Disclaimer: I'm too young to be Rowling so there is sadly no way Harry Potter is mine…
Stepping into Gringotts was the worst thing, Harry had done - ever.
It was odd.
Harry had been to Gringotts hundreds of times; he had always thought that the worst had been over after having to return there the first time after the war… but this, here, today - it was worse.
He felt exposed and definitely not ready to meet the true evidence of his new legacy.
What would the Blacks say if they found out? No, when they found out - there was no way that they wouldn't find out; especially not when they were heading to Gringotts…
After taking a port-key to the front doors, stepping through the doors of Gringotts was like stepping into hell.
For a second, everything seemed normal.
The goblins were working and sneering at their customers.
The wizards were conducting their business.
Harry - no, Eridanus, because he was Eridanus now, no way around it, - tucked on his left earlobe, his hands expecting to find something there but not finding it.
It was soothing to find nothing there - soothing and terrifying because he wasn't marked yet, was still normal, but at the same time he wasn't normal anymore.
He had lost his last bit of normalcy the moment he had gained Pater's memories.
Pater's memories - and the memories of every ancestor of Pater as well.
Har - Eridanus could still feel those memories lurking in the back of his mind; memories of blood and death and justice.
It was as if the last word he thought activated something in him.
Suddenly, without a warning, his vision swam and the next moment Gringotts and all its inhabitants dissolved into constructs of magic.
The wards around Harry buzzed with magic, people inside turned into constructs that each felt different to Harry's senses. The most of them felt clear: a clear black and wild haze for his uncle, a clear black and emptiness for his father; emptiness for his mother and his brother a construct of black, grey and fur - but all of them clear.
No, not clear. Clean.
They felt clean to his senses, whole and right and simply clean.
And yet, not everyone did.
Some of the people had turned into constructs that disgusted Har- Eridanus's senses.
They felt dirty to them. Moldy and slimy and rotten and urg!
They were so revolting!
Eridanus wanted to reach out to them and squish them until they were gone, gone, gone…
He wanted to touch them, to grab them and judge them; he wanted to slit their throats and watch their blood pool to his feet; he wanted to-
That was the moment, Gringotts wards reacted to Eridanus.
From one second to the other, Eridanus senses dimmed as if something was blanketing him and finally, finally his beloved white wall came to him from the depth of his mind and anchored him back inside his body.
Eridanus gasped and bend over, not caring that his parents had stopped next to him and were trying to reach him by speaking and touching him frantically.
He felt sick to his stomach and couldn't help but wonder if he would be able to actually walk down Diagon Alley ever again…
After all, Gringotts had wards to anchor him - but Diagon Alley hadn't.
"If the Iudex comes with the lowly me, I will show him to a room where he can calm his senses," a hesitating voice spoke up from behind Eridanus's parents.
Eridanus looked up and his parents and uncle turned to look at the goblin who had spoken as well.
The goblin wasn't facing them. He was standing with his back to them, his face resolutely not even semi-turned into their direction, yet he was speaking to them anyway.
"If the Blacks wish to come, Iudex may allow them or this lowly me could ensure that they will be evicted from Gringotts if Iudex so wishes," the goblin said and when Pollux started to frown and open his mouth to say something, Eridanus intercepted before his uncle could do something to offend Gringotts in any way or form.
"They're my family," Eridanus said to the goblin. "My mother, my father, my brother and my uncle."
And wasn't it odd to claim them as such considering that they hadn't been family just days ago?
"Iudex was born a Black, then?" the goblin inquired, still not even looking into Eridanus's direction.
Eridanus hesitated only half a second.
"Yes," he agreed.
The goblin inclined his head without turning around.
"Then this lowly me will alert my kin of that fact so that Iudex's close kin will be recognised by Gringotts with all the recognition they deserve," he agreed. "If the Iudex's family will follow this lowly me, then, I will bring you into a room that will help the Iudex to find his calm again."
For a moment, Pollux, Marius and Savanna shot a look at the younger boy, but then, Pollux inclined his head and spoke up.
"We would be grateful, Master Goblin," he said.
"This lowly me is Justaxe," the goblin replied. "My family is raised to serve the Iudex in all his needs."
With that, the goblin started walking, never even looking back at Eridanus or his family.
The other goblins they passed, turned away from them as well, each of them showing Erdianus their unprotected back while the wizards starred. Not one goblin would even try to meet Eridanus's eyes or look at his face.
Only when they had reached the promised room and the goblin had left them to alert the Black-account manager as well, Pollux finally spoke up.
"What happened just now?" he asked and when his nephew looked away, he actually leaned forward and forced the boy to look up.
The boy's eyes widened.
"Don't touch me!" he shrieked and Pollux let go immediately.
