Chapter 3 - Blood Wards
Harry appeared in his bedroom at #4 Privet Drive. He quickly said hello to Hedwig and apologized for being gone so long but promised her he would fill her in on all the exciting news a little later. He remembered that Mattie had told him Dobby was coming over every evening to let his owl out to hunt for food. Dobby had apparently been bringing owl treats for Hedwig as well. He would definitely have to thank Dobby for that.
Now who had come to visit him? Harry looked out the window but found no one. He then decided to pick up a schoolbook and he sat down at his nice desk Dobby provided and pretended to work on his homework while he waited for his visitor.
Harry heard his uncle’s raised voice and then the unmistakable voice of the Headmaster.
“Vernon there’s no need for theatrics,” Dumbledore told him. “As you know I setup a ward on this house so your family and Harry would be safe. Something has happened to that ward. I received an alarm in my office when it started having trouble. It appears to be failing. Normally with Harry here, it would recharge itself. Since it was cast 14 years ago it probably just needs me to recast it to fix it.”
“Well, hurry up Headmaster and don’t let anyone see your freakishness!” Vernon replied.
Dumbledore stared at Vernon for just a second then said, “I’ll just pop up and say hello to Harry while I’m here. I’m sure he would enjoy the education as well about blood wards. He can accompany me while I redo the wards.”
Vernon and Petunia looked at each other with worried looks on their faces.
Dumbledore walked up the stairs and knocked on Harry’s door. He heard “Come in” so opened the door and walked in.
Harry swiveled in his desk chair to face Professor Dumbledore. “Hello Professor. What brings you here?” he said with a smile.
“Harry, it’s good to see you again. You seemed to be wearing much nicer clothes than normal. Did your Aunt and Uncle buy you some new clothes?”
“Oh, heavens no. They never buy me any clothes or anything else for that matter. All I get from them is Dudley’s too large hand me downs and Uncle Vernon’s used socks.”
“Hmmm,” said Dumbledore.
“No these clothes came from my parents. I found a trunk in my vault that they left for me. It contained a lot of books and a lot of clothes. My mum charmed them all so that they would automatically fit.”
“Ah, I see,” said Dumbledore. “Lily was probably one of the best students we’ve ever had with Charm work and I believe you yourself are pretty good as well. Miss Granger appears to excel more with Transfiguration although she is excellent in Charms too.”
“Let’s face it Professor. Hermione is good at pretty much all the subjects. The only thing I’ve seen her struggle with is flying on a broom.”
Dumbledore smiled and said, “I would have to agree, Harry. Miss Granger is a very remarkable witch. I see that your bedroom appears a little larger than normal as well. Did you practice your charms on your room?”
“No, Professor. That is an interesting story but let me cut to the chase. You’re looking at the work of one house elf by the name of Dobby. I accidentally called Dobby and he appeared. Before he left, he decided my tiny bedroom needed some adjustments. He expanded it, replaced my bed, my desk, and chair, and removed all the junk in the corner left by Dudley. Dobby said that we can see it like this but my family and other Muggles will see it like it was.”
“Very good, Harry. I believe that since you freed Dobby he’s attached himself to you in a most curious way. Normally elves are bound to a house and some are bound to a person but Dobby has done something else entirely and I’m not sure it has ever been done before. It appears to be a good thing though.” Dumbledore said with a smile.
“Professor, while I enjoy visiting with you it seems odd to me for you to come by for just a visit when you’ve not done so before. Is there anything wrong you haven’t told me yet?”
“Harry, I’m so sorry. Forgive me and thank you for getting an old man back on track. There is nothing to worry about. I’m here because of the blood ward I setup 14 years ago is failing. I have an instrument in my office that triggers an alarm if anything goes wrong with the ward. I’ve come to recast the ward spell to correct the problem. Would you like to accompany me to the back of the house so I can explain blood wards and you can see how this is done?”
“Certainly, Professor. Thank you for the opportunity.” Harry said as he followed Dumbledore out.
“I must say Harry that you are looking quite well. You look much happier than the last time I saw you. I’m pleased you are happy after how the year ended. I know you never look forward to coming back here but this lesson today will help you understand why I have you stay here for at least a month every summer. It has to do with the blood ward I’m going to redo today.”
“How is that Professor?”
“The blood ward is based on your mum’s blood, your blood, your Aunt’s, and even your cousin Dudley’s somewhat, because it is a shared blood from your mum’s side of the family. Based on that blood and the strength coming from your mum as a powerful witch and now you as a powerful wizard, the ward is recharged every year over a month’s time. Once it’s recharged then it lasts for an entire year until you return to recharge it again with your presence. Then when you turn 17 the ward will no longer function and there will be no need for you to come back. Until you are 17, the added benefit is it keeps your relatives safe all year as well.”
