April 21st, 2006, 8:24 pm
Here I give you... the penultimate chapter of bk 7 ;)!
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all related characters and terms are copyright J K Rowling and Warner Bros.
I have split the 'chapter' into several parts, and will post them on an irregular basis! Happy reading, and feel free to criticise.
Feedback here (http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?p=3694483#post3694483).
Expected and Unexpected
Harry slowly approached the writhing figure on the ground. He was shocked at what he'd just done, and wrenched his hand downwards. The figure stopped moving and shaking. Harry could see the pale, ghostly face staring upwards, red eyes unblinking. Lord Voldemort was gasping for his breath, and lay there on the cold stone floor.
"Crucio!" Harry raised his wand again.
Voldemort's scream peirced the night air like a sharp blade, cutting into the stillness of the night. He writhed and thrashed about in excruciating pain, and was bent double, knees near his face. It was pure agony for Tom. He thought he would split in half for all the pain. He wanted it to end, to stop.
Harry gazed down at the quivering body and to his surprise he, Harry, was enjoying every moment, enjoying causing the pain. He lowered his wand again. Voldemort lay huddled there, beneath the stone arch with the veil.
"Get up! Fight back like the wizard you are!" shouted Harry in a cold harsh voice.
Voldemort was twitching feverishly and his gasps for breath were like short loud bursts of cold air.
"Imperio!" Harry yelled, wand pointed at Voldemort.
Voldemort stopped twitching, and then slowly found himself getting up on his feet. He stood up to his full height, and motioned as if he was going to get his wand, which lay a few feet away from him. But he couldn't reach it. He couldn't move.
Harry lowered his wand. Voldemort immediately bundled over and fell down in a heap on the stone floor, gasping horribly now. Harry watched coldly as Voldemort then slowly got up on one knee, and steadied himself against the arch.
"Potter...." Voldemort managed a harsh whisper.
Harry gazed at Voldemort, and there was hatred and revulsion ectched into the deep lines of his face.
"Potter, please...." Voldemort was pleading.
"Avada Kedavra!" Harry's spell hit Voldemort squarely in the chest, and he flew backwards, through the veil. For a second Harry could see him suspended there beyond the veil. Then he slowly faded away as the veil fell back down.
But not a second sooner, Harry ran like he had never run before, and vaulted himself with all his energy through the veil.
"HARRY!!!!! NO!!!!" Hermione's and Ginny's screams could have been heard miles away.
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May 7th, 2006, 1:34 am
I will die… I am dying… I will finally meet mum and dad, and Ron and Sirius. I am dead, I have got to be. Sirius went into the veil and never came back. I am surely dead.
But within these thoughts Harry was dimly aware of the fact that these thoughts were going through his mind. Can one still think when one is dead? If this is what it feels to be dead, then death isn't such a bad thing afterall.
The mere thought of him being conscious seemed to startle him all at once, and then, he felt it. He was falling. Slowly he tried to open his eyes. But he saw nothing. It was pitch black and dead quiet. Was it a delusion or was he actually falling? He certainly wasn’t standing on solid ground and he did feel very light.
And then all of a sudden he felt himself come to a jarring halt as his feet touched solid ground. All around him there was a blinding white light, and he had to squint a few times before he became used to it. And then he saw it. Right in front of him was an enormous golden door. Harry had never seen anything as beautiful in his life - or rather, in his past life, he thought wryly, as he was sure that he was dead. There were intricate patterns of the finest silver on the golden door, and in the middle was a large, pearl-shaped white door knob. Without thinking, he reached forward and turned it.
The door opened slowly and soundlessly to reveal a large chamber. It also was filled with the same blinding white light that was all around him. Then he heard a voice.
“Come in, Harry. We’ve been expecting you.”
Harry looked around in shock as the white light suddenly vanished. He seemed to have stepped inside a large room of white and gold marble with a high ceiling and ancient-looking columns that supported it. A long, boat-shaped white marble table stood in the middle of the room, and he could see – wait, could it be? Dozens of wizards were seated at the table on high, throne-like red and gold chairs and were whispering to one another. Harry thought it was odd, but each and every single one of the wizards looked very similar in appearance to the others. He couldn't see their faces at this distance.
