WIP AU Harry was sent to Azkaban and was later found to be innocent. With the help of Ron, he will find out who his true friends are. Will he forgive those who betrayed him? Will he be able to le...
Disclaimer: I do not nor will I ever own the Harry Potter story, characters, villains, heroes and creatures. I also sadly do not make any money off this story. Trust me; my bank account cannot lie about that.
Thanks to Nancy for her help as always!
CHAPTERS 1-32 HAVE BEEN REVISED. CHAPTER 32 USED TO BE CHAPTER 31, BUT I CUT A CHAPTER IN HALF BECAUSE IT WAS TOO LARGE FOR SOME ARCHIVES. IF YOU HAVE READ THESE CHAPTERS, YOU SHOULD GO BACK AND RE-READ THEM. I HAVE MADE TONKS PART OF THE STORY INSTEAD OF INTRODUCING HER LATER. THERE ARE PARTS THAT NEED TO BE READ TO UNDERSTAND SOME OF WHAT I WILL WRITE IN THE FUTURE. THE NEXT CHAPTER WILL BE A NEW CHAPTER.
FLAMES OF BETRAYAL
Dobby walked into the small building and looked around. He waited a moment before a small female elf walked up to him.
"Can I help you?" she asked.
Dobby nodded. "I would like to see Elder Kane if I could. I have a request to ask of him," he replied.
"Can I tell him who is waiting for him?" she asked.
"My name is Dobby," he said.
Her eyes widened and she took a step forward, her expression eager. "Dobby? The elf that is bonded to two wizards? The one who training to become a warrior elf?" she asked, excitement lacing her voice.
Dobby looked at her warily. "Yes, I am he. May I ask who you are?" he inquired.
"My name is Thyme, sister of Sage and Cinny. Sage has told me about you and Cinny says that when your training is done, you'll be one of the best trained Warrior Elves in centuries," Thyme exclaimed excitedly. "Oh, I must tell the Elder that you're here." She turned and bounced out of the room.
Dobby blinked rapidly, his expression shocked. Things in his life had changed a great deal in the last several years. Who knew that when he decided to protect Harry Potter -- a great and wonderful wizard -- from his former Master, that his life would take such a turn. He had thought that it couldn't get better after finally being released after years of servitude, but this, this was beyond what he had ever imagined.
When the Wizarding World had convicted Harry Potter of murder, he had been angry. He knew in his heart that there was no way that Harry Potter would ever kill anyone. He had been angry with Dumbledore for doing nothing. Harry's friends had turned their backs on him and left him alone. All except Wheezy, no Ron now, he thought ruefully. It was hard to remember sometimes that Ron was no longer a Weasley and that his old nickname didn't work for him anymore.
He was happy when the Wizarding World had found out that Harry Potter was innocent and released him from Azkaban. When he had finally seen his friend, he had understood the need for Harry to hide his true condition. He almost broke into tears when Harry asked him to come along with him and Ron to the castle. The moment Harry had asked him to be his secret keeper; well Dobby had just about exploded with joy. He thought then that his life couldn't get any better than that.
However, he was wrong. He was now training to be a Warrior Elf; something he had only thought was a myth. He found a hidden world that not even the Wizards knew about. For centuries, a hidden community had been flourishing on the grounds of Potter Castle. Since the first elves' freedom from servitude many years ago, their society had flourished into a strong, stable community, hidden from the Wizarding World. The house-elves, once known as the Golodh o en Calben -- now only known as the En Golodh or the Exiled Ones -- were free and strong. They trained in many areas, as warriors, as healers, as leaders, as seers and as artists. What had once been a down trodden, beaten race had slowly become a thriving people. They were only saddened that those that were still in servitude didn't know about them. To insure the continuing prosperity of their community, they hid it to keep it safe, never telling any human. The Wizarding World would only destroy them if they ever found out.
It had been several day since the werewolf had discovered the treachery of the Headmaster. He had noticed that Harry was despondent, his face filled with stress as he realized that the time until the final confrontation between Voldemort and Dumbledore was drawing ever closer. Harry was studying hard, trying to catch up on what he had missed. He trained until the wee hours of morning, catching only a few hours of sleep, to wake up early in the morning and do it all over again.
Dobby knew that if Harry continued in this way, he would collapse before his first confrontation. What Harry needed was time. Time he didn't have. With that in mind, Dobby decided to approach the Elder. He knew of a place that Harry could train, if the Elder would let him take Harry there.
He paced, waiting impatiently for someone to come and collect him. A few minutes later, Thyme bounced back into the room and beamed at him. "Elder Kane will see you now," she said.
Dobby sighed with relief. Finally. Now all he had to do was talk the Elder in letting Harry use the one place no human had ever been. Right, that should be easy. Dobby snorted internally and walked after the bouncy house-elf. They stopped at a door and Thyme opened it, stepping aside to let Dobby in. He nodded his thanks and stepped into the room as Thyme closed the door behind him.
He glanced around the room. It was very large. It was large enough for a human to stand comfortably. The walls were red and the wood trimmings were made of oak. There were large portraits done by an elf artisan, one dedicated to Morrigan Potter, the woman who had freed the house-elves so long ago. Dobby heard a noise and glanced around. He saw a very old elf standing by the window, gazing out into the lovely courtyard beyond.
Dobby waited patiently. He knew that he couldn't rush this interview, not if he wanted to get permission for Harry to use the training cave. The old elf turned and looked at him appraisingly. He walked over to him slowly, his eyes filled with wisdom and warmth. Dobby felt a sense of peace and safety flow over him as he gazed into those large eyes.
