Moon: Hello, I'm back! And here's to a militarized Harry Potter fanfic! This is less about waxing lyrical about the pitfalls of the HP society and more about seeing just how many Death Eaters you can blow up! I also promise a wide scale of tactics. Anyway, I do not own Harry Potter and would be a good deal richer if I did!
Chapter 1: Rachel Sarah Jackson
"Don't wanna be another player loosing in this game, I'm trying to impress upon you, we're not the same." -Disturbed, Divide
Harry Potter was not a happy boy.
On the list of terrible summers that he had, this was easily the worst so far, even outranking the one where Dobby got him in trouble for the use of magic. He was stuck in the Dursley household yet again, only this time, none of his friends were contacting him. No letters from Sirius. No updates on what was going on now that Voldemort had returned. Nothing.
He had seen Voldemort return with his own eyes. He had seen him kill Cedric Diggory, who's only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and laugh about it. He'd suffered a full-blown Crucio, fought the most dangerous wizard alive at fourteen, and barely escaped with his life. And what did he get out of it?
He got thrown back in a jail with guardians who hated him, not allowed to use magic and being completely left on his own.
Harry had nothing to do but stew in his guilt and frustration, suffering from repeated nightmares about Cedric's death and how he might have prevented it. He wallowed in the grief of loosing a friend, even if he wasn't a close one Cedric was a nice guy. He was engulfed in frustration over being abandoned by his friends, mentor and the one family member that he had left. He missed Sirius so badly it hurt.
He had no outlet for this powerful feelings, except kicking stones in the pathway or annoying Dudley, his overweight bully of a cousin. He had no one to talk to about what was weighing down on him.
"Why did I have to live when my parents didn't?" Harry muttered to himself one particularly dark night. "Why couldn't I just sleep above the clouds with them?"
There was one particular day that he didn't want to talk about...with anyone, even if someone was talking to him. He had been having a bath, thinking about Cedric, feeling cold and heavy. Slowly, his head had slipped under the hot water.
It was only when water dripped into his lungs that he broke the surface again, coughing and struggling to breathe. After that episode, Harry only took showers, and spent a lot of time aimlessly wandering the confines of his neighborhood.
His only escape was a radio he had salvaged from the gifts Dudley had gone through and disposed of, despite being perfectly functional. He would put it on play with the volume down low so the Dusleys wouldn't hear, listening to news talks to singers on the air. He did it more frequently now. Elvis Presley's siren-like voice was proving to be a well-welcomed escape.
The other thing was a tattered copy of Ender's Game that he had gotten for a quarter at a neighbors garage sale. Reading about Ender's trials made Harry feel like his life wasn't quite as terrible as it could be. Yet, anyway. And more than anything, it was the strategies of war that drew Harry to the book.
He'd give anything for a few spaceships. That would deal with his Voldemort problem quite handily. Find which house he was staying at, nuke it from orbit. Done and done, wouldn't take him more then an hour. Then he could finally go to school without wondering who was conspiring to kill him next.
Harry sat on a swing in Little Whining, hating his life, hating Lord Voldemort, hating Albus I-know-what's-best-for-everyone-but-don't-expect-me-to-tell-you-what Dumbledore, hating the Dusleys, and generally being a very angry young man in general. His hand twitched on his wand, which he kept in his pocket. Only the threat of being expelled and having his wand snapped kept him from unleashing his frustration with a wave of magic.
He was alone. Just like he had been for all those years before he had known he was a wizard. If only he had ordered books on magic. At least he'd be able to study while he was stuck here. At least he'd have something to do other then tolerate the Dusley's verbal abuse and threats. At least he'd have something to do other then be stuck with his own thoughts.
He was even denied the comfort of his owl, Hedwig, because she had gone off with a letter for Hermione and was yet to return. Hedwig was a smart owl, so this lead Harry to believe that she was being kept away from him. This, of course, made him angrier.
"Cedric is dead, I saw it, and now no one's telling me a bloody thing." Harry muttered, kicking at gravel under the swing. The swing shifted under the strain. "Damn them all." He'd been picking up some interesting language from Dudley, who had turned into a full-blown delinquent – an overweight one at this point.
Petunia had finally put him on a diet, which was making him more unbearable then usual.
