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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. Mashadarof402

    Mashadarof402 Versed in the lewd.

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    It's one thing to be a fugitive of law, but your apparent end game puts him back on the side of angels as a discount savior for hire with potentially a bunch of thralls to boot given his escape.

    Leaves a bad taste the same way Unit 731's eventual fates did, even if his crimes were not to the same scale.

    Oh well. It's your story.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2020
  2. DIT_grue

    DIT_grue lurker

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    That bit doesn't track at all - he destroyed his own belongings to prevent anyone using them to locate him; there's no possible way he could even attempt to do the same for those three, so he's going to dump them somewhere at the first opportunity. Murder is possible, but my bet would be on him not wanting the extra heat when leaving them alive shouldn't (from what he thinks is going on) increase his risks.
     
  3. Ayashi

    Ayashi Experienced.

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    I finally got around to actually read the chap as i didn't want to do just before going to sleep yesterday. On the whole it's a pretty damn good one.
    I particularly liked the latest question(s) to pike young dragon Harry's interest...

    It seems to me that the whole ritual can be made significantly worse if the caster then uses the would-be spouse's soul to "patch up" or as a protective cloak over his own and/or the Hoxcruz anchor item, or even just as fuel to boost his own. Therefore denying it the right to move on into death and what lies beyond.
    In a world were the soul is not only real but a, relatively easy, proven fact to most anyone of significance, I would believe the sanctity of someone's soul would be ... well, sacred. And the utter violation of it becomes the worse crime one can think of.

    And thinking a step further, Lily interfering with the ritual (she was specialized in runes and charms iirc) enough to "use" her soul to twist it into helping her son rather than let it be used for Tom (because i refuse to call the dude something as ridiculously self-aggrandizing as "flight of death") could effectively be the wrench throw in that fucked up the whole thing.
    Ending with the ritual sending Tom's little soul piece and Lily's soul protection onto her son rather than whatever prepared item he intended, which understandably made Tom panic. After all he didn't want to create someone holding a direct link to his soul, which as we have learned is quickly lethal, and benefiting from the whole ritual protection, which iirc made the Hoxcruz item invulnerable to everything but the highest tier of magic in canon.
    So Tom in the middle of his panic used the high tier deadly magic he was most accustomed to: the soul severing spell Avada Kedavra... and inattentively targeting (a piece of) his own soul. With predictable results...
    "one"?
    That forgetting all the previous students he killed, tortured or worse... I very much doubt young Westley is the only one he "so thoroughly violated".
     
  4. wichajster

    wichajster Know what you're doing yet?

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  5. Erik Phantom

    Erik Phantom Making the rounds.

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    A few typos:
    discerned
    sickening

    I'm always glad to see this update, makes my day everytime.

    I honestly feel kinda bad for Lockhart, as he doesn't seem anywhere near as bad a person as he was in canon (he does pay his victims compensation/royalties, has an actual character and character-arc, etc.) Normally I'd be kinda ticked about the plans in the spoiler, but as long as Griselda and her colleagues turn up unharmed I'm fine with it.
    I'm generally big on "justice" slash "comeuppance" for wrongdoers, but he's mitigated his own wrongdoings enough and screwed himself to enough of a degree that I'm largely alright with this as his karmic balance (the stuff about having to burn everything he owned and loved, his home, everything he defined himself by made me feel genuine pity for the fop. So long as he doesn't do anything heinous faking his death, I'd be pretty happy to call him a pretty alright guy with half-decent morals, since if he doesn't do such things now when he's at his absolute lowest, then he's not likely to ever do them.)

    Ps: I may be completely mistaken, but wasn't this on the NSFW Creative Writing Board? I seem to recall the [NSFW] label/tag being on the tab in my browser and before the title in my Alerts. I imagine you can (and did, if said recollection isn't just me mixing things up) get things moved to normal CrW, and always thought this story probably merited it, since nothing 'lewd' happens in the story, and the Mature topics and themes are treated completely seriously and as the horrors that they are.

    Edit: PPS: Just remembered after posting. Did Trelawney's prophecy never happen in this/was Snape not the one who overheard it and told Voldy (and, if so, Dumbledore still hasn't told him in the decade and change since)? Since he seems to think it was a semi-random attack by Voldy, not him hunting the one prophecised to defeat him, hence him killing James and Lily fast to kill Harry immediately. Also he appears to have turned against Voldy on his own without the realization that Lily was one of the subjects of the prophecy, and never asked Voldy to spare Lily if he could. Was there even a Fidelius charm on the Potters in this AU? Who was Secret Keeper? I have only just realized that the foundational event that kicked everything off may not have gone exactly like canon, and the repercussion thereof are huge.:Edit
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
  6. Mashadarof402

    Mashadarof402 Versed in the lewd.

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    It was. Mods shut it down for covering issues of sexual slavery and other seedy parts of a magic supremacist society that cannot even envision non-wizards as humans.
     
  7. Ayashi

    Ayashi Experienced.

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    how does that make any kind of sense? It was taken out of NSFW session because it had too many mature themes ? :confused:
     
  8. Aaron Fox

    Aaron Fox That Crazy/Not-Crazy Guy

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    You have to be careful with some topics these days, could get a governmental CnD if you're not careful.
     
  9. Dunkelzahn

    Dunkelzahn No one of consequence

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    I'm not sure where the NSFW discussion came from. I know I started it in the SFW section. If it moved to NSFW and then back, I never noticed it.
     
  10. Threadmarks: Section 4.6 - Dispatch
    Dunkelzahn

    Dunkelzahn No one of consequence

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    4.6.0 Dispatch

    “We’ve got a request for a wellness check,” the witch in charge of dispatch announced as soon as the sergeant on duty came in for his Saturday morning shift.

    “Already?” he groaned, having expected the usual light shift on early Saturday morning. Most of the usual troublemakers were too hungover from Friday night to cause trouble before noon on Saturday.

    “It’s a leftover from last night,” the dispatcher explained. “A woman called in concerned that her grandmother had missed an appointment for dinner.”

    “Any indication of foul play?” the beat officer asked.

    “Nothing yet,” came the reply.

    “Then shouldn’t we have begged off for a few days?“ he asked curiously. “I thought department policy had us wait three days for adults with no indication of foul play, something about being constables rather than nursemaids, as I recall.”

    The dispatch-witch nodded, “Night shift tried to do that, but the woman apparently called in help from someone with connections. We’ve been instructed to check into it immediately, lest we be shat on from a great height.”

    “Ah, understood,” the sergeant nodded. He raised his voice, “Constable!”

    “Yes, Sergeant?” on the other side of the room, the man in question snapped to attention.

    “You’re with me, we’ve got a wellness check on a VIP to take care of.”

    “Yes, sir!”

    4.6.1 Unexpected visitors

    “What can I do for you, Constable?” Griselda Marchbanks asked her unexpected guest after he and his companion were shown in by her elf. “I must admit, I am somewhat concerned that law enforcement would feel the need to visit my home this early on a Saturday morning.”

    “Thank you for having us, Madam,” the ranking visitor, a blue-clad sergeant spoke from where he stood next to his junior colleague. “Sorry to bother you, but your granddaughter, Rosmerta, called the Department after you didn’t show up at the Three Broomsticks for dinner last night, and we were sent out to perform a wellness check.”

    “Rosie was expecting me for dinner?” Griselda asked with a puzzled frown. “I don’t remember…” The elderly woman’s eyes narrowed in distress, “She’s my granddaughter! How could I have forgotten?”

    The sergeant gave a concerned frown in his own turn. “Madam, if you don’t mind, might I ask what you remember doing yesterday.”

