Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or Dragon Age.
Which hurt the most? He had stiffness in his neck and shoulders from falling asleep at the table, eyes that must have been bloodshot from how itchy they felt, a stomach that was still deciding whether or not to vomit and a pounding in his head that felt like that time he'd been run over by a pack of thestrals. Between all of them, Harry was pretty sure that it was going to be an absolutely wonderful day.
Oh yeah, and the night before Morrigan had found out that he'd read her mind.
The bottle of fire whiskey was empty and laying on its side. At least it hadn't broken too- digging shards of glass out of yourself was never fun, and especially not when you were hung over. Slowly sitting up, Harry closed his eyes and tried to take a deep breath. It looked promising that his stomach wasn't going to rebel against him immediately, so that was a plus. He forced himself to open his eyes, fumbled for his wand and the empty glass he'd used the night before and soon had a sip of water.
The excess that had spilled all over the table was just something he would have to clean up later. Whenever he felt semi-alive.
A few minutes of quiet suggested to him that it must be early as no one else seemed to be awake. He didn't remember any dreams, but that could have been due to blacking out rather than not sleeping long enough to drift into this new world's odd dreamland.
The Fade. It sounded oddly poetic for a realm full of demonic spirits and the guilty reminder of mankind's supposed greatest sin- the ever distant Black City looming on the horizon, a supposed analogue to Heaven only if it had been permanently befouled by arrogant human wizards who had sought to take 'the Maker's' power for themselves. Harry imagined that this world must not romanticize the idea of dreams nearly as much with that sort of crazy shit waiting for you every night when you closed your eyes.
At least back home he usually just had bittersweet reminders of all the people he had lost. Well, that and the almost monthly nightmare of watching his loved ones die. But they had gotten much less frequent over the years- so he was improving!
He chuckled to himself at his sarcastic thoughts, but it made his head throb even harder so he dug into his mokeskin pouch. Focusing, which was hard at the moment, Harry let out a relieved sigh once he felt the bottle of pills for a headache and pulled them out. Once his eyes and brain were working properly, he would need to take stock of things. For example, the bottle was only half full, and if he didn't have any more then drinking himself into a coma would be an even worse idea than usual. Luckily, he didn't spill them either, tossing a couple back and swallowing them with his water.
Keeping his eyes closed, Harry slowly rolled his neck back and forth a couple of times to get the kinks out.
He took another deep breath as he heard a door open. Once he blinked and looked up, Morrigan was standing over him, her face back to its usual aloof and snarky mask. "I feel that I should apologize to you."
"You don't need to do that," he muttered, now confused on top of the hang over.
"While I may have been personally affronted by your actions, 'tis true they were logical as you were in an unfamiliar land and in the presence of possible enemies," she replied. "I cannot honestly say I wouldn't have done the same thing if I were in your place."
"If I hadn't hit such a wall in Flemeth, I wouldn't have done it to you," Harry sighed. "And I'm still sorry for doing it, regardless."
"What do you mean by a wall in Flemeth?"
"You do know that she's not really human, right?"
"I had wondered," Morrigan nodded. "She always has enjoyed the mystique of her supposed immortality and all the tales of the dangers of the witches of the wild. I would appreciate it if you would elaborate further, though."
"I don't suppose you've heard of a horcrux have you? Or possibly a soul jar?"
"Those are not terms I am familiar with."
"Well, that's good I suppose," Harry said before taking another sip of water and rubbing his eyes. "Hopefully, anyway. The concept is that a powerful mage might be able to encase a portion of his or her soul in an object, thereby tying them to life even if they would otherwise be killed in some way. As long as such a tether exists, the mage could be brought back to life- usually through some rather dark and disgusting forms of magic in my experience. I'm not sure if its the exact same thing that I saw, but Flemeth has a piece of another soul inside her. And it was a very powerful, very old soul. If she were originally human, I can imagine that whatever that thing I felt in her was, it could be the reason she claims to be immortal."
