Chapter Six: Destiny Revealed
After Dumbledore had used Rennervate to wake Ron up, he set about introducing the four adult Dragons.
"This is Terrador, Dragon Guardian of Earth." He explained as the green, ram horned Dragon stepped forward.
"It is an honour to meet you Harry Potter." He said, his voice deep and powerful, "From what Albus has told me you possess the heart of a fine warrior, keep honing your skills and one day you may become as proud and graceful as Spyro." He said, as he looked towards Spyro proudly.
If Dragons could blush Harry was sure Spyro would be bright red, in fact Harry couldn't help flushing himself a little at the Terrador's words.
Next the icy blue coloured one stepped forward for Dumbledore to introduce.
"Cyril, Dragon Guardian of Ice."
Cyril stared down his pointed snout at Harry, his expression reminded Harry of Snape when he was about to give a waspish remark about his latest potion.
"I must admit I wish expecting a bit more, from our great, human hero, but if Spyro proved himself then I guess this one can too." He said in a haughty, prideful voice, that reminded Harry so much of Snape's. But unlike Snape's there was no malice behind it, Cyril just spoke his mind. Harry looked at Spyro for confirmation and the purple Dragon gave a wan smile,
"Don't mind Cyril; he's like this with everyone." He said under his breathe.
Cyril had barely stood aside when the bright yellow Dragon came shooting forwards,
"Volteer, Dragon Guardian of Electricity." Dumbledore said in a rush for no sooner had the words left the headmaster's voice when Volteer started rambling in an ecstatic voice,
"Quite stupendous, incredible, miraculous! Never in my time would I think I'd get a chance to visit the human world. Of course there were unsubstantiated rumours that the human world and the Dragon world would meet once again, but most considered it hearsay, gossip, legend. It's hard to believe, difficult to fathom, amazing to comprehend!"
Harry recoiled slightly at Volteer's rapid speech and quick fire facts. Beside him he saw Ron roll his eyes and mutter, "Great, another Hermione." Earning him a sharp slap on the back of the head from the girl in question, who by contrast seemed delighted to have found a kindred spirit.
"Perhaps we might introduce the final Guardian Volteer?" Dumbledore asked pleasantly.
"Who, what, where, when, why, what is it?" Volteer asked, spinning his head around to look at Dumbledore who gestured at the red and orange Dragon who had yet to step forwards, which seemed to shake Volteer out of his stupor.
"Oh, of course!" Volteer cried as he stepped aside to allow the final Dragon to approach.
"Ignitus, leader of the Dragon Guardians and master of fire."
Harry sensed ancient power and wisdom radiating from this Dragon. It reminded him of Dumbledore, but there was a certain kind, almost fatherly affection that emanated from him as he smiled down at Harry that reminded him of his godfather Sirius Black.
"Well met young Harry." He said softly.
Harry couldn't think of what to say in response, so head inclined his head in agreement, almost bowing.
Dumbledore clapped his hands together in a joyful gesture, "Now that those introductions have been taken care of, perhaps we should introduce Harry's friends that have been dragged into this endeavour." He said as he looked at Ron and Hermione.
The two looked at each other in surprise for a moment, both looked slightly pale and clammy, and Ron was quick to push Hermione forwards first.
"Well, err….hi…..my name is Hermione Granger." She stuttered as the Dragons fixed their gaze on her. Dumbledore smiled at her encouragingly.
"Well, I've….been Harry's friend ever since our first year at Hogwarts….ever since he and Ron saved me from a Mountain Troll…."
"A Troll you say? How amazing, magnificent, incredible! We have plenty of Trolls back in the Dragon Kingdom, and it took the combined and outstanding efforts of both Spyro and Cynder to take one down!" Volteer cut across.
"Volteer, please calm that incessantly wagging tongue of yours and give the dear lady and chance to speak." Cyril said in exasperation, causing Spyro and Cynder to giggle to themselves.
"Yes well, I've been Harry's good friend ever since." She said, slowly gaining confidence thanks to Volteer's compliment and Cyril allowing her a chance to speak.
