Harry Potter and the Druid Pathway
Summary: Harry's views begin to change as he undergoes his magical maturation and also begins his discovery of the Old Ways. Whilst at odds with Dumbledore, Harry must come to terms with his role in the rising war but will he find balance in the dangerous magic he is delving into as he unfolds the secrets of the Druid Pathway? Set in sixth year, not a super-power Harry.
Author's Note: Hey all. I hope that I can receive some constructive feedback from this story. As for the first chapter, I will not bother with reviewing stuff you will no doubt already know (please bear with the opening letter, sorry). Updates are not scheduled, but I will try to keep them coming often and I hope that this story can be a little different to others out there.
Chapter One: Mind Over Matter
I know that you most likely do not want to hear from me at the moment. I would like to apologise for my actions this past year as I now acknowledge that ignoring you and keeping the prophecy from you were not my brightest ideas. I can only hope for your forgiveness in these matters as I want to help rebuild the trust we once shared.
Also, on other matters, the reading of Sirius' will is scheduled in nearly two weeks time, on the 12th July. After the reading of the will in the morning, a small memorial service will be held in the afternoon. I have arranged for Remus Lupin to collect you from Privet Drive in one week's time to accompany you to purchase suitable attire.
Concerning the Ministry's acceptance of Voldemort's return, the country is moving towards a state of war. I know that the prophecy is a recent weight on your shoulders, but we must discuss upon your return to Hogwarts, additional magical training to prepare you for the outcome of this war.
P.S. I have included with this letter a book on Occlumency for you to strengthen your mind over the summer break.
Harry set the letter down onto his bed beside him and picked up the thin hundred page volume that he found with the letter upon entering his room. It was rather ratty and the leather-bound cover was stained and worn out in places but he grudgingly concluded that if Dumbledore had thought it the best book to give him, it was.
This by no means was Harry forgiving the old man. He felt that the letter he had just read was insincere and that it was just setting more guidelines and boundaries for him so that he could be under the headmaster's sway once more. Well, Dumbledore had a long way to go for forgiveness if that is what he was really after. Although Harry was handling his resentment and contempt for Dumbledore well, a small well of bitterness was festering within him and it had only grown with the letter left for him.
Harry had returned to his relative's house near three days ago from Hogwarts and the recent death of his godfather Sirius was still weighing heavily upon his mind. The prophecy was the other large distraction that occupied his thoughts as it was just too 'set in stone' for his liking. He had, however, come to some decisions in his short period of reflection. Although he could not change his godfather's death, he could avenge it and that he would do. He would hold Sirius in his mind right there with his parents and that was all he could do. As for the prophecy, that remained to be seen and although it seemed that Dumbledore and Voldemort had steadfast faith in it, he would merely take it into consideration as a possibility; after all, Dumbledore was still the one that Voldemort feared and could not best.
Deciding that no reply was needed to the letter, as it had just been left for him to find on his bed (something that unnerved him as privacy had become even more important to him since Snape had started raping his mind the past year), he picked up the book on Occlumency and settled himself onto his bed.
When Harry began to read, he could tell why Dumbledore had sent the book, as it was well written and explained itself impeccably well with both the theory and practical application of the art. The writer was obviously a master Occlumens and this authority that the writer possessed gave Harry faith in the book's described methods and applications. Smiling slightly for the first time since his return to Privet Drive, Harry carried on devouring the text with a calm greediness.
A week had passed in relative quiet since Harry had received Dumbledore's letter. The Order members that guarded and monitored four Privet Drive reported nothing of value except that Harry had neither stepped foot outside of the house or shown his face since his return from Hogwarts.
It was the day when Remus was supposed to pick Harry up and take him to get suitable attire for the reading of the will and the memorial. Harry was currently sat on his dilapidated bed, cross-legged with his eyes closed and a peaceful expression on his face. The open window allowed a gentle breeze to circulate the room which played with Harry's longish bangs as he remained deep within his mind.
