Forbidden Magic 59
Chapter 59 - Calm
“Only believers known the sign of the Deathly Hallows and other fools,” he nodded over to Ron and Ginny, “like that boy at the wedding seem to think it’s the sign of a dark wizard! Ha! There is nothing dark about that symbol, it was stolen and taken for that which it is not.”
“Excuse me?” Hermione asked, “Believers in what? Krum is right though.”
“I know he is, but he is not at the same time,” Xenophilius explained, “It was taken for that which it is not, meaning that it was taken to be a dark mark when it is not! Only believers seek the Deathly Hallows.”
“We still don’t follow you sir,” Harry said.
“Are you familiar with the Tale of the Three Brothers?” he asked them.
Harry shook his head no, but Ginny, Hermione and Ron all nodded. “Ah, well, Mr. Potter, it seems you need some education then. I have a copy somewhere…”
He looked around at the sacks of books that seemed to be piling up to the ceiling but Hermione coughed politely as she stuck her hand into the bag. “I, um, have a copy sir,” she said, “I have it right here.” She found the book and pulled it completely out and Xenophilius’ jaw dropped.
“Is this… the original?” he asked, “This is incredible!” He walked towards her and merely only looked at the book in awe. “Why don’t you read it out loud?”
“Um, me? Why me?” Hermione looked at the man with a confused and nervous look on her face. He nodded, “the book should be read by the owner not by anyone else.”
“Um, well then, alright,” she breathed in the air around her and gave a small cough. She wasn’t exactly ready to read the story, but she wasn’t in a position to argue.
Ginny noticed that the symbol that they were there for was marked at the top of the page. Her eyebrow arched in curiosity. The objects in the story are… she thought but couldn’t seem to finish the thought as Hermione’s voice filled the room. “There were once three brothers who were traveling along a lonely winding road at twilight…”
“Midnight! That’s what mum would tell us! Remember Ginny?” Ron said with a huge grin as he took a seat next to his sister. “Ron!” Ginny groaned, “she’s trying to bloody read. Shut up for a moment will you?”
Hermione shot a glance of annoyance at Ron but looked to Ginny with a warm smile. You always know when to stand up for someone, she thought with an amused smile on her face.
“Sorry! I just thought it was spookier at midnight Ginny!” Ron protested.
“Oh yeah, because we so need the fear in our lives!” Ginny shot back at him. “Now just shut up! Go on Hermione.”
“In time, the brothers reached a river too deep for them to wade through and too dangerous to swim across. However, these brothers were learned in the magical arts, and so they simply waved their wands and made a bridge appear across the treacherous water. They were halfway across it when they found their path blocked by a hooded figure. And Death spoke to them-“
“Wait, Death spoke to them?” Harry blurted out. “How is that even possible?”
“It’s a fairy tale HARRY!” Hermione shrieked at him with narrowed eyes.
“Oh, right, um, sorry, um, go on then,” Harry said embarrassed. Ron laughed a bit but was elbowed in his sides by his sister who had her finger over her lips.
“Anyway, And Death spoke to them. He was angry that he had been cheated out of three new victims, for travelers usually drowned in the river, but Death was cunning. He pretended to congratulate the three brothers upon their magic, and said that each had earned a prize for having been so cleaver to evade him.”
Ron chuckled again since he knew what was going to happen to them, but Ginny once again elbowed him in the ribs causing the male redhead to jump in the air. Hermione once again shot him a glare that caused him to blush.
“So the oldest brother, who was a combative man, asked for a wand more powerful than any in existence: a wand that must always win duels for its owner, a wand worthy of a wizard who had conquered Death. So Death crossed to an elder tree on the banks of the river, fashioned a wand from a branch and gave it to the oldest brother.”
Hermione’s eyes left the book for a moment to see Ginny holding onto Ron’s mouth. She smiled at this action before returning to reading the story.
“Then the second brother, who was an arrogant man, decided that he wanted to humiliate Death still further, and asked for the power to recall others from Death. So Death picked up a stone from the riverbank and gave it to the second brother, and told him that the stone would have the power to bring back the dead.
“And then Death asked the third brother and the youngest brother what he would like. The youngest brother was the humblest and also the wisest of the brothers, and he did not trust Death. So he asked for something that would enable him to go forth from that place without being followed by Death. And Death, most unwillingly, handed over his own Cloak of Invisibility.”
“Death has a cloak?” Harry interrupted.
“Yes, he uses it to sneak up on people,” Ginny told him, “we can tell you more about that later! Now please! Hermione, do go on!”
