|SIYE Time:21:35 on 22nd September 2018|
In Search of the Isle of Drear
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Category: Alternate Universe, SIYE Challenges, Post-Hogwarts, Magical Creatures Challenge (2017-3)
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Romance
Story is Complete
** Winner of Most Adventuresome, Best Overall and People's Choice in the Magical Creatures ChallengeGinny is looking for an adventure. She's wondering if she's in over her head when she joins an expedition searching for the Isle of Drear and Quintapeds. She's thrilled to find Harry Potter, who she hasn't seen in years, is part of the expedition. HP/GW, LL/RS
Hitcount: Story Total: 5131; Chapter Total: 931
Awards: View Trophy Room
Thanks to Arnel for her wonderful suggestions and of course great beta skills! I hope everyone like the ending. I would have liked to go into more detail on the Weasleys or Hermione, but with the word limit I wanted to keep the focus on the magical creatures (for the challenge) and the romance between Harry and Ginny. I hope you like my take on how Quintapeds came to be!
Animalis Revelio - animal revealing spell based on the human revealing spell. Any Latin errors are totally my fault.
Harry had to push himself to run the next morning. He knew he’d stayed up a bit too late playing Scrabble with Ginny, but he couldn’t help himself. She was fun and clever and very beautiful. He smiled when he recalled her outrage at his use of Muggle words she’d never heard before. He’d had to pull out the dictionary to show her that “rugby” really was a word.
Reconnecting with Ginny was an unexpected bonus of this adventure. He’d almost given the expedition a miss, so he was glad he’d followed that impulse to see if it was Rolf leading the expedition. In the years since the end of the war, he’d drifted. For years, he and Sirius talked about what they would do once Voldemort was gone and the loss of his godfather devastated him. Immediately after the war, he’d indulged in long nights of drinking and quite a few one-night stands. After the Death Eater trials were over, he’d left London and just went a bit wild.
One morning, almost a year ago, he’d woken up not sure where he was or who he’d been with. That had truly been a wakeup call for him. Did he want to continue these meaningless affairs? Did he want to find out in a few years that he had a child out there somewhere that he’d never seen? Sirius had always talked about the love Harry’s parents had shared and Harry realized that was what he wanted as well.
When Ginny had told him everything Ron had been through, Harry had felt a bit disgusted with himself. Ron had been through the loss of his wife and was raising a child with the help of his sister while Harry was gambling and partying with shallow, beautiful people.
Sure, he’d done some good. He’d helped with a vampire outbreak in Romania, he’d stopped a Inferi uprising in Israel, and of course the Nundu hunt when he’d met Rolf, but he knew he could have done a lot more. He’d left the south of France where he’d been lazing away his days and returned to London.
He’d always made time to spend with Teddy, but in the past year he’d spent a lot more time with his godson. He’d worked with Kingsley and other law enforcement agencies offering his expertise in hunting practitioners of Dark magic. He’d revived his interest in working out and was now in the best shape of his life.
Up until now, he’d not found a woman who really sparked his interest, but Ginny was brilliant. He hoped she felt the same way, but he was a bit uneasy that he wasn’t quite worthy of her. After all, she’d given up her plans to help Ron with her niece while he’d left his godson for months at a time to party. Granted, Andromeda was perfectly capable of taking care of her grandson without any help from him, but he felt a bit guilty that he’d not tried harder.
Turning around, he picked up his pace as he knew Rolf wanted to head out early. Returning to the cottage, he quickly showered and dressed. Ginny and Luna were cooking breakfast while Rolf was reviewing the plans for the day when he entered the kitchen. It didn’t take them long to eat and prepare to leave.
Harry launched his Firebolt into the air and watched Ginny out of the corner of his eye. She was one of the best fliers he’d ever seen. He wished he could have played Quidditch with her at Hogwarts. Being on the team with her and Ron and crushing Draco Malfoy would have been great. She’d mentioned that she’d taken his place as Seeker during her second year and continued as Seeker in her fourth year before moving to Chaser the rest of her Quidditch career.
Now that they knew where the Isle of Drear was, it only took them thirty minutes of flying to arrive at the island. The four of them flew straight to the middle of the island. Rolf looked around at everyone. “Does everyone know the monitoring spell?”
Luna put her hand on his arm. “Rolf, we’ve already reviewed what to do. We will place the monitoring spells and cameras near the groups of Quintapeds as we’d planned. We will look for a gathering place or nest of some kind and we will see if we can find any documentation to explain what happened here.”
Flushing slightly, Rolf nodded. “Of course, you are right. I’m sorry. I just don’t want anything to mess this up.”
Luna simply smiled at him and kissed him on the cheek. Each couple had a map they could update with just a few spells, a bottomless bag for any evidence they might find, and stun grenades. Starting from the middle of the island, each couple flew in opposite directions placing monitoring charms and cameras.
As they flew over the second group of Quintapeds, Harry stopped, hovering over the largest one. The Quintaped glanced up, but generally ignored them as if they were no more than large birds.
