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Harry Potter And The Game of Death

Level 1

Chapter One: Death Approaches

The shadowy forms of Dementors swooped through the night air. With only the light of the moon and stars in the sky, the land lay covered in a cloak of shadowy fog. The chill air caught in the throat and sent shivers down the spine as the creatures swept through its dark embrace.

Harry tightly grasped his wand as they approached. He strained to conjure a corporeal Patronus; yet no matter hard he tried nothing appeared. The faint stream of silver coming forth from the wand only delayed the inevitable, while causing the menacing shapes to appear even more ominous in the foggy night air.

On the ground next to him, Hermione knelt over Sirius' canine form. From the corner of his eyes Harry could see her hands flying as she assessed the damage wrought by the transformed Professor Lupin. Sirius had engaged the Werewolf to keep the rest of them safe, but the Professor's claws and teeth had torn bleeding gashes along the animagus' malnourished body.

Hopefully it was nothing that could not be healed by Madame Pomfrey; the woman was miracle worker. But even thinking about the possibility of the man dying caused Harry's heart to ache. So great was the pain that it felt as though one of the bony, spectral hands of the Dementors had clutched around the organ, icy cold fingers sending shivers of pain racing throughout his body.

But no, Harry could not allow himself to be distracted. Sirius' state would have to wait; Harry was already fighting a losing battle against the horde of Dementor's that surrounded them, and if he were to fail then all three of them would face a fate worse than death. It was only with a great effort of will that Harry forced the thought from his mind as he concentrated once more on the task before him.

Harry screamed into the night air as he saw the silver stream coming from his wand begin to slow. "Come on, come on. Work already! I can't let Sirius die on me here. Not yet. Not when I've only just found him!"

The young wizard tried to think of happy thoughts, grasping blindly as he searched for one that would allow him to form a Patronus capable of saving them.

The day when he found that he was a wizard rose up. When Harry had learned that he was not a Freak, and that his parents had been wonderful people who had loved him with all of their hearts. The day where Harry first felt that there might be a place within this world where he could find even a tiny shred of happiness.

The silver stream brightened momentarily as the memory surged through him. For a moment it looked like a creature might be forming. That Harry had managed to save them.

Then the silver light began to dim once more.

Of course that memory would not work. Harry mentally berated himself for even trying it. The Dursley's were a part of that memory and their very presence tainted it. Nothing even remotely associated with them could ever be used.

The night he first came to Hogwarts was the next memory which came to mind. Harry recalled sitting in the enchanted boats on the lake, gasping in amazement as he saw the mighty castle glowing in the distance. Of meeting other children his own age who wanted to be his friend, of being welcomed by Professor McGonnagall, and of the thunderous welcome given to him by the entire Gryffindor table upon his sorting.

A short flicker of light bubbled into being. Then it burst, causing the stream of light began to dim even faster.

Memory after memory flashed through Harry's brain as he threw his entire being into the fight.

Flying on a broom for the first time. Winning his first game of Quidditch. Freeing Dobby from the Malfoys. Receiving the album of pictures from Hagrid filled with photos of his parents. Seeing Hermione wake up from the Basilisk's petrification.

All of those and more flew by; yet the light from Harry's wand continued to grow ever more dim.

The Dementors were close, now. Harry could feel their aura pressing in on him. The icy cold grip of fear and terror within his stomach began to rise as he heard the voices of his parents the night Voldemort killed them. The tragic tale and all of the terrible emotions it brought to him began to bubble forth like a poisonous stream.

Harry did not know what to do. He wracked his brain for something, anything, to get them out of this situation. Searching for a memory strong enough to save them, or for some other spell which could take them away. To protect his best friend in the entire world and someone whom he wanted in his life more than anything else.

But nothing else came to mind.

"You can do this Harry. I know that you can." Hermione's calm voice broke through Harry's increasingly panicky mind. Ever reliable and ever steady. "This is only the beginning of our journey together, and there is so much still ahead of us to accomplish."

As if it were buoyed by her confident words, the stream of magic holding the Dementors back began to strengthen. Harry looked down into her calm eyes and saw something which he had failed to see in himself.

That in spite of the dire situation, and in spite of Harry's lack of belief in himself, Hermione's eyes were clear and confident. Harry's best friend truly believed in every word that she had just said. He could see it in her eyes.

A feeling of shame rose within him as Harry tried to reply. "But why, Hermione? Why do you think that?" He desperately fought to keep his voice under control, to contain the fear that he felt. "'Cause I don't know if I have it in me. I can't even make a corporeal Patronus. Let alone one that could chase off so many Dementors!"

