98 Nicholas has a Visitor

A/N: Pat-reon: HelloDarkness07

Nicholas Flamel- Scholar, Philosopher, Alchemist, and Wizard. He and his wife, Perenelle Flamel, had been alive since the 13th Century AD, thanks to Nicholas's invention of the Philosopher's Stone.

Well, some call it an invention, he calls it a discovery- pardon, rediscovery.

For centuries he has been alive, and for centuries he has studied Magic. And every Century, he took one Apprentice. Just one, not any more.

The first two centuries he took many students, but after some unfortunate events, he limited his Student intake to just one per century.

His apprentices usually stayed with him for a few years to a decade or two, learning all he was willing to teach them. And then they left, allowing Nicholas and his wife to return to their private lives filled with studies. But sometimes, his apprentices returned, whenever they needed some help, advice, or if they just missed them.

This time was probably no different, Nicholas thought.

"Albus." Nicholas raspily greets, as he walks into the Welcoming room, where his most recent Apprentice sat, sipping the tea that their Elf no doubt brought him.

The Apprentice in question stands up, and says, "Nicholas, so great to see you old friend." And starts helping Nicholas into a seat.

Nicholas waves his hand, and says, "I'm old, not weak. Now, what can I help you with?"

Albus frowns, and asks, "I can't just come meet you? For old times' sake?"

Snorting, Nicholas says, "You're working two jobs. One of an international Diplomat, and another of a School Headmaster. The only reason you will find the time to come here, when you haven't done so the last 15 years, is if you want something."

Albus sighs, tiredly, and Nicholas could see that the two posts were taking some toll on him. He says, "I don't want to seem like I only come here when I need something, Nicholas. I did miss you, but.. I do need some information, and maybe some advice."

Nicholas nods, and says, "When you left my Apprenticeship, I had told you that my doors were always open whenever you needed something. I wasn't lying then, Albus, my boy. Now speak. What can I help you with?"

Albus leans backwards, and after a moment's pause, he asks, "Is there any truth to what the Unspeakables are saying about this.. Atharva Joshi?"

Nicholas pauses in the middle of pouring tea for himself, and asks, "Why do you assume I know anything about Atharva Joshi?"

Albus chuckles, and says, "Ignoring the fact that your reaction told me a lot more than you wanted me to know, I remember reading that name in a book of yours, discussing old myths. I don't exactly remember what it said, but I do remember that name."

Nicholas sighs, and says, "Truth. A very funny word, that. One man's truth can be another man's lie, you know. Now, you know it to be true that Rituals are forbidden and Dark. 300 years ago, I knew it to be true that Rituals were a daily part of everyone's life."

Shaking his head, he stands up and goes towards the balcony, his cup of tea floating behind him. As they walk, Nicholas says, "Usually, I wouldn't trust anything these Unspeakables say about anything or anyone. But this.. yes, what they are saying about Atharva Joshi is true, as far as those with long memories know."

Albus nods, and asks, "So there was a man named Atharva Joshi? Who fought the Gods to protect us Wizards?"

The fact that there are Gods isn't new to Wizards, let alone for someone as learned as Albus. They originally believed that Gods were just Wizards of old that had somehow accumulated Power enough to call themselves Gods. But then they found out through tales that Gods are actually born, and that they're different from normal Wizards and Witches.

They also found that normal Wizards can become Gods, when a Sorcerer-Wizard told the other Wizards about a Wizard named Watoomb, who managed to ascend to Godhood.

So, yes. Albus wasn't surprised about Gods being real. A man actually fighting them, however, is what surprised him.

Nicholas shrugs, and says, "There are tales, poems, that talk about a man who fought the Gods of Asgard. Norse Gods. Most of them don't mention his name, since some poems were written over 2000 years before this incident supposedly happened, by Seers and Prophets. And some poems just call him.. The Mage, and nothing else."

Now reaching the Balcony, Nicholas sits down on the reclined chair, with Albus taking the seat in front of him. 

Smiling at the view of the small island that he calls home, Nicholas says "Supposedly, the tale goes, a Wizard- this.. Atharva Joshi- came into conflict with the Asgardian Gods. How the conflict began is not known to many, since the records from that time are sparse."

Nicholas pauses, the thoughts of Athreos and Selene making him frown in thought. "I do know of two people who were alive when this happened, they might know more about this than I do. And I suppose I may be able to ask the Sorceress Supreme if she knows something."

Shaking his head, he says, "Anyway, around the 1st Century CE, this Wizard, Atharva, got into conflict with the Asgardian Gods. The Asgardian Goddess of Death came down to Earth to fight him, and this man won."

