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Chapter 11:  The Way of the Warrior

The strongest of all warriors are these two – Time and Patience

   Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy, War and Peace, X, 16

******Redfields House, Avalon Arrival +18 Months******

Minerva McGonagall was very proud of her students.  They had covered over three years of advanced Transfiguration since they had come to Redfields.  She was confident that if they were tested today, they would be able to pass their OWLs and also their NEWTs for Transfiguration.  Not only pass, but score very high indeed.  Such were the benefits of a Mistress of Transfiguration tutoring two very bright students over a period of a year and a half every other day.  Due to the circumstances, essays were not required, as they would discuss the material in a round robin format.  Based on the conversation, Minerva could tell if Harry and Hermione understood the material.  Sirius was also an invaluable resource.  He was not as good in Transfiguration as James had been, but had been still considered a prodigy in the subject.  On more than one occasion, the four of them would discuss a topic; be it a Universal Law, a minor or major Corollary, or even possible new Axioms until late in the evening.  

Once the students were comfortable with their Animagus meditations, the advanced human transfiguration studies became worthwhile.  Over the course of the last four months, Minerva had pushed the two and they had performed well.  They learned and had been able to apply their learning in multiple ways.  She had laughed at her husband when he came in from an afternoon of dueling with his pupils bleeding from several minor cuts on his arms and legs and he then grumped at her that his students had attacked him with transfiguration after transfiguration in the ring.  During one exchange, Harry had been conjuring shards of metal and banishing them at Jamie while Hermione had gone the extra step to transfigure the scrap on the ground into wolverines which then attacked their opponent.  Jamie had quite a long time with Emma and her potions lab after that day.  From then on, he was more specific with his pupils on what was the goal for the days dueling; focusing on illusions in a duel and so forth.  He confided to his wife that it wouldn’t be much longer before he wouldn’t be able to take both of the students at the same time and win.

Today was a follow up lesson from a discussion after dinner the other day.  Since the teens had undergone the purification ritual, their magical strength had grown exponentially and no one really knew how strong they were.  Hermione said she couldn’t look directly at Harry when she had engaged her Mage sight and Harry said the same about Hermione.  The old woman still wasn’t sure what had happened that day in the standing stones and wasn’t sure if she ever would know.  “Just go with the magic, my dears” she had said.  “Things appear to be working out, so we will watch and see.”  As such, Minerva had been pushing the two in order to see if they could break the rules of transfiguration.  One such rule stated that it was impossible for a wizard to either transfigure or conjure silver or gold, they being noble metals.  Today, both Harry and Hermione had conjured and transfigured silver, but couldn’t get the extra step to gold.  Now they were working on the speed of their work.  There were obvious combat implications as Harry had pointed out “Would be nice to conjure a hail of silver spikes and banish them at a pack of attacking werewolves, eh?”

After an hour or so practicing this conjuration and the associated transfiguration, the teens had mastered the effort and were resting up.  Even with their considerable power, repeatedly conjuring the unconjurable was tiring.  “Now that you two have mastered the impossible” said Minerva with a smile “I’d like to talk about your transformations.  Let’s go ahead and we will attempt your first transformation.  Let me get Sirius and Jamie to help if things go wrong.”

As Minerva left the sitting room that they had converted into a workroom, Harry looked at Hermione with a smile.  You ready for this?

She sported a huge smile, betraying her excitement.  Are you kidding?  

Yeah, I am and he laughed.  He then took her in his arms and planted a kiss on her lips.  By the way do you know how sexy you look when you get all jazzed up about a subject?

Really?  You’ll have to tell me more later on, here comes everyone.

They separated and Hermione rolled her eyes as Sirius smirked at the pair.  Minerva either hadn’t seen them, or was willfully suppressing the memory.  “Very well, you have the two parts of the Animagus transformation mastered.  Your meditations as well as wand based human transfiguration.  With your power reserves, this first transformation ought not to be a problem.  So, as we’ve discussed, proceed with the transformation.  Take your time and do it thoroughly, we’ll work on speed later.”  She nodded at Sirius and Jamie, who took out their wands to first stun and then reverse the transformation of one of the teens if things went badly.

Harry stood silently and closed his eyes.  Running through the calming process was instinctive now and took no noticeable time.  He then reached into his magical core, he could feel his magic as a result of the meditations he’d been practicing, and willed himself into his new form.  Just as a child will begin to walk slowly and haltingly, so too did Harry change.  First his legs began to shrink and his arms reform.  He dropped to all fours while hair sprouted all over his body and his clothes were absorbed into the magic of the transformation.  His face elongated into a snout as his ears lengthened.  Harry felt one of the strangest things he’d ever experienced as he sprouted a tail.  After about a full minute he completed the transformation, how he knew he was done, he didn’t know.  As Minerva and Sirius had told them, he just knew.  

Suddenly, his new senses kicked in and he was assaulted by smells and sounds.  His new ears were extremely sensitive; he could hear the squirrels in the garden, the hawk wheeling over the forest and the small herd of deer just over the ridge to the north as they foraged for food.  He smelled the scents of all the people and Hermione in the room.  For some reason, she smelled wonderful.  Attractive, enticing, familiar and exciting all in one.  He turned to look at her and saw an enormous brown furred wolf.  She was looking at him from about the same height as he was and had the same brown eyes she had in her human form.  Her mouth dropped open in a canine grin and she yipped at him, closing to lick his face.  He licked back and looked at Sirius who was grinning like a madman.  

“Oh man, I wish Prongs was here, what a run we would have tonight.”  At Harry and Hermione’s pointed look, he remembered and conjured a large mirror for them to see their new forms.  Harry looked and saw that he was a black wolf, nearly six feet in length and just under three feet in height, with strong and sturdy legs. An eerie feature of the wolf was its bright and haunting emerald eyes and a tuft of silvery hair on its forehead.

Ok, this is brilliant.

Harry, you there?

Yep, glad we can still talk now.  What do you think, a little run before we transform back?

You are such a bad influence on me.  She then sprinted out of the room.   Last one over the bridge cleans the bathrooms this weekend!

Why you… and he followed.  The exhilaration he felt, running after her was unmatched even by riding his broom.  The freedom to just be and act was incredible.  As he caught her up halfway to the bridge he nipped at her rump.  You’re waiting on me aren’t you?  

Well, yeah.  Come on, here comes Padfoot.

