Chapter 13 : The Death of Innocents
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The Death of Innocents
The man gave Harry a peculiar look but said nothing. Harry, on the other hand, was rooted to the ground unable to believe what his eyes were seeing. He wanted to shout out his name, to find out if it was he, but Harry was in so much shock that all he could do was to see the man walk further and further away from him-his horse by his side. “No, come back” was all he could muster, yet it had not been loud enough for the man to hear.
‘Go! What are you doing? Go to him!’ a little voice inside his head said, however Harry did nothing. His rational side was telling him that it was not Sirius for he had died thanks to that veil Ravenclaw had made and dead people do not come back from the dead.
“Lord Gryffindor!” he heard someone shout but did not react to it. He was not Gryffindor; he was Harry Potter, a sixteen year old who once again felt that old pain of the loss of his Godfather. Perhaps he was Sirius’ ancestors, his logical-self thought, which is why that man has such resemblance. Yet something still bothered him about that man...the way he walked...the way he stood...
“Lord Gryffindor!” Harry sighed and turned towards the source of the voice. A young girl with long light-brown braided hair was approaching him as fast as her feet could take her. She was dressed in a simple yet worn down blue tunic, Harry noticed, meaning she was a servant of King Arthur. Onella, who was looking at the newcomer with a bit of fright, backed away a little bit.
“Lord Gryffindor, I’m glad to see you sire” the girl said, her breath short “Lady Morgain sir!”
Harry’s stomach dropped. What had happened while he had been gone? He had no idea, but from the girl’s expression, nothing good had happened. “What is wrong with Lady Morgain?”
“She started screaming, milord,” the girl said while crossing herself. Harry, from the corner of his eye saw how Onella shook her head at the girl after she crossed herself. Oblivious to Onella and her child, the girl kept talking. “She was fine, talking to our Lord and King, but I saw how all of the sudden she went colourless and wide eyed before she started to scream non-stop. She kept yelling that there was blood upon the Great Hall. She was hysterical, the Lady was, and crying. T’was the King that calmed her down” she continued “but she still shook as if she were in the middle of a winter storm with no clothing. It was then when the King and Sir Lancelot decided to take her to her room and the King instructed me that as soon as you appeared to tell you about what happened and to go to the second landing, where you‘ll find his majesty.”
Harry wondered what kind of vision Morgain had had in order to frighten her so. Before running up to the castle, Harry instructed the girl to give a room to his companions, for they were friends of his. The girl nodded, but Harry saw how she looked uneasy at the sight of Onella and her son. He was glad, in part, glad that he was in a good station that no one dared to neither contradict him nor challenge his decisions. The only people that were above him was King Arthur and his wife and perhaps some other lords. He was, however, afraid that the girl would send word to the High Queen regarding such “guests” into her castle...a seemly queen would never allow such thing happen.
Harry found Lancelot and King Arthur outside Morgain’s room talking zealously about Morgain and magic and what could be ailing her. Demons they thought, so why not bring a priest. However, they both kept quiet when they saw Gryffindor walking towards them and dared not mention the thought of bringing a priest to Morgain. Harry stopped in front of the king and bowed. All both men did was move aside to let him pass and without crossing a word he entered Morgain’s room, his heart was pounding hard against his chest. Something was not right. He found Morgain sitting on her bed fuzzed over by a couple of ladies-in-waiting Arthur had dismissed for the time being from Guinevere’s household to help Morgain.
“Please leave” Morgain instructed as she saw Harry approach her. The three women made a curtsey and left the room without saying a word or looking at Harry in the eyes when they curtsy at him. “Good to see you’re still alive.” She said a weak smile on her face. She looked pale compared to her usual dark skin and, Harry realized as he sat on the rickety chair next to her bed, she had beads of sweat on her forehead but her hands were cool to the touch.
“Are you alright, Morgain?”
