Harry Potter and the Cultivation of Power
Author's Note: Here's the second chapter. Thanks for the reviews and there are review responses at the bottom of the chapter. Enjoy…
EDIT: I have edited this chapter with a few small things in the 2nd half to clarify the 'pain thing' and also some review responses. Thanks.
Chapter Two: Rewards of Determination
"Flammel, Harry Potter?" Dobby questioned, thinking back to Nicholas Flammel whose magical stone Harry had saved in his first year at Hogwarts.
"Yeah Dobby, apparently this Castle used to belong to Nicholas Flammel over 500 years ago and he gave it as a gift to the House of Potter. Not sure on the details really, but either way, my new home used to belong to the Greatest wizard of the last Century! Though I'm not sure why such a great gift was neglected by my family…a shame really, but we can rectify it I think."
"Wows, Harry Potter sir!" breathed Dobby.
"Yeah, pretty cool huh? Well, let's go have a look around and then we can sit down and discuss some things eh. Let's go."
Harry and Dobby entered the immense castle through the front gate which had been converted from the original fortress strong-gate into a domesticated large wooden door. The door was decorated with intricate designs detailing both the Potter family crest and the Flammel crest which were placed in juxtaposition on either side of the door. The Potter crest was a circle containing the image of a large oak tree growing from a small pool and a runic script flowed around the circle's edge; the lines of the Potter crest shimmered in an aqua colour that seemed to flicker in the light like water. The Flammel crest was a stark contrast though the two family emblems complimented each other well. The crest was drawn in a stone grey which promoted solidity and strength and the image in the circle's centre was of a magnificent and powerful mountain surrounded by a mysterious-green forest. Around the edge of the door, a track of flowing runes radiated safety and power which made Harry briefly ponder about the Potter family's apparent affinity with runic magic; Harry quickly made a mental note to look into it along with the already extensive list of things he needed to do before the summer's end.
The door, unfortunately, seemed to be about the only thing of the castle that was in perfect condition (which Harry suspected the runic charms had something to do with). It certainly seemed that Dobby had his work cut out for him if he was to bring the Flammel castle up to standard, something that, by the shine in his eyes he was looking forward to immensely. There were three floors to the castle, not including the tower which ascended far above the rest of the castle and Harry was already making plans for all the space he now had. It seemed that the castle had been cleared of all the valuable possessions before its decline, leaving only a few spare items of furniture within the stone walls which had been ravished by all manner of creatures over the years.
Of all the rooms that Harry and Dobby explored, Harry was most excited by the old library room which was fantastically large and his plans for the room were fast growing. He had decided to make the library a sanctuary for study where he could work and be at peace, something he would need in his scholarly pursuits. This is where Harry settled down with Dobby for a chat, Harry taking a seat in a worn and tattered arm chair and Dobby bounced into an equally shabby but comfortable chair.
"So Dobby, I'm glad you have decided to come and work for me… are you sure you will be okay with the amount of work this place needs?"
"Yes Harry Potter! Dobby is looking forward to making the castle proper again sir!"
"Did Winky decide she didn't want the job by the way?"
"Oh, Winky is bonded with the werewolf because she is now the house elf of Grimmauld Place, Harry Potter sir!"
"Ah," he sighed, "well then, let's decide upon your pay, clothing and rooms whilst we're at it eh," he finished smiling kindly at Dobby.
After a gruelling half hour of negotiations (despite Dobby's generally submissive demeanour), Harry and Dobby agreed to the payment of five Galleons per week (it was all he would take), Dobby requested to wear his own clothing which Harry agreed to and Dobby was given one of the smaller rooms near the castle kitchens. Altogether, Dobby was ecstatic with his new living arrangements and the two quickly talked over establishing a house fund with a direct link to his vault (meaning a set amount of funds would be kept and renewed every annum for castle needs e.g. food, repairs, cleaning supplies and such). However, before the house fund would come into play, Dobby was given explicit access to Harry's wealth in order to renovate the castle and bring it up to the standard Harry wanted it, the two of them briefly going over some of the things Harry wanted including in the castle, but Harry giving Dobby major rule over the renovations.
