AN: Wow, reviews! Yay! I feel so luved. Kk, nyway. More story for ur enjoyment!
Also, I am extremely sorry for the delay, but I had a rather horrid case of writer's block that just wouldn't go away. The chapter's rather short for such a long wait, and I hope you'll forgive me for it.
I went on a long holiday at my grandparent's house, away from all things electronical (except the tele of course!) and I finally got my inspiration back.
Once again, I am TERRIBLY sorry for the wait. And anyone reading SiT, I regret to inform you that I still have writer's block for that, so I'll be working mainly on this story for the time being.
Oh, btw, please excuse my BAD LATIN. Okay? I don't take Latin...yet...but when I do I'll correct my mistakes....cause I got this off a Latin dictionary which did NOT give grammar lessons, got it?
Kk, now that that's cleared up....enjoy:
They didn't find out about the runes on the back of the medallion until summer holidays were almost over. By then they'd practically forgotten about it—all except Harry, because no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't get the medallion out of his mind.
He'd come to the conclusion that despite finding it in a muggle curiosities shop, it was without a doubt magical in some way. Everyone agreed to that. As to how the medallion found its way there...who knows?
It never got warm. They'd tried putting it in Mrs. Weasley's oven, and no matter how high they turned the heat up, it stayed the same temperature. Also, Harry had finally come to realize that whenever he wore it, it prevented his nightmares from reaching him; protected his mind in a way. Hermione suggested that it was one of those objects that soothed the mind—or a pretty token doused in a dreamless-sleep potion. Harry thought it was a bit more than that.
They finally used an old and cracked magnifying glass to identify the Latin inscription written around the rim. tempestas testudo palma ab vestri manus —it meant Time is held in the palm of your hand. This was rather odd, and it confused them all greatly. However, the day Hermione managed to decipher the bases of the rune on the back found them all staring listlessly into space.
It was hot outside and no one felt like moving or thinking let alone going to look at whatever Hermione had found out when she gave a loud shout that echoed throughout the Burrow.
Harry grunted as Ron nudged him with his foot. "Go see."
"You," he responded in turn. They both turned towards Ginny, and she gave them a startled look.
"You want ME to go look? Fat chance." She lifted her chin stubbornly and then it drooped again as if moving took too much effort. When it was this hot it actually did, Harry mused.
Hermione came pounding down the stairs, "Come quickly! I've figured out the bases for the rune! Come on—ooh!" She stomped her foot impatiently and stalked over to when they lay sprawled out on the Weasley's living room floor.
Ron currently occupied the only space on the plush couch and Ginny was sprawled closest to the empty fireplace. All it held at the moment was ash, and a soft breeze could actually be felt blowing down the chimney.
Harry was smack-dab in the center of the room. His arms and legs akimbo, he stared up at Hermione's face as it loomed over him.
"You three are all LAZY! Get up! And you Ginny, I would at least have thought that you'd have something better to do than laze around with these couch-potatoes!"
"Couch-potatoes?" Ron questioned sleepily. Hermione huffed once more.
"Well! Fine with me if you don't want to know what the bases are! And from what I can tell of the rune and the way the bases are arranged and it's meaning, well, it's very interesting..." She finished in a sort of sing-song voice that had Harry perking up at last. Well, he concluded, it WAS his medallion, so he might as well go look. Ron spoke first.
"Why can't you just tell us now?"
"Argh! BECAUSE! There is more than one meaning and I can't remember them all, I have them written down upstairs! You either come up with me or not, because I'm not coming back down again!" With that said she whirled around and stormed up the stairs in a huff.
"Good riddance." Ron muttered after she was out of hearing range. Ginny half-heartedly told him off and then went back to drawing imaginary pictures on the stones in the fireplace. Harry, however, laboriously rolled over onto his stomach and braced his arms against the rug in order to lever himself up off the floor. And he did.
"Mate. You're bonkers," and Ron then proceeded to drape one floppy arm over his eyes as if to block out an imaginary sun. Harry sighed and began the long and tedious trek up the crooked wooden stairs to the bedroom Hermione shared with Ginny.
He reached the door in record time and pushed it open to find Hermione sitting on the floor with the largest books Harry had ever seen scattered around her. She glanced up.
"Oh good. Someone with sense, honestly..." She motioned for him to sit and pulled one of the abnormally gross books towards her. Harry stared at them with raised eyebrows, but she ignored him.
By the time he'd settled next to her on the carpeted floor Ron had managed to drag himself up the stairs and was poking his head through the door. Hermione smiled slightly as he complained loudly of exercising excess energy.
Soon all three—including Ginny—were seated not-so-comfortably around Hermione and her humongous books, and they leaned in eagerly for the news.
A small stack of parchment lay before her and she pulled off the top sheet and began to point out the rune she'd enlarged and copied in ink.
