Author: Shadow Rebirth
Warnings: Death, blood and gore, language, spoilers
Chapter WC: 5,842
Story WC: 71,441
First Written: November 1, 2008
Last Edited: November 3, 2008
Posted: November 3, 2008
Summary: Harry has a dark secret: He isn't a wizard. But that certainly doesn't mean he can't do magic. Unfortunately, it also means that in the face of fanatical governments and enraged demigods, Voldemort is going to be the least of his problems. AU, Gray!Harry, foreign school, vampires, werewolves, politics, no pairings.
Shades of Gray
On Halloween morning, Harry had to literally drag himself out of bed. For the past few weeks all that had been on his mind was just how bad some of his past Halloweens had been. He desperately hoped that this year's would be different.
Once Harry had blearily struggled to get dressed, he headed towards the Curtain of Mist. Along the way he paused at the small table pushed up against the wall and scowled when he saw that another letter from Dumbledore had arrived. Over the past few months the old man and several of his old friends had been repeatedly owling him. At first they'd only been begging for him to return home, but by now they were demanding that he tell them were he was. For a while now Harry had been ignoring the letters and so with a flick of his wrists he sent the letter flying into a trash bin, unopened.
Despite the time of year the weather outside was comfortably warm, Harry noticed as he trudged through the Crossways to his first class with his friends. It was doubtless due to the numerous enchantments placed over the Greenland Magical Reserve, regulating the temperature.
The sunlight couldn't be changed by magic, however, and already the sun was almost completely gone. To make up for this there were numerous floating balls of light hovering in the air at uniform intervals. They were about two feet in diameter and let off a bluish light that easily chased away the darkness.
Professor Cordula, their Physical Arts instructor, was waiting for the class when they arrived that morning. He stood with his feet planted firmly on the ground, spread apart, and his thick arms crossed across his barrel-like chest as he surveyed them with sharp amber eyes. The class gathered unsurely in front of the werewolf, wondering why he was there since he usually didn't appear until after they'd finished their warm-up exercises.
"We won't be doing the usual practices today," Professor Cordula barked once they'd all arrived. "You'd progressed far enough in your weapons practice for me to judge you ready to get your real weapons."
Instantly everyone began chatting excitedly and Harry exchange wide grins with his friends. This was what they'd all been waiting for! Now they'd get the blades that they'd master in, the ones that they'd been told about since the beginning of the year.
Perhaps this Halloween wouldn't be so bad after all.
Professor Cordula led the class down into the basements beneath the school. They traveled single file down a narrow, winding staircase for what seemed like forever--though the distortion of time was most likely caused by anticipation--before they came out into a long hallway that stretched on into the darkness. Cordula stopped three doors down and ushered them into the room.
As soon as Harry stepped inside he couldn't help but gape in shock. The room itself was at least as large as the Banquet Hall and had a high, arching ceiling. Its walls were lined countless weapons of every type imaginable. There must have been thousands and thousands there!
Ryan let out a low whistle. "They must've been stockpiling these weapons for a thousand years!" the young werewolf whispered in awe.
Meanwhile, Professor Cordula had stridden to the center of the large store room. "Listen up!" he called harshly. "You will all be getting a weapon today. However, as you may have heard, you will not be choosing the weapon. Instead it's your magic that will choose which weapon fits the best. Not which one you think makes you look the coolest, but which one actually fits you.
"In a moment I will be temporarily blinding all of you. Don't panic and run around screaming or I'll just knock you out and let you do this on your own time. Instead you will calmly reach out with your senses as you've been taught to do and approach whichever weapon is your instincts tell you to go for. You don't need to worry about running into anything since your magic will lead you, but be careful regardless. There have been a few times in the past where two people have chosen the same weapon, but we'll deal with those sorts of situations as they come up. Ready everyone? Go."
As if a blind had been pulled over his eyes, Harry suddenly found himself plunged into darkness. He tensed, fighting the instinctive panic that rose up within him. Then he tentatively reached out with his senses as they'd all been taught to do and waited for something to happen.
The reaction was almost instantaneously. Harry felt a pull, like some sort of an urge telling him to walk. Without even thinking about what he was doing, he began to do so. Despite his fears about running into something or someone, Harry had no such problems. He did however have to suppress snickers however when an "Oof!" that sounded suspiciously like Zahra came from the other side of the room. How amusing they must look to Professor Cordula, he mused, meandering around like a bunch of fools.