Harry left Dobby then so that he could further explore his new home whilst Dobby decided to clean, as best he could, the master bedroom of the castle for Harry to sleep in later that night. As Harry travelled the maze-like passageways of Flammel castle he stumbled accidentally across a room in the castle of which its contents would assist in his plans for the summer immensely. On the right-hand side of an old and dusty corridor, a neat engraving of the Flammel family crest gleamed in Harry's wand-light, completely clean unlike the dust-laden surrounding stone.
Tracing the engraving with his forefinger, Harry was shocked to see the wall shimmer and then a realistically crafted illusion collapsed (though Harry couldn't as of yet appreciate the subtlety of the magic), revealing a stone archway leading into a small room. Wand in hand, Harry stepped tentatively into the room in the crude duelling stance he had learned in Hogwarts (knees bent, back straight, legs far apart and body facing sideways to minimise target area). Once inside the small room, no bigger than his bedroom at Privet Drive, Harry found a small wooden desk upon which lay a vast tome comprised of vellum and bound in crisp black leather. After dusting the front cover lightly with his palm, he could distinguish that upon the front of the volume was scripted in flowing thin forest green metallic strips, the title The Magical Works of House Flammel: Volume IV.
Harry stood looking at the book before him in nothing short of awe as he had stumbled across a book written by possibly a greater sorcerer than even Professor Dumbledore and even Harry knew from what he had gleamed from Hermione in year one at Hogwarts, that Nicholas Flammel and the Flammel House were terribly secretive about their work (a line of scholars). The only thing that was bothering Harry at the moment was the tag on the title's end "Volume IV" – that meant that there was at least another three of these books floating around somewhere.
In a decisive move, Harry flipped open the book's cover and read a neatly penned introduction that was in red ink as opposed to the black ink that Harry glimpsed the rest of the volume to be written in when he had leafed through the beginning few pages. It read:
You have found the fourth instalment of House Flammel's magical works. Congratulations. When it became apparent that I, Nicholas Flammel, would not be bearing children with my wife, I decided that my knowledge must be compiled and passed on as to lose it would be a grievous crime. When deciding who to pass on to the books I have written, I was stumped as I could not clearly decide upon a singular person to whom I would bequeath these volumes once I agreed to destroy my stone. So, I have left a volume of my books in each property I own and this one in my house which was gifted to the Potter line. Because I did this, I left no will and the most resourceful person to claim my assets or parts of my assets will be gifted with the separate volumes of this series. Good luck to you,
Harry was effectively in shock. Nicholas Flammel had divided possibly the greatest written collection of magical knowledge from a singular person, throughout his owned properties which were no doubt being legally fought over at the moment in the wizarding courts. Harry wondered if Dumbledore was one of those fighting for Nicholas' assets since the two were supposed friends, though if so, why hadn't he gifted the books to Dumbledore. Either way, Harry now owned one of an undefined series of magical compilation to which he was sure there would be magic only he could know. This would prove most beneficial and he would have to work on concocting some legal plan to take the reigns of the Flammel House as he was certain that only by owning all volumes of the series, would one fully comprehend the uses of such secretive magic.
Harry eventually decided to leave the book in the 'safe room' until the castle was suitably renovated enough for him to safely secure it in his private rooms or possibly the castle library (once that was established). Heading back towards the library room, Harry called Dobby and asked him to lead him to the room that the excitable elf had prepared for him. Once inside the room, Harry realised that although it was clean and somewhat ordered, he would need to personalise it as he had never done to a room before; this was his. At the foot of the ragged king sized bed was laid his trunk which Dobby had retrieved from Privet Drive and also the items which were placed under the floor boards of his room.
Retrieving some parchment and ink from his school trunk (which was becoming rather full), Harry seated himself at the old desk under the window and began to construct a list of things he would need for the following month or so as he trained. On the list he included salvaging a number of items including books and his family tapestry from his vault and also to purchase more modern or less respectable texts from shops in the wizard Alleys. Lastly he penned a more suitable wardrobe so he could at least attempt to look presentable.
