A/N: You have spoken! I will be continuing the story, but it will not be updated that quickly. I have two other stories that are in the final stretch, "He Did it His Way" (I know, sucky title but I had been listening to old Sinatra songs), and the companion story, "The Mudblood Revolution". If you have not read them, I urge you to. (Shameless plug).
Luna watched as Harry disappeared, then sadly said, "Goodbye, Love." She then walked over to the laptop with her notepad and sat down to adjust the temporal destination in the program. All it would take is changing two cells of numbers, then practicing the revised wand movements and incantation. Running her finger over the mouse spike, she scrolled down and found the highlighted cells. Looking back in her notepad, she mused, "That's funny, that decimal point should have been three places to the right, not six. She ran a quick calculation in her head, then paled.
Harry and the Snake
On the road to Hogsmeade
Circa: about 950 C.E.
"Oops" said Harry
"What be this strange expression?" asked Salazar.
"Oh, pardon," said Harry. "I was just realizing that I really screwed the pooch on this one. I only meant to go back a few years…" he broke off when he saw Slytherin's expression.
"I daresay that I have no idea to what you are referring, Master Harry, but I somehow get the impression that you think that you made some sort of error."
"Yeah, that would be a good assumption. Look, if you are going into Hogsmeade, let me buy you a drink and I'll explain it all. I must say though, you seem a lot different than what I have been led to believe."
"Ah, mine enemies have even infected younglings. Very well, Master Harry, I will have that drink, but I insist on buying. After all, thou art the foreigner and traveler."
"Why thank you, Salazar. But there is something that you should know before we go into town."
"And what might that be?"
"If I did any part of the spell correctly, no one other than yourself can see or hear me." At Salazar's unbelieving look, Harry pointed behind him in the dusty road, then walked in a small circle. "See, no footprints."
"A surprise, in fact," said Slytherin. "How dost thou expect to have that drink if thou art as insubstantial as a ghost?"
"I'm not really sure, I mean, I can feel a thirst, and the person who did this spell before never mentioned not being able to satisfy his thirst or hunger…. Interesting. I suppose I will just have to find out. I could get awfully hungry and thirsty in the next few years otherwise."
"Thou maketh a strong point. I will lead the way, and you may follow on your broom."
Salazar led Harry into town, stopping in front of a hut that looked no different from the other 35 or 40 huts. He dropped his reins onto the ground and motioned for Harry to follow him inside. The room was dark, with only tallow candles for light. There were no windows and only a dirt floor. Salazar stomped over to a table and sat down, motioning Harry to do the same. At first, Harry's hand went through the chair, but after he concentrated on making contact with the chair, was able to make the chair move out. He sat down just as the innkeeper came up to take Salazar's order.
"What will it be, Master Slytherin?"
"Two flagons of ale, Joseph."
"Are ye expecting company?"
"Already here. Joseph, meet my invisible friend, Master Harry Potter." The innkeeper got a strange look on his face.
"Uh, I don't see anyone, sir."
"Well, of course thou dost. I told you that he was invisible. Harry, help me with this. Pick something up." Harry just smiled.
The innkeeper turned away to get the order, muttering under his breath, "They're daft, they're all daft up there." He returned in a moment with two flagons. Salazar paid, then watched the innkeeper squeak with terror when Harry picked up his drink and took a swallow. All the innkeeper saw was the mug being lifted up in the air and the drink disappearing out of it.
"Th-that's a wonderful trick, sir. Will thou be teaching the children that one?"
"Just what did you see, Joseph?"
"I saw you levitate the flagon, tilt it and banish the contents. Nice bit of magic, no wand or incantation. Thou really hast talent, Master Slytherin." Salazar looked at Harry quizzically.
"Don't worry about it. Muggles aren't the only ones who deny their eyes. People will not believe anything that they can't experience. Just tell him thanks for the complement and send him away. Then we can talk."
Salazar looked at the innkeeper. "Ah, Joseph, thou hast caught me out. Yes, it is a new piece of magic, but I believeth that the students wouldst not be able to do it anytime soon. It dost maketh a good drinking story, though."
"Aye, that it dost."
