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Chapter Five

“ Elementals?” Ginny asked, “ Are you sure?”

“ Positive,” Harry replied, a concerned look on his face, “ It all adds up.  We've been warned by earth, fire, water and air.  I think we'd best leave before they start on the soul magic.”

“ I know it's the logical conclusion, Harry, but they can't be Elementals,” Hermione said, slightly panicked.

“ Why not,” Harry asked, quirking an eyebrow at her.

“ Because Elementals are legends!  They were said to populate the world in a time before time, when the Earth was young and magic had not yet been fully harnessed!  We're talking thousands of years, and even then, the reports of them are sketchy.  If they existed at all, it was at a time long before the written word.”

“ Hermione, the evidence is there.  Look at it!” Harry said heatedly, losing his patience, “ Elementals are legend, yes.  But all legends are based on fact.  Now, all we have to go on are old tales and speculation.  Is it so far-fetched an idea?  Really?”

“ Well, I can see how you came to this conclusion, but I doubt it's true!” Severus said, agreeing with the young witch.

“ See?  Severus agrees with me, Harry,” Hermione said with a scowl, crossing her arms over her chest and giving the Boy-Who-Lived a disapproving glare.

“ Alright, alright,” Harry said, raising his hands in resignation, “ Let's say it isn't Elementals, what else could it be?”

Silence reigned as everyone tried to think up another explanation.  As soon as one started to open their mouths to suggest something, they thought better of it as they found a reason to contradict the idea.  Eventually, Ron let out a resigned sigh.

“ Alright, Harry mate, we're listening.”

“ Are you ready to admit I may be right?” Harry asked with a smirk, which became increasingly smug as everyone nodded, “ Right, we know that we're a long time in the past, before the time of the founders by a long way.  Therefore, we should assume that magic is not performed in a manner with which we are familiar.  If I remember rightly, modern magic was pioneered by Merlin in the middle of the sixth century AD.  Before that, magic was performed by different cultures in a variety of different ways, all with limitations and specialities.”

“ That's true, but surely we haven't gone back that far…” Ginny said, worried.

“ Gin, if it's before the atmosphere began to be polluted, it could be any time.  I doubt when we reach the continent we'll find anything more than tribes, though.  I get the feeling that this place is old.  Far older than even the Greek and Roman civilisations.”

“ If that's the case, they what do we do?” Glen asked.

 “ As I was saying,” Harry continued, “ We can expect to find different types of magic here.  The Romans used some limited incantations, upon which Merlin based his magic, but not many.  Mostly it involved chants and potions.  The Greeks were the same, as were the Persians and Babylonians.  Aztec magic was more ritual based, as was Egyptian magic.  The India, Japanese and Chinese involved self-belief and divination.  Nordic wizards were weather workers and rune users. We know all this from the records left behind.  However, if the evidence around us proves correct, then we are in a time before records became common.”

“ Harry, you're babbling,” Sirius said, “ Just spare us the history lesson and give it to us in simple layman's terms.”

Harry let out a loud sigh and shook his head.  His godfather really didn't understand the situation they had found themselves in.

“ Sirius, trust me, it's all relevant.  What I'm saying is that we are further in the past than we were expecting, and that in this time, we should expect different branches of magic that we are unfamiliar with.  Therefore, the idea of Elementals is not as far fetched as you may think.”

“ That's all well and good, Dad, but what do we do about it?” Glen asked, reasonably.

“ Simple.  We don't understand it, so we don't fight it.  We move on as soon as possible, and hope they don't follow us.”

“ I think it's a little late for that,” Remus said, watching the tree line intently.  The others followed his line of sight to the edge of the forest, where a line of people was stood, watching the group.  They were dressed in simple tunics of animal skins, sharp spears and rocks in their hands.  Their faces were painted with intricate patterns similar to those formed by the rocks outside the camp.

“ I think we're about to meet the locals,” Ginny muttered.

“ At least we'll find out it I was right,” Harry replied.

Before they could do anything, one of the people stepped forward and raised a large stick into the air, shouting something unintelligible to the group.  They just looked at each other in confusion, before Hermione began to rummage in one of the backpacks, pulling out a thin book on translation spells.

“ It's worth a try,” she muttered at she tried a few of the spells out.  None seemed to work, and the leader of the savages seemed to be becoming more and more irate.

“ `Mione, I think this is one of those occasions that a book can't solve our problems,” Ron told his girlfriend.  She nodded in agreement and replaced the book in the bag and reshrank it.  The locals seemed to jump in surprise as she did so, and watched her cautiously as she replaced the bag in the pouch around Fawkes' leg.

