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Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | Chapter Four | Chapter Five | Chapter Six | Chapter Seven | Chapter Eight | Chapter Nine | Chapter Ten | Chapter Eleven | Chapter Twelve | Chapter Thirteen | Chapter Fourteen | Chapter Fifteen | Chapter Sixteen | Chapter Seventeen | Chapter Eighteen | Chapter Nineteen | Chapter Twenty | Chapter Twenty One | Chapter Twenty Two | Chapter Twenty Three | Chapter Twenty Four | Chapter Twenty Five | Chapter Twenty Six | Chapter Twenty Seven | Chapter Twenty Eight | Chapter Twenty Nine | Chapter Thirty | Chapter Thirty One | Timeline | Map
Three days after speaking to the elven council, Harry awoke to find a pair of large blue eyes looking down at him. With a yelp of surprise, he quickly sat up, knocking the unfortunate owner of said eyes to the floor with a muffled thump. Rubbing his eyes quickly to make himself more alert, Harry looked over the edge of his bed and spotted the poor creature lying on the floor, a look of terror on her face.
I'm sorry, Master Potter, Sir, I didn't mean to surprise you, she said frantically, wringing her hands and looking around the room for an exit.
It's quite alright, Harry said, still trying to wake up properly. The creature reminded Harry strongly of his friend, Dobby. He had the same mannerisms, and the same sense of subservience as the being in front of him. This Ash'ren, for that is what she was, was strikingly similar to a house elf. The same long ears protruded from her head, and she was avoiding eye contact as much as possible. While taller than the elves of Harry's time, and with a slightly blue skin tone and the presence of hair, the creature was definitely a relative of the house elf.
What are you doing here? Harry finally asked when he was awake enough to carry on a conversation.
I was sent by the grand masters, the Ash'ren replied in elven, They asked me to tell Master Potter that the boat is ready.
That's great! Harry replied with a grin, causing the Ash'ren to become nervous, thinking she was in for some punishment.
When Master Potter is ready, the grand masters request your presence in the council chamber, she said quickly, glancing longingly at the exit. A frown creased Harry's forehead as he took in his guest's behaviour.
You don't need to be afraid of me, you know. I'm not your master, and I'm certainly not going to hurt you, he explained. Unfortunately, the Ash'ren seemed to become even more agitated.
Master Potter is kind, but he should not be speaking to me like this, she explained.
Like what? Harry asked, knowing how his guest would answer.
Like an equal, Master Potter, she replied, head bowed.
Harry had a sudden flashback of seven and a half years previously, just before he started his second year at Hogwarts. Dobby had said the exact same thing to him then. Looking at this Ash'ren, he felt a sudden desire to do something drastic. Intellectually, he knew she shouldn't mess around with the timeline, but the way the creature was treated by her masters was something that didn't sit well with Harry. He knew, of course, that house elves in his own time were no better off, but they had Hermione to campaign for them. The Ash'ren had no-one. Coming to a decision, he smiled at the blue being.
What's your name? he asked.
The Ash'ren looked shocked, and lowered her eyes.
My mistress calls me Cle'alindur, she said.
Cle'alindur? Harry repeated with a frown, Doesn't that mean `servant of Cle'ali'?
Yes, Master Potter, Mistress Cle'ali is of the council.
Is she now, Harry muttered to himself, Do you have a real name? One that isn't a sign of your enslavement?
We must not speak of such things! the creature yelped in alarm, becoming quite distressed.
Don't worry, Harry placated, I won't tell anyone if you don't want me to.
The Ash'ren bounced up and down on the spot, tugging at her ears. When she realised that Harry was waiting for an answer, she recoiled slightly, raising her hands in front of her face, as if to protect herself from blows to the head.
My Ash'ren name is Shanti Timea.
So you're called Shanti? Harry confirmed.
Shanti is my family name, Master Potter. My given name is Timea.
Harry nodded his head in understanding, accepting this cultural custom. Looking at the cowering being, he spoke softly.
Timea, calm down, I mean you no harm. Please don't be frightened.
I am sorry, Master Potter, but Mistress punishes me for speaking out of turn, she replied shakily.
