Watchman on the Tower
Author's Note: As always, a great amount of thanks to both of my betas- Tori and L B Domingo, as well as those who reviewed, you give me the support I need. :)
Chapter Seven: Training & Preparation
Elizabeth stood, straining to stand a little taller as she scanned the crowds at the magical resort of Parloff located in the south of France. She and Bill had been searching magical resorts like these for nearly a week, hoping to find Harry and Ginny Potter.
She was checking everyone out on the beach and Bill was searching crowds in the hotel. Elizabeth could not 'feel' the couple anywhere in the vicinity. However, she didn't know how to explain that little fact to Bill. Then again, she had never met Harry or Ginny. Perhaps looking for someone who seemed like Bill was the wrong thing to do. For all she knew, Bill and Ginny were drastically different.
Cautiously Elizabeth extended a little strain of her power, hoping to feel the aura of magic that Harry Potter would have. Abruptly she gasped and drew all of her power and 'awareness' back inside of her, forming a hard shell. She had nearly been caught. The last thing she needed was one of her uncles to become aware of her presence. Of late, her uncles had seemed to be everywhere. Something was about to happen and she feared that Carthade was a major part of it.
Elizabeth continued to watch the crowds as the sun sank lower and lower towards the horizon. She and Bill would probably have at least enough time to quickly search another resort, or perhaps they could just stay the night here.
Bill walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her. "Beautiful, isn't it?" he whispered.
Elizabeth nodded, beginning to smile. "Any sign?" she asked.
"No," Bill answered. "I thought the hard part would be convincing them to come, not finding them."
Elizabeth laughed. "I think that everything will turn out once we can track them down. I can. . . feel it."
Bill laughed and hugged her tighter. "I'll take that as a good omen. You always seem to have gut feelings that turn out just as you predicted, yet you claim to have never taken a Divination class. How do you explain that?"
That's because Divination is just as crude if not cruder than wands . . . she thought to herself. "I don't know, it's just the way I feel," she answered him out loud. She felt a little guilty, but then it was true. She just felt it. No one had ever had to teach that to her. It came naturally.
"Do you think we'll find them soon?" Bill asked with a trace of amusement.
"I don't know Bill," she answered slowly. "I just don't know."
~ ~ ~ ~
Elayne sorted out incoming papers on her desk in the make-shift office she and the Minister of Magic shared at Hogwarts. The majority of them were reports stating the numbers of refugees, supplies, and news of Commander Tareif's advances.
Once the major magical settlements had fallen, and the stream of refugees pouring into Hogwarts had turned into a small trickle. Reports spoke of dark soldiers wiping out pockets of resistance and forcing the inhabitants of the conquered territories to bend to their will. The reports on Elayne's desk spoke of horrifying rumors. Nothing could be confirmed, for all they had were the tales of those coming to Hogwarts.
What worried her the most was the fact that there was no news of Carthade himself. She could tell that both Arthur and Ronald Weasley were worried about this. For the past week Arthur had attempted to organize a temporary government. Ronald was busy training recruits and building up defense strategies with the help of his wife. Professor McGonagall was running the school as if none of this had happened.
Elayne sighed and dumped another stack of papers into the basket designated for reports categorized as useless or almost useless Of all the reports they received, Arthur only had time to read few of them. There was no news of Bill and Elizabeth either. Everyone had hoped that they would find Harry Potter quickly. That just didn't seem to be happening, though.
The door to the office opened and Arthur Weasley, Minister of Magic, walked in. "Anything new?" he asked.
Elayne shook her head. "I'm afraid not. Our sources aren't reliable. I haven't seen anything regarding Carthade or any evidence of Commander Tareif moving to Hogwarts yet."
Arthur sighed as he sat down at his own desk. "It's only a matter of time," he said sadly.
"How long?" Elayne questioned.
"I reckon we'll have Tareif, if not Carthade himself, on our doorstep in about a month," Arthur predicted.
"Why so long? I mean, it would seem he would attack sooner, wouldn't it?"
Arthur smiled sadly. "Tareif will wait until he has the rest of the UK under his control before he moves against us. Even then, he'll wait until he can strengthen himself a bit more. Once we've fallen, who knows what will happen to the Muggles."
There was an uncomfortable silence. "What about after that?" Elayne ventured softly.
"I'm afraid that Carthade will take down Europe in one quick swipe." Arthur answered.
Elayne's mouth dropped open. "That quick?" she asked, shocked.
