You are currently viewing The Legacy of Merlin Chapter Nine

The Legacy of Merlin Chapter Nine

‘What’s going on?’ Harry thought to himself as he sat up. The last thing he remembered was using his magic to heal Ben. Then everything went dark. Now he was in a small stone room, with no windows or doors.

“You’re magically exhausted,” Merlin answered his unspoken question.

“What is this place?” Harry asked.

“This is your mind,” Merlin replied.

“But you said the white void was my mind,” Harry said in confusion.

“It is as well. This stone room represents your sense of self, your consciousness, and memories. The white void is the portion of your mind that is unused.”

“Normally, as you get older, learn and experience things, your mind will naturally expand, and this room will change and grow with you.”

“The flashes you felt and the initial pain were your mind expanding much more quickly than someone could naturally do.”

“It’s tiny,” Harry observed as he looked around. There was a small wooden desk against a wall, and a few books haphazardly stacked on the desk and chair, but other than that, the room was empty.

The walls were rough, with jagged edges, and the floor was uneven, and jutted out sharply in places. It looked like it was put together in a rush.

“Yes,” Merlin agreed. “But considering your situation, it was not unexpected.”

“What do you mean?” Harry asked.

“This room is a representation of your mind, magic, and body,” Merlin explained. “None of them are in particularly good condition.”

“What do you mean?” Harry asked.

“You are eleven years old, so you have not lived enough of a life to require anything larger than a room this size.” Merlin answered.

“Your magic has only just begun to mature. It’s rough, unrefined. That is represented by the stone walls.”

“Your body is malnourished and weak. That is why the floor is so uneven. Added to that, your magic has been supporting your body and keeping you alive, putting a strain on it as well.”

“The small pile of books on the desk represents your mind, what you have learned over your life.”

“Is there a way for me to fix it?” Harry asked.

“There is, but it will require a lot of time and work from you,” Merlin answered.

“What do I have to do?” Harry asked.

“At the moment you do nothing, your magic is all but depleted. What little you have is just barely keeping you alive.”

“How do I wake up?” Harry asked.

“You will do so naturally when your magic regenerates. You have subconsciously put yourself in this state to limit your magic use and bodily functions until you recover.”

“I opened your vault,” Harry said, remembering what he wanted to ask Merlin.

“I know. I have viewed your memories,” Merlin explained.

“What?” Harry asked in alarm.

“It was necessary to train you properly, and to understand what was happening to you.” Merlin explained.

“I never agreed to that,” Harry said. There were quite a few memories in his life that he wanted to keep to himself.

“You invited me in Harry, that allowed me to see your memories, and I only exist within your mind. There is no one I can share your secrets with,” Merlin explained.

“Fine,” Harry said, realizing what was done was done. “I need to know. Did I solve the cyphers on my own or did you do something?”

“That is a complicated question,” Merlin replied. “You solved the cyphers on your own, however the information you needed to come to the right conclusion came from a book you glanced at briefly when you were five. At that time, you did not even understand what you were reading.”

It is unlikely that you would have remembered enough about the book to solve the cyphers without your mind expanding.”

“Our soul is also the only one that can access the vault. That was the final protection I put in place.”

“If anyone else solved the cyphers, the vault would have remained closed, regardless.”

Harry felt his heart drop at Merlin’s revelation. He may not have known it at the time, but he was a fraud. The world believed that he was some kind of prodigy that had solved a thousand year old mystery, but it was all a lie.

‘The only reason I could solve the cypher is because of what happened to me, and the vault door only opened for me because of something I had no control over,’ Harry thought sadly.

“Why?” Harry asked. “Why do all of this, why bother with the cyphers, why give all these clues if we were the only ones that could open the door?” Harry asked in confusion.

“You already know that, Harry, it was the answer to all the cyphers, Power,” Merlin answered calmly.

“What?” Harry asked in confusion.

“Power,” Merlin repeated, “Is the most important force in the world. It created kings, uplifted entire civilizations, it allowed us to re-make the world in our image.”

“What does that have to do with your vault?” Harry asked.

“There are many types of power, Harry, and many ways to wield that power.” Merlin continued.

“There is the power of your body, the strength in your arms and legs.”

“There is the power of wealth to acquire the things you need.”

“There is the power of your name, your reputation, to inspire those around you to do your bidding.”

“I created the vault to increase the power of our name. All the clues, the cyphers, the mystery behind the vault. It was all so that when you solved it, the people would take notice of you. It would propel you to the top of whatever society that emerged after my death.”

“Power? Is that all it is? What about the truth?” Harry said, remembering Ben’s words.

“Those who have power decide the truth,” Merlin rebutted. “Look in any history book and you will find the society that won the war is the one that was right.”

“Why did you need to ensure your future incarnations had this power? What was it for?” Harry demanded.

