Man, The Witcher, what a world. I try not to gush about it like one of those awkward fanboys who literally won't shut up about it being the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it is one of the best single player games I've ever played. And the books are equally great if in a far different manner. Honestly with it's popularity and quality I'm surprised by the lack of Witcher crossover fan fiction, Witcher/HP fan fiction to be specific. The two worlds just mesh together very nicely. Teleportation for instance is already present, so isn't as overpowered as it usually is in HP crossovers. And a certain white haired lady's powers to regularly break dimensional barriers and nearly go on right through the forth wall does make this a lot more believable than it usually is writing crossover stories.
So this is my humble contribution to Witcher FF. To get the usual out of the way, this is rated M so expect everything that goes with that including sexual content, though I've yet to decide if I'm going to post the more explicit stuff here. Also be sure to expect the usual graphic violence and language, though you really should expect that with a dark twisted world centred on a mutated man that hunts down horrifying monsters for a living.
Yes the pairing is Harry/Ciri, no that's not up for debate, yes some other girls might be brought in on a temporary basis for some shenanigans, no that isn't a harem. We're looking for a modicum of realism here and if you believe harems work IRL then you're in for a rude surprise.
Other pairings are somewhat up in the air. Geralt and Yennefer is a definite of course, even if the relationship is almost hilariouslytoxic in the books, they've got too much chemistry and history not to end up together. Everyone else though, who knows? Might shove it in a poll for you all to decide on.
If you would like to ask a question or leave praise and criticism please either leave it in a review or send me a PM. I share every authors weakness for reviews and always try to be prompt with my replies.
Oh, and please do check out. The Witcher: The Emerald Dragon and The Viper's Awakening if you are interested in more quality HP/Witcher fics. I haven't been asked to promote them in any way, they're just very well written and I would definitely recommend if your looking for a quality W/HP read.
And with that, let us begin.
The world wind fluttered over her wings as she soared through the sky, her head arched and eyes closed as she soaked up the last rays of the setting sun, the light making her pure white feathers almost shine. Opening her hazel eyes she gazed far in the distance and finally spotted home, letting out a small hoot of relief and satisfaction. The skies were her natural world, her life, her Kingdom. But even a Queen eventually yearned for home after spending so long travelling her domain.
She began to gently dive and after a minute of flight passed through the barriers of her bondmate's magic, the boundary that marked the edge of their territory. She took in the modest home her Human had created for them and felt a small swell of pride. It was a fine nest. A road intersected by an elaborate gate and wall snaked around the lake she flew over, the gravel path leading up to a modestly large building of marble and glass which sat nestled amongst the almost mountainous green hills. A pleasant garden surrounded the large house, obviously well kept and tended, ivy gracefully crawled up marble walls and the flowers in their beds were coming into full bloom. It was rather pretty, idyllic almost, even to the eyes of an owl who cared little for such things.
She much preferred it to the nests they once called home. The stale house of brick inhabited by the perpetually sweating land whales had been unbearable and the towering house of the red hairs had been far too crowded. The giant edifice of stone that had contained the many Human chicks had been pleasant enough, there were lots of high places to perch on and the grounds were expansive, wild and flush with juicy prey, but it hadn't been hers. She had had to share her domain with lesser owls, and worse, her bondmate with lesser females.
Hedwig didn't share.
She passed over the house and made a beeline for the large hill behind it, specifically the cliff that towered over their home. Any other bird would have balked at this point, but Hedwig knew that it was all but an illusion designed to fool less gifted Humans and Owls. Not hesitating for a moment, she flew through the seemingly solid rock.
A well lit, cavernous room greeted her, the surrounding stone smoothed to an almost unnatural degree. Curved oak tables lined the edges of the room with the exception of the open space in front of the portal which she entered through, the large opening in the rock providing an incredible view of the surrounding area and setting sun.
She did a circuit of the room looking for her partner until she found him seated at his desk in front of the opening, his form in the large chair silhouetted against the setting sun. He had obviously been working on something, his desk full of books, letters and instruments, but the Wizard was now looking up to her with a smile, the happiness as clear on his face as it was through their bond.
She banked sharply and landed on the Human's outstretched arm, not worrying about harming him with her claws, knowing that his strange green scale coat would protect him. Creeping up his arm, she didn't stop until she was in her favourite perch, a shoulder where she could best snuggle in to his warm, neck length hair and comforting scent. She began her usual grooming of his messy locks, a life long labour she not so secretly enjoyed.
"It's good to see you again Hedwig, safe travels?" Harry Potter asked softly as she worked to restore order to chaos. A simple affirmative hoot was her only answer. Smiling, he took the letter that was tied to the owls leg and ripped open the envelope, reading the contents with an eager eye.
