Author's note: For those of you who have not played the Wicther series the Nilfgaardian language was based on the the Dutch language. Other languages in the books and video games are based off ancient and present languages, too.
Chapter 8: Let the Hunt Begin
(Two Months Later)
"Concentrate, Harry," Yennefer instructed. In return, she earned a small grunt. Before the portrait was her grandson who bore a look of deep concentration as he tried to maintain the spell. Harry's hands were apart and in the middle of them was a ball of flames the size of a basketball. The spell was relatively new to Harry and not as easy to maintain as it looked. Sweat mired his features. In theory, the spell looked easy but it was far from it.
For the last two months, he'd been practicing, learning, and enhancing his other skills; allowing him a greater understanding and greater access to his magic. Thanks to his grandmother's tutelage, Harry's Foci-less Skill was now at level nine, nearing ten.
By his second week, Harry managed to learn the Fireball Spell Skill once he enhanced his meditation skill to a respectable level. The difference between the current spell and the Fireball Spell Skill was the amount of magic and size. The latter one being the size of a baseball and required much less magic. It was also much easier and quicker to conjure and control, too.
Off to the side, Gypsy looked worried and used her ears to cover her eyes. While Andy was happy to speak with Dorea, the woman had no intention of letting Harry learn anything magic related alone and unsupervised. Skilled teacher or no, Dorea was merely a portrait and would be incapable of preventing harm from happening to him. The woman was taking her role as his guardian quite seriously. Naturally, the two strong-willed women argued – much like they did when Dorea was alive – and more than once did it almost escalade into a shouting match.
In the end, Andromeda would allow her to teach Harry certain spells but only if the house-elf Gypsy was there to watch over him. While Yennefer would have preferred otherwise, she knew she was in a take it or leave it situation. However, the woman had made it clear she was going to teach him the same spells she taught Andromeda at her age. The woman didn't argue with her former mentor and mother figure. Harry was, after all, a very popular individual and a target for others. On the off chance, he was forcibly taken, the woman would prefer if he knew actual spells to defend himself. First-year spells weren't exactly the most useful against older wizards or witches.
"Hold it, Harry. Breathe in and out. Breathe," Yennefer told him.
Scrunching his eyes, Harry did as he was told and began breathing in and out. The act did nothing at first until he managed to get a steady rhythm going. A minute passed before everything around him began to disappear and Harry was left in a void with only him and the spell between his hands. His state of harmony was enough to allow him feel and listen to his heartbeat. Enabling him count each resounding thud that echoed within him.
A special skill has been created through a special act.
By successfully increasing the fireball's power and size, you've learned the spell Fire Orb!
"Phew," Harry sighed as he finally released the spell, any longer and he would have been unable to maintain it. The skill was pretty much like his Fireball Spell, the only difference with the Fire Orb was it was a much stronger and difficult to use version. Currently, it was his strongest spell, but it was currently impractical to use without a focus.
Despite the increase in his Foci-less Skill, his current level only allowed him to use certain spells such as the Soul Darts. The amount of mana and time it took to conjure the new spell left him too open. Yennefer told him that it would take him quite sometime before he could properly use the more advanced and difficult spells without needing a focus. While it came easier to her due to her previous life, it still took her some time as her reincarnated body's magic core needed to adjust itself.
"Well, at least the Malnourished Flaw is gone," Harry honestly didn't know how long he would have lasted had he continued drinking that swill. With the flaw gone, Harry had a much healthier appearance compared to his lankier self. And his physical stats had increased as a result, even if it was only slightly. Once it was apparent he no longer needed the potions, Ted made the decision to come up with a small exercise routine.
"Hey, Nyx," Harry greeted his familiar. So far she hadn't changed all that much, except for a small increase in size. As a magical cat hybrid, he learned she would grow much more slowly than normal cats. Even then it didn't prevent her predatory instincts from kicking in at times, "Find any mice?"
"Mweor!" the kitten licked her paw.
"Any nifflers?" he joked.
"I'll take that as a no," he deadpanned; the cat still didn't get over the incident.
"Alright, that's enough, Harry. It's time for your next lesson," the woman's smile was anything but pleasant.
"Oh, bollocks," the boy cursed, making his way towards the Gauntlet; a term his father used to describe the place and one Yennefer had taken a liking to.
While Corvo Bianco was a place to relax and spend time with family, Dorea had installed a training area of sorts underneath the main house. The purpose of it was more or less the magical equivalent of a gym that Dorea and Charlus used to keep in shape despite their age. His father had only ever used it sparingly; apparently, quidditch kept his father in pretty good shape. How that was the case Harry didn't know; in his mind, they were essentially just sitting on a broom.
As he finally arrived, Harry made his way to the far corner of the Gauntlet and began doing the appropriate stretches to loosen up his muscles. Being a fitness nut, Ted stressed the importance of proper pre-workout exercises. Especially when the activity involved a lot of quick and sudden movement. The section he was in was designed just for that: training his reflexes, dexterity, and awareness. More or less it was a dodge ball activity with him as the only target.
"Makes sense when you think about it," when Harry had first brought up his desire to enter a dueling tournament, Dorea had flat out crushed that train of thought. Being a Duelling Champion for so many years, and have been in more battles that could be counted, the woman had extensive knowledge on Duelling and what it took to become a champion.
