Chapter 3: Interesting Revelations
Harry got up the next morning at five. He had made a rough routine for himself the last night which he would follow rigorously. Since he did not have permission to practice magic due to the underage restrictions; he had come up with a plan to strengthen his physical health and to increase his knowledge of magical theory and spells. Hermione had said that learning the theory behind spells made performing them easier.
He had up till now never studied much of theory and had only focused on performing spells and that too only those which were taught in class and some other hexes and jinxes for Malfoy. Even those spells he had not practiced much. When he had been going through his books last night he had seen that he had missed a lot; it was a miracle that his marks were as good they were- personally, he thought they were due to his excelling in the practical portion of the exams due to his above average power and his acceptable marks in theory were only due to Hermione's nagging. It was no wonder that he did so badly in potions which was theory based and did not have much use of power.
Voldemort on the other hand had both power and knowledge and to add to it had over sixty years of experience over him. If his brief stint into Voldemort's past through the diary had told him anything it was that he had been that for all his faults, Voldemort had been a brilliant student excelling in all subjects. Dumbledore had acknowledged this fact in front him while examining the diary that Riddle had created. Harry remembered the feeling of helplessness and terror that he felt when he had been tied up in the graveyard and when Voldemort was duelling – no toying with him. He vowed that he would try his best to never be so unprepared again. When looked at this way it was a miracle Harry had escaped him the number of times he had.
However, he had come up with a plan to make up for his previous laziness. He had decided that he would go through his books starting from the first year giving special emphasis to theory and to any spells he had missed. He would then start with the fifth year syllabus preferably from next week as he didn't think it would take him a lot of time to relearn things because for most of them he had some recollection of Hermione explaining it to him. Also while he did not know the theory behind all the spells like Hermione he could perform them quite easily – that would certainly help him while he revised the theory.
He had also decided that when he started the fifth year syllabus he would also start Ancient runes and Arithmacy as they were bound to be more helpful than divination in increasing his skills – Hermione had after all sung praises of all the things that could be achieved through them. Hopefully, he would be able to give his Owls in those subjects this year –he had learnt from Hermione (again!) at the end of third year that one need not take a class to be eligible to sit its exams, however taking them was recommended . However, he thought that he would manage and at Hogwarts he could always ask the teachers for help – other people had done so to sit on extra exams. In fact, once he improved sufficiently he was planning on asking Professor Flitwick to teach him the finer aspects of duelling.
His parents were some of the best and most brilliant students in the school in their time – all of the people he met had acknowledged the fact. He owed it to them to do his best not just pass his classes putting in minimum of effort. Moreover, his mother had sacrificed her life to save his and Cedric had lost his due to him. He did not blame himself for it- he had come to terms with that fact last night but he also knew that he had been killed because he was with Harry. He owed it to those people to give Voldemort some fight when next he came after him. He may not be able to do much but he would as sure as hell try his hardest and not rely only on luck.
To sum up, he would exercise in the mornings, study during the day and in the evening practice his metamorph skills with Tonks. He would revise everything he learnt during the day before going to sleep.
Seeing that it was time to get up, he put on a loose t-shirt and pants along with his shoes which were falling apart and went for his run. He would have to buy himself some new clothes as Dudely's old ones were not fit for training. Ah...he would look into it later. For now he started his routine with running to the park and then doing five laps around it. At the end he was panting and was barely able to stand. He would have to increase his stamina. He was able to run this much only due to the training Oliver had given the Quidditch team. After catching his breath he started off with a few basic stretches and exercises that he remembered from primary school. He would have to get a book regarding them from the local library...oh Hermione would be proud seeing him going to the library of his own free will.
After a few more stretches he made his way back slowly. His muscles were aching and he was sweaty; each step felt like a mile. When he returned no one had woken up as yet, so he went to the bathroom and had a hot shower which soothed his muscles. After a long time he made his way out, now feeling a bit better and fresher than he had felt in ages. He made his way downstairs got the paper and went through the daily ritual of looking for any suspicious happenings and as always found nothing. He was also subscribing to the Daily prophet which also did not have any information about Voldemort. He had not read it properly, only looking at the first few pages but now that he thought doing that was foolish. With the ministry saying that Voldemort had not returned any news even remotely alarming was bound to be swept under the rug and would be given as less space as possible in the paper. He would have to read the paper more thoroughly, as knowing what your enemy was doing was an important part of any battle.
He was broken out of his thoughts by the sound of his aunt awakening. He made some breakfast and laid it out while his uncle was getting ready. They came down and he ate his breakfast with them. He was more hungry than usual due to his running and ate a larger meal. His uncle was itching to make a comment but thought better of it and hid his face behind the newspaper. His aunt gave him a look of pure loathing and ignored him. Dudely was as usual not interested in anything beyond his plate and as Harry had made sure that his plate too was more full than usual-his aunt had taken him off the diet, he did not interrupt him. Harry was thankful for this and ate his breakfast quickly and made his way to his room.
Once there he saw that Hedwig had returned from her nightly hunt and there was another owl bearing the prophet. He paid it and then looked at all the headlines but there was nothing even remotely suspicious looking. He gave up. He turned towards Hedwig who looked a little disgruntled at the lack of attention..
