“What are we going to do now?” Ron asked as the man rode away.
“Oh honestly, Ronald! We’ve got to find a way back!” Hermione snapped, her voice short.
“Any bright ideas just how we plan on doing that, Hermione?” Ron snapped back.
“How should--” Hermione began. Harry had heard enough.
he yelled while his wand was pointed at Hermione. A split second later,
he did the same to Ron.The two friends continued to argue soundlessly
for a moment, before realizing that their words weren’t getting
through. Then they both turned furious gazes on Harry.
“You had it coming,” Ginny said flatly.
Ron started moving his lips again, only to stop when he remembered his voice wouldn’t carry.
“D’you think maybe that bloke was just crazy?” Harry asked Ginny with a hint of desperation in his voice.
way he was dressed?” Ginny said, her voice taking an edge of sarcasm.
Harry recalled the outlandish costume the man had been wearing. He
sighed. He opened his mouth to speak again, but all he could say was,
Hermione had punched him quite hard on the shoulder.
She gestured furiously to his wand. He hesitated, so she drew back her
fist. Harry flinched.
“Finte Incantatum!” he said.
“Don’t do that again!” Hermione threatened, before ending the enchantment on Ron.
“Whatever we do,” Harry began, “we’d better do it soon. I don’t fancy being found by another sword-happy Muggle.”
Ron glared at Harry, but Harry only shrugged. “Let’s go.”
No sooner were the words out of Harry’s mouth when the noise of a dozen men on horseback reached their ears.
“Hide!” Harry snapped. The four students dove behind the bushes lining the road. The men rode on past without noticing them.
“Now what?” Ron said once the men were out of earshot.
“I don’t know,” Harry said slowly. “Maybe we should just go and talk to them.”
that’s ruddy brilliant. ‘Hello your majesty, we’re from a thousand
years in your future, but could you kindly direct us to the nearest
route back home?’ Excellent idea Harry.” Ron said.
Harry glared at Ron for a moment. “I was thinking more along the lines of asking Merlin for help.”
“Bloody hell,” Ron said. Harry nodded. The idea of actually talking to Merlin…
we’re going to do, let’s do it!” Hermione snapped, “Before either of
you comes up with a clever idea to get us all killed.”
Harry’s mind flashed back to first year for a moment. “I’m going to bed, before either of you thinks up another clever idea to get us killed- or worse, expelled.”
He chuckled, and Ron looked at Harry as though he were mad.
“Maybe we should just ask for help,” Ginny muttered.
“And how do you propose we do that?” Ron asked.
“I don’t know! Maybe we could…pass ourselves off as travelers or something.”
“With these clothes?” Ron asked, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
Hermione snapped, waving her wand over Ron. In a moment, his jeans and
robes had disappeared, leaving him in a tunic made of soft material
with a cape and leather trousers.
“Wicked” Ron said. Harry rolled his eyes, before transfiguring his own clothes into an outfit similar to Ron’s.
“I don’t know,” Ginny said, eyeing Harry critically. “These seem a little closer to Renaissance time than Arthurian.”
“So maybe we’re travelers who have strange customs,” Harry said, shrugging.
“Could travelers with strange customs afford clothes like this?” Ginny wondered aloud. Harry shrugged while Hermione answered.
clothing often looked similar in this time period. It wasn’t how things
looked that marked your status, but rather what your clothes were made
of. If we do go to the courts, we’re more likely to be well received
dressed like this than as commoners, don’t you think?” Hermione asked,
transfiguring her own clothing into a more appropriate gown. Ginny did
The four set off in the direction the man called
Cedric had gone. Harry frowned. At the rate they were going, they’d
still be underway by nightfall. Maybe they could find an inn or
“Hermione, do you think our galleons would be valid currency here?” Harry asked.
“It’s likely. I don’t really think it matters what symbol is on the coin, does it? Gold is gold.”
“I hope you’re right.”
“Couldn’t we just conjure something?” Ginny asked quizzically.
