Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Chapter 25: Respect
Ayla had to begrudgingly give the girl she was surveying respect. Rosalie Potter was certainly skilled with magic, throughout her first week of observations she had seen the girl perform the tasks the teachers taught at a rate far beyond that of the average student. However, she had yet to find out what Rose did during spare time, her and some of her friends often disappeared to 'study'. She had tried to follow them on a few occasions but whenever she rounded a corner or lost sight of them for a few moments they would be gone, and it infuriated her that they had slipped her notice.
Being a student in class wasn't completely a bore, sure, none of these taught theories or lessons would ever apply to her gifts. But, it was amusing watching people react to her use of wandless magic – as they called it – to get her tasks done within mere moments. She had heard whispers that she was supposedly a new Dark Lady trying to compete against Rose for the position, which was absolutely preposterous if you asked her, as she was specifically watching to see if there was anything sinister in nature behind the auburn girl's emerald eyes.
"Deep in thought there?" a somewhat dreamy tone said from right next to her causing Ayla to jump and get into a fighting stance.
"Oh… sorry to startle you," Ayla looked at the strange blonde girl from Beauxbaton's academy of magic.
"No, I'm sorry I reacted the way I did. I'm Ayla, and you are?" Ayla asked offering her hand which the blonde girl looked at for a moment before deciding to shake.
"Luna, Luna Lovegood. Although, some people call me looney behind my back. They mainly do it behind my back because… well if they said it to my face, they'd end up in the infirmary again," Luna said and Ayla blinked in confusion.
"Okay… well… I've got some things to do Luna, so, I'll see you around," Ayla said awkwardly and stepped around Luna, beginning to walk off when Luna's voice floated to her again.
"You won't find her like that, following her is one thing but finding her is another," Luna said casually.
"Oh, and what gave you the impression that I was trying to follow someone?" Ayla asked.
"Your eyes may only be on your target, but, everyone else can see that you've got a particular interest in Rosalie Potter, or, the Slytherin Queen as is her title," Luna said and Ayla said a bunch of incoherent jumbled up sentences trying to deny that.
"Follow me," Luna said simply and walked off in a direction, Ayla didn't follow her and stared at Luna who turned her head around but kept walking.
"Don't you want to find her? I know where she is currently," Luna said and then began to hum a tune and skip as she made her way through the corridors.
A week in and Rose still knew almost nothing about Ayla, other than the fact the girl seemed to be observing her at almost all times. Thankfully, the room of requirement and the library of Ravenclaw gave her time to research, train and grow stronger for the next confrontation with the Knight Templar's.
Rose held her practice rapiers and was currently sparring against a physical holographic projection of one of the sword masters Rowena had once met and learned from before she and the other four founders fought in the Mythic Wars. She had seen Rowena's hand-crafted rapier in its case in the Library of Ravenclaw. A long thin silver blade connected to a silver hilt with a sapphire gem. The unique thing about this Rapier was that it also housed a single wand and the blade itself could be used to project spells if one was skilled enough.
Rose's heard turned when she heard the door to the room of requirement start to form, she sheathed her practice rapier and summoned a wet towel to wipe the sweat off of her forehead. She raised an eyebrow when she saw Luna walk in before frowning when she saw who was behind her.
"Luna… you and I are going to have a chat about this," Rose said giving the blonde Beauxbaton girl a pointed look, the girl in question just gave a serene smile.
"I'll leave you two alone," she said before skipping out of the room leaving Rose and Ayla staring at each other.
"So… this is where you've been hiding throughout the day," Ayla commented looking around the room.
"Hiding is not the words I'd use, studying, that would be the word. Welcome to the room of requirement, my personal sanctuary," Rose said with an annoyed huff.
"Why's it called the room of requirement?" Ayla asked perplexed.
"Because it gives the user anything they desire if it is found within the castle of Hogwarts, for example, when I need to let off some steam, I ask for this room where I am allowed to freely release my stress," Rose explained.
"Huh… so how does it work?" Ayla asked.
"Think of what you want and the castle's magic should respond."
"So…" Ayla closed her eyes in thought and willed a soft couch to appear for her to sit on.
