Snippets from the Shadows
A/N : A drabble series for excerpts from the Wizard in the Shadows verse.
If anyone wants to do fanart for this or any other part of the series, feel free. All I request is that you credit your source of inspiration and PM me a link. Ginny's title is borrowed from the Tortall books by Tamora Pierce (Ginny and Alanna have more than a few similarities).
This drabble is a future fic set after 'From Out of the Shadows', so don't read if you don't want even the slightest hint of what's going to happen (not that there is very much).
Spoiler: The Pendragon part? Yeah, Harry's descended from Arthur (Guinevere is sometimes mentioned as having red hair/auburn hair and being the most beautiful woman in the country/world, and it was too good to miss, making her Maedhros' daughter). So he has a ridiculous number of heroes in his ancestry. So do Aragorn and Arwen, and their son Eldarion even more so, and they have angel in their ancestry, along with almost every important elf in the history of Middle Earth. Even Harry doesn't have that.
Harry looked around helplessly, then yelped as his attempts at apparition failed due to cunning wards. He was trapped, surrounded and utterly helpless to prevent his inevitable and grisly fate.
"Harry! There you are, the Master Herald's been looking for you everywhere," Aragorn said, wearing a disgustingly cheery smile.
Harry gave him an evil look, then said petulantly, folding his arms, "Shan't."
"Ginny insists. She also said that she was going to start telling, ahem, bedtime stories if you didn't," Aragorn said. Harry wilted, resistance gone.
"Can't you cover for me?" Harry asked hopelessly.
"No. If I had to go through this, so do you. I will not suffer alone," Aragorn said firmly, dragging Harry behind him.
"Bastard," Harry muttered.
"I'm perfectly legitimate."
Harry promptly leered slightly, then looked thoughtful.
He eventually went for the thoroughly inaccurate "Boy."
"As Arwen can confirm, I am a full grown man," Aragorn said calmly, smirking at Harry's nauseated expression.
"I hate you."
"No you don't."
Harry just pouted as he was dragged by the arms.
The Master Herald looked up as Aragorn dragged Harry in. The Master Herald, Harry thought sourly, was like some unholy lovechild of Professor Binns and Madame Pince, with a little Trelawney to mix things up. Ginny was infinitely preferable to look at (so he did), and holding a book over her noticeably, if not enormously, pregnant stomach. She grinned as she saw the tableau of Harry pouting and being dragged in, while Aragorn wore a serene expression as if everything was perfectly normal. Harry winked at her and sat next to her, kissing her on the cheek.
"Ah, Lord Potter," the Herald said in his musty voice. "Your lovely wife was just telling me that you are descended from two known noble houses in your own world."
Harry nodded. Oh well, might as well get it over with. "The House of Peverell and the House of Gryffindor."
"What are their emblems?"
"No one's entirely sure of the Peverell emblem, or at least the original one. The male line died out centuries ago. I think it's this, however, or at least, this is the one associated with the name," Harry said, duplicating a piece of parchment and carefully drawing the symbol of the deathly hallows.
"The legend goes that three brothers cheated Death himself of their lives by using their magic to cross a river that was impossible to cross, and claimed many lives in doing so. Death himself appeared to them, and though he was angry, he hid it and offered them gifts. The first brother, Antioch Peverell, being an arrogant and violent man, asked for an unbeatable wand. Death crafted a wand from a nearby elder tree, and used for the core the hair of a creature called a thestral, a creature that can only be seen by those who have seen someone die. The second brother, Cadmus Peverell, wished to humiliate Death further, and requested a tool to bring back the dead. Death reached down and picked up a stone from the riverbank. He told the brother to turn it three times and it would call whoever he wished back from the grave," Harry said, unconsciously slipping into a mesmeric tone of voice, and even the Master Herald could not disguise his interest.
"The third brother, Ignotus Peverell, my ancestor, was a wiser and humbler man. Suspecting Death's motives, he asked for Death's own cloak of invisibility. Death was reluctant, but fulfilled this request, handing over the cloak. The three brothers then parted ways. Antioch went to find another wizard who he had been feuding with, and killed him in a duel. Afterwards, he went to an inn and bragged of his invincible wand."
Harry paused, looked around, then choosing his words carefully, he said, "Here the story delves into ancient and complex wand lore. Wands chose their bearers, the wand choses the wizard. And they are the most compatible wands. But if a wizard or witch beats another in combat, any form, and takes their opponents wand, it will work for them almost as well. If a wand is taken without its owner being defeated, it will be harder to use magic with it. So Antioch bragged of his invincible wand and that night another wizard stole his wand while he was asleep, and cut his throat. And so Death took the first brother for his own. Cadmus, the second brother, went home and used the stone to raise the woman he loved and who had been promised to him in marriage from the dead. At first he was happy, but raising the dead is a risky business. Soon she wearied of this world, for she did not belong here, and the second brother killed himself, so as truly to be with her. And so Death took the second brother for his own," Harry said, then took a deep breath.
