His Own Man
Chapter 13: The Ritual
Notice: I do not own Harry Potter. I write this not for money but just for fun and the hell of it. I do not claim ownership of anything to do with Harry Potter.
"Would the unnamed fourth champion come to the arena to face their challenge or forfeit their life and magic."
Barty Crouch Junior turned kept his gaze towards the arena for long moments before he grimaced. He would have to trust his Master. Lord Voldemort would know what was best and would only want him to do what was best and safest. He reached into his pouch and pulled out the piece of rope that was his portkey, then spoke the trigger, "Loyalty."
In a flash the fake Alastar Moody disappeared from sight.
~~~ HoM ~~~
Barty Crouch Junior was concerned. He wasn't worried and he wasn't fearful since he had faith in his master. But, if you were to ask him under truth serum he would have to admit to being concerned. He had left the first event of the Tri-Wizard Tournament in pain. He had left willingly when his slot had come about. Since that departure his body had been experiencing increasing shots of pain mixed with bouts of weakness. He could feel his body sweating as if he had caught a sickness while splotches of black and blue bruises started to appear on his body.
The second little bit of concern was the fact that he had traveled to where his Master was only to find himself in this creepy cavern. Why was it creepy? One side of the cavern was a giant blood array for the ritual to his master, which was understandable. The other side though was a giant lake surrounding a small island. Which also was not very worrisome, a lake was no trouble, but what was in that lake. According to what his master had told, inside of that lake was a type of inferi that his master had created that were so powerful that one bite would cause them to pass on their infliction to another. If ever released they would start a plague that could wipe out a country!
"Barty, come closure." The hissing voice of his master pulled the man out of his rare deep thoughts.
The man's steps were determined as he walked forward to kneel before his master. His head immediately dropping to the floor as he leaned his arms over his right knee, "Yes Master, how may I serve you?"
"What happened at the event? Did Potter die?" The voice hissed the question hung in the air echoing through the cavern.
"No Master. The Potter boy did not die. Instead he used cunning to defeat the challenge of the dragon. He hid himself in the mists and magic to sneak past the beast and acquire the egg." Barty answered his Master in a calm, clear voice knowing it was never good to give bad news to his Lord. He quickly added to save himself from his Master's anger, "But, Potter doesn't matter Master."
There was no immediate answer. Instead he could feel the eyes of his Master on him. A tremble of pain, wracked over his body as he tried to stay kneeling and ignore it. Only a single word was hissed out at him, "Speak…"
"The old fool confided in me about the prophecy, Master. It turns out that the Potter boy was not born at the right time. He is not the one that could be a danger to you! It is Longbottom that is the danger, not Potter! Potter was only placed there as a distraction to protect the pureblood boy, Neville Longbottom." Barty dared to look upwards as he finished speaking his eyes blazing with pain mixed with insanity as he met the eyes of the baby sized Voldemort. A slight cackle escaped his lips as he continued, "The boy is weak with almost no magical talent. The old fool even asked me to train him. There is nothing that can stop your rise to power, Master."
"The boy was a fake…" The words were joined by the temperature in the cavern dropping to the point that the water started to solidify into ice. The magical power that was expelled from babymort caused a tremble of fear to fill Barty. He even heard a gasp before the collapsing faint from Wormtail who had been working on the ritual. "It was all a setup, so the mudblood could harm me. I underestimated the Old Fool. He was capable of far more than I had realized."
"Nobody could have known Master." The words barely left his mouth before the force of anger that was his master turned onto him. He felt the weakness in his body combine with the trembling, a cough raked his form as flecks of blood came out of his mouth.
A moment later the presence of mind seemed to withdraw as the voice of Lord Voldemort spoke again, "Wake Wormtail and go to the island. You must drink the potion there and remove my locket. It will be necessary in the ritual."
"Yes Master." Barty stood up and walked over to the passed out rotund form of Wormtail. A swift kick in the side brought forth a grunt from the pitiful creature as he woke up. "Come Wormtail Master has commanded us to get his locket."