    “Oh, not at all,” came the distracted reply. “I had a meeting with Mr. Lockhart. It went quite well.”

    “I see, and what did you discuss?” he pressed gently.

    “I…” she trailed off with a frown. “I’m embarrassed to admit that I can’t quite recall,” Griselda replied fuzzily, “but it went quite well.”

    The sergeant’s concern deepened. “Do you happen to recall why you were visiting him?”

    “Of course! It was…” she trailed off uncertainly. “We were going to… I… I’m afraid I cannot recall… there must have been something…”

    “Ma’am,” the sergeant cut in, gently interrupting the increasingly distraught woman from her spiraling confusion, “Based on your demeanor, I suspect you might have been obliviated. Would you consent to visit St. Mungo’s for an evaluation?”

    “Do you think that is what it is?” the old woman looked up, an odd mix of hope and fear on her face. “I cannot say that I like the idea of having been obliviated, but it honestly sounds preferable to the possibility of forgetting my grandchildren.” She shook her head, wobbling slightly in place, “Could I trouble you for an escort there? I just feel so fuzzy at the moment.”

    “Of course, Madam,” the sergeant stepped forward briskly. “Smith,” he spoke to his colleague as he steadied the elderly witch with a hand on her elbow, “head to the floo and call ahead to let the Healers know we’re coming while I escort Madam Marchbanks.”

    The receiving hall soon flashed with the yellow-green light of an active floo connection.

    4.6.2 Another parental visit

    Another seven months, and like clockwork, another early morning trip to Hogwarts — Arthur was beginning to fear that this was to become his new routine.

    Unlike the last time with the twins, this one had been entirely unexpected, lacking as it did any obvious clues like the stolen car back in September. The floo call from Minerva had come out of the blue. Ginny had seemed fine over the break, and she was not generally the type to stir up trouble serious enough to warrant such intervention. For that matter, the tone of Minerva’s message had been quite different than the previous two, less exasperation and more trepidation.

    All of this had conspired to leave the Weasley patriarch more than a little apprehensive as he walked the increasingly familiar path from the school’s receiving yard to the main gates. The expression on Minerva’s face when she met him at the gate did nothing to alleviate that feeling.

    “Minerva, what has happened with my daughter?” he asked as he drew abreast and she turned to escort him into the school. “Your request for a meeting was light on details.”

    “I do apologize for that, Arthur. I am afraid I was quite exhausted when I sent that request last night,” the Scotswoman began as they walked. “I suppose the first thing is to assure you that your daughter is safe, and Poppy assures me she is well on the road to recovery.”

    “I am certainly glad to hear that my little girl is safe and recovering,” he said, “though, I am much less happy about the fact that she needs to recover in the first place. I presume we will be going to see her now?”

    “Of course, Arthur, I am taking you to see her in the infirmary presently,” she agreed. “Though, Albus has asked that you meet with him as well. We do not expect her to regain consciousness for some time, so after you have taken a moment to look in on your daughter, he will be available near Poppy’s office.”

    “Minerva, what actually happened to Ginevra?” the worried father asked as they rounded a corner and began mounting a set of steps that had just ground into place.

    “She ran afoul of an enchanted diary,” the Deputy Headmistress explained without further preamble. “An anchor for a soul, if I understood Albus’ explanation correctly. Your daughter was possessed by the spirit within, which has controlled her actions for several months.”

    Arthur had frozen at the top of the staircase as soon as the word ‘possessed’ passed Minerva’s lips. Noticing this, she paused. “Arthur? Are you alright?”

    The stairwell was silent for a moment before the shocked man managed to find his voice.

    “Ginny was possessed?” he ground out woodenly, slowly gaining speed as he processed that fact. “Is she free of its influence? How long ago did this start? Why didn’t we notice?”

    “If we might continue?” the Scotswoman prompted, which got the Weasley patriarch moving again. “We have not managed to learn when Miss Weasley acquired the diary, nor do we know how long she has been possessed, but we believe it stretches at least as far back as Halloween.”

    “Since Halloween?” Arthur breathed as they rounded another corner in the oft-labyrinthine castle. “But she was back in the Burrow since then, with her family! How did we not notice? How do you know she was possessed then?”

    “That was the first incident with the monster — a basilisk, as I am certain you saw in the papers after it was killed by Mr. Potter,” at his affirmative nod, she continued. “We have since learned that the possessing spirit was responsible for awakening the thing. As for how you could not notice, I can only hope that the control was intermittent, as I noticed nothing of the sort, either. Neither did her brothers, for that matter.”

    As they pair paused outside the infirmary after knocking to announce themselves and await the Healer’s permission to enter, Arthur reiterated his earlier question, “And is she free of it now?”

    “She most assuredly is,” the Scotswoman said with a fierce sort of smile. “My colleagues and I spent a great deal of effort ensuring that last night.”

    As the school Healer called out permission to enter her domain, any further questions were forgotten for the next few minutes as the patriarch of the Weasley family spent the time assuring himself that his darling little girl was intact and on the road to recovery. Eventually, nearly a quarter hour of concerned parental hovering later, the man had calmed enough that Minerva felt comfortable resuming their earlier conversation.

    “Arthur,” she began, “if you can bring yourself to step out for a moment, Albus would like to have a word with you.”

    “What if she wakes while I’m gone?” the apprehensive father demanded.

    “Mr. Weasley, I remind you that your daughter is recovering from magical exhaustion,” Poppy broke in with an explanation. “As part of her treatment for that condition, I am deliberately keeping her asleep to minimize energy expenditures. I guarantee that she will not be waking up within the next hour.”

    Fears allayed; Arthur finally allowed himself to be shuffled off to a nearby conference room. When the door opened, he found himself before Albus Dumbledore.

    “Arthur, come in and take a seat,” the elderly wizard welcomed him. “We have much to discuss.”

    Soon, everyone found themselves properly settled, and the conversation began in earnest.

    “Before we get to anything else, I have to ask,” Arthur began, morbidly curious. “This possession went on for months, at least one of which was at home with our family, and no one noticed anything amiss with our daughter’s behavior. What finally gave it away? I mean, how did you finally figure it out so you could take steps?”

    He left unsaid the obvious follow up: was it our failure as parents? Did we miss something obvious that we really should have seen?

    “Ah, it actually seems to have been a rather fortuitous bit of happenstance,” the Headmaster explained. “I am sure you recall that business with the basilisk Mr. Potter killed last term?”

    When Arthur nodded immediately — and rather predictably, the incident had been plastered across every publication in wizarding Europe for nearly two months afterwards — Albus continued, “From what we have been able to determine, it seems that the spirit possessing young Ginevra was not only responsible for the creature’s awakening and release, but was also rather unusually fond of the beast. So much so, that it apparently took rather violent exception to Mr. Potter killing it.”

    “Early yesterday afternoon, it managed to track down Mr. Potter and use your daughter to attack him from behind with a killing curse,” the elder wizard reported. “Afterward, she passed out, unable to handle the strain of casting such a curse, and Mr. Potter was good enough to drop her off in my office for me to deal with.”

    Arthur had sucked in a sharp gasp at the name of the curse. “A killing curse, you say?” He let out that breath with an explosive sigh. “Thank Merlin she missed the poor boy. That would have been a tragedy, and Ginny would never have forgiven herself, even if she wasn’t in control.”

    “Oh no, Mr. Weasley,” Albus interjected with a mischievous twinkle in his eye despite the gravity of the subject matter. “She most certainly did not miss. The curse was fired from perhaps a foot away, cast properly according to the trace on her wand, and her aim was spot on.”

    “Bloody hell!” the Weasley patriarch exclaimed, demonstrating where his youngest son had picked up the habit. “She hit him?”

