Author's Note: In this chapter, Galen does some exploring of the grounds on his own. Needless to say, it does not go well. I've made a minor change in the story's premise. Galen is no longer merely from another time and place, but from an entirely separate universe. This was my original idea for the story, but I had changed it, thinking it was too weird. I've since decided that the story flows better with that idea. I've gone back and edited the previous chapters. Should you happen to go back and look over those chapters, please let me know if you see any references to the "different time and place" concept I may have missed. If just references being from a different world, it should be fine. Thanks and enjoy, oh and let me know if you prefer this way or the old way.
Legal Disclaimer: Lucas and Rowling own their respective universes.
- III -
After an inquiry with Dobby, he managed to adjust his chrono to match the time system used by the wizards. He spent the morning wandering about the grounds, exploring the environment. The air felt charged in the whole vicinity. He noticed a very large lake. Dobby seemed disappointed that he did not gasp as a giant squid leaped from its depths and proceeded to glide about the surface. He had seen similar creatures on Mon Calamari.
At lunch, Dobby led him back to the Great Hall and to the three youths from earlier.
"Hello again. Mind if I join you?" he asked as he sat down.
"Bloody hell, mate! It's all over the school." the red head blurted out.
"It's Ron, right?" The red head nodded, unable to speak through a mouthful of food. "What's all over the school?"
"The number you did on Umbridge's door," came a new voice. Galen turned to acknowledge two red-headed twins as they sat on the opposite side of the table. "Bloody brilliant." He extended his hand, "Fred and George Weasley. The pig in human-form over there is our little brother."
"Yes, I noticed the resemblance."
"So how'd you do it? Blasting curse?" George asked.
"No, this." He nudged the twins with a very gentle Force blast. They rocked back and forth. They both coughed as they regained the breaths. Okay so maybe it wasn't so gentle. "Just much more intense."
"Bloody hell, it feels like you punched me," Fred remarked.
"Sorry, it's hard to control it that much. Normally it sends people flying."
"So how painful was the appointment?" Harry asked.
"Well, I didn't have to carve anything into the back of my hand."
"That old hag," Hermione muttered into her glass.
Harry grimaced as well. "What did you talk about then?"
"How I got here; she tried to slip something into my tea. I neutralized it though."
"Veritaserum most likely, she favors the stuff," Hermione said.
"A powerful truth serum. I'm surprised you haven't heard of it."
"Oh, yeah, we just have a different name for it. And apparently I'm going to go stay with your godfather for a while, Harry, Dumbledore's orders."
"So you're with us then? Brilliant. What's the Order up to?" Harry asked excitedly.
"Sorry, can't say. Dumbledore's orders."
"Bugger," Harry muttered. "See you later then," he said as they got up to leave with the rest of the students.
Galen decided to explore on his own a bit. He wandered down to a hut at the edge of the forest and met a giant of a man with an equally massive black beard. They spoke for a while, and Galen learned that the man was the same Hagrid that he was to meet later. He soon had to leave to go teach a class.
Galen continued his stroll about the grounds leisurely and nearly had his head taken off by a very angry tree. Only a sudden flaring of his danger sense allowed him to dodge in time and beat a hasty retreat. He wondered why in the seven Corellian hells someone would plant something like that on the grounds of a school.
His explorations eventually took him into the forest. The forest was dark to both his physical and Force senses. He wondered if there was a Dark Side nexus somewhere within it. He walked along a poorly defined trail. Suddenly he slipped and fell down a hill into what looked like an enormous spider web. Deciding that he did not want to meet the spider that built it, he quickly cut himself free with his lightsaber and fell to the ground.
As he prepared to leap back to the top of the hill, he heard a clicking sound from behind him. He turned to see a monster creeping up on him. Clearly this was the spider that had built the web. He jumped part way up the hill, and the monster followed. Galen unleashed a Force blast at it shoo it away, which only seemed to irritate it. The spider struck out with one of its legs. Galen severed it with his lightsaber. Big mistake.
