Such Strange Magics
Darth Maul stood on the the sidewalk gazing towards the unnatural phenomina across the derelect and dessicated street. If only the savage, undeveloped creatures of this world had the ingenuity to invent and utilize duracreet and durasteel their city might not be such a flaming wreckage, and their sky might not be filled with the aerosolized chemicals of every manufactured construction material, product or corpse.
But that didn't matter right now. What mattered to the cyborg was the overwhelming typhoon of distortion and disorientation made manifest between those two houses across from him.
Since his arrival on this strange world he had tried and tried to reach out to the force. Each attempt had met with failure. Failure was a deeply loathed and avoided stranger to the greatest warrior Dathomir had ever produced, but he'd finally become acquainted with her these last couple days.
He could still feel the force within himself, so whatever hyperspace anomoly had sent his ship and the meteoric battle station to this backwater planet hadn't cut him off from it. Thank Mother Talzin small miracles! But all the same, he couldn't tap into the well of power around him to try and determine if the separatist and republic ships, and more importantly their Sith and Jedi occupants, had been transported here as well.
He would have to find other means to determine if the other force-users were present in this small world, just as soon as he figured out what this strange... anti-force he felt was coming from.
Imagine his surprise when, while patiently meditating to pass the time while the droids finished their repairs, he sensed an unnatural facsimile to the force just outside of his ship. It was brief, but felt like a twisted, infectious mirror image of what a fellow force user would feel like.
Everything about it was wrong.
Whereas the force was all-encompassing, boisterous and freely giving in what could almost be called a loving embrace, this anti-force felt small, infectious and full of guile. It wasn't dark, even the dark side felt wholly conspicuous, every drop of it's endless abyss screamed "Here I am! Take me!" but this power felt like it wanted to be kept secret, like a hideous thing you would find under a rock, hissing at you and the light you dared to shine on it.
Except such creatures existed in nature, and wer right with the world. This power was not right with the world.
He felt a multitude of waves of this power as his servants chased down it's user. He watched the footage afterwards and was left with even more questions, questions that left his search for General Grievous, Count Dooku and whoever else may habe survived the cataclysm for later.
He'd persued the holes in reality that he could still feel even a day after that peculiar sorcerer had cast his bizarre spells, and the trail lead him here. In front of this maelstrom of such strange magics.
He still couldn't read the letterings on the sides of the buildings, so he lit up his comm.
"Kast." He called calmly over the airwaves
"What!" Came the whaspy response.
He'd let it slide for now. Recovering from third degree, full-body burns without bacta made a certain level of impertinence permittable.
"How far along is the ship's AI in deciphering the language of this world?"
"Oh it finished in seconds. Turns out the most common language here is, er, common." Saxon's voice explained over the pained hiss of their female companion.
Maul assumed he misheard his commander.
"I'm sorry, did you say they speak common?"
"And their written word?"
"Also common. Just a different alphabet to represent letters and numbers."
That was good news, if somewhat concerning. For an unknown world to speak common as the primary language, that could only mean they'd had some kind of contact with the rest of the galaxy at large. Or perhaps had been conquered or infiltrated by common-speaking persons.
That could have something to do with why he didn't feel the force anymore. Maybe some force user had drained this world? It was a frightening thought to contemplate a Darth Nihilus immitator, but perhaps it was best not to jump to such a dangerous conclusion until he'd gathered some more evidence.
"Send me the translation."
And he did. The hologram on his arm now displayed two different alphabets for common; every symbol from the one he knew placed beside those of those unfamiliar to him After several minutes of glancing back and forth from the hologram to the buildings opposite him he was able to decipher what they said.
"Eleven and thirteen Grimmauld Place. Hmmm."
He glanced behind himself to count the numbers on the other buildings of the street, or at least what remained of them. There were numbers one through eleven and thirteen through twenty, save for the rubble where numbers four, five and sixteen used to be.
"Then where is number twel- AAAAAARGH!"
Before he could name the missing place he felt it again. That twisted imitation of the force, only this time he felt it IN HIS HEAD! He knew what it was doing there; it was scrubbing his knowledge of the number twelve out of his mind. Putting up a berrier between the cognitive pathways that would connect the words "Number Twelve" and "Grimmauld Place" in his was advanced, but familiar, mind-manipulation his master used on people who were at risk of recognizing the connection between Senator Palpatine and Darth Sidious. It was easier, and gentler, to create such mental barriers in place of removing memories whole cloth... or simply killing anyone too smart for their own good.