“What is it?” Ginny asked a bit nervously. She knew they were a good fifteen feet over the creatures, but they didn’t know if they could jump or not.
Harry frowned. “I’m detecting a magical signature from them.”
“What does that mean?”
“I’m not entirely sure,” he replied as he recorded the magical signature from the enormous beast. “Some creatures have a magical signature because they use low levels of magic, like dragons and trolls. They manipulate the environment in order to camouflage themselves. This could be the same thing.”
Flying up a bit higher, they continued placing the charms and cameras. It wasn’t arduous work, but it could be slow going at times. By late morning, they’d finished their first task and moved onto their second task of exploring the old house. Rolf and Luna were to be examining the wards and charms cast over the island.
They circled the area and Harry cast the strongest wards he could to keep out animals. He hoped they would work on the Quintapeds, but he knew magical creatures weren’t always affected by wards. He gave Ginny some of the stun grenades and kept some for himself. Just before they landed, he conjured enough cattle grids to circle the property.
“What are those?” Ginny asked.
“They are called cattle grids,” Harry explained. “It’s a grid of metal bars that are generally wide enough so an animal’s foot would fall through the gap, but a person can walk across it easily. I don’t know for sure if it will work, they might be good jumpers or something, but I thought it might slow them down.”
The two of them landed inside the protective circle he’d created. Looking around, Harry pulled his wand and noticed that Ginny was only seconds behind him. “Animalis Revelio!”
There was no response to his spell. He started breathing a little easier. “The animal revealing spell isn’t as fool proof as the human revealing spell, but it is a good indication there is nothing here. I don’t know how sturdy this building is, so be careful.”
Ginny nodded and gripped her wand a bit tighter. Together they cautiously walked into the building. As they’d suspected from the air, the outermost rooms had long since been destroyed. Looking around, it proved to be an attached barn. Several trees and flowering bushes were growing through the dirt floor. There were remnants of stalls against the far wall. Ginny wrinkled her nose at the smell of mould and mildew that pervaded the room. There was also the distinctive smell of urine and animal droppings. She was glad she’d worn her boots.
Moving past the outer room, they entered a corridor that appeared to run the length of the house, connecting the barn and the house. Pushing the door opposite them open, they found a larger room with a big fireplace on the outer wall. There was faded and torn floral wallpaper on the wall and it appeared the room had been a sitting room. There were stained and ripped remnants of a large sofa and love seat in the room. An antique piano in one corner with armchairs flanking the fireplace. There were several bookshelves on the far wall.
Walking around the room, Ginny noticed a framed portrait on the wall. It was a family portrait of with a stern looking man and his wife and six children. The father wore a traditional kilt with a brown and green tartan. His wild dark hair and beard reminded her a bit of Hagrid. The wife wore the tartan as a draped head covering that reached down to her waist. Unlike her husband, she had a kind, if frazzled, countenance. The two oldest boys and the oldest daughter appeared to be in their late teens while the youngest child was no more than four or five.
“That isn’t a wizarding portrait,” Harry observed.
“Actually, moving portraits weren’t common outside of the Ministry or Hogwarts until sixty years ago,” Ginny said. “Even then, it was quite expensive, so most families didn’t have them done.”
“I didn’t realize that,” he said as he looked over the portrait. “This seems to have be painted here on the island. Could you guess when this was? I don’t know clothes or fashion very well.”
“It looks like the end of the eighteenth century,” she said. “Possibly the 1780s or 1790s, but I’m not certain.”
Nodding, he took a picture of the portrait and the room in general before moving on. They discovered a mostly intact dining room and a kitchen that had been ransacked.
“I’m guessing the food that was in here was a draw for the animals,” he commented as they gazed at the cupboard doors that had been clawed and ripped off the hinges.
Across from the dining room, they found a study. The walls were lined with bookshelves and there was a large mahogany desk dominating the room. Harry rummaged through the desk while Ginny opened a small chest of drawers.
“Look at this,” Harry said as he pulled what appeared to be a small book from the desk. “It looks like a journal of some sort.”
The flyleaf read: Property of Alfred Joseph McClivert, son of Dugald, chief of the Clan McClivert.
31 March 1779
My father was buried today on his beloved patch of land on this beautiful Isle of Drear. I trust that with him gone, the animosity that has existed between us and the Clan MacBoon will desist. My beloved wife, Ada, was once a MacBoon, and we’d hoped our marriage would mend the rift between our two families, but our fathers wouldn’t bend. I pray that Ada and I will be happy on this lovely island.
“There are some journals over here as well,” Ginny said as she pulled the slim journals from the shelf. “Angus McClivert 1640 — 1759; Dugald McClivert 1699 — 1779. I wonder if all of the clan chiefs maintained a journal.”
“Could be,” Harry said as he flipped through the journal. “See if you can find out more about this ‘rift’. Dugald’s death was supposed to be the impetus for the turning of the MacBoons into Quintapeds, right?”
