In The Elven Land of Harailin
“Lady, your daughter is here!”
The speaker, a blonde female with dark eyes and strangely curved ears that turned rather pointy at the top, sounded joyous. She was speaking to the female elf currently in labour.
“Welcome Alvalia!” That was the male elf, holding the hand of his bonded, as he smiled at her. He bent his silver head towards the Lady’s dark one and they exchanged a chaste kiss. The blonde elf gave a gasp, the male immediately looked up at her.
“Physician? Is there something wrong? Is Alvalia well?” He glanced worriedly at his bonded, then looked back to the blonde physician.
“Yes, Lord, in perfect health. Lady, Lord, meet your daughter Alvalia.” Wrapped in a soft leather skin, the baby was held out to the Lord. He extended his arms and pulled the newborn close to his chest. Transferring Alvalia to his left arm, he turned to embrace his bonded with his right and smiled.
“Shall we meet her, darling?” The Lady smiled her assent, and lifting a hand, reverently turned up the hide shadowing her daughters face. The newborn opened her eyes, and parents and child saw each other in the flesh for the first time. The Lords arms tightened infinitesimally, as he waited for the response of his bonded.
She smiled tremulously and bent to kiss Alvalia’s left cheek. One finger gently touched the small palm as the Lady spoke softly the ritual Words of Greeting.
“Thou art Alvaria of Harailin. I bequeath to thee, Alvaria of Harailin, the blessings and gifts of thy kin, the Ar-Tel’Quessir. I henceforth freely surrender to thee, Alvaria of Harailin, the grace of the Ath-Tel’Quessir as is foretold. Thou art the new star under which all shall flourish. I name thee daughter. Under the love of this house shalt thou be sheltered, wheresoever thou art.”
Tears trickled down her cheeks as the Lady drew back. The Lord bent to kiss Alvalia’s right cheek. His voice when he spoke was husky with unshed tears.
“Thou art Alvalia of Harailin. I bequeath to thee, Alvaria of Harailin, the blessings and gifts of thy kin, the Ly-Tel’Quessir. I name thee daughter. Under the love of this house shalt thou be cherished, wheresoever thou art.” The Lord released his bonded and cradling his daughter, walked with Alvalia through the wide open doors to the balcony.
“Corellon Latherion, Protector and Preserver. By thy grace grant this daughter of thine thy protection as she traverses lands foreign to thy people. Assist her in all endeavours and guide her home when her purpose is accomplished.” A ray of light enveloped the Lord and his new child.
A small silver headed whirlwind spun into the room and over to the Lady for a quick embrace, before racing out to the balcony and the tall elf standing out there.
“Papa, papa! I want to see her papa, oh! But… her hair! I’ve never seen hair that colour!” The newest revealed itself to be a young elven girl with long silver hair pulled back in a single braid. The Lord took both his daughters back indoors to his bonded, who had been refreshed and was now rising from where she had been supported for the birth. He relinquished Alvalia to her mother, and then the family sat together.
“Kethadriel, do you remember the story of the one who is to bring forth the Final Nexus? That the Bringer would have hair of flame and eyes of jade fire? As you have noticed, your sister has such. This means that we will have to surrender her to the Wise Ones. They shall place her in a loving human family so that when she is grown the prophecy can be fulfilled. For it is known that the Nexus’ have always belonged to the human race, and therefore it was agreed amongst all the elven peoples in the Accords long ago that the Bringer must be raised as a human. We must love Alvalia as much as we can while she is with us, so that she may carry the memory of us deep within her. And we shall let her go with no anger or fear, as they would only hurt us.” The Lord’s voice broke on the last sentence, for his entire family was weeping quietly.
For a long minute they sat together in shared grief before the Lady gave a great sigh, then smiled through her tears at her bonded and her silver haired daughter.
“Come now, this won’t do! Our Alvalia is destined for greatness, and there is always a price that must be paid. If we can be of assistance in paying it, and if it can be paid at the start of her life rather than the end, is that not better? Even though she will be gone from us while she grows, we will still love her, and when she reaches her majority she will be given the tools with which to contact us. From then she will again be ours. So we must celebrate this wonderful day, where we have her here, and we will celebrate tomorrow as well. And though it cuts us like the sharpest of knives, we will do our duty to this world. So let us rise, and show our Alvalia to the people and let them know that the time of the Final Nexus is nigh.”
