Ghost and Miracle, having finally had the chance to change out of their medieval armour, sat back down freshly showered.
"Oh, thank the High Divines. You guys smelled really funky," Oracle said, a playful smirk crossing her face.
"Don't remind me," Miracle grumbled as she resumed her seat.
"So, I guess the question is if it comes to a vote, which side do we support? The debate is now open." Colbert stepped down from the centre of the stage, making his way to a seat at the back of the room.
"Broke the law, Clara did, but for a just purpose," Master Yoda said, leaning forward against his walking stick.
"The Multiversity Accords are a big set of laws to break," Annabeth Chase pointed out.
"It's for this reason the Accords were established in the first place. To prevent tampering with timelines and continuities by Ascended Beings. Not that it stops Riker Celestial and his ilk," Julius Caesar exclaimed, clenching his fist on the arm of his chair.
"We don't need a history lesson, Julius," Tyrion Lannister stated, glaring at the Roman Emperor in his toga.
"Hunter isn't the first to break the Accords. The Ori, Darkseid and Lucifer's fiends break them all the time. Why are we making such a big deal about this anyway?" Joseph Stalin proclaimed, looking utterly disinterested as he slouched in his chair.
"Would you like to take a waltz down to Hell and tell Lucifer that he needs to start following the rules yourself? Or should someone else do it?" Eleanor Roosevelt snapped.
Stalin huffed but didn't answer.
"That's what I thought," Eleanor hissed.
"Bickering gets us no-where!" Gandalf proclaimed, slamming his staff on the ground and rising to his feet.
"But it's so funny," Oracle whispered, before being quickly silenced by her fellow Travellers.
"We are all capable of civilised conversation. Let us act like it," Charles Xavier agreed. Then Aslan, who usually remained silent at these meetings, rose from his position lounging between Gandalf and Yoda and stepped forward.
"Clara Hunter's actions were against the Accords. None deny that. But she did what she did to safeguard the people of that Universe. The Darkness may be defeated, but it is not destroyed, and worlds may still fall into the grip of the Great Destroyer. The more worlds upon which he feasts, the quicker he launches his next attack upon the Orrery of Worlds."
"And we're still fixing the wreckage from the last attack," Nick Fury grumbled.
"If the Angels and the League of Heroes don't uphold the Accords, and fix the damage done by entities that don't, what's the point of having a set of laws anyway?" Steve Jobs asked.
"Hunter was on a mission for the League to repair the damage done by the Destroyers attack when she committed the act!" Tom Clancy pointed out.
"The League gave her clearance to fix the damage, not alter the story. By all reports, the Universe in question should have proceeded almost identically to most of the other Harry Potter continuities. With the exception of a Dragon Force Shard being in play," Tyrion said, flicking through his notes.
"So, we punish people for trying to protect others now?" Gandhi questioned, and the room fell eerily silent. There was a rustle of movement, and Ghost leaned over the railing to see a young black man approach a member directly beneath him and whisper in his ear. A few seconds later, the member got to his feet.
"Let's take a recess. Take the time to assess our options. We'll reconvene tomorrow," President Josiah Bartlet said, before turning and following his aid out of the room without waiting for a response. A collection of murmuring flitted through the room before many of the others stood up to leave as well, or their holograms fritzed out of existence.
"Wonder what that was about?" Cygnet asked, following Ghost's gaze to Bartlet as he left the hall through the large oak doors.
"Alcheringa and the Federation were created by Miracle, Ghost and Crystal. Any recognisable characters belong to their respective owners," Ghost said offhandedly, watching as Master Yoda walked out with Tyrion.
Act III, Chapter 3: The Federated Kingdoms of the Druids and Mer
Hermione stood, her backpack slung over her shoulder, watching parents waving, hugging and kissing their children goodbye as they stepped onto the Hogwarts Express at the Hogsmeade Station. Most of the Delegation were saying their final farewells. For Harry, Hermione, Ginny and Luna, the experience was far different.