“Thank you, now then where was I? Oh yes, then Death stood aside and allowed the three brothers to continue on their way, and they did so, talking with wonder of the adventure they had had, and admiring Death’s gifts.
“In due course the brothers separated, each for his own destination. The first brother traveled on for a week or more, and reaching a distant village, sought out a fellow wizard with whom he had a quarrel. Naturally, with the Elder Wand as his weapon, he could not fail to the win the duel that followed. Leaving his enemy dead upon the floor, the oldest brother proceeded to an inn, where he boasted loudly of the powerful wand he had snatched from Death himself, and of how it made him invincible.
“That very night, another wizard crept upon the oldest brother as he lay, wine-sodden, upon his bed. The thief took the wand and, for good measure, slit the oldest brother’s throat.
“And so Death had the oldest brother for himself. Meanwhile, the second brother journeyed to his own home, where he lived alone. Here he took out the stone that had the power to recall the dead, and turned it thrice in his hand. To his amazement and his delight, the figure of the girl he hand hoped to marry, before her untimely death, appeared at once before him.
Yet she was sad and cold, separated from him as by a veil. Though she had returned to the mortal world, she did not truly belong there and suffered. Finally the second brother, driven mad with hopeless longing, killed himself to truly join her.
“And so Death took the second brother for his own.
“But though Death searched for the third brother for many years, he was never able to find him. It was only when he had attained a great age that the youngest brother finally took off the Cloak of Invisibility and gave it to his son. And then he greeted Death as an old friend, and went with him gladly, and, equals, they departed this life.”
Hermione closed the book and Ron burst out in clapping. “I love that story!” he shouted. Ginny, once again, elbowed him in the ribs. “What was that for?! She’s done ain’t she?” Ron said as he rubbed his sore side.
Xenophilius’ eyes didn’t leave the window as he said, “Well there you have it!”
“Have what?” Hermione asked, “I just read you the story that’s all.”
“And that is all you had to do,” he said sagely, “Those are the Deathly Hallows.”
Turning around quickly, he took a quill and some parchment. He sat down in an empty chair and started to draw something on the blank parchment. Hermione and Ginny both were confused so they pulled themselves close to him to see what he was drawing on the parchment. Ron, who was still sore from all the abuse form his sister, moved slowly to look over his sister’s shoulder.
Harry’s eyes widen as he noticed what was being drawn. “The Elder Wand,” he said as he drew a straight line, “the Stone,” he drew a circle around the wand, “and here we have the cloak,” he finished the symbol by adding a triangle to it. “Together they are the Deathly Hallows.”
Hermione’s eyes looked from the parchment to Xenophilius’ smug face. “But there is no mention of those items being the ‘Deathly Hallows’ in the tale,” she said matter-of-factly.
“Of course not,” he said, “It’s a children tale read to teach them a thing a two, however, there are those of us who know that if you obtain all of these items, you are the Master of Death!”
“Master as in—“ Ginny tried to say it but Xenophilius cut her off, “Master, owner, conqueror.”
“Are you saying, well, not to be rude,” Hermione tried to remove every ounce of skepticism from her shaking voice, “you, um, rather, believers actually have fai-, I mean belief in these – Hallows?”
“Well yes,” he said.
“But…” Hermione tried to say something but Ginny could pick up on her doubt and overwhelming logical thought that was starting to break through. “How can you possibly, without a shadow of a doubt, believe in such things?”
He chuckled a bit and said with a smile, “Luna has told me so much about you, Hermione. Oh, so bright, so intelligent but ever so closed minded!”
“Excuse me?” Hermione’s eyes narrowed.
“You should try on the hat!” he said gleefully.
“No thank you,” Hermione sighed, “Mr. Lovegood… if I may… we all know that there are cloaks and well, they are rare but… they do exist!”
“The third Cloak is the true cloak. Not just some cloak with an enchantment sprinkled on it or made from the hair of some animal. Oh no, this is the real thing! They fade over years, Miss Granger! This cloak makes you completely invisible! How many cloaks have you seen, Miss Granger, which can truly do such a task?!”
Ginny was about to say something but she shut her mouth quickly as she felt the confusing bouncing from Hermione’s body into hers. Her eyebrows furrowed a bit and her mouth turned into an o. Oh, now I think she gets it, Ginny thought, I was talking about this. I knew it! Harry’s … cloak. But… Hermione, do you understand now?
Ron coughed as he looked at his friends while Harry sat in his chair with a bemused look on his face.
