Summary: The summer after ‘Order of the Phoenix’, Harry is depressed and angry. And he starts thinking. Is death really irreversible?
After disappearing for a year, Harry has returned, wearing the pins that identify him as a Necromancer. It’s time to get ready for the war with Voldemort.
Spoilers for: Books 1 to 5. (HBP never happened. Really.)
Struck By Lightning
It was a pensive Harry that stood leaning against the wall. He was in the hallway to Dumbledore’s office, to yet again plan for the possibility of Voldemort’s next attack. But he needed a moment to rest. Just one moment of peace and quiet, to think about what had happened that day...
The Dementors were gone, and so was the Veil. Until Fate needed it again, at least.
Nearly Headless Nick drifted by. Harry nodded at him. “Sir Nicholas.”
Nick stopped, turned, and bowed for Harry. “Hello, Master Necromancer.”
Harry frowned. “Shouldn’t one of Death’s Angels have taken you to your rest by now?”
Sir Nicholas shook his head sadly. “I believe they have quite a lot of work to catch up on. It may be years before we, ghosts of Hogwarts, are given peace.”
“Oh. Well, they’ll come eventually.” Nick looked so sad, Harry really pitied him. He got an idea. “Hey, Nick, do you still want to join the Headless Hunt?”
Nick's face brightened. “If it isn't too much trouble...”
“It isn't. Hover a bit lower, will you?” Harry murmered a few words and saw his wand start to glow with the same ghost-light he had when he moved. A short slashing motion, and Nearly Headless Nick was now Fully Headless.
The floating head beamed at him. “Thank you, Master Necromancer!”
“No problem, Sir Nicholas.”
It was a small thing, but one happy face was enough to make Harry feel alittle bit better. All the planning and preparing for battle... It was getting to him.
Wormtail shuddered at the harsh, gutteral sounds that escaped from his master's lipless mouth.
His Lord stood in a nonagram, drawn with the life-blood of a Muggle. He'd been standing there for at least two hours. Every now and then one of the black candles around the pentragram would sputter, and burn with a purple flame.
Finally, Lord Voldemort fell silent. All nine of the candles were flickering purple.
Wormtail shivered. The room was getting colder. He could see icecristals forming on the inside of the window. His breath came in puffs.
Suddenly all the candles went out simultaneously. In the utter darkness of the room, Voldemort laughed.
Wormtail, who had been fumbling with his wand to cast a /Lumos/, dropped his wand in fright. His Master's laugh was gleeful... Too gleeful for Wormtails comfort. His instinct as a rat took over, and he froze.
Something moved in the darkness.
It was a shuffling, heavy sound.
A moment of silence. Then the lines of the nonagram burst into light, casting an eery purple glow in the entire room.
Lord Voldemort was standing there, in the middle of the glowing markings. And something was throwing itself at the nonagram, something with claws and teeth and slimy tendrils, something that clearly wished to shred Voldemort to little pieces but couldn't cross the barrier of magic.
Lord Voldemort was still smiling. “I summoned you, demon. You cannot harm your master. But I am not entirely unkind.” He gestured to Wormtail. “There is your sacrifice. Take him, and then let us discuss your assignment.”
Wormtail's eyes went wide. The demon turned towards him, and seemed to- /change/. It's horrendous features melted into something resembling a human's, though only if one didn't look to closely. It wore its human disguise as an ill-fitting coat.
Wormtail found he couldn't move. His eyes were glued to the milky-blue ones of the creature. His bladder acutely emptied itself.
There was a moment of purple light glinting on teeth. Then the nonagram went dark.
Harry yawned. “Thanks Ron, but I think I'm going to catch some sleep. It's been a long day. And besides, it's not as if I'm ever going to beat you.”
Ron grinned and started putting away the chess set. “You've got that right.”
Harry got up from his chair and rubbed his eyes. Ron had already disappeared into the bathroom.
Absently he glanced at the window. He froze.
A pale, translucent image hung in the dark sky behind the window. Aghost, but one Harry'd never seen before. She had a circular, sad face and short curly hair, in which Harry could faintly discern two small, round pins.
