Harry Potter and the Era of Hogwarts
Chapter 7 – Ascension
August 25th, 963
Rowena smiled at me as I led her inside; she was wearing a slender white dress and some sort of black stone pendant framed with a silvery metal around her neck. I mentally shook myself to look away.
"Welcome to my humble abode," I said, smiling back, making an encompassing gesture.
The young witch looked around and gasped.
"You have a beautiful home Phineas, thank you for allowing me the pleasure of visiting," she said genuinely, staring in awe.
"Oh, the pleasure is all mine," I replied, still smiling as she took in the décor, "we'll hold your lessons downstairs."
Rowena held out her hand and batted her eyelashes at me. I laughed and took her hand lightly, leading her down the stairs into the basement. Briefly I could see her eyes light up at the sight of my library as we emerged from the stairwell and as we were walking over to the couches, I quickly decided on what to teach her, and how. I knew I'd have to capture a boggart, and then try to force it to change into my 'greatest' fear by using Legilimency; hopefully it'll turn into a dementor. It would take some experimentation, but I was confident that I could manage the feat.
Secure in my lesson plan, I sat down and she followed, only on the seat opposite mine. "Rowena, the Patronus Charm is a highly advanced piece of spell work. Most adult witches and wizards cannot even begin to form a Patronus, let alone create a corporeal Patronus. I'm convinced you can perform it, but it will take some time and practice, therefore I ask that you do not become too frustrated if you cannot perform it easily. Once you begin to conjure a Patronus, I will arrange for a boggart to masquerade as a dementor to develop your ability to cast the charm under its influence as it is infinitely more difficult," I lectured.
Rowena nodded, turning slightly pale at the thought of fighting a dementor. I spoke again before her mind could wander.
"Now, stand by me and think of the happiest memory you possess, and relive it. When you've acquired a firm hold such a memory, tell me," I said.
The girl nodded again, squeezing her eyes shut and her eyebrows furrowed as she tried to remember her happiest memory. I could see frowns momentarily flickering over her face, but finally her lips upturned in a beatific smile and nodded.
"Good, now draw your wand and point in front of you, slightly angled down. Grip your wand firmly, and repeat this incantation, all the while remembering your memory, no, reliving your memory. Believe you are there, feel the emotion. Now the incantation is Expecto Patronum," I instructed.
Rowena drew her wand and did as I said.
"Expecto Patronum!" she shouted.
A small wisp of white, sparkling gas floated lazily out of the wand and she opened her eyes, looking a bit dejected when she saw the little effect the spell had. I quickly jumped to reassure her.
"Excellent Rowena! A fine start; you can't really expect more on your first try. Try a different memory; a happier memory," I reassured.
Her cheeks colored slightly, looking pleased with herself. "Phineas, could you demonstrate the charm to me?" she asked.
I chided myself for my lack of foresight. She needed to see what a real Patronus looked like, not just the Patronus I had overcharged. Nodding, I let my Holly and Phoenix feather wand slip into my left hand and I deftly tossed it to my right. Focusing on the thought of living as Phineas Criterion, a simple wizard back in time, I prepared myself.
"Expecto Patronum!" I incanted calmly and confidently.
Prongs rode once again, the silvery-white stag leapt from the tip of my wand, trotting around the two of us, a sparkling white trail disintegrating behind him. He walked up to me and I patted him, barely keeping my composure as my hand met an infinitesimal amount of resistance before passing through the glowing stag. As soon as it did, the Patronus disappeared. Holstering my wand, I looked at the place Prongs had been and then glanced over at an awestruck Rowena.
"Wow…," Rowena said wistfully, "he's beautiful."
I smiled, "that he is Rowena."
I, the Slytherin I am, took the opportunity to perform some Passive Legilimency on the young witch. I learned that I was correct, and the beautiful young woman before me was indeed Rowena Ravenclaw. It would certainly be interesting to see how she became the founder of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
"Shall we try your Patronus again?" I asked, breaking her from her stupor.
The future Hogwarts founder nodded, and her eyes took on a determined glint. Her eyebrows furrowed once more as she fell into deep thought. After a few minutes she raised her wand and shouted the incantation.
A larger cloud of gas propelled its self from her wand before fading away. I began to clap. "Good! It took me days to get nearly this far. Well done Rowena!" I praised, not mentioning that I was against a dementor each time.
