Disclaimer: J.K Rowling owns Harry Potter and whoever created Dungeons & Dragons, aside from being some of the richest people there are – whoever they are – own that as well. The only thing I own is my plot and the OCs used in it.
'Notes, Books, Scrolls'
"Higher Power Talking"
'Higher Power Talking'
Chapter Five: A New Dawn
Hogwarts, Gryffindor Common Room
Jade blinked as she stared at the crowd of Gryffindor Students as they stood in the Common Room, looking like they were waiting for her... at the crack of dawn. "Umm... Hi?" She greeted uncertainly, nervously waving her hand.
"Did you really think you could just sneak away without us saying goodbye, Miss Potter?" Minerva said as she stepped through the crowd to stand in front of her student/adoptive niece, she had the 'cat caught the canary' grin on her face.
Jade chuckled slowly as she rubbed the back of her head. "You guys didn't really need to do this..." she protested. "I mean, it's not like I wouldn't visit."
"Yeah, but you are still leaving Jade," Ron inputted, taking her departure surprisingly well, given his tendency for overreactions. "And we wanted to see you off."
Jade blushed as the various Gryffindors started to shout out their best wishes. "Our team will definitely miss you, Jade," Angelica informed. "We better not lose because you left, if we do I'm coming after ya!"
"Our sister!" The twins shouted out in unison, exaggerated tears filling their eyes. "Now who will one up us in a prank war?" Fred wailed out.
"And who will humiliate Mally on a regular basis in that oh so satisfying way?" George shouted mimicking his twin.
Jade laughed at the twins as Hermione gave her a tight hug. "Stay safe, Jade," she whispered. "I swear, if you die I will revive you just to kill you myself!"
"I'll be fine 'Mione," Jade assured, her eyes twinkling as she smiled. "I've already fought a Basilisk, a Dragon, hundreds of Dementors and a Dark Lord twice now, how could it get worse?"
Hermione groaned as she palmed her face. "You just had to ask, didn't you?" she groaned out as McGonagall stepped forward to give Jade a tight hug.
"I'm sorry I didn't do more for you," she whispered apologetically. "Just send Hedwig if you need anything."
"I will, auntie," Jade assured as she enjoyed the embrace. "At least I won't have to return to the Dursley's again."
Minerva's lip twitched as she nodded. "Now, I'm sure Mr. Dragonchild is waiting for you now," she said, making a shooing gesture. "Don't keep him waiting... and return alive."
Jade looked back as she walked away. "I promise!" she called and, with a final wave, left the Common Room, ensuring that her friends and pseudo family couldn't see her tears of happiness.
Just like Minerva thought, Kriv was waiting for Jade at the Entrance Hall, clad in his armor with the addition of a gauntlet that completely covered his right arm while leaving his fingers bare. He looked over his shoulder from where he was staring over the grounds of Hogwarts as she approached and stood next to him. "Are you ready to go?" he asked as they both looked over the grounds. "It's not too late to change your mind."
Jade shook her head. "No, I want to do this," she informed, determination filling her voice. "I won't back down from this."
Kriv nodded his approval. "Being a Ranger is a trial by fire, Jade," he informed. "Our powers manifest differently for each Ranger, some can call upon the trees and earth to attack and defend, others know how to use their power to heal, until you start calling upon your power willingly we don't know what your skills will lie in."
Jade nodded her understanding as Hedwig fluttered down to them landing on Jade's outstretched arm and allowing her master to stroke her feathers. "That's my life," Jade answered. "One giant trial by fire."
"Good, you haven't left yet..." A voice stated from behind them. Turning, the two saw Dumbledore making his way over to them where he stood next to them. "I came to wish you well, Jade," he informed, looking over to Jade who looked back with a black stare. "I know you cannot forgive me for what I have done, and I do not blame you, but I hope you will still take my best wishes with you... and this." Jade's eyes widened as Dumbledore held out the sword of Godric Gryffindor contained within a simple sheath. "It chose you three years ago when you fought the Basilisk and the Horcrux... it is only right that you wield it."
Jade blinked, stupefied, as she grasped the sword in her own hands and lifted it out of Dumbledore's grasp. "I..." she started before being cut off by Dumbledore raising his hand.
