The Horror! The Horror!
Harry Potter and the Kurtz Estate, Chapter 1
A/N: Rorscach's Blot started a fun little series of Harry-in-Africa stories. It made me think of one of my favorite books. Prepare for a strange crossover: Harry Potter and The Heart of Darkness. Humorous!
Harry had seen Death…and escaped…and he certainly wasn't going to wait for it again on Privet Drive with 'relatives' he'd rather embalm than visit with.
It was the first day of vacation, one hour after returning from the train station, and Harry was already resolved that he was leaving. To do what? He didn't know. Perhaps he'd hide out with his godfather. Harry could learn to be an animagus so that he could feast on rats, too.
Perhaps he'd disappear onto the streets. With an Invisibility Cloak, Harry would be an exceptional pickpocket.
Or…perhaps he'd do something so dangerous, so stupid that it was bound to take his mind from Voldemort and his darkling clowns.
The real estate agent in Diagon Alley seemed really nice. That should have been his first clue. Many of his seemingly nice, or inoffensive, or sweet professors at school had tried to kill, memory charm, or kidnap Harry, after all, but the vicious bat in the dungeon never really had.
"So, dearie, let me get this straight," the sweet old lady said, as she knitted a black sweater. "You wish to purchase some place to live outside of Britain?"
"Correct. I'd prefer they didn't have any underage magic laws, either."
"Right." The woman then frowned at a series of particularly difficult stitches she had to make.
"Well, let's check out your qualifications then. Have a job?"
"Err, no. I'm still in school I suppose."
"Alright. You can finish up your studies through owl post lessons; lot of people do. Do you want a job? Can't get a house to live in without a job."
"Sure. If I could get out of this crazy country, why not?"
"Excellent. Any type of work you'd prefer?"
"Something hands on, I'd guess. I'm not a big reader, but I can cook, garden, and do pretty much anything else."
"Interesting. Practical minded soul, eh? How're your grades in Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures?"
"Well, Herbology as it's taught is kinda boring, but I get an A or an EE each term. I've got an O going in Care."
The old woman smiled and stopped knitting. "Ever been to Africa?"
Harry didn't notice the shiver of utter terror making its way down his own back. He was still too interested in getting the hell out of Dodge. "Err, no. I've never been anywhere."
"Fine, fine. How much do you have to spend? On your house, that is."
Harry opened a worn money pouch. "Err, forty two galleons?"
"I see." The woman began flipping pages in a massive book on her desk. "Well, that really limits our choices. I could see if the Weasleys would want to sell, but you want to get out of the country. Oh…oh, here it is. The old Kurtz estate…in the Congo. I had completely forgotten about that place. It's been on the books at this agency for quite some time. Between me and you, kid, it's been in the book since old Kurtz died. Got a bit of a reputation as a 'hard-to-sell' place. I can give it to you for a song…and those galleons, of course."
"Do you have a picture?"
"No. It's a decent amount of land, but the house is a little rustic. Kurtz was a squib, you see, so that's how we have the listing. But you're a wizard, so I'll give you the Realtor's Guide to Household Charms and you can fix it right up."
"What does rustic mean?" Harry asked.
"Well…it's a bit run down. Tin roof might still be in one piece, but it's possible the mudbricks need some, er, maintenance. It's also sort of small…and there is no bathroom."
"Hmm. Is it bigger than a broom cupboard?"
"Oh yes. The compound's big enough to store a few tons of ivory. Old Kurtz used to work for one of these Belgian firms, I think, buying ivory from the locals. Of course, there's not as many elephants now nor as much demand. But you could do very well gathering materials from magical creatures, you know…for potions, rituals, wand making, and such."
"Really. I'd always wondered who gathered up the ingredients. Plants can be grown, but who is foolish enough to try to capture nundu's breathe for a potion?"
"Well, sir, to be blunt. You. That will probably be one of your bigger sellers. Not too many people want to risk their own skins just to make a beauty potion…but they'd buy nundu's breath if someone were selling it."
"Guess I'll have to see if there's a guide to potions ingredients at the book store."
