Summary: In the post-apocalyptic world of the 22nd Century, Voldemort rules all. The Resistance sends the Weasley family's last descendant back in time to the year 1943 to kill the boy Lord Voldemort once was: Tom Riddle.
Author Notes: This is the new, revamped version of 'Out of Shadow.' There were some things that were driving me crazy about the original, so I finally stopped being lazy and changed them to my whim… the core is the same, of course, so enjoy! I've edited this first chapter and will be doing the others as I go.
This story results from my musings on Riddle/Voldemort's character, and what kind of girl he might actually have gone for…This first chapter is a lot of back story, how Honora's world has come to be, so bear with me. Also, I know the general feeling about OCs…I don't usually like them either. However, I have done my utmost to make interesting, multidimensional characters. Despite all appearances of this first chapter, she's not an MS… I promise.
Reviews are very welcome! Thanks!
Disclaimer: I do not own anything in the Harry Potter universe; JK Rowling does.
The guard shivered and pulled his furs closer to his throat. 'Typical,' he muttered. The icy wind stole the word from his mouth and flung it into the steel-grey sea.
There were three unfortunate souls who had guard duty that night. All were under the age of twenty-five; one was a woman and two were men. They walked along black volcanic rock that was sharp beneath the soles of their shoes. A biting chill penetrated the Warming Charms that protected them. The island they patrolled was no more than a kilometre across, a tiny blister of a place, totally unremarkable. There were no structures on the surface. This tiny volcanic island that peeked its stony head above the icy waters of the North Atlantic was made Unplottable by various wards and charms, a security measure necessary for survival.
Above the hooded heads, deep black clouds skittered fast across the twilight sky. They were backlit with green. In other, more innocent times, it might have been called the aurora, that fabulous light display found in the far northern latitudes. However, the guards of the island of Polaris knew better. There was no such whimsical explanation for the poisonous magical residue that seeped all over the atmosphere these days.
'When does our shift end?' one of the men called out.
'Not for another seven hours,' came the reply. 'Hold your hippogriffs.'
A snort of laughter. 'Those are extinct. Everybody knows that.'
'It's just an expression.' Another wind kicked up off the ocean, sending spray over their heads, making conversation impossible.
Below their feet, through many metres of thick, heavy rock, another scene took place. It was a great hall, filled with fifty or so people, and golden with light and warmth. The people within the island felt as safe as they could, knowing that their home was guarded. There was laughter and talking and anticipation. It was a coming-of-age celebration for one of their own, a girl who sat for the first time at the head table, a girl who thought herself quite important on that day. She had red hair.
By the year 2112, all was ice. The world, changed forever by evil, lost its motivation to grow and live. Like a half-life, like a planet sucking the cursed blood of a slain unicorn, the diminished population wept but their tears froze before hitting the ground.
There was but one who remembered the world otherwise. Their ruler, their master, their Dark Lord who stalked his halls immortal, forever white and terrible. He dispensed a mockery of justice as a self-fashioned god and made no pretences at mercy.
But beneath this world of hurt, a few outposts of light remained. Hope was not lost.
The Resistance was scattered and small, hiding in the tiny places. On islands, high in the mountains, in the middle of vast cold desert wastes they clung together, as they clung to the old ways, to the light. They called themselves the Shadow Kingdoms. Golden as the windows of a farmhouse on a dark night but winking out at the attention of the formidable Dark armies that hunted them, within such caves and grottoes there could still be found a laugh and a song. Each outpost was ruled over by the best witch or wizard, contacting the others only once a year; any more travel or communication than that was considered too risky.
The Shadow Kingdoms were the hidden fighters who would not give in to the Dark Lord Voldemort. Immortal as he was, they retained hope that someday there would arise one who might defeat him. Since the Last War of the early twenty-first century, that hope grew fainter by the day.
In the northern island enclave known as Polaris, a girl grew up by the name of Honora Crowley; all her life she was surrounded by darkness and fear. Honora had been raised by her maternal grandmother, Eleanor Weasley-Demetrius. Her own parents had disappeared when she was only three years old, lost on a mission to one of the Kingdoms hidden away up in the European Alps. Honora did not remember her parents well. She had never discovered what had happened to them, but since they disappeared in a mountainous region she always suspected giants were involved.
It was a bitter cold day in February when Honora Crowley turned seventeen. Of course, Polaris was always bitter cold. The winter when Honora came of age was by far the coldest she could remember, however. The world's climate was changing, a result of the vast and powerful Dark magic that held it in a death grip.
Honora's seventeenth year was the year that would change her life.
'Happy birthday, young one!' said Julius Talbot, the First Wizard, ruler of Polaris, just before Honora's birthday toast.
