The Dark Legacy
Chapter One: Deeperbourg
Author's Note: This starts where the books left off, minus the epilogue. Enjoy…
The dream began like all the others.
Harry was in a large field of grass, which swayed gently in a breeze he couldn't feel. He was drawn steadily towards a small grove of trees directly ahead, floating gently toward them until he could see something perched in their shadows. It was a small hut, roughly hewn from planks of wood, nestled among the twisted shrubs. The door dangled precariously from a single upper hinge, hanging open at an angle. The door was like a dark hole. Nothing moved within.
Still, Harry was drawn inside. Once he crossed the threshold, he began to see the interior of the hut, but he didn't examine them. Directly in front of him was a dirty, ripped armchair with the stuffing spilling out, and on it was seated an old man. His salt and pepper hair fell forward over his deeply creased cheeks, and the lower half of his face was obscured with a short, thick beard, but his piercing dark eyes immediately drew Harry's attention. The old man was looking at the doorway expectantly, as if he'd been waiting. He saw Harry and smiled widely. Surprisingly, his teeth were complete, and very white and straight. They shone whitely in the darkness of the room, and Harry felt like the old man's eyes could look into his soul.
This was when the dream usually ended, but this time it continued. The old man moved his hands, and Harry noticed for the first time that the old man held something in his lap. It was a jar. The glass jar was completely clear, and filled with a thick, white-silver swirling liquid that moved on its own, twisting in tantalizing spirals. The jar was pristine, even though the hands that gripped it were grimy. The old man wrapped a hand with dirty fingernails around the lid of the jar, and twisted. With a squeak that told of long disuse, it came open.
Taking his eyes off Harry for the first time, the old man looked down into the jar. He murmured something to it, and a tendril of the liquid detached itself from the mass in the jar and rose up into the air. Harry recognized it immediately; it was a thought, like the ones wizards could keep in a pensieve. It hovered in the air above the jar, and the old man gently blew on it. Caught in that small wind, it began to float slowly across the room, crossing the distance between the armchair and the doorway where Harry stood, watching. Harry took a step back. The thought followed with slow inevitability.
"Can't run," the old man said. It was the smooth, silky voice of a man much younger, somehow familiar, and it followed Harry into the waking world.
"Breakfast, Master!" Kreacher said, thumping the headboard of Harry's bed, which vibrated, sending disorienting sounds from several directions. Harry sat up quickly, peering at the house elf, who was holding a heavy tray of food. Harry wondered what Kreacher had thumped the headboard with.
"You didn't have to bring me breakfast in bed, Kreacher—" Harry began.
"Nonsense!" said Ron from the doorway. He strode inside. "Breakfast in bed is exactly what we need." He looked at Harry speculatively. "You don't look so good mate."
"Didn't sleep well," Harry admitted, sliding out from underneath the covers. "Compromise, Ron? We'll eat in the bedroom, but at the table."
It was one of the nice features of the room Harry had chosen for himself at Sirius's and now his, home. The room had blue and red patterned wallpaper and dark wood furnishings. Across from the bed, in front of a large window that extended almost all the way to the floor, was a small round table with two chairs. Kreacher set the tray on the table and disappeared with a loud crack. Both boys, still in PJs, sat to enjoy breakfast. Outside the sun was just peeking out from behind the trees, beginning to rise.
"Early, isn't it," Ron said cheerfully.
"Since when are you cheerful in the morning?" Harry asked, trying not to sound annoyed.
"Since we start Auror training today," Ron said, practically vibrating in his seat. "Think about it. We'll be way ahead of everyone else, with everything we've been through."
Harry just groaned. I was excited, yesterday… I feel like I haven't slept at all. It's going to be a long day.
"And you're more famous than ever," Ron added. "You'll probably be an instructor favorite."
Harry groaned louder. "That's just what I need, for everyone else to hate me."
"Don't be so dramatic," Ron said, rolling his eyes. He polished off his pancakes and left the room so they could both change into their new uniforms.
Instead of robes like they'd worn at Hogwarts, the uniform comprised of loose, casual pants and a long sleeved shirt with a stripe on each side, from the shoulder to the wrist. The stripe continued down the side of the pants. The uniform was blue, and the stripe was bright white. Over this came a black cloak that could be closed to look like a robe, or easily discarded. On the front pocket of the shirt and on the back of the cloak were the letters MOAT, for Ministry Ordained Auror Trainee.