But this mind magic, this anti-force baring down on his mind was anything BUT gentle. It felt like someone had taken a metal brush meant for cleaning the residue out of blaster chambers and used it to perform brain surgery on him. Very precise brain surgery. Needless to say, It was a hideous sensation, but it explained what he was feeling.
There was a home, a building here, that he could not see or even contemplate due to some sorcery trying to hide it from existence and from the minds of all people capable of imagining it. It was magic more powerful than any the force could do, if only powerful in a very specific way.
And it had just attacked him.
He let the rage fester. His hatred at the boy he had seen on the playback after their chase. The little human that had nearly killed one of his best soldiers, and one of only two he was in contact with. The anger at their lack of bacta. The confusion at his inability to sense the force. Most of all, he let his lust for retaliation at this mental assault fester along with the rest of these beautiful things.
He let it metastasize. He let it build up within him, and with it came power. The force within him sang with the fuel he fed it, a song that turned sorrowful when no force from outside of his body sang back to it.
And it was then he did something he'd seldom done in the past. He used a power he neglected to develop due to his own philosophy of combat. Due to his own desire to focus on martial prowess and his need to conquer foes by pure combative skill and might.
He flung his hands forward and from each fingertip came bolts of hyperspace -lue lightning. It scorched his fingertips, charring his nails as a testament to his wrath A wrath he unleashed at the hidden place between numbers eleven and thirteen Grimmauld Place where it too vanished.
It was as if his force lightning was being sucked into a spacial anomoly of some kind, which he reasoned is exactly what was happening, only he couldn't see said spacial anomoly. It mattered little, he leaned into the the pool of darkside energy within his very bones and pressed on. The burning of his fingertips serving as a minor pain to add more fuel to his passions.
He carried on for eighteen whole seconds, a monumental feat for one so untrained with the skill as him, before releasing his grip on the feral energies that would love nothing more than to turn back on his person.
He took a deep, steadying breath and allowed the typhoon of emotions within him to calm down. There would be time to let loose later, but the situation still called for calmness. He doubted his display had killed anybody, let alone destroyed whatever was behind this altered space in front of him. But that hadn't been his goal.
He'd given his warning. His shot across the bow, as it were. If the young sorcerer who had humiliated his warriors failed to receive it, well, then Darth Maul would be able to sate his desire for martial conquest soon enough.
He mounted his speeder and kicked off the ground. It's systems roared to life and he fled from the scene of his attack. He had reconnaissance to do, supplies to steal, several thousand missing soldiers in need of rallying and a whole lot of people in need of killing.
If only there were more hours in a day.
Harry and his entourage slowly picked their sorry arses off the ground with no small amount of groaning, not to mention a few hisses of pain from those who sliced themselves open on all of the scorched, shattered glass now littering the floor.
That lightning, that power that set every instinct in his body on edge like nails on a chalkboard before he'd even felt it's kiss, had been the closest thing he'd ever felt to the cruciatus curse. Save for the cruciatus curse itself, obviously. But that particular unforgivable didn't shatter windows, set furniture on fire, or melt flesh.
"Owowowow." Ginny moaned as she tentatively touched some of the blackened skin on her bare arms, shoulders, legs and thighs.
It only now registered to Harry how short of a cut that summer dress had. But he was in too much pain himself to get worked up over the flash of black lace he spotted beneath said skirt.
"What in the bloody hell was that!?" Ron voiced the question on all of their minds.
"An alien, I would wager." Snape sniped unhelpfully.
"An alien wizard, perha-owowow!" Harry tried to joke before succumbed to another spasm coursing through his new scars.
Fortunately misses Weasley had sense to know exactly what would cure them all though.
"Let's all head back to breakfast, away from the windows, while I have Kreacher fetch us some burn salve, hm?"
The words "and wait for Dumbledore" were left unsaid.
The group of five redheads and three brunettes shuffled like injured zombies back to the kitchen/dining room where the fruits of the cooking competition sat on all of their plates. Well, all of their plates except for Harry's. His plate was empty, likely due to the shapely shapeshifter sitting in his chair chewing on the last remnants of medium-rare steak.
