The Chronicles of Camelot
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of its respected characters; all copyright goes to the fantasy queen known as JK Rowling: I do own any OC spells explained at the end of the chapter.
Chapter 37 EXTENDED: The Final Showdown
AN: Extensions are the small sections here that are in bold;
Harry's body spun through the emptiness of the air with centrifugal force, the Arch-Knight coming to a rather painful landing on the ground outside the maze; as soon as he landed, however, the schools had all cheered and Harry noticed Hermione running towards him: she barely got three inches from him, before a pair of strong arms pinned Harry to the ground again, his grunts of complaint being unheard as Excalibur was torn from his side.
"What?" asked the stunned voice of Amelia Bones, "What's going on here?"
"This is none of your concern Minister," a cold, but familiar voice hissed, Harry's rage suddenly growing again as he recognised the old fool. "We have had reports of the Avada Kedavra used in the maze and the source of that magic was none other than Harry here."
"Bullshit!" snapped Harry, trying to rise against the force of whoever or whatever was pinning him to the ground, "Amelia: check my wand; ask me for an oath; you know I have my rights!"
"I'm afraid not Harry," sneered another familiar voice, Harry then looking up into the face of Cornelius Fudge, who was close to laughing as he explained, "Witnessed use of the Unforgivables plus the death of an old family member warrants life in Azkaban!"
"Old fam…" Harry began, but stopped when, at the edge of his vision, he caught sight of a stretcher being rolled out of the maze, a familiar head of red hair lying still and unmoving upon it. "Oh you senile deluded old bastard," he snarled, "You actually think this will get me back on your side?"
"Of course not Harry," Dumbledore answered, now approaching Harry and, extending his hand, taking Excalibur from the guard that had stripped the blade from Harry's side. Turning it over, he sighed as he explained, "I just see that you are possessed by forces unknown and the only way to release you…" he trailed off, but Harry shivered as he felt Excalibur's steel against his neck, "Is to kill you."
"True words Dumbledore," Fudge grinned, but Harry, seething with rage as he put two and two together, finally snapped: summoning all of his elemental power, he released it in a torrential arc of fire, ice and lightning that sent Fudge, Dumbledore and their guardsmen flying back. Leaping to his feet, Harry extended his hand and Dumbledore gasped as Excalibur returned to the hand of its real master; as soon as Harry clasped the sword, he spun on the spot and summoned a ring of fire and darkness, his eyes narrow and filled with rage.
"You bastard Dumbledore," he snarled coldly, his golden-coloured eyes now burning like the fires of a phoenix. "You think some trumped-up charges and the word of the ex Minister of Magic are enough to take me down? You clearly forget who you are dealing with!"
Looking all around the circle, Harry lifted Excalibur and parted the flames, allowing the Holy Knights and his Queen to move to his side; as Hermione took his hand, she asked him, "What are you going to do Harry?"
"End this," Harry explained, addressing the crowd as a whole, "I am Harry James Potter, Arch-Knight and Commander of the Elemental Order; Lord and Master of Hogwarts School and the Founders and Crowned King of the magical realm of Camelot!"
"Lies!" snapped Fudge, but he was cut off by Harry's flames, "The realm of Camelot is non-existent: the so-called King is but a legend: there is only one ruler of the magical world and, once you're dealt with boy: he will be me!"
"Sadly Cornelius," Harry told him, "You won't get that chance."
Clicking his fingers, Harry summoned chains that appeared to be a mix of light, ice and steel that wrapped around the arms and legs of the former Minister, the Arch-Knight turning back to Dumbledore.
"Harry," Dumbledore gasped, "Why…why didn't you tell me? We could work together on this: it's not too late!"
"Oh," Harry sighed, "I'm afraid it is Dumbledore: you took my life from me by leaving me with Muggles; you allowed a traitor to cause the death of my Father and force my Mother to become a spirit of the ether and then you tried to bind my power and turn me against another Knight. I believe you've heard of him old man: Tom Riddle!"
"He…he's back?" asked Dumbledore, and that was when a plume of darkness rose into the circle and, from within the darkness came a man in his twenties with raven-black hair and cold, dark eyes; he was dressed in a midnight-blue robe with a crescent moon on his crest, a sword with a jet-black blade at his side. Lifting his hand, the figure dispersed the darkness and, turning to Harry, dropped to one knee, his blade held flat in his palm.
"My King," Tom Riddle spoke up, "I am reborn and now my powers are the allies and service of the Elemental Order: I, Tom Marvolo Riddle, Holy Knight of Darkness, pledge my allegiance."
"Thank you Tom," Harry replied, "You may rise."
