Inter Bitu pe Marvos
Sistat Inter Bitu pe Marvos
Ieuru's eyes were as black as the darkest night, and yet somehow managed to retain a shining quality to them. His face, pale and hard-lined, appeared to be a mask that hid a knowledgeable and ancient mind. Draped in white robe-like garments and tall enough to loom over any average sized human the vampire was a foreboding presence. Thin blood red lips were pulled into a smile; a smile Harry would have thought quite normal where it not for the elongated teeth that came with it.
"W – what the hell?" Harry stuttered. Seconds ago he had been looking at the end of his own wand. Time had slowed so that it seemed like it took an eternity for the words of the Killing Curse to burst forth from the mouth of the vampire before him.
Yet no magic burst forth from the wand.
"Your knowledge of vampires is severely lacking, Harry Potter," the figure before him answered. "It seems you humans have forgotten the nature of vampires. Tell me, Harry, why a vampire has never been seen in one of your magic schools."
"I – I just assumed that they weren't allowed," Harry replied, still eyeing the wand Ieuru held in his hand warily.
"Catch!" Ieuru shouted. Harry jumped at the sudden rise in volume and watched as Ieuru's arm moved with such speed that to Harry's eyes it looked nothing but a blur. It was only the manifestation of his Quidditch-honed seeker reflexes that made him catch the wand Ieuru had thrown.
"Stupefy!" Harry shouted, after only a second of startled silence. The red light burst from his wand and hit Ieuru square in the chest.
The vampire did not fall to the floor stunned. No, Ieuru laughed.
"Your magic is all but useless against me," Ieuru said through his laughter. "You humans truly have forgotten the knowledge your ancestors once knew so well."
Ieuru spun on his heel and stalked away into the darkness that surrounded them. Harry squinted his eyes and tried to see where the Vampire had gone, but the room was too dark around him.
Harry waited with his wand held out before him (he would have ran right then but he didn't want to be caught unaware by the vampire) for some sign of where Ieuru had gone. It was several minutes later that he heard a door swing open and saw a flicker of flame at the other side of the room. Ieuru held a torch in his hand and walked around the room lighting other torches that hung on brackets on the wall. Soon the room was bathed in the orange glow of firelight. Harry followed the vampire with his wand, not willing to let Ieuru get the better of him again.
"You really should relax a little," Ieuru said, he was looking over his shoulder from where he was lighting the last of the torches on the wall.
"Relax? Relax?" Harry snapped incredulously. "You just tried to kill me with my own fucking wand!"
"I did nothing of the sort," Ieuru said, not even looking over his shoulder at Harry while he walked over to an empty bracket on the wall and hung the torch he had used to light the other in it.
"Yes you did!"
"Think!" Ieuru said, spinning around to look at Harry and tapping his finger against his forehead. "I waved the wand, I said the magic words, and yet still you stand before me. There is a lesson in there somewhere."
Harry's eyes widened and his grip on his wand faltered, "You can't do magic!"
A small smile wormed it's way onto Ieuru's face.
"But," Harry continued after a shot pause. "When I arrived here you used magic on me. So you obviously can use magic."
"I can use magic somewhat," Ieuru said in reply. "Most of my kind are gifted within the Mind Magics. I used legilimency on you when you arrived."
"But I couldn't breathe, so obviously it was more than Mind Magic," Harry replied, tightening his grip on his wand.
"I disagree," said Ieuru patiently, all the while eyeing Harry's wand with an annoying half smile on his face and a glimmer of mirth twinkling in his eye. "Your mind is what makes your body work. It sends signals to your body that tell it to breath. I used Mind Magic to cut off that signal."
"So you tried to kill me!"
"If I had been trying to kill you," Ieuru replied in a voice lacking feeling. "I would not have stopped, and you would have died."
Harry stayed silent and thought. Perhaps Ieuru was right, perhaps he hadn't been trying to kill him. He looked around the room for the first time since it had been lit while he racked his mind. There were several old looking chairs scattered around a table and bookshelves lining the wall. There wasn't much in the way of decoration - just a small statue of a woman in one corner of the room with a sword propped up against it. There were several doors leading out into what were obviously other rooms; Harry wondered what was in them. After he had looked at everything Harry turned back to Ieuru and grimaced as he saw the vampire pouring a red liquid from a pitcher into a goblet.
"What is that?" Harry asked in a somewhat disgusted voice, even though he already had a perfectly good idea of what it was.