First off may I say Penelope and I are touched by your regret over the destruction of the stone. However you are completely blameless in that unfortunate episode. Albus's actions were his own and you were just a young boy admirably trying to do what he felt was right. The only blame lies with those now long dead. Besides, we are both content with our lot. Immortality has its perks but is not quite the paradise that many make it out to be. We still have a few more years in the two of us left to enjoy. Do not worry yourself.
In regards to your question over the nature of the Hallows, I'm afraid I don't have the answer you seek. They were ancient even in my far gone youth. The legend of the three brothers is very much that, a legend. In the 14th century, a different childhood tale was told of the Hallows, that of a mad but all powerful wizard and his wish to conquer the last enemy he thought could possibly oppose him, Death, creating three tools to achieve his ambition. The moral of the story was the same as the modern fable, the futility of such a goal and he suffered the same fate as the two eldest Peverell brothers. The role of Ignotus was filled by his son who humbly offered the Hallows to death as an acknowledgement of his Father's sins.
That is perhaps the only scrap of knowledge I can grant you. The stone satisfied my wish for a longer lifespan and I never looked far into legend of the Hallows. I might have been able to point you towards someone who knew more of them, however the only person I ever met who knew something of their secrets met their end at the foot of Hogwarts Astronomy tower six years ago.
Whilst it saddens me that I cannot help any further, I feel in the end it is for the best. Over the centuries I have seen many great and good wizards brought to madness and ruin in their search for the Hallows. Despite your assurances that you do not desire to own them, I implore you to to give up this search. Nothing but heartache and pain lies at the end of this path and I dare say that you have had quite enough of that.
I wish you good health and fortune in the long years to come Lord Potter.
Harry put the letter down with a disappointed sigh, leaning back in his chair.
"Too late for that Mr Flamel. Too late for that." Harry muttered, looking down on the three objects laid out before him.
The Hallows sat on the oak desk rather inconspicuously, giving away nothing to indicate their true nature and power. Even to a Wizards senses they would feel like nothing more than an ordinary wand, magical cloak and enchanted stone. Harry knew better however. He knew their terrible power that laid contained within them. Power that had been the bane of his life for the last six years.
Reaching forward Harry picked up the stone and studied it with tired eyes, the Hallow still set in a plain gold ring as it had been all those years ago, though now resized to his fit his own finger.
"Well looks like we only have one last option girl, gotta to have a chat with him."
The Owl flapped her wings and let out a short screech showing her displeasure.
"I know, I know, I don't like it either." Harry soothed, stroking the displeased bird, a somewhat awkward action when she refused to leave his shoulder. "But we don't have a choice any more. How about you go to your perch? I left some of my dinner there for you, didn't feel that hungry honestly."
The Owl looked indecisive, fluttering her wings, obviously famished from her long flight but unwilling to leave him alone.
"Hmm, that's a pity, that crispy bacon will have to go to waste then..." Harry said innocently, looking at his familiar out of the corner of his eye, a small smile appearing when he saw her freeze at the mention of her favourite food.
"Go on Hedwig" Harry said with a chuckle. "I'll be fine. Sooner it's done with the better."
Knowing when he had his mind made up, the Owl let out a small hoot and with one last head rub, flew from the room out the door on the opposite side of the chamber.
Harry rose from his chair with a sigh, resurrection stone still in hand, slowly walking to stand in front of the wide open portal, the warm air outside barred from him by the same magic that hid the opening from view. For a minute he simply gazed out onto the glorious landscape of the Lake District as the bodies of water that gave it its name were bathed in light of the setting sun, feeling forever grateful that he had put the depressing halls of Grimmauld Place behind him in return for this far more beautiful solitude. So calming was the sight that he almost didn't even notice as he turned the stone thrice in hand.
He didn't need to turn around to know the room was no longer empty. Harry had developed a...sixth sense for the presence of the dead after all.
"Harry my boy, whilst I must say it is good to see you again I had hoped it would be under different circumstances."
"Am I too guess that these...circumstances would have been my death Dumbledore?" Harry inquired, not turning to look at the shade who now stood behind him. He didn't know what he would do if he looked upon the old man's face again.
"A somewhat crude way of putting it but yes. The Hallows are terrible objects Harry, I had dearly hoped that would would reject their allure and rise above them."
"Rise above." Harry parroted. "Such an interesting choice of words when you spent much of my life making sure I did quite the opposite."
An almost oppressive silence settled on the room at the Potters words, both participants more than aware of what Harry was referring too.
