Unofficial Portkey Archive

Anima Summa Book 3 - Into the Light by Anima Summa

Anima Summa Book 3 - Into the Light

Anima Summa

Chapter 4 The Fabled Garden

DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny and Margot stood quietly on the banks of the Murdi Chai, looking down at the raging torrent that the river had become with the arrival of the autumn rains and snow in the Zagros Mountains. Harry turned his head and looked up at the splendour of Mount Sahand, its snow-capped twin peaks clearly visible in the distance.

Ron smiled as he loudly breathed in the early morning mountain air. "This is great, it beats the pants off the deserts we've had to endure lately."

Margot smiled and leaned into him, tapping her hand on his chest. "You're in an exceptionally good mood this morning Ron?"

He glanced at his beautiful girlfriend. "I've got a hearty breakfast inside my stomach and some hearty thoughts in my head. It's not often that you get the chance to walk into a garden of jewels."

Sirius, now fully recovered from his ordeal in Uruk, and the other protectors were completing their survey of the Portkey site to make sure that no Death Eaters were in the vicinity. They were fairly certain that this time there would be no interference from the Dark Side - the elite team were held fast in a bubble of frozen time beneath the ziggurat in Uruk and Remus had been meticulous in his security checks in the library to make sure that there were no unaccounted-for students within ear-shot when the five had determined their next stopping-off point on the final quest.

Remus had also come to the rescue when he'd arranged for the Portkey to be set up. One of his many contacts in the Greece-Turkey vicinity had agreed to make a quick foray across the border into the Azerbaijan province of North-western Iran to place the device in a remote spot, close to the Murdi Chai which ran from the base of Mount Sahand down to the more populated areas along the borders of Iran and Iraq.

Hermione glanced nervously at the pile of broomsticks that lay on the ground behind them, dreading the long flight up the river to find its source - she didn't relish it one little bit. She glanced at Harry, hoping that he'd offer to transform into his eagle Animagus and give her a lift, but she didn't really relish that either, thinking back to the terror and helplessness she'd felt when Harry attacked the Death Eaters in the Egyptian desert.

Harry glanced at his girlfriend and smiled wryly at the expression on her face. He knew what was going through her mind, of course, and reached out to hold her hand. 'I promise I won't act like a meteorite this time,' he sent his thoughts to her, 'and it's a lot more comfortable sitting on feathers than on a piece of wood.'

Hermione grinned feebly at Harry and nodded, sending her acceptance of his offer across the telepathic link.

They all turned when Oliver walked through the trees that lined the riverbank and called to them. "All clear. We can make a start now."

Sirius, Charlie, Remus and Ceri quickly followed behind Oliver and walked over to choose their broomstick. Katie and Nadine lagged behind, whispering furiously to each other.

"Have you spoken to him yet?" asked Nadine.

"I haven't had chance," Katie whispered back. "Have you said anything to Ceri?"

Nadine shook her head. "Not yet. I want you to speak to your father first."

"Why can't they see how they feel about each other?" hissed Katie. "I feel a bit strange having to tell dad that someone's in love with him."

"We've already talked about this, Katie. Your father won't make a move because he thinks you'll be upset, and Ceri won't do anything for the same reason. So it's down to you to make them see sense. You… you're ok with this aren't you? You don't feel any resentment towards Ceri?"

"Of course I don't Nadine. No one will be more pleased than me if they get together."

Nadine breathed a sigh of relief, but then looked up when Sirius called for them to get ready. They walked over to the rest of the group and picked up two of the broomsticks from the four that still lay on the ground.

"We'd better hide those other two," said Harry. "Hermione wants a lift on my back."

Katie frowned, wondering what Harry meant, then she thought back to what her father had said during the summer - she'd forgotten all about asking Harry if he took his firebolt with him on the quests. She gasped, staring wide-eyed at her cousin as he transformed into his golden eagle form.

"So that's what he meant," she breathed, looking at the magnificent eagle before her.

Hermione climbed nervously onto his back and held on tight, hugging her arms around Harry's neck. Harry screeched and turned his head to stare pointedly at his girlfriend.

"Sorry," she whispered as she relaxed her grip slightly.

"Now before we take off," said Sirius, "make sure that you all fly as close to the ground as possible - we don't want to invite any unwanted attention. Remus and Ginny will take the lead - they've studied the relief maps of the area and they'll be able to point the way if we come to any branches in the river."

Ginny held up her map and waved it towards the others.

"And this is not a race," said Ceri, "so take your time - we don't want anyone to become detached from the main group. Ready?"

Remus and Ginny kicked off from the ground and hovered for a few moments while the others became airborne, then they pointed their brooms up river and flew fairly slowly, low above the river bank, heading up stream. "Next stop Dilmun - the Garden of Eden," Ginny shouted, grinning back at the others.

They flew for several miles through the foothills of Mount Sahand before the river swung slightly to the left. The twin peaks were now obscured by the southernmost summit in the Sahand range, Cham Dagh, and the terrain started to get rougher and steeper. The river raged below them as it fell through a series of rapids and waterfalls and they had to gain height to avoid getting wet from the spray as the river banks gave way to steep-sided ravines.

The river then swung around to the right, skirting the northern flank of Cham Dagh, and they entered a series of long, but quite narrow and steep mountain valleys. For the most part, Remus and Ginny had no difficulty in sticking to the main river, although at one point they had to consult the map before taking the left branch when they came to a fork where the river was joined by a large tributary running down from the eastern flank of the mountain range.

After about twenty-five miles of flying, they rounded a steep-sided spur and paused as they gazed with appreciation at the sight before them. High above were the twin peaks of Mount Sahand, resplendent as the sun reflected from the snow-covered summit.

Harry sent his thoughts to Hermione, 'It's beautiful, isn't it?'

'I'm sure it is Harry,' she thought back. 'But I'm not opening my eyes to look.'

The river still raged below them, but they couldn't yet see where the source of it was. But they knew they were on the right track - the river pointed directly at the base of the mountain, between the twin peaks.

On they flew, more slowly now as they neared their goal, and again had to gain height when the river twisted and turned through some very narrow gullies. Suddenly, Remus stopped and turned back to call to the others, pointing at something up ahead. "There it is! I can see where the river comes out of the bottom of the mountain."

They all flew towards the spot where Remus was pointing and soon they could all see the gaping hole, the river falling in a cascade from the outlet that sat about twenty feet above the surrounding terrain.

Harry hovered close to the opening and gazed inside, sending his thoughts to Hermione, who had finally relented and opened her eyes, and then he flew back to the others, knowing that Hermione wouldn't be heard above the roar of the falls even if she shouted.

"There's a rough sort of platform above the river just inside the opening," she shouted. "But we can't see what lies beyond it. There's only enough room for about four of us on it though."

"Shouldn't we look around the area first?" shouted Katie. "The tablet didn't say that the tunnel started at the exact spot where the river comes out of the mountain, it might be somewhere close by."

Sirius nodded. "You might be right Katie. Let's spread out and check for any other openings."

They flew close to the ground, half of them to the left and half to the right, looking for any other possible places where the tunnel through the mountain could be located, and Charlie dropped to the ground, looking at a cave some fifty yards from the river. He got off his broom and waited for Nadine to join him before they both walked slowly inside, raising their illuminated wands. Ron, Ginny and Ceri hovered above the spot, waiting for the pair to re-emerge.

"Nothing," shouted Charlie. "It's just a cave that doesn't go anywhere."

