DISCLAIMER: I do not own Harry Potter or anything related to that franchise, but it belongs to J.K. Rowling and some various other people.
SPECIAL DISCLAIMER: This is purely a work of fanfiction, an AU tale of Harry's seven years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. If I ever borrow from another source, such as another work of fanfiction, it will be properly cited and credited, although I doubt I'll want to borrow anything from anyone for this particular fic.
CONTENT WARNING: Anything you would see in the Harry Potter books themselves, you would see here. Some violence, a few character deaths, minor profanity, a little bit of blood… so, seeing as this is an AU story to the canon books, which somewhere along the way have crossed over from "children's literature" to something above that, I'd rate this "PG-13" or "T," depending on which ratings system you use.
SPOILER WARNING: Read the Harry Potter books first.
PAIRING WARNING: I don't know yet which pairings will be in this fic, but it won't have slash.
SUMMARY: Long ago, a powerful but obscure wizard named Pime built a magical tower, one which he deemed the most worthy could inhabit. But will it accept the young wizard known as Harry Potter? (AU TO THE ENITRE HARRY POTTER SAGA)
UPDATE, 8/12/2012: I have changed the title of this story from "Harry Potter and the Tower of Pime" to "Harry Potter and the Eternal Guardian", so you shouldn't be confused.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is an idea I've had for a while now, and decided to start but to get back to later. I intend to get back to this once I've finished reading the Harry Potter saga. But since I have the basic idea for it fresh in my head right now, why not at least write this? (A more detailed explanation for the inspirations of this fic can be found at the bottom after the story text.)
Harry Potter and the Eternal Guardian
Dedicated to J.K. Rowling herself for writing her Harry Potter books in the first place.
Thanks to my beta-reader and Brit-picker, Coulsdon Eagle.
"May you live in interesting times." –Chinese proverb
PROLOGUE: ANCIENT HISTORY
Northern Africa, circa 5500 B.C.
It was just another day in the life of Pim.
The young man was living with his tribe, foraging for food in the lush green lands which seemed to be shrinking with every passing generation.
Pim was also a restless young man. He was also… strange in a way.
He was strange in that he thought about things that no one else thought about. Where does the sun go during the night? Where do people go after they die? How did life come to be in the first place? What does the whole world look like? What is the world's actual shape?
However, Pim's elders simply told him that thinking too much and too often about such things would not do much good, especially those to which he may never find the answers.
And so, Pim went about, secretly going over things in his head even while he moved about with the rest of his tribe. They often journeyed towards the edges of the green lands to where there were hot, harsh desert sands as far as the eye could see.
However, in secret, Pim experimented with things which only he could seem to do. He knew the myths and legends of mighty beings which could do seemingly impossible things which mere mortal humans could not do.
It was all impossible, and yet it seemed as real as himself and the earth which he stood on. It was like…
He could make things float, come near him or farther from him… and was it him, or did he once manage to turn a handful of sand into a different color?
Pim was so thrilled and scared at the same time of his hidden powers, and thought it best to keep his powers secret.
Unfortunately for him, an event which would irreversibly change his life forever would change the secret status of his powers.
A young woman to whom Pim was attracted, named Amu, was searching for food for their tribe while simultaneously picking flowers for herself. However, using his "special" talents, Pim quickly detected a serpent sneaking in the tall grass, looking for a victim to strike at.
The creature hissed, and Amu suddenly stood ramrod straight, alert and tense. In the next instant, the thing hissed and leaped, hoping to strike with deadly intent.
She screamed, and Pim acted fast to do something – anything – to save her life.
With a sudden motion of his hand as if grasping out for something, the serpent suddenly froze in mid-air, level with Amu's heart and its teeth-baring head mere inches away from her terrified face.
It was quite disconcerting to see, as it was so… unnatural.
Amu's scream caught the attention of the rest of the tribe, who gazed at the bizarre spectacle, stupefied and dumbfounded. They were also gawking and pointing at Pim, some with awe but most with fear.
Deciding to do something quick before the serpent could move again, Pim tossed it several meters away and out of sight with a sweeping motion of his hand.
There was an awkward silence, while everyone tried to make sense of what had happened. Hoping to make things better, Pim knelt down and deftly swooped up the beautiful flowers which Amu had dropped when the serpent attacked her. He then offered them out to her with a smile.
Unfortunately, Pim's actions, however noble and heroic and well-meaning as they were, did not make such a good impression on Amu.
If it was possible, she actually looked more scared of him than of the serpent.
Pim would later observe how human beings tended to believe the worst in people, and how sometimes people would rather look for convenient scapegoats rather than actual culprits to blame. It was this single and defining event in Pim's life which would teach him that important albeit painful lesson.