"Here," she said, pointing to a particular bit of the rune and then pulled another piece of parchment towards her which showed that piece enlarged even more, "is the main base rune. As you can see it's the biggest one. It has several meanings, but they aren't as diverse as I'd feared...not for this one main base, which is good because now we at least have some idea as to it's meaning, but...I'm rambling aren't I?"
"Yes." They chorused. Hermione sighed and started to read off the various readings of the 'main base rune' which was printed in her neat and tidy writing.
"Most commonly this rune means, to put it simply, time, or a unit of time. Of course there are many elaborations on that, but I think it's safe to say that this is meant to mean time because of the Latin inscription." She paused for breath and continued, "Anyway, a few other various meanings are also year, great stone hedge—which I have reason to believe refers to Stonehenge—and, well, there are more, but they're very obscure and I don't think that they pertain to this particular rune after lengthy observation of the other bases..." she trailed off thoughtfully and they all blinked and waited for her to continue.
"This," she pulled another parchment towards her that depicted a different rune this time, "I have reason to believe means heavens. Either heavens, or gods, perhaps even universe. It has to do with astronomy whichever way you look at it, though in perhaps a more ritual and religious way." She stared at the rune thoughtfully before discarding it in favor of another piece of parchment.
She studied this one for a while and then pulled another sheet towards her as well. "These two," She murmured, "I don't quite understand how they blend in with the other two. It makes no sense because the others both seem to have the reoccurring theme of time, while these are normal household objects. They're both nouns too, not ideas." She showed them the first sheet.
"This one means a thread or a weave. Like on a loom. A woven piece of cloth. It also means pattern, but I'm more inclined to think it means something along the lines of a weave." Harry stared at the small 'base' rune and mentally scratched his head. Wow. Ancient Runes must be hard. (AN: that was RANDOM)
"What about the other one 'Mione." Ron, ever the impatient one, demanded. She scowled lightly.
"Patience, Ron, is a virtue. Now, this one means, to put it bluntly ('scuze the pun) a knife. Or, a sharp object whose general purpose is to cut things. It can also be a verb, to slice, or cut. Also, to clear. How the implications of 'clear' are used, I have no clue. We can only guess."
"Any more?" Harry questioned. Hermione nodded vaguely.
"Yes, one more. Here it is." She pulled the last parchment sheet towards her and studied it with a sigh. "This one means, or its base meaning is a journey; a voyage. This one is the easiest to discern because it's doesn't have very many alterations in its meaning. I can safely say that this rune means journey. And that's all of them," she sighed and pilled all her papers together.
"Well," said Harry, "that was enlightening..."
"Sure mate, now we know exactly what the rune means!" Ron said. Hermione scowled and moved to bat him over the head, but Ginny got there first.
Harry sighed, "Ron, really...you had that coming, it's called common courtesy."
"There we go; at least Harry can act like a gentleman if he wants to. Somehow I doubt you could even if you tried Ronald Weasley," Hermione said and a flash of jealousy flashed in Ron's eyes, but no one noticed. He scowled, and then his expression cleared up slightly as he happily sniffed the air wafting up from downstairs.
Hogwarts letters arrived soon enough and in no time the Weasley family plus Harry and Hermione were lined up in front of the fireplace with a pot of Floo powder in hand.
"I hate Floo," Harry grumbled as George disappeared in a flash of green fire. Fred soon followed, and only Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Ginny were left. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley planned to apparate to the Leaky Cauldron (the place for Floo arrivals to Diagon Alley) and meet them there.
"Go on Harry, your next," Ron shoved the powder in Harry's direction as Mrs. Weasley smiled encouragingly at him. Harry sighed and grabbed a handful.
Remembering the last time he traveled to Diagon Alley in his second year, he made sure to enunciate the words carefully before he was whisked away in a whirl storm of green.
Harry fell out of the Leaky Cauldron's fireplace coughing and covered in soot. He quickly scrambled out of the way as the fireplace flared green once more and Ron tumbled out.
"Here mate, let us help you up!" Fred and George moved in on Ron with identical expressions of exaggerated innocence. Ron quickly scrambled up and away from them, backing away towards the fireplace with a suspicious expression.
"What were you planning to—oomph!" Hermione came tumbling out of the fireplace and landed squarely on Ron's back, knocking the wind out of him as his words were cut off. Fred and George started laughing; only stopping when Mrs. Weasley popped into being next to them.
"Oh dear," she muttered and helped Hermione up leaving Ron to fend for himself, "Are you alright Hermione dear? Good." Without waiting to see if Ron was okay, she swept out the backdoor and up to the brick wall. Fred and George trailed after her, while Harry waited for Ron and Ginny. Fortunately, Ginny appeared at the same instant that Mr. Weasley apparated in. Somehow Ginny managed a more dignified landing as she exited the sooty fireplace and managed to avoid stepping on Ron. Smiling, Harry helped his friend up, and then four hurried after Mrs. Weasley.