She smiled “Yes...” however, she then shook her head and closed her eyes “no...No, I am not. They do not believe for who believes an evil witch...but I saw Arthur’s hall covered in blood. A lot of it.” Her voice was shook but continued nonetheless, “I could not see but I could hear the screams. I heard Arthur say ‘arrest him’ followed by the yells of angry men and the sobs of women” She paused and it was then Harry tried calm Morgain down for he fear that if she did not, she was only going to fall ill but all he had managed was to get her frustrated even more. “No Harry, you do not understand! I could smell the blood and when I glanced down on my hands...I saw that they were covered in blood...the only thing I could see were my bloody hands.”
Harry was speechless; the Morgain he knew was always cool, calm and collected, always ready to chide him over something he had done right and always hiding her thoughts and feelings. This Morgain before him was weak and broken down. He wanted to say something, to reassure her that everything was all but he no word came to him. However, nothing did...for he knew that the sight she had received was a warning of something to come. “Where did you run off to?” Morgain asked, changing the subject.
“Oh, right” However, Harry was not able to answer her question for when he opened his mouth a gust of wind blew the window open startling both Harry and Morgain. As a reflex, Harry drew his want but then grasped the fact that he was pointing his wand to a ghost, or so he thought. Right in front of him stood the Lady of the Lake. Her figure was transparent, that is why he had mistaken her for a ghost, yet she still looked terrifying and powerful, all at the same time even when she resembled a ghost.
“Are you dead?” Harry wanted to blurt out but kept silent; her eyes fixed on Morgain.
“Morgain...” her voice was distant but clear, “Hold on my daughter, I’ll be there soon. Do not despair.” And with that, her figure was gone.
Morgain stared, just as Harry did, on the spot where Viviane’s apparition had been. When Harry turned back to Morgain, he was surprised to see that the small woman had fallen asleep. Feeling glad that Morgain could finally get some sleep, Harry stole out of the room decided that it was best to warn Arthur that he was going to have more visitors. His only problem was explaining how he knew that Viviane was on her way. He found that neither Lancelot nor the King was around waiting for him to bring news of Morgain so he figured they had retired to bed; it was late. He sighed as he closed Morgain’s chamber door silently just realizing how tired he was. He had ridden all day from Hogwarts to Camelot, and had had no rest at all.
He walked slow and quietly, in hope to wake no one. The corridors were just like Hogwarts; however, these were darker and colder than the castle. He felt nostalgic all of the sudden and wondered what Ron and Hermione were up to without him and wondered if they had a clue of what had happened to him. He hoped dearly that his friends and the Weasleys were all fine. His heart ached. He wanted to go home; he was tired of living a life that was not his. He missed the classes, of being the student and not the teacher. He missed everyone, including making fun of Malfoy and insulting Snape.
“-it may not be that easy, love” Harry stopped short, his thoughts interrupted. On his way to his chamber, he had walked by a door that was ajar.
“My dear, it will be.” Harry recognized the low, cold voice: Slytherin. “Mordred is Morgain’s son but has Queen Morgause’s teachings. He may be a dirty half blood but now he is our only way to the throne. The boy already thinks Arthur is old and incompetent of being Britain’s ruler, all we need to do is get Arthur to see that his stupid wife will not bring him a son and that Mordred is his only heir.”
“Perhaps we should not meddle” the woman said “with the matters of the Goddess. It was she who placed Arthur upon the throne; it should be her to bring him down”
“Andrea,” Slytherin sounded impatient “if we do not do this, the Goddess and Avalon will be lost to these Christian buffoons and their priests who are willing to burn us for witchcraft. We need to do this for, for our kind and our child that you carry.” Harry made a face at the thought of Slytherin having children.
“What about the Lady of the Lake?” Lady Andrea asked, fright in her tone of voice.
“Believe it or not, my darling, but it was the Lady’s plan the child of Morgain and Arthur to become king.” a chill ran down Harry’s spine “However, she did not plan to have him fostered by the Dark Queen Morgause who is ruthless in every way.” He chuckled “did you know that she thinks that Mordred will make her queen when Mordred becomes King?”
