By Tiara Light
The characters in this story are the intellectual and legal property of J.K. Rowling and her assigns.
My attempt at a super power Harry, though the process will be far from easy. With this the power comes privilege and responsibility, strength and weakness, temptation and fear, along with many surprises. There are also clear homosexual overtones but no pairings. You have been warned.
Gifts Chapter Three
Harry becomes aware that someone is poking at him insistently. He bats at the offending individual, mildly surprised when his hand contacts nothing.
"Wakey, wakey." Chirps a far to cheerful voice.
"No." Harry growls and tries to pull non-existent sheets over his head.
"Come now little lion, it is time for you to become my little snake." The voice loses some of its cheerfulness, instead sounding smug.
Harry almost snorts in disgust. (s) Oh, really? I was under the impression I was already both lion and snake, and have been for quite a while now. (s)
Harry smirks at the silence that follows his hissing response.
"You are a snake speaker?" The voice, which Harry can now determine is feminine in nature, says in barely disguised interest.
"Yesss. And that question tells me you don't know me well enough to be poking at my like that. I am what fate requires me to be, whether I like it or not. Such labels are what others use to try and fit me into their comfortable little lives irregardless of whether or not the label fits." Harry grumbles at the annoying woman hovering just beyond his reach. "Go away, I'm tired and I hurt."
"My, my you are a testy little thing." The voice is now intentionally grating. "Don't you even want to know who I am and what I am doing inside your head?"
Harry lifts his head taking a peak at the offending invader of his well deserved rest. "If it will make you go away quicker I suppose I must."
"Now you are starting to get the hang of it my little grandson." The woman sounds highly amused.
Harry groans and drops his head. "Not again." Harry struggles into a sitting position and glares at the invader through his bangs. "Well madam, who is it that graces me with their presence? And why do you so honor me?"
The woman claps hers hands gleefully. "Very nice, you do have manners, even in the face of such trying circumstances." She sinks down cross-legged next to Harry. "I am your many times great-grandmother Morgana LeFay. I am here to bestow on you my gifts, having been accepted by the token I left behind to find just such an individual, that I deem you worthy of."
Harry stares at her stonily.
"Ah, not so warm a welcome I see." Morgana seems amused. "Forget what all those jealous old has beens have written about me. I am not nearly so cold as they would like everyone to believe, else I would never have agreed to go through the pain of birthing a child. No, I know what love is, and hope, and compassion I just choose not to share such precious things with those who never bothered to get to know me for who I truly was."
Morgana looks shrewdly at Harry. "Sound familiar yet? Now I will not lie to you and say that I was neither dark nor cruel, for I was indeed both of those things. Some of that came from the genetic gifts I could not avoid, my parents were dark beings. Some was caused by the cruelty that others treated me with, I was not so strong as you young lion. But in the end it was my freely made choice to embrace my darker side. Notice I did not say the darker side of magic, because magic itself is simply a naturally occurring power source. You as an individual that can tap into it choose how you will channel magic, and how you will use it. But once the magic is trained into something either light or dark it leaves behind a taint of what you created so be cautious."
She jumps up. "Now up you get so I can look at you."
Harry starts to stand then sits back down with his legs pulled up in front of him to hide certain parts of his naked anatomy.
Morgana laughs heartily. "Now, now young lion no need to be shy I got a nice long look at your tools before I woke you. Come stand up, be proud of your body, I need to see how you hold yourself; how you stand, move, the way the space around you responds. Truly my young heir, I am your grandmother, you need not feel self conscious around me. I have waited a long time for my bloodline to claim you, there is nothing you can do or say that will make me stop caring for the child of the last Black's heart."
The turn of phrase catches Harry's attention. "You saw this while you were still alive?"
"Yes heir I did. I saw your eyes, I felt your pain at a barren childhood. I knew that you would bear a scar that separated you from the rest of your kind. But most importantly I knew how very much you would be loved by the descendant of my blood, and knowing this I knew I could entrust you with the gifts which I allowed to master me instead of I mastering them." Morgana reaches a hand out to help Harry up.
Harry allows himself to be drawn to his feet, blushing heavily and unable to meet Morgana's eyes. "Your pardon lady, I am not used to such casual regard."
Morgana snorts. "I dare say you are not used to any type of private regard." She forestalls Harry's automatic retort. "I am not criticizing you, in fact I think that it shows a great deal fortitude and honor to have remained so untainted by the notoriety you have to deal with."
"Sorry." Harry shuffles his feet uncomfortably. "What exactly do you want of me, grandmother?"
Morgana giggles. "See that wasn't so hard. First off you can put on some clothing dear."
Harry looks up in surprise. "What?"
"Well I am your grandmother so I am not interested in seeing you jiggling about in the buff." Morgana motions to void around them. "This is your mind, so all you need do is imagine what you want."
Harry manages to blush even harder while he finds himself standing in a pair of jeans and a soft sweater. "Thanks for telling me."
Morgana pretends to ignore his sarcasm. "Your welcome. Now show me." She sweeps her hand toward the void and fades from view.
"Show you what?" Harry mutters irked at being treated like a trick pony.
"This way young lion." A voice whispers.
(s) No this way. (s) Another says from the opposite direction.
"Why?" Harry looks one way then the other.
"So you can find the gifts I left you"
(s) So I may give you the gifts I promised. (s)
Harry growls. "Where are you?"
Harry chooses a point between the two voices and starts walking.
(s) Why are you going that way? (s)
Harry smirks. "To see what is there."
"But there is nothing over there."
(s)There is no harm in looking, now is there.(s) Harry keeps moving, ignoring the two voices nagging him to come to them.
His walk is interrupted by Morgana fading back into view with a pout on her face. "You are not playing by the rules."
Harry shrugs. "A gift is given freely. A reward is earned. Which did you claim you were offering?"
She blinks at him then tosses her long hair back laughing truly for the first time. "So the little lion is truly a serpent as well, I am corrected of my folly. I said what I was going to give you was indeed a gift, but I hadn't decided which gift so I left it up to a combination of choice and chance. And here we are."
Harry takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. "I am sorry grandmother, the last few days have only added to an already stressful situation for me. I am afraid the last of my tolerance for surprises has been burned away by the harshest of realities."
"Oh and what reality is that." Morgana is truly curious about what lesson Harry's life had taught him.
"What you don't know can kill you." Harry says coolly. "Even worse it can kill those who are innocent of your decisions."
Morgana is taken aback by the depth of pain hidden behind Harry's words. She smiles bitterly and strokes his cheek. "Such a hard truth for one so young. Now that I see you my gifts have so much more meaning."
Morgana steps back and raise her hands above her head. "My first gift to you is the power of death and rebirth. Though you have not the gift of necromancy I bestow on you my stone blade. With it you may circumvent death by using it to die by your own hand first. Only you may use this blade, and only you can remove it when you deem it is safe to return to life."
Harry gapes openly at the wickedly pointed eight inch blade that appears in front of him. "But necromancy is a cursed art."
"The rules only state that it is cursed when turned upon the innocent or if you open this world to the nether realms. Using it on yourself, or on those who have tainted themselves with the blood of innocents if they die upon the battlefield is allowed." Morgana smirks evilly. "The second half of that you will have to learn on your own serpent in a lion's mane."
Harry snorts at that particular description. "I thank you lady for your gift, I will cherish the knowledge you have offered me."
Morgana is pleased by Harry's words and a book appears beside the knife. "Guard this knowledge carefully my grandson. Now my second gift to you is a spell, one that I specially designed near the end of my existence." Morgana presses a kiss against Harry's forehead, planting the spell in the deepest part of his mind. "That spell will ensure that you are never overcome by the taint of dark magic. Use it whenever you are forced to use magic that is perhaps considered suspect or had it used against you."
Harry stares incredulously as Morgana fades from sight. "Good-bye my grandson, be sure to read my scroll."
"Scroll?" Harry looks around frantically but Morgana is gone. "Well hell."
"Language young master."
Harry whips around to face a new speaker. He wishes desperately that he was awake so he can faint properly.
"Lord Celedor." Harry manages to squeak out.
"I see you recognized the import of the name young one." The void around them lightens and becomes a warm summer glade. "Please, sit, relax."
Harry sinks down onto the surprisingly cushiony ground. "Am I going to visited by all those who I have inherited from?"
"Not at all young master, only a few very unique individuals who felt it best to talk to their heirs about a few secret gifts that run through their blood, and in some cases to decide which gifts to awaken." Celedor lounges casually on the ground across from Harry.
Harry closes his eyes tiredly. "I suppose there is no use fighting it since I have already accepted my place in these families, but da - - rn it I don't like surprises."
"I can certainly see why young master." Celedor keeps his voice low and soothing.
Harry does not want to deal with the memories dredged up by Morgana so he pushes his pain aside. "What should, may I call you?" And why do you call me young master?"
"Because that is what you are." Celedor smile slightly. "To me you will always be young and the title of master belongs to you and my other descendants because I still hold the title of Lord."
Harry leans forward. "You mean your not..."
"Dead? No I and the rest of my people are still very much alive. We left this plane long ago because our magic was becoming increasingly out of sync, we were fading. It was becoming impossible to interact with the physical aspects of this place and our magic was also beginning to slip from our grasp, it was as if we were becoming living ghosts. We made the painful choice to open a dimensional gate and follow magic through the planes until we found a place where we could live. We were forced to leave behind friends, family, even familiars who were still attached to this worlds magic."
"Did someone cause this intentionally?"
Celedor shrugs. "It is unknown if the separation was a natural happenstance or if the magical races of this world created the problem, nor does it matter. We survived and are happy."
"I'm glad, when I read about the high elves history it always made me sad to think that such beauty was lost."
"Not lost, merely moved to a new venue." Celedor taps Harry on one knee to attract his full attention. "If all goes well with you there will come a time when you will begin to fade as well. Then you will have a choice, join I and the rest of your living family in a new world, remain in your world as a living ghost, or pass through death."
"I have living family?" Harry seems to shrink into himself as he whispers the question.
"Yes young Harry you have many aunts, uncles, and cousins as well as I who am a sire to one of your bloodlines." Celedor watches as a myriad of emotions play on Harry's face.
"A sire is the same thing as a father?" Harry looks up slowly.
"Yes it is." Celedor sits up and holds out his arms.
Harry throws himself into Celedor's embrace crying desperately. "I'm not alone."
"Never young one. I and my kin will always be family no matter the distance that lays between. Real family Harry, one that cares about you simply because you were born. A families love based not on gossip, fame, or mistakes you may are may not have made but on who you truly are." Celedor knows he has said the right thing when Harry's grip on him eases along with his tears. "I think you can get away with calling me papa for many years yet, if you want to."
Harry tries to laugh through the remnants of his tears. "Thank you, I really needed that. Since Cedric was murdered it has been so hard just to get up, trying to keep the pain and guilt from overwhelming everything else. And that is just from someone I was just beginning to be friends with."
Celedor pull Harry fully into his lap so he can hold him properly. "Hush young one, no one but the truly guilty knew about that portkey. You and the other young man did the only thing you knew to do. Your enemy chose to kill without mercy as he had always been want to do, you did not control any of their choices that day or any other."