In the Human City of London – approximately 20 years later
James and Lily sat with joined hands, facing Sirius at a small table in a flat in Bridle Lane. James finally broke the silence.
“It’s been confirmed that I’m sterile. The healers believe that I ingested a potion every month for two years that… well, they used a lot of healer speak but with that much exposure it’s irreversible. Given the time frame, it was given to me by someone who had access to me all year round. Someone who could get to me at home and at school. The list is pretty short, and you two are the only ones alive I can fully trust given the oaths we’ve exchanged.
“So Lily and I have to make some choices. Either we let the Potter name and magic die with me, or I could magically adopt a child. And the adoption choice also becomes complicated, because a full magical adoption can only be done by one parent. So if Lily and I adopt, only one of us can be recognized as a parent by magic. However, if Lily was to have a child, and I magically adopted it, we would both be parents, and the Potter name would continue.” James stared at the table.
Sirius shifted uncomfortably, unsure as to why he had been invited here for what seemed like an intensely private conversation. Were they going to ask him to… surely not?
Lily smiled sadly at him.
“Relax Sirius. James and I have talked it over for some time, and decided that the best way to do this is for me to find a willing muggle that physically resembles James. That way there won’t be magical inheritance or line theft problems, and no one else needs to know. But…” She trailed off. James picked it back up.
“I would appreciate you going with Lily, make sure she’s safe, double check that the mans not a wizard. She’ll take a fertility potion, and as soon as you get back, well” Lily interrupted, feeling the next bit should come from her.
“I want you to cast a memory charm. I want to remember making the choice, but I don’t want to remember doing it. And then as soon as we get a positive on the pregnancy spell or on the muggle test, James will perform the rite. It’s a Potter Family Magic spell, so the child will henceforth be the Potter heir and James’ child in all ways.” Lily and James waited for a response. It wasn’t long coming.
“But don’t adoption rites use blood? How can an unborn baby be blood adopted, especially so early?” Sirius sounded as confused as he looked, which was pretty confused.
“The Potter rite requires the mother of the unborn child to consent to the adoption, whereas rites performed later don’t. And one beneficial side effect of the Potter rite is that from then on both James and my magic will support and help nurture the child, ensuring a healthy birth. Which is kind of necessary, as this particular rite can only be done once. And I’m glad about that, I don’t really want to have to do this once, let alone twice.” Lily sighed, and sat back as much as she could in her straight backed chair.
“Are you both sure that this is what you want to do?” Sirius, was fairly certain that everything had been decided on before telling him, but it didn’t hurt to check. “Can you both deal with this?”
“We’ve been talking about it for weeks, Paddy.” James responded. “We both want the child to belong to both of us, and this is the best way of achieving it. We almost decided on going to what Lily called a spunk-bank and getting an anonymous donation, but what if the child was born with blond hair? Or dark skin? It’s not like those things really matter to us, but for political reasons we don’t want anyone to know. This is the only way to ensure the donor looks superficially like me.”
“Right.” Sirius was still unsure, but they seemed determined. “So when will we do this?” James and Lily both sighed in relief.
“Tonight being the equinox, as soon as possible. We have one other thing to ask you. Well, two I suppose. Make that three.” James glanced at Lily’s smiling face, then continued. “Firstly, we’ll need you to take an oath not to reveal what we’re doing to anyone, except possibly our child once he or she reaches the age of majority. Secondly, as the better brewer of us both we’ll need you to make the fertility potion.”
“Already done.” Sirius interrupted. “Fabian asked me for one, but you two take precedence. I can always make him another one.”
“Thank you.” Lily said gratefully. “Lastly and most importantly, we’d like you to be our child’s godfather and first choice for magical guardian in the event of our deaths.”
“That’s… Of course!” Sirius was shocked. “But are you sure you want me? I mean, I’ll do my best of course, but wouldn’t someone a bit more… you know… sensible… be better? And you are aware that anything that kills you will likely have got through me first?”