When the ex-Dark Lord did so, he turned to Dumbledore before taking his place at Harry's side, the circle of Knights now glowing even brighter as Harry let his power extend outwards, allowing the powers that be to decide the Last Knight. While the decision was being made, Harry shook his head slowly as he explained, "I would have gladly worked with you Dumbledore, but you did so much to weaken and make me your slave that those options have gone out the window. Had you been the grandfatherly, warm and respectable wizard that I'd seen and known on my first day here then I would have willingly brought you into the Circle, but no more."
"You'll still die!" Dumbledore insisted, not really caring about the allies that were hearing his words, "Because you seal your fate allying with him Harry."
"Oh really Dumbledore?" asked Harry, now looking back to the old man, "Let's do a little headcount with that theory shall we? I have the Elemental Order now at full strength; the Order of Pendragon ready to stand at my side; a werewolf who will eventually have the power to change at will, an ex-Azkaban inmate with one of the greatest families in history behind him; a former Dark Lord with extensive knowledge of the way the world works: quite possibly the most powerful student and wizard in the world and his equally-powerful wife, lover and queen; the greatest Elemental forces at my command; old sorcerers with the ultimate in unstoppable forces and, of course, Hogwarts…and you, Albus Dumbledork, have managed to piss each and every one of them off, including Voldemort."
"How do you know he won't turn on you?"
"Because Voldemort is dead," Tom informed Dumbledore, "As are the Horcruxes that you allowed me to create Dumbledore: did you know that it was him who set me on that path?" he asked Harry, who shook his head as Tom continued, "I was introduced to this world by Dumbledore, but only after Grindelwald himself had anointed me as the Holy Knight of Darkness. He himself was the Holy Knight of Terra and wanted to unite the world using his moniker for the Greater Good, but then he met a man who trapped him, betrayed him and killed him: that man's name was Albus Dumbledore."
"Gellert was a fool," Dumbledore snarled, "As are you; I have an army of loyal followers at my command."
"We have Excalibur," Harry added, lifting the blade.
"Not to mention," added Tom, "All who followed me and I stand true to his side, Dumbledore: the Horcruxes are destroyed old man: the snake, the diadem, the cup, the locket, the diary, the ring and the one that was inside Harry: that one was destroyed when he became his birthright of the Holy Knight of Thunder. Which reminds me," he then reached into his pocket and, turning to Harry, held out his hand, "I believe you were looking for this."
Opening his palm, Tom revealed a small diamond-shaped black stone that seemed to hover in the air before Harry took the stone; as soon as he touched it, a black aura had spawned from within the stone, before it wrapped around Harry, making him glow with renewed power, his energy that had been used in the maze coming back to him in leaps and bounds. Looking to the stone, Harry actually chuckled before he whispered, "The Resurrection Stone."
"Yes," Tom replied, looking back to Dumbledore as he asked, "And you know what that means don't you Dumbledore?"
"Harry," Albus gasped, trying a last gasp, "If you let me help you…"
"No," Harry told him, "I've now fulfilled a long-overdue promise Dumbledore: I am the Master of Death as well as Lord of the Magical Realm, so I'll give you one chance: back off and never darken my life again or…"
He didn't get to finish as a curse was fired from Dumbledore; tapping into the darkness and the power of the skies, Harry banished his other Knights out of the circle, before sealing both the former Head and the Knights' Commander in the fire. Drawing Excalibur, Harry deflected the curse and faced Dumbledore head-on, "Don't challenge me Albus: I have more power than you and the means to do what I must."
"Then it looks like only one of us leaves here alive," Dumbledore returned, before he flicked his wrist and, as Harry watched, he summoned a sword that was almost like a Dark Excalibur: it was emerald-green hilted and had a blade that, like Tom's, was black as night. Lifting it high, Dumbledore commanded, "Face me Potter and face your destiny."
"If that is what I must do," Harry returned, before the sound of steel on steel filled the stadium, the former mentor now facing his former student in a battle that, for the Holy Knights, would decide everything.
Outside the circle, Amelia ran down to where Lily was trying to keep a frightened Hermione calm; approaching the Knight of Light, she asked, "What can we do Lily? Even the Aurors can't get through the fire."
"We protect the students," Lily explained, looking now to Tom and, for a moment, a look of pure evil filled her eyes before she composed herself: if Harry could do this then so could she. "Riddle, find Severus and get the Slytherins: Hermione, go find Minerva and take care of the Gryffindors; Neville, Professor Sprout and the Hufflepuffs; Luna: the Ravens and Master Filius. I'll find Fleur and Gabrielle and we'll take care of Beauxbatons and Durmstrang and gather everyone in the Great Hall."
