Harry and Hermione learn about Mortis, and Death's Hunters is born.
I don't own Harry Potter. I do own Mortis, though.
Chapter 7 - The Rise of Death's Hunters
While Harry should not have been surprised -- after all, the entire purpose of this visit was to see if Harry had any magical ancestors from his mother's lineage, but he frowned in confusion at the name; Mortis was a family that he had never heard of.
"Excuse me," Hermione stated, "But who is 'Mortis'? I've never heard of them." The Goblin frowned before snappings its fingers, conjuring a large ledger before him. It quickly perused the pages before finding what it was searching for.
"I am not surprised that neither of you know of it," the Goblin said. "The vault has not been accessed for over seven hundred years." With another snap of its fingers, the enormous tome disappeared, and the Goblin linked its fingers together in front of it. "So, now that you know which vaults you possess, would you like a written inventory of their contents, or would you rather inspect them personally?" Harry blinked as he thought about his decision.
"Umm, I'd like to visit the Mortis vault, please," Harry said.
"Very well," the Goblin stated, conjuring a piece of paper and writing something down before waving its hand over it. "A fee of five Galleons has been charged to your account," it said, handing the paper over to Harry. "This statement authorizes a manufacturing of a key for the Mortis vault." Harry thanked the Goblin and held out the paper to Hermione. When she took hold of it, they felt the familiar tug of a portkey before finding themselves standing before a sour-faced Goblin.
"Well, hurry it up, I don't have all day," it snapped before turning around and walking off, leading them to the cart.
After a long and bumpy ride down into the bowels of the French Gringotts vaults, they finally pulled up in front of vault 639.
"Key," the Goblin demanded, and Harry handed it the portkey. The Goblin read it and snorted distastefully. "Thrice damned wizards, always losing their keys..." it grumbled as it pulled a key out of its pocket, unlocking the vault. As the doors creaked open, Harry and Hermione gaped at the contents within it in shock. Along the walls of the vault were towering piles of gold, silver and bronze, none of them any shorter than their own height. In the center of the vault was a chest, and to either side was a dark, cloaked figure, suspended by a stasis charm. One of them seemed to have been designed to be worn by a person slightly taller and stockier than Harry, while its companion's slender build was obviously designed for a woman. Harry ran his fingers down the cloak, its thin, smooth material reminding him of silk.
Meanwhile, Hermione had opened the chest to reveal a few swords and knives, as well as several books. She carefully extracted one and flipped through its pages, frowning when she could not read the words written within. Not surprising, she thought as she closed it, English from several hundred years ago looked nothing like English today. Sliding it back into the chest, she turned to the Goblin.
"We'll take the suits and this chest," Hermione said politely. With a grunt, the Goblin snapped its fingers, causing the suits to jump out of their stasis charms, neatly fold themselves up and lay themselves inside the chest before the lid closed with a bang. Another snap of its fingers, and the chest had shrunken to the size of a matchbox. "Thank you, that will be all," Hermione said as she picked up the chest and sliding it into her pocket. After a rough mine cart ride back to the surface and a portkey trip back to the American Gringotts branch, Harry and Hermione Apparated home to closer inspect the contents of the chest.
Hermione moved the suits and the various bladed weapons before extracting several books and running over to her office to read them. Harry shook his head in amusement before grabbing the first book he saw and going to his own office. Opening the drawer, he reached in and pulled out a pair of reading glasses. Placing them on his nose, he watched as the indecipherable words bent and shaped themselves into modern English. On the first page was a name written in handwriting that was both messy and elegant at the same time: Nathaniel Mortis. Settling down into his seat, Harry began to read.
Autumn's Eve - Year Nine Hundred Thirty Two
It was amazing! I had heard stories of the wizard Myrddin from travelers, but to actually have the King's conjurer appear on our doorstep! He had come knocking on our door last night during the most dreadful rain I had ever seen, dressed in a cloak and holding onto a walking stick. My Father and I welcomed him into our home, but all we had to offer for food was simple barley bread and lamb broth.