"Thyme tells me that you are Dobby, son of Ginger and Talbot, widowed mate to Emmy. You are new to this place, yet you have already bonded with two wizards, powerful ones at that. You are also training to be a Warrior Elf and from what I hear, you will be one of the best in the last hundred years. Your courage, power and strength will take you far. So, tell me, Dobby, what can I do for you?" the Elder asked.
Dobby took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "As you know, things in the Wizarding World are becoming tense. There is the Dark Lord, which the Wizards know about. He has been causing mayhem in their world for years. Harry Potter defeated him once when he was but a child, but sadly, the man was reborn and has continued his quest for power. What the Wizarding World doesn't know is about the other Dark Lord. Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, is not what he seems. He is in fact Voldemort's father. He is just as evil as his son is, if not more so and only a few people in the Wizarding World know about it. Harry Potter is prophesized to be the one to defeat the Dark Lord, but because of the machinations of the first Dark Lord, he was thrown into the Wizarding World prison and has missed out on his last year of schooling," Dobby explained.
Elder Kane frowned slightly. "Though we are hidden from the Wizarding World, we do have our sources as to what has been going on there. If you are correct in this, then the fate of the Wizarding World is very grave. Though it concerns me to an extent, why should we care about the fate of the world that is keeping our cousins in servitude? If they are destroyed, we have one less thing to worry about," he said.
Dobby repressed the growl of frustration that wanted to escape and shook his head. "That is where you are wrong. If the Dark Lord, or Dumbledore, gains power over the Wizarding World, then it will only be a matter of time before he begins to look for more power. While our society is hidden, there are still ways to find it. If the Dark Lord is the one to gain power, what will stop him from destroying our cousins? They are nothing more than cattle to them. We cannot allow this to happen," Dobby cried out passionately.
Elder Kane sighed and sat down. "What can we do? As you said, they think of us as nothing more than cattle. How can we protect them?" he asked, his expression weary. "It has been the concern of the Council that if the Dark Lord does indeed gain power, then our society would be in danger. But, we don't know where to go from here," he said.
"Then we fight," Dobby said firmly.
"Fight?" the Elder asked. "How?"
"There are elves being trained in the way of the Warriors, as they have been for hundreds of years. Why are they training if they aren't going to fight? We are stronger than our cousins are. The Wizards have forgotten our true power. We would not fight alone in this. Once the Dark Lord and Dumbledore are defeated, we can take our place in the world, no longer having to hide away in fear," Dobby explained, his eyes blazing with a passionate fervor.
The old elf sat back in his chair and gazed at Dobby solemnly. "And who do we fight with? Who would accept our armies? The Wizards believe us to be weak and they wouldn't begin to understand just what we could do. As you said, they believe us no more than cattle. So, tell me, who would lead us?" Elder Kane asked; his gaze intent.
Dobby stood up straight and gazed at him fiercely. "Harry Potter can lead us," he replied, his gaze proud.
"Harry Potter? He is one of your bonded, correct?" the Elder asked.
Dobby nodded and the old elf looked thoughtful. "I see. What makes you think that Harry Potter would agree to lead an army of the Exiled? What makes Harry Potter any different from any other Wizard?" the old house-elf asked.
"Harry Potter freed me when he was only twelve. He didn't have to. He never treated me any differently than he did any of his other friends. I never had to wonder what he wanted from me. I never had to worry about abuse from him. Harry is my friend. He is a good and wise wizard. He has a friend who is a werewolf and another who is a half-giant. He thinks all magical creatures should have the right to freedom. He will fight and die for us simply because that is the way he is," Dobby replied.
The Elder nodded; his gaze thoughtful. "It is true that we have been training warriors since we were freed on the hopes that there would finally come a time when we could put their abilities to good use. Understand this, Dobby, if the Council agrees to this, we won't be able to hide any longer. The Wizards will know about us. Do you have that much trust in this Harry Potter?" he asked.
"I do," Dobby said firmly. "With the proper training, Harry Potter will become one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, Wizard alive. Along with his friends, I believe that we have a very good chance in defeating both the Dark Lord and Dumbledore."
Elder Kane sat up and gazed at him, his eyes intent. "Training?" he asked. "What training do you have in mind?"
"As I said before, Harry missed his last year at Hogwarts. He is behind in his magic. Power he has, spells he doesn't. He needs the time to learn, but with the Dark Lord and Dumbledore closing in, he doesn't have the time to learn what he needs. Therefore, I ask that he be allowed to enter the Cave of Teachings," Dobby requested quietly.
The Elder's eyes widened. "You want to allow a human into the Cave of Teachings? A place that no human knows about, let alone has ever entered," he asked, shocked.
Dobby shook his head. "No, not a human."
The Elder sagged, his expression relieved. Dobby smirked. "I wish to ask the Council to allow five humans to enter the Cave of Teachings," he stated slyly.
Elder Kane stared at him a moment before laughing. "You are a sly one, Dobby, son of Ginger and Talbot. Fortunately, I have been waiting for this. Sage is the daughter of my daughter. She has been observing this Harry Potter and his friends and she agrees with you. Harry Potter is the Wizard that will allow the Exiled Ones to once again find a place in Valar. The Council has approved your request. However, we will be asking your friends to take an Oath of Secrecy. This is non-negotiable. It is for our protection as well as theirs," he said.
Dobby nodded eagerly, a wide smile on his face. "Harry Potter will agree to this. I thank you and the Council for this," he squeaked with joy. His face reddened and he glanced down at the floor, embarrassed.
