Return of Deathless Hero
This is a continuation to a story that I never got to publish because of a hard drive crash. I decided to screw the rewriting the whole thing and start the story where I left off, incorporating flashbacks, references, and hints.
Although I made many key alterations to the game's storyline, this is still an Oblivion: The Elder Scrolls crossover story. I wanted the father figure of the story to be the Archmage of the Arcane University, but at the same time I needed to have Gerrard go on many of the side quests that intersect with the Champion of Cyrodiil. My solution was make the Champion, not some random chump from prison, but the Archmage, Archmage Arkland (Hannibal Traven never got the job and he's still Anvil). Now I was able to have Gerrard arrive in the middle of the main quest (He needed to for a very tragic reason), as the Oblivion gates started opening and have Gerrard go thorough the mage's quest storyline in addition to many others.
In addition, the mod, "Midas Magic," plays a key role in both the abilities of Gerrard and a crucial moment of his life. Aside from that, I just took the sandbox aspect of Oblivion and ran with it, giving him his version a "Golden Trio," putting him on a journey of self-discovery, having him experience romance & love, etc.
I also allude to many different games, myths, and other stories, but I don't think I'll include them in-depth in any sort of way. I'm certainly not going to turn this into a convoluted mega-crossover with all the main characters getting together for a picnic. The main point of those allusions is simply having them exist. Their existence alone keeps everyone in a struggle for power, so that even if one story ends and someone believes they're at the top, there's always going have a peer keeping them from arrogantly sitting at the pinnacle. Actually, just by having "Magic the Gathering" being part of the story means that every single king sits with the Sword of Damocles above their heads.
Chapter 1: Out of the Veil
Gerrard stepped out of the veil, fully expecting to cast a quick chameleon illusion over himself and quietly sneak out through the path Croaker had shown him, but instead found himself catching a very much unconscious and tumbling Sirius Black. "What? This oaf again?" thought Gerrard to himself, before catching on to the battle occurring around him. He noted they were once again Death Eaters, some he recognized as Bellatrix, Nott, the twin lumbering louts, and Malfoy and many others he didn't, covered by masks (This version has Voldemort bringing a bit more canon fodder with him on his attack, thus delaying Dumledore in another room and letting only the other Order members help Harry first.). The other side seemed to be aurors or perhaps the tenacious old fool's Order, which included to his exasperated surprise his brother, James Jr. Potter. Much to his misfortune, Gerrard found that all eyes were suddenly on him. Some carried curiosity behind them, others cautious study, and strangely his arrogant brothers had a look of relief. But the sudden realization that he had just saved Sirius from what they probably presumed was his demise made him see why.
Like the quiet before the storm and pandemonium erupted as someone shouted, "GET HIM!" Who the "him" was exactly was something he direly hoped was one of the many other combatants scattered about the room. But in any case there was spell fire was directed towards him and he acrobatically leapt atop the sides of the veil, hastily cast a Midas Smokescreen, and darted under cover to the columns by the exit way. Not wasting time he blasted a Midas Fireworks into the far corner of the chamber, drawing the attention of most and followed with a Plasma Stream on a line of three nameless Death Eaters. Losing the element of stealth, he moved into the fray in earnest. Summoning a twirling Goldbrand around his person to protect against any fools daring enough to move in close, Gerrard danced through many different colored beams of light that he began to notice were coming from the aurors as much as the Death Eaters. He used grim shocking touch, one of his signature spells, paralyzing another two Death Eaters and three auror types that were attacking him and leaving them in shocking, convulsing agony for a few moments.
Just like the last time they met at the Temple of Frozen Souls, Nott had recklessly charged into him hoping to fire off a point blank Avada Kedavra, but instead of the blood draining wires from the floating masks, Goldbrand cleaved into his arm, causing his entire body to burst into flame. If having the entire Order appear and turning the tide wasn't bad enough, Lucious was shocked to see one of the Inner Circle, the most experienced of the Dark Lord's duelists, turned to ash from just a mere nick by that nasty blade. "REGROUP!" he barked out anxiously.
Regardless of Dumbledore's foolhardy optimistic ramblings, Lucious knew aurors weren't above killing. However, they had done it with the normal repertoire of Bombardas and Incendios. This new foe had a vicious streak. Although he wasn't killing the Order's, his spells were if not dark still equally murderous. And that blade ... "What were the Unspeakables hiding here!" roared Lucious in his mind. Looking around again and finding Death Eaters still caught in duels he shouted more loudly, "RETREAT!" and turned towards the hallway with more Death Eaters in tow this time.