"Finally, while Death searched high and low for the third brother, Ignotus, he did not find him, for even he could not see through his own cloak of invisibility. Ignotus lived a long life and a happy one, eventually passing the cloak onto his son, and meeting with Death as a friend and an equal," Harry said, finishing the story. "Whether the part with Death is true, and since I've met Namo and he doesn't seem like a jerk, I doubt it but wouldn't rule it out, the artefacts survive." Here, Ginny, who had never heard of the Hallows aside from the bedtime story, Aragorn and the Master Herald, all leaned in close.
"It is said that one who wields all three is Master of Death. I am the only person in recorded history who is known to," Harry said quietly.
"Do you have them?" Ginny asked curiously.
Harry shook his head. "I still have the cloak. It was my father's and far too useful to give up, because it's the only invisibility cloak immune to spells and to degeneration with age that I know of. The Elder Wand is hidden, and if I am never defeated, or at least never defeated and never have the chance to be the first to return the favour, then hopefully it's power will die with me. That and has left a legendary trail of death and destruction throughout history, and it's power is unquestionable," Harry said, putting his Phoenix and Holly wand on the desk before him and saying, "This wand, my own, was shattered by a wayward blasting curse. The finest wandmaker of our time said it was irreparable. I took the Elder Wand from Voldemort in battle, as I was its true master through a long and complex series of events, and used it to repair this one with a single spell."
"And the Resurrection Stone?" Aragorn asked.
"I used it once, to see my parents, Remus and Sirius, who I thought was dead before I went to die against Voldemort. I'm guessing since Sirius was here, it was a copy of his mind with memories until he fell through the Veil," Harry said, and shrugged. "Anyway, I dropped it in the Forbidden Forest, where it will stay," he finished, fixing Ginny with a particular stare, as she looked down. He reached across and held her hand gently.
"I'm sorry Ginny, but Fred's happy where he is, and I doubt he'd appreciate being ripped out of Heaven. That never goes well," Harry said, drawing her into a hug.
Aragorn looked away. He couldn't deny that he too was tempted. The power to see his mother again, the father he had barely known, all the comrades and friends he had lost to age, disease and battle. And for Ginny who had lost a brother recently, the pain not having yet dulled to a mere ache, that temptation was even greater.
"Why haven't you told anyone?" the Herald said, puzzled.
"Because people would demand that he use his powers to call up their dead relatives, and try and steal the Hallows. With a title like the Master of Death, it is likely that rumours would spread that he could perform true resurrection," Aragorn said, and Harry nodded.
"People were following me around enough what with me being 'the Chosen One' and killer of Voldemort," Harry looked at Ginny and smiled slightly, "Honestly, I was already getting twenty marriage proposals and death threats a day, sometimes both at once, and innumerable people wanting to meet me, control me, use me for one thing or another…"
Aragorn nodded. "So you ran."
"Yeah. Not my brightest idea, but," he paused to kiss Ginny, who muttered dryly, 'you got that right', "I think it worked out pretty well in the end."
"And the Gryffindor side of the family, Lord Potter?" the Herald interrupted rudely, and Harry had to restrain himself with difficulty from cursing the man.
"The Gryffindor symbol is rampant Lion, and the family can be traced back to one of the founders of Hogwarts, the chief magical school in Western Europe, around a thousand years ago. He left behind a sword, called the Sword of Gryffindor, which it turns out was forged by Feanor, before it fell between the worlds and the Goblins - a different breed by far from the one's here. They aren't so much evil as a little obsessive over money and suspicious of wizards, though they have reason enough for that – put the finishing enchantments on the blade. It's the next best thing to indestructible, and can destroy almost any known dark magic. Anyway, Gryffindor's house, those who carried on his legacy in spirit, were chosen for their bravery and daring. The decisions from the process weren't necessarily always right, but the vast majority of them were. He was the foremost duelist of his time, and an extremely powerful wizard, giving his own hat a mind of its own to make decisions of who should go in which house at Hogwarts. It has retained its mind, such as it is, for the last thousand years, showing how powerful the enchantments were. I believe it is my father that is descended from him," Harry said calmly.
"There is also a third house, the house of Pendragon. Long story short, it was the house of a legendary king in my world, King Arthur, who was of a similar stature to Elendil. Even the muggles know a lot about him, even down to the fact that Merlin was his adviser, but they think it's a myth. His symbol was a red dragon," Harry added
Then he hesitated. "There is potentially one other house… the house of Feanor. Though I think you can understand why I might not be particularly interested in highlighting that connection," Harry said quietly.
