Information and judgements are passed on.
The next morning, the first Unspeakable made his way into the Department. His eyes went wide as he made his usual casual check on the 'sealed' room, which only the elite members of the Department could enter.
The man rushed out, as he needed to call the heads of the Department. There was a message.
That afternoon, Minister Fudge was forced to meet with the head of the Department of Mysteries (Fudge still didn't know his name, to his disgust), the head of the Department of Vampire Relations(actually, the witch was the only member of the Department of Vampire Relations, but she was still technically a department head), Amelia Bones, and Albus Dumbledore. Dolores Umbridge was there to take notes.
"What is so bloody important?" Fudge demanded. He had had to cancel a meeting with Lucius Malfoy and several important Pure-Bloods, leaders of the Wizengamot.
"Do you remember who the Old Ones are?" the head Unspeakable asked.
Fudge looked at Dumbledore.
"Some say they are a solidity of powerful warlocks," Dumbledore answered. "Others say they are a band of immortals, which seems improbable, to say the least."
"Whoever they are," the Unspeakable said drily, "the group has existed since at least the early Bronze age." Seeing the mostly blank looks, he said, "More than three thousand five hundred years ago." That made them all blink.
"The last time they fully involved themselves in our affairs, they helped train a Romanized Celt named Myrddin." He sighed, as only Dumbledore got the reference. "Merlin, if you prefer."
That got through, even to Fudge and Umbridge.
"And?" Fudge demanded.
"The vampires also believe this group was involved with their creation," Dorothy McKnight, the head of the Vampire Office, added."The vampires may or may not take orders from them, but they are influenced by this group."
"Exactly," the Unspeakable agreed. "In any event, they have sent you a message. They sent it through both us and the Vampire Council."
"And the message?" Dumbledore demanded.
"Harry Potter is their apprentice. Shift the Dursleys' trial to the wizarding world, or delay it until September. He will be spending his vacations with them. There will be a vampire living in the Forbidden Forest, and there may be others sponsored by the Old Ones near by. They are not to be interfered with, and their relationship with Harry Potter must not be interfered with."
"Who do they think they are, dictating to us?" Umbridge said with a sniff. "They are not above the law."
"They are not subject to our laws, they are a sovereign force," the Unspeakable pointed out.
"And no matter who or what they are, they are powerful," Dumbledore pointed out in turn.
"They are," the Unspeakable agreed. "They can be very frightening. I suggest we watch and wait."
The current leader of the so-called 'Old Ones' watched as Harry Potter, nude and up to his knees in the surf, happily cast a net into the sea under Jason's direction. The nutrition potions and other medical care, not to mention the food and sunlight, had already improved the lad's condition. Deciding to make the boy more comfortable, and to shock Jason, the leader stripped off and walked onto the beach, shaking his head.
He shook his head, because despite the healing, he knew what the marks on the lad had meant. He had often seen them, on proud slaves and on prouder captives, beaten but never submissive.
In no time, the slightly embarrassed Harry was seated near the fire pit, as Jason cleaned the fish and placed them on spits to roast."First of all, young Harry," the leader said, "I have given you no name. For now, you may call me Mo." Unseen by Harry, Jason rolled his eyes.
"Yes, sir," Harry answered.
"We have had little time to really research you, although we knew some of your story before. Would you like to know it?"
"Yes, please, sir!"
For the next twenty minutes, Mo gave Harry a very condensed version of Voldemort's rise to power, the opposition of Dumbledore, and the stand off between the Order and Ministry on the one side, and Voldemort and his supporters, Marked and otherwise, on the other. Then Harry got an even more condensed version of what had happened that October, back in 1981.
"But . . . but why?" Harry asked. "Why did Voldemort target my parents? How did I survive?"
"Anything else?" Jason asked.
"Well, why did Sirius Black betray my father?"
"All good questions," Mo acknowledged. "We know there was aprophecy made, one which is now believed to concern you and Voldemort. As the families of two infants about the same age were attacked, yours by Voldemort and the Longbottoms a few weeks later by his followers, it probably could have alluded to either of you. It is in the nature of such prophecies to be vague. However, Voldemort chose you, a Half-blood like himself, and like Dumbledore for that matter, to attack first." Harry nodded his understanding.
"You survived for several reasons. The first, the Headmaster told you."
