Act V, Chapter 4: Wakanda Forever
Harry and Ginny sat very, very still, two Wakandan sentries standing at attention on either side of them as the sleek jet flew over the African jungle. They were moving incredibly fast, faster than Harry thought any plane could realistically move. But it didn't make any sense. Because while one of the guards definitely was a wizard, one of them was definitely not. And if Harry had to guess, the pilot – a rather intimidating woman – wasn't a witch either. So, if the ship wasn't using magic, what the hell was it using?
I thought Wakanda was kind of backwater compared to the rest of the magical world? Ginny sent across their mental bridge.
So did I. Binns says that there isn't a lot of magic in Africa because of the Axis Magicka. Sucks all the magic into it, resulting in a lot fewer magicals than on other continents.
Wait a second. Since when did you pay attention to Bins?!
Harry coughed to obscure his laugh, and the guards looked at him intensely.
I know, I know. Have your fun. It was in my Dad's textbook. Prongs and Padfoot thought the name was funny, so they paid attention enough to actually right some notes on it. When it came up in class last year, I guess it sort of stuck.
So, for the girl who most definitely fell asleep?
You know how Earth has a magnetic axis, right?
It's sort of like that. It's an axis that runs through the planet with two poles at each end. One positive, one negative. Excess magical energy gets sucked in through the positive pole in Africa and spat out at the negative pole in the North Pacific, near Hawaii, I think.
Not for the Africans. According to Bins at least.
Well, Bins isn't the best source of information on anything.
I'm kinda thinking that. We certainly don't have anything as wicked as this ship.
Where is it taking us do you think?
Wakanda, I imagine.
The answer arrived half an hour later, when the ship descended from the sky, flying straight for a mountain covered in a thick canopy of trees.
"Hey, wait a second this is a long way to come for a funeral!" Harry exclaimed, grabbing Ginny's hand and preparing to disapparate despite the anti-apparation wards on the ship. The mountainside hurtled towards them, and Ginny's breath hitched in her throat. Then, like a curtain pulled aside to reveal the morning sun, the rainforest disappeared, replaced by a large city straddling a winding river, nestled within the cradle of the mountains and a lake on the far side. The city was an incredible sight. Towers spiralled into the sky, but they didn't look like the muggle skyscrapers either of them had seen before. Instead, they were modular, with pieces extending at odd angles. And everything was covered in greenery, so unlike London, New York or even Alcheringa, it was breathtaking.
"Wow…" Harry breathed.
"It's an illusion. Wicked!" Ginny exclaimed, staring wide-eyed out the window.
Not so backwater then.
Not so much.
The jet levelled off before landing with barely a sound on a large landing bay outside two towers on a raised circular platform in the centre of the city. A ramp lowered down behind them, and the guard said something in Wakandan they didn't understand, before shoving Harry towards the steps.
"Alright, alright. Chill," he grumbled as he stepped carefully down the stairs and into the sun.
The air was hot and sticky, but after Alcheringa, Harry found he wasn't too bothered by it.
Sea breeze would be nice, though.
The two guards escorted them to a group of women in red armour with shaved heads.
Okay. That is super weird.
Hey, don't knock it till you've tried it.
If you cut off your hair, I'm filing for divorce.
Seriously. How would you feel if I shaved my hair? Or wore contacts to change my eye colour?
Don't you dare.
The lead woman spoke to the guards in Wakandan, and the wizard handed their wands to her. She looked them over before eying them both.
"Do you speak English? Or at least know a translation spell?" Harry tried.
"Yes. You will be brought before the King. He will decide your fate." While Harry and Ginny stood in stunned silence, the woman slammed her spear on the ground, before turning around. The two women accompanying her surrounded them, and Harry and Ginny followed the Wakandans inside the towers.
Sirius, Brian, Betsy, Jack, Matt and Luke lay in the bushes surrounding Fenrir Greyback's headquarters in Yorkshire using muggle binoculars to get a better look at their set up. Moony's intelligence was good. Greyback was definitely here. He'd set up camp in a natural bowl within the state forest just outside Harrogate. Sirius counted roughly one hundred and fifty werewolves from across Britain, all of them having come to hear Greyback's big speech on why they should support You-Know-Who. Remus was down there right now, getting a feel for the place.
Oh, Remus… Sirius was having a grand time teasing the old dog about Tonks, who was apparently mooning over the poor bugger. He was so easy to tease. He shook his head and brought his attention back to where it belonged.
