Harry Potter and the World Beneath
By: Tellemicus Sundance
Chapter 4—Turbulent Years

16 April 1989

He sat upon a large rocky formation that gave him an excellent view of the large savannah before him. He could see for rolling hills, waving grasses, and large animals for miles away. The cool spring wind pulled at his long hair and animal hide clothing, sending small shivers up his spine. But he ignored those as he refocused upon his work.

In his hands was his latest trophy, a large tooth that he'd broken off a large predator that had tried to eat him two days ago, or was it three days ago?

Shaking off his wandering thoughts, he very carefully returned to his work of using a piece of black volcanic rock to chip away and sharpen the tooth to a very sharp point. If he was lucky and didn't break this one in two like the last dozen or so he'd tried, this one would make a wonderful addition to his growing collection of tooth daggers, spears, and various other weapons.

A faint rustling sound in the grasses beneath him instantly caught his attention. Quickly but quietly setting his project to the side, he dropped down and crouched low over the rock as he turned to look over in the direction of the noise. It was a small family of those bonehead animals making their way out of the forest and towards the awaiting savannah.

Long time experience had taught him that wherever they went, a pack of those ferocious feathered predators wasn't usually too far away. He needed to hide and leave the area soon, lest he got into another life-or-death brawl with one or more of the members of such a pack. With his small size and lack of strength, added to not having the help his only friend in this wilderness, he was pretty much defenseless against a pack of those things.

Gathering up his hopefully soon-to-be new tooth dagger and the sharpener stone, he placed them inside the pouch he wore under his shoulder and silently dropped into the tall grasses, all but disappearing from sight.

Harry PotterThe World BeneathHarry Potter

31 July 1991

Albus Dumbledore was a very confused wizard. The irate witch in front of him did not help his present mood any. In many ways, today was a replay of the disastrous night of five years ago.

Minerva McGonagall sat in front of him holding Harry Potter's invitation to Hogwarts. The owl she had given it to had simply refused to take it. Yet, in the magical birth registry book in front of him, Harry Potter's name was clearly listed. The owl should have taken the letter unless Harry was dead. Yet the magical birth registry book would have stricken Harry's name if he was dead, and it had not. Each situation should not be true at the same time, and yet that was happening.

"Well?" she asked him for the third time that morning.

"I only have one explanation. He must be living under a Fidelius Charm; it is the only explanation that makes sense." He made sure he sounded and looked more confident than he felt about that statement.

"But Albus," she protested. "It is normally only the old Pureblood families that hide their old manor houses like that, and most of them are Dark."

"I know, Minerva." It was a chilling thought to the Headmaster. What would Harry have been taught and what would he be like after living with a Dark family? "We shall just have to be patient and keep our eyes open for him," he said with resignation.

She harrumphed as she stood to leave. Albus knew she was not happy and he was not either, but there was nothing either of them could do.

Harry PotterThe World BeneathHarry Potter

Silent as the wind, a small but deadly hunter stalked his prey, just as it stalked him. It was an extremely dangerous version of the games hide-and-seek and wrestling, but he had long ago adjusted to these more savage rules than the ones in the versions he used to play. Now, it was no longer a game of amusement (or protection) that stopped when someone was tired or (usually himself) hurt. It was a game of survival, where one would die and one would live, usually off the carcass of the deceased.

With his spear held firmly in his grip and numerous daggers secured to his clothing, he crept through the waving grasses. His dirty, long dark hair might've stood out against the greens of the jungle, but the rains had been very few this season. Many of the grasses were dry and brown, more than enough for this skilled hunter to blend into the scenery, as he had learned how to shortly after he arrived.

This evening, he was hunting a creature that had recently begun invading his own hunting grounds and stealing his normal prey. Normally, he hated to hunt other hunters because, unlike their prey, they were much more intelligent and thus dangerous. But unless he wanted to relocate, he had no other choice. Tonight, one of them would die, and the spoils would go to the victor.

What a way to spend one's birthday.

Harry PotterThe World BeneathHarry Potter

13 September 1991

How long had it been since he'd last set foot here? He honestly had no idea, but it was definitely almost ten years to month. But last time he had been a wrongly accused and convicted criminal, now he was the first known escapee of the most dreaded prison in all of the Magical Britain. Or, as Sirius preferred to think of it, he was now a free man!