"But I offered to share, ..."
"No buts. You were honest and fair, it was his right to take the cup. Without your participation your friend Mr. Krum would probably have won. The outcome would have been the same, the dark lord's resurrection and the death of the champion. Remember it was only your wand's connection to its brother that kept you alive when his full intent was to kill you." Celedor pets Harry's unruly hair. "Yes you chose to share the victory with Cedric. Cedric also chose to let you win. Peter chose betrayal to save himself. Voldemort chose to destroy everything that got in the way of his hate, including himself. Of all these choices which one was truly made out of evil intent?"
Harry bites his lip. "Tom's, he chose to turn his magic to hatred."
Celedor rubs Harry's back in encouragement. "I see someone has already explained the true nature of magic to you. Tom, as you call him, made his choice. Over the course of the next year you will have to choose how you are going to shape the magic within you."
Harry nods hesitantly. "Morgana told me, I met her first. You arrived, er, appeared just after she had left."
"Madam LaFay was always a sly one, she should have been the last one to talk to you. Now that honor will fall to her greatest rival, and your most magically attuned ancestor." Celedor lets Harry sit up.
"She didn't seem so bad." Harry glances at Celedor shyly.
"Compared to your Tom she was an angel. No her darkness stemmed mostly from her blood and heartbreak. By the time her sanity returned to her she had twisted her magic so much that the damage was permanent." Celedor explains gravely.
"She gave me a spell that she created to purify ones magic of taint." Harry tells Celedor tentatively. "She said she had created to late to use on herself."
"Hmm," Celedor looks thoughtful, "that could be useful. But I am concerned that something like that could weaken your magic by returning it to its immature state."
"What do you mean by immature state?" Harry asks confusedly.
"You are aware that your sixteenth and seventeenth birthdays are important milestones, right?" At Harry's nod Celedor goes on. "This is because your magic matures during this time."
"Okay." Harry shifts uncomfortably.
"But that is only a vague clinical definition of what happens during that time. It certainly is not a real explanation of what happens." Celedor says dismissively. "To truly understand why I am concerned you need to understand what is really happening to you and your friends."
"Would it have something to do with why Gripstaff wanted me to finish claiming all my inheritance before my sixteenth birthday?" Harry asks with the first stirrings of interest.
"Certainly, though if someone happened to miss that deadline is could still be done before their seventeenth birthday, after that it becomes increasingly more difficult to integrate any new magic into their cores and the magic they inherit will be weaker." Celedor stops Harry from fussing with a kiss to the top of his head. "The reason for all this will become clear."
Celedor shifts Harry to sit beside him so they can be more comfortable. "Normally it starts with the bloodlines you are heir to. When most children pass their OWLS their families give them some type of token that represents their families; for a long time this step was accompanied by an inheritance ritual similar to the one you went through."
"During the time between the ritual and their sixteenth, the youth would study their families to prepare for what they might inherit. On the eve of their sixteenth birthday they were led to a specially warded room in preparation for anything that might awaken in their blood or magic. The youth would remain in the room until the morning after their sixteenth as precaution to keep themselves and everyone else safe from their fluctuating magic. The same would happen for their seventeenth. The year after the initial awakening the youth's magic grows in strength and intensity. Historically, old families and those who believed caution to be a virtue kept their youth secluded because it is during this time of growth that your magic is the most vulnerable. You emotions, thoughts, experiences, memories, and the magic that you are exposed to begins to shape your core."
Celedor glances at Harry and sees only fascination. "Your magical core during that year absorbs a 'taint' from everything you do until your seventeenth. Ideally your core is being stretched by using extreme amounts of your magic; both the standard magic which you are best at and enjoy, and the gifts you inherited. Once you are almost exhausted you immerse your mind in the theory of your different magical discipline until your magic is recovered. This pattern of exertion and immersion continues until a month before your seventeenth. That month is spent relaxing your mind and body completely so you are prepared for your seventeenth."
"I'm already behind in the schedule.: Harry tries to get up.
Celedor holds him firmly to his side. "Not really, you would have only had a bit over a month from end of term to your birthday to learn about your families, it is definitely not an insurmountable problem. Of course you then would have had to wait for your family to acquire a waiver for you to practice your magic outside a school setting. I will leave a letter behind for you outlining all of this for anyone you wish to inform of it, though I suggest that you at least tell the goblins so they can help anyone else who comes to them. Now before I continue with explanations do you understand why I am worried about Morgana's spell?"
Harry frowns deep in thought. "If it completely erases any 'taint' then I would have to retrain my magic to use my natural strengths and inherited gifts every time I used the spell."
"Yes and without the natural growth that take place during you maturation it would be much more difficult and take a much greater length of time. It might even be more painful." Celedor adds as a precaution.
"It would be an act of desperation, a last resort to stop some terrible curse used directly against my core. It might actually destroy the link between I and Tom, and while that might be a good thing it might also kill me if not done with proper care and preparation." Harry says in a whisper colored with a sickening combination of hope and horror. Harry shakes himself loose from the dark thoughts that always seem to plague him when he considers just how his scar might connect him to Voldemort. "What happens if I inherit a gift for something I have never studied before?"
Celedor sighs. "Hogwarts used to be set up to include its students magical maturation. It used to be a requirement that all students rotate through all the electives in their third and fourth years, fifth year they had a study hall instead where each student was responsible for preparing for whichever Owls they wished to take. This allowed the truly gifted children to take all the OWLS they wanted without having to deal with conflicting schedules."
"What were the core and elective classes during that time?" Harry snuggles closer so he can listen to Celedor's voice rumble in his chest.
Celedor in amused by how long it has taken for Harry to fully relax into the affection he is offering. "There were five core classes which were considered critical for all wizards to understand; transfiguration, charms, potions, care of magical creatures, and herbology. There where twelve electives; healing, history, dark arts, dueling, runes, arithmancy, divination, astronomy, ritual magic, magical theory, etiquette, and non-human culture. Some of these courses where taught as grounding subjects to allow better understanding of the magical world for everyone. Others where taught in preparation for the students gaining special gifts during maturation, others are taught so you understood what your strengths and weaknesses were, and a few were taught simply to make day to day life easier."
"No defense against the dark arts." Harry says disappointed at the lack of his best subject.
"What you call defense against the dark arts would have been covered in the dark arts and dueling. Entry level Dark Arts was concerned entirely with protecting yourself against non-sentient threats. Dueling covered basic protections against wizards and other magical beings with less than honorable intent. Only at NEWT level did these classes begin to teach offense instead defense. You I think would have excelled at both fields. Do not scowl so, the dark arts of that time did not include what you call dark arts, those were classified as black magic. Black magic existed only for the sake of pain, hatred, and degradation and the unforgivables while still only dark were always considered to be the crossover point between the two categories. There were also several other categories that have become obsolete as wizards have disregarded the truth about magic."
"What happens on your seventeenth birthday?" Harry decides he is not ready yet to deal with the different designations of magic or to worry about OWLs and NEWTs.
Celedor represses a smile over Harry's obvious dislike of tests. "Remember what I said about stretching your core? On your seventeenth you gain your mature magical depth, raw strength. If you have stretched your core properly the process should be almost painless. It also stabilizes your magic and protects it from being tainted by outside influences as easily as it is while your magic is still growing."
Harry sighs. "I wish you didn't have to leave."
"I am merely a projection drawn to you by the awakening of my blood within you, there is nothing here in reality." Celedor hugs Harry close. "We will meet again in reality someday young one. Until then you will always be in my heart and thoughts. Now to bestow on you the gifts I came to give. First is a key to the plane where my people now live, when the time comes it will open a direct portal for you so you need not wander through the planes looking for us."
Harry reaches out to cradle the blue crystal key that appears in front of him.
"Second is a gift you will never see, feel, or use consciously. The ability for your body and magic to seamlessly adapt and integrate your diverse bloodlines. This will prevent some of your more antithetic gifts from clashing with each other causing your core to be unstable. And thirdly knowledge, knowledge of our culture, magic, and language." Celedor stands lifting Harry easily to his feet at the same time.
He holds Harry close for a moment more before stepping back and vanishing. "Use my gifts well young master, until we meet again."
"Well he was long winded." A cold voice whispers as darkness overtakes Harry's mind.
Harry is irritated by the theatrics and thinks lumos to himself with all the force he can muster. The result is a bright white expanse of nothingness instead of blackness.
"Well that was most unexpected." The voice hisses at Harry.
Harry glances over his shoulder in disdain. "Theatrics are unappreciated at the moment sir. If the light bothers you I am willing to moderate our current surroundings. In interest of an amicable meeting."
"It would make this meeting more productive." Harry's new guest concedes while concealed within a sweeping black cloak with its hood pulled low enough to hide all features.
Harry lowers his eyelids, without fully closing them, and pulls up a picture of a comfortable sitting room lit only by a cheerfully lit fireplace. The area next to the fireplace holds a plush rug and two deeply upholstered chairs.
"Much nicer." The man discards his cloak on the back of one of the chairs and settles into it languidly.
Harry observes the shadowy clothing and luminescent flesh of his guest. "You are a vampire."
"Very good. Come, sit, the chairs you so considerately provided are quite comfy." He gestures to the empty chair with a flourish. "You may refer to me by the name Creavon."
Harry feels an odd push in his magic toward the chair. "If you wish this to be an affable meeting please cease and desist with the mind influence."
Creavon looks at Harry first in surprise then with a pleased smirk. "I am impressed that you felt that, I was being subtle. I will not tamper with your mind again using my magic."
Harry nods in acceptance and sits down. "If I were to guess I would say that our relation comes through the Blacks."
"Your guess would be correct. Your godfather was very daring to join our families in such a way. You would have inherited everything from him anyway, both due to his will and his magically binding oath. To add his blood to yours was - -, unusual to say the least. But I suppose it did serve to continue his ancient bloodlines in a way not possible otherwise."
"He had his own reasons." Harry says tightly.
"I am sure, but no matter we are here now. Which I must say would not be possible if there hadn't been at least one vampire in your born bloodlines. Though it is possible that it is 'her' influence that tipped the balance." Creavon stares boredly at the fire while watching Harry out of the corner of his eye.
"Lefay." Harry murmurs in surprise. "That makes things so much clearer. She really didn't have a lot of choices."
"Vampire born rarely do, but you, you do. You have so much light in you that our curse will not be a problem." Creavon smiles creepily.
Harry feels something within him shudder strangely. "As interesting as your acquaintance is I know you are not here merely to keep me company." Harry holds his reaction to Creavon perfectly neutral.
"She liked you." Creavon turns toward Harry his smile turning predatory. "Perhaps I will as well."
Harry adopts one of Professor Snape's most disdainful glares. "You need not strain yourself on my account."
Creavon grins showing off a gleaming set of fangs. "I bet you are delicious."
"I bet I could arrange for a bright sunny day around a roaring bonfire." Harry snaps back even as the vampire words send an unexpected jolt of desire through him.
