A/N: Heya everybody. Here's the last chapter of Denarian Renegade. I do have a sequel planned, tentatively entitled "The Denarian Knight", and I have the general plot in mind but there are still some kinks I need to work out. I want to acknowledge the help of all of the DLP crew. Without a doubt, I wouldn't have finished this without them. Thanks for reading everybody and enjoy the chapter. I'll have the first chapter of the new story posted soon.
The Daily Prophet
Murder at Hogwarts! Tri-Wizard Champion Viktor Krum Slain!
The Third and final task of the infamous Tri-Wizard Tournament ended in heartbreak last night as popular Quidditch Star and Durmstrang Champion Viktor Krum was murdered by an unknown party.. Ministry specialists have deduced that Krum's death was the result of the dreaded Killing Curse, the most powerful of the Unforgivable curses. Although detail are sketchy, reports state that Krum fell victim to an unauthorised Portkey and was subsequently murdered in an undisclosed location.
Recent information given to the Daily Prophet indicates that Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived and Fifth Champion of the Tri-Wizard accompanied Krum on his fateful journey. When Potter and Krum returned, Krum was dead while Potter was seen sporting bloodied injuries and described as being 'in a deep state of shock.'
"We were all sitting there, waiting for something to happen," Marietta Edgecomb, a fourth-year Hogwarts student says. "And then Potter appeared, and Krum was on the ground…and then everybody was screaming…and Potter was just standing there."
Potter, the illegal fifth champion of the Tri-Wizard tournament, is considered to be the most likely suspect. Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts and Chief of the Wizenamgot, has released a transcript of Potter's statement of the events. Unfortunately, when Auror's from the Department of Magical Law Enforcement came to interview Potter, it was discovered that the wayward boy-who-lived had fled the scene to an undisclosed location. When asked about the transcript, Albus Dumbledore replied to Auror queries saying that 'Harry has witnessed something more terrible than you or I could possible imagine…he deserves a chance to recuperate.'
According to Dumbledore, Potter claimed that both he and Krum were taken to an unidentified graveyard where they were both ambushed by Death Eater's. Krum was killed almost instantly and Potter was captured, where, according to highly unbelievable reports, was forced to witness the return of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Afterwards, Potter supposedly duelled his way past You-Know-Who and dozens of Death Eater's and escaped to Hogwarts with Krum's body in tow. When asked to comment, Minister Fudge was sceptical.
"I'll admit that something tragic has happened here, but to suggest that You-Know-Who is back…just unbelievable. What's worse, Dumbledore seems to be pushing Potter's story forward to anybody to listen. This is just an attention-seeking plot from a troubled young youth spurned on by the eccentric behaviour of a senile old man. You-Know-Who is not back."
This incident has caused an international outroar between the Bulgarian Ministry of Magic the Department of International Magical Co-operation, the former citing that the later had failed in its security promises and that there would be 'consequences'. Head of Department Bartermius Crouch has gone missing, putting a further strain on relations as new Head Andrew Yaxley finds himself unable to ease tensions. The Minister of Magic himself has promised a full investigation and inquiry into the murder of Viktor Krum and assured both the public and the Bulgarian Ministry that there would be answers. When asked about Dumbledore's unshakable belief of the return of You-Know-Who, the Minister laughed.
'Dumbledore is seeing giants where there are gnomes,' Fudge assured. 'At worst- at the very worst- then this was some kind of insane copy-cat killer, and rest assured, our vigilant Auror's will find him!'
Harry Potter was unavailable for comment
Amanda absently poked at her food, her grey eyes wandering around the Great Hall. It was the end of year feast yet there was no celebrations, no friendly chatter. Black drapes lined the ceiling, replacing the colourful house banners, and the entire staff wore customary funeral robes in a sign of respect. The Durmstrang students seemed particularly down and were the recipients of a great deal of sympathy from the rest of the school. Cedric sat next to Fleur and Richard, barely touching his food as he stared into his goblet, as if the answers to everything that had happened lay in there. The entire Hall was full of sorrowful whispers and speculative muttering as students talked with each other about what had happened.
The rumour mill was going crazy over the recent events that had occurred at the Third Task and no two stories seemed to match. One of the monsters had attacked and killed Krum. No, it was the other champions; they had all ganged up on the two best champions. No, it was Potter himself who had killed Krum. No, Krum had tried to kill Potter and his own killing curse had backfired. There were two rumours that everybody seemed to scorn, saying that they were too ridiculous to be true. The first one claimed that Potter and Krum were lovers and Krum's other girlfriend had caught them and tried to kill them. The second one claimed that Krum and Potter were attacked by You-Know-Who and that the Dark Lord had returned. Many laughed at both of them but Amanda shuddered at the second one. Something in her told her that the rumour was closer to the truth than anybody else thought.
