A/N: Here's chapter three. There's one scene Dresden Fans might recognise, and you'll meet a familiar character at the end. Review if you can be bothered. I like reviews, make me warm and fuzzy. Not much to say. I'm tired and cranky, and I have this weird pain in my neck. If I die, please remember my good qualities….
Approximately one-and-a half-years later
Harry felt himself drift back into consciousness as he woke up. He gave a loud yawn, his eyes still closed as he snuggled himself deeper into the warm blankets, shifting around as he made himself comfortable. In the corner of his head, Meciel stirred as her presence blanketed his mind in familiar and welcome warmth.
'I believe that it is time you awoke. Beloved,'
Harry gave a childish groan of protest and buried his head deeper into the covers. He stayed like this for a few seconds before he sighed loudly and sat up, rubbing his tired eyes sleepily as he scrambled out of bed. His bare feet hit the cold ground and he gave an abrupt cry of surprise, hopping up and down on his feet as he quickly put some socks on. Another yawn ripped through his mouth as he rubbed his eyes again, groggily glancing at his surroundings.
He was in a small apartment room, and a cheap one at that. The walls, painted in a murky yellow colour, were peeling with age. There were large water stains on the roof, evidence of a leaky pipe, and the floor was covered chipped and scratched floorboards. The single window in the room showed a faint mist of smog and pollution amongst the broad and flattened buildings of southern London. The room itself was a complete mess. Dirty clothes lay scattered on the floor, none of them Harry's size. In the corner, there was a stack of empty pizza boxes and half-eaten microwave dinners and Harry wrinkled his nose in disgust, seeing a trail of ants marching from a small hole in the wall towards the stack.
"That's gross," He muttered childishly. He rubbed green eyes one last time and smoothed a hand through his messy hair. At that moment, he looked as adorable as any nine-year-old would have as he opened the bedroom door and left the messy room.
Harry entered a cramped living room. The first thing he noted was Meciel's illusion leaning against a ratty couch, giving a warm smile as she folded her arms, watching him with a gaze that almost resembled affection.
"Good morning, beloved," She said in her melodious voice. "I do hope you have rested well. We have a lot of work to do today."
Harry smiled back through a yawn, his hand covering his mouth. "Morning Meciel," He mumbled as he toddled through the cramped apartment, stepping over a coffee table and ducking to the side to avoid a large lamp. The middle of the living room had been covered with a clean, white bed sheet and everything had been moved away from it. Harry ignored this for the moment as his eyes found the small door leading to the kitchen and he made his way towards it, stepping over a lanky and bruised man who had been chained to the heater. Dried blood caked a small gash on his head as he stared at Harry in a mixture of confusion and fear, edging away from the small boy.
"Who are you talking to, man?" He asked, his voice scratchy and rough, as if he had been screaming all night.
Harry ignored him and entered the toilet, closing the door and leaving the man to gaze around the room, trying to find the source of this mysterious "Meciel", the same person he had heard the kid speaking to last night when he burst through his door and, to the man's shame, bludgeoned the living crap out of him with a cricket bat. But he couldn't see anybody in his home and he turned his gaze back the toilet door, licking his lips nervously.
"C'mon kid, let me out of these cuffs," The man said desperately, his voice cracking as he tugged at his restraints. "My friends are coming to see me this morning and you don't want to be here when they arrive, man. They're the dangerous sort. C'mon, no hard feelings or nothin', I know you just needed a place to crash the night. It's cold out there; I don't blame you or hold any grudges. Just let me go."
There was no answer and the man sighed noisily, slumping back against the very uncomfortable heater as he gazed at his cuffs, frowning again as he tugged at them. They appeared to be normal handcuffs but something had been scratched into them, some kind of weird language and symbols and stuff, and they were as hard as stone. The man tracked his eyes over the room, trying to find something to use to his advantage. The way out had been bolted and locked and strange symbols, akin to the ones on his cuffs, had been scratched into the door. These same symbols had also been scratched in his bedroom door and on the windowpane, and the man briefly wondered it the kid was insane. Suddenly the toilet flushed and the door opened, the small boy exiting with ruffled hair. The man had to admit, the boy didn't look dangerous with his sleepy green eyes and his ruffled black hair. But his quickly changed his opinion when the boy directed his gaze at him and shuddered as he saw something beyond those apparently innocent features, a darkness that he shied away from.