“Sirius, you are James’ brother. We can trust you to love our child and try to do what’s best for him or her, rather than what’s best for you politically. I don’t want my child to have a marriage contract, or be apprenticed into a trade too young.” Lily was leaning forward as she spoke. “Every parent has to learn how to be one, and you will be just as good a father as James, if you have to be. Love is the most important thing Sirius. And yes, we’ll make arrangements for other alternatives in case you also fall, but you will be our first, best choice.”
James was nodding, glad that he had Lily to actually say these things. He and Sirius were as close as brothers, closer even considering how things with Regulus had turned out. Maybe close as twin brothers? It seems Lily was reading his mind. Nothing new there. He turned his attention back to where Sirius was looking overwhelmed. James had to fight down the familiar surge of anger at how Sirius’ family had treated him, leaving him unsure and with confidence issues. He waited until Sirius looked a little more together, then rose to his feet, coming around the table with his right hand extended.
“So Padfoot. What say you?” James said lightly.
“Whatever you wish of me, you can have.” When Sirius rose and extended his own hand, James used it to pull them together in a rough embrace.
“Right then.” James let Sirius go and squared his shoulders. “Best get this done. No use in brooding over it. Are you ready Lily?”
She nodded, and then stood, reaching out to grab Sirius. “Come on then. We have to get you kitted out for clubbing! And you declared you’d never let me dress you up. Mwa-ha-ha-ha-haa!”
In the Human City of London – 30 July 1980
Just after midday on a Wednesday late in July Sirius came skidding into the delivery room, satchel over his shoulder and Remus two steps behind him. Lily and James were sitting together on a couch that bore the unmistakable signs that James had transfigured it, with Lily leaning fully into James’ one armed embrace, with both hands clutching the hand he had offered her.
“Are we in time?” Sirius had clearly just been at Gringotts before making his way to St Mungos. He always wore his best black robes when he knew he was going to deal with goblins, saying that showing respect to those that were in charge of your money was only common sense.
“Sirius you idiot, I blame you for this!” Lily was not her usual playful self. “When they give me my wand back you are going to PAY!”
Remus looked askance at his two best friends. “Why is Sirius responsible? Surely you should be blaming James?”
“He was the putrid pustule on a hags arse that gave me the fucking fertility potion! Come here so I can gut you!” After several inventive descriptions of the upcoming torture Sirius was to expect, Lily rested back against the cushions, her face smoothing out as James wiped her brow with a cloth and then offered her a glass of water. She drank thirstily, and then smiled at the two newcomers.
“Sirius! Remus! Isn’t it exciting? Alice and Frank had their Neville this morning and, oh, come in Sirius, I’m not really going to hurt you! Don’t tell me you’re scared? James, you do have the funniest friends.”
“You gave Lily a fertility potion? And then told her about it? Are you insane?” Remus was aghast.
“She asked me to!” Sirius defended himself. “Of course I wouldn’t give it to her otherwise. I’m not completely reckless and irresponsible you know.”
Three people turned raised eyebrows towards him. He maintained his injured air, as he came closer to Lily’s side, standing beside James.
“So it’s finally happening! Everything going well then?” Just then Lily’s next contraction hit. With alarming speed and precision for one so unwieldy she lashed out with one foot, narrowly missing Sirius’s groin. He nimbly leapt back, and settled down to bear the brunt of his best friends wife’s ire.
Thirty five long and difficult hours later the healer handed a small blanket wrapped bundle to the exhausted witch. She received her son into her arms, and smiling gently kissed him on his left cheek.
“Welcome to the world, Harry James Potter. Everything that is mine I give to you. Know my love all the days of your life.” Lily drew back, and James leant forward, kissing the baby on his right cheek.
“Greetings Harry James Potter, my son. I name thee heir of House Potter and all associated titles, lands and wealth. All that is mine will be yours, and the magic of the house of Potter shall sustain you all the days of your life.” James reached up to run his fingers lightly along the wispy black hair and then rose to call in Sirius and Remus, everyone else having left for the night.
“Sirius, Remus, I introduce to you Harry James Potter, my son and heir.” James looked to be bursting with pride as both Sirius and Remus approached the new mother and kissed Harry gently before congratulating Lily, who smiled tiredly in thanks. She looked at the man she and her husband had agreed would be godfather of their child.
