Chapter 26—Lights Folly
Bellatrix Lestrange was furious! She had awoken from the battle at Gringotts to find herself in a sparsely furnished pristine marble lined cell. She couldn't remember what had happened or how she got here, but she wasn't about to sit still. She had to return to her master!
After pacing for an indeterminate amount of time she slumped onto the hard shelf that was cut into the wall. The hard cold marble only increased her aggravation of the situation. She examined the walls closer while she sat trying to figure out an escape. There were no doors or windows that she could see, no lights or torches, but there was plenty of light shining in the room. There had to be some source for it. Everything her eyes fell upon was smooth and unblemished. There was absolutely nothing to aide her in escaping wherever the hell she was currently locked up.
She marched over and started pounding on the walls with her fists to no avail; not even the sound of her fists striking the wall was heard. She tried to scream, but nothing came out. She tried to talk, but again no sound came forth.
A tray of food and water appeared on a wooden table in the center of the room and she stared at it suspiciously. Taking the goblet, she threw it at a wall, but it bounced off harmlessly without making a sound. The contents had vanished almost as soon as it was spilled. Grabbing the wooden table, she tried to throw it across the small cell, but it wouldn't budge. It was stuck to the floor.
Bellatrix could not be considered sane on her best days, so it was no surprise when she attempted to kick one of the table legs only to start hopping around on one foot in immense pain. She had really gone all out with the force she put into the kick. Not soon after this little tantrum, all the food and the table disappeared as if they had never been.
Not one to be caged, she tried using a little known talent, only her and her Dark Lord knew about. She reached out her hand and sent a blasting curse at the wall, but the wall seemed to absorb it. It didn't occur to her that she might be monitored and that her secret was now out of the bag. She couldn't get beyond the moment and could care less about the consequences of her actions. All that mattered was getting back to her Dark Lord and pleasing him. She started throwing every curse she knew in an attempt to get out, but nothing worked and before she knew it she was out cold. The magic she had built up in the room from all her cursing, combined with the depletion of her core from too much wandless magic, simply overwhelmed her.
Unbeknownst to her, her fellow Death Eaters found themselves in a similar predicament. None of them knew how they got to wherever they were, or that they were now the ignoble guests of the Goblin Nation. How could they know any of this without being able to see or talk to anyone? How could they possibly know that as of this moment, they were housed within a truly impregnable fortress and wouldn't be leaving?
Although prisoners, they were treated quite nicely, the Goblins were gracious hosts. They were fed well and three times a day. As other older prisoners had learned, if their attitudes changed for the better, they would be allowed certain privileges in their cells. Although they would never see the true light of day or the outside world again, the goblins had worked wonders with their runic magic to simulate familiar scenes for the prisoners to take advantage of sort of like a holographic image. Those prisoners that showed they were remorseful of their actions were truly lucky to be able to request specific scene's to be replicated. There were very few in this category, as it was based solely on the individual since they had no contact with anyone else within the prison and had no prior knowledge of how it all worked.
There were only 3 exceptions to the rule. They were the youngest prisoners and were not completely at fault for how they had turned out. The goblins in concordance with Harry Potter had taken pity on these 3 misguided souls and decided to give them the opportunity to see the light so to speak.
For these three teenagers, special provisions were made within their cells from the beginning so they could see exactly what was going on in the outside world. Not everything mind you, only what their families were involved in. As long as they had a living close relative, they could see what was happening in the outside world. They had all witnessed the torture of their families at the hand of their Dark Lord and in one case the deaths of his mother and father.
Draco Malfoy was very aware of the time that had passed within his cell all alone. He watched helplessly as his father was tortured to death for the mistakes the Dark Lord claimed were his. He had seen the proof that not all those claims were Lucius Malfoys', but he was punished just the same. Draco couldn't help but believe that if his father hadn't joined the stupid half blood idiot, none of this would have happened. Voldemort didn't care who was truly at fault, because it would be admitting a weakness that supposedly the maniac didn't have. A true leader leads from the front, by example, but not the Dark Lord. The man was a coward, hiding in the shadows in safety, while his followers risked their lives for him out of some misguided sense that the Dark Lord would share some kind of glory with them in the end. The only thing Draco witnessed the Dark Lord dispensing was pain and death and lie upon lie.
What really shook Draco to the core was the death of his mother. Not that he had ever been really that attached to either of his parents, but his mother had shown him more love than anyone else in her own particular way. It was shameful what they had done to her.
He knew long before his capture that his mother was trying to escape the situation they were in. She had confided in her only son in an attempt to get him to see reason and leave with her. Draco however, was too entrenched with his fathers brainwashing to see it. He had assured his mother he wouldn't say anything, but wanted nothing more to do with her as he felt she was betraying the family and their Lord.
After his capture, he had witnessed his mothers plans come to fruition for a while. She had successfully hidden herself in the United States under a different name and had even been able to secure a hefty amount of galleons from the Malfoy vaults to keep her living comfortably for the rest of her life. Unfortunately, her own sister had found some way to track her down. Narcissa had been beaten within an inch of her life; they healed some of the more serious wounds and then raped her repeatedly. The last straw was when they had drawn and quartered her while still alive in a macabre reenactment of the medieval punishment for traitors. Her body was left where it lay in a deserted field and was soon food for the host of animals that inhabited the area.
Draco's eyes were open now. Although still proud and very arrogant as well as a host of other descriptions, he now saw things for what they truly were. His father was nothing but a lap dog and had never truly cared about anyone except himself. The death he received wasn't necessarily deserved, but Draco was glad he was gone. He was sure his own time on this earth was limited, and he regretted not being able to speak to his mother one last time.