Suddenly, a chilling sensation went down Harry's spine, like pins and needles. A chill of fear. He froze, hands clenching the iron links of the chains, knuckles whitening. He knew this feeling and he dreaded it like he dreaded Voldemort himself.
This always came with a Dementor.
A frightened scream ripped through the air.
It was a girl.
Harry sprang from the swing, wand in hand, and ran in the direction of the sound. It was an ingrained instinct of his to help others, even the muggles of this neighborhood. He rounded the corner.
There were two dementors on the street. They had cornered a girl and were hanging over her. The girl's legs had given out. They would give her the Kiss any minute.
Harry's blood boiled. If there was one thing he hated above all others, it was seeing a helpless person being put in danger. Without giving it a second thought, he whipped out his wand. "EXPECTO PATRONUM!" He bellowed, with all his righteous fury behind the words.
A white stag thundered forward from the end of his wand and rushed the two dementors, antlers lowered in a charge. It forced the nightmarish creatures away, kicking and thrusting its horns, and sped further into the distance, driving them along with it.
Harry immediately ran to the girl. She was panting and breathless, her face pale. He ran to her side and knelt down.
He hadn't taken in her physical appearance when he had seen the Dementors bearing down on him. But now that he was more relaxed, his eyes took her in and his heart suddenly started pounding. Her hair was brown, slightly wavy and long, reaching past her shoulders and down to the small of her back. She was wearing a leather biker jacket and black jeans. Her feet were cloaked in iron-heeled combat boots, laced with red. Her skin was a pale white, and she blinked a few times, bright blue eyes stared up at him.
"Are you alright?" Harry managed after a moment.
Shakily, the girl started to stand up. Harry took her hands in his own, trying to ignore the sudden tightness in his chest and helped her get back on her feet.
The girl blinked several times and stared at Harry. "What...Dementors...couldn't see...where's my wand?" She asked, her voice trembling slightly.
Harry gave a slight start, his face slightly red. He would have liked to have thought that he would've known that there was a pretty young witch in his neighborhood, considering how long he had been stuck here. He looked around and saw a black wand lying on the pavement several feet away.
"Is that it?" He asked, pointing to it.
Relief flooded the girl's face. "Yes...there it was. Those horrid monsters took me by surprise, and I dropped it." She walked over, her feet slightly steadier, and picked her wand up.
She turned around and looked Harry up and down. "You...you saved me." She said.
"Uh, yeah...I reckon I did," Harry responded awkwardly.
The girl broke into a smile. Suddenly, she ran up to him and threw her arms around his neck. "Thank you so much! I like my soul where it is, and without you it would have been Dementor food! You're an angel!"
Harry could feel the blood rushing to his head. He'd never been hugged by a girl his age before – definitely not one that was considerably attractive.
The girl let go after a moment and said solemnly, "I owe you my life, and I'll do anything I can to repay the debt I owe you." She raised her hand. "My name is Lady Rachel Sarah Jackson. What's your name, knight?"
"Um. Uh. Harry Potter." Harry stammered out eventually, taking her hand.
Rachel shook hard and said, "I really do owe you one. I'll be lucky if Mum ever lets me go sightseeing again after this. I don't want you leaving the safety of the ward lines, wizarding Britain isn't tourist country right now, you should go with a troop of guards, lalalalala. How is she expecting me to interact with other kids my age with bodyguards hanging over me every second?"
She glared up at the sky. "I wonder what Dementors are doing so far into muggle territory? Shouldn't someone be watching for them, to make sure they don't eat defenseless muggles?"
"Wait," Harry said, his head spinning, "I'm sorry, but what do you mean, bodyguards?"
"My bodyguards," Rachel responded. "Given my station, mum usually has several following me around. I like Edmund just fine, but it's impossible to chat with other girls with him hanging over me like an ax that will fall if they say something slightly inappropriate."
"Uh, I dunno if it's rude to ask, but why do you need bodyguards?" Harry asked.
"I'm my mother's only child by birth. She blood adopted Rayne, but I'm her Heir because I was born to her and dad. Well, after dad died down here my mum's been a bit paranoid about something happening to me. I practically have to sneak out of my own palace to go places." Rachel responded, twisting strands of her brown hair between her fingers.
"What do you mean, your dad died 'down here'?" Harry asked in growing confusion. This girl got stranger every time she said something.
Rachel looked confused at the question for a moment. Then she looked around and a dawning understanding came to her face. "Do you live around here?"