Once Harry was dressed he stood in front of the full length mirror on the inside door of his closet. He rarely looked in the mirror. I've grown up a lot these last years, he thought. He filled out the uniform pretty well, and he was proud to be wearing it. The Auror aptitude tests had been pretty difficult, but after his experiences with Voldemort he had been well prepared.
Something in the mirror moved, Harry turned his head quickly, but missed it. He looked around, but everything was still. As he stared about, he had the very strong feeling that something was wrong. It wasn't until he stepped out into his room, which was becoming brighter lit by the sun, that he realized what it was.
His own shadow. It was missing.
Harry gasped, and stared at where it should be. He then looked around the room, as if he could find an explanation.
"Harry, are you ready? We'll be late for our first day!" Ron barged in, as usual.
"Ron," Harry said, looking back down… but his shadow was right where it should be.
"What?" Ron asked. He picked up his duffel bag, and pressed Harry's into his hands.
"…Nothing," Harry said. Maybe I imagined it… I'll do some research. Maybe there's a common Wizard ailment in which shadows go missing, and then I'll ask Ron. But I won't say anything before then. Harry sometimes had the feeling his own friends were watching him, to see if he would belatedly crack. Or that the pressure of being famous would finally drive him crazy. They'll think I have… post traumatic stress disorder or something. Harry's head pounded with a headache.
"No, I'm ready," he assured Ron and they both pulled out their wands and apparated to the prearranged meeting point. After a short, suffocating journey, they stood on a hilltop, with a single thick tree perched at the top. The tree had plenty of trunk, but not enough branches to keep from looking naked. Around them were several more hills which slopped down to a large flat area. A river wound by, and by the river was a small fort. It was made of dark gray stone, and appeared to be built deep into the hillside it was placed on. Small patches of forest surrounded them. The morning was cold and overcast, and the colors of the green trees were dulled, making the scene quite grim.
Harry had only been here once before, after first being accepted into the Auror training program. It was a secret location, he'd been brought there for the first time by portkey, and directions to the fort were non-existent. You were either invited, or you would never see it. If the location was ever discovered, they would move the program.
Trainees were gathering in the nearest dip between hills, which was too shallow to be called a valley. Glancing over them quickly, Harry thought there were about 22 trainees in total, male and female, all in the same uniform and carrying various sacks and duffels. Several Harry thought he recognized from his fourth year, when he had met students from Durmstrang and Beauxbatons. Some were familiar faces from Hogwarts.
"Welcome to Deeperbourg," said a bellowing voice, naming the fort. It was a well muscled man somewhere around age fifty. He wore a black cloak, as did the tall man standing to his left and the short-haired woman on his right. "Some of you are new," he added, not bellowing now that he had gotten everyone's attention.
As Harry approached, Harry noticed that some of the uniforms were different. On a number of trainees the single stripe was separated into two, and on yet others there were three stripes. Designating your year of study, obviously.
"Some of you are not new," the man continued. "If you are here for the second or third year of study, please take your things to the barracks and report to your instructors. The rest of you stay for orientation."
Two thirds of the trainees dispatched from the crowd, and headed toward the fort. Soon there were only six left who would be beginning their training this year. The rest of them moved together to fill in the open spaces, trying to look confident. Harry bumped into Neville Longbottom, and they smiled at each other; Harry had already heard Neville would be there. He had been mildly surprised Neville had passed all the testing, and gotten enough Newts from Hogwarts, but Neville had changed even more than Harry over the past few years. And maybe they make some kind of special allowances for the people who fought well against Voldemort in the final fight at Hogwarts, Harry speculated.
"My name is Frederik Friedenwald," said the man. "I will be your main instructor for the three years you will be here at Deeperbourg, if you last the entire three years. The instructors stay with their same group of students throughout their study. Don't expect the next three years to be easy. Some of you come from Hogwarts or Durmstrang; I don't want you to think Auror training is anything like school. It isn't. You don't get any free time. You are not here to have fun. You are here to learn. Auror training will be very much like boot-camp. Tuesday through Saturday, the first part of your day you will devote to getting into shape physically, the middle of your day you will study theory and attend class and in the end of the day you will be presented with a challenge. Sundays no lessons, but you will need to spend the time studying as you will be testing on everything you learned the previous week by Monday, and be required to complete any challenges you were unable to finish during the week. If I feel at any time you are not right for this program, I reserve the right to boot you out of it. Any questions?"