Ieuru laughed again.
"You humans have really let your knowledge of vampires go if you have to ask that question," he answered. "It is blood, but I have a feeling you already knew that. Please, take a seat. Do not look so scared, I have never drank from a human and never plan to. The blood in this pitcher is from rats."
Harry sighed and took a seat opposite the table from Ieuru. It was pretty obvious that the Vampire wasn't going to try anything at the moment, and he thought that it couldn't hurt to try to explain why he had come here.
"I was told to come here by -" Harry started to say, before being cut off by Ieuru.
"I already know why you are here, Harry, as well as who sent you," the vampire interrupted.
"How do you know my name?" Harry asked, only now realizing that the vampire had called him by his name many times.
"I know everything about you, Harry Potter," Ieuru answered serenely. "I have seen the contents of your mind. From your birth until this present time, I have seen it all. I know of the letter from Albus, I know what that mark is upon your head, I know of the prophesy and of the Dark Lord you must face."
Harry rubbed the scar on his head. He didn't like the fact that Ieuru had seen all his memories, he didn't like it at all; but there was little that he could do about it now. He toyed with the thought of obliviating the memories out of the vampire's head, but then remembered that his stunning spell had merely made Ieuru laugh. Ieuru snorted and Harry snapped his head up to look at him.
"Are you still reading my mind?" he asked snappishly.
"Why would I need to read your mind when your thoughts are written so plainly on your face?"
Harry stopped himself from replying sarcastically and stood up from the chair. He paced up and down the length of the table while he thought.
"Look," he said eventually. "I don't like this! I don't like it one bit! It was only earlier today that I read in the Daily Prophet that -"
"I know what you
read in the paper."
Harry growled and glared daggers at the Vampire.
"- but Dumbledore trusted you," Harry continued. "I don't know why but he did. Quite frankly I think everyone else was right and Dumbledore had lost his marbles! Hell, I think I've lost my fucking marbles for even thinking about staying one more minute in this God-forsaken place!"
Ieuru just watched him pace up and down, all the while drinking blood from his goblet and tapping his fingers on the wooden tabletop. Harry stopped suddenly and looked straight at Ieuru.
"Why did Dumbledore trust you?" he asked bluntly.
"I taught him many things."
"Such as?" Harry prompted.
"Such as how to protect his mind."
"Getting answers from this guy is like drawing blood from a stone!" Harry thought whilst grimacing at the goblet Ieuru was drinking from.
"And you'd teach me things?" Harry asked.
"As long as you took an Oath of Secrecy," came Ieuru's simple reply.
"Because there are people I would rather not know where I am."
"What can you teach me if you can't do magic?" It was a legitimate concern in Harry's eyes.
"When one has lived as long as I have, Harry, one learns many things... even if one cannot put those things to use."
Harry sat back down and sighed. "I mad. Completely fucking mental," he muttered to himself, not sparing a thought for how his language had degenerated since spending so much time with Torres. "Alright," he said louder. "I'll take your Oath of Secrecy, but only because Dumbledore thought you knew something that would help me. The sooner I get ready to face Voldemort, the sooner I'll be happy."
"You will be safe here, Harry," Ieuru reassured him. "And if at any time you feel your life is in danger you could alway kill me."
Harry looked over at the smiling Vampire and raised an eyebrow. "And how, pray tell, does one kill someone that is already dead?"
Ieuru frowned. "Weare not really dead. Our hearts still beat and blood still runs through our veins; not our own blood but blood all the same. We live a longer life than humans, but still, eventually we die like any other creature of this earth. Yes, we live, but we live a cursed life, a life in which death follows us around at all times. If it's not the vampirethat is dying because it has not fed on the blood of another creature, then it is the pray we kill for the blood we drink. Our skin is cold and we have no pulse. Our palour resembles that of the dead. In fact, Harry, we are very much similar to yourself."
"To me?" Harry questioned, very much startled. Last time he'd looked in the mirror he hadn't looked like the walking dead and he was darn sure that he'd never had the urge to stick his teeth in another humans neck.
"Yes, Harry," Ieuru spoke, eyeing the lightning-bolt scar on Harry's forehead. "We are marked by death, and yet we are somehow still among the land of the living. We stand between life and death, you could say."
Harry didn't know what to say; he just sat in silence pondering the meaning of Ieuru's words.
"As to how you kill a vampire," Ieuru continued. "-- Well, it is really quite simple."
