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Thread: Matou Shinji and the Broken Chains (HP/FSN CYOA)

  1. #2101
    Quote Originally Posted by apsalar View Post
    I believe this question was answered; it's not that they do have caches, but that they might; also, that said hypothetical caches would probably be for their own use or convenience.
    I understood that.

    What I wanted to ask about was that it seemed a bit odd to just have caches lying around 'for their own convenience' without an ulterior motive of some sort such as this very situation.

    Of course, they really could just be leaving them around here and there because reasons, and considering the nature of the area, it might make sense, though it seems too logical a leap to make, I think.

    Wanting to take walks alone make sense, leaving supplies of such nature, not so much.

  2. #2102
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_Trickster View Post
    Alf, you mentioned that the other potions champions have caches lying around the frozen wastes, is it possible to ask why they are doing so? Are they also trying to help their nation’s champions?
    Mostly for their own use, since its useful to have supplies on hand at locations outside the castle when there are dangerous beasts about (since if you run out, its more convenient to go to a cache than back to the castle). As such, these caches are generally buried and hidden in non-obvious places, meaning one would either have to know where it was, or have some sort of "magical sonar" to stumble across them, and the latter isn't exactly standard issue.

    And yes, not stepping in, you would dedicate potions brewed to your own stock, and focus on better prepping for your own competition as well as the Tanuki hunt.

  3. #2103
    Quote Originally Posted by alfheimwanderer View Post
    and focus on better prepping for your own competition as well as the Tanuki hunt.
    Hearing this part helps me to make up my mind; [X] do nothing.

  4. #2104
    Thank you, Alf.

    And I have to agree with Aspalar that for our own long-term benefit and those of the allies of ours that will be benefiting from the addressing of the Tabuki issue that we [x] - do nothing now and favor our own preparations.

  5. #2105
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Magus's Avatar
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    [x] Do nothing; focus on Tanuki hunt
    Not Magus! Magic Emperor Magus!

  6. #2106
    It is a cold magus logic that forces me to go with [X] do nothing. I feel kinda horrible to vote for that as I think based on George's action in saving Fleur's wand in the first task that he would not be upset if Shinji made sure that all champions survived the 2nd task with the likes of a potion cache.

    But yeah, we really need to focus in Shinji's own competition preparation as well the Tanuki Hunt. Shinji can not be everywhere at once so we have to pick our battles and trust that the Tri-champions can handle their trials on their own.

  7. #2107
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    123: [x] Severus and [x] TIE for Skeeter and Lockhart
    124:
    [x] Do Nothing




    I'll try to have the next chapter by the end of the week, with George trying to puzzle out the secrets of the orb and Pansy doing some interviews! Any questions so far?
    Last edited by alfheimwanderer; December 2nd, 2016 at 11:09 PM.

  8. #2108
    I hadn't had any questions for a while, but upon re-reading the fic I'm made to wonder whether those that Shinji has been in the Hot Springs with noticed the very nice red tattoos on his upper-left arm, and if there have been any reactions to that.

    I just found it kind of interesting that no one seems to have reacted to it at all besides Luna asking about it that first night, and Shinji occasionally touching it or remembering they were there.

  9. #2109
    Quote Originally Posted by mr_Trickster View Post
    I hadn't had any questions for a while, but upon re-reading the fic I'm made to wonder whether those that Shinji has been in the Hot Springs with noticed the very nice red tattoos on his upper-left arm, and if there have been any reactions to that.

    I just found it kind of interesting that no one seems to have reacted to it at all besides Luna asking about it that first night, and Shinji occasionally touching it or remembering they were there.
    I just started rereading this year, and I just got to that hot spring scene and wondered the same. Especially when Shinji touches the tattoo when he tells the two that he is sworn to Sion Eltnam Atlasia. I been wondering how much Rachelle understood the depth of the meaning behind the name of Atlasia.

    On the subject of people reacting to the tatoo, Shinji is such a private person that he not the type to go around uncovered (what with his hatred of being touched by others) enough for people to be able to see his tattoo. It is rare for him to be comfortable with someone enough for him to lower his 'defenses' enough for moments like the hot springs events to happen.

    Heaven help Shinji if the general public finds out about some unknown tattoo that located on his arm, in the exact same spot that an infamous dark cult puts theirs. Who knows what conclusion they (and the press) will reach about their troubled foreign champion, that is suspected to practice an unknown dark eastern art and just happens to have a tattoo marking on his left arm?
    Last edited by Skull Leader; December 8th, 2016 at 03:32 PM.

  10. #2110
    It's not exactly where the Dark Mark used to be - if that's what you were referring to. Shinji's command seals are located on the upper arm. I imagine they are on the outer side and not in the area of the armpit, so they would be visible if his shoulder is.

    The Dark Mark was located on the underside of the left forearm. It's on the same side, but isn't on the same location.