The innkeeper went back to his duties and Harry leaned over toward Salazar. "Long story short, my world, about 900 or so years in the future, was devastated. I and a friend were the only British wizards left in the country. Everyone else either fled or died. The muggles knew about us and were working with other wizards from different countries to make sure that the madness we suffered from did not affect any other place. My friend found a spell which should have made me go back in time a few years so that I could repair the damage, guiding my younger self, but somehow I was thrown clear back here."
"Art thou sure that thou couldst repair the damage to thy world in that period of time?" At Harry's questioning look, Salazar continued. "I hast found Fate to be a contrary being. Many times, what thou thinketh is the correct answer, is not, and Fate will step in to correct thee."
"You know, that seems to make sense, somehow. Let's mull it over with another drink. I'll buy this round. Harry took a galleon out of his pocket and laid it on the table. Salazar's eyes widened.
"With this amount of gold, thou couldst buy this establishment. The coin is so finely fashioned." Salazar made the coin disappear and waved the innkeeper over. "Another two flagons. I have not tired of playing with my new trick."
"Certainly, sir. It is thy money." He brought the ales and watched in amazement as Harry picked his up and drank. "Amazing sir, I never saw thy lips move and thou hadst both hands in plain sight. Thou truly are one of the most talented wizards in this age."
When the innkeeper left, Salazar picked up his flagon and toasted Harry. "For that beautiful coin, I will owe thee several drinks. Now, tell me of your world, and how it came to be such a terrible place."
Harry began his tale. "It all started with your last heir….."
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Several hours later, Salazar rode up to the stables, roaring drunk, with Harry passed out and laying over the saddle in front of him. He had shrunk Harry's Firebolt and put it in the lad's pocket. Sliding off the horse, he handed the stableman the reins and muttered at him to take care of it. He then slid Harry off the saddle, put him over his shoulder, and staggered into the castle proper. The stableman watched him leave, staggering under an invisible load, then shook his head.
"They're daft, I tell ye, they're all daft."
As Salazar stumbled into the entryway, he bumped into Godric Gryffindor. "Ho, Goddy. I just found out that my heir is going to destroy the whole bloody country. Anything new here?"
"Ah Salazar, hast thou been sleeping with that gypsy fortuneteller again? Thou knowest that she gives thee all of those predictions of gloom because she gets mad when thou canst keep thy wand stiff. Thou shouldst lay off the drink when thou art feeling frisky. She might then tell thee what a great man thou art," Godric chuckled. "But tell me, old friend, why dost thou seem to be under a great load, as if thou art carrying a cask of wine?"
Salazar's eyes took on a crafty look. "I couldst tell thee a fable and make thee think my mind is melted by the drink, or I couldst tell thee the truth and prove it. Therefore I believe I will keep my own council and keep thee wondering. For now, I shalt return to my rooms and take that wonderful draught, sleep, so I may better curse the bright morn when it arrives. I bid thee good night, Godric."
"Always with the secrets, Slytherin. Aye, but please speak to Mistress Helga when you arise, she has become aware of a young girl in a village not far who should be brought here soon. The wench has begun to show signs of majick and needs shelter soon to protect her from the priest's wrath."
"Until morn, then." Salazar staggered off toward his rooms while Godric strode off in the opposite direction. Unknown to both, the caretaker, an old muggle who had insisted on accompanying his grand daughter to escape his village after he had been shunned for 'breeding hellspawn', peered out after the retreating back of Slytherin, then shook his head.
"They're daft, I tell ye, they're all daft here."
Luna stared at the screen in disbelief. The figures checked out, Harry had gone much further into the past than what he had planned, and already changes had been made. She could feel her reality begin to slip away, that extra sense of the world screaming to her that her original mission to save her mother was no longer viable, hell, her mother might not even be born in this new paradigm. She began to mutter to herself.
