A/N: This one got away from me a little and I didn't cover everything I wanted to, but it seemed like as good a place as any to stop. I promise that with the next chapter we'll get to Hogwarts and the actual plot will pick up its pace!
"Well, this is somewhat unexpected." Verenestra said dryly, "I think I might know what that surge of fey power was now..."
"No way, I couldn't do that! I'd never want to hurt the tower!" Harry exclaimed, looking heartbroken at the thought of damaging their home.
"Harry, don't worry! The tower's been through a lot worse than this, besides I think it looks rather fetching don't you?" She paused as the flower shifted and grew, encasing even more of the tower. "The flower is borne of you, so you must be the one to put the limit on it, do you understand?"
"No, I don't even know how I made it!"
"Yes you do, think back to that day in the library, you remember the glass flower you were playing with? What were you thinking about that day?"
"I, uh, I don't know! Just how pretty it was and how I'd like to have a real one like it! And then you came in, and I got distracted and I don't know!"
Verestra waved her hand causing 2 large mushrooms to grow and climbed on top of one, sitting cross-legged "It's ok Harry, sit with me. Now I want you take a deep breath and close your eyes... Ok now I want you to open your senses and feel the flow of the Wild. Every plant and creature no matter how small leaves a trace for us to follow, whether it's a mighty redwood, an ant or the tiniest spore."
Harry nodded utterly enraptured by her explanation, "What do you see?"
"I don't see anything, for me it's smells. Everything that lives leaves a scent for me to follow." She grimaced briefly, "Some of them are... less than pleasant, but it's a useful skill to master. Now what about you Harry? What do you feel?"
Harry sat and slowly breathed in and out saying nothing. Minutes went past before he finally spoke "Nothing, there's just nothing." He croaked.
Verenestra stared at him intently, "Are you certain Harry? Is there nothing at all?"
"No! Why wouldn't I tell you?"
"Maybe you don't even know yourself, would it surprise you to know Harry that you have been singing to yourself, quite wonderfully I might add, for the last 5 minutes?" She smiled at him. "Don't try and look for anything, don't try and smell, you're not me, you are your own man. Harry, I want you to listen for the heartbeat of the Wild."
Harry nodded and closed his eyes once again. He breathed in and out, in and out, in and out, everything slowly fading away until the steady thumping of his heart filled his ears. Before he knew it he found himself stood in front of set of large oaken doors, decorated in intricately woven vines of iron, brass and silver, he stepped closer and closer to the doors until he found himself directly in front of them, filled with a sense of wonder slightly tinged by fear. He suddenly felt like an antelope at a watering hole, knowing that the slightest misstep would cost him dearly.
With a great deal of trepidation, he slowly stretched forward a trembling hand and placed it against the ancient oak. A series of images quickly flashed by an enormous bear, a powerful tiger and a great grey wolf, as each image flashed past the animals slowly stalked closer. Remembering Verenestra's warning he snatched his hand back and started to back away, before turning and running as the images appeared in front of him again suddenly seeming more solid. A loud boom suddenly pierced the silence of this place, and Harry's head snapped around seeing the door open just a crack and a deep green light slipped out. But that utterly paled in comparison to the music, a crescendo of glorious melodies rose with the light filling his soul with such indescribable joy he could feel the heat of tears pricking at his eyes.
Without missing a beat Harry started singing along with the tune, quickly finding a natural harmony, and with every second that passed the animals in the image hesitated, their pace slowed and they started to back away as the tempo increased, slowly reaching a furious pace. With each beat, glowing lines started to spread from his feet, before slowly fading and reappearing with the next beat, with a thicker line glowing brighter with each beat and fading more slowly than the rest.
Harry sank to his knees placing both hands over the iridescent trace causing it to flare with a deep blue light before surging down the line to a destination out of sight. With the music still ringing in his ears, his eyes snapped open.
As Harry opened his eyes, all he could see was his flower and how it sang, it's voice a high crystalline tinkle that filled his mind searching for praise like a child at how well it was doing. Harry sang back at it, expressing his pride at all it had done and how grateful he was for it, and clapped three times. With each clap the flower trembled as it accepted his commands, shrinking until sat atop the tower as a crown of blue crystal glinting the mid-afternoon sun.
- TTK -
A flare of green flame illuminated the office of the Cornelius Fudge, as Albus Dumbledore swept into the room, his arms spread grandiosely.
"Cornelius, it's simply marvellous to see you again, apologies again for having to leave so suddenly during dinner last month, you'd think the summer months would be quiet for a school, but here we are. Alas, forgive an old man's ramblings, to what do I owe the pleasure of this invitation?"
