A/N: I've had a couple people question a statement I posted in my author's note in Chapter 1 about updating if I get reviews. I guess I didn't mean it the way people are taking it. My only point is that I'm more likely to update if I know that people like and read the story, and my only way of telling that is if people review. Hit counts are all well and good, but they don't tell me if someone actually read the story, they only tell me that someone clicked a link and loaded the page. Reviews are an author's lifeline. Also, though I have 12 Chapters written, I don't have 12 Chapters proofread-and-ready for publishing. That is why only the first three chapters were posted, because those were the only ones I felt comfortable posting in their current form. I expect the next 8-9 Chapters will go up over the course of the next week or so, and then updates will be slower, as I'll have to write, change, then proofread each chapter before I post it.
I also like reviews, as it gives me an idea of what my readers are thinking, possibly bringing up things I had not considered so far. Reviews help me create a better, more accurate and more thorough story. I'll also accept flames, as long as there's a useful piece of criticism in there as well. If I screw something up, and you yell at me for it, then it's my fault. Posting a flame containing something like "YOU SUCK, YOUR STORY SUCKS, AND YOU SHOULD JUMP OFF A BRIDGE" is not something that's useful to me. If I suck, and my story sucks, tell me what sucks about it and I may be able to either fix it or write better in the future. I'm also not likely to jump off a bridge no matter how many people tell me that I should, so... Well... There you go...
For those who have not read my profile, this chapter is the first largely-rewritten chapter of this story. I had originally wrote up to chapter 12 and posted it, but found that I had written myself into a corner and couldn't figure out how to get the story back in line with my outline, so I had to go all the way back to here to make it work. I made some minor changes in Chapter 3, which led to the changes in chapter 4 here. From here on out, a lot of the story will be new (while still using the ideas of my previous chapters)...
Now, on with the story...
Chapter 4: Learning and Preparing...
By the time Harry had finished reading through the diaries, school was letting out for summer. Normally, Harry would not be looking forward to the summer, as it means that he's available to be Dudley's punching bag 24/7, but since his fight with Piers, and the broken hand, Dudley and his gang seemed less enthusiastic about beating up on Harry anymore. They still tried to intimidate him, but Harry was no longer a scared little boy. He now exerted an aura of confidence, and that confidence unnerved Dudley and his friends somewhat. They had decided to find other kids to beat up.
The other reason he normally didn't look forward to summer was that meant his birthday was coming up, and no doubt another beating. Harry was not scared of his uncle anymore. He had already proven to himself that his magic can protect him from his uncle, and that his acting skills were up to par to fake out his yearly beating.
In actuality, this year, Harry was very happy that the summer was here. This meant that he could spend all of his time learning all he could about magic. One by one he planned to go through all of his mother's school books and learn as much from them as he could. Since it was summer, that also meant that his favorite spot on the roof of the school would be readily available and private. Nobody would bother him up there, and since he could create his food, he would continue to eat well without the need to see the Dursleys at all.
And so it began. Every day, without fail, Harry would leave the Dursley household as soon as breakfast was finished, and would not return to the house until after dark. Initially Harry was worried that if he was out too late that the Dursleys would report him missing, but it seemed that the Dursleys didn't care one way or the other. Harry was always awake early enough to cook their breakfast, and was home just after dark, and well before his aunt and uncle went to bed. Conversation between Harry and his aunt and uncle was minimal, just the way that both of them liked it.
The first book Harry searched for was the one his mother had hinted to in her diaries. Turns out that she had managed to put two books together. The first one was titled "So you've found out you're magical: A muggleborn guide to the wizarding world". The preface explained that the book was written by a muggleborn, and intended to be read by a muggleborn. The goal of the book was to explain the wizarding world in such a way that a muggleborn would understand. It went on to say that there were many books on wizarding etiquette, wizarding laws, traditions, and such, but all of them seemed to be written by purebloods and written with the assumption that the reader has a basic understanding of the wizarding world.
The second book was titled "The next generation of Magic: A radical approach to teaching the next generation of Magic users". The preface explained the book was written with the sole intention of changing the way that magic was taught so as to make a stronger, more capable Magic user. It went on to say that as a recent graduate of Hogwarts, she understood what was taught, but believed that if things had been taught differently, or in a different order, or even if some things that weren't taught in school WERE taught there, that it would make the student much more capable in the end.
