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Old July 21st, 2011, 3:03 pm
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The Godfather
 
Join Date: 02nd August 2007
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 50
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Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era PART II

Chapter 7 – Special Abilities

The cold hand of dread gripped Graciela as she watched the Horntail’s descent to the waters below. Events moved in slow motion, where she could make out every detail of the creature, every scale, every tooth, every ridge of the dragon’s lolling wings. Most of all, she saw her friend, Teddy, and his determined face as he clung to the dragon’s neck. The Horntail careened headfirst towards the black waters below. She felt the scream building in the back of her throat, unmindful of the chaos of the battle around her. She hardly noticed the dark wizard heading towards her, his wand extended, his face hidden behind his death mask. Richard sent a blasting charm that struck the man, sending his body flying upward into the clouds. The heat and pressure of the explosion struck Graciela, bringing her back to reality.

“Snap out of it, Gracie!” Richard snarled.

Graciela’s voice was weak, almost broken. “But Teddy…”

She turned in time to see the dragon strike the water, throwing a tremendous plume of water into the sky.

Richard lowered his head, “Teddy’s gone.”

Richard shook Graciela out of her stupor. Together, they were fighting off the dark wizards that had risen from the battle below to take them on. The fight on this end of the battlefield was not going well for the Aurors. Mortimer’s team was fighting well. Wizard for wizard, witch for witch, the Aurors were superior fighters, but the combination of numbers and the amount of dark magic that the unimpeded ships could throw into the fray was telling the tale. Mortimer had entered the battle with twenty three wizards. He was down to sixteen and each loss was actually a double the impact as another vital link in their battle strategy was compromised. There was no hope for help from the Discooperire and Eric’s team, considering the fight they were having on the other side of the prison.

Graciela stunned another opponent, but her eyes were drawn to the huge column of water that rose majestically into the sky where the Horntail had entered the sea. A dark figure emerged from the top of the water spout. Wings spread wide, the Horntail emerged, seemingly none the worse for the wear, and even more frightening. It roared and let fly a gout of flame that punctuated its return.

“This is not good!” Graciela shouted. “The spike must have been dislodged in the fall!” She was crestfallen. Teddy’s sacrifice had been for nothing. Now, they were lost. There was nothing else they could do.

***
Being a metamorphmagus was extremely rare in the wizarding world. Many wizards can be taught to be an animagus, but a metamorphmagus could assume any shape or form they wanted, but within limits. Most of the time, for most forms, it was simply a matter of concentration and will, and the wizard could assume that shape. But assuming the shape of a magical creature was very different. The physical being of magical creatures like a griffin or a phoenix contained very special magical properties that disavowed a metamorphmagus from taking that form without first touching the beast. Physical touch allows for the wizard to incorporate the creature’s unique magical essence into the transformation.

Teddy was an accomplished metamorphmagus and his unique relationship with Harry had afforded him the opportunity to get a “reading” on a number of magical creatures. He’d met Witherwings, er, Buckbeak at Hogwarts and did an excellent transformation into a hippogriff. He was the descendant of a werewolf father, so his werewolf was second to none. He’d managed to assimilate any number of magical creatures, but he’d never had the occasion to meet a dragon. As he rode the Horntail’s back, Teddy had an interesting idea. He tore off his leather gloves and ran his hand underneath one of the heavy scales of the dragon’s back and began reading the essence of the dragon.

Time was a factor. Dragons were wondrous, terrible and majestic magical creatures. Humans’ knowledge of their chemistry and biology barely scratched the surface. The amount of mystery that Teddy had to take in was massive. The real flaw in the plan was whether he had enough time to gather the right amount information and transform, before he became a flat, pink colored streak on the ocean floor. It would be close.

***
Graciela felt numb. Teddy was gone and the dragon was bearing down on them. They’d failed and the Aurors would lose the battle. She felt Richard draw closer to her, perhaps for a more coordinated attack. The dragon had seemed to turn towards them, coming directly at them. She steeled herself and raised her wand, prepared to go down fighting. Suddenly, Richard grabbed her arm.

