You are currently viewing The Legacy of Merlin Chapter Thirty-Three

The Legacy of Merlin Chapter Thirty-Three

Harry stood in his mindscape alongside Merlin as they poured over the notebook, looking over the ritual the study group had performed.

“It’s the same ritual,” Merlin confirmed. “I don’t know how they found it, but it’s one I’ve encountered before.”

“It’s the one you told me about, isn’t it?” Harry asked, remembering the test Merlin put him through in the vault.”

“It’s a modified version of it,” Merlin agreed. “It doesn’t carry the same taint as the version you saw in the vault, but is just as dangerous.”

“It doesn’t seem like they’re stopping at doing the ritual just once either,” Harry observed, looking through the notes. “How many times can they do this?”

“It’s difficult to say,” Merlin replied. “It depends on the size of their magical pathways, and how powerful they are magically. The end result is the same, though. Overtime the foreign magic will erode their pathways.”

“How is it different from what I did to beat the acromantula?” Harry asked, not wanting the same thing to happen to him.

“What you did was also dangerous, but not in the same way. You focused and re-directed the magic around you to perform the spell. The magic was only in your system briefly and didn’t mingle with your own magic.”

“They took the magic from another living being and incorporated it into their own. It’s circulating inside them, along with their own magic, constantly, throughout all of their magical pathways. The magic of beasts is different from our own. It doesn’t belong, that is what causes the damage.”

“I don’t understand why they’re doing this. Once was bad enough. Do they know the damage it’s causing? Is there a way to fix it?” Harry asked, in concern.

“I’m sure they at least suspect by now the damage they’ve caused,” Merlin replied. “There are physical signs they can’t ignore.”

“But is there a way to undo the ritual?” Harry asked. “Or fix what’s happened to them?”

“No,” Merlin shook his head. “They have combined their magic with that of the acromantula. It can not be undone, at least as far as I have seen.”

“What’s going to happen to them?” Harry asked.

“Their magical pathways will continue to erode overtime,” Merlin explained. “Eventually they’ll collapse, and they will effectively become squibs.”

“And the more times they perform this ritual, the more damage it will cause?” Harry asked.

“It isn’t so much the ritual, but the amount of magic and type they absorb each time they perform the ritual,” Merlin answered. “If they absorb too much, it could kill them outright.”

“What we need to focus on is why they performed this ritual in the first place. If they simply wanted to get stronger over time, they would do the same things I’m teaching you.”

“You told me it would take years,” Harry said. “Maybe they don’t have that much time.”

“A good theory,” Merlin agreed. “This empowerment ritual was used in the past to prepare the casters to perform other spells or rituals that required even more magic.”

“Like what?” Harry asked, a little afraid to hear the answer.

“You’re right to be worried,” Merlin explained. “There are spells capable of destroying mountains, reducing entire oceans to nothing but ash, rituals to call forth monstrosities capable of destroying the world. The list is endless. It’s fortunate you were able to recover the book when you did.”

“How does that help?” Harry asked. “They’ve already performed the ritual at least once. Even without the book, they already know how to perform the ritual.”

“Ritual magic is complex, Harry,” Merlin explained. “There are three required components. The ritual circle, the sacrifice, and most importantly, the ritual book itself.”

“I don’t understand. Why is the ritual book important? Isn’t it just the directions?” Harry asked.

“It’s a lot more than that. The ritual book guides the magic of the ritual, much in the same way your incantations and wand movements do for your spells now, but infinitely more complex. Without it, the results will be disastrous.”

“Then if we destroy the book, we stop them,” Harry realized.

“It’s not quite that easy,” Merlin said, cutting off Harry’s train of thought. “It’s difficult to create ritual books, but not impossible. Given enough time, they could create another copy if they haven’t already. And destroying it is no easy task. Not unless you have a vial of basilisk venom.”

“Then we can put the book in the vault,” Harry decided. “They won’t be able to get it in there.”

Merlin nodded, thinking along the same lines. “For now, keep it in your chest. The protections on it should be enough to keep them out for now.”

