Disclaimers: This story is a Dungeons and Dragons/Harry Potter crossover, and primarily aimed at readers who are fans of both. That said, people only vaguely familiar with either Harry Potter or D&D will still likely get most of the enjoyment this story has to offer. For those who don't know much about either, reading a quick plot summary of Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone (say, on Wikipedia) and skimming the article on D&D will likely suffice. Anyone still confused can search d20srd (.org), a wonderful website with the entirety of the D&D 3.5 rules available for free. Players of AD&D, D&D 3.0, 4th edition, Pathfinder, and probably other RPGs will probably be just fine. You can check my Author's Page for a link to Milo's character sheet, more details, and a link to Semiautomagic, an RPG I'm working on, currently available as a free beta.
For D&D buffs: this fic uses a few minor house rules which I've played with so long I didn't even realize they weren't canon. We're using 3.0's XP system instead of 3.5's (XP divides a little differently) and Wizards are able to swap out their Scribe Scroll bonus feat at 1st level for alternate class features (in this case, Spontaneous Divination) as if they were the 5th, 10th, 15th, or 20th-level bonus feats. Also, magic items like Bags of Holding track only weight for carrying capacity, not volume. I rolled Milo's stats using the usual system (4d6, drop the lowest) and roll his hit dice every level, as well as most of the other dice in combats and things.
Anyways, on with the story! If you like it, review it!
Milo hit the ground—hard. There was a brief moment of silence before he heard the sound of chairs being slid back on a stone floor and people rising to their feet.
He wasn't alone.
Milo quickly glanced around, taking in the unfamiliar surroundings. He was in some sort of dining room, lying face-up on a hardwood table. The room was richly appointed, and Milo was keenly aware of their solid brass candlesticks, as one was currently poking him most uncomfortably in the lower back. Most notable, however, were the half-dozen figures sitting around him. They were evil—like, really, obviously evil. Black robes. Masks. Hells, there was even a chandelier.
It didn't take Milo long to realize he should be putting his Improved Initiative to good use. As the cultist—these guys had to be in some sort of cult—who was sitting at the head of the table reached up the sleeve of his robe for a wand, Milo unleashed sparkly arcane fury.
"Avada Kedavr—Aaaah!" the cultist was cut off.
"Glitterdust!" A cloud of blindingly bright, glowing golden particles exploded out of Milo's outspread hands, covering the cultists and their furniture. The cultists clutched at their masks, temporarily blinded by the spell. Milo paused, briefly stunned. He'd gotten all of them? Surely, as primary casters, they'd have a higher Will save than that... oh well, think later, escape first.
Taking advantage of their condition, Milo rolled off the table and made a dash for the window. Standard action to stand up, move action to hustle and jump... he figured he'd make it just in time. There was a surprisingly painful crash (note to self: never jump through glass again) and Milo found himself in freefall. The window, it seemed, was roughly seven storeys aboveground.
"Feather Fall," Milo muttered, slowing his descent. As his feet gently touched the ground, he took stock of his surroundings. He was standing in the grounds of a rural manor, in the middle of some carefully kept gardens. The only thing between him and freedom was a clear shot over flat ground with the occasional shrub and a low fence. As he began to run, the cultists, judging by the hail of magic, recovered from their temporary blindness. An unfamiliar sparkling green bolt of light struck a shrub next to Milo, causing it to rapidly turn brown and wither.
"Mirror Image," Milo cast, summoning a trio of identical illusory copies of himself. The four Milos bolted in different directions, splitting the cultist's fire between them. As Milo approached the edge of the manor grounds, he noticed some distinctly unfamiliar mountains in the distance. The sky, he noticed, was missing a pair of moons.
"Crap," Milo muttered. He must have gotten hit with a Plane Shift or Greater Teleport, which was improbable, because both of those were well beyond even the supremely dark power of the Fell Lord, Thamior the Thaumaturge...
One of the illusory Milo's was hit with one of those weird green spells, vanishing instantly. As another of his doubles went down, Milo hopped the fence and ducked behind it briefly. His next spell took a little longer to cast than the others had, but Milo hoped it would pay off.
"Mount," he said quietly after concentrating for a few seconds. Next to him appeared a grey pony, which, except for its eyes—which were glassy and lifeless—appeared all but indistinguishable from a natural one. Unlike the mirror images, the mount was real—depending on your definition of real, of course. It was real enough to get him the Hells out of here.