"At least Harry knows I exist, unlike Ronald Weasley over there." She said, pointedly jerking her head in Ron's direction, which was enough to give Ron his tongue back,
"Oh you exist alright Hermione, you exist." He snarked back, "I could tell these guys plenty more about you!" he said before adopted a high pitched girly version of Hermione's voice,
"Oh my goodness, I'm so tired, I've done nothing but stick my nose in a book all day long. I'll annoy Ron about the quality of his homework because I have nothing better to do!"
Harry thought Hermione was going to explode at Ron in indignation, but he was surprised to see that she was going to give as good as she got, for she said, "Oh really Ron? Well too can play at that game!" before adopting a dumbed down version of Ron's voice.
"I can't believe I'm not fat enough Hermione, I can still fit through the dormitory door! Now look over my homework!"
Harry tried not to bust a gut at her surprisingly accurate interpretation of Ron, and even Spyro and Cynder were trying hard not to crack up. Ron's ears turned a bright shade of red, but Hermione wasn't done yet, "Oh hi Harry, you wanna do something stupid today? Hopefully something that gets me hurt."
At this Ron had enough and marched right up to Hermione.
"Alright Hermione, let's stop with all the theatrics. Or I might be forced to tell a little secret I know about you." Ron said as he leaned towards Hermione, smirking.
"What secret Ron?" Hermione asked disbelievingly.
"Oh, come now Hermione you really don't know?" Ron asked as he turned, crossed his hands behind his back and looked over his shoulder at Hermione in a smug fashion.
"Know what Ronald?" She asked her voice soft and dangerous.
"Hermione Granger, a natural brunette!?" Ron said in his mock Hermione voice, clutching at his cheeks.
Hermione shrieked in fury and launched herself at Ron, flooring him, and beginning to bash his head repeatedly.
"You stupid insensitive dummy! HOW DARE YOU!?
"C'mon Hermione gimme a break!" Ron cried as he tried to shield himself from her wrath.
"You'll be sorry Ronald Weasley, you'll be sorry! I'll give you a break!" Hermione raged, showing the red-head no mercy.
At this Spyro and Cynder couldn't contain themselves any longer and burst out into peals of laughter, Harry couldn't help beaming himself; Dumbledore watched the exchange with a cheery expression and the Dragon Guardians looked quite perplexed at the scene unfolding before them.
"Ignore them; they're like this all the time." Harry explained to them.
"Cyril rolled his eyes, "Humans."
After Hermione had calmed down, though continued to eye Ron like a wrathful eagle, Dumbledore addressed the Dragon Guardians once again.
"Well now that you know more or less everything you need to know about Harry's friends," Dumbledore said with a twinkle in his eye, causing Ron to smile weakly and Hermione to tut, "I expect you all want to know exactly how this whole situation came about?"
"Of course, were do all of you come from, and why have we never seen talking Dragon's before?" Hermione immediately asked.
Ignitus stepped forward to explain, "We come from an alternate reality, from a planet much like Earth, although once a long time ago our ancestors discovered the existence of other realities that coexisted alongside our own and travelled to them to learn about their inhabitants."
"That is how Dragons came into this world." Terrador added, "Some of the ancestors stayed in these worlds, although through the ages; because they had been cut off from the magic of our own world, each generation slowly lost more of their intelligence and magical power until they degraded into the beasts that now roam your world." He said sadly, "A mighty generation, some of them our proudest warriors….lost forever."
Harry felt a rush of sympathy for the Dragons he had encountered in his lifetime; to think that they were once as mighty as the ones that stood before him only to be reduced to the basest animal instinct was too cruel. Ignitus picked up were Terrador had left off.
"But there was one breed of Dragon that was born after the first ten generations of our race had passed, a Dragon unlike any the other four elemental races had ever seen before; the Purple Dragon."
Harry looked at Spyro, "You?" He asked in surprise.
Spyro shook his head gravely.
"The first Purple Dragon's name was Malefor; he quickly mastered all four elements: Fire, Ice, Electricity and Earth, even though none of them were his Element. It was a feat no one had ever anticipated, since Dragons can only learn the Element they are born of." Ignitus added.
"So what happened then?" Ron asked.
Ignitus's face darkened, "The Elders should have been more cautious of Malefor's strength instead of wilfully sharing the deepest secrets of their Elemental knowledge with him, but they were too carried away to see that his power was unlimited….it knew no bounds….he consumed…..everything…." Ignitus closed his eyes and bowed his head; he seemed unable to go on. But he quickly continued, "When he refused to stop the growth of his power he was cast into exile and from his new fortress in the mountains he built an army of our most sworn enemies; the Apes, and taught them how to artificially harness the power of the Elements through the power of Spirit Gems; the life-force of all Dragons."
