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Enter the Dragon (Harry Potter/Shadowrun)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Dunkelzahn, Jul 10, 2018.

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  1. The Unicorn

    The Unicorn Versed in the lewd.

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    Plasma presumably, from descriptions Harry doesn't seem to have a resevouir of flamable chemical which he ignites to produce the flame and there's no mention of chemical residue left by his flame.
     
    Corvus 501 likes this.
  2. Dunkelzahn

    Dunkelzahn No one of consequence

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    I hadn't bothered to work out the precise mechanism involved, but as The Unicorn guessed, it's a plasma, probably mostly super-heated iron vapor, given the availability of the material in his biology.

    I can, however, guarantee that it isn't energized by combustion; rather, it is, like many of Harry's more esoteric biological functions, energized by magic, which converts to heat quite readily (hence why his wand tends to smoke when he screws up a spell).

    As for the metabolic source of the magical energy used, that is a combination of chemical (coal, meat, etc.), environmental absorption (ambient magic, leftovers from Avebury), and nuclear (alchemical conversion), though the proportion in Harry's particular case has skewed much more heavily in the direction of nuclear since Harry's ingestion of the philosopher's stone.
     
  3. RedX

    RedX Know what you're doing yet?

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    ...He's an atomic lizard, then? He and Godzilla would make quite the pair.
     
    Corvus 501, Ame and ScarletFlames like this.
  4. Threadmarks: Section 3.12 - Invitation
    Dunkelzahn

    Dunkelzahn No one of consequence

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    3.12.0 Invitation

    Mac McDonald and Jim Coates walked in companionable silence through the misty pre-dawn streets of their home neighborhood on the outskirts of Hogsmeade. It was a calm sort of place with friendly neighbors and lots of children — all told, a great place to raise a family — and situated as it was within easy walking distance of the Hogs Haulage offices and yards, the neighborhood was a favorite for company men and their families.

    Such was that popularity that the disreputable appearance of the pair, trudging by in the pre-dawn twilight in their work clothes and filthy with coal dust, drew little comment even from those awake enough to notice. Two company men trudging home after a long shift covered in the evidence of their labors was nothing to get excited over.

    “Good work today, Mac,” Jim told his fireman as they came to the turn where he would break off for his house. Clapping a congratulatory hand on the man’s pitch-black shoulder, the senior engineer continued, “’Specially pitchin’ in t’ help unload the coal wagons. Tough enough handlin’ the night run, but goin’ straight to extra shovelin’ afterward’s a real kick in tha teeth.”

    “’s nah problem, Jim,” Mac waved off his coworker. “Weren’t ‘awkins’ whiskey 'is father died, and ya daan’t make someone come back from buryin’ ‘is da’ ter a big pile o’ work.” He shook his head at the idea, then gestured to Jim’s equally coal-encrusted countenance, “An’ ’s not like you didn’t hedge in too, Jimmy.” Mac chuckled, “Can’t ‘ave ya makin’ me look sorry!”

    “Right-o! Right-o,” Jim laughed at that, shaking his head even as he turned to go. “Clock ya’ tomorra, Mac!”

    For his part, Mac walked on toward his own home, already visible just down the lane. It was a small but well-kept residence, the most important feature of which — in Mac’s considered opinion — was his heavily pregnant wife, Irene, who currently awaited him impatiently on the front step.

    “Well, ain’t you a sight fer sore eyes, luv,” he greeted her, hurrying as much as he was able after a very long night’s work. “Wot’s got you out in tha’ mornin’ chill?”

    “Ah! No hugs ‘til you shower, Mac,” Irene fended off her husband as he made to embrace her in enthusiastic greeting. At his comically exaggerated pout, she assured him, “I’ll hug the stuffin’ out of you once you wash off that coal dust, Mac, don’t you worry. I’d have asked what took ya’ so long, but you’re even dirtier than usual. Had to fill in moving coal, then?”

    Mac nodded as the couple made their way inside. “’awkins lost 'is da’ an’ ‘ad ter go ter the funeral. Didn’t want ‘im ter come back to a load o’ extra work, so me an’ Jimmy filled in.”

    “You’re a good man, Mac,” Irene smiled proudly, eliciting a somewhat bashful smile in return from her husband. “I’ve got a hot meal for you on the stove, and once you’re cleaned up, there’s a letter you should take a look at.”

    Mac paused on his way to the shower. “Problem?”

    “Only that if you don’t get a look at it soon, your daughter may squirrel it away in her room, never to be seen again,” Irene laughed. “It’s not every day you get a letter from the Boy-Who-Lived, after all!”

    Mac chuckled at that. He could certainly see their little Colleen hoarding such a letter to herself — the excited squeal when the six-year-old had learned her hero had purchased the train company had been deafening. He’d have to hurry and get cleaned up.

    Fifteen minutes later, and what seemed like five pounds of coal dust lighter, Mac made his way to the kitchen to join his three children. From her perch on her older brother’s lap, his youngest, Colleen, was staring intently at the letter in question when it was laid out on the table, busily sounding out the words. His eldest son Mike, the owner of said lap, had dressed for his new job at one of the Hogsmeade warehouses but was nonetheless patiently helping his little sister with her reading. To complete the scene, Mac’s second son, Evan, sat off to the side eating his breakfast and periodically fidgeting as he glanced back and forth between the letter and the door.

    Seeing that, Mac figured it’d probably be best if he went ahead and dealt with the situation right away. Evan was obviously curious about the situation, but he would be late for school if he stayed much longer, and that was something to be avoided. The group tutoring arrangements that took the place of Hogwarts for most of wizarding Britain tended to be fairly informal affairs, but there were limits — in this case, limits in the form of Mac’s irate sister coming over to rag on him for letting her nephew show up late to her lessons.

    “Wot ya got there, kiddo?” he asked as he made his way to the table.

    “Daddy!” the excited six-year-old looked up at her father’s voice, immediately climbed out of her brother’s lap, and ran over to give Mac a hug. “Did you see? We got a letter from Harry Potter!”

    “’s ‘at so?” Mac asked. “An’ what did Mister Potter ‘ave t’ say t’ us?”

    “He’s inviting us to his Christmas party!” the small girl gushed, giving her father another hug out of sheer exuberance.

    Mac returned the hug even as he looked over her head to his eldest for an explanation.

    “Looks like he’s havin’ a company Christmas party, Da’,” Mike relayed to his father. “Barbecue and such o’er at the company offices according to ‘is letter.” The young man in his early twenties gestured to the piece of correspondence still laid out on the table. “Says he’s lookin’ ter meet all o’ ‘is new workers, now that ‘e bought tha company an’ all.”

    “Can we go, Daddy?” Colleen asked from her position hugging her father, looking up to deliver a dangerously cute pleading look. “Please?”

    “I’ll ‘ave ter take a look at the invitation, sweetie,” Mac temporized, gesturing to his son to hand over the letter for his perusal. “Daan’t kna if tha invitation extends ter family.”

    “It does, Da’,” Mike volunteered even as he passed over the letter. “Says so specifically, just asks us ter tell ‘im how many yer bringin’. I’d like ta go, if yer gonna’.”

    Mac looked from the cautiously hopeful look on his eldest’s face over to the quietly hopeful face of his second son, who was obviously trying not to look eager to attend. His daughter’s ever tightening hug was a constant reminder of her opinion, so there was only one left to check, and Irene’s approving nod decided the issue.

    “Well, I guess we’re goin’, then,” Mac said, unfolding the letter to take a look himself. “When is this fin’ ‘appenin’, anyway?”

    3.12.1 Christmas plans

    “What do you have there, Sharon?” Tony Granger asked his wife as she walked in the front door of their modest home in Crawley. She was carrying a handful of envelopes from the day’s post, but she was staring intently at one envelope in particular.

    She looked up from her examination to say, “I’m not entirely certain. It’s addressed to us from Hogsmeade, but it came through the normal post rather than by owl like Hermione’s letters always do.”

    “Who do you think it might have come from?” he asked as he walked over to join her. “The school always uses the owls.”

    Setting down the rest of the post, Sharon opened the letter in question. “Well, Tony, I suppose the only way to tell for certain is to open it and give the letter a read, now isn’t it?” Freeing the missive from its containing envelope, the female dentist’s eyes narrowed as she took in the unfamiliar handwriting.

