Keith Lewis Keith Lewis 6 203 2002-12-12T11:12:00Z 2003-06-30T17:52:00Z 5 2855 16277 135 32 19989 9.2720 1 Prologue The Prophecy
It was 2 a.m. in the far-off forbidden forest near ancient Rhedae. It was a time when all the creatures of the forest should have been asleep.
Suddenly, the dark forest stirred with the excited calls of a multitude of Magical Creatures. Their tormented roars, hisses, growls and yelps filled what should have been a peaceful time of the night. Hippogriffs suddenly took flight and Trolls wandered about in a stupor looking for something - anything - to bash. Acromantulas scurried about the forest floor thinking that a late meal was approaching but were confused when it didn't. The Romanian Longhorn dragons' eyes rolled in their heads as they tried to pinpoint the source of the magical emanations that had disturbed them. They crashed through the undergrowth in a vain search for the offending mind, wanting to end the feeling of uneasiness that was instilled in them.
At the edge of the forest four ramblers slept in a small tent, weary after the previous day's hike through the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains that straddled the Franco-Spanish border. Before they had pitched camp they had come upon the forest but were, inexplicably, unable to enter - it was as if some unseen thing was warning them away. Their tiredness prevented a retreat, however, and they had agreed to stay outside the forest just until the morning. They now wished that they had left immediately the previous evening.
A horrific roar woke all four sleepers. They nervously looked outside their tent for the cause, and were left speechless and terrified at the sight that confronted them. Dragons were not supposed to exist! So if that were the case, what the hell were the enormous creatures that were running about just inside the forest perimeter?
"Bloody Nora!" yelped one of the hikers, his northern-British accent sounding incongruous in this part of Europe. "Look at the size of those sodding gnashers - I'm off!"
All four took flight directly away from the dragons, knowing that the nearest village was many miles away, but not caring to stay around to become a tasty snack for the unholy denizens of this weird place. They weren't to know that the dragons were prevented from leaving the forest by magical wards set up by the French Ministry of Magic.
Deep beneath the ground, some twenty miles or so away from this fevered activity, the spirit that was the cause of the disturbance continued to send out its mind power into the world. It had been awakened from its age-old slumber by the triggering of a magical alarm set nearly one thousand years ago. It had received its warning of the imbalance in the world - an imbalance that would inevitably lead to an age of evil. The spirit was there to warn of this abomination, and was now calling to the one force of light that could do something about it.
It didn't know, however, who the current force of light was, or if he or she was yet strong enough, magically, to receive its summons, or was prepared for the coming conflict.
It could only send out its magical summons and hope that it was acted upon. It would continue to broadcast until the light arrived. It could now only wait….
Rubeus Hagrid sat outside his shack, near the Forbidden Forest at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His eyes were closed, soaking up the warm summer sunshine. The school and its surroundings were always peaceful at this time of year. It was summer recess, and the students and most of the teachers had left for their holidays well over a week ago. Hagrid was reflecting on his failed attempt to persuade the giants of Eastern Europe to help in the coming fight against Voldemort and his Dark Minions. He was satisfied for now that he had persuaded them, with the help of his giantess mother, Fridwolfa, to remain neutral, but he didn't know how long that situation would last. A newly resurrected Voldemort would also, no doubt, be trying to win over the support of the giants.
A rustling of leaves at the edge of the forest shook Hagrid from his reverie and he looked to find what the cause was. His eyes widened at the sight of Ronan and Firenze, his centaur friends, gesturing to him from just inside the confines of the woods. It was unlike them to come so near to Hogwarts during daylight hours, normally preferring to stay away from the people at the school.
"'Ello, I wonder what's up with 'em," thought Hagrid as he moved toward the centaurs. "Something must be wrong for 'em to come this close to the school."
"Ronan, Firenze - what's up? What brings you 'ere at this time o' the day? I thought you were night-birds."
"Greetings, friend Hagrid," said Ronan. "We have an urgent message for Professor Dumbledore, and we'd like you to deliver it for us. Last night the stars were full of portents and we saw a dire prophetic warning. It is essential that you tell Professor Dumbledore immediately. Please write it down so that there can be no mistake."
