Harry Potter and the Ashes of Chaos
Year 2: The Sacrificial Slytherin
Chapter 10: Bargains and Battles
Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction based on the Harry Potter universe. All recognizable characters, plots and settings are the exclusive property of J.K Rowling. I make no claim to ownership nor do I make any profit.
Acknowledgement: Thank you as always to my betas Umar, Luq707, Yoshi89 and Fezzik for their incredible work on this story.
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September 5, 1992
Lucius sat behind his desk in his study, going over a frankly absurd amount of financial paperwork as he waited for his associate to arrive. It had been a rather dull day as a whole and truthfully, whether the business was more complex or not, Lucius was very much looking forward to a break from the repetitive flow of normality that had made up the entirety of his day.
Right on cue, Lucius felt the wards alert him to his associate’s arrival. Lucius had provided him with a Portkey tied into the wards, but they still alerted him nonetheless. As soon as this happened, Lucius found that his mundane notes could no longer hold his attention. So instead, he sat up and sighed, rubbing needily at a twinge in his neck before folding his hands in front of him, blanking his face and tilting up his chin, taking the most regal pose he could muster as he awaited his visitor.
Moments later, there was a knock on the door to his study, and Lucius called for the man to enter, pointing his serpentine cane at the door and causing it to unlock and allow the hulking figure through. Nothing of the figure could be discerned from a glance, aside from the fact that he was massive. He wore a long, black cloak with a large hood that easily obscured his large, square head.
In spite of this, Lucius knew exactly who had entered his study. In fact, he had worked with the man for many, many years. Actually, a more accurate statement might have been that the man had worked for him for many, many years, but there had been that period of time more than a decade ago when the two of them had, in a sense, worked together.
“Crabbe.” Malfoy greeted silkily as the vast arm of Vincent Crabbe Sr. reached up to lower his hood and reveal his face.
“Lucius.” Crabbe responded in his deep, baritone voice.
“I trust you have news for me on our… matter of business?”
Crabbe nodded. “He says he needs help.” the man responded gruffly.
Lucius frowned. “Help? I was unaware that the option of asking for help was on the table. My impression was that I made the job very clear. If he could do it, I would pay him.”
“He says it isn’t possible without it.” Crabbe grunted. “Says she’s too careful; keeps out of harm’s way.”
Malfoy tilted his head. “Which is precisely why we went to him in the first place. It was his job to formulate a plan of attack that would draw her out of her bubble.”
“He has a plan.” Crabbe informed him. “Got it all worked out and everything, but he needs some stuff he can’t afford to make it work.”
Lucius quirked an eyebrow, reluctantly intrigued. “Enlighten me, then.”
In response, Crabbe reached a large, calloused hand into the pocket of his cloak and withdrew a rather crumpled, slightly stained piece of parchment. Lucius wrinkled his nose, gesturing for the man in front of him to place it on his desk rather than have him touch it directly. The mere idea of doing so was unbefitting. When the parchment had been placed delicately in front of him, Lucius leaned slightly forward in his chair and allowed his cold, grey eyes to roam over the parchment.
At first, he almost let out an exclamation at how outrageous the man’s demands were. After all, was a fabulously generous commission not enough? But then, as he read more and more, Lucius’s eyes narrowed. It was over the top, for certain, but at the same time, it was simplistic and efficient, if admittedly expensive. But then again, the matter had not been inexpensive for Lucius from the get-go, so what did more galleons matter in the grand scheme of things?
Lucius would need to alter the man’s plan, but it had merit. At least, its general format had merit. The specifics could be altered, that was not difficult.
“Very well,” Lucius acquiesced, “inform our… mutual acquaintance that I have accepted his request, but I will be making some alterations to his plan. His new instructions will find their way to him late next week, at the earliest. At worst, they will arrive early the week after. As for the… materials he asked for, they’ll be kept in storage until another piece of my altered plan slides into place.”
Crabbe widened his eyes. “You’re actually gonna do it?”
“That is what I just said, is it not?” Lucius asked, causing Crabbe to fidget uncomfortably. “Money isn’t everything, Crabbe.” Malfoy said wisely, correctly guessing where the other man’s mind had been venturing. “At least, not in the sense that it should never be spent. After all, what is the point of an illustrious name and expansive Gringotts vault if it isn’t put to good use?”
September 6, 1992
A Room in The Dungeons of Hogwarts
Harry neared the door to the abandoned room in the dungeons more slowly than usual. Per Grace’s words prior to their first lesson in combat magic, there were wards on this room. Harry tried to feel something as he approached the door, but couldn’t. Usually, he could feel some magic on objects. Last year, for instance, the Mirror of Erised had practically radiated magic. It was true that he could rarely, if ever, deduce what said magic was being used for, but he could usually feel it in some capacity. As he approached the room, however, Harry had to grudgingly admit that he felt nothing. He wasn’t sure if this was standard for wards, or whether they had just been cast particularly well. When taking into account who had actually cast them last year, the latter was a distinct possibility.
Pushing all of these thoughts aside, Harry pushed open the door and nearly jumped when he caught a sudden flash of fire out of the corner of his eye. Just in time, Harry cast his eyes to the desk, where something resembling a piece of parchment was curling into ashes as Grace’s eyes lifted to meet his own. For someone who had just seemingly been right next to something that had apparently spontaneously combusted, she seemed remarkably composed. In fact, she gave no hint of a visible reaction. “You’re early.” she observed, as if nothing at all had happened.
Harry just shrugged. “Yeah, I guess I am. Sorry, I didn’t mean to be interrupting anything.”
“You weren’t interrupting anything.” Grace assured. “Just a project, that’s all.”
“Right,” Harry said, wondering what project could have resulted in the effect he had witnessed, “so tonight’s Occlumency, right?”
“It is.” Grace affirmed. “I think we’ll stick with the first session each week as combat magic focused, with the second being taken up by work on your Occlumency.”
“Are the days changing, then?”
“I’m not entirely sure yet.” Grace answered. “Possibly, we’ll have to see how my schedule shapes up as the year progresses. Yours as well, even though you’re not as busy. If certain days work better than others, feel free to let me know. If you don’t want to make a scene about it, you can always just send me a letter with one of the school owls.”
Harry shrugged again. “I doubt I’ll have to, but I’ll keep it in mind. I keep fairly busy, but it’s on my own schedule.”
“I figured as much.” Grace said with a nod. “Well, tonight should hopefully be the final night we work on your ability to sense blunt probes in your mind. The practice is really the same for more subtle Legilimency probes; it’s just a mental memory thing you’ll get with practice. But if I’m right, you’re advanced enough to move onto the second level of Occlumency.”
