You are currently viewing The Legacy of Merlin Chapter Forty-Four

The Legacy of Merlin Chapter Forty-Four

Harry sat down beside Hermione and Ron for their transfiguration class. Professor McGonagall had taken another couple of days off before she resumed her classes, and there was a marked difference in how she behaved, especially towards Hermione and Draco.

She wasn’t being vindictive like Snape would, given the situation, but she didn’t call on Hermione to answer questions at all, no matter how many times she raised her hand, and the same for Draco.

He felt bad, seeing the hurt in Hermione’s eyes as she slowly lowered her hand, realizing how difficult it would be for her to mend her relationship with her professor, if at all, and his role in it.

The same could be said for the rest of the students, including their own house. There had even been talk of excluding Hermione, essentially pressuring her to withdraw from Hogwarts.

He along with Ron and the twins were thankfully able to nip it in the bud before it went too far, but Hermione hadn’t taken the news well, nor the cold shoulder she received from the house afterwards.

For Draco, the results seemed far milder, although Harry suspected his family name was the reason behind it. None of the other Slytherin families wanted to get on the bad side of Lucius Malfoy, but during meals there was a noticeable gap between him and the other students, and there was no one from his house that spoke a word to him in class, or in the hallways, not even Crabbe or Goyle.

Minerva looked at her students, sighing internally, still struggling with handling her demotion. Lord Niven’s decision had hurt her pride badly. She still couldn’t bring herself to even look at Granger or Malfoy, and she doubted it would change anytime soon.

The whole incident felt like a punch to the gut, and over the last few days, she felt her drive to teach diminish. None of the other professors blamed her, or even had a bad word to say about her, but she couldn’t help the feeling that she just didn’t belong at Hogwarts anymore.

‘I’ve been teaching for almost 40 years,’ Minerva thought to herself, remembering how young and full of vigor she had been when she first started. She had saved more that enough to retire twice over, ‘maybe it’s time to step down,’ she thought, considering giving her notice at the end of the school year, and finding something else to occupy her time with.

Albus sat at the raised teacher’s table during lunch hour, looking down at the students. It had only been two days since Lord Niven’s announcement and his workload had nearly tripled, especially with the vacancy for head of Gryffindor house on top of everything else. Thankfully, that was at least something he could do to remedy that today.

“Students, may I have your attention, please?” Albus asked, standing up, and waiting for the hall to go silent. “I have a very important announcement to make. Professor Green, would you stand up as well?” he asked, looking at the Defense Professor.

“I am proud to announce the new head of Gryffindor house, Olivia Green,” he said to the scattered applause of the students. “Professor Green has only been with us for a year, but in that time she has made a noticeable impact on the Defense course, boasting the highest scores seen in the last five years. Professor? Would you like to say a few words to the students?” He asked.

Minerva watched from her seat as Olivia spoke to the students, but she couldn’t concentrate on her words. Albus hadn’t spoken a word to her since Lord Niven dismissed her from her position, not even to inform her of her replacement beforehand, highlighting just how far her star had fallen.

She felt defeated, and looking at the students applauding their new head of house, her decision solidified. There was no place for her here. She would leave at the end of the school year, rather than watch from the sidelines as Albus replaced her as deputy as well.

She couldn’t even bring herself to be angry with Olivia. Everything Albus said about her was true. She had even considered making the young witch head of Gryffindor when she became headmistress herself, at least before her fall from grace.

After Olivia finished her speech, Minerva silently stood from her seat and left the great hall, making her way back to her classroom.

Andre watched Professor McGonagall leave the great hall. He still couldn’t fathom how everything had gone so wrong. On Lord Niven’s orders he hadn’t spoken a word to either Draco or Hermione, not that he had to be told to after what they had done, but he hadn’t seen any of this coming.

The only silver lining had been the inroads Lord Niven made with Harry, giving him an opportunity to make up for his past mistakes. If he could get Harry on board, Ron would follow, and they could get back on track.

He had no illusions on any of this being easy. The corners he cut when he recruited Harry the first time would make things difficult, but he promised himself he wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. With the short amount of time they had left, he would have to tell Harry everything all at once. ‘After he knows the truth, he’ll have to join us,’ he thought hopefully. ‘He’s just like us. He wouldn’t just leave someone to suffer when he has the power to help them.’

