PART II: FIERCE FIGHTS AND SWIFTER FLIGHTS II
Late December 1991: Hogwarts
Rhaenys Potter's P.O.V
For a witch, Rhaenys Potter couldn't do magic very well, and not at all like her classmates. She learned that terrible truth in the first few painful months at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and she couldn't help but believe there might have been either a mistake in her invitation to the school, or something horribly wrong with her.
Knowing her rather tragic luck, it was the latter.
It was always the latter.
You see, no one else accidentally set fire to things so consistently. Rhaenys didn't mean to, she swore, it just… Happened sometimes, when she was angry, when she was scared, when she was hurt.
When Malfoy made another crude remark in Charms, this time about her mother, his parchment burst into flame, singing off his eyebrows, and when she found the other girls in Gryffindor had hid her trunk as a prank, Lavender Brown ended up scampering about the dormitory with her skirts aflame.
If, perhaps, spontaneous combustion was all Rhaenys had to deal with, she could have made headway in her studies, and perhaps made a few friends along the way too. It was a little odd, surely, but not so completely strange in a castle filled with magic and moving staircases, and who was to say it was really her, to begin with?
The Charms class could have been an incantation pronounced wrong, and Lavender had been standing next to the hearth… And the incident of the candle and Mrs Norris did not count. Of course her tail would be flammable, she was covered in fur, and it was Filch's fault for lugging around a great big bloody lantern as if they were still in the sixteenth century.
And still… Still.
Flying lessons, which Rhaenys had been so looking forward to, proved to be no better. The broom did not listen to her. Not at all. No matter how she urged it, how she called to it, it laid at her feet, unmovable. Odder still, it felt… Wrong. Stiff. Dead. Rhaenys thought, peculiarly, that it needed to be bigger, breathing, something she could grip onto tightly, something hard and jagged beneath her palm, something she could speak to in that strange language she had, something that could answer back, and bond, and-
She wanted a dragon, not a slip of wood that rolled in the grass when she kicked it.
Even Neville got his broom to wiggle a bit, and given that Neville was so very much like her, a seemingly magical child who didn't appear to be very magic in the beginning, the most basic of spells beyond his reach too, his minor success had caused a horrid little flare of jealousy in her gut. A flicker of fire Rhaenys had valiantly stomped down deep.
She was happy for him, really.
She was only frustrated with herself.
Try as she might, everything was going so horribly wrong.
The worst of it all came early on all Hallows eve, where an older boy called Cedric, and his impossibly large crowd of friends who followed the golden Hufflepuff everywhere, caught her speaking to a little grass snake outside the Herbology greenhouse. It was not, Rhaenys came to discover, normal, even in a castle such as this, in a world where people could appear in a blink and disappear just as fast, where paintings could recite poetry and statues could dance, to be able to speak to snakes as Rhaenys first believed.
No, it was considered fairly dark magic.
The worst of the worst, really.
If Rhaenys had known that before going to Hogwarts, as it turned out she didn't know a lot of things, she might have hidden her talent better. Yet, she didn't, and by the next morning, word had spread like wildfire, coupled with her very publicly known adoption, for finding a babe in the Forbidden forest in the arms of a dying women would always make front page on the Prophet, and suddenly Rhaenys Potter was a pariah.
Not even Ronald Weasley would sit with her when they had breakfast anymore.
The great big ginger ponce.
Her first year was proving to be quite the disaster, and no matter how hard Rhaenys paddled to keep her head above water, she kept going right down under.
The only silver lining Rhaenys could find in the whole absurd mess was Malfoy had suddenly backed off, and with him, nearly all of House Slytherin.
Small victories, and all that.
Bizarre fires aside, unwilling brooms discounted, and a tongue that could hiss with the best of them forgotten, there was one, and only one, crucial difference between Rhaenys and her fellow students.
Rhaenys Potter could not do spells.
She could not levitate a feather. She could not unlock a door. She could not heat up a cauldron, or light up a room with a flick of her wrist. No curse, chant, or wand-waving worked. Her wand, which she had gotten from Ollivander's because it was the only one that had done something after hours of her trying so very, very hard- knocked over a goblet of water- was useless, a switch of wood in her hand, and nothing more. Perhaps she could... Well, poke someones eye out with it, but what use was that to a Witch?