Leaving his list on his desk, Harry opened the drop box (which was atop his trunk) to find a short note from Griphook bidding him well and explaining that the potion enclosed was the potion to mask a magical signature. The note also warned him that upon the morrow, Dumbledore would be informed that Vikryl had been demoted from accounts manager of Potter and would no doubt investigate. So, Harry resigned himself to the fact that tomorrow, the proverbial shit would hit the fan and he would need to be extra careful. Something coming to mind, Harry just noted on his shopping list the words 'fidelius charm' so he would remember to gather some information on it when he was out the next day.
Then, taking the potion and popping the cork, Harry downed the potion in one and was surprised to note the pleasant strawberry taste and sleep induced properties of the potion (something professional potion masters do to mask and incite the effects of the potion, something which Harry would come to respect and imitate which stirred his hatred for Severus Snape). Calling Dobby to his room, he wished him a good night and asked to be woken at about eight in the morning to which Dobby happily agreed before popping away to be gleeful of his new surroundings.
Albus Dumbledore, as was his habit, was haunting the hallways of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the early light of morning with casual grace. Many of the professors had departed with the students at the end of term and the old castle was rather empty. As he walked the passageways and conversed idly with the castle portraits, his fears and concerns did not touch even his eyes as the burdened man strolled leisurely as if he hadn't a care in the world. His finely tuned magical senses alerted him to some small magical activity transpiring within the folds of his sky blue 'stars and moons' robe though the magic held no subtleties and appeared to his senses as crude and shoddy, telling him that it was the Goblin-made drop box of Gringotts which was disturbing his age-old habit.
Retrieving the drop box from his robe, Dumbledore flipped open the catch and retrieved the short letter from Gringotts Bank.
Mr. Albus Dumbledore,
It is my duty to inform you that the Goblin Vikryl, whom you appointed as accounts manager of the Potter account, has been demoted and your authority over the account has been terminated as of today.
Thank you for your time,
Private Account Manager
Diagon Alley Branch, UK
Dumbledore held the letter in his aged hands numbly as he stared unseeingly at the now crinkled parchment letter that shook his plans for his future suggestion to Harry that he should fund the Order and a new auror squadron. After he had spent a moment angrily brewing over the matter, he decided that it was no real loss as Harry's money was nought but a convenience, the boy was what mattered and he cursed softly ('damn') as he came to realise that something was horribly wrong. He then began an undignified sprint toward his office where he pulsed (raw magical energy eradiated which can trigger magical devices amongst other uses) the gargoyle sentry.
Once inside the circular Headmaster's office, he strode towards the fireplace that was expertly secured by a long dead Headmistress, and then threw in a handful of floo powder from his Modern-Wizard-Essentials Floo Pouch into the fire that he had magically ignited. Making a quick fire-call to 12 Grimmauld Place, the headmaster arranged for Tonks and Remus to check up on Harry in Surrey whilst he made a personal visit to Gringotts Bank.
The Order meeting called later that day raged for near on an hour with hindrances such as Molly Weasley's worrying and explosive temper, Severus Snape's snide anti-Harry comments and 'the children's' (Ron, Hermione and Ginny who were staying at Grimmauld Place for safety reasons were allowed to sit in on the meeting in case they could contribute to the situation) endless questions. In the end, they really hadn't gotten very far apart from establishing the blatantly obvious and the useless normalities.
"Ladies, gentlemen, we really need to become a little more productive," soothed Dumbledore from his position at the head of the kitchen table. "Bickering and disputing will not find Harry. Now, let us simply review what we know and then we can establish a course of action."
"Well," began Tonks, "when Remus and I went to Harry's place, we found his room completely empty of his school things and when we asked the Dursley's if they knew anything, they only said that he hadn't left the house with their knowledge."
"Okay," countered Dumbledore, looking pensive. "When I went to Gringotts, I tried to ask the Goblins about the letter I received that Harry's account had negated my authority and also the Goblin that I had placed as accounts manager. However, the Goblins were most uncooperative and merely wasted my time with tea and client confidentiality speeches."