They resumed the search, flying until they were about two hundred yards from the point where the river came from the mountain, and where the high cliffs swung around leading back down the valley. "Let's go back," shouted Ceri. "There's nothing down this way."

They flew back and joined the rest of the group, who were hovering back at the source of the river. "Nothing up that way," shouted Sirius.

"Well it must be here then," said Ceri. "Four of us had better check it out to make sure that there's enough space to walk inside before the rest follow."

Sirius, Charlie, Oliver and Remus flew slowly down to the opening while the others hovered a little way above. Oliver landed first, being careful to avoid the torrent that boiled out of the cavity, easing his way slowly down until his feet touched the rocky ground. He walked a short way inside to allow Sirius to follow, and they were soon joined by Charlie and Remus. They lit their wands and stepped cautiously into the tunnel, wincing at the thunderous roar of the water that flowed swiftly under the ledge on which they found themselves.

They walked in for about fifty yards before they came to a branch in the tunnel, the river issuing from the right-hand branch and the dry tunnel leading to the left. They peered inside and saw that it was roughly circular in shape, with jagged pieces of larval rock jutting from both sides and ceiling. It was about six feet wide and eight feet high.

"This is the way to go, I think," said Sirius. "At least there's enough of a gap to avoid getting brained by those jutting rocks. Can you call for the others to join us Charlie?"

Charlie walked back to the opening and waved for the rest of the group to land. Harry had a bit of difficulty fitting his wingspan inside the cavity while keeping his legs on the small platform, and had to extend his claws to grip the rocky floor to prevent both himself and Hermione falling into the river. Hermione shrieked as she tottered sideways on the eagle's back but Charlie leaned forward and grabbed her around the waist to pull her to the safety of the platform.

Harry transformed and breathed deeply. "That was a bit scary. Are you ok, Hermione?"

Hermione nodded, and looked gratefully up at Charlie.

When the group was gathered together at the start of the tunnel, Sirius held up his hand to attract everyone's attention, and he had to shout above the roar of the water to make himself heard. "This tunnel must have been formed millions of years ago. It looks as if it was shaped by the flow of molten larva back when the volcano was active. There's no way these five kids are going in on their own, so we'll keep to our usual formation. You come with me at the front, Remus, while Ceri, Nadine and Charlie take the rear. Oliver, will you and Katie scout on ahead? Not that I think there'll be any Death Eaters waiting for us, but you never know what we'll come up against in this sort of environment. We'd better leave our brooms here."

Oliver and Katie nodded, and then gazed at Ron, who voiced the concern he'd been feeling ever since they came to the source of the river. "Watch out for scorpions," he shouted. "Gilgamesh said that scorpions guarded the route into Eden."

"Bugger off Ron," said Charlie, a bit nervously. "You find scorpions in the desert, not in these cold mountains."

"I didn't say they were normal scorpions Charlie," he replied. "Just… just keep an eye out for anything unusual."

They all pulled their robes close around themselves, feeling the cold breeze for the first time as it blew gently from the tunnel ahead. In the excitement of the precarious landing and the discovery of the route, they hadn't really noticed how cold it was, but Ron's warning sent a chill through them, not all of it attributable to the cold mountain air.

Oliver and Katie walked into the tunnel, gazing around at the jagged walls and ceiling as they went. The floor had, thankfully, been worn smooth by the passage of the larva all those years ago, but there were still some rocks and rough spots on its dark surface to catch the unwary walker. The rest of the group followed about fifty yards behind.

Ron could see the wand-light from Oliver and Katie as they walked ahead, reflecting eerily from the minerals and quartz deposits that studded the tunnel walls. At Margot's warning, he glanced at the floor and stepped around a large rock pool formed by rainwater dripping from the ceiling, but stopped suddenly when he saw something glittering in the shallow depths. He bent down and reached into the water to retrieve four small shining spherical objects. He held them in the palm of his hand and brought his wand close to study them.

He gasped, "Pearls! I've just found four pearls - I'm rich!"

Everyone gathered round and looked at Ron's find, but Remus, grinning sadly, caught hold of his shoulder and uttered the dreaded words, "They're just cave pearls Ron. They're formed by calcite deposits in the water percolating down through the mountain - they're not worth anything, I'm afraid."

Ron stared at Remus and then sadly back at the pearls. "Oh well, I was rich for a couple of minutes, anyway."

"Never mind Ron, you've got me," whispered Margot. "And I'm worth more than a few old pearls aren't I?"

Ron let the pearls drop back into the pool and wiped his hand on his robes, gazing fondly into Margot's sparkling eyes. "'Course you are, Margot."

On they walked into the bowels of the mountain, following the light from the wands that shone dimly up ahead. The tunnel was fairly straight, although it bent first to the left and then to the right in various places, and became narrower and then wider, but it followed the same general direction.

"Which way are we going?" asked Ginny.

Harry placed his wand on the palm of his hand and said the spell that set the wand up as a compass. "The general direction seems to be slightly north of west," he said.

Ginny thought for a few moments. "That's more or less towards Lake Urmia then."

"I think it's getting warmer," said Hermione, looking in front of her as she puffed out a breath of air. "My breath isn't condensing in the cold air any more."

"I think you're right," said Harry. None of them had noticed the gradual increase in temperature up to now.

Sirius looked intently ahead and held up his arm to halt everyone. "Stay here, Oliver and Katie have stopped. I'll go to see what the problem is."

A few minutes later he shouted back down the tunnel, his voice echoing eerily in the gloom. "Come on - it's ok. There's a branch in the tunnel up here."

They all walked forward and joined the three, who were staring at the spot where the tunnel split into two different directions, one running off to the right and the other going more or less straight on.

"Any ideas?" asked Sirius. "What do you think Remus - you've done a bit of caving in your time."

Remus walked into both branches and studied the rock walls closely, and then he nodded and walked back to the rest of the group. "I think we go straight on - down the left-hand tunnel. The one to the right starts to rise up into the mountain a little way in, and it's obviously the same larval tunnel we've followed from the start, but the other one is definitely an old watercourse. What's happened here, I think, is that when the volcano erupted, the flow of larva came this way and dammed up what was once a river flowing to the other side of the mountain. Over time, the river found it's new course and flowed out to the other end of the mountain, joining up with the larva tunnel just before it came out of the base of the mountain."

"So why do you think the old river bed is the right way and not the larva tunnel?" asked Hermione.

"Because if we follow the larva flow back to its source we'll probably come to the seat of the ancient eruption, which is now quite likely high up in the middle of the mountain somewhere, and I doubt if we'll find a lush garden up there."

"Ok then," said Harry. "We take the left-hand branch."

"We're likely to find the going a lot tougher from here on in," said Remus. "There'll be a lot of loose rocks and gravel covering the old river bed, and we might come across a few tight squeezes."

Sirius nodded for Oliver and Katie to lead the way and then waited for a minute or two before leading the rest of the team into the new tunnel. The new environment soon became apparent as the temperature began to drop, but it still wasn't as cold as when they started their trek into the mountain. And the tunnel started to gradually descend, although not to any alarming extent. Progress was now a lot slower as they had to take a lot more care to find a secure footing among the many loose rocks and rubble that covered the floor.

"This reminds me of the labyrinth under the church in Rennes-le-Chateau," said Ron. "This is just like some of those tunnels we went through."

His friends nodded as they gazed at the strange rock formations. Ginny suddenly shrieked and jumped back to cling onto Charlie, staring fixedly at a spot high up to her right-hand side.