    “So, who’s it from?” her husband prodded.

    “It’s a letter from Harry,” she said absently as she continued to read. “It seems he has invited us to several of his Christmas events this year.”

    “Judging by last summer, I doubt we’d be able to pry Hermione away to come home, so there’s that to consider,” Tony mused, thinking back on the festivities almost a year past. “Plus, I suppose last year wasn’t too bad. Decorating the tree was kind of fun — you never appreciate how awkward ladders are until you don’t need to use one, that kid could reach everything.”

    “Well, yes, he’s invited us to celebrate Christmas at the Lair,” Sharon relayed, “but we’re also apparently invited to a Christmas party he’s throwing for his new company, Hogs Haulage.” The woman turned to her husband-with a questioning expression. “Did you know that our daughter’s friend had purchased a freight business?”

    “I can’t say that I was aware of that, no,” her husband replied. “I’d picked up on the materials business before, but that one is news to me. We might be able to find out more by attending the party though. When is it scheduled?”

    “This Friday, it seems,” Sharon relayed, sounding amused. “Do you think Harry realizes just how far we have to travel in order to visit?”

    “I rather doubt it,” Tony chuckled himself. Magic seemed to twist perspectives about some things, travel times among them — he’d noticed the same tendency in his daughter as well, what little he’d seen of her over the past year, anyway. “In any case, we’ve got the Johnson appointment scheduled for that day for late morning. There’s no way we can reschedule, not after how long we’ve been trying to set it up.”

    “You have an excellent point there,” his wife agreed reluctantly. “I suppose we’ll have to ask about it during the private celebration.” She shook her head at the idea of a boy her daughter’s age not only owning his own company, but apparently actively participating in running it. The magical world was very strange, indeed.

    Sharon spoke again as she read further, “Hmm, he asks that we not show up before Monday. It seems he’s planning to be out doing something away from home during the weekend. I wonder what he’s up to?”

    “I suppose we’ll have to find out when we get there,” Tony shrugged.

    It couldn’t be that important could it?

    3.12.2 Pantry raid

    From Harry Potter’s perspective, the latter part of the fall term had passed punctuated by a series of quite amazingly dull weekends. This one, the last of the fall term, had thus far been no different.

    The day had begun as had every day of every weekend for the past several weeks, with the young dragon stooping low to allow his centaur allies to tie green branches onto him to serve as a disguise. Then he had lain in wait within sight of his acromantula preserve, keeping vigil in search of the nefarious clandestine snacker who had raided his pantry to such devastating effect.

    Acromantula were in short supply these days, and he didn’t want to lose his favorite spider-snacks!

    Saturday had proven just as uneventful as the past few had been, and with sundown approaching, Sunday looked to be similarly disappointing, when suddenly there was movement in the brush! As Harry stilled completely, the leaves parted to reveal a reptilian snout — even larger than his own! — covered in scales of a green so dark as to almost appear black in the fading sunlight. Above and behind the snout, a pair of forward-facing eyes shined a sickly yellow as they emerged from the leaves. With their appearance, Harry noted an odd sort of sensation wash over him, rather like the feeling when the professors tried to cast on him before he was ready to allow their spells to affect him but amplified several hundredfold.

    It kind of tickled, just a little.

    Harry shivered — brushing off the feeling with about the same level of effort a human might use to brush off a cobweb — as the massive snout and strange eyes were revealed to belong to an utterly enormous snake. By the young dragon’s estimation, the thing had to be at least half-again as long as he was — and that was just the part he could see so far! It was the first time since Harry had transformed into a dragon that he had seen any living creature larger than himself, so the revelation was a bit of a shock.

    Nevertheless, big or small, magical or mundane, it was still just a snake, Harry reasoned with an inward shrug, and he was a dragon, so there was really no contest.

    “Hey you!” Harry hissed loudly in parseltongue as he barreled into the clearing, still covered in branches. “What do you think you’re doing stealing my spiders? Don’t you know you’re supposed to ask first? You’re being rude!”

    The gargantuan snake reared back, head towering at half-again Harry’s height as the young, camouflaged dragon came to a stop in front of it, the branches of his disguise rustling about him as they shook from the rough handling.

    “What is this?” the snake hissed, taken aback. “A Speaker? But you are a bush! Can bushes Speak?”

    “Hey! I’m a dragon, not a bush!” Harry protested, sounding thoroughly miffed at the misidentification.

    “You do not look like a dragon, Speaker,” the snake said, cocking its massive head to one side and looking quite decidedly puzzled. “You look like a bush, or perhaps a short tree?”

    Realizing the problem, Harry turned his head and let out a stream of fire, torching his leafy disguise.

    As the burning foliage fell off revealing Harry’s dark silver scales, the snake exclaimed, “You are a dragon, Speaker! And you can turn into a bush? How remarkable!”

    “But I didn’t turn into… oh never mind,” Harry sighed as he gave up on trying to explain to the rather dull beast. So far it seemed pretty smart for a snake, but it was still a snake, and that was a very low bar to clear. “Anyway, I wanted to tell you to stop eating my spiders! If you keep eating them and killing off all the little ones there won’t be any left to make more to eat later.”

    “Speaker, I am the Greatest of Serpents,” the snake hissed, rearing back threateningly. “I answer only to those of the blood of the Master, and you are not of his kin. You may not command me! I hunt where I wish.”

    “You’d better listen, or I’ll have to do something unpleasant to you,” Harry warned, not intimidated in the slightest.

    “You threaten me?” the snake reared up even higher, it’s back end coiling in preparation to strike. “You have already given away your advantage by revealing yourself, Speaker. How do you intend to hunt me? Turning into a bush once more will not help you!”

    “But I didn’t turn into a…” Harry’s protest was interrupted by the snake’s powerful lunge.

    Caught by surprise at the sudden attack, Harry failed to react in time to prevent the snake’s jaws from closing on his neck. Envenomed fangs pressed hard against Harry’s silvery scales, grinding against them with a terribly jarring clangor. The serpent bore down with the full strength of its jaw, releasing a rush of caustic venom which bubbled and hissed against the metallic scales, and ground harder against the unyielding metal straining harder and harder until eventually something had to give.

    And so, something did.

    With a cascade of sharp cracks, the snake’s fangs broke, splintering against the dragon’s metallic hide.

    “Hey, that was rude!” Harry complained as the snake muttered sibilant curses around a mouthful of broken teeth and essentially undamaged dragon neck. “We were in the middle of a conversation — you don’t just go biting people in the middle of talking to them!” He then brought one paw up to push the snake’s head off of him, finding purchase on the massive lower jaw and giving a heave.

    Hooked around Harry’s neck and unable to move freely, the snake’s jaw first dislocated and then snapped under the pressure. It proved to be too much for the basilisk. Somewhat used to broken fangs — an injury which occurred with reasonable frequency during normal hunting — the additional pain of a broken jaw was something it had never encountered before. The giant snake recoiled, writhing across the forest floor, smashing trees to splinters, and crushing the undergrowth into the dirt.

    Watching as the gigantic reptile writhed in agony while shrieking inarticulately, Harry considered the situation for a few moments. He was rather curious as to where the large serpent had come from — it seemed the sort of thing that Bane would likely have known about if it was a normal denizen of the forest — but Harry kind of doubted it’d be particularly eager to answer questions. The young dragon shook his great head, dismissing the idea. It probably wasn’t worth the effort anyway — in his experience, snakes had never been good conversationalists, even when their jaws were intact. And speaking of broken jaws, he probably ought to put the screaming creature out of its misery. Harry’s great green eyes hardened with resolve, best to get on with it then.

    Wind whistled as the dragon’s powerful wing sliced through the air, and the wing knuckle, claws fisted, slammed into the massive snake a meter or so back from the head. The reptile’s half-yard-thick spine snapped with a tremendous, wet crack, and the impact rippled along the body in both directions, separating scales from skin close to the point of collision in a shimmering greenish shower and rupturing organs even farther away. The snake fell silent, a splash of blood and venom cutting off its final scream abruptly as its eyeballs first bulged, then popped from the overpressure.