Looking back Harry saw his Godfather in his Animagus form pelting down the path from the front door after them, his tongue lolling to the side and Minerva and Jamie at the front door with smiles on their faces.  Jamie turned to go inside and fetch Dan and Emma presumably.

The two extra large wolves ran across the bridge, pursued by a Grim to frolic in the field south of the stream.  After a half hour or so, the three canines walked up to the house in a leisurely fashion after having a long drink out of the stream.  They found the two married couples on two benches Jamie had conjured for them to sit and watch the canines play while they waited.  Dan and Emma hesitantly approached Hermione, and tentatively petted her back.

That felt weird, don’t know if I like being petted.

Yeah, it’s like they are rubbing your back, Ok in the right situation, but not now.

Minerva clapped her hands to get everyone’s attention.  She nodded to Sirius who transformed back.  With a small grin, she said “Alright you two, you’ve had your fun, now go ahead and transform back.”  

Harry paused, found his calm center and willed the reversal of the transformation.  After 45 seconds or so, he was Harry Potter again and saw Hermione finishing her transformation back.  He grinned at her Shall we run with Sirius tonight?

Maybe, we might just do that as she grinned back.

Minerva was beaming now “Well done you two, well done indeed!  Now, I want you to transform at least three times a day for a half hour to increase your speed in transforming.”  They headed into the library at Hermione’s insistence to discover what type of wolves they were as they were far too large for Grey wolves.  A half hour later, Harry heard a thump as a book was dropped and a halfhearted Love, come here please came over his link to his girlfriend.  Harry found her sitting on the floor in the stacks, with Magical Animals of North and South America open before her on the ground.  He read the section she was pointing at.

Dire Wolf:  The shiny black or brown coat of this extinct species of the canine family had magical properties that enabled it to heal from wounds and cuts faster than any other creature other than a Phoenix. Added to that was its incredible strength and massive teeth that could even cut through a Dragon’s hide with repeated attacks

Underneath the description was a familiar picture.  If he didn’t know better, the editors of the book had drawn him and Hermione, as it showed a dark brown coated and a black coated wolf in the picture.  Stunned, he looked at Hermione for a minute before he started laughing.  “Only us.  Only we would transform into an extinct magical species.”  After a few moments, Hermione started to chuckle too.  Harry helped her up and they took the book to Minerva for her concurrence.

Harry reached out and took her free hand in his.  I like that we have linked forms.

Me too.  You know, wolves mate for life.  She turned and faced him, worrying her lower lip, obviously nervous as to his reaction.

Harry stopped her, took the book out of her hands and with a quick Levitation Spell had it floating next to them as he took her in his arms and kissed her with all the passion and love he could muster.

With her hands in his longish hair and his arms around her, they broke apart, panting a little.  I know they do, and I’m glad.


Yeah, really. He moved in and kissed her again.

In the sitting room, they found the McGonagalls and Sirius discussing potions and their use in combat.  As the teens entered with their book, Minerva dropped out of the discussion and looked over their findings.  “I have to agree, you are Dire Wolves.”  Looking at them with a bit of a smirk she said “You know, they mate for life.”

After the blushing teens mumbled that they were aware of that fact, Sirius joined them saying “Hey, I need to talk to you two.  Let’s talk outside.”  Following him to the garden, he stopped and said to them, “Transform.”  

Glancing at each other, confused, they shrugged and did as he bid.  When two Dire Wolves stood in front of Sirius a few moments later, he began to minutely look over each of them, feeling their coat, lifting legs and inspecting the pads of their paws and so forth.  Finished, he stepped back and said “In the tradition of the Potter and Black families, you shall now get names for your Animagus forms.  You” he said pointing to Harry “shall henceforth be known as Ghosteyes and you” he said turning to Hermione “shall henceforth be known as Vixen.”  In an undertone he added “God, I wish Prongs were here for this.”

The teens transformed back to their human forms and Hermione gave Sirius a big hug with Harry enveloping both of them in his arms.  After a few moments, Sirius said “Ok, Ok, enough of all this.  Let’s get some grub, I’m starving and I bet you are too.”  The teens let go and as the group separated a little, Harry took Hermione's hand.  “You got a lot of work in today” said Sirius as they headed back to the house.  Pausing to look each of them in the eye, he said “I’m really proud of you two.”

******The Burrow, Ottery St. Catchpole, Devon 1945 10 June 1995******

Arthur Weasley was sitting in his rather ragged armchair, his feet up on an equally beat up ottoman while he read the Daily Prophet after his evening meal.  His youngest son Ronald was at the kitchen table studying Charms after his full day of working at the Ottery St. Catchpole Grange.  Arthur watched his son through the door when something occurred to him.  “Ronald, come in here a moment please.”  In an aside to his daughter and twin sons in the room he said “Please go upstairs for a moment, I’d like to talk to your brother in private.  Thanks”  

As the other three Weasleys went upstairs, Ron joined his father in the sitting room.  Arthur put down his paper and looked his son in the eye.  “I need to talk to you about some things” he said while indicating the sofa for Ron to sit.  After the younger Weasley had sat, his mother stopped her activity in the kitchen and leaned on the sitting room door frame to listen.  “I talked with the Auror in charge of your case today, and apparently, Harry is unreachable right now, so the case is on hold until they can talk to him.”  At Ron’s relieved expression and loud exhalation, Arthur said with some force “Kingsley wasn’t sure when that would be, but for now the case is just on hold.  Harry has one year after the occurrence to press charges, so don’t feel like you are off the hook.”  Arthur’s feelings had mellowed somewhat, but he was still very displeased with his son’s actions.

Leaning back in his chair, has nonchalantly asked his son “How do you like your job?”

Not sensing the imminent danger, Ron responded “It’s Ok.  Some of the older guys are a little hard to get along with.  But it’s Ok.”

Nodding his head, Arthur said “Well that’s to be expected.  They’re adults with wives and sometimes children to feed.”  Adopting a conspirators smile Arthur continued “But the pay is pretty good, isn’t it?”

Ron sprouted a big smile and nodded “Yeah, it is.”

Arthur’s face became a blank mask “Then why haven’t you put any money into the jar in the kitchen for your Hogwarts tuition?”

Ron froze.  His face white and his mind in neutral, he couldn’t say anything more than “Ummm.”

Arthur’s voice was hard.  “Ronald, you will go upstairs right now and get all the money you have left from your first paycheck.  I have no doubt you have spent quite a bit on frivolous items.  Go.”

