Into the Fire
The day’s battle had worn even the enthusiastic Godric. It was a long day of non-stop fighting and they only stopped because both forces decided a momentary cease to collect their fallen. There was at least honor in that. Not far from here, the wizard received a letter that the Anexus also had a similar confrontation, but as for their condition he did not know. He assumed Avalon was among them, a few miles away, the closest they had been in a great amount of time.
Scouts returned with grave news: the enemy’s supply was strong and their forces were recovering much faster than Godric’s own. If the battle went again as it did this day they would not stand a chance. What was he to do? Retreat from this post and live to fight another day? That would leave the Anexus open to being flanked on two fronts, but surely he could not throw his own people in an unwinnable fight for the same inevitable outcome. What was he to do? As though his thoughts of a solution were heard by some higher power, Madison entered:
“Godric! That wolf showed up again!”
The wizard removed himself from the table that held a map of the area they resided on and followed his childhood friend. The sorcerers of Moore recognized the dire wolf with ease, his size and color very distinct among the wolves of the Anexus, particularly Avalon Anexus. Godric left his tent and found the dire wolf walking toward him, easily able to recognize the scent of his befriended wizard. Fenrir could have waited outside the camp, he knew this, but what good it that? Sorcerers were not all intelligent, they may make the poor assumption of the wolf being some wild animal and try to kill him. That would result in more than a few throats being torn out. No, he could not attack any humans here, he knew his task, his purpose and it was to find Wizard Godric.
The wizard’s voice came after the scent of him, “Fenrir!”
The dire wolf did not wag his tail, this was not a time to be happy, he had to fulfill his task. Fenrir walked up to the wizard and took a mouthful of Godric’s sleeve and began tugging. Follow. The wizard thankfully understood, taking a cloak from Madison he walked behind the wolf leading him into the forest.
They walked for a shorter distance than the wizard thought. Though it was through thick brush and over a couple steep hills it proved to be quicker than going around. The wolf knew this and the wizard trusted him. The light of faeries held in phase-able lanterns allowed for good vision without drawing too much attention as a normal fire would. Godric did not notice they were upon the Anexus camp until he and the wolf departed the safety of the thick woods. The wizard was taken back by the size of the camp, being much larger than his own, he wondered if their knowledge of the Anexus size was either out of date or poorly misjudged. Fenrir pulled at Godric’s long sleeve again to bring his attention back. As he followed the wolf closely, Godric pulled his pointed hood over his head and did best not to draw attention to himself. Had he not been with Fenrir he certainly would have.
“--activities have increased in the north, we were forced to pull our scouts back before we could get close enough.”
Godric wanted to wait, but Fenrir would not.
Their leader pondered for a moment and was slow to respond, “Perhaps we could consult the nearby forest’s guardian--”
Fenrir moved the tent’s flap and entered, accompanied by an unknown man. The others turned to see the cloaked stranger, each snapped their hands to weapons and drew partly before Avalon rose her hand to halt.
“Godric?” She asked full of surprise as the others looked at each other recognizing the name.
The wizard removed his hood holding his hands up to show he was unarmed. The alchemists remained stunned, unsure of what to do as their upbringing commanded them to react one way and the order of their chief commanded another. For a while no one moved, frozen in the shock and uncertainty of the appropriate action to take.
“Arvid--” Avalon’s calmness returned, “Gather the scouts and have them report their findings to the captains. Have the captains pass it to the lieutenants and then to the rest of our forces.”
The senior three released their weapons and bowed their heads to the chief leaving with heavy eyes upon the wizard. Once satisfied the two were alone Avalon spoke, her surprise also catching Godric off guard. She was not expecting him.
“How and what are you doing here?” Her voice was more hostile than he expected from an old friend.
“Fenrir...did you not send him?”
Avalon rose a brow, moving it to her dire wolf, “I will deal with you later.”
The wolf’s ears dropped at the intensity of his companion’s words and he left the tent to allow the two to be truly alone. Avalon turned her attention back to the wizard and exhaled loudly as she leaned on her own war table.
“Go back, I do not need any disruptions right now.”
Godric chuckled lightly, “Is that anyway to greet an old friend?”
Avalon dropped her head between her arms staring down at the table before speaking in a lower tone, “That was a long time ago Godric, we were children then.”
“I did not realize becoming an adult made you stop having friends.” The wizard smirked, crossing his arm.
Avalon was slightly amused with Godric retaining his personality, despite the years.
“Look how far we’ve come since then...we both came to lead the very families that tried to tear us apart.” There was irony in this and for moment Avalon’s softer gaze from their youth returned.
The alchemist asked, “I thought your elder brother would have taken your father’s place?”
“He was meant to.” Godric nodded, “But he said he would not abandon his mission and passed leadership to me instead.”
Avalon’s curiosity was peaked.
Godric continued, “Salazar has been a spy from within the ranks of the Dark One’s for years now. He has provided information that without would have resulted in our defeat long ago, that is the same information I have given you that led you this battle.”
The chief of the Anexus looked to the war table seeing the advancement of the different sides.