  11. #2111
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_Trickster View Post
    I just found it kind of interesting that no one seems to have reacted to it at all besides Luna asking about it that first night, and Shinji occasionally touching it or remembering they were there.
    Knowing him and his Sokaris obsession, as well as his potions champion status, many won't be entirely surprised to see a tattoo of concentric, alchemical symbols on him. Some might see it as brand of devotion to his lost love, with others possibly thinking that it's part of how he does wordless magic (with some sort of spell pattern burned into his skin). Frankly, the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang champions each have their own oddities, so they mostly think Shinji just has his - most others aren't even aware it exists, especially since cold weather means one covers up most of the time.

    Writing is still in progress.
    Last edited by alfheimwanderer; December 8th, 2016 at 08:57 PM.

  12. #2112
    Quote Originally Posted by alfheimwanderer View Post
    Knowing him and his Sokaris obsession, as well as his potions champion status, many won't be entirely surprised to see a tattoo of concentric, alchemical symbols on him. Some might see it as brand of devotion to his lost love, with others possibly thinking that it's part of how he does wordless magic (with some sort of spell pattern burned into his skin). Frankly, the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang champions each have their own oddities, so they mostly think Shinji just has his - most others aren't even aware it exists, especially since cold weather means one covers up most of the time.
    Well that doesn't make Shinji sound creepy or dark at all.

    Still, thank you for taking the time to answer, and it does make sense that so few have actually seen it which is why I didn't think to bring it up until now.


    I was just wondering what people like Andreas, the Rachelles, and Fleur might have thought of it, as they had seen it, and might have seen a blood-red tattoo as a little less normal. It is charged with quite a bit of magic, I imagine.

  13. #2113
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    The tattoo is indeed charged with quite a bit of magic. Rachelle Lestrange assumes he made some sort of pact with a spirit or such, not unlike her pact with her blade. Fleur thinks it is odd, but isn't about to question a benefactor. And Andreas thinks he's managed to transmute magical energy into something more solid, which says interesting things about the boy's abilities at his age.




    Chapter 40. Sanguine Relations

    All in all, George Weasley mused, being Hogwarts’ Champion in the TriWizard Tournament hadn’t exactly been what he’d expected. Certainly it had been as bloody and violent as he’d anticipated, but for all the talk of eternal glory and honor in triumph, there had been a decided lack of celebration after the First Task had been completed. There had been no Feast, no ceremony, no individual debriefing and evaluation of the particulars of their performance, simply a short meeting where the three Headmasters privately acknowledged that simply completing the task was an achievement in itself, and had from there, gone on to explain the particulars of the next Task.

    Indeed, the official record noted only that the three had done admirably in the First Task, with each of them managing to find a way to accomplish what they’d been asked to do and qualifying for the Second Task.

    Unofficially, of course, things were rather different, with the Tournament being a rather popular subject of discussion among students in each of the three Banners, as well as among the staff. Knowing the value of staying informed about the opinions of the masses, George had made a point of visiting each of the Banners in spirit form, listening to what was being said.

    What he heard rather amused him.

    For example, it was thought that Fleur Delacour had outperformed the others by a fairly sizable margin, with the part-Veela having demonstrated the ability to summon a corporeal Patronus – a highly advanced piece of magic that most wizards never managed. Due to this, people were re-evaluating how they thought of her, with those who had once gleefully besmirched her reputation being…rather less eager to cross her, now that her they knew what she was capable of.

    ‘Typical. They do not wish to offend someone who so obviously exceeds their capacity…’

    The reaction to Viktor Krum’s performance and injuries, on the other hand, were rather more mixed. Outside of the Banner of Wolves, the Durmstrang Champion was considered by many to be a great disappointment, given the sorry state in which he’d finished the First Task, and how the only thing he’d demonstrated was a talent for Transfiguration, given his partial transformation into a shark. Originally, some had thought Krum was perhaps secretly a shark animagus, a talent he’d never shown off previously due to the animal form’s lack of utility in most situations, as they’d seen it only from a distance, and so had been fairly impressed that the Quidditch star had managed to learn such a thing in his spare time. Those better informed, however, had quickly corrected those rumors, leaving only the fact that while he’d been the second one to retrieve his orb, he’d sustained grievous injuries beyond the ability of the infirmary to treat.

    Some suggested that the severity of his injuries was a mark of his overconfidence in his abilities, and that the Bulgarian had shamed Durmstrang through his poor showing. They argued that it was only luck that he had survived the Task, and that it was obvious that for all his skill on the pitch, he wasn’t exactly the most competent off it. Others, mostly from Wolf Tower, deemed those suggestions unfair and uncalled for. After all, despite his life-threatening injuries – injuries that required extensive treatment at the Lady Eir Medical Center – sustained from fighting off the Selma, he’d managed to retrieve his Orb – and to do so before the Hogwarts Champion surfaced at all.

    On the topic of the Hogwarts Champion, George Weasley found it amusing that his performance was thought of by the student body as middling at best, as while he’d managed to avoid being wounded, he had come up from the lake last of all, with his success being attributed to his knowledge of Muggle “tricks.” The students – and staff – weren’t entirely sure what to make of him, certain that he was hiding some of his abilities, but almost none of them thought that whatever he was concealing could possibly make him stronger than Miss Delacour, given her feat of conjuring a Patronus.

    Under other circumstances, George might have taken issue with this assumption, but at the moment, the satori-user found it one that was convenient to encourage for a multitude of reasons.