"I won't ask how you found out, nor ask for your forgiveness Harry." Dumbledore sighed, any trace of light heartedness gone from his voice. "After what I've done I don't deserve it. All I will say is that even if I could take back my actions, I would not. Nothing I ever did was for personal gain or glory or ego. It was always for the greater good."
Harry laughed. It was not his usual laugh, light and full of mirth, but dark and mocking as he listened to the man who was only eclipsed by Voldemort in the harm he had done to him.
"I suppose." Harry mused. "I could keep us here until sunrise screaming of the injustice of you subverting my parents will to leave me with my abusive relatives. I could howl to the moon about how you abandoned Sirius in Azkaban and left him there to rot despite knowing that he was innocent, all so that he wouldn't come to find me and take me away from that hell. I could shout to the heavens about how you used my parents money, my inheritance to fund your little fan club."
Looking down Harry slipped the resurrection stone ring back onto his ring finger before gripping his hands together to stop them drawing his wand. He was fairly sure he could not harm a shade summoned by the power of the Hallows but that didn't mean he wasn't tempted to try regardless.
"I could rage and cry as I did that night that I discovered the truth of how the one person I trusted the most in this world, the man I viewed almost as the Grandfather I had never known, had been leading me by the nose my entire life, fattening me up for the slaughter in his own delusional vision of what he saw as the greater good."
Harry finally turned to look at the ghost of the wizard he had once revered. The old man wasn't in the light and elegant clothes Harry had seen in his post death vision, but his old blue and gold raiment he had worn in life as Headmaster of Hogwarts. So too was gone the serene and clam air he had once exuded, his face now only a grimace of grief and pain. Was that regret for his actions or pain at his unnatural trip back to the world of the living? Both? Did it even matter?
"But I'll do none of those things, because not of it matters anymore. You're dead, I'm not. I've scraped back every Galleon, Sickle and Knut you took from my vaults, every limit and chain you put on me is gone, every deception and falsehood you weaved around me is lifted. I am free."
The anguish on Dumbledore's face only increased, if such a thing was even possible.
"I never wanted to chain you Harry, I only wanted to...to..." The only man hesitated, obviously trying to find the right words before giving up with a sigh and a slump of ethereal shoulders.
"No, you're not interested in what I have to say and nothing I could say would be enough I suppose. Surely you brought me here for more than to gloat? Such is not in your nature Harry."
"Your right." Harry nodded, glad himself at the change of subject. He wasn't sure if he could contain himself if they talked of the man's transgressions further. "I have questions, questions you will answer and then be on your way. I will count myself blessed if this is the last time I see your face before judgement day."
"Then please ask away Harry" Dumbledore accepted, spreading his arms. "Let there be no more secrets and lies between us. I promise, as much as you consider a promise from me to be worth, that I will tell you everything I am able to."
Harry looked into the shades eyes for a moment, searching for any sign of deceit that laid there. He had not been idle these past few years, rising high in the Aurors, battling dark wizards and corruption alike, the experience stripping his previous nativity and innocence from him. As such he liked to think that he had grown a knack for telling when someone was lying to him. For all his newfound talent however he could sense no hint of a deceit from the spirit, though that in itself meant nothing. Dumbledore had been- was- a master manipulator. Harry had no doubt he could swindle a cancer patient out of their medication if he put his mind to it. He would have to proceed carefully.
Walking to his desk he sat down and summoned the Hallows with a simple flick of a hand, the legendary artefacts soon floating at his command over his desk. Relaxing back into his chair he looked intently at his old Headmaster who's face had turned dour at the sight of the mythical trio.
"Tell me about them. Tell me everything you know about the Hallows."
"The only thing you should know of the Hallows is that you should have disposed of them the moment you were done with them."
"I thought you said there to be no more secrets old man?"
"I'm not hiding secrets Harry. When I tell you that only death and tragedy come from possessing them, those are the most honest words I have ever spoken to you. Dispose of them, destroy them, before it's too late."
Looking at his Headmaster for a moment in contemplation, as if giving serious thought to his warning, Harry waved a hand in acceptance.
The shade blinked as if he had expected Harry to argue. The Auror reached out and grasped the Eldar wand, snapping the Death stick in two. A whispered word later and the two splintered half went up in hungry flames, disintegrating to ashes in a matter of seconds. The shade let out a sigh of relief.
"You will see that I am right my b-" He was interrupted as Harry held up a hand for silence. The Potter tilted his head and closed his eyes as is listening for something elusive sound only he could hear. Suddenly his eyes shot open and zeroed onto one of the drawers of his desk. Opening said draw he reached inside and placed the contents on the table.
The Elder Wand, unburnt, unbroken, whole as the day it was made. Dumbledore could only look down upon Hallow with wide eyes.