A few moments later she opened her eyes and the couch was placed a few meters from her. With a satisfied smile, she sat down and watched Rose who was merely staring at her.
"Not to be rude, but, is there something I can help you with? I'm kind of busy."
"Training myself for the Triwizard tournament? Surely you've heard about everything going on regarding the tournament and my involvement in it."
"Ah… yes I have talked to various… students and professors."
"And what have they told you?"
"That you've been entered in it against your will, and that you're quite likely to beat the seventh years, although, some people still think you cheated despite the abundance of evidence which suggests that you're innocent."
"And what do you think?"
"I think you're more than meets the eye. Yet, you're full of good intentions, caring for your friends and putting up the 'bad guy' front so that they're not picked on."
Ayla stood up and walked over to stand in front of Rose. Rose raised an eyebrow at her and watched as Ayla's hand touched one of the tattoos on her thigh, it glowed and Rose watched as Ayla's hand slipped into the tattoo itself before pulling out a beautiful golden rapier.
"Are you going to kill me?"
"Well… given that House pride is something that all of the students have. Isn't it a good idea if you're fully prepared for whatever you faced next? I've decided to help you train," Ayla said with a shrug, really, she was doing this to get a read on Rose's skills and potential.
"If you insist," Rose positioned herself in a similar position as Ayla, the two rapier blades only a few inches apart.
The two moved as soon as they saw the other flex a muscle. Blades clashed together at a high speed, however, Ayla took off on the offensive while Rose was forced back onto a defensive counter. She blocked, parried and countered when she had the chance, but Ayla managed to keep up her pace.
She's good, Rose thought as she continued to block and weave around the attacks that Ayla was sending. She hated to admit it, but if Ayla had been involved during her last conflict with the Knight Templar's, she may not have made it out alive.
Ayla, on the other hand was pleasantly surprised with how skilled Rose was with a rapier. However, she knew that she had forced Rose on the defensive and the other girl's defense was quickly slipping. She had just confirmed that there was no way Rosalie Potter could be the heiress that Dumbledore suspected she was. The heiress they faced was skilled and would be able to hold her own against Ayla and the other four, this girl was barely able to keep up with her and Ayla wasn't even trying her hardest to win.
Rose let out a hiss and jumped back clutching her left arm, a thing line of blood formed and started to drip down her arm. She was half tempted to summon her fire but decided against it and instead stood up straight. Ayla saw the cut and she too stood up straight and nodded her head. Upon that signal, Rose brought her wand up and sealed the wound and then summoned a towel to clean the blood off of her arm.
"You're better than I expected," Ayla commented with a small smile.
"Really? Cause it felt like I was fighting for my life," Rose said bitterly and Ayla giggled.
"Trust me, you don't ever want to be in a fight over your life against me," Ayla said, 'We'll see' Rose thought.
"Luna what the hell were you thinking bringing her into my sanctuary?" Rose growled as she lifted the girl off the ground by her throat, eyes ablaze.
"I was guided to lead her to you, my queen. I have faith that she will become the partner you need to reach your next level."
"Partner? She could have killed me!"
"But she did not, she does not know who you are. But you know who she is, you know what she is. You can learn from her, learn her strengths, weaknesses. And then you can use that to defeat her when it comes to it," Luna said calmly.
Rose had to begrudgingly concede that point to the girl, but, she was still furious that someone had been brought into her sanctuary who didn't have permission. However, Luna – the seer, was too valuable to lose or lash out at for the moment. And she had to admit that Ayla does seem like a good teacher and the two now had mutual respect for each other's prowess.
"Don't ever. Ever. Bring someone into my sanctuary without my permission again. Understood?"
"Crystal clear, my queen."
With that Rose allowed Luna to drop to the ground, the girl got up and brushed it all off before tenderly touching her neck where Rose had been holding her. A few moments later and some druid magic and she was fully healed with no marks left from Rose's hand.
Ayla found herself in a strange place, she couldn't see anything as it was too dark and her eyes hadn't adjusted quite yet. She could feel her heart thrashing against her ribcage, something wet was on her hand. She lifted it up to her mouth and gave it a lick, she could taste the mercury and knew what it was straight away, blood.