Ginny nodded. “That is the story.”
Conjuring a blanket, Ginny set it on the filthy floor before sitting cross legged on the blanket. She started looking through Dugald’s journal. Harry conjured a beanbag chair and settled in to read Alfred’s journal.
After several long minutes, Ginny said, “It seems that Angus first settled on the island in the late 1670s. He brought with him his wife and five of his brothers. They all eventually married and three moved away, but that left three brothers and their families.”
Marking the spot he was reading in the journal, Harry asked, “What did they do?”
“It looks like they raised sheep and sold yarn made from the fleece,” Ginny said as she skimmed the journal. “The MacBoons moved to the island in the 1720s, there is a reference to a Muggle war. The Clan leader, Quintius, fought in Queen Anne’s War in the British colonies in North America.”
Harry shrugged. “My Muggle history is a bit hazy. I vaguely remember that there was a Queen Anne, but I don’t know anything about a war.”
“The British colonies?”
“That’s the United States, they started as British colonies.”
Ginny nodded. “Quintius brought his wife, Charlotte, and their four children.” She frowned. “Give me a minute to see if I can figure out the cause of this feud.”
After reading more of the journal she discovered the cause of the feud. “Quintius and Charlotte began raising Shetland ponies.” She gasped. “First one of the ponies killed one of the McClivert’s prized sheep and then another one gravely injured one of the McClivert’s children.”
“Damn, that would certainly cause a feud,” Harry said. “I’m guessing this is the McCliverts’ house. I wonder where the MacBoons’ house was.”
“From what I can tell, it was on the other side of the island.”
Standing, Harry said, “Let’s take these with us and continue looking.”
Harry stashed the journals in the bag he’d brought with him. Gingerly, they negotiated the rickety wooden staircase, which was missing several treads, to the first floor. There they found four bedrooms and a drawing room as well as a small attic space that seemed to have been used for servants. They divided up the bedrooms to search, but when they met up again neither of them had found anything.
They were contemplating how to descend the stairs when they heard the noise. It was an angry chittering sound that reminded Ginny of a ferret or weasel. Ginny gripped her wand tightly as she looked over at Harry. He’d also drawn his wand.
To her horror, a Quintaped appeared at the bottom of the staircase. It appeared to glare up at them before turning to the side and vocalizing again. Her blood ran cold when the call was answered.
Next to her, Harry swore. “We did something to attract their attention.”
The largest of the group of Quintapeds that now huddled at the bottom of the stairs shrieked and leapt up the walls. Harry pulled her backwards as he threw a stun grenade into the group of creatures.
He yelled, “Accio Firebolt!”
A second behind him, Ginny Summoned her broom as well. It didn’t take long for the brooms to arrive. Harry’s Firebolt arrived easily enough, but Ginny screamed when she saw her half-eaten broom flying towards them with a Quintaped on it.
Swearing, Harry tried to Banish the broom, but the spell missed. Harry jumped in front of Ginny as the Quintaped leapt off the broom towards him. He screamed as it’s sharp teeth ripped into his skin. Ginny bashed the creature over the head with what was left of her broom. To her relief, it slammed into the wall and fell down to the ground floor.
Turning back, she blanched at the sight of the blood pouring from Harry’s chest. “Episkey! Episkey!”
The first aid spell managed to slow the bleeding and heal some of the wound, but Ginny knew it was not the proper spell to heal a wound of that complexity. It was the only spell she could think of at the moment. She conjured a pressure bandage and wrapped it around his chest.
He smiled his thanks as he mounted the broom. At his gesture, she climbed on behind him. When they approached the wall, he yelled, “Reducto!”
They both ducked as the wall disintegrated. Ginny gasped as they flew out of the house. The garden that had been empty when they entered was now covered in snarling Quintapeds. Several of the larger creatures were jumping upwards, but thankfully, not high enough to reach the broom.
Harry immediately started climbing. Once he reached fifty feet, he evened off. “We need to find a place to hole up for a bit.”
Nodding, Ginny scanned the ground. When they’d flown over this same ground earlier, the groups of Quintapeds were lazing around docilely. Now they were active and fighting within their small groups.
“What is going on?” Ginny asked.
“Something set them off,” he replied. “I wonder if our use of magic somehow started this.”
They flew for a few minutes over the now aggressive and violent groups of Quintapeds as the sound of grunting and screeching filled the air. Although they were fighting each other, they seemed most angry at the witch and wizard who flew above them. The placid, docile creatures of earlier were gone.
“There’s a cone of protective magic up ahead,” Harry announced. “I’m hoping it is a safe place.”
Ginny nodded as she looked down at the landscape below. The meadows that had looked so beautiful earlier took on a more sinister edge. The islands were notorious for their lack of trees, but there were several small groves of trees on Drear — perhaps planted by the settlers. Up ahead in the area Harry had indicated was a larger copse of trees. Suddenly the broom seemed to shudder. Startled, Ginny clamped her hands around Harry’s waist. “What was that?”