Harry’s heart leapt. “Is that what we’ll be doing tonight, then?”
“No,” Grace said, and there was actually an apologetic tone to her voice, “I need to make sure I’m right, not just jump in head-first. I’ll be running you through some tests tonight that will hopefully tell us one way or the other whether you’re ready to advance. If all goes well, our next Occlumency lesson should be an introduction to stage two.”
Harry nodded, setting his jaw. “Alright, so what do I need to do?”
A few hours later, in the Slytherin Dorms…
Harry placed silencing charms around his bed, along with a detection ward. If anybody approached too close, he would be mentally alerted at once. For now, these were the only wards Harry was actually capable of casting due to his limited knowledge of Ancient Runes, but the detection ward alone had been a very large step in the right direction. From this point forward, warding was something that he planned on putting a certain amount of emphasis on. At least, when his other pursuits allowed him the time to do so.
Once he was reasonably confident with his setup, Harry laid back on his four-poster bed and withdrew the book that he used as a means of communicating with Emily Riddle.
So, my Occlumency tutor ran me through some tests tonight to determine whether I’m ready to advance to the second level of Occlumency.
There was a delay of about two minutes before Riddle’s reply came.
Interesting. What did she find to be the results?
She thinks I’m ready to progress. Her plan is for our next Occlumency lesson, which should be in about a week, to be an introduction to stage two.
How very interesting. Emily wrote back. You are consistently able to detect her presence in your mind, then?
Yes, Harry wrote in answer, at least when she’s using more blunt probes. According to her, I don’t need to be able to detect more subtle breaches to advance. She said that’s something I’ll sort of just pick up in time, but it’s no reason not to advance. According to her, it would only be an excuse to slow down my progress.
This didn’t make a whole lot of sense to Harry, but he hadn’t asked Grace to elaborate too far on the point. That was mainly because he knew he had Emily to ask questions. For as good as Grace very clearly was with the mind arts, the knowledge that Emily seemed to have at her disposal was incredible. Back in July, for instance, when updating Grace on his progress, she had not just been flabbergasted at how fast he had progressed, but baffled as to how on earth he had even gone about progressing that fast in the first place. That alone led Harry to believe that Emily understood the subject on a deeper level, but if it hadn’t, their conversations in the nearly two months following certainly had done.
He trusted Grace on the matter, but he did want Emily’s opinion. Plus, he had promised that she would have some say in his progression when he agreed to accept her assistance.
I like your tutor. Emily decided. It is not a traditional method of teaching, per se, but one that I very much agree with. Most people would have you slave away while trying to gain a proficiency for detecting more subtle probes. The fact of the matter is, such practices at this stage would be trivial.
The reason you work on detecting not just irregularities, but intrusions in particular, is so that your mind gains a memory for what it feels like when another person projects their magic onto your mind to form a connection. No matter how subtle, the feeling of a connection does not change, it is simply more difficult to detect. Over time, your mind will slowly become more and more adept at sensing these connections. Having a mind that is not yet adept in the process is no limitation for learning stage two Occlumency. As a matter of fact, some of the skills learned in stage two will actually expedite the process of acquiring said memory.
Part of Harry wanted to inquire more about the next stage of Occlumency, but part of Harry also badly wanted to sleep. He decided for a compromise, choosing to ask a hopefully less tasking question. How exactly do you know all of this? You can only really go through the process once, right?
Such an insightful question. I hypothesized about Occlumency and Legilimency for quite some time. As you can imagine, hypotheses in the latter are much easier to put to the test for reasons that I sincerely hope are self-explanatory. For the former, there are ways of testing. For instance, teaching is one way of study. Do not fret, you are not the first I have guided along in the art of Occlumency, and therefore not by any means a test subject. Arithmancy at a frankly absurd level can also be somewhat used to simulate the effects of certain manipulations of magic on one’s mind, but this is a very complex topic that requires a certain understanding of not only the intricacies of magic, but some fundamental properties of the human brain.
And that was about when Harry was done with that conversation. Fascinating as it all was, he had hoped for a less tasking answer mentally. While he appreciated Emily’s insightfulness, open nature and willingness to elaborate, he really was far too tired for any of it. Active Occlumency had that effect on him, which Grace said was normal because his brain was still adapting to the process.
Ugh! He was doing it again, going even further down the rabbit hole. He regretfully thought that perhaps, sleep may not come as fast as he would like it to.
Meanwhile, in the Slytherin girls’ dormitories…
Laine giggled at a joke Charlotte made just as the two of them stepped towards the entrance to their dormitory. As soon as they stepped inside, both of them had to dive to the side as a poorly aimed spell sailed in their general direction. Disoriented, the two girls climbed to their feet and did their best to judge the situation while trying not to end up on the wrong side of yet another of the off-target jinxes in the process.
When they got themselves into a good enough position as not to be cursed unintentionally, it was fairly obvious what exactly was going on.
Ginny Weasley and Evelyn Travers were duelling.
More specifically, at the moment, Ginny was dodging curses and trying not to end up on the wrong end of the other’s wand. In the rare occasions where she did manage to find an opening and attempt to retaliate, Charlotte noticed that the spells she fired back were nearly harmless. Evelyn wasn’t exactly packing a significant punch either, but she very clearly had a more diverse spell arsenal than Ginny. Given the notorious moral ambiguity of Evelyn’s family, and the notorious moral compass of the Weasleys, this was not wholly surprising.
It was, however, rather annoying to enter the dorm late at night to this kind of a scuffle after making it quite clear that if one of these were to take place again, it should not do so within the confines of the dormitory.
Unseen by the other combatant, Charlotte sent Evelyn sailing backwards with a well-placed knockback jinx. Ginny whirled, confused and startled by the newcomer, but Charlotte had hit her with a disarming spell before she could do much more than turn around. As soon as Ginny’s wand had left her hand, however, Charlotte’s attention left her completely as she stormed forward, advancing quickly on the fallen form of Evelyn Travers, who was slowly making her way to her feet, looking to be shaken.
“Not another step.” Charlotte said harshly, aiming her wand directly at the other Slytherin’s face.
“What are you playing at, Weitts?”
“What I’m playing at is ending this, Travers. If you’re going to be such a pest, do it in the common room. I’m done putting up with it in the dorms, and so are the rest of our classmates.”
“Did you notice the fact that both of us were throwing spells, Weitts? Why do you blame it completely on me?”