Harry slowly walked towards the centre of the room, and as he did he saw it. At one end of the room was an enormous golden statue of what he knew was a phoenix, towering above him and the wizards. He vaguely recalled seeing a similarly huge statue before, but that statue, that of a dark wizard, had been grey and ugly and was much smaller than this phoenix one. He marveled at its beauty and elegance, and as he was staring at the statue he was sure that it was looking back at him.
Looking around, Harry could have sworn that he had walked into a shrine dedicated to the phoenix. The walls and the ceiling were covered with what looked like intricate moons and stars interspersed with phoenixes. Smaller statues of phoenixes stood at each corner of the throne-like room, emblazoned with gold and silver. Harry thought he had read somewhere in a not-so-distant past about muggle kings and their huge palaces, and this room didn’t look too dissimilar to those he had read about. It had a semblance of being the great throne room of a rich and powerful muggle king. Except that he was not sure that this place belonged to a muggle. In fact, he realized he was not even sure where he was in the first place. With a jolt he recalled throwing himself into the veil in the Death Chamber of the Department of Mysteries. Is this what lies beyond, he thought? Then with sudden expectation he looked around, expecting to find Voldemort sprawled there on the floor.
There was nothing there on the white marble floor.
Feedback, here (http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?p=3694483#post3694483) - thank you :).
Note to readers: writing Chapter 37 is a bit slow at the moment as I am studying for exams. Sorry guys, but not long to go now....
May 12th, 2006, 6:15 pm
I'm trying to give this fanfic a better aesthetic feel, hence re-organising the posts. Continue reading from the next post :).
May 29th, 2006, 9:58 pm
As promised, this post is longer. Feedback here (http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?p=3694483#post3694483)- thanks!
Harry walked towards the table and had a better look at the wizards. They all seemed to look very similar in appearance to one another: sitting tall and looking elderly but dignified, they had long flowing silvery white hair that continued downwards to their equally long beards, and on their many crooked noses were perched - no, he thought, it could not be! At this distance Harry was almost sure that all the wizards looked exactly like the Albus Dumbledore he once knew.
As Harry approached, the wizard sitting at the head of the table turned around to look at him, and his heart gave a tremendous leap. He was looking at a pair of familiar, twinkling blue eyes.
“P-proffesor Dumbledore?” Harry’s voice echoed his disbelief.
The wizard was surveying Harry over his crooked nose, and he realized that all the other wizards had stopped their whispering and were doing the same; he glanced around at them. Harry found it at once amusing and strange that they all looked exactly like the man he once knew as Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
“Come now, Harry. We don’t have an eternity,” the wizard at the head of the table spoke, at which the other wizards chuckled heartily. He sounded tired, and one could tell from his voice that he was very old. He motioned to Harry to sit on a chair at the side of the table. The chair was on a pedestal and thus was higher than the others. Harry went forwards and settled himself on the chair, feeling awkward sitting up there looking down at all the wizards. He was relieved to see that his chair was further away from the table.
From atop the high chair Harry had a bird’s eye view of the boat-shaped table. The top seemed be made of a sort of white and black mist that was constantly swirling around, creating a marble effect that Harry thought beautiful. In front of each wizard was a silvery white orb that floated above the table. The orbs buoying up and down in the air together with the swirling mist of the tabletop had a calming effect on Harry, and he felt relaxed. But he was alert as the wizard addressed him once more.
“We take it you have guessed by now where you are?” the wizard at the head of the table spoke again.
“Er, no, not really, professor” said Harry
“I thought not! And I don’t really know about professor,” the wizard smiled. “You see, I was never a professor in my time. The man whom you are referring to is over there,” and he waved his arm at a wizard sitting across the table on Harry’s left.
Harry looked at the wizard who had just been pointed out. He looked so similar in appearance to the others that Harry could not have believed that this really was the Albus Dumbledore he once knew and loved. Dumbledore smiled at him serenely, and Harry saw him give a hint of a wink. Harry could not help smiling back and was resisting the urge to go over and give Dumbledore a great big hug. But at that time a thousand questions were running through his mind – where exactly was he? Who were these wizards who all looked very much like Dumbledore? Harry was more confused than he ever had been in his entire life.
“All will be answered of course, in good time.” The head wizard spoke once more, and Harry at once knew that the wizard had read his mind. He turned to look at him.