    “Indeed, Mr. Weasley,” the elderly wizard nodded, “and then he proceeded to carry her across the school and up four flights of stairs to my office to drop her in my chair.”

    At Arthur’s incredulous expression, he chuckled, “Needless to say, Mr. Potter is made of rather sterner stuff than the average wizard.”

    “Well, I’ll be…” the Weasley patriarch marveled, “I guess the boy-who-lived thing wasn’t a fluke after all.”

    “Perhaps not,” Albus allowed, “perhaps not. Yet that is neither here nor there as concerns the current conversation. We are here to discuss your daughter and how her recent unfortunate situation came to pass.”

    He leaned forward intently, “We know fairly well how young Ginevra’s ordeal came to a fortunate end, but the question remains of how it began. We know the vector, a cursed diary, but we do not know how it came to be in your daughter’s possession. Do you have anything for us to go on, Arthur?”

    Staring down at the clenched hands resting in his lap, Arthur slowly shook his head in the negative. “I have been struggling to figure that out ever since Minerva first mentioned it, and for the life of me, I haven’t the foggiest idea!”

    Looking up from his lap, the concerned father turned a frustrated eye on the Headmaster, “Ginevra was at the Burrow for nearly the entire summer, and those few times she was away, both Molly and I were with her the entire time. I can’t imagine when she would have had the opportunity to encounter such a thing!”

    After one last searching look, the elderly Headmaster slumped back in his chair. “It seems then, that we are back where we started,” he said with an irritable sigh. “I had hoped you would be able to share some additional insight.”

    “Wouldn’t it make more sense to wait and ask Ginny when she wakes up?” Arthur asked.

    “Unfortunately, no it would not,” Albus denied with a grimace. “Given the stresses involved in possession and the length of time the possessing spirit had unrestricted access to her mind, I do not expect young Ginny to be able to tell us much when she wakes.”

    “The only other option I can think of is to ask Molly,” Arthur offered. “She might have seen something I didn’t. Failing that, maybe the boys might know something.”

    The Headmaster nodded at the suggestion. “I suppose that I shall need to avail myself of your hospitality in the near future, then,” the elder wizard agreed.

    “Certainly, you are always welcome at the Burrow, Albus,” the younger man assured him. “Molly will be delighted to have guests.”

    He paused for a moment as a thought occurred to him. “And on the topic of guests, might you be willing to bring Mr. Potter along with you? I’m certain Molly would agree with me that we owe him dearly for saving our little girl — doubly so for being such a good sport after she attacked him. Treating him to a good meal is the very least we could do.”

    The Headmaster smiled, “I see no issue with that, and I am certain Mr. Potter will quite appreciate the gesture. He is certainly not the sort to turn down food!”

    Arthur chuckled. “I know how boys are at that age; why I remember…”

    At that point, Poppy arrived at the door to announce that her patient would be regaining consciousness shortly, and any further conversation was put aside for a later date.

    4.6.3 Further developments

    “What have we learned?” the detective asked as he met with the sergeant whose preliminary report had prompted this sudden assignment from Investigations.

    The two men were standing in outside the Spell Damage ward at St. Mungo’s, where the sergeant had been acting as security after the preliminary Healer’s report on Madam Marchbanks had come back with a strong indication of foul play.

    “The Healers are now certain that Madam Marchbanks was obliviated,” the sergeant began. “Fortunately, they believe her memories will be recoverable with the help of a specialist.”

    “I see,” the detective nodded, jotting down notes as he spoke. Reversibility was a strong indication of skill in obliviation, which would be a helpful filter for determining the identity of the perpetrator — unskilled casters tended to leave an unrecoverable mess. “Dispatch has contacted the victim’s secretary to obtain her itinerary. She was scheduled to meet with two of our retired fellows and a Mr. Gilderoy Lockhart last night.”

    “You think it’s one of ours, sir?” the sergeant asked, sounding a little ill at the thought. “They’d have the skill for it, and I wouldn’t think Lockhart would, would he?” At the detective’s curious look, the sergeant hurried to explain, “I mean, I don’t know much about Lockhart — aside from the fact that my sister is all in a tizzy whenever a new book of his comes out, that is — but I don’t recall her saying anything about him knowing that sort of thing, and obliviation’s pretty tricky work.”

    “I’ll not rule out one of ours having gone bad,” the detective began, “not without further information, anyway, but Lockhart is certainly still on the suspect list. He doesn’t make much noise about it publicly, but he retired from the Obliviators a number of years back. As far as I’m concerned, it might be either of our former aurors, Mr. Lockhart, or a third party that the victim hadn’t been scheduled to meet with. We still don’t have enough information to rule out that possibility.”

    “I see, sir,” the sergeant agreed. “What do you need me to do?”

    “You’re on duty here; keep an eye on things until dispatch recalls you or sends relief,” the detective told him. “Until we know more about the perpetrator and the motive, we need to keep protective custody on the good Madam. We’ve already got three teams out looking for our two aurors and Mr. Lockhart. Hopefully you won’t be here too long.”

    “Understood,” the sergeant saluted briskly. “Good luck, sir!”

    4.6.4 Drunk and disorderly

    “I want you all ready,” the auror team captain told his subordinates as they prepared to enter the modest wards around an otherwise unremarkable magical residence. “We don’t know the circumstances, and until we do, we need to be prepared for resistance. Our targets may have retired, but they are two of our own. You all know what that means.”

    Indeed, they did, and it was for that reason that the entire team was in combat robes and fully kitted-out. The suspects in question were auror-trained, and even if they proved to be non-hostile, it was best to be armored up when surprising them — armor would help to minimize the long-term consequences of any potential accidents or misunderstandings.

    When the team reached the door, however, it soon became apparent that something unusual was afoot.

    “Gah!” the point man grimaced as he tried the door, swinging it open easily as it was unlocked. “What a stench!”

    With the front door unsealed, a horrible odor escaped the home, the sort of stink one might expect from a particularly rowdy bar that hadn’t been properly cleaned for a week.

    The point man looked back to his captain for confirmation before calling out. “Hello in there! This is law enforcement!”

    The team waited tensely for a response for a few moments before the captain nodded to the point man again, indicating that he should enter. The door was unlocked after all, no need to force entry.

    The man nudged the door open with his free hand, keeping his wand trained on the opening as he cautiously cleared the entry before his partner moved suddenly through the door as he covered it in a practiced entry maneuver.

    “Clear!”

    The rest of the team followed along as the stench got progressively worse. They proceeded through two more rooms before finding their quarry.

    “What the hell is this, then?”

    There, passed out in puddles of their own vomit and surrounded on all sides by a pile of empty bottles that had drifted nearly two feet high, were their two suspects. It was certainly a far cry from the professionalism they tended to expect from their own — even if it was far preferable to a shootout with good men gone bad.

    The captain deliberated for a moment before nodding to one of his men, “Get them sobered up so we can ask them what’s going on.” It was a bit rude to cast uninvited, but he was sure the men would understand, they were former aurors themselves, so…

    “Sir!” His subordinate looked up from his casting with a panicked look on his face. “The sobering charm isn’t working! That means…”

    The captain’s eyes widened as he followed the man’s train of thought.

    “We need to get them to the Healers, now!”

    4.6.5 Final checks

    Rivets groaned, steam hissed, tools clattered, and men shouted as all worked together to welcome new life into the world. Soon the train barn, which until the previous autumn had served strictly as a maintenance facility for Hogs Haulage, would bring forth from its cavernous interior for the first time a brand-new locomotive rather than refurbishing an existing one. The entire staff of perhaps two dozen engineers and technicians swarmed over Maintenance Bay 19 busily ensuring that everything about the new prototype would be in fine working order for the auspicious event.

