Thorn and Aphrodite were sitting on a hill overlooking the Black Lake with their tails entwined together. Ember and Eclipse had taken Blaze into the Forbidden Forest to show him the creatures there and maybe get a couple of spiders while in the forest. The rest of the dragons were milling around on the grounds but they kept their minds open to their bonded as was the nature of a dragon and their rider. The Riders of Hogwarts had learned from Kayla that they had to become one with their dragon. Harry had already mastered this skill as had Hagrid and Charlie. The other riders were in various degrees of learning and remembering this skill.
Thorn do you miss Saphira?
She is my mate and the mother of my hatchlings. I hope one day to have hatchlings with you as well Aphrodite. I wonder if she has had the new clutch of hatchlings yet that I sired when she and Eragon came to Alagaesia six years ago?
Have you always loved her?
When Murtagh and I were under the Black King’s control he raised us to hate the riders. I was afraid of what was happening to me and I was afraid of Saphira as well and the old dragon as well. The Black King used the power of the eldunari he had in his collection to expand my growth rate and then the old dragon bit off my tail before my rider was possessed and slayed the elf Oromis. Glaedr was a wise dragon and I’m sorry that I ended up killing him. I have regretted from the day he fell at my teeth and claws.
Thorn it is not your fault that the old ones died. And Glaedr has forgiven you has he not?
He has but I still feel ashamed at what I did. My rider feels the same way even though he did not intentionally kill Oromis. I found out later that Shruikan had possessed me just as my rider was possessed so I suppose we are not guilty for the crimes we committed when we weren’t in possession of our minds and bodies. Still we should have fought harder for control.
It is not your fault! Don’t let the past haunt you for the rest of your life Thorn. Learn from the past and use it to shape your future.
You are wise Aphrodite. I will heed your words.
Aphrodite smirked at Thorn and hummed happily. A strange world this place is don’t you think Aphrodite?
It is. It’s strange how there are no dragon riders in this world like back home in Alagaesia. And the humans practicing magic with little sticks that we could easily snap in two or step on is a strange way to perform magic.
At least Kayla and Ember found some new riders. Do you think that we will always be at war in our home Thorn?
I don’t know Aphrodite. Thorn turned his head to look at his second mate. We were at peace for a time after the Black King was destroyed and the late Queen Nasuada came to the throne. But she wanted to put restrictions upon magic users and wanted my rider and I to oversee the magic users in Alagaesia. The elves would have been no help since they prefer to live separate from humans in Ellesmera and Eragon had gone from our homeland with the dragon eggs and eldunari. The dwarves and urgals had their own issues to deal with and new riders to find as well after Eragon Shadeslayer brought the urgals and dwarves into the ancient order.
Thorn unwound his tail from Aphrodite’s and walked down the hill to the lake where he began to take long drinks. Aphrodite lay down on the hill and watched her mate with one eye as her other eye closed. The three battle worn and confused dragons hoped that they could go back to Alagaesia where they belonged and take these new riders with them to bring an end to King Mordred.
Murtagh, Otvek and Elva were sitting in the common room of Dragon House and looking into the empty hearth. “Brisinger,” Elva said and yellow flames sprang to life in the hearth before the three riders settled back into the soft chairs and let the warmth of the fire wash over them. They looked up as they heard feet coming down the stairs on both sides and soon the common room was packed with the Riders of Hogwarts. The three elder riders glanced at each other and smirked.
“I’m sorry Murtagh but the students want to learn about our world and about each of you,” Kayla said looking apologetic even though she was the one who had said last night that her pupils could ask the three elder riders questions today.
“It’s fine Kayla,” Elva said looking at the forty-six riders before her. “Just don’t shout out your questions all at once.”
“How long have you all been riders?” Blaise asked.
“I became a rider at eighteen. I’ve been a rider for two hundred ten years. Elva and Otvek have been riders for one hundred years.”
“How can you be two hundred ten years old if you look eighteen?” Neville asked.
“Time must pass differently between our world and this world. While it has been twenty years here it has been two hundred ten for me since I became a rider,” Murtagh said simply.
“So that means that ten years pass here for every one year in your world then,” Amber said.
“What are you?” Ash asked Otvek.
“I am an urgal human child. One of the four races of my homeland. There are humans, elves, dwarves and urgals. My kind used to be enslaved by the Black King and humans, elves and dwarves hated us. We also used to be obsessed with war until Head Rider Eragon Shadeslayer allowed dwarves and urgals into the pact. He hoped that by allowing dwarves and humans into the pact then doing so would create peace between the races and in the land. He was allowed to do that by the Caretakers and his wish was fulfilled. That is until King Mordred came into power.”
“We came here by touching the living crystal in our world and it must have transported us here. We are not sure how it works or how to return home. We just wanted to go to wherever Kayla and Ember had gone so we could see if they had managed to find new riders. We were not expecting them to find any. We certainly didn’t expect them to find dragon eggs from Alagaesia in this world,” Elva said. “It is fate I think that we were transported here and you forty one were chosen.”
“It is good that Kayla and Ember found more riders. We will help you with your war here and then return home to end the war there and build up the dragon riders again,” Murtagh said.
“For a third time,” Otvek muttered as his eyes darkened with anger.
“Yes. For a third time. Hopefully the last time,” Murtagh said.
“How many riders do we have here at Hogwarts?”
“Forty one students, one gamekeeper and one former dragon keeper plus the four of us,” Kayla said instantly.
“So that makes it out to be forty eight riders plus if all seven riders made it to Ellesmera and haven’t died fifty five riders. I wonder if that will be enough to stop King Mordred? I wonder if forty eight riders will be enough to stop this ‘Voldemort’ fellow and his ‘death eaters’?” Murtagh wondered.
All the riders except for Murtagh, Otvek, Elva, Kayla and Harry flinched as Murtagh said the name. However the five older riders were lost in their own thoughts. Murtagh, Otvek and Elva wondered what they had gotten themselves into in this strange new world. Harry didn’t want to risk his friends’ and companions lives as well as the life of Eclipse. Kayla didn’t want to lose her first student.
“We will need your help in getting used to this school,” Murtagh said finally. The students noticed how Murtagh seemed to be the main spokesman for the group.
“Does this mean you are Head Rider Elda Murtagh?” Charlie Weasley asked.
“Technically Eragon Shadeslayer is the Head Rider of the Order. I am just an elder. You students are not my pupils.” Murtagh tapped his fingers on the arm rest and closed his eyes. “I suppose for our time in this land I will be.”
“Then what is Kayla-Ebrithil?”
“Otvek, Elva and Kayla would be Elders. But I will give Kayla control of Dragon House since she is a student here after all.”
“Thank you Ebrithil,” Kayla said bowing to her master.
“Now we have to find a way to destroy this ‘Voldemort’ fellow and all who support him. Students concentrate on your studies and Elva, Otvek and I will do research. In the meantime we might as well attend classes. It would be good to know how our new enemies fight in this world.”