A Fate Touched in Middle Earth
I don't own HP or Tolkien's realm.
Not certain where I wanted to put this crossover, since eventually it will encompass the Fellowship of the Ring, but put it here for now, since it is in no way certain that I will take up this story fulltime.
Nor, if I am honest, is it my best work I think. I wanted to show flashes of Harry's life in such a way that it didn't bog the story down, nor did I want to simply summarize them, but I just don't know if this style works. I've seen it done similarly, as well as in far larger scale in books, but… hell with it, I'll let you my readers decide.
As those of you who have read my other works know, I put up a poll some time ago to see what story people wanted me to take up as a smaller, third story, while I concentrated on Wild Wolf and ATP. At the same time, I told people that if they could argue their points, like in a debate team, they could PM me and thus gain their choice more points, which was one way to do so. The other I mentioned elsewhere, and not wanting to seem too desperate I won't do so again here. This was one of two new stories that ranked high in the poll, so I decided to put out a chapter for it and for the Star Wars crossovers one of which I would love to take up after WW is done to allow my readers to make a better informed decision. If you like this story over my other current stories or the top three story ideas in my poll, tell me so in your review. If you want to argue for this story over the other choices from the poll, PM me - think of this like you are on a debate team, and need to back up your side of the debate.
I'd like to thank Mordreek for his work as beta and all around Ideas Taster for this work. Without him it would not be nearly as good as it is.
Now without further ado...
Prologue: Into the Unknown
Harry stared aghast as Hermione was hit by Voldemort's Avarda Kedavra. The sight of life fading from that face, that joyful, often times demanding, at times loving face, broke something inside of Harry. Yet in the strange chemistry of grief, it also caused his mind to recall when they had first become friends.
Harry scowled as he raced along the passageways of the Castle towards the bathroom that Lavender had told him Hermione was hiding in. Stupid, stupid, stupid! Why didn't you stand up for her when Ron said all those mean things to her! You've been bullied too you know! And that was precisely why he hadn't, Ron was his first friend, or Harry thought he was a friend, though Ron was rather mean-spirited to other people at times. Despite that, Harry didn't want to ruin their friendship.
I still should've stopped him. I just hope I find Hermione before the troll does.Harry had thought about getting Ron to help him, but he had run off to his brothers the moment they were told to head to their dormitories, and Percy was standing right there shouting orders. And besides, would Ron have really wanted to help save Hermione after saying such mean things about her?
Down the hallway Harry spotted the door to the lavatory where Lavender and Parvati had said Hermione was 'having a good cry' whatever that meant. Relieved, Harry didn't notice any troll around. But what does a troll even look like anyway? They hadn't covered that yet in Defense Against the Dark Arts.
Shoving that thought to the side Harry barged into the lavatory, closing the door behind him with a click. "Hermione!" he hissed out, moving forward deeper into the girls lavatory. "Are you in here?"
There was sound of a sniffle, and a watery voice answered. "What are you doing in here? This is the girl's bathroom!"
"That doesn't matter right now!" Harry said. "Listen, there's a troll…"
That was as far as he got before the smell hit him. It hit Hermione too, as she gasped. "What is that…"
She in turn was interrupted as the door that Harry had just raced through was blasted open. What must have been the troll entered, sniffing loudly though how it could smell anything else over its own pong Harry didn't now.
The troll stood, shoulders hunching about 15 feet tall, with long arms scraping the ground, one clutching a massive club. It was bald, it's head thrust forward only slightly, with light green skin, and, thankfully, a loin cloth of some kind of fur. Its mouth was open, breathing deeply, showing several rotting, but still sharp teeth.
Right before the door had been smashed open, Harry had dived underneath the closest bathroom stall and he stared up at Hermione, who thankfully was taking cover just it like he was. Desperately he held up a finger to his mouth motioning her to be quiet.
She nodded, getting down on her belly and crawling underneath her stall into his before whispering into his ear. "What are we going to do?"
Harry frowned in thought then began to crawl towards the doorway through the stalls, motioning Hermione to follow quickly. They could hear the troll bashing the glass above the sinks for some reason. Harry wondered for just a moment if it thought the troll in the mirror was a challenger or something, there were some animals tricked by mirrors or glass right?
By the time they had reached the final stall between them and the door the troll had finished smashing the glass and was hooting and hollering, possibly in victory or anger Harry wasn't exactly in a position to tell. Because it had turned just at the right time to catch the two children out in the open.
"GRAHooo!" The club smashed down at them, and Harry desperately pushed Hermione back underneath the stall. Rolling after her Harry collided with her side as the club smacked into the ground where they had just been. Faster than Harry thought it could move, the troll then swept the club sideways, smashing into and through the side of the stalls sending splinters of wood careening everywhere.
Hermione screamed, and Harry was tempted to join her, but he stood up pushing the debris of the stall door off them. "Run for the door!"
With that Harry sprinted forward, dodging between the troll's legs and hitting it with a tickling charm that he had seen some of the older students using on one another in the common room. The spell didn't take, fizzling out after only a few moments, but that was enough time to let Harry get behind the troll. With no further spells coming to mind Harry jumped up onto the troll's back, climbing upwards as it tried to turn, reaching behind him to try and grab him.
"Will you run!?" Harry bellowed at Hermione, who was on the ground where he had left her, staring up at the troll. He ducked to one side, evading a grasp from the troll's hand, climbing up further and away from that hand as the troll desperately tried to turn, unwilling to let go of its club in its one hand and unable to grasp him with the other. It's shoulders and arms weren't very limber.
"What about you?"
"Just go! Get one of the teachers!"
Instead Hermione resolutely grabbed up her wand from where it had fallen among the debris, pointing it at the trolls club, which it had just raised to try and scratch Harry off its back with. "Wingardium Leviosa!" She intoned, swishing and flicking her wand as Professor Flitwick had shown them earlier that day. The oaken club had none of the troll's immunity to magic and the club lifted out of its hand, rising into the air. The troll looked at it stupidly for a moment reaching up to try to grab it but Hermione quickly flicked the club out of its way then back, smacking the troll in the face once.
"GRAGHHH!" The troll roared, then realized somehow that Hermione was the one moving the club. He reached out with both of its hands to grasp her.
Hermione screamed dodging to one side but her leg was caught in its grip and she was pulled up into the air. "EEK!"
By this point Harry was on its neck, staring aghast as it began to lift Hermioneinto the air. Frantically Harry jabbed his wand into the thing's nostril then began to pour his magic into it with no real spell in his mind just a thought of Force!
What came out of his wand wasn't a spell, but a stream of magic barely formed by that thought. Yet even so, it hit with all the power of a high-speed bullet, drilling through the trolls those and out of its head. It almost got Harry where he was hanging behind the troll's head and he gasped as his face and upper body was suddenly covered by foul-smelling gore.
The troll stumbled, dropping Hermione who squawked as she quickly covered her head to protect her from the impact on the ground, rolling and wincing through the debris of the stalls. The troll stumbled for a moment, one hand actually rising to touch its nose for a moment then it collapsed, slamming into the ground with enough force to send most of the debris from its rampage up into the air for a moment, tossing Harry forward and breaking his grip on its back.
For a moment he lay there groggily, then he was pulled to his feet as two arms went around his shoulders hugging him fiercely. "Thank you! I don't know what you did, but if you hadn't, I mean if you hadn't been here…!"
"What is going on here?!" said a voice from behind them.
Both youngsters turned to stare at the doorway into the lavatory, where Professor McGonagall and Snape were standing. Before Hermione could speak up Harry said "Hermione was not at the feast professor, she was in here and didn't know about the troll so I came to find her but it found us before we could get away."
The professor scowled angrily. "And why Ms. Granger, were you not at the feast?"
"I was feeling rather sorry for myself professor." Hermione said looking away. "Homesick. I'd just come in here to have a good cry."She looked at Harry desperately, trying to make him understand that she didn't want to say that Ron had been bullying her. She'd been bullied before, it wasn't anything new to her, though someone going out of their way to help her like this was very new.
But Harry shook his head resolutely. "That's not true professor. Well it might be true a bit, but Ron Weasley was, well he said a lot of hurtful things to Hermione after she tried to help him in Charms class. I should've stopped him then, but…" he shrugged uncomfortably.
"It sometimes takes more courage to stand up to one's friend than it does to a stranger or an enemy." The professor said nodding her head though her eyes were glinting dangerously. That look promised Ron would not get off scot-free for his bit of bullying.
Snape however had moved over to the corpse of the troll. It was indeed a corpse not simply unconscious as both teachers at first assumed. "Exactly how did you kill this troll, Potter?"
Harry shivered a little, realizing he had just taken a living creature's life. He felt Hermione's arms around his shoulders tighten, and he smiled shyly then, realizing this must be a hug, he'd never had one of those before. The Dursleys hadn't physically abused him, at least not often, but they had never shown him any affection or love either. Hermione smiled encouragingly back at him, squeezing him even tighter around the shoulders.
With that Harry turned back to the professor who he'd quietly loathed since the first class with him. "I don't know professor, I didn't use any spell really. I just jabbed my wand into its nose and, and tried to sort of force my magic through it."
The professor nodded slowly, while McGonagall moved around him staring in shock at the hole in the trolls head and then up at the ceiling where the hole continued. With a wave of her wand that hole was repaired, and then she looked down with distaste at the wand still sticking out of the troll's noses.
A fastidious flick of her wand pulled it out with a 'glorp' sound, and another intoned spell cleaned it before passing it back to Harry. "I suggest Mr. Potter that the next time you try to take on a fully grown mountain troll, you have some defensive spells under your belt first. As to Ron Weasley, I will have words with him if he has been putting other students down like that."
Harry looked at her askance, knowing that several of Malfoy's crew had done the exact same thing in the great hall or in the hallways before this. But he supposed that maybe they had to be caught in the act if they weren't in a teacher's own house? So he simply nodded.
The professor went on, smiling slightly at both children. "Now I suggest you both head down to the infirmary and let Madame Pomphrey look you over. And Potter, for saving a friend 25 points to Gryffindor."
As she escorted the two down to the infirmary Hermione nudged Harry's shoulder with her own. "Thanks."
Harry nodded, nudging her back. "You're welcome. I'm, I'm just sorry I didn't…"
Hermione shook his head. "Ron's your friend I understand that." She scowled a little. "I don't know if he'll ever be mine but…"
"Could you tried to get along? I'll try and stop him from saying such hurtful things again, but…" he paused and looked at her for a moment. "I know you're trying to help, but your voice, it was, it was like you were trying to talk down to him or something."
Hermione's scowl deepened then she relented. "I'll try to tone my, what did he call it,'bossiness' down a bit. But," she said smiling a little grimly poking Harry in the shoulder. "In return, I want to see you put as much effort into actual schoolwork as you do in not seeming smart."