    Harry reflexively went for the bite to make sure of it only to rear back just as reflexively as he caught a whiff of the venom smoking on the ground as it dissolved the dirt.

    “Huh,” the dragon mused, looking down at the spilled venom curiously. It seemed those biting instincts weren’t insurmountable after all — or at least there was a counter-instinct tied to his sense of smell. Either way, it was probably a good thing in this case.

    That stuff smelled nasty, even to him, and after his last bout of severe indigestion at the end of the previous school year, he was not eager to risk a repetition.

    Harry looked over the beast, its massive carcass stretching off to disappear into the splintered wreckage of the surrounding trees. That was a lot of meat, and it seemed a shame to let it go to waste, but the smell was not a good sign about the general palatability of the creature.

    Was there a way to process the carcass so he could eat it safely? More importantly, who would know how to do it if there was?

    Going back to the Lair to try to look it up would take too long — the spiders would eat the carcass before he could even find the right book; it didn’t matter if it was poisonous, the young ones would eat anything — so he’d have to ask somebody. Harry’s green eyes narrowed speculatively — who did he know who knew how to process highly magical creatures into usable bits?

    His green eyes lit with realization. “I know!”

    3.12.3 What the dragon dragged in

    Decorated for the Christmas holidays with all the flamboyance typical of most magical celebrations, the Great Hall made for a spectacular sight during the final meal of the fall term. Traditional evergreen trees lined the walls at regular intervals, splitting the distance between the hanging braziers providing the bulk of the illumination in the room. Garlands adorned the stone walls with massive wreaths above the twin fireplaces on the long walls. Behind the staff table stood the focal point of the festive decorations, a monstrously large tree, reaching nearly twice the height of its smaller brethren and stopping just short of disappearing into the illusion used to make the roof seem transparent.

    In an unusually well-coordinated effort — arranged by Gilderoy Lockhart of all people — every inch of the room was decorated in a unified theme this year, a sharp contrast to the normal cacophony of conflicting styles typical of skilled spellcasters working ‘together’ on a project. The trees sported illusory icicles and silvery ornaments to go with the dancing fairy lights in all the shades of a moonlit snowy evening. The wintry theme carried through the rest of the room, from the garlands and wreaths to the stonework itself. Even the flames roaring in the braziers and fireplaces had been charmed to provide an enchanting white light, more reminiscent of starlight than their usual fiery hues.

    In the considered opinions of the students, however, the unquestionable crowning feature of the display was the illusory snow falling gently from the ceiling only to dissipate just as it reached the heads of the students.

    The evening meal was winding to a close, and conversation in the Great Hall died down to a dull roar as the students began to consider wrapping things up and going to bed. They might not have class in the morning, but it would be a long day of travel on the Express for winter break. The children knew they would do well to be well-rested, but they also knew this was their last chance of the term to catch up with their friends — and their last chance to catch up on the latest Hogwarts gossip.

    There was, after all, a lot to catch up on; the fall term had been a productive season for the Hogwarts rumor mill, a circumstance aided in no small part by the mystery of the petrifications and the revelation of Harry Potter’s linguistic talents.

    Aided by his conspicuous absence the past few weekends, the rumors about the resident dragon continued to flourish despite the best efforts of the Hufflepuff students to quash them, and with his absence on this last day of the term, Harry’s friends among the student body feared that they would just have time to fester over break.

    The call of “Professor Snape?” that rang out from the doorway to the Great Hall thus came as something of a welcome relief to the young Potter’s defenders.

    The loud scraping sound interrupting the deafening silence that ensued was less of one.

    “Professor Snape?” the small boy called again, dragging the scaly head of a mammoth creature behind him by means of an oddly-textured milky-white rope of a size that would not have looked out of place attached to an anchor on a large sailing ship. “Look what I found!”

    All the while, Harry had been walking steadily forward towards the staff table, dragging more and more of what was slowly resolving itself to be an utterly enormous snake behind him, step by unlabored step. The thing was as wide as one of the House tables, including the benches, and it was very nearly as tall as it was wide. As more of the critter passed through the doors, it became obvious the snake had died from a tremendous blow just behind the head, one that had shattered the thing’s spine, judging by the sharp kink when that part had rounded the door frame. With that bit of evidence, the more perceptive students reassessed the broken and missing scales, the burst eyeballs, and the blood on the thing’s chin in a new light, revising the strength of that killing blow upwards by a wide margin.

    “Mr. Potter,” the potions master said in a long-suffering tone, “why did you deem it appropriate to drag that thing in here rather than asking me to come to you?”

    ”Um, I found it raiding my pantry, and I was wondering whether it was safe to eat. The meat smells pretty tasty, but — I think it’s the venom — anyway something smells kind of off, and I figured I should ask,” the young dragon explained. “And, well, I guess I was just kinda excited, y’know? I’ve been trying to catch this thing for like five straight weeks now! Plus, I didn’t want to leave it near the spiders, or they’d have eaten it before I got back, so I ran over and asked Mr. Bane for some rope so I could get a good grip. When I tried to pull it on my own, it just broke,” he finished, sadly gesturing to the upper lip of the snake’s mouth which had a large chunk torn out of the edge.

    “I see,” Snape sighed as he rose to his feet. “Very well, Mr. Potter. It so happens that I do know how to process this beast — which is a basilisk, for reference — however, the Great Hall is not an appropriate venue for such activities. Drag it back to the clearing behind Hagrid’s hut, and we will see about cleansing it of any harmful substances so that you may consume it without danger.”

    “Right!” Harry started to drag it around to go back out the door only to encounter the Gryffindor table, filled with students staring at him and the wall of scales stretching out the door with looks of awestricken horror. “Um, Mr. Snape?”

    “Yes, Mr. Potter?”

    “I don’t think I can get it turned around.”

    “Then drag it by the tail,” Snape snapped as his rather limited supply of patience ran out abruptly.

    “Right!” And with that, the small boy quickly hauled himself up onto the carcass, loosening and then removing the smooth white rope, and leaving the massive basilisk’s head to loll to the side as every student in the hall stared at it in trepidation. Quickly gathering up the now-detached rope, Harry scampered back to the door, hopped lightly up on the snake in order to get past the door frame and disappeared from view. The hall remained utterly silent for nearly a minute before the scraping began again as the snake slowly inched its way back out the door, its dreadful head flopping limply with each tug.

    As the terrifying visage of the basilisk rounded the doorframe, leaving only a three-meter-wide blood smear as evidence that it had ever been there, Snape shook his head in exasperation, turning back to his plate he quickly finished the last few bites of his meal before sweeping out of the still shocked-silent Great Hall in a billowing cloud of dark robes.

    “Argus,” the Headmaster spoke from his chair at the center of the staff table, breaking the silence and drawing the attention of the castle Caretaker, who had been staring at the blood trail with shock slowly giving way to ire. “I strongly suspect that that beast was responsible for your pet’s unfortunate predicament. Basilisks normally kill with their gaze, but if eye contact is interrupted — such as through a reflection in a mirror, or more cogently, through a reflection in a puddle of water such as the one filling the hallway on that night — petrification can result.”

    “Really?” the perpetually bitter man perked up, irritation at the bloody mess clearing. “I suppose the thing got what was coming to it, then.”

    “Indeed,” the elderly wizard nodded gravely.

    The Hall quietened for quite some time as everyone struggled to process the incredible sequence of events, until the silence was eventually broken by a certain Hufflepuff rumor-monger — the very same one that had put forth the idea that Harry was a honey-badger animagus who just knew parseltongue so he could taunt snakes before he ate them.

    “See? I totally called it!”

    Then, one of his housemates threw a roll at him, and the spell was broken.

    3.12.4 Raising a glass

    “Thank you all for taking time away from your winter activities to attend this meeting,” Albus began. “As you all know, there is much to discuss.”

    It was the afternoon after the Hogwarts Express had left carrying most of the student body off to their homes for the holidays, and the Hogwarts staff had taken advantage of the lull in activity to gather once more in their customary conference room. The meeting was just as well attended as usual, though the reason for that attendance was no longer primarily the top-shelf open bar — as the Headmaster had said, there was much to discuss.

    Though, none of the attendees were about to complain about the booze.