    “The seals on Number 3 check out!” one of the engineers called out from his position half-buried in a complicated collection of mechanical parts. “Get the equipment moved over to Number Five, then we can start getting the high-pressure section buttoned down.”

    There was a loud hiss of compressed air as the test rig was detached and the pressure bled off.

    “Found the problem with the steam injection plate!” another voice called. “Built up some scale during testing; I’ll have it cleaned in a mo’.”

    Even in the final stretch, there was a lot of hard work involved in preparing a prototype locomotive for its grand debut as an integral whole.

    Standing off to one side of the scrum, the senior engineering team, accompanied by a few clipboard-wielding administrative types, proudly oversaw the controlled chaos in the maintenance bay, occasionally shouting out reminders or answering questions.

    “She’s coming together beautifully,” one of the engineers commented, his native Scottish accent just barely in evidence. “It’s amazing what those technicians have managed over the years with those piston seals. Bloody works of art, they are. As far as steam losses go, they’re just as tight as the piston walls!”

    “To be honest, David, I’m more impressed by their so-called ‘imperturbable’ enchantments,” L. D. Porta, the second senior engineer replied with the Spanish lilt of his native Argentina. “I never thought I’d see an actual ideal insulator outside of an elementary physics textbook. It makes me look forward to the performance analysis from this test run. With the ACE project, we broke even with diesel on total cost of operation, and that was essentially using my combustion system and the same precision machining used for the diesel engines themselves. With these new updates to the mechanicals, we will be closing some of worst inefficiencies remaining.”

    “Ha!” the Scotsman laughed. “So much for steam being obsolete. We’ll show ‘em all!”

    “Yes, yes,” the Argentinian engineer acknowledged with a chuckle. “Shall we see about contacting Mr. Potter to set a date for the prototype’s shakedown run? I suspect the boy would enjoy it, and he deserves at least that much for giving us this chance.”

    A note was quickly taken, and a message sent.

    4.6.6 A break in the case

    “What do we know?” Amelia Bones demanded as she walked into Conference Room 7 at the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, showing admirable professionalism despite it being early on a Monday morning.

    “It started with a request from Madam Rosmerta for a wellness check on her grandmother Friday night after the woman failed to show up for a scheduled dinner,” the investigating detective explained. “As there was no indication of foul play, the request was delayed until the next morning when some pressure to investigate came down from on high in the Ministry…”

    “From whom?” the Director demanded immediately, wanting to know who was meddling with her department.

    “We started looking as soon as it came through, and it seems the grandmother’s secretary called in a few favors at Madam Rosmerta’s request,” the investigator relayed, shuffling through a docket of papers as he verified that there had been no new developments. “No apparent links elsewhere in the Ministry that we could see.”

    “Very well, continue,” Bones prompted, mentally filing the issue away for later.

    “Saturday morning the sergeant on duty was dispatched to check up on the grandmother, Madam Marchbanks from Education, and found her safe in her home,” the detective continued. “The sergeant reports that she exhibited memory difficulties and distress, so he escorted her to St. Mungo’s for a checkup where she was diagnosed with a recent obliviation, judged to be reversible given enough effort.”

    “Hmm,” Amelia gestured for her subordinate to continue as she digested the information.

    “With the new evidence of foul play, I was assigned to the case, and we contacted the victim’s secretary to learn more about her Friday itinerary,” the detective explained. “She had been scheduled to meet with two former aurors for lunch — confirmed by Madam Rosmerta as well, since the first part of the meeting took place in her pub — before going on to Hogwarts to meet with Mr. Gilderoy Lockhart.”

    “I see,” the witch acknowledged. “What have you learned from them?”

    “We dispatched three teams, two auror teams to approach our retirees at their listed addresses, and a standard team to Hogwarts for Lockhart.” The investigator grimaced. “Our two retirees were found together in one of their homes, drunk to an almost unbelievable degree. The auror team that found them rushed the pair to St. Mungo’s, where they were treated for alcohol poisoning…”

    Alcohol poisoning?” the Director demanded incredulously. “In a wizard?”

    The detective nodded gravely, “Yes, ma’am, alcohol poisoning and some minor magical interaction issues from mixing different magical alcohols. Since it takes a great deal of work for a wizard to get that drunk, the Healers were somewhat concerned. Then, when they had managed to sober up one of our retirees enough for him to wake up and he went after the medicinal alcohol before he could be restrained, they checked for compulsions…”

    “I take it they came back positive?”

    The investigator nodded. “Some of the strongest they had seen, laid over an obliviation as well.”

    “Same caster as the one on Marchbanks?” Amelia asked, trying to piece together the sequence of events.

    “Unknown at this point; they had to break the compulsion immediately before the man got back into the alcohol and managed to kill himself, so we didn’t get a chance to record the signature,” the detective shook his head ruefully. “Apparently, even two years off the force and soused to the point of insensibility, aurors are too much for the Healers to handle.”

    “We do train them well,” Amelia smirked. “And the obliviation?”

    “They’ve given us a firm ‘probably’. Apparently, the earmarks match, but detailed investigation of magical signatures must be done at the right point in the reversal, or you risk corrupting the obliviated memories,” the investigator explained. “The specialist they called in for Madam Marchbanks tells us it will take at least a few months before the obliviation can be reversed, with magical identification becoming a viable option about two-thirds of the way through the process.”

    The Director of Magical Law Enforcement nodded slowly as she considered the situation. “So, what is your preliminary assessment?”

    “We have three instances of obliviation cast on three people known to have been in contact with a former Ministry Obliviator at the appropriate time,” the detective laid out the circumstances. “Two of those were also subjected to a potentially lethal compulsion charm. That makes for three counts of assault and possibly two counts of attempted murder — though, given that pains were taken to make all three obliviations reversible, it would not be hard for a defendant to argue those last two down to reckless endangerment.”

    “Given the circumstances, Mr. Gilderoy Lockhart is our primary suspect. He was present at the right time and is in possession of the appropriate skills,” the detective continued. “That said, we cannot say with certainty that he was responsible with the information we have now. The only way to be certain is to bring in Mr. Lockhart and compare his magical signature to those we find on the obliviation — assuming he doesn’t choose to confess, of course.”

    “How are things going on that front?”

    “We are still looking for him. The original team sent to Hogwarts could only determine that he was no longer on campus, and his professorial suite was locked. At that point, we had to apply for a warrant to search his professorial suite, which we obtained. Now, we are waiting on the search team to complete…” the detective began, only to be interrupted by a loud knock on the conference room door.

    “What is it?” Amelia called.

    A young woman who worked in Dispatch opened the door. “The Hogwarts team just reported in, they found Lockhart’s office cleaned out completely!”

    “We’ll need to get a specialist team from Forensics there immediately,” the detective decided. “We should be able to pick up enough residue to scry…”

    “No, sir,” the young woman interrupted. “The team said Lockhart cleaned it out completely. Everything Lockhart owned looks to have been set on fire in an expanded trunk on the hearth, and he apparently gave the house elves orders to sanitize the place as he left. The team is certain there’ll be nothing for Forensics to use.”

    “We will still have to try,” Amelia broke in, in a tone that brooked no disagreement. “It is our duty to see justice done. See to scheduling the specialists.” As the young woman nodded and left to organize the team, the Director continued, “Where does that leave us regarding the man’s guilt?”

    “Almost certain,” the detective admitted, “though the possibility of a third party kidnapping the man and muddying up the trail remains viable.”

    “Does that doubt change our course of action?” his commander asked.

    “No,” the investigator shook his head. “In either case the proper course of action is clear. The man must be found, either as a suspect or as a witness to the events. We’ll need to put out an order to detain him as a person of interest.”

