You are currently viewing The Legacy of Merlin Chapter Thirty-Nine

The Legacy of Merlin Chapter Thirty-Nine

Harry opened his eyes, looking up in surprise, not recognizing where he was. ‘What’s going on?’ He thought with a groan as he looked around. He was in a large, underwater bubble of air. He watched as a school of fish swam past him, wondering how he ended up here.

“You’re lucky you called me when you did,” Nimue said, startling him. “A few minutes longer and you wouldn’t have survived.”

“Nimue,” Harry said, turning around to look at the ethereal form of the lady of the lake. He sat up, grimacing as he did. He could feel every one of his cuts and bruises. Whatever Merlin had done to cut off the pain had clearly worn off. He could even feel the burning sensation in his magical pathways, and unlike the last time, multiple pathways were affected.

“It’s not nearly as bad this time,” Merlin added. “You spread the magic over multiple pathways, lessening the damage. You’re also magically exhausted, but you’ll recover in a few days.”

Harry thought about his latest confrontation with the study group with a frown. All the training he did, the preparations he made, and they still outclassed him at every turn.

“You weren’t outclassed,” Merlin interrupted his thoughts. “They overpowered and outnumbered you. There is a difference.”

‘It didn’t feel like it when I was fighting for my life,’ Harry thought back morosely.

“There is,” Merlin disagreed. “Your technique, aim, and spell versatility were much better than theirs. They overpowered you, but they didn’t use a single spell or technique taught outside of the school curriculum. They didn’t modify or even charge their spells to deal more damage. That tells us a great deal about them.”

‘Yeah,’ Harry thought back. ‘They didn’t need to. The rituals were more than enough to give them the advantage,’ he thought, still feeling the sting of his latest defeat.

‘Don’t you find it strange?’ Merlin thought back. “For an organization that has been working towards a single goal for hundreds of years, and they haven’t taught their followers any more than the very basics of dueling?”

Harry paused, thinking about Merlin’s words. The more he found out about Andre and the study group, the more questions he ended up with. ‘We took them by surprise when we discovered them in the astronomy tower,’ he thought. ‘…They’re off balance and have been making mistakes ever since.’

“That’s right,” Merlin agreed. “Those mistakes are going to catch up with them. That’s when we can turn things in our favor. You just have to be patient.” He finished, their mental conversation beginning and ending within the blink of an eye.

“What happened to you Harry?” Nimue asked in concern. “When I met you, you were just about to start your schooling, and now you look like you fought a war.”

Harry looked up at the beautiful sorceress. “…It’s a long story.”

“You better get started then,” Nimue said, sitting down beside him.

“My friends and I found a group of students performing rituals to steal magic,” Harry explained.

“Steal magic?” Nimue asked in alarm. She had hoped that ritual, and its variations, had been lost to time long ago.

“Yeah,” Harry nodded, going into an explanation of the ritual and his various encounters with the study group.

“So, you reached out to one of your incarnations,” Nimue surmised. “That was dangerous Harry. I warned you about that,” she admonished.

“I know,” Harry admitted. “I didn’t forget what you told me, but I didn’t have a choice. Someone I care about was hurt. They were going to die. I couldn’t just-” He said before Nimue interrupted him.

“Sit back and do nothing,” Nimue finished, knowingly. “I can’t say I’m surprised,” she continued. “Your incarnations seem to find themselves in these situations, and more often than not, when they see injustice, danger, or someone in need, they can’t turn away.”

“It’s how many of your incarnations also died,” she continued, “stepping into situations they weren’t ready for,” making her warning clear.

Harry nodded, conceding Nimue’s point. “I don’t know what it is yet, but the study group is doing something dangerous, and they need to be stopped.”

“You’re right about that,” Nimue agreed. “It’s one of the few things Merlin and I saw eye to eye on, too. If you only knew the amount of death and destruction that can be traced back to that ritual, it would keep you up at night.”

“How have you been preparing?” Nimue asked. “How has your occlumency training been progressing?”

“I’m learning how to use hardening and magical detection,” Harry replied. “Oh, and charged spells, and chain spells as well, but I haven’t got very far in my occlumency training. Most of my focus has been on dealing with the study group.”

“Harry,” Nimue admonished. “Your occlumency is the most important thing you need to learn, especially when dealing with one of your past incarnations.”

“I know,” Harry agreed. “My incarnation is protecting my mind from mental intrusions. He’s already helped me a couple of times,” he said, remembering the time Dumbledore attempted to use legilimency on him, and when Andre tried to alter his memories.