"The heraldry of the First Age is mostly lost to us. Maybe Master Elrond could tell you, but I think it's better that the banner of the Kinslayer remains as dead as the rest of him," the Herald said, and Harry and Ginny nodded their agreement.
"So, my Lord and Lady, what is to be your crest? And your motto?" He said.
Harry and Ginny looked at each other, then Harry said, "A rampant lion has to be in there…"
"How about a rampant lion, a dragon and a phoenix? To symbolise life and rebirth, rising from the flames," Ginny suggested, one hand drifting to her stomach, the other to Harry's hand.
The Herald's brow furrowed, as did Aragorn's, and in answer Ginny opened the book she had been holding, called 'A Modern Wizard's Guide to Heraldry'.
"Draco gave it to us for a wedding present. I'm not sure whether he meant it as a joke or not, but it's fairly useful," she said for Harry's benefit, finding the page for a phoenix. She slid it across and Aragorn softly read aloud.
"'The phoenix is a large swan-sized scarlet bird with red and gold plumage, along with a golden beak and talons, black eyes, and a tail as long as a peacock's. Its scarlet feathers glow faintly in darkness, while its golden tail feathers are hot to the touch. Phoenixes are known for nesting on mountain peaks. They are gentle herbivores and are not known for fighting. As phoenixes approach their burning day they resemble a half-plucked turkey. Also, their eyes become dull, their feathers start to fall out, and it begins to make gagging noises. Then the bird suddenly bursts into flames only to rise from the ashes shortly after. In a number of days, they grow back to full size. Hence, phoenixes are immortal,'" Aragorn read in wonderment. "I have heard of these before, or something similar, in my travels in the South and the East. In Khand, I remember tales of the Fire Bird, a legendary creature with a pure song, that cannot stand evil."
"My Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, had one as… a familiar, more than a pet, one of two known to be domesticated. He was called Fawkes, and he was beautiful." Harry chuckled, "The first time I ever saw him he caught fire. I was horrified, and I thought I'd killed him by accident. They're very intelligent creatures, and they will fight if they have to. Ginny and I owe our lives to Fawkes," Harry said, squeezing Ginny's hand, prompting Ginny to squeeze back.
"He fought and blinded the basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets, and brought me the Sword of Gryffindor. Of course, I still had to kill the damn thing, which wasn't easy since it was sixty feet long and I was twelve years old. Fawkes also healed my wound from the Basilisk fang, since the poison would normally have killed me. After my headmaster died, he sang a lament… words cannot describe how painful and beautiful it was, and left. He has not been seen since," Harry finished.
"So, a phoenix and rampant lion. Anything else?"
"They can go either side of the symbol of the Hallows. It's the closest to a Peverell crest that we have," Harry said, looking to Ginny, who nodded.
"And a motto?"
Ginny immediately said, "Courage is immortal."
Harry grinned and nodded, then blinked as Ginny drew her wand and tapped the parchment on which he had drawn the sign of the Hallows. Quickly a crest formed, a scarlet red shield with gold edging, on which was superimposed the Hallows symbol in gold and on the left side, a rampant lion, on the right, a red dragon. And set above, wings triumphantly extended as if in flight, a phoenix. Beneath was flowing scroll, on which the words, 'Courage Is Immortal', were written in flowing script. Afterwards, Ginny duplicated it, put a series of anti-damage charms on both and tucked the copy away.
The Herald's eyes bulged at the casual magic, then he inspected the picture. "Oh, this is very nice," he murmured, then looked up at Ginny and bowed formally. "You have a most deft touch, Mrs Potter."
"How come he's nice to you?" Harry muttered as the Herald wandered away to copy the work and record it.
"Because I turn up to these things instead of doing my best to avoid them. And I'm prettier than you are," Ginny replied, kissing him soundly.
"Good points, both of them," Harry said, and kissed her back. As the passion escalated, Aragorn coughed pointedly.
"I suggest that you have sex elsewhere. Among other things, it's musty in here and if the Master Herald comes back, he may have a heart attack," Aragorn said, getting up to leave. Harry nodded, slightly abashed as Ginny winked at Aragorn, and Harry helped Ginny stand. As an afterthought, Harry tapped his shirt, which currently bore the Gryffindor badge, changing it to match the new crest. Ginny eyed it, then changed her own shirt. The only difference was hers had a lioness instead.
Years later, after an ill-fated kidnap attempt on the Potter children, no one was particularly surprised when Ginny became known as the Lioness, and Harry the Lion. And in Khand and Harad, and eventually southern Gondor, a saying was born. 'If you wish for certain trouble, anger the lion. If you wish for certain death, anger the lioness.