Disclaimer: obviously I only own the idea of my story and not that of the original author of this series.
This method is reversed in flashbacks
Not even gonna try putting french accents into the english portions
Chapter 21: A clear mind
The week continued on as it had normally had, besides the fact that Thomas seemed to glare at him every moment that he saw Hadrian. Hadrian had been spending a majority of his day in the Room of Requirement and had essentially stopped being seen by the rest of the students besides meal times. He had been practicing magik for most of the day and could feel himself getting better. It all continued till after dinner one day when he was headed back towards his room. He could feel himself gain another follower, although this one was much more welcome. He got all the way to his door before speaking out towards his follower.
"You can come in if you want to talk." He spoke out to his stalker. His statement was met with a small 'eep' of embarrassment from being caught and shuffled around the corner into view. The petite form of Gabrielle came fully into Hadrian's view. Hadrian stood to the side of his door and held it open for the young girl. She seemed to brighten up a little more and followed into his room where she plopped herself onto the bed. She rolled herself onto her stomach and put her hands to her cheeks. Hadrian looked at her
"Do your parents know that you are here?" he asked.
She nodded her head. "I told them I was going to thank my savior. Thank you for saving me again." She said as she got up quickly and gave him a hug to his surprise. He gave her a small hug back before she went back to the place she had just vacated.
She looked at him curiously. "So, your real name is Hadrian Potter?" she asked him. He gave her a nod in response. "I like Triton better. It seems cooler." She said. Hadrian smiled at her childish innocence.
He smiled down at her. "Maybe one day, that's all I will go by. For now, I have a name that is being used. I am curious of how you managed to figure out it was me." He stated to her, and he truly was confused. He had walked past the aurors that hunted him on the street sometimes and they never even gave an extra glance in his direction.
"Well, you just felt the same." As if that explained everything.
"What do you mean?" Hadrian asked, concerned other people might be able to discern his identity with enough time around him.
"You felt the same as before." She repeated. "When you were protecting us in the forest. It felt very cold to ward off people, but deeper down it was warm. It felt kind of like an uh" she paused for a moment, thinking about the word she wanted to use. She then got that look of when somebody remembers something. "Like an igloo. Cold on the outside and warm on the inside. I can't feel you right now though" She stated. She looked at him to see if that explained what he was asking.
"And you were able to feel that both times?" he asked with a bit of incredulity. He stowed the last part away for a bit later.
She nodded her head back. "Yeah, veela have a good sense of the magic going on around them. Mom said it was supposed to help us find partners, like how she found dad." She told him proudly. She was happy that she was good at feeling magic. "It's the reason being here is so much better than Beauxbatons, besides the being put in the lake thing." Hadrian gave her a little chuckle and she continued. "Everything here is so vibrant. Magic is everywhere and in everything. It feels like it's alive." She stated. Hadrian had to keep himself from mentioning how right she was. She kept speaking, unaware of Hadrian's inner thoughts. "At Beauxbatons, everything is like a nightlight and Hogwarts feels like a roaring fireplace at every turn. It's so nice to be around."
Hadrian listened to her go on in her childish exuberance. He couldn't say she was wrong as he had never been to Beauxbatons, and her analysis was probably accurate. Hogwarts had stood for a millennium and rested upon a large convergence of ley lines. Beauxbatons was created somewhere in the 1700's and he thought it rested upon one or two ley lines. The difference in the ambient magic would be significant. He turned his focus inner focus back onto Gabrielle.
"Hey Gabrielle, you said you couldn't feel the magic right now?" he asked her. She nodded her head. "How about now?" he asked as he released a small amount of his magic into the room. She exuberantly nodded her head. "Now I can." She said happily. He nodded and let it start to fade away. He watched as her face seemed to give a bit of a frown as his power receded, so he output a bit more and the small smile returned to her face.
"How about Fleur? Why didn't she realize it was me?" he asked her. She shrugged her shoulders then tapped her pointer finger on her chin.
"I don't know for sure, but mom says that she tries to deny her veela side. She said that Fleur wasn't able to control her allure too well because of that. Fleur has been complaining about being a veela a bunch when she's home for the summers. I don't know why she's so against being a veela. I think it's great." She said. Hadrian didn't want to ever have to be the one that told her why veela were scared of being veela. He just let it pass.