“Andre doesn’t seem to believe what he’s doing is going to destroy the world. If anything, it’s the opposite,” Harry said, thinking out loud.

“That is their intention,” Merlin warned. “What they intend to do, and what they will bring about, are not the same thing.”

“There was a group of wizards and witches in my time. They thought they found a way to live forever, to never grow old.”

“What happened to them?” Harry asked.

“They succeeded,” Merlin revealed. “And every one of them is still alive to this very day.”

“Where are they?” Harry asked. “Why haven’t I ever heard of them before? They should be famous.”

“They are famous. In a way,” Merlin replied. “You call them Dementors now, but back then they were flesh and blood, just like you.”

Harry shivered at the thought of them. He read about them in books, but had never seen one in person.

“Be glad you haven’t,” Merlin replied. “They are an abomination to both life and magic, not quite alive, and not quite dead, stuck somewhere in the middle.”

“Do they still remember who they are?” Harry asked.

“No one knows for certain,” Merlin replied. “Some believe that after all this time, they’ve forgotten. Other believed they descended into madness when they realized what they had become, unable to die, forced to live on for centuries as nothing more than smoke and shadows.”

“The point is, even with the best of intentions, we can become monsters when we meddle in things we were never meant to,” Merlin explained.

Harry could only nod along. What Merlin told him was not in any book he had ever read. As far as he knew, no one knew where the Dementors came from, or how they came to be in the first place.

“It looks like your magical pathway is more or less repaired,” Merlin said, looking at the wall. There was only a faint outline of the crack left.

Harry went to sleep that night with more questions than answers. They still had no idea what the study group’s plans were, and these rituals were only the first step in a much bigger plan they knew nothing about.

Getting the ritual book away from them would slow them down, but he didn’t know if it would be enough to stop them.

Mungdungus stood outside the Dalton & Moore law firm. He had been trying for more than a week to figure out who was in charge of the Potter Trust with no luck. None of his usual strategies had worked.

All he had to do in the past was follow the barrister to whatever pub they frequented, got them nice and drunk, and then send in one of his associates. Usually a pretty, young witch who would bat her eyes and laugh at his jokes, and they would spill all their secrets.

But something was different this time. At just the mention of the Potter Trust, they clammed up. He had to go and erase their memories just to make sure they didn’t tell their superiors.

He had even gone so far as to question them under Veritasium, but the only thing they knew was to report any inquiries to the higher ups immediately.

That’s what led him to this. He would need an actual named partner to give him the answers he was looking for.

He had done his research. Dalton was the safest bet, unmarried, no children, which meant no one would notice if he was late returning home from work, and best of all, you could set a clock on how punctual he was.

He watched from across the street, hiding his face behind a newspaper as Dalton stepped out of the office and walked down the street.

He looked around to make sure no one was watching, and crossed the street, following after Dalton from a distance. It was late enough in the evening that there were only a few people out.

He got closer as Dalton neared the alley, and stepping in just behind him, then slung an arm over his shoulder, acting like he was greeting an old friend.

When Dalton looked up at him in confusion he struck. A silent stupefy slumped him over, and he quickly pulled him in to the dark alley behind them.

He looked around again to make sure no one saw them, then sidelong apparated them inside Dalton’s house.

When they arrived he shook his head in disbelief at how easy Dalton made it for him. People never seemed to learn. The more money they had, the less sense they had, and the more clever they ‘thought’ they were.

Since he apparated in with Dalton, he bypassed the wards, tricking them into thinking Dalton was the one bringing him, and not the other way around. Since he had no intention of harming Dalton, it didn’t trigger the intent-based wards either.

He dropped Dalton on the couch, placing him in a body bind to be on the safe side, and started his search.

“Where would a rich pureblood hide his secrets?” Dung said to himself as he looked around. “Definitely not here in the living room,” he said, going from room to room. “Bedroom? No, too obvious,” he dismissed. “The study… Maybe.”

He walked into the room and looked through the desk drawers, but didn’t find anything. He turned around, thinking about where to search next, and looked at the portrait of Dalton hanging on the wall. “There’s no way he could be that vain? Could he?” He asked himself.

