Merry Christmas. I'm back with a new story for the holidays. Even if this one is longer than the previous Christmas stories. Further chapters will be posted after the holidays :)
This story plays partly in the period of Camelot, and I used the Avalon saga of Marion Zimmer Bradley for inspiration in that area. This isn't a crossover with that saga but those that have read the books will recognised some parts. Otherwise, I again play in the sandbox of J.K. Rowling and I don't own anything of either stories.
The basilisk fell to the ground, dead. But there was the pain. Such horrible pain from the arm where one of the basilisk's fangs had pierced through. Venom was rushing through his veins. Harry knew that this was his end. Basilisk venom killed in less than a minute. Perhaps it wasn't meant to be. Perhaps he should simply have died that Halloween with his parents. Growing up with them in the afterlife would have been so much better than the hell he had gone through at Privet Drive. But he wouldn't let Riddle have this last triumph. He, Harry, wouldn't be the only one to die here. He would take his foe with him. The diary had caused this mess, so if he destroyed it, Riddle would go with him. He used his last strength to pull the fang out of his arm.
Riddle was mocking him; he didn't really hear the words. But the diary was lying on the ground next to him. He grabbed it and plunged the fang into it with rage. It seemed to be the right thing to do. Riddle screamed and dissolved after Harry plunged into the diary a second time. He thought he heard another similar scream to Riddle's, but then his vision blackened he fell down and knew no more.
Fawkes was watching how Harry Potter, the boy whom Albus Dumbledore had caused so much pain for, was bravely destroying the diary that had nearly enabled Tom Riddle to get a physical body back. It was an abomination of magic, he knew that well, but this situation had been foretold by Lady Rowena and so he would let it play out until the dark shadow in the boy's scar was gone. He could feel it, Albus knew about it too, but contrary to him he didn't think that there was a way to save the boy. Basilisk venom was one of the few ways to destroy such a soul shadow. And now it raced through the boy's body and he could see the scar pulsing under the onslaught. Only a few seconds now. He was ready to neutralize the venom as soon as possible. There was the scream he had waited for and the shadow left the boy's lightning bolt scar.
He started dropping his tears into the wound immediately. It was a race with time. Once the wound had closed, he used his powers to have Harry lie on his back and cried some tears into his mouth. The boy really needed some major healing for all the shit Albus' choice in his so-called home had caused. Once that was done, he turned to the red-haired girl that had been ensnared by the diary. She would wake up soon, now that the diary was gone. But her mind really needed help. All the stupid stories she had been told growing up about Harry Potter had distorted her sense of reality. Not to mention the influence of that dark book she had written in all year. Well, perhaps she could do with some mind-healing. He flew over to her and before she could wake he sang and tried to undo some of the idiocy the girl's mother had caused in her plans to make her family rise in importance.
Once he thought it was enough for now, he flew back to Harry. He needed him more right now.
Harry woke up in a strange place where nearly everything was a form of white. Where the hell was he? He also noticed that he felt better than before. He wore clean robes that fit him perfectly, but they were definitely not his school robes. He also didn't wear his glasses he noticed, and still he could see perfectly. The best part was that the dull pressure that had been in his head for all his life was gone. It was freeing in a way.
"I see you noticed the changes," A kind female voice said, and Harry spun around to look at her.
She was a beautiful woman with long, shiny black hair, a gorgeous figure and wore an old-fashioned green dress. She smiled at him.
"You showed real courage facing your death, Harry. I couldn't be prouder to call you my grandson. Well, many times great-grandson, but who cares for the details?" She asked making a dismissive hand movement.
"You are my many times great-grandmother? Who are you and where are we?" Harry asked a bit confused.
"Well, this is what humans have dubbed limbo. It is a gateway between the world of the living and the world of the dead. You are here because currently it is being decided if you move on or go back to your body. That phoenix friend of yours is doing his best to make sure you live. And the old guy is stubborn as hell to prove Rowena's prophecy right. Well, he was her familiar when she was alive. And for whom I am, I am the High Priestess of Avalon, Morgaine," She answered, "But many called me Morgana Le Fey."