"Hello, girl had a good hunt. I am sorry...its just that there is a lot on my mind but you know that don't you. You are after all a very intelligent owl and very beautiful."
Hedwig relented under the praise and gave his fingers an affectionate nip. He gave her a few owl treats not much as she had hunted and then returned to his thoughts.
Voldemort must be lying low for a while, consolidating his position and building his forces he mused. It was better that way as he had more time to train himself. He made a list of all the things he would need. First was a new set of clothes and shoes for his training and also for regular wear. As Tonks would be here daily he did not have to worry about his relatives giving him trouble about it. Anyway they were keeping their heads down after Lupin's visit and he would be damned if he didn't take advantage of the fact. He would also need his fifth year books, but that was for a week later. For now clothes were the priority and also joining the martial arts club. He needed money which he did not have with him. He had crossed out asking Tonks or Lupin to get it from his vault; that would raise too many questions. He knew that Dumbledore was having him watched when he felt Tonks following him home yesterday and also someone following him when he went for a run in the morning; add to it the fact that he had heard apparition cracks a few times over the last week and his new sense of magic and it was quite easy. In fact, he was amazed that he had not noticed the signs sooner than yesterday, but in his defence he had been a little distracted then.
He was angry at Dumbledore, not because he was having him followed but because he had not told him about it and was doing it without his permission. It was for his safety, he understood that fact but then Dumbledore had told Ron and Hermione that he did not give Harry information as owls could be intercepted; messages could easily be sent through the people who were guarding him. He hoped that his friends did not know about the guard duty because if they did then they had a way to keep him informed and were not using it.
Anyways that was not his current problem. He needed to get some money from Gringotts and had to find a method to do so. He had thought about using the knight bus but ruled it out as he did not think Dumbledore would allow him to go to Diagon Alley- for his own safety of course. So he thought about whom he could trust to go to the bank to get him money without informing Dumbledore. Due to his pseudo imprisonment here Harry was feeling quite rebellious. Dumbledore may still find out of course but there was no reason to make it easy for him. He thought back to his visit to Gringotts in the third year, he had seen house elves withdrawing money for their masters. He could use Dobby and though Dobby did not work for him he would not tell Dumbledore about it- of that he was sure. So, not sure whether it would work or not and feeling more than a little bit foolish- he called 'Dobby'.
Nothing happened for a few seconds and Harry was about to call again when with a crack the diminutive house elf appeared in front of him.
"Harry Potter called Dobby sir, Dobby is pleased to serve ..."
"Dobby is honoured to be called by the great Harry Potter, Harry Potter sir is a great wizard... ", he continued now with tears in his eyes.
"DOBBY", Harry called a bit louder than necessary to cut him off. Dobby stopped rambling and looked at him with such adoration that Harry was more than a little embarrassed. Dobby did not seem to notice though.
"What can Dobby do for sir?" he asked, his ears flapping madly above his head as he bounced in his place in his excitement.
"Dobby, I want to ask a little favour from you" Harry said slowly, clearly out of his depth as he did not have many prior experiences to draw from.
"Dobby will do anything Harry Potter sir asks of him..."
Harry continued before Dobby started another of his talks on his generosity. "I need some money and cannot go to Diagon Alley myself. Could you go there and get some money for me from Gringotts and you would have to get them converted into muggle pounds. Can you do that for me?"
Dobby's ears drooped. "Only bonded house elves are allowed to get money for their masters. Goblins not allow Dobby to get Harry Potter sirs money. Dobby is very sorry sir."
This put a roadblock ahead of Harry's plans. He starts thinking of other ways to get money from the bank. Dobby meanwhile was having his own little battle in his head and it showed on his face. Harry noticed the look of curious bafflement on his face.
"What is the matter, Dobby?"
"It is not Dobby's place to ask but Dobby was wondering why Harry Potter sir has not asked the Potter elves to get his money. They are already being bonded to the House of Potter and the goblins will give them the money."
"The Potter elves, but I don't own any elves." But even as he said this Harry remembered what the Weasly's had told him in his second year that house elves could be found in the most old families and he knew that the Potters were quite old from the conversations he had with Hagrid. It was at this moment that it struck him about how little he knew about his heritage and about the wizarding world in general. He had absolutely no idea of the traditions or any such thing of the world in which he was to spend the rest of his life. No one had seen fit to tell him that he apparently owned several house elves. Something of his mood must have shown on his face because Dobby took it to mean that he had somehow offended him.
"Dobby is being a bad elf asking questions he has no business to, he will punish himself", saying so he rushed towards the wall but before he could hurt himself Harry caught him.
"No Dobby, don't. I wasn't angry at you; it is just that no one told me that I had house elves. Do you know how to call them because I don't know any of their names?"
"Harry Potter can call them all at once by calling for all the potter elves or he can only call the head elf?"
Dobby seemed quite put off as he said this. Harry started thinking of anything he may have said to bring about this change in his mood. It hit him then.
"Dobby, do you want to work for me?"
Even after knowing how enthusiastic Dobby was with matters regarding him Harry was not prepared for him as he came and held his legs crying and saying how great a wizard he was to even consider this. Harry was a bit confused at this behaviour.