"What's the matter Ginny?" shouted Charlie, catching hold of his sister and holding his wand at the ready.

"Sorry Charlie," she whispered, giggling nervously as she stared at the wall. "It was a trick of the light reflecting off the rock wall. I was sure there was a horrible-looking devil up there poised to pounce on us."

They all laughed nervously - most of them had noticed how the light from their wands cast some weird shapes and shadows on the walls and ceiling of the tunnel.

"I nearly did what you just did, Ginny," said Nadine. "I could have sworn I saw Snape's face staring down at me a few yards back."

"That's worse that a hideous-looking devil, Nadine," quipped Ron.

The tunnel widened out into a beautiful gallery after another few hundred yards, the cave packed with columns formed by stalagmites and stalactites merging to form continuous formations from floor to ceiling. Then it narrowed once more, and in places it became so narrow that they had to ease their way sideways through the cramped space, breathing in sharply to force their way through the narrowest spots.

They had to scramble over several breakdown areas - places where the tunnel ceiling had partially collapsed to form an impenetrable mound of rubble on the floor, and in other areas they had to improvise to climb down several small chimneys - vertical tunnels only about two or three feet wide, where they had to wedge themselves into the space, their back against one wall and their knees against the opposite one, and ease themselves slowly down to where the old river bed once more sloped down at a more leisurely angle.

Ron suddenly shouted and jumped behind Margot, pointing his hand at the tunnel wall. "What the hell's that!"

Ceri rushed up and held her wand close to the spot, and then she laughed. "Ron! It's only a spider - look, it's a troglodyte!"

"A troglo what?" squeaked Ron.

"A troglodyte - it's a cave dweller. It's become adapted to living in the dark - look, it hasn't got any eyes; so don't worry - it can't see you."

"It might not be able to see me Ceri," he said, "but it knows I'm here - I'm sure it does. Its head is pointing right in my direction!"

They all laughed and Harry grabbed hold of his friend's arm and dragged him on down the tunnel, Ron still muttering, "What the hell does it find down here to eat anyway!"

Another hour and another two miles later, Ron came to another sudden stop.

"Another spider Ron?" grinned Ginny.

"No - it's about time we had a break for something to eat. I'm starving!"

Sirius grinned and called ahead for Oliver and Katie to join them, while Ceri and Nadine eased the rucksacks from their backs and started to hand out the packs of sandwiches and pasties.

They'd just finished eating and were sipping hot cups of tea when it was Nadine's turn to yell and jump up from the rock she was sitting on.

They looked to see movement at the base of the rock, and Oliver held his wand close.

"There you are - I told you, didn't I!" exclaimed Ron. Two rather large and milky-white scorpions were crawling slowly over the ground towards a few crumbs that Nadine had dropped.

"Troglodytes again," said Ceri. "They haven't got any eyes."

"Eyes or no eyes," breathed Nadine, "I still don't like them. And anyway, if they haven't got any eyes, how do they know those crumbs are there?"

"They either heard them dropping or they can smell them," said Remus.

"Have they got a poisonous sting like normal scorpions?" asked Ginny.

"I really don't know," said Remus.

"Well come on then, let's get going," said Nadine. "I don't want to hang about here to prove that one way or the other."

Over the next mile, the riverbed started to dip down more steeply and walking became even more difficult. "How much longer do you think this goes on for?" asked Ron, a pained expression on his face.

"Well I'd guess we've covered about ten miles in total," said Sirius. "And since the ground's starting to angle down a bit more, I'd say we aren't that far from coming out at the other end of the mountain. What do you think Remus?"

Remus nodded. "I agree. Underground rivers often dip down at an angle just before they emerge into the open - something to do with the rock being a bit softer towards the outside of the mountains I think."

After another mile, Sirius again held up his hand to signal a stop. "Oliver and Katie are coming back - and they're not hanging about either! You'd all better take cover just in case!"

Sirius walked on a few paces to meet the pair as they came, panting with the effort, towards his position. "There's something very strange back there," said Oliver.

Katie continued, "We could see a glow from up ahead and we thought it was the tunnel emerging into the open, but when we went around the left-hand bend it wasn't that at all."

Oliver took up the story, giving Katie a chance to get her breath. "Well, it was and it wasn't. We could see the light where the tunnel ends, but there was something else there that gave off the glow. We couldn't quite make out what it was, but when it started to move towards us we didn't hang about - we hot-footed it back here."

"One thing is certain though," said Katie. "It was no Death Eater, and it wasn't any sort of animal either - at least none that I'm aware of."

"Did it look like a big scorpion Katie?" asked Ron, thinking it might be the guardians of Eden.

Katie shook her head. "No - and it was only one of them."

They all looked into the darkness ahead but whatever had been at the tunnel exit certainly hadn't followed them back into the tunnel.

"What are we going to do?" asked Nadine.

"We go on," said Harry, reaching out to hold Hermione's hand as he gazed into her hazel-brown eyes. "We haven't come this far just to give up. Whatever it is, we'll meet it face on."

"Hang about Harry," said Sirius. "Whatever it is might be too dangerous to face head on - even with your powers."

Hermione smiled at Sirius. "Don't worry, we've got a feeling about this - I don't think there's any danger."

Sirius stared quizzically at the pair but didn't stop them when they got up and started walking down the tunnel. "Come on," he said to the others. "We'd better stay with them in case they need some help."

They all walked slowly down the rough riverbed, which had levelled off over the last few hundred yards, and stared intently ahead as the first few signs of light came into view around a left-hand bend. Harry and Hermione didn't stop when they came to the bend - they walked around it, keeping to the centre of the tunnel, and then stopped.

Ron, Ginny and Margot made to follow them but Oliver and Sirius held them back. "Not yet," said Sirius. "Let's see what happens first."

They all stretched their necks around the corner to see what their two friends were staring at and gasped - there, at the very exit of the tunnel, was an object that glowed with such brilliance they had to shield their eyes. Harry and Hermione, however, wore expressions of awe and smiled slightly, exchanging their thoughts and feelings at an incredible rate as they watched the object approach them. The way it approached, however, didn't give the impression of it being aggressive in any way.

As it came to within five yards of the pair, it stopped, moving from side to side as if it were assessing their intentions.

Harry and Hermione lifted their free arms and held their palms towards the flaming sword, which just hung suspended in the air before them. They sent their joint thoughts towards the sword, choosing a form of words that they thought the guardian would best understand. 'Greetings, great protector of Eden. We are the Anima Summas and have been guided here by mighty Enki in the hope of gaining great knowledge to help us in the conflict with the Dark Side. We request that you grant us and our helpers passage into the Garden so that we may seek enlightenment.'

The sword continued to hover in front of them, and then they heard its reply, the thoughts appearing as clear as crystal in their joint consciousness. 'It has been long since anyone came this way. You are the first since the Anima Summas of more than fifteen hundred years ago. They too came with their helpers, and like you will soon find, they saw that the ancient Nibiru have long departed this place. But what they sought they must have found, for I still shine. It is only when the battle with the Dark is lost that I will lose my lustre and fade from the memories of man. Then, I fear, what I guard will be lost. The myth that still burns bright in the annals of the progeny of the Nibiru will then be no more. All hope for a return to the great times will be forfeit and another, much darker place will rise to fill the minds of the remaining ones. So yes, you have my blessing to proceed into the Garden.'