Nymphadora Tonks was kneeling over a convulsing scarred old man, quickly casting dispels, healing charms, and stuffing potions down his throat. "Damn it Moody! Get a hold of yer' self!" Tonks was wracked with confusion over the state of the battle. Who was that boy? Did he really just come out of the blasted Veil of Death! Things went INTO the veil, not came out! And those spells! He didn't say a word. He wasn't even using a wand! For Mad-Eye Moody to go down with just a touch was almost unthinkable. He certainly didn't seem to be a Death Eater if the line of corpses was any indication, but looking back at fellow wounded Order members being levitated to the defended sections he obviously wasn't a friend neither. However, she supposed things could have been worse, since the Death Eaters were being forced into a retreat. She needed to contact Dumbledore. Seeing that Moody has stabilized and was coming to, she back to the entry point they blasted through into the execution room. He was only a few rooms over dealing with the werewolves they encountered.
Harry Potter had ran to his downed godfather in the beginning of the fray and dragged him out into the hallway. A quick Enervate had brought him back into his senses and the two stumbled off into the corner of the antechamber to the execution room. "W- Wha- What happened?" mumbled a still dazed Sirius. "You got smacked in the face with a stunner. That's what happened. You're lucky that Bellatrix didn't have the energy to throw out anything stronger. You're lucky that you didn't fall into the wizard's guillotine! What were you thinking taunting in the middle of a duel! Didn't you - "
"Okay, okay. That's enough. I was being an idiot. What caught me anyway?" asked Sirius in a curious tone. "I could have sworn I was less then a foot away from that thing. Wanted to bait the insane bint into casting something big, so she'd leave an opening, ya see."
Harry began "It was –" but stopped when he realized what he saw. "Someone – a boy came out of the veil."
"What! Harry. That was the Veil of Death. People don't come OUT of the Veil of Death."
"I know, but I know what I saw! Bellatrix hit you with a Stupefy, you tumbled back and he came out and caught you. It was a boy; he looked my age, with white robes, a red cloak and some kind of ornate hood. Oh! And he had a staff! He had a staff slung on his back!"
Sirius was taking in what he was hearing and asked "What happened after I was knocked out?"
Harry replied, "I dragged your arse out of there. But the dueling started up again and I think the crazy bastard started shooting lightning or something at everyone. M'not sure. Kinda had to get you out of there first, before - "
The doors to the hallway slammed open and a very fatigued and frazzled Lucious Malfoy ran out with about a dozen equally frustrated Death Eaters behind him. Malfoy turned his gaze to Potter and thought, "What luck! The foolish boy separated himself from his saviors. If I can still get the damned prophecy maybe the Lord won't punish us for this damn fiasco." His men were still providing cover fire to keep the order at bay so he had to act with haste. Turning his wand on the kneeling child and the injured Black, Lucious barked out, "POTTER! Just surrender and give us the prophecy now!"
"Otherwise I'm afraid you'll no longer have the luxury of our hospitality." cackled Bellatrix in a sing-song voice.
Much to the Death Eater's annoyance, Potter began laughing. "It's gone."
"What do you mean it's GONE!" Malfoy blasted out, mind already wandering on the grisly punishment the Dark Lord would dispense if this was true.
"It's gone. Smashed. Demolished. Kaput. Gone." retorted Harry with mirth in his voice. "And what do you think Voldemort'll say about that, then?"
"LIAR!" Bellatrix shrieked. "YOU'VE GOT IT, POTTER, AND YOU WILL GIVE IT TO ME – Accio Prophecy! ACCIO PROPHECY!"
As the realization she had truly failed sunk in, Bellatrix began to screech and flail violently, throwing a couple not well aimed Avada Kedavras at Sirius and Harry as well. Naturally Sirius and Harry quickly darted behind a column and desk to avoid the incoming spell fire. "Your mongrel of a master isn't going to pleased with you, is he cousin dearest? HA!" taunted Sirius once again, as he readied his wand to finish.
"NO~ I TRIED! MASTER I TRIED! DO NOT PUNISHMENT YOUR HUMBLE SERVANT!" she uttered in a pleading scream.
"You're just wasting your breath!" yelled out Harry. "He can't hear you from here."