Milo awkwardly pulled himself into the saddle (he never was much of an equestrian, as Skill Points were few and far between for a Wizard) and kicked the summoned pony's rump with his heels. As he was catching his breath, thinking of how close his run-in was (if that spell could just kill a plant like that, imagine what it could do to him? Milo's Fortitude save was lower than a serf's daily wage) he heard a loud crack from his left. One of the cultists suddenly appeared, wand brandished threateningly.
"Glitterdust!" Milo cast again, burning his last 2nd-level spell. As before, the burst of golden light blinded the dark wizard. If another one shows up, I'll have to resort to harsh language...
"They can teleport?" Milo shrieked. "That's a 5th-level spell! This is way beyond my ECL! I call shenanigans. Shenanigans!" But nobody responded. Who he was even talking to was unclear, as there wasn't another soul—except for the blinded Death Eater—in sight. After several minutes of galloping, Milo decided to rein his pony in for a short break while he considered his options.
Now you may be wondering, "what the heck is going on?" And that's a perfectly valid question, but unfortunately, Milo is as confused as you are. Perhaps a brief description of our perplexed hero is in order. As far as Milo is concerned, the information written on his character sheet sufficed as description: True Neutral, Wizard 3, Human, Male, Age: 11, Weight: 71 lbs (his world runs on the imperial system, the poor barbarians), Height: 4'9'', Hair: brown, Eyes: brown. And you may be thinking, "eleven years old? That seems a little young to be a Wizard." And you're right. Most Wizards, from where Milo comes from (more on that later) are at least seventeen before they become even a level one Wizard. Milo, however, managed to pull a fast one involving starting life as a Rogue and doing some retraining. "But wait," you protest. "That jargon doesn't mean anything to me at all. And even if it did, the minimum starting age for a human Rogue is still 16." But unfortunately, you don't have time to worry about problems like that, because Milo is, in fact, being attacked by a Death Eater on a broomstick. See what happens when you nitpick?
"Avada Kedavra!" the evil flying cultist shouted, making weird gestures with his wand. Milo felt his pony suddenly go limp beneath him as its heart stopped. Milo collided with the ground for most of his remaining Hit Points (Milo dumped Constitution during character creation, which seemed like a really good idea at the time). Weakly, he staggered to his feet as the cultist came around for another pass.
"You know, there's a reason most Wizards prefer to use a Phantom Steed to a Broom of Flying," Milo muttered. "That reason is Grease!" he said, with a complicated hand gesture to accompany the last word. He cast the spell, not targeting the cultist but his broomstick, which became nearly frictionless. Without any sort of safety strap or foot petals, the broomstick continued accelerating while the cultist, unfortunately, did not. Before meeting the ground, the cultist vanished with another distinctive popping sound. Milo frowned. What kind of cultist can cast save-or-die spells multiple times, teleport, afford a Broom of Flying, and yet not manage a simple Feather Fall? Maybe they're some obscure non-core class? Milo thought. Well, time to loot the corpse. A Broom of Flying would make an excellent replacement for his ex-pony, which was already starting to fade out of existence now that the magic keeping its form together was gone.
As Milo searched for the broomstick, he let his mind wander again. The last thing he'd done before slamming into that table in the manor house was confront the Supremely Evil Fell Lord Thamior the Thaumaturge (try putting that on a business card) with his companions. Everything was going according to plan, then suddenly... table. Milo was sure Thamior hadn't had a chance to get a spell off, especially not one of this magnitude. Maybe something over here pulled him across? Why in the Prime Material would anyone want to summon Milo, of all things? Milo shuddered to think of what Thamior was doing to his party without his arcane support. It was probably going to be his job upon returning to raise funds for three Raise Deads, because a thief, a meatshield, and a glorified box of band-aids against Thamior's power spelled T-P-K.
Milo stumbled across the broomstick, which had flown into the ground, point-first. He confidently pulled the stick out of the dirt, straddled it, and leapt into the air. Nothing happened except that Milo looked rather foolish.
"Hmm, must be command-word activated, I suppose? Swordfish!" Nothing happened. "Melon! Rise! Up! Activate! Flight! Abra Kadabra!" Ten minutes later, with all the usual suspects attempted to no avail, Milo gave up.