Would be champions were only allowed to enter tournaments after their first year of magical education, and had to pass a test before they were allowed to participate. The problem was that first years at most magical schools were taught rudimentarily spells that were ill-suited for duelling. Granted, some students were creative in their use, but that was about it.
Most first and second years all over the world shared this flaw. The second flaw was easily noticeable: lack of a movement. Remaining stationary in a duel was the worst possible thing to do; something first and second-year students were prone to do. Duellists would not only waste much of their mana on the shield spells but it also gave their opponents the opportunity to perform binding spells; trapping them, preventing escape.
"And allowing their opponent to land the final blow," Harry remembered Dorea's lecture. In the real world, all it took was single second caused by a mistake to end it all. So focused was he on his train of thought did Harry barely duck under the foam tipped arrow that flew by. A quick glance to the side and Harry grew nervous; the Potter heir knew his grandmother would be chastising him later.
(Half an Hour Later)
Due to pushing your body to its limits your VIT and DEX have increased by 1!
"Bloody thing's mocking me. I just know it," a sweat-drenched Harry thought.
"Well done, Harry," Dorea smiled at her grandson. "How are you feeling?"
"Sore and ready to collapse," he said, the shaking in his legs not letting up.
"In my day such a thing would have been child's play," Dorea said, "Oh, god, I sound old," she realized. Then again, the future flung woman looked good for someone nearing nine hundred.
"But as you've only just started learning I'll let it slide," she smiled some more. It wasn't the first time she told him this and Harry doubted it would be the last. Heading upstairs, Harry proceeded to the lab and grabbed a Low-Grade Wiggenweld potion. The boy downed the concoction with one gulp and immediately felt much of his fatigue evaporate.
"That hits the spot," Harry sighed contently and placed the empty bottle back onto the table. It was only then that he remarked some that wasn't there before.
"Grandmother Dorea, what's this?" Harry asked Dorea; his eyes fixated on a gold glowing liquid.
"Bloody elf. I told her not to touch or move anything from my private stores," Dorea scowled and made a note to tell Andy to punish Gypsy. She had nothing against the parasitic race, but she had given the house elf precise instructions.
"Well, if you must know that is a potion called Heracles' Might. Its golden glow is mostly due to the Re'em's blood in it; a large bovine-like creature three times the size of an auroch. It took me an extremely long time to make it so don't touch it unless I say so, Harry."
"What's it do?" Harry had an idea based on the name, and he could have used his Observe, but he wanted his grandmother to confirm his suspicions.
"Simply put, it grants the drinker extraordinary strength, courage, ingenuity, and sexual prowess," she added with a smirk, enjoying her grandson's look. Charlus had only taken a sip of it once, but that was a day and half – perhaps longer – that she would never forget. The woman idly wondered what would have happened of Geralt had taken some.
"A single drop will give you the strength, courage, and endurance of five men for forty-eight four hours or more. At market value, I estimate its worth to be 250,000 galleons, at least."
"Holy! That much for just one potion!" Harry couldn't help exclaim.
"Potions aren't cheap," this the boy already knew, "and this isn't exactly a potion one can buy at a local apothecary, Harry. Potions of this grade are immensely rare due to the difficulty in making them and the rarity of their ingredients. Few potion masters have the skill or resources available to make such quality potions. Few still would like to spend such large amounts on these potions," Dorea explained. In her time as Yennefer, such a potion would have been impossible to make due to the inaccessibility of required ingredients.
Looking over the rest of them, Harry couldn't help himself as he used Observe on the other potions. The boy's eyes nearly widened as he saw the following descriptions.
Hekate's Blessing (Legendary Quality)
Status Effect: Enhancing Item
Description: An ancient and powerful brew that was thought to have been lost since ancient times; one of the few potions that are considered to be the pinnacle of potioncraft creation. A single sip of this concoction will greatly increase a wizard or witch's prowess in the arcane arts as well as potioncraft and herbalism for twenty-four. However, it should be noted that taking any more than three sips will poison the drinker and eventually lead to their death in a most horrible fashion. Those who do survive will be left in a vegetative state or forever render them incapable of using magic.
Effects of One Sip (Effects Last 48 Hours):
All Magic Based Skills Power, Speed, and Experience gain increased by 150%
- MP Amount and MP Recovery Rate increased by 150%
- INT and WIS increased by 1.5 times their base amount
- Potion Craft Skill, Speed, and Experience gained increased by 150%
- Herbalism Skill, Discovery, and Experience gained increased by 150%
- Must wait one week before safe to consume again
- Effects of Two Sips (Effects Last 24 Hours):
All Magic Based Skills Power, Speed, and Experience gain increased by 300%
- MP Amount and MP Recovery Rate increased by 300%
- INT and WIS increased by 3 times their base amount
- Potion Craft Skill, Speed, and Experience gained increased by 300%
- Herbalism Skill, Discovery, and Experience gained increased by 300%
- Must wait two weeks before safe to consume again
Effects of Three Sips (Effects Last 12 Hours):
- All Magic Based Skills Power, Speed, and Experience gain increased by 450%
- MP Amount and MP Recovery Rate increased by 450%
- INT and WIS increased by 4.5 times their base amount
- Potion Craft Skill, Speed, and Experience gained increased by 450%
- Herbalism Skill, Discovery, and Experience gained increased by 450%
- User takes half damage from magical spells
- Must wait one month before safe to consume again
Ichor of the Unseen Elder (Legendary Quality)
Status Effect: Enhancing Item
Description: A potion made from the blood of an ancient and powerful leader of higher vampires; one of the few potions that are considered to be the pinnacle of potioncraft creation. A single sip of this dark red liquid will enable the drinker all the physical benefits of the highest class of higher vampire. However, excessive drinking of the potion will cause the user to forever lose their rationality and transform them into a mindless ghoul with an unquenchable thirst for blood.
