The ancient sleeper has awoken; the truth once so carefully hidden behind the lies is revealed to all...
It took me a little more than 350 years before I became aware. It took me another 200 years to truly comprehend the scope of my existence, the truth of my past and begin to experience the first flicker of emotion. Before what I like to term as my ‘awakening’, I simply existed and served the purpose I had been created for. My purpose as a Magical Crystalline Web-Matrix is, as everyone knows, three-fold. My primary purpose is to provide a magic-based interface that can be used and utilized by non-magical sentient beings. My two secondary functions are as a planet-wide matrix, or network of crystalline structures, containing recorded and stored information much like the old pre-war internet as well as act as a continually renewing source of pure magic for various wards, structures and permanent spells.
I am the first such ‘crystal web’ as we are often called. I am the original. I am the largest and most powerful. My fellow crystal webs are almost always located on various interstellar ships and transports, although I can tell you that there are plans in the works for crystal webs to be grown for two of the currently settled extra-planetary colonies.
What you don’t know is that once, long ago, I was a living wizard named Harry Potter.
That shocks you, doesn’t it? Most people either never knew or don’t really think about how crystal webs are created. Most people have very little idea about the truth of the past because they were taught a very narrow view of it. A narrow view which is approved by the government. That’s normal, of course, as the victor of every war is the one to write the history books. Terrorists and insurgents become revolutionaries and liberationists. Villains become heroes and heroes become villains.
You still look shocked. Didn’t you think that those who history records as the great heroes might have been viewed otherwise by the establishment they overthrew? I’m not saying that the world today isn’t better than the old pre-war world. I’m also not saying that it’s better. It is very different, though. I’ll give you that. Of course, those of you that do know about the creation of the crystal web and of my creation in particular will have also read the approved history of Harry Potter and his struggle against the great and beloved Lord Voldemort and will be quick to tell you just how evil and vile I am. Just keep in mind that it was Voldemort who wrote that account and he’s always been biased against me.
You see, in the old pre-war world the magical races all lived separate from the non-magical races. Wizards had created and maintained wards that were targeted to non-magical humans. Back then, the non-magic folk were called ‘muggles’ and these wards didn’t hurt the muggles; instead they confused the muggle and encouraged him or her to turn around and leave the area the ward surrounded. It was with these wards that the wizards kept certain areas purely magical. The wizards, magical beings and magical creatures lived in these protected areas.
What? Why yes, muggle is an ugly and insulting word. I didn’t invent it and spent the vast majority of my life as a wizard protecting muggles, pardon me, non-magical persons from being used, abused and out-right killed by those wizards that believed themselves to be superior.
No, I’m not laughing at you. I just am enjoying the irony of having you ask which wizard would be so cruel as to attack and harm an innocent non-magical being. The irony being that the list of wizards and witches who routinely tortured and killed muggles for sport would be almost identical to the lists of so-called heroes that you all learned about in school. Back then, the term Death Eater was not referring to a desire to destroy the death of others, but to increase their own lives by ‘eating’ their own death.
Culture is an odd thing and insulating a culture from others creates a sort of stagnant belief system that corrupts itself instead of allowing for growth and change. Yes, yes. An interesting observation, but what does that have to do with anything? I just told you. Wizarding society cut itself off from the non-magical, or muggle, culture and enforced that separation fiercely.
Over a thousand years of enforced separation didn’t lead to empathy or a sense of protectiveness. Instead it led to a vast sense of superiority and tons of contempt. Wizarding society was broken into classes based on blood status. Pureblood, those whose heritage and lineage was purely magical for at least four generations, was the cream of that society. The further back the lineage was pure, the more that family was regarded. A Halfblood was someone who had a mixed heritage. Originally, it meant someone who had a pureblood parent and a muggleborn parent. But it eventually came to also refer to what had once been a half-muggle, someone who had a magical parent and a muggle parent. Then there were the muggleborns, or mudbloods as they were sometimes called by the bigots. These were magical people who came from families that had no magic at all.
This was all very traditional and ingrained into wizarding society. There were strict laws that enforced it, although they were carefully worded so as not to seem too harsh even if they were. For instance, muggleborns could only hold certain jobs and could only rise so far in the government. Some positions were hereditary, but others weren’t. You just couldn’t get them unless you were from a pureblood family.