"Morgana Le Fey; like in the dark witch that fought against Merlin?" Harry asked shocked.
"Ah, those stories have been passed down with a few changes to what really happened. Merlin wasn't even his real name; it was a title that the leader of the druids of my time got. I got along with the first Merlin I met, his name was Taliesin, really well, we did many great deeds for magic and England together, but his successor, with his interference in politics at my brother's court, really got on my nerves. Coldrinur wasn't the most powerful man ever, and he couldn't hold a candle to Taliesin. Why he was chosen, I never fully understood. But enough of that.
"As I said, I am the High Priestess of Avalon. I am tasked with keeping the balance of magic in the world or was it in my time. Sadly, my aunt Morgause got to my son Mordred and turned him into a monster. I never should have allowed him to grow up with her, but I was in emotional distress over the manipulations my other aunt Viviane had used to make me sleep with Arthur, my brother. She wanted to have a child with both the powers of me and my brother to ensure that the old ways didn't die under the growing influence of Christianity. As if the goddess could be that easily pushed aside. She always finds a way to be remembered," Morgaine said fondly.
For Harry all of this was completely new. He had never heard that part of the story. He had a hard time accepting that he was descended from Morgana Le Fey. And who was that goddess she spoke of? Then he noticed a wailing that came from under some kind of bench. It repulsed him even if the wailing should have made him want to help.
"That thing is still here? Well, it will definitely go on into death. It will get a straight ticket into hell. Such an abomination of magic shouldn't have been allowed to be created. Thank the goddess that it was destroyed by the basilisk venom," Morgaine mumbled, making Harry look even more confused.
"I can tell that you have many questions, Harry, and I will do my best to answer them, but our time here is limited, and I need to tell you some important things first. Magic is suffering greatly, thanks to the stupidity of the people in your time. Magic gets her power from the Earth itself, but with how people destroy large parts of it, she has problems retaining her powers. And it isn't simply the fault of the mundanes; the magicals do their part as well. Nature can and will strike back with natural disasters and will cut down the number of stupid mundanes where it is necessary. But magic, as sentient as it may be, needs a certain number of magicals to recharge. The problem is that, thanks to the Dark Lords Grindelwald and Voldemort, the number of magical people in Europe has been cut down horribly. Magic has tried to counter that problem by increasing the number of mundane borns, but it isn't an optimal solution, because they don't believe in the true nature of magic, that it is sentient.
"They think magic is just a power given to them to use as a tool, but it is so much more. The old houses understand that, but they went about solving the problem the wrong way. They try to kill off the mundane borns or to push them away from the magical world. And without somebody to restore balance, magic will cease to exist in Europe in a few generations. With Europe's magic gone, the world won't be in balance anymore and catastrophes will be unleashed that will end all life on Earth. Therefore, it is vital that somebody ensures that the madness ends. Magic can choose a champion among those that live in the times when the balance is threatened. About every five hundred years a challenge for the magical people is set up. Normally that should have been Grindelwald. You see, he could have been stopped early on, if only Albus Dumbledore hadn't shied away from his destiny," Morgaine revealed, surprising Harry.
"Gellert Grindelwald was a young man with a lot of bitterness inside of him. He wanted the mundanes to pay for his suffering, but he could have been stopped, if Albus Dumbledore hadn't been blended by the lure of power and glory in his youth. Now, the two became friends when Albus had just graduated from Hogwarts and was pushed into a difficult position and Gellert was visiting his aunt Bathilda in Godric's Hollow. Had Albus seen the darkness in Gellert at that time, he either might have turned him away from the darkness, or not have given him more ideas how to conquer the world. He regretted that a lot after in a fight between his brother Aberforth and Gellert that got completely out of hand, his sister Ariana, who had been hurt so badly by mundane children that she feared to use her magical powers and couldn't control them properly, was killed. It ended his dreams of leading a revolution to bring the magical people to the top, ruling over the mundanes.