"Dobby, don't you want to be a free elf? I thought that is what you wanted."
"Harry Potter sir, house elf magic is needed to be grounded by bonding to a wizard or a family or they be going mad and dying. Dobby is having a small bond with you after Harry Potter sir freed Dobby; Dobby also works at Hogwarts so Dobby not loses magic till now but Dobby is becoming weak sir as Dobby is not properly bonded. Wizards not take dobby as Dobby want payment."
Harry was horrified as he thought about how Hermione had tried to free the house elves of Hogwarts. This reinforced his desire to learn more about the wizarding world as it brought home the point that even Hermione as intelligent as she was didn't know everything about it. He turned to Dobby.
"How much do you want to get paid Dobby?"
Dobby almost fell down in shock on hearing this. "Oh no Harry Potter sir, Dobby not needing payment from you. You is freeing Dobby."
Harry argued that Dobby had said that he wanted payment, but Dobby did not want payment. He would not budge from his position. They agreed to a truce when Harry told Dobby that he would wear good clothes and would come to Harry if he needed anything and would not harm himself if he thought he had done something wrong but would come to Harry and ask his opinion. Dobby reluctantly agreed to this all the while praising him.
"Dobby how do I bond to you and wont the ministry find out that we did magic?"
"The ministry not being able to detect House elf magic and so will not see the magic Harry Potter sir. Harry Potter must hold hand over Dobby and say that I take you as my bonded house elf. Dobby already has bond with harry potter so it will be easy."
Harry did as he was told. Dobby repeated the phrase promising to serve Harry and to keep his secrets. Then he began to look a bit nervous.
"What is the matter Dobby, do you want to say something?"
"Harry Potter sir, Winky is needing help at Hogwarts, she is wanting to be bound to a proper family."
Harry understood what Dobby wanted. He did not have any problem as such with it but he didn't know what he would do with her as did not think he had enough work to keep even Dobby busy.
He said so to Dobby who told him, "Potters are being a very old family. They have many places to live, Dobby and Winky will have lots of work to do."
Harry asked him how he knew this to which he replied that Potters were a much respected family even by the house elves as they had always treated them nicely. His great grandmother had worked for the Potters and he had heard the stories about them.
Harry again realised how little he knew about his family and promised himself that he would have a talk with the Goblins about his properties and money as soon as he could. He knew from History of Magic that they were responsible for looking after that and other matters relating to inheritance.
Harry called Winky and after bonding instructed her to stop drinking Butterbeer and get ready. He told her to remain at Hogwarts for the time being but not tell anybody that she had bonded to him.
After she left, he returned to the topic from which all this had started. He called for the Potter head elf. An elf much older than Dobby with wrinkled skin appeared in front of him. He bowed before Harry and said, "Master Harry called Tubby."
"Yes Tubby. I wanted to know how many house elves we have in house potter and what are they doing? How come you have not contacted me before?" asked Harry curious to know the answer.
"House Potter is having fifteen house elves Master Harry. Most is working on repairing and maintaining Potter Manor and other properties. We is being forbidden from contacting you, saying it was not safe. Tubby wants to visit master but could not come till master called. Tubby being bad elf."
Harry had enough experience with Dobby to know what was going to happen. He caught Tubby before he could harm himself and ordered, "Tubby, you are ordered not to punish yourself. Tell this to the other house elves. If you think you have done something wrong you will come to me and we will see what can be done. Also if you or the other elves need anything for supplies or for you, you can come and talk to me when I am alone. Do you understand?"
Harry knew enough about house elves from the way the Hogwarts elves acted around Hermione to know that they would not accept pay and would rather take it as an insult so he came up with this compromise.
Tubby shuffled in his place and then looked up. He had wet eyes and said in a trembling voice, "Master is being just as good as Mistress Lily and Master James. Tubby remembers when master was small he used to play with Tubby. Master is a great wizard."
Great thought Harry, I have another Dobby just less enthusiastic. He supposed that his life could never be normal; he would have to make do with what he had.
"Tubby who forbid you?" he asked angry at the person who had kept him from his heritage, though he had a pretty good idea who it was but needing to be sure.
"Albus Dumbledore forbid Tubby. We had to listen. He is being guardian of master. Only order from master is being greater than his."
Harry's anger at Dumbledore grew. He had already suspected that Dumbledore held more authority over him than just headmaster. How, otherwise did he get to have his Gringotts key or get to place him at the Dursleys. However, he controlled his anger – now was not the time.
"Thank you Tubby. You can go now; I will talk to you later."
Tubby disappeared with a muffled crack. Harry turned to Dobby and asked him something that had been bugging him since the bonding ceremony.
"Dobby you said that ministry can't detect house elf magic then why did they send me a letter when you performed magic at the beginning of my second year?"
Dobby answered with an expression that was a mixture of pride and embarrassment, "Dobby make his magic look like wizard magic."
Harry thought for some time and then nodded his head. He then thought about why he had called Dobby in the first place. Finding his Gringotts vault key he wrote on a paper the amount he wanted and after pricking his hand smeared a drop of his blood on it as Dobby instructed. Dobby healed his hand as it was a very small cut. Harry also gave Dobby a letter enquiring politely about the Potter estate as he had heard Tubby call it. Dobby disappeared with a crack saying he would be back as soon as possible.