Harry continued walking until his feet abruptly stopped. Still acting on instinct, Harry reached out and his hand closed around a rough, old handle. Almost as soon as his fingers touched the metal the temporary blindness was lifted from his eyes. Harry blinked few times to clear the disorienting sensation and then finally looked down at the weapon in his hand.
The weapon he'd chosen was an old Viking broadsword(1). It was a straight blade with a hilt that was made out of some strange golden bronze metal that almost resembled stone. A strip of the metal about an inch thick ran up the middle of the blade and it was decorated with various runes. The broadsword was about five feet in length and half a foot in width, but despite its size Harry found that he could lift it with both hands without too much trouble. He assumed the runes had something to do with it.
After a few minutes Harry met up with the rest of his friends. They too had chosen their weapons. Ryan's was a large double-bladed war axe, Damion's was a relatively simple rapier, Zahra's was a pair of daggers with curved blades and smooth hilts, Senka's an old Japanese katana, and Azrael's was a long scimitar with a knotted hilt.(2)
"We'll start with individual weapon use tomorrow," Professor Cordula told them as they stared in awe at their new weapons. "Your weapons will be kept in the Physical Arts room at all times when not in use, until I deem you skilled and responsible enough it take care of them. You can try and steal them from the cabinets if you like," he added with a smile that sent shivers down the student's spines.
After they'd put their weapons in the Physical Arts classroom, Harry proceeded to Magical Theory with Ryan and Zahra. As they sat down and waited for Professor Brenton to arrive, Harry watched Zahra from the corner of his eye. Though Ryan was oblivious, as usual, Harry had noticed that she was unusually fidgety that day. And he doubted it was because of their new weapons.
"Zahra...?" he finally said tentatively. The mage glanced at him questioningly. "Uh, are you...alright?"
To Harry's great surprise, Zahra smiled bitterly. Quickly the expression fell away however and the young Egyptian woman released a sigh.
"I'm fine..." she said after a moment, "It's just--"
Zahra's mouth closed with an audible click as the door burst open and Professor Brenton strode her, wisps of her blonde hair flying around her face. Zahra sunk back into her chair and Harry reluctantly let the topic go.
Professor Brenton seemed to be unusually enthusiastic that day, if the bright smile stretched across her mouth was anything to go by. As she faced the class she was practically bouncing on her heels.
"Now that we've gone over a lot of history of the magical world, today we're going to be touching on a rather interesting topic," she told them brightly. "Magic. As in magic itself: What it is and where it comes from. We wait until this far into the year to go into this mainly because by now you've been thoroughly immersed in physics and chemistry by your other professors.
"To start off with, let's go over what we know about what we know about magic. As I've said a million times already, magic is energy that magical beings and creatures are able to manipulate. When one performs a spell it's basically a transfer of electromagnetic energy from the caster to whatever you're affecting. This works similarly to how a microwave does in that it affects only the certain atoms that you want it to. When a wizard casts a spell, this energy is in a visible frequency of the energy spectrum--hence the jets of light--while we magical beings are capable of casting magic on a different frequency.
"Now comes the question of where this energy comes from. As you've all learnt, it is impossible to create or destroy energy. We can only take what it already here and change and manipulate it. However, we do not manipulate the natural energy around us to perform feats of magic except in a few cases. Because of this the magic seems to come with in us, from our magical core, but this isn't the case, even though it may seem so.
"The truth is that our magical cores are more like magnets or lightning rods. The energy that we use is drawn from the electromagnetic field that surrounds the earth. When we channel magic our cores instantly draw this energy to us. It is then converted in our cores and channeled through our magical pathways for use. How this works we aren't exactly sure, despite many millennia of study. Just as we aren't sure about the true nature of gravity, the electromagnetic field is still a bit of a mysterious to us. Even most of what I'm telling you right now is more theory than fact, since none of it can be proved conclusively."
Harry fiddled thoughtfully with his pen as he mused over Professor Benton's explanations. She continued on into more theory about electromagnetic energy, but Harry found it hard to take in. The idea that magic was basically energy drawn into the body from the electromagnetic field around the earth was mind boggling. How was attracted to the body instantaneously? Why did some beings have the ability to use the energy? How was it possible period?