Arthur nodded silently. "That quick. England was the hardest part of his conquest, in Europe at least. If he goes for America, that will take much longer. I don't think America has to worry for months, or perhaps years yet, if that is Carthade's goal."
Elayne was about to ask another question when the door opened and a young man walked in.
"Who are you?" Elayne asked him.
"Pardon me for just walking in," the young man said quietly. "My name is Lowell. I was wondering if perhaps I could talk to the Minister here. It is rather urgent."
Arthur and Elayne glanced at each other. The young man could have easily been an enemy agent here to try to assassinate Arthur and the two knew it. "I think I'd prefer if Elayne stayed." Arthur said levelly.
Lowell smiled. "As you wish." He reached into his cloak and drew out a sealed letter. "I am supposed to deliver this to you before I explain my presence here."
Arthur reached out and took the letter. He broke the seal, opened it, and began to read. "It's from Fred and George!" he said to Elayne excitedly. Mr. Weasley had been afraid that they had died in the first attack, or later. "It says to listen to Lowell here for an explanation because everything is too sensitive to write down."
Arthur and Elayne turned towards Lowell who was patiently standing there. "All right. Let's here what you have to say."
Lowell began to explain to them about the Caldazar.
~ ~ ~ ~
Harry stood happily in the training room beneath the palace. In the past week he had made extraordinary progress. He could now be constantly aware of whatever room he was in. It wasn't as exhausting as he had earlier perceived it to be. Instead, it was rather invigorating. His senses had been enhanced. Colors seemed brighter, smells sharper, sounds were louder and easier to interpret, foods had more taste to them and his feeling of touch was incredibly sensitive.
Not only that, he could sense what made up objects, how the weather worked, how things were. Today, Andrew was going to teach him how to use all of this awareness to work his power. This had been one of the things that Harry had looked forward to.
Andrew strolled into the room. "Sorry I'm late! Something came up that I had to attend to."
Harry nodded, eager to begin.
Andrew laughed. "I see that you're ready! Anyway, today, as you know, you'll begin to use your power. What we'll do is very basic, but very important."
Harry nodded impatiently, wondering what the first exercise was going to be. He suspected it had to do with the Quaffle resting on the floor in the center of the room. Harry had been surprised to learn that Quidditch was played quite often in Draconolough, even more than it was played in England. Andrew and Edward also happened to be rather avid fans of the sport. Harry had learned that the two brothers quite often played a game with palace staff. Edward played Seeker and Andrew played either Seeker or Keeper; he was excellent at both positions.
Andrew pointed to the Quaffle. "To begin, let's have you concentrate on that, but still keep yourself aware of the room."
Harry nodded and concentrated on the Quaffle. He became aware of every particle that comprised the ball.
"Good," Andrew encouraged. "Now, imagine your power, or rather your will, going out there with your awareness. Then use it to lift up the ball."
Harry concentrated and he felt some of his power go from him into the room with the ball. Abruptly, it shot up like a speeding bullet and slammed into the ceiling then beginning to bounce madly off the walls, floor and ceiling.
Suddenly the ball froze in mid-air. "Not that much power, Harry." Andrew chuckled. "You could lift up a moderately sized house with that amount of force."
"Sorry," Harry said. "It just seemed so little to me."
"That's okay," Andrew replied. "It's just a sign of how much power you have. To some, it would have taken a great amount of strength to move the ball. To you, it seemed very little. Speaking of power, maybe we ought to test you to see just how strong you are."
"How do you do that?" Harry inquired.
Andrew pointed to the ball he had stopped in the air. "I will use a certain amount of power to keep that ball in place. To make it move you have to use slightly more power than I am using. I'll keep lowering the amount I'm using until you can make the ball move. You just put all of your effort into making it move. Sound good?"
"I think so," Harry replied.
"Good," Andrew said. "Okay, concentrate on the ball and then direct your power, or rather, will to make it move."
Harry nodded and began to apply all the power he had to the task at hand. He felt his will slam against the ball. It did not move. It was firmer than a mountain.
"Keep going," Andrew encouraged.
Harry concentrated more and more on trying to budge the ball. He felt sweat began to trickle down his forehead. It wouldn't budge
"You're at your max now, Harry. Stay there and I'll begin to lower my power," Andrew told him.
Harry could barely nod. After about a minute, the ball jerked. Harry gasped, letting out his breath. "So how powerful am I?" Harry asked.