Lord Niven had also informed him the tome would be ready during the Christmas holidays, allowing them to perform another ritual outside of Hogwarts, where no one would discover them, and complicate the plan any more than it already was.

He had tried over the last couple of days to speak to Harry, but Hermione was always with him, making it difficult to approach Harry while keeping his distance from Hermione.

Lord Niven said Harry agreed to talk with him, and he knew he couldn’t afford to sit and wait for the right moment any longer, not with what was at stake. He left the great hall and made his way back to his common room. He would need to send Harry a letter inviting him to the next study group meeting.

“Harry?” Olivia asked at the end of defense class. “Could you stay behind for a moment? There’s something I’d like to discuss with you.”

“Sure, Professor,” Harry said as the rest of the students filtered out of the classroom. “What is it?”

“First, I want to congratulate you on your placement on the transfiguration test,” Olivia smiled. “You’re a credit to your house.”

“Thank you, Professor,” Harry replied politely. “Congratulations on your promotion as well.”

“Thank you,” Olivia nodded with a smile, looking outside. “The other thing I wanted to talk to you about was the exercises you and your friends do in the morning.”

“What about it?” Harry asked curiously.

“It’s getting a lot colder outside, and it will be even worse in January and February,” Olivia explained. “Have you considered moving the exercises inside the castle?”

“I’ve thought about it,” Harry answered. “But I don’t think Filch will like it if we’re running in the hallways.”

“Yes,” Olivia chuckled, remembering her own time as a student. “I don’t imagine he would, but what if there was a place inside Hogwarts you could go to do your exercises?”

“That would be great,” Harry replied. “But as far as I know, there isn’t a room big enough in Hogwarts to do that.”

“There is, actually,” Olivia replied, smiling. “My friends and I discovered it when we were students here. Go to the seventh floor. There’s a corridor with a painting of a wizard trying to teach trolls ballet. Walk past it three times, concentrating on the type of room you need, and a door will appear.”

“That incredible,” Harry replied. “But why are you telling me this?” He asked, wondering why his professor would tell him about something that could so easily be misused.

“Because I trust you, Harry,” Olivia replied simply. “I trust you not to misuse the room, or do anything you shouldn’t with it.”

“Thank you, Professor,” Harry said gratefully, knowing his friends would enjoy getting out of the cold.

“There’s also one more thing, just something to consider,” Olivia added.

“What is it?” Harry asked.

“I’d like you to consider inviting the rest of Gryffindor house to join you,” Olivia replied. “It’s no secret that you and the students who exercise with you have some of the highest grades in the school. I think the rest of the house can benefit from it, too.”

“Professor, we don’t exclude anyone,” Harry explained. “Anyone that wants to join us is more than welcome.”

“Harry,” Olivia explained patiently. “You may not see it yet, but the other first years look up to you, even a few of the second and third years, if I’m being honest. It can be intimidating for them to ask for help, considering everything you’ve accomplished.”

“Oh,” Harry replied, having never seen it from the perspective before. “…Alright, I’ll ask the other students after the Christmas holidays,” he promised.

“Great,” Olivia smiled. “I think I’ve kept you long enough, Harry. Enjoy the rest of your evening.”

“You too, professor,” Harry said as he prepared to leave, only to stop when he heard an insistent tapping on the window.

He opened the window to allow the owl inside, and took the letter from its leg, reading who it was from. ‘Andre,’ he thought, already knowing what the letter would be about.

He closed the window before leaving the classroom to open the letter. It was an invitation for tonight, in the library. It was what he had been waiting for, but not something he was looking forward to.

Rita smiled triumphantly as she re-read the letter from one of her muggle contacts. It had been a long shot, with nothing more than an old picture to go on, but she finally had a promising lead on Lupin.

She looked at the picture again carefully. ‘It has to be him,’ she thought. ‘Aside from the beard, he looks exactly the same, and where he ended up makes perfect sense.’ It was as far away from any wizarding settlement as you could get, and rural enough that he didn’t have to worry about neighbors discovering him. In short, is was the perfect hiding place for a werewolf.

