Many beings see time as a river. Flowing in one direction. For the most part that's true, we are born we live within the confines of our lifetime and then we die. Why concern yourself with things that you will never see or experience within your own bubble of existence. This line of thinking was broken when the vex came.
The vex proved that something does exist outside our time that can see us, touch us, hurt us. They proved that time is not a river, it is an infinite ocean comprised of finite events. The vex collective is comparable to a whale in this vast ocean. Moving to and from parts of the ocean, consuming what it wants in order to grow bigger.
The light frightens them, the light of the traveler is something even the guardians who use it do not fully understand so how can the vex predict it? Naturally, they attempted to destroy that which they could not understand. But guardians are notoriously difficult to kill and keep dead, so they had to resort to research. Attempting to understand the paradox that is light so that they may assimilate it.
That was when they found him, someone from before the collapse who held the light. The vex found him when they felt him travel through time. Just a little jump back three hours nothing they haven't felt before, but he had light. That is what fascinated them for all guardians where forged in the light when a ghost found their lifeless body. None had light within them this strong before becoming a guardian.
They had to study him. This human could be the key to understanding the guardians and thus the light. However, they couldn't go to him, that would cause waves in the ocean that would affect current operations. So, they decided to bring him to them. This was still risky but the vex had no other choice if they wanted to study this unique specimen.
Many, many years later.
I returned to the land of the living feeling like a fireteam of titans decided that hunters made the best roads. Once my vision cleared, I noticed that I was in a wooded area of some kind. This alarmed me because my last memory was of being inside the Vault of Glass looking for clues as to how the vex found me. Also, I`m a vindictive ass of a hunter with a loaded hand cannon and a score to settle. Getting back on track I took stock of my surroundings beyond the obvious.
The foliage was something that I remembered from my days as an impressionable kid who just got his first wand. How did going into the vault send me all the way back to earth?
"Ghost do a scan of all radio frequencies, see where we are and knowing the vex I`m going to ask when we are as well," I signed.
I`ve been through so many vex time gates that I automatically ask what date it is since time to the vex is a cheap hooker on speed dial, always available but snarky the entire time.
The worst case was when I missed an entire year of fun messing with Venus and the fallen who lived there. Apparently when they heard I was not dead they started keeping an eye out for my legendary traps. They told horror stories of how those who fell into Loki's traps where humiliated in such gruesome ways before being killed, in such detail that many run screaming. How do I know this? I would send them footage of the traps being sprung and wait near their camps to listen for the screaming. Fallen terror always puts a spring in my step.
Ghost appeared to give me a report. "I couldn't find any vanguard communications in the area, but I found a primitive radio station that might have been left replaying a broadcast during the collapse."
"Play it for me" I replied, what I heard made my body freeze and mind go blank.
It was the morning report that the Dursleys would sometimes listen to before breakfast. How could this be that station was a live performance not a recording, yet I could hear the familiar voice of the reporter.
"Loki, Loki! Are you alright?" My ghost shouted, bringing me out of my stupor.
"Ghost we have to scout the area, if my suspicions are correct then my search is over." I whispered, fearing that anything louder may shatter the sliver of hope that grew in my cynical heart.
Give a wizard eternal youth, paired with infinite lives and a goal and you get an eventuality. I eventually became an Animagus after years of meditation and countless gruesome deaths from partial transformations that left organs where they shouldn't be. After all that trial and error I finally succeeded in transforming myself into the majestic form of a raven.
I know it's not as cool as a dragon or phoenix however being able to change into a raven in seconds has saved my ass more times than I can count though it only delayed Felwinter`s revenge for enchanting his shotgun to make party noises while firing confetti. That Exo was way too obsessed with that shotgun of his. No one should know how to use one as a club with such proficiency that the hapless victim looks like paste but said shotgun remains pristine, aside from firing confetti.
After trading armor and hands for feathers and wings I took to the sky. Nothing is more freeing then flying unaided through the sky. After taking a moment to enjoy my euphoria, I looked down and felt that sliver of hope blossom further. While from a different perspective I never forgot the layout of Little Whinging. It`s strange to look upon a place filled with such bad memories and feel joy, but I guess that those memories pale in comparison to the horrors I was witness to in my time as an Iron Lord.