Harry's mind began to wander off further along similar lines until Zahra finally nudged him sharply, forcing him to pay attention. This was why Magical Theory wasn't all that fun; as interesting as it could be, sometimes it made his head hurt.
Harry's fingers agitatedly bounced up and down on the wooden arm of one of Ciar's chairs. His nails made a dull clicking sound that resounded through the otherwise silent room. Harry's chin was resting in his other hand, which was propped up by the elbow on the opposite chair arm. His back was hunched and his overall appearance radiated boredom.
Where was he?
The young mage had been waiting in Ciar's office for over ten minutes now, but there was no sign of the dark elf. Ciar never missed out one of their lessons, but now...
When the office door finally clicked open Harry instantly perked up. He quickly deflated again when instead of Ciar, Aetius stepped inside. Harry slumped back in his chair dejectedly while the blonde vampire smiled sheepishly.
"Sorry 'bout that, Ha--Blake," he said, quickly correcting himself on the name. "I had to take over Ciar's classes for the day and I only just got finished cleaning up."
"Had to take over his classes?" Harry repeated while frowning worriedly. "Where's Professor Ciar?"
"Away," Aetius replied evasively. Harry's frown deepened, but he didn't press the issue. "/Anyway,/" Aetius continued, "You're excused from Soul Magic until Ciar comes back."
"And when will that be?"
The professor shrugged, though whether it was because he didn't know or just didn't want to answer, Harry wasn't sure. Aetius quickly shooed Harry from the classroom, telling him that he'd let him know when Ciar returned. Harry threw a scowl over his shoulder, but did as he was told and began to walk off. Perhaps he'd go check up on Buckbeak again. The hippogriff had integrated into the Magical Reserve well, but he still always seemed overjoyed whenever Harry went to visit.
Ciar bowed on one knee, his head bent low in respect. Rising up on either side of him were lines of old stone columns. They thrust up into the darkness that seemed to mingle in the long hall so that no matter how much one strained their neck, they'd never be able to see the ceiling.
Standing in front of Ciar was a tall woman dressed in a pure white hooded robe. The hood covered her face, hiding it from view.
For several long moments silence stretched one between the two. Then finally, the woman spoke in a voice that swept through the ancient pillared hall like billowing wind.
"You wonder why we have called you here."
Ciar said nothing. He didn't even lift his head to look at the woman as he waited for her to continue. She paused for a moment, allowing the echoes of the words to fade before speaking once more.
"Events that were placed in motion four thousand years ago are coming to a climax," she said softly. Despite the volume, her voice seemed to easily reach every corner of the dark hall. "Soon it shall all be decided."
Ciar finally looked up at the robed woman before him. His eyes were narrowed suspiciously and a frown had settled onto his face.
"...There is a boy," the woman said instead of answering his question. "He will be heavily involved. He is already involved."
"Why are you telling me this?" Ciar growled, his eyes flashing with impatience. He seemed unusually and uncharacteristically agitated. "It's not as though I know--" Abruptly he cut himself off as he realized the meaning behind the woman's words. "...Harry Potter."
"Harry Potter," she agreed. "Few know this, but a witch with traces of nymph blood gave prophecy a year after his birth." The dark elf's eyes widened in shock, but before he could even open his mouth the woman continued, "/The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches...Born as the seventh month dies...Born to those who thrice defied him...And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal...but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not...and either must die and the hands of the other for neither can live while the other survives...The one with power the vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies./"
"The Dark Lord..." Ciar mused with a frown. "So Harry is fated to battle Lord Voldemort? Then his abilities as a mage must be this 'power the Dark Lord knows not'."
"Not quite." Ciar looked up sharply. "The wizards were both correct and incorrect in their assumption that the Dark Lord referred to is Voldemort."
"Both correct and incorrect?" he repeated incredulously. "How is that possible?"
"Events that were placed in motion four thousand years ago are coming to a climax," the woman reiterated, blatantly ignoring the question.
Ciar's teeth clenched, revealing his annoyance. "Yes," he forced out. "So you've said. If these events are so horrible however, why don't you try being clearer so that I can figure out what you want me to do?"
The woman lifted her head enough for Ciar to see pure white eyes, devoid of any pupil, staring at him from beneath her hood. A shiver ran down his spine and he quickly dropped his gaze back to the marble floor.
