Harry and Salazar were on the stairs going down to the ground floor when Harry asked a question out of curiosity.
“I just had a thought, if you’re really over a thousand years old why don’t you lift the spells on me? I mean, wouldn’t it be better if you were to lift those spells off of me? You should have much more knowledge about it so why don’t you do it?” Harry asked slightly curious and confused.
Upon hearing those questions Salazar started to laugh.
“I’ll answer those questions with another one. Who do you think is more qualified? A person who read a thousand books about a topic but performed the things described in it only a few times when he had to, or the person who only read a few books but performs those things hundreds of times in a single year, and even then, practices and hones their craft over centuries?”
Harry thought about that. “When you put it that way I’d prefer the person who has practical experience over the one who only has knowledge from books.”
“See? You just answered your own questions, that is exactly why I let my friend Mr. Reichard do things like this. I might have a millennia’s worth of knowledge on many subjects but this is a field of magic I rarely use or even come in contact with. Even less so when it comes to a person instead of objects.”
They reached the ground floor and went into the drawing room from wherein Harry could hear two voices, a female and a male. They entered the room, on the right stood a man who looked to be in his mid 50’s, and on the left a woman who seemed to be a bit younger than the man but not by much.
“Hello, and thank you for coming. Harry this is Mr. Reichard and Ms. Pye, Mr. Reichard, Ms. Pye this is my relative that I was telling you about; Harry Potter,” Salazar introduced everyone.
If not in detail they at least now knew Salazar and Harry were related.
“Hello Harry, nice to meet you,” Ms. Pye greeted the boy with a smile before Mr. Reichard did the same.
“Nice to meet you too,” Harry greeted in return.
“How about a nice cup of tea before you get to work?” Salazar asked
“You Brits and your tea,” Reichard laughed.
“Well it’s better than that black water you call coffee!” Pye retorted. “But I wouldn’t say no to a nice black tea.” She said with a slight smile
Both men started to laugh and Harry also snickered.
“Blinky! Would you please make some tea for us?” Salazar asked
“As master wishes,” and with that Blinky disappeared as fast as he had appeared.
“So, I see your opinion towards elves hasn’t changed,” Sylvia stated.
“You know my reasoning, and I know for a fact that you don’t think any different.”
Sylvia grinned. “That’s why I’m relieved to see that you haven’t changed.”
They all sat down and started to talk about several different things. Mostly about recent events but also about magic. Harry meanwhile sat with them listening carefully to their conversation while sipping his tea. He didn’t understand much of was talked about but it really seemed interesting, especially when the topic switched to potions. To Harry it sounded like a different and more advanced version of cooking but with more powerful the results. He swore to himself he would look up how to make potions as soon as he had the time. For now, he just listened, absorbing any bit of information he could get.
“So, I suggest we start with the examination now that we talked some. I think it best that we do it in Harry’s bedroom so that the boy can lay on his bed and relax. What do you think Reichard?” Sylvia asked.
“I agree. While this won’t hurt it would be better if you relaxed a bit,” Reichard told Harry who was a bit tense now.
Harry nodded and they all went upstairs to his bedroom.
“Do I have to do anything?” Harry asked.
“No, just lay down on your bed and relax. Mr. Reichard and I will do the rest,” Ms. Pye told him.
“Okay.” he replied and lay down
“I’ll be over there in a chair so I can watch but I’m not in the way. Everything will be fine, you’ll see.” Salazar reassured him after Harry looked to him with a nervous expression upon his face.
“So then let’s get started. I think you should start checking for spells and remove any you find before I check the boy’s health so that I get the clearest results without anything interfering,” Ms. Pye said.
“Good idea. Harry I would like for you to take off the bracelet, It would only affect my work,” Reichard told him with a soft smile.
Upon hearing that he looked a bit anxious.
“You wouldn’t take it away from me will you?” he asked while holding the bracelet tightly. It was the first thing that was really his and he didn’t want to part with it.
“No, of course not,” Mr. Reichard said sounding slightly shocked. “I did after all make that bracelet especially for you upon Salazar’s Request. You can put it on your bedside table and wear it once again when we are done with the examination but for now it would only repel my attempts to get any spells off of you.” he told him.