I flew to number 4 Privet Drive with trepidation. While I confirmed that I was in a time before the collapse I didn't know if I was in the years before or after I was taken from my own time. I landed on the windowsill outside of the bedroom that I vaguely remembered leaving my trunk in the day before my abduction. The small gap in the window that I would leave for Hedwig to open and fool my relatives into thinking it was closed was a reassuring sign that made the blossom of hope in my chest bloom further.
After clumsily prying the window open, Hedwig made it look easy. I stepped into a memory. Everything was as I left it the opened trunk with its contents strewn about in the way only thirteen-year-olds could achieve. While this was all familiar to me it also was foreign. I was no longer that child, I spent almost a millennium fighting an endless war while simultaneously searching for a way back to this very moment with such fanaticism that I never thought about how much those centuries changed me. While I knew the mess was mine, I also knew that I would never make one again. The routine of packing everything neatly with military precision was something I learned out of necessity and wasn't going to stop.
An unholy screech snapped me out of my angst fueled reverie. Snapping my head to the window I was greeted with the sight of a snowy white owl flying in. Her landing on me stopped any thoughts I had of crying tears of joy, because I was still a raven and her right claw was around my chest and she squeezed s little to show that she didn't like me being in the room.
In the time that I have been an Animagus I`ve learned that when I'm a raven I'm able to speak bird so it came as no surprise that I was able to hear Hedwig`s agitated voice.
"What are you doing in here, you mangy eater of roadkill?" she barked.
For such a beautiful bird she had quite the mouth on her.
"You do not recognize me Hedwig? I guess I look quite different but I`m still hurt." I signed.
"I would remember if I graced one of your kind with my given name, now who are you" she said imperiously, apparently, she was also prideful.
"I am the one who you bonded yourself to as a familiar and would appreciate being let go of." I replied with as much strength as I could, considering she was almost crushing my chest with her claw.
"Lies! My hatchling has been gone for two days and you are no wizard!" to add emphasis she squeezed just a little bit tighter.
"If you let go of me, I can show you!" I wheezed with what air I had left.
For a moment she stared at me and then I felt her grip loosen. After I finished coughing, she spoke
"Fine, but when you prove you are lying I will rip your flimsy wings off before your head comes off."
Apparently, she is also a pro at death threats. Not wasting any time, I changed back to my human form. After doing so I removed my helmet so that Hedwig could see my face. I have never seen an owl slack-jawed but the site before me was so hilarious that I couldn't help but chuckle. No sooner had the sound left my lips I found an owl on my shoulder attempting to rip off my ear. Once the attempt upon my appendage was over she hopped back onto the desk and I changed back into a raven, so I could hear what she had to say, and as her previous words proved it was going to be witty.
"My hatchling is a raven! Oh, the shame what will the other owls think! How have you grown so fast in two days? I guess the new cloths will make up for you being a raven but not a word to the other owls!"
I felt pride in her praise of my armor. It is gold and green armor covered in the designs of the Iron Lords with a few Norse ruins etched in to and some magical protections that I learned when traveling the EDZ. The cloak that all hunters wear was longer than most, almost touching the ground with fraying from travel and wolves decorated it. My helmet covered everything in plasteel but a thin strip for the visor, resembling helms worn by knights of old. The chest plate while ornate was compact and functional, designed for mobility. My boots and bracers where also similarly minimalist but armored.
"You say I have only been missing for two days?" I asked, she nodded
"For me it was much longer living machines from beyond time took me to a time and place that may or may not be our distant future. So much has happened for me that you would grow old and die before the tale was finished. I started to lose hope of ever finding my way back even now I fear this all may be a dream." I choked out the last bit as that fear gripped my heart.
Next thing I know I felt something warm and soft cover me, a wing of white feathers, and then she spoke.
"I`m sorry hatchling that must have been hard, but you are here now, and this is real and if they come for you again I will sink my talons into their throats and not let go until they stop breathing and you are safe." She comforted; I couldn't help but laugh at the thought of a snowy owl attempting to strangle a vex goblin to death. That love, and commitment helped.
Once I collected myself, I told her I now had to make arrangements for my return to the time of my birth. She understood and told me I could talk to her anytime if I needed to. Returning to my human form I look upon my possessions from the past thinking look out Hogwarts, Harry Potter is back, and this Iron Lord known as Loki the Lord of Tricks and Magic bows to no one.
