Moon: Welcome back everyone! Here I'm introducing the better part of the recurring cast, so there's some stuff to get through introducing everyone. I hope you like the characters! Anyway, I'm still on the fence when it comes to pairings for the most part, I have a few in mind but I wouldn't mind asking you guys what you think! I do not own Harry Potter.
Chapter 5: On Elysium, the Beginnings of an Army
Harry touched down, along with everyone from the room, in the gardens he and Rachel had first transferred to after the incident with the Dementors. He'd come to like the gardens a good deal, they were quite beautiful and a nice place to relax after an intense day of training, watching the sun set casting rose shadows over the ground. Sometimes, Rachel would join him and they would chat about menial things as they watched the lights in the sky. The castle sat not to far in the distance.
He turned around to face the group, watching as his fellow students regained their footing and then looked around in wonder. Hermione was leaning a bit on Ron, staring in disbelief, amazement and shock as she took in the gardens. Harry smiled and shook his head slightly, it was good to see his best friends again. The group was mostly staring around everywhere, trying to take everything in, much like he had arrived here himself.
"That went well," Rachel said, satisfied. "A good number more showed up then I was expecting, but its nothing we can't handle."
"Good," Harry said. "I'm glad for your help, Rachel. Everything."
"No problem," Rachel said with a smile. They both looked at each other for a long moment before turning their attention back to the other Hogwarts students.
"Welcome to Elysium," Harry said warmly. "These are the castle gardens. Now your quarters have been set up within the castle grounds, that's where you'll be staying until further notice," he gestured behind him to the towering castle.
"If you're in need of a medical examination or have a question to ask, don't keep it to yourself. We're here to help," Rachel said. With a friendly smile, she added, "Feel free to have a little look around, we're going to inform the castle of our arrival."
Hestia Carrow had been staring at the shining palace of Elysium for several long moments before she realized that she was crying. At that very moment, her legs gave out and she collapsed on the grass.
Elysium really was real. She was safe. Safe from her mother. How many times and Alecto said that they could never get away from her, all while brandishing the wand that had brought them so much pain ever since they were born? How many times had she ended up in the Cellar for twice as long because she had tried to get away, struggling to hold onto her humanity and protect her sister? How many times had she gone to sleep trying not to cry with the pain, because if Alecto had heard that would only result in further punishment?
But here she was, in a fairy tale kingdom, far, far away from hell.
"Hestia?" Flora's voice came from somewhere to her right, Hestia looked up to see her older sister crying herself, staring blankly up at the towers of the castle. Flora had been skeptical of Harry's claim that he could give them sanctuary, but unlike so many others he had actually delivered on it. "I can't believe it."
"Neither can I," Hestia whispered, her fingers locking in the soft, welcoming grass. "Neither can I. We're safe, Flora. We're safe." After a second, she laughed gently, something she couldn't remember doing in the longest time.
Flora also giggled a good amount, but then doubled over, wincing in pain. Hestia scrambled over to her sister, who waved her off impatiently, "Just an old one, H. Nothing serious."
"Our mother's experiments are always serious," Hestia said darkly. She looked over in the direction where Harry and the princess Rachel had left. "The princess said that we can ask for a healer. I think we both better go see one."
Flora nodded weakly, smiling ever so slightly. Hestia was relieved, she was worried her sister would be more stubborn then that.
Colin Creevy was ecstatic, taking pictures of everything he could see. He had thought entering the wizarding world was a fairy tale! He was on a literal floating castle! If only he could write an article on this place, he would have so much to talk about. He couldn't wait until his parents came here too, he would have so much to show them. An all wizarding country. Colin couldn't wait to walk around downtown to see how everything worked with magic, with no humans to hide it from they could really go all out making it part of daily life. Colin was so happy to be a part of it.
Dennis was also extremely hyper, talking eagerly with Sally-Anne while pointing wildly at everything he could. Sally was looking around kind of stunned, blue eyes wide as though they were trying to take in everything at the same time. Colin grinned. He knew that Harry Potter would come through for them one way or another, no matter what the newspaper had been saying about him all summer. And he had. He knew Harry would help. After all, he'd saved them before.