"I only wish, Jade, that I had made different choices in the past," he informed, closing his eyes with a heavy and sorrowful sigh. "Perhaps if I shared more with you, much of what has happened could have been avoided... but, alas, we cannot change the past. I shall be in contact Jade, when I find Voldemort's other Horcruxes, you deserve to be a part of the full effort to destroy them, should you wish to be."
Jade nodded. "I do," she informed before looking back down at the Goblin forged sword and fastened it to her back, slightly tilted so that she should draw it over her left shoulder. "I will be seeing you then, Headmaster, I can only say that I hope you don't make the same mistakes in the future."
Dumbledore could only nod his agreement as Jade turned to her instructor and gave him a nod. "Time to go then, I guess," she said to Kriv, who gave her a kind smile and held out his hand.
As she gripped it, Kriv began the enchantment, and with a pop they were gone, leaving the aged Headmaster alone in the grand entryway of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Europe, Unmapped Forest
With a pop Jade and Kriv reappeared in the middle of a clearing inside of an unmapped forest deep within Europe. Jade blinked as she looked around taking in their surroundings. "I take it this is where our training will be taking place?" she asked her teacher, who nodded.
"The power of Nature is strong here," he explained as he looked around. "I wish I could take you to the place I trained in to awaken my own powers, but that is neither here nor there. Right, let's set up camp shall we?"
Jade nodded in agreement as she moved about with Kriv setting up her tent and getting a fire pit ready for use. Kriv kept himself occupied with his own tent and gathered enough firewood to get their source of heat started. He watched over her as she used some flint and tinder to get the fire started and ensured it was happily going before directing her to sit down across from him, reminiscent of when this had all began only a few days ago.
"Now, I had wanted to do this a few days ago when you first tapped into Nature's Magic," Kriv informed as he sat cross-legged before her, she herself sitting cross-legged, making herself comfortable. "Now, I want you to draw more of the Nature magic in around us Jade, draw it into yourself, allow it to circulate throughout your body."
As Kriv spoke, Jade followed his instructions, closing her eyes she reached out to Nature, and she could feel Nature respond as it's magic flooded her body. A small gasp escaped her lips as it did so, it was as if a joyous song sprang to life within her, filling her body with a joy she had never felt before.
Kriv's voice echoed within the song... "Feel the power guide you, take you within it, flow with it's currents, release your cares and worries," he whispered to her, his voice carrying throughout her mind despite the song echoing throughout it. "Nature will guide you, Nature will tell you what you can do with it's power... if you allow it to. We do not shape it's power ourselves, we are merely a conduit for it's power to be released into the world."
As Jade seemed to float within her mind, a new voice seemed to echo all around them.
"Nature has chosen a new one...
Blessed and Cursed by Magic...
One who walks with Death...
Centerpiece to a Prophecy...
And One who shall restore Balance to the Eddies of Life and Death..."
The voice sounded old and wise, young and eager, world weary and tired, male and female, it sounded as if all the voices of the world spoke at once.
You are my Sword, I am your Shield...
You strike at those who disrupt the Balance...
I Shield you from those who would harm you...
I am the Spirit of Nature, and you are my Avatar...
Wield my power and show the world, the power of life and death."
Jade gasped in a lungful of air as she felt more power flood into her, her eyes snapping open as it happened. Looking around in confusion she laid her eyes upon Kriv who was looking at her in concern. "Jade, are you alright?" He asked, concern and panic mixed in his voice. "You stopped breathing for an hour! But... your heart kept beating, what happened?"
"Nature..." She rasped out, her throat dry.
Hearing her rasp Kriv held up a water skin to her lips and tipped it as she drank greedily. She gasped as she finished drinking and sucked in lungfuls of air. "Nature declared that I shall restore Balance to the 'Eddies of Life and Death'," she informed getting a shocked gasp from Kriv. "My power... it's the power of Life and Death..."
Kriv stared at her in shock as he slumped back. "That's... I've never heard of such a thing before..." he whispered. "The Eddies of Life and Death are a part of Ranger and Druidic beliefs. The Eddies are much like the tide of the ocean, they rise and fall, when it falls it is the time of death, and when they rise it is a time of life, unchanging and constant, but to say you will return Balance to the Eddies..."
"Could it have to do with Voldemort and his Horcruxes?" Jade asked a she slowly sat up with Kriv's assistance. "Him cheating death?"