“There’s something wrong with the broom,” he said as he struggled to keep it airborne. Turning her head, her heart sank when she saw the state of the Firebolt’s bristles; most showed signs of being chewed. She relayed the information to Harry who swore angrily. “They must have chewed through some of the control spells. I don’t think I can keep it aloft much longer. Look for a clearing or anyplace free of Quintapeds where we can land.”
The broom staggered as Harry tried to keep them above the tree line. Ginny could feel the rock-solid muscles of his arms as he struggled against the draining magic.
“There!” she pointed to a clearing at the edge of the trees.
Their descent was anything but smooth. In struggling to avoid the larger trees, they were being battered with the branches. Ginny tried to keep the branches away from Harry’s face so he could see. The Firebolt came to an unceremonious halt four feet from the ground and the pair flew off the handle, landing in a heap a few feet away from the bedraggle broom. It lay in the grass, its tail sparking ominously.
Harry groaned as he helped Ginny to her feet. She frowned at his pallor and noticed her rudimentary healing spells had given out; he was bleeding again. Ignoring his discomfort, he held his hand over the broom. “Up!”
His beloved Firebolt, a present from his godfather, didn’t even respond. “Shit! This doesn’t look good.”
She cast some protection spells whilst he investigated clearing. A small stone wall, like the type they’d seen all over the islands, separated the clearing from the trees. Gasping, Harry cast a spell, revealing a passageway down into the ground. Unlike the sea caves they’d seen on the other islands, this was a cave in the middle of the island.
“I think this was wizard made,” Harry said. “It’s a shelter, maybe. I don’t detect any signs of life. Do you want to chance it?”
“I think we have to,” Ginny said. “I need to look at your wound and figure out what’s going on.”
He nodded wearily. After casting a proximity alarm, he said, “I think the cave is safe to enter.”
While Ginny did not like caves in general, Harry’s pallor and fatigue was much more concerning to her. She didn’t like the way he seemed so short of breath, although he was trying to hide it from her.
Reaching into his bag, he withdrew the two headlamps he’d purchased in London. Placing one on his head, he handed one to her. With his wand in one hand, he reached out for her hand with the other. She followed suit and the pair entered the cave. They walked along a narrow passageway for almost ten minutes before the cave widened into a large open cavern.
Ginny gasped. It was set up like a large flat with rugs on the floor and dusty furniture that had fallen into disuse. The McClivert tartan was prominently displayed, leaving no doubt which family had lived here.
Glancing over at Harry, Ginny swore at the glazed look in his eyes. Drawing her wand, she added a few more protective spells to the passageway before conjuring a sofa for Harry to lie on.
He all but collapsed onto it and Ginny wasted no time in cutting away the bandage she’d placed earlier. Growing up with so many active brothers and living under Death Eater rule for a year, she’d picked up some rudimentary healing skills. Calling on those, she cast another healing spell several times over the area.
“Tergeo!” She nodded satisfactorily when the blood cleaned up well. Digging in her bag, she found a small bottle of Dittany which she poured on the wound before reapplying the pressure bandage. Wishing she had some Blood-Replenishing Potion, she gave him a mild pain potion and some Pepper Up Potion.
“Stay here and rest for a few minutes,” she ordered, deciding to do some exploring. Harry nodded with his eyes half closed. She imagined he must have been feeling ghastly to not put up a fuss.
Beyond the open cavern were more passageways leading away from the entrance. There were book cases along one wall as well as a large desk. A hand drawn map of the island was attached to the wall behind the desk.
Ginny walked over to the map to examine it more closely. The site of the MacBoon house was marked on the north side of the island. There were several areas marked with the word Quintapeds. Casting a preservation charm on the parchment, she loosened the sticking charm holding it to the wall and carefully placed it in her bag. On the desk, she found another journal and a slim, hand-written book entitled ‘Quintapeds’. Placing them both in her bag, she explored the room.
There appeared to be a sleeping area containing one large bed and two smaller beds. They weren’t actually beds but more like sheets stuffed with hay or grass. She wrinkled her nose at the mouldy, mildew smell. Peering down one of the corridors, she found a storage area with a large container of fleece and several other containers with yarn. They must have had a strong preservation charm on them as they appeared fresh.
Returning to the main chamber, she explored the kitchen area. To her surprise, she found a stock of preserved herbs. Sorting through them, she made a poultice of yarrow, goldenrod, and marigolds which she placed over Harry’s wound before redressing it.
“What is that?”
She jumped slightly as she hadn’t noticed his eyes open. “It’s a healing poultice. Hopefully it will help heal that wound. It still doesn’t look good.”
He sighed. “I tried sending a Patronus to Rolf and Luna, but it didn’t seem to go through. I think the caves might be blocking the magic. I tried to Apparate, but I couldn’t do that either.”