Scared and terrified of Pim now, they started yelling curses and epithets, throwing rocks clumps of dirt and rotten fruit at him. Unable to find a way to pacify them without using his powers again, Pim felt he had no choice but to flee, or at least for now before they would calm down and he could try and reason with them.
Pim was driven deep into the desert, where he braved the elements and creatures that lived in this dreary land. The searing sun shone overhead, the scorching sands burned beneath his feet, but Pim just kept walking on.
As the sun was now mercifully setting in the evening, a day or so later after the confrontation with his tribe, the air began to get cooler, and the ground became more bearable to walk on.
As night fell, Pim stumbled into a cave, where he could hear the dripping of water. Half-crazed, half-exhausted, he stumbled into the cave and greedily lapped up the water.
A moment later, however, he heard a growling sound.
The beast – whatever it was – roared and lunged at him. Summoning his magical powers once again, Pim threw the beast back against the opposite wall of the cave.
The beast was lightning-quick to respond, and as Pim was trying to move out of the way to flee back out of the cave, the beast lunged at him. It clawed at his chest, leaving some gashes which began to bleed, and Pim stumbled back against the jagged rocky wall, which glittered a strange kind of dark red.
Screaming out in pain, and fueled by his desire to live, Pim mindlessly lunged out at the beast, punching it in the jaw and knocking it senseless. As the beast recovered, Pim called upon his emotions, all of his fear, anger and hatred, and his desire to kill the beast in order to survive.
Just as he was focusing his energy, the beast regained its senses, and leaped, intending to strike the finishing blow to this human intruder.
With a mighty shout, Pim succeeded in his goal to survive. May it be destroyed, he thought to himself as he shouted in rage, an incantation reflecting the feelings stirring in his soul at that very moment.
There was a rushing sound, and a sickening green light shot out of his hand and at the beast, catching it in mid-air. A moment later, there was a lifeless thud as the beast landed on the cave floor in what must have been an uncomfortable position.
After a moment in which there was silence except for the continued steady dripping of water, Pim hoisted himself up to regain control of his body. He then noticed the small chunk of rock sticking out of his lower back. Grinding his teeth in pain, he twisted the rock and yanked it out.
It appeared that, somehow, the small rock had turned blood-red between when it made contact with Pim and when he yanked it out of his back.
He could already feel some relief, now that he had removed it, but as he looked at it, he felt like keeping it, for whatever reason. Maybe as a souvenir, perhaps?
After putting it away in a pouch which he carried with him, Pim carefully walked over to observe the beast. It did not move at all, and did not even so much as breathe. Its eyes just looked out ahead, but did not look at all.
The beast was dead.
Pim was alive.
As Pim reveled in jubilation at his triumph over the beast, he wandered out of the cave, wondering what other magical things he could do.
However, after he took a few steps outside from the cave entrance, Pim began to feel something else. He felt remorse, regret, and sorrow.
He had just taken another being's life. Not a human being's life, granted, but that thought alone made him feel even worse if he had killed another human being, just like that.
Deciding that he had been away for long enough, Pim decided to trek all the way back to where his tribe would most likely be by now.
And so, more than a day later, Pim returned to his tribe.
There was one problem, however: They were all dead. It looked like a massacre had taken place. Pim had looked around, going from body to body, trying to see if anyone had survived. Unfortunately, no one had survived. However, the strangest thing was how they had strange marks on their bodies, indicating that they had not been killed normally, as if they had been strangled or bludgeoned to death. Yet, as far as he could tell, it was not by magical means, and no one else in the tribe had magical powers like him.
And so, Pim carried out the sorrowful task of collecting the bodies and cremating them.
However, he had noticed that there was one person missing: Amu. Had she lived? Had she fled somewhere?
But deep down, maybe it was best this way, for Pim to not see her, let alone think of her, again.
As time went on, as seconds and minutes and hours and days and weeks and months and years went by, Pim figured out that something had happened. Somehow, Pim had become immortal, living forever and unable to die.
Resigned to his fate, Pim simply lived on.
Egypt, c. 1250 B.C.
Pitmose had just heard the news.
The Hebrews had escaped from the Pharaoh and his armies on their Exodus back to their original land.
For thousands of years, the young man once known as Pim lived in a land which would later be known as Egypt or Misr, and had changed his name to "Pitmose" in order to blend in. However, since he now had some measure of immortality, he had to be careful to make sure that no one knew or even suspected that he was no mortal man. He did things like cut his hair or let his hair grow, or gain weight or lose weight… that kind of thing.
Lots of powerful men (and maybe the occasional women) known as pharaohs would come and go, spending their entire reigns building and preparing their tombs for when they finally passed on, but Pim – sorry, Pitmose – still lived on.
How ironic, that in a civilization whose culture placed special emphasis on immortality in life after death, Pitmose should be the only one who was achieving immortality by not dying at all.
