Fable of the Lightning Struck Hero: Sequel to the Blood-Soaked Succession

As with most nights, little Lily bounced around with the faux energy of bedtime in their small, beachside home.

Cho had constructed it herself in the slums of rainy - but warm - Phuket. It was a single room home, built down on the docks, with two beds and a sitting area with a bookshelf. From every corner of the ceiling hung drying clothes or foodstuffs. There was an iron stove in the corner that also served as their fireplace and oven, with a small two chaired dining table beside it.

It wasn't much, but it was safe from the war and the Dark Lord who waged it against the world with his armies of Muggle and magical monstrosities.

"Tell me a story. Tell me a story!" Lily demanded as she jumped around on her bed.

Cho snatched up the tiny creature that was hers and only hers, before gently laying her down and wiggling into a position where her weight kept her pinned, her dark eyes glued to the mirthful green of her daughter. Lily giggled through the gentle rough housing the entire while.

"Okay. And which story would you like to hear?" Cho acquiesced.

"Fable of the lightning-struck hero." Lily chirped.

"You know I don't like telling you that story." Cho told the six-year-old. "It makes your mommy sad.

Lily sobered up somewhat.

"I know. But it makes your daughter happy." She said cheekily. "Just one more time? If you could record it on a tape I could play it back to myself and you won't have to tell it again."

Cho smirked at her smartass of a daughter but shook her head at the suggestion she had clearly rehearsed.

"No. I'll tell it as many times as it takes, until one day I won't be so saddened by it. Tuck in and then I'll start." Cho instructed.

Lily obliged, digging into the covers and wrapping herself into a soft cocoon. She had recently started refusing to be tucked in and insisted on doing it herself these days. Cho waited until Lilian got comfortable and began to stare with those big, green orbs she cherished so.

She began her story.

Once upon a time, there was a noble Stag named Prongs who pranced about the woods in majestic freedom. During his prancing he made three friends. Friends for life. A mischievous Grim who laughed as much as he barked, a sad and lonesome Wolf whose need for friendship united them all, and a Clever Rat who always looked out for the others and warned them of oncoming danger.

Over the years they all grew into adults and the years changed them, as they do us all. And it was then that the noble Stag came upon a pond. In the middle of that pond was a beautiful Water Lily, whom he fell hopelessly in love with. Soon they were wed, and they brought into the world a light, a son.

This light was so bright that it caught the attention of all the most powerful and foul creatures of the forest. From the great elderly Goat and his Giant friend to the terrible Hydra with seven heads.

The hydra was a terror unto all the creatures of the forest, so much so that they all feared to speak his name. But when he saw this light, born of the Stag and the Water Lily, he came to fear it, and thus he set his designs to snuff it out.

All of the Stags friends came to his aid to protect this light, from his three friends to the old Goat and his Giant. Even the bat whom he always quarreled with worked at night to keep this light safe. But among his friends his most trusted betrayed them, the Rat had gone to the Hydra's side and told him their secret, and so the Hydra found them.

The hydra devoured the Stag and wilted the Water Lily, before closing in on the Light.

But when he struck, so too did lightning. Twice. And thus, he was burnt to ash and his seven heads scattered to the wind. And the light, the son of Prongs, lived with a scar where the second bolt of lightning struck.

The others had rushed to the scene but were too late to save the two they all loved dearly. On that night the Giant took the Lightning-Stuck Hero to the Goat, while the Grim, Padfoot, set out to hunt the traitorous rat.

The Goat designed to hide the light away in a dark place where the Seven-Headed Hydra, whom he knew still lived, could never find him. And set as guardians of the dark place a Giraffe and a Walrus, with their Whale son.

For ten years he lived in the dark, waiting, dreaming, but in all that time the Lightning-Struck Child never dimmed, and when the Giant returned to take him back to the forest, he was brighter than any could imagine. The Giant took him to a castle, a place of safety belonging to the Goat, and there he met all of the young creatures of the forest.

He made fast friends with the Crimson Terrier, and fast enemies with the Dragon and his allies - the Crab and the Gargoyle. And for three years he played and fought and learned with the other critters of the forest in that castle. But in those three short years he dazzled the world with his brightness.

He battled a Troll to save an Otter that had been caught unawares as she cried, earning his second friend, and soon after came across and fought off one of the Hydra's heads.

He battled a Basilisk in a deep, forgotten cistern, saving the life of the Virgin, and destroying one of the Hydra's heads forever.