Albus leans forward, and interjects, "But Asgard doesn't have a Goddess of Death. There are Gods of War, Thunder, Mischief, Healing, Sight, Weather, Motherhood, Fertility, but no God of Death."

Nicholas scoffs, and says, "There isn't a Goddess of Death NOW. There used to be one, till at least 1500 years ago. I have a book from the 5th Century BC that tells tales about her ruthlessness and cruelty. I'll lend it to you later."

"Now, the tale further goes that Atharva Joshi held this Goddess of Death's life in his hands, he was about to kill her." Pausing, Nicholas enjoys the excitement on his young student's face, and says, "But then.. Odin AllFather appeared on Earth."

"He tried killing our wizard, and here the tales differ for each iteration. Where some say Odin and Atharva fought, others say they conversed politely. Some say Atharva died that day, but Odin was so impressed that he allowed Atharva to ask from him one boon before taking his life. Some say Atharva had some support in another Goddess, the Egyptian Bastet, as well as the Sorceress Supreme, and some of those say that he was romantically involved with either one, or both of them." Nicholas was really not sure which of these was actually true.

Bastet and the Sorceress Supreme being there is highly possible, since the appearance of a King of Gods is not something the other Gods would ignore, and neither would the Sorcerer Supreme of any time.

Shaking his head, he continues, "What everyone is sure of, however, is that at the end of the day, Asgard agreed to never let the Goddess of Death step on Earth ever again, and they agreed to leave the Wizarding World alone. Atharva Joshi bargained with Odin to gain our independence from the Gods, in return sparing the Goddess of Death's life. He then disappeared off the face of the Earth, never to be seen again, which is why some believe that he died that day, at Odin's hands."

"The truth, my dear Albus, is something only those who were actually there will know." Nicholas finishes, keeping his now empty cup of tea down.

Albus sighs, and says, "It feels.. unbelievable. That a man could fight, and defeat, an actual God, let alone some God of Death."

Nicholas snorts and says, "That is not the only oddity of the tale, dear boy, but that is one that can be explained. Rituals, as they are condemned now, weren't done so then. People were actually careful during those days you know, they actually studied Rituals before going through even one of them. And while I don't know of any that could take you, for example, to the Power of Gods, it could have been achieved back then."

Albus hums, recognising that yes, it's possible. Wizards have invented and forgotten magic for as long as Magic has existed.

He then asks, "And what about the other oddities?"

Nicholas smiles, and says, "The name of the Wizard, for one. It is so much debated upon by us that it's not even funny. Some say he's Greek, some say he's English, some say he's Indian that was already centuries old when he fought the Goddess of Death. We know he has connections with Kamar Taj, and with the Goddess Bastet. Some actually believe that Atharva Joshi went on to become the Egyptian God of Change and Crafting: Ptah."

"Bastet's husband." Albus muses, remembering the Egyptian myths.

Nodding, Nicholas says, "The name itself, meanwhile, Atharva Joshi has Sanskrit roots. Currently, at this time, that name is a common one found in the Bombay State of India."

"It's called Maharashtra now." Albus instinctively corrects.

Nicholas nods, and says, "Yes, Maharashtra. As I said, it is a common name NOW. Back then, that name was pretty much nonexistent."

"What does that mean?" Albus asks.

Nicholas shrugs, and says, "The name? Atharva means knowledge, while Joshi is the shortened form of the word Jyotishi, which means an Astrologer. The situation? A man with a modern name existed 2000 years ago? Not completely impossible, but very unlikely."

Shaking his head, Albus says, "You've given me a lot to think about, Nicholas."

Nicholas smiles and says, "At least your brain will do something other than resting."

Albus sighs, and for a minute or two they just stay silent, not saying anything. Albus was conflicted, Nicholas could see that, and so, he left him to his silence.

Finally, Albus asks, "I have a question, a morality one."

Nicholas waves his hand, and says, "Ask away."

"What would you do.. if one of your students turned out to be a Dark Wizard?" Albus asks, with a thoughtful frown on his face.

Nicholas scoffs, and asks, "You think that in the 700 years I've been alive, not one of my students has gone on to the wrong side of morality? No, many of my students have been criminals, Albus. I am not as good of a judge of character as you like to believe, and neither is Perenelle."

"What did you do?" Albus asks, that detail surprising him, but he did not focus on that part.

Nicholas looks at Albus, and says, "I.. didn't do anything. You may not know this, Albus, but I am old and weak."

Albus chuckles, remembering how he just said otherwise barely five minutes ago, and says, "You're old, but if there's one thing you aren't, it's weak."