Lying hidden within a large rosebush near a Muggle home, the large black dog panted heavily. It had been a long, hard swim through those choppy waves and cold water. If he had been nothing less than supremely determined and stubborn, such a swim would've killed him quite quickly since he no longer had the same muscle strength he once use to.

As he lay there, slowly recovering his lost breath, he tried to focus his mind towards what his goals were now. Without the oppressive mental weight of the Dementors crushing down upon his mind, it was both liberating and agonizing for him. It was like his mind was filled with helium balloons that could drift wherever the winds so chose to blow them. To even focus a semi-coherent chain of thoughts was an exercise of extreme mental strength and willpower, in and of itself.

He wanted to find his reportedly-missing godson. He needed to find and/or kill that rat, whichever was more convenient. Where was young Harry? He needed a new wand. Where could he get some new clothes and maybe a shower? Why wasn't Harry in school like he was supposed to be? He needed to talk to Dumbledore as soon as he could.

It was this final thought that finally pierced the haze of unfocused thoughts that were littering his brain. It gave him the focus to lift his still-weakened body off the ground and begin the long, slow journey northward.

Harry PotterThe World BeneathHarry Potter

16 August 1992
8:26pm, Sunday

Lord Voldemort was quite displeased, which was putting it delicately.

The truth was that he was raging mad at the fool of a servant and vessel that he had been forced to latch onto. He had not only been unable to figure out the magic that Dumbledore had used to hide the Philosopher's Stone inside the Mirror of Erised, but had been fired from his teaching position within the school. This was due in part to his unauthorized invasion of the defenses for the Stone, but mostly because of the pathetic display he put on while teaching his classes.

Now with the Stone destroyed, he had to find a new way of returning to life. He had long ago taken measures to ensure his survival against death with the creation of his six Horcruxes. So he was still no worse off than he had been, but he still hadn't acquired himself a new body of his own and not a shared one. While any willing body would suffice, what he really wanted was a young, strong body like what he had when he had been a teenager…

That thought caused something to click in Voldemort's mind. It seemed…possible, likely even. He'd have to do extensive research and experiments into the matter. None of his earlier research had ever indicated it was possible or much less survivable. But if it worked…

A sickly serpentine sneer crossed Voldemort's face as he began to plan. One way or another, Lord Voldemort would return.

Sensing his master's sudden change in mood, his vessel brought his mug up to his mouth to hide his lips from view as he very quietly asked, "Something pleases, Master?"

"Yes," Voldemort answered, just as quietly so as to not attract any unwanted attention from the other wizards and witches around them in the pub. "Contact Lucius Malfoy, I have a task required of him."

Harry PotterThe World BeneathHarry Potter

28 May 1993
5:55pm, Friday

With a patience learned after decades of lying dormant, the spirit of one young man watched with cold eyes as the young girl slowly died before him. It really was a pity that it had to have been a pureblood like her to have helped him awaken and regain his strength, especially because there were so few purebloods left in the current Magical World. And although she was technically a rather uninteresting and somewhat unappealing female, she'd have made an excellent breeding specimen for producing many more pureblood offspring in the future.

They were locked safely within an underground chamber that only he, in all his great wisdom and infinite power, was aware of. Not even the Muggle-loving old fool knew of this location, and even if by some miracle he did, he'd never be able to enter without the proper password.

As his thoughts turned towards his upcoming goals, a serpentine sneer crossed his face. With the old fool being driven out of Hogwarts, all the roosters killed, and the dying witch's wand at his disposal, there was now nothing to stop him from completing his long postponed quest of ridding the school, and world soon following, of those disgraces and abominations to magical potential called Muggleborns and Mudbloods!

Of course that was his original plan, but that had drastically changed after the girl had informed him of some very disturbing news. A mere infant had been the cause of his older, future self's fall from power? An infant who had since been titled 'The-Boy-Who-Lived' for supposedly surviving the Avada Kedavra cast by his older self who was undoubtedly more powerful than the infant. The boy had been placed into hiding by Dumbledore shortly after that incident and had been expected to attend Hogwarts when he reached the proper age.