"'Ang on, I'll get some parchment and a quill - back in a mo'." He quickly went to his hut.
"Right, then, let's 'ave it," said Hagrid when he returned.
Firenze took on a look much like Professor Trelawney when she went into one of her trances, and began to recite the prophecy …….
"… He who was once defeated has again risen and will enslave mankind. The world will then enter a long period of darkness from which there can be no escape. This can be prevented only if the former conqueror uncovers the ancient secret and then joins with his Anima Summa and together build their strength."
"Ok, I've got that and thanks. What does it mean?" asked Hagrid scratching his head.
"It is not for us to interpret the prophesies of the stars. We just read them and pass them to those who are needful," answered Ronan.
"Right, ok. I'll go and see Professor Dumbledore straight away." Hagrid rushed off towards the school, waving to the two centaurs as they disappeared back into the forest.
Meanwhile in the headmaster's office, Fawkes was exercising - jigging from foot to foot, swinging around his perch, and letting out his distinctive Phoenix song in a slightly annoyed way. He'd been awakened a little earlier by the arrival of Professor McGonagall, the deputy headmistress.
Dumbledore looked up at McGonagall. "Minerva, I've given a lot of thought about the ways in which we can help Harry. I think he'd have an advantage over the Dark Side if he were to become an Animagus. Only we would know this of course, but he'd have to register when the threat from Voldemort is over. Can you give Harry private and secret instructions on the Transformation Spells?"
"Of course, headmaster," replied McGonagall. "Harry should be able to complete the transformation training without too much bother, since his father was also an Animagus at about the same age. I'll begin his training when school starts."
"Thank you, Minerva."
A knock at the door signalled the arrival of two other teachers, and they sat down at Dumbledore's gesture.
The group sat around the headmaster's desk - Severus Snape, the Potions Master at the left, Minerva McGonagall next to him, and then Remus Lupin on the right. Lupin had been re-appointed Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher for the coming year, which didn't go down well with Snape, who had always wanted the job. Everyone knew, however, that Snape was the best Potions Master in Europe, so Dumbledore was reluctant to move him from that post.
Much to the surprise and horror of Snape and McGonagall, a tall, thin dark-haired man entered the room. Sirius Black was a known criminal and the only wizard ever to escape from Azkaban Prison. He took a seat close to Dumbledore, who welcomed him with a smile and tried to ease the fears of the rest of the group.
"Please, please don't upset yourselves. Sirius is here at my request. Let me explain…" The headmaster folded his hands on his desk and continued, "I've been in constant touch with Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, over the last week or so, and he has finally accepted Harry Potter's account of what happened at the Triwizard Tournament, and that Voldemort has been resurrected and is undoubtedly building his own strength and his Dark Army."
He looked toward Snape, who pulled his gaze of loathing from Sirius Black and gave a slight nod of confirmation. Snape had at one time been one of Voldemort's Death Eaters, and had the Dark Mark on his forearm as proof, but had for some time been assisting the headmaster as a spy. Voldemort, although not fully trusting Snape, still believed him to be one of his Death Eaters and Snape had to tread a fine and dangerous line in his task.
Dumbledore continued, "You will no doubt realise, from Harry's account, that Peter Pettigrew - Wormtail - is still alive and at the side of Voldemort." Some of the teachers again winced at the sound of that name. "And this obviously means that Sirius is entirely innocent of killing him, and also of killing those poor muggles - it was Wormtail who did that. Harry and his friends, Remus Lupin," he looked towards Lupin, "and I have been aware of this for over a year, but with no proof up until now, we couldn't do anything about it. Fudge has also now accepted Sirius' innocence and has secretly pardoned him. But he won't relent on releasing this information to the Magical Community at large. He doesn't want to cause a panic by confirming that Voldemort is back. I don't agree with his position, but at least progress has been made."
Lupin and McGonagall stood and shook Sirius' hand and muttered their support. Snape was the exception, which was not surprising given the history between the two when they were students together at Hogwarts.
"I can accept that Black is innocent of the charges, Headmaster, but why is he here at our meeting?" Snape asked Dumbledore.
