How would one describe Harry Potter?
Would they say he was a timid first year with poorly hidden scars? His glasses held up by massive amounts of tape, showing clear emerald eyes and a mysterious lightning shaped scar under his raven black hair? Unsure of how to fit into a world he had been thrust into after living ten years under a cupboard under the stairs?
You're looking at the wrong child if that's who you believe he is.
Harry is a confident, and right now, very annoyed boy with a respectable five feet on him. He doesn't wear any corrective gear for his eyes, which are a clear emerald with blue tints. His scars from many from years of fighting are displayed proudly. His black hair is long and held back by a blue ribbon, with blue highlights he just put in last week. He also has a bandolier across his chest with seven bells of different sizes. In his pocket is a hidebound book which only he can read.
And he has never lived inside a cupboard under the stairs.
He also doesn't want to be here at all, nor would he if the headmaster hadn't forced him to come. So here he was with children many years his junior, and fully prepared to hit the headmaster with any hex he can get past. He had a job to do back home, and this school for magic was pointless to someone who has been using magic for over twenty years.
You read that right. Harry is in actuality twenty. And his last name isn't Potter.
Harry is known as Hadrian Abhorsen, son of Lily Abhorsen and natural enemy of the dead.
Oh? You thought Lily was Petunia's sister? Let's compare the two.
Lily is a bright girl with dark red hair, bright green eyes and five foot six before she died. Petunia is a horse faced girl with straw blond hair and squinted blue eyes which she uses to spy on her neighbors. Petunia is only five foot three.
Do you still believe they are even remotely related to each other? Lily was adopted at age six, and she knew it.
Where has Harry been for nineteen years? And why is he even in Hogwarts? Let's go back to the day Voldemort came and killed his parents, shall we?
"Lily! Take Harry and run!"
Lily cried as her husband died. She knew why he had come, and she would never allow him to do it. She took out a vial she had intended to keep sealed, and opened it.
Tracing the mark on her son's head, she watched as it glowed briefly before vanishing. She lightly touched where the mark had been, and felt the comforting feel of something she had escaped years ago.
Lily was a Charter Mage, but more than that she was an Abhorsen, born to lay the dead to rest and make sure they went past the last gate. Her bells had been left in a bag, securely fastened. She had never touched them in all the time she had been in this land. She took the bells in hand, and prepared to face the insane man intent on killing her son.
"No! Not Harry!"
"Stand aside foolish girl!"
She stood defiantly in front of Voldemort, and he cast the spell which all wizards feared. The killing curse threw her soul out of her body and into...the second gate!
Seeing her son in the first, she used the almost forgotten spell that would allow her to pass the second gate unhindered. What worried her was that she never saw Voldemort go past, as she knew the Charter Magic would have sent him along with Harry. It never reacted well with wizard magic. In fact, in all her years as a witch she had noticed that it was no where near as powerful as Charter or even free magic.
She scooped up her son, still fresh with life, and crossed the boundary back into the living.
She gasped, and picked up her son, who was now crying, Charter Mark glowing. He had a new scar on his forehead, which is probably why he was upset. She knew she had little time, Albus would arrive before long.
It had been his suggestion to use Peter after all. Sirius would never have switched if the old man hadn't said anything. And Peter was no Occulmens, so he had to know that the rat was the traitor.
Lily quickly packed her things, and prepared to flee England altogether. She saw the wisp of a beard, and scowled. She grabbed her wand and James, and made sure he husband was at least in the ninth gate before apparating out of the house, with her son in her arms.
Albus entered the house, ruined by magic. James was on the ground, dead. He saw an odd symbol, but thought nothing of it. He went upstairs to see...nothing. Voldemort had obviously been there, James would never have gone down otherwise. He cast a temporal spell, and saw what happened. What had Lily done?
He immediately made a fake Harry for them to use. He had always suspected something was odd about Lily Evans, as he created a fake body to take her place. It would never work if someone used a temporal spell like he had, but he had to buy time so he could locate the boy who lived...and the woman who was not Lily.
She had to be a foul creature that had taken the place of Lily Potter, there was no other explanation for it.
Sirius was on the ground, in shock. Lily told him what happened, and he believed her. He remembered reading books in his family's library about the Old Kingdom and their magic. But he never expected Lily Evans, brilliant muggleborn and wife of his best friend to be from there! Or from such an old clan!
The bells and Book were proof enough. Only an Abhorsen could open them, and Lily was no necromancer. She even made him an offer, if he was willing.
She could make him a Charter Mage, and take him with her. He accepted it, and they booked the first ship off of England, after sealing all their vaults.
It wouldn't do for the old man to steal from them, now would it? Sirius floo called Remus, and explained he was leaving with Lily to protect her and Harry. The old wolf knew something had happened, and Sirius said to keep an eye out for Peter, who was the traitor all along.
He was never seen in England for ten years.
Harry was playing with his half sister Sabriel, and between the two of them they kept their father occupied. As an Abhorsen he was bound to go and make the dead lay to rest, or to forcefully send them back. At least he could always count on 'Uncle Padfoot' to watch over the children. His many times distant cousin Lily had arrived in the middle of the night with a child and what appeared to be a large mutt in tow.