“Something is coming, Harry, something terrible. We need this and a great deal more, or it will be the end of all of us,” Merlin said gravely.

“How do you know?” Harry asked.

“I met a being near the end of my life. There was something otherworldly about them. They showed me a future of death and destruction on a scale, the likes of which I have never seen before.”

“They told me to build the vault, safeguard certain items, and that it would one day be opened by one of my future incarnations. It will be in that incarnation’s lifetime that the threat would emerge.” 

“I never imagined when it happened you would be so young, or unprepared for what lies ahead.”

Harry’s mind was reeling when he heard what Merlin had said. It was so much worse than he expected. If he didn’t open the vault could all this have been avoided? How could he be responsible for something like that?

“How do you know it was the truth? What if it was some elaborate lie?” Harry asked.

“I asked myself that question many times over for the rest of my life, Harry,” Merlin admitted. “But it all came down to one thing in the end, a being that powerful wouldn’t need to lie. Anything they wanted in the world was theirs for the taking.”

“If I didn’t open the vault none of this would have happened,” Harry said feeling guilty.

“Possibly,” Merlin allowed. “But regardless of what you could have done, that vault was going to open one way or another.”

“I thought I could control it as well. I created a puzzle that only someone with my knowledge could solve. I intended to train you before you even opened the vault, but things don’t always go to plan.”

“So, what are we supposed to do now?” Harry asked.

“You are not ready for a burden like this, Harry, not now, and I don’t know that I can prepare you in the time we have,” Merlin explained.

“How much time do we have?” Harry asked.

“I don’t know,” Merlin admitted. “It could be a year, it could be a decade, there’s no way of knowing for certain.”

“There must be something we can do,” Harry replied.

“I will train you to the best of my ability, teach you everything that I have ever learned, and what I have learned from our previous incarnations. We must hope that it will be enough.” Merlin answered.

“Alright,” Harry agreed. “What kind of training will I need to do?”

“The first thing we will need to do is fix your body,” Merlin explained. “Your magic and your mind will do you no good if you are too weak to use them.”

“When you wake up, I will show you how to brew a series of nutritional potions that you will need to take over the next few days. That will correct the damage to your body.”

“Then we will brew another set to help you enhance your strength, speed and dexterity. There are also a few rituals and self transfigurations you will need to perform, but that will have to be much later.”

“We will also work on your spell repertoire, and casting speed, that will only improve with practice.”

“Lastly, we will work on your mind to create a Mind Palace.”

“Mind Palace?” Harry asked. “What is that?”

“A Mind Palace is the representation of unity and balance of your mind, magic, and body. At the moment, it is this small stone room, but with enough hard work, it will be as large and as complex as you can imagine.”

“The most powerful wizards and witches that have ever lived understood this balance and strived to achieve it.”

Harry was about to ask another question when everything faded around him. “What’s going on?” He asked in alarm.

“You’re waking up Harry,” Merlin replied. “We will speak again later.”

Harry felt disoriented at first. He was lying down in a bed, and he could hear a beeping in the background.

He rubbed his face as he opened his eyes and looked around. He was in the hospital room with Ben.

“Are you alright, kid?” Ben asked. “You gave us all quite the scare.”

“Ben?” Harry asked, finding his glasses on the table beside him and putting them on. “Did it work? Are you ok now?”

“I’m a lot better now,” Ben smiled. “I still have a few broken bones, but the damage to my heart, lungs, and head are completely healed. The doctors are calling it a miracle.”

“What about you Harry? It was real touch and go in the first half hour. The doctors weren’t sure you were going to make it.” Ben asked, in concern.

“I think I’m ok now,” Harry said.

“What happened Harry? How did you do that?” Ben asked.

“… I’m different,” Harry said after a moment’s thought. “I can do magic. That’s what I used to fix you.”

“Magic? For real,… actual magic?” Ben asked in surprise.

Harry nodded.

“… I… wow,” Ben said. “I knew it had to be something. I just didn’t think magic was real. Thank you, Harry, thank you for saving my life,” Ben said, his voice thick with emotion.

Harry looked down at his lap, not sure what to say. No one had ever thanked him before, at least as far as he could remember. “You’re welcome,” Harry finally said.

“It looked like it hurt you as well to use your magic. Does that happen every time as well?” Ben asked.

“No,” Harry shook his head. “That spell was different… It wasn’t something I was prepared to cast.”

“… Don’t get me wrong Harry, I’m grateful for you saving my life, but I don’t want you risking your life to save mine,” Ben said firmly.

“I couldn’t just let you die, Ben,” Harry denied.

The two lapsed into silence, each able to see the other’s perspective, but neither one was willing to admit it.

“How long have I been asleep for?” Harry asked.