Pansy Parkinson was desolate. She was not doing very well as the time passed. She had witnessed her family's torture and subsequent trials as the war escalated outside her walls. She had always known her father never felt anything for any of them, but her mother's desperation to find her touched her deeply. Since even Pansy didn't know where she was, it was a given fact that her family would never find her and it made her heart ache all the more watching her mother and siblings fall under even more wretched circumstances at the hands of the Dark Lord. She swore if she ever got out of this place, her father would pay and then the Dark Lord. She would even get some revenge on the Malfoy's for getting her family into all this. There had to be some way to get out of her marriage contract to Draco Malfoy, as there was no way she would marry the sob now.
Theodore Nott, unlike his two co-conspirators, was plotting and scheming. He refused to give up what he had been taught his entire life. He was meant for greatness and nothing was going to take that away from him. He had seen his family groveling and pleading for mercy from the greatest wizard to ever live and was sickened by it. They were weak and didn't deserve the honor the Dark Lord would bestow upon his return. The little fact that the Dark Lord issued a death warrant for him didn't sink in to his fog enshrouded mind. He would somehow escape and return victorious to his master and all would be forgiven.
Back at Gringotts'; Stormtooth listened to the report of the squad sent to St. Mungo's and then diligently reported to Rack'N'Stack. The only response his leader gave was a mirthful chuckle and a quick order to continue business as usual until they heard from their ambassador once again.
Stormtooth never got to ask what should be done with the instigator of this whole ordeal. He shrugged his shoulders, what Remus told him about the containments on the intruder would have to be enough for now. At least it wouldn't get in the way of normal business. Harry would deal with it when he returned and that was good enough for him. Besides, he had more lucrative transactions that needed to be taken care of. If he was right, and he had that feeling assuring him he was, then the Weasley Twins would be monumental in securing Gringotts' beyond anyone's dreams.
Amelia Bones as well as the rest of the wizarding world was flummoxed by the news reported in the Daily Prophet. Thinking about it, she had to admit that she really shouldn't be all that amazed. She was privy to a lot of information that others were not and if she had taken the time to reflect on it all, she probably would have come very close to the answer that was staring them all in the face now.
Somehow though that information had gotten out to the public and she wasn't sure how Mr. Potter or the Goblins were going to respond to it all. It was one thing to know the truth, but quite another story to deal with the rumor mongering going around. She knew there was no evidence to back up the claims within the Prophet, but regrettably that didn't seem to matter to most of the wizarding public. They were hungry for gossip and the Daily Prophet appeased their appetites.
Her thoughts took her down paths she was quite honestly afraid to go. Harry and Ginny had both promised to reveal more information to her at a later date. Could they possibly referring to his dual persona's or perhaps much more. She had a feeling she was right but didn't want to admit it. That would also mean that somehow Dumbledore was right all along and she definitely didn't want to face that festering wound. In fact she had been informed that the headmaster had requested a meeting with her which was scheduled to take place in just under 10 minutes. She had a very good suspicion what the topic of their meeting was about. That didn't help her solve the dilemma of how to deal with the self-righteous, belligerent, self-proclaimed leader of the light. The man actually had the gall to believe that he was the only one that had the best interests of the wizarding world at heart. He acted as if everyone had no thought of their own and they all owed him their undying loyalty and obedience. UGGH! She didn't believe that and she wouldn't fall into the trap of letting him sweet talk his way into making her fell like she owed him anything. Dumbledore's' spin on the information released by the Daily Prophet would be less than entertaining but that would be all it was, his spin on things, not the truth, no far from. She would stay in control of the conversation!
A knock on her door, indicated she had no more time for thought. Her poor secretary wasn't even given the courtesy of introducing the visitor to the minister as Dumbledore strode purposefully into the room in all his gaudy glory. Not to be outdone, Amelia spoke up without rising from her chair.
"I see you are right on time Albus. Please come in and take a seat?"
"Thank you Madame Bones. It's a lovely day isn't it?"
"That depends on your perspective Albus, now what can I do for you?"
"Ah…straight to the matter at hand."
"I am a busy woman so I don't have time for pleasant casualties. Recent news has had the Ministry buzzing."
"I am to understand then that you are aware of the situation between Harry and this alternate ego James Roper?"
Amelia was almost ready to throttle the decaying old fart for his posturing but kept herself in control. "I am aware of what the Daily Prophet has reported." She simply said.
"Then you must understand the importance of advising the goblins to withdraw his appointment as ambassador. Harry has proven by his actions that he doesn't understand what he has gotten himself into. It's too much for him Amelia. He needs to stop this silly rebellion and return to Hogwarts to complete his education under the proper guidance."
"You presume quite a lot headmaster Dumbledore," Amelia replied, eyes narrowing in anger. "We are at best on very shaky grounds with the Goblin Nation at present. It is only through the actions of Mr. Roper that we have been able to prevent this relationship from crumbling beneath our feet." She held her hand up to ward off Dumbledore's attempt to interrupt. "You may have your suspicions, but they are only that. There is no proof no matter what the Prophet reports. The facts are that Mr. Roper was selected by the Goblin Nation to be their ambassador. The fact is…that the ministry has no say over who that may be. The fact is…that as the Goblin Ambassador Mr. Roper maintains the privilege of diplomatic immunity. The fact is…that even if the rumors are true and Harry Potter and Mr. Roper are the same individual, he is a legal adult and can enter into any agreement or job he sees fit. He has committed no crimes against either party, wizarding or goblin, even though his methods have not been met with a great deal of tolerance. Until you can bring proof of wrongdoing or the Goblins decide to remove him themselves, there is nothing that can be done. Besides, if you are to believe the Prophet, Harry Potter or James Roper has disappeared and no one seems to be able to find him."
"Amelia, please, you must see reason. If we don't act now, then when he does return…."
"Are you honestly suggesting that the Minister of Magic break the law in condoning such actions without representation from the man you are accusing? This is not a ministry in which the rule of law is only upheld when it suits the governing body. No one is above the law, not me and certainly not you Albus Dumbledore. You have skirted the law several times for pass misdeeds; do you not think your luck has recently begun to sour? I would tread carefully if I were you."