'If the Nibiru have gone, why do you still guard this place?'

'Because it is filled with magic. The great works that were conceived here live on in the very rock, the very earth and clay. It has great powers still, and exerts an aura that enhances the Light body. You will experience this, and you will know what you must do.'

The glowing sword moved back towards the tunnel exit and stood to one side, inviting the passage of the Anima Summas and their helpers. Still holding hands, Harry and Hermione turned and gestured for the others to join them as they started down the tunnel, and towards the entrance into the Garden of Eden.


Lord Voldemort stood at the back of his cave, facing Crabbe and Ahmed at the opposite end of the table. At the centre of the table was the parchment that bore the encrypted spells that would, once decoded, activate the Disc of Gates. At each of the four corners of the parchment lay a ritual object, brought from Ahmed's home by Travis a few hours ago.

After much debate, Voldemort, Crabbe and Ahmed had agreed on the best way to enact the ritual depicted on the walls in the secret chamber of Seth, using the hints given in the Necronomicon.

Voldemort nodded for Crabbe and Ahmed to begin the chanting phase of the ritual, building the Dark forces that would act on the cipher cloaking the spells on the parchment. Voldemort used the time to breath deeply and slowly build his power. He grinned as he felt his mind fill with energy.

When it was time, he extended his arms over the table and pointed his wand at the parchment.

"PETEKH NAHET." A dark light flowed from his wand and covered the parchment causing it to glow with a silvery light.

"PETEKH TANEJ". The beam of light turned darker, causing the silvery glow to dance about above the writing on the parchment.

"SHAJ DAREF". The glow slowly descended onto the parchment and mingled with the script.

Voldemort and the other two stood back from the table and watched anxiously as the battle to unscramble the spells was engaged. For ten minutes the battle raged, the glow rising from the parchment as if repelled by a hidden force and then descending once more to resume the battle.

Then, the strange words rose slowly into the air, shimmered as the encryption spell fought to retain its hold, and then started to move, changing their shapes as they rearranged themselves. Then they slowly settled back onto the page, merged with the parchment, and the glow faded.

Voldemort walked back to the table and saw that the script was now different, but he still couldn't read it. He gestured for Ahmed to look at the results of their ritual and stood back as the Arab peered at the page and started to clap his hands with glee.

"It's Egyptian hieroglyphics, my Lord," he cackled. "I can read this!"

Voldemort sighed with relief and waited for Ahmed to transcribe the hieroglyphics onto a separate piece of parchment.

"Well?" hissed Voldemort impatiently. "What does it say?"

"There are basically two types of spells here, my Lord," said Ahmed. "The first one stands on its own, and is clearly used to activate the Disk of Gates ready for use to open the gate to the Dark Realm. Then there is another set of spells - about six of them. These seem to activate the Disc ready for spells of destruction."

"How do I use them?" asked Voldemort. "Do I have to say the spells using the Egyptian words?"

Ahmed nodded. "Yes my Lord. I'll write down the spells in English and how they should be spoken using the hieroglyphics. Then I'll tell you how to pronounce the words."

"Excellent," breathed Voldemort. "Let's get started!"

An hour later, Voldemort breathed deeply, savouring the moment when he'd activate the Disc. He tried to decide where he would strike first - would it be in this country or America? He thought long and hard and then decided that he'd give a little demonstration to his homeland first. Then, after he'd shown his power to the people in America, he'd embark on his primary task - eliminating the Anima Summas. He looked once more at the final spell on the parchment, having already decided to reserve it for Potter and Granger. He visualised how the spell might look as it hit the pair - but he could only speculate. He knew the result of it, however - it would slowly suck out their souls and transport them back to the Dark Realm, where the denizens of that place would feast on their agony. He chuckled as he realised that he could now do that without having to summon the she devil, and would be able to stay to observe the expressions on their faces as they realised the horror to which they were being consigned.

"Lucius," he shouted to the front of the cave. "Summon the inner circle. I want them here first thing in the morning to help me plan my first strike."


Harry and Hermione led the way past the shining sword and stood at the exit from the tunnel under the mountain, looking with awe at the beauty below. There, in a broad valley basin surrounded by high peaks, was fabled Dilmun - the Garden of Eden. It stretched for about a mile and a half from end to end, and was about a mile wide, measuring from where the bases of the surrounding mountains met the ground.

The sun was still just visible above the mountains and it bathed the far end of the Garden to their right-hand side in a yellow glow, contrasting with the shadows that had fallen on the rest of it. They watched as the line that marked the edge of the shadows crept slowly over the ground, squeezing the brightly lit segment ever smaller.

The floor of the valley was covered in lush vegetation. There were luxurious green meadows covered in brightly coloured flowers, areas where trees were still covered in green foliage of various hues, channels that carried water from several points higher up the slopes to irrigate the reddish-coloured earth and right at the centre, surrounded by green meadow, stood two exceptionally large trees, their regal branches spreading out over a large area. They stood majestically in the centre of the valley looking over the rest of the garden as if they were the focus of it all.

"Wow!" breathed Ginny as she looked over Harry's shoulder. "It's beautiful."

"It's exactly as I saw it in the crystal ball," whispered Margot.

"Can you see any jewels yet?" asked Ron, craning his neck to look down at the ground below.

"No Ron," said Hermione. "Except for the jewel that is the Garden itself."

Everyone stood and looked for a few minutes, savouring the realisation that they were looking at a place that only a few days ago they had thought was pure myth.

"Mon Dieu," breathed Nadine. "I never thought that it was a real place. The bible says that the Archangel Michael, holding a fiery sword, guards the Garden of Eden. Do you think that this sword is him?"

"Who knows," whispered Charlie. "It doesn't seem to need anybody to wield it though, so you could be right."

"It's probably been enchanted by the ancient ones who lived here to carry out its guardian duties," said Hermione.

"But how long ago was that?" asked Remus. "The power needed to keep the enchantment active for this length of time must have been immense!"

Ceri suddenly let out a loud exclamation as she gazed at the beautiful place, "That's it!"

"What!" said Sirius, looking at her quizzically.

"For the last few minutes, ever since we saw this place, something's been niggling at the back of my mind. And now it's just struck me what it is. This place, those gardens and fields, they're… they're all so beautiful and perfect - too perfect. If no one's been here for thousands and thousands of years, why isn't it completely overgrown like a jungle? Who's here to keep it in such a perfect state?"

Everyone stared at Ceri and then looked back down into the valley. There was no sign of any movement, no sign of anyone down below at all.

"Well that beats me," said Ron. "Maybe whoever's doing this is in another part of the valley having his tea or something."

Nadine had a strange look on her face. "I don't think so Ron. I… I can feel something incredible. The longer I stand here, the more that feeling is growing - I… I think it's coming from the garden itself, a feeling of incredible psychic power, as if the plants themselves are exuding a magical aura. I think, perhaps, that the Garden is tending to itself."

Hermione nodded. "That makes sense Nadine. First the sword, able to move under some magical charm set eons ago, and now the wonderfully tended gardens. I think that whoever lived here must have had incredible powers."

"Can you see a way down from here Harry?" asked Ceri.

"There's a path running alongside the dry river bed that goes down to the middle of the valley," he replied. "And there's a few stone steps from here leading down to the path - it starts only about ten feet below us."

"Come on then," said Sirius brightly. "Let's sample the delights of the Garden of Eden."