"Well, I know that there's no realtor guide to potion ingredients." The woman laughed at her own lame joke. "Here's the book on household charms."
"How do I get to Africa?"
"Portkey, of course. The place is pretty remote."
"I see. How would I get back if I needed to?"
"Learn to make a portkey."
"I can do that?"
Harry pushed his money bag across the table. "Sounds good enough for me. And thanks for the book. Can I come back and pick up my portkey at five? I think I'll have a lot to take care of before I leave for my new home."
"Excellent. I will be here."
The realtor watched the foolish boy walk away. Vengeance would be hers. The brat had been involved in getting one of Nick's Philosopher's Stones destroyed…so both she and her husband had had to fake their deaths…again…and start over. She'd loved being Perenelle, the wife of a famous, well respected wizard.
Now she was Hetty Bogrash, the crazy old biddy who sold real estate. It was embarrassing.
And poor Nick. He worked at Gringotts training and feeding their dragons. He had to shovel tons and tons of manure every day as the lowest guy on the totem pole. He was quite old – well over two thousand years old – and couldn't move as fast as he used to. Hell, no one would have made Nicholas Flamel, at a reputed six hundred seventy one years old, shovel manure. Little did anyone know how old 'Nicholas' really was…what a series of indignities. And the goblins. They'd given her husband the most horrible of goblin nicknames, the only names the goblins ever revealed to humans.
His goblin nickname was Cockrot.
Every goblin referred to Trellis Bogrash, her husband's proper name, as Cockrot.
Unfair. It wasn't his fault that they couldn't have children together. When he had the 'problem' centuries ago, no one knew about communicable diseases. It was a perfectly honest mistake. Nick swore the prostitutes in Pompeii were the cleanest he'd ever known. Who knew?
And the goblins had to mock him for it.
But she would have her vengeance on the Potter boy. He was a lazy little cretin…completely incurious…far too trusting…and he'd be dead within hours of arriving in Africa.
Why, if the spiders, the snakes, the nundu, or the disease carrying mosquitos didn't do him in, then the wizarding clans who still practiced cannibalism would. Africa was an unforgiving place. That would teach Harry not to poke his nose into other people's affairs.
She began to cackle in glee as her fingers whipped through the rest of the black crepe sweater she was knitting. She was still cackling, but a bit more quietly, when Harry returned with a white owl, a three compartment trunk, and a new set of clothes. It looked good enough to bury him in.
"Here you go, sir. I hope you have a profitable time in Africa."
"I hope so, too."
Dear Sirius, the shaky handwriting began.
I hope you are well. I decided it was time for me to leave Britain. This nice lady sold me a house in…well, I won't say for now. It's a fixer upper, but it has potential.
The death grove out the back with a dozen old men who've been worked nearly to their graves is quite a nice touch. (I took them some water this morning and they were grateful.)
I especially like the hundreds of fence posts topped with what looks like well-aged human skulls. Gives the place some character.
I have been learning some cleaning charms to get my new home in shape. It's been abandoned for quite some time, aside from a few colonies of venomous spiders. The first colony bit me quite a few times, but it didn't really hurt. (I was bitten worse as a child at the Dursleys. We had quite a collection of nasty spiders under the stairs where I lived.)
I threw up a quick building for the spiders to live in as their venom sells for a pretty knut. I've decided to collect and sell rare potions ingredients. That nice real estate lady said it was a good plan and, so far, I agree.
I made my first sale of spider venom yesterday. I sold one little vial for a whole, live goat. Not sure what I can do with a goat – other than have it clear out some Devil's Snare growing in the jungle to the north, goats eat everything – but maybe I can resell it later.
I have finally mastered the Scourgify charm and have been experimenting with paint application charms. I have also been trying to make large area cooling charms work, but I haven't succeeded yet. Do you know anything about the space expansion charm? It's in the book I have, but it doesn't give instructions on how to perform it. All it says, actually, is "Use of this charm by a non-professional warder can result in dire, life-ending consequences."
Maybe I'll figure it out tomorrow.
