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Journey to the River Elves
The group woke up at the first sign of dawn and packed up their camp. They didn't have much to do, as they had been arranging their bags for the last few days. The tents needed to be taken down and the pots and pans shrunk and placed inside the bag attached to Fawkes' leg. By the time everyone was ready, the sun was beginning to rise in the sky, causing Harry to duck into a well covered area to apply his skin protecting salve. Over the last few days, he and Severus had brewed as much of it as they could carry, making sure they would always have a good supply. Harry, though well rested and healed, still felt weak after the ordeal he had been through with the sun. In the long run, though, the experience had been a valuable lesson to the young vampire, showing him that no matter his power, he was still weak.
As soon as the entire camp was ready, Fawkes was laden with the last of the shrunken luggage and sent into the sky to fly ahead. The others transformed into their animagus forms, with the exception of Remus and Myleidi. The werewolf and the elf would be riding on the backs of Ron and Harry for part of the way. The group figured that they could cover more ground in their animagus forms, so they would do most of their travelling as animals. Ginny and Hermione would be flying with Fawkes, Severus, Sirius and Glen would be running together, and Ron and Harry, each with a passenger, would alternate between the two.
As soon as the sun was fully risen, they headed out of the forest and into the open countryside, Remus carrying their compass to make sure they were going in the right general direction. After all, they didn't want to hit the coast at the wrong place or they wouldn't be able to cross the water. They were relying on the strength of the strongest flyers, and if the sea they crossed was too wide they would never make it.
The first few hours of their journey were uneventful, each of the travellers settling into the pace and enjoying the countryside going past them. They stopped at regular intervals to rest, knowing that they were by no means indefatigable.
By the time the group stopped for their evening meal, they were exhausted. They had thought themselves relatively fit, but after the day's exertions, they realised that they were more out of shape than they had thought. Over the last couple of years, the original time travellers had been getting lax with their exercises, something Lord Gryffindor would never have approved of. Having collapsed on the ground where they stopped, the animagi watched tiredly as Remus and Myleidi took the chance to set up camp and prepare dinner. After all, they had spent the day riding on the backs of their friends, and hadn't actually had to move much.
After dinner, Harry lit a small fire and the group gathered around, chatting to each other about inconsequential things. Before they went to bed, Ginny poured them each a cup of hot chocolate and turned to her husband.
Harry, how far do you think we made it today?
The young vampire wrapped his arms around the fiery redhead and gave her a squeeze.
I'm not sure, Gin. I'm hoping about thirty miles. If we are where we think we are, and we can keep the pace up, I don't see why we shouldn't reach the coast in the next couple of weeks. The hills and mountains will be the most problematic. It's alright for the flying animagi, but for those of us travelling by land, it'll take a lot longer to cover the distance.
Why don't we get the brooms out? Ginny suggested, I mean, I know we decided against it, but do you really think anyone's going to be looking at the sky, and even if some primitive or Muggle did see us, they wouldn't know what we were anyway.
True, but then you might get some native taking pot shots at us, Harry countered.
Indeed, but the same could happen if they saw a flying horse or a pelican. I think it's a chance we're going to have to take. I know you managed it today, but you and Ron can't carry Remus and Myleidi indefinitely. You'll exhaust yourselves.
You're right, Harry conceded with a sigh, We'll discuss it with the others in the morning. I'm sure they'll have some input. It might be a good idea if Ron and I continue to carry people until we pass the mountains, though. The other land travellers can use brooms. We'll get there a lot quicker that way.
What's the hurry? Ginny asked, The further south we get, the longer the weather will hold. We can take our time.
Gin, do you really want to spend a year travelling? Two and a half thousand miles is a long way to go, even in our time, let alone in an age where you have to get everywhere under your own steam.
I suppose you're right, she said with a sigh, But I'm not looking forward to the journey.
Harry pulled her close and kissed the top of her head.
Just try not to think of the journey, concentrate of the adventures that await us on the way.
The next morning, the group awoke refreshed from their sleep. The efforts of the day before had tired them out, and they had all slept soundly. Even Severus who, after years of spying on Voldemort was a very light sleeper, had slept long and deeply. After a breakfast of vole toasted on the fire, and Harry letting Fawkes, Simbi and Nirah go off to hunt, the humans and elf packed up the camp. Harry pulled out the four brooms they had with them, and resized them back to normal. As soon as everything was packed away and tied to Fawkes' leg, he let the bird go and called the others over.