"For the sake of the entire Wizarding World you must know that Harry is the only one that can defeat Voldemort," Dumbledore sighed, reasoning that he had to get the minister to see what was at stake. "This summer Harry changed. There is reason to believe that this mysterious wizard has been in contact with young Harry and is influencing his actions. He may even be the one responsible for breaking him out of Azkaban prior to the discovery of his innocence. It cannot be a good thing."
"Why ever not?" Amelia asked surprised at the concession. "If I recall this mysterious wizard was fighting Death Eaters. He's also the one that made it possible for us to find the information to prove Harrys' innocence. How exactly is this, the work of a psychotic madman out to turn Harry against the rest of us? And to the reason of change in Harry's attitude, do you really want me to go into explaining that to you? To me it looks like this mysterious wizard is the only one that has Mr. Potter's best interests at heart." Knowing she had the upper hand, Amelia pressed to end this ridiculous cycle of accusation without corroboration. "I will hear no more of this without the proper evidence. I have more to worry about than you can even imagine. A lot has happened since you were excused of your position on the Wizengamot Albus. There is more occurring every day and we are all doing our best to make sure everyone in the wizarding world is taken care of to the best of our ability. Now do you require an escort, or can you find your own way out?"
Dumbledore knew he wouldn't get anywhere with the Ministry now and so departed without another word.
At the Burrow, things were just as hectic. After returning home from the hospital, Ron was in a towering rage. He had tried to escape several times but was thwarted every time. Then he had tried to lock himself in his room but that didn't seem to work either as his father and mother calmly followed him into his bedroom.
The Senior Weasley's watched as their youngest son threw a temper tantrum the likes of which they hadn't seen since Ron was 5. He haphazardly tore apart his room throwing and breaking things without thought. Both were appalled at the language used, but they remained stoic waiting for their son to run out of steam. It wasn't until an hour after they had entered, that he finally seemed to tire and slumped unceremoniously onto his bed, cradling his head in his hands.
"Are you quite through young man?" Mrs. Weasley sternly asked.
Ron looked up ready to retort, but saw the looks on his parent's faces and wilted.
"Very well Ronald. We want to let you know the rules you will be following from here on out."
"What rules?! You never said anything about rules!" Ron exclaimed almost renewing his tirade. He was cut off sharply by his mother.
"That will be quite enough young man! We removed you from Hogwarts to ensure you not only receive a proper education, but to make certain that you had something of a life to live. The way you were going you were about to self destruct. Surely you didn't think we were just going to let you dilly dally around throwing temper tantrums and whatever you wish did you?" She looked at him sharply and saw the truth in his eyes and disappointment landed like lead in her belly. "Ahh, I see. Well you just better get that thought right out of that head of yours. You will follow the rules as they will be enforced. One of them you witnessed firsthand earlier."
"Speaking of that, how is being kept as a prisoner supposed to help me study? I had more freedom at Hogwarts and was doing just fine until you threatened me and pulled me out! I had no choice in the matter!"
"Precisely the point Ronald Billius Weasley. You had too much freedom and despite your perception of doing well, your grades prove otherwise." Mrs. Weasley rebuked him.
"I was doing more important things! What good is school when there's a war to be fought!"
"You'll wind up dead young man!" Mrs. Weasley shouted. "You only have the barest knowledge of what can happen during this war. It's not a game Ronald. What you have learned so far in school will not help you in a battle."
"I've fought Death Eaters before and I'm still here!" Ron quipped.
"Son, I'm not trying to belittle your experiences, but do you really think you would have survived those situations if you hadn't been rescued by members of the order or other adults? They weren't real battles; the Death Eaters were toying with you. Did you even see what happened in the Department of Mysteries once the Order did arrive? Could you have kept up then?"
"It doesn't matter; we held our own and won in the end!"
"No son, the Order members won in the end. Even then I'm not sure it can be called a victory. We lost Sirius that night, I'm sure Harry wouldn't think it victorious."
"Harry Potter! I'm sick of everything revolving around him. He's nothing, he ran away like a coward!"
"That's not what we're here to discuss young man. The fact remains that you will finish your education and comply with the rules we set forth." Mrs. Weasley firmly stated growing weary of this offensive behavior.
" And if I don't?" Ron asked belligerent.
"Then I will go through with what I said at Hogwarts, however much it pains me to do so." Mr. Weasley stated. It was scary to Ron how firm his father stood and he could see the resolute determination in those eyes. He had no doubt that his father would disown him if he stepped out of line.
"But that's not fair!"
"Life isn't fair Ron and the sooner you learn that the better off you'll be. Do you expect Death Eaters to be fair?"
"That's not the point!"
"It certainly is! They're not going to play games anymore and it will be a fight to the death from here on out. If you're not prepared you will not live to see another day."
"What about my friends and Hermione, what about them huh!? They don't have to deal with this!"
"It may sound harsh, but they are not our concern, we have no authority over them. We have however contacted Hermione's parents and let them know the full extent of what's happening in our world. It is now up to them to decide what is best for their daughter."
"I don't see you pulling Ginny out, and what about Fred and George. You didn't humiliate them when everyone knows what a joke their time at school was."
"Do not presume to know as much as you think you do Ronald. Both your brothers and Ginny have passed their NEWTs with exceptional grades. Whatever you may think about your brothers it is only what they wanted everyone to believe. All three of them did better than even Percy did. Merlin bless him!"
"You've got to be kidding me! How could Ginny take her NEWTs, she's only in sixth year!"
"We gave our consent for her to take them early when she proved she was mature enough. She is an adult now in the eyes of the law and we gave her our blessing. She will no longer be attending Hogwarts."
"Does Dumbledore know this? We have to tell him, it could.."
"Stop right there! Dumbledore has received a letter explaining Ginny's' status. There's no need to go running off with what you think you might know."