Evelyn winced immediately after completing her sentence, as a well-aimed stinging hex from Charlotte caught her off guard. Using the distraction, Charlotte stepped close to Evelyn, grabbing the smaller girl by the collar of her robes and pulling her forward, using her other hand to hold her wand up against her throat.
“Don’t insult my intelligence, Travers. I watched you start it the first time, so I don’t see why this time would be any different. Weasley has pretty much minded her own business all week, so I doubt she’s looking for a fight. She’s just too Gryffindor not to end up in one.”
“But she did start it, Weitts. You’re being played-“
“Liar.” Charlotte hissed, making hard eye contact with Evelyn and drawing a shiver from the other girl. “You were trying to get into her trunk; she told you to stop, and you told her to give you the password or you’d curse her, and all hell broke loose.” Evelyn suddenly became too busy trying to pick her jaw up from the floor to retort, and Charlotte got in her final word.
“I’m done putting up with this, Travers. Do it in the common room or not at all. We don’t want it in the dorms and the rest of the school shouldn’t see it outside of the dungeons. If you think I’m picking sides now, wait until you try it again.” With that, Charlotte shoved her backwards, sending her stumbling a few steps before tossing her wand back at her. When Travers stormed furiously out of the dorms, Charlotte rounded on Ginny, who took an involuntary step backwards.
“Relax, Weasley, I’m not going to curse you.” Ginny did relax marginally, though she still remained rather tense. Charlotte had an aura about her when she was angry, as if heat was emanating off of her in waves. That, mixed with the way her eyes shone was a rather intimidating visage. “You should get a trunk with a lock on it, Weasley. The only reason she didn’t manage to get into it was because she didn’t even think about there not being a password. If nothing else, it will probably make the dorm more peaceful, which would be great for all of us.”
Ginny flushed and looked down. “I couldn’t get a trunk like that.” she mumbled, clearly unwilling to state the obvious, but Charlotte got the hint.
Charlotte sighed. “I’ll order you a trunk.” she said, and Ginny looked up sharply, jaw agape.
“I’ll order you a trunk.” Charlotte repeated. “Yours makes you look like an easy target, which is one of the reasons Travers isn’t leaving you alone for more than a few seconds each night. If you give her fewer reasons to think she can be a bother, she’ll stop trying. Personally, I am a miserable person when I don’t sleep, so I’ll give up a few galleons to make sure that I do.”
“You-you don’t have to do that.” Ginny protested.
“Well, obviously not.” Charlotte said with a roll of her eyes. “But I just offered, didn’t I? If it bothers you that much, just chalk it up to house unity and be done with it.”
Ginny blinked. “House unity?”
Charlotte and Laine exchanged glances. It was only now that they realized exactly how clueless Ginny was about Slytherin House. Honestly, neither girl could really blame her. They both had prior knowledge of the house going in, as did the majority of people who were sorted into the Slytherin. Even those who didn’t were usually heirs or heiresses of prestigious families who were taught to read situations better than Ginny was clearly capable of doing.
Following that same concept of house unity that was not explicitly stated but heavily implied was necessary within Slytherin House; it was going to fall to Charlotte and Laine to make sure that Ginny did not weaken or embarrass the house in public.
“Tell you what, Weasley.” Charlotte said after coming to a sort of internal agreement with Laine. “The trunk should be in by next week. Meet me and Laine in the abandoned classroom nearest the Potions room next Monday at around 7:30. I’ll give you the trunk and the three of us are going to have a talk.”
Ginny looked rather apprehensive, so Laine stepped forward. “We’re not going to ambush you, Weasley.” she said, using a slightly more amicable tone than Charlotte. Charlotte was a very smooth and articulate speaker, especially for her age, but she had a sort of intimidating presence to her that Laine lacked, for the most part. Normally, that would be viewed as a disadvantage. But in a scenario like this, it was perhaps precisely what was needed. “There are just some things that you’ll need to know in order for your life not to be hell in Slytherin. Charlotte and I learned all of this before even coming to Hogwarts, and since Black and the other girl seem to be ghosts and Travers a prat, it seems like it’ll be up to Charlotte and I to explain things.”
Ginny nodded, if a bit hesitantly, before edging questioningly towards her bed. When neither of the other two said anything more, Ginny moved towards it more certainly.
“Oh, and Weasley,” Charlotte added, making sure to get the final word in, “learn some jinxes, hexes and maybe a few curses, will you? No offense, but that was kind of painful to watch.” The last sight Charlotte and Laine saw that night was Ginny blushing as red as her hair, just as she retreated into bed for the night.
Laine sighed and leaned in towards Charlotte, speaking in a low voice. “What have you gotten us into?”
Charlotte just rolled her eyes. “Oh, you know, just doing my part for house unity and all that.” she paused. “And she has some spunk.” she said in an even lower voice. “If she can figure everything out, she’ll probably come out of her shell. Honestly, I think she could be an interesting person to watch.”
Laine looked almost incredulous. “Really? She seems scared of her own shadow, if you ask me.”
Charlotte’s return smile was all too knowing. “Trust me on this one, Laine. You might be the sweet talker out of the two of us, but I am very good at reading people.”
September 7, 1992
The Great Hall
Harry, Blaise, Tracey and Daphne entered the Great Hall in a pack the first Monday after their return to Hogwarts. Charlotte and her friend Laine hadn’t been in the common room when the four second year Slytherins had met up, so they had elected to go to breakfast alone. As soon as they entered the hall, Harry could feel a set of eyes. Glancing in their direction, he met the glance of Cassius Warrington, who subtly gestured with his head for the four of them to join himself, Calypso and the Carrows. With a slight nod of affirmation, Harry changed course, catching his three friends off guard in the process.
Luckily, they all followed without question, taking it all in stride as they took their seats among the older students. This did draw a few glances from the two or three first years seated at the table. Evidently, they were still trying to work out the convoluted hierarchy of Slytherin House. As Harry caught the platinum blonde hair of Draco Malfoy out of the corner of his eye, he remembered exactly when he had worked that component of the house system out. The morning after their arrival at Hogwarts last fall, when he had spotted Malfoy sitting with Macnair and his friends. It was crazy to think that in a way, that first morning had foreshadowed the rather intense conflict later in the year.
“Morning.” Cassius greeted a bit sluggishly, sipping his cup of coffee rather needily.
“Not a morning person, are we?” Blaise observed, sounding amused by the fact.
“What was your first clue?” Cassius asked through a yawn.
“You seemed fine for matches last year.” Tracey pointed out.
