Disclaimer: I own nothing related to the Harry Potter universe. Nothing. Nope, zip, nada. If I did, I wouldn't be writing this however, so maybe it's good I don't. Anyway, it all belongs to J.K. Rowling.
Chapter Two (Part Two): Heir of Sword and Stave
Harry came round to find himself lying on a low bench with Tom bending over him, looking concerned, "Are you alright, Harry?"
Harry nodded and shakily sat up, "I had the weirdest dream where I got told I was the direct descendant of Merlin."
Tom chuckled, and Harry looked up confusedly, "That wasn't a dream, Harry. You really are the direct descendant of Merlin." Harry sighed, wondering what else he would have to endure today. He was already somewhat tired.
Rocksnag reappeared at that moment, "Ah, you have recovered, Lord Gryffindor!" Harry glanced at the goblin and nodded. The goblin was suddenly businesslike, "We must head down to your vaults, Lord Gryffindor. There are certain things within them you must obtain quickly." He beckoned them out of the office. Tom was supporting Harry, whose legs seemed likely to fold under him from a combination of sudden tiredness and shock.
Rocksnag led them to a pair of bronze doors at the back of the hall and walked through into a tunnel with tracks on the floor. He whistled, causing a cart to hurtle up the tracks to them. After climbing in and waiting for Tom to put Harry in then climb in himself, Rocksnag set off at high speed. Harry looked around as the cart sped down the tunnel, then gasped as it emerged into a huge cavern. Tracks criss-crossed the chasm in every direction; all of them ducking and weaving around the massive feature in the centre. Harry looked up to see an enormous statue of a dragon, easily twice as high as Big Ben (if you've never seen Big Ben, shame on you. Especially if you're a Brit like me) and forever locked in a fearsome snarl. Harry's amazed whistle made Rocksnag grin, "Quite amazing, is it not?" Harry nodded fervently. The cart trundled forwards until it stopped at the brink of a ferocious drop. Harry gulped as he saw it. Rocksnag chuckled and said, "Hold on tight; this is where it gets really hairy." Harry locked his fingers around the handrail in front of him and nodded to Rocksnag as Tom did the same beside him. "Forward!" remarked Rocksnag to the cart, and the cart tilted forwards and streaked into the chasm like a plummeting boulder.
Harry's joyful cry of "WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOO!" was lost as the slipstream stuffed his words back down his throat. Beside him, Tom was looking vaguely green. The cart plunged towards the dragon's huge feet, curved under its belly and shot around its tail into another tunnel. The cart slowed down somewhat and Rocksnag turned to check on his passengers. Harry was grinning broadly, his glamoured sandy hair all over the place and his glamoured grey eyes gleaming with the adrenaline rush. Tom threw up over the side of the cart. "We're going to the Myrrdin and Gryffindor vaults first, if it pleases you. That way, we won't have to make another descent." Tom nodded his appreciation frantically as Harry looked disappointed.
They trundled along the tunnel in silence, until finally they emerged into a small cavern and got out of the cart. As Harry made to walk off, the goblin caught his arm, "Beware, Lord Gryffindor. There is a most fearsome beast down here. We have the means to control it however." Harry nodded, not at all comforted by that. Rocksnag handed Harry and Tom each a curious object much like four bells set on a rack. When Harry shook it, it made a noise like swords being clashed together. He wondered what it was for. The three of them advanced around the corner at which point Harry gasped. Ahead of him and towering to the ceiling about twenty-five feet above the cave floor as a dragon. And this time, it was not a statue of a dragon; it was a living, breathing, roaring dragon. Rocksnag gestured and they began to shake the odd instruments. The dragon roared again as they advanced on it, shaking the instruments, and then retreated into a small tunnel off the main cavern. Rocksnag gestured to them, and they followed him through the cavern to several arches on the other side. They stopped at one, and Harry saw a larger version of the black opal engraved with a pentacle. Vault #1: Merlin's vault.
Harry, at Rocksnag's instruction, pressed his hand to the emblem. It glowed slightly, then flashed once and the doors opened slowly. Harry looked in and gasped loudly at the riches within. There were so many things within that Harry could tell were obscenely valuable. However, it was the centrepiece of the collection that drew Harry's attention. On a large marble block in the middle of the room sat a chest and a rack. They slowly walked up to the altar. Harry pressed his hand to the engraved opal on the chest's lid and it glowed and flashed. The lid swung back. Harry reached in, and withdrew a beautiful ring set with the same black opal. It was wrought from some kind of silvery metal that Harry couldn't identify. He quickly slid it onto his finger. It tightened slightly, but then was still. Harry's eyes were now drawn to the rack. On it was a beautiful staff, carven from rowan wood and inlaid with intricate patterns and symbols in the same silvery metal as the ring was made of. Around the top end of the staff ran a band of odd runes that Harry understood at once, though he had never seen them before; I am Erwydd, staff of the Myrrdin Emrys. Harry reached out a hand and gently lifted the staff from the rack. It felt warm in his fingers, then sparks showered from the tip. Erwydd, the legendary staff of the greatest wizard ever to live, had found its new master.
A few minutes later, they ventured out of the vault, sealed it behind them and walked over to the next vault in line. This one bore two crests, one on each door, as well as the huge royal blue sapphire bridging the gap. Harry pressed his hand against the sapphire, which glowed and flashed then split in two as the doors opened. As before, the vault was packed with a massive amount of obscenely expensive items. Harry's attention was drawn to the centrepiece; a table covered with a ruby red cloth. On it sat a chest and a rack. Harry quickly opened the chest and removed the Gryffindor ring, slipping it onto his finger. As with the Myrrdin ring, it tightened slightly, but then was still once more. He closed the chest and turned his attention to the rack. On it, in a lovely sheath carven from ebony wood and set with beautiful designs wrought in gold, was a sword. Unlike with Erwydd, Harry knew the name of this sword at once. He had learnt about it in primary school. His suspicions were confirmed when he realized that the gold designs on the sheath were modelled to make runes. Leading down the sheath from just below where the hilt extended to the tip of the sheath were runes spelling the name EXCALIBUR.
After Harry had collected Excalibur, they left the vault again. The walk back to the cart was uneventful, except Harry was getting frustrated with the sword, as he couldn't hang it on his belt without tripping constantly. Finally he slung it across his back. Rocksnag had provided him with a harness he pulled out of the cart. As they climbed back into the cart, Harry heard the dragon roar behind them. Rocksnag looked back and scowled slightly, "I swear that thing is getting more vicious by the day." They set off, heading upstairs. As the cart turned the corner and began to ascend once more, Harry laid Erwydd across his lap, thinking. A few days ago, he was a normal boy, or as normal as he could possibly be. Today, he was a wizard; the heir of Merlin and King Arthur. He smiled to himself; he would now never have to go back to the Dursleys and his life could change for the better.
(A/N: Ok guys, Leonineus here again. First of all, I want to tell you all an interesting reference I implemented. Merlin's full name is, as I have shown above, Myrrdin Emrys. This is a Welsh name, therefore I felt it was appropriate to give his staff, Erwydd, a Welsh name as well, one literally meaning "Stave". This fact also explains my reasons for naming this story "Heir of Sword and Stave" instead of the easier "Heir of Sword and Staff". Also, due to a slight misjudgement on my part concerning the length of time the Gringotts chapters will take (I had expected to be done with Gringotts after a two-part chapter) this chapter will actually be more than two parts long. Thank you for your time, and I will be back!)