Kriv shrugged. "That may be only a symptom," he informed a serious frown flickering over his face. "People have always been trying to cheat death in some fashion, but it is inescapable... no, something is seriously wrong if Nature itself is taking a direct hand and appointing someone to restore Balance... to even go far as to granting powers of life and death... well... you never go half-assed for making your life complicated, do you, Jade?"
"Bite me," Jade countered, glaring at her grinning instructor. "But... how will I know what to do?"
"Nature will inform you," Kriv assured with a smile. "It may be a bit cryptic, but it always tells you in a way you can figure out." Jade nodded her understanding. "Now, let's set about trying to activate your new abilities, shall we?"
Jade blinked, her glowing eyes a bit surprised, but she nodded nonetheless in agreement. "Call upon Nature's magic and try to channel it into this seed," Kriv instructed as he placed a seed on the ground between them.
Nodding, Jade took in a deep breath and touched the river of magic that flowed around them and felt it rush into her. And just like that Jade knew, she knew how to make the seed grow, and she knew how to make the seed die, just by looking at it, she could see it growing into a massive Oak tree before it started to wilt and crumble into mulch.
Jade blinked, the vision was gone, looking down at the seed she reach out with her magic and gently caressed it, urging it to grow, feeding it Nutrients with her own power as it sprouted, it's roots spreading into the ground beneath them, the stem growing up into a trunk that branches started to spread from.
"Jade!" Kriv shouted snapping Jade out of her trance, she blinked before gasping at the large, magnificent Oak tree that now dominated the clearing they set up camp in, its top well above the forest roof. "By Avandra... I've never seen anyone manage that! Let alone on their first try!"
"Whoa..." Jade breathed looking up at the tree. "I did that?"
Kriv suddenly chuckled before breaking out into laughter. "Oh man, whoever pisses you off Jade, they will have no idea what hit them!" He said between his bouts of laughter. "You can just end up growing a tree around them trapping them within!"
Jade blinked before she started giggling at the mental image. "Definitely sounds interesting," she agreed. "I just may do that to Moldemort."
Kriv chuckled at her nickname for the Dark Lord. "So, do you know how to access it now?" He asked, referring to her powers.
Jade nodded, a curious look on her face as she looked at her teacher. "Yeah, it's weird, the minute I drew upon Nature's magic, I instantly knew how to use it for my intent, growing the seed," she said before a slight frown crept across her face. "I also instantly understood how to make it die using my magic, I had a vision of it aging rapidly as it grew."
Kriv frowned as he thought for a minute. "That must be a part of the power of life and death Nature granted unto you," he surmised. "Normally Rangers can only create a small amount of growth with a seed, Druids are able to make them grow more than Rangers," He casted a looked over to Jade's tree. "But nothing like that, and none of us have Power over Death as well, you are forging your own path here, Jade, I will help you as best as I can... but it's going to be on you for this."
Jade nodded her understanding as they both turned and looked up at the massive Oak. "Right then, I suppose I owe you some Archery and Sword lessons now, don't I?" Kriv asked, turning to Jade who grinned in response. "C'mon, let's see if you'll pull any shockers out of your ass this time."
One Month Later
Jade kept her breathing smooth and even as she crept through the foliage of the forest, Purity in her hands, an arrow nocked and ready to fire. Her feet only made the barest of whispers as she stepped lightly on the leaves that were beginning to fall from the leaves. She paused and crouched to the ground, her fingers lightly tracing the outline of a deer track. Looking up to the sky, she saw a speck of white circling above, and she let a small smirk cross her face as she moved forward a bit more.
Pausing again, she smoothly drew back the string on her bow and sighted down the arrow towards a clump of bushes and drew in a breath before releasing half of it and let go of the arrow and let it fly. It flew into the bushes where a pained animal cry was heard as a deer staggered out, an arrow in it's neck before it collapsed to the ground.
Jade slipped forward, withdrawing Kagetora,and knelt next to the deer. "Forgive me," Jade whispered to the animal. "May you find peace with the spirit of Nature."
With that Jade slid the wakizashi through the deer's ribs and into its heart, killing the animal and releasing it from it's pain. A hoot from above informed her to Hedwig descending onto a tree branch. "A good kill, Mistress..." Although anyone else would have just heard a hoot from the owl, Jade could 'hear' a feminine voice over top of the owl's hoots. "Your Master will be proud."