"The point that caused most of the problems was that he didn't want to fight Gellert early on. He was the most powerful wizard who was not following Gellert. He was the chosen champion. But he nearly failed completely to fulfil the task set for him. He should have stopped Gellert after seeing his darkness and spared Europe the slaughter that was the Second World War," Morgaine explained to Harry.
"So, if Dumbledore had simply taken out Grindelwald early enough, a lot less people would have died?" Harry asked shocked.
"Yes. You were taught in primary school how the war started, weren't you?" She asked and got a nod, "Gellert imperiused Hitler to kill off as many mundanes as he could, and sometimes one of Gellert's magical political opponents. The whole genocide was driven by finding a group of people who made easy scapegoats. The Jews were just unlucky to fit that category. The only intention was to make the mundanes kill each other off in masses. Millions died in that war. While Gellert's puppet killed mundanes, Gellert went after his opponents that were magical. Thousands of witches and wizards died fighting him and his followers. Albus only acted when the cries for help were too loud to ignore anymore. He could have ended the war early on once Gellert started the attacks. Many didn't realize that he had started early on by laying the political base to succeed. The pursuing of ethnical minorities and killing of 'imperfect people' wasn't that focused until the war started and distracted everybody."
Harry had a really bad feeling where this would lead.
"Normally only a few hundred would have died, if Albus had acted once he found out that Gellert was killing people all around him. But he only decided to act once he found out that Gellert had won the allegiance of the legendary Elder Wand, one of the so-called Deathly Hallows. Your Invisibility Cloak is another one and the last one is the Ring of Resurrection. You can read up more about them in the book 'The Tales of Beedle the Bard', it's a book of child stories that are based on things that really happened, though of course they were a bit modified. The story you want to look up is the 'Tale of the Three Brothers'," Morgaine told him.
"Back to history. As Albus, now, could no longer deny that nobody but him had any chance to defeat Gellert, he acted and duelled against Gellert in April 1945. Many years after Gellert had started his campaign. The first signs were shown in the twenties, which means Gellert had over a decade to kill people. The escalated World War II was only the visible escalation of his actions. Albus' skill won over Gellert's power. It showed clearly, because the imperius on Hitler broke, but it was far too late to really undo the damage. Europe's magic had suffered and nearly couldn't take the loss of magicals. On top of that, the mundanes had to rebuild after the war, which cost natural resources and therefore more magical power."
Harry noticed the grave look on her face.
"There are good reasons why areas that are full of natural life have a higher magical population than others. Nature itself is magical. Every plant, every mineral, every animal has at least a little connection to magic and helps keeping the world in balance. Even people who can't use magic have some. Nothing alive can't not have some magic, because it is what allows us all to live. That's also the reason why nobody has managed to recreate live artificially. In the tiniest cell there is magic. Not always enough to have an effect, but it is still there. Scientists have tried to research how life came into existence; it's simply that magic came into being," She explained, fascinating Harry.
"Now, it wouldn't have been that bad, if only Albus would have prevented Voldemort's rise. But that man was never one for action, he was a man of words. Not necessarily a bad thing, but useless if you have to face a real danger. Had Albus taken out Gellert early on, Voldemort would never have risen. He was a product of the harsh life in the non-magical world and the wizarding world ignoring magical orphans until they went to Hogwarts. Tom Riddle was born to Merope Gaunt and Tom Riddle Sr. in 1926 during the last minutes of 31st December. His mother, who had been left by his father, after she had got him to marry her using a love potion and stopped giving that potion to him, had died shortly after giving birth and naming him after his father and her father.
