Breathe Not His Name – Prologue: A Name Most Hellish
TBL: A new story? With a prologue and no first chapter? Okay, I probably shouldn't be starting another story, but hey, when inspiration strikes, it strikes. I got the original idea watching a Grimm episode, but since then it's evolved into something completely different (to gain more plot, mostly). In this, the Harry Potter universe is the only one that doesn't fit, as the Grimm and Hellsing ones will be in the universe. The Hellsing universe and concepts will change the most. To those wondering just what in the hell these Hellsing and Grimm things are, I'll explain everything thoroughly once we get there. Though, I'm not going to explain Harry Potter. You'd have to be a complete idiot not to know about that.
Summary: Harry Potter, now a lone wolf mercenary, gets contacted by the Ministry of Magic. They say they have a job for him, and it seems an easy way to make money. Without much hesitation, he accepts this mission to rid the world of a fledgling dark lady in America. Everything seems fine at first, but the operation goes horribly wrong. He, along with some of the dark lady's most-trusted followers, is forcibly sent to another universe, a world of Wesens. Wesens are a community of creatures hiding in the guise of human skin with no one ever the wiser except them and a group of people descended from origins unknown, one branch of which being the Grimms. Irreversibly changed and lost in a strange and vicious world, Harry and the followers soon become entwined in the trouble brewing on the horizon. And the Häßlich, the rulers of the Wesens, are not the only ones watching from the shadows, for meanwhile the Hellsing Organization, finally finished with the 'vampire' problem in England, finally catches wind of the world of Wesen.
Warnings: blood/gore/violence, OOC characters, character death, torture?, AU, dark themes, crossover, OC characters and character species, dark!Harry, language, possible mentions of slash(yaoi)/hetero(hentai)/femslash(yuri), plot that's not completely thought out, anything I can think of
Pairing(s) (dominant to least dominant): none
Disclaimer: I, Tainted Blood Lust, do not own the Grimm TV series, the Hellsing franchise, or the Harry Potter franchise. They belong to their respective owners. I DO, however, own this plot. Please, no stealing.
"Oh! Breathe not his name, let it sleep in the shade, where cold and unhonour'd his relics are laid."
Thomas Moore (1779-1852)
May 13, 2003
The chatter in the background of a busy bar was quieter than usual, the clientele being a shady and paranoid bunch that lurked in the shadows of society. They were forever cursed by the law to never surface to see the metaphorical sun but rather liked it that way. I could relate. Being a lone wolf type mercenary, and a rather reputable one at that, was my occupation and what I did best. It didn't allow me to interact with society in the usual manner, but I loved being one with all my heart.
After defeating Tom Marvolo Riddle, the stain on England's history that renamed himself Lord Voldemort, I had gone into the auror division of the Ministry of Magic. The aurors were a sort of police force for magicals and just kept the peace in general. Their counterparts, the hitwizards, were the sort to do the dirty work that aurors, the public side of things whose reputation couldn't be soiled, were unable to. I had once contemplated joining the hitwizards, but the fact that they existed didn't become apparent to me until after I joined the aurors.
The wizarding public, a generally mindless lot that followed the nearest person with even a minimal amount of actual brain, had, all my life, encouraged, in a way bordering on forceful, me to join the aurors. It was one of many expectations placed upon me because of my title, the Man Who Lived, which I was granted when I had – miraculously – managed to survive a curse that spelled certain death any other time and defeat Riddle in the same breath with a rebound of said curse. In my opinion, it was a situation as utterly idiotic as my former friend, Ronald Weasley. But that's a story for another time.
Anyway, soon after joining them, I had found out that auror life was not for me. There in the heart of the Ministry, there were too many rules and restrictions. And all that paperwork. Every day I had spent in that job was filled with the sensation of being slowly suffocated. 'No, don't do that' and 'one more Dark curse, Potter, and it's going to be temporary leave!' were all I ever heard in those last days before I had quit.
I had, in my last case as an auror, taken things into my own hands when the law-violator my team had caught was sent home with only a slap on the wrist – for being an influential, rich politician, I had no doubt. While no one could actually prove I murdered the bastard, everyone suspected that I had done it, as I had raged publicly against him when the justice system decided 'not guilty.' Preferring not to continue the farce, I had left of my own violation and then, in the eyes of the public, faded into obscurity. However, in the eyes of the less-than-legal side of the wizarding world, I had become a rising star in the mercenary world.