Nimue sighed. The incarnation probably helped more than hurt him, especially considering what he learned in such a short amount of time and the pressure he was under. “What’s done is done, but you can’t rely on your incarnation to protect your mind, not from their own influence. Whoever they are, they should know that better than anyone.”

Harry paused, knowing how Nimue felt about Merlin, but he didn’t feel right about hiding something like this from her, and above Merlin’s objections, he revealed the truth. “The incarnation is Merlin.”

“What?” Nimue asked, her jaw dropping open in shock. “…How is that possible?” She asked, finding her voice. She had never heard of such a thing. “The first incarnation you meet is ALWAYS the most recent one, not one from more than a thousand years ago.”

“I don’t know,” Harry admitted. “Merlin appeared when I was trying to save my friend. I was desperate and needed someone that could save his life. I think Merlin showed up, because he was the only one that could do it.”

“…Harry,” Nimue said, shaking her head. “I’ve met a fair number of your incarnations, but Merlin…”

Harry could feel Merlin bristling at Nimue’s tone. The undercurrent of anger and annoyance was more than clear.

“Nimue’s always been judgmental like this,” Merlin said. “She never understood what I was trying to build. She doesn’t even know about the people I’ve helped, or what I’ve done to make up for my past mistakes.”

“Nimue,” Harry asked. “What is the problem with Merlin? He’s helped me a lot. I probably wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him.”

“Yes, it always starts that way with him,” Nimue agreed. “He can be selfless, even charming, as long as your goals align, but deep down inside, he’s a manipulator of the highest order. There’s very little he won’t do to reach his goals.”

“…She isn’t wrong,” Merlin admitted, sounding deflated. “I’ve done things, made difficult choices, but it hasn’t been as easy as she makes it out to be. I’ve agonized over those decisions. What she never understood is that sometimes there are no good choices you can make, just less bad ones.”

Harry stood there, not sure who or what to believe. Nimue and Merlin clearly had a history, and a complicated one at that. He trusted Nimue, but he also trusted Merlin too.

“You haven’t noticed it yet, but you’re changing Harry,” Nimue continued. “It’s subtle, but Merlin’s ideas, his beliefs, are slowly becoming yours. It isn’t all bad,” she said cutting off his protests. “They’ve clearly helped you to survive, but your choices are being influenced by his presence in your mind, and the longer this goes on, the more likely you are to lose yourself.”

“The Merlin I remember was always so secretive, slow to trust others, even willing to sacrifice others to get what he wanted,” Nimue said, placing a hand on Harry’s shoulder. “I don’t want you to turn out like that.”

Harry felt the weight of Nimue’s words, thinking about everything that had happened since he opened the vault. All the things Merlin taught him, how he helped heal his injuries, how he shared with him what happened in his life. ‘Gaius,’ he thought. The man had been like a father to Merlin, and it couldn’t have been easy to share how he died, and the decisions he made that led to his death. Merlin was a complicated and flawed man, not the paragon of virtue or mythical figure he was remembered as.

As he thought about Merlin’s lessons, he remembered his own part in them. How he pushed Merlin to teach him the magics he did, the spells and techniques that helped him deal with the threat of the study group. He could have pushed Merlin to teach him occlumency, just as he had for his other lessons, but he hadn’t, choosing to focus on the threats in front of him.

Harry looked up at Nimue. “I understand, but there’s no one else to stop the study group, no one that would believe me at any rate, and Merlin has taught me a few of the basics about occlumency already.”

“I’m worried for you Harry,” Nimue admitted. “I’ve seen what happened to your past incarnations, the ones that did what you’re doing now. By the end, some of them were unrecognizable. It would break my heart if that happened to you too,” she finished, her voice thick with emotion.

“Wait, I’ve got an idea,” Harry said, thinking of something. “Check my mind. Tell me what else I have to do to protect my inner self.”

“Alright Harry, if you’re sure,” Nimue said as she locked eyes with him, entering his mind.

Harry blinked as he found himself in the stone room of his mind. It had happened so quickly he had barely registered Nimue’s intrusion.

Nimue looked around, examining the stone walls, floor, and bookshelf. “…It’s rudimentary, but not a bad start,” she conceded. “He’s taught you more than I expected him to, but you still have a lot of work to do. Your mind isn’t fully protected. There are still plenty of holes in your defenses.”

Harry looked at Merlin, a look of annoyance on his face, but he said nothing, not even when Nimue walked through him to look at the items on his bookshelf.