As we dined on our humble meal, Myrddin asked us about our daily lives, as if the life of a peasant were the most interesting thing he had ever heard of. In return, he amazed us with tales of his travels, and of his days in King Arthur's court. After our supper had finished, Father asked why Myrddin was wandering around peasant villages, and he said that he was looking for apprentices to whom he would pass down his knowledge. He then turned to me and asked if anything had ever happened to me, things that I could not explain. I thought about it, then told him about a time when I had gotten into a quarrel with other children from the village, and how they would seem to keep falling down, even though the ground was dry and I was nowhere near them. Myrddin smiled at me, and then asked my Father if they could speak in private. He hesitated, but eventually nodded and sent me to my room. I tried to listen, but all I heard was silence.
Eventually, I heard my Father call for me, and I came out to meet him. He told me about how I was a wizard, just like Myrddin, and how he wanted to take me and other children as his apprentices. Father said that he and Myrddin had spoken to each other, and had decided that it should be my decision whether I would go or not. I knew that I would miss my Father, but this was a chance to learn magic! I would be mad to refuse. Myrddin assured me that I would return every summer to visit. With a nod of my head, I accepted.
Harry continued to read with fascination as Mortis wrote of meeting several children like him while traveling with Merlin, including the four Hogwarts founders, along with a few names that he recognized, such as Dumbledore and Malfoy. He read about how Mortis had struck a quick friendship with Godric Gryffindor, and descriptions of his lessons with Merlin.
The next that Harry knew, his stomach was growling, and he got up to scavenge something to eat. After preparing a few sandwiches, he knocked on Hermione’s door.
“Come in,” she said through the door, and he opened the door to see her poring over the books, also wearing her reading glasses.
“How’s the reading?” Harry asked as he laid a plate down on the desk.
“Oh, it’s great!” Hermione exclaimed, gesturing to the books before her. “This Mortis person was a genius! He’s developed potions and technology centuries ahead of his time. Did you know that he actually invented a device that could give a person the ability to cast wandless magic?” she asked him excitedly. Without waiting for him to answer, she reached down and produced one of the metal gauntlets from the suits. Harry noticed now that it was studded with jewels, each about the size of his thumb. “Try this on,” she invited him. Harry looked at her hesitantly before taking the gauntlet and sliding it onto his hand. It was cold and a bit larger than he would have liked, but it was not uncomfortable. “Now try casting a spell,” Hermione coached. Harry looked down at the garbage can on the floor.
“Wingardium leviosa,” Harry chanted, swishing and flicking his finger like he would his wand. To his surprise, the can began to slowly drift upwards. Harry canceled the spell, and flinched when the can fell to the floor with a crash.
“It’s the crystals,” Hermione stated in her lecturing demeanor. “Mortis somehow managed to get the crystals to store raw magical energy, which would then later be released when the wearer casts a spell. Quite ingenious really, and quite useful for when someone loses their wand, but obviously it only has a finite energy store before it runs dry and needs to be recharged.” Hermione took a breath and a bite of her sandwich before turning to Harry, who had since removed the gauntlet and set it down on the desk. “So, what did you find out about your mysterious ancestor?”
“Well…” Harry trailed off, “I think I know why he’s so smart: He was trained by Merlin himself.” Hermione gasped and nearly dropped her sandwich in shock. “I also found out that he seemed to be pretty close mates with Godric Gryffindor,” he continued. “Which makes it a bit strange why you’ve never heard of him before; I’d figure that anyone that associated with the Four Founders would be documented in every history book that concerned them?” Hermione furrowed her brow in thought and shook her head.
“No, I’ve never seen the name before,” she said. Harry shrugged and picked up his sandwich.
“We can ponder this mystery tomorrow,” he dismissed. “Let’s finish up dinner first. Maybe then we can participate in…other activities,” he said, wagging his eyebrows suggestively. Hermione reached over and playfully swatted him on the shoulder. “What?” He asked, feigning pain, “I can’t help it if I have a beautiful girlfriend.” Hermione snorted and shook her head.
“Alright, I’ll forgive you for that,” she relented. Harry smiled triumphantly, and she added, “Although I may still consider you putting you on the couch for your last comment.” Harry pouted his lip comically.
Over the next few days, Harry and Hermione perused the notes and diaries of the enigmatic Nathaniel Mortis, as well as study the suits that they brought with them, although Hermione did most of the latter. They read about how Mortis’ father had been killed by a corrupt guard, but had gone away unpunished. His notes took a darker turn at this point, along with the development of some rather lethal poisons. However, none of the books had explicitly stated whether he had made the guilty man pay or not.