"Can't I Pott – " a high cold voice tried to say from the entrance of the antechamber. But before the sentence could be completed a white robed man had shot through Lucious and the remaining Death Eaters, launching them towards the entranceway with obvious magical force (Midas Force Charge) and forcing Voldemort to dodge.
Gerrard had leveled himself again after casting that spell to clear the hall, but was unpleasantly surprised to once again see Voldemort. Hunching over slightly and rubbing his eyes and fringe rapidly in a frustrated manner, he began to splutter out a string of expletives. "OBLIVION TAKE YOU! It's just as well isn't it? I finally get the wretched old man to stop dogging my tail only to immediately run into his Order of Misfits and your incompetents again. So why not have you appear again as well? Tell me Tom, do you enjoy dying? Wasn't feeding you to the dragons at the Edeilion's Mountain enough? Wasn't having your soul frozen into the Rime ice of the Farthest North enough for a sadistic maniac like you? I guess I'll make sure to hand deliver that mongrel scrap you call your soul to the Flesh Spires myself when I leave this damnable realm! Well? What are you waiting for? COME!"
Voldemort observed his interrupter with a dark manic glare, drinking in all the knowledge he could gleam from his appearance and entry. Much to Tom's surprise, the whelp looked at him with eyes that contained neither fear nor even defiance, but of contempt and irritation, an act that equally irked his annoyance. Tom listened with cold seething and thought, "Oblivion? The old man is most likely Dumbledore, so he's no ally of the Order. Again? A peon I've destroyed before, perhaps?"
However, it was his rant that truly began to raise his hackles. Talk of death and souls naturally drew him to thoughts of Horcruxes, but when this mere boy dared to talk his death! He had but one single defeat to that sniveling barking boy by his mutt of godfather cowering behind the desk. Voldemort began to grind his teeth in rage, but beads of sweat began to come off his bald head. "Could my Horcruxes have activated and been defeated? No. Surely he would have felt something as tumultuous as having a piece of his soul destroyed, regardless of distance. Surely he would never lose to a mere boy! Nevertheless he would have to chec - " thought Voldemort, before his thinkings were interrupted once again by the whelp's loud cry.
"I would command you to name yourself, but it matters not. You'll soon be another insect treaded upon by the DARK LORD!" haughtily yelled Voldemort, wand waving at fantastic speeds and spells following suit.
Deftly dodging the green and blue streams of light and blazing forward, Gerrard condescendingly yelled out, "Still uttering the same nonsense!" eliciting a snarl from the pale snake-faced man. Gerrard unleashed an Immolating Blast followed with a summoned white tiger. The tiger stood still for less than a second before it unleashed its full ferocity and it went pouncing towards Voldemort.
Voldemort easily side stepped the fiery blast, but his eyes widened at the sudden appearance of the crashing white beast and was mauled into the air a half moment too quick, wand at the ready but spell still at the lips. Launched into the crowd of Death Eaters, who were too frightened to intrude into their master's duel, now all prepared themselves to launch a coordinated attack. A cascade of spells followed, all aimed at the sprinting youth.
Gerrard summoned a Stone Wall, preventing the spell fire from reaching him, but the white tiger was hit with a killing curse and evaporated back into the æther. The wall was quickly being chipped away. Voldemort was quickly recovering the slashing throw he had just received and was certainly preparing some kind of large spell. In this predicament, Gerrard would have liked nothing more than cast something extravagant, like Fingers of the Mountain or even Nuclear Blast, but with his brother and Sirius cowering in the corner little of the sort could be done without bringing them harm. Summoning two Beholdens for cover fire, he fortified his acrobatics and leapt up onto the ornate railings on the wall to take whatever potshots he could before the Order came up behind him and escaping would be truly difficult. The appearance of the two fearsome five eyed beasts stunned some of the Death Eaters enough to belay their notice of his new position and thus were the first ones to succumb to rapid castings of Chain Lightning.
The bolts of shock came like a rain of spears and charred many of the remaining the combatants on the Dark Lord's side, magical bolts jumping from Death Eater to Death Eater like an electrical circuit. The old wizard statues and pots around them had actually cracked and fallen apart from the force of the shocks. However, they were not yet all felled and those that could released stream after stream of green lights towards the rafter-like structure Gerrard was on. The Beholdens released blasts of fire, shock, and frost from their three eyes, dividing the Death Eater's attention and keeping their aim from becoming true. Voldemort was also troubled by the wave of tetra elemental blasts coming from the beasts and waved his wand in an eloquent, yet frantic manner, transfiguring the eye-beasts into snakes and with a hiss caused them to disappear from sight.