“It’s been about a day and a half,” Ben replied. “I wanted to ask when I first met you, but I didn’t want to pry, and now the doctors brought it up as well.”

“They said you were malnourished. Harry, is everything ok at home for you… Do you have a home?” Ben asked, in concern.

‘I do, but it’s never felt like one to me,” Harry admitted. “My parents… they don’t really want me around.”

“You don’t have to go back to them, Harry,” Ben said. “There are people that can help, heck I’ll even take you in.”

Harry looked at Ben in surprise and then smiled. Ben always thought about other people first. “I’m not going back to them,” Harry revealed. “I’m going to be ok.”

“What happened?” Ben asked.

Harry gathered his thoughts, wondering where to even begin. There was so much. “My people are called wizards and witches,” Harry explained. “We’ve been living in hiding from the rest of the world for a long time.”

“There was a wizard named Merlin. He created a vault, about 1000 years ago, with a series of cyphers that had to be solved to open it,” Harry summarized.

“Our government created a prize for anyone that could solve the cyphers. A few days ago, I was able to solve it.”

“That’s amazing Harry!” Ben replied.

Harry nodded. “I thought so too, until I found out the truth. The vault, the cyphers, all of it was an elaborate lie.”

“What do you mean?” Ben asked.

“There was a lot more to it than I realized,” Harry continued. “Merlin… he wasn’t like other wizards. He reincarnates every time he dies, living over and over again.”

“I found out that I’m the next reincarnation, and I’m the only one that could have opened the vault.”

“He wanted people to find the vault and try to open it and fail, so that when I finally did, everyone would believe that I’m special.” Harry explained.

“He must have had a reason to do all of that,” Ben said. “Did you find out what it was?”

“Yeah,” Harry nodded. “He said that something bad was going to happen, that he had to create the vault to give us a chance to survive it.”

“Do you believe him?” Ben asked.

“I think so…” Harry said. “I don’t think he had a reason to lie about it.”

“There’s something else, isn’t there?” Ben asked.

“I thought that when I solved the vault… I was so proud of myself, but it’s all a lie. I’m a fraud,” Harry explained.

“Did anyone else come close?” Ben asked.

“No,” Harry shook his head. “But that isn’t the point. The only reason I could solve it was because of an ability I got from being the next incarnation. I never would have been able to figure it out otherwise.”

“Now you don’t feel you deserve any of it,” Ben summarized.

Harry nodded. “They think I’m this prodigy, but I’m not.”

“Then make it true,” Ben stated.

“What?” Harry asked. “What do you mean?”

“Make it true, study harder than everyone else, work harder than everyone else, and try harder than everyone else, until you become that person,” Ben explained.

“Just like that?” Harry asked.

“No,” Ben laughed, shaking his head. “It’s definitely not going to be easy. It will probably be the hardest thing you will ever do. You are going to fail a lot, but as long as you keep picking yourself up and keep trying, you have a chance to become who you want to be.”

Harry mulled over Ben’s words. Could he really do it? He honestly didn’t know, but he wanted it to be true.

“There’s something else too,” Harry said. “I was warned about Merlin, that he isn’t like what the myths make him out to be.”

“What did they say?” Ben asked.

“They said that Merlin wasn’t a very nice person. That he manipulated other people to get what he wanted. He believes that power is the most important thing, and the ones that have it decide what’s right and wrong.”

“And what do you think, now that you’ve met Merlin?” Ben asked.

“I don’t know,” Harry admitted. “He has a reason for everything he did, a good one, but I don’t really know if I can trust everything he says,” Harry admitted.

Ben nodded in understanding. “Then trust your instincts and be careful. Having power and being corrupted by it is a very slippery slope. You can start out with the best of intentions, but still end up worse than the thing you were fighting if you’re not careful.”

“All that power has to come with a lot of responsibility if you want to make the world better.”

“I’m glad you’re here, Ben,” Harry said thankfully. “I don’t think that I would have been able to figure out what to do without you.”

~***~

Albus Dumbledore sat in his office at Hogwarts pondering what to do. So far, all his efforts to find Harry Potter had come up empty. He was so sure that he would find him in the Leaky Cauldron, but according to Tom, the boy had never set foot in there.

To make matters worse, his contacts at Gringotts told him that not only had Harry acquired a Goblin made ring that obscured his identity, but he also had a meeting with the chairman of Gringotts himself.

Added to that, his apparent friendship with Fudge made it even more complicated to have the discussion he needed to with Harry.

He was just about to reach for a lemon drop when his fireplace roared to life and he saw the face of Arthur Weasley.

“Sorry to bother you Professor, I just heard a rumor in the Ministry, and thought you would want to know,” Arthur apologized.

“Think nothing of it,” Albus said in his grandfatherly tone. “I’m not much for gossip, but if you think it’s important, I would like to hear it.”