When he thought about her explanation it made sense. He mused that it was like being an obscurial to a lesser extent. Continuous dislike towards her heritage might have an impact towards her abilities from said heritage. He would go with that thought unless a better explanation presented it himself. It also gave him a sigh of relief. He didn't have to worry about Fleur finding out about him until maybe later in her life when she accepted that part of her but by then it wouldn't matter.
"Can I trust you to keep me being Triton a secret between you and me?" he asked her.
She seemed to look confusedly at him. "Why would you want that? Everyone should know you. You saved us." She ended emphatically. Hadrian didn't mention that many people would like to know him, but not for the reasons that Gabrielle had stated.
"One day, but for now can you keep it a secret please?" he asked of her.
Gabrielle didn't really need to think it over. This was her savior asking for something and it was so easy too. She just wished he would be a bit more open about it. "Okay." She said a bit more demurely. "But promise you will be known though. I want people to know the hero that Triton is." She stated.
He acquiesced. "Okay, I promise. The world will know one day." He told the little girl. He checked the time and saw it had gotten past nine and decided that they had chatted enough. "I think it's time for you to head back to your parents." He told her.
She looked crestfallen at that. "Will I be able to come and visit you again?" she asked. Hadrian smiled back at her and gave her a soft pat on the head.
"Anytime you want kiddo. As long as I am in my room, my door will always be open to you." He told her. That seemed to bring her smile back a bit. She went for another hug which he was more prepared for this time and was actually able to return it with a little more force. She let go and took a step back.
"I'll see you soon." She said before she headed for the door. Hadrian gave a small wave at the girl as she opened the door and exited the room. He fell back onto his bed with a sigh. Only time would tell if she didn't accidentally let it slip.
Nearly three months passed in relative monotony for Hadrian. The months had held lots of practice in magik, though it toned down after the first couple weeks. He was now able to control the flow of the ley line's magic as well as sever the connection in most cases.
He also got closer to Gabrielle, although that brought along a round of questioning from the Delacour parents trying to see what he wanted out of their daughter. Once they came to the conclusion that he had no negative intentions towards their daughter, they backed off and gave the two their space.
Hadrian arrived for his lesson, expecting it to be more magik practice. What he was treated to when he walked in was an office setting with two chairs that were facing each other and his teacher occupied the one facing the door. He walked over and sat in the remaining chair with his teacher's eyes tracking his movements. He sat down and her eyes stared into his with a piercing quality. He stared back, determined not to flinch and it was then that he felt it. The mind probe that made its way into his mind almost undetectably. It was slithering around the edges of his defenses trying to find any cracks or exploits that it could use as an entrance so Hadrian decided to end it and took a mental swipe at the probe to make his teacher retreat from his mind.
They both came out of the mindscape and Hadrian looked at his teacher curiously. She gave a small nod to herself and said "Good. You have strong defenses and a good awareness. Are you ready for today's lesson?" she asked him.
That comment set Hadrian on edge. Rowena only asked if he was ready before something truly trying or painful. "What is the lesson?" he asked warily. He knew it was probably going to be a painful night tonight.
"I'm going to show you how to break almost anyone's mental shields. This happens by using the ley line to augment your mental capabilities. Prepare yourself." She ended with her warning. Hadrian got a few precious seconds to gather his wits about him and prepare his mental shields before he felt the next probe enter his mind, although this probe didn't have any semblance of subtlety. Instead of feeling the calm and collected mind of his teacher he felt a primeval rage directed towards his shields. It slammed into his shields once and he felt his walls dent and crack. It reared back for a second attempt and there was nothing Hadrian could do against it as it obliterated his shields.
Rowena found herself on a beach and looked up at the manor on the hill and found the steps leading up to it. she quickly turned away from it and looked at the thing that made her apprentice feel at home. She waded into the water before sinking into its depths. She could feel her students attempts at hitting he away from the target she could now sense, but she negligently slapped away those attempts. She arrived at the underwater city and took a brief moment to admire her student's imagination before heading through the gates. She walked through the front entrance and was immediately set upon by the gigantic statue with the trident. With nary a thought and a small wave of her hand, the statue was blasted into thousands of tiny rocks.
Hadrian could only helplessly watch as his teacher decimated his defenses. She pushed past his defenses as if he was a novice at this art. His head was aching with the failed attempts to expel her as well as the shattered shields he was now sporting.
