HARRY POTTER AND THE ETERNAL BOUNDARY
A Harry Potter / Planescape crossover
This story and all original materials are © 2011 Rick Summon.
Harry Potter and all related materials are © and ® J. K. Rowling and Warner Bros.
Dungeons and Dragons, Planescape, and all related materials are © and ® Wizards of the Coast.
Pathfinder and all related materials are © and ® Paizo Publishing.
Well, folks, here we are in the year 2011— a mere eight years from the time period of Blade Runner. In fact, it's only five years until Roy Batty's™ incept date. Happy Incept, Roy!™ It's too bad you won't live… but then again, who does? (Hmmm… do Philosopher's Stones™ work on Replicants?™)
When you think about it, though, it's disappointing how far we haven't come. If it's 2011, why isn't it The Future™ yet? I mean, sure, Blade Runner is a dystopian Hellhole™ where it rains constantly and most animals are extinct, but they have Flying Cars™ and cool buildings that spew Fire!™ The movie Back To The Future II™ predicted we'd have Flying Cars™ and Hoverboards™ only four years from now! Instead of all that, what did we get? The iPad.™ Man, The Future™ sure ain't what it used to be.
That's why this story begins in 1996,™ fifteen years in The Past.™ It was a simpler time, when people rented VHS™ tapes and used dial-up Internet™ access on Windows 95.™ Bill Clinton was definitely not having sex with That Woman™ (though that would depend on what the meaning of "was" was.) Airport Security™ used Metal Detectors™ instead of a full Cavity Search.™ And, of course, people played the 2nd Edition™ of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons,™ which was still being made by TSR™ (although not for much longer.)
Now, obviously, they weren't playing Dungeons and Dragons™ in the fictional world of this story. I mean, it would be kind of strange if our heroes could just go down to their Friendly Local Game Store™ and buy a book about their world's darkest secrets. So, what do they play in that world? Probably Vampire™: The Masquerade.™ I can just imagine Hermione™ having a fit about how all their information on vampires was completely inaccurate — not to mention Professor Snape's™ reaction if he caught someone with a game book in Defense Against the Dark Arts™ class!*
For those of you who are Gamers,™ I should inform you that the Planescape™ characters in this Story™ are using Pathfinder™ rules. If you're not familiar with Pathfinder,™ it is the unofficial successor to DnD™ 3.5 created by Paizo Publishing.™ (The official successor is 4th Edition,™ but the less said about that, the better.)
So why does Everything™ have a TM on it? I'm testing out the Alpha™ version of a new word processor Plug-In™ for Authors.™ Writer's Digest™ is always full of ads telling you how legally horrible it is for an Author™ to write things like:
"Jake's mom put a band-aid on his scraped knee, then she wiped his tears with a kleenex."
This Plug-In™ will automatically add the proper trademark designation to any Brand Name.™ When it's finished, it should correct the example sentence to:
"Jake's mom put a Band-Aid™ brand adhesive bandage on his scraped knee, then she wiped his tears with a Kleenex™ brand facial tissue."
I mean, Jake™ may be only six years old, but that's no excuse for his mom to ignore Intellectual Property™ laws such as the Lanham Act™ of 1947!™ Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a bit of a headache, so I'll just go take a couple of aspirin.**
There are worlds beyond the world that you know.
Other universes, dimensions — the Planes of Existence.
From the Sevenfold Heavens to the Nine Pits of Hell;
From the Endless Waters to the Silvery Void;
From the perfect Order to the howling Chaos to the limits of reality itself — and beyond.
At the center of them all lies Sigil, the City of Doors, where belief has the power to control... the Planescape.
Prologue: The Boundary Breached
It seemed to take Sirius an age to fall. His body curved in a graceful arc as he sank backward through the ragged veil hanging from the arch... And Harry saw the look of mingled fear and surprise on his godfather's wasted, once-handsome face as he fell through the ancient doorway and disappeared behind the veil, which fluttered for a moment as through in a high wind and then fell back into place...
