The Golden Rules of Cursebreaking. Join Bill, Harry and the rest as they get down and dirty in the ruins.
Acknowledgements - IP82, ChuckDaTruck, Sirius009, JMCQK6, Nukular Winter and Smeagolita all contributed in their usual fashion! Without the talents of FairyQilan, this work would be grammatically inferior piece of crap. Vanna from DLP gets special kudos for inspiring a flashback scene.
Chapter 8 - Eating Their Nuts
"Well what do you think?" Bill asks.
"I don't know something is projecting a veil of darkness. We've sent three CG's in and none of them came back from across the threshold of that archway." Sanchez replies in her rapid-fire voice. You've had bad experiences with veils and arches, so you keep your thoughts to yourself. At least the fast talking slag doesn't seem so eager to try and crack this trap.
You listen to Bill and Maria talk as you continue to sketching and tracing the runes from the previous set of runes you and Bill defeated yesterday. Collins just went outside to apparate back to the camp and Kwan should be here in about ten minutes. One of Bill's 'Golden Rules of Cursebreaking' was to never apparate inside of a site for fear of triggering wards. The funny thing was the 'Golden Rule' changed from day to day. You're beginning to think Bill is just making all this crap up. You have to go back in an hour to check on the roast you have in the oven, although Thundercloud said he would pull it out, if you were late.
Three runes make up the green blast of energy and no less than seven constituted the 'purple lightshow of doom'. Once you get them back to the tent, Bill wants you to compare each of them to THE BOOK. THE BOOK, or Golinard's Field Cursebreaking Manual is the cursebreaker's bible. They have plenty of other tomes, but only one of them is THE BOOK. Bill's copy is full of notes all jotted in the margins. He is pretty protective of it, going so far as to tell you not to even drink or eat around THE BOOK. You suspect that if Granger ever became a cursebreaker, she would find a way to animate the book so she could sleep with it.
Sanchez won't even let you look at her copy. When you asked, she had made a comment that you would have better luck trying to get her in the sack. You spent the next thirty minutes trying to scrub that disgusting image out of your mind. Seriously, the woman looks like a childhood splinch accident that no one ever got around to fixing! You used to call Aunt Petunia 'Horse Face', but she at least had something resembling a neck. Whoever was beating her with the ugly stick must have broken her nose along with the stick.
The set of runes they are working on are hidden behind this darkness being projected. Whoever designed this set definitely didn't want to repeat their design. Instead of brute force, this layer seems to rely on keeping whatever is behind the darkness hidden.
"It looks like there is some kind of silencing charm up as well. Probably why we don't hear the monkey's scream." Sanchez observes.
"Hey Bill, do you have any of those extendable ears from the dipshit duo?" You ask.
"Good idea! I think I have a couple in my backpack." He rummages around and pulls out one while explaining the purpose to his counterpart.
This time the monkey went in holding the end of the extendable ear. Bill listened from the other end. Ten seconds later he pulled it away from his ear and slowly put it back. He closed his eyes straining to hear something.
"It screamed a bunch and then something got it. I think I hear movement in there. No other sounds just movement. You know what that means?"
Sanchez answered him, "Necro Wards. I hate inferi. Could be some kind of animated construct too, but knowing the history of this region my guess is undead."
You are curious about something. "Bill, why didn't the monkey come back out?"
Bill tugs on the string. It doesn't move. "Shit! It's also got a one-way ward on it. The monkeys couldn't get back out.
"Too bad the monkeys can't talk." Sanchez says. She eyes you and you wonder if she is actually considering asking you to go in, bitch.
You set your sketchpad and the pencils down from your tracing and walk over to Bill. You lean into his ear and whisper. "I could conjure a snake, send it in and hear what it says, but that would mean letting her know about my gift."