"But what about Harry?" asked Hermione, "He may have gained a power boost from the Hallows finally coming together, but what if it's not enough to take on Dumbledore?"
"If I know Harry Potter," Tom laughed, much to the bemusement of those who knew who he'd once been, "He'll find a way back to you Lady Hermione: Lady Lily is right though; with the magical clash going on here, we need to get the students to safety."
"I…guess you're right Riddle," Hermione scowled, before she gave her agreement to Lily's plan and, splitting up, the Holy Knights and the Arch-Mage began to make their way off in the directions of the four houses.
However, as they gathered everyone together, Hermione then counted one head missing; someone from one of the Hogwarts Houses was not among the students and, as she reached into the link with Hogwarts that Harry had told her about, she felt a familiar tingle of energy remaining down by Harry's side.
'I…don't…believe…it,' gasped Hermione, 'Right under our noses the whole time…'
Excalibur met Dumbledore in a flurry of steel and magic that had both combatants equalising one another in skill, strength and finesse; countering every blow from the old man, Harry stepped back and faced his former mentor before he smiled as he asked, "Why did you do it anyway Dumbledore? Why did you choose me to be your pawn and your lamb to the slaughter?"
"Because of who you were," Dumbledore growled, his wand suddenly in hand as he fired off another curse; once again, Harry deflected it with Excalibur, before he countered with a stream of flames crafted from the circle around them. "Your powers would have been mine once you destroyed Tom and became the so-called Saviour: but then that stupid Mudblood got in the way and you were lost. If it wasn't for that buck-toothed, bossy know-it-all, I would have you right where I want you."
"You know," Harry snarled, flames now filling both hands, one of which covered Excalibur's blade as he hissed, "There's one lesson you need to remember Dumbledore and, for such a great man, you have a real problem doing so: Never." He threw the flames forwards, Dumbledore now going on the defensive against the full fury of the recently-crowned Master of Death. "Ever. Insult. Hermione. Granger. In. Front. Of. ME!"
"Crucio!" cried Dumbledore, Harry trying to deflect the curse again with Excalibur; however, as the torturous power of the Unforgivable came into contact with Excalibur, the sword seemed to be drawn into a magnetic flurry, forcing it out of Harry's hand and into the unknown. Standing exposed, Harry called on two balls of electrical energy, readying himself for whatever came next. Dumbledore, seeing the bravery, laughed as he explained, "The Boy Who Lived has finally come to die: such a shame Harry, you would have made such a good servant: Fiendfyre!"
A whirlwind of flames started to rise around Harry and Dumbledore, the eyes of the old man filled with rage as Harry started crafting what appeared to be a shield of ice; laughing coldly, Dumbledore slashed his wand downwards, the whirlwind moving to swallow Harry whole…just as a torrential wall of water rose from the ground.
"What?" gasped Harry and Dumbledore; looking through the fire, Harry saw a blue-edged sword channelling a torrent of magically-summoned water and, on the other end of that watery escapade was…
"Malfoy!" gasped Harry, seeing his recently redeemed friend now baring the crest of the Knights, his usually grey eyes now divided with an eye that looked to be a shade of sapphire.
"I don't know what's happening here," Draco explained, diverting the water into the heart of the whirlwind, "But I'm here for you now Sir Potter: I finally have the chance to redeem myself: now take down this senile bastard so you can get back to your Queen."
"Thank…thank you," Harry gasped, now flicking his own wrist, the Elder Wand leaping into his hand, his power only getting stronger as he faced Dumbledore, "Care to try that again?"
Dumbledore was a desperate man…and desperate men do desperate things, "Avada Kedavra!"
"Protego Maximus; Expelliarmus," commanding both spells took a toll on Harry's magical reserves, but the Elder Wand, in the hand of the Master of Death, seemed to hold onto it: both spells – Expelliarmus and Avada Kedavra – met in a linked battle of red and green sparks, the power of the Elder Wand easily overcoming Dumbledore's wand, slamming the old man back into the wall of flames, his usually cheerful robes now being incinerated by the fires. Summoning his own water, Harry dowsed the flames before he sealed Dumbledore in the same terra and ice mixed trap he'd used on the now deceased Ronald Weasley.
"H-Harry," Dumbledore gasped, "Y-You wouldn't…you w-w-wouldn't kill me, would you? I'm j-j-just an old m-m-man."
"No Albus," Harry snarled, "I'm not like you."
"Oh Harry," gasped Dumbledore, his face twisted into a smile, "Thank you; you are truly noble and I'll make this up to you I promise. Tell me what I can do; I'll do anything."