“Shall we do this now, Sirius? Did you bring the knife and the cup?” She teased wearily. Sirius and James both rolled their eyes, and Sirius picked up the satchel he had earlier dropped into a corner. He removed a wooden case, which he opened to reveal a long two sided shiny black blade with a rounded blunt handle and a rough dark stone chalice with a shiny black interior.
“How many times do I have to tell you Lily, it’s not a knife and cup but an athame and a chalice. Which set did you bring Paddy?” James tore his eyes away from his newborn son to glance at the two items Sirius placed on the side table beside the water jug, before doing a classic double take.
“Is that… the Black obsidian and sky-rock set? Your grandfather allowed it?” The shock James clearly felt was echoed by the sound of both Lily and Remus gasping.
“He not only allowed it, he suggested it.” Sirius was grinning like a loon at being able to surprise his companions just as he had been surprised.
After James had revealed his potion induced sterility, Sirius had decided that it may be prudent to also get himself examined, and had not been terribly shocked to discover that he had been fed the same potion. He had eventually gone to his grandfather as Head of House Black in order to inform him of the healers findings. While there, he had requested the use of House of Black ceremonial ritual items for the godfather rite, not really expecting his request to be granted. To his astonishment, when the old man had found out who he wanted them for, he had suggested the House of Black’s most prized ritual set. Arcturus also made several suggestions as to the direction he felt the rite should take. Sirius had come away from that interview reeling, with an authorization for Gringotts, and no longer as certain of his place in the family as he had been when he arrived.
His own parents had informed him that he was disowned. He’d then watched as his mother blasted him from the family tapestry and thought that was the last of it. Speaking with his grandfather made him realize that perhaps they hadn’t received the patriarch’s permission. Which meant that his Trust Vault was likely still intact, and given that he was being allowed the use of the ritual set, he was likely still the direct heir. And his patriarch appeared to approve of his deepening ties to the House of Potter.
Together James, Lily and Sirius prepared the short ritual that would make Sirius the blood sworn godfather of Harry, with Remus as binder. Then James as patriarch used the obsidian athame to pierce the left thumb of Harry and carefully counted out seven drops of blood into the chalice. Lily added five, and so did James. Sirius added fourteen. Then Remus took up the chalice and dipping his right thumb in the blood, drew the appropriate runes on both Sirius and Harry over the sternum. Carefully removing all traces of blood from his thumb, he then passed the chalice to Sirius.
Holding the chalice in his left hand, Sirius lightly placed his right hand flat over the rune drawn on Harry’s chest. James and then Lily stacked their right hands on top, with Remus finishing, dropping the thumb used to draw the runes down beside the pile of hands to connect them all together.
“James and Lily Potter of the House of Potter, do you ask this man Sirius Orion Black of the House of Black to stand as magical godfather to your child, Harry James Potter?” Remus was smiling as he spoke the traditional words. James and Lily answered in unison.
“We do.” Their voices were firm, and they were both smiling.
“Sirius Orion Black of the House of Black, do you agree to stand as magical godfather to Harry James Potter of the House of Potter, child of James and Lily?”
“I do.” Sirius stood straight, and gave his answer in a clear voice.
“Sirius Orion Black, please give your oath.”
Sirius drew a deep breath and gave the oath he had prepared with his grandfathers approval.
“I, Sirius Orion Black of the house of Black, do swear upon my life and magic to forever love and cherish, Harry James Potter of the House of Potter, born this day. I swear that I shall do my utmost to ensure that he is happy and in a nurturing environment. By the ties of blood, I name Harry James Potter my heir, and heir of all titles, lands, and wealth, that are mine upon my passing. I allow magic to measure my intent, and acknowledge I shall be struck down should I willingly break this oath. This I swear.” Sirius met James’ gaze steadily as his best friend gaped at him.
“James and Lily, do you accept the oath of Sirius Orion Black and name him magical godfather to Harry James Potter?” Remus said shakily, continuing the ritual.
“We do.” James and Lily were both staring at Sirius as they replied.
“Then Sirius Orion Black, drink of the chalice and be forever tied to Harry James Potter, in blood, in magic, and by your vow.” Remus finished, and all three watched as Sirius drained the chalice.
Everyone removed their hands from the pile. Sirius placed the chalice back on the bedside table and then fell to the floor in a dead faint.