He led the way down the steps and stood on the path, gazing up at the surrounding mountains. "No wonder this place hasn't been found before. Anyone standing outside this valley would have no idea that such a place existed within the heart of the mountains."

As they moved further down the gentle slope towards the centre of the garden, Katie suddenly exclaimed, "Look up there!"

They all followed the line of her pointing arm and saw a flat area towards the top end of the valley, a plateau raised about fifty feet above it, on which stood a number of structures.

"I've never seen buildings like that before," said Remus, shaking his head with wonder. "I can't think of anywhere else in the world that has that sort of architecture. I wonder who built them?"

"We can go there later," said Hermione. "I want to take a closer look at those two trees first - I've got a funny feeling about what they may be."

Hermione held onto Harry's hand as she led the way along the path, which soon joined one of the streams that bubbled down from the mountain and irrigated the land. They followed the path with the stream running alongside as it entered one of the beautiful meadows and they gasped as the heady fragrance from the many flowers filled their senses. Hermione closed her eyes as she was filled with a wonderful sense of well-being. She felt as if she were part of this place - at one with nature.

Margot, who was walking alongside Harry and Hermione, turned to the pair and whispered, "The ambience of this place is incredible."

"It's the magic of Eden," breathed Hermione. The sound of the water gurgling over the stones at the bottom of the stream sounded like laughter, as if it was feeling the excitement of flowing into such a wondrous place.

Everyone stopped and turned when they heard laughter coming from behind them - but it wasn't the stream laughing - it was Ron. He was kneeling on the edge of the stream, gazing down into the water and pointing. "Look! Come and see what I've found!"

They all gathered around the excited Ron as he pulled the sleeves of his robes further up his arm and stretched his hand into the water. He pulled his closed hand back out and slowly opened it, smiling widely as he gazed at the four small gold nuggets he held.

"See!" he exclaimed. "I knew there'd be treasure in this place."

They all looked at the nuggets and then peered intently into the stream. "There's a lot more of them here," said Remus.

"And here," said Charlie. "The bed of the stream is absolutely covered with them. There's a fortune here!"

"I think you should put them back Ron," said Hermione quietly, looking sadly at her excited friend. "I've got a feeling that nothing should be taken from the Garden. It should be left exactly as it is in case the balance is disturbed."

Ron looked from Hermione to the others, and saw that most of them were nodding solemnly. "I agree with Hermione," said Nadine. "To take something from this land would be to desecrate it."

Margot walked up to Ron and bent down beside him, placing her hand on his arm. "They're right Ron - can't you feel it too?"

Ron looked sadly down at the gold in his hand and slowly nodded. Then he held his hand over the water and let the nuggets drop back into the flow. He stood back up and managed to put a stoical expression on his face. "That's twice I was nearly rich. At least I'll have a few good stories to tell Dad when I see him next."

Margot leaned close and kissed him softly on the lips, then caught his hand and pulled him to the front of the group to walk beside Harry, Hermione and Ginny. They walked on towards the centre of the valley as the sun sank ever lower in the sky. The brightly-lit segment of light had now reached the furthest end of the valley and was starting to climb up the mountain. Suddenly, a bright burst of light sprung from the mountain slope, lighting up the whole garden as it was bathed in the reflected radiance.

"The sun's rays must be hitting some sort of quartz deposit in the wall of the mountain," said Sirius. "The sun is so low now that it must be hitting it at just the right angle to cause this effect."

"What's that?" asked Ginny, turning her head to the side, listening intently.

They could all hear it now - very faint music. But not ordinary music - it was exhilarating and uplifting and it sounded like nothing they'd heard before. No known musical instrument could have produced such delicate tones.

"Where's it coming from?" asked Ceri, turning her head from side to side to try to pick up a direction where it was loudest.

"I wonder if this is what sustains the plants in the Garden," said Margot. "You know - a bit like talking to a house plant to encourage it to grow strong and healthy."

They walked further towards the two large trees at the centre of the valley, and the music became more distinct. They approached the first tree and looked up at the strange, bulbous milky-white fruit hanging from its branches. The fruit shimmered in the reflected light and was vibrating almost imperceptibly.

"I think that white fruit is making the music," said Nadine.

Hermione was staring wide-eyed at the tree and the vibrating fruit, her mouth slightly open.

"What is it Hermione?" asked Harry.

"These two trees," she replied softly. "I think they're the ones spoken about in the bible. I think that this one is the Tree of Life and the other one is the Tree of Knowledge."

"What makes you think that?" asked Remus, intrigued.

"I thought that's what they were when I first spotted them from the tunnel," she replied. "But now I'm sure. I think Margot's right - the music from this tree is bringing life to the plants in the whole Garden."

"I wonder if it's these fruits they use to make that white powdery stuff," said Ron. "You know - that Shewbread."

"Maybe Ron," said Hermione. "Perhaps we'll find out more when we look in those buildings at the other end of the valley."

"The ground below the tree is littered with the fallen fruit," said Ginny, pointing. "You can see that some of it fell a while ago - it seems as if it's being re-absorbed into the ground."

They walked past the first tree and approached the second. It was slightly taller and wider than it's companion, and the fruit it bore was also different. The fruit was smaller and rounder - much like apples.

"What makes you think this is the Tree of Knowledge?" asked Remus.

Hermione shook her head slowly. "I don't know how - but I just know that's what it is."

"If you think this is the Tree of Knowledge," said Ron, grinning slyly, "shouldn't you eat some of that fruit? Just think what you might learn!"

Hermione grinned and turned to look at Ron. "Stop playing the snake Ron! My name's not Eve."

Ron stared at his friend blankly for a few moments, then it dawned on him what she was getting at. "Oh yeah! Sorry Hermione."

"Let's take a look at those buildings," said Harry. "Don't forget that we came here to find ancient wizarding knowledge and the one last spell that will help us - and we might find it up on that plateau. This may be the end of the final quest."

Hermione stared at Harry. "Up there might be the source of magic - where wizard-kind first started."

"I don't think it's there," said Ginny.

"Why not?" asked Ron, as the others turned to stare at Ginny.

"Because there's still only five of us," she replied quietly. "Thoth said there had to be six to complete the quest."

"If that's the case," said Margot, "we'll have to search back further in time than the Garden of Eden! I didn't think there was a time before that!"

"Well whatever it is," said Harry, "we'll probably find some answers in those buildings. Come on, let's go before it gets too dark to see where we're going."

Sirius looked up at the darkening sky and frowned. "It's getting dark already," he said. "We'd better get a move on."

They turned and started walking quickly to the left-hand end of the valley and the plateau on which the buildings stood. By the time they reached the base of the plateau, the reflected light had disappeared and the music had stopped. The valley was shrouded in deep twilight as they climbed the gentle slope and stood at the top, looking at five buildings standing side by side along the length of the plateau. The building at the centre was the largest of the five - it was three storeys high and five windows stretched to either end of the large, ornate doorway.

"Let's try this one first," said Hermione, walking towards the door.

"Just one minute," said Ron. "Do any of you realise how long ago we last ate? I'm not exploring any of these buildings until I get something inside me."

They all suddenly realised how hungry they were - the excitement of being in the Garden of Eden had banished all thoughts of food from their minds.

By the time they'd finished eating, night had fallen and it was quite dark. "I don't think it's a good idea to poke about in those buildings in the dark," said Ceri. "Perhaps we should set up camp for the night and look around in the morning."

"That might be a good…" started Sirius, and then looked up as the valley was once more bathed in light.

"What!" gasped Remus.