“Wait. Look at the scales along the back of the dragon’s spine.” Graciela followed Richard’s gaze and looked closer at the Horntail. The vertical plates on the dragon’s back normally were a lighter shade of the dark grayish tan of the creature’s body. But on this dragon, the plates were alternating colors from bright red, to a garish purple, to blue to pink, like a string of Christmas lights on a particularly obnoxious Christmas tree. Her face showed her utter relief, and then darkened to a dark, menacing scowl.

“I’m going to kill Teddy.”

***
When he assumed a form, a good portion of Teddy remained whole. A tiny bit of the creature he became was resident, enough to tell Teddy how to function. That portion of the beast helped him experience the wonder and alien joy of being wild, of being a creature of nature. Assuming the form of a Hungarian Horntail was immensely satisfying. The dragon’s sight allowed him to take in every element of the battle all at once. He could see Eric and Captain Baretto’s battle coming to a close. He could see Harry, Ron and James approaching the breach point on the prison. He could make out Graciela and Richard in every detail, including the brooding, angry expression on Graciela’s face. She only got that way when she was mad at him. Most of all, he could see the desperation of the losing fight that Mortimer and his team were engaged in. It was time to change the odds.

Teddy banked on the tip of his wing and dove with a fury towards the nearest enemy ship. It was time to see how much of a game changer a dragon was in a battle.

***
Mortimer knew that he was running out of time. “Silas, make for the nearest ship. We’ll try to take it and disable from inside. That may keep the other one from firing on us!” Silas Hornsby, Mortimer’s longtime friend and fellow Auror nodded grimly and dove immediately for the dark shape of the enemy ship below.

Mortimer’s analytical mind took in the target ships. The vessel was long and narrow, hardly ideal for the heavy seas found near Azkaban. The ship was black, laden with barnacles and dead sea creatures who’d run afoul of the ship in its journeys. The crew seemed to shuffle from gun to gun, place to place. At the stern of the ship, the apparent captain stood next to the wheel, shouting orders in a hissing, foreign, yet familiar language. The captain was a large man, wearing a tricorner, peaked hat atop a head wild black hair and had a long, brambly beard. The beard was braided in places with the ends set afire and smoldering, the smoke twisting in front of the wild man’s ice gray eyes. He carried a large cutlass which snapped fire and spells at rapid intervals and he thumped around, his right leg gone, replaced by a knotty, ancient peg.

Mortimer and Silas landed at the bow of the ship and drew their wands. The nearest of the ship’s crew turned towards them and began to run towards the two Aurors with unbridled abandon. Silas sent a spell that propelled a sailor backward, but the man simply picked himself up and resumed his charge. Mortimer took a closer look at their adversaries.

They were dressed in rags, the clothes hanging torn and tattered from their bodies, which were withered and dried, almost skeletal. Their voices hung in the air, more a moan than anything coherent. Their eyes were empty, glazed over gray and white, not really seeing. They kept coming at the two men.

“Inferi!” Shouted Silas. He cast a fire spell outward that engulfed two of the nearest enemy. For a moment, it seemed as if the spell had worked, but the two men shrugged off the fire, the flames burning off what tattered remains of clothing were left.

Mortimer scowled. “Not Inferi, worse, they’re zombies.” Zombies were a bit more problematic. Inferi were the animated forms of dead bodies, but tended to be susceptible to the weakness of the shell they inhabited. Zombies differed, in that, an evil core existed inside the being, driven to destroy and very hard to control. It was dark magic, indeed, that the enemy had found a way to control zombies.

