A few context things:
This is set post Will of The Empress (so don't read it if you haven't read that and don't want spoilers). I am putting it here because the first four books will play very heavily into this. Also because there are currently no crossovers for Will of the Empress, and I wasn't sure that it would be noticed if I put it there (should I move it?)
In the Potterverse, it begins during the summer of book five (after Harry's arrival at Grimmauld Place, before the trial). I know that this is similar to "The Student Exchange Program" by Lyrannae, but trust me, it will be different.
This is my first fic, so please give feedback (criticism and observations of typos included)
The story summary is highly subject to change.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or the books that they came from. They are the creations of JK Rowling and Tamora Pierce. All that is mine is this particular scenario that I am putting them in.
On to the story...
Doing her best not to wake the stable hands scattered about on cots around the room, Sandry led her mare out of the stable. She hoped that the note she had left would be noticed before they all panicked about losing the horse of the Duke's niece. It would have probably been best that she told someone that she was leaving, but she knew that doing so would mean leaving with an armed escort. It had taken one of her invisibility shrouds just to get this far.
Once she was outside, she mounted and made her way to the gate. Fortunately, the guard on duty was one that she knew, and she was able to convince him to open it. By the time the sun was beginning to rise, she was standing outside of Daja's house.
She had felt uncomfortable being outside while it was still dark, but the lantern's hanging by the road had been enough to fight off her panic. With what she had to discuss with her siblings, it had been more important to leave undetected. Now however, she had a moment of doubt over coming so early as it occurred to her that everyone inside was asleep. She didn't want to wake up the housekeeper, but she was locked out.
Sandry paused, considering her next move. Briar had gotten a lot better in the months following their return from Namorn, but he was still jumpy….
WAKE UP! She shouted mentally, and felt Tris and Daja jump up in their beds in response. Daja began swearing at her while Tris fumbled for her glasses.
I need to talk to you. Get Briar.
The seriousness in her tone made them both pause.
I'm coming. Daja told her, while Tris headed for Briar's room. A few minutes later they were gathered around the dining room table. Sandry looked around at her family. None of them had taken the time to get dressed: Tris's braids were still in their net and Briar was shirtless and nodding back off to sleep with his head on the table.
So what's wrong? Daja asked through their bond, sensing Sandry's need for silence. Briar perked up slightly.
It's… about the children that have gone missing.
Now she had Briar's attention.
It was a story that all four of them had been following with growing concern. Over the past few months, numerous children from the city had vanished. This in itself was not an entirely new phenomenon, but a Provost Guard that had been working several of the cases made the realization that a great deal of them had been discovered to be mages.
Why did you need to wake us up at the crack of dawn to talk about this? Tris asked irritably, but Sandry knew that Tris was particularly anxious over the matter. One of the children was taken from Winding Circle temple and had been set to move in with Lark and Rosethorn a couple of days after she went missing. The mage girl Glaki, who Tris had picked up somewhere on her travels, was in the age range of the missing children. The temple had already been proven to be unsafe, and Tris was on the verge of having Glaki stay with them until whoever was responsible was caught.
I wanted to talk about it in person, and this was the only time I could get away without being noticed. I want to do something, and I need your help.
I'm all for whoever is doing it ending up in a nice comfy cell, but why us? Briar piped up. Then he put his head back on the table.
Because the search has been on for two months, and they haven't found anything. Because Uncle already has too much to worry about even without this, and I'm worried that his heart is going to give out again. Because other people can't watch the way that we can. Who knows just how many kids have been taken, and will be taken?
Everyone was quiet for a moment.
…I'm in. Daja said finally
Sandry smiled. Everyone think of our circle.
Ever since their thread had merged with their bodies, they no longer needed to be in physical contact with it – or even with each other – to fully access the added strength that it gave them. Regardless, they all joined hands as they sank into their power. They gathered as much as they could, and then flung themselves out.
Tris called on every breeze that she could reach to search Summersea. Briar called on the plants and Daja on metals to alert them to anything suspicious. Sandry spun a web over the city that went as far as the Mire.
Then they all slumped, exhausted, into their seats.
Maybe it's time to wake up the Housekeeper. Briar said wearily. I'm starved.
It was two days later that they found what they were looking for. The image was carried to Tris on the wind minutes after Sandry felt the catch in her web. A man struggled with what looked like a street boy. As they fought, the man's sleeve burst into flames, and the boy staggered and then tried to escape. He only made it a few feet before another man emerged from the shadows and knocked him unconscious with a swift blow to the back of the head. The boy slumped, the first man put out his arm, then the second threw the boy over his shoulder and all three took off into the night.
Sandry had been eating dinner at Daja's house, so all of them were able to race out together instantly with Chime flying above them. She kept her threads around them as they quickly saddled horses and took off. Suddenly, the presence of the men and the boy vanished. They went to the last spot that they had felt it and found themselves in the middle of a street full of inns, restaurants, and shops. They dismounted and stood, probing around them with their power as Daja urged Chime to hide in her bag to prevent drawing attention from the people on the street.