The spider roared and charged forward. Galen danced around, dodging its attacks. He gave it a blast of Force lightning. The beast twitched and screamed in agony. Galen leaped up and impaled the beast in its eyes to end its suffering. He heard more clicking, and he held his lightsaber aloft and was horrified to see hundreds of the creatures descending from the trees to apparently avenge the fallen one.
He jumped back up onto the path and ran for his life. He heard the clicking getting closer. He sent a few bursts of lightning over his shoulder in an attempt to frighten them off. No such luck. They wanted blood. Directly he heard more clicking to his left. He could sense a group of the spiders attempting to out flank him. Drawing on the Force, he put on burst of speed. The spiders kept right and continued to gain on him. Blasted eight legs, he thought.
Suddenly he was surrounded, and the spiders began to close in on him. He shot blasts of lighting in every direction, but that seemed to only anger them further. He sensed that the trees above him were clear. He jumped high into the branches and proceeded to jump from branch to branch to branch in the direction of the school. After a while, the spiders managed to surround him again, and this time they raced forward and were on him immediately. Galen let the Force guide him and slashed his way through the monsters. He felt something stab him in the side and immediately began to feel the effects of poison. He drew on the Force to slow its progress. He concentrated and unleashed a Force Wave that sent the spiders flying.
Galen continued jumping from tree to tree and gradually saw the way ahead of him lighten until, abruptly, he was clear of the trees and could see the school in the distance. He sprinted as fast as he could with his wounded side. He sensed the spiders halt angrily at the edge of the forest. He continued for a distance and came to a stop.
Now free from concentrating on fending off attacks, he turned his attention to the slowly spreading venom and managed to break it down into its simpler, harmless components. He tore a strip off the hem of his cloak and bound the wound. He walked towards the castle.
When he got to the doors he turned and looked back. He used the Force to enhance his vision and hearing and saw that the spiders had disappeared back into the forest.
"I think that's enough exploring for one day."
He entered the castle and began to wander the halls. After climbing up several flights of stairs he encountered a strange sight: A man seemingly walking out of a solid wall. The figure turned towards him and noticed his presence. Galen noted that the man was mostly transparent.
"Hello there. I don't believe we've met," the figure said.
"Galen Marek, and you are?"
"Ah yes, the young wizard who smashed Professor Umbridge's door to kindling. Good show, I say. Well, I am Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, resident ghost of Gryffindor tower. How are you on this fine day?"
"Confused, slightly unnerved. Did you know that there are giant spiders in the forest?"
"Yes, the local herd of Acromantula. You really shouldn't go exploring the forest without Hagrid; the man seems to be the only one capable of controlling them."
"Yes, I got the distinct impression that the first one to attack thought I would a make a nice snack."
The ghost looked at him oddly. "They do tend to have a taste for human flesh. Have you never heard of Acromantula?"
"No, I've encountered them before," Galen lied to keep his cover. "I was caught off guard; I didn't expect something like that this close to a school."
"The Forbidden Forest is home to many dangerous and foul creatures, hence the name. I see you did not come away unscathed," he said pointing towards the bloody wound on his side. "You should get to the infirmary immediately and have Madame Pomfrey tend to it. Acromantula venom is incredibly deadly; I'm surprised you're still conscious."
"I know a trick to break poisons down into their harmless, base components. It's part of what is known in my order as Art of the Small. As for the wound, it'll heal."
"I've never heard of such a spell. Sounds very useful, though
Galen noticed a nasty cut on the ghost's neck. "What happened to your neck?"
Sir Nicholas scowled and said, "A botched execution, I'm afraid. The axe wasn't sharp. Forty-five chops in and it still wasn't cut all the way through."
"Ouch, why were you executed?"
"A noblewoman had hired me to use my magic to fix her crooked teeth. Unfortunately the spell backfired, and she grew a large tusk instead. She sentenced me to die the next morning."