“We are the Supreme Council of the Order of Merlin,” continued the wizard, “and I am Merlin, I trust that you have heard of me before - they have awards named after me in the wizarding world.”
June 23rd, 2006, 2:18 am
Harry gave his ears a little twitch - had he heard right? Was this wizard sitting at the head of the table, and looking so very Dumbledore-ish, Merlin himself? Of course he had heard of the Order of Merlin awards, but he had never really given much thought to them – the best guess he could come up with was that they were named after a long-past famous wizard.
“There will be time for thoughts and day-dreaming, boy! But we must get to the business at hand. Like I said, we do not have an eternity.” Merlin’s voice, wheezy as it sounded like an old man’s, was loud and clear.
The other wizards burst out in low laughter, and Harry saw that the man he knew as Dumbledore was chuckling as well. Apparently a sort of inside joke had been made, but Harry could not understand what was funny about what Merlin had just said. He continued looking at the old wizard in polite puzzlement. And then he saw it.
In front of Merlin on the table, and beneath his silver orb, was a small, cubical, greyish instrument that was whirring and purring. As Harry watched a string of smoky, white question marks floated out of the instrument, slowly drifted upwards, and then disappeared a few feet above the table. Harry was bewildered as to what it was, and as if in answer to his inquiring stare, the instrument then spouted out five smoky, white words, one after the other: I am a Word Generator.
“So!” said, Merlin, looking very pleased with himself, “Let’s get down to business shall we?”
The other wizards shuffled about in their comfy chairs, put on serious business-like faces and readied themselves to the business at hand. Harry looked up at Merlin once more, just as a few more question marks came out of the Word Generator.
“Harry James Potter, you are before the Supreme Council of the Order of Merlin - ” at the sound of his own name Merlin puffed his chest out in a dignified sort of manner and continued, “ - to face judgment of your deeds during your time in the wizarding world.”
Judgment? Deeds? The smoky, white words from the Word Generator swam in front of Harry before vanishing into thin air. Harry then realised what it was doing - it was spouting out words that summed up what he was thinking.
“You are charged with defeating the twenty second Dark Lord in an improper manner. What do you have to say to that, eh?” at this Merlin’s eyes twinkled merrily up at Harry.
It took a few seconds for Harry to digest what Merlin had just said. He did not know what to say, and managed a dismal “er” when he saw the Word Generator do the work for him: out came the words 'not', 'know', 'what', 'how', and 'really'.
“Ah,” said Merlin in a hoarse whisper. “It seems young Mr Potter did not know what he was doing.”
The other wizards all nodded in agreement. Harry turned to look at Dumbledore and saw that he was nodding as well.
Harry did not understand how he could have improperly defeated the Dark Lord. Was there a proper way? He felt a sense of outrage; he had got rid of one of the most evil wizards known, and here he sat, being judged for defeating Voldemort improperly!
“But - but what exactly was improper about the way I defeated Voldemort?!” Harry blurted out before he could help himself, then added, "If I may ask, sir?"
All the wizards, having finished their mechanical nodding, looked up at Harry. The wizards sitting at either side of Harry had to turn around ninety degrees and crane their necks. Finally Merlin spoke.
“Yes of course! Why, that is why you are here, so that you can tell us your version of events, so to speak!” said Merlin.
“Thank you. Well, er, first of all, I do not understand what you mean when you say that I defeated the, um - twenty second was it?” Merlin nodded curtly, and Harry continued, “er, defeated the twenty second Dark Lord improperly. Why was it improper? And whilst we are on the subject, could I also know ….”
Merlin held up his hand, and Harry stopped speaking. He had never in his life met dead wizards before, wizards who all looked very much alive. He did not know how to react, what to do, what to say. He did not feel right, in fact, he did not feel himself - a thousand emotions were going on inside of him, and a thousand questions were coming up in mind.
July 31st, 2006, 11:14 pm
The silver orbs bobbing up and down a foot above the table had a soothing, calming effect on Harry. At once his questions, his emotions, his confusion seemed to melt away into nothingness, and as he slowly looked around he saw that the wizards were all staring down at the tabletop.
Merlin lifted a finger and slowly brought it down to touch the tabletop, which suddenly turned dark black. Harry squinted and craned his neck to see what they were all looking at. But he needn’t have.
