Chapter 1 – Harry and His Key
What if the idea that someone had been keeping an important item from him seriously upset Harry?
The huge bearded man cleared his throat to gain the attention of the goblin behind the counter and announced, "Mister 'arry Potter wishes ter make a withdrawal." Such a large man couldn't help but have a loud voice and his announcement caused most of the bank's other patrons to turn to look at the man, but especially at the small scruffy-looking boy next to him.
The goblin ignored the other bank patrons to look over the roughly clad man in front of him and then turned his attention to the scrawny and poorly dressed child beside him. "Ah. And does Mister Harry Potter have his key?"
Hagrid began searching through his long coat. "Oh, wait ta minute. Got it 'ere somewhere." Harry turned his head and stared at the giant man. "Aha! 'ere's the lil devil!" He held up a small golden key and slid it across the counter to the goblin.
"Wait a moment, Hagrid, " Harry began with surprised indignation. "Why do you have a key to my bank account and why did I never know I had an account here?"
Hagrid looked nonplussed for a moment. "Professer Dumbledore gave me yer key, 'arry."
Harry shook his head. "Why did he have it? Why did I never have it?" He turned to look at the goblin behind the desk and demanded, "Why did a man that I've never met have a key to my account? Can you give me a…what do you call it…a list of all money going into and out of my account?" He suddenly realized how demanding he was being and quickly added said, "Please, sir" to the teller.
"Now 'arry," began Hagrid in a shocked tone, "Dumbledore would never take anythin' from yer vault. 'e is a great man, 'e is." The other bank patrons were now watching the two with unabashed interest. While Hagrid protested to Harry, the goblin waved his hand over the key and then pressed it against a pile of parchment. Columns began appearing on the parchment. When the writing stopped, the goblin looked it over. "There have been no transactions made against this vault since July, 1981," he announced.
"There, ya see, 'arry? Dumbledore just kept yer key safe, 'e did," the huge man said in relief.
"But why? If I had known I had any money, I could have used it for food and maybe some clothes! I could have hidden food in the cupboard for when my relatives refused to feed me!" Harry tried hard not to whine, but the very idea that he could have had clothes that fit or could have stockpiled food in his cupboard for the times he was locked in was nearly overwhelming. The watching patrons gasped at the revelations by the undersized boy.
"You didn't know about your vaults, Mister Potter? Are you saying that you never received a quarterly statement from Gringotts," challenged the goblin. Hagrid seemed to shuffle back a few inches at the grim menace in the goblin's voice.
"No sir," Harry replied. "I've never received any type of mail, ever! Well, except for the invitation to Hogwarts that my relatives wouldn't let me have."
One of the children watching the scene tugged on her mother's sleeve. When her mother bent down, the girl whispered "Mummy, I sent Harry Potter a birthday card every year. Does that mean he never got it?" The adult witch narrowed her eyes slightly. "It seems so, darling."
"This will require more investigation," the teller stated. He swiftly wrote a note with a long feathered quill and with a gesture, summoned a younger goblin to his side. Handing him the note, he said, "Mister Potter, would you please accompany Bluntnose?"
"'ere, now," protested Hagrid. "Perfesser Dumbledore tol' me not ta let 'arry out o'me sight."
"This is now Gringotts business, sir," responded the goblin. "You may wait for Mister Potter there," he added, waving at a series of chairs against one of the walls. Before Hagrid could protest further, Bluntnose took the young boy off the floor and down one of the hallways. When Hagrid tried to follow, several goblins with spears intercepted him and pointed him back to the waiting area. The huge man reluctantly sat down, muttering loudly about how Dumbledore wouldn't like this at all. The other patrons were quickly turned back to their business by the other tellers.
Unknown to the large Groundskeeper, a secretary at the Daily Prophet, the British wizarding daily newspaper had witnessed the entire exchange. She quickly finished her deposit, then returned to her office as quickly as she could. She was nearly out of breath as she rushed to one particular desk.
