During the train ride before third year Harry has a close encounter with a dementor that causes him to absorb the soul fragment within him, granting both knowledge and power. Features Harry with a ...
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Goblins were tortured by Voldemort? Well, boo hoo! So were DEATH EATERS!That doesn't mean they didn't serve him!!!
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The creation of a dryad was a thing of pure beauty. Inwardly Harry was amazed that he'd been so crass as to not appreciate it the first time around. The magical effect was something on the order of the Northern Lights, only more special because you knew you were never liable to see this again.
It was an amazing kaleidoscope of magical energy accompanied, like agood symphony often had fireworks, by lovely bursts of growth of a fantastically beautiful tree. This went quite in deep past the normal senses so you felt the majesty of this special occasion deep in your bones.
And speaking of bones, thanks to the potion now integral to her being, Sybil Trelawney still considered Harry her best friend, and immediately after her creation as a dryad seemed determined to show him what benefits there were to being friends with a wood-nymph.
Far from what the carnally minded might suppose, she wanted to give herself to him in an entirely different way than one might suspect. So, get your mind out of the gutter, she didn't want to jump on him and drag him between the sheets. No, what she did was jump on him, grab his wand, then throw it away behind him.
She immediately followed this by pulling a wand-shaped sprig of white oak out of the very air around her and sliding that into his wand holster. It was quite a bit different in size and shape than his holly, or even his yew wand, but that didn't seem to matter to her.
Before Harry could get his wits about him, Trelawney had yoinked both his wands and replaced them. Then she'd pulled that trunk of emergency stores out of that locket around his neck, dumped its contents out all across the lawn, then tossed the now empty trunk away back over her shoulder and into the pond, where the naiads caught it and dragged it under, never to be seen by mortal eyes again.
Soon he came to realize, as she frisked him for more wooden goods that she could find and replace, that Sybil was determined to get rid of all the wooden objects he owned and give him white oak in their place.
It was only after that ran through his mind that the correlation came to him and he realized what was going on. SHE was the heart and soul, avery frisky and mobile soul, but the soul all the same, of a white oak tree, and she was bound and determined that all the wood he owned HAD to be white oak!
Sybil was literally giving him pieces of herself!
He took out one of his new wands and stared at it in wonder, floored by the concept of what had just happened, even as Trelawney knocked him on his back and started rifling through his pockets, pulling out the other trunks there that he'd bought and prepared to serve as emergency kits for Luna and Hermione, even rifling his belongings for tool handles or picture frames!
Muggles used plastic for a wide variety of things, but wizards did not, so they made them instead with wood, leather or metal, which gave Trelawney a wide assortment of things to be replacing just out of his safari kit alone. Even the barrel of phoenix ash got discovered, dumped out, and replaced by a barrel of white oak, and his Nimbus 2,000 got tossed callously aside into a bush.
Nor did it seem to stop there. Harry was too flabbergasted to move as the dryad finished inspecting him for stray bits of not-her-wood, and finding him clean, moved along and immediately pounced on Hermione, once again tossing her wand casually away and frisking her like a cop looking for contraband.
It was now apparently against some natural law, in the dryad's mind, for any one of the three of them to own any wooden object that wasn't actually a part of her, and so she once again immediately pounced upon Luna once the girl had started creeping away.
A set of hooves stepped into the range of Harry's stunned vision, and the boy looked up to see Firenze, the Centaur from his first year. "Quickly lad!" the creature urged. "Beg her on my behalf for wood for a bow!"
"Why would I want to do that?" Harry's mind was spinning.
The centaur regarded him for a moment. "Because, Harry Potter, every tool you have is one more thing to use in your fight versus evil. You know that. So if you would beg the dryad for a bow for me to use, I will teach you and your handmaidens archery."
"He accepts!" Hermione appeared over the fallen boy, then rolled him up to go shoo him off towards Trelawney. He shot her a questioning look while she was doing this, and Hermione whispered fiercely in his ear. "Did you not expect me to start looking stuff up when you and Luna started showing all this magical creature knowledge? All the best Greek heroes were taught by centaurs, Harry! But it's been more than two thousand years since one offered! Of course you're going to accept! I just saved you some time, that's all."