Nicholas sighs, and says, "When it comes to my students, yes I am. Only one of my.. errant students lived long enough to become an actual threat to the Wizarding World- become a Dark Lord. The others.. they either lost their lives in some dangerous experiment of theirs, or someone betrayed them, or someone killed them before they could cause much harm. Why do you ask?"

Albus looks away, open shame visible on his face, and says, "Lord Voldemort.. the Dark Lord that these Black robed Dark Wizards are following.. he used to be one of my students, someone I introduced to the Wizarding World. He used to be Tom Riddle, but now, he's Lord Voldemort."

Nicholas frowns, and says, "Tom Riddle? Now why does that name seem familiar, like I've read it before?"

"Maybe you read the Daily Prophet around 20 years ago? Tom Marvolo Riddle, the Head Boy, died by Basilisk bite, while inside Hogwarts. He bred the Basilisk himself, killed a young girl by the name of Myrtle Warren with its Eyes, and then framed another student and his pet Acromantula for the death. And then, a few months later, the Basilisk bit him and disappeared, never to be seen again." Albus says, explaining the tale of Tom Riddle.

He was a promising student, if you ignore his trophy taking tendencies, and his psychopathic nature. Albus was sure that given time, given proper nurturing, he would have been turned into a wonderful wizard.

Nicholas's eyebrows keep rising as Albus keeps explaining, and he then asks, "My Lord, Albus. Acromantula and Basilisk? What happened to Owls and Cats and Toads? Children, nowadays." He shakes his head.

Albus scoffs in humour, and says, "What can I say? Teenagers are not those that like to hold back in taking dangerous pets." Shaking his head, he says, "Tom.. either he somehow found a way to come back from the dead, after dying of Basilisk venom, or.. someone is impersonating him. Do you think it's possible? Coming back from the dead?"

Nicholas smiles, and asks, "What have I said about Magic, Albus? Assume everything is possible, until you find out for yourself that it isn't. I know of multiple methods myself, of coming back to life after dying, or bringing someone else back. Deals with higher beings, sacrificing your own life for someone else's, using something to anchor your soul beforehand, so it doesn't pass on. I'll see if I can find more methods, if you want to research the subject."

Albus, however, had an already grim face. He shakes his head, and says, "No.. I think I know how he did it. I will need to talk to someone first, to confirm it, but I believe Tom anchored his soul to this plane using a Horcrux."

"Lord save his soul, then." Nicholas whispers, horrified. At Albus's questioning look, Nicholas says, "You don't come back from mutilating your soul, Albus. Ever. He broke one of the most sacred laws of Magic, that only the dumbest of the Dark Wizards will even think of breaking. Creating a Horcrux.. that's just not done. If.. if your student has actually done that, then forgive me Albus, but he will have no life after this one. His Soul will forever be barred from an Afterlife. It won't ever go into any Heaven or Hell, or even Purgatory. It will just.. cease existing, when he dies."

On that depressing note, Albus leaves the Flamel house, with some answers, and some more questions in his mind. 

Atharva Joshi.. Albus knew that while it is possible for the Wizard, the one who fought the Goddess of Death two thousand years ago to actually be alive in this time, it is highly unlikely that he will interfere now when he didn't interfere when Grindelwald was causing terror all around the world.

So, Albus believed, that someone has taken up the mantle of Atharva Joshi, to put fear into people's minds. It could be that it was done just so he isn't prosecuted for killing all those Purebloods that Tom no doubt has in his employ.

Tom.. now that is something that made Dumbledore worry. Tom had much promise as a wizard. If there's one Wizard that can get stronger than Albus, and give competition to Grindelwald even, then that is Tom Riddle. He needs to be stopped, before he becomes even stronger.

But first.. he needs to talk to Horrace Slughorn.

Third Pureblood Death this month- Another follower of Lord Voldemort?

After Abraxas Malfoy was found dead in the middle of Diagon Alley, and later posthumously convicted of killing Late Professor Thrud Rowle and Potions Master Fleamont Potter, amongst others, citizens of Wizarding Britain were given another shock just two weeks ago when the DMLE got a call from another Pureblood family, reporting another death.

The Head of the Pureblood Yaxley family, Corban Yaxley II, was found dead in his house, his chest caved in and his left arm missing. His family didn't know how it happened, but later investigations found that Mr Yaxley was also in leagues with the Dark Lord Voldemort. Reports also say that Mr Yaxley had taken part in the attack on the Prewett family that took place on Thursday.(More about the attack on Pg 3.)

As the Ministry had later reported, Mr Yaxley's death was also attributed to the elusive Atharva Joshi. (More on Atharva Joshi and Myths related to him on Pg 6.)