Rowena made her way down the street past all of the houses, getting brief flashes of memories as she dragged her hand along the walls of the houses. She made it down the entire street and into the middle of the small city where she came to a screeching halt as she observed what lay before her. The writhing mass of darkness and hatred permeated her senses, although she could see that it was chained down. She cut the connection and came back to her body and glared down at her student who was just coming back to his senses.
"What the hell are you doing with that?" she demanded with a tone that was sharper than anything he had heard from her. She was staring hard down at her apprentice and the oppressive feeling of her magic washed over Hadrian.
Hadrian's head was still groggy as he recovered from the attack he had just sustained. He was hit with a quick stinging hex that quickly brought him back to the moment. "You have about five seconds to explain why you have this disgusting magic before you are thrown out of this castle." She threatened with deadly sincerity.
"I don't know what it is." He stated in a bitter voice.
"You don't know what it is, but you have been here for months. I know you can feel it. The darkness, the evil, the slimy feel. You chose to hide it instead of coming to me.
Anger started to pour out of Hadrian. "Yes it's disgusting, yes it's evil, and it's part of ME" he shouted back with his anger fueling the words. "To know that thing is inside of me brought large amounts of disgust to myself, how would somebody else see it as. Especially the one I had come to see as a trustworthy adult figure. It is a vile piece of magic that has been with me ever since I have been aware of my mental faculties. This means that it's is most likely something from me, my hate festering." his anger bled into his confession and Rowena could see the genuine fear that was housed within Hadrian.
Rowena's gaze went to his face and she quickly dipped into his mind as she looked for any signs of deceit. Finding none, she came out of his mind and reached out to pull Hadrian to her chest. He was extremely surprised by the action and couldn't react as she pulled him in. She leaned in to whisper into his ear. "This is not you. Nothing about this is your fault and it is definitely not natural."
That seemed to ease his mind a little bit. He pulled back. "Then what is it?" he asked her, nervous to know the answer.
"Something that should never be created." She said with spite. "It is a horcrux, a branch of dark magic that literally tears the soul apart. Created upon the act of murder in cold blood, one is able to put that shard of their soul into an object and live forever as the object tethers them to this realm of existence. The one in your head seemed to be incorrectly made, but small, which led me to the incorrect conclusion that you had dabbled within this branch of magic." she told him.
Hadrian gave a shudder at that explanation. Just the feel of the magic was enough repulse him, but to hear how it was made was enough to make Hadrian sick. Hadrian could now understand her anger, though he desired to never have it aimed at himself again. He could feel the centuries of accumulated power that had swirled around her and knew that at his current best he would be swatted aside like a gnat.
Rowena had felt a few places where horcruxes had previously rested and they were steeped in dark magic. She had also held one in her hands, which she had destroyed with extreme prejudice. Within her lifetime, she had never met or even heard of a living horcrux. She needed to think about what rituals that were usable so they could get the soul shard out of Hadrian without killing him along with it. It shouldn't be too hard as she soul shard seemed to be extremely small, though that led to some more worries. Had the advancement of this technique become even more advanced to the point that people were able to choose how much of their soul to put into an object or, and she shuddered at the mere thought, had someone delved so deep into madness that they had created many of these objects.
"Hadrian." He looked over at her. "Can you let me in so that I might be able to research this entity?" Hadrian nodded his head and lowered the cracked and battered remains of his shields that he was slowly fixing. They both made their way down to the underwater city. They walked through the entrance and saw the statue in shambles as the pieces were being gravitated back towards the center to remake the statue. They walked through the street and arrived at the place where the horcrux was being held.
Rowena got a better look at the chains holding the horcrux down. They were more cracked than they needed to be to continuously hold it down, but she supposed that was her fault. Her attack had done a number upon her student's mind, but she would help him regrow it even stronger. She studied the soul shard itself and saw that it still had some shallow and weak roots left. She mused that it had been leeching off of Hadrian's magic until he had sanctioned it into its captivity. Still, it must have been here a while for it to have been able to still have roots, shallow as they were.
"Was there any point in your childhood that you were taken for an unknown ritual? That you went missing with no memory?" she questioned her apprentice, knowing that he liked to keep his past a secret.
