Hey friends and fans! Kairomaru is bringing you another chapter of Harry Potter and the Artificer Legacy! It's time for Harry to meet the Order of the Phoenix. I'm sure the teen Artificer will be absolutely thrilled by what he sees. But with Voldemort staying in the shadows for the most part, there's not much anyone can do without being able to find him. The tense peace continues for now.
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Chapter 59 – The Order of the Phoenix
The crack of Apparation rang out in the fading light of a street in London. Two people, a man and his teenage godson had just appeared from nowhere. Looking around, Harry couldn't say he was impressed with the place. The grimy fronts of the surrounding houses were not welcoming; some of them had broken windows that glimmered dully in the light from the streetlamps, paint was peeling from many of the doors, and heaps of rubbish lay outside several sets of front steps.
"Cheery place." Harry quipped and Sirius agreed with a nod.
"Always." The old Marauder shook his head. "Read this, Harry." He handed a scrap of parchment to Harry.
"The Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix is at Number Twelve Grimmauld Place." Harry read off the parchment and then watched with some amazement as an entire home (Number Twelve) seemed to move aside Number Eleven and Number Thirteen as it came into his awareness. "Okay…that's pretty impressive." The Artificer admitted with a glance at his godfather.
"Fidelius Charm." Sirius informed as he quickly guided Harry across the street and up the steps. Without even knocking he opened the door and they slipped inside.
"Still cheery." Harry remarked of the dingy insides of the house. It had lofty ceilings, a gloomy air, it was a bit dark, and was clearly in disrepair. "Did this place get abandoned for years or something?"
"This was the home of the Blacks when I was growing up, never liked the place." Sirius shook his head before guiding Harry past the stairs. "Speak quietly, Harry, or else you'll wake the horrid portrait of my mother." He motioned at a set of curtains hung on the wall of the staircase.
"Right." Harry lowered his voice a bit. Sirius led him down a short hallway to a large wooden door.
"We're here." Sirius spoke up as he and Harry entered what was clearly a kitchen.
A long wooden table dominated the center of the room. It had six chairs on either side, but could easily hold ten on both sides plus one at each end of the long table. There were cupboards along the walls and a large set of shelves held all of the dishware. At the moment, a fair few people were in the room as well.
"Sirius, Harry, welcome." Remus greeted the duo first, a tired smile on his face.
"Moony!" Sirius grinned as he greeted his friend with a strong clap on the back.
"Professor Lupin." Harry greeted with an amused little smile.
"I don't believe that I'm your Professor anymore, Mr. Potter." Remus replied right back, his own smile widening. Somehow, Remus was still the Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor, the apparent curse not striking the man for unknown reasons. He was now the longest serving Professor (two years and counting) for the last twenty years, at least.
Harry and Sirius were then greeted by multiple other members of the Order of the Phoenix, most of which Harry either only knew in passing, or didn't know at all. Kingsley Shacklebolt was there, as were Arthur and Molly Weasley. A man that Harry could've identified as Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody purely from Tonks's description of her mentor in the Auror Corps, even if he hadn't met him during the Dementor attack. Two older men, one Dedalus Diggle, and the other Elphias Doge, were sitting at the long table along with two women. One woman introduced herself as Emmeline Vance, while the other greeted Harry as Hestia Jones. Another man, Sturgis Podmore, introduced himself to Harry before getting himself a drink and heading for the large table.
A loud thump was heard through the kitchen door a moment later.
"Bloody thing! It always moves!" Tonks's voice was heard and Harry broke into a grin. That grin ended a moment later when a horrific wailing filled the house.
"FILTH! Disgusting mudbloods in my home! Out! OUT! Kreacher! Kreacher, get rid of this filth from the Noble House of Black!"
"For the love of!" Sirius yanked about the kitchen door, increasing the volume of the screeching, and rushed down the narrow hallway. "Tonks, every time!" He chastised the Metamorph before stomping up the stairs towards the screaming portrait.
"It's that cursed Troll leg umbrella stand! It moves every time and I nearly fall over it!" Tonks shot back.
"Disgusting traitor!" The portrait of Sirius's mother shrieked at the man. "How dare you return to this home! Out! Kreacher! Get them out!"
"Shut your mouth you bigoted old hag of a harpy!" Sirius yelled over the portrait. He had clearly done this same thing many times before.
"How dare you!" Walburga Black, according to the nameplate on the bottom of the portrait, snarled at her son.
"Traitorous Master shouldn't be yelling at Mistress Walburga." An old House Elf that was dressed in rags rattled out at Sirius from the top of the stairs.