Creavon flips something at Harry, who manages to stop it with a thought before it can make contact. Creavon takes advantage of his distraction to stand and move silently around behind Harry. As he stands so close Creavon's eyes glaze over and he leans over Harry's shoulder. Bracing himself with a hand on one of Harry's thighs Creavon licks him from just behind the ear down his throat to where his clavicle peaks out from his sweater. Harry freezes, caught between abject surprise and his bodies awakening craving.
Harry yanks himself away from Creavon's looming presence. "Stop!"
Creavon fights the daze he has fallen into and takes a slow step back. "What?"
"What?!" Harry repeats incredulously. "Do you have any clue what non-human bloodlines I am inheriting from and what comes along from them?" Creavon nods and moves to put more distance between them. "I was told some of what I might inherit, who knows what else since I didn't get a chance to even glance at the species were listed on my scrolls."
Creavon whines softly still fighting magical enticement. "I haven't been susceptible to such allures for several hundreds of years."
Harry crosses his arms self consciously. "Does base magical strength affect allures."
"Yesss." Creavon begins to drift back towards Harry.
"What did you throw at me?" Harry tense as the vampire gets closer.
"A ring to wear should you wish my help in exploring certain aspects of your magic." Creavon pounces pinning Harry to his chair in one smooth movement. "I would be a most discrete partner."
Harry eyes lock onto the crest displayed on a broach, worn at Creavon throat, with two snakes twined nose to tail in an infinity symbol. (s) That might no be wise. (s)
Creavon groans and melds their bodies together while sliding to kneel between Harry's legs. "Please, everything about you makes me ache. The language of snakes is such a naughty indulgence."
Harry places his trembling hands on Creavon's shoulders unsure if he wants to pull him closer or push him away. "Creavon, please, today is my sixteenth, don't ask such a choice of me. I have so little control of this situation and even less innocence left to lose."
"I can wait. When you are ready just put the ring on and I will find my way to you." Creavon wrenches himself away, collapsing into the other chair.
Harry sighs in relief then blushes when he gets a good look at the 'ring' Creavon had tossed at him, it did not go on a finger as he had first thought but elsewhere more private. "Then you are still alive in this world?" Harry tucks the ring away in a pocket.
Creavon licks his lips as he watches Harry's movement. "Yes cousin I am still 'alive'. Old enough to walk in the sun if I so desire."
Harry grumbles about finding a better threat for the next time they meet, earning a smile from Creavon. "So why are you here cousin?"
"The ring is a personal gift. What I came for is to give you the protection of my clan." Creavon holds out a simple teardrop shaped deep red ruby suspended from a black silk cord. "No vampire of lesser power will dare approach you with harmful intent while you wear my blessing, and none can remove it save by your free will."
Harry accepts the necklace respectfully. "I thank you."
Creavon's tension eases up. "My other gift is related to a specific talent you inherited from my blood, this cloak. It will assist you in learning how to use the shadows to do many things where all other magic seems to fail. Use it to guide you through the midst of those hunting you, to read the shadows that have gone before you, to trap the minds unwary enough to walk into shadows that are not, and many other things."
Harry nods thoughtfully as Creavon stands. "Thank you for all your gifts. Be safe always."
Creavon bows. "God-bye cousin."
"Until we meet again cousin." Harry stands and returns the bow even though there is no one there any longer.
"I must say he made quite a number of passes at you, and you handled them all very well. Though I personally would have had him screamin' harder after his first flirtatious little smirk lad."
Harry notices that the sunny glade is back, he closes his eyes. Rubbing his temples he turns to the newcomer. "Why?"
"No reason in particular except he was beggin' for it and he was dead sexy. Names Silenus by the by." Silenus voice has a sing song quality to it.
Harry's eyes pop open at the candid answer, he snaps them shut again when it registers that Silenus is totally nude. "I didn't want my first to be that way."
"Ah." Silenus smiles knowingly. "You can look now, I have a toga on now."
Harry peaks through his lashes before opening his eyes fully again. "Good-day to you satyr Silenus."
"And good-day to you my heir. I am here to warn you that the information about satyrs is understated at best. We do not just crave pleasure, we grow stronger magically through it." Silenus makes a negating motion when Harry tries to speak. "Not like a incubus who feeds off others. Pleasure increases our magical core's capacity, our own pleasure. When you enjoy a slow hot bath, the slide of silken cloth, good food, and yes an orgasm you gain potential. Normally this is but a minor concern since satyrs have little accessible magic, you on the other hand have a magical core that not only holds much more magic but also have almost direct access to it. Add to that, that this is your year of maturation when your magic is in a natural state of growth."
Harry wants very much to curl up in a ball and whine about not being normal but it has never helped before so he figures he'll skip that step for now. "So every time I enjoy anything on a physical level I will cause my core to expand just like pushing my magic will?"
"Exponentially so, especially if you are following the old traditions of intentionally stretching your magic." Silenus agrees cheerfully. "A gift." Silenus holds out a handful of onyx beads. "Pour them onto my daughter's chain, they represent your shadow gifts that the prior visitor gave you. The beads are like wands to us, allowing us to channel certain types of magics while we dance a technique called sikinnis."
Harry takes the beads. "Thank you."
"Think nothing of it lad." Silenus waves, his toga vanishing before he does. "You will discover how to make your own beads soon enough."
"Exhibitionist." Harry gripes.
A being covered in warm brown fur steps up to Harry's side to contemplate the spot where the satyr had disappeared from. "That is just the nature of a satyr, they know they look good so they see no reason to hide it. You will gradually grow into a portion of that confidence in your body."
Harry glance at his new visitor, wearing nothing but a loin cloth and his fur. His eyes trail up a well defined chest to look at the wolfish face watching him in turn. Harry wets his lips nervously, he is far more attracted to the casual strength this being holds than to those who were overtly sexual and would traditionally be considered appealing.
"Is that a good thing?" Harry guesses his guest is a wulver.
"Perhaps." The wulver gives a lopsided 'doggy' smile. "My name is Math Mathonwy, some people have called me a wulver. Silly really since that if the messed up pronunciation of the transfiguration based curse that saddled me with this appearance."
Harry grins automatically in response to Math's happy, easy going personality. "The goblins surmised it was something like that."
"Those sly little buggers don't miss much." Math agrees in good humor. "You keep sneaking glances, is there a question you wanted to ask?"
Harry flushes pink at being caught. "I just couldn't help but wonder if your fur is as soft as it looks?" Harry says in a rush.
Math laughs a short yipping laugh. "Here feel." He places Harry's hand or his forearm.
"Oh, it is soft." Harry unknowingly begins to pet Math's arm out of the sheer delight at the sensation.
"Yep you definitely posses satyr blood, or you wouldn't be glowing over something so mundane. We'll make a hedonist out of you yet." Math says teasingly.
Harry snatches his hand back. "Sorry."
"Nonsense." Math puts Harry's hand back "We are kin, and you have no idea how nice it feels for someone to respond so positively to what others shunned in fear."
"I think I do." Harry recalls how tempted and flattered he felt when Creavon responded so eagerly to his use of parseltongue. "People usually react badly to my ability to speak to snakes."
"Then we have something in common in the way people treat us according to their own preconceived ideas." Math covers Harry's hand with his own and leads him towards a glimmer in the void that materializes off to one side.
When they arrive Harry sees a small lake. "Do you realize how disturbing it is for me that someone else is able to manipulate my mind so easily?"
Math pats Harry's hand. "We are a part of you, awakened and released by the ritual for this short span."
"Some of the others are still alive." Harry mumbles.
"Yes, and they were touched by the ritual's magic in warning of what was to come." Math guides Harry to a large flat rock sitting at the very edge of the lake. "They then had to find a way to connect themselves to the dream world at the prescribed time, not that you gave them much warning. They had to really scramble to make sure they would have the time and security needed to spend time connecting with you, rather than simply relying on their tokens to carry out preordained scripts. Those who have passed rely on basic scripts to cover what they wanted to tell any heir that receives a gift from them. Others with experience with ancient forms of magic imbued their tokens with their own personality, kind of like the sorting hat you encountered at Hogwarts.
Harry sits next to Math on the rock without complaint. "Which are you?"
"I am most certainly dead, so I must be the results of an imbued token." Math tugs Harry against his side.
"You certainly feel real." Harry rubs his cheek against the fur covering Math's side.
"Then the process worked as it should." Math stifles something that sounds suspiciously like a giggle because Harry had rubbed against a ticklish spot. "Morgana and Merlin are different yet again, while they undoubtedly imbued their objects they were also powerful enough to leave echoes of themselves in the ambient magic surrounding a few special places, thus creating a boost or stabilizing force for anything they left behind."
"I guess I get it." Harry runs a hand through his hair trying smooth it down. "It is hard to meet all of you on such a personal level, finding out that I like you, only to have you snatched away again."
Math wraps an arm around Harry's shoulder pulling him even closer trying to offer what fleeting comfort he can. "We are such as dreams are made of, and our little life is round with a sleep."
Harry snuggles closer to the sleek warmth of his companion. "Shakespeare has never been all that comforting to me."
"Look into the water cub, let it carry your concerns and constant cacophony of thoughts away. Take your memories, wrap then inside an opaque globe of water, release them to sink into the fathomless depths before you." Math's voice leads Harry deeper into his own mind. "Take all your secrets and all that causes you pain and do the same, take a weight and add it to you globes. Let them go cub. Now look and see how vast the ocean is."
Harry blink like he is just waking to stare out at a measureless stretch of water. "What was that?"
"The beginning phase of what you call occlumency. Do that exercise every night before you sleep, it will help you protect your mind from intrusions and lessen your nightmares. Be cautious though, this is merely the beginning stage you still need to build in protection to prevent entry and to throw out anyone who tries." Math's quiet voice is soothing.
"Is that what clearing your mind is supposed to be?" Harry asks becoming instantly angry.
"It can be, but very few know how to truly show another this stage. Add your anger to the ocean, perhaps in the form of a shark something that will guard against someone entering the ocean to directly search for your memories." Math watches in pride as Harry follows his instructions without any difficulty.
"I feel much better. How do I retrieve my memories?" Harry stares at the ocean.
Math hands Harry the same staff fishing rod combination he had handled in reality. "You still have your memories, just choose one and cast the line into the water. Something simple, without strong emotion, perhaps a spell your found interesting in class."
When Harry does as suggested, coming up with a jumble of interlaced memories. "Ouch that causes a nasty headache."
"Release the memories back to the water. Try again, this time be more specific about which class and when you had it. The more detail you can recall about the information you want the easier it will be to grab the real memory. Think of those tiny unimportant details as invisible moisture in the air itself. If you do catch someone poking around before you have a chance to develop protections just visualize it raining into the ocean. The rain will take everything the intruder might be able to use to find a memory beyond their reach, your mind should then look like a dessert where the water is merely an insubstantial mirage." Math continues to instruct Harry with a calm voice until Harry gets the hang of retrieving his memories and clearing his mind completely.
After a time of practicing Math hugs Harry close bestowing a feather light kiss. "Well done." He hands him a book about the mind arts. "Take care cub."
Harry quickly tosses his pain at parting into the water in the shape of leeches. "Bye."