Yet he didn't.

The Boy-Who-Lived had become the Boy-Who-Vanished. His absence had sent a considerable portion of the Wizarding World into an uproar. According to the girl's father, who was an insignificant Ministry employee, they had Aurors, Unspeakables, and just about every other non-important wizard and witch scouring Great Britain for months afterwards. They had started with searching many of the homes of Wizarding families and all magical enclaves with very few exceptions, not even the incredibly wealthy and influential Malfoys had been spared. They even braved Muggle Britain to find the boy, but not even a hint of his presence had been found. They had recently begun turning their attentions more abroad, some of the more paranoid or ambitious fools started believing that one of the rival countries had stolen their symbol.

That would be his first task when he gained a corporal form. He would find the boy and destroy him so completely that no one would dare question Lord Voldemort's power again! And with loss of their pathetic idol, the Wizarding World would truly fall to his immortal power and he would rise supreme as the ruler of the planet! No one, not Dumbledore, would stand against him then.

The time was growing closer now. He could feel it, the girl's life spirit was nearly completely absorbed. In comparison to what it had been when he had first started, there were barely a few wisps of life left. It would only take a few more minutes to take them for himself.

An unexpected noise drew his attention towards the entrance of the Chamber. Moving to hide behind one of the nearby giant snake statues, he watched with silent malice at the figure who'd dared enter his domain uninvited. The figure was heavily cloaked with a large, black hood that concealed all but his jaw from view. There was a definite gait of power and absolute confidence in his stride as the man walked boldly forward.

Eyes narrowing dangerously, the young Lord Voldemort assessed the man's threat level to be exceptionally high. Especially considering he had managed to enter in his Chamber unnoticed until now. Gripping the girl's wand tightly, he prepared to launch an Avada Kedavra at the first sign of aggression from the stranger.

Stopping just in front of the girl, the mystery man knelt down and reached for her. But rather than feel her fast-fading pulse, the man opened her robe and withdrew the diary. As soon as the man touched the diary, the final wisps of the girl's life drained away and young Tom Marvolo Riddle suddenly felt more alive than he had ever felt before. He had finally returned!

Standing back up, the man looked it over critically, handling it almost lovingly, before turning to the hiding young man and stated, "So, it is finally complete."

Moving forward with the girl's wand hiding behind his newly-materialized school robes, he came into view and stared coldly upon the stranger. "Who are you and how did you get down here?"

The man seemed to sneer under the shadow of his hood before replying. "You are not the only one capable of great things, young Tom."

The easy mention of his name not only caused him to flinch ever-so-slightly, but caused his hackles to rise immediately. With only a flex of his power, he fired off a powerful Expulso Curse at the man. The man merely waved his wand in a half-hearted attempt and sent the curse flying into the Chamber.

"You have the power and strength to be the greatest of the Dark Lords to have ever lived," the man continued easily, not seeming to care for Tom's fierce glare. "But you lack the knowledge and finesse to wield it properly. I can teach you how to make men like Dumbledore cower at your feet, how to enslave entire species, and how to become the man you are destined to be."

As he had been saying that, Tom noticed something strange about the man in front of him. Unlike most witches and wizards, Tom had the very unique gift of being able to sense a person's magical aura. Over his years in Hogwarts, he had learned to control his aura, which had helped to amplify his charisma greatly. The aura he was sensing off the man was confusing. At the core, the man had weak and bland aura of a second-rate wizard. But floating around and throughout him was an almost ghostly aura that held far more power than even he or Dumbledore held. This man could very easily kill him, if he so desired.

"Why do you wish to help me?" he asked quietly, keeping his stolen wand at the ready.

Rather than answer immediately, the man reached up removed his hood, exposing his full face to the dim light of the Chamber. It took only a few moments before Tom recognized the face in front of him. It was Lord Voldemort, his older self.

"Because we are one and the same," Voldemort answered, sneering. "Come with me, young Tom, and I will teach you all you will need to know to rule this world."

A serpentine sneer pulled across young Tom's face. Yes, he could learn much from his future self. His future self would most certainly teach him all he knew. And when the time was right, Tom would seal him into an artifact as a Horcrux and take up the mantle of Lord Voldemort once again.