Harry reluctantly took the bracelet off and laid it carefully on his bedside table.
Once the bracelet was off and Harry had set it down Reichard immediately took out his wand and started to chant. It only took a few seconds before Harry’s body started to glow lowly and several symbols appeared in the air. Harry observed the whole process fascinated, those symbols that had appeared earlier now hovered above him. He couldn’t make heads or tails out of them but for it seemed different for Mr. Reichard and Ms. Pye. They both looked closely at the strange glowing symbols.
“Boy you have a lot of spells and charms on you, and some strange ones too,” Ms. Pye stated.
Harry thought that if the count of those symbols above him gave any indication as to how many spells were on him he had to agree. There were quite a lot of them.
“Hmm…some tracking spells but that was to be expected…” Reichard mused before starting to chant again.
He chanted for several minutes and from time to time one of the symbols hovering in the air vanished.
“Also some monitoring spells…but taking into account the fact that Dumbledore doesn’t want him to get lost also isn’t that big surprise.”
Once again, Reichard began chanting while several more symbols vanished. Over the half of them were now gone.
“Okay this is weird. Why should anyone put a magic dampening spell on him?” Reichard asked while looking closer at one of the remaining symbols.
“Magic dampening spell? What is it supposed to do?” Salazar asked speaking up for the first time in the last twenty minutes.
“Well it cuts off some of Harry’s magical capability as it seems, so that he cannot access his full magical power, and boy is it strong, stronger than I’ve ever seen before. It’s good we found it now because that would have influenced the development of his magical core and left him significantly weakened in the end, with a high probability of him becoming a squib in the worst case. Only an idiot would do such a thing!” Reichard now growled.
Harry looked really worried. Who would do such a thing to him and why? He didn’t know much about that topic, one more he would have to do some research, but it sounded bad.
“Can you do something about it?” he asked anxiously.
“Sure, it will take some time but I will eventually remove it, and because we found it this early it shouldn’t have any influence on your magical development,” Sylvia explained him.
Hearing that Harry relaxed a bit before Reichard went back to work.
This time it took him nearly an hour. He had to be very careful if he didn’t want it to backfire or damage the magical core of the boy and cripple his magic irreparably, but he wasn’t a master in his branch of magic for nothing. So, he worked slowly and steadily before he finally removed the last traces of the spell. What happened then surprised everyone in the room, when the magical core of Harry was finally set free a small shockwave escaped him, knocked over Ms. Pye and Reichard who stood next to him, made Salazar duck into his chair, and shattered the windows. Harry started to panic when he saw that, anxious that he could have hurt them.
“Wow! Well I certainly didn’t expect that,” Reichard stated while getting back onto his feet. “I don’t remove dampening spells often, but even so this has never happened before.”
“What exactly HAS happened?” Salazar asked while getting up and repairing the windows.
“Well normally when you put such a spell on someone you only cut of a small part of the magical core from the person you put it on. It weakens them but is otherwise, if done correctly, harmless. But in Harry’s case I suspect it was much more, if not most of his magical core, leaving him just strong enough to count as a wizard of lower average power. But to get more accurate results I would have to check him further. I really would like to know who did this and why, before I tell them what I think about them and their idiocy. It seems that said person either had no idea what he did, or he knew and ignored any common sense he might have had, or they’ve lost their sanity,” Reichard growled. “Either way that was one of the most foolish things I’ve ever seen!”
“I think you should stop rambling in front of the boy. You’re scaring him” Pye scolded him before smiling at Harry.
Harry smiled back at her thankfully. He calmed down after he saw that everyone was fine but tensed up again when he heard what Reichard said.
“You’re right. I’m sorry, it wasn’t my intention to scare you but I have to check if everything is alright with your magic after that fierce reaction, ok?”
Harry nodded and Reichard chanted the charm he used to find out the spells on Harry a second time because the first had vanished while the incident occurred. Now there were only three more symbols where before there had been around ten. It seemed that setting Harry’s core free also shattered several other charms and spells that had been placed upon the boy in the process. Reichard was slightly worried he hadn’t been able to look closer at the spells before they had vanished and therefore had no idea what they had been meant to do. He would have to observe the boy over a period time in order to see whether there were any long-term side effects.