They both laughed. Harry, sick to his stomach, left quietly to his chamber making a mental note to tell Morgain all that he had heard in hope that she will put a stop to Slytherin’s plan.
‘I am too old for this...’ Viviane thought ‘It should be Morgain on my place doing this. She should be Lady of the Lake by now so I could just move on...’ The Lady of the Lake rode on a small pony towards Camelot, only accompanied by a guard from the island, though no one dared to neither rob nor attack the Lady of the Lake. Taliesin had gone ahead to Camelot in promise to warn Arthur that the Lady was coming for an audience while she made a brief stop to visit an old friend: Pricilla, the foster mother to her son, Balan.
She was tired, she should not deny, however, as Lady of the Lake she could not allow any one to see neither her fatigue nor hunger. “The farmhouse is just down the hill, madam,” the Tribesman said. Viviane merely nodded in agreement and continued on the snowy road. Her thoughts were once again on Morgain. Last she had heard of Morgain, she was teaching young Harry in the art of ancient sorcery. Viviane, in hope, thought with teaching him and his students in his school, would make her want to come back to her own true place in Avalon. However, she had not succeeded.
Adrianus had reported that Harry had indeed old blood within him for he had mastered riding horses at a great speed. Adrianus stated on his letter to the Lady that he was ready to battle upon his horses whenever Arthur or Hogwarts needed him. His fighting too had gotten better. His sword balanced well upon his hand and was fast upon his feet, Adrianus said. The only thing he was lacking was his magic for he had yet to give it form. She was confident that Morgain was a capable tutor but was not as confident when it came to the lad. Viviane, in truth, feared that the boy was not ready. And she feared that he would never be.
But he must be ready’ she thought as they came into the gate of the farmhouse, ‘he is meant to save both Avalon and Camelot along with Mordred and Morgain...’
“Lady!” Viviane turned as she descended from her pony and saw that both Gawan, a fair-skinned man with graying hair and built of a bear, and Balan, a young dark man, true descended from the Isle, with strong arms, were approaching her. “Dear mother” Balan said, bowing and kissing her hand.
“Lady, I am glad to see you have made it, even in this winter evening,” Gawan, husband to Pricilla and foster father to Balan, said.
“Pricilla and I grew up together,” Viviane said, and it was then that the Lady felt very old. “It is fitting for me to help her.”
Both men guided Viviane into the house and took her into the dinning chamber where the lady was able to sit by the fire to warm up while waiting for Pricilla to wake up. She ate very little despite the hunger she previously had and resolved to eat the warm soup while Gawan, husband to Pricilla, told her the sad news. Viviane found out that the herbs and potions she had left behind the previous summer no longer worked on her old friend and that most recently she seemed to be in more pain every day that passed by. ‘So it has come to this...to play the death crone for my old friend...”
The chamber was all quiet, the two men and woman each in their thoughts, until they were startled by a shriek that was full of pain coming from above the dinning chamber. “Oh...my poor little mother” Balan whispered as all three walked towards Pricilla’s chamber. When they entered, they found Balin, Gawan’s and Pricilla’s blood son, by his mother’s bedside whispering to her that she was going to get better with God’s help. Viviane asked all of them to leave and proceeded to check on the dying woman. While doing that, both women enjoyed talking about when they were both young girls, more so than what Viviane had liked.
“Lady...I cannot do this any more. There‘s so much pain” she cried “Sometimes, I wished that last summer I have had the bravery jump off a cliff in order to not be in this pain.
“Do not worry my dear sister,” Viviane said while stroking her forehead “you do not if you don’t want to.”
“Please...” Pricilla whispered with tears rolling down her cheek.
“You must say your farewells to your husband and sons,” Viviane stated, fighting the tears that were threatening to come, “you must bless them.”