"This is why I need to know everything you have on the Hallows." Harry explained, his hostility to the dead wizard subsumed as an almost desperate tone overcoming his voice. "I can't get rid of them Dumbledore. The day I killed Voldemort I disposed of them, I snapped the Eldar wand and threw it into the chasm. I tossed the stone into the depths of the Forbidden Forest and I kept only the cloak for its family value. Yet the next morning I woke to find them them all lying on my bed as innocent as can be. Nothing I have tried since has been able to rid me of them."
"And nothing works? You have tried everything Harry?" The Headmaster implored, face grim as Harry had ever seen it.
"Everything." Harry confirmed. "Basilisk Venom, Fiendfyre and every viable curse and spell I could find did nothing. I tried locking them in Gringotts and Egyptian tombs hoping that the potent wards would stop them from getting back to me and they still found their way back. For Merlin's sake, I even snuck into a muggle launch site to stick them to the side of a rocket that was taking a satellite to Saturn. And they still came back!"
The Headmaster looked lost for words at this information but was set for only more shock.
"Of course none of this would matter greatly in the long run." Harry explained, feeling relieved to finally be talking about this with someone, even if it that someone was Dumbledore. "Yes they would be a burden on me for the rest of my life and paint a target on my back if the news ever got out, but it wasn't like I wasn't used to that already. It was a burden I could bear. No, the Hallows do more than just come back after being thrown away and destroyed."
Harry leant back in his chair and steepled his fingers, casting his mind back to the events of the six years since the Battle of Hogwarts and the changes the Hallows had forced upon him.
"I can hear them Dumbledore. The voices of the dead. I can sense when those in proximity to me pass away, when ghosts and restless spirits are created and destroyed, and they can..they know something is wrong with me. My last visit to Hogwarts sent the castle ghosts insane. If they weren't fleeing in terror they were congregating around me, moaning, crying and reaching out like I was...was the second coming or something. When they got a hold of themselves none of them could even explain why they had reacted like they had."
"I can even..." Here Harry paused and swallowed as the knowledge was still painful to him. "Sometimes I can even sense when people around me are about to perish, myself included. Not all the time but it comes in bouts. Saved my life, and others a few times when we've been on raids and patrols. Other times...other times its just a torment. There was this little girl I passed on the street, walking with her mother and infant brother. As I walked passed them I sensed her impending death but couldn't understand what was happening, the street was calm and quiet, there was no threat anywhere near us, not even a car driving past. Then this piece of steel pipe dropped from the sky like a spear and...and..."
"I understand Harry." Dumbledore said quietly.
"It was the dumbest fucking thing." Harry whispered, eyes glassy as he cast his mind back to that day and its gruesome event. "It was a part of a gear from the wheels of an aircraft that was taking off and didn't fold in properly. The chance of it hitting someone was astronomical but it hit her. If I had been faster, kept my senses open I might have..."
Harry shook his head, dismissing the thought that had tormented him since that day. He had spent long enough agonising over it.
"And if you can believe it that isn't even in thing that made me desperate enough to call on you. Its this."
With another flick of his hand a flower that was resting on one of the many tables around the edge of the chamber floated over to his outstretched palm. It was a rose, recently pruned from the bushes in his garden. Taking it into his hands he held it for a moment before, focusing intently, he pushed the now familiar cold power of the Hallows into his hand. A dark green glow overcame the fingers that held the rose, the flower wilting and atrophying within seconds, black smoke rising from it as it died. A moment later the now thoroughly dead plant disintegrated into nothing, dust falling between Harry's fingers to the desk below.
"This was a recent development. The first time it manifested it was involuntarily, I was feeding and stroking Hedwig. If I hadn't lifted my hand from her a moment before it came then she wouldn't be in the world of the living anymore." Harry explained grimly, waving his still glowing fingers. "I've learned to control it somewhat but it can still occasionally flare up with only a seconds warning."
He turned his eyes from his hand to Dumbledore as, with difficulty, he retracted the cold power of the Hallows. Putting that power back in its box was like wrestling with a steroid infused grizzly bear. It refused to be controlled.
"Do you see now why you need to tell me everything you know of the Hallows? First I hear the dead, they hear me, I sense death when it approaches and sometimes can't avert it, I send ghosts into terror or jubilation, sometimes both and they can't even explain why. Now I've got some sort of power that kills anything that lives and it nearly ended the life of someone precious to me."
Harry stood up and planted his hands on the desk, face deadly serious.
"What next Dumbledore? What happened when its something I can't control? What if I hurt, or god forbid kill, someone I care about? What are the Hallows trying to turn me into?"
Dumbledore floated in place before him, eyes closed as he contemplated what he had been told. Slowly he spoke, his tone quiet and slow as if he was unsure of what he was saying even as he said the words.