Yet, something did work in her grip, worked in a way lost to the ages, long forgotten and misplaced somewhere damp.
McGonagall was the first to notice it one rainy morning in the Highlands, as the students bustled to their classes, and she saw little Rhaenys outside, trudging to Care of Magical Creatures, not a raindrop falling upon her while the other students around got drenched and sodden, and a little bit mouldy in Finnegan's case.
When the stern but diligent teacher pulled her aside that evening, sat her down in her office and placed, another, goblet of water before her and ordered her to move it, Rhaenys had, perhaps foolishly, reached out.
"Not with your hand, child, with your mind. Your heart. Move the water inside."
And she had. Without wand, without word, without movement, Rhaenys had moved the water inside, and promptly splashed it right into McGonagall's awe struck face. The teacher had laughed, using her own wand to magic away the water which, in turn, Rhaenys inadvertently magic'd back into the goblet.
The wand, it turned out, was never the one to have worked, it was her.
The wand was, Rhaenys was warned, in fact holding her back.
It was wood, cold, dead, carved wood, not water, and that… That was where Rhaenys's magic laid waiting to be discovered.
Professor McGonagall called it elemental magics, old archaic practices thought gone from the world, old enchantments from a bygone age. Not so gone in Rhaenys. It was unique, certainly, Hogwarts was built for wand-wavers and sorcery, not a magic based so firmly in nature, in will and intent and a need for balance, a magic that came from blood and not chance and book.
However, it was something they could work with, and Rhaenys, little Rhaenys, was finally assured she was not going to be sent packed and bound back to the Dursleys as a misguided squib. Thank Merlin. The thought of having to spend even a summer holiday there soured in her mind, but if it meant she could spend the rest of the year here, away from the cupboard and nightmares and bruising fists, she would take those six weeks gladly.
Rhaenys would take anything, if only to find a place called home.
Nevertheless, this revelation did not come without its own thorns. It made a sad sort of sense, in truth. While Rhaenys had gone hungry before, so hungry it felt like her belly was a big tangled knot of ache and anguish, she had never gone thirsty. Water seemed to find her when she needed it most. In a puddle, in a sink, somehow in her cupboards lampshade. Crisp and clear and comforting.
While Petunia had tried to shear her curls off as if Rhaenys was an overgrown sheep, too many times to count, they always grew back during her showers, and although her showers always began cold, a frigid downpour Petunia demanded she had to save the hot water for Dudley, they constantly, one way or another, ended up toasty-warm, despite Rhaenys never touching the dials she could not reach. As for her necklace-
Well, her come-again necklace didn't make sense, and neither did her sometimes incendiary thoughts, but perhaps it didn't have to.
So while it made sense, in a way only magic could make sense, in a big bead of wobbly wibbly half-logic, it was still hard for Rhaenys to swallow in many ways.
Primarily, her lessons changed. No more Charms, no more Transfiguration, no more flying with Hooch, things she would never be able to grasp, not in the way the wand-wavers knew it to be. Rhaenys kept some core lessons with her classmates, of course. Care of Magical Creatures and Herbology, in most regards, were knowledge based subjects, and could prove useful to even a witch like Rhaenys.
In place of the lessons she lost, Professor McGonagall set up a block of personal tutoring for her, set about the few, so very few in number, books and scrolls on water elemental magics the Professor could find in the library, and some outsourced private collections she would never tell how she got her hands on.
And that was when Rhaenys Potter found it.
The Black Lake.
It was a large thing of mirror shine, freshwater landlocked by rolling green hills capped in snow, so deep and dark it echoed the night sky, and it was-
It was beautiful.
First year students weren't typically allowed near the Black Lake, Grindylows deemed the small children to be a rather delectable food source, but considering Rhaenys needed a body of water to draw from, in hopes of ever mastering this kind of magic, and only so many lessons could be conducted in the prefect's bathroom, the rules had been a little… Bent for her. As long as McGonagall was there to escort and oversee her little dips and trips, of course.
Rhaenys believed, if she got to go to the Black Lake every day, it was a fair price to pay.
The Black Lake… It spoke to her, she thought. It crooned in the wind, whistled and sprayed her with notes of a song. On other days, it whispered, a tiny ripple, a gurgle, a bubbling murmur. Rhaenys couldn't quite understand the words, but she heard the voice, she heard it clear and bright the first moment McGonagall stood with her at its flat, sooty banks.
