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Kjkit - Harry Potter and the Marcello School
Chapter 38 - The Doyen's death
Chapter 38: The Doyen's death
Harry felt unfathomably happy as he swooped over the forest that led up to Marcello School. He had spent the day watching his friends enjoying Christmas, and now couldn't wait to spend the evening with Kat in her quarters. He sighed as he flew lower in the disappearing light. It seemed like nothing could get better than this until he could take Kat back with him to Hogwarts, and finally combine his two worlds together.
As he neared the front entrance of the school, he closed his eyes and transformed from his phoenix form into a falcon, falling a couple of feet through the air as the transformation took place. Only the group he trained with knew his ability to change into a phoenix, and they had been helping him research his phoenix abilities in the evenings after their own training had finished for the day. Until he was ready to face Voldemort the group had agreed to keep all his abilities secret, so that he could have the upper hand when he surprised the Dark Lord with his newfound gifts.
His weekly routine was a happy one now that he no longer had to face Orson everyday. He would get up whilst it was still dark and run around the lake a couple of times before starting on some solo sword and wandless magic work. Leo would turn up about midmorning and help him perfect his balance and positioning with the blade. His Dance was feeling more complete after hours of training, though Harry still wasn't able to perform its conclusion as well as he had when he had been injured and used the Doyen's sword.
After a short rest for lunch the Doyen would appear, often leaning heavily on a staff, and direct Harry in how to use the elementals. Training as an elemental had started off with a small sample of each; a candle, a small bowl of water and a small plate of earth. The air elemental had been the exception, as it was the hardest element to contain. The Doyen admitted that this had been one of the reasons why he had been loathed to learn how to control it, for it was not possible to contain the damage should the air element get out of control.
Harry, however, hadn't had too much trouble with the air element. He supposed this had been due to all time he had spent swooping over the Quidditch pitch on his broom, and was now able to control a small whirlwind and direct it around the glade before becoming to tired to continue.
His most powerful element, however, was just as Leo had predicted; fire. He had been finding it hard to manipulate the earth and water elements, but he was already able to perform amazing feats with the burning hot balls of flames and it didn't tire him out like the other elementals. The only problem he had found was that he needed fire to already be present before he could manipulate it as he was unable to conjure up a flame himself.
The Doyen had assured him that elementals were never supposed to be able to create the elements, only to control them, and that any magically produced elements would not respond to the elementals' manipulation in the same way.
Harry stopped his musings as he flew and turned his attention to the dark silhouette of a figure standing in front of the school's doors, a long cloak wrapped firmly around their body to keep the icy wind out. As he neared he recognised the slim figure of his girlfriend and gave a small cry as he landed and transformed in front of her.
"Why are you waiting out here in the cold?" he asked, stepping forward and taking the girl in his arms, placing a quick welcoming kiss on her lips. He pulled away when she didn't respond and his happiness faded as he saw the look in her eye.
"What is it?" he asked. "What's happened? Is it one of the others?"
Kat shook her head. "Leo asked me to come wait for you." she said, and unwrapped one hand from her cloak to take hold of Harry's arm. "He wants me to take you to see the Doyen."
"Why?" Harry asked as he was led into the building. "Why would he want to see me?"
Kat just shook her head and remained silent, wrapping her arm instinctively around Harry's waist as they walked down a corridor he didn't recognise.
After a few minutes of silent walking, Harry saw Horus leaning against the bare walls up ahead, next to a closed oak door.
"He's been asking for you." he said, pushing himself upright and closing the distance between them.
"What's going on?" Harry asked in confusion.
The door Horus had been leaning next to opened and Leo stepped out, turning to quietly close the door behind him.
"He's resting for the moment." He explained. "We can go into the study for a while until he wakes."
"Is something wrong with him?" Harry asked, following the Master into a dark but homely looking study.
"He's old." Leo said with a sigh after he had settled himself in a soft leather armchair. "He told you that when you first met."
Harry froze at the man's softly spoken words, his mind not comprehending what he was saying. "You mean… he's dying?"