The vampire stood from his seat and walked over to the statue in the corner of the room. Once there he lifted the sword that was resting against the stone woman into his hand and turned to face Harry.
"You cut off their head," he said, whist swinging the sword with obvious skill even to Harry's untrained eye. "And there is another lesson; a lesson I trust you will take care to remember."
Harry snorted. "Even if I remembered the lesson it's not like I'm skilled enough with a sword to actually kill someone."
Ieuru laughed again. "You have a wand! As long as you aim for the throat with a severing charm, the Vampire will die."
Harry raised an eyebrow again. "I thought magic didn't work against vampires?"
"A well aimed severing charm always works," Ieuru said plainly.
"Why would you tell me how to kill one of your kin?" Harry asked, he was extremely curious to know the answer.
Ieuru turned to look at the statue next to him. "Just like with humans there are vampires that do not deserve to live."
Ieuru stood looking at the statue for a while, a small frown etched onto his pale face. He was plainly lost in thought, although what he was thinking about Harry couldn't hazard to guess.
"You should complete your Oath of Secrecy," Ieuru suddenly spoke, shaking himself out of thought. He walked over to Harry and handed him the sword he was holding. "Run the blade over the palm of your hand and say these words: "I swear on the blood that runs though my veins and the magic that flows with it to never give freely information on Ieuru unless he, in turn, has given permission for me to do so. I swear it now; on my blood, on my magic, and on my life."
And Harry did so. The sharp pain that flared in his hand as he cut his skin with the blade didn't last long. As he said the words a white light exploded from the cut on his palm and formed a ball in the air above his hand. It hovered there, pulsating and casting and ethereal glow around the room. As he said the last words of the oath the ball shot back down into his hand and through the open wound. There was a second of pain, and then the oath was complete. Harry was shocked to see that the wound on his hand was now completely healed.
Ieuru said nothing, he simply turned on his heel and walked through one of the doors out of the room. Harry stayed where he was; he felt lethargic after the oath he had just taken. Ieuru was only gone for a few minutes before he returned with a book in his hand.
"I know you do not learn well from reading books, Harry," he said. Harry snorted, there wasn't anything Ieuru didn't know about him after he'd seen all the memories in his head. "but this book is very old. It was written by one of my ancestors and explains the theory behind the Mind Arts. By practising the exercises explained in this book and finding the one that works best for you, your journey to mastering Occlumency will be faster."
Harry eyed the book warily. "Judging by the thickness of that it entails a hell of a lot more than clearing your mind."
"Indeed," Ieuru confirmed. "but worry not about that now. Right now you must rest. There is a room through there where you can rest." He pointed at a door to the left of where Harry was seated. "Sleep well, Harry, and don't let the vampire bite."
Harry looked at Ieuru warily. "That's not funny. Not funny at all."
But he started to make his way to the room anyway. The feeling of lethargy had been getting worse and now he could barely keep his eyes open. He paused once he was at the door and voiced one last question.
"You said something before, something strange," he said. "'Sistat Inter Bitu pe Marvos' -- what does it mean?"
Ieuru looked over at the statue again before he answered. "In time, Harry. In time it will become clear."
Harry couldn't keep his eyes open much longer, so he retired to bed and slept soundly though the night.
The book had a lot of useful information on various ways to progress through the difficult and arduous task of protecting ones mind from outside interference. It detailed many different exercises that one could use to aid in the process of clearing the mind, the problem was that you had to go through each and every exercise and try to figure out which one worked best for you. Harry had spent much of the day reading it and trying out some of the exercises without much luck, but was now taking a break to practice some of the exercises Marques had taught him, he didn't want to lose the fitness he had gained over the last few years. Ieuru was seated at the table watching him has he ran laps around the large room, casting a large variety of spells as he did so. The unblinking stare of the vampire was somewhat unnerving for Harry; he couldn't help but feel like Ieuru was pondering just how tasty his blood would be.
As he stopped running and started to do some warm down stretches, Harry wondered, not for the first time, just how it was that a vampire had ended up making his home underneath the Vatican City of all places.
"How did you come to be in this place, Ieuru?" Harry asked, fascinated as to what the answer would be.
Ieuru looked up from the book he had been reading, frowned for a second, and then spoke, "The short answer, Harry, is that I was born in this place."
"It's strange place for a vampire to be, though," Harry said thoughtfully. "I'd imagine that it's dangerous for you to be here."