“Worth a shot, I guess,” he said, examining the portrait. He felt around the edges of the picture frame, finding a hinge. The portrait swung open, revealing a safe. “Muggle design… pretty clever for a wizard, but not clever enough.”

Dung cast a listening charm on his ear and pressed it against the safe door. He carefully listened as he clicked through the tumblers, unlocking it after just a few minutes work.

“A hundred years old at least,” Dung tsked. “Something modern, from even twenty years ago, would have been more of a challenge.”

He opened the door and peered inside, a smile forming on his face as he found a few bags of galleons he took for himself, along with a thick stack of documents.

Dung sat down in the chair, going through the documents. Most of them went over his head, far too much legalize, but eventually he found what he was looking for.

According to the documents, the Potter Trust wasn’t being managed by Dalton & Moore, even though they were collecting a substantial fee. They subcontracted it out to another company, Evergreen.

It wasn’t much, but it at least gave him something to ask Dalton about. Veritasium was a great resource in his line of work, but what most people overlooked is that it was only as good as the questions you asked.

Anyone skilled enough in Occlumency could evade the questions, or answer them in such a way that they told the truth, but misrepresented what they were saying, leading you to draw false conclusions.

After looking through the rest of the house carefully, he made his way back downstairs to question Dalton, casting an envervate on the man, to wake him up.

“What?” Dalton said groggily. The last thing he remembered was walking down the street. ‘How did I get home?’ He thought as he tried to get to his feet, but found he couldn’t. He looked up to see a man standing over him he didn’t recognize.

“Hello Mr. Dalton,” Dung said with a smug smile. “I have some questions for you.”

“Who are you? What’s going on?” Dalton demanded. “Do you have any idea the kind of trouble you’re in?” he said, trying to bluster his way out of whatever this was.

“Who I am is unimportant. You won’t even remember who I am after I leave,” Dung replied, pulling the man’s head back and quickly putting a drop of Veritasium on his tongue before he could react.

“What can you tell me about the Potter trust?” Dung asked.

“The Potter trust is managed through my law firm, Dalton & Moore,” Dalton replied in a monotone voice as the potion quickly took effect.

Dung smirked. It was a good try, but it wasn’t going to work. “Who specifically manages the trust?”

“I don’t know,” Dalton replied.

‘Interesting,’ Dung thought. “What is the entity that manages the Potter Trust?”

This time it took an extra few seconds for Dalton to answer, as he was clearly fighting the effects of the potion. “…Evergreen Investments.”

“Who is in charge of Evergreen Investments?” Dung asked.

This time Dalton took even longer to answer, but the answer itself certainly surprised him. “…I don’t know.”

“What do you mean, you don’t know?” Dung asked in surprise. As a named partner, he had to know. He was magically bound to act in the best interests of his client. How could he do that without knowing who was managing the trust?

“.. I don’t… know,” Dalton replied, a bead of sweat visible on his forehead.

Dung sighed, trying to think of another way to approach this. There was definitely something odd going on here. None of this made sense unless… “In the matter of the Potter trust, is Lord James Potter your client?”

“…No,” Dalton admitted, breaking into a full sweat.

“Who is the named client for the Potter Trust?” Dung asked.

This time Dalton didn’t answer, confirming Dung’s suspicions. Someone had taken control of the Potter fortune, and they had gone to great lengths to hide it.

He reviewed what he had learned, trying to make sense of it. Someone other than Lord Potter controlled the trust. They were the actual client of Dalton & Moore, whom they were bound by magic to always act in the best interests of. The client authorized the Trust to be managed by a third party, Evergreen investments. All this made it very difficult for someone like him to follow the trail.

“What is the fee that Evergreen Investments charges to manage the Trust?” Dung asked.

“…60% of the gains,” Dalton admitted.

“And how much does Dalton & Moore collect?” Dung asked.

“…37% of the gains,” Dalton said.

“Leaving only 3% to the Potters,” Dung said, doing the math. They were effectively robbing Potter blind.

“How do you collect your fee?” Dung asked.

“It’s directly deposited by Gringott’s,” Dalton answered.