Pricilla’s eyes brightened a little, a small smile on her face “Aye, I should...” Viviane clasped the dying woman’s hand and squeezed gently, her tears already betraying her command. “I will promise you no more pain, my dear”
“I believe you...” Viviane left the room and told Gawan of Pricilla’s condition and that there was absolutely nothing she could do and that Pricilla already had taken a decision. Gawan cried but understood that Pricilla, nonetheless, was going to die soon so why allow her to be in pain for moons to come. She asked all three men to talk to their mother, for it was going to be their last time, and allowed them some privacy while she fixed Pricilla’s potion. When she returned, she found Pricilla whispering something to Balin while Gawan and Balan watched their faces full of grief.
“I love you, my son,” she whispered as Balin stood up. She looked at Balan and smiled at him. “I love you too, foster-son, you were so good to me. Please...”she gazed at both of them. “Take care of each other.” Not being able to talk, both lads merely nodded.
“I have your medicine, my friend,” Viviane said gently as she lowered the potion to Pricilla’s lips. The woman flinched with the pain but nonetheless drank it. “Time to say good night and rest.”
“Thank you Lady, bless you and your Goddess.”
Viviane nodded, tears falling freely down her cheek, and kissed Pricilla on the cheek. “Come, let’s let her rest,” she whispered as she ushered Balan and Balin out the chamber, leaving only Gawan; it was only right.
“God be thank you are here, Lady” Balin stated as he took a chair by the fire in the dinning chamber. “With you here poor little mother will be better soon, is she not, lady?” Viviane could say nothing, she only stared.
“Balin” Balan said slowly, afraid that his brother had not understood what had happened. “There was nothing the Lady could not do.”
“But you are skilled in magic and lore” Balin protested.
“There was nothing I could do...nor your God.” Vivian said, putting a hand on Balin’s shoulder.
“Hush brother,” Balan uttered, “would you have wanted for mother to suffer any longer?”
“But you said you could put an end to her suffering” Balin cried, shoving Viviane’s hand away.
“The only cure for her illness is merciful,” Viviane stated as calmly as she could muster.
“You evil bitch!” Balin shouted, “Evil murderer, you and your fiend-goddess”
“Quiet” Gawan commanded when he entered the room. His face was full of grief and it was then Viviane knew that Pricilla had gone to meet her God.
“Father” Balin came forward “we have a murdered in this household” Balin pointed a finger to Viviane. “She has sacrificed mother to her evil goddess!”
“How dare you insult my mother with such words” Balan came forward, clear anger in his face.
“Quiet, the both of you” Gawan mumbled once again “Balin, don’t you see...your mother blessed the lady, ‘tis not her wrong doing but your mother’s wishes.”
“No!” Balin shouted, “Mother was a good woman, a Christian woman. She would’ve never agreed.”
“Balin...!” Gawan shouted, tired of arguing with his son.
“I see that the two of you are against me” Bain exclaimed at both his father and brother “I will not be sleeping under the same roof as my mother’s slayer.” and with that, Balin stormed out of the household into the night.
Viviane sat on the cold stone at the foot of her bed. It had been a tiring night, and a sorrowful one at that too, that all she wanted to do was rest. However, before heading to her chamber, she had asked a serving woman to bring her a large basin full of fresh rainwater; frightened of the magic Viviane might do to her, the girl delivered what the lady had asked of her. Once the deed was done, she excited the room as fast as her legs could take her leaving Viviane alone once again. Once the door was closed behind the girl, Viviane removed the bone pin from her long hair and allowed the dark yet graying curls fall freely upon her bare shoulders and back. She clasped her sleeping gown she was wearing tight against her chest, looked down upon the basin and closed her eyes allowing her mind to wonder until the Sight gave her what she wanted.
She saw a great battle to come, bodies were everywhere on the field and the sense of evil was fast upon her. A mist clouded her vision and when it cleared, she saw a young man, dark hair and eyes seated upon a throne of what Viviane could see was made of human bodies. He was wearing a crown upon his head and standing next to him was a robbed figured in all black, his face covered, and to his other side was a woman holding the hand of a child who could not be more than two winters; he too was wearing a crown. The fog came upon her again and she was back to the battleground. She saw a young boy with fair skin, long raven hair and piercing green eyes battling two shadows to save his life. In one hand she saw Excalibur’s sister and Ceridwen’s sword Awen, and in the other a thin but powerful wand.