"You know perfectly well that we cannot interfere, Erebus, son of Aristarchos." Ciar flinched away at the name, as though he'd been physically struck. "It is not our place to do so."
Ciar fell into silence for several moments. Then he looked back up and met the robed woman's gaze without an ounce of hesitation.
"What is it you wish me to do?" he asked.
"Guide him. Guide him and watch his footsteps, for without support he shall fall and so shall we all."
Ciar bowed forward until his hair brushed against the floor, paying his respects to the nymph before him, the High Priestess of the Elvin Temple.
Harry hastily sped through the halls of Silvermoor, barely even noticing how his footsteps echoed loudly off the walls. In his last class Aetius had informed him that Ciar had returned and he was eager to find out where the dark elf had been.
When Harry burst into Ciar's office, the professor glanced up from where he'd been sitting behind his desk. "Sit, Harry," he grunted, turning his attention back onto the small piece of wood in front of him.
Harry hesitated, surprised. Ciar always called him Blake instead of Harry. So why...?
Before his thoughts could progress any farther, the young mage's interest was diverted as a brief burst of energy washed over his skin, emanating from the wood that Ciar's hands were hovering around.
"A portkey?" Harry inquired curiously.
Ciar raised an eyebrow. "Yes, actually. I was just creating one. How did you know?"
"The magic," Harry replied with a shrug. "You know, how all portkeys have that weird prickly feeling."
"No, actually, I don't know."
Harry's brow furrowed in confusion. "What do you mean? The wave of magic portkey creation gives off is kind of hard to miss..."
Ciar stared at Harry. "...Are you telling me that you can feel the magic?"
"...Er, yes? I mean, can't you?"
"No," Ciar said dryly, "I can't. And neither can anyone else in the world."
Harry felt a cold chill settle of his shoulders. He briefly recalled how he'd felt magic emanating from the black gates of Myrddin, but that no one else had. This was just great. In the wizarding world he'd been the only person capable of performing magic without a wand and now he was the only magical being capable of sensing magic.
The teen released a groan. "Is this another side affect of the Killing Curse or something?"
Ciar didn't answer. Confused, Harry looked over to him and found that he was staring strangely at Harry, lost in thought.
The older man shook his head his head as if to clear it. "Ah, sorry. What did you ask?"
Harry hesitated. "Uh, I was wondering if this could another side affect of the Killing Curse?"
"Hmm," Ciar mused with a frown. "Possibly. There are few other possible explanations except..."
"Yes, yes, death magic is one of the few possible explanations," he repeated. Harry eyed him strangely, wondering what had thrown the professor so off balance. He'd never seen him like this before. "I have considered before that you might be able to control the death magic in your body and this may well prove it."
Harry's jaw dropped. "/Control/ the death magic?" he asked. "But I thought that magical beings could only draw upon it for short bursts of time? And how could my ability to sense magic lead you to think that I could control death magic?"
"Magic is energy, as you know," Ciar began. "It surrounds us and is a part of what makes life, life. Death magic is the exact opposite of magic. It saps energy away, leaving only death behind. It can be used to for a variety of things, true, but this is still its basic definition. In theory, if you have true control over death magic then it would be possible for you to sense the magic in things around you, just as a predator senses its prey. And it is true that normally we can only draw upon death magic in short bursts of time, but there was one other person capable of truly controlling death magic."
"Well then maybe I should contact them," Harry said eagerly. "They might be able to help me!"
To Harry's great shock, Ciar did something Harry'd never seen him do before: he snorted. "The other person is not someone you'd ever want to meet, I can assure you," he said dryly. "And he's been gone for a long time anyway; nearly four thousand years now."
"Oh," Harry said, disappointed. "Er, never mind then."
"That does not mean that you won't be able to learn to control it," the professor pointed out, "Just that we're going to have to experiment for a while to figure out how to control it. This truly is a power that the world knows not."
Harry never realized he'd forgotten to ask Ciar where he'd been.
The weeks following Ciar's return blurred into a monotony of classes. There were no tests in December, but by the time winter break rolled around Harry was restless for a break regardless. Silvermoor asked for more from its students than Hogwarts ever had, but then, the students also had more to give.