Oh, apparently there are mosquitos here. I've just been bitten by a few dozen, as you can see from the blood smears on this letter. I should go now as my hand and face are swelling up. Send a letter with Hedwig if you care to write.
Hope you are well and safe,
P.S. Given your animagus form, do you know anything about the grim? I thought they were Irish, but I seem to have a pack living just at the edge of my property. The little puppy living with the older ones is very cute, but his fur is about as sharp as razor blades. Any help? What do you think they might like to eat?
Alastor Moody – the real Alastor Moody, not some poly-juiced fake; really! – stomped up to Number 4 Privet Drive under an Invisibility Cloak. He thought the whole exercise rather pointless, but he'd done worse as an Auror. For one whole month, he'd been responsible for staking out one of Millicent Bagnold's political opponents. The man had been a saint, a boring saint. He brought home groceries; he didn't bring home whores. He treated his wife well; he walked his crup in the morning and the evening. The Death Eaters got the man a few days after the illegal stakeout ended; a pity, the man would have been better than Fudge by far.
The Potter assignment was done in rotation, thankfully. After living in his own trunk in a drugged out stupor for most of a year, Alastor wasn't sure if he could manage another month long insertion as a spy. But a few hours here, a few hours there: no problem.
He scanned the backyard of the house first. No Potter. He'd been led to believe the Potter boy enjoyed gardening. Apparently not today.
Alastor began scanning the rest of the house. There was a horrifyingly ugly woman in the shower rubbing herself down with a cloth. There was a tubby boy with tits larger than overripe mangos doing…something…revolting with a dirty sock. And then there was a whale of a man doing…something…even more revolting with a piece of woman's lingerie.
Alastor had a strong stomach but he had reached nearly his limit. Sometimes his magical eye was more of a curse than a blessing.
Where the hell was Potter? Alastor wanted something less horrifying to focus on. He knew he was an ugly man – what with a missing eye, half a nose exploded off in a battle, and a leg that had been pulverized by Voldemort himself nearly fifteen years earlier – but he had nothing on these creatures living in this house.
Alastor waited until the beasties got some clothes on before he stomped up to the door and walked right in.
"Alright, where's Potter?"
"That sniveling, useless…." The man's mouth kept moving, but he found his tongue was quite missing.
"You, missy, tell me now."
"Maybe an hour or two after we brought him back from the train station…."
"You mean he's been gone a full week and no one knew?"
"None of your kind ever checks up on him. Why would they? They dumped him here with us. No one cares about the little…boy."
Alastor slung out two more spells to calm his anger. The vile woman had massive purple spots erupt on the surface of her skin. The slightly less massive whale of a man had his hands fashion themselves into hooves. He began shrieking until Alastor removed the kid's tongue, too.
"Those spells should end in a day or three. You've been a lot of help, lady. By the way, your husband has an unhealthy interest in your lingerie. Have a good day."
Alastor smiled as he stomped out of Number 4, just as the purple-spotted lady began shrieking at her 'degenerate husband.' Moody had caused every kind of hell…but he still had to track down Potter.
Where the hell could a fourteen year old get off to?
I hope you are well. You were my favorite teacher at Hogwarts even before I found out you knew my parents. I'm sorry I haven't written since you left Hogwarts, but now I have a lot of time on my hands.
I have been writing to Padfoot as well. Hopefully you can help the old dog to get a better diet. If I decipher correctly what he's been writing back, he's become a connoisseur of fine rodents.
I have had a chance to see more of the world. For example, I got a chance to see my first lethifold. Thankfully the Patronus Charm you taught me is useful in driving them back. Did you know that lethifold skin can be used in several expensive potions? It's a good thing I had a big, strong box with me when I discovered an entire cave full of the creatures.
I discovered something rather fascinating in Central Africa. They have every sort of magical creature there, but they have no werewolves. None at all. Never have. I asked around about it to a few people I met. One of them showed me this rather odd seed pod (see enclosed) which, in Swahili, is known as Wolf's Release.
