Harry escapes but he has no wand and that is the least of his problems.
“Not a word,” Hermione replied. “He’s on a deep cover mission so no one will say anything. I do have one idea though. If we can find whoever is helping Jason, they might help us find Harry.”
“How do you know someone is helping Jason? He seems like the kind of guy who doesn’t need a lot of help,” Ron said.
“Jason had a wand when Harry saw him. Where did he get it?” Hermione said.
“From who? The Prince brothers control the market on wand cores in America. There isn't a wand dealer on the continent who could sell Jason a wand without them finding him. Besides, to buy a wand you need wizard money and you can’t get wizard money without a wand.”
“I don’t think so. Wand theft isn’t that common. There’s an international registry of stolen wands and there weren’t any thefts reported from the United States around the time Jason escaped.”
"So where do you think he got it?”
"Someone must have made a wand for Jason. There must be a wand maker somewhere who isn't under the thumb of the Prince brothers and would give Jason a free wand just to get back at them."
"Why do you think it was a wand maker? Couldn't someone have just given Jason a spare wand."
"No. Wands are expensive. No a lot of witches or wizards have a spare wand lying about and Jason is a big man and he needs a powerful wand. Not many witches or wizards would have the kind of wand that would suit him. Anyway, I'm going to the library."
Ron gave a comic groan. The next day, Hermione returned with a look of triumph. "I found something in Modern Wand Making. Listen to this, 'Studyvance, Demetra. This blind wand maker was noted for her use of native American trees. Following the untimely death of her husband she refused to join the Prince wand-core syndicate and retired from the business.’ It says that she lives somewhere in West Virginia. This must be it. She doesn’t like the Prince brothers and she lives somewhere around where Jason was being held my the Muggles.”
"Somewhere? Are you suggesting that we go off into the backwoods and ask this blind old witch if she's 'seen' Harry or Jason?"
"Yes,” Herminone said, “ unless you have a better plan?"
Being a prisoner of the Prince brothers was rather like being back at the Dursleys. Harry was locked in a cupboard under the stairs. His meals were stingy but well prepared. He assumed that he was getting the leftovers from the brothers’ table. The main differences were that instead of a light bulb he had a candle.
Harry had never seen his captors and had no idea what they were planning to do with him. He assumed that he was a captive of the Prince brothers simply because he had no idea who else would want to imprison him like this. His only contact was with an elderly house elf who brought his meals. Harry struck up a conversation with the elf and mentioned that he had an elf of his own. A few days later, he was surprised to see Kreacher himself appear with a hot meal and a change of clothes.
“Kreacher, can you get me out of here?” Harry asked.
“No master, Kreacher cannot. It is forbidden.”
“What do you mean? Isn’t doing his master’s bidding a House Elf’s highest law?”
“Master does not understand that this is Pookie’s house and Kreacher is here as Pookie’s guest. Kreacher must obey Pookie’s law. Kreacher can bring master food and clothes but Kreacher cannot carry messages for master or help master escape.”
Harry sighed. “It’s okay, thanks anyway.”
“Kreacher must go now.”
Harry saw Pookie standing behind Kreacher. He was holding something in his hand – a skeleton key. Harry had not paid much attention to the lock. He assumed that the door was locked by magic and he had no hope of escaping without a wand. However, it seemed that the Prince brothers did not trust their house elf. If they had locked the door with human magic, Pookie would not have been able to open it without a wand. On the other hand, if they had let Pookie lock the door with house-elf magic, they would not have been able to open the door themselves. Instead, they had used a simple Muggle lock.
The next time Kreacher came, Harry asked him to bring a few things from his desk at home.
“Is anything magical? Kreacher is forbidden to bring Master anything magical.”
“Don’t worry Kreacher, it’s just a little Muggle game to help pass the time. You can let Pookie check it over.”
The Prince brothers, meanwhile, were quite pleased with the progress of their plans.
“Pookie heard a prowler again last night,” Gaius said.
“It must be Bones. He’s checking us out,” Tiberius replied.
“Why hasn’t he tried to get in.”
“He’s careful. He’s been looking for a weak spot. I’ve arranged things so that he will eventually find one. Once he’s in the house he won’t find it so easy to get out. Then we have him.”
“What about the other half of the horocrux.”
“I suspect that he carries it with him. It’s not in his nature to trust anyone else with something so valuable. If not we can try the Imperius curse and it that doesn’t work we’ll make Bones watch us torture Potter.”
“You seem to have everything in hand,” Gaius said. “When should we rescue our friend Hirsch?”
“There’s no hurry.”
“What about the vow?”
“We’re keeping the vow. We swore to provide for his needs and keep him safe. He is now being fed, housed and guarded by the Muggle United States, so we have nothing to worry about.”
Fred Weasley had taught Harry how to pick locks when Harry was in his second year at Hogwarts. This one yielded easily and quietly. Harry switched on the flashlight Kreacher had brought. He was standing in a hallway on the ground floor. To his left, a hallway led to the main entrance of the house. In the dim light he could see that the hall was lined with a clock, a curio cabinet and several pictures. If the Prince brothers were like most of the dark wizards he had known, the clock and the objects in the curio cabinet would carry nasty curses. The pictures would be watching and could warn the bothers of any prowlers.
To his right an shorter hallway led to the back of the house. The walls were bare. Harry followed it cautiously. The hallway led to a back door with a sturdy magical lock. A smaller elf-sized door was cut into the main door. Harry avoided the door, fearing that it carried a charm. A narrow staircase led upwards and Harry began to climb. The batteries in the flashlight were failing so he switched it off. A window on the first floor gave a faint light.
