Disclaimer – I solemnly swear that JKR owns everything Harry Potter. Whether or not I am up to no good with her characters is for you to decide.
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Harry Potter: Dragon Whisperer
Chapter 18 – Elements At Play
Friday, 12 August 1995
Australasian Dragon Preserve, Australia
"Here, here and … here!" Andy stated.
After pulling his wand back, he looked at Harry and cocked an eyebrow. Harry carefully examined the map of the Preserve and, in particular, the three glowing red dots positioned just in the ocean. They looked about right, exactly where they'd found the entrances to the three tunnels that led to the three weyrs.
"That looks right to me," Harry nodded.
"It's gotta be an animal, then," Charlie stated. "Too small for a human and a person couldn't tunnel in the sand like that for that distance without it collapsing."
"But what animal, though?" Sharon asked. "None that I know of, magical or mundane."
Silence was her only response and with good reason – none of them had come up with any answer, no matter how much research had been done. At this point, Harry doubted even Newt could answer the question.
"The only good news we have is that that last weyr is a lot further from the ocean," Bruce stated.
"True, but does that mean that it's safe?" Mick asked. "Could just take a while longer for whatever's doing this to tunnel that far."
"We need to keep those eggs safe," Andy stated. "This is the first clutch of eggs we've had here for quite a few years, and you all know that these are the only Opaleye dragons in the world. As dragon keepers, it's our responsibility to keep them safe and to help them prosper."
"Harry, can the dragons help us find what's doing this?" Charlie asked.
Harry shook his head in frustration. "I don't think so. Yes, they've got a flight of half a dozen dragons watching over the weyr and the eggs twenty-four seven but if whatever's taking the eggs is coming up from underground and the dragons can't sense whatever it is either – which they are most annoyed about – then I doubt that there's a lot that they can do to safeguard them."
"Even if we were there watching as well – which there's no guarantee the dragons would allow – I don't overly like the idea of simply reacting to the eggs getting taken," Andy frowned. "Even if we got there as soon as it happened and used young Harry's wind ability to flush the animal out, the chances of the eggs getting damaged is too high."
"Andy's right, we need to find this thing and catch it before it reaches the eggs," Bruce said.
"How though? The thing tunnels! Even assuming that it's starting from the ocean like the other three tunnels, it could be coming from anywhere! And there's no guarantee that it's coming in a straight line either. It could be circling for all we know!" Sharon stated, clearly frustrated.
"Then what do we do?" Jess, the lone apprentice attached to the Preserve asked. "We can't let those eggs be taken!"
"What we really need is to come up with a way to trap it before it can take the eggs, I just can't see how at the moment," Andy stated. "I'm open to ideas."
"Did someone say something about wanting to set a trap?"
Harry spun at the extremely interested-sounding voice to find an eager-looking Sirius standing just inside the door, Remus right along-side him.
"I think we've just found our answer!" Charlie laughed. "Gentlemen, ladies, let me introduce you to two of the Marauders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The pranks these guys pulled during their school years are still legendary after all this time."
"Hey! It wasn't that long ago!" Sirius retorted.
"I'm not sure what you're talking about, but if you're wanting to set a trap for someone or something, then we might be able to come up with a few ideas," Remus stated.
"At this point in time, I'll take anything," Andy said. "Come on over and we'll explain what we know."
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Saturday, 13 August 1995
Australasian Dragon Preserve, Australia
There was barely a click when the door closed and Harry breathed a sigh of relief. While neither Sirius nor Remus were light sleepers, he hadn't wanted to take the chance of waking them, especially not with how late they'd gone to bed the night before.
Admittedly, Harry was up just as late, but he'd always been an early riser – a decade of waking early to cook breakfast for his 'family' had ensured that he'd never be able to sleep in, no matter how hard he tried.
But being awake this early meant that he could finally do something that he'd been missing: see the sunrise from his broom a few hundred yards up. Ramaranth, Grouleth, Memzath and the fledglings might be half a world away, but there were dragons here and he could get lucky enough to have some company.
Dawn wasn't long past when he took to the sky.
