"Fleur!" her mother said, sounding both shocked and angered by her daughter's intentionally barbed comment. Both Apolline and Jean glared at their daughter sharply, and received absolutely no reaction from the young veela.
The effect on the boys was immediate. Viktor's entire body tensed, and his eyes darkened. Draco raised his chin in defense and looked at Fleur as if she really was a 'creature'. Saiph recognized both of her cousins' defense mechanism and narrowed her eyes at the intentional slur.
'She's actually trying to annoy them…' the young metamorph thought.
Harry's reaction was the most visible. His eyes flashed with the telltale blue of his lightning and immense magical power, prompting both Artemisia and the Headmaster to step forward in order to intervene, if necessary. Artemisia stepped right up to Harry and placed a calming, but firm hand on his shoulder. Fleur, in shock, flinched at the sudden spike of power that had come from the boy in front of her. Her parents watched with interest as Harry calmed himself, they both knew Artemisia was helping the boy with his power.
It took a mere handful of seconds for Harry to calm himself, and then shoot the young blonde veela the trademark 'Potter Grin'. "Having enough skill at the age of elven to play for your country is much more than sitting on a broom for hours," he said, which only seemed to disinterest Fleur even further. As she was about to comment again, she was stopped by the sudden arrival of a woman who seemed to attract attention in a manner very similar to her own mother – only the attention was as cautious as it was admiring.
"Boys, Saiph, I hope you're behaving," Narcissa intoned in a beautiful but icy voice. Fleur, knowing she'd probably caused enough damage, stepped back to the protection of her mother, as the new arrival seemed to have picked up on the situation immediately. Saiph cracked a grin at the unease her aunt could create with just her voice, it was awe inspiring to the elven-year-old.
"Mrs. Delacour, Mr. Delacour, meet my aunt - Draco and Viktor's mother," Harry said his grin now very real, and very cheeky, "Mrs. Narcissa Krum, Lady of the Ancient and Noble House of Black." Harry bowed his aunt forward, proud to introduce her. Apolline quirked a pleased grin at Harry's introduction, and noticed that Viktor seemed to relax but the smug look on Draco's face intensified at the title bestowed on his mother.
"Aunt Narcissa, Mrs. and Mr. Delacour, and their daughter Fleur," Harry's tone never wavered - finding humor in the snobby angel's change of demeanor.
"Pleasure." Narcissa said, eyeing the girl that caused Harry's magic to flare. Luckily most of the guests were either drunk, approaching drunk, or thought that they had imagined the brief spike of power. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed her husband and cousin swiftly making their way over with guarded looks of concern plastered on their faces.
Nodding, Narcissa turned to Artemisia, "You must be the Headmaster's wife – Artemisia? We've heard nothing but praises of you."
Artemisia smiled at the gracious complement, and positively beamed when she noticed that neither Vladimir nor Sirius faltered in their approach – both unaffected by her Allure. Both Apolline and Artemisia were quite pleased to make the acquaintances of men who, like their husbands, were able to ignore the powerful pull of their Veela magic.
"Sirius Black – it is a pleasure to meet you again," Jean said, in a very light French accent. He further surprised them by stepping forward and embracing Sirius in a one armed hug while shaking his hand.
"Jean," Sirius grinned, "You've come a long way," ever the rogue, Sirius' eyes quickly took in the beauty of his friend's wife.
Jean grinned, "Zat I have. Meet my wife Apolline and my daughter Fleur." He introduced them, this time giving Fleur a harsh glare which she knew to mean 'do NOT insult this man.'
Narcissa cleared her throat prompting Sirius to turn to them, a look of puzzlement on her gorgeous, elegant features. She quirked an eyebrow, and Sirius chuckled lightly "Jean and I worked on a mission together during the war." He said by way of explanation.
"Zis man helped ze French keep You-Know-Who out of our borders during zat mission." Jean said, giving Sirius more credit. Narcissa gave Sirius another look.
"What? The old bag did teach us French remember?" Sirius said, causing the four cousins to laugh while Fleur looked bewildered as did the other adults.
"Yes, but I did not think you'd actually picked any of it up," Narcissa retorted. The conversation continued with the adults while the boys made their escape when it was deemed polite, though Harry looked back at Fleur one more time. Saiph ended up spending over an hour with Fleur getting to the know girl. By the end of their conversation, she'd concluded that Fleur was essentially a female version of Draco – aristocratic and snobbish at first, but a dry and wittily humorous person once she opened up.
"So… I have to ask. What was with the whole ice-queen act around my cousins?" Saiph asked as they watched the boys' converse with Tonks and a few other school mates.
"I am ze female child of a veela line," Fleur said – her accent a little thicker than her father's - as if that explained it, not realizing that Saiph had no idea what a veela was. Both girls wore mirroring looks of confusion and blinked rapidly.
Saiph hesitated slightly before coming to the conclusion that Fleur could be trusted, "I grew up in a muggle orphanage, Fleur."
Fleur was surprised and thrown off balance and accidently blurted out, "I thought you were with your aunt because your parents are fugitives." It suddenly caught up to Fleur and her face turned a bright red.
Saiph far from being upset given her anger laughed quietly, "Nope and you should really see your face right now."
Fleur gave Saiph a light shove as Saiph laughed, "Come on." Fleur quietly whined.
"Alright fine." Saiph held her hands up in mock surrender, "So explain to me what I'm missing. I only know that Veela are beautiful and turn into fire flinging birds when angry."
"Well it usually takes a lot to get a full transformation," Fleur said, laughing a little at Saiph's innocent words. "Veela's, even half - or quarter in my case, if female will eventually mature into a full veela. It means that when I hit puberty, probably around thirteen, I will come into my allure. Some of the older boys at Beauxbatons already look at me like a piece of meat. A lot of the girls will not talk to me either," Fleur said quietly. "My family is well known in France, as is my heritage."
"Well that's pretty pathetic of them," Saiph replied easily. Fleur gave her a blinding smile and she saw why Harry compared her to an angel, she did seem ethereal. They passed some time in silence watching the boys and their friends joke around. "My cousins aren't like that," Saiph spoke definitively.
"Now they aren't," Fleur. "They will be." Fleur sounded so defeated that Saiph let the slight to her cousins go. She couldn't see them ever behaving like some of the drooling idiots Fleur described, Aunt Cissy would not allow that.
"Saiph!" She heard her name called by Tonks. She turned and saw her family gathered by the fireplaces, Narcissa and Andromeda were glaring at Tonks while pushing Harry to go collect Saiph.
"I'd better go now if your intent on alienating my cousins," Saiph said and turned a smirk on Fleur, letting the French girl know she was kidding.
"Can I write to you?" Fleur asked with a hopeful look in her eyes, she didn't have many friends outside her family.
Saiph nodded with a smile, "I'd like that. Durmstrang's rather competitive. We tend to make allies over friends." She said as she got up giving her new friend a small hug. She met Harry after he had gone half way. Harry, true to his usual personality, winked at Fleur which caused her to send the boy one last glare. Harry laughed and Saiph shoved him forward a bit, causing the boy to laugh even harder.
"You're an idiot sometimes," Saiph muttered.
"You're just now realizing that?" Draco asked having heard the comment.
Narcissa flicked his ear, "Do not start now, we have almost made it through the whole night with a catastrophe." With that the family was ushered into the fireplaces at the exact moment a stink bomb went off, luckily Narcissa was the first to use the floo. Vladimir glared at the boys and pushed them into the floo so that they ended up tumbling out the other side.
"Alright boys and girls, lords and ladies, this is our row!" The shout came from Sirius who was leading the combined Black, Krum, and Tonks' family up the quidditch stands. Sirius was decked head to toe in lime green and scarlet stripes including face paint, hair dye, and his obnoxious looking jester hat that had dangling little vultures on each tip. He was followed by Ted who was dressed in jeans but had on two layers of coats followed by a Vulture jersey on top, his face was painted too - done in green with a red vulture layered on top. The boys were dressed similarly to Ted but their vultures moved across their faces. Tonks was dressed in a winter Vratsa Vultures coat and a matching scarf that covered her mouth, her hair was alternating between green and red. Saiph was dressed similarly to the boys only her jersey didn't have one of the players' names on the back. She had a green Vulture hat and her hair was scarlet for the match. Narcissa, surprisingly, was decked out in green jeans with a green coat that had a large red vulture on the back that flapped it's wings periodically and her face was painted with a small green and red flag. Andromeda was dressed similarly to Narcissa only she had a large green and red felt hat on.