Harry dropped on his bed thinking about how the day had transformed from a simple request for money to his finding out about his estate. He mulled over everything he had learnt. It had been a couple of hours since he had come from breakfast. He recalled how quickly his magic had responded when he had wanted to form the bond with Dobby. He was quite tired due to his run and also due to the large amount of information he had suddenly become privy to after calling the two elves. He was eager to talk with the Goblins about his estate. There had to be a way that he could lessen Dumbledore's influence over him. He trusted Dumbledore in that he would not do anything to harm him intentionally but he had also not seen fit to inform Harry about their relationship nor about his own heritage. Harry was in equal measures angry and sad. Also, he had never checked up on Harry with the Dursleys as any guardian should have done. So, yes he did not want Dumbledore to have any power over him.
But there were a few problems in that regard. He had people guarding him all day long. They did not come inside but if Mad-Eye was one of the people watching him he would know if he left the house. He would have to find out about the shifts. He did not think that someone with as much experience as Mad-eye would be sent to guard him. It was a waste of his talents but who knew. He did not want to take any risks.
He would have to find a method to go to Diagon Alley without alerting the guards outside. He could use his invisibility cloak and then board the knight bus but Stan knew him and he did not think that he would keep his mouth shut if Harry was to board the bus. Then it would only be a matter of time before someone he knew told Dumbledore about it. There was also the fact that his guard could notice the knight bus especially if it was mad-eye.
He could not do much about that problem until Dobby returned. He pushed himself off his bed groaning as his muscles ached. It had been a long time since he had done any exercise as there was no Quidditch the previous year. Due to this his muscles were aching due to the workout they had got in the morning. He got up and went to his trunk. He picked up his first year books and made his way back to his bed.
He started with Transfiguration. He remembered how he had had to take loads of notes in the first few classes and his disappointment when he learned that he wouldn't be learning to transform anything into pigs for a very long time. He had wanted to do what Hagrid had done to Dudely himself and do it right. However, getting back to his book he revised what he had learnt of theory. Many things he just passed over, as he remembered them quite well; others he had to read again. There was nothing very challenging about the topic. He completed the first few chapters about theory and went on to revise the few spells they had learnt in first year along with the theory behind them. He didn't think they would be of much use but as Hermione had told him once – she could grasp the theory of complex spells easily because she had paid attention to those behind the basic spells of each subject and with academics Hermione was always right. So, he paid attention to details that he hadn't before. What the author had wanted to say was that to transform one thing to another one had to have a proper knowledge of the material of the final object; the better the knowledge the better the product. An image of the final object in the mind was said to help the process along with visualising the transformation. This was quite simple to understand but difficult to implement as most people lost focus or just didn't concentrate properly. However, this idea was true for most of the transfiguration from the most simple to the most complex.
He had made good progress when he was startled by a crack. He had forgotten about Dobby so engrossed was he in his studying – that was a first! Dobby was carrying a small bag with the money and an envelope.
"Dobby is doing as Master Harry asked. Goblins give Dobby money after seeing key and blood. Dobby is giving the goblin at the counter the letter. He is reading it and then is telling to wait. He goes inside the bank and comes after long time. He is then giving Dobby this letter and telling to take it to master."
Harry took the envelope. It was quite light and like the letter he had received from Hogwarts four years ago. He wondered if this would bring as big a change in his life as the previous one had. He transferred his attention back to the letter. It was addressed simply to Harry James Potter. The goblins must not have known his address or they did not want to reveal their knowledge of it. There was a red seal of wax closing it. It showed two crossed swords in front of a horde of gold with a dragon in the background. It screamed security, he thought as any bank would want to do. Harry opened it and pulled out the letter. It was thick smooth parchment and quite expensive if Harry was to guess. He unfolded it and read:
Your letter comes as quite a surprise to me seeing that I have kept your magical guardian informed as to the status of the Potter estate and your vaults.
This has given credence to my suspicions which had formed when you did not claim the headship of House Potter at age you have been obviously kept in the dark about things which you had a right to be informed as soon as you turned fourteen, I would like to propose that we meet as soon as possible.
Gringotts is kept open at all hours of the day and night to cater to our wide range of customers. It would be to your benefit to meet with us as soon as possible.
Ripclaw Potter Account Manager Gringotts
P.S. We know that you live with your muggle relatives and therefore for your convenience have made this letter into a portkey that bring you to the front gates of Gringotts. To activate tap it with your wand and say 'Gobbledegook'which if you are wondering is the language of the Goblins.
Now that he knew about it he could feel the magic coming from it. It was different than his magic and in fact held more similarity to Dobby's magic confirming it was made by Goblins.
Harry read the letter again. There were lots of questions in his mind along with anger towards Dumbledore. He wanted them answered and the best option at the moment was the goblins. However, he was wary of visiting them without anyone else as he did not know much about them. As far as he knew they loved money but were against thievery or deceit of any kind – there was a capital punishment for it in the goblin nation after all. Fred and George had told him about it when they had been discussing Ludo Bagman. Anyway he did not think that the goblins would harm him – they had no reason to. Also, they would definitely not side with Vodemort who would want their subservience and Goblins from what little he knew of them were very proud people.