"Darn, I don't want to, but I'm going to have to follow him or he'll screw it up with the 'Harry Factor'. I mean, it will probably work out, but he'll lay waste to everything in his path doing it. I can't risk it, but at least I don't have to change the equation, just the focus…. Let's see, what do I want to take back with me?" She ran into the next room and grabbed a warm cloak, a bag of galleons from Harry's vault, her Cleansweep broom, and lastly a 9mm Beretta she had recovered from the old soldier's vault, along with as many boxes of ammunition as she could carry. In the event that Uric's notes were incorrect and others could see her, she would be instantly identifiable as a witch, something that was not really healthy in the era for which she was aiming. She would need every advantage she could get. After a moments thought, she put all of her supplies in her trunk, shrank it, and put it in her pocket. She was much better equipped than what Harry had been, but then again, she knew where she was going, Harry only thought he knew.
Returning to the main room, she cleared her mind, not an easy thing for her, and began the incantation and wand movements which would take her back. Because of her second sight, different reality possibilities flashed across her mind and she felt her grip with this reality begin to slowly slip away. She focused on what she needed to do in her mission, and, in what seemed like an eternity, finally reached the last chart and stabbed her wand toward the empty spot. The portal began to spread, not quite as stable appearing as Harry's had been, but then again, she had not had the same amount of practice time as Harry. She muttered a quick plea to whatever deity might be listening, then stepped through the portal and disappeared. Had she of been able to look back, she would have noticed all of the wizarding relics left behind shimmer, then fade out of existence. The computer, printer, and charts were the next items to disappear. In less than five minutes, there was no trace that they had ever occupied the flat.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Circa: About 950 CE
"Good morning, Salazar. Or should I say, good afternoon? Did Godric tell thee about the youngling to be brought to sanctuary?"
To look at Salazar, you would never know he had been completely blotto just a few hours earlier. As Harry watched the scene, he mentally tipped his hat to the Founder, comparing the man's potion abilities to his late professor. If he was here long enough, he planned on convincing Salazar to give him potions instruction. The Sobering potion and Pepper-up potions Salazar had given him not only worked faster than anything Snape had ever brewed, but it tasted good!
"Nay Helga. Didst the youngling's name appear in the book?" The Register Book was a recent bit of magic; it would record a child's name when they first showed magic, either accidental or purposeful. It was then up to Salazar or Godric to ride out and attempt to bring the child to Hogwarts for training before the local priest found out and had them burned for supposedly 'making a deal with the devil'. Godric and Salazar had often snorted with derision over that phrase. If five to eleven year olds were making deals with the devil, then the devil was a pretty sorry character for not at least leaving a demon to protect them against the mostly drink addled and lecherous 'servants of God'.
"Aye, she did. The lass is ten years old and probably terrified of being found out. She is in the village of Claigham, about a day's ride from here. I wouldst urge thee to ride quickly lest we lose her to the torturers and the fire. Godric is on his way to recover another child in the opposite direction."
"I shall leave at once, Lady Helga. Wouldst thou ask Rowena to take over my brewing? Tell her that the potion on the flame will be at step seventeen in two hours."
"I shall, Salazar. Godspeed and good fortune follow thee on thy ride." Salazar took this as a dismissal, thinking that more than speed and luck would be following him. He opened the door and hesitated, waiting for Harry to slip past him on the way out. They strode quickly to the stables, Salazar ordering the stableman to prepare two horses, then called for an elf to prepare rations for three people for two days.
"So Master Harry", Salazar asked when the stableman had gone to prepare the horses. "Art thou ready to ride?"
"Sure, but why don't you just apparate to the village, grab the kid and pop back here? Twenty miles should be no problem, and I could side-apparate there with you. I know my way back here, so that wouldn't be a problem."
Salazar looked at Harry like he had grown another head. "What is this 'apparation' of which thou speaketh?" he asked in confusion. "Is it some new manner of travel?"
Harry was stunned. The great Salazar Slytherin knew nothing about apparition? He then remembered that on his O.W.L. History of Magic there was a question about who discovered the wizarding method of apparition and what year. He had missed the question, probably because he had slept through that particular class. He tried to explain.
"You know how the elves can pop out of one place and appear in another?" Salazar nodded. "It's pretty much the same principle. You just bring up the image of where you want to be in your mind, then make a half turn, believing yourself to be there. Beginners find it easier to do with a wand, but with enough practice, most adult wizards and witches can do it. The biggest problem is accidental splinching."