"Yes, well they were darker times."
"How long ago did you…die?"
"Just over five-hundred years ago."
"What's it like being, well, dead?"
"Can't complain, mostly, although I do miss food. The most annoying problem is that the other headless ghosts refuse to allow me to participate in the Headless Hunt."
"I'm sorry; the what?"
"The Headless Hunt, a club of sorts among the headless ghosts in the school. As my head is still attached, however tenuously, I am only nearly headless."
"I can see where that would be annoying," he lied again. "Well, it's been nice meeting you, Sir Nicholas. I'd like to find someplace quiet to meditate for a while. Is there anywhere nearby that would work?"
"Indeed. You'll find the library just down the hall on the left. Farewell, Mr. Marek. Do try to avoid those spiders in the future."
Galen chuckled. "I will, thanks, Sir Nicholas. Goodbye."
The ghost nodded and continued to glide on down the hallway. Galen started in the direction Sir Nicholas had indicated, when he heard the ghost call out to him.
"Oh yes, and the librarian, Madam Pince, is very touchy about the books, so be very careful with them and make as little noise as possible. Good day." The ghost turned and continued on his way.
Galen made his way to the library and found a secluded area. He sat on the floor and began to meditate. He was vaguely aware of a number of the books near rising from their place on the tables and beginning to circle about him. He focused on shutting out this distraction and concentrated on peering into the Force for insight about the path he was now on. After a short time he saw a cloud begin to form. Gradually it coalesced into a large serpent. The serpent slithered along. Directly he heard a hissing voice. To his astonishment, he could understand the voice. It appeared to be speaking to the snake, and the snake seemed to understand also.
Nagini, the voice said, what have you learned?
It is guarded each night by one from the Order, the snake hissed. This one has observed that one in particular often falls asleep after several hours: the fat red-headed one.
Weasley, the filthy blood-traitor. You have done well, my pet. Does there appear to be any pattern to the guard schedule?
The fat one guards the door every –
"What do you think you're doing!" a very loud and irate voice called out, breaking into his vision.
"Huh? What?" The books all plummeted to the floor. Galen winced as the spine on several of them broke.
The angry woman before him screamed and pointed her wand at the bookshelf, and several books flew from the shelves and began to beat him over the head. His combat reflexes kicked in, and he managed to bat most of them away as he made a hasty retreat from the library. The books continued to follow him until he was two floors above the library before turning around and presumably returning to the library.
He turned and regarded the bemused stares of several students that had gathered about the commotion.
"That woman is crazy." Several of the students nodded rapidly.
"Alright, off to your dormitories the lot of you," a woman's voice called. The students immediately scattered. "And you, Mr. Marek," the elderly woman, clad in a long green robe and wearing a pointed hat, said, "I suggest you avoid causing anymore disturbances in the library."
"I'm sorry Miss…"
"McGonagall, Professor McGonagall. What did you do to upset Madam Pince so?"
"I was meditating. She yelled at me, and the books that were circling my head fell to the floor. I think a couple of them may have broken," he added sheepishly.
She laughed. "You should consider yourself lucky; she usually hexes people who damage the books. And why exactly were the books circling you head in the first place?"
"I was meditating; that happens sometime. I have problems with fine control like that. When Madam Pince yelled at me, I lost my focus and dropped them."
"I see; do be more careful," she said as she began walking back down the hall. "We missed you at dinner."
"What? What time is it." He looked at his chrono and saw that it was 8:30. "Blasted distorted sense of time," he muttered to himself.
"I thought I had only been meditating for about ten minutes. Turns out it was more like four hours." Directly he felt his stomach growl. "That would explain why I'm so hungry. Is there any way to get something to eat?"
"Just go one floor below the Great Hall in the same vicinity. You'll see a portrait of some fruit. Tickle the pear, and it will turn into a doorknob. Ask the elves for some food."