My morals and opinions changed over the years, turning me into my current self. Now, I wouldn't hesitate to take on a job for a crime lord dealing with human slavery, drugs, or whatever those kind got up to, where as before I would have refused. It certainly made my life easier. And thus, here I was, sitting in a bar in a shady part of muggle London and waiting for my contact to walk through the door.
I took another sip of my cheap muggle whiskey (nasty stuff it was) as I eyed the graffiti-covered door lazily. Just as I was about to glance at my watch to confirm that yes, he was late, the Ministry minion came in. He was a mousy man, small and plain. Reminding me a bit of Peter Pettigrew, he quickly looked around with a nervous expression, twitching all the while. A familiar hatred rose from within me, strong and raging like an inferno. For a second, my face shifted to fit this, but I pushed it back, knowing this was not the time for such. I reminded myself that Pettigrew had already been violently murdered and had gotten what he deserved. At this, a wide crocodile's grin, dark and full of pointed teeth, spread across my lips. The guy on the stool next to me eyed me warily and subtly shifted further away. Amusement filled me, and the grin grew that much larger.
The grunt looked over in that moment and surprised, he shrunk in on himself, fear obvious. A low and rumbling chuckle escaped me. I turned around back to my whiskey, certain that he would come over on his own, as he obviously recognized me. Sure enough, I could hear his footsteps, loud and untrained, approaching with a quick pace. No doubt it was caused by the people surrounding him, a few of which eyed him like a free piece of steak (and not in a nice way either).
He sat down on the empty stool to my right, adjusting his fancy suit unnecessarily in his nervousness. It made him stick out as the weakling oddball even more, and I chuckled once more as I turned to face him, finishing my drink and signaling for another. Hedwig, my familiar and partner-in-crime, turned her snowy white head to face him too with piercing, intelligent amber eyes. She didn't screech from her perch on my shoulder, but he startled anyway, Hedwig having been previously unnoticed. She tilted her head a bit, and I knew she was considering whether or not to claw his eyes out.
The minion finally gathered up some courage and started, "H-hello, Mister-"
I cut through his greeting before he could say my name, "Now, now, there's no need for names here."
Obviously, if he didn't know that, he was new to the game. I gave him a wolfish smile, eyes conveying that he was but a minnow in the shark tank, knowing nothing of greater matters. I held out my hand, silently demanding he hand over the folder I knew he had. The Ministry was always neat and efficient in that anal sort of way. Understanding, he immediately scrambled to get it, searching hastily in all of his many pockets. I waited impatiently, fingers tapping a rhythm on the dirty tabletop. When he finally found it, I snatched the folder from him, commenting only with, "You're slow."
I flipped through the info for the job, eyes scanning and understanding at a rapid pace. As I went on, my interest grew, even if I didn't show it. The Ministry grunt, in the meanwhile, continued his nervous, jittery behavior. His leg bounced, and his eyes darted this way and that. I felt amused, for he was attracting the bar-goers' attention, and several, I could tell without even looking, were wondering if he could be victim number whatever. I estimated there was a seventy-five percent chance he would be killed or otherwise maimed today. And that chance was rising by the minute.
The job the Ministry had decided to offer me was a mission to take care of a fledgling dark lord – or lady, as the case was. She went by the moniker 'Dark Lady Xeno,' and I had to look twice upon reading that. Xeno, really? It was as lame as it was just plain weird (with a considerable amount of idiotic). I snorted and moved on. Apparently, it was a job offer from the American Embassy of Magic originally but transferred through the Ministry of Magic and given to me. Why they couldn't have given it to an American mercenary was beyond me, but I wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Xeno, according to the most recent intel, had her main base in some forest a few kilometers from Portland, Oregon (wherever that was). The information gathered was rather bare, but the Yanks still considered her a rising threat that could become serious. To me, it was another chance to add to my Gringotts account.
I closed the folder and looked at the Ministry man (who seemed about ready to fall apart). I started right off with a price: 1.5 million galleons. He gawked for a moment, jaw open and everything. Most definitely a newbie.
"That much?" he sputtered, and I quickly became unamused at his level of incompetence.
"Yes," was all I said. He was silent for a moment, visibly going over it in his head. He then agreed to what even I would admit as overpriced, no questions asked. Of course, that suited me just fine.
"It's a deal then," I said while subtly shrinking the folder with magic then pocketing it. I stood up, my familiar shifting a bit to stay steady. I continued, "You'll have her head in a week."
I then promptly walked out of the bar, my last view of him being his highly disgusted and disturbed look. I didn't have to look back to see the wolves had already descended upon him as the door shut behind me. Chance of death? Ninety-six percent.