"Shut it, Kreacher, you miserable little troll!" Sirius snapped at the off-looking House Elf.
"Remove yourselves from my home!" Walburga demanded of everyone she could see from her portrait. "Traitors! Mudbloods! Filth!" She insulted everyone she could see.
Harry, seeing this deranged portrait call Tonks 'filth' narrowed his eyes. He walked up the stairs to stand next to Sirius, who was struggling to close the curtains that normally hung over the portrait. Looking between the portrait and the haggard-looking old Elf, that may also be slightly mad from the look in its eyes, Harry had to ask the obvious question.
"Why don't you just take her portrait down?" Harry looked at Sirius curiously.
"We can't, it's got a permanent Sticking Charm on the back that holds it to the wall." Sirius grumbled, while Walburga looked smug.
"And?" Harry reached into his Storage Cloak and pulled out the sheathed Aethereum. He saw Sirius's eyes light up with understanding as he unsheathed the Artifact Sword.
"You shan't harm Mistress Walburga!" Kreacher reacted to the obvious threat, but a wandless Petrificus Totalus from Harry had the old Elf falling backwards on the upper landing with his body locked in place, arms at his sides and his legs straight.
"My portrait is protected from such things, boy." Walburga didn't seem concerned as Harry aimed the tip of the sword at her.
"Funny that," Harry looked at the bitter old woman in the painting. "My Aethereum is an Artifact Sword that cuts Magic." Walburga's eyes widened just as Harry stabbed the sword forward and through the portrait, the tip getting stuck in the wall behind the painting.
Instantly Walburga stopped moving. The portrait's colors quickly losing their luster and fading significantly. In a very short time, the painting looked just as old and worn as everything else in the dilapidated house. When Harry pulled Aethereum back, the portrait fell off the wall and its frame broke on the stairs. Sirius and Tonks stared at the destroyed portrait and then looked at Harry as he sheathed Aethereum.
"I didn't know that Aethereum could do that, Harry." Tonks mentioned of the sword.
"I wouldn't have done it if she hadn't insulted you, love." Harry smiled at her as he walked down the stairs.
"My hero…" Tonks pretended to swoon, before leaning in to kiss Harry gently. "Thank you." She smiled lovingly at him.
"Any time." Harry placed Aethereum back into his Storage Cloak and then offered his hand to Tonks.
"Such a gentleman." Tonks grinned, taking his hand as they walked towards the kitchen together.
"Kreacher," Sirius undid the spell on the old House Elf. "Throw out this old portrait and then leave us all alone for the rest of the night, am I understood?"
"Yes…unworthy Master." Kreacher mumbled out, looking at a loss now that Walburga's portrait was gone. Sirius headed back to the kitchen as Kreacher collected the pieces of the portrait and then popped away.
Back in the kitchen, the gathered members of the Order all sat down at the long table. Mrs. Weasley made tea for everyone and was serving it when the large fireplace in the kitchen flared with green flames. From the flames Dumbledore emerged, followed by both McGonagall and Snape. The three Professors vanished the soot from their clothing after looking about the room for a moment.
"I see that everyone has arrived." Dumbledore greeted pleasantly, giving a welcoming look to Harry as he made his way to the table.
"Is Hagrid not joining us tonight?" Elphias Doge asked Dumbledore curiously.
"No, I've asked him to take on a special task for me that I hope will prevent Voldemort from adding to his forces any further than he already is." Dumbledore answered as he sat down at the head of the long table. Snape slunk off to about the middle of the table to take a seat. McGonagall sat next to Dumbledore on his left.
"Sit, sit, Harry." Tonks sat down at the table and motioned to the chair next to her. Harry sat down next to his girlfriend and noticed that Sirius and Remus took the chairs closest to his.
"We have a guest this evening, welcome to the Order of the Phoenix, Mr. Potter." Dumbledore welcomed Harry politely and the rest of the Order followed suit.
"Thank you for having me, Headmaster." Harry nodded to the old man. "Sirius said that you wanted for me to meet the Order and that you had something to speak with me about?"
"Yes, Mr. Potter, I did indeed." Dumbledore nodded after placing his teacup down. "As you well know, Voldemort has made his first visible move of what is sure to become another war. As of yet, we don't know what he's planning, aside from setting up some form of Magic."
"If you know he's setting up some kind of Magic, then you know where he is staying, right?" Harry asked what he felt was an obvious question.
"He's at Malfoy Manor in Wiltshire." Dumbledore informed the teen.
"So, why haven't you alerted the Aurors so that they can arrest him?" Harry was flummoxed as to why that hadn't been the first course of action.
