Disclaimer: I do not own any part of the Harry Potter or Eragon universes.

Okay, I didn't want to write this chapter this way because it was supposed to be completely different, and I actually forgot about Rhunön who is going to be really important. But when I thought about the next chapter 33, I thought that there are quite a few things that are missing but are very important. So the chapter 33 that I wanted to write will now be the next chapter.

Edit: Changed Dorn to Thorn.


It was late at night. The moonlight shone through the only window in the dungeons, casting a faint glow upon them.

After the Ra'zac had disappeared again, Murtagh had to calm himself internally. It was the third time in his life that he had seen those beasts. The first time, when he was still a young boy, they had visited his father's former castle. The other time was when he met Eragon, Saphira, and Brom, and helped them escape the Ra'zac with his bow.

As Murtagh reminisced about the past, his lips curled into a smile. It had been a brief, radiant moment of freedom.

He grimaced as he remembered the last encounter. That was when he and Ajihad were surprised by the Ra'zac, and it was they who had brought him to Urû'baen.

After all that had happened, Mary's death had been in vain, and this knowledge burned like acid in his heart.

Murtagh clenched his teeth as curiosity grew within him.

"Not again," Murtagh thought, closing his eyes. He retreated into his mind, following that feeling like he was pulling along a rope until he encountered Thorn's consciousness.

When he opened his eyes, he saw Thorn hiding behind him, but his red eyes were fixed firmly on the woman brought by the Ra'zac.

Thorn nudged him with his nose, prompting Murtagh to smirk.

He had nothing better to do, so he might as well do a favour for his dragon.

Thorn nudged him again.

"All right," Murtagh whispered to his dragon.

He turned to the woman. Her clothes were dirty and torn, reminding him of the other women from the villages. But he raised his eyebrows in surprise when he saw the way she was sitting. Her shoulders were squared, and she held her head high. Her posture spoke of strength, which Murtagh admired, for not many people could claim that when held captive by the king.

"What is your name?" Murtagh asked softly.

The woman's shoulders tensed as she heard his voice.

"Are you going to kill me?" Her voice was beautiful and strong, although he detected a faint tremor in it. She concealed it well.

Murtagh snorted. "If you haven't noticed, I'm just as chained as you are."

"I can't see anything," she whispered softly. She still wore the cloth around her eyes with which she had entered. Thorn nudged him again, laying his head on his lap. Murtagh gave the dragon an annoyed look, but it only looked at him innocently.

"Whatever," Murtagh grumbled, turning to the woman.

"Should I remove the cloth?" he asked.

"They forbade me to remove it," she said quietly.

"The Ra'zac are gone," Murtagh said. She hesitated for a moment but then nodded.

Murtagh knelt down, ignoring the dragon's growl as he moved his leg, which caused Thorn to lose his pillow.

The woman had turned her back to him, and Murtagh carefully untied the knot. The Ra'zac had it tied quickly and tightly, and Murtagh noticed red marks on her head as he loosened it.

He took the cloth off her, and she slowly turned to face him. She wasn't the most beautiful woman Murtagh had ever seen, but her eyes were brown, like the finest topaz, and showed an inner strength that he wouldn't find in any noblewoman.

"Who are you?" he breathed out.

"Katrina," she said. "Ismirasdaughter."


Roran sat in Horst's guest room, gazing out of the window. It was still early in the morning, and the sun shone over the hump, casting long shadows towards the village.

The past weeks have been difficult for the villagers. First, the king's soldiers came, took up residence among them, and demanded to be treated like nobles.

But nothing compared to what had happened in the last few days.

There was no one among the villagers who had once been part of the king's army or served as a soldier. None of them could wield a sword, let alone have ever killed a person. Yet, the soldiers might drink the best beer or take the fattest pig for themselves, but there was one thing that no soldier, not even the self-appointed king, could take away from them.

Their pride!

But it was replaced by fear when they came. They came one evening, and they were monsters. The Ra'zac were what these creatures were called, and there was only evil in them.

And it was they who brought death upon Carvahall. Roran still felt bile rise in his throat as he remembered the bones the Ra'zac had left of Quimby.

But disgust was followed by pure rage. Roran struck his leg with his fist, and his fingers gripped his leg so tightly that his knuckles turned white.

They had abducted her. Katrina. His betrothed. His love.

Then he grimaced and made a face as a stabbing pain shot from his shoulder. Where the Ra'zac had injured him with its beak, he adjusted the arm sling that had come loose with the movement and sighed in frustration.

There was a knock, and the door to his room opened. Gertrude, the healer, stood before him and closed the door behind her.