"You're friends won't be able to open the door," Harry said coldly, regarding the man before him as if he were an insignificant insect. "I've seen to that. They won't be able to hear you either, just like nobody heard your screaming from last night. Your fate is entirely up to me, so I suggest that you shut your pathetic whiny mouth and try to be good."
The man swallowed and gaped at the words, which definitely sounded odd coming from such a young boy's mouth. But he did as he was told and held his tongue as the boy levelled a dangerous glare at him, shying away from those haunted emerald eyes.
"Oh, and I thought you might like to know," Harry continued, a cold smile curving his lips. "That young girl you raped, she'll be okay."
The man paled, his cheeks draining of blood as shock flooded his entire system. He licked his lips nervously, his eyes darting around frantically.
"W-What are you talking about, kid?" He said hoarsely.
The boy gazed at him flatly, not looking impressed at all. "Do you believe that it was random chance that I came bursting through your particular door and bashed the crap through you? Unless this isn't the first time something like this has happened to you, I mean, it would explain the rather…odd….shape of your face."
The man gaped at the sudden ruthlessness and mockery in the boy's voice, the familiar coils of anger stirring in his stomach.
"What did you say to me, you little bastard?" He snarled, seemingly forgetting his position as he rattled against the chains.
Harry blinked, an expression of mock-surprise and sympathy coming over face.
"Deaf and ugly, you really got the bad end of the stick here, didn't you?" He said, shaking his head in apparent sadness as he entered the adjoining kitchen, leaving the man gaping at his back as he sought something to eat. He started searching the cupboards but he found mostly dust and mouse dirt. The only thing that resembled a proper breakfast was an old can of spaghetti and Harry rolled his eyes in annoyance, grumbling under his breath.
"Is this all you have?" He demanded to the chained-up man, gesturing the can of spaghetti sitting on the bench. The man nodded and Harry sighed in disappointment, turning around and regarded the can petulantly, glaring at it as if it were its fault it was not tasty. With an irritable sigh, Harry raised his left hand and concentrated. Dark power flowed through him, just a few drops, and his ring, a crudely constructed piece of metal with a small gem set in the middle, flickered in an almost-invisible light. The air rippled as power flowed through it and the lid of spaghetti can was suddenly blasted off by an unseen force, flying through the air with great force and landing close to the chained man. The man looked from the lid towards Harry, his mouth open as if he couldn't believe what had had just seen, but Harry ignored him as he started riffling through the drawers.
"Spoons, spoons, spoons," Harry muttered under his breath. "Where the hell are all of the spoons?"
Finally, he pulled out a dirty spoon and wrinkled his nose at it, moving over to the tap and turning it on. But the water that spurted out wasn't clear, but red, as if rust had somehow gotten into the pipes, and Harry stared at it blankly before switching his gaze to the man.
"You're house is disgusting," He remarked sourly, throwing away the spoon and checking the drawers bellow the sink. He plucked out a clean spoon and walked back to the living room. "I'd suggest that you clean it up, but it won't matter soon."
The man puzzled over that statement as Harry dipped his spoon in the cold spaghetti and hesitated, biting his lip.
"Meciel, heat this up," He said after a few seconds.
"As you wish, beloved," Meciel said from her reclined position on the sofa and when Harry put the spoon to his lips, it had indeed been heated up.
Harry made a noise of appreciation as he ate, even though he knew that the spaghetti wasn't really hot. Rather, it was Meciel manipulating various parts of his nervous system and brain making him believe that the soup was hot, much like she did when she made herself 'appear' before him and 'speak' at him. She physically and magically wasn't really there; he just perceived that she was.