Perhaps it has some properties that might be useful to you. See if you can find a non-greasy-haired Potions Master to examine it for you. I hope it might be helpful. I cooked one up in a lethifold and batwing stew and it was quite tasty. I don't think you have to worry about it poisoning you, but it does have a pungent, pepper-like flavor.
On another note, I finally saw a waterfall. I don't know the name of the place, but it was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. The water had to fall at least fifty meters. There were no tourists nearby, as it is quite remote, but I stumbled across it on one of my hikes looking for potions ingredients.
I have already become very successful as a potions ingredient supplier. I have a flock of twenty-two goats (which, thankfully, seem to enjoy Devil's Snare over any other food source), three bridal contracts, and a heap of useless ingots of gold, silver, and a box and a half of uncut diamonds. You can have all the gold in the world, but there's nothing to spend it on in the jungle. Perhaps the Gringotts goblins would find this stuff interesting.
Do you think I should start marketing my wares outside of the place where I currently am collecting? I know Fred and George Weasley were talking about setting up a mail order catalog to sell their pranks. It could work.
One more thing…oh no, I have to end the letter. That blasted nundu is back.
Hope you are well,
P.S. I read in one of my books that it takes a hundred wizards to subdue a nundu. Any idea how they do that? It's the fourth time this week the nundu has tried to get into the spider house I set up. Any ideas would be appreciated. Nundu breath and dung would sell quite well if I could get a steady supply.
P.P.S. Let me know if you find out anything about Wolf's Release…or if you need any lethifold skin. I think I'll sell it for a galleon an ounce. Bye!
Wormtail stumbled into the Dark Lord's Lair (DLL in official correspondence). "Master. Master!"
Wormtail began to walk through the crowd of mingling Death Eaters.
"On your knees."
'Damn,' Wormtail thought before dropping to his knees.
He got kicked more than a few times. Bella, she of the vicious smirk, attempted to lance through his thigh with the seven inch sharpened heel of her thigh-high, black leather boots.
He got it one good punch at Bella with his silver hand. The bitch would be lucky to be able to walk tomorrow.
"Wormtail, crab walk. Now!"
He flopped onto his back and began 'walking' toward his master. Now he could see everyone else snickering at him. It was not the way to treat a valued colleague.
"Rise, Wormtail. Report!"
"Master, I staked out Dumbledore's favorite shop in Hogsmeade in an effort to snag a ride back to the castle with him. As you ordered, I wanted to position myself in his office to review his personal files…."
"I know all this. What did you learn?"
"He bought two kinds of pornography in plain brown paper, his robe pocket smells of cheese…"
"Of porn. Yes."
"Yes, Master. One magazine featured old ladies wearing cat costumes and three magazines showed young men wearing rather transparent robes…"
Voldemort snorted. "Oh yes. Dumbledore out buying for himself and his master, the crafty old McGonagall. We all know where the real power is at Hogwarts, don't we?"
Wormtail had never had an idea about McGonagall. "He also grumbled that Harry Potter had slipped out of his safe house and he had all his people attempting to track him down..."
"Yes, Master. Harry Potter."
"Potter. Potter. Potter." Voldemort pointed to the blond witch that Bellatrix was choking into unconsciousness. "You, bring me the newest Witch Weekly magazine. It had quite a profile on Potter. We need to know more about him. Where would he go? How? Who are his friends? What type of shampoo does he use? How large are his…bludgers…err, snitches…you know, for Quidditch…"
Wormtail was glad the spotlight was off him, but he refused to go out shopping for magazines about Potter, or pornography with Potter look-alikes, or Potter voodoo dolls from Knockturn Alley, or any of the kinky Potter-related items sold by the hags in the Hog's Head (e.g., the Potter Popper).
He slunk out of the room and decided he might just have to find a new family to live with. That crazy Weasley girl had been obsessed with Potter for a decade; now he was in another 'family' equally obsessed with Potter. He was tired of the boy who just reminded him of his betrayed, murdered former friend.
Then again, Peter Pettigrew was a coward. So he'd probably just stick around and crab walk on demand. Or dance the limbo. Or the Macarena.