"You will see us again you know." Another ancestor sits down beside Harry their voluminous robes billowing around them.
Harry stares unseeingly ahead of him. "Will I?"
A harp plays softly. "Death is but the next great adventure."
"An adventure you can only take if you actually die." Harry barely notices his new book fade away to be replaced by the key made of crystal which he had received from Celedor.
The harp player catches his breath sharply in surprise since he had been unable to catch much of Harry's earlier dealings because of his recent occlumency lesson. "How?"
"A supposed minor family." Harry fiddles idly with the exquisite key. "Turns out they aren't so minor, just ancient beyond measure. I liked my Celedor ancestor but is it enough when all the others I have cared for have passed from this realm?"
"It will be all right Harry. Do not despair before you have learned the culture of your ancestors young one. They live in a different plane whose rules are different. You will see all you have lost again, whether you have known them a few hours or many years." The harp is played in a simple set of scale. "I was known as Aengus Mac Og of the Tuatha De Danann. My specialty in magic was music and dreams, these you have inherited."
"A god?" Harry turns toward Aengus and finds himself doubly shocked by the sight. "What idiot named you?"
Aengus chuckles. "The cow named after the clan lands is a relatively modern variety."
"You are male right." Harry blanches at how rude his question sounds.
"Yes I am." Aengus throws him a sardonic smile. "My mother was a Peri, I got my all looks from her though luckily not her wings. My looks are what earned me my title, the people of my time didn't understand how I could look like this and be a simple mortal."
"Sorry, that was tactless of me." Harry kicks at the water.
"It was, but it was a completely unfeigned reaction, far better than the awed fawning and drooling I usually get." Setting his harp aside Aengus leans back on his elbows to watch the shifting void above them.
"You are just so beautiful, it's hard," Harry blushes, "sorry." He looks away trying to rectify the truth of his ancestor being male while looking decidedly feminine.
Aengus shrugs. "That was my brand for all the world to see."
His words make Harry feel even worse. "You certainly are different from the others."
"True." Aengus continues to stare off into the void in a bored manner.
"You can leave anytime you want." Harry begins to become irritated by the almost Lockhart like self absorption.
"Not until I have finished what I cm meant to do." Aengus watches Harry's reaction subtly.
Harry lets the key fade and begins tossing memories into the ocean absently. "You have graced me with your words of wisdom and told me about the powers I inherited from you what else is there?"
"Something has upset you." Aengus sits up in interest.
"Perhaps you listened to mere mortals a bit to often." Harry pulls his bangs down over his scar defensively.
Aengus leans forward so he can see Harry's face more clearly. "It seems I am the who should be apologizing. I didn't think about how my words could hurt you. That has always been a problem of mine, it probably is related to the way I became accustomed to behaving around those who insisted on treating me as a god."
"And I am frightened by all the changes." Harry looks back at Aengus.
"The gift I wish to bestow upon you my heir is key to my home. It is what you would call a fairy palace that is located of the Boyne." Aengus smiles a little at Harry's astonished expression. "Being a fairy construction means time runs differently there."
"Isn't that to unpredictable for me to use under the current circumstances?" Harry asks remembering stories of people showing up unchanged after years had passed or coming back inexplicably older after a single night.
"Unless you know the secret of the places creation." Aengus retrieves his harp to play a happy tune. "Which I do."
Before Harry can ask Aengus leans over to bestow a kiss on his temple, and then he to is gone.
Harry flops onto his back. "The coming year is going to be a real mess."
"Is that counting all that extra time in fairy space?" Responds a whispery voice low and husky.
"I only 'need' to use fairy space long enough to complete the basic training all inheriting wizards used to receive before their maturation began." Harry is a little reticent to find out which ancestor is talking to him this time.
"You could study those subjects that interest you that you didn't take OWLs for." The whisper suggests.
Harry smirks a little. "Or those things Hogwarts no longer teaches." Harry props himself up enough to look around. "Hello?"
"Greetings." The whisper is now much closer and distinctly coming from the direction of the ocean.
Harry stands warily still looking for his visitor. "A bit shy?"
A body presses fully up against Harry's back strong arm encircling him firmly. "Not really."
Harry startles and tries to pull away. "Let go!"
"No." The voice purrs in his ear. "My gift needs 'skin to skin' contact to be successfully passed on."
"I'm not ready." Harry struggles even more to free himself when he feels all his clothes vanish.
"I know, nor am I asking that." The body behind Harry holds very still, allowing him to register with fissure of unease that this ancestor is also male.
"What type of skin to skin contact?" Harry chokes out trying to ignore the craving beginning to burn in his gut. "This is not wise."
"Oh but I think it is." Harry's captor's voice deepens even more. "Baile Beli Mnwr, master of the sea and storm at your service. These too shall you be."
Harry gasps as heat consumes him, the ocean in front of him becoming a raging tempest. "I understand, but I can't..."
Baile's hold gentles. "In time you will, do not fear. Be cautious and selective yes, but never fear yourself or you 'will' cripple your magic. There is much you can not control that is true, but your own magic should not be one of them. That is after all why this year of maturation was once set aside as sacred, to give such wild burgeoning magics time to calm and their bearers to learn of their strengths." Baile presses a palm size crystal ball, with what looks like a miniature ocean inside, into Harry's hand. "To practice with safely."
Harry takes a shaky breath when he realizes the heat within him was released with the storm and is not the same as what had happened with Creavon. "My thanks for your gifts and knowledge Lord of Belatain."
Baile snorts. "I hate that title, and you are most welcome."
Baile steps away Harry finds himself dressed again and the ocean calm as glass. A mist rising sensuously from it's surface shrouding it from view. Harry stands quietly breathing deeply to quiet his rising anxieties, straining to hear something that might indicate how the next encounter will go. At first he hears nothing, then gradually a haunting tune begins to swirl through the mists so softly that Harry thinks it is only his imagination. Gradually the melody swells wrapping Harry in a blanket of music.
"I inherited a flute." Harry peers at the swirling mist in a dreamlike trance.
The mist coalesces into a most unexpected form. "It is mine."
"Herne!" Harry shuffles backward in utter surprise. (AN\ the image of Herne, that got stuck in my heard for this character can be found at www dot runic moon art dot com / art / thumbs / cernet.gif. I hope the artist doesn't mind the plug./AN)
"My heirs go under the name Cernowain." Herne bows the impressive rack of horns crowning his head to Harry, one dear like ear flickering towards the void and back.
"I think I need to sit down." Harry mutters.
The ocean shimmers turning into a quiet pond, the rock becomes a fallen log covered in soft moss. Around them an ancient forest forms leaving them in a small clearing lit only with the diffuse light that sifts though the dense canopy.
"As you like." Herne moves around the pond with an odd gait. "May I join you?"
Harry just looks blankly at Herne, his mind not truly registering anything while he befuddledly tries to figure out the oddity of Herne's movements, before snapping back to his current reality. "Oh sure."
As Herne settles the hem of his elegant robes rises just enough for Harry to catch a glimpse of deer like hooves. "I never pictured you as the type to wear full robes." Harry sits down distractedly.
"After some of the guests you have had I felt discretion would be appreciated. Beyond that it just depends on what mood I am in." Herne smoothes his robes down.
"It is greatly appreciated, thank you." Harry looks at the clearing without really seeing it, something about Herne puts him at ease just as Math had. "I know I need to learn how to accept and control all these gifts as well as all my non-human inheritances, but" Harry jumps up to pace. "Toady is my sixteenth, I only learned of 'my' family bloodlines and claimed them yesterday, then of course there is the blood adoption the day before. Ah hell, lets just have a good laugh over the fact that most of my non-human ancestor are obsessed about sex in one way or another and I am still a virgin. Blast it all, I wanted my first lover to be someone who actually cared for ME, not some sick thing that my instincts forced on me!!"
Herne blocks the path of Harry's pacing with an arm. "Do you really think that your ancestors waited, in some cases hundreds of years, to bestow their most precious gifts on someone they didn't care for?"
"But you don't know me." Harry yells in frustration.
Herne's sensitive ears clamp down at the loudness of Harry's voice. "For the most part we can only be here because of the strength of your magic and your mind allowing us to exist. We can not know your mind more intimately than that, besides we are inside your head anything we do 'physically' would be nothing more than a dream."
Harry stares. "A dream?"
Herne's lips quirk into a smile. "A very intense, realistic dream. Or if you want to make it so, a fantasy, though the things we are giving you and telling you are very much real."
"Rally?" Harry begins to calm.
"Truly, if that is what you truthfully desire." Herne turns Harry to face him.
Harry moves closer. "You are sure?"
Herne pauses to actually consider all the possibilities he can think of. "Physically you would still be a virgin no matter what your mind does. Else the first time you had a fantasy would have eliminated that condition already. Your magical core will change, but still register magically as virgin. The only repercussion I can foresee is that it 'might' awaken your sexually oriented inheritances a little sooner."
"After everything that has happened I already feel like there is an inferno raging within me." Harry braces a hand against Herne's chest to physically hold himself away from temptation.
"And what does this inferno want of me?" Herne places a hand over Harry's holding it in place.
Harry shudders his voice sounding strange and distant. "To consume, to posses, to bind, and to ravage until pure ecstasy burns away all but itself." Harry leans forward breathing hard still struggling to maintain some control.
"You have heard tales of me, how do you think your words effect me Har-ry?" Herne's voice dips into a husky whine as his unoccupied hand clutches Harry's hip.
Harry sinks to his knees between Herne's thighs his free arm winding its way around Herne's waist. Harry presses his face into the folds of Herne's robes which are keeping him from nuzzling the taunt chest beneath his cheek.
"I hurt so much." Harry mewls. "It burns."
With an oath Herne scatters clothing, log, and doubts to the void closing in around the oasis he had created, and calls forth a sweetly scented bower to cushion and cradle the fervently heated body in his arms. "You are burning up."
"He is experiencing a surge of raw magical growth causing his core to change shape, his second of the day. He was fully unconscious before the first one truly started."
Herne looks up in surprise at hearing another's voice his eyes widen, much as Harry's had at him, upon seeing the identity of the guest. "Merlin?!"
"Yes, yes it is me. What you are doing should really wait, unless you think he can handle manifesting as both a full incubus and a full veela. Or did you fail to recognize the difference between to consume and ravage, and to posses and bind? Those two urges are completely opposite." Merlin says with droll sarcasm.
Herne closes his eyes and slows his breathing. "That would be disastrous."
When Herne begins to get up Merlin waves him still. "Go ahead and hold him, our young heir desperately needs any bit of affection he can get. Though I would suggest a modicum of clothing be added to your current arrangement."
Herne gives Harry a light pair of sleep-pants and a sarong for himself before pulling the shaking, sweaty body closer. "You said this was his second surge, how many will he have?"
Merlin perches nearby on a convenient stump. "Two or three more at least I should think, maybe more depending on how the inheritance ritual he underwent affects the physical portion of his core."
"That's preposterous, no wizard child can survive such a change." Herne feels a surge of protectiveness towards Harry.