Since memorising the small book on Occlumency and all the techniques stored within its pages, Harry had quickly set about building his defences. He discovered with great anger, that Occlumency required inner-mind corporeal defences (often visualised as walls, fences etc.) to protect the mind and prevent intrusion. This was never even mentioned during his lessons with Snape and this fuelled Harry's loathing for the bitter potions master.
His first real success in the mental discipline (bar the meditative state of mind needed) was when he first entered his 'visualised' mind. The books mentioned that some people had their mind manifest as fields, houses and so on, yet Harry's was a vast ocean. As far as Harry could 'see', water stretched out beyond him and he had come to realise that this was his mind. In the centre of his mind, Harry could rest on a very small island about the mental equivalent to the size of his room at Privet Drive where he could delve into the waters of his mind. The island represented the storage of his thoughts, memories and when on the island, he could call any memory to the forefront of his mind quickly as well as focus his thoughts to a fine precision.
After finding his mind, he was able to begin to build defences and had already begun his 'inner' wall. He decided to erect an inner wall that would surround his island and then an 'outer' wall to serve as a detection barrier for any mental attacks. The only setback was that by building his walls brick by brick, he had to fashion them from the water of his mind and making a solid brick from water was incredibly difficult and draining. However, he found that when he focused enough, his magic would react and help him mould the bricks and once a brick was finished, he found it to be exceptionally durable.
For a week he had used the majority of each day within the confines of his ocean-mind and his inner wall was beginning to take shape. He discovered that his use of Occlumency seemed to sharpen his mind outside of the meditative state and his senses had developed inexplicably. He could even detect magic to a certain extent as magical items like his invisibility cloak teased his senses in a different way to non-magical items. His eyesight and minute growth spurt were the two most noticeable physical changes in him over the past week in relation to Occlumency. With his senses developing through his Occlumency ability, his eyesight had sharpened and he found he no longer needed his glasses as he once did.
When Remus Lupin knocked upon the front door of Privet Drive, Harry's nostrils flared and his eyes snapped open. He left his mind as his senses had detected a magical person and when Remus knocked politely on his bedroom door and entered, he found himself the subject of unnerving green eyes that sparkled like liquid emerald.
"Err, hello Harry. I'm here to take you to Diagon Alley?"
Harry didn't bother replying as he was a little upset towards Remus as he had realised that he had never been a part of his early life until his third year of Hogwarts and that was as a teacher, despite being one of his parents' best friends.
"So… how are you doing?" he asked, thrown off by Harry's lack of reply.
"Let's just go."
To say Remus was shocked by Harry's short tone was an understatement as he was always so polite. He decided to let it go though and put it down to Harry grieving Sirius' death.
Harry simply stood up and followed Remus out of the house where he called the Knight Bus down to take them to the Alley.
Upon entering Diagon Alley through the Leaky Cauldron entrance, Harry was physically forced to step back by the assault on his senses. His newly developing senses were not used to this much magic in the air as he had been living in a muggle neighbourhood, though he brushed it off as light-headedness when Remus asked as he wanted to keep his Occlumency progress tightly under his belt and away from Dumbledore.
Harry, still recovering slightly from the sensory overload tried to enjoy the friendly atmosphere that the Alley hummed though he found it hard with bitter reminders of how these same people had turned on him time and time again popped into his head. They eventually reached Gringotts bank after threading their way through the crowds; something as of yet Voldemort had not quite managed to dispel. All the while, Harry and Remus remained silent following the failed attempt at conversation on Remus' part earlier. When they entered the bank, Harry walked over to a free counter and asked to be escorted down to his vault (after showing his key).
The two were led to a cart by a rather grizzly looking Goblin with an elongated hooked nose whose strange blue eyes glinted with greed. The Goblin's name was Oswyn and during the ride down to his vault Harry made surprising successful talk with the Goblin in relation to the rumours of Dragons within the banks.
When they reached the vault, Harry as politely as he could manage asked Remus to stay put whilst Oswyn accompanied him into the trust fund vault. Once inside, Harry collected a bag (with large interior) from Oswyn and stocked it to the full with Galleons.