Her cheeks once again took on an endearing pink color. "Thank you Phineas; may I try again?" she asked.
I moved behind her and adjusted her grip slightly, so that her thumb was parallel with the shaft of the wand rather than perpendicular, and then moved to the side a few steps. "By all means, please do, I've never had such a capable student before," I complemented, noticing she worked better when I used positive reinforcement.
This time she thought for nearly ten minutes before raising her wand again, her thumb in the same position I had moved it to previously.
An even larger cloud of gas was conjured this time, and it began to take on some form. I could distinctly see the beginnings of a wing. I smiled. "Wonderful! Absolutely wonderful! Your Patronus is beginning to take form. A few more tries and you should be able to conjure a corporeal Patronus," I stated, slightly excited for my new student.
She beamed at me. One thing I had begun to notice with the young Ravenclaw is that she was driven; when she set her mind to accomplishing a goal, nothing would stop her. It may have been an observation that had little evidence to attest to this claim, but I had seen some of the same qualities in Hermione. I sat down in one of the love seats and watched as the ebony-haired girl focused, her striking bronze eyes staring pointedly at the tip of her wand. With no warning she waved her wand, pointing it towards the ground.
"Expecto Patronum!" she said, her voice laced with confidence, contrary to her previous tries.
A medium-sized phoenix burst from the tip of her wand, flapping around her, silently crying out before settling on her shoulder. My lower jaw promptly detached its self from the remainder of my mouth at the sight of the beautiful, majestic phoenix. I stood up, clapping loudly, and the phoenix faded away to sparkling bits of magic.
"I did it!" Rowena exclaimed, grinning and slightly bouncing in excitement; a shadow of sadness briefly flickered in her eyes.
"Bravo Rowena! Well done indeed! I am most certainly impressed. Fifth attempt at the Patronus Charm, a scant two hours or so after arriving and you've managed to perform the charm; absolutely remarkable. You still need some practice before we move on to dementors, but I have no doubt you'll master that quickly as well," I said, grinning back.
Rowena looked elated at her success, and even more pleased at my praise, though she looked faintly tired. I noticed this and motioned for her to sit, and she sat in a couch off to the left of my seat. She sighed, but continued to smile.
"I haven't used that much magic at once in over a year," she stated wearily.
I nodded sympathetically; using large amounts of magic was draining. I let my Holly wand slide into my and with a flick and a slight bend of my will an Energy Restoration Potion was summoned into my other palm. I holstered my wand and offered the potion to her. She took it, brining it up to eye level and studying it curiously. "What is it Phineas?" she asked, examining the vial.
"Energy Restoration Potion, it will replenish your magical reserves more quickly and ward off your lethargy," I replied.
She nodded and pulled the top of the vial off carefully, setting it on the mahogany table, sniffing the vial before drinking the contents. As soon as she did, the young founder looked far more alert, her bronze eyes focusing.
"Thank you Phineas…that helped immensely. I have a question for you though," she said.
I motioned for her to continue, and she collected herself.
"Would it be too much of a bother if I visited at other times? I truly would like to browse your library, not to mention how much I could learn from you," she said dreamily.
I couldn't help but smirk to myself. The future Ravenclaw founder's love of knowledge was beginning in my humble home. As inquisitive as she was, I have to admit that it was rather bold of her to ask me for the use of my library.
"If you're agreeable that is," the inquisitive girl hastily added.
I smiled. It truly wouldn't be much of a problem, though I would have to ward any dangerous books to ensure she didn't pick up the wrong volume, or learn any dark magic without my knowledge. Either way, it would be a good way to cultivate a friendship and learn more about the excitable, beautiful young girl that would one day be one of the four founders of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
"Of course, I'd be happy to allow you in my library and teach you when I'm not working on a project or studying a dangerous tomb. However I do have a few stipulations," I stated, looking at her intently.
She nodded excitedly. "Of course, I'll agree to your conditions. It is your library after all," Rowena said.
I stood and clasped my hands behind my back as I began to pace. "First, you will not read any of the warded books. I would know if you did, but there are several exceedingly hazardous tombs in my library. One book can even burn your eyeballs from their sockets without the proper permission from myself. The other is that I am present any time you come to read. That isn't to say I can't leave the room, but I'd prefer if I was close by when you wish to study in my library," I said, listing off my conditions.