    “See it done.”

    4.6.7 Applied magic

    The late morning sun smiled down of the rolling hills of rural Devonshire, illuminating a patchwork of fields and pastures divided by dense hedgerows. The entire landscape was flush with lush springtime growth.

    In the corner of one of those pastures, currently home to a small herd of cows lazily grazing, a mismatched pair of human figures — one an older man, the other a young boy — suddenly appeared with a whoosh of displaced air. Before the sound had a chance to fade, the previously sedate cattle broke for the far corner of the field at as quick a pace as they could manage.

    Something about the new arrivals was off, and the cows wanted nothing to do with it.

    The smaller figure looked wistfully after the fleeing livestock. “I hate it when they do that,” he groused. “I mean, I know why they do it, but…” he trailed off with a resigned sigh. Turning to his companion, he asked in a more upbeat tone, “So, where are we going?”

    “The entrance is this way, Mr. Potter,” AIbus Dumbledore gestured to the nearest hedgerow. “We have a fair walk ahead of us, so we had best get started. If you will follow me?” The two set off briskly, quickly finding a narrow, partially overgrown path through the hedgerow and forging though.

    “Um, Mr. Dumbledore,” Harry began tentatively as they pushed yet another springy branch aside, “if we needed to be on the other side of the hedge, why didn’t you just set the portkey to end over there?”

    “That is because, Mr. Potter,” the older wizard chuckled as they entered a slightly wider section of the path, “we do not need to go to the other side of the hedge. Our destination is right here.”

    He pushed aside one last branch to reveal an oak tree. Old and gnarled, the tree’s trunk was wider than the height of a man. In fact, on closer inspection, it seemed to be made of two different specimens which had entwined with each other as they grew, merging into the single twisted giant that stood before them now.

    “Hey, is that some kind of magic tree?” the last Potter asked curiously. “It’s got some glowy bits to it.”

    “The tree itself is not magical, Mr. Potter,” Dumbledore explained as he examined a series of lumps on the misshapen trunk intently, “It does, however, serve as the physical anchor for a rather substantial enchantment.”

    The currently human-shaped dragon cocked his head curiously. “What kind of enchantment is it?”

    “A rather extensive space expansion charm,” the elderly wizard answered. “In much the same way that the expanded space containing Diagon Alley is anchored in the wall behind the Leaky Cauldron, the one containing the wizarding hamlet of Ottery St.-Catchpole is contained within the hollow center of this tree.”

    “Neat!” Harry exclaimed enthusiastically, then his green eyes widened appreciatively as his companion’s wand found the right pattern, and the tree trunk seemed to unwind, the two original trunks separating from each other and straightening to reveal an opening between them. Beyond lay a neatly paved path leading off through a sunny meadow.

    Albus set off down the path as soon as the entrance opened, and his younger companion scrambled to follow as soon as he realized the man had set off.

    “Wicked!” the young dragon exclaimed as he looked about, fascinated. “That’s so cool looking! I never knew spatial expansion charms looked like that.” He turned to his companion, “Hey Mr. Dumbledore, why doesn’t Diagon Alley look like this? I mean, if it’s the same sort of magic, shouldn’t it look the same?”

    “Well, Mr. Potter, I cannot say with certainty, as the method your physiology utilizes to see magical flows remains rather mysterious, yet, if I were to hazard a guess, I would suspect it is due to the relative quality of the enchantments,” the elderly wizard guessed.

    As the path took them across a small footbridge, he continued, “Diagon Alley was created by a team of the finest enchanters in all of Europe. It has stood for more than half a millennium without major maintenance. These charms, however,” he gestured to the meadow around them, “were cast by the residents, and judging by the spell residue I can sense, they have been renewed at least twice in the last year alone. The tighter spell work in Diagon Alley might be less visible to your eyes.”

    Harry nodded thoughtfully as he considered that. “I guess that makes sense…” his voice trailed off as he shot a suspicious look at the house they were approaching, a round stonework tower complete with ramparts and machicolations.

    It looked rather like the sort of place all the stories said knights liked to live.

    “Hey Mr. Dumbledore,” he asked nervously, gesturing to the house they were approaching, “is that where the Weasleys live?”

    “No, that is the Lovegood home,” Albus answered. “The Weasley home is farther down the lane.”

    “Good,” Harry said emphatically, glad he wouldn’t be going in there. He was feeling a bit on edge just being nearby. The thing looked like a knight ought to be bursting out the door with a lance any minute.

    Wait, Lovegood? The young dragon thought with a scowl. It figured that guy would have such a creepy house.

    Harry shook his head and deliberately turned away from the sight. “Um, Mr. Dumbledore,” he began, looking to change the subject, “I know you said the Weasleys invited me to lunch, but why did they do that?”

    “Inviting you over for a meal is their way of thanking you, Mr. Potter,” Albus explained as the path they were following turned gently to skirt a small hill.

    “Thanking me for what?” the last Potter asked, puzzled.

    He didn’t remember having done anything in particular for the Weasleys recently.

    “They are thanking you for saving their daughter, Ginevra, from possession,” the elderly wizard explained. “They love their daughter and were quite distressed about the whole business.”

    “Oh, that,” the young dragon nodded. The Headmaster had explained that situation to him earlier. “Um, I didn’t really do much on that, though. I mean, I basically just handed her off to you. You and the other professors did all the work of actually fixing her.”

    “And yet, we would not have known anything was amiss without your intervention,” Albus countered.

    “Fair enough,” Harry allowed. “I’m glad I decided to wait and check with you before I killed her. I wasn’t sure if that was the right thing to do, you know.”

    “Yes, so you have said, Mr. Potter, repeatedly,” the Headmaster agreed, sounding mildly aggrieved.

    Harry had not been shy about explaining the thought process behind his handling of the situation when Albus had asked. It had been the focus of a fair bit of discussion over the past few days, during which Albus had tried fervently to convince Harry that his simple but brutal strategy of deterrence was deeply flawed. Unfortunately, in the face of the dragon’s stubbornness and straightforward, simplistic logic, the greatest wizard in Britain had made little headway, eventually deciding to table his efforts until a later date.

    “On a related note, Mr. Potter,” Albus added, “I would strongly recommend you not mention that possibility while we are with the girl’s family. I believe in this instance, at least, that discretion is the better path.”

    “Okay, Mr. Dumbledore!” came the cheerful acknowledgement; just in time, as it turned out, because their path had just brought then within sight of that destination.

    Almost as soon as they cleared the hill, a cry came from down the lane which they quickly traced back to the figure of a man down the road. Arthur Weasley had seen them from afar and had come to greet his guests at the gate.

    “Welcome to the Burrow, AIbus, Mr. Potter,” the redheaded man greeted them as they arrived. “It is good of you both to visit. Come in, come in! Molly is waiting for us in the kitchen.” He opened the gate and the group of two wizards and a dragon made its way through the front garden towards the Burrow proper.

    As he passed through the garden, Harry looked about with great interest. The front garden was lush and well-tended, but the really interesting bit was the house itself. The materials were hardly unusual, a timber frame with what appeared to be a mix of plank and wattle and daub walls, but the way it was put together was fascinating.

    The edifice looked to have originated as a cozy cottage and had stayed within the confines of that original foundation even as additional rooms were tacked onto the top haphazardly at odd angles and orientations. The upper floors weren’t even centered over the foundation, cantilevered out asymmetrically over the side yard. In short, the whole thing really ought to have toppled over long ago, but it did not. Instead it was actively held up by copious amounts of magic — magic that was quite visible to the Weasleys’ newest visitor.

