Hi, I am back to my normal weekend updates after my huge Christmas special. Happy reading.
The Curse Scar
At eleven o'clock Healer Reggam was back with the cursebreaker he had spoken about.
"Good morning, Mr Potter, this is Staniel Wundermoor, a curse breaker from Gringotts. We are going to see what we can do about your scar. I fear this will be a bit painful, but it is essential that you don't move. Therefore I'll put you under a full-body bind. That will make sure we can work without disturbance." Healer Reggam explained. "Sadly as we don't really know what we are dealing with we don't want to risk using a sleeping charm or potion on you just yet. It might have negative effects on the procedure. We have a pain potion ready in case you need it after we dealt with whatever resides in your scar."
"I see. Well, nothing that can be changed about it. I'll just have to get through it." Harry said steeling himself. Pain was after all nothing he hadn't dealt with before.
"Good. Please lie down on the bed and relax, that'll make the body bind more bearable." Healer Reggam said.
Harry did what he was told.
"Petrificus Totalus." Healer Reggam said, pointing his wand at Harry's body. Harry felt the odd sensation of not being able to move at all. He couldn't even open his eyes anymore.
Then he heard words spoken which he couldn't make any sense of.
"That's indeed a nasty thing you have here, Reggam. There seems to be something small in the scar that has absorbed dark energy." Wundermoor said. "I need you to cut the scar open a few inches deep to get the object out of there."
Harry felt his forehead being cut open. Then a horrible pain shot through his head when he felt something being pulled out. It felt like it didn't want to be taken out of his head. He wanted to scream, but he couldn't. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the thing in his head had to give up its hold and flew out. His magic reacted. It was like a flood into a space that had formerly been blocked with a dam. His magic seemed to wash all small remainders of the dam away; every tiny little bit of residue was pushed out of his head through the open scar. It felt strange, but he could tell that it was good for him. He still had a headache, but it was better than before, not as unbearable, only like a slight migraine. Then he felt his body being able to move again and a glass being held to his lips.
"Drink, it's a pain reliever." Healer Reggam told him and Harry opened his mouth to swallow the potion.
He felt drained, but he didn't understand why. When the potion started working, he opened his eyes again and saw Mr Wundermoor holding a vial with a black one and a half centimetres long, thin splint in it.
"That thing was in my scar?" Harry asked disbelievingly.
"Yes, and pretty deep inside as well. I guess it got in there when the killing curse backfiring on You-Know-Who blasted up your room. There was a lot of debris and destroyed furniture from what the reports on site stated. Wundermoor, can you tell anything about the dark residue?" Healer Reggam asked.
Staniel Wundermoor did a few spells to examine the splint. Then he started cursing. He did some more spells and the splint showed an eerie, sickly green hue. Harry felt repulsed even being close to it. To think it had been stuck in his head for nearly all his life made him feel horribly sick.
"This is a huge problem. I need and expert on Dark Magic, best of all Professor Dumbledore, here at once." Wundermoor said.
"Why, what is wrong with the splint besides the fact that it was in Mr Potter's head for ten years?" Healer Reggam asked. He was examining Harry now to see the after effects of the splint being pulled from his head. At the moment a black oily substance was flowing out of the scar.
Harry wasn't too sure about involving Professor Dumbledore in anything related to his health. He didn't trust the old man. What could he be able to do that others couldn't?
"This thing has a part of You-Know-Who's soul in it, that's wrong. I know we sometimes have to deal with things like this in ancient tombs in Egypt. Was really popular in those days. It was a means to gain immortality, but such a thing doesn't really exist in the way the wizards of that time hoped for. They hoped with a thing like this, they couldn't be killed. That isn't true, a body can still die. What they do however is preventing a soul from passing on. Normally that isn't a huge problem. You only need a good exorcist to banish the trapped spirits from this plain. But in case of a wizard like You-Know-Who I would guess he had looked up ways to make it work. That's why I need Professor Dumbledore.
"There are several ways to manage getting a body back if one is desperate enough or willing to pursue into the deepest pits of dark magic. There are rituals that use certain sacrifices to return a spirit to a body. We should make sure that none of them is an option. But there is an even easier one if you have the right resources. That way is the Elixir of Life, a substance of great power and rejuvenating abilities that can be produced with a Philosopher's Stone and the only currently existing stone belongs to Nicolas Flamel, an old friend of Dumbledore." Wundermoor explained.
"Okay, I'll get him immediately. Tibby." Healer Reggam called understanding the urgency now.
The house elf popped into the room while Reggam was writing a short note and transfigured a handkerchief into an envelope.
"Master Reggam called Tibby?" The elf asked.
"Yes, Tibby, I need you to immediately get this message to Professor Dumbledore. Nobody can see this message except him. Tell him we need him at St. Mungo's immediately." Healer Reggam instructed the elf.
"Of course, Master Reggam." Tibby said and popped away.
"How are you feeling, Mr Potter?" Healer Reggam asked.
"Drained. The headache is better now, but it feels strange in my head. Like there has been a dam and now water is flooding into the open space." Harry tried to describe the feelings.