Leo nodded and started rubbing at an old scar that ran across the back of one of his hands. "It seems strange." He thought out loud, breaking the silence. "He's been here ever since I started out, almost twenty years ago now. And I expected him to be here long after I'd gone." Silence fell over the four of them again. "I suppose you could say he was almost like a father-figure to me for all those years." Leo added sadly.
Harry looked up at the saddened man. He had spent a lot of time with the Doyen over the past month and had found him to be a strict but encouraging tutor, but he had seen the close relationship between the Doyen and the Master, even though there was well over a century between their ages.
"What does he want to see me about?" Harry asked.
Leo shrugged. "He didn't really say." He said. "Though I suspect that it might have something to do with your elemental abilities…" he broke off as if he had thought of something, but shook his head before speaking further.
He placed his hands on his knees and pushed himself up. "Maybe you can come with me now and see him. He only seems to be drifting off for a few minutes at a time."
Harry gave a nod and stood up, hesitating as he saw Horus and Kat had remained sitting.
"We won't be going in with you." Horus said. "He said he wanted to speak with you alone."
Kat stood and went over to Harry, giving him a quick hug and a kiss on his cheek. "Be strong for him." She said. "And we'll be here when you come out."
Harry nodded slightly and followed Leo across the corridor and silently entered the Doyen's bedroom.
The room was full of rich colours set against a pale wall with dark wood furniture and a large panoramic window bordered with thick, burgundy curtains. Once Harry had given the rest of the room a quick examination, his attention fell on the large four-poster bed in its centre. He gave a small gasp as he realised the size of the pillows seemed to dwarf the pale old man propped up against them and his small frame was lost in the blankets that covered him.
Leo made his way across the room to the side of the bed nearest where the old man lay. Harry hesitantly followed and held his breath, anticipating the fact that the old man had passed away before he had arrived.
"I have a few more days in me left, boy."
Harry started as the wavering tone of the old man broke the silence, and forced himself to take a couple of steps closer to the bed until he was standing next to Leo.
"Take a seat." The Doyen said. "I have a fair amount to say to you before you leave."
Harry felt Leo's hand on his shoulder and pulled the chair that the Master had indicated nearer the bedside. He watched as Leo gave him a quick smile and walked back out the room, leaving Harry nervously watching each rasping breath the old man took. He had never seen anyone so close to death before; everyone he had ever known had either been full of life, or had died suddenly. Harry felt overwhelmed by the situation until the old man began to speak again, his words becoming stronger as he talked.
"I have been on this earth a long time, and am proud to say that there are only a few moments I regret." He took a small breath before continuing. "One of those moments was when I released the power of the elements within you. It is unheard of to expect one as young as yourself to be able to harbour such power, but I am glad to say that you have managed admirably and I have no doubts you will continue to develop your skills under Leo's guidance.
"But there are a few thing that I must warn you about. Especially in accordance with your prophesised battle against Voldemort."
The Doyen fell silent, and Harry watched as the old man's eyelids closed over their colourless orbs. Harry shifted in his seat, worried that the man had fallen asleep mid-conversation with him, but the noise of his cloak against the fabric of the chair caused the man to start awake again and continue as if he had never stopped talking.
"I have constantly told you through your training that the elements are not to be taken lightly, that a great concentration and strength is needed to control them. Recently, you have been able to control two elements in small amounts, no?"
"Yes, sir" Harry replied.
"Well, I must warn you of unleashing the power greater than that, however tempting it may be." The Doyen said. "The reason why there are not many elementals left is because they often forget that the elements need to be treated with a due respect, and try and control too much too soon." He sighed at the mental image that passed through his mind. "The Master that taught me about the elementals forgot about that respect, and his final lesson to me was one that I have remembered all my life.
"He was showing some Lords of our time his abilities, in the hope that they would provide the funds for some facilities to identify and train more potential elementals. His enthusiasm and desire to impress got the better of him and he attempted to control three elements at a large intensity, as opposed to the two he already knew he was capable of."
"Air." Harry said under his breath, realising now why the old man was so wary of that particular element.
The Doyen nodded. "He was an extremely powerful wizard." He explained. "And a skilled elemental, but he took on too much, and paid the price."