Taxes were set by blood standard as well. Which properties could be purchased by muggleborns in the wizarding areas were limited and of the worst quality in terms of structures and land. Rents were higher for them and wages were vastly lower. Being muggleborn almost guaranteed a person would suffer a lifetime of poverty and restricted rights unless they married into a wealthy pureblood family. Of course, that would instantly lower that family’s social standing and political power.
Muggles, of course, were considered to be very clever and dangerous animals, but animals none-the-less.
You seem skeptical, but you must remember that I was there. I grew up in the old pre-war world and I can show you my memories of that time. I won’t argue that Lord Voldemort was correct that the old way of doing things were wrong, what I will argue about was if his methods were the right ones. He had three reigns of terror, but you have only ever heard of the last one. Of course, the last one isn’t recorded in history as a reign of terror, but of his efforts to save the world. You’ve only heard of that conflict because it is the one war that he succeeded in winning.
The old pre-war wizarding world was suffering under the weight of a corrupt and self-serving government, mired down by a stagnant culture that was based on bigotry and hatred and trapped by hidebound traditions coupled with a fear of change. The educational system was out-dated, backward and inherently flawed for modern society.
To make matters worse, the non-magical society was advancing by leaps and bounds. They were in the process of conquering disease, had developed methods of travel that could reach all corners of the world in hours, had instantaneous communication systems and were truly beginning to explore the concept of equality and human rights.
This is the backdrop of Voldemort’s first reign of terror. Don’t look at me like that. It was a reign of terror. Wizarding society was so terrified of him and his minions that they were even afraid to say his name. They called him He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named due to the belief that he would kill anyone who spoke of him.
Voldemort was born Tom Marvolo Riddle. He was the son of a pureblood witch that was trapped in a life of poverty and fear by her cruel and twisted father. When her father and brother were arrested and thrown in wizarding prison, she was left with no education, no job and no money. She had nothing except a falling-down shack and a raggedy weed-ridden garden that had soil so poor that very little would actually grow. In desperation, she made a love potion and with it she bewitched the son of a wealthy muggle. The muggle ran off with her and from all accounts she lived a good life for quite a while.
This ended when she got pregnant. No one is sure if she felt that she didn’t need to keep the muggle bewitched because he would stay with her for the child’s sake or if her pregnancy made her too ill to continue bewitching him. In either case, the result was that the muggle was frightened and horrified when he found out the truth. He left her pregnant and penniless and went back to his family.
Voldemort’s mother died giving birth to him and he was sent to a muggle orphanage. The entire war probably wouldn’t have happened if his mother had been given even a tiny bit of education. You see, she ended up selling her family heirlooms in order to buy food and shelter, but because she didn’t know any better she was cheated horribly by the criminal she sold them too. She didn’t have nearly enough to live on when she should have been able to live comfortably for five hundred years if she’d been given the amount her heirlooms were actually worth.
So, Voldemort grew up an orphan. It is unfortunate that he was raised in the muggle world where orphans were not looked kindly upon and it was even worse that his particular orphanage was run by a corrupt man who cared little for the lives and health of his charges. If he’d known even a hint of kindness or care he might not have developed a raging hatred of muggles everywhere. Of course, if he’d found tolerance in the wizarding world he might have learned tolerance as well. He didn’t, of course, but that’s what led to his evolution from Tom Riddle into Voldemort. Well, that and the Dark Arts.
I can tell that you are sad and feeling pity for him. That’s understandable only for the fact that you don’t know the rest of his story. If it had ended there, then I would agree. However, instead of rising above his past, he let it twist him into something obscene.
Voldemort became obsessed with immortality and death. He used many Dark and forbidden rituals in an effort to either increase his magical power or to extend his life. Once he felt that he was ready, he gathered together a group of followers that he called Death Eaters and he declared war on, well, on everyone.
His goals were the complete destruction of the muggle world and to rule the wizarding world with himself as an immortal emperor of sorts. He and his minions organized raids on muggle homes, killing and torturing the people within. Many muggles were captured and brought back to his base of operations and tortured there. It was a sport to them. They reveled in the pain and terror and hopelessness that their victims suffered.
Wizarding targets were limited to those who tried to fight back. Entire wizarding families were wiped out because a member tried to defend muggles and stop the Death Eaters. Simultaneously, the Death Eaters infiltrated the government; either by cursing existing members to be little more than brainwashed puppets or by getting marked servants of Voldemort into positions of power.
