Of Magic and Assassins
A Harry Potter Fanfiction by Dark Ketchum
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or the Elder Scrolls game series.
Note: This story is a cross-over between Harry Potter and Elder Scrolls (if you want a specific game, it would be Oblivion, though there will be some Morrowind references).
Other Note: Just for future reference, what happens in the Sanctuary only follows the game loosely. Therefore, Cheydenhall Sanctuary members are still alive, because they're awesome like that.
Other Other Note: x.x First HP fanfic, and despite how many I've read, I'm not really good with the beginning. My only hope is that it'll get better; I kind of felt like this chapter was rushed, so... bleh.
"I WILL NOT HAVE ANY MORE OF THIS RUBBISH IN MY HOUSE!" A small boy, only four years of age, if even that, cowered as his large, obese uncle shouted at him, a fist raised. The boy didn't understand why he was being yelled at- after all, the old and worn teddy bear that had chased Dudley around hadn't been hurting him, and the boy had no idea how he could have caused it, anyways. "I DON'T CARE WHAT THAT DUMBLER- DUMBLEY- WHATEVER HIS NAME WAS SAID ABOUT YOU, YOU FREAK! I WILL NOT PUT UP WITH ANY MORE OF THIS- THIS- MAGIC!"
The boy's aunt gasped as her husband said the dreaded word- magic. Because in that specific house, Number 12, Privet Drive, anything out of the ordinary was as bad as an escaped murder convict. The family that resided there, the Dursleys, hated anything that they considered unnatural. This included their 4-year-old nephew (or, in Dudley's case, cousin), who had been showing signs of magic at an early age.
Now, Vernon Dursley, ever 'practical', had thought that they could squash the magic out of his nephew- all they would have to do was keep him as downtrodden as possible until it had all left. Petunia, a little more versed in the ways of magic than her husband (as her sister had been a witch), knew that the magic wouldn't really leave; it would only be restrained by the boy. However, she reasoned, if he didn't believe in it, he would never be able to use it. And things had been fine until he turned three, when he had somehow started making small objects float around a room, much to his and Dudley's delight.
"WE'VE HAD ENOUGH!" Vernon shouted. The boy flinched back, fearing he was about to be struck; however, his uncle did no more than grab him by the back of his shirt, picking him up, and carrying him towards the door. Petunia opened it, albeit a little hesitantly. Vernon shoved the small boy roughly out, causing him to fall in the snow-covered grass. "OUT WITH YOU! DON'T YOU DARE EVER DARKEN OUR DOORSTEP AGAIN!" The door was shut with a slam. The boy stared, wondering what had just happened. Shaking his head, he stood, his mind turning to one thought- well, okay, two thoughts. The first was that his glasses had fallen off and broken. The second was that he no longer had a home.
He turned, making his way down the street, never looking back once. It was cold- very cold. Winter did that to life. He wanted to find some place warm, or at least some place to stay for a while. A few of the neighbors peered out of their windows as he made his way down the street, but did nothing more, and eventually turned back to whatever they had been doing as he passed.
After a few minutes of walking, the boy began to grow tired and slowed to a stop, climbing up to sit on a bench at Magnolia park. He rested for a moment, no thoughts coming to his mind whatsoever. Eventually he caught his breath and his mind turned to the important things. First, the boy reasoned, he should find a place to live. Somewhere warm, hopefully, as he was very cold at the moment. He tried to think of such a place to live at, but he didn't know anywhere he could actually go.
And then it came to him- London. He remembered learning that a lot of people lived there in school. His mind began to race. He knew what time most of the buses to London came because of how often Aunt Petunia sent him to the stores there, and he also knew from these experiences that he could ride free because he was so young. The bus stop wasn't so far away, either, and it seemed about the right time of day for the bus to be there. He got off of the bench and ran towards the next stop, a brilliant plan forming in his head. He could get a house in London and he could do whatever he wanted, and eat whatever he fancied, and never have to do any chores- all without worrying about his Aunt and Uncle! And he would go to school and get stronger and finally fight Dudley on even footing! It was perfect!
Unfortunately, although the boy realized that food cost money, he did not understand that a house did, as well; nor did he realize he didn't have a source to get money from. He hopped onto the next bus after a couple minutes of waiting, and began his journey to the city.
