Chapter 15: Slave Market
“May I ask why you are buying all these house-elves?” the young man asked out of plain curiosity as they walked into the back which was set behind a purple velvet curtain.
Giving the boy a blank look, Sirius’s glare said it all.
Holding up his hands in mock surrender, the young man gave a sort of apologetic look to placate the powerful wizard. “Alright, I shouldn’t be asking!”
“Then don’t.” Sirius simply stated as their short journey finally came to an end. Up ahead was an opening large enough to fit 2 men abreast which seemed to lead into a wide area.
Passing through the opening, all three wizards walked into a large cavern that seemed to stretch on forever. Glow worms lit up the cavern in a dozen different hues as it shined a light on all passes going on below.
Up on above from the precipice that they stood on, everyone seemed to be like tiny ants as they scurried along.
“If you would follow me.” the boy said as he walked down the ledge built into the cliff.
Following after the man, they all made it to the foot of the cliff, they walked towards the market place and entered under a giant archway where two wizarding guards stood at attention.
Finally entering the market place, Harry had a good view of the whole plaza.
Walking down the roads were other witches and wizards dressed in all kinds of robes and strange hats, and purchase of the day were slaves. An endless variety of different magical beings were collared and caged with wizards and witches buying and selling them.
Harry saw tiny races like Sprites, Pixies, Fairies. Short races like Gnomes, Dwarves, Goblins, Brownies, Leprechauns, Kobolds, and Darklings. Mighty, powerful races brought low by wizarding hands like Giants, Trolls, Centaurs, Ogres, Orcs, and Minotaurs. Fairer races like Veela, Nymphs, Succubus, Dryad, Mermaid, and Naga.
The list of all the magical beings that Harry saw in the marketplace was endless, and they were all at mercy of the wizarding-kind.
Elbowing his godfather in the ribs, Harry whispered, “Is this place even legal?”
“Yes it is,” the boy leading them answered as he must have heard Harry. “And it has the Ministry’s stamp of approved all over it.”
“My nephew wasn’t speaking to you.” Sirius stated as he gave the guide a hard glare.
“My apologies then, I was only answering the kid’s questions. I did not want him to have the wrong thoughts about this fine establishment.”
Snorting out loud in clear derision, Sirius responded with, “There is nothing ‘fine’ about enslaving intelligent beings.”
“Ow come on,” the man said, “Aren’t you here to purchase enslaving intelligent beings?”
Going stoic in the face and eyes lightly blazing over, the magic flowing in and out of Sirius was palpable. “DO NOT presume anything boy! Unlike you, I do not abuse and torment other magical beings for profit and gain. So DO NOT compare me to the likes of you!”
Wiping that obnoxious grin off his face, the young man hastily nodded his head and the overwhelming pressure abated then disappeared altogether and everyone was finally able to get a wheezing breath in.
“Now,” Sirius simply said, “Take us to the house-elf section of this vile place and be quick about it.”
“Yes, yes.” the boy said, and this time he truly meant it as he scurried along the marketplace and towards their destination.
Finally, they reached a large tent the size of a house and rooted on the ground was a sign that read; House-Elf!
“We are here.” the yellow tooth man declared as they came to a stop at the foot of the tent.
Taking out his black leather wallet with dragon designs on it that he just bought at the magical bags store, Sirius withdrew a few hundred-pound notes and passed it along to the man. The man gracefully nodded his head as he took the money, though from the wrinkle of his nose, it was clear he did not appreciate getting paid in muggle money.
As a final note Sirius added before the young man ran along, “Next time make sure you keep your mouth shut. Not that many people will be as patient as me and won’t throw a spell at you when you run your mouth at them.”
Nodding his head in understanding, Harry didn’t know if the young man took to heart all that Sirius said to him as he watched him run along.
“Let’s go in.” Sirius voiced as he strolled up to the tent. Opening the tent flap for all of them once he reached the canvas, both wizards walked in.
Immediately the first thing that Harry noticed was that this place was a whole lot bigger than it looked from the outside. Straight away Harry knew that some sort of magical expansion was at work, a seemly all-time favorite proficiency for wizards.
The person who greeted them was a portly, short man who instead of being dressed in traditional wizarding grab he wore muggle formal dress wear with a top hat. Hanging off of his coat was a golden chain connected to a pocket watch and a monocle positioned on his right eye.
On his table were three tiny caged creatures who looked despondent inside their gilded cages.
“Greetings, greetings, gentlemen. What may I do for you today?” the man squeaked in his high pitch voice.
“We are here to purchase house-elves.” Sirius plainly announced.
“Wonderful, here we have many options that you can choose from. We have house-elves that can cook all kinds of cuisine, ones that can make your home spotty clean, others that can fix and repair all damages, some that can throw elaborate parties, those that can take care of your children, and of course we have personal house-elves for wizards and witches.”
