce gusts and torrents that tore and dragged at his thick battle robes as easily as his hair.
And when they entered free fall together?
There was nothing like it.
Chasing a snitch at a dead-set course for the ground didn't even compare, not when he was lifted free and left hanging by his fingertips dug deep beneath a set of trenches in between the scales around the neck.
A few long, joyous moments passed like that before, in a twirl of natural talent, they were righted again scant feet above the ground and directly over the small herd of deer.
Ferrovax snapped up a good sized doe with a flick of the neck and slammed it against the truck of a passing tree to kill it, and with the added weight began to quickly slow down as the wings adjusted their rhythm and settled the hind-feet down first several seconds later.
Harry slid off the scaly side and landed with a muffled thump by comparison to the thud of his walking siege engine, and together they began to trot over the well-known paths toward the camp some distance ahead where flying was not possible.
Ferrovax stirred and spread his maw wide, revealing the rows of growing fangs already two and a quarter inches deep by half as much across. Dried blood caked the surface and around the rough lips and snout where he had gorged himself on the plump and enlarged doe just a few hours ago, and a few left over strings of muscle were caught up in between the natural-ivory edges where they had curved inward.
On the edge of the perimeter a hulking shape lumbered into view- easily eight feet tall, with curling rams horns spiraling away from either end of the massive head.
The arms were at least as wide around as the Dragon's own torso, and the wide jaw and angular fangs looked to be capable of opening large enough to bite straight through his own wings in three or so attempts.
The wards around the edge of their camp within the Spine should have alerted his Rider as they usually did whenever one of the dark skinned and vastly dangerous beasts lumbered toward it, but on that morning his breathing did not change, and his mind when felt toward was blank and empty.
It was for that reason that Ferrovax had awoken in the first place, having heard the relatively-quiet crunch of branches and twigs giving way before the giant of an opponent.
The fell thing squatted down by the edge of their camp and examined Ferrovax in turn with eyes that were neither beady nor cumbersomely slow, as the previous and smaller two had been.
It had a gaze that was strong, bright, and intelligent beyond reason, show casing an underlying wit in that it had not stepped over the border and awoken the Rider even if it did the Dragon.
Ferrovax knew the wards would not stop it.
That was what he himself and his Rider were for, and his Rider seemed to be away from his body as was wont to occur so often these since their encounter with that old mage down in the town and the hard lesson learned there that day.
For a long time the creature stared without flinching or showing any sign that it recognized the threat of the Dragon, and no sense that it was wary could be felt at all toward the Rider either.
Then his Rider's chest heaved and the creature was yanked forward and up into the air by invisible chains, as the human rolled up right and pointed his shaft of too-smooth wood at it and examined it with those tainted, unhappy green eyes.
"I finally figured out what you things are called, Urgal," he said neutrally, examining the increased bulk of it after another moment and waving the shaft again so that it was brought closer into their camp.
For the most part the now-named Urgal did not struggle or respond, though it bared the fangs just a little more and squinted the eyes as if truly seeing him for the first time.
Ferrovax rose up onto his own hind legs and approached without caution, having never seen his Rider lose control once magic was wrought with the stick.
"You're a different breed, though, now aren't you?" He asked.
Harry relented after a moment more, drawing his foot away and nimbly stepping back and out of its range, and with a glance and a flicker of a thought to Ferrovax, he turned away entirely and returned to his cot and drew up his robes again.
The great Urgal snarled lightly at the Dragon as Ferrovax approached, but the eyes for the most part returned to his Rider as the nostrils flared, scenting the air.
"Well? For what reason do you come here and intrude upon our camp, Urgal?" Harry asked again without emotion clouding his tone or vision.
What he had learned down in the village reminded him of the same crap that had surrounded any of the old races in his natural world- a bitter stigma surrounding Trolls, Giants, Gnomes, Goblins, and House Elves.
Urgals were apparently afforded no respect or the like for any reason, though by all accounts they weren't reasonable creatures and hardly more intelligent than the average bull, bear, and beast of burden.
This one proved the exception to their rules, which meant that there were others alike within this region and therefore the world.
"Either spit out your explanation or I'll kill you like I had to do the other two. At least you show intelligence within your eyes, and you haven't tried to fight my control either, which means you had an idea of what I'm capable of before approaching. Seriously, I have better things to do than stand around speaking with you, Urgal." Harry stated with a hint of irritation cropping up at its silence.
"I am no mere Urgralgra, human," the lumbering creature spoke up at last in a voice that rumbled akin to gravel along the ground, like something swept up in a mudslide.