"What have you got Murdock?" Sirius asked the kid lying beside him, staring through unseeing eyes at the depression below.
"I count one hundred and forty-two potential hostiles. No guards protecting their position or lookouts. He's not expecting company." Sirius still didn't understand how the kid could do what he could, but he didn't question it. The Daredevil had never been wrong.
"We can't fight that many, even if the Full Moon isn't for another week," Brian pointed out from beside them. Sirius sighed; he had a good point.
"Any ideas then Head Auror?" Sirius ribbed. Brian had been promoted to head of the Auror Corp after the Wizengamot had called a snap election and Scrimgeour announced he was stepping aside to run for Minister. Sirius doubted he wouldn't win. The Wizengamot members were all scared shitless after the attack on the Ministry. Having an Auror, a visible strong-man type, in the top job would make them feel safer. The only real threat was Pius Thicknees. Alias' – and Sirius was calling her by the name 100% now, as he just couldn't equate mopey, sarcastic Jessica Jones with the current pink-haired female James Bond who was occupying her body – spy network within the Ministry had confirmed he was on Corban Yaxley's payroll, and Yaxley was most definitely working for You-Know-Who. If he became Minister… Sirius didn't know what they'd do. Presumably, Brains and Alias would put their heads together and think of something.
"We can't let Greyback getaway. As soon as the meeting is over, he'll vanish back to Riddle's side, and we'll lose him."
"So, what's the brilliant plan to get passed the army then?" Jack asked. Sirius liked Jack Murdock. He was a fighter like him, rather than a thinker like Brian. They spoke the same language, point in a direction, and they'd go wands a blazing. Leave the planning to types like Brian.
"I can take Greyback. If the rest of you can keep the pack off me, I see no problem," Betsy said matter of factly, snatching the binoculars from her brother. Brian's sister freaked Sirius out. Big time. He wasn't sure if it was the purple highlights in her hair, her eyes – one vivid lilac, the other pale white – or the rune in black ink on the back of her neck (Granger said it was the Leo Rune, not that Sirius knew what that meant) that reminded him of Harry and Ginny every time he looked at it. Where the hell were they? Doctor Strange had checked in a few days ago saying that Harry and Ginny had visited him in New York but then left. Sirius knew there was something the sorcerer wasn't telling them, he just didn't know what.
"We can't take the whole pack. But, if we can get in as they leave, Greyback's guard will be down, and we might have a chance," Luke concluded.
Sirius groaned and moved a particularly annoying rock from beneath his chest.
"Waiting it is then."
"You stand in the presence of T'Chaka of the Panther Tribe, the King of Wakanda; Queen Ramonda; and Prince T'Challa, the Black Panther," the scary bald woman announced as they were shoved into what was clearly a throne room. It was gorgeous. With glass flooring, intricately carved columns lining the room, a giant window overlooking the city, and a simple yet elegant throne, the place screamed of power, and intimidation. Harry had a feeling that was the point. Unfortunately for them, Harry had stared pure evil in the face. There was nothing, short of a cosmic purple giant that ate planets, that could scare him now.
That was oddly specific.
The Dragons mentioned it, I think.
It would be just our luck if a planet-eating giant showed up.
Might solve some problems though.
The scary guard lady folded her arms across her chest in an 'x' shape, before standing to the side, giving Harry and Ginny an unimpeded view of the King and his entourage. T'Chaka sat, as would be expected, on the throne, staring at them with curiosity. To his left was clearly his wife, though she looked like she'd rather be anywhere else. On his right was a young man of maybe 20. Harry couldn't be sure. Seated around them on wooden benches were several people in relatively modest clothing compared to some of the robes Harry had seen in Diagon Alley. Reds, purples and blacks seemed to be the prevailing colours, though one person wore a long green gown and a green plate that looked like it must really hurt inserted in his jaw.
"Tell us who you are," the King asked, leaning forward slightly.
Let me handle this.
You're more than welcome to.
"I think you already know who we are, your Highness," Ginny said.
The King smiled softly.
"I do not think there is a wizard alive who does not know who you are, Harry and Ginevra Potter. There is a warrant out for your arrest I should point out. Mister Fudge has guaranteed a handsome reward for turning you over." His voice had a deep baritone echo to it that Harry thought made him seem very regal, and he pronounced each word very carefully as if ensuring he would make no mistake. Harry respected that.