"When you called me from beyond I...I could sense there was something different about you but it was not something I could define as it was unlike anything I had never felt before. But I could could identify the emotions I felt as I travelled between worlds, foreign to me, yet at the same time natural as well. Subservience, obedience, submission, an obligation to answer the summons of the one who called me."
Dumbledore's head came up and his eyes opened, their dark blue depths indecipherable.
"It appears the Hallows have bonded to you Harry, you have become, for lack of a better title, the Master of Death."
Silence came to the room, the Potter looking up at his old Headmaster with incredulous eyes before a he began to chuckle and then laugh as if he had heard a particularly good joke. His mirth only ceased when he saw the shade hadn't dropped his serious expression.
"Your joking." Harry frowned disbelievingly. "Your joking right? The Hallows are clearly connected with death somehow but to make me the 'Master of Death'? That was a myth, a childhood fable created to teach morals to children! Such a power is impossible by every law of magic I know, nobody could possibly create such a thing."
"Impossible yes, even the miracles of magic can only accomplish so much." Dumbledore nodded. "But only by the rules of magic of our world. Perhaps not by the rules of others."
"Others...as in other worlds?" Harry said slowly.
"Other worlds, yes, though not quite in the way you are thinking. These are not planets of the cosmos but...alternate realities for lack of a better word. For it would only be in other worlds ruled by different rules of magic that the creation of such artefacts as the Hallows could be accomplished."
"Other realities..." Harry whispered, rubbing his face. This was getting deep. "And you know that such things exist? Do you have proof or is this just a theory?"
"In life I thought their existence no more than a hypothesis and I could give you nothing to verify their existence. However in death this hypothesis had been confirmed. After all, I have talked, discussed and debated with several inhabitants of these other planes of existence. Truly fascinating discussions at that. Its astounding to see the differences between our worlds."
Harry's mind boggled at the what he was being told, information that would rock the worlds foundations if it could be proven. With difficulty he forced down his desire to ask more questions. If he did so he would be occupied for the next week. He had summoned Dumbledore for a reason after all, one more pressing than an urge to satisfy his curiosity.
"That...that really is incredible, But what else can you tell me about the Hallows? They are the pressing matter." Harry asked, eager for more information like a starving man was for food, even if the information was beyond fantastical. He had once believed a giant crashing through his door telling him he was a Wizard, he could certainly believe this.
"I can tell you that every culture across the Earth has been visited by the Hallows and possesses stories or fables of their power, stretching as far back as the late dynasties of ancient Egypt, the Iron age Indian civilisations and the Shang Dynasty of old China. I can tell you that not a single example I could find showed that someone had more than two at any one time and those that did never held them longer than a year. I can tell you that every legend and fable follows the same theme, that the Hallows hold power of death and the futility of opposing such a force."
"But I cannot tell you what you wish to hear. Never before have the Hallows been brought together in one person's possession, never before have they bonded to anyone or given them the powers you now possess. Not even in my discussions with those from other realities had they ever heard of objects with their power. I could no more tell you how to control them than a first year student could teach you the intricacies of Legilimency. I'm sorry."
Harry slumped in his chair as the very real high of hope, a feeling he had not felt in years, drained from him.
"That's all you have? A theory that the Hallows didn't come from Earth and more dead ends? How does that help me? How am I supposed to get rid of the Hallows if..." Such a surge of helplessness and anger surged through Harry that he hadn't felt since the darkest days of Voldemort's reign. This had been his last chance to discover a way to be rid of the Deathly Hallows. No one on the planet knew more about the Hallows than Dumbledore. Taking a deep breath he ran through his occlumency exercises, calming himself. He was no longer an angst ridden teenager prone to melodramatic outbursts.
"Is there nothing else you can give me? Nothing at all that I can use?" Harry asked as he stared holes down into the oak desk, a measure of calm returning once more to him as he dispassionately thought over what he had learned.
"There may be one route you can take..." Dumbledore answered hesitantly.
"I thought you said you couldn't tell me how to control the Hallows?" Harry asked, not daring to hope.
"And I spoke the truth." Dumbledore nodded. "But that doesn't mean I can't point you in the direction of where you might learn more."
The Shade floated past Harry to hover before the portal, Harry standing to follow. The old Headmaster fixed his eyes on the horizon, the sun now little more than a sliver of light beyond the hills of the Lake District, gloom starting to descend upon the Valley with the retreat of the light.