Tracey Davis was in heaven. Almost literally, she figured as she spun around in circles, trying to take the brilliant world of Elysium in.
"It's so beautiful," She told Lilith Moon, who was gazing up at the castle, her usual ice-plate eyes cracking into something like wonder and happy. It was such a far cry from her usual icy reserve, and that only served to make Tracey smile harder. "It's so beautiful, Lilith!"
"I know," Lilith said softly, a lone tear streaking down her cheek. "I know."
Tracey stumbled to the ground, still grinning, dizzy but almost giddy with glee. The castle stood in front of her like a shining jewel, and she was far, far away from her father and his insane friends. She would never take the Mark. She would never become a murderer. It was the best feeling in the world, like walking out of Azkaban and away from the Dementors. Harry had come through for her, despite her being a Slytherin. There weren't many people out there like that. Maybe it was more then she deserved, but Tracey promised herself that she would earn it however she could.
Blaise Zabini was watching the world around him with wonder and scrutiny. He knew that he was taking a gamble when he accepted Potter's offer of sanctuary; it was a bold move that his family hadn't done for generations unless they were certain of results. Blaise had been trained for years as a sleeper agent, wearing different ideologies and attitudes like skins as he grew close enough to make his kill. But something inside Blaise was rebelling against this after the end of his fourth year at Hogwarts and Cedric's death.
Blaise had respected Cedric and known him casually. He knew that his family's usual approach to the war would result in many, many more deaths before it was over. He could step in and start defending his fellow students personally, but how many would he be able to save before he was compromised? Then Harry Potter had returned to the wizarding world saying that the castle of legend was real, and he was creating an army to face the Death Eaters. And every good army needed its spies, didn't it? Besides...Blaise's eyes traced the crowd and happened upon two young girls, Heather Campbell and Luna Lovegood, who were talking animatedly. Yes, he felt much better about his chances in with this motley crew.
Fred and George were impressed. Harry had always been one for mystery and adventure, but he'd managed to top himself yet again with this trip to Elysium. Their mother had often told them about Elysium as a bedtime story! And yet here they were. Fred and George had also realized that this was an entire world that hadn't been introduced to their pranks yet. The possibilities were endless! Fred was also planning to help Harry out in this 'army' he mentioned, they'd stood side by side with Harry before, there was no reason to change now. George was right behind him on that, figuring he'd best watch Fred's back on the field. They'd be the perfect team.
Su Li was thrilled to pieces. Finally, some real safety! And to be frank Su was glad she'd be skipping Umbridge's DADA classes, there was something extremely off about that woman that the young raven didn't trust.
She was talking with the ever watchful Susan Bones about what they might to now that they were here. Susan, ever the future-looking, carefully plotting girl hidden behind the Hufflepuff mask, figured that Harry would need other tacticians. She was already probably analyzing the weaknesses of the Ministry building, Su Li figured with some amusement.
Su herself was on the fence on whether or not she was planning on joining Harry's army; she'd never fought for her life before and the closest she'd come to death was in her second year thanks to Voldemort's basilisk. But she really did owe the snake faced freak for that one, didn't she?
Mandy Brocklehurst stood agape, impressed with Harry once again. Mandy had always been an idealist especially when it came to other people, which is why the Daily Prophet's attitude towards Voldemort's return had been a great source of distress for her. She had been so relieved when Harry Potter came back to the school, unharmed and offering an alternative to just waiting for Voldemort to make another debut that would force the Ministry to admit that he was back. Mandy knew that she and her best friend Megan Jones, who she was holding hands with, weren't going to be great warriors, but something she was good at was giving speeches. Maybe Harry would let her rally the troops or send messages to the surface below, to convince some adults to come up and join them.
Graham Pritchard examined the situation he was now in with a good deal of interest. So Elysium really did exist. This called into question a lot of things that people on the Surface seemed to consider complete fact. And if those things weren't true, what about the other things everyone had been told was simple fact? Including the vaulted invincibility of the Death Eaters and of course Tom Riddle himself. Graham had always prided himself on his eye for detail. It was one of the reasons he had known the Daily Prophet was spewing lies from day one. He had watched Harry quite carefully over the years, and he knew that the boy had always been on their side, often protecting them from monsters that the adults were either willfully ignoring or just ignorant of at great risk to himself. The adults calling him insane and dangerous? They were far more of a danger to the ones they said they were protecting them Harry was, and they had four years worth of idiocy behind them to prove it.
