Harry goes a-slaughtering.
The Slaughterhouse... er, I Mean Magical Reservation
The raging fires of the Netherworld portal took quite a bit longer to quiet down for Harry this time. Similar to the Floo Network, he supposed, in that it was influenced by the distance he had to travel, unlike Apparition. But it was infinitely more comfortable than any magical transportation other than flying that he had encountered; in fact, the sensation reminded him of flying more than anything, as he seemed to fly through the portal, weightless, supported effortlessly by the magic.Soon, he heard the roar of the portal grow louder, signaling that his destination was near, and he found himself placed on top of the other end of the portal.
Harry immediately began shivering, as the cold air blew by. Thankfully, it being the middle of the summer, the ground was not covered in snow, with subzero temperatures, but it was certainly cold enough to dissuade anyone from visiting, especially in the summer when people would rather be on a beach.
“Are you quite enjoying yourself, Master?”
“No. No, I am not, Gnarl, as I’m sure you can tell.” Ignoring the laughter in his ear, Harry took a few steps forward, casting a warming spell on himself. While they had been waiting for Grubby, the Minion responsible for creating Netherworld portals, to burrow his way to wherever Harry was now, Harry had managed to convince Gnarl to incorporate his wand into his sword. Though he had endured quite a lot of negative muttering while it was being done, he had managed to convince them in the end. While his immediate concern had been so that he might keep the protection of the dual wand cores, they had all been pleasantly surprised to learn that he could cast all his old spells even if the wand was encased in steel. After a bit of experimenting, Harry also discovered that he could do this completely nonverbally, and without all the silly wand-waving that had been required before. Luna had made an odd comment about how the magic of the Overlord had altered the magic of normal wizarding spells, but Harry was more relieved at the fact that he wouldn’t accidentally stab himself doing a particularly large wand movement. Not to mention it just looked silly to wave a sword around.
Speaking of Luna… “Luna, where exactly did you say this was again?”
“It’s a secret magical reservation in the northern part of Sweden, Master, quite close to Durmstrang, actually.”
“Durmstrang? I thought their castle was Unplottable.”
“Oh, it is, but that doesn’t mean someone can’t accidently stumble upon it. Father and I came here one summer looking for Aquavirius Maggots and found the castle. It isn’t all that impressive.”
While Durmstrang might not have been impressive, the landscape certainly was. Mountains towered on nearly every side of him, craggy ridges, trees, and short, tough grass dominating the scenery. The trees were sparse, allowing easy traversal of the land, but past that, he could easily see why Luna had suggested they come here to harvest Lifeforce. The area was positively teeming with life, magical and mundane creatures alike; squirrels were fleeing from packs of gnomes – both garden and the new variety – bowtruckles skittered up trees. Harry even thought he saw a Jabberknoll running between tree roots. “This is fantastic, Luna. I don’t know how I can repay you.”
“Oh, I’m sure you’ll think of something when you get back to the Private Quarters later tonight, Master. The repairs are coming along quite nicely, and the bed looks extremely comfortable.” The meaning behind Luna’s comment did not escape Harry’s notice, (He wasn’t THAT dense) but he tried to focus on the task at hand, even as his mind wandered to the petite blonde. He didn’t know whether it was his new title or his hormones trying to make up for years of neglect, but he found himself thinking about his female friends more and more often.
Later, later, he mentally chastised himself. Stretching his left arm out, Harry called forth his Minions from their respective gates. Currently, he could only call out twenty of them, though Gnarl hadn’t managed to properly explain why that was, but he was hoping that the number would soon increase as he gained more control over his new powers. “Now, what do you think I should slaughter first, Gnarl? I don’t suppose those squirrels are large enough to accumulate Lifeforce.”
“Hardly, Master. Those puny squirrels aren’t magical or large enough to build up any significant amount of Lifeforce in them. For now, I suggest you stick to those gnomes, until we come across something a little more lively.”
“Of course they wouldn’t, that’d be too easy.” He strode forward, sending his Minions out to do their bloody work. For well over a quarter of an hour, the Minions slaughtered the endless numbers of gnomes as they made their way through the woods, accumulating dozens of Lifeforce orbs, both Brown and Red. Harry had to admit, the power he wielded felt good, as he threw out the occasional fireball to add to the carnage. In his mind, he was justifying his violence by knowing that what he was doing was necessary to end the life of Voldemort, but he’d be lying if he wasn’t slowly starting to enjoy his power over the lives of these pathetic creatures. They were nothing more than ants, or roaches, infesting the land with their presence. And no one ever cried for stepping on an insect. These insects were just bigger.
A shrill sound began to pierce its way through the chilly air, stopping Harry and his Minions in their tracks. It sounded like laughter, but not the pleasant sort. More like a cackle. Was it a human? Harry couldn’t tell, but he saw a large shadow flitting about in the boughs of a tree in the near distance. He commanded his Minions to follow him, dropping a few wounded gnomes as they did so, and they ran towards the shadow, following the sound of laughter as it jumped from tree to tree. “Be careful, Master, it might be some manner of trap,” Gnarl whispered to him, but Harry shrugged off the warning. The cackle was simultaneously eerie and entrancing, drawing him toward it. Finally, the shadow stopped in a tree just in front of Harry, and the sinister laughter stopped.
Harry was just shaking the mental cobwebs off when a blur of movement rocketed away from the shadow, striking him in the chest. He looked down just in time to see darts bounce off his chestplate, but the impact sent him falling backwards. The Minions cried out in dismay, barely avoiding being crushed, and Harry commanded the Reds to throw their fireballs at the shadow. As the tree burst into flames, the shadow jumped out of it, accompanied by two others, Harry finally caught a glimpse of what had lured him. They were elf-like creatures, but easily the most hideous he had ever seen. Their eyes glowed a pale orange, and their bare bodies had the texture of wood and moss. Their noses were pointed, and their teeth sharp enough to easily tear flesh. They stood on two legs, but their backs were hunched over so far that they had to hold themselves up with their clawed hands, looking like demonic elves.
As the creatures dashed toward him, the Brown Minions quickly moved to intercept them, and a brawl began. The elves were large enough to hold their own against the ten Browns, managing to slay three of them in the short tussle, but when Harry regained his footing and ordered the Reds to resume their barrage of fireballs, they quickly disintegrated into screaming piles of ash, leaving behind a dozen Lifeforce orbs. “Take that, you freaky bastards!” The Minions brought the orbs to him, including a few Green ones, which Harry was resolved to ask Gnarl about later. “What were those things?”
“If I’m correct, those were Bavarian Erklings, Master,” responded Luna. “They’re elfish creatures that normally prey on young children, but their haunting laughter is effective on all people. They lure people away from others so that they can devour them, and as you can see, they also enjoy shooting darts at their victims. Not pretty.”
“To say the least…” Harry kicked at the ashy remains of the three Erklings before noticing a gentle blue glow emanating from behind the tree.
“It’s another spell stone, Sire!” And indeed it was. The wheel-shaped artifact was easy to identify.
“How convenient…” Harry wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth, however, so he commanded his Reds to pick it up, and they set back for the Netherworld portal, ready to call it a day.
And a day it would have been, if not for the giant creature that they found investigating the portal.
“Why does this always happen to me,” muttered Harry.
Oh no, what monstrous creature lies just ahead? Check your copy of "Magical Creatures and Where To Find Them" and let me know your guess! I hope you enjoyed, my lovely little lemon drops, and stay tuned as continue our very important work. (That's stolen from The Gradual Report, by the way. If you don't know what that is, you should go look it up right now. Seriously, right now. Google it.)