The crowd was already singing and chanting back and forth at each other, and the league officials outlined separate areas of the stands for fans of each team. Of course, the crowd was separated from their rivals to avoid fights, and spell-barriers and wards were erected to deter spell casting – although, occasionally spells still made it through the barriers. The fans were packed to the stadium capacity, with one more snuck in for most parties. There were vendors moving up and down the stands selling everything from butter beer to singing hats whose jaunts got increasingly dirty as time went on, rather like the fans. They filed into their row taking up about half of it with their large family. They fit right into the crowd, with Sirius getting compliments on his outfit.
"Here Saiph," She was handed a bulky set of binoculars. She turned to Draco with a raised eyebrow. "It's scary how much you look like mum when you do that. They're called omnioculars. They can record plays, slow them down, and enhance the view." Draco explained pointing out features on the device.
"It really helps until you get used to the speed of the game," Harry added.
"I can follow you guys just fine," Saiph said.
"Our practice brooms have limits on them," Viktor's rough voice said over the crowd. "These go full speed ahead."
"Full steam," Saiph corrected almost automatically, Viktor shrugged but nodded. Saiph placed the odd binoculars to her eyes and focused them on the stands across from her. They zoomed into the point where she could see the eye color of the people on the other side. "Magic," Saiph whispered a bit in awe, again.
"Pretty cool huh?" Harry said to her quietly.
Their attention was pulled to the center of the pitch as green and red flares were set off. The crowds cheering stilled slightly before coming roaring back as the official for the match appeared in the smoke.
"WITCHES and WIZARDS welcome to the 211th matchup between your VRATSA VULTURES and the MONTANA MANTICORES!" The announcer's voice came over the quidditch pitch and was met with riotous applause for the Vultures, and boos for the Manticores. The entire Black and Krum family shot to their feet cheering for their team. Harry and Draco pulled Saiph to her feet.
"Now welcome to pitch the visiting Manticores, Vasily Dimitrov!" A good amount of cheers went out for Dimitrov despite being on the Manitcores. Saiph looked at her cousins for explanation.
"He's a starting chaser for Bulgaria," Harry shouted over the crowd.
"Nikola Nikolov, Alexi Yotov, Roman Chebishev, Svetlin Stoev, Maksim Talev, and Clara Ivanova!" The last player and only female player for the Manitcores once again received applause from the Vulture fans, as she, like Dimitrov, was a starting chaser for Bulgaria.
"AND now your starting lineup for the Vultures!" the announcer roared - one by one the players flew out of the tunnel, and the entire stadium erupted into cheers.
"At Seeker, Krassimir Chapkanov! Your Chasers, Alexi Levski, Gregori Levski, and Vasil Bozhanov! The Beater pair of Pytor Vulchanov and Ivan Volkov. And lastly your Keeper, Teodor Todorov!"
The teams flew out and stopped in a straight line on opposite sides of the referee. The Bulgarian flag along with the Vulture and Manticore flags were raised. "Please stand for the Bulgaria National Anthem." A singer came out to stand in the center of the pitch. The opera like rendition of the Anthem was finished with applause from the crowd.
"And the quaffle's up! Grabbed by Alexi!" The announcer's voice became background noise as Harry, Draco, and Viktor called out plays they spotted forming before the announcer.
"He's feinting!" Harry yelled as he noticed the Manticore seeker dive.
"Don't fall for it!" Draco groaned as the younger Krassimir followed the older Talev.
"He's going to crash," Viktor said resignedly, "badly." And sure enough seconds later the younger Vulture seeker plowed into the pitch and bounced off the ground from the force. He appeared to stop moving for at least a minute before the Vulture captain Todorov waved for a time out. The medi-witches rushed out to the pitch to attend to the downed seeker and quickly shuttled the hurt player off the field. Play resumed within seconds.
"Why didn't they put a sub in?" Saiph turned to her cousins.
"At the professional level you're not allowed substitutions," Harry said with little enthusiasm, with Krassimir out they had little hope of maintain their lead.
"You guys are allowed though?" She asked knowing they played with two squads.
"Under eighteen teams are allowed up to four a game," Draco explained before stopping to jump in the air with the rest of the crowd as Alexi put the quaffle through the left hoop. "He can re-enter though," Draco finished his statement with a grin.
Meanwhile on the pitch, he Vulture Beaters were working overtime as their nearly perfect aim saw bludger after bludger cannoning towards the Manticore Chasers hands.
"Gregori scores on a long goal!" The Vulture crowd went wild while the Manticore fans were screaming for a penalty. "Vultures 200 to the Manticores 150!"
"Talev has spotted the snitch!" The announcer roared as the Manticore seeker took off bobbing and weaving through the Vulture Chasers, who tried to stop the man. Bozhanov - in a desperate attempt shot straight down into Talev's path. The two players collided with a vicious hit. Their brooms tangled and Bozhanov accidently elbowed Talev in the face breaking the man's nose.
The Vulture crowd cheered at the payback for their seeker while the Manticore fans booed and a few fired spells at the defensive barrier. The Vulture fans cheered louder as a penalty was called halting play and making Talev lose sight of the snitch.
"He's gonna get fined for that," Tonks laughed as she cheered with the rest of the crowd.
"Penalty to the Manitcores but a smart play by Bozhanov. And it looks like Krassimir is coming back into the game!" The Vultures fans gave another boisterous cheer as the young seeker came into the game looking a bit bloody but clear headed.
"Dimitrov scores the penalty and play resumes!"
"Well, looks like Krassimir finally learned not to shadow," Sirius said with a grin.
"It is about time," Ted remarked.
Krassimir was searching the pitch from a top while Talev looked to be trying to get revenge on Bozhanov. "Krassimir's spotted the snitch!" The young seeker was streaking across the pitch and dived down into play after the fluttering glint of gold. He narrowly missed two other players before a glancing hit by a bludger. The bludger allowed Talev to catch up to the young seeker. Krassimir cut off Talev, just barely missing his opponent's broom.
"Go, go, go, gooo!" The cousins were cheering on Krassimir much to the amusement of Saiph. Krassimir stayed in front of Talev, showing his skill by warding off the other seeker with his body. Krassimir banked to the right, and lashed out his arm, snatching the snitch right out of the air.
"THE VULTURES WIN! Krassimir Chapkanov grabs the seventh snitch of his career!" The rookie Seeker was swarmed by his teammates while the Vulture crowd broke out into song. Saiph was pulled into a line of people by the crowd as they swayed back and forth while singing. Her cousins, both aunts and uncles all had wide smiles on their faces as they sang.
"So how did you like your first professional match?" Narcissa asked Saiph as the family sat down to eat at a noisy wizarding sports pub. They were all still enjoying their quidditch team's win over their rivals.
"It was amazing how fast they were going." Saiph commented. "But I think I like the crowds better," she smirked at her aunt.
Narcissa shared her smirk, "Yes you can always learn some new words at quidditch matches."
Andromeda laughed loudly at that, "I still remember when you said wanker for the first time after the Holyhead, Falmouth game." Narcissa laughed even louder in response. The younger family members looked on interest so Andromeda explained. "Narcissa was seven and our father took us to the game. We had a box of course that our mother usually spelled to block out some of the worse cheers fans make up. Only she was not there that day and father was already a little tipsy. Anyway we got home and Bellatrix had been teasing her so the little angel Cissy stood up with her hands on her hips and called Bellatrix a wanker."
The boys laughed having seen Narcissa in that pose when yelling at them. "Our mother was appalled and our father had to sleep in a guest bedroom for a week." The sisters shared a fond look as the rest of the family laughed, it was one of the few good memories they held of their family.
The waiter came, interrupting their revelry, "We have five fish and chips, two chef's salads, and three burgers." He floated the plates down to each person before nodding and leaving them again.
