A/N: I wrote this for Camp NaNoWriMo, June 2012. This is a direct continuation of "Stormseeker: Borrowed Destiny", however, feel free to pick up here if you want. No prior reading is required.
This story is based primarily upon the "Harry Potter" series by J.K. Rowling, and the video game "Geneforge", by Spiderweb Software.
Chapter 1: Preparations
I am Lexen Chelseer, the Stormseeker, immortal time traveler and interdimensional explorer.
I stand in Torn Elkandu, the center of the multiverse, underneath the swirling purple skies. I walk along the streets lined with glowing cyan runes. I approach the Nexus, the powerful teleportation device that the group of mages known as the Elkandu use to travel to other universes.
Beside the Nexus, Keolah Kedaire stands. She is an elf - of the human-like variety, not like a house-elf - with reddish-brown hair and unnatural silver eyes, watching over the Nexus and making sure that it does not destabilize. But that will all be irrelevant in about six hours, when the Dark Elkandu are going to come through and slaughter everyone.
"Hello, Stormseeker," Keolah says. "Where do you want to go today?"
I don't plan on going to a new world just yet. I have some supplies I want to pick up first in the last world I visited, Wizarding Earth. There, I learned how to do magic using a wand, but I'm going to need to go and collect my wand again. I don't want to go into a new world unprepared. And I don't think I want to go alone, either.
"Could you show me a list of some of the magic schools around the multiverse?" I ask.
"Something wrong with the School of Thought?" Keolah says.
I shrug. "It's all well and good, but I'd like to get some other perspectives on magic. Mostly, though, I want to go there briefly so that I can lock it into my mind to return there on my own. Torn Elkandu is about to be attacked in six hours. I'm a time traveler, and just spent six years in another world learning magic. I want to test out the new skills I've learned against Sedder."
"Oh, I see," Keolah says, blinking.
"And yeah, you've never seen a real time traveler before," I tell her wearily. "I know. You've told me that a number of times now."
"Sorry," Keolah says, chuckling. She waves her hands, and a series of misty images appears in the air in front of her. "Here's some destinations for you to choose from."
I look through them and pick one at random. "Nodye Coast Shaper School."
Keolah gives a nod, and says, "Very well. I've calibrated the Nexus for that destination. Step inside and I'll send you along."
"Thanks," I say. "I'll be right back."
I walk into the middle of the eight runed obelisks. Since Keolah is the one working the Nexus right now, I don't need to focus on anything in particular. The runes flare to life, and glowing mists surround me, and Torn Elkandu vanishes.
When my vision clears, I find myself in a spot out of sight near what appears to be some sort of city. The sun shines down over domed buildings and stone walkways. A number of humans milling about, as well as shorter humanoids wearing dirty robes, sweeping the streets. I spot some sort of pen filled with strange creatures I don't recognize.
But that's enough looking around for now. I've got the measure of the place, and I will be able to come back here again without Keolah's help. I'll be able to look around more once I've done the other things I want to do first.
I focus my magic inward, and grasp at the glowing beacon within my soul, the connection to the Nexus that allows me to return to it whenever I choose. It's unfortunate that it only functions properly if someone is actively maintaining the Nexus. By the end of today, I will not be able to access Torn Elkandu any longer, so I had best take advantage of it while it's available. But at least I have as many todays as I want, to do that in.
"Welcome back," Keolah says. "Where to next?"
"Don't worry about it," I say. "I know where I'm going."
"Alright," Keolah says. "I'll go back to scrying at Devenia, then..."
I raise an eyebrow. "What do you do in your spare time, anyway?"
"Right now, I'm watching a group of high school students, and the wacky antics they get into," Keolah replies.
I blink. "You're watching Muggles for entertainment?"
"Muggles?" Keolah says in confusion.
"Excuse me," I say. "Mensch. That's what the last world I was in called them."
"Oh," Keolah says. "Yeah, pretty much. There's this short girl who's a bit of a spitfire, who keeps insisting that she's not actually in love with this one boy..."
"Right," I say. "I'll just leave you to that, then."