May 15, 2003
I was searching in the forests in Oregon for Xeno and her merry band of asylum escapees. I had been looking for hours now because the coordinates the Embassy had given me were complete shit. Honestly, why even bother with coordinates for an approximate location of her base if they 'weren't quite sure.' One thing was for sure, though: they were all complete idiots.
"Bloody Yanks," I muttered while using my magic again to help locate this base. It worked a bit like echolocation, picking up on the presence of magical beings (dark lady followers, unicorns, or otherwise). This useful technique had been learned when my travels had taken me to some island off of Thailand, where the natives used it to find magical creatures (which were the only item in their diet, strangely enough). They hadn't actually taught me it, as I picked it up from careful observation. It was a definite fact that foreigners were, as a rule, frowned upon. I would have stayed longer if not for the poison-laced weapons and their angry wielders. If that wasn't a lesson in stealth (and tactical retreat), then I didn't know what was.
I perked up as the results came in as positive. There was a weak sense of magical presences a fairly far distance to the northeast. It had to be Xeno, as I estimated a group of about seven. That and all the wizards in America generally gathered in the eastern half. No one except those wiccans (and what an offbeat, strange group they were) practiced magic (though, I don't know if what they did could be considered as such) this far west.
I started to head in that direction, and as I went on, the magical saturation in the air only grew stronger. Obviously, they were preparing something – something huge. Since Xeno's lot were dark, fanatic wizards with a general disregard for reasonable, sane actions, I guessed they were doing some sort of ritual. After all, seven was the most magical number in existence (besides infinity but that was a complex concept I had little interest in).
I drew my magic in to hide my presence, my skill in the mind arts helping greatly. Hedwig, who had a store of magic herself from being a familiar, did the same, being the smart owl she was. She came down from the sky to land on my shoulder as we approached where I knew the base was. It only took me about five minutes after that to come upon where Xeno was hiding. It was, I would admit, cleverly hidden, the entrance to it under a large boulder by a cave. The cave would have been the obvious choice, so I could see why she made the base underground.
I moved the rock with as little magic as I could to remain undetected. Though, with the amount of it in the air, it probably was an unnecessary precaution, but I wasn't taking any chances. I then pushed magic to my eyes with an ease that spoke of much practice so that I could see the wards and spells layered over the entrance. I saw that the setup was pretty simple, and while a few spells intertwined with one ward, it would be easy enough to dismantle. I took out the Elder Wand and got to work.
It was the only wand that I could use to the fullest effect now, even including my old holly wand. While a slightly depressing fact, it still meant that all my spells were stronger (especially death- and soul-related spells) and that no one could take my wand from its Master. For, the owner of the Elder Wand had to die for the ownership to transfer. Being the owner of all three deathly hallows and thus the Master of Death, the usual Harry Potter luck had a companion: Death's favor. Those two had assured my escape from possible death many times over. I had yet to test, though, if I could come back from death a second time. It wasn't something I was eager to do but an interesting concept nevertheless.
I highly suspected my immortality, as I had noticed I hadn't aged after my acquisition of the third hallow. Being a short seventeen year old really sucked, but hey, it made my opponents underestimate me (even if it made getting a job in person that much more difficult). Plus, their looks of complete surprise were priceless when I used my weapon of choice: an extremely huge broadsword. I usually carried my beauty, named Minerva (after the goddess, not my old teacher), on my back, but for some reason, they hardly ever noticed it. Really, it was their funeral for having made such a large oversight. I mean, honestly, what did they think I had such big muscles for – show?
Anyway, it only took me a few minutes to dismantle Xeno's protections without alerting the base's occupants. I was disappointed that it wasn't even a challenge. Stupid amateur dark lords. Or ladies – whatever. It took a bit of careful maneuvering to make the broadsword and myself fit through the trapdoor. I envied Hedwig for her ease in going in. Once in, we stealthily made our way through tunnels that were quite obviously made (and held together) with magic. Though, there weren't any guards or anything of the sort wandering about. Very amateur, indeed.
Apparently, Xeno and her six followers were in one room, as proved when I used my magical echolocation again. As I got closer, I started to hear chanting in some dead language I couldn't identify (and there were plenty of those, for sure). The magic saturating the air was very dark, and I could practically taste it on my tongue. The smell certainly helped, being the awful combination of rotting flesh and burning tar. Not very pleasant at all. I wrinkled my nose, tempted to use a Bubble Head Charm, but didn't do anything about it. Hedwig's own displeasure trickled through our bond, and I suspected she would have used the charm if she were capable.
"Sorry, girl," I whispered under my breath, and affection and love filtered through our bond, to which I sent back my own love for her.
