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The Search forCivilisation
For the rest of the night, the bizarre group headed South through the dense forest, finally breaking through the tree line and into a meadow shortly before daybreak. The exhausted animagi and werewolf collapsed on the ground just under cover, and promptly fell asleep. Myleidi, who had dozed off several hours before on Ron's back, carefully dismounted and made her way over to Harry, who still appeared to be unconscious. Dragging her only source of information off the lion's back, she pulled him onto the stretch of grass and laid him down flat, before muttering a series of elven charms. After a few minutes, the injured vampire began to stir, opening his eyes and looking up at the bleary image of the elf.
Myleidi? he groaned.
Harry! You live? she asked in the mangled version of elvish they had concocted.
I live, he grunted, trying to sit up. Intense pain seared through his body and he flopped back down to the ground.
The others? he asked, suddenly afraid that they had not all made it out of the Elemental village. After all, the last thing he remembered was freeing Severus. He had spent the entire journey unconscious.
They sleep, Myleidi told him, They walk many hours.
Harry nodded his head tiredly, closing his eyes slowly. They suddenly flew open a few minutes later, as his situation penetrated his foggy mind.
Myleidi! The sun! Please, take me in the forest!
The elf looked at him confused, before comprehension suddenly filled her features. She might not know what had been going on for the last eight days, but she hadn't failed to notice the effect the sun had on the young man. Lifting his slight frame in her strong arms, she moved them back under the cover of the trees and set Harry down in a small patch of flat ground. This time when he opened his eyes, he smiled at his new friend.
Thank you, he murmured.
Is nothing, she replied, before summoning up the courage to ask what she had been wondering about for the last week, Why the sun hurt you?
Harry closed his eyes and let out a sigh of resignation. He had been expecting this question since the first time the deadly rays had burned him. The elf had watched it happen time and time again, but Harry had been in no state to explain to her. Now, though, he didn't really have a choice. The rest of the group had fallen asleep in exhaustion, and he was the only one who could communicate with her.
Myleidi, I am not man, he said, hesitatingly. She gave him a rather confused look.
Not man? she asked, What you are?
I am son of man, son of elf, he tried to explain. They had managed to communicate in a language they both recognised, but their mutually comprehensible vocabulary was rather limited, so trying to explain the concept was a little taxing.
Child of elf?! she gasped, How many?
One, two generations.
She thought about what he had said for a minute before minutely nodding, encouraging him to continue.
Son of elf, son of man, cursed also, he continued, to which she gave him an alarmed look.
Curse by Dark beast
Dark one! No! Harry friend! she said, panicked. Elves had never been comfortable with evil creatures, as they themselves were inherently good. To realise that her friend was actually a Dark creature was a bit of a shock to the poor woman.
Myleidi, calm! Harry is friend, not evil. Partly cursed by drinker of blood, but not evil! he explained. She looked horrified when she realised he was talking about vampires, but calmed significantly when he said he was not evil.
Drinker of blood, she whispered, And elf? Strange
You have no idea, Harry muttered to himself in English before once more pushing himself to a sitting position. Taking a deep breath and readying himself for pain, he let out a long, loud, continuous whistle. As soon as the sound died away, he collapsed back on the ground and fell once more into unconsciousness.
The next time Harry awoke, the sun was higher in the sky and there was a lot more activity around him. Pushing himself into a sitting position, propped against a tree, he watched as the rest of the group going about their business. As expected, Fawkes had responded to Harry's whistle, and was perched on a nearby tree stump, watching the proceedings with interest. The others, who had obviously woken from their sleeps and decided to set up camp, were setting up the tents and casting very strong wards. Remus looked rather ill, but was still pulling his weight. Myleidi was sitting off to one side, staring into space and obviously mulling over recent events.
After several minutes, Ginny noticed her husband sitting up against the tree and let out a loud squeal, gaining the attention of the rest of the camp. She ran across the forest floor and flung herself at the young vampire, wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him tenderly. When she pulled away, she sat down next to him and wrapped him in a firm hug as the others made their way over.
You decided to join the land of the living, I see, Sev commented as he reached his friend.
I did indeed. How long was I out? he asked.
About six hours, Remus told him, We decided to let you rest while we set up camp, as we didn't want to try and heal you while you were unconscious.
Good thinking, Harry said, looking at the ground as he realised what his body needed to heal itself. Seeing his distraught look, the rest of the group realised what had him down. He was a vampire. He needed blood. He was just too polite and ashamed to ask for it. He didn't need it most of the time, which meant that the problem rarely arose, but after losing a lot of blood like he had over the last week, he needed to replenish his supplies. Without a second thought, Glen knelt down in front of his father and tilted his head to one side. Harry looked up at the younger Potter with an expression of surprise on his face.
