Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by J. K. Rowling. No money is being made.

A large thank you to my Beta lovingsiri for beta reading this chapter.


Independence of the Dark


Chapter 6


Harry grumbled under his breath. Why can't people just let him sleep? And who the hell was it poking his head? Will they ever stop?, Harry wondered sluggishly. If possible, the pecking only increased in frequency, until it was vaguely bordering on painful.

Grousing, Harry slid the blanket off his face to find a glaring pair of annoyed amber eyes. Oh hell, Harry muttered and tried to disappear under his blanket. He received a sharp rap followed by an indignant hoot.

"Ow. That hurts, Hedwig", Harry complained.

Hedwig puffed her wings, as if she was inordinately pleased that it had indeed hurt him. Harry scowled and then smiled in contentment after he made sure that she wasn't hurt in any way. He had missed her.

"Hey. I've missed you girl."

Hedwig considerably softened when she heard his confession. She hooted softly in response and nuzzled his ear.

"Did someone see you coming here? Did anyone follow you?"

Hedwig shot him a hard glare, apparently irked at his lack of confidence in her stealth.

Harry smiled fondly and made an appeasing gesture. "Calm down. Of course, I did not doubt your abilities girl. I just had to ask."

Satisfied, she returned to nibbling his ear, albeit it was a bit sharper than before.

Harry rose and quickly dressed after having a short soak in the bath. He was very excited and slightly nervous as well. He had not forgotten that he had a chance of getting a new wand today.

Sure, he loved his holly wand, but, ever since his Change yesterday, he had a niggling feeling that there was something different with the way his wand functioned; as if it quite didn't suit him anymore. True, he could still use it effectively. But it was as if the wand wasn't in sync with him like it was before. He could only theorize that it must be due to the change in his magical core.

He was slightly upset about the change in his phoenix wand but he consoled himself. He was not the same person he had been a year ago. Everything about him had changed, so, maybe, it was only fitting that his wand did too. Harry knew some people would probably think it impossible for a person to have a complete personality change in such a short time, but he disagreed. For him, the DoM incident had simply been his breaking point, so to speak.

Trying to distract himself from his sullen thoughts, Harry stood before the mirror and slowly appraised his appearance. He was clad in tight-fitting black slacks and a black silk shirt with a shimmery silver cloak wrapped around his shoulders. Harry carefully brushed his hair and then mussed it slightly so that it didn't look too spruced up.

Satisfied, Harry sat on his bed and offered Hedwig some owl treats. Silvertongue had told him that he would come to collect him at exactly nine in the morning. He still had some time to wait. He absently scratched Hedwig behind her ears which caused her to preen under his ministrations.

When Harry's scratching faltered, she nipped him hard on his fingers, causing a tiny cut to appear.

"You're an awfully demanding bird, did you know that?", Harry told her and then watched in amazement as the cut slowly but surely closed leaving behind a faint pink line.

Definitely should have been a vampire, Harry mused. Despite what Fireclaw had told him, a niggling sense of doubt remained. Was he a really a human anymore or a creature? Everything the eye could see pointed that he was indeed a human, maybe except his eyes. But, his abilities contradicted everything a human should possess. Maybe he was a part-human, part-creature. Not that he would be upset or anything if that was the case. He just wanted to know what exactly he was.

He had quite a lot of things to ask the Dark Ones. Harry anxiously wondered if his ancestors really had some sort of plan to overcome the time constraint. Harry sure hoped so.

After about fifteen minutes, a knock was heard on the door. Patting Hedwig's head, Harry exited his room to find Silvertongue waiting for him.

"Good morning Lord Potter. I hope you had a good night's sleep after yester evening's...ah, entertainment", Silvertongue smirked.

Harry grinned, "Yes, of course. So, where are we going exactly?"


Harry arched an eyebrow at the monosyllabic answer, before asking, "Does that mean we are going to visit the Goblin Nation?"

"Not exactly. As you know, our country is built underground, right below Gringotts actually. In truth, it was constructed as such because if the Wizards chose to attack the Goblin Nation, it meant they would have to destroy Gringotts itself, in order to even reach the country. And destroying Gringotts would be the last thing Wizards would ever do. So, Gringotts actually acts as a defensive mechanism for us."