For starters, I'm going to need some money, so I step back into the Nexus and activate it, focusing upon my home village of Wishingsdale, on the world of Lezaria. I land outside of my family's manor house. It's been a long time since I've felt the comforting higher gravity of my homeworld, or basked in its brilliant sunlight. I take a moment to dally and just admire my surroundings. I'm home again, even if only briefly, for the first time in six years. Sure, I visited it in a Pensieve once or twice, but it's not the same.
But enough of that, I step inside the manor and look around for my great-grandmother. I have to smile when I poke my head into one room, and see my twin cousins playing. These two nine year old girls are Helga and Hilda, first cousins to me, but I grew up like they were my sisters. Never will I forget their screams, when Sedder tortured them to death in front of me.
I finally locate my great-grandmother, Hawthorne Chelseer. She's in her eighties, but certainly doesn't look it. The Elkandu theorized something about the Nexus stopping their aging after a certain point. I have no idea, myself.
"Lexen!" Hawthorne says. "What are you doing back here? Did school get out early?"
I shake my head. "Forget school," I say. "I'm going off to explore the multiverse. Could I get some money, or something else that could be easily changed into local currency?"
Hawthorne chuckles. "You're definitely a Chelseer. Alright, let's see what we can do."
She leads me down the hall toward the family vault. There's no bank like Gringotts on Lezaria, and it's doubtful that any of the old elven families would ever trust the likes of goblins with their money anyway. Instead, we have a vault underneath the manor house. It's not even magically expanded or anything, either. But since I wasn't of age yet when I left, I wasn't entrusted with the means of entering it.
"Can you give me access to the vault, Hawthorne?" I ask.
"You're still not of age yet, Lexen," Hawthorne says.
"I'm sixteen," I reply. "Chronologically, anyway." Due to their normally shorter lifespans, Lezarian elves are considered to be of age at thirteen.
"Huh?" Hawthorne says, looking at me blankly.
"I'm a time traveler," I say. "I just spent six years in another world."
"Well, if that's true, then the magic seals will recognize it," Hawthorne says. "I don't need to do anything special. Just try to open it, then."
"Alright," I say, and I put my hand on the vault door. The blood red crystal in the center lights up, and the door slides open. "That's it?"
"Yup," Hawthorne says. "I guess you really are a time traveler. Not that I doubted you or anything, mind you."
"You've just never heard of a real time traveler before," I say, smirking.
"Yeah," Hawthorne says. "So if you ever need anything from the vault, you can come here on your own, in whichever timeline you wind up in."
"Great, thanks," I say.
"So, tell me about this world you visited," Hawthorne says excitedly. "Did you get into any fights? Did you kill anybody?"
I laugh lightly. Hawthorne is so predictable at times. "Yeah," I say. "I was in a Dueling Club, and I was pretty good at it, too. And I killed a few people, too. They all deserved it, though."
"Wonderful!" Hawthorne says, clapping her hands together with disturbing glee.
"I'd best collect some valuables, though," I say. "I've got some things to do. And I'm going to try to kill Sedder today."
"Yes!" Hawthorne says. "But, you're not worried about him killing you?"
"I'm immortal," I say. "Every time I die, I go back in time. So I'm really not concerned about it."
"Nothing to lose for trying, then," Hawthorne says. "May your magic never falter."
"And may yours find its favor," I recite the traditional Elkandu parting, and Hawthorne heads back up the stairs, leaving me to the vault.
I look around the room. In most homes, this would be the basement. But no such mundane term applies to the Chelseer household. We're descended from royalty, and one of the most powerful and influential families on Lezaria. The vault is full of coins and jewelry from all over Lezaria and a few other worlds, too. There's gemstones and bars of precious metals, and miscellaneous magic items I couldn't begin to figure out the enchantments on.
I decide to scoop up a small bag full of coins, a gold bar, and a handful of gemstones. There's no bags of holding or the like in here, that much I know. The Elkandu haven't really perfected that sort of magic yet. I'll have to pick one up in Diagon Alley.
I Recall back to the Nexus, and once I arrive, I activate it again, focusing this time upon an image of Diagon Alley. The glowing mists surround me again, and when they clear, I'm standing in the familiar streets of wizarding London, in what appears to be a public Apparation point. I'm getting a few odd looks due to my apparent age, however.