Ron ran to the steps to get what money he had left and Molly entered the room.  As Arthur leaned forward with his elbows on his knees and rubbed his face, Molly said “Aren’t you being a bit hard on him dear?  He is only a boy…”  

At this point Arthur looked at his wife sharply “No Molly, he is not just a boy.”  As he saw his wife’s face begin to turn red and she took a deep breath he cut her off “He is a young man who needs to learn to be responsible for his actions.  We have failed him in not forcing him to grow up.  I failed him because I did not stand up to your coddling of our children.”  At her stunned face, he took her hands in his “Mollywobbles, I love you more than my own life, but we have to teach our children how to be adults and wrapping them in cotton wool isn’t helping them, it’s hurting them.  I know you don’t want to lose them like your brothers, but it’s time to let them grow up.  It’s past time.”  

At the mention of her brothers, Molly flinched.  It had been one of the most painful experiences of her life when her brothers had been murdered.  She had loved and admired them so very much and they were torn out of her life and heart.  She had never really recovered.  As such, she tried to protect her children so that she would never feel that pain again, so she would never lose anyone she loved so very much again.

She nodded to Arthur as a tear dropped down her cheek.  He gave her a big hug saying in her ear “I love you, but enough is enough.  Ronald has to grow up and be responsible.  So too do Ginevra and the twins.”  At her nod in return he let go and fished out his handkerchief and gave it to her for her tears just as Ron returned.

After handing over a fairly small money bag, Ron slouched to the couch staring at his shoes.  Arthur hefted the bag and with raised eyebrows asked “Where is the rest of your pay?”  Ron mumbled something incoherent to which his father, getting angry now said “I asked you where your money was young man, and want an answer.  Now.”

Ron said very quietly “I paid for a lifetime subscription to Quidditch Illustrated and put a down payment on a Cleensweep 11.”

Shaking his head in disbelief, Arthur said “Ronald, you will surrender all the money you have to me tonight.  Every payday, you will then surrender all your paycheck to me.  Not your mother.  Me.  I will give you a small amount for spending after I have it exchanged at Gringotts.”  Pointing his finger at his stupid son he continued “You aren’t that smart Ron.  You will not outsmart me or your mother.  After you have your share of your tuition saved, the rest, if there is any, will go to a savings account for next year.  You and I will go to Quality Quidditch Supplies in Diagon Alley tomorrow to get your money back and I will take it for you.  Are we clear?”  At Ron’s blank expression and quiet, Arthur reiterated “Are we clear?”

“Yes, sir” Ron said in an undertone.

“Good, you may go to your room.”  After a pause he said “Take your Charms book with you to finish your studying.”  Recognizing the dismissal for what it was, Ron took the opportunity and fled the scene after grabbing his book off the kitchen table while Arthur and Molly looked at each other, each wondering what to do for their wayward son.

******Redfields House, Avalon 0900 Arrival +18 Months, 1 day******

Harry and Hermione were cuddled on the couch in the sitting room and drowsing with Crookshanks on the floor occupying as much space as a sofa.  It had been a long night the night before, howling at the moon with Padfoot.  Ghosteyes and Vixen got quite a workout running after and from each other until the early hours of the morning.  Even more fun came when out of the darkness Crookshanks padded up and the party of three became a party of four.  Marcus had some pity on them this morning and had chosen to forgo sword work and just conduct exercises and the litany of maneuvers.

Sirius entered and seeing the teens decided it was time for a wee prank.  Out came his wand and after a few deft movements he stepped back to survey his work.  Satisfied, he nodded to himself, put away his wand and woke up the two.  “Oi, get up.  I’ve got news.”  When the teens were sufficiently roused, he got and kept their attention so they didn’t look at each other.

“We’re going to Camelot this evening for dinner.  Rhodri and Carys will be by in a bit with some tailors to knock up some appropriate clothes as we are going to be formally presented to the King and Queen.”  He looked at Harry and said “You will be introduced as Earl Gryffindor tonight, of course.  Remember, this is a big deal to the House of Pendragon, as you are family, if only from afar.”  Looking at Hermione he said “You are going to be presented as his betrothed tonight.  Your mum and dad are still trying to get over this in the kitchen, and I said I’d tell you.  The way it’s explained to me was that between your declaration” he looked at Harry “that she is your consort and your bonding, well, I guess in Court etiquette, it makes you two betrothed.  Questions?”

Seeing the stunned faces on the teens, Sirius took pity on them.  He took out his wand and said “Finite” twice while pointing his wand at each.  At Harry and Hermione's confused expressions, he said “Don’t worry; I didn’t get you too bad.  Maybe next time” and walked out to let them get used to the whole betrothal idea.

Love, what do you think?


At her nod in return, he put his arms around her and pulled her close.  She wrapped her arms around him and noticed, not for the first time that he had put some muscle on since they came.  He wasn’t muscle bound by any stretch of the imagination.  More like the lean strength of a swimmer than the big bulky strength of a weightlifter.  She breathed in his scent.  Yes, of course honestly.

As he held her in his arms he contemplated his answer.  He was somewhat afraid to tell her the truth of his heart.  Logically he knew she would never laugh at him or ridicule him.  He knew that she loved him the best she could.  But he was afraid.  Gryffindors charge Potter.

Actually, it doesn’t bother me that much.  I…I wish we really were betrothed he finished almost in a whisper in her mind.

He didn’t get much of a chance to even think about the impact of what he said before Hermione was kissing him with a passion he didn’t have to look too hard to match.  After a few minutes of very intense snogging and mutual groping they paused with Hermione straddling Harry’s lap.  I love you so very much.  I feel the same way.  We don’t have to really wait that much longer.  

Harry nodded and placing his forehead on hers and looked into her eyes.  After one more quick kiss he said “Come on, let’s go see if your parents are coherent yet” and laughing, they went into the kitchen hand-in-hand.

Emma and Dan were coherent and contrary to Hermione’s fears, not displeased with the situation.  “How could we be displeased, dear?” said Emma.  “We know Harry almost as well as we know you and he is a wonderful young man, we couldn’t ask for any better.  It’s just a shock.  It’s fairly evident where you two are going with this relationship” she said with a smile at the blooming blushes on the teens.  “It’s just a bit much for any parent to swallow that their baby girl is all grown up” and she finished with a big hug for her daughter while Harry and Dan looked on.