"Wormtail, get me a Lifesize Harry Potter Anatomically Proportional Dueling Doll…and a Quidditch Masters' Series Harry Potter Flier…and –"
Peter stopped listening. He needed to find a new place to hang out.
The Dark Lord was a Potter fangirl…with a penchant for torture curses.
I hope you are well. I wanted to thank you for your lessons about magical creatures. They have been very handy in the last few weeks since I've been out in the world.
I wonder if you could identify the type of bird I've sent your letter with. Hedwig complained bitterly about the long trips between Britain and where we're staying. So I caught this bird. It seems eager enough to fly off with this letter, so I hope you'll receive it.
He is the largest bird I have ever come across, seven meters from wing tip to wing tip…so it was very lucky that it enjoyed swooping down to steal my goats. I was able to trap it after that – and then discovered it much preferred nundu regurgitation piles to live goats. He was glad to hang around after discovering an abundant source of food here.
Could you try feeding it? Let me know if there is anything in particular it likes. Try not to anger it. Lightning seems to strike if it gets grumpy.
I have sent along a gift of sorts. In my spare time (in between feeding all my new pets and harvesting potions ingredients to sell), I am starting to craft wands. The one I've sent you is 16 inches made from umbrella tree wood and a pinfeather from this bird. I thought about using a tail feather, but I don't think a thirty-seven inch wand is very practical, is it?
Tell me how it works for you. I gave it a wave once I completed it and the sparks knocked a tree over. Should be more generally useful than your crossbow.
Oh, no… Damn, the nundu got out of its enclosure to attack the dragons…again
Hope you are well,
P.S. I remember how much you liked Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback. I wonder if you were familiar with any African species of dragons. The book I have didn't mention any. When I was out searching for potions ingredients I came across five massive dragons that don't match anything I've ever seen before. The biggest one is thirty meters long. It is completely black except for the teeth and nails, which are all metallic silver. Any ideas?
Tonks tripped again over her own feet. Moody grunted at her in disgust. Shacklebolt sighed in annoyance.
They'd searched nearly every part of London in the last few days. The grocery stores and bars (especially when Tonks complained she was hungry or thirsty), the movie theatres and gay dance clubs (as Shacklebolt liked movies with Tom Cruise or young men who looked like the young Tom Cruise), the back alleys (as that would be where Moody would hide, if he ever needed to)…
Harry Potter wasn't here. He wasn't in the Tube (Tonks had insisted on checking every station as she liked to ride the train); he wasn't inside Westminster Abbey (Shacklebolt was a closet Anglican); he wasn't dead in the Thames (Alastor had transfigured a glass bottomed boat to check, as Tonks and Shacklebolt were forced to row).
"What are we going to tell Albus," Shacklebolt asked.
"Well, let's think for a moment. We've been looking for how long?" Moody asked.
"A week, off and on."
"And if we can't find him then the Death Eaters can't either, right," Moody said.
"So what do we do?" Tonks said.
"We get Albus to call this all off. We'd be better off staking out Lucius Malfoy, right," Moody said.
"I agree," Shacklebolt said. "But Albus is a might…preoccupied with the Potter boy."
"Then we take it to the boss," Tonks chipped in. "McGonagall will scold him into compliance."
Moody grumbled a bit…and then Shacklebolt and Tonks realized it was laughter of a sort.
"She rules poor Albus with an iron…paw. But she has a better head on her shoulders than Albus does. Tonks, you volunteering?"
The metamorphmagus shook her head. "Nope, last time I visited her she asked me to turn into an old woman…and then she handed me a cat costume. Rather disturbing."
Moody nodded. "I'm about as ugly as they come and she's tried to get me into a cat costume. Shacklebolt, you're not old enough and you're not a metamorphmagus. Go to Hogwarts with the message…and take a Lifesize Potter Doll along as a peace offering to Albus, right?"
The black Auror frowned but eventually nodded his head.