Calypso sniffed. “At the point you four saw him before matches, he had digested enough caffeine to fuel a small army.”
“Oi!” Cassius protested. “You make it sound like I’m some sort of addict!”
Calypso pointedly sipped at her cup of tea, raising one, perfect brow in challenge. “When was the last morning you didn’t have at least three cups of coffee, Cassius?”
Cassius opened his mouth, then closed it, then opened it again and closed it one more time. In the end, he just elected to return to sipping at his coffee and Calypso smiled sweetly, nodding in satisfaction before turning to the four younger students. “How was your first week?”
“Intriguing enough, I guess.” Harry answered. “Defense and Herbology was interesting. I can’t say I learned anything, but they were still fine.”
“Bit hard to learn something when you’ve got the whole curriculum memorized.” Tracey pointed out.
“The whole curriculum?” Hestia interjected, jumping on that bone like a rabid dog. Tracey winced, shooting a slightly apologetic look in Harry’s direction.
Harry himself just sighed. “Don’t worry about it, Tracey. It’s hardly damning information, or anything.”
“But do you actually have the whole curriculum memorized?” Flora followed up her sister’s earlier question.
“For second year, yes.” Harry admitted. “Well, not for History and Astronomy yet, but all of the other subjects.”
Calypso now looked intensely interested, but not overly surprised, Harry noted. “Have you started any third year material, Harry?”
He shrugged. “I’ve started the reading, yeah. I haven’t actually tried any of the magic, though, aside from the cheering charm.”
“Not much in terms of new spells in third year for defense, honestly.” Calypso said with a sigh. “It was mostly focused on magical creatures. There’s the boggart banishing spell, Riddikulus, but not a whole lot other than that.”
“That’s disappointing.” Blaise put in. Defense was probably his favourite subject. His best, too, along with Charms.
“Very.” Hestia agreed, sounding rather bitter, if you asked Harry.
Just then, the seats nearest the group of eight were taken, and all of them glanced in their direction… and quickly all did double takes.
“Good morning.” Charlotte greeted the group of older students brightly, smiling easily at all of them. Beside her, Laine did not look nearly as confident. Actually, Harry noticed that she looked rather nervous, though she admittedly did an admirable job of hiding it.
There was a moment when Harry’s eyes met Charlotte’s and he did his best to communicate the point that this was probably a very bad idea. He was unsure if she got the message, for she just kept smiling right back at him. He was sure she knew exactly what she was doing, but he wondered if she realized how seriously some members of Slytherin House took the whole “hierarchy thing” and its unwritten set of rules. For her sake, he really hoped she did.
Well, his sake as well, he supposed.
“Good morning.” Calypso replied as she allowed her eyes to sweep over the table. Harry followed her example, noticing that most of the table was at least subtly glancing in the direction of the first years sitting with the older students. Those who were currently entering the hall may have been fooled and think that Charlotte and Laine had been invited, but those present at the table would have seen the way the two first years had just casually sauntered up to the older group without a care in the world. “How was your first week of classes?” Calypso asked the two of them, diverting Harry’s attention off of the dilemma at hand as he refocused into the conversation.
This was a problem to deal with later, not at this time of the morning, with classes inevitably to follow.
The ten students spent the rest of the breakfast making idle conversation, ignoring the few stares that were sent their way as they did so. After some time, the start of the first class drew near, and all ten of them got to their feet, each year group intent on heading in a different direction. Charlotte and Laine were the first to break off, seeing as they had Potions down in the dungeons. Both the second and fifth years climbed the marble staircase before separating. When they did, however, Harry felt something warm brush quickly and softly up against his hand.
Startled, he glanced over his shoulder. There was nothing obviously out of place, but Calypso had fallen a bit behind the rest of her group, though she was quickly lengthening her stride to remedy that abnormality.
As Harry then suspected and would later find out, she had slipped him a note, doing so subtly enough that not even his three rather observant friends had noticed. When he read it during a break in their first period class, passing it off as a part of the class itself, his eyebrows had risen.
Meet me and Cassius tonight at 8:00. Same classroom we use for practice, which we’ll be starting again Saturday night, by the way.
See you then,
As Harry was about to leave the Slytherin common room to make sure he made it to his rather impromptu meeting with two of his older acquaintances, he spotted Charlotte sitting alone, reading a book at one of the tables near the outskirts of the room. Making a split-second decision, Harry changed course, making his way over towards her instead. She must have sensed him coming, for before he could get to her, he found her bluish-silver eyes fixated curiously upon him.
Ignoring her intense stare, Harry slid into the chair across from her and removed his wand. Her eyes tracked it, but not warily. Harry envied people for not having the strong impulse to flinch, flee or fight whenever a weapon was drawn near them. But of course, her reaction was completely on point for that moment in time, for obviously, Harry had no intention of cursing Charlotte.
Instead, he gave his wand a casual flick and cast a spell he had not used in some time.
Harry could feel the magic, almost oppressive in nature, flow from his wand and settle heavily in the air around them. Suddenly, the noise coming from the rest of the room seemed to fade into the background. It was there, but far less noticeable. Harry also knew that the rest of the room would be able to hear nothing of their conversation, not unless they edged rather close to them. Charlotte very obviously made to kickstart the conversation, but Harry held up a hand, forestalling her.
Glancing around to make sure they weren’t being watched, Harry quickly traced his wand through the air in tight, precise motions as he drew a specific set of runes. He had spent quite a lot of time practicing this pattern at Weitts Manor. After all, after being ambushed last year, Harry felt as if a mild sense of paranoia on his part was not completely unwarranted. A minute or so later, he could feel the ward take effect. Now, if anyone came within range of penetrating the boundaries of the Muffliato spell, he would be alerted by the ward around them. Charlotte was looking at him with unmasked curiosity now as he reholstered his wand.
“Just making sure we won’t be overheard.” He said in place of an answer.
Charlotte just raised an eyebrow. “What was that first spell?” she asked him. “I’ve never heard that incantation before.”
“I would be very surprised if you had.” Harry told her. After the hint Voldemort had given him last year while disguised as Hurst about the spell not being one he should let people know that he was aware of, Harry had attempted to research it. To his surprise, his attempts had yielded nothing.
He couldn’t even find mention of the spell anywhere, let alone why it would be so unfortunate if “certain individuals” found out he was using it. That fact had made it all the more surprising when Charlus had known of it last year. The bit about Harry’s twin learning the spell from James, who had apparently learned of it from Lily before making it somewhat of a standard for Aurors was certainly interesting, but not exactly helpful for him in terms of furthering his understanding. Perhaps it would be something to ask Emily about at some point? Perhaps she might know something about it.
