Ok, I'm going to be very, very surprised if any of the people who read this story when it first started are still watching for an update. But just in case you're like me and never clean out your favorite story list, here's a treat just for you.
Over the last 4 years, I have received an odd review or two asking me if I'm ever going to finish this story. About two years ago, my girlfriend convinced me to pick up my pen again and as she put it, "they love your writing so finish the damn story already." SOOOOooo after much whining on my part I finally did just that. I got a couple of blank books, my trusty 0.7mm mechanical pencil, and I sat down to write.
Fast forward two years and I have the first few chapters of a complete rewrite of this story (as well as a start on other related ventures). The new version attempts to take things from Book 7, and no I'm not telling you my opinion of it, and incorporate certain bits in to make my story seem a little bit more like a Harry Potter story. Hopefully you'll all still enjoy it just as much.
As an added bonus, and because I think it's healthy of me to not hold back, I've included the final bit of work I did on the original four years back. At the bottom will be a link to the new story.
Thanks again to any and all who've stuck around and waited for me to get back into this.
Draco stood on the hill for a bit and watched as Harry began walking across the meadow. He smiled and turned, heading almost instinctively for the shade of the nearby trees. He walked for a while along the edge of the forest, looking around at the horses both in the meadow and those wandering among the trees. He walked at random, turning whenever the mood took him to do so, and wandered deeper into the forest. He had expected to emerge shortly into another meadow or onto a moor, but the trees did not give way to either. He wandered for most of the day and well into the afternoon, admiring the beauty of the changed landscape. A year ago, he knew, this land had not looked like this. Open moors and grassy fields had dominated the landscape, with a few small forests and copses interspersed among them as well as the numerous villages and roadways that connected them to the outside world. There had been no great thick forest like the one he was walking through, yet the trees around him seemed to be hundreds, if not thousands of years old.
The sound of running water reminded him that he had not had anything to eat or drink since early that morning. Listening carefully to the sound, he wound his way in between the trees and came upon the mouth of a cave in the hillside. A river was pouring down in a cascade off the top of the cave entrance, forming a deep clear pool before flowing back into the cave and underground. Draco removed his shirt and boots, intending to dive into the pool and have a nice swim before continuing his search.
"I would not do that if I were you."
Draco looked up at the sound of spoken words and saw a blonde elf crouched on the rocks next to the waterfall. He was dressed in a white tunic with brown trousers and, unlike most of the elves Draco had met, wore his hair cut short. Draco's eye spotted the bow and sword the elf carried and he was very aware that his own sword was lying in plain sight on the ground behind him.
"What is it that you would not do?" Draco asked, careful not to take his eyes off of the elf.
"Swim, of course," the elf responded, "This water is cursed, and all who touch it slip into sleep and are carried away into the dark places beneath the earth. None return." Draco looked at the pool of water thoughtfully and then back up at the elf. "If you wish to end your life, by all means jump in," the elf said before Draco could speak, "may your choice be a wise one, mortal." With that last comment the elf disappeared. Draco was now wondering if it had indeed been an elf. Every elf he had met so far had known him on sight, something he found rather disconcerting, but this elf had acted as if Draco was a complete stranger and, moreover, a trespasser.
He stood there for a long while; contemplating the warning he had been given. Water was at his command; it would not kill him he knew. Even so, he knew he should continue the search he had set out on. "Let's see what this curse is about," he said, finally making up his mind and feeling slightly rebellious for choosing to disobey the warning. He turned and dove into the pool, letting the cold water slide past him and then carry him up to the surface. It felt marvelously refreshing, and he could feel the subtle tug of the current towards the mouth of the cave. He swam to the bank, enjoying the feeling of weightlessness, as the water seemed to remove his very body from him. He rested his head on the grassy bank, letting his body float with the current as he looked around at the trees.
He heard the sound of hooves approaching through the trees. Curious, he looked around, expecting to see a sickly horse come to touch the waters to end its life for the nature of the curse had been revealed to him by the water as he swam and he knew why most sought out the pool. What he saw instead was a beautiful animal with a blue gray coat much darker than the horse that had initially spoken to them when they had landed in the meadow that morning. The horse approached the pool and bent down, drinking deeply from the clear water. Draco watched stunned as it straightened and then turned towards Draco. With a start, the blonde found himself staring back into sightless milky eyes.
"You are late," the horse said simply, staring right at Draco though obviously not seeing him at all.
"I… um… sorry," Draco managed, "but why are you still alive after drinking?"
"This is my home," the horse said, "one such as I cannot lose my vision, so I may drink freely of the water."