Bill looks thoughtful for a minute and finally says. "Madame Sanchez, I would like to make an addendum to your Non-Disclosure Oath. Do you swear on your professional reputation to not discuss what you are about to see?" Interestingly enough, cursebreakers usually swear on their professional reputation. When questioned, they will respond that they swear that they have never violated their reputation or if they have they usually have to provide the pensieve memory of how it happened. No real penalties, but it seems to be a code of honor among them.
"Si, on this I do swear." She responded.
"Do it." Bill says to you.
"/Serpensortia/!" You cast creating a snake a little over a meter in length. You cast the weak compulsion charm on it and hiss in Parsel. "/Go through the blackness. Tell me what is on the other side. I will hear you./" You see Sanchez's raised eyebrow and a slight nodding of her head.
You pick up the extendable ear as the snake slithers across the threshold. Now that you know the compulsion charm it makes the snake conjuring spell a bit more useful. Previously you had to bargain with any snakes you tried to conjure. By the time you convinced them what to do the spell had run it's course and the snake vanished. You hadn't even bothered trying it since the end of the third year.
"/I see dead men. Dead men are- ahhh!/" You hear the snake scream and then the shuffling of feet.
"The snake saw dead men - necro wards."
One of Bill's sixth or seventh year defense texts had quite a bit on inferi, real 'Night of the Living Dead' shit. Fire is supposed to work well against them. There's the ever-popular decapitation or blowing a large hole in its head. Though in all honesty, the last two methods work surprising well against most opponents. You look forward to the day you could test that theory against Malfoy. They can be animated in two ways, using potions and rituals to make them rise again, if the necromancer wants a mobile army. Should the necromancer need defenders he or she would use necro wards to animate the dead in a specific area. It's quicker and much easier to use wards, but you are more limited in how you can use them.
You know what's funny? One time when Ronniekins was going off on how Malfoy was going to end up as a necromancer, Hermikins got on this rant about how necromancy was originally an offshoot of divination. It supposedly was an art concerned with contacting dead spirits and that over time has been corrupted and confused with those who practice the vile art of reanimation. To Ron's credit, he let her go on for a solid minute before he looked back at you and said, "So like I was saying, I bet the little ferret ends up as a necromancer."
"Can your snakes tell us how many?" Sanchez asks.
"I don't know. It's worth a try." Who would have guessed she would ever ask you something useful!
Over the next ten minutes you learn one surprising fact - conjured snakes can't count. Maybe, if you had a real snake it could. You should have picked some up prior to heading out. The best answer you got was out of the fourth snake you sent in and that was "many". Many is not a very good number. The three of you ponder this as you wait for the hitwizard.
When Kwan arrives he is briefed that there are an indeterminate number of inferius on the other side of the archway. The little Korean ponders this for a moment before he points at the two cursebreakers. "You two - use fire whip. One whip goes head level and other goes waist level. Cook, you use your tree splitter. You are slow and sloppy with your spells, but they are strong enough. Aim at upper chest. It should blow head off. Unlike trees, inferi move. Do not stop to watch spell, like stupid schoolboy. You cast and then cast again. I don't see you stop casting until no more dead things moving! You stay low with me. Fire whips go over our heads."
You nod at the butcher of the English language. Kwan is referring to your blasting curse. It was about as backhanded of a compliment as you could get. Each day you practiced your offensive spells against a bunch of defenseless trees. You fire cutters and reductors until the tree falls. After it falls you blast away at the stump with '/Tonare/', the aforementioned tree splitter. You remember Granger using it to blow up miscellaneous items in the Room of Requirement during DA meetings. In retrospect it was a strange choice on her part. If she wasn't so controlled the shrapnel could have become a missile hazard in the room. She must be more of a precision caster. You on the other hand are swiftly becoming a blow everything in your path to little bits and figure it out later kind of spellcaster, but it makes you feel so much better afterwards!
With Bill and Sanchez set to cast their firewhips, you and Kwan crouch. The idea is that the two fire whips drive the inferius back and you and Kwan dive into the darkness and start blowing things up. Sometimes simplicity is the best course of action.