Merlin shrugs. "His mother carried an anomalous core as an adolescent just as our heir does. Hers never developed any further, she only gained more access to it during her maturation, though it is likely she would have if wizards still bothered to practice the old traditions. A normal core is 'I' shaped (AN/ Think of a dumbbell /AN), Harry's adolescent core had an extra bulge in the center and was already twice as large as is normal. Obviously he did not have full access to it or he would have had a definite problem with control. His inheriting like this is no accident of fate."
"What will his core eventually look like, if he survives the change?" Herne glares balefully at Merlin.
"He will survive." Merlin states confidently. "I am sure you know that currently a normal wizard's core maintains four prongs throughout their life, normally it is 'plus' shaped (a.k.a. +) at maturity. Our heir's core would have gained two more prongs, rare but not unusual historically speaking, making for a three demensional 'plus' shape. However with the use of the two rituals this initial set of surges it should make it look like an eight pointed starburst. At the end of this year of maturation, after all of his non-human inheritances have come into play, his core will be overlaid with a secondary core in the shape of a cross pattee with triangular arms which come close to being a filled square."
"What did your core look like?" Herne asks out of curiosity.
"A single core in a fleur-de-lis variant of a Maltese cross." Merlin says primly. "He will be stronger than I, whether or not he can access and control enough of it to make it noticeable to the world around him is another matter. If he follows the usual course and returns to his school he will be lucky to reach average, on his own he has a much better chance. If he had a mentor who could help him in the old ways then he would be the most powerful wizard this world has ever known."
Herne snuggles closer to Harry. "How long will this surge last?"
"As long as it lasts." Merlin says in a bored manner.
"Annoying old man." Herne grumbles.
"I've been called worse with complete honesty." Merlin smirks.
"I am sure you have." Herne replies with an equally vicious smirk.
After what seems like an eternity Harry begins to stir. Warm arms hold him securely against an equally warm body. Harry struggles to recall how he came to be in this position. His emotions run the full gamut in mere seconds finally settling into stoic befuddlement. He notices that his reactions seem to be completely numb to the realization that he can feel an unclothed chest pressing against his own bare back. Like a seductive song he recalls being told that what happens in his mind isn't physically real, just like dreams weren't. In a small corner of his mind that desperately wants to wake up, Harry wonders how accurate that is since so many of his dreams are indeed anchored in real world. Harry doesn't want to think, he wants to roll over and kiss his companion to quench this irresistible itch.
Herne is relieved when he feels Harry's temperature go down and even more so when the young man starts to awaken. He gives Merlin a relieved smile to which the old man only looks inscrutable. Before he can greet Harry, Herne is shocked out of all coherent thought when Harry twists around to capture his mouth in a searing kiss.
Herne breaks the kiss with a gasp. "Harry!"
Harry doesn't wait for further words, rolling over on top of Herne forcing him flat on to his back. "Intoxicating." Harry rubs himself decadently against the body beneath him enjoying the drag of velvety fur against his skin.
"Harry perhaps..." Herne's suggestion gets no further as it is swallowed by the heat of another kiss.
Harry pushes down harshly, growling ferally unable to fight the tidal wave of raw instincts sweeping through him.
Merlin stands sharply, with a wave of his hand he separates Harry from Herne.
Harry howls in rage, his mind calling forth a raging storm as he thrashes to get free, at being parted from his chosen prey.
Herne scrambles to his feet conjuring a robe quickly.
"Now do you understand why he was instinctually declining advances?" Merlin asks smugly.
"As I recall you told me to continue holding him." Herne snaps in return.
"I had hope he could control it a bit better than that, but I suppose there is only so much temptation one can ignore. I was not infallible when I was alive and death certainly did not change that." Merlin frowns. "His tantrum has caused another surge." Merlin keeps Harry from falling while he mutters to himself. "It is far to soon for another."
Herne glares at the man once recognized as the most powerful wizard to ever be. "You don't say."
"No need to get nasty." Merlin crosses his arms defensively.
Herne shakes his head causing his long hair to whip around in the wind generated from the tempest still raging around them. "I'm beginning to wonder just how much of your incubus heritage was active?"
"More than the history books record, sheep, always wanting to gloss over the flaws of their heroes." Merlin scowls.
"Would you two please keep your voices down, my head is killing me." Harry whimpers at the loudness of his own voice as the storm dies down.
Herne hugs Harry in relief, not stopping to think about the possible consequences.
Harry growls low in his throat causing Herne to retreat quickly. "Herne my dearest ancestor, unless you have a physical body that I can properly feast upon I think it would be best if we didn't cuddle up again until certain urges cool a bit." Harry's voice is barely recognizable.
"Of course my Harry, I am most sorry. I truly believed there would be no harm." Herne's ears droop emphasizing his regretful expression.
"I know." Harry eases his tense stance. "I think we should finish the business you came here for so I can devote myself to meditating on happy memories instead of worrying about all this. I get the feeling the more relaxed I am the less the transition will hurt."
"Very astute heir." Merlin puts in.
"You remind me of a very creepy combination of Ollivander, Dumbledore, and Riddle." Harry contemplates Merlin uneasily.
"Descendants all, different mothers of course. I am what I am after all." Merlin smiles a little wistfully.
"Enough." Harry hisses feeling a surge of irritation at Merlin. "Fulfill your purpose here old man and leave."
"Of course my heir." Merlin seems amused by the reaction. "Once Herne is finished."
Harry feels a sudden spike of undirected anger. "As far as I am concerned he can wait until you are done and gone to finish." Harry tries to find a reason for his sudden fluctuation of temper. "His was an honest mistake, where as yours was the meddling of a doddering old fool." With that Harry knows whose words he is echoing. "Thank you, but I think dealing with two manipulative mad men is already two too many."
Merlin loses his amusement at Harry's bitter words not noticing a corresponding darkening of the void around them in his focus on his heir. "Perhaps I was wrong about your suitability."
"Perhaps everyone was wrong to place the fate of the world on an infant. Perhaps it is wrong for those sheep, as you so charmingly call them, to bury their heads in the proverbial sand and rely on an unloved abused orphan to save them again. Enough I say, if all they are going to do is heap false platitudes on me one moment and revile me in the next why should I care if the sheep get butchered?"
"Bravo Harry, bravo now you begin to see why our world needs cleansing." A dim figure approaches them.
"Yeah of the inbred monstrosities that have become so genetically warped they can barely rise above squibs. No wonder you inner circle has only produced impotent runts." Harry grits his teeth against the searing pain Voldemort causes him.
"How dare you." Voldemort hisses.
"Should I list off the names of the current Slytherin students who are either mentally impaired or too magically crippled to be effective wizards let alone soldiers? You Tom are lucky you dearest mommy screwed a muggle, at least the injection of fresh blood revitalized your genetics. Of course that didn't stop you from mutilating yourself, so I can only conclude not all the inbred damage was fixed in the metal department." Harry hisses back viciously.
"You will regret those words boy." Voldemort sneers at Harry.
"What ever are you going to do Tom, torture and kill me? Oh please Tom that is what you have always intended to do so it is not really much of a threat, now is it?" Harry drawls insolently.
"Your friends." Voldemort leers at Harry.
"Which ones? The ones who are in it because of my fame or the ones our favorite Headmaster arranged? Try again Tom the only person I loved unconditionally is dead because of you. What irony that neither of us gained anything useful out of it." Harry pretends to pointedly ignore Voldemort.
Voldemort eyes Harry ancestors warily. "You really shouldn't lie so obviously."
"Oh yes, how useful. By the time they are done with me I'll be less human than you are, even including the issue of using dead bodies to make you something less than fully alive." Harry sneers at Voldemort. "Here is a secret, I know you are incapable of understanding because somehow you ended up more of an emotional cripple than I did, I would rather have my family. A families love and approval, then all the shit I inherited. But guess what, that won't be happening so that just leave me with one thing Tom, my so called destiny." Harry draws further into his own mind summoning a maelstrom of fire and lightening to throw at Voldemort.
With a shriek of rage and pain Voldemort is forced to retreat from Harry's mind. This time Harry doesn't recall the storm, instead he pushes outward toward the edges of his mind, where it settles as a barrier that all must cross to enter.
Herne wraps an arm cautiously around Harry's shoulders. "You have true friends Harry, those who stand at your side because you reached out to them when no one else would. And never underestimate the depth of feeling a werewolf holds for his pack, a pack of which you are a cub to. You read the Headmaster's letter and the phoenix verified its truth, he never intended to hurt you in any way."
Harry sags as his externally instigated anger abates. "What should I do?"
Merlin clears his throat. "I guess death hasn't taught me tact nor was I expecting his outside influence even though all of us who have come to you can sense what you have had to deal with. What I should have explained is that I can't give you my gifts until Herne has. Unfortunately as soon as our gift is given, whether it is physical and mental, our time is done."
"Oh." Harry closes his eyes and leans against Herne. "Okay. I think I'm going to sit back down now."
Before either man can respond Harry sinks to the 'floor' cross legged his limbs trembling.
Merlin's face scrunches up with the effort it takes for him to change the landscape of Harry's now protected mind, providing more cushioning for Harry. "Another surge, at this rate I'm, going to have to rethink my original estimate. Although this one looks like it is only a bit of physical growth to accommodate his growing magic, it wouldn't do to have so much magic your body can not hold it all."
"It is impolite to talk over some ones head." Harry complains trying to ignore the aching in his bones and the trembling the besets his muscles. "How much more am I going to change? Will I even look like me after all of this?"
Merlin and Herne exchange a serious look.
Herne pets Harry's hair as he kneels beside him. "We do not know how much you will change tonight. Over the next year you will change a bit as each of your non-human inheritances become fully active. After your seventeenth it is likely you will appear significantly different, as does everyone when they mature physically."
"I want to keep my mother's eyes" Harry says in a small voice.
Merlin crouches down in front of Harry. "The biological traits that your parents gave you will be the base that guides whatever changes you go through. Certain features that identify you as their son will remain the ritual is not so inclusive as to completely override your strongest connections to your family."
As Harry accepts Merlin's words he relaxes enough to stop trembling. The pain in the rest of his body tapers off soon after.
Merlin stands offering Harry a hand to help him up. "Up you get, let us see what all that bothersome discomfort did to you."
Harry is not sure if he wants to like Merlin for his odd sense of humor and easy way of playing things down or to punch him for it.
"He is a bit odd." Herne whispers in Harry's ear.
Harry tries not to grin at Herne's words as he accepts Merlin's help getting up. "I am curious about something Herne." Harry sways some after fully gaining his feet, his growth spurt causing his center of gravity to change.
"Oh really, and just what might you be curious about?" Herne flicks on ear at him.
"Everything." Harry grins cheekily, "but specifically I wondered how you came to look as you do?"
"Well I for one am glad he had something in particular in mind or we would be here for a very long time, and I am certainly not getting any younger." Merlin says in exacerbation over such a trivial question.
"True but seeing as you're dead you aren't getting any older either." Harry coughs to hide his snigger at the sour look on Merlin's face.