Then a flash of a flame appeared in the room and Albus Dumbledore appeared with a red and golden bird on his shoulder. Harry got a really nice feeling from the bird.
"I just got your message from Tibby. Did you really find a horcrux in Harry's scar?" He asked concerned.
"Yes, there is a soul piece of You-Know-Who latched onto this splint of wood. It was a bit tricky to get out of Mr Potter's scar as it put up fairly strong resistance." Healer Reggam explained.
The bird meanwhile looked at Harry and flew over to him. He looked into the boy's tired eyes. Harry felt some kind of connection to the bird. He felt warm and safe.
"It seems Fawkes hasn't forgotten you, Harry. When you were a baby and your parents had you with them to meetings with me, you always were very fond of Fawkes." Dumbledore said smiling.
Then Fawkes started crying on the now open scar. He let the tears fall into the cut and with every tear Harry felt better.
"Incredible. I wouldn't have thought to be able to ever see a phoenix healing somebody he wasn't bonded to." Wundermoor said flabbergasted.
"Thanks, Fawkes." Harry said and reached out to pet the phoenix.
Fawkes trilled like he was saying 'You're welcome' and let Harry stroke his feathers. Then he flew back to Dumbledore's shoulder. Dumbledore was very encouraged by the behaviour of Fawkes. If Harry had become dark, Fawkes wouldn't have healed him with his tears. That meant Harry was still pure despite his horrible experiences.
Harry sat up again, looking at the adults.
"What is a horcrux and what is so special about that splint?" Harry asked.
First Dumbledore didn't want to reveal such dark magic to an eleven year old boy, but then he thought better. Harry already knew a lot and if he wanted to have a chance that Harry would choose Hogwarts for his education he needed to give him incentives. He knew that there were other really good schools out in the world that Harry could choose over Hogwarts. He had already given some thought to what he could offer Harry to make the decision for Hogwarts. Some would be radical, but some could easily be achieved. And he needed to give the boy the impression that he wasn't kept in the dark concerning things that directly involved him. Harry wouldn't rest until he knew what the splint meant and why it would influence his life from here on. But he still thought that the prophecy would be a bit much for now. The boy had just learned about magic. That part he would have to ease the boy into over a longer period of time.
"A horcrux, Harry, is the darkest of magic. Not very many people know of them, mostly cursebreakers like Mr Wundermoor here and those that have studied the Dark Arts intensely like those with a mastery in Defence Against the Dark Arts. But even within that group there are not many. Some decades back the knowledge was more available, but I feared what certain people would do if they found out about it. So when I became headmaster at Hogwarts I took all the books regarding the darkest arts of magic from the library. I didn't think it would be good if students had access to those dangerous books. The way a horcrux works is that the witch or wizard that creates it has to commit the worst crime, committing murder. That act tears the soul apart. The piece that is torn from the main part of the soul is stored in a container. As long as the horcrux exists the owner of the horcrux can't really die." Dumbledore explained.
"Now, to fully understand why a horcrux is the most despicable kind of magic you need to know that to a wizard or witch the soul is normally sacrosanct. A whole soul enables you to keep your magic in balance and use your full potential. At least concerning magic that isn't completely dark and twisted. Some kinds of that magic work better if your soul is mutilated. But as far as I know none of the dark lords and ladies in history ever went that far. They knew that they would lose the obedience of their followers if they went and used that magic. There are other ways to reach a kind of immortality that doesn't maim your soul. A whole soul can be a strong weapon as well."
"Well, the person also doesn't really live as well if the horcrux is the thing that keeps the rest of the soul on the plain of the living. That's the reason I called you. I know that you are friends with Nicolas Flamel, Professor Dumbledore. His Philosopher's Stone and the elixir of life it produces are one way how You-Know-Who could return to a body. It would be best if you warned the Flamels of the danger." Wundermoor piped in after the explanation.
"That I'll indeed do. It's good to know that now, because Nicolas already had found signs that somebody is after his stone again. I'll probably think of something to increase the stone's protection. It can't fall into the wrong hands." Dumbledore said.
"What exactly are this elixir of life and the Philosopher's Stone?" Harry asked.
Dumbledore smiled at the inquisitiveness of the boy. Perhaps he would still go to Ravenclaw and not Slytherin. With as many children of Death Eaters as there were in the house it wouldn't be the safest place for Harry. And Severus also wouldn't like to have the son of his school enemy in his house. Filius meanwhile would be delighted to have Lily's son in his house.
"The Philosopher's stone is the highest achievement in the art of Alchemy. It's a stone that can transform normal metal to gold and also produces the elixir of life. This elixir is so powerful that it enables people to live on even over their normal end of life if they continue drinking it. The person is kept at a middle age, around forty five. Nicolas is six hundred and sixty five now and his wife Perenelle is six hundred and fifty nine but none of them looks older than forty. When I was younger I worked together with him as his apprentice. I learned a lot from him and Perenelle. Those years are some I always remember very fondly." Dumbledore told Harry.