"When Tom was a small child, the world economy crisis happened. It was a first strike of Gellert to be honest. He wanted to weaken the mundanes and make them more desperate for solutions, no matter how violent. Now, the magical world of Great Britain was fairly isolated from the problems of the mundanes. They had their own economy and while many mundane borns call our world backwards, we lived that way because it worked for centuries and kept us in balance with the world and magic. During that time there were very few mundane borns. Your generation only had about forty children in each year at Hogwarts, back then it were about two hundred," Harry's eyes went wide hearing that. That was five times as many as today.
"I can understand your surprise. But, back then, the wizarding houses had a much bigger choice of partners to marry. Families normally had about three children, which ensured that the population grew slowly. It was a good balance. But Gellert killed off about half of the magical people on the continent in his crusade against the mundanes, because the others opposed his way of reaching his goals. That is the reason for the current imbalance. If that had been all, magic would have been able to recover from that blow in a few decades. Probably fifty years later the damage would have been undone. It would have been hard, but with the numbers of children being bigger than the number of old people dying, it would have worked. And some countries had been spared like England, Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Portugal and Greece. Gellert didn't get that far.
"People started rebuilding after Gellert was locked away in his own prison. Albus was celebrated as a hero, but he still was wary of taking real action. He didn't want to be tempted by power again. He didn't trust himself after his sister's death. With the imbalance of magic, sadly more children in magical families were born as squibs. It also was due to many couples being too closely related. The marriage arranging between families, which formerly hadn't really caused problems, now did. In that situation Voldemort's rise happened and, from the late sixties to the early eighties, he killed a third of the British magical population. That was too much for magic to take. While she had managed to somewhat balance out the loss of strength, by creating more mundane-borns in your mother's generation, she couldn't take that hit like before. Therefore, she, in a last-ditch effort, made sure you were born, Harry. I said the test happened every five hundred years. You could say this one never ended, even if Gellert was defeated. And, as the first champion failed to protect magic, it was decided to revive the old blood of the priestesses of Avalon," Morgaine stated gravely.
"Wait, you mean I have to save the world? But how? I'm nothing special. I only am average at school and I don't learn easily," Harry protested the idea.
Morgaine smiled at him reassuringly and stroked his hair, which was a completely new feeling for Harry. He had never had somebody touch him like that, gently and lovingly. It felt really nice.
"You have the blood of Avalon in you, Harry. And the reason why you didn't notice your true powers, until now, is that they were leeched off of you by the soul piece that accidentally was attached to you in your scar. The wailing creature you noticed before, is its representation. Voldemort only survived the backfiring of the killing curse, because a piece of his instable soul split off from the main part and latched onto the only living thing in the room, you. Otherwise the events of your first year at school wouldn't have happened in the way they did.
"The wraith wouldn't have been able to possess anybody without the magic that was transferred to it from you. It would have existed, true, but without help it wouldn't have stood a chance in hell to do anything. That is the risk making more than one horcrux, which is what Voldemort used to stay anchored to this plain. If you split your soul more than once, it loses power and is not able to function on its own. Making more than one horcrux might sound like a good idea, as it reduces the risk of the soul being destroyed if somebody finds out about the horcrux, but, in reality, as soon as the main soul is forced from its body, in that case it is helpless.
"But the basilisk venom killed it off as it did the diary. The diary was another horcrux, a soul anchor, the most abominable form of magic. True black magic. Magic normally is just that, magic. There is no dark or light magic; it's the intention of the user that makes it good or bad. But there are a few very strong exceptions. Voldemort made five in total; he wanted to make six, to have seven pieces of his soul, the most powerful magical number, now he is down to four. You need to find them and destroy them. You will know them when you come across them," She assured him, "Now, that the soul piece in you was destroyed, your true powers will show. You will be stronger magically and physically, your mind will be more powerful, which means easier processing information and using mind magics easily."
"But how would I learn to use all those powers? I mean, I have to return to the Dursleys, and they won't like me having more power than before. And I can't use magic, or I will be expelled from Hogwarts," Harry said exasperatedly.