"It could be true then, that she is the original Flemeth that lived so long ago. I was never sure of such a thing, but 'twould make sense." Morrigan frowned before she continued. "Are you still willing to teach me the magic of your world?"
"Of course," Harry said with a smile. "It will be a different sort of experience for me though, so I admit that we may run into some issues. Those I've taught before have usually been younger, as well as being used to magic that is in many ways unlike the magic of this world. Much of the magic where I came from involved simpler and faster ways of doing otherwise normal things."
"Like nearly everything," he shrugged. "A source of light. Cleaning up a mess. Having water to drink. Packing your belongings. Washing the dishes. If you can think of something, I can probably find a spell that can duplicate it. It may just take me a few hours to dig through all the books I own to find whatever we're looking for. I didn't bother to learn everything. For that, you would have needed someone like my old friend Hermione. I swear, that girl would have starved to death in a library if not for me."
Morrigan ignored his chuckles and pressed on. "Are all of these books in your magical pouch?"
"Yeah. It's practically infinite. They were sometimes called bottomless bags back home," Harry explained. "However, first, I'm going to have to see about getting you a wand."
"Why do you think I would need such a thing?"
"You may not. I'm just not sure. We can try a few things first, but my guess is that you will have better luck casting spells from my world using a wand, just as Sirius or I may do better casting spells from this world while using a staff."
"'Tis a logical conclusion."
"Let's start with something simple without a wand and see how well it works for you," he suggested. "I'll explain the spell, you can practice trying it without a wand and I'll dig through my supplies for whatever wands I've collected over the years."
Over the next several minutes, Morrigan was able to master both the charms for levitation and light without too much trouble. It was a nice start and not too surprising over all- these were taught to first years just beginning to learn magic after all. Besides, Harry had assumed that things like that would have been so much simpler to do with wandless magic than anything from the later portion of his schooling.
Meanwhile, Harry had found that he had collected more than forty wands over the years, not including his own. He spread them all across the table's surface and began the process of letting her attempt to find a match.
"What are the differences between all of these wands?" Morrigan asked.
"The two main components are the type of wood they are made out of and the magical core inside them," he explained. "Each core comes from some sort of innately magical creature, like a tail feather from a phoenix, which is what my wand uses."
"What is a phoenix?"
"A magical bird that is attuned to fire, immensely strong, and supposedly immortal. Mine came from one that I actually knew; his name was Fawkes." Harry scratched his chin. "Although, technically I should probably say that his name is Fawkes since he is probably still alive. As far as I know, there is no way to kill a phoenix."
"How should I choose?"
"Ah, it's not up to you," Harry said with a grin. "The wand chooses the witch. We'll just have to see which one gives you the best reaction when you try to use it." He looked around for a moment. "Actually, we should take this outside, just in case. Sometimes wands can give out messy results if the wielder isn't properly attuned to it."
He conjured up a silver tray to carry them outside, where he found that it was still in that time before dawn when the sky's darkness was just beginning to fade. Conjuring a table as well, Harry set the tray full of wands down and had Morrigan stand beside him, with the tent at their backs. "All you have to do now is pick one up, see if you feel anything from it, and then give it a wave."
She cocked an eyebrow at him but then did as he asked. The first one she tried gave no reaction at all. Ignoring Harry's muttered 'interesting' she picked up a second one and gasped as a stream of water erupted from her hand.
"I should have expected that," he chuckled.
"That wand was made of larch, a type of wood that was very strong and notably waterproof. It therefore was often used in building boats." When she handed it over to him, Harry smiled fondly as he peered at the wand. "Twelve and a half inches, with a dragon heartstring core. I actually made this wand; it belonged to one of my sons. He was a great wizard, brilliant and powerful. And don't tell Sirius, but I named him after my long lost godfather."