"So what are your favorite classes?" Andromeda asked the four youngest.
"History," Saiph blurted out without thinking and promptly blushed turning red from her hair to her toes. The boys snickered but Tonks gave her own sigh, her hair turning a light pink. The two elder females shared a look.
"Oh and why is that?" Narcissa asked while Vladimir looked surly at the thought of Saiph having a crush. Narcissa pinched him under the table for his look.
Harry grinned and made a show of fluttering his eye lashes and swooning, "Because he's so dreamy." His voice squeaking at the high pitched he used. Draco, Viktor, Ted, and Sirius snickered while Saiph gave them a withering stare.
"Make fun all you want but that doesn't change the fact that that man has the body of a god." Tonks said with a dreamy look. This time Ted looked surly causing Andromeda to laugh at her husband.
"What about the Three Amigos?" Ted said turning the attention to the snickering boys.
"Runes," Harry said with a grin.
"How are the older students treating you in that class? I know you're on your own in that one." Vladimir asked with some concern.
"Honestly it was a bit cold at first, but I demonstrated some of the runes Aunt Cissy showed me and they warmed up to me pretty fast." Harry said with a shrug and shared a smile with his blond Aunt.
"Defense," Viktor said simply to Ted after Harry had finished. The elder adults shared a smile at Viktor's one word reply, well used to his silence by now. The family knew he wasn't one to ramble on about anything, save for quidditch.
"Transfiguration is easily leading though I do like potions now that we've finally gotten past the introductory material," Draco replied in his usual bored manner of speaking.
"Yeah, Professor Hastein explains things thoroughly unlike Snivellus," Harry said to which Sirius grinned.
"Harry!" He was reprimand by Narcissa and given a warning look. Draco punched him in the arm. Harry though maintained a grin not really caring, seeing as Sirius wasn't upset.
"Who's Snivellus?" Saiph asked innocently and with some hesitation given the two negative reactions.
"Severus Snape," Narcissa corrected glaring at Sirius. "He's Draco's Godfather and the only one of my former acquaintances that I allow near my boys." She replied frostily.
"He's a potion's professor at Hogwarts," Draco added quietly.
"He also hates me for no reason," Harry said a bit petulantly. Draco glared at his cousin and was about to hit him again but his aunt's voice stopped him.
"Enough Harry!" Andromeda reprimanded him, "Let's change the topic please?" She also kicked Sirius under the table sending him a glare. Sirius frowned but gave Harry a look to let it go. Harry blew out a breath but nodded.
Before they could change topics the whole pub suddenly quietened. A large bald man with an impressive beard had steadily been ranting about muggles, and very swiftly began shouting, prompting the entire pub to fall into a tense silence. They turned to look and Harry caught the man's eyes. The bald bearded man and his friends stiffened before one of them whispered something to him, with a dark glint in his eyes, he downed his pint before swaggering over to the Black table. Vladimir and Sirius had their wands in their hands and resting on the table as he came over.
"Well if it isn't the reason for the Dark Lord's downfall," The man slurred out. "You're the damned reason we still have muggles." The man spat at Harry's feet.
Sirius and Vladimir rose but were cut off by Harry who jumped to his feet and glared at the man, "That bastard got what he deserved curtsey of my muggle-born mother." Harry stressed the word muggle-born. The man snarled pushing Harry into the table and grabbed for his wand but was shot in the chest by Sirius's stunner. The man's friends fired on the Black table but Narcissa already had a shield around the table.
Harry was pulled down to the ground by Draco. Viktor was already pushing Saiph under the table as Draco and Harry moved under it. Hermes appeared in a brilliant flash of fire, drawing the eyes of the drunkards. Vladimir and Sirius easily took the five others down with rapid spells that left Saiph wide eyed. Both Vladimir and Sirius launched themselves over the table and quickly summoned the wands of the would-be abusers. They conjured some restraints and Sirius's foot came down on the back of the bearded one's back, waking him up painfully as Sirius put the restraints on him before cuffing the others with Vladimir. Each attacker had at least one broken bone and were bleeding from the spell choices of the two aurors.
As they finished, two aurors rushed in with their wands out but quickly put them away seeing their superiors had the situation under control.
"Captain Black, Captain Krum," The two aurors greeted them. Vladimir quickly explained the situation while Narcissa jerked Harry up from underneath the table. The other three elven year olds scrambled out. Narcissa looked furious, her eyes narrowed into slits.
"Harry how many times have I told you about your temper!" She reprimanded the boy while Hermes healed the cut Harry had on his hand. "You could have been killed!" She laid into him while Sirius frowned at him in displeasure.
'She's right young one,' Hermes sang mournfully while he healed Harry's hand. He had cut it open on a knife when he was pushed into the table. Narcissa stopped her words at the phoenix's trilling. Harry looked down at the floor trying to contain his feelings. He rarely angered all of his guardians but knew he had stepped in it this time. And to make matters worse his phoenix was irritated with him again. 'You put your whole family in jeopardy, especially Saiph.' Hermes cuffed him with his wing at that, Hermes had grown fond of the girl who shared his love of sarcasm. Harry chanced a glance at Saiph who was still wide eyed at the display of magic put on by Vladimir and Sirius. He looked relieved to see his family unharmed but quickly looked back down after meeting Sirius's steely gaze.
Sirius walked over his steps deliberate and booming to Harry. Sirius gripped Harry's shoulder, "Narcissa I believe I need to take Harry James home." Sirius's voice was hard and Harry wished the ground would open up and take him at his Godfather's use of his full name. "Hermes," Sirius nodded to the phoenix. They disappeared in a flash of fire leaving the others at the pub.
Harry was still subdued a week later once they were back at Durmstrang. His usual flair and personality were simply gone, and it was something that his Headmaster and Artemisia quickly picked up on, during his special lessons with Artemisia. Headmaster Hardrada was watching as Artemisia had the boy conjuring a bolt of lightning and manipulating it into shapes, and they both immediately picked up on Harry's lack of enthusiasm.
"Enough," Artemisia called a halt to the lesson as the star Harry had made turned into a blob before fizzling out. "Harry this will not work if you don't focus." Artemisia said sternly, her azure eyes watching the boy intently. Harry seemed to deflate at her words. "What is going on Harry?" She asked softly. Harry glanced at the Headmaster before returning his gaze to the floor. Artemisia shared a look with her husband before giving him a nod, prompting the man to quietly leave. Artemisia transfigured two chairs across from each other and gestured for Harry to take a seat.
"Harry?" She prompted him again softly, extending a bit of her Veela aura. Not to seduce but to calm - something Harry was unprepared for. The calming magic worked it's way into his body, allowing him to breathe easily for the first time since the Vultures game.
"You heard about the bar brawl?" Harry asked quietly. It had made the front page of the paper, though the report left out Harry's part in it.
"Yes that man and his friends were out of line," Artemisia replied with ease.
Harry hung his head a bit further, "What the paper left out was my smart comment that set him off after he came over to our table."
Artemisia let out a breath as she studied Harry, "I take it you got in a lot of trouble for your lip?"
Harry nodded, "Even from Hermes."
"Harry look at me," Artemisia said in a motherly tone as she placed her fingers under his chin. Harry looked at her and his eyes were dimmed from their usual emerald. "That man would have attacked without your comment, trust me." She had dealt with bigots like that her whole life.
"It wasn't so much that I did smart off, it was that I let him get to me. I put my family at risk, Saiph at risk." The boy said, and in his voice, Artemisia could almost hear the guilt eating him alive.
"Harry you're eleven. You're going to smart off every now and then. You simply picked an inopportune time, I'm sure your family have already forgiven you for it and are simply waiting for the next time your temper slips." She laughed a dainty little giggle that drew a smile from Harry.
"Have you always had a problem with your temper?" she prompted gently.
Harry nodded and gave a half grin, "It's part of the reason why Aunt Cissy taught us Occlumency at a young age."
"Does it help?"
"When I'm dueling or trying to concentrate, sure, but not usually when it comes to my anger." Harry shrugged at the end of his statement.