"First stop, Gringotts," declared Mrs. Weasley as soon as they were all assembled. Diagon Alley was particularly crowded and they eventually managed to worm their way through the throng of people and came up to Gringotts' Wizarding Bank.
First they stopped at a money exchange booth where Hermione changed the money that her parents had given her into wizard currency. Soon, they were all crowding into a cart and had almost managed to squeeze everyone in when the Goblin noticed and summoned another cart. He sternly told them only four to a cart.
"Mrs. Weasley, I could go with Hermione to my vault and you can all go together," Harry offered.
"Nonsense dear. We'll all go together, and remember, only four to a cart," Mrs. Weasley ushered Ron and Ginny into Harry and Hermione's cart and shot a warning look at her husband, whose mouth was open and about to speak. He snapped it shut quickly and sat down meekly. Mrs. Weasley smiled.
"All set then? Good, right, we can go now."
And off they went. They stopped at the Weasley's vault first, as it was closer and Harry winced at the sight of an almost empty vault. They had to wait a while for Mrs. Weasley's stomach to settle down, and they were off again.
This time they screeched to a halt in front of Harry's vault. He quickly clambered out, along with a green Mrs. Weasley, and set his key in the lock. A quick turn and the door swung open with an ominous grating sound.
Made quite self conscious by the Weasley's lack of wealth, Harry had never really actually bothered to look at what was in his vault since that time during his first year at Hogwarts, but now Harry took a few moments to glance around—and frowned.
After five years of withdrawals, he had assumed that it would make a dent in his money pile. When in first year, he had been so small and the piles of money so high that he had never considered that there could have been more behind what he had previously seen. But, with hurried withdrawal after hurried withdrawal Harry finally noticed something that had been staring him in the face all those years, yet he had not even bothered to look.
Behind what had been the pile of galleons that Harry had first removed his money from, there was a clearing, and what was more, what that it almost seemed to be a path. Ignoring the money, Harry observed the dimensions of his vault, and noticed—to his uttermost surprise—that they were much larger than he had previously assumed.
Turning back to a starry-eyed Mrs. Weasley, Harry cleared his throat.
"Mrs. Weasley?" she jumped, startled, and then made a vague noise of agreement, "Mrs. Weasley, you don't mind if a I have a slight look around, I think there's a path through the money, and I'm awfully curious...hello? Mrs. Weasley?"
"What? Oh, yes, yes, go ahead dear, do whatever you like..."
"Harry," Hermione began, and stepped out of the cart, "what are you talking about? Paths? It's a vault, filled with gold, what paths?"
Harry shrugged, and soon the whole Weasley family was crowded around him and staring at his vault in awe. Harry felt slightly uncomfortable, especially at the rather jealous look on Ron's face, but ignored it in favor of his discovery.
"Look," he said quietly; and then stepped over the first pile of gold and onto the 'path.' Without asking, an eager Hermione followed—Ginny as well, but Ron stayed right where he was—and they trailed after him as he carefully made his way through the gold piles.
At first he hadn't been sure, but now he knew that the gold had been purposefully arranged like this, to allow entrance to the back of the vault. It didn't take long to get there, and what Harry found was most unusual.
In Gringotts vaults, there was gold; no exceptions, yet, here Harry found a small plain envelope perched atop a small stack of sickles. He hesitantly bent down and picked it up, afraid it would explode upon impact, but nothing happened.
"Ooh, what is it? Can I see?" Hermione tugged on his elbow, and Harry turned around quickly and showed them.
"It's not addressed to anyone, do you think I should open it?" he asked. Ginny nodded.
"It wouldn't have been put here if it weren't supposed to be opened by you eventually, don't you agree?" she said.
"I suppose so," he murmured. Walking carefully, so as not to disrupt the gold, they made their way back in a single file line. Stepping out of the vault, Harry showed the envelope to the rest of the Weasley family. He was relieved to find that Ron quickly lost his jealous look in favor of a curious one, and he urged him to open it.
He peeled back the envelope seal carefully—because it was a rather beautiful seal—and peered inside. Frowning, he shook the contents out onto his open palm. A single golden key (quite a large one actually) and a small slip of paper.
Sector 4, Vault 3 was written on the paper in flowing red ink.
"Sector four?" Harry questioned. There was a slight gasp.
"Sector four?" Mrs. Weasley stared at the key with wide eyes.
"But what about Sector four, I don't get—" he was quickly cut off by the Gringotts goblin, who piped up, "Sector four sir? What vault please sir? Can I see your key please sir?" The goblin waddled towards them and held out his hand. Not knowing what else to do, Harry dropped both the key and the paper into his hand and watched as the goblin's eyebrows rose.