"Lucius Malfoy has the Minister's ear." Dumbledore let out a sigh. "I've spoken with Cornelius a few times about this matter already, but he refuses to believe that the man he calls a confidant and friend would house the Dark Lord."
"And without just cause, the Ministry cannot perform a raid on a private residence." Kingsley Shacklebolt spoke up with his deep voice.
"You'd think suspicion of housing Voldemort would be enough." Sirius made his annoyance with the Ministry known.
"It would be if certain laws weren't in place." Moody rumbled out, his false eye darting around. The blasted Wizengamot had been influenced for decades to give certain people far more leeway with the law than others.
"Legality aside, what's stopping you all from going to Malfoy Manor and taking the fight to Voldemort?" Harry looked around at the people gathered.
"How many of us would you have die by the Dark Lord's wand, Potter?" Snape sneered at the teen.
"Shut it, Snivellus." Sirius glared pointedly at the man. "The Ministry either won't or can't do anything. So, it may very well come down to us doing so and you know it."
"That's enough," Dumbledore spoke up just as Snape's mouth opened to retort. "We are not here to fight amongst ourselves. All of us are gathered here to stop Voldemort from gaining the power and influence he had back in the Seventies." He looked at both Sirius and Snape pointedly.
"I'm all for dealing with Voldemort," Harry spoke up again. "But what does that have to do with me being here? Are you wanting me to join your Order?" He asked Dumbledore directly.
"Heaven's no!" Molly Weasley spoke up. "You're far too young to be a member of the Order, Harry."
"Molly." Arthur calmly looked at his wife, the woman sighing as she settled down. She hadn't meant to speak up in such a rude fashion.
"Whether you face Voldemort directly or not may only be a matter of time, Harry." Dumbledore spoke, using Harry's first name to convey his seriousness. "But until such a time, we'll do what we can to handle the situation."
"I feel like you're about to ask me for something, sir." Harry mentioned, the anticipation rising a bit in the air. Tonks nearly snorted at how easily Harry had read the mood.
"Yes," Dumbledore smiled genially, the twinkle he was known for in his eyes. "I would like to ask you, Artificer Potter, if we might commission your services in our fight against Voldemort."
"I'm not an Arms Dealer, Headmaster." Harry immediately shut down any potential requests for Artifact Weapons. If he wouldn't make them for the Ministry as a career, he certainly wasn't going to supply what amounted to a group of private citizens with them. "I artifice and enchant for my own purposes or as payment for learning Magic that I couldn't otherwise." He remembered his deal with Mukisa from Uagadou.
"Um, can I ask why you won't provide us with such?" Hestia raised her hand slightly to ask.
"It's too dangerous." Harry looked at the woman as he began to explain. "I can make a Minor Grade Artifact in a week or two if I really try, but the risk of any Artifact falling into Voldemort's hands is not something I'm willing to chance. Binding each Artifact that I make to the bloodline of the person using it takes extra time and requires freely given blood." He saw the various members of the Order almost instinctively move back a bit. Freely given blood wasn't something that most Wizards or Witches would do. It offered far too many avenues to curse a person with.
"Money isn't an issue, if what you're wanting is Enchanted Items though." Harry offered a different option to the Order. "I merely need the proper materials, and I can craft many useful things for you."
"Such as?" Dedalus Diggle asked, the old man curious as to what was being offered.
"Armor, for one." Harry looked down the table to Diggle. "I can make you cloaks resistant to Magic, giving you the equivalent of a physical Shield Charm around you at all times." He saw the interest in the old man's eyes and heard the murmurings of the other members. "With the right materials and time, I can craft Enchanted Items that can do nearly anything, within reason, of course."
"Some of those Ward Breakers of yours would be helpful." Moody grunted, knowing that a place like Malfoy Manor would be heavily protected by unknown wards.
"That would take some time, depending on how many you need." Harry looked at the grizzled Auror. "But I can do it."
"Something that would allow us to track Voldemort would be most helpful." Dumbledore mentioned to Harry. "That or perhaps a way to trap him and keep him contained?"
"He's got more mana than you do, Headmaster." Harry informed Dumbledore plainly, getting a few shocked gasps from the Order members. "Keeping him contained could be difficult. Interrupting his ability to use Magic might be possible, but at the same time, the thought of such items falling into Voldemort's hands is unsettling, to say the least."
"We also don't know what kind of Magic the Dark Lord is trying to make use of either." Remus spoke up next. "If it takes so much preparation, he could be planning to cast a spell of some kind that we haven't seen before."