After packing everything and shrinking my trunk, (thank the traveler the vex didn't take away my wand) I couldn't help but cackle at the fact that the trace on my wand faded centuries ago and now they couldn't track my use of it. The first stop would be to Gringotts, to find out what I own and to find a place to live that won`t have blood stains when my relatives piss me off. I left them a note saying something similar, don't know why I did it, I doubt they cared about my absence aside from having to cook their own breakfast.
The trip was mostly covered by my raven form, cause like most guardians I never had need for civilian clothing and the last thing I need is to be mobbed by the crowd asking why Harry Potter is wearing strange armor.
Finding a space large enough to transform with no one noticing, while being close to the bank was somewhat challenging but I managed. Now to get into the bank. The cloak of invisibility wasn't going to cut it, in the crowd someone was going to run into me. There was a building near the entrance with a ledge that I could jump from. I climbed up to the top of the building I was by and proceeded to park core my way to the correct building, all while maintaining my hunter cloak to avoid being seen.
Now came the reveal, the impact from my landing was going to disrupt my cloak. Not that I wanted to sneak around the goblin guards out front, as funny as it would be, making a bad impression with the ones in charge of my finances wasn't on my list of things to do.
With a deep breath I leapt from the ledge. The landing was perfect not even a bit of dust, just a strain on my legs and the sound of my active camo being disrupted.
My Ghost made me an official guardian when I was sixteen, so I stood at a respectable five eight. Becoming a guardian stopped my ageing, while this meant that I was always going to be ID`d at every bar for eternity, this year at Hogwarts my appearance could be brushed aside as a growth spurt.
With the stares from passerby`s I was getting I was glad that I had a helmet that wasn't coming off until I get a room to meet with my account manager. With graceful strides I made it to the front of the bank quickly. The guards gave me a glare but otherwise they did not stop me, makes me wonder what they had to deal with in the past to make my attire unworthy of stopping.
Once inside I stood in line quietly while taking in the architecture, nothing had changed from the first time I was here with Hagrid. The goblins faces were fixed with permeant scowls that probably made their smiles look like a serial killer`s. I walked up to the available teller when it was my turn.
He seemed a little surprised with my attire but then again who wasn't? once I was in front of him, he asked me in an irritated voice.
"What is your business here today?"
I leaned in to indicate that what I was about to ask wasn`t meant to be heard by the gawking crowd.
"I am here to see the Potter account manager about my personal finances."
This goblin had a good poker face, not a single twitch of surprise at my request.
"Very well if you will follow me to a private meeting room in the back" he said with formality.
I followed him into the back and down a hallway made of marble and into a meeting room that looked like a Victorian board room.
After the teller left, I sat down and waited for the account manager to appear. In fifteen minutes of my arrival a smart dressed goblin that looked virtually the same as every other goblin graced me with his presence. He gave a little start when he saw what I was wearing but recovered quickly enough.
"You can remove your helm; these chambers are enchanted with the best privacy wards we could find." He asked.
With that assumption of mine confirmed I removed my helmet. Eyesight is also something ghosts fix for their guardians.
"Now that we can talk face to face are you, are you at all aware of your account standings at this moment? He asked.
"No that is why I came today." I replied simply.
"Well we have charms to track our clients' wellbeing and yours have been inactive for the past two days, something that has never happened before and now they are reading that you are of age, care to explain how that might have happened?" he asked.
While polite, the undertone said all I needed to know. I was on thin ice and had better tread carefully.
"There are creatures that exist outside of time and gaining their interest can result in those things, if you survive, I`m willing to verify my testimony with memories or veritaserum if you wish." I replied evenly.
"That will not be necessary this room is enchanted to notify its occupants if someone is lying and who, you have not set the enchantments off." The goblin grounded out, probably disappointed I was telling the truth.
"Shall we continue with the purpose of this meeting then." I asked smugly.