Herne intervenes before the sniping can escalate. "My mother was a cat's-paw, a toy, created by a black mage for the amusement of a rich patron. He used demon's blood in a ritual to partially transform a deer into a humanoid female. She was stolen from her owner by an angry Urisk who was the guardian of the herd the mage took deer from. After several attempts by some sympathetic wizards it was obvious that the transformation could not be undone. They were however able to increase her intelligence and brake the obedience spells that where in place. She stayed with the Urisk that had saved her and she bore him several children, all of them were girls. One of the wizards that had tried to help fell in love with the eldest daughter. These were my parents. None of the other daughters married humans."
"I hope the mage and his patron met with a suitable end." Harry can feel his rage building up at the thought of someone defaming magic and nature in such a way and his storm magic begins to respond until he manages to calm himself.
"The patron was killed when the peasants under his sway rose up in anger against his cruelty. The mage met his end when he used another ritual in an attempt to gain some obscure magical abilities from different magical beasts, it backfired. He lived out his days as a twisted combination of a snidget and a graphorn." Herne smiles viciously showing off a set of pointed teethe that he inherited from his grandfather.
Harry's jaw drops open, his anger completely forgotten in his shock, unable to visualize such a combination. "The black arts must make one insane."
"They most often do have that effect." Merlin mutters. "Modern wizards outlaw what they call 'dark' but do not worry about the truly black ones, unless you call the outlawing of all blood magic without consideration of the actual process and result of the ritual."
"It is safe to assume that Tom in fact does use the black arts?" Harry remembers with revolting clarity what Voldemort looked like after his rebirth as well as how it was accomplished.
"Certainly, the drinking of unicorn blood alone shows what black depths of depravity to which he will sink." Merlin answers with a look of complete revulsion. "Not even a true demon would do such a thing."
Harry shakes his head, rapidly throwing the distressing thoughts Merlin's words had brought to mind into the now ever present body of water. "I'm not sure I understand the difference between dark and black. Where do the unforgivables fall in that distinction?"
"The unforgivables are classified as dark arts. They are rightfully banned though as they are the harshest level of charm based dark arts, there is dark magic that is rightfully banned in every active field of magic. Once you become that immured in dark magic it far to easy to slip over the edge into the black arts." Merlin answers promptly.
Merlin stops talking to stare at the ring of trees still surrounding them while he thinks about the best way to explain a very complex concept without confusing Harry who was just being introduced to the topic. "White arts are strictly harmless, there is no way to cause harm to others through their use. Healing is probably the only field that knowingly uses white magic regularly. The patronus charm is one of the only defense spells that falls under the auspices of the white arts. Light arts are or were strictly defensive in nature; mostly shields, wards, and counter charms like envenerate and finite incantum. Neutral magic is that which has no intent or emotion involved, most household spells fall into this category. Reparo is the most common repair charm, it is used to fix basic damage done to inanimate objects. Grey arts were spells that could be used for almost any purpose; the effects of the spell are completely controlled by the intent of the caster. The first wand magic taught at Hogwarts, the levitation spell, also used to be used to teach the ethics of grey magic to impressionable young minds. With the simplest flick of a wand you can lift a chair so it can be cleaned under, free someone trapped under debris, or drop something lethal on an unsuspecting victim. So it can easily be light, neutral, or dark depending on application."
"Couldn't you use reparo on a weapon or dark object?" Harry interrupts.
Merlin hums noncommittally. "Yes, but the reparo can't wield the objects just like a potions vial isn't labeled as being light or dark because of the potion a wizard choose to put into it. Now let me finish explaining." Merlin grumbles about the curiosity of youth. "Dark arts are offensive in nature, they are wielded directly on another person or object with the intent to affect another being. Even your temporary hexes and pranks would once have been classified as dark arts. The Black arts are destructive not only to the victim but to the caster as well." Merlin paces. "These are things that you should have been taught before you were even allowed to own a wand."
"Is that why Slytherin wanted bar muggle born students from Hogwarts?" Harry shifts nervously under Merlin's sharp glare.
"No, he was concerned that their parents would expose the wizarding world to those that were campaigning to destroy all things magical either accidentally or intentionally. The others didn't take his concern seriously which led to the attempted burnings of several witches and the eventual slaughter of innocence. The 'enlightened' zealots took the children of every family that was suspected of having magic under the guise of pirate raids, placed them on ships that were towed out to sea and torched. The rift between Slytherin and Gryffindor occurred because Godric's children from his second wife were taken and instead of comforting him Salazar threw his ignored warning in the grieving mans face. It wasn't discovered until much later that Salazar was so harsh because he lost a child to the slaughter as well, neither man was in any condition to listen to reason. By the time sanity returned too many hurtful things had passed between them." Merlin sighs sadly. "That was a terrible time in history, much was lost both tangible and intangible. But the lack in your education does not stem from that time at all, no that has been brought on in much more recent times. An underhanded tactic by your 'pureblood' supremacists to control who was taught the true nature of magic. This ignorance then caused the misuse and abuse of certain magics which the same 'purebloods' used as an excuse to ban more teachings. The subsequent leaders who broke from their control, though honest and truly interested in the peoples safety, didn't understand the root problem so they could only pass stricter laws to try and control or curb the misuse of magic. It has become a viscous cycle, now even stooping to curtailing the rights of individual citizens simply because they became victims of an incurable diseases like lycanthropy. Before Hogwarts and the Ministry there was a treatment that could be used to stop the poison from vampirism and lycanthropy from fully turning a victim, but now it is unusable because it is labeled 'dark' magic because of its use of blood in a ritual."
"That is just wrong." Harry growls. "And it only reinforces my opinion that most the wizarding world are spineless back-stabbing sycophants. Can you explain how the Black arts effect the caster?"
Merlin regards Harry warily for a moment. "Very well. I hope you are aware that it is your own magic that fuels most spells you cast." Merlin waits while Harry gives a mumbled ascent. "The light and dark arts often require strong emotions as well to be cast successfully. White and Black arts use your soul to harness the magic being cast. White magic purifies and soothes while Black magic fractures and twists the soul. White magic has a greater effect on the recipients soul; Black magic effects the caster's soul more. An off shoot of this is that the White arts can rarely be self inflicted, whereas there are many changes a practitioner of Black magic can inflict on themselves."
Harry listens intently to all of Merlin's explanations. "I think I understand all of that for now. I do have another question though. If for some reason a person uses some of the more damaging arts, be they Dark or Black, can they damages be lessened by the use of Light or White arts?"
"Yes and no." Merlin looks even more troubled. "Things like the unforgivables tend to be exponentially more damaging each time you use them, and addictive. Light magic does not have that effect on the caster and White magic would have to be cast on you by someone else with the intent to purify you of something specific. And no matter whether you can find someone to do that for you it still wouldn't do anything to treat the addiction. If you are worried about the spell you cast on the kin slayer, don't, she was quite right about your intent. Righteous anger and the wish for justice, no matter how much pain and anger involved, will not taint you."
Harry takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. "Well that's good then, even if the ministry might see things a bit differently."
"Oh I doubt the Ministry will say anything about you cursing an escaped convict, even if she does show up to file a complaint." Merlin smirks knowingly.
"At least not until I am no longer useful to them." Harry replies bitterly. "Then I wouldn't put it past them to interrogate me with versatium just on general principals."
"By then you will not need them at all. You can simply walk away when the time comes." Herne whispers in Harry's ear. "Now it is time for me to bestow my gift upon you."
"If you don't then you won't have to leave me." Harry says in a small voice pulling into himself.
"Oh Harry." Herne hugs him tightly. "If I don't then you will never wake up and even worse you would be stuck with Merlin to."
Harry tries to smile at Herne's attempt at humor. "I guess that would be a bad idea."
"Real life is a better choice, even if things aren't as easy as you might want it to be." Merlin puts in pragmatically.
"My gifts to you are the magics of nature and the elements in all the many facets each of those magical branches encompass. These abilities will emerge gradually as you learn to use each one, they will never come on suddenly threatening to overwhelm you the way some of your gifts may. If you ever find that you need help to learn my gifts ask the animals around you, they can help." Herne's arms tighten around Harry's waist one last time before they simply fade away.
Merlin isn't sure what to do as Harry crumples to the ground in tears, curling into a tight ball. He had not been exaggerating his lack of tact, he had never been good at handling emotions. Merlin sighs and sits down nearby unable to decide whether reaching out to his heir will help or make things even worse when he to has to leave as well.
As Harry's tears give way to hiccups he feels decidedly hollow inside. A hollowness that produces a feeling of need that is entirely alien to Harry.
"Something is missing." Harry struggles to sit up looking around wildly.
Merlin sighs again drawing Harry's attention instantly. "Most non-human species need a mate for their magic to fully mature, during the year when wizards are best secluded they need to be searching for their mates. Because of the diversity of beings in your background it will be impossible for all your instincts to be satisfied in a single individual. Also you have inherited from species that take prey not mates, those bloodlines awakening will cause similar sensations along with a hunger that normal food can not satisfy. What you have been feeling here is merely your inheritances settling into your core not an actual awakening, which will take place after you wake up. Hopefully gradually." Merlin mutters the last comment to himself.
Harry shakes his head in violent denial. "I won't do that, I can't."
"Hush lad, let me finish explaining, we will take care of that problem in just a bit." Merlin makes a vaguely soothing motion with his hand. "Now as I implied, each species that you are inheriting from will be drawn to a different set of characteristics. You will need to familiarize yourself with each species needs so you can understand and control your cravings. The better you understand each species the easier it will be and you will also be able to get the maximum out of any relationships you do have. This is very important my heir, because even after my intervention your magic will still seek out individuals who can stabilize your various inheritances."
"You're not making a lot of sense to me right now." Harry groans plaintively. "I got that my inheritances will make me crave things I don't want and I need to learn about them, but I already knew that."
Merlin snorts. "I suppose I was talking around what I was trying to tell you so you would understand my first gift better. My first gift is to release you from the compulsion to take a mate or seek out prey. This however does not mean your magic will not benefit greatly from having certain craving fulfilled or providing a surrogate source of compatible magic. This could come from close friends, familiars, or even the more usual choice of a lover or two." Harry sputters indignantly. "Oh for mercy's sake I am not suggesting you practice loose morals or unseemly behavior, I think you will find your werewolf 'uncle', your goblin mentor, and your owl familiar will stabilize most of your desires. You already have a standing offer from one who can help with the rest without putting you in danger or demanding anything you are not ready to give, you need to stop being such a prude."
"Excuse me." Harry growls. "I don't believe being picky' wanting something meaningful, reliable, and yes blast it romantic has anything to do with being prudish. Besides I really don't think an active incubus is a good one to judge the difference between moral standing and prudish behavior."
"There is the spine I like to see in my heirs." Merlin is relieved that he has managed to distract Harry from his sorrow.
Harry pinches the bridge of his nose where his glasses usually sit. "Since you are still here I presume you still have some more dubious advice to bestow along with at least one more gift."
"Yes I do, you have been given some gifts of pure knowledge. These gifts, while saving you the time of reading all the information the long way will still need to be studied before you can effectively use the information. That is one of the things the technique you call occlumency is good for." Merlin has to stop as Harry is overcome by another wave of sorrow.