Harry breathed out, "Brilliant". And truly it was.

Silvertongue grinned smugly before continuing, "Anyhow, our country has various tiers; the upper tier is where meetings and business discussions between Goblins and other races are held, which is then followed by another tier which is a shopping district exclusively for the Goblins and the next tier has a few schools and below them are three tiers where the normal families, ancient families and the Elders and the council members live in that order. Finally, the lowest tier is the prison and the wandmaker's home. Now, you will be meeting her in one of the meeting rooms and if she approves of you, you will be taken to the lowest tier, which is where her home is located."

"And this wandmaker is a goblin?", Harry asked nonchalantly, trying to hide his interest. How could a goblin be a wandmaker? Goblins did not even have use of wands.

From the smirk that appeared on the Goblin's face, it appeared as if he had failed to completely mask his curiosity. "You just have to wait and see."

Harry huffed silently. Damn secretive Goblins.

He wanted to know more about the Goblin Nation but knew that he wouldn't be privy to it unless he met the condition that Fireclaw had given him. 'Master your magic and only then will the Goblin Nation follow you'

Harry clenched his fists as he started thinking about it. But he soon realized that the only thing he could do was just wait and begin to train.

They exited through a set of bronze doors which led them to a much more luxurious cart than the regular carts goblins usually used to visit the vaults. Harry nimbly sat himself on the cushioned seat and firmly gripped the front handle as a precautionary measure to prevent him from falling.

After a fifteen-minute smooth ride, so unlike the bumpy, puke-inducing cart ride to the vaults, Harry gracefully got down and arched a delicate eyebrow at Silvertongue.

Silvertongue grinned sheepishly. "You honestly didn't believe that we couldn't make the cart rides smoother, did you? We were able to but we didn't want to. Consider it as a bit of vindictiveness from our side towards the Wizards."

Harry smirked. He'd been expecting a jolty cart ride and had been quite surprised at the rather pleasant journey. Apparently, the Goblins enjoyed taking vengeance against the wizards in what little ways they could. Crafty beings the Goblins were.

" I shall be leaving you here now. The wandmaker is waiting for you on the other side of the door", Silvertongue stated, indicating a plain wooden door for him to enter.

Harry slightly inclined his head to the side and assessed the room. The room was spacious, he supposed, with cream and brown coloured walls and a large fireplace that had an exquisitely carved mantel wrought from mahogany, dominating the room. The curtains were closed shut so he had no idea what was on the other side.

But, the most curious thing was the girl who was rocking on her heels, silently brooding at a painting. The painting was a mesmerizing picture that depicted a raging inferno and a torrent of ice fighting viciously for dominance.

Harry cleared his throat to gain attention and when that didn't seem to work, Harry softly called out a 'hello'.

Harry wondered who the kid was. Perhaps the wandmaker's child?

When the kid turned, Harry had to contain a soft gasp. The child was exquisite in an odd way. She had silver hair floating down to her waist , framing a pale delicate face. Wide amber eyes glinted with intelligence and wisdom which proved that she wasn't a normal ten year girl she resembled to be. A small grin played on her lips when she caught his surprise that he failed to hide.

But what made it odd was the rows of serrated teeth that he could clearly see between her lips, and the claw-like nails on her hands and feet; both of which resembled a goblins'. A part-human or part-goblin then or at least something like that.

"Hello Harry Potter" With that, she indicated a seat for him to sit in while she took the one opposite him.

"Are you the Wandmaker?", Harry asked.

"Hmm...maybe. I go by many names", she said dismissively.

She settled on the sofa crossing her legs beneath her and then proceeded to stare at him.

Harry wanted to ask why she was staring at him but refrained, not wanting to be the one to initiate the conversation which she had so churlishly dismissed.

Not wanting to fidget, Harry let his mind wander on the things he still had to do before he left for the Fortress tomorrow. He still needed some muggle clothes and he also had to go to the pet store to buy some food and things for Hedwig and his yet-to-be-hatched snakes. Harry felt a grin form on his lips and a warm feeling settled in his chest when he thought about his snake eggs. He couldn't wait for them to be hatched!