"Sybil?" Hermione approached the dryad that looked remarkably like her, dragging a stunned Harry along behind her. "Harry here would like to learn archery, and the centaur Firenze has offered to teach us if you would give us bows to learn on, and one for our teacher, of course."
The dryad looked up at them from where she'd just finished frisking Luna for wooden belongings and beamed a smile. Sybil had already presented Harry with wood from her own tree for wands and stuff: two wands for Harry, one for each girl, and six trunks, but did not seem to be the least inclined to stop there. She immediately hopped up perkily and granted them wood for bows (and sixty matching arrows apiece), staves, spears, javelins and furniture, too, outfitting their shared tent with chairs and tables and beds all made up of bits of her.
Harry reached up and whispered to his friend, "I can understand why she likes me, but why is she doing this for you and Luna?"
"Well, of COURSE she is only outfitting us because we belong to you, Harry! Have you no appreciation for how a woman thinks?" the bookworm eyed him askance.
"Obviously not," he muttered.
Focusing on something he could control and understand, Harry pilfered the leaf with the ritual for freeing Fawkes on it out of Hermione's pocket, and began to look it over.
He'd only been studying it a moment before he declared, "The ritual to free a phoenix will take two solid weeks to perform, but we can't start it right away as it requires ingredients I don't have on hand. I'll have to find some of these, and they are not exactly common."
He looked up and, seeing he had regained Hermione's attention, favored her with a wry smirk. "However, just because we can't do this one right away doesn't mean we can't keep that cup busy. We can spend some of that time usefully, as we have more of the materials on hand to run through more copies of the ritual we've just been through - the one to make things immune to fire, and I need to outfit you girls in silver weapons and armor anyway. Also, the Queen said our adding the materials to make clothing from to the ritual had been a good idea, so we could do more of that."
Actually, they could do far more than that, as there was no reason why they couldn't get Trelawney as immune to fire as they were, as the Fairy Queen HAD said that fairies could take advantage of rituals meant for humans... it was worth a shot. He had no plans to add extra magical artifacts to the pot this time, only magic materials like living silver and a few more rolls of dragonhide, and so on. The Queen had as much as said those were alright.
They certainly weren't going to throw another Time Turner into the mix!
With additional materials they could make extra outfits. Extra outfits were... well, Harry's friends were both girls and you could see it in their eyes that they had no plans to be happy with only one outfit each - no matter they could be charmed clean, would never wear out, had charms that could keep them a perfect fit forever and would repair most damage. They simply had to have more clothes than one impenetrable outfit, no matter how nice.
Not to mention that it could do Trelawney a ton of good for herself and her tree to be impervious to heat and flames. Actually, come to think of it, they could be almost certain that empowering the dryad body through the ritual would empower her tree also. That was the point. But a potential downside to that was that, should a Dark Lord ever learn they'd done so, he could search the whole Forbidden Forest for her pretty easily by simply lighting that place on fire and watching for whichever tree didn't burn.
Then again, NOT putting her through the ritual was no better, as a potential Dark Lord routinely made decisions like, 'If I can't have you, no one shall!'and might just as easily cause a massive forest fire to destroy her if they hadn't put her through the fire protection ritual.
Dark Lords did things like that fairly often.
So really, they had to (for Harry's peace of mind if nothing else) run the new dryad through the fire protection ritual, else massive forest fires might put her at risk no matter how they got caused. Forest fires were really the one thing a dryad had that she might reasonably fear with good cause. Muggles had unknowingly exterminated hundreds of them that way, and wizards were no better, having knowingly exterminated a few using that method.
So, to prevent someone like Dumbles from scorching every tree in the forest to look for her, find her tree, and thus have some element of leverage to use against her, they had to protect more trees than Trelawney's. That was fine, it would be better all around and a fine work all told if they simply applied this to all the dryads of the forest. There were several dozen dryads populating the place, left over from better days, and by the time they got them all done all the small fairies ought to have been treated too.