Her international portkey had been pricey, and the boat to reach Vancouver Island had taken longer than she would have liked. Now she was in a cab, driving to what she hoped was Lupin’s cabin. She really hoped it wasn’t another dead end.

“Alright,” the cab driver said, coming to a stop. “This is it,” he said, pointing towards the cabin. “That’ll be $225,” he said.

Rita reached into her purse, pulling out her muggle money, and handed it to the cab driver before she stepped out.

“Do you want me to stick around for the ride back?” The cab driver asked hopefully.

“No, thank you,” Rita replied. “I’ll be fine.”

“Are you sure?” the cab driver asked. “There’s no cell reception this far out, and you’re not likely to get a cab willing to drive out this far to pick you up again.”

“I’m sure,” Rita replied, already planning to apparate back afterwards.

“Alright, suit yourself,” the cab driver said with a shrug, turning the car around as he drove back down the dirt road.

After the cab driver left, Rita took her time to look over the property. There wasn’t much to say. It was a log cabin at the edge of the woods, with nothing but wilderness all around it. There was an old, beat-up pickup truck sitting beside the house that looked like it was well taken care of, minus the dents on the body, and the scratched up paint.

She stepped forward and knocked on the door, waiting patiently for who she hoped would be Lupin.

A moment later, the door opened, and the man from Rita’s picture appeared. “Who are you?” He asked, looking around, clearly confused, wondering what someone would be doing out here.

“My name is Rita Skeeter, and I came here looking for you, Remus,” Rita replied, noticing how his eyes widened slightly at the mention of his name.

“You got the wrong guy,” Remus replied, schooling his features as he crossed his arms. “My name is Roger Howell.”

“That’s funny,” Rita replied, knowing for certain she had who she was looking for now. “Howell is the maiden name of Remus’s mother.”

“I don’t know anything about that,” Remus said. “You have the wrong guy,” he repeated, trying to close the door on her.

Rita put her arm out, holding the door in place, a smirk working its way onto her face, knowing she had him now. “Give it up Remus, I know it’s you,” she said, holding up his old picture.

Remus sighed, cursing under his breath. “What do you want?” he demanded. “I’m not hurting anyone. I just want to be left alone. Is that so much to ask?”

“I just want to talk,” Rita answered. “I’m not here to cause you any trouble. Can we do that inside?” She asked politely.

Remus sighed again, knowing he didn’t have much of a choice. “Fine,” he said, walking back into the cabin.

Rita followed him inside, looking around. The cabin was utilitarian, to say the least. There were no pictures, no decorations, every piece of furniture in the room was at least twenty years old, and even then it was the absolute basics.

There was an armchair on one side of the room, sitting on a table in front of it was an old television. On the other side of the room, there was a bed. Tucked away in the corner, there was a small kitchenette, and finally a door leading to what she presumed was the bathroom.

Remus plopped down on the armchair, watching Rita carefully. “What do you want?” He repeated, wanting to get this over with as quickly as possible.

“I want to talk to you about your friends,” Rita said, sitting down on the edge of the table the TV was resting on.

“Then you came a long way for nothing,” Remus replied darkly. “I don’t have any friends.”

“I’m talking about James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew,” Rita said, noting how Remus’s tone noticeably shifted at the mention of their names.

“They aren’t my friends,” Remus replied, his voice taking on a harder edge.

“They used to be,” Rita pushed. “I just want to know what changed.”

“Look… Rita,” Remus said with a sigh, trying a different approach. “I don’t know who put you up to this, but trust me, you’re better off not knowing.”

“You’re not the first person who told me that,” Rita replied, “and I doubt you’ll be the last. Either way, I’m going to find out what happened,” she added confidently.

“Why do you even care?” Remus asked, his brows furrowing in confusion. “It happened almost a decade ago.”

“I’m a reporter,” Rita revealed. “And I’m looking into James Potter. I think he’s done some reprehensible things, and I want to bring him to justice.”

“Good luck with that,” Remus snorted with dark amusement. “The Wizengamot will never convict one of their own.”

“You’re right about that,” Rita agreed with a smirk. “But James Potter is no longer a member of the Wizengamot,” she revealed.

“What?!” Remus asked, sitting up in surprise. “What happened!?”