He still had to do a scouring of some bookshops in the Knockturn since he might perchance find some rare books. Yesterday had just proved that there were certain useful things that could be found there. Harry gently stroked the dagger that he had strapped to his waist.

After another fifteen minutes of reticence, Harry really wanted to break the silence by saying something, but, at the same time, for some reason he also didn't want to do that.

Thankfully, the girl broke the silence by cracking a large grin.

"Well. That was interesting and you certainly are unyielding."

Harry didn't know whether it was a compliment or not; so he let a scowl form on his face and asked, "What was interesting?'

She just smirked. "I see I haven't properly introduced myself. I am Maeve the Wandmaker and as I said before, I go by different names since wand making isn't my only profession. It is an honour to meet you Dark One."

Harry pulled himself together and greeted her formally with a slight bow of his head, " An honour to meet you as well, Wandmaker."

Harry continued after a pause, not able to not know any longer, "Does that mean you will be making me a wand?" Harry grimaced internally at his tone. Morgana, he sounded like a eleven year old.

Maeve chuckled, "Impatient as always, I see. I suppose even if you have changed so much for the better, I must say, neither your impatience nor your pride has changed a bit."

Harry blushed slightly. Wait. How did she know this? Knowing he would never get a straight answer even if he asked, Harry kept silent.

"Now for your question, yes. I will make you a wand. Follow me."

Harry blinked. Just like that? No asking questions or anything to find out whether he was worthy or not. Maybe she already assessed him without his realizing? Not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, he simply followed her to a far door where another cart was waiting.

"This will take us to the deepest part of the Goblin country. The bottom most tier to be precise. "

Harry nodded. Some half an hour later, they forcefully came to a stop.

"Why is it that you have your home even below the Elders? I thought the Elders are at the top of the Goblin hierarchy", Harry asked.

"Yes, they are. But I like to experiment with magic. So I prefer the bottom most tier where if any magical explosions and the like were to occur, it would not have any effect aboveground; thereby, keeping the Ministry of Magic oblivious to it."

Harry nodded in understanding. If the ministry got wind of any experiments going on underground, they would probably try to ship the goblins off to Azkaban on the next boat.

They moved into her home through a large wooden door, where they then went into a comfortable living room, which was warmed by a large fire with the hopes that it would ward off the chill that permeated the underground; although Maeve didn't seem to be affected by it. The walls were made of an ash-grey stone with several hangings and trinkets placed decoratively around the room. Large dark coloured cushions and poufs were spread out across the floor. Another set of doors were situated on the opposite side; they were probably be the main entrance doors to the house, since he himself had entered through the back doors of the house.

Maeve took his hand and led him to a workroom that was almost the size of Hogwarts' Great Hall.

"Now. Stay here", she warned him and scampered off to find something.

She then came back carrying six square boxes with her and set it on the counter before him.

When he opened his mouth to ask what it was, she shot him a warning glance. Chided, Harry looked on with curiosity.

She neatly lined the boxes and opened the lids. Each box contained a different type of wood.

She then started muttering to herself. "Ebony is powerful but that alone would not be enough. He needs something more. Something..." Her eyes lighted in excitement and she let out a small cackle.

Unnerved, Harry watched as she took a box of black wood and waved it under his nose.

Maeve crooned, "You see this. This is from a staff I made. Merlin's staff to be more precise. This wood is called the Lignum Vitae these days", she waved her hand in a slightly insane manner and continued, "Do you understand? This will be perfect for you from what I 'Saw'. This wood represents the end of strife and the beginning of a new positive cycle, because that is what you are aiming for, aren't you? I Saw that..."

Harry gaped at her. He had tuned out everything she said after the word 'Merlin's staff' left her lips. Instead of asking a hundred or so questions swirling in his mind, he ended up asking: "Just how old are you exactly?"

"Never ask a woman her age, young man", she replied sagely.

Harry rolled his eyes. "So. Seriously. This wood is from 'The Merlin's staff'? But I thought Merlin's staff was green, at least that is what Bathilda Bagshot says so in her books."

"True. The Lignum Vitae is actually a bright green wood at first, but as time passes it darkens until it reaches a dark glossy black, much like the Ebony. I could have used a colour preservation charm on the wood, but then that would have cancelled the special weightless charm Merlin himself cast on the wood to prevent it from sinking in the water, as its prone to do given its high density."