Some years afterwards, Mortis had met a young woman named Elizabeth, with whom he had quickly fallen in love with. For several pages, the entries had taken a lighter tone again, telling of how Mortis had courted and eventually wed Elizabeth, as well as his excitement when he found out that they were with child. However, the entries took a somber tone once again when Elizabeth had died giving birth to their daughter, whom he had named after her mother. In his grief, Mortis took his daughter and left the fledgling wizarding world, and wandered throughout Europe, earning his living as a mercenary, a trade that he eventually taught his daughter.
“Harry?” Hermione asked him one day while he was washing the dishes.
“Yeah?” Harry responded as he dried a plate and set it aside.
“Have you ever considered how exactly we were going to kill Voldemort?” Harry paused at this question. Truthfully, he had not thought that far ahead, only that he needed to learn more. With a guilty grimace, he shook his head negatively. When he asked her why, she rubbed her hands together nervously. “Well, reading Mortis’ diaries has gotten me thinking, and I was thinking that we should become mercenaries.” Harry looked at her incredulously. “Just hear me out,” she said before he could respond. “We’ve spent the past four years reading up on spells that we could use, but unless we practice, it won’t do us much good, and a training room will only do so much. I was thinking we could use this opportunity to practice, and then work our way back to England and finish the job, and we might as well get paid for it while we’re doing it. What do you think?” Harry sighed and rubbed his face with his hands.
"I don't know, Hermione. You know how I feel about the government."
"Not every government in the world is like back home," Hermione reasoned. "Besides, I can read a few magical law books and be able to cut through most of the bureaucracy, and I can write contracts that would give us a lot of power in our operations. So I ask again, what do you think?" Sighing again, Harry walked up to Hermione and placed his hands on her shoulders.
"What do I think?" Harry echoed. "I think...it's brilliant. It's about time I got some compensation, even if it's not from the people who've screwed me over." Harry reached down and gave her a passionate kiss, his arms wrapping around her waist as she snaked her arms around his neck. "You are one truly brilliant woman," he said, kissing her nose.
"I know," she said in mock haughtiness. "But we can't just advertise 'Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, Mercenaries;' that might reach the wrong ears. But don't worry, I have an idea," she trailed off mysteriously before reaching up and kissing Harry.
Just as when she had been constructing their new wands, Hermione kept everything about her project under wraps from him, saying that it was a surprise. She had ordered several articles of clothing, including six sets of rather expensive Acromantula silk combat robes, with improved flame resistance charms. She bought several Muggle tools, including a rotary tool and smelting equipment, along with several pieces of plastic and metal, locking herself in the basement and only emerging to eat, sleep and use the bathroom.
For almost a month, Hermione toiled, and Harry knew better than to question when she would be finished. Finally, one day she said that she was finished, and escorted him down to the basement, where a vaguely human-shaped figure was covered with a sheet.
"After three weeks of almost non-stop work, I’ve finally finished," Hermione said triumphantly as she whipped off the sheet, revealing her work. Hovering within a stasis charm was a suit similar to the ones from the Mortis vault, but it seemed more modern. Black combat boots led up to cloth pants, surrounded by stiff dragon hide leather leggings; the chest was a shirt covered by a dragon hide vest; where once was metal gauntlets now were smooth leather gloves; finally, where the head would by was a black plastic helmet, its three vertical mouth vents and shiny black lenses giving it an eerie appearance. It was all wrapped in a black Acromantula silk robe, pinned together by a silver brooch of a skull within a stylized "M".
"Wow," Harry gasped, amazed at the stunning craftsmanship. "That's...amazing."
"Thank you," Hermione said, blushing. "The leather is all made from Hungarian Horntail hide, the strongest and most magic-resistant material I could find. The trousers and shirt are made of cotton, which I have enchanted with various charms to keep it from tearing, burning, et cetera," she recited as she pointed out the various features. "On the belt, I added a wand holster, as well as a knife holster," she continued, drawing the curved knife from its sheath. "The knife itself is coated with a thin layer of sterling silver for an extra kick against hostile werewolves, and I used magic to alter the metal so that it wouldn't be reflective." Sheathing the knife, she continued with her demonstration. "The gloves are actually two layers: A cloth glove that I sewed into a leather sleeve. Between the two layers is a network of small crystals connected to together with insulated copper wiring, which leads down into the fingertips, giving us the ability to do limited wandless magic. If you run low, you can recharge them in the field by holding your wand tip to the exposed crystal and channeling your magic through it." She took a glove and pointed to a crystal roughly the size of his pinky fingernail poking out of the leather. "I also installed steel plates into the fingers and knuckles, both for protection and to give your punches a little extra oomph.