The first thing Sirius realized as he slowly regained consciousness was that he was lying on his back on a hard, uncomfortable surface. As he shook his head to clear it, he also realized that he currently had a splitting headache.
Bloody hell… what did Bella hit me with, anyway? I'm still breathing, so it couldn't have been a Killing Curse, but whatever she used certainly packed a punch!
As he opened his eyes, he found himself staring at a featureless gray sky. It wasn't the familiar gray of rain clouds; it was as if the melancholy gray feeling of a rainy day was being directly expressed in visual form. He sat up and saw that he was sitting on a gray stone platform; the black stone archway he had fallen through stood right in front of him.
Sirius struggled to his feet and picked up his wand as he shook his head again. He felt miserable, and it wasn't just the soreness in his back. It almost felt like he was back in Azkaban surrounded by the constant presence of dementors, yet there appeared to be no other creatures in sight. The platform and archway were surrounded by muddy ground and an assortment of gnarled and twisted gray trees. The air was filled with a horrible stench which seemed to be bubbling out of a particularly wet patch of mud nearby.
As Sirius regarded his surroundings, he realized that everything seemed to be gray; the stone, the mud, the trees, even the water that bubbled out from beneath them. It was as if he were inside an old black-and-white photograph. He looked down at his hands which had been scraped by his fall; the color of his skin and even the red of his own dried blood seemed strangely muted. What the hell? Where am I?
The only thing that seemed to be exempt from the pervasive grayness around Sirius was the black stone archway; in contrast to his surroundings, it stood out like a sore thumb. It looked exactly like the archway he remembered falling into, though it lacked the thin veil of its twin in the Department of Mysteries.
I know the archway must have sent me here somehow, but where is here? Sirius cautiously poked his wand through the archway; when nothing happened, he stepped through it, then stepped back. Still nothing.
Sirius racked his brain as he tried to remember what he knew about the Department of Mysteries. He knew they conducted research into many strange areas of magic, but the details of their work were always closely-kept Ministry secrets. Despite this, rumors about the Department had occasionally reached the wizarding public; the most prominent rumors concerned the Hall of Prophecies, which, of course, Sirius now knew to be true. Other than that, it was said that the Department of Mysteries researched the fundamental mysteries of life itself; the secrets of thought, love, life, and…
Death. Yes, I remember now. Legend has it that the Department possessed a gateway leading into the lands of the dead. I don't see how they could have known that, since legend also says nothing that went into the gateway ever came back. But, judging by my current surroundings, it might be more than just a legend.
Wait a minute. I'm still breathing, and I feel my heart beating in my chest! I can't be dead! And even if I am, this place sure doesn't look like Heaven. I suppose I could have ended up in the "other place" instead, but there's no fire and brimstone here, just cold, gray mud.
Just then, Sirius heard a faint sound behind him; the best way he could think to describe it was a high-pitched screech combined with a squawk. He stepped off the platform and promptly sank into the ankle-deep mud. Chuckling ruefully, he stepped back onto the platform and waved his wand. "Terra Firma!" The mud before him instantly solidified. This place must really be getting to me; I almost forgot I could do that.
Sirius walked past the gnarled gray trees, pausing occasionally to harden the muddy ground in his path. As the shrieks and squawks grew louder, he walked slowly, his wand at the ready. As he reached the apparent source of the noises, he hid behind a large tree and peered slowly out from behind the trunk.
In a small clearing, two large creatures that could best be described as "bird-men" were apparently feasting on the remains of a scaly, reptilian-looking beast. They were each at least as tall as Hagrid, though their bodies were thin and covered in small, gray-green feathers. Their faces were vaguely human-like with long, pointed black bills. They had no wings; instead, they had clawed hands which they were using to dig out chunks of bloody flesh from their prey. As Sirius watched, the two bird-men both reached for a piece of the reptile-beast's tail; they began screeching at each other and gestured threateningly with their claws.
Sirius began to back away from the grisly scene. Despite moving slowly, he still managed to nearly trip over a root. Instinctively, he steadied himself by grabbing a branch; the bird-men turned their heads toward the rustling noise and screeched loudly as they spotted him.