"Oh", was all Harry could say.

"Usually the first wood is one of the hardest woods to decide for a wand. After that, it's quite easy. Now. Let me see. Yes...this would do."

After pondering for a moment or so, she again proceeded to wave another box right under his nose that contained a pale yellow wood.

"This wood was taken from a young dying yew tree, which was burnt along with the Witches tied to it during the Burning Times. This will help you in achieving your maximum potential when learning the Dark Arts. It is all the more effective because the wood was from a dying tree."

Harry speculated. The Tree of Life and the Tree of Death. How on earth could they even be used together. Weren't they contradictory?

As if answering his question, Maeve replied, "Since these two woods signify the opposite, it needs to have an intermediary. So, I thought, since it is your own personality that defines these two, why not use a wood that signifies your magic in itself to act as the mediator between the two?"

Maeve pointed towards a red wood that had slight black patterns in it. "That is the Padauk wood. It usually signifies Chaotic Magic, which in other words, is yours. "

Shifting the three woods to the side, she took the remaining boxes with her back into the store room and returned with two vials.

She opened the first vial and it held a long shining black feather. "This is the tail feather of a black phoenix. This indicates the change in your beliefs and I'm also using this because of your past bond with a fire phoenix. "

She then indicated the second one, "This is something special. I have never used it so it will be an amazing experience I'm sure. This is the claw of an ancient Oriental Dragon. They are extinct now though. Hmmm... I think I will have to crush the claw. All in all, this will be one of the most powerful wands I've ever made and that's saying something, I assure you."

Harry grinned smugly before asking," I understand the reasons for you choosing these materials. But what I find confusing is, why am I not the one selecting them by seeking them out with my magic?"

"Who says you are not?", Maeve countered.

Sighing at his blank look, she elaborated, "I have a gift that lets me see the most important parts of your life based on the thoughts you think in my presence, and an intuition that helps me understand a person. I also have the ability to 'copy' a small part of a person's magic to analyze it. I can't use the magic but it helps me understand the magic the person wields. I also have a few other gifts that I have acquired throughout the years that help me in my hobbies. So, you see, I exactly know what your magic needs, since I am using your magic to identify the materials."

Harry gaped at her in awe. She was so small yet she was so powerful.

"Please do close your mouth. It is terribly unattractive. Now, do you want any particular design carved on the handle?"

"Maybe a snake?"

Maeve nodded. "Perhaps some gems can be included too?"

Harry acquiesced. "Yes. But I'd like to use the gemstones that I have in my possession."

Harry pulled out his pouch and placed the three stones he'd grabbed from the Chamber.

Maeve's eyes widened in wonder. "Why didn't I think of this? I must be getting old...You see, I actually planned to use the stones purely for decoration; but I've changed my mind now. I believe I shall bind the stones with the wood using rune magic. I can assure you now that your wand will definitely be a masterpiece", she declared delightedly.

Harry grinned smugly. He knew there was a reason for his sudden decision to grab the coloured stones. Good to know he wasn't going mental.

" What are their names?"

"See this blue coloured one, it is 'The Blue Garnet'. It is a very, very rare stone. The bright green one is the 'Jadeite' and the black one is the 'Black star sapphire'."

Harry nodded, memorizing their names.

"Now go. I have work to do", Maeve ordered.

"When will the wand be ready?"

"By tonight."

"I will come with Silvertongue and collect it then". She nodded absentmindedly.

Seeing an opportunity, Harry casually asked, "What did you say your age was again?"

Maeve lifted her head and sent a cold glare at him. Harry quickly fled, muttering, "Well it was worth a try."


Harry looked around the shopping mall that he'd just arrived at. It was big, just like how they showed in the television shows. Ignoring the lustful and envious glances sent his way from several of the male and female population, he sauntered around until he spotted a shop on the third floor that looked welcoming enough.

Just as he'd guessed, the shop was nice. He quickly grabbed a few pair of jeans, shirts, t-shirts and trainers and then paid for it with the pound notes he'd exchanged from the bank.

Finally done with that, he finally realized how hungry he was and made his way to a fast- food restaurant that resembled the one he'd seen Petunia taking Dudley to when they were younger.