The trainees stared at him silently.
"I know some of you may think being an Auror will be easier now that the Dark Lord is gone. While it is true that we no longer have a war on our hands, Voldemort left a mess and if you finish your training it will be your job to clean it up. His last followers still need to be flushed out. Not to mention that new dark wizards crop up all the time."
"The new Dark Lord," added someone in their group. It was a tall, extremely handsome dark haired young man, with thick dark eyebrows perched low over his eyes.
"New Dark Lord?" Ron asked. You could tell by his red eyebrows and the way they crept up his forehead that he hadn't counted on dealing with yet another dark lord.
"He's right!" Friedenwald bellowed and Neville jumped. "As soon as one dark lord dies, another one crops up somewhere. It's always been so. Finding dark lords is an intrinsic part of being an Auror."
Wonderful, Harry thought, trying to hold back a yawn. He wasn't bored, just tired. We just have to find the next dark lord, before he becomes as powerful as Voldemort.
"Aurors often work with a partner," Friedenwald continued. "So for the time being you will be separated into twos." Ron glanced at Harry and grinned. "You will work with your partner and help them through the challenges. Once I've separated you into pre-selected partners, put your things away in the barracks and get to know each other." He pulled a list out of his pocket and unfolded it.
"Neville Longbottom and Jack Medoway," he announced. Neville was paired with a short, stocky female with very average looks and dirty blond hair that fell as far as her shoulders. She had the kind of face that would blend into a crowd, and Harry immediately liked her. She looked right at Friedenwald fearlessly, and had a no-nonsense set to her shoulders. She'll be good for Neville, Harry thought.
"Ron Weasley and Violet Rozanne Zais," Friedenwald said next. Ron shot a regretful glance towards Harry, but then looked with interest at his new partner, the second female in the group. She was slender and very beautiful, with dark hair that was cut short, close to her neck in the back and slightly longer in the front to frame her delicate face. Despite her dark hair her eyes were an ice blue. Harry knew this because she didn't spare a glance for the one who would be working with her, but stared unashamedly at Harry. Harry met her gaze and looked away, somewhat annoyed. I don't need anything to make Ron jealous and upset. A pretty girl who is supposed to work with him but pays more attention to me would definitely do that.
"Harry James Potter and Bastian Akhart," Friedenwald finished, and tucked his list away. Nodding a farewell to the group he vanished, apparating away. Harry found himself next to the tall young man who had spoken up before. Neville and Jack were headed away already, with Violet close behind, making no effort to speak to Ron, and ignoring him all together. Ron trailed behind her, looking over his shoulder for an opportunity to speak to Harry, but he didn't get one as Bastian fell into step beside Harry.
Since they'd already been introduced, Bastian silently offered his hand, and Harry shook it. "Harry Potter, from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry…" Bastian said in acknowledgement, "I do read the newspapers." He gave a charming smile. "I went to Durmstrang, myself."
"Oh yeah?" Harry said with feigned interest. Really Harry, try and care more, He told himself. You have to work with this guy every day. Try and socialize with him. Bastian chattered on about Durmstrang, and Harry lost focus.
Through the large front gate and the thick walls, the new trainees followed in the footsteps of where the others had gone. They found a long room already filled with trainees, and two rows of bunk beds: The Barracks. Ron picked a lower bunk near the door, and Harry threw his duffel on the top. Bastian took the next bunk, with Violet on top, and Neville and Jack claimed the one across from Harry and Ron, on the other wall. Several of the older trainees were watching them as they chattered, interested in the new faces and they watched Harry in particular.
Harry caught Violet staring at him again with her piercing eyes. This time she sent him a sly smile. Bastian immediately tried to engage her in conversation, trying to charm the nearest pretty face, and she smoothly countered his flirting. Jack and Neville were already deep in conversation, and Ron was standing next to Harry, bemoaning his new partner.
"She hasn't said a thing to me yet, hasn't even looked at me, how are we supposed to be partners? You and I should have been paired together, and those two— look at them hit it off…"
Harry let all the chatter fade to a murmuring noise and decided if they had time to waste on the first day he would use it wisely, and steal a quick nap. The upper bunk was low, and he could climb into it within two seconds by standing on the edge of the lower bunk, no ladder was needed or offered. His head hit the pillow and he was gone.
There was a different version of this story posted here before, which I started before the HP books were complete. Now that they're done I had rewritten it to begin after the last book.