Harry trains, meets two 'gods' and writes Hermione.
Harry stayed on the island with Jason until his birthday. In the just over two weeks he spent there, getting heavy doses of nutrition potions, plus good food, and plenty of exercise and sun, Harry went from an inch and half under the average height for British boys of his age to half an inch above it. He didn't have the genetics to be heavily-muscled, but his frame filled out and he could never be considered scrawny again.
Harry learned the meditation techniques he would need to learn Occlumency. He did no actual magic, although he flew twice a day, for at least half an hour each time. He also listened as Jason told him about the ideas and theories that underlay magic.
The only other magic Harry experienced was magically learning Classical and Mycenaean Greek through a combination of potions and sleep-learning. Harry would learn many more languages before fully learning Occlumency, as that ability would render the process impossible.
Tutmoses came for Harry the evening of July 31. "Good evening, Harry," he said in Greek.
"Good evening, Lord," Harry responded.
"There is no need to be formal with me," Mo answered. "Did you enjoy your birthday?"
"Yes, Lord," Harry answered. "It was even better than last year."
Well aware that Harry could only remember semi-celebrating one birthday, Mo merely smiled. "Good. Now you get to celebrate five more times."
Harry looked confused for a moment, and then smiled. He bowed formally. "I thank you," Harry stated, meaning every word. He knew he would relive the past few days or more five more times, no doubt in part just so he could have five more birthday celebrations.
"You deserve all this and more. Now, I must tell you that your uncle died in his sleep from a heart attack. Your aunt is in prison, and will be for some time. Your cousin does not remember your magic at all, not because we removed the memory, but because he is so stupid that when we repressed his memory to a degree, he actually forgot."
"I hope he can have good life," Harry said. "Is there anything Ican go for them?"
"Why would you want to?" Mo asked, puzzled, and a little worried about Harry's self-esteem.
"They never liked me, and they hurt me," Harry managed to say. He could not have admitted that before. "And I don't like them. Still, they are my family, and it is my duty."
"I shall look into it," Mo replied, impressed. "Jason has explained portkeys?"
"He has," Harry agreed.
"Good." He handed Harry a gold necklace with a gold ankh. "Do not remove this, let alone lose it. Two hours before the next portkey activates, it will ring in a clear tone."
"Yes, Lord. When does this one. . . ." Harry disappeared.
"Sneak," Jason teased. "Good thing I already sent his trunk on. Where is he going?"
"Brother Mak is in the Grand Tetons. He will complete the next section of Harry's language training. . . ."
"Latin, French, Italian, Modern Greek, and Old Egyptian?"
"And Old Norse, which will given him training equal to the Third and Fourth year of Hogwarts' so-called Runes course. He will finish off at least twelve more languages before he returns here, if he is able, so that you can pick up the second stage of his Occlumency training."
"And in the mountains?"
"In those mountains, he can fly to his heart's content, and exercise his body. They will continue his magical training with some exercises. The other eight weeks will be in various places down the mountain chains, all the way to the southern edge of South America. There, he shall become as proficient as his current level of magic will allow. He will grow into the theory later. After he leaves you the second time, he will spend at least three two week segments doing some basic fight training and then four two week segments in our different outposts in the Himalaya, perfecting his Occlumency, starting his Legilimency, practicing his languages, and, of course, flying."
"And the last set of segments?"
"Ah, the longest and hardest set. The first will take him to the Temple. There, we shall separate and destroy the Horcrux within him, and then send him to the Antarctic."
"Is that really necessary?" Jason asked, nearly pleading.
"That is where Harry will quickly learn to manage his form or forms. Brother Cobra is both a Parselmouth and a cobra animagus. Brother Zara will also be there, and he is the only full metamorphmagus in the Order."
"And Zara is the most open and compassionate of us," Jason admitted.
"You have done well with young Harry," Mo pointed out.
"Thank you, Lord." Jason bowed. "I had forgotten what it was like to work with a boy his age. Despite all the abuse and likely manipulation, he is still a good, kind, decent, young man. The abuse has kept him from being as scholarly as he otherwise might have been, but I believe we can inspire that in him."