"Let me try another." Morrigan went through two more that gave off explosive results- one obliterated a nearby tree. On her fifth wand, there was a spray of green and purple lights, causing Harry to begin to cheer before a backlash knocked Morrigan off her feet.
"Damn, that seemed close," he groaned as he offered her a hand up.
"I definitely felt something more than I did with the first few," Morrigan said as she dusted herself off.
"Yeah, I didn't want to influence you, but I was pretty hopeful on that one," he sighed as he looked at the wand reverently. "Nine inches, vine and thestral hair. Made for a witch with intelligence and great purpose. The core was a difficult and unstable one, requiring a very special and capable person to tame it. This wand was my wife Daphne's first wand."
"Her first wand?"
"After it was damaged, she got a second that didn't work as well before I eventually made her a third once we were married. She had still held onto this one though, out of sentimentality I suppose, and I was able to mend it, making it just like new. She taught our daughter with it when she was young, before she was old enough to legally buy her own."
"Well, let's not tarry any longer," Morrigan said as she went back to the tray of wands and tried yet another. The time flew by as the sky grew brighter. Her eyes gave off a hint of worry as the tray of unused wands grew empty. Just before she reached for the last one, she asked, "What do we do if we don't find one that works for me?"
"I suppose we'll have to try to make one then," Harry shrugged. "That might make learning my type of magic easier in the long run though, if the wand is made specifically for you."
With the last wand producing only a puff of smoke, Morrigan scowled and handed it back to Harry. "It seems we'll have to do just that."
"Maybe not." He put the last unmatched wand back into his pouch and handed her his own. "Let's see how you do with mine."
Morrigan arched an eyebrow at him but took his trusty holly wand and produced a brilliant golden sparkle. "'Twould seem that I could learn with your wand, but that won't work when we are in battle."
"No, but it does give us one last option," he answered before sighing and taking his wand back from her. Harry reached into the pouch and pulled out a long pale wand with a handle that appeared to be made of bone which she hadn't seen before. "I believe this wand should work for you."
She took the wand and could immediately feel a connection to it. Turning and waving it into the sky, a bright light shot upwards before vanishing in a shower of sparks. Morrigan nodded, "This one will do."
"That one works well for me too," Harry said quietly. "They're known as brother wands. It contains a tail feather from the same phoenix as mine. The wood is different of course; that is made from yew, a type that gives off a fearsome reputation due to the capabilities of many famous wielders. The Dark Arts, some of the most dangerous magic from my world, are said to be more easily cast with a yew wand. And the man that used that one in particular certainly helped that reputation along."
"Why do you say that?"
"The Dark Lord I mentioned last night- Tom Riddle, also known as Voldemort," Harry waved to the wand in her hand. "It was his originally."
"Is that a problem?"
"I hope not," Harry sighed.
By the time Harry had freshened up, the others were awake. After a quick breakfast, they all gathered outside and he put away the tent with a flourish of magic that Morrigan was watching carefully. She asked a few questions about the process, and Harry told her how much of the magic involved was tied to the enchantments of the tent itself rather than incantations that she could learn.
"So, how long is this trek going to be up to this... what was it called?" Sirius asked. "A Circle Tower or something?"
"It's officially known as Kinloch Hold," Leliana answered. "Although most people simply refer to it as the Circle Tower."
"'Tis where the Chantry keeps the mages on their leashes," Morrigan sneered.
"We'll see about that," Harry muttered. "Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm not about to walk all the way there when we have much better options."
"Such as?" Sirius turned to him with a grin. "Do you have enough brooms in there for all of us?"
"I... um, probably, but that's not what I was thinking of." Harry opened up his bag and shortly levitated out a rolled up carpet.
"Yep, a genuine Persian rug," Harry chuckled. "You wouldn't believe the shit I had to go through to get this one either. Well, or really what it took to make it usable again."
"What do you mean?"
"I don't suppose you've heard much about nuclear bombs did you?"
"Is that a muggle thing?" Sirius asked.
