Author: Shadow Rebirth
Beta Reader: StormyBabe1988
Warnings: Death, blood and gore, language, spoilers
Chapter WC: 4,635
Story WC: 38,611
Last Edited: November 16, 2008
Posted: August 21, 2008
Summary: Harry has a dark secret: He isn't a wizard. But that certainly doesn't mean he can't do magic. It was too bad it also meant that in the face of fanatical governments and enraged demigods, Voldemort was going to be the least of his problems. AU, Gray!Harry, foreign school, vampires, werewolves, politics, no pairings.
Shades of Gray
Harry, Ryan, and Zahra were walking around the streets of Myrddin. None of them had bought anything, or really even gone into any stores, but they were having fun just looking. Already the three had been out for about two or three hours.
Harry smiled as they walked down a small side street. He was having a lot more fun that he had in years. No Voldemort breathing down his neck, no Order watching his every move, no expectations for him to act a certain way. It was just him and his two new friends walking anonymously through a crowd of other people.
Suddenly a large grumble erupted to his left. Quickly stopping, Harry looked around to find the source of the noise, only to see a sheepish looking Ryan rubbing the back of his neck.
"Uh, sorry," he said as his face turned red. "I guess I'm a little hungry..."
Zahra rolled here eyes in the background. Harry thought that he heard her mutter "boys", but he wasn't entirely sure. Harry, however, just chuckled.
"Well, it is about lunchtime," he commented. "Why don't we all go get something to eat?"
Harry glanced around, checking to see if there was anything nearby. Out of the corner he caught sight of a small little restaurant tucked away between two larger buildings. It had a green painted front with black trimming and, for some reason, reminded Harry of one of those fancy Italian restaurants.
"Come on," Harry said as he began to make his way toward the small restaurant. "Let's go there."
Ryan and Zahra quickly followed behind him, though Zahra's eyes widened as they approached.
"We can't go there!" she hissed, tugging on Harry's arm to stop him. "I've heard of that place; it's really expensive."
Harry blinked, surprised, then shrugged. "Don't worry, I'm paying."
Zahra's gaze shifted into a glare. "You don't understand. That restaurant, no matter how it appears on the outside, is the most expensive restaurants in Myrddin and one of the most expensive in the magical world. It's where all of the clan heirs and the elites of the society tend to congregate."
Harry shrugged again. "I'm paying," he insisted. "It's not going to be a problem." Harry then strode confidently toward the restaurant, and Ryan and Zahra had no choice but to follow, no matter how hesitantly.
Harry was actually going into the restaurant for a reason other than just to eat. He knew that this was the time, more than any other time, to make a statement. He hated that he was going to have to flaunt his money, but in a world such as the one he was entering he had to make a name for himself. Unlike at Hogwarts, Harry didn't have any fame to set him apart from other people so, unfortunately, the only way to do so was through either money or power. Harry knew that he'd have to use both to get people to acknowledge him and get a place in this new, more animalistic world.
His head held high, Harry pushed open the door to the restaurant and stepped inside with Ryan and Zahra right on his heels. The inside of the small restaurant was definitely larger that it appeared on the outside. It was darker as well—and yet somehow also well lit—and was separated into many different booths, about half of which were already filled with people. The restaurant was set up so that everyone could see who else was there, and yet everyone also had complete privacy.
As soon and Harry, Ryan, and Zahra stepped into the restaurant, everyone's attention was focused on them, studying them. Ryan gulped, looking nervous, and Zahra glared at them all. Harry, however, just kept his head held high and focused his own attention on the waiter who approached them. A vampire, he thought.
"Table for three?" the vampire asked. Harry nodded, while carefully keeping his face serious.
The waiter led the group into the restaurant and seated them down at a fairly large round table that could probably seat a few more people. Harry noticed that most of the other people in the restaurant were still studying them out of the corner of their eyes. Most of those people—and indeed, almost all of the people there—were dressed in high quality clothing and appeared to be more aristocratic than most of the other people that he'd seen around Myrddin; this must be where those type of people came.