Losing his cover, Gerrard was no longer able to hold his position against the numbers and dropped down dodging with pure agility. However, ironically the tiring Death Eaters were giving Gerrard more trouble than the ones still throwing Avada Kedavra, as the different variety of dark arts swirled and whiz through the air at erratic speeds, Gerrard weaving adroitly past some and dispelling some of the obviously weaker ones.
Voldemort prepared a stronger spell and shouted "Singularis Nox" in a cold, yet intensely infuriated voice, as he dove forward to let his minions take the brunt of the shock and unleash his spell at the same time. A dark, slow moving sphere of pulsating darkness inched towards the youth, but experience taught him that rather than trying to dodge or block this particular spell it was better to use Midas Tractor Beam.
A large blue black beam shot out of Gerrard's hands and pulled Voldemort along with Crabbe and another unnamed Death Eater towards Dark Lord's own spell. Voldemort had nimbly maneuvered himself behind his minions and was about to apparate away, but not before caught in the shockwave of the dark magic's detonation, which left the two unfortunate followers a bloody black mess, and soaking in magical damage to his organs himself. Voldemort finally gave the signal to fall back, his wounds manifesting themselves on his reptilian-like face. Gerrard merely looked on derisively, not even giving Voldemort the satisfaction of thinking he felt any sense of achievement for defeating him.
In a pain slurred voice, Voldemort spat out "You way pay for this!" and left with a final hate-filled glare so venomous that had he not experienced it thrice before he might have shivered.
Pops of apparating Death Eaters, whirls of emergency portkeys, and some plain old runners was the sight the Order was treated to as they made their way into the antechamber. Gerrard leapt for the doorway hoping to escape any questions that might arise from his presence, but instead bumped into the last person he wanted to see again after Voldemort, Albus Dumbledore and was forced to retreat back.
"My apologies my boy," said Dumbledore in response to the apparent start he'd given, "but I believe that this encounter will allow us the good fortune to speak on matters that are most pressing." However, Gerrard merely furled his brow, having been exposed to Dumbledore's round about way of speech more than enough. "Allow me to introduce myself. I'm –"
"Wulfric" stated Gerrard tonelessly and meeting Dumbledore's eyes.
Dumbledore raised an eyebrow at the use of his middle name. He knew that the meaning of each of his names well. He was called Percival in honor of a possible lineage but more so for the meaning of honor it held in relation to his namesake. He was named Brian for its meaning of "highborn" and thus elevating the status of the Dumbledore family name. And the name Wulfric, symbolized power, wealth and aggression. "That this youth would choose to call me by that name…" Dumbledore pondered curiously.
"Yes, that is one of the many names I've been called." said Dumbledore as he entered the antechamber.
"PROFESSOR DUMBLEDORE!" shouted Harry across to the commanding old man as he leapt up from behind the nearly completely splintered desk.
Smiling, he responded, "Hello Harry. I'm glad to see you are unharmed. And you as well, Sirius. Remus was quite worried when you and Harry disappeared from the main chamber. Perhaps you could reassure him of your health."
"Harry?" said Gerrard inquisitively. Everyone once again turned their eyes on the mysterious wizard. "Not James? Harry?"
Harry nodded and said, "Um… Yeah. It's Harry. My name I mean."
Resisting the urge to immediately throw the hair growing jinx he perfected in his most early years, Gerrard palmed his face and chuckled a melancholic chuckle, "So they named you Hairy James Potter here, after all." Stares came from around the room as the tension began to mount alongside the steadily increasing questions each person had.
Dumbledore interjected, "All is well, but I do believe that our guest would like to move calmer areas so we may speak without the prying gazes of our new audience." Indeed the minister had arrived with Percy Weasley, various night staff from the departments, and several aurors. Seeing the many fallen Death Eaters Fudge stammered out, "Wh – wha – wha – YOU! I'll have… HOW! "
"Well you're half right Wulfric." said Gerrard preparing to cast the Midas Astral Recall spell. However, this was his large mistake of the day. Because he was now in another universe, all the astral markers were reset, but worse yet was that the intent of his motion was not lost on Dumbledore, who promptly sent an elder wand powered Petrificus Totalus at the same moment and catching the frustrated youth off guard. Eyes widening at his incredible carelessness, his last act was mouthing "Damn you Wulfric!" Dumbledore motioned to Tonks to take the boy and use the Order's special portkeys and exit the Ministry, as he turned to address the Minister.