At that moment the tailors arrived and escorted the ladies to the master bedroom that Dan and Emma had been staying in and the gentlemen to the large guest room that Jamie and Minerva were in. After taking measurements of the men, the tailor asked them to please wait in the room while he excused himself.  He returned about an hour later and laid out the appropriate outfits for each man and had the men put them on for fitting.  Jamie and Dan smiled at each other while Harry seemed somewhat baffled at their lack of choice in outfits.

Jamie took pity on the young man “Lad, who do you think the outfit looking good means more to, you or Hermione?”  When Harry responded with the right answer of his girlfriend, Jamie nodded.  “So, who should pick first?”  When Harry again had the right answer, Jamie continued the impromptu lesson with a smile “So, then if she picks first, and your outfit needs to be complementary to hers, do you think she’s already picked out your outfit as well?”

As the laughter in the room subsided, Dan clapped Harry on the shoulder “Don’t worry Harry, soon she’ll be picking out your outfits and laying them out for you too.”

******Library, Hogwarts 0830 11 June 1995******

Despite the early hour, Remus Lupin had a small wall of books around him as he tried to piece together what the Floo network really was, and how it worked.  He had come to the conclusion, that Floo powder temporarily opened a small rift in this dimension and the person was then guided via wards that funneled travelers and acted like pathways to the next destination.  Strangely enough, no one in any of the books he had read could satisfactorily answer why a person in the act of traveling could see out of other grates than the destination grate.  Odd, that.

Hearing a noise behind him, Remus lifted his head out of his book, turned and saw Albus Dumbledore opening the door to the library.  Remus stopped his reading and waited for the old man to join him.

“Good morning Remus, I hope you are well today” said the Headmaster in his usual jovial tone.  Remus nodded somewhat stiffly in return.  The old man sighed and sat.  “I’ve read your initial report about the Floo issue and am happy as to the planning.  Amelia and I are very much looking forward to solving this issue quickly.  She found the recommendation to blame the Death Eaters inspired” he finished while chuckling.

Remus nodded, “Yes, well I’m making some headway on how to shut down the Floo permanently if necessary, but it sure won’t be easy.”

“Excellent.  Is there anything I can do to help?” the old man responded.

Thinking it over, Remus said “No, not right now.  I don’t have a full enough understanding to even ask the correct questions at this point, but thanks for asking”

Albus paused, “I’d like you and Connie and Alastor to come up with a plan to cull the Death Eaters and sympathizers from the Department of Transportation.  Two ways: one that is repeatable in a public forum, and one that is not” finished Albus while staring at the werewolf across from him.

Remus nodded thoughtfully.  Connie and Alastor would be the brains behind this one.  He’d go over and see Connie at lunch.  He had an answer for her on another topic and only hoped that she still wanted him.  “I’ll get the team working on it” he said.

At lunch Remus ate at the Three Broomsticks before apparating to the Ministry Atrium.  Checking his wand at the desk, he proceeded to level two, Auror Headquarters.  Making his way to the corner office in the back of the large room, he nodded to Kingsly Shacklebolt and Nymphadora Tonks whom he knew from the Order.  

As he got closer to Connie’s office he heard her inside “Damnit Joseph, I don’t give a shit if she’s the Queen, just get the bloody statement from her now!” followed by a the exit of a red faced wizard from the office.  Waiting a few moments, Remus knocked on the door frame and stuck his head in saying “Is this a bad time?”

Looking up from her desk, Connie Hammer shook her head and waved him in as she chewed on a sandwich.  As Remus took a seat, she waved her wand and the door closed followed in quick succession by three privacy wards that Remus didn’t recognize.  “Don’t stand on ceremony for me” Remus said “please continue with lunch and I’ll catch you up on what’s going on.”  From there he told her what he had learned about the Floo system for long term interruption.  At her thoughtful expression, he then told her about Albus’ new tasking for their little team.

Tapping a finger on her chin she said “Snatch and grab would be easiest.”  Responding to Remus’ confused expression, she elaborated “Go in to their homes in the middle of the night, get the info we need, even by Veritaserum if necessary.  Obliviate all members of the household and get the hell out of there.  Not even remotely legal.  Afraid, I can’t be on the execution team.”  Smiling a somewhat feral smile she continued “But I can help you plan.”

Remus laughed.  Now on to the really important part of the conversation and his nerves jumped and jangled.  He got up out of his chair and began to pace to Connie’s amused expression.  After a few moments he stopped and said “I’ve given a lot of thought to what you said – about us I mean” and he looked down at his shoes in thought.  He now had her undivided attention and her face went blank.  “I’m not a perfect man, I know that” he chuckled under his breath “you know that as well.”  He raised his head and looked directly into her pale green eyes that seemed to be burning with intensity “But I’m willing to change.  I know that I’ve been down on myself, reiterating what society tells me is the worst about me.  I drive people away, including you, so I can feel safe” he now grasped the back of the chair he had been sitting in to steady himself because of the emotions he was feeling.  “I don’t want to drive you away anymore.  I don’t want to be safe if it means being without you.  The last decade has been hell for me without you, but I want you in my life.  I need you.”

Connie got up from her desk and came around to stand next to Remus.  He turned toward her, looking in her eyes in supplication and fear.  In one swift move she grabbed him by the shirt front and was kissing him for all she was worth.  After a few moments they stumbled over to her couch to continue the conversation further.

******Redfields House, Avalon 1700 Arrival +18 Months, 1 Day ******

Harry, while waiting in the sitting room for Hermione to come down, was wearing a dark red jacket with gold embroidery of lions and unicorns at the dress cuffs with a metallic grey satin waistcoat and gold breeches with his white silk stockings and black leather shoes. He had to have Sirius tie his cravat to much snickering by Dan which was returned when Dan grabbed Sirius’ arm ten minutes later and whispered “Hey, can you do mine too?”

Jamie was wearing a black jacket with his dress kilt with the McGonagall black and red tartan along with his plaid over his shoulder.  Dan and Sirius were both in basic black where Dan was wearing a grey waistcoat embroidered with exotic birds and trees and Sirius an emerald waistcoat embroidered with a floral motif.  Emma had come down in a stunning muted green dress wearing her hair pulled away from her face, but hanging free in the back.  Harry did a double take much to her amusement.  “You look very nice as well, my Lord Gryffindor” Emma said with a smile.  He smiled in return while shaking his head.

Minerva was next in a gold striped satin dress and with her hair up in a French braid.  Jamie stood stock still for a moment before raising her hand to his lips and murmuring so low that only his wife heard “Where is the wee lass that went running through the fields with me.  This woman in front of me is a goddess.”