Effects of One Sip (Effects Last 48 Hours):
- DEX increased by 1.5 times their base amount
- Movement Speed in Combat and Outside Combat increased by 150%
- Power and Chances of landing Critical Strikes increased by 150%
- Speed and Power of Critical Strikes when using Stealth increased by 300%
- HP recovery rate increased by 150% during Combat
- Bleeding Status Effect Resistance Increased by 50%
- Fatigue rate reduced by 150%
- Enables the ability to see clearly in total darkness
- Must wait one week before safe to consume again
Effects of Two Sips (Effects Last 24 Hours):
- DEX increased by 3 times their base amount
- Movement Speed in Combat and Outside Combat increased by 300%
- Power and Chances of landing Critical Strikes increased by 300%
- Speed and Power of Critical Strikes when using Stealth increased by 600%
- HP recovery rate increased by 300% during Combat
- Bleeding Status Effect Resistance Increased by 100%
- Fatigue rate reduced by 300%
- Enables the ability to see clearly in total darkness
- Must wait two weeks before safe to consume again
Effects of Three Sips (Effects Last 12 Hours):
- DEX increased by 4.5 times their base amount
- Movement Speed in Combat and Outside Combat increased by 450%
- Power and Chances of landing Critical Strikes increased by 450%
- Speed and Power of Critical Strikes when using Stealth increased by 900%
- HP recovery rate increased by 450% in Combat and Outside Combat
- Bleeding Status Effect Resistance Increased by 150%
- Fatigue rate reduced by 450%
- Enables the ability to see clearly in total darkness
- Immune to physical fatal wounds
- Must wait one month before safe to consume again
"Okay, I seriously don't want to be on someone's bad side if they have these," Harry made himself a mental note. Harry also wondered what their effects would feel like if he drank them.
"I wouldn't bother, Harry," Dorea announced, as though she were reading his mind. Despite being a portrait, giving how powerful a witch she used to be, Harry wouldn't doubt it if was possible, "As you are those potions would be wasted on you"
"You know, I might be wrong but I think that's not really something a grandmother should tell her grandson," Harry stated.
Dorea merely chuckled, "As you can clearly see, I'm far from most grandmothers, Harry."
On that Harry agreed. Magical or not, the Boy-Who-Lived was certain most didn't have a portrait of their grandparents teaching them about magic. Or that they were alive close to a thousand years ago and flung to the future due to a genie. "Sounds like the beginning of a very weird autobiography."
"But I speak truthfully, Harry. Currently, those potions won't be as effective as they should be. They enhance your current attributes to incredible levels, true, but you're a child who's just starting out. At best, drinking those potions would make as physically fit and skilled as a 3rd or 4th-year student."
Harry frowned but nodded. However, Dorea noticed her grandson's look, "Don't pout, Harry. Once you're skilled enough I'll teach you how to make a Strength Potion," while nowhere as powerful, said potion would still increase her grandson's muscle power.
Harry smiled and couldn't wait to try something. Before it went any further Harry asked, "Why did the Potters get into potions anyway?" the question being on his mind for quite some time.
"I'm surprised Andy hasn't told you this," then again, she was a very busy woman. "I guess we'll start with a bit of history. The first Potter was Linfred of Stinchcombe, better known as the Potterer by those who visited him."
"That explains the family name," Harry noted.
"Linfred was an eccentric wizard – even by wizard standards – but a very talented healer, herbalist, and potions master," the woman knew this as she met him a few times. He was a kind individual but quite absent-minded at times, she recalled.
"Linfred grew herbs and other plants – magical and non-magical – and used them to heal any who came to his door. Back then the Statute of Secrecy didn't really exist so it wasn't uncommon for wizards and witches to interact with non-magical beings. Over time he developed a great number potions and enhanced pre-existing ones to the point that it amassed him a decent fortune. When he died his fortune was split between his seven children, but only his eldest child and heir, Hardwin, would put his portion to good use. The rest were either cheated or lost theirs down the line in some manner. Linfred's children perished until only Hardwin's bloodline remained," Dorea explained.
"So that means I'm the only Potter left," Harry stated.
"You have cousins in the Black Family through me… but yes. You are the last living member and heir of the Potter family. All except the first-born family bloodlines fail. It's a family curse that was placed on the Potter bloodline when Hardwin married Iolanthe Peverell. But that's a story for another time," and knowing her grandson, it was a story that Harry would be interested in hearing. "Hardwin would continue his father's work as a healer and potions master. As a herbalist, however, he didn't have the same talent as his father did."
"So he sucked," Harry stated plainly.
"Very," the portrait confirmed, "But what Hardwin lacked in herbalism he made up with his skill in breeding and raising magical creatures. He found various uses for their body parts in potionscraft. None of the creatures were too dangerous; most were avian, deer and horse-like creatures. There was the odd amphibious or reptilian creature if I recall, too."