Rowena grinned. "Oh, thank you Phineas! I agree of course, those conditions are common sense even. I would never enter your home unless you were at hand in either case. Thank you!" the future Ravenclaw founder said animatedly.
I smiled at the enthusiastic girl, and let out an involuntary 'oof' as she jumped up and wrapped her arms around me. I patted her back and smiled, not outwardly expressing my discomfort. She unlinked her arms from around me and beamed. I let myself smile back and I turned, drawing my wand.
"Tempus," I said.
Smokey letters formed the time 6:30pm. Rowena looked at the time curiously, but her interest was cut off as I re-holstered my wand and spoke again. "It's getting late. Do you want me to escort you home?" I asked
She shook her head. "No, that's quite alright Phineas, I can make it home safely on my own, but still, thank you," she replied, smiling.
I nodded, but decided I would follow her in my Invisibility Cloak, just to be safe of course. I had another sense of slight foreboding but I certainly hoped I was wrong.
"I'll see you to the door then. Any time you wish to use the library, all you need to do is knock on my door, I'm usually home," I said.
Rowena held out her hand again and I chuckled, leading her up the stairs. We reached the door and I escorted her out the door. "Thank you for asking to become my student Rowena, I'd nearly forgotten how much fun teaching was, especially with such gifted scholars such as you," I said.
Rowena ducked her head a bit, but it was obvious she was pleased. "And thank you for your most able tutelage Phineas, I look forward to our next lesson," she replied, her lips turned upwards.
I nodded in agreement and allowed a small smile to creep into my expression. "We will have to arrange your next lesson the next time you visit. Safe travels Rowena," I said.
She smiled and walked away gracefully. I closed the door part way and with a flick of my wrist my invisibility cloak was summoned down from my wardrobe and into my outstretched hand. I quickly threw it on, fastening the toggles and flipping up the hood, unobtrusively slipping out the door and closing it with a deft hook of my boot. I saw Rowena had already made her way down the arc and onto the empty street. I waved my hand at my boots and they, along with a small area around them, were silenced.
I walked quickly down my walkway, catching up quickly with Rowena's leisurely pace. Once I caught up with her I slowed my pace to match hers, shadowing her a comfortable twenty feet behind. As we walked I began to feel a distinct unease, once again a foreboding feeling. I shivered at a sudden gust of cold air and unconsciously drew the cloak closer to me. I felt a tickling on my mental shields, and my mind suddenly connected the pieces.
I nearly let loose a sigh. They do certainly seem to like me, don't they? Nevertheless, I remained vigilant, my eyes scanning furiously for a sign of the dementor as I drew closer to Rowena. The young Ravenclaw seemed blissfully unaware of the danger she was in, though I did notice she did seem a little more alert. She quickened her pace and I followed, drawing my Holly wand as the air grew colder, furtively switching the wand to my right hand, all the while still hidden in my invisibility cloak. I continued looking around and spotted it, approaching from Rowena's left side, emerging from behind a darkened home. I threw off the cloak and apparated before her. Her eyes widened.
"Phineas, what are you doing here?" she whispered.
I pointed at the dementor. "Quiet, stay behind me," I said, my wand drawn.
She nodded, but drew her own wand. It wasn't long before the dementor was in range, and I noticed Rowena cowering, shivering. I cursed and brought my wand to bear. "Expecto Patronum!" I whispered.
The magnificent white stag leapt out of my wand and using my will I commanded Prongs to circle around us. Rowena looked distinctly better as the black robed figure's focus shifted to the ethereal guardian. The dementor continued moving towards us, its breath rattling. Looking at the robed horror, I idly wondered if I could battle it mentally, but you know what they say, no time like the present. Looking straight at the shadows of the hood I began probing.
My Legilimency scan confirmed the existence of a powerful mental shield, as well as a large black hole of negative Legilimency force attempting to draw in emotions of any type, but mostly positive emotions. I set Prongs to circle the dementor, allowing him to brush against the disgusting beast occasionally, making it flinch back. As I did, my probing became two separate attacks, one powerful and one subtle. The powerful attack lashed against the shield, weakening them greatly as I brought my will to bear against them, and with Prong's influence I managed to create cracks in the potent shield. My other attack slipped between these cracks, and I found my way into the foul mind of a dementor, a room of pain and evil.