"I'm sorry," Draco said immediately, "I didn't know I was intruding." He made to get up but the horse was suddenly standing over him, his hooves making small ripples as they rested on the water's surface.
"You were warned by the waterfall of the curse on this place," the horse stated, "Yet here you sit. The boy who has accomplished all that the heavens require of one who wishes to ride me."
"Pardon?" Draco asked, confused now, "I haven't done anything though."
"I am Nen," the horse said, seemingly not hearing Draco's complaints, "and the one I will bear must have given freely his body, heart, and soul and must not regret having lost them. Now let me see you." The horse sank into the pool up to its knees. Then without warning, it lunged down and bit Draco hard on the shoulder. Draco knew he screamed, and he felt the horse's teeth grate against his shoulder blade. His vision spun and he was vaguely aware that the water around him was turning red and that the horse was swallowing several mouthfuls of his blood. He felt nauseous as the tension in the horse's jaw slackened. The animal still lifted him partway out of the water though, as it pulled back before its teeth were completely removed from his shoulder.
Draco looked tentatively at his shoulder, afraid of the gory mess he would find there. Even as he turned to look though, the water swirled around it and knitted his flesh back together. He looked back up at the horse, and felt his nausea increase when he saw his own blood drying on the horse's muzzle.
"Ah what wonders eyes can portray," the horse said, turning his head and looking around the clearing. "Come now child of my father, you have given me the vision to bear you for the length of this world." Draco looked up surprised to hear the horse say that. As the horse turned its head again though, Draco noticed that its eye's were no longer the dull milky white of blindness. They now pulsed red, as if the blood the horse had sucked from Draco's shoulder had flown directly into the horses eyes and revived them.
"Why is it always my blood that's needed," Draco grumbled as he hauled himself out of the lake and dried off.
"A long history exists between Slytherin and the old Blood Magic," Nen said as Draco pulled his tunic and boots on, "they are the last masters of such a cunning and subtle craft." He walked out onto the bank and looked patiently at Draco. "Come son of my father, climb onto my back and we shall away to the western spires."
"That's the second time you've called me that," Draco said, hoping neatly onto the horses back and then snatching at the gray mane as Nen set off at a gallop.
"Because it is true," the horse replied, "You are a Son of Water, as am I. That is why we shall ride together until the end of time."
"I hate to disappoint you," Draco said cautiously, "but I'm a dragon rider as well."
"It is of no concern," Nen said confidently, "there are times when a drakin's majesty is needed, and there are times when you will desire a different kind of presence." Draco thought about that while they rode.
"What did you mean earlier," he asked as they exited the forest and began riding across a moor, "when you said I had freely given my body, heart, and soul?"
"The three things that Orome commanded a mortal to do before one of his herd could be ridden," the horse replied, "you offered your heart to Gryffindor out of love, and with your heart you offered your body and soul. For all three are one to be given, but individually taken. Just as you freely gave these things to him, so too did you accept them from him." Draco just stared at the back of the horse's head as they rode on and said nothing more. In the end, he put the serious sounding words down as equine logic and took them at face value only.
Harry opened his eyes expecting to see open sky or treetops. He was definitely not expecting to see a roof of any kind, much less what looked like to be a hospital ceiling. He tried to sit up and found that his body wouldn't respond in the slightest. He glanced to the side but all he could make out were blurry shapes since he didn't have his glasses on. My glasses! He thought. He'd had them on when he had released his seal so they were probably nothing more than a shapeless glob of metal somewhere out on that field he had been running through. He tried to shift sideways rather than sit up so that he could at least see more of the room he was in and was rewarded with stabbing pain shooting up the back of his head. What the… he thought. He tried lifting his hand to wipe some sweat off his forehead but his hand wouldn't move. With a bit of a shock he realized he couldn't even feel his hand. He closed his eyes and concentrated. He sighed when he was able to outline his entire body's heat signature.
"You shouldn't be using your energy," a girl said, startling him out of his examination, "Though I must admit it's a good sign that you still can do something after everything you've been through today."
Well it's definitely not a muggle hospital, Harry thought, opening his eyes and shifting his gaze to the left so he could see who was talking. The blurry image didn't help him much, but the trail of yellow falling from the girl's head at least identified her as a blonde. "Where am I?" he asked, trying to ignore the pain that came with talking.
"You shouldn't talk either," she said, walking around to the other side of the bed. "As for your question, you are back in Silanost." Harry blinked trying to understand how he'd ended up back at the castle. "Nar brought you into the stables a couple hours ago. It was a good thing I was walking by too, because Lance and Gwen were about to use their own kind of medicine to try and heal you." The girl put a hand to his forehead then and removed the compress that had been placed there. She placed a new one on his head and the pain that had come with trying to move and talk lessened slightly. "We're just waiting for Raphael to get here," she went on, "before we start to mend you up."