"Eridanus," he said instead and decided that he wasn't above kneeling in front of his nephew. "Talk to us. What happened there?"
And when the boy refused to look at him, he added determined: "Not one of us will judge you, no matter what you know of your inheritance."
For a moment, Pollux expected Eridanus to shut them out and not say anything, but then, Eridanus closed his eyes, took a deep breath before meeting Pollux's and his parents' concerned gazes with a steady one of his own.
Red, gold and bronze marred his normally emerald gaze.
"I'm the Iudex Asccabanis," he said with a steady voice as if that information should mean anything to Pollux and the others. Pollux threw a look at Eridanus's older brother, but the boy looked as lost as they felt.
"We're aware that Iudex Asccabanis is a part of your name," Savanna said slowly. "But I don't think that anybody here understands its meaning like you do."
The boy blinked, obviously not having expected that answer and his steady gaze faltered.
He frowned, but tried again.
"I'm the Judge of Azkaban," he said, his eyes searching for understanding in those of his family.
Pollux frowned, but Marius paled.
"The Judge, the Scribe and the Hangman," he said, and this time, Pollux could feel himself paling as well.
Hundreds of years had gone by since the last Ekrizdis of Azkaban had died, but even now the legends were part of the magical world's legacy.
They might be half-forgotten and seen as nothing more but stories, but they still existed.
And every legend told about three titles that had passed down the line of Ekrizdis - not always worn by the same person and not always active at the same time, but always there anyway - was more like a horror story than the next.
The Judge, the Scribe and the Hangman.
Every Ekrizdis ever born had always had at least one of those titles - and titles, they had been. They weren't just nicknames, no, according to legends, they spoke of the abilities of the Ekrizdis wearing them.
The Judge - the one who judged people. No criminal was able to evade him, no crime brought to him would go unpunished.
Pollux knew that their laws actually included the Judge's position. A Judge couldn't be lied to, but a Judge couldn't lie as well. The moment he took up his post, he was bound to ensure that justice would be brought to those who were brought to him to be judged.
According to law, he had free hand to punish the guilty, no matter where he was, no matter what the punishment entailed - because his punishment, thanks to the magic inherited by him, was always juste.
The Scribe, on the other hand, recorded crimes. Every Ekrizdis who had gone by that title had always known when asked about a missing person if a crime had been committed on them and while they had to actually meet the criminal to be able to find them, they could tell what happened and often even the motive of the deed before they had even seen the crime scene itself.
They were treated like prophets in their laws - to be seen as a valid source of information and like the Judge, they were bound to the truth.
The Hangman, on the other end, was the most bloody inheritance of the Ekrizdis family - and the reason why they were feared as much as they were. The Hangman was seen as dark. He broke down wards, he executed monsters in the night and while everybody knew the Hangman had been the one to kill the criminal, there was never any evidence on the crime scene at all. No magical residue, nothing to link him in any way to the victim, nothing at all. He punished, and solely punished the worst offenders in the magical world. His punishment always meant death.
There were no laws about him, but there was a remark that only the most stupid and insane people would think about going after the Hangman if he decided to execute someone, because the Hangman solely killed when the person deserved it…
"At least," Pollux thought numbly, "that answers the question we had about his inheritance. He's an Ekrizdis. Merlin have mercy on the magical world…"
It was then, that Pollux noted the nervousness in his nephew's eyes and remembered the boy's frantic 'Don't touch me!' from before.
'Don't touch me!' - because once upon a time people of the wizarding world had known that the Judge, the Scribe and the Hangman had been real. Not one of those three - not one of the Ekrizdis family had ever been touched by a fellow wizard. They had been outlawed, had been forced to marry muggles and muggleborns who hadn't understood why they were feared. They had been the executioners of the magical world, their demons - and yet, their healers as well, because their abilities had worked as well to determine illness as they had worked to determine guilt.
So, Pollux inwardly took a deep breath and reached out to touch his nephew again, his hands on the boy's shoulders.
"The Judge, then," he said slowly.
The boy shrugged.
"For now," he agreed, looking unhappy and rubbing his wrist. "It's at least what my name tells me I will be one day."
"Do you know when?" Marius asked and Pollux could see the fear in his eyes that his official thirteen, on Hallowe'en fourteen year old son would be forced to take up his legacy before he was ready.
The boy shrugged and his left hand went up to his earlobe to tuck at it.
"We're here in Gringotts now," he said. "The goblins will…"
He trailed off, then sighed.
"There's a mark for every Ekrizdis, an earring," he said and tapped his earlobe. "The goblins will ensure I have it before I leave. You don't challenge an Ekrizdis if you're clever - and the earring will tell you what I am."