"May I have your attention please?" Dumbledore asked quietly and the entire hall fell silent as the elderly headmaster stood up. His periwinkle gaze was absent of twinkle and it looked as if a heavy burden had been placed on the old man's shoulders. Nonetheless, Dumbledore stood tall and proud, the very picture of a perfect wizard, and his eyes raked across the hall, ensuring that everybody was watching him.
"It is the end of another year," Dumbledore started. "Like others, this year has been full of excitement. Unlike others, we at Hogwarts today must say goodbye and acknowledge the loss of a very fine young wizard. Viktor Krum was a talented wizard, an unrivalled Quidditch player and more importantly, a good friend to many of us here. Viktor was the very epitome of the champion he was chosen to become. His death is a great loss for all of us, so let us stand and raise our goblets to Viktor Krum."
The entire hall stood, benches scraping against stone, and one low, rumbling voice filled the hall as everybody murmured, "Viktor Krum"
Amanda stared at Dumbledore as she raised her glass and for a moment it seemed as if the Headmaster had stared directly at her. She blinked and when she looked again, the rest of the hall was sitting down. She sat down and listened as Dumbledore continued.
"It is not fair, to Viktor's friends and peers and to the world, to deny the real cause behind Viktor's death. I have heard many speculating as to what happened, some coming closer to the truth than you realise. In truth, Viktor Krum was murdered by Lord Voldemort."
A panicked whisper spread through the hall. Students stared at Dumbledore with disbelief and horror as he stood there, perfectly calm and waiting for them to fall silent. Amanda exchanged a grim look with Hermione and Ron and turned back to the Headmaster.
"The Ministry of Magic does not wish for me to tell you this," Dumbledore said and something hardened in his eyes. "Your parents may be horrified that I have told you this. There are some who, in the coming months, will refuse to hear the truth. They will prefer the bliss of ignorance, heedless of the darkness that threatens to topple this world. But the truth cannot be denied. Lord Voldemort has returned. If we refuse to acknowledge this simple truth then good wizards and witches may die. One already has. Another is suffering as we speak.
Dumbledore peered over his half-moon glasses at the hall and his gaze was enough to stifle any whispers.
"There is somebody else who must be mentioned when we talk of Viktor Krum's death. I am, of course, talking about Harry Potter."
Amanda perked up, her eyes widening as she stared at Dumbledore unblinkingly, ignoring the mutters that sprang up around her.
"Harry Potter and Viktor Krum were lured into an ambush by Lord Voldemort," Dumbledore continued. "During the subsequent fighting, Harry and Viktor were able to inflict a great deal of damage to Lord Voldemort and his followers. Lord Voldemort himself was grievously wounded. If it were not for Harry's courage, loyalty and steadfast dedication, Viktor would never have been returned to us and Lord Voldemort would have had all the time he needed to build his power within the shadows. There have been very few wizards who have shown such bravery in facing Lord Voldemort. Harry's injuries were severe and he is currently recuperating at a safe location, but I ask that you raise your glasses and honour him."
Amanda stood up, her glass clutched in her hand and warmth prickling the back of her eyes. Emotion flooded through her veins but she stood strong and murmured 'Harry Potter' with the other students.
"The Wizarding World is at a crossroad," Dumbledore said. "On one path lies Lord Voldemort and the darkness he will bring against us. On the other path lies a path of courage, a path of righteousness. There will come a time when every one of us will be forced to walk down one of these paths. Will we do what is easy, and walk down the path of darkness, or shall we rise above apathy, stand firm to our morals and shoulder our way into righteousness. It is a decision that you and you alone will have to make."
Dumbledore's gaze swept over the hall and Amanda noticed that several students ducked under his gaze. The intense glow in his eyes faded and a gentle smile crossed his face.
"Until then, let me extend an invitation to all of our guests here. In these dark and troubled times, we must move past the barriers of habit and language and unite against a common enemy. Only through uniting will we be able to stand against this threat. Remember Viktor Krum and his friendship. Remember Harry Potter and his courage. Together, we will stand and together, we will succeed."
The hall exploded in a wave of applause as Dumbledore bowed his head. Amanda barely noticed as her mind filled with thoughts of Harry. Something hot burst in her heart, a wave of intense affection and sympathy and for a moment, Amanda missed Harry more than she could have possible imagined. Still, there was some part of her that was certain that Harry's path would cross with her once more. It would only be a matter of time.