All at once just as it had turned black, the entire tabletop turned pure, unblemished white. And then slowly, gradually, Harry could see an image forming near the centre of the tabletop. A snake-like face, with slits for nostrils and red, glaring eyes, was looking directly at Harry!
Harry gave a terrific yell and made as if to jump on top of the tabletop, but then all the wizards around him shushed and hissed at him to be quiet.
“Just watch!” wheezed Merlin.
Watch? What? The Word Generator had spouted out the words before Harry could even think them.
Mouth agape and eyes wide, Harry watched as the entire scene in the Death Chamber where he had performed all three Unforgivable Curses on Voldemort played on the tabletop, as if he were in a cinema watching a movie on a giant, boat-shaped screen.
The tabletop turned white once more just after Harry saw himself jump through the veil. Then it slowly resumed its prior marble-like appearance.
The wizards looked around at one another, and then…
“Definitely improper!” squeaked one sitting at the far corner on Harry’s left.
“I agree!” said another, who had a deep voice.
“Thank you Celestian! Thank you Marben!” said Merlin, looking at the wizards in turn. He then looked up at Harry.
“I think it is time we answered a few questions that Harry Potter has for us.”
And with that all the wizards turned round to look at Harry once more.
Harry could feel all the various blue twinkling eyes on him now, and he wished his squishy high chair would open up and swallow him up whole. But unfortunate as it were the Word Generator churned out this entire thought word for word.
The wizard called Marben let out a laugh that sounded more like a bark, and then all the other wizards looked as if they would break into fits of laughter as well but restrained themselves when Merlin glared around at them all. Harry saw that Dumbledore was the only who had not nearly keeled over and was looking straight at him with rapt attention.
August 14th, 2006, 9:32 pm
“So that was my version of events was it? That, er - ” Harry did not know what to call it.
The Word Generator however knew better, as all Word Generators are wont to do, and it immediately spouted out the words “Actual Sequence of Events As They Happened.”
“Of course,” quipped Merlin, smiling broadly at Harry, and there was a hint of finality in his voice that Harry knew he could not argue with.
The wizards kept on looking at Harry expectantly, so gathering his wits about him and clearing his voice ever so slightly, Harry knew what he wanted to ask first.
“Does everyone who dies come here?”
“No!” said Merlin.
“Er – so where do people who die go?”
“Nowhere. They don’t go anywhere in the physical sense.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” said Harry, and then added in a rush, “Are my parents down here? Where’s Sirius?”
There was a pause, and then –
“Your parents are resting peacefully in the graves that you have already seen. You will not find them here. And –”
“- But what about Sirius!” Harry interrupted, “He came down the veil just like me! Why isn’t he here?”
“I was just about to answer that, boy!” Merlin didn’t look too happy at being interrupted.
“Your friend Sirius was here indeed. I might mention that his was a more difficult case, and we all agreed that that was by far the toughest judgment that we had to make.”
All the wizards started murmuring and nodding their heads as they looked around at each other, and one or two even looked as if they would swing into a full-blown conversation when they stopped abruptly on seeing Merlin’s raised hand.
“So where is he now?” Harry said in a small voice, but he knew what the answer was going to be.
“Let us just say that he is at peace as well,” Merlin smiled.
Harry sank when he heard this; it was as if a huge weight had started to build up around and on top of him. He hadn’t expected to find Sirius down here, but inside him he had had this lingering hope that once he died he would meet his dead loved ones. It seemed as if that was not to be.
Harry looked down at his feet. He had never felt a sense of sadness and utter loss such as he was feeling at that moment. Mourning over loved ones who had just died was easier, it seemed. Having hopes of seeing them and then having that hope dashed was a completely different matter altogether.
Wanting to think about something else, Harry looked up at Merlin and said, “What did you do with Voldemort?”
At this Merlin face broke into a wide and toothy grin; the rest of the wizards grinned with him as well, as he said, “The twenty second Dark Lord was dealt with appropriately. Or should I say –.”
He looked around the table at the wizards and then continued gleefully, “- he has had his just desserts!”
September 12th, 2006, 11:50 pm
The entire Supreme Council erupted into guffaws of laughter. Dumbledore too, Harry noticed.
Once the laughter had died down (or nearly died down, as Celestian could not stop from tittering now and then), Harry looked determinedly at Merlin.