As he ate, Harry walked over to the centre of the room, ignoring his captor as he kicked back the large bed sheet covering the ground and revealed a large, scratchy circle that had been crudely and quickly carved into the wood. Rough runes had been scratched around it with something sharp and although it looked rather shabby and non-magical, it was more than enough for what Harry had planned.
"Where did that come from?" The man asked in surprise, his eyes flickering over the circle and nothing the runes.
"I made it last night, when you were…ah…asleep," Harry said between mouthfuls, gulping down his breakfast.
The man frowned and made an odd noise of disgust, his eyes swivelling from the lid of the tin to the circle.
Under his breath, he muttered to himself, "He's some kind of freak or something."
A normal human wouldn't have been able to hear that properly but Harry whirled around, his icy green eyes narrowing dangerously as anger washed over his face, anger that should have been far too powerful for an ordinary child to muster. He raised his left hand and whipped it through the air, the ring glinting as he did, and the man gave a startled cry of pain as something powerful struck him across the face, lifting him up from the his seated position. He would have gone sprawling over the ground but the cuffs yanked him back and he crashed into the heater. Blood pooled from his face as the man discovered a deep and nasty gash in his cheek and he glanced up from the ground, eyes wide with fear.
"You're the freak here, not me," Harry growled angrily, eyes dangerous as dark power seared into his veins, threatening to overwhelm him as they produced intense feelings of pleasure to his heightened rage. "You're the one who rapes kids. You've done it six times, six!"
The man paled as Harry continued maliciously, his voice softening.
"And every time, just after you've finished, you go to your Church, kneel in a darkened corner and pray for His forgiveness, for His mercy. You promise that you'll change, that you'll become a better man, you'll get off the drugs and do something meaningful with your life, but you don't. After a few months have passed, you're back on the drugs and you're raping again. You never keep your promises and," here Harry let out a sarcastic laugh as his face twisted in mockery. "I'll admit, for a second there, I thought that perhaps he was really, really serious this time, but no…I saw what you did last night and I saw you praying like you usually do."
The man ducked his head, squeezing his eyes shut as the Harry's words seared into his brain, etching themselves onto every corner of his mind. A slow tear of shame rolled down his cheek as took deep breaths, trying to find the strength to deny the accusations.
"Luckily, you're just what I need," Harry finished coldly, reigning in his anger as he turned back to the circle and threw away his breakfast, his appetite suddenly gone.
"W-What do y-you need me for?" The man stuttered, shivering in fear as he sat up again, thankful that the strange child's anger had somewhat dissipated.
"You'll see," Harry promised darkly, his voice suddenly with darkness as he once again called the dark power to his veins.
He closed his eyes in ecstasy as the power washed through him, more pleasurable and desirable than anything else he had encountered. The power seared through him, the scent of sulphur and fire filling his nose as he called up Hellfire, the power source of the Fallen, allowing it to flow through him and offering it no resistance. In his mind, Meciel helped him guide the power from his body, showing him how to channel it into the magical circle. His eyes still closed, Harry began the ritual.
"Chaunzaggoroth, I summon thee! Chaunzaggoroth, I summon thee! Chaunzaggoroth, I summon thee!"
Harry could feel the power, his power, activating the magic circle. The circle shimmered as a cone of magic rose from the lines, a thick wall of powerful magical energies tinged in fire and darkness. The wall flickered as it set itself up, glowing softly in the relatively dark room, until it had enclosed the entire circle, leaving a small space within it to contain something. The ground within the circle suddenly started as if a powerful force were sucking it downward, black power bubbling and oozing as energies akin to thick, bubbly goo appeared. From this goo arose a creature, an animal of many and none. Crab-like pincers snapped back and forth, hard scales covered its humanoid body, from its chitinous shoulders to its clawed feet. Its head, much like a bird, had an avian beak, designed for ripping into flesh and its eyes were two burning coals, bright, terrible and burning with anger.