She died naturally a half a year later in childbirth, bringing his daughter Sabriel into the world. So now he had a son, a daughter, and a novice Charter Mage who was willing to learn anything he taught him. Though between two of the three, mischief was common. Hadrian was an imp in disguise, and he would swear to that!
At least Sabriel wasn't so damn mischievous!
So he sent them across the wall, except for Sirius who was now his unofficial helper. Hadrian and Sabriel would learn magic, safe from the dead. Until it was their turn to take up the bells.
(Hadrian, age twelve, Sabriel age eleven)
Hadrian finished the Book before his sister, which wasn't surprising. He found it fascinating how many dead there were and how to send them back. But he was thoroughly disgusted with the methods used to bring the dead back, and would never use any of them. (Which was actually a secret relief to his father and uncle, with his enthusiasm for reading the Book.)
Sabriel was less enthusiastic, but she wasn't afraid to learn either. Still, she had many chapters to go before she finished it.
Since he had finished the Book before her, he was given the chance to use the knowledge in a practical exercise.
They certainly didn't expect him to be able to banish a Greater dead all the way to the ninth gate with a whistle!
His father lead him through all the gates, and while they went through them, had him describe each one and it's defense. Hadrian got each one right, and saw the final gate. Looking up, he saw the starry sky which all dead must go through to pass on. He merely blinked, and looked at his father.
Who was gaping at him.
Apparently the Ninth Gate had no effect on Hadrian for some reason.
Sirius was sniggering, and clapped the boy on the back, proud he had passed the test.
The next week he got his own bells, and was brought back across the wall with Sirius to learn wizard's magic. Any Charter magic he learned now would be from the library on his spare time.
(Hadrian age fifteen, Sabriel age fourteen)
Sabriel was thrilled! Uncle Sirius was going to live on her side of the wall, to teach her magic! According to him, it was because she shared the same mother as Hadrian, so he could! He was even planning on taking her across the sea to get the required items! Hadrian was with father, learning the trade. He sent letters every week with his odd pet owl, Hedwig.
They were on the ship, heading to England, where her uncle was born. He had changed his appearance greatly, like having short hair, yellow contacts and his wardrobe, which made her sigh in disbelief.
Who wore robes outside a bathhouse?
He chuckled at the question, and explained to her about where they were heading.
And found it far more interesting than he had described.
They came back with supplies, books, a wand and two new pets. A cat and owl. They also had something else with them...a werewolf by the name of Remus Lupin.
(Hadrian, age sixteen, Sabriel, age fifteen.)
Hadrian was eager to see his sister again. She seemed excited to be learning magic, even if it was the weaker version compared to the Charter. He still remembered how Remus reacted to finding out he had a sister. And what he does for a living.
The only problem was that someone or something was breaking Charter stones at an alarming rate. Every time he went to fix one, it was broken a month later! It was driving him nuts! And the dead were gathering for something.
He groaned. He really hated the dead. And because they were gathering in greater numbers, father was out every day. He rarely got a moment of peace now, even with the help of Hadrian and Sirius. The sendings had to find two extra sets of bells for them, but it was worth it. Between the three of them, the situation was tiring, but manageable.
(Hadrian, age eighteen, Sabriel, age seventeen)
Father had gone missing, and never came back. Rumors of a greater dead were reported where he was. Worried, he tried to keep calm for his sister's sake. She always loved her father more than him, though that was probably due to the fact that she was his actual blood daughter. Hadrian knew full well he was the man's adopted son.
He got an owl back from his sister, scared. Father had sent her the bells, sword and book.
He grabbed his gear and sent a final letter.
"I will meet you at the wall."
Hadrian was outside the wards and at the wall before the next day. He had really pushed it with his Charter skin, but he was worried.
He actually had to hold in a laugh when he got there.
Sabriel looked silly all bundled up! The skis, the sweater and her green eyes barely visible from her goggles. It had him laughing. She scowled at him and his outfit. She had the unfortunate luck of not being able to cast a warming charm. Not to mention that she was better at transfiguring things, unlike her brother.
He took out his wand, holly with thestral and unicorn hair, wrapped around a phoenix feather. The man who made the thing was impressed with his core selection, saying it was perfect for necromancer work.
Sabriel raised her wand, rowan with thestral and unicorn hair with snow phoenix feather. The wand maker had said the same thing, only to be careful with charms. They would either be weak or wouldn't work at all. She should stick to transfiguration.
Both were experts at potions, and carried no less than ten healing potions, four pepper ups, five curealls, and at least twelve pain relieving potions at all times. It was inside a charm around their neck in the shape of a different animal. Hadrian wore a stag and Sabriel the tiger. They could pull out the potion needed with a word. No magic required.
Hadrian and Sabriel trudged through the snow, using sheer stubbornness, lots of warming charms, and a few strategic point me charms. Halfway to the stone was when they found the body.
Sabriel was the one to hear his last words. She left a spell which would allow the message to be replayed until it wore off or the wood was ruined beyond saving. While she did that he thought over the message, and then cursed in English. Thanks to Sirius and his father, he was multilingual.
Sabriel gave him a chastising look, and he scowled.
"Right after Father disappeared, there were reports of a Greater Dead in the area. This can't be a coincidence."