In the Human Village of Godric’s Hollow – 31 October 1981
“Lily, take Harry and go! It’s Him! Go! Run! I’ll hold him off-”
The sound of a door splintering, a cackle of high pitched laughter…
“Not Harry, not Harry, please not Harry!”
“Stand aside you silly girl… stand aside now…”
“Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead-”
Two killing curses and an explosion later, Peter Pettigrew staggered outside the wards. Carrying his master’s wand he activated his emergency portkey. The sound of rubble shifting and falling inside the house was broken by the sound of a child’s wail for a mother who would never again dry his tears or hold him close and soothe him.
In the Elven Aeyrie of Moreithil – that evening
Arthalian twitched in surprise as he felt the adult side of the infans animus activate for the first time in his life. There was a generalized awareness of fear, before he was overwhelmed with shock and pain, followed by terror. Given that Arthalian had no siblings and his parents had been informed they were unable to have more children, the child projecting these feelings must have been his, but how? While not chaste by any description, he had full control over his fertility and was always extremely careful when indulging in carnal encounters with other elves.
He had not been so careful on his recent expedition to the Human realm, but then elves could not interbreed with other species so he hadn’t felt it necessary. And even then, that was over two years ago and he knew of no gestation period that lasted that long. And the child’s terror did not feel like the generic fear of a newborn, of being cold, hungry or lonely. The child’s fear felt specific. It was frightened of something, or someone. What was going on?
He sat at his work desk and wrote a quick note to his mother and father, sending it on it’s way to them with a touch of magic before removing his coat, folding it over his arm and opening the balcony door. Between one breath and the next, his ebony wings erupted from The Other Place. Stepping off the ledge, he plummeted ground wards for several moments before spreading his wings to catch the updraft. Angling away to the left, he headed towards the Seminary of the Wise. Hopefully they could help him with answers.
Several hours later he alighted on the terrace outside the entranceway to the main audience hall. On the way he had decided that a hurt and terrified mysterious child merited him using his status as heir to the Lord of the Aril-Tel’Quessir to bypass the usual channels and go straight to the top. Even if the child was no longer terrified by that time, there was still pain clearly coming across the infans animus, and the fact that there was a child at all concerned him. Folding his wings behind him and sending them back to The Other Place, he opened the door and entered, shrugging on his coat.
He was surprised to find that he was not the only noble seeking the Wise Ones, as coming up the staircase were three elves, easily recognizable as the Lord and Lady of Harailin and their daughter Kethadriel. There were unmistakable signs of grief on all three faces, and the Lady appeared to be holding on to her dignity by a thread. They all bowed in greeting, before Arthalian spoke, hoping to gain their agreement that he should have first opportunity to find answers.
“Forgive me my brusqueness good elves, but my business with the Wise Ones is most urgent and involves a hurt and terrified child that has emerged from nowhere. May I have first audience?” He kept his tone respectful and courteous.
Thankfully none here had been alive during the last elven war, so as long as everyone remained polite there was unlikely to be any offence given or taken. And one thing all elves had in common was their care for children. Being a long lived race that reproduced rarely, children were cherished. Arthalian fully expected therefore, that he would be waved in ahead with no delay, and was rather disconcerted to find himself subjected to intense scrutiny by all three of his fellow elves.
To Arthalian’s surprise it was Kethadriel who replied, despite being full young to formally represent her parents.
“We are also here about a hurt and terrified child. A child that activated the infans animus of my family for the first time several hours ago, and yet has not the feel of a child just born. A child that can only be the child of my sister, Alvalia who was sent to the Human realm some twenty two years ago to grow amongst them as was required by the Accords of the Tel’Quessir. We felt her die in violence and sacrifice just before the activation of the infans animus.
“At this point, we believe that the magic performed by the Wise Ones to hide Alvalia and keep her from elven senses encompassed her child while she lived, which was why the child does not feel newborn. Given your presence and the business you came on, it appears logical that you are the child’s father, which is a far more rational explanation than that my sister managed to produce the first elven/human hybrid, alone in the human realm and having just entered her fertile state. Have you traveled in the human realm in the last five years?” Kethadriel spoke quickly, her hands lifting to her customary silver braid the only outward sign of her agitation.
