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Where on Earth?
The eight time travellers arrived at their destination with a loud bang, a great flash of light, and a violent jolt. None remained on their feet, each falling to the ground heavily, causing them to groan in pain.
I thought you said it didn't hurt! Sirius complained, rubbing his bruised elbow.
Yes, I was under the impression it was a flawless transition, Severus agreed.
It's never done that before! Harry exclaimed, rubbing his own damaged knees. With a groan of pain, he placed the amulet under his robes and pushed himself to his feet.
Harry's right, Ginny said, Every other time it's been a smooth trip. The first time we just had a flash of light and a feeling like a portkey, and the next thing we knew we were on the Hogwarts grounds, next to the lake. After that it was the same thing, only we ended up in the Great Hall.
By the way, did you ever figure that out? Ron asked his girlfriend.
What? Hermione asked, confused.
Why we moved in space and not just in time on two of the trips.
No, she answered with a frown. The adults and Glen shot her confused looks, not understanding what they were talking about. With a resigned sigh, she explained that on the first and last trips, they had moved locations as well as times, and they didn't know why. Severus had an alarmed look on his face at this, and Remus looked a little unnerved. Sirius just shrugged.
Why is that a problem? he asked.
Because we can't explain it, Harry said, We just know it happens. Hypothetically, we could end up anywhere.
But we're not going to get lost, you prepared for this, didn't you?
Harry coloured as he realised that this aspect of time travelling with the Amulet of Time had completely slipped his mind. With alarm, he quickly took in his surroundings and groaned.
What? Severus asked, worried.
Look around us. We left from the Great Hall, but we're in the middle of a field.
Quickly, the others took in their surroundings. With the bumpy arrival and distraction of discussing the special movement, they hadn't thought to look around them. As Harry had said, they were in the middle of a meadow, trees surrounding them in the distance. Behind the trees to the west, they could see a mountain range as far as the eye could see. In the other directions were a few forested slopes, but nothing else. There were no buildings, no lake, and worst of all, no Hogwarts.
Where on Earth ? Remus exclaimed.
Something tells me we're not in Kansas anymore, Harry muttered, gaining him a nervous laugh from Hermione and confused looks from everyone else.
Where are we? Ginny asked, We can't be where Hogwarts is, because there are trees all around, mountains in the wrong places and no lake. We must have moved.
But moved where? And where are the people? There should be some sign of civilisation! Hermione exclaimed.
This is no place I have ever been, Glen added, looking a little disconcerted.
Harry, you'd best get the maps out, Remus suggested, I suppose we might be able to figure out where we are.
I hope so, Moony, because if we can't we're a bit stuck.
Why? Glen asked.
Because we don't know where we are. We can't get to Hogwarts if we don't know where we are. For one thing, we can't apparate to somewhere without knowing our location, so apparition is out. The same goes for portkeys. They need a precise point of origin. We can't walk, because we don't know which direction to walk in, Ginny replied, a hint of panic showing in her voice.
Well, why do we have to go to Hogwarts? Sirius asked.
Because it's the most logical place to go, his godson told him, After all, it has a library for research, and food and shelter. The only problem is, we don't know if it's been built yet.
The others groaned in protest and sat down on the grass in a circle, removing their backpacks and rummaging inside to find the maps. Once they had extracted them, they laid the map of Britain in the middle of the circle and began marking possible locations, based on the terrain around them. After an hour of complicated spells and calculations, they narrowed it down to three places on the map.
Alright, so if our calculations are correct, we're either in North Wales, near Llandudno, in the Scottish Highlands, or in Northumberland? Severus asked in exasperation.
Yes, Ginny said simply, looking defeated, We can't narrow it down any more than that. And even those locations are sketchy. We could be anywhere within a hundred miles of those three places. That is, if the landscape isn't different to that on the map. I don't know if anyone else can sense it, but this place feels a lot older than even the time of the founders. Even if we did find out where Hogwarts should be, I doubt we would find it when we got there.
Harry perked up at this, remembering something from the very first trip through time.
*Simbi? Nirah? Can you taste the air for me?*
*Of course* the female replied.
*We are once more not in our own time* Simbi concluded.
*The air tastes different?* Harry asked.
*Yes, very different. It is different to the first time we moved, as well. I believe the atmosphere is not the same. We must have moved a great distance for this amount of change to have occurred*
*Thanks, guys* Harry answered, turning to the others.
Gin, you're right. They say the atmosphere itself is different. If I remember my Muggle chemistry correctly, it suggests that the pollution in the air is virtually none existent. We're definitely not in the time of the founders, by a long way.
I thought you said we wouldn't go that far back! Glen said, starting to panic.
I never said that, his father corrected, I said it was unlikely. Unfortunately, we seem to be a very long way into the past, and in the middle of nowhere. I suggest we pitch our tents for the night and stay put. I know it's only lunch time, but I don't think we should go anywhere until we know for certain what we're doing. This is a nice location, flat enough for the tents, and near enough to the forests for us to go hunting, so I say we make camp.