"Not a worry Albus, myself and Leanne were simply grateful you were able to spare the time that you could, we both know how busy you are! As it happens it was in relation to your mentor, we have a couple of promising alchemists serving in the laboratories of the DMLE, and I thought who better to have give a guest lecture than Nicholas Flamel himself!"
"Cornelius, if all you wanted was a lecture you know I would be more than happy to provide such a thing myself." Albus admonished lightly.
"Ah, of course Albus, I know you would! My thoughts were simply who better to give them a hand than the man who almost started the field singlehandedly more than 600 years ago and even gave you your start! Besides you've just said how much time your positions take up." Fudge finished resolutely.
Albus stared down at the shorter man, his mind whirling. Fudge had never been so adamant before, he normally acquiesced quite quickly to Albus' wishes. He lashed out with a brief legilimency probe, as he had on countless occasions and found...nothing? He pulled back quickly his mind reeling, he'd never seen this before, even Severus and Tom had barriers, they couldn't simply occlude the mind entirely and Fudge was no Voldemort.
A whisper filled his ear, chilling him despite the offices heat. "Focus on your purpose."
A grandfatherly smile quickly replaced the momentary shock, "Of course Cornelius, you make an excellent point. I'm long overdue for a catch up with both Nicholas and Perenelle myself and I would be remiss to deny your promising trainee's the education afforded to me. I shall owl him the moment I return to Hogwarts!"
Cornelius clapped and reached into a drawer in his desk, "Splendid Albus, absolutely splendid! The recruits will be thrilled to hear it! Now that business is over I happen to have this excellent bottle of 1962 Chateau Lutin that I was thinking about opening if I could interest you in a snifter? It's a comet vintage you know!"
"Truly a tempting offer, but I find that wine upsets the stomach as we get older. I will however enjoy a cup of that delightful chamomile you keep if that would be available?"
"Aha I always forget what a fiend you are for tea! Not a problem at all," He leaned forwards and tapped his wand against his desk, "Summersby! Be a good fellow and have someone pop out to Adelaide's and pick up my order of chamomile would you?"
"Right away Minister!"
"Excellent chap that Albus, can't thank you enough for the recommendation, he's an excellent assistant."
A few minutes later, there was a brief knock at the door and a small man with smartly cut blonde hair and watery blue eyes stepped in. "Ah Minister, I'm here with the tea you requested. Oh Professor, how good to see you again! I hope you received my owl thanking you for the recommendation?"
"Oh Alistair, you must forgive an old man, I simply have not had a chance to respond yet. I trust your enjoying your work with the Ministry?"
"Absolutely sir, it's a dream come true to work with people striving to help others!" He gulped realising exactly what meeting he'd interrupted, "Anyways sirs, I'm sure you're both having an important discussion, so I'll just..." And with that he left the room.
The two men sat for a moment in comfortable silence before Albus started speaking once again, "Actually Cornelius, there was a matter I did wish to discuss, it's requires a deft touch with the utmost discretion hence why I'd prefer a private conversation..."
"I assure you Albus, nothing you share with me will travel beyond the walls of my office."
"I have no doubt of that Cornelius, however we both know exactly why I recommended you Summersby, do we not?" Replied the elderly wizard with an arched eyebrow, his voice layered as if another was speaking with him.
Fudge sighed deeply, "Summersby, you can leave."
With a shimmer the blonde man reappeared in the room, "How did you see through me so easily sir?" He sounded disgruntled.
"Fret not Alistair, your mastery of the misleading charm is even better now than when you won last summer's duelling tourney, however there is a split second shimmer before the spell truly takes hold, almost no one would be able to spot it unless..."
Albus gave a slight chuckle "Unless you'd spent 6 weeks teaching the young man in question the charm!"
"Of course! I'll have to avoid that around you from now on sir!" and he left the room.
"Now Albus, what was so delicate that you would have me send out my bodyguard?"
"Well as it happens Minerva was in the Ministry visiting with the DMLE a few days ago, you know how she assists with the animagus lectures? Anyway you can imagine her shock at seeing a boy the spitting image of James Potter in the company of an unknown woman. Has Harry been here Minister? You know of course that he vanished from his relatives home over a year ago, despite the protections that we had both applied? I was under the impression that we'd agreed to share any information regarding Harry's whereabouts?" Albus leaned forwards in his chair, his eyes sparkling with power, "Yet I hear about it from Minerva, instead of you. Tell me Minister, what was he doing here?"
Albus could feel his Masters power filling him, slipping in to his words and wrapping around the Ministers mind and bending him to his will. The Ministers mouth opened slowly before snapping shut, and Albus felt the strands of power around the Minister snap and be torn away, the delicate threads he'd been spinning burned to ash, as a new power filled the room, on a scale he'd only felt when duelling Tom and Gellert.