"Alright thanks. Good night, Professor."
She nodded and continued on her way.
Galen headed back towards the Great Hall and found a stairway that lead underneath it. He found the painting and tickled the pear which promptly turned into a doorknob, and he entered to find a large kitchen bustling with more of the little elf creatures.
"There you are, Galen Marek," a squeaky voice called from behind him.
He turned to see Dobby coming towards him, levitating a load of dishes into a large basin where they washed themselves with the assistance of a few similarly motivated scrub brushes.
"Gotta love this magic stuff," Galen muttered, impressed; it sure seemed to beat doing them by hand.
"Was Galen Marek safe today? He did not summon Dobby after lunch."
"Yeah, I only nearly got myself killed three times."
"Oh no." The elf screwed up his face awkwardly. "Dobby…will have…to…" The curious creature suddenly reached out and grabbed a frying pan and proceeded to beat himself over the head with it. Horrified, Galen quickly reached out with the Force and called the pan to his hand.
"What the kriff do you think you're doing?"
"Dobby must punish himself, sir. He should have tried harder to find you."
Galen just stared at him, completely floored.
"Okay, one: I didn't want to be found. I wanted to explore the grounds a bit on my own. Two: you shouldn't have to punish yourself." He paused for a moment, "And three: only three near death experiences in one day is a good day for me," he finished while attempting a smile.
"If Dobby may ask sir, how did you almost die?"
"First I nearly had my head taken off by a tree. Then I had a run in with the giant spiders in the forest. And lastly," he paused as he suppressed a shudder, "I dropped several books in the library."
Every elf within earshot stopped what it was doing and stared right at him. He heard the sound of breaking dishes from somewhere in the kitchen.
"You're – You're alive, sir? After that?" one elf nearby asked him.
"Only by virtue of finely honed combat reflexes. Otherwise, I suspect that I'd have books lodged in my head."
The elves continued to murmur amongst themselves while they gave him several sandwiches and a cup of juice of some sort. He bade them good night and told them not to work too hard, which appeared to insult them for some reason.
Dobby led him to Dumbledore's office to make his appointment. At the top of the staircase the elf left him. The door to Dumbledore's office was closed. He could sense two presences inside; one was clearly the headmaster's; his skin crawled as he recognized the other. Directly he heard raised voices or least one raised voice and another calm and yet firm voice.
"Albus you have no authority to –" the raised voice began.
"On the contrary, Dolores. I am still in charge of this school. He will go to London and stay with a friend of mine. You know he can't stay here; there's nothing for him here."
"He should be thoroughly interrogated to discover how he bashed through the barriers. He is clearly a very powerful wizard what with the way he destroyed my door without even the use of a wand."
"You said it yourself, you asked him under the effect of Veritaserum – which I might add was not legal – and he told you exactly how it happened."
"You know as well I that Veritaserum cannot always be trusted."
"Regardless, I trust him, and he's going. That's final. If you will excuse me, my next appointment is just outside the door."
Galen heard someone coming towards the door. Umbridge glared at him as she exited. He was glad she was not Force sensitive, otherwise he was sure she probably would have Force choked him.
Galen opened the door and entered. He sat down in a chair in front of Dumbledore's desk.
"Ah, good evening, Galen," Dumbledore said as he pointed at the door and mumbled muffliato.
"Good evening, sir."
"I trust you didn't have too many near death experiences."
"Only three, sir. For someone who trained under a Sith, that's a good day," Galen replied with a slight smirk.
"I must caution against wandering around on your own until you become more familiar with our world. I'm afraid Whomping Willows, Acromantulas and irate librarians are the least of the dangers in our world." He pointed his wand at Galen's wound and said, "Episkey", and it healed immeditatedly.
"Thank you. How do you always know what I've gotten myself into?"
"I have my ways. Now then, if you will follow me, we'll go down to Hagrid's and we'll be on our way."