She gave him a concerned look.
"I'll tell you at the house. We're too exposed here."
He lead her up the hill to the nearest stone, and once they reached the top, began cursing so violently she stared at him in surprise.
"I just fixed that damn thing last month!"
She looked at the stone, and gasped. It was hewn in two. And there was only one thing which could do such a thing...the blood and death of a Charter Mage. Nothing else could crack a stone, and fixing them was harder than breaking them.
It was a good thing Hadrian was adept at it, or the whole country would be over run by now, even with the three sending the dead to their rest.
The blood was fresh, but not recent.
They stopped long enough for Hadrian to begin the spell he perfected, and the mend slowly began to show.
His diamond of protection was strong, but the north point was wavering due to the stone's influence. He paid no notice, intent on mending the damage.
"If only father would let me go to the main cause, I might be able to fix them! But no, it's too overrun with the dead now."
"The old castle. He left to deal with some dead near that area, and hasn't come back. He's either dead or captured, but right now I'm leaning towards captured in a gate. And he never let me go near that old ruin."
She gaped at him.
"It doesn't help that we can't openly discuss certain topics because of the broken stones. Something prevents it."
Hadrian was almost finished, which was good because something was coming. It wasn't a greater dead, but it was still dangerous.
The crack closed with a loud snap, and they could feel the smallest hum of Charter magic returning. If it wasn't broken again, it would be back to normal in a few days.
The north point failed as the dead entered. One of the lesser dead, old by the look of it.
Hadrian glared at it, and it stopped. Clearly it sensed his mood.
Sabriel didn't know that when Hadrian was annoyed or truly angry, he needed no bells. Their father learned early on that Hadrian could send the dead back with just his voice, and it would be obeyed as if he had used the bells. Unusual, but extremely useful. The only downside is that he always felt like he had run non stop for miles an hour after. Depending on how many he sent through the gates, he could still wield Charter and Free magic.
"Who is the one responsible for the stone's breaking?" he scowled.
His voice was off, and she could feel the power behind it. The dead's voice came back to it.
Hadrian's scowl, if it were even possible, deepened. He was really not happy about the name.
He drew two bells. Kibeth and Saraneth, and in a practiced figure eight, rang them. The clear sound of the bells had the dead thing howling. He was bound by their magic and power through the last gate, which he had denied for so long.
Unfortunately, it also had the side effect of calling something else.
Hadrian looked up, and growled.
"Damn it all to hell! Is nothing going to go right this week?"
Sabriel felt the brush she associated with death, and shivered. That lesser dead was horrible enough so close to her.
"We have to get moving. If that thing gets too close we won't be able to outrun it, and I don't feel like dealing with a bloody Mordicant right now!"
She gasped. Hadrian grabbed her hand, and began to pull her along. Once her legs and feet got used to moving again, she began to speed up. Soon they were running (or the equivalent in her case, thanks to the skis) and heading to the gate. Hadrian lead her to the gate, and drew a bell, awakening the door. The Mordicant was close, so close.
She breathed heavily, and he held out a potion. Grimacing at the taste, she took it without a word. Her legs felt better immediately, and they rushed outside, the gate keeper keeping the thing at bay for now. The next gate, and the thing was practically on them. Another door closed, and it was trying to get in, and would succeed in seconds.
Hadrian hit himself in the head.
"Why is it I always forget about that? I never added the wards!"
She looked at him in disbelief. What wards?
"Hold on to your stomach, we're apparating!"
She groaned. She loathed apparition, no matter how useful the damn thing was. Port keys were to be avoided at all costs, as she hated them more than apparition.
With a loud crack, they disappeared and came into a garden, surrounded at all sides by fast running water, which was fed by a large waterfall.
The perfect defense against the dead, one which they could not cross.
"So long as that thing doesn't put grave dirt between the stones, it can't come near us."
She collapsed in his arms, wore out by the run and the fear. He held her gently, and had the sendings come out. A black and white cat glared at him, most likely for disturbing it's nap with his trick.
It snarled at him, annoyed.
"You know I hate that trick of yours!" it yowled.
"Unless you want a bath, shut up Mogget."
It glared even more at him.
"So this is the next Abhorsen. Why didn't he pick you instead? You have more experience and are used to the dead by now."
"How do you know she's the next one in line?"
"I'm a cat."
Hadrian conceded the point. He once mentioned if he was the next one in line for succession he would turn Mogget into a dog, if only to annoy him. He liked dogs, and barely tolerated felines.
Sabriel woke up the next day, to find her brother snickering. He pointedly left the room before she could tell him to leave, but not before warning her about some of the sendings which served the house.
"Two or three of them are particularly stubborn, thankfully they never bother me. You on the other hand are fair game."
She raised an eyebrow at that, and he chuckled.
"One will insist on bathing you like a three year old. I've only managed to escape that by sheer stubbornness and apparition. Until Father told me to just take it like a man, so I turned his hair pink for a month in retaliation."
Sabriel giggled. That must have annoyed her father something fierce.
"Which is around the time I suddenly decided to spend two months with the Clayr and try to See. Or at least raid their library. It was worth the price I had to pay in order to get in," he said innocently.