As far as he could tell, the ancient Egyptians were the first great civilization ever to grace the world. Aside from what would later be considered their great achievement, the Great Pyramids, the Egyptians had also made significant developments in mathematics, science, astronomy, medicine, architecture and art.
But there was one particular aspect of this society which only a small portion of its denizens knew about: Magic.
Pitmose knew how to make potions, transform objects, charm or enchant them, take care of (or defend oneself against) magical creatures, and countless other things.
But Pitmose also saw that there was a "light" side to magic and a "dark" side to it as well. Sometimes very powerful magic came at too high a price for any human to reasonably pay. There were also physical, mental, moral, ethical and spiritual concerns to take into consideration when it came to these kinds of matters.
He recalled how, a few millennia ago, he had taken that beast's life through what he might classify as Dark Magic… something about it which preyed upon a person's soul…
As the years and decades and centuries and millennia had passed, Pitmose had taken great care not to let his… unique situation cloud his judgment. But he also made sure that he didn't get too close to anyone, either. If he was going to live beyond everyone he ever met, then there was no point in getting close to anyone.
The only people he ever "got close" to in any sense were his students whom he taught in the magical arts. Otherwise, his only companions were that blood-red stone which he carried with him as a souvenir., as well as one other special item: His magical staff. Made out of a big, solid length of oak, he put into its core a phoenix feather, a dragon heartstring and a unicorn hair. And he had also long since figured out how he could do great and amazing things by having different incantations to command his staff to carry out different spells.
He could also never afford to leave behind any record of his extensive magical knowledge, which went beyond several human lifetimes. Whatever he wrote on papyrus for his own knowledge, he would destroy later.
And from lifetime to lifetime, Pitmose would move on, continuing to teach magic but staying out of history's way.
Greece, c. 403 B.C.
Pymos, as he was now known in this part of the world, now lived in a remote area in the hills of Greece.
Throughout the past several centuries, Pymos watched and observed as Greece came out of its Dark Age and began to flourish into a civilization that could possibly rival even Egypt in the older days. Over time, the Greeks had learned to write with an alphabet, started their special Olympic games, developed theatre, created the polis (or city-state)… but perhaps the most important achievement of all was the creation of a new system of government: Democracy.
Derived from their words which meant "rule by the people," the Greeks decided to try a system in which they were not ruled by monarchs or wealthy people, but by themselves.
Well, this should make for a very interesting era, Pymos privately mused.
And in the meantime, Pymos simply continued his secretive teachings to young wizards and witches. And yet at the same time, Pymos was also teaching himself; he was constantly making new discoveries in the field of magic, as well as studying new inventions which the Greeks were making and seeing how he could magically improve upon them.
However, Pymos hadn't always stayed in Greece after leaving Egypt. While Greece was in its Dark Age, he had wandered around the European continent for years, from the Ural Mountains which divided it from Asia in the east to the Iberian Peninsula in the west, encountered numerous and varying barbaric tribes along the way.
However, to the north above the region which would be later known as Gaul and later still as France, there were isles with rather unique local peoples. They built large circular structures out of enormous slabs of stone or lengths of wood, where rituals were carried out. It was known to the Greeks as Albion, but later on the Romans would know it as Britannia. Pymos decided that these not-so-distant isles could make for a rather convenient place to live in seclusion, should the occasion ever arise.
But in the meantime, Pymos would continue doing his magical research: Transfiguration, charms, potions, astronomy, divination, arithmancy, runes, magical plants and creatures, and so many other subjects… it was all good fun.
Greece, c. 306 B.C.
Pymos had arrived in Athens just in time to hear the news.
The mighty Alexander, whose empire spanned across the three continents of Europe, Asia and Africa, had died.
Even now, as his successors were declaring themselves to be king, Pymos still kept to himself, secretly disguising his immortality and his magical teachings.
In later times, Alexander would be known as Alexander the Great, and his empire and blending of cultures would be known as Hellenistic (or "Greek-like," as opposed to the Hellenic culture which existed before that), although Pymos didn't know any of that just then. However, he did sense that he was now living in the beginning of a very interesting time period.
He would look forward to adding all these new discoveries to his own "vault of knowledge" as he called it, even though it may not have been a vault in the literal sense of the word.
But soon enough, Pymos would begin construction of his own personal vault or sanctuary of sorts somewhere in Albion. Who knew, maybe he could build his own little permanent home there…
Rome, 44 B.C.
Pimus never ceased to marvel at how he was living through history, remembering how he could remember just where he was and what he was doing whenever he heard the news of some monumental, world-shaking event.
Julius Caesar, who had been appointed dictator for life earlier in the year, had just been assassinated on the Ides of March.
Pimus just knew that, whatever happened next, there would be tough times ahead.