“A couple of the boys have been talking. They said they saw James Potter at the Ministry,” Arthur said.

“What?” Albus said, sitting up at full attention. “What was he doing there?”

“That’s just it, no one knows, the Minister hasn’t said a word about it. But the rumor is James just stormed in there, demanding a meeting with Fudge. When he came out, he was even angrier.”

Albus ground his teeth. James Potter was becoming more and more of a liability with each passing day.

“Is everything ok Professor?” Arthur asked as he saw the look on Albus’s face.

“Oh yes, everything is fine, probably just another baseless rumour,” Albus said, as he schooled his features back to the kindly headmaster. “Thank you for letting me know. I’ll speak to James and get this sorted out.”

Arthur smiled. “Your welcome. Goodnight professor,” He said as he cut the connection.

As soon as the floo call ended, Albus picked up his bowl of lemon drops and threw them at the wall in frustration.

If it wasn’t bad enough that he had to chase after a wayward 11 year child, he now had to deal with the fallout caused by a man that seemingly never grew out of childhood.

“James Potter, Potter Manor,” Albus said as he threw a pinch of floo powder into his fireplace.

“Hello Professor,” Lily greeted when she recognized him.

“Hello Lily,” Albus said with forced calm. “Is James at home? I would like to speak with both of you.”

“Oh yes,” Lily smiled. “He’s just in the other room. I’ll go get him.”

“Thank you dear,” Albus said as Lily walked out of the room.

Lily returned a moment later with James in tow. “Here he is Professor.”

“Would you both mind stepping through? I have something rather important to discuss with the both of you,” Albus asked.

“Will it take long?” Lily asked. “Glory is in her room playing.”

“Not long,” Albus answered. “She won’t even know that you’re gone.”

“Did you get a hold of the boy?” James asked.

“No, this isn’t about Harry,” Albus said seriously. “I just heard a very interesting rumor about you,” he said as he pointed at James, “I’m told you visited the Ministry recently. Is. It. True.” Albus said, punctuating each word.

“Yeah,” James smiled. “I went over there and gave old Fudge a piece of my mind. He’ll be thinking twice before he pulls another stunt like that.”

Albus felt his jaw drop at what James had said. “… You….” For a moment, he didn’t even know how to respond. This was so much worse than he assumed. “Have you lost your mind? What would possess you to do something so foolish?!”

“I don’t see what the big issue is,” James said dismissively. “Everyone knows that he’s a fool, and in Malfoy’s back pocket, to boot. He only won the election because of what happened with Crouch.”

“… Do you really believe that if there was even a shred of evidence that a sitting minister for Magic was accepting bribes that Magical Law Enforcement would not fully investigate them?” Albus asked.

James sputtered as he worked out those details in his head. “But… that’s what everyone says about him,” he stammered, beads of sweat forming on his forehead.

“No,” Albus denied. “That is what his political opponents say about him to the press as ‘confidential’ informants.”

“You think he is a buffoon that lucked his way into becoming Minister, and held his office despite taking bribes from known Death Eaters?”

“Let me dissuade you of that notion right now,” Albus dressed him down. “No one can not be elected as Minister while openly taking bribes and consorting with possible Death Eaters.”

“Cornelius Fudge, despite my personal feelings about him, is very good at his job. This is exactly why I told you in no uncertain terms to stay away from him.”

“There’s nothing to worry about,” James dismissed. “All we did was talk, and then I left. He didn’t even know I was going to show up.”

Albus sighed internally. Dealing with James Potter was nothing but a headache at the best of times. He believed himself to be far more important than he was, and far more intelligent than he was.

The man had absolutely no skills for politics, lashing out when he didn’t get his way, and always believing he was the smartest person in the room.

If not for the fact that Gloria Potter was the savior, he would have as little to do with the man as possible.

Albus had spent a substantial amount of his political capital on the man over the years, and seriously questioned the wisdom of continuing to invest in him.

“James, you were at the Ministry because Fudge wanted you to be there. That is the reason he emancipated Harry in the first place, to draw you out.” Albus explained. “So you need to tell me exactly what you talked about.”

“I just told him he had no right to emancipate Harry and that he should be at home with his family. Then I told him to rescind his decision.”

“He refused to do it, and I told him this was far from over and left. That’s it.” James said, carefully avoiding what he had learned happened to Fudge’s wife.

There was no reason to get another lecture from Albus about it. After all, there was nothing Fudge could really do about it.

“Then there’s nothing to worry about,” Lily smiled. “James may have lost his temper, but there’s no real harm was done.”

“… Let’s hope that is all this is,” Albus said finally.

In Albus’s experience, Cornelius did not just do things on a whim. He was very shrewd with his moves on the chessboard, and sometimes he had even been surprised by his actions.

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