Jade grinned up at Hedwig as she stood up, when the month had started she had stood at an average 5'3", but over the last month she had hit a massive growth spurt and now stood at 5'10", she had definitely put on more muscles and her build had become lean and wiry, but that was all underneath her smooth feminine curves that would no doubt be the source of much attraction to many males. "Yeah, it's surprising how easy it was for me to learn how to use a bow..." she mused as she slid Kagetora back into the sheath. "Still, I won't complain."
She could 'hear' Hedwig laugh as she took flight as Jade knelt down and lifted the deer onto her shoulders, and with surprising ease stood up and started walking back to camp where her Master waited for her return.
Back at Camp
Kriv sighed slightly as he meditated underneath what had become known, to them anyways, as Jade's Tree. The Oak tree was far more dense than a regular oak and actually was producing far more Nature Magic than normal, leading Kriv to believe that Jade had accidently created a whole new species of Oak.
But, that was not what was on his mind, what was on his mind was his student's growth rate. In months she could hit the bullseye of a target 8 out of 10 times and was rapidly improving, her stealth skills, which were already impressive for a Witch or Wizard, had also improved by leaps and bounds. Even her sword skills were improving, although she was far more comfortable using Kagetora than the Sword of Gryffindor. She was even picking up wandless magic like a sponge.
While he wished he could say that it was his skills as a teacher he would never allow his pride to influence his decision making process. No... what it had to be is the fact that she was free from the Horcrux, it was the only explanation he could think of. She had been unconsciously suppressing the mental effects of carrying Voldemort's soul fragment within her, sapping her own mental abilities in the process, and now that the soul fragment was destroyed, she was operating at full mental capacity allowing her to understand and learn things with ease.
His musing were cut short, however, as he felt a familiar presence. Time froze as a glowing gateway appeared and out stepped a woman of peerless beauty whose age could never be determined with long hair that seemed to be spun of gold and shimmering green eyes that seemed to hold an infinite amount of wisdom. She was wearing a simple white dress that, despite its simplicity, put royal gowns made out of silk to shame as an unearthly glow surrounded her.
"Lady Avandra!" Kriv shouted in surprise as he went to a single knee before her. "But... how?"
Avandra let out a tinkling laugh. "Oh Kriv, I am not the Goddess of Freedom and Travel for nothing, you know," she informed, her amusement highly evident. "Dimensions mean nothing to me, although... that is to me alone."
Kriv chuckled as he shook his head. "That's alright, Lady Avandra." He informed as he sat back down, reclining against the tree. "Besides, I don't think my apprentice is quite ready to leave this world yet... if ever."
Avandra smiled. "I was quite surprised when I learned you had accepted an apprentice, Kriv," she informed, her lips twitching. "As were you fellow Champions, I do believe that Tavin had declared it a sign of the Apocalypse."
Kriv let out a deep laugh as he threw his head back. "Of course he would!" Kriv shouted between bouts of laughter, as his laughter calmed his face took on a melancholic expression. "I wish they could be here, Lady Avandra... Trine... I don't know if I am able to defeat them... even if 100% of my power is released..."
Avandra was silent for a moment as she looked down at Kriv with saddened eyes. "They wish to fight by your side, Kriv," she informed. "Individually you five are among the most powerful mortals to walk the earth, so much so that I must seal away all but a tenth of your power... together you five have the power to reshape the very earth you stand on... they will find their way to you my Champion, as they always have, for only together can my Five Champions defend my values."
Kriv sighed as he closed his eyes and leant back against the tree. "If anyone can find a way here... it'll definitely be them." He said with a chuckle, a melancholic smile on his face.
A sound caught the attention of the pair, causing them to look over and catch sight of one Jade Potter, who looked back, confused about the newcomer. "Master?" She asked hesitantly looking at the inhumanly beautiful woman.
"Be at ease, Jade," Kriv soothed, smiling at his apprentice. "This is actually someone you should meet. Jade Potter, allow me to introduce you to Avandra, Patron Goddess of Freedom and Travel, of whom I follow and act as her Champion of Freedom."
Jade's eyes widened in shock as her jaw dropped. "Oh..." She breathed in shock as she gawked at the goddess.
"It is pleasure to meet you Jade Potter." Avandra said in greeting. "I have always wondered what Kriv's Apprentice would be like."
"I... I'm honored L-lady Anandra..." Jade stumbled out nervous.