Ginny's mother was still refusing to believe she even existed. Her favourite children at the moment seemed to be the Twins of all people, which the two redheads were plotting to be rid of as soon as possible. Hermione was also very sure Mr Weasley was on the verge of losing his job over the whole scandal. Thanks to the Pisces Rune, she could read between the lines better than anyone, think and process information ten times faster than even Professor Dumbledore. He hadn't told any of the children, but Hermione could pick up the vague trail-offs in his speech patterns while they were at St Mungo's, and there were certain subjects he refused to address. Harry's parents were dead, so they weren't exactly going to show up to see him off, and Hermione's parents were Muggles who wouldn't be able to walk into Hogsmeade if they tried. Luna's father was apparently convinced that Harry and Ginny's Soulbond was the work of Fairy Sprites that had journeyed south from Greenland in search of tragic couples to torment, and insisted on working on the story for the Quibbler. Hermione wasn't entirely sure why Luna said she believed her father, because she was positive the dreamy girl didn't actually believe it. Was it merely her way of describing her powers of hearing magical energy? Or was it something else. Hermione was about seventy per cent certain her petite blonde friend had a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but she was too tactful to actually say such a thing out loud. She also knew that Jessica was more panicked over Harry's message from the future than she let on, and Matt was still on edge over his inability to detect Malfoy using his powers.
Pulling Harry and Ginny onto the train, Hermione led them down a few carriages and into their favourite compartment at the back of the train. Taking the initiative from their friends, who were still acting more or less on autopilot, she and Luna grabbed their bags and threw them up onto the luggage racks, before sitting down opposite Harry and Ginny.
Hermione couldn't imagine what they were going through at the moment. They were married! She was still trying to get her head around it. She knew that Harry and Ginny cared for each other, a lot. But to be married… It had to be a lot of unnecessary weight on their shoulders. And that was on top of everything else going on in their lives at the moment. Harry really couldn't catch a break.
She sat watching their faces for a while. They were talking significantly less frequently since it happened, but they didn't seem like they were arguing or annoyed. They just weren't talking. Hermione had a feeling something was going on there that she didn't know about. Their faces often made expressions randomly as she watched; blushing without provocation or smiling and frowning at odd times. Luna was Luna. She was staring at the window humming 'Enchanted' to herself.
A series of soft taps rapped on the door, and the quartet turned to see Peter and Gwen standing outside with their own packs. The backpacks were mass produced, with an undetectable extension charm and a featherlight charm on them. Each member of the three delegations had one, as lugging Trunks around was just impractical.
"Mind if we join you?" Peter asked.
"Sure," Harry said, beckoning them inside. Peter sat down beside her, and Gwen next to Harry. Hermione smiled at him, before pulling a book on time-travel she had taken from the Home Library out of her bag. She had met both Peter and Gwen in the Hogwarts Library sometime after the First Task, and the pair's thirst for knowledge had pulled her in.
"I'm sorry, but I was wondering if you could point me in the direction of the Magical Creature section? I'd ask your librarian, but she looks like she'd rather bite our heads off."
Hermione looked up from her Arithmancy Essay and found herself looking up at the Ilvermorny Champion, Peter Parker, and a blonde short-haired girl with fluorescent pink tips.
"Fair enough. Madam Pince scares everyone," Hermione said, sitting up and walking down the aisles, the two Americans following her.
"Arithmancy and Mathematics are in this section, Herbology in the next two rows," she said, pointing to each area in turn, "And here we are. Magical Creatures. Aquatic on the left, land-based on the right and aerial at the back. If you want any of the more Humanities type subjects like Runes and Charms, they're on the next level up."
"Thanks," Peter said, giving her a quick grin, before dragging Gwen towards the Aquatic section.
"Oh! My name's Gwen, and by the way, the second set of equations on your essay were off by a factor of 3." She gave a quick wave before pulling a book on merpeople. Hermione frowned and raced back to her essay. Sure enough, her equations were off by a factor of 3.
They had started studying together a little after that, with Hermione quizzing Gwen on her Arithmancy knowledge. The duo were two of the smartest kids at Ilvermorny, Hermione discovered. Easily on par with her. But instead of threatening her, it thrilled her. She could hold conversations with them that the other Defenders, as talented as they were, just couldn't follow. Two weeks before the Yule Ball, she and Peter had gotten into a rather passionate debate concerning the theory of magical energy transference, Gwen running fact checks and interference.
"No way. Kelmscott's Theory of Extranormal Equivalents clearly states that Magical Energy is generated by the Magical Core aka the soul!" Peter exclaimed, pointing to the diagram in the book on Gwen's lap.