"Hang on. While I was meditating, I had a vision."
"A vision? About what?"
Galen related the brief scene with the snake and the strange voice.
Dumbledore looked grim. "That was likely Voldemort and his snake, Nagini. How did the scene appear to you? Were you a third person looking in? Or were you one of the individuals?"
"A third person."
"That's a relief, then. Are visions common among Force users?"
"I've only had a few in the past, but they are relatively common."
"It would seem that, as I suspected, Voldemort knows of the Prophecy. I'll have to speak with Arthur about being more alert when he's on duty." Dumbledore stared at his desk for a moment. "Inform me if you have anymore visions."
"Actually, I had another one as I arrived from my world." He summarized the strange vision of the battle and the skull and snake image.
"The Dark Mark, that's what the skull and snake was. It's the symbol of the Death Eaters. They conjure one whenever they murder someone. You say there was a battle?"
"Yes, around an ancient castle."
"There are few such places left in our world. This school is one of them. Curious. Well we'd best be going."
Galen followed the old wizard down and out of the castle to Hagrid's hut.
"Professor Dumbledore, Galen," the giant of man said when he answered the door, nodded to each of them in turn. "Would you like some tea and something to eat before you leave?"
"Thank you, Hagrid, but no," Dumbledore responded politely. "Mr. Marek has never ridden thestrals before. It's probably best he makes the trip on an empty stomach the first time."
"Alright then. I've got a pair tethered and ready ter go out back." He walked around the side of the hut and motioned to them to follow.
As the rounded the hut, Galen got his first sight of a thestral. The sight stopped him in his tracks. It looked like something straight from the pages of a Sith alchemy book. It looked like a skeletal equus with large leathery wings.
Hagrid noticed his shocked stare. "You can see 'em, then," he said sadly.
Galen looked at him, wondering how you could not see them. "Yes."
"Thestrals are only visible ter folks who've seen some'un die. 'Fraid that makes folks a might nervous around 'em."
"And the fact that they wouldn't be out of place in a nightmare doesn't help that impression."
"What are yer talkin' 'bout? They're beautiful." Hagrid responded indignantly.
Galen just stared at him. Through the Force he could tell that Hagrid was serious. "Whatever you say, Hagrid."
"Who'd ya see die?"
Galen looked ahead grimly. "I've seen hundreds, maybe thousands of beings die. I killed quite a few of them."
Galen realized he had said too much. He looked over at Dumbledore and saw the old man nod.
"Hagrid, I'm afraid Mr. Marek isn't exactly what appears. You see, he isn't from the jungles of Malaysia. I believe him to be from another universe, cast into our own by unusual events in his own."
"But about him killing so many people?"
"I was raised and trained by a Sith Lord called Darth Vader. He's a monster that makes Voldemort -- " Galen paused when noticed Hagrid wincing. "Are you alright?"
"It's just...that name..."
"Oh, right, sorry. Well, Vader makes Vol -- well, you know -- look perfectly nice. I was his apprentice. It was only with the love and support of someone very close to me and the guidance of one of the last Jedi masters -- the Jedi were the sworn enemies of the Sith, but unfortunately were largely wiped out around the time I was born. It was only with their help that I was able to turn away from that path and rally an alliance against Vader and his master."
"Did you stop them?"
"I hope my rebellion will be able to. The political leaders had been captured, largely due to an unwise decision on my part. I was flung into this world by an explosion that occurred while I was fighting to free them. I hope they managed to get away."
"Thanks." Galen looked over at the thestrals and noticed that they did not have any type of saddle or anything to hold on with. "So how do we ride these?"
"Just climb up and hold on tight. Tell them where you want to go and they'll take you there right away."
"Just like that?"
"Yup, thestrals are real smart."
Galen climbed onto one of them and used the Force to stick himself in place. "So, where are we going?" he asked cheekily.
Dumbledore smiled and said, "Number eleven, Grimmauld Place in London."