It was Tris who noticed it. Off to the side, an old, rundown building that was probably a restaurant once and now looked like a place that would attract squatters. When she tried to examine it, her power seemed to slide off, making it almost impossible to tell that it was there even when she tried to send her breezes straight at it. If she had not been so focused, they would have likely missed it all together.
What is this? Tris asked, stunned. I've never felt magic like this before.
What matters is, Can we break it? Briar responded.
It took less power than the Namorese wall, but it took them longer to get through. It was at least an hour before Sandry was able to get a grip on a loose thread, and it took another hour for them to take it apart. Concentrating was made more difficult by people giving them strange looks, and at one point they had to stop to ward off a drunk, middle-aged man that tried to flirt with Sandry. Finally, they took down the barrier and cautiously went inside.
At first it seemed empty, but Briar discovered a trap door by sending a quick pulse through the floorboards and walls. He walked over and pried it open as quietly as he could. They all crowded around to stare at the twisting staircase underneath.
It's dark, damp, ominous, and the steps are probably rotting. What are we waiting for? Tris asked sarcastically.
They cast their power downward, and their eyes popped open in surprise. There was an enormous hollow area under them, with humans and…something else.
They entered the staircase one at a time. Sandry grabbed Daja's sleeve and held on tightly in the darkness, but she was able to keep herself under control. They could hear people moving around below them, and muffled sobbing.
Then a step creaked loudly under Tris's foot. All four of them froze. So did the people that they could hear.
Sandry quickly reached out with her power to find any adult-sized clothing. Finding five sets, she unwove them and had them bind their wearers. They rushed down the steps with Briar in the lead. At the bottom, he froze.
Through his eyes, his sisters were able to get a good look at the scene. There were five cages around the room, each packed with about ten children. The children were in varying conditions. The men Sandry had bound were lying on the ground around a table. The room itself must have spread underneath several of the surrounding buildings, and in the center of the room was a pattern of the kind of runes that Niko had always warned them to stay away from. Tris traced the flow of the magic into them from.
The cages. They're draining power from the kids.
Upon seeing them, many of the children had started screaming. Others were begging to go home, and a few were just staring at them with chillingly vacant eyes. Two were lying on the ground and didn't seem to be moving. Daja rusted through the bars and they began to scramble out, many sprinting for the steps.
Briar went over to the boys that wasn't moving and briefly examined them. One was the boy that they had just been taken. He was just unconscious. Then he turned to the second boy. After a moment, he grimly shook his head.
Sandry's hands went up to her mouth
Tris was crouched down to look at the array, trying to determine the purpose. The power is being stored here, but I'm not sure what it is doing. She looked over at the bound, struggling men. Should we see if we can get some answers from–
It was then that she felt it. There was a hard yank from somewhere inside her, and the runes began sucking in her magic. She tried to break out amid her siblings' cries of alarm, but she couldn't even move.
Her vision was starting to go black. She knew that the spell would not stop until she was dead.
The others came to the realization at the same time that Tris did. they shoved all of the power that they could into her, trying desperately to fill the spell's hunger and keep her alive. Their vision was darkening as well, and all they knew was the sense of being compressed and swept away while Chime screeched somewhere above them...
# 12, Grimmauld Place
He, Hermione, Sirius, and about half of the house's Weasley population were attempting to clean out what used to be a sitting room, and the dust was getting to him. Ron and Hermione were trying to pull down a set of curtains that proudly displayed the Slytherin crest, Sirius and the twins were working on the contents of the table's drawers, and Harry was on Doxy-duty.
Mrs. Weasely came into the room, followed by Ginny and carrying a tray with sandwiches.
"Making much progress?" she inquired as she set down the tray.
"A bit" Ron grunted, still tugging at the curtain "But this thing must be spelled..."
Fred looked up. "Allow us, baby brother." The twins had been taking every opportunity that they could to use magic since they had come of age, and they seized onto that one. They waved their wands and brought one of the curtains crashing down on Hermione's head. They turned towards the other curtain.
"STOP RIGHT THERE!" their mother bellowed as they prepared to cast. "YOU CAN'T JUST–"
Whatever Mrs. Weasely was about to say next was lost, because just as the spells shot from the ends of her sons' wands there was a blinding light and a deafening crack.
By the time that they had regained their senses, the rest of the order that was there had come running with their wands drawn, including Lupin, Tonks, the rest of the Weasely's, and even Snape. Ready for a battle, they instead found themselves staring at what had materialized in the room.
Lying on the floor were four children that Harry guessed to be about the ages of Hogwarts first or second years. All of them were dressed in clothing that looked several sizes too big for them. One of the three girls had very short hair that was red enough for her to pass as a Weasely. Another girl, with very dark skin, had what looked like a brass, fingerless glove encasing her palm. They were unconscious.
There were a couple minutes of dead silence. Then...
"WHAT HAVE YOU TWO DONE?" screamed Mrs. Weasely at Fred and George.
That's right, I de-aged them (temporarily, don't worry).
What happened? Will they have their memories? How will the order react? Why am I asking questions like this?
Next chapter (if anyone is interested in the story): some of the impact in both worlds, and a look into what happened.