Why don't the Ash'ren fight back against the elves? Or even just leave and resettle somewhere else? Harry asked in curiosity.
We could never do that, Timea said sadly, When we were conquered, the elves bound our magic to serve them. Even if we wanted to leave, we are bound to serve our masters until we die. There is no escaping it.
You could Harry began, but was cut off by a shaking Timea, who was looking decidedly disturbed at the turn of the conversation.
Please speak of such things no more, Master Potter. When you are ready, I will take you to the village. The grand masters are waiting.
I'll be out in a minute, just let me get dressed and wake my wife, Harry said.
With a quick bob of her head, Timea exited the tent and left Harry to prepare for his meeting with the elven council.
Twenty minutes later, Harry, Ginny, Severus and Myleidi were following Timea down the winding path to the elven village. Ginny was a little apprehensive about the meeting, as she'd been having a bad feeling about it all morning.
Harry, she whispered to her husband, Are you sure this is a good idea? My spider sense is tingling.
Harry gave her a funny look, frowning a little.
Where did you pick that up from? he asked in confusion. Ginny blushed.
Muggle studies in third year. We had to do a comparison between Muggle and wizarding comics.
Harry just nodded his head slowly, deciding not to comment further. He did take her warning about the upcoming meeting the heart, though. He knew better than to question Ginny's Seer abilities.
Before they knew it, the group was emerging from the forest and heading into the elven village. Timea started nervously pulling on her ears, gaining her pitying look from Myleidi and Ginny, and a calculating look from Harry. This didn't go unnoticed by Severus, who moved next to Harry and leaned close to his ear.
What are you plotting, Potter, he whispered, a smirk evident in his voice.
What makes you think I'm plotting something, Sev? Harry asked, twisting his features into his best innocent look.
That look won't work on me, Harry, I've known you too long. What are you planning? Does it have something to do with the Ash'ren?
Sev, you know I would never interfere with the timeline like that! Harry said in mock outrage, a twinkle appearing in his eyes. Severus gave him a funny look.
Stop that twinkling, you look like Dumbledore! he protested lightly, a smile playing around his eyes. Harry gave him a brief grin.
Well, if it helps any, I am plotting, and the Headmaster and I happen to be in complete agreement.
Sometimes I forget the old coot is still with us, Sev muttered to himself, And I'm still waiting for you to tell me what you're up to.
Now, Severus you should know better than to ask me that. You know that the surprise is always sweeter when mixed with a healthy dose of curiosity.
Severus rolled his eyes and dropped the subject, knowing he wasn't going to get anything out of the tight lipped youth. With a sigh he dropped behind the Boy-Who-Lived to talk to Myleidi.
The council chamber was exactly as it had been the last time the time travellers were there. The same stuffy looking elves sat in the same intricately carved chairs, and the same little Ash'ren were scurrying about cleaning the room and bringing refreshments. Timea soon ran off to join them, bringing a snooty looking she-elf a pot of herbal tea. Harry and Myleidi stepped forward and performed the same elven greetings as last time.
Honoured Elders, we have come as requested, Harry intoned, linking his mind with Myleidi's temporarily to borrow her language.
I wish I could say it is a pleasure to see you again, heathen, but that would be a lie, the sour looking she-elf that Timea was serving replied haughtily. Harry assumed this must be Cle'ali, Timea's Mistress.
I assure you, madam, I am just as pleased to see you as you are to see me, Harry responded with a sneer. Myleidi gave him a shocked look, but Harry ignored her, refusing to break eye contact with the Elder.
Such audacity is outrageous! a very old looking elf yelled from a few seats across, A heathen has no place speaking to a Child of Light in such a manner!
Good sir, I may be what you class as a heathen, but I am not prepared to take abuse from anyone, Harry snarled, his temper rising. He needed to finish the transaction quickly before he became too angry at the arrogance of these elves.
May we please complete the trade now, Myleidi pleaded quietly to her human friend. Harry looked at her anxious face and calmed down slightly. He knew she was uncomfortable among these people, and didn't want to prolong the experience.