They had arrived at an inconspicuous spot behind the house a few feet from the flowerbed. Dumbledore cast a Notice-Me-Not Spell so none of the neighbors would see what he was doing. He had finished explaining to Harry about blood wards and how they provided protection. Harry remembered the box of wands at Potter Place and the blood ward on it that only allowed a Potter to open it.
“Okay, Harry, pay attention and I’ll show you how I do this.”
Dumbledore pointed his wand at a spot on the ground in front of him and a hole appeared. Next, an almost square stone about the size of a bludger floated up out of the hole. The stone had all kinds of runes marked on its surface. Dumbledore mumbled an incantation and with a complicated wand movement cast a spell on the stone. It glowed a bright orange while Dumbledore floated it back down into the hole and covered it back up without leaving a trace that the ground had been disturbed.
“That should do for several years Harry. I put some extra power into it so it definitely won’t fail before you turn 17.”
“So you can vary the power of your spells, Professor?”
“Yes, Harry. I’m a powerful wizard and I had to learn to vary the power I use when casting spells for fear I could accidentally hurt someone when I do not mean to.”
“I see,” said Harry. “Thanks Professor, your lesson was quite informative.”
“My pleasure, dear boy. Now I must be off. I have an appointment at the Ministry to keep.”
“Okay, bye Professor. Thanks again for the lesson on blood wards. I learned a lot.”
“Stay here a month and the ward will be fully charged. We can see about you visiting your friends after that Harry. See you later,” and he disapparated.
Harry did not say a word to his relatives when he went back up to his room. He knew that the ward had not failed due to time but it was because Harry had been gone from the house for too long but how could he make it so he could stay at Potter Place and keep the ward up here? There just had to be a way.
Harry spent the next several minutes in his room talking to Hedwig and explaining everything that happened. Hedwig was a very good listener with a “hoot” she added now again. While explaining about the box of wands and the blood ward on the box it occurred to Harry that Simon apparently knew a lot about blood wards. He would definitely get his help on this new problem and get his grandpa to help too.
Harry made some quick decisions. He called Dobby and explained that he was taking Hedwig with him to Potter Place. He thanked Dobby for taking such good care of his girl then told him he would call him the next time he was needed but he didn’t need to come to Privet Drive anymore to take care of things. Dobby did his usual gush about Harry and promised he would come any time “The Great Harry Potter” needed him. He then popped back to Hogwarts.
Harry shrunk his ornate trunk and pocketed it. He put Hedwig in her cage and explained they were going by portkey but you didn’t feel anything with this portkey so it was a very comfortable way to travel. Hedwig hooted her approval. He then grabbed his school trunk.
Harry pulled out his watch and making sure he had a hold of his school trunk and Hedwig’s cage in one hand he said the magic words.
“Legends of Potter.”
Harry disappeared from Privet Drive.
Appearing in the Receiving Room with Andrew, Harry did a quick hello while Andrew opened the door for him. Harry apologized and explained the rush and his need to see Simon right away. Mattie appeared and Harry asked if she could get his trunk to his bedroom and let Hedwig out to explore the grounds. Mattie complimented Harry and Hedwig on how she was such a beautiful owl and promised she would take good care of his familiar while he hurried off to Simon.
“Thanks, Mattie. I owe you one.”
“No you do not. This is my job Harry. You never owe me a thing. It is my privilege to take care of you and don’t you forget it.”
Harry bent down and gave Mattie a big hug. “You’re the best Mattie. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.”
Mattie was an old and very intelligent elf and hardly anything ever got to her. However, she could not stop a big blush after Harry’s display of affection.
She floated the trunk and Hedwig down to the master suite all the while talking to Hedwig about how sweet Harry is and she knew some day he would make her very proud. Hedwig hooted in agreement. After Hedwig saw Harry’s new bedroom, Mattie let Hedwig out and told her how to go outside to the grounds from there. She also told Hedwig that there was an owlery and where it was located. There were a few owls on the property that stayed out there, Mattie explained. However, since Hedwig is the master’s familiar and obviously is a very well behaved and intelligent owl then she is always welcome to stay in Harry’s bedroom. Mattie then said she would have a nice stand she remembers seeing in the manor brought to the bedroom so Hedwig would have a nice place to rest. Hedwig hooted in approval and thanks to Mattie then went outside to explore.
Harry had made it to the Library after stopping by the Study and asking his grandpa to join Simon again so they could discuss a big problem and hopefully solve it. Henry told Harry he would meet him there.
