This is War
Chapter 7: The Liar, the honest
Tom Marvolo Riddle, known as Voldemort was not a happy individual. The injuries he suffered in his battle with Lord Peverell and Miss Black weren't minor and the healing process would take weeks for him to fully recover from all the while the best he could manage was a cutting curse onto the boy who stitched himself up when Bellatrix Black distracted him, robbing his victory from him. He was frustrated with his followers, The Black Family should've been under his control by now, but everything has gone to hell and its that damned Peverell's fault.
He needed more people, more allies and more followers for his ranks, he would have to expand to other countries and make use of the outcasts of society, the ones who are ostracised.
"My lord," Thaddius Nott said with a bow.
"Nott, send Goyle and Parkinson to broker an agreement with the Vampires. And then send Rockwood and Rosier to the Giants and have them be persuaded to join us. We need more disposable bodies for our attack. Then visit any of the Creature Reserves that house Category XXXXX Beasts and either buy or persuade them, one way or another, to be given to our cause," Tom all but roared.
"It will be done, My Lord," Thaddius Nott said, his body stiffening lightly.
"And get me Lucius!" He shouted at the retreating Lord Nott.
Tom knew he would need to seek more powerful magic, Dark Arts and Rituals were one thing but to combat what he experienced the other day, he needed to delve deeper into Esoteric Magic and Necromancy. Lucius, while not as smart as his father, was still smarter than most of the pure-bloods that followed him and the Malfoy family had a sizeable fortune that would aid him. While he would have liked to have the Black Family's money and knowledge in his grasp, he would have to make do with Lucius and his selfish needs to reach his goals. Harry Peverell would rue the day he opposed Lord Voldemort, the Heir of Salazar Slytherin.
Albus looked perplexed as he stared at Harry Peverell and the four french teenagers that accompanied him. He had of course read about the Devereaux Family in his studies in his youth and even heard his mentor Nicholas Flamel had previously had dealings with the family. But to have four of the next generation of Devereaux's right in front of him, he could only be surprised.
"You wish to shadow Harry this week at Hogwarts?" Albus repeated.
"Yes Headmaster, the Lord of our House has offered House Peverell our aid in this war, from Sentinel Family to Sentinel Family. As such, we wish to simply attend his place of education for the week we are here and perhaps longer if we wish. All of us are students at Beauxbaton's currently and you can easily find out transcripts," Nadine said.
"Uh… yes, that won't be a problem. However, Mr. Peverell resides in Slytherin House which is not very welcoming to half-humans, I know you are more than capable of taking care of yourselves. However, as an educator I cannot in good conscience allow you to stay there, instead, I will allow you to stay with the Hufflepuff's in private rooms, their dorm is also in the Dungeons and near Slytherin's so you will still be relatively close," he explained when it looked like Nadine would protest.
The four Devereaux's shared a look while Harry looked amused before they nodded finding that explanation acceptable, no doubt the students would be riled up about four French exchange students attending so suddenly. Perhaps he will have to change History of Magic to include the Sentinel Families, Binns does an alright job, but it was becoming apparent that he would need a different history teacher in these dark times.
"Mr. Peverell, a word in private if I may?" Albus asked, he nodded and the four Devereaux's stepped outside, no doubt they would wait for him but for the moment they were alone.
"I do not know how the Hogwarts students will react to two Veela and two Half-Elves but that is not what I wanted to talk to you about. I hope you can forgive me for not returning this to you sooner, however, I wished to ascertain what kind of person you were before handing this over. It stopped working for me months ago, and I wondered why until we met at the Wizengamot that time. I do hope you'll forgive a cautious man who has already seen this corrupt another," Albus sighed as he unwrapped a silk cloth which contained the Elder Wand. Harry raised an eyebrow in surprise before looking at him.
"Headmaster… I can understand your hesitance to give this back to me after what happened between yourself and Grindelwald. I appreciate you returning it to my family, and I assure you, my only intention is to stop the Dark Lord and protect the people," Harry said as he picked up this worlds Elder Wand.
The wand felt warm and inviting and spring to live in his hand, he felt it was similar to his own Elder Wand yet slightly different as well. This was one of Death's Artefacts that he would be passing on to the children of one of his three wives, when they were ready for the responsibility. The wand sung in his hand, coming to life happy to be reunited with its true owner, almost pinning as if it had been desperately waiting for a Peverell to hold it once again.
"I believe you Harry, there are dark times ahead. I will give you all the help I can, I believe you are the light that had come during our darkest time," he said sincerely.