Aside from the squeals that the dementor was now emitting, I found that the mind of a dementor was most unlike a human's mind. I browsed around, vaguely recognizing the regulatory section of the mind from when Tom would torture his servants sans Cruciatus to improve his appearance of godlike powers in their feeble intellects. I had little idea if mentally manipulating the 'life' functions of a dementor would work; nevertheless I tried and touched the strand of the psyche to send the person into forced unconsciousness. Doing so is rather like a stunner, but far more potent as the person's own mind sent them into a short coma. It had no effect, thus I simply flooded the dementor's mind with unordered power, which caused the dementor to let loose a low keen and stop moving, floating prone to the ground.
I used my will once more and Prongs ceased his rounds around the dementor and he somehow hoisted the cloaked being on its antlers, none too gently I might add. I intended to study the foul creature, and if possible create a bodyguard of sorts for myself by manipulating its goals, striking a bargain, or even creating a method to control it. I had a feeling that times would be changing, and I believe that the additional protection, other than what my own skills provide me with, would be very welcome. Once again, I had no idea if it was even possible, but in the interests of my own self-preservation I decided to continue. Rowena continued to shiver, her eyes closed. I gently picked her up and walked home, taking great care to keep an eye on the dementor, mentally asking Prongs to ensure it did not get free, and to tell me if it woke up.
Once we arrived at my home I took Rowena to a guest room and laid her down in a bed, placing a blanket over her, before feeding her a piece of chocolate I had quickly grabbed from the kitchen. I couldn't do much more for her yet so I quickly dashed to my secret room, haphazardly blasting out a new room, one specifically for the dementor.
Prongs floated down the stairs with the unconscious creature and tossed it inside. I nodded in thanks to the glowing stag and dispelled him. Sealing the dementor inside the room with a solid block of rock (the same I had cut from the wall to create the space), and replaced it where I had cut it from and fused the rock back together, placing as many containment wards around the space as I could with my failing power. I weaved runes and enchantments, charging them to the best of my ability, ensuring the dementor's continued presence. Once I had finished I fell back against the wall with a gasp, but managed to haul myself back on to my feet and pad softly upstairs, conjuring a comfortable chair to the side of the bed in which Rowena rested.
As I drifted off to sleep I couldn't help but curse at the fact I had missed my prior arrangement with Andrew Zabini.
August 26th, 963
The next morning I awoke distinctly uncomfortable. Shifting positions, I opened my eyes and remembered just why you don't sleep in chairs. I stood and popped my back, rolling my neck a few times before looking down at the sleeping form of the future Ravenclaw founder. She looked to be sleeping soundly and comfortably. I quietly slipped out of the room and out of the house to The Phoenix's Egg, where upon spotting Esmeralda I inquired about Rowena's favorite meal. Much to my delight, I was immediately supplied with two breakfasts in magically-sealed and warmed containers.
I quickly walked home, intent on explaining just why she was in there. First, however, I proceeded to the library where I hastily browsed through my books and grabbed two, one on healing magic and another on general Egyptian magics. Once I had the books I returned upstairs and sat next to Rowena's bed, eating my breakfast while reading the book on healing magic titled Fixing the Flesh. A rather macabre title, but the content was well presented and Tom apparently didn't know much healing magic at all. I felt like attempting one of the spells in the tomb, one to determine the condition of a patient, though it was a very general spell. I ran my wand over the bed and whispered the spell.
Without delay I felt that Rowena was fine, though had a minor cut on her ankle. Intending to fix it (at least once she woke up), I looked in the healing magic book, but grimaced and decided against trying it after the grisly warning of splitting the wound open unless it was cast properly. When I glanced back over from my book I noticed she was beginning to wake. My eyes moved back to the page as she woke up, stretching her arms. She looked over at me.
"Phineas? What happened?" Rowena asked groggily.
I grimaced. "You were attacked by a dementor. I followed you on your way home as I had a feeling about something bad happening. When I dealt with the thing I noticed you weren't in any condition to leave, therefore I brought you back here," I replied.
She nodded calmly and smiled. "Thank you Phineas, you are once again 'my hero'," she said, laughing.
Smiling along with her, I brought out the plate of food, handing it to her. "I picked up breakfast for both of us at The Phoenix's Egg, they seemed to know what your favorite was," I said, smiling.
She dove into it with great gusto, and my eyes widened momentarily. Even Ron would be hard pressed to match the pace she set. Soon enough, she had devoured the entire plate, and I couldn't help but laugh. "So, did you even taste anything?" I said, laughing.