“That’s very helpful.” Charlotte retorted sarcastically.
“Sorry,” Harry said genuinely, “I was lost in thought. From what I can tell, it’s a ridiculously powerful privacy spell. It literally makes it impossible for anybody to eavesdrop into our conversation from nearby. I’m not even sure if there is any way to breach it at all.”
Charlotte definitely looked interested now. “Teach me.”
Harry’s lips twitched at the demanding tone of her voice. “Not now.”
Charlotte actually attempted to pout. The look didn’t suit her, but Harry did find it intensely amusing.
When he said nothing further, Charlotte just crossed her arms. “Fine, what about the second spell?”
“It wasn’t really a spell, depending on how you look at it. It’s a sort of detection ward. It’ll warn me if anybody gets within range of the first spell. Basically, this conversation is literally impossible for anybody to eavesdrop on.” he hesitated. “Unless they’re some sort of prodigy, maybe, but we used the spell all of last year and nobody ever eavesdropped on us. And that was before I even knew how to cast the ward.”
“Interesting,” Charlotte mused, “well, since I know you weren’t planning on coming over here and that you meant to leave the room altogether, I’m assuming you want something?”
Harry narrowed his eyes. “You really have to stop legilimizing people.”
Charlotte shrugged. “I’m working on it. Besides, it’s not my problem if you can’t even block a probe that has no intent behind it.”
“I’m working on it.” Harry said with another twitch of his lips, happily turning Charlotte’s own words against her.
“Well,” she bit back with a sigh, “until you figure that out, you can hardly be upset with me for gleaning your thoughts, can you?”
“You don’t exactly sound like it was an accident this time.”
Charlotte shrugged. “I heard footsteps and got curious.”
“That… actually sounds extremely useful.” Harry admitted.
“It’s annoying sometimes right now, but it has its uses, yes.” Charlotte peered at him expectantly. “Well, I’m assuming you still need to be somewhere, so what was it you wanted, exactly?”
Right, she had a point. He had been told to show up at a specific time. “You do realize what you’re doing, don’t you?”
Charlotte blinked. “Um… trying to be a decent friend by not letting you get sidetracked?”
Harry rolled his eyes. “No… I mean, yes, but no.” Charlotte was clearly resisting a smirk with some difficulty. “I mean with your antics at mealtimes.”
Realization dawned in Charlotte’s eyes. “Oh, is that what this is about, really?”
“Charlotte, I’m serious. You’d be surprised how stuck up some people are about things like that.”
“No, I really wouldn’t be.” she answered. “Harry, you’ve been in my household. Can you honestly tell me that you think I haven’t noticed exactly the kind of reactions it’s been getting? And that’s just ignoring the fact that I can — jeez, I don’t know — find out what people are actually thinking.”
“That doesn’t make it any better.” Harry retorted. “You might realize all that, but I don’t think you understand how some people might react. They’ll take it as a challenge, Charlotte. It happened to me last year. Before I knew what was happening, I was up against a fourth year and a sixth year.”
“Oh, so that’s how the whole dragon thing happened, then?” Charlotte asked, smirking in satisfaction as Harry’s mask slipped, surprise briefly showing on his face. “Oh, come on,” Charlotte said, actually sounding exasperated, “give me some credit, will you? Did you really think I wouldn’t be able to make that connection?”
“You’re really not making this easy, are you?” Harry asked with a sigh.
“It’s not my fault if you let interesting information slip.”
“Yes, Charlotte, that is a part of how the dragon incident happened. There is a lot more to it than that, but it’s a part of it. If you haven’t figured this out yet, that isn’t exactly a good thing. I know I’ve been vague about that whole incident, but since you’re so interested, let me spell it out for you.
“I got jumped by a fourth year and a sixth year. They bound me, dragged me into a room and told me exactly how they were going to frame me for dragon smuggling, get me expelled from Hogwarts, exiled from the Potter family, and sent straight to Azkaban.” Charlotte’s eyes actually widened at that, if only for a second. “Oh, and the sixth year had fun hitting me with some kind of torture curse while he was at it. Honestly, their plan was a good one. If everything hadn’t lined up perfectly, there’s no way I would have been able to turn it on them. Even the way it turned out, it all could have gone terribly wrong if they had just been a little bit more careful.”
It was true, after all. If Macnair or Selwyn had simply opened the decoy crate… well, Harry wasn’t exactly sure what would have happened, but he was fairly confident that it would not have been pleasant.
Charlotte narrowed her eyes. “You shouldn’t have let them get off so easily.” she said darkly. “Their families having to pay fines isn’t enough for that kind of attack.”
“I was more focused on self-preservation, Charlotte. Which is exactly what I’m trying to get across to you. There are people in this house that will take something small and blow it up like that. They’ll look for an opportunity and when it comes, they will try and ruin you. Your sister won’t be able to jump in and help you, either. The older years are supposed to stay out of younger year drama, for the most part.”
“Who says I need my sister’s help?”
“If some of the more talented upper years decide you’re a target, you probably would.”
“You’re entitled to that opinion, Harry.”
“Harry, I get it, ok. If it means so much to you, I’ll at least watch my back, alright? I have very specific reasons for doing what I’m doing, and I’m not going to stop, at least not yet. I know exactly what I’m doing. But… I’ll try and be a little bit more careful, okay?”
Harry sighed; it was likely the best he was going to get, and he really did have to be off to his meeting. “Just keep it all in mind.” were his last words before he stood and exited the common room, now walking at a much faster pace than he had planned in order to be on time to meet his two older friends.
Some minutes later, Harry arrived at the room in question, cursing internally at the fact that he was technically two minutes late for the meeting. Thinking back to his discussion with Grace about the wards on their room in the dungeons from the previous week, Harry tried to feel the wards on this room, but he couldn’t. Unlike the other set of wards, Harry had definitely been cued into these ones. It had actually taken a drop of blood from his finger to do so. That had intrigued Harry quite a bit at the time, but he had not asked questions on the topic.
“Sorry I’m late.” he said as he pushed his way through the door, noticing that Cassius and Calypso were both sitting at the room’s lone table, a fairly long one set in its corner. “I got a bit held up on my way out of the common room.”
“Eh, no worries.” Cassius dismissed. “It’s not exactly like we’re on a strict schedule or anything.” Harry glanced curiously between the two of them as he took a seat directly across from Calypso. Cassius sat on her left, Harry’s right. He tried his best to glean what this whole thing may have been about, but try as he might, he could deduce nothing.