"Have we considered," drawled the monotone voice of Snape, "that Harry could have received a summons from the bank and left of his own will? That would explain why Professor Dumbledore had lost the account holder's rights, maybe the brat thought himself a man?"
"Harry wouldn't do that!" screeched Molly Weasley as she shakily sipped her tea.
"Besides, how could he have received a summons Snape?" questioned Tonks. "We monitor his mail for one and we searched his room the night the drop boxes were delivered. No, it's not that," she finished confidently.
"You what?" asked Ron unbelievingly.
"Purely to keep Harry safe from harm Mr. Weasley," chided Dumbledore softly. "After all, we wouldn't want young Harry to received cursed letters and the like, it would be most disastrous."
"Oh," commented Ron, feeling rather stupid as Hermione took a side-long glance at him, revelling in her self-confessed intellectual superiority.
"Now, we don't know why Harry left or how, or even if he left willing or forcibly. What we must do is search for him, it is of vital importance that he is returned safely to us. I want all agents on this and I want not only the obvious locations searched, but routes to these locations. Any way Harry could have travelled and by any means… thank you." With that, the agents dispersed quickly from the meeting ready to hunt down Harry Potter whilst the children scurried off to their rooms to speculate and engage in fantastical plots of humorous adventure. Albus Dumbledore just breathed deeply to dispel his weariness, before rising to engage actively in the search for his green-eyed champion.
A whole month had passed since the day Harry had travelled to Gringotts to gain his independence and the changes in the boy over such a short time were nothing short of amazing. The physical changes were somewhat unexpected as his body had attained a small amount of muscle which clung to his bones giving him unsuspecting strength. However, apart from that his physical appearance was best described as horrific at best and the most disturbing thing about it was that it was all self-inflicted. The result of his physical pain however was unbelievably justified by the teen as his magical growth was frightening. Although most every teen undergoes a magical maturation and development around sixteen, Harry's magic was expanding rapidly and even Harry was finding his power nothing short of terrifying. He assumed that one day far in the future, he might be able to match Dumbledore in raw power, though that day would be a long way off. His knowledge of magic was unbelievably vast in comparison to the small understanding he bore a month ago, though he was still a child in comparison with some of the ministry aurors. Most of this was down to the book he had found belonging to Nicholas Flammel which opened a great many number of doors for the young man, though some explaining must be given.
The day after he had arrived at Flammel Castle, Harry had travelled to Diagon Alley where he had granted Dobby complete access to his vault which meant he could send Dobby to the vault in seconds to retrieve gold and such as opposed to himself making the tiresome journey to the Gringotts underground caverns. As Harry had intended, he had Dobby retrieve all the books in his vault, mass amounts of gold, a humble trunk that belonged to his parents and all of his paperwork on his assets so that he could have them on hand in his home. Whilst in the Alley, Harry also purchased as many magical modern texts as he could on a vast range of magical branches and also some dark art texts from Knockturn Alley, or more specifically, the black market of magical goods which circulated globally through a 'doorway' in Knockturn Alley. He also purchased a number of clothes, though not too many as he was still growing and didn't want to spend money for the sake of spending.
Flammel Castle had come along in leaps and bounds since the month's beginning as Dobby had worked relentlessly on the castle. Although there was still mass amounts of work to complete, Dobby had successfully decorated the kitchens, library and the tower which (the last two) Harry had personally requested doing. The library was a work of art as the floors (the library took the height of two storeys with an edge-balcony as the second level) were carpeted in lush white textile and the walls panelled in sophisticated dark wood that had a vertical grain. The large windows emitted immense amounts of light in the day and at night the magical glow lamps on the scattered oak tables would ignite in soft green light. The maze of bookshelves that extended across every wall and snaked across the floor were stacked with books to the brim because of Harry's recent purchases and the combined libraries of both Black and Potter (the Black library of Grimmauld Place was deposited in the Black Vault shortly before Sirius' death).