'Seventeen isn't so young,' Honora protested. 'I'm of age now! Freya turned seventeen last year and she's already doing guard duty,' she gestured to her best friend, a blonde-haired and blue-eyed witch named Freya Lief.
'And so she is,' the First agreed, his aged eyes lighting up with mirth. 'Honora, I take it you are eager to begin guard duties yourself, then?'
Honora gulped. The truth was she was dreading it. Guard duties meant dressing head-to-toe in fur, braving the wind and ice, the cold so bone-chilling that even strong warming charms meant little against it. 'Uh, yes sir?' she said, confidently she hoped.
Julius laughed. 'I'm glad! Without such enthusiasm from the new generations, I'm sure Polaris would have succumbed to the Death Eaters years ago.' He took a sip of his mead. 'Sonorus,' he brandished his wand. 'Ladies and gentlemen!' his amplified voice began, echoing through the large stone-hewn common hall. 'Witches and wizards of esteem! Today Honora comes of age.' He gestured down at white-clad Honora, her dark auburn hair pulled into a crown around her head.
'We give thanks and celebration for a new citizen of the Shadow Kingdoms, a very special young lady, and the last remaining member of the fabled Weasley line.'
Applause broke out in the hall. Honora smiled at her grandmother, and all her friends. Polaris was her home and she knew everyone in it as well as she knew her own self. Besides, it was always fun to be the centre of attention. Her glance paused on Marlow Woden, another of her friends. Honora's glacial blue eyes met Marlow's dark brown ones with a crinkle of a smile.
With the toast over, Honora raised her glass of wine and stood up. 'Thank you, everyone!' she said brightly, tipping her glass back as she sipped and then flashed a brilliant smile on the company. More applause ensued as everyone began their feast. The twelve house-elves of Polaris had really made an effort with the food. Honora sat back down next to her grandmother.
'How do you feel?' Eleanor asked, her thin mouth curled up in a smile.
'Hmm.' Honora thought for a moment. 'No different, really. Should I?'
'No, I remember I did not feel differently when I came of age. At least not right away…' Eleanor Weasley's papery cheeks grew pink as she seemed to recollect something. 'That was the year I met your grandfather, Adam Demetrius.'
'Oh! That's right!' Honora swallowed her bite of scrumptious roasted duck. 'Tell me the story again, Grandmother?'
Eleanor smiled again. 'Well, you know how it was in those days. The Death Eaters were hunting us ferociously, everything was tense and dangerous…even more so than right now. We are lucky to be in a lull at the moment.'
'And? What about Grandfather?' Honora prompted, digging into her rosemary potatoes.
'He was an Auror. I was in training to be a Healer. And eat more slowly, dear, your exuberance is worrying me. You might choke.'
'Sorry,' Honora told herself to chew more slowly. 'Come on, Grandmother, tell me!'
Eleanor laughed. 'Well, a long time ago, Aurors were Dark Wizard hunters,' she said. 'By the time I was born in 2028, they were the only line of defence for the Shadow Kingdoms, like they are today. The warrior-heroes. And Adam was the best of them. He was so handsome, and so glamorous. I was taken with him immediately.'
'How did you meet?' Honora sing-songed, even though she already knew the story by heart.
Eleanor smiled indulgently. 'We had a grindylow infestation, down in the water caverns. The lesser demons were already working for He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, then. One of our workers had been attacked, and I went down into the caverns to attend to him. The First Wizard at that time, Malcolm Thomas, asked for several Aurors to come in and exterminate the grindylows…and Adam was one of the Aurors. I met him in the caverns, when I was soaking wet and scared and just trying to remember my healing spells…He told me later that he fell in love with me the minute he saw me, even though I must have looked a fright!' Eleanor laughed. 'Yes, Adam Demetrius was the man for me, from the very beginning.'
Honora sighed. 'It's so wonderful that you both knew right away. I've never felt that with anyone!' She looked up at the ceiling dramatically.
'Well, dear, you are only just seventeen,' Eleanor replied. 'Don't be in too much of a rush to grow up. The world is serious enough, and you are a breath of fresh air just as you are.'
Honora leaned over and kissed her grandmother's cheek. 'Thanks!' she chirped. It was true; Honora rarely felt the weight of the world on her shoulders. Although Polaris was clinging to the edge of existence, under threat by the Dark Lord all the time, within its stone walls was the warmth of family and friends and good magic. Honora felt secure and happy within its cocoon. Still…there was something else inside her, too. A yearning, a thirst, for something she could not name.