He ordered everything that had an attractive name. He figured if the name was fancy, then so was the dish.

The food was so greasy and delicious that he couldn't believe he'd missed out on this for all these years. Maybe he should bring Luna, Ginny and Neville here sometime in the future. He couldn't believe that the Wizarding World was missing this.

Maybe he should send Voldemort a plate of this delicacy. Perhaps then, the man would change his mind about killing muggles?

Then his mind conjured an even better scenario. Draco Malfoy sitting in front of him with a greasy chicken leg in one hand and a can of brown pop in his other. He could already imagine the scowl that would adorn his face with his nose pointed up in the air, drawling disdainfully, "What in Merlin's name is this, Potter? You honestly can't expect me to eat this...whatever this is, like some barbaric uncivilized muggle. And this? What exactly is this?! It looks like hippogriff's piss to me and you want me to drink this? You've finally lost your marbles, Scarhead..."

Grinning gleefully, Harry scraped his plate as much as he could without appearing unseemly. Leaving a hefty tip, he quickly left to return back the Diagon Alley.

Harry spotted Severus Snape exiting 'Slug & Jiggers Apothecary' and he quickly hid himself inside a crevice in the wall. Even though he was quite unrecognizable now, he was pretty sure he would be recognized by people who knew him well.

After Snape was gone, he quickly entered the shop called 'Magical Menagerie'. He bought a large open-top glass cage that was warm on the inside but cool on the outside. He also bought a few warming rocks of different sizes and had them placed inside the glass box. He had read that the baby snakes had to be kept in warm boxes until they were acclimated to normal temperature. On his way out, a gilded silver cage caught his eye and Harry bought it without a moment's hesitation.

He'd never had enough money to buy something expensive for his Hedwig. Now, that he did, he wanted to spoil her rotten. A warm rush of affection flooded him when he thought of all the hardships she'd endured all these years because of him and for him.

What was it with him? He didn't bat an eyelash when he killed two people in cold blood last night and now he was consumed by so much affection for his pet?

Deciding to think about it later, he strolled leisurely into Knockturn Alley with his purchases shrunk in his pocket and found Mr. Forge's shop.

"Ah. I was expecting you Mr. James."

"Good morning, Mr. Forge. Are my armours ready?"

"Yes. Yes of course. A goblin delivered me the basilisk skin to me a few hours after you left. I worked on them all through the night. I have to say the basilisk skin was of the best quality I have ever seen and worked with. The serpent must have been ancient."

"Yes. It was. More than a thousand years actually."

Forge's eyes widened in awe and a gasp left his mouth. "Really?"

"Yes. Really. Now my armour?", Harry asked amused.

"Yes. Yes. I have it right here" He quickly fetched two boxes and opened them; one held a dark green armour that was made from dragon hide and another one was a dark black made from the basilisk's skin.

"They come with gloves too", Forge informed him.

Harry nodded and had them packed in a bag. Harry left the shop in a brisk pace after paying the man.

He just had one more thing to do before he could return to the bank.

He apparently had house-elves bound to the Potter House who were taking take care of the Potter manner and the House's other properties in the current Lord's absence. But the Black, Slytherin and O'Dorchaidhe Houses did not have any elves bound to the them because all the bound elves had died, except for Kreacher of course. So, he now had a job to bond a whole horde of elves into his service, so that they could take care of his properties and he also needed to take a few elves along with him to the Fortress.

But, before that, he had one more job to complete. Harry moved to a dark corner and called: 'Kreacher'

"Master wishes to see me?", Kreacher asked in a monotone before muttering under his breath, "Why does the half-blood master look different? Kreacher wonders..."

Harry narrowed his eyes at the filthy creature. The reason for his Sirius' death. In all honesty, he could understand why Kreacher betrayed Sirius. Sirius had been cruel to the elf and the elf had retaliated in its own fashion. He was torn because he did not want the reason for Sirius' death to be alive but at the same time he did not want to murder the creature in cold blood.

Having read a few of the Black House customs during his fifth year and from Kreacher's own ramblings, Harry made his decision. "Kreacher, I, Lord Black, have decided that you have done your duty well as the bonded elf to the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black; I, hereby, give you permission to end your service and have your head rest along with your forefathers."

