• Published 1st Sep 2016
  • 5,990 Views, 538 Comments

Hot Dam - The Wind King



It was just supposed to be a regular jaunt through the Nevernever to make his report at Edinburgh, so why then is Harry Dresden stuck in a magical world full of anthropomorphised ponies without an escape route? It must be a Thursday.

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Arc 1 - Crystal Healing - Prologue

The forest was on fire and it wasn’t my fault.

No, seriously, it wasn’t my fault.

You have no idea how good it is to say that and not feel like I’m bending the truth into my own personal corkscrew for a change.

Maybe I should give some context here.

My Name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, and I’m a wizard. Don’t snort in disbelief, I’m being serious, I’m in the yellow pages and everything. When the things that go bump in the night decide that mortal-kind has gone on long enough without living in terror of the shadows (so every five seconds, give or take five seconds), I’m the one that gets called in to pick up the pieces, find the slimy bastard that thinks women and children are suitable hor-d’oeuvres, and remind them why that’s a bad idea.

It doesn’t help that Chicago, one of the world’s great crossroads, and the place where I keep my stuff, is home to enough nasties that they’re starting to spill out into the light.

And that’s before my job as the White Council’s Regional Warden Commander of the eastern United States.

Which was the reason I was here in the first place, what with the brainwashing of Luccio, and the events surrounding Morgan’s death every warden was being dragged to the Hidden Halls of the White Council to complete what I had taken to calling ‘Brain Training 101’, and despite my best efforts at resisting the call, even I had to give in to my master asking nicely.

A quiet word to Murphy to look after my apartment, and more importantly my pets while I was gone for the weeklong mental primer, a goodbye on Thomas’s answering machine, a quick beer with Michael, a check in on Will and the other alphas to let them know I wasn’t gonna make this week’s session, and I was good to go. Precisely when I meant to.

I had only just broken the borders of Winter, maybe an hour out from headquarters, when everything went wrong.

If I had to use any sort of word to describe the outer edges of Winter it would be quiet.

That unsettling sort of quiet where you just know that something is there and waiting for you to look away so it can enjoy making you feel fear, subtly increasing that fear moment by moment until, at the very peak of that fear, whatever is stalking you lunges and drags you into the one patch of shadow you didn’t look into deeply enough.

That unnatural sort of quiet where you take your hands out of your pockets and walk as quickly and as quietly as possible, the hairs on the back of your neck tingling with each step.

The sort of quiet where the idiot who insists on challenging fate says ‘it’s too quiet’ and is promptly rewarded by getting a face full of monster.

Which is why I was understandably shocked about the group of fairies who were apparently sitting around a merrily blazing campfire like a group of college kids out for an autumn hike. Seriously, I think one of them had a bag of marshmallows.

The fact that all of them turned their heads to me as I stepped out into the clearing turned that shock to apprehension, and I felt my left hand tighten slightly on my staff, while all of them started to smile and stand, in a single fluid motion.

At the exact same time.

That wasn’t creepy at all.

“Good day, Wizard,” one of the fairies called to me as I continued walking, doing my best to surreptitiously shake my shield bracelet free without being noticed. “Come sit with us, share with us the fire, and some story of your life”

See they were just polite, well-intentioned ‘young’ fae who wanted to talk with me.

Not creepy at all.

I didn’t slow down as I continued to slog through the snow, a month or two of recuperation meant I felt confident in taking the ways on my own again, inadvisable as it always was, but at the same time I didn’t want to get caught up in whatever this was.

“While your offer is kind, I am on Council business and the Winter Queen herself has promised safe travel on her Ways,” I didn’t stop walking as I talked, thank god I wasn’t chewing gum at the same time, it would’ve been too much for my American brain to handle. “I am afraid I cannot tarry.”

This apparently wasn’t a good enough dismissal for the fairies as they continued to close in on me, still wearing these wide, completely honest smiles, almost childlike in their sincerity; it was exceedingly unnerving to see something so innocent in place of the normal predatory grins I was used to seeing.