"It's the moon and stars!" exclaimed Oliver. "Look - the quartz deposits all around the mountains are glowing. It's almost like daylight!"

The valley was now bathed in a silvery radiance, similar to one of those cold, crisp winter nights back at Hogwarts when the full moon was at its height, causing the frosty landscape to sparkle.

"Well we might as well carry on then," said Sirius. "You may have to light our wands inside some of the more enclosed rooms though."

"Let's make a quick survey first," said Ginny. "We can just have a quick look to find out what's inside each of the buildings before we decide which is the best one to examine more closely first."

"Sounds like a good idea," said Harry. "Let's start with the one on the left."

"We'd better let you five do this alone," said Sirius. "Just shout if you need help with anything - and be careful - you don't know how old these structures are and they may be a bit the worse for wear."

Ron led the way to the first building, which turned out to be some sort of general workshop. Three large rooms filled the single-story structure, each containing a number of very large tables. Storage cupboards were ranged around the walls of each of the rooms. They could see nothing that may be of any help with the quest, however.

The second two-storey building was somewhat larger. There were ten fair-sized rooms on each floor, the top floor appearing to be scientific laboratories judging by the types of desk and storage cabinets. The rooms on the ground floor were clearly alchemical in nature. There was a large laboratory, two large workshops with kilns built into the back walls, and two large storage rooms, in which were a number of stone bins, similar to those they'd found on Mount Olympus. Ron couldn't resist taking a peek inside some of them, but they were empty.

They decided to leave the larger central building until last, and walked to the fourth one - another two-storey building - but they had no idea what it had been used for. It was completely empty.

The last structure turned out to be far bigger than it had first appeared. Unlike the others, it stretched back almost to the walls of the mountain behind, and was obviously the living quarters for whoever had inhabited the valley. There was enough room for several hundred people.

"Oh well, it's back to the middle one then," said Ron, leading the way.

He tried the door, which opened effortlessly and without any sort of creaking, and stepped into what must once have been a very grand entrance hall. Twin spiral staircases looped around each side of the hall, leading up to the first floor, and open archways led off into four very large ground floor chambers.

"This must have been the meeting chamber," said Ginny as she looked inside the first room on the left. Several rows of ornate benches faced a raised podium with four large chairs, thrones almost, facing them.

"Look at these," breathed Ginny, walking up to the far wall and lighting her wand to examine several large paintings. "They're landscapes - showing some very beautiful scenes, but they're obviously not from the Garden. These places are a lot bigger."

"Look in here," shouted Ron from the first right-hand room. "There're a few portraits hanging on the walls."

They all gazed up at the portraits, one showing a very old man in blue robes, sitting on what looked like one of the large chairs in the meeting chamber. A younger man stared out of the second portrait, again clothed in blue robes, but with a sterner expression on his face than the older man.

They all gasped when they looked at the final portrait.

"It's Thoth!" exclaimed Ron. "What's he doing here?"

"It's Enki," said Hermione. "This is where he must have lived before he became Thoth. At least we know we're on the right track now - he told us to find his previous existences, and this is obviously one of them."

"But what've we got to find?" asked Harry, looking puzzled. "Everywhere we've checked so far seems to be completely empty. Thoth and his mates certainly didn't leave much behind when they left."

"Whatever we've got to find must be here somewhere," said Margot. "We've just got to keep looking."

"Ron! Supper's ready!" shouted Nadine from outside.

"We can't have spent as much time as that exploring," gasped Hermione.

"Time flies when you're having fun," said Ron, grinning as he walked quickly out of the room.

"We might as well pack it in for the night," said Harry. "We can start again tomorrow."

The four followed Ron over to the tents that had been erected outside the central building, and sat around the magical flame that was heating a large pot of baked beans. Nadine and Ceri were toasting several slices of bread on the flames. "We didn't build a campfire like we normally do," said Ceri. "We didn't want to burn anything that's here."

Ron pulled a face. "Toast doesn't taste as nice when it's done on magical flames."

"Tough!" exclaimed Ginny. "If you don't want it, I'll have it!"

Ron scowled at his sister as he placed three pieces of toast onto his plate and started spooning beans all over them.

Everyone had a great night's sleep that night, helped by the special magical quality of the place where they slept. The magic of the place did, however, inspire Harry and Hermione to have another joint dream, and as before, Margot joined in with their subconscious meanderings.

"We saw Thoth reading his book again last night," Harry told everyone the following morning. "I think more of what's in the book is going to be revealed."

"Come on then," said Ginny, "make it appear."

Everyone sat expectantly on the ground outside the tents as Hermione reached out her hand to Harry. He caught it and they both closed their eyes, concentrating on materialising the book of Thoth. The surface of the grass in front of them started to shimmer, then the book appeared - but this time it wasn't in the form of a scroll, it was a dark red leather-bound book.

Hermione stared at it for a moment, then reached out and opened the cover to the first page to reveal the familiar hieroglyphic writing. She leafed through the rest of the pages and saw that all of them were covered in writing - apart from a few pages at the very back of the book.

"It's almost complete," she whispered, "apart from three or four pages at the end."

"Read it out," said Margot. "I'm dying to find out what it's all about."

"You read it Hermione," said Harry, smiling. "You always manage to create a sense of the drama when you read something new and mysterious."

"The title on the cover simply says 'The Book of Thoth'," she said, turning to the first page. "It's in three sections - the first gives his history, the second his wisdom and knowledge, but the last section is still hidden and it doesn't say here what it's about. I'll read the history section first…

'This is the History of Thoth, also known as Enki of Nibiru…

'I was born in an ancient land that is no more. My life was happy and pleasant during my formative years, when magic was just a myth and the ways of the Dark unknown. There were no gods in those times - our only deity was the never-ending quest for knowledge and enlightenment. The pursuit of knowledge and wisdom became my aim, and I soon stood among the ranks of the learned at the Council of Science.

'I was part of the investigative team that made the great discovery. In pursuit of an ancient legend about a long-gone age, which spoke of great and mystical works, and following the directions that we were able to decode on an ancient map, we chanced upon a previously unknown city, hidden deep within the jungles of the land of Hintu.

'We entered a ruined temple of science that stood in the centre of that city and we made the discovery of the age - a treasure trove of alchemical knowledge and artefacts that would bring enlightenment to those who delved into its ancient depths. From the records of those long forgotten scientists, translated by the linguist in our team, it was clear that they were on the verge of a great breakthrough with their experiments into the very fabric of life itself.

'But they were halted right at the very edge of success. The misguided people of the city feared that a great evil would be let loose on the land should their scientists complete what they started, and rose up against them. The ruling body of the city sided with their people and imprisoned the scientists, and decreed that their work would be consigned to a forbidden corpus of occult knowledge. They determined that such works would never again be started and went to great lengths to ensure that aim. The city was abandoned and the population moved to a new one built on the site of what was to become the city of Hindabba, the capitol of Hintu. All records of the old city were purged from their history, but as is always the case with such things, legends were born and clues to the old location preserved on the map upon which we chanced.

'I was honoured to be placed at the head of the team which carried out the investigations into the works of those ancient scientists, and we soon came to understand their knowledge. They had fashioned a strange white powder from the fruit of a tree that abounded in their jungles. The bulbous milky-white fruit contained properties that seemed to defy the laws of atomic physics.'

"The tree of life!" exclaimed Remus. "The fruit he's describing is the same as we saw yesterday! Sorry, Hermione, please continue."