Harry couldn't help but look around while he flew. It was so different here, nothing like Romania or even Scotland where he'd flown before. The land here near the coast was fairly flat with only small hills undulating across it – very different from what he was used to. There were mountains here but so far in the distance as to be nearly impossible to see and the most puzzling part of those mountains was their colour. Blue. Not green or brown or capped in white, but blue!
Movement out at sea diverted Harry's attention and he turned his broom that way, accelerating straight across the Preserve. Could whatever's been taking the eggs be a sea dweller?
Below him, he noticed dragon heads turn upwards but he ignored them, instead keeping his eyes focussed. It wasn't a wave, of that he was certain. The way that it arched its back out of the water had his eyes widening – whatever it was, it was big! And then he saw a huge tail emerge, stand upright for a moment before slapping straight down, sending up a spray of water.
"Is that … a whale!" he exclaimed.
He'd never seen a whale before, unsurprising really considering his time here in Australia was the first time that he'd ever seen the ocean before. Nothing could stop him from flying on, as eager as he was to get a closer look.
His eyes scanned the water even as he shot passed the beach and headed straight out over the ocean. Another whale breached (or was it the same one?), its back rising above the surface of the water, a jet of air shooting straight up as it breathed and Harry gasped. It was big, huge even! He could only laugh at his ridiculous thought that this was what had dug the tunnels and taken the eggs.
§I greet you, Speaker. Are you here to break your fast§?
Harry's head shot to the side to find an Opaleye flying beside him, its head in line with his broom. There was a scar that led from the dragon's lower jaw and partway down its neck that made Harry frown – what could hurt a dragon's hide? Unless it had happened as a fledgling when the hide was still soft?
§Good morning§, Harry replied. §I'm sorry, I don't know your name§.
§I am Zanzyn, Speaker§, the dragon replied.
§It's nice to meet you, Zanzyn§, Harry replied.
§Are you here to break your fast, Speaker§? Zanzyn repeated.
§No, I just enjoy flying and watching the sun come up§, he replied. §And the whales caught my attention. I've never seen any before§.
Even as he looked back out and down, he saw not one, but two whales breaching. The second one, though, was much, much smaller than the first. A baby! And it was swimming very close to its mother. Before he could comment on it, another whale appeared. This one, though was different. For a start, Harry could see it underwater before it breached, even in the low light. For another, it was pure white!
§A white whale§! Harry exclaimed.
§Migaloo§, Zanzyn said.
Harry spared a second to glance at his flying companion before focussing on the strange whale once again.
§I'm sorry, I don't know that word§, he said.
§Migaloo§, Zanzyn repeated. §It is the word that the two-legs use whenever they see this whale. They always get quite animated when it appears although we do not know why; it's just a whale§.
§Migaloo§, Harry repeated, rolling the word around. §Could it be the whale's name§?
§I do not know, Speaker§.
Then, without warning, Zanzyn's entire body tipped up and then straight down. Harry watched, alarmed, as the dragon's wings folded up tight against its body. It plunged faster and faster straight down towards the water. Harry had no idea what to do. He didn't think that they were high enough for the dragon to pull out of its dive before it hit the water. Still, that didn't stop him from willing Zanzyn's wings to open.
But it never happened.
Instead, Zanzyn plunged straight into the ocean below. Its body was so straight that there was hardly any splash at all. Instantly, Harry dove down after it, his eyes searching the water below.
But before he could drop very far, Zanzyn re-emerged, flying out of the water, its great wings flapping hard to gain altitude. Water poured from its body and Harry scanned it, searching for damage, but there was none that he could see.
It was only when Zanzyn once more reached Harry's height that he realised that there was something flopping around at the side of Zanzyn's jaw. Before he could identify it, Zanzyn jerked its head up. Its jaws flew open and three fish flew up, spun around and fell straight back to land in Zanzyn's mouth.
Breakfast! Zanzyn had asked about breakfast. Obviously, this was the dragon's breakfast!
§Would you like a fish, Speaker? I could catch one for you? They're quite delicious§, Zanzyn asked.
