Chapter 1 – Through the Eluvian
"Look in the mirror and tell me what you see."
If Harry Potter were to guess when thing went wrong, he would have said, 'The day I was born'. No, it was not a statement born from nihilistic self-hate, but a fact. Almost a year after his birth, a psychotic wizard killed his mother and father, then tried to kill him. The curse used backfired somehow, but it was that day that everything went downhill for him. Promptly, he was shipped off to his Aunt and Uncle's house where he spent the next ten years acting as their ghoulish manservant who lived in a cupboard under the stairs.
Now, here he was, a few months from his twelfth birthday. He still had all his bits and pieces attached, which was quite astonishing considering what he had gone through from October last year to today, the fourth of June. From fighting a troll on Hallowe'en to smuggling a dragon out of the school which ended with him nearly being killed in a forest aptly known as the 'Forbidden Forest'. Of course, the year has several upsides, such as learning about magic, to finding out he was rich and had been accepted into a prestigious school of magic, plus the making the sports team in record time.
And now here he was, standing in a firelit chamber, trapped with one of his teachers who happened to be possessed by the wizard who happened to be the root cause of all his problem. Though, this discounted the dangerous protections he and his two friends had to bypass to enter the chamber which included a hungry cerberus, deadly plants, killer keys, homicidal chess pieces, another troll and a poisonous riddle.
Before him stood the gilded Mirror of Erised which would show his heart's desire and, somehow, reveal the entire cause of this escapade: the Philosopher's Stone. An alchemical artefact so powerful that it could create gold from lead and the Elixir of Life. Yet, despite the gravity of the situation, his mind was split in two; one, repeating the words 'I must lie,' over and over again like a mantra; while the second was praying to any deity that might be listening to grant him a hero.
It was not the first time he had wished for such, as there were the ten years he had spent in the hands of his Aunt, Uncle and cousin. All those years spent locked up in a cupboard under the stairs, wishing for someone to swoop in and save him. There was also that time when he wished for someone to come save both he, his friends Ron and Hermione from the massive troll who wished to make them paste on Hallowe'en night. And finally, there was the time in the Forbidden Forest, but that wish actually came true in the form of a centaur named Firenze.
But then a third part of him showed its face, a selfish and shameful part that wished Hermione and Ron would burst through the flaming archway, wands up and ready to save him from Professor Quirrell – or rather Voldemort Possessing Quirrell.
So, with these thought mingling within his mind, he looked into the mirror and tried to think of a lie that would convince the Dark Lord to spare him. Unfortunately, upon looking in the mirror, his mind blanked.
What he saw in the mirror was so unexpected he could not help but perform a double take. During Christmas when he first encountered the magical mirror, it was shown his family; his desire to be with family. Here, in what might be his final moments, he did not see his mum and dad with the entirety of his extended family smiling sadly at him, but neither did he see the Philosopher's Stone, which he could consider a positive of this.
No, instead he saw…
"What is it?" Quirrell hissed, obviously noticing the slack-jawed expression on Harry's face, "What do you see?"
"Girls?" he blurted in shock, a slight blush creeping onto his cheeks. Honestly, he was confused. This was what he desired? Two Girls? He did have to admit they were quite pretty, but Fred and George had told him that he would not find girls interesting until he was at least thirteen!
Then, as if the universe were to challenge the idea that thing could not possibly get any stranger, the two fell out of the mirror, collapsing on the ground with large sticks by their sides. Harry could not help but look to Quirrell for help, but upon reaching his eyes, he found the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher looking just as confused, if concerned, as him.
The first was dressed in practical robes of red, grey and blacks with armour on her wrists and chest. Aside from her outfit, she was… exotic? Exotic would be a good word. Large steel grey eyes which looked around the room quite confused – apparently ignorant of both Harry and Quirrell. She had long black hair that was intricately braided revealing two long pointed ears, reminding him of Santa's elves.