Harry raised one eyebrow in surprise and Hermione laughed. "I know you don't care much for the written portions, but I've seen you practice spell work and I know you pick up the actual spells quickly if you put your heart into it. I'll even help you with the writing portion if that's slowing you down, but I don't want you holding packing class anymore. Are you doing that just so Ron doesn't feel left out?"
"No." Harry replied. "It's just…" he paused trying to think of the words to explain several years of being ignored, of being put down, of being called a freak. How if he scored better than Dudley his chores would redouble, and what little freedom he had would disappear while Dudley would step up his Harry Hunting. How no one else helped him, or noticed anything wrong so he had just decided to fade into the background as much is possible.
Hermione poked his shoulder again much more gently this time. "Please? I know you're smarter than you let on. I'd like a challenge in our house you know. The only ones that really push me are in other houses and that's kind of silly. Just because we're brave doesn't mean were idiots."
Harry laughed, then nodded his head. "All right, if you'll help me with the writing portion and promise to stop and think before you try to give out advice unless you're asked, I'll try to stop holding back in class."In response Hermione smiled brightly, nodding her head.
To one side of the dimly lit room housing the Veil of Death, most of the Defense Association was hiding behind several conjured boulders. Having had the time to prepare the battlefield while Harry led the more experienced members of the DA to search out Sirius, they were using the cover to good effect against the Death Eaters that had appeared from both ends of the room springing the ambush.
The ones that had chased Harry from their own ambush point had taken severe losses already, though they were fighting back well enough having conjured their own cover, and being the so-called Inner Circle of Voldemort, his best and most experienced fighters. The second group that had appeared from the other end of the room had lost a few as well, though Voldemort had blocked or redirected some of the DA's initial assault however. Then Aurors and other ministry personnel had shown up, attacking all and sundry, causing more confusion then actual harm to either group. But Voldemort used the confusion to stride grandly into the center of the room, throwing out a Bombarda which destroyed some of the conjured boulders, before catching Hermione with an Avarda Kedavra while she ducked for cover.
One of the girls hiding nearby let out a scream, and more than one boy's voice was raised in a disbelieving shout, but even so Harry didn't look away from Hermione's body.
Nearby Susan fell to the floor with a roar of mixed pain and fury as she took her opponent down at the same time with a vicious triple spell chain, opening with a wide area Stupefy followed by a Difindo before finishing with a Bombarda spell cast at the masked man's feet that flung his battered body backwards. His mask fell away revealing that he was Walden McNair, the Ministry executioner for dangerous animals. But putting him down cost Susan, and she collapsed, one leg almost sawed off by some kind of cutting spell the man had sent back at her, hitting her with it even as she dodged to one side after losing the same cover that Hermione had previously been using. She was still alive thanks to a hasty blood-clotting spell from one of the others, but out of the fight.
Harry absently sent of Rifela spell towards Walden's head, finishing him off. The spell left a neat, round whole right through his forehead, a much cleaner death than the man really deserved. But Harry still couldn't tear his eyes away from the body of his best friend, of his Hermione, falling to the ground. No!
"I wonder which of us is going to get the best score at the end of the year? I mean I know I'm behind in the practical on transfiguration, but in actual spell casting I think I'm good," said a slow, drawling voice, it's English only slightly accented.
Harry smiled at Blaise, who he'd surprisingly made friends with since this study group it started. He, Daphne and Tracy, her friend and confidant, were from Slytherin House, but they had joined Hermione's study group. Whether this was because they were brave enough to dare being mingling publicly with other houses , or neutral in the conflict between him and Malfoy, Harry didn't know.
The study group actually crossed all house lines. Susan and Justin from Hufflepuff and Padma and initially two boys represented Ravenclaw, but the boys had dropped out quickly after they learned the others wouldn't let them take the lead in organizing the group. Hermione, Harry himself, and Neville, along with Parvati occasionally, represented Gryffindor.
It had been Hermione who'd organized the whole thing. Apparently she, Padma and Daphne had started a bit of a competition almost the first day of school, all of them aiming to be the highest scorers in the year. But despite being in different houses it was somehow a friendly competition. Harry and the others had come into the group long after that, with Harry joining two weeks after Halloween.
By this point Hermione was ahead in their competition by a measly half-point. She lead the other two girls strongly in transfiguration, but falling behind slightly in Defense Against the Dark Arts, potions obviously and even history and Charms to Daphne and Padma respectively. The blonde pureblood was near the tops in charms and was good with the written portions of every class, but her transfiguration practical wasn't up to par. Padma was excellent across the board, actually a little better at the written assignments than Hermione, but her practical let her down in everything but Charms.
"I don't know, I think all the girls have us poor boys beat." Harry said with a laugh.
"Oh please Potter." Tracy scoffed from where she had been sitting behind Daphne. She wasn't as interested in academics as her friend, at least not this year. She was apparently deeply interested in runes however, which was a class they would be taking in third year. "Everyone knows that you're the tops when it comes to Defense Against the Dark Arts. Not even our resident bookworm has been able to knock you off that pedestal."
Harry blushed, hunching his shoulders before he felt an elbow in his ribs from both sides. Susan had picked up on the fact that Harry tried to downplay his abilities, tried to fade into the background and with Hermione's help had begun to force him out of his shell. Justin helped too at times, astonished that someone who had as much same as Harry being so self-effacing.
"It's true Harry and you know it." Hermione said half-chiding him slightly. Harry was easily able to pick up how to do a spell, even if he couldn't quite explain how it worked. And ever since the troll incident Harry had been devouring every book in the library he and Hermione could find on defensive spells.
Madame Pince had stopped them from picking up many, but Harry knew that the two of them were at least a year, possibly a year and a half ahead of the material that the rather ineffective Quirell was teaching them. Only Susan, who had been getting training since she was ten from her aunt, the head of Aurors, could come close, and she didn't have Harry's raw power.
"I think you'll do very well Harry." Susan said nodding in agreement. "In fact." she said smiling over at Justin who was sitting on her other side. "I bet you'll score the best out of all the boys."
The three boys looked at one another and then said together "Isn't that the same way as saying you girls are better than us?" At which point the group devolved into good-natured bickering.
No! With a wrench of will Harry turned away from the body of his best friend, staring out through the tumult of battle to where Voldemort still stood. Across from him however was another figure Harry would have happily seen in the grave. Dumbledore had finally arrived with his Order of the Phoenix, throwing in with the Defense Association and Ministry personnel as they fought the Death Eaters. The Ministry personnel were still attacking all and sundry, though the Aurors among them at least had begun to concentrate on the Death Eaters, save a few who probably had 'Moldy-wart leanings', as the Twins put it.
The strange room was lit more by spell blasts now than the torches set here and there along the wall, but the air still felt still and, well, dead even so. The DA were still holding position, the two groups, front line and sniper holding position as they should and not using any easily undone spells save to soften an opponent up. The Ministry, even the Aurors and the Order of the Useless did not follow that policy, and several of their members were down now taken out by Death Eaters they had thought down for the count. Strangely enough though many Order members, Ministry workers and even Aurors and Death Eaters were simply hurrying to cover to watch the main event.
In the center of the room Dumbledore and Voldemort dueled. Dozens of spells flew through the air between them with all the colors of a rainbow. Though unlike lesser wizards both seemed to favor nullifying enemy spells rather than merely shielding, nor did either bother often with voicing the spells they used, casting both silently and even wandlessly a few times. Bits and pieces of rubble were transfigured by one then banished by the other.
Area-of-effect spells never reached their intended target, batted aside to cause havoc elsewhere in the room or simply snuffed out, the most spectacular example of which being the beginnings of a spell Harry recognized as the start of Fiendfyre from a book Sirius had given him. Dumbledore had conjured a white and gold phoenix several times larger than Fawkes which ate Voldemort's spell before being vanished itself by what looked like some kind of water serpent.
Normally a boy his age should've been ecstatic about seeing two such powerful magic-users going at it just like all the gawkers around who had seemingly forgotten this was a battlefield. But all Harry felt was a rising fury. Madness had gripped him, and he pushed himself to his feet, almost absentmindedly casting a protection spell over Ron and his sister Ginny where they were hiding with the others behind conjured boulders. They had been continually sniping at the Death Eaters as they came in, but neither of them had the talent for defensive spells to stand on the front lines of the ambush. The two of them had come far, but had never quite caught up with the original study group that had segued into the Defensive Association in year two.
But even as he sent the shield spell that way he saw a Ron slump over, his shoulder and arm missing. "No!"
This year has been particularly crappy, Harry thought as he sat next to Hermione in the infirmary. First, he and Hermione, well Harry, the boys and all of the girls had argued about Professor Lockhart. All of the girls had somehow developed a blind belief in the teacher, not even phased by the disasters his class had become that first day. They had thankfully agreed to start up a Defense Association club, despite the fact that they couldn't get a teacher to sponsor it.
It had surprisingly allowed Harry to patch up his friendship with Ron, who despite still being rather lazy when it came to most classes had actually apologized to Hermione. Harry happened to know that was because his two brothers and Angelina Johnson had sat him down and basically informed him that if he didn't he would be pranked every day for the rest of his Hogwarts career, but still.
Yet that was just their own personal issues, which paled in comparison to the Heir of Slytherin and his doings, which added a whole new dimension to the pile of crap Harry had to deal with. While the seriousness of that had allowed him and Hermione to patch their friendship up after their arguments about Lockhart, the two of them had not been able to figure out what kind of monster could be loose in the school. They had however figured out that Harry could speak Parceltongue.
At first Hermione had looked at that askance, but after reading several books about it, and in particular speaking to Padma and Parvati, had come around. Just because England saw it as a sign of a dark wizard didn't mean the rest of the world. She had roundly defended him when it came out, but her defense of him didn't matter at all to most of the sheep posing as students here in Hogwarts.
Clutching at Hermione's hand, her frozen, petrified hand while he sat by her bed, Harry smiled as he remembered how Hermione had tried to defend him, and how the twins and the rest of the Quidditch team had come to his defense as well. It had made them all closer but there was one question he still had about that scene. "I wonder why you and the other girls were all blushing when that seventh year said how useful Parceltongue was in a man. What do vibrations have to do with anything, anyway?"
Just then the door to the infirmary burst open and Ron came in followed by the twins. "Harry!" Ron gasped. "Where've you been? The prefects were ordered to take all of the students to their dorm rooms. Didn't you hear the announcement?"
"I heard the professor say something on the intercom or whatever, yes. I'd decided to ignore it though." Harry replied coldly. While he and Ron had patched things up, Harry felt that Professor McGonagall had let him down badly, not just last year but this year as well.