    One was, of course, that Delacour’s undeniable success in the First Task would help quash the rumors that had plagued the part-Veela during her time at Durmstrang, rumors which spoke of her accomplishments being owed to her charms, with her ensnaring young witches and wizards into doing her will in return for sexual favors. Some rumors spoke of her obtaining information or spells from temporary lovers, offering her body in exchange for any sort of advantage.

    Had her performance been merely mediocre, relying on conventional spells, these whispers would have continued to spread unabated, with her victories tainted by poisoned words from her peers, suggesting that anything she won – anything she accomplished – was solely due to her manipulation of others.

    Given that the true culprit behind the licentious activities often attributed to Fleur was in fact Fred’s stray tanuki, George had been rather irked by these rumors, and had been glad that the part-Veela had managed a corporeal Patronus, as that was not something that could ever be the fruit of stolen knowledge or depravity.

    There was a reason the charm had long been associated with those fighting for noble causes, and why Patronus wielders were so greatly respected, for it took a certain strength and nobility of character to call one forth.
    ‘I wasn’t certain she was capable of such a thing, but I’m glad she was…’

    More pragmatically, from the records that remained from past Tournaments, George had found that more often than not, in Tournaments where all the Champions survived to the Third Task – not a guarantee by any means – Champions were often pitted against one another in a free-for-all of sorts, with fantastic beasts, mazes, or other obstacles added to make things more…exciting.

    In those situations, the last one standing – or the first to reach an objective – would be crowned as the victor of the Tournament, a situation that gave him pause. For though George knew that he was likely the strongest of the three Tri-Wizard Champions, having gotten through the First Task unscathed and unchallenged, never really having been in danger at all, the satori-user was quite aware that being his abilities did not make him invulnerable.

    Not after his encounters with Matou, Parkinson, and Lestrange, at any rate.

    Thus, George had turned his thoughts on how he might approach the Tri-Wizard Tournament as a whole to optimize his chance of victory, given the patterns of past tournaments and what he knew about his competitors. The simplest means of ensuring his victory would of course be for both of his competitors to die early in the competition, something which he could have allowed to occur as early as the First Task, with the Selma providing a readymade explanation for their fate, but the satori-user had decided against that course of action as both unsporting and potentially dangerous if it was thought he might have been somehow involved.

    Especially as Matou seemed to have an interest in Delacour, and given the darkness flowing all through Matou, he knew it would be quite…unwise to cross his fellow Stone Cutter without a very good reason.

    ‘That, and if I was going to let them die, I shouldn’t have saved them in the first place.’

    He’d already been presented with the choice of whether to intervene when he’d stumbled across the duo as the Hufflepuffs sprang their trap, and in the end, he’d acted, partially because it was the right thing to do, and partially to test his capacity.

    If he simply let them die now, it would be as if he was letting his work be undone, and George had a bit too much pride to allow that to transpire.

    The alternative then, was to carefully manage his actions so that he would not be seen as the strongest of the Champions – and thus potentially someone who would inspire cooperation between his competitors for the sake of defeating him. Nor could he be seen as the weakest, as that would not only hurt his reputation – and the reputation of the Stone Cutters, by extension – but would mark him as an easy target for elimination through sabotage or ambush. And while George knew his mind was resilient enough to brush away a Veela’s allure, and had great confidence in his martial abilities, the fact remained that if he was forced to defend himself, he would reveal more of his hand than he felt comfortable with.

    At the moment, no one but Matou knew that it was he who had intervened to save Delacour and Krum from the Hufflepuffs. If anyone loyal to the British Ministry were to suspect that he’d been involved, and that to protect foreign nationals, he had killed or driven mad some of his countrymen, well, that would likely have consequences, especially with the country currently under martial law.
    In truth, the boy no longer held any real loyalty to the land of his birth, but the knowledge of what might happen to his friends – to Matou, a foreign national, to his brother, who would be regarded with suspicion, and to Harry, who would no doubt be tasked with taking him into custody, kept him cautious for now.

    The time was coming when the satori-user would have to make a choice between his past and the future he wished to see, given how the patterns of things were shaping up, but it was not yet that time. For now, he could enjoy being a Tri-Wizard Champion, learning the arts of another land, seeing the habits of its people, making connections that might benefit him when he did make his move.

    Thus, while he could have leveraged his skills – especially his spirit-based abilities – to be the first to retrieve an orb, or to have done something more impressive and dramatic than simply freezing a small quantity of water, George forbore.

    Happily, how things had unfolded was pretty much ideal for his purposes, given that few would take heed of the actions of a “middling” wizard. Rather, all eyes would be on Fleur and Krum, watching to see if and how the first would repeat her moment of triumph…and if and how the last would fall.

    The corner of the boy’s lips curled up into a thin, dangerous smile as he ghosted through the doors of his private chambers in Serpent’s Refuge in spirit form, only to fade into tangibility as he made his way towards the featureless golden orb at the austere room’s center.

    It was silent now, having ceased its wailing for good after he’d retrieved it from the watery depths of the black lake in the First Task, but that silence was not at all comforting, given the parameters of his new task.