Artemisia nodded, "It was the same for myself." She grinned at Harry's surprised look. "Veela are very emotional creatures and aside from desire and love, the one emotion that affects us the most is anger. We all learn Occlumency, yet as you well know from Bulgaria's mascots we can still turn into giant fire-flinging birds." Harry laughed loudly at her words and she grinned at him.
"Occlumency is great unless you have a magic inside driving you like veela do, like you do." Artemisia explained. "It responds to our emotions."
"So how did you get your anger under control?" Harry asked.
Artemisia gave a saucy grin and a wink "I count to ten before I open my mouth."
"That really works?" Harry asked. She smiled and nodded at him. "Aunt Cissy's gonna kill me if it does..." He muttered causing the half-veela to laugh loudly.
"Come, let's eat." She said standing and vanishing the chairs. "Erik wants to pick your brain on long shots."
"Hey Harry, you made the front page again," Draco said as he sardonically tossed the paper to his cousin. Harry was about to lay into him, but membered Artemisia's words from a few weeks ago. He looked up and saw Draco's eyes were narrowed and glaring down at the paper.
Harry picked it up noticing first that it was a copy of the Daily Prophet, the English gossip rag that doubled as the main newspaper in the British Wizarding World. Draco had hated that paper ever since they printed a piece on the charity work of Lucius Malfoy. Harry didn't care for it either, given the paper's frequent pieces on Sirius.
He glanced at the paper and was immediately drawn to the title boldly featured on the front page. "Harry Potter - the Next Dark Lord." The article was all about Harry attending Durmstrang and what it meant for the future. As Harry's eyes roved over the story, his cousins shared a worried look as they noticed the static discharge in the air seemed to increase. Harry finished the article and nearly tore the paper in half as he slammed it down on the table. He closed his eyes and breathed in and out, counting in his head. He made it to twenty when a hand came down on his shoulder, jolting him out of his mind.
"Alright there Mr. Potter?" Professor Boddason said from above him. Professor Boddason had an easy grin on his face, "That paper's the laughing stock of journalism. I wouldn't worry about it."
Some of the tension left Harry, "Yes, sir. Besides, that harpy just insulted all of Durmstrang. I would hope for her sake that she doesn't step foot in Eastern Europe or the Slavic countries for quite some time."
Harry and the rest of the students around him shared a laugh at their Professor's words. They were well aware that most of the world did not understand their methods of teachings, Grindelwald did not help matters either. However what others ignored was that Durmstrang turned out some of the best aurors – many of their students were actively recruited by governments around the world.
"I need to fly or something," Harry said to his cousins as he loosened his uniform coat.
"Want to race?" Viktor asked jumping at the chance to put off his homework.
"Yeah, let's go," Harry nodded. He looked to Draco who declined and noticed Saiph was leaned over a magazine with another first year girl.
They took up their books and started making their way out of the Hall. They passed a few people who called out greetings and were stopped by Tonks. "Harry?" She prompted as she stood in front of the two.
"I'm good." Harry's words were a bit tense but faded into a smile. "We're going to fly for a bit." Tonks nodded and let the two boys pass her by. The boys quickly made their way to their dorm and changed but kept their fur overcoats on, they would be lucky if the temperature was in the positives.
"Mind if I join you?" Simeon was leaning in the doorway to the first and second year hall with his broom.
"You're more than welcome. We're just going to race for a bit," Harry said with a shrug. He was glad when he got back to Durmstrang that his teammates weren't too upset with him. Sirius had pulled him from their game against Poland over break after the incident at the bar. Coach Popov had benched Harry for the next game against France. Harry was devastated and worried about his teammates reactions but they had all been understanding and had ribbed him for hours about the incident.
"I need a break from my finals," Simeon said. Durmstrang had no acronyms for their final tests simply calling them what they were. The boys made their way down the narrow, unpaved path that led to the Durmstrang quidditch pitch which was nestled into a mountain clearing about a half a mile from the Durmstrang castle. The path was lit with torches that flared to life as students passed by.
They made it to the pitch while joking around with each other, Simeon made it into a snow bank.
"Two against one is hardly fair," Simeon complained as he tried to get the snow going down his back to warm.
Viktor snickered, "Who said we fight fair?"
"Smartass," Simeon said, finally getting his drying charm to work. The freezing cold snowy water dripping down his back did not help his concentration. The two boys grinned at their friend's response. "So Harry what is it you actually did to get grounded from quidditch? Sirius doesn't ever use that as a punishment on you," Simeon said thinking back to the various creative punishments Sirius had thought up. He smiled to himself as he thought of the bright pink hair Harry had to sport for a week.
"Well we were already grounded by Aunt Cissy for a prank at Bifrost. And then I may have smarted off to some arse in a bar before he pulled his wand."
Simeon snorted, "You three really need to stop terrorizing the Alley. They're going to collectively ban you." The two elven year-olds grinned in response.
"Maybe we'll finally get out of clothes shopping then," Viktor drily quipped. Simeon laughed loudly at that.
"Alright let's fly," Simeon said as they reached the Durmstrang quidditch pitch. The Durmstrang stands were decorated in various colors and flags all representing the teams the students picked this year. There was a purple and black section bearing a Manticore flag, a red and white section with a phoenix flag, blue and gold adorned another section with a Cornish Pixie, next to the Pixie was a green and black area with a basilisk flag, and the final seating section was a bright neon yellow with a dragon on it.
"Well they did pretty good this year with the colors, even with the extra teams." Simeon said as he looked around.
"Yeah but a Pixie?" Harry asked.
"It's tradition we've had the Pixie's and the Basilisk's since Durmstrang started their quidditch league. The Dragons are around a hundred years old." Simeon stopped short as they came on to the pitch he directed his wand at and area left of the closest goals. A green smoke poured out of the end of his wand and formed a line in the air. They staggered their starting positions.
"Three laps around?" Harry called to the others. Simeon waved his wand and to the side of the green smoke three red circles appeared.
"When they top one lights up go," Simeon said. The others nodded. The first flare lit up with a flash, the boys leaned into their brooms. The second one lit and Harry let out a deep breath focusing down the pitch. The third red flare lit up and the boys took off. Harry started from the last position and streaked passed Simeon as he passed him going into the first curve. He pulled under Simeon and just edged him out. Viktor was the only one in front of him as they flew through the straight away. They came to the second curve and Viktor took the inside of the curve as Harry tried to pass him. Harry slid to third, having to brake around the turn with Simeon in front of him. Harry pressed himself closer to the broom as he put on another burst of speed. He shot past Simeon, pulling level with Viktor, and tried to squeeze himself as close to the handle of his broom as possible. Harry pushed farther ahead of the others opening a two broom length lead on the others. Harry kept his lead as they went around the pitch for the second time. By now a crowd had gathered to watch the boys but Harry barely noticed as he glanced back – Simeon was behind him, and Viktor was close on Simeon's tail twigs. He turned and took the inside track around the last curve. He sensed someone closing on him and chanced a glance back, Viktor had passed into second. Harry shifted the broom taking a diagonal line cutting Viktor off from passing. He pressed down closer to the broom picking up speed a bit more. He crossed the finish line a half a broom length ahead of Viktor.
Harry pulled up on his broom slowing to a stop as some cheers rang out. "Nice one." Harry gave Viktor a high five as he pulled up next to Harry. Viktor flashed his cousin a smile.
"Well that sucks," Simeon muttered as he came to a stop looking at the crowd.
"It's not even half the school," Harry replied. "Besides it looks like others want to go. You can beat them." Simeon laughed when Harry grinned.
"Wanna go Stanislav?" Simeon called out. The other boy quickly flew up followed by a few others. They lined up as Harry and Viktor kicked back on their brooms. Simeon lit the flares sending them around again. The under eighteen quidditch players dominated the rest of the races but there were a few standouts in the races, mostly students from the Netherlands. The racers gathered quite the crowd as the day went on, with more students wanting to take a break from their strenuous studies.