That was how long it took for the reality of his situation to sink in.
That was how long he had been living on the streets of London.
The boy had gotten a house- it was a cardboard box in an alley.
The boy could eat whatever he wanted- whenever he had money and could afford it.
The boy no longer had to do chores- he instead wandered the city looking for a bite to eat or spare change someone had dropped.
The boy didn't have to worry about fighting Dudley- his new opponents were rats and pigeons, along with the occasional hobo that claimed to have seen that one pound note first.
The boy went to school- or, rather, he learned about living on the streets first-hand.
He occasionally rode the buses around, as they were fairly warmer than outside. Every now and then he thought he had seen someone following him, but dismissed it, and continued along his way.
Currently, the boy was standing in a bakery with his weekly findings, trying to decide between half a stale sourdough loaf or half a stale wheat loaf. He found that he could get the bread cheaper if he got the older stuff, and could afford enough to keep him going for a little while longer. Hunger gnawed painfully at his stomach, and he knew he had to make a decision quickly. He selected the sourdough, as it had always been a favorite of his, and after thanking the cashier, made his way out of the bakery and down the street towards his alley. He had gotten used to walking longer distances than he used to, so a couple blocks were nothing to him now.
He passed a few familiar faces on his way home- Thomas, a black man who had gotten him out of a tight spot when he had tried to steal five pounds from a lady eating lunch outside of a cafe; Lizzie, a blond adolescent who had shared her bread with him, once; Crazy Mackerel, the crazy fisherman who had given him a strange gold coin that he hadn't been able to get any store to take as payment, yet- and greeted them as usual before slipping into his alley and into his box. He pulled his bread out of its bag and shooed off a few pigeons as he began to eat.
"That certainly can't be enough to eat, child." The boy jumped slightly, startled, and dropped his bread. He looked up to meet the gaze of a tall man, wearing black robes with the hood pulled over his face, black gloves and boots. He wore a ring on one finger, and a pendant hung around his neck. The man was very pale, and his eyes a cold, frosty blue. He was intimidating, and staring at him, the boy was frightened, and said nothing. "You prefer silence, then? As do I, dear child, as do I. My name is Lucian Lachance. I have come bearing an… opportunity. An opportunity to join a rather unique family." At 'family', the boy perked up slightly. He gathered his courage.
"A family? Really?" Lucian smirked slightly.
"Indeed, child. If I am correct, your last experience with one didn't quite end well, did it?" he replied. The boy shook his head. "It is such a shame to see a child your age forced to fend for himself, but at the same time, your collected and calm handle of things is admirable." The boy blinked.
"Uhm… thank you, Sir, I guess…."
"Ahh… I find your etiquette quite refreshing." Lucian looked the boy over for a quick second. "I think it would be wise to accept this offer, child. Your talents could make you quite an asset to our family."
"I would really like to be part of a family…," the boy said quietly. He bit his lip. "But my teacher always said we aren't supposed to follow strangers…."
"I am no stranger to you, my child," Lucian replied. "We have the same Mother." The boy's eyes widened at that.
"You knew my mummy?"
"Indeed, child, I know her well. I have served the Night Mother for many years, now."
"The… Night Mother?"
"Yes; our unholy patron who watches as we carry out her will. She loves her children very much, you see." The boy considered this for a moment- this strange man said he knew the boy's mother. But Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon had told him his parents had died in a car crash, and that was where he had gotten his scar from.
"If I come with you, will I get to see Mummy?" the boy asked. The question took Lucian slightly by surprise, but he kept his face carefully composed so as not to show it.
"There is a chance you might, child, if you work hard enough to earn the right," he replied. The boy's brow furrowed.
"I'll have to do chores?"
"Everyone in our family does. However, yours probably won't be as strenuous, as you are of a young age."
"Oh. Will I have any cousins, there?"
"No, we are a much closer family than that. You will have brothers and sisters, there."
"I've never had brothers and sisters, before. Are they nice?"
"Indeed, child, but make up your mind quickly." Lucian sighed. "I must leave soon, with you or without." The boy bit his lip. After a moment, he took a step forward and grabbed onto Lucian's hand.
"I'll come." Lucian raised an eyebrow- only slightly.