The moment it appeared, it let out a loud roar full bestial anger and rage. It made to move forward, its eyes fixating on Harry, its summoner, as it prepared to rip him to pieces. But the magical barrier shimmered with Hellfire and magic and the beast slammed against it and staggered back. It stood tall and strong as it ripped into the barrier with its pincers, blows that would have torn cars apart, while it slammed its spiked shoulders into it. But Harry kept his will in his spell and it held. The demon eventually lifted its head and let out another roar, this one of frustration and dissatisfaction as it stopped tearing at the barrier, its burning eyes meeting those of Harry's. Harry swallowed at the gaze, suddenly feeling very afraid, but the warm, soothing presence of Meciel was there to reassure him.
'Do not show it fear; it will use it against you.' She whispered softly. 'Remember what I told you and you shall prevail today.'
Harry made himself swallow and drew himself up, or as much as a nine-year old could, and prepared to confront the demon.
"Are you done? If I wanted to see a fake performance, I would have switched on the TV and turned the channel onto wrestling," He said, allowing sarcasm and scorn to fill his voice.
The demon stopped thrashing and suddenly took on an elegant stance. One of the pincer-like claws reached behind a scale and pulled out a pair of half-moon glasses, plucking them on the end of his beak and peering down at the human child. When it spoke, a sophisticated oxford accent marked its rather smooth voice.
"There are formalities that must be taken into account, young Denarian," It said scoldingly. "I must abide to the laws of the Old World, after all. I have a role to play, you understand?"
Harry rolled his eyes, irritation showing on his face as he regained his confidence.
"On another note, how is Meciel?" The demon asked politely. "I, of course, heard about the terrible slaying of her previous host."
"Meciel is doing just fine," Harry answered slowly, eyeing the demon strangely. "I summoned you here for a specific reason."
"Ah, yes," Chaunzaggoroth said and Harry blinked as its beak swivelled oddly with soft, crackling sounds. "We demons are, of course, the watchers of the mortal world and we do tend to garner substantial amounts of information. Is there something specific that you wanted to know?"
"I need to know the location of the sword used by Meciel's previous…ah…host," Harry finished.
The demon made a rumbling noise as it observed the young child in front of it. "There is, of course, a price for such knowledge."
"So I've been told," Harry deadpanned, his flickering over the chained man, who was watching the proceedings with a stunned expression on his face, his eyes wide and his mouth flapping up and down wordlessly. "I'd offer you my soul, but I think Meciel's already laid a claim to that."
"Indeed," Chaunzaggoroth said dryly, absently scratching under a scale with a pincer. "However, there are other things you can barter with, for example, your full name."
'Beware, beloved. Amongst the immortal's, names spoken from the lips of their owners are powerful tools.' Meciel cautioned quietly. 'Just as you summoned it with his true name, it can use your name to cast magic upon you. Never reveal your full name to anybody, even mortals, lest it is overheard.'
"Yeah, that's not going to happen," Harry disagreed quickly, having heard that lecture many times before. "I may not be able to give you my soul, but how about I let you take his?"
The demon followed Harry's arm as it swivelled around in its prison, his dark, burning eyes zooming in on the chained-up man, who whimpered softly as it examined him. After a moment or so, the demon turned back to Harry with, if Harry could interpret its expressions properly, displeasure.
"In spirit, he is already one of us," The demon hissed, its pleasant and composed demeanour gone. Its pincers clicked angrily as it continued, a low rumble building up beneath its scales. "We know of his behaviour! You cannot offer us what we are eventually going to receive! If you have summoned me here and are unprepared to offer something of substantial value…"
"He prays," Harry broke in quickly and although his face didn't show it, he was relieved when the demon paused, its anger dying down as curiosity overwrote it. "I know that you lot have problems gathering information around churches and religious artefacts. Meciel was certain that you didn't know this."
"He prays, you say?" The demon murmured quietly, observing the shaking man carefully. "That is interesting news."
"He's a church-goer, a believer," Harry continued quietly, comforted that the demons gaze had left him and by Meciel's warm presence in his mind, which spurred him on. "He wants to stop but he can't help himself. Every time he commits a rape, he cries and visits a church, seeking repentance and forgiveness in God's house, and you know how God is about mercy, forgiveness and atonement. One day, this man may enter a church, ask for forgiveness and receive it. You can take him and be certain that his soul is eternally yours, or you can wait and you might lose him forever."