None of the teachers had stood up for him when the rumors turned most of the population of the castle against him. None of the teachers had come forward to help the Defense Association with their efforts to actually have a defense against the dark arts education. And Professor McGonagall never protected Harry or the others from the Slytherins like Snape and Malfoy when they put them down or even attacked them occasionally in the halls.
"Never mind that Harry."Fred said from behind Ron. Harry could never understand why no one else could tell the two apart, it was just like Padma and Parvati. Fred had a few more freckles on one side of his face, and was slightly quicker to tell a joke than George. . "That doesn't matter, what matters is that Ginny is missing, and another 'heir' message was found."
"Too right my brother." said the other one frowning angrily, not even going into their normal back-and-forth routine. "It said 'her corpse will lie in the chamber forever'. All of the teachers are saying that Hogwarts is going to close and we're all going to be sent home, but not one of them is saying how they're going to try and find our Ginny!"
For a moment Harry thought of saying 'does this surprise you?' It certainly didn't surprise him. Most of the teachers here seemed to take a 'leave it alone until someone else does something attitude' towards everything outside their classrooms. Instead he exchanged a look with Ron before speaking up. "We might know where the Chamber of Secrets is, but not how to get in or what kind of monster it is."
"That could be enough Harry." said George, frowning anxiously. Of the twins, he was the one who was best able to handle more serious topics without some lead time. "If we go the to the teachers with that…"
"They'll ask us for what proof we have, and if we don't have enough they will turn us away, or if Snape is there he'll convince them it's some kind of publicity stunt by me. You know how they are." said Harry angrily. "And with Dumbledore away I bet there's some kind of lock on the Flu System."
"Susan said something about that a few hours ago." Ron said, and for once he wasn't ribbed about the pretty redhead by his twin brothers. While he didn't join the study group Ron was always around, and had taken up a tentative friendship with Susan over a shared passion for Quidditch. "Susan said she tried to contact her aunt after Creevey was attacked, but couldn't get through. Some kind of security thingy that needs the headmaster here to override it I think. And none of the owls are willing to leave the owlery for some reason."
"Stupid Fudge and the damned Ministry of Magic always screwing up." said Fred, scowling angrily. "What are we going to do Harry?"
All three of the redhead's turned to Harry, and his hand clenched on Hermione's fist then he froze. Looking down to the fist he whispered. "There something between her fingers. He pulled it out, then read it aloud "Pipes?"Then he flipped it over and began to read shaking his head at the very idea of Hermione cutting this out of a book. "'But the greatest of serpents is the basilisk…'"
After he finished reading the excerpt Fred asked skeptically. "Then why aren't any of the petrified students dead?"
"Think about it." George said snapping his fingers. "Norris, that abomination in furry clothing must've looked at it from the light of the puddle outside Moaning Myrtle's room. And Colin, he probably looked at it through the lens on his cameras and through Headless Nick."
"And Hermione?"Ron asked.
"Hermione's smart." Harry said softly, patting her hand and standing up. He moved over to Penelope Clearwater's head, lifting up a small mirror there. "The two of them must've been together in the library, and Hermione told Penelope about the basilisk. They must've been using the mirrors appear around corners after they left the library."
"And I think…" he said slowly. "I think I know how it's getting around too, Hermione found that answer too, pipes. There are pipes all through the building, and I bet it come out of them at any given point."
"Now we have to go to a teacher!" Ron said. "With this, and the fact we know that the chamber is somewhere in Moaning Myrtle's room they'll have to do something with that?"
Harry thought seriously. "I don't know, I'm not certain I trust any of them to really do anything but we'll see. Let's do this. Fred, you told us that you know of a secret way to get the Hogsmead for next year right? Use it and head into the town and use a flu there to call the Aurors. If they haven't already been told, they need to know. George, find professor Flitwick or Snape. Professor Flitwick is supposed to be a dueling champion right? And though I hate to say anything good about him, Snape is probably a better bet to fight something then Professor McGonagall."
Harry was making that basis on the fact that McGonagall didn't seem to have much fight for her students in her at all outside her classroom. But later when he got into transfiguration further, especially combat transfiguration he would realize that was rather naïve of him, going by appearance and personality rather than their known specialties.
"What about Lockhart?" Ron asked. "I know he hasn't been that effective, but his room is the nearest one."
About five minutes later Harry was cursing Ron roundly as Ron in turn held Lockhart at wand point while they went down the stairs into the Chamber of Secrets. "Why'd I ever listen to you I don't know!"
"Look at it this way." Ron said with a shrug. "He'll make a good meat shield anyway. Maybe if we feed him to the basilisk it'll choke on him. Or maybe the oil he uses in his hair is poisonous."
"Now boys there's no call for that." said Lockhart in that smarmy tone of his."I'm certain I'll be of some use if you would just give me back my wand Mr. Weasley."
"Fat chance." said both boys as they continued down the stairs. Once they reached bottom they entered a large rocky tunnel, the floor of which was lined with old snake-skins.
As they continued on their way the snake skins became bigger, until finally the size of one of them, almost as tall as Harry's head, seemed to sap what little courage Lockhart possessed. He suddenly turned, grabbing Ron by the arm and pulling him in. Ron was rather well-built for his age, but Lockhart was a grown man and easily overpowered the boy. He kicked Ron away, then flicked Ron's wand towards Harry. "None of that Mr. Pott-GAH!"
But Harry had already pulled out his own wand and an Expilliarmus caught the man full in the chest just as he was intoning his own spell. But Harry had put so much strength into the Expilliarmus sent Lockhart away with all the power of an explosion against the far wall. He must've hit something important, because suddenly there was a loud rumbling sound, and the entire ceiling began to cave in.
Harry quickly ducked aside rolling and diving forwards to get away from the rubble, while Ron did the same on the other side. After a moment the dust began to settle, and Ron called out."Harry are you okay!?"
"I'm all right." Harry said, brushing himself off and rather happy he had started to wear contacts rather than spectacles. Hermione had insisted on her parents taking him to an eye doctor who had proscribed them. The magical world apparently didn't have anything like them which was sad really but didn't matter right now. "All my bits are here anyway and so is my wand. How are you and the idiot?"
"We're all right."Ron shouted back. "But there's no way for me to get to you, and that moron broke my wand when he smacked into the wall! He's out of it. I'm smacking him upside the head and he's not even twitching."
"Then it's all on me." Harry said with a sigh. Head back upstairs and see if your brothers have had any better luck and guide them down here. I'll, I'll do what I can to find your sister."
After hearing Ron's reluctant reply Harry stood up, cracking his sore shoulders for a moment. "All right Harry time to do your 'hero thing' as Hermione calls it."
"Harry! Are you all right?" shouted Sirius, moving through the tumult of battle, leaving two Death eaters wrapped up in what looked like floss but which seemed to act like chicken-wire, slowly constricting in exceptionally painful but not immediately deadly places.
The older man's voice faltered and he looked past Harry at the body lying crumpled on the floor nearby, her bushy hair marking Hermione out as easily as ever. "Oh, no…"His eyes, which were not the most sane eyes anyone had ever seen turned wrathful, a look in them that Harry hadn't seen since the two of them had met the first time when Pettigrew had escaped. He turned, joining the battle with a yell. "You've killed your last child bastards!"
The sight of his godfather, who he'd not been allowed to live with and who had not gotten a trial, caused Harry's teeth to grit in anger once again. Not only had he been tricked, not only had Voldemort used their mental connection to send false images to him, but Harry had walked into a trap. Only luck had allowed them to escape from the initial ambush the Death Eaters had tried to set up his own.
But it wasn't just Voldemort and his Death Eaters who Harry was furious with. Damn you Dumbledore, damn you and your order! If you had only shared what was going on with this! If you had only gotten off your backside and done something!
"So let me get this straight." Harry said looking around at Ron, Padma, and the other members of the Defense Association who didn't agree with him on the urgency of heading to the ministry to save Sirius. "You want to trust Dumbledore. The person who has tried to systematically sabotage my magical education, who let me enter a tournament where he knew people routinely died and which pitted me was against older and better trained students, along with leading an order who apparently has done nothing in the past year to combat the Death Eaters? Or even prove that Voldemort is back?"
To one side Padma held up a hand and Harry glared at her. "Yes I know you say it's all supposition and that there were extenuating circumstances to some of it, but twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action. You can't argue that they haven't told us anything about what's going on, and I hate to say it Susan, but you're aunt hasn't exactly covered herself with glory either, being willing to tow the party line."
Susan actually flinched at that but nodded. "Saying her hands are tied and they have no budget is only an excuse Harry, I know, even if she believes us now. But really going to the Ministry? Why would V-Voldemort or whoever is impersonating him go to the trouble of keeping himself hidden since last year and then attack the Ministry now?"
"They're not attacking the Ministry they're doing some kind of ritual with Sirius there. Attacking isn't the same as sneaking in, and didn't you all say that in the last war a lot of people in the Ministry were on his side?"
Hermione nodded grimly. "And let's not forget all those people are still in power, right? Because that's the way things are done, if you're a pureblood and say you've been Imperioused, they don't even use Veritaserum on you, they take you 'at your word'."
More than one pureblood there glared angrily at her, but Hermione glared right back. Over the last few years thanks to Harry and her own parents she had lost much of her awe of authority figures, and of the wizarding world in general. Her parents had attempted to find out all they could about the laws of the wizarding world, only to have to rely on Harry to get a book about it, only to find most of the laws were decidedly biased against muggles in general, and only a little less so to muggle-born. The discrimination against them wasn't so much lawful as socially pervasive. Now Hermione saw all the shadows just as much as she saw the good things.
Hermione could no longer deny that the entire Wizard in world was bigoted from the top down. Even Ron and the pro-light families like them didn't really believe that non-magicals were their equals, they simply didn't hate them, which was a far cry from treating them as equal under the eyes of the law.
After a moment the other people looked away and Harry nodded grimly. "And there's the fact that as Supreme Mugwump he could've gotten Sirius a trial last year on my testimony. Confounded indeed! Instead what did he do? Nothing! He bundled me back to the damn Dursleys, made certain that Sirius was kept out of sight, and then you all know what happened with the Goblet of Fire, and with Umbridge this year."
That last name was enough, and finally all of their faces firmed. Lavender, Padma, and the other students that had come to the Defense Association this year all nodded, with Seamus speaking up for them all. "We're with you Harry."
All around him the Defense Association fired from somewhat long-range at the Death Eaters where they were now being forced to match more and more Aurors and Order members as they burst through the doorways on either side of the amphitheater. Harry had no attention for this however, he was concentrated on the two figures battling it out now in the center of the room, having swept through their disparate forces to clash there moments ago.
He even ignored Sirius and his cousin Bella the mad witch battling it out, throwing curses around like they were going out of style along with quips and phrases some of which were very strange to hear in a life-and-death battle. "Grandfather always liked you best!"