"Because I trust you, Harry," Hermione said with a tremulous smile. "I've trusted in you since the day you saved me from that giant troll, and through every one of our adventures since. You've faced worse things than this, and you've never allowed yourself to be beaten. I know that… that you are an amazing wizard… one who will face even greater challenges in the future."

A sign of strain appeared in Hermione's expression while she was speaking. Her eyes grew dilated; her breathing sped up. A bead of cold sweat traced its way down her neck while her slim shoulders started to hunch together.

The power of the Dementors had begun to take its toll on her. Harry's weak Patronus could no longer keep their dread aura fully at bay.

The creatures were nearly close enough to touch. They hovered and shifted within the air, moving closer and then retreating as though they were in a strange, unholy dance. Harry could see the skeletal hands that reached out from their robes as they sought the warmth of living flesh. Hands that would draw them close to the creatures and then gently raise their faces. Bringing the humans in for the dreaded Dementor's Kiss.

"Finish this Harry. Do what…" Hermione struggled to speak as she gasped out her words. "Do… do what you must… and protect…"

Her words cut-off mid-sentence. Hermione's body slumped to the ground with a soft thump as the dark power of the Dementors overwhelmed her mental defences.

Harry gave out a cry of anguish as he watched, helpless and unable to stop it. It was all he could do to keep the thin stream of silver light going; if he were to let it go to rush to her side, then all three of them would perish.

"No. No. No!" The young wizard screamed in rage at the creatures surrounding them. "Not Hermione! You can take my life if you want but you can't take hers! Never! Not while I'm still here."

Hermione had been there for him since the day he met her. She had helped him race to the Philosopher's Stone in year one. She had nearly lost her life last year in order to provide him with the clue he needed to uncover the truth of the Chamber of Secrets. This year she had even risked their friendship in order to keep him safe from himself when Sirius had sent him the Firebolt. And like an utter fool, Harry had almost ended their friendship over a stupid broom.

Like only the best of friends could, she had been for him through thick and thin. He owed her so, so much. And she was right. This would not be the end for them. This time he would not let her down. Harry would fight these monsters. And he would win!

With renewed strength, Harry eyed the creeping forms of the Dementors. The dark-haired boy gripped his phoenix-core wand and summoned every bit of magical energy he possessed, digging it out of his body and shoving it through the wand and into the partial Patronus spell.

Harry might not have a memory happy enough to power the spell, but he did possess a potent well of magic far beyond his age. It was time to let loose the floodgates on it and see what might happen.

Silvery light flared into being, raging out from his wand in a torrent of magical power. The shadowy forms of the Dementors flinched back from the sheer power contained within its glow.

It was the first sign of fear or pain Harry had seen in them that night.

Harry felt a grin stretch the corners of his mouth at the sight. "Yeah, that's right. Can't get us now, can you? Even if it's not complete, it's enough to hurt you guys and make you back away."

He spared a glance at Hermione. His friend's breathing had started to calm as the power of the Dementors began to recede. Sirius' own panted breaths came out more easily, and Harry felt the return of hope.

Help must be on the way. Whether it was Professor Dumbledore, or Professor McGonnagall, surely someone had to be coming for them. The crazy swirl of the Dementors must have been too large to go unnoticed for long. So if Harry were to hold on just a little bit longer, then one of the powerful wizards or witches in the nearby school was certain to come.

As time passed, though, Harry's tight grin began to fade. He had been holding the spell for more than five minutes and there was no sign of anyone coming.

The Dementors were closing in once more. The Dark creatures had backed away from the initial burst of magical light, but had settled into position ten meters away. There they shifted and waited, moving about within an invisible dome as they flew above and around his position.

Harry could feel the magic leaving his body faster than it could replenish itself. He would be able to keep this up for a few more minutes yet, but could not do so indefinitely. Sooner or later his body would run out of magical energy. Sooner or later his power would fail, at which time they Dementors would close in and devour their souls.

No. No! He could not allow that to happen. Harry struggled against the very notion that he would fail. There had to some way out of this mess. There just had to be one!

Even if he could not find a single truly happy memory powerful enough to power the Patronus Charm within his short life, surely one of the adults would come to save them. Like Professor Dumbledore, or maybe Professor McGonnagall. Or even Professor Flitwick. Each of them were quite powerful, and surely somebody must have noticed the swarm of Dementors swarming by the Forbidden Forest.

Heck, Harry would even take Snape showing up again. The man had ruined everything this evening, but he was still quite powerful in his own right. If it saved Sirius and Hermione, then being indebted to a petty and vindictive man was small change in comparison.