“You can’t see him,” Harry realized, a look of surprise on his face. “I thought you would be able to in here.”

“No,” Nimue shook her head. “He isn’t really in your mind,” she explained. “Whatever gives you the ability to meet your past incarnations isn’t centered here. You’re the only one that will ever be able to see or hear him.”

“Oh,” Harry said in surprise. “Have any of my past incarnations ever found out how-”

“No,” Nimue said, turning to face him. “Many of them wanted to, but none of them even knew where to start.”

“What about my first incarnation?” Harry asked. “They must have some idea of what happened.”

“Meeting past incarnation isn’t easy,” Merlin said. “The further back you go, the more difficult it becomes. I spent a good chuck of my life searching for him myself, but never came close.”

“I was able to skip previous incarnations,” Harry pointed out. “If I can figure out how I did it, maybe I can meet them.”

“You’re far from ready for something like that,” Nimue said, picking up on only Harry’s side of the conversation. “It will be years before you’re ready for such an undertaking, if at all.”

Harry nodded in agreement, seeing her point. He already had his hands full with Andre, he couldn’t afford to split his attention now.

“…Merlin’s done well by you,” Nimue admitted. “And is probably the best teacher you can find given the circumstances,” she said as they exited his mind, returning to the underwater bubble.

“Can you help me stop them?” Harry asked. With Nimue’s help, he could even level the playing field.

“No Harry,” Nimue said, shaking her head sadly.

“What? Why?” Harry asked in surprise. All the legends said that she was a powerful sorceress.

“My powers are limited here,” Nimue explained. “My soul is bound to a place between this world and another. I can appear here because of my affinity for water, but not for very long.”

“Where are you?” Harry asked.

“It’s a place your people have called Avalon,” Nimue revealed.

“…The final resting place of King Arthur,” Harry said in awe. Even knowing what he did about Merlin, and Nimue, he hadn’t thought it was a real place. “I thought it was just a myth.” ‘Why had Merlin never told him about all of this?’

“My time here is running out,” Nimue said, looking up at the setting sun.

Harry followed Nimue’s gaze, realizing how long he’d been down here, and what his friends must think, not knowing where he was.

“Go,” Nimue said as she faded away. “It will be some time before I can see you again. Take care of yourself.”

Harry looked around after Nimue disappeared, wondering how he was supposed to get to the surface.

“Touch the wall of the bubble,” Merlin instructed. “You just need to put a little of your magic inside, and you can push it to the surface.”

Harry followed Merlin’s instructions, watching as the bubble slowly rose to the surface, catching the eye of a few surprised mer-folk before he broke the surface of the lake. With a little more magic, he pushed the bubble to the shoreline before it popped.

He looked around to make sure no one had seen him before he made his way back to the castle, quickly transfiguring his clothes to hide the dirt and rips in the fabric.

Hermione, Ron, Fred, and George sat around the fireplace. Dinner had already come and gone, and there was still no sign of Harry. They were out of time, and couldn’t hide Harry’s disappearance any longer. They shared a long look, knowing what they had to do.

As they stood up they heard the unmistakable sound of the portrait door swinging open. They each felt a rush of emotions as they took in the welcomed sight of their friend. At first glance, he seemed fine. Not so much as a hair out of place, but as they looked at his face, they could see the tiredness in his eyes, the way his shoulders slumped, and how exhausted he was.

“Ron, you’re ok,” Harry said, breathing a sigh of relief as he made his way to his friends.

Ron nodded gratefully, “thanks to you, mate.”

“Let’s go,” George said, keeping his voice low as he led them out of the common room, and to the abandoned classroom they had been using on and off since they found out about the study group. “We told everyone you were out for the day, working on something with your barrister.”

Just as they rounded the corner, they heard the voice of Professor Green stopping them in their tracks. “Mr. Potter, good you’re back. I was hoping to speak with you.”

“I’ll meet you there,” Harry whispered to his friends.

“Ok,” Hermione whispered back as they continued down the hall.

Harry turned around, keeping a calm expression on his as he faced his defense professor. “Sure, Professor. What did you want to talk about?”

“It’s about your absence today,” Olivia started.

“I’m sorry about that, professor,” Harry replied. “Something came up with my barrister, and it couldn’t wait,” he said, sticking with the story his friends made up to cover or him.

“Yes, I heard,” Olivia replied. “I hope you won’t be making a habit of it.”

“No professor,” Harry replied with a shake of his head.