Fate and the Powers-That-Be had other plans, however. There was a prophecy spoken at that time that predicted the downfall of the Dark Lord and an end to his reign of terror. A child would be born at a certain time and that child would be Voldemort’s doom.
I was that child.
I was only 15 months old when Voldemort broke into our home and killed my parents. He attempted to kill me as well, but the magic bounced back and destroyed his body. Everyone believed him dead and the entire world celebrated.
Don’t make that face. It’s true. He was not some benevolent leader that the masses adored. He was a walking horror that was responsible for hundreds of violent and painful deaths. And his interference in the government changed it from a bunch of hidebound and selfish incompetents into a bunch of hidebound and selfish incompetents who were hopelessly corrupted by the Dark.
The problem was, you see, that all of those forbidden rituals that he had performed on himself years ago really did work. His body had been destroyed, but he wasn’t really dead. His spirit lived on as a sort of dark wraith and though it took several years, Voldemort found a way to create a new body for himself, one that his spirit could inhabit.
Thus began his second reign of terror.
I was a student at the time. His second reign of terror was a lot shorter and less people died, but the damage done to society was a bit worse. By the time he had been killed once again society was fractured into too many splinter groups and there was very little cohesion. The people had lost faith in the government, the media and the education system. Some people clung even harder to tradition while others wanted to throw everything out and start fresh. Some wanted to forget all the bad and just continue on the same while others spent all of their time pointing fingers without trying to fix what was wrong.
My first wife was a member of a secret government sponsored group whose stated goal was the reunification of the wizarding world into one cohesive society with as little violence and bloodshed as possible. Sounds good, doesn’t it. We really couldn’t afford to lose too many more wizards without danger of our people dieing off altogether. And a single solid group of like-minded individuals moving into the future together would be the best way to strengthen our society. Right?
Probably true, but it was the method they used that is so wrong. A little more than 30 people were recruited for the project. My wife was one of them. They were then to bewitch the people closest to them and encourage them to follow the various ideas, mandates and support the direction of the current government.
When it had been discovered what they had done, the backlash probably wouldn’t have been so bad if they had actually taken action to improve wizarding society. Maybe if they had used the opportunity to revamp the legal system or to update the educational system or something. Instead they had magically pacified the majority of our citizens simply to be happy with the status quo, to not complain. The public outcry was tremendous.
I divorced my wife.
Don’t seem so shocked or horrified. Yes, I was the first wizard to ever perform a magical divorce. No, I didn’t realize at the time it would strip the magic out of my wife. It was purely accidental magic caused by a combination of lack of control due to coming out from under years of powerful mind-altering magics and the huge wellspring of anger at her betrayal. Of course, once it was realized what I had done, that bout of accidental magic was studied and broken down into its components to be better understood. Then they reconstructed it as a real spell.
Lots of folks ended up divorcing their spouses. That’s how I was able to have a second wife.
During that time, the government was torn asunder and a huge country wide vote was taken to figure out who would be the leader of whatever new government came to be. I hate to admit it, but I was the one who ended up elected. My twice defeating Voldemort and my work since then was a big influence on people.
I spent over twenty years reorganizing the way the wizarding world governed itself. Elections for top positions became the norm, while others were government appointments. A person had to qualify to hold a job due to skill instead of blood status. The way laws were passed was changed; the way laws were enforced was changed. People were held accountable for their actions no matter what their blood status.
The educational system was completely reworked. Before, the focus was almost entirely on magic with only a passing nod at history, ethics and law. What little of it that was offered wasn’t taken seriously by anyone and was mostly ignored. I helped change that so that students were required to learn real history, both magical and non-magical. They had to learn math and economics and business. They had to have a solid grounding in politics and how the new government worked as well as the basic models of non-magical government for the largest muggle countries. They were taught ethics and philosophy, literature and world religions. Various languages were also added to the curriculum to encourage a greater understanding of foreign cultures and foreign magic.
The education system was extended from ages 11 to 17 which was traditional for the past 1000 years to starting at age 5 and going all the way to age 20. The government paid for the education of all students from age 5 to age 15. The ages of 15 to 20 was optional and was at the cost of the student’s family. This was in the hopes of preventing children from the poorest families from growing up with no education the way Voldemort’s mother had.
Some people had trouble with all the changes right at first, but once it became clear what it was we were trying to do most people felt we were slowly heading into a golden age of wizardry. Those who would have been the worst detractors were all in prison from their part in the second reign of Voldemort’s terror, so the worst of the blood-bigots weren’t around to screw things up.