"I am of the high Kull of our race, just as you are of the Riders of your own. I come to barter your service, if it will please you to hear it; many of your men march along these paths of late and we are two less with your hand at fault- but that is what you are wont to do, just as we are wont to violence and fighting." He explained with his head lowered slightly to better meet Harry's gaze.
Harry scoffed. "That isn't exactly what your kind are renowned for- bartering with my own. But you're mistaken if you believe I'm going to just slaughter a group of humans for no reason. What have they done to you and yours to mark them for death?" He asked.
The Kull-urgal returned his gesture, baring the fangs now. "You would want these men dead, Rider, or are you in league with the mad king as well? Will our lands never know peace at the rule of you and your dragons?" He demanded.
Harry looked over to Ferrovax and felt the Dragon's tendril of thought weave into his own.
I have flashes of memory, of another Rider and Dragon, Harry-kin-slayer-partner-of-mine, Ferrovax answered.
It was impossible to keep the growing winged lizard out of his mind and Ferrovax had eventually started drudging up memories of other worlds, of other fights and the like, and it knew enough to know that he had fought numerable dragons and Drakons and slain those that were in his way.
For the time, Ferrovax was accepting of it, if only as past transgressions that had little to do with the present, and the fact that their bond had never felt much true malice.
Ferrovax continued his thought after a moment, adding, Emotions are dim-dark-cold, where they dwell.
Harry nodded and looked back to the Kull-urgal. "Say I believe you. Say I wanted them dead- what do you get out of having these men slain and gone?" He asked curiously.
"I've got enough blood on my hands to make me question your intentions. Do you desire to make up for your lost hunters with our addition, as it be, or is it something more than that? I've heard enough of your own kind recently to make it seem all to easy for you to attack the moment my guard is down." He said.
The Kull-urgal let out a noise of protest, but it at least reclined its head so that the neck was bare, as was tradition among their kind to show not only respect but that they trusted the other not to readily kill them or attack too soon.
"I am a Kull, Rider; by my honor and my ancestors I would not harm you by intent, save in the heat of battle and the cloud of bloodlust and other factors disguising your form from my eyes." He answered.
"These servants of the traitor I would kill readily in the open field if that were possible; but they are traveling quickly, and journey through our territory without heed of the warnings, few as they are, that we have set out for humans. They are marked for death, but so too will we die without the kin you have taken from us, were we to charge in now." He explained further.
Harry looked into the Kull's eyes and flicked up against the surprisingly ready shielding he found there.
After a moment he looked away and slashed his wand through the air, and the Kull dropped to his knees a few feet down, crashing almost against the dull fire and the remains of the deer carcass.
"'Mad king', 'Traitor', these names are not given lightly. I wasn't aware this... area, had a King. But I am more than willing to find out what another dragon rider is capable of. Give us a few minutes and then lead us toward these men you want slain, and after the fact point us toward his direction. In another few weeks I'm quite sure we will be able to fly there." Harry responded and sat back down where he had been laying.
The Kull pushed up and dragged the carcass with him, eying the left over meat and marrow there.
"You are rough and powerful, Rider. But our agreement is not set so easily; if you are to walk our path now, and to be believed in full, I must see that your strength is not by magic alone." He said, snapping off a section of the ribs and bringing it up to his jaws to crunch down on noisily.
Harry stowed his wand away and looked at the Kull-urgal with irritation.
"You are quite a degree taller than I am, let alone physically stronger. What exactly did you have in mind?" He asked.
Swallowing thickly, the Kull looked at him. "If you can stay my movement for a minute, that will be enough."
Harry leaned back and shed his heavy battle robes, standing up. As he rose he was shaking his head slowly, as if in dismay, but he flexed his arms and cracked his shoulders once or twice in preparation.
"You're mistaken if you take me for another simple human, even as a Rider. I've lived long enough and trained hard enough that magic is just a byproduct by this point. I may not be able to throw you very far, but I could stop you for a minute most definitely."
At those words the Kull's throat rumbled in satisfaction of the bold statement, and he rose quickly before thrusting his hands out and toward Harry's own.
Their fingers crashed together and the gripping strength of the Kull was revealed.
Harry spread his legs and locked his knees, but with a rotation of his waist up to his shoulder he shifted the weight being pressed in against his body and skewered it, so that the Kull stumbled suddenly as the right arm surged forward ahead of the left.