And, if they ran a few sacks of ordinary seeds through the process, the Forbidden Forest would have a large number of trees that wouldn't burn. Lighting the place on fire wouldn't tell you much of anything then. Maybe pare down the numbers a little, but nothing worth torching the place for.
Hermione had paused for a moment examining her friend while he thought.
"Harry?" she brushed hair out of her face. "I've been meaning to ask, but why do you wear armor, anyway?"
The boy gave her a shrug. "To help protect me in fights."
Her face screwed up. "Yes, but nothing can stop a killing curse. So why bother?"
He gave her a short laugh. "I bother because very few of the spells getting thrown in combat are killing curses, or Unforgivables of any sort. They cost too much energy, and are too easily interrupted or blocked."
Seeing her inhale to disagree, he interjected quickly, "I know they SAY that none of them can be blocked, but really all they MEAN is that there is no spell to counter them. To an imaginative mind, there are dozens if not hundreds of ways to prevent getting hurt by one. Dodging out of the way is popular and works every time you can pull it off. Conjuring or summoning things for them to run into is another very popular method. So they CAN be stopped! They just mean that nobody knows a counterspell."
Turning around, he sat down where he could face her. "Hermione, everything has a counter, even if that is just throwing a sofa in its way. It may not be an easy block, or even one you know, but they all have them. Now, what happens in a fight is that one person throws all he can at another person, while that person does the same in return, throwing it back at him. Each person blocks what he can, dodges what he must, and tries to throw enough variety at the other person so that something gets through. Do you follow me so far?"
She gave him a nod of confirmation.
"Very good," he nodded to accept that. "Now there are two general ways most people use to measure strength in combat: how much variety you have in things you can throw and block, and how much magical strength you possess. A very strong mage can still be defeated handily by someone throwing stuff he doesn't know how to block. Also, a very versatile person can be overpowered by spells too strong for him to stop, that just batter right through his shields. You still with me?"
She nodded again, fully absorbed with what he was telling her.
"Good," he declared. "Now, spells used in combat generally fall into three loose categories: stuff that inconveniences, stuff that injures, and stuff that kills. People throw all three because anything that gets through is going to do some harm and give you a small advantage, perhaps even win the fight for you. A simple Jelly-Legs jinx may not seem like much, but if it hits then your enemy is going to have a much greater problem dodging other spells."
The girl nodded more firmly now.
"Very good," he acknowledged her attention, secretly pleased by it."Things that inconvenience are very easily stopped by shielding spells. You aren't going to blow through my Protego with a tickling charm, but if I don't block it with one you'd still win because I'd be laughing too hard to speak any spells."
She nodded again, and he smiled.
"Most people in combat try throwing stuff that wounds. Cutting curses and bludgeoners and stuff like them for the most part. A Back-Breaking curse is going to stop any fight, if it gets through. This kind of stuff CAN be stopped by shields, but it can also punch right through them if they are strong enough. Most of the time you see wizards fighting, each of them will be standing in a shield spell, battering at the other guy with stuff to injure him - or knock down his shield. In those kind of fights, the weaker guy loses every time, but the winner is also exhausted."
"Alright," she nodded, and he could see her assimilating this information.
He smiled. "Stuff that kills costs a huge amount of energy, and usually time, to throw. They generally get flung when the other guy is distracted, often busy dodging something else so you have an extra second to get it out. This kind people just dodge, as they cost too much to stop."
"So where does having armor fit in?" she blurted curiously.
Harry leaned back, grinning at her as he tapped his chest plate with a silver gauntleted finger. "Any spell that evokes a physical force can be stopped by physical means. Cutting curses and bludgeoning hexes and stuff like them make up most of the spells thrown in combat, and both kinds are EXACTLY what this armor is best at stopping! So, if I am wearing this, I don't have to exhaust my magical energy on shields to block the kind of thing shields are worst at blocking. No slashing spell or bone-breaking hex is getting through this armor. It just can't happen. So that means most of the spells that get thrown in combat aren't going to hurt me, and I can focus more of my power and attention on stopping other stuff or hurting the other guy."