Harry took his time waking up, allowing himself the pleasure to slowly stretch out his limbs. His body still throbbed and ached in various places and there was a strange tingling sensation on his face but he was feeling much better now than before he had gone to sleep, courtesy of Meciel's healing abilities. Meciel's warm presence blazed across his mind and Harry sighed, opening his sleepy eyes and gazing around.
"Good morning, beloved," Meciel chimed and paused, cocking her head thoughtfully. "Or should I say afternoon."
"Morning, Meciel," Harry greeted and pushed himself out of bead. Yawning, he made his way out of his bedroom on bare feet, tip-toeing over the carnage that was the living room. He glanced around and winced, scratching his head sheepishly. "I probably should have stayed at Hogwarts long enough to get the prize money." He muttered.
"It appears that you might need it," Meciel said in amusement. Harry took a moment to stare at her, pausing as he took in her sparkling silver eyes and the beautiful smile across her face. "If you are done checking me out, beloved, you may want to check the door."
Harry blinked and suddenly his perceptions returned to him and the sound of a loud knock filled the apartment. Harry made a face and gave a soft groan but he walked across the room, putting on his actors face as he opened the door.
"Er…good afternoon, Harry," Adam, the landlord, greeted. His eyes widened as he stared past Harry at the damage to the apartment but his expression softened as he took in Harry's red-rimmed eyes and sad, haunted face. "What's wrong?"
"There's been a…death," Harry said softly, his green eyes dull. He managed a watery smile of apology. "I'm sorry about last night. I just got back when I heard the news and I…didn't take it well, I think."
"That's alright Harry," Adam said in sympathy. "I just came over to tell you that somebody left this parcel for you."
Harry blinked as Landlord handed him a long cylinder parcel and frowned as he stared at it in confusion.
"Your rent is covered up until next month," Adam said and paused. "I…er…my condolences for your loss."
"Thanks," Harry said softly and Adam gave an awkward nod before he turned around and walked away. Harry closed the door and his face instantly morphed back into an emotionless mask.
"Three guesses as to what's in the parcel," murmured Meciel, her eyes suddenly remote and her face blank.
"It can't be," Harry said uneasily. "It's only been twelve or so hours. It wouldn't have had time to get here."
But his worst fears were confirmed when he opened up the parcel and a slender wooden cane fell out of it, clattering to the ground. After it came a gleaming sword, resembling a Japanese Katana more than anything else. Harry stared at it with a blank expression on his face before a sudden burst of anger glinted in his eyes.
"Fuck that," He hissed loudly and stood up, giving the sword a good kick. It sailed across the room and clattered against one of the walls. Harry stood, breathing harshly as he strode to the kitchen. With hands trembling with rage, he poured himself a glass of water and gulped it down. "I will not play that game, Meciel," he snapped.
Meciel was silent and her illusion showed nothing of her true feelings. However, Harry could feel her thinking within his head, her thought processes too fast and too complex for him to even behind to comprehend. After a few moments, Harry took a deep breath and calmed down. His eyes sought out the sword and he strode across the room, bending down to study it. The wooden cane had a slit in it, acting as a sheath to the sword. It was the first time he had seen the blade in great detail. Silver steel gleamed brightly under Harry's eye and the hilt was worn yet sturdy. There was absolutely no indication that the sword was one of the most powerful weapons on the planet, a weapon of the Knight of a Cross.
"It is a powerful weapon though," Harry mused out loud, his mind whirling with possibilities. "It has to be if it can cut through outsiders like they're nothing, and I do have a lot of Denarian enemies. This could be useful."
Gingerly, Harry touched the hilt of the sword. Almost instantly he snapped it back, wincing in pain. The metal felt as if it had been heated under a forge and Harry grimaced, staring at the faded blisters on his hands, the results of the sword's power from last night.
"I might want to wear gloves," He muttered slowly, licking his lips and staring at the sword carefully.
"Are you sure about this, beloved?" Meciel asked quietly.
"Do you think I should?" Harry asked in return, his eyes swivelling to meet hers. For a moment, Harry saw uncertainty in her features.
"I have no advice to give you," Meciel said quietly. "This is not a situation I have ever faced nor considered. However, the ramifications of this will be enormous. For the first time in history, one of the Swords of the Cross will be wielded by the very thing that it was created to destroy."