I agree, Ron said, There's no sense in us getting lost, is there?
Alright, we'll set up camp, but we can't stay here indefinitely, Sev told them, We'll have to find some kind of civilisation. There's bound to be some people around here somewhere. Even if we only find primitive Muggles, I know for a fact that wizarding cultures have existed thousands of years before their Muggle counterparts.
That's true, Harry said, There have to be some magical folk around here somewhere, it's just a matter of finding them.
It took them over an hour to set the camp up how they wanted it. As their bags were bottomless and weightless, they had brought four tents between the eight of them, knowing that certain members of their group would want privacy. The bulky tents didn't take up extra space like they would have done for Muggles, so it wasn't a problem. Harry and Ginny had their tent set up in no time, as did Hermione and Ron, but the others were having a lot more trouble. Sirius and Remus had theirs inside out, which really didn't help. They were doing better than Severus and Glen, though. They had somehow managed to erect theirs in a most curious shape. Instead of being the normal shape of a tent, it looked suspiciously like a teepee. This caused the others to burst out laughing, and the two responsible to both storm off angrily. Despite the state of their own tent, the older Marauders were overjoyed at the opportunity to tease their school enemy.
It took the other four over half an hour to fix the messes, Hermione and Ron taking on Sirius and Remus' mistake, while Harry and Ginny tackled the others' creation.
It's almost a shame to dismantle it, Harry said, It really is a masterpiece!
Ginny, giggling, pulled out her much loved camera and took several pictures of it before they took it apart. Eventually, everything was set up, and while Ron and Sirius went off to collect firewood, Ginny, Harry and Hermione decided it would be best to go hunting. Ginny was an obvious choice for this task, as she was the best archer they had, and the others also had a lot of experience. As soon as Glen and Severus had stopped sulking and had returned to camp, the three headed off for the forest.
Are you sure this is going to be safe? Hermione asked as they reached the tree line, I mean, what if it's like the forbidden forest, and has acromantula and unfriendly centaurs? Or werewolves and vampires!
`Mione, calm down, Harry said, If there are any acromantula, we'll deal with them. The same goes for centaurs. As for vamps and werewolves, I can take care of them. I'm more worried about us getting lost.
We'll just have to make sure not to leave the trail, Ginny reassured them, Then we'll be fine.
After each taking a deep breath and having one more glance at the camp, they plunged into the forest, walking in as straight a line as possible. Fortunately, there was an animal trail vaguely visible on the floor, so they made sure to stick to it. After about twenty minutes of walking, Harry raised his hand in a signal for them to stop.
~There are some deer up ahead~ he told them telepathically.
~Where?~ his wife replied in kind.
~Behind that fallen tree. I can smell them. Gin, you go around to the left, and I'll go to the right. `Mione, stay here. The first to get a clear shot, take one down~
The other two nodded in agreement, before Harry and Ginny crept in their directions silently. Hermione moved forward a little. Once they were all in position, they took up their bows and removed an arrow from their quivers. One by one they aimed at the unsuspecting animals and shot their arrows through the air. Immediately, the herd began to scatter, leaving two of their injured behind. Hermione and Harry had shot the same doe, and Ginny had taken down a bambi. Moving forwards, they quickly cut the throats of their prey and levitated them.
These should last us a few days, Harry said in satisfaction.
Yes, but we'll have to be careful to ration the meat. After all, we don't know how lucky we'll be with our hunting. We don't know how often we'll be this successful.
Let's go back now, before we get lost, the young redhead suggested, and the others readily agreed. The forest was starting to give them the creeps. As they walked, they felt as if hundreds of eyes were watching their every move.
Do you feel that? Hermione asked, nervously.
If you mean the gazes, then yes, Harry said, I cant see anything or smell anything, but I'm sure we're being watched.
Let's just get out of here, Ginny said, taking Harry's hand and holding it tightly.
The three quickened their paces, and before they knew it, they were bursting out of the trees and into the late afternoon sunlight. The sudden increase in light blinded them briefly, but as soon as they could see again they headed straight for the camp. The only one there when they returned was Glen.
Glen, where is everyone else? Hermione asked in concern.
Ron and Sirius are still collecting wood. I don't know how much they think we'll need, but I'm sure they've found enough to last for a month. What's wrong with magical fires I don't know.
Glen, using magic's not a good idea. We don't know what attention it could attract, Harry said, There are some dangerous magical creatures that are attracted to magic, and we don't want to bring anything to our camp. There's also and people that may be around here to consider. We're best off doing this like Muggles for as long as possible. The tents are alright, as they're shielded not to give off magic, but any done outside of them would attract attention. Where are Remus and Severus?