"Yes, he could not often show up his cousin," Mo agreed. "It seems that Dumbledore or his agents often interfered with the Muggle authorities, otherwise the Dursleys would have been investigated for neglect, although not necessarily abuse."
"Perhaps we shouldn't be so divorced from the regular magical society," Jason mused.
"The temptations to power would be too great, and we would likely end up destroyed, along with magical culture, and the Mundanes as well," Mo stated firmly. "We cannot risk it."
"At least not too often?" Jason asked.
"At least not too often," Mo agreed.
The two men smiled, and then Jason said, "I'm off to deliver some letters for Harry." Mo's eyebrows went up in surprise. "He allowed me to read them." Mo smiled, and Jason suddenly knew he would feel very foolish. "What?" Jason demanded.
"I'll just wait for Harry then, unless you'd prefer I deliver the letters?"
"Wait for. . . ?" Jason rolled his eyes and held out the letters. Mo smirked, took the letters, and disappeared.
When Ron went to his room that night, he didn't pay much attention to the sealed bit of parchment on his pillow until he laid down. Thinking it was likely yet another of the twins' pranks, he tossed it on the floor without seeing Harry's handwriting.
When he woke up the next morning, the letter was shoved under his bed, where it would remain for more than two weeks, which was the next time his mother made him clean his room. The letter was upside down, so again, Ron did not notice Harry's handwriting, and Ron had forgotten where the parchment had come from. He tossed it in with the scraps of parchment that he had cleaned from his trunk, which were used for jotted notes and such, or even for starting fires.
Percy, harassed by the twins, paid no attention to the parchment he was wading up to start a fire (fires started by magic could cause ashwinders). The parchment was spelled only to be really noticed by the person addressed in any event.
Therefore, Harry's letter to Ron went unnoticed.
When Hermione went to her room that night, she instantly saw the sealed bit of parchment on her pillow. She approached it warily, until she recognized Harry's scrawl. Forgetting that if this was a trap, there would likely be magical ways of imitating handwriting, she picked up the letter and examined the seal. It had clearly been made with some form of magic, as Muggle wax and seals could not produce such fine detail.
Vowing to decipher the hieroglyphs later (she would conclude they meant 'acolyte, beloved of the beloved of Osiris'), Hermione carefully opened the letter, leaving the seal intact.
I'm writing to let you know I am fine. Really. The summer started off pretty bad, as you may know. Now, things are better. I am having fun, and learning a lot. Yes, I have my summer homework done. I wish you were here, since I always learn more when you help.
I wrote to you and Ron. If you want to write back, you need to write on the empty half of the parchment. These were spelled so that only you (or Ron for his) can really notice them, so only you can use it to write back. When you're done, tear the parchment at the crease, fold it in half (going the opposite way to the first crease), hold it to your mouth and say (so your breath hits it)TAKE THIS TO HARRY and then burn it.
your friend, always/
Touched, for this was positively gushing for Harry, Hermione did as instructed. She was not surprised to see the ashes disappear as they formed.
In the mean time, about fifteen seconds after Tutmoses disappeared, Harry (and his trunk) appeared. Harry smiled and bowed.
"Forget something? Or are you back?" Jason asked. It was arhetorical question, as Harry was obviously wearing heavier clothes than when he left, had added a few pounds of muscle, and had lost much of his tan.
"I am back, if you will have me," Harry answered formally.
Jason nodded, and answered, "Harry, you are what your culture would call my squire. Wherever I am, you are welcome. Now, how do you feel?"
"A little tired," Harry confessed. "Brother Hotep had me exercising all day, so that I would be tired enough to make the time change without any problems."
"Other than that?"
"I feel like all the information and languages are going to start leaking out of my ears," Harry admitted. "I don't know if I can really learn all that I've been told I'm going to. In fact," he went on, "I don't know if Hermione could."
