Thank you for all the favorites and follows already! It means a lot that you all enjoy this story that much, and it jut got started.
To address a point brought up in one review, I am aware that I resurrected all seven queens at once, and thalarian did not. I have reasons for doing the things I do, as did they, I am sure. I will only say this once, I welcome constructive feedback. Being told that I have been found lacking and that I am a subpar writer is not constructive.
Now that that is out of the way and no longer tugging at my brain, let's see what we can do with this story.
~Christmas Day, 2004~
In the shadows of the great hall of an abandoned castle, a lone figure sits brooding. So much has been accomplished, including a ritual two years in preparation, and yet something seems to be missing, something is wrong. He has spent the last three days mulling it over and thinking in circles, and still he cannot point his finger at something and say, "Here, this is why they feel wrong." Every time he looks at them, these seven women who centuries ago would inspire fear in the hearts of men, something feels out of place. Something feels empty. They feel empty, something that in theory should not be possible. Every book, every set of notes that he and Bellatrix had found suggested that the ritual should have been capable of fully bringing back all seven of those called. Everything they had found said that anything using Philospher's Stones as a basis should be wholly successful, perhaps even too successful, and yet they seem to have resurrected the minds and bodies, but...
Not the magic, that's it, that's what is bothering him. They feel empty of magic, hollow and dull, lacking the very thing that made them so fearsome in the first place. A burning rage stokes itself to life in his breast as he thinks over that point again and again, cursing whoever wrote the lore that he searched out, cursing them for leaving out that one simple point and how to fix it. He can feel the growls start to scratch at his throat, smell the ozone build up in the air as his emotions burn hotter, hear the snaps of static discharges, but it doesn't matter, it doesn't affect him, and all that matters to him is that even in their greatest success, they failed and it's not enough. He may have seven of the greatest sorceresses at his disposal now, but it all means nothing when they can't levitate a feather, when all they have to give is their memories. The snaps grow louder until each one causes the crystal chandeliers to rattle and shake, his rage seething closer and closer to the tipping point, and... slap.
"Snap out of it! I swear Harry, if you bring this castle down on our heads, I will kill you and hunt down Tom by myself." Harry lifts his eyes and flinches at the look Bellatrix is leveling at him, dead conviction peering back at him though without the malice that most would expect and associate with her. He knows without a doubt that she means what she said and will not hesitate if she believes it will be to her advantage, or in this case, if she thinks it will ensure her survival in the moment. For a few heartbeats, neither does anything, simply staring at one another and waiting for some signal, then Bella steps back and frowns ponderously at Harry, her voice still full of reproach as she asks, "Now that you're not going to start throwing raw magic, want to tell me what the hell that was all about?"
He holds his silence a moment more, glaring at her for knowing that this is partly her fault, that if he hadn't been saved by her, done a ritual with her, he wouldn't be so... But no, that's a lie and he can recognize that. He would still be this angry, this volatile, this prone to explosion as a result of overthinking things. He always was, he just needs to recall his fifth year to see that, and with a heavy sigh he rakes his fingers through his hair and speaks, his voice slightly changed from what it was before their ritual five days ago. "We brought them back and they are nothing. How can that be, how can we have brought back seven of the greatest witches in history and have them be nothing more than muggles?!" His eyes, as he looks up at the de-aged witch, flash with eldritch power, the green of his irises flaring as bright as the Killing Curse.
His words cause the dark haired temptress to still, the frenetic energy of her stay in Azkaban largely sublimated after their joining of power and the ritual they shared in as her gaze rakes over him, looking for any hint of falsehood. She sees nothing, his face stony and expressionless, her voice quiet and sharp as she asks, "What. Do. You mean. Muggles."
When his only answer is to tip his head to the side and continue staring at her, she screams at him with her fingers curled into claws and ready to use to gouge at him, "What do you mean they're muggles Harry? How can they be muggles?"
Instead of Harry, her answer comes in a sibilant purr from the shadows, the tone of the voice dark and pleased at her frustration, begging for more entertainment. "It is simple, milady. You gave us life, but you forgot the magic." Bella looks up, violet eyes darting about the room looking for the source when Morgan Le Fay steps into what light there is. The thunk of her staff hitting the ground with every step is the only sound for several heartbeats as her steely gaze pierces the woman who helped raise her from the dead, then her voice slips out again with a vicious grin that never even comes close to reaching her eyes, "We can teach you, but if you truly want to learn, you must give us our magic back."
Harry's cold voice cracks through the air and calls their attention with its weight, "And how do you propose we do that, hmm?" Bella is staring once again for reasons she does not understand, though a rabid kind of gnawing rises in her chest as she notices that Morgan is too. The ancient witch however is oblivious to her mistress' finer feelings and is captivated by the simple power of Harry's voice, something that slows her thoughts until she shakes her head and clears the webs enough to reply, "Well, you could always give us yours. I mean, you both have so much, surely you could part with it and still have some left over, and would it not be worth it to have us able to help you achieve your goals?"
Her face the picture of innocence, she even believes that her simple suggestion has been accepted by him, a young man she believes is still a boy at heart, and one she knows once believed in purity and fairness, a shining example of the Light. How he came to be associated with the feral bitch who is always at his side, she doesn't know, but that is irrelevant as long as he believes her long enough for her to steal some of his magic. The corruption in his heart is there but is nothing compared to what she would expect of a true practitioner, so Morgan believes she is safe from detection until...