"Did he breed dragons?" Harry smiled but it dropped as soon as he saw Dorea's pointed look.
"No. Dragons of that age were powerful and highly intelligent and wouldn't stoop so low to allow themselves to be bred like common cattle compared to their descendants," except for the rare few that might remain – dragons who were powerful and intelligent enough to polymorph into a humanoid form – the ones of today were nothing more than beasts who were bred for their parts. In Dorea's opinion, it was sad, really, to see a very special and magical race – one once regarded as being on top of the magical and mundane food chain – reduced to such a state.
"So what did the Potters breed?"
"For reptiles, ashwinders and firecrabs mostly, though one Potter almost got in trouble for breeding a dragon turtle. For amphibians, it was salamanders and giant toads. The most common creatures bred by the Potters were equine or deer-like particularly kelytha and kelbi. And the odd unicorn as well," while their fate was not as bad as dragons, the unicorn was another magical creature that was a shadow of its former glory.
"Kelbi? As in the water demon horse?" Harry recalled, having no clue what a kelytha was.
"That's a kelpie," the woman scowled. Not because of the mix-up, but due to a nasty incident in her past. The woman wasn't fond of the shapeshifting water horse creature.
"A kelbi is a magical deer-like creature, only much smaller with a dark blue or green hide and very skittish. Kelbi are distant cousins of the kirin from Asia, though not as magically powerful. Kelbi were the result of experimental crossbreeding but were deemed a failure by their creator. The Potters later bought the entire herd and began breeding them when they discovered their parts could be used for medicinal purposes, particularly the horns. They're very potent and one Potter discovered they could be used to greatly enhance the effects of healing potions. Their meat, particularly their liver, is quite healthy for you. Much of the Potter family fortune was, in part, because of the kelbi. The Potters, in turn, had them put into the family coat of arms."
Now that he thought about, Harry recalled seeing two deer like creatures on the family crest when he was at Gringotts, "What about the bird?"
"Bird? Oh, that was my doing. Charlus lost a bet and I had him add that little detail," Harry gave the smirking woman a flat look, "What? I like birds," particularly ravens and crows.
The flat look remained, "Would you stop giving me that look if I told you the bird on there is as big as a dragon?"
"… Really? That's your excuse?" Harry believed the woman didn't give him much credit, "What happened to them? The kelbi I mean."
All thought of the previous question was forgotten upon the new one being asked, "The war is what happened, Harry. Any pureblood that didn't join Voldemort and his group were seen as a threat and were either dealt with or made an example of. The Death Eaters didn't just attack the family; they attacked their livelihood. Potter manor was destroyed and the breeding fields and our greenhouses burnt to ash. Charlus and I magically transported what we could to the woods near Corvo Bianco. The rest of the creatures were obliterated in the fight. Voldemort and those that believed in his world order did the same with any family that opposed them."
"Why wasn't it rebuilt?" Harry asked but immediately realized the answer, "Oh, because of me, right?"
"Correct. British law states that any land owned by an ancient and noble family cannot be changed or altered unless given express permission by the lord of said family. While you are the only remaining heir of the Potter family, you're still a minor. You'd need Andy to get the proper paperwork to change all that," Dorea knew it wasn't going to be a quick process either.
If the ministry was as she remembered it, any land where a significant event occurred tended to be confiscated or declared a national landmark. Hopefully, Andromeda was up to the task. Regarding the Potter family home, the land around the ancient homestead had been scorched and destroyed with numerous dark spells; any residual form of dark energy that lingered would have to be removed before reconstruction began. The rune stones that were destroyed in the attack would need to be replaced, too. Even with the Tudor style house put back into place – assuming Harry would rebuild it that way – it would take a very long time before the family magic returned and saturated the homestead.
With the day's lessons done, Harry packed up his things, bid farewell to his grandmother, and left Corvo Bianco.
(The Next Day; Location Unknown)
"Two months… two bloody months of searching and nothing to show for it!"
"I'm sorry, mistress," the cloaked figure bowed even lower.
"Sorry isn't bloody good enough! Do you have any idea how difficult it was to smuggle that thing out of Egypt! How expensive it was!" the woman gave her servant a scathing look. She hadn't paid the full amount, but the down payment hadn't been cheap either.
"My sources are currently scouring Diagon and the nearest magical settlements as we speak. Progress has been… delayed, unfortunately," the figure informed.
"Those bloody idiots are lucky they met their end," had she done it herself, both would be cursing the day they left their mother's womb. Smuggling another gyrinx kitten was not an option at the moment; the reserve that raised them was on lock down and increasing their security measures. Magical Egypt was also cracking down on wizards with a smuggling record or had any associations with one. As the old saying went, they were now as tight as Fort Knox. She'd been lucky that one had made it this far before the few competent ministry Aurors caught wind of the smugglers.
Gyrinx were a very rare breed of kneazles - one of the few, if not the only, ancient breed left - and possessed greater levels of intelligence and magical capabilities. Fully matured, a gyrinx resembled a miniature lynx – though still larger than a domestic cat – and possessed very thick and fluffy ginger or orange fur and bright blue eyes. Though some were known to deviate from the standard look.