Kneeling down, he bowed his head as he incited, "I will pledge myself to your teachings, my Lord. I will do as you command, so long as our goals remain the same."

Voldemort sneered at the display his younger self was putting on. This was too perfect! "As my pupil, I will teach you what I know. I will be the mind and you shall be the body and icon. Together, we shall rise from the ashes and bring an order to this world like has not been seen in millennia. So, henceforth, you shall be known as Lord…Delamort."

"Yes, my master," the newly-named Delamort intoned.

"Rise," Voldemort commanded, his voice echoing down the long Chamber.

A new era of Darkness had just begun.

Harry PotterThe World BeneathHarry Potter

From his perch upon his big-little sister's broad snout, he watched as the herd of spike-tails lazily waltzed through the forest. After almost six years of life and growth, she had grown in tremendous leaps and bounds. She easily towered over him, even though she still was a juvenile and nowhere near her full adolescent height. With that great growth in height came an even greater growth in speed and strength; she could throw him about like leaf in the wind without even trying anymore.

He had grown as well, but nowhere like she had. He was perhaps a good six to eight inches taller and had strong and toned muscles covering his frame. His hair had grown very long and thick, reaching as far as his lower back. In the forest, it was almost perfect camouflage since it could very easily meld into the shadows of bushes and trees, and it shifted with the winds, making him that much harder to see for some of the more visually-challenged animals.

For the small herd that he and his sister were hunting today, it was going to be fairly challenging to say the least. The animals were unusually aggressive when compared to others of the same size. And they were considerably faster and more agile than their bulky, awkward frame seemed to suggest. But they had one crucial weakness, one that the pair of hunters would exploit to the fullest capability they could.

A soft growl from his sister, whom he'd long ago named Allie, informed him that it was almost time to go. She'd evidentially found the one that she figured would be the best target, probably the one that was he was watching as well. The one that was limping quite heavily at the back, its left forelimb clearly broken from a fall it had taken recently. Silently, he reached down and patted her lightly upon the top of her head, signaling he too was ready.

With a loud roar, Allie suddenly burst out of the foliage that they were hiding in. Though making a lot of noise was a bad idea, especially when hunting, it was sometimes necessary to startle the prey into moving in the direction that they wanted them to go. In this case, her roar was merely to spook the rest of the herd into stampeding forward, leaving the wounded one behind and alone.

And it worked like a charm. They would eat well tonight.

Harry PotterThe World BeneathHarry Potter

1 January 1994
6:00am, Saturday

Contrary to many beliefs about the desert, they did experience extreme changes in weather. The desert was a climate of extremes, with very little in the terms of moderation. In the summer, the temperatures easily soared over 100 degrees. The winter months could drop as low as a chilling 20 degrees, especially at night. And though they didn't experience the wonders of snowfall, it did have a tendency of raining much more frequently during the winter. It was not an understatement to say that the winter months were among the dreariest in the desert.

And the weather perfectly mirrored the emotion state of one certain red-haired wizard as he was riding his horse into the desert. It had only been a few months since he'd heard the news, but still it felt as though he'd just learned of his little sister's death yesterday. As the only daughter in a family full of males, Ginny had been doted on somewhat more than the rest of them had been. But rather than return home to mourn with the rest of his family, Bill Weasley had chosen to remain in Egypt and throw himself into his work.

Unlike a fair portion of his fellow employees, Bill had chosen to dress in a manner fairly similar to the Muggle archeologists who often excavated the river valley. With only a simple tan shirt, a pair of cargo shorts, and his shoes along with a sunhat, he looked strikingly reminiscent of a Muggle college student. The only real thing that set him apart from Muggles was the wand holster he wore on his belt.

Cresting a sand dune, Bill gazed down at the familiar setting of his 'office'. Surrounded by Muggle-Repelling and Notice-Me-Not wards, the excavation site of a recently uncovered ancient Egyptian wizard tomb was being slowly and carefully cleaned of sand and studied. Including Bill himself, there were at least a hundred different wizards and witches from various countries of all over the world gathered here. What made this site especially different from most other tombs, magical or not, was that it was located quite a significant distance away from the others in a large canyon that only recently been discovered when the ancient wards finally failed. Bill had been stationed at this particular site for little more than three weeks, when a group of Muggles had accidentally stumbled upon it.