Dung cursed. It was another dead end. Getting a goblin to reveal details about a client account was virtually impossible. He would need to talk to Potter about increasing his fee, this went far deeper than he originally thought.

There was nothing else he was going to get out of Dalton. Who ever orchestrated this knew what they were doing.

He pulled out his wand, casting a stupefy, followed by a targeted obliviate to remove Dalton’s memories of their discussion. All he would remember was taking an uneventful walk home and falling asleep on his couch.

Hermione stood outside the Hospital Wing after her visit with Madame Pomfrey, having just been chewed out by the Med-witch. She had been told in no uncertain terms how dangerous it was to cast magic outside of the curriculum, and how close it had been to having long-lasting consequences for her.

She now had a potion she had to take every morning for the next two weeks to repair the damage, and she could only cast spells during classes until she fully recovered.

A few days ago, the news would have floored her, knowing that she would fall further behind her classmates, and likely lose her spot in the ranking, but after the last few days to put things in perspective, it didn’t seem nearly as important as it once did.

The study group was trying to convince her and Draco to do the ritual. They were subtle about it, hinting that it would help them in the rankings, but she knew now she couldn’t trust a word they said.

She tucked the potions vials into her robes and went to the great hall to join Harry and Ron for breakfast, arriving just in time for the daily prophet to be delivered.

She looked at the headline in mild surprise. Harry had made the front page again, but unlike before, she didn’t feel like he was doing it to show off. Harry saw a problem, and he went out and found a solution. It was just who he was, nothing more, nothing less.

Nimbus Donates Brooms to Hogwarts

By Kikis Trecus

In a recent interview with the founder of the Nimbus Broom Company, Devlin Whitehorn, we discussed the most poorly kept secret in the Quidditch world. Nimbus’s new racing broom, the Nimbus 2000, along with the current state of the company.

Mr. Whitehorn confirmed the new broom design is set to launch next summer, and not only that, it will be the fastest production broom in the world.

Unlike previous brooms they’ve launched that focused on incremental improvements and refinements the 2000 was designed and built from the ground up with a focus on speed, maneuverability, and comfort, setting a new standard for broom design.

To meet their production goals, they brought on a new investor, as well as endorser, Harry Potter. And yes, it is the very same Harry Potter who solved Merlin’s Cypher, and established the Harry Potter Scholarship fund.

Mr. Whitehorn had this to say about his new partner. ‘I had a chance to meet with Harry before we signed the paperwork, and I have to say he impressed me quite a bit. I could tell immediately he has a keen mind for charm design and enchanting.’

‘He even brought something to my attention, something I hadn’t been aware of, the state of the Hogwarts school brooms. In my time at Hogwarts, they were considered ancient, and those very same brooms are still being used to this day.’

‘They’re quite frankly dangerous, and it’s a miracle no one has been seriously injured yet.’

‘Neither I nor Harry could let this stand, especially since we are in such a unique position to do something about it.’

‘We at the Nimbus Broom Company will make a donation of thirty Nimbus 1500’s to Hogwarts for use in their flying classes as well as quidditch games.’

Hermione looked at the picture above the article, Harry, and who she presumed was the owner of Nimbus standing shoulder to shoulder holding a broom, and smiling proudly.

“Is this for real, mate?” Ron asked in surprise. The 1500s weren’t exactly a top of the line broom anymore, but they were far better than the current school brooms, and well above what most parents would spend on their children.

“Yeah,” Harry replied. “I was talking to Devlin, and he explained just how dangerous the school brooms are. Even if they don’t look damaged, most of the spell work has degraded by now. What happened to Neville could have just as easily happened to any one of us.”

It wasn’t long before excited chatter broke out amongst the rest of the students as they finished reading the newspaper, talking about how they couldn’t wait to try out the new brooms.

Neville looked down at his food, deep in thought. He had been so embarrassed by the whole broom incident. He knew intellectually it wasn’t his fault, but it still stung when he thought about what the other students must think of him.