A tremble came from the failure of a man as he stood up with a glance about the cavern. He didn't speak instead choosing to follow Barty, quickly scampering behind the man to the boat. The pair got into the craft careful not to disturb the water. The boat pushed off and floated across the waters of the damned to the tiny island. The cavern was cold; a chill that wasn't just from the weather seemed to mist both of both men's breath.
The silence was broken as the boat reached the rocks of the island bumping against it. The waves lapped against it softly as both men got out and started to walk up towards the single altar. On the altar rested a bowl and a cup. The two men stopped before the bowl and stared into the clear depths of it.
"So here we are…" Wormtail spoke not looking away from the perhaps deadly liquid.
A cough rippled over the body of Barty and before he could stop it a drop of blood escaped his lips falling into the water. The man squeezed his eyes shut in pain before the pain passed. After the pain a weakness was felt over his frame, almost as if something had collapsed, he had lost something of strength. He was missing a connection to the world around him that he had always had. His voice sounded dead as he spoke, "The Dark Lord wishes for me to drink it all."
A swallow came from Wormtail as the man didn't speak but nodded in understanding.
Slowly Barty dipped the cup into the water and raised it up to drink from. At once he was assaulted with nightmares, pains and his worst memories. He was reliving the torment that the Dementors had forced him to witness within Azkaban. A silent scream escaped the lips of the man. His eyes wide in terror as visions that only he could see danced before his eyes. So lost from the world he was that he dropped the cup. It started to tumble down the rocks rolling towards the edge of the water. Barty never noticed the cups fall. He never noticed anything around him instead drooling as fear seemed to have seized his mind the same way that a muggle would react to a dementor.
"Get the cup Wormtail. You must force him to continue." The cold hissing voice of his master echoed through the chamber.
The man scrambled down the rocks towards the cup. He was never a nimble boy, and when in distress Peter would sometimes stumble. It was one of the many faults that the boy had been made fun of during his young life. There was unfortunately one of those circumstances. The chubby man stumbled as he ran down the rocks his booted foot getting stuck in one of the rocks which propelled him forward.
So it came to be that Peter Pettigrew went flying face first into the cold, dark waters filled with Inferi. The man had all of ten seconds to react, to have his mind realize the folly he just committed. It took him that amount of time to realize the danger in his horrible situation. The man reacted by trying to flee, as his instinct had always been. He tried to apparate away only to be rebuffed by the wards that surrounded the cavern. When that failed he screamed as his time was up.
Hands filled with icy cold clawed fingertips wrapped around his legs pulling him down. The grasp of these monsters bruised flesh as they tore into the helpless man. The last sight of Peter was of Barty Crouch still kneeling before the alter hands and body shaking in panic. The voice of his Lord filled him with fear as he heard, "Curse your incompetence to hell Wormtail!"
Then the man was pulled under never to see or hear again. A burst of bubbles, an explosion of warm blood and the cavern was filled with noise and danger.
It is a funny thing to think about. The Dark Lord was one of the most powerful magic users in the world but unable to even raise a wand in the homunculus body of a child. The man who almost every magical in Britain feared was helpless. He watched as his one competent servant fall under the control of his own trap. He had never suspected that Barty Crouch Junior would be affected by the Dementor's potion so strongly. He continued to watch helpless to change anything as Wormtail went to get the dropped cup. He needed that bloody horcrux to use in the ritual to return to his former power! Then all of a sudden the foolish waste of space fell into the bloody water.
So there he was, Lord Voldemort, greatest Dark Lord to rise in England in centuries. He was helpless as the creatures came out of the water, there were too many to hope to control. Their number was well beyond the power that this feeble body offered to him. He couldn't do anything but watch helpless as the mass of undead, numbering in the thousands poured from the chilly water. Most of them went out of the passage into the muggle world beyond but enough turned towards the only source of life in the cavern. They crowded around him with a hungry gleam in their undead gaze. The creatures craved power, strength and hungered for life. It wouldn't be something that would ever be admitted. Only the undead creatures would ever know for certain. But, it in the back of the mindless servants, somewhere buried deep they realized their little prey had shat himself.
