A Wizard and Monster Hunters
November 2nd, 1994; Hogwarts Castle Owlery, 8:00 AM
"I hate Halloween," Harry murmured to himself as he stood at the window of the Owlery, watching for Hedwig carrying a reply. Just the other day, he had sent a letter off to his reclusive guardians informing them of the latest development, the Tri-Wizard Tournament. "And as usual, I'm have to be drawn into whatever plan the Headmaster seems to have."
The reason for this bitterness was that Harry never trusted the Headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore. Not since he had been rescued by his current guardians from his vile and abusive relatives at the age of six and especially not since his arrival at Hogwarts three years previously. Most Gryffindors would be shocked at this revelation, but Harry was more like a Ravenclaw and hid it well. Being raised in a World where fighting and hunting monsters is a way of life, one can't exactly charge in without a basis of a plan.
So wisely, he immediately sent off Hedwig to Astera in hopes that the Commander would send a Raphinos off to his guardians wherever they were. The letter was concise and to the point. "Trapped in a blood sport called the Tri-Wizard Tournament with no visible way out. Requesting protection and retrieval by the Golden Star. That should get their attention," Harry grumbled. He was avoiding everyone else, since it appeared that as one, as with any time something like this happened, the entirety of Hogwarts' student population rose up to make his life a living hell. Quite frankly, he was done with wizards and magic, at least Hunters understood the idea of shit happens and you didn't do it.
As he returned his gaze to the sky, a small speck appeared, growing larger and larger, taking the shape of Harry's Snowy Owl, Hedwig. She swooped in and perched gracefully on Harry's arm and promptly presented the letter tied to her leg. He untied the letter and before reading it, presented her with an Owl Treat, which she gracefully took and ate while perched on his shoulder. He broke the seal and began reading the Commander's familiar handwriting.
"Young Harry, your request has been received. Pack your things immediately. The Steel Wind is coming to retrieve you. You are one of us, and Hunters protect their own. May the Sapphire Star light your way."
Harry folded the letter up and put it in his pocket. "Hedwig," the Snowy snapped her amber gaze to him, "Meet me in the dorms. We're leaving." The owl barked an affirmative and took off as the young wizard turned and left the Owlery at a steady pace avoiding anyone who may not be at breakfast yet. Once reaching Gryffindor tower, and giving the password of Balderdash, entered and seeing that no one was around, quickly headed up the stairs to the fourth-year boys dorms. Moving fast, Harry removed everything from his wardrobe and packed all of his school supplies into his trunk, even Hedwig's cage.
"Reducio," Harry murmured, shrinking his trunk and putting it into his pocket and headed down to the Common Room. Hedwig was waiting for him and she barked at him, holding up a quill and a sheet of parchment. "Good idea, Hedwig," he said. Harry dragged a table in front of the entrance to the Common Room and taking the proffered quill and parchment and an ink vial, wrote a note and then folded it up. Then in a fit of inspiration, Harry ripped off all of his Gryffindor patches and threw down his ties onto the table. With a nasty grin, "This definitely get their attention," he snapped his Holly wand clean in two. The pieces he placed on top of the patches and ties, and with Hedwig on his shoulder, donned his invisibility cloak, and with the Marauder's Map in hand, slipped out of the tower.
Unbeknownst to Harry, the Goblet of Fire, which was still on display in the Great Hall for the duration of the Tri-Wizard Tournament, developed a microscopic crack when he snapped his wand, in his rejection of magic.
"Good thing I thought ahead, huh, Hedwig," Harry muttered as he navigated his way through back passages and corridors to the entrance which would take him out to the grounds, keeping an eye on where everyone was. The owl mewled quietly in response. "Dumbledore must be making a speech or something because normally people would start heading from breakfast by now."