"My mother's blood protection?"
"Exactly. The second we will get to, I promise."
"As for Sirius Black, well, I can not say with total assurance if it was he who betrayed your parents or not. All the evidence pointed to his being the Secret Keeper. However, I had some allies of ours check with the guards of Azkaban."
"Those dementor things you talked about?"
"Exactly. They do not care about guilt or innocence, only feeding. They claim that the other Death Eater prisoners have taunted Black with being innocent, and that by his killing Pettigrew out anger, he killed the only person who could have gotten him off."
"So Black didn't do it?"
"Betray your parents? Possibly not. I cannot say for certain. If not, he is still the one who blew up a street full of Muggles in his efforts to kill Pettigrew."
"Oh," Harry said, disappointed.
"We will look into it," Mo promised.
"But who are you?" Harry asked. "Your group, I mean."
"Ah," Mo said, "now we come to it. You have met ghosts, correct?"
"Yes, sir," Harry agreed.
"So, unlike most Muggles, you need not believe in a soul, you know it exists."
"I suppose," Harry acknowledged.
"Well, it is possible to split your soul. You can then store it magically in a container of sorts. There are numerous names for this, but the current favorite is 'Horcrux'."
"Why would you want to?" Harry asked.
"Because as long as part of your soul exists in this world, you cannot pass on. Your original body is immortal, but not invulnerable. . . ."
"Eh?" Harry was confused.
"The body won't age or die a natural death, but you can kill it,"Jason provided.
"Oh, I see."
"And, if it is killed, there are several ways of re-embodying yourself, as the primary part of your soul cannot pass over so long as there is an intact Horcrux," Mo said. "There are several ways of doing the splitting, but they all involve one thing in common, besides magical ability and the desire to split one's soul."
"And that is?"
"You have to kill someone during the ceremony," Jason answered.
"Not necessarily," Mo answered. "It can be an execution or a mercy killing or any other thing. But it must involve the death of asentient being."
"And Voldemort did that?"
"He did, multiple times," Mo said. Seeing Harry's confused look, he went on. "The more Horcruxes, the more insurance."
"If you say so."
"Having two or three is best," Jason said. "More than three, and you start losing your humanity."
Harry looked at them.
Mo nodded. "We both have three Horcruxes. My name is Tutmoses. The Horcrux was discovered in the land you would call southern Egypt, over six thousand years ago. The magical priesthood of Osiris created a new magical priest on average once every eight years for nearly four thousand years, and has created perhaps adozen since. For the first two thousand years, we were all from the Southern Kingdom, and then just from Egypt. We have allowed others since then, including Jason."
"I am just over three thousand, three hundred years old," Jason said quietly.
"And I am over five thousand, four hundred," Mo added. "I am currently the High Priest for the third time. We serve fifty year terms, and may not serve more than two consecutive terms, but that is the only limitation."
"So, as we said, we each have three Horcruxes. Voldemort, however, seems to have created at least six," Jason said moving on. "We only know what one of them is."
"What is it?" Harry asked.
"You, I'm afraid," Mo answered.
"ME?" Harry nearly squeaked. After moment's thought, though, he pointed at his scar.
Mo nodded. "It seems to have done several interesting things to you, besides helping you survive the Death Curse," Mo stated. "It has enhanced or created some abilities and skills, suppressed or interfere with others. For example, I believe you can communicate with snakes?"
"Yes, sir," Harry agreed.
"This is called Parseltongue in Europe. It is a not uncommon gift in North American shamans, and a little less common in parts of southern Asia. It is rare in sub-Saharan Africa, and almost unheard of in the rest of the world these days. Only a family called Gaunt had the gift in western Europe these last four hundred years, and that was Tom Riddle's, or Voldemort's, mother's family."
"So I can do it. . . ?"
"Because Voldemort can," Jason agreed.
"The gift called being an Animagus, or the ability to change into an animal is more common than Parseltongue, but still rare. You have both a natural ability and Voldemort's. However," Mo went on,"the forms are currently in conflict, and so you can not use either. Changing your physical appearance is called being aMetamorphmagus. Housing the Horcrux is interfering with your ability there."
"The headaches you told me about, when you confronted Voldemort, were caused by the connection overloading," Jason added.
"What . . . what can be done about it?" Harry asked.