The second, on the other hand, was dressed in… well. Harry was not sure what it was. The tattered and worn skirt and pants he could understand, but the strange shirt – which was practically a ring of purple fabric over a black bikini top, covering what needed to be covered and little else. She also had quite a few necklaces and a book and knife tied to her waist. The girl herself was also quite pretty with slender and elegant features that looked quite nice with her short black hair and amber eyes.
They looked a bit similar, like sisters with just a few differences such as the ears, nose and eyes. It was strange, and funny the more he thought of it. Two sisters dressing up in their parents' clothes.
Warden-Commander Neria Surana looked around the room with dazed eyes. She knew she was in some sort of firelit chamber, but anything other than that was difficult to comprehend as her head thumped quite painfully – Whether the headache was attributed to hitting her head or walking through an ancient and untested elvhen artefact was up for debate.
A groan to her right called for her attention and immediately her vision started to clear. Morrigan? She thought, looking at the girl who seemed to be starring from a similarly painful headache. Though upon her vision clearing, Neria found her mind blanking momentarily. Something was wrong, really wrong.
From what the Warden could remember from her year-long quest to defeat the tainted Old Gog, Morrigan was a lovely young woman and a frightfully powerful mage. She was not some eleven-year-old who looked like she had woken up in prison unexpectedly – It was worrying in of itself how terrified and confused Morrigan looked. The hair was the same, same with her amber eyes and attractive features… but she looked eleven! Not only that, but she could see some parts of the girl's anatomy that she really did not want to see as her normally provocative outfits seemed quite loose.
Ice suddenly filled her veins as she turned her eyes upon herself, finding that her own robes were hanging loosely from her lithe form. It seemed Morrigan was not the only one who had suddenly found themselves in the body of an eleven-year-old.
"What?" four voices' blurted, one belonging to a young boy, another to a man, and finally, there was Morrigan and Neria. Immediately, her mind kicked into gear. No longer was she an elf that had somehow found herself de-aged into the body of an eleven-year-old, but the battle-hardened Commander of the Grey and Hero of Fereldan.
Snapping to the source, she saw what appeared to be two people, one a messy haired boy and the other, a bald man. Both appeared to be wearing strange robes and one was holding a strange short stick in his hand. The two were currently staring at the Grey Warden and the Witch of the Wilds like they were the most peculiar thing in the world, which was quite amusing if worrying. Her hand, nearly on instinct, made a move to grab her staff, partly to prop herself up and partly for defence.
But before her hand could even touch the ironbark shaft of the glaive-like staff, a thin burst of silver light shot from the man's stick, slamming into the ground between her hand and staff. A miniature staff, then?
"Quirrell, you fool, what is happening?" a shrill voice demanded, surprising Neria due to the fact that, after a quick cursory glance, nobody else was in the room. Plus, it sounded as if the voice was coming from the bald mage.
"I do not know, master." 'Quirrell' replied, keeping his stick trained on her.
"Turn around," the voice said. Quirrell bowed his head slightly and with a quick, but threatening, 'Don't move,' he obeyed.
At first, Neria was confused as to why the disembodied voice would make the mage turn around, but upon seeing the back of his head, everything fell into place. An Abomination. She hissed in her mind. She had never seen an Abomination look like that, but she could not mistake it for anything else. The man seemed to be possessed by a demon, however, retained control over his body. The face was pasty white, contrasting against the healthy pallor of the host's skin, and held several traits one would call serpentine. Two hateful red eyes practically glowed in the dim light.
Before she could act, lances of lightning shot from Morrigan's fingers at the mage, only to be blocked by a shimmering silver shield summoned from the mage. With a single fluid motion, the shield vanished and from his stick, a bolt of red slammed into the Witch's chest, flinging her into the stone wall with a thud. She landed on the ground, motionless.
