Helga Hufflepuff's Golden Chalice/cup
Sirius made his way into Gringotts, not taking the beauty of the building in, having seen it a million times in the past - it had lost its appeal. Right now he was less observant of his surroundings; he was on a mission to find something important, so to end the war before it began again. So many had lost their lives during the last one, including his two best friends in the world. No, he had to do everything he could to ensure Voldemort's true demise. For without it, his godson may end up having to fight him again, he knew the prophecy and he had shared it with him. No with a bit of luck they could find everything and have him destroyed for good.
"I'd like a full inventory of the Black vaults, right now." said Sirius, staring at the goblin impassively, almost as if he'd been taking lessons from Lucius on how to best intimidate people.
"Follow me, sir." said Griphook disappearing from the stand and down to the entrance, Sirius had indeed followed him, and continued to do so as they walked towards a room in which he would be dealing with his transactions.
"Sit down," said Griphook sitting himself down and began rummaging through drawers until he got to a certain estate. Pulling it out, he placed it in front of the Black heir, nothing ever got destroyed, and all transactions were saved. Right from the day the vault was opened by the first Black who knows how many generations back. The Black estate never really left the Black family, since they usually married their own cousins or someone very closely related to the Black's.
Sirius began flipping through the vaults, and the names on them, he noticed Narcissa's vault hadn't been touched since she married Lucius. Not that she had a need to, Lucius had more money than sense sometimes, and the things he bought he was surprised they were still well off. He finally got to the Bellatrix's listings; unfortunately the vault was under Lestrange, which meant he may not be able to access it.
"I want to access the Lestrange family vault please," said Black daring the Goblin to refuse him.
"I am afraid it's been frozen along with all other vaults in the Lestrange name." said Griphook, he had a feeling he knew what the wizard was after. Nothing entered their vaults without them knowing what was what. They knew the Lestrange had placed a dark artefact within it. So did hundreds of other wizards and witches, they stayed out of it as long as they got their percentage of intake.
"Look there's something I need in there, as the heir of the Black estate, I control all finances belonging to any Black, this is Bellatrix's vault, she is under my care and I demand entrance to it." said Sirius, he knew the law better than anyone would assume. He also knew how to get them to let him see the vault without too much fuss. Under his care his backside, but as the Heir he controlled them all if he wanted to. He could annual their marriages, stop any money, their lives were in his hands.
"Of course," said Griphook, slightly impressed with Black, he'd gotten around theirs and Ministry laws. There was no way they could stop him, as he had said, Bellatrix Lestrange was under his care so to speak since he was their last male heir of the Black estate. "Follow me." he added removing himself from his seat, and out into the vaults, as always using the carts for quite a while, since the Lestrange Vault had the most security protections added to it. Most probably why the Dark Lord Voldemort felt safe to give Lestrange the cup.
The goblin got out the cart, and walked over to the vault, his finger trailed a long lined down the middle of the door. Without a goblin here, you would end up stuck below the vaults and die a horrible excruciatingly and hungry death. The door opened allowing them entrance. Sirius looked at the file still in his hand, he began to read it more thoroughly, looking for items Bellatrix had put into the vault. Shuddering slightly, knowing that the Dragon was not far from them, although it looked in seriously bad shape.
Looking up he observed the vault looking dazed, they didn't half have a lot of stuff in this vault. Crammed from floor to ceiling with golden coins and goblets, silver armour, the skins of strange creatures - some with long spines, others with drooping wings - potions in jewelled flasks, and a skull still wearing a crown. According to the records, the last item placed in the vault was a cup. Looking straight ahead, he realized that it was most likely that piece. It was in the centre, nothing else near it, held in a place of reverence. It's something he imagined he would do if he got it from someone he adored, which was true. Bellatrix loved Voldemort, even if it sickened him to the core. Flicking his wand, he used a spell on it to detect anything that would be harmful to him if he touched it. The closer he got, the more he could feel it, there was definitely something ominously dark about the Huffelpuff cup. Just touching it made him feel slimy and disgusting; his emotions took a nose dive. "I am done." He had to get out of here FAST.