She placed her hand on his forehead and sighed in relief after a moment. "I don't know what your family is made of, Roran, but you don't have a fever. After yesterday's ordeal, I expected to find you sick, but it seems fate has other plans for you."

Roran nodded, but then Gertrude smacked him on the side of the head with an open hand.

"What were you thinking giving that speech? The whole village is in turmoil because of you," she grumbled.

Roran rubbed his head with his healthy arm. "I had to do it," he defended himself.

"That's the only way the village can survive!"

Gertrude raised an eyebrow. "Roran, I may be old, but I'm not stupid. I know your reasons for wanting to join the Varden. I'm sure a part of you speaks the truth, but the majority of you wants to go find Katrina right now, doesn't it?"

Roran's shoulder seemed to ache even more when he heard Katrina's name.

Against his will, he nodded slowly.

"How could Sloan do such a thing? To hand over his own daughter to the Ra'zac?"

Gertrude sat down beside him on the bed.

"You know very well that the Ra'zac didn't just take Katrina because of Sloan. They were looking for something in our village and found it in her," Gertrude sighed.

"May Quimby rest in peace, but I wish he had died before he told those monsters about Harry and Katrina. Then they wouldn't have taken Katrina and might have disappeared from our village again."

"Harry," Roran murmured. "Why did they take Katrina because of him? He didn't even belong to our village."

Gertrude rolled her eyes. "Be quiet, you jealous boy. Whatever Harry did, he must have angered the king greatly for them to be so desperate to take Katrina. Because she knew nothing special about him."

Silence fell between them. "Do you think Harry belonged to the Varden? Is that why they're looking for him?"

Gertrude shrugged. "I know as much as you do, Roran. Harry never talked much about himself or his past. Could he have once been part of the Varden? Only he or the Varden can tell us that."

Roran clenched his fists with determination and ignored the pain throbbing in his shoulder.

"Then I'll find Harry and force him to tell me everything."

"You will do nothing like that, Roran. For now, you'll lead the village towards Surda, Roran," Gertrude reminded him. "Through your speech, whether you want it or not, you've become the one who leads the village. I won't allow you to abandon the whole village."

Roran raised his healthy arm in a calming gesture. "I won't do anything of the sort. I'll lead the village to Surda to join the Varden. What happens next is written in the stars."

Gertrude nodded satisfactorily. "I'm glad to hear those words from your mouth, Roran. Now, let me see your shoulder to see if the dittany is taking effect."

Roran grimaced as he moved his arm. Gertrude unwrapped the shoulder bandage and carefully peeled off the dried dittany ointment.

"That looks better than last time," Gertrude said. Roran looked down at himself with a queasy feeling in his stomach and let out a heavy breath.

The last time Gertrude had removed the bandage, the skin where the Ra'zac had bitten him was white and spongy. Now, the outer skin looked somewhat pink again, but yellow pus oozed from the wound where Gertrude had sewn it with threads.

"That's good," Gertrude muttered. "It means the wound is healing. Whatever that monster did to you, the dittany seems to be fighting it."

Tears welled up in Roran's eyes. He had feared losing his arm, and this news gave him hope and strength, for he would need both of his arms if he was to lead the village to Surda.

Gertrude then applied the ointment to his shoulder again. "I want you to come to me every two days, Roran so that we can change the bandage."

Roran nodded. It wouldn't bother him if it meant his shoulder would fully heal again.

Gertrude got up from the bed. "Very well. Since you can move your left arm, you can also be useful."

Roran followed her out of the room. "How so?"

Gertrude smiled weakly. "Do you seriously think I'll leave anything for the king's soldiers that they might find useful?"

She shook her head. "I won't allow that at all."

Roran nodded understandingly. "Horst does the same with his tools. I asked him if I should help him, but he didn't want me around."

"Of course not. Everyone in Carvahall will destroy the things they can't bring with them. Please understand that, Roran. Families have lived here for generations and are now giving up everything to join a journey that will change their whole lives."

Roran clenched his healthy hand into a fist. "We haven't lived here for just a year, Gertrude! I'm giving up just as much as all the other villagers."

Gertrude raised an eyebrow. "You can't give up anything, son of Garrow, that you don't possess. Your father is dead, your brother is on the run and your land is burned. You have nothing else but the clothes you're wearing and the hammer at your belt. It might be harsh, but it is the truth."

The words hit Roran hard. Especially the memory of Eragon hurt. Everything had happened because of him and Harry!

He looked down at the ground and glared angrily at a stone. Roran kicked it, watching it hit a house wall and lay there.

He flinched as Gertrude placed her hand on his shoulder.

"Come on, Roran. It's time to leave Carvahall forever."