Clamoring down from his mount, Bill guided his horse to one of the hastily erected horse stalls. It was a small but fairly modest place that even included Cooling charms to help the horses relax and recover from their long journeys through the sand. It was as he was filling his horse's water barrel with the precious life-giving liquid that someone ran up to him.

"Bill, where have you been?" it was Jarold Chambers, from Denmark, asked in German. "Westerfer was looking for you! He says that he may have found the entrance to a new chamber and he needs your help for the—"

"Let me guess," Bill said interrupted, also using German. "He needs me to do my thing. Where did he find this supposed chamber?"

"Along the northern ridge," Jarold answered immediately, excitement easily detectable in his voice. After all, how often did someone find a tomb that was still filled with actual treasure? Slim to none. "He said that the magical aura emitting from behind it is enormous."

However the trace of excitement instantly brought a frown to Bill's face. He didn't like Jarold for a variety of reasons, but the chief among them was his greed. Jarold was more interested in making himself rich through whatever treasures they may find than by doing their jobs and confiscating the (usually) dangerous magical artifacts and cursed treasure they found. And if Jarold was already this excited, then that meant that Westerfer was confident that they'd found something good.

Nodding, Bill hurried after his colleague. It wasn't an especially long walk, only about twenty minutes actually. But when under the unforgiving heat of a desert sun, it was still a breath-taking hike, winter or not.

As they were approaching the spot where Jarold claimed Westerfer was, Bill too began to feel the slight tingle in the air. It was like the area was filled with static electricity, only fair more subtle. Very few wizards and witches of the modern era could really feel the subtle changes of magic within their immediate surroundings, Bill was among the very few that could. But even Bill's sense of environmental magical awareness was just a child's toy when compared to Westerfer's senses. It was said that (aside from his wand) Westerfer couldn't touch objects that were filled with powerful magic because they'd burn his skin like a red-hot fire poker.

Turning around a large boulder, Jarold came to an immediate halt, causing Bill to almost run into him. Stepping around his companion, Bill caught sight of what had caused him to suddenly stop. Westerfer lay on the ground with a large swelling rising up on his left temple and his right arm was twisted at an unnatural angle. In front of him was what could only have been the entrance to the new chamber, it had been blown open and standing around the entrance to the side was a group of seven horses.

"This—What happened here?" Jarold asked in a quiet, scared voice.

Without answering, Bill moved forward towards Westerfer. Kneeling down, he cast a quick diagnosis charm. Turning back to Jarold, he said, "Jarold, take Westerfer back to the camp. He has several broken ribs and his arm's dislocated."

Jarold had his eyes glued to Westerfer's unmoving body as he slowly approached the fallen man, his face unnaturally pale. "While you're there, call the Egyptian Aurors and tell them to send a recovery team here. Something's going here."

Reaching out and grabbing Jarold's still unresponsive form tightly, he shook him slightly as he barked out, "Did you hear what I said?"

Snapping out of whatever funk he'd fallen into, Jarold stuttered out, "R-Right, take Westerfer to c-camp, the Aurors, r-recovery team… Wh-What are you going to do?"

Releasing Jarold as he stood back up, Bill just shook his head as he muttered out, "I don't know, I'll think of something." Without another word, he cautiously made his way into the exposed tomb entrance.

It was a slow, painstaking journey through the tomb hallways. He didn't light his wand, lest it attract not only the people or creatures that had invaded the tomb, but could also set off a variety of vicious curses that could still be active. Then he had to make sure that he didn't touch anything, being extremely careful where he placed his feet, and that he didn't make so much as a whisper of sound, also in case he set off the any ancient Egyptian curses.

He had gone perhaps ten minutes into the darkness, evading no less than six curses, when he finally caught sight of what was happening up ahead. There was a flickering light, suggesting a torch or flame, and there were at least six voices that were bickering back and forth. Slowly coming upon the sight, Bill crouched low to the ground as he stared down into the spacious cavern in front of him.