"Very good." He pulled the child along with him, walking quickly. "What is your name, child?"
"Uhm…." The boy bit his lip once more. Well, Uncle Vernon usually called him 'boy'…. Aunt Petunia called him 'freak'…. Dudley never really called him by a name…. Oh, wait, at school, his teacher called him 'Harry'! That was his name! "I'm Harry, Sir…." Lucian frowned at that.
"Harry? Really?" he replied with obvious distaste. The boy's face fell. Was he not supposed to tell him that name? Was there something wrong with it?
"U-uhm…. Yes, Sir…."
"Your relatives are cruel to give you such a name…. How does the name 'Ma'rik' sound to you?" The boy thought on that. Maybe everyone who joined this family got a new name. He didn't want to be different, he wanted to fit in…. And so, he compromised- he would take on the new name, but he would always remember his first one.
"I like it, Sir," he replied.
"Then Ma'rik you shall be."
Lucian spoke very little on the way to their destination, mostly explaining about Sithis and the Night Mother to the boy in a few sentences. Eventually they came to an ancient, boarded up house, in a town that was definitely not London and that the boy had not realized they had gotten to, where Lucian led the boy into the basement and explained to him how to gain access through a door with a mural on it that seemed to glow red. The boy was introduced to his new family, and was initiated into their cult- the Dark Brotherhood- through the 'second method', as they called it, which seemed to be more of an excuse to party than anything else.
Over the next few days, he became acquainted with his new family and worked out his own daily routine. Lucian left, then, and rarely returned over the years.
The boy was well taught by his family, learning to fence and use daggers and clubs and all other sorts of weaponry. It was there that he was introduced to magic, and taught how to harness his Magicka and use it to heal himself, attack enemies, and other purposes, ranging from all of the different branches- Conjuration, Mysticism, Illusion, Alteration, and even a bit of Alchemy.
He was eventually given the 'Murderer' status, but Lucian, who had grown quite fond of the boy over the years, forbade anyone to promote him until he came of age, so he was never given anything too difficult to do.
The boy had finally found a home and a family that loved him. He was at peace.
Ma'rik awoke with a yawn. He blinked and remained in bed for a moment before sitting up groggily. Everyone else seemed to be awake, out, and about- all of their beds were empty, even M'raaj-Dar's, and he usually liked to sleep in on Sundas. Odd.
Ma'rik pulled on his small-sized Shrouded Armor and made his way over to the food table, grabbing an apple. He inspected it thoroughly to make sure it wasn't one of those poison apples Teinaava liked to use, and, apparently satisfied, took a bite out of it. He stretched and made his way out of the Dark Brotherhood Quarters and into the main hallway to start his morning training.
He did not seem to be expecting the entire residence of the Sanctuary to suddenly drop their ninety-five percent Chameleon spells and shout 'SURPRISE!' at him, and he jumped slightly. He quickly recomposed himself.
"What's the occasion?" he asked, slightly curious.
"Do you not remember, hatchling?" Teinaava asked. Teinaava was an Argonian, a 'beast-man' race, as the citizens of Cyrodiil often called them, and resembled something along the lines of lizards or salamanders, with dark red scales and spines growing from his head in place of hair, although he usually always had his hood up. His Argonian accent was quite thick. "It is your birthday, today."
"…." Ma'rik thought on that for a moment. "So it is. Well, thank you, everyone. It's great you went out of your way to do this, and everything…."
"You better appreciate it…," M'raaj-Dar muttered grumpily. Ma'rik smirked slightly. M'raaj-Dar always got like that when he woke up too early. M'raaj-Dar was a Khajiit, another 'beast-man' race, though, unlike the Argonians, resembled lions. M'raaj (no one actually called him 'M'raaj' to his face, he hated that) had the typical Khajiit slitted, yellow cat-like eyes, and wore a headband to keep his dreadlocks back.
"How old are you today, Ma'rik?" a green-haired Wood Elf asked. He was short, as all male Wood Elves were, and looked to be no older than eighteen. His eyes were a soft lavender. He was Kazuki, the resident Werewolf, who seemed to be anything but a killer.
"Well…." Another thing for Ma'rik to think about. He didn't quite keep track of these kinds of things very often. "Eleven, I think."