    As the Charms master made his usual rounds as the group’s designated bartender, Albus accepted his own portion — a lowball glass full of an icy blue liqueur which his herbology professor had named Winter Campfire — and proposed a toast.

    “In light of recent — rather disturbing — events, I would like to raise a glass to our resident dragon’s prodigious appetite,” the elderly wizard began, “without which we would have faced the truly unenviable task of rousting a tremendously large basilisk from the school.”

    The old man paused for a moment as his staff drank to that in a wordless affirmative. The affirmative noises turned appreciative as they took in the taste of Pomona’s latest brewing efforts. The icy blue liquid felt frigid going down, only to be slowly overtaken by a swelling fiery sensation and a subtle smoky aftertaste as the ice faded. It was an interesting combination to say the least.

    “I suspect the task would have proven rather startlingly difficult,” the elderly wizard quipped, prompting a titter of nervous laughter from the younger members of his staff. His beard shifted as the old man smiled, after the spectacle at the feast the previous night, a little levity was overdue. The basilisk was thoroughly intimidating even being dragged about as a trophy.

    “You have not lost your knack for understatement Albus,” Minerva quipped wryly as she sipped again from her own glass. “That beastie was far larger than anything I would care to tangle with.”

    “Come now, Minerva, where’s your sense of adventure?” Filius chimed in. “Basilisks aren’t so bad. Bring a few roosters along to the fight, and they die easily enough.”

    “Oh, aye, they do at that, Filius,” Minerva allowed drily. “And I am sure we would have been able to handle the beastie easily… if we had known what the monster was beforehand — a luxury we did not have, if you will recall.” The Scotswoman paused to shake her head and take another sip of her drink. “Finding out would have been a world of trouble if not for young Mr. Potter’s efforts.”

    “Indeed,” Pomona spoke up, her own glass in hand. “And trying to do so in a school full of children would have been asking for tragedy, no matter how many roosters you enchanted.”

    There was a general murmur of horrified agreement as that concept percolated through the room, which made the sense of relief all the more palpable. While the ludicrously dangerous beastie did have a rather well-known and easily-procured weakness, it was still a massive hyper-lethal magical super-predator. It could kill at a glance, had venom deadly to almost every known creature — magical or non — and at the size so aptly demonstrated by the resident dragon’s actions at the end of term feast, even its death throes would likely have killed a significant number of students had the staff successfully managed to kill it.

    Harry Potter’s appetite had done the school a great service, indeed.

    “Speaking of the basilisk,” Sprout asked as she finished her glass, “how did your efforts at butchering the carcass go, Severus? I am rather surprised to see you so chipper so soon after processing something like a basilisk of that size. Merlin knows how tired I get when harvesting some of the more difficult plants — that sort of magic resistance is a real pain to work around.”

    “Mr. Potter is a surprisingly quick study when spells are able to properly take advantage of his tremendous reserves,” the potions master offered in an unusually free bout of praise. “Despite his typically abominable control, the harvesting charms are fairly forgiving to being overpowered — particularly when used on a subject as recalcitrant as that basilisk. In the end, I did little more than demonstrate the spells and guide the dratted lizard’s efforts. It was actually quite a relaxing evening on my part.”

    “At least we don’t have to worry about facing that monster anymore,” Septima Vector offered from her usual chair, the relief in her comparatively young voice almost palpable. “Maybe we can go back to a more normal school term after the Christmas break.”

    “I would not be so quick to relax,” Snape warned his younger colleague. “There is one final issue to be resolved.”

    “What do you mean?” she asked, sounding puzzled. “The snake is dead, right?”

    “While the basilisk itself is quite thoroughly deceased, we are still short one perpetrator of this debacle,” the potions master pointed out. “Even if we assume the basilisk managed to wake up on its own and begin terrorizing the school for whatever reason, we still must account for whoever wrote that threatening message on Halloween. While, the abilities of a basilisk are formidable indeed, they do not include writing — lacking as they do opposable thumbs, or for that matter, hands.”

    “Yes, you have a point, Severus,” the headmaster chimed into the conversation. “And it is a point I had intended to raise myself. Despite Mr. Potter’s rather decisive termination of the villain’s main weapon, we are still left with the unenviable situation of facing an unknown perpetrator, presumably still on the loose in the school. I implore you to remain vigilant.”

    “Of course, Headmaster,” Vector offered automatically, before looking around as if noticing something for the first time. “Um… not to change the subject, but given all the talk about remaining vigilant in the face of continuing threats, shouldn’t our defense professor be in on this meeting?”

    The question prompted several of her less-observant colleagues to look up from their drinks and gaze around curiously for themselves. It did seem a fair question given the current holder of the title’s rather lofty reputation.

    “I already took the liberty of informing young Gilderoy earlier today,” Dumbledore offered, sipping at his drink.

    “And why did the popinjay choose not to attend this meeting with the rest of us?” the potions professor’s acidic voice chimed in with the obvious question. “After our experiences with Quirrel, I should think that should require investigation, at least.”

    “Unlike our unfortunate colleague’s absences last year, this one is neither unexpected nor unwarranted,” the elderly wizard explained. “Gilderoy had a prior commitment away from campus — a book signing, if I recall correctly. It had already been arranged long in advance of accepting his teaching contract. He departed shortly after the Express did.”

    “An acceptable excuse, I suppose,” the dour man allowed. “In that case I would propose that we move on to more immediate concerns. The time for our grand experiment with the stone circle at Stonehenge approaches. How fare our preparations?”

    “Mr. Potter is the picture of good health,” Poppy spoke up for the first time in the meeting. “As his primary physician, I have no objections to his participation, given the critical importance of the situation. In fact, I suspect his ability to absorb magic has only increased after his ordeal at the beginning of the summer. The increased magical capacity seems to have remained even after young Harry healed completely.”

    Poppy’s go ahead prompted Filius to speak up, the half-goblin practically dancing in place in eager anticipation. “Between Nicholas and myself, I believe we have worked out a sufficiently comprehensive and durable sensor system to monitor the discharge process. When are we due to start?”

    “I believe Mr. Potter has scheduled the event for next weekend,” Albus offered. “He seemed quite excited about something he had planned for this Friday.”

    “I suppose that’s it until the end of the week then,” Septima spoke up in the ensuing silence. She raised her mostly-empty glass to Sprout in salute, “At least we have some excellent drinks to take the edge off the waiting.”

    That was a sentiment everyone could agree with.

    3.12.5 Ophidian charcuterie?

    “That’s a lot of meat,” Harry marveled as he stood next to Suze, taking stock of his newly-excavated cold-room.

    Under the direction of Mr. Snape, and with some significant assistance from both Hagrid and one of the centaur patrols who had passed by in the normal course of their rounds, Harry had dressed the carcass. First, he had gutted the snake to remove the viscera, separating almost the entirety of the bloody mess into specimen jars helpfully provided by Mr. Snape — oddly enough including the remnants of the snake’s eyes; Mr. Snape showed him a neat trick to pull them out without damaging them further. Then Harry had skinned it and set aside the massive hide, which Hagrid had volunteered to tan for him — Harry thought that was very nice of him, and the young dragon made sure to tell him so.

    Finally, he had to chop up the remainder into reasonably sized pieces, carefully removing all the bones — there were so many ribs, it took forever — and setting them aside as he went. Harry had some vague hopes of setting them up in a display like the one he dimly remembered from a long-ago field trip to the Natural History Museum back before his transformation. At that point, he was left with the meat.

    The basilisk had been a big one, and it was amazing just how much of a snake was lean muscle. All of that lean muscle now hung from the rough stone ceiling of his new larder using yet more of the rope Harry had ordered just a few weeks before. Mr. Snape had demonstrated a clever series of charms to drain most of the foul-smelling blood out of the cut pieces — unlike the venom, the blood was technically edible, for Harry at least, though certainly not tasty. The potions master had assured Harry that hanging really was the only way to regulate the humidity and temperature of such large cuts of meat even after they had been drained. Thus, there were now about five hundred slabs of basilisk meat hanging in his Lair. At a quarter-ton apiece, they made for an impressive sight.

    Of course, a quarter of a million pounds of meat would make for an impressive sight no matter how it was sliced.

    The problem, of course, was what to do with it.