But even then, he couldn't allow the chaos to undo some of the work he was doing. He was also discretely contributing to creating one of the first-ever magical schools in the known world.
The wizards in society were now also creating their own official albeit secret governments and societies, separate from and yet hidden in the mundane, non-magical worlds. These things might have come to pass in the old Hellenic and Hellenistic societies, had non-magical political events not interfered in that respect.
And yet, whenever he could, Pimus also traveled to Britannia to work on his own private sanctuary. A place where he could remain secluded from the rest of the world, the world which he was trying to live in but not get noticed too much in.
In the meantime, Pimus continued to study his Latin. It sounded like a beautiful, interesting language to use for magical spells, or at least in his honest opinion.
Gaul, 476 A.D.
It finally happened: The world had ended.
Or, at least, one civilization in the world ended.
Rome had existed one way or another, for more than a thousand years: First as a kingdom, then as a republic, and then as an empire. But now, it all ended.
The German commander Odoacer managed to depose the final western emperor, the boy Romulus Augustulus.
The Roman Empire might have managed to buy itself a little more time buy accepting this relatively new religion known as Christianity which was sweeping through the empire, but even that couldn't stop it from breaking up and finally collapsing.
With the end of the Roman Republic, the civilization had merely changed into the Roman Empire, even though it had indeed been a turbulent transition for Roman civilization. But this…
Well, at least Pimus had an escape route.
On his belt, he wore many different special kinds of items: Some of them were potions, others were devices and other objects.
Taking out a special potion which he had been working on lately, Pimus opened it, drank it down, and waited a moment to let the potion work. During that moment of waiting, he took out a special type of clothing which he himself had invented – he called it an "Invisibility Cloak" – and quickly put it on, completely concealing himself. As he felt his special potion take effect, he ran at twice the top speed which even the fastest athlete could run at. Anyone who might have saw a trail of dust being kicked up or some whooshing sound would have just thought it was the wind or some kind of wild animal.
Once he got to the shoreline in northern Gaul, Pimus quickly took out and magically activated his special "invisible boat" by restoring it to its proper size. Unseen and speedy, he would be back in Britannia by dawn.
It was perfectly visible now, but once it was back to its functional size, and carrying its passenger aboard, it would render both itself and its passenger invisible, and take off.
As Pimus traveled across the channel between Gaul and Britannia on his invisible boat, the only tell-tale sign of their existence along the way was the small path left behind them in the water.
Hours later, just as the sun's first rays crept over the horizon in the east, the boat gently came ashore in lower Britannia. Discretely looking around, he then shrunk his invisible boat back to its smaller size, and took out another one of his special speed-increasing potions to drink down and continue the rest of the way to his own personal sanctuary at a rapid pace. Hours later, he arrived at his sanctuary, magically hidden in a mountain range far to the north, in the land of the Ordovices, a discrete distance from the druidic stronghold of Ynys Mons.
Pimus' personal sanctuary was hardly anything grand. It was only two levels tall, and would hardly even compare with a Roman villa. But underneath the structure itself was a spacious cellar, where Pimus could safely perform his magical experiments and research, and safely store whatever knowledge and possessions which he owned.
However, in this uncertain and brave new world, Pimus didn't know what to expect. While he had lived through millennia and had seen and remembered many things from the past, he could by no means predict the future. In fact, he did not even hold much faith in divination or any other means to predict the future.
Still, either way, at least this gave him in time to… renovate his sanctuary a little.
Somewhere in the British Isles, 500 A.D.
It had taken a few years, but he finally completed his project.
Pim (as he now called himself once again, having given up changing his name to suit the dominant civilization of the day) had magically transformed his "house" into a tower, at least a dozen levels tall. At the very top level were his living quarters, while everywhere in between the top and the ground level, where various laboratories and libraries were situated. There was a small courtyard and garden behind what he considered to be the "back" of the tower, in which he grew plants and trees, and raised whatever creatures he felt like raising at the moment, be they magical or mundane.
Pim would have contributed more to the magical society and development in this new world, but everything was still in disarray from Rome's fall as Britannia entered what would be later known as the Dark Ages. And so, Pim now just kept to himself, continuing his life and work in his tower.
But one day, he felt like getting out and about, instead of being cooped up in his sanctuary, no matter how wonderful it was.
Taking his staff and usual possessions which he typically carried with him, he used magic to transport himself almost instantly across the British Isles to a relatively large settlement approximately fifty-five miles away from the southern coast, or "teleported" as he called it (a method which wizards in later times would refine and call Apparition).
The settlement of Londinium (which would be known later on as London after several centuries and being renamed a few times) was largely abandoned after the fall of the Roman Empire, but while the mundane, non-magical folk (now being called "Muggles" or something like that) were more than happy to move in, the wizards were keeping their secret places hidden using those special spells while Pim had discretely helped develop centuries before.