The young, self-considered ex-wizard, was being very cautious. He wouldn't be surprised if one of the staff members tried to force him to go to the Great Hall under threat of detention, so at every major intersection, he checked the Map, making sure there was no one around to catch him. Hogwarts at times seemed more like a prison than a school. His stomach growled softly, but Harry knew that he could wait until he arrived in Astera. Meowscular Chef Meowster's food was better than anything else and breakfast was the one meal that was free of charge in the Canteen. The Felynes certainly knew how to prepare an excellent meal.
"Finally," Harry said as he reached the grounds, ghosting out of the castle, heading straight for the towering beech tree that he would sit under in warmer weather. Once he was far enough from the castle, he took off the Invisibility Cloak and stashed it in his bag along with the Map. Unfortunately, he was intercepted. Not by any of the staff or the students, but by part of the Centaur herd. Harry slowed down, not wanting to attract their attention. Though he was still on Hogwarts grounds and not the Forbidden Forest, which the Centaurs considered their land, he had no desire to catch the attention of the territorial beings. This was not to be however. One of the Centaurs turned around, and to Harry's dread, it was Bane. Bane was definitely not a fan of humans. And as soon as he saw Harry, he charged at him.
A feminine voice whipped out from a platinum blonde Centaur woman. "Bane!" She snapped, "Leave the human be. We are on Hogwarts Grounds, not the Forest. If you cannot control your temper, return to the village immediately. I will be speaking to Magorian about this."
Bane halted, and turned away, though could keep his mouth shut. "If I ever see you again, human, grounds of Hogwarts or not, I will kill you."
The Centaur woman galloped up to him and slapped him. "Bane. The village. NOW." She pointed sharply to the Forest and Bane left. The Blonde Centaur then ordered the others, "Follow him and make sure Magorian hears of this. His behavior is abhorrent and not in kind with the teachings of Chiron." The others rushed after him, more than one muttering in displeasure about having to deal with Bane's behavior again. The Centaur woman turned to follow, but before she could leave Harry remarked caustically, "Are you sure that Bane is a horse-based Centaur, because he acts more like an ass." The centaurette raised a fine eyebrow as though disapproving, but the corner of her mouth twitched upwards.
"Indeed, I am, Harry Potter," she remarked calmly, "Bane loathes humans more compared to most of my kin who merely dislike your kind. I am Daenerys, one of the herd leaders. Though Bane is dealt with for now, I recommend getting back to school or wherever you need to as quickly as possible and not return to this area until further notice. He may act rashly after his punishment."
"Believe me, I'm not staying here. Merely waiting for pick up by an Elder Dragon and leaving this world behind," Harry replied. Hedwig barked her agreement.
"An Elder Dragon?!" Daenerys reared up in shock, "Those do not come from this world. I take it you know a way to the lost world of Monsters?!"
"At least to Astera and the New World, Daenerys," he answered, "My guardians are the Steel Wind and the Luminous."
Daenerys frowned. "I have heard legends of the Luminous, the only mortal to have ever been raised to partial transcendence by the Ruler of the Heavens and of the world of Monsters, where men hunt beasts of such strength and ferocity that dragons look like foal's play. Are they indeed true?"
"As far as I'm aware. I'm not allowed beyond the training arena and the research cages yet. Not after an Anjanath nearly broke down the front gate in a fight with a Great Jagras."
"Daenerys!" A voice shouted from the Forest. Another Centaur, one Harry vaguely recognized as Ronan cantered up. She raised a brow at the abrupt interruption, but allowed Ronan to continue. "Magorian was not pleased by Bane's behavior. He wants a trial held. What is your judgement?"
Daenerys turned to him, "Gelding and Banishment at the least. Preferably death. Bane took his temper and hatred too far to be let off with anything less. You know as well as I, Ronan, that had he succeeded, the Wizards would hunt down every single Centaur in the Isles, innocent or not. Let a message be sent now."
An impatient roar sounded from down by the Lake, catching Ronan's attention, but Daenerys waved him off. "Mr. Potter is merely leaving this world Ronan. The legends are apparently true about the Elder Dragons and the World of Monsters. For now, we must deal with Bane." Ronan wasn't letting that go so easily.
"The legends are merely that. That was probably a new pet of Hagrid's. Come, I will prove it."