“Now, Wizard, come with us to the fire, let it warm your bones, and tell us of your life” the talkative fairy was walking by my side as I picked up my pace slightly, not enough to look like I was scared or anything, but I’m a tall guy, I can walk fast enough to have people jogging to keep up.

It didn’t seem to perturb the fairy moron by my side at all, he just calmly strode on, matching me step for step.

“Twice I must refuse you for I don’t have the time,” I sent the still smiling fairy a glare from the corner of my eye, “now kindly fuck off, Peaseblossom.”

Apparently this was the wrong thing to say as all the fairies echoed the next few words together.

“We are afraid we must insist”

Before Talky’s hand shot out and grabbed me by the wrist just a little above where my duster’s sleeve ended.

Stars and stones I’m used to going up against fast opponents but this guy nearly put them all to shame; one second he was walking calmly alongside me, the next his hand was wrapped around my arm and his eyes were level with mine as he started to pull at me.

Only reflex saved me from being dragged from my feet, as my will surged through my shield bracelet and a dome of force snapped into existence between the two of us. A dome of force which severed his hand at the wrist; the now unpowered flesh construct falling apart almost immediately.

“Come, Wizard, let us share our fire with you. Let us warm your bones,” the fairies echoed as they stood there at the edge of my shield before…

Melting?

No melting wasn’t the right word; it was more like they fell apart like a sand sculpture being torn apart by gale force winds, their forms dissolving into clouds of ashes and embers, even as they continued talking, their mouths flapping emptily as sounds whispered through the storm, glowing embers in place of their eyes staring at me from within the rapidly growing haze of cinders.

“Let us share our fire with you, Wizard, let us warm your bones, speak your stories through the crackling of our flames.”

I barely registered the flare of light from the campfire in the corner of my vision, the flames dancing with a mad vigour over the bones that were being used in place of firewood as I noticed the broken stone circle around its edges.

Broken stone circle?

Oh hell’s bells.

What fool thought it was a good idea to break a campfire circle in the Nevernever?

Yes it was the broken circle that caught my attention, not the bones being used as kindling, honestly those seemed kind of kitschy in comparison to everything I had seen until now.

I resisted the urge to facepalm as the firestorm pressing against my shield continued to grow in intensity, sparks of blue magic flew from the shield as it resisted both the force behind the ash storm and the growing heat, while I summoned my will for what I was about to do.

The runes on my staff started to blaze with light as I spun it in my hands, building the first spell with each rotation.

“Hey, Peaseblossom, share this!”

I dropped the shield for a brief moment, ashes and embers piling in, reaching for me, hungering for me, before I released my next spell.

Ventas Cyclis!

Never let anyone tell you that wind magic isn’t scary. The other elements may be obvious in the way that they can destroy things, fire consumes, earth crushes, water erodes, spirit warps and twists, but all wind does is move. How is that destructive?

How about you watch a cyclone in motion and ask that question again.

My will went out with the spinning of my staff, stirring the air into a howling cyclone in a matter of moments. The savage winds tearing away the clouds of smoke, scattering the ashes throughout the clearing, snuffing out the free floating flames, and allowing a clear view to the blazing campfire. The flames flaring up to sky despite all the winds I summoned as it screamed in confusion.

“Why do you refuse us so, Wizard? We offer you naught but warmth and comfort.”

I withdrew my will from the winds, letting my staff fall to my side, and reached out to the snowmelt that now coated the ground. My will infusing the puddles of water marred with cinders and mud, pulling them together in a rushing curtain of fluid with a single word.

Aquilevatus!

Honestly water isn’t my thing for a number of reasons, but the scene had a strange ethereal beauty to it as this roaring wall of water flowed upwards, following the motions of my right hand as I lifted it to the air like a conductor, before I smirked.

And dropped it to the ground.