    The young dragon had never realized magic could be used for such things. Hogwarts didn’t, not that he knew of, and Gringotts certainly didn’t, both of those buildings tended to stick to proper-looking, physically supported architecture, even if they used materials that were often passively reinforced with magic — like the enchanted stone of Hogwarts. He’d looked into magical building materials when he started looking into warding for his Lair, since it had been mentioned as a consideration during ward design — which turned out to be of particular interest to him since he’d dug the Lair out of what the books termed ‘living bedrock’, which was very tricky to ward properly. The enchantments used in enchanted stone and the like were nearly as stable as the materials they were cast on, lasting without substantial maintenance for millennia.

    By contrast, the enchantments used on the Weasleys’ house looked to be actively supporting the structure — slowly leaking magic all the while, if the strong glow Harry was seeing in the walls was any indication. He bet they’d have to be renewed all the time, which had to be pretty inconvenient — who would want to have their house collapse if they forgot to renew the charms for the week — but they’d managed to do something pretty impressive with them.

    That cantilevered second floor, projecting out away from the foundation as it did, was something even the best enchanted materials couldn’t handle — at least, not until you got into some really expensive alchemically created stuff like orichalcum or mithril. The Weasleys had managed it with completely normal sticks and mud, and the young dragon thought that was pretty cool.

    His fascinated examination lasted long enough to see him inside, at which point he encountered Molly Weasley and had other things to think about.

    Chiefly hugs.

    Upon reaching the kitchen, the currently human form of the distracted young dragon was immediately swept up in a disorienting sort of embrace by the lady of the house. The plump, matronly woman had wasted no time in showering the currently human-looking youngster with grateful affection — both in thanks for helping her daughter, and simply because the slightly built, too-young-looking boy looked like he could use a good hug.

    For his part, Harry had been too engrossed in examining the architectural spell work to see her coming, and by the time he managed to figure out what was going on, Molly Weasley had already nearly finished her greeting.

    “…thank you ever so much for saving our little girl,” he managed to decipher just in time for the hug to be released.

    “Um, it wasn’t really a problem, Mrs. Weasley,” he begged off. “I mean, I didn’t really do much.”

    “Nonsense, dear, you did plenty,” she insisted, absently smoothing his perpetually tousled hair. “Without you, we might never have found out what was wrong in time to fix it. Now, you take a seat at the table while I finish our lunch.”

    As Harry made his way over to the table, he found the two adult wizards making small talk. With nothing obviously interesting going on, the young dragon returned to his examination of the building, this time its interior. Up to that point, Harry’s exposure to wizarding architecture had been restricted to institutional or commercial spaces, not private homes. The closest he had come was his visit to Madam Marchbanks, and even that had been in the formal receiving area of a Noble House — practically an institutional space in its own right.

    The Weasley family kitchen was most assuredly not an institutional space.

    He found he rather liked it.

    The kitchen was a homely sort of place, full of simple furnishings and mouthwatering smells. The dinner table, where Mr. Dumbledore and Mr. Weasley were seated, was a sizable affair taking up nearly a third of the expanded interior of the kitchen. Above that was a rather interesting looking clock with for too many hands and glowy bits indicating it was enchanted — probably to do something other than tell time, judging from their odd position compared to other enchanted clocks he had encountered.

    The rest of the room held plenty to look at too: counters and cupboards, jars of dried and preserved food, shelves of dishes and linens, an old-fashioned ice box — the kind that was actually cooled with real ice — and all the other bits one might expect in a well-appointed country kitchen back before the advent of widespread modern utilities. All the bits except one, that is, an exception which caught the young dragon’s attention and prompted him to walk over to take a closer look.

    “Mrs. Weasley,” he asked as he came to a stop next to her at the stove, which was, to all appearances, a modern gas range, “how did you guys get gas service inside an expanded space?”

    The older witch turned to her young guest with a puzzled frown, steadily stirring all the while. “I beg your pardon?”

    “For the stove, I mean,” Harry explained. “It’s got the little blue jets of flame from the burners and stuff, so it’s a stove that burns natural gas to produce heat just like the one I’ve got back at the Lair burns wood. And you’ve got to get the gas here somehow, which usually means a gas pipeline, and I’d think that’d be pretty hard to run into an expanded space.”

    Molly’s puzzled frown had only deepened as her guest explained his question. After a moment’s further thought she decided to pass the buck, as it were. “I’m afraid I am not the one to ask, dear. Arthur was the one who installed the stove. You should ask him, if you’re curious.”

    With an agreeable nod, Harry proceeded to do just that.

    “The stove is an enchanted model,” Arthur explained after his young guest had repeated his question. “It absorbs ambient magic and stores it then converts it to heat on demand. We see them all the time at work when wizards living in the muggle world install them in their houses.”

    He shook his head in exasperation. “So many who choose to live in the muggle world think that just because they made it look like a muggle stove, they can use them whenever they want, but just like how you noticed with this one, you have to have the right infrastructure or they’re a dead giveaway that something’s wrong. We usually end up confiscating one about every few months for violations of the Statute of Secrecy.”

    “Shall I assume that is where you obtained the rather high-end model you have here, Arthur?” Dumbledore asked his host with an amused smirk.

    “Ah… well,” the redhead scratched at his chin uncomfortably, visibly searching for an excuse for his minor larceny. “You see… they were just going to be destroyed anyway, and I wanted to give Molly something nice for our anniversary, so…”

    Oblivious to the byplay between his elders, Harry asked, “So does it use a runic construct or persistent charms or what? And how does it do the storage?”

    “Ah… I’m not entirely certain,” Arthur admitted, sounding grateful for the interruption yet a tad embarrassed at being unable to answer the question. “I’m afraid I only know enough to identify one.”

    His young guest nodded understandingly. “Do you think I could take it apart to look at it myself?”

    “Ah, I rather think that my wife would object to disassembling her stove, Mr. Potter,” Arthur said hurriedly, eyes wide with horror at the idea, “especially before she finishes preparing lunch.”

    As the boy’s face fell, he racked his brain for another option. He did owe the boy his daughter’s life, after all — that was worth much more than any stove.

    “There may be another option, however,” Arthur offered after a moment’s thought. “As I recall, I do have a small portable model out in the shed. I got it for camping trips with the boys, but we hardly get any use out of it now. You could take that one apart for a look, if you’d like.”

    “Really?” green eyes lit with excitement. “That’d be great! Can we go now?”

    With an apologetic nod to his other guest, Arthur rose to escort the excitable boy out to the back yard and the shed in question.

    “So, Mr. Potter, might I ask why you are so interested in my stove?” Arthur Weasley asked his young guest as he opened the door. “Kitchen appliances were hardly the sort of thing that captured my attention when I was your age.”

    “Well, it’s more that I want to know how the stove is using magic to make heat,” the currently human boy explained. “You see, I was working on this thing…”

    Harry’s reply was cut off by the door closing behind them, and the kitchen suddenly seemed much emptier.

    For his part, Albus watched them go with aplomb. He had things to discuss with Molly in any case, and to that end he rose and made his way over to the stove.

    “Madam Weasley, I must confess that I had an ulterior motive in accompanying Mr. Potter on this visit,” he began. “Might I ask you a few questions?”

    “Ah, this is about that dreadful diary?” she asked looking up from her cooking for a moment. Seeing his nod, she flashed him a warm smile and bent back to her work. “Then of course you may ask, Headmaster, and feel free to call me Molly — no need to stand on formality while we’re standing about the kitchen and I’m half-covered in flour!”

    “Only if you will call me Albus, madam,” he agreed with an agreeable chuckle. At her nod, he continued, “As I explained to your husband, I am attempting to track down the origins of that ‘dreadful diary’, as you put it. Do you have any idea where she might have come by such a thing? Young Ginevra seems to have no memory of acquiring it, saying that as far as she could remember she had simply always had it, which we believe to be the result of mental manipulation by the possessing spirit.”