With the Ministry being bumbling, useless fools at best and obstructive tyrants at worst, it had been easy for Graham to go with Harry. This way, they had a fighting chance. This way, more people would survive.
Eleanor Branstone was beside herself with eagerness and amazement. She all but bounced along the edges of the garden, looking at everything she could, smelling the flowers and trying to climb the trees so she could see out across the city. She was on a fairy tale continent! Her mother would be thrilled to see this place, they had both enjoyed fantasy stories so much before Eleanor entered the magical world. It was like her dreams coming to life!
Zacharias Smith was beginning to think that he made the right decision, coming to Potter's meeting. Considering Potter's long, hard life, Zach had wondered multiple times if the boy should transfer and start seeing a mental therapist before he tore his mind apart. There was too much stress in his life and it would be better if he left for a quiet place and stopped trying to put himself in more danger.
"That kid is going to get himself killed, if he keeps this up," He remembered saying that to himself when he'd heard through the Hogwarts gossip mill that Potter had almost been Kissed by the Dementors that had been stationed around the school.
Except it was one thing to say a boy is crying wolf and another thing for him to prove himself by taking you to a continent that by everyone's word should not exist. And if Elysium did exist, anything really was possible, wasn't it?
Padma and Pavarti Patil were glad they hadn't dismissed Su Li's suggestion of coming to this secret meeting. Pavarti knew that she had gotten off on the wrong foot with Harry during the Yule Ball and she hoped that she'd be able to get a better relationship with him in the future, and that she'd be able to be of use to him in this army thing. Padma wasn't about to leave her twin's side and she wasn't about to tolerate any more of the Ministry's stupidity. There is no more Voldemort, really. Then Cedric Diggory just dropped dead on his own accord, did he?
Lavander Brown was nervous. It was possible to just be here for sanctuary, right? You weren't required to fight. Lavander wasn't much of a fighter, she hadn't been very adept at the duelling club she had joined in second year. Harry had said that the army was for volunteers. That was a relief, she figured.
Hermione Granger was in shock. She'd always prided herself in logic and believing in simple, grounded fact, and yet here was a legendary castle staring straight back at her in total disagreement with almost everything she'd believed about the wizarding world prior to this. This is where Harry had been staying? No wonder they couldn't reach him! Hermione hoped that her best friend wasn't too angry with her for not writing to him over the summer; hopefully her following him here made it clear that she was still willing to follow him to the bitter end.
Ron Weasley was overwhelmed. This was what his best mate had been up to all summer, when the Order had been tearing its hair out wondering where he'd disappeared to. Wow. He'd been staying in a castle and was on casual speaking terms with a princess. Ron felt the stirrings of familiar jealousy building up in his stomach and forced them down with effort. He was not going down that route again, not after everything Harry had gone through last year and over the summer with what the Daily Prophet had been doing. No, now he was going to do the job of a best mate and stick by Harry no matter what. Including joining this odd army of his.
Cho Chang was fighting back tears. This was distressingly common for her ever since the death of her boyfriend Cedric, but this time she was fighting it for a different reason. Cho had known Cedric had died because of Voldemort. Harry told her before he left that year, and Harry was always honest with others. Cho had believed that no one would do anything about it, and the idea that the Dark Lord was just going to sweep in and take everything over by storm had become more and more possible to her grieving mind. Then Harry had re-appeared and offered her sanctuary, and a chance to pay back the monster who had taken Cedric from her. Cho roughly brushed the tears away from her eyes. No more crying, she decided. It was time to get even.
Ginny Weasley was grateful that Harry hadn't been hurt for the months that he had been missing and completely at awe over the fact that she was in Elysium. The army, her mother would be really unhappy to know that her daughter was out fighting with the soldiers, but Ginny no longer wanted to sit idly by while the world went to hell. No, she was going to help Harry fight. If nothing else, she wanted to make sure that Harry stayed safe. He'd gone through too much alone over the years, to much pain and distrust. Well, he wasn't alone anymore, and someone was going to watch his back. Ginny planned on being that person.