“Since you don’t seem like you’re going to ask,” Calypso started, “I guess we should probably get to the point and explain what this is all about.”
“That would probably be a good start.” Harry agreed.
Calypso glanced to Cassius, who leaned forward with an obvious gleam in his dark eyes. “Do you remember last week? The morning the two of us were out flying?”
Harry did not immediately react, not seeing where on earth this conversation was going. “Yes,” he answered carefully, “what about it?”
“Do you remember the last thing I said to you after we had first landed?”
Of course Harry remembered, but he wasn’t going to point that out to Cassius. “Trust me, Harry,” he quoted in a rather poor rendition of Cassius’s voice, which was quite a bit deeper than his own, “I am going to convince you to join.”
There was a long pause as Harry waited for Cassius to continue the conversation. Then, his eyes widened as he looked from Cassius to Calypso, both of whom were looking at him expectantly, clearly waiting for him to put the dots together. “You’re kidding, right?” Harry asked incredulously. “This is about Quidditch?” When Cassius nodded, Harry rounded on Calypso, confused. “If this is about Quidditch, then what are you doing here? You never stop going in on Cassius for playing it.”
“That’s because he has nothing to gain from playing it.” she said, frowning. “With no offense meant to Cassius, he’s a very good chaser, but not an amazing one. He doesn’t draw envy or inspire those around him. He definitely adds to the team, but he doesn’t really stand out. He just puts in hours upon hours of practice to be part of a solid Quidditch team.” Her dark blue eyes found Harry’s and he suddenly realized that somehow, someway, Cassius had talked her into helping him in his crusade. “You’re different though, Harry. There is actually a reason for you to play Quidditch.”
“Somebody pull the other one.” Harry muttered. “Calypso Rosier is trying to convince me to try out for the Quidditch team.”
“I’m serious, Harry.” Calypso chided, narrowing her eyes.
“I know,” he said, hardly able to believe the fact, “which honestly just makes this whole thing even crazier. I expected this from you,” Harry told Cassius, “the look in your eyes — I knew there was no chance you were going to let this drop. But Calypso? How’d you manage to talk her into this? What did you blackmail her with? It must have been good.”
“Why don’t you want to play Quidditch?” Calypso asked clinically. “You’re not exactly in the majority opinion when it comes to boys in Slytherin.”
“It takes up too much time without the reward.” Harry answered honestly. “The same reason you don’t like Cassius playing, really. I have goals, goals that I can only achieve by putting in the time. Quidditch takes away from those goals because of the time I would lose.”
“And what are those goals, exactly?”
Harry narrowed his eyes. “That’s a very personal question, Calypso.”
“Fine, don’t tell me then. That’s your decision, I’m only trying to be helpful and explain why Quidditch probably helps your goals in ways that you haven’t even considered.” she paused. “I can probably still do that, actually.” She twirled a lock of hair around her finger, clearly thinking hard. “Alright,” she decided, “I’m going to explain to you exactly how playing Quidditch would help you and then, if you can honestly tell me that none of those things it will help you with or feed into will aid you in your goals in any way, shape or form, we’ll let this whole thing drop and pretend it never even happened.”
Cassius suddenly looked rather anxious, but Calypso shot him a sideways glance from the corner of her eye and he leaned back in his seat, obviously taking the hint that this was her show.
Skeptically, Harry nodded. “Take it away then, I guess.”
“First, let’s talk about last year, when you were falsely accused of dragon smuggling.” Immediately, Harry’s guard went up, but to his surprise and mild relief, Calypso made no attempt to press him. “I’ll be honest with you, I have no idea what happened, exactly. But, I know it was a lot more than false accusations. I know Macnair and Selwyn, and they wouldn’t just accuse you. If I had to guess, you were set up, possibly even attacked and somehow managed to spin the story, probably because Macnair’s an idiot and messed up in his role. Either way, the point is that you were a target of older students.” she raised an eyebrow. “Am I wrong?”
Hesitantly, Harry shook his head.
“I didn’t think so.” Calypso said with some satisfaction. “Now, this year, what’s to say something similar won’t happen? Macnair is probably too thick-headed to back off, and if Selwyn’s anything like the rest of his family, trust me when I say he is a vengeful son of a bitch.” Harry had to resist a reaction of surprise. He had never heard Calypso curse at all until now. “But,” she continued, “if you play Quidditch, I can guarantee that Macnair won’t be going out of his way to attack you, and the chances of Selwyn, or any older student doing so would go down greatly.”
Harry narrowed his eyes. “And why is that, exactly?”
“Two reasons,” Cassius spoke up, “one, we’re brothers. We might cross paths if politics forces us to or whatever, but when push comes to shove, the team all has each other’s backs. One, because it’s obviously best for the team if all of us are healthy and ready to go. And two, because busting your ass with six other guys has a way of making you way closer than you’d ever thought you’d be.”
“And secondly,” Calypso slid in promptly, “because being on the Quidditch team is a prestigious position that is deemed important to the house. Slytherin is the house of ambition. Naturally, that means it’s full of very competitive people. That means that whether we care about Quidditch or not, we want to win. Because of that, and because of the prestige of the team, all team members are, for the most part, afforded a sort of natural protection. I can’t remember anybody ever going out of their way to make a Quidditch player’s life hell unless the player themself started it.”
“And if they did,” Cassius put in, “the rest of us would make that bastard’s life hell.”
Loathe as he may be to admit it, Harry saw exactly how advantageous that could be. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a big deal for an older student, but for a second year with older enemies more dangerous than themself…
“Ok,” Harry said grudgingly, “I can… see why that would be very useful in my situation. I’m still not sure it makes up for the amount of time I’d be putting in, though.”
“Luckily, it’s not the only benefit.” Calypso informed him, leaning forward slightly. It was clear that whatever she was about to say next, it was the real reason why she was here in the first place. “As I’ve said already, the Quidditch team is a prestigious thing in our house. It will basically boost your house standing immediately, no matter how you perform. And on a Quidditch team, by far the most prestigious position is the seeker. They’re the one with all the power.”
“That would be you.” Cassius chimed in. “Your maneuverability is ridiculous. Like… honestly, I don’t think there is a single student at Hogwarts who could outfly you around a course if you were on the same broom and you’ve never even trained.” he hesitated. “Except maybe your brother, but he’s kind of a phenom.” It sounded as if that admission was quite painful for Cassius to make. Honestly, Harry didn’t like it much either, at the moment.