Fear rose up in her, almost overwhelming her. She found it difficult to breathe and it felt like a heavy weight in her stomach. Before she could process what was happening, Harry wrapped his arm around her and helped her sit next to him on the sofa.
“Take a deep breath,” he said gently as she leaned back against him. “It will be okay. We will find a way out of this.”
“Really?” she asked with a quaver in her voice. She blinked back tears.
He nodded and pulled her into his arms. “I promise. I will do everything I can possibly do to find a way out of here.”
Closing her eyes, she rested her head against his chest, being careful to avoid his wound. The thump of his heartbeat was comforting and his strong arms made her feel safe and secure. Her heart started racing when he kissed the top of her head. She couldn’t tell how much time had passed, but she eventually straightened up. “Sorry.”
He waved away her apology. “It’s okay. Why don’t we eat?”
Nodding, she opened their bags to find several bottles of water and some wrapped sandwiches. They ate in silence and Ginny wasn’t surprised to see Harry drift off back to sleep.
Several hours later, Harry woke to find a small magical fire in a cleverly concealed fireplace in the kitchen area. Looking around the room, it took him a minute to locate Ginny. She was sitting on the floor reading from one of the journals. He must have made some noise as she looked up and smiled.
Standing, she hurried over to him. “How are you feeling?”
Frowning, he mentally inventoried his injuries. “My chest still hurts a bit, but it is better. I’m still a bit tired.”
“You lost a lot of blood,” she said as she removed the bandage. “I don’t have any Blood-Replenishing Potion. This looks a lot better.”
“Why do I smell like flowers?”
She laughed. “The poultice I made has marigold and golden rod in it. Although they were dried when I heated them, the flowery smell came through.”
Rising, she brought over another pain potion and a poultice. “This should help. It’s the last vial of pain potion.”
He shook his head. “It doesn’t hurt that badly.”
Studying him for a moment, she nodded before replacing the poultice and dressing. “I haven’t heard from Rolf or Luna. It’s almost eight o’clock so I’m hoping they will be looking for us.”
“Anything?” Rolf asked.
Luna shook her head. “No notes, no messages.” She pulled the map off the wall and placed it on the floor of the cottage’s sitting room. Taking a crystal from around her neck, she began scrying for Harry and Ginny.
“Does that actually work?” Rolf asked sceptically. “I thought it was a Muggle thing.”
Luna shook her head reprovingly. “Just because it is looked down on by many witches and wizards does not mean it doesn’t work.”
Leaving her to work, Rolf walked into the kitchen trying to figure out what went wrong. They’d placed the cameras and sensors and spent most of the day observing the Quintapeds. They’d made some exciting discoveries. The Quintapeds seemed to emit a low level of magic themselves and they had a system of vocalizations that they’d managed to record.
It was in the afternoon when the change happened. A wave of magic was felt over the fields before the Quintapeds reacted. They immediately started for the witch and wizard in their midst. Luna and Rolf had easily flown higher and out of reach. They’d flown over the island for a while longer, but it seemed to be agitating the creatures. Patronus messages to Harry and Ginny had gone unanswered.
When they’d flown over the southern portion of the island they found the Quintapeds upset, but no sign of their missing friends.
“Rolf, I think I’ve found them,” Luna called out. He hurried into the kitchen where she showed him a small copse of trees.
While he didn’t know that he believed in scrying, he had nothing different to add so they mounted their brooms and headed back to the island. When they landed, Rolf’s heart sank to see a broken Firebolt.
“Here!” Luna called out. “This is an entrance I think.”
Nodding, Rolf took the lead into the cave system.
At the sound of the proximity alarm, Harry and Ginny jumped to their feet with their wands raised.
“Luna,” Ginny called out in relief.
Luna entered the cave with Rolf on her heels. She hugged Ginny while Rolf went to Harry.
“Mate, what happened?”
After the four sat down, Harry and Ginny described the events of their day. Rolf listened intently while Luna flitted about the room. She returned with a steaming cup of tea for Harry.
“This will help with your blood loss,” she said as she pressed it into his hand.
He looked dubiously into the murky liquid and back up at Luna’s open and artless face. “Okay.” He took a sip and to his surprise, found it wasn’t all that bad.
Returning to the conversation, Rolf said, “That explains the sudden changes we saw. I’ll reckon it is magic that turns them aggressive.”
“That is part of it,” Ginny said. “I’ve been reading the journals and I can tell you what I discovered.”
The other looked over eagerly. Rolf said, “Yes, please.”
“Alfred and Ada McClivert had hoped their marriage in the late 1770s would return calm to the island, but I think too much had gone on for that to happen. Ada’s nephew, Ewan, began experimenting with different animals. He was fascinated by the concept of a Basilisk, but he didn’t want a large snake. He wanted an aggressive animal to protect the MacBoon family from the McCliverts.
“Ada’s grandson, Callum, was the first to describe the Quintapeds. He managed to kill one and bring it back to the McClivert compound for dissection. Alfred believed it was part manticore and part chimera, but it was magically created, not bred. There were several prototypes before the Quintapeds survived.