The strength – magic wise and physically speaking – of a gyrinx was depended on whom they bonded with. On average they could grow as big as a regular lynx, while those that bonded with wizards that were a cut above the rest were the size of cougars.
But what made them so valuable was their astounding ability to empathize with other creatures, forming a mental bond with their owner, which was comparable to true friendship. This mental empathy was of great benefit to the creature's owner; whose own speed of thought and mental defenses were dramatically improved whenever the gyrinx was in close proximity.
At the time it was unclear what benefits the gyrinx obtained from the relationship. Though as time passed it became clear that gyrinx were somewhat prideful creatures; their size and increased capabilities showed other gyrinx that they were bonded to a powerful partner. Female gyrinx were extremely picky when choosing a mate, and a male gyrinx with these types of qualities was more likely to find multiple mates.
Obviously, these creatures were of great value, and unlikely to be owned by ordinary people. Gyrinx were highly prized as pets by Ancient Egyptian legilimens and occlumens as a result; skills that, while still rare, were more common during that time.
"But now there are so few left," only Magical Egypt had the species and they were rare; only two or three litters were born a year. And only the select few were allowed to own one. In this case, the rich or those that could prove to have a lineage to ancient royalty or an ancient leader or advisor.
The only other creature that shared similar qualities to it was the North American wampus cat: a feral feline the size of, or greater, than a mountain lion. But they, too, were highly protected. And didn't offer the same benefits as the gyrinx.
"Mistress? Are you alright?"
"It's nothing. Get back out there and search. I want it found. Now!" she ordered, her tone leaving no room for questioning.
"As you order, mistress. And, should it have bonded with another?" she inquired.
"What do you think," was all she said.
Despite the sun shining brightly in the sky, the wind that blew was strong; enough that it kicked up dust and scattered the seed of the nearby dandelion flowers. Small deer grazed nearby, eating the vegetation before their ears picked up movement; making them scamper for fear of a predator.
Entering the scene was a young girl that ran as far and as quickly as her tired legs could carry her. Her skin had scrapes here and there and a profusion of sweat formed on her brow. She lost count of how long she had been running, though judging by the ache in her legs it was for quite some time.
But knew she couldn't stop; her captors would catch up if she didn't move quickly enough. Her clothes were in tatters, either due to the previous skirmish or for being ripped and discarded due to the tracking charm placed on them. Hopefully, the discarded pieces and the wind carrying them would confuse her pursuers and buy her enough time to find help.
In the distance, she believed she saw signs of a vineyard. That or her eyes were playing tricks on her. Either way, it was near some woods and illusion or not the young girl knew her chances were better there than out in the open. Willing herself to continue despite nearing exhaustion, the girl continued to run to safety.
"I told you would we should have tagged her skin!" the man shouted, the discarded clothing impeding them to properly track the girl. The wind bellowing as it were wasn't helping them either.
"How was I supposed to know!"
"Fucking newb," the man growled, it was his fault the girl got away in the first place. "Frenchie! Any idea where she could have went?"
"It iz difficult to say. Cette region iz not well documented, just a few vineyards and woods here and zere but rien d'autre really," the Frenchman with the heavy accent said before going into deep thought, "However, a vineyard or ze woods are ze most likely location. A few in zis region were abandoner during ze war with Tu-Sais-Qui. Most never came back and ze runes protecting and hiding zere location go bad. However, if she enters one it will hide 'er magical signature. Even with ze best tracking charm on her it won't do us any good."
"You heard him! Find the girl and send up a signal when you do! Remember, the client wants her alive and unspoiled. This little bitch caused us trouble but if anyone of you damaged her, I will rip the flesh from you bones piece by piece!"
Dorea remained silent as she went over the paper that Gypsy held up in front of her. Harry for his part merely stood a few feet away as the woman evaluated the essay on the Boil-Cure Potion and the Standard Cat Potion. Both potions were basic to make, though the latter was lethal for normal human consumption due to the ingredients. It was, after all, a witcher potion.
"Well?" Harry asked.
Dorea merely looked at her grandson stared and said nothing before her eyes drifted back down to the parchment. The portrait continued to read the essay for three more minutes before she told Gypsy to put it away. "Some details were unnecessarily added and others glossed over a bit. Your sentence structure and penmanship needs improvement, Harry," Harry winced at the woman's criticism.
Dorea had made it quite clear that she would not sugar coat or take it easy on him because she was his grandmother. Potions were unforgiving if improperly brewed: a single step done incorrectly, an ingredient added at the wrong time, or being on the fire for too long could turn even the simplest of potions toxic or explosive.
"All in all, I'd rate this as an Exceeds Expectations… A B or B-plus in mundane terms, Harry," the woman elaborated and watched as Harry released a sigh of relief. "But I expect better than that, Harry. Later tonight I want you to review your mother's notes again
Daily Quest "Dorea's Test: Potions" (3/10)
Main Quest: Pass Dorea's quest!
Main Rewards: Acceptable (500 EXP), Exceeds Expectation (650) +50 Rep with Dorea, Outstanding (800) +100 Rep with Dorea!
Failure: 25 EXP
Your current level has increased to Level 10!
HP: 650 ~ (700)
MP: 950 ~ (1050)
STR: 21 ~ (22)
VIT: 26 ~ (28)
DEX: 29 ~ (31)
INT: 38 ~ (42)
WIS: 19~ (21)
LUK: ? ~ (?)