He looked at Harry, as he talked to an excited Ron about the new school brooms. He doubted Harry even realized it, but his last comment had done a lot to help his self esteem. He wasn’t a screw up, what happened to him could have happened to anyone.

A moment later, another thought struck him. Why had no one ever done something about this before? Why didn’t he? He was the heir to the Longbottom fortune. It would have been expensive, but he could have easily managed it. It would have been far less expensive than what Harry paid out to buy a stake in Nimbus.

“You alright Neville?” Harry asked, noticing the look on his friend’s face.

“No, I’m fine,” Neville said shaking his head. “This was a really nice thing to do, Harry. I wish I thought of it,” he finished ruefully.

“Thanks Neville,” Harry smiled, patting him on the back. “And if you want to help, there’s a lot you could do. I only scratched the surface with my replacing the school brooms. There are still a lot of kids that can’t afford Hogwarts, and even more that go hungry.”

Neville thought about everything Harry had done for him. While everyone else saw him as a joke, or a disappointment, Harry had taken him under his wing, helped him with his classwork, and he hadn’t asked for a single thing in return.

He still wasn’t the best student, barely cracking the top 20 in the student ranking, but it was miles better than what he could have done on his own.

He had never thought about stuff like this before he met Harry, more concerned with his own problems and shortcomings than what everyone else had to deal with.

“You’re right,” Neville nodded in agreement. “I’m going to talk to my gran, and figure out something I can do to help, too.”

“That’s great Neville! If you want, you can reach out to my barrister, Ted Tonks. He can help you get started,” Harry replied enthusiastically.

Albus watched on from his seat at the teacher’s table, and couldn’t help but be impressed with Harry. How he had leveraged his ownership stake in Nimbus to get that concession out of Whitehorn was a master stroke.

In one fell swoop he increased his reputation with the Wizarding public, given the Nimbus a company a major sales boost, and increased the value of his own personal brand.

He had known about the problem with Hogwarts brooms for years, and how much of a ticking time bomb they were, but finding the funds in the school budget was virtually impossible.

The Ministry couldn’t provide anymore than they already were, the parents couldn’t pay higher tuition fees, and the alumni outright refused to donate any more that they already did.

He thought about all the time he had wasted on Gloria Potter, trying to build up her reputation and standing, only for the girl to practically sabotage every attempt he made with her entitled attitude and lack of decorum.

If she had achieved even a fraction of what Harry had done on his own today, he would have felt far more secure about his legacy and techings carrying over to the next generation

“They’re gone,” Beatrice said as she looked down the hallway to make sure Hermione and Draco had left.

“Good,” Andre said. He wished he could trust Hermione and Draco with this, but with how reluctant they had been to do the ritual, he wasn’t sure if it was a good idea.

“What are we supposed to do about these spies?” Talbott asked. “They clearly survived the Acromantula attack. They even snuck into Elspeth’s room with no one noticing.”

“They also broke the wards on my trunk,” Elspeth added. “They shouldn’t have been able to do that, especially that fast.”

“We’re not dealing with students,” Lucian concluded. “Fighting off Acromantula’s, breaking wards, sneaking in to common rooms with no one noticing? No one seventh year or below could have pulled all that off.”

“I’ve been thinking the same thing,” Andre agreed. “They’re far too skilled to be students. I reached out to the alumni to let them know what happened.”

“I can’t imagine they were happy,” Ismelda replied.

“No, they weren’t,” Andre replied, “but more than that, they’re concerned. Whoever these people are, they have the ritual book now. Not only can they could cause a lot of damage with it, but we can’t perform any more rituals without it. We need to find and deal with them quickly.”

“We don’t even know who they are,” Talbott pointed out. “How are we supposed to find them?”

“We don’t need to find them. They’re going to come to us,” Lucian realized. “Breaking into Elspeth’s trunk was just the start. They’re going to try the same thing with the rest of us, we just have to wait.”

“So a trap, then?” Ismelda smirked. “What did you have in mind?”

“They’ve proved they know enough about warding to tear down anything we’re capable of putting up, and they know when we all meet. That’s why they struck during our meeting. So we’ll stop meeting together, at least a couple of us won’t attend, and we’ll switch randomly. After a few weeks of this, we’ll all meet. It’ll be too tempting for them to resist searching one of our dorms,” Lucian explained with a smirk.