“So, as I understand it,” Henry was saying, “Albus used a rune stone buried close to the house and he has cast a blood ward spell on it to protect its occupants. Every year when you return, you have to spend at least a month to recharge the ward for another year and because you were gone for two weeks before you were there a month, the ward started failing. Correct?”
“I’ve got this Henry,” said Simon. “I happen to know a few things about wards in general, especially blood wards which are my specialty. Here is what you need to do, Harry. You will need a potion vial of your blood, which you will cast a spell on. I will give you the spell. Afterwards you will need to stopper and seal it. You will need to cast charms on it to make it unbreakable and impervious. Next, you will take it to the ward stone and enlarge it with the Engorgio Spell about five times its normal size. Bury it next to the stone about the same depth. It should be no more than three feet from the stone. The vial of your blood will serve as you being there and it will keep the ward stone fully charged all year round.”
“That’s it?” asked Harry.
“Yes, that’s it. That is all it will take. The spell you cast on your blood is the key. The spell I will give you basically copies your essence to the blood. It is actually quite easy since you are using your own blood, which contains part of your essence already. The spell just makes the vial of blood represent your entire body to the ward stone so it stays charged thinking you are always close by. It should last forever but technically it only has to last until you’re seventeen.”
“Okay, so I need a vial for my blood. Mattie?”
“Mattie before I ask you for what I need let me preference it with another question. You are the Head Elf and are responsible for 20 other elves along with many other things around this place. Should I be calling another elf when I just need help getting things such as a potion vial like I need right now?
Mattie looked at him with a smile then popped out for a second and popped back in handing Harry an empty potion vial as requested.
“Harry, there is something you need to understand. I will never be too busy to help you so you can always call on me for anything. Also, you need to remember that you are the master of all things Potter. The Head Elf takes care of the master. If you had some guests then I would assign house elves to take care of the guests, unless you wanted to do the assignments yourself for some reason.”
“No, Mattie. I’m sure you can do that much better than I can. Thanks for the clarification. I just don’t want to bother you so much if you’re busy.”
“Everything I do is secondary to what Master needs.”
Harry started to object but Mattie continued.
“Just because you allow me to call you Harry does not mean you stop being the Master of the Potters. You are the Lord of the Manor and shall be treated as such. I realize you are young and new to this so I will help you to grow accustomed to what is proper. It is not a burden for me to take care of you Harry. I am thrilled with any opportunity to help you. Do not hesitate to ask or you will make an old elf very unhappy.”
“I’m sor –,” Harry began.
“No apologies necessary Harry. You asked a question and I answered. If you already knew the answer, you would not have asked. In no way was it your fault.”
Harry looked at the elf for a second. “Mattie thanks for the vial. How long has it been since I told you how great you are?”
Mattie started to blush again but quickly popped out smiling.
“I do believe I made her blush,” Harry said.
“That you did son and that is not an easy task to accomplish with Mattie. Rarely anything gets to her,” said his grandpa.
“You have made a big impression on our Mattie, Harry.” Simon continued. “Be sure and call her anytime you need her. Do not disappoint her like she said.”
“I’ll do that,” replied Harry. “She is one special elf.”
“That she is,” said Henry.
Simon quickly spoke up. “Harry, do not use your wand to cut your hand. You don’t have enough control yet. You’re likely to cut your hand off and slice open the stone floor too. Go back to the Study and look on the desk there. You should find a letter opener that is quite sharp. Use it instead then capture the blood in the vial until it’s full. While you are in there doing that, ask your grandma for the spell to heal your hand. Heal it and come back.”
Harry went back to the study. “Hello Grandma.”
“Harry you were in such a hurry before. Did you come back to visit?”
“Sort of, because I need your help now.”
Harry had found the sharp letter opener and was holding it against his hand. He had the potion vial standing waiting on the desk.
“Harry James Potter just what do you think you’re doing with that letter opener?”
“Grandma, here is where I need your help. I’m about to cut open my hand so I can collect a potion vial full of my blood to fix a blood ward. I haven’t had the time to practice with my new expanded magic so I’m avoiding any destructive spells for now. Hence, the sharp letter opener is needed. However, I’ll be safe using a healing spell to heal my hand afterwards. I just need you to teach me the spell.”
“Okay, Harry, all you need to use is Vulnera Sanentur. Just move your wand along the cut as you say the incantation. Repeat if necessary. It will heal right up. When done use Tergeo to clean up any blood on your hand.”