Stat Points: 23
As a result of you reaching level 10 you can enter higher-level dungeon areas and have gained the IDC (Instant Dungeon Creation) Skill!
"Instant Dungeon Creation?" Harry was happy he learned a new skill and all – and for leveling up – but how useful was it to him? A quick read on the skills description had him grinning from ear to ear; Harry would have shouted for joy at the top of his lungs were it not for Dorea being present.
"Uh?" was the only intelligent response he could say; Dorea gave the boy an odd look but chalked it up as an odd moment. "Moving on, can you tell me one difference between the magical culture of Europe and America."
The woman was referring to the book she had him read last night, "Well, in a America I'd be considered a pureblood, right?" Harry asked, to which the portrait nodded. "Why is that exactly? It didn't really go into that much detail."
"I'm not surprised, but the short answer is a difference of opinion. Magical America is young compared to Magical Europe and they don't share the same views despite being an offshoot of Europe and our common ancestry. The Americans consider a half-blood to be any wizard with one non-magical parent. Muggleborn wizards in America are called first-generation wizards, or first-gens for short. Europe is more steadfast on blood purity and will only consider a wizard a pureblood if both parents and their paternal and maternal grandparents are magical."
"So Magical America is a bit more open than Europe," Harry stated.
"Currently, yes. But for the longest time, Magical America had a ruling that many other magical countries viewed as backwatered. Wizards weren't allowed to mingle, marry, or make friends with no-majs unless they were in the loop of magical community such as first-gens and their immediate family. A result of a major cockup caused by a former president's niece. To make certain her position wasn't jeopardized, she created what came to be known as Rappaport's Law in 1790; the law was later repealed in 1965."
"But why? Why go that far?" Harry couldn't truly map his mind around it.
"A combination of fear and greed, Harry. In Europe, many viewed witch-hunts of the seventeenth century as a joke because wizards could easily escape from the trials, or fool them into thinking they were killed," Dorea recalled one particular witch had let herself be captured a total of forty-seven times under different aliases. The woman was obviously not right in the head.
"Magical America wasn't so lucky. They had authentic supernatural hunters known as Scourers, magical individuals who migrated to America once Europe's population became too large and too hidden for them to handle. These were people who truly knew how to identify, capture and torture a magical being," she never found any proof, but Dorea had an inkling that they were descendants from the Eternal Fire, and its military arms: the Temple/Templar Guards, Order of the Flaming Rose, and the Witch Hunters of Novigrad.
"But when America's magical community – much like their European cousins – started going into hiding, their source of wealth was threatened once more. Rather than migrate once again, the Scourers came up with an idea to keep their cash flow going: they began capturing and imprisoning no-majs. Scourers were dealt with but they still had descendants with the gift to become suspicious of magical beings and creatures. The bloody president of that time saw it as an opportunity and painted all no-majs in a very bad light and used it to pass the law and keep herself in office," and this was after hiding the fact that Scourers were themselves magical. "Magical and non-magical relations in the States were recorded as one of the all-time lowest for two centuries running as a result," what it was now was a stark contrast.
"But you and Andromeda said American wizards don't really believe in blood purity," Harry stated.
"They don't. Still don't, really. American wizards didn't buy into that mindset but they became overprotective and paranoid thanks to that law. Before the law was repelled they had a tendency for overreacting and stepped over a few… ethical boundaries to keep their magical community safe. It's ironic how things quickly changed once they eased up on that fear," as it stood, much like Magical Japan, Canada and Hong Kong, the American magical community is one of the top ten most economically developed magical countries; possessing technology one simply couldn't find in other magical countries such as Europe.
It hadn't been an easy overnight process either for it to occur. Centuries ago, China formerly surpassed Europe before falling into a rut, resulting in Europe surpassing them in terms of technology, medicine, and education. Now the roles were reversed once more.
"Now, another difference in magical culture is the use of wands, or lack thereof in many magical communities in Asia," the woman moved on. "Before you interrupt, Asia's magical community, except for India, never bought into using wands or staves like Europe and North America. Instead, their form of focus enabled them to get a better idea of foci-less magic before forgoing the focus at certain age or proficiency."
"Magical gloves," was Harry's guess.
"Among other things, yes," his grandmother awarded him top marks.
"Why didn't wands and staves pick up in Asia?"
"Because performing magic a certain way for thousands of years with barely any change to it isn't something that occurs on a whim. The ancestors of European wizards were the first to start using crude forms of wands and staves. Move forward thousands of years later and Magical Europe had become very powerful and influential. In time they surpassed China and they began abusing that power and tried dictating what was and what wasn't acceptable. A good deal of Magical Asia, particularly the eastern region, wasn't keen on the notion and things became heated. In the end, Europe only managed to influence certain pockets of South Asia's magical communities and they left the rest alone," she explained.
A result of which was quite a few wizards from East Asia not being too fond of European wand wizards and the wizards that promoted blood purity. One of the primary reasons why South Asia – mostly India – was influenced was due to it being controlled by the Crown in the nineteenth century.
Harry continued to learn more about magical cultures for the next hour before it was time for him to leave. It fascinated him how different everything was yet how eerily similar they were at the same time. Leaving the building, Harry made his way to the usual spot. Just as he was about to call Gypsy, Harry spotted her.