There were seven men in the subterranean cave below him. The cave looked like it had been blasted open since there was a lot of dust and rocks littering the floor in front of the entrance. The men all had their backs to him, dressed in common desert-wizarding clothing. They were digging through the cavern in front of him with little regard to whatever history or magic that they were disturbing. Three of them were shifting through a large wooden chest with loud clanging of what were probably gold and silver coins. Two were haggling over a set of gem-encrusted necklaces and Egyptian headdresses. One of them was reading over a series of hieroglyphs on the far wall. And the final one, likely the leader from the way he was holding himself, was standing back and watching the others as they went about their business.

"Hey, boss!" the one reading the hieroglyphs called out in what Bill recognized as Spanish. "These say that this is the tomb of one of Remises II priests!"

That statement drew an eruption of excited voices from all the others in the chamber and a hushed gasp from Bill. If that was true, then this tomb was even more valuable, and dangerous, than he'd originally thought! The priests of Remises II had been among the few Egyptian wizards of the ancient era that even modern wizards feared. It wasn't so much that they had done terrible things like many past and future Dark Lords had, but because they had had such power and skill to compete with Moses when he had returned to Egypt with a highly-powerful magic staff to free his people.

"Hey, I got something over here!" a second voice called out. One of the men pillaging the chest suddenly stood up and turned around holding an elegant box in his hands. Rushing over towards the boss, he set it on the ground and drew his wand, carefully opening it with a simple Alohamora. As the door to the box slid open, Bill felt a potent wave of magic wash over him from the box.

From his position, he couldn't see into it the box. But whatever was inside it drew gasps from the surrounding men as the leader knelt down a lifted whatever was inside it out. It was only after the man had stood fully back up that Bill realized just what it was; a golden scepter with a large ruby pommel stone held securely to one end of the small staff.

Bill understood immediately what that scepter was: it was an early version of the modern wizards' wands. It was a priceless artifact that belonged in a wizarding museum. That thought drew a frown across Bill's face. He couldn't let these men take that scepter. Who knew what would become of it, or what it could or would do if it fell into the wrong hands.

He watched for several long minutes as the men began congratulating themselves on finding something so rare, powerful, and priceless. Though after a few minutes, their leader had refocused their attention to clearing out the rest of the chamber.

As he placed the scepter on the ground near one of their duffel bags, the leader said something that caught Bill's interest. "Dig with your hands, not your mouths. We need to get this stuff to Lord Delamort before the next full moon, unless you want him to sic the werewolves on us."

"With that scepter," one of the henchmen muttered loudly. "I bet we could knock that little punk off his high-horse like the impudent whelp he is."

As the leader started scolding the man, Bill pulled out his wand and cast a silent Levitation spell upon the scepter and raised it up into the air, towards his waiting arms. However, as soon as the magic of his spell reached the ruby, a bright red light began glowing brightly from its center. The red light quickly drew the attention of the tomb raiders, but by then it was too late. Snatching the scepter out of the air, Bill turned tail and ran as fast as he could towards the exit, the tomb raiders screaming curses (both actual and verbal) after him.

Exiting the tomb, Bill quickly shielded his eyes from the blinding sunlight as he called out, "Jarold! Anybody?" But no one answered. Lowering his arms, Bill scowled angrily at the sight of the empty canyon in front of him. "Where the hell are the Aurors when you really need them?"

Shouting from the tomb instantly reminded Bill of his pursuers. Running forward, he grabbed one of the horses and hopped on, quickly sending it into a fairly fast run down the canyon towards the camp. Glancing over his shoulder, he watched as six of the men quickly followed suit and mounted their remaining horses to give chase.

Drawing his wand, Bill pointed it over his shoulder and called out, "Confringo!" A portion of the canyon floor a short distance in front of the men exploded, sending three of the horses into panicked shambles as they recoiled, bucking their riders off. The remaining three dodged around the crater and continued to give chase. A flare of red light caught Bill's attention. Swinging his wand around, he cast a quick Protego and deflected the Stunner to the side.

Kicking his horse a bit harder, Bill pointed his wand towards the canyon wall and cast another Confringo, blowing a large crater into the cliff and sending debris raining down behind him, the powerful explosive winds even blew off his sunhat. Though the wizards were able to shield themselves from the debris, one of the horses slipped under the loose rocks and collapsed, crushing the man's leg as it toppled onto its side.