Anger swelled within Neria. Quickly, she pulled herself up from the floor and took a single, if uncoordinated, step. Her world blurred as her feet moved faster than humanly possible, until she tripped over her own feet, stumbled halfway through her Fade Step and tumbling to the ground. However, she had already accomplished what she wished and now sat behind the Abomination who was chilled by the sudden burst of cold that rushed through him.
Her hand quickly grasped the bladeless hilt of a sword hanging from her waist, pulling it free and swung it wildly towards the man. Mana flowed freely into the hilt and from its tip, an ethereal emerald blade sprung forth, cutting into the knees of the mage. Quirrell screamed out in pain as the demon screeched curses, falling to the floor before they were decapitated by a quick if sloppy strike from her spirit blade.
Now done with the Abomination, she stumbled to Morrigan's side, checking her friend for a pulse and any injuries. Luckily, she was still alive with only a bleeding gash across her head and a few bruises. But before she could take a moment to compose herself, movement caught her eye.
The head of the poor soul was smoking, black and malevolent. Neria's hand went to her spirit blade once again, ready to cut down the demon should it show its face. The smoke soon condensed into a shadowy figure, reminiscent to the face that marred the back of Quirrell's head. It screeched hatefully at the Warden, speeding towards her before she summoned lightning of her own, striking at it, diverting it away from her and into the mirror which promptly shattered. An even louder screech of rage pierced her ears and the wrath fled the room past a barrier of black flames.
The room stilled as Neria stared at the Eluvian, horrified by the remains that scattered across the floor. That is until retching drew her attention elsewhere. The boy, who she had honestly forgotten about, was busy puking his lunch all over the floor, casting fearful glances at the Warden and dead Abomination.
Neria paused, the sudden realisation that she had probably given the poor boy nightmares for the week, ones that she would probably feature in. Sighing, she shook her head of scant thoughts, trying to make herself appear less threatening, "Are you okay?" she asked.
The boy nodded weakly.
"Ah… sorry you had to see that, but it was the best that I could do," Neria said awkwardly.
The boy took a deep breath, "He… he killed my parents."
Neria blinked, honestly confused as to how to respond, "Your welcome?" It was moments like these that she wished she had spent longer with the little children at the Circle rather than in the books. "What is your name?"
"Harry, Harry Potter," he answered with a wavering voice.
Neria smiled in what she hoped was a comforting smile, trying to ignore the dead abomination in the room. "Hello Harry Potter, my name is Neria Surana, Commander of the Grey. It's a pleasure to meet you."
The boy nodded weakly once more, his eyes trying their hardest to not look at the dead body that blood was currently pooling around. Fortunately, their awkward conversation came to an end upon the arrival of another.
An elderly man rushed through the black flames, seemingly dispelling them with a wave of a stick of his own. He reminded her much of the First Enchanter, Irving, yet seemed far older with strange gaudy robes and a white beard which was long enough to tuck into his belt. However, despite his what his dress and appearance might have said, Neria knew the man was a force to reckon with.
Bright blue eyes looked around the room, taking in the entire scene. He lingered on the corpse and Neria before locking onto Harry. "Harry!? What happened here, Harry?" he asked, rushing to the boy's side, though he always kept the Warden and Witch in his line of sight.
The boy moved to the aged man's side, all the fear disappearing upon nearing the mage. "It was Quirrell! He tried to get the Stone! He almost killed me but… she- she stopped him," he said, ending his babble weakly.
'Dumbledore' then turned to Neria, briefly glancing at Morrigan, and despite being the Warden-Commander, Hero of Fereldan and Arlessa of Amaranthine – and a damn good one at that! – all the elf could do was wave awkwardly and smile nervously.
"Who are you and where did you come from?" he asked, though she knew it was more of a demand.
"I am Neria and this is Morrigan." And as if her name was a spell, the Witch of the Wilds began to stir.
"Blast and Damnation," growled the girl, holding her bleeding head.
Relief filled the Warden, fussing over her friend, "Are you alright? How many fingers am I holding? You didn't break anything, did you?"