“ I think you upset him,” Glen said, as the leader once more strode forward, yelling angrily and shaking his stick.

“ I believe this is our cue to leave.  Fawkes, you set off.  We'll join you as soon as we can.  Just head south, we'll catch up,” Harry told the phoenix.  Fawkes replied with a trill and took to the sky.  Meanwhile, the locals had been drawing closer, encircling the camp completely.

“ Maybe we should just go, before they start attacking,” Ginny suggested as the people reached the wards.

“ I think it's a bit late for that,” Sirius said, drawing his wand and preparing for the inevitable.  

As soon as the locals reached the wards, they realised they couldn't get inside.  The leader became even more incensed, rapping his stick against the dome of protection and shouting instructions to his people.  Immediately, they began dancing and chanting, much to the confusion of the time travellers.

“ What in Merlin's name are they doing?” Sev asked in exasperation.

Before anyone could answer, a series of vines erupted from the ground, wrapping tightly around the eight witches and wizards and binding them tightly.  They immediately began to struggle, but soon gave up, realising they couldn't get free, and that the vines appeared to get tighter the more they moved.  Magic wouldn't work either, as they couldn't move their hands.  Harry concentrated hard, trying to force his magic to work without hand gestures, as he could sometimes do, but his mind was too panicked to focus properly.  Eventually he gave up.

“ Well, this is a bit of a pickle,” he commented, gaining him vicious glares from the rest of the group.


“ So, what's the plan?” Ron asked as the group was dragged out of the trees and into a clearing in the middle of the forest.  The group was still wrapped in vines, and after being blown out of the wards with a strong wind, they had been dragged by the locals through the forest for what seemed like hours.

“ I'm open to suggestions,” Sirius said.

“ We could apparate away,” Glen suggested.

“ I thought we covered this a week ago,” Hermione said, “ We can't apparate anywhere.”

“ How about changing into our animagus forms?” Severus put forward.

“ It's worth a try, but it'll have to be someone with a small form.  If we grow in size, the vines will crush us,” Harry commented.

“ I'll do it,” Ginny agreed, before concentrating on her pelican form.  With a slight *pop* she changed shapes, causing an uproar from the natives.  They all pointed their sticks in the direction of the bundle of vines, and the others watched in horror as the pelican began to try and free itself.  Instead of falling away, as they had expected, the vines tightened around the bird, trapping it once more.

“ Oh, no!” Hermione exclaimed, mentally kicking herself, “ Ginny, stop struggling!  It's Devil's Snare!”

“ You're kidding!” Ron yelled in disbelief, “ Typical!  You'd think with what happened in first year, you would have recognised it sooner!”

“ Well, I'm sorry Ronald, but I was a little distracted by the violent Elementals!” Hermione screeched back.

“ Well, last time you were just as distracted, and you figured it out!  I thought you were supposed to be the smart one!”

“ Nobody's perfect, Ron!”

“ Apparently not!”

“ Shut up, you two!” Harry yelled, stopping the quarrelling pair mid rant, “ Now is not the time for a lover's tiff!  

The couple immediately fell silent, looking embarrassed.  In the mean time, all eight of them were dragged over to wooden posts sticking out of the ground.  The natives were poking Ginny with a stick, still rather distressed at her changing shape, but taking no chances.  Before they knew it, they were each secured to a post by more vines.  Once they were all tied up, the locals moved away and began to prepare dinner.

Harry watched the people in fascination.  Their settlement was in the middle of the forest, with a canopy of leaves covering most of their village.  Their homes comprised of wooden frames with animal pelts stretched over them.  The centre had a clearing, with the sun beating down from a clear blue sky.  This appeared to be the focal point of the village, with a large fire in the centre, surrounded by cooking pots.  Their wooden posts were situated here, facing the fire.

Off to one side, Harry could see crude pens containing chickens, pigs and oxen.  The people themselves were milling around the village, creating weapons and tools using sharp rocks.  With a start, Harry realised that there was no metal anywhere to be seen.  This was slightly worrying, as metal in one form or another had been around for thousands of years.  That these people still used stone tools was disconcerting.

His attention wandered further around the camp, until something caught his attention out of the corner of his eye.  Tied to the post next to him was an unfamiliar figure.  It certainly wasn't one of the time travellers.  Upon closer inspection, it seemed to be a young woman, no older than he was.  Her head was bowed and resting on the vines binding her, and her long, silvery hair was matted around her face.  He was more than a little startled when she moved slightly and he caught sight of a pointed ear poking through her hair.

