I've been fascinated with the Harry Potter universe for a long time, with close to nine years now of lurking. It's what initially pulled me into this world, but one thing that bit even before HP fanfics was the backstory for Magic: The Gathering. The story of the madness and eventual redemption of Urza, the tales of Jodah, and the Phyrexian invasion all titillated me. A crossover between the two was one of the first things I looked for, but to this day there are only two. I hope that fans of both universes can find something they enjoy in my work.
Harry and his friends were looking in the library for any information about Nicolas Flamel. They searched in all the common biographies and were now switching into more esoteric territory. Harry looked through books labeled, 'Greatest People in the History of Poland,' 'Fetes, Feats and Triumphs: Heroes of Might and Magic' and even 'Wizarding Gods: Great People of Recent Memory.' Harry was about to give the whole thing up as a bad job when he noticed a small biography crammed into the piles of books titled 'Urza, Planeswalker.' He looked more closely. It talked about a man who never used a wand, but was capable of seemingly impossible works of magic. It appeared to be hundreds of years old, but it was tossed into the stacks like a pillow book. Harry thought it might be interesting, and placed it in his bag. He looked around. Maybe the book he needed was treated like this. Nicolas Flamel might still be found! He kept looking.
It was almost a week later when Harry remembered the odd book. Having finished his homework ahead of Ron and lacking anything else to do, he began to read. The ideas in the book were strange. The author described meeting a man while attempting astral projection. The author, one Renford A. Tewilliger, encountered a man called Urza, who described himself as a planeswalker from the world of Dominaria. A planeswalker, Urza said, was someone who could move through different worlds, or planes, through a force of will. The process was similar to astral projection, but far less dangerous, and only a few were capable of it. Renford only encountered Urza by remote chance, for Renford was losing his tether to his body and had Urza not interfered Renford would have likely died. Urza pulled Renford from the ether, and Renford found himself physically present in a world consisting of nothing but clouds and floating islands. Urza, he said, had brought him to another plane.
Urza was as fascinated by Renford as Renford was with Urza. The idea that magic was something only usable through the use of magical artifacts like wands seemed preposterous to Urza. Urza, a man gifted in the creation of magical artifacts, said that artifacts that powerful were rare where he came from. Most often, people just exercised their will and made things happen. Renford, who watched Urza shoot lightning from his hands to kill a wild beast, then wave his hand at a spot on the ground and create a roaring fire from nothing, was inclined to believe him. Urza explained that all lands have power, the power to create and destroy life. Each different type of land was capable of producing a different type of power. Mountains, he said, were the source of fire, as they were a symbol and a conduit to the power of the earth. They also were the source of power for overt violence, and most offensive magic was based on it. Islands and the seas were a source of water magic, clearly, but the waters were often used to represent the shifting mind. Islands, therefore, were the source of power for basic mind magic and knowledge. Forests were a source of nature magic, the kind that allows a plant to grow or a creature of the forest to flourish. This magic allowed a person to accelerate the growth of a person or creature, giving them enormous physical strength. Plains give the magic of civilization, where people and religious concepts come more into focus. Plains provide white magic, which allows the mind to heal or become ordered. Angels (and that was a revelation Renford was not prepared for) drew their power from these sources of white magic. Finally, swamps, the source of black magic, gave power to the agents of decay, but also those that might disrupt emotions or minds. This magic was focused on the spirit and soul, and contained the power to reanimate the dead, or call upon the souls of those departed. Urza stressed that all magic was power, and that it could be used for good or for evil.
Harry was fascinated, and it took Ron physically taking the book from him for Harry to go down and eat dinner. While there, his mind remained on the book, and the concepts presented. Was this real? Could the power exist for him to be able to talk to his parents, meet them and get to know them?
What if the power existed that could bring them back to life? How would he go about doing it?
If what Renford said was true and this form of magic was possible, Harry was going to do all he could to make it happen. That meant getting his friends involved.
"A NEW BRANCH OF MAGIC?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? OF COURSE I WANT TO HELP!"
Harry was fairly certain Hermione was on board. Ron however…
"Studying outside of classes? Have you gone mad?"
The trouble was that Harry wasn't sure how he would go about starting the process. Urza told Renford that Urza was special, and that magic came much more naturally to him than it did for others. The other practitioners spent weeks and months learning the land and would meditate there for hours on end, feeling the connection to the land that was the source of their might. Harry wasn't sure it would be safe for him to spend lots of time in the Forbidden Forest, but he certainly could go and sit by the lake and not have to worry. Long hours spent in the cupboard had taught him to be quiet and still, letting his imagination run wild, but he wasn't sure that he'd be all that good at contemplative meditation. But he would try. After all, maybe he could see his parents through this magic.