She looked down and screamed, her scream was silent, it didn't echo, she couldn't even hear it but she knew that her vocal chords were becoming dry. On the floor, she could see the torn bodies of her comrades – Tanya and Georgia were mere inches apart, they had apparently died with looks of horror reaching out towards one another. Archie's head was severed completely from his body and lay meters away.
Siegfried on the other hand, he was still breathing… He had a golden rapier stabbed into his chest – her rapier to be exact, she was still holding it as well. Ayla stumbled back and looked down to see that her hands were covered in blood and the red only increased as her eyes adjusted.
"Why…" Siegfried rasped, his hands trying and failing to pull the blade from his chest.
"That is a good question, old man," that voice – it was the heiress, Ayla turned her body to look at the hooded figure.
"It would seem, that my dear Ayla here found something… more," Ayla tried to scream and attack the hooded figure, but her body wouldn't move.
"After all… she is mine in mind, body and soul."
The figure reached up and grasped the edges of her hood, it was disguising her face. When she pulled it off it revealed Auburn hair and emerald green eyes, Ayla was looking right at her classmate – Rosalie Potter.
Ayla woke up sweating like a fountain, while she was familiar with nightmare's she had never had a nightmare like this before. Her mind must've just been processing a lot of the changes and it simply manifested in her mind like that – it had to be, Rosalie Potter was nowhere near as skilled as the Heiress they faced the other night.
"You okay?" Hermione asked, the bushy haired girl yawned and looked at her with concern.
"Just nightmares, nothing to worry about. Why?"
"You were tossing and turning a lot in your sleep, I wasn't sure if I should wake you or not," Hermione said.
"I'm fine – I've got somewhere to be. I'll see you at breakfast," Ayla said swinging her legs over the side of bed and standing up, her tank top left her arms and stomach exposed and her shorts left her legs bare.
Hermione could see all of the tattoo's and markings on her body, though she didn't comment on them at all, simply she just nodded and turned over in her bed before closing her eyes again.
Ayla on the other hand swiftly got dressed and headed towards the Headmaster's office, when she got there the Gargoyle stood aside and allowed her to enter where Albus Dumbledore – while tired and yawning, was at his desk.
"How can I help you?" he asked.
"I need to speak to the others," Ayla stated.
"Is this about Miss Potter?" Dumbledore asked, he looked at her with a calculating look, she just nodded and remained silent before he sighed and approached his floo.
Around ten agonizing minutes later, the green flames lit up as Siegfried, the twins and Archie walked through. Surprisingly Amelia Bones followed them, she had bags underneath her eyes and looked to be especially tired.
"Your report?" Siegfried asked.
"Rosalie Potter… she's not the heiress, I was helping her train for the Tri-Wizard tournament and while she is certainly gifted. She didn't have anything that indicated she was the heiress save for height – which, could apply for majority of the female population at this school. I could've squashed her like a bug so many times while we were sparring," Ayla said.
"I see, that is quite unfortunate. Archie and the girls followed some leads but so far there hasn't been anything definitive on the girl. We think that this Lord Voldemort might have more of an idea, see what you can learn from the Potter girl and the rest of the students in Slytherin house – if Professor Dumbledore is correct about the recruitment of younger students then information should be easily obtained."
"Madam Bones, do you have anything that the DMLE has found?"
"Aside from Aurors who've died because they've lost their magical cores? We got nothing on this bitch. I have – however, asked that my niece Susan look out for any students who are acting suspicious. She was also particularly miffed to find out that you suspected Miss Potter – who is one of her valued friends," Amelia said.
"You can tell her that she is no longer a suspect as Ayla has stated that while the girl is skilled, she is not on par with the heiress we faced the other night," Siegfried sighed.
"Perhaps we could petition the goblin nation for any information that they have on the Heiress? Surely, they'd give away who has access to the Le Fey vaults for the right price," Dumbledore suggested.
"Don't you think we tried that – Old man?" Tanya snapped.
"And what did they say?"
"They said that no one had accessed the vault since Salem. Which is complete utter bullshit, the Essence Reaping spell is one that is only in Morgana's grimoire which is supposed to be in her vault."
"So… the goblins are lying?"