Andrew thought for a second and then replied. "On a scale of one to one hundred, my brother Robert being at one hundred, I, being at approximately seventy, the general populace of Draconolough averaging out at about five or six, I reckon that you're at about. . . twenty eight. That's just bare will, no skill or tools."
"That's not much!" Harry exclaimed. "You've been saying how powerful I am, but I'm low on that scale!"
Andrew shrugged. "Well. . . If you only look at the people on this planet, and not counting my brothers or I, you're at one hundred."
"Oh," Harry replied, "you and Edward are sort of like deities, aren't you?"
Andrew smiled and nodded.
"So technically, I am powerful compared to other people. What about with tools? Do you mean the staff?"
"Yes," Andrew replied, "with your staff you become very powerful, if you know how to use it properly."
"When do I learn about my staff?" Harry asked.
"Not yet!" Andrew told Harry. "You're not even ready to use your own will alone. When you're ready you will be taught how to use it properly."
Harry thought he heard Andrew mutter something under his breath about time and someone named Robert, but when Andrew looked up, Harry decided that it was only his imagination.
"Let's continue," Andrew said.
~ ~ ~ ~
Hermione sat at a table in the school library, looking over several books about magical warfare. Since Ron had been appointed the General Commander of defense against Carthade, they had been desperately searching for different ways of defending Hogwarts against an attack from Commander Tareif or Carthade himself.
So far, they had found nothing that could help them. Everything that could be used, such as Anti-Apparition wards and unplottable location, had already been used, or at least considered. However, they were still sadly lacking. How would they oppose Muggle armed with Dark Magic?
Between the hours he spent training recruits, Ron worked on barricading all of the walls. He had set other wizards to work on warding the Forbidden Forest.
Another worry of Hermione's, though, concerned a means of preventing entrance through the lake. The delegates from Durmstrang had used the lake for transportation during the Triwizard Tournament. Silently, she cursed herself. She really should have asked Viktor how they had pulled it off.
Perhaps they could just freeze the lake solid. No, Hermione countered her idea immediately, it would kill the inhabitants of the lake. Just then Ron strolled into the room.
"How did we get ourselves into this mess?" Hermione moaned.
Ron walked over and pulled out a chair to sit on and sat down. "It's not totally our fault. Some of it is other people's fault." Ron replied, trying to comfort her.
"Yes, but if we had stood by him we wouldn't be in this mess. Carthade would be dead because we would have let Harry do what he had to do," Hermione pointed out.
"We didn't know!" Ron said. "From out point of view Harry had gone off the deep end long before Carthade became a player in the war. He and Ginny were fanatics, Hermione! When Mum told them to cool it down, a big row between them and half the family ensued. Fred, George, Bill, and Charlie on Harry's side . . . and Mum, Dad, Percy, you and I on the other side. Of course, Percy doesn't count, he had a nervous breakdown and ran off with Penny. . . ."
"I know that, Ron," Hermione said softly. "We should have sided with them. Harry had been our friend since first year. We should have known that he was right and that we were wrong."
"Hermione," Ron said firmly, "everyone reacted the right way from their point of view. We thought we were doing what was best, and Harry and Ginny thought they were doing what was best. In the end, it turned out that Harry was right and we were wrong."
"I know, Ron, but. . ."
Ron stood Hermione up and kissed her. "No buts, let's just do our best with what we've been dealt."
Hermione nodded and leaned forward for another kiss.
~ ~ ~ ~
The Dark Lord Carthade strode down the empty morning streets of Washington, D.C.: the capital of the Muggle United States as well as the wizarding community. He loved to take walks in the morning before anyone was really up and about.
Commander Tareif was moving along swiftly. England would soon be his. The last obstacle was Hogwarts. It would take a great amount of effort, but it was possible. It was time to move up their schedule. Tareif had resisted at first but had soon given in to his demands. He would attack Hogwarts weeks before anyone had planned.
Carthade found himself at a Muggle subway entrance. He strode down the empty steps quickly, his shoes making a steady tap on each stair. He arrived at the bottom and walked straight through a wall that would have blocked a normal person's path. He was now in the American wizarding world.
He walked down the broad and empty street up to the Capitol Building where he worked daily. From his position in the American Wizarding Government, bringing America under his control would be a cinch.
After passing through mostly empty hallways, he arrived at his office. He poured himself a cup of coffee and sat down. Today he would order Admiral Seilftriz to begin landing his invasion force.
Carthade smiled coldly. The world would be his.