'But the white powder was inert and their efforts were directed at finding a way to activate the substance. They saw that if they could break down the structure of the powder into a monatomic form, they would produce a derivative that possessed wondrous properties, able to affect the ends of certain strands of the spiral of life, the building blocks of humanity that would later become known as DNA. Those strands controlled the aging process, and by subjecting them to the effects of the powder, they could extend life. But that was as far as they got with their research.

'The Council of Science charged me to continue with the research and for the next twenty years it became my life's work. With the help of my team - the best chemists and atomic scholars in the land - we came ever closer to solving the problem of activating the Shem-an-na, for that is what it is properly called although we call it Ma-na for short. We retrieved the trees from around the ancient city and planted them in Nibiru, but it took a while to learn how to sustain them. We found that the basis of the powder was gold, made clear by our analysis of the fruit, so we had to plant the trees in soil that was impregnated with gold dust.

'The breakthrough came when we found that a certain type of quartz, when agitated by sunlight striking it at a particular angle, would emit a radiance at a frequency that would, in theory, make gold react to it. The quartz crystals grew in only a very few places in Nibiru, but we were able to obtain sufficient quantities to carry out the experiment. And it worked! When subjected to the radiance, the white powder started to react in a very peculiar way. At first it shimmered, then disappeared altogether for a few minutes, before once more materialising. When we analysed the results, we saw that the powder was now in a monatomic state - a state that was on the very boundary of matter and anti-matter.

'The next step, of course, was to work out how the powder could be applied. To that end, I and several volunteers from my team began to ingest very small quantities, daily over a period of time. After three months, the results were wonderful but unexpected. Our DNA had, indeed, been altered and the aging process had slowed gradually until it stopped altogether. But the unexpected side effects were amazing.

'We found that we were able to do certain things, things that were beyond normal humans. We were able to influence matter by the power of thought alone, and it was soon apparent that the stronger the mind, the stronger the effects. We also found that we could channel this energy far better by use of a wooden tool - a wand - and better still if the wand had the properties and dimensions tailored to the mind that wielded it.'

"The start of magic," breathed Margot. "The start of wizard-kind. That's how it all began."

Everyone looked at Margot and shared her sense of wonder. They were all awe-struck by the revelations contained in the Book of Thoth. "Carry on please, Hermione," whispered Nadine.

'But the third unexpected effect was perhaps the greatest. We soon found that we had become enhanced in a spiritual sense. We were able to see and understand things that had been hidden to us before. What we called our 'Light Bodies' became far more powerful to give us great spiritual awareness, and an urge to strive for improving the lot of humankind so that they too would experience the one-ness with the cosmic forces that abound beyond the perception of the normal human mind.

'The High Council listened to our report and agreed that we should start a limited experiment, which would remain a secret from the population until the tested and proven results were confirmed. They called for volunteers from the most trusted members of the scientific community, and the trials began with a group of one hundred men and women.

'For six months, everything went well and our initial findings were being confirmed. But then something went wrong. Fifteen of the one hundred test subjects started to show some disturbing trends. They became secretive and formed their own little sub community within the larger group. They started to make demands that the experiment should be widened to include others of their own choosing. When we refused, they broke away and left the test site, taking with them enough refined ma-na and crystals to set up their own operation.

'The High Council was outraged, and issued orders for the faction to be detained. But this proved to be an impossible task - the group was able to easily repel the best efforts of the law-enforcement services to capture them, using their magical powers, and they soon withdrew from sight. They set up an enclave in the remotest part of Nibiru and remained hidden, not to surface for another twenty years.

'The focus of our experiment now shifted to a new goal. We were charged with finding out what caused one person to become a Light wizard but another a Dark wizard. More people were drawn into the experiment, with greater controls put in place to detect the first signs of darkness. But we were never to conclude why the effects were so different from one person to the next - we didn't have the time.

'It is my personal belief that in all of us lie the seeds of Light and Dark. Deep within our very essence lies good and evil, and most of us are able to suppress the darkness, bringing our light side to the fore. But in some individuals the darkness is stronger, and is enhanced by the effects of ma-na.

'There ensued a great debate among the ruling body on whether to continue the experiments. They feared what the Dark Wizards would do, yet could see that the benefits were also great for the majority of the people. It raged on for twenty years, but the debate was never resolved - they didn't have the time.

'For a time, we stopped taking the ma-na to see if the effects could be reversed and we soon started to age once more, but our magical powers remained with us. Many of the original test group left and married, some among their number and some with people in the larger 'normal' community. It became clear that the magical powers were passed on to their progeny, even when the genes were diluted with non-magical partners, and so we knew that what we had started would continue.

'Some of our number, myself included, resumed taking the ma-na, hoping that we could carry our knowledge for the benefit of future generations, but then things took a new turn.

'The attacks started. Devastating attacks that wiped out whole sections of the population. From the testimonies of the few survivors, it became apparent that the Dark Wizards were responsible, but they were being led by something very strange. Survivors spoke of giants with strange heads and faces, while others, their minds broken, raged about demons let loose on the land.

'From the few Dark Wizards we managed to capture, we learned that the original break-away group had carried out genetic experiments among themselves, hoping to create an elite of the Dark Side. But their experiments went horribly wrong - a mutant strain was produced that grew very quickly in both mind and body and the Darkness was uppermost in their makeup - they called them Nephilim. They soon took control of the Dark community, and embarked on a campaign of terror, feeding on the minds and souls of anyone who opposed them.

'The Land was in turmoil and the terror lasted for ten terrible years. In that time, I and the other wizards of Light worked closely with some of the foremost cosmic scientists who themselves had been working on a theory of alternate realities - realms that existed alongside ours. Between us, we were able to fashion a device that was capable of opening a portal between our reality and one in parallel. We found that the other realm was a dark and barren place, devoid of human and animal life. We determined to lure the Nephilim into a trap where we could open the gate and send them into that other realm. But our plan turned out to be a disaster.

'We underestimated the intelligence of the Nephilim. They may have looked like ogres with limited brain capacity, but they were far from that. They captured the device - the Disc of Gates we called it - and enhanced its capabilities to give it destructive powers. Then the terror increased tenfold. Led by their chief, whom they called Satani, the Nephilim laid waste to whole swathes of Nibiru, using the awful destructive power of the Disc of Gates.

'Then the Light side took a hand in the conflict. There arose the Anima Summas, servants of the Light charged with fighting the Dark Side and restoring order to the Earthly realm. It fell to my beloved wife, Ninhursag, and I to be the first Anima Summas and it was an awesome task that we undertook. Using a diversion created by our four trusted helpers we regained the Disc of Gates and in a terrible battle, we were able to banish the Nephilim to the parallel reality. But the price we paid was high.

'Ninhursag fell during that battle and moved from the Earthly realm to the realm of Light. With heavy heart, I strove to destroy the Disc of Gates, sealing the Nephilim in their Dark realm for the rest of time. But it could not be destroyed - the wicked ones had used their Dark Arts to sustain it against all efforts to remove it from the face of the Earth. I therefore hid it in the desert region of a far off place but, as I was later to find, a Dark Wizard followed my movements and noted the hiding place. This knowledge was preserved for future generations of Dark Wizards.

