“This means in house lore not only is the House getting revived, it is your solemn duty to do so.”
“Oh,” I replied. “And what exactly does that mean, riving the House?”
“Well, you will need to be able in several skills…I’m sure we have a list of requirements written down, try and find it in your ghost books.” Grandfather Ignotus spoke again, and he and Grandfather Callum exchanged a few more words, before Grandfather Callum turned back to me. “Never mind come, Ignotus has reminded me that it’s contained in the Family Charter.”
“Why would a family need a charter?” I asked, following after Callum. Ignotus walked after me, sparing me glances and muttering in Welsh.
“Well, it began, if I recall my history, to set forth rules when we were just beginning as a house. To say such things as if women can lead the family, and you had best be glad for that, my dear, otherwise your brother would have inherited. Of course, they must be first borne. Also, how to judge the heir of the house, should they be seen as unfit, that’s had to be done a few times. How to judge certain crimes, should a member of the family be convicted of it, our inheritance laws—our ancestors found it very important to write it all down.”
“Did Grandfather Ignotus write it?” I asked looking up at the tall man.
“No, I did not,” Ignotus replied. He spoke with a thick Welsh accent, but after looking back at him, I realized he had been speaking English.
“Blood must be kicking in,” Callum said.
“What do you mean by that?”
“The blood wards I set to this whole place and the way the magic in the paintings work, it gives us part of your information, such as language,” Ignotus explained. “Old magic. It was outlawed some time ago, such things, if I am correct.”
“Around the time Charlotte ruled the family,” Callum replied.
“It is impolite to speak of others behind their backs,” a woman appeared out of the stacks to join us. Her hair was curled so tightly on her head that I thought they might fall off but they bounced with her.
“Not if it’s the truth,” Ignotus muttered, glaring a little at Charlotte. I cocked my head and realized that perhaps not all of my ancestors got along.
“Now, Grandmother Lottie, we were merely explaining to Harriet here that blood magic, such as the magic in the paintings which allows us to appear as we do,” Callum explained.
“If it’s against the law, why do you still use it?” I asked.
“Well, when people started killing us, we did not stop being powerful,” Charlotte replied. “We merely became more discrete.” She knelt before me, the poufy blue dress she wore fanning out around her, and slipped a wild lock of hair behind my ear. Lily had started trying to tame it, but even though it was long, it held the same sort of unruliness that James’ and Cloudy’s had. “Perception, my dear, is very important. If people perceive you to be one thing, then they believe that you are that thing, no matter what you are otherwise. Do you understand?”
“You’re tricky,” I replied.
“Very much so, thank you,” Charlotte replied with a smile. “The third Potter from our family line to ever be a Slytherin.” Ignotus rolled his eyes and muttered something in Welsh. “And what was that Grandfather? As I recall, you are the way the Potters are related to the Slytherin family.”
“You are?” I asked. “But I thought we were all Gryfinndors? James said that we had always been in Gryffindor.”
“Aye,” Ignotus replied. “My brother’s last granddaughter married a man named Byron Slytherin. Who was that terror who claimed to be the last Slytherin?”
“Lord…”Callum trailed off, afraid to speak his name, like many wizards.
“Why is everyone so afraid of saying Voldemort?” I inquired. Callum winced.
“During the war, and what a terrible war it was, my gel, it seemed that those who would say his name would always be stricken. I remember a woman laughed at it in Diagon Alley when the paper first printed his name, and she was strung up, dead for all to see not an hour later. Terrible things happened to those who spoke that name.”
“Well, you don’t have to worry,” I said. “You can say his name all you like in fact. My brother, the twin I told you about, Grandfather Callum, when we were babies, Voldemort tried to fire the killing curse at him, but it bounced off and killed Voldemort instead.”
“That’s a load of rubbish if I’ve ever heard it,” Grandmother Charlotte said. “How exactly does a killing curse simply bounce off of someone, particularly, a baby?”
“No one really knows,” I said. We had arrived at what I presumed to be the circular center of the library in the center of which was a dais with a rather large book sitting upon it. There were other spirits appearing now, all with dark hair, a few I recognized from the portraits. “Not even Dumbledore knows.” Callum snorted.
“A word of advice, my gel, not even Albus Dumbledore knows everything,” he said. “He even says so himself.”
“Now what’s all of this about, Callum?” asked one of the other spirits. “Was this girl the one who woke us all up?”
“Indeed, Father,” Callum said, which was odd, because dark haired though he was, his father was the same, and having a father who appeared to be the same age as him was rather strange. “She is the next heir to the House of Potter…” He glanced at Ignotus and belatedly added, “and House Peverell, as well.”
“Is she the one, though?” asked one of the lady shades.
“She is, in fact, the fifty-first, since we avowed to let the house fall,” Callum reported.