    When the Second Task had first been explained, George Weasley had naively assumed it would be a rather easier affair than the first, given that it did not involve retrieving a booby-trapped item from the territory of a murderous, half-starved Selma.

    Instead, he and Delacour had each been tasked with locating the scattered fragments of a powerful magical artifact over the next month, with each person to present a reassembled artifact to the judges at the start of the Yule Ball. These fragments had been hidden throughout the Svalbard archipelago, and to have any hope of finding them whatsoever, they would need to unlock the secrets of the orbs they had retrieved.

    Krum had not been present at the briefing, having been sent to the hospital following the First Task, and was not expected to return for at least a few days, if not a week, yet his deadline was the same as theirs.

    ‘No time to lose,’ the Stone Cutter had thought as he returned to his room, taking the orb with him. ‘I have to figure out how to unlock this.’

    And yet, despite several days of experimentation while in spirit form, something which allowed him to minimize the need for sleep, George had made no headway, which was why he’d gone to stretch his legs in an attempt to keep himself from just using a Blasting curse on the orb in frustration.

    “It’s not as if it will hurt to try,” George noted coolly, surveying the wreckage that he hadn’t yet reported. “Still...”

    The boy trailed off, not quite sure what word best fit the situation.

    Frustrating was one of the leading candidates, given how many things he’d tried, to no avail.

    Before he’d done anything else to it, George had examined the orb using his satori’s abilities, attempting to glean the secrets of its, as the spells and magics woven into it would no doubt offer up some clue as to how to even begin unlocking the now-inert object.

    ‘I thought, I could see the patterns, I could decipher them, untangle the threads and see both what kept the orb sealed and what it contains…’

    Or so he’d thought, up until the point when his spirit sight had revealed that the item was so thickly woven with interlocking enchantments that he couldn’t begin to unravel one from another, forming an impenetrable sphere of brilliant light that his abilities could not penetrate.

    ‘Maybe I’ve come to rely too much on these abilities and not my own wits, since there have been few challenges what were not made trivial by them.’

    Still, the Stone Cutter had not been one of the premier pranksters of Hogwarts for nothing, so he set to work, trying to put himself into the mindset of whatever wizard had constructed this artifact.

    He’d tried Alohomora, of course, as the simple Unlocking Charm had sometimes proven useful in the past when someone (even Professors, on occasion!) hadn’t thought to secure a door or cupboard against it, but as expected, the orb did not react. A simple Revealing Charm had met with similar results, though he had seen no harm in trying.

    ‘Frankly, I would have been disappointed if it had been that easy…’

    His initial probes deflected, the Stone Cutter had moved onto using what he knew of the standard Curse-Breaker’s Arsenal, a suite of spells meant to help decipher, disable and unravel the most complicated magical protections. Such spells, mostly used by those employed by Gringotts for purposes of “treasure retrieval” (or tomb-raiding / grave-robbing, as most considered it), were not commonly known to the general wizarding population, given the rather nefarious purposes to which they could be used, and even George only knew a bit from what his late brother Bill had shown him.

    He’d never really had cause to use it before, given that all he knew of the Arsenal was the first spell – the one meant to investigate what protections were in place, and that revealing that he knew any of it could have gotten Bill in rather a lot of trouble.

    Of course, Bill was dead now, having died during the World Cup incident, with nothing left of him, not even a body, so the last was something of a moot point.
    ‘And I don’t think he’d mind me using what he showed me for this…’

    So the boy had focused his attention on the orb and began to incant, his voice falling into a low, even cadence as he spoke. These spells weren’t at all like the simple one to three word cantrips one learned in textbooks, as they were more comprehensive in purpose and scope, and acted with something of an intelligence of their own.

    Slowly, the first bits of information had appeared in his mind, as if whispered into his ear.

    ‘Lock: Element.’

    ‘Lock: Identity.’

    ‘Status: Reflect.’

    ‘Status: Seal.’

    The four aspects of the magic that had been invested in the orb, with the first two governing access to the last. If he had the rest of the Arsenal at his disposal, George would simply have moved onto some of the other tools involved to see what kind of identity verification was needed, and if he could bypass the security, but as it was, he had only his wits.

    Thus, he’d attempted to explore what might be meant by ‘Element’, given that it had been the first response to be returned by the spell, and thus, the most critical part of the protections.

    He’d tried submerging the orb in a bucket of water, to see if it would sing, open, or the like, but to no avail. He’d frozen the water, but the orb did not react. He’d blasted it with lightning, buried it in the ground, even cast it into the fireplace to see if any of these would reveal some sort of clue or evoke some kind of reaction, but there had been nothing.

    Perhaps he needed to address the matter of identity then?

    Would the orb only work for someone who identified him or herself? But how would this identity be confirmed? Perhaps…some sort of password?

    ‘Well, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve had to deal with an item with a passphrase.’

    Some years before, he and Fred had puzzled out the phrase for the Marauder’s Map, after all – though he conceded that the map had given him and his brother some hints by showing more and more of what it could do the closer one got to the correct passphrase.

    ‘Things were simpler then.’