"A blasphemous deed, to pass on our most sacred arts to those monsters was unforgiveable!" Cyril nearly cried.
Harry didn't like how this story was playing out, it was sounding just like Voldemort all over again: a model student who had climbed so high only to fall to the deepest low. One glance at Ron and Hermione told him they were thinking the same thing.
"What happened to this Malefor?" Hermione almost whispered, having drunk in everything Ignitus said.
"He was eventually defeated by the combined powers of the Dragon Guardians, his soul was torn from his body and imprisoned inside an airlock realm called Convexity, until it was released when Cynder collected our powers and used them to break the seal on his prison." Terrador answered.
"Wait a minute, she did that?!" Ron asked, pointing at Cynder in confusion.
"I believe this is where you come in Spyro and Cynder." Dumbledore said kindly, beckoning them forwards.
The two Dragons stepped forward, although Harry noticed that Cynder held back slightly, with her head turned away as if in shame. Spyro glanced at her in concern before licking his lips nervously and launching into speech.
"After another ten generations had passed, I was born." Spyro began to explain, "A prophecy was made shortly before my birth stating that a new Purple Dragon would be born who would direct the fate of that era, only Malefor heard the prophecy as well and sent the remainder of his forces to the Dragon Temple were my egg was being kept, with orders to destroy it to prevent the prophecy coming true. But Ignitus got wind of the attack and placed my egg in a stream, letting it float downriver to safety."
Cynder then spoke up, but she appeared reluctant to tell her part, "The Ape King, Gaul, who led the attack, had all the eggs at the temple except mine to be destroyed, Malefor knew that only a Dragon born in the Year of the Dragon could open the portal that served as his prison." She said, looking disgusted with herself.
Hermione clasped her hands over her mouth and Ron turned green with revulsion, Harry couldn't blame them, the fact that this Malefor had ordered the genocide of an entire brood of helpless, un-hatched infants made him sick to his stomach. Malefor was sounded more and more like Voldemort the more he heard about him, and the cries of his mother echoed through his head, 'Not Harry, please not Harry!... I'll do anything….Have mercy!'
Harry was so lost in his thoughts that he almost didn't hear Cynder telling the rest of the story.
He listened to how Gaul had trained her to be a warrior from birth, how her growth had been accelerated and her mind corrupted by Malefor's dark magic, how Spyro had been raised by a family of Dragonflies who had discovered his egg and raised him as their own, with Spyro believing he was one of them. Until Malefor's Ape forces had attacked his swamp home and threatened the life of his Dragonfly brother Sparx, where Spyro discovered he could breathe fire, learned the truth from his foster parents and set out on a journey of self-discovery. How he had met the exiled Ignitus, learned of his destiny and helped him battle Cynder to free the other trapped Guardians. How even though Cynder succeeded in freeing Malefor's soul, Spyro unlocked the true powers of the Purple Dragon and purged her of his influence, restoring her to her true age and size.
He listened to how Cynder had felt guilty about the role she had played while she was Malefor's puppet and exiled herself, with Spyro going after her, learning the truth about Malefor from an ancient Dragon known only as The Chronicler, how he discovered Gaul's plot to bring Malefor back to flesh and blood during The Night of Eternal Darkness, and headed to The Well of Souls to stop him, how he had been possessed by Malefor, forcing him to kill Gaul and causing the mountain to collapse.
"But then thanks to the art of Dragon Time, taught to me by the Chronicler, I was able to freeze myself, Cynder and Sparx in a Time Crystal so that we could survive the fortress's collapse. But we would be trapped inside it for three years before an ally would come to free us, during which time Malefor had nearly succeeding in conquering our world." Spyro finished.
Harry, Ron and Hermione had lapsed into a stunned silence, trying to comprehend the enormity of what they had been told. Harry in particular felt both a surge of wonder and a surge of shame; Spyro was a true legend, a real hero. Hearing all that Spyro had done made everything Harry had done in his life so far pale in comparison; Spyro was a real warrior who had accomplished these great feats through his own skill rather than sheer luck or outside help like Harry. He felt unworthy to stand in this mighty Dragon's presence, "He should be the one leading Dumbledore's Army, not me." He thought to himself sickeningly.