He grinned at her. "So, if you and I were in a fight, and I DON'T have to block half your spells, but you MUST block or dodge all of mine, I already have a considerable advantage. If I can ignore half of yours, I automatically have time to throw more back at you, and suddenly you are overworked trying to block or counter everything. So you start spending more time on defense, so you're unable to throw as much at me, so I can throw even more at you as I have to spend less and less time countering yours. And pretty soon, if I am doing most of the attacking and you little but defending, something will get through to hit you and I'll win."
He shot her a triumphant grin. "Like I said before, MOST people use the two general ways of measuring strength in combat: spell versatility and magical strength. But both of them are subtly wrong. What matters most is time. If I can fling more spells than you, then something is going to get through, and pretty much no matter what it is I hit you with it will grant me enough extra advantage that I'll win. And the two ways to get more time are either to cast your spells faster, which is a good thing to learn how to do, or get some kind of advantage like my armor, where I can simply ignore some kinds of spells. You gain the time it would've taken to defend yourself otherwise, to use on other things. That's the big reason why we did the fire protection ritual, so that if someone throws a fire spell at us, we can ignore it and shoot a spell back instead of wasting time on evoking a counter."
Harry gave her a serious look. "Really, it's all about time. In battle, no one will ever have enough time to do even all of the really critical things. You must learn to choose not just what is a good thing to do, but the best possible use for your time and energy. War is all about who can throw the most violence the enemy's way the fastest, and keep it up the longest."
Seeing she was absorbing this, he waited until she nodded.
So he smiled. "Good. Now, if your enemy came upon you wearing armor like this, how ought you to attack him?"
"Killing spells, because wounding spells won't function," she answered firmly.
"Close, but wrong," he corrected, raising a finger to admonish her."Killing spells take precious time and energy and are easy to interrupt. It's not just about syllables spoken, deadly spells take a second of magical buildup that less costly spells don't have. So if you try to throw one, and I hit you with a very fast-cast hex during the middle of your spell, it will be interrupted and lost. That's the primary drawback to the deadly curses."
She blinked, honestly surprised by this information.
He gave her a grin. "No, it may seem counter-intuitive, but what you want to throw at an armored opponent are spells to inconvenience. Because they don't, as a rule, invoke a physical force so they can't be blocked by physical means. A bludgeoning curse throws crushing force, as do bone-breaking and back-breaking hexes. Crushing forces, as well as cutting ones, are exactly what armor is best at stopping. But a simple Jelly-Legs jinx doesn't do that. It doesn't evoke a physical force at all, just makes your legs weak as water, which is NOT something that armor can stop! Stunners or petrifying spells or disarming hexes can all take down someone armored like I am now."
"But those are all easily stopped by shields," she objected, quoting him from before.
"Yes, that's correct," he agreed. "However by forcing me to cast a shield to stop them you have still forced me to react more than if you'd flung a hex that I could just ignore. And if I put up a shield, you can STILL cast a Cutting Curse at it to take down my shield - and force me to cast another or get hit by your next stunner. Shields create a field of force around you, they stop spells before they even hit armor. So even though my armor could ignore a cutting curse, my shield can't. They aren't designed that way. So it'll waste energy stopping a spell, even if I don't need that particular spell stopped."
A light seemed to go on in Hermione's eyes. "So, against an armored person, fling inconveniencing spells they have to stop with shields, then batter down those shields with injuring spells!"
Harry nodded. "Even though the injuring spells can't hurt you personally, they can still take down your shield," he agreed. "And when the shield drops, cast more inconveniencing spells. You'll still be at a disadvantage, but not as much a one if you have a usable strategy like that."
"Wow!" she shone brilliantly with her newfound understanding.
Harry beamed just to see her happy. "And minor inconveniencing stuff is all generally very fast to cast and takes low energy. That makes them excellent for interrupting another person's spell. So, if Voldemort were to leap up out of the leaf rubbish this instant and start to throw a killing curse at you, but you hit him with a fast tickling charm before he got it off, you'd ruin his spell and thus not have to block or dodge to avoid it."
Hermione beamed, then exploded into excited energy, grabbing his arm and dragging him off. "Let's go try it out!"
