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Thread: But For A Stone (A Matou Shinji Series AU)

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    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    But For A Stone (A Matou Shinji Series AU)

    But For a Stone


    Prologue

    "...they're all dead, Hagrid," a toneless voice voice issued from a figure hunched over in the doorway of what remained of the house at Godric's Hollow, visibly bracing himself against the frame. "Lily. James. Even young Harry. They're all dead."

    "Dead...?" the half-giant echoed disbelievingly. Dumbledore had sent him here with , looking around for some signs of movement, some sign of life, something that would give the lie to the words of Sirius Black. But other than the purring of the engine of Black's flying motorcycle, the ruin was as silent as the grave. "...all of them?"

    But how was that possible?

    This place had been hidden by the Fidelius Charm, after all, the most powerful protection known to wizard-kind. One of the most ancient and most difficult charms of all, it functioned by separating a piece of information from the world and hiding it within the soul of a chosen Secret-Keeper, so none could discover it - save those the Secret-Keeper told.

    Why and by who it had been invented had long been lost to the ages, with some speculating that it had originally been used by wizards to help them hide from threats in a once far more dangerous world, though others scoffed at the thought, since who would wizards have to hide from except each other?

    Usually, it was used on locations, of course, not on individuals, given that hiding the very fact that someone existed from the world was not entirely a good thing, as that person would become intangible, invisible, and otherwise undetectable, creating a sense of isolation that could easily drive one mad, as the only ones that person would be able to interact with would be their secret-keeper and those others had been trusted with the secret of their existence. And if their secret-keeper died without telling anyone else, well, then the person involved would become their own secret-keeper, a decidedly non-ideal situation since one would be intangible, invisible, and otherwise undetectable to those who did not know the secret and thus could not disclose it.

    One would be left to wander through the world, unable to interact with anyone else until the day one passed away, effectively becoming an existence less the meanest ghost, trapped forever in an inviolable prison of one's own devising.

    The protection, in that sense, was absolute.

    Even Hagrid, who had been expelled from Hogwarts, and had not had the benefit of a full education, knew that much, which was why he was so shocked to see the Potters' residence...destroyed.

    ...well, absolute absent a betrayal from the Secret-Keeper.

    The man who was standing before him now, his body shaking with sobs? Or...

    "Ha. Haha. Hahahahahahahahaha...."

    '...laughter?'

    It was a hysterical sound, a maddened sound, a sound of grief and terror and loss that would have terrified nearly any other wizard who heard it. Even Rubeus Hagrid, who had no shortage of experience dealing with creatures that others would describe as monsters and abominations, found himself taking a step backwards, his hand sliding slowly into the pocket of his coat and taking hold of his crossbow just in case Black decided to do something...unwise.

    Aside from that, however, the half-giant simply waited, as he'd learned that making any sudden movements around a maddened beast could lead to them thinking of him as a threat.

    And well, since Black hadn't made any hostile movements of his own, Hagrid supposed he should give him the benefit of the doubt. It was what Dumbledore would have done in his shoes, he thought.

    The laughter went on, and on, and on, with the man shaking more and more as it continued, until at last, like a puppet severed from its strings, he crumpled to the ground, the laughter choked off to make way for a keening wail, and then...nothing.

    "Black," Hagrid grunted into the eerie quiet. "What happened?"

    The man's behavior had the half-giant very much on edge, as he acted nothing like the Sirius Black that Hagrid remembered, lacking any trace of the confidence or jocularity. Was this some imposter sent to mislead him, or...?

    "Peter," the wizard half-muttered, half-spat, sheer misery writ into his voice. "He was the Secret-Keeper."

    "Watcha say?"

    Everyone in the Order had thought that Sirius Black was the Secret-Keeper, but now the man was telling him that this had been a lie.

    "You heard me, Hagrid. He was the Secret-Keeper," Black repeated, turning his gaze upward to look upon the half-giant. "He sold them out. He sold them out..."