Harry turned toward the vial and cut his hand so the blood ran into the vial. He laid the letter opener down and picked up his wand while the vial filled up. When the vial was full, Harry cast Vulnera Sanentur over his cut once and it healed up immediately. He then cast Tergeo on his hand to remove the excess blood. He next cast Tergeo on the letter opener to remove the small bit of blood on it. Harry stoppered the potion vial.
“Well done, Harry. Let me see your hand.”
Harry held up his palm to his grandma so she could see it.
“I don’t see even a red line where the cut was and you cast the spell only once. Very nice Harry. You would make a good healer.”
“Thanks Grandma. I have to get back to Simon and Grandpa now to finish this up. See you later.”
Harry came back into the Library where he found his grandpa and Simon chatting away about Harry’s training.
“I’ve got it,” said Harry holding up the potion vial.
The men turned back toward Harry. “Great Harry,” said Simon.
“I trust your grandma showed you the correct healing spell? I see no blood on your hand,” said Henry.
“Yes, Grandpa. She gave me two spells, one to heal the cut and one to cleanup any excess blood. They both worked perfectly.”
“Alright Harry,” Simon picked back up. “Remove the stopper and place the vial of blood so it is standing up straight and will not spill. You are going to cast this next spell through the opening of the vial.”
Harry pulled the stopper and secured the vial in a standing position on the small table.
“The spell is Inficio Substantia. You will need to start by pointing your wand at yourself. Start the incantation with your wand moving from yourself to the vial in one fluid motion. At the same time, the incantation should be fluid as well so you end up pointing into the vial at the blood at the end. In other words, when you finish the incantation your wand should be pointed straight at the blood in the vial so the spell is released into the vial. Any questions? If not then go when you are ready. Remember the incantation is Inficio Substantia. Say it and use your wand in one fluid motion starting by pointed it at yourself and ending pointing into the vial.”
Harry practiced a couple times moving his wand fluidly from pointing at his chest and stopping pointed into the vial of blood.
“I’m ready. Here goes.”
Harry pointed his wand at his chest and spoke the incantation smoothly and in one fluid motion, his wand went from his chest to pointing straight into the open vial of blood. When he completed the last word, his wand stopped on the opening of the vial. A very bright white light shot from his wand and into the blood.
Simon was impressed. “You did it Harry. That was a complicated spell and you executed it flawlessly.”
“Yes, I am very proud of you Harry,” said Henry. “That was one bright light that came out of your wand. I have no doubt that you have succeeded.”
“Okay,” said Simon. “You are almost there, Harry. Put the stopper back in and seal it. Cast the Unbreakable Charm and the Impervious Charm on it.”
Harry completed the charms and looked at his mentors. They were laughing.
“What’s so funny?” asked Harry.
“Nothing really, Harry. It just caught us funny,” said his Grandpa. “We saw the magic that came out of your wand. It was so powerful for those simple little spells. We were thinking that nothing would ever be able to break that potion vial, not in a million years.” They laughed again. “Then we thought how important it is for you to practice so you can control the power you use. We want to get started with you as soon as possible.”
“I agree. I’m going to stick with safe spells only until I can get a better handle on it.”
“Good idea,” said Simon. “Try thinking in your mind when you cast a spell that you only want to do a little with the spell. It will get you going in the right direction.”
“Thanks, I’ll try that. Well I guess I’d better get back over to Privet Drive and get this in place before the ward fails again. See you guys later. Thanks very much for the help. If I don’t have to go back to that place again after this I’ll be so happy.”
“Bye Harry and good luck,” said Grandpa.
“See you when you get back,” said Simon.
Harry told Mattie what he was doing and said he would be back when he had it done.
He used his watch and said “Privet Drive.”
Arriving back in his bedroom at #4 Privet Drive, Harry marched straight out his door, down the stairs, through the house, and out the back door to where Professor Dumbledore had taken him earlier. Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia saw him go by and outside but did not say anything to Harry. Harry was thankful for the lack of interference. Dobby must have made a big impression.
Coming to the right spot, Harry, using Simon’s wand, cast a notice-me-not spell that he did not realize at the time covered several blocks. He put the potion vial of blood on the ground and went to cast Engorgio on it but stopped and told himself to think small when he cast it. He then wondered how that would work since Engorgio was meant to increase the size of an object. He shook his head and said, “Just do it.”
"Engorgio” Harry whispered trying to control his magic.
The potion vial was suddenly about 12 feet long and as a big as a log.
Shocked, Harry quickly cried “Reducio” and the vial shrunk to the size of a needle.
“Crap” Harry exclaimed then said “Finite” which brought the vial back to its original size.
“What am I going to do?” Harry said to himself. “I obviously need to learn control because this is just not working.”
