PART 3: DISCUSSIONS AND PLOTS 2324
May 2nd 85:
Gringotts bank was its usual efficient self. As the man ascended the steps, he bowed formally to the two sentries there, and greeted them respectfully…in the old tongue! Shocked stupid, both goblins bowed in return, and gestured him inside, where four other goblins escorted him to the counter.
There, he greeted Snatchcoin by name and asked to see Dak Graswold.
“And who are you that the most honored Dak would deign to speak unto you?”
“I am an old friend.”
“The most honored Dak has no hoomon friends!” he sneered, lifting a hand to order the guards to escort this wizard out.
Harry spoke softly, once more in the goblins’ sacred tongue.
:: Flitwick is on assignment for Graswold. Since your brother loves to teach, Dumbledore thought him easily swayed. He’d hoped to use him as a spy on the goblin people, and so, Graswold asked him to keep an eye on the old meddler.::
Snatchcoin gaped in shock. There were only three who knew of his half-brother’s assignment. Filius, himself and the Most Honored Dak. Most other goblins thought Filius had been slain.
::Honor!:: Snatchcoin began his family’s motto, speaking in Goblanachs.
::Family!:: Harry continued, in the same language.
::Blade!:: Snatchcoin gave the third phrase, and Harry finished with: ::Blood!::
“Please wait in a private parlor. Tea will be brought. I will see what I can do.”
“As you wish.” Harry bowed in respect and then walked across the floor to a hallway lined with doors. A guard opened one and allowed him entry before closing and locking it.
Harry knew this was much a test as a wait. He sat on the floor, his back to a wall as any good goblin would, folded himself into a lotus, closed his eyes and began to meditate.
Once in the zone, he extended his consciousness throughout the bank, from the lobby with it’s busy tellers and arrogant wizards, to the vaults and their dragons, to the training grounds below, where the mups learned the sword and spear, to the crèche, where many nurtured the few. Gringotts was more than a bank. It was the ‘Ott’…a temple of sorts, of Horde Gringg, and to the goblins, it was the center of their government, it was an embassy in the midst of barbarians, and most importantly, it was home.
Four hours later, Harry opened his eyes; he had been aware of everything around him the entire time and felt the goblin’s approach. He stood just before the door slammed open.
::You really love causing trouble for me don’t you?:: The gnarled and scarred old goblin snarled in Goblanachs.
::Whenever I can, oh, toothless one!:: Harry shot back in the same tongue.
With a bellowing laugh at the blatant disrespect, the most honored Dak, director in chief of Gringotts bank, and nominal leader of the Unified Goblin Hordes, stretched out his hands to welcome the stranger.
“I know you, and yet, I don’t! I recognize your scent. You are from one of the ancient families. I’ve met you before, yet I don’t recall your face.”
“You’ve only met me once and I was in nappies at the time. That was about four years ago.”
Graswold searched his memory for an answer. Four years ago, in nappies…a babe then, and four years ago…one of the old families, but who…then it hit him; the bright green eyes that watched him even now, had stared at him without fear, four years before.
Harry held his hand out over the desk. Understanding, Graswold pulled a sheet of finely hammered gold from a draw, and placed it on the desktop, then unsheathed his dirk and sliced across Harry’s palm, allowing a few drops of blood to drip onto the gold foil. Once he had a small puddle, he touched a heritage quill to the blood. It righted itself and began to write. He looked to the wizard to find the bloody hand already healed. There wasn’t even a scar to tell of the injury.
He looked at the quill, which was still writing. The two names he took note of were Potter and Gryffindor.
“You’re Harrison James Potter!”
“But you look old!”
I am old. I’m a thousand years old to be exact. When I killed Voldemort in ‘98, I became nearly immortal.”
Graswold was stunned. “I thought you killed him in ‘81.”
“Yeah, well when I did that, it turns out he wasn’t nearly as dead as we all would have liked. Instead of being killed, he was disembodied. He drifted around Albania for the next dozen years or so and when I was fourteen, he returned to a corporeal form in a dark ritual, using me as a critical ingredient. I finally killed him four years later. It cost the lives of too many good people…of all races, mostly because a certain meddling old Headbastard couldn’t part with a secret to save his miserable, fucking life! And I mean that literally!”