But as the minutes ticked by Harry's hope turned to despair. No one came to save them. No one showed any sign that they even knew that Harry and the others were out here. The woods remained silent as a grave while Harry grew ever weaker.

His breath started to come out in heaving gasps as the magic continued to pour from his body. Cold sweat poured down his brow, covering his body in a silvery sheen that gleamed in the light of his wand.

All the while, the Dementors moved around him in a slow, steady rhythm. Prowling like hunters stalking their prey. Waiting for the moment when his light would fail and cast the world into darkness once more.

Then something began to change.

A feeling deep inside Harry's body, born of need and desire, stirred within his heart. It rose from within the furthest depths of his flesh, his bones – no, his very soul. The feeling rose higher, unchained and unlocked, demanding to be heard.

A distant beat began to fill Harry's ears. It was a song of some kind. A tune without words and without sound. Somehow it filled his ears and entered his brain, forcing the change within Harry to accelerate.

The song was magic!

Only once before had Harry heard a similar tune. That had been one year ago, back when he had confronted the shade of Tom Riddle within the Chamber of Secrets. Back then it had been Fawkes' Phoenix Song. A melody of hope and love which had lifted Harry up and given him strength he did not know that he had possessed.

But this time was different. This time the song came from within rather than without. And instead of strengthening Harry by giving him courage and hope, as had the Phoenix Song, the feeling that was rising in his body was cold. It felt as desolate as the surface of the moon, colder than the vacuum of space. It made the world feel bright and dull at the same time. As though Harry could see everything in colour one moment, then in only black and white the next.

It continued to grow within him as it rose in both pitch and intensity. Forcing itself to complete its terrible melody. A melody which fought against the laws of nature and magic, against all that was alive and part of this world.

A groan passed his lips as Harry felt his body shudder. A shudder which was reflected within the Dark creatures around him, as the song swept through the ranks of the Dementors.

Whatever this tune was, and however it might be changing him, it was consuming Harry's magic at an exponential rate. His body could not handle casting an overpowered Patronus spell at the same time. Something had to give, and it was the worst thing possible.

The light of Harry's spell soon shut off. The forest surrounding him was plunged into icy darkness. Freed from its aegis, the horde of Dementors swooped in.

Then time froze as four glowing lines of glowing green text floated before his eyes.

Welcome, Master, to the Game of Death

Would you like to play?

Please Select

Yes or No

A/N: Thus ends the first chapter of my HP fic. I've taken a few liberties with the end of Book 3, and will be making it steadily more AU as the story progresses – with a few BIG changes in regards to Sirius, Remus, Ron, and Ginny early on. Do not expect the personalities of Harry, Hermione and everyone else to be cloned from canon either, because hey, that's what fan fiction is for ;-).

This story is a bit of an experiment for me. No idea about the chapter length (could be 3k one chapter, 9k the next). I will also be trying to write a Gaming fic where the mechanics of the game are only one of many plot tools, with plot and characterization being the primary plot drivers. Or in other words, a Gaming fic where not everything is viewed through the lenses of the game. Which I don't think that I have ever come across previously, but heck, I'll give it a shot.

I should also probably mention a few sources of inspiration. In addition the obvious inspirations from Harry Potter, D&D, and RPG style video games in general (shout-out to the original NWNs), there are a few HP fanfics and authors that I would like to acknowledge for having helped me to germinate this idea over the years through writing their own stories: A Grave Misunderstanding by McWhite, The Many Deaths of Harry Potter by ShayneT, and Heart and Soul by Sillimaure. These three Harry Potter fics are incredible and I highly recommend that you check them out. They are also complete, so huzzah!

Last but not least, this story is a Harem story. And, just so that I am extremely clear, it is not a multi-pairing story, so Harry won't be surrounded by a bunch of lesbian girls who, for some inexplicable reason (possibly related to brain damage or the omnipotent will/power/deus ex machina ability of magic), decided to include one dude in their otherwise all-girl love nest. The romance aspects will be a slow burn for quite some time (13 year old Harry will not be having sexy time with 32 ladies in twelve chapters; nor even in a hundred), as I am saving the romance bit for later when Harry and some of the girls get to more of an acceptable age; expect only teasing for quite some time. I can, and will, confirm that both Hermione and Ginny are in the grouping of 7, each of whom are set in stone. But as for everyone else… RAFO!

So if any of that sounds like your cup of tea, then read on oh brave adventurers, and leave a review or two to let me know how I performed. The next chapter will be out… no idea when. But it's mostly finished already, and I've got drafts done for the next few as well.

Updated on 12/8/2019

Until Next Time,