“It looks like some of the spells shattered when the core was freed, I’d like you to check whether that had any physical impact on him Pye.”
“I can’t find any new injuries or other aftereffects at the moment. Anything else I’d like to check for when you’re done” she said after casting a quick examination charm.
“Alright,” Reichard said and with that he got back to work.
Upon taking a closer look at Harry’s magical core to try and find any abnormalities he couldn’t find anything out of the normal so he went to work on the remaining three symbols. The first was a loyalty charm that he got rid of quickly. The second one was a defensive charm and the third some kind of memory block which he left for the moment.
“So now there are only two charms left at the moment. One is a defensive charm that protects him from low hexes and jinxes but it seems that it is about to wear of and it wasn’t really strong in the first place. I can remove it or leave it be, either way it provides no danger to him and I’d say it will only last around another year maximum. The second one is a memory block, the thing with that is I don’t know what memories are blocked with it. It could be anything from some information he heard accidentally and the person didn’t want him to remember up to what actually happened that day when he was 15 months old,” Reichard explained. “That’s why I don’t know whether it’s a good idea to remove it or not.”
“Hmmm, it’s not my memory that is blocked…” Salazar mused. “Harry in the end it’s your decision whether you want to have the block removed or not.”
Harry was uncertain. On one hand knowing that there are memories you have no access to would be a bit unsettling but on the other hand who knows what memories they were. It could be as Reichard had said, the memories of what actually happened that day, and he didn’t know whether he ever wanted to remember if that was the case.
“Would it hurt me if the block stays?” he therefore asked.
“No, and it can be removed by anyone capable whenever you want it to be removed,” Reichard replied.
He thought about it a moment before he answered.
“I think the best thing would be to leave it for the moment. I’m not sure whether I could manage the memories should it be about…about that day…” his voice fading out at the end.
“Good. I’d say we take a break then before we get to the medical examination,” Pye proposed.
Salazar glancing at the clock replied. “I’ll let the elves know to prepare a meal. It’s shortly before noon anyway.”
After giving the elves appropriate orders he lead the group downstairs and to the dining room where they all sat down. They talked about what had happened when the block on Harrys magic was removed before Sylvia noticed that Harry simply sat there silently, lost in thought.
“Is everything alright Harry?” she asked concern showing on her face.
Harry meanwhile didn’t react, continuing to muse over something.
“Harry?” she now asked a bit louder.
His head snapped up; ripped from his thoughts.
“Yes?” he asked.
“Is everything alright? You seemed to be lost in thought,” she asked again.
“Yeah it’s only that I feel strange since the magical block got removed.”
“Strange? Does it hurt you?” she asked now clearly on edge.
“No, no, nothing like that, this, it’s more like…like I don’t know how to describe it appropriately.” Harry sighed but still tried to find the right words to describe the sensation. “It’s more like where there was only a little stream before now there’s a torrential river within me.”
Everyone in the room eyed him warily. Pye cast an examination charm to see if anything was wrong or could hurt the boy but it came out negative.
“Hmmm, I will have to look deeper into it when I fully examine you. Right now though there’s no danger coming from it, but you have to tell us immediately if anything changes, understood? Anything at all” she made that very clear before giving him a last worried glance and returning to the conversation Salazar and Reichard were having.
A few minutes later the food appeared on the table and everyone began to eat. Only Harry poked at his food absently, barely eating anything, still thinking about the change, but not exclusively. He also thought about the memory block and what Salazar had told him this morning. At the moment he felt like everything was way over his head. It wasn’t that he wanted to go back to the Dursleys, heaven forbid; but right now it was simply too much in a too small amount of time. Hell he left Privet drive just this morning around four o’clock. Yes, he had slept some in the car, but he had woken up around nine from a nightmare. So perhaps in total he had slept about five and a half hours in total, and half of that time not even well. The bath had helped but now he felt tired and exhausted. He really should have taken a nap instead of asking Salazar those questions; not that he regretted learning what he had, but grieving about lost chances didn’t help so he let those thoughts go.
After everyone had finished, bar Harry who had just pushed the plate away after taking a few bites, they went back to the bedroom. Harry once again lay on the bed.