"Then you surely know why we're here," Ginny continued, raising an eyebrow. The King sat back in his chair.
"I must admit I do not. The Heart of the World is not a place one goes for a vacation. You can imagine my surprise when our sensors detected two unauthorised magicals in the area. Perhaps you can enlighten me?"
"We're searching for something that could stop Voldemort," Ginny told him. Harry, though logically it made sense, noted that no one in the room flinched at the sound of the name.
"You search for Atlantis?" one of the councillors admonished, the one in green with the plate, "A fairy tale. You have come a long way for nothing." He was not as well-spoken, though that might have been because of the plate.
"Let them speak," T'Chaka said softly, and the councillor stopped talking immediately.
"Voldemort has the Nether Force at his disposal now. Our only chance to stop him is to find Atlantis before old snake face decides that conquering the world is boring and just cracks the planet in half instead." T'Chaka's face hardened in an instant, but his advisers looked confused.
"What is this, Nether Force?" a tall woman in a red dress asked. T'Chaka, his face now etched with worry, turned to the woman.
"A weapon capable of destroying us all in an instant." He said softly, before turning back to Harry and Ginny.
"What of the Dragon Force. William O'Neill still carries its power, does he not?"
"He does," Harry confirmed. "But he and his wife Clarissa were trapped in Hell for almost a year, and much of their strength was expended there. As far as I know, they're still in Britain working with our agents on the ground. But if Voldemort decides to blow us all to kingdom come, nothing will stop him."
T'Chaka was quiet for several long moments.
"What is it you are searching for in Atlantis? Why are you looking for a place that might never have existed at all?"
Harry shared a glance with Ginny "We know it existed," she said, "because an ascended being told us so. It's still out there, we just have to find it. This place is incredible, surely you must have some idea. It's clearly not at the Heart of the World."
"It is not. Our people have searched for the city for thousands of years. I can assure you that Atlantis is not in Africa," T'Chaka paused, "But the knowledge you possess means it is clear we have not been looking hard enough."
The King turned to his wife, who nodded softly, before looking back at them with what might have been respect in his eyes.
"T'Challa, if you could show our guests to some rooms. I will task our best scientists to look into your task. Perhaps a new set of eyes are what is needed." T'Chaka stood up and crossed his arms over his chest. The rest of the room mirrored his actions, and T'Challa walked over to them. Harry let out a breath he didn't realise he was holding.
That went well.
At least we've got a bed tonight.
Don't be so optimistic.
"Greetings," T'Challa said, offering them another of what Harry was beginning to realise was a sort of half-salute-half-greeting.
"Nice to meet you," Harry replied, nodding his head respectfully. He really hoped he didn't commit some grave act against royal protocol or something.
T'Challa led them out of the room via a different door to the one they came in through. He hesitated for a second, looking back to make sure no one was following before he asked,
"Perhaps while you are here, you could show me how to perform the Wronski Feint?"
"Oh Merlin, not another fanboy," Ginny muttered as Harry laughed and clapped a hand around the older boy's shoulders.
"No problem at all. Show me to the nearest broom."
The rally went for a little over an hour. Greyback gave the standard pitch, "the Dark Lord will reward those who follow him, those who don't will die in pain blah, blah, blah." Sirius tuned out five minutes through. Fortunately, it looked like Greyback wasn't as popular as he used to be. Or maybe Harry kicking his boss' ass close to five times now had made people less interested. Either way, it didn't look like Greyback's sales pitch was very well received, because the crowd was vanishing really quickly. Moony was one of the last to go, casting a not so subtle glance towards where they were hiding before disapparating.
"I count fifteen wolves around Greyback… shit, he's really pissed. They're around the campfire in the centre, packing up the gear. We better be quick though, Greyback says he's reporting back to Moldy-shorts tonight," Murdock hissed.
Brian snapped up, "He can't getaway. Betsy the anti-ap?"
"Then let's go." Luke, Sirius, Brian and Jack drew the hoods of their Defenders Robes up over their faces, and as a team, they peeled up away from their hiding place in the trees. Sirius was on the left with Matt and Betsy – neither of whom were wearing the robes. The Braddock woman refused outright, preferring her purple goblin made curse breaker bodysuit, while Murdock wore an odd all-black get-up consisting of a strange rough material called Kevlar. It was kind of like armour, but it looked far too thin to be effective, at least to Sirius's eye. The kid said he moved better in the suit to the cloak, and Alias said to do what he felt the most comfortable with. Something about being alive was more important than looking cool if he remembered correctly.