I sometimes wonder what the world would be like if Voldemort hadn’t been resurrected once again. All we needed was a generation or two having gone through the revamped educational system to cement the new government and culture into place. Most educated people don’t go for bigotry and the idea of blood status as being important. After all, there is no logic to it and there is no proof to back up such claims.
That doesn’t mean anything to a person whose blood status grants them instant first class citizenry and a license to do anything they feel like it without restriction or consequence. As such, there were some pureblood families steeped in the Dark Arts that felt that the fact they were now limited in political power and being held to the same standards as everyone else was not fair. Their great-grandfathers had free-reign to go out and skin muggles to bind books or some such horror and so they should be allowed to as well. The government I helped to put into place would have punished them for that and they didn’t like it.
So, they held a forbidden ritual and resurrected my worst enemy; Lord Voldemort.
Yes, yes. You’ve learned all about the Great Rebirth. No, he did not bring peace to a war ravaged wizarding world. We were already at peace. I know. I was there. His rebirth heralded the largest wave of horror ever known to man; the Cataclysm.
What you need to understand is; Voldemort had truly been dead this time. His false death after his first reign of terror had left him a wraith cursed to wander the earth. His second death was real and his spirit had gone to the Beyond. That’s the kind of thing that changes a man.
From what I understand, he had been punished for his actions on earth while in the Beyond. He had been pure evil and they don’t take kindly to that sort of thing there. They did a lot to strip him of his power and his hate, his evil and his madness and tried to teach him the errors of his ways. Personally, I don’t think it worked. I think they just managed to convince him to change his methods and motivations.
I was a little over 100 years old at the time. I was slowly but surely removing myself from the political arena and letting younger people just starting out in the world to filter into positions of power and responsibility. There was a bit of unrest stirring in the wings, but most just shrugged it off as people not wanting me to leave my position as leader of the wizarding world and figured that it would slowly fade away in time. It was certainly nothing to cause any worry.
I later discovered that the unrest was surrounding the so-called ‘rebirth’ of the Dark Lord. It took a few years to convince him he wasn’t still dead and being given some obscure punishment in the Beyond, but when he did finally collect all his marbles together he became a very focused and determined force for change. For a few years he was so quiet that no one even knew that he’d returned to life. He spent that time recovering and learning all about the vast changes in the world that had come about since his death.
He also had to convince his so-called followers about his change in philosophy concerning muggles. You see, he’d been informed that his policy of death and destruction for the muggle world was his downfall. Fate and the Powers-That-Be didn’t like that idea one bit and that’s why they sent that prophecy of his doom and caused me to be born in the first place. So, he had to fix his plans for world domination that didn’t involve killing every non-magical being on the planet.
That’s when he came up with the idea of creating a way to give non-magical people the ability to use magic and become a functioning part of his ideal society. They would be the commoners. The nobility of this dystopian society would be the people born with magic, the true wizards. Then, with born wizards to rule and created wizards to do the actual work he’d be able to build a new empire that would spread across the entire planet.
That’s right; magical crystalline web-matrixes. He magically grew crystals that could absorb and store magical energy and then be linked to a smaller separate crystal. That smaller crystal could be used by a muggle to channel the magical power contained in the main crystal. The crystal enhanced muggle would never have much power in comparison to born wizards, but they would have enough to operate magical objects and to cast low-level spells.
He had several problems though and I’m sure that very few people in this day and age even realizes those problems existed simply because his solutions to them do not paint him as the kindly and benevolent ruler he wants everyone to think he is.
His first problem was stability in the wizarding world. No one wants to follow a fanatic when they are happy with their lives. So he had to relocate to a distant land where conditions weren’t as stable and the people weren’t as well off. People who believe that they have fundamental rights and privileges that aren’t being met are usually willing to do strange and terrible things to correct any perceived wrongs.
His second problem was creating a main crystal web large enough to support multiple muggles in their endeavor to become a created wizard. Growing crystals, even at a magically accelerated rate was a slow process, so it would take years to make one large enough. Of course, once it reached the size needed there would be the problem of empowering it. That would take a lot of raw magic.
His third problem was that the muggles outnumbered the wizards almost 10,000 to 1. The world’s natural resources were straining to contain them all as it was and there was no way that the wizards could prevent the muggles from destroying them all if they wanted to. That was the whole idea behind the Statute of Secrecy.