“Uh uh,” Rita shook her head smugly. “That’s not how this works. You answer my questions, and I’ll answer yours.”

Remus studied Rita’s face carefully, trying to see if she was lying. ‘She doesn’t look like she’s lying,’ he thought after a long moment. “Alright, who do you want me to start with?”

“Tell me about you. How did you end up here?” Rita asked.

Remus leaned back in his chair, wondering where to start. “…The war was in full swing, and the dark lord was winning. There was a group of us fighting him, and we found out there was a spy in our ranks. They suspected me.”

“Because you’re a werewolf?” Rita asked.

“… Yes,” Remus replied, surprised that she knew. “How did you-”

“I’m a reporter,” Rita waived it off. “It’s my job to know. What happened after that?”

“First, tell me what happened to James,” Remus insisted.

“The Minister accused him of orchestrating an attack against him, subverting an election, and causing permanent injuries to his wife,” Rita replied succinctly, knowing that it would lead to more questions from Remus.

“They confronted me,” Remus continued, silently acknowledging that Rita had him hooked. “They accused me of being the spy. I wasn’t, but with everything the dark lord was offering the werewolf clans, they didn’t believe me. They kicked me out,” he said, still feeling the hurt of their accusations after all these years. “After everything we’ve been through, they treated me like I was less than nothing. I ended up on the streets after I burned through what little savings I had. Not many people will house a werewolf, and those that do bleed you dry.”

Rita nodded in understanding. Even after all these years, nothing had changed in that regard. It was still difficult for werewolves to find jobs. Most of the ones who stuck around acted as hired muscle, being paid under the table just enough to scrape by. It was a rough life, and not something she would wish on anyone.

“Your turn,” Remus said. “What happened to James?”

“The Minister tricked Potter into making a confession. That, combined with the article I wrote, wasn’t something the Wizengamot could just ignore, and they called for a trial,” Rita explained.

“The Wizengamot actually let you publish an article like that?” Remus asked in surprise, wondering how she had accomplished something like that.

“No,” Rita shook her head, still annoyed that the Prophet bowed to Wizengamot pressure. “The owners of the Prophet killed the article. I had to take it to the French to get it published. What about Sirius? What happened to him?”

“I don’t know for sure,” Remus shook his head. “I didn’t see any of them again after that night, but I heard a few rumors.”

“Rumors from who?” Rita asked shrewdly, knowing how unreliable they were.

“I don’t know,” Remus replied. “I guess you could call it a rumor of a rumor. I heard it from a werewolf who said they heard it from another werewolf. The DMLE picked him up, put him under house arrest.”

“The DMLE?” Rita asked, remembering the conversation she overheard between Fudge and Bones, suspecting the Wizengamot’s hands in this. The laws only allowed them to pass legislation, not create or even enforce laws, but they did have a history of bending the laws when it suited them.

“That’s what I heard,” Remus confirmed. “What happened during the trial?”

“Fudge tried to use Potter’s confession to get him thrown into Azkaban, but the Wizengamot didn’t go for it,” Rita explained.

“Big surprise there,” Remus quipped sarcastically, knowing how little the Wizengamot cared for the common man.

“But Fudge managed to embarrass Potter and the Wizengamot enough that they couldn’t sweep it under the rug like they normally do. They stripped Potter of his position on the Wizengamot. If he gets in trouble again, they won’t bail him out,” Rita continued. “What about Pettigrew? Do you know anything about him?”

“No,” Remus shook his head. “Like I said, I didn’t see any of them again after they kicked me to the curb.”

“No one has seen Pettigrew since the night Gloria defeated the dark lord,” Rita elaborated. “There’s no record of him being sent to Azkaban, or even a death certificate for him,” Rita elaborated.

“He could be in hiding,” Remus offered. “He’s a rat animagus. If he wanted to disappear for a while, it wouldn’t be too hard for him to pull off.”

“An animagus?” Rita asked in surprise. She hadn’t come across that information in her research, but knew first hand how useful the skill was.

“Yeah,” Remus nodded.

“What about Albus Dumbledore?” Rita asked, following a hunch. Until recently, he and the Potters had been close.

Remus clenched his hand into a fist as he thought about the old man, a dark look crossing his face again. “I have nothing to say about him.”