After a minute, Harry said “Dobby?”
Dobby appeared in front of Harry. “Yes, Harry Potter, sir. How can Dobby help the Great Harry Potter?”
“Dobby, sorry to bother you but I cannot control my magic well enough to do what I need to do. Can you help me?”
“Yes, Dobby will be happy to help the Great Harry Potter anytime he asks. Dobby sees that the Great Harry Potter has cast a notice-me-not spell and it covers all the houses around.”
“Oh no” said Harry. “Dobby, I am going to cancel that spell and want you to cast one right after. Okay?”
“Okay, Dobby will take care of it.”
Harry cancelled the notice-me-not spell. Dobby immediately cast his after Harry’s spell was removed.
Harry explained what he needed Dobby to do and Dobby took care of it quickly. He then asked Dobby to meet him in his bedroom.
When Harry got back to his bedroom, Dobby was waiting for him.
“Dobby, you have been a great help. I don’t know how I could ever repay you. What you just did will allow me to not ever have to come back here again to live. I need you to return the bedroom back to normal then I am going to check and make sure I have everything that is mine before leaving here.”
“Yes, Harry Potter, sir. Dobby will only take a minute.” Dobby finished returning the room back to its original size and look. “What else can Dobby do for the Great Harry Potter?”
“That’s all Dobby. Thank you! I could not have done it without you. If I don’t need you again this summer, then I will see you back at Hogwarts in the fall. By the way, you are welcome to visit anytime at Potter Place.”
“Oh, thank you Harry Potter, sir. You are too good to Dobby.”
“Bye Harry Potter, sir”
Harry checked carefully around the room to see if he had missed anything. He checked under the loose floorboard as well but didn’t have anything there anymore. Satisfied, he pulled out his watch and said, “Legends of Potter.”
Harry disappeared from #4 Privet Drive.
Albus Dumbledore had a long day at the Ministry after he left Harry. His short meeting prompted a long meeting of the Wizengamot so he was there all afternoon until almost dinnertime. Being Chief Warlock, he was required to be there. He was happy when he could return to Hogwarts.
Back in his office, he remembered the blood ward he had to fix at Privet Drive so he checked his instrument immediately. He was shocked to find that the ward was not only fully charged but was at levels he had never seen before. He thought about it for a minute then remembered he had put additional power into the spell, plus Harry was standing right next to him when he cast it. He must have put more power into it than he realized because the ward was practically off the charts. Albus decided not to worry about it because it was stronger than ever. Putting it out of his mind, he decided that he would join his professors for a wonderful Hogwarts dinner.
Harry had returned to Potter Place and was currently in the Training Room, located in the basement, with Simon and his Grandpa Henry. Simon was working with Harry on control. Henry had just finished teaching Harry some protection spells that they had him cast over the room and especially over the portraits they were in. They explained that while the room had sufficient protection spells, given Harry’s control issue and his excess power they felt the added protection with his power behind it would insure nothing was damaged.
Harry discovered that the room was able to provide dummies to practice with. Simon recommended the room provide Harry with a strong solid wood dummy so Harry could practice the intensity of his spells. The dummy was sized proportionately to a real person, about the same size as a 6-foot tall man with a medium build. Harry took his time, concentrating, and cast Stupefy on the dummy. His spell blew a hole through the dummy about the size of a quaffle.
“That was much better Harry,” said Simon
“Yes, much better,” said Henry.
“What are you guys talking about?” replied Harry. “I only cast a Stunner. I blew a hole all the way through solid wood. I cannot get this under control.”
“Harry, Harry, you are being impatient,” said Simon. “Do not expect to learn complete control during your first lesson. This is far from being easy. You have just had a huge change in your magical power. Since you were a baby, you have been accustomed to a much weaker power level. You have gone a few years at Hogwarts practicing and learning magic at that weaker power level. Now, all of a sudden you have more power than you can wrap your head around. This will take some time. I promise you that you will have enough control to return to Hogwarts in the fall. Can you be patient?”
“Alright, I will try and be patient,” answered Harry.
“Now let’s analyze that last Stunner,” Henry said. “What happened to the other dummy when you cast the Stunner before this one?”
“It completely turned to sawdust,” Harry said quietly looking down.
“Not only that, the spell continued and bounced off the protection wards you put up and made the room reverberate,” added Simon. “That was quite some power we saw for a simple Stunner.”
Harry lowered his head even more feeling defeated.
“Okay, let’s sum up,” said Henry. “You cast a Stunner that did all that causing us to have to replace the dummy with a new one because that dummy could not be repaired. Evidently, some of it completely disappeared and the rest was mere sawdust. Simon gave you some more instruction and you tried it again. This time you only blew a hole through the dummy. I would say that is significant progress, Harry.”