Elder Kane laughed gently. "It hasn't been that long since your powers have grown. You are still developing. Where the ones who are born free can access their powers as they grow, those who have been bound in servitude need time to develop and grow theirs as adults. Do not worry, Dobby, you shall be one of the most powerful, if the not the most powerful elf for hundreds of years. That's what you get for binding yourself to two powerful wizards," he said with a grin.
Dobby smiled. "I'm glad. I want to be able to protect Harry and his friends. I didn't think I was going to be able to."
"That will not be a concern," the Elder said. "Now go, let your friends know of the Council's decision. May Vala watch over you."
Dobby nodded, turned and walked out of the room. He bounced down the hall and out of the building. He couldn't wait to tell Harry about this; it would be load off Harry's mind. With a happy grin, he made his way to the castle.
Harry slumped to the floor, exhausted. Ron looked at him, his face filled with concern. He exchanged a glance with Sirius, went to Harry and sat down beside his brother.
"Harry, you can't keep doing this! You need to rest, take some time to relax," Ron admonished. "If you keep going at this pace, you're going to collapse."
Harry shook his head. "I can't, Ron. I have to train. I have to learn all that I can. If I take the time to rest, I won't be prepared when the time comes to fight. I have to do this," he replied adamantly.
Ron sighed with frustration. "What good does it do to train when at the time the fight comes, you collapse? You can't face them both if you're too weak to do it. You may need to train, but you also have to rest your body. We need you at full strength, and at the rate you're going, you won't be," he snapped.
"Ron, you just don't understand," Harry growled.
"Bullshit! Don't tell me that I don't understand. You're not the only one that Dumbledore has betrayed. He betrayed Sirius, Remus, Severus and even me to an extent. I'm just as angry as you are. I've seen the same things that you have. I'm in this as much as you are. I'm going to help you fight both Voldemort and Dumbledore. I want to be there when it happens. I know that I need to learn as much as you do, but damn it, I also know that you can't fight like this. You need rest! If you don't, Voldemort and Dumbledore won't have to worry about killing you. You're doing it for them," Ron yelled, his face red with anger.
Harry looked at his brother and sighed. "You're right. I don't want to give them the satisfaction of killing myself. I want to be able to brag that I brought down the two darkest wizards of our time. I want the publicity, the accolades, the fan girls," he said mischievously.
Ron snorted. "Yeah, right. You hate those things, Harry. I, on the other hand, will enjoy having the women throwing themselves at me," he said with a grin.
They exchanged grins and Harry closed his eyes. He was exhausted after being put through his paces by his trainers. He took everything that Severus, Sirius and Remus threw at him, and then he went to the castle's library and researched. He proceeded to train himself whenever he wasn't with the others.
So far, they learned that he had an almost infinite well of power. He could do many spells without exhausting himself. He trained himself using his wand and the wandless magic that he had used in Azkaban. However, after many days of training and dueling, his power levels were nearly empty. He was burning himself out. He needed time to rest, he knew he did, but the sense of urgency had been increasing every day. He needed to learn as much as he could. Sadly, it still wasn't enough.
Severus taught him potions. While Harry would never be a Master at potions, he did do better than he had at Hogwarts. Without Severus breathing down his neck, or the Slytherins sabotaging his potions, it became easy to learn. Severus was mildly impressed, but he still managed to insult Harry's potions ability. Harry shook his head, no matter how much Severus mellowed; he would always look down on those who couldn't brew potions at a Masters level.
Luckily, Harry only needed to know enough to pass his N.E.W.T.s. He had no plans to become a Potions Master, and if he wanted to learn more after Voldemort and Dumbledore's were defeated, then he would study. That had been all right with Severus, as it gave him more time to research the Dark Mark potion. Harry had taken Severus to the Chamber and they had harvested the Basilisk. The Potions Master had been euphoric at the sight of the dead snake. They had only taken as much as they needed, but Severus was adamant that once they took care of Voldemort and Dumbledore, they would harvest and sell the Basilisk remains. Harry had agreed and even offered to give Severus the Basilisk, stating that he didn't need the money. Severus refused and decided that they would do it together. He said that Harry could do whatever he wanted with the money, but he couldn't just take the snake from Harry. He had the right to the basilisk since he was the one who had killed it. Harry decided that whatever money he made from the basilisk would be placed its own vault, and he would decide what to do with it then.
Severus had taken to disappearing to his lab for many hours. Dobby would have to drag him out of his lab so that he would eat something. Every day, one could hear Severus yelling at Dobby for interrupting his important work. The house-elf ignored it and kept on doing it. He was adamant that his friends were going to be taken care of, even if he had to force them. Harry had been amused to see a pouting Potions Master eating with a stubborn house-elf glaring at him all the while.
It had only been a couple of days ago when Severus had run into the room, his robes stained with potions, his hair greasy and wild and his eyes triumphant. He had finally found the correct amount of basilisk venom and scales that were needed in the potion. The Dark Mark Removal potion was a success. After that grand announcement, Severus had smiled a goofy grin and collapsed with exhaustion. He slept for twenty-four hours before getting up and running back down to his lab. Even though Severus was successful in finding the correct ingredients, he would still need almost a month to brew the potion. Harry knew that the only time he would see Severus would be when he would be teaching him the Dark Arts.
