More Wondrous but Less Terrible

Disclaimer: Same as previous chapters.

Chapter 10

The next morning after breakfast Neville's great uncle appeared using the portkey he got from Sirius. Harry offered him breakfast but he declined.

"Sirius and I have have some cursed items you may want to see," Amelia said. "We can't destroy them and we can't be certain what they do so I'd rather not have them around. Are you willing to take a look and give us your opinion? You're welcome to any that are sufficiently interesting."

Algernon Croaker smiled, "Yes, I believe I'd like that. Lead the way and I'll examine them and give you the answer or my best educated guess if I'm not sure." He follows Sirius and Amelia upstairs leaving the teens at the breakfast table.

The teens explored the house with Susan showing them what she'd already discovered. They found a few workshops in the basement, including one that must have been for an enchanter or magical smith. It had a forge near an anvil, several locked bins that turned out to hold various metals, several tools for gouging, cutting, and shaping metal and a book of runes.

"Wouldn't it be so cool if they taught how to enchant things?" Susan said.

"It sure would," Harry agreed.

When the teens showed up for lunch they got good news. "We found another horcrux and destroyed it," Algernon said. "It was a locket that once belonged to Salazar Slytherin. It's a shame he had to corrupt something of such historic value."

"That reminds me of something I wanted to ask if I could," Hermione said.

"What is it?" Algernon asked.

"Why doesn't the magical world have more history?" she asked. "Or if it does why don't we hear of it?" She reached into her magically expanded purse and pulled out a book, "This is a history of the non-magical world. It goes back six thousand years. That is as far back as they've found writing. They have artifacts they show in museums that are even older. Why don't we have that and if we do why don't most people know about it?"

Ron said, "Well just because our history teacher is crap …"

Hermione cut him off, "That wouldn't keep books from being written. I can't find anything as solid as this book from before the founders. That's only a thousand years ago! If there are non-magical records that last longer why aren't there books or records of ancient Celtic mages, Roman mages, even Babylonian mages?" She looked the head Unspeakable in the eye and said, "Do you know?"

"Most records were destroyed in the middle ages," Algernon said. "Most wizards these days make light of that time because we can protect ourselves from fire, but parchment and in some cases papyrus are very flammable."

"That's terrible!" Hermione said. "They actually burned books and manuscripts from ancient history?"

Harry could feel Ron send Hermione a thought but couldn't hear it. Not that he needed to, she replied out loud.

"It is a tragedy Ron!" she replied hotly to her husband's thought. "If you'd ever had a proper history lesson you might realize that!"

Algernon nodded, "If we had records that go back past the founding of Hogwarts maybe your condition wouldn't be such unknown territory."

"Just think of all the animals they knew that we didn't," Luna said.

Neville nodded and hugged her, "And all the spells."

Algernon said, "We do have some spells from antiquity in our department and we'll teach you the useful ones as well as several others we've developed for our own use while we're here tutoring you."

"What do we learn first?" Hermione asked.

"First I want to see where you are at both in knowledge and in power," the Unspeakable replied. He led them into the backyard then said, "First we test power. I understand you six can draw on each other's power correct?"

"Yes," Harry said.

"Then we'll test only one of you and Susan," Algernon said. "When we get to the skill part you can all participate."

They followed him out to the backyard and the unspeakable conjured a metal wall. "When i say go I want Susan to cast her strongest piercing spell on this wall. We'll measure how deep it goes then have Harry do the same. This will tell me roughly how strong you are."

Susan cast her spell and a dimple appeared in the metal. Algernon frowned, "Have you learned how to increase the power behind your spells yet?"

She shook her head, "I've never even heard of doing that actually."

He frowned, "Maybe they no longer teach it or maybe my memory of being a teenager is not as clear as it should be. Either way I shall teach you now. All the rest of you listen as well."

He stepped up to her and said, "First put your wand away." After she did he said, "Next, I want you to close your eyes. Now imagine you are looking inside yourself. Seek for a bright light somewhere in the center. Let me know when you have found it."

A few minutes later Susan said, "I found it!" She was clearly happy and excited. "It is a bright shiny yellow, almost like a small sun."

"Good," Algernon said. "Now that you've found it I want you to take your immaterial, imaginary hands and separate a handful of the light. You can do it because your hands are just as insubstantial as the light."

"Okay," she said. "I've got some, what do I do with it?"

"Bring it with you as you rise back to the surface of yourself," he said. "Rise up, follow the sound of my voice, and once you have arrived open your eyes."

Susan's skin took on a faint glow and she opened her eyes, "Wow! That was amazing!"

"I'm glad to hear it," the old Unspeakable said. "We're not quite done yet though. Do you see the glow on your skin?"

"Yes," Susan replied.

"Try and concentrate it into your right hand. The hand that normally carries your wand," he said.

They all watched as the light slowly receded into her right hand. Susan's right hand was glowing brightly by the time she was finished.

"That's good!" Algernon said. "Now draw your wand and point it at the metal wall." When she did the old man smiled, "Now have you ever seen an arrow or a spear? In real life I mean, not as a picture in a book?"

Susan nodded, "Yes, I've seen arrows. Hagrid sometimes carries a large crossbow with a wicked sharp arrow in it."

He knew but didn't say that crossbow arrows are generally called bolts or quarrels. He said, "Good, now close your eyes again and imagine that crossbow with an especially pointy arrow. Once you have that in mind imagine pointing it at the metal wall. Can you picture that?"

"Yes," she said.

He smiled, "Good! Now feel the magic in your hand and imagine your wand is the crossbow. When you are ready squeeze our wand and push the magic waiting in your hand through it. As you do that imagine that really sharp arrow flying at your target. Can you do that?" When she nodded he said, "Any time now!"

Susan suddenly squeezed her wand and without any verbal incantation a crossbow bolt flew from her wand and struck deep into the wall with a clang. She opened her eyes and looked at it in surprise, "I cast a spell silently? I made that?"

"Yes to both," Algernon Croaker said with a smile.

Her aunt hugged her, "Nonverbal spells are NEWT standard and you did a crossbow variation of the fletcher spell too! Very nice Susan." Everyone agreed it was a nice spell.

"Okay," Croaker said. "Who else thinks they can do what I just described?"

Harry raised a hand, "I think I can, sir."

Algernon nodded, "Alright then get up here and take a crack at it."

Harry went through the same exercise as Susan and visualized the same crossbow. He'd seen Hagrid with it often enough to be able to bring up an image of the thing easily. Everything went the same as Susan's attempt at first. He found his magical core and scooped some into his hands and brought it up to the surface of his skin. He glowed a bit brighter than Susan but not too much. He managed to concentrate it into his hand without too much trouble just like Susan. When he cast his spell however he didn't get a normal crossbow bolt. What leaped from from his wand was six foot long and had a sharp, serrated, steel head that was a foot across. It struck the metal wall and went all the way through it.

Harry opened his eyes at the sound of it hitting the metal wall and stared at what he'd produced from his wand.

Ron said, "That looks more like a ballista bolt than anything from a crossbow Harry. Wow, good job."

Algernon Croaker recovered from his surprise and agreed, "Yes, that was a great job Harry. I want you all to practice getting in touch with the magic inside you while I'm gone but only Susan is to cast spells unless it's necessary. I'm going to go now but I'll be back tomorrow. Have a good day." He pulled out his portkey and vanished.