Though Silvermoor was open for students to come and go as they pleased of the break, Harry was going to spend most of his time away. The reason? He was going to buy an apartment. He needed a real home after all and using a wizarding property was out of the question if he didn't want to get caught. Thus it was time to approach the Magical World's real estate companies.
And so he did.
Within four days after school got out, Harry had found and purchased an apartment in New York City. It was a rather average sized two bedroom flat, but it was modern and had magical protections on it. And best of all, it was Harry's. It was the first place that he could ever truly call his own home.
Harry was interrupted from his musings by a series of quick knocks on the front door. He sighed and strode to open it calling as he did, "I'm coming, I'm coming already!"
The knocking continued until Harry opened the door, revealing a grinning Ryan. The werewolf was literally bouncing up and down in excitement. Harry just rolled his eyes and stepped backwards, allowing Ryan to enter.
The other teen curiously glanced around Harry's apartment. "Nice," he said finally. He turned to face Harry, still grinning. "I can't wait 'til I can get my own place. My parents won't let me until I'm eighteen though, even though I managed to get into Silvermoor. Being an orphan's gotta be nice." Ryan suddenly began waving his arms around, panicking. "Not that loosing your parents is good or anything! I just meant, uh, I--"
Harry snickered. "Yeah, I get it, Ryan. Don't worry."
The amber eyed boy laughed nervously. "Uh, right. So, you ready to go then?"
"Yes," the mage replied. He picked up a bag lying near the door and pulled the strap over his shoulder. "Let's get going."
Ryan, who had a backpack as well, bounded out of the door ahead of Harry. "Damion's meeting us at the bank in Rome, right?" he asked while Harry locked up.
"That's the plan. We agreed to meet at two and it's already a quarter past one."
Ryan's perpetual grin widened in a full-blown smile. "I still can't believe that he invited us to stay at his manor for a few days. It's too bad that Zahra and Senka couldn't come, but I guess that this means that it'll just be us guys!"
Harry and Ryan chatted as they headed down to the nearest subway entrance. They took a ride down to the south end of Manhattan, where the business district was. There was a shopping section for magical beings there, which was where they would find a branch of the Gringotts Bank.
Unknown to the muggles and even the wizards, the subway had a special stop just for magical beings. It was the only way to get the Sindri shopping mall, except for through Gringotts, which also opened up onto the wizarding shopping street. And so when, unnoticed by the muggles, the train pulled to a halt and an enchanted voice called out, "Sindri Magical Shopping Center", Harry and Ryan stood and excited.
They stepped out onto a platform that, unlike the muggle ones, was made of smooth white marble tiles. There were only a few others getting on and off and Harry watched with raised eyebrows as a tall fayerie passed them. None of the muggles even glanced at her, indicating some sort of an enchantment.
Ahead of them was a tall, wide staircase leading aboveground. The two students quickly bounded up and stepped out into what seemed like another world.
Spread out before them was a massive shopping mall that looked like a mix between modern and ancient architecture. Golden roman-style columns lined the marble walkway, where masses of magical beings from all races were mixing together. On all sides were various stores than opened onto the main walkway through large arches. They were selling everything imaginable, both magical and non-magical, from potions ingredients, to books, to furniture.
Harry glanced up and saw that there was a second level to the shopping center above them, with various walkways crisscrossing through the air. Above that was a red dome ceiling. At various intervals on the ceiling there were wide stained glass windows, allowing sunlight to shine inside.
"/Woah,/" Ryan breathed. "This is awesome! We've got a magical shopping center in San Francisco that I've been to a bunch of times, but it's nothing like this!"
Harry nodded dumbly in agreement. As he glanced around he noticed that there were people from all nations there as well. The mix of cultures was truly incredible. He was so tempted to check out a bunch of the stores, but had to remind himself that they were already on a tight schedule. He'd have to visit some other time.
"Let's head to Gringotts," Harry said as he glanced over a large map that was in the middle of the walkway. There was a flashing red arrow on the map saying /"You are here"/. Below, in cursive lettering were the words: "Where would you like to go?" Below that were columns of list of stores, listed alphabetically
Ryan reached past Harry and tapped Gringotts on the list with his pointer finger. Instantly a red line shot out from the arrow on the map, drawing out the quickest path. It stopped in front of a large building in the back of the mall, which was then highlighted in red. Before Harry's eyes the words "Gringotts Magical Bank" wrote themselves out across the building.