“We cannot do this alone.” Godric’s words irritated the Anexus, “Even Fenrir, a beast, understands the times we face. Surely you see it as well! Only together can we defeat the Dark Ones, bring about our dream of peace between our people!”
Her willingness to hear him was gone, replaced by her responsibility as the clan’s leader, “We were children then Godric, living in a dream. You need to wake up! We are responsible for the lives of our people, we cannot run away to a fairy tale!”
The alchemist told him again to go back and began walking to a divided section of the tent. He followed, protesting against her refusal to hear him out. There was a purpose to his presence, to Fenrir bringing him to her, this was meant to be. Godric must make her remember their promise, their dream to create a world where their children no longer had to fight. He had to make her see as he did to see that their dream was not a fantasy, that it was possible and they could make it so. She needed to trust him as she did when they were children, the same trust that had her expose her back to him, believing he would not stabbed her in it.
Avalon clenched her fists. Godric stormed up to her, grabbing her wrist and revealing both his and her bracers.
“If you truly believed our dream was a fairy tale then explain this!”
The alchemist’s expression changed, she struggled to keep her composure, not wanting anyone to see the weakness within her.
“Its impossible Godric...”
“You have not even tried!”
“You did not!”
Her anger broke thru as she ripped her arm free, “I TRIED!” Avalon went over to another divided cloth and ripped it from the ceiling, exposing the cold body on the table.
“THEY KILLED MY LITTLE BROTHER!”
“I TRIED TO SEE THE GOOD, TO GIVE SORCERERS A CHANCE, BUT AFTER EVERYTHING--!” Avalon breathed heavily, her shouting drawing attention, but none dare enter.
“Just go...” Tears dropped from her face, “Please...”
Fenrir entered the tent and pulled at the wizard’s sleeve before he could protest further. Go. Knowing there was nothing else to do, Godric moved to Sid Anexus and removed his wand. Avalon had no alarm, as she watched the wizard wave the magical stick and produce a ring of lilies around his body. He turned to Avalon who was quiet, tears full of anguish and loss, he wanted to comfort her, to embrace her as they did when they were children, but he also knew that was the opposite of what she wanted and needed. Godric left with Fenrir soon after.
The next day’s battle was harder than the previous. The sun beat against them, the weariness of days of travel, fighting and limited supplies made the desire to engage not. Godric had no intention of fighting this day, but the Dark Ones came at a surprise, cutting off the means of escape--their only options now were to fight, or die. That did not stop the wizard from thinking of means to escape, of fighting to protect those still alive and allowing them to remain alive to fight another day. It was not going in their favor. A runaway spell discharged into Godric’s shoulder, knocking him off his feet and disarming him of his wand.
The dark wizard saw his chance and aimed his wand--his throat was crushed before he had a chance to name his spell. The fangs of the dire wolf dug into the wizard’s jugular crushing his neck, windpipe, and artery. The wolf knocked the limp body off his feet and dropped the remaining with a loud thud. Godric smiled widely, recovering his wand his looked to the sun over the hill and saw the incoming force. They knew their orders: kill the Dark Ones, kill any who did not bear the colors red and gold of the Gryffindor Coven.
Godric turned around and engaged with his sword, attacking his enemy his back pressed against by Avalon Anexus. Just as they were children, practicing, training, growing the other even when they were told to be enemies. It was never before seen: alchemists and sorcerers fighting side-by-side against a common enemy. This was not an alliance for the mutual benefit of survival, this was a true unity, a coming of two very different people to fulfill the dream they shared.
The battle ended with their victory and at its end the two people stood across from each other. Their leaders fronted their perspective people, a long time of silence came across as both waited for the other to have comfort in speaking.
“Sid...” Avalon spoke first, looking to the edge of her kin, “He followed me once and said that when he saw you and I together it was the happiest he had seen me in a long time. He asked if he could have a friend like that, if he could find a sorcerer like you.”
The Anexus dropped their heads, mourning the loss of a young man so bright and noble beyond the ordinary alchemist. He was a role-model; gentle as the mother he never met, courageous as the elder brother he looked up to, smart as the elder sister he worshiped and strong as his father made him. His death was truly a loss to the clan not only in power, but also in spirit.
“I told him not everyone was like you, that there were good and bad sorcerers in the world...he asked me how I could tell, without Fenrir, how would I know the difference.” Avalon rolled up her sleeve and showed the bracer she long hid from the clan, “I told him you have to talk to them; share a drink with them and work to understand in order to know their hearts.”
Godric had more hope now than he had in years.
“We have hurt and been hurt over and over throughout our histories. Our ancestors fought and died believing in their oaths and promises, passing them to their children and their children’s children. The Anexus have been ruled by the wisdom of our ancestors and until now they have not led us astray. But this is a new era, a new time where we can no longer follow this one way. We must change, all of us; sorcerer and alchemist alike we must change, we must work to make a place where our children no longer have to die on the battlefield.”
Avalon smiled, holding out her hand to the sorcerers who were once seen as enemies.