The next moment she was floathing away from Gryffindor tower, and Harry hurriedly summoned his broom. A few seconds later he'd opened the window and plummeted into the night sky, following the ghost.
She led him around Hogwarts, and over the lake, where the trees were doubly as dark and threatening, and even the Centaurs didn't venture. Hagrid had once warned Harry and his friends about coming here – the place stank of Dark Magic, Hagrid had told them, and it always had. Some people believed Slytherin himself had used this place to experiment, or perhaps some other dark wizard in the history of Hogwarts. The evil magic had sunk into the earth itself, Hagrid had said, and it had deformed the trees into nearly-sentient monsters, aplace where no wildlife dared to come, not even the Acromantula's.
As he neared the place, Harry sensed a flaw in Hagrid's tale. It wasn't Dark magic that lived here. It was Death Magic, and it called to Harry.
Harry nearly closed his eyes against the sensation, but the reminder that he was currently on his broom made him reconsider. With his eyes opened wide he noticed the odd way the trees had grown – from his place high up in the air, he saw the deformed trees were arranged neatly in the pattern of a nonagram, a star with nine points. Harry shivered. Most dark wizards used ordinary pentagrams and hexagrams in their rituals – the nonagram was a much darker symbol, used almost exclusively by Necromancers to summon the most dangerous kind of demons.
The trees that formed the symbol were old, Harry noticed. They were aslow-growing variety of bloodwood – the magical kind. The kind that would absorb someones blood and pass it through its roots to the tree next to it, so that with one small sacrifice the entire nonagram would activate and-
And what? Who had planted these trees? Why so close to the school? And why had the ghost led Harry here?
The spirit had dived beneath the foliage. Harry followed, a bit more carefully. He nearly stumbled in his landing – the threeroots and those small, flat stones that protruded just a bit from the earth were not fun to land on. Harry glanced around, only to find the ghost had disappeared. Great.
God, he hoped this wasn't a trap...
He reached for his wand, ready for the slightest sign of an attack.
The trees moved in a slight breeze. Leaves fluttered down and covered the flat stones.
Hary waited a few minutes, but no attack came. Very well. Perhaps he should investigate, look around a bit. There had to be a reason for him to be here, right?
The Death Magic in the air tingled on his skin. He carefully kneeled down by one of the flat stones and brushed the dirt and leaves away.
Norw. Ridgeback, aged 6. Preserv. spell active fr. 1002 – 2017. Requires salt.
Harry blinked, and went to another stone.
Kelpie, aged 89. Preserv. spell active fr. 995 – 1448. Add water.
Yet another one said:
Lamiae, aged 457. Dormant. Requires blood. Emergency only!
It seemed like someone had started their own cemetary... With even some instructives as to how to wake its occupants! It had to be founded by a Necromancer, there wasn't any doubt about it, but who? And what had happened?
If the 1002 – 2017 were dates, it had to be someone from the time of the Founders. Yet the text on the headstones was easily understandable for Harry – so it had to be Parseltongue, alanguage one needed to use the full power of Necromancy. Had Salazar Slytherin been a Necromancer?
No, he couldn't have been. If he had, Harry wouldn't have been able to summon his spirit when he raised his army.
Well, whoever it had been, he or she had left a veritable treasure behind. This place, with all its buried magical creatures, was /exactly/what he needed right now...
Hogwarts was buzzing with activity, even without the students. From all over the country wizards and witches were flocking to Hogwarts, and it was all because of an announcement Dumbledore made. With Harry's consent, he made the Prophecy public knowledge.
It had had an effect beyond their wildest dreams. People were actually insisting no child should do this by himself, and they were coming to Hogwarts, entire groups of serious wizards and witches who decided to aid him. Meanwhile, students where being pulled out of Hogwarts, for their own safety. Everyone believed Hogwarts would become the final battleground – and soon.
A/N I'm sorry for the long wait, and the short chapter. I intended to write the final battle already, but my inspiration dried up and Ileft you guys without an update too long already... And it's exams in three weeks, so my writing time will be nearly non-existent. Ah,well. It's nearly Christmas, right?