"Detect Magic." Nothing. The broomstick, as far as Milo could determine, didn't have enough magic to power a Bard's cantrip. It was an ordinary, mundane broom. For sweeping things.
"Wha... what? Then how... Agh, my poor head." Nothing happening was making any sense here. Maybe if he found some non-cultist residents of this strange world, they'd be able to explain things to him. Shouldering the broom, he chose a direction completely at random and started walking.
Some time after 3 AM, the villagers of Hogsmeade were surprised to find a dirty, bloodied, half-dead (or rather, five-sixths, to be precise, since you asked) young boy stumble into their village before collapsing of exhaustion. He was clutching in his hands a Nimbus Two Thousand.
"Who is he?"
"Is he a Muggle? How did he get through the wards?"
"Is he a student?"
"Blimey! Is that a Nimbus?"
"If he had a broomstick, why was he walking?"
"Someone send for Dumbledore, this kid needs help."
"I'm right here in front of you."
"No, not you, the other Dumbledore."
"Oh," said Aberforth, slightly disappointed. "Nobody ever wants to send for me."
As the nearest medical facility was the hospital wing of Hogwarts, and, as the villagers reasoned, this boy was more likely than not some student from the castle caught up in one of their fool adventures, he was rushed with all possible haste to the care of Madam Pomfrey, and, more than likely, detention. It was a very surprised, and somewhat sleepy, Professor McGonagall who answered the door. She immediately sent a Patronus to wake the school's Headmaster before carrying the boy to the hospital wing.
"Minerva! What's happening?" Dumbledore (the right one, this time) said as he entered the wing. The Deputy Headmistress quickly filled him in about what the villagers at Hogsmeade had discovered.
Dumbledore frowned. "I don't recognize him, do you?" McGonagall shook her head.
"This is most unusual. He's clearly of an age that he should be just starting in Hogwarts, so if he's a wizard of magical Britain..." McGonagall said, trailing off in thought.
"Why don't we wake him and ask?" Dumbledore suggested.
"Poppy believes it best that we let him recover. He's suffered some fairly serious injuries—it looks like a particularly nasty fall, perhaps."
"Could he be a student of Beauxbatons—or Durmstrang? I'll owl Madame Maxime and Professor Karkaroff. In the meantime, keep me updated."
McGonagall sighed. She wouldn't give up being Deputy Headmistress for all the gold in Gringotts, but it did involve rather a lot more sleepless nights than she would have preferred.
Milo awoke to the sound of people talking quietly. The odd thing about whispers, Milo had discovered, is that they tend to catch the ear even faster than ordinary talking. There were curtains around his bed, so he couldn't place a face to the speakers.
"Minerva! I—I noticed something… well, something most unusual," the first voice (female, human) said.
"What's the matter?" inquired a second (also female, human).
"The patient, he… well, he recovered," the first voice said hesitantly.
"Surely, that's good news?"
"Well, yes, normally very good news, this being an infirmary, recovery is most appreciated. But… not normally with quite the alacrity demonstrated."
"After precisely eight hours of bed rest, the majority of his wounds simply vanished before my eyes," the first voice said.
There was a brief silence.
"Well, I daresay I'm impressed. How did you do it?" the second voice—Minerva—asked.
"I didn't do it!" the first voice said, her voice rising. "I hadn't actually done much of anything beyond cleaning and bandaging his wounds!"
"Then… perhaps he had some Charm cast on him when he entered? Or one of the villagers did something?"
"That was the first thing I checked! I think… I think the possibility should be considered that he isn't entirely human," the first voice said cautiously.
"Poppy, get professors Dumbledore, Snape, Flitwick, and Sprout—in that order," Minerva commanded. "I'll watch him until then, whoever he is."
Milo frowned. Why were they so confused? A night's rest resulted in healing a hit point per level. Everyone knows that. Had they never slept? Were they Constructs—or even Undead? Milo reached for his Belt of Hidden Pouches, where he kept (among rather a lot of other, useful things) his spellbook. He needed an hour to prepare new spells (which he doubted he'd get, but it was worth trying.)
His Belt was gone.