Dean Thomas was inordinately pleased that his belief that Voldemort had returned was proven true. He had been dorm mates with Harry ever since they had entered Hogwarts together, and it was a source of great anger for him the way the papers and Ministry had been treating him. He looked out over the forests of Elysium, and he wondered what exactly the 'boy wonder' had planned for the future. Dean would follow him on that, there was a magnetism to Harry that made you believe in him, once you had gotten to know him.
Daphne Greengrass knew she had made the decision that would protect her sister when they touched down on the legendary city of the Founders. Daphne had weighed the risks of joining her parents cause and found it wanting, greatly. Astoria was the jewel of Daphne's life and there was no way she was going to risk it over some petty blood feuds. Harry had said that they didn't have to take part in the war if they did not wish it. Daphne, perhaps, would have to join to prove that she wasn't a sleeper agent or a coward hiding behind the stronger men for protection, but Astoria would be safe. Harry Potter, for whatever else he might have been, was always ridiculously noble. He wouldn't put her Tori in danger. And that was enough for Daphne.
Neville Longbottom fainted upon his arrival to Elysium. Hannah Abbot sat by his side, having elected herself his minder until he woke up, watching the proceedings with wonder. The garden was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen; Neville would enjoy it a lot when he came to again. Portkeys had never agreed with him much. She wouldn't be much of use in a fight, the young girl had decided, but that didn't rule out being a Healer. Hannah believed that healing was her calling, and every good army needed people to help the injured.
Neville had the potential to be a great warrior. Hannah had seen it in the way she had watched him over the years. Here, he had the chance of unlocking his full potential. Hannah was sure of it.
The group collectively turned to Harry and Rachel Jackson, who had returned from the castle. There was a certain authoritative look to Rachel that she didn't have back on earth, which was attributed to being back on her home, where she was the authority.
"Everything is in order," Rachel Sarah Jackson said, "Those of you who have family that you wish to bring to Elysium, please follow me. The rest of you, follow Harry. He'll brief you on everything we have prepared so far, and then you'll be directed to your dorms. Ten hut!"
A good portion of the group broke off and followed Rachel down a lower path, while Harry gestured amiably for the rest to follow him.
Back at Hogwarts
Minvera McGonagall knew that something had happened when only four students came to her classroom the day following the first.
She'd known, of course, that nothing good was going to come out of Umbridge's arrival at the school. That woman false kind face was more then obvious to McGonagall, though the depths of the woman's depravity were still unknown to her. The old teacher had suspected something was occurring during dinner last evening. The tables seemed to be buzzing with unease and some sort of excitement. Children had been looking back and forth secretively, whispering to each other and pointing here and there as they talked. During the meal, some Gryffindors had even gotten up, walked over to other tables and talked to rival house members, all with a look of utmost urgency on their faces.
Even the Slytherin table seemed to be joining in on this odd hubbub. It seemed to mostly consist of girls, though some of the boys were involved as well. Blaise Zabini was oddly conversational that evening, as he mostly stayed silent even in class, only speaking when called on. The same with Lilith Moon. There was a low hum of energy in the air that night.
A quick glance at their head of house Snape had proved that this was not an ordinary occurrence. The man was watching his students with a certain amount of curiosity, frowning slightly though not enough for the toad woman to pick up on their mutual confusion.
They didn't need to give her any reason to start railing against their students any more then McGonagall knew she would the very next day.
Dumbledore had chalked it up to Harry's continued disappearance, but McGonagall wasn't sure it was that simple. There was something that the students were planning, and she had only hoped that it wouldn't get them into any deeper water with the Ministry. Fudge was refusing to see reason, and any serious resistance to the toadlike woman was only going to make him crack down harder. It was a miserable situation to be in, but there was nothing the aging witch could do about it, except only keep her students as safe as possible.
And then no one had come to class.
They were all Slytherins and all boys, and they looked just as confused as she felt. Draco Malfoy was just staring into the classroom, a look of blank shock on her face. Crabbe and Goyle, his two equally dumb accomplices, were just staring around with blank expressions on their faces.