    Harry knew he averaged several tons of food intake a day, but most of that was in mineral form — primarily scrap metal and coal. He rarely ate more than the equivalent of two or three deer per day in actual normal-people-food; that was about three-quarters of one of those magnificent steaks per day at the high end if he ate no other meat at all. Including food for his damsels into the equation hardly changed things, as their dietary needs were barely a rounding error on his own. That was almost two years’ worth of meat!

    “That might actually be too much food,” the young dragon said words that no one had ever expected to hear him utter in an awed whisper. “I don’t think I can actually eat all of that before it goes bad.”

    Well, unless he had another growth spurt in the next few months, then all bets were off.

    “That might actually be a problem,” his centaur damsel agreed. “Even salted or smoked, I am unsure if it will keep long enough. Perhaps the wizards have a method?”

    “Well, I suppose I can ask. Frizzy!” Harry called in a loud voice to the Hogwarts elf who usually handled food deliveries to the Lair and also the only Hogwarts elf who made it a point to listen for him while he was in the Lair — the others were still terrified of catching his attention. “Can you come here a minute, I’ve got a question for you.”

    There was a soft pop of displaced air indicating the elf’s arrival, and a squeaky voice answered, “What does the young scary master need?”

    “Um, well, I got all this meat, you see,” he indicated the cold-room with one talon, “and I was wondering how long it would keep, ‘cause I figure its about two years worth of meat for me if I don’t eat any other kind.”

    The elf turned her bulging eyes to take in the sight. “Young master’s eyes is bigger than his stomach!” she chided with a sigh. “You should not order so much meat at once; is wasteful!”

    “Um, I didn’t buy it,” the young dragon clarified. “I got into a bit of a fight with a snake, and I won, but I didn’t want to waste the meat, so Mr. Snape helped me butcher it. Now I’ve got a whole bunch of meat, and I wanted to see if you knew any other ways of preserving some of it so it would last long enough to eat before it went bad.”

    The diminutive elf simply nodded at that and considered the problem. “You is right. Even the young scary master would be eating this for two years — five if you pay attention to a proper diet; eating different foods is important!” she wagged a finger at the dragon before settling in for a bit of a think.

    “Cold will work for a while,” Frizzy nodded to herself. “Maybe one or two out of every five, so you can eat them before they’s not tasting so good. Frizzy can use salt and smoke for some — maybe another one in five — and about that many more making sausages and jerkies.” The house elf frowned thoughtfully, “After that… no, everything will be tasting bad and starting to grow fuzzy stuffs then.”

    “I guess four out of five isn’t bad,” Harry said thoughtfully. “Maybe I should invite more people over to eat?”

    “You might give some away as gifts,” Suze suggested. “I know you always have trouble coming up with ideas for the winter holiday.”

    The young dragon’s big green eyes lit up at the suggestion. “That’s a great idea, Suze!” He began counting off on his talons, “Some for Mr. Dumbledore, some for Mr. Slackhammer, some for the Sergeant Major, some for Mr. Snape — maybe a bit of venom and other stuff for him too…” He frowned thoughtfully, “Hey, Suze, I know your family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but do you think they’d like some too?”

    The centaur maiden smiled, “I am certain the Clan would accept your gift in the spirit with which it was intended.”

    “Right!” Harry decided. “We’ll do that, then. Frizzy, can you help with preserving the meat like you described — or maybe at least show me what to do?”

    “Frizzy will do,” the house elf nodded. “Other elves may help, is good work.”

    The dragon nodded his great head in gratitude.

    “Thanks!”
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
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  5. Emizaquel

    Emizaquel What is a self?

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    That was amazing!
     
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  6. Lector312

    Lector312 Getting sticky.

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    A good chapter. Continue
     
  7. Doghead13

    Doghead13 Grumpy Old Scottish Biker

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    1, that got a massive hoot of laughter out of me once I processed what I was reading.

    2, you've got some sort of typo there - 'The Hall quietened for quite some timemce-anchor', not 100% but I don't think the 'mce-anchor' bit should be there.

    3, I love love love Harry's casually dragging a snake the size and weight of a mainline railway locomotive around. Bad. Ass.

    Re what Harry's flame is: your call there of course but anyway the visuals as seen by Bane back in the first chapter were inspired by this photograph;

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/J58_AfterburnerT.jpeg

    That's one of the engines from an SR-71 Blackbird, running on a test stand under full afterburner; those ripples are known as shock diamonds or Mach disks. They're a visible standing shockwave pattern that forms in things such as the supersonic exhaust flow from a high-performance afterburning jet engine, which should give an idea of just how much force I'd envisaged Harry's breath weapon carrying.

    Fire is/was a secondary effect; the primary damage is/was much like what happens when jetwash hits something, and if you chose to retain this idea it means that Harry's breath weapon is dangerous far, far beyond the range of the visual flame - and simply hearing it at short range on anything like a regular basis will cause deafness in humans or centaurs alike as it's every bit as non-quiet as that jet engine.
     
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  8. Calamity

    Calamity Getting sticky.

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    Very nice.

    I would love to see Tommymort's reaction to that...or the one of the sytherins in general.

    I predict it's gonna be various iterations of "WHAT?!"
     
  9. stads

    stads Making the rounds.

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    nice chapter thx for writing it
    will be interesting to see what the response will be from this meaty x-mas gift :d
    loved the fight and nice to see harry learned not to eat everything right away
     
  10. Dunkelzahn

    Dunkelzahn No one of consequence

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    1) Glad you liked it, I've been sitting on that scene since before I finished chapter 2, so it's good to finally share it with everyone.

    2) Thanks for catching the typo, those show up when I copy from my word processor. I think they're the hyperlink anchors for my section headings translated into plain text, and I usually delete them. Must have missed that one.

    As for the breath, that's about the visceral experience I was going for, thanks for the visual. There's a very good reason Harry is reluctant to use it around anything or anyone he cares about.
     
  11. Edmond G. Bertrand

    Edmond G. Bertrand Making the rounds.

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    AWESOME chapter. One note though, and it relates back to the knife-business that
    I had brought up with you earlier.

    (1) The students just watched Harry Potter drag in a 1/4 MILLION pound creature. By himself.
    And not just any creature, but a 1/4-million pound killing machine.
    (2) Harry is a 1st-year student
    (3) The students - most particularly the Slytherins - were told to "LEAVE.HARRY POTTER. ALONE." I've got to think that this
    has to be addressed, by the Headmaster, to the entire school. It can't just sit out there now.
    There are too many witnesses of something really, really fucking strange going on in the school.
    At what point are the teachers going to have to actually say something? Like...
    "We meant what we told you earlier. Do not antagonize Mr. Potter.... If you want to continue breathing.
    And YES, that means you, Mr. Malfoy."
    (4) This has to cause Harry to add more damsels to his stable. Su Li for one. There are probably others.
    Definitely the 5th year gal that is crushing on him (the one whom he has hired).

    Your thoughts????

    Regards,
    Edmond
     
  12. Edmond G. Bertrand

    Edmond G. Bertrand Making the rounds.

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    I've thought about this some more. If the Basilisk is 100ft long and 250,000 lbs,
    it's 2500 lbs. per linear foot. That can't possibly be right. The largest snake ever known,
    Titanoboa cerrejonensis was only about 2500 to 5000 lbs, depending on whether it
    was a small or medium-sized specimen for its type. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titanoboa)

    So... the Basilisk is 90 ft. and is large in its class.... so maybe, just maybe, it's
    around 4 times that weight (mass quadruples with a doubling of length)
    and is 20,000 lbs. That still makes it one of the largest dinosaurs known.
    I've got to figure that such a snake would be easily 6 ft. high - more than
    enough to fill anyone's nightmares.
     
  13. Pinklestia

    Pinklestia Versed in the lewd.

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    Nice to see this back.
     
  14. pjung

    pjung Getting out there.

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    wouldn't mass increase by the cube. so increases eight fold with a doubling of weight?
     
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  15. Chillingbear

    Chillingbear Getting out there.

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    Excellent chapter as always. I can't wait for the political ramifications when people find out he is a dragon. (4th year 1st task anyone?)
     