“Mother, please...” she heard a familiar voice cry. The scene changed again and Viviane was Morgain upon a bed. She looked frightened and ill. She was in Camelot; Viviane realized as the saw the flag upon the room and her company: Godric Gryffindor.
“Hold on my daughter, I’ll be there soon. Do not despair.” and with that the vision vanished and she was once again in her chamber. Deciding to go to Camelot instead of back to Avalon, Viviane headed into bed where she drifted into a dream full of battles and a corrupt king.
The following morning, Viviane headed to Pricilla’s funeral and after she bid her farewell to her son and Gawan. After a few words with her son, Viviane departed towards Camelot with her escort. She hoped that Balan would keep the promise he had made upon her departure: not to quarrel with his foster brother in her name.
“So what did she way” Harry asked Onella. Both were walking just outside the castle’s gates enjoying the little sun the winter day had given them. He had attempted on going to Morgain to talk about what he had heard but was only shooed away by a lady-in-waiting saying that Morgain was still asleep. It was then he decided to find Onella and have breakfast with her and see how her night had been. However, when he had arrived to Onella’s chamber he was surprise to find Queen Gwenivere exiting the chamber; her ladies right behind her. On her way out, she gave Harry-Godric- a smile but her eyes said the opposite.
“She only asked who I was and the name of me child,” Onella answered shrugging her shoulders. “She then...went to say that as long as I am in her household I am to go to mass.” She shuddered, Harry did not know if it was because she was cold or because she had been told to go to a Christian mass “She does not like me...the queen”
“Yes, I guess I could say the same thing of her feelings towards me” Harry chuckled “how is your son?” he asked as they walked pass the gate back towards the castle.
Onella smiled. “Sir Adrianus took a liking to him and offered to give the lad a tour of the stables and weaponry.” Before Harry had a chance to comment, a man came through the gate yelling in pure horror. His face, Harry noticed, was covered in blood and he seemed to be carrying a sack on his arms “Please, help us” the man cried to the guards who were now running up to him. He felt to his knees, screaming and yelling and it was then Harry realized that the sack was not a sack but a body of a small girl. He looked at Onella who, too, had spotted the dead girl in the man’s arms. “Stay here” he ordered her before running towards the man, making sure that both his sword and wand were with him.
“T’was the devil that did this!” The man shriek, “you have to help up! That man will kill more if no one does something.” The guards nodded and without any questions ran towards the town of Camelot, one of them had sent a page to the king alerting him of the chaos at hand before mounting to his horse and leaving.
“She has no marks on her...” Harry noticed as he examined the body, a chill running down his spine. The man looked at him with mad eyes.
“He was the devil’s sorcerer; he did this to my little girl!” The man spat and without thinking about it, Harry ran to the stables and got on the horse nearest to the door. He heard the keeper cry out in protest but Harry paid no heed. He needed to get to town as fast as possible before anyone else was hurt. On his way, other knights who had heard the news joined Harry but he knew that they were useless. No matter how many of them went to help, they had to chance against the enemy.
And his thoughts were confirmed as soon as he saw the scenery.
On the center of dead bodies-guards and townspeople alike-stood Rafer Malfoy.
“You all deserve to die,” He yelled as he pointed his want to a father who was protecting his family. Harry dismounted his horse and stood between Rafer and the scared family. “What in the bloody hell are you doing?” Harry asked, on hand ready to draw his wand out the other upon Rafer’s wrist. His face was smeared with not only blood but also tears and dirt. His hair was a bird’s nest and his eyes were wild.
“These bastards!” Rafer cried in despair “It was their fault. They killed my dear wife and my boy. He was so young,” he said before chocking on his tears. Harry’s stomach knotted in shock. He had never met neither his wife nor son but he felt pity for the man standing in front of him “Stupid, ignorant filth! They reject the Goddess and kill us all because their God. They deserve to die. To suffer like my family did,” He paused and looked at Harry, his face full of grief, “Slytherin was right, any to have their dirty blood flowing through their veins does not deserve to be in our world.”