Milo sat straight upright and checked his other pockets. Nothing. He broke out into a cold sweat. Without his spellbook, he couldn't memorize spells. If he couldn't memorize spells, he had a mere four 0th-level spells and then nothing. He was a Commoner for the rest of time, or at least until he could make a new one.
Almost as importantly, Mordy was still in the belt. Milo concentrated on the empathic bond, to see if Mordy was all right. Hunger, Fear, Confusion.
Milo licked his lips nervously. He'd just begun searching for something he could use as an improvised club (not his preferred way of doing things) when the curtains were drawn aside.
"Who are you, where am I, and what have you done with my Magic Items?" Milo demanded, before they were even pulled all the way aside. In walked an odd duo. A pair of aging humans in robes (Venerable meant +3 Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma, so Milo made a mental note not to underestimate these two) who were obviously spellcasters of some sort. Great big white beard, half-moon glasses, wands… What is it with the casters here and wands? Milo wondered.
"If you are talking about your broomstick, young man, its right beside the bed. And I would suggest you mind your manners," said the lady, who was sporting a rather severe bun of hair.
"Peace, Minerva," said the man in the purple robes. "He's clearly been through some sort of ordeal." The old man turned his pleasant, grandfatherly face to Milo. "Now, if you would be so good as to tell us who you are…?"
"I am Milo Amastacia-Liadon," said Milo proudly. For those of you keeping score at home, Milo's parents, being cosmopolitan humans, decided to give him a Halfling first name and both of their (Elven) last names.
"And I," said the grandfatherly man, "am Professor Albus Percival Dumbledore." He said it like Milo was supposed to know who he was. Maybe he really was famous; it was Zook who had all the Ranks in Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty) in their party. "This, of course, is Professor Minerva McGonagall. You are in Hogwarts, school of Witchcraft and Wizardry."
"Wizardry? Oh, thank Boccob. You're Wizards, then?" Milo asked, feeling profoundly relieved.
Dumbledore looked slightly taken aback.
"Well, naturally we're wizards—Except for Minerva, of course, who is, in fact, a witch. You didn't take us for Muggles, did you?"
"What? Mug—look, I think we're getting slightly afield. Was I wearing a belt when I came in here?"
"I'd have to ask Madam Pomfrey to say for certain, but there is a belt on your bedstand," the old wizard said.
"Oh, thank the gods. Don't you know that it's terribly rude, not to mention a sign of hostile intent, to part a person from his Magic Items?" Milo grabbed the belt, which was covered in tiny pockets (and had many more besides, which were invisible) and quickly opened the snap on one of the hidden ones. Out crawled a very distressed-looking brown-and-white rat. "Not to mention a Wizard from his familiar."
"Best not let Poppy see that," Dumbledore suggested. "She would not, I believe, take kindly to seeing a rat in her hospital wing. Now, could you please tell me, of what school—if, indeed, any—are you a student?"
"Conjuration," Milo said proudly, "though I've always had something of a knack for Divinations as well."
"The School of Conjuration?" Albus frowned. "Unless I'm mistaken, they were shut down, oh, sometime in 1869, after the Spoons Incident." Nearby, McGonagall shuddered. "Would you take it amiss if I asked to see your wand?"
"My wand? I don't have one. Never saw the point, really, and even if I wanted one I couldn't afford it."
"No wand?" McGonagall gasped. But Dumbledore frowned.
"Now, I'm not one to pay close attention to the ins-and-outs and developments of sporting equipment, but how is it that you managed to come by what I believe to be a most expensive racing broom if you can't afford even a simple wand?" Dumbledore asked.
"Oh, that thing? I took it off a cultist," Milo said blandly. "Seems pretty useless to me. If there's any magic in it, I have no idea how to make it work, and its shape is hardly optimal for sweeping."
McGonagall's mind recoiled from the notion of using a Nimbus Two Thousand to clean a house. Thinking the very thought was unthinkably unthinkable.
"I think the more questions he answers, the less sense this makes," Dumbledore said. "Start with the cultists, then how you came to be in Hogsmeade so late at night, then we'll discuss your school and the broomstick."