Actually… challenging as it might be, the potential to beat his brother was a rather tantalizing prospect. Not just beat him, but to do it in front of the entire school. It would certainly be a way to outshine him, and what did Harry have to lose? The entire school would be sure of his defeat before the match so much as started. If he lost, he would simply be fulfilling their expectations. But if he won…
“Which is perfect,” Calypso said, “because it ties back into what I said about Cassius. He’s a good player, but he doesn’t stand out. The seeker will always stand out. And if the seeker is a standout seeker, they’ll prosper not just on the pitch, but off of it.”
“It’s no coincidence that seekers are by far the most popular and highest paid position in professional Quidditch.” Cassius pointed out. “And Harry, I know you think I’m barmy for it, but I honestly think you’d be brilliant. I know you obviously don’t believe it yet, but trust me! I’m not as smart or as talented as Calypso, or even Hestia or Flora, but I know my Quidditch.”
“And if I was a standout seeker,” Harry filled in, “it would greatly help my standing in the house. I’d be the center of attention, the golden boy on a broom and all the rest. The house would not only avoid conflict with me, but some may even try to win my favour.” Harry peered curiously at Calypso. “That sounds great and everything, and don’t take this the wrong way, but what’s your angle, exactly?”
“Is it so hard to believe that I just want the best for you?”
“I’m sure you do,” Harry said dryly, “but I’m also sure that’s a half-truth. It might be what’s best for me, but you have an angle, and I want to hear it.”
Calypso smiled. “I like that about you, Harry. You don’t miss much, even at your age. Of course I have an angle. I’m your friend, so obviously I want the best for you, but by being your friend, I also benefit from your success. So do Greengrass, Davis and Zabini. So do Hestia and Flora. So do Weitts and Slater. But focusing on us specifically — me, Cassius, Hestia and Flora. Next year, we’ll be sixth years and the elder Weitts will be gone. The house is going to be in a state of flux. It will be chaos, an all-out scramble to take the top spot.”
“And you’re going after it.” Harry said, nodding along. Suddenly, it all made sense. “You have the magical ability to back your claim, easily. Between your talent and influence, you can probably gain the favour of a lot of upper years. Cassius can pull from some of the crowd that are Quidditch fanatics in supporting you. But if you had me, the best student in my year, an Heir of an Ancient and Most Noble House, and a star Quidditch seeker, I could draw from pretty much every group in the younger years. I could win favour with them, and if I supported you outright, you’d have a wave of support behind you to back up your own ability.”
Calypso’s smile was so bright, it was practically blinding.
“Bingo!” Cassius said with narrowed eyes.
“And in the same way that you’d benefit from me,” Harry continued, “I’d benefit from you. I’d have the ‘Slytherin Queen’ on my side, which would practically be priceless while at school. Plus, when you guys leave, I would be in fifth year and in a perfect position to take over. By being tied to you, it would make that takeover much, much easier.” Harry had not thought it was possible for Calypso to smile any wider, but he found himself proven wrong. Harry sighed. “I can’t believe I’m probably about to agree to this, but there’s one more issue that I can see.”
“I don’t have a broom. Granted, my father might buy me one. If he’s anything like my brother, he’s probably a Quidditch fanatic. I’m sure he’d love to see his sons on the pitch together, even though the colour of my robes might make him nauseous.” Harry was also fairly sure that James was desperate to gain favour with him, but he did not voice that thought aloud. “But even if that’s true,” he said, “I highly doubt he could get me a broom by…” he paused, “when are tryouts again?”
“Saturday.” Cassius answered. “They were supposed to be yesterday, but Flint stepping down as captain sort of threw everything off.”
“Right,” Harry said, “I definitely don’t think my father could get me a broom in time for Saturday.”
“Luckily for you,” Calypso said easily, “I’m certain my father could get you a broom by Saturday. Not a new broom, granted, but a lightly used one that would be more than good enough to get you through tryouts.” Harry sighed, looking for any last thing to cling onto, but he saw nothing.
“Fine,” Calypso huffed, “I’ll sweeten the deal. We’ll help you with any spell work you need help with when we practice on Saturdays since you’re going to lose so much time. And I’ll owe you one favour in the future. Any favour that doesn’t harm me, my friends, or my family in any way, shape or form.”
Harry closed his eyes before slowly, very slowly, he reopened them and met Calypso’s eyes. “Fine,” he sighed, “you win.”
September 11, 1992
A Room In The Dungeons
Harry sat eagerly across from Grace as he awaited the beginning of his first Occlumency lesson that would focus on the art’s second level. Technically, it was supposed to be combat magic tonight, but Harry had decided he was too eager to wait until Sunday for his new training in the mind arts. “Obviously,” Grace began, “you’re aware that each tier of Occlumency has a specific main focus?” Harry nodded. “Do you have any idea what the focus is for level two?”
“It plays off of level one.” Harry said, having read a bit ahead in his own Occlumency text. “Where level one focuses on detecting irregularities in your mind, level two focuses on actually getting rid of them.”
“A bit rough, but mostly accurate. The second level of Active Occlumency focuses on establishing ‘Occlumency shields’. It not only teaches you how to defend your mind against Legilimency attacks, but once you do it enough, the mental memory that I’ve droned on and on about will kick in.
“The term ‘Occlumency shields’ is actually very misleading. There is no such thing as an Occlumency shield. There’s no barrier, mental or physical that stops a Legilimency probe. Even if there was, it would be useless, since Legilimency forms a connection with another person’s mind directly. There’s no medium, no middle ground where shields could be built. The way to defend against Legilimency is actually very simple. Well, the concept is simple, at least. Actually putting it into practice is a bit more complicated.”
“What do you have to do, exactly?”
“Clear your mind.” Grace said simply. “You need to focus on whatever it is that you use to clear your mind.”
Harry raised an eyebrow. “That seems… too easy.”
“Yes, it does. Here are the problems. Firstly, you have to be able to do it instantly. Any hesitation, and you’ve lost. If you don’t clear your mind right away, the Legilimens will have something to latch onto. Once they have an image, an idea, or an emotion, you’re in trouble. Think of your mind as an extremely complicated web. By clearing your mind, you’re making it nearly impossible for them to even see the web, let alone do anything with it. But if your mind isn’t clear, there are a countless number of strands spreading out from the web. These are emotions, thoughts, memories, anything of the sort. Once a Legilimens has a hold of one of them, they can twist it, manipulate it, or follow it to more strands and do the same with them.”