Erm guys, Gin had an idea last night, she reckons we should use the brooms, at least until w get past the mountains. We discussed it last night, and figured a native seeing a person on a broom was no weirder than them seeing a flying horse or leopard.
Who's using the brooms, then? Glen asked.
It would make sense for Severus, Sirius, Glen and Remus to use the brooms, Hermione declared, After all, Myleidi is the lightest for Harry and Ron to carry, and if they alternate, they should have an easier time of it..
The others nodded they head, agreeing with the clever witch. Ten minutes later, the group had taken their positions and was rising into the air, beginning the second leg of their long journey.
Nine days later, after going in a continuous south easterly direction, the group of exhausted time travellers and their elven companion finally made it to the coast. They had seen several rivers along their way, and had at one point crossed the Thames estuary, but it was a relief to them to finally have the English Channel stretched out in front of them. As they couldn't see the coast of France in the distance, despite it being a crystal clear day, they headed along the shore in an easterly direction until the white cliffs began to appear.
I've never seen the white cliffs of Dover before, Sirius commented as they set up their camp at the base of the famous landmark.
Why am I not surprised, Severus muttered under his breath, earning him a reproaching look from Harry and a steady glare from Sirius.
If you have something to say, Snivellus, say it to my face, the dog animagus snarled, Or are you too much of a Slytherin coward?
Oh, a coward am I Black? Sev sneered, I suppose going out and risking my life was cowardly compared to the mighty Sirius Black, master of sitting on his arse in his dank prison cell. Spying is such a safe job when compared to a professional slacker.
Why, you Sirius grated out before lunging at the Potions Master. Before he could reach the other man, Remus stepped in front of his friend and pulled him to one side, angrily berating him. At the same time Harry was glaring fiercely at Severus.
Why do you have to provoke him like that? he snarled, The pair of you are like a couple of two year olds.
He started it, Sev said childishly.
No, he didn't, Harry countered, He was merely commenting that he had never been here before. That is no justification for barbed comments. I've never been here before either. Does that mean you would automatically insult me?
No, Sev replied, sheepishly. He hated it when Harry was disappointed in him. Even though he was older than the other man by twenty years, he still cherished his friend's approval.
Well then. Stop it.
Yes, Mother, Sev muttered, immediately regretting it. Harry gave him a dark look and stormed off. Severus immediately deflated. Harry was right, he was being childish, and his friend didn't deserve that. With a sigh, he flopped down on the ground and glared at the fire they had built. A few minutes later, a hesitant Myleidi sat down next to him and smiled shyly.
What do you want? the spy said listlessly.
Y-you sad, the elf said, brokenly. Sev looked at her in surprise, not having expected a reply. After all, up until that point, Harry had been the only one to speak to the pretty elf. Despite the efforts of the more sociable people in the group, she had shown no sign of understanding English, or any of the other languages they had tried. The bastardised version of elvish she and Harry had created was their only form of communicating with her.
So, you do speak English, Sev replied with one delicate eyebrow raised. The elf blushed lightly and nodded slightly.
I hear, she said slowly, I say. Get gooder.
Better, Sev corrected.
Better, she repeated with a nod, absorbing the new word. She smiled at him shyly, and his lips twitched slightly in return.
You sad? she repeated, bringing Severus' thoughts back to the fight with Harry.
I disappointed my best friend, he explained to his companion, He's the only person I've ever trusted implicitly.
The last word gained him a confused look, so he tried to rephrase it.
I trust Harry. He's the only one I trust. The others, I trust a little, but not completely. Some of them I don't trust at all. Do you understand?
Yes, she said with a smile, You trust me?
Severus looked closely at the river elf sitting next to him. She had such an open, expressive face, and he couldn't help but smile slightly back at her, even though the action seemed foreign to him.
Yes, I trust you, and he meant it. She seemed so pure and innocent, and had never given him any reason not to trust her. She had placed her faith in Harry, much as he had done all those years ago, and that said a lot about her character. Severus had always been good at judging people, a trait that had saved his life on more than one occasion, and as far as he was concerned, Myleidi was special.
When the camp awoke the following morning, there was a flurry of excited activity. The crossing of the Channel proved a great milestone in their journey. They still had a long way to go, but leaving Britain made them feel that much closer to their goal. For Myleidi, it signified her return to her homeland. Even though the river elves lived on the far side of what would one day be called France, right near the Alps, she still felt as if she was getting closer to home.