"Wow, they really are that old? Wasn't it hard for them to see their friends get old and die?" Harry asked.
"I honestly never asked them." Dumbledore answered surprised with the question.
He made plans to make a trip to Nicolas and Perenelle next. They needed to be aware what they had found out now. It was their decision what to do with the stone. He had spoken with them about hiding the stone at Hogwarts to have it even better protected than it was at Gringotts after Nicholas had mentioned their concerns about a possible theft. Now it seemed more important than ever to act quickly.
"How will the extraction of the splint horcrux, which definitely was an accident to be made, influence Harry?" He asked.
"I don't know. It could have happened that he got some abilities transferred that You-Know-Who had, but I am not sure. With the removal, he could either have lost them or kept them." Healer Reggam said.
Harry had an idea. It would probably be a little bit risky, but as they had just given him an opening, he might be able to blame everything on Voldemort and still keep the majority of people ignorant. And getting more information on the man that had tried to kill him as a baby would be smart.
"Were there any special abilities that Voldemort had?" He asked. "If there were we could see if I had them and answer that question."
"That's a good idea, Harry." Wundermoor agreed. "Well, he was a parselmouth, that much is widely known, but all members of the Slytherin line are. Then it is known that he was very magically gifted and learned new spells quickly."
"He had a natural talent for the mind arts as well as Potions, Charms and Defence Against the Dark Arts. He even tried to apply for the position of Defence teacher twice. Once directly after graduation, but Professor Dippet, my predecessor as headmaster, thought him too young for the position and told him to apply again if he still was interested in teaching once he had more experience and was a few years older. He did so when I was headmaster and had already heard about his exploits in the dark arts. He was the most intelligent student I had had in some time and soaked up knowledge like a sponge. He was always driven and managed to present himself positively to those around him. Many flocked to him thanks to his natural charisma and his looks. Before he made his horcruxes he was a very handsome young man." Dumbledore told his observations.
Harry pondered that information. The only part he knew he had was speaking parseltongue. How to turn this that they wouldn't call him dark?
"Are those abilities naturally dark? I mean I read a bit about Salazar Slytherin being a parselmouth in a History of Hogwarts, but why would the three other founders have allowed him to help with the project if being a parseltongue was dark?" Harry asked faking pure curiosity.
"No, the ability itself isn't dark. It's the opposite actually. The first known parselmouths were revered healers. It is part of the first-year history curriculum at healer school. The old Greek wizard Asclepius was a parselmouth and the most famous healer of the time. I don't know much about his abilities, there are no remaining records from that time, but stories that were handed down by word of mouth speak of him hissing at wounds that other healers declared incurable and healing them. There must be powerful magic of healing in parseltongue. If you would be interested in that area though, you would probably have to do a lot research on your own, Mr Potter." Healer Reggam said.
Harry nodded, this was a good opener.
"So if I had that ability it would probably be from the time the splint was stuck in my head?" Harry asked.
"Yes, he was, why did you speak with a snake?" Wundermoor asked.
"A few weeks ago in the zoo I noticed I could understand the snakes. I thought I heard a lizard talk as well, but that I could have imagined. I was a bit unsure what it meant, especially after reading some of my books and there being so many controversial opinions on it." Harry said.
"Well, that's easy to find out. Serpensortia." Dumbledore said and conjured a garden snake.
"What am I doing here?" The snake hissed.
"Hello?" Harry hissed back.
"A Speaker? I never met a speaker." The snake hissed excited.
"We are just testing my abilities." Harry answered. "Do you know if a parseltongue can also talk to other reptiles like lizards?"
"Yes, you can. Lizards are cousins to us snakes. As are our more distant cousins the dragons. But you can only talk to close relatives to the snakes. Something like those brute alligators you can't talk to. Or those turtles." The snake informed him.
"Thank you for the information. Are there special abilities snakes have?" Harry asked.
"Not that I know of. I am a normal garden snake. You would have to find a magical snake to find out." The snake replied.
"Okay, thanks for telling me all of this." Harry said.
"Please tell the big human with the long hair in his face that I want to go back where he called me from. I was enjoying a bath in the sun." The snake hissed.
"I will tell him." Harry promised chuckling at the description.
"Professor Dumbledore, the snake wants to go back from where you got her as she enjoyed a sunbath there." Harry said in English now.
Professor Dumbledore chuckled and waved his wand, having the snake return to her former location.
"Well, it seems you got that ability permanently. Sadly many people think it's a dark ability. As Healer Reggam said in ancient times it was seen as a healer's ability." Dumbledore said pondering.
"Perhaps I will do more research on that topic. I haven't decided yet what profession I want to pursue later, but being a healer was on the list of jobs that interested me. And if being a parselmouth would mean I had a natural talent for it, I might consider that way." Harry admitted.
"Well, you have some years to find out your calling, Harry. I will take my leave now and inform Nicolas." Dumbledore said and gave Fawkes a look and the phoenix flashed them away.
I know this chapter is shorter than the others, but it didn't really fit to the former or the next chapter.