“Good,” Olivia smiled. “I know you’re doing a lot of important things, helping people, and I’m sure you had to leave for an important reason, but please remember, your education is important as well.”

“I will,” Harry replied.

“Is everything ok Harry?” Olivia asked, taking in the tired expression on his face. “You look exhausted.”

“I’m ok professor, it’s just been a very long day for me,” Harry admitted.

“I can imagine,” Olivia said, remembering Harry’s most recent appearance in the Prophet. “You probably feel like you’re carrying all the world’s problems on your shoulders,” she said, putting her hand on his shoulder comfortingly. “Just remember to take a break every now and then, before you burn yourself out.”

“I will, thank you, professor,” Harry said, taking her words to heart. He wasn’t sure about her at first, but over the last few months, he had grown to respect her and value her opinion. She was also much closer to his age than his other professors and saw the world through a similar lens as him.

“Alright, I won’t keep you any longer. I’ll see you in class tomorrow,” Olivia said before leaving.

Harry watched her leave, making sure she was around the corner before he went to join the others in the abandoned classroom.

As soon as he walked through the door Hermione wrapped her arms around Harry in a tight hug. “I’m so glad you’re ok.”

Harry nodded, patting her on the back reassuringly as he hid his grimace. Whatever Nimue had done to heal his wounds had helped a lot, but his cuts and remaining bruises still stung.

As Hermione broke her hug, Harry turned to Ron. “Were the goblins able to heal all your injuries?” he asked.

“Yeah, mostly,” Ron smiled. “They were pretty surprised when I showed up, but as soon as I mentioned your name, they took me straight to the infirmary to get healed up… but they didn’t give me back your card,” he finished with a frown.

“It’s alright,” Harry assured him. “I’m just glad you made it out ok.” He knew that dropping Ron on the goblins the way he had would ruffle a few feathers, and he was more than likely going to have another meeting with them the next time he visited the bank, but it was well worth it.

“Good. Now that that’s settled, you can tell us what the heck you were thinking breaking into the Ravenclaw common room,” George demanded angrily as he looked between Harry and Ron. He wasn’t sure who he was angrier with, Ron for lying about it, or Harry going along with it.

Harry ducked his head. ‘I deserve that,’ he thought, feeling guilty. He was the one that brought Ron along with him when he broke into the Ravenclaw common room. Ron wasn’t ready for something like that. None of them were. It was a miracle they didn’t get hurt worse than they did.

“We couldn’t just sit back and do nothing,” Ron protested. “They’re up to something bad, really bad. You have to know that!”

“Ron, you lied to us. You said you were done with this,” Fred replied. “After what you went through in the forbidden forest, you should know better than anyone what they’re capable of, and what they would have done if they caught you.”

“I’m sorry,” Harry said. “I shouldn’t have brought Ron with me. It was my fault he got hurt.”

“Neither one of you should be involved in this!” George shouted, incensed.

“Ease up, George,” Fred replied with a sigh. “We can’t change what’s happened, but maybe there’s something in the book we can use to get Andre and his friends to back off.”

“Book? What book?” Harry asked, wondering what they were talking about.

“I found this,” Ron said proudly, pulling out the journal he found earlier in the morning. “I think one of them dropped it last night, but we can’t get it open.”

Harry looked at the book in Ron’s hands carefully, examining the protections on it, and breathed a sigh of relief when he found it wasn’t anywhere near as advanced as the one on Andre’s trunk.

“Wait,” Hermione interrupted. “What about Draco? He should be here too,” she insisted.

Fred pulled out the map, quickly finding Draco walking down a hallway close by. “Alright hang on. I’ll go get him.”

A few minutes later, he returned with Draco in tow. “Potter, you made it,” he said upon seeing him. ‘I guess I shouldn’t be surprised,’ he thought. ‘Potter does seem to have a knack for getting himself in and out of these situations.’ “How did you escape?”

Harry thought about what he was going to tell his friends. He couldn’t tell them about Nimue, not without explaining Merlin as well. He didn’t like the idea of lying to them, but he had involved them far too much in this already, telling them any more could put them in even more danger.

“…The fireworks,” he replied. “They distracted the study group long enough for me to escape. I dove into the lake and sunk to the bottom, then I used an overpowered bubble head charm to create a bubble big enough to fit inside.”

“That must not have been easy,” Draco said. “Weasley said you were injured.”

“I got a few cuts and bruises,” Harry replied, downplaying his injuries. “I used up the last of my magic on the bubble head charm and passed out. When I woke up, I treated my injuries as best as I could and came back up.”