"Fine then why can't I take my NEWTs now then and be done with it?! Heck if Ginny passed so well, I should be able to with no problems."
"Your sister worked very hard to get her grades. Even while at Hogwarts she was one of the top students in her class. You on the other hand, have barely been making the grades necessary to move up each year. Do not fool yourself into thinking you are anywhere near able to sit your exams right now."
"That's enough Ronald. You are a completely different case than any or your brothers or sister. It's getting late and we all have busy schedules starting tomorrow. Charlie and Bill have both volunteered to tutor you. Don't argue! They've both taken jobs close to home and put their careers on hold for the moment to do this for you. Before you think they'll go easy on you, let me warn you they know the full situation and won't hesitate to punish you as they see fit. With, I might add, our full support. Now, the twins couldn't aid you personally, but due to a recent business proposition, have willingly hired a couple of tutors for you who will be conducting DADA and Potions. Your mother and I will be taking over your Charms and Herbology lessons. Now, as for the rules. There will be no post, in or out, before we screen the contents of it. You will not be able to leave the property lines and there will be no flying until all your homework is completed satisfactorily. You will only be able to use your wand during lesions and supervised study time. There will be no visitors unless both your mother and I allow it and all your magazines and other non-school related items have been locked away until you have passed your NEWTs. Now do you have any questions?"
Ron just sat there with a horrified look on his face. This was worse than Hell!
After assisting their parents in corralling their youngest brother, Bill and Charlie set out to the yard to discuss matters that were most peculiar to them. Both were overwhelmed with the storm swirling around them and couldn't make the pieces of the puzzle fit together. They were missing something but were leery of telling anyone their suspicions without sounding it out between them.
The most recent report in the Daily Prophet had set off alarm bells in their heads, beyond the debacle with Ron. If Harry really was the Goblin Ambassador James Roper as had been reported, then there were more ramifications than most people knew. Both had seen and recognized the battle robes Harry had worn at Gringotts. They were the same robes that the mysterious wizard had worn in Diagon Alley last summer. That incident was emblazoned in their minds as they truly thought it was their last moments on earth when they attacked the wizard. Astounded they had survived how could someone forget something like that. Thinking about it more, it seemed as though the mysterious wizard might have recognized them when he paused after they had attacked. The more they thought about it, the more absolute they were in believing that not only was Harry the Goblin Ambassador, but also the mysterious wizard.
This revelation was truly mind boggling and extremely dangerous. They had to be very careful with how they handled this. The goblins might know everything, but then again might not. Would they even acknowledge it if someone asked them about it? Bill didn't think so as they were very protective of their secrets and this one was a great advantage to them. The ministry was out even though they had taken progressive actions to secure any leaks. With the recent activity of Voldemort, holes were starting to open back up. Wizards and witches were running scared again and were more likely to give out any information that might save their lives than protect it. Since they were no longer part of the Order, for good reason, that avenue was also closed to them.
There was only one path left open to them and they didn't know how to get in contact with them. Maybe their parents could use the mirror Ginny had given them it was a slight chance but maybe Harry could advise them on how to continue if he even acknowledged they were correct in their assumptions. Merlin the problems that could arise from all this and they would definitely have to keep Ron out of the picture.
In a hidden location off the coast of Northern Ireland, Harry lay perfectly still. Ginny, Remus and Tonks took turns sitting with their comatose friend hoping soon he would return to them. What they couldn't possibly fathom was that Harry was anything but unresponsive.
To Harry, it appeared as if he were somehow back with his parents again except for the fact that there were no humans around. There wasn't anything but a thick blanket of fog blocking everything from view. He could feel subtle effects that indicated he was moving, but he couldn't discern how or to where. Every attempt to turn or control his body was thwarted as if he wasn't actually in his own body. He started to panic thinking it was some sort of mind attack.
"Relax little one." A calming deep voice spoke.
"Who are you?! What's happening to me?" Harry yelled.
"Relax and all will be known. You are special little Harry and a great gift has been bestowed upon you."
"What gift? What are you on about? Get out of my mind; I know this is some trick. I won't let you…"
"This is no trick little one. I mean you no harm. I am here to explain and provide answers to your questions."
"Stop talking in riddles, I've had enough of this! Either explain what the hell is going on or release me."
"Very well little one. While fighting one of my kind, your blood intermingled with that of the dragon you slew. Your body was not strong enough to hold all that our blood contains and you started to fade…."
"Oh God! Ginny! So I'm dead? Is that what's happening. What about the others, what about Ginny?"
"Patience little one. They are safe; there is no need to worry about them."
"But if I'm dead, oh no! Ginny must be ……"
"You are not dead little one, and as I have said the others are quite fine."
"Then what's going on, why am I here?"
"It's seems as though patience is one of the virtues you have yet to learn. No matter, we have a long journey and plenty of time ahead of us."
"I don't have any time. If you haven't noticed there's a war going on and I'm right in the middle of it. Now please send me back if you truly don't intend me harm."
"It is not within my power to send you back little one. While you are figuring that out we have a journey that must take place. There is much to understand before you return."
Harry was frustrated and in little mood to comply with what this voice was telling him. If he was to believe what it was saying, somehow he was conversing with a dragon of some sort that he couldn't see. He tried to struggle but to no avail. Nothing he tried would let him return to where he thought he came from. He kept thinking about Gringotts and returning to his friends but didn't realize that what he needed to return to was himself. Finally weary from his struggles he decided to meditate to get himself back into a calm more rational state of mind. He didn't know how much time had passed but that wasn't the issue right now. Opening his eyes, he blinked in surprise at the clear blue sky he was soaring through. Looking down, he couldn't see the ground and wondered how high he actually was and how in the world he was flying.
"Good little one." The voice resumed. "Now you may understand. When you slew the dragon your blood intermingled with hers. Your body could not withstand the magic imbued within her blood and started to shut down when something extraordinary happened."
