(A/N: I do not own Harry Potter or Underworld. However, all other characters, places, etc. are mine!)
A/N: My original novel is now published. There is a "Bonus Chapter" beyond what is available in the Amazon preview below for all of you that have followed me here. It is called "The Mage Council" by Amber A Draper and is exclusively published on Amazon. It is $2.99 USD and free to download for anyone with Amazon Prime. To get the first part of the preview you have to go to my Amazon page and "Look Inside". You can like "The Mage Council" page on Facebook for sneak peaks/updates on when the next book is coming out. The URL is also in my author profile.
Seven-year-old Harry James Potter sat reading happily in his cupboard under the stairs at 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey. Even at the age of 7 Harry was extremely intelligent. Sadly, for most of his life Harry had had to suppress how smart he really was, for fear of upsetting his relatives.
Harry lived with his Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon, his whale like, almost 8-year-old cousin Dudley, and Elizabeth, his 6, soon-to-be 7-year-old cousin. His Aunt and Uncle never did like him for some reason or another and his Uncle had even gone as far as to beat him. His Aunt was always telling him he was abnormal and a freak. This made him a bit shy and distant, but nothing short of a genius anyway.
Harry's parents had died in a car crash when he was a year old, that's where the lightning shaped scar on his forehead had come from. His 'family' was always going on about how freakish and abnormal his parents were and if Harry tried to protest his Uncle would beat him into believing it.
That was the reason Harry was still a wake at this hour of the night. His Uncle had beaten him for dropping a dish when Dudley had knocked him over. Harry was sure his arm and a few ribs were broken but he didn't care, pain was a familiar companion. At the moment he was reading a book he'd found in an old trunk in the attic. While it was a little over his grade level, he still seemed to be enjoying it.
Harry's attention was pulled from his book by the sound of a door opening. 'That's funny. No one ever leaves the house at night,' Harry thought as light footsteps came down the hall. 'It must be burglars,' thought Harry turning off his flashlight as the light footsteps continued down the hall.
Harry cracked the door of his cupboard open and dared a look. A woman with short raven hair dressed in a leather body suit was standing with her back to him in the hall. In front of her was a man with long brown hair dressed black paints and a black leather jacket over a dark blue shirt.
"Where do you think he is Selene? I don't smell him," said the man.
"I don't know. You go check up stairs and I'll look around down here," said Selene.
"Wait," said the man taking a whiff of the air. Harry pulled the door of his cupboard closed quietly.
"What is it Michael?" Selene asked watching the man sniff.
"There, under the stairs," said Michael pointing to the cupboard.
Harry pushed himself into the farthest corner of his cupboard as light footsteps made their way to the door.
The door opened and a small stream of light flowed in. "Hello there," said Selene seeing Harry folded into a corner. "Come on out Harry. I'm not going to hurt you," said Selene holding her hand out to Harry.
The naïve part of Harry screamed at him to trust her but the more sensible part of him told him to stay where he was. "Come Harry. I know you don't want to stay here with your Aunt and Uncle. If you come with me you will never have to see them again," said Selene.
Harry was now having an inner battle. Go with a complete stranger and never have to endure another beating from his uncle, or not. He chose the strangers. Slowly as to not jar his arm or ribs Harry crawled out of the cupboard. Selene smiled down at him until she saw the odd angle at which his arm was bent.
"Michael come here," she said while inspecting Harry's arm.
"Christ, what did they do to him," said Michael looking at Harry's arm. "Harry, I want you to take off your shirt so I can help you. I'm a doctor," said Michael. Harry compiled and pulled off his over large shirt reveling the multi-colored bruises underneath. "Damn it. Selene I can't fix this, we have to do the transformation here," said Michael inspecting the bruises.
"Harry I'm going to give you a choice. You can come with Michael and me and be like us or you can stay here with your Aunt and Uncle, it's your choice," said Selene.
Harry thought for a second. Michael and Selene seemed nice enough but what were they that he wasn't? They said something about a transformation but that would probably be better that staying and getting beaten by his Uncle. "I want to go with you," he said.