"Or maybe it's a ritual of some type?" Emmeline Vance pondered; her eyes narrowed as she thought about it. "That doesn't bode well, given just how varied rituals can be. Even if we knew that it was a ritual with one-hundred percent certainty, we still wouldn't have any clue as to what kind of ritual it was."
"Why hasn't Snape cleared that up?' Harry looked at the greasy Potions Professor. "Haven't you been able to tell at least the basics of what Voldemort is doing?"
"He has a point," Tonks agreed with Harry. "You've been over there so often this summer, yet you can't tell us anything more than he's setting up for some random Magic?"
"Try to understand, if you can, that I mustn't give myself away." Snape spoke as if he was talking to a small child. "The Dark Lord has forbidden anyone even approaching the area he is working in on pain of death."
"What are you doing over there again?" Sirius cocked an eyebrow at the dour man.
"Brewing potions and assisting with the recovery of the Dark Lord's inner circle as is expected of me, Black." Snape looked down his nose at Sirius. He wouldn't have his old school bully question him.
"Why not slip them some 'bad' potions and prevent them from becoming problems in the future?" Harry had to ask. It shouldn't be hard for someone of Snape's skill to do so.
"Potter, clearly you underestimate just how powerful the Dark Lord is." Snape was back to speaking as if he was talking to a rather dim child. "If I did that, he would quickly interrogate me. The Dark Lord is a master Legilimens, no one's secrets are safe against him."
"That doesn't bold well for you as a spy, Severus." Shacklebolt looked at the former Death Eater. "Are you certain that our own plans and talks haven't already been taken from your mind?"
"I am quite adept at Occlumency, Shacklebolt." Snape replied evenly to the Auror. "I would notice when or if the Dark Lord used Legilimency on me, even if I couldn't stop it."
"Severus has my complete trust. I am sure that our talks and meetings are not discussed with Voldemort with any truth behind them when Severus is among the Death Eaters." Dumbledore spoke over the murmurings in the kitchen.
"Still, it may behoove us to make a move before You-Know-Who finishes whatever Magic that he's preparing." Elphias Doge looked at Dumbledore pointedly. "Who knows what sort of foul Magics he may have gotten his hands on since the Seventies."
"Aye." Moody nodded sharply in agreement. "Best to strike before we're struck in this case." He was all for taking the offensive in this soon-to-be war.
"At the very least, we don't have to worry about the Dementors anymore." Sirius brought up some good news for the Order. "Harry saw to that already."
"Not in the way I had expected." Harry shook his head, recalling the attack. "I'm also still working on a way to permanently deal with the Artifact that was created by doing so."
"It's safe for now though, correct?" Remus looked at Harry concerned.
"Sealed up tight and not going anywhere any time soon." Harry confirmed for his surrogate uncle.
"That is good to hear." Dumbledore let a small relieved sigh escape him. The Artifact Sword that Harry had created from consuming all one-hundred Dementors of Azkaban had unnerved him. To hear that it was locked away where no one could misuse it was some good news.
"We'll be ready to fight when the time comes." Harry assured Dumbledore with a stony expression. "All four of us are much stronger than the average Wizard and my Artifacts and items should further tip the scales in our favor."
"But Harry, you're much too young to fight against Death Eaters." Molly worried for the teen. How could she not? As a mother of seven, Ron being Harry's age, she couldn't help but want to keep him far away from danger.
"I'm doubtful that I'll be given a choice, Mrs. Weasley." Harry looked at the redheaded woman with a shake of his head. "But we won't be alone. King Drasurd of the Erdunn Dwarves has agreed to support me against Voldemort. With their forces on our side, we outnumber the Death Eaters significantly."
"A true boon, Mr. Potter." Dumbledore was pleased to hear that the Dwarves that Harry had befriended and gone into business with were willing to fight against Voldemort. "However, without knowing exactly what Voldemort is planning, we can't make concrete plans to best utilize such a large force."
"If we march onto Malfoy Manor, we could surround them." Sirius suggested, clearly of the mind to make the first move. "I've seen what Harry, Tonks, Penny, and Fleur can do. With their assistance and the Dwarves' numbers, we could stop this from becoming a war."
"It all comes down to time though." Harry looked at his godfather. "I need time to craft the Shield Cloaks and the Ward Breakers. If we could assure enough time, then perhaps I could even get strong enough to wield Dourfrost freely. But I highly doubt we have such a luxury of time."
"Most likely not." Dumbledore agreed with the young man's assessment. "From what Severus has been able to glean, Voldemort is still in the process of setting up whatever Magic he plans to use. If it is indeed a ritual of some type, he may need to wait until a specific time before he can utilize it. The next large event that I can think of would be the autumn equinox in September."