She wondered if it came from her Weasley ancestors. She was the last of them. The name of Weasley was lost now; since Honora's mother Adaire had wed her father, Felix Crowley, a half-English, half-Egyptian wizard who had given Honora her pale honey complexion. However, the Weasley blood was within her: her great-great-grandparents were Bill and Fleur Weasley. It was a sign of those desperate times in the Last War that none of the other members of the large Weasley family had lived long enough to have children.
Of course, Honora had heard the story as it had passed from Eleanor. The famous Weasleys, the loyal friends of the great lost Harry Potter. The mythology of her own heritage fascinated Honora. She only wished that things had turned out better for all of them.
Arthur and Molly Weasley had had seven children. Their eldest, Bill, Honora's great-great-grandfather, had married the legendary beauty Fleur Delacour (who was part-Veela, herself). Arthur and Molly's next son, Charlie, had been an adventuresome sort but had been killed in a dragon attack. Voldemort had sought the dragons soon after he sought the giants as part of his army of darkness, and the treacherous dragons had turned on their own handlers. The younger twins, Fred and George, owned their own business. They had been blown up in the final attack on London's Diagon Alley, fighting valiantly by all surviving accounts.
Then there were the youngest Weasleys: Ginny and her brother Ron, along with Ron's wife, Hermione Granger-Weasley. That story always captivated Honora's attention, like watching something horrible happen but being unable to tear your eyes away. Ron and Hermione, Harry Potter's best friends, had been killed with him during the final battle. And Ginny Weasley herself, Harry Potter's own fiancé, had been captured and later murdered by Death Eaters.
The personal tragedy of it all was too remote in time to have any real affect on Honora. But she still thought with a detached grimness toward her lost and persecuted family. Things had gone so wrong, and no one really knew why. After Voldemort's victory the whole world had changed. With no one to oppose him, the Dark Lord had rampaged through all of Europe, gathering all kinds of followers, and not just wizards, either. The giants, the dragons, the werewolves, the goblins, the dementors, the dark creatures…all had sworn allegiance to Voldemort on promises of spoils and Muggle blood. Muggle-born wizards were killed wherever they were found.
The war had spilled over to the Muggle world, as well. Soon the Muggle governments in Europe were secretly controlled by Voldemort. Then it was the United States, and Africa, and then the entire planet. The Dark Lord condensed them all into a fascist overlord-ship that imprisoned all the remaining Muggles in the world. The Muggles were kept in the dark, occupied with a hyper-realistic form of entertainment called 'virtual reality.' At the age of ten, magic tests were performed on all Muggle children. Any witches or wizards born into Muggle families were exterminated if they were discovered.
Most of the pure-blood families had joined Voldemort after Harry Potter's defeat. The very few that did not…they formed the Shadow Kingdoms, the underground. By Honora's time, they barely clung to survival.
Truthfully, sometimes a part of her wanted to appear before the Dark Lord and just throw herself on his mercy. Honora had such high spirits, and high ambitions, for herself. There was hardly a place for her in Polaris, or any of the Shadow Kingdoms. They were so concerned with staying alive and undetected that there was no growth, no opportunity for anything except defence against an overwhelming foe.
Honora thought that had she lived in Harry Potter's time, she would have wanted to work for the Ministry of Magic. So much opportunity, so many interesting things to study and discover…and maybe become a great leader herself. Show others the way to truth and happiness and all the rest.
As was the custom for all Shadow Kingdom children, she had been taught magic by a coalition of her elders, including her grandmother Eleanor and the First Wizard himself, Julius Talbot. Along with the others her age, Marlow, Freya, Jasper Gallows, and the overweight, over-giggly Lithia Poundstone, Honora had gone through her lessons in Defence, Transfiguration, Charms, Potions, Healing, Herbology…all the subjects required of a good witch. Honora knew she was the best in her small class. She read voraciously and took a genuine love to learning. Her grandmother joked that if Honora had gone to Hogwarts in the olden days, she would have been sorted into Ravenclaw.
Hogwarts. Honora thought of the name with chill down her spine. The Dark Lord's headquarters. It was now the centre of his global empire, its ancient magic working for him. Honora knew that Voldemort must be the only person still alive who remembered what it once was: a school for young witches and wizards. After all, the Dark Lord had outlived all of his original followers, being immortal himself. Honora was not convinced that he was immortal; he must have a weakness somewhere. It was just that no one had discovered it yet.
The desserts of her birthday feast appeared on the table in front of her as Honora brought herself back to the present. Yes, home in Polaris was friendly. Perhaps it was the wine she had been drinking, but Honora was all of a sudden overcome with restlessness. She wanted to get out, to see the world (or what was left of it), make a name for herself. She wanted, in fact, for the Dark Lord Voldemort himself to fear her name.