“Have you opened the book yet?” Draco asked, hoping there would be something there to bring an end to all this.

“I was just about to,” Harry said as he took the book from Ron, and carefully dismantled the wards protecting it. He opened the cover, reading the first page. “The journal of Talbott Winger.”

Hermione held her breath, hoping this was the thing they were looking for. Finally, something they could use to prove to everyone what the study group was up to.

Harry flipped through the pages, skimming over its contents as he committed them to memory. “It looks like it starts in Talbott’s second year… there’s some stuff about how he got recruited,” he said, skipping ahead. “Here we go,” he said, getting to the fourth year notes. “He says they’re trying to save someone… they’re trapped somewhere,” he continued, wondering what that had to do with the empowerment rituals they performed.

“Save someone?” Hermione asked, considering their actions. “That doesn’t make any sense.”

“I know,” Harry agreed as he continued to read. “It says they’re trapped… outside of this world, an innocent. They want to open a portal so that they can free them.”

“What?” Ron asked, now more confused that ever, unable to reconcile their actions with their goals either.

“I’ve got something else,” Harry said as he got to the current year. “They’re waiting for a precise moment to free them,” his brow furrowing in confusion as he read the next part. “…it’s almost ten years from now.”

Harry continued to flip through the pages, skimming through Talbott’s notes, and searching for something useful, until he finally landed on the current year, his eyes widening as he read the next part.

“What is it?” George asked, noticing the surprised look on Harry’s face.

“…Something happened. It moved up their timetable. They’re going to do the ritual this year,” Harry said. He skimmed through the rest of the book, hoping to find an explanation but most of what was left in the book went over his plans after they freed this person, notes about writing a memoir, and all the things he would do with the new magic he learned.

“…The vault,” Merlin realized. “When you opened it, it released a surge of magic. That’s why it’s happening now. This is worse than I thought. They’re not just using their own magic to open the portal, they’re also using magic they’ve collected and stored. This is very bad,” he finished gravely.

‘What do you mean?’ Harry thought.

“Portals are very advanced magics,” Merlin explained. “When you open a portal, the amount of magic required is based on both the distance and the magical power of the being crossing through the portal. They’ve gone through at least two empowerment rituals that we know of, and collected magic for hundreds of years on top of that. Whatever they plan on bringing through that portal is very, very, dangerous.”

Harry remembered what Beatrice had told him. “We’re the good guys.”

“What?” Draco asked. “What are you talking about?” None of this made any sense.

“That’s what Beatrice told me,” Harry replied, “just before I escaped.”

‘It’s my fault,’ Harry thought. ‘If I didn’t open the vault, this wouldn’t have happened.’

“Yes, it would have,” Merlin denied. “They’ve been waiting, planning all this time to open this portal. It would have happened regardless, and opening the vault may not have been a bad thing.”

‘What do you mean?’ Harry thought back. ‘Of course it’s bad. They’re going to open a portal to another plane of existence. How could it be anything other than bad?’

“Think Harry,” Merlin replied. “They’ve been planning for this moment for hundreds of years, and until this summer, they thought they still had another ten years to go. You upended all their carefully planing in an instant. If you hadn’t done that, we would have never known what they were up to.”

‘They recruited me, Hermione, Draco, and Ron all in one year instead of the one or two they recruit normally,’ Harry thought, following Merlin’s line of thinking. “Andre had to rush everything to get me to join them. That’s how I found out the truth about them.”

“They also never planned for anyone finding out what they were doing in the first place,” Merlin pointed out. “Everything we’ve been doing has been putting pressure on them, and they’ve made mistakes because of it. If we keep it up, they’ll make more mistakes, enough for us to learn how to stop them.”

‘How?’ Harry thought.

“The magic they’ve been storing. If we can find it, we can release it. They won’t be able to perform the ritual without it,” Merlin explained.

“What should we do?” Hermione asked. “What if they’re telling the truth? What if there’s someone that really needs help?”

“They believe it’s the truth, but it’s not,” Harry explained. “Whatever is on the other side of that portal isn’t human. It’s powerful, very powerful. If it comes into our world, there will be nothing anyone can do to stop it.”

Hi! What did you think of the latest chapter? The last three chapters were originally planned out as a single chapter. Harry and Ron were supposed to escape without getting caught, but after thinking about it, and how I wanted to develop the study group I decided to expand it. How did you like the reveal of the study groups ultimate plans?

thanks for reading,


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