Now Harry was really nervous.  Minutes ticked by and he heard a rustling on the stairs and froze.  Hermione was descending wearing a dark red dress with gold embroidery at the low neck and cap sleeves.  Her hair was done up in an elaborate braid emphasizing the curve of her neck and the empire waist of the dress was very flattering.  

My God.  You are beautiful.

Hermione curtsied.  Why thank you my Lord Gryffindor.  

Harry approached her and offered his arm.  Shall we, my lady?

She laughed quietly taking his arm.  We shall good sir.  

They all gathered around the portkey the tailors had left, and when Sirius got a nod from everyone he tapped the dinner plate they were using and away they went.  After they landed and everyone got their bearings back after the short trip they began to look around.  Harry and Hermione were expecting the entrance hall to be like Hogwarts.  Dan, who knew a little about castles and their construction through history didn’t know what to think.  When Avalon was removed from the time stream, Camelot should have been at most a simple stone keep, maybe even a timber fortress that no one even lived in, just used for refuge in times of attack.  Yet here they were in a marble and granite entryway, something they would expect to see in an Italian palace in the Renaissance, not a Welsh Castle built in AD 900.

A footman approached them “My lords, ladies and gentlemen” here he took the plate from Sirius and waved his hand in a genteel fashion “if you will follow me please I will take you to the Lord Chamberlain who will explain our presentation process here at Camelot.”

They were taken to a large room with tables around the walls and were provided drinks and appetizers for refreshment.  Most were too nervous to eat, so Sirius had most of the food to himself.  A few minutes later, an older man entered and introduced himself as the King’s Lord Chamberlain.  He explained that Harry and Hermione would be presented first, then Sirius alone as Baron Black, then Jamie and Minerva as Clan Chieftain and Lady McGonagall and finally Doctor and Doctor Granger would be presented.  All that was required was to close within about ten feet of the King and Queen, the ladies would curtsey and the men bow, and side step to the left for the next presentation.  Once that was done, the court would become more informal and the evening party would begin.  At this point the Lord Chamberlain excused himself to see to the status of the preparations and when Their Majesties would be ready to receive them.

“This is pretty straightforward” Harry said to Hermione.  They had talked about limiting their mind speak in public so as not to arouse any suspicion about their ability.  

“Yeah.  Oh, I hope I don’t trip or something stupid like that.  I don’t want to mess this up for you” she said turning to him.

“Come on, when have you ever screwed up when it counted?  Never, that’s when.  So chin up, Ok?  Look, he’s back.  Time to go” and Harry, with Hermione on his arm led the procession out of the room.

Walking down a short hallway back to the main entryway they turned to the left and crossed to the great hall of the castle.  The room was fairly crowded, but there was a corridor left open from the rear of the hall to the dais. Harry straightened his cravat and looked at Hermione.


As I’ll ever be.

At the nod from the Lord Chamberlain, the footman announced in a loud voice “Your Majesties, Harry James Potter, Earl Gryffindor and his betrothed, Mistress Hermione Jane Granger” and Harry and Hermione followed the Lord Chamberlain up to the dais.  As he moved to the left, Harry and Hermione both began to bow and curtsey deeply as they had been instructed by Carys so they didn’t even see the King and Queen until they heard a familiar voice say “Rise and approach.”

With surprise, Harry looked up and eyes widening saw none other than Rhodri and Carys sitting on the elaborate thrones on the dais, smiling broadly at the teens.  Why those dirty rotten…

Harry!  Language!

Yes dear.  

Harry suppressed a laugh and extended a hand to escort Hermione closer to the newly “met” King and Queen.  Rhodri, smiling broadly said “My Lord Gryffindor, you are welcome in Our Presence, as too are you Mistress Granger, be welcome and assured of Our Pleasure.  We will talk further later.”  Taking the hint, Harry and Hermione gave an abbreviated bow and curtsy before sidling to the left, never showing their backs to the dais.  They heard Sirius announced and watched with amusement his surprise at the identity of the King and Queen.  Jamie and Minerva too were surprised, but Dan pulled it off with aplomb and even got a laugh out of Rhodri for his composure.  “Well done sir, well done” as they were dismissed.  After the last presentation, Rhodri stood and said to the hall in general “We welcome these gathered to Our Presence and claim kinship from afar with my Lord Gryffindor.”  At this statement there was considerable rumbling in the hall before he continued with “Let the festivities begin!”

A group of musicians began playing in the corner a low lilting song.  Harry recognized a violin, a cello, a harp, an instrument that looked like a small guitar and another playing what looked like a drum in a musicians hand.  The King and Queen approached and he smiled in return to theirs.  “Well, this is unexpected” he said with a laugh.

Carys laughed and said “I hope you forgive the deception, but we wanted you and Hermione to focus on the training and instruction, not our titles and rank.  After all, who better to teach court etiquette and statesmanship than the King and Queen?”  she then leaned in to Harry and Hermione and quietly said “Remember what you have been taught.  We intentionally invited many of the residents of the Kingdom tonight and announced our kinship to test you.”  With a small smile she said as they walked on “Have fun.”

At once they were swarmed by some of the older matrons calling like geese “my Lord, my Lord!” and Harry looked at Carys retreating back with a look bordering on fear.  He turned to the approaching older women, hitched on a smile and said “Ladies” and sketched a short bow.  Don’t you dare leave my side!

Hermione smirked.  I’ll protect you from the dowagers, love.

With Harry and Hermione meeting and being met by the gossip crowd, Sirius looked around and saw Jamie and Minerva talking to another Scotsman, as evidenced by his kilt.  Dan and Emma were talking with the King and Queen.  Dan was explaining with his hands something and then pointing to Harry while Rhodri nodded looking at his wife meaningfully.

Sirius decided that now was a good time to get a drink and looked for a table or bar or however he could get a stiff one.  He turned quickly and bumped into a young woman.  “Oh, how clumsy of me” he said catching her before she fell.  “I’m terribly sorry, I hope I didn’t hurt you?”  Taking a moment to step back as she righted herself, he saw a stunning woman slightly younger than himself with long blonde hair done up in an elaborate braid that hung in loops down her back.  She was just shorter than his 5’11” having a lean beauty and was wearing a pretty white dress embroidered in an intricate fashion around the modest neckline.  She had piercing blue eyes that locked with Sirius’ and he fell silent.