Today, everyone was out hawking their goods, trying to convince passers-by to buy them, as usual. Pim simply walked about, taking in the atmosphere.
But that would all change soon enough…
Without warning, an increasingly thick fog rolled through the street, confusing and alarming everyone present. After all, it was a sunny day without only a few small clouds in the sky. Pim personally had a bad feeling about this…
Suddenly, a female voice shrieked out, "Avada Kedavra!"
Everyone screamed and ran or ducked, and there was a green light and a rushing sound, going straight for Pim. He just narrowly jumped out of the way as it blasted a small crater out of the ground near his foot.
But what surprised him the most was how it reminded him of something he had done before himself, where he had killed that beast millennia ago…
Pime had learned many languages throughout his astoundingly long life. He had learned Egyptian, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and several other important languages which were used around the Mediterranean Sea. The recognized the language as one similar to Hebrew known as Aramaic, and the words "avada kedavra" meant "may it be destroyed" (which he could also recognize from its Hebrew analog "abra kedabra").
What in the world? he thought dazedly.
As the fog cleared, a cloaked and hooded figure sauntered forward.
"What's the matter, Pim? Don't know what to do?"
What nearly caused Pim to fall over right then and there was how this new person addressed him by his original name in his native language.
But how was that possible? His native language died out millennia ago, about the same time as when Egypt first became a civilization, and there could be no one left alive who could possibly know his original name.
And yet that voice sounded eerily familiar…
"Who are you?" he asked, remembering how to speak his native language even after all this time.
"You don't recognize me?" the person said tantalizingly.
"No," he said flatly.
"I'm insulted, Pim. But if you need a reminder of who I am… then why don't I just show you who I am?"
And with that, the person slowly removed her hood.
The shock which Pim felt upon seeing that face again was like nothing which he had felt before.
"Amu," he breathed, completed stupefied.
Pim remembered her lovely dark features, and it looked as though she had not aged a day since that one fateful day when she drove him away and she last saw her. But now there was also a sort of dark gleam in her eyes, one which did not put his mind at ease.
"It's been quite a while, hasn't it, Pim?" she said with a laugh. "More than five thousand years!"
"How?" he asked to no one in particular.
"Remember when you killed that beast in the cave? And you got that rock stuck in your side?"
Pim slowly nodded, although he wondered how she could have possibly known about that.
"I saw the whole thing happen. I bet you didn't realize that with your magic touch, about when you killed the beast with the predecessor to the Killing Curse, you somehow changed the stone so that it became a magical object which could grant somebody immortality. The change in color, to its blood-red hue, was an indicator of this change."
Pim tried to come to terms with this startling revelation. So the blood-red stone which he had been carrying with him this whole time was the reason why he was immortal? If he had known that, he would have simply thrown away the stone, and let himself die as it was natural to do.
"But I'm sure you didn't realize how there was a piece of the stone left in your back, and by having the stone itself in your body, near your vital organs, it not only gave you immortality, but it also gave you incredible healing powers. I bet you didn't notice it because it was a part of you, and you never detected it inside your own body. The wound most likely healed over it."
Pim continued to listen to Amu, hiding his shock all the while. He subconsciously moved to run his hand over his back, but stopped himself from doing so, keeping his attention focused on the matter at hand.
"How did you see what had happened with the beast in the cave? You were with the others after they drove me out."
Here Amu's face darkened, as if her natural beauty had fled from her even though her face had not changed, physically or magically.
"You were not the only one with latent magical powers, just waiting to become active. Barely an hour after we all drove you out into the desert, something happened to me. My own magical powers were manifesting. But then my magic went crazy… lights and colors flashed everywhere, among other things happening… I couldn't control it. The rest of the tribe, who had acted in my defense just an hour before, now turned on me as well, just like they turned on you. I tried to reason with them, but to no avail. But then they tried to kill me…"
Here, Amu's face became truly sinister.
"I killed them. I killed them all."
Pim's eyes widened. So that was why they were all dead when he had returned…
But then he also realized something else. When one magical person saved the life of another, a bond was formed between them, known as a life debt. However, Pim had also seen incidents where ugly things happened when an ungrateful person tried to deny the life debt or show ingratitude to the person which it was owed…
"Why did you do it, Amu?" he asked hoarsely. "What could you have possibly gained from killing them all?"
"It's the principle of the matter, Pim," she said as though that explained and justified everything. "They should have known better than to do that to me and treat me with such disrespect. But I also profited from their deaths, making me more powerful…
"You see, Pim," she continued, "We witches and wizards are more powerful and overall better than mere mundane people. We don't deserve to be treated that way. We should be the ones in charge of the world, not hiding ourselves to protect their own ignorance of people, beings and things which they cannot see or otherwise sense!