~~~ HoM ~~~
While in the far south a dark mist escaped a cavern that spills undead horrors out into the world, in Scotland a school was celebrating. Not only had Harry Potter completed the task. He did it fastest of all of the champions and scored the highest! Hogwarts was so far showing up the competition!
The man of the hour, Harry Potter instead of celebrating found himself in an interesting situation. He had been walking along towards the Gryffindor common room for a party in his honor with a pair of slender hands reached out and grabbed his shoulders pulling him into an abandoned classroom.
Immediately after he was pulled into the classroom he found himself pinned against the wall, a set of lips pressed firmly against his own. The taste of honey and lavender came from the girl's mouth as he felt her firm kiss. His hands on instinct had reached for his wand only to stop as he felt the kiss. Instead one wrapped around the girls slender waist and the other started to run into her hair. His eyes peaked open to see a scattering of freckles and curls of auburn hair. Then he was swept away into the kiss and feel of her young curvy body pressed against his own. It must have been three minutes before either came up for air.
When they parted her looked down to notice that she was on her tippy toes to kiss him. A knowing smile crossed her lips. "That is for being smart with the dragon and not charging like a Gryffindor."
"You mean like pulling someone into a classroom to snog?" Harry teased the girl a smile.
His words got him a light punch in the shoulder accompanied by a cute dimpled smile, "Potter, you need to know that a girl decides when and where to be snogged. So you should enjoy the chances you get."
Once her words were spoken she leaned up again on her tippy toes to give another kiss this time to the cheek before she walked from the room. Harry couldn't help but watch the back of her dress brush against her thighs as she walked away. It wouldn't be the last time that Harry cursed the need for school robes and what they hid.
The young man was happy, in fact he was on the top of the world, and then he opened the door and walked into the hallway. Standing there in the middle of the hallway speaking to a certain redhead that just left the room which Harry excited was a particular dark haired Slytherin beauty. Her eyes turned towards Harry taking in his ruffled clothing and bruised lips from the lovely snog he just had. There was a smile on her lips that didn't meet his eyes.
Harry knew he was in trouble.
~~~ HoM ~~~
Albus Dumbledore sat in his office leaning back into his throne-like chair as he considered the events of the day. The tournament's first event had gone off with a rounding success. Each of the foreign dignitaries enjoyed themselves and the students seemed to embrace each of their champions. He had even seen Slytherins cheering for little Harry. In fact, except for the non-appearance of whoever had entered Harry's name into the Goblet of Fire.
In fact he had fully expected the dragon to be too much for young Harry. While the boy was resourceful and had a very keen mind when he applied himself, he never expected the boy to get past the challenge. If he had survived, Albus would have bet it would have been something straight forward and direct, very Gryffindor in nature. Instead the boy had surprised everyone. He truly didn't know what the boy had done. He had a good guess that he had used the Deathly Hallow cloak in the match. But, he wasn't certain how the boy had managed the mist, it was not a spell that he recognized. Perhaps young Harry had looked through the Potter grimoire?
No matter what, unfortunately it never flushed out the culprit. His hope that the man would somehow attack Harry or use him to show what master plan Tom was now playing. Just as important the longer Tom concentrated on Harry the better a chance that he didn't know about Neville. The Longbottom scion needed a lot of work, but Albus was confident that he would get the needed training with Moody. The old Auror would be able to get the boy the proper training to weaken the Dark Lord. Then once Tom was weak he would strike and do whatever was necessary to end the threat to the Wizarding World once and for all.
After all, he was Albus Dumbledore and nobody got anything past him.
The old man looked at the grandfather clock in the corner and frowned at the time, "Hmm, Where is Moody, he should have been here by now… Oh well. I am sure he will be by in the next hour or two…"
The old man would be sitting there waiting for hours before he realized that Moody wouldn't be coming.