“Definitely more control than before,” said Simon, “so give yourself a pat on the back and stop rushing things. Staying calm will help you with your control as well. Cast Reparo on the dummy, focus, and try a few more times. It’s getting late. You have worked hard so you should take a break and grab some tea or butterbeer and perhaps a snack before it’s time for bed. Remember, pay attention to how the spell feels when you cast it. If you have to cast another big one with more power, pay attention to how that feels then cast one with less power so you can feel the difference.”
“Okay,” said Harry. “Thanks for all your help, both of you.”
Harry concentrated and cast another Stunner that turned the dummy into dust. He thought about it for a minute then asked the room for another dummy. He then cast the Stunner again. This time it blew another hole but not as big as the last time. The hole was about the size of a bludger.
The dummy was repaired and Harry cast another Stunner. This time the dummy was cracked in two. The top half slid off and fell to the floor.
Harry cast again and this time there was a long crack across the middle of the dummy but the dummy remained in one piece, barely. Harry continued to try a few more times but quit after he only left a small crack. He realized that he should not be leaving a mark at all but that was the best he could do for the night.
“Good night Grandpa. Good night Simon. Thanks for all your help. I’m going for some cold butterbeer and a snack.”
“You did very well tonight Harry. You will need to gain more control but that will come the more you work on it. Next time we will start teaching you some more advanced spells and let your control continue to improve as you learn.”
“Okay, Simon. That sounds good. Tomorrow I would like to explore the grounds a bit before I practice more. I haven’t gone outside yet since I’ve been here.”
“You do that Harry,” said Henry. “Go enjoy yourself.”
“Thanks and bye guys.”
Harry went to the kitchen to see what he could find for a snack and a cold butterbeer.
Harry could not believe it. He and Jojo had been riding around the grounds checking on all the livestock for a couple hours and Harry was having the time of his life up on a tall, beautiful horse that Jojo told him was an Appaloosa.
The horse stood 16 hands high, was black with his bottom half white with black spots. He also had 4 white-socked feet with black spots. Harry fell in love and thought he was the most beautiful horse he had ever seen, not that he had seen many horses in his lifetime. Actually, Harry thought all the horses were beautiful, especially the big, long bodied thoroughbreds but there was something about the Appaloosa that spoke to him.
Harry had ventured outside after breakfast and was exploring the grounds. The big Appaloosa had walked right up to him when he had leaned on the fence looking in at the beautiful horses. Harry gave him a rub on his forehead and the side of his head. He asked the horse for his name but he only snorted.
“The name is Rolly.”
Harry looked at the horse, then turned around and saw Jojo coming up behind him.
“His name is Rolly?”
“Yes and he’s a great horse, very powerful and fast,” Jojo said.
Harry was slightly amused at Jojo. He had never seen a house elf in western wear before. He had on jeans, chaps, a long-sleeve western looking shirt, cowboy boots, and a cowboy hat. The elf was smiling at him.
Keeping his amusement to himself Harry asked, “Can I ride him?”
“Have you ridden horses before?”
“No, sorry, I’ve never had the chance, just brooms. Can you teach me?”
“Certainly, Harry, but not on Rolly. If you learn to ride well enough then you can ride Rolly. You will need to start on a gentle mare we have. Her name’s Misty and she loves to teach first time riders. She’s very patient. She’s a little smaller than Rolly here who is big and stands 16 hands high. Misty stands 14.2 hands high. She’s a beautiful red roan and you will love riding her.”
Jojo was amazed at how curious Harry was about everything. He insisted that Jojo explain the measuring of horses and what he meant by ‘hands high.’ Jojo explained that a hand was 4 inches and horses were typically measured from the ground near the foreleg to their withers to find their height. Jojo was also amazed at how quickly Harry took to riding a horse. He was able to pick up on the rhythm whether walking, trotting, cantering, or galloping which was not an easy thing to do very quickly.
Besides Harry’s clothing, he looked like a natural cowboy in the saddle. Surprisingly, Rolly kept insisting that he stay close to Harry. He kept following Harry and Misty around. Eventually, Jojo felt it was time for Harry and Rolly to get what they wanted. He noticed how Rolly had taken to Harry and doubted he would do anything to cause him any harm. Harry was certainly confident with his riding ability already. And that is how Harry came to be riding the beautiful Appaloosa named Rolly.
Jojo told Harry that he could do his job using a broom or just elf magic to get around the grounds, but what would be the fun in that when you had beautiful horses just waiting to be ridden. Checking on all the livestock from horseback was an experience he never grew tired of. Harry could see his point. He loved riding Rolly.