"Must you fuss like the old woman?" Morrigan growled in reply, uncomfortable with the amount of care she was being afforded. "I am fine, Neria."
Neria returned the poor attempt of pacification with a glare, "Don't lie to me."
"'Tis just a slight headache, and… well… this," she said awkwardly, gesturing to her unusually young body, "though it seems I am not the only one dealing with such an issue."
"So, I assume you are both alright to join me to the Hospital Wing?" Dumbledore said with a slight smile, drawing the attention back to him.
Before Morrigan could answer in her usual snarky way, as the Warden assumed she would, Neria said, "As long as we are not prisoners."
"No, no. I just wish to make sure you both are okay. That does look like a nasty gash. However, I do have many questions that I would like answered," the mage replied, extruding an aura of no-nonsense.
Neria and Morrigan exchanged a look, silently weighing their options. Though, as it quickly turned out, they did not need to think of it much as they really had no other choice. It was unlikely that they would survive if they chose to fight their way out as it was a stroke of pure luck that allowed her to kill the Abomination. With a discontent sigh, they answered, "We accept."
Dumbledore hummed, watching the two, "Those clothes seem a bit large on you, would you like some help?"
Neria nodded wordlessly, not really taking the question into consideration as she tried helping Morrigan up from the floor. It was not until she felt her robes shimmer before abruptly shrinking that she realised what had been done, and with a high-pitched squeal of surprise – from both her and Morrigan, as the Witch's clothes also shrunk. Now, instead of standing in oversized hazardous clothes, the two wore clothes that fit almost perfectly, only a bit looser at the front due to lack of breasts.
However, instead of thanking the mage, Neria spun around on her heel, her hand on her spirit blade, ready to attack. "What was that!?" she demanded, trying to sound intimidating despite how childish her voice was. Shrinking objects like that should have been impossible without a liberal use of Lyrium… or Blood Magic. Yet there was no sign of either.
Dumbledore, on the other hand, looked amused by their reactions. "Your robes should fit nicely now, though I must say, I would like a few words with however chose your outfit, Morrigan."
Morrigan scowled, looking quite adorable despite the gash. "'Tis I who chose my garb, you old fool," She hissed, adjusting her robes.
Deigning to answer Morrigan's words with a disapproving stare, he quickly waved his wand towards the corpse, materialising a white cloth to cover the remains. And again, her interest spiked as that feat should have been impossible, this time truly impossible even with assistance. Despite the violent urge to ask, she held back thinking it was unwise to ask how he broke the cardinal rules of magic.
Instead, Neria collected her staff as Morrigan fetched her own, using them to help them follow Dumbledore and Harry out of the room. As they travelled through chamber after chamber, Neria and Morrigan found themselves curious to the sights they saw; a massive giant-esque creature which lay unconscious; a giant chess set; flying keys; and a strange wriggling plant Dumbledore subdued with his stick. With another wave of his hand, a rope ladder fell from a trapdoor in the ceiling, allowing the three to climb up and up and up until they entered another chamber.
But it seemed that the curiosities did not end with the strange plant.
"What in the Maker's name is that!?" shrieked Neria upon spotting the large three-headed dog which appeared to be sleeping.
"Fluffy is a cerberus," Dumbledore supplied with an amused glint in his eye.
Neria gave Dumbledore a queer look, "Fluffy? Who names something like that 'Fluffy'?"
Morrigan smirked, muttering "Barkspawn?" just loud enough for Neria to hear.
Immediately Neria retorted, her Ferelden pride getting the better of her, "Leave Barkspawn alone! I thought it was a wonderful name."
"You listened to the advice of a fool and a beast," Morrigan replied, "I am still surprised that you did not call the beast 'Dog' or 'Rabbit'."
"That was one of Alistair's ideas, actually," Neria mumbled.
Morrigan sighed. "Of course."
