The Root of All Evil lay in the hearts of every man. Wealth, beauty, fame - it is all a lesser part of the bigger evil. Man wishes himself to be in the history books as a name never to be forgotten. Man wishes that songs and ballads will be written about him, and his name toasted and his family always respected. Man is afraid of dying. They are afraid of dying without having made a lasting impression on the world. They are afraid of dying without a legacy. Man, wizard, or something else, it is all the same.
Immortality is a pipe dream to most, nothing more than a fanciful idea. But to some, the mere possibility of it is more than enough to entice them. The chance to live forever will make even the strongest willed men do anything for the chance. The most benign of men can turn into the most evil, the holiest of men turn into the most blasphemous, the most loyal of men turn into the most traitorous. All at the chance of being remembered for all of eternity. For being around for eternity.
So what of the man who sacrificed himself to save the world? The one man who was not afraid of dying, and accepted that he was going to die? The one man who was so selfless in his actions, that in return, he became something that everyone else wanted.
We are talking of Harry Potter of course.
He was ready to die. He was looking forward to finally meeting his parents and his godfather once more. But instead, he got something that he never expected. Something that guaranteed that his name will be remembered for eternity, one way or another. A chance to purge the Root of All Evil.
All books have a beginning, but not all books have an end. How are we to tell where to start when the book is infinite? All we can do is take it one chapter at a time.
Harry Potter and the Root of All Evil
What is a name?
Harry could feel his wand against his chest, but he made no attempt to draw it. He knew that the snake was too well protected, knew that if he managed to point the wand at Nagini, fifty curses would hit him first. And still, Voldemort and Harry looked at each other, and now Voldemort tilted his head a little to the side, considering the boy standing before him, and a singularly mirthless smile curled the lipless mouth.
"Harry Potter," he said very softly. His voice might have been part of the spitting fire. "The Boy Who Lived."
None of the Death Eaters moved. They were waiting: Everything was waiting. Hagrid was struggling, and Bellatrix was panting, and -
Voldemort had raised his wand. His head was still tilted to one side, like a curious child, wondering what would happen if he proceeded. Harry looked back into the red eyes, and wanted it to happen now, quickly, while he could still stand, before he lost control, before he betrayed fear -
He saw the mouth move and a flash of green light, and everything was gone.
Harry woke up and saw he was in a room that was completely colorless. There were no walls to this room, yet he was surrounded by something. There was no light, yet the room was adequately illuminated. There was nothing of note in the area, as he could not call it a room. The word 'room' denotes a size, a shape, and enclosure, and for all Harry knew, this area was infinite.
The child martyr was panting as if he has suffered a bad nightmare. Yet he did not even have to breathe in this place. His body seemed intact, or at least what he remembered of it. Perhaps it really was just a nightmare?
Harry noticed a man sitting in a chair. The man looked very old, but he looked familiar. He looked like he should know who this was. Harry, however, was drawing a blank.
"Am I dead?" was the first thing Harry blurted out.
"Ah, a good first question." The old man said. "That answer depends on you."
"Where am I?"
"That again, depends on you. This place exists, and doesn't"
"Wow, you are worse than Dumbledore." Harry grumbled. "So I got hit by the killing curse. What happened next?"
"Ah, straight to business then. Very well. Yes you did get hit by that curse. But something happened that neither one of you had foreseen. You were Tom Riddle's unintentional seventh horcrux." The man got out of his chair and started pacing around. "The Killing Curse is a fascinating spell. It works in ways most mortals cannot comprehend, but simply put, it severs the bonds that tie a soul to the mortal plane. The Killing urse destroyed the Horcrux that was inside of you. It severed the tethers of the soul fragment, and released itself from the world."
Harry subconsciously touched the scar on his forehead. "My scar?"
"Correct." The man answered. "However that bit of soul was so entrenched with your own, after 17 years of symbiotic relationship, that it attempted to take your own soul with it."
"And?" Harry asked with held breath.
"The result is something that should not occur in the mortal realms, so the Fates have intervened."
"So you are Fate?" Harry asked incredulously. "What is Fate?"
"No, I am but an emissary. I was once known as Myrddin Emrys, but that was a long time ago. The wizards of this era still know my name as Merlin. Fate is all around us. We breathe it in, we smell it, we use it every day, to trim our hair, clean our shoes, and even kill."
"Fate is magic?" Harry asked, having read through the lines.