"There is danger for me wherever I go. If a vampire goes out in sunlight for a while they start blister and burn, if they spend too long in sunlight the pain they suffer makes them cry out in agony, and if they do not find shelter... they ultimately die. Add atop that the threat posed to us by what you wizards term 'Vampire Hunters', and life becomes exceedingly difficult. Yet that is not our only worry, there are other things that pose an even greater danger to some of my people than even sunlight and Hunters."
"And they are?" Harry asked, intrigued. What could be more dangerous to a vampire than someone whose job it is to hunt them down and extract all the parts of them that are useful for potion making?
Ieuru leaned forward in his chair, "Ourselves."
Harry raised and eyebrow and stopped the warm down stretches he had been doing, "What do you mean?"
Ieuru stood from his chair and walked over to a shelf in the corner of the room a decanter.
"I understand that you have a liking for brandy," He said, then smiled lightly. "Please, take a seat. This is a long story."
Harry did as Ieuru had asked and took a seat across the table from the vampire. Once seated, he poured himself a glass of brandy and took a swig of it neat.
Ieuru started his story, "My family first came here many, many years ago. My great grandparents were forced to flee the White City in a time of strife and violence. The White City is a place where vampires used to dwell in number; it was a beautiful place, and very old. The knowledge of who built it has passed even beyond the knowledge of the most studious and learned vampire. Its ruins still stand to this day, somewhere in the countryside of England. The time just before my grandparents were forced to leave was a dark time in the history of vampires. A time of violence, murder, and dissent.
"Belisima Ueramos, sat upon the throne as head of the vampire population. Ueramos means 'supreme' or 'the highest' in your tongue, but in the tongue of the Ece it marks her as our ruler."
"Ece?" questioned Harry.
"Ece is what we vampires call ourselves and the language in which we speak to each other is Eceaic. It's a strange language that derives from many of the old Indo-European languages. That is a discussion for another time, however.
"Belisima Ueramos sat upon the throne in times long-since-passed. She was powerful for a vampire, more powerful than any of her people in Mind Magic and an extremely talented scholar. Yet that is not why people regarded her has the most powerful of our kind. Belisima held within her a power that had never been seen in one of the Ece before, and a power that has not been seen in a member of the Ece since she held it. It was a power that up until her birth had only been seen in human wizards and witches. Belisima Ueramos held within her the power to foretell the future.
"She was also a kind-hearted women. During her reign she shortened the gap between human wizards and the Ece, eventually going so far as to forbid her people to drink the life blood of the humans. The Wizard Council – as this was a time before your Ministry of Magic was founded -- sent to Belisima a woman that would help protect her, for there were some humans that did not wish to become friends with the Ece. This witch, though I do not know her name, is said to have been very powerful and to have set up wards around the Ueramos Tower. To this day that tower still stands solid as the day it was built, but none of the Ece have been able to enter it for a long time. Over the course of many years the wizards and Ece grew ever closer.
"While many of her peoplesupported Belisima in her quest to bring a time of peace between the humans and the Ece, there were also those who were staunchly against it. Camulos, Belisima's very own cousin was the leader of these. At first Camulos fought against the new laws Belisima passed via political means, but when that failed to bring around the results he had wished for he and his followers left the White City in anger. Camulos's numbers were not large, but Belisima – fearing that these renegades would take it upon themselves to attack and feed from the humans they should happen upon – sent after them two hundred of her best warriors.
"For seven nights the people of the White City waited for news that the warriors had been successful, but for seven nights no word arrived. On the eight night the people awoke to the news that Belisima had sent her only son and his wife away from the city during the hours of sunlight; just how she managed this unseen is not known. The people of the city were called together to the steps of Ueramos Tower, where Belisima delivered to them a speech. These were her words:
"'My loyal Ece, should you wish to protect your families I impeach you to leave this city. I have seen the future, and it is not kind to those that supported me in my struggle to bring wizard and vampire together. I urge you on this day to gather your possessions, and to take flight. I urge you with all of my heart'
"Then she turned and walked back into Ueramos Tower; never to be heard from again. That night she was murdered in her tower and Camulos, claiming that Belisima's son had been killed by the sunlight his mother had forced him to endure, took the throne and with it the title of Ueramos. Yet when Camulos attempted to enter Ueramos Tower he could not, some structure of magic prevented him from entering. Many of the Ece have tried to enter the tower since that day; all of them have failed. In his anger Camulos ordered all of those that had been loyal to Belisima killed. Many of them managed to flee the city, but not all of them managed to find a safe in places in which to forge their lives anew. Those that searched for Belisima's son never found anything.