Harry began waking up early on Sunday mornings before Quidditch practice to go sit by the lake. He would watch the giant squid and listen to the water lap at the shore. After a while he was able to picture and hear the sounds whenever he wanted, and was able to make himself feel the energy of the place. He found this especially useful whenever Malfoy or Snape began to taunt him, and the cool, soothing energy washing over him made it easy to ignore them. He found as well that even when not calming himself through this meditation, Malfoy and Snape had a harder time goading him. Even more, when Malfoy managed to shoot his mouth off about the shabby casual clothes Harry wore, Harry calmly responded that he was glad someone was paying so close attention to him, and he was flattered, but Harry really didn't see Malfoy in that light. After a moment of stunned silence, everyone around them in the hallway started to laugh, including Crabbe and Goyle. Malfoy flushed, and then barked at his two goons to shut up and follow him. After that, Harry and Hermione started waking up early every day to go sit by the lake.
Hermione had an easier time organizing herself and falling into the trance, but she was never able to feel the energy Harry described. She felt that the power should reach itself out to her when she was ready, but Harry understood it as tapping into what was already there, and making use of what it was already providing.
"The book says the energy should come to us!" Hermione pouted. She was not used to failing and the experience was grating on her. She was ahead of everyone else in their classes, but this concept seemed more interesting than whatever the teachers had in store for them. Harry was struggling to pay attention in what he now perceived to be boring classes. He had no problem doing the wandwork: If anything his abilities had improved exponentially. While in class, his mind was constantly at the shoreline, but was able to answer questions easily. Professor McGonagall worried about him, but could not prove anything was wrong. Ron was feeling left out, but he was fast becoming friends with Dean and Seamus, and so was less concerned. Only Neville wondered where Harry went early in the mornings. One day his curiosity got the better of him.
"H-Harry?" Harry turned around. Harry was fully dressed and just a couple of steps away from the Fat Lady when Neville caught up to him. Neville was still in his pajamas, but looked like he had been up for some time. Harry sighed.
"Yes Neville? I was about to head out."
Neville leapt onto this. "Well, that's kind of what I wanted to ask you about. You're always waking up early, and we never see you at breakfast. Where do you go?"
Harry was about to blow Neville off. This was kind of a private ritual for him, and Ron's casual dismissal hurt more than Harry cared to admit. But then Harry thought of the book, and how there was a whole branch of this magic devoted to plants and growing things. Maybe he could get Neville involved. It couldn't hurt, and maybe with him there Harry and Hermione could get results.
"Why don't you come with me? Hermione and I are trying out something new, a different type of magic. Maybe another mind can help us get past the roadblock we're having."
"New magic? That's really advanced stuff, it is! But why do you want my help? I'm rubbish with a wand. Only thing I'm good for is tending plants."
"Well, Neville, that's kind of the point. The whole idea of this magic is we don't need wands to do it. Part of that magic is working with plants and living things, and nobody's better at Herbology at this school than you. You want to give us a hand?"
Neville thought about this. Even though he was better than any other student at Herbology, nobody came to him for help. The idea had some appeal. "Okay, I'll help. But if this turns out to be a trick…"
"No tricks, Neville. Besides, do you really think Hermione would be in on a prank on you? She's not like that, and you know it."
Harry and Neville met up with Hermione down by the lake. They explained what they were trying to accomplish, but told Neville to try something different. "Neville, instead of trying to feel the power of the lake, why don't you concentrate on how you feel when you are tending plants? Think about that contented feeling you get when you get absorbed into a long project. Meditate on that for a while, and in a few weeks we'll see what we can do. For now, I just want you to be able to call that idea into your head as easily as possible." Harry wasn't sure the meditation method would work for Neville, but at the moment they weren't even sure what they were doing would work for them. But, seeing as it was all they had, they were forced to continue.
The exercises were more effective for Neville in one way than for either Hermione of Harry. Almost immediately after Neville started joining the two down by the lake, he started growing taller, and was losing his rounded features. People looking at Neville could see the beginnings of muscle that could only come from long hours of hard work. These muscles were hidden by the fat on Neville, and these exercises allowed them to come to the surface. Harry was tempted to work with Neville, but he was reluctant to abandon what little progress he made. Plus while neither Harry nor Neville were able to do what was described in Tewilliger's book, Harry felt he at least was on the edge of a break through.