"I don't remember anything happening." Harry stated.
"Of course you wouldn't. It was not you that created the gift but your flame haired mate. She is known as Ginevra, is she not?"
"Yes, but,..how did you know her name? What's going on?"
"I'm trying to explain exactly that little one. Ginevra thought you were dying, which was true, and the tears she shed fell and mingled with the blood that was causing you such distress. Her love for you is great little one. It is a powerful force not many understand fully. It is that power that has saved you. It transformed the magic of the dragon's blood. Instead of attacking and overpowering you, it changed and found something unique within you. Tell me, what made you join with dragon scales?"
"What? Oh…you mean my scale grafts? Merlin gave me the scales and suggested it. I didn't know what they'd do but I thought it was a good idea at the time." Harry answered honestly, not sure why he was being so open with this strange dragon.
"Merlin was always one with amazing foresight, but masked his wisdom with silly puzzles and riddles. I would be interested in knowing how you met friend Merlin. However, now is not the time. It is your time for understanding."
With that Harry's speed increased tremendously and clouds whipped by at an amazing pace. He saw the sun and moon trade places several times and was amazed at just what was happening. Then it seemed as if the sun and moon became one and there was no difference between night and day, time stood still. They were in a place outside of time and the normal course of events. He learned from Staffa, the ancient dragons' name, that he was one of the first dragons to become aware of himself and his place on earth. There was simply nothing that existed before this awareness. He lived long and upon his death was made a guardian. It was his duty to watch over the world and guide his race. Then he started to explain how Harry came into the story. It was confusing at first but the more that was explained the more it all fit together.
"I was not alone when I awoke, there were others of my kind that awoke with me. Like other creatures that inhabited the area in which we lived, we were unaware of any special powers we might have beyond what it took to live our lives. Over time we wandered the land and met many other creatures, some became enemies and some became friends. One such creature was an elf; he was as old as we were but had wisdom beyond us. It was him that had explained the odd occurrences we had noticed throughout our existence. There were times when injured, that dragons blood would fall on a wound of an opponent or a friend and it would change them. The change was different for each; but they all changed, for better or worse is left up to debate. This old elf explained to us about the magic within our blood and how wild and aggressive it was. It wanted to expand and grow freely; it was not enough to sit within us contained. That's how incidentally we can breathe fire or ice or whichever element a dragon has a predisposition towards. When it needs release, the excess magic can be released in this form and dissipates into the surrounding area or reacts with whatever is standing in the way. Over time we learned to control this aspect of our beings to release it upon demand, very similar to how you control your magic. I diverge, so back to the old elf. He studied the other creatures that had changed due to our blood and realized that they were all magical that our blood had given them the gift. It was similar to what they had discovered about their own blood. However, their experience in passing magic on to others was different than ours. Some of their race had fallen in love with others races and had procreated; creating different species while all that was needed from us was a drop of blood. As I stated, the blood of dragons was concentrated magic and when it mingled with others, was unpredictable in its outcome.
This was long before man appeared in the lands. No one is really sure where he came from. It didn't bother any of us all that much since there was no before for any of us as well. Man did come though and they fought against many of the magical creatures not understanding us. The elves and dwarves were spared this turmoil as they resembled man making them more comfortable to be around. As time passed, the magical creatures began to fear men and withdrew into hiding and thus there were less interactions or mingling between magical races and men. For my race it was much harder to hide for obvious reasons. We retreated to far away lands not heard of by men yet and survived and flourished. The population of men grew and soon encroached upon our lands and we had no where to go. Many of my kind died in fierce battles but we did not hate men, we only protected our way of life and our right to survive. One of the first ones was mortally wounded during such a battle and was resigned to his fate, but fate had other plans. A young maiden found him in the forest and was disheartened to see him in such a state. Diligently she tended the dreadful wound until it healed. What neither had noticed until much later was that while tending the wound she had cut herself on one of his scales. Using the same cloth she had used on him to staunch her own bleeding, she inadvertently caused herself to become one of the changed. Over time she discovered she could do amazing things and she went back to her friend to figure it out. He told her of what the elf had discovered and how it had changed her. She was glad of the gift, but it frightened her clan and she was banished. Her mate and little ones went with her and they were ultimately the beginning of your magical race.
Although humans have interbred with other magical species, it remains the blood of dragons that keeps your race strong. This has always been a closely guarded secret and only few throughout history have known of it. We have always feared what would happen if too much magic or too little was released into the world. It is a heavy burden and delicate balance to maintain. Now though that balance is being threatened and we find ourselves in a position with little to no control over it until you came along.
Voldemort, by declaring his pureblooded supremacy and denying other non-wizards to practice magic is destroying the balance we have carefully maintained. He advances without true understanding of what his actions are causing. Although humans are strong with magic, it has diminished over the ages as no new blood has been introduced into your race. Your muggleborns are not in fact born from non-magical parents. They are the result of diminished magic. In more recent times, there are more squibs born to magical families. What is occurring is the magic being overwhelmed and blocked. These squibs just like the first witch are banished and forgotten. The magic in this blood is allowed to grow while contained and then when ready it will manifest in their little ones. There is still the accidental transfer of our blood that imbues the magical world but it is not enough to offset the dark wizards' actions.
If he is allowed to continue, in time, there will be no magical world left. You have been chosen to champion our race and we will help in whatever manner we can to stop this threat."
Harry was speechless. He had known from his time with his family in the other realm what was at stake but no one had told him this. Maybe they didn't know, but something led him to believe that Merlin hadn't told him all he knew. Possibly the fact that Staffa seemed to know Merlin, but for whatever reason he believed the dragon and they talked on, for how long Harry wasn't certain.