Now it was Sylvia’s turn to examine him but Harry barely listened to what was said between Pye, Salazar, and Reichard. He had a hard time not falling asleep.
Pye started with a chant like Reichard had but it was a different one. With that completed, she examined the body of the boy.
“Hmmm, ok, looks like he’s had several broken bones. Luckily every single one has healed properly, even without medical care it seems. Several scars, most of them are on his back, weird. Harry my dear would you please turn around and lift your sweater so that I can take a closer look?” she asked him.
Harry sighed, he knew this would happen. He would have avoided it if he could but there was no way so he turned around and pulled up the sweater he wore when he heard Pye take a sharp breath.
“Merlin, I’ve never seen something like that before. Who did that to you?” she was angry, scratch that beyond angry she was furious.
On Harry’s back were several scars, all different lengths and angles. Some seemed to be several years old while some were quite fresh and had just started to heal.
Harry sighed again. “My uncle tended to hit me with his belt when I did something wrong, wasn’t fast enough for them, or just because I was there,” he said with a hushed voice.
Salazar sucked in a gasp.
“I knew that you were beaten, but that? I had no idea…”he growled.
Something would have to be done about them or better yet something had to happen to them, more so sooner than later if he had to say anything about that – and well, he did. To think they were related to him in any possible way…he wanted to vomit.
“Luckily I can do something about those scars,” Pye said with a reassuring smile to Harry before she took a salve out of her briefcase, which lay next to the boy on the bed, which she then applied on the scars.
She waited a bit for the salve to get absorbed before she applied a spell on the scars too.
“Alright, in a few days they should be barely recognisable, and in a week they should have vanished completely. You can turn around again.”
Harry did as he was asked, relieved that the scars would eventually heal. He hated being reminded of what his uncle did to him.
“So, onwards with the examination,” she said while she continued. “He needs more calcium, and the blood iron level is also too low, as well as some other minerals… I’ll give you a potion to get those back up later. Because of the insufficient supply of iron as well as those other minerals you are also a bit small for your age but that should sort out by itself when you take the potions, as well as your eyesight so that you won’t need glasses anymore eventually.”
She cast a few more spells, which all came without a significant result bar one.
“That’s strange, Reichard what do you think of that?” she asked while exanimating the scar on Harry’s forehead.
Reichard who had stood aside a bit to let Pye do her work, stepped closer and looked at the spell results before he took a sharp breath.
“That can’t be!” he exclaimed.
He took out his wand and cast a few more spells all with the same result. Harry who was now wide-awake looked alarmed.
“What’s the problem?” Salazar demanded to know.
“Look for yourself.” Reichard replied.
Salazar stepped next to him and also took a look at the spell’s result before he looked alarmed.
“What is it?” now Pye also looked alarmed, less so because she knew what it was and more because she knew that when both men looked that alarmed something was terribly wrong.
“A Horcrux!” both exclaimed unison.
“A what?” now it was Harry who spoke up.
“A Horcrux. Horace Cruz invented about 1000 B.C. a ritual to split one’s soul in order to gain immortality,” Salazar started to explain.
“Wait I thought Herpo the Foul was the one who invented it;” Reichard interrupted him.
“No, the original inventor was Cruz but he hadn’t been successful in creating one. Later Herpo found Cruz’ notes, recreated the ritual and was the first to be successful. As I said before the ritual is used to split one’s soul and place the second part in an object. When the user dies he doesn’t die completely as long as the remaining soul part `lives´ within the object because he can revive himself with that part when certain conditions are met. It is considered the darkest known ritual because one has to commit the most supreme act of evil – murder – in order to create one. The problem with this is that by creating a Horcrux you dabble with the `Fundamental Laws of Magic´ mangling them in the process. So, the remaining soul part then becomes very unstable and therefore one has to be careful to not shatter it entirely and die in a very painful manner.”
“The name in the meantime came from Horace Cruz himself which later got switched to Horace Crux and then mashed together into Horcrux which I think is adequate because it also means `The Soul Outside´.”
Salazar told them everything he knew about that topic while the others looked at him in horror while listening with rapt attention. Reichard had heard about those things during his work and knew the general gist of the matter but even he was shocked how one was created and what it did to the user because he didn’t know that part.