Jumping into the cart, he tapped his foot impatiently waiting for the goblin to get in. Probably for the first time in his life, wishing for the cart to go faster. He'd loved speed yes, but there was just something disconcerting going through dimly lit caves barely able to see. Finally daylight streamed into view, and made Sirius realise he was nearly finished with his quest. He wanted to get that thing as far away from him as humanly possible.
"Thanks," said Sirius quickly hopping out the cart, not waiting on the goblin as he sped out of Gringotts as fast as he could. As soon as he was free and clear, he Apparated to Malfoy Manor.
"I don't believe it," said Severus seeing Black coming back, he hadn't believed Black could get it; he'd assumed he would come back empty handed. It wasn't often he was wrong, but for once he didn't mind so much. The real question though, was it a Horcrux? Were they getting there?
"Here," said Sirius practically flinging it at Severus out of sheer desperation to get the Horcrux away from him.
Severus glared at him.
"Can't you feel that?" asked Sirius a shudder wracking his frame.
Severus blinked confused, what on earth did Black feel? Just then he began to feel its affects too. It was nothing big; it just sort of crawled on you. Made you feel darker, more prone to anger, it truly had an evil affect to it. The book hadn't had such a feel to it, so why did this one? Curious, then Severus felt a sense of Déjà vu, why did he feel that way? Stalking towards Lucius' office, realizing they would have to put this someone safe, where nobody was touching it or influenced by it.
"He succeeded then?" enquired Lucius still in his office.
"He did, we need to put it somewhere safe, here feel it." said Severus passing it over, watching Lucius pale evidently feeling what Sirius and himself had felt previously.
Lucius jumped up, and removed a portrait and put the cup behind it, casting all the spells he could before replacing the frame. Shuddering slightly, they would need to figure this out sooner rather than later; they had an idea where they could find a lot of them thankfully. Now they were basically just waiting on the Basilisk venom and fangs to see if it would succeed where they had failed.
"Severus?" enquired Lucius cautiously; Severus was just standing there a look of contemplation on his face.
"I think…we overlooked one at the Gaunt property," said Severus thoughtfully.
"Really? How do you know?" asked Sirius.
"When you handed me the cup I felt something familiar, a sense of déjà vu, there's only one place that could have caused it." said Severus, as always thinking things logically and coming up with a smart conclusion.
"Then perhaps we should go and see if you are correct," said Lucius. A cup, a locket, a diary now this, he wondered just what this new Horcrux container would be. "Have you noticed he likes things belonging to the founders?" the Huffelpuff cup and of course the Slytherin locket.
"Indeed," said Severus, "Let us depart."
"I'm coming," said Sirius, following both men out of the manor, and side-along Apparating with Lucius.
"Who'd keep anything like that here?" asked Sirius looking around the building ruins in apparent disgust.
"That's exactly why he did it," said Severus wryly. "Because of responses like that."
"Good point," said Sirius sighing in exasperation, sometimes around those two he felt like a complete idiot.
"I wouldn't touch anything you suspect being a Horcrux," said Lucius in warning as they entered the hole where the door should have been.
"Where did you feel it?" asked Sirius curiously walking around inspecting anything he could, without touching them of course taking Lucius' warning to heart. He wanted the Horcruxes gone, but not at the expense of his life, he had something to live for after all. Harry meant the world to him, even if he didn't get to spend as much time as he would like with him.
"I am not exactly sure," admitted Severus his black eyes regarding everything shrewdly. Him being more powerful than both men, he could sense the darkness; it was like his magic warning him against it. The three men inspected all the rooms, using the spell on anything they suspected but no such luck.
Just then Severus felt it, the darkness emanating from the corner of the room; cautiously he made his way over, only to find nothing. Stepping closer, the other wizards not far behind him, when the floorboard creaked nosily, one end coming up from its joist. Really? Underneath the floorboard? Then he realized it was actually rather crafty, since he knew himself how often he'd put things under his own floorboards at home. Things he didn't want his father getting his hands on and burning when he was a young boy not yet able to do magic.
