The Second War is about to begin, with Voldemort gaining power, and the Ministry denying his return. Ron&Hermione are looked as the ones to destroy HIM, but no one saw the return of the Savior they...
Chapter 14: Echoes of the past
Christmas break had come and gone, and from what the Order told Harry, Voldemort had limited his raids and entrenched his forces until he could work out a way to counter the new weapons Harry had given to his enemies, and wait for Dumbledore's death.
Harry and the others returned to Hogwarts, and life returned to the same old routine. Harry and Hermione would often get into fights about their relationship, with Harry insisting there wasn't any relationship between them, and Hermione claiming the opposite.
"You're still too human." Harry would often say, and leave it at that. Hermione was furious with him, but despite the few lucky shots she landed on him in these past few months, she knew she couldn't fight him. Sure, they had sparred before, but she had certainly hadn't seen his full potential.
Right now, they were headed to Hogsmeade, for the first visit of the year, the two vampires bickering as usual, while Ron and Ginny followed a safe distance behind, making bets on how long this fight would last, when something very strange happened.
Harry suddenly, and without any warning, simply flew backwards as if hit by an invisible truck. He landed thirty feet away with a dull thud, and stood up slowly, coughing up a copious amount of blood.
"Harry, what the hell happened?" Ron asked in a confused tone.
"I got kicked, Ron. And I know only two persons who can kick like that." With that, Harry began slowly scanning his surroundings, and ignoring the large crowd that had gathered around the scene, suddenly rushed with inhuman speed away from his friends, and struck something in the air, which appeared as a human-shaped blur. The blur emitted a light, gentle laugh, and darkened to reveal a woman so beautiful, she seemed unreal.
"Ka-tho nokar gratch." The words seemed simply wrong spoken from her. The language sounded too harsh to be spoken by someone like her.
"Noton vitra xrilell." Harry replied in the same guttural language. The woman smirked, and attacked him.
To everyone else, what happened after that brief exchange, would forever be marked as the most incredible thing they have ever seen. The two fought with such speed, skill and power, it almost seemed like a dream. By the time the guards and the teachers arrived, the fight was well underway, and both Harry and the woman were now fighting with knives now.
"What is going on here?" Dumbledore managed to shake some people from their daze.
"Well sir, first, Harry simply flew backwards, I guess he got kicked by that woman, then he charged her. She was invisible, but revealed herself when Harry attacked her." Ginny was the first to speak.
"Who is she? Do any of you know?" Dumbledore asked.
"I know who she is, and don't worry, the guards won't be necessary. She's not an enemy." Hermione spoke, not breaking the gaze from the pair, entranced by her sire's display of his full abilities.
"She's not an enemy? Look at that, Granger, she's going to kill Potter." Snape spoke in outrage.
"If she wanted to kill him, he would have already been dead." Hermione's short reply shocked the Order. They knew that Harry was very powerful, but to think this woman could beat him as easily as Hermione told them, made them a bit nervous.
"Who is she, Ms. Granger?" McGonagall asked at last.
"Sophia Deathhand." Hermione answered simply, while the shocked Order turned to stare at what Harry told them was the second most feared person in the Lantrisi home galaxy.
"Don't worry, they'll finish soon. It's just an Order ritual they're doing. Harry doesn't really stand a chance against her, she's at least five times his age, and much better trained." Hermione replied bitterly.
"Forgive me for prying, but you don't seem happy to see her." Ginny asked her friend.
"She was Harry's girlfriend for two centuries, Ginny, and they never really broke up, they just got separated. Now that she's here, well, how can I compare with a highborn quarter-Sothian bitch?" No sooner had she said that, that a knife impaled itself in her mouth, sending her to the ground.
Everyone turned to see that the fight was over, and that the woman was indeed missing a knife.
"Your fledgling seems rather bad mannered, Daroth. But considering her sire, it's not surprising." She spoke in a pleasant voice that showed a slight hint of disuse, in English this time.
"You didn't have to hit her there, though. She's still too young to cope with such a grievous injury." Harry approached Hermione who was lying on the ground, frantically trying to pull the blade out. Harry knelt by her, and holding her head down with one hand, quickly pulled the knife out. Hermione gurgled as the blood filled her throat, but managed to cough out most of it as her wound healed.