“In the beginning, they stole some of the McClivert’s sheep. They also were seen in the waters eating fish and chasing otters and seals. In 1822, the remaining MacBoons sought shelter with the McCliverts. Their creation had turned on them, killing Ewan and his family. They’d eaten all of the ponies and most of the MacBoons. Callum and Alfred returned to the MacBoon homestead. They found Ewan’s lab and retrieved his notes.”
“Notes?” Rolf broke in.
Ginny laughed. “I have the notes.”
Rolf nodded and Ginny continued with her tale. “They tried to lure the Quintapeds to the homestead with a pony. Once the Quintapeds responded, Callum and Alfred burned the homestead to the ground. Unfortunately, that was not all of them. They returned home to find the Quintapeds had attacked their home, killing Ada and three others.
“Alfred refused to leave the island where his beloved Ada was buried. He is the one who created these caverns with Callum and the other survivors of the attack. They lived here in the caves for almost ten years. In the 1830s, Callum and his wife were both attacked and killed when they were out foraging for food. Their son, Gavin, took his younger siblings and fled the island. I don’t really know what happened once they arrived in Scotland, but I would assume the Ministry must have gone out to investigate the Isle of Drear.”
Rolf nodded excitedly. “This must have led to the story of the McCliverts being wiped out by the Quintapeds. I imagine the MacBoon’s experimentations must have somehow led to the story of them being transfigured into the Quintapeds.”
Rolf wanted to hear more, but Ginny reminded him they needed to leave. On their way back to Fetlar, Luna and Rolf shared a broom while Harry and Ginny shared the other one.
Harry reluctantly stepped out of the shower the next morning. The hot water was soothing to his battered body, but he was hungry. He honestly didn’t recall much after leaving the Isle of Drear.
After drying himself and securing his towel around his waist, he examined his newest scar in the mirror. It was an angry red star-shaped
scar. The skin had grown back and he’d finally stopped bleeding, but the scar was awful.
Sighing, he opened the door and almost walked into Ginny. He flushed slightly when he could see her eyes drawn to his scar. “It’s bad, isn’t it?”
“It should fade,” Ginny said softly as she reached out to touch the scar. She traced the edges, causing him to shiver. Dropping her hand,
she stepped back. “I’ll let you get dressed. I’m making breakfast if you’re hungry.”
He dressed quickly and joined her in the small kitchen. She gestured to two familiar vials of potion on the counter. “Luna went into Lerwick for some potions.”
Nodding, he dutifully swallowed the potions. “Where are Rolf and Luna?”
“Rolf is using the little cottage next door as Quintaped Central,” she said laughingly. “He’s been reading nonstop since we returned. He’s compared the map Alfred made to the one we made. Luna tried to coax him into sleeping, but he was too wired.”
“I can understand that,” Harry laughed. “This is probably a magizoologist’s dream.”
Ginny brought a platter of eggs and sausage to the table and Summoned a stack of toast as well. Loading his plate, Harry started eating quickly. “Sorry, I’m so hungry.”
“No problem,” she laughed. “I can understand. I don’t think you ate after those sandwiches yesterday.”
Once his hunger had lessened, Harry asked, “Do you know what’s happening now?”
“Rolf said he wants to review the data we collected first, then he’ll come up with a plan.”
Two days later, Harry and Ginny found themselves on new broomsticks flying over the now familiar Isle of Drear. They were flying the perimeter trying to tell if the wards had been damaged or if the Quintapeds simply learned a way around them. That was when Ginny discovered that Harry had the ability to see magic. She was a bit jealous, since that would be an amazing ability to have.
The Quintapeds had settled down since the day of the attack. One of the groups near the water had managed to drag an orca on shore. It appeared that most of the family groups had made their way to the beach to take their portion.
“Is it just me, or are they working together?” Harry asked.
Ginny nodded. “I was thinking the same thing. Even when they attacked us, they worked together. They withdrew and lulled us into a false security. Once we went upstairs, they had us pinned down.”
“How many Quintapeds did Rolf estimate were here?”
“He was thinks there are a little over two hundred living in either five or six family groups. Now he thinks the lack of prey animals led to many Quintaped deaths, which in turn led them to leave the island for the first time in search of food.”
Harry nodded distractedly. “There!”
Looking at the spot where Harry was pointing, she frowned. “What?”
With a wave of his wand, he caused the wards to be visible. Where the rocky beach met the water, there was a hole in the wards. “That’s how they’ve been escaping.”
He cast a spell allowing the area to show up on the ever more detailed map of the island they’d developed. The day before, Rolf and Luna had discovered an aeroplane wreck on the edge of the island. All the people on board had been killed and used by the Quintapeds as food. He grimaced and rubbed his forehead.
“Are you okay?” Ginny asked.