"How did Albus talk me into joining this bloody Order? Tracking down school boys, buying him his porn or life-sized boy dolls, sitting down in the Department of Mysteries protecting some retarded prophecy. Oh boy…."
I finally arrived. It took me a while, via letter, to convince Harry to tell me where he was. Africa…of all the places in the world, Africa.
The location is just as he described it, but more terrifying. The fence is really made up of posts with old human skulls on them. The shack looks worse than the Shrieking Shack from the outside, but it's quite comfortable inside. Harry has become quite skilled with cooling charms.
He really does have a nundu, a shack filled with deadly spiders, about forty different snakes slithering freely around the grounds, a massive bird that could eat me in one bite, a pack of grims, a nest of dragons, and I don't know what else. There's a whole patch of overgrown Devil's Snare…and then there's all sorts of creatures that hang around in the river once they figured out that Harry would feed them.
He has become, surprisingly, quite a successful businessman. Do you know how much a milliliter of spider venom sells for? Forty galleons. It's a critical ingredient in the, ahem, male stamina potion. Harry dug a basement under his house and put in a vault. It's pretty full already.
He's forcing me to head up the owl order portion of the business. I have to write a catalog and then send it out. Any ideas how to do such a thing?
Anyway, this part of Africa is truly beautiful. Harry took me over to his favorite waterfall the other day. Just his luck, he discovered an abandoned augurey chick (who knew they were in Africa, too). It feels like a profitable animal rescue center. Thank Merlin Harry already has some real grim, otherwise he might put poor Padfoot in a cage as well.
Kid's become pretty good with magic. I guess you'd have to in such a remote place. Nearest village is about a two hour walk. Kid's also quite good in the kitchen. I never would have imagined that goat, sweet potatoes, and peanuts would be as good as it was.
Perhaps Harry will invite you to visit. Would you come? Dumbledore was trying to get me to open up 12 Grimmauld…but I don't see why I should bother. The place is a nightmare.
If you do come, bring some chocolate. Can't seem to find any out here. Oh, and it would be plenty safe for Buckbeak here, too. Just as long as he stays away from the nundu and the dragons.
Come on, it'll be fun.
Severus Snape was having a good day. He hadn't been called to Voldemort or Dumbledore, his pair of deluded masters. He had finished a new batch of hair preservative which had the possibility of ensuring he didn't look so greasy all the time. (It had a tendency to drip into potions. The last blood replenisher he'd brewed had been ruined five minutes before it was finished.)
He also had an appointment in Petticoat Alley later tonight with one of the Polyjuiced numbers on offer at one of the better brothels.
Polyjuice before for both client and 'service provider'; a Memory Charm after for the whore: all part of the price. It didn't matter who saw his Dark Mark under those circumstances.
Then an owl flew into the room and Severus felt his day had gotten even better.
The new potions supply house he'd heard about finally put out a catalog. Severus ripped the sheets of paper from the owl and began to read and drool.
"How do they have nundu breath? And for that price? Finally, all the previously unavailable potions I can make. And grim hair? There's an Invisibility Potion that not even Moody can see through. And lethifold parts, skin, and blood. There's a dozen things I can make from that…."
Severus began to create elaborate plans in his mind. Potions to make. Potions worth enough that he could leave both Hogwarts and the Death Eaters behind. Severus could enjoy life in South America, like all those escaped muggle Nazis from years before.
He'd set up a bed and breakfast. And poison all the rich widows who came…after he made them fall in love with him…and rewrite their wills in Severus' favor. Oh, yes. A life of wealth and passion…and no more Merlin forsaken Cruciatus Curses.
He found the order form and began filling it out. Severus had about a thousand galleons in his Gringotts vault that he could pour into a business venture.
So…how best to spend a thousand galleons?
Ten quart bottles of nundu breath: 85 galleons
Forty kilograms of nundu manure: 120 galleons
Four milliliters of African scorpion spider venom: 160 galleons
One kilogram of grim hair: 100 galleons
Fifty grams of lethifold skin: 80 galleons
Sixty milliliters of lethifold blood: 180 galleons
Eight thunderbird pin feathers: 240 galleons
All the things he could do. And it was just under 1000 galleons…until Severus saw the next few lines on the order form fill themselves in.