We eventually made it to a simple steel door that I knew for certain blocked my way to the ritual-using wizards. I could now clearly hear what they were saying and tried to figure out what sort of ritual it was. If I interrupted a volatile one, there could be disastrous effects. It sounded vaguely familiar, perhaps something I had read of in the Black family library (a generous gift from my dear old godfather, Sirius Black). However, despite the feeling I had heard of it, nothing specific about it was coming to mind. I listened closer and found that Xeno was speaking in a different language, something deep, guttural, and menacing. Whatever this ritual was, it wasn't a well-known one. Or one that could be allowed to be completed.
The chanting then rose to a crescendo, and I knew I didn't have much time left.
"Here we go," I muttered to myself. Raising my wand, I cast a Blasting Curse on the door, a simple spell but a useful one nevertheless (for something learned at Hogwarts, at least). The door flew out and into the room with a deadly force, especially with the amount of power I had put into it. Some of the dirt surrounding it got blasted away too, flying in all directions and creating a cloud. I cast an Aerial Cannon Curse, sending all of the cloud into the room with a high-pressured blast of air. According to the wet, crunching sound, I had hit more than just the cloud. I knew that sound well enough to know I had hit (and in all probability, killed) two of them.
Way cleared, I walked through into a fairly large room carved from rock with a high ceiling, and from a quick glance, it appeared to be perfectly circular. The four remaining followers (who weren't even masked; how unprofessional) were panicking and in their terror, abandoned their required chanting. However, I could see Xeno, the only female of the group, still desperately using that terrible language to do... whatever it was that she was doing.
Then, abruptly and horribly, I remembered what the ritual was supposed to accomplish: summoning a demon.
Now, there was a very good reason this kind of magic had been outlawed many, many millenniums ago. A demon, a creature theorized to be from the area between universes, an unnatural place void of anything humans knew as reality and perpetually shrouded by darkness, was something even history's most powerful beings – wizards, behemoths, and leviathans alike – feared. To chain one was possible by a very small margin, but it was inevitable those bindings would break. To mess with such powers was beyond foolish.
"Avada Kedavra!" I yelled, eyes wide and heart racing. The green spell, with the echo of screaming souls that always accompanied it when cast by the Elder Wand, streaked out toward her, and strangely, a mist of the same color followed it, lingering behind like a noxious gas. It all seemed to happen in slow motion as the Killing Curse hit her just as she started to pronounce a different, bone-chilling language, the demon's name, I had no doubt. The followers rushed in the meanwhile to run toward me, pulling out their wands. In another unique occurrence, her body disintegrated into ash the moment the curse touched Xeno, and I saw, for a split second, black fire envelope her.
Immediately, my world went white.
When I could see again, I knew I was not on Earth anymore. In fact, I was certain I was not on my previous plane of existence.
My surroundings were a frightening parody of what I had left behind. The surface under my feet was a sand that shined and glittered like finely dusted glass. It was hot below me, the heat sinking through even my thick boots made of premium dragonhide. Growing in the glass-sand were impossibly tall trees unlike any kind I had ever seen before, and they twisted and twined in on themselves into shapes highly resembling otherworldly creatures that mixed and matched the worst parts of earthly beasts. Their pure black branches were bare of leaves, but different fruits hung from them in all shapes, sizes, and colors. I had the unsettling feeling in my gut that the trees were alive and watching my every move.
Beyond the trees and glass-sand, there was nothing else, no visible animals and none of the usual sounds accompanying them. The only sound was that of the strong wind rushing past me and tossing my wild, black hair in all directions.
I looked up to see a night's sky with no stars, only the shapes of five misshapen and full moons. I stared at them for a moment, wondering what I had gotten myself into this time. By all rights, it should have been almost pitch black, yet I could see everything as clearly as I would have in the daytime. Clearly, the rules were not the same here.
A whimper, normally quiet but loud in this place, reached my ears, and I turned around to see the four living followers of Xeno huddling together and terrified out of their minds. Rage filled me, and I didn't stop it from taking me over. I gave a wordless yell full of desperate disbelief and the need to kill the nearest one around, responsible or not. I pulled out my wand to point it at the closest follower, ready to take my revenge. The man, young enough to be considered a boy really, wailed out in protest, scrambling back with tears streaming down his face and his body shaking violently.
"No, no, no, no!" he chanted, not even having the presence of mind to take out his own wand or defend himself in any way. He fell down in his haste to pedal backward, taking one of his fellows down with him. The other two stood still in complete shock, minds blank and uncomprehending. The Killing Curse was on the edge of my tongue, and the tip of my wand glowed green as the screaming played quietly in the background.