"My grandparents came here, believing it to be the safest place. Who would look for a vampire under the Vatican City? They have been proved right, for never have I been found here. Camulos's kin still, to this day, make claim to the title of Ueramos and kill any that claim to follow Belisima's teachings. Belisima has become something of a goddess to many of the Ece, and there are many vampire clans that live in secrecy that never drink a drop of human blood. We choose to follow Belisima's teachings and shun the so called Ueramos of the Ece.
"That is the story of how my family came to this place, Harry," Ieuru finished. "That is the story of Belisima and the downfall of the White City."
"Er, right," Harry said. It was a lot to take in really, all he'd wanted to know was why a vampire was living under the Vatican City and it seemed like he had been treated to a reading of several chapters of an history book. He didn't voice that out loud though; he had no wish to anger Ieuru.
He spent the rest of that day working on some of the exercises that were covered in the book on Occlumency. He tried, without success, several different exercises for clearing the mind. Before he knew it his mind was wandering and his eyelids felt heavy. He bid goodnight to Ieuru, and went to bed for the night.
The room around him was a blur of different colours and shapes that seemed to blend together, almost like a painting that had been smeared with water. The air was heavy and hard to breath, and the coppery smell of blood was thick in the air. Around him people talked quietly to one another, although he couldn't make out the words they said. The sound of a door opening made him turn is head in that direction and he saw a large brown blur move.
"Silence!" he called to those that stood around him. All of them obeyed as they did not want to face the wrath of their master.
He felt the person that had entered the door kiss the hem of his robes and smiled to himself. It was amazing, really, that these proud pure-blood families would get on their knees and perform a gesture that looked so much like servitude. Still, one day they would be rewarded for the deeds they carried out in his name; he would make sure of that.
"Speak," he demanded.
"Master," the voice that spoke to him was heavily accented and not that of a British-born man. "I have had word back from your rat."
"I trust that this is good news?" he phrased it like a question but it was not one. Everybody in the room knew what would happen should he be given the wrong answer.
"Of course, my Lord."
"Then speak your news," he demanded, eager to know how his plans were progressing.
"Yes, my Lord," the heavily accented voice answered. "Your rat reports that many of the clans on the continent have accepted your offer."
"As I knew they would," he answered. "but the question has always been how many would come to my side. I trust that the rat also reported this?" He fingered his wand as he spoke.
"Yes, my lord," the figure that knelt at his feet answered. "My lord, the rat has reported that they are moving in force! He says that almost all of the clan warriors are coming to join your army!"
This was good news, very good news. Last time barely any had been sent to aid him.
"Then we best be ready to receive them," he answered in his snake-like voice. "Smith, Snape, prepare somewhere for our new guests to stay." The two figures where almost at the door when he spoke again. "Make sure their chambers are comfortable and there is plenty for them to eat."
He waited until the door was shut and there was only he and his foreign servant in the room before speaking again.
"Tell me, do they foresee any problems?" he asked.
"Your rat has reported only one, my lord," the foreign voice answered him. "but the rat seemed not to understand it. He said to inform you that their leader is saying to warn you that 'he' has still not been found, my lord."
"That is little for us to worry about," he answered, waving his hand to dismiss it. "You and the rat have done well, Luís, and shall be rewarded for it in the future."
Harry awoke in his room underneath St. Peter's Basilica covered in sweat and shaking vigorously. His body felt like it had been doused in ice-cold water and his scar seared with red-hot pain. He was in agony, yet at the same time their was a bubbly feeling of intense joy in his stomach. Despite the pain he was happy.
"No," he thought to himself. "Voldemort is happy."
The vision came flooding back to his mind and with it questions atop of questions. Who was 'the rat'? What clans had Voldemort approached? And who was 'he'?
Whatever the answers they could not bode well for those of the light. Voldemort was happy, and when Voldemort was happy it spelt nothing but trouble for those that opposed him.
Harry did not sleep again that night. Instead he sat through the night pouring over the book Ieuru had given him, searching for the way of clearing the mind that worked for him.
AN: Yet another chapter done and dusted. You can usually find these chapters uploaded to the website I share with Le Rob before they appear here, you can find a link to it in my bio page.