"Miss Skeeter!" A blonde middle-aged woman looked up from her desk. Her heavily penciled eyebrows rose above her crystal-embossed spectacles at the puffing secretary. Before she could answer, the secretary continued, "Harry Potter! He's at the bank and you won't believe what I heard!"
Harry followed the goblin down several hallways, eventually getting completely lost as they turned multiple times. Eventually, they arrived at a door with a brass plaque with three lines; "Potter", "Peverell", and "Standish". Bluntnose knocked twice, then opened the door. He strode quickly to the desk at the end of the room, laid down the parchment, and quickly left, forcing Harry into the room before he closed the door behind him.
Harry blinked and looked hesitantly towards the other end of the room.
"Well, don't stand there," the goblin behind the desk snapped in an irritated voice. "Time is money!"
"Yes, sir. Sorry, sir," Harry answered and moved hesitantly towards the desk as the goblin read the note from the teller. The office itself was easily the size of the Dursley's living room. A well-dressed goblin was seated behind the desk, framed by the rear wall which held several axes, spears and other very sharp looking weapons. Harry stopped at the two chairs before the desk and looked apprehensively at the goblin who was also scrutinizing him very carefully.
"You are Mister Harry James Potter," the goblin asked. The Potter Account Manager kept his shock inside, allowing nothing to show. How could the Potter Heir be such a scrawny human and clad in what his mate would use only for cleaning?
"Yes, sir," Harry responded politely as he tried to examine the goblin without being rude. As with the others he had seen in the bank, the goblin before him seemed to be about his size with pale skin, as if he spent very little time outside. His dome-shaped head was mostly bald, with only a small band of grey hair as a fringe. His ears were pointed as was his rather large nose. Like the teller, he had very long fingers, probably the better to hold one of the weapons behind him, Harry thought.
"Hmph. I am Senior Account Manager Sharpaxe, Account Manager for the House of Potter for the last two decades. Take a seat, Mister Potter," the newly named Sharpaxe ordered.
Harry sat down cautiously on the closest chair. "I'm pleased to meet you Mr. Sharpaxe. I didn't know there was a 'House of Potter'," he admitted.
"Refer to me as Senior Account Manager Sharpaxe," the goblin said sharply. "I fought hard for the right to bear that title."
"Yes, sir. Sorry, sir," Harry replied immediately. The goblin sounded like Uncle Vernon, and he responded automatically to the tone.
Sharpaxe raised an eyebrow. Politeness was one thing, but for the Heir to the House of Potter to act like the lowest of the low? This was unexpected and troubling.
"Teller Goldtooth states that you have never received any mail from Gringotts. Is that correct?"
"Yes, sir," Harry responded immediately. "I've never received any mail, ever, except my invitation to Hogwarts."
Sharpaxe tightened the grip on his quill. "You've never received any mail? Not even from other wizards or witches?"
"No, sir," Harry replied. I didn't even know there were witches and wizards until Hagrid came. He told me that I was a wizard. My relatives always said magic didn't exist. I didn't even know how my parents really died, because my aunt said they were killed in a car crash. Hagrid said they were killed by an evil wizard.
"I see." His sharp ears caught a slight rumble and he noticed the young boy move in embarrassment. "This is going to take some time, Mister Potter. I will call for refreshments and a curse breaking specialist."
Harry wasn't sure what that meant, but the goblin pressed a button on his desk and spoke curtly in a harsh guttural tone. He then began writing on a parchment, so Harry sat back and patiently waited. He was used to waiting quietly. Uncle Vernon didn't respond well to fidgeting.
A few minutes later, a different goblin arrived with a tray, which he laid on the desk. There was a pitcher of water, two glasses, two small plates, a basket of rolls, and a bowl of what appeared to be cut up roots and chunks of meat. Sharpaxe noticed the boy made no move for the tray, although he looked at it with interest. The goblin sighed to himself, but put down his quill, opened one of the rolls, and spooned the roots and meat onto it and put it on one of the empty plates. He filled a glass with water and pushed them towards the boy. "Eat," he commanded.