Harry wanted to ask what they were going to do, or even what was wrong with him but the girl had told him not to talk and the pain it had caused him last time made him think twice about disobeying. He tried to move his hands again but they wouldn't budge an inch. He contented himself with trying to picture the girl's face until the sound of footsteps approaching called his attention back to the room.
"Aren't you just a wreck," a new voice said. Harry vaguely recognized that it was Raphael talking, though he had only heard the boy once before. "I'd tell you not to move, but I don't think that will be a problem," the boy went on, sounding quite amused with the whole situation, "seeing as how you've severed your spinal column in three places. Though I'd guess that you should be thankful you did, otherwise you'd actually be feeling all the pain you're in."
"You don't have to make it sound so bad Raphael," the girl said exasperatedly. Harry was still trying to get over the fact that he had severed his spine. He was pretty sure he'd never get out of bed again, much less move about on his own.
"But it is that bad Ariel," the boy responded, thwacking Harry's leg sharply in the process to demonstrate his point. Harry didn't even feel the contact but his ears registered the sound of it.
"Well maybe for now it is," Ariel said, "but that's why we're going to fix him up."
"Just the two of you?" Harry asked, forgetting momentarily the command to avoid talking. He was rewarded with another shot of pain that set his head on fire again.
"Not very bright trying to talk through a broken jaw," Raphael commented dryly as Ariel renewed the wet compress on his forehead again.
"Is there any part of me that's not broken?" Harry asked, moving his mouth as little as possible.
"Not really," Raphael replied cheerily.
"Well instead of discussing all his injuries, why don't you start cleaning them?" Ariel put in. Raphael didn't respond but Harry was fairly sure Raphael had done something immature like sticking his tongue out at her, though without his glasses he couldn't be sure.
I will be your eyes if you wish, Nox said, surprising Harry. The boy had nearly forgotten that the dragon had not gone with Draco, so accustomed he was to the two of them being in the same place.
How? Harry thought back.
Close your eyes, the dragon instructed. Harry did so and found that he was looking at himself lying on a white marble table in the middle of the room. He could see now that the ceiling he had mistaken for a hospital's normal white finish was actually more of the elven castle's stonework. The lights that had appeared to be florescent to him before were now revealed to be a network of tubes that looked like neon but Harry was fairly certain the elves weren't using anything so mundane. Nox was perched at the head of the table that Harry was lying on, and Harry found it a bit disconcerting to be staring at his own body like this. He could see what had prompted Raphael's comment though as he examined his condition. The clothes he had been wearing were ripped, torn and stained with ash and blood. There were odd protrusions all over his body, speaking to all the bones he had broken.
Even as Harry looked over his body, Raphael held his hands a couple centimeters above one of Harry's feet. As he watched, the material under the boy's hands began to disappear, as if it were being worn away into fine sand and then being sucked up silently into the boy's hands. Harry watched, oddly fascinated, as Raphael moved his hands slowly up one leg.
"Wouldn't a proper lady leave at a time like this?" Raphael quipped, pausing halfway up Harry's thigh.
"I'm a healer dolt," Ariel responded, gently tapping Raphael on the forehead to emphasize her point, "and besides," she went on, "he's sleeping now and it's not like I haven't seen this kind of thing before." Harry considered it a good thing that he was apparently asleep because he knew if he'd been in his own body and heard that, Raphael wouldn't be the only one blushing scarlet. The boy didn't comment any more but finished the task at hand. When he had finished Harry realized that the apprentice hadn't just been removing clothing. The process had also removed every spec of dirt, ash, and anything else from his skin. He was pretty sure now that he was cleaner than he ever had been or ever would be again.
"Alright, now that he's clean," Ariel said, moving up next to Raphael, "we can start remaking his bones."
"I can only handle so much in one sitting," Raphael said a little irritably, "let's start with the delicate stuff while I have energy. If we get to his arms and legs right now, all the better. If not, we'll finish later after I've had a break." Harry wasn't exactly sure of how he felt about their conversation. What did they mean by remake bones? Even as he wondered about it, the two apprentices changed position, placing their hands over his neck with their fingers interlaced.
"You know this will hurt him a lot more than if we fixed the rest of him first," Ariel said.