"We do not know what they are saying and whether it is true or not, but, we know that they won't help us," Siegfried interjected before Tanya and Dumbledore got into the shouting phase.
"So, we're back to square one?" Ayla sighed.
"Not entirely, we know that during Morgana's first rise – the goblins sided with her, and lost. However, it would seem that this heiress is seeking to reaffirm their allegiance to her, and given that we know she is Essence Reaping, and the goblins told us her vault wasn't accessed. We can assume that the Goblin nation is negotiating with her at the least, already sided with her at the most," Siegfried frowned.
"Just keep an eye on the other students, we'll continue things on our end – perhaps reach out to the other resources that we have at our disposal."
"It could be disastrous for us if the goblins side with the heiress," Dumbledore frowned.
"There is only one thing we know for sure, Mr. Dumbledore, and that's that the goblins have been primarily bankers for the past few centuries – which means their goblin soldier numbers are significantly lower than they used to be. However, we must respect the potential fact that, should they reaffirm their allegiance to the Heiress, then it's possible that all of the current goblins in training, will take up arms for her army," Archie muttered.
"How are we to respond to another goblin army? Especially one that will most likely be backed by this Heiress, as well as her followers should she have any," Dumbledore asked.
"If it comes to that, we will call in all active members of the Knight Templar's, along with your Order of the Phoenix and the Aurors, hopefully we'll have the numbers and experience to even the playing field," Siegfried replied, his hand stroking his beard in thought.
"Not to mention Hit-Wizards and Unspeakables would also get involved," Amelia added.
"This bitch is one sly mother fucker, I gotta give her some respect."
"And Mr. Dumbledore," Siegfried said and Dumbledore looked at him.
"Our Head Priest would like to have a chat with you, right now," he said.
"I see," Dumbledore nodded.
Dumbledore had never been to the hallowed halls of the Knight Templar's before. He had heard of it in his travels and it was heard that some of the Knights were present in the Grindelwald war, but those were only rumors. He marvelled at the beautiful architecture that was the place.
The Head Priest was waiting, dressed in his holy robes and was standing in front of a table with various books, tomes and ancient scrolls in front of him. He looked up and the two met eyes before Dumbledore was seated in front of the other man.
"Greetings Albus Dumbledore, my name is Ezekiel Pendragon, I am the Head Priest and a descendant of Arthur Pendragon, King of Avalon," the man said.
"I see, it is a pleasure to meet your acquaintance," Dumbledore replied.
"The feeling is mutual, though I wish it were under better circumstances. We're facing a great danger in the emergence of the Heir of Morgana Le Fey," he replied, sitting down across from Dumbledore.
"Myself and my people are trying their best to aid your Knights. Though, it is certainly difficult given we are also fighting a civil war in our world."
"I'm well aware of that… I had a premonition Albus, may I call you that?"
"Of course you may Ezekiel, now, about this premonition?"
"I fear that this time, the Heir may get the best of my Knights. Something feels different about this one, as if they were chosen by the unholy god himself."
"How can you be so sure? Surely we can find the Heir and rid the world of them."
"I'm not certain we can, Albus, I don't want to leave anything up to chance. Which is why I requested a top secret meeting with you, though, Siegfried didn't exactly convey the need to keep it secret. He is old and sometimes forgets, it's a side-affect of his gifts."
"So, I am to understand that we are speaking in complete secrecy?"
"We are indeed Albus, now, what I have here for you is an ancient and well-guarded secret of the Knight Templar's," Ezekiel handed an old withered scroll across to Dumbledore who took it with great care and unrolled it. As he read, his eyes widened.
"Indeed, it is what you think it is. This is an ancient and powerful ritual, used to break a rift in the dimensions and call forth a champion of light to fight the dark. It has only ever been used twice, and that was to stop the expansion of the Persian King Xerxes, and the expansion of Vladimir Tepes of Transylvania. Through it, we called a few beings from other worlds in to balance the oncoming darkness. I fear that it may be necessary for you to use this ritual to call forth a champion to face this Heir."
"I see… this is a grave position we are both in, isn't it?"
"As unfortunate as it is to admit, I believe so as well. I trust you will let no one know about this?"
"Naturally, it is a secret that must be kept. For the greater good."