"Accio floorboard!" said Severus watching it fly off its joist completely, letting it fall to a thud on the floor. Under it was a box, quite possibly the most expensive item within the shack. If only Salazar Slytherin could see this, what kind of poverty his descendants had been forced to endure. Now there was only one left, the Dark Lord Voldemort, hopefully he wouldn't be alive for much longer. It saddened him to see such a powerful line reduced to this…parseltongue would be forgotten…but it had to happen. It was the same for the other direct lines of Huffelpuff, Ravenclaw and of course Gryffindor as far as the world was concerned but Severus didn't take much stock in rumours.
"Careful," cautioned Lucius, levitating the box from underneath the floor.
Severus swiftly cast spells on it, but found nothing on the box in aid of tampering.
"Alohomora!" said Sirius, and the golden box opened with a click, the lid flicking back, and inside was nestled a ring.
Sirius stared at it, the design on the front nagging at him, he didn't know where or why but it was familiar to him.
"The Gaunt ring, you don't think this is the resurrection stone do you?" said Lucius, remembering his words of scorn from before reading the journals belonging to a Gaunt descendant.
"That's what it is!" cried Sirius happily; it would have bothered him for weeks. "Look at the design, it's on a copy I have of the tale of the three brothers. The triangle represents the cloak, the line is the wand and the circle…must mean the stone!"
"That's just a child's tale." said Severus, "It doesn't mean it's real."
"I know, but it was annoying me, I mean the pattern." said Sirius sheepishly.
Severus cast every detection spell on it, and once the results were read out he paled more than normal.
"Severus?" asked Lucius cautiously, wondering if he was actually already cursed.
"If we had touched this…it would have killed us. There is a very powerful curse on this ring." replied Severus, Merlin even with the counter curse…they would have only had what one year to live at the most.
"Can you remove it?" asked Sirius warily.
"Of course I can," said Severus offended, "But it's only for someone who dares to place it on their finger, otherwise it will not affect them. I wouldn't take my word on it, and suggest we get it destroyed as soon as possible."
"Just take it in the box," then suggested Sirius.
"We are not having this go back into my home with such a spell on it, not with four teenagers in my manor." said Lucius; if anything happened to them he'd never be able to forgive himself. He knew the Dark Lord, whatever it was, would be extremely nasty, a vicious way to die.
"I agree we must remove it here, stand back." said Severus taking a deep breath. Sirius and Lucius stepped back, but close enough to catch Severus if anything went wrong. The dark haired wizard pushing his magic into his wand before he begun to chant in Latin, magic glowed out of Snape's wand and into the ring. Each word caused the ring to glow further and further until the ring couldn't be seen within the confines of the golden box. Then like a twinkling light, it lit for a few seconds then faded completely as if it had never been shining.
"I'll do it, conserve your magic," said Lucius using the same spell as Severus had just a few moments ago to check it. "It is done." he added once the spell came back negative.
Sirius flipped it shut; not wanting to pick it up, one effect had been enough for him today. "That's four, just how many others does he have? And how is it best to find out that information? A defence teacher back in Riddle's day?" the Auror in him coming out with the gravity of the situation.
"Slughorn!" said Lucius and Severus exasperated, they couldn't believe they hadn't thought of that one.
"He was defence teacher back then?" asked Sirius confused. Slughorn had been their Potions teacher during his years at Hogwarts, well all their Hogwarts actually…even if Lucius had left during their first year.
"No potions teacher, but if there was anyone he'd have gone to - it would be him." said Severus, Slughorn knew a lot even if it turned his stomach to admit it.
"Oh," said Sirius thoughtfully, "Let's get out of here, its freezing."
"Indeed," said Lucius, levitating the floorboard back as Severus created a fake box with a fake ring inside it sliding it under the floor before allow Lucius to continue. For a cursory glance it would look genuine, but if someone inspected it they'd see it wasn't what they thought it was.
"Do you think Dumbledore knows? I mean he was so adamant that he knew Voldemort would be back," said Sirius as they made their way out of the derelict building.
"Why do you think he still has me as Potions teacher?" sneered Severus, "Oh he knows, it's why he likes to keep a close eye on me."