Glen, are you sure? I
No, Dad, you need it. Just drink, Glenadade said, tilting his head further and closing his eyes tightly. Harry, touched, gently took hold of his son's head with trembling hands and brought his mouth up to the unblemished neck. With one last worried look at the others, he closed his own eyes and gently bit into the flesh. As the hot blood welled out of the wound and made its way down his throat, Harry let out a sigh of satisfaction as he sucked carefully. After a few minutes he let go and bit his own finger, letting a drop of his vampiric blood land on Glen's wound, which sealed itself immediately. As the ancient boy pulled away, Harry collapsed back against the tree, a bit of colour finally filling his cheeks, making him look a lot less ill.
Thanks, I needed that, he said, pulling his son into a tight hug.
You're welcome, Dad, Glen said, returning the embrace.
The others went about their business once more as Harry rested, the fresh blood working wonders on his injuries. Ginny stayed with him for a while, holding his hand and explaining what had been going on while he was asleep. According to her, Ron had wanted to heal Harry right away, but after over a week in captivity and the long hike the night before, he just wasn't strong enough. Fawkes had arrived with their things two hours earlier, and ever since they had been securing the area and setting up camp. They didn't want a repeat of the last time. Ginny told Harry about how Remus had been quiet all day, and that Myleidi had been staring into space for well over an hour.
I think I should have a chat with Remus, the young vampire said finally, after thinking over the events of the last twenty four hours.
Are you sure that's wise? his wife asked, to which the Boy-Who-Lived nodded his head. Standing up, Ginny went over to the distracted werewolf and sent him over to Harry. As the older man sat down, Harry shifted along a little and made room for him.
Hi Remus, how's it going? he asked.
Fine, the werewolf replied, morosely.
Now Remus, I know you well enough to know when you're lying. Now, what's wrong?
Remus looked up at his best friend's son and his face crumpled. Placing his head in his hands, he began to sob. Harry gently brought the werewolf's head to rest on his shoulder and wrapped an arm around the other man, rubbing soothing circles on his back. When Remus finally calmed down, Harry pulled away and waited for his friend to speak.
I'm sorry Harry, I don't know what came over me. It's just since we've been here, everything seems to have gone wrong. I don't know how you and the others managed to cope with this stuff when you were only fifteen. It's hard enough for me, and I'm so much older than you
It gets better, Moony, really it does, Harry comforted, When we first arrived in the time of the founders, we were completely lost. We didn't speak the language, didn't understand the customs, and were incredibly homesick. But we got past it. Eventually, we learned to accept that we had each other, and that was all that mattered. We had people with us that loved us and would support us. We made friends, and we learned all we could. At first, the situation was frightening, but once we learned to accept our circumstances, we were fine. It will be the same this time. I know we've had a rather large hiccup since we've been here, but it could have been worse!
Worse! Remus said wildly, Worse? How!?
We could be dead, Harry deadpanned.
Might as well be, Remus muttered, After what I did.
I see, Harry said with a knowing smile, You feel guilty about the villagers you bit.
Of course I do! the older man said with a slight sob, I've never bitten anyone before! I've destroyed lives, I've made more werewolves, and they don't even know how to defend themselves or control themselves! Snape also pointed out that for all I know they could be the first werewolves, from whom lycanthropy spread!
Harry silenced the babbling werewolf with a simple gesture.
Remus, that's enough, he said, sternly, It's not your fault! If it's anyone's fault, it's the Elementals'. They captured us and prevented you from talking the Wolfsbane Potion! There was nothing you could have done to prevent what happened. And if they are the world's first tribe of werewolves, so what? There are werewolves in the world in our time; they had to come from somewhere. I know it's a paradox, but life is full of them. I'm my own ancestor, for Merlin's sake! Don't feel guilty over what you can't control. You taught me that in the `70s when I was first bitten by that vampire. Remy, you have to accept this and move on with your life. We need you, please don't give up now.
After Harry's passionate speech, Remus let out a loud sigh and thought over what the other man had said, finally realising that it made sense. It wouldn't stop him feeling guilty, but as Harry had said, they had gotten through their first time travelling trip by sticking together, and he couldn't let the group down. Feeling slightly better, he gave Harry a final hug before going to help the others.
For the next three days the group remained just inside the forest. After all, they had been tied to posts for over a week, and needed time to recover. Myleidi especially was weaker than the others, and spent most of her time sleeping and exercising to rebuild the wasted muscles she had gained form her long captivity. Remus had perked up a little since their arrival, but the others noticed he still held an air of sadness about him. Despite this, he was always willing to intervene when Severus and Sirius got into another one of their arguments. No matter how much the others tried to discourage their conflicts, the two men found it simply impossible to get on with one another.