"Of course he did, I was the only one of our generation with a working brain after Andromeda ran off! You and Narcy so quickly kissed the ass of the Dark Lord, never even realizing that it was a half-blood!"
"You take that back blood-traitor!"
Harry ignored it all. Even Luna, the pretty little blonde whose friendship had been so important this past year, with everyone stressed out about Umbridge, OWL and his in Hermione's temporary estrangement about that old potions book with all the hints and it interesting bits of information and he had found.
Now she dueled with four Death Eaters and one Auror who had apparently tried to Hex her. Luna danced, she twirled, she moved constantly her spells a barrage of offensive, defensive and just weird spells, simply to cause chaos and confusion among her opponents. Which it did easily, Luna was winning that fight, slowly, but surely.
By this point Harry had reached the edge of the combat zone around Voldemort and Dumbledore, and he decided to emulate Luna's style as he joined in. With a wave of his wand he conjured up a horde of seeming-rabbits and sent them into the duel. Only when they came close to one of the wizards did open their mouth showing pointed teeth before attacking both combatants. Emma Granger was a Monty Python fan, and the terrible beast of Caerbannog had amused Harry when he'd seen it.
Spells from both combatants smashed the horde of rabbits to pieces, but Harry had already moved on. He transfigured the floor into spikes and hurling them straight at Voldemort, before following up with several offensive spells straight at the man. While the Voldemort dealt with them, Harry cast an illusion spell that Daphne had shared with the Defense Association, moving under the cover of it before he pulled out his invisibility cloak from the bag at his side, pulling it over his body.
By this point both Dumbledore and Voldemort were spending a few moments between their dual searching around for Harry. "Where are you Potter? You can't hide forever!"
"Now, now Tom." said Dumbledore, his voice cold and more powerful seeming than most had heard it. "Do you really think you have any time to spend looking for Harry right now?"
But Tom didn't respond, sending several spells at the old man who blocked them, dodged or smashed them aside with. But one of them hit the floor directly beneath him, not having been aimed directly at Dumbledore. Beneath Dumbledore the floor began to turn into quicksand.
The old man quickly stopped the process, but that stopped his own offensive for a moment. But before Voldemort could capitalize either by pulling back or attacking Harry was on him. But not with magic. Harry flung off a bit of his invisibility coat, slashing at Voldemort with the Sword of Gryffindor, hoping that the basilisk infused blade would end Riddle.
"GAAH!" Voldemort cried the blade cutting deeply into the upper arm of his non-wand hand. The skin there sizzled for a moment, but then Voldemort flung a cutting curse at where Harry was hiding. He jumped to one side, rolling as the assault continued. "Fool boy, my body is a homunculus!Magic itself keeps me alive, no mere blade or even poison will work on me, I am beyond death!"
Even so Voldemort paused a moment to hit his shoulder with some kind of healing spell, which stopped the sizzling, and the skin there began to knit back together. But that was all the madman had time for before Dumbledore was back on the attack, pressing him hard. For a moment Harry was forgotten.
Harry used this moment to hastily cover himself back with his invisibility cloak, making certain to cover himself completely. Then he began to circle around the two combatants, occasionally sending out spells at Voldemort until he was in position. At that moment several other Death Eaters tried to jump Dumbledore from behind, the Lestrange brothers perhaps, and one other.
The old man turned to handle them with ease, but it allowed Voldemort to turn back to searching for Potter. "Where are you Potter? Surely you can show the same amount of courage your paramour did and at least die gallantly?"
Harry ducked under an area of effect spell of some sort which zoomed through the air purple and green, and at the mention of Hermione, Harry saw red. He flung the edges of his invisibility cloak off his hands and began to fire spells both form his wand and non-wand hand. That and the strength and variety of the spells surprised the older man, though he handled them easily.
But Harry hadn't expected his spells to do anything to the older, more experienced wizard. Instead they had only been meant to take Voldemort's attention from Harry disappearing back under his cloak, and charging. A second after Voldemort dissipated the last spell, a massive cutting spell, Harry slammed his still invisible body into Voldemort's side, grabbing the man's wrist and using a move that had shown him once to break it before smacking the man's wand away.
"I don't need a wand to use magic Potter!" said Voldemort, slamming a hand into Harry's now visible forehead causing him to fling his head back, a small red blast of a Stupefy spell smacked into him, but Harry ignored it.
Harry didn't let go of Riddle, instead he began pushing forward at the older man not letting him get his feet under him. The power of the berserker had filled Harry. All he wanted to do was kill Voldemort, the man who had cost him so much,
Cost him his father, the man he had only seen in the Mirror or Erised, who he had only heard snippets about even from his best friends. Cost him his mother, whose death had haunted his dreams for years, her screams of "Not Harry, not Harry" giving Harry strength in his younger years but also scarring him mentally forever.
Cost him any chance of being a normal boy, his time at the Dursleys, the stares and whispers behind his back from the sheep of the wizarding world. The basilisk venom neutralized but not removed from his bloodstream thanks to Fawkes's tears, the result of a plot by a portion of the man's past, proof that he had always been a bastard. Cedric's death, the torture Harry had gone through during Voldemort's resurrection last year.
Harry wanted to kill, no had to kill Voldemort, the man who had killed Hermione, his first love! .
Behind him his red reptilian eyes suddenly going wide, his hands gripping Harry's arms now, fingers of lightning going through the boy who simply gritted his teeth and kept on pushing. "Stop you fool boy! You'll kill us both!"
"So be it!" Harry yelled aloud and with that pushed the two of them through the Veil of Death.
For a moment the hall went silent, Death Eaters, Aurors, Defense Association and Order of the Phoenix fighters all falling silent while they stared at the place where their young hero and Voldemort had stood. Dumbledore too stared, his eyes wide and astonished. "This," he said aloud, his voice carrying despite being a whisper. "This I did not foresee. Why? Was this what the prophecy meant?"
Around him the Death Eaters went mad, screaming as they clutched at their arms. Harry's remaining friends simply stared in shock, all their training gone at seeing their leader, their friend, take out Voldemort at the cost of his own life. Around them the Aurors and even Dumbledore's own Order pressed the attack with renewed vigor. Soon, not a single Death Eater was conscious in the hall.
At first Harry couldn't feel his body, couldn't feel anything. Couldn't see anything, couldn't hear anything.. There was a brief and incredibly intense sensation of pain centered on his lightning bolt scar, then nothing, absolutely nothing. Wherever they were, there was no sensation at all. His body simply floated in an endless sea of nothing. He shook his head, and he was able to feel that sensation at latest, as he tried to get over the pain wondering what had caused it and more importantly. "Where, where am I? Did that work?" Even when Harry spoke, he didn't hear his own voice.
Yet even so he was better off than his opponent, for at least the first few seconds of their time in this odd dimension.
Voldemort's body came apart, expelling him violently. He had been dead once, and as he had told Harry, his body was but a construction, not a real body. He might've tried to fight his expulsion if not for the soul shattering pain that went through him at the same time from another source. It was the sensation of it one of his Horcrux being destroyed, something he knew having felt the same thing three years ago.
With that Voldemort realized two things. One, that he had finally discerned Dumbledore's true plan for Harry Potter, the reasoning behind his seemingly offering Potter up as a sacrificial lamb. And two, the tremendous mistake Voldemort himself had made all those years ago when he had attacked the Potters. I wanted to create a seventh horcrux, my soul was ready for it, and when I died the process continued! The boy was a horcrux and that piece of my soul took the death meant for him! It must only be the fact that I still have others anchoring me to life that I still live!
Yet even now Voldemort felt his life force draining away. I have to get somewhere safe, and I know just the place! With a thought he launched his spectral form from the decaying body of his homunculus and into Harry Potter, trying to take the place of the original soul-splinter that had occupied him.
Yet somehow in this place Harry was aware of the intrusion and he fought back thrusting Riddle's soul away from his own. "No! Just die already!"
But he couldn't keep Tom completely out of his mind, untried as he was in the mental arts. Indeed, the lessons with Snape he'd been forced into despite his protests had the opposite effect, opening his mind further to outside forces.
Thus Tom was able to latch onto Harry's mind and from there his magical reserves, and began to use Harry's own magic to assault him. No spells really just pure magic fueled by rage and hate, and fear, fear of knowing that death was catching up to him here in this odd realm. "How dare you, how dare you Potter! I will have my vengeance, I will have my freedom from this place! I will beat even this method of death, and when I return the whole world will know me for its master!"
Voldemort's words weren't quite telepathic, yet they weren't reaching Harry via sound either, and he still he heard them somehow.
He gasped and held up his hands, covering himself with a hasty shield which glowed blue around Harry against the backdrop of the purple and green blasts of his opponent, lighting the emptiness. But at least those lights allowed Harry to see somewhat, and now he could see the horrifying opponent across from him.
The shade of Voldemort was a grotesque thing, huge and menacing made of mist and shadow standing out from the simple blank black of their surroundings in the backdrop of those lights, his eyes two red pinpricks in the mound that must be its head. There was so much hate, so much rage and fury in the creature that had been Voldemort that it lent him power here somehow, allowed him to use more of Harry's magical reserves than Harry himself could call upon, though not with anywhere near the control.
"Oh give it a rest!" Harry shouted back, sending that thought down the tenuous connection between them while forming a massive fist out of his magic and sending it at Voldemort. That was all they could do, mold their thoughts into attacks like that, fueled by emotions and a mutual hatred. "All you've ever been doing is running away you fucking coward! Death comes for us all, and I'm going to make certain this time its sticks for you for what you've done to me, for what you did to Hermione!"
"I will make you beg for a mercy before I'm through!" The shadow thing howled, while reaching down with hands of black shadow and claws which looked as if they weren't actually solid, but somehow Harry knew they would cut into him all the same.
Harry blocked them with a shield and flung another magical attack into the creature's face, while he tried to scrabble for anything physical he could use, but when he swung the sword of Gryffindor out from his side it cut straight through the thing of shadow without doing any damage he cursed, putting it back into his mokeskin pouch for now. "Only magic it is!"
Voldemort was being kept alive not only because of the connection he had forged in that brief moment with Harry's magical reserves and soul, but because he still had horcruxes out there in the real world. However, the veil of death, while not precisely what the wizards of the ministry thought it was still was indeed a bridge between life and death, or here and there to someone who knew how to walk them. But even so those bits of soul were being drained rapidly
Left behind in Malfoy manor a massive snake began to writhe in agony, while a golden cup began to crumble, hidden in a massive vault underneath the goblin bank. A ring secreted under numerous deadly enchantments began to crack, some of the magic imbued in it fading, though not as quickly as the goblet or snake, which were much closer to the epicenter of the effect. Somewhere between them, a locket began to fade in a thief's pocket, and in the Room of Requirement, a diadem set onto a porcelain statue began to slowly fade.