However, regardless of their intentions, that burst of energy got interrupted by the pair of them tripping over the ruins of a smashed up desk, catching themselves only on the flinders of a ruined bookcase. A smashed up portable lab and kitchen lay atop the pile.
Harry recognized the detritus at once.
"She just ruined my stuff," Harry stated in shock. That portable furniture had made up the only 'room' that had ever been truly his.
"She was jealous," Hermione declared, an amused smile on her lips.
"Of FURNITURE?!?" Harry blurted out.
His bushy haired friend struggled hard to stifle a laugh. "Well, it was wood, and it was yours, but it wasn't hers. She couldn't bear the competition."
"So she destroyed it?" he wondered aloud.
"Well, yes." Hermione gloated, pleased to understand something he didn't.
Luna appeared at their side. "Harry, you don't have any idea how rare and unique Trelawney is, do you? While there MAY be another nymph in the world that has a functioning human magical core, history has no record of it - Ever! But she not only has all of the powers of a witch, she is still an oracle too. That makes her every bit as rare and wonderful as Excaliber, the sword of King Arthur, and if she wants to give you parts of herself to keep near you, you are to smile and say 'Yes, dear' and kiss her in thanks for that wonderful gift. Is that clear?" Her eyes twinkled merrily at him.
"Yes dear." He nodded. "Umm..."
"How did she get passed my Bookcase-Fidelius?" He didn't mention the wand-holster Fidelius because he figured that was redundant, anything that got passed the one could bypass the other.
Hermione giggled. "Harry, NO ONE can hide secrets from a seer! Any oracle at all can act like Fidelius charms simply don't exist! I admit to being puzzled by that as well, so I looked it up. You have a good book on that charm, did you know that? Anyway, for that matter, you don't have to be a full oracle, even the slightest degree of Second Sight will do just fine, and most fairies have some degree of it. Yes, it is a very good protection against mortal wizards, but you mustn't forget there are other creatures out there."
"Ultimate defenses aren't," Harry agreed, shaking his head. "Right. Sorry for forgetting that."
Luna smiled brightly and started tugging on Harry's arm. "Trelawney has been including one of her acorns in every wooden piece she gives us, wanting always to be with you (there is a small acorn hidden in the handle of each wand, staff, etc). Plus, she has just given you two dozen bookcases to enchant for yourself, and replacements for all these other things!"
Hermione, who had just rushed off, came running back with a radiant smile beaming on her face. "I gave Trelawney a posh antique furniture catalog so she could study options and features. I had it on hand because I was thinking about making myself a set of portable furniture like Harry's, but I think she likes it better."
Both girls met gazes with laughing eyes. What neither said, but both either knew or could figure out, was that Trelawney had instantly taken to studying it like it was an underwear catalog and she was plotting aseduction.
"There's no nails," Harry objected, inspecting one of his new bookcases.
"Nails are actually a very bad way to secure things together." Hermione said authoritatively, brushing hair back out of her eyes, disturbed by her short run. "My mother likes to restore antiques. So I know. Nails work themselves loose, and enlarge the holes they are driven into, eroding the strength of an object over time. They are only ever used because they are fast, cheap and easy. Joinery is far superior as far as strength and durability are concerned, fitting things together like interlocking puzzle pieces, but it costs more time and effort to do it that way. Only Trelawney can do better yet. She doesn't need to create planks or boards. She can grow objects that are solid wood in any shape she desires, making them all one piece without any joints at all!"
The bushy haired girl glowed as though the triumph was her own.
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Don't get too excited by the wands just yet. Sybil is not a wand-crafter, just a dryad.
Also, I can't believe that people would defend goblins by saying that Voldy-burger killed some.
Dying to Voldemort isn't in any degree a measure of your opposition to him. In fact, serving him is almost a guarantee of torture by him! And if you failed to have correct beliefs, or wavered in service, then he killed you. So bodies dropping left and right out of torture and killing curses was far more a mark of Voldemort's SERVANTS than his ENEMIES!!
If you served him you got tortured, guaranteed. Whereas if you opposed him you were far more likely to just live normally until you died - something I'm sure the Death Eaters left out of their recruitment speeches.