"Oh, then you're a muggleborn." Rachel nodded, looking pleased with herself for figuring that out. "Of course. I take it you wouldn't know about Elysium, then."
"Elysium?" Harry echoed, wracking his brain.
He hated it when people had to explain things that should be common knowledge to him. He might have heard Hermione say something – it sounded vaguely familiar – but it was getting away from him.
Finally something occurred to him. "Isn't that the Greek afterlife? Where heroes go?"
Rachel laughed. "Well, yeah, the names the same. But Elysium is also the name of the only all-wizard populated country in the world. The Castle Of the Sky. The Secret Safe Haven. Elysium, my home. My country. My birthright."
There was a moment of silence while Rachel waited for Harry to comprehend this. Harry, for his part, simply stared dumbly at her as she turned everything he thought he knew up on his head.
All Wizard country...
Harry's mind spun at the implications of this statement.
A home just for people like him, without having to hide magic or deal with relatives like the Dursleys. A world where you could use magic every day without making sure you weren't being watched.
The gravity of it weighed down on everything he'd ever been told, and threatened to overturn almost everything other wizards he talked to thought.
An all wizard country. One with no muggles. The closest he had ever seen to that was the all-wizard small town of Hogsmede, that was close to Hogwarts and far away from any muggle establishment.
"Seriously?" He managed weakly at last.
Rachel giggled. "Yes, seriously. I guess you really haven't heard – well, we do our best to keep ourselves hidden. The charms cast ended up being so powerful that most outside wizards doubt that we exist. But we do."
"But...but, why? Why hide?" Harry asked, dazed.
"Oh, that's a long story, and tied into our history." She smiled at him. "Since you saved my life, I think I'll start repaying you by letting you in on the secret."
Immediately Rachel launched into speech, sounding very important and professional. "Our country dates back to the time of the Greatest Four. You've heard of the witch burnings? Well, they weren't all unfortunate muggles who got misblamed or framed. Often they found real witches and wizards, and if you weren't careful you got burned alive. The Greatest Four and their teacher, Merlin, were the only Magus's that were still around after Avalon vanished into the Mist."
"Avalon is real?" Harry asked, overwhelmed.
"Yes, Avalon, King Arthur and Morgana Le Fay were all real." Rachel said. "Their impact on the world was important – even the muggles never forgot them completely, now matter how powerful the memory charms were cast over the land. It was a land of justice and harmony. Only, it didn't last. You know that Morgana learned magic from Merlin, only to turn on him in the end, right?"
"Yeah. Wasn't it because she thought he'd done something to her mother?" Harry asked, thinking about the time he'd read one version of the King Arthur myths.
"That's one suggestion. Her potential reasons have been blurred over time." Rachel said with a slight frown. "I don't know exactly why, myself. Anyway, she turned on both Merlin and King Arthur. Thanks to her plans and mechanics, Avalon was torn apart from the inside. Using the psychologically broken bastard son of Arthur – Mordred – Morgana dealt Arthur a deadly blow. She tore about his Knights by inciting an affair between his queen and his most trusted warrior. The world fell into civil war. Arthur gave up and fell into a deep slumber. Avalon vanished into Mist. Excalibur fell into the waters and hasn't resurfaced. Merlin's wife, Nimune, was entombed in stone and vanished without a trace. The Magus either fell in battle or were taken with the remains of Avalon."
Rachel paused, either out of respect or for the sake of dramatics, before continuing. "Merlin, as you can imagine, was distraught over what had happened to his wife, friend and homeland. He was the only one left. He walked among muggles for several years before happening upon, one at a time, the Greatest Four – Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Helga Hufflepuff, and Rowena Ravenclaw."
"The Founders of Hogwarts?" Harry blurted out, shocked.
Rachel looked at him in surprise, and then nodded. "They did many things over the course of their lifetime; yes, creating that school was a way of protecting young children from the witch burnings. It was a means of preserving magic in the face of hardships, a fortress of protection. But creating Hogwarts was hardly the only thing they did, though it is an important part of the story. They were fledgling Magus, and although they had created a school, the youngest – Salazar – feared that it wouldn't be enough."