Harry started with the first book. The structure of it was easy for Harry, even as a 7 year old, to understand. It wasn't very technical, but gave a broad understanding of how the wizarding world worked. It started by explaining that most modern muggle technology did not work in a magic heavy environment, and that this was the hardest part for a muggleborn entering the magical world. From there it went on to explain how the magical world did the things that muggle technology did. It then followed with the Statute of Secrecy, and explained what it was, what the rules were, and why it was in place. This section also explained why the wizarding world and the muggle world were kept separated. Following that was an explanation of the Underage magic laws, and the reason for those as well. It then explained wizarding currency, and by extension, Gringotts bank. From there, it went on to explain the most common species of sentient beings likely to be encountered in the magical world, and where/when you are most likely to encounter them.
From there it went on to less interesting topics. It gave an overview of the Ministry, Major Ministry departments, and licensing information. Harry was interested to note that what he was doing was called apparition, and was not something that was supposed to be done until one was 17 and licensed. He made a mental note to be sure not to let anyone know that he could do it. He also noted that you could be licensed for other things he hasn't even considered. Long distance apparition, side-along apparition, portkey creation, animagus registration, and ward-building. Harry made it a point to look up the specifics of all of the licensed and registered abilities.
Next was the basic everyday laws, and by extension the DMLE (Aurors). That led into information about the Wizengamot and it's rules for court proceedings. That led to a quick blurb about Azkaban, the wizarding prison.
The final informational section of the book explained things like oaths, life debts, and unbreakable vows. She cautioned the reader about what they say, and how they say it, because unlike the muggle world, an unbreakable vow is just like it says. Unbreakable. Even if the vow was made unintentionally, with nobody else around, if it is made, magic will force you to keep it.
The last section of the book was common mistakes and misconceptions that muggles make about magic. This was more of a myth vs fact section, and was quite the interesting read.
Overall, it took Harry about a week to read the book front to back. He then took a couple days to absorb it, and then skim over it again to make sure he didn't miss anything important. Now that he had a fairly decent understanding of the wizarding world, he moved on to the next book, which was the one he was most interested to read.
The second book turned out to be a very interesting read. The first chapter was mostly the author's (Lily's) opinions on magic and how it was taught. It started out by stating her opinion that magic was being taught backwards. As a graduate of Hogwarts, her later years and private study led her to believe that because a typical 11 year old is impatient by nature, and wants to see and use magic immediately, that the teaching of magic itself was done in such a way to give instant gratification. Incantations and wand movements are ingrained into the students' heads, and results are seen, without an understanding of why the results happened. It also stated the opinion that magic was taught for 5 years, then during the students' 6th and 7th year a lot of what was taught has to be un-learned so the student can learn more advanced ways of using magic. It was also thought by the author (Lily) that if meditation and occlumency were taught at a young age when a child's mind is still under development, that most of the impulsiveness in a typical 11 year old could be curbed enough to allow for early teachings to focus on theory. Theory, or the understanding of "why" magic works, makes magic inherently stronger. And by teaching occlumency starting at a younger age, a child's mind develops into a more organized adult mind.
The book went on to explain that wands were used to focus magical energy, but that constant use of the crutch made the user dependent on it. This opinion is based on a young child's use of 'accidental magic', and that accidental magic is done without a wand or incantation. As a child enters school and learns to use a wand, accidental magic all but disappears except in the most extreme cases. It is thought that since a student is taught as a first-year that a wand is needed to perform magic, that a student believes that in his or her mind, and subconsciously doesn't allow themselves to perform wandless (accidental) magic anymore. Lily's opinion on the subject was that if the student had enough power, that anything that could be done with a wand could also be done without one. Though it was noted that magic cast without a wand was not as powerful or focused as magic cast with a wand, but was more than sufficient for most day to day magic. This is also another place where meditation and occlumency would be important, as occlumency not only helps organize the mind (making it easier to learn and understand, and easier to retain and recall information), but also helps the mind focus, block out distractions, detect abnormalities and intrusions, and protect itself. The extra retention and recall of information, along with the focus gained, would both be crucial to the learning of wandless magic.
The next major opinion of the first chapter was that magic was just that, magic. While the magical world in general separated the different kinds of magic into curses, hexes, jinxes, charms, transfiguration, shields, wards, light magic and dark magic, etc, the long and short of it all was that it was all just magic. It all comes from the same magical core. The difference is in your mind, and how you USE that magic to get the desired effect. Hexes, curses, and charms in general required you to focus your mind on the effect you want the magic to have, while transfiguration required you to not only focus on what you want, but what you're starting with, and all the changes between what you have and what you want. Conjuring required precise details in your mind. Light magic required positive emotions, while dark magic required negative emotions. If your mindset is proper for the magic you want to use and you have enough raw magical power, incantations and wand movements (or wands for that matter) are largely unimportant.