Sirius and Remus had been teaching him the Light and border-Dark spells that they knew. As much as they didn't like it, they knew that Harry needed to know more than that. Severus was a veritable font of information and gladly taught Harry what he knew. What Severus, Sirius and Remus didn't know, Harry would look up in the castle library. Severus had even visited his hidden family library for some obscure books with spells that hadn't been heard of for generations.
His lessons with Tonks has been going well. He was learning to control his Magical Sight. He could now see the auras around many living beings, magical artefacts and he could see the faint outline of a spell when it was cast. Tonks had been delighted when she had gotten an owl, inviting her to the castle. Once she saw Sirius, she had began to cry and Sirius had hugged her until she calmed down. She'd been furious when she found out that Dumbledore had kept him prisoner since his supposed death. And when she found out what had happened to Remus, she went silent, her eyes cold, before promising that she would help in whatever way she could. Harry had yet to tell her the truth about Voldemort. He was still leery about telling anyone that. For Tonks, it was because of her safety. If, for some reason, if she were to bump into Dumbledore, he didn't want her to have the knowledge in her head. Who knew what Dumbledore would do to her.
Even with all the help, there wasn't enough time to learn everything. They had to pick and choose what Harry needed to learn. He didn't have the time to learn the spells that interested him; he needed to learn the spells that would aide him in his fight. He was tired, so very tired and his body was exhausted. He needed to rest, but he was scared to. He needed to push on, needed to train more, learn more. Merlin, he just wanted to rest.
"Prongslet, Ron is right. You need to rest, if only for a day. You're draining yourself of your magic. If Voldemort or Dumbledore were to attack you right now, they could defeat you easily. You're exhausted," Sirius reiterated.
"All right," Harry snapped. "I get it. I need to rest. Fine, I'll rest. You guys are worse than a bunch of nagging old biddies."
"Oi! I resent that," Ron replied.
Harry snorted. "Doesn't make it any less true," he said with a tired smile.
"Whatever," Ron replied with an indignant sniff. "I'm hungry. Let's go eat," he said eagerly.
Harry laughed. "All right. Help me up, would you? I don't think my body wants to move," he whimpered.
"Baby," Ron teased as he helped Harry to his feet.
"You're being mean," Harry whined.
Ron nodded. "Yes, I am. It's allowed, hell it's encouraged. It says so in the Brother's Handbook," he replied sagely.
Harry looked at him warily. "There's a Brother's Handbook?" he asked.
"Yep. Every brother has one," Ron said.
"Why don't I have one? I'm your brother now," Harry asked. There was still a lot that he didn't know about the Wizarding World, even after all these years.
"Mmm...must've gotten lost in the post," Ron mused.
Harry could hear Sirius snickering and turned to look at his godfather suspiciously. Sirius couldn't help it. He began to laugh at Harry's expression. Harry scowled and looked back at Ron. His brother was grinning smugly and Harry knew that he had been had. Harry punched Ron in the arm.
"Ow!" Ron yelped. "Why did you hit me?" he pouted.
"Because you're a prat," Harry replied.
"Maybe, but you should've seen your face. A Brother's Handbook, indeed." Ron snorted with amusement.
"I hate you," Harry said solemnly. His tone was belied by the humor that danced in his eyes.
"That's all right. You're supposed to. It's in the Handbook," Ron sing-songed as he walked out of the room
"Prat," Harry mumbled as he shook his head with exasperation.
"You have to admit, it was pretty funny," Sirius piped up.
"Mmm...it only worked because there still so much about the Wizarding World that I don't know about. Hell, for all I know, every brother could have a handbook. Who's to say any differently," Harry replied.
Sirius chuckled. "You'll learn. If Dumbledore hadn't imprisoned me, I would've helped you with that. I'm not surprised the old goat didn't teach you anything that you needed to know. I'm certain he didn't want you to know the whats and wherefores of the Wizarding World. That would allow you too much freedom," he muttered darkly.
Harry sighed. "True."
"Enough of that, let's go eat," Sirius said cheerfully.
Harry nodded and followed his godfather out of the room.
The day passed slowly. After lunch, Harry went back to training. This time he slowed down, and reviewed what he had already learned to make sure that he had gotten it right. Ron dueled with him for an hour before Harry resumed researching for another couple of hours.
Harry looked up when he heard someone enter the room. He was surprised to see the Potions Master standing in the doorway of the library.
"Hey. Is everything okay?" Harry asked.
"Yes. The potion needs to simmer for a couple of hours before I add the beetle eyes. I thought I would use the time to teach you some more if you are available," Severus replied.
Harry sighed. "As much as I would love to, I have promised Ron and Sirius that I would rest. So that means no more dueling for a couple of days. All I can do is research these old books and hope I find something that will take care of Voldemort."
"Ah," Severus murmured. He sat down at the table and opened a book titled/ Everyday Spells and Their Uses/. He frowned as he skimmed through the book. He snorted, slammed the book shut and stared at Harry. "This book is useless. The spells listed here are something you would learn in your third year at Hogwarts. Pathetic," he snapped.
Harry chuckled. "I haven't got to it yet, but thank you, that's one less book I'll have to search through. You know, these are the times that I wished I didn't hate Hermione. She was the best when it came to research," he sighed.
"Maybe, but unfortunately, she is also the lap dog of the Headmaster," Severus said snidely.
Harry's eyes filled with anger and pain before replying, "Yeah, she is."
"Have you seen Dobby?" Severus asked suddenly.
Harry looked up from his book and frowned, his expression confused. "Er...no, why?" he asked.
Severus shrugged. "No reason. I just realized that I haven't seen him all day," he muttered.