Sabriel didn't stop the incredulous laughter from spilling out. Only Hady would pull something like that and hide in a glacier when he despised the cold.
"I'm amazed they even let you into the library."
Now he looked slightly embarrassed.
"Let's drop the subject, shall we?"
She looked at her brother shrewdly.
The blush threatened to take over his face.
"Hey, our mum was father's distant cousin."
He had a point. Lily was from a branch of the family, and almost removed from the tree. It was sheer luck that they were still considered Abhorsen.
Hadrian left her to get ready, and sat at the table reading. He ignored the look the sendings were giving him. Two loud cracks were heard, and a yelp of surprise.
Hadrian went outside and greeted his two uncles. He was grinning the entire time. Judging by the cries from his sister, he suspected she hadn't listened to his warning and gotten out in time.
"Sirius! Remus! Welcome back! Sabriel is currently suffer, er, enjoying the ministrations of my favorite sending."
"She didn't get out in time?"
"That and she was no where near the closet. Otherwise she would have apparated."
Ah yes, they all knew exactly how she felt about apparition and port keys. Hadrian preferred to walk, and only used them when he had to...or when he was feeling really lazy that day.
Sabriel came out, fully clothed and annoyed. They got through dinner, and she turned to her brother.
"For the past few years, the dead have been unusually active. Stones that were whole one day were broken, and a month after I fixed them ruined again. And the amount of dead has risen, more so recently. Now I know why, and it's irritating."
"What do you mean?"
"Kerrigor, one of the greater dead and an old foe. Several times we have sent him through the gate, and the bastard always comes back. Every time he comes through the gates, he brings a large swarm of dead with him. Father got a call for a village, and never came back. I believe he has been captured in the gates."
"That would explain the dead sending with the package. The thread which connected it went past the first gate."
Hadrian nodded, and then decided to bring her up to speed on certain subjects. Sirius and Remus were preparing for the inevitable battle by brewing potions, and waiting for the call. This was strictly Abhorsen territory, and they were willing to be on the sidelines. Even if they were practically family anyway.
They had to leave two days later, once she recovered enough. Hadrian and Mogget were going with her, if only so she survived. But when it came to the dead, Hadrian said flatly "You're going to have to deal with this sooner or later. I'll support you for the most part, but I should save my magic for Kerrigor and that damn Mordicant. You will have to deal with anything below that."
She understood perfectly, and decided to use the chance to impress her brother. While the floods washed away the dead (and the slaves) he prepared for flight. While they could take brooms, Hadrian preferred Paperwings. He could even make them, provided he had enough time.
They currently had two Paperwings, the original and the one Hadrian made as a hobby. They took the one Hadrian made, since it was slightly bigger. Hadrian took the pilot's, perfectly comfortable in the swing. Sabriel sat behind him, and made sure to secure herself. Mogget was in her lap, and she was glad he wasn't sharpening his claws in her leg. She hated it when her beloved cat Minerva did that. Her owl Xiomara was her best friend, willing to brave fiend fire (and the odd weather of the Old Kingdom) to bring her letters to her brother.
Hadrian whistled, and they took flight. She closed her eyes, afraid the water would make the paper soggy and bring them crashing. Aside from the slight bump, there was nothing noteworthy. Hadrian cackled, "You can open your eyes now!"
She looked, and saw they were well beyond the water she had called down. Hadrian was grinning at her.
"I never said a thing, little sister. Besides, have you no faith in something I spent the last three years making? I tested each part extensively before putting it together and placing the spell on it."
They were flying high, enjoying the feeling of wind. Hadrian whistled every now and then, and gave her a look.
"You keep an eye out for anything dead and a place to land. Night flying is a total pain."
She extended her sense of death, and felt something closing in. Hadrian looked at the sun's position, and scowled. His low whistle started their descent, and he was keeping an eye out for a place to land, preferably a small island in the middle of the river.
No such luck, as the dead crows came at them. Sabriel reached for the bells, then saw his look. She gulped.
A shrill whistle caused the craft to do an angled nosedive, and another stabilized them. They were approaching the ground pretty fast now...and he knelt to the left a little, and they were skimming the river. The sun was starting to go down, and he scowled.
Seeing the slightly raised mound coming up fast, he did some quick thinking and took a guess at their position. He usually passed this way on foot.
"Use the bells to send them through the gate! We're heading for a crash landing!"
She used them, and the dead birds went through the gates. She then braced herself as the Paperwing began to crash...into a mound. The second it made contact the mound collapsed, revealing a large hole. The Paperwing was ruined, it's eyes no longer gleaming with an inner light.
Hadrian was groaning, as he took the brunt of the crash. She handed him a healing and pain relieving potion without prompting.
"Thanks," said Hadrian, before looking at the craft and sighing.
"That is the fifth one that I've lost to aerial dead. I have a spare back at the house, but this was my favorite."
"This is the price we paid for not flying on brooms. But...we made very good time. Not to mention the dead can't come near this place."
She stared at him.
"I usually pass this way on foot. We are close to the burial ground of the Kingdom's royalty. And if I remember correctly there is someone stuck here as a figurehead."