The final opinion of the first chapter was that a healthy body was better able to channel magic than an unhealthy body. A body in shape could channel more magic, and could last longer in a duel.
The chapter closed by stating that she believed that a child should start their magical education by use of tutors earlier than 11 years old. If a child started around the age of 9, then occlumency, meditation, and some basic magical, potions, and herbology theory could be taught before the child officially started their formal education at age 11. This early tutoring would give a student a huge jump start on their magical education, which would result in a better magic user.
Harry read this first chapter twice while thinking of the implications of it. If it were true (which he believed – who doesn't want to believe what their mother says?), then this could be huge! Having read through his mother's diaries, he has a pretty good idea of the early teachings at Hogwarts, as the first couple years' worth of journals documented the things she learned pretty thoroughly. While he had mostly skipped the technical stuff when reading through the diaries, he did pick up enough to note that incantations and wand movements seemed to be important. At the time it struck him as odd, since he didn't seem to need either of them to do his magic, and the first chapter of this book seemed to give him a pretty good reason why.
The second chapter of the book started with the basics of meditation and the first step towards learning occlumency. Both of them go hand in hand. The ability to focus inward while clearing your mind of outside influences and random thought was the first step in learning occlumency. Harry read through this chapter twice as well, focusing on what he needed to do, and the different ways that he could go about doing it. He spent 4 days getting to the point where he could go into a meditative state on demand. While in a meditative state, he noticed that it was just blackness with random thoughts floating around, seemingly randomly. He spent another full day going into and out of a meditative state, just to be sure that he was proficient in this first step before moving on to Chapter 3.
The third chapter of the book focused on organizing your mind, your thoughts, your emotions, and your memories. It gave several examples on how to create your 'mindscape' or 'storage location', and how to organize his thoughts, but stated that each person is different. The book went on to theorize that the older a person is when learning occlumency, the longer it would take, as an older person would have more memories to sort through. The book also warned that this shouldn't be done for more than 2-3 hours at a time, as headaches were common.
So Harry's days were started by doing some stretching exercises, followed by a slow jog around the neighborhood. He'd finish up by doing push-ups and sit-ups. He then spent a couple hours in the morning sorting through his memories. When his head started hurting, he'd take a break and practice moving objects around using his magic. It was tiring, though not in a physical way, but the more he did it, the easier it became. His magic seemed to work like a muscle, the more you used it, the stronger it becomes. When he was magically tired from moving objects around, he'd go back to sorting through his memories for another couple of hours. After that he would take a break and relax, eventually returning to the Dursley's residence. He'd spend another hour or so before going to sleep going through his memories. Even at just 7 years old, this process took almost 3 weeks to go through each and every memory in his head.
His 'mindscape' resembled the only place he had ever seen information organized, his school library. In his mind, he created a room with plenty of light, with a table and a chair in the middle of it. Around the table were sections of bookshelves. There was a single door on one side of the library as an entry way into his mindscape. One section of his mind library consisted solely of books he had read, and organized them the same way that a regular library would. The other main section of his library was his experiences and observations. As he went through each memory, he filed anything important away in the appropriate section of his library. It was a very tedious process, going through each and every memory, many of which were painful to remember. But muddle through it he did. When he had gone through all of his memories and experiences, everything that was unimportant (what he ate for breakfast, the walks to and from the school, his morning jogs, etc) were shunted outside of the library to float around outside, leaving the inside of his mindscape clean and tidy.
The fourth chapter of the book consisted of creating alarms and traps, guarding from outside interference. This chapter gave a quick blurb about legillemency, what it was, how it was performed, and the different levels of it. Harry was intrigued about the idea that simply looking into somebody's eyes could give a legillemens flashes of surface thoughts. He was more disturbed about the idea that a proficient legillemens could cast silently and read deep into your thoughts and memories without anyone being the wiser. He vowed that at some point he was going to learn to do this.
At this point, Harry was a little stumped. He wasn't sure really how to set alarms and traps that would effectively alert him of a legillemens attack. He decided that for the moment, he was just going to build a fence around the outside of where his inconsequential thoughts floated around outside of his library. This fence was to be rigged with a silent alarm to alert him should anything try to cross it. As an afterthought, he also put a regular alarm on the door to enter his library so that one way or another, he would know if somebody entered it.
The fifth chapter of the book was all about building shields to protect his mind from a brute-force assault. The book warned that this would be very time consuming, taking as much as a year or more to build shields that would repel even a medium level assault. The recommendation from the book was that the person learning occlumency spend at least 30 minutes each night before going to sleep strengthening his shields. The book said that the mind would get used to strengthening the shields regularly, and after about a month of doing it every evening, would instinctively start doing it during down time during the day as well. Harry chose to take it one step further, and spend 30 minutes on it around lunch time, and 30 minutes before going to bed every evening.