They crept down the hill, taking cover behind a large boulder near the entrance to the bowl.
"Psylocke," She hissed, and Sirius looked at her like she'd grown a second head.
"When in the field, you will address me as Psylocke, or I will teach you what happens to dogs who misbehave.
"We are not doing this here!" Matt snapped. He jerked his head up slightly, before pulling a grey scarf around his eyes, crouching down and vaulting himself up in the air. He somersaulted over the rock and fired two stunners behind him as he landed on the ground. Betsy and Sirius jumped out from behind the boulder and watched the spells knock two approaching men off their feet.
"Come on," he said, before running down the grassy lawn towards the centre of the bowl, Betsy… Psylocke chasing after him.
Sirius bolted down behind them and caught sight of Brian's team engaging five poorly dressed people on the other side of the clearing. Grinning as the adrenaline flooded his system, Sirius dove to the side, wand pointed at the campfire below, where Greyback and his remaining men had just realised they were under attack.
"Confringo!" A convulsing red shot fired from his wand as he ducked into a forward roll to absorb the fall. The spell collided with the campfire, creating an explosion that scattered Greyback and his friends and filled the air with the smell of burning ash.
A bunch of people tried to disapparate but cried out in pain as they were repulsed by Psylocke's ward. She wasn't chief Cursebreaker for nothing after all. On the other side of the field, Cage punched one werewolf in the jaw while firing an orange spell from his other hand. Jack and Brian were duelling with three goons between them, but Sirius doubted it would last long. He was proven right when not a second later, Brian had one man hogtied, and Jack had another flying backwards.
Sirius rose to his feet just in time to see Psylocke jump into the fray at the bottom of the bowl. The rune on her neck glowed purple, and a blade of violet energy appeared in her hand. She threw her free hand forward and yanked it back, and a werewolf went sailing through the air towards her, only to be impaled on the sword of energy. Sirius jaw only went a little bit slack. Honest. Murdock followed up, flinging one of the sticks he kept strapped to his leg into one person's face, before jumping up and fly kicking the same guy while he was distracted.
Sirius finally reached the bottom of the bowl and repulsed a woman into the roaring campfire. He then summoned a large chunk of dirt from the ground and banished it at a man in Death Eater robes with the Avada Kedavra curse on his lips. The Earth knocked him from his feet, and a quick stunner ensured he was out of the fight for good. Footsteps echoed to his right, and Sirius threw up a shield just in time to deflect a brown curse he didn't recognise. Then the kid was there, knocking the woman from her feet and placing a full body bind on her. A snarl echoed through the bowl, and Sirius turned towards the sound. Greyback was wandless, standing like a cornered animal within a circle formed by Brian, Betsy, Jack and Luke. Sirius and Matt quickly joined them.
"Give up, Greyback, we have you cornered," Jack was saying. The feral man didn't look very good. His nails were all overgrown, his beard was unkempt, and his hair was scraggly. No wonder his potential recruits didn't want a bar of him. But Sirius recognised the man's eyes. The haunting fear that lurked there. As much as he hated it, he couldn't help but sympathise. Sirius had seen that look in the mirror every day for years.
"You're going away. Properly this time. You aren't going to be hurting anyone else," Cage snarled, wand fixed on the Death Eater.
Then Greyback smiled savagely, "You think I won't be? You think?! I dun't think you know anything!" Greyback lunged at Cage, and five stunners leapt into the air, but it was Psylocke who reacted first. The rune on her neck blazed to life, and she froze Greyback in mid-air. He swivelled his head towards Psylocke in rage, and before anyone could blink, the Cursebreaker sliced the werewolves head clean off with her energy sword.
"Fuck!" Sirius exclaimed, raising his hand to his mouth as blood started spurting from the corps neck. Psylocke dropped the body to the ground and rolled her eyes at him.
"We are so screwed," Matt said softly. He was staring at the arm of Greyback's severed corps. The Death Eater tattoo was glowing black.
A sickening 'crack!' split the air in two, and everyone slowly turned around. Standing at the top of the bowl was a figure cloaked in black smoke, with two gleaming red eyes.