They decided to wait until morning, so they could see. Once the light hit them, it confirmed what he had suspected. Mogget lead the way through, and they arrived inside a large open area covered in Charter spells to ensure the dead stayed that way. The skeletons of birds who saw the feast were seen above, killed by the spell net. It was filled with the hulls of ships.
"I'll find water and you start the fire."
Soon they were resting, and Sabriel went exploring. She found the figurehead he mentioned, only by accident. Though he did catch the blush on her cheeks.
"You never said...!"
"You didn't ask, little sister. Don't be a prude."
She scowled at him. Why didn't he mention the one stuck was completely naked? She went through the gates and located the spirit. And woke up the alarm. Still, she managed to drag the captured soul back into the living and found...Hadrian staring at her in the face.
She yelped and jumped back, then scowled when she heard the laughter of Mogget and Hadrian. He breathed on the figurehead, which suddenly came alive. The boy collapsed into Hadrian's arms, took one look at their dress and said "Abhorsen" before fainting.
Hadrian put him close to the fire, and pulled a blanket over him. Then he went digging into his bag and brought out some clothes for the man to wear when he woke up. Good thing he had an expandable bag, otherwise the poor boy would have had to wear his sister's spare things.
The boy woke up and saw the one who caught him first. The girl was gone.
"Little sister is taking a freezing cold bath because she was too stubborn to ask me to heat it up for her. My name is Hadrian Abhorsen, at your service. My sister's name is Sabriel."
Hadrian was cooking something...and it smelled like sausages.
"We are trying to get to the castle, and happened to crash just outside the grounds. Bloody dead..." he growled.
"You don't look like any Abhorsen I've ever met."
"Technically I'm barely half. My mother was an Abhorsen who married outside the veil, and came back to protect me. Sabriel is only my half sister. Oh, and that fur ball is Mogget."
The fur ball was glaring at him fiercely.
"How many of the Stones were broken before you were sealed between the gates?"
The look of confusion followed by sadness passed on his face.
"Look, tell me how many were broken so I can heal the damn things. I happen to specialize in mending the broken stones. I have been doing that since I was thirteen."
"How old are you?"
"Eighteen. Sabriel is only six months younger than me."
The boy swore in three different languages. He was impressed.
"Great, just freaking fantastic. That explains how the dead keep getting stronger."
He showed a hint of surprise. How was that great? Hadrian saw the look.
"So sarcasm wasn't invented in your time. Plenty of time to teach you how to use it. There are some clothes by your foot, and if they aren't your size let me know. I can make them bigger."
The boy nodded, and went to get dressed. He was mildly surprised that they shared the same size clothes.
"What name do you want to go by?"
"As in the fool? Why not..." he grumbled.
The girl came back, slightly happier after her bath. She saw he was awake, and was trying to hide a blush.
"Don't turn into a prude sis. You would have seen one eventually," said Hadrian, in a slightly better mood.
She actually growled at him.
"I've seen them in anatomy books you half wit!"
"Then why are you blushing for?" he teased.
He yelped a minute later when a strange light hit him in the backside. Touchstone stared at the stick in her hand.
"Evil little...!" he said something else which had her giggling, then turned into full blown laughter.
"Damn...you...Hady!" she said between laughs.
She stopped laughing. He watched all this in disbelief.
Hadrian saw his look, and grinned.
"Our mother was raised on the other side of the veil, in a country called England. Charter magic was turned into something else over there, and used in a weaker form. It's called Wizard Magic over here, and we happen to be the only ones who can use it anymore."
He'd heard of Wizard magic, a weaker branch of the Charter and Free magic. It was a rare talent, and he had never heard of an Abhorsen using it.
A day later and they were setting off. The siblings lit the way with their magic. Eventually they came on a door, and it took them a lot heaving, pushing and swearing to open it. Mogget rode on either Sabriel or Hady's shoulders. They entered a village full of dead three days later. Hadrian scowled, and pulled out the bells.
He did a strange half twist and the call of the bells was heard throughout the area. Howls of rage were heard as countless dead were sent force-ably through the gates. But there were still more, and they walked past a broken stone. He growled.
They rushed past the barrier of running water, and narrowly avoided getting hit with an arrow thanks to Touchstone.
"Don't shoot! We're Abhorsen!" shouted Hadrian.
"We wish to speak to your village leader! As for proof, look to the village outside the walls!"
An old man came out, and touched their marks. He frowned slightly at Hadrian, but let it go.
"I am Hadrian Abhorsen, and this is my sister Sabriel. The man in front of her is my apprentice."
(Touchstone sent him an odd look at his choice of words, but apparently the old man understood.)
"How long have they been here?"
"Two months. After the stone was broken they overran the village. We had to retreat here...but we fear one has come over."
Hadrian smiled, and said "Take me to the stone. Sabriel, you and Touchstone see what you can do about the dead, if you find it."
One of the men took him to the ruined stone, and he set up his usual diamond of protection. The one facing the stone was weak, but it would do. He chanted in Charter symbols calmly, and the stone glowed. Ever so slowly the crack began to come together and mend.
He heard the voice of Ranna, followed by Kibeth. So Sabriel had found the dead and dealt with it. Good. He turned back to the stone, which was almost complete. Five minutes later, he broke his diamond and headed to the tiny hut.
And noticed that most of the villagers were asleep.
