Disclaimer; I do not own any of the characters and locations described herein, nor is any money being made from this work of fiction.
A/N; This story is my response to INeedABetterName's challenge on DarkLordPotter. Harry meets and is trained/corrupted by a TRUE Dark Lord. Who better than the Master of Past and Present. Go read some Dragonlance if you don't immediately know who this is. I reccomend the Chronicles quartet and "Soulforge" for some awesome background on one of the best written and most successful dark wizards of all time.
Dumbledore bellowed: "Stay where you are, Harry!"
For the first time, Dumbledore sounded frightened. Harry could not see why: the hall was quite empty but for themselves, the sobbing Bellatrix still trapped under the witch statue and the baby phoenix Fawkes croaking feebly on the floor.
Then Harry's scar burst open and he knew he was dead: it was pain beyond imagining, pain past endurance.
He was gone from the hall, he was locked in the coils of a creature with red eyes, so tightly bound that Harry did not know where his body ended and the creature's began: they were fused together, bound by pain, and there was no escape.
And when the creature spoke, it used Harry's mouth, so that in his agony he felt his jaw move, "Kill me now, Dumbledore…"
Blinded and dying, every part of him screaming for release, Harry felt the creature use him again…
"If death is nothing, Dumbledore, kill the boy…"
Let the pain stop, thought Harry… let him kill us… end it, Dumbledore… death is nothing compared to this…
(Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36)
As the world around him faded to black, Harry somehow felt time slow down. The world faded back into focus, sort of… It was as if Harry in that moment time had stopped was transported into a magical workshop atop a tower somewhere. The room was octagonal in shape, with bookshelves lining the walls with the exception of two windows which provided inadequate light but showed nothing beyond them. The room had three work tables and a few chairs near a comfortable looking hearth. The first table was lined with bottles and jars of potions and tinctures. There were a few creatures Harry could not identify floating in a few of the jars. The other two tables were cluttered with arcane scribbles and open books. Harry idly wondered where he was and how he got there as he looked around.
"Shirak!" a frail sounding voice sad from behind him. Suddenly the room was much brighter.
Harry spun around and dropped into a fighting crouch to find a strange looking man behind him. The figure wore all black robes with a hood drawn over his head, and was hunched over a staff with a glowing crystal atop it. Bone white hair spilled out from under the hood before the man tried to straighten himself. If the man were standing tall he would have probably been fairly tall, but his emaciated body and weak muscles prevented that.
"Excuse me sir, but where are we and how did I get here?" Harry asked as politely as he could given his nerves
"This is my Tower, but more importantly we are in your mind. You are here because I wish to speak with you." The man began moving towards a seat near the fire. "Unless I am mistaken, you have just given up on life. So I am here to make you an offer."
"What kind of offer?" Harry asked warily.
"Power," The man said simply as he sat down. "You have a great deal of untapped power and potential and yet you have just surrendered your life without much of a fight. I am offering to tap that potential for you and rescue you from your current peril."
Harry thought about what he had said as he took a seat across from him at the hearth. There were many questions of course but one seemed rather important. "Who are you?" Harry asked with undisguised curiosity.
"My name is of no real consequence to the offer I am making." Was his reply as the other man leaned back in his chair and brought his fingertips together in front of his still concealed face. When he let go of the staff, the slender piece of wood stayed balanced on its end and lit. Harry noticed that the skin of the stranger's hands and lower face were golden in color, like metal poured over flesh.
"What is the catch? I don't even know who you are, why would you just graciously decide to come to my rescue?"
"Ah, so you have a mind to back the strength in magic. Nothing is ever free of course but I do not think you will find my terms too onerous. I will take advantage of my skills and knowledge to escape the current encounter alive, and in return I will occasionally get to use your body in the mortal world. You have sufficient magical strength for my purposes so in the moment you were about to slip from the land of the living to that of the dead, I diverted you here to make my offer."
"Let me get this straight. You want me to give you control of my body in exchange for a rescuing me?" Harry practically yelled. He was remembering Quirrel and Voldemort.
"Essentially yes, but it is not as bad as it sounds. I will not abuse your body, nor commit any crimes. After all, if something were to happen to you it would effectively kill me as well. If you are imprisoned, I am imprisoned. My goals are not so nefarious." The Stranger explained.
"Just what are those goals? What are you hoping to use me to accomplish? And why now?" Harry asked, not wanting to get suckered into anything.
"My goals are very simple. I want to come back to the mortal realm. When I was alive I was alternately a hero, a villain, a conqueror, a savior, and for a short time even a god. I have grown tired of the afterlife and wish to return to a human body. I chose you and now because you have enough raw power to accomplish my goals and with your state of near death I am actually able to stop time to speak with you."
"But what do you want? When you have human form once again will you relax and take up a normal life, work for the betterment of others, or go on a psychopathic killing spree? I'll have you know there are already plenty of the last options available."