"What happened?" Harry asked softly.
"He added the air element to his strongest elements of earth and water. The power and control needed became too great from him and he lost consciousness. The elements were unleashed, and it was only due to my unpractised abilities at the time that the deaths of all those innocents who had come to watch was prevented."
His eyes suddenly met with Harry's, and the boy could sense the seriousness of the Doyen's warning. "It pained me to have to give you these powers at such a young age, if only because I have seen so many young men like yourself become warped by the sense of power that accompanies such a gift. But I trust you have heeded my warning. Take each step slowly. Leo will guide you along but you must progress only when you feel you are ready to control to the next level. If you don't then you will surely die, as will all those who would be unfortunate enough to be near you at the time."
Harry nodded. He understood how easy it would be to succumb to the desire to unleash the elements at someone he hated as much as he did Voldemort, but he also understood that everything would come at a price. He nodded again, adding this new information to the mental pledge he had lived by since that fateful night a month before.
"But the elements would destroy him?" Harry asked, not needing to specify the topic of his thoughts to the old man.
The Doyen stared at him, as if weighing up the sincerity of the boy's question and Harry returned his gaze steadily. Eventually the man saw what he had been looking for and replied. "At the risk of your own life, then yes."
Harry felt his heart start to race, and the sense of determination that had been present since he had arrived at Marcello suddenly flared. A power the Dark Lord knows not. Harry felt a grin begin to spread on his face. He had found the strength and the power to fulfil the prophecy, and he no longer feared facing the Dark Lord again.
The sound of coughing distracted Harry from his silent celebrations and he turned to see the old man choking weakly against the back of one frail wrist. Harry glanced around the room and saw a pitcher of water and a couple of glasses on a nearby table. He stood up and filled one of the tumblers, before taking a hesitant seat on the edge of the bed and helping the ailing man sip the cool liquid before placing the glass back on the table.
"Thank you," the dying man said, and Harry just nodded.
The Doyen took a couple of deep breaths before Harry realised that he was still sitting on the bed. He made to stand up and return to a respectful distance, but was prevented from doing so by a claw like grip around his wrist.
"I have one more thing that I must tell you before you leave."
"Oh I wasn't leaving…." Harry started to say, but was interrupted when the old man looked away from him to focus on something across the room from them. Harry followed his gaze and his eyes started to glow with desire as he recognised the Doyen's katana sheathed and hanging on the wall beside the door.
"Please get it for me." The old man asked. Harry made his way quickly around the bed and across the room, but hesitated before taking the sword from its mountings. As soon as he had the blade in his hands, he shut his eyes as the same sense of calmness that he had experienced in the glade returned to him.
It took him a while to remember where he was, and he once more found it an effort to walk to the bed and return the blade to its rightful master.
"It is called the Sword of Kudos," the Doyen said, pulling the katana from its sheath with a practised movement. "There are not many people who can wield it. It remains loyal only to one Master and will always come to that Master when called." He smiled as he reminisced again. "You will find that it has an aversion to strangers attempting to use it, and it will find a way to injure an unauthorised user, often by causing him to lose a duel."
Harry looked incredulously at the seemingly innocent blade. "It can do that?" he asked. The Doyen smiled and nodded. "But I used it, that time by the lake…"
The Doyen nodded knowingly again. "The Sword of Kudos will pass its loyalties onto whomsoever it chooses, though that is usually the to the warrior who has defeated the original Master or to whoever the Master decides to pass it onto. Since it has fallen into the hands of the Doyens that have run this school it has been used as a symbol of power, to show whom it is that controls Marcello."
He took the blade of the sword carefully and turned it so that the hilt faced Harry. The sixteen year old stared at the beautifully engraved metalwork, not really comprehending what the Master had meant by his words. "Its time for me to leave soon, and it is only right that I leave the care of the school in the hands of someone I know will be worthy of its honour."