“Probably,” Harry allowed. “But suppose someone is on the watch for strange magic?”
it’s centuries before the decree of secrecy or underage magic! Who
would possibly be watching, and why would they be watching us?” Ron
Hermione answered before Harry could say anything. “If
we really are in Arthurian time, Merlin would be watching for agents of
Morgan Le Fey.”
”But we aren’t—” Ron began.
“But we’ve no way to prove that, do we?” Hermione snapped.
Harry nodded. Ron sighed in irritation.
The four walked on for nearly an hour, with only Ron’s barely audible complaining to keep them company.
temper had worsened with Ron’s complaining, and his head hurt. To make
matters worse, it had begun to rain. It didn’t take long for the rain
to soak through the robes of the four students, and ten minutes into
the storm all four were thoroughly miserable.
“I think we should risk some magic,” Ginny said. “I’d rather not freeze.”
“And if Merlin is watching for--” Hermione began.
“It won’t matter if we catch our deaths of cold, will it?” Ginny snapped.
“Well--” Hermione began, but Ginny waved her off.
“Thermium.” Ginny said firmly.
deep rumble of thunder split the sky, but other than that there were no
ill effects. Harry shrugged and cast a warming charm over himself,
watching Hermione and Ron do the same.
Harry’s mood began to
improve now that the rain wasn’t chilling his skin. He thought for a
moment, removed his glasses and said, “Impervious,” as had happened
during his first year, the rain began to avoid his glasses. He thought
for a moment, taking stock of their situation. They would need a place
to stay, if they kept moving at this rate. They could probably conjure
something if worse came to worst…there hadn’t been any obvious negative effects from the warming charms.
rain had been picking up over the last twenty minutes, so Harry didn’t
hear Ron the first two times his friend tried to get his attention.
Eventually, Ron just yelled Harry’s name. Harry jumped, and whirled
“What?” he asked, using the same tone he’d employed in the forest, when Ron was trying to tell him about Arogog.
“There are people behind us! We need to--” Ron began.
second later, an arrow landed at Harry’s foot. He jerked violently to
one side. A knight in armor so polished it almost seemed to glow rode
up to him.
“Who are you, and what businesses have you here? By
what right do you seek to don clothing of nobles, peasant? Speak now,
or die,” The knight said, menacingly.
“My name is Harry Potter,” Harry began angrily, “and you are standing in my way.”
“What of it, child?” the knight asked. Harry drew his wand, slowly.
aside, or you’ll spend the rest of your life as a frog and no princess’
kiss will fix you!” Harry snapped, pointing his wand at his adversary.
are you going to do? Hit me with a stick?” the knight asked. He waited
a moment and then began to laugh loudly. Harry stared him in the eye,
and after a moment the knight stopped laughing, and drew his sword.
tongue seems a trifle loose. Perhaps I shall shorten it,” the knight
threatened. Harry muttered under his breath, lowering his wand just
slightly. After that, he was quiet. The knight jumped down from his
horse, and advanced on Harry. Harry didn’t flinch.
“What are you going to do? Slice me with that snake?” he asked. The knight narrowed his eyes.
s--” the knight started, his eyes nearly leaving his skull as he stared
at his sword turned snake. He dropped the snake and jumped away. It
turned back into a sword a moment later.
stared at the sword for a moment, and then began to laugh, a great
irritating laugh, with made Harry’s stomach turn.
“I like you,
friend,” the knight said, moving over and clapping Harry on the back.
“Who is your noble companion?” he asked, pointing to Ron.
“My name is Ron Weasley,” Ron answered, annoyance dripping from his voice. “And just who are you?”
“My name is Lancelot Du Lac, son to Ban of Benwick.”
Hermione gasped. Lancelot looked her over carefully, moving his eyes
over her, and then Ginny, before he turned back to Harry and ignored
“Where are you going, my lad?” he asked Harry.
“To the courts,” Harry said, his voice tinged with anger. If Lancelot noticed, he gave no sign.