"What the hell is going on here? That wound should have killed her on site." One of the students shouted, and many more joined.
"Minerva, please make sure the students continue with their weekend. I'll take care of this." Dumbledore turned to his deputy, who nodded, and with the help of the other teachers, urged the students towards the village.
"Harry, would you and your friends accompany me to the castle?" Dumbledore finally turned to Harry.
"Of course, headmaster. This way, my dear. Are you three coming too?" After getting an affirmative nod from his friends, everyone turned back to the castle, and twenty minutes later, they were all sitting in the Headmaster's office.
"Now, please tell me, what are you doing here?" Harry turned to Sophia.
"Now, Daroth, for a moment I thought you weren't glad to see me." Sophia grinned.
"That's beside the point. I am overjoyed to see you again, but you don't belong here. What would your father say to this?" Harry asked, and her face drooped a little.
"You had to mention him, didn't you? As far as he knows, I am on a long-term krar-ranked mission. You wouldn't believe what I had to do to get the portal spell, as well as find a mage willing to cast it." Sophia replied, while Harry snorted.
"Who did you 'persuade,' and how?" Harry sighed.
"Not-dahor. He was actually quite cooperative." Sophia replied.
"Doesn't surprise me. The fool was never good at obeying rules and orders." Harry recalled the vampire in question.
"So, now that I'm here, tell me everything. What have you being doing for the past year?" She asked eagerly, in a rather childish voice that surprised the others present.
"If you're wondering, yes, she is soft in the head." Harry smiled as she gave him a gentle slap.
"You were always such a tease. Come now, you have to tell me everything." With that, she pulled him out of the room, leaving the others wondering if Harry's statement had any truth in it.
"Ms. Granger, what can you tell me about our guest?" Dumbledore asked.
"Well, for one, her reputation is well deserved. She's dangerous, and only one man actually has any control over her, and that is her father, but according to what I know, he mostly lets her do what she wants. She is superior, even to her kind. Her father is ancient, and just because of that alone, she is biologically superior. Coupled with everything she knows, well, you can imagine." Hermione began what looked to be a lengthy explanation.
"Would you mind explaining the last to us mere mortals, Hermione?" Ron asked.
"Sure. You see, as we age, most of the human DNA in us is replaced with Lantrisian DNA. This is a slow process, and normally takes millennia to develop. However, since her father is so old, almost all of his human DNA has been purged, giving her from birth over eight hundred years of natural evolution. Coupled with centuries of training in skills only she and her father know of, she's more dangerous than anything you'll ever face. Just thank the gods she's not our enemy. Her opinion of humans is not particularly high. Like her father, she considers humans inferior, and sees them as enemies. Cross her, and she won't hesitate to kill you." Hermione finished.
"I see. We'll get out of her way for the time being then. Why don't you go and try to find them?" Dumbledore told the trio.
"Alright. Good day, headmaster." Hermione nodded, and led them out of the office.
"We should stop by his room first." Ginny suggested.
Hermione nodded, and led the way, but stopped when they got close to Harry's room.
"What's wrong, Hermione?" Ron asked.
"Err, they're well, catching up on old times." Hermione replied in a weak voice.
"Oh." Was all Ron managed.
"We should come back in a few hours." Hermione told them, and rushed to her room without another word.
Dinner that night was surprisingly silent, and everyone was staring at the Gryffindor table, where the strange woman that they saw in Hogsmeade was sitting next to Harry, and alternated between whispering to him and tasting everything she could get her hands on, acting like a five-year-old.
Despite her behavior, her stare sent shivers through even the teachers, and she apparently enjoyed turning the younger students into jelly.
"Now my dear, stop scaring the children." Harry reminded her for the fiftieth time.
"Oh, alright. It got kinda old, anyway. But the food here is amazing. Not as exotic as what I usually eat, but still delicious. You'll have to get me some recipes. Ooohhh, deserts!" She squealed and started piling up everything.
"I never thought I'd ever see anyone more voracious then Ron. I guess I was wrong." Hermione spoke up.
"Hey, I just like trying out new things. Like that time on Cantros II, remember?" Her tone, and Harry's dreamy look didn't leave much room to speculate.