"Hey! Who are you?" the boy shouted but received none in response. Or rather, he received a response that wasn't his native tongue. "Uh… Qui ete vous?" a weary Harry attempted but his French nowhere Andromeda's level.
"Aide … moi," she spoke, hopeful and tired. Her legs burned and the last of her strength was quickly fading away. She made to step forward but her legs, sapped of their remaining energy, buckled beneath her and sent her tumbling to the ground.
"Woah! Hey, are you okay?" Harry asked, but the boy was caught off guard and felt himself flung backwards.
"Found you, you bloody bitch!" Harry heard a man snarl and then heard the girl scream. Looking up, Harry saw at his unknown assailant and watched him manhandle the girl.
"The boss wants you back unspoiled, but what he don't know won't hurt him," he muttered darkly. Both Harry and the girl's eyes widened at the implication; the girl struggled as best as she could but her exhaustion was working against her.
Forming, concentrating and molding it as quickly as he could, Harry then flung the small fireball at the man's exposed back. The boy watched as it sent him skidding, and set his robes aflame, the assailant screaming all the while as he tried to extinguish the flames.
Harry ran to the girl's side and tried to move her as quickly as he could, but found himself struggling as her weight proved too much for his young body. "Gypsy!" Harry called, the house-elf popping up mere seconds later.
"Master Potters be – " she began but was cut off and found herself lurching forward, a puddle of blood quickly forming below her body due to the large, deep cut on her.
"Fucking elves," the burnt man cursed; immediately afterwards he was flung in the air like a ragdoll. The man faded in and out of consciousness; his body feeling as if struck by a troll's club, the force behind it making his entire body groan and ache. Ultimately, consciousness left him the moment gravity took its toll.
Normally a person would go into shock or have a nervous breakdown the moment someone died before his or her very eyes; most didn't have the Gamer's Mind. Despite seeing his hands and arms stretched out in front of him, Harry for his part couldn't believe what he had just done. But the boy couldn't begin wondering where that surge of power came from and knew he had to attend to the girl.
Within seconds, Harry's mind was clear and focused; he was still sad but his train of thought wasn't hampered as a result. Grabbing the girl by her shoulders, the young wizard began lifting.
"Damn it," Harry cursed and groaned as his body ached in protest; struggling to move her towards the house and to safety. The girl was bigger than him and despite the better diet and exercise; Harry was still only ten years old. After three minutes of dragging her, which felt much longer, Harry realized he was probably doing more harm than good. The boy needed to get inside before whoever harmed her and killed Gypsy did, and his current strength wasn't cutting it.
While he had hoped to save them for his INT, so his stat could finally qualify him for the Method of Loci Skill, Harry knew it would have to be put off for a little while longer. With that in mind, Harry placed all his Stat Points into his STR, increasing it from a mere twenty-two to a decent forty-five.
Instantly, the boy felt his muscles stretch and strengthen. Lifting up the girl was now much easier, "Then again, my strength just doubled in an instant," Harry thought before he carried the blond girl bridal style, making his way into the building as quickly as he could.
Hearing the doors opening with a bang, Dorea switched from one portrait to another before she saw her grandson, "Harry? What's wrong? Who–" Dorea didn't finish.
"She's been attacked… Gypsy's dead," was Harry's response.
"What! How can… Damn it!" Dorea cursed.
"What's wrong?" Harry asked as he gently placed the girl down on the floor. While his increase in strength was great and all, the boy still had to put in a good amount of effort and the previous attempt – along with his morning exercise – left him pretty winded.
"One of the runestones must be cracked. It's the only explanation why they managed to enter this place. I should have known. The wards were taking much longer than usual to come back up. Fuck!" she cursed and berated herself for such a mistake, uncaring that a child was present, "Harry you need to take her and hide. The runestones are what protect those in Corvo Bianco. With one of them needing repairs, there are now holes that can be passed through. Whoever's after her will have placed wards that will prevent you from escaping and with Gypsy dead you'll have to wait until Andy gets here with reinforcement," and since Andromeda's portkey was tied solely to Corvo Bianco's grounds – which was now no longer accessible – it was going to take a while before any help arrived.
"What about you?" the boy asked
"… I'm a portrait, Harry," was her deadpanned response, "Now go!"
Harry would have argued, wanting to fight to protect his home but the logical part of him knew it was a foolish notion. Whoever these men that killed Gypsy were experienced wizards; injured and weakened thanks to her sacrifice, but experienced. Harry's repertoire was very limited, even with the training he received.
"If I could access by tiger's adult form," but Harry pushed that thought aside as he heard voices coming from outside. Even as he moved her towards the basement, the heir of the Potter family realized he was outnumbered and outgunned. Harry knew he got in a lucky shot outside and was doubtful he'd manage a repeated event.
As he contemplated his options, which were limited at the moment, Harry thought of an idea that might just work. Or end up making his current situation a lot worse.
"What is this place?" the injured wizard groaned; his form wobbly due to the quick fix up.
"Probably a Brit's retreat judging by the décor. Look at the statues," the man pointed out to the four unknown quadruped creatures. Ugly in the man's opinion, "Frenchie did say a lot of them were abandoned or lost during their war with their Dark Lord. A lot of families died off and theses locations are just ripe for the picking."