"It is, and also so much more. Magic is our life, and our very existence." To the eyes of a mortal wizard like you, Fate and Magic are indistinguishable. But to someone like –"
"So, uh, how did you become an emissary of Fate? Of Magic?" asked Harry. He wasn't in the mood for philosophy lessons from a barmy old man.
"Well, it was the wizards who did it really. Society still remembers my name after two thousand years, so that's why I was chosen. However there are more important things here. You have two choices."
"Your first choice is to die. However Voldemort is still alive, with a Horcrux left, not to mention his immense magical prowess. Even if he had no Horcruxes he would be a very tough opponent. You can hope that your friend finishes off the snake, and hope by some miracle Voldemort gets killed. I would estimate chance of success about 10%"
"And the other?" Harry asked, not liking where this is going.
"You live. But you are going to be sent back to a time before you become a Horcrux."
"I have to relive my whole life?" Harry gasped, astonished.
"You will retain all your memories and magic. And your body. However it is not as simple as that. You will be sent back before the first Horcrux is made. The very first," Merlin exclaimed.
"900 years ago. Dark wizard named Herpo the Foul. He was also a parselmouth. He did not discover the theory of the Horcrux, so you have to go back even further than that. Do you know who I am referring too?"
Harry thought for a few minutes. "No…Salazar Slytherin?"
"Correct. You have to go back to the age of the founders and prevent the idea of Horcruxes from ever being known. They are a blemish upon nature, and they unbalance the natural order of the world. Their effects reach all the way into this plane of existence."
"So I am being sent back 1000 years into the past... Do I get any help?" Harry asked, still unbelieving of what was being told to him.
"Yes. You get to take 7 of your possessions, anything you once owned, present or past. Keep in mind that a prophecy will still be made to kill Voldemort in 1000 years time." As he said that, 7 trunks materialized in the room.
"What! How am I suspected to live 1000 years? And what am I supposed to do to pass the time?"
"Well you know the answer to the first part if you think about it. And to the second one, I would suggest keeping the balance in the wizarding world is a good motive, while keeping your existence a secret to the majority." Merlin said.
Harry walked up the chests and started to mentally make a list of what would be useful.
"Well two items would definitely be the Firebolt I once owned, and my invisibility cloak." Harry took the items out of the chests. "Now how can I live for 1000 years…Ah. The Philosopher's Stone!"
"Good idea kid, but you never technically owned one."
"Uhg, how else can I live for that long?" Harry asked, put out. He had yet to realize the actual scope of what was happening to him.
"Think about it, you have the answer already."
Harry thought long and hard. He was playing with the invisibility cloak in his hand. The invisibility cloak! "The Hallows! I can become the master of death!"
"Right you are kid. You own all three." Merlin said.
"The wand, how?"
"The wand has the stigma of being unbeatable. However, it does have the unique property of changing allegiances when it is defeated. The term 'defeated' can be interpreted in a few ways, but understanding the magic behind it is not important. Draco Malfoy became the master of the wand when he disarmed Dumbledore at the end of your sixth year. And you disarmed Draco just recently. It is yours now."
"That does not make sense…"
"Such is the nature of old artifacts such as these Hallows. Such powerful artifacts are hard to understand for the everyday witch or wizard..."
Harry grinned after a few seconds. "Very well, I require the Resurrection Stone and the Elder Wand!" He grabbed the two items from the chests.
"Now three more items that will be useful to me…Hmmm, if I am going to be potentially destroying Horcruxes for 1000 years, I'm going to need the Sword of Godric Gryffindor!" He pulled the sword from the chest.
"So be it. There will now be two of those swords in the world. However as this sword is going to be yours, I suggest we change the name on it. You will need a new name, as you can't be known has Harry James Potter. The Potter family is old, and it would not be good for you to suddenly appear with the same surname and be a complete unknown."
Harry nodded, and thought long and hard on what he wanted to be called. He was having fresh start at life, a clean slate, prophecies be damned. Heck, he probably would forget all about his love for Ginny in a few years, if not months. There was no way he was going to wait 1000 years. No, he would find someone to love for the 1000 year journey, he couldn't do it alone. If there was one thing he learned in his previous life, it is okay to ask for help.
Harry, still unsure exactly what was happening, or where he was, or where he was going, started thinking of all the different names he might want to be remembered for all eternity as. Anything was better than 'The-Boy-Who-Lived'. He started thinking of all the fantasy novel heroes he read about when he was younger; books he borrowed from the public school library.