"What be this splinching?"
"That would be accidentally leaving some of your body parts behing. It happens a lot to people who attempt to apparate when drunk."
Salazar shuddered. "Me thinkest that I shall not be attempting this anytime soon. Elf travel sounds dangerous."
"I'll tell you what. When we get some quiet time, I will teach you how to apparate. Think of the fun you could have pulling it over on Godric." Just then, the house elf appeared with the rations and they heard the stableman coming with the horses. Salazar took the reins of his stallion, then tied the other horses reins to his saddle. He mounted and rode out of the stable, Harry following on his Firebolt. When they were out of sight of the school, Salazar stopped, dismounted, and untied the stirrups from the second horse, letting them dangle. Harry took the reins from Salazar, put his foot in the stirrup, and promptly fell, the saddle slipping so that he found himself under the horse with his foot caught in the stirrup. Salazar roared with laughter at his plight.
"Master Harry, hast thou not been taught to check and tighten the belly cinch before thou mount the horse?"
"I've never ridden a horse in my life! A thestral, yes. A Hippogriff, yes. Never a horse that stayed on the ground. The closest I ever came to riding a real horse was when I was eleven, a centaur gave me a short ride." Salazar helped him up and showed him how to properly tighten the cinch and gave him a leg up onto the horse.
"Thou will have to tell me of these tales as we travel, Master Harry. For now, we needs to ride hard." Salazar gave his horse a small slap on the flank, urging him forward. Harry did the same with his mare, his hand sinking into the horse. He pulled his hand out, concentrated, then dug his heels into the beast's side. She started, almost throwing him off. Harry thought he would either ride his broom back or apparate.
The rotund priest, scriptures and holy water in hand, was observing the newest residents of the local gaol. It was a shame, really; the mother not even thirty years of age and still youthful appearing and her ten year old daughter, already having consigned their souls to hell by bargaining with demons to grant them these unnatural powers. Of course, they would get a final chance to renounce the devil, but they would still burn, once touched by that evil, there was no redemption. It was still a shame to waste a wench like that though, and after tomorrow, she wouldn't exactly be around to tell anyone He dismissed the jailer and spoke to the mother, the former Goodwife Pricilla MacTavish, nee McGonagall.
"Hast thou decided to perform an act of contrition and renounce the vile bargain thou hast made with Satan? It could allowest thee to enter death in a state of grace. Thou and thy daughter might go to Purgatory instead of Hell. Should thou agree to give this humble priest some earthly comfort, I would absolve thee of the sin and direct the sheriff to strangle thee before thou burnest."
"Thou vile creature! I hast told thee time and again that I never made any deal with the devil. The only devil I ever met is standing in front of me right now! How canst thou call thyself a man of God and still letch after one thou believeth to be possessed? Bringing an innocent child into this terrible lie makes thee beneath contempt!" She spat in his face.
"Stinking wench! For that insult, thou shalt watch thy demon spawn burn before thee! I hadst planned to grant her the boon of strangulation and to be burned with thee, instead thou shalt hear and see her pain cry out to Heaven! I shall cut the evil out of this town, beginning with thee. Blessed be the poor man you witched into marrying thee for denouncing thy unnatural ways and turning thee over to me with thy whelp! When thou enter into Hell, tell the devil that Father Dursley hast sent thee there, his gates shall not stand against the righteousness of the Most High God!" He sat and contemplated her for a moment. "Tomorrow on the morn, the torturer shalt break thee before the stake claims thee. Thou might as well get used to punishment, it is thy lot for eternity."
The priest stormed out and Pricilla sank to the ground, holding her daughter, Minerva. How had things gone so wrong? She had never made any deal with a demon, she also knew that she and her child were God fearing people. Yes, strange things sometimes happened when she was in a stressful situation, and she had used different herbs and plants for healing; Heaven knew the villagers never minded when one of her cures worked! Had it not been for that thrice-damned statue, the secret would have remained safe. That hypocrite priest had talked her addled husband into buying a statue of the Holy Mother to make a shrine in the house, even though they could not afford it. She had objected, but he was adamant, and her daughter was enamored by the thing. It was ironic that the pretty statue the girl loved was to be the cause of both of their deaths.