"The cloak is made from Acromantula silk. Combining the already incredible tensile strength of spider silk with the fact that it comes from magical spiders, and you have a cloak that is practically tear-proof. However, there are some powerful anti-spell and anti-flame charms on it so that it doesn't simply turn into ash the moment someone throws a fireball at you. I also installed a suit-wide temperature control and cleansing charm so that no one can pick up our scents. And finally, the pièce de résistance, the helmet." Taking down the helmet from its position, she pushed a latch on the back of it, releasing two side clamps and causing it to unhinge from the top. "Here, try it on," Hermione invited. She firmly pressed the helmet onto Harry's face before folding the back piece down and snapping the two side parts into place, firmly anchoring the helmet to his head. His vision flickered to life, revealing several numbers and symbols hovering within his peripheral vision.
"The helmet is the most sophisticated piece of hardware of the entire suit," Hermione continued. "The eye lenses are shatter-proof, impervious and tinted so that no one can see your eyes. They automatically adjust to the ambient light of the room, so that you're neither blinded nor plunged into darkness. Also, with a mental command, you can also see in ultraviolet or thermal imaging, as well as be able to see magical auras. Go ahead, try it," she suggested. Harry furrowed his brow as he thought about seeing auras, and stepped back in shock when his lenses immediately complied. Now he saw Hermione bathed in glowing colors, as well as the various magical tools she had lying about.
"Wicked," Harry said, impressed, but stopped when he heard his own voice. It sounded distorted, synthetic.
"Around the nose and mouth piece, I placed a charm that would distort our voices. People would still be able to tell that you're a man and I'm a woman, but they wouldn't be able to recognize our voices. I also added a charm that would continuously scan what was coming through the mouth vent, and automatically filter out anything that was not in the precise composition of clean, healthy air. The bottom of the helmet is airtight, so it eliminates the possibilities of drowning or inhaling toxic fumes."
"Wow, this is really amazing, Hermione," Harry complimented as he removed the helmet and ruffled up his hair. "I mean, it seems unthinkable that anyone could possibly develop this much stuff in such a short amount of time."
"Well, since when has a little thing like impossibility ever stop us from doing anything?" Hermione asked, pecking Harry on the lips. "Now, strip down to your underwear so you can try it on." Harry set the helmet aside and stripped out of his pants and his shirt, leaving him in only his underwear and socks, and Hermione began dismantling the suit and tossing things at Harry. Piece by piece, Harry found himself being enveloped in the amalgamation of fabric and leather as it enveloped him, until the only exposed skin was that on his head, which was quickly covered when he slid the helmet back on and locked it shut.
"So, how do I look?" Harry asked in his distorted voice as he posed for Hermione.
"Very good, very imposing," she said as she transfigured a chair into a full-length mirror so that Harry could admire his reflection. "You know, I think it's time that Mortis came back from the dead," she added, looking at their reflections in the mirror.
"Yeah," Harry agreed. "You know, if we're going to be hot shot mercenaries, we need a cool name. What do you think?"
"Hmm, maybe," Hermione stated. After a minute of consideration, she nodded her head in satisfaction. "I have an idea," she said.
"I hope it’s better than S.P.E.W.," Harry remarked dryly, being careful to spell the acronym out. Hermione swatted him on the shoulder for that remark.
"For your information, it is," she said. "Mortis is Latin for 'Death,' and we'll be hunting Death Eaters soon enough..." she trailed off as she smiled mischievously. "Soon, the dark wizards of this world will learn to fear Mortis, Death's Hunter."
And such is the new and much more sensible birth of Death's Hunters. By my original plans and estimations, I'd say that this fic is about halfway to completion now, but we'll see how things turn out in the future.
The concept of using the gloves to perform wandless magic was based on a concept I had for a potential sequel to this fic, and it was simply too cool for me to not put it in.
Don't forget to review!