The entire horizon was his to command. Patience, an eternal virtue, was practically embodied through the form he wore. Sure, strong strokes sent him plunging below the ocean’s surface, immune to the immense pressures brought to bear by the unmatched fury of the wild sea. Nothing could harm him, nothing could penetrate his hide.
Harry dove deeper, ignoring the infrequent shark that in turn, ignored him. Professional courtesy counted for much, even in the animal kingdom. His prey was something much more dangerous, an inflictor of pain on a scale muggles registered only peripherally.
Near the ocean floor, he paused. A massive clam hung open, its half-ton weight nearly burying it in the sandy loam. Deep inside, Harry could see the familiar glint of pearlescent reflections, hundreds of times larger than the sort manufactured by smaller bivalves.
The clam sensed his presence, slamming shut with enough force to send clouds of silt into the liquid atmosphere. He wasn’t bothered though; he himself weighed well over half a ton as well. In some years, his weight would exceed a full ton. At that point, he would be capable of destroying small muggle vessels, and patrol his island for months without rest. Such was the gift his form gave.
A whale, one of the nearly thirty species that could be seen near his home, cruised past. One single eye rotated, taking him in, before lofting a flipper half the size of the Knight Bus.
Harry glided onwards, reaching the edge of the Continental Shelf and skimmed deeper. Eyes, dedicated to piercing the darkness, scanned the terrain, spotting creatures that would give mortals night-terrors. Lobsters three feet long snapped their claws at him, primitive minds detecting nothing more than danger and big. His own size easily dwarfed their mass; Harry made a mental note on their location. Luna had displayed a surprising appreciation for seafood, and lobster was a delicacy enjoyed by most sentient life forms. Especially goblins. They couldn’t get enough of it.
Further down, over a quarter mile beneath the ocean’s surface, Harry dove. An ancient wreck, Muggle-Repelling wards still active even after all this time. The Spanish Armada had made it this far, but few knew how many examples of poor navigation skills rested below. Harry paused, checking that his own wards were in place. Lacking hands, he’d carried warding stones weighing several hundred pounds here, supplementing the originals. The Majestuosos Regidors de la Màgia had done their work well, centuries before. At one point, the magical traditions of Spain had been the envy of the magical world, fat in wealth from the New World and trade with the Far East. Even now, its craftsmen were considered amongst the best, although the muggle side had decayed over time.
The massive ship, still intact over four centuries later, spoke well of the ancient techniques. Better still, no one knew of its location, and thanks to the last wardstone he carried, no one ever would.
Giving a mighty heave, Harry rolled his shoulders, dropping the last stone in place. Slowly, he extended a long flipper into the matrices, touching the activation rune with Hermione’s contribution: a gemstone enchanted in the same fashion as high-quality vault keys. A tiny spark, visible only to the more powerful wizards arced between his leathery skin and the rune.
Powerful ripples throbbed in the ocean sea bed, terrifying a group of meandering Hippocampi. Harry paid them no mind.
The wards built on each other, reinforcing themselves to what the standard wizard would consider ludicrous heights. Ironic, considering their depth. That depth was what required the wards: a bubble of air, positioned next to the ship while projecting a secondary shield around the entire wrecked vessel. Wards against Scrying, basic thaumagry, and hostile intent permeated the initial layer, swiftly followed by defensive wards that wrapped themselves around the artifact like the protective layers of an onion. Ordinarily, such a ward scheme would require acres of carefully preserved magical vegetation.
In the ocean however, there were enough magic-producing plants to rival a Ley Line. Theoretically, Atlantis had been based on such runes. It had been destroyed through overfishing, and a growing rivalry with Greece and their aquatic specialists. Since then, almost no one realized the potential lying, quite literally, beneath their feet.
The final schematic flashed into place, solidifying the air bubble almost half a mile underwater. Harry cautiously stuck his nose through the barrier, feeling the tingle of unadulterated power against his thick skin. He drew in a breath, replenishing the oxygen expended on his dive, extending its potential duration by exponential factors. Coasting backwards, he examined the surroundings, paying attention to every detail. The small device strapped to his other flipper started glowing, taking information like a tiny sponge. Fifteen minutes later, it flashed green, warbling incomprehensible beneath the ocean waves.
Harry resumed his position, floating over the keystone, and touched the gemstone against its cold, engraved surface. One brief flash acknowledged his presence, then faded.
He circled around, looking at the air bubble positioned next to the derelict’s broadside. The last ingredient needed to be added. The piece still resting on his back.
Rising, Harry propelled himself over the air-bubble, and rotated. In position, the trigger conditions activated, dropping the Trunk into position. Specialty attachments, strapped into place, rolled the chest into an upright position, before popping free. Seconds later, the top lifted up, releasing its occupant.
Daphne had argued long and hard for her inclusion, citing superior knowledge of Pureblood histories and the obscure factors therein. Luna had wanted to come because it was someplace new. Alex was disinterested in the whole thing, except for the potential secrets locked inside a preserved artifact from the sixteenth century, before many of the restrictive laws had fallen in place. But Hermione had made the best argument. She alone, of all five, was capable of deep-water swimming, and alone knew how to operate a Scuba tank. Not that she had been able to come along without paying a price.
Harry watched as she pulled herself out of the trunk, hauling far more equipment than its size would have easily permitted. Sticking his head slightly into the bubble, he caught her attention. If his kind could raise eyebrows, it would have, and she noticed. Eyes rolling, Hermione settled herself on the sandy floor, and performed a deep curtsy. “I, Hermione Granger, hereby apologize for laughing at your Animagus form,” she recited. Pausing, she gave him an imploring look, but found no mercy. Bowing even lower, she continued. “Rah, rah, turtles rule. Hail Harry.”
Satisfied, Harry withdrew from the bubble. The body of a Leatherback Sea Turtle wasn’t quite as flexible as what he’d hoped to be, but it ran on protein and was large enough to deter most threats. And no one laughed at it.
[ v ]Miscellanoeus
|Omake · Podcasts · References and Inspiration · Corrections · Theories|