Death Eater Surcharge: 1000 galleons
Greasy Git Tax: 6000 galleons
Delivery Fee (via Blind Bat): 12000 galleons
Decontamination Fee / Order Processing Fee: 1000 galleons
Severus ripped up the paper and began to scream. All his plans went up in flames. No South American refuge. No killing rich widows. No inheriting estate after estate. No freedom from the Cruciatus…or dunderheaded students…or crazy loons offering him lemon drops.
He began to rock in his chair…and a bit of drool escaped from his mouth.
He would get even. If it was the last thing he ever did, Severus Snape would get even…with these monsters who destroyed his dreams.
Dear Gred and Forge,
I hope you are well – or at least you are only wounded in the pursuit of developing a new prank. I've enclosed shrunken and lightened packages of nundu and dragon dung. Perhaps you could use these raw materials to improve the standard dungbomb?
If you haven't yet heard, I've gone into business. I now collect and sell potions ingredients. Perhaps I might be able to help you out with some of the more rare things you might need.
I've got a nice house now…and quite a collection of 'pets,' more than enough to make Hagrid envious. I'll be writing to Ron and everyone else soon, but I don't expect to return to Hogwarts in the fall.
It's far more fun in the jungle.
I've just started up a bit of a village near to my house. Remus Lupin showed up unexpectedly and I wanted to make sure he had something to do. So we have a combination public library and pub…our first building. Whoever shows up next is going to have to open and run a church of some denomination. Then we'll need an inn or something. I guess I'd eventually have to name the place, as well.
Have fun and prank mercilessly,
P.S. Could you forward a catalog from Flourish and Blott's with the thunderbird that delivered this letter? Remus demands more books for his library, especially after the nundu escaped its enclosure again, ate three goats, and then used the library's divination texts as a pulpy dessert.
P.P.S. Do you have owl addresses for Bill and Charlie? Remus is looking into how to ward our little slice of the jungle. I need to ask some dragon questions to someone knowledgeable, like Charlie.
P.P.P.S. Say hi to Ron for me.
"Wormtail, perhaps you might enlighten me about your recent…activities," Voldemort hissed before a full gathering of his Death Eaters.
"Master, I was carrying out your instructions…."
"Then why were you cowering in your rat form underneath the home of Amelia Bones. It appears that you had abandoned me again."
"No, Master, I was attempting to get into Susan Bones' room. She has the various lifesize Harry Potter dolls you required…."
"Interesting. But I think you lie. Crucio! Malfoy, you will lead a raid on the Bones residence to recover the necessary…er, research materials. Be low key as we are still trying to keep to the shadows…."
Voldemort was getting into the sound of his own lecture when the doors slammed open and Severus Snape stalked inside.
Voldemort frowned at the interruption. "Severus, why do you storm in here?"
"Master, I have found a new enemy of your great regime. This blasphemous potion ingredient house dares levy a tax against your Death Eaters."
Voldemort frowned in confusion.
"They sent me this delightful catalog with the rarest ingredients I've ever seen. Nundu's breath; lethifold blood; thunderbird feathers. The potions I could make for the cause would be extraordinary."
"Yes, I see, Severus. I see. What do you propose?"
"We attack, my Lord."
"Do you know where they are located?"
"No, my Lord. We attack through the owl post…."
"So you're volunteering to be shrunk and sent off by owl?"
Severus grinned a horrible smile. "I think, my Lord, the better attackers would be that five foot basilisk you hatched…and that young cockatrice that killed Avery…and the manticore and the chimera that those people you tried to recruit in Sussex were attempting to crossbreed. No one could withstand the unexpected attack of four killers like those…and then my Lord would no longer have the dangerous task of caring for them."
Voldemort seemed interested. He had lost three of his faithful followers to those beasts currently kept in the sub-sub-basements.
"Excellent, Severus. Laugh with me as we work out the details of our elaborate plot."
"Yes, my Lord. But what's a laugh?"