"Morning folks." Excaliber greeted between chews. "The hell appended to all of yous? You look like you was all left in the oven too long."
It was such an appropriate description of their appearance that not even Snape could come up with a retort, settlinf for, instead, shrugging and taking his seat to enjoy his meal. Harry and the others soon followed.
It was, all of it, absolutely delicious. Having Tonks apply burn salve to his wounds made it all the more relaxing. At leas, it was better than having Kreacher do it, but it would have been better if she'd done it for him exclusively; watching her do the same for Snape, Ron and Hermione took away from the intimacy of the gesture.
That Fletcher fellow had swang back around to pickup more supplies for selling before Excaliber was finished, and helped apply the sweet-smelling cream to the others as well.
It was all almost enough to take Harry's mind off of that lightning caster. Almost.
What kind of training, what kind of study was required to cast such dark and powerful magic without a wand? Magic fueld by hate and rage so pure that Harry had felt it buildup within the demonic figure before he'd even cast the spell. How does one learn to use those emotions, emotions he was all too familiar with, to fuel such strange magics?
Harry was curious. Harry was very, very curious.
Somewhere off the coast of England:
Albus Dumbledore and Alastor Moody stepped off of the helicopter and onto the American aircraft carrier. The former had to duck beneath the doorway and hold his bowler hat in place to prevent the wind from stealing it away
Alastor tried to tell him something over the whooping sound of the spinning blades, but Albus' hearing wasn't quite what it used to be. No doubt the cyclops was complaining about the Muggle penguin suits they had to wear in order to blend in. That or the eye patch.
A contingent of soldiers waited on them near the portal leading down into the depths of this steel monster of a ship. Introductions were superfluous, as these men were fully trained in dealing with wizarding guests.
"We fished them out of the water not twenty minutes ago. They didn't resist." The man informed them.
"Have they said anything of note?" Albus asked as they made their way towards the brig.
"We haven't even attempted to interrogate them. Procedure dictated hazmat suits and containment in case of alien pathogens. Can't risk an unknown plague."
"They're both holed up in biological containment tents in the brig. Just through here." The officer informed them as they passed through another portal.
The quarantined brig looked like something out of those old timey science fiction horror flicks he and Aberforth used to go see decades earlier. Back when they had good story telling but horrible visuals. Thick, clear plastic tubes large enough for an elephant to walk through had been cut up and taped together to form a pair of hermetically sealed rooms.
Within each sat a man. The older one was negroid and appeared to be in his fortys or fiftys. The younger was caucasoid with a short, well-maintained beard. Both appeared perfectly human and both wore robes over clothes that wouldn't look out of place in a monestary for warrior monks.
"Are you quite sure they are not of this world?" Albus asked, allowing his skepticism to drip into his voice.
"Positive. They emerged from a space-worthy capsule similar to those we design for Earth re-entry. Likely an escape pod." The officer in charge informed him. "Also, we confiscated a pair of hones-to-God laser swords off of them. They're pretty amazing."
Decades of working in an institution teaching dangerous magic to children and teenagers came rushing back to Albus like a freight train. A freight train insisting his inform the grown man that playing with Lazer swords could be detrimental to the health and safety of himself and those around him.
"So which would you like to interrogate first? The blonde Sean Connery or the Samual Jackson look-a-like?" One of the other officers offered.
Albus recognized the former reference, but not the latter. Perhaps a relative of that pop singer Filius adored?
One of the other officers leaned into the one who had just spoken and whispered just loud enough for Albus to hear.
"I will give you all of my earthly posessions if you can teach him to say motherfucker to greet people instead of hello."
Albus outright flinched at the vulgarity, but was prevented from reprimanding the young man for his speach by the sound of tapping on plastic
"Excuse me." The blonde Sean Connery looking alien spoke in perfect English."I realize I'm not in an advantageous negotiating position here, but could I convince you to lend us some spare sets of clothes? Or perhaps a towel? We are both rather damp."
Albus examined the two and, indeed, their robes were still soaking wet. Had they not been given any accomodations in the twenty minutes since these soldiers "fished" them out of the sea?
"I think I would like to speak with the young, well-spoken man first." The Supreme Mugwump informed the soldiers. "Alastor, if you wouldn't mind interrogating his dark-skinned friend."
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