Harry couldn't remember a time that his aunt had actually made him a sandwich and tried to hide his surprise, but gratefully took the offered plate and took a bite of the filled roll. The roots were crunchy with an earthy taste, almost like a cross between a potato and a water chestnut. The meat was spicy and like nothing he had ever tasted. "This is very good," he said with a shy smile at the stern goblin after swallowing his first mouthful. "Thank you, sir."
"Hmph," Sharpaxe responded. The note from the teller had noted that the boy hadn't known about his vault and was upset as he could have used the gold for food and clothing; that was beyond the disturbing comments that their client had never received any mail from Gringotts. Apparently, the youth had missed more than a few meals if his appearance was anything to go on.
Shortly after the boy finished the roll and took several swallows from his water, a knock came from the door. It was immediately opened by a goblin dressed in well-worn leathers. He ignored the human and looked inquiringly at the Senior Account Manager.
"Mister Potter," Sharpaxe began.
"Harry please, sir," responded the boy with another timid smile. Senior Account Manager Sharpaxe had been kinder to him than almost anyone he had met in his short life. The goblin had invited him to sit down, noticed he was hungry, and made him a sandwich of sorts.
Sharpaxe managed not to show his surprise and continued, "Harry, this is Senior Curse Breaker Swiftspear, one of our warders and curse breakers. I would like him to see if there are spells on you that would prevent you from receiving your mail from Gringotts."
Harry gave a shy smile to the new goblin and nodded. "OK, sir." He wasn't sure what this was all about, but everything had started once he said he hadn't gotten quarterly statements. He was curious about the reason himself. If he had only known about his account, he wouldn't have gone hungry so often. Well, once he had figured out how to get to London to get that money.
While he was thinking, the goblin raised his hands and said something in the same harsh guttural tones that Sharpaxe had used earlier. Harry felt a brief tingle from his scalp down to his toes. Almost immediately, Swiftspear scowled and spoke harshly to the Account Manager in what Harry assumed was their own language. Harry couldn't help but cringe when the Senior Curse Breaker snarled; he looked very angry and very dangerous.
Sharpaxe noticed the reaction and realized that his earlier suspicions were probably true. The Potter Heir was too hesitant, too submissive besides being poorly attired and fed. "Harry, Senior Curse Breaker Swiftspear found that there are three unique spells on you. One is a tracking charm. It lets whoever cast it find you no matter where you are." Harry's eyes widened. "Another is a charm to report your health to an undisclosed person or location. Finally, there is also a mail ward. It prevents you from receiving mail from an unapproved source."
"But..who would put those on me," Harry questioned in shock.
The two goblins spoke rapidly in their guttural tongue. Sharpaxe paused, opened a drawer and drew out a parchment, which he passed to the other goblin. Swiftspear cast again in the goblin language, and a rosy glow surrounded both the parchment and Harry.
"The parchment is a Notice of Intent from Albus Dumbledore," Sharpaxe revealed, "announcing that he was assuming the role of Magical Guardian for you. The magical signature on the notice matches the signature of all three spells."
"But…that's the same man that was keeping my account key! Why would he cast spells on me to keep me from getting the mail you sent me? Or mail from anyone else? And he knows where I am all the time? That's….that's…creepy! That should be illegal! And how can someone I've never met be my guardian?"
"How indeed. Would you like Senior Curse Breaker Swiftspear to remove those spells," asked Sharpaxe.
"Yes, please!" He gave a pleading look at the leather-clad goblin. After several more phrases that the youth couldn't understand and several more full body tingles, Sharpaxe assured him that he was now spell-free.
In an office far away in the Scottish highlands, two silver instruments slowly stopped moving. The creator of those instruments was having lunch in the Great Hall, and wouldn't realize the problem for several hours.