"You will have all the time and support you need, Harry. You will be taken back in time to my brother Arthur. He will make sure that you are trained physically with aspirants for becoming knights of Camelot. The training normally starts at your age, thus you will fit right in. I will personally train you in the full use of your magic. One year there will have you healed from the abuse you suffered in your childhood and be ready to begin your task. You will never return to your mother's sister, because each summer Fawkes will take you back to us. On the outside nobody will notice that you aged a bit faster than others, but once you graduate, you will be about a year older than your peers," She explained.
Harry was shocked. He would be trained by Morgaine and King Arthur's knights? That was incredible. He felt a little better about the task before him. At least his grandmother was willing to properly prepare him and give him the training he needed.
"The one downside is that you can't tell your friends or anybody else the whole truth until you are ready to face Voldemort. He will attempt to come back again soon, with the help of his followers. But by that time, you should have a good chance against him, especially as he can't leech off your magic anymore," Morgaine said with a smile.
Harry nodded. He kept his family life a secret anyway. Keeping time-travelling a secret didn't seem so hard.
"Now I promised to answer some of your questions, Harry. We have a little time left before you will wake up. I got the information that Fawkes was successful in healing you and now your body simply needs a little time to recover," Morgaine said.
"You said I was your descendent. So, as Mum was mundane born, my Dad was a descendent too, right?" He asked and got a nod, "Why wasn't he chosen to do this, I mean, he was alive while Voldemort was killing people. He fought against him."
"James didn't have the right mind-set for this task. He was a good man and powerful in his own right, I mean he defied Voldemort three times and lived to tell the tale, which was really rare. But he also could be cruel to others he didn't like. Your Professor Snape was one of them, not that some of his actions weren't justified, but he was really arrogant in his youth. He had some of the powers you will have, but not all. His instinctive understanding of Transfiguration and Runes were part of his heritage. For this task, which is more than simply killing Voldemort, a person with a pure heart is needed and you have such a heart, Harry. Avalon's magic can never be used by a truly selfish person," She answered.
"When I go back in time, will you tell me more about my family?" He asked.
"Of course. I will tell you all I know," She promised.
Harry felt strange.
"Ah, you're waking up. One thing before you go, be careful around Albus. He is too lost in his great plans to see the individual. Fawkes will help you whenever he can. And now that your mind is free of the parasite, put more effort into your studies please. That's also a request from your Mum," Morgaine said.
"I will. Till the holidays, grandmother," He said and vanished from the white plain.
Harry opened his eyes to see Fawkes sitting on his chest, spending warmth to him while a little away he heard sniffling.
"Hey, Fawkes. Thanks for saving me," Harry said gratefully and got a happy trill from the phoenix that nuzzled his cheek with his head.
"Harry?" He heard Ginny asking hoarsely.
He turned to face her while slowly sitting up.
"Hey, Ginny, I'm glad I was on time to save you," Harry said kindly.
She threw herself into his arms sobbing.
"I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have written in that diary. It was all my fault. I didn't want to do those things, but he made me. I should have shown the diary to Mum and Dad, but it was so nice to have somebody listen to my worries, who didn't tell me I was stupid crushing on you. Fred and George made fun of me all the time when you were there, and Ron was jealous and didn't want me to be around you. I don't know why I was so stupid. Dad warned me to not trust anything that I didn't know where its brain was. They will expel me from Hogwarts. But I wanted to come ever since Bill went," She babbled while crying into his blood-stained robe, "I thought you died, and it would have been all my damned fault."
"They won't expel you, Ginny. I will tell them the truth. Nobody can expel you for something you did while the diary controlled you. You didn't do it willingly," He tried to calm her down, "Let's get out of here. Ron must be going spare with worry by now."
"Ron is here too?" She asked.
"Yes, we were separated when the idiot Lockhart tried to obliviate us with Ron's damaged wand. It backfired and the ceiling caved in. I was on this side and Ron on the other. He said he would try to get enough stones out of the way to give us a way back up to the castle," Harry explained.