"Well, there are three answers. Voldemort, if he is aware of this, could kill you while reabsorbing his Horcrux. If anyone were to hit you exactly in the scar with a Killing Curse, it would destroy the Horcrux and likely kill you. Hit you in the body, and the Horcrux would likely survive. Fortunately," Mo quickly added, "we can break the Horcrux without hurting you."
"We are the only ones on Earth who can," Jason added.
"True," Mo agreed. "However, unless you object, we would like to try and destroy the Horcrux while allowing you to keep the enhanced powers, while allowing your natural powers to grow. This may take a few more months of study, but we hope to solve it more quickly."
Stunned, Harry merely nodded. Then he asked in a small voice, "Do you think Professor Dumbledore knows?"
"About the prophecy, and what it may say? Yes, as it was made to him. About Voldemort making you a Horcrux? Almost certainly. Beyond that, I could not really even guess."
"He does have the reputation of knowing more than anyone else, and about the most unlikely things," Jason acknowledged. "Still, he is no more truly all-knowing or all-eyeing than any other wizard."
"True," Mo agreed. He turned back to Harry. "We will train you. It will be up to you if you go back to Hogwarts for your second year, or if you stay with us. In either case, we will use our time powers to fit in months of study into the remaining weeks before your school starts. After that, you should follow normal time."
"You will spend two weeks with many of our members, and meet others on your school's summer breaks if you go back there. As we are all over the world, so you shall see the world, especially the great deserts of Africa and the mighty Himalaya -- we spread there more than three thousand years ago. You will even spend time in Antartica." Jason looked very surprised, for the member who made his home there was very powerful even by the group's standards, and very very reclusive.
"Yes, from this beautiful sea to the Americas and Australia, you shall see the world, young Harry."
"But only this island in the Aegean," Jason growled.
"Of course," Mo agreed. He grimaced and looked at Harry. "The other member who owns an island, Agathon . . . let us just say that he enjoys the company of boys your age too much."
Harry looked confused for a moment, then remembered all the warning his Muggle teachers had made about strangers. "Ah. . . ."
"Let us speak no more about Agathon," Mo state dismissively.
"Do you know where Voldemort is?" Harry asked.
"We believe he is back in Albania, although we cannot be certain,"Mo said. "His disembodied spirit, in its current form, cannot be harmed. While it could be voluntarily confined, it cannot be forced into any prison we know of."
Harry thought about all this new information for a few moments, then a puzzled look came over his face.
"Yes, Harry?" Jason asked kindly.
"Why . . . why was I sent to the Dursleys?" Harry asked in a quiet voice. "Wasn't there anyone else?"
"For the blood wards Dumbledore established to work, you needed houseroom with a fairly close blood relation of your mother. Other than your aunt, no, there was no one. Now, your parents did have several friends you should have been placed with."
"Black and Pettigrew?"
Jason nodded. "They were numbers one and four on the list. Your father's other close comrade, one Remus Lupin, was not considered as he is a werewolf."
Harry blinked at that.
"Werewolves, well, the condition will enhance certain aspects of their personality. Many have their worst characteristics become predominate. Many also become followers, true pack animals. That is closer to this Lupin, from what we have learned so far."
"There was another couple," Mo went on slowly. "Your friend Neville Longbottom's parents. Fortunately for you, but not them, they were attacked a short time after the attack on your parents. Neville's parents have been hospitalized since." He shrugged. "We have not yet gotten any details."
"Any other questions for now?" Jason asked.
"How did you find me?" Harry asked.
"Do you know what a house elf is?" Jason asked. Harry shook his head. "Long ago, they were free wood elves, but most of the wood elves were hunted down and destroyed in a war with the goblins. Some wood elves still survive these days, deep in the Urals. However, most of the survivors sought refuge with wizards. There were not many of them, a few hundred. This was deep in what you would now call the Bronze Age. The wizards collected oaths from them, enslaving them and their descendants."
Harry looked horrified.
Mo nodded. "Yes, it was wrong, even for the time. Now, all house elves must serve wizards, although they do not necessarily have to be enslaved. Anyway, one enslaved house elf, named Dobby, knew of a plot against Hogwarts and against you. He stopped your mail from your friends, to make you think you weren't wanted. He looked in on you, and found you, injured. He had heard of an associate of ours somehow, and managed to contact him. He contacted me, and Isent Jason to look in on you."