Harry switched on the flashlight to examine the first floor window. It was a plain sash window that appeared to be easy to open and climb through. The only thing was, someone had recently cleaned it by magic and whoever had done that would almost certainly have placed some sort of protective charm on it. He climbed on.
The window on the second floor had been cleaned as well. The window in the attic was dirty. Harry opened it and looked out. It was a gable window opening onto a roof that sloped at about a forty five degree angle. There was a rain gutter at the edge. Harry would have to slide down, grab the gutter, pull himself hand over hand to the drainpipe at the end of the house and climb down.
Harry took a deep breath and climbed through. His hands were raw from sliding down the shingles. The gutter took his weight, but as he worked his way along the wall, he could feel the nails that held it pulling loose. He reached the ground safely and ran.
Once the house was out of sight, Harry stopped running and looked around. The street was obviously in a magical enclave in some unknown American city. There were no street lights and no signs of cars. He began to walk briskly like an honest citizen hurrying home. He had no idea which way to go. If this street was like Diagon Alley, there would be a portal to the Muggle world at one end? But which end? If he guessed wrong, he would have to retrace his steps right past the Prince brothers’ house.
There were loud voices up ahead. It sounded like a crowd of late night drinkers going home. He walked toward it. Harry joined a group of slightly tipsy young wizards and slipped through the portal into the Muggle world. Nobody was following him.
Jason began his nightly reconnoitre of the Prince brother’s house at the back. He moved quietly and tried to keep under cover. The Disillusionment charm that Demetra had taught him, kept him hidden but it was not as good as full invisibility. He had asked Demetra for some Polyjuice potion but it would not be ready for another two weeks.
Meanwhile, he probed the charms protecting the house. It did not take him long to find that they would keep out a vastly more experienced wizard than he. Then there was the house elf. Jason had never actually met one and he was still not comfortable with the whole idea of non-human intelligent beings. Nicky and Demetra had told him that a house elf, defending its master’s home, could be as dangerous as a pit-bull and much harder to reason with. All he could do was wait for the brothers to make a mistake.
Jason was checking the front of the house when he heard someone running. He briefly saw a small figure disappear down the dark street. Just a kid who’s out past his bedtime, he thought. He crept closer to the house and tried to look through a window. Suddenly, a light came on. Jason ducked for cover.
A voice was shouting, “He’s gone! Where is that stupid elf?”
Jason took out the extensible ear he had bought at the Weasley store and listened.
Tiberius was questioning the elf.
“How did Potter get out?”
“Pookie does not know. Pookie locked door very carefully and has key safe.”
Gaius came in the room. “The attic window is open. Potter must have got onto the roof and climbed down the drain pipe.”
Tiberius groaned. “That was the opening I left for Bones to get in.”
“Pookie, didn’t I tell you to watch the back stairs?”
“Yes, master. Master told Pookie to listen very carefully and warn master as soon as Pookie heard someone come in the attic window. Pookie did listen but no one ever came in the window.”
Jason stifled a laugh. Harry would be safe by now. It was time to get some rest.
Harry sat in the Boston bus terminal and studied the schedule. The Prince brothers had probably tipped off the magical authorities that Harry was in Boston. He could not trust the Department of Magic. Besides the fact that he was in the country without permission, he knew that the Prince brothers must have had help inside the Department to capture him. Only a magical government had access to the charms that were needed to trace a Portkey.
Harry was reasonably safe as long as he stayed in crowed Muggle areas but he needed to get out of the country soon. The fastest way would be to head for Canada but that would mean crossing a Muggle border without identification. Harry also remembered that he was not on good terms with the Regie de Magique. Mexico would be safer. The magical border was well north of the Muggle border and the Mexican magical authorities would be pleased to help The Boy Who Lived.
The problem was getting to the border. Kreacher had brought him some English money and Harry had exchanged it at a currency exchange near the harbour. After the exchange rate and commission he had less than one hundred U.S. dollars. A one-way ticket to Santa Fe cost two hundred dollars and the trip took two days.
Contacting the Ministry of Magic was impossible. If he tried to use the Floo network or the Owl Post he would almost certainly be caught. A telephone call would be safe if only he could think of someone to call. The Ministry of Magic had telephones in the Muggle liason office but Harry had no idea what the numbers were. None of Harry’s friends had a telephone. Hermione’s parents were still in Australia.
Harry thought of going back to West Virginia and trying to find his wand. He still had Jason’s map with him and the road was clearly marked. He looked at the bus schedule again and found that the nearest town with bus service was at least fifty miles away.
The thought of his wand reminded Harry of something even more disturbing – Jason had defeated him and was therefore the new master of the Elder Wand. Harry had claimed mastery of the Elder Wand when he had defeated and disarmed Draco Malfoy. Draco had become master of the wand by disarming Dumbledore, even though Draco had never held the wand itself. Now the wand had passed to Jason.
Jason was a trained killer with a damaged soul. There was also a real risk that he was controlled by dark wizards. The Elder Wand was the most powerful and dangerous wand ever made. That was definitely not a good combination. The wand itself was in Dumbledore’s tomb, protected by marble and the strongest charms Harry could cast, but Voldemort had broken the charms and the Prince brothers had mastered some of the darkest spells ever devised. To keep the wand safe, Harry realized, that the next time he met Jason, he would have to fight him and disarm him.