And yesterday, another such incident occurred. Another Pureblood wizard, by the name of Gregory Crabbe, the brother to the Head of the Crabbe family, Vincent Crabbe, was found dead, with his chest caved in, and left arm missing.

Investigations are still being carried out, but the ongoing hypothesis is that Atharva Joshi has struck again. Whether Mr Crabbe was also a Dark Wizard following Lord Voldemort, is not known. But by the common Methods of death in each of them, it is highly likely that it is the truth.

The Aurors are requesting anyone who knows about the man to come forward. 

The Minister of Magic, Ignatius Tuft(Son of the previous Minister for Magic, Late Wilhelmina Tuft) had this to say: "Atharva Joshi might be killing followers of a Dark Lord, who may or may not have committed crimes. But he isn't an Auror, he isn't a Hit Wizard. He is a dangerous criminal that needs to be found and brought to justice before he kills someone that is actually innocent."

Who is Atharva Joshi? Why is he killing the followers of this Dark Lord Voldemort? And who is the Dark Lord Voldemort?

Stay tuned to our illustrious paper to learn more.

To read more about the attacks on Wizarding and muggle families, turn to page 2.

To read more about the Dark Mark and what we know about it, turn to page 2.

Lord Voldemort throws the newspaper on the table, and with a snap, points his wand at the one who brought it to him, and yells, "CRUCIOOO!"

"AAAAAAAARRRRGHHHHHHH!" The man screams in pain, dropping down on the floor. 

Letting go of the curse, Voldemort glares at the downcast looks of his faithful followers kneeling in front of him, and snarls out, "Who. Is. This. Man?"

Trembling, Aurelius Rookwood walks forward, and says, "He's just a myth, My Lord. Atharva Joshi is not real."

Voldemort turns his glare over to him, and with a simple wandless spell, sends him flying into the walls. As Aurelius starts standing up, he is hit by a Cruciatus Curse, making him start screaming in pain, and making the others tremble even more.

Voldemort ignores the trembling wizards, and says, "Myth, or not. Someone is killing our friends, our people. Someone is killing Purebloods who are helpful to our cause, thereby actively hurting it. FIND HIM! FIND ATHARVA JOSHI, NO MATTER WHERE HE IS, AND BRING HIM TO ME!"

With a cacophony of pops and cracks, the followers of Lord Voldemort disappear one by one.

A month has passed since Abraxas Malfoy, one of his financial supporters, was found dead in Diagon Alley. They had had more raids since the one on Diagon Alley, of course. Muggle families were killed, Wizarding families attacked, some stronger wizards killed before they could become threats to him,  and of course some wizards were threatened into helping him.

The name of Lord Voldemort was being feared, without him even making an appearance, just like he had aimed for.

But.. Atharva Joshi.. whoever he is, was giving the people hope. Hope.. is not something he wants them to have.

"Having some trouble, Mr Riddle?" A smooth voice drawls out from behind him, making Tom tense.

Turning around, he glares at the short, scantily clad, red cloaked woman who said it, and says, "Why are you here, woman?"

"Tut, tut. That's no way to talk to your superior, is it?" The woman says, waving her finger as if admonishing him.

Already angry at the death of three of his soldiers, Voldemort snaps his Holly and Phoenix feather wand forward, and sends a Killing Curse straight at the woman's chest.

The spell strikes, and just like he expected, the woman falls down dead, as if she was a puppet whose strings were cut. He turns around, to think more on the deaths his army suffered recently, but then, the sound of clothes shuffling makes him tense.

"Ah.. that was odd. But I suppose dying and coming back is not something I am a stranger to." The same woman says, now standing up.

She then waves her hand, sending Voldemort flying over the table, an invisible force holding him spread eagle to the wall.

Voldemort glares at her, as he starts trying to get himself free, and asks, "Why. Are. You. Here."

The woman grins, and says, "He has been wondering, you know- why you're having so much trouble with one small nation of idiotic Wizards. So.. he sent me to check on you, and what do I find? You've had five successful raids, had your army kill a bunch of people, and then stayed hidden, while some old mythological figure is out there killing your army. So, I ask again, Tom. Are you having any trouble fulfilling your end of the bargain?"

Voldemort drops down, his magic finally succeeding in breaking through the hold she had on him, and straightening his clothes, he says, "It is just a minor issue. Nothing you, or he needs to worry about."

The woman hums, and says, "What did you say? A year is all it would take you to take over the nation of Wizarding Britain? He told you it would take a decade at least, if you don't die before that, but you bet that it would take you a year at most. It has already been 5 years since you actually came here, to Britain, and where are you now? Still in the first phase."