"That simple, huh? You think that you can just kindly walk up and ask for a small favor, a teensy bequeathment of power, and I, being a young and naive boy, will just trust you and do it?" Slowly, her Lord stands from his seat and it occurs to her for the first time since her return to life that he is incredibly powerful and still possessed of magic though she is not, and she knows that he has killed before since the ritual requires a death and no one who has never taken a life would willingly do such a thing. When his dead emerald eyes catch her face, she stumbles back to have just a little more distance just in case she needs it, and his voice chills her to the bone, "Do you take me for a fool? I have been at war for almost ten years, I am not the child I once was. I am not the boy that Albus Dumbledore withheld information from in an attempt to give him some kind of childhood. I am not the boy who believed in True Love. I am not the boy who thought that he could do anything so long as his friends stood by him."
His fingers reach out and caress just under her elfin jaw, deceptively gentle until his eyes harden and light up with a touch of anger and his hand clamps around her throat, "I'm not the fool I was when I first stood up to Tom. When Albus died in my sixth year, I had one hell of a wake-up call. I was taught the next year that nothing is as it seems, when the man I thought wanted me dead almost as much as his master proved to me that he had been protecting me all my life, even with the hatred he bore for my father. I learned the hard way that the world isn't good people and Death Eaters. The world isn't black and white, and you take what you need."
His grip cruel and born of anger, he jerks her close enough to him that she can feel his hot breath on her face, the bonds of her servitude causing that sensation to spark something in her that she does not know or recognize even in the face of him growling just loud enough for her to hear, "Pull the other one. Make light of me again, make light of every death I've dealt with. Give me a reason, I beg you." With those words, she can feel a jolt of his magic run over her nerves, pain singing along the pathways of her body for several beats of her suddenly hammering heart before she manages to gasp out, "Please, there is another way, a real way!"
Air fills her lungs again and she falls to the ground as he steps back, guilt over what he just did hiding behind his eyes and almost masked, only visible to someone looking for it, looking for the morality that he used to have. Someone like her. 'Not completely gone, are you boy? We will just have to fix that.'
"M'lord, I'm sorry for my presumption, and for my attempted deception. You still seem so... untainted, I did not think you would want to gift us with our magic again the way that will be most effective." The Illusionist looks up at him from her place on the floor, hoping to see interest and only seeing a blank nod, a curt dismissal and an order all in one motion, so she continues, "We must be... recharged, as it were. Each her own way, as befits her station and her reputation."
It is the velvet and crushed glass of her mistress' voice that assaults her now, one words carrying so much authority, "Explain." When she looks at her, Morgan can see a grudging interest in the Black witch's eyes, their beautiful clarity causing a covetous spike of jealousy that she does recognize. "What I mean is this," she hisses, nettled at being rushed. "We must each be given opportunity to take something from the living, whoever you chose to sacrifice for us. I suppose the simplest will be Persephone as she only needs to take souls, from what or who it does not signify. That is the way of the creatures you call Dementors, is it not? The most difficult will likely be Freyja, since she will need strong magicals and a way to steal their love. That is a literal statement, not some jest or hyperbole, as it was enslavement and lust that she was known for in life."
To see those who gave her life look into each others eyes and communicate with whatever form of telepathy they have learned bothers her, since she cannot intrude upon it and doesn't know their thoughts, a disturbing truth that fills her with worry. To compound her frustration and unease, they speak in unison as they sometimes do and stare at her as one, "And you? What is your price?" After the course of events of this day, Morgan is no longer confident that she can survive this or any encounter with them unscathed and it is with a meek voice and her gray eyes downcast that she answers, "I need magic. I must take it, forcefully drain it, from those that have it. That is the only other way for me to regain what once I had when the world answered to Arthur and Merlin."
A lone tear falls from her eye as she thinks on that, memories of better days beside the only friend she ever had once more recalled. Merlin in his youth, so vivacious and alive, so enticing and intriguing as his words enchanted her, stole her heart away along with her breath. The tome they wrote, so many rituals and so much magic, so much potential for those who had the capability. Worst for her is the memory of the day she learned that Merlin had found another to love and left her behind, a happening she never dreamed would come as she believed he must feel what she felt too. Her heartbreak turned to poison in her veins and she fell, revenge and hatred fueling everything she did and leading to the birth of Mordred, the Dark Warrior who would destroy Camelot, destroy Arthur. Destroy everything that Merlin held dear, including the man whom he could never tell of his affections.
The reminder of that time shores up her resolve and she lifts her gaze, flinching when she catches sight of two pairs of cold and angry eyes boring into her where she lies prostrate. She is quickly learning that Harry is not who she believed he was, and his voice full of steel reminds her once again that he is not so inexperienced as she believed, nor as forgiving. "You mean for us to sacrifice our own kind to give you your magic once more? You mean for us to allow you to desecrate those for whom we wish to rid this world of Tom Riddle? What makes you think we would do such a thing?"
Her voice filled with far more confidence than she feels, Morgan answers her Lord, "You called me. You need me. For that need, you can and must do whatever is necessary so that I can fulfill your wishes, M'lord. Only once I have again that which made me into the legend you seek can I help you to destroy this Tom Riddle who plagues you and milady."
A/N: I know it is short, and I know that it is not so filled with details as any who have read my other stories might expect, but I have sat here for over a month with difficulties writing this and I needed to get something out in the hopes that having another chapter would help both my muse and everyone's interest in this. I have already told one reviewer, the wonderful Bittatatat that I do have plans for this and I hope that this (short) chapter proves that I didn't make Harry fall to the Darkness all in one fell swoop. I mean to attempt to write this story a little more gradual than the first impression says it'll go, mostly because of what Morgan reveals here, as well as the fact that neither Harry nor Bella are so simply fixed in who they were when written by Rowling. Thanks for your patience, please read and review!