While little Minerva was playing, she bumped against the shelf holding that wretched piece of plaster, causing it to fall. The girl threw out her hand as if to catch it, never mind that she was too far away, and it just stopped falling! Her idiot husband, already upset that he had sired a willowy girl instead of the strapping son he really wanted, had paled and muttered the word "witchery", then began shouting that he was going to take their daughter to the priest and denounce her. Pricilla had latched onto his leg, begging him not to. When he broke free, she wished the door locked and turned on him, eyes blazing, telling him he would not harm her child. Unfortunately, the commotion had roused the neighbors, and hearing his distress, they broke the door apart and the press of strong males dragged her to the floor and into unconsciousness. She had awakened here, sharing a cell with her daughter, both chained to the wall while that hideous creature calling himself a priest eyed her like a cat hungrily gazing at a plump mouse.
"Mama, I am sorry. I didst not mean to do anything bad. Why will they not let us go? I saved the Holy Mother, even though I do not know how." The tears were tracking down the young girl's dirty face."
"Hush child. We art innocent, and shall go into Heaven boldly. Hope here is lost, Father Dursley shall be spilling innocent blood in his zeal, but the Holy Mother and the Savior shall comfort us after but a short bit of pain. We must leave the judgment to God, any powers we have were gifts from Him, and we shalt be welcomed as martyrs. I must ask the Holy Mother and the Father for forgiveness for lashing out at the misguided priest. Come child, we shall pray the night away and enter Heaven in a state of grace." Pricilla took out her rosary and began.
"I believeth in God the Father, maker of Heaven and Earth…"
Luna appeared in a muddy village in what she believed, by the topography, to be in the Scottish Highlands. After she put on Harry's invisibility cloak in the event that she was, in fact able to be seen, this guess on her location was confirmed by the accent of a man in a priest robe and cowl, walking along and muttering to himself. She felt no urge to attempt to interact with him, rather she felt a revulsion, for reasons unknown. She did, however feel an urge toward the building he had just left. The closer she came, the more compelling the urge, almost as if she was being pulled there. She got to the door, listened and tried to open the door, but her hand went through it. Nonplussed, she shrugged, then went through the door, making no more impact than a ghost. Luna stepped into the room, then stepped out of the way and listened to the two men in the room.
"So lad, what be the two witches doing in their last hours?"
"They be praying, or at least pretending to. Maybe they think they can escape perdition, but God canna be mocked, as the good Father says."
"Aye, if they be praying, it be just empty words. Tell me, did they say the Lord's Prayer backwards? I heard tell that witches canna say it straight, the demon in them makes them say it wrong."
"I dinna hear them say the Lord's Prayer, just the Hail Mary."
"As if the Holy Mother would have anything to do with that lot!" the sheriff snorted. "We'll be shut of them in the morn, Father Dursley wants them broken when they go to the stake, show the people what we do with the devil's own here." The sheriff's assistant looked somewhat queasy at this last statement, they had never had witches in this village and he was not inured to torture yet. "Now lad, we need to keep a close eye on them, it would not do for them to use their witchery on us and escape."
The younger man got up to go into the cell area and Luna got the urge to follow. When he opened the door, she slipped past him, feeling the compulsion grow stronger. There were two people in the cell, a woman and a young girl, both praying softly. She walked through the bars and was drawn to the older of the two. She first reached out to touch the girl, to comfort her, but her hand went past the skin with no reaction. She then leaned over the older woman and whispered, "Don't be afraid, it will be alright, I promise."
The woman jerked up with a start. "Minerva," she whispered. "Did thee hear that?" At the girl's puzzled look, she drew her close. "The Holy Mother heard our prayer! She just told me, "Be not afraid". Rejoice child, for tomorrow we shall see God!"
Luna did not attempt to change the woman's misconception; she had to figure out how she was going to save these two, especially since it seemed that Uric was right and the only person she could affect was the older woman. With a sigh, she stepped through the wall and out into the street. She had work to do.