When exhausted by talking Staffa would show him things. Things of the past, battles that had taken place, significant milestones in the history of dragons and most curiously the final battle between Merlin and Morgana LeFey. Just like with all other races, there were two distinctly opposing sides within the ranks of the dragons. Some wanted to submit to their more aggressive side and fight with LeFey for power and dominance over all, while the other side saw the folly in this. It was a delicately woven trap designed to ensnare the dragons so LeFey could increase her own powers. With the little bit of boost to her magic from the dragons, she was able to defeat Merlin and Arthurs armies and bring about the destruction of Camelot. It wasn't a fairy tale that ice dragons had aided LeFey in battle creating the eerie fog that blinded Arthur and his army. It was fire dragons that raised villages to the ground and burnt crops to keep the armies of LeFey from feeding off the lands. This placed them in a very tight logistical nightmare. In the end, all that once was became myth and people forgot the role that dragons played in the history of the world.
The race of dragons didn't mourn this lack of acknowledgement of their contributions. Instead they kept vigil over that which needed to be kept safe and let the rest of the magical community govern itself. Not until 50 years ago did they ever have any reason to interfere. When Tom Riddle first entered the wizarding world the dragons knew something was amiss and tracked his progress intently. There was nothing they could do until now.
While Harry remained comatose, Remus, Tonks and Ginny took turns watching over him and providing what little company they could. Hoping that Harry could sense their presence they read or talked to him about what they found from their exploration of their new home. Both Winky and Dobby were able to come to them and both elves were shocked but relieved to find them all, for the most part, safe. They were also able to bring Hedwig, who was starting to heal at a faster rate. This seemed curious to all, but with more pressing matters at hand, they didn't concentrate on it much.
Even though they had gained information about their new home from the golden dragon, they learned even more through exploration. It gave them time to assimilate all the information received and gave them something to do at the same time. There were several aspects about the place that were not given to them, like how to leave, as that was only for the masters knowledge and only he could share that with others. It was pretty much the same answer for anything else they found that they couldn't access.
They each had their favorite thing about the new place, but what they all agreed upon was the impressive overlook they found in the main hall. Because of this feature, they could tell they were underground which made it all the more spectacular. Looking out the floor to ceiling, windows that stretched across 40 feet of the front wall they could look out and see the beautiful seascape and the distant fuzzy outline of a far off coastal front. This gave them their first clue to where they actually were. It was Remus that solidified their location.
As Remus stood watching the wave's crash against the shore some 100ft below he noticed some very distinct rock formations off towards the south. Prismatic shapes stretched off into the sea forming what looked to be stepping stones. Using a very ancient telescope he was able to study this phenomenon more closely. As he studied them his mind raced to find the reference from his own studies. Basalt columns shaped symmetrically like they were stepping stones…….a walkway of some sort…..a walkway to keep your feet dry…..that's it! "I know where we are." He had shouted bringing the others running in to him.
"We're off the coast of Northern Island and that's the Giant's Causeway. If I'm not mistaken we might actually be under Dunluce Castle."
"You know about this place?" Tonks asked incredulous at his knowledge and recollection of facts.
"I studied many things throughout my travels. I only remember this one because of how unusual its history is. Why….."
"Short version please Moony. Don't think I can handle a long history lesson right now." Ginny requested. She was tired from staying up all night at Harry's bedside.
Tonks laughed and sat down at the long wooden table that graced the center of the room. "Story time!"
Chuckling, Remus moved to sit down next to Tonks while Ginny sat across from them.
"Ok, short version is that I like to study the history of the wizarding world and its effects on the muggle world. Basically I compare the events of both worlds to see how it all fits together. Muggles believe that this causeway was the result of some ancient volcanic eruption. The Wizarding world history however, states that it was the result of a feud between two giants."
"Giants? In this area, doesn't seem like enough area for them to live in." Tonks stated dubious of the story.
"Ok now I'm interested. There's more to the story isn't there?" Ginny asked sitting up more.
"Of course, now where was I? Oh yes. It was a giant named Finn McCool a warrior from Ulster and commander of the king of Ireland's armies. It's said that he was also responsible for the formation of the Isle of Man during a fight where he scooped up a huge clod of earth and flung it at his fleeing rival."
"Imagine that! Giants must have been a lot bigger in ancient times for something like that."
"Well, one day Finn McCool fell in love with a beautiful lady giant named Brunehilde from the island of Staffa. It wasn't easy to visit her and no matter what mode of travel they used, they would always wind up wet. Anxious to see his love, Finn built the causeway so that they could visit whenever they wanted to and never get their feet wet."
Laughter filled the hall and echoed into other parts of the cavernous space. "Oh that's a good one. Not only were they bigger, but they were more intelligent by the sounds of it." Tonks giggled.
"Well there's another story too. Again it focuses on Finn McCool. Supposedly, Finn had a great rivalry with another giant that lived across the sea in Scotland. His name was Benandonner. They would shout at each other across the sea and decry each others prowess in battle. One day Finn grew tired of the insults Benandonner shouted and grabbed a rock and threw it towards Scotland issuing a challenge to settle who was the strongest. Benandonner responded with another rock saying he was crazy and wouldn't swim over. Finn then tore slabs of rock from the plateau around him and paved a way for Benandonner to walk across.
Not wanting to seem a coward, Benandonner had to accept this challenge and came across the causeway and entered Finn's home. Therein he saw Finn dressed as a baby and became terrified. Upon seeing the size of this "baby", he figured the size of the father must be enormous and fled quickly back to Scotland. He destroyed the causeway on his flight to prevent any retribution."
"Wow, any more stories to go along with this place?" Ginny asked now intrigued with their location and its history.
"Well there is only one that I can barely recall and it pertains to Dunluce Castle and the Earl of Ulster. If I'm correct in my reasoning it makes a lot more sense now."
"Ok spill storyteller" Tonks encouraged.
"Well the castle was supposedly built in the 14th century which would be long after this place was built. In 1639 the current Earl was hosting a banquet and became angry when none of his servants served the dinner for his guests. After sending someone to find them, it was reported that the part of the cliff upon which the kitchen stood had given way and carried everything away including the servants."