Chuckling darkly, Bill refocused his attention ahead and was relieved to see the camp quickly coming into view. Up ahead he could see quite a few people running about, no doubt startled by the explosions that he was setting off. He could even see a squad of Aurors running towards him. A sudden Expelliarmus hit him solidly in his back, throwing him off his horse's back and sent him bouncing painfully across the rocky ground, his wand traveling in another direction as the horse continued running forward. Rolling over onto his back, he scrambled painfully against his scraped knees to get back onto his feet and run.

The last two of his pursuers were approaching him very quickly; not seeming to care that there was a group of Aurors quickly closing in on them. One of them threw another Stunner at him as the other one, the leader, pulled his horse to a halt. Reacting instinctively, Bill raised his hand to protect himself from the red bolt, unintentionally moving the scepter he had still gripped in his hand forward. Just before the Stunner struck the ruby, a bright blue sphere formed around Bill and reflected the Stunner back towards its caster. Caught by surprise, the man wasn't able to properly protect himself from his own spell, causing him to fall from his horse unconscious.

Walking forward confidently, the leader grinned slightly down upon Bill's stupefied expression. "Give it up, kid," he said in perfect English. "You've got heart, but that scepter belongs to me."

"It belongs to Remises II's priests," Bill snapped as he climbed to his feet, holding the scepter protectively behind him.

"And they're dead, along with all of their descendents!" the leader snapped back as his expression hardened.

"This belongs in a museum!" Bill barked. "Not in the hands of a mercenary or tomb raider!"

"What's going on here?" demanded an Egyptian Auror as they finally reached the pair, wands out and ready.

"This boy has stolen my property," the man stated in Egyptian, not taking his gaze off Bill's.

"This doesn't belong to you," Bill repeated sternly, gripping the scepter tightly.

"I'm afraid it does, kid," the man stated evenly. "By law of the Egyptian Ministry, unless funded by corporations like Gringotts, any ancient artifact that's found in these tombs is hereby the property of the man who's discovered it, as long as they register it in the Egyptian Ministry's Department of Magical Artifacts."

Before Bill could retort to that statement, the lead Egyptian Auror moved forward and raised his hand demandingly. "May I please see this artifact, sir?"

"…Sure," Bill said uneasily, holding the scepter up.

The Auror quickly snatched it away and carefully examined it. Giving it a slight nod, the Auror turned and presented it to the man. Turning back to Bill, he only said, "It is the law. Have a good day."

As the gathering of Aurors quietly withdrew, Bill turned his gaze back upon the tomb raider leader. The man looked like he was ready to smile at Bill's ugly expression but was respectfully holding it in. Closing the distance between them, he took his hat to reveal a mess of dark hair underneath it.

"You lost today, kid," he said quietly, once again in English. "But that doesn't mean you should give up."

Without another word, he placed his hat upon Bill's head and pulled the rim down, covering Bill's eyes. When he looked up again, the man had already vanished from sight.

Harry PotterThe World BeneathHarry Potter

22 November 1994
7:33pm, Tuesday

Charlie Weasley was not having a good day. But the sad thing was that he'd practically begged for this to happen. He just had to be among the qualified Dragon handlers who'd volunteered to accompany the trio of dragon hens who were being shipped to Hogwarts to play a role in the legendary Triwizard Tournament.

They had only arrived late last night. They had attempted to awaken the slumbering hens in the darkness, hoping that the lack of sunlight would help to calm them down. No such luck, especially with that vicious horntail. It had taken a concentrated effort of all the handlers just to subdue the horntail long enough to put it back to sleep. Once that was taken care of, they'd prepared the nest of eggs for the hens.

But it wasn't discovered until shortly after noon that the Hungarian horntail's clutch of eggs had hatched earlier than expected. Now the handlers suddenly found themselves dealing with not only three adult hens, but half a dozen horntail hatchlings who, like their mother, were very vicious little critters. It had taken no less than two hours to subdue the horntail mother and another hour to collect the six hatchlings. Those hatchlings were now in a fireproof crate with a one-way ticket to the dragon preserves in Romania, where they'd be reunited with their mother once her role in the Tournament was complete.