The sixth and final occlumency-related chapter of the book was an overview of advanced occlumency techniques. It did not go into details, but did inform Harry about some ideas on advanced ways that the mind can protect itself. Things like training the mind to evade an incoming legillemens attack instead of relying on shields and traps. Or the idea of the mind making itself invisible so that an incoming legillemens probe has nothing to attach itself to. Finally the ultimate goal of creating a "fake" mindscape and being able to "fake" memories in such a way that a legillemens thinks he has found your mind and has read your memories. There was also a blurb on a theoretical idea of setting traps that would hurt a legillemens if they attempted to access whatever it was protecting. This chapter also referred it's reader of a number of books that could help him in these areas, but warned that most of them were restricted or outright banned by the Ministry of Magic.
-- HP --
The next seven chapters of the book started in on actual magical training. They focused on basic magical theory, an introduction to charms and transfiguration, an introduction to arithmancy and ancient runes, an introduction to herbology and potions, an introduction to magical and muggle defense techniques, an introduction to healing, and an introduction to astronomy and divination. It was explained that these seven chapters introduced the reader to the main branches of magic taught at every major magical school around the world.
The theory chapter was long and boring, but helped Harry start to understand how magic is performed. During his meditations, he had seen what he believed to be his magical core, but didn't really have anything to compare it to. After reading the magical theory chapter, he now understood that his magical core determined how much raw power he had access to, and that if his observations were correct, his core was approximately the size of a normal second or third year student, though it appeared to be more dense and brighter in color than was described in the book. He also understood why he felt "tired" without being physically tired after doing his levitation exercises. It was because he was draining his magical core, and taking breaks from using his magic and doing other things (like his mental exercises) gave his core time to recharge. He also found out while reading this chapter that the constant draining and recharging of his magical core was the reason why his core was larger and brighter than it should be. His core, or magic "muscle" was growing larger, stronger, and more dense because he was exercising it regularly.
The charms and transfiguration chapter was interesting in that they were introduced together. The author (Lily) believed that they were the same magic, only cast differently. The spellcasting part of Defense against the Dark Arts was also lumped into this category. It was simply broken down into a general "spellcasting" category, in which you expel magic outside of your body to get a desired effect. It mattered not whether you wanted to levitate something, bind somebody in ropes, or change a pincushion into a teacup. All of these actions require you to focus your mind on what you want to do, sent out magic towards the person or object you wished to affect, and maintain your focus on that person or object long enough to be sure the intended change was made. Even inanimate to animated transfiguration boiled down to focus. Sure, it was harder to transfigure a live animal, but it was only because it was harder to focus on all the aspects of a live animal. Most people only pay attention to the outside looks of an animal, but what makes an animal alive is so much more.
Arithmancy and Ancient Runes were the topic of the next chapter. Again, these two subjects, which are normally taught in separate classes in formal schools, work hand in hand. Arithmancy is the study of magical numbers, and Ancient Runes is the study of magical pictures. The combination of Arithmancy and Ancient Runes is the basis for Ward casting and ritual magic.
The next chapter was an introduction to Potions and Herbology. Again, separately taught subjects in formal schooling that go hand in hand in reality. A mastery in one almost always means a mastery in the other. It was also noted that Care of Magical Creatures and Healing are also very closely related to these two subjects, as potions ingredients are primarily made up of either the plants studied in herbology or parts from magical creatures. The use and application of said potions are primarily used in healing, though there are other uses for potions outside of healing.
The magical and muggle defense chapter focused more on fitness, dueling tactics and martial arts. Since the spellcasting part of it was already covered in the charms and transfiguration chapter, this chapter focused on being aware of your surroundings, identifying threats, and responding to them. It also touched upon one-on-one duels, as well as group tactics, fight-vs-flee decisions, and the like. The author recommended picking at least one form of martial arts to study.
The healing chapter focused mostly on the muggle subject of Biology, specifically human biology and physiology. Understanding how a body works is key to understanding how to heal it should it become damaged in some way.
And finally, the astronomy and divination chapter explained that these were two subjects that are typically taught separately, but though not identical, are very similar in reality. Divination focuses on different ways of seeing the future, or possible future as it may turn out to be, while Astronomy is the study of how the alignment of the stars can affect current and future events.
The first appendix of the book gave a quick overview of many magical talents. Animagi, Metamorphmagi, Parselmouth, Seer, and Beast Speaker. It also touched upon proven cases of magical ESP, which is the ability to augment your normal senses through the use of magic.