His best option was to make his way to Gringotts as fast as possible. That way he could not be stopped even if someone at Gringotts had tipped off Dumbledore even though that was very unlikely because few would know about this letter. He asked Dobby his opinion after explaining his reasons and if he could come with him as even though he was sure that the Goblins meant no harm it would be foolish to go alone.
"Master Harry is right. Goblins not harm him. Dobby would be honoured to go with master but does not know if he will be of much help. Master is too good asking lowly Dobby for his thoughts" he said with tears in his eyes.
"Nonsense Dobby, I don't think I could have anyone better and you are strong – after all you did throw Lucius Malfoy down a flight of stairs and you have been in the magical world for longer than me so I will frequently ask your help. And Dobby you should get used to being treated like this, I feel embarrassed when every time I do something normal to you, you start praising me."
Dobby reluctantly nodded and said that he would try.
Harry was ecstatic. That was one of his problems solved.
He now checked the time – it was almost time for lunch. He made his way downstairs and saw that his Aunt was out, as was Dudely. He knew they would be back as his Aunt had not said anything about not making lunch. He had Dobby make them a simple lunch much to Dobby's annoyance who it seemed wanted to give him a feast rivalling Hogwarts. He explained that it would take a long time and would arouse his relatives' suspicion as would leaving without making lunch. He ate his share and laid the table for them with help from Dobby who was grumbling about him not letting Dobby do his work. It seemed that the house-elves civility to their masters did not hold when they interfered with their work. Harry chuckled to himself after seeing this side of Dobby - with him this vacation was sure to get interesting.
He suddenly remembered. He had forgotten to check who was on guard outside. If it was Moody he could easily have seen Dobby. However as nobody had come to talk to him about it, he reasoned that he was safe. He bunched up his pillows and some books on his bead and covered it with his bed sheets so as to give the impression that he was sleeping. His relatives would not come in his room and he hoped that if Moody came on guard duty after he left, he would respect his privacy enough to not look under the sheets with his eye.
As he was about to leave, he thought it would be unusual if he appeared at the gates of Gringotts and there would be a chance of someone recognizing him especially due to his fame. He therefore took out his invisibility cloak and put it over himself. As he turned towards Dobby he saw a worried look on his face.
"What is the problem Dobby?"
"Master, goblins not like it if you enter bank being invisible."
This was a problem Harry had not thought about. He thought about it for a while. It had a simple solution. Dobby would make his way into the bank alone and tell the goblin at the counter his problem and ask to see Ripclaw. He would hopefully then be allowed inside still invisible where once out of view of the general public he would take off his cloak.
Instructing Dobby in what to do, he then put on his cloak. Dobby took his hand and holding it tightly he activated the Portkey.
Harry felt the tugging sensation at his navel. It was all he could do to keep himself from falling and spilling the contents of his stomach. Suddenly eating before coming did not seem like such a good idea. As he took control of his senses the feeling of all the magic around him and that coming from Gringotts hit him like a ton of bricks. He instinctively damped his senses -just as he would close his eyelids in the presence of a bright light and the intensity of the magic decreased. He didn't know how he did it. He tried concentrating on feeling the magic and the feeling intensified. He clamped down on the unknown sense and the feeling disappeared. It appeared that the control of this feeling was completely instinctual to him like flying on a broom.
He looked around to see that he was at the side of the gates of Gringotts and as planned Dobby made his way inside as Harry stood to the side so as not to avoid contact with the people coming and going. It was sheer luck that it hadn't happened till now. Harry could feel the magic all around him and from the wizards coming and going. This was the first time he had come to such a magical place after his new sense had developed. As Harry was waiting he played around with his new sense. He could sense a lot of magic coming from Gringotts . He could also sense a different sort of magic inside each person. He would have to see if he could distinguish one person from another. It would be a handy skill to have. He would also have to check the limits of his new sense but that was for later. He looked around while waiting to see if there was somebody he knew. It looked like an average day. There was the normal crowd one would expect on a Monday, as he remembered from his time here before his third year. He couldn't recognize anybody. Of course his year mates would be at home or would be out of the country vacationing.
He looked back at the gates and saw that Dobby was returning with a goblin who spoke to the guards at the gate. He figured that this was his cue and made his way there lightly touching Dobby's shoulder to show that he was there. The goblin on Dobby's prompting took them inside. The feeling of magic intensified. Curious, he tried to feel the magic of Dobby and the goblin – it was different than that of humans, though the latter was somewhat similar and weaker to the one coming from Gringotts. He adjusted his sense at a level that was comfortable but not distracting. He saw that Dobby and the goblin had moved forward. He hurried to catch up.
There were the usual lines of people waiting to do business at the counters. They went behind the counter, through a long hallway which had doors on both sides at regular intervals. There were other corridors branching off from it. The walls were made of white marble much like the main hall when one entered Gringotts. The ceiling was more than twelve feet high and the width was around ten feet. He was lead to an oak door. It was simple to look at with a doorknob that looked like it was made of dragon bone but Harry would bet that it was heavily protected from the feeling he could get from the door. The goblin with them knocked on the door twice. A deep gravelly voice answered from inside.