After Swiftspear left and Sharpaxe made the appropriate deduction from the Potter account to pay for the services of a Senior Curse Breaker, he filled another roll for the boy, which the youngster immediately began to eat once it was handed to him. The Account Manager spent several minutes in quiet thought and then nodded to himself. Once the boy finished eating the second roll, the goblin started to put his plan into action.
"Tell me, Mi…Harry, when you received the letter from Hogwarts, did you return a signed acceptance that you were going to attend the school?"
Harry thought and then shook his head. "No, sir. Hagrid wrote that he had given me my letter and was going to take me shopping today. I didn't write or sign anything."
A malicious smirk appeared on the old goblin's face. "You are aware that Albus Dumbledore, the man who kept your key and cast those spells is the Headmaster of that school?"
Harry scowled. "I really don't want anything to do with him after all of this. If he had a spell on me that told him my health, then wouldn't he have known when they didn't feed me or when Dudley and his gang thrashed me, or when I was sick and Aunt Petunia said I wasn't worth the cost of aspirin or cough syrup." He sighed heavily and then slumped down. "But Hagrid said I would spend ten months a year at Hogwarts. That would only leave two months a year with my relatives, and…I really don't want to spend more time there than necessary."
"If you haven't personally signed that you are going to attend Hogwarts, there is no legal agreement, Harry. And as you are now eleven, per the Potter Family Charter, you can assume your role as Head of House. That emancipates you." At the boy's puzzled look, he added, "That means you don't need a magical guardian and that you can decide where to go and what to do. For example, you can choose to attend another school for wizards." Sharpaxe waited while the boy thought that through.
"I was really excited about the idea of attending a boarding school away from the Dursleys at first," the youngster said. "But today has been really…strange. First, those strangers mobbed me at the pub; everyone crowded around and tried to touch me. Then I found out my parents were murdered by an evil wizard that everyone thinks I killed; like a baby in nappies could kill anything bigger than a spider. Then I find out that someone I've never met was keeping something that belonged to me and that I could have used and finally I find out the same person cast spells on me! I don't care if he kept harmful mail away, but why keep your mail away from me?" He looked at the Account Manager. "Unfortunately, I don't know where else I could go and get away from the Dursleys. And I don't think anyone would let an eleven year old live alone, even if I do know how to cook and clean and do the laundry and take care of the yard."
"For a fee, Harry, Gringotts can help you review and evaluate all the other education options that exist for human wizards. We can arrange for travel and any other accommodations that you need, as well as arrange for an adult assistant to satisfy any wizard sensibilities. We can even have a tailor come in and make a new wardrobe. I would also strongly encourage that you have our healers give you a full physical." Each of those options would be useful to his client as well as generate a fee for Gringotts, plus he would gain significant status among his peers by duping Dumbledore in particular and the arrogant society of wizards and witches in general. He didn't learn until several days later that his young client had no objection to any of the fees he was charged. His uncle had always told him that nothing in life was free, which is why he had to work all day to earn a meal. Harry took that message to heart.
It the waiting area of Gringotts lobby, Rubeus Hagrid waited until closing time for young Harry Potter to return. It was only after being forcibly removed from the bank that he returned to Hogwarts and reported to Albus Dumbledore.
Boy-Who-Lived is Boy-Who-Hungered
By Rita Skeeter
Many Gringotts customers were excited yesterday when Hogwarts Groundskeeper Rubeus Hagrid proudly announced to a teller that Harry Potter was there to make a withdrawal from the bank. Young Mr. Potter, known as the Boy-Who-Lived after surviving the killing curse, is now eleven years old and eligible for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. To the surprise of those in attendance, the boy accompanying the Groundskeeper was an undersized and shabbily dressed boy who looked closer to eight years old than eleven.
Onlookers were then shocked when the boy questioned why someone else had his vault key and why he never knew about it. They were further appalled when he loudly said that he could have used it for food and clothing over the years if he had known about it. Considering how small the boy was and how ragged his attire was, it was obvious that our savior was not living the pampered and protected life that has been portrayed in many books and articles about the Potter Heir.