"One day you will travel beyond this plane's confines. Those you have loved are not gone, they are in your heart and waiting beyond this flawed existence." Merlin fumes silently at the damage of every kind that has been heaped on his heir. "You are not responsible for other's choices. Yes your choices affect others, and some of them have been rash, leading others to make certain decisions you didn't like. But it was their choice, you have never chosen to hurt or kill simply to get your own way."
"They would have been better off without me. I have been nothing but a burden and a danger to everyone around me." Harry shudders and buries his face in his knees pulled up against his chest.
Merlin grips his staff tightly wishing he could throttle those who had brainwashed a child to believe such things. "Harry."
Merlin's use of Harry's first name snaps him out of his withdrawal. "Yes sir?"
"Question, did your relatives lie about magic and your parents?" Merlin asks trying to make his harsh voice as gentle as possible.
"Yes." Harry's emotions flounder confusingly at Merlin's question.
Merlin goes on before Harry has a chance to dissemble. "And is Dudley a smart handsome young gentleman?"
Harry snorts in disgust. "Maybe in comparison to a leech."
"Do you believe they would ever tell you the truth if it was in any way beneficial to you?" Would they lie to you if it would hurt you or force you into obedience?" Merlin's questions become much more pointed.
"Er, they hate me so no and yes." Harry says in a small voice. "They would do almost anything to make my life miserable."
"Then why do you still behave like they were right about you?" Merlin asks coldly. "From what I can sense about you and the way your other ancestors have behaved around you, even those that rarely got along with anyone, I can refute all their spiteful words. You are not stupid, they forced you through their abuse to get lower grades than their son. You are not a scrawny runt, they starved you. That vampire of yours is very particular about the looks of those he partners with, so you certainly are not ugly."
"He is not my anything, what is it about people that keep pushing him on me?" Harry yells surging to his feet.
"Perhaps because we know more about him than you do heir. For all that he was born a vampire he is a kind, generous, gentle being. He has spent aeons working vigilantly to lead his fellow vampires away from their violent and dark paths."
"You can always contact him in a more traditional way if you want to get to know him better." Merlin points out archly before going on with his dissection of Harry's childhood. "If the Dursley's had paid for a live in maid, butler, cook, and gardener they would have been broke within a month, so you were certainly worth a whole lot more that the scraps that you were getting. Now let us deal with what you thought your name was. Magic is a natural occurrence therefore you are not a freak. Actually we have no record of when or how magic became part of the human race so it is possible that originally all humans had magic and being 'muggle' was caused by a curse or a problem in birth."
Harry hunches his shoulders forward defensively. "I know, it's just hard."
"You were an innocent who only wanted to be loved." Merlin gentles his voice as much as he knows how. "It is hard to heal the scars they left on your spirit, especially when you have never been given the time to truly be at peace.
"Yeah it is. I asked for help even though it was so very hard. They ignored me, said it wasn't that bad that they were sure my aunt and uncle really loved me." Harry voice is bitter.
"It was not your fault, you did not deserve the way they treated you." Merlin wonders how many times Harry will have to be told that until he believes it.
"I never have to go back."
"No, they are gone."
"I don't feel any remorse that they are dead."
"That is hardly a surprise and it does not make you a bad person. After what they did to you the short span of suffering they did does not even begin to cover justice."
"Still if I hadn't been born . . ."
"Then they along with every muggle would have been exterminated like vermin or kept like animals as pets. That is of course assuming the muggle military didn't get involved and solve them problem using extreme measures." Merlin's voice is colder than ice, hoping to snap Harry out of his destructive mind set.
"This is so very hard. I don't really want all these titles and material things but I want to help in any way I can. I don't want Tom to benefit from my inactivity, from my weaknesses."
"I know my heir. Now calm yourself and let go of the pain and fears of your past. These things are passed they no longer exist, there is nothing that can be done to change any of it. Look forward, but always remember so that you do not repeat the mistakes you and others have made, prepare for the future."
"The future? The future is unknown, and best left that way. To much tragedy has already been caused by those who would tamper with what is come just because of a few vague hints at what could be."
"True, but ultimately that to is now in the past. Soon, perhaps even as soon as you awaken, the creature blood that has been awaked within you will begin to make itself known. You must learn to accept and control the abilities that will awaken without being controlled by the instincts that come along with them. It is imperative that you meld these new reservoirs of magic with your original or they will tear you apart leaving you nothing more than a mindless shell to be used by the magic raging within you with no control or compunction."
Harry shudders. "But how will I know that one of these inheritances has awaken and how do I know which species the change represents? Some of the species have very similar traits, and that is just taking into account of those I have heard of before."
Merlin gives Harry an uncomfortable look. "Unfortunately I can not tell which traits physical or magical will manifest for the different species. It varies greatly from individual to individual even with each species, add them all together and who knows. Just work through any unusual emotions or urges you get and continue being you."
Harry groans. "That was very helpful Great grand ancestor. Could you try being a little more obtuse, because I am terribly confused as it is."
"An example perhaps." Merlin pauses to think for a little while. "Say that your vampire traits awaken and you suddenly find yourself salivating over slamming someone against a wall and sinking your teeth into them, ask yourself why you want to hurt them or what a lovely headline that would make in the 'Daily Prophet'. Do anything you can that will bring your perspective back to being just Harry. You would also need to think through why that particular person made you react like that and allow yourself to accepting feeling that way."
"Oh, okay that makes sense." Harry ignores the lurch his stomach makes at Merlin's description and the stray thought of his meeting with Creavon. "Is there nothing you can tell me that might help me identify which species is awakening?"
"I suppose I can describe the most prevalent traits that manifest for the different species you are dealing with, but realize some of them are so unique and rare that even I am can only guess." Merlin organizes his thoughts before beginning down the long list of species that Harry might gain something from. "I will start with those few species that always mark their inheritors in a certain way. Selkies without exception have callused palms in human form. Similarly thunderbirds will have a series of small itchy bumps along the spine and shoulder blades where their wings would normally be attached. I am sure you noticed that Herne had horns, this many generations apart you most likely will not inherit fur and cloven hooves, yours would be smaller due to age and time. The most frequent physical manifestation of satyr blood is a noticeable loss of height and an exaggerated endowment; believe me it is obvious."
Harry slowly nods. "Those all sound fairly straightforward."
Merlin laughs quietly at Harry's stunned expression. "That is because they are, the rest become a bit more muddled. I suppose the vampire will also be fairly easy to predict; moon pale skin and fangs do tend to be quickly recognizable as will the craving for blood or rare meet. Veela, lenanshee, high elf, and peri will be immensely difficult to separate unless you are fortune enough to suddenly turn into a blond signaling the onslaught of veela traits. If you do not gain blond hair then the only real way of telling is the serpentine dance that is instinctual to the species."
Harry cringes at the thought of blond hair. "Blond?"
Merlin smirks. "Veela are blond, do not fret most of the initial physical traits are mere temporary warning signs of an impending awakening that will fade away upon proper incorporation. Beyond the slimmest of chances that the peri will manifest wings there really is not any way to separate them visually from high elves and lenanshee. All of them possess an ethereal beauty that marks them as non-human. The lenanshee will manifest certain cravings and enthrallment that peri and elves do not have."
Harry feels queasy about all of his non-human inheritance but the one that Merlin hasn't mentioned at all terrifies him. "Incubus?"
"There are two types. Those like my father, who while being very handsome, are not unnaturally beautiful. The inheritance from these types is mainly in magical strength and an elevated libido. The other type is not as magically strong, but much more dangerous. They are extremely beautiful making the initial attraction easier, their real danger lays in what happens once someone touches them. Even the barest touch can enthrall an unsuspecting individual, essentially making them an eager slave to the incubus' or succubus' every whim. It is unlikely that you will inherit those traits since they usually only awaken in succubus."
Harry tries to ignore the fissure of unease that goes through him at Merlin's words. "But if my core is fluctuating already and all these other things are threatening to tear it apart how will all this effect my normal magic? What about outside magic; like wards, travel, or the suppression charms that the goblins are going to provide me? Will I still be able to use my wand?"
"First only use suppression charms if you absolutely must, and do not wear them for very long. Wearing those things for more than a few hours at a time can lead to permanent damage to your growing magical core. As you learn to accept your non-human inheritances they will bond to your normal core allowing both to support and strengthen the other. Until then you will have to be very cautious while performing magic as it will be in a constant state of flux, causing some of your spells to not work at all while others will be far to powerful. It is a good thing you will not be returning to Hogwarts in the near future, while your wild outbursts might strengthen the wards they might also level the school. Other sources of outside magic are a mixed bag, most wards are perfectly fine unless they are designed to effect one of the species that you will be manifesting. Magical travel that is guided by outside magic is fine but do not even think of apparating yourself until after your next birthday. As far as someone trying to hex you there is not any way to gauge how your body and magic will react to that, some of your non-human species are both resistant and vulnerable to an assortment different types of magic. An example would be a fire spell, vampires are more vulnerable to fire whereas thunderbirds are highly resistant to it. I suggest you visit a wand shop or second hand store and acquire what at one time was called a training wand so that you do not burn out your main wand. Though you will probably need a different wand when all is said and done."
"Doesn't your staff act in the same may?"
"It does, but heed what you already know about wands. Though you are my heir and my staff will work for you, it will never respond to you like one that is solely yours will."
"I got ya. I have another question. Some of my other ancestors have given me items, how do I get a hold of them in the real world?"
"The same way you do here within your mind, just focus on calling the item you want to your hand." Merlin shifts his attention from Harry to the void around them. "You know you can make this mindscape of your look however you want it to."
"Why bother right no, I have no idea of how to get back here on my own." Harry takes an involuntary step back at the glare he receives.
"You need to learn how to enter your mind as soon as you can. Start with basic meditation, it will help create the foundation for your standard form of occlumency. It will also help you to relax so the assimilation of your inheritances will go more smoothly."
"Lovely more study topics." Harry grouses.
"When you can access your mind easily you will be able to learn how to use your gifts to their fullest extent." Merlin continues to glare. "While your new method of protecting your mind is useful you still need more than this to protect what you are hiding. It is easier to build such defenses from within your mind."
"Oh all right I get." Harry glowers at his mindscape. "I need to make a list like Hermione is so fond of doing. Things to learn immediately; meditation, occlumency, family history, non-human inheritances, inherited gifts, finances, excreta excreta."
"If that helps you keep you on track then by all means go right ahead and make as many lists as you want." Merlin snaps.
"Excuse me for being confused about which crisis takes priority." Harry yells back at him.
Merlin draws in a deep breath before slowly letting it out. "You are right my heir, you knew nothing of what was going to happen on your sixteenth and the rituals complicated the matter immensely."
Harry scuffs his feet. "I'm sorry I yelled. Sometimes I just get overwhelmed by everything."