"However… in the five thousand years or so since we last met, I've taken the time to think about things, Pim. I admit maybe I was ungrateful to you when you saved my life that day. Besides, not only did you save my life, but you also helped bring forth my latent magical powers.
"Why don't you come with me, Pim. We could be together forever. We could rule the entire world! While you've mainly stayed in this region of the world, Pim, I've explored as much of this world as I could, from country to country, from continent to continent… and believe me, Pim, it would be worth the effort, and beyond that!"
Pim was dazed by everything which Amu was claiming and implying. She was beyond reason… she was insane!
"You show me such ingratitude… you kill the rest of our tribe… you propose that we take over the entire world for ourselves… and you ask me to be with you?" he asked her, unable to believe what he was hearing.
"We could give it another chance, Pim," she told him, appearing to be completely oblivious to his revulsion. Her tempting smile could have charmed even a most hard-hearted person.
Pim took a deep breath, and prepared himself for her reaction to what he was about to say.
"I cannot be with you, whoever you are… for the Amu which I knew lived a very long time ago, and you are not her."
Within an instant, her tempting smile melted away in place of a very stone-hard face.
"Very well, Pim." (Here she spat out his name like it was an ugly curse.) "If you do not wish to live with me… then you can die before me!"
And with those words shouted, she launched her attack.
The two of them would battle for less than twelve minutes, but the intensity of that battle would be something which neither combatant would forget. It would also be fortunate for the both of them, seeing as there were practically no Muggles around and all the witches and wizards who had been watching this strange display at first had now fled for their own lives.
Both of them began launching impressive magical tricks at each other (which also caused some considerable damage to the surrounding buildings on the street), but that quickly got to a point where they would instead simply counter each other's spells. After that, it quickly became a duel where they battled with their magical staffs, trying to get some magical spells in edgewise whenever they could.
Twelve minutes after their duel had started, both of them were pressing against the other with their staffs, both of them locked in place, neither of them gaining or surrendering an inch of ground.
"What's the matter, Pim?" Amu taunted him. "Unable to win? Are you simply that weak to beat me?"
Righteous fury boiled up inside of Pim, anger at her unbelievable gall and audacity for everything which she had done, to him, their long-dead tribe, and who knew how many other people she had come across over the millennia.
His desire to show her up and set her straight finally manifested itself, and so his own staff charged up with incredible magical energy, from which fire snaked out and found Amu's magical staff; promptly burning it to ashes. She instantly dropped it as her own hands nearly caught on fire, and she screamed as she quickly dropped to her knees and pounded her hands against the moist ground, which was still damp from the mist which she had summoned for her entrance.
Quickly seizing his chance, Pim swung around with all his might and struck her in the back of the head with his staff; the loud impacting sound even made him wince a little.
Convinced that she was knocked unconscious, Pim then turned his attention to the rest of the street. Signs of their duel were evident practically everywhere he looked; one building was on fire, another was partially collapsed… and were a bunch of ferrets streaming out of that building over there?
Turning away from his fallen opponent, Pim went about casting spells from where he stood, undoing all the damage which was caused from their battle.
However, Amu was not as incapacitated as she appeared to be…
She had feigned unconsciousness, but also used some magic to help put on a convincing act. No sooner than had Pim cast the final spell to undo all the final damage which was caused then did she strike.
Pim felt an excruciating pain in his lower back, reminding him of how he accidentally got a chunk of that rock embedded into his back in the beast's cave. However, as it was too late, he quickly deduced what was happening.
Behind him, Amu was stabbing into his back with a dagger, using her magic to guide her towards the small stone still stuck in Pim's lower back. A moment later, she completed her sinister surgery and yanked it out.
Pim screamed and dropped to his knees in pain, using his staff to support himself upright. Twisting around to peer over his shoulder, she saw Amu wickedly grinning, victorious.
"Remember this, Pim?" she asked in her honey-sweet yet malicious voice, holding out the small, pebble-sized blood-red stone in her hand. Using some of her innate magical power which she could still manifest without a staff or some other magical object, she crushed it to dust in her hand, and let the blacked particles of dust fall out of her hand to the ground for both of them to see.
Pim felt his strength weakening, and his anger rising…
"You really should have accepted my offer, Pim," she said with mock remorse. "We could have been the rulers of this world, and we could have been together forever…"
"You fail to realize, Amu," he ground out, "that some things are simply not worth it."
"Aw, such wise words from a dying fool," she taunted him. "But while we're at it… do you have any last words, Pim?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact, I do," he said, suddenly smirking. Amu frowned; what could he possibly be thinking at this very moment?