'Someday,' she muttered.
'What was that, dear?' Eleanor turned to her.
'Oh, nothing,' Honora put her normally cheerful expression back on her face. 'Just thinking about my sticky toffee pudding.'
The torches were burning down in the stone hall, and the guests were getting steadily merrier by the minute. Finishing her pudding, Honora got up from the head table and joined Freya and Marlow by perching herself on the edge of their own long wooden table.
'So, how does it feel to be an adult?' Freya laughed at her.
'Why don't you tell me?' Honora joked back. 'You've been one for five months now, and you still don't act like it.'
'Hey!' Freya tossed her golden-blonde hair. 'That's not true. Just ask Jasper,' she winked over at her beau. 'He'll tell you.'
'I don't think you want him to tell everyone what you've been up to,' Marlow broke in with a grin.
'Huh?' Jasper realised he was being discussed. 'What did I do?'
'Or is it 'who' did you do?' Honora giggled wickedly.
'Honora!' Freya gasped. 'I'm shocked!' she exclaimed, although she did not look shocked.
'Oh, don't worry, we know you two won't do anything, erm, rash,' Marlow said, his face starting to blush. He glanced up at Honora, and she smiled back.
Honora moved herself down onto their bench, next to Marlow. He casually slung an arm around her. She pretended not to notice. Honora was not sure about her feelings for Marlow. He was in love with her, she was quite certain. And he was a nice boy, tall with brown hair and lovely eyes. However, he lacked something, and she could not put her finger on what it was. Marlow was safe, and kind, and good. He would treat her well for the rest of her life. All of Polaris was expecting them to get married, sooner or later; Honora had heard two of the older witches gossiping about it.
With a toss of her head, she reached for some firewhisky. Quickly glancing around, she saw that most of the older citizens were engrossed in their own conversations, or dancing, or playing wizard's games. The younger children had been put to bed. Grinning mischievously, Honora suggested a drinking game.
'We can't! We're sure to get told off,' objected Marlow.
'Oh, don't be such a goody-goody,' Honora replied with exasperation. A slight look of hurt appeared on Marlow's face. 'Don't you want me drunk?' she flirted with him, trying to rectify her little mistake.
Marlow grudgingly smiled.
'Freya? Are you in?' asked Honora.
'Okay,' Freya agreed. 'Jasper's in, too, right sweetheart?' she tousled Jasper's blonde hair. They would have very blonde babies someday.
'Whatever you say, love,' Jasper said.
Someone coughed behind them, in an outburst that sounded a lot like 'Whipped!'
'Lithia!' Honora grinned up at the large girl. 'Join us?'
'Of course,' Lithia said, the table rattling as she sat down.
They played the 'Name Game' with increasing exuberance, the firewhisky taking effect. Honora felt herself getting drunk. She had been drunk before, but never openly. Once she had induced Freya into stealing four bottles of wine, which they consumed one night, laughing and sharing deepest darkest secrets. Honora had rashly proclaimed that one day she would take Lord Voldemort's place as ruler of the world. Freya had looked horrified until Honora giggled and said she was only kidding, after all.
It was nearly midnight when Honora and her friends finished off the bottle of firewhisky. Honora was well and truly smashed, as she stumbled her way through the carved stone tunnels to her home apartment. Marlow had her by the arm, although he was just as inebriated. Honora giggled hysterically and Marlow chuckled along, although she could not remember what was so funny. They reached the thick wooden door, marked in glowing white letters, 'Eleanor Weasley-Demetrius and Honora Crowley.'
'Well, we're here,' Honora said quietly. She looked into his face and realised with dread that he was about to make some sort of declaration.
'Honora,' he slurred. 'I love you.'
She gulped. 'Marlow, I—'
'I do, I love you. Do you love me too?'
'Marlow, I'm tired. You're drunk. Hell, I'm drunk.' She gently pushed him off of her. 'I'm sorry. Look, why don't you just take a walk. Get some air. Just get away from me.'
Marlow got the familiar look of perplexed hurt. 'Wait, Honora!'
'No. I'm going to sleep.' She made a motion of sleep with her two hands. 'I'll see you in the morning.'
She waved her hand over the lock on her door and slipped inside before he could say anything else. For a half-second, she felt a little bad for Marlow, since she had flirted with him all night and then not followed through. But the thought only flitted through her head briefly before she mumbled to herself about how it was not her fault if he fancied her. With a wave of numbed dizziness, Honora slumped down the wall. A single candle burned on the table, although to her it looked like about five candles. Her head nodded down, and she fell asleep, right inside her own door.