  16. Dunkelzahn

    Dunkelzahn No one of consequence

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    He does have a rather formidable reputation at the moment, that is true, and his peers know there is something odd going on there. They do have a ready-made explanation, though, in the form of the in-universe Harry Potter children's books.

    A lot of the less thoughtful children are looking at Harry's exploits and comparing them to those stories and saying, "Huh, I guess those were accurate after all. Who'da thunk it?" --- sort of like getting to middle school and finding out that Santa Claus is actually real.

    The more thoughtful ones are picking up on what Abigail did back in Harry's first year; Harry Potter is something special. There's a little bit of that in the next section.

    My plans for Su Li are... well, I think I'll let that play out for a while before I go into any detail. She's one character that I'm a bit nervous about being able to write well. I suppose we'll see.

    As a general note on damsels and other girls, each of the girls involved with Harry is there for a reason and has a unique role to play in the development of the plot and Harry's character. I'm not just adding random bodies to the mix.

    As of the introduction of Su Li, Harry's group of female companions is member-complete for the duration of his stay in Hogwarts (Suze, Hermione, Abigail, and Su Li).

    The main thrust of the Hogwarts years is a story of the hero (Harry) coming of age and learning to face the world as an adult. He's got a lot to learn to get to that point, and the girls are among the narrative tools I'm using to get that done.
    On that note, remember, people tend to learn a lot more from failure than from success.

    As for the size, that's a bit difficult to keep straight in my head with Harry growing over time --- it's hard to remember where he is in the process at any given time in the story --- but I think I have Harry at about 60 feet long at the moment, nose to tail, after the size comparison during the picnic flyover in so I was going with about 150 feet for the basilisk, which, scaling from a green anaconda for proportionality (note pjung's point about the weight scaling as the cube of the length), would put her at about 150,000 pounds. She is, however, a basilisk, meaning she is a creature designed specifically as a war beast, and so she's quite a bit bulkier than even an anaconda --- extra muscle means extra strength to carry heavier armor (scales), extra strength to move better and quicker, and extra cushion to vital organs when attacked, increasing survivability. She weighs in at about as much as an adult blue whale, if I recall from my research.

    If I've been mixing up my size imagery for Harry, please let me know. He should have been about twelve feet long when he transformed, about thirty feet long by the time he started Hogwarts, about fifty feet by the end of his growth spurt in his first year, and then about sixty by the middle of the fall term in his second year

    ...and right about now, I realized that a rather critical bit got left out of my size descriptor for the snake. Harry was supposed to have commented on the snake being half-again his size while a good portion of it was still hidden in the brush, but the qualifier got lost in the shuffle. I thought I'd added that when I was editing the scene to include more of the snake's interaction with the scenery, but apparently I missed it.

     
  17. The Unicorn

    The Unicorn Versed in the lewd.

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    A couple of problems with that:
    1)From the description the Baslisk isn't anywhere near 100ft, 100meters (330ft) might be more accurate.
    2)The snake would weigh quite a bit more than 250,000lb, for convenient calculation call it 130 metric tons (~295,000lb)

    The snake won't be the same width for all it's length but assuming an average of 1 meter across you get a volume of ~78m^3 which gets an average density of ~1.65g/cm^3 (water is 1g/cm^3) - rather dense but not ridiculously so.

    Assuming you mean "length" instead of "weight" that only apply if all dimensions remain proportional. i.e doubling the length also means doubling the thickness. There's no reason to assume that applies for snake growth.

    Dunkelzahn
    I really liked Harry dealing with the snake, and the teacher's discussion was quite well done...except it doesn't fit with Harry dragging the snake into the school in public like that. While everyone knows he's not normal up to now you had the teachers at least try and come up with belivable cover stories and both they and Harry avoided flaunting how different Harry is. That was now thrown out the window in a very public fashion - the entire wizarding world is now going to know about Harry's strength and there will be a lot of speculation about what that means and how he became that strong. While no one is going to figure he's a shape shifting dragon from that, the possibility they might jump to the conclusion of creature blood exists, and that's something the teachers would need to be prepared to address.

    Doghead13 nice picture, but that doesn't affect the choice of how you get that flame. If you get a jet of flame hot enough in a confined volume you will get that sort of supersonic exhaust when you allow it to escape. Given the temperatures described for Harry's flame it would be mostly blue, if not violet or out of the visible spectrum , with a halo of yellow and red.
     
  18. Edmond G. Bertrand

    Edmond G. Bertrand Making the rounds.

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    You said:
    "A couple of problems with that:
    1)From the description the Baslisk isn't anywhere near 100ft, 100meters (330ft) might be more accurate.
    2)The snake would weigh quite a bit more than 250,000lb, for convenient calculation call it 130 metric tons (~295,000lb)

    The snake won't be the same width for all it's length but assuming an average of 1 meter across you get a volume of ~78m^3 which gets an average density of ~1.65g/cm^3 (water is 1g/cm^3) - rather dense but not ridiculously so."

    I have a call out to Dr. Thomas Tyning, of the University of Massachusetts Dept. of Herpetology. He's a friend of mine & I wanted to run all of this by him & see what he says. I'll
    let you know what his opinion is, given length, etc. I'm betting doughnuts to dollars that his call will be on the MUCH smaller end of things, even given
    Titanoboa, etc.
     
  19. Dunkelzahn

    Dunkelzahn No one of consequence

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    Why would they need to?

    There's only been one situation so far for which the staff came up with a cover story that I recall, and that is when Harry had his growth spurt and practically ate half the Great Hall, and even that was mostly to keep people from worrying --- either about Harry's health or about Harry eating them too.

    On everything else --- the absurd magical strength shown in his classes, crushing a knife with his bare hand, punching out a troll then ripping it in half, the ability to ignore Draco's stunner entirely, all of that --- the staff just rolled with it and let people draw their own, erroneous conclusions. They've made no bones about the fact that Harry is unusual --- in fact, Snape went so far as to obliquely warn his House about it at the beginning of the first year --- and it's worked fine so far. This incident is no different apart from scale.
     
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  20. The Unicorn

    The Unicorn Versed in the lewd.

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    I'm betting he'll also tell you that magic doesn't exist and that it's impossible to have a living creature with internal temperatures hot enough to melt iron.

    Any argument based on "creatures like that are impossible" is automatically invalid.

    If you want to argue that a 100m snake should average less than 1 meter across - I picked those numbers because they're in the right ballpark and are easy to work with, not because they're precisely accurate.

    Seems an odd mismatch to me, but okay.
     
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  21. Doghead13

    Doghead13 Grumpy Old Scottish Biker

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    Absolutely and at the time I was writing I never even considered what it was actually coming from, or even what temperature it was. The thought process ran out at annoyance at the way Hollywood and the computer gaming industry constantly defaults to petrol flame visuals for everything.

    I got as far as describing him as 'a living blast furnace' made out of iron and defining a couple of details like the heatshield properties of parts of him because otherwise he'd obviously be burning hot to the touch, and left it at that. My understanding of chemistry is extremely limited - barely above nonexistent, really not my subject - and I simply would not be able to do any of the working out that Dunkelzahn has done.
     
  22. The Unicorn

    The Unicorn Versed in the lewd.

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    At the energies we're talking about chemistry is mostly irrelevant, we're talking about plasma physics :)
     
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  23. ScarletFlames

    ScarletFlames Getting out there.

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    Plasma physics are about at the stage of understanding that we had about fire at the time of conception of the steam engine.
     
  24. Vinom

    Vinom Getting sticky.

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    Honestly, this sounds like something that would be perfectly accepted until one parent overhears one thing and the suspension of the disbeliefmobile gets broken. And I am wagering it would be Madam Bones, most likely.
     
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  25. Mashadarof402

    Mashadarof402 Versed in the lewd.

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    What's amusing is that when you think about it, even if Harry has tremendous torque, in human form he doesn't have the mass to translate to gripping power.

    In short, while he can certainly pull the Basilisk around... he should be actually dredging a hole with his feet rather than moving forward by dint of the fact that in a contest between the weight of the load and power of the engine, the floor is the one giving way.
     
  26. RedX

    RedX Know what you're doing yet?

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    A magic castle presumably has a magically reinforced floor.