"Harry, my friend, it is time to talk about power and brains. There is no absolute way of measuring power, but there are ways of measuring potential. Voldemort has slightly more potential than Dumbledore. You should have had close to the same potential as your Headmaster. However, the Horcrux has augmented some of your powers, while hindering far more. Your family hindered your ego's development. You are actually quite intelligent. Even if your Hermione could learn slightly more than you, slightly more quickly, she could not utilize what you will learn nearly as well. She may indeed be powerful, but when we have removed the blocks on your magic, you will be the most powerful regular wizard in Europe since Merlin."
"I was once a regular wizard," Jason pointed out.
"You mean before, well, some three thousand years ago?"
"Exactly," Jason agreed. "I'd guess, from your descriptions, I was probably as powerful as your Professor McGonagall or Hermione, although my gifts, like yours, were more in charms and combat than in transfiguring things. Your basic power and control both stabilize between the age of nine and eleven, which is why your magical training starts after your eleventh birthday. Both will increase along fairly predictable curves over six or seven years. After that, if you work at it, your power and control will both continue to increase, albeit in very tiny ways. Generally, regular wizards are at their most powerful between the ages of forty and eighty or so, and then their physical age starts them going down hill faster than their magic can improve."
"But you don't go 'down hill'," Harry said in understanding.
"Exactly." Jason shrugged. "I cannot prove that my power is really all that much greater than it was five hundred years ago, or perhaps even a thousand. I do know it has increased slightly over time. I am probably almost as powerful, more or less, as Dumbledore or Voldemort . . . or you." He smiled. "Although I was a superior wizard in terms of my power and abilities, I am probably fairly average for the Brotherhood. Still, some were brought in because of their faith and their other skills, such as in potion research. Tutmoses was likely his age's version of Dumbledore, very powerful and skilled at most magics. There are perhaps adozen like him in the Brotherhood. Three of them, including the First Acolyte, he who started us, were more like Merlin in terms of their power, knowledge, and goodness. There is also the High Master, but he will decide if he will meet with you later on."
"Are they still alive?" Harry asked.
"They are. None of us have been completely destroyed by outsiders, and only one us turned so Dark we had to destroy him. A few have let themselves die for various reasons. The rest of us are alive. And yes, you will meet some of them when you go to Egypt, if not before or after."
Harry pointed at his scar. "When they deal with this?"
"Precisely." Jason again smiled. "You might wish me to teach you many things, from throwing a fishing net to fighting with a short sword, but you would NOT want me working on that."
Harry grinned in understanding agreement. He could imagine feeling much the same.
When Harry woke up the next morning, he was pleased to see there was a letter from Hermione waiting for him. He reminded himself that it had not been ten weeks for the rest of the word, and, after a moment's more thought, figured that Ron would also write back soon.
Thank you so much for your letter. Yes, I've read about your life before Hogwarts, and earlier this summer in the papers. I cannot tell you how this made me feel, other than for the first time, Ifelt ashamed that I am still part of the Muggle world. My parents were horrified to read both the Muggle and magical newspapers. Also, I need to apologize. I know you would never lie to me, but I had thought your dislike of your relatives might have been exaggerated. I now know that if anything you understated the problems. I also need to tell you how sorry I am about Hedwig.
I don't know where you are, or who you are with. I would like to know, but I understand why you might not be able to tell me. Harry, I hate to think this, but it seems as if the Headmaster placed you at your relatives and neglected to check on you. The revelations this summer have also made me wonder about the events of last year, if perhaps Dumbledore did not just allow you to confront Voldemort, but managed to encourage us.
In any event, remember that I remain,
*Harry smiled at the letter. Friendship was such a rare thing in his life that he actually felt warm and secure just hearing from his friend, even if he did feel sad as well, as any thought of Hedwig made him feel.
Understanding that Ron would not be as quick at writing as Hermione, Harry shrugged off his bad feelings and wrote back on the same type of enchanted paper as the first letter.
Thanks for the quick response. I am having a good time, and learning lots more than I thought I could. I wish I could tell you more.