Chaunzaggoroth considered its options and at last, swivelled its beak into what Harry thought was a smile. "I had thought it was odd that Meciel had chosen a host so young. But I now see why she has kept you. Very well, young Denarian, I accept the terms. Structure your question and I shall answer, for the agreed price of this Mathew's soul."
The man, Mathew apparently, suddenly twisted and flailed about in his bonds, his eyes open in horror as he struggled against the cuffs linking him to the heater.
"You can't do this!" He screamed loudly, tears falling down his cheeks as he pushed against his cuffs. "You can't barter me away like an animal and you…you…hideous freak, you can't have my soul! I won't let you take it! I demand that…"
Harry slashed his hand through the air, the ring on his finger glinting, and the man's sentence was cut off by a scream of pain as he was slapped aside by a powerful force yet again, held in place by his cuffs as his body was slammed into the ground. The man didn't get up again and Harry could hear low, sobbing sounds as he turned back to the demon, his eyes serious.
"My question is," He began. "Who is in possession of the sword that Meciel's previous host used no more than two-years ago, how did they get this sword and where might the sword and owner be located?"
"The sword is in possession of a Mr James Jordan. This man found and retrieved the sword from a tip five-hundred and twenty-three days, two hours, three minutes and seventeen seconds ago. Both the sword and owner are currently located in London, at a small pawnbroker." Chaunzaggoroth said, its voice almost a monotone as he retrieved the information and relayed the address to Harry. "Now, may I have my prize?"
Harry nodded and ignoring the sudden pleas for mercy, knelt down and touched one of the roughly-carved runes on the ground. The instant he did, the circle of magical energies made of fire and shadow, suddenly emanated a soft, blue pulse. Harry quickly took a step backwards, dark fire burning into his veins as he watched the demon with unblinking eyes, his ring sparkling dangerously.
Normally, any physical object that passes through a magical circle would shatter the spell and allow the bound creature, whatever it was, to reign free. Although there were spells and other circles to prevent physical objects from reaching the circle, acting as a force field of sorts, they were currently beyond Harry's level of knowledge. Instead, Harry had carved a rune that would allow physical objects to pass through the circle at the cost of considerably weakening the barrier. Even though Chaunzaggoroth had agreed to the terms and was bound by the Old World rules to honour his word, Harry wasn't going to take any chances. Distantly in his mind, he felt Meciel murmur approvingly.
After Chaunzaggoroth made no attempt to break free, Harry waved his hand again, his ring glinting as it focussed the magical energies given to him by Meciel. The handcuffs holding Matthew in place suddenly clicked as they were unlocked. Mathew quickly slid his hand out of them and jumped up, his eyes wide with fright as he desperately made for the door. However, Harry curled his fingers and the man halted, pain sliding over his features. Another gesture of his arm and the ring flashed as the Matthew was yanked through the air, away from the door and into the summoning circle, into the demons grasp. Harry quickly snapped his fingers and the pale blue glow disappeared as the circle returned to full strength while Chaunzaggoroth stared down at its prey, its pincers latching onto the man's shoulders, its fiery eyes glowing maliciously.
Harry waved his hand again and a backpack in the corner of the room flew into his hands, along with the discarded cuffs, which Harry promptly put in his pack and slung it over his shoulder. Scanning the room for anything else that might be useful, Harry turned back to the demon, which had somehow put Matthew under some kind of trance as the man had stopped his screaming and pleading and stood there with a blank look on his face.
"Goodbye demon," Harry said as he approached the door. "Mind the fire on the way out."