The tower was something however that Harry had orchestrated the renovations with Dobby's expertise at hand because it was his new living quarters. The tower was extremely large and high, though only the very top of the tower was in use as the other floors had just been cleaned and cleared as to provide a lengthy trip to the top. The top floor consisted of a magnificent oak desk curling around a portion of the wall under an eastern window which held a beautiful view of the lake. There was a plush bed with dark green hangings and moderate furniture such as bedside table, wardrobe, cupboards and such. The floor was richly carpeted and the stone walls were covered in Potter tapestries which depicted various brave deeds of his ancestors. His new trunk lay at the foot of his bed and a large wooden perch stood in full display by an 'obstruction' window (magically invisible window pane which allows owls entry but resists the elements) for Hedwig.
To the north of the tower room, a fireplace large enough for a man to step through had been fitted which Griphook had helped him connect to the floo network on one of his visits as their friendship grew over the month. Lastly, on the west wall of the tower, an archway distinguishable by a faintly shimmering aqua line shadowed the stone wall of the tower in shadow. This was something Harry had learnt how to do at great length over the month, and it was a portal to the library in the main section of the castle which worked both ways, thus negating the need for stairway access to his room and also allowing Harry to conduct his scholarly studies between his vast library and his private quarters.
Harry was currently sitting in a soft chair by his crackling fireplace in his room, The Magical Works of House Flammel: Volume IV laid open in his lap as he flicked through the pages, his holly wand twirling idly in his left hand. It was this book which began Harry's ascent in his magical education. Harry quickly discovered that his volume had a distinct theme and whilst reading it, as is inevitable with all book series, references are made to the other existing volumes (though no number is placed on the amount of volumes in the series) and so Harry was able to gleam what some of the other volume's themes are. His book was centrally focused on the magic of the mind and Harry was able to discover things that allowed him to become the magically enhancing, physically deteriorating teen seen seated in the chair before his fireplace.
Over the month that Harry had been at his castle, he had dedicated the whole month solely to training and his knowledge had expanded drastically, though at a menacingly high price. The spell which Harry had learnt from Nicholas' mind volume which had so assisted him in his training was the Percepi Agnosco spell which allowed the caster to absorb written knowledge and store it irremovably in the mind, a spell so valuable that the House of Flammel had guarded it with their lives until the day Nicholas scribed his knowledge. The incantation is Perceptum Conscientia Pretium and the caster has to focus on absorbing the knowledge fully whilst placing the wand tip onto the written data. The drawback of the spell and the reason why it was seldom used by the House Flammel was because for the knowledge, the price is excruciating physical pain, the physical damage inflicted resisting magical treatment and having to be healed naturally.
When Harry had first learnt this spell, the first book he attempted to absorb was naturally Nicholas' mind tome and Harry learnt that the pain was no tickle, and that by choosing such a large and concise text, particularly as his first 'absorb', he was inviting pain. Harry, after attempting the feat, fell unconscious for two whole days and woke up in extreme pain but with the knowledge of the book firmly implanted in his mind. This spell was also what fuelled Harry's immersion into potions as he began to brew pain numbing potions to allow him daily movement, though the potions were incapable of curing his injuries; his potions were the only thing keeping him alive and moving at the moment. Fair enough to say, Harry's pain threshold was growing daily and whilst he calmly reviewed his mind book (a recent obsession despite having it memorised) he was in fact suffering immense physical injury. Although this pain which Harry bore daily would normally permanently cripple a man, Harry had discovered from his mind text that the power of the mind extended far beyond what he originally dreamed as his physical self was sustained as long as his mind and magic flourished.
Harry had started with occluding his mind so as to prevent Voldemort's mental assaults and Dumbledore's mental advances, both of which left him feeling violated and utterly dirty. The theory which Harry favoured from those outlined in Flammel's text was the mindscape theory; one must envision their thoughts and memories placed within a mindscape where they can categorise and organise their minds, then erect defences for his mindscape. The good thing about the mind arts are that the stronger a person's defences, the stronger their legilimency assaults will be though one has to perfect their art of attack (be it brutal intrusion like Voldemort and Snape or subtle manipulation like Dumbledore). After a month of practise, Harry had found his mindscape (a huge towering castle which seemed a blend of Hogwarts and Flammel Castle) and had begun to organise his thoughts and memories into specific categories and divisions, all with interlinking replicas of the portal incorporated in his tower room. His defences were the castle walls and a moat surrounding the property, although this was erected, his main focus throughout life would be to continually strengthen his defences.