"A wonderful age!" Gogron Gro-Bulmog laughed, grinning. "Not many kids who join the Dark Brotherhood live that long, you know!" Gogron was an orc, green-skinned with fang-like teeth, immense strength, and dreads, as well. He wore, unlike the rest of the Family, heavy armor- his approach to assassinations was pretty much just attacking, with little to no sneaking.
"I remember one child who went out to kill an Imperial Legion Guard," Teinaava added. He chuckled a bit. "Ended up being torn apart by a slaughterfish. Do you remember that, Vincente?"
"Ahh, yes, I do remember." Vincente smiled a bit. Vincente had been a normal Imperial male, once- but that was probably at least five hundred years ago. Now, he was a Vampire, and he definitely looked the part, too, with his dark hair, long enough to be pulled back and tied into the rogue knot style, high cheekbones, a gaunt face, and the typical pale Vampire eyes. Surprisingly, he got on well with Kaz, although Ma'rik vaguely remembered hearing that Werewolves and Vampires were supposed to hate each other. "I believe Antoinetta found the poor child in pieces. Such a shame, she had a bit of promise…."
"You won't be killed by a slaughterfish, will you, hatchling?" Teinaava asked, obviously teasing.
"Only as long as M'raaj-Dar doesn't feed me to one," Ma'rik replied, grinning.
"Ha ha…." M'raaj looked grumpier than he had been. "Can we hurry this up? I want to go back to bed." Ocheeva rolled her eyes. She was an Argonian as well, but with small spikes growing on the sides of her head rather than the top, and she had decorated them with a cloth that hung from them. Her scales were more of a swampy green color than Teinaava's, which Ma'rik always assumed had something to do with gender, but never bothered to ask about. Ocheeva and Teinaava were twins, and the fact that both worked in the same Sanctuary proved that they were almost inseparable.
"Oh, very well, M'raaj-Dar. Ma'rik, our beloved Brother, although you are young and small, you walk along the same level as many grown men. We have seen fit to finally give to you your Contract Weapon, chosen for you by the Night Mother," she said. "Speaker Lucien has agreed. As Mistress of this Sanctuary, I present to you this dagger- the Blade of Woe." She held the sheathed blade out, and Ma'rik took it gingerly before pulling the ornate dagger out and holding it up to the light to inspect it, his eyes widening.
"Such good quality…." He turned it over. "It has a Seal on it…. Do all contract weapons come with a Seal?" A Seal, of course, bound the magic on enchanted items so the magic could not be used. Ocheeva nodded. He smiled. "From the depth of my heart, I thank you- and Sithis and the Night Mother, as well."
"Well, now that this is taken care of…." M'raaj turned and began walking back towards the sleeping quarters, slouching slightly. Ma'rik and the others laughed.
"I've got something for you, too, hatchling," Teinaava said, winking. He reached into his bag and produced a tome with the symbol of Oblivion on it. "I got it from the Mage's Guild." Ma'rik's eyes lit up as he accepted it from Teinaava, thanking him, and cracked it open instantly. It was a book on Conjuration- while he had learned the theory of it from M'raaj-Dar, no one in the Sanctuary was too adept in it, mostly because there was no need to have an agent of Oblivion running wild and causing a ruckus in the middle of a Contract. Ma'rik, however, was intrigued by it. "Have fun, hatchling." Teinaava chuckled and gave him a quick pat on the head before heading off to read. The others, too, soon wandered off, Vincente to sate his need to feed, Ocheeva to go fill Gogron in on a Contract, and soon, only Kaz was left, sniffing at the Dark Guardian, who just happened to be passing by at the moment. Ma'rik sat down against a column and began reading at the first chapter: Turning the Undead.
After about an hour or two of reading, he could successfully cast the Turn Undead. He was about to move onto the Bound Gauntlets when, oddly enough, Lucien came in through the basement entrance. Ma'rik looked up, smiled, and then went back to reading.
"What are you doing, Ma'rik?" Lucien asked, a bit of snap in his voice. Ma'rik flinched slightly, not used to so cold a greeting from the Speaker, but held his book up all the same.
