And the seventh angel poured forth his bowl into the air;
and a voice cried out: "It is done!"
I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds.
J. Robert Oppenheimer, quoting the Bhagavad Gita
Shortly after Trinity, site of the world's first nuclear detonation
Now we are all sons of bitches
Kenneth Bainbridge's response to Oppenheimer
Safe House- Strawgoh
Location: CLASSIFIED-TOP SECRET
December 22, 2021—23:57:35-zulu
6,365 days since beginning of the Second Voldemort War
4,799 days after Disclosure.
"Lord Voldemort admits himself…disappointed," Voldemort said, staring at the body of his mortal enemy. He turned his attention to the glowing sphere of blue-green energy hovering at waist-height over the body of Harry Potter. "What is this?"
"A destabilizing Paradox that's going to destroy this world," Allie said.
Hermione turned to her and started to say something, only to shriek as she burst into flames.
Voldemort turned his wand on Luna next and struck her down just as quickly before turning to Hannah.
The former Hufflepuff, and lately Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, dodged the killing curse and blocked the same fire spell that had immolated Hermione a second before. She threw a reductor curse at the ground in front of Voldemort's feet and used the ensuing dust that filled the room to hide the stream of curses that Padma sent at Voldemort.
The flash of green light took Hannah from behind and Padma swore violently as she dodged to put the sphere of temporal energy between herself and both opponents.
"You, you were working for him the whole time?" she demanded.
"Not the whole time, no," Allie told her coolly.
Padma spared Voldemort a quick glance to keep the Paradox between him and her. "Why?" she asked.
"Padma, you of all people would be the last to understand," Allie said. "I will not attempt to justify myself for you because, frankly, it does not matter and we haven't the time for it even if it did."
"What is this magic?" Voldemort demanded.
"An unstable temporal paradox," Allie repeated, eyeing the sphere of energy. "Interesting. Three deaths have stabilized it…somewhat."
"Oh, so we have time for your magical studies?" Padma demanded.
"No," Allie said.
"It's purpose?" Voldemort inquired.
"They used it to influence the past," Allie said, slowly advancing around the circle towards Padma.
"I should have known better than to trust you," Padma hissed backing away.
"Funnily enough, this may grant us all exactly what we wish," the other woman said.
"You won't have Harry. No matter what you change, I won't allow it."
"I was never interested in him that way," Allie demurred. "Goodbye, Padma."
Padma raised her wand to block Allie's curse, but she had retreated too far and she collapsed lifelessly to the ground as Voldemort's killing curse took her in the back.
The Dark Lord strode forward and pressed his hand to the invisible circle of magic.
"Let me through the barrier," Voldemort hissed.
"Too late for that," Allie said, turning back towards the sphere of energy. "We've put four deaths into it. Magic will get through, but neither you nor I can breach that circle before the Paradox unravels Time. They have cast their changes into the Void Between Words, into the aether that is All, far beyond the reach of mortal flesh and bone to recall. Still, they had their chance but I have not yet wrought my own work."
She stared at the orb of multi-hued, rapidly swirling energy.
A moment later she nodded. "There. It is done. I wish there were a way of taking back a copy of our history, it would be interesting to see how the new timeline pla
Chips were moved to the center of the table. One of the two trios of women who were sitting clustered together, cackled as the final wager was matched. One of them started to reveal their cards only for said cards to vanish. This was followed by the rest of the cards still held, or set in front of the players who had folded. The deck set on top of a chained book in front of the dealer grew as lost cards were returned to it. No sooner had the last card returned to it than the deck began to shuffle itself.
"Do you have room for one more at this table?"
"You're late, Char," said the other person who had still been in the round.
"And you cost us an eye," added one of the trio, "literally."
"You did not lose anything, you merely failed to gain something you desired," replied the newcomer who was wrapped up in a heavy boat-cloak, a hood concealed his features aside from a long grey beard. "In any case, our friend was about to lay claim to the tooth you had just wagered. You should thank me." He nodded to a woman with raven hair and pale skin that was tattooed around one eye.
"Do you have something of Value to offer?" asked a member of the second of the two triads sitting at the table.
A splayed out hand hovered over the table, only the fingertips touching. A small silver coin fell out of his voluminous sleeve and rolled along on its edge until it reached the center of the poker table where it began to rapidly spin.
Faster and faster it spun until with a crack it split in half. Two silver disks rose into the air, one displaying a lightning bolt, the other, two roman letters, HP. An image flickered into existence above them. A man with unkempt hair, dark eyes, and pale skin, a lightning-bolt shaped scar marred his brow.
Five voices uttered the word at the same time. The first was the tattooed woman. The second through fourth were the second triad of women. The last was the Dealer who was now looking accusingly at the first woman.
"I didn't appear to him," she said. "Harry can't be dead."
"We did not finish weaving his story into the Tapestry," said one of the women. "What does your Book say, Des—"
"No names," this from a large, bare-chested man who wore bronze vambrances on his arms. He nodded to the dealer. "As they say, consult your Tome, Dealer."
The injunction was unnecessary. Already the Chained Book lay open before the Dealer who was rapidly flipping through the pages. "It was written, EITHER MUST DIE AT THE HAND OF THE OTHER."
The Book slammed shut with a thump that echoed in the room.
"As it was written," the Dealer said, "So shall it be."
"He didn't die," the woman repeated. "The Prophecy went unfulfilled."
"I ferry the dead across the river Styx," returned the boatman. "He was no living hero come to my realm like in the sagas of old. That a dead-man came to me without dying is a—"
"Paradox," spat one of the weavers from where the trio was consulting the end of an elaborate tapestry. "See? Already the Tapestry begins to unravel."
"The one who gave me that coin, also carried these." Several pieces of a silver coin were scattered on the table, along with four tiny bronze coins stamped with alchemical symbols for fire, air, earth, and spirit. A solitary copper coin, only slightly larger than the bronze ones, was stamped with the symbol of water.
He was greeted with silence.
"You have a proposal, Ferryman?" asked the Dealer.
A wave of the boatman's hand and the spilled coinage turned into a pile of chips. A second wave conjured a chair. "Reshuffle the deck, Dealer, and let us play the game again."