No one noticed any of this, not even the thief who had possession of the locket.
"Oh come on Tom maybe if you die, you'll be reincarnated. There must be some kind of bug or other you could be. A dung beetle maybe, you'd fit right in."
"A, a dung-beetle? How dare you, j-just give up Potter! You can never defeat me!"
"Oh, I'm sorry I should've known you'd prefer to be a mosquito. You're enough of a bloodsucking parasite to qualify already."
"RAAAHHHH!Your foolish bravado will not save you Potter! You've been set up all your life for this, to die! Why don't you do so if you're so eager to embrace it!"
"After you, age before beauty and all that. Besides, I'm certain there are lots of people on the other side eager to make your acquaintance."
How long their battle took neither of them knew. Nor how long since Harry had begun to channel his inner Marauder and fling quips at his foe in an effort to throw him off. They did seem to be throwing Voldemort off slightly, or perhaps Harry's mind had simply cracked, he didn't know or care really. He kept on flinging out insults like they were party favors, and anyone who listened to him would never have realized he was in a life or death struggle for his very soul.
Their battle was more a meeting of elemental forces than a meeting of one wizard against another. Spells had no place here, only pure will and a drive to win kept both combatants going. Each of them had certain advantages in the battle.
Tom was mobile, able to move around the dimension with far more ease than Harry, who simply floated in one place. But Voldemort was constrained because he couldn't move very far away from Harry due to his connection to the young man's magical reserves. And while he could wield that power, cutting and blasting at Harry, Harry could do the same, and their knowledge of spells was useless here. It was all about will, and in that area surprisingly Voldemort had no advantage.
Harry had one other advantage, his father's cloak. Though Harry didn't know it, that cloak was far more than a simple invisibility cloak like those used by the Order of the Phoenix when they had to watch over him during this past summer. It was one of three magical creations of the brothers Peverell in their deal with an ancient personification of Death. They had each wished to in some way become immune to death, a thing they surprisingly had in common with Voldemort. The cloak, which hid the wearer from Death even when not fully covering him unlike from more physical threats, was unarguably the most effective of the three.
It allowed Harry to exist here, though exist was the operative term, not live or thrive. And while it could no longer hide him from his opponent's senses, it hid his soul from the realm's normal response to intruders. The realm they were in should have quickly drained Harry but could not touch him yet it was continually draining Voldemort. Eventually, Tom began to feel that and he screamed in rage. Abandoning the game of quips and jokes, he attacked more and more desperately trying to grab more power from Harry's magical reserves, but Harry fought him off just as fiercely, sensing the desperation that told him his opponent was weakening.
With hands glowing with magical power Harry gripped his opponent's clawed hands, holding them in place. Then he sent a magical surge out of his eyes into Tom's face in a way he never could have in their original world.
Voldemort screamed, wrenching one of his hands free and trying to claw at Harry's face, causing a long spike of agony to appear, going from one ear to his chin. "Damn you boy, you'll not beat me!"
Harry knew he'd just received a new scar, even if he couldn't see it. Yet even so Harry ignored the pain, lashing out with his own fist, sending a bright blast of yellow and orange magic into the creature's chest. "Not a chance Smoky! That's my power you're using you shite, this is my body you're trying to invade, you shite, and my magic you're trying to take, but you'll have neither… you shite!"
He watched, noticing that the creature that Voldemort had become began to reform from the blast, only much more slowly than it had even a few minutes ago. He's weakening! He mentally crowed in confirmation.
With that thought egging him on, Harry dug deep into his magical powers, lashing out again and again going on the full offensive, no longer thinking of his own defense. He took several dozen slashes, one of which caught him high up in the chest slicing him across a pectoral, almost finishing his shirt's destruction. But Voldemort was now visibly reeling back trying to get some distance between them, but anchored as he was to Harry's soul and magical reserves he couldn't retreat.
The goblet had collapsed, it's magic and soul fragment drained screaming into the ether. The locket was next, falling apart just as Mundungus Fletcher was about to draw it out for a prospective buyer.
He coughed uncomfortably. "I seem ta've left it in me other robes guv, why don't I just go look fer it?" Before anyone could do anything, he had scurried out of the exceedingly seedy tavern where he'd been me meeting his contact.
Once safe several streets away Fletcher shook his head. "Shoddy stuff, never would've thought it of the Blacks. Or was that some kind of protection thing? Wouldn't put it past the dark bastards."
Only Narcissa and Draco were at home unfortunately to here Nagini's pained cries. Draco tried to help his new master's familiar, but was nearly crushed by her death in her death rattles, only his mother's quick thinking saving him. The two of them stood in the doorway to the 'throne room' watching in terror as the Dark Lord's familiar convulsed and died.
The ring was next after the locket. It crumbled, fading to dust and then to nothing, leaving the Ruby gem that had marked it behind pristine and untouched for now.
That left only the diadem in Hogwarts keeping Voldemort alive. The soul fragment within it screamed, having just enough sentience to realize what was happening to it, to know that somewhere it's other self was facing death. Yet even so, it couldn't do anything. It was simply an object, stuck on a stone carving with no one nearby for it to force its will upon. All it could do was scream as its very being was pulled slowly but surely out of it.
Though neither combatant noticed it, the very air around them had become magically infused. But the dimension the two combatants had found themselves in could not handle that, a sign of a living being inside it, for long. It began to rebel and quake, causing Harry's body to actually feel sensations for the first time.
Yet this didn't distract from Harry's concentration. Tom was becoming weaker and weaker, his grip on Harry's soul and magical reserves, if the two of them were indeed separate Harry didn't know, becoming fainter.
Perhaps he should have taken notice however, because the dimension, like a human body discovering a foreign agent, suddenly worked to expel the intruder. The place between worlds spat Harry and the leech that he was fighting out completely at random, uncaring as to their destination so long as they were gone.
Thorin Oakenshield grunted under his burden, several hundred pounds of pig iron. Once mixed with the other metals he had back at his forge, they would become steel, good dwarven steel, which he would then sell to make the money that his family and clan members needed so much.
It wasn't the weight of the burden that bothered him. He was a dwarf, and dwarfs made light of such burdens, and even for the doughty folk of Mahal, Thorin was reckoned strong. No, it was what the burden represented that made him grunt in all too familiar anger and grief.
He had been a fairly young dwarf when they had been forced to flee Erebor, when he had been forced to take up the 'kingship' when his father went off on his mad quest to the mines of Khazad Dum after the last War of the Dwarves and Orcs, when every other orcish stronghold was thrown all that time, Thorin had barely been able to keep the dams and the children of his immediate family safe through the bare skin of his teeth. Dozens of families had retreated to their distant cousins in the Iron Hills but others had simply scattered, no longer able to rely on the mountain and the stone of their halls for defense.
It was a sad existence, for none more so than the dams and the children. It was a dwarf's place to protect his clan's women, his wife, his mother, his sister and all too often Thorin had come close to failing that sacred charge. With only one out of every three dwarves being female, and not all of them marrying, it wasn't a simple social more, but one based on survival of the species. Dwarves married for life with the female always doing the choosing, if she met her One. If not, she would never marry. And despite their long lives, a married couple would usually only have four children at best. Children and women were thus infinitely precious to dwarves, even more than jewels or gold or works of hand and eye.
More than once Dis, his sister and others dams of the clan were in danger, and it had been all he and the other warriors could do to protect them from goblins and other threats. Now the women and children were hidden away in the Iron Hills, a sure sign to others that Thorin had admitted his strength wasn't enough to protect them. That galled him like fire, especially since it was true.
Yet I do what I can, and possibly soon my dream, our dream will be made into a reality. There's been no stirrings from the dragon for several decades now, the signs and the portents are telling it right. The time will soon come for us to reclaim what is ours!
With a grim smile on his face Thorin continued his trek down the trail from the small iron mine that he worked alone towards the nearby town where he had been working in the past decade as a smith. Another week or so, then the response to my missive to Dain should arrive. Regardless of their response, I will need to meet Balin and the others two months from now.
He snorted suddenly, shaking his head. I wonder if my two nephews will show up, an idea I am definitely of two minds about. I know they are good warriors, almost as good as myself or Dwalin, but they are so young… Still I cannot gainsay them in this, it is their right to return with us to Erebor.
His thoughts were interrupted by a massive booming crash nearby, a great "KRAKOOOM!"
Whirling, Thorin quickly divested himself of his burden, reaching to his belt and pulling out a long, wicked looking sword. It was one of his own make, heavy, sharp and thick bladed and like any sensible dwarf Thorin never left home without it.
Squinting hard through the nighttime forest Thorin could see what looked like a Human, a young one for that breed possibly, though it was very hard to see him, his form was indistinct, some kind of cloak or something making him blend in with the background. He stood in an opening in the forest that hadn't been there moments before. There were several trees shattered and blasted, tossed aside like a catapult stone had smashed into them. But there was also something else,another presence there.
Suddenly the youth's hands lit up with blue and purple fire, and Thorin could clearly see what he was fighting. No coward, Thorin still gulped staring at the dark creature the boy was was a thing of shadow and smoke, like some of the stories about Durin's Bane, only with none of the fire of that creature but also none of its solidness the keeper of Moria was said to possess. A single glance told Thorin his blade would mean nothing to it.
Indeed it looked feeble, clinging to the boy as if trying to possess him, something Thorin had heard of from old legends about what could happen to Humans touched by evil things. Though most of those had the possession attempt coming from actual physical items and the entire battle be an internal one rather than an image like this. Thorin could only watch as the battle raged...
Harry grunted as his back hit something solid, sensation once more flooding into his awareness. Back in the material plane, he thought, almost giddy with it and he began to laugh riotously as he noticed he was in a forest somewhere. But his enemy was still trying to cling to Harry, trying to grasp his mind. "Looks like we're back among the land of the living Tommy boy! Or at least, I am. You on the other hand…."
Harry reached forward, grasping the body of the leech, which was an accurate label of what Voldemort had become, with his willpower and he finally succeeded in ripping it entirely away from his soul. He screamed the pain of it agonizing worse than any Cruciatus curse yet Harry continued, breaking the tendrils of darkness away from him with pure willpower.
"No! You cannot, I will not… Don't do this Potter, please we could join together help one another!" At the last, Voldemort's will broke, faced with the certainty of the end he had spent practically his entire life trying to flee from.
"How about no Tom? How about you get the bloody fuck out of my mind and die!" With that Harry pulled his hands to either side, ripping Voldemort's corporeal form apart one last time. With a last despairing wail the darkest wizard in the last hundred years of Harry's world died, completely and utterly gone for good.