"You sure your up for this Har, uh James?" Bill says slipping up.
"Yeah, easy plan. Blow them up. Works for me."
"Right. Everyone ready. Maria, start casting - now!"
You watch as the two fire whips disappear into the dark. Kwan nods and both of you cross feeling an icy chill up your spine as you cross the threshold. The room is barely lit and you immediately cast your blaster at the first shape you can make out. Kwan releases some kind of power wave, which tosses the ones in front of him backwards. You cast again wondering if you can convince him to teach you that one. Staying low you cast your third blaster as you sense Bill stepping in behind you casting a second fire whip, yet another spell you need to acquire. The light generated by the whips allows you to see better. There are about a dozen of them in the ten meter by ten meter room. One of yours is down for good. The second is missing both arms from your less than accurate cursing. You remedy that with another blaster. Potter scores again! The Mexican keeps up with her fire whip, but Bill switches over to using cutters and reductors. Bill's superior aim blows one head off and severs another just as your blaster hits the same. You look for your next target and realize that not making Kwan angry at you should be a higher priority in your life. Together you and Bill got four. Kwan destroyed the other eight with a skill you hope to one day achieve. You're too busy casting to watch, but you hope you'll be able to see it in a pensieve sometime, because it must have been something.
"Clear!" Kwan shouts. Cadavers are everywhere. They had climbed out of niches carved into the walls. Glowing on the ceiling were the series of necro wards responsible for animating them. At the other end of the room is yet another door, but what really catches your eye is on a pedestal sits a large shaped statuette of a dragon. It is apparently has been shaped from gold. The only real disturbing thing about it is that it has three charging runes and a controlling rune on each of its wings. They feed into a single large complex rune on its chest. The rune is currently active and that really worries you.
"Weasley!" Sanchez shouts. "The dragon!"
Bill looks at it and sees it is active. "James, send a snake towards it." As soon as you cast it the Snake starts writhing in agony and hissing at everyone. Kwan doesn't hesitate. He kills it immediately with a cutter.
"Sanchez, disable the one way. We need to get out of here!"
"It will take too long, blow the wall!" Sanchez replies looking at the rune scheme above the portal you came through.
"Right. Kwan, Harry, blow a hole right here. I'll keep the ceiling from collapsing." Bill messed up and called you Harry again, but you'll scold him later provided both of you survive this. Five curses later there is a big enough hole. It's ladies and hags first as Sanchez dives through. You go next scuffing yourself a bit on the loose stone. Kwan comes through. Bill is trying to back out while keeping his enchantment on the ceiling. It's not working so well. He's stuck.
"Bill, go slack and I'll summon you!" You scream. You wait three seconds and scream "/Accio/, Bill!" Bill pops out your side. He's a bit dazed as he stumbles upright. The side of his head is bleeding and he is pretty badly scraped in several places. You hear the ceiling on the other side collapse.
"Harry, summon another snake." You comply, but with the same results, wondering how much longer the 'James Black' masquerade is going to last with all these repeated slip ups. The snake thrashes wildly screaming about pain and agony.
"Whatever it is it is still active. Grab and go. Move it!" You scoop up Bill's backpack and your sketchpad on the way out. In the next room you see about a twenty snakes thrashing around in the room, but moving forward. There's a number of lizards in the group as well. The ward seems to be attracting snakes and other reptiles and driving them insane. In this instance your language ability is becoming a burden with all the screams of the snakes. They are hissing and biting at each other, but still moving towards you. A horrifying thought crosses your mind during this cacophony of sound. Dragons are really big reptiles aren't they?
You reach in your pocket and grab your shrunken broom. Quickly you cancel out your shrinking charm and the Dragonfly returns to its normal size. Kwan and the rest are using cutters, bansishers and flash freezing charms to try and clear them away. Kwan does that wicked looking banisher again and dozens of snakes go flying through the air. You have got to learn that spell!