Still smiling, Dumbledore said, "Our groundskeeper gave Fluffy his name, though could we continue? I would rather not be forced to subdue it again."
Just to further prove his point, the three-headed dog snorted in its sleep, startling the Warden who was ready to trap the beast within a paralysing force field. With that, Neria followed Dumbledore out of the room as fast as she could, down a hall until they reached a grand stairway filled with many staircases which allowed access to several different parts of the building, up seven different floors – eight, if the ground floor counted. What looked like hundreds of paintings covered the walls, most if not all of sleeping people. From where she stood, she saw that they were on the third floor of whatever building they were in.
But before the quartet could begin stepping down the stairs, Dumbledore stopped them, "While I usually allow the students to figure it out themselves, I must warn you about the stairs."
"Are you to tell us the stairs move on their own?" Morrigan asked curiously, staring up at the roof of the massive room.
"Precisely. How did you come to that conclusion?"
"Because they are," she said, pointing upwards to where Neria could see two staircases moving of their own violation.
Neria hummed at that, her curiosity growing exponentially at the amount of magic that must have been pumped into the castle. "At least we don't have to solve a potentially dangerous puzzle to get past."
"Did your school have that?" Harry asked incredulously.
Neria froze, "School? This is a school!?"
"Yes, this is Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry," said Dumbledore.
"Do my ears deceive me?" the witch asked with obvious mocking intent, "Whoever was put in charge of naming this fortress should have had their tongue burned out. 'Hogwarts,' such a horrid name."
"There aren't any Templars here, are there? You are a part of the Circle of Magi?" Neria asked, ignoring her friend as dread suddenly filled her.
"No. The Templar Order disappeared a few hundred years ago," Dumbledore answered, staring at Neria oddly, "and I have not heard of the 'Circle of Magi.' Am I to assume this was your school?"
"Something like that," she replied darkly.
Dumbledore frowned, "Well, we can further ask these questions later. For now, let us get to the Hospital Wing."
Luckily, they did not have to worry about the moving stairs and soon arrived on the first floor. There, they travelled down another hall until they reached a chamber which looked to be a medical ward complete with several beds lining the walls and an irate Healer.
"Mister Potter, it took you long enough to get here," the elderly Healer said before her eyes flickered onto both her and Morrigan where they widened, "What happened? Dumbledore, who are these two?"
"This one is Morrigan and this one is Neria, Poppy," said Dumbledore, gesturing to them respectively, "As you can see, they need your special brand of help."
'Poppy' sighed, "You two, take one of the bed, I will deal with Morrigan first." Obeying the Healer, the two took a seat and watched as she tittered over Morrigan, who vocally expressed her displeasure with several unflattering comparisons to Wynn, the former Healer on their quest to end the Blight. Healer Poppy seemed ever unfazed by the Witch's comments as she tended to the wound. As she did this, several pieces of parchment flew over to her side with a quill and inkwell by their side. The quill went to work as the Healer flourished her wand, muttering intelligible words under her breath, soon finishing and analysing what was written.
Again, the Healer sighed. With a few more muttered words, the gash cleaned of blood and began healing. "Just a few scratches and the gash. You will be sleeping here, however, just in case."
"Yes, mother," Morrigan scowled.
"Now, what about you, Miss…" Poppy said, moving over to Neira.
"Surana," Neria provided.
Nodding, Poppy continued, "Who performed the transfiguration?"
"Transfiguration?" Neria asked, confused by the term.
Nodding again, the Healer said, "Yes, who transfigured your ears and face?"
"I…uh… what?" Neria said intelligently, her hands moving up to her face and ears to make sure everything was okay, only to find nothing obvious. "What's wrong? Morrigan, is there something wrong with my face?"
"Are you saying your ears are meant to look like that?" asked Poppy, raising a curious eyebrow.
"What? Long and pointy?" Neria asked.
"Of course!" Neria suddenly hissed, glaring at the Healer, "I was born this way."