"My party and I were storming the tower of the Most Maliciously Malevolent Magus, Thamior the Thaumaturge. After fighting our way past all the usual defenses—you know, skeletons, goblins," McGonagall choked slightly on hearing that, "that sort of thing, pretty routine, when we confronted the dark Wizard. Our Rogue crept into a flanking position while I distracted him with taunts, interrupting his monologue. The Cleric and I were about to unleash magical fury when suddenly, I was somewhere else entirely. The next thing I know, I hit a table in a room surrounded by cultists," Milo said. "They had dark robes and masks and everything; you should have seen them. So, one of them started casting some spell, it went like, 'Avada Keda—'" Milo was interrupted as McGonagall desperately clamped a hand over Milo's mouth.
"There's no need to worry, Minerva. He doesn't have a wand," Dumbledore said gently.
"Right. Er. Continue your story, then, Mister Amastacia-Liadon," said the old witch, slightly embarrassed. "But you must never say those words again. They are the incantation for the worst of the Unforgivable Curses."
"Please call me Milo; elf names tend to be on the long side," Milo said.
"Elf names?" McGonagall asked incredulously. "Albus, add that to the list of questions."
"Right, so I blinded the cultists with a Glitterdust, jumped out the window, provided false targets with illusions, summoned a pony, and rode off as fast as I could, but one of them chased me on that broomstick. One casting of Grease on the stick and the cultist fell — but he teleported to safety somehow. Not before he killed my mount, though. So I started walking, and I think I'd just found some village or another when I passed out. Pretty lucky, really, all things considered."
"Albus," McGonagall said quietly. "These… cultists… he speaks of. They sound an awful lot like—"
"I'd noticed, Minerva. It appears they were not quite so disbanded as we had once believed." Dumbledore said ominously. Milo grinned. That sounded like a plot hook if he'd ever heard one.
"Now, young wizard, if you could tell me what school you attend so I can see you home safely?" Dumbledore asked.
"Oh, that kind of school? Nah, never bothered," Milo said. "You gain experience way faster hunting dark Wizards and goblins and things, let me tell you."
"No school?!" McGonagall gasped again, this time even more offended than when she'd heard of his lack of wand. "That's criminal! Your parents should be arrested!" The professor paused, looking concerned. "You—you do have parents, don't you, Mister Ama—er, Milo?" she asked gently.
"Parents? Most likely. They're…" he paused. Something was wrong. He reached out for his memories of his parents, but came back with nothing. He started to panic. "I don't understand. My parents, they're… they're… what's happening?"
"Are you… quite alright, young man?" McGonagall asked, her voice full of concern.
"I… this has never happened before," Milo confessed. His backstory generally wrote itself on an as-needed basis. "Obviously I had parents, but I… I just, I can't remember them."
"Oh, I am so, so sorry." McGonagall said seriously. It broke her heart how many orphans came through Hogwarts, especially in the time after the war.
"Minerva, if you would please come with me for a moment, I think we need to discuss this with the other heads of houses," Dumbledore said. "We'll be back shortly, Milo, in the mean time I'll let Poppy take care of you."
"I think it's obvious that we're dealing with a very confused individual," Sprout said sadly after McGonagall had explained the situation. "He seems to have been orphaned at a young age and fended for himself since then, and is quite delusional."
"Sadly, I must agree," Dumbledore said. "I think we can assume that very little of his story is true, although he did describe the Death Eaters and the Killing Curse with an alarming level of accuracy. I think it likely, unfortunately, that his parents were killed by them at a young age."
"The broomstick," Flitwick said suddenly. "It's our only clue. We know that the Nimbus is a brand-new model of Quidditch broom, so he must have come across it recently. Judging by his vagabond nature and lack of wand, he didn't obtain it through legitimate channels. If we can find any of the broomsticks reported stolen, it might be able to discern the veracity of his story."
"Clever as always, Filius," Dumbledore congratulated him.
"Headmaster, what if his story is true?" McGonagall asked. "There could very well be active Death Eaters out there, looking for revenge." And, she thought quietly, the Malfoy Summer Manor is at about one night's walking distance from Hogsmeade… "Investigating the Nimbus will only draw attention to him."
"Well, it would appear we have but one option," Dumbledore said. "And the law is quite clear. Regardless of all else, the boy is clearly magical—otherwise, Hogsmeade's wards would have driven him off well before he made it within sight of the village. Term starts in only three days, and I believe this young man, both for his safety and for that of those around him, should be among the first years to be sorted."