"Ladies and gentlemen calm down," Came the amused voice of Professor Sturluson. By now, with only a month left of school the first years had acclimated to Durmstrang's strict orderly conduct and kept to decorum with ease. However, they were currently chirping like baby birds about to be fed as they lined up to take the portkey for Egypt. A silence slowly settled on the students as they looked to their History professor. Professor Sturluson was joined by Professor Ironside and Professor Boddason. The professors were dressed in jeans, dress shirts, and red sport coats, though Professor Ironside looked a bit comical and uncomfortable in the red sport coat with the Durmstrang crest on it.
"Now as you all know you're permitted to dress out of uniform for the trip. As such we are giving you this," Professor Sturluson held up a leather band with the Durmstrang crest. These will identify you as Durmstrang students. They are also tied directly to our own bands and work as portkeys," he gestured to the other professors. "If you misbehave or do anything else we do not approve of, we will activate the band and send you back to Headmaster Hardrada's office." The class gave a collective gulp, mostly because of the wide grin on Professor Ironside's face.
"And we have sent people back before," Professor Boddason added. They took each year on a field trip usually corresponding to the subject they were studying in History. Students very rarely misbehaved but it did happen.
"Now grab hold of the rope in front of you and try not puke," Professor Sturluson said as he took a length of the rope. He took one end and Professor Boddason took the other while Professor Ironside took the middle. As the Professors set themselves the portkey activated and the class disappeared in a swirl of blue.
They landed in a mess of bodies. "First years," Professor Ironside muttered as he picked up three students at once by their collars. The rest of the students pushed themselves up having been taken down by those who fell. Professor Sturluson looked amused (as he always did) as the students grumbled while Professor Boddason glared at his first years before cracking a smirk.
"Guess what we're working on when we get back?" Professor Boddason asked with a glint in his eyes. The students groaned as they made sure they had the right bags.
"Follow me," Professor Sturluson waved the large group of students forward. They made their way through a magical bazaar selling everything from potions ingredients to flying carpets. "Welcome to Aladdin's Market. We're staying right over there," he said, pointing to a large building. The hotel was a massive sandstone construct that towered over the smaller buildings and stalls of the bazaar.
"First one to tell me what it is gets a sickle," Professor Sturluson called to the distracted first years. Many of the students' eyes were roving over the bazaar as the yelling of dealers and shopkeepers attracted their attention away from their History professor.
"Temple of Edfu," came from about five students who were pay attention. Professor Sturluson conferred with Professor Ironside and Boddason.
"Congrats Mr. Ryazanstev," Professor Sturluson pulled a sickle out of his pocket and flicked it to the boy who caught it with a smile. The exchange effectively moved the students' eyes to their Professor. He led the students to the hotel and into a front entrance that opened up into an airy lobby.
"Professors!" They were enthusiastically greeted by a concierge dressed in the apparent blue uniform robes of the hotel. This was the third time a group a first years had come to the hotel, every year since Professor Sturluson started working at Durmstrang.
"Amun," Professor Sturluson greeted the genial worker.
"The new crop," Amun gestured to the large group of first years, though it looked as though twere less than the previous year.
"Yes," The young Professor smiled at the disgruntled look of some of the students at being referred to as a crop. "Everything in order?"
"Yes, yes," Amun assured the Professors with a vigorous nod of the head. Hosting Durmstrang students was a great coup for the hotel against their competitors. "You have the entire second floor. Two students to a room as you requested and your rooms are at the two ends and the middle. Your tours are all taken care of. I have the room keys right here. Dinner will be served at seven o'clock, you all will be in the Horus Hall for all your meals here at the hotel. If you need anything else simply let me know."
"Thank you Amun," Professor Sturluson said with a small bow of his head. He took the room keys and gave the concierge a tip. The Professors split the students into three groups to squeeze everyone in the lifts and took them up a floor. They gathered outside the lifts while the students chatted quietly waiting for the others. When the third and final lift emptied into the hall lobby. Professor Boddason whistled to get the attention of his students. They fell silent as they looked to their professors.
"Alright you will each be given a key to your room," Professor Sturluson said holding up the bag of keycards. "Simply place the card on the door and it will unlock for you. Now each of our" he gestured to the other two professors, "keys will be able to open any of your doors, so think very, very carefully before you do anything we would consider stupid." The students snickered but were quelled with three disapproving looks. "Line up with your roommate." The students paired off and were given a key and a room assignment from Professor Sturluson.
"Alright boys and girls, bags to your rooms! Meet back here in five minutes." Professor Boddason called as Professor Sturluson finished handing out the keys. "I'll take your bag." Professor Boddason said taking the bag from his colleague's shoulder.
"Thanks," Professor Sturluson nodded as he watched the students scurry around the floor to their rooms. Boddason dropped his own bag off in the first room closest to the magical lifts. He then went down to the middle most room and dropped Professor Sturluson's bag in the room before shutting the door. Professor Ironside left his things in the farthest room, closest to the emergency stairs.
Harry and Filip stopped outside room two hundred and seven. Draco and Viktor were in two hundred and nine while two of Filip's friends were in two hundred and five. Saiph and Anastasia, a Russian girl Saiph had made friends with were in one of the last three rooms. The other rooms were taken by the other four girls. Harry pushed open the door and let out whistle.
"Not too shabby," He shared a grin with Filip who nodded. The room was large enough to comfortably house two twin beds, a fire place, a bathroom and two closets. The boys each claimed a bed, Harry the one closest to the window. They checked out the bathroom which held a shower, separate bath, and a vanity with two sinks.
"Look at that view," Filip commented as he pulled the curtain back. They could see the Great Pyramids out over the distance.
There was a knock on their open door. They turned to see Draco and Viktor, "Come on the Professors are waiting." The two boys locked up and followed Viktor and Draco.
"Listen up," Professor Ironside bellowed in his indoor voice, they could hear it on both the floor below them and above.
"It's now two o'clock," Professor Sturluson said to the gathered students. "You have until five thirty. You can either go to the oasis," he was referring to the hotel's large pool and relaxation area, "where Professor Boddason will be. Or you can join myself and Professor Ironside outside at the bazaar."
"Bazaar?" Viktor asked his brother and cousin.
"Sounds good," Harry nodded as did Draco. They were joined by Filip and his friends and Anastasia and Saiph.
They all got into the lifts, it was jammed with packed with the students and Professor Ironside. Suddenly Hermes flared into existence sending students scrambling as the large bird landed on Harry's shoulders. The blast of heat in the crowded lift made the students groan. Hermes straightened and trilled a laugh.
The students looked at the bird and Harry with a mutinous eye, "What? You try telling a phoenix not to do something?" Harry defended himself and Hermes trilled, 'Damn right,' in Harry's head. Draco, Viktor, and Saiph laughed quietly at Harry's words, Hermes had singed his eyebrows off, over the break. The students grumbled until Hermes lit his tail on fire, heat once again filled the lift and remained for the rest of the ride down. The students poured out of the lift as elegantly as they could to get away from the angry phoenix. Professor Ironside's laugh carried throughout the lobby.
"Was there something you actually needed aside from pissing my fellow first years off," Harry asked the phoenix resting on his shoulder. The bird attracted curious looks from other hotel patrons and workers. Phoenixes were not as rare in Egypt as in the rest of the world but seeing one with a wizard was.
The Phoenix song filled the hotel lobby, 'I'm going to seek out some older phoenix while we're here. I will still be able to feel you though.'
Harry nodded, "Have fun." The blue and gold phoenix alit from Harry's shoulder singeing the shoulder. "AH," Harry quickly put the fire out. "Damn rooster," he muttered much to the amusement of his fellow students. No doubt he would pay for the comment later but it made him feel better. "Let's go." Harry said looking at the hole in his Rolling Stones t-shirt.
They made their way to the bazaar and made a bee-line for the flying carpets. The students were eager to see them as they weren't a common sight outside of Africa and the Middle East. Many of the students were gathered around the stall much to the happiness of the owner. He was just talking two students into trying them when Professor Ironside appeared.
"No flying or I'll have you running in noon day heat," The gruff Professor put an end to the hopes of his students. The students let out a groan but dispersed from the stand much to the seller's disdain. The man tried to glare at the Professor who responded with his own. The seller nearly closed up shop and the students remaining snickered.