"Thank you Headmaster, I… it means a lot coming from you," Harry said.
"I am but an educator Harry, my word doesn't mean much but I am happy you hold it in such a high regard," Albus replied.
"Perhaps, one day we'll have a long conversation about it all," Harry mused.
"I would like that, now, why won't we grab your new friends and head to the great hall for dinner? I daresay the students will be eager for their duelling lesson tonight, though I wish the circumstances behind its popularity were different. It eases my concerns a little to know that they'll be able to at least defend themselves well enough to escape," he sighed.
Sure enough, waiting outside were Apolline, Nadine, Veroninqua and Jean-Paul. They fell into step beside him or behind him as they made their way to the great hall, Albus having gone ahead to get to his spot as Headmaster. When they entered almost the entire school looked at them, Harry just shrugged while most of the male population's eyes glazed over at the allure Apolline and Nadine were putting out even with most of it under control.
"Marry me!" Lucius Malfoy all but blurted out from his seat stumbling to his feet, Apolline curled back in disgust.
"Sit down! You do not 'ave ze right to touch my sister or anyone else," Nadine snarled, her french accent was very prominent as Lucius hesitantly sat back down.
"Ahem, Students, I wish you to welcome Jean-Paul, Veroniqua, Nadine and Apolline Devereaux who are from Beauxbaton's in France and are guests of Mr. Peverell for the week. I expect each and every one of you to show the utmost of respect for our visitors, they will be boarding in Hufflepuff for their duration but will be attending lessons with Mr. Peverell and Slytherin," Albus announce, the Hufflepuff's looked excited as the four Devereaux's sat down at Hufflepuff table though right next to where Harry was on the Slytherin table.
"As you are all aware, we have lost thirty-seven students in the recent Hogsmeade atrack and it saddens me truly. Should you need anyone to talk to, myself and the staff will be available in addition to any outside professional help you require, Hogwarts will provide for you. In light of that, Mr. Peverell and Professor Flitwick's Duelling Club meeting tonight will still go ahead, I encourage each and every one of you to attend after dinner. That is all," and with that food appeared.
"Is there anything French?" Nadine muttered, seeing the selection was all heavy English foods.
As if on cue, French food appeared around them and they were much happier, Apolline helped herself to a bowl of Bouillabaisse one of her favourites. She looked over to Slytherin to see Harry talking with a group of girls a bit younger than he was, she admitted she was a bit jealous but the blonde right next to him seemed… familiar somehow she recognised her.
"What's in like at Beauxbatons?" A smallish voice asked from near them, Apolline turned to see a girl about 13 with dark brown hair looking at them with curiosity.
"It's a beautiful place, the classes are good, probably different and the teachers are very experienced," Apolline replied.
"Is it true the Headmistress is Half-Giant?"
"Oui, Madam Maxine is a very skilled educator and you'll find many half-human witches and wizards attend Beauxbaton's. Much like us," Jean-Paul replied.
"Thats neat! I've always wanted to see France," the girl said.
"What's your name?"
"Oh! I'm Alice McKinnon. My sister is Marlene, she's in Gryffindor next to our best friend Lily Evans, the red head over there," Alice said pointing across the hall to the two.
"Who are those girls next to Harry?" Nadine asked Alice.
"Oh! Those are Narcissa Black, she's the youngest Daughter of the Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Black. Her friends are Ophelia Greengrass of the Most Ancient and Most Noble house of Greengrass, Regina Parkinson of the Ancient and Noble House of Parkinson and Marceline Bulstrode of the Noble House of Bulstrode," Alice explained.
"What's their relationship with him?"
"Oh, I'm not sure. I heard he saved the Black Family during the break, so Narcissa and Bellatrix make sense and I'm guessing the others are just Narcissa's friends. Bellatrix Black is the oldest of the Black Sisters, she's also the most feared student in Hogwarts for her skills with a wand and the reputation of the Black Family, though I guess Harry Peverell would now be the most powerful student," Alice replied.
"Where is this Bellatrix?"
"Oh, she's in the Hospital Ward still. She was injured helping Harry Peverell in the battle of Hogsmeade," Alice explained, shivering, her eyes took on a faraway look as she stared at her food.
"So what are your favourite subjects?" Apolline asked changing the subject.
"Oh! I really love Herbology! You see, Frank and I, oh! Frank Longbottom Jr I should say. He and I love Herbology, we help our Head of House, Professor Sprout, all the time in the green house!" She perked right back up.