Roran stopped. He stood on the main street, and in the distance, he could see the makeshift wall they had built against the soldiers. He saw Morn, the innkeeper, and his wife, Tara, arguing loudly. He saw Fisk, the carpenter, and his wife, Isold, packing a horse with bags. Everywhere Roran looked, he saw the people of the village.

"No," Roran finally said. "The village consists of its people. Carvahall is leaving this place and will return one day."

He stared challengingly at the hump. "We will return, I'm certain of it."


Harry sat at the table, with Dellanir, Arya's grandmother, sitting across from him, deeply engrossed in the book 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'.

Harry's eyes followed Arya, who paced back and forth in front of the table. Her hair was slightly dishevelled from repeatedly running her hands through it. Harry wasn't making it easy for her either.

She stopped and glared at Harry. "Call me that one more time, and you'll regret it!" Arya said, but Harry couldn't help but smirk at her.

"You're a witch," he grinned from ear to ear.

Arya dramatically raised her hand and pointed at Harry. But before he could stand up, Arya turned inward, breaking through the barrier that denied her access to her magic and spoke a word in the ancient language.


Harry's legs and arms couldn't move. Although he initially resisted, Arya soon felt him struggling against her magic.

She grinned inwardly. "Oh? You want to play Potter?"

Harry sat in the chair. Although he couldn't move, his eyes sparkled with challenge.

Arya stepped closer to him, her gaze piercing his. She touched his face with her fingers, stroking his cheek.

She felt him fighting her magic, but Arya didn't give up.

"You never give up, do you?" she whispered, their faces inches apart.

"I'm still learning the ancient language. I must have skipped over that part," Harry replied softly, with a grin.

Arya lowered her gaze briefly before lifting it again, locking eyes with Harry.

"Then I guess I'll have to be patient until you're ready," she said.

"Who says I'm not ready yet?" he replied, holding her gaze. Harry's eyes showed a hint of amusement.

Arya felt a flutter in her stomach, and her heart began to beat faster.

"Why did Harry have such an effect on her?"

Slowly, she placed her left hand on Harry's chest, where his heart lay. She felt his muscles moving beneath her fingertips and his heart beating rapidly up and down. With her right hand, she touched his chin. They were now so close that their noses almost touched when they suddenly heard a noise.

"Ahem," Dellanir coughed awkwardly into her hand.

"I've already told your aunt the same thing, Arya. No kissing in my home, understood?" Dellanir said, raising an eyebrow.

Arya and Harry turned their faces to the side and blinked at her. Then, they both realized where they were, and their faces turned deep red. Arya stepped back and broke the spell, causing Harry to fall off the chair at the exact moment.

"Ouch," Harry groaned, rubbing his backside. Dellanir chuckled in the background as Arya bent down to help him up.

"Thank you," Harry said, his face still red. Then he added softly, "Witch."

Arya stared at him annoyed and let go of his hand, causing Harry to plop back onto the ground.

"Well, now that you two are done flirting, maybe we could talk about why you came to see me," Dellanir chuckled.

"We weren't flirting with each other," Arya argued while sitting at the table. She crossed her arms and stared at her grandmother with sparkling eyes.

Dellanir winked at her. "Of course not, my star."

Arya grumbled something incomprehensible as Harry sat back in his chair. His ears were still red, and he ran a hand through his hair.

Just like he always does when he's nervous, Arya thought, smiling. Since her conversation with Thiora, she has been less surprised when she observes certain habits in Harry.

Dellanir closed the book in front of her. "A very fascinating book. It describes some magical creatures I haven't heard of in a very long time."

She looked up and glanced at Harry. "So, Harry. Now show us your wand!"

Harry choked on his breath and began to cough heavily.

"What's wrong, Harry? Cat got your tongue?" Dellanir asked, with a mischievous gleam in her eyes.

Tears welled up in Harry's eyes, and he glared at Dellanir. "You've heard that one from Sirius before."

Dellanir just smiled. "Maybe. Your wand?"

Arya only furrowed her brow in confusion. She had no idea what they were talking about. Perhaps she would ask her grandmother about it later.

Harry placed his wand on the table.

"May I?" Dellanir asked.


She took the wand in her hand and eyed the piece of wood with great interest. She ran her fingers along the wood and held it to her ear as if the wand was whispering to her. Then she waved it through the air, but nothing happened.

"I doubt I can make a wand for you, Arya. The wood would be less of a problem than the core, but I know no magic that would allow us to recreate that magic, which was once part of a magical creature."

Sighing, she handed the wand back to Harry. "Unless we come across a second phoenix feather or something else, I see no hope of making a wand for you."

"Maybe we should try something else first," Harry said, holding out the wand to Arya.

"What do you have in mind?" she asked Harry.