Harry's golden eyes seemed to glow as he faced the man that had destroyed his life only to have it rebuilt by Hermione, by the Knights; by a kiss. With that fire in his eyes, Harry snarled, "Run; run away Dumbledore…and never return!"
"Yes," Dumbledore sighed, watching as Harry turned his back on the old man, though his eyes never left the man as he walked away; however, Albus Dumbledore was always determined to win. "Of course; as you wish…your Majesty!"
With his last blast of magic, Albus summoned his Dark Excalibur and threw it forwards, the blade piercing Harry's chest with a cry from the Arch-Knight, Draco gasping as Dumbledore seemed content to just collapse, a smile of victory on his face, a part of him knowing the outcome before it would happen: yes he had lost.
But Harry would still die…
Hermione's scream had every member of the three schools parting like the Red Sea as Draco walked into the Great Hall, Harry's blood-soaked body and still pierced heart bleeding over his robe. Seeing the Holy Knight of Water, Tom laughed as he exclaimed, "Now there's irony for you."
"It…it was Dumbledore," Draco explained, "Harry…Sir Potter; he wanted to show mercy, but Dumbledore…he pierced Harry's heart."
"Can…can it be removed?" asked Sirius, moving with Lily and Severus to Harry's side, the other Knights trying and failing to keep a stunned, shocked Hermione calm.
"Not…without…killing…me," gasped Harry, his golden eyes now on his completed team; it seemed cheesy that at the very end, the Holy Knights would be reunited. "I'm…sorry…I…couldn't…kill…him."
"You wouldn't have done it anyway," Tom informed him, Lily now sobbing on Severus' shoulder as the Potions Master stared with his usual stoic expression at the body of his student, Harry now being carefully put down by Draco so the others could gather around him.
"He…Herm…Hermione," gasped Harry, his breath getting weaker as he called for his betrothed and his magical wife; hearing his voice, Hermione ran through everyone and kneeled by his side.
"You…big idiot," she sobbed, trying to smile for him, "You knew you…you couldn't…trust him."
"Everyone…deserves…a sec…second chance," Harry told her, smiling through his pain as he seemed to indicate Tom with this fact. "Don't…don't be…sad; find…Amelia and…tell her…he's still…there."
"I'll tell her," Sirius explained, leaving Harry and Hermione; moments later, the hall emptied as Minerva ordered everyone to their dorms; some consoled for Harry's bravery and hoped he'd be okay while others just nodded their heads as if thanking him. This just left the Knights, the Order and a very weak Arch-Knight.
"I…love…you," Harry told Hermione, "And…I…always…will."
"There has to be something we can do," Lily insisted, her hand now clutching her son's; looking to Severus, she asked, "What about the sword?"
"It's a cursed blade," Draco explained, nodding to Harry as he spoke, "Harry…he said it was imbued with Basilisk Venom and the after-effects of Fiendfyre; if we remove it, we kill him."
"Damn it," Tom swore, "Even my powers won't do anything: I mean Harry's the Master of Death and…"
"And as Master," a new voice spoke up, the Knights all lifting their heads as a black aura filled the room; moments later, Artemis and Emrys emerged from the void and stood before the Knights, "There is something we can do for him."
"Tell us!" Hermione pleaded, "Please: he…he can't die; not now that we're…"
"Calm down Lady Hermione," Emrys told Hermione, "I will tell you, but it is a dangerous choice that only his Majesty can make."
"Tell…me," gasped Harry calmly, his eyes on Emrys as he spoke, "We're…all…here; what's…the…option?"
"In short," Artemis replied, her eyes actually sad as she looked at Harry, "The oldest law in magic: as Sir Malfoy put it, to remove the sword would kill you, so here's the option: we save your life…but at the cost of another."
"Who?" asked Hermione, before she gasped as Harry's hand suddenly clasped hers, his free hand moving to the sword that was through his chest. "What the hell?"
"I won't do that," Harry told her, "No-one should have to risk their life for me; not again."
"Damn it Harry," Draco exclaimed, "This isn't the time for one of your saving-people moments: you're going to die."
"And if I live then someone else must die," Harry told Draco, "I…I don't want that Malfoy; no matter what the cost."
"You always did have a brave soul my King," Artemis smiled, Emrys now kneeling with the Knights as he faced the others.
"The option is there, but we will not choose the soul to die: that choice is yours."
"No," Harry gasped, his voice suddenly stronger, though that may have been because he had the strength returning to him through his anger. "I refuse it; I…forbid it…no way Emrys…never in a…"
"I'll do it."