"But why are you here on Earth, shouldn't you be in your own world fighting this Malefor guy?" Ron asked Spyro.
It was Ignitus who answered, "Malefor has been aware of the events that have been taking place on Earth, one of the few things his soul could do while locked in Convexity was to observe other worlds were our ancestors had called home. He believes he has found a kindred spirit in Voldemort and wants to use him to help him completely conquer world."
"But what could Voldemort, stop whimpering Ron! Gain from an alliance with Malefor?" Hermione asked.
"That we are not entirely certain of young lady." Cyril put in, "But whatever kind of help Malefor has offered this Voldemort villain it will certainly be detrimental to your world."
"That is why Ignitus enlisted the help of the intelligent, whimsical, wonderful Albus Dumbledore." Volteer interjected, "As soon as we discovered Malefor was planning to recruit from the human world he knew we had to do the same if we were to have any hope, chance or sliver of winning the war."
"But why would You-Know-Who be a threat to you?" Ron asked, scratching his head in confusion, "I mean, come on, you're Dragons! Surely you could take on a few puny wizards?!"
"Do not measure battle ability or spirit based on size young Ron." Terrador said sternly.
"I have to agree with Terrador Ron, if any wizard could be a threat to the Dragon's, Voldemort could." Hermione said darkly.
Just then Harry remembered something "Was the attack by the Grublins to do with Malefor? It's just that I heard a Hero Grublin say it worked for 'The Dark Master'"
"The Dark Master is the title other's gave Malefor when they became too afraid to speak his real name Harry." Spyro answered.
It sent a shiver down Harry's spine to once again be reminded of the striking similarities between Voldemort and Malefor.
"We believe Malefor did send those Grublins after you Harry." Dumbledore said gravely, "Since they were under orders to capture you not kill you, it is highly likely Malefor wanted to cement his partnership with Voldemort by delivering you to him."
"That's what I wanted to ask before professor, how exactly did the Grublins and Orcs get into Hogwarts anyway?" Hermione asked, "Hogwarts is protected by spells and enchantments to keep things like them out." There was no mistaking the fear in her voice.
Dumbledore's face grew dark at this, something Harry had never seen before, he exchanged a brief glance at Ignitus who nodded slowly, looking just as grave.
"We fear that Voldemort may have a spy here at Hogwarts who invited the Grublins in, also if they had access to Malefor's magic, then those too combined elements would be strong enough to circumvent the protective barriers surrounding the school."
An ugly silence followed.
"Do you know who the spy is?" Ron asked, trying to sound hopeful but coming off as uneasy.
"I'm afraid not Ron, and that is what makes it all the more frightening and also why we must be extra vigilant." Ignitus said.
"You don't think it could be Professor Umbridge?!" Hermione asked Dumbledore.
"I have considered that Miss Granger, but I have ultimately ruled her out; Voldemort would not have had any chance to take control of her since The Dark Master arrived."
"Pity." Harry growled softly.
"So, where do we go from here?" Ron asked with a shrug of his shoulders.
"We believe Malefor has come to this world searching for something; something that could tip the balance of power in his and Voldemort's favour." Terrador answered.
"Do you know what that something is?" Harry asked, eager to help in any way he could.
"Unfortunately we do not know exactly what it is Malefor is after." Cyril said in obvious disappointment, "What little information we were able to gather is that it is an ancient Dragon artefact of incredible power. We are unaware of the full extent of its power but it must be of great importance if Malefor was prepared to propose an alliance to Lord Voldemort."
Harry could tell were this was going, "And you came here to stop them from getting it, correct?"
"That is our plan." Cyril confirmed.
"If we can discover more about this unknown artefact then maybe we can discover more about Malefor's plan and how it involves Voldemort." Terrador added.
"And you want us to help you find it." Harry said, delighted that he was finally going to be of use to the Order.
"That's the idea-" Spyro began brightly, only to be cut off by Dumbledore.
"I'm afraid not Harry."
Harry rounded on the Headmaster in indignation, and Spyro himself looked confused at this.
"What do mean no?!" Harry asked, trying to stay calm.