Harry used the creatures heavy mass against it and bent down, so that his shoulder was beneath its wide set, broad chest, and lunged upward with a degree of strength that had served him well in his time wielding a blade alone against similar, fiercer creatures among the worlds he had journeyed through in all the myriad dimensions.
As a result of all of the factors, Harry lifted the Kull off of its feet and threw it head first toward the tree behind himself, rotating at the waist again when it did not release his left hand from its own, and following through on the motion to avoid snapping his bones apart.
A great thud echoed about the camp and a fierce creak of shattered wood followed it instantaneously, crashing the large oak to the ground with an ever louder noise.
Yanking his hand free from its temporarily slackened grip, Harry pressed a foot atop the head and in between the horns as he stared down at the Kull.
"Magic isn't the only wellspring within my body, Kull. I've fought almost a thousand creatures like your own in my lifetime with naught but steel clasped within my grip since the age of twelve. All you have is intelligence, bulk, and strength within those sinewy muscles. You don't possess scales a thousand years old, fangs as sharp as diamond, a glare that will kill the moment a gaze is met; and that was but the first in a long line of beasts I have slain." He stated firmly and more than a little proudly.
The Kull snorted and blew blood out of its shattered nose as the eyes focused, and it raised one hand limply beneath it and tried to rise.
Harry adjusted his posture and pressed down all the harder against its forehead. "And in my lifetime, I have learned a remarkable amount about overcoming the advantage of raw physical force. In fact, the martial art for it was one I have become well acquainted with a very long time ago, along with the measure of a mans life by the chakra system that supports his being as easily as the blood rushing through the veins."
The system he spoke of was rather more than one, but for the sake of convenience he narrowed it back considerably.
After one minute of struggling and even swiping at his leg at the end, the Kull had still failed to remove Harry from the humiliating position. His throat rumbled in a terrible growl, but at length he said, "I concede this defeat, Rider. Let me up!"
The Kull rumbled again heavily as it tried to rise and found one arm would most definitely not support his weight any longer, snapped as it was from the initial change of pressure and crash that followed.
Harry drew his wand and made to repair the damage, but after a moment he halted himself and decided to ask permission first.
"Do you want that fixed or will you allow it to recover as it will?" He asked shortly.
The Kull shook its head twice, eyes half-lidded in pain, and forced the legs underneath it to rise slowly until it was once more standing upright.
"Nay, Rider, I will keep this wound and any scarring as a sign of our agreement, and as proof further that you are worthy to the rest of my clan and kindred to fight beside us. Long has it been since a man could halt an Urgralgra, and never before one of my stature in such a manner without aide of many others and weaponry in their hands. It is an honor to be the first man, Rider, where none before have tread." He responded to Harry's question with a long ramble.
Harry nodded once- as he had expected after learning what he had about the creature and its race.
"As I said, then, give me five minutes to make my preparations and then guide us toward these men that should be slain. I'll have a good time finding out what I need from them, and just as I've shown that I am capable of competing with you, so too will I show that I am capable of competing with they as well." He said.
The Kull grunted and lumbered several feet past the ward of the camp, and then further still until its heavy footfalls could no longer be heard.
Then Harry reached into his robes armory and picked from it one of his lesser replacement wands, placing his nearest-original safely in the concealed space, and after locking the spare in around his wrist, he also drew forth a single blade to aide him.
Slytherin's Bane, the sword that had betrayed the man in combat against Gryffindor's Sword at that fateful meeting so long before, cast from it a dull silver and copper tone.
Notched into the hilt dwelt a tiny dagger from which Slytherin had made his recovery, but it was for naught, save to give one last parting blow before he himself was slain at the end.
As was to be expected of the man, the ivory and silver hilt depicted a pair of king cobras, and at the front and bottom of the blade the maw of a basilisk was set, as if the blade was merely emerging from the jowls of the legendary beast.
The unseen runes, long recovered, translated, and rewritten, made sure that it would never again betray the wielder by choice.
End Chapter One.
Heads up, here; this is In media res, or in the middle of. This is a part of a wider, grander-themed Dimension Hopping!Harry Potter story, set a few hundred years or so after he first started out. I don't have the rest of it yet compiled in a straight-forward passage, just little segments here and there that I've wrote on for a few days over the past two years, so I chose to really settle down and start writing one of the dimensions of his journey that struck my interest and this is the initial result.
If I ever get the rest of them done I'll likely post it separately, as this story is meant to be something of a stand-alone - it's rather hard to bring a fully developed Dragon through the dimensions. It is also a long ways off from approaching the end of the journey, so Harry may be here for a good, long time. We'll see as we go. Thank you for reading.