He smiled faintly. "Take the wand in your hand. If we're lucky, something will happen."

"And what exactly is supposed to happen?" Arya asked impatiently.

Harry winked at her. "Where's the fun in life if you know everything that's going to happen to you?"

Arya let out a frustrated sigh. "Fine."

She took the wand in her hand. For a moment, Arya felt that familiar warmth she had felt once before. It had happened on the journey to Tarnag. There, Harry had lost it for a moment in the fight against the Urgals, and it was there where she held it in her hand for the first time.

She lifted her head from the wand and looked at Harry, who was looking at her expectantly.

"Swing it through the air!"

Sceptically, Arya stood up and took a deep breath. She raised the wand above her head and let it swoop through the air. A white and green spark shot out from the tip, like fireworks.

Arya turned to Harry and Dellanir with wide eyes. Her grandmother clapped joyfully while Harry beamed from ear to ear.

"Well, you may not have a wand, but there's no doubt. You're a witch," Harry said, still grinning.

"Shut up, Harry," Arya said, still staring at the wand. "Why can I use this magic, and you can't, Grandmother? And why now?"

Dellanir tapped her fingers thoughtfully on the table. "That's a good question, and I have several possible solutions swirling around in my head, but at the moment, I don't have a suitable answer for that."

"Although," Dellanir muttered and stood up. She went to her shelf and pulled out a scroll.

"Look at this," she said, laying the scroll on the table. Harry and Arya leaned over the piece of paper. It was divided into three sections. First, a crystal floating in the air was depicted. Below was a location resembling a swamp, with various lights shimmering above it. And lastly, a drawing of a cave.

"What is this?" Harry asked, surprised. He had never seen these places before.

"These are places of wild magic," Arya whispered tensely. Dellanir nodded and pointed to the picture of the crystal.

"That's the Floating Crystal of Eoam. It is located in the south of Alagaёsia, west of Surda, on an island named Beirland. It is said that those who touch this crystal will gain the ability to float for a short time. I was there once when I was young, shortly after we Elves arrived in Alagaёsia, on the shores of Feinster."

"Did you ever go there?" Harry asked curiously.

Dellanir grimaced. "I think so but…I don't remember much of it," she confessed, placing her hand on her temple.

Arya's eyes widened. She had never experienced her grandmother forgetting something.

She then pointed with a finger to the picture below the crystal.

"These are the Werelights of the Swamps of Aroughs," Arya said, recognizing the location, and Dellanir, who had regained her composure, nodded in satisfaction.

"Exactly. And finally, Mani's Caves. Those who venture there are said to receive strange but also wonderful dreams," Dellanir said, but her voice seemed distant. Her eyes became glassy momentarily but then returned to their blue tone.

Dellanir rubbed her head again as if something was bothering her.

Arya glanced out of the corner of her eye as Harry looked sharply at her grandmother.

Apparently, Harry had noticed it too, she thought.

She shook her head as Harry looked at her questioningly.

Dellanir rolled up the scroll again. "These places are known to us because there is wild magic there, which I have studied for a very long time. And from what I've just seen from you, Arya, this magic reminds me of Harry's and now yours," Dellanir said.

"The dragons use exactly the same magic, except when they use their fire. It has no rules, but it changes everything and is in its nature, like a storm."

Harry walked to Arya's side as they left Dellanir's house.

"So… that was very bizarre," Harry said cautiously.

Arya closed her eyes. "You mean when my grandmother's eyes went glassy?"

Harry nodded slowly. "Based on your reaction, it was your first time seeing it too."

Arya stopped by a tall spruce tree. She leaned her back against the wood and sank down until she was sitting.

Harry sat down beside her, stretching one leg out and resting his arm on his knee. He watched as Arya pulled her knees up and rested her arms on them.

"I've never seen anything like that with her," she hesitated for a moment. "It scares me."

Then Harry felt Arya rest her head on his shoulder. It warmed him inside.

"Her eyes glazed at the same moment when Dellanir was talking about Mani's Caves. I wonder if it's related," Harry muttered, wrapping an arm around Arya's shoulder. He thought he might have overstepped for a moment, but Arya said nothing. He pulled her closer to him.

"I hadn't thought of that," Arya said, surprised.

Harry raised an eyebrow. "That doesn't surprise me. You're worried about your grandmother; anyone would overlook something trivial in that situation."

"But it's not trivial," Arya shook her head.

"No, it's not. What do you know about these caves?" Harry asked.

Arya brushed a strand of hair from her face. "Not much more than what my grandmother told us. A place for dreams under the moonlight, but it's also said that one can receive premonitions."

"Do dragons also control this Wild Magic? I think Dellanir mentioned it before," Harry asked.