They went inside. Harry looked around. It was a comfortable room – not too big. There was a desk, with a goblin sitting behind it. He looked quite old but was still fierce. He was more expensively dressed than the goblins at the counters outside – that was expected; he had an office so therefore would be senior to them. He was heavily built and had scars across what could be seen of his arms. Harry turned his attention to the office and saw that many weapons hung from the walls. Harry did not think that these were just for show. This was not a goblin to take lightly or insult. His attention was drawn back to the goblin when he heard his name being called.
"Mr. Potter, I would appreciate it if you could become visible."
Harry had forgotten to take off his cloak. As he took it off sheepishly, he noticed that the goblin who had escorted him here was gone. From the time he had received the letter Harry had just reacted. When he was waiting, he was fully immersed in testing out his new ability so did not feel nervous. Now that feeling came to him full force. He did not know a thing about his heritage or the goblin before him nor had he any experience in dealing with banks let alone one run by goblins.
Get a hold of yourself Harry. Now is not the time for this. He scolded himself.
Gathering his Gryffindor courage he took a seat and instructed Dobby to do the same. Dobby looked at him with wide eyes and when Harry gestured towards the seat again he sat down and looked to be just holding back from crying with gratitude.
"There are not many who treat house elves as you do Mr. Potter. The Potters have always been known for their kind treatment to everyone but you have taken it another step forward by treating him with respect and showing trust" he said by gesturing towards Dobby and grinning fiercely.
Harry realised that the goblin had guessed his reason for bringing Dobby with him and was not offended. He did not know how best to reply so decided that being polite was the way to go. "Thank you. I think that it is foolish to hurt and suppress somebody who helps you in your daily work. It is better to treat them with respect as they too are living beings and in turn they will give you respect."
"A refreshing and wise opinion Mr. Potter; I am Ripclaw. I was the account manager for your father and his father. Now let us get to business. What would you like to know Mr. Potter?"
"It is Harry please, . I have no idea about anything to do with Potter estate except for the vault from which I have been withdrawing money. If you could I would like to know everything about them" Harry said.
"Mr. Potter...Harry, please call me Ripclaw, goblins do not use the titles like Mr. and most wizards don't bother with it when dealing with us. Now, as a matter of principle I can't disclose details of your inheritance to you until you take over the headship of House Potter which was your right since you turned fourteen" he stopped after saying this and looked at Harry as if expecting him to say something.
Harry was confused. Tubby had told him that the Goblins would help. Ripclaw had himself advised Harry to meet with him as soon as possible, but now he was saying that he couldn't disclose a thing until... Harry smirked as he understood the meaning behind the sentence. Goblins were sneaky; he would have to give it to them. Ripclaw had just given him the solution to his problem without breaking his principles. He would have to remember to be on his good side. It was bound to be profitable.
"I would like to assume the headship of the House of Potter", he said.
If possible, the grin on Ripclaw's face was even bigger than the first one.
"As you wish Mr. Potter", saying this he pressed a button on his desk and waited. A goblin came and Harry heard them talking in a rapid string of whatever language the goblins used. The goblin left. He turned towards Harry and said, "That is quite a cloak you have there. Take good care of it. Invisibility cloaks like the one you have are very rare. Most start to lose their properties after some years and can be detected by simple charms. Yours however, is one of the rare ones that endure for a long time - almost eternally and only powerful magical artefacts or powerful wizards can detect them."
Harry knew that invisibility cloaks were rare but to know that his was among one of the best and was special was news to him. He smiled gratefully and said, "I will. It is one of the few things that I have of my father."
Meanwhile the goblin had returned and had with him an ornately carved box and a few papers. Putting these before Ripclaw, he left. Ripclaw opened the box and turned it towards Harry. Inside it was a ring, with a beautifully carved P with lions on both sides of it seemingly holding it up. For such a small object it seemed to ooze magic that felt warming and soothing. Harry moved his hand towards it but stopped looking towards Ripclaw for permission.
The goblin grinned. "I am impressed Harry. Not many can stop the pull from the Head ring of their House if they are the heir. You can put it on; I can't explain anything before that. However, you should know that once you have done so you can't reverse the process."
Harry nodded and reached for the ring. He took it in his hand and revelled in the feeling of warmth it brought to him. He could sense that the magic was not harmful so had no fear as he put it on his left middle finger as instructed. The feeling of warmth intensified as the ring sized itself on his finger and then stopped. He looked towards Ripclaw to continue.
"Now, the first and foremost change will be that the trace charm which is put on underage wizards to monitor underage magic that was on you will be removed. Due to this the ministry can't record the magic done around you."
Harry's face broke into a smile. He could now do magic at Privet Drive. Something bugged him however.
"You said that the trace identifies magic done around an underage person?"
Ripclaw nodded. Harry continued "So that means that if an adult wizard were to cast a spell near me and the ministry did not know about him it would still be counted as underage magic."