They left a while ago to scout out the meadow. I think they just wanted to stretch their legs, personally. That and discuss our situation. I know they don't exactly like each other, but they are both professionals and academics, so they know the merits of working together.
You have a point, Harry agreed, before setting the deer down near the centre of camp and taking out a dagger. Once he had laid out a mat on the ground, he pulled the larger of the animals towards him and started to skin it. His son soon joined him, pulling the other deer over and helping to carve up the meat.
What do you think is going to happen to us? he asked his father in Anglo-Saxon.
I don't know, Glen, I don't know, Harry told him, Can you understand why I wanted to come with you, though? If you'd been alone here, how long would you have lasted? I know you can take care of yourself, but there is safety in numbers.
I know, and I'm glad you came. The others, too.
Our next move will be to find civilisation, Harry told him, We have to live here for a year, and personally I'd rather not spend it in this field. We've pretty much decided that Hogwarts won't be built for at least a few thousand years, so we have to have somewhere to head for. I think our best bet would be continental Europe. If I remember my history correctly, the oldest wizarding civilisations are the Japanese, the Egyptians, the Aztecs and the Mediterraneans. The Greeks and Romans might be around by now, but as we don't know how far back in time we are, we might be a bit before their time, in which case we'll head for Egypt. Japan and America are a lot further to travel, and we don't want to venture too far from where Hogwarts will be.
That sounds reasonable, Glen said, and the pair fell into silence.
Over the next hour, Ron, Sirius, Remus and Severus each returned from their respective explorations. Within minutes, Severus and Sirius were at each other's throats, complaining that the other was to blame for them not knowing where they were. Eventually, Hermione placed silencing charms on them to give the rest of the group a break.
As darkness began to fall and the temperature started to drop, Harry and Hermione, being raised by Muggles, managed to get a fire started. The deer meat was speared on sharpened sticks and held over the fire to cook.
You know, I never thought I'd be going camping with my school rival, my best friend, and two generations of Potters, neither of which are James, Remus said.
It's a funny old world, alright, Ron agreed.
What's the plan for the immediate future? Harry asked.
Tomorrow we'll go looking for signs of settlements. With there being a stream nearby, there are sure to be people around, even if there are Muggles. Any ideas about where we are would be useful, Remus told them.
Sounds like a reasonable plan. What do we do if we don't find anyone? Harry asked.
Go to plan B.
Head south, the werewolf replied, This is an island after all, we'll reach water eventually. Severus and I thought it would be best to head for the continent.
That's what I thought, the Boy-Who-Lived agreed.
The group fell silent again as they each ate their meat. Before long, Glen and Ginny began yawning, and by mutual agreement the eight decided to turn in for the night. Upon entering their tent, Ginny gave her husband a firm hug.
How bad can it get? she whispered. Harry decided not to answer, knowing she wouldn't like what he had to say.
The next morning, Harry and Ginny were startled awake by shouts coming from outside their tent. Leaping out of their four poster bed, they quickly threw on a clean set of robes and went to see what the commotion was about. When they reached the entrance to their tent, they stood and watched the chaos in confusion.
Severus, Sirius and Remus were standing just past the tents, shouting at each other. Glen was trying to mediate, but wasn't getting very far. At one of the other tents, Ron and Hermione were peeking out, wondering what was going on.
Do you know what the fuss is about? Ginny asked, making her way over to her brother and his girlfriend.
We're not sure, they started a few minutes ago, but we haven't figured out why, the other redhead replied.
Well, I guess we'd better ask them then, Harry said reasonably, before striding forward and pulling Severus and Sirius apart.
Alright, you lot, what's going on?
The three quieted immediately, looks of guilt on their faces. Severus was the first to recover.
We awoke this morning to find something rather disturbing.
And what's that? Harry growled, showing his annoyance.
There are rocks outside the camp, Remus explained. Harry raised one eyebrow in response.
Rocks? Really? `Cause, gosh, you never see those in a field, he said sarcastically.
Not just any rocks, Harry, Sirius told him, They're arranged rocks.
So? We probably just didn't notice them yesterday. It's no big deal, the boy answered, looking skeptical.
That's just it, Remus said, They weren't there yesterday.
Are you sure? Ron asked, coming up behind his best friend, Ginny and Hermione right behind him.
Positive. We scouted out the whole meadow yesterday, and there were no rock formations. Have a look for yourselves, the Potions Master said with a scowl. Sure enough, as they looked around the perimeter of the camp, they found rocks laid out in a pattern. It looked like a collection of lines and spirals.
Well, that's a bit unnerving, Ron said, finally, looking slightly disturbed.
I'll say, his sister agreed, How do you suppose they got there? And what do they mean?
They're a warning, Harry concluded.
But what does it mean? his wife asked, taking his hand in hers and squeezing it tightly. Harry pulled her close and wrapped his arms around her before replying.
It means we are not alone.