Taken back by the sudden outburst, the Healer quickly backtracked, "I'm sorry, but I must ask. Are you a half-breed?"
This only seemed to further incense the Elf who had received quite a bit of racism due to her status as an elf. "What!? Do I look like a half-breed to you?" she spat, standing up from the bed, trying to intimidate the mage.
"Calm down, Miss Serana," Poppy said, trying to placate the elf, "I meant no offence."
Neria held the apologetic gaze of the mage for a moment more, wanting to slap the look off the Healer's face. "Fine," she grumbled. Aside from her mood plummeting into the Void, her spat with the Healer was productive in learning something more about this new world. Elves apparently did not exist, or at least not in the way she knew of. This did not, in any way, improve her mood, though. In fact, it made the entire situation worse.
Nevertheless, Poppy proceeded to cast her spells on her before checking the parchment. At first, the Healer's brow creased as she read, before paling and gasping. "Ah, Albus?" she called, both confused and concern mixing into dread.
Dumbledore walked swiftly to the Healer's side, looking at the parchment over her shoulder. And soon enough, his features mimicked hers. "You're Ill," he muttered weakly.
Neria blinked. "What?"
"From the looks of this, you have a terminal illness. What sickness, I cannot tell," said Poppy, obviously worried for the girl.
"May I see?" Neria asked. The mage nodded slowly, handing the parchment to the Warden who began looking over it. The quill had drawn a pretty accurate depiction of her body with little labels and drawings depicting of her injuries and the illness. However, she ignored them and instead focused on the deep blackness that stained her centre with a little label that helpfully added 'Darkspawn Taint' with a small date for how old it was. Neria could not help but giggle at the sight. "Oh, no. You've got it all wrong. I'm a Grey Warden, that's…" she paused, looking to the ominous stain on her diagram's chest, "normal."
"And what is a Grey Warden?" Dumbledore asked.
"I… um. We're an Order of soldiers who are dedicated to fighting the Darkspawn," Neria said, before adding at their curious looks, "It's a long story. It means the 'illness' is completely safe and is supposed to be there."
"While this brings many questions, I only have one for this night. Where did you and your sister come from?"
For a moment, Neria was confused. Do they… do they really think we're sisters? But the next, she honestly could not care. They looked similar enough, so much so Alistair had commented on it a few times. Looking to Morrigan, she found the Witch just as confused as her, but at her shrug, she turned back to Dumbledore. "I… don't know exactly. Morrigan and I walked through the Eluvian, but I am starting do doubt that this is where we were meant to go."
Morrigan sighed. "As our eyes are not hurting due the abundance of bright colours," she said sardonically, gesturing to the bland stone and sterile sheets of the Medical Ward, "we have not arrived where I desired."
Neria, upon hearing this, sighed and pinched the bridge of her noes for a moment before grumbling, "We're lost, aren't we?"
Despite the fact that it was not a question and more of a statement, Morrigan answered in affirmative anyway.
Dumbledore looked between the two girls, a frown marring his face, "How about you get some rest here in the Hospital Wing, tomorrow we'll sort this out."
Neria had to agree. She needed time to calm down and get her mind in order, plus it could afford the time to finally speak to Morrigan alone. After Harry had been checked for any injuries, of which there were only scratches. The three were forced to rest in the Hospital Wing as the Healer wished to make sure they were alright in the morning, and they were supplied some gowns to sleep in. Dumbledore and Poppy soon left the room, attending to important business such as the corpse on the third floor, if she were to guess.
Nevertheless, Neria did not sleep, nor did Morrigan. The elf just had too many things on her mind, such as the lack of Templars, which had apparently been disbanded hundreds of years ago, to the fact that her traditionally elvish features were considered weird and abnormalities. That, combined with the broken Eluvian, made matters worse. And if only to continue her plummet into despair, she felt compelled to ask. "Morrigan?"
"How are we going to get back?"
"Unless we find another Eluvian… no."