Avandra let out a mirthful chuckle as she hid her mouth behind a dainty hand. "There is no need for you to be so nervous, my child." The Goddess informed mirthfully. "I have only come to speak with my Champion about his fellow Champions."
"They're trying to find their own way here." Kriv explained, a calm smirk adorning his face. "They just don't seem to listen to the rules of reality."
"I wonder where they had learned that from?" Avandra asked, an amused smirk playing over her flawless features. "I seem to remember a Champion who quite regularly dismissed the 'rules of reality'."
Kriv rolled his eyes in dismissal. "Why does everyone always say that?" He asked, sounding exasperated. "Even I don't even know how that country vanished when I touched that mirror!"
Jade blinked dumbfounded as she tried to process the fact that her instructor was on speaking terms with a deity and had somehow caused the disappearance of an entire country. "Wait... what?" she asked. "How do you cause an entire country to disappear by touching a mirror?"
"That's what I want to know!" Kriv shouted, throwing his arms into their air. "It just went 'poof' and goodbye Aldastan!"
"I... I just don't know what to say..." Jade said, looking rather dazed before gathering herself and turned to Avandra. "Lady Avandra, forgive me if this sounds impertinent... but... from what I heard, you sound like... you're not from this world..."
Avandra gave Kriv a knowing look as he shrugged. "That would be because I am not from this world," she revealed, smirking at Jade's dumbfounded expression. "Neither is Kriv, for that manner."
"I'm sorry, but I think I had crazy stuck in my ear… what did you just say?" Jade asked flabbergasted. "But… I thought your homeland was sealed away or something like that?"
Kriv chuckled a bit as he rolled a shoulder. "Not quite, and it's best if I get this out of the way as well, but… I ain't human, either," he informed as he allowed the glamour around him to drop, revealing his draconic and elven features to Jade. "Sorry for keeping this from you for so long, but…" He shrugged with closed eyes. "Just couldn't find a proper time to tell you, really."
Jade stared for a minute at her instructor before her eyes rolled back into her head and she fainted.
"That was… unexpected..." Avandra said as the pair stared at the fallen witch/ranger. She sighed and shook her head before returning her gaze to Kriv. "It is time for me to go Kriv, but one thing before I leave. The next champion shall arrive in the country of Japan, you should head there next to continue her training."
Kriv nodded in agreement. "I will," he confirmed. "I hear that there are a sect of Shrine Maidens in a City called Fuyuki that have a connection to the Eddies."
Avandra nodded, her eyes crinkling as she smiled. "Be safe, my Champion," she requested as the glowing doorway she entered through reappeared. "Your Apprentice will not be the only one to be challenged, should you have need for it, do not hesitate to call upon the sword of your station."
Kriv nodded seriously. "As you command," he said formally. "As your Champion of Freedom, I will set free those bound by the Chains of Oppression."
Avandra nodded as she stepped through the doorway, allowing it to close. "And I shall welcome all the lost souls seeking refuge," she informed before the doorway shut completely.
Kriv remained silent as time resumed its normal flow, staring over at his fainted apprentice, an unreadable expression on his face.
Two Months Later, outskirts of Fuyuki City, Japan
Kriv took in a deep breath as he stood in the courtyard to a small temple run by a group of Shrine Maidens who followed a principle similar to the Eddies of Life and Death. The city the shrine was based next to was sitting on a massive leyline that flooded the surrounding area with magic. 'It's strange,' he thought to himself with a frown. 'Despite being sitting on a ley line, this city, it has a feeling of… corruption.'
"Something wrong, Master?" Jade asked as she joined him, she was currently wearing a shrine maiden's outfit that had been given to her for her training with the Maidens.
Kriv just sighed, "Nothing really," he said with a shake of his head. "Besides, don't you have to get ready for school?"
Jade scowled at her instructor. "Don't remind me, why are you having me do this?" she asked, her eyes curious.
"You can never neglect building your basic knowledge of the world, Jade," he told her seriously. "Plus, you need to build yourself up a network of friends, people who you can go to for information or to acquire goods discreetly."
Jade nodded, frowning slightly before heading out to change clothes into the uniform provided by the school - she had to admit that it was better than the Hogwarts Robes.
Kriv watched her leave before letting out a sigh. 'Sorry, kid, but corruption of this level, you ain't ready for it yet,' he thought to himself as he started down the footpath leading into the city. 'Something really powerful is corrupting this city and I need to deal with it, fast…'