"Stupid purebloods," Harry snorted.
"What is a nuclear bomb?" Morrigan asked.
"The most terrifying weapon imaginable," Harry sighed. "A device capable of not only destroying an entire city but leaving the area so toxic that nothing could live there for decades afterwards. At least, not without horrible illnesses and mutations."
"Dear Maker," Leliana gasped. "The people of your world would use such a thing?"
"At its peak there were more than nine billion people in my world," Harry replied. "Most of them were probably smart enough to realize that nuclear war would be too devastating to consider, but it only takes a few crazy bastards with enough power to cause a catastrophe."
He snorted and went about unrolling the carpet. "I guess it's story time with uncle Harry. When I was a child, the fear was that a nuclear war could be caused by America and Russia. They were two of the largest countries and, as far as I know, they were the first two that were able to build those types of bombs. And they were political rivals for many years. By the time I was an adult, the fears had mostly changed to being about America and China. China had the largest population of any country and they'd had an economic boom, so they became the rivals of America- and of course, they had the bomb too by then. But for the most part, the biggest countries like having power and that means that they don't want to see the world destroyed.
"Even when more and more wars broke out all over the world, for decades no one was crazy enough to resort to nukes." Harry sighed- those had been the good old days. "In the end, it was two other countries that bordered each other and had been in conflict on and off for a century that eventually fired nuclear bombs at each other. I don't know if anyone ever determined for certain who was first, but the end result was horrifying. Millions of people died immediately. Things got worse from there..."
A moment of silence followed him and Leliana gave Sirius a concerned look.
"Harry?" Sirius squeezed his shoulder. "You zoned out on us for a minute. Are you alright?"
"Yeah." He took a deep breath. "Anyway, I suppose I needed to get to the point about the carpet. This was many years later. I went to one of the really bad spots. Have any of you ever been to the desert? It turns out that if you get sand hot enough, and I mean really hot from something like a volcano or a lightning strike, it can turn to glass. Imagine seeing an ocean of sand turned to glass, as far as the eye can see. And here and there, ashes, dust, crumbled pebbles that were all that was left over from where buildings once stood.
"But there had been a magical district not too near to one of the blast sites, and we wanted to see if anything had survived," Harry sighed. "Magical things tend to be sturdier, especially those that have been enchanted. I found a few buildings still mostly intact, and inside one of them, there was this beauty. Just over thirteen feet long by seventeen feet wide, and from what I can tell, it's more than two hundred years old. Of course, it took months of work and spells to make it suitable for use again. Stupid radioactivity. It was a bitch to get this cleaned up so that people wouldn't die from being around it."
"What about you?" Leliana asked.
Sirius snorted and squatted down to look at the carpet. "I see a couple of holes."
"Yeah, that was from flying over the wrong warzone," Harry said. "I had the disillusionment charm up, so it was really just bad luck. Thankfully, the bullets didn't hit anyone else."
"Just you?" Sirius wondered.
"Yep, so it was no biggie," Harry shrugged. "So I guess if anyone sits near those little holes, just be careful. They should be small enough that they won't matter, unless you drop something like a coin."
"If the history lesson is over," Morrigan interrupted. "Why exactly are we looking at an old rug?"
"Because it's an old rug that can fly," Harry grinned at her. "With all of us on it."
"Just how many things did mages in your world enchant to fly?"
"Lots," Sirius laughed. "That reminds me- do you know whatever happened to my old motorcycle?"
"I got it back from Hagrid after the war," Harry replied. "Do you remember the Weasleys?"
"Arthur helped me restore it. Taught me all the charms and whatnot used for that sort of thing." Harry smiled fondly at the memory. "It helped both of us with all the stress and everything after the war. We'd lost people in the fighting, you know? It was... a coping mechanism, I guess.
"Anyway, once he was old enough, I passed it on to one of my sons."