Graswold looked askance at the barely contained rage in the wizard’s voice. Harry closed his eyes and breathed deeply for a moment before he went on.
“That’s why I’m here, actually. I finally managed to get myself killed by being at the center of a antimatter explosion.” At Graswold’s confused look he added: ‘That kind of energy release doesn’t care if you’re immortal or not. It simply converts anything in the way to pure energy. People, rock, metal, makes no difference, and the energy is enough that…well, its not that important.
What is important, is I was sent to my judgment, and for some godawful reason I was offered the opportunity to come back in time and make things right. To that end, I have a proposition for you.”
“Mmhmm. You are familiar with the idea of a soul jar are you not?’
Instantly Graswold grew furious…that this human, ancient family or not, Potter or not, time traveler or not, would dare to tempt the goblin race with such disgusting, vile and horrific magicks as that…defilement! That utter depravity!
::Contain yourself, Graswold!:: Harry snapped in Goblanachs. Graswold sat back in shock, blinking. None had dared to use ‘the command voice’ on him in hundreds of years. Nevertheless, he instinctively obeyed, as the human spoke again.
“Would it interest you to know that there is one such, here in this bank, as we speak?
“Mmmhmmm. In the Lestrange’s vault, there is an antique gold chalice, first belonging to Helga Hufflepuff and now, barring any challenge, the legal property of the Hogwarts Historical Foundation. It, and a locket, a property of Salazar Slytherin, were stolen from Hepzibah Smith in the mid nineteen forties, by Tom Marvolo Riddle, the self-named Lord Voldemort. He murdered Smith to turn the cup into a soul jar, and placed a compulsion on Smith’s house elf, to confess the crime. Now, both that cup and the locket contain parts of his soul. Dumbledore refers to them as Horcruxes, though I wonder if he just made that name up.
Now, I can remove the soul fragments and send them on, but not without destroying the vessels and some of those vessels are rather valuable, historically speaking. I understand your ritual-masters can remove the fragments to other vessels and leave the originals intact.”
“Bah! We do not interfere with the affairs of Wizards…even at the request of one of the ancient families, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but we must look to our own safety first. We will remove the container from the bank, and give it to the ministry…”
“Are you certain you want to do that?” Again, Harry called upon his magic.
“What do you mean?” Graswold was growing more and more unnerved by this human. He knew the old tricks and he used them! Such humans were dangerous!
“Does the ministry treat honorably with the goblins? Have they ever? What would prevent the minister from simply handing it over to another Death Eater, like Malfoy - Parkinson - Avery - Crabbe - Goyle - Nott - Rowle - McNair? They would simply use the soul fragment to return Voldemort to a living body sooner than he did before, and you know quite well that Voldemort holds the entire goblin nation in utter contempt. As their liege, wouldn’t it be better to see this abomination destroyed rather than allow him the chance to return and kill even more of your people than he did the last time…”
Graswold had nothing to say. Potter had made a valid point.
“There are a total of seven soul parts (1). I want you to remove each of them from their containers as I deliver them, and transfer them into easily destroyed artifacts.
“Such procedures would be…expensive…”
“Take the payment from the Lestrange vault. After all, they’re the ones who hid such a foul piece of magic here in your bank. I’m certain that violates some sort of treaty or law, or even bank regulation. Besides, rather than facing their fate like warriors, the Death Eaters used lies, deceit and bribery…the basest, most cowardly of methods…to escape their rightful due.”
Harry knew goblins despised bribery. They saw it as unworthy and dishonorable…the work of poisoners, betrayers and cowards, and having someone use their bank to conduct such perfidy tarnished their reputations, both as a collective and individually.
“Given the circumstances, I’m sure they’d be more than happy to…defer the cost of eliminating their lord.” Harry grinned malevolently.
Graswold chuckled. He could understand this one. He was not just an old one; he was undoubtedly one of the fabled hochbgoblacht…a goblin in a human’s skin. What the humans called, a hobgoblin.
“And your interest? Nothing is free.”