Our boat is ready? Harry asked the council, changing the subject.
It was been refurbished, yes, Cle'ali, who seemed to be the spokeself, said, We require only that you uphold your end of the bargain.
I have compiled a list of enchantments, incantations and potions that will improve your healing and fishing skills, Harry responded, Once ownership of the boat has been transferred to me via an unbreakable magical contract, I will hand it over and explain the spells. Are we in agreement?
The Elders conversed quietly for a few minutes before finally coming to a decision.
We accept your terms, the youngest of the group replied, One of our slaves will show you to the boat, and upon your return the contracts will be signed.
Taking that as a dismissal, the group quickly left the council chamber, following behind a scurrying Timea once more. When they reached the harbour, all four looked up at the magnificent ship in front of them. It was large, big enough to carry a couple of hundred warrior elves. The entire structure was made out of wood, with a large mast in the middle. A huge pale green sail hung from the mast, shining brightly in the November sunlight. The time travellers were in awe of the structure. When they had been promised a refurbished warship, they had not been expecting anything on this scale. The elves must have really wanted the magical knowledge. Harry turned to his wife, a smile playing around his lips.
It's perfect, he said.
Yes, a little too perfect, Ginny replied, giving Harry a pointed look. The scarred man gave a slight frown, looking back at the boat. Letting his magical senses extent, he scanned the ship for any anomalies. Just as he was about to give up, he noticed the bottom of the boat below the waterline had been weakened. Waving his hand slightly, he removed layer upon layer of charms designed to cover up all evidence of the tampering. Once they were all stripped away, he discovered a delayed spell placed within the wood, designed to cause the bottom of the boat to crumble once it was over water of a certain depth. Anger building up in him, he removed the charm, and set about using wandless magic to reinforce the structure of the boat. Sev and Ginny, realising what he was doing, quickly joined him. Layer upon layer of wards, protection spells and strengthening spells were placed on the boat. Timea was watching the group in awe and curiosity as they waved their hands in intricate patterns in the air. She could feel the magic in the air, and knew they were performing spells. She didn't say anything, though, knowing it was not her place to comment. She began thinking, though, that these strangers were a lot more powerful than her elven masters.
I think that will do, Harry said eventually, casting one last spell that would alert him to any furthering tampering from the elves.
When shall we set sail? Ginny asked.
As soon as possible, I think, Harry said, Could you transform into your animagus form and fly back to camp? Tell them to start packing. We'll leave as soon as I've finished the transaction with the elves.
Alright, I'll go straight back. Are you going to say anything about the sabotage? she asked her husband. Harry gave her a wink and smirked. Sev smirked as well, recognising the look of a Marauder planning a particularily nasty prank.
I'm sure I'll come up with something, he said slyly, Just bring the rest of the group to the harbour when you're packed and start loading everything onto the boat.
Ok, see you soon, Ginny said, kissing Harry quickly and changing into a pelican, before flying off in the direction of the forest.
Are you two ready to face our `friends'? Harry asked Sev and Myleidi.
I'm looking forward to it, Severus said with a malicious sneer.
Well, I suppose it's adequate, Harry said to the Elven Elders once the group had returned to the council chamber. The looks on the elves' faces was priceless, and Harry took sadistic pleasure in insulting their craftsmanship. One thing about elves was that they were very proud of their culture and creations, and to class something of theirs as only adequate was a huge insult.
Adequate! one Elder spluttered, his face turning an interesting shade of purple, That is elven craftsmanship at its finest! How dare a heather savage
Oh, get over yourself, Harry snapped, The boat's fine. Let's get this over with. I, for one, will be glad when our business is complete.
As will we, let me assure you, Cle'ali sneered, We have drawn up a draft of the contract. Please sign on the line.
The elderly she-elf held out a long piece of parchment and a quill to Harry. The Boy-Who-Lived snatched the contract out of her hand, and began to read it carefully.
What are you doing?! one of the Elders yelled, standing up and looking at Harry agog.
Reading the contract. I'm not about to sign something I've not read. I'm not stupid, Harry said sarcastically.
But the elf began, but was cut off by an annoyed looking Harry.