The demon cocked its avian-like head as Harry held out his palm, concentrating carefully as he called up his dark powers. The overpowering scent of sulphur filled the air as a ball of pure Hellfire burst into existence, flickering malevolently in the small room in hues of yellow and red. Harry tossed it into the air a couple of times, catching it with ease while Chaunzaggoroth let out a low laugh. After scanning the apartment one last time, Harry eyed the ball of searing flames he was holding, flames that had no effect on him, and hurled it at the battered television set. The ball of fire struck the electronic device and exploded with a loud rumbling roar, the fire quickly spreading to the rest of the room, eating away at the old couch and licking the wooden walls and floor. Heat seared into the room but Harry remained unaffected, while Chaunzaggoroth and the demon remained protected behind the barrier.
The demon watched as the small boy left the room and snorted, its avian-like beak clucking.
"It's a pity he didn't ask me why Mr James Jordan had the sword," It muttered, but soon turned its attention to its new prey.
Harry walked out into a shabby and dimly lit hallway and didn't flinch when a truly agonising scream emerged from the room and he quickly closed the door, not particularly wanting to hear a man get his soul ripped from his body. As soon as the door closed, the scream cut off, a sign that the room was still magically sealed. But the brief scream had echoed down into the hallway and when Harry turned away from the door, he blinked in surprise as he saw a man just a metre away from him.
"Was that Mathew doing the fucking screaming?" The man demanded, his dark eyes glaring at Harry. "Who the fuck are you kid? Why the fuck, are you here? What's all that fucking screaming about? Where the fuck has Mathew been? He was supposed to meet me two fucking hours ago! And…is that smoke?"
Harry didn't move an inch as the man stared past him, looking at the thick billows of smoke coming in from under the door, but he started in surprise as the man reached into his cheap, brown jacket and pulled out a small handgun, a resolute expression on his face. Harry reacted without a second thought, demonic instinct taking over his logical thought patterns. The back of his shirt was suddenly torn to shreds as a sharp, ashen wing of pure bone shot out towards the man, spearing him in the throat. Blood sprayed in the walls as Harry glared on with luminescent eyes, one glowing and eerie green and one glowing bright silver, the same colour as Meciel's. The man gurgled, took his last breath and slumped on the bony wing as Harry sought to regain control of himself, dark power flaring through out his body. Finally, after a few moments, Harry threw the man off his wing and brought into his back, where it was sucked into his skin as if it had never existed.
For a second, Harry just stood there, staring at the dead body with blank eyes and a smoothed-over face. Finally, after thirty seconds of stillness, Harry slowly bent down and picked up the gleaming silver weapon, a revolver, and glanced at it. With a shrug, he pulled his backpack over his shoulder and placed the gun inside, before he eyed the dead body carefully. A year and a half ago, hell, six months ago Harry would have been agonising over what he had just done. Now, he knelt down and checked the man's pockets, pulling out a slim wallet and flipping it open. He took the money and threw the wallet to the ground, before he stood up and without another glance at the body, walked down and out of the hallway.
Harry exited the building and stepped out into the damp streets of London. Large, angry clouds billowed in the sky and a chilling wind swept through the city, bringing with it a faint fog. It was a bleak day in the small, downtrodden area where the recently-deceased Mathew's apartment lay, and the pedestrians acted in the appropriate manner, skulking by with their heads down as they hurried to wherever they needed to be. Harry eyed the street up and down and frowned. There were no buses around this area and the address was at least a one-hour walk away. For a brief second, Harry wondered if he should call a taxi, but he suddenly spotted a man dressed in casual jeans and shirt approaching a car with a set of keys in hand.
'Ask him if he can give you a ride.' Meciel suggested. 'Politely, of course,'
Harry nodded and approached the man, putting on his 'child' face as he tugged on the man's sleeve, his green eyes wide and innocent as the man looked down at him.
"Excuse me sir," He said in a soft voice. "But could you give me a ride?"
"Do I look a taxi service to you? Scram, you little punk!" The man scoffed and turned away, putting his keys in the lock of his car.
Harry rolled his eyes and gritted his teeth, annoyance on his features, and after quickly glancing around to make sure that nobody was too close, he pulled out the large, silver revolver and levelled it at the man. The man looked up as he felt another tug on his jacket, but when he turned around to glare at the boy, his words died in his mouth as he noticed the silver barrel jutting towards him.