Once they were all settled down, Harry opened up the menu that had been set before him and took a look at what was offered. Zahra and Ryan did the same thing and Ryan's eyes immediately widened.
"Holy shit,/" he murmured, looking up at Harry worriedly. "This stuff /is expensive. Blake, are you sure...?"
"Don't worry," Harry repeated, not taking his eyes off the menu. Ryan and Zahra continued to stare at him for a moment before hesitantly looking back down at the menu.
It only took about five minutes after that for them all to order their food. They were sitting around the table, quietly chatting, when the door to the restaurant opened once more. Like everyone else, Harry and his friends also turned to look to see who entered. Surprisingly, it turned out to be Damion and another vampire.
Immediately, Damion and Harry's eyes met. Damion was surprised for a moment, before a smirk spread across his face. When a waiter came up to the aristocratic vampire, the two exchanged words for a moment before Damion headed over to where Harry was, the other vampire following behind him.
Damion came to a stop next to Harry. Harry could feel the gazes of everyone in the restaurant on them again, this time even more intensely than before. Perhaps Damion was as well known as Layla had hinted.
"Blake Gray," the vampire murmured by way of greeting.
"Damion Noctis," Harry returned with a smirk. He heard some kind of a chocking coming from where his two friends were seated, but he ignored it for the moment. "Please, have a seat."
Damion nodded graciously and then he and his friend sat down at the other two seats around the table. Harry took the time to study the other vampire who had come with Damion. He looked to be around the same age as all of them, was quite tall—though not as much as Ryan, so perhaps six foot or so—and had broad shoulders and defined muscles, but he was not too bulky. He had messy dark brown hair—so dark that Harry had thought that it was black for a moment—and crimson eyes. He was wearing a pair of black pants, a black muscle shirt, and a pair of black dragon-hide boots.
Seeing Harry's gaze, Damion spoke up. "This," he began, "Is Azrael Draconis. He is my cousin. Azrael, this is Blake Gray."
Harry exchanged murmured greetings with the other vampire, and then turned to Zahra and Ryan, seeing their wide eyes. "Damion," he said. "This is Ryan Henderson and Zahra Sadiki. Guys, this is Damion Noctis, my roommate."
"A pleasure, Lord Noctis," Zahra greeted, bowing her head. Harry stared at her, surprised, but Damion just smirked.
"Not yet, Miss Sadiki; I'm still only my father's heir."
Harry stared between the two of them, surprised, and decided that he'd definitely have to ask Zahra later about what they were talking about.
The group spent the meal chatting about random topics, particularly the school. Harry learned that, apparently, both Damion and Azrael's families had almost always attended Silvermoor. Ryan, on the other hand, was the first of his family to ever be accepted. A couple of people in Zahra's family had gone to the Academy before, but Zahra was the first in her immediate family.
Azrael, Harry found, wasn't much of talker, but he certainly had no problem saying something if he felt that it need to be said. Damion was always polite and formal when speaking, but he seemed to open up a bit more as time went by. Ryan, meanwhile, was a true jokester if Harry had ever met one. He loved to laugh and make others laugh. Zahra was fairly open, but she also had the most violent and volatile temper that Harry had ever seen. Over all, the group actually got on surprisingly well.
Finally, about an hour after Damion and Azrael had arrived, everyone finished eating and the waiter came over and left the check. Damion moved to pull out some money, but Harry stopped him with a motion.
"Don't worry," he said with a smirk while shaking his head. "I'm paying."
Damion stared at Harry incredulously for a moment, and then his eyebrows rose as he watched the dark haired mage pull out his mokeskin moneybag. Ignoring the gazes of everyone at the table, Harry pulled out the appropriate amount of gold and set it on the table—while mentally thanking any deities out there that he had thought to ask Grimsheild whether or not magical beings used the same currency as wizards; it would have been really embarrassing if they didn't.
Harry was just tucking his moneybag away once more, when he heard an irritable hissing next to his ear.