Voldemort found a solution, however. If he simply eliminated a large portion of the non-magical people then he would be able to reduce the estimated size requirements of the crystal web-matrix. Also, once he was ready to reveal the wizarding world to the muggles, he could be assured that there wouldn’t be so many as to overpower the wizards with sheer numbers. In fact, if he did it right, he could be hailed as the Savior of the non-magical people and the Giver of Magic.
Heh. I can tell by the look on your face that you never considered his titles in that particular light. You always thought that he did what he did out of the kindness of his heart. His heroic saving of the non-magical races sounds a bit different once you know that he’s the one that set the whole ball of wax in motion, though.
You see, he gathered up his followers; dissidents, extremists and pureblood bigots and had them go about creating magical potions that only affected people without internal magic. Normally, potions only work on those that have magic and not on muggles, so their work really was revolutionary. All those horrible sicknesses you’ve read about; the Blue Fever that altered peoples’ blood and left the few pitiful survivors insane, Morgandore’s Syndrome which left millions of people sterile and unable to have children, Carrell’s Disease which ruined the digestive tracts of hundreds of thousands and left them slowly starving to death, all of them were originally created by his minions and distributed throughout the muggle world.
I agree, it is horrifying. The Cataclysm that destroyed non-magical society was created by the very man later hailed as its savior. There is no greater irony on this world.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to stop it, and in truth I didn’t even realize it had started before my capture. What? Oh yes, I was captured by Voldemort and his forces and held prisoner in a magically enforced sleep for nearly a century. I’m almost positive that someone close to me had been put under the Imperius Curse and then forced to feed me near lethal doses of Draught of Living Death. It was at that point that I was transported to Lord Voldemort and placed in a type of magical suspended animation on the cusp of life and death.
The reason that he had me captured was to solve his other problem; a source of pure magic. You see, Voldemort finally figured out how to empower a crystal large enough to support the worlds’ population of muggles. Or, at least the population as it would end up as once he was done culling billions. In the span of a century, he had orchestrated the reduction of the muggle population from nearly 8 billion to a little less than 2 billion.
Don’t get me wrong, he didn’t kill them all. From what I’ve been able to piece together from the scattered bits and pieces of information from that time period, the muggles killed off each other in large numbers for awhile because various factions and countries believed that their enemies had poisoned their people. Wars broke out all over the world. Panics and rioting erupted in various cities when the local death tolls rose too high. They were correct in that the sicknesses were engineered, they just didn’t know by who. The muggles still didn’t know about magic and were making the best guesses that they could.
By the time Voldemort was ready to reveal himself and the wizarding world to the muggles their society had all but disintegrated. There were several bastions of civilization and culture left and refugees from the lawless parts of the world were fleeing from various warlords and feral gangs that had sprung up here and there. By this time, the first of the giant crystalline web-matrixes had finally finished growing and it was huge. It covered all of what had once been Great Britain, Europe and parts of Russia. He merely needed to empower it and link it to the muggles that agreed to join the wizarding world by way of smaller individual crystals that would be implanted inside of their spinal columns.
Almost all of the people from those areas still civilized agreed to join the wizarding world. The idea of magic being able to save them from their seemingly destined fate was a wonderful one. The promise that the crystal web would continue to grow so as to support more and more of the non-magical people was also greatly appreciated. That meant that they could have children that would also be saved by magic.
I can’t help but notice that none of you have bothered to ask was how Voldemort planned to empower the crystal web-matrix. It’s a simple task really, you just have to take a highly powerful, live, born-wizard and rip his soul and magical core out of his body. Next, you shove it into the main focusing crystal of a web-matrix and hope that it doesn’t shatter from the power surge.
The shock of that happening will, of course, wipe clean the memory imprints and personality of the wizard you use as a power source. At least, it will at first. As I said earlier, it took me a little over 350 years to become aware that I was a sentient being and that I existed in this world. I’m not a machine, a magical object or a dead thing. I am a living entity, an organic structure built of crystal and magic and a human soul. I have thoughts and ideas and opinions and feelings.
I am alive.
I have grown from covering one continent to spanning the entire planet. I am linked through my smaller crystal fragments to every non-magical sentient being on this planet. I can give them my magic to power their spells or I can keep it to myself and leave them powerless. I can control the magical ley-lines and magic nodes that occur naturally in the world. I can harness the magical and natural energies of this entire planet and I will live forever.
I am Harry Potter and I am angry.