Ripclaw nodded again. This much Harry had guessed even before this from his talk with Lupin. Now was what Harry really wanted to ask.
"So how do they check for magic in magical homes?" Ripclaw's grim smile told him all he needed to know. However, Ripclaw still answered him.
"They don't. However it has good reason. Think of a muggleborn student who has just returned home after their first year. If not for the warning they would be excited to show their family all they learnt. Due to their inexperience it might just blow our secret to the muggle world. The law was formed primarily to get them used to the idea of keeping their magic a secret. Moreover, they expect parents to enforce the rules in wizarding homes."
Harry did not like it but it was logical even though a bit prejudiced. However, the thought of terrifying Dudely with his magic made him smile.
As if reading his thoughts Ripclaw continued.
"However, I would advise you not to practice magic at your current dwelling."
"Why? And how did you know what I was thinking?"
"I spent time with your father and grandfather and I know that smile on the face of a Potter does not bode well. However coming back to the topic at hand; don't ask me how but I know this. You live with non-magic people, am I correct?" seeing Harry nod he continued. "The ministry has sensors all over the country in non-magical areas that tell them where a lot of magic has been performed. Usually, these cannot detect spells that are done by a single wizard or witch – unless it is accidental magic which is detected as it tends to be in a large outburst; however, due to certain reasons the sensors in your zone have been focused on the places in and around your house enabling them to detect even the smallest of wizarding wanded magics. I assume you want to keep your position as head of house to yourself for now?"
Harry nodded. He could see where this was going and didn't like it one bit.
"Very well. Then you will know that in the current atmosphere, with you and the ministry at odds, the minister will use any means to discredit you. As such if you do magic it will be called as underage magic. You will of course go scot free if investigated but that would release your secret to the public."
Harry was incensed. The bloody ministry- first it ignored him about Voldemort now he couldn't perform magic when he was allowed to. This was maddening. Harry took a deep breath and calmed himself. It wouldn't do to lose his temper at Ripclaw who was trying to help him. It would also lose him his respect. Something in the sentence caught his notice.
"You said that it only identifies magic done with wand. Why is that and how then does it detect accidental magic?"
Ripclaw looked at him. "You catch onto things quick Harry. Yes, only wanded magics. I don't know why as I am no expert. But from what I do know I would guess that the wand somehow changes the magic passing through it thereby making it easier to trace. Even the trace only identifies wanded magics. Also, they do not think that an underage wizard will be capable of wandless magic and underestimate its potential. You only have to look at house elves and goblins to see that wandless magic is not weaker just harder to master. As for accidental magic as I said they tend to happen in large uncontrolled outbursts even if the effects are small and so are detected."
Harry did not completely understand but now he knew why house elf magic could not be tracked by the ministry. Thinking back to his second year, Dobby must have changed his magic a bit so that it looked as if it was done with a wand.
Ripclaw drew his attention back. "Now, I said that you shouldn't practice magic at your current residence. However, the Potters have a great many other places to stay. You could go to any one of them to practice. This brings us to the other properties of the ring. It is a permanent one end fixed destination portkey to the Potter manor.
As Harry looked at him blankly, he continued.
"What it means is that it is a portkey that barring any portkey wards- enchantments that stop portkeys- it will take you from any place to the location of the Potter manor if it is within range and back to the place you had last come to Potter manor from using the portkey."
Harry took some time to get his mind around the sentence. He asked the first question that came to his mind, "and what is the range?"
Ripclaw grinned, the look was scary. "Any place within the country will do. Even outside in some cases. It takes the magic from you. It isn't much for any wizard of average power which I am sure you are."
Harry asked another question. "Is it safe - Not the portkey, I mean Potter Manor. After all nobody has lived in it for a long time. Who is to say that somebody has not broken in?"
Ripclaw laughed for the first time since Harry had seen him – a deep bellowing laugh.
"Safe? Harry the wards or protective enchantments on Potter Manor are some of the oldest and best in the country. The Potters are one of the oldest families and have always served the light side. Due to this the family has always been one of the first targets for any dark lord. It is one of the reasons why there aren't many Potters today. Anyway, due to this the family never tore down their ancient protective wards like many of the other old families. Also many of your ancestors were renowned ward-crafters, they are sure to have made some for personal use."
Harry was shocked. He had not known that. Once again he felt the pain of how little he knew about his family.
"Why didn't my parents stay there if the wards are so good?"
"I believe that it had something to do with the restoration work going on. Potter manor was attacked during a when its wards were lowered to let in some refugees from the war. Although the Dark Lord was driven back after the wards were activated by your father much damage had already been done. It seems that the attack was planned and the death eaters knew where the refugees were being taken and that the wards would be lowered. Your grandparents succumbed to the injuries they sustained in the fight", he said regretfully.
Here were another two lives that had been lost due to Pettigrew- he thought angrily. He would make him pay. Harry looked and gave a look of gratitude to Ripclaw for giving him time to think over what he had learnt.
"Ok, what are the other properties of the ring?"
"The portkey to Potter manor is fixed. However, the ring is designed to accommodate portkeys to other Potter properties if the spell is cast by the head of the house. Each would be activated by a different phrase."
Harry understood that. It was logical to have such an extention. "What else?"