"About the Horcruxes?" asked Lucius indignantly.
"I was referring to knowing the Dark Lord wasn't dead; he knew my mark hadn't faded completely. He also said to me and I quote he isn't dead, he will find a way to come back somehow, someday." replied Severus as they reached the end of the wards and Apparated into Malfoy Manor.
"I do not like the thought of the old fool knowing and doing nothing." said Sirius in disgust.
"Wouldn't put it past him," sneered Lucius, locking up the next Horcrux they'd found. "I hope the venom works." they had all these artefacts they didn't know how to destroy.
"All this is for nothing unless we find out how many he has," Severus pointed out as he sat down.
"I know," said Lucius nodding his head curtly in agreement.
"Perhaps its time I got in touch with Horace Slughorn," said Severus sitting down on one of the seats.
"Will he talk to you?" asked Sirius doubtfully.
"You forget I was favoured by him, unlike you. I was the best Potions student in our class." said Severus, without even a hint of boasting in his voice. "And of course Lily."
Sirius grinned in amusement, "He did like her didn't he? I think he was impressed with her constant cheek."
Severus nodded curtly, Merlin even after all these years he still felt so hurt and pained talking about his best friend. Severus hadn't loved many people in his life, just his mother, Lily and his godson Draco, now of course Harry. That's not to say he wasn't fond of Lucius and Narcissa, it just wasn't the same kind of love he'd felt for his mum and Lily. They'd been the only ones he'd cared about, he'd gone and destroyed it all.
"You are forgetting one thing, if he did say anything…he's not told anyone which means he may not be willing to speak to us." said Lucius.
"True," said Severus cautiously.
"Money is a good motivator but the wrong thing for Slughorn…as far as I'm aware he is well off," said Lucius.
"He went into hiding during the first war…terrified of being recruited I think. Going from place to place, it was bound to have been expensive…he may not have much left." said Sirius.
"Did he?" asked Severus arching an eyebrow impressed with that knowledge.
Sirius simply nodded.
"Well money we can offer, perhaps we should have a back up in case that fails." said Lucius.
"He likes his luxuries, I do not think he would say no." said Sirius remembering his old teacher vividly.
"If it comes to it, we may have to give him Veritaserum," said Severus cautiously.
"Tricky, especially with the connections he has Severus, he could make life uncomfortable." said Lucius in warning.
"He was fond of Lily, maybe bringing Harry along might help…" stopping seeing the look on Snape's face he hastily added "Or just mentioning him."
"We could use his guilt against him," said Severus smirking wryly. There was no way he was going to let a fourteen year old in on the secret of Horcruxes. It had shocked them to the core and they were grown wizards, how the hell would a child be able to handle it? They wouldn't.
"Hogwarts is starting up soon, so you don't have a lot of time." warned Lucius.
"Indeed," said Severus his lip curling he hated teaching snotty nosed brats. Plus the fact it was going to be extremely more busy than usual this year with the tournament being hosted there. He wouldn't be able to sneak out, so Lucius was correct he only had a small window of opportunity.
"Do you even know where Slughorn stays now?" asked Sirius in curiosity.
"No, that's the beauty of owls," said Severus. "You are right though, I will get a letter written tonight."
"I'm going to spend some time with Harry, since there's nothing more to do tonight." said Sirius getting up, as much as he was getting on with them he didn't know what to say when it came to normal conversations. Most of the time it just centred on keeping the world safe, although it was different with Narcissa, she was the one that asked the most questions. Either that or Sirius asked her a lot, after all he'd missed so much being stuck in Azkaban. "I'll see you at dinner."
"Indeed," said Severus.
Yep i know finally got around to updating this! :D and the plot seems to be forming in advance too so yay! will they get the information they need by bribing Slughorn or will it require guilt? maybe a bit of both? to break him down? or will the wizards drowse him with veritaserum to get the answers they so desperately need? will the children ever find out or will they keep it from him? will crouch bring back voldemort on his own? the events of fourth year replaying or will they have the genuine moody and the cup transfigured by crouch after its been placed in the maze? R&R PLEASE GUYS!