"Well, Fudge has agreed to me setting up a team to infiltrate and combat Voldemort and his Death Eaters. I already have several spies out in the field as you know, and I've been getting reports from the U.S. that there is increasing Death Eater activity there. It seems that Voldemort is trying to increase his sphere of influence. The U.S. Magical Congress has asked to send a special services Auror over here to monitor Voldemort's activities, and I've appointed Sirius to work with their agent as a special two-man team reporting directly to me. They'll keep close tabs on any Death Eater activity and try to get advance warning of anything Voldemort is planning. The agent should be arriving in about a month's time. Severus, I'd like you to continue to spy from inside Voldemort's group, and Remus, I'd like you to keep an eye on Harry and his friends when they return to school after the summer. Now I know that is easier said than done, given their passion for exploration and adventure using Harry's Invisibility Cloak, but I have one of your own inventions which might help."
Dumbledore reached into his desk drawer and produced a blank piece of parchment. It was a copy of the Marauder's Map, which had been produced by Mooney, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs during their time at Hogwarts. He gave it to Lupin (Mooney) with a twinkle in his eyes. "Remus, I'm sure that you won't be up to no good when you use this. It covers the whole of the Hogwarts buildings and grounds."
Lupin grinned at Sirius (Padfoot) at the headmaster's oblique reference to the command that activated the map.
"Next, I'd like to …". Dumbledore was suddenly interrupted when the door to his office was flung open and a breathless Hagrid rushed in.
"Sorry to in'erupt, Professor, but I've got an urgent message from Ronan and Firenze who asked me to see you straight away. They've seen a prophecy in the stars and they say it's urgent that you see it."
"That's all right, Hagrid, tell me what this prophecy is," said the headmaster.
Hagrid pulled the parchment out of his pocket, and …
"Sirius Black! Professor Dumbledore, do you know who's sitting over there?" Hagrid bellowed.
"Yes, Hagrid. I've just been explaining to the others that Sirius is innocent, and he has now been secretly pardoned. He's joined our little group here, and he'll be doing special tasks for me."
"Right, right." Hagrid quickly recovered his composure and nodded to Sirius.
He then unrolled his parchment and read out the prophecy to a captivated audience, who scratched their heads in puzzlement.
"What do you think it means, Headmaster?" asked McGonagall.
"Well," said a thoughtful Dumbledore, taking the parchment from Hagrid, "let's look at it a piece at a time…'He who was once defeated has again risen and will enslave mankind. '"
"Well that's obvious," muttered Lupin. "It must mean 'You-Know-Who'."
"I agree. But what about the next bit, 'This can be prevented only if the former conqueror uncovers the ancient secret'."
"The former conqueror must be Harry, since it must refer to 'You-Know-Who's defeat when Harry was a one-year old. But what is this ancient secret?" asked McGonagall.
"There are many ancient secrets - far too many. This piece of the puzzle will have to remain a mystery for now," said Dumbledore with a frown on his weather-beaten face. "'And then joins with his Anima Summa and build their strength.'"
There was silence around the room, so Dumbledore continued
"This is a crucial bit of the prophecy. Harry must join with his 'Anima Summa' - now I seem to remember reading something about this term when I was at Wizarding University. I can't remember any specific details apart from it being a very, very rare happening. I'll have to do some research and get back to you on this." He paused and looked at each of the people around the desk.
"I think that this is a very important prophecy that the centaurs have revealed - and you all know how accurate they are. This is crucial in the fight against the Dark Side and may be our only hope of salvation. It is imperative that Voldemort does not get to know about this - I'm sure you're aware of the consequences for Harry if he does. So please, keep this to yourselves and be very careful of eavesdroppers if you discuss it among yourselves. This will put a great strain on Harry if he finds out, so I think it best that he isn't told about it for the moment."
Everyone nodded in agreement and looked grimly determined.
Dumbledore then dismissed the group. "Well, thank you all for attending - I'll let you know when I have some more information and we can then reconvene this meeting."
Before he left, Sirius spoke quietly to Dumbledore. "Yesterday, I received an owl from Hermione Granger and she sounded very upset …" He allowed himself to reflect on that letter …
Two days previously, Hermione was sitting on her bed reading 'A History of Hogwarts' when she heard a tapping at the window. She looked up to see a snowy owl, its large amber eyes staring at her. It was Harry's owl, Hedwig. She opened the window and the owl flew into the room.