"The whole point of this meeting was to give you, Ron and Hermione the heads up on what was happening; to make you aware of what we are now facing, not to get you more involved than you already are." He said sombrely.
The anger that Harry had kept under the surface at Dumbledore not sharing information with him flared up once again, "So, you want us to just stand back and do nothing?" He asked; it was taking every fibre of his being to keep his voice steady.
"That is correct Harry." Dumbledore said seriously, "Voldemort may have failed to have Malefor's forces capture you once, and that is truly fortunate for everyone here." He said as he gestured towards Ron and Hermione, "Now that we know what we are up against I can protect you and your friends better than before if Voldemort does try again."
Spyro cleared throat and stepped forwards, "With all due respect Headmaster Dumbledore, Harry, Ron and Hermione showed that they can fight against Malefor's forces, and besides we'd be with them; they'd be safe enough."
"That is why you and Cynder shall be staying here at Hogwarts with them." Ignitus said.
Spyro and Cynder whipped around to face Ignitus, their eyes wide.
"You never mentioned anything like this." Cynder exclaimed in surprise.
"Think of it as a learning experience young Cynder, this way Harry and his friends will be even more protected than before with your exuberant, extravagant and amazing skills, not to mention you'll get to learn more about each other!" Volteer chipped in cheerfully.
Harry couldn't believe where this was going, "But I know I can help you find whatever this object is! You know more than anyone that I want to see Voldemort gone and finished!" Harry shouted.
"It is for the best Mr Potter." Cyril said pompously, with and annoying air that the conversation had been closed.
"Are you sure about this?" Spyro asked the Guardians uncertainly.
"Yeah, it's not like Spyro and I can't take care of ourselves." Cynder added, annoyed.
"Please try to understand." Ignitus said patiently, "As much danger as Harry would be outside Hogwarts, the pair of you would be in just as much. I am NOT saying you can't take care of yourselves." He added quickly, for the two showed every sign of interrupting him, "But we are fortunate that Malefor does not know we are here; if he ever got wind of that it could prove detrimental to the entire operation, and if one of you is captured the other we will forced to go along given your current, errr, predicament." He added gently.
At Ignitus's words a green chain appeared around Spyro and Cynder's necks, binding the two together, Spyro tugged at his with a claw in embarrassment and Cynder gave hers a look of the deepest loathing.
"What's with the cool necktie?" Ron joked.
"Long story." Spyro said with a weak grin as Cynder rolled her eyes.
Harry still wasn't letting this go without a fight, "But what about my psychic connection to Voldemort; won't he see that they're all here the next time he looks into my mind?!" He snarled.
Spyro and Cynder looked at Harry in shock.
"You have a connection into Voldemort's mind?!" Cynder said in shock.
"Which is why I must ask you to work harder than ever on your Occlumency lessons with Professor Snape Harry," Dumbledore said quickly, before Harry could answer Cynder, "Now it is more imperative than ever that you learn to close your mind against Voldemort."
"I'm trying, but it's not exactly been easy you know!" He growled in frustration.
"You must try harder Harry, for tonight I can give you a potion for a dreamless sleep to make sure that none of what has transpired here can slip into your dreams, but after that you must focus on your Occlumency lessons." Dumbledore did not sound angry, but something in his tone told Harry that that was his final word on the matter.
"Dumbledore is right Harry," Ignitus said soothingly, "It would be disastrous if you left the castle, then Voldemort could-"
"Look into your mind and see that we are searching for this unknown Dragon artefact." Dumbledore finished. But Harry and Spyro noticed a shadow cross over Ignitus's face; Dumbledore acted as though he had finished the Fire Guardian's sentence, but it was clear he had interrupted him from revealing crucial information.
Hermione stepped forward nervously, "I can understand their concerns Harry, and you'd be playing right into Voldemort's hands if you went out with the Guardians to look for this mystery artefact." She said timidly.
"As much as I hate to admit, they're right mate." Ron added, patting Harry on the shoulder.
Harry looked at his friends before turning to look at Dumbledore and each of the Guardians, he was still seething in anger at being left out of the loop once again, but he could see from their faces they were not going to be overruled. He took a deep breath before saying, "I can see I'm going to be overruled, so alright."