“In exchange for the vital services I would be providing to the goblin people, by bringing in the soul jars, I want only a few minor things, all well within your authority.” He phrased it just that way to ensure the goblins knew that what he was doing was critical to the welfare of their nation and people. A boon they were honor-bound to repay. “The artifacts; after they have been purged, one standard student’s trunk full of gold, and your complete silence on this matter…regardless who asks. Treat it like a national secret. And, last; the next time, I enter this bank; I will be wearing a much younger body. There will be no dark magicks involved. You’ve already tested my blood and you know me to be Harry Potter. Since I have come back in time, I will simply be merging with my previous self.” Harry spread and then gently clasped his hands. “When I return, you will name me an adult warrior of horde Gringg, for the purpose of emancipation, and total access to my family vaults…”
“I cannot name you goblin warrior until you have proved yourself in combat!”
“Graswold, I really don’t want to kill one of your soldiers. If I give you memories of my exploits, will that suffice?”
“Are these memories sufficiently heroic?”
“Does killing a thousand year old basilisk count?”
~Killing a…~ Graswold was stunned. Harry smirked.
“I’ll give you four memories. My encounter with Voldemort, when I was eleven, killing the basilisk when I was twelve, his reincarnation when I was fourteen, and finally, killing the snaky bastard off for good when I was eighteen. You take those memories to the council and let them decide.”
Graswold couldn’t find a down side. If the council decided against, he couldn’t be blamed. If they decided for, he would be lauded for his wisdom in bringing it to their attention.
“I also want a complete audit of my vaults…” Harry continued. “Just to make sure there hasn’t been any headmaster-sanctioned…creative accounting. Dumbledore had no business placing me with child abusers in the first place, and I know that the Dursleys have been receiving a monthly stipend in the amount of fourty Galleons per month to take care of me. Since the old bastard is too cheap to pay for it himself, I believe that gold came from either my vault or the Potter vaults. Instead of providing me with things I needed like food, and clothing, they spent it on themselves. Now, I’m going to deal with them on my own, but Dumbledore…Dumbledore was the one that put me there, and he’s the one I hold responsible for every scar, every beating, every broken bone, every day of starvation, every hour of my being worked like a bloody house elf, and I intend to make him pay…and pay dearly!”
Graswold’s smiled again. Revenge was a motivator he could easily understand. Harry’s next words cemented the deal.
“As for the rest of the Lestranges’ gold, I suppose you can keep it. After all, they’ll soon have no use for it…and as their only living relative is my godfather, I can see to it he claims their assets for breaking the marriage contract…and somehow ‘forgets’ that the gold is still in the bank.”
Graswold showed a set of teeth any shark would be proud of. Any such abandoned moneys would have to be ‘collected’ by the goblins, to keep the place tidy, of course, and given that there would be no claimants within ten years, it would be transferred to the goblin’s general fund.
A/N: As I’ve said before, I believe Rowling did the goblins a real disservice in her ‘Deadly Horrible’ story. Before that book came out, she portrayed them as being aloof, suspicious and efficient, but having a sense of honor. Unfortunately that book changed so many things. And the goblins suddenly became backstabbing, deal-breaking thieves who’d sell their mothers for a few sickles.
I see the goblins as a sort of combination between Ferengi and Klingon. They have a strict code of honor, and stick to it assiduously, but it’s not a code humans are comfortable with, and so in their bigotry they label the goblins as being without honor. They also have the military training and might to defend themselves from all comers.
(1)At this point in time there are only seven of Voldemort’s horcruxes. According to Lexicon, though not specifically canon, Nagini had not been made into a horcrux until after Voldemort’s reincarnation.
PART 4: THE BEST REVENGE IS LIVING WELL
At seven fifteen on the fifth of May, a well-dressed man of about fourty walked slowly down the perfectly normal street of Privet drive. Turning up the walk to the despised house called ‘number four’, he paused. Since he was in fact, Harry James Potter, the wards Dumbledore erected to warn him of any wizards interfering with his programme of ‘forcible indoctrination’, would not alert him.
Scanning the building, he found what he expected. Little Harry was in his cupboard, sobbing quietly over his latest beating and desperately wishing for a long-lost relative to come and take him away from the constant torment that was his life.