Harry rolled his eyes and began heading to the Beech tree, but with a parting shot. "If you're so eager to come face to maw with an impatient Elder Dragon, then be my guest," he said over his shoulder. Both Centaurs were stunned, but made no comment, instead, following Harry down to the beech tree, where, next to it, crouched low to the ground, wings slightly spread, casting its gaze around warily, was a full grown, Kushala Daora.
When Harry approached, the massive Elder Dragon rumbled in greeting and nuzzled him affectionately. However, when she caught sight of the two Centaurs approaching, she growled threateningly, swishing her steel grey tail from left to right and back again as a brisk, and icy wind kicked up in the area.
"Easy, Elder Dragon," Daenerys spoke calmly, "We mean you no harm. We merely wished to verify that Mr. Potter spoke the truth. Your kind after all is not native to this world, and the World of Monsters is regarded as legend by most."
The Kushala calmed somewhat, the glow dying. The Steel Dragon lowered herself down and allowed Harry to climb onto her back with Hedwig perched on his shoulder. She growled something at Harry, who turned to the Centaurs.
"She says that if you wish to leave this world, she will bring it up with Astera's Commander as well as the Luminous and the Steel Wind. If they agree a gateway will open in three days' time. Be advised that any who wish to leave this world must be willing to work alongside humans and live in Astera. Everyone works together in the New World; it is too dangerous to do otherwise."
With that, the Elder Dragon leapt into the air, spreading her wings and soaring out over the Black Lake. Over the middle of the Lake, a hole between universes slowly formed. The Kushala pumped her great wings and shot through it, with Harry ducking due to the wind. Once they were through, the gateway snapped shut as a blast wave of blue fire race out in all directions.
In Hogwarts, just as people were beginning to leave, a loud cracking was heard, causing everyone to freeze and slowly turn in the direction of the Goblet of Fire. Midnight blue flames were dancing all over it.
"Albus…," Minerva McGonagall said slowly. The Bearded Headmaster turned from his conversation with Barty Crouch, his eyes widening as the Goblet cracked more and more. "What is going on….?!" To late.
Thanks to the severing of the contract between Harry and the Goblet by a more powerful being, the resulting backlash caused the Goblet of Fire, which was already cracked by Harry's rejection of magic, to promptly detonate.With a massive concussive force, everyone was thrown from their seats as an almighty mushroom cloud of magic and fire rose high into the air.
The Goblet of Fire was no more, destroyed in the largest and most powerful magical explosion in the past four hundred years. The doors of the Great Hall were torn off their hinges and every single window was shattered into fine dust as the tables and benches were upended and dashed into splinters against the stone walls.
Magic crackled and fire roared as everything that made up the Goblet was released. The students and staff escaped the brunt of the blast just barely though many would have tinnitus for the rest of the week. When the cloud of magic and flame dissipated and everyone regained their feet, everyone stood there in shock, unable to process what had just happened.
"I fear," Professor Flitwick said slowly, "That Mr. Potter truly meant what he said yesterday. We have failed him and he has left us for good."
Everyone stood there in silence, not knowing what to think, unable to comprehend the diminutive professor's words. That is, until Hermione Granger tore out of the Great Hall as fast as she could; as dread filled her heart, she made her way as quickly as she could to Gryffindor Tower.
The Weasley Twins followed, knowing that the brightest witch in Hogwarts had a knack for knowing what Harry was going to or did do. Fred and George's longer strides allowed them to catch up to Hermione rather quickly as she reached the Tower and bolted through the portrait entrance. Hermione being the intellectual easily spotted the table where Harry left his effect. Her eyes teared up at the snapped wand and when she opened the letter, that was the final straw.
The blood curdling wail she released chilled the entire castle to the bone and spurred the Twins into action.
