HP belongs to JKR, Buffy belongs to Joss Whedon.
Doesn't belong to me, Ok?
The Atlantis of this tale has nothing to do with other fictional lands (of modern fiction) , with the same name.
Now, to the story:
Soon after Dumbledore's death, Harry and his friends, particularly Hermione, decided that the war on Voldemort (or Riddle) had been done all wrong. Reviewing the events, they concluded that:
a)War is serious business, and wizard ministry was about as unprofessional as any small-town government - and for much the same reasons.
b)Information is all-important in a war, and the information flow can determine the course of war itself.
c) Ministry records were a vital resource that could spell the difference between victory and defeat for both sides and were woefully unprotected.
d)Undoubtedly Riddle and his Death Eaters had planted "sleepers" in the "Ministry", among other reasons, to harvest information. Information of places where to keep safely hidden, and convenient places and times to attack.
Well, two sides could play that game, they finally decided. There was a young witch in the Ministry building working as a receptionist, one Mabel Bluebell. She was attractive, had a pleasant voice, and could look cool and professional. She could be their way in.
One morning, when Mabel Bluebell was preparing to start working, she noticed some visitor had apparently forgotten an object on the reception hall's floor... It was a golden brooch with diamonds, and the more she looked at it, the prettier it looked.. Mesmerized, she reached to pick it from the floor. The moment her fingers touched the brooch, it glowed, and gonged in a clear bell-like note. Mabel straightened up, rigid, her eyes fluttered and closed... She went limp, and slid to the floor.
Not far from her, then, a couple disillusioned into existence. The woman looked like Mabel's twin. The man picked Mabel up, threw her over his shoulders, gestured a farewell to his companion and apparated away.
The replacement Mabel sat at her desk and started organizing and preparing for a day's work, very much like Mabel herself had been about to do.
The following days were very active for HP’s underground movement. Several wizards and witches of the ministry apparently developed the habit of drinking Mabel’s tea.
Of course, every one of those was actually a disguised infiltrated (and polyjuiced) resistance fighter. As for the replicate Mabel’s tea, it was the way to keep them drinking polyjuice…
Now what did the infiltrators do? Mostly, two things: they collected useful information on possible Death Eater hideouts and hunted infiltrated Death Eater spies. Of course, when a spy was located, then a group big enough to capture him (or her)with minimal struggle was dispatched.
This scheme worked without a hitch until Hermione made her unfortunate move. Hermione, you see, worked at the resistance Headquarters, usually the safest place. She worked collating information, putting two and two together in order to extract meaning from the information bits collected by field operators.
Seemingly, she just happened to be alone when she came upon some bits of information indicating that a suspected Death Eater spy had suddenly requested a vacation on the continent.
Hermione knew that, if the girl was a spy, then she should be suspecting they were onto her, and from this “vacation time” she wouldn’t return.
Of course, Hermione couldn’t allow this, so she departed to the ministry building, with a bottle of veritaserum to interrogate the suspect in loco. She was in much better physical shape than most witches, and had better reflexes than even most aurors. She was confident in her capacity to succeed in her mission.
She had a good excuse to be admitted to her victim’s office. Once there, it should be easy to stun the unsuspecting witch, which would then be drugged with Veritaserum, interrogated, and (if found innocent) would have her memories erased or (if found guilty) would be apparated away for further interrogation.
Everything went well, until she entered the suspect’s office. It seemed to be empty, and she walked in, spooked, wand in hand. Before she could step twice, her wand hand was twisted back, and a cold steel prong touched her neck. She felt herself tremble and convulse for an instant, then everything went black.
She awakened rather slowly. She felt very relaxed, very much at easy, as if she knew she had time to spare... Then she noticed her arms were unable to move freely, and then, that her legs were also somehow restrained. She opened her eyes, She was in a bed, in a strange room. Heavy chains restrained her arms, and legs.
She was chained to the bedposts, but had some slack, so she tried reaching for her wand within her cloak. Then she noticed she was no longer using a cloak. She was dressed muggle-like, in a crop top and jeans shorts, and there was a strange weight over her bare tummy. Her feet were also bare….