"Learning to do Conjuration. Teinaava got it for me for my birthday, Night Mother bless him…." He grinned broadly. "If I keep working at it, I might be able to summon an Atronach by next year." Lucien nodded in approval, though a little stiffly, and strode past him towards Ocheeva's quarters. Ma'rik shuddered a little as he passed, but buried his nose back in his book to hide it. A few minutes later he caught snippets of a conversation in Argonian- he wasn't exactly within hearing range, though, so he could only make out a few words like 'letter', 'magic', and his name. Lucien sure sounded aggravated about it, whatever it was.
"Ma'rik!" The boy jumped when the Speaker shouted his name.
"….'Kay." He knew better than to ignore an order from Lucien, and so, he marked his page, shut his book, and stood, walking calmly yet quickly into Ocheeva's quarters. "You called, Speaker Lucien?" The Speaker rolled his eyes.
"Ma'rik, now is not the time for games."
"Now, my child, tell me…. Have you ever heard of a place called 'Hogwarts'?" Ma'rik blinked, cocking his head.
"No, but that has got to be the worst name whatever it is could have. I thought The Drunken Dragon was bad, but, this takes the cake…."
"The day we met in London, little one…. Do you remember? You told me your name was Harry. What was your last name?" Ma'rik blinked, his brow furrowing in thought.
"...My… last name?" Lucien nodded. "Wow, that was so long ago…. I'm honestly not sure. I think it might have started with a 'P'….." The Speaker's eyes darkened. "….Is that bad?"
"This… Hogwarts… (Ma'rik shuddered at the name) has invited one 'Harry Potter' to, apparently, learn the art of magic," he said after a moment. Ma'rik blinked.
"Oh! Oh, yeah! 'Potter'! Yeah, that was it!" He nodded. Lucien sighed.
"You realize that we can't possibly let you go. Now that you have your Contract Weapon, you are supposed to be starting to take Contracts….."
"Mm… yeah…. But a school to learn magic from…." The boy blinked wistfully. "That would be so cool."
"So join the Mages' Guild!" Lucien sighed, exasperated.
"But they don't teach you to use magic," Ocheeva pointed out. Lucien cast her a glare, and she shrugged before continuing in her raspy Argonian voice. "You aren't here too often, Lucien, so you wouldn't know- but Ma'rik is in love with the Arcane arts."
"But he needs to be fulfilling Contracts!" The Speaker's eyes blazed with a determined fire. "He was given the Blade of Woe for a reason!"
"But he is young," Ocheeva pointed out. "Young, and although he is quick and agile, he is not as strong as the others in our family. He cannot fulfill as many Contracts so young."
"Yeah!" Ma'rik readily agreed, nodding. "Oh, and, if it's anything like I remember preschool being in Surrey, I'll get summers off, at least, so I'll be able to fulfill some Contracts, then." Lucien sighed angrily.
"Very well. Come." He turned and strode out, back towards the well exit. Ma'rik blinked, and didn't move. Lucien didn't even turn back. "I said 'come'! We will be meeting the Headmaster of the school to discuss the arrangements. Grinning, Ma'rik followed him.
So they had a meeting with the Headmaster? Lucien did a good job pretending he hadn't wanted to let him go…
Lucien had ended up leading Ma'rik to Fort Farragut, where they passed by Shadowmere and her colt, Black Phoenix, and around back to the hollowed-out tree, where they descended the ladder into Lucien's sleeping quarters. The fireplace was lit, providing some warmth in the cold underground bastion. This was mystifying to Ma'rik, who knew quite well that Lucien preferred the cold.
As they waited, Ma'rik took a moment to look himself over in a nearby mirror.
His skin was pale from living in the Sanctuary- he had rarely ever felt the need to go outside. His jet-black hair reached his upper back and contrasted perfectly with it, and his emerald green eyes shone brilliantly behind his bangs. His hood was pulled back, as he only ever wore it when he, Kaz, and Teinaava went treasure-hunting. His Shrouded Armor was black as the void, but cheerfully light-weight. Cocking his head, he pulled a piece of twine from his pocket and proceeded to tie his hair back into a Rogue Knot, leaving his odd, lightning-bolt shaped scar exposed to the world. Lucien cast him a glance as he did this, and also a slight smirk, to which Ma'rik replied with a good-natured roll of his eyes.