    Molly scowled down at her pot of stew, giving it a particularly hard stir. “I have been thinking about it since Arthur told me you would be coming to ask, and I haven’t been able to place anything…” she trailed off, a horrified expression stealing across her face. “Albus, you mentioned mental manipulation, and the spirit was here over Christmas, at least. Do you think… “

    “That is a possibility I had not considered,” Albus acknowledged with a concerned frown, “and a rather unpleasant one at that.” It was also a possibility which would make any evidence they could give suspect. “This is a troubling development.”

    Seeing his hostess seem to fold in on herself at his words, the elderly wizard hurried to reassure her. “No need to worry, Molly, the truth will tell eventually. It always does.”

    He would simply have to approach the problem from a different angle — a subtler and more covert option, something the possessing spirit might not have anticipated. In the meantime, there was much else to discuss.

    “On a more pleasant note, that smells delicious,” he gestured to the pot Molly was still stirring. “Might I inquire as to what you are preparing?”

    “Oh, of course!” the Weasley matriarch assured him, sounding quite pleased. “I had heard from the boys that young Harry is quite the big eater, so I…”

    As the meal continued to take shape, the idle talk continued ranging from food, to schooling, to the weather, and finally to gardening.

    “Oh, yes the garden has been doing wonderfully so far,” Molly gushed after her guest complimented her on her work in the area. “But it’s truly a treat in the summer! Why take those vines over there,” she gestured out the kitchen window to the shed into which her husband had disappeared into with Harry nearly half an hour before. The small outbuilding was entirely covered in a shaggy green mass of climbing plants.

    The elderly wizard peered obediently at the vines in question. Honeysuckle if he was not mistaken; The name stirred something in the back of his mind, a trace of a memory.

    “Come late summer, that is practically a solid wall of flowers! And the smell!” Molly paused to take a deep breath, as if admiring a scent, “We put the laundry out to dry nearby, and it makes everything smell wonderful!”

    “Late summer, you say?” he asked, that niggling trace of a memory suddenly snapping into clarity. “Would that have been about the time school started?”

    She shook her head, “No, the flowers start to die off a week or so before then. About the time we take the children shopping for their school supplies.” Her face twisted into a slight scowl, as if reminded of an unpleasant memory. Something that did not escape her guest’s notice.

    “Did something unpleasant happen then?” he asked, probing gently.

    “That Lucius Malfoy,” Molly growled, “picking a fist fight of all things with my Arthur outside Flourish and Blotts. I have no idea what he was trying to prove with that stunt.”

    “How dreadful!” he commiserated, his mind racing as it worked at putting everything together.

    It was dreadful behavior, to be sure, but more importantly, it was uncharacteristic behavior for the man. Lucius Malfoy was not one to get his own hands dirty. There had to have been something else afoot.

    “Nothing came of it, really,” his hostess continued, “but it was still quite unconscionably rude.”

    “Molly, you mentioned that this altercation took place outside the bookstore,” Albus began, following up on a hunch. “Was this before or after you purchased the children’s books?”

    “After,” she answered immediately, “why do you ask?”

    A rather terrible suspicion had begun to coil in Albus’ gut; however, sharing it with the Weasley matriarch at this time would benefit no one; she and her family were in no position to act on the knowledge. Best to be discreet for now.

    “Ah, nothing important,” he averred, even as he gently flexed his magic into the subtly probing pattern of a fully mastered legilimency spell. The information it returned solidified his suspicions into certainty. “So, Arthur Weasley in a fistfight with Lucius Malfoy, hmm? I’d imagine that went poorly for Lucius.”

    For her part, Molly shot him a suspicious glance, the finely tuned bullshit detector of the mother of the Weasley twins pinging something fierce at that pathetic attempt at redirection. She knew he had been after something with that line of questioning, but after holding her visitor’s eye for a long moment, she shrugged and turned back to her nearly completed lunch, seemingly willing to allow Albus his deceit.

    “Would you be willing to go let Arthur and Harry know lunch is nearly ready, Albus?”

    “Of course, Molly! I would be delighted.”

    4.6.8 Correspondence

    That evening saw Albus Dumbledore returned to his office and sat at his desk, staring down at the draft of a letter on the blotter and thinking dark thoughts even as his usual collection of magical trinkets spun, puffed, clinked, or burbled in the background according to their usual custom. This continued until his brooding was interrupted, as it so often was, by a warble from the phoenix in the room.

    “What is it, Fawkes?” the elderly wizard asked, looking up from the parchment before him.

    A pointed trill answered him.

    “I am not brooding!” he protested. Albus endured the skeptical gaze from the living embodiment of flame for all of a few seconds before he broke down and admitted the truth. “Very well, I suppose I am brooding.”

    Fawkes’ interrogative tweet prompted him to explain.

    “Well, old friend, I have recently come across a bit of information regarding one of those ultimately responsible Miss Weasley’s situation, and I am torn on how to respond,” the Headmaster of Hogwarts explained to his avian companion. “On the one hand, as much as I would like to act rather precipitously, I am bound by the law, and the information I have is not sufficient to stand up to legal standards. On the other, I know the information is reliable, and I am also bound to protect the students at this school. I am torn on which imperative to follow.”

    He was answered by a dismissive chirp and an avian sort of shrug.

    “What do you mean, ‘why not do both?’” the old man demanded irritably. “Did you not listen? The two options are mutually incompatible. If I defend my student by killing the perpetrator, I run afoul of the law, and I’ve spent a great deal of my life putting that law in place. I have no desire to undermine it myself by blatantly ignoring it! How on earth am I supposed to…”

    He was interrupted by a complicated sequence of twittering which he only partially understood.

    “What was that last bit?” Albus asked. “I wasn’t quite able to follow.”

    Fawkes repeated the twittering exchange, and, when met with an expression of obvious incomprehension, the bird-shaped flame fell silent for a time, considering how to explain more simply. Just as the phoenix was about to flame them both over to the Lair to ask the resident dragon to translate, the wizard in the room made a suggestion.

    “Could you demonstrate, perhaps?” Dumbledore suggested.

    The living flame fell silent for just a moment before giving another of those peculiar avian shrugs accompanied by an affirmative sounding chirp. It was fortunate that Albus and the phoenix were alone in the office, because the ensuing display from the immortal embodiment of fire would have left many lesser wizards near-catatonic.

    Albus calmly and thoughtfully stroked his long, white beard as he considered his companion’s eloquent suggestion. Eventually, he nodded affirmatively.

    With a bit of planning and theater, it would do as a compromise.

    Shortly thereafter, a Hogwarts owl winged its way off into the distance carrying a formal invitation.
     
  11. Ayashi

    Ayashi Experienced.

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    I always found it hilarious how in canon Ginny, the daughter of the minister of casual misuse of dark and magical objects, thinks keeping and conversing with a 'talking' diary is a good idea. To say nothing of her growing memory issues.
    It would have been one thing if she had been a muggle-born witch, like Hermione (seriously, her having and using the diary would have been entirely in character!) but ... she's really really not.
     
  12. Felius

    Felius Versed in the lewd.

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    Between enchanted mirrors, enchanted portraits, the Marauder's Map, and other miscellaneous enchanted items that at least have the appearance of some intelligence with their interactivity, it's not that absurd that she simply thought it was something of the sort. And by the time she had interacted with it enough to realize it had more than a rudimentary magical AI, well, by then it was probably too late to prevent falling into its influence.
     
  13. Acolyte

    Acolyte Getting out there.