“You wizards are actually very funny, you know? “
The voice came from nearby, and, with some effort, Hermione could identify its source. It was the witch she had came to capture. .
Hermione tried to answer, but, at first, couldn’t. Something seemed to hold her chest whenever she tried to emit a sound. It was no restraining spell she had ever heard of, but seemed to be quite effective. She could only whisper: “Wh... why....”
The unknown witch chuckled.
“Why? You ask why? You consider yourselves so superior to everybody else, and what have you, as a society, as a culture, to show for this? What have you accomplished? "
"All your most prized works are little more than bells and whistles – cheap ones, at that. "
"Take the fabled Death Hallows, for instance: Overrated one and all."
" Take the fabulous Elder wand: An invincible wand that isn’t invincible. Oh, for the wizard world’s low standards, it is really a first rate wand, but it is only special in that it is the only generic first rate wand in modern times. It is no better, for any given wizard, than any first-rate wand made specifically for him."
"The whole invincibility thing is kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy: The Elder wand is supposedly invincible in the hands of a master, so any master using it gets unusually self-confident, and anyone facing him gets unusually discouraged. ”
“The resurrection stone is even worse: It is a complete and utter sham. It doesn’t allow anyone to communicate with the dead, it just gives the illusion of doing so. Nobody ever managed to squeeze any new, confirmable information from the dead with it. The fool who uses it just gets locked in a conversation with a personification of his or her own ideas of what the deceased were….”
“The best of the Death Hallows is probably the invisibility cloak. It is indeed an invisible cloak of the highest quality, perhaps the best of the wizarding world. Considering its qualities and limitations, however, it is hardly an world-shaking talisman. ”
“What do you think of the fabled philosopher’s stone? Would you believe anyone could buy one just as good in any atlantian apothecary, just by asking for a middle-sized purifying stone?Yes, and cheaply , too!"
"Yeah, your wizarding world spent thousands of years to re-create an atlantian recipe as commonplace with us as pepper-up is with you… And then you buried it again because you decided that you weren’t ready for it…For that, your precious community should be called the clowning world….”
“As for Merlin.. You call his name every moment, you made him a mythic character… But what did he really do? I don’t think you really know. Merlin was already a centuries-old legend when the wand-wizards community came to be...
"It was Nyr-zunn from Atlantis who founded and shaped the community of wand wielders… Nyr-Zunn, was, in our army, what would be called a sergeant with the non-wizarding peoples."
"When the atlantian cataclysm came, and Atlantis disappeared, he left his outpost and embraced the native life. Posing as a wandering shaman, he managed to contact hundreds of tribes, locating thousands of gifted children. Some he recruited, some he bought, some he kidnapped even. He molded them into what would eventually become the wizard population, by giving them Magic. "
"His magic was nothing but commonplace atlantian metaphysical tech, shorn of its scientific underpinnings. A doctrine of rules-of-thumb and cookbook recipes, to keep them mired in ignorance forever. "
"Oh, there was some advance, I’ll concede, but mostly in a fumbling empirical way. People would mishmash the old recipes into new ones without really knowing what they were doing. That kind of advance is always slow and eventually gets stuck in dead ends. ”
“A good example of such mishmash is the infamous Avada curse. Would you believe it was originally a paralysis spell, used for medical and veterinary ends? Then it was mis-copied, by a hack of a hermit magician, and the crusty old idiot killed a lion which he had intended to capture alive. "
"The magician, however, was a glory seeker and an opportunist. He started selling it, taking the credit for its invention… Of course, it became popular among evil magicians... An assassination tool that left no trace of causa mortis… It had a serious defect, though: It was too easy to block. Many objects, not all that large either, could block it."
"Later, a dark magician in Gothland solved the problem, back in the eighth century: He combined it with a well-known demolition spell, used to destroy solid objects without harming living beings, with the miscopied curse."