Scoffing, Voldemort says, "It is only because I, Lord Voldemort, haven't entered the field, woman. Now leave, tell your Lord that our agreement is still in place. The man he wants dead will be killed within this year, without any issues."

The woman grins, and says, "See that you succeed, Tom. He would hate for you to fail after the second chance He gave you, wouldn't he."

"Your threats don't scare me, woman." Voldemort says, readying his wand.

The woman smiles, and says, "I have fought and survived against Wizards and Sorcerers far more dangerous than you, child. Your pesky wand doesn't scare me either." She then sniffs, and turning her back towards the man, she says, "Hurry up, Tom. He is a patient man, but he doesn't take betrayal very well. Kill Mason Aves, or forfeit your Life, your free will, to Him."

As the woman disappears, becoming completely invisible and undetectable to his senses, Voldemort snarls, "ARGHHHH!" and waves his hand.

The table which contained all his plans and targets is thrown upwards, and hit against the wall, making it shatter.

A single page floats down gently in front of his face, and Voldemort catches it in his hands. Looking at it, he smiles, and says, "Yes.. my old home should be a good location to make my presence known."

Mason POV:

I smile, as I see Aunt Mia traipsing around the kitchen, as a small sweater knit itself on her recliner chair. Selene was helping Aunt Mia with the dinner, while Trappy was busy in the Greenhouses, doing something or the other.

Aunt Mia was.. still sad. Monty's death had hit her hard, and she had spent the last month mourning him. But now.. she was somewhat happy once again. And I was with her every step of the way.

"Did you hear about the Abbotts? The Death Eaters attacked them yesterday. Poor Charles." Aunt Mia says, as she walks towards the table, a couple containers of food floating behind her.

Nodding, I sigh, and say, "Attacked in their own home, somewhere they were supposed to feel safe in."

Abbotts. One of the multiple Wizarding families attacked by the Death Eaters in this month. Each attack ended with at least one dead on the family's side, as well as the Dark Mark floating above the place of incidence. This time, the Abbotts lost a child, Charles, as well as the grandmother of Charles. They still have another son, Edward, but it was a sad affair.

I've been trying to track Tom down, find out where he's based, but the thing is, he is not based anywhere. He keeps moving, keeps hidden using a manner of Wards that make it impossible for me to use my Telepathy to find him. I've found one old base of his, where I found the entire muggle family killed, with the child missing, but it was long abandoned even before I got there.

And the Aurors.. they get there, but they learn about the incident too late to be of any help. Same for me.

But at least Mia is back on track to being her old self again, and that's what matters the most to me.

Seeing something, I snatch the Firewhiskey glass out of Aunt Mia's hands, and say, "Ah, ah! You're a Healer, Aunt Mia. Drinking alcohol while pregnant is something you at least should know not to do."

Aunt Mia scowls, and says, "Take the fun out of everything, why don't you?"

I chuckle, and say, "Hey, give birth to your child and I will take you to a binge around England myself. But until then, stay alcohol free."

Aunt Mia was.. struggling still, mostly with staying away from alcohol to drown out her sadness. But she also knows that she needs to stay sober if her little child needs to be born safe and secure.

"Pass me the pepper." Selene says, and I mutely wave my hand, passing the pepper shaker to her. Smiling in thanks, she says, "Darla visited today, while you were out."

"Oh, what did she say?" I ask, as I start eating the food my beautiful wife, and Aunt Mia had cooked together.

Selene swallows the morsel, and says, "Nothing, she just came to check on Mia."

"It was nice of her to come." Aunt Mia says, her eyes going towards the Firewhiskey glass once again. Shaking her head, she says, "She's a sweet kid. Taking the time to visit dear old me while her own wife is pregnant."

As our talks start progressing more and more, I can't help but smile at this. I just.. I wished Monty was here to enjoy this too. Seeing Mia smile like this again, seeing her try living, if not for her sake than for her child's.. Monty really should have been here.

Suddenly, I feel a buzz on my wrist. Turning towards it, I smile, seeing the words Belladonna Campbell written on my wristband.

Well, at least the Unspeakables are doing some good with the freedom I gave them. 

I turn towards Selene, and telepathically say, 'The Unspeakables have captured another Death Eater. She's not that high up, but anything is better than nothing.'

Selene nods, and says, 'Good. I'll go and interrogate her later.'

I smile, and go back to eating food. Yes, life is good. Monty may be dead but at least Mia is alive and well. And she might not be completely happy yet, it will take time, but she is healing.

A/N: Can anyone guess who the woman and Voldemort's benefactor are? 

PS: I've already given a hint for it in previous chapters.

Anyway, toodles! Thank you!

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