Young Harry Potter was then escorted from the floor by a goblin after it was learned that he had never received any mail during his short life, including any letters or gifts from many grateful witches and wizards over the years. However, that lack of mail also included any account statements from Gringotts. Cuthbert Mockridge, the Head of the Goblin Liaison Office, appeared very anxious when he learned of that. Further research revealed that preventing the receipt of official Gringotts correspondence is a violation of the treaty of 1619.
Mr. Potter was not seen leaving the bank for the remainder of the day. When questioned, Gringotts spokesperson Headcrusher replied, "Gringotts confidentiality extends to all customers. If the details of one person's visits and accounts is violated, that means anyone's can be violated. Do you want Gringotts to publish the details of your visits or accounts?"
This reporter wants to know why the public was led to believe that Harry Potter was being raised in a loving home, when instead he was obviously hungry and poorly clothed. Is this the reward that our savior earned after destroying He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named? Who was involved in this disgraceful situation? How many people knew that Albus Dumbledore kept the boy's resources from him, leaving him to grow up poor and hungry? What legal action will be taken against those who conspired against a young boy who only deserved our gratitude? We hope that the DMLE and the Wizengamot will initiate an investigation into this matter.
See Page 2 for the false portrayal of Harry Potter for the last decade
See Page 3 for further information on the Treaty of 1619
Boy-Who-Lived Was Abused!
By Rita Skeeter
In a never-ending effort to bring you the facts, this reporter dug through the layers of secrecy involving Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived. To my surprise, I discovered that our savior wasn't living in the wizarding world at all. He was abandoned to Muggle relatives only hours after the murders of his parents.
This reporter was nearly assaulted when I attempted to interview one Vernon Dursley, husband to Potter's maternal aunt, Petunia. While Vernon Dursley acknowledged that Harry Potter had lived there, he called the boy (and this reporter) a "freak". The family never wanted "the freak", but he was left on their doorstep with no notice. The Muggle family had no way to refuse to keep the boy as they had no way to communicate with the wizarding world.
After covertly studying the house and listening to some of the Muggle conversations, this reporter overheard Petunia Dursley tell her husband that they needed to remove all evidence that "the freak" had ever lived in the boot cupboard. Yes, you read that correctly. Our savior lived in a cupboard!
Talking to other Muggles in the neighborhood, your intrepid reporter learned that the boy spent the daylight hours keeping up the yard in the summer and shoveling snow in the winter. However, the neighbors were also told by the Dursleys that Potter was a hooligan. When questioned how someone could work all day and still find time to be an aspiring criminal, they had no answer. The image of a small boy clad only in worn-out oversized clothing is how most of the neighbors remember the boy.
An interview with one of Harry Potter's early Muggle school teachers disclosed that the boy had started out with excellent grades, but after two years refused to perform better than his cousin, with whom he shared a class. As this cousin was near the bottom of his class, Potter moved from being near the top of the class to being near the bottom. Was our savior reprimanded or even punished for performing better than his dim-witted Muggle cousin?
What this reporter learned was disturbing. A young boy, kept in a cupboard, forced to work long hours, punished for exceling, clothed in practically rags who had no knowledge of the magical world or his place in it. Are there other war orphans similarly placed or was it only the savior of our world that suffered this way?
Although Gringotts representative refused to give any details about the current location of Harry Potter, it was announced that per the Potter Family Charter, the young scion accepted his position as Head of House, which immediately emancipated him. As an emancipated Head of House, Harry Potter is considered by law to be a legal adult. The Gringotts representative also implied that the young peer may seek his education outside of Great Britain.
We call for both the Wizengamot and the DMLE investigate the circumstances of Harry Potter's Muggle placement and upbringing.