The end of the book also had a second appendix that gave a list of books that could be used as references for many of the subjects. Potions had many reference books and charts that could be used to quickly look up interactions between different ingredients, as well as general properties of both the plants used in herbology and the parts of magical creatures. There were also quick reference books listed for Arithmancy, Ancient Runes, dueling, astronomy and divination.
-- HP --
About a week before his birthday, Harry had decided that it was about time that he found this Diagon Alley, and checked out all that it had to offer. If his mother's descriptions were anything to go on, then he was in for a real treat. Having finished the books written by his mother, he had also decided on a short break from the books, and used that week to go through the rest of the stuff in his mother's trunk. He found tons of letters, class notes, and (MOVING!) pictures inside them. For the first time, Harry saw a picture of his parents. He recognized them right away, even if he had never seen them before. He recognized his own eyes on the face of a beautiful girl that could only be his mother. She had long, beautiful red hair. He also recognized his facial structure, and especially his perpetually unruly hair on top of what could only be his father. It seems that his father wore glasses as well, but none as gaudy as what Harry himself was wearing. He also found pictures of the Marauders, and based on the descriptions from his mother's diary, be figured out who each of them were. Sirius was easy. He was handsome and was always in a picture with Harry's father. They always seemed to be goofing off in the pictures. Remus and Peter were a little harder to tell apart, but after a few pictures, Harry believed that he had got them right. Remus almost always seemed to look tired in his pictures, which seemed strange for a school-aged child. Peter always seemed to be just poking his head into each picture he was in from a corner or from a shadow. Harry recognized the shyness portrayed in the pictures. And, though there were plenty of pictures of people Harry didn't know, he was unable to identify any of them based solely on the descriptions that were in his mother's diary.
Harry had decided that Saturday, July 29th was going to be the day. As the day approached, Harry was a little nervous, and having second thoughts. Though he had read all of his mother's diaries, and learned quite a bit about magic itself, he really didn't know anything about witches and wizards themselves. He knew from the clothes in his mother's trunk that witches (and presumably wizards) wore cloaks over themselves instead of a normal coat. This, Harry felt, would make his life easier. He had every intention of making himself look older so he wouldn't be questioned about why he was roaming around on his own, but the cloak further helped hide him. Basically all he had to do was make himself taller, and he could probably pass for an almost fully grown wizard.
The morning of the 29th dawned clear and relatively cool, considering the heat that had been the norm for the bulk of the previous week. Harry had already pulled out a cloak from his mothers trunk. It was a basic black cloak, and didn't seem to be tailored to his mother specifically. He dressed quickly in his best clothes (which were still rags by other people's standards), placed the cloak inside a bag which he had grabbed from his cousin's room, and headed out the door with a pocketful of collected change from around the house. He intended to take a bus to London, and would find the Leaky Cauldron from there.
Once Harry emerged from the bus on Charring Cross road, finding the Leaky Cauldron was pathetically simple. On his first walk down the road, Harry immediately spotted people who were also dressed in cloaks headed into and out of what looked like a small pub. Harry was amazed that nobody had noticed their strange attire, but eventually dismissed it as another strange facet of Magic. Ducking into an alleyway, he called forth his magic and used it to make himself taller, and put his mother's cloak over himself, making sure that he was covered as well as possible. He still didn't know much about witches and wizards in general, and felt the need to be cautious, since it would stand to reason that the person who killed his parents could still be around, and it would not do any good to be noticed. Harry then took a deep breath and headed towards the Leaky Cauldron. He followed what could only be another wizard into the Leaky Cauldron, and continued to follow them when they went out back into the alleyway, towards what Harry already knew was the entrance into the alley. As he passed through the tavern, he noticed a few different areas. One area looked like a pub, while another looked like a small restaurant. There also seemed to be rooms for rent, if the signs above the bar were to be believed. Sure enough, a moment later, the wizard he was following used his wand to tap the bricks, and Harry watched, silently amazed, as the bricks moved into a beautiful archway. The beauty of the archway was nothing compared to the sight that he found on the other side. Harry stood in awe of what looked like a small town full of the strangest stores he had ever seen. As the archway started to close again, Harry came to his senses and stepped through it. After a moment, Harry thought to himself, "Yeah, I think I'm going to like it here..." Harry then headed off into the town, blending into the crowds that were already filling the streets.