Rachel began to pace at this point. "You see, Salazar had a gift of sensing evil and ambition in people and in the earth itself. He realized there was a very real danger approaching. Morgana did not perish with Avalon – or failing that, her influence remained, driven by her hatred of Merlin. She reached out with a withered hand and spread poison through the minds of the muggles, fostering hatred and distrust of magic. She told them that magic came from Hell, and people who used them were devils in disguise. There were a handful of muggles who sought to make a name out for themselves by exterminating the magical people – completely and totally. I understand modern muggles have a name for it – genocide."
Harry, engrossed in the tale, shuddered as the word hung in the air. "Wait, you mean they knew where to find the wizards? I thought our society was hidden."
"It wasn't back then." Rachel replied grimly. "After the collapse of Avalon, magicals were still recovering. They hadn't separated themselves, they had intended to keep living alongside their counterparts as they had under Arthur's rule. But discord was sown after Arthur was gone."
The brown haired girl raised her hands dramatically. "While the wizards were more powerful then the muggles, they were fewer in number after the devastating loss and war. Many young witches were lost to fires and hanging. The magical people turned to Merlin and his proteges, begging them to wipe out the enemy armies before they lost any more of their children."
"Salazar Slytherin had a hard life. His mother was one of those claimed by the fires. His father, a muggle, had betrayed them to the villagers. He barely managed to escape with his own life. He struggled through life, and had to resort to some dark magics to defend himself at his lowest points. And for this reason, Morgana started whispering to him, hoping to seduce him...and use him to destroy Merlin once and for all, for he was the last thing she hadn't destroyed. Without him, Avalon would never return. The world would plunge into darkness."
Rachel paused again, taking a deep breath. Obviously she was reaching the most important part of the story. Harry watched her, rapt with attention. She smirked slightly.
"Unfortunately for her, she underestimated Salazar's good heart. He was ambitious, but not cruel – he was devoted to making his people's lives better. He went to the woman he pined for, Hufflepuff, and they devised a plan. One that could move their little ones to a safer place, one that would hide their people from view. And one that, hopefully in the end, would silence Morgana's evil whispers."
"Hang on!" Harry protested, finally managing to find his voice again. He shook his head and blinked at Rachel, gesturing vaguely with one hand. "That's not the story I was told. I thought Salazar Slytherin was a bloodline supremacist. Didn't he leave the school because he couldn't convince the others to hold that opinion too? I thought he hated any student that wasn't of pure wizarding blood."
Rachel stared at him as if he had just told her that Abraham Lincoln had advocated slavery. "What? Who the hell told you that? That wasn't him at all. Slytherin was cunning and a master of deceit, yes, but he was a good man. He protected all magical children, regardless of their parentage. If he hadn't made his sacrifice, we would all be lost."
"Sacrifice?" Harry echoed.
"I'll get there in a minute. The Greatest Four, lead by Merlin, created the first muggle-repelling wards," Rachel said. "They began building a city, which was populated by wizards escaping burnings and muggles with magical children they were desperate to hide. It was protected by Hogwarts and the most powerful barriers they could offer.
"Morgana's shadows took a mortal form again," Rachel continued explaining, "And she lead the muggles towards Hogwarts, which was originally a fortress that the wizards hid in. While Merlin, Godric, Rowena and Helga fought against the onslaught of attacks, Salazar began a complex spell. It was one that would raise the city of magic out of the ground, away from Morgana's touch, away from the muggles, and would take the rest of the magical world into hiding. So not only could the muggles not find them, Morgana would lose her power."
"Halfway through the casting, Salazar walked out into the field. He knelt before Morgana and pretended to swear allegiance to her. Morgana, thoughtless in her triumph, gave him a slice of her power. Then in a blink of an eye, Salazar drove a knife into her heart and used the power she had given him to complete the spell. Elysium broke free of the earth. Hogwarts shimmered and vanished from view. Muggles dropped their weapons, having forgotten why they were there.
Morgana was enraged; before she faded back into a black mist, she turned her wrath on Salazar. It caused him wounds so great that even Helga could not heal him, and he died in her arms. She wept and swore that she would find him again in their next life. Its said that she died of grief the next morning."
Merlin was more grieved then ever before, having lost two of the pupils that were like children to him. He charged Godric with taking care of Hogwarts and retreated to Elysium, taking Helena Ravenclaw with him. He raised Elysium above the clouds and, determined that the tragedy would not repeated itself, wrapped it in enchantments so tight even Godric and Rowena's students forgot it existed. Merlin vanished into one of the lakes. Helena Ravenclaw's descendants became the High Queens of Elysium."