"Well, I admit I wasn't looking forward to trying to walk all the way there," Leliana said. "I think this journey is going to be much more pleasant than I originally thought. So, how does it work?"
"Everyone take a seat." Harry went to the front. Behind him, Sirius conjured a few pillows for the group to rest against. Once they were settled, the carpet lifted off the ground.
"Disillusionment, Harry?" Sirius asked. "I don't think we want anyone to shock anyone who sees us flying overhead."
"I'm on it."
The trip only took a few hours rather than days or weeks, and not too long after sunset they arrived at what could barely be called a hamlet. Really, it was just a few buildings including a small inn that surrounded the docks that clearly led to the massive tower standing on an island about a mile or so from the lake shore. Harry slowed and landed the carpet before they were seen by anyone, putting it away while the others all took a moment to stand up and stretch. The quartet then walked down towards the docks, with Sirius telling the story of how Hogwarts was first approached by students in boats in order to give them a truly magical view of the school.
As first impressions went, it was hard to beat. While it had been many years for him, Harry still smiled when he thought back to that moment. Things had been so much simpler then.
"I rode in that little boat with Harry's dad," Sirius said with a smile. "It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
"Do you remember who else? Each boat could hold four kids when I went," Harry added.
"No," Sirius sighed. "It was a couple of guys, I remember that much, but your dad was already talking about Lily, and of course, complaining about what a stupid arsehole Snivellus was. Can you believe that pile of shit was trying to talk a muggleborn girl into joining him in Slytherin? What, did he want her to get raped?"
"Did something that awful happen to children?" Leliana gasped.
"Unfortunately, I went to school with a number of sick fucks who joined a group of terrorists that happily tortured, murdered, and raped anyone who got in their way," Sirius growled. "As far as I know, they didn't do anything too terrible while still at school. Either that or they covered their tracks too well. But I wouldn't have put anything beyond scum like Lucius Malfoy. You have to understand, most of my family were every bit as evil and crazy and would have been thrilled if I were going out to torture muggles-"
"What is a muggle?" Leliana asked.
"People who couldn't use magic," Sirius replied. "A lot of old magical families, like mine, thought that muggles were no better than animals. Certainly not worth considering them as equals. I specifically went out on a date with a muggle girl the summer when I was sixteen." He snorted and shook his head. "When I got home, my mum used the torture curse on me, screaming at me for befouling myself with swine. That night, I packed up a few things and moved in with Harry's grandparents.
"What was my point in all this?" he asked.
"How terrible and foolish it was for Snivellus to try to talk my mum into going into Slytherin," Harry reminded him. "The students at our school were divided into four groups. Gryffindor was the house of the bold, the courageous-"
"That's where the heroes went," Sirius interjected with a laugh. "Me, Harry, his parents, most of our friends..."
"I had friends from other houses," Harry argued. "I even married a Slytherin eventually. And on our bad side, we Gryffindors tend to be impulsive fools who would rush into danger without any sort of plan. Like when I thought that I got you killed, or when you abandoned me to chase after the rat."
"Yeah," Sirius sighed. "I am sorry about that, you know."
"Nobody's perfect," Harry shrugged. "Anyway, there were also the Hufflepuffs, who were hardworking and fair minded but tended to be overlooked, and the Ravenclaws who were the most intellectual, curious, and often introverted. And finally the Slytherins- they were supposed to be the house of the cunning and ambitious, but to a large extent they were just the most bigoted bunch of bullies and thugs in the school. Of course, with how incredibly poorly run the school was, I think a big part of the problem was that Dumbledore never punished anyone as much as he should have. If he'd been expelling some of the little scumbags, the rest would have known there were consequences. It nearly got him killed in the end."
"Really?" Sirius' eyebrows shot up.
"Yeah, remind me some time to tell the story of how trying to save the supposed 'innocence' of Malfoy junior was worth more to him than everyone else in the school." Harry took a deep breath and sighed. "Let's not get me off on a tangent though- my sixth year was awful, and Dumbledore was to blame for a number of problems. It seems the old man fucked up nearly everything he did during the second war, and honestly, if I start bitching about him I may not be able to stop myself."