"Many years ago and long after I had ceased my interest in the Hallows, news came to me from an old friend, an archaeologist by the name of Clarissa Vane. It was she who hypothesized of the existence of other worlds and the possibility of the Hallows possessing an extra dimensional origin. In her letter she said she had gained possible proof of the existence of other realities and asked for my assistance at her dig site where said proof was supposedly located. My interest was peaked I must admit, such a discovery would be the find of the millennia. But my lust for mystery and glory had long since diminished and I sadly had to turn her down. Besides, I had far more pressing matters at hand, namely the emergence and campaign of terror of a new Dark Lord."
It didn't take a genius to know which Dark Lord he was referring to.
"Voldemort." Harry muttered. "So this was, what, around thirty-four years ago? What happened to her? Where is she now?"
"I don't know." Dumbledore sighed. "I never heard from her again. I later learned that she had been pronounced missing, most assumed that she had been yet another victim of the Death Eaters, a prognosis I myself shared. It was growing increasingly common even in those early days for Witches and Wizards to go missing overnight, kidnapped from their beds and never seen again. My own investigations turned up nothing. It was confirmed she had turned up to the site and set up camp, but when it was visited a week later by a colleague neither Clarissa or her assistant were present. There was no sign of a struggle or anything suspicious to indicate anything of a nefarious nature, with the only unusual report being high levels of ambient magic."
"So you think that she wasn't kidnapped after all? That she might have been on to something?" Harry asked, scratching at the stubble that lined his jaw.
'That's not exactly a lot to go on.'
"Perhaps." Dumbledore nodded. Hesitating he tore his eyes from the now obscured sun and looked to Harry. "I know that the hope that you might find something there is slim but..."
"The smallest hope can be the foundation on which victory is built." Harry remarked quietly, his mind elsewhere.
"A wise proverb. Who said that?" Dumbledore questioned inquisitively.
"I've no idea." Harry admitted with a snort. "It was one of those dumb motivational quotes stuck on a board at the Auror office. Kinda stuck with me though weirdly."
"Not weird at all." Dumbledore chuckled, some of his old twinkle returning to his eyes. "You have spent much of your life surviving and succeeding on but a scrap of hope, one of your many admirable qualities Harry."
The Headmasters words stoked the flame that Harry had allowed to die and he turned to look at the ghost with cold eyes, said ghost realising his faux pas a moment later as he met Harry's gaze. Harry coming to Hogwarts with little hope had been crucial to the man's plans after all.
"Ah, I...my apologies." The twinkle sputtered out in the shades eyes and he turned his gaze outside once more. Harry shook his head in return and chided himself. For a moment there he had almost forgotten what the man had done to him, allowed himself to slip back into old habits from a time when he had believed the great Albus Dumbledore to be a wise and benevolent guardian who only held Harry's best interests at heart.
How horrifying the truth was when it was revealed. How horrifying the man's power to once again place Harry at ease. As Dumbledore had once said, words were a magic unto themselves. A power the old Wizard had mastered.
"Where is this dig site located?" Harry questioned simply in the end, no trace of his anger present, consoling himself that the conversation was nearly finished.
"Fishbourne Roman Palace. An interesting place, it was actually the largest Roman residence built north of the Alps, eventually becoming the home of a powerful Roman magical family that immigrated to England after the conquest. Apparently the part that Clarissa was interested in was not the ruins of the villa, but a set of far older ruins it had been built over. That was where she believed she would find the proof she sought."
"Well its not much but its more than I had this morning. One weak lead is better than nothing." Harry sighed. He began to walk back to the desk, reaching for the resurrection stone.
"If there is nothing else then I'll be sending you on your way. We're done here."
"Wait a moment Harry, before you do there is actually one more thing I have to tell you. A warning."
Turning back to the shade Harry was surprised to see him still gazing out the portal. Dusk was slowly becoming darkness and a dense mist was slowly beginning to settle on the Valley. Harry glanced at the outside edge of the portal as he spotted frost beginning to form there. He frowned. Even by the fickle and capricious nature of British weather, that was a rather abrupt change from the warm weather that had been present but moments before. He was distracted from his musing as Dumbledore spoke.
"Something is coming Harry. Something dangerous. I cannot give you a name for this foe but it is obvious to any of the departed that great events are on the move. The dead stir restlessly where there should be peace, reality coils and bends at the passings of great forces beyond description and more and more souls pour into the next world whispering of an unstoppable force, a white blight that stripped the life from entire worlds. Indeed, recently I believe I begun to sense this great force they speak of. It is horrifying in its immensity, like a great hurricane on the horizon that I am powerless to avoid, a ravenous void that wishes to consume everything it can, be that the living or the dead." The shade turned from the portal to look Harry in the eye.
"That you should be bonded to the Hallows now, artefacts that possess immense power over death? Well, that is no coincidence I feel. It's almost like your Destiny is not yet complete."