At last, dinner was over, and despite Sophia's pout because she didn't manage to taste everything, Dumbledore stood up for a speech.
"Everyone, if I may have your attention. You have no doubt noticed our lovely guest at the Gryffindor table, and I'm sure many of you have questions. So, without further ado, may I formally present Lady Sophia of the Lantrisian Empire, here on a diplomatic mission. In the last two years, we have pursued friendly relations with them, and it is thanks to them we have obtained the weapons you have no doubt heard about. We have much to be grateful to the Lantrisi for their support in this war, but also for raising and training Mr. Potter all these years. So, everyone raise their glasses in welcome to our greatest ally." Dumbledore did so, and while most students were shocked by this, everyone did as instructed.
'The old bastard really came through this time. That was a perfectly reasonable explanation, and no one's going to ask a lot of questions.' Harry sent to the other two.
'There are a few gaps, but people won't bother us for diplomatic reasons. Not bad. He certainly is a very capable man.' Sophia replied.
'I agree.' A new voice startled them, making Sophia fall off the bench, and Harry and Hermione went deadly pale.
"That wasn't who I think it was, was it?" Hermione whispered.
"I'm afraid it was." Everyone turned towards one of the walls in time to see a tall man blur into existence. He looked like Sophia's twin, but his eyes looked much older, and his gaze seemed to cut trough you like a sword. Everyone realized that this man was far more dangerous than anything they could ever imagine.
"Well, isn't anyone gonna say something?" He snapped.
"Err, hi daddy." Sophia managed to squeak.
"I'll deal with you later." She seemed to shrink under his gaze.
"Now, Harry, what's that I hear about providing weapons?" The man turned to Harry now, who was trying to make himself invisible.
Harry produced several incoherent tones, before a glare shut him up.
"And who might you be, my dear?" He asked Hermione, much more gently.
"Hermione Granger, my Lord." She said nervously.
"Akshra. Yes, Daroth chose well. Welcome to the family, my dear." He smiled at her, which seemed to ebb her nervousness.
"Now then..." His voice suddenly became so sharp that most of the present flinched.
"Might I ask what you are doing here? I don't think I approved any travel to this world. So, I ask again, why are you here then?" Sophia paled, and just like Harry, managed only a few sounds before shutting up.
Then, something unexpected happened. The man grinned. Then, he began snickering, before starting to laugh loudly.
"Oh, that never gets old. Seeing them squirm is just so much fun. I swear every time I do something like this it gets funnier. To think I reduced the two best Order agents to stuttering idiots..." He finished off with another loud laugh seeing their faces.
"You... you old bastard, how could you do this to me?" Sophia roared and jumped the man, only to freeze floating in mid-air.
"Your mother thought you needed a lesson in humility, and I happened to agree. Maybe I should more... Hey, anyone know how strong the ceiling is?" He looked around the hall, while Sophia's eyes widened.
"You wouldn't." She asked pleading.
He gave her such an evil smirk that everyone present flinched back and gasped as the woman sped up like a bullet, and a second later, impacted the ceiling with a sickening crunch, before falling down, whatever power was holding her up no longer active. Before she could hit the floor, however, Dumbledore intervened, and slowed her fall.
"Your action is appreciated, but unnecessary, old man." Dumbledore twirled around to see the man stand behind him, and everyone gasped at the speed the man obviously possessed.
"After that impact on the ceiling, the fall could have killed her. I wasn't just going to stand by and not help her." Dumbledore replied, with a slightly accusing tone.
"I deserved that, old man. My father had every right to punish me." Sophia stood up shakily, drawing short breaths due to multiple broken ribs and who knows what else, while everyone stared at her like she was crazy.
"If you punish her so harshly for simply coming here, I shudder to think what you do to real criminals." Snape began to speak in his usual arrogant drawl, but was soon cut down by the man's piercing glare.
"How we deal with our own kind is none of your business, human, and you would do well to remember that. Now, I have more important things to do then deal with you." The man turned to his daughter.
"Sophia, I originally planned to let you stay here at your leisure, but things have changed. The Alliance has decided to declare war on us. The Baroth and the Gorash have joined them as well." He explained. Most just stared blankly at him, but Harry and Sophia looked quite grim. Sophia stood at attention and spoke firmly "I understand. The Order will not fail you my Lord." Her tone was quite different this time. It showed such zealous dedication that no one believed possible.