"Where to?" Harry asked the group he was with. They were ambling through the bazaar that was filled with the shouts of peddlers and owners all trying to sell their wares. It was a unique experience for the students, most of which came from affluent families.
They passed by a man selling sweets and stop to listen to him. "I have barboosa, Koshaf ar asali, dates, biram ruz and much more." The Egyptian wizard called to them.
"It looks good," Draco sniffed as he looked the table over with some skepticism. The wizard didn't look too offended but did point out one of the desserts upon hearing Draco's slight British accent.
"This one made with pumpkin," the man offered Draco a small sample. Draco took the offered sweet. He took a small bight before giving the man a slight smile.
"I'll take some," Draco answered and passed out the pumpkin sweet to the group. Saiph and Anastasia bought a few items. They moved onto the next stall where the merchant was selling swatches of colorful fabric. From there they went into a hat shop.
"Look at this one," Harry put on green fez and stroke a pose for his friends. The group laughed as the fez fell forward covering his eyes.
"How about this one," Anastasia tried on a purple fez. This led to the modeling of every different color offered in the shop as well as some turbans.
"You almost look Egyptian," The shop owner commented to the Viktor as he had a black turban placed on his head by Saiph. The shop owner didn't look offended as the students seemed to be enjoying themselves.
"We'll take them," Harry grinned to all the hats his friends were wearing. Harry had a dark green tagelmust that covered most of his face, Filip had on a dark blue tagelmust, Viktor the turban, Draco had on a traditional red fez, Filip's friend Peter had on blue fez. Anastasia had a dark purple tagelmust while Saiph was wearing a light a green one.
"One galleon and three sickles," The owner said and Harry handed over the coin.
"Thanks Harry," Anastasia smiled at the green eyed boy with a bit of simpering. Harry just grinned and winked – a now typical response, from him. Saiph rolled her eyes at her cousins. They wandered around the shops for another hour or so before they were called back to go to dinner.
"Welcome to the Pyramids of Giza," Professor Sturluson said as the flying carpets stop at the wizard entrance to the tombs. The class departed from the carpets with wide smiles on their faces. This was their final trip on the carpets. The first trip they took was to the Mosque Ibn Tulun, then Abu Simbel, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings. They had spent the weekend almost non-stop visiting the sites they studied in class. At the Valley of the Kings they were given access to watch Gringotts curse-breakers open a new tomb. It was made even more exciting by the tomb giving way to a sphinx nearly ten feet tall. The sphinx had been sustained by spells on the inside of the tomb. The first thing it did was let out a decidedly cat like yawn before giving the curse breakers a riddle.
"Ahh Professor Sturluson welcome," A guide dressed in Wizarding robes approached the group. "Welcome to the Necropolis."
"Necropolis?" Came from the back of the group.
"Yes the pyramids are first and foremost tombs," the guide said. "My name is Tarek and I'll be your guide today. We will first start at the smallest pyramid - the Pyramid Menkaure." The students were led around the pyramids before being taken inside to see some of the chambers uncovered. They ended at the Great Sphinx.
"Now the Great Sphinx is a bit of an enigma. As we all know Sphinxes have female human heads whereas the statue here has a man's head. The most popular belief is that the Sphinx was built to serve as a guardian to the pyramids. It faces the rising sun which is congruent with the worship of the sun. Let's move into the temple area." Tarek said leading the group of students into the area that made up the temple. It was inside the two paws of the Sphinx.
Harry wandered around the temple he was more focused on spotting different runes throughout the hieroglyphs on the walls. He was currently wearing his dark green talegmust, jeans, and a green non-descript t-shirt. He blended in with many of the other students who were wearing the hood-like garment to cut-down on heat. "The temple was dedicated well after the Sphinx was built by the cult of Horemakhet." Tarek said as they looked around. There were two other tour groups present in the small temple. One was a wizarding family while the other seemed to be a group of adults. The group of adult wizard were dressed in black robes and seemed to be glancing around the temple.
Draco was the one to notice the group of five adults seemed to turn their gaze on the students more often than the temple walls. He saw Professor Ironside watching them as well. He moved to Saiph's side, slipping his wand into his hand but keeping it hidden by his leg.
"Viktor," Draco hissed quietly to his brother who was standing on the other side of Saiph with Filip and his friends. The group of students was slightly separated from their tour guide. As both Harry and Peter were studying the runes. Filip, Anastasia, Viktor, and a few other friends were waiting on the two rune obsessed boys. Draco nodded to the adults and then back to his class a bit away from them.
"Come, we're getting behind," Viktor's gruff voice got Harry's attention. Viktor and Draco started moving the group towards the main group of students.
"Come on Pete," Harry said placing his hand on Peter's shoulder and moving the other kid with him.
"That rune was for travel," Pete said as they walked over.
"Yeah and it forms a ward," Harry said turning to point out the rest of the scheme to Peter. They had rejoined the group on the fringe of it. Harry pointing out the runes. As he did he noticed a blue sheen shimmer around the entrance way.
"Get down!" Harry shouted as he turned and saw one of the wizards pull up his wand, having fired a spell. Harry pushed Peter down and into the other Durmstrang students. A spell flew through the space that had been occupied by Peter and Harry. It slammed into the wall sending pieces flying into the students. Harry heard screams and shouts of pain as another spell had impacted the opposite side of the students. He also saw the walls glow emanating from where the spell damaged it.
"Protect the students!" Professor Ironside bellowed as he fought off curses from one of the black robed wizards. Professor Sturluson cursed in his native Scandinavian. He quickly tried to shield the students while fending off attacks. Professor Boddason was in the same situation. Both were them taking damage as they tried to protect their students. "Send them home!" Ironside called.
"It won't work," Professor Boddason shouted.
"It's the spell - it activated the wards!" Harry shouted to his professors while pointing to the wall.
"He's right," Tarek's voice came from the side. "The wards are still active here. AHH." A purple spell went straight through Tarek's shield and set the man on fire. He fell to the floor burning as his wand was destroyed. Draco shot a water jet at the man but the flames intensified.
"Eikel!" The Dutch curse came from Boddason who had been struck on the side of his face. A deep gash opened from his right temple down to his chin. He was bleeding heavily and it was clouding his eyesight.
"Shit. They're using very dark spells - we need to do something!" Viktor said as he observed the affect Draco's spell had. Another shout of pain came this time from Professor Ironside. He had sustained a heavily bleeding wound to his wand arm. The man switched hands and finished off one of the robed wizards.
"Where in the hell is the boy?!" One of the attackers shouted.
"I don't know - just kill them all," Was the answer.
"Shit," Harry whispered. "They're looking for me." Harry looked pensive before his eyes twinkled.
"You're not taking your hood off," Saiph snapped much like Narcissa.
"No," Harry said, before he quickly drew a rune symbol in the dirt. "East, South, West, and North," he pointed to his cousin when he said one of the directions and finished with himself. "Draw the rune around the group make sure this end part points towards me."
"But," Saiph went to protest but was cut off.
"Just do it," Harry said already moving to the front of the group of cowering students. Some were trying to shield themselves with basic spells but it was only through the dogged protection of their Professors that they were still alive. Their professors, though, were quickly being overwhelmed as they pulled double duty.
Harry quickly traced the rune into the ground as he got to the front.
"Done!" Draco called over the din of the battle. He was quickly followed by Saiph and Viktor. Harry pressed his wand to the rune and started pouring his magic into the rune. It began glowing gold. As his power fed the rune a tendril of gold magic flowed from his rune to the others. As the final one rune connected a golden net flowed over the students. A spell slipped through the professors and bounced off the net. Hermes flashed into existence above him and immediately started singing. The phoenix song gave the Durmstrang professors a lift while visibly shaking the attackers.
"Shit!" The curse came from Sturluson who had been hit by flame curse. His right side caught fire and was eating through his robes scalding his flesh. Sturluson cast a bubble head charm and then the air around him flashed blue. The blue flash caused the flames to smother themselves. When it faded Sturluson canceled the bubble head charm.