"Sanchez, climb on. I'll fly you out first and come back for you two, unless you want to chance an apparition out of here?"
"No, you're right. No telling what wards were sprung when that one went off. Get her out of the building. Sanchez, when you're clear of the building apparate back to camp. We'll hold them here."
You feel Maria's weight settle on the broom and her arms encircle you. It's disgusting, but you don't really have time for that. "Hang on! Tight clearances!" You kick off and lean forward. The bitch's wide ass is adding a lot of mass to your flight as you careen off the wall. You entertain the thought of pushing her off as you corner again and smack into the wall again. That'll leave a bruise! Between the screaming snakes and the wailing Mexican slag directly next to your ear, you realize that you would be better off casting a deafness charm on yourself. Nothing's bit you yet and those Vipertooth hide boots are proving their worth whenever your feet have to dangle. You burst into the sunlight and kick up your speed. Well at least you know where all the snakes are coming from, the blood vine is being transfigured into snakes! Holy shit! It's scary as hell, but it is damn impressive! You head for a clearing and pretty much dump her off of the broom. "Get out of here!"
You yank the broom hard over and accelerate towards the opening. The underbrush seems to be alive with reptilian activity. Without Sanchez weighing you down, you are much quicker. Bill and Kwan are holding the mass of critters off. Kwan motions for Bill to hop on. Fortunately Bill doesn't scream like a girl. In fact coming into the first corner he hits the wall in front of you with a cushioning charm and you bounce hard but keep on flying. The passageway's are filling with reptiles now - not good. The din is maddening. Bill isn't a helpless passenger though, he keeps tossing spells left and right. On the long twenty-five meter stretch he trails his wand behind the broom casting one long incendio like a muggle flamethrower scorching snakes and lizards alike. Bill leaps from the broom as you get to the clearing rolls forward stops and instantly vanishes. You feel like such an amateur as you spin around to get Kwan. Bill's cooking session left the passageways with the aroma of burnt reptile. You briefly wonder if it actually does taste like chicken?
Kwan is almost backed up to the darkness veil by the time you reach him. He is still casting spells at a breakneck pace. He leaps onto your broom and sags into you. This rides a bit rougher as the small Korean doesn't seem to be in any shape to cast spells. He almost falls off when you hit the second wall. As you smack into the third wall, you hear a loud roar from outside. You think whatever it is that is doing this just found a dragon.
You clear the entrance and start scanning the sky. There's a dragon alright and a pair of wyverns circling and snapping angrily at each other. You reach the clearing and Kwan falls off. He looks like he has passed out. You point your wand at him and ennervate him. He blearily opens his eyes.
"Can you apparate?" You yell to him. He doesn't look like he understands you. No choice, you scoop him up and start towards the camp again. The good news is the dragon has driven off the two wyverns. The bad new is that it has spotted Harry Potter. You fly as fast as the broom will carry you and the semi-comatose hitwizard. You reach the camp with about a one minute lead and the thing is closing fast.
"Bill! There's a dragon right behind me! I'll lead it off. Break camp and leave me a portkey on that rock! Use a water bottle!" You point to the rock where you spent several nights sitting and watching the stars. Thundercloud takes the hitwizard from you. Collins and Sanchez are already breaking down the tent.
"Be careful!" Bill yells as you take off towards the dragon. It is an interesting statement - 'Be Careful'. It's not like you planned to play dragon bait today is it? If you had your firebolt, you could fly circles around that thing. Well maybe not, but then again it's nice to dream. It must be a Vipertooth. It's built smaller than the Horntail. Must be built for speed and agility. That would be your luck wouldn't it? You toss a blasting curse at it from a distance - probably the equivalent of shooting a spitball. Sure enough it impacts ineffectively as you bank hard right and begin to climb. This would have to be a day with not a single cloud in the sky. Hopefully, making it climb will slow it down as you send another blasting curse at it. For some reason, Dean Thomas's stupid movie quotes pop into your head and you hear him say in a fake French accent, "I fart in your general direction!" Stupid Dean and his obsession with Monty Python, you hope he does end up with Ginny. They deserve each other!