In his third year in the castle, he met and saved the souls of the Wolf, the Rat and the Grim that had once ran through the forest with his father, and learned so much about who he truly was.

More creatures from other castles came to the home of the Goat to compete, and the Lightning-Struck Hero was eager to watch them in their great contest, only to be forced as a contestant himself. Thrust into a dangerous tournament against his will, he competed against the Valkyrie, the Shark and the Beaver in three terrible trials. He outflew a Wyvern, he outswam a tribe of Mer, and he outcompeted the other three Champions in a maze of deadly traps and enchantments.

At the end of the maze, he encountered the Hydra again, this time his strength returned, and his malicious plans reignited. The hydra killed the Beaver, one of the Lightning-Struck Hero's greatest friends. He battled the Hydra and lost, fleeing with his life and returned the Beaver to his father.

When he told the people of the forest of the danger, of the Hydra's return, they called him a liar, and thus his light began to dim.

As the people of the forest attacked him, others believed him and came to him for protection. As the hydra uncoiled to encompass the whole of the forest the Lightning-Struck Hero lent them pieces of himself.

He gave a bit of himself to the Moon. He gave a bit of himself to the Firework. He gave a bit of himself to the Twin Jesters and the Swan and the Bashful Lion. To each of them he gave a spark of his light, the light which the Hydra feared and which the whole of the forest desired to steal from him. They formed an army, and when the Hydra revealed himself, they went to war.

For two years they fought valiantly, but the now six-headed hydra proved too strong. Another traitor, the Bat, killed the Goat and delivered the castle, the bastion of safety, to the Hydra. In doing so The Lightning-Struck Hero and his friends were scattered to the winds themselves. Separated, and all alone.

The forest and all of its critters bowed to the Hydra and chose to serve him instead of fight, and so the whole of the forest attacked the Lightning-Struck Hero mercilessly. Hunted him like an animal. It was only the constant companionship of the Otter and the Terrier that kept his light shining, lo it had dimmed so thoroughly.

With all the world against them they fought from the shadows. Hunting, searching and striking where they could. Nipping at the Hydra's heels. In time they came to sever two more of the Hydra's heads and were on the cusp of severing a third when they fell into a trap.

The Otter and the Terrier died, he could not save them, only barely escaping himself.

Battered and beaten he had nothing left in him but a last, meek spark of the light that the Hydra once feared. The forest had stolen so much of it and grown darker for the coveting.

He smothered that last ember himself, and unbeknownst to the world, he died. But that didn't stop him from continuing his fight.

Like a plague of dust and ash he washed over the forest, devouring all those who had chosen the Hydra over him. He took back every piece of his light that was stolen, only to smother it out himself so none could have it. Those he had given his light to freely flocked back to his aid, not knowing what he had become.

Slowly, one by one, he convinced them all to give their light back to him, to be swallowed into everlasting darkness, and together they waged a war more terrible than any that had come before. A war without end. By now the Hydra knew what the Lightning-Struck Hero had become, but none believed him, for only he could see it. And it was not until all but one of the Hydra's heads lay dead, and the Lightning-Struk hero took up the Hydra's fang in a war cry, that they finally saw him or what he was.

The Bashful Lion, the Twin Jesters, the Firework and the Virgin closed their eyes so as not to see the monster born from the light. They covered their ears so as not to hear the malice in his words. They clamped their mouth shuts so as not to openly weep in sadness at his twisted metamorphosis. All stayed with him in his descent, save for one.

The Swan, the only one to lend an ear to the whispered warnings by one of the heads of the Hydra, fled. Carrying in her belly the last piece of light from the Lightning-Struck Hero, one even he didn't know he had given her.

The Swan's Stolen Light was hidden away, like her father, but unlike her father she was kept in a warm, safe place, where The Swan showered her with love as the Lightning-Struck Hero spread his plague of bonemeal and ash upon the whole of the earth. There she stoked the ember within the Stolen Light, so that one day it may be bright enough to cast out the shadows brought upon the earth by the machinations of the Hydra and the Goat.

Cho stopped there, seeing that her Stolen Light had gone to sleep long ago. She never did make it to those final paragraphs, and she never did get around to telling her how important she was. Not just to her, but to the world. And she was terrified that she wouldn't be able to keep it from her, or her from the world, for much longer.

She planted a kiss on Lilian's forehead, on the same spot she always planted one, on the spot where she thanked the heavens every day that it wasn't marred by a lightning-bolt scar.