“Then we’ll end the meeting as soon as it starts and get to our dorm rooms. We can catch them in the act,” Andre smiled, liking the idea.

The Alumni had told him it would take another month to produce another copy of the ritual book. If they could recover it before that, it would put them back on schedule.

Hermione and Draco returned from their latest meeting with the study group, feeling exhausted. They had to remain constantly on their guard to not let anything slip, and worse, the group was becoming more and more overt with their offers for them to take part in the ritual.

They pushed open the door to the abandoned classroom they had selected for their meeting to find Ron and Harry already sitting there waiting for them.

“Are you two okay?” Harry asked, in concern, noticing the tired looks on their faces.

“No,” Hermione admitted, shaking her head. “This is awful. They keep trying to convince us to do the ritual, and we’re running out of excuses to give them.”

“Hermione’s right,” Draco agreed. He had been initially skeptical about going along with Potter, but the more time he spent with the study group, the clearer it became they were up to something. “They don’t trust us enough to tell us what they’re planning, and that won’t change unless we do this ritual of theirs.”

Harry sighed. This is what he had been afraid of. The study group had access to another copy of the ritual book. They couldn’t have existed for as long as they had without being cautious. It was just too dangerous for Hermione and Draco to be involved with them. “You’re right. We need to get you out of the study group.”

“I’ve been thinking about that,” Ron said. “And I  have something that might work, but you’re not going to like it,” he finished, looking squarely a Hermione.

“What is it?” Hermione asked. She was willing to do almost anything to get out of this mess.

“You both are going to get caught cheating on the big transfiguration test coming up,” Ron answered.

“What?!” Hermione asked in shock. What did he mean cheat? She had never cheated on anything in her life before.

“Think about it,” Ron argued. “They know we broke into the Hufflepuff common room and stole the notebook. If you just up and quit, they’re going to suspect you at least know something, but if you get caught cheating, they’re going to be the ones kicking you out.”

“You know what Weasley?” Draco said as he thought about the plan, his lips curling up into a smirk. “That could actually work.”

Hermione looked between Draco and Ron, not sure what to think. Draco actually supported this idea? There had to be a better way. “You can’t be serious.”

“I think Ron’s right,” Harry agreed. “The professors are going to look at everyone you associate with after you get caught to see if they’re cheating too. The last thing the study groups wants is to have that kind of attention from the professors.

“Not you too Harry,” Hermione said shaking her head in disbelief, but for the life of her she couldn’t think of a better plan.

“Think about it Hermione, you two have already done all the groundwork for this already. Tell them you studied as much as you could, but you were still falling down the rankings. It was the only way to keep your spots,” Ron said.

“We were also nervous about doing the ritual,” Draco added on to the plan. “What if something went wrong?”

“What if we get expelled for cheating?” Hermione asked. “What are we supposed to do, then?”

“It won’t go that far,” Draco denied. “Even if it did, my father is on the board of governors. There’s no way he would let us get expelled.”

“Why would he protect me?” Hermione asked. “Your father doesn’t even know me.”

“He won’t have a choice,” Draco explained. “He’s going to downplay this as a youthful indiscretion. That’s not going to work if we end up with different punishments.”

“The twins have done way worse than getting caught cheating,” Ron added. “And they’re still here.”

“They’re also not going to want to associate with either of you,” Harry added. “Whatever they’re planning, it’s going to happen before the end of the school year. The last thing they’re going to want is the professors looking over their shoulders wondering where a couple of first years got the idea to cheat on a test.”

“Alright,” Hermione said. She couldn’t believe she was going along with this. “How are we supposed to make it look like we cheated?”

“That’s the best part,” Ron smiled mischievously. “You’re going to actually cheat.”

Hi, I’m really sorry about the late update. I don’t have any internet access where I am so it’s a bit of a challenge to get to somewhere with a reliable connection right now.

Please let me know what you think of the chapter.

Thank you for reading, and supporting me,


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