"Sturluson that'll hold!" Professor Boddason yelled. The Professor immediately focused their attentions on the attackers. Their wands now a blur of motion as they fought back in earnest. They pressed their advantage as the attackers focused on the shield guarding their students. A red spell shot out of Professor Sturluson's wand and hit one attacker's wand arm exploding it into a shower of matter and blood. Professor Ironside took another down by shattering the man's legs. Professor Boddason killed one with a piercing hex to the neck. The final one was hit by a combination of three spells fired from the Professors.
Right before the lone woman attacker fell to the floor dead and nearly unrecognizable from the combination of spells she shouted, "Morsmordre." The green spell launched out her wand as she fell. It went through the roof and they heard an odd roaring noise.
Sturluson moved forward and collected the wands of the attackers with jerking movements, it was clear that the burns to his flesh were pulling and biting. Only four wands were intact and only two attackers were alive though heavily wounded. He sneered at the wizards and moved to the family that was off to the side. The father lay dead while the mother was holding her injured child sobbing. He knelt to try and help the woman, he could do nothing for his own injuries, the wounds were beyond his skill in healing magic.
"Harry!" Professor Boddason called to the boy from outside the shield. Harry looked up and saw the attackers were on the floor with Professor Ironside standing over him and stopped his magic from flowing into the wards. He stood up from the ground but stumbled back to be caught by his classmates. They helped him sit down while the net was still shimmering. Harry's power was still holding the net up.
"Is anyone hurt," Professor Boddason asked his students through the shield. He held a cloth to his face trying to stem the bleeding. None of his spells had any effect on the wound.
"Yes," Volga answered from the side of the group that had been hit by the first spell fired by the attackers. He was bleeding from a head wound though he was able to stay conscious. He gestured to the others who were all bleeding from various wounds. Nadia Lenin was unmoving on the ground.
"Draco?" Professor Boddason called.
"Destroy your rune. It should break the net and allow me in," Professor Boddason said. "No don't Viktor, Saiph," He called as they moved to do it also. "The magic will feed back to Harry. That could knock him unconscious." They stopped moving towards their runes and nodded. Draco cast a cutting curse through his rune. The netting fell on the right side of the students, Harry groaned as his magic rushed back to him. Hermes landed on Harry's shoulder crooning to the boy to strength him. Professor Boddason rushed to the students. He cast his wand over Nadia running a diagnostic spell.
"Ironside - I need your help," He called. Professor Ironside abandoned the two death eaters that had stopped moving. "She has internal bleeding, a punctured lung." Ironside nodded and started running his wand over the girl. Professor Boddason moved to look at the students, who fortunately had superficial wounds or minor breaks. He was able to stop the bleeding to Ivan's head but could do nothing for the boy's concussion.
"We need to get her out of here," Ironside barked. "I've stabilized but it won't hold for long. She needs potions." The entrance was still sealed off from a magical ward.
Harry drowsily replied, "The spell that missed us activated the ancient wards. One of the runes is for travel. I doubt we can use magical transport." Professor Boddason moved to examine the wall Harry pointed out. He studied the runes and hieroglyphs as workers and Egyptian aurors appeared outside the entrance.
"Sturluson," Professor Boddason called the other professor over. Professor Sturluson left the family and remaining living tour guide to go towards the entrance.
"We were attacked," He called to the aurors and was surprised to see Sirius in the crowd. "We have injured and dead but the ancient wards activated." Professor Sturluson had his jaw clenched as he spoke through the pain. He was focusing on his students to keep his mind off his agony.
"We trying to get some curse-breakers here," An Egyptian auror who spoke English replied. "How badly injured?"
"One of our students has internal bleeding and a collapsed lung." Sturluson said with urgency.
"I think I may be able to break the wards," Professor Boddason called to them. He started tracing patterns on the wall with his wand. The students watched amazed as the hieroglyphs rearranged themselves. He worked for nearly ten minutes before everyone felt the magic in the air shift. The aurors rushed in and immediately moved to the assailants while two medics rushed in, one went to Nadia while the other went to the other tour guide. The remaining tour guide was bleeding out from his gaping chest wound. The healer activated a port-keyed the tour guide out.
The healer turned and grabbed Sturluson forcing him to sit down, "My students," Sturluson protested.
"Will be helped by my colleague," The healer pointed out the other healer who had just activated a port-key to send Nadia to a hospital. Sturluson nodded his consent to them but kept his eyes on his students as the healer worked. The healer wove spells around the Professor's arms and side. Sturluson was able to the feel the cooling sensation of a burn relief spell before the wound started to heal over. The process lasted for around ten minutes until that remained was skin that was tinged red. The healer summoned a pot from his bag.
"Put this on. I need to help the other Professors." His English was fairly good but still accented. He left the salve to Professor Sturluson and moved to Professor Boddason's side.
Professor Boddason had spelled the cloth to put pressure on his face. He was trying to calm his students. The cloth was stained with blood and soaking when the healer got him to sit on to be healed.
"Let me see," The healer pealed the cloth away. The gash was still bleeding heavily. The healer downed a Pepper-up Potion before starting on the wound. The students watched with fascination as the gash slowly closed to leave a thick and twisting scar that ran the length of his face.
"Thank you," Professor Boddason replied in Arabic surprising the healer.
"Anything else?" The Healer replied in his native tongue.
"My ribs," Boddason said, continuing with Arabic.
The healer cast a spell and hummed at the results. "You've broken five ribs. I can heal them or wrap them. Your choice." The Arabic left the students mystified until Professor Boddason shed his outer robe and shirt. The healer summoned bandages to his side and wrapped the Professor's ribs. Boddason was helped back into his shirt and robe by the healer.
"The girl has been moved to St. Avilius," The healer told him before moving on.
"Harry!" Sirius called his eyes roving the students and finding Draco and Viktor but not Harry and Saiph. The two brothers pointed out Harry and Saiph who were dressed in their tulgemusts. "Harry? Are you all right?"
He kneeled in front of his son looking him over. Harry's reassuring grin was hidden by his hood. "I'm fine, just tired. Why are you here?"
"I pulled a message off of a Death Eater during a smuggling bust. I rushed here with the Egyptian aurors as fast as we could," Sirius explained. The man looked haggard and had bags under his eyes. He also had bruises on the right side of his face.
"She cast the dark mark didn't she," Harry said pointing to what was left of the woman.
"Yes," Sirius answered plainly.
"They were after me," Harry stated, he didn't ask.
Sirius hesitated but then answered him truthfully, "Yes." Harry remained quiet while the students had their statements taken.
"Captain Black I need to take his statement," An auror said from behind Harry.
Sirius nodded his consent. "I'll be over here I need to check the death eaters. Alright?" Harry nodded. Sirius moved over to the bodies and was intercepted by Professor Ironside.
"Two of the bastards were alive at the end of the fight but died when I tried to talk to them. I believe it was poison," The big man pointed out some froth about the mouths.
"Did they say anything?" Sirius asked as his brows furrowed.
Ironside scowled a decidedly frightful sight, "The dark lord will return. Then smirked and died."
"Fanatics," Sirius muttered hissing out the word. The wheels in his head turning and pointing him in one direction, Bellatrix.
"We need to take the children back to Durmstrang as soon as possible. I need to inform the headmaster."
"I'll do that," Professor Boddason cut into the conversation. "You need the healer."
"I'm fine," Ironside scowled though his arm had a deep hole into his arm that was bleeding. The right side of his face was a complete bruise.
Sirius snorted, "You're worse than the boys."
"Go," Boddason pointed towards the healer. Ironside reluctantly moved to the healer.
"The man has a healing degree yet hates healers," Professor Boddason grinned to Sirius.
Sirius shook his head, "We used the floo at the visitor's center to get here. I'm sure they'll let you use it to notify the school."
"I also need to call for Miss. Lenin's parents. She's being moved to St. Avilius, the Egyptian wizarding children's hospital." Sirius nodded and went to converse with the Egyptian aurors.
Professor Boddason stopped to talk with the aurors guarding the entrance and the students who had been moved outside away from the bodies. "I need to use a floo to inform my Headmaster."
"Of course, sir." The auror commented in heavily accented English. "Follow." The auror led him to the Visitor's Center where he was given access to the floo in a back room.