"What kind of plants do you look after?" Veroniqua asked, half-elves were very in-tuned with nature and she, Jean-Paul and their parents had a knack for working with nature, much like Apolline and Nadine had an affinity for Fire.
Dinner wrapped up and half the teachers and some students left but most students remained as Harry stood up and made his way to the teachers table to have a brief conversation with Professor Flitwick who nodded and said some things before they addressed the Great Hall.
"Alright everyone, can I ask you to step away from the tables. We will be vanishing them to make room for the start of today's first duelling club lesson," Harry announced.
Everyone did so swiftly and Professor Flitwick waved his wand and vanished all the tables. Harry then pulled out the Elder Wand Dumbledore had given him and with practiced ease, he conjured about a dozen dummies.
"The first thing we are going to work on is accuracy, we will be casting a basic stinging hex at the dummies. You will cast 10 times before moving to the back of your line. Each House has 3 dummies so make 3 lines," Harry instructed.
"Accuracy? Come on Peverell can't you teach us something more flashy?" A voice complained, Harry raised an eyebrow and looked at him. He was from Slytherin.
"Evan Rosier," he replied.
"Right, Evan, step up please," Harry said and the boy did so, an arrogant smirk on his face.
"Stand over there for me please Evan," Harry pointed about 20 feet away from himself, Evan moved to the designated spot.
"Cast 10 times at me."
"Are you sure?"
Evan cast the stinging hex at Harry 10 times, all 10 times Harry didn't move, and all 10 times Evan's spells missed. Sure, some of them came close but a slight shift in weight was all that was needed to narrowly avoid it.
"And that, Mr. Rosier, is why we are practicing accuracy. Not all targets will stay still, and you need to be able to accurately cast with complete confidence or you'll end up dead."
"Now, everyone get into your lines. Myself and the Professors will watch you and help you adjust your casting," Harry said, Professor Flitwick gave an approving nod before turning to his Ravenclaws, Professor Sprout doing the same for her Puff's, Slughorn for the Snakes and McGonagall for the Lions while Albus merely watched on with curiosity as Harry went around to every house and every student at some point. Apolline, Jean-Paul, Nadine and Veroniqua watched from the sideline, Apolline with a smile on her face thinking back to her dream about an adult Harry Peverell. She wondered if he would teach his children like this, he seemed to have a knack for teaching.
"Alright, your homework is to work on your accuracy when casting spells. I want everyone to hit the dummies at least 7 out of 10 times before we move onto the next area which will be casting at a moving target. I know you all want to learn the more combat ready spells but right now you need to learn how to accurately aim your spells," Harry said dismissing everyone, the students left the great hall excited for their next meeting in two days time.
When Apolline rose in the morning, it was 5:30am on the dot. She was sharing a room with Nadine and Veroniqua in Hufflepuff while Jean-Paul roomed with the boys. She quietly slid out of bed and got changed into some tracksuit pants and a sports-bra and singlet before leaving the common room and heading towards the Slytherin Dungeons that Harry had shown them the location of the previous day.
About 10 minutes later the door opened and Harry emerged, right behind him was a black haired girl. To Apolline she would define this girl as beautiful, she had pale skin, long dark hair, a sizeable bust and delicious curves. This girl was absolutely gorgeous and she wasn't even a Veela.
"Apolline, glad you could join us. This is Bellatrix Black, we'll take it a bit easier today for you and her as she's still recovering from the Hogsmeade attack two days ago. I told her she could sit this one out but she insisted on coming," Harry said with a shrug, the girl looked at her before grinning.
"Apolline Devereaux, pleasure to meet you Miss Black," Apolline said offering a hand.
"The pleasure is all mine, I'm sure we're going to become… good friends," Bellatrix replied, taking the offered hand and… kissing it gently making Apolline blush.
The run around Hogwarts wasn't the hardest for Apolline, however, it was certainly taxing and while she was out of breath towards the end of the run as they rounded the last parts of the Black Lake, she looked to see that Harry Peverell was barely breaking a sweat and Bellatrix Black herself only had a slight sheen of sweat while she was absolutely drenched in sweat. She had a lot of work to do if she was ever going to catch up to the two of them.
Heading back to her shared room, she arrived at 7:30 to see her sister and cousin starting to wake, they rubbed the sleep out of their eyed as they looked at her.
"Why are you sweating so much?" Nadine asked yawning.
"I joined Harry for his morning run with Bellatrix Black," Apolline replied as she gathering her clothes to head to the bathroom.
"Run? What? Why so early?" Veroniqua groaned.