Not that there hasn't already been a run of bad news today, but the dragon is gaining. Open air, apparently, is not your friend today. Better hit the deck and see if you can lose the damn thing there. Gravity helps you accelerate, borrowing from the best seeker you know, you toss a blinding curse back over your shoulder. Viktor would be proud. You wonder what the hell he ever saw in Hermione anyway? Seriously, he's a rich, famous international quidditch star from a school that wouldn't even admit Hermione if she wanted to go there. It's just another of those things that don't make sense. The jungle's canopy is pretty thick here. You had hoped to be able to dive in and lose the dragon there, but you might also break your fool neck! Scissor right! Scissor left! Can't this damn thing go any faster? You've got some maneuverability Potter, use it! A bright spot in the news is that, it had to slow itself during the rapid descent to prevent crashing through the treetops. There's a bit more space between the two of you now. Another blinding curse! This one hit something. It must have got only one of the dragon's eyes though, because it is still coming. Bank left! Nothing! It must be the right eye. Throw a third blinding curse at it and bank right. Yes! That's the blinded eye. You saw it move it's whole head to keep up with your turn. Lay flat out on the broom and skim the treetops; it will be wary of the tree hazard. You know sudden changes in tree height. Like say for instance that big tree you just barely missed - idiot!
How long have you been at this? They should be gone now, shouldn't they? All that is left is the simple task of out maneuvering a dragon and getting back to your portkey. You've got two choices; either land and apparate or out fly it back to camp. Stick with what you know Potter! You can out fly anything on a broom. Hard right! Now pour on the speed! Not drizzle on the speed - pour it on dammit! You should be close enough to summon it soon. Get ready. Now here is a question for you to consider, what happens when a broom rider at max velocity activates a portkey? You might want to cut your speed right as the portkey gets to you? There are three possible outcomes, you live, you live but hurt yourself or Potter flavored dragon kibble. The last two outcomes really don't suit you that well. Campsite is coming up.
"/Accio/, water bottle!" You barely see the speck flying through the air. Thank goodness for the blue label. Should have had Bill use a more conspicuous object. Brake and catch!
You hit the ground with hard thump. Well the right side should now have matching bruises for the left side. Fair is fair, after all. The others are waiting for you. Collins is supporting Kwan, who still looks out of it.
"Did you have fun flying?" Bill asks innocent voice. His expression is one of tremendous relief.
"Loads. And here I thought Quidditch was a rough sport? Dragon baiting isn't my cup of tea."
"Righteous flying, Cookie." Bill responds.
"How did you know to evacuate?" You really want to know the answer to that question.
"Golden Rule, if a ward is active and you don't know what it is or how long it has been active; be scared. If it isn't doing anything run like hell, because you don't want to wait around and find out!" You sigh at another of Bill's 'Golden Rules', but know that it saved everyone's collective behinds today.
"Are we going to go back there?"
"Maybe, I'd love to see the runes that were used to transfigure the blood vine into serpents. Plus, whatever ward was on that statue somehow summoned and agitated snakes and dragons. That said, I think your flying buddy will end up destroying the ruins before it leaves, but our hopes of finding a portkey to the City of the Damned or some kind of magical map that predated the Fidelius charm are slim to none. We'll move on to the next site, but for now how about we take a three day weekend instead of trying to get set up at the second site only to break camp later that day?" Bill's suggestion seems to meet instant approval. Near death experiences will do that! A nice bed is better than the hammocks in the tent. You shrink your broom and start dabbing bruising cream from a small container Sanchez just tossed you.
"You fly like you are loco. I hurt all over, but that is a good thing." She says with a smile. Damn! She needs some serious dental work too.