Merlin had chosen this particular time, because in just under two months, on his fifth birthday, Dumbledore had arrived to bind eighty percent of his magic in order to make him more tractable. If things went the way he wanted today, that would never happen, and it wouldn’t take the better part of thirty years to build up to where it should have been in the first place.
He rang the bell.
Petunia Dursley was, as one of her less charitable neighbors had said, a nasty piece of…work. She spent her days eavesdropping and poking her nose into business that truly, she had no business in. She spoiled her son while treating the other boy there…the one she loudly called ‘freak’…like an animal! No, the residents of Privet Drive had no love for Petunia Dursley.
The man at her doorstep looked vaguely familiar, but the expensive suit he wore was all the pedigree she needed. She opened the door wider to let him in, craning her neck, not-so-subtly, to see if the neighbors had noticed.
Inside, Harry gestured imperceptibly, and a silencing charm surrounded the house.
“How may I help you, mister…?”
“Potter.” Harry smirked back, his emerald green eyes nearly glowing in the entryway. “Harry Potter!”
Her eyes grew wide as he realized he was telling the truth.
“Hello, Aunt Petunia”
Her scream died in her throat even before it began.
Harry twitched a finger, and all three Dursleys found themselves immobilised. Vernon was still at the table, stuffing his face while little Dudley was watching something inane on the telly.
Smiling, in satisfaction, Harry turned to the cupboard under the stairs. Unlatching it, he swung the door open to find a fearful and bruised Harry staring up at him.
“Hello, Harry.” He greeted his younger self.
“H’lo.” The shy child returned his greeting.
He knelt in front of the opened cupboard. “I know you’ve been dreaming of a relative to take you from here. Would you like to go with me?”
“Harry’s reply was sudden and emotional. The little boy had flung himself into his older self’s arms, shuddering with emotion, as strong arms held him for the first time he could remember.
Fawkes flamed into the room in response to an unheard summons. His first-bonded, who called himself Merlin, had informed him in the past/future, he’d be needed for the joining, and so he was here to facilitate the unheard-of event. He knew that only Phoenixes were able to meet themselves through time and yet, here the boy and his future self were locked in a loving embrace.
Knowing his duty, the brilliant scarlet and gold bird floated over the two and alit on the older Harry’s shoulder. Harry bade him wait a moment while he explained what was to happen. As soon as the boy understood, Fawkes reached out with one talon, scratched the man’s palm first, then the boy’s and lastly his own leg. Older Harry took younger Harry’s hand and wrapped them both around the phoenix’ talon. Their blood commingled and with a surge of magic, the man was gone. In his spot was a little boy with an ancient soul.
The magical pulse spread throughout the country, causing wizards and witches all over Britain to spill their teas or drop their forks, and in the headmaster’s office of Hogwarts School, several of the silvery trinkets on the shelves and in the various corners, melted, exploded, or just stopped working.
Down in the Great Hall, everyone at dinner, felt the pulse, and Dumbledore immediately stood to investigate.
Harry wrapped Fawkes in a fierce hug before releasing the phoenix.
“Thank you, Fawkes.”
With a trill, Fawkes flamed back to Hogwarts.
“Now for you lot.” The boy growled and turned to his unfortunate relatives.
At Hogwarts, Fawkes arrived in his usual burst of flame, looked at the smoking remains of the little gizmos that littered Dumbledore’s office, snickered, and settled himself on his perch, to sleep.
Harry gestured and the torn and ragged clothing he wore transformed into well-fitting shirt and denims. The worn out trainers he’d so carefully taped together became like new. Now dressed properly, he gathered his aunt and uncle in the kitchen. He sent Dudley to sleep where he was, as there was no need for a four year old to hear someone berate his parents. Seating himself he twitched a finger and a fine porcelain tea service appeared. Petunia wanted to scream at the unnaturalness of the conjuration, while at the same time; she was drooling over the beautiful, and hideously expensive tea set.
Harry poured a cup of tea.