"A little pain never… oh wait… never mind, it does hurt," Raphael laughed merrily at his own joke and set about mending Harry. Harry wondered what exactly they were doing, and no sooner had the thought crossed his mind than his vision changed. It was like looking at an x-ray of his body, though the rest of the room remained the same. In spite of Raphael's accurate description earlier, Harry still found himself shocked at how badly messed up his insides were. Even as he watched though, he saw his spine start to disappear. He was about to have Nox put him back in his own body and tell them to stop whatever it was they were doing, when he noticed that about a centimeter behind the disappearing bones and nerves, new, undamaged tissue was appearing.
The pair worked slowly, moving only a few centimeters down his body every ten minutes. As they progressed further down his abdomen and repaired more and more sections of his spine, Harry became gradually aware of the increasing amount of pain he was feeling. As he watched the central connections being repaired he realized that the rest of his nervous system was screaming in pain. Harry could see his own face contorted in the increasing amounts of pain he was feeling. The pair of apprentices moved from his spine to the rest of his torso, replacing bones methodically one by one. They mended his head next, and then began on his right leg.
"I only… have… enough… for one more limb… right now," Raphael said. The boy was sweating heavily and panting hard. It must have taken him a lot of energy, Harry thought, to cause such a refined and constrained destruction.
"Let's do his left arm then," Ariel said, "so he can at least use a crutch to move around." She too was sweating and looked tired, as if she had been up for many days in a row. Raphael nodded, wiping his hand across his brow and rubbing the sweat off on his trousers. Ten minutes later the boy collapsed onto Harry's chest, having just finished mending the Gryffindor's arm. Ariel reached over to a side table and placed a pair of glasses on it, obviously for when Harry woke up, before picking up the unconscious Raphael and carrying him to a couch. She arranged the apprentice on the sofa before collapsing herself, her head resting on the boy's chest.
Nox, Harry thought frantically, go find someone to help them! Harry blinked as he realized he was once more staring at the blurry ceiling out of his own eyes. He heard the departing chirp from Nox just as the dragon disappeared above him. A few minutes later, the dragon came winging back into the room, chirping excitedly.
"There now what's all the fuss about," someone said following the dragon into the room. "Oh dear me," the woman said, having spotted Harry on the bed and the unconscious forms of Raphael and Ariel on the couch, "those two seem to have pushed themselves too hard again." Harry turned his head to look and found that he was once again looking through Nox's eyes. He immediately recognized Luissiel from that morning and watched as the woman came over to the table and critically examined him. "Well I don't suppose they had enough energy to finish," she said poking at Harry's broken arm and leg. "I'll just set the bones and put a splint on until they're ready to mend you all up." Harry watched the process intently, and for some reason he couldn't place later, he remembered everything the woman did in great detail.
The woman ran her hands gently down the length of Harry's leg with her eyes closed. She applied pressure every so often, and Harry felt his bones slide painfully back into place whenever she did so. When she had finished his leg, she went over to a cabinet in the wall and removed two sticks of wood that were as tall as Harry, and a large roll of bandages. She neatly cut them into smaller pieces with a belt knife and placed four of them around Harry's leg. She cut a slit in the end of one of the sticks and deftly threaded the end of the bandage into the hole. She then wrapped the bandage around his leg, making sure to pass it under the brace so that there was a layer of bandages between the wood and his skin. She added slits to the ends of all the other sticks too and threaded the bandage through each of them in turn. Once they were all threaded, she wrapped the bandage tightly all the way back down his leg, tying it off right above his foot. She then repeated the process for his upper and lower arm, and then fashioned a sling out of the left over bandages.
"Are you awake dear?" She asked kindly, leaning over him to check. Harry blinked groggily and sat up. He hadn't remembered falling asleep while Luissiel had been working. "Well that's good," the woman said, "Come now, stand up and I'll help you dress." Harry was acutely aware of his own nakedness and felt himself blushing heavily as the woman helped him get a pair of white linen trousers on with his splinted leg. She held up a white shirt for him and he slipped his left arm through the sleeve, leaving the front open.
"Why is everything in a hospital white," he said, more to himself than to anyone else.
"So we can tell if you start bleeding somewhere," Luissiel said, "Come now," she went on, handing him a crutch, "I'll take you up to the garden so you can relax some before it's time to go." Harry took the crutch and picked up the glasses from the table before limping after the cook. They made their way through the white marble hallways for a bit until they emerged onto a walkway overlooking the gardens on the first floor.
So there you have it, that's the last of the original story you'll see. I look forward to your reviews and as always, thanks for putting up with me :).
The new story is titled Harry Potter and the Avatar of Balance and you should be able to search for it in a little while.
P.S. And NO the title does not have anything to do with 's Avatar