    Ten years later, Albus Dumbledore found himself sitting at the High Table of Hogwarts, looking out upon the incoming first years, envying how fresh-faced and bright eyed they were, how innocent of the harsh realities of the world. At his age, nearly 110, he had been witness to many tragic events and deeds done in the name of the Greater Good, seen the futility of fighting against the cruelties written into the rules of the society one lived in, watched his best-laid plans be unraveled by circumstance, and learned the bitterness of victory.

    He'd read an interesting quote once, that went something like 'There is nothing except a battle lost that can be half as melancholy as a battle won,' written by a rather famous Muggle general, and as the man who had coordinated the resistance to Voldemort in Britain's Wizarding War, he understood that all too well.

    Yes, their side had triumphed, with Voldemort losing his life the night he attacked the Potters, but the cost of that victory had been far, far too high...especially since he knew it was only a temporary one, as the Dark Lord's shade lingered yet in this world.

    'It is only a matter of time until he reappears, and I find myself lacking allies.'

    No one in Britain believed - wanted to believe - that the Dark Wizard who had threatened Britain for almost a decade, whose name still terrified veterans of the conflict and children alike, was not truly dead.

    Severus might have been a useful asset, but the double agent had taken his own life shortly after learning of Lily's death, as without her, the former Death Eater had lost his will to live. Sirius Black had left Britain entirely, heading to America so he could put an ocean between his past. Even Remus Lupin had disappeared from the wizarding world, though to where, Dumbledore had little idea, as the werewolf had said nothing of his plans.

    Alastor could be useful, but he was close to retirement as it was, and as loathe as the Auror might be to admit it, Albus could see how tired the man was, and how badly his wounds still pained him.

    And as for his senior faculty, well...he imagined Minerva would back him if there was evidence of Voldemort coming back, as might Flitwick, but for as long as Albus had known the man, Horace had little interest in fighting or getting his hands dirty.

    'I wonder how different things would have been had Lily's child survived.'

    There were so many what-ifs that filled his mind even to this day.

    What if the Potters had not switched Secret-Keepers? What if the Order had kept a closer eye on its members? What if...and this was something he knew was merely fantasy, Lily's son had survived the events of the night, and become a pillar the wizarding community in Britain could rally around, a symbol of hope for those who to rebuild - and of oddness he could point out to his trusted allies?

    'No. It is best not to think of might-have-beens, or one might go mad.'

    He'd learned that lesson well enough over his 110 years of life, though he had trouble taking his own advice, as he wondered to this day, if he'd chosen another path, if perhaps Ariana would be still be alive. If perhaps he might not be estranged from his brother. If perhaps Gellert...

    'No. It does no good to dwell on the past, not when one cannot truly change it without unraveling what is.'

    And so he had to accept that many of his hopes and dreams had been crushed as thoroughly as young Harry's skull, though in his case the damage was due to his own misadventures and ambition, not a particularly heavy piece of rubble.

    'I am not a good man,' he reflected, shaking his head as he looked upon those who still had a lifetime before them, those who still had so many choices to make. 'And perhaps I never have been.' Even now, power was his weakness and temptation, a temptation he occasionally indulged in, lest the desire for it become unmanageable, but he mostly managed to put it aside. 'What I can do is to try and protect the innocence of the children entrusted to my care, and to ensure that there is a future for them to grow up in.'

    Which was why he felt somewhat guilty about the trap he was laying at Hogwarts this year, and the risk it posed to the students, given that some would ignore his warnings about a very painful death waiting for those who braved the Third Year Corridor. Still, it was a necessary evil in the grand scheme of things, as it would expose Voldemort's survival once and perhaps, give him a fighting chance of ending the next War before it had even begun.

    Britain had enough dead heroes, had known enough pain and sacrifice. It was the least he could do to try to spare a new generation the suffering of the last, especially when the failure to see what Tom would become, and to take action, was squarely on his head.