"Anytime - actually, not anytime. Let's save it for the real emergencies." You respond with a chuckle.
With that the group breaks up to meet Monday morning. As you make your way into the magical area on the outskirts of Rio, Kwan, Collins and Sanchez head for the portkey area to Sao Paulo, where they can catch their International portkeys. You, Bill and Thundercloud head to the Gringott's branch to get the five hundred galleons for your ritual. Bill was so disappointed when he didn't get any reaction out of Thundercloud's totem, but expressed an interest in learning to become one to the Native American.
"Be certain to select simple things to prepare next week. The purifiying potions often cause a person to have hallucinations. One of their main ingredients is peyote. I will assist in the cooking, when young James is not, as one might say, all there." The animagus, or is it animage, says like you should know what in the name of all that's magical peyote is.
With that Thundercloud says his goodbyes and takes his leave. Bill looks at you. "Let's go check into the hotel. You up for a short apparition? Good! Concentrate on the alley behind the hotel. Whenever you're ready Harry."
You squeeze yourself into nothingness and reappear on the other side intact. Bill appears a second later. "Hey, you're still in one piece. Good show!" You flip him a quick one finger salute in reply. He smacks the back of your head in a brotherly manner as the two of you head around to the front of the hotel.
The registration desk is nice and accommodating, but only has one of the two rooms available. It doesn't really matter to you. You volunteer to take the couch. If all else fails, you can set up the tent and sleep in the hammock inside. You just really want to get in a hot bath and soak. Is that too much to ask? All the tent has is a shower. These hotel rooms have a nifty Jacuzzi style tub, with all those relaxing jets of water.
Much later you are sitting on the couch reading Luna's latest entry, while Bill has his maps of the ruin sites spread out on the table. A nice hour long soak and another liberal application of anti-bruising cream has you looking and feeling like your desperate broom ride was actually one of ickle Ronniekin's daydreams.
Thank you for your prompt reply. It's good to see you take my threats seriously! I trust there will be no further reminders required. It's raining today, so I am catching up on my ancient runes work and COMC assignment. I usually just draw a picture of a Snorkack or something for Hagrid. He doesn't ask questions. I almost wish he would. No snorkack hunting for us today! How are your 'Independent Studies' going? If you really want your summer assignments, I would be more than happy to contact someone and get them for you. Ha Ha!
So the great Harry Potter is a pretty decent cook on top of everything else. Best not let that get out, the fangirls would be relentless and some of the fangirl's mums might be after you too! My price for not sending this juicy tidbit off to Teen Witch Weekly is one hot simmering apple pie. I know blackmail is so very beneath me, but it is a flaw I am learning to live with.
Glad to hear that you can apparate now! I confess to being a bit curious about why Dumbledore never gave you any special training? You've done very well on your own, but a little help should have been the order of the day. I've already said it, but I'll say it again. Thank you for everything you taught in the DA last year. Keep on learning as much as you can. If there is no DA if and when you come back, then you can just be my private defense tutor. I'll even consider letting you off the hook for the apple pie.
That night vision charm you diagramed looks quite useful. Sadly, I have to wait until September to try it, but it is tops on my priority list. Are you still doing the blond look? I can tell you from personal experience that blondes are more fun!
Well, Daddy is calling. I must be going. Do brush up on your baking before you return.
Ever shining down on you,
P.S - Looney says she deserves some Cherries Jubilee for her silence. Sorry, I'm just the messenger.
You wipe off the grin on your face. She apparently has a weakness for baked desserts. That might be useful someday. You've never made cherries jubilee before. Your pies aren't bad. Not as good as Ma Weasel, but still rather tasty. The unnerving thing is that you get the impression that she is actually flirting with you. You don't have enough experience to be sure and quite honestly, you are just getting to know the real her. If you ask Bill for advice, he'll probably tell you to sleep with her. He seems like he is already going into Fleur withdrawal or something.