She nodded so sincerely I couldn't help but laugh again.
"Are you feeling better?" I asked her.
She nodded again. "I am…but my ankle does hurt a bit," she admitted.
"It would…it has a minor cut, but as I have little experience in healing other than the Status Charm, I decided to leave it for the healing apprentice," I said.
Rowena pulled her ankle close to her and lightly picking up her wand off the end table ran it across the scabbed cut, muttering an incantation. In the wand's wake smooth skin was left. She flipped her legs off the bed and stood, wobbling a bit before regaining her balance.
"Ready to return home?" I asked her.
She nodded. "Not that your home isn't nice, but Galena will be cross with me if I delay returning any longer, though the fact that I was attacked will prevent any repercussions," the young Ravenclaw replied.
I stood as well, nodding at her. I guided her down the stairs slowly, as she was still a bit unsteady. Once we made it out of the house I escorted Rowena back to Galena's healing abode making small talk with her until we reached her home. I bade her farewell and returned home to plan. I had much work to do, the first order of business being acquiring a new, muggle home. My next stop would be Lord Andrew Zabini's home where under the guise of prisoner interrogation I could use Legilimency to retrieve any information that could help me in the search for a hopefully abandoned muggle manor from his mind.
Focusing my mind upon my destination I apparated to the steps of Zabini Manor and doing so with little more than a whisper of a pop to signify my arrival.
I appeared on the lowermost stair of the Manor, appearing just above the stair giving my legs a shock when I fell the inch or so to the step below. Shaking my head, I walked up the staircase and had to mask my surprise when the doors soundlessly opened and Andrew walked through them.
"Ah, Phineas! Welcome, welcome, I was expecting you yesterday," Andrew said.
I nodded apologetically. "I apologize Andrew, please excuse my tardiness. A situation arose and needed to be dealt with. A friend of mine was injured and as he trusted nobody else I had to take care of the aforementioned friend," I replied.
Andrew looked sympathetic. "I understand, situations do tend to arise at the worst of times. Have you eaten yet?" he asked. "We have plenty of breakfast left over."
I nodded affirmative and Andrew smiled somewhat viciously. "In that case, come with me my friend. We have mages to interrogate," he said, his voice gleeful at the prospect.
I smirked. I imagined myself putting my hands together, the metal in my hand creaking slightly as they were moved into a perfect impression of Mr. Burns from the Simpsons, an American show I was occasionally allowed to watch on the telly. I was only allowed to watch because 'the bloody Yanks made it, hopefully it'll rot his mind'. I shook my head and stopped that train of thought. Hopefully we would be able to determine their method of channeling magic.
"Indeed we do my friend. Lead on good sir!" I replied, following as he gestured me forward.
We both walked into the newly repaired entrance hall and took a side door, descending to his dungeons. I cringed as I brushed up against the side of a hallway and had to brush off dust and grime, some of it getting stuck on my hand. When we entered I noticed that my runic wards still held as the angry one threw another bolt of pure destructive magic in our direction at the sight of us.
"Quite the rebel, isn't he?" Andrew asked.
"Indeed, a fighter to be sure," I replied, staring at the mage, meeting his eyes.
The mage snarled and threw another bolt at me. I simply broke eye contact, dismissing him as I moved on to the most docile of the mages. I glanced over at Andrew and he nodded. I drew my Yew wand and pointed it at the cell door. I gave it a flick, intending to open the door, but as an effect of the ritual I had performed which increased the conductivity of the magic being passed to the wand, thus being more efficient, the door was nearly blown off its hinges. Showing no surprise at my previous action, I strode in and levitated the mage against the wall as Andrew gave his own wand a wave, conjuring shackles. The mage struggled and glared, but was ultimately unable to do anything. I walked closer to him, my black cloak gently drifting just above the floor, making it appear as if I was floating towards him. Moving my eyes over his form I felt a little fear from him.
I locked my eyes with his and stared, gathering my power and directing it towards my eyes in order to strengthen my initial attack. My eyes glowed and I thrust forward, smashing against his natural mind shield and making him cry out as I viciously tore at his defenses, battering my power against his shields in an attempt to crack them. I retreated and he sighed in relief, but not for long. I decided to use Legilimency through my wand, using the incantation its self. It would allow me to channel far more power towards the attack as it was channeled through my wand. I raised my wand from its straight down position and aimed it at him. Andrew stood on however, as backup of sorts. I nodded at him and prepared my attack.