"What do you know about legilimency?" Ripclaw asked.
"Nothing" Harry answered, wondering if this was some sort of test question.
"It is the ability to look into the mind of other living beings" Ripcalw answered his unspoken question.
"You mean people can just read minds?" harry asked horrified at the implications.
"Not exactly, the mind is not a book to be read, it is complex. Legilimency is a very hard art that few master. A sufficiently skilled and powerful legilimens can enter your mind, look up your memories or at least get a brief overview of them and at the lowest power tell if you are lying" he waited for Harry to understand.
Harry was understandably shocked. He had many secrets. The thought that someone could just read your thoughts made him feel vulnerable. Unbidden a thought of his first year rose in his mind when Voldemort could tell that he was lying about the Philosopher's stone.
"Voldemort", he thought aloud.
"Yes" Ripclaw answered. "The Dark Lord is quite skilled in this field as is Albus Dumbledore. This ring gives you a warning when somebody enters your mind and throws up temporary barriers against them. It is not enough to stop even mild powered attack for a long time, its only there to warn you as people need direct eye contact to do legilimency. On warning you should break it. For a powerful person like Dumbledore that is no obstacle because if they want they could incapacitate you and continue but since performing legilimency on an unwilling person is illegal and they would know that you knew about the intrusion it should act as a deterrent."
Harry could not help but notice that Ripclaw had mentioned Dumbledore's name specifically. He wondered how many times Dumbledore had used it on him when he was in his presence. Harry could definitely remember a few times when he had the distinct feeling that Dumbledore knew that he was lying.
"Is there any way to stop this legilimency you talked about?"
If Ripclaw was surprised that Harry had not objected to his portrayal of Dumbledore nor defended the reputed wizard, he did not show it. "There is. Occlumency, it is the ability of the mind to close itself to any attacks. Both occlumency and legilimency can be learnt. It would be helpful if you learnt the two mind arts."
Harry agreed with him and resolved to get a few books on both. "Anything else I should know about?"
"Yes, as Head of house Potter you have a hereditary seat on the legislative wizengamot. Usually you would get it when you turn seventeen but as before with you being the only heir and already having headship you can take your seat when you turn sixteen."
"The legislative wizengamot?" Harry asked feeling as if this was something he should know about.
"Yes the law making body. Specific people are chosen from among this group to make up the judicial wizengamot along with the minister of magic. The judicial group takes care of trials and such. However you do not have to worry about that for now."
Harry remembered the incident in his previous year when he had witnessed the trials of various people in Dumbledore's pensieve. He remembered the group of fifty or so people who were in charge of sentencing the convicted. He would have to look up the structure and other knowledge about the wizengamot if he was to take his place there after next year.
"What else?" he asked.
"Nothing that is immediately concerning. Now you have to fill up a few forms legalising your emancipation. We will submit it discreetly in the records office of the ministry of magic. A copy will be kept here until your seventeenth birthday and should you ever feel the need it can be used to prove your status."
"Is that all? Don't I have to get the permission of my magical guardian or something? ... I mean I don't know much about this but still that seems logical. Otherwise anyone could get emancipated."
Ripclaw grinned. Harry idly observed that he was doing that a lot in this meeting.
"Normally you would be correct Mr. Potter... er... Harry. However in your case the law is a bit different. As you are the last living heir by blood of an ancient pureblood line you have great influence due to your seat and votes in the wizengamot. Out of fear that others could manipulate a child for a piece of this influence, an End of Line clause was added to the law so that a person in your position was to be informed of his inheritance by the magical guardian as soon as he turned eleven and had the right to be emancipated and assume the headship at age fourteen. Also, at any time between the age of eleven and fourteen if it could be proved that the guardian was not taking sufficient care of his ward, the ward could have him replaced by another person of his choice. So you see Harry the law is on your side in this case, more so as Dumbledore failed to inform you to his status." He finished his short lesson on the law and pushed the papers towards him.
Harry read the paper thoroughly and confirmed that it was indeed for the purpose of emancipation and to assume his position. He looked up to see if the goblin was offended that he had not taken him at his word. He was quite surprised to see that he was grinning and looking on approvingly.
"Do not be so surprised Harry. We have met for the first time and I do not expect you to trust me. In fact I would have been quite disappointed if you had done so. Goblins believe that trust should be earned and I hope to earn yours as I did for your father and grandfather."
Harry was relieved and agreed with the thought. He filled in the required information and signed the two forms and their copies as prescribed. He pricked his finger and let a drop of blood fall at the end below his signature. Ripclaw took the forms from him and embossed it with the Gringotts seal making it final.
AN: I hope you liked the chapter. People may think that I am setting up Dumbledore to be bashed but it is not so. He has made mistakes and must come to terms with them for there to be a positive relationship with Harry – however this may not turn out to be the case. There will be other people too whose relationship with Harry may suffer but I will try not to go overboard and bash a character. This was basically an info-dump chapter but it can't be helped and I know people will have read many similar versions before. Hopefully after this my story will take a go faster. It will follow canon loosely and many concepts introduced in canon will be turned on their heads (figuratively) of course. I will like it if you review but will not ask for a specific number to update.