    They hadn’t needed to use put themselves into the Marauders’ mindset, since they already shared it…

    ‘Maybe I’m over thinking this. Maybe this is simpler than I’m letting it be.’

    “Eternal Glory,” the boy had intoned, thinking that the theme of the Tournament might be an appropriate password for a golden orb, but it seemed he was mistaken, as nothing happened.

    “Triumph in Victory?” he’d hazarded, to no avail.

    “Champion George Weasley?” George had tried, thinking it might be locked to his person’s name, yet this too failed to produce any noticeable effect.

    What had followed had been a series of increasingly unlikely guesses had followed, involving the names of the Headmasters, the mottos and founders of the three schools, the names and mottos of Gellert Grindelwald and Lord Voldemort, and finally, a number of creative (and anatomically improbable) curses.

    After a while, he’d fallen silent, staring at the immaculate surface of the orb, taunting him with its silence.

    “Open…Sesame?” he’d guessed, not really thinking it would work, and so he wasn’t surprised when it didn’t.

    Mellon?” the Stone Cutter had said, remembering a bit of Lovegood’s reading he’d overheard once. Alas, whoever crafted the orb was apparently neither a speaker of Sindarin nor a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, so the item did not welcome him as friend.

    Following that remarkable string of failures, George had decided that perhaps he needed a change of scenery, and so had gone on the walk from which he had just returned. Such things always helped him calm down, as it let him focus on the foibles of others and learn some of the spells they used in his presence by copying the movements, words, and intent behind them.

    Truly Durmstrang was a wonderful place for him to learn, with a dizzying array of offensive spells ripe and free for the taking!

    Having returned to his quarters with his magical arsenal greatly expanded – and having learned that the Beauxbatons Champion was likewise frustrated by the Second Task, if her cursing in French as she stared at her orb in the library was any indication, George felt considerably calmer about his progress (or lack thereof) thus far.

    ‘Well, I’ve tried exposing it to different elements. I’ve tried a number of passwords. Nothing I’ve done has worked.’

    The Stone Cutter shook his head.

    “If finesse isn’t the answermaybe I should try brute force?” he wondered aloud. “Even if the orb has some level of protection on it, everything has to have a weakness.”

    Thus, casting a Supersensory Charm on himself to augment his senses, George ran his fingers over the orb, feeling for any incongruities in the surface, any slightly recessed areas or seams he could tease open, tapping to see if any part of it might be thinner and thus more vulnerable to wand or blade, but if there were any, he couldn’t feel them.

    Which left only the application of force itself, really.

    At first, George tried a more mundane means of opening up the orb, using the hilt of his spider-fang dagger to perform what his dad sometimes called percussive maintenance, which involved fixing items that refused to work by striking them repeatedly, but that produced no results.

    Attempting to stab or cut the surface with the blade was likewise an exercise in futility, as were the use of cutting and piercing spells, both of which rebounded from the golden surface, doing some damage to the furniture around him.

    ‘You know…that Blasting Curse sounds quite tempting right about now…’

    There had to be an upper limit on how much force the protections of such a small object could withstand, after all, and a proper Confringo should be able to overcome most things, so surely there was no harm in trying.

    So he cast the spell – and the world exploded in a wave of force, his body blown off its feet and into a wall as everything went dark.




    Seated on a couch by the fire in the rather comfortable common living area of Raven’s Keep with a heavy tome in her lap and a stack of books she’d taken from the library beside her, Fleur Delacour found herself rather amused as she saw Matou Shinji, the young Potions Champion of Hogwarts, leaving the Keep with none other than Rachelle Lestrange, the Etoile Noire of Beauxbatons.

    ‘And zis time, zey do not ‘ave ze excuse that zey are protecting me…’

    Now that the Tournament well underway, and the Champions busy with their Second Task, assistance from an outside party would be considered cheating – and given that Champions were supposed to be able to protect themselves during their tasks, a bodyguard would certainly be counted as such.

    Even if she was willing to “cheat” in that way, there was certainly no need, as the general attitude towards her had essentially taken a 180 after the First Task, with the rumors sputtering to a halt, with those who had simply seen her as someone to lust after now considering her someone worthy of respect, and those who had reviled her for her inhuman nature, accusing her of being complicit in the murders of their kin, having second thoughts, given that surely one who could conjure a Patronus was not capable of such things.

    Yet, though the need was gone, Matou Shinji and Rachelle Lestrange continued to spend a great deal of time together. Thinking back, it was if something had changed between them ever since that night in the hot springs, when a curious name had come up in conversation.

    The Eltnam.

    The lineage of one who had apparently taught Rachelle’s ancestors – and the so-called “greatest Alchemist in the World”, who Matou claimed to serve.

    Sion Eltnam Atlasia.

    Yet…if this Sion was the greatest Alchemist yet living, why had Fleur never heard of her? Beauxbatons was famous for its potions expertise, after all, with many wishing to follow in the footsteps of Nicholas Flamel, the late Alchemical genius who had created the Philosopher’s Stone. Many of its aspiring Potioneers, in fact, went on to work at the Centre of Alchemical Studies in Egypt, by far the grandest in the world – yet none of them – not even Rachelle, knew of whom Matou spoke.