At the other end of the street was the most awe-inspiring building he had ever seen. It was huge compared to the many little shops that lined each side of the street. It looked like it was made from white marble, and had a pair of huge bronze doors on the front, and over them was an overhang supported by four pillars. Even from this distance, Harry could see that there appeared to be statues on top of the overhang and next to the doors. Harry had seen this building described in his mother's diary, but nothing could have prepared him for the real thing. Right away, he recognized it as Gringotts, the Wizarding bank. Immediately Harry headed towards it. He figured he would start at the top and work his way back.
Harry approached the wizarding bank with more apparent confidence then he really had. On his way there, nobody paid him any mind, so he was happy about that, but as he approached Gringotts, he noticed two goblins standing outside of the open doors to the bank. Again, Harry had seen descriptions of them in his mother's diary, but those descriptions didn't hold a candle to actually seeing one in person. Putting his acting skills to full use now, he strode up to the front doors with a perceived air of confidence. As he approached the door, he nodded once to each goblin, and after a moment, they each bowed back to him. He then proceeded inside.
Once through the set of Bronze doors, Harry was facing a second set of doors, silver this time from all appearances. These doors had words engraved upon them.
Enter, stranger, but take heed,
Of what awaits the sin of greed,
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn.
So if you seek beneath our floors
A treasure that was never yours,
Thief, you have been warned, beware
Of finding more than treasure there.
A pair of goblins bowed at him as he passed through the silver doors into a vast marble hall. About a hundred more goblins were sitting on high stools behind a long counter, scribbling in large ledgers, weighing coins in brass scales, examining precious stones through eyeglasses. There were too many doors to count leading off the hall, and yet more goblins were showing people in and out of these. "If the outside of this building is impressive, then the inside is absolutely breathtaking..." was the only thing going through Harry's mind. After a moment, Harry realized that his mouth was open and that he was dangerously close to drooling on himself. He closed his mouth quickly and slowly strolled through the large hall.
On a hunch, Harry decided to go up to one of the tellers to find out if his parents had an account here. As he approached a teller, he became a little more nervous. Goblins didn't look mean, per se, but they did not really look friendly either. Putting his acting skills again to full use, he walked up to the teller.
"May I help you?"
"Yes, please. I have come to inquire if my parents had an open account here when they died." Harry responded.
"I am sorry, Sir. I cannot disclose account information to anyone but the vault holders. If they have passed, and you were intended to have any of the contents of their vaults, then it would be in your name, and not your parents. If you would like, I can check on accounts belonging to you." The goblin sounded almost (almost being the key word here) apologetic.
"Forgive me. I am unaccustomed to the rules and ways. Please, could you check to see if I have an account here please?"
"Yes, sir. Would you happen to have your key?"
"Never mind. What is your name?"
"Harry Potter, sir"
At this, the goblin startled, and took a close look at Harry. The goblin then snarled slightly and informed Harry that he could not possibly he Harry Potter, as Harry was much younger. It seemed strange to Harry that a goblin, who from what he could tell, always seemed to be unfazed by anything, would be startled by his name alone. It also seemed strange that the goblin would know right away how old Harry should be. This was filed away into the back of his mind for later review.
"I apologize, sir. I have changed my appearance to avoid being questioned about walking through the alley alone at my age. I am Harry Potter."
"I see." said the goblin. "If you could step this way into a more private setting, then we should be able to get this resolved quickly."
The goblin then placed a "Next Teller" sign in his window and stepped to the side, beckoning Harry to follow. After a moment's hesitation, Harry did so, and both the goblin and Harry stepped into a small room off of the main hall which contained a small couch, a desk, and a couple of comfortable chairs in it.
"Please wait here for a moment. I must contact a manager so that we can confirm your identity and get you a replacement key, as it appears that your old one is lost to you." And with that, the goblin left, and Harry took a seat on the couch to wait.
Less than two minutes later, the same goblin reentered the room, followed by an older looking goblin that was carrying a small wooden case of some sort. The older goblin sat in the chair at the desk, carefully placing the case on top of it. "Good morning, sir. My name is Glabtrap, and I am a manager here at Gringotts." As he said this, he opened the case and removed a small bowl and a piece of parchment, placing the bowl on top of the parchment on the desk.
"Good morning, sir. It is a pleasure to meet you."
For the second time that morning, a goblin seemed startled in Harry's presence. Harry didn't know what to think about this. Was something wrong with him?
"Yes, well. The pleasure is mine, sir. I will need you to place your thumb inside of this bowl for a moment. You will feel a slight sting in your thumb, as your blood is checked to confirm your identity. Once that is taken care of, we can get you a replacement key and can discuss your accounts here at Gringotts."
Harry did not miss the plural form of account that the goblin used. Apparently he had more than one account here.