"I DEMAND that you tell me what has happened DUMBLEDORE!" yelled Fudge. "And you two!" shouted Fudge to Aurors Willamson and Dawlish. "What are you waiting for! Seize him!"
However, Dumbledore merely stared intensely at the two aurors by Fudge's side, causing them to halt their half-step. "As you have seen with your own eyes, Voldemort has just attacked the Ministry and fled through the same threshold you've entered." summarized Dumbledore. "It is now time you've stopped this nonsense and listened to reason."
"Now see here, Dumbledore!" spluttered Fudge, "I'm still the minister and – "
Dumbledore moved his stare onto Fudge and he suddenly very much felt the austerity the head of the Wizengamot could level against defendants. It was if he were being scrutinized by the judge at his trial. "You will return to your office, Cornelius and await my arrival and the recount of tonight's events." Dumbledore asserted with a tone that left no room for disagreement. Turning to bedraggled scar headed boy, "Harry, you may leave with Sirius and return to Hogwarts."
"Ha – Harry Potter! Here! And BLACK! Aurors! Arrest –" Fudge tried to finish his order, but his jaw suddenly clamped shut when another glance was given by Dumbledore.
"You will order Dolores Umbridge to return to the ministry and all your men to stop searching for my groundskeeper. I will give you … half an hour of my time and you will begin to undo the mess you've created Cornelius."
Fudge stared at the ground and knew that he was done. Everything he'd done the past year was about to come crashing down on him like a ramshackle roof.
Sirius was delivered to Madam Pomfrey and much to his protest was speedily imprisoned on a hospital bed. Luna, Neville, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny were also brought to the hospital wing for examination, but Harry, much more interested in the youth that had more than likely saved his and Sirius' life, spirited away under his invisibility cloak. He was under no illusion that he actually knew where Tonks had actually taken the youth, but his five year tenure at Hogwarts left him with more than an idea. He had half an hour before he had to search and ponder before Dumbledore would return and he'd demand answers about the prophecy from him.
Harry thought back to the unknown boy, who'd belittled Voldemort as if the Dark Lord were still a second year student at Hogwarts. He thought back to the boy, who single-handedly beat back the most dangerous wizard in Britain and a dozen of his cohorts. Wandering the halls Harry moved through the passage behind the painting of the noble woman in the peach ballroom dress to ascend to the fifth floor. "I'm sure of it," thought Harry deeply. "When he stared at me in the execution room, he recognized me." Thinking back to the disdainful look he had received, Harry furled his brow. "And again when Dumbledore came. He asked 'Harry? Not James?' Did he think I was my father? No. He said 'So they named him…' Maybe he knew my parents."
Harry hopped past the trick step on the stairs, grabbed the railing and turned to the seventh floor. "Just what happened in the Ministry today? A trick vision by Voldemort and fighting off swarms of Death Eaters. We should all thank our lucky stars that Voldemort brought so many green amateurs with him. They probably caused Malfoy and his lot of wankers more trouble than doing any actual damage. He remembered that downed Unspeakable explaining how only he or Voldemort could retrieve the prophecy just before the Death Eaters stormed in and chased them further down the chambers.
Thinking back to the chase, he could only shake his head at how stupid he was for falling for Voldemort's trap. It was so obvious that Sirius couldn't have been at the department of mysteries, but because he couldn't see that Ron was almost choked to death, Hermione was just a hair breath away from taking the killing curse, and poor Neville was forced to take a Crucio from that wretched slag Bellatrix Lestrange.
Harry finally reached the portrait of Barnabas, and paced before it, thinking "I want to find the boy Dumbledore had brought into the castle. I want to find the boy Dumbledore had brought into the castle." He'd use the Room of Requirement to create something to find him. The tapestry slowly faded away and in its place a large wooden appeared. Harry opened it without reservation and found a large empty room with long etches of glowing runes sporadically lining the perimeter, crisscrossing in a manner that he imagined Hermione would barely understand. He stepped in and suddenly found a fountain rise up in the middle of the room. Harry thought it kind of looked like a bird bath when he moved to look closer, but saw the words "scrying pool" etched in ornate letters on the sides. Peering into the water he saw Tonks and the boy somewhere in the dungeons.