And in a flash with surprising speed, Pim whipped his hand out of a pouch on his belt, clutching his larger blood-red immortality-granting stone as a souvenir. Using his own magic, he charged it with the special kind of power needed to reverse its effect, so instead of granting life, it would take life away. As it glowed a bright white light, he yelled at flung it straight at her.
Amu was so transfixed by this unexpected move that she did not even think of trying to leap out of the way until it was too late. She screamed a horrific, hair-raising scream as this small bright light made contact with her. The next instant, she exploded in a blast of light, color and sound.
A moment later, Pim uneasily got to his feet and inspected the spot where Amu had previously stood. There was no physical trace of her left, not even a speck of flesh, a drop of blood, or a fragment of bone; he had completely obliterated her physical body. He thought he might have seen some smoky grey wisps dissolving into the air, but a second look told him that they were not there.
Perhaps I should have just stayed home today, he mused as he tenderly reached around to feel the spot where she had stabbed him to extract the small stone which was embedded in his lower back all this time. It was as bad as he feared: He was mortally wounded.
Summoning all the energy he could, he clutched his staff and teleported back to his tower.
As he staggered about his magical abode, he suddenly thought about something: What if Amu was still alive somehow? After all, she had faked her death once before, by simply disappearing after massacring the entire tribe thousands of years ago…
However, Pim created this "immortality stone" or whatever it was called quite by accident, and he didn't have the knowledge, nor the time to try and create a new one.
If only there was some way to preserve himself somehow without corrupting his being as though he were using dark magic…
But a moment later, Pim had an idea.
The magical wards which helped to protect this tower were what he considered to be revolutionary, where the tower itself had a kind of sentience or intelligence to itself, to help distinguish friend from foe, or to help ward off any potential threats to the tower or any of its occupants. Perhaps he could find a way to keep his soul with the tower itself…?
Yes. Yes, he could do that.
Taking one last look around and putting everything in order, Pim staggered down to the cellar which made up the underground level, and used his magic to open up a sort of trapdoor near one of the walls. As he descended into this lower compartment, it shut behind him.
This was a big, circular room, about ten feet high and about fifty feet across in diameter. Pim staggered down a staircase cut out of the circular inner wall, and walked with the aid of his staff towards the center of the room. There was a sort of bier or altar, one which he designed to lie on and heal himself, should something ever happened to his unexplainable ability to live immortally and heal quickly.
At the head of the bier was a circular hole in the floor, which was designed for his staff to be inserted into. Gazing reverently at his magical yet inanimate and non-living companion, which he had always taken care of and improved over the years whenever he could, Pim raised it up and drove it down into the hole, firmly securing it in place.
As his life and his physical strength now departed from him even faster than before, Pim steadied himself and walked around to the edge of the bier. The next moment, he hoisted himself up onto it, and laid himself onto it. Faint small lights and panels on the top and side lit up, indicating he was now magically connected to the bier, his staff, and the rest of this room which made up the very foundations of the entire castle. Laying on his back and looking up to the ceiling before closing his eyes, he gave one last magical command, in his mind: Let me become one with this tower in spirit.
And with that, Pim died.
A few moments later, however, those faint small lights and panels lit up again, as did angular, vein-like lines which ran from the bier and staff across the floor and up the walls and ceiling. Those lights became even brighter as they ran up to the rest of the tower, connecting Pim's body and spirit to the rest of his tower and property.
And suddenly, Pim was alive again… in a sense.
His soul was now alive, aware and active again, and he felt completely new sensations as he became like a part of the tower. It was unlike anything he had felt before… and anything he could ever truly describe.
However, he could not move his physical form or leave this area to go anywhere else. If he were to stay active this entire time in this way, he would have nothing to do but utilize the possessions which he already owned, for an indeterminate amount of time.
Besides, if there was anything which humans feared more than death or pain, it was boredom.
Sooner or later, Pim would need someone to come along and help him, to make absolutely sure of Amu's defeat and how she was no longer a threat to this world or anyone in it. But he could not just let anyone with magical abilities access his tower or anything inside of it. So what could he do?
He could find a way to let the tower know when to let someone with the desirable qualities and attributes come along… a person who might be worthy enough to enter there, and maybe even dwell there if that person needed to do so.
Being a sentient and intelligent being in itself, even without his soul merged with it through that special chamber at its very foundations, the tower understood. One of the great things about magic was how it could understand and comprehend things in ways which transcended even normal human logic and emotion.
After he gave some last commands for the tower to carry out as it preserved itself for its indeterminate long wait for the right person to come along, Pim gave one last special command for his own body and soul.
A few moments later, some kind of crystal-like substance formed on the bier around the edge of his body, and grew over him, completely encasing his body. It had an ice-like quality to it, even though it was not cold, and if one were to look at it, one would have a hard time making out Pim's features through the blurry material and its crystalline pattern.