Then, the glass-sand shifted beneath us as the rumble of something very heavy stomping around came to us. The lead weight of dread settled in my gut, and an instinctual fear possessed me. Hedwig screeched loudly, echoing my exact thought through the bond.
Something wicked this way comes.
It was a quote I had read somewhere long ago and fit the moment perfectly. Though I should have been reacting, this was all that came to mind, repeating itself over and over. The young followers were similarly frozen in terror, and seemingly as one, we all turned to the direction of whatever awaited us.
As its monstrously huge form approached, I finally realized where we had landed: the realm of demons.
It gave the roar-screech of a harpy and a manticore, combining the two along with a sound unnamed that resonated in our souls to make something altogether unable to be expressed in any language. At that, some common sense finally kicked in. Totally forgetting about killing the followers, about anything else, I began to run as fast as I could in the opposite direction. After ten meters, I noticed there were no footsteps accompanying mine and looked back to find the younger men all standing still. Though it should have been an every-man-for-himself thing, I suddenly felt a connection to these wizards, the only others like me in this unnatural world that rejected reality. Thus, I felt the need to do something about it.
"RUN!" I yelled loudly, noting with a sinking feeling that the monster's eyes, numerous, huge, and fish-like, turned to us, glowing a neon orange. Panicking, I tried again, "RUN! NOW!"
Then, at long last, their minds returned, the primal urge to survive using any means possible screaming at them. The four began to run my way, and I wasted no time leading them through territory unknown. We passed what seemed like an endless amount of trees, the feeling of being watched increasing with each step. After an indeterminate number of minutes, my legs were starting to tire, and looking back briefly, I could see the others faltering, energy reserves almost run out. I grimaced, knowing my muscles were screaming under the mask of adrenalin. Yet I wouldn't stop, couldn't stop running from the demon after its tiny prey. I would have expected something that huge to be slow, but defying the odds, it moved quickly on those giraffe's legs positioned like a spider's.
I cursed with each breath as my speed began to slow. The demon, seeing this, let out another one of those horrible, unforgettable roar-screeches. It impossibly put on another burst of speed, eager for bloodshed. The one furthest behind me, the youngest follower, cried out, a cornered animal filled with desperation and full knowledge of the situation's hopelessness. Something similar bubbled up in my own throat, threatening to voice the panic that was already visible.
Then, up ahead in the no-so-far distance, I saw salvation, sweet, sweet escape from this living nightmare. For, ahead of us was a clearing in this contradictory, dead-alive forest, and in it was a building to hide in. It had been ravaged by time and demons, but the structure, what must have been a temple in its glory days, was still standing. Most importantly, the entrance was smaller than the monster chasing us (not a hard feat to accomplish, though, I would confess).
Also seeing it, the others cried out in exultation, echoing my own joy. Miraculously, we were able to move faster toward it, the demon mourning this no doubt. Its next cry proved this, sounding unmistakably frustrated.
We were within fifteen meters of it when the wave of malice, invisible and sinister, hit us. I knew it came from our destination, but gut instincts screaming to do otherwise, I carried on.
At ten meters, it increased but was ignored as the ground-shaking steps of the demon were still present and spurring us on. My insides twisted uncomfortably, and the rapidly beating heart in my chest ached with a stabbing pain that only grew steadily. Still, survival was more important.
At five meters, the demon stopped following us, the sudden loss of its footsteps' sounds stark in my mind. Its next roar-screech was high and, as impossible as it seemed, frightened. That finally reached my stubborn brain, bringing all my pains and the dreadful atmosphere into the light. A new terror gripped me as I wondered just what could frighten a demon.
Something greater than a demon, Hedwig, who was flying above tiredly, answered, voicing a disturbing thought that I had refused to recognize. Even with all this, I still continued toward the temple and heard the others all following my lead, despite the fact that their bodies were also pained. If we stopped now, after all, it was a certainty that we would not be able to get back up, and that meant death in this unnatural world we didn't belong in.
And so, finally at zero meters, our feet touched the stone stairs, grand and high, leading up to the inside of the temple. At zero meters, the world went white again.
END of Prologue: A Name Most Hellish
TBL: Hope you all liked it. Right now, I'm almost done with the first chapter's outline and will most likely get started on that right away. (Though, I still have to write Scourge... *grumble grumble*) I probably have something else that I should write but can't really remember it now. Oh well.
The few. The proud. The strong. The reviewers. Be a reviewer today. Help your writer.