Arya nodded. "Yes, they do. You've even experienced it yourself."

Harry frowned, but then his eyes lit up. "Oh! You mean when Artemis and I restored the destroyed Star Sapphire?"


Then, there was silence, and both listened to the sounds of the forest.

"Well, for the moment, we can't do anything, so we shouldn't dwell on it too much," Harry said, pulling out his wand.

"In the meantime, why don't you try to learn a spell?"

Arya raised an eyebrow. "And which one?"

"Wait a second," Harry said, searching for a piece of wood. He found a broken branch in the shadow of the spruce tree. The branch was as thin as his fingers but still too long. He bent it, and a piece broke off, about the length of his little finger.

Harry touched the branch with his wand and said the incantation, and before their eyes, the branch transformed into a needle. He handed it to Arya, who held it up before her eyes.

"That was the first spell I learned in Transfiguration," Harry explained, turning the needle back into the branch. He handed Arya his wand, and she looked at it questioningly.

"What should I do?" she asked him.

"Speak the incantation and will your magic to turn the branch into the needle," Harry instructed.

Arya took a deep breath and tried.

"It's not a needle, but it's not a branch anymore either," Harry remarked dryly. The branch had taken the shape of a needle but was still made of wood.

Arya nudged him.

Harry grinned. "Try to imagine the needle better in your mind. How does the needle feel? Is it smooth or rough? What shape does it have?"

Arya nodded and closed her eyes. Seconds passed, and then she opened her eyes.

"I think I've got it," she said confidently.

Harry looked at her sceptically as she used his wand. There was a sparkle in her eyes as she held out her hand. It was a perfect needle.

"That's so unfair," Harry groaned. "I had to learn the spell for weeks!"

Arya smirked at him. "Well, it has its advantage to know magic already."

Harry sighed, then grinned back. "Maybe... Now do it again, but this time, turn the needle back into the branch," he demanded.

Arya nodded; this time, it only took her three tries to succeed.

"McGonagall would have loved to teach you," Harry said dejectedly. He really wished he could use the ancient language to perform magic. But that wasn't possible at the moment.

"Chin up, Harry," Arya said. "You've never given up until now, so you won't now."

Harry looked at her in surprise. "Oh? Can you read minds now?"

Arya leaned on Harry's shoulder as she stood up. "No, I just know you well. Was I wrong?" She turned to him, looking at him challengingly.

"No," he admitted, smiling.

Harry walked beside her when suddenly a thought occurred to him. "I've just had a thought, Arya. Since I will teach you now, you can call me Professor!"

"Only in your dreams, Harry."

Arya stopped as she saw something in the distance. Harry followed her gaze and saw a path bordered by an overgrown dogwood hedge. The hedge led into a grove of trees. From the centre rose a fire, and Harry heard metal clashing.

"What's that?" Harry asked.

"A place I was anxious coming back to," Arya answered vaguely.

Harry frowned. "Why?"

Arya sighed. "I never told you about my life before I became an ambassador for my people, did I?"

"No, you did not. Do you want to talk about it?" Harry asked her.

Arya shrugged. "After everything you have told me about yours, you deserve to know it. I spent a lot of time with my grandmother and Thiora... When I was old enough, my mother and I only argued. I didn't want to hide behind Du Weldenvarden and hope for a miracle. I didn't want to accept my father's death and do nothing about it. So, I decided to take my fate into my own hands and seek answers."

"But before I could do that, I had to learn. Thiora taught me swordsmanship, while I learned from my grandmother. But I was still young and full of ambition-"

"You wanted to do something now and not wait for someone to determine your life," Harry interrupted her. Arya looked at him with surprised eyes.

"Yes," she said softly. "But my grandmother had a different opinion. We argued, and then she brought me to her."

"Who is she?" Harry asked curiously.

For a moment, Arya said nothing, and it seemed like she was struggling with herself.

"Come on, Harry. I'll introduce you to her."

"Are you sure?" Harry asked, looking at her concerned.

Arya nodded determinedly. "Sure?" She shook her head, and a strand of hair fell into her face. "No. But I have to do this."

"Then I'm by your side," Harry said, brushing the lock behind her ear.

Arya smiled faintly.

They followed the path that led through the tunnel in the dogwood hedge and entered the courtyard of a house. In the centre of the courtyard stood a small, open-sided forge. An elf held a pair of tongs in the glowing coals while operating a bellows with her right hand. She took a white-hot ring from the fire, threading it into an unfinished chainmail.

Her movements were so precise and effortless that they seemed like a well-oiled machine. Each action seemed perfectly coordinated with the next, as Harry had never seen with any other blacksmith. No blacksmith from Carvahall or the Dwarves possessed this skill.