Harry had performed the Percepi Agnosco spell daily on a number of texts which allowed him to progress in magic with fluent urgency. The first texts aside from his mind tome that he absorbed were his school books year one through seven (he bought the year six and seven texts for the general subjects on his shopping trip) as this gave him grounding in his magic. So far in the month, Harry had managed to absorb and practise his general Hogwarts curriculum thoroughly along side his mind arts. The other books he had absorbed were only a few; a few on wizarding law, general history, one on runic magic and enchantments and also books which encompassed whole languages – these ones hurt especially, though were useful because Harry's library was comprised of many books written in foreign languages hopefully containing knowledge on foreign, more obscure magic. He could now fluently write and speak four languages aside his native tongue, those being Gobbledegook, French, Latin and Greek.
Griphook was a welcome guest who visited every once in a while on business, but remained for conversation and meals which were mutually enjoyed. It was Griphook who taught Harry to apparate as the Goblin's used the same method of transport (a fact not widely known) and Harry was extremely grateful that his mode of transport was no longer restricted to the two-way portkey he had been using. It was also Griphook who used his contacts throughout the wizarding world to set up a mail box for Harry where he could safely collect his mail (the property was unplottable and couldn't be found by normal owls). His mail was specially filtered to block fan mail, harmful mail and the like – the post office where his mail box was located also arranged for private collection of the mail and Harry was able to avoid the Order who were hunting him (as seen in the letters sent by the Order and his friends, though Harry had yet to reveal himself and reply).
Seated in his chair, physically painful to behold yet magically radiating as his power revelled in its stage of maturation and the attention it was undergoing by taking precedence over physical well-being, Harry smiled. Waving his wand idly and muttering an incantation, Harry body shimmered and the appearance of a healthy, mature Harry Potter appeared who looked as a calm as a young Dumbledore. He rarely expended the energy of these magical facades, preferring to ignore his physical appearance when at home, but tonight he felt that he would like to be as he was mentally…a beacon of power. Soon though, Harry would be forced to forgo his mental absorptions as the pain would hinder him upon his return to Hogwarts and society in general. He also knew that he could only ignore his physical condition for so long; after all, duelling required peak physical form from a duellist and so Harry decided to just bear another few weeks of pain in order to expand upon his knowledge successfully.
His birthday was approaching and Harry felt that he should make an appearance so as to keep the Order at bay and the sheep (public) placated. Neither Dumbledore nor Voldemort (whose mental intrusions had been successfully nullified) had seen or heard anything of him over the past month and although he was sure both wizards suspected his Lordship of Potter, Harry had yet to appear in the courts to use his influence and hadn't awakened the seat of Black from its dormancy. However, he felt that the Flammel legacy case would draw him into action before long as his need of further texts in Flammel's series was almost overwhelming.
"Nicholas Flammel," he whispered to the surrounding silence whilst his eyes once again drifted over the text before him, "what a mind you had…"
Author's Note: Please let me know what you think of this chapter. The next instalment won't be nearly as rushed in plot development mind. So, please review and thank you very much for all those reviewing and reading - I appreciate it!
1) I won't be changing Harry's middle name from Balian to James because I want this fan fiction to have some little things that aren't JK, hope it doesn't bother too many people.
2) Harry and Nicholas Flammel are not related, though they share a House bond, two wizard Houses joined in friendship.
3) Remus is blinded by Dumbledore; he doesn't see Harry's perspective, though that might change. Who knows?
4) Not sure about ships at all yet, I might include one maybe in 7th year, but for sixth, there might just be some tentative interest. Not sure yet though.
5) The Falmmel Flamel thing by the way, does it bother a lot of people? If so, I'll go through my chapters and edit, but if not, I'll just keep the mm.