§No thank you, Zanzyn, I'm not hungry just yet§, he replied.
Unfortunately, when Harry next looked back to see the whales again, it was in vain: they'd moved on, possibly scared away by Zanzyn's fishing expedition. Still, he'd gotten to see them and it wasn't something that he was ever likely to forget. Especially if he painted this morning's scene: Zanzyn emerging from the ocean, fish in its jaws, the whales off in the distance. He could see the image so clearly in his mind that his fingers itched to have a piece of chalk or a paintbrush in his hand.
Painting, though, wasn't something that he had a lot of time for, not with the creature still out there and the eggs in danger. Although …
§Zanzyn, do you know if Dankrum is awake yet? We have an idea to help keep Shiklyn's clutch safe, but I need to speak to Dankrum first to see if it's possible§, he asked.
§Dankrum is usually awake before the sun rises§, Zanzyn replied. §If you are willing to wait until after I have caught a few more fish, I can take you to her§?
§Of course§, Harry smiled. §I'd be very happy to wait. Eat your fill§.
With that, Zanzyn rolled his body and dived for the water below once more.
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Saturday, 13 August 1995
Australasian Dragon Preserve, Australia
"Harry Potter, I'd like you to meet Coen Muriata," Andy introduced.
"Nice to meet you, Sir," Harry said, shaking the older man's hand.
Like Andy, Coen was clearly a native of Australia. Unlike Andy, Coen was old, ancient even. The lines that marked his face were deep and many and his hair was a pure white, just like the few teeth that still remained in his mouth. Harry was also able to just about look the man in his eyes but that was due more to the man's pronounced stoop rather than his actual height.
"'Coen'? That's an unusual name," Remus said, also shaking the elder aboriginal's hand.
Harry shot his honorary uncle a Look. Really? He thought 'Coen' was unusual considering his own name and his best friend's name?
"It means 'thunder' in my language," Coen replied.
"An apt name, considering Coen's affinity for elemental magic," Andy explained.
"You can do elemental magic?" Harry blurted. "Cool!"
Coen's eyes lit up even as he laughed. "I hear that you can do it, too, young Harry."
"So I'm told," Harry replied. "Really, I'm not sure what I'm doing."
"Well, that's why I'm here. How about you and I go for a walk and you can tell me what you've managed so far?" Coen suggested.
At Harry's nod, the two of them started off towards the sand hills; due to Coen's slow pace, though, Harry was able to hear the tail end of Remus and Andy's conversation.
"Coen is a master of wind and earth magics and he has knowledge of fire and water magics as well," Andy was saying. "If Harry pays attention, he can learn a lot from him."
"If I know Harry, he'll be soaking up anything he's taught like a sponge," Remus replied.
"Young Andy tells me this is your first time here in Australia," Coen said, drawing Harry's attention back. "What do you think of our Land?"
"It's amazing!" Harry replied before clarifying, "not that I've seen much yet but the ocean and the dragons here are brilliant! And I saw some whales this morning, although Zanzyn scared them away when he was fishing for his breakfast."
"'Zanzyn'? One of yon dragons?" Coen asked, nodding at a pair of Opaleyes sunning themselves on the top of one of the sandhills not far away.
"Yep," Harry replied. "I haven't met many but they're all great."
"That's a rare gift you have there, being able to talk to dragons. Cherish it and use it well," Coen said.
"I'm doing my best," Harry replied.
"That is all anyone can do," Coen nodded. He looked around at the area, nodded once more and gestured to the ground. "Here looks as good a place as any."
Harry waited until the ancient Aboriginal was seated, before he sat as well. Noting that Coen had crossed his legs, Harry copied him.
"Tell me, young Harry, what it is that you can do," Coen said.
Harry frowned, not entirely sure how to explain it. Still, he did his best, finding that he was often repeating words and phrases that he'd used with Sirius and Remus.
"I guess I … tap into my magic. I sort of compress it like it's in a big bubble and then I open the tiniest hole and let out a stream of my magic. But because it's such a small amount and because it's my magic, I can use it to stimulate the air around me and, I guess, … push the air where I want it to go."