"That is how the present version of the Avada was born. It is like a poisoned needle concealed in a cushioned quarterstaff. It paralyses instantly the nervous system, stopping breathing and heartbeat... Of course, death ensues. The highly collimated, highly destructive, associated demolition spell makes very hard for the victim to find cover. "
"Nothing wondrous about this Avada curse. For instance, if someone could have gotten to the Potters in the first 15 seconds after they suffered the discharge, and administered a rather simple paralysis cancellation, followed by a re-starting jolt to their systems, they would have survived. Even the re-starting jolt, alone, might have succeeded. You see, Avada deaths look instantaneous, but actually take a few seconds to be truly irrevocable. “
Summoning her willpower, Hermione barely managed to ask, in a weak, hoary, halting voice: “Who... What... are... you...?”
“Ah, you have guessed that I’m not a Death Eater, right? Good guess. Actually I am an atlantian operative. Before you ask, let me tell you that I am here to undo the mess that Nyr-Zunn made. As for my name, my atlantian one wouldn’t mean anything to you, so let me take a hint from your own shakespearean name... You can call me Ariel. ”
“Have you ever wondered about the energy used by your so-called “magic”? Never you thought about just where did it come from? “
Hermione bit her lip, and let out a forced whisper... “Yes, once.”
“Then you researched, right? And what answer did you find?”
Hermione answered, closing her eyes, and managed to quote what she had eventually found. “Energy is a muggle concept”
Hermione’s captor had an explosion of mirth.
“Oh, but that is simply too funny... But not really surprising... Or, at least, shouldn’t be. ” Said Ariel, wiping tears from her eyes. “After all, dear old Nyr did do everything in his power to keep you from learning even the smallest bit of true science.”
Hermione just stiffened her lower lip, and let out a very childlike “Hunf!”
Ariel giggled. “I should expect this response.... Fact is, energy, and specially conservation of energy and matter, are basic concepts permeating physics and metaphysics. ”
Hermione was flabbergasted: “W-what... is... the point?”
Ariel smiled: “The point being.... Do you know why you can do magic...?”
Hermione replied: “ I can do magic because … I... can... ”
“And why can’t your parents work magic?”
“Because.... they... can’t...” Managed to whisper Hermione, now thoroughly pissed off.
“Tsk, tsk... No need to get excited. We are just having a nice little philosophical (and metaphysical) discussion, aren’t we? My dear (and smart) Hermione, I know you know a bit of world history... Have you heard the last answers you gave me? Have you thought of how medieval do they sound?... The sun rise in the East and sets in the west because it does.... Birds can fly because they can...”
“... Have. you.. a... better... explanation...?”
Retorted Hermione, sounding disgruntled, but actually curious about what “Ariel” would explain.
“But of course!” Replied Ariel. “Fact is, natural laws apply as much to wizards as they do to non-magical humans. Particularly the conservation of energy law. You wizards may ignore the origin of the energy you use in your so-called magic, but it exists, nonetheless, and it must come from somewhere. ”
“And until you... state from where it comes... and how.... and why... you.... have explained nothing...” Retorted Hermione, becoming breathless from sheer effort.
Ariel then smiled, and Hermione guessed she wanted her to ask exactly that..
Have you ever heard of hellmouths? Asked Ariel, smiling like the Chesire.
Hermione concentrated. She did recognize the reference, though it was quite obscure. But she didn’t see any possible connection... Shrugging, she answered: “Legendary places... where evil magical beings.... supposedly... come from.... Most scholars.... sheer fantasy...”
Ariel laughed, and snorted:”Sheer fantasy! Well, that is for you to see what are worth the opinions of wizard scholars... For you information, hellmouths do exist, and they are doors through which much of what is evil has penetrated this world. “
Demanded Hermione, her voice but a weak whisper...
“Yes, yes. The point of it is that when Atlantis disappeared, Nyr-Zunn lost the power source to his metaphysical devices (or his magic, to use wizard terminology). He had some stored energy, part of his survival kit, but nothing that would last long. So, he had to find a replacement, and he did, in a most unethical way...”
Hermione demanded again, very weakly: “Explain...”