"If you don't stop struggling about like that I'm going to stun you!" shouted out Tonks irritably. Gerrard was flexing his magical might in pulses, pulling his arms free from his sides for a moment before the jinx snapped them back together again. Once again Dumbledore's might combined with the Elder Wand proved if not formidable then at least cumbersome. "I mean it!" she said, giving up trying to wrestle him onto the chair of the potion's classroom and whipping out her slender wand. Gerrard merely stopped and glared.
"And what pray tell gives you of all people, Nymphadora, to hold me in what I assume Wulfric's dungeon?" Gerrard asked in a tone of exasperation.
"Oi! It's Auror Tonks to you mister and don't you forget it or I'll hex twice as hard." Tonks replied, kneeling down and poking him on the nose to get her point across. "And this is a dungeon, but it's Hogwart's dungeon. Not a dungeon-dungeon."
"Hmph. Hogwarts. Hogwarts in its entirety is a prison. And your dear Headmaster is its warden."
"What? You a bit barmy in the head or somethin'? Asked Tonks, now poking him in the head.
"Alright, you can quit that any time now miss Tonks." Said Gerrard, struggling to shake his head away from her finger but only managing to splatter out a sneeze. "And I'm certainly not the first person that Wulfric has tried to 'enroll' into his prison. Prisoners, students, specimens; It doesn't matter to him. Here he holds everyone like a piece on a chessboard and the pieces he doesn't control are merely maneuvered and used in his little delusional game. Well… at least that's the Wulfric I remember, but I don't imagine your glorious leader is any different."
"Just how do you know Dumbledore anyway? Nobody calls him Wulfric. And how do you know me for that matter! I might not remember every face in and out of Hogwarts but I know I'd remember someone who can shoot lightning from his hands!"
"I think you already have an inkling about what kind of person I'm. You did see me step out of the veil with your own eyes. AND I'M CERTAIN YOU ALREADY GUESSED! HAVEN'T YOU WULFRIC? After all, the Unspeakables did use your notes to help me activate the artifact." Gerrard suddenly shouted out to the doorway.
Harry was surprised by the sudden appearance of Dumbledore and looked at his timepiece. "It's been half an hour already" thought Harry. "I guess he expected to meet up with me later in the hospital w—"
Harry jumped up with a start and turned around to find a disheveled looking Hermione and Ron with his arm in a sling entering the room.
"Hermione. How'd you know I was here?"
"We couldn't find you hospital wing when Ron came to, so we looked at the map and found you going up to the seventh floor. Naturally this would be the only room you'd been in up here. What are you doing?" explained Hermione as astutely as ever.
"If Sirius didn't tell us he brought you back himself, everyone would've been mad with worry! What's that?" shouted Ron.
"It's some kind of surveillance thing. Just look. It's that boy and Dumbledore."
Curious as they've ever been, the Golden Trio looked into the scrying pool to continue eavesdropping on the conversation.
Disillusionment charm melting away, a serenely smiling Albus Dumbledore appeared. "I'm afraid circumstances called for certain measures to ensure the safety of my would-be captors at the ministry. My humble apologies for intruding on yours and Miss Tonk's conversation."
"Spare me the trite stories, Wulfric. I've dealt with you more than enough to know there are no happy coincidences with you."
"I do not believe I know what instances you are alluding to but this is indeed merely a 'happy coincidence.'" Said Dumbledore, still smiling and with a bit of twinkle returning to his eye. "But it seems you've no trouble seeing through my disillusion, so I imagine no harm done."
"What do you want Wulfric?" stated Gerrard firmly. "Don't bother with games. You wouldn't have brought me here if you didn't want something? You obviously have your boy-hero, so what is it!" he finished, nearly shouting.
Never one to tip his hand, Dumbledore replied, "I merely moved you from an awkward position Mister… I'm afraid you have me at a disadvantage Mister –"
Still scowling, Gerrard spoke loudly, "Barrinalo. Gerrard Barrinalo."
Nodding, Dumbledore continued, "Mr. Barrinalo. I was merely moving you from an awkward position, which may have lead to an uncomfortable inquisition on your person."
Gerrard snorted in response. "Yes. And I'm certain your choosing the exact moment of my failed escape to cast your spell was merely an accident."
"Merely another coincidence, Mr. Barrinalo, merely another coincidence." replied Dumbledore almost tauntingly. "What more, it would have been most unfortunate for your unique talents to fall prey to Voldemort or by the extension of his spies in the ministry."