"Harry gets up at 5:30am every morning and goes for a run at 5:45-7:15. He says keeping the body physically in shape helps your magical core as well as stamina during battle," Apolline explained.
"Really? Huh, go figure."
Apolline rolled her eyes at her sister before she slipped into the bathroom and showered for the day, her legs were aching, she would have to take a stamina potion so she didn't pass out during classes.
By the end of the day, Apolline felt like her legs were going to drop off. Classes had been… mundane at best but she had a different standard of education and she would daresay that Beauxbaton's was ahead of Hogwarts, additionally her extra family studies puts her miles ahead of regular students. Harry paid some attention while Bellatrix was diligently writing notes for all of their classes.
Following Harry and Bellatrix to the seventh floor and into a room that appeared out of nowhere they came across a duelling room setup but much more advanced than the great hall.
"Bella, accuracy again. But I'm increasing the speed. Any spell is allowed of course, you'll cast until you feel you can't anymore," Harry instructed.
"Slave driver," Bellatrix grumbled, Apolline watched as Harry animated the dummies and was surprised that they were moving at a fast sprinting pace in what appeared to be random patterns.
Bellatrix herself was moving as she cast spells as quietly as possible, Apolline was impressed that the girl had all her spells down to a whisper and no doubt with more practice, would delve into the realm of silent casting.
"How would you train Harry?" Nadine asked curiously.
"I usually run through live battle situations, meditate, or delve into my research. Bella and I were supposed to do some sparring the other day but yeah. She's still recovering but we're going to push her beyond her limits," Harry said, watching as Bellatrix continued to hit the dummies which stopped momentarily when hit before starting up again, on the wall behind the dummies was a counter of how many dummies she had hit so far. In the 10 minutes Bella had been casting she had accurately hit 147 targets with spells, impressive for both her age and magical prowess but she showed some base signs of fatigue.
"Well then, would you give us the honour of sparring with you?" Nadine asked.
"Uh… sure thing," Harry said after thinking for a few moments.
"How about we make it a bit more interesting?" Veroniqua proposed.
"How so?" Harry asked.
"A bet," Nadine cut in.
"Sure, the stakes?"
"A date, if one of us girls can beat you. You have to take that girl on a date, if none of us win, you can make your own request for whatever you desire within reason," Veroniqua said.
"Hey that's not fair! I can participate can't I?" Bellatrix said, pausing her exercise but clearly almost exhausted and Harry frowned.
"You're almost out of energy, how about if one of those girls win I'll take you out for a day as well since you can't participate currently? I don't want Madam Pomphrey to kill me if I let you duel so quickly after your recovery," Harry said scratching the back of his head.
"Fine…" she grumbled, satisfied that if one of the french girls happened to win, she would still get something cause she'd already used up most of her magic, looking to see the amount of dummies hit now reached close to 300 with a consecutive hit count of 47 without a miss.
"Well, I'm gonna sit out. No offence Harry but I do not wish for a date with you like my sister and cousins do," Jean-Paul said with a smirk.
"Bella, you watch the duel and afterwards you can tell me why the winner won," Harry said, the girl nodded.
Vanishing the dummies and conjuring some chairs, the room was bare to make space for the friendly spar that was going to take place.
"Alright, the rules are no unforgiveables and no intentions to mortally wound. Whatever is inflicted must have a counter that can be applied or can be healed easily enough. Everything else is fair game. Now, who's first?"
"Me!" Nadine said excitedly.
Harry gave a nod, walking to the other end of the room and both of his wands slid into his hand. Apolline, Bellatrix, Veroniqua and Jean-Paul all stood off to the side.
"Alright, on the count of three. One… two… three!" Jean-Paul called.
Nadine's wand flicked into her hand while her body took on the typical Avian Veela features their kind was used to. She went to fire her first spell chain only to duck, run and jump away from the incoming rapid spells that Harry was sending her way. His wands were a blur as spell after spell came from him. Nadine threw up a wall of flames to block the incoming spells, diving to her right she conjured metal spiked and banished them through the flame wall she had set up.
Harry, for his part was impressed by the wall of flames, he had never really seen passionfyre before but was aware of what it had the potential to do and be, including being on equal footing with fiendfyre. The fifty or so spikes that were shooting at his general direction from behind the wall was a surprise as they kept coming from different directions. He couldn't pinpoint a singular point of origin for the spells which meant that Nadine was changing her location as she conjured and banished.