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    Yay,new chapter.
     
    caspian1a likes this.
  14. viper5delta

    viper5delta Getting some practice in, huh?

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    My first thought is that this is a challenge to an honor duel, as it seems appropriate to what we know of wizarding culture in this story, and generally requires much less in the way of proof than formal criminal proceedings.
     
  15. Spartan3909

    Spartan3909 Getting sticky.

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    Arthur was Head of the department of the misuse of muggle artifacts, not dark and magical objects. If it was an evil toaster, she might of had better luck.
     
  16. stads

    stads Know what you're doing yet?

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    yay new chapter
    got to love the vip part before checking things out then having it on record they only check out couse favors where called
     
  17. Kitty S. Lillian

    Kitty S. Lillian Transhuman

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    The problem with such a suggestion is Mr. Weasley's explicit refrain of “Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain.”

    Gred and Forge likewise disregard this dictum with the Map.
     
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  18. AndrewWolfe

    AndrewWolfe Hot glue beard disaster.

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    It's a perennial complaint of parents that no matter how many times you harp on the safety rules, sooner or later you're sat in an A&E waiting room with one of them, choking down the urge to deliver an absolutely thermonuclear bollocking to go with the stitches.
     
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  19. wichajster

    wichajster Know what you're doing yet?

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    I am not entirely fan of mithril being a real material.

    I really dislike making many famous people into squibs and I really dislike tendency doing it for authors of well written fantasy.

    It is kind of devaluating their creativity.

    Though maybe it went into an opposite direction? With mithril being inspired by Tolkien and a relatively recent invention?

    -----

    I really, really like using magic as part of technology. Magitec is rare, one that is not cringy is as rare as a good Dumbledore characterisation (also present hehe!).
     
  20. zup

    zup Versed in the lewd.

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    Every child knows that accidents only happen to other people. How? They learn it by imitating their parents.
     
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  21. Dunkelzahn

    Dunkelzahn No one of consequence

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    On the subject of mithril:

    It's not intended to say anything one way or another about the disposition of Tolkien in-universe, I just lifted the name.

    Basically, I wanted a fancy-sounding name for mage-silver that sounded like it could have come down from ancient times --- that is, preferably pre-latin. For instance, orichalcum appeared in Plato's descriptions of Atlantis --- in addition to already being a part of the Shadowrun setting, if in somewhat different detail --- and is believed to be a portmanteau of the Greek oros (mountain) and chalcos (copper). Unfortunately, argyros (silver) survived as a root for a lot more modern words, and I couldn't find anything that sounded appropriate.

    I actually did a fair bit of looking before falling back on mithril in the first place. Mithril was named in an invented language --- an invented language specifically designed by a linguist for the express purpose of sounding nice --- and was already established in the collective unconscious as a magical silvery metal, so it fit the bill well enough, and I decided it wasn't important enough to spend any more time on.

    If you feel strongly about it and want to go to the trouble of hunting up an appropriately non-Tolkien-sourced and sufficiently ancient-sounding name for a magical silvery metal, feel free to do so and pass on some suggestions. Aside from my lack of an appropriate sounding name, there's no reason for it to be called mithril, specifically.

    To help you out, if you want to give it a shot, here's the relevant points from my description of the stuff:
    • Mithril, also known as mage-silver or artificer's silver, is a silvery-colored magically active metal
    • It absorbs and stores magic in amounts proportional to the strength of the field it is in (that is, it enters equilibrium with the environmental fields)
    • Like orichalcum, it is extremely strong and corrosion resistant when exposed to high intensity magic fields
    • Additionally, it has the property of expanding slightly as it absorbs magic, making it very useful for magical instrumentation and reactive armors
    • In low magic environments, mithril is simply a porous and highly brittle alloy of silver which consequently corrodes extremely fast, even for silver.

    As a note, I am not in the habit of replacing real historical figures with squibs. The wizards in this setting are serious about their secrecy, so if Tolkien had been a squib, he'd certainly not have been writing high fantasy --- too close to the hidden reality, after all; that might get him thrown into Azkaban if he kept at it. He'd have gone into some other genre, or maybe eschewed writing altogether.

    The closest I have come in any of my backstory so far to such a thing is an invented character that I have inserted as working under a famous historical figure (or more accurately, a famous historical couple). Specifically, if you're curious (and I don't think this is a spoiler, but I'll tag it anyway)
    I have planned for a fictional character, a muggleborn wizard who fled the wizarding world in the 1880's for the nonmagical one, who ended up working as a general technician at the ESPCI in his native Paris. Eventually, he came to work for Marie and Pierre Curie, learning a great deal in the process.

    Being a wizard, and therefore able to live longer in general and repair the damage done by radiation exposure, he outlived his former employers by a significant margin, and he continued their work in the one direction that none of their other students could pursue. Eventually he published those investigations in a series of obscure books in the magical world which found their way into Harry's library as a result of his indiscriminate book buying.

    He exists specifically to provide a backstory for that set of books, and I never intend for him to appear in the story.

    As for magitech, I'm glad you like it! Since I wanted magic to be a natural part of the world, just another aspect of how the world works rather than some unnatural eldritch abomination, it would have been silly to ignore the possibility. It needs planning, and it can act strangely at times, but that's the same for any technology.

    Plus, the Shadowrun setting is rife with the stuff, so I would have been remiss to ignore the possibility.
     
  22. Dragonpriest88

    Dragonpriest88 *Prostrates Self*

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    Oricalcum is also in the Exalted setting, when was oricalcum last used in shadowrun? I know it wasn't mentioned in shadowrun 4th edition anywhere, so its definitely before the 2004 books, hmmm. I dont think it was in 5th, And I havnt read 6th edition.
     
  23. Sequal

    Sequal Getting out there.

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    I know it was referenced in Dunkelzahn's Will, not sure which edition that was for.

    Other than that, I have seen it in the Magic sourcebooks for both fourth (pg 81) and fifth (pg 209) editions.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2020 at 4:46 PM
  24. Hunting time

    Hunting time Getting out there.

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    Moonsilver, from Exalted setting. Oricalcum is also there.
     
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  25. OddFrog

    OddFrog I can fly!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Yea that always bugs me as well, not just with potter but with a lot of sci-fi/fantasy novels set on earth. The author makes up a new species or hidden society or something (wizards/secret agents/magical species/demi-gods) that they merge into a modern earth setting, then try to make their creation look good by googling a list of influential historical figures and claiming they were all part of the authors invented group/species.

    It might make their creation look better but its always at the expense of normal humans, taking their accomplishments away and reducing their importance. Not surprisingly I find that said stories also tend to relegate normal people to an inconvenient background detail that interferes with their story.
     
  26. Dunkelzahn

    Dunkelzahn No one of consequence

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    Per the English-language wiki, Orichalcum. The article, like most of them on the site, features a list of source books referenced near the bottom.
     
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  27. AndrewWolfe

    AndrewWolfe Hot glue beard disaster.

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    True. There's one exception, though: Alchemists, simply because on the historical record a lot of the famous names from the dawn of science actually were alchemists, and published in that field. Or, in the case of Boyle, rewrote the paradigm of the field to give rise to what we now know as chemistry.
     
  28. Wolfboy

    Wolfboy Not too sore, are you?

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    Orichalcum is mostly talked about in 1st through 3rd editions but is predominantly the most expensive ingredient for making foci, and especially weapon foci. During the Year of the Comet arc of 3ed several unknown and very large veins of seemingly natural Orichalcum appeared, and then as Haleys comet passed back out of the inner system they disappeared again.
     
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  29. Simonbob

    Simonbob Really? You don't say.

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    Oricalcum has rules for making it, in 5th ed.

    Difficult, time consuming, but good for high grade magic.
     
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