“We can never heal the damage our kin have done to each other, but we can stop it from continuing. Our dream to create that place...” Avalon's smile was shy now, “Is not a fairy tale after all.”
Godric took hold of that hand grasping it firmly. They felt the warmth and tingling emanating from their bracers that made this union feel even more right. The people cheered, it seemed that lifetimes of pain and heartache were gone in this very moment. Sorcerers and alchemists came together, talking, drinking, they came together as brothers and sisters in arms. Those who once sought to kill the other, now were working towards a time where they would die for another.
This was the start, the start of fulfilling their dream a dream meant to become a reality.
Avalon was very forthcoming of information and attendance of meetings, but any Anexus did have reservations about this new alliance. They trusted their chief to the end of the world and thru hel, but their trust beyond Godric Gryffindor was not as strong, especially of Salazar Slytherin who had not been seen for a few years now. Old wounds take time to heal. Not only did Avalon and Fenrir travel to the village of Moor, but the Volva was kept close at her side. She was Avalon’s adviser, her teacher; mentor, but she nonetheless placed herself as one under the command of the chief.
“You father would be rolling in his grave if he learned of what you have done.” The Volva said this with respect and under the realization that they had very different paths to walk.
Avalon chuckled, “I am not certain if it would be out of pride or shame.”
“He was always proud of you, regardless of your disagreements. Although I’m certain if he was here now he would die of shock more than anything else.” The Volva’s dark humor had come thru quite a bit since the announcement of sorcerer and alchemist alliance.
If she had any doubts about Avalon’s decisions she kept them to herself. The young chief knew if there was true concern the Volva would voice it, though Avalon was taking the Anexus down a new path she did not want to forget their previous one. They must not ignore the wisdom of their ancestors, especially in the face of these Dark Ones, their words held true. Avalon made that very clear in her discussions with the sorcerers: the Anexus would do nothing that violated their oath as Guardians and sorcerers would expected to help fulfill that oath if this alliance was to be long-lasting.
“Look how far you have come in these few years, you have changed the Anexus and you retain the the wisdom of our ancestors.” The Volva said looking up to the stars, “It is a difficult and thin line to walk. There are those who say you are not Anexus enough, then others who say you are too much--you certainly did not choose an easy path.”
The chief agreed, “I can only trust the choices I make will better the clan, yet I still wonder...”
“You went before the clan, exposed yourself, as you asked us our thoughts towards the choice you were faced with. For generations the chiefs have taken advise, but often act in their own perspectives of what is best for the clan.”
Avalon remained quite, contemplating the choices she had made. There was nothing she could do to change the past, but she knows she must not forget it. Her mother and father, her siblings, the people she has lost in the years; these were those she cared about whose faces and memory she did not ever want to forget. She loves them all and wants to honor their memory, their sacrifice, by ensuring that the clan truly lives, is able to fulfill the task of the Great Tree, but not be consumed by it. For now...she has the time.
“They call it what?” Volva asked as they left the woods and saw the village of Moor.
Avalon explained, “Apparation--the act of arriving from one point to another instantaneously.”
“Ah! The same as the elves! The sorcerers learned how to perform it as well?”
This was alarming.
“I held the same concern when I learned of it.” Avalon continued, “But they are limited on where they may apparate. They cannot pass thru barriers, nor directly use natural ley lines, and it is apparently difficult for them to master and not many can perform it.”
It was reassuring to know they could not use the lines. Nonetheless for a human to Apparate it required a deal of knowledge of the place the wizard wants to travel to, as they need to be able to visualize it clearly. Elves and other magical beasts and creatures can use the ley lines to travel the world lines that could not be stopped by barriers of sorcerer making; they could be described as invisible magic road, pipes that users road that went almost anywhere in the world. Some of these lines crossed rarely did they combine and even less did more than one collect. Though there was one point, the muggle city of London was one of those rare places where the lines intersected.
“And Godric is one of those who can successfully apparate?” The wise-woman says with a hint of sarcasm.
Avalon nodded, not entirely certain she is prepared to apparate herself. Godric said he had performed it without incident numerous times, it was faster, a tad bit safer, and easiest to travel the great distance they require. In order to gather the forces and possess the power necessary to fight and gain victory against the Dark Ones unity is necessary. This force has its power drawn in by four individuals and their covens, each residing on one of the main isles. In the isles there are four witches and wizards who have been deemed the most powerful among their people. They lead their covens and have mastered the magic both of common knowledge and their own unique skill. Their force has already gathered the first two required of this unity: Salazar Slytherin and Godric Gryffindor have already come forth, pledging their alliance to the cause.
The day’s travel would be to a familiar place. Hafan. Avalon confessed her excitement to return to Hafan, bringing with her a list of items Elene requested and the boys had asked of as gifts. The chief found no reason to say no to any. Godric was already aware of Avalon’s experience in the mountain market and asked of her to take lead. Her familiarity with Hafan’s leadership, was even more desired: the witch they sought was none other than the child she saved in a confrontation of the winged-horse: Helga Hufflepuff.