"Yes! I know that!" Hermione snapped, "but I'm telling you, Kelmscott was wrong!"
"How could you possibly know that!"
"Because Kelmscott was a Pureblood! He hasn't taken into account the Laws of Thermodynamics!" Hermione told him. She grabbed the book and pointed at the illustration.
"Kelmscott clearly states that magical energy, or what we define as magical energy, is generated by the Magical Core. That contradicts the first law! Therefore, it has to be false." Peter's jaw fell open at that point, while Gwen just looked confused.
"Um. For the Pureblood at the table, the Laws of Thermodynamics are?"
"The Laws of Thermodynamics are a series of No-Maj scientific laws concerning the behaviour of fundamental physical quantities like temperature, energy and entropy," Peter quickly explained.
"And the First Law, more commonly known as the Law of Conservation of Energy, states that…" Hermione continued.
"Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it merely transforms into different forms," they finished together.
"How could I be such an idiot," Peter muttered, scribbling away at his notebook.
"Wait a second. Hold the Owl. Did you just disprove Kelmscott's Theory, the key component in most Arithmetic equations concerning higher magical power?" Gwen asked, rubbing her thumbs on her temples.
"Yep. She did. She just completely destroyed one of the most important laws of Magical Theory. With Science. And simple science at that," Peter gushed. Hermione sat back in her seat smugly.
"Wicked. The only problem, of course, is that no self-respecting Pureblood will ever believe it. You need to come up with a Magical Equivalent of your Thermodynamics. Only then will you be offered every single job in the Magical World," Gwen said. Hermione deflated at this point. Peter glanced up at her, a look of incredible respect and awe in his eyes.
"Say, Hermione. Do you want to come to the Yule Ball with me?" Hermione's eyes went wide, and Gwen sniggered into her palm.
"I think you broke her Pete."
Suffice to say, the Yule Ball had been one of the best nights of her life.
"Ooo. Look at that. Gotta love International Cooperation. Dumbles would be proud." Claire was leaning against the compartment door, a smug expression on her face.
"Hey, Claire. How's life treating you?" Harry asked, rolling his eyes.
"Lot more shit than yours let me tell you. You just got yourselves married. I've got everyone offering me their sympathies over my not-dead brother. You do not want to know how many seafood jokes I've been the butt of the last week, it's quite offensive considering I basically am seafood."
The whole carriage laughed at that.
"So, you don't think he's dead?" Gwen asked.
"Nah," Claire said, sitting down beside Peter, "takes more than a Kraken to destroy the Dragon-Force."
"What is the Dragon-Force exactly?" Hermione asked, leaning forward so she could look the Aussie girl in the eye.
"It's kind of like this extradimensional energy parasite that latches onto a host. In exchange for its near limitless power, the force gets to keep plodding on, because it can't survive long without a host. You'd have to ask Will about it if you want to know more."
Hermione and Peter nodded several times, digesting how fascinating the concept of extradimensional energy was.
"You two are weirdly adorable," Ginny said with a smirk, gesturing with her finger between Hermione and Peter, "what with your constant search for knowledge and stuff. It's cute."
Hermione scowled, and Peter blushed, while Gwen, Claire, Luna, Ginny and Harry laughed.
"Hey, you can't say anything, little miss I got married by kissing a celebrity. People will be telling that story at bedtime for years!" Claire said, turning her laughter at Ginny and Harry.
"So," Luna said once the laughter had died down, "Have you figured out your Eggs yet?" Harry facepalmed, and Claire, Peter and Gwen looked on in complete shock. Hermione just sighed. No one but Luna would actually ask such a pointed question.
"I'm not so sure we should be talking about that Luna," Hermione said, trying to diffuse the sudden tension in the compartment.
"No, it's alright. We're all friends here, aren't we?" Peter asked carefully.
"Well I know you two are at least halfway there, seeing as how you spied on me last night," Claire said, staring pointedly at Harry and Ginny, who both went as red as Ginny's hair. Hermione's mouth dropped open, and her brain stalled.
"What! Why would you do that!?"
"It was an accident. Honestly. We were just trying to get into your Common Room in the castle. We didn't mean to overhear you," Harry gushed, his eyes staring firmly at his feet. Ginny swatted him across the back of the head.