"Yes, since your parents passing all accounts where frozen due to their will being sealed. However, your status as an adult allows us to unseal the will and begin organizing the items and accounts. You get most of the accounts and property with exceptions to assets willed to Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Severus Snape. This is a list of those items and a copy of the will that you may read at your own time seeing as we already read the will in advance." He handed me two sheets of parchment which I sent to my inventory, both for safe keeping and to see the look on the goblin`s face. I wasn't disappointed with the bug-eyed look I got.
"What is the status of my new holdings and what properties do I own?" I asked while thinking that an Iron Lord needs a proper dwelling to intimidate his foes, especially when he pisses them off and needs to wait out the shit storm.
"Your liquid assets are over 50 million galleons and we are still calculating the interest and storage costs due to the sealing of the accounts. Your trust fund remains unchanged at 100 000 to be topped off on your birthday every year. I will give you a list afterwards but notably the cottage in Godric`s Hollow was turned into a memorial without proper compensation to the Potter estate, which we are currently rectifying with legal action and freezing the ministry`s accounts until such time."
A blind man could see the glee in his eyes
"And Potter Manor was burnt to the ground during the war however the land titles are still in the estate. Is there anything you would like to add?" he asked.
"Yes, now that the accounts are unsealed I have a few investment directions for you, make the liquid assets grow, but it would put a smile on my face if you could mess with the ministry financially while you do so (let them squirm) and anyone else I may add to the shit list. You get an extra percent on your commission if you agree and I would like the properties to remain as they are with renovations done of course to get them back up to standards, do you accept?" I asked.
The goblin looked like Christmas came early, and readily agreed to the new terms and I left with a portkey to the site of the manor. Time to get that proper dwelling.
The manor looked like something out of a movie. The stone foundations being the only thing that survived and the pillars crumbling, piles of wood that somehow weren't turned to ash. And all of it was covered with overgrowth. Thankfully next to Osiris I am the next leading expert on vex temporal manipulation.
I had long since perfected using time distortion to hide my caches in destroyed buildings. The trip through eons of time left an imprint on my magic, making time and space related feats of magic ridiculously easy for me. Combine that with vex tech hidden in my magic bags and I could do some amazing things.
Like send a manor back in time to before it was burned down and have it and the original crispy version, exist in the same space with certain requirements to enter the hidden restored version. The requirement being I give you permission to enter when the two versions of the land aren't switched with the restored manor being the surface existence to host gatherings if I so choose.
Those who I allow to enter will have to walk through the overgrown entrance gate at the front of the property. If someone were to walk through the gate without my permission and the correct magical signature, they will walk into the burned down version of the manor.
The past week had been spent refurbishing the manor. While I was able to return the manor and furniture to pristine condition, I had to take the paintings and books out of the vaults and put them back to where they belong. Thankfully, I was able to locate the house elves who worked for the Potters and convince them to come back.
My wardrobe was also increased, now I can walk around in public without people thinking I`m cosplaying, mail ordering clothes is easy when you have a ghost that knows all your measurements for revive.
Today however I am packing for the finals for the quidditch world cup. Hopefully, I haven't forgotten anything important about them during my abduction. I haven't told anyone that I am no longer living with the Dursley`s, in fact with all the things I have been doing I haven't even thought about visiting anyone. Guess I`ll cross those bridges when I get there.
The first problem being where to meet the Weasley`s. Thankfully that one is easy. I wrote back saying that I would meet them at the leaky cauldron when they wanted me to visit them.
Once everything I needed for the trip was packed into one of my expanded bags, I made my way to the outside of my home. Temporal distortion also doubles as an anti-apparition ward. Once outside I apparated to a deserted street near the leaky cauldron that I had set up silencing and anti-muggle wards on so that I could apparate to the alley without the ministry giving me a hard time.
Apparition was another skill that I picked up through trial and many dismemberments.
Ron`s letter said they were going to be at the pub at around noon, so I claimed a table for myself and ordered the lunch special to eat while I wait. Guardians may not require sleep (though it is recommended) we still can die of starvation oddly enough and watching Cayde eat ramen noodles with no lips will forever remain burned into my mind. The meal was meant to distract me from the trepidation I felt at meeting my friends after so long. My biggest fear was that they would look at me and see someone else in front of them, someone who was not the friend that they knew.
The Weasleys were always a loud and boisterous family I heard them as soon as they exited the floo, well guess it's time to face the music and come what may, I wasn't going to waste this second chance.