Harry had spent the quiet days by a nearby pool with his elven friend. They both had a lot of recovering to do, so they exercised together and built upon their previous friendship. Myleidi had grown to realise that Harry really wasn't evil, and that he really did have a pure soul under the Dark exterior. While they wiled away the hours together, they worked on their communication, making sure that they found a lot more words that their variations of the language had in common, and trying to learn the other's version. By the end of their time in their camp, the two could hold quite involved conversations.
By the end of the third day, the group was getting restless. Myleidi wanted to finish the journey she had been on, as she was starting to become really homesick. She hadn't seen the rest of her family in over a year, so she was looking forward to seeing them again. As the nine sat around the fire that night, Glenadade brought up the issue of moving on.
Do you think we should stay here any longer? he asked, I mean, we know the Elementals are only a few hours away, and I for one really don't want to sit around in a dank forest for the next eleven months.
Good point, Glen, Hermione agreed, I think we should seriously consider moving on. I mean, we were going to head south anyway, and try to find some semblance of civilisation. We may as well make the most of the Indian summer and travel while the weather holds.
Do we have any idea where we're going yet? Ron asked.
Now that we have some idea what time we're in, we can make better plans, Severus pointed out.
If what Harry said is true and we're ten thousand years in the past, I doubt we're going to find anything larger than a group of primitive nomads. The great civilisations didn't appear until around the start of the Bronze Age, Remus interjected.
Not true, Harry piped up, We can head to Egypt. Their magical culture is the oldest known one in the world. As I mentioned to you once back in 1975, the Muggle civilisation didn't begin until much later, but the magical Egyptian culture began about eleven thousand years before our time. That means their civilisation has been around for about a thousand years. It's nothing near as advanced as the Muggle Egyptians were, but I'm sure it's the best we're going to get at the moment.
Are they welcoming to strangers? Sirius asked, skeptical, I don't want to travel over two and a half thousand miles to somewhere where they'll kill us on sight and stick our heads on pikes!
As much as I hate to admit it, the mutt has a point, Sev said, We can't just turn up and expect them to help us. After all, we're a long time before the civil behaviour we're used to.
From what I found out about them during my work on the Prophecy of the Four, I believe they will be accommodating if we show them the proper respect. They won't welcome us with open arms of course. No primitive culture is that trusting to outsiders, but I believe we can get through to them and at least gain access to their city, Harry explained.
What about talking to them? Glen asked, Hermione told us that the spells we have don't work here
Harry speaks Ancient Egyptian, Ginny said, surprising some of the others.
What!? How? Remus asked.
I learned it a couple of years ago. Do you remember the trouble I had with the Prophecy of the Four? Voldie was translating it from Ancient Egyptian, and I couldn't understand why he never used a translation spell. I started to learn some of the language so I could try and make a more accurate translation. It turned out he had done a pretty decent job, but I found the language fascinating, so I kept up my studies. I don't think I could keep up with a native in a debate or anything, but I know enough to communicate with them.
I remember that, Hermione said, with a smile, I guess we finally found out the hard way why he didn't use translation spells.
Yeah, shame we didn't think to look into it more before the trip. In all honesty, I'd completely forgotten, Ron admitted.
Ah, the curse of hindsight, Severus interjected with a smirk.
So, we're settled, then, Glen asked, We're leaving tomorrow?
We are. We'll head south to the English Channel. I'm sure Ron and I can fly over it, each with at least one passenger. The others can either grab hold of Fawkes' tail or use brooms, Harry confirmed.
Are you sure you can fly that far? Sirius asked, a little concerned.
Sure, it's only 21 miles if we go from where Dover will be, Harry replied, reassuring his godfather.
Where are we going after that? his son asked.
We can head down through France and across through Germany and Austria. After that, we can either travel through Greece and sail from southern Greece to Crete and then to Egypt, or go around on land via Turkey. The first would be more direct, but I don't know if we could get a boat. After all, there are no real seafaring craft built in this time. Turkey would take longer, but it would allow us to avoid crossing the Mediterranean Sea.
We can work that out later, there's no hurry, Remus said, What about Myleidi, though?
Her colony live in France, so we'll probably be able to drop her off on the way, Harry told him.
So, we're settled then? We're leaving in the morning? Ron asked.
We are, so I suggest we go to bed, his girlfriend agreed.
As the group made for bed, Harry quietly explaining to Myleidi what was going to happen, all of the time travellers' thoughts dwelled on the hard days to come. They knew it would be difficult travelling so far without transportation, especially with winter on the doorstep. They knew, though, that if they were to manage in this strange land they would have to be near civilisation, and Egypt was their best option. It was an ancient land, and a constant in their hectic world. Wherever they went in the next few years, it would be there.
Tomorrow, their search for civilisation would begin.