Now, Sirius knew that most men in this situation would have simply run away in terror. However, Gryffindors were widely known for their bravery (and often derided for their recklessness), and, in both qualities, Sirius Black was a Gryffindor's Gryffindor. In most situations, he firmly believed that the best defense was a good offense. So, instead of running, he aimed his wand and yelled "Stupefy!"
It seemed that fortune had favored Sirius's impulsive act, for the light from his wand struck the creature dead-center and knocked it flat on its back. The other one, however, immediately started running toward Sirius with its claws at the ready. This time, Sirius ran, though he knew he would not likely be able to outrun a creature with such long legs. He was, however, able to move far enough away to cast another Stunner. To Sirius's dismay, the red light merely shattered into sparks as it struck the second creature; fortune, it seemed, had not favored him a second time.
The bird-man shrieked and struck Sirius with the point of its bill, leaving a bloody wound in his shoulder. It reached out with its clawed hands, seeking to rip his flesh as it had the reptile's.
Deciding that four legs would be better than two for running, Sirius changed into his Animagus form. The bird-man pursued him, but Sirius seemed able to keep his distance while running as a dog. As he returned to the stone platform, he turned around and gave the bird-man his most intimidating growl.
Instead of attacking, the bird-man hesitated, though its gaze seemed to be fixed on the archway rather than on Sirius. It glanced back and forth at Sirius and the archway as if considering whether or not an attack would be worthwhile. Finally, the creature fixed Sirius with an angry glare, screeched loudly, then stormed off back into the swamp.
Sirius resumed his human form and sighed with relief. The wound in his shoulder was painful, but he was easily able to stop the bleeding with a simple Styptic Spell. After that, he looked back at the swamp, then again at the archway. There has to be a way to get back… but how?
Suddenly, Sirius felt a chill in the air — a chill he knew all too well. Oh, no! It can't be! Not —
As he looked into the swamp, his heart sank as his worst fear was confirmed. Three black-cloaked dementors were gliding effortlessly across the muddy ground toward him. Quickly, he aimed his wand and focused on his memories of Harry. "Expecto Patronum!"
A brilliant white dog leapt forth from Sirius's wand and charged at the dementors, driving one of them away. Sirius smiled, but his joy was short-lived, for the air around him grew even colder. As he looked around, four more dementors were closing in from the other sides of the platform. He tried to keep his concentration and managed to drive off a second dementor, but it was getting harder and harder to keep hold of his happy memories.
I've never felt dementors this strongly before! It's as if this place… somehow makes them… more powerful!
As the dementors got closer, Sirius could no longer maintain his concentration. His thoughts of Harry were suddenly overwhelmed by a deluge of his worst memories…
James and Lily Potter are dead…
Wormtail, the traitor…
For your crimes, you have been sentenced to life imprisonment in Azkaban…
Nothing left now…
As the dementors' chill took hold of his mind, Sirius collapsed onto the stone platform. No longer able to muster up the will to resist, he lay still, immobilized by despair, as a dementor bent over him and prepared to deliver the Kiss.
Just then, a loud voice shouted something from Sirius's left. At least, Sirius thought it was loud. The chill had nearly consumed him, and he could barely hear or see anything now. The dementor looked in the direction of the voice, then moved away. There was silence, then the sound of footsteps right next to him.
The last thing Sirius remembered before the chill drove him into complete unconsciousness was the voice, saying:
"Ahhh… a visitor."
*Is Slytherin House™ more like Clan Brujah,™ Gangrel,™ or Nosferatu?™ Probably whichever Clan™ has the most Angst.™ Of course, in Vampire,™ that's like asking which Ocean™ has the most Water.™
**Aspirin is not a trademark in the United States.™ In some countries, however, Aspirin™ is a registered trademark of the Bayer Corporation.™ Make sure you have the correct version of the Plug-In™ for every jurisdiction in which your publication will be distributed. This is not Legal Advice™; always consult an Attorney™ who wears a Suit™ that costs more than your Car.™