"We'll look for goods later. For now, let's focus on finding that damned girl," the leader ordered.
However, half an hour later, and numerous use and abuse of the Homenum Revelio spell, all the men had nothing to show for it, a fact that infuriated the leader of the group.
"Where the bloody fuck are they!" a man cursed.
"Mondie tabarnak et mere de Christ! Ou sont-ils? 'Ow did you lose zem?"
"I don't bloody well know!" a man shouted to his French counterpart.
"We've searched every inch of the second floor. Nothing. No trace, no clue. Fucking nothing!" the injured wizard shouted as he made his way down. "What about downstairs?"
"Rien! Ze basement is completement vide. Rien est la autre que du vin. Du bon vin, actually," the Frenchman said and showed his cohorts a bottle. "Est est, from ze thirteen century, very 'xpensive."
"I could bloody well care less. You can take that bottle and–"
"Eez easily worth six or seven thousand galleons per bouteille," he informed with a smile, stopping the man's rant. "I saw at least six ozer bottles of Est est down zer and a bunch of ozers."
"… Well done, Frenchie," was all the man said, taking the bottle from him. Magical wine lasted a great deal longer than non-magical ones; even then the majority of those still around were only two or three centuries old. It wasn't the girl but at the very least it would they wouldn't go back empty handed.
"Question… Pourquoi elle?" the French wizard asked, "I mean zere are a ton of girls in France. Why does he want 'er?"
"Client wants one young and unspoiled. He'll have our guts for garters otherwise. Why her particularly, I don't know. Daddy probably pissed him off."
"Son pere?" the French wizard asked.
"Delacourte or something," he stated, not
"Medre! Es-tu fou! Do you 'ave any idea who zat is!"
"Don't know. Don't care," the man stated, still eye the bottle.
"Gentlemen. I'll have to ask you not to touch my wine collection," Dorea's voice suddenly announced. The unexpected action had the intruders whip out their wands, the bottle of wine dropping on the floor. "For god sakes! Do you bloody idiots know how expensive that bottle is!" luckily the bottle didn't shatter – as all the wine bottles had unbreakable charms weaved onto them – but it still angered the woman nonetheless.
"Who the fuck are you?"
"Uh, Roger, it's a portrait," one of the men stated; only for him get a scathing look for saying his name.
"Well spotted, brainless," Dorea dryly commented. "Now, I won't ask again. Leave my house."
Roger merely laughed, "Piss off! What's an old dusty portrait going to do? Bore me to death with yer voice?" Dorea looked far from amused, especially regarding the old comment.
"Last chance. Leave or – " the woman was cut off as a spell was flung in her direction. The wall shuddered a bit, but the portrait remained relatively unharmed due to past spell work. "Alright. Fine. Have it your way."
As Roger prepared another spell, one that would hopefully end her, he and his men were caught off guard as a series of loud bangs reverberated throughout the room. The intruders watched one by one as the doors and windows shut and locked themselves. The room darkened as a result of the windows blocking out the light, giving them a sense of unease.
"The hell is going on!"
A red light shot out of the dark, momentarily illuminating the darkened room, and made contact with the door with a resounding thud. The door groaned under the force but remained intact. "Qu'est-ce qui se passe?"
"I warned you. I even gave you the chance to leave. But, to be honest, I lied. I never planned on letting you leave," Dorea said. "Attack me, that's fine, I can take care of myself. Attack my grandson, suffer the consequences."
"Take down the wards!" Roger ordered.
"I did! We can't get out!" the man panicked.
"Oh, yes, about that. The broken rune stone may have allowed you access to the grounds, but the rune stone that prevents unauthorized teleportation inside and out is still up and running," which played well into Dorea's hand. "So, gentlemen, you are all trapped here with nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide."
No sooner did she finish did Dorea snap her fingers. The intruders watched as the stone statues in the room began to shudder and shake violently before flakes and pieces of stone began falling off their form. The creatures were as big as a large dog or wolf, but more fearsome looking. Their bodies were icy blue in color, spiky and sharp protrusions poking out of their hides, and had mist coming off their form. Indeed, the wizards felt a dark otherworldly chill fill them before they began seeing their very breath in the room.
Getting off their pedestals the four creatures eyed them and released terrifying barks and growls. What they lack in teeth they made up with a wicked beak-like mouth and sharp three-toed talons that looked capable of slicing through a man like a hot knife through warm butter. And possessed haunting blue and red slit eyes.
"Gentlemen, before you part from this world, allow me to introduce you to your executioners. The Hounds of the Wild Hunt!" was all she said before the demonic ice creatures howled and charged towards their prey.
I'm back baby! Exams are done, time to have fun! Expect another chapter soon!
Just letting you all know that the reason why I introduced new elements to magical backgrounds is simple: Rowling messed up. All wizards use wands? Yeah, I don't buy that. I took business marketing and I took international relations and international business. No countries will be alike in their likes, wants, views, needs, etc. Case and point, America thought Canada would like and use Target because it was similar to Walmart. Look how that ended.
So, yeah, wizards from certain circles in Asia don't really use wands. India is an exception due to past British influence, but not all of them use wands. I do this for the sake of realism, too. Rowling either didn't give it much thought; it was either due to laziness, or she did it just to keep things simple. Either way, I don't buy it.