The stranger chuckled slightly before falling into a rasping cough. "Your views of good and evil are so childish, but I will try to answer anyway. I am a Black Robed Arch Magus, so it would be a lie to say I would never harm another. I no longer have dreams of world conquest or godhood, but I work for myself first last and always. I will not often do something unless I will profit from it. I am evil, but I am an evil you can live with. There are laws I follow just as there are laws you follow I assume."
"So you're evil but still follow the rules?" Harry asked, confused.
"I gave my life and my very soul to Magic in all its forms. I understand the need for a balance between good and evil if the world is to continue."
"Can I extract a promise from you not to kill me once you've accomplished your goals?"
"If you assist me I will not kill you unless it is unavoidable. You have my word as an Arch Magus. Now will you help me? I cannot stop time all day for you to make this decision."
Harry turned inward to consider everything. There was a self proclaimed evil wizard who wanted to possess his body until he found a way to resurrect himself. He was offering power and his life in trade. Was it acceptable to make a bargain with the lesser of two evils? Harry strapped all the mental backbone he could together for his response. "I accept. I, Harry James Potter, will allow my body to be possessed in exchange for my life and a promise not to kill me at a later date."
The other wizard stood. "Excellent, now let us return time to its normal passage and seal our deal."
The room began to fade away and spin at the same time as Harry called out, "Wait, you never told me your name!" but it was too late.
The Ministry of Magic faded into existence in front of Harry's eyes. He felt the other wizard join him trapped beneath Voldemort's control. With a cold savagery that chilled Harry to the bone, he felt the other presence gather it's strength and toss Voldemort aside as if he were a rag doll.
Harry's arms began moving in a complex pattern and a chant ran through his mind. Magic burned through his blood as his wand dropped to the floor. The exact instant Harry disappeared from sight a duplicate popped into existence not far away and began making rude gestures at both Dumbledore and Voldemort.
Voldemort immediately sent a killing curse at Harry's duplicate while Dumbledore levitated another piece of the statue into its way. Risking a few spoken words, the wizard in control whispered another incantation while moving his hands in the right manner. The shadow that coalesced in front of Harry was like a monster from his worst nightmare. Fortunately the shadow monster moved directly towards Voldemort and was content to leave Harry be. Voldemort saw the savage beast, now not just a shadow but a true killer, as it approached him. He cast a killing curse which the monster appreared to bat aside as if it was nothing. In reality, it continued harmlessly on its way. Harry could see the fear in Voldemort's eyes as he moved to get behind the Dark Lord.
When Voldemort backed away from the fearsome monster, he wound up getting closer to Harry. With the Dark Lord distracted in fear, Harry's body picked up an arm from the destroyed statue. Just as the monster was to reach Voldemort, and Voldemort would have backed into Harry, Harry swung the heavy metal arm like a cricket bat into the base of the Dark Lord's skull. As Harry felt the strong blow connect, two things happened simultaneously. An emergency portkey keyed to Voldemort's conciousness went off, whisking him away, and the spell the other wizard cast ended leaving Harry plainly visible and holding a bloody piece of statuary.
Dumbledore did a double take when his pupil reappeared across the room from his last location. A twinkle lit his eyes as he saw Harry unharmed. "Marvelous! Simply marvelous my dear boy. Care to let an old man in on your secret?"
Harry felt the other presence slide to the back of his mind, whispering a message as it did. "Remember our bargain…"
"My secrets sir? I'm afraid a magician never reveals his tricks. You of all people should know that." Harry squeaked out eventually, not wanting to reveal the source of his sudden power
The Atrium was full of people; the floor was reflecting the emerald green flames that had burst into life in all the fireplaces along one wall; and streams of witches and wizards were emerging from them. As Dumbledore pulled him back to his feet, Harry saw the tiny gold statues of the house-elf and the goblin, leading a stunned-looking Cornelius Fudge forward.
"He was there!" shouted a scarlet‐robed man with a ponytail, who was pointing at a pile of golden rubble on the other side of the hall, where Bellatrix had lain trapped only moments before. "I saw him, Mr. Fudge, I swear it was You‐Know‐Who!"
"I know, Williamson, I know, I saw him too!" gibbered Fudge.
(Order of the Phoenix Chapter 36)
It was a very troubled Dumbledore that sat down with Severus Snape the next evening. They had pulled out his pensieve and reviewed the events of the Ministry Battle several times, but they still did not know exactly what Harry had done or how he had done it. Illusions could be done, and invisibility was a neat trick, but Harry had done them without a wand and without anyone noticing it was all a trick. They couldn't see whatever had terrified the Dark Lord, but the fear and revulsion on his face was clear. There was one additional thing that worried Albus.
"Severus, I thought you said that Harry was a complete failure at occlumancy?"
"He is. The boy is completely worthless." The potions master assured him. "What would make you think otherwise?"