“I am well, my Lord Black.  Do not trouble yourself” she said in a quiet voice, not looking away.

Still holding her hand, he said “Sirius.  Please call me Sirius, madam” hoping that she would accept the introduction.

With an impish smile, she said “Very well, Sirius.  Please call me Loreena.  I am very pleased to make your acquaintance.  What do you think of Avalon and our little castle here?” as she waved her hand in an encompassing gesture.

Without thinking, he replied “I like it much better now than I did five minutes ago” and realized how incredibly stupid that sounded.  He grimaced and while blushing, he stammered out “I’m sorry.  That sounded incredibly rude.”  

She laughed a musical laugh, like water tinkling down crystal chimes.  She covered her laugh and deliberately composed herself.  “Sirius, are you always this adept at talking to women?  Tell me, why are you here from the outside world?”

It was his turn to laugh.  “Oh, no.  I’m usually much smoother” and he began to explain his relation to Harry and why he was there in Avalon.

Across the room, Minerva elbowed her husband in the ribs and nodded toward Sirius and Loreena.  Jamie saw them talking and laughing and smiled.  “Good, he needs someone and it looks like they make each other laugh.  Hope he doesn’t screw it up” and he looked at his own wife.  She raised her eyebrows and took his arm as they moved back into the mix to meet and be met.  There were a surprising number of Scots that were eager to make their acquaintance and talk of home.

Dan and Emma had been explaining Harry’s and Hermione’s exploits at school to the King and Queen.  The Philosopher’s Stone first year, the Chamber of Secrets and the Basilisk second year and then the mistaken identity adventure with Sirius and the Dementors third year followed up, of course, by the TriWizard Tournament and Voldemort’s resurrection their last year at school.  Rhodri was very impressed with Harry and Hermione’s actions and, with his wife, moved back to the dais while getting his Lord Chamberlains attention.

Loreena had just had a group of young people approach her telling her that “You just have to!” and “Please, you must!”  Glancing back and forth from Sirius to the group she was clearly torn.  She wanted to stay but also help her friends in whatever it was they wanted.

Seeing her conflict, Sirius smiled and said “Go, help your friends.  I’ve enjoyed our discussion, maybe we can talk more later?” he finished hopefully.

She smiled and lit up his room “I would like that very much Sirius.  I’ll be back shortly.  Don’t go away” and she gave his hand a squeeze.

As she walked away, he watched her retreating back when she turned and looked at him, smiled and with a little wave went on.  He said to himself a little line of the Bard that he learned many years ago.

But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands

Dan sidled up to his friend, seeing the object of Sirius’ attention walking away into the crowd, he said with obvious mirth “Well.  Pretty boring night.  Wish we hadn’t come. You?”  

Sirius smiled and laughed, looking away.  “Yeah, nothing worthwhile here.”  Looking in the direction Loreena had walked and was no longer visible.  “Dan, she’s incredible.  She’s funny and beautiful and witty and … well, she’s great!  Who the hell is she?”

Dan smiled “How am I supposed to know, you were the git talking to her for the last half hour!” as Emma joined them.

At this point a voice rose above the din of the crowd as if the soaring of a bird was made into a beautiful soprano voice.  Everyone stilled as she began singing a song of love between a young woman and her chosen man.  How circumstances kept them apart, but their love won through in the end despite hardships and war.  They were together in the end.  Halfway through the a capella beginning of the song, Sirius saw through the crowd that it was Loreena singing and he stood as if thunderstruck.

Later, Rhodri and Carys, with Harry and Hermione in tow, walked up.  “We have just rescued our cousin here” Rhodri said laughingly.  “He and Hermione were in very real danger of being trampled by the matrons and dowagers present.”

Harry looked at the others laughing and said seriously “He’s not kidding!” to increased laughter.

Carys said to Sirius “I see you have met our eldest daughter, Loreena, my Lord Black.”

While Sirius was nonplussed, they heard behind them “Yes, mother.  Sirius and I have been enjoying a very nice conversation and I have returned to continue it” and she looped her arm through Sirius’ and they walked off, she leading him out on a terrace.

Dan and Emma smiled and exchanged looks while Harry looked confused.  Hermione sighed.  They like each other Harry.

Yeah, I get that much, so what’s the big deal?

She’s a Princess.

So?  Sirius is a Baron.  Socially, she’s his superior, but he doesn’t care about all that.

Yeah, but the King might.


Yeah ‘Oh’.  

But Rhodri is a good guy, he likes Sirius.

Let’s hope he likes him enough to let his daughter be courted by a visiting Baron who is likely to be leaving Avalon eventually.

About an hour later, the footman called in a loud voice “My Lords and My Ladies, Ladies and Gentlemen.  Quiet for the King.”

Everyone settled down and looked to the dais where Rhodri and Carys stood.  “It has come to Our attention, that there are two persons present who have shown valor beyond their years, in fact, beyond the years of any of us.  Come forth my Lord Gryffindor, Mistress Granger.”  Confused, Harry and Hermione made their way to the front of the hall.  When they reached the front Rhodri said “Kneel please.”  Harry pulled out his wand and conjured two pillows for himself and Hermione and helped her kneel in her floor length gown.

Rhodri turned to the Lord Chamberlain and took his sword.

Harry!  That’s Excalibur!  He’s holding Excalibur!

Harry was silent as the Lord Chamberlain began to read:

“Oye, Oye, Oye. Be it made known amongst here present, and be it made known throughout the land at such time deemed prudent, that Harry James Potter, eighth Earl Gryffindor, son of James and Lily Potter, and Hermione Jane Granger, daughter of Daniel and Emma Granger, have performed numerous heroic acts in the defense of the Our Magical Realm, and demonstrated loyalty, bravery and strength of spirit worthy of emulation for all across Our lands. To honor these actions and their strength of character, His Royal Highness, the King, hereby invites them to join the Most Royal Order of the Red Dragon as Knight Protectors of the Realm.”

During the reading, attendants placed hoods lined with ermine and fox on their shoulders.  After the reading, Rhodri took Excalibur and tapped Harry on each shoulder saying “Sir Harry James Potter, Earl Gryffindor, I name you a Knight Commander of the Red Dragon Order.”  The King then turned to Hermione and tapping her on each shoulder with the fabled weapon said “Dame Hermione Jane Granger, I name you a Knight Commander of the Red Dragon Order.  Arise, Sir Harry and Dame Hermione, and go forth into the Realm with certain knowledge of the Crown’s support.”