She had never seen so much water before, not from her tiny, cramped cupboard, and, importantly, it was the first time so much water had seen her.
She knew there was meaning there, in the water, in the wisps of fog and rain, and, unbearably, Rhaenys knew she would understand the voice one day too. For now, however, it simply soothed something sore and throbbing inside her, a hollowed out grove in her chest she didn't know she had, filled it with salt water and sea foam and-
Sometimes, at night, despite knowing she shouldn't, when Rhaenys got a magical cloak for her Yuletide present, a cloak that once belonged to her adopted father, she began to sneak out to the Black Lake.
She only sat before it, burrowed into the damp sand of its verges, and every so often she whispered back.
It listened to her, she thought, when the moon was fat in the sky like the belly of a spider, and… And it was nice, to be listened to, to be-
To be heard.
It was a double edged sword, as the muggle saying went. Rhaenys gained the Black Lake, but at the cost of all hopes of fitting in. The students took note of her absences, her strangeness, and they, like pack animals, isolated the cuckoo in the nest.
Not one of us.
Most importantly, Rhaenys came to understand where this came from, her little water whispers, and it was a sad, poignant truth to be had. Her family. From those who birthed her, and then lost her in the woods. It's in the blood, McGonagall told her, in her lineage and legacy, something innate and reared, not practiced.
Just like her silver streak, and her lilac eyes, and the olive tone of her skin, it was in her-
It is her.
And just like her hair, and her necklace, and her pretty, strange, strange eyes, no one could take that away from her. So Rhaenys cradled it tight in her grip, she held onto it with everything she had. She was not alone, not really. She had Hagrid, and McGonagall, and her snakes, and her water that sang.
Everything else was just confetti, she thought.
Early 295 AC: Planky Town, Sunspear
Oberyn Martell's P.O.V
The orphans of the Greenblood live on their namesake, the Greenblood river, on little rafts. So named the orphans, for still they mourned the loss of their distant homeland in Essos, and practiced the traditions of their river-faring ancestors, they believed themselves orphaned from their Mother, the river Rhoyne.
It was rumoured, Oberyn had heard as a small child, that when the orphans first came to Dorne, forced from their home by the encroaching Valyrian freehold and the threat of mass slavery, they assembled their small pole boats from the burned carcasses of Nymerias fleet, their very homes they sailed across the Narrow Sea in.
While Oberyn did not know whether this was fact or fantasy, for a few of their rafts did hold bolts of charred wood Oberyn had seen with his own eye, he did know one thing. If one was in need of… private procurement, shall he call it, nowhere in Dorne was better than the orphan's of the Greenblood.
They were often found poling their boats up and down the river and its tributaries, fishing, picking fruits, hocking spices, picking up whatever work was needed. A few had taken to selling cloth and spices, and even fewer, rare ingredients of the foulest venoms and poisons.
It was this Oberyn wanted, a type of flower, when crushed into a fine powder and blown at a victims face that could paralyze four and ten men to stone, alleged to have been discovered in the Basilisk isles and, currently, making circuit of Dorne through the watery network of the orphans.
It would be a fine addition to his collection.
Of course, if one wanted to catch the orphans sailing upon the river, one needed to be in the precise spot at exactly the right time, for they came and went with the tide of the Summer Sea. Occasionally, they could be found on shore, rarely, dancing and singing. Not many could be found further in land on forays upon the shore, said to have great knowledge of the healing arts, producing the best midwives Westeros had seen, they healed the smallfolk before, inevitably, going back to the waters.
Once or twice, Oberyn had caught a few whispering in Rhoynish, banned since the reign of the Red Princes. Yet, Oberyn did nothing. These were, distantly, his cousins, his brethren, and if a few spoken words in an outlawed language made a man happy, who was he to smite another?
They all had their sins to feed.
Nevertheless, catching an orphan out on the river was almost impossible, a fool's errand, but, fortuitously for Oberyn, they did have a heart. Planky Town. Born at the mouth of the Greenblood, where river met sea, they lashed their boats and rafts and vessels together in a makeshift town on the outskirts of Sunspear. It was infamous in Dorne, this shanty town of watery delight, for trade with the carracks, cogs, and galleys from Essos.
