The end of the war ends long sworn oaths. Harry must deal with ghosts of the past as he finds love, new friends, and family. He must tread carefully as he comes into his own.
May 3, 1997
Had any normal person observed the arrival of the three men, they would have blinked at the manner of their arrival. For they did not drive in an automobile or even walk in, they appeared to have arrived instantaneously out of thin air. Even more astounding would have been their location. Most would have seen a quaint (to put it politely), empty village with a pile of ruins in the background. That this did not concern these men at all would have seemed even more odd to any “normal” person. Finally, their choice of fashion would have caused that observer to shake their head, mutter, and quietly leave the “loonies” to themselves.
The three men, however, seemed not to be concerned about their surroundings. Perhaps this was because they could see that the “ruins” were no ruins at all, but in fact a castle, damaged though it was. All three men surveyed the sight with a mixture of sorrow, anger, and regret.
All three of the men shared similar facial features, though two looked nearly identical. While none were extremely tall, none were what a politically correct American would have termed “vertically challenged,” either. All three wore what looked like a type of armor with robes that were open at the front making them look as if they were wearing trench coats. Each wore a design on their chests that matched a smaller badge on the front of their robes. All wore a golden griffon in the upper left on a field of red, a lion of the same coloring in the lower right. The upper right was the same for the two similar looking men, a blue raven on a bronze background. They differed only in the lower left; one bore a single five-pointed star, the other a naked sword. The third man wore a stag in the upper right, and a green serpent in the lower left.
This third man wore the most nervous expression of the three. He glanced around and ran his fingers through his shoulder-length raven hair. He then tried to pat it down, but had the resigned look of a man who knows something is useless. Even the length could not totally counteract the messiness of the hair.
“You know it’s useless,” remarked one of his companions, the one who wore the sword on his breast. “Your family is bound to forever have terrible hair. At least my family’s hair is only somewhat messy,” as he commented on his own somewhat lighter hair of the same length.
“Go play with your staff,” bit back the raven-haired man, referring to the staff the man carried on his back.
“You’re simply jealous you can’t use a real weapon unlike that stupid bow,” started the staff man. The last man, however, cut him off, “all weapons have their uses, though I, of course, prefer our swords if necessary,” as he gestured to the swords each wore on their right sides, “but that is neither here nor there. We have our tasks to complete, now that fate allows us to perform our duties once more. This will not be an easy day.”
Continuing as if he was both an elder sibling of the two men beside him as well as their captain, he continued. “You,” gesturing to the staff man, “secure the bodies. Get it done fast. You should have the experience, as we have hardly done anything of use for the past sixteen and a half years. Then, proceed to your target. By all accounts, you should get along great.”
The leader then turned to his other comrade, “Search the castle and find out everything you can. Remain hidden, though that goes for our idiot friend over there as well. When you have a basic idea of how the, er, event transpired, proceed to your target as well. I shall head to my target first. I should have the hardest discussion. Hopefully, he will be of aid later. By all reports he is certainly more mature, though less skilled, than his father.”
“Wait, why do you get to meet him first?” asked the staff man.
“Because you are an idiot, you will get along better with his friends, you’re ugly, and I am to be his teacher. And he can’t do it,” gesturing to the other man, “because it’d be obvious which family he belongs to.”
With that, the leader took out a pile of photographs, the first of which bore four boys. One was fair haired and thin. One had auburn hair and a bookish look. The other two were obviously of relation to the three men. All four boys were moving in the photograph.
“You all have these?” With nods, he turned to the gates of the castle in the distance. Then, he took out a stick and waved it, causing the gates to open. Striding past the statues of winged boars. His companions followed after him. They also took out sticks and waved them, causing their footsteps to fall silent. Then as one, all three waved their wands and began to disappear from head to toe.
Had one been able to see them, he would have noticed that the raven-haired man wandered the grounds before entering the castle. The other two entered the castle’s high ceiling entrance hall. The leader began up the great marble staircase. The other looked around wistfully. He then proceeded through the ground floor to a room with dozens of bodies, some damaged, but others unmarked, and began to get to work.
The last man, the leader, proceeded to the top floor. Walking past the moving portraits, he stopped when he came to one of a rather plump woman in a pink dress. Commanding it to open, he entered the round room beyond.
Staring as if remembering fond years of youth, he surveyed the room. It was colored in the same red and gold as his badge. Several people were asleep on the couches and chairs in the room. One boy in particular caught the man’s attention. He had a round, scarred face and was clutching a jeweled sword. The man muttered a few words and waved his stick and held out his hand. The sword came to him as if responding to a master’s call. Smiling at the name on the blade, the man said replaced the sword. He then nodded at the young man in approval.
Continuing on to the opposite side of the opening, he surveyed a pair of stairs. Then, choosing the pair on the left, he strode up the levels. He paused at the fourth, smiling a smile that recalled memories of both joy and pain. He then climbed the last three flights to the top of the tower. Looking at the sign that read “Seventh Years,” he collected himself and quietly opened the door.
The room held five four-poster beds in a circle. The one closest to his right looked like it had not seen use in over a year. The one directly to its left and the one in the center had a few knickknacks spread around that looked like the occupants had left in a hurry. The last two however, had drawn curtains. Drawing the one next to the center bed, he glanced at a red headed figure that was giving off deep snores. Snorting, the man waved his wand at the occupant and closed the drapes.
Then, leveling his wand and drawing his sword with his left hand, he lifted up a leg and kicked the occupant of the last bed. Quickly bringing his leg down as the boy in the bed sat up groggily, he regarded the boy with a smile as he dropped his invisibility.
“Hello, Harry, it’s been a long time. We have much to discuss.”
Notes: Yes, it’s mysterious. But it’s just a prologue, and the real chapter one should be up shortly.