"Okay, I need you to stay still and not make any noise," said Michael. All of the sudden a pair of fangs burst from his gums, where his K-9s had been, and he bit into Harry's neck. Harry's mouth opened in a silent scream as his blood was slowly drained from his body.
Before he passed out from blood loss Michael stopped and cut his hand open. "Drink," said Michael putting his bloody palm up to Harry's face. Harry opened his mouth and let the blood enter his mouth and pour down his throat. The last thing he heard before he passed out was "Welcome to the Vycans, kiddo."
When Harry woke up he was wrapped in a warm pair of arms. He looked up into the sleeping face of Selene. She looked the same as she had last night except she was no longer dressed in a leather body suit but a black nightgown. Harry smiled and snuggled deeper into the embrace.
About 20 minutes later a tired looking Michael walked into the room. "Selene, Harry time to wake up," he said.
Selene was a wake instantly and Harry was already a wake. "Hello Michael," said Harry shyly.
"Good morning Harry. I expect Selene will want to show you around so why don't you go get dressed while she and I talk. The bathroom is through that door and there should be clothes that fit you in side. Try not to jar your arm and ribs too much; they're not completely healed yet," said Michael pointing to a dark oak door on the wall to his left.
"Okay," said Harry getting up and carefully walking to the bathroom keeping his wrapped arm close to his ribs. The bathroom could only be described as luxurious. In the center of the room was a pool like bathtub with several types of shampoo's and bubbles.
Harry turned on the hot and cold water taps and poured in a little bit of bubble bath. When the tub was almost full Harry turned off the taps, stripped down and crawled into the tub. The water was perfect, hot but not blisteringly hot. He relaxed in the water and let it relax his sore muscles. After 15 minutes of soaking Harry crawled out of the water and dried off.
As Michael said there were clothes waiting on the counter for Harry. He put on the black kaki jeans and plane dark blue shirt and was very relieved to find that they fit him perfectly. He walked out into the room where he had woken up and saw a fully dressed Selene waiting for him.
"Are you ready for the grand tour?" she asked. Harry nodded and followed her out of the room.
The house that Harry would be staying at with Selene and Michael was not a house, but a mansion, a very large mansion. Harry was in awe at the size of it. As it turned out Selene and Michael had a daughter a year younger than Harry named Serenity, they hit it off immediately.
After making Selene promise they would be able to play later Harry and Selene continued the tour. An hour later they ended the tour with Michael's office, Selene lead Harry in.
"Hello Harry. I want to explain to you what happened last night and why you are here," said Michael. Harry self consciously rubbed at what was left of the bite mark. "Several hundred years ago there was a fight between Vampires and Werewolves. The Werewolves wanted to be free of the slavery the Vampires had forced them into. The Vampires didn't agree and soon a war broke out between them.
"The Vampires were thought to be victorious when Lucian, the Werewolf leader was killed. Lucian was a Lycan, a Werewolf that could change at will and was not bound by the rules of the full moon. Everything was peaceful for a few hundred years until the supposedly dead Lucian reappeared and was hunting a human.
"I was that human. Come to find out freedom wasn't the only reason why the war started. Lucian was in love with one of three elder Vampire's daughter, he married and impregnated her. When Victor, her father, found out he ordered his own daughter to be burned alive while Lucian looked on. The only reason Victor did it was because he thought the baby growing in his daughter's womb was an abomination.
"Selene over there, kept me a way from Lucian and Victor while trying to sort things out. Lucian had bitten me when he first found me so she took me somewhere where I would be safe for my first Transformation. Lucian found me before my Transformation and brought me back to his lab.
"He was convinced I had the genetic makeup to become some kind of Hybrid. When Victor broke into the lab and I was shot with a silver bullet Selene bit me and turned me into a Vycan. Apparently she had just discovered that Victor was the person who had killed her parents and she in turn killed him.
"Lucian died and I was made the leader of the Lycans. After 3 years and killing the final elder we managed to come to peace with most of the Vampires. However, there was a small group that informed a group of wizards that we were dangerous and preparing to overthrow the wizarding world. The mansion was attacked, and several of our number were killed, and one of our children kidnapped.