“…I see,” Rita said, making a mental note of Remus’s body language. There was definitely something there worth looking into as well. “And what about Lily Potter, and the children, Harry and Gloria?”

“I wish I never met any of them,” Remus said, the anger creeping into his voice as Rita re-opened old wounds.

“Even your godson, Harry?” Rita asked, wondering how much he knew about recent events.

“…Harry,” Remus said, his eyes softening momentarily as he remembered holding him as a baby. “It doesn’t matter. He probably turned out just like his parents,” he added, not wanting to think about it.

“You might be surprised,” Rita said, pulling out some newspaper clippings, and handing them to Remus.

Remus took the newspaper articles, reading through the headlines, his eyes widening in surprise. “Merlin’s vault? A scholarship program?”

“I have to be going,” Rita said, standing up. “Thanks for the information.”

“Do you want these back?” Remus asked, holding up the articles.

“No, you can keep them,” Rita said, making her way to the door.

“Wait!” Remus said, standing up. “What about Gloria? You didn’t say anything about her.”

“You weren’t wrong about her,” Rita said as she closed the door behind her and apparated back to town.

The information she got from Remus had been useful, but less than what she had hoped for. She didn’t get the new leads she had been expecting, finding herself at a dead end again.

‘Even if Pettigrew was alive, he would be impossible to find,’ she thought. ‘Potter isn’t likely to reveal anything useful, either. That only leaves Black, but getting to him would be difficult, to say the least.’

If the Wizengamot had a hand in keeping him locked up in his home, she wouldn’t be able to sneak in with her animagus form. They would have put up wards for that, and when they caught her, she would end up with a similar fate as Black, or worse, considering she didn’t have a family name to fall back on.

Harry walked through the hall, making his way to the library, feeling like he was walking into a trap. To say that he was nervous was an understatement. If this was a trap, he stood no chance against all of them.

‘I don’t think it’s a trap,’ Merlin said. “If they knew the truth, Lord Niven would have expelled you, regardless of the consequences, then the Alumni would have dealt with you.”

‘Thanks,’ Harry thought back sarcastically. Merlin’s words having less than the desired effect on him.

“It’s a good thing,” Merlin insisted. “They wouldn’t have gone to all this effort if they just wanted to kill you.”

Harry sighed as he arrived at doors to the library. For better or worse, he knew he had to go through with this. Stepping inside, he made his way to the back of the library to find the entire study group waiting for him.

“Thanks for coming, Harry,” Andre said with an apologetic look on his face. “Before you say anything, I want to apologize. What I did to you wasn’t right, and I have no excuse for my behavior.”

Harry eyed Andre carefully, noting how good he was at things like this. If he didn’t know any better, he could believe Andre was being sincere.

“I think he is, actually,” Merlin observed.

‘What?’ Harry thought back incredulously. ‘You saw how he was before he tried to erase my memories.’

“People are complicated,” Merlin replied. “They can stick a knife in your back and still feel bad about it later.”

“Why do it in the first place, then?” Harry challenged, knowing that he couldn’t make this easy for Andre. He needed him to keep him on the back foot to get as much information out of his as he could.

“I’m under a lot of pressure, Harry, we all are,” Andre replied, knowing that Harry wouldn’t make this easy for him. “Again, it’s not an excuse, just an explanation for why I did what I did. Lord Niven must have told you. We’re trying to save someone very important, and we can’t do it alone. We need you on our side to make that happen. I was always going to tell you the truth. I just thought I would have more time to do it.”

“I’m here because of the deal I made with Lord Niven,” Harry replied. “So I’ll hear you out, but I’m not promising anything.”

“We understand Harry,” Ismelda jumped in. “Please take a seat. There’s a lot we have to tell you.”

Harry nodded, sitting at the empty seat at the table they left for him. He could feel the sweat on his palms, his fingers twitching as he stopped himself from reaching for his wand. Sitting down placed him in a vulnerable position. He wouldn’t be able to dodge their spells or run like this.

“Stay calm Harry,” Merlin advised. “You can’t let them see you sweat.”

‘Got it,’ Harry thought, using the little occlumency he knew to hide his emotions.