“ Sev?” he called, catching the attention of the man tied on the post to his left, “ Do you see what I see?”

“ What am I supposed to be seeing?” The Potions Master asked.

“ There's an elf tied up to the post next to mine.”

Severus stretched his neck as far as he could and peered around Harry.  Sure enough, there she was, just as Harry claimed.

“ You're right,” he gasped, “ She looks like she's been here a while, from the state of her.  I wonder where she came from.”

“ Sev, could you pass the message on?  You're nearer to them.  Get them to pass it along.  I'm going to try and talk to her.”

“ I thought we couldn't understand the people here,” Severus said with a frown.

“ She's an elf, she's sure to speak an elven dialect.  Their language hasn't changed much over thousands of years.  I'm sure I can make her understand me somehow.”

“ Well, good luck, I think you'll need it.  She doesn't appear to be in much shape to be carrying on a conversation.”

Severus turned away, calling out to Hermione and explaining the situation to her.  Harry turned away from his friend and called out to the girl.

“ Hello?  Excuse me,” he said in elvish.  The woman jerked slightly at the words, and looked tiredly over to him.  She seemed a little startled to see him, and frowned.  With a raspy voice she said something back, but Harry wrinkled his brows in confusion.  It sounded like elvish, but the words didn't make any sense.  She had obviously thought the same of what he said.  Trying again, he spoke in the form of the language he knew.

“ My name is Harry Potter.  What is your name?”

This time she had a look of intense concentration on her face, as she seemed to puzzle out what he had said.  After a moment she nodded her head and smiled slightly.

“ Myleidi,” she said with a small but pleased grin that seemed to light up her dirty, tearstained face.  Harry grinned back, glad that she had at least got the gist of what he was trying to say.

“ How long have you been here?” he asked.  She frowned and shook her head, obviously not understanding.  Thinking quickly, Harry suddenly had an idea.  Opening a mental link with her, he sent her a mental picture of the words written in the elvish script.  She seemed surprised at the mental invasion, but immediately understood him.  Using the same method, she sent back the image of written words, saying she had been there nearly two weeks.  With a grin, Harry closed the connection and opened one with the rest of his group.

~Everyone, this is Myleidi.  She's an elf, and she's been here just under two weeks~

~You understood each other, then?~ Sev asked.

~Well, she understands me a little, but I found another way of communicating with her~

~Really?  How?~ Hermione asked back.

~Well, elven dialects are all the same language.  The words are written the same, and the grammar is identical.  However, the thing that varies is the pronunciation.  Each colony of elves pronounces the language differently, so understanding each other using the spoken language is difficult.  However, the written language is the same.  I simply sent her a mental image of the words, and she read and understood them.  The principle is the same as the Chinese language~

Once Harry had broken the mental connection to his friends, he continued speaking to Myleidi.  Despite her confusion about the mental link, they managed to hold a decent conversation.  She told him she was a river elf, and that she had been heading back to her village when the Elementals had captured her.  That was nearly two weeks ago, and she had been tied to the post ever since.  Once a day she was brought food and water and force-fed it.  

After asking her if she knew who their captors were, Myleidi explained that they were `nature's children' and were avoided by her people.  They had a reputation for savagery, and it was rumoured they performed evil rituals on the full moon.  Harry, in turn, explained briefly that he and his friends were from a different place, and were unfamiliar with the world around them.  When he asked her what time period they were in, she sent him a confused look.

~What do you mean by time period?~ she mentally wrote.

~What age are we in, in elven terms?~ he replied.

Myleidi, still not grasping the relevance of the question, gave him a straight answer.

~The thirty second age~

Harry gasped in surprise and suddenly broke the mental connection.  Frantically working out the difference in his head, he came to a rather startling conclusion.  Severus, having watched the silent conversation between the vampire and the elf, called out to his friend.

“ Are you alright, Harry?  What's wrong?”

“ Sev, I've just found out when we are.”

“ Really?  What time are we in?”

“ Hang, on, let me work that out again, just to be sure…” Harry said, while adding up the figures more slowly.  After the third time of coming to the same conclusion, he shakily turned to face the patiently waiting Potions Master.

“ That can't be right…”

“ Just tell me,” Sev said, becoming annoyed.

“ Well, she said this is the thirty second age, and our time is the forty eighth age…”

“ What does that mean?” the other man growled, being unfamiliar with the elven method of counting ages.

“ Well, as far as I can gather, we're a lot further from home than we could ever have expected.  I think this is around the time the Muggles call the Neolithic Age.”

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