"The most pressing issue is to learn as much as you can about the non-human species you are inheriting from so merging their magics will go as smoothly as possible. The other truly important thing is meditation; it will help you remain calm, speed up the merging process, give you a good bases for occlumency, and allow you to control all of your magics more effectively. Meditation should be enough to maintain whatever level of protection you establish during this visit, but only on a passive level. Do not worry about anything else until your inheritances have settled down. Then learning true occlumency will become your most important goal because it will allow you access your gifts of knowledge efficiently. It will make absorbing and recalling anything else you study quicker." Merlin gives a small smile. "You will have plenty of time to study the rest before you go back to school, the goblins will take good care of your interests until you can do it yourself."
Harry calms at Merlin's more logical approach. "That sounds a bit more manageable. Any more nerve wracking secrets you need to reveal before you move on?"
"That all depends on your nerves. My next gift to you is my grimore." A huge leather bound book appears between them. "This is both a physical item and a gift of raw knowledge that you will learn to access with your mind." Merlin drums his fingers against his staff. "There is so much you need to know about life in the magical world, without having been taught the most basic of things that an average wizard grows up with there are many things you will not understand about the knowledge you have been given."
"Tell me something I don't know. Merlin but I wish someone would just sit down and talk to me." Harry lets out a soft whimper. "I have got to go through all the stuff Sirius dumped in head during the adoption ritual, it we are lucky he went over some of the stuff I've been missing."
Merlin watches on worriedly as Harry clutches his head. "What if I waited a little while to give you my last gift, you could work on your mind's organization and defense, perhaps you will find something on meditation amongst all the clutter."
"That might be helpful, but I don't know. I can't keep letting myself rely on others for every little thing."
Merlin snorts derisively. "You barely trust anyone with anything, so I hardly think you can be accused of dependency."
Harry shakes his head in a sharp negative. "No, I let myself trust that others would tell me what I needed to know instead of researching things for myself. I trusted that they would tell me the truth, that I would be protected. Some of them might care for me, but only I can truly understand what I am going through. I should've stood up for my own path long ago. That's the one good thing I should have remembered from my time with the Dursleys, survival lies within your own ability to adapt and learn. Knowledge has always been the key to surviving."
"You need others to anchor you, to balance your magic." Merlin insists.
"Yes you've already explained that, and I hear what you are saying. I will find a way to mesh my messed up life back together. Those who I care for are part of that life now, I will not try to shut them out Merlin." Harry stares at Merlin with an intensity that is unnerving.
Merlin blusters thumping his staff on the ground. "The storm around your mind is calming, and do something about all this clutter. Take what I am offering you so you have less to worry about later. This most likely will be the only chance you get to work on this fully secure and uninterrupted. Believe me you do not want to wake up until your inheritances stop adding to your core."
"What does you staying here have to do with me not waking up precisely? You have referred to my not being able to wake up a couple of times."
"The old magic inherent in the ritual the goblins used draws your consciousness, deep into your own being. This allows us your ancestor to interact with you, it also makes it possible for us to determine which gifts and knowledge an heir can handle. Until the last of us is finished the old magic holds you here, then it will awaken you. The reason for this is that when the ritual was created it was assumed that a youth going through it would not yet be able to do it on their own especially under duress. It had the added benefit of dulling the majority of the pain you would otherwise be feeling during the process."
"If the pain I've been feeling is dulled then I'm glad that I do not have to experience full force." Harry sighs resignedly. "How much longer do you think it will take? And it just occurred to me to wonder why Morgana didn't seem to know as much about me as the rest of you do?"
"Because she did something to her token that allowed her to appear before your mind was completely attuned to the ritual, therefore she didn't have immediate access to all your memories when she butted in." Mer smirks. "To answer your other question, a full twelve hours is standard for a wizard inheriting from non-human bloodlines. For you I would estimate around twice that"
"You mean I'm stuck with you for another twelve hours? Insanity here I come." Harry wails while holding his head in mock despair.
"Practice your occlumency brat, and do something about this dreadful scenery while you are at it." Merlin swats at Harry gently.
"Yes Merlin." Harry skulks over to the current watery representation of his inner mind, flopping down on the bench like stone gracing the pond's margin.
Harry turns his back to Merlin to hide the smirk that suddenly appears on his face, it would seem the research notes Hermione foisted on him were going to come handy in a lot sooner than he had expected. Focusing carefully on the pond and the surrounding ground the water begins to flow over the banks of the pond in several directions. Each stream of water becomes another pool which in turn produces streams and more pools. Harry urges his mind to repeat the process over and over again until there is a massive maze of interconnecting pools of various shapes and sizes stretching out around him. Harry ignores Merlin's complaints about getting wet and turns his attention back to the original pool.
As his concentration sharpens Harry bring his memories to the surface of the pool, looking very much like a bunch of glowing ping pong balls. With a few moments of careful consideration the balls begin to change into a myriad of colors. From there the glowing memories begin to flow into the surrounding pools according to the color Harry had assigned to different types of memories. When Harry is satisfied with the dispersal of his memories they stop glowing and return to their translucent crystal states, sinking soundlessly out of sight. When the ripples cease Harry turns his attention to scattering bench stones randomly throughout his maze of pools.
Around the stones sprout groves of cypress trees, their branches covered in curtains of hanging moss. Thick blankets of rushes and reeds obscure the small pools and streams. A wild tangle of grass and weeds covers the ground hiding the sudden addition of quick sand and other traps.
"Harry?" Merlin yelps before levitating himself out of a newly created tar pit. "That was totally unnecessary."
A rude gesture is the only indication Harry gives to acknowledge hearing Merlin. Soon small insects and animals begin to populate the swap Harry has created. With each successive hour Harry adds larger and larger inhabitants, at least one of which is highly dangerous. As he works on his visualization Harry is so focused on what he is doing that he is unaware of the occurrence of several more power surges. When he is finally satisfied with his work Harry drifts into an even deeper state of meditation.
Deep within his own being Harry unwittingly anchors his creation and sets an unpredictable cycle of storms, fogs, and rain showers to hide his mind. With only a passing thought he also puts into motion the process for the rain to wash his loose memories into the center pool where he can sort them out at a later time. A particularly vicious stab of pain brings him back to conscious awareness of his own mind.
Harry glares at Merlin, rubbing a tender spot where Merlin had rapped him on the head with his staff. "What?"
"It is almost time." Merlin says placidly while standing carefully beside Harry on his stone.
Harry notices Merlin's position and slight stiffness of posture. "What is the matter Merlin?"
"Well there are mosquitoes, leeches, shrews, alligators, cougar, and an assortment of small theropods all out for blood."
"Not all the animals here are predators." Harry responds.
Merlin continues as if Harry had not spoken. "One also has to be aware of the quick sand, tar pits, dead falls, ankle nooses, trip lines, and spike pits. And your snakes do not like me."
"So it's the snakes that got to you huh, that interesting." Harry's lips twitch in amusement.
"Ha, ha very funny." Merlin glowers. "In know that you can talk to them but so can your rival, so is it wise to use them as part of your defenses?"
"Considering that there very existence relies on my safety and health they are totally loyal, beside they have instructions to attack any parseltongue but me the instant they try to talk to them." Harry smiles viciously.
"Humpf, well I do not speak the snake language and they still do not like me." Merlin brandishes his staff at the snake that is approaching them.
Harry shakes his head and picks up the tiny green garden snake that Merlin is threatening. "Who would believe that the wizarding world's dislike of snakes was spawned by the great Merlin's own phobia."
"Bah, being afraid of snakes is hardly irrational." Merlin edges away from Harry or more accurately the snake he is holding.
Harry bites his lip to keep from laughing while he gently puts the snake down. "You do realize that, that tiny little thing is not near as dangerous as the anacondas and king cobras that are roaming around? Aside from your unease with my snakes, what do you think of what I have done?"
"It is interesting, though I think the central pool is a bit to obvious." Merlin gestures with his staff.
"The pool is so obvious because it provides me with a landmark, the only things in there is a few inconsequential memories hidden in a shoal of crystal piranha. The rest of my memories have been shifted around to hidden pools still in their water globes. In those pools the piranha are only the first line of distraction and defense." Harry smirks. "When all is said and done the sorting hat was quite justified for trying to place me in Slytherin."
"I am proud of you my heir, you have done an impressive amount of work on your mental defenses. When you learn to return here on your own the only major thing you might want to add is a more solid outer barrier, with wards, beyond the storms to serve as an early warning and to ward off non-hostile intrusions. There are a few light wizards that practice mind arts as well as those who have a native ability to enter your mind usually without meaning to."
"Yes Merlin." Harry barely contains his urge to roll his eyes.
Merlin watches as Harry shudders his hair standing on end from the sheer magnitude of power seeping from the young wizard's skin. "It seems that it is time for me to go."
"Oh good," Harry flushes red, "er not that I don't like you or anything but you aren't the easiest of my ancestors to get along with."
Merlin chuckles. "All to true. Now my heir it is time, you have been under longer than even I was expecting, it is now three a.m. over a full day after you first began your sixteenth. You will have one last surge when you wake up as your mental and physical selves align, it will be painful my heir but there is nothing that can be done for that particular problem."
Harry pales as a sudden thought occurs to him. "If fate made me this strong, what must Tom be like?"
"Do not borrow trouble from the future my heir, it will find you soon enough." Merlin leans on his staff feigning calm even though he to has had that thought.
"Not reassuring Merlin, not in the least." Harry grouses.
"My heir, that thing marked you as his equal when you were but a babe. He only had your parents known bloodlines to judge you by. The prophecy states the he would mark you as his equal, which he did, it also states that you have a power that he knows not. That one line could mean any number of things, from the ability to love that your Headmaster goes on about to the extra bloodline you were adopted into to the entire breadth of power you are receiving. The seer never said who was truly the more powerful. Prophecy is an inaccurate field at the best of times, at its worst it is so convoluted that we all would be better off without it. Very few have any real gift for it, though there are things that almost any wizard can learn to do if they have a competent teacher. I learned to do scyings for lost items very well without any real tutorage, probably because I got tired of misplacing things all the time." Merlin grins a little at Harry's snickering. "Yes it is rather funny if you are not the one searching for the things. Back to the Tom issue, I do not think the level of your power will be a problem but you do need to make the most of the time you have to close the gap in knowledge and experience."
"Experience is the one that will be hardest to gain, there are no shortcuts to make up the difference." Harry looks resigned. "The only thing I can thing of that might give me a chance of bridging the gap between our experience levels is if I can keep the element of surprise with my real strength and gifts."
"A very good supposition. Now my final gift to you is one of my precocious companions. Ashindel (ash - shin - dell) is a ruby phoenix and was ancient when he first came to me, he will look after you when no one else can." Merlin gestures to the empty air between them. A dark red phoenix materializes in a swirl of fire and shadows next to Harry. His dark red plumage is tipped with black flames and he is much larger then Fawkes was the last time Harry had seen him. "Goodbye my heir."
Harry barely has time to acknowledge the phoenix before he begins falling, his body convulsing violently. Light explodes around him pulling him from his mind and into reality. With the return to consciousness Harry's pain multiplies beyond anything he has experienced before. The intensity of the pain wrenches a scream from him. Harry's scream seems to stretch beyond the capability of human lungs before the searing pain recedes leaving Harry slumped on the ground.
End Chapter 3
Thank you to all of those who have reviewed this story so far. Please keep reading.