Harry placed his thumb in the bowl, and just as the goblin warned, a quick pinch and a slight sting emanated from his thumb, and as his blood pooled in the small bowl, red lines started weaving their way out of the bottom of the bowl. After a moment, the red lines started forming into words on the parchment.
Name: Harry James Potter, Esq.
Date of Birth: 31 July 1980
Birth Mother: Lily (Evans) Potter (Deceased)
Birth Father: James Potter (Deceased)
Current age: 7 years, 363 days, 4 hours, 23 minutes, 14 seconds
Legal Guardian:Sirius Orion Black (Imprisoned)
Acting Guardians:Unknown (Muggle)
Active Vaults: Potter Family Vault - HS19
Trust Vault - 687
Other Vaults - 423, 2320, 8367
Unnumbered Vaults - 2
Linked Vaults - 9220 (Alpha Bank London)
As the words formed on the page, Harry put a great amount of effort into not looking astonished at what lay before him. Most of the information he already knew (Name, sex, Birth date, and parents), but some of it he didn't. Sirius Orion Black? Is that the same Sirius that was in his mother's diary? And, what does it mean, imprisoned? Why was he imprisoned? Five vaults? What could he possibly need five vaults for? What was an unnumbered vault? What was a Linked vault? Harry did recognize the name of "Alpha Bank London", though. Another interesting tidbit is that the bank's test couldn't identify the Dursleys, presumably because they were muggles (a term Harry had learned to mean non-magical)...
"Well, Mr. Potter, now that your identity has been confirmed, we can discuss your business at this bank. As you can see, you have a number of accounts here. Are there any questions you have for me before we create you a new key?"
At this point, Harry was so overwhelmed that he couldn't maintain his act. "I'm sorry, sir. This was a lot of information to take in in such a short time. I don't even know what I am doing or what all of these accounts are. I only came to check for account information on a whim. Until two minutes ago, I didn't even know if there were any accounts here, and certainly none in my name."
It took a moment, but the goblin's features softened a little (as much as a goblin's features can soften) and asked what magical training and knowledge Harry possessed. Harry didn't really understand the question, but tried to answer it anyway.
"Honestly, I had an idea that something was different about me a little less than a year ago. Strange things kept happening to me, and over the course of this year, I discovered Magic. I didn't really know what it was, but I found that if I could concentrate properly, I could make things happen. It was less than two months ago when I discovered my mother's old school trunk, which contained her diaries and old school books. It was only then that I learned that what I was doing was actually magic. Since then, I've read all of the diaries and tried to understand all of the things that she was writing about, and I have read through a couple of introduction to magic books. Other than that, I didn't even know the magical world existed, let alone Gringotts or Diagon Alley."
"Hmm. That wasn't really what I meant when I asked the question, but your answer still managed to tell me what I needed to know. I take it from your answer that you have been raised completely muggle, and have no idea about the Potter family heritage? I do assume also that you do not know how your parents died?"
"I know almost nothing about the Potter line, or my heritage. The only thing I know about my parents deaths is that sometime after October 15, 1981, my parents went into hiding because Voldemort (the goblin flinched) was after them. I sorta guessed that the plan didn't work, and he somehow got to them anyway. I do occasionally have dreams of a confrontation that ends with a green flash, and I wake up with a headache, but that's about it."
"Well, I would say that you are ill-prepared to step fully into the wizarding world. You, Mr. Potter, are a hero in the eyes of many magical beings of this world. On Halloween, 1981, you are correct in that He-who-must-not-be-named did find you and your parents in your cottage in Godric's Hollow. That night, both of your parents were murdered, and he attempted to do the same to you. For some reason that nobody knows, the curse he tried to use on you backfired on him, leaving you with only a lightning-shaped scar on your forehead. Some say that you-know-who died on that night, but others now say that he is not dead and will be back someday. As for your heritage, it is a very long story that dates back to before the founding of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I would suggest that you maintain your disguise while you are in this world until you learn about all of it's intricacies and stories. Only then will you be able to show yourself properly in this world."
As the goblin explained these things to him, a flurry of emotions crossed over Harry's face. Sadness, Anger, Surprise, Awe, and just about everything in between. Harry was happy to finally understand what happened to his parents, and to get a straight answer as to how he got the scar on his forehead, but saddened to know the truth about his parents' death. Knowing somehow made it more real. More permanent. If he was overwhelmed with the information he had received earlier, he was in mental shutdown mode now.
"I can understand that this is a lot of information to take in in such a short period of time. If you would like, I can get you some recommendations about books you can read at your leisure that will help you to understand the magical world. Then, once you have completed them, I would be happy to help you with anything else you need to know."