Arya approached her. "Ebrithil."

The elf's shoulders tensed.

"I thought you were dead." Her voice was hoarse, reminding Harry of Brom when he had smoked too much pipeweed.

"A lot has happened," Arya said hesitantly. The elf turned to them. Her face was lined with fine wrinkles, but just like Dellanir, Harry recognized her actual age in her eyes.

"I agree. Much time has passed since you left." Arya flinched in response. "It was never my intention to hurt you, Rhunön-Elda. But you must have known that I wouldn't stay forever."

Rhunön sighed. "You didn't hurt me, child. But after all the centuries I've been here alone, swinging the iron, I was surprised how much I enjoyed your presence and how much I missed it when you left me alone."


Rhunön raised her hand. "No, I always knew that you wouldn't become a blacksmith. The fire inside you is too wild, Arya-Finiaril. You were always destined for something else, and I'm glad to see my last and only student again."

Arya couldn't help but approach Rhunön and embrace her. The old elf was surprised, but she returned the hug.

"I think even my hugs are better," Harry mentioned to Arya's mind.

Arya snorted amusedly. "Shut up, Harry."

The two elves released each other, and Arya rubbed her eyes. They shone in a deep green.

"But enough of this awful sentimentality," Rhunön grunted and raised an eyebrow in Harry's direction.

"And who are you, boy?" The elf asked bluntly.

Harry narrowed his eyes. "My name is Harry Potter, and if you call me that again, I'll turn all your tools into blades of grass."

"Ha! He's got fire in his belly," Rhunön cackled, staring at him.

The two stared at each other until Arya grabbed Harry's arm and pulled him forward.

"Stop it, both of you," Arya said firmly. "This is Harry Potter, one of the two new Dragon Riders. And this is Rhunön, our oldest and greatest Master Smith. She was also my teacher before I decided to become an ambassador."

Harry nodded and held out his hand to Rhunön. He felt that the old elf wouldn't appreciate the conventional greeting of the elves. She looked at his hand and grinned, shaking it.

"Ever swung a hammer, Potter?"

"Move it, Potter! It's not that heavy!" Rhunön called out ahead of him.

The elf urged him on as he carried a heavy sack of charcoal on his back.

"Why can't I use my magic?" Harry groaned under the weight.

Rhunön raised her eyebrows. "Magic makes life boring. If you accomplish all your wishes with magic, what's the point of your life then? Besides, it's fun to watch you struggle, Potter."

Harry shot her a harsh look and continued to carry the weight. He placed the sack outside next to the open forge and wiped the sweat from his forehead.

"Rhunön, I hope you're ready!" a familiar voice called out. Harry turned around and, to his surprise, saw Sirius with a bag in his hand that jingled as he moved it.

"Black! It's about time," Rhunön called back and walked over to him. She reached into the bag and pulled out a wooden bottle.

"Ah, Faelnirv! You've come at the right time, Sirius." She opened the bottle and took a big gulp. Rhunön shook her head, then looked at all three of them in turn.

Then she turned back to Sirius. "Give me a second bottle. It looks like we'll be talking longer, and I need more Faelnirv in me before I can bear the chatter."

They watched her as she disappeared into her house with both bottles. Harry turned to Sirius.

"What are you doing here?" he asked.

Sirius shrugged indifferently. "A few years ago, Thiora introduced me to Rhunön, and since then, we've been meeting once a month."

"And what do you do in that time?" Arya asked sharply.

Sirius cautiously took a step back. Grinning, he said, "Er - We drink and gossip about Dellanir and Islanzadí together."

Arya took a deep breath and turned around, her hair swirling. "Rhunön!" she called out and stomped off after the old elf.

Sirius laughed after her. "She reminds me a bit of Lily – er, I mean your mother. I'm sure Lily would have liked her."

Harry furrowed his brow. "What are you talking about?"

Sirius looked perplexedly at the sky. "James, this is your fault! Your son is even worse than you."

Then he looked at Harry with thoughtful eyes. "Well, maybe it's because of your mother. She was the dense one."

Harry mumbled something incomprehensible under his breath. "I'm not dense!"

Sirius laughed and threw an arm around Harry's shoulder. "Just tell yourself that, my favourite godson."

"You only have one, you old mud."

Harry shook off Sirius's arm and gave him a questioning look. "The gossip about Dellanir and Islanzadí was a lie, right?"

Sirius sighed. "Not entirely. Sometimes, Thiora and Islanzadí were at odds for a long time. And Dellanir is, with Rhunön and Gilderien, the only elf who was alive before the pact with the dragon."

He reached into the bag, took out a bottle, and took a sip. "You know, Harry, some things eat you away from the inside. It's as if black poison is flowing through your veins, and if you're not careful, it takes over exactly where you don't want it."