Harry stumbled against the tree, staring wildly around, making certain that not even the last little bit of Voldemort was left alive. He turned, wide-eyed as a being that was short, stout and with heavy beard and bearing a naked blade came towards him.
Looking at the dwarf's eyes however it was obvious he wasn't going to attack and Harry waved a hand at him. "Some people." he said airily. "They just don't know when no means no, you know?" And with that Harry fell forward, exhaustion finally claiming him.
Thorin raised a bushy eyebrow and stared at the boy, respect etched on his features. Whatever that creature had been it had been strong, and this boy had evidently been fighting it for a very long time. Once Thorin removed the large cloak partially concealing the boy Thorin could see he had several wounds covering his body. Some of them were scabbed over and others had already formed hideous scars on his body. A few of them were newly made, those on his arms and hands in particular.
"Such a one does not deserve to die out here from exhaustion and the elements rather than battle." He said aloud, reaching into his pouch for some wraps to put over the boys arms and hands to hopefully keep infection at bay. Once he had done enough of what he could to aid the boy's injuries, he lifted the lad up, grunting in astonishment at how light he was. The youngling almost felt as light as elves were supposed to be and Thorin quickly put him down, checking his ears just in case. If the boy was an elf Thorin was going to leave him here, respect for the battle he had just seen or no.
Thankfully the boy's ears were normal Human ones, and Thorin hefted him onto his shoulder again before heading back to his pack. The boy's weight was literally nothing in comparison to his normal burden, so it wouldn't add much.
For two days Thorin carried the boy, tending to him as needed each time Thorin made camp. They were nearly at the edge of the small, nameless town along the Great East Road that Thorin had begun to work in since Dis and the other dams had been sent to the Iron Hills. The thought still stuck in his craw even now, just as it had each time it came to mind but Thorin had a dream, no a driving all consuming passion, to reclaim what was once theirs, to see them all safe in their own halls once again. And if I have to deal with the knowledge that my sister and the other dams and children are being protected by Dain and his clan to free myself to act, then so be it.
On the morning of the third day the Human boy awoke while Thorin was moving about his camp. He stared down at his bandaged hands, pulling them off to stare at the wounds there, before intoning something in an odd language, running one finger lightly over the gashes. As Thorin watched askance the wounds slowly healed.
The Human youth then pulled at his hair, seeming astonished at how long it was, before opening the ragged remains of his shirt to stare at the wounds on his chest. The one across the chest in particular looked fearsome, and the scar it had left was impressive even to Thorin.
Then the boy, no the young man Thorin decided, looked around him, his gaze coming to rest at Thorin. "Hail and well met young warrior." Thorin said in Common, nodding his head at him from across the fire, sitting down and staring curiously at the human youth.
He wasn't an expert, but he estimated the young man was only somewhere in his second decade. He wasn't certain, Humans aged so much faster than his own people, but he knew for certain he'd yet to shave, which made him hideously young to Thorin's eyes. Yet the scars on his body and the magic he wielded told Thorin his age might be deceiving. They spoke of a harsh life that only a dwarf could appreciate.
"I witnessed the end of your duel with that shadow creature. What was it? It looked like something from the time of Morgoth, or the Lesser evil of Sauron. And where did you learn your own magics? I know there are wizards abroad, I've even met none I've heard of are as young as you seem to be."
Harry looked at him blankly for a moment then from somewhere inside dredged up a spell that Hermione had found during their fourth year at Hogwarts. She had sought a method to learn languages so as to talk to some of the French students and even the Bulgarians in their native tongue. She found it rude to always have to rely on them knowing English, and had found one in a book that Luna had recommended to her.
For a moment Harry looked around him, wondering blearily where his wand went, thankful that his father's cloak was folded neatly beside him. Then he looked back at the dwarf across the fire. It had to be a dwarf, he'd seen pictures of them in history books, though they had retreated from the 'lands of men' whatever that meant during the rise of the Roman Empire. "I'm sorry, I don't understand you, but if you give me a moment I think I can do something about that."
Thorin eyebrows rose in surprise, he wasn't surprised the boy didn't speak Common, but even so his language sounded odd. He knew many different languages of men, and even a smattering of Elf, since as a prince such diplomatic tools were necessary, if only to observe the niceties. But the boy's language, while seeming to have a bit of the structure of a few of those tongues, was wholly unlike them as well.
Giving up on his wand Harry frowned for a moment, then waved his fingers in the air in a complicated figure 8 before flicking it and hoping for the best as he intoned "Rosetta Calx". There was a brief shimmering of the spell in the air, and the dwarf's hands swiftly went to his waist where Harry now noticed a very businesslike looking sword hung.
"Calmly, please." Harry said and the dwarf stopped in surprise. "Can you understand me now, I used a language spell, it basically makes me understand your words. It's a short term thing, but every time you speak your language, I'll gain more knowledge of it for myself, -er at least I think so.I wish I had listened more to the explanation for it, more fool me. Anyway, I'm Harry Potter, you have any idea where we are?"
"Magic should always be treated warily." Thorin said slowly, excusing his own actions, though inwardly noting the lad's response confirmed him as being somewhat young, the human equivalent of his nephew Kili perhaps. "I am Thorin, and yes I know where I am, I am outside the land known as the Breelands. It is a land of Men and Hobbits, but Men pay well for good dwarven steel, though the hobbits need none except for tools and trinkets. Why, did your battle with that creature somehow transport you magically?"
Thorin was wary of giving any real information to the boy, but that much was safe enough. The Breelands were a crossroads of sorts for many peoples thanks to the main town's auspicious location, a good place to gather those dwarves who remained true to the dream of reclaiming Erebor. Though it was that very reason that he and his companions had decided to meet elsewhere, someplace no one would look, a location chosen by Gandalf. I wonder how Tharkun is doing in finding a thief anyway?
Harry didn't know where the Breelands were, though he had never really studied geography, and didn't pick up on the fact that Thorin was keeping something back. Even if he had, he would've simply seen it as good sense, after all they were strangers. So he answered honestly,"You could say that yes. I'm uncertain-but I don't think-well, you said 'Men' correct? That means there are other humans here? I haven't suddenly found myself in the Dwarven lands?"
"Dwarven lands? You said that with a very odd sort of emphasis. Are you talking of a country, a hidden kingdom perhaps?" Thorin asked interestedly, wondering if this boy had dealing with his people before.
"Shouldn't I be the one answering asking questions here, I am the lost traveler in this picture."Harry said with a small pout.
He watched as Thorin rolled his eyes and said something under his breath about 'youngsters' but answered readily enough. "Where I come from, dwarves had long since retreated from, well, the normal lands basically. The histories are uncertain of whether or not that meant they disappeared deep into some mountain somewhere, or somehow magically created their own land and then retreated into it before cutting off all access."
"No dwarves I know would have magic enough to do that." Thorin said thinking aloud. "Retreat under the ground perhaps."
Harry shrugged. "I know there are gnomes in another country, and that dwarven steel is sometimes still traded between us and the goblins but…"
He stopped as Thorin gripped his steel blade and pulled it out rapidly. "You are an ally of goblins!?"
"Ally, no!We're not allies with them, though we have gone to war with them occasionally in the past. We finally decided on a truce, they get to fondle all the coins they wish as bankers for the wizards of my world they don't rebel and we don't kill them all."
That was about all Harry had retained from nearly five years of magical history lessons. He tended to tune out Daphne and Hermione's arguments on the subject unless it touched on dark wizards, which he had a particular interest in of course.
"What is a bank?" Thorin said scowling. "And who in their right minds would trust goblins with their money?"
"A place to store your money and have someone guard it is the easiest way to describe a bank, and wizards are very rarely in the right minds." Harry said with a laugh. "I know I'm not at the moment. I should be well…" he shuddered and tears began to form in his eyes before he rapidly shook them away. "Anyway, I think I think it's my turn to ask you some questions. Where is England from here, or maybe you know it Britannia? Even France would do in a pinch, er, that would be the land of the Gauls I think…"
Seeing the dwarf hesitate Harry smiled grimly and reached into his mokeskin pouch, pulling out the sword of Gryffindor. "I'm not an expert with this, but trust me with this blade I don't have to be. I'm not going to attack you, but nor am I a going to simply answer all your questions without getting any information in return."
Thorin stared into his eyes, then grunted and sat down sheathing his blade again. "Fair enough stranger, but the world you describe is very odd to me. Orcs and goblins are not trusted at all here. They are a menace, one of the deadliest you will ever meet. They have been ever since the Great Enemy created them in the Time of Darkness. They are a blight upon the world. Numerous times my people, the Humans and the cursed Elves have thought them wiped out in this or that corner of the world, only for them to grow back their numbers, expanding like that of a colony of ants."
His lips formed into a snarl under his beard, and he gripped his sword. "My own grandfather died from orcs, and I fought in the last battles of the last war against them in this part of the world. Speak not to me of orcs or goblins."
"Great Enemy? Perhaps you could expand on that point? Or answer some of the questions I asked about."
Thorin shook his head interrupting the youthful human. "I know not where England is, nor have I heard of any of the other nations or peoples you name. I think my young acquaintance, you are very, very far from home.""
"Yeah, I kind of feared that. Why can't my life be simple, just once, you know, for varieties sake if nothing else?" Harry said shaking his head with a sigh. "But you seem to know about magic. Do you know some magic users, or do you practice it yourself?"
Again Thorin hesitated, but saw no reason not to answer. "My own people do not use magic as you seem to, but there is an order of wizards in this world, yes. My father and grandfather were friends with one such, and I met him a time or two. Gandalf the Grey, a powerful Wizard though he certainly never used his magics as you did in that battle, but he is also good with the blade for a human. Even gave me a few tips when I was younger."
"Hah, certainly doesn't sound like my kind of wizard I know." Harry said laughing. "Most wizards aren't athletic, as a general rule. Unless they play Quidditch in some ways, but that's a small exception to the rule."
"Some kind of sport or skill I take it?" Thorin asked poking at the fire.
Harry only then noticed that there was a rabbit cooking there and he stood up. "If that rabbit is all you have, let me look around for a bit. These trees look like oaks and birch, so I'm assuming that at least the wildlife and plants are the same. If that's the case, there should be some herbs around here."
"I know not how to cook." said Thorin protesting, but Harry had already left the circle of firelight. Thorin frowned looking after him wondering if the boy would bolt now. But he was back shortly with several small leaves.
"Basil leaves." he said in explanation. Reaching for the fire he pulled the rabbits out, whereupon he began to chop the meat of it up, wrapping each piece in basil and sticking them on a piece of green wood before placing them back beside the fire. Once that was done he leaned back, sitting now slightly closer to Thorin rather than across the fire from him. There was still more than enough distance between the two however so that either could reach for his blade if the other made to attack. "While that's cooking, why don't you tell me more about the history of this world just in a general way."