“Rafer, please” Harry pleaded, “put your wand down.”
“No! I’m sorry Lord Gryffindor but please stand aside” and with a strong push, Harry was knocked down on the ground. The knights, who were standing, waiting for Harry to calm Rafer down, came towards the mad man, swords drawn ready to strike him down. However, as Harry had predicted, a jet of purple light sent all four of them flying knocking them out completely on the moment of impact. Rapidly, Harry drew his wand out and fired a Stupefy spell but missed. “Don’t you see, Lord Gryffindor...these people are dirt. They are not worth defining.”
“You’re wrong,” Harry protested, “we’ll die out without them”
“Impossible” He pointed his wand at Harry to curse him but Harry managed to roll over on his side to dodge it. He then stood up and fired jinxes at Rafer but he was a lot faster than Harry had ever imagined. Rafer, not bothered about his life anymore, charged towards Harry, sword he had picked from a dead knight in hand. With the speed, Adrianus had taught him, Harry too drew his sword just in time to block Rafer’s blow. He held the sword high up to prevent Rafer’s sword from slashing in half and saw that he had an open target. He kicked Malfoy hard on the stomach making him topple over and land on the ground. Harry’s arms were already beginning to ache but nonetheless he drew his sword up and charged at the already standing Malfoy. Their swords clashed again but this time Harry managed to move his opponents sword to the side but Malfoy quickly recovered and attacked Harry once more.
This time around, he was not fast enough and received a slash on his upper left arm. It burned and quickly felt the sleeve of his shirt get sticky with blood. Rafer took advantage of Harry’s pain and distraction and proceeded to knock his sword on to the ground with a spell. “I’m so sorry Lord Gryffindor...”but they deserve this” Harry who was not as quick as Rafer did not manage to raise his wand on time to deflect the spell. The next thing he knew he was in the air, wand still in his hands. He hit the ground with a sick thud and felt a quick throbbing pain on his head.
The impact had been so severe, Harry’s vision started to darken but just before he passed out, he felt someone next to him and taking his wand away from him.
“Expelliarmus” someone shouted but Harry knew no more.
Harry’s head felt like it was on fire and for a split second wondered why he was in such great pain. He opened his eyes slowly and found himself back in his room in Arthur’s castle. A fire was lit for him, yet he still felt cold despite the fact that a fur blanket covered him. He brought his hand to his left temple, where the pain was coming from and found a bandage neatly covering his wound. He sighed. He knew at least that he had lost the battle against Rafer but what he did not know was who had saved him and stopped the crazed Malfoy.
Harry closed his eyes just in time when someone opened the door to his chamber. Harry opened his eyes once more- the man took no notice of him-and watched as the servant placed a goblet and some food on the small table by the fire “Thank you” Harry managed to say but flinched; even talking hurt him.
The man turned to face Harry and even with the fire behind him, which created a shadow about him, he was able to recognize that it was the same man as the previous night. He was the one that had taken his horse when he had arrived with Onella. The one that looked so much like him...Harry’s heart began to beat fast as he stared at the man in front of him. “Sire” the man bowed and moved towards the door.
‘Don’t let him leave’ the voice inside Harry said.
“Sirius Black, wait” Harry protested “Do not leave.” The man turned slowly around and faced Harry; one hand was already on the doorknob. His expression was blank...until confusion and anger took over him. With three paces, he was standing next to Harry’s bed, wand at the ready to curse him if needed.
“How did you know my name?”
I know, long chapter but I wanted it to make it worth while for those that waited. I would like to thank all of you who reviewd. Without those great reviews I might've not had the fuel to write this chapter. Thank you so much! Please, come back soon...work has been slow so I've had written part of the next chapter...perhaps an update will be soon! Take care. Now, please...review! :D