    A/N: Welcome to But for A Stone, an AU to the Matou Shinji series where there was never a Boy-Who-Lived. Where at the end of the Wizarding War, young Harry Potter died alongside his mother and father, killed in the explosion that destroyed the house at Godric's Hollow. There is no messianic figure for the British Wizarding Community to rally around, no over-influential teen the Ministry feels the need to court or quash - and of course, no shortcut to fame or notoriety.




    Choice 1: No doubt you're familiar with the first chapter of Matou Shinji and the Philosopher's Stone, wherein our intrepid protagonist receives his letter from Hogwarts.



    He is told to reply to the missive by owl, yet he doesn't have an owl - or for that matter, a familiar capable of making a long distance trip, or any familiar at all. And somehow, he doesn't think he can reach Hogwarts though the conventional post.

    This means that he has to ask someone about sending a message to wherever this Hogwarts was. But who? His father, the last proper Matou with some trace of magical ability, who treated him as nothing more than a nuisance after learning about Sakura's role as the adopted heiress? His grandfather, the distant patriarch of the Matou clan, who he knew little about save for rumors of his monstrous nature? Or, since his family had thrown him away, should he similarly decide to turn to an outsider for support, swallow his pride and asking the Second Owner for a favor?

    Who will he ask? (choose one)

    [ ] Ask his Father
    [ ] Ask his Grandfather
    [ ] Ask Tohsaka Rin




    Prologue
    Chapter 1 - Sorting it Out
    Chapter 2 - Books and Brews
    Chapter 3 - Cornered
    Chapter 4- Phobos
    Chapter 5 - Exploration
    Chapter 6 - Entangled
    Chapter 7 - Collaboration and Confrontation
    Chapter 8 - Official Introductions
    Chapter 9 - Unwise Adventurers
    Chapter 10 - Taking Responsibility
    Chapter 11 - Shifting Faults
    Chapter 12 - Apocrypha
    Chapter 13 - Masquerade
    Chapter 14 - Mudbloods and Commoners
    Chapter 15 - Practice makes Progress
    Chapter 16 - Logistically Infeasible
    Chapter 17 - Words with Friends
    Chapter 18 - Delusional Heartbeat
    Chapter 19 - Boomerang Effect
    Chapter 20 - Slipping and Falling
    Chapter 21 - A Knotty Situation
    Chapter 22 - Truths
    Chapter 23 - Unexpected Thoughts
    Chapter 24 - Power and Perfidy
    Chapter 25 - Shadows
    Chapter 26 - Conversant Echoes
    Chapter 27 - Musings on the Road
    Chapter 28 - Clouded Feelings
    Chapter 29 - Portents
    Chapter 30 - Gifts and Curses
    Chapter 31 - Spent and Drained

    Special Encounters
    Midyear Report

    IRC Channel: #fatehg
    on irc.irchighway.net
    Last edited by alfheimwanderer; July 2nd, 2018 at 11:17 PM.
    "The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." - Thomas Paine

  2. #2
    ぷよ使い Puyo Mage fallacies's Avatar
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    [x] Ask his Grandfather

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    The No Sleep King mAc Chaos's Avatar
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    Whoa. What spurred this on? Did the old story end?
    He never sleeps. He never dies.

    Battle doesn't need a purpose; the battle is its own purpose. You don't ask why a plague spreads or a field burns. Don't ask why I fight.

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    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mAc Chaos View Post
    Whoa. What spurred this on? Did the old story end?
    No, the old story isn't over. Just a side story, you could say, for those who might have wanted to experience the joys of the beginning - or who want to explore paths not taken. I'm still getting the next chapter written for the main story.
    "The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." - Thomas Paine

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    死徒 Dead Apostle
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    Best gift of the year

    [X] Ask Tohsaka Rin

    Hard route baby.
    I would go full family route if people want too.
    Last edited by skulkidcachi90; December 4th, 2017 at 04:23 PM.