“Would you care to ride with me? It’s over a day’s walk ahead of you on foot. I can summon a steed worthy of one such as yourself!” Lancelot said.
Harry glanced at his friends, and then nodded. “Fine.”
“Wait here then, and I shall return soon,” Lancelot said, jumping onto his horse and galloping away before Harry could object.
“The nerve of that--” Hermione began.
“Pig!” Ginny finished.
don’t have much choice. Do you want to walk all the way to King
Arthur’s castle?” Harry asked. Ginny fumed for a moment, then she and
Hermione turned and walked a short distance away.
“Reminds me of someone I don’t like,” Ron said tightly.
really don’t have much choice, do we?” Harry asked. Ron shrugged
angrily. Harry continued. “Remind me later that I need to practice the
frog trick, ok?”
Ron stood his ground for a moment, shocked.
“You know,” he said after a moment, “at times like this I remember why
you’d make a perfect Weasley.”
Before long, Lancelot returned.
He offered two horses, speaking to Harry and Ron, and generally
ignoring Hermione and Ginny. Ron rolled his eyes, and helped Hermione
to one horse, while Harry whispered, “Ignore him. Trust me,” and winked
at Ginny, before helping her onto the other and mounting behind her.
“This is going to hurt tomorrow,” Ron observed after riding the horse for a quarter of an hour.
Lancelot replied, “But worthy pains. Tell me, are you men any good at
the tournament? Have you any great stories? Enemies you’ve vanquished?”
“Well, I did manage to pass History of Magic, once,” Ron muttered. Harry snorted.
battled men without honor, who clothed themselves in black and used
treachery to win their means,” he said, hoping Lancelot would shut up.
The man’s voice was grating on Harry’s nerves. Lancelot didn’t take the
“And what of your traveling companions? Spoils of some great battle, no doubt”
“I’ll have you know we are no prize to be won!” Ginny snapped. Lancelot finally turned to her.
apologies, milady.” he said, sounding not at all like he meant it.
Turning back to Harry and Ron he continued, “You men must come from
some place with strange customs. Here--”
stumbled, nearly throwing the distracted knight from his saddle. Harry
saw Hermione whisper “damn,” under her breath as the horse righted
“You’ll soon find out that some knights are better than others,” he continued. “I advise you to be especially careful of Guy.”
gates of Camelot came into view then, and Lancelot stopped speaking,
turning to observe the castle. This was probably a wise decision on his
part, as he missed the look of pure rage that had come over both Harry
and Ron at Lancelot’s attitude toward the girls.
“Behold! Castle Camelot!” he said.
“Halt! Who goes there?” a sentry called down from the ramparts.
are Lancelot Du Lac, and Harry of the land of Potter, with Ronald of
Weasley and their companions!” Lancelot called, “Lower the drawbridge,
for the king expects us!”
Apparently, this was the right thing to say, as the bridge was lowered immediately.
rode into the courtyard, where Lancelot dismounted and gave his horse
to a young boy. Harry and the others followed suit and the horses were
taken away. Lancelot wasted no time leading them to the king’s halls.
Harry could see Arthur on his throne, with an old man at his side. The
old man’s beard nearly touched the ground, though the man was slightly
over five feet tall. The old man’s hair and beard were gray, and his
skin had been wrinkled by the ravages of time.
ugliest person I’ve ever seen,” Ron whispered to Harry. Harry elbowed
him in the side and Ron fell silent. Lancelot got down on one knee. Not
knowing what else to do, the students followed his example.
your purpose,” the king said, his voice ringing through the halls.
Knights lined the room, to either side of the party who had entered.
Highness, I am Sir Lancelot Du Lac. I have heard tales of your round
table, even from so far away as Gaul, my native home. I would beg your
leave to join this group of bothers, and fight for the side of the
light, always,” Lancelot said.
The king nodded, and looked at Harry. “Surely this is not your wish as well, young man?”
Harry opened his mouth to reply, but the old man beat him to it.
lord, I sense no deception in Du Lac, but instead, it is within those
who travel with him. Cedric has told me of their dark magic.”