"The strange thing about our children is that they are born normal and stay normal until they are over a year of age, when some of their powers manifest, but they can't be turned for several years after that. The wizards had thought we were kidnapping normal children and he was adopted by a wizarding couple, James and Lily Potter. Only a few months later they were attacked and killed, but the child, because of his heritage his powers manifested and rebounded the curse that was meant to kill him.
"Albus Dumbledore, a close friend of the Potters sent the child to stay with Lily's sister and her husband. Petunia and Vernon Dursley," Michael spat, as if the names were poison on his tongue.
Harry felt numb. He had just basically been told that the life he knew was a complete lie, and he had put up with years of abuse for nothing. Harry took a deep breath and asked the question that was bugging him the most. "Who were the child's parents?" Harry asked, his head resting on his hands.
"The child was Selene and my self's first born," Michael said softly. Harry didn't hear anything else. He suddenly became very dizzy and his world went black.
When Harry woke, he was lying on something soft and warm. He could sense Michael and Selene pacing the room, even if they made no sound. It seemed the two had sensed he had woken because they stopped pacing. "Harry?" Selene asked softly.
"That's not my name," Harry whispered, his voice cracking.
"It is if you want it to be," Michael whispered, his voice husky with emotion.
Harry turned and looked at the two of them, his mother and father. "Why? Why didn't you come for me sooner? Why did you leave me to be abused by the Dursley's for so long?" Harry asked, his eyes brimming with tears.
"We didn't leave you. It took us a long time to figure out who had adopted you, what your new name was, what you would look like, and where you were. Finally we were able to get answers out of one of Dumbledore's people. He told us where you were, and not even two hours later we came for you. We never would have purposely left you with those animals. Even as we speak the Dursley's are being punished for their treatment of you," Selene explained, her voice breaking.
"So, what is my name then?" Harry asked, his eyes meeting his parent's eyes in acceptance and happiness. Selene broke into a grin and pulled Harry into a strong hug.
Harry didn't mind in the least. He couldn't remember ever having been hugged, or being shown any kind of kindness for that matter. When Selene finally broke the hug Zachary asked another question. "What did you mean about what I would look like? Don't I look the same as I did?"
"Well, to start off with question answering, your name is Zachary. No, you don't look the same. They changed your eye color and build. Between Selene and myself, I doubt you are that short, even if you are malnourished. Plus, both Selene and I have blue eyes, not green. If they changed anything else, we shall find out," Michael said, stepping forward. He looked a lot happier than he had a few minutes before, and he had a distinct sparkle in his eyes.
"Well, at least it won't hurt too bad if I fall," Zachary shot back at being called short. While he was happy that he now had real parents, depression at what had happened to him was starting to set in. Nothing seemed as bright as it had minutes ago.
Michael laughed trying to lighten the mood. "He seems to have inherited your mind set Selene." Selene stuck out her tongue. The three were interrupted by a knock on the door. The door opened and Serenity's head appeared.
"Come here Serenity," Selene said, motioning for her to come forward. Serenity did as her mother asked and came to stand next to the sofa Zachary and Selene were sitting on. "Seri, I would like you to meet your older brother, Zachary," Selene said, trying to sound happy. In truth, Selene had had siblings growing up, and knew there would be a strong rivalry between the two.
Serenity's eyes flashed coldly for a second before a pleasant smile crossed her face. "It's nice to meet you again Zachary. I knew I had an older brother somewhere, but I never expected it to be you," Serenity said coldly, but not unkindly. Having lived with the Dursley's most of his life Zachary was a master of reading tones and body language. Serenity wasn't the least bit happy that she now had a brother, she thought of it as competition.
Michael seemed to not have picked up on the hostility between the two, as he was busy planning a welcoming feast to be held on Zachary's birthday, July 24th.
This is a BONUS PREVIEW CHAPTER for those of you following me here. To get the first part of the preview you have to go to my Amazon page and "Look Inside". Again, "The Mage Council" is published under Amber A Draper on Amazon and you can like "The Mage Council" page on Facebook for sneak peaks/updates on when the next book is coming out. The URL is in my author profile.