“When I died, I had just turned one thousand years old. It was my birthday in fact. July the thirty first, twenty-nine eighty. I was killed in an antimatter explosion. How, you might ask, did I live for a thousand years? Well there’s a story in itself. You see, when I killed Voldemort…for good, in 1998, all the magic he’d absorbed from people he’d murdered, left him, and since I was the nearest magical person, well, I suddenly got the whole lot. Now, with the life span of a wizard being about one hundred fifty to two hundred years, I could conceivably live for another eight or ten thousand years…or more. I really had no desire to do that, especially considering my wife Hermione, had died back in 2116. From my viewpoint, that was some eight hundred sixty years ago. Quite frankly, immortality is lonely. I left Earth, but came under attack by people who wanted to keep me there as a trophy. I refused and they fired on me. Eventually, they broke through my shields, and so, rather than allow them return me to prison, I triggered the self-destruct. Then there was the explosion. As a result, I ended up in a place…a nexus if you will, where my fate was to be decided. Since I’d had to put up with so much shite in my life, first at your hands, then at Dumblemort’s, I was offered a choice. Stay with my wife, my parents and my friends, or come back in time, and try to set things straight.
Stupid me, I decide to come back and change the course of history.”
Harry broke off with a glare for his aunt.
“That brings me to you lot.”
He sipped his tea and composed himself.
“You know, for the first fifty years or so, I’d think on all the nasty punishments I wanted to give you, and believe me, between me and Hermione, we thought of a whole bunch of tortures that would make the middle ages look like the bloody nineteen sixties! Everything from flaying you alive to vivisecting you. Unfortunately, since you vanished off the face of the Earth after the war, I had no way to find you. You can thank Dumbledore for that. I suppose he thought I was going to avenge myself on you…for the years of hatred, neglect, abuse, and brutality you’ve shown me. He was probably right, but after that, I knew you were dead…either of old age or somebody had gotten tired of your bigotry and killed you themselves.
Since then, I’ve had over nine hundred years to rethink my position. So, here’s what I’m going to do. For you and Vernon, I’m going to ensure you are well cared for, for the rest of your natural lives. For Dudley, I’m going to regress him in age to the point where he wasn’t a spoilt rotten little bastard, and see to it he’s raised properly.”
At eight PM, with a silent flash of light, number four Privet Drive ceased to exist. All that was left was a nearly hemispherical hole in the ground. Researchers would later find that the hole was mathematically perfect to the ninth decimal…even rocks had been sliced in half along that prefect arc. The only variations they could find, were due to the shifting soil, and water from the pipes and sewer.
In a few dozen years or so, the house and that same hemisphere of soil, would be found…orbiting Mars. It would be nearly fifty years more, before a manned mission would be sent, to investigate why a British home was in orbit around another planet.
For the moment, once the neighbors had bestirred themselves to actually investigate, the street was filled with people, all gathered around that circular hole in the ground. Police and the fire brigade were called, and within minutes, the formerly placid Privet Drive was a beehive.
In the ensuing confusion, little Harry Potter made his way toward the play-park off Magnolia Road.
There, under a cloaking shield, rested the little delta-winged shuttlecraft he’d named ‘Doodlebug’. It was Hermione’s favorite nickname for April, their first adopted child.
He deactivated the cloaking shield and walked toward the little ship. A few people walking their dogs stopped and gaped as he entered the little vessel, and with a gentle hum the shuttlecraft lifted into the darkened sky.
An old lady wearing a tatty old housecoat and slippers, who’d been following him, arrived just as he entered the ship.
As it lifted away, she whispered: “Godspeed, Harry.”
She turned away to report the destruction of number four to the old man.
Inside the shuttle, he took the three small figurines that looked remarkably like his relatives, from his pocket. At each of his three carefully chosen destinations, he returned one of them to normal size, and permanently transfigured him or her into the appropriate form, before dropping them off at their new homes.
In Northern Scotland, Albus Dumbledore was aghast. His weapon was gone! Gone! How could this have happened? He’d planned things out so very carefully, so how…?
He had just entered his office to find all the monitoring devices he’d placed on little Harry had melted or exploded. Fawkes had chirped brightly as he entered and then gone back to sleep. Less than a half-hour later, Arabella had alerted him to a terrible burst of light from number four, he’d flung himself through the floo and rushed to Privet Drive. He’d arrived, to find nothing but a large crowd of muggles surrounding a circular hole in the ground some sixty feet across and twenty feet deep. For reasons unknown, nothing else was damaged in the slightest, but the house had vanished and no trace of either Harry Potter, or the Dursleys remained.