Harry raised his eyebrows and glanced at his companion. There werewolf shrugged. "What? There's one of these in every mall. They're a pretty nice piece of enchantment. Not to mention convenient."
Harry shook his head in amusement at Ryan's blasé attitude. Suddenly he felt like an eleven year old kid again, staring in wonder at the wizarding world. There was so much that he didn't know yet about the magical world. So much that he had to learn.
Harry and Ryan set off through to mall, heading to Gringotts. They found it at the very end of the shopping center, just as the map had said. Its face was the same white marble that all Gringotts seemed to have and took up the entire wall. The entrance was not a pair of doors however, but instead a massive archway that led into a large room at least three stories tall.
The inside of the bank was almost indistinguishable from any other branch, just as they all seemed to be. Harry wondered not for the first time if they'd all been built at the same time.
Harry swiftly approached one of the goblins and asked for the transport disk to the branch in Rome. The squat goblin nodded and then silently led them over to one of the thick, black disks. Sure enough, Rome, Italy was engraved on it in white. The goblin turned around and left them.
Harry had had experience with many different forms of transportation in his life, but nothing quite measured up to what a transport disk felt like. There was Apparation, which made you feel like you were being squeezed through a small tube; portkeys, which felt like a sharp jerk on the back of your navel; and Floo, which felt almost like a muggle rollercoaster ride. Transport disks, however, gave you the sensation of freefall for several seconds. Then it would disappear as quickly as it'd come, the bluish light would fade away, and you'd find yourself in a different Gringotts bank.
To Harry, transport disks were the most comfortable form of magical transportation. He'd only used them a few times and already he was completely used to them.
Once he'd arrived in Rome, Harry quickly stepped off the transport disk. It was a good thing too, for only a few seconds later the disk lit up again and Ryan appeared. There werewolf grinned at him before glancing around the bank.
"So," he began, "Where are we supposed to meet Dam-- Ah, never mind."
Harry turned to where Ryan gaze was directed and saw Damion, leaning up against a wall. The vampire pushed off the wall when he caught sight of them and strode over to meet them.
"Welcome to Italy," the vampire greeted as soon as he was close enough. He briefly flashed them a wide grin.
"So, how are we getting to your house?" Ryan questioned curiously. "Portkey?" It was one of the main methods of transportation in the magical world after all.
"That would be the fastest way," Damion agreed, "But I'm actually going to take you there via car, to give you a brief tour of the city."
Harry's eyes widened in surprise. "Thanks Damion," he said sincerely. "A tour would be great."
Damion led them out of the bank and straight onto the street. Only a few feet away shiny, black limo was waiting for them. A man in a suit who was clearly a vampire opened the door for them as soon as he saw Damion. Ryan gaped and quickly scrambled after Harry and Damion to get inside.
"A freaking limo, man?" the werewolf shot a Damion. The vampire shrugged easily, uncaring.
Lying across one of the seats was Nyx, Damion's nundu familiar. The massive leopard stared at them through lazy, half-lidded eyes from where her head was resting on her front paws.
"She wanted to come," Damion explained, taking a seat next to her. "She loves car rides, for some bizarre reason."
Suddenly Ryan turned to Harry. "Speaking of which, where's your familiar? I haven't seen that snake in months."
"She's back at my apartment, right now, but I'm still keeping her at Silvermoor during the year," Harry replied. He shrugged. "I guess I just don't take her out much; she's content where she is, for the time being."
Harry, Ryan, and Damion, spent the rest of the day driving around Rome. Damion pointed out all of the famous landmarks and promised to take them to a couple of them sometime during their stay.
Eventually the limo pulled to a stop in front of a massive old three story mansion. It was surrounded by acres and acres of private land, including many gardens. The three teens stepped out of the limo and Damion led them up to the house.
"Azrael will be arriving tomorrow," Damion said as they ambled up the estate's stone steps. "He has some things to take care of first."
The inside of the mansion was even more extravagant than the outside. With raised eyebrow, Harry observed the crystal chandeliers, priceless vases, ancient murals, and golden decorations. Ryan was outright gaping at everything, doubtless having never seen such a blatant display of wealth in his life.