"At least it was Ranna and not Saraneth or Kibeth. Good work, little sister."
They stayed the night, and had to leave by morning. The Mordicant had found them. Hadrian and Touchstone started rowing into the sea.
Sabriel puzzled over the riddle the child had repeated for them.
"Why would this Kerrigor break the Greater Charter stones...hey, I can say it!"
"We're on the sea. Salt water can wash away most magics. And the only reason he would break those particular stones was to weaken all the others. But from what I read, he would need the blood of three families. The royal, the Abhorsen and the Clayr. If he's broken four of them, he must have used royal blood first."
"I know he used the blood of your sisters and mother. Probably his own as well. Ever since I found out about the burial grounds, I wondered what happened to the family. I know all about the betrayal, Touchstone."
Hadrian then repeated the tale, from what he had read in a diary...over four hundred years old. Sabriel gaped.
"If your body hadn't been frozen as a figurehead, you would be dust by now. And the royal line would be dead for good."
Sabriel could feel his pain, and let off a soothing aura. She caught Hadrian's smile, and kept it up. Touchstone could feel the aura the two let off, and let himself cry from the pain he had felt. Neither would condemn him for it.
They soon came to a large chain, and Hadrian whistled in appreciation.
"Impressive, but it needs to be oiled and the tower is crumbling."
Touchstone paid for the boat to be anchored, and they were lead to an in...which upon an experimental sniff, had a strong scent of lemons.
Hadrian grinned. There were a few things he loved to use while cooking. Garlic, cinnamon, chocolate, and lemons. Depending on what he was making at the time, he would almost always use one of the four.
But they desperately needed a bath, and lemon were a good scent to use.
Hadrian took a bath first, by process of elimination. Sabriel knew Hadrian had been using warming charms for several hours now. He could always add clean water once he was done.
Hadrian snorted at the sound of the couple next door, going at it like idiots. He resisted the urge to give the guy tips. It took him half an hour to warm up properly, and five minutes to clean and replace the water. Sabriel went after him, and Touchstone went last.
Touchstone raised an eye, in question.
"Sabriel can be a mother cat at times. She must have noticed I was using several warming charms for hours. How's the beer?"
Touchstone passed him a glass, and they drank a bit before he finally asked Hadrian about himself. Hadrian was willing to talk, speaking of his uncles, and the world outside the veil. Touchstone was fascinated by the society of Wizard mages outside the veil.
(Short side note)
The people of the Old Kingdom had long known of the outside world which was only accessible through a ship. The blinding curtain of fog, more commonly referred to as simply the Veil, separated these two worlds. Occasionally someone from the other side would come through, but it was more common for people of the Old Kingdom to sail through for trade.
On one side,Charter and Free magic ruled things, with a few rare people with Wizard Magic born there. Usually those with Wizard magic become Charter Mages.
On the other side, the Wizard Magic ruled the land. If one was born a natural Charter Mage, they rarely found out about the Veil, and were regarded as squibs, in wizard terms. Their natural magic developed in random ways, based on personality and lifestyle. A good example of this is Argus Filch, caretaker of Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His natural Charter magic allows him to converse using telepathy with his cat.
The key difference between the three magics are this.
Free magic is unbound by Charter rules, and in general are more painful to cast. It is commonly used for necromancy.
Charter magic is bound by rules, which is often used by marks and symbols. Casting is easy, but the cost can be high unaided by a Charter Stone. Most necromancers pervert the use of the magic to bring the dead back through the gates.
Wizard magic, while somewhat bound, is considered the weakest of the three types. The main limit it has is bringing the dead back to life, which often leads to disastrous results for all involved. What it lacks in structure and power, it makes up for in variety and ability to use. The cost is considerably lower.
They left by morning, and found a sight which had Sabriel's blood boil.
Scavengers using children to lure the dead away in order to loot the ruined city. Charter marks fell from her lips, until Hadrian hissed at her.
"We don't need the living and the dead after us! Leave it alone for now. I'll be dealing with the dead soon enough!"
She reluctantly let it go. After bribing the guards, they headed straight for the castle. Touchstone lead them deep into the old stairs, into a reservoir. Even this close it made Hadrian shiver in horror. So much pain and betrayal. He conjured up a light and went first. The shadows in the cavern made him shudder.
He saw the body first, held in place by a diamond.
Sabriel rushed to their father.
"Sabriel, you should go into death first and see if you can find him. I will do what I can and try to repair the stones. Touchstone, I will need your assistance with this..."
Sabriel's body began to ice over, a sign that she had slipped into death. Their diamond of protection was set, and Hadrian was outside it. He took out something that looked like bizarre fans with seven bells on each edge. The bells almost looked like smaller versions of the ones they carried on their chest.
"When I come back to this spot, I want you to add a bit of blood into the water. It will act as a catalyst for the magic."
Touchstone nodded, and trusted Hadrian completely.
Hadrian began to hum, and the feel of pure magic filled the air. A soft musical tune came from his fans, as he began an intricate dance. The bells rang in a clear tone, and the stones began to glow, softly at first until it was almost blinding. Touchstone saw Hadrian come to the spot, and lightly cut his arm. The blood ran down and into the water.