"Don't say that word again Dumbledore. Don't!" Harry barked, pointing an accusing finger at the ghost. "Professor Trelawney's self fulfilling prophecy is done. I'm done. I did my duty and I lost my family and half my friends to the whispered words of a half senile Professor who claimed it was my destiny to die every other week. Is one prophecy not enough? My so called Destiny, if there was ever such a thing, is complete. There isn't another."
"Destiny is not abstract concept Harry, it is perhaps the greatest force present in the universe, one that stretches its reach across every world I have learned of. Even as I speak I can sense its presence as it grows clearer and clearer. Yes, I see it now. We stand in the eye of the storm, you, I and the three Hallows. They are the key. You are the key"
Harry gripped his fist. Destiny. How he despised that word. Destiny had been nothing but the bane of his life, it had stolen his family and friends from him, stripping him of any chance of happiness and love in his childhood and still it refused to slacken its grip upon him.
"The Hallows are not some, some...tools of destiny Dumbledore and I would be a fool to believe so. Would the first Human who wielded the might of magic be wise to think himself a god? The first Human to light a fire that they were divinely ordained? I'm not some chosen one anymore. That part of my life is over."
"Wise words Harry, logical words, born out of an admirable humility and the pain that the prophecy brought to you. But Destiny cares little if you accept its hand in your life. Run from it, dread it, she'll arrive all the same...and sooner than you might think."
An alarm blared and Harry's head whipped to the his desk, several silver objects on his desk blaring out warnings and flashing red lights. It was the Proximity Alarm. And the Anti Apparition Ward. And the Anti Portkey Charms. And the Imperturbable Barrier. And the Muggle Repelling Field.
It was everything.
Every ward, charm and barrier he had placed around his home had just been breached. Not just breached, but smashed apart entirely. Even as he watched the blaring alarms sputtered as the spells that sustained them unravelled under the power of the one that had rent them apart.
Harry turned to Dumbledore but was stopped in his tracks by the change that had overcome the man. The serene smile he had once worn in life had returned, calm assurance almost flowing from him in waves. And yet his eyes were filled with such a look of pity and regret that even Harry was taken back.
"As you know, I've always prided myself on the ability to turn a phrase, so I before I depart I will say this. Pity the dead and the living, for those who live without love and have those who have perished forsaken by it. For it is only with love that the chains that shackle the living and dead can be overcome and truly be set free."
And with those final words his form shimmered then vanished as the shade of Albus Dumbledore returned to his rest.
For a moment Harry stood frozen, torn between summoning him back the ghost who clearly knew more than he was letting on or attending to situation developing around him. His Auror training kicked in however and he turned to the immediate threat. He would be there all night trying to decrypt Dumbledore's typically cryptic and hypocritical final message and time had suddenly became a premium.
Clearing his mind of all distraction, he quickly walked over to the instruments that were connected to the spells layered on his home, a quick inspection finding that they were all now totally insert and lifeless. Harry cursed.
To penetrate all his wards would not be impossible but to do so all at once spoke volumes of the intruders power. The true oddity however was that they had done so at all. When you assaulted an enemy position protected by enchantments, the objective was to dismantle them without being noticed. That way you maintained the element of surprise with minimal loss in energy. Either the attacker was a powerful amateur who didn't realise the peril of brute forcing through magical defences or they were so confident in their chances of success that they discarded the need for the element of surprise.
Either way, Harry was going to teach them a sorely needed lesson he had spent the last six years teaching his enemies in the magical world.
Don't fuck with Harry Potter.
With a loud crack Harry's House Elf popped into existence next to him. A young House Elf female, she was dressed in an obviously well kept black suit in the style of a Victorian butler. She looked up at him, her alarm at the attack that she sensed doing nothing to diminish the devotion in her gaze.
"Yes Master Harry?"
"We seem to have some uninvited guests. You remember the lockdown drill?"
"I'll be fine little one." Harry assured, smiling down at the young House Elf, knowing immediately what her protest would be. "But I can't concentrate on these guys if I'm worrying about you. Lockdown the house and retreat to the safe room. For me."
This drew a hesitant but nod from Weeny who disappeared with another crack. Just as Harry was about to apparate himself, a high pitched chime brought his attention to a large mirror hanging in the centre of the room. His viewing mirror, it was powered by a highly complex Protean Charm woven into its reflective surface. Whilst he primarily used it to call others, some select friends who also had their own mirrors, it served an important secondary function, that of a magical CCTV. Connected to several enchanted objects laid around his home and the grounds around it, he was able to view his surroundings from the safety of his office. And movement had just been detected.
Walking to the mirror, he pressed his hand to the metal frame, the tiniest push of his magic bringing it online and giving him his first view of the intruder as the glass shimmered and solidified into an image.