"Boys," McGonagall said, a sudden feeling of forbidding welling up in her stomach. "Where are your classmates? And where are the Gryffindors?"
"I don't know, Professor," Draco said dumbly, just staring. "I came to class on time but I haven't seen anyone. The halls are just deserted."
McGonagall rose from her seat. "You four stay here." She left the room and hurried in the direction of her house. What did they think they were doing? Trying to boycott the new teacher? Hiding out in protest? What were they expecting to achieve?
When she got to her house, she found it empty. Almost completely. There were a few boys and one girl left behind, but aside from that they were simply gone. Empty.
McGonagall raced back down the stairs to find Professor Flitwick, Pomona, and Snape all gathered in the great hall, talking agitatedly. "Over half of my house is gone," She reported, her voice faltering at bit as she finally reached them.
"I'm missing most if not all of my female students," Snape reported, eyes narrowed. "Most of the boys have remained but a good chunk of them are gone as well, especially among the lower years. The remaining ones don't seem to understand what happened."
"Most of my Ravenclaws are also missing," Flitwick said in his squeaky voice. "No sign of a break in, and the paintings said that they didn't see anyone suspicious."
"Half of my Hufflepuffs are gone," Pomona fretted, "Half. The other half seems to be rather confused, but they aren't hurt. They said that they didn't hear anyone come in last night, but where could they have possibly disappeared to?"
"I think I might have an answer to that," The four Heads turned and saw one of the Hogwarts ghosts, the Bloody Baron, floating over to them.
"Children entered the Room of Requirement last night," The chained ghost droned, "A good four hundred of them.'
"Why?" McGonagall whispered. "What happened?"
"Last night they were all speaking of freedom and safety from the dark forces they are convinced are coming," The Bloody Baron said gravely, "They were speaking of Harry Potter giving them sanctuary in a hidden land. They went into the Room of Requirement and they never came out. The youngest said that they were going to Elysium, where they would be safe from the dark lord and from the ones who hide his return."
The floor suddenly felt unstable to McGonagall, and she was grateful that she had a chair to lean on. "Elysium?" She whispered. "Is that code for something? Elysium doesn't exist."
The Bloody Baron's eyes were suddenly full of pain, old pain and memory. "But it does, Professor McGonagall. Elysium is as real as Hogwarts itself. Elysium is where my love fled after the ancient battle, taken from me forever. That is where the children are now."
He paused for a long moment, and then said, "Because they didn't think any of you would protect them."
At Grimmauld Place
Both Remus and Molly halted what they were doing when Sirius bolted into the sitting room with a letter in hand, eyes blazing. "Remus, I've got a note from Harry!"
Remus got to his feet immediately and moved to his friend's side. "Oh thank goodness!" Molly said in relief, "Is he alright?"
"Dear Sirius, Remus and Mr&Mrs Weasley, I have found a safe place for us to stay until we're prepared to fight Voldemort. I've been there for over two months now, I'm sorry if I worried you by disappearing but I didn't really have a choice. Sirius, is you come here you won't be in danger from any law force, you can walk around freely. Remus, there's at least one support group for werewolves inside the palace that you can join just fine. Mr and Mrs Weasley, make sure you bring Charlie and Bill with you. If Percy hasn't come back we'll have to get him later. The chain in this envelope is a portkey, I'm waiting at Elysium. Harry." Sirius read aloud, eyes widening the further he read in the letter.
"But Elysium's a myth, isn't it?" Remus asked tentatively.
"Has Harry ever lied to us?" Molly responded determinedly, "And this does sound to be better for both of you. I want to make sure Harry's alright before I do anything else. Arthur! Get Charlie and Bill in here, quickly!"
A moment later, the rest of the Weasleys piled into the room. Quickly Sirius removed the portkey and the group vanished in a flash of light.
And there we go! The straightforward recruiting and training will start happening next chapter, along with the general British public's reaction to four hundreds students disappearing which will admittedly be VERY NEGATIVE. Hey, no one said that it was going to be easy...Don't worry, Voldemort will make his first move very soon, along with longer chapters.
Read and Review please!