“We already told you the study group was old,” Andre started, “but what we didn’t tell you is how old. We’ve existed in one form or another for the past 1500 years. In the beginning, we were called the Order of Set.”

Harry’s eyes widened as he heard the name, unable to keep the look of shock off his face. “…Did you say Set?” He asked, checking if he misheard him.

“Yes,” Andre replied, noting the shocked expression on Harry’s face. “Why?” he asked, curiously.

“..I’ve read about it,” Harry replied quickly, mentally screaming at Merlin for help. “He’s an Egyptian god, isn’t he? Depicted as a serpent with multiple heads?”

“You know your history,” Andre said, impressed. “But the history books don’t tell the full story.”

“From what I read, they were little more than a cult,” Harry replied. “Obsessed with dark magical rituals, and bringing their deity into the world.”

“Sorry,” Merlin replied, still obviously shook. “I wasn’t expecting that name to ever come up again. Keep pushing them… find out what they’re planning.”

“Truth is written by the victors, Harry,” Andre explained patiently. “What really happened is very different from what you read in your book.”

“What do you mean?” Harry asked, pushing Andre for more details.

“The world was very different back then,” Andre explained. “For one, there were far less of our kind than there is now, and there was no statute of secrecy. The muggles knew all about us, and hated anything that was different. They nearly hunted our kind to extinction. They made themselves the heroes in the history books, hunting down the evil wizards trying to destroy the world, when nothing could be further from the truth.”

“What truth?” Harry asked as he and Merlin listened carefully.

“The order was founded as a refuge for magicals,” Andre explained. “It was a place where they could hide from the muggles without risk of discovery, where they could learn to harness their magic in safety.”

“What happened?” Harry asked, curious despite himself. Merlin left off after he escaped the order, and he wanted to know what happened to them next.

“In those days, they welcomed anyone with magical abilities into their ranks,” Andre continued. “They could never imagine being betrayed by their own kind, but that’s exactly what happened. A dark wizard joined their ranks. He learned all their spells, their techniques, and in the end, betrayed them, killing the leader and almost all the acolytes.”

Harry could feel Merlin’s surprise at what Andre said, as well as his anger, knowing Andre was talking about him. “He was just one man, wasn’t he?” Harry pressed on. “How could he kill that many order members?”

“He had something that aided him, a book. It’s called the Darkhold,” Andre revealed.

“He’s twisting everything,” Merlin said angrily. “That’s not…. It’s not the way it happened.”

‘I know,’ Harry thought back, reassuring Merlin before a thought struck him. ‘They said they’re trying to save someone, a woman… are they talking about-’

“No,” Merlin cut him off mid thought. “It’s not her. I know it.” He said with certainty.

‘How can you be sure?’ Harry thought back. ‘It fits, doesn’t it? After you escaped, she and Rexor took charge of the order. Maybe they had a falling out and Rexor turned on her.’

“No,” Merlin replied, his mental voice quiet. “That’s not what happened.”

‘You need to tell me something,’ Harry pressed. ‘I’m flying blind here. I need to know what really happened.’

“…she’s dead,” Merlin revealed. “They both are…. I know it’s not her because… I killed both of them.”

‘Could she have survived somehow?’ Harry asked, trying to make sense of it.

“Harry!” Merlin replied, a flash of anger in his tone. “She’s dead…. I slashed her throat with a dagger, and watched as the light left her eyes,” he finished, the pain radiating through his words.

‘Sorry,’ Harry thought back apologetically, knowing he let his curiosity get the better of him.

“What’s so special about this book?” Harry asked, feigning ignorance as he returned to his conversation with Andre.

“It isn’t just any book, Harry,” Andre replied. “It’s a magical tome of immense power. He used a spell he found in the book to take the magic of the people he killed. That’s how he defeated the order.”

Hi! I hope you enjoyed the new chapter. There’s still a lot of fallout to come from the test for everyone involved. What did you think about the revelation about the study group? Was it too obvious or did it come as a surprise? The next chapter will pick up where this one left off, and there will be a lot more revelations about the study group and their plans. Rita is also back! I don’t know about everyone else, but I really enjoy writing her scenes and how her character is turning out.

Thanks for reading, and supporting me,


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