They quickly stunned Hermione, internally wincing at the retribution to come and carefully collected the remnants of Harry's time at Hogwarts. George then levitated Hermione back down to the Great Hall with Fred guiding him. Once arriving they laid Hermione down gently and revived her. The young witch took a few seconds to refocus on her surroundings and then with an ear-splitting shriek of rage, snapped her wand out and shot a very nasty looked hex towards the head table. Which was timely deflected by the Headmaster.
"Miss Granger!" Professor McGonagall said in reproach, "There was no need for that! I think detention for the next week will do."
"When Hell freezes over, maybe!" Hermione snapped, her eyes full of tears, "The blame for this rests on the lot of you, sitting up there at the head table! He's gone! Snapped his wand clean and left. He had no one here to lean on ever and he's not coming back! We've all seen to that! He's renounced magic forever and gone and left us. All because you lot thought it was a bloody wonderful idea not to show him any support! And good luck trying to get him back, he's gone and joined the Monster Hunters!" She collapsed in the center of the hall in uncontrollable grief.
Fred Weasley, in the most disconcerting and alien seriousness, strode up to the Head Table and laid out the pieces of Harry's former wand as well as the Gryffindor ties and Hogwarts patches. He then turned to the rest of the Hall and unfolded Harry's last letter and read it aloud slowly, know he had failed Harry like the rest of the school.
"To the People of the Wizarding World,
I, Harry James Potter, am done. I'm done with magic, and I'm done with you. For the past four years I have been lauded as a hero and savior one week and then treated as an apprentice Dark Lord and trash the next. My parents died and I was wounded to stop the Dark Lord known as Voldemort and yet was abandoned by all of you. I was unknowingly a Parselmouth and was treated like a Leper. I slayed a Basilisk to protect your children and I got no thanks, not even the smallest acknowledgement or sign of gratitude. This is a SCHOOL, not a Laboratory of Social Experiments! For four years I have been taunted, insulted and treated like filth by the same Society that called me its Savior! No More! These last two day, no one listened as I swore that I never put my name in the Goblet of Fire, not even my own friends! It seems that Wizards can't comprehend the concept of Loyalty. I write to you today in a final Fuck You letter. When you find this, you shall also find my snapped wand. Hopefully, you have enough brains to comprehend that message. I renounce all magic and the Wizarding World. I return to my rightful guardians a free man. A Monster Hunter. Don't come looking for me next time you need saving from a Dark Lord and his ass-kissing minions!
Harry James Potter."
Fred finished to a completely silent Great Hall. Then the muttering started and it grew louder and louder. Magicals being magicals, they didn't like blame being laid at the feet of those who actually deserved it, i.e. them and they most certainly did not like loosing their savior. How dare he! He should be proud that they selected him as their savior and should just shut up and deal with it! But then, for the first time in a very long time, someone shut them up.
Filius Flitwick was known for being a wonderful teacher, extremely patient and willing to help students no matter their House affiliation. He was also well known for being a Charms master, being about the size of a Hobbit, and to a lesser extent, a Dueling Master. Filius Flitwick also had no patience for Blame Shifting or shunning and had the highest respect for the old legends of the Monster Hunters. Filius Flitwick had heard enough.
"ENOUGH!" He roared out, surprising the entire Hall, punctuating his statement with a Cannon Blast Hex. The Charms Professor never raised his voice. "All students will return to their Common Rooms IMMEDIATELY and STAY THERE. Though I too must share some of the blame for Mr. Potter's treatment in not doing anything to stop it, he is correct. Every single one of you played a part in this fiasco. I have never been so disgusted in my entire life! And as punishment…," he flicked his wand and with a loud ripping sound, from the six Ravenclaw Prefects, came the Prefect Badges, "None of you deserve this privilege anymore and it will go on your records. Though I very much doubt that the other Heads of House will have the same integrity." He gave a side-long glare at the other three, though Professor Sprout looked decidedly green at the behavior shown. "WELL THEN, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! GO! ALL OF YOU!" The students fled, the Twins dragging Hermione with them. Finally, Professor Sprout made her decision. "Hufflepuff Prefects, you also lose your privileges and authority." She summoned their badges as they left. The two furious Professors left the Hall with a demand for a staff meeting in thirty minutes. The rest of the staff and dignitaries were left stunned.