“Yes, Harry?” Merlin had one eyebrow raised questioningly.
“So what did happen to Voldemort?” he repeated. And please do not laugh! Harry thought fiercely.
Just as he had wanted, the Word Generator dutifully churned out his thought in five humongous, smoky words that hovered tauntingly above the heads of the wizards.
“Well, boy, if you really want to know…” wheezed Merlin, eyeing the now slowly-fading words wearily.
“Yes, I do!”
Merlin stared at the determined look on Harry's face, and for a moment he seemed to be making his mind up about something. Then...
Merlin waved his hand in the direction of the gigantic phoenix statue. At once Harry could hear a distant rumble that grew louder every second, and he turned around to find that a large door had opened at the foot of the statue.
“Go and see, Harry,” Merlin whispered softly.
Harry leapt off the high chair and walked towards the open doors. Peering inside, his heart did a tremendous back flip and he gasped loudly.
There stood Lord Voldemort. Then - Harry squinted to make sure he was not imagining things – Lord Voldemort slowly transfigured into a giant lemon drop. No sooner was the transfiguration complete then it started to reverse so that Lord Voldemort slowly emerged again looking mutinous, his face contorted into a silent howl of fury.
Immobilised by Merlin’s powerful charm, Voldemort was locked in an eternal transfiguration cycle, one that immediately reversed itself once it was complete.
Harry could not help laughing as he watched Lord Voldemort transfigure into the candy again. Nothing could be worse than this, he thought.
He was standing there watching for what he thought must have been an eternity when he realized that Merlin was standing right next to him.
“We debated at length what we would turn him into,” he quipped, “And came up with all sorts of interesting objects. Some were mundane, like toothpicks, and thus quite fitting for this ‘lord’ that stands before us. Others I dare not mention for fear of blushing too hard. However, in the end it was felt that the honour of picking the object that Voldemort would be eternally transfigured into would lie with me. I daresay you know that lemon drops are my favourite candy?”
“Of course, Professor Dumbledore,” Harry smiled and looked up at his former headmaster, “For a moment there I thought you were him.” He jerked a finger towards where Merlin was sitting.
Dumbledore chuckled. “We do tire of him sometimes, as obnoxious as he is. But then, he is the head of our Order, and we are his image…” Dumbledore’s voice trailed off, and Harry noticed that he looked as if deep in thought.
February 4th, 2007, 1:48 am
“Well, now Harry, I think it is time for you to be sentenced,” said Dumbledore, motioning for him to move back to the marble table where the rest of the Council sat waiting.
Harry felt himself unable, nay, powerless to do or say anything more. He moved quickly and sat himself down on the high chair, noticing that Dumbledore did not join him but remained standing at the foot of the phoenix statue.
Merlin, clearing his throat, said, “Having assured you of your worldly adversary’s fate, is there anything else that you would like to know before we pass your sentence?”
Harry’s mind was clear of all thought; he could think of nothing. But as he sat there staring at the swirling mass of black and white on the marble table, images slowly started flowing in his mind. His entire life flashed before his eyes - he could see his parents now, then Sirius, and he remembered what it was like to be happy. He recalled the first time that he was ever happy was when the gentle half giant Rubeus Hagrid had told him he was a wizard. What events would unfold after that, from the moment he entered Hogwarts and met the person who would influence him most – Dumbledore – to the present time, he couldn’t imagine. But it had happened, he thought. Destiny has brought me here today. And my choices of course, he thought wryly, remembering Dumbledore’s immortal words, “It is our choices that define who we are.” Or something like that.
“Harry?” Merlin’s voice sounded distant and muffled.
Harry looked up at Merlin and said, “No, sir. I don’t have anything more to say.”
With that an enormous feeling of tranquillity washed over him, and he felt at peace with everything. He looked down at the slow dancing movement of the marble swirls and found that he couldn’t take his gaze away from it. It was almost hypnotic. He lay back comfortably and closed his eyes, oblivious to what Merlin what saying.
Slowly, gradually, his mind went blank, and he remembered no more.
(To be continued)
Note to readers – I am grateful for and appreciate your patience whilst waiting for the rest of this story. The final post will be up as soon as I’m done with some exams I’m sitting! Hopefully it won’t be long!