'Then disaster struck the land, but not before it was foreseen by those of our kind who were adept at divining the future. Our warnings were ignored by the High Council, who regarded the visions of the seers as the ravings of twisted minds, brought about by their long exposure to ma-na. So it fell to the surviving magical community of Nibiru to seek out a place that would escape the worst of the destruction. We found that place in a remote mountainous land, in an enclosed valley, within the confines of Mount Mashu, which we called Dilmun and was later to become known as the Garden of Creation.

'There, we set up our community under the leadership of our chief scientist, Anu, with Enlil and I as his deputies. Enlil was charged with building cities to house the remnants of the surviving population, and I was charged with easing their torment and bringing civilisation once more to the land. There we awaited the dread time when the destruction would be upon us.

'The Earth heaved and our beloved Nibiru sank below the great ocean, leaving only the summits of the highest mountains dry. A great flood encompassed the whole Earth and continents shifted, but we remained safe in our valley, waiting for the time when we could begin our search for survivors. During that time, we fused the quartz crystals into the surrounding mountains where they would reflect the rays of the sinking sun onto the Garden, and we planted the Tree of Life and the means to sustain it for all time, together with the production processes to manufacture ma-na, for we knew that our task in raising humanity from the edge of extinction to a new civilisation would be long in the making. At that time, we were unaware of what fate befell the Dark Wizards that survived the conflict, but later events were to prove that some of them prevailed.

'The first civilisation we nurtured lay between the two great rivers, and we called it Ki-engir, later to be known as Sumer. From there, we moved to Egypt and once more raised that great land to the greatness it had achieved before the destruction. And so it went on, but we became fewer and fewer, most choosing to end their long lives and move into the Light, until the remnants of Nibiru moved out from the valley to join the new world order to give help and guidance. Some of them married and bore offspring, thus maintaining the magical seed that later spread throughout the world.

'At first, the magical ones were revered and welcomed, but fear and ignorance by some of the non-magical communities soon resulted in persecution of the magical ones and caused them to form their own communities away from the growing centres of population. It was my great hope that both communities would once more be reconciled, but that dream seems far away.

'Now, none of the original people of Nibiru remain in the land; just a very few who remain as spirits to guide the wise and just in times of strife. For the Darkness still abounds in the land. Such a time arose when the Dark Wizard Seth was able to retrieve the Disc of Gates and summon the Nephilim back to this realm. Under my guidance the Anima Summas, Osiris and Isis, prevailed at the great battle of Irem in the desert region. The Nephilim were banished once more and the city of pillars sunk below the desert sands. Again, the Anima Summas paid a great price - both were mortally wounded and were forced to depart the physical realm, but their spirits remained to help the Light, for they knew the time would come when the Dark once more raised its head to sniff at the Earth.

'Thus it came to pass that our great experiment had the unexpected, but welcome, outcome of sustaining civilisation. This history bears testimony for those that follow, so that their path is known.'

Everyone remained silent as Hermione finished reading the history of Thoth and slowly closed the book. They remained silent for several minutes, trying to absorb the information contained in the book. They were the first, since the original remnants of Nibiru, to know the true history of the world since those times, the first to discover how wizard-kind came into being - the source of magic.

Eventually, Charlie looked across at his friends. "Well if that doesn't beat everything! Who would have guessed?"

"So some of those new-age historians were right," said Hermione. "There was an elder civilisation that infused their ideas into the known world. And if the establishment would only open their eyes and take note of the discoveries that don't fit into their cushy little paradigm, they'd realise the truth too."

Harry smiled and reached out to hold her hand, squeezing it gently.

"Thoth was a great man," said Ginny. "He had incredible vision and tenacity to see this whole thing through."

"And he was the original Anima Summa," said Harry. "I wonder why he didn't tell us that in his secret chamber?"

"Perhaps the memory of losing his wife is still very painful to him, even after all this time," said Ceri, wiping a small tear from the side of her eye.

"I hate to bring this up," said Ron, his face suddenly going pale, "but being an Anima Summa seems to be a very dangerous occupation. First Thoth's wife, then Osiris and Isis. Does anyone know what happened to Merlin and Morgana after their stint at the job?"

Everyone shook their heads except Margot, who frowned as she looked towards Harry and Hermione and then back at her boyfriend. "You can be so tactless Ron!"

But Ron had only voiced what the rest of them were thinking - one or both of the Anima Summas had lost their lives in the final battle with the Dark Side, and they all feared for the safety of Harry and Hermione.

"The other thing that sent a shudder through me was the name of the leader of the Nephilim - Satani," said Ron. "That's Satan, isn't it? The devil himself!"

Remus nodded. "I'm afraid so. Once more, myth is shown to have a basis in reality."

"And the other myth that's been exposed as reality is the great flood!" exclaimed Nadine.

"Of course it was real," said Hermione. "There are too many flood myths from all over the world for it not to have been. But the thing that hits me is the symbolism of it. Instead of an ark there's this valley - the Garden of Eden - this is the true ark that preserved civilisation. And the stories of sending a raven and a dove out from the ark to see if the waters had receded - they must have been the wizards and witches that scoured the land on their broomsticks looking for survivors. Then there's the bit about the ark coming to rest on a mountaintop, from where the Earth was re-populated - that's the Garden of Eden again! It seems that the religious writings of the world are just a tad fanciful in relating what has turned out to be reality - they just got the myths scrambled a bit - the Garden of Eden didn't come before the Ark - it was the Ark."

"I can't fault your reasoning Hermione," said Remus, grinning. "When this is all over, perhaps you should write the true history of the world."

"And be ridiculed for the rest of my life?" she replied, looking aghast. "I think not!"

"So what's next?" asked Ginny. "What about the rest of the book?"

Hermione glanced at the second section. "It's seems to be a load of technical stuff - I think it mostly relates to the manufacturing process for ma-na - Shewbread."

"I don't think we'll find anything more in the Garden of Eden," said Harry. "I think we've found out what we need to know from Thoth's book."

"So why were we directed here?" asked Margot. "Thoth could have made that history available to us without bringing us here."

"I really have no idea," said Hermione. "Perhaps he thought we wouldn't believe unless we saw the Garden with our own eyes. But I know one thing - Thoth doesn't do anything without having a very good reason. I just wish I knew what it was."

"So we've got to find Nibiru," said Ginny. "It's where Thoth, Enki, first lived - his first existence. Has anybody heard of that place before?"

"Yes, I have," said Ron. "It was in one of those books about alternative Sumerian theology. The author said that Nibiru is the mysterious tenth planet in the solar system."

"What made him say that?" asked Margot.

"Mainly because the Sumerians knew so much about the solar system, and the texts saying that the gods 'came down to the Garden of Creation from above'."

"Well we know what that could mean," said Harry. "The Nibiru probably arrived in the valley on their broomsticks, and Nibiru is probably an ancient and forgotten land on the Earth."

"Of course it is Harry," said Hermione. "And it's obvious where we've got to go next."

Everyone looked at her and said in concert, "Where?"

"Thoth told us about a great civilisation that was destroyed when it sank beneath the ocean. There's only one place that I know of that fits the bill - Nibiru is Atlantis. We've got to find Atlantis next."

Author's Notes : Please review this chapter - the more the reviews, the faster the updates will come!

There's a few images on my picture board relating to this chapter.

- Map of Eden showing Lake Urmia, Mount Sahand and the Murdi Chai River.

- Mount Sahand showing the twin peaks - the river runs through the valley to the right.

- The cave where the river issues from Mount Sahand

- A typical lava tunnel

- Cave Pearls

- A Cave scorpion

Chapter 5 - The Disc of Gates - coming soon.