Right, I forgot to change my age before traveling. I focus for a moment on growing older, carefully, my skin crawling and my bones aching as my magic changes my apparent, physical age. If I'm not careful, I'll inadvertently wind up overdoing it and dying of old age. But a more gentle push is enough to put me at the apparent age of twenty or so. It makes my pants very tight and uncomfortable, however, so I bring it down a bit again.
My first stop is Gringotts to see what they can do about money. I head inside the big marble building and go up to one of the goblin tellers. "Excuse me, do you do currency changing?"
"The Muggle money station is over that way," the goblin says absently, pointing.
"Not Muggle money," I say. "I've got some currency from another world, a bar of gold, and some gemstones. I'd like to know what I might be able to get for them."
"I see," the goblin says, giving me a strange look. "Another world, huh? Very well, I'll take a look at the coins and the gold. I'm not interested in the gems, though."
I pull out my bag and pass it over to him. "Here."
The goblin peers over the valuables for a while and comes up with conversion to galleons for each of them. From watching him, it looks like the gold bar goes fastest and smoothest. That might be what I want to use in the future. Once he's done, he passes my bag back over to me, full of galleons, sickles, and knuts, and the gems that he didn't convert.
"You've taken your conversion fee out, I assume?" I ask.
The goblin nods. "Of course. Go on, now. You're holding up the line."
"Thanks," I say, and head out of the bank.
I stop in at the luggage shop next to buy a bag of holding, carefully checking how long it takes me to do so. This is only a test run, after all. When running for real, I'll only have six hours to play around with before returning to the Nexus is inadvisable, so I'll need to be sure to be able to get anything I want done before then.
Next, now that the heavy coins are tucked away in my new bag, I head over to Ollivander's. "Can I help you, sir?" Ollivander says.
"Hello, I'm Lexen Chelseer, an interdimensional time traveler," I say. "Could you bring me my wand, please? It's pine, dragon heartstring, thirteen inches."
"I see," Ollivander says, blinking for a moment. "Very well." He goes in to find the wand in question, and brings it out to me.
"Yeah, that's the right one," I say, counting out the galleons. "Thank you, sir."
"Of course," Ollivander says, still looking a little confused.
I head out of the shop again and look around Diagon Alley some more, trying to think if there's anything else that I might want to pick up before any trip to a new world. I can't imagine that most of these things would be useful in the next world, though. Any supplies unique to the new world, I can just pick up when I get there. What I'm looking for here is things like the bag of holding, that have universal utility. Hmm, if I think I might be doing some traveling in the wilderness, I could always pick up a wizard tent...
Clothes, however. My robes are tight on my body, and my pants tighter yet. I go into Madam Malkin's next.
"Excuse me," I say to the seamstress. "Do you have any self-adjusting robes that I could pick up off the shelf? I'm in a bit of a rush."
Madam Malkin looks at me strangely. "If you're in such a hurry, why would you need an enchantment that's only useful if you keep the same robes for several years?"
I sigh and smirk at her, then will my body to adjust my age down to seven years old, then back up to thirty, then down to fourteen again. "I'm a sort of Metamorphmagus," I say. "And since my clothes don't automatically adjust, it makes normal robes and trousers very uncomfortable."
"Oh!" Malkin says. "I see. I've never seen anyone with that particular ability before, but I suppose I can understand that."
"If you don't have any immediately available, could you tell me how long it would take to add them to some articles of clothing?"
"Not too long," Malkin says. "Although I'll charge extra to expedite the service."
"That's alright," I say. "After seeing my family's vault, I don't think money will be an issue. Could I perhaps get that on four sets of robes, two pairs of trousers, two shirts, one pair of boots, six pairs of socks, two sets of pajamas, and six pairs of boxers?"
She gives me some prices, and shows me over to the pre-made clothing section so that I can select the ones I want. I pick out some and bring them over to her, and then watch her perform the spells over them.
They're very complicated charms, and after the first one, she says, "You're not trying to steal trade secrets from me by watching like that, are you?"
"Of course not," I say. "Besides, I'm terrible with charms. That was complicated. I could spend years practicing it and never get it. You deserve your fee for mastering it."
Malkin beams in pride, and continues her work. I time how long it takes her to do each piece, and count out the galleons for her. It's pricey, but well worth it. Once she's done, I go into a changing room and slip into a set of the new clothes. That's much more comfortable. I shift my age up to twenty again, and smile as the robes automatically change with me. Excellent!