Headmasters Dumbledore and Karkaroff and Madam Maxime had been quite displeased to hear the news that the eggs had hatched earlier than expected. This put the Tournament officials into a very awkward position. They could either postpone the First Task to await the arrival of a new dragon hen and her eggs, they could change the Task to something else, or they could skip the Task. Needless to say, none of the aforementioned options had been particularly appealing to any of them, even if not even they knew what the First Task truly was about.

Sitting heavily upon a conjured chair, Charlie tried to figure out a way out of this mess for his beloved Headmaster and school. It would be nothing short of a humiliating for not only Hogwarts and young Cedric Diggory, but also himself and the other dragon handlers if they could figure this out. But how do you get a dragon hen to protect something that is no longer there to need protecting?

"Hey, Charlie!" a loud voice called from off to the side. "Take a look at what I've found!"

Turning, Charlie glanced unhappily towards his fellow handler, Edward Stawn. The lad was severely lacking in his animal-handling skills and was only passable in terms of magical prowess and knowledge. It was only his absolutely love of all things draconic that had allowed him to become employed in the preserve.

"What is it?" he asked irritably.

"Just follow me!" the lad said excitedly, practically bouncing off the ground. "You'll have to see it to believe it!"

Sighing in defeat, Charlie climbed to his feet and hurried after his companion. The other handlers could easily hold the fort without him for a few minutes; it wasn't like he was the senior handler among them, just one of the best.

"I was taking a little break after we loaded the hatchlings," Edward was saying excitedly in front of him as he walked the short distance into the Forbidden Forest. "You know, I do that after we get very busy like that. Anyway, I somehow ended up in here and guess what I found right...around…Where was it…There! See? Over there!"

Passing a mossy boulder, Charlie turned to look in the direction that Edward was pointing. What he saw drew him up short. Resting in a slight depression in the soil was a small nest of five dragon-sized eggs. But…how was that possible? There were no more wild dragons living in England, due to medieval wizards and knights hunting them to near-extinction and the new regulation laws that called for all dragons to be relocated to specialized preserves, which there were none in England.

"Do you know what this means?" Edward was saying, mostly to himself since Charlie wasn't listening too hard. "Dragons are coming back to Great Britain! We can open a preserve here and not have to move away from home to go to work anymore!"

As he continued to ramble on, Charlie moved forward towards the nest. With his wand, he cast several detection spells upon the area. There was no trace of any dragons in the area, nor had there been any dragons in the area for at least two weeks! What kind of hen dragon left her eggs unattended for so long? Did the hen perhaps get killed while out hunting? That didn't seem too likely since dragons were among the most powerful magical creatures in existence, only another dragon could really kill an otherwise healthy dragon.

Kneeling down before the nest, Charlie carefully reached down to feel the eggs. As he expected, the eggs themselves were quite warm, meaning that they were indeed fertilized and ready to hatch in the near-future. Brushing off some of the dirt and mucus that was covering the egg he was feeling, a frown found its way onto Charlie's face.

Like any worthwhile handler, Charlie could recognize the breed of the dragon by the color, size, and markings of the eggs, but these eggs baffled him. These eggs were large enough to be horntail eggs, but they had a slight brown coloring that was strongly similar to the German Fire-tongue dragon. But there were even small patches of pale green covering the egg, a few shades too light to have been from the common Welsh Green. What kind of dragon breed were these? Were they...from a previously undiscovered branch of dragon?

"You know what?" Edward continued rambling on. "With these, we won't have to wait for that Chinese Fireball to be shipped up from the preserve. Just change the colors, and we'll have that horntail hen guarding them like they were her own."

"Not likely," Charlie interrupted politely. Turning back to his companion, he said, "but if we get the approval from the Ministry and Headmasters, we can definitely try. Come on, lend me a hand here. We need to get these back to camp as soon as possible."

"Right!" Edward said, smiling widely as he rushed forward.

(Author's Note) Merry Christmas! This is my gift to all of you! I hope you like it, because I'm not sure I was able to hold to true to the various characters' personalities. Please tell me whether or not I was able to.

And now, some trivia for the lot of you:

Delamort = de la mort = from death (French)

Who can guess what scene/movie inspired that portion with Bill in Egypt?