"What, may I ask, are we waiting for, Brother?" the pale youth asked curiously. Ma'rik had always called Lucien (as well as the other members of their Family) 'Brother'- even though the man had always been more of a father figure to him. After all, there was only one mother and one father in the Dark Brotherhood- the Night Mother and Sithis.
"Apparently, some form of Fast-Travel," Lucien replied, shrugging. "And, also, if need be, the Listener." Ma'rik's eyes widened.
"The Listener?" he repeated in awe. He had only ever seen the Listener but once, when he was almost seven- he was a Khajiit, taller than M'raaj-Dar, with fierce yellow eyes and a snow-white mane. He had seemed perpetually angry, glaring, but according to Teinaava, the Listener always looked like that after a long, drawn-out fight. A flame atronach had been following him at the time, as well as a Dark Guardian. Teinaava had also told him that the Listener had summoned them- thus igniting Ma'rik's passion of the Arcane arts.
"Indeed. That's what I said, isn't it?" Lucien smirked slightly. "Ah, look, Ma'rik…." Ma'rik turned his gaze to the fire which- interestingly- had become a bright, emerald green, roaring higher and higher, until a funny-looking man appeared in it, spinning, and once his form became clear, stepped out of the fire.
He was an older gentleman, wearing the most peculiar purple robes and floppy, pointed hat, both decorated with stars and moons of a lavender color. His hair was white and long, and his beard was tucked into his belt. High-heeled boots, and bright, sparkling blue eyes shining behind a pair of half-moon spectacles completed the look. Ma'rik tried hard not to laugh.
"Hello," the man greeted pleasantly. He reached into one of his pockets and pulled out a bag filled with yellow candies. "Lemon drop?" Lucien blinked dryly, unamused. The man shrugged and offered the bag then to Ma'rik, who accepted one and popped it into his mouth. The man looked as if he felt rather accomplished.
"So… are you the Headmaster for this… Hogwarts?" Lucien asked.
"Indeed, I am," the man replied, smiling calmly. "My name is Albus Dumbledore. You must be Mr. Lachance, Harry's current guardian."
"'Albus'…. Doesn't that come from the Latin word for 'white'?" Ma'rik asked. Lucien shot him a glare. The Dumbledore fellow seemed unbothered by this, indeed, for he even smiled slightly and nodded.
"Ita vero," he replied, obviously a Latin affirmative. "It does, indeed. Are you well-versed in Latin, Harry?"
"'Ma'rik', Sir, please," Ma'rik said, frowning slightly. "'Ma'rik' is my name, not 'Harry'. But, yes, Sir, Vincente taught me. He always said a man uneducated in Latin is a man throughly uneducated." Dumbledore frowned slightly as well.
"Surely you'd rather be called by your real name?" Lucien glared at the Headmaster.
"'Ma'rik' is his real name, you old coot," he snapped. Ma'rik winced slightly at that and gave Lucien a pleading look before trying to once again handle things on his own.
"Sir, I would much rather go by 'Ma'rik', please. I'm much more used to it, it would save everyone so much trouble…." He bit his lip. Dumbledore sighed and then went back to smiling.
"Very well, then, Ma'rik. It's very good that you are versed in Latin- that is the basis for magic, you know."
"Er…." Actually, Ma'rik thought, the basis for magic was channelling your core Magicka into power provoked by thought, but, well, he didn't want to get into another 'argument' so soon. "Yes, Sir. It sounds wonderful."
"So you do want to go, then?" Dumbles asked pleasantly. Ma'rik nodded. "Excellent! Then I shall find you an escort to take you to Di-!"
"Hold on a moment, there," Lucien practically growled. "This isn't going to be so easy. There are things that must be worked out." Dumbledore looked confused.
"Matters concerning our unique family, Headmaster Dumbledore." The three blinked- neither Lucien nor Ma'rik had said that. In fact, that voice had come from the far, dark side of the room. They turned.
A Khajiit, tall and well-built, stood in the shadows, his ears pricked forward for maximum hearing capacity. His mane was left free, a bright snow-white that perfectly matched tawny fur. His eyes were slitted, but as opposed to the normal Khajiit bright yellow, they were pale and almost a wheat color. While normally black robes were his custom, he was wearing a luxurious blue-and-green shirt with long white sleeves, silk pants, and boots that Teinaava had called the Boots of Jackben Imble.