“Well, let me present an analogy: The non-magical humans take advantage of difference in gravitational potential to harness water flow and turn its energy into electricity. We atlantians take advantage of difference in metaphysical potential between dimensional worlds to harness the energy flow between them to generate magical energy. “
“But of course! Where do you think we atlantians come from? Atlantis was, and still is, a roving community, a society of explorers. We roam about in n-space, settling for long periods on worlds on which we take interest. You could compare Atlantis to a ship roaming the seas, now and then settling on a port for fairly extended periods. Much like a seaship, however, even anchored on a port it can still be blown away by a sufficiently powerful storm. Atlantis never sank.. It was displaced...“
Hermione blinked in understanding: “...Then... Nyr-Zunn was.... Marooned.”
“Yes... What an accursed legacy!” Answered Ariel, bitting her lip... “But lets not digress. As I said, Nyr needed a power source for magic, since Earth has very little naturally occurring dimensional rifts... So he used what little stored energy he had left.. And opened a few rifts, distributed around the world... Immediately, realities began to bleed, Earth to hell, and hell to Earth....
“Hell... to.... Earth...?” Asked Hermione
“Yes, hell to Earth. The nearest dimensions to Earth don’t have much of an energy differential relative to Earth’s. That means they are no good as power sources. The nearest useful dimension, relatively to Earth is quite nasty, hellish even. That is the one Nyr opened his rifts into..."
"That is the one vampires and other assorted demons come from... ”
Hermione was shocked. That simply could not be!
“Then... magic.... has a price...”
“Exactly Hermione! You are smart, after all! Yes, magic has a price, that is exacted from all humanity in blood and lives...”
“Didn’t... Nyr.... do... anything... about...?...”
“Well, he did do something. He kind of patched it somewhat. He created the organization of the watchers and the line of Slayer girls... And invented a mythology to explain them.... They serve to keep the situation – in terms of evil things bleeding from hell – from getting too bad. ”
Watchers? Slayers? In fact, Hermione had only read of the last, but on a mostly doubtful and unconfirmed report, and had pretty much dismissed them as sheer legend...
“Wait...” said Hermione, in a weak but still accusing voice.
“You... use... this .. source...”
“Well, yes and no.” said Ariel. “We do use the energy of interdimensional gradient – that is the true source of metaphysical tech - but not like Nyr does. For one thing, we never use hellish dimensions like he did. Another thing is that we do take care of shielding and maintenance. Nyr did neither. So, our mana generation is free of side-effects. Nyr’s... not so much! ”
“Yes! Not just vampire and general demon infestation – as if that were not bad enough – but people nearby hellmouths can get addicted to dark mana...”
“Yes. You see, whenever you, or anyone of the so-called wizards do any wizardry, you pull from Nyr’s metaphysical dam a certain amount of positive, or light mana... to power it. At the same time you send to the hellmouths many times that amount... in dark mana.”
“What... is...? ”
“What is Dark mana? Well, the simplest definition is that it is polluted mana – incidentally also contaminated with base emotions – hate, fear envy... etc. Unlike the light mana that you and your friends use with such ease, dark mana is rather impossible to truly control. Addicted usually are led to think they have become powerful mages, when they are in fact turned into powerful - and mindless – engines of destruction. ”
”Don’t... Atlantians generate...? “
“Oh, yes, we do generate dark mana. However, in Atlantis, we use much more efficient system than the crude one set up by Nyr. Also, we use proper shielding and proper system management, what ensures that even the small amounts of dark mana generated are safely grounded into harmlessness, instead of concentrated on a hellmouth... So, no side-effects.”
“If.. you … so advanced...”
“Yes?” Asked Ariel...
“Why... just... now!” Concluded Hermione, breathless...
“Why are we only interfering just now? Well, For one thing, it was only a few years back that Atlantis was able to re-establish contact with Earth. The other point is that we don’t dare to reveal to the wizard society at large what I’m revealing to you. Not at once. Chaos might ensue, or the traditions and co-dependencies Nyr built in your society might cause you to disbelieve and even fight us. ”
“Because you are young, smart, and aknowledged as capable in your society... Because you are muggle-born and thus has some knowledge of muggle society and history, and uses and mores... Because you are a probable future leader within your society, to lead it as we effect a CURE of Nyr’s modifications.... and because of your association to the Potter kid”
“Hermione’s heart almost jumped off her breast, and she would have screamed if she could. But the gagging device seemed to become tighter the stronger her emotions grew, so she barely grunted: “W-What.. is... this... CURE??!” And became breathless again....