Namely, for Oberyn that sunny morn, he had heard news that a craft from the Basilisk isles had come drifting through a week hence carrying unnamed cargo, illicit cargo, and so, his trip to the town was ensured, and nothing would ever be the same again.
The boats at Planky Town were crafts of hardly any draft, painted and carved intricately in brightly tinted shades. Made of low roofs and wide beams, the city was squat and wide and crookedly narrow all at once.
Daeron Targaryen, the First of His Name, had ridiculed them as hovels and huts built on bundles of kindle when he saw them, but, Oberyn thought, this was scarcely a reasonable appraisal. All but the humblest of the orphan boats were wonderfully etched and decorated, and the one Oberyn found himself on was no less magnificent, leaving his small retinue of guards back on the main shaft of lashed boats.
Daubed in hues of green, it grew from the emerald waters of the Greenblood as if the river spat it out itself, with a curved wooden tiller shaped like a turtle at it's head, and little starfish clinging to her rails. Poles and ropes and jars of olive oil cluttered her decks, latticed lanterns swinging fore and aft.
Aboard the raft were orphans he knew well, had been coming to buy from since he first started his interest in poisons at a young age, a man and a wife by the names of Illor and Helyna. The visit had gone well, they had the flower he was after, he had the coin to buy it, and it seemed to be like many others of his trips to Planky Town. Until he noticed Helyna, who was generally so garrulous and warm, staring out about the river from the deck.
"What absorbs my lovely lady so?"
She startled at the sound of his voice, her thoughts obviously somewhere else, her hands halting as they wrung and uncoiled into her patched skirts, as Illor, her husband, ducked down below to find Oberyn his flower in the cargo hold. She wavered on her response for only a heartbeat.
"I-… My daughter, she went to find fresh oranges for sup tonight, and should be back by now. Yet, she is not. I suppose she has gotten preoccupied herself. She likes to sit on the banks of the Greenblood and whisper her secrets to the waters… She will be back soon."
Her last words were spoken as an oath, a reassurance not only to Oberyn but to herself. She would be back soon, and there was no need for concern. However, Oberyn found himself frowning deeply, a tight, dark little scowl.
He had been coming to these orphans for near ten and five years, he would, in a off the cuff comment, might even name them friends, and never, not once, had he seen or heard a babe at breast or cradle aboard this ship, or darting in the cargo hold, tugging on her mother's patchwork dress. Helyna seemed to be passed the age of baring too, her hair speckled with silver, and the lines of her age beginning to map her face with furrows and ruts like the hull of the boat.
"You will have to forgive my remiss, Helyna. I did not know you had a daughter."
Only then, at the puzzlement lacing Oberyn's voice snugly like the rigging of the very ship they stood upon, did Helyna turn her gaze from the river, smiling charmingly, waving her hand in glib flip.
"There is nothing to forgive, for it was not always so. She is… She is not my daughter, not by blood, me and Illor-… We cannot… We tried and… But the river did give her to me, and that is more precious, I think."
The frown on Oberyn's face lapped to a jaunty, keen grin.
"Ah, yes, I once cracked open a river oyster as a boy, and found a bright pink pearl in my palm. My mother told me the river wished for me to have it, and so it was washed up into my hands. I did not know the river could do much the same with babes."
Helyna chuckled, a rusty sound of salt and something old.
"There was no oysters for us, I am afraid. She washed up on shore nearly a year hence. She came down with a frightful fever, like nothing I'd ever seen before, nothing but ten and one and bones in my arms… Me and Illor took her in, gave her bread and boat, and despite what the Healers said, she got well once more. An orphan too, in her own way, in the hardest way. She only had a little bucket and-… Well. She lived, she stayed, and I think I loved her since."
For a maddening moment, Oberyn thought of his niece, little Rhaenys, out there, somewhere, possibly alone, possibly lost, possible de-
He only hoped someone as generous as Helyna and Illor would have taken her in.
"That was awfully kind of you."
Helyna shook her head fiercely.
"Nothing kind, only right. The worst thing in this world is a hurt child… And you, Prince of Sand and Stone, know what it must be to love a daughter. If more people did, perhaps the world would not be such a terrible place."
Oberyn nodded back just as fiercely.