I come out again and say, "Well done, Madam Malkin. Have a tip, too." I pass over some extra galleons.
"Thank you, young man!" Malkin says. "Or however old you really are. Have a nice day!"
Expensive, but my next purchase is likely to be more expensive yet. I'm glad that I brought a lot of money from the vault. I head over to a camping supplies store and look at some of the tents they have available ready-made. I'm not picky enough to want a custom job on these. I check the prices, and have to wince a little. I don't have enough money on me to buy the one I really want. I wince at that, more for the weight of gold I'll need to haul to Gringotts than for fear of emptying my family vault for it.
I head out of the tent shop again without purchasing anything, and think on what else I might want to bring. Not just material goods, but also people. While I have no doubt that I will make friends in the next world, I wouldn't mind taking along someone who I already like and can trust their personality and tendancies, even if they don't know me yet.
But who should I take? Most of my friends are, in this time period, around eleven years old and just about to start their magical education. This wouldn't be so bad if I can get straight into a magic school, assuming that's even the age of students that they want. If they want younger or older students, I can accommodate that, but my friends would be out of luck. I had some friends among the older students, but I doubt they'd want to leave Hogwarts. What about an adult? I doubt Snape would agree to go with me. Remus's lycanthropy would be problematic in a world without a supply of wolfsbane potion, and I have no desire to be a werewolf again. And Sirius is in Azkaban. Hmm...
What has my life come to that breaking someone out of Azkaban seems like my most viable option?
Tempting the Dementor's Kiss isn't a pleasant prospect, but my Patronus is strong. I'm certain that I can ward them off. And Sirius was able to escape on his own, after all. How hard could it be?
Well, I still have a few hours left to do some research. And I doubt that asking random people in Diagon Alley would be helpful. So I decide to talk to Dumbledore. After what happened in my last life, I don't really trust him, but... no, I should be more forgiving of that. I didn't exactly make things easy on him. I got way too deeply into dark magic and even publicly used the Imperius Curse on the dragon in the first task at the Triwizard Tournament. What was he supposed to do about that? I think I got off easy with just being expelled.
I head over to the nearest Floo point, toss in a pinch of powder, and say, "Hogwarts, Headmaster's office!" The fire flares up for a moment, but then it seems like a grate blocks my way. I'm being refused entry. Right, I suppose not just anyone can waltz into the Headmaster's office. I try someplace else. "The Hog's Head!"
When I tumble out of the fireplace at the far end of a bumpy ride, I note that the tavern seems unusually empty today. There's only two people present, Aberforth and the very Headmaster that I wanted to speak with. How strange.
"My apologies," I say. "I didn't mean to interrupt anything. But it's fortunate that you're here, Headmaster, as I wished to speak with you regardless."
"Is it urgent?" Dumbledore asks.
"I'm afraid it cannot wait," I say. "I only have a few hours left, and I have a feeling that I'll be spending most of that time convincing you of the truth of what I have to say." I smirk.
"Perhaps you could begin with introductions?" Dumbledore suggests.
"Right," I say. "My name is Lexen Chelseer. I'm a time traveler from another dimension. I just spent the last six years pretending to be Harry Potter so that you could cover up his unfortunate death at age five, when he fell down the stairs at his Muggle home. Fortunately, I was able to defeat Lord Voldemort in the end, with some help."
Dumbledore stares at me. I seem to have rendered him speechless. I do, however, feel a gentle poke of Legilimency against my mental barriers.
"I'll be happy to provide memories for your Pensieve to prove what I'm saying," I go on.
"I think that would be best, yes," Dumbledore says. "Let us reconvene in my office. Aberforth, I'll speak with you later."
"Of course," Aberforth drawls. "Not every day that interdimensional time travelers fall out of the Floo."
Dumbledore steps over to the fireplace, and from there, we head over to "Hogwarts, Headmaster's office!"
Dumbledore pulls out his Pensieve, and gestures toward its basin. "Here it is," he says. "I'll be interested to see what sort of memories you might bring up..."
I put my wand to my forehead and focus upon memories to copy out to show to him. Our first meeting in Hogsmeade. The Mirror of Erised. The Philosopher's Stone. The disastrous first battle in the Chamber of Secrets, and the much more successful second one. Dumbledore rescuing Remus, Sirius, and me from Dementors. Once I'm done, I step back and say, "That should suffice."