Believe me, I know I can trust you. However, there is a type of mind-magic called Legilimency, which allows access to another's thoughts. Both the Headmaster and Snape are supposed to be very good at it, especially the Headmaster. There is a counter, called Occlumency, which I am learning. If you want to learn all of the non-magical part, you need to learn deep meditation. Is there ayoga school or something near you? Maybe Parvati could help you find one? I was told that something Transcendental (thanks for the pocket spelling dictionary you gave me at Easter, by the way)Meditation works even better.
Write back when you can.
Harry and Hermione wrote back and forth every day during Harry's stay, during what he thought of as 'normal time'. Although disappointed Ron had not written back, Harry found himself growing closer to Hermione, sharing insights with her as they both learned meditation and yoga.
During the evening before Harry was to leave the island the second time, Jason disappeared, saying that others needed to talk with Harry privately. A thin, dark man about Jason's height came to talk with Harry first. The man bowed, and started waving his wand around Harry.
"I dealt with your injuries when you first arrived," the man said."I am a healer. I am Asclepias."
"Nice to meet you, Brother," Harry said simply.
Asclepias sighed. He had never claimed to be a god, but had sometimes rather enjoyed being worshiped. "You are now a very healthy young man. Stay this way, and we can take care of your scar problem."
"As the modern Muggles would say," a deep voice said in English,"you have a rotten bedside manner."
Asclepias bowed to the powerful-looking stranger. Tutmoses was standing respectfully behind the man. "You may leave." The stranger turned to Tutmoses. "You may as well." Both men bowed deeply and scurried off.
"Excuse me, sir," Harry said. "Are you the First Acolyte?" This was the first member of the Brotherhood.
"No, I am the one who initiated the First Acolyte, more than six hundred years after my death and rebirth, more than six thousand years ago. I am Ahk Shir-rusch, or if you prefer, Osiris."
Harry blinked. Even he knew the major Egyptian gods, from a report he had done two years before. He peered closer.
Osiris pulled off his tunic, and Harry could see the scars crisscrossing the man's dark body. "I was once a wizard, born in acity -- buried under the shifting sands nearly four thousand years ago -- in what you would know as Chad." The man smiled. "Well, to us it was a mighty city. To you, it would appear a large village made of mud brick. I was powerful, and the traders who knew magic said that the greatest center of knowledge was in what you would call Iraq, on the Euphrates River. So, I made my way there when Iwas twenty-two, and studied there for more than twenty years."
He smiled again. "Your friend Hermione would not be happy in that time, for writing itself was nearly fifteen hundred years in the future. In any event, I returned to Africa, but stayed along the banks of the Upper Nile, in what you would call the Sudan. Iexperimented with the power I had, and the power I had within myself. I did not know it, but in one of those experiments, done after executing a criminal, I had created a Horcrux. A few months later, a fellow wizard, jealous of my greater knowledge and power, tried to kill me, cutting me into pieces, as you know."
"But my spirit did not escape to what lies beyond. It was anchored by the Horcrux. Instead, I used my power to rejoin and reanimate my body." Osiris shook his head. "If Voldemort, or Tom Riddle, as he once was, was as wise and knowledgeable as he thinks he is, he would have remade himself that night he confronted you. I was no more powerful than he. I would say that he, and I, and Merlin, and a few others, including you, are right at that upper limit of natural power."
Osiris shrugged. "I was proclaimed a living god, a reborn one, in fact. I enjoyed my power, and became a harsh god-ruler. I came to my senses a few centuries later, and I founded the Priesthood, and Brotherhood, to extend part of my message and maintain some of my influence, while giving up true power."
Harry swallowed nervously.
"No need to worry, young wizard. We had thought that this Voldemort was of no concern of ours. We were wrong. The elf that brought you to our attention stirred our compassion, and finding you were a living Horcrux stirred our interest. We shall help you, my young friend, but it is, as Jason would say, your fate to confront the self-proclaimed Lord Voldemort. Will you allow us to train you more than we have?"
"Would you like us to totally eradicate the Horcrux and its effects, or keep some of the power inside you, while destroying the effects?"
Harry considered. "I don't know. Whichever you think best."
Osiris nodded. "Very well."