Hadrian shook his head with a small smile, as if something about this was funny. "I did get taken at one point, but that wasn't the moment that this happened. I'm assuming that this is from our most recent dark lord." Rowena perked up at the mention of the dark lord. He was the one who thinned out the numbers within her school. "He came to my house when I was a baby and attacked my brother and I but was vanquished. We know not what vanquished him, but his body was gone completely." He told her.
She pondered over the idea. "He must have been planning to use your and your brother's murder for a horcrux creation. His soul must have latched onto the nearest magical object once he was vanquished, which was you. The good news is that this should be easy to remove. You caught it years ago and since it is so small it had been relying upon your magic to keep it strong. You removed its source of power and it is just a shriveled husk of the potential danger it could have been. It has a small hold latched onto your core but we should be able to remove it with enough care." She told him. That raised Hadrian's spirits. He didn't want to have to wait any longer to get this thing out of his head.
They exited his mind and came back to the room, which then began shifting into what looked like a hollowed out underground cave. The rock below their feet was incredibly smooth. Rowena walked to the center of the room and made some motions with her arms. All around himself, Hadrian could see inscriptions being carved into the floor. He took steps back until he was out of the range of the carving that his teacher was doing. His teacher had created a large circle and was now filling various parts with a multitude of different runes with painstaking care. He could understand some of them, but most were beyond his comprehension. Various languages being melded together to create a project that would baffle everyone on this planet but a handful who had dedicated their lives to the study of runes. Sometimes she would seem to rethink a rune she drew and would fix the smooth surface before drawing a different rune in its place.
Rowena was lost in concentration. A multitude of rune combinations flying through her head. Her thoughts were going a mile a minute trying to figure out how to meld different rituals. There were ones that could suck the life out of an object. It was a ritual originally used for exorcism on ghosts that had tied themselves to an item or a place. The only problem was that it would get rid of Hadrian's life force as well. Then there was a transfer ritual, meant to switch magical properties from one item to another that was a bit more specific, but she didn't know if that would work with a living soul.
She spent hours perfecting the various modifications that she used from all of the different rituals. She could feel her student watching her in wonder, creating an entire ritual circle from nothing but her magic. The precision that she used was absolute. Any rune that was used twice in the entire array could be switched with another of the same and have no noticeable difference upon the drawing. She then grabbed a magically reinforced bowl and pulled out a flask from her robes. She filled the bowl with whatever had been in the flask before placing the bowl towards one side of the circle. She turned to Hadrian. "Take off any magical items you have on you and come lay down in the center Hadrian and be still." She said as she pointed at the middle of her circle.
Hadrian divested himself of his trunk along with the invisibility cloak before he walked into her circle and could feel the ambient magic in the room growing to meet the needs that this ritual would demand. She pulled out a brush with ink. "I'm assuming you don't want me to carve into your skin with magic. I don't want to mess this part, so please don't move." She told him as she started drawing runes upon his face and upper neck that directed the magic towards his forehead. This took another hour as the runes were small and numerous. She finished and looked down upon him.
"This will hurt quite a bit." She told him. She conjured a gel substance and gave it to Hadrian. "Bite down on this." He took it from her and put it into his mouth. "When I tell you, I need you to drop the chains you have holding that thing in place. If you keep them up, the ritual will have to fight yourself and the horcrux which will make it hurt more." Hadrian could only nod, not being able to speak with the gel in his mouth. Rowena stepped outside of the runic circled and created a second ring and filled it with runes to freeze and trap the horcrux when it came out of Hadrian. This one was much easier to create and took just a few minutes as she had used it many a time when she had studied dark objects.
"Are you ready Hadrian?" she got another nod in response. "On 3. One… Two… THREE." She shouted and Hadrian released the holdings he had upon the horcrux. It immediately started to try to burrow its way further into his core but Hadrian pushed back. He then felt the magic from the ritual grab onto the horcrux and tug. Hadrian's head lit up in agony. The magic that pervaded his head was ruthless in getting towards its target and cared naught for collateral damage. He was pressing his teeth together so hard, he knew that without the gel he would be cracking his teeth. The ritual's magic now had a firm grasp upon the horcrux and was pulling it slowly out of his mind. The ritual felt like pulling teeth as the horcrux scraped and clawed at anything to try and get purchase. The magic gave one final tug and Hadrian could feel the last tethers from the horcrux slip away from his mind.