Harry stared at Severus bemusedly. Severus had sounded almost ... concerned about the missing house-elf. Harry thought a moment then frowned as he realized that he hadn't seen Dobby all day either. That was strange. Dobby never left without telling someone where he was going. Harry wasn't too concerned, as he knew that Dobby had the ability to take care of himself, it was just strange that he hadn't popped in to see him today.
"Huh. You know, I just realized that I haven't seen Dobby all day either. That's a tad odd," Harry commented.
"Yes, well I was expecting him to come tearing into my lab today and drag me out of for lunch, but he never did. I thought maybe he had finally realized that he couldn't make me do anything I don't want to do," Severus mused thoughtfully.
Harry snorted, trying to repress the laugh that wanted to burst out. Severus was deluding himself if he thought that Dobby never made him do anything that he didn't want to. Nobody in this castle got away with not doing anything Dobby said. The house-elf might be small, but he was scary when he didn't get his own way. He was concerned about taking care of everyone in the castle and if he thought someone wasn't taking care of himself, then he nagged and threatened them until they did. They always gave into Dobby as the little house-elf had the power to back up his threats.
Harry cleared his throat and said, "Yes, well, I'm sure he's fine."
"Mmm...yes, I'm sure," Severus mumbled, his expression definitely concerned.
Harry shook his head. He never thought he would see the day that Severus would show concern for anyone, let alone a house-elf. However, things had changed since Harry had freed Severus from his oaths and the servitude of his two masters. The Potions Master had opened up and he wasn't so bitter and angry. Harry knew that he had a special fondness for Dobby. Severus enjoyed the house-elf's Slytherin qualities. There had been many nights when Harry had walked in on them talking about the merits of good and evil, the necessity of pranks, the best way to kill Dumbledore -- which was frankly a little scary to overhear -- and, strangest of all, the best brand of scotch.
"If he doesn't show up by dinner, then we'll ask the other house-elves if they have seen him. I'm sure he's fine," Harry said soothingly.
Severus sighed. "I know you're right. Fine, hand me that book. The one titled /A Treatise on The Usage of Love Potions/. I want to see what kind of crap they wrote," he sneered.
Harry chuckled and slid the lurid pink book over to the Potions Master. They passed the next two hours in relative peace, only broken by the contemptuous mutterings of the Potions Master.
Hermione stared at the papers in front of her. She couldn't believe it. The information that Trelawney had left for her to find, stunned her. The last weeks had been hard for her. The betrayal of Dumbledore and the rape of her mind had turned her into a different person. Her stupidity and arrogance had lost her the best friends she had ever had and she hadn't even known it at the time. Placing the papers down on the desk in front of her, she bent her head and cried.
Everything she thought she knew was wrong. Dumbledore was evil. He was no different from Voldemort; he just hid his evil nature better. No one knew; no one had a clue and those that did, disappeared, or died under mysterious circumstances. She didn't know what she was going to do. She wanted Harry and Ron. She never did something like this without them. They had always been together for their adventures, but no longer. No longer could she rely on them to help her. No longer would they come and save her as they had done her first year at Hogwarts.
"There, there, child," a voice said behind her.
Hermione jumped up from the desk, whirled around, her wand at the ready. She may not be friends with Ron and Harry anymore, but she had learned from her adventures with them. She was ready, in case something was going to happen. She froze when she saw Professor Trelawney standing before her. The woman looked concerned. "Are you all right, dearie?" she asked.
Hermione lowered her wand, sniffed and sat back down. "How do you know all this?" she asked as she waved her hands over the papers lying on the desk. "How could anyone not know how truly evil that man is?"
"Why didn't you?" Trelawney asked softly.
Hermione swallowed hard. "Because I didn't want to. I thought he was the epitome of what a Leader of the Light should be. He was wise, powerful, a hero from a previous war. In all, he was the perfect leader. Why would I want to look below the surface and destroy all my illusions?" she replied bitterly.
"Indeed. Now imagine your attitude encompassing the entire Wizarding World. Those people out there don't want to know that their hero isn't what they think he is. As long as they can live their lives without interruption, they don't care what goes on. Do you really think that if Voldemort wasn't killing people, that they would care if he were in charge of the Wizarding World? No, they wouldn't. The only reason they are concerned is because he has no qualms about killing, and he does it on a grand scale. Dumbledore hides his perfidy and people are okay with that. Dumbledore doesn't disturb their lives," Trelawney explained.
"But that's wrong," Hermione cried out.
"Of course it is, but it's also human nature. Why change something that is working for them?" Trelawney asked.
"But, surely not everyone thinks that? There has to be someone who opposes that ideal," Hermione questioned.
Trelawney laughed. "Of course there are. I am but one of many who oppose him. Whether he hides his perfidy or it is outright, it's still wrong and he should be accountable for his actions. You have a decision to make, Miss Granger. Do you go back to ignoring what you now know or do something about it? Regardless of what you do, you're now in Dumbledore sights. Magic herself has protected you and that frightens him. You're choice is whether to hide or to throw yourself into opposing him. Regardless, you are in danger. Dumbledore doesn't like loose ends or things he can't control and you're both," she explained.
Hermione was scared, but as frightened as she was; she knew that she couldn't ignore what she had learned. She was never one to back down and take the safe way out. She looked at Trelawney, her face determined and nodded. "I can't hide, not now. I may have betrayed Harry and even Ron, but I can't, in good conscience, hide from this. I'll do whatever I can to help. I hope that I can help Ron and Harry in the process. I know they'll never forgive me for what I have done, but I still want to help them," she said sadly.