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    Traps Are Love Nanao-kun's Avatar
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    [X] Ask his Grandfather

    I'd also like to see Family route. Surprise ShinjixSakura route when.

  7. #7
    堪忍は一生の宝 Daiki's Avatar
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    [x] Ask Tohsaka Rin.
    Last edited by Daiki; December 4th, 2017 at 10:25 PM.

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    死徒 Dead Apostle
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    Ok change my vote to
    [X] Ask his GrandfatherHope we go full family route this time.

  9. #9
    [X] Ask his Grandfather

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    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    24 hours remain
    "The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." - Thomas Paine

  11. #11
    I almost missed the notice for this quest in the other thread, I'm happy I didn't though!

    [x] Ask his Grandfather

    Family Route sounds fun for this one! As lovely as otherTL!Shinji's obsession with Sion is, it can be overly grating at times, I'd rather not get so wrapped up around her this time around.

    Also Alf, for this quest will it be exactly the same setting as the other, except for the consequences of no Harry Potter (which are likely to be immense with regards to the quest irregardless)?

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    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cassius View Post
    Also Alf, for this quest will it be exactly the same setting as the other, except for the consequences of no Harry Potter (which are likely to be immense with regards to the quest irregardless)?
    Generally, yes.
    "The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." - Thomas Paine

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    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    [x] Grandfather it is.




    Choice 2: The talk is a successful one, it seems, with the patriarch of the Matou family offering to have a wand crafted for him and to provide him with a chaperone for his travels - essentially acknowledging that he wasn't worthless. In a sense, this was what he'd been seeking for all of his life. And yet...to have this suddenly offered to him felt almost wrong somehow, since if the owl hadn't come...he would just have been considered a piece of trash, worthless despite all his efforts.

    So the choice before him is to either accept and bow to his family's wishes, or to request a chaperone from the School and stand on his own, rejecting the family that had rejected him and cost him so much.

    [ ] Accept
    [ ] Reject
    "The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." - Thomas Paine

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    死徒 Dead Apostle
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    [x] Accept

    Family route baby.
    Hope this time that the forum don't betray zouken.

  15. #15
    [x] Accept

    Don't care about Zouken, he's a big boy and can handle - family route because of imouto.

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    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    [x] Accept

    Alright...let's deal with Shinji's School supplies. On top of his normal/required supplies, Shinji has enough pocket money to purchase one additional item for now.

    Your choices for extras are:

    1. A spare wand
    2. A [elemental] catalyst (will allow Shinji to cast spells aligned with a certain element - assuming he has learned the spell)
    3. Robe upgrades
    4. A pet/familiar
    5. A unique tome

    Choose only one this time around.
    "The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." - Thomas Paine

  17. #17
    死徒 Dead Apostle
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    [X] A unique tome

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    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    So, a unique tome it is then...

    But which tome? There are four that may be of interest - note that all of these contain some basic, some intermediate, and some advanced material, and will not be fully mastered in the first year, though the balance varies with the tome.

    1. Occlumency: the art of memory and mind - Offering the foundational exercises one would need to work on Occlumency, as well as information about legilimens and legilimency. Additionally, if studied, grants a bonus to future learning in general.

    2. Just a Drop - Covers the basics of blood magic, and its applications to potions, rituals, and basic overview of the Dark Arts in general.

    3. Mending Flesh, Soothing Spirits - A basic manual on healing, including several charms, potions, and practical first aid when neither are readily available

    4. Digging Two Graves
    - Covers the basic theory and practice of curses, with exercises to help refine one's willpower and ability to envision the result you desire
    "The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." - Thomas Paine

  19. #19
    死徒 Dead Apostle
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    [x] Just a Drop - Covers the basics of blood magic, and its applications to potions, rituals, and basic overview of the Dark Arts in general

  20. #20
    I'd say -

    [x] Occlumency: the art of memory and mind

    Others are really tempting too, but being magi is about keeping secrets.

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