"Strum und Drang," Professor Boddason spoke the address for the Durmstrang Headmaster's office.
"Boddason what," Headmaster Hardrada's greeted genially until he registered the grim look on his professor's face. "What happened?" His voice was heard and his face set in a frown. He knew it was not a simple case of a student misbehaving.
"We were attacked by Death Eaters," Professor Boddason said into the flames.
"Damn it all to Tartarus," Hardrada snarled out the curse. "The students how are they?"
"One is being moved to St. Avilius, Miss Nadia Lenin. The others who were injured were treated on sight. I have five broken ribs and what will be a nasty scar on my face for the rest of my life." He pointed out what appeared through the floo to Hardrada to be a faint crease on his face. "Professor Sturluson has burns to most of one side of his body. Ironside is resisting treatment." Hardrada snorted. "The attackers are all dead." His voice turned quiet as he chose his next words. "The children have seen a lot of death today."
"Portkey them back here as soon as possible," Hardrada's voice was hard but his eyes should emotion. "I'll have their parents waiting. Before I go, how did you know they were Death Eaters?"
"The last one cast the dark mark into the sky," Professor Boddason answered his jaw set in anger.
"Send Ironside to the Hospital to wait with Miss Lenin. I will send her parents to the hospital."
"I will go to the hospital," Professor Boddason argued with a touch of finality. "I am their Mentor."
Hardrada nodded his consent, "Return to the hotel for their things and then port-key the children back to Durmstrang."
"Yes sir." Boddason replied before Hardrada ended the connection.
The students breathed a sigh of relief as they landed back in the entrance way of Durmstrang. The familiarity was calming to them after the chaos they left in Egypt. Headmaster Hardrada stood waiting for the first years. He held his hand up for quite smothering the few whispers. Most of the students were silent and trapped in their thoughts.
"Quite, please." He spoke softly more softly than any of the students had heard him. "Your parents are here waiting for you and you will get to see them in a few minutes. If you wish to you will be able to go home with them and take your end of the year exams and an arranged time this summer. I would like to stress that Miss. Lenin will be fine and will be released from the hospital within the next day or two.
I would also like to say that Durmstrang will be throwing our full weight behind the investigation. We will not let this rest until we know why and who was behind it and that they are punished to the furthest extent that we are capable of." Headmaster Hardrada voice was cold as ice as he paced while speaking. He stopped and met every one of the first years gaze, "I am sorry you were exposed to the harsher side of life so early but there is nothing I can do at this point. If you feel any need to leave with your parents no one," his words were spoken with absolute authority. "No one will think less of you." With those words the doors to the Hall opened and parents poured out to find their students.
The Headmaster amplified his voice to be heard over the din of worried and distressed parents and students. "Please feel free to use the Hall to talk with your children."
Narcissa and Vladimir made a b-line to their children. Vladimir cast a privacy charm around them. Narcissa knelt down first in front of Saiph and took Saiph's hands in her own.
"How are you?" She looked into Saiph's eyes looking for any sign of distress. The boys had seen attacks before when they were younger, this wasn't the first attempt on Harry's life. The boys had been taught ways to cope in counseling which was recommended by Ted after they started having nightmares.
"I don't know," Saiph's hesitant voice said. "I've never seen anything like that, not even on the news." Narcissa pulled her into a hug not knowing what else to do. Saiph held tight to Narcissa before being released. Narcissa turned to the boys pulling the three of them into hug while Vladimir pulled Saiph into a hug.
Narcissa placed her hand on Harry's cheek, "It is not your fault." Her statement was firm as her eyes held his green ones. She could see the doubt swimming in his emerald eyes.
"But," Harry protested before he was cut off. Draco and Viktor simultaneously punched Harry on each arm. Narcissa's face set in a disapproving frown hurt worse.
"Harry we've talked about this. It is not your fault murders target you. If it was not you it would be someone else." She kept his gaze as she spoke. "Understand?"
"Yes ma'am," Harry said quietly.
She sighed as she straightened, "We will work on that."
"Boys are you alright?" Vladimir's deep voice rumbled.
"Yes, sir." All three replied.
"Their spells missed our side of the group and Harry's runes stopped the rest," Draco answered clinically.
"Runes?" Narcissa asked.
"I used the Druid rune for protection you taught me," Harry answered.
"How did that help the group?" Narcissa asked quietly. She was confused as one rune should not have been able to protect them.
"I added a link to the runes and placed that at each direction. My magic took care of the rest." Harry answered quietly.
Narcissa frowned, "Can I take your memory for the pensieve?" She asked still confused on the subject. Harry nodded and Narcissa placed her wand to his temple. A thin blue and white wisp was pulled out his head. Vladimir had a vial ready for her to place the memory in.
"What was that?" Saiph asked her eyes wide.
"A copy of Harry's memory. Using a pensieve, a magical device, I will be able to the view the entire memory." Narcissa explained.
"What will that help?" Saiph asked with a grimace on her face, she was remembering the burnt corpse of their tour guide.
"What Harry did should be impossible," Narcissa replied. "The rune is only meant to protect against simple spells." The boys and Saiph looked at Harry a bit sideways but their cousin only shrugged in return.
"Now I know this is probably a stupid question but do any of you want to come home?" Vladimir asked mostly towards Saiph. The boys shook their heads no while Saiph answered him verbally.
"I want to stay." She said nodding to herself. "I want to see them duel and take my exams as normal." She said with finality. Vladimir and Narcissa shared a look before Narcissa nodded.
"Alright you can stay," Vladimir said and then knelt in front of Saiph. "If you have any problems right to us. I do not care what it is you have to say just make sure you keep talking." He implored her. "Talk to your cousins they've dealt with this before. And if all that fails talk to Professor Boddason, okay?"
"Yes, Sir." She nodded and gave Vladimir a small smile.
"Uncle Vlad was that the case dad had been working on?" Harry asked. He was curious to find out more about his godfather's appearance.
Vladimir thought for a moment before answering, "Yes. He was investigating an exchange of illegal poisons from a group in Bulgaria to Albania, the U.K. and France. The exchange happened last night. Unfortunately we were only able to apprehend the suppliers. Sirius's team took two buyers into custody but they promptly killed themselves. Sirius was able to find a note on one of the dead that had been hidden in a false heel of their boot. The note had apparition coordinates on it."
"How did you know they were after us?" Draco asked trying to connect the dots.
"The coordinates were of various Egyptian ruins. The two dead buyers were marked death eaters." Vladimir said with a sigh.
"Albania?" Narcissa whispered for only Vladimir to hear. He gave a slight nod to his wife.
Harry nodded, "Thank you for answering, Uncle."
"I told you I would not hide things from you if I thought you could handle it." Vladimir said simply.
"Father," Viktor called his attention. "Are there any suspects on who gave our schedule to death eaters? Hotel workers? Site workers?"
"Not yet - Sirius is still in Egypt searching for possible leaks." Vladimir replied with pride. He was impressed with the way his son's mind worked. "I will handle the case from Bulgaria while he's there." Viktor nodded but seemed unsettled. "Son?"
Viktor shook his head, "It's going to get worse." Viktor's statement sent waves through the family. He was thinking back on past attacks, they were never very organized. Now they had a suspects who were marked and going international. Vladimir simply nodded.
"I need to get back to the office," Vladimir said pulling each one of the kids into a hug. He gave his wife a kiss on cheek before waving as he left through the front doors of Durmstrang.
"Well then - do you four want to show me around?" Narcissa asked. "The headmaster is allowing parents to remain through dinner."
"Yeah, sure," Draco said but was cut off by his mum's look.
"I mean yes ma'am follow me," Draco amended. Much to the snickering of his cousins. Draco socked Viktor and Harry on the shoulder while sticking his tongue out at Saiph.
"Well it was much better until that," Narcissa muttered causing the four to share smiles. Narcissa shook her head, "Where are we going to start?"
"The dorms?" Viktor asked.
Sorry for the wait but I didn't realize how much I had actually written and there were some technical issues. The good news is the next chapter will be finished on my end in the next couple of days.
Thanks to all who read and those that review too,