For Harry the next few hours were like a blur. He, Ron and Ginny went back to the castle with Fawkes' help, and they took the amnesiac Lockhart as well, and they found out that Dumbledore had returned. Remembering what his grandmother had told him Harry only told Dumbledore what had happened in the Chamber and that he had blacked out from the venom before Fawkes tears had healed him. There was no reason to tell that man anything he didn't need to know. And confronting him wouldn't do him any good either. He wasn't strong enough yet. The one highlight was that he was able to free Dobby from Lucius Malfoy. Served the git right for trying to get the muggleborns killed and the Weasleys blamed.
Harry celebrated with the others the end of the terror after changing clothes and taking a shower. There was no way that he would go down to the Great Hall looking like he had been in battle and got the short end of the straw. He had won the fight, even if he didn't want to air the news to everybody. If asked, he would tell the truth, but he wouldn't boast. That simply wasn't like him. He had done it because Ginny's life had been in danger and things had happened so fast that there had been no way to let the teachers take care of things. Not because he wanted to be a hero. Ron of course told everybody what he could about their adventure, and how he had been down in the Chamber with Harry. He let him enjoy his moment of glory. Ron had been brave going down there to save Ginny.
And he had freed the way back for them. Had Lockhart not been such a bastard, Ron would have helped him against the basilisk and Riddle. It led to Harry getting more looks of awe though, which made him uncomfortable. He was happy though when the petrified students were coming back, Justin admitted what an idiot he had been and apologised to Harry. Hermione hugging him and Ron while saying 'You solved it' over and over again was also really nice. Hagrid appeared halfway through the feast and was greeted with cheers and applause. Nearly as many cheers as the announcement that exams were cancelled after the horrendous year that they had gone through. Thanks to Harry and Ron's massive points winning for saving the school from the basilisk Gryffindor again won the House Cup, though Harry was more concerned about how he would spend his holidays. And how he would get back to his grandmother's time without alerting anyone.
The last few days Harry took care of a few things he knew he wouldn't have time for during the summer, as he would be away. First was looking up proper information on the new electives and the teachers that would teach the classes. He was thoroughly cured of taking Divination after finding out that an insect like teacher called Professor Trelawney, who liked to predict students' deaths each year, was the teacher and that real seers were rare. He directly decided to take on another subject. As Maths had never been his favourite class in Primary School, and Arithmancy sounded a lot like it, he decided to go with Ancient Runes. It sounded useful and fascinating what you could do with it. Thus, he went to Professor McGonagall and told her about his decision to change from Divination to Runes. She nodded and wrote the change down in his file and then sent him on his way again.
There was a strange development concerning his eyes. After a week, during which his eyes had tingled and itched a lot, he didn't need his glasses anymore. When he asked Madam Pomfrey, she told him that it was probably a side effect of the phoenix tears that Fawkes had used to save his life. And boy had she been angry to hear he had been bitten by a basilisk and not been sent to her for a thorough examination. She remedied that part immediately. Harry liked not having to wear his glasses anymore. He remembered too well how Dudley and his gang had always mocked him for them, next to breaking them constantly.
Another thing was that he read up a bit on the legend of Camelot. If he would go to that time, he should know a bit more to not stand out too badly. Blending in with the other people would be invaluable. When Ron and Hermione asked what he was doing reading so much, when the end-of-year exams had been cancelled, he simply told them that he found that time-period fascinating and wanted to know more about it. With not having to review for exams, he had the time. Hermione took it stride and praised him for wanting to learn; Ron didn't understand and declared him barmy.
Harry didn't need to have worried about the way he would manage to get away. When he left the Hogwarts Express at King's Cross, Fawkes appeared just after he had said goodbye to the Weasleys and Hermione. He settled on Harry's shoulder and with a flash of white flames he took Harry together with Hedwig back in time.
How did you like it? Next chapter will be the first part of Harry being in Camelot. Until tomorrow.