A small frantic owl Harry recognized as Pigwidgeon flew up to Harry with two letters attached to his leg. He would not be still and was all over the place. Rolly got a little nervous and started acting up with the owl going nuts around him. Harry quickly said “whoa” and pulled up on Rolly’s reigns. Rolly settled down immediately. Harry, using his seeker reflexes snatched Pig from the air and removed the letters from his leg. The letters were from Ron and Hermione. He stuffed them in his pocket and released Pig who left and went back home. Harry patted Rolly on the side of the neck.
“Good boy, Rolly. That was just my friend’s crazy owl Pigwidgeon. He gets a little excited. I’ll read those letters later when I can respond to them. Let’s ride some more.”
Rolly snorted and nodded his head a few times. Harry turned to Jojo and said, “I believe Rolly and I understand each other.”
“You did very well when the owl spooked Rolly. Rolly is very high-strung and strong. It’s a good thing he likes you and wants to please you.”
“Well, I like him too,” Harry said, giving Rolly another pat.
“Follow me,” Jojo said and took off at a gallop.
Harry spoke to Rolly. “You heard the elf. Let’s go.”
Rolly took off like a bullet and caught up with Jojo in no time. Harry loved it. He was all for speed. Eventually Jojo slowed down and they walked to the top of a rise in a large field. Harry stopped Rolly and just sat there mesmerized. Before him stood one of the nicest Quidditch pitches he had ever seen. It would give the one at the World Cup a run for its money although it didn’t have stands for the audience but the hill had a good view. The pitch was in a bowl as well but not as deep as the one at the World Cup. The hoops were in place and the grass looked well taken care of.
“This is one nice pitch,” Harry told Jojo.
“The pitch has magic that keeps it in perfect working order and the grass green. It hasn’t been used though in many years. We are looking forward to the time when Potter Place has many visitors again and all the things it offers can be enjoyed once more.”
“Rest assured, Jojo, that day will come again if I have anything to say about it.”
“You are Lord Potter, Master of everything that is Potter. If you say that it will happen someday, Harry, then it will happen.”
“Thank you for your confidence in me, Jojo. I’ll try not to disappoint.”
“Harry, rest assured you could not disappoint me even if you tried.”
“Now Jojo, you shouldn’t make my job so easy,” Harry said with a grin.
Jojo smiled at his master and asked if he wanted to race back.
“You’re on Jojo. You know these horses better than I do though. Is the horse you’re on faster than Rolly?”
“Harry, I ride different horses all the time to give them all a chance since I am usually the only one who rides. I can tell you that although Toby here is a fast horse, Rolly is probably faster than most around here. Only a few of the thoroughbreds could beat him but he would give them a run for their money. You will likely win but the race will still be fun.”
“Well, give it all you got because Rolly is eager to get going.”
“Okay, Harry. 1, 2, 3 go!”
Jojo and Toby took off as if a dragon was on their tail. Rolly jumped about a half a second later. Harry could not believe how fast Rolly could run. It was not as fast as his Firebolt but he caught Jojo and Toby in no time and pulled ahead increasing his lead over them more and more. Toby speeded up a little bit more but could not catch Rolly. Harry and Rolly ended up winning the race by about six lengths.
Jojo thanked Harry for the race and told Harry that the horses needed to be walked off to cool down and then brushed but he would take care of Rolly for Harry so Harry could go do what he needed to do.
“That’s okay, Jojo. My other things can wait. I’d like you to show me how to do this as well. It’s only fair since I rode Rolly that I take care of him.”
“It would be my pleasure, Harry, and Rolly would probably prefer you do it anyway. He sure has taken a liking to you.”
Jojo showed Harry how to cool off his horse and how to tell when he was cooled off. They then took the horses into the stables where Jojo showed Harry the proper way to brush him down and make sure he had plenty of water and feed.
After Harry took care of Rolly, he said good-bye to Jojo, Toby, and Rolly. He promised Rolly he would come back soon for another adventure. Rolly snorted and shook his head up and down. Harry laughed.
Later, Mattie was shocked that Harry, who had never ridden a horse before today, had ridden Rolly. She was very familiar with Rolly from Jojo’s reports on the horses. She knew how high-strung and powerful Rolly was; however, when Harry finished the story and she learned that Rolly had taken to Harry the way he did, she understood.
After lunch, Harry had gone back to his room to wash up and read his letters from Ron and Hermione. He noticed a really nice stand that Hedwig was using. “Where did this come from girl? I don’t recall that being here before. It sure looks nice. I bet Mattie put this in here for you. Am I right?”