It was not what he expected to say the least.
A woman was stumbling through his front gate. Clothed in an interesting combination of tight leather pants and a frayed white blouse, a metal belt circled her waist, a belt containing a sword of all things. Her face was obscured in their now deep dark that had come to the Lake District, but as she stepped into the light of one of the magical globes that lined the path to his house, she was revealed clearly. Her hair, an odd shade of ash white, was arranged in a loose bun that was quickly falling apart, the strand that covered her face only partially concealing a large scar that ran from jaw to cheekbone there. She was no great beauty Harry not so idly noted, but certainly very pretty in a striking sort of way.
She was also wounded. A gloved hand was clutching her side covering a long cut that was bleeding heavily. No major arteries had been touched but bleeding out was a very real possibility if she didn't get treatment soon. Harry smothered his urge to move to help her. He didn't know what was happening yet or why she had forced her way into his home.
It was only when she glanced back and started to run, stumbling under the pain of her wound, that Harry began to suspect that things weren't as they first appeared.
His suspicions were confirmed when his gate exploded in a storm of magical fire and splinters. The white haired woman was thrown from her feet by the blast, but admirably recovered quickly, barely taking a moment to recover before she was running towards the house. Harry narrowed his eyes as he manipulated the mirror to another viewpoint to better see the surroundings.
'So she's not attacking me deliberately but running from someone? Was it her or the others who broke the wards? Who are they?'
It was as the smoke began to clear from the burning ruins of his oak gate that Harry got his answer.
Striding through the swirling smoke were what at first appeared metal clad monstrosities. They were all universally tall, almost ludicrously so, forms armoured in jagged black metal and padded with dark leather, wickedly sharp sabres clutched in their hands. The black armour they wore was fashioned in a grim parody of a human skeleton, ribs along the chest, long splinters of iron wrapping around gauntlets and boots to simulate hands and feet, and last but most certainly not least, a grinning skull that obscured their faces under a Viking style horned helmet. Moving in a column there were eight in total, marching in an obviously disciplined manner showing that there was intelligent thought under the darkly elaborate panoply.
At the head of the group strode the obvious leader. Garbed largely in the same style of armour as his followers skull mask and all, black robes swirled around his legs and upper armour, all etched in bright silver to denote apparent rank. The most stark difference between him and the others however was his weapon. Rather than a sword he wielded a staff, a bright glowing white ball sitting at its tip which was wrapped in dark spiked iron to keep it in place. Either a spell caster of some sort or a mundane given a magical weapon to wield Harry hypothesised.
As he studied the group as they began to march down his path after the woman, Harry considered his options. He could teleport away to summon reinforcements or fight, the former being the wisest option. After all he was facing unknown foes of an unknown capability. It would be foolish in the extreme to face them alone. But he also knew that he didn't have any choice but to stay. The woman, whoever she was, was in mortal danger. If she didn't bleed out before he returned with help then the bone fetishists behind her would finish the job. Not for the first time he reminded himself to invest in a device to call for aid from the Auror department, not unlike the coins that Hermione had fashioned for the DA club back in Hogwarts.
Thinking of the woman, Harry couldn't help but chuckle, even as he summoned his Auror gear to him. If Hermione could see him now she would be slapping him over the head complaining about him and his irritating 'saving people thing'.
Harry froze for a moment, the most overwhelming sense of deja vu washing him.
Unknown odds, bad guys with a death fetish and his 'saving people thing'.
"Ah shit, here we go again." Harry grumbled. "I swear to god if these clowns call themselves anything with death in the title I'm going to be annoyed."
Then with a twist and crack he was gone.
Love it? Hate it? Leave a review and tell me what you think. I'm not thin skinned so don't hold back any criticism, though obviously insults that contribute nothing to improving the story will be ignored with extreme prejudice. Ain't nobody got time for that.
On another note, how about that Witcher TV series eh? Personally with so many franchises being ruined recently I'm remaining cautious. The casting was...meh. Henry Cavill as Geralt turned out surprisingly well, at the very least appearance wise he certainly looks the role, I mean they really blew the budget on that lip CGI. The rest however has been sub par for many reasons. What they were even thinking with Anya Chalotra as Yennefer I don't even know. She looks nothing like how she is described in the books, her doe eyes alone kill it for me. Hopefully her acting makes up for it but who knows? Yen was always going to be a hard character to portray, only going to be harder when the actress, even post make up, shares little in common with the character she is portraying.
Anyway I'm killing this before it turns into a rant, I'm off to get killed playing new operators I barely know in R6. See ya in the next one.
Edit 18/07/20: Corrected some spelling and grammar mistakes.