    No clue about outside the castle. Maybe there's a huge trench leading out into the Forbidden Forest now.
     
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  27. Doghead13

    Doghead13 Grumpy Old Scottish Biker

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    Magic, my friend, magic.

    In his base form he's got the approximate density of a solid dragon-shaped block of iron coupled to a wing surface area downright hilariously inadequate to get anything even a tenth as heavy as he is airborne: everything about him in either shape runs on absurd quantities of magic being belligerently thrown at physics with a scream of 'Up yours, I'm a dragon' until it (physics) waves a little white flag and does whatever he wants. Remember the passage about his body containing more concentrated magic than runs through the Hogwarts ward system - one of the most powerful such structures in Europe - in a millennium.

    At that rate, I wouldn't call looking at piddling little things like grip and traction and poo-pooing it a stretch.

    Could be worth a member of staff - maybe Vector - ruminating on how the performance with the basilisk was in itself a seriously impressive display of magic though.
     
  28. Extras: World-Building: Magical Capabilities
    Dunkelzahn

    Dunkelzahn No one of consequence

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    One thing to remember about transfiguration in this setting, which I've said before, but I'm not sure if it was on this thread, is that when a transfiguration is performed, it's essentially telling the world to treat the target like whatever you are transfiguring it into.

    A consequence of that is that the change is only as convincing as you have the skill and inclination to make it, so when you perform a transfiguration, it will take whatever characteristics you're concentrating on, if your attention slips or you don't care about a particular bit, it stays the same. When you transfigure a mouse into a snuffbox, if you forget to concentrate on the surface finish, you will end up with a furry snuffbox.

    When Harry transfigures himself, he concentrates on being human-sized, looking human-like, and having skin sufficiently sensitive to enjoy hugs. He doesn't really care about anything else, certainly not his strength, or his weight... or, for that matter, those handy reactionless drive organs he has mounted along his spine. The ones that he had to learn specifically how to use independently, since he sort of instinctively filled in with them before (much like he's doing now).

    And while I'm at it, have an exposition piece on magic in the setting. I've removed references to the third crossover setting which I've not yet revealed outside my own notes.

    Magical Capabilities

    Magic in the setting, outside the Wizarding World or [REDACTED], tends to focus on combat boosts and relatively large-scale battle magics. Magic exacts a cost for use, usually in personal effort, and therefore is only used when a suitable non-magical method doesn’t exist or is too unwieldy.

    Off-the-cuff magical casting generally costs just as much effort as actually doing the task non-magically, but that effort comes all at once and in different forms. Despite the additional complications of non-magical setup, magic is generally still more difficult to do actions on the fly; sometimes, however, the desired actions are too unwieldy to set up non-magically.

    Outside of off-the-cuff casting, more variety is seen in support magics and other magical effects. Complicated or subtle effects are normally seen in laboratory settings or from ludicrously advanced spell-casters. There is a fair amount of magitech in use as well, produced by those laboratories. Just as with non-magical systems, magical technology effectively stores earlier effort for use at a later time. As the Sixth World goes into full swing, magical technology becomes more and more commonly available, but outside the Wizarding and [REDACTED] traditions, active on-the-fly casting remains mostly combat-focused.

    By contrast, wizards have a tradition in which those subtle and complicated effects are the norm and are used for even simple chores like washing dishes. This is made possible by elaborate and extensive spell design. Wizarding combat magic has been forced into hiding by secrecy; the big flashy stuff has gone unused long enough to be forgotten. In the Sixth World, it will be rediscovered, but it is little different than the stuff from the other Hermetic traditions.

    [REDACTED]

    Traditional Spells

    Traditional spell work involves moving magic directly in such a way that it accomplishes a desired effect. This sort of casting is an arcane, unintuitive, and byzantine procedure, requiring extensive training, discipline, and strength. The results, however, can be remarkable, more than enough for a single caster to change the course of a battle of armies. With proper practice, this sort of casting is powerful, adaptable, and fast, making it ideal for combat.

    While these spells are adaptable for combat, they are only flexible within a certain range, and their precision is poor. Working magically with delicate things in this system is problematic, and generally involves a different style of training and the aid of tools.

    Naming and Thread Magic

    In traditional magic, names have power. That is, the true Name is associated with a person’s being, and it carries great power and influence over the one so Named. The Name is a central part of the Pattern of a person, and it is therefore an integral part of their very being. This holds true only for the Namers, or those who give themselves and others names. Non-Namer entities and objects still have Patterns, but no associated Name.

    A Name is both a strength and a vulnerability. If others learn your Name, then they can do a great deal to you, both for good and for ill, but one’s Name helps to reinforce one’s own identity in the face of outside interference. This second effect is of great importance in fighting against Horrors which often assault the soul and sanity directly.

    Thread magic is the process of weaving a Thread, usually a central aspect of one’s power, along a Pattern to add strength and weight to that Pattern, and in the process to tie it to the caster. Performing Thread magic requires the ability to both manipulate one’s own magic to an insane degree and the ability to discern Patterns. Even Dragons, with their innate sensorium, require a great deal of practice and learning to accomplish this.

    Wizarding Magic

    The wizarding world has developed casting methods for highly-repeatable, precise, routine casting during their seclusion in the Fifth Age. These are done through the use of a tool, the wand, around which has been built a huge variety of spells which are triggered by supplying the wand with energy and direction.

    Wizarding, or ‘wanded’, magic does not require the same depths of personal control needed for traditional casting. Instead, the effort is expended in tool-making and spell design. Despite outward appearances, a wand is a tremendous feat of magical engineering, involving the sort of precision design and fabrication which would not be rivaled in any other field until the development of modern computer microprocessors.

    Just as modern computers allow tremendously complicated programs to be developed and run on them with a single trigger, so too do wands allow tremendously complicated magical effects to be achieved with a simple trigger. Spell design is another tremendously complicated field for wizards.

    Charms
    These spells, built on the wand system, are generally called charms, and they make up the vast majority of what modern wizards consider to be magic. Despite the artificial classifications of curses and hexes and such, most are simply charms with differing effects. It is telling of the sheer variety of magic available that such distinctions were introduced over the years.

    As mentioned above, the sort of control necessary for traditional casting is not required for charms, but with enough practice, such control can be substituted for some or all of the control mechanisms for the wand (silent casting). The requisite effort goes in at the time of spell design and wand crafting, with the caster supplying the energy and the trigger. Because of this, wand magic is absurdly simple to perform, and wizards have managed to incorporate it into everything they do.

    Transfiguration

    One field which is technically distinct from charms is that of transfiguration. Transfiguration is an art of changing the form of an object or material into another. That is, the caster uses magic to make one thing appear to be another. Transfiguration is a broad discipline, capable of a tremendous variety of effects, including the apparent creation of living creatures.

    Despite appearances, transfiguration does not change the underlying nature of the target. Transfigurations can be dispelled, and when they are, the object will revert to its original state. Thus ‘living’ creatures produced are not actually alive. Changed materials are also not exactly ‘real’, as the changes are not truly permanent.

    Transfiguration is a special case in that while the wand serves as a convenient channel, each casting is specialized, thus the wand system can only handle so much of the workload, with the rest being made up by the caster. Transfiguration is thus considered to be a generally challenging field by wizards, and expertise in transfiguration is seen as a mark of some skill.

    Because of its lessened dependence on the wand, some transfiguration is still commonly done without wands in the wizarding world. The jump between wanded and wandless casting is much less for certain transfiguration disciplines than it is for charms.

    Animagi

    One such wandless transfiguration is the Animagus transformation. An Animagus overlays magic on himself to make his body seem to be that of an animal to all outward appearances except magical ones. By necessity, this must be done wandlessly, since most animals are unable to handle a wand — dependent as it is on opposable thumbs. There are additional considerations about spiritual compatibility and such which influence the Animagus transformation.

    Harry’s transformation back into a human is not, strictly speaking, an Animagus transformation due to these spiritual considerations, but it is a wandless transfiguration on a similar order. Harry never stops being a dragon, he just makes the world act as if he was shaped like a human. This is the reason that he retains his strength, intelligence, and magical resistance despite having an apparently human body.