"Here, after the battle." Dumbledore paused the projection. "I asked him how he did it. He responds that a good magician never reveals his tricks. I tried to get the truth from him Severus, his mind was solid as a rock and radiating truthfulness."
"Interesting," Snape tapped his chin thoughtfully. "Perhaps the boy is still possessed. If the Dark Lord has control of his body he might have staged the rest to lull us into a false sense of security and attack us from within."
The color drained from Dumbledore's face. "The prophecy… Severus we must find out quickly if this is true. We cannot let him leave our sight until we know for certain. We will grab him after the leaving feast in two days and discover the truth."
"I'll bring the Veritaserum."
Ever since the possession, the other wizard who was sharing Harry's body took over when Harry was asleep or had withdrawn in grief. Most of this time had been spent in the library pouring over tomes and scratching calculations on a piece of parchment. Occasionally Harry would wake up and watch with interest as he ever so carefully wrote and diagramed something into one of the leather bound diaries Harry agreed to let him use. The notes and diaries made no sense whatsoever to Harry, the language was one he didn't know and the diagrams seemed focused on geometry and distances rather than wand movements.
The first diary filled up extremely quickly with all of the spells the wizard already knew and had memorized, but after that it seemed he had to research for several hours and perform several calculations in order to record another spell. From the pace he worked at and the seemingly endless march of spells, Harry had to assume that whoever his guest was, he was a genius. It was more like the wizard was remembering new spells than learning them. Once he discovered how the spell worked, it went into the notebooks of indecipherable text almost immediately.
The morning of the leaving feast, Harry felt his consciousness being shaken awake while his body was still in the library.
"I have need of the items on this list and a laboratory in which to perform my work. See that I have them within the week." His guest commanded as if he were used to being obeyed.
Harry looked down at the parchment he was holding. Surprisingly though it was written in that same bizarre script, he could read it this time. Some of the items on this list were bound to be extremely expensive. There were diamonds and gemstones of exacting specifications and quality, equipment and tools he barely knew of, and a list of potions ingredients and other herb based products a mile long. "I don't recall that being part of the deal. I promised you some time in my body, not access to my family's wealth or to become your servant. You'll have to find some way to do without."
"I need all of those things to build a new body. You will get them for me. I rescued you from certain death and this is how you repay me?" The wizard was getting a little worked up. "It is only because of my respect for our deal that I am not just raping your mind taking what I desire. Do not force me child, I will always get my due."
"Our deal was that you saved me and got to ride around in my skin for a while. If you want me to fetch and carry for you we're going to need a new deal." Harry told him.
"Just what is it you desire? When I have a body again I can afford to be generous, so state your desire. Should I change your body to make you handsome? A witch who you must have? Someone you want me to kill? I can rewrite existence, but only if I can regain my body." Harry felt delicate tendrils of suggestion settle over his mind, encouraging him to choose each option as it was named.
"Teach me." Harry answered simply. "If I am to be at your beck and call, I need to get something in return. I already have a basic education, and you admit I have power, so I would like you to teach me the finesse to go with it. I just learned I have a destiny set in stone for my life, and I mean to fulfill it. No one here can teach me how a dark wizard thinks or how the dark arts work. I need that if I am to survive"
"Ah, so it is knowledge you thirst for. It has been many years since I have had an apprentice, but I will give you just one chance. Bring me these things and I will set you a task. When you have proven your skill with that task I will arrange for a formal Test. If you survive the Test I will take you as my apprentice until you are ready or prove incompetent."
"What do you mean, 'If you survive the test.'? Just what kind of test is this?"
"The Test is what distinguishes a wizard doing parlor tricks from a Mage devoting his life to magic. If you want to wave your silly wand and shoot beams of light at your opponents then I have nothing to teach you, but if you wish to discover what magic truly is then you must pass the Test. No two Mage's Tests are the same, but they always test your knowledge of spells, ability to think on your own, how you handle a situation without magic, and your dedication to your art. Success means an entry into the mysteries of magic at it's finest. Failure means death."
"And what is the task I must do first?" Harry asked, hoping to avoid talking about fatal tests for a moment.
"I will give you five spells for you to learn. From what I have seen these last days, and from the power I know you possess, you should be able to cast them. You will fail as a Mage if simple things like a language you don't know or arcane script prevent you from learning. You must also be able to see magic if you are to understand it. These spells will allow you to read or speak any language even that of magic, and to see magic as it lies on objects, locations, or people."
"I will not fail." Harry vowed. "So do we have a deal? I will help you regain your body and get your supplies in exchange for my apprenticeship?"
"We have a deal." The other replied with a mental handshake. "Do not make me regret this child."
"I won't sir. By the way, now that I am to be your apprentice you really should tell me your name." Harry observed.
"I am Raistlin Majere, but you will address me as Master until I tell you otherwise." He answered before fading into the background and leaving Harry to consider how he was going to get everything on the list.