    ‘Even if Rachelle knows of the mysterious Eltnam…’

    The British Potions Champion hadn’t been lying that night – the conviction in his voice and fire in his eyes was proof enough of that, and his words seemed to have caught the attention of the notoriously cold Etoile Noire, who had never been interested in things like love.

    Fleur could understand the Japanese boy’s attraction to Rachelle well enough, as the combination of deadly skill and delicate beauty could be seen as attractive by some, but the Beauxbatons Potions Champion had historically had little tolerance for the bumbling affections of others, so…

    Seeing her colleague tolerate his awkward (and fairly unsubtle) glances when there was no more need for her to tolerate his presence was one thing, though the part-Veela supposed that Rachelle could be entangling the boy in her web, ensuring he’d be an allying during the Potions Competition (not that such was at all her style). She supposed she could even understand if Rachelle was curious about the boy’s knowledge of Alchemy and his connection to the lineage that had first taught hers.

    But to hear them discussing going out at night, the various places around the school where those who sought privacy might go, and even what they would wear to the Yule Ball, with the Japanese boy saying something about matching outfits, and Rachelle agreeing that it would be for the best?

    Sacré bleu, that was…Fleur didn’t really know what to think.

    Not that she had time to think about such matters, as she had an orb that stubbornly refused to reveal its secrets to her, or reveal any hint of how to unlock its secrets, for that matter. She’d tried all sorts of spells on it, gone to the library to read about unraveling magical protections and the like, but nothing had stuck.

    She’d even taken a bath with it, in the hope that submerging it would make it start to keen again, since that would give her something to decipher, but there was nothing.

    Twice, the part-Veela had considered just asking Rachelle to just cut the orb open with Deuillegivre, as an ancient sword forged by the Founder of the Center of Alchemical Studies himself no doubt had some unique abilities, but twice she had decided against it.

    After all, then it would be someone else’s efforts which led to her victory, and her pride as a Champion would not allow that.

    So she continued to look things up, wondering if she’d missed out on something incredibly simple, when—

    “Hello, Miss Delacour, do you have a moment?” a voice interrupted her reverie, with the Beauxbatons Champion looking up from her book to see the friendly face of Pansy Parkinson.

    “Oui. ‘Ow can I help you?” the part-Veela asked evenly.

    She didn’t know much about the younger girl, save for the fact that Parkinson seemed to be on excellent terms with Matou (enough so that she had taken the boy’s place as her escort in the past), that she had been part of Headmaster Flitwick’s honor guard and that she was a reporter for the British newspaper.

    ‘She must know more about me than I of her…’

    “I was wondering if you had a moment to talk about the First Task,” Pansy asked, a pleasant enough smile on her lips. “I’m writing an article about it for the Prophet, and I’d like your input.”

    “Mine?” Fleur inquired.

    “Yes, yours, Miss Delacour,” Pansy confirmed with a twinkle in her eye. “You certainly put on quite the showing, after all, and I’m sure my readers will want to know more about the young woman who won the First Task.”

    “Mm, officially each of us did equally well,” the part-Veela demurred, wondering where the young reporter was going with this.

    “Yes. Officially,” the brunette conceded, her smile becoming something more like a smirk now. “But how many of the others managed to conjure a Patronus? Besides which, George is something of a recluse, and Viktor is…ah, elsewhere.”

    Fleur tilted her head, considering the request, before closing the heavy tome in her lap with a sigh. It wasn’t as if she was going to solve the mystery of the orb in the next few minutes, so she supposed she might as well.

    ‘It might be nice to talk things out…’

    “Very well. I don’t ‘ave anything better to do at the moment.”




    Pansy was thrilled that Fleur had agreed to talk about her experiences in the First Task, given that while she had enjoyed the audiovisual spectacle of the trolls and runes and music, everyone, other than the Champions, was in the dark about what had gone on underwater, with the official statement by the judging committee being rather empty of any details besides the fact that all three Champions had qualified for the next task.

    There was no mention of Krum’s hospitalization, Delacour’s Patronus (a thestral of all things!), George’s ice trick, or even the fact that there had been a Selma, which the assassin’s apprentice found rather interesting. Then again, she had known how to spin and control information for a while, even if it wasn’t something she had any official training in, which she supposed was why she enjoyed filing reports for the Daily Prophet.

    “So tell me, Miss Delacour, what it is like when you cast a Patronus?” Pansy asked, opening with what she felt to be the obvious question.

    Fleur was silent for a moment, closing her eyes as her expression…softened, losing its edge. When she spoke, her voice was distant, as if she herself was somewhere far away.

    “It vas…warm,” the part-Veela murmured aloud.

    “Warm?” Pansy echoed. “How so?“

    “As if…I vas being embraced, as if I was being ‘eld safely in someone’s arms,” Fleur replied, sighing with pleasure at the memory of it. “It was my first time feeling…”

    “…your first time?” the reported noted idly, before looking up sharply. “Wait. That was your first time casting a Patronus?”

    “Oui.”