Rachel finished with a flourish, and looked expectantly at Harry. For a few long moments, Harry simply stared back. What were you supposed to say when you were told a story like that?
"Uh...wow." He managed. Internally he winced. Great response, Harry.
Rachel seemed not to think much of that. "A bit overwhelming? I guess. I'm going to have a long talk with whoever told you that Slytherin-advocated-blood purity nonsense. I mean honestly, it didn't matter who your parents were back then – if you were a witch or wizard, you were in danger and a member of the magical community."
"So...wait. Castle of the Sky...you mean, it's literally a floating continent?" Harry said, trying to wrap his mind around this.
"Yes," Rachel said. "We had to invent a whole new series of wards when the muggles invented airplanes, so none of them would crash into us. But yes, we float. Kind of like that muggle film-thing made in Japan. Speaking of muggles, they're interesting these days, now that they're not try to kill us, aren't they? We like 'borrowing' muggle techonogy and working magic into it. Myself and my little sister Rayne could spend days in the forge if mum would let us."
"Cool," Harry murmured. That did sound appealing. "My friend's dad also likes to work with muggle things. But the Ministry doesn't think very highly of it, and his office is considered laughable."
Rachel made a face. "That's ridiculous. Muggles are fascinating. I mean really, they can use hand-made illusions to make up stories! They have to do everything we do without magic! Just thinking about how they get through every day is interesting."
It wasn't quite as interesting to Harry, but he had spent his whole life with such mundane leanings. And besides, Rachel's enthusiasm was contagious; her smile made his stomach twist.
"Hang on," Harry said, his brain finally registering something else that Rachel had said a minute ago. "You called Elysium your birthright. What does that mean?"
Rachel gave Harry a beaming, regal smile. "It means, dear Harry Potter, that I'm the princess of Elysium. I will take over from my mum, High Queen Elizabeth, when I get older."
Harry stared at Rachel for one long, painful minute. The ground underneath him tilted. "You're a princess." He echoed dimly. He had just rescued a princess and he hadn't even realized it.
"Yes, I do believe that's what I said," Rachel responded playfully.
There was a cry of an owl directly overhead. Harry and Rachel looked up to see a colorful messaging bird circling overhead. A letter was dropped into Harry's hand.
Confused, Harry opened it and scanned it quickly. He paled, causing Rachel to blink in alarm. "Harry?" She looked over his shoulder at the letter.
Harry was standing frozen to the spot, reading the letter once, twice, the words refusing to sink in. He was getting expelled? They were coming to snap his wand? He'd be banned from the magical world? He might be getting a criminal trial?
Rachel read quickly. "They're going to snap your wand for saving me?" She said in disbelief.
"Evidently," Harry said weakly, turning to look at her.
"Aren't they watching, though?" Rachel demanded. "Don't they know about the Dementors? Aren't there exceptions for life or soul-threatening scenarios?"
"Not when your name is Harry Potter, evidently." Harry mumbled. He looked around worriedly, waiting for the Auror responsible to apparate onto the road and separate him from the magical world for good. "What am I going to do?" He asked helplessly.
Rachel's face became a mask of righteous anger. "Not wait around here!" She undid one of her two necklaces and held it out in front of her.
"What's that?" Harry asked.
"International Portkey to Elysium." Rachel responded. "You can stay with me until these idiots figure out how stupid they're being."
"Seriously?" Harry asked, eyes wide. "You don't mind?"
"I owe you my soul, Harry." Rachel said with deceptive lightness. "I think keeping some idiot from snapping your wand is where I can start repaying you. Now grab on!"
After a second's hesitation, Harry took hold of the chain. Rachel closed her eyes, and there was a rough tugging sensation at his stomach – like the portkey to the Quidditch World Cup, but much more powerful.
With that, Harry was gone from Little Whining.
And towards a different outcome for the war.
And here...we...go! Bit of a short start, bit of an info dump, but it gets better and better from here, you can count on it! You can expect a much bigger cast in later chapters, mostly canon characters, never you fear! I haven't quite decided on pairings yet - it's not nessecarily Harry/Rachel - but expect Harry, Rachel, Hermione, Ginny, Neville and Susan to play big parts in this story.
Read and review please!