"Alright, well we're about to arrive anyway," Sirius said. "That doesn't look like the usual sort of boatman though."
He pointed towards a tall man in heavy plate mail armor.
"'Tis a templar," Morrigan replied with a scowl.
"The ones who keep the mages enslaved?" Harry asked.
"It's not enslavement," Leliana argued with a frown.
"Are they allowed to walk free? To marry or have children? Or are they all kept locked up in that big fancy tower?" Harry sent a scornful look at the redhead. "Because that sounds a lot like slavery to me."
"You may have a point," Leliana replied. "However, mages that don't have something to check their power have lead to terrible deeds so many times. Just look at the Tevinter Imperium, where the mages are in charge but slavery and blood magic are rampant. The Chantry is at least trying to make things better for everyone."
"In my experience, magic and religion should be kept as far apart as possible," Harry answered. He was going to have to do some research on this world's blood magic, and it sounded like the need for it would come sooner rather than later. "But I suppose more information would be a good idea."
"I hope you're not looking to get across to the tower," the templar said as the group approached him. "Because I have strict orders not to let anyone pass."
"And now they won't even let visitors into this prison," Harry muttered as he looked at Leliana with a scowl.
"We're here on Grey Warden business," Sirius said. "We have an urgent need to speak with the mages of the Circle Tower."
"I thought all the Grey Wardens were dead," the templar replied. "Can you prove it?"
"Show him the treaties, Harry," Sirius suggested. Harry handed over the parchment showing that they had cause to draft aid from the mages, but the templar took one look at it and passed it back to him.
"A Grey Warden seal," the templar snorted. "You know, I've got some documents too. They say I'm the queen of Antiva. What do you think of that?"
Harry's urge to murder was rising.
Leliana sighed, patted him on the shoulder and pulled him a couple of steps back. Just because she tried to see the good in people didn't make her a fool, and this templar was definitely not the best choice to handle anything diplomatic. Then again, they usually relied much more on the Revered Mothers for that sort of thing- and clearly with good reason.
"Anyway, it was nice chatting with you, but on your way now," the templar added. Then he looked back over the group and his eyes locked on Morrigan. "Unless... that dark temptress in the back, surely the tower would be far too dull for her. Because, it gets lonely out here sometimes, and you know, you could just leave her with me-"
"Oh, excellent, I have been hoping for new prey," Morrigan breathily replied.
"'Twill take but a moment," she continued before turning to Harry. "Perhaps you should go aboard the vessel to prepare while we are away. We shall have to row ourselves across. I fear the lad will no longer have the use of his limbs... or his eyes, once I am done with him."
"Eh, maybe I should-" the templar sputtered.
"Wonderful! I can sense his terror! Oh, that will make the loving all the sweeter," Morrigan finished with a purr.
"So, you said you wanted to get across," the templar quickly said. "Maybe we should go across now. Right now!"
As he went to get in the boat, Harry thought to himself, 'Let Morrigan deal with the idiots more often.'
Author's Note: Onto the Circle!
Before I get anyone's hopes too high, I probably won't use a survivor from the mage origin as a 'party member' but Harry will be dealing with the mages in a few ways more than what the game shows, so it would likely be more of a supporting/guest star role, at least for now.
Secondly, I have been having some writer's block with the mages section of the story. There is a ton of exposition in Dragon Age, not to mention having to explain things that are different compared to the world that Harry and Sirius are from, and I'm trying to shave as much of it down to the most important parts as possible, but it has been a struggle. Huge exposition dumps always drag down stories in my opinion, so I'm still trying to work out the best way to approach it.
As a fun little note- the wand that Harry describes as having belonged to his son is the one that I got from the test at Pottermore. I had to look up larch wood as I'd never heard of it before. Till next time!