Chapter 71 – The End and A New Beginning
It had been a frantic number of days since the final message scrawled on the wall stated that the two witches would be found dead in the Chamber of Secrets. Harry Potter had disappeared shortly afterward and Professor Lockhart had been found 'Confunded' to the point of imbecility. Myrtle had eventually been found and told everyone Harry had gone to the Chamber also.
Fawkes had been happy when he returned to a worried Dumbledore from where he had suddenly vanished to. Dumbledore had been taken back by the phoenix to the hidden chamber under the school. The Headmaster was shocked to view the results of a battle. A giant basilisk was dead with its eyes destroyed and a stab wound that went up through its mouth and out through its brain. Significant damage to the room had occurred in the struggle between the snake and its foe(s?). A few feet away from the body there was an old book that looked that it had been stabbed repeatedly by the loose and bloody basilisk fang that lay next to it.
Dumbledore opened the book to see that it had belonged to Tom Riddle and he frantically searched the rest of the chamber looking for two girls and one young but brave wizard. He found nothing or nobody; just some wet footprints that looked like somebody had ran or been chased around the chamber. The footsteps crossed over the trail left by the Basilisk a number of times and Dumbledore had found the spot where the killing blow had been struck. The blood on the floor was still draining away from the killing cut. A short piece of the basilisk's tail had also been cut off during or after the battle.
After searching the Chamber for a while longer, Dumbledore was shocked to find a bloody sword stuck in the side of the dead basilisk. The sword was holding a hastily scrawled note to the green skin. Dumbledore didn't touch the sword or take the note itself but waved his wand to make a copy in mid-air. He understood how the basilisk had met its end but there were still a huge mystery or two that were unexplained. How the sword of Godric Gryffindor had ended up in this place and what had happened to the three students?
The note was a mystery that even Dumbledore couldn't fully answer. He had some pretty strong suspicions but would not speculate on the battle or the present location of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger or Ginny Weasley. The note itself left few clues but a few surprises:
To Headmaster Dumbledore,
The monster guarding the Chamber of Secrets is dead and will no longer threaten anyone, muggle-born or not. Likewise the vile despicable person that opened the Chamber fifty years ago and this year was also dispatched today. Tell Minister Fudge that Rubeus Hagrid needs to be released ASAP and formally pardoned of all crimes or Lord GryffindorandLord Slytherin will be visiting his office with some reporters from the Daily Prophet and The Quibbler.
The two young witches and one wizard that were here in the Chamber have been taken to a place of safety where they may recover together. What they have undergone is beyond belief and an atrocity of magic and pure evilness.
A claim is made on the body of this basilisk by rite of conquest. The claim is made in the name of those three students and all those that were petrified by the monster. Any monetary gains made after recovery of parts and essences of this basilisk is to be split amongst those victims.
The deliberate opening of this chamber and the releasing of this 'monster' was a deliberate attack to cause chaos and reduce the presence and influence of those not born of pure-blood fanatical families. Let all those followers of the late Lord Voldemort be put on notice that any such future attempts will be met with similar dedication and resolve.
From a Friend of Hogwarts Justitia ac Panegyris
Dumbledore cast a preservation spell on the huge snake and then left the Chamber to begin some very important business. It did not take him but a matter of a few hours to regain his position as Headmaster. He brought Minister Fudge, Madame Bones, the four Hogwarts house heads, Vika and Remus Lupin to the Chamber the next day to see the corpse of the monster in person and to read the letter written by the person(s?) that had conquered the basilisk. Remus told the group that the Latin phrase at the end of the letter translated roughly to 'justice and fairness'.
Minister Fudge paled at the written threat of being visited by Lords Gryffindor and Slytherin and ordered Madame Bones to release Hagrid from his incarceration at Azkaban. Dumbledore extracted a promise from Fudge for a written apology and pardon to appear in the Daily Prophet as well as the story that Hogwarts was again safe for all students. The Minister left the Chamber very shaken as he had viewed the huge basilisk in person and had been notified that another new Founder heir was alive.
The rest of the party left the hidden Chamber with a mixture of respect and uncertainty about the person(s?) who had defeated the beast and an overriding worry about the location and well-being of the three missing students.
The mandrake draught was successfully given to all the effected victims and Colin Creevey, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Percy Weasley, Penelope Clearwater and Sir Nickolas were welcomed back with cheers and hugs by most students. The cheers were soon resounding again as Dumbledore cancelled all the final exams for the students.