Hedwig hooted a yes.
“I thought so, Hedwig. Mattie is real nice, isn’t she?”
Hedwig hooted again.
“I have a couple letters from Ron and Hermione that Pig brought when I was outside riding. I’m going to read their letters now and will reply afterwards. Would you mind hanging around so I can send my reply with you when I’m done?”
Hedwig hooted a yes again.
“Thanks girl,” he said stroking the side of her head with his finger. She nibbled it affectionately.
He read Ron’s first, which was pretty short.
Just thought I would see how you are doing. I hope your relatives are not being too bad. Hermione has a letter for you too but we are not allowed to say much of what is going on. Sorry mate.
Harry opened Hermione’s letter next, which was barely longer, and began to read.
Ron and I wish you were here. We can’t say much about you-know-what, obviously but will talk when we see you. We’ve been told not to say anything important in case our letters go astray. We’re quite busy but I can’t give you details here. There’s a fair amount going on, we’ll tell you everything when we see you.
Sorry I can’t tell you more right now.
Harry thought about the letters for a minute then realized he had been so distracted with Potter Place he had completely forgotten about everything else. Evidently, since he had not received any news about what was going on since Voldemort returned he took it from Ron and Hermione’s letters that perhaps they were not going to share that with him. He had not received any letters from anyone else either, including Sirius. Well, thought Harry, right now I am not really caring about that. I am having the best summer I have ever had. I will stay here and enjoy myself, train, and gain control over my new powers. I will deal with whatever they are keeping from me when I return to school. Now, what to say in my reply to them?
Dear Ron & Hermione,
Since you are both together then I will write just the one note.
Do not concern yourselves with me and what you are not able to share. I am doing great right now and can wait to hear whatever information you are holding back. There were a few changes around here that changed my attitude for the summer but you will have to wait until I see you before I can share that information. You see I have to hold back as well and not tell you everything in case my letter goes astray.
If you are not allowed to say much and I cannot say much either, then I suppose letters will not be necessary for the rest of the summer.
All the best,
“That should be ambiguous enough,” said Harry. “Hedwig? Come here girl.”
Hedwig flew over and stuck out her leg. Harry tied on the letter and gave her a few pets. “This letter is for both Ron and Hermione so you can give it to either one. There’s no need to wait around. Thanks girl.”
Hedwig took off and Harry headed down to the Practice Room.
Ron was flying on his broom at The Burrow when he saw Hedwig fly to the house. He followed her down and landed by the back door. His mum, Molly, let Hedwig in who promptly flew to the living room where Hermione was reading a book. Ron came in through the door just in time to see Hedwig go into the living room so he followed her there as well. Hedwig was standing on the edge of the sofa with her leg held out to Hermione.
“Hello Hedwig,” Hermione was saying. “It’s good to see you again. You have a letter for me?” Hermione untied the letter as Ron came in and sat beside her on the sofa.
“A reply from Harry I see. Anything for me?” Ron asked.
Molly stuck her head in and said, “Remember you two not to tell Harry what is going on.”
“Yes, Mrs. Weasley. We know,” replied Hermione.
“Yes, Mum,” said Ron rolling his eyes.
Hedwig left the way she came.
“Ron it looks like he replied to both of us in one letter.”
“Okay, let’s read it.”
Hermione angled the letter so they could both see it. When they were done reading, they looked at it each other and said “huh?”
“What does he mean by that?” asked Ron.
“I have no idea, Ron. I didn’t expect that reply from Harry. He evidently has caught on that no one is sharing information with him and since we can’t and he’s holding information back as well then I guess he’s right that there’s no need to send letters back and forth. But what does he mean about a changed attitude? He said he’s doing great but he always says he’s fine when he’s not. Oh Ron, I hope he’s not mad at us because we’re not allowed to tell him what’s going on.”
“Nah, Hermione. He didn’t sound mad, besides we told him we would fill him in when we see him in person. He sounded like he was okay with it because things had changed. If things changed at his relatives, then it must be for the better because it was never good for him there. Nah, he’s fine.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yea, Hermione, he’s fine. Let’s not worry about it. If we don’t write him then we don’t have to skirt around the issues which he will not appreciate.”
“You’re right. Not writing him when we can’t share news is not for the best. I’ll still send him a birthday card and present if he’s still not allowed to come visit by his birthday.”
“I’ll get him something too,” said Ron.
Ron and Hermione did not notice one Ginny Weasley standing on the stairs listening to their conversation. She was determined to read that note from Harry as soon as she could nick it. It turned out a little later to be quite easy.