Damion brought them into a large parlor that was decorated in the same mix-of-eras style as the rest of the house. The vampire opened his mouth to say something, but before he could they were interrupted by the entrance of anther man.
"Damion," the vampire greeted, stopping before them. His voice was cold and formal.
Instantly Damion folded his hands in front of him and bowed. "Father."
Harry's eyes widened in surprise. His gaze sweeper over the vampire before them. So this was Lord Noctis, Damion's father.
Seeing them next to each other, Harry could clearly notice the similarities. Damion's father had the same basic facial structure as his son, but his face was chilly and hard, as if it'd been carved from marble. His eyes were as black as obsidian and looked just as sharp and cold too. His hair was long like Damion's, but was tied back by a stone clip instead of being braided.
Damion's father glanced over Harry and Ryan, looking almost disappointed. He completely ignored his son. "I am Lord Ambrosios Noctis, Damion's father," he said after a moment.
Ryan stepped forward eagerly, holding out his hand. "I'm Ryan Henderson. It's an honor to meet you, sir!"
Ambrosios' eyes flickered over Ryan's hand, but he didn't move to shake it. "A...pleasure, I'm sure," he said with a sneer.
Ryan gulped and slowly retracted his hand.
Ambrosios' gaze turned on Harry, waiting impatiently. The young mage's teeth clenched in his mouth. Damion had never spoken much of his father, despite Zahra's frequent prodding. Now he realized why.
"Blake Gray," he introduced. His voice was carefully void of emotion.
The older vampire's face went even blanker, if possible. "You'd be the one Erebus Ciar works with?" he asked, practically spitting out the dark elf's name. From the corner of his eye, Harry noticed Damion stiffening.
"Yes," Harry replied carefully. "He teaches me soul magic."
Ambrosios made a sound in the back of his throat that might have been disgust. Why he seemed to have such a deep-seated hate for Ciar, Harry couldn't even begin to guess.
The door to the parlor opened once more, letting in another vampire. This one quickly approached Ambrosios, bowing as he did so.
"Lord Ambrosios," he greeted. "I just received a message for you. It said that--" The vampire suddenly stopped. He glanced and the three teens and revised whatever he'd been about to say. "--There has been a breakthrough on...the project."
The elder Noctis' eye widen in surprise. He waved the other vampire away and then turned back around.
"I'm afraid I must be going now," Ambrosios said quickly. "Damion, please give my regards to your cousin." Without another word he swept from the room.
For the rest of the night, Harry's thoughts lingered on the "breakthrough" and the look of unholy glee that'd been on Ambrosios' face.
(1) - A picture of Harry's broadsword can be found at http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn35/Shadow_Rebirth/HarrysBroadsword.jpg
(2) - Pictures of their weapons can be found here:
Ryan's Axe: http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn35/Shadow_Rebirth/RyansAxe.jpg
Zahra's Daggers: http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn35/Shadow_Rebirth/ZahrasDaggers.jpg
Damion's Rapier: http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn35/Shadow_Rebirth/DamionsRapier.jpg
Senka's Katana: http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn35/Shadow_Rebirth/SenkasKatana.jpg
Azrael's Scimitar: http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn35/Shadow_Rebirth/AzraelsScimitar.jpg
A/N: Someone recently asked me how long this story is going to be and I thought I'd share my answer with everyone: The story will take place over about three years, with the majority of it taking place during Harry's third year of school. It'll end just after he turns twenty. This could change, of course, but that's basically what I have planned.
Apparently a few people were a bit confused about why Harry didn't just take Buckbeak to Greenland himself, so I'll explain it a bit more: He couldn't take Buckbeak via Apparation or portkey, because of the distance and Buckbeak's mass, respectively. He also couldn't fly the hippogriff there himself since he couldn't miss school. Hence, he asked Neville and Theodore, two of his friends to do it. I hope that clears up an questions.
Oh, and people keep asking me what the pairings are for this story. Let me make it simple: Read the summary. Still don't get it? Then I'll spell it out: There will be no pairings. Well, at least no main ones. Doubtless some pairings will develop off to the side, but none with Harry. I'm writing this story for the plot, not the romance. I couldn't see Harry developing a relationship until all the shit with Voldemort is over anyway. After that, who knows.
More info on this story can be found at www.groups.yahoo.com/group/ShadowRebirthFanfiction.