That unfortunately didn't settle the questions on everyone's minds about the location of three students. Or what had happened to their trunks; they had followed their owners and had disappeared almost immediately after the Chamber had been visited by Dumbledore. It was taken as a good sign but was still part of the mystery.
The parents of Ginny Weasley and Hermione Granger were fretting nervously as they waited for any word of their daughters and Harry. Remus Lupin had also worn a hole in one of Dumbledore's favourite rugs with his pacing. Tonks was the only person who seemed to keep him from totally collapsing from despair. She had been the one to help him with 'Operation Walrus' right after Harry had disappeared. Vernon Dursley had received a promotion and a transfer from Grunnings where he worked. He and his family were safely out of England and on their way to Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada to begin new lives. (Harry had jokingly said when they thought up the plan that Vernon need a little bit of extreme seasonal changes to deal with.)
The Hogwarts house elves were still conducting a search of abandoned and hidden areas of the castle trying to locate the trio. Members of the Auror Corps were searching through all the places that they thought Harry or the others may have went to. Hagrid, when he had been returned from Azkaban, had even sent Hedwig out with a note hoping that Harry's owl would find him but Hedwig did not return. A request for information from the goblins was politely returned with a note that said that Gringotts was not in the habit of keeping track of its clients.
It was a bit after 7 pm ten days after the disappearances and the elves had brought some meals to Dumbledore's office for the worried parties. No one had much of an appetite; it was a scene that had been repeated for many nights in a row. The mothers of Hermione and Ginny looked especially stressed and worried about their offspring and Harry. The four Weasley boys had been sent home along with the rest of the students at the end of term and were reported to be just as upset about the disappearance of their sister and her friends.
Professor McGonagall was about to suggest everyone return to their homes to get another night's rest when a house elf suddenly appeared in the middle of the Headmaster's chambers. McGonagall was a little surprised as the elf was wearing Gryffindor colors but also had a crest that she had not seen for a number of years.
The elf took a look around at the people in the room but walked over to Dumbledore to hand him an envelope. The elf turned around and bowed to the rest of the people in the room. "I was asked to let you all know that Lord Harry, Lady Ginny and Lady Hermione are all well and safe. You are cordially invited to Potter Manor in two days and to bring the rest of your families. An invitation to Luna Lovegood and Auror Tonks is also extended. A house elf will bring a portkey here at noon that day." The house elf bowed to them again and then vanished.
There was a moment of silence and then shouts of relief and joy echoed off the walls of the office along with a question or two about the formal titles that the elf had stated. Dumbledore opened the envelope and read its contents and nodded in pride and a little bit of amusement. He motioned for Professor McGonagall; she came over and read the piece of paper and shook her head in disbelief. She turned and held the piece of paper out to the parents of the missing girls and Mr. Weasley was the one to take it from her hand.
Arthur Weasley took a look at the paper, winced visibly and hesitated a bit before handing it over to his wife and Mrs. Granger. They looked at the paper for a second and then there was another pair of loud yells that rolled off the walls of the office.
"This is a mistake. They can't all three be … married?!"
"He will not be doing anything inappropriate with my daughter or Hermione if I have to sit on Harry Potter for the rest of my life!"
Professor McGonagall went over and picked up the official announcement from the floor where the shocked mothers had dropped it. She would keep it for herself and Albus if Harry and his brides didn't want it back. She turned it over to read it again:
The Ministry of Magic (Bureau of Magical Licenses)
Offers Its Congratulations and Recognition
To the Official Union and Marriage Between
Harry James Potter
Hermione Jane Granger
Ginevra Molly Weasley
Recorded this 29th day of May, 1993
Professor McGonagall would have to discuss the matter of married quarters with Dumbledore and Vika before the trio returned to school. The new Potter family would have to endure a lot of questions and some private discussions with their new in-laws before that. 'That poor boy' Minerva thought with a small grin.
Remus Lupin however, was collapsed again a wall laughing in a mixture of relief, humor, and appreciation of the incredible circumstances of the boy wizard that led a very unusual life. It was a moment truly worthy of being caused by a Marauder!
So ends the tale of Honestly Harry - The Founder's Chambers. Stay tuned for the next bit of overlong prose that will probably be named: Honestly Harry – The Unplottable Discoveries where we find out where the Potters have been and what they do over the summer until their 3rd year starts at Hogwarts. Captain Compass