“It’s sad, but I was actually sort of hoping the line would die with your father,” he said. “I never thought he would actually get that many dates, your father was quite the arrogant one, not that his mother or I helped, but I never thought he would much less marry and create a legitimate heir! I really would have preferred all of this knowledge to die with me.”
“What knowledge?” I asked, beginning to edge out of the room. I was fairly sure that this was some sort of shade, so it could not particularly harm me, but that also meant it could not stop me from exploring. It rambled for a bit longer, allowing me to slip out of the room and traverse a long hall way with a great many doors. Each of them was clearly marked, though the markings were in Welsh. Or at least what looked like Welsh. It could have been a made up language for all I knew, but since it appeared I would be stuck in this place for some time, I began trying doors.
The first door I tried entered into a large room filled with clothing. Most of it appeared to be in a style I had never seen in the strange magazines Lily would occasionally buy. I concluded that it was old. I went through many other doors, discovering gems, trees, a dragon and a unicorn jousting, a few personal suites and then stepped into something that eclipsed the majesty of anything I had ever seen.
I had thought the Potter library big. It had rows and rows of books, and I had seen the Hogwarts library which was larger than the one we had at the manor. This one put them both to shame, as it towered into the heavens, fit to burst at the glass, dome roof which covered it. It appeared to have corridor after corridor, and my eyes got lost trying to find the end of it on the horizon, as it spiraled around a single point.
“That book you have in your hands will be rather useful here.” I jumped and realized Grandfather Callum was standing right behind me. “It is called a ghost book, and was invented by our ancestress Charlotte Potter, who created it to catalogue and access any of the books entered into our library systems. By the way, it is rather rude of someone to wander off when someone else is talking to them.”
“Were you talking to me, Grandfather? I couldn’t quite tell with the way you rambled on and on.” He rolled his eyes at me.
“Too much sass, just like your father.”
“I’m barely anything like James,” I said. “For one thing, I use my brain.” Callum snorted and grinned, before his face contorted in confusion.
“Say, why do you call your father James? Why not father?”
“I call him father to his face, but he and Lily left me with Lily’s sister when I was a baby and then went and faked their deaths.” I explained the circumstances to Grandfather Callum who listened intently as we slowly began to wander through the library. For the first time, I admitted who actually raised me and the Goblin’s plot to make some money.
“The goblins will do that, you know, especially since I doubt James actually investigated how much we owned. Anyway, I suppose the joke is on your parents in the end, for no doubt you could empty the family coffers in a day and let them have none of it.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Well, they were registered as dead,” Callum explained. “With both the Ministry for Magic and the goblins I would presume, because how else would you inherit everything? When they were declared dead, everything was transferred to your name, and just because they are no longer dead, the monies and properties do not revert back to their name. At least not in the magical world. One of the ancestors tried it and it did not work out so well with him. And to my knowledge, not much has changed by way of inheritance laws since then.”
“So you’re saying, Grandfather, that the manor, the vaults and everything in them belongs to me?” I asked.
“The titles and everything else as well,” Callum replied. “You’ll probably still need to give your brother—he is younger than you, yes? Ah—well, then you’ll still need to give your brother an inheritance.”
“But wasn’t he dead too?”
“But he is not yet of age,” Callum explained. “Your parents were of age when they were declared dead, and as such, they would have already received an inheritance that would have reverted back to their name. I suspect that is what they have access to at Gringotts right now. But your brother has not yet received an inheritance from House Potter, and so it is your duty to give him one.”
“All right, you mentioned titles, what about those?” I asked. Callum merely waved it off though.
“We’ve accrued several over the years. Mostly, the wizarding world bothers not with different titles, but rankings of them. You are the First Lady of Peverell, and many more, as well as being High First Lady of the House Potter. It basically means that you are the head of the house, and you are a Lady of the First Rank over your dominion. The land in Wales on which the manor is built and much of the surrounding acres. We have a few others; you are a countess in England, a Marquisess in France, and I do believe we still hold the title of Duke, or Duchess for you, in Norway.”
“Yes, well, they married in. We are a very powerful family when we want to be, my dear, the thing is, some time back along the family tree, people started picking us off because they realized just how powerful we could be. So we just stopped acting like it. Collected knowledge in secret, learned great trades and shared everything with one another. Then, slowly, we started having fewer and fewer children. Your grandmother and I were not even expecting your father when he came along. Quite the surprise. But I vowed never to tell James about all of this. Because I knew if someone found out, it would lead to the rival of our once great house.”
“Is that such a bad thing?” I asked.
“Perhaps not for you,” Callum said. “You are going to be a very powerful witch. You could wake up this whole place with your magic, I suspect the others will be coming out of their portraits soon with the drop of blood you gave. But just because you are a supremely powerful witch, does not mean everyone in your family will be. That’s how we began to end the last time. Well, and I suspect some inbreeding had something to do with it. There was a time when we would not marry anyone of mixed blood.”
Someone spoke out of the darkness and I wiped around to see a tall, dark haired man. It took me a moment, but I realized he had spoken in Welsh. Grandfather Callum replied, and they traded words for a moment before Grandfather then turned to me,
“Do you speak Welsh, my dear?”
“I’m afraid not,” I replied.
“Do make it a point to learn, Grandfather Ignotus and several of our other ancestors know nothing else. And speaking of Grandfather, he reminded me that you would be the fifty-first generation since the fall of our once great house.”
“This means in house lore not only is the House getting revived, it is your solemn duty to do so.”