"You act like you are the only one," Harry thought with a frown.

"And once it's there, not even the song of a Phoenix can help. But talking to someone who's experiencing something similar can help."

"And the Faelnirv?" Harry asked.

"It helps with the talking. Neither Rhunön nor I are good at it," Sirius grumbled and smirked as they entered the house.

Arya held a hammer behind her back and held her other hand out towards Rhunön.

"Rhunön, give me the bottle, or the hammer goes with me, and you'll have to come get it personally," Arya threatened.

Rhunön gasped. "How could you, Arya! You know I never leave my forge! I hate talking to other people."

Arya moved up and down the hammer, which Rhunön followed with her eyes.

"As you wish," she growled and handed Arya the bottle while giving Rhunön the hammer, which she then held in her arms like a child.

"Did the mean Arya hurt you?" Rhunön murmured, and Arya rolled her eyes.

"Has Eragon visited you yet?" Arya asked after a moment.

Rhunön placed the hammer far out of Arya's reach, causing Harry and Sirius to chuckle at each other.

"Yes, he was here with Niduen. It was nice to see Zar'roc again," Rhunön said with a faint smile.

She then turned to Harry. "Show me your sword, Shur'tugal."

Harry drew it out and placed it in Rhunön's hands. She closed her fingers around the hilt and drew it with the authority of an experienced warrior.

"Why do you carry this sword, Potter?" Rhunön asked, sheathed the sword again.

Harry looked at her with a furrowed brow. "It was a gift from a dwarf. It has served me faithfully so far."

"Perhaps, but it wasn't forged for you. The blade is too wide, and the grip is too short," she looked at him with a sparkle in her eyes. "A sword should be an extension of your arm."

She looked back at his sword. "The time will come when this sword will fail you."

Harry took it from the table. "Oromis has said the same thing, but until then, I will continue to use it."

Sirius took a sip of Faelnirv. "It's a shame your oath binds you, Rhunön."

"Oath?" Harry asked with a furrowed brow.

Rhunön lowered her eyes to her hands. "I swore never to forge a sword again, Shur'tugal. That was my oath. Because I alone bear the guilt that my children were the reason that the dragons were exterminated, they were killed with my swords, as I forged them for every single Dragon Rider. That and more. Then he came and destroyed everything."

She took her bottle of Faelnirv and drank it empty. With a dull thud, she placed the wooden bottle on the table.

"Ugh, my head still hurts," Harry grumbled, casting an accusing look at Artemis.

"And that's your fault. Did you have to make those flight manoeuvres?" Harry asked Artemis, who was getting comfortable on the stone.

She pursed her lips. "I only did what Glaedr asked of me."

"And Artemis flew very well. She's not to blame for your hangover," Glaedr said, lying opposite them on a peak.

Harry looked hopefully at Glaedr. "Isn't there a spell that could help me?"

"Of course there is, but I won't tell you. Consider it a lesson not to drink in excess," Glaedr replied.

Artemis chuckled, and grey smoke rings rose from her nose, carried away by the cold wind.

"Well, great," Harry grumbled, shivering as a freezing draft swept around them. He leaned against Artemis, who sheltered him from the wind with her wing.


Artemis winked at him and then laid her head on the ground.


"Yes, Harry?"

"Why didn't Eragon and Saphira come with us?"

"Because I will explain to you the true nature of the alliance between dragons, elves, and later humans. And it has always been the task of an older dragon to make the new generation understand how significant our alliance is. And that's why we're alone. For every Rider and dragon, it's a personal matter, and I will accompany Eragon and Saphira on the same journey as I do with you."

Rocks rolled on the ground as Glaedr curled up and laid his head in front of them. His golden eyes, larger than a dwarf, shimmered in a bright gold.

"As you already know, after years of war, the elves and dragons made peace, and to ensure this peace, the Dragon Riders were called into existence. They were supposed to protect our people from further conflict. The then Elven Queen Tarmunora and a female dragon representing us dragons decided to unite our peoples with magic."

Artemis lifted her head from the ground. "What was the name of the dragon?"

"The name of the dragon cannot be pronounced in any language known to you because, as you know, we dragons gained the ability to speak in thoughts only after the alliance with the elves."

Harry was surprised when Glaedr transmitted a sequence of images to them. A graceful dragon head with radiant white eyes lost and won battles… She bore a great resemblance to -

"With me," Artemis finished the thought.

"Do you think you're related to her?"

Artemis shook her head. "I don't know."

"You're not a direct descendant, Artemis. The dragon lady laid twenty-seven eggs, of which nineteen would reach adulthood. Believe me, Oromis and I spent a lot of time thinking about where your egg could have come from, but we don't know," Glaedr said.