"Vault 3 sir? Very well, follow me."
The goblin handed back the key and paper, and a very confused Harry and Co. got back into the first cart, while the rest of the Weasley family got into the second. In all the excitement, Harry had forgotten to get any money, and left his vault with his key and an empty purse.
The cart ride to 'Sector four, Vault three' was unlike anything Harry had ever experienced. When going to collect the Philosopher's Stone with Hagrid all those years ago, Harry had doubted you could go any deeper—but he was wrong. They did go deeper, very much deeper. So deep, in fact, that they couldn't see their surroundings. Except for when they began to slow down some twenty minutes later.
There was a cherry red glow ahead, like a small fire, and Harry couldn't quite make out what it was at first until they got closer and started to go slower and slower. By the time they stopped, every one had been shocked into silence and were unable to move.
Before them, in all its 50 foot glory, stood a large dragon the likes of which they had never seen before.
"Out." Said the goblin, and hopped up onto the platform...right next to the dragon. Finally, Harry found his voice.
"B-but," he stuttered, "there's a dragon, and...and..."
"Do not worry sir, this is a special goblin breed of dragon specifically designed to guard treasures. As long as you have the right key, the dragon will not attack. It guards the next cart we must take. The Sector four cart, so please, show him your key."
Slowly, so as not to startle the beast, Harry got up and out of the cart. Digging in his pocket produced said key, and then Harry was at a loss.
"What—" he began, but got no farther as the dragon bent its mighty head and held the key at eye level. Then, before Harry could react, it snaked out its giant serpent tongue and snatched the key out of his grasp. A loud gasp by Mrs. Weasley accompanied this, but Harry stood stock still, too startled to move or speak.
The dragon turned and placed the key on the ground quite a distance away and stepped back and reared its head. With a mighty bellow, searing blue and white flames shot out of its maw and engulfed the spot where the key rested. Harry gave a strangled cry and stumbled back away from the heat waves rolling across the platform.
"Our dragons have the hottest flame known to wizard kind. If it is truly a sector four key, then it can withstand the flames. All sector four keys are built out of a special metal, do not fear," the goblin recited, almost as if he were giving a lecture to small children. He sounded very bored, but then, all goblins seemed to sound like that.
Harry had no time to think over what the goblin had said however, when the dragon loomed over him once more and dropped a now cool key into his hand. It looked exactly the same. Respectfully the dragon stepped aside to reveal another cart. This cart was much bigger than the last ones, and would easily fit the whole party.
"Well, this is an adventure," said Ron dryly, as he stepped out of the old cart and walked past the dragon into the new one. Harry couldn't help but admire the way he strode straight past the beast and into the cart without even glancing its way or seeming even the slightest bit unnerved. Everyone, emboldened by Ron's actions, quickly left the old cart behind and again they were off into the darkness of London's underground caves.
Soon they began to go so deep that the air became thick with must and dust and it started to become harder and harder to breathe. When they began to slow down and approach another red glow in the distance, Harry didn't need to be told what to do.
This time, Harry wasn't as startled when the dragon took his key and breathed its flames upon it, but he was rather surprised when it stepped aside to reveal not another cart, but a vault—a huge vault—number three. Of course, he chided himself, how many more carts did you expect to go in, hm?
"Insert the key and place your palm in the space above the lock please sir," said the goblin. Harry quickly fitted the key into the rather large lock, then placed his hand in the circular space above it.
At first nothing happened, until the goblin gave an exasperated sigh and told him to turn the key. Blushing slightly at his stupidity, and ignoring Ron's gauffs behind him, he turned the key slightly to the right and a clicking noise ensued. It reminded Harry of the time that they had opened the Philosopher's Stone's vault; with all the gears turning and clicking. Then Harry felt a slight tingling on his palm and the circular space glowed red for the briefest of moments. A final loud clicking ensued and then the vault door began to move.
AN: Right, I know that EVERYONE does these "Harry having a trust fund and then a huge family vault that's filled with treasures" BUT I actually have a reason other than to make Harry richer. It's all part of the plot, but I couldn't help embellishing the vault security and wealth....heh....heh....
Anyway, please review and tell me what you think. Once again, I apologize for my bad Latin, and also for the crappy content in this chapter. It's written horribly, I know, but I just got over my writer's block, and I was still having a bit of trouble...
Also, school starts tomorrow, so the only time I'll have time to type is during the weekends. Expect at least a month between updates. Sorry. I'll try to update every 2-3 weeks, but I definitely not assuring you that. You know how teachers just LOVE to pile on the homework and projects and such...
...plus I have HORRIBLE time-management! Heh heh, the next chapter's going to take a while, that I can assure you.