"What's the plot?" Harry asked.
Mo smiled slightly. "We have no idea. He has to be loyal to the letter of his oath. We could have taken the information from his mind of course, but that would have injured, even killed him, which we would not do."
Harry looked relieved for a moment, but then asked, "Do you know who he works for?"
Mo and Jason smiled slightly. "Lucius Malfoy," Mo said drily. Harry made a face. "Exactly. Perhaps the leading surviving member of Voldemort's inner circle of Death Eaters."
"That's what Voldemort called his sworn and Marked followers."Jason held up his hand to forestall Harry's next question."Voldemort created a black mark, a snake coming out of a skull. It marks the Death Eater and binds him to Voldemort. It could also be projected, in an oily smokey form. It usually marked a murder, if not a massacre."
Harry nearly shuddered, but then he stopped. He thought for a few seconds, making the two men curious.
Harry squared his shoulders and looked Mo in the eye. "In that case, if Malfoy's father is plotting against Hogwarts, then I have to go back next year, one way or another."
"Despite the fact that Dumbledore may have manipulated you?" Mo probed.
Harry shook his head. "I'm not going back for him, let alone for me. I'm going back for my friends, and everyone being used."
"Then we shall help you," Mo stated. Jason merely nodded. They were both telling Harry the truth, but they, and the members of their Order, were also looking forward to more excitement and fun than they had had in centuries.
Vernon Dursley scowled as he was led to an interrogation room the following afternoon. His expression lifted a bit when he saw Petunia was already sitting there, as they had not seen each other since their arrest.
They didn't even have time to really greet each other, however, before two men came into the small room. One was a very distinguished looking man, with greyish hair and a trim tooth-brush mustache, dressed in what Vernon recognized as a very expensive hand-made suit. The other man was a younger, brawny bald black man, who was nearly as well-dressed. The guards left at the younger man's nod.
"Please, sit down," the older man said as he sat. The younger man turned his back on them for a moment and then stood with his back to the door. "I am Bartemius Crouch, and I am here to inform you of your sentences, and your options."
"Sentence!" Vernon roared. "We haven't even been tried yet!"
"I assure you, you have," Crouch stated.
"You're one of them, aren't you?" Petunia snarled.
Hearing the soft snort behind him, Crouch answered, "I suppose you could say we are two of them, Mrs. Dursley."
"Just who do you think you are!" Vernon shouted.
"I am the magical equivalent of your Foreign Secretary," Crouch answered calmly, which made the Dursleys blink in surprise."However, for many years, I was our version of your Home Secretary. I still do quite a bit of the work when go-betweens between our two branches of Government -- magical and Muggle -- are needed. Now, Vernon Dursley, you have been found guilty of the physical abuse of, the improper care of, the improper imprisoning of, the grievous assault upon, and the attempted murder of Harry James Potter. Petunia Dursley, you have been found guilty of the physical and mental abuse of, the improper care of, abetting the improper imprisoning of, complicity in the grievous assault upon, and conspiring in the attempted murder of Harry James Potter. You have both also been found guilty of causing the death of a magical post owl, which was also a wizard's familiar. You are also facing additional charges from the Muggle Crown Prosecutor. Vernon Dursley, you are condemned to death."
Vernon paled, while Petunia let out a slight squeak. "Yes, yes, very upsetting, I'm sure. The next time you fall asleep, Mister Dursley, you will not be waking up. Petunia Dursley, you will serve a minimum of fifteen years in prison. Any time not served in a Muggle prison will be served in ours. I suggest you reject any option of parole before that time, but that is up to you. In addition, one half of your financial resources will be paid over to Mister Potter as blood money. A further ten percent will be collected by the Ministry for judicial costs, and fifteen percent will be paid to Gringotts Bank in processing and discovery fees. Mister Shacklebolt?"
The Dursleys recoiled as Kingsley's wand bathed them in a cold pinkish light. "Now, neither of you will ever be able to say, write, or otherwise inform anyone about the magical world. The knowledge has also been suppressed in your son."
"All finished, Mister Crouch."
"Good, good." Crouch had his own wand out, and with a few muttered incantations, cursed Vernon Dursley with a curse designed to execute Muggles painlessly. "That concludes our business with you. Have a pleasant afternoon."