“So you want to tell me that in the scar of the boy is the soul piece from another person?” Pye asked incredulous.
“Not only that but regarding the size of the piece the person who created it did it before, and not only once but about six or seven times.” Salazar answered.
“WHAT?” three voices called out in unison while Pye flung herself into the next available chair, her legs unable to continue supporting her due to the shock.
“You mean one person not only committed murder several times, which is horrific in itself, but also split his soul in the process six to seven times? How can said person even be alive; not to mention in a sane state?” Reichard tried to wrap his head around that but failed spectacularly.
Salazar just nodded. “I can only think of one individual who is not only insane enough to even try but also desperate enough in his search of immortality to do it; Tom Marvolo Riddle.”
“Who?” Pye asked.
“Oh yes, you know him under his other name; Lord Voldemort.”
Pye and Reichard flinched upon hearing that name.
“This is getting even better. So, you think You-know-who is immortal because he has created these Horcruxes?” Pye looked at him in disbelief.
“Not immortal. Nobody is truly immortal even with that many Horcruxes. Destroy those and the one who created them is as mortal as everyone else, until then…” he sighed.
“But the more imminent question right now is how do we get that thing out of me!” Harry exclaimed. All the discussions about how to create them and immortality were nice, but for now, he only wanted one thing; to get rid of that thing and quick.
“I have no idea, it’s the first time I’ve heard about it, let alone see such a thing,” Sylvia knew that this was out of her realm of possibilities. “But perhaps the Department of Mysteries in the Ministry knows what to do.”
“Hmmm I also don’t know enough about this topic to know how to reverse it. I’d have a lot of reading to do…”Reichard mused.
“Well I know two possible options but I’d recommend them only as a last resort…a very last resort.”
“What would they be?” Reichard asked out of curiosity.
“A dementor or a demon,” Salazar answered. “Both are able to extract souls and also should be able to get that soul piece out of him but I don’t know whether I’d risk the side effects of a dementor and the price you’d have to pay a demon…well there is a reason why nobody gets anywhere near them. I mean I know one and I could ask him but he is a bit more than eccentric and I don’t know how he would react to this. I also don’t want to do it when there is even the slightest chance to get rid of it another way.”
“You know a demon…why am I not even the slightest bit surprised by that?” Reichard pouted while Sylvia looked at Salazar as if he was insane. Salazar in the meantime looked at Reichard quizzically.
“You, my friend, know everybody and their mother,” Reichard laughed despite the grave situation.
“I think we got side-tracked again, HOW THE HELL DO WE GET THIS THING OUT OF ME?!” Harry furious by now shouted. He was tired, he now had a headache that was killing him, someone had mangled his magic and on top of that was foul thing that resided in his scar. He was at the end of his tether.
“Harry please calm down. We’re trying to find a solution that doesn’t harm you, but it isn’t easy since none of us has any experience with something like this” Salazar stepped next to Harry and lay an arm around the boy’s shoulders in order to calm him down.
“NO!” the boy shouted while he pulled his knees to the chin wrapping his arms around them. Suddenly a bright flash and an extremely powerful wave of magic escaped him, knocking everyone out, including himself.
At the same time, somewhere in the middle of Scotland in Hogwarts Dumbledore paced through his office boiling with rage. Last night his golden poster boy had vanished completely. He wasn’t anywhere near Privet Drive anymore and every tracking spell he put on him had failed. Some of the instruments in his office, which also were to monitor the boy continued working indicating that he was still alive but that was everything he knew.
He was with Minerva for several hours to discuss what to do about it, but now when he returned to his office he saw that the instruments that were working before had also ceased functioning now. That meant that someone had either removed the spells on the boy or he was dead. He hoped it was the former because he didn’t even want to think about the consequences of the latter.
Fawkes in the meantime, who was sitting on his perch, shook his head. Had Dumbledore been in his office at the time he would have seen that the instruments had stopped working one after another and not all at the same time, but he hadn’t been and so Fawkes saw no reason to give him any hint. He wasn’t loyal to him after all. So, he stuck his head under his wing to get some sleep while praying that the boy was in a better place now. Hopefully with him.