"Excuse me sir," Harry said mockingly, sweetness dripping from his voice. "But could you give me a ride?"
The man was frozen as he stared at the gun, his eyes wide with fear, but he composed himself and gave a tight, strained smile.
"Sure," He said, still smiling through gritted teeth. "Where can I take you?"
Harry smiled coldly and didn't flinch when a large explosion ripped through the apartment building behind him, a window shattered as flames burst from it, licking away at the wet bricks with little success.
In the car, the man was silent as he shifted gears and accelerated the car away from the parking space and the burning apartment. Harry watched as a fire-engine sped past from the opposite direction, its lights flashing as its siren wailed. The man tracked the vehicle in his rear-view mirror as it screeched to a halt outside the burning apartment building, which was giving off copious amounts of smoke, before he turned a corner.
"Take me straight to the address I gave you," Harry threatened, gesturing with the revolver, which almost slipped out of his small hands.
The driver didn't say anything but gave a short jerk of his head and continued driving, while Harry settled back into the seat.
"There, Meciel," He mentally grumbled. 'Are you happy? We found your stupid sword.'
'The sword is not stupid, beloved, but an artefact especially useful for those lacking natural talent in evocation magics,'
"So, is it like those wands you've been telling me about?"
'In a way, although it does not function how your kinds wands function. Rather, it helps in the channelling and control of powerful magic without blowing yourself up, if I may be blunt.'
Harry frowned, shifting in his seat as the driver made a steep left turn and settling back in again.
'I still don't get the difference between evocation and wand-magic.'
'Evocation is the instantaneous use of magic and energy drawn from the environment, from the life of the mortal world. It is dangerous because it can be hard to control without proper focus. A wand-wizard uses his wand to make a spiritual connection to an outer world and channels it into this world. This magic is potent in many ways, but the average wand-wizard's magic would be mostly ineffective against most spiritual and summoned beings.'
You still don't understand, do you, beloved?'
"No, but I'll trust you on this one."
'That is good to hear, beloved. You will understand the differences when we acquire a wand. You are approaching the age when you start consciously channelling this outer magic. First, however…'
Harry stepped out of the car and as soon as his feet had hit the footpath, the driver took off, screeching away from the kerb. Harry watched him speed away with an amused smile before he focussed his attention past the walking pedestrians and onto the small, dingy building in front of him. Metal bars had been installed on both the main window and the large window in the door. On top of the door, there was a sign reading: PAWNBROKERS: WE BUY, WE SELL. Harry moved forward, dodging out of the way of the pedestrians and a particularly grumpy-looking dog, and opening the door.
He entered the store and the smell of dust and age hit his nostrils. Harry glanced around, trying to see if there were any swords lying about. There were shelves of old things, knick knacks of past times. In one of the corners, there was a shelf of bowls and ceramics and in the other, a tower of old newspapers and old magazines rose from the ground. Harry approached the counter, which was stacked with old, dusty books, as a wheezy, old man hobbled out of the backroom, a welcoming smile on his wrinkled face.
"Welcome," He said hoarsely. "I am James Jordan, the owner of this establishment. How may I help you today?"
"I was told that you have a sword," Harry said bluntly, not beating around the bush. The old man blinked in surprise.
"Who told you that?"
"A little bird…of sorts," Harry replied after a moment's hesitation, slightly smiling at his own joke. "A very ugly bird, sure, but it's still a bird. It did have a beak."
The old man frowned in confusion, but shrugged it off as he smiled.
"You were told right then," He said wheezingly. He smiled and regarded Harry with a fond look, as if he were remembering his own childhood days. "Would you like to have a look at it, son?"
"Please," Harry agreed, and watched as the old man hobbled to one of the cupboards and reached up, pulling down a long, cardboard box and setting it down on the counter. The old man opened up the box, placing the lid aside, and with careful hands, lifted up a sword and scabbard that was at least half the size of Harry. Harry could only see the hilt, an ornately decorated piece of metal, but within his mind Meciel stirred.