He nodded. “Sorry, sensing magic is difficult and usually causes a headache. When we were in India, they taught me how to use the ability so that I didn’t automatically see all the magic around me.” He laughed. “I’m so glad I wasn’t at Hogwarts when that ability surfaced. With all the magic in the castle, I would not have reacted well. Luckily, it was just me and Sirius when it happened. I’ve always been able to sense magic. Even before I knew about magic, I knew there was something different about my relatives’ house. When I turned fourteen, I could suddenly see magic.”
“That must have been overwhelming,” Ginny said sympathetically. “Bill can see through glamours and disguises — during the war with so many people using Polyjuice or glamours, it was difficult for him. Charlie is an empath. I think that’s one of the reasons he likes to work with dragons. It is easier for him emotionally.”
“Sirius told me that not everyone has different abilities, but that somehow magic responds to our needs and helps us out. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it definitely made me feel better when I felt so different from everyone.”
Harry broke off and started flying towards the middle of the island. Ginny followed. She watched him, but didn’t question him. He would explain himself, she was sure of that.
They stopped over a beautiful meadow. Frowning, Harry took out his wand and cast several spells she didn’t recognize. Looking around, he cast one more spell. It was a spell used in wizarding archaeology that showed what was under the ground. Ginny gasped at what she saw. There in neat rows were the skeletal remains of Quintapeds. They’d found a Quintaped graveyard.
An hour later they watched Rolf pace as he pondered this latest information. “If they buried their dead…that shows near human intelligence. I assumed they ate their dead.”
“I noticed on the cameras that the ones killed when they attacked us were taken away by others. It didn’t even dawn on me that they would bury them,” Ginny said.
“Should we try communicating with them?” Luna asked. “Perhaps a translating spell? Or through use of runes?”
Harry wandered away when the two magizoologists started talking. They could talk for hours and Harry often didn’t understand what they were talking about.
Harry woke with a start. He didn’t know what woke him, but he instinctively went to investigate. When he reached the kitchen, he found Ginny making some hot chocolate.
Stowing his wand in his back pocket, he asked, “Are you okay?”
She sighed. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.”
“That’s okay.” He watched her for a few minutes. “You didn’t answer the question.”
“I had a nightmare,” she admitted. “I think the cave reminded me a bit too much of Chamber of Secrets.”
He sat down at the small table and she brought over two cups of hot chocolate. “I’m sorry to hear that. You still have nightmares about it?”
“Not usually,” she clarified. “I haven’t had a nightmare about it in years. I think part of it was that musty underground smell. That and then the skeletons of the Quintapeds. I remember a lot of little skeletons in the corridors around the chamber.”
Harry nodded. “I remember.”
“I don’t think I ever thanked you. That was the most embarrassing, humiliating time of my life. Thanks to my brothers, everyone knew I had this huge crush on you. I made it worse by acting like a ninny and not even talking to you. I still can’t believe I sent you that Valentine.” She blushed and shook her head. “Thank you for never making fun of me or making me feel badly and of course, thank you for saving my life.”
He flushed. “Of course. I…I didn’t know how to handle being the object of someone’s crush. In the Muggle world, I was scorned and humiliated myself, so it was odd to think I was worthy of someone’s attention. It was flattering, but I didn’t know how to handle it.” He grinned. “I still have that Valentine. It was the very first one I ever received.”
Ginny couldn’t believe what she was hearing. It was thrilling to think he’d kept that Valentine. While the rhyme was awful, she’d worked so hard on it. Her thoughts returned to the Chamber of Secrets. “How did you know to rescue me?”
“Ron and I were going to tell Professor McGonagall that we’d figured out where the entrance of the Chamber of Secrets was. When we heard the announcement and heard that you were the one who’d been taken…it was awful. We didn’t know what to do, but we couldn’t do nothing. I just wish we’d picked a more competent professor to bring with us.”
“Ron told me how Lockhart tried to Obliviate the two of you and it backfired.”
Harry nodded. “Somehow it wasn’t that surprising that he was nothing but a huge fraud. All his classes consisted of was reading and acting out his stupid books.”
Ginny nodded. “He was one of the worst. Professor Umbridge was worse. She actually kept us from practicing magic.”
“I heard about her,” Harry nodded. “Kingsley hated her.”
When he fell silent, she asked, “Can you tell me what happened…you know, from your point of view?”
“I was so scared,” he admitted. “I kept hoping you were still alive. When I finally entered the chamber…it was so spooky and then I saw you lying there. I remember thinking ‘please don’t be dead, please don’t be dead.’ When I reached you, that was when Riddle made his appearance. He told me how he’d tricked you and how powerful he was and of course he made his big reveal about his name.”
With a wave of his wand, Harry recreated the moment. “He then let the Basilisk out. Professor Dumbledore’s phoenix, Fawkes, brought me the Sorting Hat. When I put it on my head, Gryffindor’s Sword appeared.
“Fawkes wasn’t done helping me; he poked out the Basilisk’s eyes, which made it easier for me to kill it. He also cried in my wound, because the Basilisk venom was already killing me.”