He'd been looking down as he tried to explain and ended with a shrug. When he lifted his eyes, it was to find a broad grin on Coen's face.
"You are already far into your journey in this type of magic, young Harry," Coen said. "You are instinctively shaping and directing your magic exactly as you need to. Please, show me."
Harry'd guessed that this was coming so had already begun pulling all of his magic towards himself and directing it down inside. Now that he was concentrating, he was able to find all of those loose tendrils of magic that inhabited his body and shape them into that dense ball that he was becoming used to. Interestingly, his magic seemed to almost gravitate into the right shape and he wondered whether it was starting to get used to him doing this.
Then, once it was compacted tightly inside him, Harry concentrated harder on his connection to it and carefully released a tiny gap. Instantly, his magic surged forth and he was forced to wrestle it under control. As the magic burst forth, he directed it into the very air.
Around him, the air began to dance and he pushed directing it in a circle around them before allowing it to spiral upwards. Their clothes were pulled about even as the breeze increased across their faces.
"Wonderful!" Coen clapped while laughing. "You are doing wonderfully!"
Harry allowed the wind-pushed magic to continue for another minute before 'corking' his magic once again and allowing the wind and air to settle.
"That is precisely what elemental magic of the air is," Coen stated. "There is little that I can teach you."
"You can't?" Harry asked, his hopes dashed. He was sure that Coen was there to help him learn all that he could do and give him lots of lessons about how to do it.
"There is no need," Coen replied. "You are already on the path. Simply practice what you are already doing. Play with your ability. You will learn more that way than being taught by me."
"If you say so," Harry replied, not exactly sure that he agreed.
"Air magic is one of the easiest elements of nature to bend to your will and magic. The other elements are much harder," Coen said. "Earth. Water. Fire. These are much harder to control. Wizards and witches have created spells that allow them to manipulate the elements but that is not true elemental magic. Elemental magic is felt here," Coen placed his hand against his chest, almost exactly where Harry knew his own magic pooled inside him. "And once felt, it can be manipulated. Not with words or spells but simply through your own magic reaching out and doing your bidding. Just like you did with the air."
Harry nodded slowly. That made sense and it did answer some of the questions that Harry had about the difference between normal magic and elemental magic.
"Tell me, young Harry, have you ever used your magic – without words, without spells – to manipulate any of the other elements?" Coen asked.
His immediate reaction was to say 'no' but something stopped him. A feeling, a fragment of a memory. He frowned, searching for it. And then it blossomed into being: tiny Professor Flitwick, the forbidden forest and some candles.
"Actually, I think I have," he said, looking up at Coen with bewilderment.
The Elder beamed at him, his remaining teeth standing out starkly against his black skin.
"Show me," Coen instructed, gesturing to the world in general.
Harry's eyes darted about, looking for something to use. A leaf, old and brown lying a dozen yards away gave him the inspiration that he needed.
Carefully, he lifted his hand and willed his ball of light to appear. The light, as always, was without heat – an easy problem to solve. With a 'push' he sent it flying towards the leaf, adjusting its temperature as it travelled. When it reached its destination, he simply had it hover there even as he altered its heat some more.
All of a sudden, the leaf burst into flames. Quickly, the fire licked from one end to the other before it slowly died out. Only then did Harry let his ball of light dissipate.
"Extraordinary! And quite an unorthodox approach!" Coen exclaimed.
Harry laughed. "That's exactly what Professor Flitwick said."
"And who might this 'Professor Flitwick' be?" Coen asked.
"He's the Charms Professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He was teaching me incendio and wanted me to light a candle using my wandless magic. That was the only way that I could work out how to do it," Harry shrugged.
"Truly exceptional," Coen beamed. "It is easy to see that you have a true connection to your magic, one that many magicals fail to establish, to their detriment. While the element of Fire isn't one that I have an affinity for, I think that, between us, we can find ways to fine tune this ability of yours until you're ready to learn on your own."
"You think so?" Harry asked eagerly. "How do I start?"