Mortimer reached inside his cloak and drew a long, sharp rapier, the blade flashing in the light of a nearby spell. “Draw your sword! The only way to defeat them is decapitation. We’ll have to do this old fashioned way.” He strode forward and brought his blade down in a speedy, dizzying arc. The edge of the blade cut through the neck of a nearby zombie, severing tissue and sinew, sending the head tumbling back towards the main deck. The headless body collapsed, while Mortimer, followed by Silas and few more of their newly arrived Aurors pressed on.

They cut their way towards the back of the ship, but reached a standstill in the middle of the main deck, near the main hold hatch. A seemingly endless stream of the creatures was pouring forth from the hold. There were simply too many of them. Mortimer and his team fought hard, cutting the zombies down by the score. The captain, perched at the stern, seemed to be cackling with satisfaction. The aurors were tiring, it was only a matter of time.

Suddenly, a loud roar reverberated through the air and a dark shadow descended from above. Mortimer glanced upward and felt a sense of utter dread as the Horntail landed on the main deck, above the endless wave of zombies. They were lost. Between the zombies and the dragon, there was no way for the aurors to prevail. The dragon roared again and then shot a blast of flame. Mortimer raised his arms in a futile attempt to cover his face from the flames, but the fiery death never came. He looked forward was utterly stunned. Normal flames have no affect on zombies, but dragon fire was mystical, it was magical and it was very effective on zombies. When the flames struck the undead body, it simply disintegrated. There was no ash, no burn, no remnants, only destruction. The Horntail obliterated the wave of zombies and sunk its claws into the deck below, crushing wood and steel, driving its tail into the very bowels of the ship, until it punched a hole through keel of the ship. The captain shouted in panic, his expression changed from smug contempt to one of utter desperation. The dragon stuck its head outward and aimed its snout at the second ship, nearby. He sent a blast of flame that stretched out and engulfed the other ship in a horrid torrent of green and blue flame which burned endlessly. Soon the ship was covered in an inferno of destruction, the decks literally melting and the ship plunging headfirst into the sea. There were no survivors.

The dragon turned and faced Mortimer. It seemed to stare at him, as if conveying a message. It gave a slight twitch of its head and Mortimer nodded. He turned to his remaining Aurors.

“Right, everyone off, back into the sky, all of you.” Mortimer stowed his sword and climbed aboard his broom. The aurors reached up into the sky. The dragon leapt into the sky. As it flapped its wings, gaining altitude, it craned its neck and sent a fiery blast at the remains of the ship below. It was consumed by the flames in a matter of minutes. The dragon glided along the air currents and swooped onto a new course, taking it towards the other half of the battle.

Mortimer stopped, rallying this remaining aurors around him. He saw Graciela and Richard approach and nodded.

“Good job, you two. How did you take control of the dragon?” He looked about the sky for the third member of their party. “Where’s Teddy?”

While Graciela stewed, Richard spoke up. “We didn’t take control of the dragon.” Richard pointed towards the large figure in the sky. “That is Teddy.”

Mortimer nodded. “Brilliant! That was an excellent idea. We should use that again, sometime.”

Richard noticed a slight tremor come from Graciela, whose fist was in a tight ball. Gracie was a strong woman, not tolerant of someone who can expose an emotional weakness she might have. Richard shook his head. “Uh, sir, I don’t know if Teddy will survive long enough for us to try it again.”

As if noticing Graciela’s mood for the first time, Mortimer nodded. “Pity.” Mortimer glanced back at the receding dragon as it began its first attack on the last enemy ship, “Sucks to be Teddy right about now.”

Graciela returned his statement with an icy stare. Silently, Mortimer led his team in the wake of the dragon.


A/N: Still not as much blood and guts, not yet. This is building into something big, along the lines of Simon Clark or the vampires arc from the previous fic. There are clues, but I've not yet given enough information as to WHO is behind all this and WHY are they coming after Harry?

More to come later...

I let Teddy live, for now, but unless I get FEEDBACK, I'm going to let Graciela at him.


__________________

Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)

Last edited by USNAGator91; July 21st, 2011 at 4:06 pm.
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