Harry started shaking his head, comprehension dawning, but the Doyen held out the sword closer to him. "You are the only person in the past fifty years of this school who has been able to wield this blade without injuring himself or suffering some other mishap. You are the one it wants to fight with in the future…"
"What about Leo?" Harry interrupted. "He has been here years longer than I have! Why can't he become Doyen? I'm only sixteen years old! Most of the people here are older than I am! They'll never respect me!"
"Respect is not a matter of age." The Doyen said, resting the sword and his tired arms on the bed. "Though I admit it helps. You have to earn it; such as you have with your group of friends. They followed you into battle, did they not? And I believe that a large number of others would do the same. As for Leo, he will be there as a mentor and advisor for you as long as you need him. He can run the school for you whilst you continue to grow and learn, but I want the honour to eventually become yours.
"This school has been run in secret for too long now. It needs a fresh mind to change that, and I know that person is you." He held out the katana again. "Please take the sword, my boy. It calls to you, I know it!"
Harry shook his head at the man's words, but respected his last wishes by tentatively reaching out for the blade. He took the hilt in his hands and the sudden sense of completeness rushed through his body again, before the older man released his grip with a sigh.
"I have now fulfilled all that I need to." He said with unrivalled relief. "I can now rest." And slowly closed his eyes.
Harry sat in silence, staring alternately between the large sword that rested in his lap and the old man who laid breathing on the bed. After a long while he stood up, sheathing the sword before making his way quietly from the room.
As he stepped into the Doyen's study, the other three stood up to great him but stopped in shock when they recognised the blade that Harry held in his hands. Harry shook his head in confusion and held out the sword to Leo. "I don't think he was in his right mind," he said, taking some steps closer to the Master. "He told me to take it, that it was rightfully mine, but…"
Leo held up his hands and refused to touch the blade. "In which case the sword is yours, Pyro." He said. "The Sword of Kudos will not allow another to touch it, and you should remember that when it comes to offering it to another to hold. The consequences of such actions can be severe."
Harry just shook his head, and looked to Kat and Horus who were standing wide-eyed and next to each other.
"You're the new Doyen?" Horus asked disbelievingly.
Harry shook his head. "No!" he exclaimed. "How can I be? You are older than I am" Hell, most of the boys here are older than I am! I can't be!"
Kat bit her lip for a while, and Harry could see she wanted to be happy for him, but the absurdity of the situation prevented her from letting her emotions show. "What did he say?" she asked.
Harry shrugged, dropping tiredly onto the arm of one of the comfy chairs. "He said that the school needs a fresh mind to change things. He said that you would help me run it until I have the experience to take the honour on myself." He looked up at Leo as he spoke, and was startled to see the Master smile and nod.
"In which case I fully support his decisions." he replied.
"What?" Harry exclaimed. "Why?"
"Well, the Sword of Kudos has only been a symbol of the leader of this school because of one Master who won the right to wield it in a duel many, many years ago, and since then it has been passed on as one Doyen defeats and replaces another. But as the katana has chosen you for it's new master at such a young age, then I would assume it recognises some sort of potential inside you. In which case, I would be honoured to run this school on your behalf, until you reach a standard and gain enough experience to be able to do so yourself."
He fell to one knee and lowered his head in respect. To Harry's added amusement Horus and Kat followed his actions.
"Oh don't be stupid!" he exclaimed. "This is madness! How can I run a school at sixteen?"
"You won't run it until you're ready." Leo pointed out.
"And until then Leo can take charge of running the school, and we can work on getting you ready for leadership!" Kat said reassuringly.
"Just one problem with that plan." Horus said.
"Just one?" Harry asked incredulously.
Horus nodded. "And that's convincing the rest of the school that you are now in charge."
Leo and Kat looked at each other in realisation at the not so easy task that lay ahead. Harry just continued to shake his head, staring at the sword in his hands. Why me? He was thinking. Why me?
A/N I promise you that he gets no more big surprises, well, at least in the context of magical powers, etc, etc. That's just in case you think I'm going a bit OTT with things.
Anyway, thank you all again for the reviews – I've had well over 40 this time, and I do appreciate every one of them! I have sent emails to most of those that asked questions, and I hope that I don't leave anyone out below! Keep them coming! Kit. Xxxx
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