"Very well," Dumbledore says. "Let's take a look at these together, shall we? After you."
We plunge into the Pensieve and watch the memories play out before us.
"Professor Quirrell is possessed?" Dumbledore says.
"Yes," I reply.
"There's a basilisk under the school?" Dumbledore says.
"Yes," I repeat.
"Sirius Black is innocent?" Dumbledore says, eyes widening even further.
"Absolutely yes," I say quietly.
When we emerge from the Pensieve, Dumbledore looks to me and says, "Very well. I believe you... I must believe you, after all of that. What is it that you need?"
"Right now?" I say. "Just information. I don't have enough time left to do anything else. First off, might I ask how I can gain your trust without spending two hours staring into a Pensieve to do it?"
Dumbledore thinks for a moment, and then says quietly, "Tell me that I see my sister Ariana in the mirror of Erised."
"My condolences," I say quietly, nodding.
"Thank you," Dumbledore says. "What is it that you intend to do?"
"As you saw mentioned, Sirius is innocent," I say. "I want to break him out of Azkaban and take him safely to another universe with me."
"You don't ask for much," Dumbledore says, a twinkle in his eyes. "Ask me for a portkey there. I can get you fairly close. Would you need me to come along to cast the Patronus Charm?"
"No," I say. "I can cast it now. Better that I do it alone."
"Very well," Dumbledore says. "If you will need to get back out again quickly, you'll want to ask for a two-way portkey."
"Right," I say. "Is there anything else I should know? About breaking into Azkaban?"
"The prison is guarded only by Dementors," Dumbledore says. "There's an Auror guard post on the island some distance away from the prison, but no one else inside Azkaban itself. If you can get past the Dementors, you should have no problems."
"Hasn't anyone ever tried to break into Azkaban before?" I wonder.
"No one who can cast a Patronus has ever wanted to before," Dumbledore says.
I shake my head. "There's something seriously screwed up about this world..."
"I've always said it was a mistake to trust guarding criminals to the likes of Dementors," Dumbledore says. "No good will come of it, especially should any Dark Lord manage to make an alliance with the Dementors. They are inherently very dark creatures..."
"Well, it's not my business in this universe to fix all of the problems of the wizarding world," I say. "I'll thank you for your information with a few more warnings of the future. Gilderoy Lockhart is a fraud who Obliviates people to take credit for their deeds. Ron Weasley's rat is actually Peter Pettigrew. Do what you will with the information I've given you. I must be going now."
"Very well," Dumbledore says. "Good luck, whatever you do."
"Ugh," I mutter. "Nothing good ever comes from luck."
I head through the Floo just to get out of Hogwarts' Anti-Apparation wards, and then Recall back to the Nexus.
"Welcome back," Keolah says.
"Keolah, before we get horribly killed, I'd like to see if you can make sense of how my power works," I say. "Normally, when I die, I only go back to the last point I woke up. But twice so far now, I've gone back to the first day I died, today."
"Something different about the circumstances or cause of death or something?" Keolah says, raising an eyebrow.
"The first time was the gaze of a basilisk," I say. "The second time was a spell called the Killing Curse."
"Hmm," Keolah says. "Maybe I could give you a clue if I could see how that spell works." Being a Seeker, she would be able to see how the magical energy does its work.
"I can cast it for you to demonstrate," I say. I pull out my wand and point off in a direction where I won't be in any danger of accidentally hitting anyone, and aim at the ground. I focus upon anger, hatred, desire to kill, and say, "Avada Kedavra!" A flash of green light strikes the pavement harmlessly.
"Interesting," Keolah says. "So far as I can tell, all that spell does is that it knocks the soul out of someone's body."
"Maybe that's it," I say. "Maybe it's something that messes with the soul that will force a full reset... I wonder if the same would apply to something that would destroy the soul?"
"It's possible," Keolah says.
"I don't really care to test it, though," I say. "Bad enough that I'm planning to go hobnob with some soul-sucking abominations next as it is."
"When is the attack going to take place?" Keolah asks.
"It won't be long now," I say.
A few minutes later, the runes on the Nexus glow brightly, and mist fills the circle between the eight obelisks. Here they come...