“So if I don’t clear my mind right away, they’ll latch onto a strand, which will make it much, much harder for me to force them out?”
“Lovely.” Harry said dryly; he could clear his mind very quickly, but instantly was a stretch — a very large stretch, at the moment.
“It’s a process, Harry.” Grace said in a way far more comforting than how she usually spoke. “This is going to seem extremely daunting right now, but I promise, you’re going to get it. You have way too much natural talent not to.”
“I’m assuming there are other things that makes this even more difficult, isn’t there?”
Grace’s lips twitched. “How perceptive of you.” she said. “Yes, there is. Once a connection is formed by a Legilimens, they can obviously do everything I just mentioned, but they can also send things through the link if they’re practiced enough. Thoughts, emotions, memories, ideas… the possibilities are endless. An extremely skilled Legilimens can be terrifying because of this, since there is honestly no telling what they could do by manipulating the ability. But it does take a talented Legilimens to do it. It’s not something anybody can just do.”
“That’s… a small comfort, I guess.”
“On a lesser scale, this ability is still very useful. Can you guess why?”
Harry thought for a moment before answering. “The Legilimens could try to disrupt your thoughts by feeding images. Which would be even more effective if they did glean something, since they might know, or at least have an idea of what might be effective.”
“Pretty much exactly that, yes. The ability to project images is a tricky one to pick up on, but it’s definitely not as hard as some of the manipulations of said ability.”
Harry sighed. “When you said this was going to be a process, you were not kidding.”
Grace actually laughed at that comment. Soft as it was, it was a rarity, and saying that would be quite a profound understatement. “No, I wasn’t.” She slipped her wand from her sleeve. “Are you ready to start?”
Meanwhile, in the Headmaster’s office…
Charlus stared open-mouthed at Dumbledore, who sat calmly across from him and observed his young charge with what appeared to be intense amusement. “You want me to forgive Harry, again?”
“I shall tell you the same thing that I told you almost a year ago to the day, Charlus. In my most esteemed opinion, there is nothing at all that needs forgiving.”
“But… he was going to betray us! He was going to join Voldemort!”
“I think it’s fairly obvious that this is untrue, Charlus. If that statement was true, Harry would have taken Voldemort’s offer right there and then. You cannot say he was going to do something when, in the very next moment, he did the exact opposite of the thing you are accusing him of.”
“But… he said it! He said he wanted to! Wanted to be better than me and dad, wanted to stand alone.”
“Is that ambition such a bad thing, Charlus?” Dumbledore asked. “A wise man in a muggle novel once said that you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into their skin and walk around in it. Imagery aside, I consider that quote to be most apt in your current situation. Please, try and see things from Harry’s perspective. He was left at the home of his aunt and uncle at a year old and ignored for ten years.” Dumbledore winced. “Of course, this is mostly a mistake on my part, and a drastic one that may never be forgiven, but it is the fact of the matter whether I like to admit it or not.”
“But it was Dad who made the choice, wasn’t it?”
“In a sense, yes.” Dumbledore admitted. “But it was I who helped convince him that specific home would be suitable.” Dumbledore paused. “I do not know how much of Harry’s living situation you were made privy to, Charlus, but it was… far worse than I would ever have thought.”
“Did… did they ever hurt him, Professor? I asked him that question last year, and he didn’t answer me.”
“That fact does not surprise me.” Dumbledore said. Then, after a moment, he sighed. “Yes, Charlus, they hurt him. Fairly often and sometimes quite badly, in fact.” Charlus reared back as if struck and Dumbledore gave him a moment to compose himself before he continued.
“Harry was left at the mercy of his aunt and uncle and abandoned by the magical world. They neglected him, Charlus. He never got the love and attention that you were pampered with by your father and godfather, to say nothing of your adoring public. And then there is you.
“When Harry finally returned to the world in which he belonged, he finds out that his brother is famous. Remarkably famous, in fact. Harry has never stood alone in all of his life. He was cast into an oppressive shadow by his muggle relatives for ten years. And then, when he returned to the magical world, he was cast into the shadow of his family name and his brother.” Dumbledore fixed Charlus, who was now wide-eyed and stunned at this perspective, with a hard stare. “When has Harry got any attention when it is not connected to you or the Potter family?”
“At the gala.” Charlus answered at once. “They were all fawning over him because of his grades.”
“And what happened when he finally got that attention?”
Charlus paused. “He made the paper?”
“You both made the paper. You butted into the picture and stole his spotlight. While it was true you were bested, the Prophet was talking about your competition against him, not so much his own accomplishments. In the article in question, I believe they even referred to you as the more well-known of the Potter twins.” Charlus actually winced at that.
“My point, Charlus,” Dumbledore said, “is that Harry is well within his right to earn attention. He is merely a boy, just as you are, but a boy who is only now learning the intricacies of the magical world. He did not grow up learning of the terrors that Lady Voldemort inflicted upon these isles. As Professor Hurst, Lady Voldemort was the first adult figure to ever show Harry true affection of any kind. I’m sure the offer to join her in her crusades and stand out above all others was immensely appealing to him. Can you not see why that would have been a tantalizing image for one in Harry’s position?”
And just like that, Charlus knew he had lost the argument. As much as he wished otherwise, he could see exactly why such an offer would be so tempting to Harry. And now, he came to a rather jarring revelation.
He had spent the last three months being an undeniable git — again.
Originally, I had planned for the Quidditch tryouts to be in this chapter. As you may be able to guess, this one turned out to be longer than I had expected. The try out scene itself is also about 5k words, so I pushed it back to the first scene of next week’s chapter. That one will also be quite long, so I hope you enjoy these longer chapters. At this rate, taking the large number of pre-written chapters into account as well, It seems to be my new norm for year 2.
As I’ve said in the past, my mind magic system is based off of the one in PoS, though as those of you who have read both stories know, I have already made some significant changes. For instance, the actual theory on how Legilimency and Occlumency work. Also, in PoS, Occlumency shields are formed over time. In AoC, as Grace put it, there is no such thing as Occlumency shields, and that term is extremely misleading. Honestly, that trope never made sense to me, so I am happy to have subverted it.
Finally, bonus points to anybody who knows which muggle novel Dumbledore referenced, and which character he is speaking about. If you got the reference, let me know in the reviews.
Please read and review.
PS: The next chapter will be posted next Saturday, August 22nd, 2020 at approximately 3:00 PM EST
Thank you this week to my lovely Discord editors Sesc and Haphne Initiate Son of Athena for the additional corrections on this chapter.
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