"Very well, Miss Granger. Someone will contact you and give you instructions on what to do. I suggest you leave and find yourself somewhere safe to stay. Dumbledore may have held off doing anything, but I don't believe that he will be afraid for much longer," Trelawney explained grimly.
"Did you See something?" Hermione asked skeptically.
Trelawney looked at her a moment before laughing. "Miss Granger, I am well aware of what my students and co-workers think of me. To them, I am the ditzy, old fraud. I want them to think that. I am a very good at what I do and I am a true Seer, regardless of what I may portray. However, to answer your question, I haven't seen anything regarding you as of yet. I just know Dumbledore. Her power will not scare Dumbledore off for long," she explained.
"Her?" Hermione asked.
"Gaia, Goddess of Earth," she stated with a smile. She laughed at the shocked expression on the young witch's face.
Luna opened the door to her house, entered, and looked around for her boyfriend. She tripped over some books that were lying in the floor. Cursing aloud, she kicked them aside, yelling for Neville.
Since that night in Hogwart's infirmary, where they saw Dumbledore raping Hermione's mind, they had been searching for Harry and Ron. They hadn't found a thing. None of the searches, magical spells, owls, or even house-elves could find them. Neville was losing heart, but Luna was determined that she would find them. Harry and Ron needed to know that they had friends. They also needed to be informed of what Dumbledore had done to Hermione, even if the three of them weren't friends anymore.
"Neville?" she called out. She made her way into the kitchen, and finding it empty, she began to check out the rest of the house. Finding it empty, she looked out of the window and sighed.
"Why do I even bother checking the house?" she muttered to herself. She knew that Neville only really felt comfortable in one place. Walking out the back door, she made her way to the greenhouse. Opening the door, she walked in and quietly called for her boyfriend.
"Back here, luv," Neville replied.
Luna made her way to the back of the greenhouse. She smiled when she saw Neville. He had dirt on his hands and there was a streak on his forehead where he had brushed back his hair. She laughed softly, and Neville looked up at her, a soft smile on his face.
She walked over to him and leaned in for a kiss. She was always amazed that this man loved her as much as he did. He was the best thing that had ever happened to her and she cherished every moment she had with him.
"What did you need?" Neville asked as he rested his head against hers.
She remembered why she had come home early. Her face brightened and she held up her hand, which held a piece of paper. "I know where Ron is," she said excitedly.
Neville's face lit up with excitement. "Really? How did you find him?" he asked.
She frowned slightly. "Actually it was kind of strange. I was working at my desk and I turned around to get some more parchment. When I turned back, this note was on my desk. I was suspicious at first, but well, read it," she commented as she shoved the note towards him.
Neville wiped his hands on his apron and took the note from her. He opened it and read.
It has come to my attention that you are looking for a couple of mutual acquaintances of ours. I have thought long and hard about this, and I have checked the motivations of your search. I have found that you and Neville Longbottom have no malicious motives for your search and hereby invite you to visit.
As you are a friend of our acquaintances, I would suggest that you keep this note a secret. You may only share this information with Neville Longbottom. If you should happen to share what you know with anyone else, you will never find our acquaintances again.
Please, be ready in three days at two o'clock in the afternoon. I will be by to get you. To let you know that this note is the real thing, I have included something that should alleviate your concerns.
A mutual friend
Neville looked Luna and asked, "What was with the note?"
Luna held out her hand, unfolded it and Neville began to smile as he saw the small, gold coin that had been used when Harry was teaching the DA. He laughed joyfully.
"Neville, are you okay?" Luna asked, concerned.
"Yes, luv. I'm just fine," he said with a secretive grin. "I think I'm looking forward to our meeting with our mutual friend."
Luna watched as her boyfriend went back to potting plants, humming cheerfully. She frowned, confused, and shook her head. And people thought she was odd.
Dinner had come and gone and Dobby hadn't shown up. Harry was starting to become concerned. He could see that Severus was frowning as well, slightly agitated by the house-elf's disappearance.
He was about to tell Severus to question the other house-elves when Dobby popped into the Den, where they had been having tea. Harry noticed that there was a beaming smile on the house-elf's face. He looked proud of himself. He wondered what had happened to make Dobby so happy.
"Where have you been?" Severus snapped.
Dobby's head whipped around to look at Severus and he frowned slightly. "I didn't know I had to tell you where I was going," the house-elf responded.
"Did you care that Harry might worry if you didn't show up? You've been missing all day," Severus growled.
Dobby stared at Severus for a moment before smiling widely. "I missed you, too," he chirped cheerfully.
Severus looked appalled. "I never said that I was concerned," he replied. "I was talking about Harry."
Dobby nodded sagely. "Of course you were," he replied.
Severus muttered something insulting about Dobby's lineage and the house-elf grinned. Harry shook his head and chuckled at the antics of his two friends. Ron was laughing, while Sirius smirked and Remus looked bemused. He still hadn't gotten used to the changes in either the house-elf or the Potions Master.
"I'm calling a meeting," Dobby stated.
Everyone looked at Dobby in surprise. The only time they called a meeting was when something important had happened. Wondering what it could be Harry put his book down and gave the house-elf his full attention.