Kreacher's eyes welled up and he began sobbing in large hysterical gasps before he managed to blubber out, "Thank you so much, Master. You are the kindest master. How Kreacher dreamed to have his head on the wall for all his life. My father will be so proud of me. Thank you Master. Good bye."

Harry nodded. Now since that hurdle had been crossed, he was quite pleased with himself. Sometime later, he came to a shop that Silvertongue had told him sold unbonded elves. Harry sighed.

Harry again sighed when he looked at the number of elves that were standing in a line looking at him hopefully; he had a soft spot when it came to house elves. He swiftly assigned ten elves to the Black House, fifteen to the Slytherin House and another fifteen to the O'Dorchaidhe House considering that the last two were one of the oldest and largest Houses in all of Europe. He also selected three elves- Tiffy, Nipp and Sunny as his personal elves who would be accompanying him to the Fortress.

He decided on Black and Silver uniforms for the elves bonded to the House of Black; Green and Silver for the elves bonded to the House of Slytherin, and a Royal Purple and Gold uniform for the House of O'Dorchaidhe. He had his three personal elves wear a simple black uniform with silver and gold trimmings.

After paying the man a hefty sum, a very tired Harry reached Gringotts in record time. He never knew there was so much to being a Lord. Merlin, he might even start getting grey hair. He shuddered at the thought.

Harry was thankfully interrupted from his steadily increasing pessimistic thoughts, by the red light and an alarm bell going haywire from the wooden crate which contained the serpent eggs. His eggs! They must be hatching.

Fatigue all but forgotten, Harry rushed to the shelf and carefully pulled out the crate before placing it on the floor. He promptly settled himself on the floor besides the crate, only then did he remove the lid and peeked inside.

Harry let out a delighted laugh. Yes! Thin cracks were appearing on the eggs. The black egg had larger cracks on it considering the fact that it was the largest egg of the three. The smallest one was the green one.

Sure enough, it was the black egg that cracked first before a small black head peeked out of it blinking at him blearily with bright yellow eyes.

Harry murmured softly in parseltongue and watched in fascination as the long thin black body emerged out of the cracked remains of the egg. Merlin, it was nearly 20 inches long. It would definitely grow to be a large serpent.

Harry held out his palm and the hatchling wound itself around his palm. Before Harry could react, the snake sunk its little fangs into his wrist. Surprisingly though, he only felt a brief flash of pain and a warm pleasant feeling spread throughout his entire body. Harry realized belatedly that the little one must have bonded with him marking him as its own.

::Hello hatchling::

::Massster...It is very cold::

::Yes. I know. Get into this box. It is very warm. Your nest mates will soon join you::

It quickly slithered into the glass cage and quickly draped itself on a warm rock.

Harry turned just in time to see the sapphire blue snake with lidless black eyes emerge fully out of its shell. Its triangular head resembled a King cobra but he wasn't sure what species it was. He was quite sure that the snakes themselves had no idea of it either. Oh well. They would all just go along with it.

Harry held out the same wrist where the black hatchling had bit him. Just as he predicted, the blue snakeling also sunk its fangs at the exact same spot as the black hatchling had done before him. Afterwards, he placed it in the glass cage along with the black serpent.

The little green one took the longest time to rip its head out but it still was unable to completely get out of its shell.

Harry crooned softly, ::C'mon little one. We are waiting for you::

A beautiful green head poked out with startling silver eyes, a little forked tongue moving in and out of its mouth. The snake was only 6 inches or so in length. Harry felt like a proud father when the snake finally slithered onto his hand.

Harry named the black hatchling Leviathan. Harry was pretty sure his Leviathan would live up to his name when he grew up, given the fact that his namesake was a Hebrew primeval sea serpent, a symbol of chaos.

Sirae was the name he gave the little sapphire snake after the three-headed blue serpent that was known to steal a person's years from a dream.

::And you little one?::, Harry asked the little emerald serpent.

::I am a female master::

::A Female. Would you like to be named Annabelinda?::

::No master. It is very long.::

Harry nodded. True, it was indeed very long.