The king’s face twisted. His voice was as cold as steel. “Destroy them.”
was on his feet in an instant, away from Lancelot, and shielding his
friends. He snapped up a shield faster than he’d ever done in his life,
and waited. The old man cast a spell of some sort, but it bounced
harmlessly away from Harry and his friends. Lancelot drew his sword,
but Ron summoned it away from him.
“Do what you must, Merlin,” the king said. Harry was so surprised he almost dropped his shield.
“You can’t be Merlin!” Harry sputtered.
“And why not?” Merlin demanded.
“You’re…you’re not tall enough,” Harry stammered, immediately mortified at his own response.
“What would an agent of Morgan Le Fey know of my height?” Merlin sneered.
“We aren’t agents of any Morgan Le Fey!” Harry snapped.
“Prove it!” Merlin said. Harry narrowed his eyes.
“Set aside your wand and drink of Yalim elixir,” Merlin said, the tone of his voice making it clear he expected Harry to refuse.
“That was an early type of Veritiserum.” Hermione whispered, “It won’t kill you if you don’t drink much.”
lowered his wand, but didn’t drop his shield. “They say Merlin never
broke..breaks his word. You won’t harm me if I am who I say I am?”
narrowed his eyes. “The word of a wizard is sacred here. None may break
it, for it has the force of a magical oath. If you be true, no harm
will come to you today.”
Harry nodded. “Keep the shield up,
Hermione,” he whispered. Gasps broke out when Hermione drew her wand,
but Harry kept his eyes fixed on the king and Merlin.
“I accept,” he said.
nodded, sending a servant to retrieve the serum. A short time later,
the boy returned, clutching a vial filled with a noxious green yellow
liquid. Merlin nodded, and the boy handed the vial to Harry, backing
swiftly away. Harry looked Merlin in the eye, and downed the concoction
in one swallow.
His stomach retched and protested as the
liquid oozed its way down Harry’s throat. After this, he reckoned,
Harry would never fear Aunt Petunia’s cooking or one of Madam Pomfrey’s
potions again. He gagged repeatedly. Eventually, the taste vanished,
and Harry took a grateful breath.
“Who are you?” Arthur asked.
voice in Harry’s head whispered for him to tell Merlin what he asked.
Harry told the voice to shut up, but answered anyway. “My name is Harry
“Where did you learn magic?” the king continued.
voice started up again, telling Harry to reveal his deepest secrets.
Harry willed the voice away. “At a wizarding school called Hogwarts.”
“I’ve never heard of a school called Hogwarts. What manner of name is that for a school anyway?” Merlin asked, pointedly.
“It’s not well known at this point,” Harry admitted, “and I have no idea what sort of name that is.”
“Is this your idea of a joke?” the king asked.
“No, your highness,” Harry replied before the voice could start again.
“Are you now, or have you ever been associated with Morgan Le Fey?” Arthur asked.
“No. I have never in my life been associated with her. I have never even seen her, your majesty,” Harry assured him.
“Yet you knew of Merlin,” Arthur continued.
“Merlin’s reputation precedes him,” Harry said after a moment.
“I see,” was the king’s reply.
I your word as a wizard that you have been entirely truthful?” Merlin
asked. “You know the penalty for lying, surely. Such a death is quite
“You have my word; everything I’ve said is true.” Harry replied.
“And you intend no harm toward the king, toward me, or toward Camelot herself?” Merlin continued.
“I wouldn’t dream of it,” Harry answered wholeheartedly.
“I accept his word,” Merlin said after a moment. “You know the nature of a wizard promise, my liege.”
I do,” Arthur replied. “Take the wizards and their women to the guest
lodgings,” he said to the servant who had given Harry the vial. The
servant bowed, and gestured that Harry and his friends should follow.
before they left earshot of the king’s hall completely, Harry heard
Merlin say, “That boy has strong blood. Young master Gryffindor would
approve of him.”