"We talked about this, Harry. More assertive, remember?" Harry gulped and nodded. Hermione sighed. Harry still had a ways to go yet. At least he had Ginny, herself, and the rest of the Defenders, not to mention Sirius, Remus and Tonks to help him.
Peter sighed, and began to speak,
"'Come seek us where our voices sound,"
Claire rolled her eyes and continued.
"We cannot sing above the ground,"
Somberly, Gwen sang next.
"And while you're searching, ponder this:
We've taken what you'll sorely miss,'
Ginny scowled but kept going.
"An hour long you'll have to look,
And to recover what we took,"
Then Harry sang the final verse.
"But past an hour – the prospect's black
Too late, it's gone, it won't come back."
Hermione's mind was running at a million Pisces enhanced miles an hour. "Come seek us where our voices sound," Ok. On its own not very helpful.
"We cannot sing above the ground," Combined with the first line, it could mean, 'find a species that cannot speak above ground.'
"And while you're searching, ponder this:
We've taken what you'll sorely miss," The creatures have taken something the champions will "sorely miss." But what?
"An hour long you'll have to look," Easy, the length of time to complete the task.
"And to recover what we took," So that was the actual task. To retrieve whatever was stolen from the champions by the creatures in one hour.
"But past an hour – the prospect's black
Too late, it's gone, it won't come back." That was the kicker. If Harry didn't retrieve whatever object was stolen from him, he wouldn't get it back. What would Harry sorely miss? He didn't really have that much in the way of sentimental… No. They wouldn't!? No. They would. They most definitely would. But what species could the message be referring to? Why wouldn't something be able to speak above ground? Unless above ground wasn't literal. It was metaphorical. Peter had been researching merpeople. Harry and Ginny had overheard Claire speaking… the Mer couldn't speak above water when transformed. Oh brother…
It took her less than three seconds to figure it out.
"The Second Task is Merpeople. You're going to have to retrieve a hostage from the bottom of the ocean," she deduced.
"Damn your fast!" Gwen exclaimed, "It took us a week to figure it out!" Hermione grinned sheepishly but said nothing. Harry and Ginny looked at her knowingly, and Claire winked at her, expertly whipping the smile off her face. Did she know?
"Yeah that's what we figured as well," Harry said. Hermione glanced at Luna, who, though it was hard to see through her dreamy expression, had a tiny glint of victory in her eye.
It took twenty hours to reach Alcheringa on the Hogwarts Express. Harry and Ginny spent most of the ride asleep on each other's shoulders, which, while adorably sweet, was quite annoying as Hermione couldn't talk to them about anything and Luna and Claire talked about Luna's more 'strange' theories about magical animals for longer than she thought humanly possible. That left Hermione, Peter and Gwen to brainstorm. Harry had told her about his noticing one of the Zodiac Runes on Clarissa Mayfair's wrist in the Hospital Wing and had asked for her to look into it. She had readily agreed, as it most likely had something to do with her Soul-Bond to Will O'Neill, who was still missing. As she was incredibly bored and had already finished all her course work for this year and the next, and had no exams to study for, she had thrown herself into the project and recruited Peter and Gwen's help.
Chapter 33: The Libra Rune
The Libra Rune dates back to the Sorcerers of the Roman Republic, who sought a way to overcome the Second Law of Magic: That the use of Magic is irreversible – i.e., if you cast a spell, you can't un-cast the same spell. Those of you who study Physics will recognise this as the Law of Entropy. This was (amazingly) not a very good idea, as the Roman's soon discovered when they accidentally caused the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in the year 79 CE. However, they did develop something before their untimely demise, the Libra Rune.
The constellation of Libra represents a set of scales in infinite balance. Mortals take this to be associated with law and justice, and they aren't specifically wrong in this assumption. However, to the Romans, the concept of 'balance' that Libra represents, refers more specifically to the 'balance of power in nature'.
The Libra Rune, or the Balance Rune, allows the safe sharing of energy between two points in space and time without inciting the law of Entropy. Energy, be it magical, electrical or even Zero Point Energy, flows through a self-contained region of Subspace connecting two runes. The connection serves as a constant feedback loop, existing in infinite continuity without risk of decay. Because no 'live' spell is cast, the connection is reversible. This is achieved by the erasure of both runes. So long as one rune is active, the region of subspace will remain open.