    Pansy’s eyes went wide, as she barely managed to keep her mouth from falling open in shock. Understandably, it took her a few moments to compose herself enough to continue.

    “How did…how did you come up with the idea of using that spell, of all things?” the assassin’s apprentice inquired softly. It wasn’t as if it especially easy magic, after all, something one tried on a whim, yet…

    “It vas…vat came to mind,” Fleur answered, opening her eyes. “I don’t know vy I zought of it, but at ze time, it seemed…right. There vas…no doubt, no ‘esitation. I just…knew.”

    “I guess you did, since you cast a fully corporeal Patronus on your first try,” Pansy noted after a moment, shaking her head. “What was the memory you used, if that’s not too personal a question? Maybe it was one particularly powerful?”

    “The first time I saw my sister Gabrielle,” Fleur replied, a soft smile crossing her lips. “And maybe. I ‘ad never cast a Patronus before, so I ‘ave nothing to compare it with.”

    “Mm, right,” Pansy agreed. “Tell me something else then?”

    “Mm?”

    “What do you think of your fellow Champions?” No doubt a bit of color commentary would be welcome by readers, and frankly, she was curious what Fleur thought of George.

    She was certain that she’d be meeting with the Hogwarts Champion eventually, so she could get his take on things, as the Stone Cutter had a habit of seeking her out for duels every now and then when she was training. She lost more than she won, but she didn’t mind that much either, given that she enjoyed the challenge posed by his unconventional fighting style, and that it was always wise to learn the skillsets of one’s future partners, if her Master’s comments about the Weasley twin meant anything.

    The fact that he was rather easy on the eyes and had an interesting sense of humor was just a nice bonus.

    Though speaking of potential partners…

    ‘I wonder why Master hasn’t recruited Lovegood, come to think of it. She is rather powerful, given the abilities she commands, but perhaps she would be a handful even for him!’

    Still, George’s visits weren’t exactly predictable, so she’d take what she could get.

    Sadly, Fleur’s recitation was remarkably free of any hints of scandal, with the part-Veela’s giving a statement to the effect that she felt both of her competitors must be quite skilled to survive the first Task, but then, that was simply what was expected of a Champion.

    Clearly, she was reluctant to say anything too controversial when speaking with a reporter whose Self Writing Quill was active, which Pansy found understandable. All the same, it wasn’t particularly interesting, so the Assassin’s apprentice decided to change tacks.

    “Let’s go off the record,” Pansy suggested, setting aside her notepad and taking hold of her Quill to cease its movements. “Perhaps you could tell me something about the Second Task?”

    “…why?” the part-Veela wondered aloud, studying the enigmatic reporter.

    “Well, what we were told was rather…slim, and I’d like a little information to get ready for the net article,” the brunette answered, rather humorlessly. “I’m not asking for any secrets, mind you, or to know how far you’ve gotten, since I’m sure you’ve been doing just as well as in the First if you have time for some light reading.”

    Fleur’s expression twisted into a grimace despite herself, as she glanced down at the tome in her lap, a rather dry volume entitled Enchantment and Artifice.

    “…zis is ‘ardly light reading,” the blonde replied mildly, tossing her hair in annoyance. If she was being honest, the book wasn’t very helpful for her, as it assumed a great deal of pre-requisite knowledge which she did not have. She wasn’t exactly looking forward to browsing through the stack of books beside her, either, given that none of this would realistically help her to figure out what to do. “But I suppose I ‘ave time.”

    “Well, who knows, maybe talking will help you figure things out,” Pansy suggested, though the Beauxbatons Champion looked fairly skeptical. “Couldn’t hurt at least.”

    “…true,” Fleur conceded. “I suppose it vould not ‘urt. But only if you vill not write about…”

    “Hey, I said off the record, didn’t I?” the Assassin’s apprentice chided primly. “That means I won’t be writing about what we say now.”

    “Hmph. I suppose,” the part-Veela agreed, sharing what she’d been told about her Task, including the timing of it, the purpose, and how each Champion needed to unlock the secrets of their orb to progress in any meaningful way.

    “Unlock them, huh?” Pansy murmured, glancing over at Fleur’s stack of books. “Sounds like you’re having some trouble.”

    “Mm.”

    “I don’t think I can be of much help,” the reporter commented. “After all, I don’t know much about making or unraveling protective charms, except that sometimes a sacrifice of blood is needed.”

    Fleur’s eyes narrowed at Pansy’s words.

    “Rely on…blood?”

    “Yeah,” Pansy confirmed with a shrug. “Either to prove who you are, or as a show of your intent. But I’m sure you tried that, right?”




    When George came to, he didn’t know how long he’d been out. He didn’t know why he was lying on the ground, where he was, or what he had been doing before that. He just knew that his wand wasn’t in his hand, and that everything hurt.

    ‘My body…why am I…’

    He shifted into his spirit form, breathing a sigh of relief as the pain faded away, and he could finally move once more. But what he saw as he rose didn’t give him any reassurance: his quarters were a wreck, with jagged shards of wood and metal crushed against the scarred stone of the walls, the solid oak door had been torn apart, and what few possessions he’d brought with him to Durmstrang, other than the clothes he was wearing and the ring on his hand…had been destroyed.