"/Sure, let's forget that the snake might need food too!/" Isis hissed with a glare as she poked her head out from under Harry's cloak.
Everyone at the table immediately started, surprised to see a snake suddenly pop up. Damion did react as much, having already known that the runespoor was there.
"Um, Blake..." Ryan started hesitantly. "You do know that there's a snake wrapped around your neck, right?"
Harry chuckled and placed a hand near his neck for the runespoor to climb onto. Once she was wrapped around said arm, Harry held his arm out so that everyone at the table could see her better.
"This is my familiar," he replied. "She's a runespoor. It's Layla, Kiya, and Isis, respectively." He motioned to each head as he spoke.
"Isis..." Zahra murmured. She lifted her gaze to meet Harry's. "It's interesting that you named her that."
Harry blinked. "I didn't, actually. It was already her name—or one of them, rather—when I got her."
"Interesting, still," Zahra continued. "Isis is the name of the Egyptian goddess of magic. It literally means 'queen of the throne'." Harry had to hold back a smirk; queen of the throne? Well, that certainly did fit Isis...
Zahra's brow furrowed. "Actually, now that I think about it, all of those names are Egyptian. Layla means 'born at night' and Kiya means 'jovial lady'.
It became even harder for Harry to keep his face straight; those names also hit pretty close to the mark, though the Layla one was a bit confusing. Harry suddenly wondered who had named the runespoor. Was it a human? Or perhaps another snake?
"Well," Damion said, breaking Harry out of his thoughts. "We'd better get going; Azrael and I have some things to attend to before we have to leave for Silvermoor." All of them stood up then to exchange their goodbyes.
"It was good to meet you," Azrael commented to Harry as the two stood off to the side. His crimson eyes momentarily reminded Harry of Voldemort, but at the same time there was something completely different about them.
"Yes, you too. I hope to see you around in Silvermoor."
Azrael smirked in reply, which surprised Harry because the teen had not shown much in the way of facial expressions during the lunch. "Yes," he commented, "Yes you will."
And with that mysterious statement Azrael turned around and began to head for the exit of the restaurant. Damion did a double take upon seeing his cousin leaving and then quickly bid goodbye to Harry before hurrying off after him. Harry, Ryan, and Zahra left just after the two, with the curious gazes of the restaurant's guests following them all the way out the door.
As soon as they were a good distance down the street, Harry turned to Zahra with a quizzical glance. "What did you mean by Lord Noctis?" he asked
Zahra blinked, surprised by the question. She stared at Harry for a moment before her eyes widened. "You mean you really didn't know, even though he's your roommate...?!"
Harry sighed. It seemed that there were even more things than he'd guessed that he didn't know.
"Well," Zahra began, "The Noctis clan is one of the thirteen head vampire clans, and one of the ones with the most power even among them. Damion Noctis is the heir to the clan right now. Someday, probably in a few hundred years, he'll take over for his father and take his place in the Ancient Council."
Harry stared blankly at her. Damion was one of the vampire nobles? And the heir to his clan?
Before Harry could even fully process this new information, Zahra continued on. "And his cousin, Azrael Draconis," she said, "I think that he's the heir to his clan as well. The Draconis clan is one of the thirteen clans too, but one of the smaller ones. Despite that though, they're heralded as the clan with some of the greatest vampire warriors." Zahra shrugged slightly. "I'm not entirely sure why though; that's usually kept among the vampires."
Harry nodded and stared straight ahead while biting the inside of his lip thoughtfully. It seemed that Layla had been right; Damion was from a strong clan.
Putting their thoughts behind them, the three new friends continued to walk around for another few hours, mostly just exploring and having fun. Ryan, however, soon remembered that he had promised to teach Harry a little bit more about the different societies of magical beings. And so, after a quick explanation to Zahra about Harry's background and lack of knowledge, the three found themselves sitting upon a short brick wall and pointing out different things.
"Alright," Ryan as he glanced around the street, "Next is elves. There are six different types of elves: wood elves, ice elves, flame elves, dark elves, nymphs, and merpeople. Yes, the merpeople are a type of elf, though wizards don't know it."