"Legilimens!" I commanded.
This time my power was channeled through my wand, amplified by the dark phoenix feather within. I tore at his shields this time, and he was unable to keep all the cracks covered. I felt his defenses splinter, but not break, nevertheless it was enough. I sent another attack at him without the aid of a wand, maneuvering my probe inside one of the cracks, using my own skills at the mind arts to focus my mind on two separate tasks at once, one of which continued and powerfully assaulted his defenses, keeping them weak while my second, subtle probe, achieved my goal.
Soon images of a camp came to the forefront of my awareness and I quickly sped through them, learning of the training he had undergone and his subsequent attack of Zabini Manor. Using this as a reference I moved my focus to the knowledge centers of his mind and learned how his natural, unordered magics were channeled through his body, and how he used his will to shape the intent of the magic. Rudimentary, but it did get the job done, and in some cases, such as healing, it could be more effective than more advanced Wizarding magics. I withdrew my probe and stopped my main attack and strode outside, Andrew in my wake.
"You've found it?" Andrew asked eagerly.
I nodded and grinned. "That I did Andrew. It will be a long process, but we will be able to channel our power as they do. I'd like your permission to copy what I found to yourself using a mind art known as Legilimency," I said emphasizing the last word. I never mentioned that I'd be taking as well as receiving.
Andrew nodded. "You may do so, Phineas. I've never heard of this, Legilimency, before, but I've just witnessed its work and I suppose it can do more than just take knowledge," he said.
I nodded and locked eyes with him and probed. Seeing no barriers besides the natural shield all human minds possessed, I weaved my probe between a gap in the flimsy shield and split my probe, tendrils spreading to his knowledge and memory centers. I began filtering and feeding all I had learned to both sections of his mind while simultaneously siphoning knowledge of noble families, history, hierarchies, Latin, locations of families, dead families and etiquette of the time. To ensure that the knowledge I had learned was not absorbed before I had completed siphoning the information I wanted, I deliberately slowed the flow to his mind, timing it to end just after I had finished retrieving the knowledge. Once I had retrieved it, I placed it in a temporary section of my mind for processing and filtering. I broke off the connection to Andrew and looked away. His eyes were glazed over, but once they refocused a grin overtook his face.
"Excellent Phineas! I can see how it will be complicated, but soon we shall be able to control our own magics as they do," Andrew said excitedly.
I nodded, and distractedly flicked my wand inside the door, letting down the mage and closing the door. I began to slowly sort through the knowledge I gained from Andrew as we began walking out of the dungeons. When I came across the knowledge of the various families Andrew possessed, I found one that Andrew had met personally…the Malderin family. Once a thriving noble family, it had come down to a single man, Lord Dolus Malderin, who has led it into despair. The man was a totalitarian; he abused his power, imposed impossible taxes on the citizens of his village, and mistreated his servants. He was greedy, obnoxious, and a general all-around awful man. Andrew hated the chap, and so did I; however his manor was quite nice. It also happened that I bared a passing resemblance to him. I smirked internally as my mind began to scheme. It wasn't quite abandoned, but it'd do. Once we emerged into the sunlit entrance hall I turned to Andrew.
"It has been a productive day Andrew; however I must take my leave. My use of Legilimency has left me rather weary," I said, the weariness conveyed through my voice.
Andrew nodded. "I would say so; the magic in that cell was nearly palpable. Have a good rest Phineas, I'll send my bird to you later and we can arrange some time to work on this other method of channeling so that we might be able to assist one another," he said.
I smiled. "Indeed Andrew, we may be able to progress further with each other's assistance. Farewell, my friend," I said.
"Until next time, my friend," he replied.
I gathered my magic together and fixed an image of my library in my mind's eye, near the large couch. I disappeared from sight with a faint whisper of a pop before reappearing in my library. I immediately sat down, laying back and letting out a long sigh of content, closing my eyes. I used far too much energy in attacking the Rouge Mage. Summoning an Energy Restoration Potion, I drank it down and it immediately took effect. I soon was completely coherent and began planning my next task, obtaining a muggle manor.
I had no idea where to buy one, but I did know where I could get one. Lord Dolus Malderin had terrorized those under his rule for too long, and with an Obliviate or two, I could easily take his position in the muggle world. Feudal society was just beginning to take form, and nobody currently in Feudal society would miss the man. I smirked. It looked like I wouldn't have to buy a manor after all.