“What is this cure? Oh, my dear Hermione, what is the disease? What is afflicting wizard society? ”
“The... Death... Eaters...” Answered Hermione, very weakly, and sounding dismayed.
“No. my dear Hermione, the Death Eater movement (as unhealthy and immoral as it is) isn’t but a symptom of a much deeper problem. If we just stopped it now, some decades from now, another movement - probably even more dangerous - would fatally arise. The problem lies in the structure of wizard society, and its social psychology.
For one thing, when you persuade a fragment of the population (the wizards) that they are better than the overwhelming majority, while forbidding them to show this (supposed) superiority, basing this prohibition on the risk of angering the said majority, then you cause a lot of resentment.
Repressed resentment will unavoidably irrupt in destructive movements like the DE, specially if you insist in keeping wizards (and non-wizards) in social isolation while in physical proximity.
That is only worsened by the increasingly frequent birth of wizards in normal families (which are deprecated as muggleborn), as well as by the wizard’s economic dependence on non-wizard economy...”
That moment, the object weighting down Hermione’s chest began whistling furiously, like a maddened tea kettle. Ariel muttered “Excuse me” and hurried to pick it up. Hermione finally could see that the mysterious object looked like a simple stuffed bear, except that most stuffed bears don’t whistle.
Hermione saw Ariel attach the bear to a metal structure adapted to a crystal jar, over the table.. At first, nothing happened. Then, little by little, a golden glowing liquid started filing the jar. At the same time, the bear seemed to shrink. When the jar was filled to three fourths capacity, and the bear had shrunk to half its original size, it stopped filling.
Belatedly, Hermione perceived that she was free to speak. One instant later, she was again speechless, out of sheer shock. Ariel was pushing into the room a muggly contraption – a bed on wheels- with a girl on it. The girl seemed to be asleep, but Hermione didn’t care. She exclaimed at the girl, loudly, in surprise, indignation and sheer hate: “YOU SNEAK!!!”
Smirking, Ariel took one finger to her lips, in a silencing gesture, while observing to Hermione, in an amused tone: “Already missing your furry friend? I can bring it back... if you insist...” That made Hermione pause. The gagging “stuffed bear” wasn’t painful, but was very uncomfortable. Hermione bit her lip, and made an effort to speak in low tones:
“Are you in league with this traitor?...”
Ariel chuckled, a bit sadly. “Poor Marietta... She is actually quite like you, did you know? ”
Hermione got red, and exclaimed: “I am nothing like her!”
Ariel smiled, a bit sadly, and counted on her fingers as she enumerated: “That is one of life’s little ironies.. Small differences make fiercer enemies than big ones. Marietta is a studious girl (like practically all Ravenclaws), a most opinionated and resolute witch, and also a girl with a strong respect for authority...”
Hermione replied, pushing up her upper lip in a sneer: “She betrayed her own friends... Even her own best friend!”
Sadly, Ariel replied: “Have read a bit of this world’s history, Hermione? Have you read about the Children’s crusade? ”
It was like ice on Hermione’s spine. She had indeed read of that incident... and
answered “Yes...” and bit her lip.
Ariel continued: “If you lived at that time, and had the opportunity to stop the movement at its start, by denouncing it, would you do it? ”
Hermione replied “Yes, I would, but Dumbledore's Army was no Children’s crusade!”
Ariel replied:“Well, not in your opinion, but quite similar in Marietta’s opinion. Since you and her are very opinionated, this had to lead to a strong conflict...”
Hermione repeated,annoyed: “She betrayed her friends! Even her very best friend!”
Ariel chuckled again, softly, her eyes sadder than ever: “... Did you betray your parents, Hermione, by erasing their memories... their most cherished memories .. and dispatching them to far away?”