"Wizards don't even know that elves exist," Zahra muttered with a snort.
Ryan rolled his eyes. "They don't know that fayeries exist either, or true werewolves, or that vampire society is as advanced as it is. Anyway, all elves specialize in their element—flame elves with fire, wood elves with earth, etc. They can never learn any other type of element, which the other magical beings can, but their mastery over their own element far surpasses what anyone else could ever learn.
"You'll also find that their appearance generally reflects what type of elf they are. Wood elves, for example usually have hair that is some shade of brown and either blue or green eyes. This reflects nature and the earth."
"There's one," Zahra interrupted, pointing someone out.
Harry looked and saw a guy, perhaps nineteen years old, with light brown hair, forest green eyes, and pointed ears. Definitely an elf and, now that it had been explained to him, Harry could see how he could tell the he was a wood elf.
Ryan nodded. "Yep, that's a wood elf," he said. "Now, ice elves always have hair that is some shade of blue. Their eyes, however, are always black. Pure black. No one's quite sure how this reflects ice, but..." Ryan shrugged. Harry nodded, remembering what Headmistress Silvia had looked like and that she had been an ice elf. "True to their name, flame elves have flaming red hair," the werewolf continued. "There has, however, been a couple who were born with golden hair. This is very rare though and they have almost always turned out to be very powerful. Flame elves always have gold eyes."
"Dark elves," Zahra said, picking up where Ryan had left off, "Always have black hair and black eyes. Nothing much special there."
Ryan nodded his agreement. "Yes. Nymphs, however, are the most...different...breed of the elves."
"And rare," Zahra put in.
"Yes, very rare," Ryan continued. "In fact, they're not so much of a breed rather than a type of elf with particular abilities."
Harry stared at the werewolf, confused. Seeing his look, Ryan elaborated, "You see, most elves are the same race as their parents; just like humans. Nymphs, however, can be born into any race from some strange twist of genetics. They're also always female. They have white or silver hair and very pale eyes.
"Nymphs also have different abilities than most elves. They specialize in the element of light and in healing magic. In fact, some of the greatest healers of the magical world are nymphs."
"You'll never find one in a hospital though," Zahra continued. "In fact, they rarely use their healing abilities unless it's really needed. Nymphs are the priestesses of all the elves. Once a nymph is born they are immediately sent to the Elvin temple in Italy, where they are raised and trained."
"You won't see any nymphs at Silvermoor," said Ryan. "It's actually really rare to see them anywhere, unless you specifically go to the temple."
Harry nodded as he listened and absently picked out a couple of ice, flame, wood, and dark elves as they passed by. "What about the merpeople?" he asked.
"Ah, well, merpeople aren't technically elves, at least not anymore," Ryan replied. Harry stared at him, definitely confused. "Well you see, they used to be water elves and were very close relatives to the ice elves. Over several millennium however, they evolved and eventually lost their legs and began to live entirely in the water, until they became what you know of today. They are still just as magical as the rest of the elf races and can still manipulate water, but they rarely use any of their abilities."
Harry nodded, his mind reeling from all the information that he had just been given. There really was so much that wizards weren't aware of.
"What about their government?" Harry asked. "How they're organized, I mean."
Ryan opened his mouth to reply, but Zahra beat him to it. "Their system is that of a monarchy," she replied. "Or, rather, several monarchies. There are many different Elvin settlements all over the world, each one usually containing a single race; for some reason, they don't like mixing too much. I believe that wood elves have two settlements in Canada and one in the United States."
"The one in the states is in Colorado, in the Rocky Mountains," Ryan put in. "I've been there once. It's a pretty huge city; almost as big as San Francisco, though it doesn't hold quite so many elves."
"Really?" Zahra questioned. "Not too many people go to the settlement uninvited."
Ryan immediately perked up. "Yep!" he replied. "I went there on vacation, though I think that my pack had some important business there as well..."