It was not just out of fear of boredom, but out of concern for conserving magic, that Pim had both himself and the tower go into a deep sleep, waiting for the right time.
And so the tower and everything inside it became hidden from the rest of the world, even from the magical world which was concealed within the non-magical world.
However, one family of wizards which lived not too far from the tower had noticed this solitary wizard constantly coming and going from something there, one which they themselves could not find no matter how hard albeit discretely they looked. All they could learn about this wizard who kept to himself was that his name was "Pim." And sometimes, every several days or nights, this family of wizards thought they could see some enormous, tall object like a tower, but every time they tried to get a second glance, it was not there anymore.
They tried to tell other people about their suspicions, but with how boring and vague their theories and descriptions were, it never caught on as a myth or fable or any kind of story which would be passed down through the years and the generations. So, this family mainly kept to themselves whenever they came up with some fantastic ideas about what they called "The Tower of Pim."
And so, the days passed, which turned into weeks, months, years… and the world went on. Civilizations, cultures and ways of life rose and fell, new ones came along while old ones either died out or somehow managed to survive with varying degrees of change and adaptation.
And for that entire time, Pim and his tower lay dormant, hidden and invisible to the rest of the world. It was situated in what was known as Snowdonia, in the mountainous region of northwest Wales.
However, it would be nearly fifteen hundred years before someone worthy of Pim's acceptance finally came along and gained access to his beloved tower.
His name was Harry Potter.
AUTHOR'S NOTES:Well, how's that for a start?
Regarding this part's title… well, it is the prologue, and it deals with Pim's sojourns through ancient history. (Although, admittedly, the Justice League Unlimited episode "Ancient History" did come to mind as I was writing this.)
Now, the first thing you're wondering about is probably something like this… Where did the author get such a name for a fic like "Tower of Pime"? The truth is, I got it from no real source in particular. Don't ask me specifically how, because my mind can sometimes work in strange ways, jumping around a lot from one idea to the next. However, the word "prime" was an influence, and the word means, among many things, "first" (from the Latin primus). It also sounds like the word "pie," or even the Greek letter Π (Pi). I also showed how, over time, Pim changed his name slightly and accordingly: First Pim, then Pitmose (ancient Egyptian), then Pymos (ancient Greek), then Pimus (ancient Latin), and finally Pim again.
UPDATE, 8/12/2012: Well, it's no longer "Harry Potter and the Tower of Pime" but "Harry Potter and the Eternal Guardian", for reasons which will become apparent later on...
Also, as for the name of that young woman… "Amu" sounded Egyptian enough, but I got it from the Latin words amor (the noun meaning "love") and amare (the verb meaning "to love"). For example, amo literally means "I love." Also, aku just happens to be the Japanese word for "evil" (and was also the name of the villain from that animated series Samurai Jack).
Now, as for the other big question… How will this be AU to the entire HP saga? The answer is that Harry manages to run away from the Dursleys at least a year before his eleventh birthday, and accidentally finds the Tower of Pim. He lives and learns there, and manages to overcome his years of living with the Dursleys, at least somewhat. The result is a somewhat different Harry Potter.
I know lots of people dislike things about the canon books in that Harry has to live with the Dursleys outside of Hogwarts, he doesn't seem to learn enough to prepare him for his destiny against Voldemort, etc. In this, I plan to tackle those issues without making Harry a sort of perfect, unbeatable superhero or something like that. I'm not saying that J.K. Rowling herself definitely went wrong somewhere with writing her fantasy saga, because it's not my place to say. But I can try to write this fanfic, and see how different some things can be.
After the end of the last Ice Age, northern Africa was quite lush and fertile, but that slowly gave way to what we know as the Sahara Desert. My beta-reader and Brit-picker, Coulsdon Eagle, told me about the Ordovices tribe and the druidic stronghold of Ynys Mons. As for the rest of the Prologue, with recorded history from ancient Egypt to the Roman Empire, I got all of that from one of my college textbooks, the Second Edition of The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures, Volume A (written by Lynn Hunt, Thomas R. Martin, Barbara H. Rosenwein, R. Po-chia Hsia, and Bonnie G. Smith).
Also, I'm sorry I skipped the battle scene, like with what kinds of spells they used, but I just couldn't think of anything impressive enough. Maybe someday, I'll write it… (Also, I made a couple of nods to the number twelve, ferrets, and a few other things, as JKR herself has this habit of doing.)
Simply put, I want to make this an AU of the ENTIRE Harry Potter saga.
Am I ambitious? Yes. Am I insane? Probably. Am I planning to have fun with this? Definitely.
Oh, and I ask you, the reader, for one favor in return for this start to a big fic… please review, as your feedback will surely encourage me to write more, faster, and better.
(First posted: February 8, 2007)
(Last edited: August 12, 2012)