After that, the evening was a bit of a whirlwind.  The geese flocked to Harry and Hermione again, only to be cut off by the imposing bulk of the red haired Laird of Clan McGonagall.  Despite retrieving her youth, Minerva could still quell a disturbance with naught but a glare and she practiced this now.  Between Jamie’s shoulders and Minerva’s glare, the teens were unmolested.  Sirius and Loreena joined them, Sirius taking the mickey a bit calling Harry “Sir Harry, my Lord Gryffindor” for about a half hour until Loreena began to call him “Sirius, my Lord Black.”

As the evening wound down, the king waved for Harry to come with him as they went into an anteroom.  Once inside, Rhodri took out his wand and put up a privacy spell and said “Harry, there is a special instructor for you and Hermione tomorrow morning.  Take the trail due north from the house to the clearing below the pine stand, you know the one I mean?”  At Harry’s nod Rhodri continued “Good, his name is Cuchulainn.”  At Harry’s bewildered expression he said with a smile “Sorry, I said his name too fast.  It’s pronounced koo-cull-in.  Marcus will escort you and Hermione after your morning workout.”  Pausing, Rhodri then said “Cuchulainn is not human, but you will find no better instructor on how to follow the Way of a Warrior.  What it really means.  Listen to him, he will help you two very much.  Goodnight cousin, Carys and I will be retiring now so people may leave.”  At this he clapped Harry on the shoulder, dispelled the privacy wards and walked out.

Harry made his way back to the travelers, who had gathered in the entrance hall, Sirius talking to Loreena a bit off.  Wrapping up their conversation with big smiles on both their faces, Sirius joined everyone else saying jovially “So, we apparating home?”

Minerva smiled knowingly and said “Yes, you have Dan, I have Emma.”  Harry and Hermione had been taught to apparate well over a year ago and had no problem with it.  In fact, since the purification, they both apparated with no sound at all.

A few moments later, they were home.  Sirius said “I’m off to bed, need a good night’s sleep.”

“Why is that Padfoot?” said Harry loosening his cravat.  Sirius was a notorious late owl amongst the travelers.

“Well, Ghosteyes, I, uh.  Well” said Sirius as he fidgeted.

“What he is avoiding saying is that Loreena is going to pay us a visit tomorrow for lunch.  Isn’t that right Sirius?” said Minerva with a wide smile.

Sirius didn’t respond.  His beet red face told the tale and he hurried up the stairs to laughter in his wake.

Harry and Hermione went out front and just looked at the moon and the stars.  Harry looked at his girlfriend.  Hey you.

She came into his arms and they held each other for a moment before she pulled back.  You have no idea how incredibly hot you look in this outfit, do you? 

Harry smiled.  Not nearly as good as you look right now.  It’s taking a lot of willpower to keep my hands in good places right now.

Hmmmm.  Too bad.

Let’s go to bed before your dad decapitates me for molesting his daughter.

Hermione wore a sly grin.  But I want to be molested!

Come on perv.  Bed.  This is hard enough without you egging me on.

They chuckled as they ambled back inside and went to their beds.

The next morning they whipped through their workouts.  Marcus had shown them how to use raw magic to make their muscles stronger and therefore faster.  The only problem, is that their bones still had roughly the same density so that if they used too much strength, they could break their own bones.  It was a delicate balance to find their limits, and in the process learned many healing spells and Emma got the opportunity to learn how to brew Skele-Grow.  They could move faster in hand-to-hand drills and run faster, but Marcus instructed them to refrain from using magic in their conditioning runs as that would defeat the purpose of the run in the first place.

After they had cooled down from their run, Marcus led them back up into the hills to the clearing that Rhodri had specified.  As they entered the clearing they were stunned into stillness.  In front of them was a dragon.  In front of them was an enormous blue-black dragon.  In front of them was an enormous blue-black dragon looking right at them.

Oh shit.

That alone broke Harry out of his trance.  He glanced to his right at Hermione and then back to the dragon.  It was about the same size as the Horntail he had faced in the tournament.  It had an undulating ridge running down it’s back and on both sides of it’s tail was what looked like a straight razor running lengthwise.  It must have been a strange horn of some kind, but it looked sharp.  It had the standard dragon complement of a mouth full of teeth like sabers and claws like pikes.

Marcus was hailing the creature in an unknown language and the two seemed to be having a conversation of sorts.  After a few moments, Marcus turned back to the teens and waved them forward.  When they got closer, he said “This is Cuchulainn, the last adult Irish Razortail dragon alive.  He is to be your instructor for the mornings until we tell you differently.  The old woman is moving to the afternoons as Carys feels that you are doing well and can have a break for a bit.”

The great dragon contemplated them with his yellow crocodilian eyes as Marcus left the clearing.  Greetings younglings.

Harry and Hermione, used to mind speak by now, replied Greetings Cuchulainn.

I have been told that you two desire to be a Warrior, like that of old.  He paused and a small puff of smoke curled up between hi fangs and floated off slowly in the breeze.  Tell me, what is the Way of the Warrior?  What does it mean to be a Warrior, in one word or short phrase?

They thought, looked at one another and Harry ventured an answer.  To defend those who cannot defend themselves.

Hmmm.  Good answer, but there is much more and we are going to discover it.   The Way of the Warrior is of violence and death.  The Way of the Warrior is of peace and healing.  The Way of the Warrior is of selfishness and self-forgetting.  So younglings, what am I telling you?

Harry was baffled and by the look on his girlfriends face, so too was she.  I don’t know Cuchulainn.  May we think about it and discuss what you have said for a bit?

He opened his great maw in what one could suppose to be a dragon smile.  Good.  Honesty and humility are the Way of the Warrior.

Realization dawned on Hermione.  Ohhhhh, the Way of the Warrior is not necessarily specific actions, but a way of living.  The Way of the Warrior is not necessarily the wielding of a sword.  It’s who I am.  My character.

Another smile.  It was getting somewhat disturbing.  Yes youngling.  Very good.  But consider this; what is the difference between ones character and their actions?

Harry had this one.  Character flows into actions.  I usually won’t act outside of my character.

Cuchulainn snapped his jaws shut with a loud click.  Yes, yes.  So younglings, your assignment for tomorrow is to consider what aspects of your character, what assets make you a Warrior. Associated with that, what character assets of yours need to be cultivated so as to make you a Warrior.   Also, we will need to teach you to fight in your beast forms.  I can sense you can assume your primal selves.  Show me.