While conceivably a brilliant innovation, the Libra Rune has one major drawback. It works both ways. Subspace is not a one-way corridor, rather energy travels – as it usually does – in a circuit within the folded space. Therefore, it is impractical as a method of one-way transportation. On the other hand, it's value in the study of trans-dimensional magic is unparalleled. It is also a major component in the creation of Time-Turners.
Possible Uses of the Libra Rune…
• Energy Containment and Redistribution
• Subspace Manipulation
• Temporal Manipulation
• Hyperdrive Construction
• Wormhole Creation
• Dimensional Refraction
• Dimensional Reintegration
The Libra Rune's effects on people are bizarre and unpredictable, as such, it is highly recommended that you NEVER DRAW IT UPON A LIVING PERSON! Experimenters have observed complete neurological breakdowns, temporal schisms, and even life-force drainage on individuals who have tried this process. As of the creation of this manuscript, there have been no recorded uses of the Libra Rune on a person that have not resulted in eventual death.
Suffice to say, how Clarissa was still alive was a highly debated topic, as was what the Rune could be possibly doing for, or to, her body. But try as they might, even with their combined intellect, Hermione, Gwen and Peter couldn't figure out what the purpose of the rune on the Australian's wrist could be.
Suddenly, the train screeched to a halt, and Harry jerked awake.
"We're here!" Luna announced, suddenly looking very excited. She grabbed her bag and bounded out of the compartment, stepping on Hermione's foot without a care in the world, causing the bushy-haired girl to wince in pain.
"Come on you lot," Claire exclaimed, following Luna out the door.
Harry? Are we there yet?
Yep. Come on, Firefly, time to go.
Harry reached into his bag and pulled out the bottle of sunscreen he had bought before leaving Britain. Ginny stood up and stretched her hands over her head, yawning as she pulled her own bag down. Harry squirted some of the cream onto his hands and dabbed it onto Ginny's face, ignoring the cute spluttering noise she made when she tried to lick some of it off her lips.
Then why'd you lick it?
It looked like ice-cream!
Harry laughed and grabbed their bags, before guiding a still whining Ginny out of the compartment, and out of the train.
Harry was instantly grateful for Claire's warning of what to expect because it was seriously hot outside the train. The air was damp and heavy, and the sun beamed down through a large skylight that reduced none of its heat. They were standing on a concrete platform in a train terminal, not unlike the Muggle side of Kings Cross. There were half a dozen other platforms with silver cylindrical trains like those Harry had seen on the underground, though they looked much cleaner. But instead of going through tunnels, they seemed to accelerate through strange circular gateways filled with purple light, before vanishing. Finding himself sweating more than he had in any Quidditch Match he could remember, and wishing for Scottish weather, Harry and an equally flustered Ginny followed Hermione, Peter and Gwen – who seemed to be doing far better than they were – onto an escalator in the middle of the platform.
Leaving the Hogwarts Express behind, they ascended through another concrete floor and up into a large glass atrium, and it was even hotter than the platform below. Floating in the middle of the atrium was a massive billboard with news headlines, train times and advertisements flashing intermittently. A loud chiming sound rang out through the atrium, and an announcer's voice called out, "The next service to Aotearoa departs in five minutes from 'Quokka Gate'." The overhead sky was bright blue, without a cloud to be seen. The sun was beaming down through the glass ceiling, fighting with the air-conditioners to control the temperature of the room. The people looked just as odd as ordinary Witches and Wizards in Britain did. Greens, yellows, blues and whites were all prevalent in their clothing, but there were no robes to be seen. Instead, singlets, crop tops, board shorts and a large and diverse assortment of odd-looking hats seemed to be the prevalent form of dress, which made sense given how hot it was. There really was no way to tell who was Mer and who wasn't. There were some with faint scars on their necks, but they could be from anything.
Harry took the lead and, really wishing he had cooler clothing than the jeans he was wearing, led Ginny, Hermione, Peter and Gwen out of the terminal to where Luna and Claire were waiting. The rest of the Hogwarts, Alcheringa and Ilvermorny Delegations trailed behind. They stepped out of the large revolving doors and Harry couldn't help but gasp.