::Then what about Koevasi?::

::No master. I can't pronounce it::

Harry again nodded. She kind of had a point. It might be hard to pronounce sometimes.

::Okay. I think Tiamat is nice, don't you think?::

She shook her head ::The name does not have a pleasant ring to it master::

Harry stopped and gave her a hard look. She fidgeted.

Harry sighed and fired out another half a dozen names; all to which she shook her head in the negative. Harry was just about ready to pull his hair out. Who knew naming a tiny serpent could be this much difficult.

::Really. Why can't you be like your brothers?::

The snake just sniffed haughtily.

Harry had run out on all the female names he knew. Just then an elusive name he'd been trying to remember for some time came to his mind.

Harry gave it a final try and hesitantly asked, ::Iara?::

Her silver eyes practically glowed in delight when she heard the name. ::Yesss...::

Thank the heavens.


At exactly 7 in the evening, Maeve had sent word through Silvertongue that his wand was ready and that she would be waiting for him in the meeting room in exactly one hour. In his over-enthusiasm, he'd ended up coming thirty minutes earlier and was now pacing the room not knowing what to do.

"Ah ha. I was right. I knew you would end up coming a lot earlier than I told you to.", Maeve grinned, sticking her head inside the door.

Harry glared."Is my wand ready?"

"Yes. Yes. Just one more thing to do."

She held out a small vial in front of him and asked him to fill the vial with his blood right up to the brim. Harry frowned in confusion but did what she asked. She hastily turned her back to him and hunched over a box that he knew had his wand, chanting under her breath. He patiently waited for her to finish whatever that she was doing with his wand.

Finally, she turned to face with a delighted grin playing on her lips. She held a velvet cloth in her arms which she slowly uncovered to reveal his wand with a small childish 'ta-da'.

Harry was at a loss for words. The wand was simply beautiful. The handle was a pale yellow with a raised metallic blood red serpent coiled around it and a small pear-cut jadeite was placed near its tail. If he looked closely at the serpent, he could see that the red colour was actually his blood moving inside it.

Just above the handle where the serpent's head rested, the red wood was twisted around a trillion-cut black star sapphire into an Eternal celtic knot. And from just above the knot rose the front end of the wand polished to a shining black. The flat base of the wand held a round-cut blue garnet in the middle.

"The wand is a total 14 inches in length with the front-end alone being a lengthy 8 inches. Its disposition is rigid and unyielding, just like you I suppose. You will have a hard time controlling this wand. Another thing, Lord Potter. You are not supposed to touch this wand until you first tame your wild magic."

"Why is that?"

"As you know, magical cores are actually, in a way, sentient. Your untamed core will recognize that this wand can be used as a channel through which it can be free. So, if you try to touch it now, it will put all of its magic into it, trying to escape. That will no doubt kill you. So, until your magic answers your command, it will remain a danger to you."

Harry acknowledged that it was a reasonable explanation.

"Now before you leave, I have to warn you about something I Saw while I was creating your wand. It appears that your wand, in a way, represents the different outcomes of our future. Your decisions and fortitude will influence them. In other words, you will either be the reason for the start of a new cycle or you will be the reason for the death of everything. So make your decisions wisely and never change your path. Unless you do that, we all will fall."

Harry stared at her with an unreadable expression on his face. Two different outcomes...Tree of Life and Tree of Death. Oh yes, he knew what she was trying to say. His decisions...his fortitude...yes, he understood perfectly.

A/N: Hey! I hope you enjoyed this chapter. A big thank-you to all the people who offered to beta for me. The previous chapters will be replaced with the beta-d version of it as soon as my beta 'lovingsiri' sends it to me. I have to say, I was completely amazed that so many of you replied to my question. Anyway, I counted all the votes from both 'adultff dot net' and this one. For now, 10 of you say 'yes' to a fling and 11 of you want Draco to be Harry's first. So, you all keep writing me what you think, I'll count them again before I write a Jacques chapter and if the majority says yes to a fling, I'll write it accordingly.

Also, I'm really glad to know that so many of you are enjoying my story so much *blushes* and that you also take the time to let me know that by reviewing me! Thank you !

I'll post the next chapter as soon as I can :) Until then, Keep reviewing and well...keep reviewing ! :P