Isn't it a little early to be resorting to blackmail? I'll consider it. As for Looney's request, I don't know if my cooking cherries jubilee with open flames is necessarily a good idea, but we'll see what happens. In an earlier entry, you recommended that I go find some trouble. Well let me tell you about my day ...
You put down the pen about thirty minutes later wondering whether you should have told Luna about all the things that happened to you today. You weren't really bragging. In fact you didn't really even elaborate on your dragon chase and the sheer terror you were experiencing at the time. Something is just lacking in the sentence - 'I had to distract the dragon and lead it away from camp, before I could circle back around and summon my portkey.' Oh well, she has an active imagination. She should be able to fill in the blanks. Time for some well deserved rest.
The morning comes much quicker than you had hoped. Bill is still sleeping. He was still up when you turned in last night. He seemed a little too on edge last night. He was taking the snafu yesterday badly. He complained that he is a meticulous planner and hates when everything goes to hell in an extra large, magically expanded handbasket. Your response had you ducking a trio of books he chucked at you.
"Honestly Bill, who does like it when things go to shit?" You mimic Hermione pretty well while ducking the books.
Bill told you that you are pretty much on your own this weekend. He has to grease a few government palms to get the necessary 'exploration permits' to visit the second site. He says it is the absolute worst part of being a cursebreaker. Normally, Gringott's handles the procurement of these permits, but your team isn't sponsored by the Goblin Bank. You pick up one of the books he had casually chucked at you. It's the mission journal to report back to the Order. You decide to open it and see some news from the home front.
I do hope everything is well and that you are taking all the necessary precautions when exploring those awful places. I know you are a grown man, but it is still a mother's prerogative to be worried. I will pass along your latest reports at the next Order meeting.
To answer your earlier question, we haven't located Harry just yet. He has apparently gone into hiding among the muggles. Right now any owls we send just come back. His own owl refuses to even leave with a letter for him. I am very worried about him, but there are no reports that he has fallen into you-know-who's clutches. It was very foolish of him to run off like that! Merlin knows what trouble he could get into! He needs to be here where he can be minded properly. Rest assured, that I will keep him under lock and key. Hermione and Ginny are beside themselves with worry! I hope wherever he is, he knows what he is putting those poor girls through.
I hope you are in regular contact with Fleur, such a nice young lady. I am beginning to wonder if she might be the one you have been looking for. Everyone else sends their love.
Please be safe,
Your loving Mum.
You set the book down with a renewed sense of disgust. 'Minded properly'! More like drugged and controlled. You've got her lock and key right here! The only foolish thing you have done recently is put your trust in any Weasley not named Bill. As for the two manipulative bitches, they are just worried that you know them for what they really are - good for nothing useless slags!
Nothing works quite like a bit of righteous anger to get the blood pumping in the morning. You set the books back on the table and slip into the shower. The bruises are pretty much gone. Being magical does have its positives doesn't it? Quickly, you dress in some shorts and a shirt. Sleepyhead is just rising when you come out dressed already.
"Morning Bill, rough night?"
"Yeah, tossed and turned for awhile. Tried to figure out where it went wrong."
"The Armageddon ward was probably set to trigger on heat. Our fire whips probably set it off. Everyone knows that you use fire against inferi. The bastard who designed it probably is laughing there arse off at us in the afterlife - crafty bugger! Sorry, I just hate losing."
"Buck up, me hearty." You say in your best pirate voice. "We can always go back and dig for buried treasure. You didn't lose. You just have to postpone your victory dance for a while."
"Sage like advice, from someone so young. You realize you'll be doing a lot of the digging, if it comes to that?"
"Digging, cooking, cleaning it's nothing new. I am drawing the line at washing everyone's grundies though. Hell will freeze over, thaw, and freeze over again before I touch Sanchez's unmentionables!"
"Gah! Harry, I didn't need that image this morning!"
"Hey, that reminds me. You slipped up several times yesterday and called me Harry instead of James. I don't know how much longer we can keep this charade up."