Harry and Hermione willed their change and a few moments later, two Dire Wolves joined the Irish Razortail in the clearing.  Cuchulainn lifted his massive head up and let loose a screeching roar with a few gouts of flame mixed in.  Harry and Hermione both instinctively crouched low, showed their massive fangs and while growling, slowly backed away from the perceived threat.

Cuchulainn seemed to get control of himself.  No, no younglings do not fear.  I find it very amusing that I, a dragon, am going to teach two Dire Wolves, my enemy for many thousands of years, how to fight.  At this, he gave another screeching and roaring laugh.

As the great dragon turned to take flight he paused.  I asked you what it meant to be a Warrior, in one word or short phrase.  You do realize that the answer to that question is that it’s impossible to distill the essence of a Warrior to one word or phrase.  The answer would be incomplete.  At this, the mighty Warrior leapt into the sky and with beats of his massive wings, flew away to the west.

Harry and Hermione loped down the trail as Ghosteyes and Vixen.  Despite their feral form, they were very thoughtful.  Cuchulainn had given them much to consider and digest.  After clearing the forest Ghosteyes turned to Vixen and said Let’s have some fun with Sirius.  

They went down to the house and in through the kitchen door accompanied by much protesting from Emma and Minerva.  Ignoring the protests, they went up the stairs, which was tricky given their size, and up to Sirius’ room.  They figured he was getting ready for Loreena’s visit today and a little fun was in order.  Ghosteyes looked at Vixen.  You ready?

She had a canine grin plastered on her visage.  Oh yeah.

Ghosteyes pawed at the door.  A moment later Sirius answered it and was buried under an avalanche of unwashed slobbering wolf.  Ghosteyes took special care to slobber all parts he could reach.  As quickly as they had shown up they were gone, leaving behind a very smelly, slobbery and quite put out Sirius Black.  “Harrrryyyy!  Hermiooonnneee!  You have just pranked the wrong guy!”

Just at that moment, there was a knock at the front door, followed by Loreena’s voice “Hello?  Is anyone at home?”  She turned around and saw Ghosteyes and Vixen.  “Oh, my” she squeaked out before the teens turned back into their human forms still in their exercise clothes.

Hermione tried to give a quick curtsey, but the effect was lost while wearing jogging shorts and a T-shirt that said “Voldemort is a Meathead.”  She said “Good morning your Highness.  Sirius is … well, he…” and she trailed off looking at Harry for help on this one.  It was his idea after all.

Harry gave a short bow and said “He’s indisposed at the moment, your Highness.  We, uh, had a little fun with him and he’s a little dirty at the moment.  I’m sure he’ll be down shortly.”

With an amused look on her face she said “He’s dirty?  Did you two?” and she waved her hand to indicate they mobbed him as wolves.  Hermione blushed and nodded.  Loreena laughed “Oh, that’s good.  My brother and I were constantly playing tricks on one another as we grew up but never that.”  Once she regained her composure she said “By the way, here, and in private, please call me Loreena.”

At this point, a freshly laundered Sirius bounded down the stairs, and shot the teens an annoyed look “Don’t you two need to get cleaned up or something?”  He turned to his guest as the teens went upstairs to do just that “Loreena, it’s wonderful to see you, would you like to take a stroll?”


1)  I own nothing, alas

2) Many thanks to Minstrel Knight for pointing out the Dire Wolves in his fic’s Mage and Warrior and the Sigil of Power.  Great fics even if they are HG.  I mooched a few lines of his. He in turn took them from the A Song of Ice and Fire series. My wife pointed out that (non-magical) Dire wolves actually existed and are now extinct.  A distant relative of the Grey Wolf, the first specimen of a Dire Wolf was found by Francis A. Linck at the mouth of Pigeon Creek along the Ohio River near Evansville, Indiana in 1854, but the vast majority of fossils recovered have been from the La Brea Tar Pits in California.

3) The dress for the travelers in their presentation to the King and Queen is that of the Napoleonic era.  My wife finds this manner of dress fascinating (think Pride and Prejudice) so she pretty much wrote that section for me.  I think it’s pretty dashing as well.   Too bad the height of fashion nowadays is jeans belted somewhere around your kneecaps for boys, and the insta-plumber butt jeans for girls.

4)  The unknown (to Harry) instruments being played are traditional Celtic instruments.  The drum is a Bodhran (pronounced bahth-run) and the guitar look alike is a type of mandolin.

5)  Recommendation this chapter isn’t a fic, but a musician.  Loreena McKennitt whose looks, voice and name I’ve stolen for my Loreena.  She is often compared to Enya, but McKennitt's music is more grounded in traditional and classical invocations, using literary works as sources of lyrics and springboards for interpretation.  She explores her Celtic heritage, not just that of the Isles (her mother is a Scot and her dad Irish) but also Spain, France and so on in her music.  Some of her music has been very inspirational for me in writing this fanfic.  In fact, I’m listening to her right now!  Her website is

6) The Shakespeare quote is from Prospero’s speech in the Epilogue of The Tempest.  Prospero has been imprisoned and lost his magic and lamenting all he has lost.  Sirius too needs help to be freed from his bonds, some of which, like Prospero are self-imposed.  Harry, Remus and Minerva have helped some, but he needs more.  Of note, The Tempest is the last of Willie S’s plays that he wrote unassisted and many consider Prospero’s speech to be Shakespeare’s farewell.  Below is the full text.

Now my charms are all o'erthrown,
And what strength I have's mine own,
Which is most faint: now, 'tis true,
I must be here confined by you,
Or sent to Naples. Let me not,
Since I have my dukedom got
And pardon'd the deceiver, dwell
In this bare island by your spell;
But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands:
Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails,
Which was to please. Now I want
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardon'd be,
Let your indulgence set me free.

7) I totally stole the knighthood investiture from canoncansodoff.  Literally copied and pasted.  I’ve been looking everywhere for the wording of an investiture for the last two months and came up with bupkis.  His is the best I’ve seen.  Sorry, but remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

8)  The ‘real’ Cuchulainn is an ancient Irish hero.  Think Achilles, Hercules, Perseus and Theseus all rolled up into one.  He is known for his berserker type rages in battle where he was nigh on unbeatable, his sense of honor and integrity and his sense of duty to his people and his King.  These attributes fit well in my Cuchulainn.