Hermione opened her mouth for a second but like Ginny closed it. She couldn’t tell him that Harry had a cloak like that, could she? Would that prove her right or wrong? She couldn’t tell.
“Exactly,” Xenophilius said. He truly thought he defeated everyone in the room with a logical argument. “None of you have seen one because the possessor would be filthy rich, wouldn’t he?”
Hermione waved both her hands in the air, “Fine! Let’s say the cloak did exist and someone had it that tells me nothing about the stone and the wand!”
“Whatever do you mean?”
“How do you know it’s real?! Tell me then!” Hermione sighed.
“Prove to me it is not Miss Granger,” he said smugly.
“That is utterly ridiculous! I mean, not to be rude, how can I possibly prove it doesn’t exist? Do you honestly think I could get a hand of every stone on this earth and test them all? You could claim ANYTHING is real if the only basis for it is if no one can prove it doesn’t exist!”
“Yes, I am glad you are opening your mind up,” he told her with a smile.
“What about the wand sir?” Ginny asked before Hermione could retort and she must certainly was going to because the redhead could feel the debating spirit rise in the girl.
“The wand has endless evidence,” he said darkly, “it is the blood that is splattered all over wizarding history.”
Hermione frowned, she couldn’t debate that. There was so much history that she couldn’t really explain. Battles that were won with little effort and she knew that it wasn’t all due to skill.
“The wand only belongs to the person who can claim it,” he said.
“So where do you think the wand is now?” Harry asked.
“No one knows,” he said as his eyes shifted from Harry to outside the window, “History doesn’t tell us.”
An awkward silence seemed to come over the room and only Hermione’s voice seemed to break its spell. “The Deathly Hallows, do they have a tie to the Perverell family?”
“Have you been giving me the run around young lady?” he coughed.
“Excuse me?” Hermione’s confusion seemed to set in again.
“I thought you were new to this quest! Only believers know that that family has everything, and I do mean everything to do with the Hallows!”
“Who are they?” asked Ginny sitting up straight in her chair. She was completely enthralled with the story now.
“That was the name that I saw in the grave which the mark was engraved on,” Hermione told her.
Ginny’s eyes widen, “Why didn’t you point it out to me?”
“We didn’t have much time for it,” Hermione answered.
“The sign on Ignotus’ grave is proof!” the old man said.
“Of what?” Ron asked finally bringing himself into the conversation.
“The three brothers in that story were those brothers. Antioch, Cadmus, and Ignotus! They were the first! They were the ones that started the whole thing!”
He shot up on to his feet and walked to the window, “Will you be staying here for dinner?”
Without waiting for an answer, he left the room. Harry shifted in his seat nervously as Hermione eyed everyone in the room. “Tell me now, what do you think?” Harry asked suddenly.
“It’s utter rubbish Harry!” Hermione nearly got out of her seat, “What a waste of time! I cannot believe that I decided on wasting it all to come here! This is just his silly take on the story! It must have nothing to do with this symbol.” She slammed her hands on the parchment.
“I believe it,” Ginny said holding her head high. “I knew that story was real.”
“Oh come off it,” Ron snorted, “every since we were kids you would just go on and on about this crap being real. You know it’s not.”
“You don’t believe?” Harry asked Ron.
“No, it’s just a story,” he answered, “and unlike Ginny, I can tell fact from fiction.”
Ginny flared her nostrils at him. “When we were kids, dear brother, let me remind you that you thought it was just as real as I did! You even asked me if it was possible that those brothers could be in our family!”
“I did not!” Ron protested as he jumped out of his seat. Ginny got out of her seat as well facing him. “You did!” she argued.
“Enough,” Hermione said.
“No really, I don’t,” Ron grumbled, “It’s just a superstition.”
“Huh?” Harry looked at him weirdly.
“’May-born witches will marry muggles.’ ‘Jinx by twilight, undone by midnight.’ And um, ‘Wand of elder, never prosper.’ You must’ve heard them! Our mum is full of them!”
“Ron,” Ginny said softly with a sigh, “Hermione and Harry were raised by muggles not by OUR MUM!” She elbowed him again. “They were taught other things!”
“Thank you Ginny,” Hermione sighed, “Honestly Ronald, sometimes I… what is that smell?”
A horrible smell was coming from the kitchen that made her nearly forget that she was annoyed at Ron. “I guess I agree with you, however, it is all about what you would chose in the end.”
All four of them paused and then answered at the same time:
“The wand!” Ginny said excitably.
“The wand,” Ron nodded.
“The stone,” Harry said sadly.