As soon as the sun rose over the horizon, the camp was packed up and the group was ready to go. Glen, Sirius, Severus and Remus mounted their brooms while Harry, Ginny and Ron changed into their animagus forms. It was decided that Ginny would most likely manage the 21-mile crossing, as would Harry and Ron, but Hermione in her owl form would struggle. Hermione would therefore be riding on Ron, while Harry took Myleidi.
Five hours later, the exhausted group finally collapsed on the cliffs of France, breathing heavily and shivering from the cold. As October had arrived, the temperature at night and in the early morning had begun to drop, especially at high altitude.
I'm never going to be warm again, Glenn announced when they'd recovered somewhat.
I'm never going to move again, Ron groaned, curling up into a ball in a vain attempt at warming himself up.
It could have been worse, Hermione declared, You could have collapsed before we made it here and plunged us into the sea. I know it's only October, but I bet the sea is freezing.
`Mione, stop being a pessimist, her boyfriend groaned, You'll only depress us.
I'm not being a pessimist, Ronald, Hermione huffed, I'm being a realist. I'm not so sure this venture was such a good idea. We've been travelling for nearly two weeks, and we've only just made it to mainland Europe. Not only do we still have a whole continent to cross, we also have to get to the other side of the Mediterranean Sea and into Africa.
Well, if we weren't depressed before, we certainly are now! Glen exclaimed, Honestly, women!
Glenadade Harold Potter, I can't believe you just said that! the outraged witch yelled, gaining everyone's attention.
Now, now, children, don't bicker, Remus said with a smile, earning him a glare from all of the younger witches and wizards. Holding up his hands in surrender, he smiled at them and joined Sirius in building a fire.
An hour later they were on their way again. Now that they knew roughly where they were, their map of Europe was a lot more useful. They had spent their recovery time well, plotting a course and setting out targets for each day. When they finally moved off, Remus, Harry, Ron and Ginny were taking a turn on the brooms. After their long flight across the sea, they felt as if they deserved a rest. Sirius, Glenadade and Severus ran along the ground, the youngest Potter carrying Myleidi on his back. Hermione, now able to assume her owl form without risk of over exhaustion, flew next to the brooms.
When the vast mountain range known in their time as the Alps finally came into view, the time travellers let out whoops of joy. It had taken them a further two and a half weeks to cross the main part of France, and now that their goal was in sight they were beyond relieved. Myleidi, sitting on Harry's back, joyfully began to sing a loud elven song of victory, normally reserved for returning armies.
The last leg of their journey to the elven settlement had gone slower than they would have liked, mainly due to the full moon. Remus had been out of it for a couple of days either side of his transformation, despite the Wolfsbane Potion, so they had set up camp for the duration. The rest had been well earned, and they had attacked the last few days of their journey with renewed enthusiasm.
As they neared the bottom of the mountains, the land-based animagi took to the skies once more with the brooms, and the group soared over the jagged peaks, marvelling at the amazing sight of snow littering the mountaintops. The scenery was second to none, and they were awed by the natural beauty spread out before them.
Eventually, Harry banked to one side, following Myleidi's directions and leading the group around a particularly large mountain, following a rough path through the pass. As they rounded another corner and dived over a cliff face, they saw the spectacular sight of the elven settlement set out before them. The entire mountainside was dotted with small villages, all identical in structure. The buildings melted into the snow flawlessly, appearing as crystalline spun glass towers rising out of the rock. The overall effect was of a field of upside down icicles.
Doing as the she-elf said, Harry landed at the edge of one of the smaller villages low down in the pass, on the banks of a small river. The others all followed, setting down on the snow and looking about themselves in awe. Each of the buildings rose into the sky above them, shimmering in the bright sunlight. Elves of all ages ran out of their homes to greet the strangers, taking in the form of Myleidi and hugging her tightly. What must have been her family surrounded the young elf, all talking excitedly and calling over their friends. The time travellers waited patiently off to one side, feeling a little awkward. Eventually, some of the other elves made their way over to the strangers and started whispering to each other. Myleidi, realising she had forgotten about her travelling companions, the people who had seen her home, turned to the rest of her village and called for silence. Talking rapidly in her own dialect, she introduced the people who had saved her life. She then walked back to the group of humans, a shy mile on her face, and addressed them in stilted English.
Welcome of Lanith'il.