'That is the sword we seek,' she said. 'Take it.'
"How much is it?" Harry asked, his eyes never leaving the sword.
The old man's smile faded as he placed the sword back in the box.
"It's not for sale, son," He said, his voice hoarse.
"Everything's for sale," Harry insisted, a small frown appearing on his face as he reached into his pocket and pulled out the wad of cash he had taken from the other man earlier.
"This isn't," The old man said, the humour in his voice gone as he placed the lid back on the box.
"Why not?" Harry asked in confusion. He didn't particularly want to rob this old man if he could help it.
"For starters son, it's illegal to sell weapons to children," The old man began gently. "And secondly, I believe that this sword has properties never before seen in its kind. I am keeping this for my own collection."
Harry frowned and threw the money down on the table, gesturing to it in an unspoken question.
"No, son, it's not for sale," The old man, his voice growing harder.
Harry nodded and sighed. It looked like he couldn't help it. He reached into his pants and untucked the revolver, levelling it at the old man, who took a step backwards as he raised his hands, his eyes wide with astonishment.
"How about the sword for your life?" Harry asked quietly, reaching over and opening the box up.
"Sounds like a bargain to me," the old man said faintly, eying the gun carefully as he took another step backwards, approaching the counter as Harry pulled the sword out of the box. The instant Harry's eyes flickered away from the old shopkeeper, the man ducked behind the counter. Suddenly a loud, piercing wail filled the story as the alarms were set off and Harry growled in irritation as he moved forward, gun in his left hand and sword scabbard in his right. He stepped behind the counter and levelled the revolver at the old man, who was shaking as he crouched on the ground.
"Don't kill me!" The wizened man said in a quavering voice. "I…I can show you another way out, away from the police!"
Harry hesitated and slowly nodded, making sure to keep the gun levelled at the man at all times. The old man stood up, wincing and clutching a hand on his ribs as he did so, and hobbled over to a side door beyond the counter,
"This leads into an alleyway," The old man began, his eyes showing his fear as they constantly darted back to the gun. "If you go left, was it left? Yes, left. Go left and it will take you to the next block."
"Thankyou," Harry said politely, before his face hardened and with all of his strength, whacked the old man across the head with the butt of the gun. The old man fell to the ground in a crumpled heap as Harry opened the door and stepped out into the back alley.
As soon as the door shut again, the old man stirred. His eyes snapped open and he picked himself up from the ground, showing none of the physical weaknesses he had been showing moments before. He regarded the side door with shrewd eyes and locked it, before he returned to the counter, picked up the phone and dialled a number.
"It's me," The old man said into the receiver, speaking loudly as the alarm continued to blare. "Yes, somebody has taken it…….no; it was a small child, a boy, maybe nine or ten. Yes, I sent him your way……yes; I'm sure it's her, the kid was too cool and collected……"
The man listened as the other person at the end of the line said something and he laughed a dark and sinister chuckle that echoed in the small, dusty store.
"Yes, I'm sure Meciel is going to be very surprised…"
Harry was walking quickly down the alley, his eyes alert as the alarm continued to wail behind him, the sword clasped firmly in his right hand and the gun in his left. Suddenly, he stopped, his eyes narrowing as a woman appeared from the misty alley, blocking his way. Harry frowned, his eyes darting over the woman's form. She had long dark hair, perfectly combed, and dark eyes, which studied him as well as he studied her. Her face was a little too lean to be called beautiful but she was pretty, even to a young boy like Harry. She was wearing an ordinary blouse and skirt and stood there with a small smile of amusement on her face.
'Run, beloved!' Meciel hissed into his mind, her normally beautiful voice harsh with hatred and anger. 'Flee this place! This woman is like you! She carries a Fallen! She is of the Order of the Black Denarius!'
Harry blinked and eyed the woman more warily, who licked her lips and opened her mouth, a dangerous smirk curving her lips.
"Hello Meciel, I do believe we still have some business to attend to."