Hermione replied, outraged: “Of course not! I did that for their own sakes! I did it to protect their lives!”
Ariel smirked, shaking her head:”The same would Marietta say about her motivation...”
Hermione gritted her teeth: “She could have had her friends expelled... Even her best friend!”
Ariel replied: “What do you deem best, expelled or dead? Marietta thought expelled was best by a mile...”
Hermione grunted: “Very high handed treatment of her friends, if you ask me... ”
Ariel smiled: “As high handed as your treatment of your parents?” Hermione made a face and turned her eyes away. Ariel shrugged.
Meanwhile, Harry and Ron worried about Hermione It was completely out of character for her to stay away for a day and more, without explanation. They contacted all wizards she could be visiting, and even some muggle friends she might conceivably contact. Nothing. The idea of Hermione’s corpse being somewhere, waiting discovery, was sheer anguish.
Ron was paler than ever, and Harry’s eyes just couldn’t rest. They got to the point they avoided talking, for fear of discharging their stress in a fight. No. If Hermione still could be saved, it would be best done by them acting together, in full co-operation.
Meanwhile, the supposed culprit of Hermione’s disappearance, was anything but tranquil. Thomas Riddle had already castigated a few of his death eaters. The aurors of the ministry, and the thrice-cursed Order had been surprisingly successful of late, and the DE attacks had met with little success.
The worse part is that Riddle himself couldn’t fairly attribute the failures to Death Eater incompetence, or, at least, unusual incompetence. The lack of information, had proved to be an annoying barrier to effective terror attacks.
Considering this, he decided to go on a personal intelligence gathering mission. He would find information on a few muggleborns and then have them exterminated with more than usual brutality, plus doing the same to as many muggle relatives as he could. He chuckled to himself, thinking of how much this would shock wizarding society... and attract the respect of his minions. He chuckled again.
The thought of sole action again, was challenging, invigorating. He would face his enemies alone, and they would surrender their secrets to him, while he would laugh beneath his disguise....
Ah, a disguise... He had some long lasting spells spells that would serve him very well. They might lack polyjuice’s capacity of exact duplication but his infiltration plan could dispense that. He mixed preserved blueberry juice, red cherry juice and dragon’s egg’s whites. Briefly, the container glowed blue, red and white. Next, he took a silver armlet and stored it next to the potion.
Next morning, an unknown tourist wizard, dressed in an american tunic, entered Diagon Alley. Thanks to the Armlet of Contraries, he had the exact inverse appearance of the feared Mr. Riddle. Quietly, he entered a restaurant, sat down on a stool and asked for refreshment. Thanks to the starthripsyn serum, his accent sounded exactly middle american.
Not much later a young blonde lady entered the restaurant, followed by tall teenager girl. Affecting a gentle curiosity, Tom asked his neighbor, in a somewhat amused tone”Now , who and What are those two??” His neighbour answered not too enthusiastically: “That’s Ann Whitekirk and her pupil...”
“Yes. Ann has become a scholar-at-large, a home tutor. What a pity! She had marks enough to work at the ministry,or even teaching at Hogwarts, but she said those were too stuffy for her. ”
“Funny. What about the girl’s father? Does he know what would be his daughter’s job prospects, without a Hogwarts degree?”
“That is the funniest part. Ann has told a friend of mine that the girl’s father has advised the girl not to live in the wizarding world... And the girl says that is what she intends!”
“Why, it is ridiculous! Isn’t it against the law?”
“The girl’s father hired the best wizarding law counsel available...”
“Yes! And they said she is in the clear, as long as she refrains from doing any magic in the presence of non-wizards and gets enough magic training to keep her from doing accidental magic... ”
“Again, that is ridiculous! Which witch would choose to live among muggles...?”
“Ann said that the wizarding comunit impressed father and daughter as “self-seeking and ostrich-like ...”
Tom kept silent, but tightened his mouth and pictured Nagini coiling her body around the girl, then swallowing and digesting her. At the same time, he probed Ann’s mind, looking for her disciple’s address... Eventually, he smiled. That upstart girl would learn a lesson... The very last one...