"And there it is. The caveat. I thought that with the Chosen One under your control you wouldn't need anymore power. After all, he is 'the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord.' What's the matter? The Supreme Mugwump's apprentice not meeting your expectations? Did he need to be rescued again?" spat out Gerrard in a biting sing-song tone. "I'm sure James is sooo~ disappointed."
Dumbledore needed to soak in and consider what was being said. This child obviously had knowledge of things an ordinary wizard should not have known. Then again, he was no mere boy was he? He wasn't able to watch the battle in its entirety, but there was far more skill in that youth than should have been possible. He knew of prophecy or at the very least, the portion which Voldemort had learned of. And naturally he knows that I desire his aid in subduing Voldemort's uprising. But he believes that Harry is his apprentice or has received training from him, a decision he never consented because of the pseudo Horcrux imbedded in Harry's cursed scar. Finally and what may be most curious he believes that James Potter is still alive, which all but confirmed his suspicion.
"James Potter has passed on." stated Dumbledore matter-of-factly.
At that Gerrard cocked an eyebrow. He felt his arms and legs free of the jinx, something that wouldn't really have contained him if he chose to be more destructive or reveal his hidden dispel potions to Tonks. Pressing on the floor with one arm and swinging the other around a suddenly surprised Tonks he began to rise and sit up. Tonks *eeped* and moved to stun him but Dumbledore lifted his hand and signaled for her to stop.
"How did the old lunkhead die?" asked Gerrard with just the barest hint of pity.
"He was murdered by Voldemort along with his the late Mrs. Potter fifteen years ago."
To Dumbledore's mild surprise Gerrard laughed, albeit a mirthless chuckle. "Tell me. Is Hairy an only child?"
"Yes. The entire Potter family has passed on except for young Harry." Dumbledore replied morosely. "Are you related in some way to the Potters?"
Gerrard stared at Dumbledore but his gaze seemed to look beyond him. "No. No I'm not." He had no doubt that the old coot had more than enough information to correctly guess who he was, but just like the last time, it would be absolutely impossible for him to guess what he became. This Dumbledore had taken the opportunity, just like the last Dumbledore, to apply passive legilimency when their gazes met, but indeed just like last time, Archmage Arkland's protections activated.
Dumbledore saw nothing, merely hearing a random song from the Historians' conduits. The Historians the Archmage discovered were beings that existed not in form but in a passive presence within random individuals scattered across existence, individuals that do nothing more than record true history of all that ever was, all that is, all that ever will be and beyond to all that ever can be. Although they do not play a role in this story, the Archmage had patched Gerrard's weakness to the school of illusion magic back in the Arcane University by testing an ingenious new form of shielding.
Instead of committing the mage's energies and mental strength to forming a shield around the mind, one would instead use the intruding magical energies to open a channel, a channel to the ever flowing conduits of true history. As the bards have discovered, each moment in time is accompanied with a kind of background song, and this shielding redirects all illusion magic to the Historians' recording of those moments.
Dumbledore was befuddled. It was a hymn (The Hymn of Fayth). As the songs themselves had absolutely nothing to do with Gerrard, aside from his emotional state of mind Dumbledore was left pondering the deep impassioned melody at a lost.
"Wha- what is this?" thought Dumbledore, entranced, a single tear leaving a trail down his cheek when suddenly Severus Snape haughtily burst into his classroom. Hands at his sides, with his gaudy black robe billowing behind him as he strode to Dumbledore's side, Snape observed the tense situation before uttering, "Dumbledore?"
Snapping out of his reverie, Dumbledore turned to give Snape a brief glace before reaffixing his stare onto Gerrard, but no longer attempting to intrude.
"You never change, Wulfric. You won't get what you want that way, so for once why don't you just drop the facades and just choose the direct approach. I'm sure there are more burning questions in your ancient wrinkly head begging for answers that you'll never weasel out with your roundabout speechcraft."
In an almost pout, Dumbledore replied, "Very well. You exited the Veil of Death, a feat never before documented in all of known wizarding history. You displayed powers far beyond what your youthful appearance relays, powers capable of fending away the greatest threat to wizarding society in the last half century, powers you've also shown willing to use to take lives." Gerrard would have argued he only slew those who sought to slay and likewise only wounded those who sought to wound, but knew better than to interrupt Wulfric in the middle of one of his great rants. "Most direly of all, you've proven to have knowledge of utmost secrets, secrets that may turn tide of this oncoming war. The question of for which party is the reason I have kept you in my humble abode on this evening."