Rowena watched the writhing mass of soul and dark magic come oozing out of her student's forehead. It was brought a few feet up into the air and she activated her second ring. It froze in place, no longer writhing around. She could feel the panic and desperation coming from the horcrux.
Hadrian could feel every muscle in his body freeze up. He was only able to get shallow breaths and watch as his teacher tried to get rid of the horcrux.
Rowena pulled the horcrux towards the bowl and she could feel its struggle double. It struggled with all of its might to get away from its impending doom. She slowly brought it down into the bowl and, with satisfaction, heard a sizzling sound rise from the bowl. It was quickly followed by a scream that originated from the horcrux as it was destroyed.
Rowena powered down both runes arrays and Hadrian was able to breath easily again. He spit out the gel and moaned from the pain coursing through his head. It felt like a hippogriff stampede had run over his head and he had somehow survived.
Rowena levitated Hadrian as the room changed into a bedroom which she then laid him onto the bed. She could see the anguish across his face as she pulled the covers over him, but she didn't have anything on her to help him. "Mipsy" she called out.
An elf appeared before her and the elf's eyes grew large before she bowed and spoke in an awed voice "Missus Ravenclaw. How can Mipsy be's helping you?" she diminutive creature asked.
"I need you to grab a pain reliever from the infirmary. Quickly please." She told the elf. The elf gave a small salute and disappeared before returning in a few seconds with a pain reliever.
"Does the missus need anything else?" the elf asked.
"No Mipsy, thank you." The elf bowed again and was gone a second later.
Rowena got closer to Hadrian and whispered down to him. "I need you to drink this." Without even really thinking about it, Hadrian opened his mouth. Rowena was asking something of him and she had never hurt him without a purpose. Rowena poured the potion down his throat and he let out a sigh of relief as the feelings of pain lessened and his face became less contorted from the pain. He fell into a deep sleep and Rowena stayed there for hours, just watching him.
For the next two days, the school saw neither hair nor hide of Hadrian. His room was visited a couple of times by the youngest Delacour, only for Eldric to tell her that he wasn't available. Hadrian woke up from his long sleep to see light streaming through the windows. He stretched his limbs and checked the time. He was shocked to see that it was over two days past when the ritual has started the first thing he noticed about his mind was that it was like a pressure that he had never known about had been lifted. It felt like how a man who had limited taste functions was finally able to taste the entire range of foods. He had just assumed that the feeling upon his mind was normal because it had been that way ever since he could remember.
Rowena came into view and walked over to check on him. "How are you?" she asked the young boy.
"I feel better than I ever have actually. Thank you for getting rid of that thing." He thanked her.
She looked at the ground with a little bit of self-disappointment on her face. "I'm sorry I got so mad at you. I should have given you a chance to explain yourself. After all of our time spent together, I think you had earned that." She apologized to him.
He waved off her concerns. "I guess if something that was so against my moral codes was presented in front of me and someone I trusted had kept it hidden from me, I might have reacted similarly." He told her. That seemed to mollify her concerns about his feelings towards her and they were interrupted by the crack of apparition.
Mipsy landed in front of the two. She gave a bow before the two. "Hello missus and mister. The elves were told to inform the mister that he missed the third task reveal. It be's a maze." She told them and waited.
"Was there any more information about it." Hadrian asked. The elf shook her head, her ears flopping about as she did so. "Then thank you Mipsy." He thanked her.
"Mipsy is pleased to help." She said before she disappeared.
Hadrian looked over at Rowena to see if she had anything to input on the topic.
"I don't have anything more to teach you that would be helpful towards this particular task. The only thing I can help you is to rebuild your mental shields." She told him.
He nodded and sat up in the bed and got into a meditative pose. He brought his shattered shields into his mind's eye and waited for more instructions. "Rebuild your shields but leave small tunnels throughout the entirety of them. you will use the ley lines' magic to reinforce your mental shields. When there are no ley lines around you can fill the gaps with your own magic to strengthen for the time needed. For the implementation, do you remember when I told you that the ley lines had a sort of sentience?" he nodded to her. "We connect to the magic and tether it to our baser instincts. Protection of self, anger towards attacker, hunger towards prey. We use these emotions to augment our ability to use our minds. It makes our minds slightly less refined at the time of use, but makes our abilities so much stronger.
He got to work rebuilding his shields in this new structure for the next few days, and the rest of the time till the start of the task was practicing this new form of mental discipline.