"Oswyn, I was wondering; if I want specific handling of my vault here at Gringotts, would I have to employ a Goblin or would I need to make arrangements each time I need something doing?"
Oswyn looked mildly surprised by Harry's question but answered all the same. "You already have an accounts Manager. Griphook was appointed by Mr. Dumbledore to manage your accounts some years ago. Is this satisfactory to you?"
"For now; I think that I'm going to have to do something soon about this though," Harry replied with a frown.
Once Harry was done collecting money from his vault and speaking with Oswyn, he thanked the Goblin who took the pleasantry with a small amount of shock before smiling in a creepy fashion and escorting both Harry and Remus back to the ground floor of the bank.
When Harry and Remus arrived back in Diagon Alley, Remus brought him to Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions and had him look around at the various clothes on display to find something he liked. After around ten minutes of looking, Harry decided upon a simple black muggle suit with a light purple shirt. Since he wanted to be properly outfitted for the occasion in respect for Sirius, he also bought an expensive robe in black made from a high quality material to wear open with his suit. He then picked out a thick black cloak with hood and a circular silver clasp (which Remus winced at). On top of this, he went all out and bought some dragon hide boots in black and a proper wizard's hat in washed black like he had seen in books as a child.
Remus was a little shocked at how much he was spending and had to restrain himself from commenting as he could already detect the tension between himself and Harry. Then, as a last thing, Harry picked out some casual robes and cloaks for himself to wear in the wizarding world along with a second pair of dragon hide boots. It totalled up to a rather hefty price but Harry didn't bat an eye as for one, Ron was not around and secondly, he was tired of being embarrassed about his wealth.
When they left Madam Malkin's with a friendly goodbye, Remus began to rush Harry towards the end of the Alley as according to him, they had already spent too much time away from the safety of Privet Drive. Harry however, had one more stop left in him before he wanted to leave and quickly nipped into the store before Remus could stop him.
When Harry entered Olivander's wand shop, he had done so with the intention of getting some wand care products as his wand was in rather poor condition and he felt he should treat it over the summer months as it might even affect its performance. When he asked Olivander for his purchase, being scrutinised by a disapproving Remus, he was asked to follow Olivander into the back room to pick out a wand care kit whilst Remus waited in a chair by the counter.
When in the back, Olivander quickly cast a silencing charm on the room before reassuring Harry he meant no harm. He leaned in close and asked for Harry's wand which Harry gave up after a moment's hesitant thought. Olivander quickly used his own wand, a light pine wand of seemingly average length, to cast a charm on Harry's wand which made it glow a sickly orange before rounding on Harry and casting a similar spell. Once done, Harry took back his wand and felt a whole lot lighter and breathed deeply, enjoying the feeling.
"What did you do?"
"I took the detection and monitoring charms from both yourself and your wand that the Ministry use," he explained in his usual eerie voice.
"But… why?" Harry asked, confused.
"A gift to the worthy Mr. Potter," he responded in a knowing tone of voice.
With that, he handed Harry a wand care kit and then escorted back to a suspicious Remus. Harry paid Olivander before being rushed back to Privet Drive quick time under the annoyed stare of Remus whose temper had been tested today with Harry's silence and lack of cooperation. When they were stood outside of Privet Drive, Remus asked Harry is he wanted to tell him anything to which Harry remained silent. Remus let out a frustrated sigh before plastering a fake smile on his face once more and producing a leaflet he had picked up from the Alley. He handed it to Harry and Harry saw it was advertising an upcoming League Quidditch match.
"Maybe I'll take you eh?" Remus asked hesitantly, his confident anger seemingly abandoning him.
"Yeah… maybe," responded Harry.
With that, Remus dissapparated with a crack and Harry carried his bags up to his room where he once again began to practise his Occlumency and build the defences of his mind.
Author's Note: Let me know what you think of this chapter. I know it was a little slow but I had to introduce the story and the like. Looking forward to any reviews!