Zahra just rolled her eyes. "Anyway," she continued. "There are four ice elf settlements: one in northern Canada, two in Russia, and one in the Himalayas. The flame elves have just one settlement in Africa; don't ask me where exactly, I don't know. Dark elves have a settlement in the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil, a settlement in the Black Forest in Germany, and a settlement in Japan.
"Each of these settlements is a monarchy with a king and/or queen. All the monarchs come together to form a council that rules over all the elves. The merpeople aren't a part of this council though and the nymphs don't really have much of a government since they're not really a race. I suppose that the temple has its own hierarchy though..."
"Wow," Harry said, blinking, "Elves certainly are a complex race...race/s/..."
"Yes," a voice behind the three suddenly spoke. "Though, of course, that's not even taking into account the crossbreeding that sometimes happens."
Harry, Ryan, and Zahra immediately jumped in surprise upon hearing the voice and nearly lost there balance on the brick wall. Harry carefully twisted around so that he could see behind himself. Standing there was a girl about their age with the pointed ears of an elf. She stood at about 5'7—so about as tall as Harry—with a slender frame, high cheekbones, and fair skin. She had long straight black hair that reached down to her lower back and a pair of long bangs framed her face, one of them black and one of the blue. Her eyes were a sharp ice blue and she had the pointed ears of an elf.
The teen was wearing a black t-shirt, a pair of baggy green cargo pants, and black combat boots that her pants were tucked into. Over all, she had a rather...unique...appearance. Harry couldn't quite place what race of elf she was. She appeared to be a dark elf, a wood elf, and an ice elf all at once.
"Er, hello," Ryan greeted. The elf shifted her penetrating gaze onto the werewolf but didn't say a word, causing him to shift uncomfortably. Harry, however, was a bit more interested in what she had said.
The elf looked at the green eyed mage again. "Yes. Usually elves tend to marrying into their own race, but, occasionally, they will intermarry with other races of elves." Harry noticed that she had an American accent. She must have been from the settlement in Colorado then.
"You're of two different races, aren't you?" Ryan blurted out. Zahra glared at Ryan and reached around Harry to hit the werewolf over the head. The elf just smirked.
"Why, yes," she replied. "My mother was a wood elf and my father was an ice elf."
Ryan couldn't help but raise an eyebrow. Why did she have black hair then? The blue eyes probably came from her mother and the blue bang from her father, but, following along that line of thought, her hair should have been brown.
The four stayed in awkward silence for a moment before Zahra finally hopped of the short brick wall and extended her hand to the elf.
"I'm Zahra Sadiki," the Egyptian said. The elf paused for a moment before smirking again and shaking her hand.
Harry and Ryan quickly followed Zahra's example and hopped down off the wall as well.
Senka nodded to the two in greeting, folding her arms beneath her chest. Again, the group paused awkwardly for a moment before, once again, Zahra spoke up.
"We were just explaining about the different societies of magical beings to Blake."
Senka raised an eyebrow, but, fortunately for Harry, didn't ask any questions. Instead, she simply said, "Indeed. Then, I have to agree, elves are one of the most complex societies. That, of course, says nothing for the intricate politics of vampires and werewolves; we just have royal families who take care of the governing."
Ryan looked indignant for a moment—though knowing what she said was completely true—but Zahra cracked a grin and nodded. "So true," she replied. "Would you like to help us then? We still haven't covered fayeries."
"Sure," Senka said with a shrug. The group then climbed back up onto the short wall they had been sitting on before, with Senka seated next to Zahra.
"Well," Ryan began, "Fayeries are one of the more...interesting...races of magical beings. They are the human sized, intelligent, magical being race of the Fairy Family. Said Family includes fairies, doxies, pixies, erklings, leprechauns, and fayeries. Unlike fairies, doxies, pixies however, fayeries don't have wings. Rather, their magic takes the shape of a large pair of glowing wings on their back when it is released.