Thirty minutes later, the staff of Hogwarts including the ghosts were crammed into the Headmaster's office. The staff were decidedly split. In shock: Hagrid, Sinistra, Pomfrey and the Arithmancy and Runes Professors. Righteous fury: Sprout, Flitwick and the House Ghosts. Undecided: McGonagall, Filch, and Binns. Viciously Gleeful: Snape. And Neutral, but manipulative: Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. And of course, the Headmaster had to get the ball rolling.
"Alright, Filius, you and Sprout demanded this meeting. What do you want?"
Flitwick growled, "For Hogwarts to follow its proper charter. There is no excuse for a student to be hounded and shunned by his peers and teachers to the point where he voluntarily severs himself from magic!"
Snape sneered. "So, Prince Potter didn't get his way. Good riddance to him. Attention seeking brat deserved his treatment-."
Professor Sprout cut him off. "Severus Snape! You will mind your tongue!" She put the tip of her wand right between his eyes, "He most certainly did not deserve the treatment he received by the students and staff of this institution. If you cannot say anything of value then keep your mouth shut!"
Flitwick then opened fire on Dumbledore, "I do not know what you were thinking, Albus, or you Minerva, but this ends now. Both Lily and James would be disgusted if they were with us right now and Fleamont and Euphemia both would have brought this to the Board in an instant. You, Minerva, were Euphemia's best friend, so you know what she would say and Lily was a favorite student of yours! This cannot stand any longer. Unfortunately, it is too late for Mr. Potter as he's apparently already left for the Lost World of Monsters, but for the rest of the students, it is time they learned that actions have consequences!"
"Quite right Professor," a voice chimed in. It was the Sorting hat. The Hat itself was a conduit for Hogwarts Castle. The Hat continued, "Regardless of what happens here today, the Spirit of Lady Hogwarts has decided to enforce the Founding Charter in full; irrespective of what the opinions of you, Headmaster or the Board of Governors. That means that this behavior will be forcefully corrected by Hogwarts herself and none of you can alter any punishment given by the Castle." Dumbledore tried to silence the Hat, but a shield sprung up around it as a presence made itself known.
Forming from one corner of the room, Lady Hogwarts herself entered the conversation. She was tall, fair skinned, with raven black hair and eyes that where as grey as the stones of the Castle and her robes matched. They flashed in anger. "Albus Dumbledore, you will not do that again! For that I place you on probation along with Professor Snape. All remaining Prefects are stripped of that privilege until further notice. Ghosts, I expect you to oversee any detentions given and help enforce the Charter. The Armors will do the same. Baron?" The Ghost in question raised a brow. "Inform Peeves that he is expected to fulfill his originals duties to the Charter. All of you are dismissed to inform the House of the changes taking place." With that, Hogwarts dissipated.
The staff and Ghosts dispersed to follow the Charter in its entirety. Before she left, McGonagall turned to the Headmaster.
"Albus, you had better get rid of whatever plans you may or may not have had for Mr. Potter. I expect Hogwarts will be watching you like a hawk."
When the door closed behind her, though Dumbledore showed no signs of frustration, deep within his mind, things were going at a rapid pace.
Blast that boy, he thought. He just couldn't due as he was told and compete. Now I have no way of luring Tom out of hiding or getting ahold of the Potter money. The damn Goblins will have been notified of all this by magic. He couldn't have just gone on the complete the First Task, forgive Miss Granger and Mister Weasley and then I would have had my spies back in place, though a bit an unknowing one in Miss Granger. Then it would have been perfect timing to get him potioned to fall in love with Miss Weasley and then have him die fighting Tom so I could step in! Now how am I going to pay the Weasley boy to spy on Harry? Or Molly to take care of him…?" At the thought of Mrs. Weasley, Dumbledore groaned. She was sure to send a Howler his way as soon as this broke! Especially as he hadn't gotten Rita Skeeter off of the grounds yet!