Thorin shrugging and did so. He was no lore master, but he knew the history of the world well enough. The Great Betrayal, the Sundering, the Long Night and more recent history, the makings of the rings and the Last Great War. He delved deeper into his own people's history of course then the rest of the world, telling of the nations that had been hewn out of stone and rock and then the rise of his own people, the kingdom of Erebor, the mightiest realm of dwarves in this age of the world. There he clammed up, going silent and dark staring out into the night his eyes grim and his face a mask of ancient grief and fury.
Through it all Harry listened, only asking questions a time or two as Thorin got deeper and deeper into telling the tale of wars, heroes and calamity. Tragedy, like betrayal, was woven through the tale from beginning to end, and Harry could tell that this was a far darker world than his own and not just technologically behind as he had previously thought. What have I gotten myself into? He wondered, half in trepidation, and half in growing curiosity. Perhaps this was precisely what he needed after the disastrous battle in the ministry, an entirely new start, where none of his enemies, friends or Dumb-as-a-door could ever find him.
But what interested him most was the current tale. The saga of Thorin's people seemed unfinished if the way the dwarf had closed off and gone so still and sorrowful was any indication. Harry pulled the rabbit skewers out with his fingers, hissing a little at the heat and then peeled away the outer wrapping of basil leaves to take a bite of the rabbit. "Tastes just like chicken." He mumbled shaking his head at a joke he'd absorbed from Seamus and a few other muggle born.
Passing over half of the stickers to Thorin he said. "Well that was quite a tale, and one I'll need to think about further before asking more questions. For now, the food's done. ."
The two of them fell to eating, with Thorin grunting approval of the taste of the rabbit, while Harry merely ate ravenously. The two of them remained silent as they ate, with Thorin watching this new curiosity that had fallen into his lap before asking Harry about the odd creature he had been fighting. The boy replied, explaining it as a piece of a dark wizards soul, a thought that made the dwarf shudder at the very idea, before answering the boy's question in turn.
The question and answer session lasted well into the night, until as Thorin was speaking about the wars of the Witch King Harry at last fell asleep by the fire. Thorin stared at him, his thoughts a whirl with the tale the boy had told. He knew there was more to be said, but even what he had already learned was enough to keep him thinking for weeks. Yet his thoughts kept coming back to two things: one, the odd cloak the boy wore, calling it an invisibility cloak. And two, the number of strange and wondrous spells the boy had spoken of.
If even half of them are true, perhaps, perhaps Mahal has smiled on our quest. No, no I cannot assume that just yet. I must learn more about Harry's character before that, as well as his abilities before even considering telling him about my people's exile. With that thought, Thorin turned in as well. And if he woke up at any point in the night to the sounds of sobs nearby he made no sign of it.
The next day Harry was up before Thorin. He looked at the dwarf, who was currently and nearly hidden in a bed of leaves, his sword across his chest. He was almost invisible unless you knew where to look. Harry of course had his invisibility cloak, from which only his head was visible currently. With a sigh he sat up, rubbing at the bridge of his nose for a moment.
It was then he realized with a start that his eyes didn't hurt. Every time he had fallen asleep with his contacts in before they would hurt like blazes the next day. But I can see perfectly, what the heck? Did they somehow merge with my eyes in that weird between-steps plane? Could explain my lack of wand too…With that thought Harry conjured up a small mirror, staring at his reflection. What looked back at him was a face older than the one he remembered. Gone was any hint of baby fat, leaving behind thin, almost gaunt but somehow stern cheekbones, smattered with stubble. One side of his face was marred by a long thin scar that went from his right ear to his chin. His green eyes were also deep set, and his wild hair fell to his shoulders. There were other scars littering his body now too, adding to the collection he had already, most of which he'd noticed the other day.
Holy hell, I'm… what, five, six years older than I was? Was I in there for that amount of time, or did the fight somehow age me, or did time just move differently there? Ugh, too many damn questions. I wish Hermione…
Harry had to pause as a fresh round of grief nearly overwhelmed him, but he gritted his teeth and controlled it, turning back to more immediate things, concentrating on transfiguring his ragged shirt back into a clean one for the moment. Anyway, nothing I can do about it now. But wow, that bastard did a number on me. Hell, it looks like a need to shave now. Weird.
A snort from nearby broke Harry out of his introspection, and he turned to watch Thorin wake up.
He nodded at the dwarf, who nodded then went off to the little dwarf's room Harry supposed, before coming back, looking at harry curiously. "Where will you go now Harry Potter?"
"Just Harry please." Harry said shaking his head and looking at the sword of Gryffindor which had been lying next to him, conjuring up a sheathe for it as well as a belt. "And if it's all the same to you, I'd like to follow you to a town at least. Then I won't trouble you further."
Thorin only tore his eyes away from the now sheathed blade at Harry's side with difficulty, having seen the sword in the light of day for the first time. It was exquisite work, and he frowned suddenly looking at it. Something about its makeup called to him. "That blade…" he said slowly, not answering Harry's question. "That blade is special in some way is it not?"
"In many ways yes." Harry said with a laugh. "And before you ask, no I don't have any idea who made it. It was ancient, called the sword of Gryffindor in my world. It's supposed to be a goblin blade, but I have my doubts about that, since the only other works of goblins I've seen have been in stone, their vaults and ward arrays were excellent. But it does take on the properties of anything it is soaked in, so there could be some truth to that too. Since I used it to kill a basilisk, one of the most poisonous creatures alive, it's become rather deadly. So please, don't touch the blade."
Thorin pulled hand back from doing just that scowling a little. "Interesting. As to your question, you can come with me so long as you do the chores around the camp as we go."
"I think I've already proven I'm a better cook than you." Harry said with a laugh then nodded. "That's fine. I'll even put some runic arrays down to protect us at night. Nothing permanent, I've not gotten to that point in my studies yet but I can certainly put down a mild Notice Me Not field, or an Aversion field to keep animals at bay."
"Interesting." Thorin said, though his tone said 'I'll believe it when I see it.'
Harry nodded at the challenge and laughed. "Just wait until we stop for the night, then you'll see." He said as they began the day's journey.
That evening they stopped early, Thorin not wishing to push the manling too far while he was still recovering. While Thorin went hunting for some food to bolster what little he'd brought along, small biscuits and dried meat. More than enough for a single dwarf to subsist on but not for both of them, Harry stayed around the area that Thorin had chosen for their camp.
He busied himself by taking out large flat stones and inscribing two or three runes on each of them before setting them out in a pattern around the camp. As he came back laden with a large raccoon Thorin looked at the stones with interest, and Harry explained that he was putting down an aversion field to keep animals and anyone else from noticing the camp.
At that explanation, Thorin looked at the rocks far more closely, using all his self-control not to gape. His people made use of runes to imbue magic into items, calling upon Mahal to power them, but the process was slow, often times ponderous. The effects they could achieve varied, from weapons which never needed honing, or armor that was far lighter than even dwarven mail could be, to the famous lights of Khazad Dum or the self-propelled carts, which would run continuously between the lowest mine and the forges above.
Defense too was something the dwarves used runes for, creating magical doors, hiding them from any attempt to find them or enhancing their strength magically. No army could break such doors until the magic in them was destroyed, as had, alas, been the case with Erebor's own doors. Dragonfire destroyed magical bonds like that as fast as it did the wood of the door itself.
Yet the use of runes was also something of a vanishing art amongst them, much of the knowledge lost after the fall of Khazad Dum or even before in the Age of Wrath. At its height Erebor had two dozen rune-carvers, those men, and even one dam, who had learned how to enhance the runic letters with magic, the mightiest of their kind in all the dwarven kingdoms. Thorin's grandfather had sent more than half the remaining warriors of the mountain to the Iron Hills to guard the six surviving rune carvers barely weeks after Erebor fell, so precious were they. They remained there now, guarded by Dain and his people.
But to see runes used in this manner, so quickly and with such an effect, that was beyond startling to Thorin. For one so young for his people to know such a skill, aye and be so open about it, what kind of society did Harry Potter come from where they teach rune-craft so young, without teaching the need to guard the knowledge? This Human is a mystery… but could he also represent an opportunity?
But using them in this manner, so quickly and so haphazardly but yet with such an outcome was astonishing. "Do you really think these little stones will be imbued with enough power to do what you say you wish them to?"
"Oh yes, it's not so much in the stones themselves as in the runic array, each of them feeding upon one another." And magics strong here, he thought to himself shaking his head internally. It felt like he was at Hogwarts, the entire world seemed to be heavily imbued with magic. It was fascinating. Once Thorin crossed the boundary, Harry traced his finger over the much larger stone he had set up as the center of the ward. "Activate." With that there was a bright shimmer in the air for a moment, which dissipated as quickly as it appeared.
Thorin's eyes widened at this show of power, noting yet again that Harry was willing to throw more magic around than Gandalf ever had, or indeed any of the Istar was supposed to. He shook off his awe quickly, hiding his inner thoughts with the ease of long practice. "That was only half your portion of this deal Harry Potter." He held out the raccoon to Harry.
"I never agreed to be the one preparing the meat, but it's all one."The two of them both set to work on the animal, skinning it quickly and then cutting out the meat from the bones, which they set aside. With Harry's wards up, no scavenger would be able to come close to them.
With that done Harry began to sprinkle them with pieces of fennel leaves that he had found on their journey through the day, before once more wrapping them to the meat in basil leaves. "We'll need to find some kind of vegetable or fruit to go with this you know."
"Bah, said Thorin scoffing. "Vegetables and fruits weaken the body, all you need is meat. Mind you, I'd prefer to have more spices to add to it."
Harry laughed. "I see that dietary needs aren't exactly known here." Frankly, he was starving at this point so anything was good to him. "I remember this one argument I had to stop, Hermione…" Harry paused, his face crumpling up for a moment while he fell silent. Thorin looked at him, but did not speak, leaving the Human youth to his grief.
For a few moments the two sat in somewhat companionable silence waiting for their food to finish cooking, each to his own thoughts. Then Thorin reached into a small pouch and pulled out a flask, taking a long pull before sighing in satisfaction. "What's that?" Harry asked, glad for something external to concentrate on.
"This?" Thorin said holding it up then laughed. "This is good dwarf mead my young human. Strong enough it would knock you right out, and I've already carried you enough."
Harry frowned, then conjured up a cup of his own and filled it with water via an Aquamenti spell. "Fine, be that way."
Thorin nearly coughed on the mead in his flask at the sight of yet another amazing spell, then shook his head and looked off into the woods. "A bit of free advice Harry. You should be wary of throwing magic around like that, I've never heard of a wizard being so open with his talent, nor heard of magic used in that manner. Creating something out of nothing?"