Gerrard continued scowling at Dumbledore, knowing he meant to trap him in a game of words. If he gave him an inch he would take a mile and force him into fighting the Wizard's war. And claming neutrality would only restart the interrogations.
Sitting on her stool behind Gerrard, Tonks looked on anxiously at Dumbledore and Snape, who were both wearing a serious and stern expression. Tonks had been in enough tense situations that she knew this was quickly going to degenerate into a god awful mess soon if someone didn't do something. In a timid breath, Tonks said, "He didn't hurt anyone in the Order or Auror forces though. At least not mortally any way. I think old Mad-Eye got the worst shock when his constant vigilance kicked in, heh heh he…" but stopped as the occupants of the room leveled their eyes on her.
Dumbledore broke the silence and turned to Gerrard. "Ms. Tonk's has shown to be a good judge of character in the past. Perhaps you will put aside whatever remiss this old man has failed in and allow us to continue our discussion in more a more civilized manner? The lives of many are at stake and tonight events garner much scrutiny."
Gerrard shifted himself upright, still tired from the battle he was just put through and even more so from the drain the veil had taken on both his magic and stamina. Tonks quickly rose to help steady the wobbling chair and Gerrard returned a grateful nod to her. Finally he replied to Dumbledore in a tired tone, "Prophecies can be broken Dumbledore." Dumbledore's eyes went wide at the presumption. "I've told this to your counterpart many times before. If not they can be bent and twisted until they're harmless or they can be put into ice and stone and delayed indefinitely. You live in a magical world Dumbledore; just find the right leverage and there's little you can't do."
"Alas, if it were so simple. Tom has most likely done things to ensure his survival beyond –"
"Bah! His makeshift phylacteries, you mean." Dumbledore had already guessed that Gerrard crossed dimensions, thus may very well have had accessed to any kind of information, but the shock of hearing such secrets uttered so freely still left him a little wide-eyed. Gerrard continued, "But listen more closely to what I say. He doesn't need to die and any assurances he has to survival is pointless if his defanged … if he is contained. You yourself have spoken the words have you not? 'There are far worst fates than death.'"
Dumbledore's countenance glazed over again, contemplating the depth of Gerrard's words. "You've given me much to ponder tonight, Mr. Barrinalo. But the night is no longer young. Would you like to retire to the Hospital wing? I'm sure everyone has endured much this evening and a spell of bed rest will be welcome by all."
Gerrard leveled his gaze back onto Dumbledore and for a brief moment onto Snape. "I still don't trust you Wulfric. Your counterpart was engrossed in his own foolishness and never took much needed council from wise men, who were at the very least his peers. But for tonight, I shall accept your hospitality."
Gerrard rose towards the door and stumbled a bit before Tonks moved to catch him, receiving another grateful nod. "C'mon, I'll show you the way up outta' here." Said Tonks.
Watching them exit the dungeon, Snape turned to Dumbledore and asked, "Are absolutely certain it's wise to allow him free trespass through the castle? He is capable of murder. You were witness to that much."
Tiredly Dumbledore replied, "No Severus, I cannot. But there is still too much at stake to let him wander free. In many ways, it is most likely safest to keep him here before we learn his true purpose. However, I ask you trust my judgment before attempting anything rash. We stand to gain a powerful ally or terrible enemy." Snape nodded plainly, unable to retort and knowing that too much prying into the information of either side may tip his balance as a spy. Snape would play double-agent, triple-agent, and whatever number need be. His loyalty since the day Lily died has been only to himself and his devices.
"What do you think Harry?" asked Ron. "Sounds like that bloke really did give You-Know-Who a thrashing."
"I know. I was there. But forget that for now. How are you and Hermione feeling? I know you ducked out in the corridor before we got chased downstairs."
Hermione replied, "We're fine Harry, after they lost sight of us, they were more focused on chasing you and the prophecy instead of looking for the stragglers."
"Speak for yourself." Ron interjected. "We got stuck in a room full of brain tentacle things. I still got the bruises, I do."
"Oh man up, Ron. We were more worried about you. Madam Pomfrey was having a fit when she found out you weren't there. You were hit by the CRUCIATUS CURSE Harry; you need rest, is what I want to say, but looking into that pool…"
Harry nodded. "I don't know what's going on, but that guy down there – that guy knows. From the sounds of things he knows more than Dumbledore! C'mon. Let's take the shortcut and cut them off at the Hospital Wing."
With little more to say, the trio left the room and rapidly descended down the trick slope by the Sphinx statue.