"How does that make any sense with knowing where we are?"
"Well think about it. If this place has as many enchantments on it as I believe there are, then it would be a very sound foundation for a castle. The castle would also provide a nice cover for whoever lived down here at that time, if at all. Or maybe this place didn't want monstrous castle sitting over it. Merlin was very much into the natural order of things, even if this place went against that theory. Anyway there could have been several theories as to why that part of the castle fell away. What if the Earl of Ulster was a wizard, it's very possible as the De Burgh's did have a wizarding lineage that died out in the 18th century. He might have discovered a heavy concentration of magic in the area and decided to build here thinking his power might be increased or something of the sort. He may have misjudged the edge of the wards or enchantments, and that part of the castle was unprotected from natural erosion. Or, maybe this place sensed the building going on and caused the rock to break away. It's really intriguing; I may have to look into this more in the library. There's sure to be something about this if it's truly self updating."
"Speaking about monsters, I think we created one." Ginny giggled at the look of hurt on Remus' face.
Tonks patted him on the back in an attempt to console the weary historian. "You can do whatever you please Remy. We all need to find something to do until Harry awakes."
"Here, here" Chorused Remus and Ginny now subdued.
Voldemort, true to his word took advantage of the situation. Only 3 days after Harry had disappeared, his Death Eaters struck Diagon Alley. The battle only lasted 20minutes, but the devastation they left behind was astounding. The main street was decimated; not a single building remained intact. Craters pockmarked the cobblestone walkways and debris of all sorts littered the area making it impossible to walk freely. Aurors combed the area for any survivors, but more often than not all they were able to find were dead bodies buried in the rubble. The only building that remained unharmed was Gringotts bank which had once again locked down once the Death Eaters arrived in the alley.
Every night since then there was some type of attack by the Death Eaters and once again the general public was screaming for the ministry to take action. The Aurors at the ministry were being run ragged with all the calls that were coming in. They had tried and failed to set up an early warning system to alert them of attacks around the country, but they just didn't have enough resources or manning to get the job done. They relied heavily on individuals to call the ministry when under attack. In some cases the Aurors were able to respond in time to save some of the people but in most cases the Death Eaters were victorious in their plans.
After two weeks of non-stop terror, the public had been beaten into submission and the ministry wasn't very far behind. It felt as if the light of hope had been doused. When the attacks turned towards the ministry heads and their families, it was a battle in itself to keep the Wizengamot from voting for surrender to Voldemorts forces.
Voldemorts attacks also served to further the rift between Dumbledore's own Order of the Phoenix. Dumbldedore still proclaimed that it was more important to find and retrieve Harry than to help the Ministry fight the Death Eaters. Alastor Mad-Eye Moody had had enough. This was no way to win the war and so he decided to find his own side to fight on.
Two weeks after Harry had fallen into his coma, Ginny was sitting by his bedside reading an interesting tome she had found in the vast library. She mused sadly at how much Hermione would love to explore the place. Her initial reaction to the enormous cash of ancient texts would be hilarious to see, but that would not happen anytime soon. She didn't understand her friend's actions this year; neither could she fathom what had gotten into her brother Ron. Something had to be wrong with them, she was sure of it. The tome in her hands she hoped might hold some answers. It was an in-depth study on mind control and others ways to control another witch or wizard. It was pretty large and she was a little dismayed at the extent to which some would go to force their will upon others.
She was just turning to a promising section when she felt a buzzing in her pocket. Startled she jumped from her chair wondering what was happening. The buzzing was persistent and she finally realized that it was her two way mirror. Dread filled her heart. What could have possibly happened to her family that they would call? With trembling hands, she held the mirror up to her face and whispered the password. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply to settle herself to hear whatever news came from the other end.
She heard her name again and then background grumbling about the mirror not working.
"Mom, Dad?" she asked.
"Oh sweetheart it worked. Thank Merlin we got you. We thought for a moment…. Well never mind. Are you okay?" he mother rambled.
"What's wrong? What's the emergency?"
"Not so much an emergency as needing to know how you all are doing especially Harry." Her father answered.
"We're all fine really. Harry's still in a coma but he should be waking up soon from what we're told."
"What? Who's there with you?"
"Can't talk about that mum but we're good. Now please tell me what's going on and why you're risking using the mirror."
"There's so much to say firefly. We took your brother Ron out of Hogwarts after finding his behavior has been influenced through spells and potions. We have the ministry on our side, but needless to say Dumbledore is not pleased with us."
"What?!" Ginny screamed irate. "What do you mean he's been influenced and how did you find out? What about Hermione? Have any other students been affected?"
"Calm down sweetheart. We've taken him to St. Mungo's and we're still working on freeing him of those influences. We can't be certain who is actually responsible nor how many others have been affected but we're working on it. We can talk about that later, but we don't have much time right now. Your brothers Bill and Charlie have some questions for you. They seem to think Harry is the mysterious wizard that appeared this summer and their arguments are quite compelling. Now don't get upset, we've talked about it and none of us care whether he is or isn't this mysterious wizard, but this has greater ramifications if anyone else were to find out and we need to know how to proceed. It's already been reported that Harry is the Goblin Ambassador masquerading under the name of James Roper. If the ministry or Dumbledore puts the rest together I don't know what they might try."
Ginny was dumbfounded; Dumbledore must have told someone about the incident at St. Mungo's and now all their hard work would be jeopardized. She felt a tap on her shoulder and spun around to see Remus and Tonks standing behind her.
"May I Ginny?" Remus asked motioning to the mirror. She shrugged and handed it over.
"Hello Arthur, Molly. May I ask who else is with you and if you're secure?"
"Hello Remus," Arthur replied non-plussed at being interrupted. "Only Bill and Charlie are with us and we've had Bill put up wards over my shed so we're secure."