Standing before them was the City of Alcheringa in all its glory. Suburban houses lined large muggle bitumen roads, but the homes couldn't be any less like Privet Drive if they tried. One was painted entirely purple, another had a giant tree sticking out through the roof, and yet another had a sand dune pilled in the back yard, and a chimney large enough for Santa Clause. In the distance, dozens of muggle style skyscrapers stood proud around a winding river that ran out into the ocean in the far distance. But the towers seemed to all be crooked or bent out of shape. They curved at bizarre angles, or in some cases formed giant letters like 'T', 'V' or 'X'. To the south, a single snow-capped mountain soared into the air hundreds of feet higher than any of the towers. Hovering over the mountain was a massive thunder cloud, and if he squinted hard enough, he could see snow falling on several ski runs cut into the mountainside. In the north, a large port with dozens of ships – cruise ships, large tankers and wooden galleys alike – bordered a vast expanse of red dirt and scattered scrub land, interspersed with several large pits dug in the earth. And behind them, Harry could just see the tops of a rainforest covering the slope of an enormous and very active volcano.
But the part of the skyline that drew Harry's eye was the tower standing proudly on a small island in the middle of the broadest section of the river. Unlike the other buildings, this one was made from a greyish blue metal, instead of glass and steel, and was cylindrical rather than rectangular. The body of the tower was quite thin, but a section near the peak of the spire widened slightly to form three protruding sections along the main structure, before thinning out again at the very top. Despite its incredibly unique nature, Harry would recognise it anywhere. As did Ginny.
It's identical to the central tower of the City. The one from our dreams.
Claire beamed at them, clearly mistaking the reason for their awe.
"Welcome to Alcheringa."
The blonde-haired woman of the Alcheringa Staff – whose name Harry finally learned was Katelyn – led the students onboard a series of trams that moved much faster than Harry assumed ordinary trams could move. Although he had never been on one before, so he honestly didn't know. As the trams zoomed across the island, Claire, who Hermione had cast the Sonorous Charm on, regaled the foreigners about the Island of Alcheringa. The Island was divided into regions, each with different topography and climate based on one of the regions of the Federated Kingdoms of the Druids and Mer. The northern region was based on the 'Outback' terrain of the Western reaches of the Kingdom Mari Cath in Northern Australia, bordering the Dwarf Realms. The pits Harry could see were mines extracting Malleeniam – a highly valuable and rare metal that was only found within the Federation – from deep within the ground. The snowy region to the south came from New Zealand, or 'Aotearoa' in the language of the indigenous peoples the Mauri, and – aside from the Ski Resort – was host to, according to Claire, "the best magical theme-park in the world." Ginny, remembering Harry's previous promise to take her to a theme-park, had perked up considerably at that. The suburban district hailed from the various hidden Druid settlements dotted across the Alcheringa Kingdom, which dominated the eastern coast of Australia from Melbourne to Townsville, not that Harry knew where either of those places were. The Hawaiian Kingdom donated the Volcano, and the surrounding rainforests, which Katelyn explained were great for "bushwalking," – which Harry assumed meant hiking – and was completely contained to prevent the risk of eruptions, which happened regularly and were used to power the city. On the other side of the Island, beyond the main city, were the palm tree covered beaches and crystal blue reefs of the 'Paradise Coast', a surfing and social centre based on the Island of Motu Maohi, the capital city of the Tahitian Kingdom. Claire also told them that the Island was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Surrounding them were dozens of kilometres of Mer settlements, done in the same design, with districts representing regions of the underwater kingdoms of the Federation. And, if you went deep enough, you would find the ruins of the ancient Merrish fortress city of Altica.
Hermione lapped up every word, while Luna was more interested in trying to get stung by a Billywig that was buzzing around her head. Harry and Ginny meanwhile, were much more interested in the Tower.
"Why does that tower, the one in the river, look so different from the others?" Harry asked.
"It's based on an old painting found in a shipwreck at the southern tip of the Mauri Kingdom. The painting is believed to be of the lost city of Atlantis, home of the Ancients. That tower is a perfect replica of the central tower depicted in the painting. On the exterior at least. The interior is all Druid, as the painting showed nothing of the inside of the building. I think the painting is somewhere in Britain now," Katelyn explained. Harry and Ginny had a feeling they knew exactly where it was.