Deciding to surprise her as she was hiding behind her wall of flames, he sent off his next spell chain with a delayed conjuration and transfiguration combo in place to continue for him. He ran towards the flames just a bit off from where he saw her latest volley of spiked shoot from, jumping through the air he transformed into his Nundu form and burst through the flames onto the unsuspecting Veela. Nadine let out a girlish scream as from her flamed the large Nundu pounced and she found herself on her back with a very heavy furry paw on her chest, she looked up into the emerald green eyes which smirked down at her on the face of a very dangerous creature.
"Okay… I lose," Nadine sighed, grumbling to herself. Harry retracted his paw before transforming back and offering her a hand up.
"There wasn't any rules against animagus transformations, don't pout like that," Apolline said rolling her eyes at her older sister.
"Guess I'm up next," Veroniqua said, a spring in her step.
Veroniqua using her elf magic employed the liberal use of elemental manipulation along with her spell chains, Harry found it difficult to deal with at first but he realised that she was actually slower than Nadine, but only slightly. No doubt that elemental manipulation has a lot of requirements for the magic to work as effectively as it did. He guessed that even Tom would have difficulties at first. However, Harry simply overpowered her with his own spell casting getting to a rate of almost 20 different spells per minute from each wand. Once Veroniqua was on the defensive she wasn't able to recover an offensive edge, however, he had a lot of trouble breaching her defences. He realised that's why Veroniqua and Nadine would make quite the pair, Nadine's magic and skillset were heavily in the realm of offence while Veroniqua was in defence. It took him almost 15 minutes to break through her defences even with the Elder Wands, he was impressed and guessed that the family magics of the Devereaux's were on another level much like his own.
"Alright, so far Devereaux's 0, Peverell's 2. Apolline, you're up. Try and get us a win will ya?" Jean-Paul teased, though he expected his outcome and wasn't at all bothered by it.
Apolline had watched her sister and cousin intently and had some idea of what they did wrong, both of them tried to outsmart or overpower Harry which didn't work as he was able to adapt and overpower them eventually. So she approached the duel differently.
As she stood across from Harry she took in his stance, casual as it was she could tell he was a seasoned fighter and would react almost instantaneously. So, she allowed herself to feel our her magic as well as his. The intent behind it and the will it had. Once Jean-Paul announced for them to begin, as expected Harry sent off a spell chain. By tuning into the ambient magic as well as feeling out the… connection she felt between the two of them. Apolline weaved around the spells or blocking them as her wand returned spells of her own, all the while she places various silent traps on the ground between the two of them. She had never been the best in an outright duel but she was always calculated and very good at setting traps.
She admittedly knew that many if not most of her traps would likely fail but she only needed one to work in order to win. Watching him realise that she had trapped the floor was an experience she would relive in her head over and over again, he made a step only for one of her traps to go off. It was through a herculean effort on his part that he didn't get caught but he quickly realised he was in a minefield of various enchantments and traps.
This was her time to strike, it would possibly be her only chance in this sparring session. She transformed, allowing her Veela nature to come out, her clawed hand shot fireballs at him while her wand swiftly cast spells at and around him.
Harry cursed as he was caught off guard, he had every intention of taking these duels seriously as had done so. But Apolline had somehow managed to set up who knows how many traps. He found her going on the offensive, her passionfyre and spells were coming at rapid speeds so he did the only thing he could think of that may work. He transformed into his magically resistant Nundu form and ran at her. Most of the traps he set off he was able to avoid by just being quick, until he set on a stasis one which slowed him and put him off balance causing him to fall into her cage enchantment and be hit with multiple transfigured chains which pinned him to the ground. The shock clear on his animalistic face. Apolline stopped casting and smiled at him. The room was silent as it had become apparent that Harry had indeed, lost.
While in his chains Harry shifted back into his human form and sighed now completely chained up.
"Looks like I win Mr. Peverell," Apolline smirked.
"Looks like you do Miss Devereaux, uh… mind letting me out of this?" Harry said sheepishly, a wave of her wand and Harry was free.
"I have to say, you caught me off guard with those traps on the ground."
"Well, unlike my sister who doesn't think and my cousin who is defensively heavy. I did get to observe their matches with you."
"Looks like you used that to your advantage, hopefully everyone learned something," Harry sighed, running his hand through his long messy black hair.
"And you owe me a date," Apolline added.
"It seems I do, well then, Apolline Devereaux, would you accompany me on a date this weekend?" Harry asked dramatically.
"Why, I thought you'd never ask. Of course, I would be delighted to be your date," Apolline replied, equally dramatic.
"Alright lovebirds, lets turn in for the night," Jean-Paul said rolling his eyes.
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