He returned to Hogwarts, cursing the gods for their capricious whims, and wracking his brain for ways to persuade Augusta to allow him to use Neville as his martyr. It was, after all, for the greater good.
The next morning, at the prestigious London Zoo, a confused animal handler re-counted his heard of alpaca. That morning, there was one more than there had been the previous night. The beast was thin and foul tempered and seemed more interested in dominating the others than anything else. Unfortunately, the established herd didn’t seem to care for the new female’s attitude, and made sure she knew it.
A discussion followed, and it was decided that should the new animal not adapt to the zoo, she would be sent to another.
In San Diego, a similar discussion was held, as a confused group of animal handlers, veterinarians and administrative people were examining the surprise addition to their aquatic collection. Where there had been three manatees, there were now four. The unknown manatee was smaller than the rest, and so was thought to be an adolescent, or a runt. According to their preliminary tests, he was healthy, just a bit undersized.
In Longreach, Sister Mary Alice opened the door to St. Augustine’s orphanage to find a sleeping infant in a basket on the step.
She sighed as he lifted the basket and brought it inside. ~Such a shame! Giving up a child! And such a beautiful child!~
And she was right. He was a cheerful baby, giggling and playing with his feet, and he instantly captured the hearts of all the sisters there, and not a few of the children. This one will be easy to place, they thought.
PART 5: FINDING THE HIDDEN
At five thirty five PM on tenth May, during a thunderstorm, an often-bitter old man, was trudging down the rainy street in Little Hangleton, his week’s shopping done. He muttered harsh epithets at a god who would send so much rain, before turning in to The Hanged Man pub for a quick pint or three. He never noticed the orange light on the hill.
Farther along the road, a delta-winged shuttlecraft was hovering above the remains of a decrepit old shack at the bottom of the hill, some half mile from the old Riddle Manor, lancing it with weapons that wouldn’t be invented for several hundred years. The shack was largely hidden by hedgerows, trees and an overgrowth of brush, Harry’d stationed the My Little in a stable hover several kilometers above the site, and called down a pinpoint strike on the ancient manor house. The building was blazing merrily but a containment dome held the flames, smoke and soot in.
Meanwhile, Harry was dealing with the Gaunt Shack. Careful adjustments of tractor and presser fields, and the roof lifted away, to expose the small main room. Fine beams sliced into the floor, exposing the soil beneath. Again, using those pinpoint tractor and presser fields with the skill of a surgeon, Harry dug through the dirt beneath.
There! The box appeared. Inside was the ring that had killed Dumbledore…and would do so again!
The instant the box moved, dark curses struck out, seeking the intruding presence to destroy or corrupt.
It’s fortunate, one would suppose, that said curses had been created by a boy with little or no interest in science fiction. Had he been more imaginative, he would have placed a better kind of protections…perhaps one that would use the beams themselves to access the ship and destroy whatever was inside. But Tom Riddle was, if anything, a pragmatic youth. Science fiction was still a new genre, and for him, reading for pleasure wasn’t an urge in the first place.
Now, the ugly curses finally exhausted themselves.
The wooden box floated into the air, and then onto the recessed ramp of the little ship.
Never touching the thing, Harry opened the box and made sure the ring was what he supposed. Instantly his scar flared in agony, as the soul fragment within, recognized itself. Almost a thousand years of experience had made him quite the expert at detecting and destroying horcruxes. That was, in fact, one of the reasons the Governing Council of Earth, wanted him to remain. Literally thousands of the evil things had been created over the millennia, and once in a while, some poor fool would come across one, and be possessed by whatever dark witch or wizard inhabited the cursed article. Harry knew how to destroy them, and while he’d taught others to do so, none of them were as facile as he.
Tonight, after he had the goblins transfer the soul fragment to another container, he’d see to it that the old bastard paid for his crimes.
A half hour later someone rushed in to yell: “Oi! Ever’one come look! There’s a fire up on the hill!”