"Ah now, Albus you know there are certain things that I simply cannot share? Official secrets and the like, rest assured the boy is safe and secure with someone who will look after him, and he has every intention of attending Hogwarts in September. Now, this is what I have been given permission to share by Mr Potter and his Guardian, however it is literally more than my life is worth to say more, if you catch my drift?" The Minister responded blithely, unaware of the titanic clash of power in the room.
Albus did his best to hide his shock at the casual dismissal of his magic, "Of course Minister, when you reach my age you do start to worry and I did always have a soft spot for the Potters, they were such pure souls... Well Minister thank you as always for the lovely chat and delightful tea, and for setting my mind at ease about young Harry!"
"Not a problem Albus, it's always a delight to see you, and I do hope you'll stay for the full dinner next time? Leanne does get upset when her cooking goes to waste!"
Albus laughed as he stepped through the floo, "Not as upset as I am that I have to miss out on it, but you have my word old friend, a full 3 courses next time!"
- TTK -
Verenestra and Harry sat across from each other, in the blue light that now bathed the top of the tower. the boy listening as the statuesque fey lectured him.
"I believe Harry we have learned today how the Wild has chosen to manifest itself in you. I had some suspicions when you told me about your encounter in Badenhorst's workshop, but the manner in which you were able to tame the flower has settled any doubts I had. Unless I miss my guess Harry I believe the Wild calls you to serve as a Weaver." She spoke softly.
Harry paused, collecting his thoughts, "What's...what's a weaver?"
"I suppose that's as good a place as any to start, all Fey are guardian's of the Wild in their own way. Druid's serve as the front lines in any conflict changing shape, facing physical threats and using their magic to repair any damage done. Cleric's serve as holy people, spiritual guides and healers. Warlocks are typically mortals and opportunists chosen for a specific task and released when it is complete." She paused looking pensively at the blue crystal surrounding them. "How much should I tell him," she thought, "He's only a child. No, hiding the truth does nothing for him, he has too many challenges ahead for me to wait."
"A Weaver's speciality lies in more subtle arts, their magic manifests in words and dreams, it is said that an accomplished weaver can light a fire in the hearts of men that will cause them to lay down their lives for a cause with a few sentences, others can enter the dreams of an opponent and torment them to madness. It is the responsibility of Weavers to engage threats before they make it to the borders of the Wild, you will be one of these Weavers Harry, the Wild wills it so."
- TTK -
The rest of the summer passed in a blur for Harry, learning what it meant to be a Weaver and how to harness even the barest hint of his abilities. Verenestra taught him how to weaponise his words, "Harry, saying the right thing at the right time, can cause your opponent to hesitate, to give you the slightest opening and when I have finished training you the slightest opening will be all you need."
She taught him basic tai-chi forms to focus his mind, explaining that master the dreams of others, he first needed to master himself.
Before he knew it, Harry found himself reclining gently on the plush velvet seating of the Hogwarts Express staring in amazement at the sheer amount of wizards around him. They filled the platform, swirling around creating an ethereal tableau as they mingled with the steam from the engine. Harry gave a sad smile, looking forwards to everything Hogwarts would bring, but already missing the Wild, the Tower and especially his Mum. He frowned, remembering his last lesson before they left for London.
- TTK -
"The skill I'm about to teach you is one that requires a lot of trust Harry, in the wrong hands it can be used to cause a lot of harm, so I want your word that you will only use it to protect either yourself or the people around you, ok?"
Harry nodded eagerly, all of his primary school teachers had lamented their failures to get him involved in their lessons, but when it came to learning magic with Verenestra he just couldn't get enough.
"What I'm going to teach you is, in the crudest possible way, how to get your way. A Weaver can manifest their power to make themselves supernaturally charming, more likeable and convincing for a short burst."
She gave Harry a smile before she became deadly serious, "Harry I need you to understand the harm that can be caused with this power. I've seen people use it to pass legislation that oppressed thousands of people, seen men use to convince people who trusted them to do unspeakable things. Normally I wouldn't teach you this yet, but there are forces moving out in the world that haven't made moves in nearly half a century, and this skill might save your life if it comes to it."
"What forces? What do you mean?" He asked nervously.
"Harry I don't want you to worry, I've protected you as best I can, but that protection may be challenged at Hogwarts. I felt powers in the Ministry tied to both the Black Depths and White City, I suppose in its simplest terms, Celestials and Fiends. Ancient immortals, even to me, they worm their way into institutions of power to further their own agendas, it only makes sense that they would target Hogwarts as well as the Ministry. Keep our eyes open and don't be afraid you are of the Fey, and we do not bow."
- TTK -
"Do you think he's dead?"
"Could be, I mean just look at him..."
"He's drooling. He's definitely not dead."
"Only one way to find out!"
Harry felt a sharp pain in his ribs as he bolted upright, drawing in a breath scold whoever woke him.