"Please forgive my lateness," the Khajiit said with the typical accent, inclining his head slightly. "I was forestalled by other urgent matters."
"Ah, it's no problem," Dumbledore said jovially. He pulled the lemon drops back out and offered them to the Khajiit, who, amusingly, took a few and popped them into his mouth.
"Listener…," Lucien groaned under his breath. Ma'rik stared on in total awe.
"I cannot help it if I had to feed," the Listener sniffed, mistaking the source of Lucien's irritation. "It is bad for my complexion if I do not."
"So you're Listener?" Dumbledore asked. "What matters were you speaking of?"
"Family matters," the Listener replied, oblivious to Ma'rik's staring. "You know, of course, of our Brotherhood, do you not?"
"Well…. yes, in fact, I do." Dumbledore frowned. "A ring of assassins, aren't you?" The Listener snorted slightly, but nodded all the same.
"Yes, you could say that. Because of that, our family members undertake a strict training regimen…. I would like for Ma'rik to continue his training while he is at school." The Listener inclined his head again respectfully. "I hope you will consider this request, for he will not be allowed to attend your school otherwise." Ma'rik noticed with a slight sinking feeling that this was not the way the Headmaster had intended things to go.
"What training would he need beyond what is taught at my school?" the Headmaster asked skeptically.
"What do you thi-?" Lucien began to ask, but the Listener cut him off.
"There are things at your school that you will not teach, I am sure, such as how to ride a horse or fight horseback," he said evenly. "I am just as certain that you will not teach hand-to-hand, the blade, blunts, or marksmanship. There are many things we teach our Family that you do not teach yours."
"How would we teach him, then?"
"I would be more than willing to have the members of Cheydenhall Sanctuary take turns working with him on school grounds, provided there is room for them to stay."
"Of course there would be. I suppose as long as it doesn't get in the way of his studies at school…."
"I can assure you it won't." They went on like this for a while, chatting over the various arrangements that would have to be made for the members: Vincente would need to be able to feed at least once every three days, Kazuki would only be able to come onto the grounds if they could get the Wolfsbane potion made for him, Gogron was not allowed to hug anyone or play leap-frog with anyone, Hagrid would be able to take care of a couple of horses no problem, and on and on, leaving Ma'rik bored out of his mind. After a moment, he began reciting all of the things he'd heard the Listener had done in his head, starting with the legendary Purging of the Brotherhood.
He had just started imagining what the battle between the Traitor the the Listener must have been like when someone said his name, and he snapped to attention.
"Huh?" Almost. Lucien face-palmed and sighed.
"I was just asking if you were sure about this, cub," the Listener repeated patiently. "This is not a decision to make lightly, I'm sure you know."
"Oh." Ma'rik blinked, tilting his head slightly. "Right. Very big decision. Well, like Ocheeva said, the Guild doesn't exactly teach you, they just make you buy the books and expect you to learn it yourself….. Besides, that whole 'don't kill people thing'….." Dumbledore seemed a bit uncomfortable that Ma'rik would refuse to join a group for the rule of not killing things. "So, yes, I'd enjoy going."
"Now… what was this 'Di' that you were going to insist on having Ma'rik taken to?" the Listener asked.
"Ah, yes, Diagon Alley," Dumbledore replied. "I'll be making arrangements for one of our staff to escort him there to purchase his school supplies."
"Why can't you just take him right now?" Lucien grumbled. The Headmaster smiled pleasantly.
"I've actually a meeting to attend with my faculty for the upcoming year." His eyes had that odd twinkle in them, again, and he shook Ma'rik's hand warmly before doing the same with the Listener, and a rather resentful Lucien. "It was a pleasure meeting you all. I'll be seeing you soon, Harry."
"My name is Ma'rik!" Ma'rik called after him as he threw a handful of strange powder into the fire, turning it green once more, and disappearing in it. "Damn it… I swear, if people insist on calling me 'Harry' of all things….."
"Speaking of training, Ma'rik," Lucien finally said, "I do believe you're missing your marksmanship lessons with Talaendril."
"Nah." Ma'rik waved his concerns off with a hand. "She's in Kvatch."