“A woman to fix a woman’s folly,” Ignotus hissed, glaring at Charlotte.
“Well, that’s not very nice,” I said. “She was only trying to protect the family.”
“Yes Grandfather,” Charlotte retorted. “I was.”
“And Grandfather, might I remind you that the women of this family have always done as they’ve needed to,” said another of the matriarchs. “A man might’ve had us killed off.” A bickering arose among my ancestors, the likes of which I had never seen before. Mostly because of the sheer amount of people who were bickering. I sighed, which no one heard, and opened up the ghost book, which was completely black. I had no idea, of course, how to make it show me a book, so, instead I looked ahead of me to where the large book stood on the dais.
I strode forward, easily slipping between my ancestors to step up to the dais and open the large book before me, the title of which was written in Welsh, which I most unfortunately could not read. Flipping through the pages, searching for a page which was not written in a tongue I did not understand, I did not hear the bickering of my ancestors die out around me, but I did see the shadow of a hand fall on the book before it stopped me at the page I was flipping through.
“The one who leads this house must be good, patient and strong,” Ignotus read above me. “The one who leads this house must always advance himself or herself in any and every way possible. Never stop learning, for everything around you in this life is a lesson to be learned. Never falter in the face of fear, for if you prevail you will be greater for it. And do not rush the viewing of all there is, from a babe’s first breath to the mist over the moments; observe everything and you will be content to know the secrets of the world.” He looked up around him. “And which one of you wrote this?”
“I did Grandfather,” answered one of the matriarch who had spoken earlier. She had the same accent as Ignotus, so I thought she might be his actual granddaughter, than one of the many greats, like I was. “We all put a part of us into this book, girl child, and perhaps one day you will amend some by-law or other custom or add your own. This is the life blood of the House Peverell and Potter. Learn it, and know us, all of us.”
“It shall be your first task in truly becoming the High Lady of our Houses,” Callum told her. “You must read and know our laws, and become the leader of the house.”
“But there isn’t any house, just me, my brother and Lily and James,” I said.
“Well then, when you and your brother are old enough, you shall have many babies,” said one of the older ancestors. “And when they are grown, they shall have many babies. And not long after that, the house shall be large once more. But you, girl child, you will bring the prestige we once had, before it was…hidden away.” A large number of the ancestors glanced at Charlotte, who pretended not to notice.
“And what all is there to making my Houses great again?” I asked.
“It’s all there,” Charlotte said. “All of the conditions the House agreed upon when we became anonymous, and all that was before that, and after.”
“Study it well, child,” Ignotus told me. “You shall be tested much later on.” I looked up at him and blinked, backing up into him suddenly, I almost knocked the shade of my ancestor right over.
“How long have I been here?” I inquired. “I need to get back! Who knows who could have found me missing? What if Lily finds out about this place? Oh! She’ll never let me back, how do I go home?”
“Do you have the port key which brought you here?” Grandfather Callum asked. I had wedged it back toward the spine of the book, like I had found it, but now held it up for my grandfather to see. “Now I will tell you how to get home, my gel, but first I must show you how to use the ghost book. First you must run your finger along the spine. Only someone of Potter blood can access our libraries you see?” I ran my finger along the spine and found that I was once again pricked in the finger.
“Why does everything in our family involve blood?” I asked.
“To protect our secrets,” Charlotte replied. “I got the idea from you, Grandfather Ignotus.”
Ignotus glared at her a little, but he hid a slight smile beneath his frown.
“Now!” Callum exclaimed. “To return home, to where ever you were before you came here, you simply need to tell the port key to return to point. But in Welsh.” I rolled my eyes; I had a sneaking feeling that nothing would ever really be simple in my family. “Do not roll your eyes at me, young lady. It is pronounced as ‘Ddychwelyd at atalnoda.’”
“Ddychwelyd at atalnoda,” I intoned, and felt myself being pulled away from my family’s hall only to appear back in the Potter Manor Library, landing hard on the floor. “Ow…” I moaned. My arm felt such pain, and apparently it had sounded painful enough to be hear from a distance in the manor, before not a moment later I heard James calling,
“Harriet! Harriet! Where are you?” I slid the ghost book and the port key with it in to the stacks, and stood, stumbling toward the door. Tears streamed down my face, and I didn’t really try to stop it, even when James came in and knelt before me.
“What’s wrong, sweetness? What happened?”
“I was just trying to get a book, but I got up to high and then fell,” I explained. It was not far from the truth, not so far anyway. James frowned softly at me.
“Broke your arm, did you? Don’t worry, Mum and I will have this all fixed up, and then we’ll take you St. Mungo’s to help straighten it out.” James led me from the library with a hand on my back, and through the pain, I wondered when I would return to the compound.