Frank was mildly drunk, but not enough to misunderstand. The only place ‘up on the hill’ was Riddle Manor! Leaving his groceries where they were, he dashed out the door, ignoring the pain from his leg as he ran. Realizing he could do nothing, he just stood in the pouring rain as flames consumed the old house he had watched over for so long.
Alerted to the approach of flashing blue lights, Harry released the containment dome over Riddle manor, and shifted the little ship to avoid any soot from pointing him out to the crowd of people in the road. Hovering over the old pub, sat back to watch the show. In the storm, he was invisible, and his shields would confuse anyone who did manage to catch a glimpse of him.
Far below, amidst the crowd of onlookers, he noticed a woman pulling on a man’s sleeve, but the man seemed frozen in place. Curious as to why anyone would stand in the rain like that, Harry launched a Spy-eye. The little probe darted to the ground and began to transmit images from the roadway. Enhancing the image, he swore out loud. The wretched figure was Frank Bryce.
He’d forgotten about the lonely old man.
He knew he’d have to find a way to take care of the old caretaker. He scoured his brain for an answer all the way back to the My Little.
“C’mon Frank, Let’s get y’ inside.” Mary, the warm-hearted barmaid gently dragged him back toward the pub.
The next morning, a child entered the ornate lobby of Gringotts bank.
“What do you want, boy?”
::A little respect, nameless one!:: The child shot back…in Goblanachs! “And if I don’t get it, I’m going to pull your intestines out though that ridiculous paper-spike on your face!”
In goblin tradition, to insult another’s nose was worthy of a blood duel!
The goblin immediately took offense and stepped forward to beat this impertinent brat, only to find himself waking up wet and cold, on the floor of the Most Honored Dak’s office.
Graswold was looking down on him like some kind of noisome parasite. In his hand was an empty water bucket.
“Tell me Griphook, why I shouldn’t have you fed to the dragons!” Next to the Dak, that human mup stood with a nasty smirk on his face.
Griphook scrambled to his feet and bowed deeply to his liege. “My lord, I…”
“Enough! You are demoted three steps in rank and will attend remedial training in hand-to-hand combat. Begone!”
Knowing he was fortunate to retain his head, Griphook scuttled from the office, swearing vile epithets. He did not dare to seek revenge, as the human mup seemed to be in good stead with the most honored Dak, and any such vengeance would surely result in his own head being hoisted on a spear in the lobby.
So, this is another?” Graswold gestured to the box.
“It is. Be most careful to not touch it, not so much as one fingertip. There is a dark and deadly rotting curse on the ring, which will claim the life, within days, of any who do.”
“I stand cautioned.”
“Have you cleansed the cup?”
“We have. It is here.” Graswold held out a golden chalice with two handles. It was heavily engraved, with a Germanic motif.
“Thank you. And the soul piece?”
“It is in the high security vault as you ordered.”
“Good. I should be able to bring in the next one within a few days.”
“And the one in your head?”
“Since it reacts in the presence of the other pieces, it is my only way of knowing for certain that what I’ve found, is in fact, one of his soul jars. As much as I dislike it, I’ll have to keep it until all the others are found and destroyed.”
Graswold’s estimation of this human mup…no…not a mup at all, but a true warrior…went up another notch. To willingly subject oneself to such torment in order to spare others the same, was the mark of a king. He made a peculiar genuflection to Harry, thinking the boy had not seen it.
With a wide smile, Harry made the proper gesture in return.
Graswold was shocked. “You don’t miss much do you?”
“Very little. I am a thousand years old, after all.”
Graswold showed Harry to the ritual room, where he watched as yet another portion of Riddle was removed and stored in a clay figurine. He did wonder though, if; ‘Oom-chak-a-laka-laka’ was a real ritual chant.
He took the now soulless, but still deadly ring, and departed, leaving a bemused Graswold behind.
A/N: Like so many of the ideas I use, ‘the thousands of horcruxes (soul jars) created over the millennia’ was thunked up by Seel’vor.
‘Oom-chak-a-laka-laka’ Of course, the goblins would have their own sense of humour.
While I disagree intensely with some of Rowling’s horcruxes, I will be using them as in canon.
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