Harry shrugged his shoulders. "Still works though. I could even create food, bread and other things but you wouldn't get anything out of it. Water though is water, the spell pulls it from the environment and pulls it into wherever you need it. As to being wary, meh. I'm of no mind right now to care about whatever anyone think of my magic. I cared about what other people thought for far too damn long."
Several hours later Thorin was astonished anew when Harry conjured up a full bed for himself. It sat there incongruous in this camp and the wilds around them, while Thorin stared at it agog. Harry laughed and waved his fingers. "You want one?"
Thorin scoffed, though his lips twitched slightly. Being around Harry Potter reminded him all too easily of his two rambunctious nephews. "Dwarfs are hardy folk, we laugh at irritations such as sleeping out in the cold."
"In other words you do but you're too prideful to ask right?"
Thorin scoffed again looking away but he couldn't quite keep the longing edge out of his voice as he looked at the bed. "Believe what you want." Then he gasped as a bed appeared beside him though he scowled angrily as he noticed the size of it.
Harry smiled at him beatifically. "I had to make it to size of course." He said in a butter would not melt in his mouth tone.
Thorin grumbled, but couldn't keep his smile from widening slightly. The boy was obviously somewhat crazy, alone and with no way of getting home and he still made jokes? Still, he was good company, and the conjured beds gave Thorin some more peace of mind when it came to the runic arrays around them. Plus, made camping out more comfortable, not that he would admit to such aloud.
Later that night Thorin was roused out of his incredibly comfortable bed by noises in the forest. He quickly rolled out of the bed, coming up with his blade ready as he stared out into the forest. A goblin came out of the woods then, sniffing and moving around trying to pick up a trail of some kind, but not crossing the ward zone, staring directly at Thorin for a moment before turning away, as if he hadn't seen him at all. Potter's magic worked!
Now he could see numerous goblins moving around the camp, but they never noticed it or its inhabitants, avoiding the area automatically thanks to the power of Harry's runic array. They spoke one another in their guttural tongue, which Thorin only knew a few words in. The word 'hunt' he knew, and "Longbeard', that was mentioned practically every other sentence the goblins spoke, and he thought he also caught his common name, Thorin a time or two. Are they looking for me? Or did they just spot me and decide to have some fun?
He moved over to rouse Harry, only to find him sitting up as well though he had not left his bed, simply staring out at the goblins. "So these are goblins here? They look vaguely similar to the ones at home, but not quite the same. These are larger, dirtier and darker, less civilized too."
Thorin gasped, turning back to stare at the goblins, who it seemed hadn't heard Harry. Before he could put this down to luck Harry spoke up. "Don't worry, the Notice Me Not field will cover sound as well. Are such parties like that normal in this area of the world, or do you think they're after you in particular?"
Gripping his sword Thorin pulled out his pack and pulled on a helmet and armored greaves. . Wish I had a shield as well, but I've borne worse. "I don't know, and I don't care." Thorin growled.
"Is there any way to tell? I could use the same language spell I used on you on one them, but I'm afraid they'd noticed that if they're at all magically sensitive."
"How do you feel about wiping them all out?" Thorin said growling angrily, being this close to the hated enemy Thorin's hands shook in rage, his fury tingeing his voice. "Too many good dwarves and good dams have gone to their deaths from such creatures for me to let any of them pass peaceably if I can help it!"
"Might wish to curb that in the future." Harry said with a shrug, though his eyes had noticeably hardened, watching Thorin closely, before turning to the goblins. "But right now, yes I can definitely get behind that idea so long as we take one of them alive to question. But there might be more of them out there than we can handle at present if you're so set on attacking the whole crew..."
"I am." Thorin said, his temper continuing to rise while Harry watched. Harry made a note that his new acquaintance had one hell of a temper on him, one that very obviously made him throw caution to the wind.
Still that was for pondering later. Right now Harry simply nodded. "Then let me hit the entire area with a sound dampening spell. We'll still all be able to hear one another, but no sound will travel beyond a certain point. That way if some of them think to call for help and there are others around, they won't be heard."
"Do it." Thorin ordered and Harry scowled, resisting the urge to change the dwarf's hair color or make his beard disappear just to show that he was not under the dwarf's command. But right now he had other guinea pigs for his magic.
"Very well give me a second."Concentrating Harry pulled up his magic, then raised his hand into the air and intoned "Muffilatio". He had no idea how wide the area that spell would cover was, but he watched it expand through the night for a moment, possibly as much as a league in every direction. Once he the spell settled into place, disappearing to his sense for now, he nodded over at the dwarf. "So how are we going to do this?"
In reply Thorin simply ran out from the camp, appearing as if from nowhere to the goblins' senses on their flank. "Baruk Khazad!" His sword flashed, cutting one goblin's head off entirely, before whipping back to slice into another's side as he roared a battle cry. "Tanar Durin Nur!" The axes of the dwarves! Remember Durin's Folk!
Harry gaped at him then shrugged, his eyes glittering with battle light. "That works."He raced forward shouting aloud. "If you were a student at Hogwarts, you'd be a Gryffindor, no doubt!"
With that he plunged the sword of Gryffindor into one goblin, pulling it out quickly and making a shallow cut on another goblin's cheek, who jumped back in time to avoid the full slash. He turned away, concentrating on to others and using magic now that he had won himself some space outside the camp while behind him that goblin he had nicked fell screaming as the poison of the basilisk did its work.
"Snorcack Grex!" Laughing suddenly Harry conjured up huge creatures, the snorcacks that Luna had always been going on around about, simply creating them from his imagination by following her descriptions of them. They barreled through the goblins all scattered through the woods around the wizard. Shrieks and bellows of astonishment and fear abounded while Harry also sent out offensive spells. A Bombarda spell blew a goblin apart, another spell swiftly grabbing all of the bits and pieces of said goblin before hurling them at another with bone crushing force. Then Harry began to throw around transfiguration spells, the ground and forest coming alive.
Thorin's and his opponents all stopped and stared at the sheer carnage the wizard had created, but Thorin laughed and began to hack at the goblins with renewed vigor. Whatever strange chance had brought Harry to him, Thorin was suddenly beginning to wonder if maybe, just maybe his quest, the quest of his people had suddenly gained a powerful ally.
By this point most of the goblins were trying to get away from the fearsome twosome, desperate to get some distance to use their bows and arrows. Thorin didn't let them escape, rushing after the goblins hacking and slashing while Harry's conjured beasts continued to make a mockery of the battlefield as he used magic and even sword against those few goblins willing to close with him.
Moments after the battle was begun it ended, with only one goblin still alive, stunned and Immobilized. Thorin came back through the woods towards the fire of the camp, noticing that he could see it easily enough, including the two beds that were still there, even though Thorin himself was now out of that field.
"Magnificent magic," he said, only speaking half about what Harry had shown in the battle. "Did you take a prisoner?"
"Seeing as you didn't seem to be any kind of frame of mind to do so, yes." Harry said with a laugh, though there was a grim note to his voice. He had enjoyed that fight, the goblins were quite patently evil going by the stories Thorin had shared, and Harry had also noticed the trophies some of them carried, skulls, bones and other souvenirs. In particular he had noticed that some of them were tiny, like those of babies or extremely young children .
Thorin shrugged, looking away uncomfortably at the memory of the fact that he had been taken by battle-lust like some green warrior. "Wake him up and use that spell on him then. I'm interested now, since some of these goblin scum shouted my name and the name of my father when they saw me."
With Harry translating Thorin questioned the goblin closely, making Harry wince occasionally when he went through with his threats of cutting off toes every time the goblin tried to not answer a question.
"The white Orc, he's dead!" Thorin said standing up and moving back rapidly once he had gotten a bit of the truth out of the creature. "Azog is dead, dead and gone! There's no way he could've lived through that wound!"
"Evidently he has and has it out for you."Harry shrugged. "Is there anything we can use right now, he said something about a base didn't he?" Even with his spell allowing him to understand the words, the Goblin's snarls and use of local locations made the directions impossible for Harry to follow.
Thorin nodded. "Aye, I know the place, but are you certain you're up to go looking for trouble?" Thorin had no idea about the long term effects of spell-made wounds, and the Human had handled himself well, but still, Humans were normally much weaker and less durable than his own kind.
"I'm up for it." Harry smiled grimly, touching the goblin's chest, were two skulls and a few bits of jewelry hung, taken in some raid or other. "I most definitely am up for it.
Thorin smiled equally grimly, then sliced the goblin's throat neatly. Harry's eyes widened slightly at the act, but he made no comment. Those skulls and other souvenirs were making his fingers twitch. "Then we'll leave at first light for this gathering point of theirs. I'm interested in seeing your magic in action once again Harry."
Realizing his tone might have given too much away, Thorin glanced at Harry's sword. "I was astonished that one goblin you scratched with that died. Poisons rarely if ever work on goblins or orcs."
"Yes, well as I said, the sword of Gryffindor is rather special. The poison from a basilisk was able to dispatch a soul imbued into a book, and I read afterwards that it is one of the deadliest substances ever discovered in my world."
"Really? Interesting." Thorin said now looking at the blade with far more interest than he had shown even when he realized its craftsmanship.Poison, not an area any dwarf knows much about, but, if the dragon yet lives, could such as that work on him, at least to weaken the beast?
"There is a lot of meaning behind that 'interesting'." Harry said looking at the dwarf quizzically. "Care to share?"
Thorin looked away again scowling. "It is not an easy thing to share. To share our fate, our shame. We might have fought together Harry Potter, but that does not make us close." And my hope for the future is too precious to share so easily.
"Thorin, you helped me when I arrived, you could've left me for dead. Instead you welcomed me and gave me food and carried me for two days." Harry said. "You've told me about this world, gave me information I would have had to take weeks to acquire otherwise, I owe you. If you need my help, ask and I will give it."Harry smiled. Gryffindor's charge!
Thorin stared at him for a moment then looked away. "Let us burn these bodies then retreat into your protected array. We leave at first light. And after we destroy that I, I will decide on if you are trustworthy enough to learn more about my people"
Now, this Harry isn't as well-trained as the Harry in ATP was before his trip into the Negative Zone, nor did he have as much time alone to train and research, those his combat spells, especially transfiguration are close, and he is something of a runes prodigy. Mind you he does have a mokeskin pouch and books within, as well as a talent for Runes and runic arrays. His power level however is far lower than ATP Harry, and his leadership skills haven't been tested. His skills with the sword and in hand to hand are practically nonexistent, but the poison of the blade makes up for some of that shortcoming. He is also suffering from somewhat less all-consuming grief, though it is far more present in his mind.
I think my Thorin is a bit more talkative than the original, but I hope other than that aspect I nailed his personality well enough.
Anyway, hope you all enjoyed this story, and have a happy thanksgiving.