"I know. Headmaster, I'm afraid we'll have to withdraw all support for the moment. We'll let you keep the weapons, and Harry here will be left to aid you, but I'm afraid it will be a while before we can resume our relations. It was a pleasure, albeit a short one." The man bowed to the Headmaster, and walked to his daughter. "Oh, I almost forgot. Daroth, ni-thura koraash di romaj. Crosh diran." With that, he threw a small metallic device to Harry, who was so shocked, he let it hit him in the face. He slowly pocketed the device, not even noticing when the two figures blurred out of existence.
"Harry, hello, Harry. Who the hell was that, and what did he give you?" Ron asked his stunned friend.
"That was the leader of the Lantrisi, Ron, Lord Lanus himself. Merely seeing him is considered a great honor. To be in his presence is even greater. He may not have magic, but he is more powerful than Merlin himself, and he's extremely old and wise." Harry said with a voice that showed the deepest respect.
"How old is he anyway? He can't be older then Hogwarts, that's for sure." Seamus asked.
"Don't be silly Seamus. He's much older. Hell, even Sophia is older than the school." Harry shocked everyone with this.
"What? Come on, Harry, she didn't look a day over twenty." Seamus said in shock.
"She may not look it, but she's well over two and a half millennia old. Don't ask me how, it's a secret. The penalty for this is quite harsh." Harry told them, and considering what they saw earlier, everyone pulled back.
"But what did he give you?" Ginny asked.
"Something I never expected him to. He's done a lot of stupid things in the past, but I swear this beats them all. But sorry, I can't tell anyone about it, his threat when he gave it to me was not pleasant." Hermione stared in confusion at him, but recovered before anyone noticed.
"Mr. Potter, please accompany me to the Headmaster's office. You can come too, Ms. Granger." McGonagall approached them.
The two stood up quickly, and minutes later, sat before the Headmaster.
"Well Harry, I must say these unannounced visits from your people were quite a handful, wouldn't you agree?" Dumbledore smiled.
"You don't know the half of it. He's planning something, but he hasn't told me what. The war will keep him busy for a while, though." Harry replied.
"How long do you think it will last?" Hermione asked.
"From what info I had before I came here, and based on the estimated forces of the powers involved, and their expected resolve, I'd say anytime between a year and a decade. The borders are heavily fortified, and the neutral zones have so many mines from both sides that people say you can't throw a ball inside without hitting a mine." Harry grinned.
"But that's not our problem. Right now, my greatest concern is the Koraash class cruiser that's in orbit right now." Everyone stared in shock at him.
"He left a ship in orbit? For what purpose?" Dumbledore turned to Harry.
"Well, there's only one way to find out." Harry pulled out the device he received earlier.
"What's that?" McGonagall asked.
"A transporter marker. I expect I'll be gone for a few hours. Until then." With that, he pushed a button, and was engulfed in a red light, before vanishing completely.
He found himself in familiar surroundings, since he had been the commander of such a ship for many years. Quickly moving from the transporter room to the bridge, he found a message waiting for him.
"Daroth, I'm sure you're wondering why this ship is here. To put it simply, this ship is equipped with a few new devices our researchers cooked up over the years, and I wanted to test it in a new and safe environment. This ship features the latest in AI computer advances, and the whole ship is equipped with automated drones meant to replace the crew. We designed this system to minimize losses in high risk missions. This ship can be run with almost no crew, which will greatly cut down our losses. This is a planetary bombardment refit, so, please test that as well. I left you a checklist to go through, and you have five years to finish it. When that time passes, the ship will come back, and you better not be on it. So, once again, have fun, and good luck." The message was clear and to the point, and Daroth called up the checklist to see what he had to do. The list was basically a detailed test off each and every one of the ship's systems, and it would take some time to finish.
Harry was quite impressed by the new AI on board, and with an evil smirk, decided to test its planetary bombardment capabilities first, just as soon as he could get the coordinates of the largest Death Eater bases. "Won't they be surprised when they see a shooting 'star' coming right at them."
With that in mind, he returned to the transporter room, and after he locked on Hermione, he returned to Hogwarts, once again questioning the sanity of his sire.