Charter marks, the strongest he had ever seen, sprang from where Hadrian's feet touched on the water. The moment he began to hum he danced on the water's surface.
He could see the stones begin to mend, bound by blood and Charter.
Then the other humming began, and Touchstone saw the dead.
The stones were almost mended, with only another inch to go. The Mordicant glared at him, but waited, like a loyal hound. That could not be good.
The stones glowed again, and the sound of bells was heard louder than ever. In fact they were becoming too loud.
A loud clap of something akin to thunder was heard. Touchstone noticed something was different.
The sick feeling he had before was gone, replaced with the low hum of the Charter. He looked down, and gasped.
The stones, broken by the blood of his family, were whole again. In fact, the hum of Charter magic was growing stronger as the bells slowly died off, one by one.
Hadrian quickly cast a diamond of protection around him, and it merged with the one he was in.
Touchstone found himself with a weakened Charter Mage, who was almost to the point of fainting.
Hadrian leaned on him while he passed his hand over a necklace, which glowed briefly before a large vial of something came out.
He drank it without a second thought, and grimaced. That was his strongest strengthening potion and he only had enough strength to stand and possibly wave one of the lighter bells. But he wouldn't be able to wield Kibeth or Saraneth.
Sabriel gasped, and two things happened. Their father came back from death, and Sabriel was wincing from where Mogget clawed her.
Hadrian smirked triumphantly.
"Did I, or did I not say I could fix the damn stones?"
"You are an imp in disguise who says many things. Most of the time it is true, but the rest... I've simply learned not to trust your word."
He took the last bell from Sabriel, and told them to run. Hadrian scowled at him, but left anyway. He heard the clanging of the one bell that would drag all who heard it through all seven gates and beyond. It was the largest bell, to be used as a last resort.
It was also his second favorite, next to Kibeth.
Unknown to his now dead father, he had met the one who created that last bell and come out alive. He could hear her voice speak to him, anywhere he went.
He found it soothing, to be honest. He never understood why he was immune to that power, or had the ability to heal stones in minutes. The one time he asked the soul, she had smiled, and replied in a voice that chimed that he was an embodiment of magic.
He never could figure out what the hell she meant by that.
They raced through the courtyard, and Touchstone was carrying Sabriel. She was not happy about that.
Running up the stairs, they found two Paperwings. Sabriel discovered where Kerrigor had his body, and they began to head towards the wall. Sabriel and Touchstone in a Paperwing...Hadrian had his broom out.
He knew there was a reason the sendings put three of the four brooms in his bag.
Touchstone actually stared at the other boy in shock. Hadrian was grinning, and said "If we survive this nonsense we'll teach you!"
They had to land quickly, and went past the wall. Sirius and Remus were waiting for them. Seeing how tired Hadrian was, Sirius let the boy lean on him the entire way.
They ensured the marks were real, and then discussed what to do. Hadrian was almost asleep on Sirius the entire time.
"What happened to him?"
"He healed the stones. I've never seen someone use magic like that," said Touchstone in shock.
"Wait, you mean the greater stones?"
Hadrian tiredly opened an eye, and glared at them.
"Keep it down would ya? I have a raging headache from that working."
"The bells were loud and that light was a bit bright..." admitted Touchstone.
"Loud? That diamond was shielding you from the worst of it. I must have sent thousands of dead through the gates while I fixed those damn stones! And don't get me started on the light!" he growled.
Sirius gently rubbed the boy's temples, and his growling went down a notch. Sirius chuckled, and said "You might as well switch to wolf, Pup. Otherwise they won't leave you alone."
Hadrian growled, but he did just that.
Everyone except Sirius stared. Where Hadrian had been laying down with a damp cloth on his eyes was a large black wolf with a lightning shaped pattern on his head in white fur.
Sirius looked at them and said "Hadrian is too drained to be of any use. If he tries to use any form of magic he may kill himself."
Sabriel nodded, and gave her brother a good ear scratch. His low growling started to go away, and his breathing evened out. He had finally fallen asleep.
Since they didn't have Mogget, they planned their assault on the casket. Hadrian was sound asleep in a truck, and Remus was waiting. Since he and Sirius barely qualified as proper Charter mages to begin with, when they started to dig the thing out they were the least affected. They kept on digging, despite the nausea they felt.
Finally they got it out, and onto a large truck. The spells seemed centered around keeping it closed and not in place. Which is the only reason they even managed to get it into the girl's school Sabriel called home for many years.
Hadrian finally woke up after his brief three hour nap, and felt immensely better. He turned back into his human form, and helped Sabriel prepare to open the casket. He had enough magic to do that at least.
The dead were coming, and there was no stopping it. Men and girls would die, all to bring down a monster who refused to accept that death is part of life.
God Hadrian hated those. They finally opened the damn thing and found someone who could be Touchstone's twin. Before Sabriel could do anything, the battle downstairs started. It lasted barely five minutes, and the true form of Mogget arrived. He came bearing the sword of her father and the final bell.
Then he attacked her, out of spite for her family. Hadrian saw the collar was gone from his neck.
He finally arrived, Kerrigor. He retook his body, and killed Mogget by devouring him. He grabbed Sabriel roughly, and in her weakened state she was in no position to stop him. In her hand was a large loop, which she expertly flipped over his head.