Dobby cleared his throat nervously. "As you know, Harry, your ancestor freed all the house-elves that she could when she moved into the castle. As the years passed, the elves had children, who were born free and their powers had never been repressed. One thing that the Wizards do not realize is that when a house-elf has been unwillingly bound, their ability to have children decreases. A bound house-elf can only have as many as two children, and only if their master will allow it. The house-elf population is not large in the Wizarding World. Most of the Wizards that have house-elves have had the family for generations. But the freed elves were able to have as many children as they wanted. So, they began to propagate and when their numbers grew large enough, they started a community of free elves," he explained.
Harry blinked with surprise. "Are you saying that there is a community of free elves out there somewhere? Dobby, do you know what the Wizarding World would do if they found that out?" he asked, concern written on his face.
Dobby nodded. "Yes, and so did the Elves Council," he answered. "So Tanner, the Elder elf at the time, asked permission to have the community hidden on the property of Potter Castle. The master at the time granted them permission as it was well known that the Potter family had freed them and he wanted to continue Morrigan's work. So Tanner and the Elves Council gathered together all their powerful magic users and developed a spell that would hide the newly formed community. After several days of preparation, the community was hidden behind a ward that phased the community slightly out of this dimension. No Wizard can enter the community unless specifically asked. It has hidden the free elves for hundreds of years now."
"Dobby, this is all very interesting, really, but what does that have to do with anything?" Sirius asked.
Harry rolled his eyes. His godfather was never one for patience. Dobby glared at him. "If you would be quiet, I was getting to that," he snapped.
"Er...right," Sirius replied sheepishly.
"As I was saying. The community prospered and there are now close to ten thousand elves. There are smaller communities for those who wanted to live elsewhere. The elves learned to become healers, warriors, spell builders, and many other trades. Know this, what I am telling you, no the human has known about for hundreds of years. The Potter that gave us permission to use his land, died with this secret. I'm trusting you to keep this to yourself," Dobby said.
Harry nodded. "I understand. I'm glad that you trust us with this secret. I do have to ask you though, why are you telling us this? We've could've lived here without ever knowing. You wouldn't give the secret away unless there was a reason," he said.
"I do. I approached the Elder for permission to allow you access to the elf community, or more particularly, a certain part of the community," Dobby explained.
Harry's eyes widened. "Why would you do that?" he asked.
"The Elder and the Council will allow you to train in our Cave of Teachings, and in exchange, the Warrior Elves want to fight by your side when the time comes. The Council thinks that you are the one who will free all of our bounded cousins and allow us to take our rightful place in the Wizarding World," Dobby explained.
Harry leaned back in the chair, shocked. "Why would they think that?" he asked.
"Several reasons actually. You freed me when you were only twelve. Even then, you were more concerned about what happened to me than what is considered correct in the Wizarding World. You're friends with a werewolf and a half-giant and you have no problems letting people know that. You think that restrictions on all magical creatures are wrong. You have always been my friend and you've never treated any elves as the slaves they are in the Wizarding World. You mourned Winky's death. To the Wizarding World, she was a slave, nothing more than cattle, but to you and Sirius, she was a friend. Plus, you are the Boy Who Lived and lastly, you are a Potter. We are prepared to follow you into battle," Dobby said proudly.
Harry shook his head. "I can't allow that, Dobby. I don't even think I'm going to win this. Why would I want to put you and your fellow warriors at risk on an off chance that I might succeed? The Wizarding World would know about you. They would hunt the rest of you down. It's not worth it. I'm not worth it," he said.
Dobby crossed his arms and glared at Harry fiercely. "You are worth it, Harry. I would follow you anywhere. I would die for you. You're my friend and you always will be. Why should the elves be any different from Remus, Sirius, Severus and Ron? They are going to fight beside you and so will I," Dobby replied adamantly.
Harry took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Why? Why me?" he asked quietly.
"Because you will win," Dobby replied simply.
Harry stared at Dobby, warmed by the depth of his friend's faith. He knew that Dobby had considered him his friend, but until that moment, he hadn't realized how much the little elf cared for him and believed in him.
"Thank you, Dobby," Harry whispered. He sat up, looked Dobby in the eye, and said, "I, Harry Potter, accept the house-elves..."
"The En Golodh or the Exiled Ones," Dobby cut in.
"Excuse me?" Harry asked, confused.
"We are not the house-elves. That is the name given to us by the Wizarding World. We are called the En Golodh, or the Exiled Ones," Dobby stated.
"That's Elvish, isn't it?" Remus asked curiously.
"Yes, we are the smaller cousins of the Light Elves. We once had our own society, our own language, our own city, but we refused to leave this land and travel with our cousins. We were proud of what we had here and didn't want to leave it in the hands of Men. The Valar were angry by our decision. They prophesied that if we did not leave this land, we would become nothing, we would lose everything that made us Elves. We refused and our cousins left, calling us the En Golodh. Our true name has been lost through the ages, as has our language, our society, our city and our very identity. A generation had passed when the prophecy was fulfilled. The Wizards found our city and desired it. We didn't know any better. We invited them in and became friends with them. Alas, that was a mistake. The Wizards started to bind us to them without permission and thus we became their slaves. In retaliation, the few free elves used their magic to hide the city and the Wizards were angry. They killed many elves before taking their slaves and leaving. It is said that the city is waiting, ready to be filled again with the sounds of the En Golodh," Dobby said wistfully. "We have been waiting for thousands of years to find that city, but it remains lost."
"How do you know this if your language has been destroyed?" Remus asked.
"It's the story that is passed down to every elf, so that we do not forget what happened. Elves, both free and bound, learn it before they can walk," Dobby replied.
"That's sad," Harry murmured softly.
"Yes, but we live in hope," Dobby answered.