Anika approached the hole Leon's body formed in the wall, cautious of the spreading fire and toxic smoke with the beast primed and ready for attack. As expected, he lay unmoving on the dark lawn. For a moment Anika felt a stab of guilt at seeing his broken body but rage and fear overpowered it. 'I have to get out of here. I have to get back to Brie and Charlie before Duane does.'
The flight from the burning hall to the lawn passed in a blur. She stopped a few times to help fallen slaves to their feet, boys and girls abandoned by their masters and too defeated to move on without assistance. 'They don't deserve to be punished for their master's mistakes.' A few were trampled in the frenzy to escape the burning mansion and their glassy, lifeless eyes weighed heavily on her damaged soul.
Flickers from the fire on the upper floors illuminated the night along with a waning moon. Men and women scattered across the lawn and gravel drive, some of them trying to escape and others trying to capture their fleeing merchandise. Sirens echoed in the distance, no doubt able to see the pillars of smoke billowing from the broken windows.
Anika barely comprehended her surroundings, her eyes locked on a sleek BMW flying across the gravel. "DUANE!" she screeched, reaching out for the vehicle as it raced away. The beast roared to life and snagged the car's metal chassis. The engine revved in response and struggled to pull away under the invisible weight. 'I will not let you go home to Brie and Charlie, you son of a bitch!'
The engine whined and screeched until the hood burst open and smashed against the windshield. The car swerved, Duane no longer able to see the road in front of him, and the beast released its hold. It accelerated wildly, narrowly missing men and women fleeing the grounds until finally crashing into the brick wall separating the chateau from the main road. The horn blared and the engine smoked but the driver-side door didn't open. For a brief moment Anika hoped the impact killed her tormenter, that he wasn't wearing his seatbelt and had shattered his skull on the windshield or that the sudden stop broke his neck. In the next moment she felt a rush of shame. "Mom wouldn't want me to be a killer," she whispered.
A grunt of pain to Anika's left drew her attention and to her great surprise Leon was conscious. He screamed, setting his broken arm with an inhumanly strong tug and then he was on his feet. He favored his leg but the lacerations on his head and arm knitted together as if they'd never been there. She was tempted to attack him again, to make sure he would not follow her but the urge to get back to Brie and Charlie was stronger. For the first time in her memory she had the opportunity to escape.
Mindful of the sharp rocks making up the driveway she sprinted down the soft lawn toward the wrecked BMW. Duane still hadn't emerged. 'He is either unconscious or dead.' Anika did not care which so long as she got a head start.
Dozens of vehicles lined the driveway, all belonging to masters attending the party. Lexus, Porsche, and Mercedes… all brands she learned to associate with the rich slavers she detested. The first vehicle she reached, a dark Audi sedan, roared to life, the door already open and waiting for her. An inexperienced driver, she forced the vehicle into gear and peeled onto the lawn before circling back to the gravel drive.
On the main road she could see more men and women running, a few of them being chased and a smaller few already captured. The raging beast was almost under her control now that she wasn't fighting it and it only took a little push here and there for the slavers to go down with broken bones, giving the slaves time and space to get away.
Fire trucks, ambulances and police cruisers passed her as she sped away from the scene. There was some comfort knowing that the various slaves might have a chance to be free. 'The word of one or two doesn't mean much against a master with a good attorney or highly placed friend but the word of dozens? Probably enough to get the ring shut down if that many of them are brave enough to talk.'
In minutes the main road became the highway and the car weaved itself through traffic with inhuman precision, ignorant of the objections from other motorists. The burn of power abated and Anika felt the beast calm for the first time in months, maybe years. Senses dulled by the rage returned, bringing with them the smell of smoke, screams and dead faces. Anika vomited on the passenger floor. 'What did I do? The beast has been destructive before but not like that. The Mage Council…'
Shattering hundreds of crystal pieces fell beyond anything she ever knew she could do; something that the Mage Council would sense. One councilman had been at the chateau, either by chance or by picking up on her power fluctuations during the last several hours. 'Mom always said the magi are unnaturally aware of each other,' Anika thought, furious with herself for blowing her cover. There was no telling how many more councilmen sensed her presence, or how many they would send after her.