    Alchemy

    There are two magical disciplines which involve changing substance and form, alchemy and transfiguration. Despite their similarity in appearance, they are quite distinct processes. Alchemy is effectively a fabrication process, changing the form of a substance; though it is one which can fabricate objects down to a sub-nuclear scale. Transfiguration is an emulation process, essentially telling some material to behave differently than it should through the persistent use of magic.

    Alchemy is one area of magical endeavor that has been around for a very long time[1], but has advanced to almost unheard-of levels in the wizarding world, driven both by internal experimentation and observation of the advances of the non-magical sister field, chemistry. At its base, alchemy is discipline wherein a material can be converted into a new form while facilitating the change with magic. That is, an alchemist can change one thing into some other thing while ignoring at least some of the intervening steps that would be required to do so without magic.

    Alchemy can be used for reshaping material in bulk, but such is generally much more difficult with alchemy than it is using more traditional non-magical methods. The changes associated with the field are usually those which cannot be accomplished otherwise (or cannot be accomplished efficiently otherwise) including nuclear transmutation and changes in intrinsic magical properties.

    It should be noted that alchemical changes are permanent; the substance really does change, just like it would in the equivalent non-magical process. This is distinct from the transfiguration discipline where the substance is changed to all outward appearances except the magical. Transfigured changes are reversible through dispelling the transfiguration magic; changes are only stable while the magic is in place, telling the object how to behave. It is possible to semi-permanently transfigure objects, but this is done by stabilizing the transfiguration magic so that it will not dissipate naturally. Transfigured objects can be identified as such through their magical signatures. Alchemically transformed objects cannot.

    It should also be noted that an understanding of conservation of energy is critical to alchemy while it is nearly irrelevant to transfiguration. An alchemical transition from a low-energy to a high-energy state will absorb energy from outside the system, and the inverse will make energy available. Transfiguring something only adds a little energy in the form of the cast magic, the underlying material is unchanged.

    This is one of the major reasons that alchemy has a reputation as a dangerous discipline in the magical world. Knowledge of mass-energy equivalence is not widely disseminated in the magical world, and even for those who are aware, the amount of energy that can be released or absorbed in such reactions is staggering.

    While alchemy does not allow the alchemist to ignore mass-energy conservation, it does allow the alchemist to mostly ignore activation energy and the associated reaction rates through judicious application of magic. Certain fundamental symmetries of the physical world are also mutable through the application of magic, including CP symmetry.

    Alchemy amounts to a field of magic capable of producing quite literally anything that can, in principle, exist. If you can describe the end product sufficiently, you can transmute something into it — frictionless materials, magnetic monopoles, materials with differing inertial and gravitational masses, they’re all potentially feasible if an alchemist puts in sufficient effort to find a way.

    Wards, Enchantments, and Runes

    Some spells can be cast in such a way as to affect an area or object persistently. These persistent spells are wards (area) and enchantments (object). These are used to a wide variety of effects, and they are similar to charms in that the effort goes in early with the effects coming out whenever triggered later.

    Sometimes, the wizarding world even goes back to its roots, making machinery for the direct manipulation of magic. These machines mix physical systems and magical ones through the use of magical circuitry called runes. At one point, these were so widely used that the prototypical symbols were used as primitive alphabets, but they fell into disuse for this purpose as people realized that purpose-built alphabets were much more effective for language — as well as being less likely to accidentally explode if read by magical persons.

    Potions

    Potions are a magical mix of the non-magical fields of chemistry, nanotechnology, and biology. The discipline involves mixing different ingredients so as to change their composition, tailoring the end result to have certain desired effects. This is like chemistry, but there is more complexity than that, since some of the processes involved work on the principles of self-assembly, effectively making tiny magical machines to accomplish complex tasks, usually within larger bio-magical systems. The field is spectacularly complicated and immensely difficult to learn as anything other than a series of recipes to memorize, but it can accomplish truly amazing things.
    Ritual Magic

    Ritual magic is a casting method which allows multiple casters to cooperate in order to produce a result which is normally beyond the capabilities of any of the individual casters and in fact, is often beyond the capabilities of a hypothetical caster who is as strong as all the involved casters combined. Ritual magic is a wooly sort of practice, and it can have unexpected results if the ritual is not carefully designed, or if the casters’ commitment or focus falters in mid-casting.

    Ritual magic, in this sense, was developed by the dragons early in their history after its accidental discovery and was used extensively prior to the Fourth Age. During the Fourth Age, a series of accidents occurred due to sabotage by the dragon who would later become known as the Outcast, though its interference would not become known until late in the Fourth Age. These mishaps had some rather severe consequences, leaving the world in the middle of a short but severe ice age and short a formerly heavily-populated continent. The dragons involved cracked down on ritual magic use until the reason for the rapid-fire disasters could be discovered.

    As a result, the use of ritual magic died out during the Fourth Age, and no modern magical traditions make use of ritual casting in the traditional sense. Many of them have things that they call rituals, but none of these provide a power boost over on-the-fly casting, they just provide more precision or ways to work around missing components and tools.

    A ritual consists of several components: the casters, the framework, the ordeal, and the result. The casters are self-explanatory, these are the individuals involved in the casting. Casters of a ritual do not even need to be aware that they are involved in the casting; they simply must be linked together magically as part of the framework. However, it is generally a good idea to alert them to the goings on and have them knowingly and willingly involved. Rituals take time, and the mentality, emotions, and, perhaps most importantly, will of all the casters combined is critical to the function of the ritual.

    The framework is simple, consisting of some sort of mystical bond among the casters. This is the first part where power boosting comes into play. The final strength of the ritual is proportional to the number of bonds of cooperation among the casters, that is, the more links there are in the framework, the more potent the ritual. While, in principle, the framework can consist of any topology, the ritual will have its greatest potency in a fully-connected ritual, where all casters are joined to every other caster. The bonds in question can be anything which allows the flow of magic between casters. Such bonds can be formed due to a variety of reasons, but they can range in severity from simple physical contact up through the sorts of soul-deep marriage bonds that have never been common enough to be well-known. As rituals can often take place over the course of months, even years for major workings, maintaining these bonds can require some logistical planning for the less permanent options.

    The ordeal is the other place where power-boosting occurs. Symbolically, the ritual ties the actions of the casters during the ritual to the result the ritual is supposed to attain; thus, the more effort the casters expend during the ritual, the more potent the result of the ritual. For this reason, the casters in a ritual will normally undertake some major challenge during the casting process in order to cause themselves to expend more effort. While the ordeal does not necessarily have to be conceptually related to the result, because it is simply the effort expended that is needed, it should be remembered that the state of mind of the casters is also important, and the casters will find themselves much more focused on the result if the ordeal is closely associated. This is the reason for the concept of symbolic importance.

    The result is the outcome of the ritual. It can be almost anything, as determined by the intent of the casters. The permanency of a ritual can vary. Some rituals perform a physical action, which itself leaves permanent results, but the ritual result is temporary. This is the sort of ritual which removed the eighth continent during the early Fourth Age. Other rituals perform an ongoing action, which relies on the casters to perpetuate. This is the sort of ritual which resulted in the Ice Age.

    An interesting facet of ritual magics is that they can be performed by accident. The creation of the ritual, while an exceedingly difficult task, consists of components which might be performed for other reasons. For instance, magical beings might form a framework through marriages or friendships and cooperate on a major task. Given the right circumstances, these unrelated actions can result in a ritual.

    This potential was the major driver of the shifts in draconic society, specifically the overly-formal and impersonal mating practices, which took place leading up to the late Fourth Age seen in Earthdawn. These “traditions” were put in place specifically to prevent the accidental formation of ritual frameworks.

    [REDACTED]

    [This section held a description of magics relating to the third crossover setting I have planned but have not yet revealed. It has been hinted at in precisely one scene so far in the story, so kudos to anyone who can catch it. As it will be some time before it shows up in the forefront, I've removed references here.]
    [1] The Earthdawn continuity’s True elements are a central example of such.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  29. Wolfboy

    Wolfboy Not too sore, are you?

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    Another thing to remember is that a shadowrun dragon has exactly as much of its mass that it wants, so Hearty could have just enough mass to have traction, or could for that matter be levitating the damn thing.
     
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  30. Tisaku

    Tisaku I trust you know where the happy button is?

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