The rush of steam mixed with the still swirling winds to create dizzying patterns in the sky while I straightened up, letting out a breath. It felt nice to be able to deal with a threat so simply, rather than the contrived complexities that seemed to have taken over my life recently.

Only one thing left to do now.

I looked around for a suitable stone as I walked over to the remains of the campfire, ignoring the cracked and charred bones that had been washed every which way. Repairing the circle was important, leaving a broken circle like that in the Nevernever was a recipe for disaster and I wouldn’t be the one to leave it for some other fool to come across.

I was maybe halfway between the smouldering fire and the path before I felt a bloom of heat slap me across the face and light assaulting my eyes, as the campfire exploded back into life. The flames blazing with a barely contained fury; my shield sprang back into existence almost immediately.

“Why do you refuse us, Mortal Wizard?” Whips of flame lashed out, smashing against my shield and pushing me back over the muddy ground. “We offer you naught but hospitality and you destroy our guests.”

I stumbled backwards trying to get some sort of balance back as my feet skittered and skidded on the muddy ground, the lashing flames crashed against my shield again and again. Sparks of magic and fire peppered the ground as I gritted my teeth and tried to hold my shield together, my shield bracelet damned near incandescent as I poured energy into it.

“They accepted the same warmth and comfort you have so callously rejected,” another strike against my shield, another shower of blue and red sparks, a thin spider web of cracks spreading from the impact point.

I could feel the shield tugging at my mind now, trying to fall apart under the onslaught of fire and force as I was pushed backwards across the clearing, twigs and bones crunching under my feet as I struggled to stay on my feet. The trees around us blazed merrily, before feeding back into the now towering inferno.

“We will not offer you warmth again, Wizard, your fat shall be as tallow for our guests and your tale one of horror for those who would harm those in our protection!”

One last stream of flame came down against my shield with a cataclysmic impact, before the dome of force collapsed under the strain. All that released energy lancing back at me and knocking me off my feet and into one of the few trees that was yet to catch fire.

I tried to think through the ringing noise that seemed to begin in my head and end in my ears, but nothing was coming to me as the flames crept towards me and unbearable heat washed over me, nothing I could do to end this spirit outsider of a death curse that would make Tunguska look like a roadside picnic, and for that I’d have to die. I would prefer to avoid that.

“Have you any last words to end your tale, Mortal Wizard?”

What?

No seriously, what?

Was this thing offering me time for my last words?

Thank the stars for the rules of the fae. If this thing wanted to turn me into a cautionary tale it couldn’t just say ‘and then I turned the mortal fool to ash.’ That would be boring, and it couldn’t lie to tell a different, more chilling ending. It wanted drama, suspense, evil laughter and booming thunder. It wanted me to go out like a two-bit warlock who doesn’t know what a cliché is.

What better for a campfire horror story?

I couldn’t beat it with magic, some part of me wanted to go down swinging but it would a futile gesture against a meaningless foe. I could run, but I was already off of the Way, even if it was just by a few feet, I didn’t want to get lost in the Nevernever with no Way home.

“Our patience grows thin, Wizard, talk or we shall end thy tale ourselves.”

Right decision time, I threw my right hand out, ripping at the fabric of the Nevernever as I did so with the motion of my fingers and a single word, pulling open a portal to gods know where, before I rolled through it.

And fell blindly into what I hoped would be safety with fire dancing at my heels.

Author's Note:

And so it begins.

This is the third draft of the prologue, the first being deemed too similar to the prologue of PsychicScubaDiver's "Dresden Fillies - Strange Friends", and the second being this but with less details and different formatting.

For those of you not in the know when it comes to the Dresden Files, this takes place a month or two after book 11 in the series, "Turn Coat".

Lastly I own neither "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic", or "The Dresden Files", these being the properties of Hasbro, and Jim Butcher respectively, I hold no claim or copyright to the characters, settings, or worlds within. This is Fan-Fiction only.