Every head in the room turned to the voice, the Holy Knight of Light Lily Evans smiling sadly as she faced her son and, taking his hand, told him, "No arguments young man: I gave my life for you once before and by Merlin, I'll do it again."
"Mum…" gasped Harry, "But…but we're finally together; I…I can't…lose you again."
"You won't," Lily told him, placing a soft hand on the spot where the sword was piercing his heart, "I'll always be here son as will your Dad: Emrys," she looked to the Lord of Light as she continued, "If I die; can my power be given to another?"
"It can," Emrys replied, "But the final choice must be Harry's: why? Do you have someone in mind?"
"Yes," Lily replied, reaching up and pulling Sebastian down, the Commander of the Order looking to her in shock as she explained, "Sebastian McDale: you have always been loyal to my family and, for that, I choose you to receive my power and continue to serve my son: you will become the new Holy Knight of Light."
"I…I would be…honoured my lady," Sebastian gasped, looking to Harry, who was still looking shocked and scared as he faced his Mother, "I will give my own life to protect him, but this is what you wish and I shall obey."
"Harry?" asked Artemis.
"NO!" Cried the Arch-Knight, "I…I can't…can't lose her again."
"You won't," Artemis explained, before she bent down and, reaching under Harry's robe, lifted out the Resurrection Stone; holding it in front of Harry, she explained, "Turn this three times and you will be able to see anyone you wish: now this would normally drive someone insane, but the dark effects of my three Hallows are no more thanks to your power bonding to them. You may see your parents any time you wish: as Death, even I will bow to your wishes as and when you desire, but they cannot stay in this world for any longer than 24 hours at any one time."
"I…I under…understand," Harry gasped, his eyes now filled with tears as he held onto Hermione, his free hand now being held by Lily as he added, "I'll never…never for…forget you; I…promise."
"So you say yes?" asked Lily.
"On…one…condition," Harry told them, looking to Artemis as he spoke, "Give…us one…day; you…did it…for Dad…please?"
"As you command, Master of Death," Artemis bowed, "But only one day: after that only the Stone can perform the wishes you seek."
"Be ready," Lily told Harry, now clasping the sword herself as she nodded to Artemis, "Because I am."
Then, without warning, Lily ripped the blade from Harry's heart, the Arch-Knight gasping as he felt the magic of the blade going to work; through his pain-induced state, he didn't notice Artemis speaking in an old tone of language that wasn't used any more, a band of black light flowing from her heart and linking with Lily while Emrys spoke the same tongue and watched as a white band of light flowed from his heart and linked with Harry's heart. When the lights hit the bodies of the two Knights, Lily bent her head and kissed her son on his forehead, before she whispered a soft message that, in a sense, had started it all;
"Harry, be safe, be strong and know that you are loved."
When all of Hogwarts heard of the return from the beyond of Harry Potter, the Tournament's rules were severed by Amelia and the Tournament officially banned; Harry and Hermione, as soul and magical-bonded contestants, were offered the Triwizard Cup and named official champions, much to the delight of the three schools.
Dumbledore was sentenced to life in Azkaban while Fudge was tossed through the Veil: both were musical messages to Harry and Hermione's ears as they enjoyed the rest of their school year, a part of them wondering what would come next.
For now though, it was July 31st and Harry was standing in the throne room of Camelot, his eyes on Artemis while at his side sat Hermione Potter, the Queen of Camelot; nodding to the Lady of Darkness, he whispered, "Do it."
Artemis, knowing that Harry had waited through all this time, nodded in response before she began to chant in her ancient tongue once more; at her feet, a black cross was carved on the ground before it seemed to open like a gateway, the magic flowing through the room as Harry watched and waited. One day she had given them and this was the one day that Harry had chosen.
From within the gate emerged a figure dressed in white, a head of red hair flowing behind her as she stepped forwards, as if emerging from a pool, and, seeing Harry there, bowed to him, "Happy birthday my little King."
"Hi Mum," Harry smiled, "This is going to be my best birthday yet: shall we get started then?"
Offering his arm to his queen, Harry stepped down and stopped before Lily, his hand held out to the corporeal soul of his Mother as he smiled at her;
"We only have one day."
I know this may not make sense, but I chose to add a little inspired addition to the chapter – the parts in bold near the start of the chapter – which, as you can guess, is from Avengers: Assemble – as it's called here in the UK.
I did this as a thanks to everyone who posted reviews and enjoyed this story: now I only hope that my success continue and maybe, just maybe, I can reach 1000 Reviews for the first time EVER!
So, to all of you, THANK YOU AGAIN!