Harry agreed, and they went through the process of making Harry's replacement key, since the original one was in an unknown location. Glabtrap also explained that for the moment, he would advise not going into any of the vaults with the exception of the trust vault and the Linked vault. The trust vault is for Harry's unlimited use until he becomes of age, and the Linked vault is a vault that is connected to the Muggle bank Alpha Bank of London. The primary function of the Muggle linked vault is so that the muggle bank can be used as a source of an ATM/Charge card for use in the muggle world. Glabtrap also created an ATM/Charge card that is connected to the muggle bank account. Glabtrap explained to Harry that only he would be able to use the ATM/Charge card, and that his age would not be questioned when he used it. Glabtrap did warn, though, that the card could not be used to purchase age restricted items that Harry was not yet old enough to purchase.
Another surprise that Harry received was when Glabtrap handed Harry what looked like an ink stamp. "This, Mr. Potter, is a stamp that can be used for Owl Order Catalogues. This stamp is self-inking, and is only usable by you. The purpose of this stamp is to allow purchases through owl order catalogues without disclosing your name. All you will need to do is put in a delivery address and stamp the order form with this stamp. The only connection between your name and this stamp is housed within the walls of Gringotts, and we are VERY serious about confidentiality. We only give these stamps to valued customers, and, at this moment, there are less than 100 of these in circulation. This stamp will allow withdrawls from one of the 'unnumbered vaults' listed on the paper we created using your blood earlier. The 'unnumbered vault' that this stamp authorizes withdrawl from is connected to your trust account. The use of this stamp is just like any purchase from your regular vault, except that by using this stamp, you are guaranteed anonymity at the store you are purchasing from". Harry wasn't quite sure what that meant, but the ability to order without disclosing his name was definitely a good idea, since it appeared that his name was well known in the wizarding world.
Once this was completed, Glabtrap called in another goblin, Griphook, to bring Harry to his trust vault, number 687. As Harry left the room, thanking Glabtrap for his time, he was told to stop back on his way out for a list of recommended books to pick up to properly learn about the wizarding world. Harry's mind was still in shutdown mode and had completely forgot about it, but promised that he would before he left.
The ride in the carts were quite fun for Harry, who had never been on so much as a rollercoaster in his life, but it ended much too quickly for Harry's liking. As Griphook stepped out of the cart, he asked Harry for the lantern and his Key, both of which Harry handed to the goblin. Once the vault was opened, Harry was again in awe. The huge piles of Gold, Silver, and Bronze were impressive to say the least. After picking his jaw back up off of the floor, Harry grabbed one of the many velvet moneybags that were in a container just inside the vault's door, and filled it with handfuls of coins. Harry was pleased to note that though the bag was getting more and more full, it was not getting any larger on the outside, nor was it getting any heavier.
When he was finished, Harry and Griphook went back up to the lobby area, and Harry went to meet with Glabtrap to get the book recommendations. When he looked at the book list, he was a little surprised at some of them. A History of Magic, Modern Magical History, The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts, Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century, Introduction to the Wizarding way of life, Hogwarts: A History, and Ministry of Magic: Then and Now were pretty straightforward. However, there was also some books that surprised Harry. Magical Beasts and Where to find them, Introduction to the Languages and Customs of foreign beings, and Wards for protection and detection 101 all seemed like strange books for someone who wants to learn about wizards and wizarding ways. After a moment of thought, he decided that the last one wasn't such a bad one, but the first two seemed like odd books for what he needed. Ultimately he decided that the goblin knew best what he would need to learn, since he had no real frame of reference to go on.
After handing Harry the list, he also reached in a drawer and pulled out two books, which he also gave to Harry. "These books are for your eyes only. This first one, Eye of the Mind, is a book on reading other people's thoughts, and protection from others reading your thoughts. It is not available anywhere for sale to my knowledge. This second one, which has no official title, is a book that tells similar stories that would be included in the 'A History of magic' and 'Ministry of Magic: Then and Now', but are told from a Goblin's point of view. This book is normally not to be shown to any human, and is used to teach our own kind about our ways, as well as our point of view of our history with Wizard kind. You, however, strike me as a wizard that does not hold the typical wizard kind prejudices, and because of that, I wanted to give you a way to view both perspectives of our rather shaky history with Wizards. It should be enlightening for you to read, and may also give you a better perspective of some of the other stories that are in the history books that were written by Wizards. Also, when reading any history book about any kind of conflict, remember that the 'official history' is usually written by the victors...
And with that, Harry used his magic and recreated his 'alter ego' and pulled the cloak back over his head, and headed out into Diagon Alley...