"That's not really that far away, if it's the case." Remus looked grim.
"Can you not sabotage this potential ritual site, Severus?" Diggle looked at the potions master with serious eyes.
"Not without the Dark Lord being able to replace or repair whatever I damage." Severus shook his head. "That would be after he kills me for doing so, of course. Even if I flee after doing so, my use as a spy would be at an end."
"At this point that role may have passed its usefulness." Moody commented gruffly. "We know where the Dark Lord is and have a vague idea of what he's doing. It might be time to make our own move. You'll have to decide where you are going to be standing when that time comes, Severus." Both of Moody's eyes, real and prosthetic, focused squarely on Snape.
"I am aware, Mad-Eye." Severus drawled, his pale face like a blank mask.
Harry narrowed his eyes at Snape at hearing his reply. He wasn't the only one either. Both Sirius and Tonks hadn't liked the response of the supposed spy. It sounded far too much like Snape wasn't of a mind to really choose which side he was on until everything was over.
The meeting went on for a while longer. Dumbledore and Moody both going over what they'd like from Harry for the Order. Ward Breakers, at least two dozen, at Moody's request. Dumbledore was hopeful that every member of the Order could be equipped with a Shield Cloak for their protection before the autumn equinox, just in case that truly was the time that Voldemort would enact his Magic. It wouldn't be too hard to get the Ward Breakers, since the Erdunn Dwarves could help make them. But the Shield Cloaks would have to be made by Harry, as they were a new creation that he'd only recently drawn up the idea for.
"So, Potter has the allegiance of a clan of Dwarves?" Voldemort listened to Snape's report. Dumbledore was a fool to think any of his marked followers would ever be disloyal. The few that had proven to be so had been dealt with promptly.
"Yes, my Lord." Snape confirmed from his kneeled position.
"Hmm, if I wasn't so busy with the rites, I'd seek them out and make them realize how poor of a choice it is to make an enemy of Voldemort." The Dark Lord let out a slight hiss. Dwarves, depending on their number, may pose some difficulty to his conquest. But what he stood to gain from his ritual should make that a moot point anyway. "Do you happen to know where these Dwarves reside, Severus?" It would be good to know where to target after the ritual.
"No, my Lord. Potter did not speak of their location." Snape shook his head, not daring to look up from the floor.
"The Dwarves can hide wherever they are, what I gain from this Great Magic will see them utterly inconsequential before me." Voldemort spoke with a surety that made Snape believe him. The lack of the Dwarves' location was minor at the moment, the good news of not having to worry about the Order being equipped with multitudes of Artifacts was much more important. "The boy is a fool not to make Artifacts against me, but his naivete will be his ruin, along with Dumbledore's Order."
"Yes, my Lord." Snape agreed without fail. He thought the boy was being foolish, but he'd not speak up to save James Potter's son.
"The time draws closer, and I have much work still to do. Leave me, Severus." Voldemort spoke, dismissing Snape without looking at the man.
"Yes, my Lord." Snape backed out of the room with a bow. He wouldn't show disrespect, nor would he risk exposing his back to the Dark Lord. The inner circle would be mostly well soon enough. He'd prove his usefulness to the Dark Lord, and he already had Dumbledore's support. No matter who won, Severus Snape planned to be on the winning side.
Once Snape had shut the door behind him, Voldemort made his way towards the ritual site that he was still preparing. It was a stroke of luck, or perhaps providence, that this particular autumn equinox coincided with a new moon almost perfectly. The ritual would be at its peak with such conditions and Voldemort stood to gain even more from his sacrifice.
"Ah, yes, I'll have to remember to check how many more new recruits Lucius has acquired tomorrow." Voldemort had a mirthless smile on his lips. "The more the better." The hollow chuckle that followed the Dark Lord outside would have sent others running in fear.
Harry has met the Order of the Phoenix.
He will not become an Arms Dealer for them. The danger of Artifact Weapons falling into the wrong hands is far too great. But he will provide his skills to them for their protection.
The Order knows where Voldemort is, but can't get anything done legally. It seems they might have to make their own move against Voldemort directly. But will they be able to do so in time?
Can Harry craft his new Shield Cloak items before time runs out?
Also, just what the hell is Voldemort's new ritual going to do? How many is he planning to sacrifice?
Keep reading to find out!
Current Mana Levels
Harry – 28,010
Tonks – 23,264
Penelope – 17,536
Fleur – 18,108
Until I get your reviews, later!