"All right. I, Harry Potter, accept the En Golodh as my allies in the war against Voldemort and Dumbledore. In return, all En Golodh that are unwillingly bound shall be set free to take their rightful place among the Wizards. So mote it be," Harry intoned.
There was a flare of magic, soft laughter in the air and a musical voice whispered, "/So mote it be/."
All the Wizards in the room sucked in shocked breaths. Dobby bounced on his knees, excitement written on his face. "The Valar!" he squeaked excitedly. "The Valar have given us their approval."
Harry blinked. "Er...right," he said hesitantly.
There was a laugh behind him and Harry whirled around, his wand out. Rose floated into the room, a smile on her face. "Rose, don't do that," Harry whined. "What are you doing here?"
"Greetings, young Harry. I felt the Magic in the room and came to see what was going on," she explained.
"Magic? Er...I think that had to do with the Oath, maybe," Harry replied cautiously.
"That may have been part of it, but she doesn't usually appear to those taking a vow. Something very monumental must have happened tonight," Rose said.
"The En Golodh are going to fight along side Harry Potter," Dobby exclaimed proudly.
There was shock and surprise on Rose's face. "Are they indeed? Well, this is a monumental occasion. No wonder the Magic wanted to show her approval. She must have a plan in place and your Oath is only part of it," she mused absently.
"You're talking as if Magic is alive, sentient. How can that be?" Harry asked.
"We call her the Magic, the Elves call her the Vala. She goes by many names, but I think you would know her as Gaia, Mother Earth, Goddess of Earth," she explained.
"But, she's a myth," Remus exclaimed, shocked. He looked around warily before turning his attention back to Rose. "Right?" he asked hesitantly.
"As are Wizards to the Muggles," she replied with amusement. "She is very old and she doesn't normally concern herself with humans, but there are times when she will interfere in how things are run. Wizards are her children, as are all Magical creatures. It pains her to know that they are not being treated as equals. She has hidden a few so that they would flourish, such as the Light Elves, but En Golodh refused to leave this place. They refused to be protected. She tried to warn them, but they didn't listen and they paid the price. She has watched for years, as the Wizards took control and enslaved the En Golodh and reduced the other Magical creatures to a shell of what they once were. She has finally had enough. There are two Dark Lords and they are causing chaos within the magic. She will not stand for it anymore," Rose explained.
"What is she going to do?" Harry asked.
"She is helping in her own way. She protects those who need it, and she gives approval when something goes the way she wants it to. Know this, whether you win this war or not, she will interfere. If it's not through you, it'll be through someone else. Her children will all be free, even if she has to destroy the Wizarding World to do it," Rose warned.
"How do you know so much about Gaia and her will?" Ron asked suspiciously.
Rose's gentle laughed echoed through the room. "Because I was a priestess in Gaia's service and because I'm a ghost. When you're a ghost, you can feel the magic all around you. You can even talk to Gaia if you so choose. Since I was in her service, I choose to. She wanted me to explain this and to let you know that she will be watching over you," Rose said before she disappeared.
"Well, that's just great. Another player in the field," Sirius snapped.
"Harry? You ok?" Ron asked.
"Yeah, just thinking about what Rose said," Harry responded absently.
"What are you going to do about Gaia?" Ron asked.
Harry looked at him, surprised. "Nothing. You heard what Rose said. Gaia will have her way whether it's through me or someone else. Frankly, if I'm dead, I could care less about what happens to the Wizarding World. Those hypocritical bastards could burn for all I care. I won't be alive to care. I'm going to do my duty. I'll face Voldemort and Dumbledore, but if I fail, I kind of like the idea that Gaia will be around to kick some ass," he said with a smile.
"Indeed," Severus smirked.
"What about us?" Ron asked harshly.
Harry laughed. "Ron, you'll be dead just a much as I will be. We all will be. Neither Voldemort nor Dumbledore would allow us to live. It would be stupid if they did," he said.
"Oh, right. Huh...hadn't thought about that," Ron muttered.
There was a moment of silence in the room as they contemplated what they had just learned. Remus shook off his thoughts, looked at Dobby and asked, "So, Dobby, what is this Cave of Teachings and why is it so important?"
Dobby bounced onto his feet, feeling excitement at the Valar's approval. He couldn't wait to tell Elder Kane what he had learned this night. "The Cave of Teachings is where we teach the young ones their skills. Some train in combat, others in healing, yet others in magic. But that isn't why I wanted you five to have access to the cave," he explained.
"Then why?" Sirius asked, his gaze curious.
"In a small, well hidden section of the cave, is a cavern that has been there for as long as anyone can remember. In fact, the caves were built around that cavern. We call it the Cavern of Time," Dobby said, waiting for them to realize what that meant.
Harry was the first one to get it. His eyes widened and he stared at Dobby hopefully. "Really?" he asked.
Dobby nodded eagerly and Harry let out of whop of excitement. Ron looked confused as the other Wizards in the room began to grin. This could be it. This could be what Harry had been looking for.
"I don't get it," Ron whined.
Harry whirled around and grinned at his brother. "The Cavern of Time, Ron! It means that time either doesn't work there or it slows down. I would have all the time in the world to train there, to research, and time would barely pass outside it. I could spend five years there, learning what I need, but a day need not go by here. I can get the training I need to face Voldemort and Dumbledore. We have chance, Ron. We really have a chance," he said, his face glowing with hope.
"Bloody hell," Ron murmured and Harry laughed.
/Maybe they could really do this after al/l, he thought to himself.
Golodh o en Calben - exiled of the light elves