"You start the same way that you did when you wanted to manipulate the air, young Harry …"
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Sunday, 14 August 1995
Australasian Dragon Preserve, Australia
The growl was so low as to be nearly inaudible. That didn't stop the sound from penetrating straight into their very bones and causing every hair on their body to stand on end.
"Harry, are you sure about this?" Sirius asked.
"Of course I am," Harry replied. "They're just being overly dramatic."
"Doesn't sound 'dramatic' at all. Sounds like a full-blown warning to me!" Sirius countered, his voice much higher than usual.
Harry looked at his godfather. The man was visibly shaking in his boots. His eyes were wide and his head was jerking about, as though trying to keep every dragon perched on the top of the sandhills that surrounded the weyr in view at all times. Clearly, Sirius' mouth was dry for he was licking his lips every other second. He was petrified! Honestly, Harry wouldn't have been surprised if there'd been a yellow puddle appearing on the sand at Sirius' feet.
"You do know that the British Ministry had a bunch of teenagers entering a mother dragon's nest to retrieve an egg, don't you? And for 'entertainment' at that!" Harry asked, amused.
"They were idiots! All of them!" Sirius exclaimed. "Bet you'd never get one of them into a weyr like this!"
"And without me having first come to an agreement with the dragons themselves, if anyone even tried, they'd likely not survive the encounter," Harry stated.
"Why are we here again?" Sirius asked.
Harry stared at him. This whole thing was Sirius' idea in the first place. It seemed that in his terror of actually doing it, he'd forgotten.
"We're here to put that piece of plastic in your hand under the clutch of eggs," Harry reminded him patiently.
Sirius jerked his head down to the piece of plastic in question, stared at it for a moment, stared at the nest of eggs and promptly resumed staring up and around at the seven dragons watching them.
"Whoever came up with that idea was a complete lunatic!" Sirius stated.
"Well, Lunatic, shall we get to work? The sooner we're done here, the less nervous the dragons will be," Harry said. "You know that they weren't keen on this idea at all, don't you?"
"Don't remind me!" Sirius said. "What was it? If this plan fails, then they promise to roast me and eat me?"
"Yep, that about sums it up," Harry grinned. "Now, what do you want me to do?"
Once again, Sirius tore his gaze from the dragons and focussed on the clutch of eggs.
"Can you lift the eggs?" he asked.
Harry nodded and concentrated. He'd been practicing this. None of the dragon handlers liked the idea of anyone using a magical spell on a dragon egg, not even something as simple as wingardium leviosa. And the idea of pointing a wand at a nest of dragon eggs simply seemed a recipe for suicide.
Instead, Harry concentrated on his inner magic. When it was ready, he let it out and let it settle into the sand. Sweat broke out on Harry's forehead as he mingled his magic with the sand and pushed the sand in a wave towards the eggs. Then it was a matter of forcing his magic-filled sand molecules down and under the clutch.
He was forced to concentrate on his breathing, doing his best to ignore the pools of sweat on his forehead, the middle of his back and under his arms. Earth elemental magic was not easy!
Closing his eyes, Harry concentrated harder, pushing the sand so that it was completely under the nest. Then, he forced the sand up! Slowly, it rose. One end rippled causing two of the eggs to wobble and Harry was forced to compensate. Gradually, though, he succeeded: his magic-infused sand was floating a few inches above the ground, a layer of 'normal sand' above it on which the eggs rested.
Quickly, Sirius rushed forward and dropped to his knees. The piece of plastic was pushed in place so that it completely covered where the sand and eggs had been.
"Right, let it down, Harry," Sirius instructed.
Carefully, Harry lowered the sand back into place and let his magic go.
"Looks exactly as it did before," he panted, running the back of his arm across his face.
That had taken a lot out of him. Manipulating Air and Fire was much easier to do than Earth.
"Good. Grab your broom and let's get out here!" Sirius said. "I don't like the way those dragons are looking at me!"
"They're not looking at you any differently than they usually do," Harry replied shaking his head.
"That's what worries me!" Sirius retorted even as he shot into the air.