Anika briefly considered letting the beast guide her and taking I-95 as far as she could go to disappear into another city. 'A lot of people in a condensed area make it hard to pick up on a single person…' She dismissed the idea. If Duane survived the crash then her timeframe for escaping with Brie and Charlie would be narrow and Anika knew exactly what fate awaited her siblings if she left them behind. The Asian tween on the arm of Delany came to mind, again with Brie's face. The image generated an entire new wave of fury and steeled Anika's resolve: tonight all three of them would be free.
No guns, drugs or slaves were stored at House Black, which meant the only security would be the fence and a few locked doors. Hannah, Duane's personal slave, was left in charge of the children. As a contract slave Hannah would not be as keen to escape as Anika but if it came to a physical fight there was no question who would win.
'Where will we go? Mom told me to find her sister, but what if she has moved away?' The idea caused another wave of nausea to roll through Anika's stomach but her options were limited. The woman lived in Florida, only a few hours south. With funds restricted to whatever Anika could find in the house, a nearby safe-haven would be their best bet but would leave all three of them within Duane's grasp. She entertained going to the police but again dismissed the idea. 'It didn't work last time so why would now be any different?'
The Audi glided off the highway to a main road in Richmond Hill. She felt relief and an overwhelming sense of fatigue as she approached Duane's home. Pavement turned into dirt road, jarring the car and stirring up road dust. The vehicle was not designed for rough terrain at a moderate speed but it pushed on anyway.
Stone pillars held a wrought-iron gate in place, protecting House Black from intruders. Anika knew the gate was electrified to preventing unwanted visitors, or escapees, from climbing it. She pressed the gas petal to the floor and rammed the gate. It collapsed on top of the car, denting the hood and cracking the windshield before breaking off and allowing her entrance to the paved driveway. House Black came into view and the imposing three-story redbrick caused anxiety to stir in her belly. 'The sooner we are free of this place, the better.'
Anika parked the Audi in Duane's five-car garage to hide the damaged vehicle from anyone coming to investigate the downed fence. Inside, only two motorcycles and a black Escalade occupied the space. "Escalade it is," Anika muttered, slamming the side door of the garage closed behind her. 'Duane keeps the keys locked in his safe. Sounds like a good place to visit before we leave.'
Again lifting the skirt of the dress so she didn't trip, Anika dashed across the lawn to the main doors of the house. 'I have to change,' she thought, knowing a torn and stained designer dress would draw unwanted attention. The beast was calm but responded to her need by removing the main doors from their hinges. Her bare feet made no noise as she crossed from the marble foyer to the kitchen cellar, where Hannah, Brie and Charlie had been locked up when Duane dragged her away.
Again, the door blew off its hinges. 'Something feels… off.' Anika expected a shout of surprise from the bang of the door breaking but no sound echoed in the cellar. "Brie!" Anika whispered, pausing at the top of the stairs. No one answered and a new panic seized the young woman. 'Duane did something to them!' She managed only one step down the stairs when something sharp pierced her skin and every muscle in her body seized. Her balance shifted forward and she turned as she fell. The first impact against the wooden stairs forced the air from her lungs. The second filled her vision with tiny white stars. The third blackened her vision completely.
'I can't see! I can't breathe!' Anika felt strange, like her arms and legs were hundreds of pounds heavier than they should be. Her vision cleared a little as she gulped air and gave her a perfect view of the cellar's ceiling. She wanted to look around, to figure out how she ended up at the bottom of the stairs but her body refused, heavy and worn out from channeling the beast.
On the verge of unconsciousness, she was dragged back to reality by a hot, sweaty hand yanking her off the ground. She screamed, white-hot pain shooting through her chest and into her skull. She willed the beast to roar to life. It barely stirred, governed by the same drugged-exhaustion weighing down her muscles. A shoulder dug into her damaged ribs and the lack of air made her head spin. She watched as the cellar steps passed by with only one thought: 'Duane is going to kill me.'