"So, you fear that everybody will know you're an Ekrizdis after today," Pollux concluded. His nephew didn't look at him.
It was Marius who decided to speak up and ruffle his son's hair.
"Most people don't remember that the Judge, the Scribe and the Hangman even existed," he said. "There's no way they will remember that the earring will symbolize that you're an Ekrizdis. Your magical name is Black - at least until you're seventeen. If we don't say anything, nobody will know."
Eridanus looked thankfully at his father.
"And if I get the urge to judge someone?" he asked, already less nervous.
"Then we will cross that bridge when it comes," Pollux answered, just before the door opened again and Justaxe and the Black Account Manager returned.
"This lowly me presents the Black account manager, Iudex," Justaxe said, having entered carefully to ensure that he would still show his back to Eridanus. The Black Account Manager had followed his example and was now standing next to him, not looking at Pollux or the others at all.
Pollux looked at his nephew who gulped and then straightened his back.
"We're in privat. You may disrespect me," Eridanus said, his voice wavering for a second.
Pollux shot a look at his nephew at that, but before he could ask what that was all about, the goblins turned and looked at them - well, at the Blacks. Not one of them actually dared to look Eridanus in the face.
"Eri?" Perceus asked from next to Pollux.
Eridanus looked a bit embarrassed at that.
"They're… basically, they're my subjects," he said, sounding a bit unhappy with that thought. "They're citizens of Azkaban - and therefore my subjects because Azkaban belongs to me."
"Quite right, Iudex," Justaxe agreed. "That we are. And we definitely will treat you with all the respect we're capable of - after all, you are the master and lord of our parents and forbearers as well as of us."
Eridanus just grimaced, but didn't refute - something that told Pollux that while his nephew hated that thought, he was already resigned to it in the end.
"Now, if the Iudex pleases, would he tell this lowly me why he is here today?" Justaxe continued.
Eridanus looked a bit helplessly at Pollux, so Pollux took over.
"We're here to officially register the children of my squib-brother as Blacks and to sort out their trusts, inheritance and Hogwarts applications," he told them.
"Does the Iudex wish to sort out his estate as well?" Justaxe asked. "The ministry has taken advantages of the Iudex's absence and used the Iudex's lands for their own gain."
"I guess we will have to take a look there as well," Marius agreed for him.
"Of course," the goblin added. "There is also the fact that while the Iudex is undoubtedly a Black, the Blacks can't claim him. He's the Iudex Asccabanis. He belongs to Azkaban."
And when Pollux opened his mouth to object, the goblin added as if to sooth him.
"May I suggest a formal contract of alliance with the House of Black, instead? Since Iudex's parents will have guardianship over him until he's of age, it might be prudent to ensure that he has shelter in the House of Black for the time being - even if he can never actually part of the House."
"He's my son!" Marius countered. "He's a Black!"
"And like that he's part of the Black family," the goblin agreed. "But that doesn't make him part of the political House Black."
Pollux looked at the goblin surprised, but then, he guessed the goblin was right. There was no way that an Ekrizdis - who wasn't bound by the law like the rest - was actual part of another political House. That would spell disaster, in the end.
"An alliance, then," he agreed. "And a formal proxy-allowance until Eridanus is old enough to take up his duties."
"Such an allowance can only be made when he turns fifteen," Justaxe countered. "Until then, I can give House Black the formal responsibility of raising him, but nothing more."
"Then we do it like that," Pollux agreed and looked at his nephew.
"There's also the fact that my brother was planned to be added officially as Eridanus's and Perceus's godfather," Marius said with a frown. "Would-?"
"A good choice," Justaxe agreed. "It will be added to the contract between Ekrizdis and the House of Black. Anything else we should know?"
It took nearly the rest of the day to sort everything out. Eridanus mostly sat back and watched, rubbing his wrist while doing so.
Only in the end, he stepped forward again when Justaxe pulled out a single earring with a ruby in the form of a tear hanging from it.
He didn't say anything when the goblin, with a swift spell, ensured that the earring found its place on his left earlobe.
Only after his return home, Eridanus dared to go to the bathroom and look at the earring and his face.
"I'm Eridanus Iudex Asccabanis Black, Heir of Ekrizdis," he said to himself. "I'm the Judge of Azkaban - and I'm a Field Operative of the Unspeakable's Ghost Unit."
The memory of the scroll that had contained his identification came to his mind.
He had tried to forget it until now, but now, after all what had happened already, there was no point in denying his new operative name in the Ghost Unit any longer.
His eyes in the mirror turned red, gold and bronze.
"I'm the Executioner."
Oh, what a mess they were in!
Well, I'm back to this story! Sorry that it took so long!
Nevertheless, I hope you liked it!
'Till next time!