    Even his wand, which had been one of the first things that had been truly his, was gone, broken to pieces in the aftermath of the Blasting Curse.

    Yet, amidst the devastation, one thing remained untouched: the golden orb he’d been trying to unlock, the very item on which he’d cast the Blasting Curse to begin with.

    He drifted next to the orb and phased into solidity once more, touching the orb with a bloody hand to be certain it was still there, that this wasn’t some illusion, or some fevered dream.

    He just wanted to reassure himself, but to his surprise, as his blood-covered fingers grazed the once-inert item, fiery red writing began to appear on its golden surface.

    Runes, arranged in a curious pattern.

    Sowilo. Laguz. Ti…

    ‘Its…a puzzle. An elemental puzzle…’

    A hint towards what he needed to do to fully unlock the orb…which hadn’t appeared until now, when his…

    ‘My blood. My…blood. Is that what it needed?’

    Blood. The foundation of the Dark Arts, the very discipline that Durmstrang specialized in. All this time…all this time, he’d been looking for a password, when the key he’d needed to begin accessing the orb had been inside him all this time.

    The boy wanted to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all, the utter absurdity of his situation.

    He wanted to laugh at how he’d lost almost everything he’d ever owned, yet had lost nothing of value, really.

    ‘Everything…everything I’ve needed all along, its right here. In me.’

    And so, George Weasley laughed.

    He laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed…all of which, combined with the scene of devastation and him clutching the orb against his bloody body, made quite an impression on Radu Eshkol Mann, Commander of the Banner of Serpents, and a number of his year-captains, who had come to investigate the cause of the massive explosion.




    Choice 125: When Shinji visits George in the Durmstrang infirmary, he learns that while his friend has made some progress in the Second Task, he's lost most of what he owns in the process - including his wand. Certainly, he'll need to head back to Britain for a replacement, but George is uncertain of whether to just buy one from Ollivanders, or whether he should speak with Lockhart, since the man clearly has his own source (and did get a fancy set made for Pansy), or if he should make a custom set.

    Or perhaps Shinji has another suggestion?

    What does Shinji suggest to George? (choose one)

    [ ] Just buy one from Ollivanders', the trusted source for most British wizards
    [ ] Talk to Lockhart to see if the man has a suggestion
    [ ] Have a custom wand crafted for him
    [ ] (write-in)
    Last edited by alfheimwanderer; December 10th, 2016 at 08:19 AM.

  14. #2114
    [X] Just buy one from Ollivanders', the trusted source for most British wizards

    New reader here, been binge reading this for 2 days, excellent work so far.

  15. #2115
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LazyBear View Post
    [X] Just buy one from Ollivanders', the trusted source for most British wizards

    New reader here, been binge reading this for 2 days, excellent work so far.
    Welcome! Glad you're enjoying yourself. For reference, if you have questions, I can be reached here, by PM, or sometimes on IRC at #fatehg on irchighway.

  16. #2116
    Mhm... Secret and/or forbidden practices, mind-altering contracts, rising power... Seems like our George steadily transforms into Voldemort Jr. Though more "gray" then "dark' so far.
    And while empowering this state is potentialy dangerous indeed, i'll go with

    Choice 125:
    [v] Have a custom wand crafted for him

    Something like the part of his satori partner, wrapped into matching wood - readymade legilimency wand. Hijiri-sama can make it, like she did Shinji's worm-wand.

  17. #2117
    [ ]Just buy one from Ollivanders', the trusted source for most British wizards

  18. #2118
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Magus's Avatar
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    [x] Tell him to buy one from Ollivander's

    That is, unless he's willing to pay a steep price. We know that there are places where you can bargain for rare or powerful goods, but they demand something precious as equivalent exchange.
    Not Magus! Magic Emperor Magus!

  19. #2119
    Wasn't Ollivander's store nationalized like the broom industry? I would think that quality wands would be of upmost importance to the government. Plus its not as if George can suddenly show up there due to travel restricitons and buy another wand. Not when this is a big opportunity for the government to reign in their Triwizard champion with a wand replacement deal. Plus this choice will likely result in the weakest wand, which could be a major liability later for George.

    On the other hand picking custom wand would be great but we all know the price tag associated with that option. Plus really one can only get a custom wand in person and the best market, Japan, is not accessible to George. At least not without pissing off George by having Shinji coming clean with the cabinets as he lied to him before. As for the idea to have Matsuo make the wand, I believe that her price tag is not in the realm of Shinji and George's without cashing in Shinji's built up favor. She does not make quality goods for plain cash. If any one is worth getting a wand made by her, I think it would more likely be Luna not George.

    The Lockhart option will be the keystone to tie George's fate as another disciple. An act that will have its advances and disadvances, but George seems to be going that route already so I see no large reason not to go down this route unless someone can think of a good fourth option. In the end we do trust Lockhart enought to always ask for advice so why not here as well?

    [X] Talk to Lockhart to see if the man has a suggestion
    Last edited by Skull Leader; December 10th, 2016 at 03:20 PM.

  20. #2120
    [x] Talk to Lockhart to see if the man has a suggestion

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