"All fayeries have very pale hair. They have pointed ears, but much less so than elves; in fact, it's usually barely visible. Their main distinguishing feature is their teeth, which are all very sharp, pointy, and creepy. It's always freaked me out." Ryan shivered slightly, and Harry couldn't help but agree. "You might also notice that they sometimes tend to glide rather than walk, though I have no idea how they do that.
"Fayeries specialize in healing and divination. Some of them even have the rare ability to divine the location of objects. They also have a special connection with animals. Animals seem to trust them and fayeries can understand them up to a certain point. Fayeries main special ability, however, are 'fairy rings', which you may have heard of before in muggle legends. They are identified as rings of inedible mushrooms, about five feet in diameter. Fayeries—and only fayeries—can use these to transport to any other fairy ring in the world."
"For example," Zahra said. "If a fayerie stepped into a fairy ring in Mexico, they could then transport themselves to another fairy ring in India."
"Or France," Ryan continued with a grin. "Or any other ring in the world. And believe me when I say that there are thousands of fairy rings. Well, anyways, the fayeries homeland is a large, unplottable island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The only way to get there is through a fayerie ring, and non-fayeries can only go if invited. The island is called Avalon—"
"Or Tir-na-nog," Senka suddenly said.
Surprised, the others turned to look at her. Harry was embarrassed to realize that he'd almost forgotten that she was there.
Seeing, Harry, Zahra, and Ryan's looks, Senka explained, "Avalon is also called Tir-na-nog in the fayeries' language."
Harry blinked. "The fayeries have their own language?"
This time it was Zahra who answered him. "Yes, and, apparently, it's one that they automatically know from birth. No one's quite sure how it works, and the fayeries aren't saying anything."
Ryan nodded. "Yeah, and since all fayeries are born on Avalon—or Tir-na-nog, if you will—no one ever sees a fayerie until they come to Silvermoor or another school, unless under special circumstances."
Harry could understand what they were saying, though it was fairly surprising to learn that even magical beings knew so little about fayeries. No wonder wizards didn't even know that they existed!
"What about their government?" Harry asked. "If they live in only one place..."
Ryan quirked a grin. "Their government is also a monarchy, though it's a bit different from the elves'. Avalon is ruled by a king and queen who are a part of a royal family. There are also many different families of nobles. It's really like a medieval society."
Harry hummed under his breath, mulling over the information that he'd just been given. It seemed that there was even more to the different races of magical beings than had been detailed in the book he'd found, Branches of Magic.
"Hey," Zahra said suddenly, "What time is it?"
Harry paused then, his eyes widening, and he and Ryan exclaimed at the same time, "Oh shit!" They had to leave at three and it was approaching the hour. They still needed to get back to the hotel and gather their things.
Quickly, Harry, Ryan, Zahra, and Senka leapt off the short brick wall and began hurrying toward the Caelestis Hotel. Even Senka, who didn't seem to be the type to panic to Harry, was taking very long strides.
It took the group nearly fifteen minutes to get to the Square. It was even busier than it had been the day before when Harry and Ryan had first arrived. The group carefully maneuvered their way across the Square to the hotel. Once inside, they split up—Harry and Ryan were on the second floor while Zahra and Senka both turned out to be on the fifth floor. Once Harry arrived at his room, he too bid goodbye to Ryan and then slipped inside.
A/N: Damn. I meant to get them all into Silvermoor in this chapter, but the dialogue and the explanations went on longer than I expected, so the next chapter will be all about them starting the Academy. This chapter will also be the last of the major explanations. There'll still be bits of information here and there—especially has Harry get more involved in this world—but that was the bulk of it. A lot of the information about fayeries was derived from myths about fairies and then twisted to fit my needs.
I should also mention that Harry isn’t just randomly powerful or anything. There a very specific reason for how/why he has the control over his magic that he does, as well as why he's mage (since he was born from two wizards). Unfortunately, this explanation won't come for a while yet, when Harry himself finds out about it.
And for those who’ve been asking: Yes, Dumbledore and the rest of the canon's characters' reactions will most certainly be shown. In fact that and the following events will be a relatively big part of the story.