August 29th, 963
I looked in revulsion at the small village. It was simply the most disgusting place I had ever been. Even Dover had been far cleaner than this. The sight was awful enough, not to mention the revolting smell. Sewage was literally in the streets, peasants slept in simple one room hovels with their animals (which were being fed better than they were due to the fact that most of the animals would end up on Lord Dolus Malderin's table), and the occasional dead, rotting corpse in the street. That's another fact I had gleaned from Andrew. The man was a pig himself. He ate more than most three men did. At this thought, my lip curled in distaste. Far too much like Dudley, and may he rot in hell with the rest of his family.
I ran my wand over myself and muttered the incantation to the personal air filtration charm I had used in Dover, taking a deep breath of air once it took effect. I didn't want to breathe in any of the air from this festering disease pit. I walked off to the side of a cesspool of a road and ensured my boots did not touch any of the road.
As I walked into the village, I was the object of many stares, peasants looking up from their normal duties as I passed. I couldn't help but pity them; their lives were just so pointless. Soon I came to another road, a far better kept road that while slightly muddy, was not a breeding ground for disease and death. I walked for a distance until I reached an immaculate manor built of stone, rising two stories into the air. Around the manor were rudimentary defenses, gated stone wall, defensible positions, and a small force to guard it. No moat yet, but I had little doubt that it would soon catch on.
As I approached the gate, I flicked my wand at my boots and the hem of my cloak, cleaning off any residual muck. With another thought my Yew wand disappeared back into my wrist. I walked up to the gate and knocked. A man dressed in armor strolled up to the door. I could see from his slouch he had little respect for me. This would have to change.
"Who're you 'n wha' you want?" he asked, his words somewhat muddled.
I wondered if the man was drunk, or simply too stupid to properly enunciate.
"Lord Phineas Criterion to see Lord Dolus Malderin," I replied, staring at him intently.
"Lord Do'us is busy…" he started to say before I cut him off.
"You would deny a Lord his request? Tell your lord that I have requested his presence…and be quick about it if you value your life," I said scathingly, as the man obviously didn't respond to anything but threats.
The man nodded, and called something unintelligible to another man who ran inside, and a few minutes later yelled something back. I was unable to decipher their use of prehistoric grunts.
"Lord Do'us 'll see ya now," the caveman replied, opening the gate.
I strode inside and followed the other man inside. He led me to a dining room where the man I knew as Lord Dolus Malderin sat, feasting himself while his people starved. Had the man weighed less than five-hundred pounds, he would have looked somewhat like myself. He had jet-black hair, a plump face (not to mention elsewhere), and dull green eyes that stared out of sunken eye sockets. It was a credit to my skills in Occlumency that I was able to repress a sneer.
"Ah, Lord Phineas Criterion, I've been expecting you," Dolus said once he stopped grotesquely shoveling food in his mouth.
Well of course he was expecting me. He had heard from his servant that I had arrived moments ago. I also couldn't help but notice that Ron's table etiquette was almost sophisticated in comparison to this man's.
"Indeed. I have a proposition for you, Lord Dolus Malderin," I replied.
Lord Dolus looked at me. "So direct, I admire that. Please, sit down and explain this proposition to me," he said greedily.
I sat, letting the faintest sneer to show on my face. "You leave your land and control of your family to me, and you will live to see another day," I said coldly.
He recoiled. "How dare you threaten me in my own home," he began.
I didn't let him finish. In a flash I was on my feet, Yew wand in hand. I focused on the past few minutes and performed the Memory Charm.
The anger drained from his eyes to be replaced with blankness.
"You accepted my proposal, and decided to become a traveling merchant. You're grateful to Lord Phineas Criterion, as he allowed you the opportunity to change from your greedy and tyrannical ways," I said. The Memory Charm would allow his mind to create a memory based on my statement, however his old ways would still be prevalent, and he would be confused. I stared into his eyes and probed with Legilimency, easily weaving my way inside and using the new feelings created by the memories, forcefully made the man change his ways. It would still require another element to help it along its way.
I forced my will upon his, easily crushing it. I gave one command; to follow his new outlook on life. This ensured he would begin following a new path.
"Thank you Lord Criterion, I'm in your debt. First I must designate you as the heir of my family then retrieve a merchant's cart and I'll be on my way. Thank you again!" the man said gratefully, dashing out of the room.