See Page 3 for the story of outraged readers returning their "Harry Potter" books to Flourish and Blott's and demanding refunds
See Page 4 for a proposal from Deputy Undersecretary Delores Umbridge that Harry Potter's emancipation to be overturned and that he be made the ward of a pureblood family
While the wizarding world in Great Britain roared in outrage over the treatment of "their" savior, Harry was pleased to discover that the goblin healers were able to repair much of the damage the years of neglect had done to him over the years. They also discovered some type of parasite they called a "soul leach" clinging to him, but were able to remove it while he was unconscious for other treatments. He shuddered at the thought of a parasite and was very grateful to the goblin healers. He also experienced a growth spurt that left him aching, but worth every gold coin he was charged.
For two days, he rested in a small apartment, as he healed. During that time, he reviewed the information Sharpaxe had given him regarding magical schools that accepted human wizards. There were both day schools and boarding schools. Harry reviewed the curriculum each school offered. Some made it clear what careers their schools could help the student achieve. In addition, the goblin provided information on home-schooling through the use of tutors, and a list of currently available tutors.
Two days after the completion of his medical treatments, Harry met with Senior Healer Graspclaw. "One final examination, Mr. Potter," the goblin said, motioning him to lay down on the examining table. The healer uttered what Harry had learned was an incantation in his own harsh guttural language. An image of the boy's body emerged above him and several notations in a language that Harry couldn't read also appeared. After studying them for a minute, the goblin nodded.
Although not as abrupt as Senior Manager Sharpaxe, Senior Healer Graspclaw was still rather brisk. "Curse scar is healed, vision is repaired, bone density is improved and height is appropriate for your species and age." With another wave, the images dispersed and another appeared. A small smirk teased the goblins otherwise taciturn features.
"The removal of the soul leach has had another benefit," he stated.
"Yes, sir?" Harry was just happy to know that the parasite had been removed. He found the concept very disturbing.
"Your magical signature has changed," replied Graspclaw. At the boy's uncomprehending look, he repressed a sigh. It wasn't the human boy's fault that he had been raised so ignorant, he reminded himself. "Magical beings have magical signatures," he explained. "When you use magic, it can leave a slight residue that can be read with the appropriate spells. The residue is what is called your magical signature and is unique to each being."
Harry thought about that. "That makes sense," he said. "Why is it changing a benefit for me?"
"Because anyone attempting to track you based on your use of magic will be looking for your old signature. They won't know your new signature. Therefore, you can use your magic without concern for being discovered."
The goblin could tell when the human boy understood, as a smile broke out on his face, although he showed too many teeth. "That means that Dumbledore can't find me?"
The healer nodded and accepted the boy's accolades for being "brilliant". His fees were more appreciated than the praises, although both were generous.
Later that day, Harry sat in the office of Senior Account Manager Sharpaxe again. This time, he was well-dressed and healthy. He had read a small book that he had been given that described goblin customs. He inclined his head to the goblin, keeping his eyes on the other being's eyes. He immediately stated his business, so as not to waste the goblin's valuable time without unnecessary small talk. "Senior Account Manager, I would like your assistance in applying to Shuyukan School in Fukuoka, Japan and if accepted, helping me arrange to travel there."
The goblin decided to test whether his young client had considered his choice carefully. "That can be arranged. What caused you to choose that school?"
"They are ranked in the top ten according to the ICW rankings. They hold both magical and non-magical classes and permit year-round boarders. Attending there will give me a high quality education that can be used either in the magical or non-magical world. Lastly, they accept all races and species, which will help prepare me for working with all manner of beings."
His Senior Account Manager nodded once, and Harry hid his relief at the goblin's apparent approval. One day later, he was accepted into the Shuyukan School. With another fee to the goblins and a subsequent three-day headache found him fluent in Japanese and ready to start a new life. Sharpaxe arranged a series of port-keys for him to reach the school for another small fee.
In mid-August, Harry found himself in Fukuoka, well away from Albus Dumbledore, a man he hoped he would never meet.