The door to the lower decks creaked open, breaking the moment, and Illor, fishing net still slung over his broad shoulder, came slugging back with a pouch of a freshly picked bloom. Checking the pouch, and handing the coin over for his purchase, Oberyn bid farewell and made to leave.
The ship rolled on a rather strange high tide of the river as he lifted his foot to land on the walkway to the next ship, Oberyn stumbled back a step, and it was this, this one moment, this one wave of water, that changed everything.
For he was close enough to hear Illor's voice now, where he would not have been if he did not stumble back, hear what he said to his wife, hear one word in a million.
"Is Rhaenys back yet?"
Oberyn stopped then in a way he had never stopped before. There was no breath, no wind, no sun or sand or sea or sticky sweat, no beat or ache or thought, just one word, on one ship, on one river of sparkling green waters. Slowly, gently, sluggishly, as if he were drowning, Oberyn turned, face ashen and abnormally pale.
"What did you just say?"
Illor, who had come to a towering stand next to his wife, appeared baffled at the Princes abrupt diversion from leaving, and could only blink against the rising sun at Oberyn's back
"I asked if our daughter was back yet-"
It happened all at once. He was moving, charging, the dagger strapped to his hip unsheathed and in his hand, and suddenly at Illor's throat, the other hand mangled into his salt stained shirt.
"No! Your exact words! Your exact words!"
Illor, wide eyed and spooked like a broken horse, glanced to his wife as Helyna flung herself at the cloaked Prince, wrestling with is arm in her frail hands, tugging and heaving, words spilling forth in a rush of desperation.
"He asked if Rhaenys was back! That was all! That was all, we swear! 'Tis her name! Nothing More!"
Oberyn dropped Illor and his dagger as if they both burned him. Burned him right to his bones.
That was all.
Yet how could it be?
How long had he ached to hear that name? How long had he searched? Could it be… Here? So close to home? How many Rhaenys could there be in the world? Five? Five and fifty? More?
Nothing but ten and one and bones in my arms-
A year hence… Rhaenys, his Rhaenys, would have been ten and twelve this years name day, as it seemed Helyna's Rhaenys was too.
Could they be one of the same?
The water beneath the boat spun and rolled.
When the river speaks, you listen my son. And when it washes a pretty pearl into your hand, you hold onto that pearl tightly, and you never let it go, for with it, the river gives you blessing, and no Dragon or Great Other can ever steal that from you.
That was what his mother had once told him. When the rivers spoke, you listened, and when the sea sang, you sang with it, and when the sky cried, you cried too. An old Rhoynish saying from days long gone.
Long gone, but not lost.
Oberyn Martell stood tall, proud, as unyielding as a storm out at sea.
"I wish to meet this girl."
A.N/ A shorter chapter than usually, yet not by much, but that is because the next one is quite large, and *hint* everything happens at once, because, as the saying goes, in life either nothing happens, or everything does lol.
Also, as a few people have asked, Rhaenys in this is not a Horcrux. Voldemort is dead, he died the night he attacked the Potters, but exactly how Rhaenys is a Parselmouth, and exactly how Voldemort died, and all the repercussions of that for Rhaenys will be explored throughout the fic, and I don't want to give too much away.
Also, before any confusion, Oberyn's P.O.V is about a year ahead of Rhaenys's P.O.V. That means Rhaenys has good contextual growth, but we're not waiting forever for Oberyn and Co to meet her. That also means how exactly Rhaenys ended up washing up on shore of the Greenblood, being taking in by orphans, and exactly what she's been doing for a year with a baby dragon, will be explored through her P.O.V., While Oberyn's and everyone elses moves the main story plot along. I hope that makes sense.
We also get to see Jon's and Aegon's P.O.V next chapter, only a little glimpse at the moment but it is something, so I hope you will enjoy that!
Well, that's all for now, I hope you all liked this, and I will hopefully see you all soon! Remember, if you want to show some love, don't forget to drop a review. ~AlwaysEatTheRude21
explored through her P.O.V., While Oberyn's and everyone elses moves the main story plot along. I hope that makes sense.
We also get to see Jon's and Aegon's P.O.V next chapter, so I hope you will enjoy that!
Well, that's all for now, I hope you all liked this, and I will hopefully see you all soon! Remember, if you want to show some love, don't forget to drop a review. ~AlwaysEatTheRude21