I smiled. Dark Arts had just contributed to changing this man into a better person. Not only that, but I had a true lordship by inheritance, and a manor. Soon, very soon, this place would become a thriving town; I would make sure of that. Most of all, I would take care of the…no my people. They would no longer be forced to give up the majority of their crops and animals, only enough to feed the serfs and other assorted servants, and occasionally myself; if I were to stay at the manor for any prolonged period of time. There were taxes, but I would give most of that back to the people, the rest as a fund to pay for maintenance costs of the town and manor.
Not long after, Dolus rushed back handing me papers, explaining about his 'secret' vault behind a portrait of himself, and that he had told his servants of the change in ownership. He grinned, swinging a large bag full of what I guessed were his personal affects and left, pushing a merchant cart down the roadway and into the town he had formerly oppressed. I rolled my neck. Now that Dolus was out of the way, it was time to begin the improvements.
A/N: Another chapter, for your reading pleasure. I hope you enjoyed it, as I'm writing this at around 4am and I used the last of Madagascar Vanilla Red tea during the process. I had planned this chapter for New Years Day as a treat, however due to lethargy and the fact I had to rewrite a large section of this chapter it didn't make it out on New Years. The plot is beginning to take shape now, though right now it's quite subtle. Within the next few chapters the plot will become a bit more obvious. I've also included a bit more Rowena; I know it was large, and I hadn't planned on it being that big, but once I started writing I couldn't stop. For those of you who say he isn't shrewd or Slytherin enough, I hope this helps prove my points.
I'd like to thank MadEyes, author of Earth's Emissary for betaing this chapter, and also Midknight for letting me bounce ideas off of him as well as providing invaluable input. If any of you have constructive criticism please, tell me. I like constructive criticism as it helps me become a better author.
To answer a few questions about the ritual he performed in the previous chapter, it was three rituals combined into one. The first was to create a space inside his arms so that he could holster his wands inside them. This way, he'd never have to worry about losing his wands. The only way they could take his wands from him would be to cut off both of his forearms. The second grew metal inside his hands from the wrist. Besides strengthening his bones, it helps conduct his magic from his magical channel to his fingers and palm. The third ritual allows him to channel magic through his wand while in their holsters, as if he was physically holding it, and channel it out through the metal in his hands. With willpower, he can pick where it emerges. While inside the holster, the power is slightly stifled. Outside of the holster and in his hand, the ritual's effects work together to channel his current power better. Hope this answers your questions.
Now, on to the review responses!
Thefirstphoenix: In my mind, Legilimency is so much more than simple 'mind reading'. I view it as a form of telepathy, only artificially created. With it he can detect other minds, and even overload them. It'd be far more difficult to perform Legilimency without eye-contact, but still possible. Voldemort was a master of this art, and Voldemort's knowledge and experience were left with him. I hate to use the 'its magic' explanation, so I'll say he's exercising his will on the magic. Mind over magic. As for Dumbledore…you'll just have to see. )
Manatheron: Harry does appear to be getting really powerful, but really he's just powerful. He's the cross of Lily Evans, brilliant charms student (and vicious red-head) as well as James Potter, someone with a natural gift for transfiguration. Both powerful and they passed it on to Harry. In school, he always wanted to blend in…be normal and not appear attention-seeking, thus put little effort into his studies. Here he can be powerful and intelligent, and still be normal…at least as normal as Harry Potter can be. Much of his power though is based off of knowledge and experience…he knows how to channel his power better than the simple spells he was taught in Hogwarts, and he knows how to accomplish his goals.
JPElles: Everything is going well for him so far, but soon he will begin to stumble as he grows too arrogant. Phineas will soon learn humility of his skills.
Lisa S.: I have indeed been reading up on history before you even suggested I do so. My books are very limited in the way of the middle ages, but in my World History textbook I did find two large chapters. The antagonist of this time will be that of this time period…it works well. If there was a library here, I would be studying the time period far more thoroughly, but I'm using the resources I have to the best of my ability. If you see any errors, please, feel free to tell me in a review, pm, or email. I'll do my best to correct it.
Dumbledore: The action scenes are beginning, I'm just setting the stage. Soon Harry will begin encountering the antagonists and the true subplots will begin. I'll also try to interject some third-person scenes in the next chapter to set the scene more effectively.
Thank you all for reviewing, I'll see you next time.