"Damn! You're right. I can probably get another Non Disclosure Oath out of Maria and Thundercloud. The hitwizards won't be a problem. Their obsession with reputation is greater than cursebreakers and their biggest rule is to not talk about your previous clients without permission. Let me grab a shower and we'll go get something for breakfast. Bet you're glad you don't have to do any cooking today."
"Yeah, tell me about it. Someone is going to be waiting on me today."
"Would that someone's name be Karina?" Bill asks teasing.
"Perhaps. I figured I would pick up some pretty looking vegetation from that shop and pop over to see her today. If she isn't available, I'll just hang around the beach and play tourist and whatnot. Later on, I was going to start carving a better set of intruder wards and personal recognition wards. I might need to pick up some more base material to carve. Do you need me to pick up anything else, other than next week's groceries?"
"Pick me up a cheap broom. I'll keep it shrunk in my pocket like you. I don't want to be caught with my pants down like that ever again. Nothing fancy, just something that will fly. I don't intend on trying to rival either you or Charlie in the sky. If you want a challenge, try adding runes that will determine temperature and precipitation to your intruder and personal recognition wards. Always nice to know what the weather is like before you step outside." He's got an evil grin on his face, like he is setting you up for failure. You'll see about that. Harry Potter doesn't back down. Well okay, Harry Potter does run away from dragons, but for the most part Harry Potter doesn't back down! Not really a great battlecry - you need to work on that.
"Right. No problem. Well actually small problem, I need some galleons."
"Money pouch is on the nightstand. Take what you need. It's yours after all." Bill said as he headed off to the shower.
While you waited for slowpoke to get ready, you finished another chapter in the Ancient Runes manual. It's a bit boring, but the practical side is interesting enough. You have your doubts that anything in the Hogwart's curriculum would have helped bust that Necro Ward. Baby steps, Harry! Learn the simple stuff from a book and the real deal from Bill. Not too many ward schemes out there use 'friendship and trust' in their mix, but here in front of you is six pages in a book about various runes to represent the two. You remember Hermione fretting about mistranslating 'partnership and defense' on her OWLs. Wonder if she realizes the real difference between mistranslating runes? Perhaps a thousand snakes slithering down a corridor towards you? No way, it must be the difference between and Outstanding and Exceeds Expectations! You've often wondered exactly whose expectations these ruddy exams were based on? For instance with Crabbe and Goyle forming whole sentences is 'Exceeding Expectations'. There is a good deal of ambiguity in the magical world isn't there?
You are being a bit harsh now aren't you? Friendship, trust and happiness runes supposedly form the basis for embedding a cheering charm into a runic scheme. To do so, you need to carve the three runes and cast the linking spell to create the runic scheme. After that you cast the charm on each of the runes in specified sequence, link it to your controlling and charging runes and voila a weak field that makes everyone feel a little better. Engrave it into fountains, park benches and what not. Then sit back and watch the happy little tourists spend their money. You bet Las Vegas does it too! Why else would anyone go to an effing desert? Karina mentioned that the family that is trying to ruin her maintains runes around the city to make people enjoy their stay in this area. You'll have to keep an eye out for the runes as you go about town.
An hour later, you are done with your breakfast. You pick up an assortment of flowers that your 'guy instincts' tell you are acceptable. From their, the two of you apparate to the magical only beach and head into the village. Bill heads off to bribe some low-level government official - err acquire exploration permits and you head off in the direction of the Machado hovel. You wonder how James Black will be received.
Author's notes - Full discussion on Darklordpotter as always. A very special thanks to the lovely Vanna for inspiring the whole origin of Necromancy in a thread there! She played Hermione and your author played Ron in the scene you see in this chapter. She's right of course, but with D&D and various RPGs, necromancy has become another term for the practice of reanimation. Next chapter you'll find out what passes for fun in Magical Brazil - Dodgespell!