"Besides it'll be fascinating to learn more about both of you." Hermione said to Spyro and Cynder, brightening up significantly at the fact that she was going to have a chance to learn about the original breed of Dragon.
"Steady Hermione, they're our friends, not a class project." Ron said.
Spyro and Cynder laughed and even Harry found himself give a snort of amusement.
"Where will we be staying while we're at Hogwarts, here in the Forest?" Cynder asked Dumbledore.
"No I was thinking of somewhere more close at hand so that you can keep a better watch over Harry and the others." Dumbledore said cheerfully.
"Where?" Hermione asked, "You aren't saying we should keep them in the castle are you?"
"Oh, I think the Room of Requirement will be able to accommodate them quite nicely. You can hunt in the Forest during night." He answered with a small smile and a wink.
This threw Harry for a loop, somehow Dumbledore had known about them forming Dumbledore's Army. He should really have questioned why, but this was Albus Dumbledore they were talking about, so he shouldn't really be surprised.
"Perhaps Harry, Ron and Hermione would be so kind as to show them to their new quarters." Ignitus suggested.
"What, do you want us to just walk a pair of Dragon's into the castle for all to see?" Ron asked incredulously, "Love to see the look on old Umbridge's face when they walk through the front doors."
"The Disillusionment Charms will suffice quite nicely." Dumbledore said as he drew his wand.
"Goodbye all of you see you soon." Spyro said as he flapped one of his wings in goodbye.
"Wish us luck." Cynder added serenely.
"It was a pleasure to meet all of you." Harry said as he gave a respectful bow.
"It truly was an honour." Hermione said with a small curtsy.
"It was a blast." Ron said as he gave a thumbs up.
"Good luck to you all." Ignitus said as he raised a paw in farewell, "I am sure we shall talk again soon."
"Consider this a test of a warrior's patience." Terrador added.
"Stiff upper lip." Cyril quipped.
"May the sun shine on your backs, may your spirits be bold, and may you have many-"
"Oh put a sock in it Volteer." Cyril groaned.
With the five of them Disillusioned, Dumbledore sent them back to the castle before turning back to the Guardians.
"I have every faith in them, the stage is set and the die has been rolled, all we can do now is to await the outcome."
"Not very much faith if you ask me," Ignitus said reproachfully, "You still haven't told Harry about what lies in the Department of Mysteries have you?" He asked as he stared down at the old wizard.
"I want Harry to remain as happy as possible as I have already explained to you," Dumbledore said, steadfastly, "I trust Spyro still does not know the truth about his own family?" He asked the elder Dragon in return.
Ignitus tried not to look abashed, but didn't make a very good job of it, "It seems we are both weighed down with the secrets of our pupil's respective destinies."
Dumbledore nodded in agreement, "But if Harry is half as smart as I know he is, then he will already believe that part of his destiny is to help Spyro recover this lost draconian artefact."
"Spyro will have deduced the same, which is why I'm sure you'll do everything in your power to ensure that the pair of them don't try to sneak out of the castle at night to search for it." Ignitus asked teasingly.
Dumbledore smiled mischievously, "Of course my friend, of course."
Dumbledore was confident that no one had seen him leading the Trio out into the Forest, but someone had seen them; someone who had been anticipating this move from the old headmaster, someone who at this very moment was watching unseen from the cover of the trees not far from where the Guardians and the Headmaster stood., someone who had seen and heard everything and who now turned and made their way back to the castle.
"They have? Perfect. No, watch and wait for the time being, then report back to me as soon as you discover anything interesting." The image in red crystal around Igor Karkaroff's neck vanished; he lowered it and turned to face Voldemort sitting at the head of a long ornate, mahogany table.
"You were right; Spyro and the Guardians are here, Dumbledore took Potter and his two friends into the Forest to meet them."
Voldemort smiled from beneath his hood, "Excellent."
"I take it that you now trust the integrity of the master's spy?" Karkaroff asked.
Voldemort nodded slowly.
Karkaroff smiled, showing his yellow teeth, before standing up, "I'd better report our latest success to the master; he likes to know any and everything that happens." He said before sweeping out of the room.
"Voldemort's smile broadened, Nagini curled herself up around the chair and around her master, her head coming to rest across his shoulders. He petted her absentmindedly.
"It certainly was a success Igor, and when this is all over, it will be the greatest success of all….for me."