And I think it's a good thing I am reading this. I refuse to sign this.
You cannot refuse, Cle'ali stated, You agreed to a trade, and we have held up out end of the transaction. You cannot back out now.
I agreed to trade some magical knowledge for a boat, not have my magical powers bound and give the elven prince my wife! I'm surprised you didn't ask for my firstborn as well! Harry growled, his eyes starting to glow softly. Sev and Myleidi took several steps back, knowing their friend was a hairsbreadth away from exploding.
So you don't agree to the terms? Cle'ali asked.
No. I'll tell you what, give me ten minutes and I'll write a new draft. Something I'm sure will be more agreeable to both parties.
Storming from the room, Harry left an amused Severus and a shocked Myleidi standing in the council chamber.
You're in for it now, Sev said to the elves, who stared at him blankly, before turning around and following his friend out of the door.
Bloody ridiculous, treacherous, pointy eared bastards! Harry was muttering to himself as he took a heavily revised contract back to the council. This time, it was set out simply, stating that the time travellers were given the rights of ownership for the boat, as well as being granted access to the harbour for the rest of the day to give them the chance to pack and leave. The elves would receive the list of spells Harry had compiled, and would also never be contacted again by the time travellers.
Want to bond my magic do they, he grumbled to himself as he slammed through the main doors, startling the elves inside. Harry made no move to carry out the formal greetings, instead stalking up to the Elders and thrusting a signed contract at one of the elves. The Elder took it and scanned it, a frown appearing on his forehead. Realising it was the best they were going to get, though, he took out a quill and signed the contract, passing it on to the next elf to sign. Once they had all signed the parchment, it rolled itself up and disappeared with a soft *pop*.
Well, I believe that concludes our business, Harry said, handing over the list of spells and potions, a hint of a smile gracing his lips. As he walked out of the council chamber and towards his new boat, he let a soft chuckle escape.
What did you do? Glen asked, coming up behind his father.
What makes you thing I've done something? Harry asked.
I can tell, Dad. You have that mischievous look in your eyes. Harry blushed slightly, before whispering in his son's ear.
Let's just say that the elves will have a surprise waiting for them when they use those spells.
But I thought you signed a magical contract with them, Glen said, Those can't be broken.
No, they can't. I gave them exactly what I said I would. Spells and potions to improve their medicine and fishing.
Harry looked slightly sheepish.
But when they use the medical magic, it will cure their ailments, with the unfortunate side effect of giving them an extremely irritating rash, in a most inconvenient place, Harry admitted.
And Glen said, knowing there was more to it than that.
And when they use the fishing spell, it will cause fish to jump out of the sea and onto the land, making them easier to catch. What they don't know is that for a week after they use the spell, the fish will follow them wherever they do, hitting them on the back of the head periodically.
Dad, you didn't! Glen exclaimed, a chuckle escaping.
Knowing your father, I'm sure he did, Sirius said, coming up behind the pair, He gets it from James. He has Marauder blood in his veins.
Yes, Siri, and I believe James got it from Eustace, who in turn got it from Harry, Remus added, joining the conversation. Sirius gave him an odd look, trying to work out what the werewolf was trying to say. His eyes widened when he realised what Remus was saying, and he rolled his eyes slightly.
You know Moony, I still have trouble getting my head around this whole time travel thing, he said. The two friends wandered off, arguing as usual. Harry led Glen over to the boat, where the rest of the time travellers were waiting.
Are we all set? he asked, eagerly.
As far as we can tell, Hermione told him, The boat's loaded, we just need to set sail.
I suppose we should get going, while the weather's good. The sooner we get out of here, the better. We can unpack on the way, Ron said.
Yes, get on the boat, I'll be there in a minute, Harry said, wandering off to the middle of the village. The others did as he said, before turning to see what the Boy-Who-Lived was doing. Harry was standing with his arms up, casting a complicated looking spell. When he returned, Hermione came up beside him.
What was that you were doing? she asked, as the boat started to move out of the harbour. Harry gave her a small, knowing smile.
Lets just say that the elves will be getting a shock when they hand the Ash'ren their laundry.