"Not yet," Harry added. "We'll find out one day. I promise you."

He could feel Artemis's gratitude emanating from her.

Glaedr blew another puff of smoke from his nostrils. "Now, where was I… Oh yes, the Elven Queen and the white dragon decided to unite our peoples through a magical pact."

Suddenly, a thought occurred to Harry. "But why?"

"What do you mean why?"

"There was no reason to forge a magical alliance between the dragons and elves. Wasn't that what the Dragon Riders were for? Wouldn't they have been enough to ensure peace between the elves and dragons?" Harry asked Glaedr.

Glaedr closed his eyes and finally furrowed his brow. Minutes passed, and Harry noticed that Artemis was becoming restless too.

Eventually, Glaedr opened his eyes. "I have never thought about that. But I assume it was another method to ensure peace between us."

"But why all at once?" Artemis asked thoughtfully. "They could have waited to see if the Dragon Riders were enough… It seems a bit hasty to me. As Brom once said: Magic should always be our last resort."

Glaedr fell silent again. Finally, he said, "Enough of that. I want to continue."

He blew a small flame from his nostrils, signalling to Artemis and Harry that Glaedr was officially annoyed.

"We'll talk about it later," Harry muttered to Artemis.


"So – it took nine years after the decision until the elves could develop the necessary spell. When the time came, the elves and dragons gathered in Ilirea. The elves directed the magic, and we dragons provided the power… and together, they merged the souls of both peoples."

Harry looked up as he listened to Glaedr. "Ebrithil… did you just say souls?"

Glaedr snorted. "Of course. Your and Artemis's souls are one, Harry-Finiarel."

He continued, unaware of how nervous Harry was getting and how impatiently he was tapping his hand on the stone floor.

"And it is precisely this connection that is impure between Galbatorix and his second dragon, Shruikan. He bound Shruikan to himself with black magic, a perverse imitation of what you both have with each other. It is not only your minds that connect you, but your souls are merged with each other on a fundamental level," Glaedr explained, looking between them.

"Do you believe a person's soul is separate from the body?" Glaedr asked him.

Cold water ran down Harry's back. He touched his forehead with a trembling hand. "The soul is part of the body… if the body dies, then the soul dies too," Harry said with a muffled voice.

"Exactly," growled Glaedr. "And it's a huge problem for a Rider and his dragon. If one of them is seriously injured, you must be able to close their hearts from each other to protect the partner from dire suffering or even madness. And since you can't separate the soul from the body, you must resist the temptation to absorb the other's spirit into yourself because it would only mean death. And even if it were possible, it would be against nature to have multiple souls in one body."

Every word hit Harry like a punch in the gut. He felt sick, and Artemis saw how Harry grew paler. First, his hands trembled, then his whole body, and he felt hot.


His eyes closed, and the last thing he realized was how Glaedr reared up, and Artemis's scream echoed in his mind as darkness closed around his eyes.

Harry's eyes snapped open, and he jerked up from the ground. Sweat-drenched hair clung to his head, and he gasped for air.

Suddenly, he felt nauseous and looked around desperately for something to focus on when a strong claw held him up and gently rubbed his back in circles.

"Breathe slowly in and out. Deep breaths in and out… Follow my voice, Harry," Glaedr instructed.

He tried to concentrate on his voice, and gradually, his breathing slowed.

"Very good, Harry. Feel the wind on your skin, how it blows through your hair, how it surrounds you," Glaedr murmured.

Harry's muscles relaxed, and he swallowed back the bile. With Glaedr's help, he slowly sat up against the rock wall.

"You gave us quite a scare, Harry-Finiarel," Glaedr said, who now knelt before Harry, shielding him from the wind.

"What happened?" Harry croaked, gratefully accepting the water.

"You blacked out for a moment," Glaedr explained calmly.

Harry looked around and saw Artemis lying in front of him. She stared at him with her eyes, expressing deep concern.

"Little one..."

Harry inwardly sighed. "I know."

Artemis closed her eyes. "I can't bear to feel this anymore, Harry."

Harry also closed his eyes. He searched in his mind for Glaedr. He had made his decision.


"Yes, young one?" Glaedr's deep voice rumbled.

Harry opened his eyes and defiantly stared into the golden dragon's eyes.

"I need to talk to you... and Dellanir," Harry said slowly.

Glaedr lifted his heavy head from the ground. "Oh? And why is that?"

"Because I believe I can heal Oromis."

I added the first part with Murtagh because I wasn't sure if it was clear enough from last chapter that the woman is supposed to be Katrina.

Ancient Language:

Letta - stop