She got up, and walked outside, where they were already waiting for her.

"Are you certain about this, Miss Chang?" The muffled, masked voice of the wizard Hashashin asked. "It is not too late for you to cancel our agreement."

There were three of them. Garbed in heavy fabric to hide the militant clothes and weaponry they wore beneath it. They reeked of marijuana, as they always did, but she knew not to judge them for it. They didn't take kindly to such.

"I am. I have the contract in writing, in blood. That your people will keep her safe and hidden. And I do not trust you, but I trust in your skills and ability to keep secrets hidden." Cho said.

The lead Hashashin nodded and approached the door. Pausing before passing the threshold.

"We will do more than that. She will be trained. She will be made powerful. It is a difficult life. The moment I take her in my arms the contract is sealed, and you cannot undo it." He warned. "So I ask you one last time. Are you certain you want us to spirit your daughter away?"

Cho looked past him into her home, where Lilian slept, and the urge to go hold her baby girl one last time nearly overwhelmed her. But she knew, if she held the child again she would never be able to let her go.

She gave a silent nod and walked away, lest she be tempted to stop them. She apparated away from her home of six years one last time, never to see it again. She had a war to rejoin, and a juicy target for the Lightning-Struck Dark Lord to chase. She had to hold out a distraction to keep him occupied until her weapon was ready. She just hoped she wasn't condemning her soul to the same layer of hell Albus was rotting in now for what his machinations towards the last "hero" had wrought.

10 Years Later:

Lilian kicked aside the metal sign warning of the minefield and continued her climb up the desolate mountainside.

Her companions labored behind her like the untrained teenagers they were, though Lupin kept pace pretty well and didn't complain despite the obvious sweat on his brow.

"Why didn't... anybody tell me... that it was so humid in China." Victoire complained in gasps from her place at the rear of their group.

Honestly? She couldn't understand how the Veela was having so much trouble when she was the one in a white skirt and blouse, and Lilian was bedecked in her usual combat jeans and vest. She was even wearing a sweater underneath it for Allah's sake!

"We are almost there." Lillian consoled, trying to keep the annoyance from her voice. "Just one last hump and we'll be at the top."

And so, five minutes later they climbed over the crest and were greeting by a glorious view of the Hong Kong Bay. The cratered mountainsides surrounding it a desert wasteland of twisted steel and ash against the beauty of the ocean and the brutalist military base that was Hong Kong city. The island was akin to a sea fort surrounding a slum city with the telltale haphazard buildings brought by magical construction.

Watchtowers and artillery bunkers built atop slums built atop the skyscrapers of the once economic powerhouse of a shining city. The shining crown of this fortress city? A magical school devoted to arcane and mundane warfare training the next generation of warriors to throw against the meat grinder that was the Dark Lord of the West. A waste of human life. And the head of this Institution of Unlearning was One Cho Chang. The Bitch of Victoria.

"Whoa." Victoire gasped as she finally reached the top to gaze out at the aircraft carrier-filled bay. "Your mum's down there?!"

Lilian nodded at the silvery redhead.

"Yeah. And I have a few words for her." She said simply, unslinging her rifle from her shoulder and grasping her wand more firmly.

"Just a few?" Lupin asked with a snort.

"That's right." Lillian snarled out. "Just a few."

They were an odd trio. The metamorph Werewolf with the shock of lime green hair, the red-haired Veela, and the assassin witch. Victoire especially would raise no small amount of suspicion about their possible allegiance to the Dark Lord, with most Veela serving under him. But that was just yet another obstacle they would demolish like the many they had faced thus far. Like those other ones, they would blast right through it.

Just as soon as they descended this mine-covered mountainside.

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Lightning-Struck Hero = Harry

Stag = James Potter

Mishchievous Grim = Sirius

Lonesome Wolf = Remus

Clever Rat = Wormtail

Water Lily = Lily Potter

Voldemort = Hydra

Hydra's Heads = Horcruxes

Goat = Dumbledore

Giant = Hagrid

Bat = Severus

Petunia = Giraffe

Vernon = Walrus

Dudley = Whale

Ron = Terrier

Hermione = Otter

Ginevra = The Virgin

Fred/George = Twin Jesters

Neville = Bashful Lion

Cho = The Swan

Seamus Finnegan = Firework

The Swan's Stolen Light = Lilian Chang, daughter of Harry Potter and Cho Chang