Remus nodded then enlarged the mirror so the three of them could all be seen together. Tonks conjured a couch and they all sat side by side. Remus continued, "I'm sorry I overheard your conversation with Ginny but I think I can answer your questions. I don't think Harry would have a problem with you knowing about that particular secret since you've pretty much figured it out on your own. None of us have been able to talk to anyone outside of our little group due to oaths that have been taken. The fact that we can now talk to you about it means you are also now covered by the oaths and won't be able to speak about Harry's secrets to anyone who doesn't already know them. Please be careful about talking to others though, they might guess at the truth and we can't confirm anything. We're the only group, other than the Goblins, that know Harry's secrets and we have to protect him, so anyone else talking to you is fishing for information."
"So what are we supposed to do now?" Charlie questioned from behind his father.
"Albus has suspected Harry for a while now." Bill added. "I'm sure he's the one that slipped the information to the Prophet about Harry and James Roper. How are we supposed to keep this quiet if he continues to blab it all around town?"
"If someone else guesses the secret like we did, how are we supposed to control it?" Charlie asked.
"I wouldn't worry too much about that." Remus sighed. "The oaths that cover us all will prevent us from speaking to anyone else. From what I can ascertain, the oath can read people intentions. I don't know how he did it, but if someone does not possess the loyalty and trust of Harry and return those feelings, the bond will keep you from revealing anything. Basically you won't be able to confirm or deny anything."
"So that's how you can speak to us now?" Molly requested in a small voice full of hope.
"Yes mum. Since your true feelings have changed and you want to protect Harry the oath recognizes that and allows us to speak to you about certain things."
"Where are you honey?" Molly asked a little more confident.
"I'm sorry mum, but I can't tell you that. We have an idea but this place is more secure than Harry's oaths. While he is still out, we're sort of in a lock down."
"Calm down everyone. We're safe, a little bored and anxious to get back, but we're all okay including Harry."
"When will you return? A lot has been happening since you all disappeared and I'm afraid it's not good. Voldemorts been taking advantage of the situation and I'm afraid the Ministry will fall any day now."
"Oh no! Remus, what can we do?" Ginny asked alarmed at the new situation.
Remus sighed heavily and rubbed the bridge of his nose in worry. Tonks placed her arm around him and looked down remorsefully. When Remus didn't answer, she did. "I'm afraid for now there is not much we can do. I'm sure the whole story of what happened at St. Mungo's was not released to the Prophet. What you don't know, is that Dumbledore tried to attack Harry and then threatened us when we protected him."
Through the mirror they could see the shock and dismay the other Weasley's now felt. Arthur shook his head sadly at the actions of his once friend and mentor. After a short pause, Tonks continued.
"Something happened when Dumbledore tried to take Harry. An apparition appeared and… actually took solid form…It warned Dumbledore, but Dumbledore didn't listen. The apparition for lack of a better word right now, told Dumbledore the wizarding world would suffer the brunt of his actions. Then we were transported here. We don't know when we'll be back."
"Oh Merlin help us all!" Arthur murmured. The prayer of sorts was echoed by all.
"What should we do though, how can we help? Surely the Goblins…"
"No Bill! Get the Twins and stay safe for now. We will be back, just not sure when. The burrow is the safest place besides Hogwarts and Gringotts right now."
"We can't just sit out hiding like cowards! What will happen to everyone else? They'll be slaughtered, nothing will be left, then what's worth fighting for?"
"I'm sorry Charlie. I just don't see what else can be done right now. I don't want to lose all of you! Fighting against Voldemort now is a waste of effort. Harry's the only one that can beat him."
"I'm not talking about Voldemort Ginny. For Merlin's sake, there's got to be something we can do to counter act the damage of the Death Eaters! You know Voldemort hides behind them and doesn't actually participate in the raids. I can't abide sitting aside!"
"Nor should you!" a new commanding voice spoke from out of nowhere. Everyone jumped and spun around looking for the new addition. Ginny was the first to pinpoint him.
"HARRY! YOU'R AWAKE!" she shouted at the same time she launched into the air for him.
Harry caught her without batting an eye, kissed her soundly, then tucked her at his side while he walked forward to address everyone. "Sorry about my absence, didn't mean to worry anyone. There's a lot to discuss and I'm sure everyone would like explanations, but for now those will have to wait. We have a lot of work to do. First off, Mr. Weasley, Bill and Charlie I need you to go to Hermione's house and get her parents. There are wards over the house Bill that I'm sure you can take care of. When you see what I'm talking about I'm sure you'll understand why I must insist you stun her parents as soon as you see them and get them back to the Burrow as fast as you can. A portkey will be best once the wards are down. Mrs. Weasley, I need you to get the Twins to the Burrow ASAP then get in touch with Mad-eye and McGonagall. Once they're at the Burrow we'll talk further. I don't think I need to emphasize how important it is not to talk to anyone outside of this conversation. Not much will be needed to get Mad-eye to come over, McGonagall might be harder, but I'm sure if you mention something about Ron's academic curriculum she'll come."
Everyone looked at Harry stunned. How did he know about that and everything else going on while he was supposed to be in a coma?
"No worries Gin, my body needed to recover, but my mind was more than active. By the way thank you all for staying with me. Now we've got work to do! We'll see you all soon!"
"We're leaving? We're actually going home?" Ginny questioned, eyes bright with hope and longing.
"Of course! There's a lot of work to be done and like Bill and Charlie stated, we can't stayed holed up hiding when Voldemort and his death munchers are destroying everything we hold dear!"
"Harry you never cease to amaze me." Remus chuckled clapping his godson on the shoulder. Harry returned the gesture and stated.
Harry laughed, "I know the feeling, believe me."
A/N: Once again I apologize to all of you that have remained fans of my work. Wish life was easier and abided by my wishes like my stories do, but unfortunately that's not how it works. Please enjoy, and I won't promise anything other than I plan on completing this story. Thanks