“The Cloak,” Hermione said with a dry tone.
“Oh come on! The cloak? You wouldn’t need it if you had the wand!” Ron told her.
Ginny nodded her head, “Remember what you told me? Don’t tell anyone you have it and oh! The possibility of an unbeatable wand! Anyone messes with me and BAM! Hexes up the wazoo!”
Hermione rolled her eyes at the redheads when Harry said, “We already have one.”
“Well, let’s see,” Hermione said sarcastically, “the cloak is truly worthless since it’s helped us! Where as the wand would get you killed-“
“If you shout about it!” Ginny shouted, “we talked about this! And you were the one who-“
“I know,” Hermione sighed, “I just, I don’t know. The wand, since his story, well, history. Ginny, it just…”
Fear came over her body and Ginny sighed. She wrapped her arms around Hermione, “if you think it isn’t real then don’t worry about me getting a wand and getting killed. Ok?”
Hermione nodded her head but the feeling didn’t go away. The two boys looked on and Harry coughed, “Um, well, the stone is still my choice.”
“Right, anyway,” Ron looked at Harry oddly, “you know the only true thing is that there are stories about the wand!”
Harry tilted his head, “there have been?”
Ginny looked at Hermione’s familiar glare of ‘don’t you read’ that she laughed out loud as Hermione started to talk about the wand:
“The Deathstick, the wand of Destiny, they crop up under different names through out time. Oh Merlin, Binns has talked about this in class Harry!”
“Um, right, but how do you know that those wands are, um, the elder one?” Harry asked her.
“It sounds like the Elder wand to me,” Hermione snorted.
“Why did you take the stone,” Ron said trying to change the subject.
“I want to see those people I love, like Moody, Dumbledore and….” Harry paused for a moment, “my parents.”
Ginny’s smile faded away from her face and Hermione was silent as she looked at Harry. Ron, who was biting his lip said, “but Harry, they wouldn’t want to be here would they?”
“No,” Harry answered sadly, “I guess not.” He sighed as his green eyes turned to Hermione, “have there been stories about stones that can do this?”
“No,” she told him, “I don’t think anyone other than the Lovegoods believe that.”
“What about the cloak?” Ron said rather slowly. Ginny turned to him, “The cloak. Harry does have one! So that has to prove something right? The wand, the cloak? So the stone…” Her voice trailed off. Ron started to argue that perhaps Ginny was right but Hermione was pressing him about the stone. Ginny was half-listening as her brown eyes left the conversation to see Harry near a spiraling staircase.
Harry was looking up a staircase and Ginny walked up to him, “where are you…?” She asked him but he had already ascended the stairs. Ginny ran after him, “Harry!”
Hermione’s head snapped around to see them both going up the stairs, “Do you two ever think? That isn’t very wise! Hey! Are you listening to me?”
Ron was already half up the stairs when Harry called out a, “whoa!”
This sparked Hermione’s curiosity and even though she was against it, she followed the other three up the stairs and into the bedroom. “Oh,” her eyes scanned the room. It was filled with Ravenclaw colors but there was a hint of Gryffindor colors in the room.
She looked up at what everyone else was staring at and a sense of admiration came over her body. She had already seen Luna as a little sister but this took her by a surprise. There, on the ceiling were Hermione and Ginny close together, Harry and Luna close together, Neville and Ron. They were all bounded together by gold chains that read: friends.
Hermione felt a tear in her eye as it trickled down her face. “Oh, that is the only thing I can muster,” she said honestly as her hands found her face.
“I wish Ariana was up there,” Ron stated, “I feel so lonely all alone with Neville. I hope she doesn’t think…”
“No Ronald, I don’t think she does,” Hermione sighed.
Ginny was busy looking around the room with Harry. Her eyes landed on a picture of a younger Luna and a woman. The woman looked exactly like Luna so Ginny was assuming it was her mother. Something was odd. This place is so dusty, she thought, and her clothes is missing? What is going on? Her eyes scanned the room and it started to settle in. She looked to Harry who was now freaking out. The entire room was thick with dust and it took Hermione looking at the two of them with worried looks to see for herself.
“Luna,” Harry said, “Luna…”
Harry rushed down the stairs and into the kitchen. Ginny was right behind him as Hermione and Ron tried to catch up. Hermione got into the room to see Ginny stand near Harry. “Mr. Lovegood,” Harry started, “Where is Luna?”
“Excuse me?” he asked Harry, “I told you where she is.”
“No, you haven’t,” Harry breathed in deeply, “you only set out five places. Where is Luna?!”