"And who exactly were these Ancients?" Ginny continued.
It was Luna who answered.
"The Ancients were the very first race of Magical people to inhabit this planet. Legend tells they came from beyond the stars, and built the Argentum Atlantus Urbem, in Sacramentum de Campion lay corde Terra! They vanished from the Earth a long time ago, but not before they taught what they knew of the Magical Arts to those humans they deemed fit to teach: the first Witches and Wizards." Never had Harry seen Luna so excited over something. She had abandoned her Billywig and was now staring at Harry and Ginny with an intensity so strong Harry took an involuntary step backwards. She was bobbing up and down on her tiptoes, a broad grin stretching as close to her eyes as physically possible.
Katelyn snapped towards Luna.
"You speak Ancient!"
Hermione looked similarly flabbergasted, "was that Latin?"
"Of course I speak Ancient! Who doesn't?" Luna said dreamily, ignoring Hermione.
"Ah, everyone! There are like twenty people, max, in the entire Federation who speak Ancient!"
Luna just shrugged.
Harry, what if Luna can read the writing in the City? If the City in our dreams is Atlantis…
… then it stands to reason the writing is in Ancient. But we have no way to show her the symbols. It's not like she can come into our mindscape with us.
"Ancient is a NEWT subject you can take at Hogwarts. I always thought it was some History thing. Are you telling me it's actually a language, a derivative of Latin?"
"No. Latin is a derivative of Ancient," Luna said softly. Her eyes were flitting around again, most likely looking for her Billywig. Hermione looked like someone had just killed a puppy in front of her.
"So, what happened to them?" Harry asked, trying to re-rail the conversation.
"No one knows for sure. Some say they were attacked. Some say they died out because of a plague," Katelyn said.
"I think they went back to the stars!" Luna exclaimed chirpily. She jumped up and grabbed the Billywig, which stung her.
"Yay!" She started floating up into the air as the tiny blue insect whirled away, and one of the nearby Alcheringa students grabbed her by the ankle. Clearly, they were used to it.
"Maybe. Either way, their city was lost to time, and not even the most legendary of explorers have ever been able to find it. No one even knows where the Plains of Mystery, or as your friend correctly called them, the Sacramentum de Campion, are. The 'corde terra' or Heart of Earth, is most likely Africa, because it's at the Equator, aka the centre of the Earth. Merlin was the last known Ancient to dwell on Earth, but obviously he died in the Battle of Camelot," Katelyn finished.
"Well Mystery, you've been holding out on us," Hermione smirked, elbowing Luna, who frowned.
"Yep, that's your Defenders name. Sealed and done."
Harry and Ginny were unable to ask the fountain of questions they still had because at that moment, they arrived at their destination. It was an island in the river mouth, just off the coast of the Paradise Coast district. Sitting on the cliffside was a sprawling campus of white sea stone buildings with roofs of pale blue, gleaming gold, and shimmering silver easily the size of Hogwarts. Dozens of tiny rivulets of water snaked their way through the complex and out into the ocean. There were soaring towers and elaborate halls, floating classrooms and rock pools descending into the deep below. Dozens of fountains and waterfalls covered the island, and Harry counted a total of five Quidditch Pitches. That wasn't to mention the seven other sports fields, the basketball courts, or the fifteen pools of different sizes, shapes and purposes. But the most magnificent part of the scene was the 200-metre-high diving platform in the middle of the school. Floating suspended beneath it, were five large bubbles of water. Harry watched in shock and awe as a person dived from the top of the tower, front flipped, grew a tail, and landed in the first bubble, before swimming down and falling through the bottom, doing another flip he didn't even know how to describe, then landing in another bubble. The Mer repeated the process, doing more daring stunts the closer he got to the ground, before falling from the final bubble and landing in a pool down on the ground with barely a splash.
"That is Quin-Sphere, a sport we play down here in the Federation. I've never been one for dramatics myself, that's more Will's field, but I guess this calls for it." Katelyn hung off the tram so everyone could see her, and threw her free hand in the air.
"Welcome to the Alcheringa Academy for the Magical Arts."
Dozens of fireworks shot up into the sky, crackling in the air and exploding with very audible pops.
"What? Too much?