In a futile gesture, he tried in vain to pull it off. But the Charter symbols engraved in the collar would not be taken from someone like him, for they were created to bind something greater. Sabriel weakly took out Ranna, and rang the tiny bell.
The collar became two, as two cats appeared and both spit out a ring with a ruby on it. On their collars was a tiny version of Ranna.
Hadrian felt his sister pass through the gate...and cried. All around him lay the dead, some friends, some colleagues, others people he had just met. All to take down someone with a bloody god complex. Sitting in pain from loss, he jerked up when he felt the stirrings of life...could it be?
Sabriel was only just breathing, and he held her gently.
They could handle whatever came next together.
It had been over a year since the battle, but Hadrian could feel the stirrings of something beyond the veil. Why was his lightning scar hurting so damn badly?
Sabriel and Touchstone had taken over the Kingdom, and were going to have a daughter soon. Though Touchstone had a few choice words to say about her owl...which really loved to dive bomb him for some reason. Minerva seemed to enjoy harassing him as well. The thing Hadrian loved the most about it all?
Touchstone couldn't do a thing about either of them unless he wanted Sabriel to spend a few days in the House, ALONE. Hadrian, however, was a source of relief, since he could complain about it to the boy. He said he would cast an owl repellant charm on him, and the dive bombing stopped. Another spell to keep cats away, and he finally felt some relief.
Though he did have to wrestle Hadrian when the boy wouldn't stop laughing at him.
Then the odd sightings of fire started to happen. Hadrian was the one to investigate, and each time the reports said the same thing.
An old man with clashing colored robes was looking for someone. He wore half moon spectacles and carried an ornamental wand.
So Hadrian followed the pattern of appearances, and waited patiently for the man to appear. An hour of waiting, and the ball of flame occurred. If he squinted, he could just see a bird amid the flames.
The man did in fact have an extraordinary bad taste in color combinations. Hadrian glared at him, and said plainly, "I don't care if you are a Wizard. Do you have any idea how much trouble you are causing?"
The man saw something amid his bangs and said in relief, "Harry? Harry Potter?"
"Wrong name. You are to quit it with the theatrics immediately. I have enough problems keeping the dead down and fixing Stones. I don't need a senile old goat to add to it."
"Harry, you must return to England! The war..."
Hadrian gave him a patented look that stopped him cold.
"We are just now recovering from an influx of dead, too many broken stones to count, and the return of the royal family. I can't leave for a war which has nothing to do with me, and my sister is still learning how to be a proper Abhorsen. If you want our help, come through the veil like everyone else and make a formal request."
The man stared at him. This wasn't how it was supposed to go. He was supposed to come through, convince Harry Potter to come to England and die killing off Tom.
Harry wasn't supposed to be a young man with clear power and training, a sister or a known purpose.
"Harry, you don't have a sister."
"Sabriel is my half sister. Our mother died giving birth to her, so don't you dare try to tell me otherwise."
A white owl came down, and dropped a letter.
Hadrian skimmed it and cursed.
"Damn it all to hell! I wish the greater dead would just stay dead for once!"
He disappeared in a crack.
The next time he saw the old man, he was preparing for a vacation. Sabriel had finally gotten the hang of sending the dead to the last gate, and he needed a break. Sirius and Remus could always help if she really needed it.
He had everything packed, and let them know exactly where he was going just in case. He had been named the godfather of her daughter Elaine, who reminded him so much of their mother Lily.
The old man spotted him as he was leaving the House. Before he could react, the old man did something he would never be able to explain.
Hadrian was gone, far from home and peace.
When he woke up from the spell, he found himself noticing two things.
One, he was eleven again with all the things he had packed. And two, he was nowhere near the Kingdom. In fact, he was under the stairs trying to figure out what the hell was going on. He realized he must be in a cupboard.
He checked to make sure all his things were still there, and put them in the necklace with the potions. He had a feeling he should just play along for now.
"BOY! WAKE UP!"
That screech hurt his ears.
He found himself cooking breakfast for a horse, a pig and a walrus. Who then took him to the normal zoo.
This had to be the oddest vacation he ever had. It got even stranger when he saw the date.
'What the hell?'
The date was almost twelve years to the day when he and Sabriel finally sealed Kerrigor in a cat's body, held in place by Ranna.
Thinking back on the spell, he realized the old man had forced him to fight in his war.
So when the half giant Hagrid took him from his 'relatives' care, he felt he had to say something.
"Hagrid, all I really need is a potions refill and my books. I don't need the wand."
He pulled out his own in proof.
Hagrid helped him buy the things he needed anyway, including an egg for his birthday. It was a rare Snow Phoenix egg!
The goblins were very suspicious about how he acted, and it didn't help when he said the name he went by for almost nineteen years.
"For the last time Hagrid, my name is Hadrian Abhorsen!"
The goblins pulled him aside and found out he was in fact Harry Potter, or if he went with his mother's real name, Hadrian Abhorsen.
He quickly got his affairs in order, like the missing keys and a few things Lily left behind for him. He left richer, annoyed and fully prepared to hex the headmaster the first chance he got.
And so began his first day into as Harry Potter, the pissed off boy who lived.