"Headmaster, with respect," sneered Snape, who in fact meant none, "we can't just offer every street urchin and vagrant who wanders to our door a spot in this school. We're the best school in magical Britain, not the only one."
"I'm afraid I'll have to insist," Dumbledore said gently, but firmly. "Minerva, if you could take the young Mr. Amastacia-Liadon to Diagon Alley to get his school supplies and robes tomorrow, it would be much appreciated. Filius, would you please anonymously return the Nimbus to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and quietly keep an eye on who picks it up? Pomona, would you be so good as to take over preparations for the sorting ceremony for us? As for myself, I will make inquiries at the Ministry of Magic, to see if any underage magic has been detected."
"And myself, headmaster?" asked Snape.
"Ah, Severus, I have a special task for you. I'm afraid you'll have to visit certain old… acquaintances again."
"I understand," said Snape with a sigh. He'd hoped it wouldn't come to this.
"Well then, I believe we all have our tasks. We'd best get to them."
On the one hand, Milo was not particularly enthusiastic about attending school. But on the other hand, it was pretty clear that this was what the plot demanded of him. Besides, this was his best shot at getting at those cultists, and everything about them said "we have loads and loads of Magic Items and gold." And it wasn't like he had anything else to do. Besides, he was only 300 XP away from a new level, and with it, one step closer to the untold arcane power of 3rd-level spells.
"I suppose I might be interested in attending your school, Deputy Headmistress," Milo said respectfully. Never hurts to flatter powerful NPCs on occasion.
"Excellent. We only have three days until term starts, so tomorrow we'll go out and purchase you your school supplies," McGonagall said.
"Oh, er. I haven't got any money, per se." Milo had spent the last of his loot buying that Belt of Hidden Pouches.
"None at all? Well, Hogwarts does have a small fund for… unfortunate… students such as yourself," McGonagall said thoughtfully, "but I'm afraid you'll likely have to make do with second- or third-hand materials."
"No complaints here. So what are we talking, like, quills and parchment and things?"
"That, of course, and also, oh where did I put that list…? Here we are. Wand, robes, pointed hat, dragonhide gloves," Milo choked slightly in surprise at that, "telescope, a cauldron, scales, and various text and spellbooks, wand..." McGonagall frowned as she read through the list. "It seems wand was listed twice. I'll be having a word with someone about that, I should think. It also says that you can have an owl, cat, or toad, though we generally make allowances for rats as well."
"A wand? What kind? Probably no higher than first level, but seriously, that's on your mandatory list? And, wait… spellbooks?" Milo asked incredulously. "You're going to buy me spellbooks?" Milo felt faint. There had to be some kind of catch. Telescopes clocked in at 1,000 gp alone, and if they had the capability to slaughter enough dragons to make gloves for the entire student body, the faculty here were not to be trifled with. This little shopping list was way beyond the average Wealth By Level of a 1st-Level Wizard, and Milo's rapid addition placed it at almost half of his current total value.
"I—I think I need to sit down for a moment," Milo said. "I appear to have been Dazed—or possibly even Stunned."
"Yes, well, I suppose it can be a bit overwhelming at first," McGonagall frowned at him. She couldn't imagine how someone could be so poor that a second-hand old textbook seemed extravagant. "In the meantime, I suppose, just stay here and focus on feeling better."
"Oh, I was going to ask about that. Don't you have any Clerics on staff?" Milo asked. His injuries weren't anything that a Cure Light Wounds wouldn't solve; it really was faster than bed rest.
"Oh, er, no. Not many in the magical world feel a, um, religious calling of that nature." McGonagall said carefully. Most wizards and witches felt a little awkward around matters of religion, what with all the suffer-not-the-witch-to-live's and inquisitions and all that.
"Hmm, that would explain that, then." Wizards heal injuries in a manner resembling how pigs fly—they generally tried to keep such a situation from occurring in the first place.
"In the mean time, I suggest you try to relax as much as possible, and I will be here early tomorrow morning to take you to London," McGonagall said before leaving.
Milo sat back, trying to contain his excitement for tomorrow. This time in two days, he thought, I'm going to be absolutely rolling in new spells and items… he was practically salivating at the thought. In fact, he realized, he was salivating at the thought.