"The Knights can go fuck themselves for all I care," Harry snorted in disdain. "As a matter of fact, so can God. If they want to put a powerful weapon into my hands, then so be it. Besides," he said as a thought occurred in his mind. A nasty grin spread over his face as he turned his head back to the sword. "I have some unfinished business to take care of and this sword could be very useful."
One Week Later
In a ratty part of Los Angeles, a man dressed in faded clothes sprinted through a dingy apartment block. He looked over his shoulder, his face twisted in fear as he approached a door and fumbled for the doorknob. With shaking hands, the man burst into the apartment and raced over the other side of the room for a long wooden staff. Just when the man grasped the staff and started to activate the wards, the door exploded forward off its hinges and a figure walked through, making the other man quake with fear. Harry sneered at the man, dressed in a dark trench coat and dark pants, looking like something the other man would see in a movie. His green eyes were glinting with anger and disdain as he lashed out with a solid bar of silver flames. The sword in his gloved hand sliced through the wooden staff, eliciting a shocked gasp from the man. The man took a staggered step backwards, swallowing nervously and shivering, and Harry allowed an smile of dark amusement cross his face.
"Strike one, you tried to kill me," Harry said softly, prowling forward menacingly. "Strike two, you sent a weak-arse demon after me. C'mon, give me a little credit here. Strike three, you stayed behind to gloat after the Second Task. I mean, c'mon, common sense should tell you that acting like the bad guys in the movies is a bad thing because, frankly, when do you ever see them winning?"
"Look…" The man started but Harry raised a gloved hand, his eyes narrowing in warning, and the man gulped and closed his mouth.
"If we were playing baseball then you'd already be out but your incompetence knows no bounds," Harry said mockingly. "Strike Four- You tried to run from me. I'm all sweaty so now it's going to be even more painful, purely out of annoyance. Fifth and final strike, you stupidly considered that Meciel would even want to touch a weak, pathetic loser like yourself."
"You're a Knight of the Cross," the wizard breathed, staring at the sword with awe and confusion. Suddenly he laughed, a dark and mocking laugh, and the fear left his face as he stood up straight, gazing at Harry imperiously. "A Denarian is a knight of the cross."
"Irony, eh?" Harry said, grinning maliciously. The sword in his right hand suddenly flashed with silver fire as Harry took a step forward. "Now, let's begin this, shall we?"
"Wait! I repent, I repent!" The man shouted loudly, a mocking and victorious smile on his face and Harry halted, the smile dropping form his face as the other wizard continued. "I ask forgiveness from God for my sins and promise never to do dark magic ever again. Please forgive me, sir knight?"
Harry blinked and took another step forward, the sword of silver fire in his hands burning with a constant glow. The man's smile faltered at Harry's actions and he shook his head in denial.
"Oh, no, I know all about you knights," he spat out in disgust. "You're here to make us sinners, Denarians or not, seek repentance. You're all about mercy and shit like that. You can't kill me now that I've repented and seen the error of my ways!"
"Strike six," Harry started, darkness brewing beneath his crisp emerald gaze and the words spilled from his mouth like poisoned honey. "You believe that since I have the sword, I must be a Knight." Harry leant forward as if imparting a great secret and his next words were barely more than a whisper. "Strike seven; you seem to be under the delusion that I give a rat's arse about mercy and repentance."
The black wizard blinked and suddenly comprehension dawned on his face as Harry threw the silver sword away. He began to stammer, indecipherable words pouring out of his mouth as Harry pulled out his wand, the runes glowing with bitter Hellfire. The man stopped stammering as something flashed in Harry's eyes, the barest hint of silver, and suddenly a dark smile curved the young Denarian's face.
Outside on the rainy street, a young man and women glanced up as a long, piercing wail filled the air, tugging at their stomachs, and they both flinched nervously as the scream continued. Their eyes found a window in the nearby apartment building, where a light red glow was flashing in harmony with the screams. They shivered and scurried away, seeking shelter in a nearby café. Had they stayed and looked, they would have seen a body slam against the window, a horrified expression on its face as it slowly side down and out of sight, leaving a dark streak of blood on the glass. Minutes later, a roaring ball of fire shattered the window and leapt forward as the apartment exploded. People left their houses and apartments and gathered on the streets and panicked people burst from the building doors and stared at the flames licking out of the window.
In the commotion, nobody noticed a green-eyed boy with black hair, dark clothes and a cylinder postal package strapped to his back. The boy walked from the pack of bystanders with a grim smile on his face, and inner fire burning in his eyes and blood still dripping from his gloved hands, before he twirled on his feet and disappeared with a soft pop, a Denarian Renegade no longer, but a Denarian Knight.