"Hello, Hedwig, its nice to see you," she said as she released the parchment from the owl's leg. "You'd better hang on in case I need to reply to this."
She gave Hedwig a biscuit to chew on while she read the message.
I know that it's only been just over a week since I saw you, but I need to tell you something. I think I'm going crazy. Uncle Vernon locks me in my room nearly all day and all I seem to do is think of what happened at the end of the Triwizard Tournament. I'm feeling terrible about it all.
I didn't tell you and Ron everything that happened - it's so painful to think about it - but I'm getting more and more scared about what's going to happen now.
Wormtail cut my arm and used my blood in the spell to give Voldemort a new body. Does this mean that he'll have some sort of control over me now?
I can't stop thinking of Wormtail using the Avada Kedavra curse on Cedric - just because he got in the way. He wouldn't have died if I hadn't told him to take the trophy with me.
I'm scared, Hermione, scared not only for myself, but for you and Ron as well. Now that he's back, I'm sure that Voldemort will try to hurt you two to get at me. I won't be able to live with myself if that happens. So I think it would be best if I stopped being friends with you and Ron. If you both stick together and I keep my distance, then maybe Voldemort won't try to get you.
I'm sorry, Hermione, but the way I feel and the way this is affecting me, I wouldn't be a very good friend anyway.
After reading this, Hermione put her hand over her mouth to stifle an anguished gasp of horror.
'Harry must be in a dreadful state to want to stop being friends,' she thought. 'I've got to do something about this. But what….'
"Sirius!" she suddenly exclaimed. "He must be able to help."
Hermione picked up a piece of parchment and began to write …
I've just had the most awful letter from Harry. He's in trouble.
He's told me about what happened with Wormtail and he's afraid that 'You-Know-Who' might now have some sort of hold over him. He's agonising about Cedric's death and blames himself for it.
Worst of all, he wants to end his friendship with Ron and me because he thinks we are in danger - Sirius, I can't let him do this. Without the support of his friends what would happen to him? And what would he have left?
As his godfather, I know that you'll want to do something about this. Please let me know.
Hermione then attached the parchment to Hedwig's leg. "Hedwig, take this to Sirius Black as quickly as you can."
Hedwig spread her beautiful wings and flew out of the window on her long journey to deliver Hermione's message.
Sirius roused himself from his thoughts and glanced at the headmaster. "… I have to go and see Harry straight away. It looks like he's in a terrible state after his run-in with 'You-Know-Who', and I wouldn't be a good godfather if I didn't give him some support and try to talk some sense into him. And if those Dursleys are mistreating him as well! …." He trailed off with a dark look on his ruggedly handsome features.
"Yes, I agree Sirius. I think that would be a good thing to do, but remember - not a word to Harry about this prophecy. He's got enough on his plate at the moment."
With that, Sirius left the office and went directly to Hogsmeade so that he could Apparate to No. 4 Privet Drive.
A small group of wizards dressed in black cloaks stood in a circle around a sinister-looking man with gleaming red eyes. Lord Voldemort had summoned his closest lieutenants to a meeting in the north of Scotland, and was telling them of his plans.
Among those listening attentively to the Dark Lord were Lucius Malfoy - his right-hand man, and Peter Pettigrew - Wormtail the betrayer.
"I will not be stopped now! It is time the world again trembled at the name of Lord Voldemort. Soon, my Death Eaters, I will be master of this miserable country, and then - the world. We will be able to fulfil our destiny - ridding the planet of Mudbloods and Muggles, except those we keep as slaves - it is our pureblood right to rule and mould the earth to our noble ideals."
There was a murmur of approval from the group.
"You, my most trusted helpers, will play a big part in my glorious plan. You will go out into the country and recruit for me an army of Death Eaters. You will train them and gather them together to be initiated into my cause. My close allies will be doing the same in the United States. Do not fail me - you know what will happen if you do." He looked menacingly at the group around him.
"Now go! I want to start the initiation ceremonies within the next week."
After the ritual 'Yes, my Lord, we will obey you' the Death Eaters Apparated away to start on their task.