At that, both thestrals began to pump their wings, and soon they were soaring over the countryside so rapidly that everything passed in a blur. Within minutes they touched down in a quite neighborhood. Dumbledore pulled out a device that put out all of the lights on the street.
"The headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix is Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place," Dumbledore told him suddenly.
Dumbledore indicated two of the buildings. As Galen watched in amazement, they separated and a third building appeared between them.
"The headquarters is under the protection of a Fidelius Charm. It prevents anyone from being able to find the thing on which it has been placed, unless they are told by the Secret Keeper verbally or in writing. The charm prevents even those who have been told the secret from divulging it whereabouts. I am the Secret Keeper for the Order. Well, lets not keep Sirius waiting."
The walked up and knocked on the door. After a few moments, the door was opened by an elf that wore only a small, dirty towel.
"Oh, more filthy blood traitors. My poor mistress..." the elf muttered as he closed the door behind them.
"Good evening, Kreacher," Dumbledore said to the elf. The elf in turn just stared him in disgust and walked off somewhere else in the house.
"Ah, Albus!" someone cried cheerily. A man with unruly, greasy hair entered the hall from another room.
"Sirius, how this night find you?"
"Going stir crazy as usual." He turned and looked at Galen. "And you must be Galen Marek. Pleasure to meet you. Sirius Black," he said extending his hand which Galen accepted warmly.
"Same here." Galen looked about at the general squalor of the house. "Nice place you have here," he lied.
"Oh, please, I know the place is a dump. Being abandoned for ten years will do that."
"I'd best be going before Umbridge takes over the school."
"Would you like some tea before you go?"
"No thanks. Oh, Galen, I've told Sirius about your origins, so there's no need to stick to the cover when it's just him around. Goodnight." Dumbledore turned and left.
"Well, pulled from another universe, eh?"
"That's what Dumbledore thinks. So, where do I sleep?"
"This way." Sirius turned and walked up the stairs. "You can have any room you like except for mine. My name's on the door."
"Well that might be a slight problem there. I don't know if Dumbledore told you, but while my people speak the same language as you do, our written language uses a different character set."
Really? That sounds inconvenient."
"A bit." They passed a room that looked reasonably clean. "How about this one?"
"That's fine; mine's on the next floor. Well, it's late so I'll let you get some rest. See you in the morning. Night."
Galen closed the door behind him and inspected the room. It, and the whole house for that matter, felt dark. He walked over to the bad and decided that it looked safe to sleep on. Directly, he sensed something menacing from the closet. He gripped his lightsaber and open the door cautiously. Out strode the Sith Stalker. The abomination raised and activated his lightsaber. Galen brought up his own to parry the blow and was surprised to hear it scream in pain as their blades met. Galen's lightsaber went straight through the Stalker's. A lump fell from the end of the blade. Galen swung his blade around and cleaved him cleanly in two. As the two halves fell to the floor, they became gray and formless in appearance.
Sirius burst into the room, wand in hand.
"Bloody hell, what happened? And what is that?" he asked pointing at not-Stalker.
"I was hoping you could tell me. I was about to go to sleep when I sensed something in closet. I opened it up and this came out, only it looked like a nightmare version of myself I saw once in a vision. I knew something was up when I cut his lightsaber in half."
"Huh. Do you fear this version of yourself?"
"Would you say he's the thing you fear most?"
"Since I've defeated Vader, perhaps, why?"
"Well, there's a creature in our world called a boggart. They like to scare people, taking the form of whatever they fear most. From your description I'd say that's what this is. This must be what they look like in their natural state."
"Has no one ever killed a boggart before?"
"Not like this, usually we just laugh at them until they explode. I'll take care of it." He flicked his wand, and the creature vanished. "Well, goodnight." He turned and left.
Galen lay down on the bed and stared at the ceiling, pondering the disturbing scene he had just witnessed. Eventually he turned over and went to sleep.