Ginny gasped with tears in her eyes. “You were bitten? I never knew that. Merlin, I am so sorry.”
Scooting next to her, Harry reached out and covered her hand with his. “I have regretted many things that happened over the years, but I have never, ever regretted going to rescue you. Voldemort used you, just like he used many people over the years. You managed to fight against him for an entire year!”
She blinked back her tears. “Thank you.”
Smiling, he drew her to him and she melted against him. When their hug ended, he searched her beautiful face before lowering his head to kiss her. She responded almost immediately. Harry slid one hand through her hair and secured the other at the small of her back. When breathing became an issue, he finally pulled back.
“I’ve been wanting to do that for days,” he murmured as he pushed her hair back behind her shoulder.
“Really?” she said uncertainly. “I’ve just…I’m not as beautiful as some of the girls I’ve seen you with.”
He stood up and held out his hand. “Will you walk with me?”
Taking his hand, she let him pull her up. Together, they walked out and could see the sky starting to light up. He finally started talking.
“Sirius’ death so close to the final battle really messed me up. I…I helped Kingsley and testified at the trials, but I went home to an empty house. I started drinking and partying. I would go out and people loved me. Women wanted me and men wanted to be my friend. It was so confusing. Being young, I took advantage of it. It took me a while to realize that none of these people really liked me. They wanted to be seen with me or more.
“I finally woke up and realized that I didn’t really like the person I’d become. That’s when I returned to London. I started working with Kingsley and worked with some other countries on their Dark Arts problems. I’ve been spending time with Teddy and trying to make myself a better person.”
He turned and looked down at her. “You are so amazing. You gave up your own dreams to help your brother. You are clever and fun and incredibly beautiful and sexy. Trust me, you don’t belong in the same class with those women in the pictures. You are so far above them. You are actually so far above me, too, but I’m hoping you will be willing to overlook that.”
She looked up at him steadily trying to comprehend everything he was saying. While they’d been working together, it was easy to forget who he was and what he’d done. He wasn’t the storybook character from her childhood, he was so much more. Reaching up, she pulled his head down and kissed him deeply.
Harry grinned at his beautiful wife as they entered the Ministry. Three years had passed since their Quintaped hunt and the time between now and then had been amazing and fulfilling. Harry mentally ticked off the highlights: he had reconnected with Ron, Ginny had agreed to marry him, Teddy had become a most important part of their life and the three often spent time with Ron, Parvati, Lilac and Victoire.
His relationship with his mother- and father-in-law was still a bit strained. Ginny clashed with her mother a bit too much for him to develop a close relationship with the older witch. Bill and Fleur were frequent visitors to Harry and Ginny’s house as was Ron. The twins were great and still as friendly as they’d been that long-ago first September when they helped him with his trunk.
“Look at Luna.” Harry jumped at Ginny’s voice in his ear. Looking around, he spotted her in a bright yellow ball gown and black lace-up boots.
He smiled and shook her head. “She certainly is unique.”
Pushing their way through the crowd, they joined Luna and Rolf on the raised platform. Behind them was the photo from the cover of Rolf’s book on Quintapeds and in front of them was a long table with microphones. The two couples greeted each other with hugs and sat down behind their name tags.
The assembled media quieted down as the Minister for Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt, strode onto the stage. After the applause, he said, “Three years ago, Rolf Scamander, Luna Lovegood, Harry and Ginny Potter started on a quest on our behalf to search for the Quintapeds. We’ve learned much about these creatures and their origins.” Turning, he gestured to Rolf, who began his story.
He explained the origins of the Quintapeds. The madness of Ewan MacBoon and the creation of his monsters and how that had been changed over the century to the story everyone knew about the MacBoons and McCliverts. The rumour of Quintaped eggs had been proven false when the cameras caught the birth of a baby Quintaped on film. Over the past three years, a team of wizarding scientists had worked to sequence the genome of the Quintapeds.
A hush fell over the crowd as Rolf unveiled the chart showing where MacBoon had taken the DNA to create his creature. There was manticore, chimera, and Hungarian Horntail DNA. Surprisingly, he’d also included DNA from his family’s prized Shetland pony as well as the common weasel. The most surprising and controversial was the inclusion of human DNA as well.
Magilinguists had tried in vain to decipher the Quintaped speech, but had thus far been unsuccessful. The vocalizations had been analysed and other magical creatures such as mermaids and goblins had listened without understanding anything that was said.
A team from Gringotts had recast the wards around the island while at the same time stocking the lake with enough fish to keep the Quintapeds going for quite some time. The location of the Isle of Drear was placed under the strictest of security after some foolish wizards followed a group of scientists out to the island. Their bodies were found the next day.
Harry sat back and watched as Rolf fielded questions from the audience. Ginny reached over and took his hand under the table. Suddenly he couldn’t wait for the press conference to be over. He had plans for his beautiful wife.
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