"Gandalf Greyhame, or Mithrandir!" Harry exclaimed.
Merlin shook his head while rolling his eyes. "Sorry kid, that person actually existed."
Harry was astonished. "Really?"
"Yes. In a different time, and in a different plane, I was once known by that name."
Harry was a loss for words at this revelation. "And the other characters from the Lord of the Rings?"
"How about from the Forgotten Realms?" Harry asked. Harry remembered reading a lot of books from the fantasy world. He remembered dreaming about the possibilities of magic powers. He laughed at that memory.
"Anyone but Elminster Aumar."
"Right in one kid."
Harry again thought long and hard of a character persona that would fit him for his new purpose in life. He sighed when he couldn't think of one. "Maybe I will just stick with Harry Potter…"
"No, no, if you can't think of one, I will. You seemed to have an interested in magical fantasy worlds, so that is what I shall use.
Merlin thought for a long time, it could have been hours or days, but time was irrelevant where they were. Harry was unsure how long it was before the man before him - Merlin himself, according to the man, spoke up and said. "I got one."
Merlin didn't seem like elaborating so Harry sighed and asked, "Well?"
Harry pondered the name for a few minutes. "Hmm, it's alright. I don't ever recall there being a real Entreri family. Better than anything I could come up with at least."
"Correct, and that is why it will work."
Harry picked up the Sword of Godric Gryffindor – no, the Sword of Artemis Entreri. He saw his new name appear in wispy black letters up the side.
Merlin spoke up. "You can change that sword into whatever shape you want. It has very powerful magic in it."
Harry nodded his head. "Well I guess I should think about the last two items I want to take back with me."
After a few minutes, Harry came up with a cunning idea. "I want my gold from my trust vault. I never got a chance to claim my family vault yet, so I don't technically own that one.
"Very smart." Merlin said. "100 galleons would be considered a large fortune back then, and you got a lot more than that. I'm sure the interest that gold will get over 1000 years will be nice. Gringotts, of course, has been around for many thousands of years."
Harry nodded his head. "One more item. I will need some knowledge to survive. How can I get knowledge? Hmmm, I do own some books, but I need something broader…hmmm…maybe…The Black Family Library?"
Merlin nodded his head. "Yes you do own the library, and I assume you want the books from before they were destroyed?"
Harry nodded his head, and grabbed a box from inside the last chest. Inside the box were hundreds of books, if not thousands.
"Very well. That knowledge is not going to be as good as you hope, but that was your choice. I will tell you a few things before I send you off. You will find some things in time, no matter how hard you try, just cannot be altered. Some events will play out the same, regardless of what you do. However, seeing as you know next to nothing about history, you will really only notice anything of the sort during your own timeframe. Needless to say, you have a long time to wait until then."
Harry nodded his understanding.
Merlin continued. "You will find that everything you take back with you will also still exist in your world, since all of your stuff is from a different plane of existence. That also includes you. Harry James Potter will be born in this world still. You will see your old friends one day in the future, but there is little you can do about it. The world does not revolve around you, but your actions can affect the development of society. Tread carefully"
"Oh, and I have something for your journey." He handed Harry an ordinary looking, inconspicuous bag. "It is a true bottomless bag. It can hold anything, and I mean anything in any amount. You could build a house in there if you really wanted to…Of course it's made so only you can open it, and it cannot be forcefully removed from your body. I am not completely heartless, so I have also bestowed you with the ability to fit in during the time as well."
Harry nodded once again and put his items in the bag.
"Are you ready?" Merlin asked. Harry nodded his head. Words were lost to him as his mind could not comprehend what was happening.
"Then heed these words carefully. You are and always will be Harry Potter, deep down inside. Never forget yourself, never forget your morals, and never forget your past. They mean more to you than any name, for they make up who you are."
Merlin snapped his fingers and Harry disappeared in a flash of smoke.
"Maybe this time this Harry will actually pull through," Merlin muttered to himself.
Harry Potter will always be Harry potter. It doesn't matter what people call him, whether it is "boy-who-lived" "freak" "Artemis Entreri" "Scar Head," he will always know himself as Harry Potter.
And for those not keeping track, here is the list of Items Harry takes with him 1: His firebolt broom 2: The Elder Wand 3: The Resurrection Stone 4: The Cloak of Invisibility 5: Sword of Godric Gryffindor 6: Potter trust vault gold- several thousand galleons 7: The Black Family Library