Kethadriel’s words made a lot of sense, and cleared up a great deal of Arthalian’s confusion.
“I was in the Human realm for about six months a couple of years ago. I didn’t realize… I made no effort to curtail my fertility, there didn’t seem a need. And since I have no bond, nor yet any anticipation of one…” Arthalian let himself trail off. Kethadriel and her parents nodded. Elven attitude towards sex was that as long as all participants were honest and consenting, nothing was taboo. After bonding most elves discovered that they found greatest delight with their bonded, the empathic bonding link was increased exponentially by touch, the pleasure unmatchable by anything else.
“Well then,” Arthalian continued. “It appears we are on the same business. Shall we seek guidance from the Wise Ones together?” He offered his arm to Kethadriel, who glanced at her parents for approval before accepting it. They had just started towards the audience hall when outside on the terrace two figures alighted and settled their wings. The door opened and Arthalian’s parents came through.
“Father, Mother, please accompany us to the Wise Ones. We have already agreed we are on the same errand, and can explain it to you there.” Arthalian said after the requisite bows had been exchanged.
Everything was explained to the Wise One on hand, and he agreed that the temple would open a portal so that Arthalian could go through to the Human realm to seek his child. Neither Arthalian’s nor Kethadriel’s parents could go as they had duties to their people, and Kethadriel was too young to make the crossing safely. Arthalian had just agreed to take a Lythari hunter from Harailin with him so that both families were represented when the infans animus went quiet. It was still activated, the child was alive, but nothing came through. It was eerie.
Everyone exchanged glances.
“Is this how it felt when Alvalia was sent to the Human realm?” Arthalian asked. Even before he had finished speaking, Kethadriel’s parents were shaking their heads.
“No.” Kethadriel’s father responded. “We had a sense of her, only muffled and non distinct. A presence, even if the presence gave no information. This… this is like an absence of a presence.” He turned to the Wise One. “How is this possible?”
The Wise One was mystified, and reached out to the silken cord hanging beside the chair he sat on. Using his magic, he summoned all Wise Ones in residence, notifying them that the request was not urgent, but was important.
After the situation was laid out to the forty three Wise Ones that responded, they discussed the problem amongst themselves before turning to bow to the family of the lost child before dispersing. The senior Wise One present, a black haired, black eyed female with golden skin strode forwards and halted in front of them, folding her hands into the sleeves of her white robe.
“We are all in agreement that with the death of Alvalia, the requirement for non-interference explicit in the Accord has concluded, and all contractual obligations have been met. Therefore, the child’s safety is our only goal, and we need spare nothing to achieve it.
“From the information we were able to gather, we have determined that the child is male, and has gone under strong wards, likely rune based and set in unwilling blood. We have joined our minds and could find no trace of his mind or magic, indicating that the ward is not devised to repel negative intentions. It is logical, therefore, to believe that the ward is set to repel those searching for the child if they do not already know where he is.
“I understand that Arthalian of The Aerie was planning to go to the Human realm to search for his child, taking with him a hunter from Harailin. It is our advice that you expand your party. Your search may be long, and the child is now already clearly too aware to make the journey between realms safely. You must therefore be prepared to stay with him, and raise him in the Human realm.
“Currently the portal there can only be activated once a year, so we shall immediately begin crafting a permanent gate. As soon as it is functional we can place it to your advantage. In the meantime, we will open the portal each year on the winter solstice, and suggest that you plan to rotate your companions to maximize efficiency. As the winter solstice is in seven weeks, that gives you plenty of time to make your arrangements. Remember that we cannot send more than six people through the portal at any one time.
“Given that we have no indication that Alvalia was able to fulfill her destiny, we must make preparations to seal the Elven realm off from the other realms. We shall be ready if we should discover the worst has happened.
“I have been assigned as coordinator of this project. My designation for the duration shall be The Gatekeeper, you may address all messages thus and I will receive them.” The Gatekeeper bowed, and then left the six petitioners standing in the audience hall.
Seven weeks later, six elves convened at the Seminary to enter the portal to the Human realm in order to search for the hidden elven child. Arthalian crossed his hands over his chest, ducked his head, closed his eyes and then stepped forward into the portal.