~~~ HoM ~~~
A few days after the cavern…
The Bloody Mary was an old fishing vessel. It had been in the family of John Harrison for three generations and all three of those generations had fished the waters off of the coast of Cromer. Cromer is a small town on the Northern side of the county of North Norfolk.
John was a man in his lower forties that had spent his entire life in the North Sea. He had been in the worst possible storms that had him praying for mother Mary to have mercy on his soul. He had also seen harvests in fishing slimmer each year despite the vast cold waters of the North Sea. It did not matter the catch or the weather, John and his crew would brave the waters. It was all the six men knew. The sea was their life. The sea was their love.
It was nights like tonight that John loved, when the moon was full filling up the night sky. The waters were calm and the scent of blessed waters filled the air. You could sit on deck and count the stars as they sparkled down brighter here than any high powered telescope in Britain. It was these nights that made life worth living.
His crew was in their quarters playing a game of poker and drinking. They had decided to spend a week out on the waters to give a chance of a good market catch of cod that were often running the deep waters this time of year. A good haul on this week could help make the harsh winter on the waters much more manageable. So far he had been right. Their catch today alone was better than anything they had caught for months. This spot seemed to be a gold mine, something that could help pay for the bills he owed when he got back to town.
A gapped tooth smile spread over the lips of the man behind his salt and pepper beard. He reached up to run his fingertips through his thinning black hair as he let a shiver overtake his body from a cold Northern gust. It was at that moment when looking out at the calm waves that he noticed something seemed off. It wasn't the light as the waters looked beautiful as always. It was instead a floating board with a man hanging onto it. The body was floating in the waters towards the vessel.
Quickly John jumped up and started to ring a bell while he yelled out, "Man overboard!"
There was rustling noise and thunder of boots ringing on the old wood of the Bloody Mary. Soon he was joined by his crew as the Captain turned to fishing ship towards the floating man. In less than five minutes the ship was at the side of the board and man.
It was at just a glance and they could see the man was dead. Nobody had that pale skin tone, not even an albino. The man's hair was coming out in scraggly patches from his pale blonde almost grey hair. The skin of the man was wrinkled from the water and it looked like he was once a rather fat man. They could even see where some type of sea creature had taken large almost human sized bites out of the man. Still, no man deserved to let his corpse float about without anyone to claim their body. Whatever wreckage he might be from they should take him in and back to town so the authorities could identify him. So the men reached down over the edge and pulled the corpse into the boat.
Tommy looked over the fat chubby man with a frown, "He was an ugly bugger…"
The youngest man barely twenty got smacked on the back of the head by Rich, "Don't talk bad about the dead it is bad luck."
"Why he isn't gonna bloody care at this point. Besides he was ugly look at that face it looks like a rat…" Tommy spoke as he reached down and squeezed the dead man's mouth open showing two large front teeth. The young man turned with a grin towards his fellow sailors, "He even has the teeth of a rat!"
But it wasn't laughter that he saw. Instead it was the men starting to back up in fright. Before he could turn his head around to find out why, a hand grabbed his arm pulling it downwards towards the dead man. The rat faced, fat man now had open glowing red eyes. There was an unearthly malice that seemed to radiate from the man as he pulled Tommy down towards him despite the young man's muscles. The undead creature took a bite out of the neck of the young man ripping open the jugular!
Blood gushed everywhere as the undead creature, formally known as Wormtail of the Marauders started to tear apart the crew. That night the Bloody Mary truly earned her name.
Author note: I hope this chapter wasn't too bad for everyone. Please give me your thoughts. Please note this chapter hasn't been beta'd. I haven't heard back from BJH lately so I just posted the chapter up without being cleaned up. I will in the future have it checked over and fixed up more. But, I hope everyone enjoyed it anyways. Give me your two cents on what you all think as I took it in quite a different way than I am sure almost anyone was expecting… Love it? Hate it?
PS I promise it is not going to be anything like walking dead. Just a plot device in the background for other reasons but the undead will not be a major focus.