“Good,” Sirius said, “I want all of them.” he promptly stated.
“Al- all of them?” the man asked in shock. “Did you say you want all of the house-elves I have, Sir?”
“Yes,” Sirius answered as he put the seller in a conundrum. Harry had the feeling that his godfather was finding great enjoyment in bothering and putting the short man in awkward situations. “Can you do that?” Sirius asked, and it was clear from his tone if the man couldn’t then the wizard was leaving.
“Yes, yes I can,” the house-elf seller replied quickly. “Please come with me to the back.”
Following after the man, they all walked deeper into the tent until they reached the back which opened up to a squat housing area that contained dozens upon dozens of house-elves.
“We have in stock a total of 37 house-elves that have been trained up and ready to be sold. A total of 98 house-elves that have yet to be instructed to a proficient, and 215 youngling house-elves that haven’t even started their training yet.”
“Good, good,” Sirius said as he nodded his head. “I would like all of them then.”
“Ar- are you sure my Lord?” the man asked as he took a handkerchief out of his coat pocket and dabbed at his forehead. “A lot of them still haven’t been trained up a skilled level, and do you want the house-elf youngling as well?”
“That is of my concern,” Sirius stated as he gave the short man a hard look, “Can I get all of them or not?”
“If that is what you wish my lord then it shall be fulfilled.” the man squeaked.
“Good, how much will it all be?” Sirius asked.
Closing his eyes shut and silently muttering under his breath the man did some quick calculation, then declared, “It will be 25,000 Galleons, my Lord.”
“Here.” Sirius said as he presented his vault card.
Taking the proffered vault card, the short man gawked at the card for a moment then nodded his head in appreciation towards Sirius. “Would you like the house-elves transferred anywhere my Lord? It will be free of charge thanks to the large purchase you made.”
“No, I am fine,” Sirius replied. “I will just have them apparat and side along apparition any younglings.”
“All right my Lord, will there be anything else that you require of me?”
“No.” Sirius stated, but Harry cut him off and asked, “Are those three creatures out front for sale?” Harry asked.
“No,” the house-elf seller seemed to begin with, then he thought better of it and changed up his tone. “For you my young Lord, those fairies are all yours.”
“Thank you.” Harry replied, he did not know what came of him but he just felt sad for those caged fairies as he got to learn. He knew that there was nothing he could do for all those caged magical beings since he realistically couldn’t buy all of them and free them no matter how rich he was. That would make him broke no matter how he looked at it, but there was something he could do for a very few.
“Now if you can leave us for a moment, while we take care of the bonds.” Sirius declared with a raised eyebrow.
“Yes, yes,” the man said as he hurried out, “I will just wait for you at the entrance my Lord.”
Once the man was long gone from the dark, dingy housing area, Sirius turned to face the house-elves who had been watching them. “Who is the one in charge here?” Sirius asked to the small crowd at large.
“I would be the eldest here master.” an old house-elf spoke out loud as the crowd made way for him. The creature was even more ancient than Kreacher and it seemed like it would fall over at any moment and die.
“What is your name?” Sirius asked as he turned to face the house-elf who stood before him.
“Habrey master.” the house-elf replied as he bowed his head low.
“Well Habrey,” Sirius said as his expression softened up for the first time since he entered this slave market, “It looks like we are your new masters, but let it be known that we will treat you all with respect and care. Also as long as you serve us faithfully, we shall give you any clothing.”
Bowing his head low once again, Harry thought for a moment he would tip over and break a hip, but the house-elf stood rigid and firm. “Thank you master, we shall ever be in your good graces.”
“Thank you,” Sirius said, “Now I will need you to divide everyone into groups. We have a lot of properties that need to be taken care of and some in dare need of repair.”
“I will get to it at once master,” the house-elf stated. “Can I present to you two house-elves?”
Nodding his head in acquiescence, the elderly house-elf called out, “Makrey and Halpey, come up here.”
At his call two adult house-elves walked up to the front and bowed low when they came before both wizards.
“May I present to you, Makrey and Halpey, masters. They will make wonderful personal house-elves for the both of you.”
“Thank you, I really do need one.” Sirius stated, obviously mentioning his unhelpful house-elf, Kreacher.
On the other hand, Harry shook his head, and stated, “No thanks.”
“Why master?” the elderly house-elf asked, “If both of them are not to your liking, there are others to choose from.”
“No, it is not that,” Harry said, “I already have a house-elf in mind for the spot.”
“Ooh,” the elderly house-elf replied, “My apologies then master for asking.”
“It’s alright.” Harry said, trying to console the house-elf before he starts punishing himself.
“Well then let’s quickly bond, we must be on our way.” Sirius announced to which the house-elves lined up in a single file line.
“Ah, this is going to take a while.” Harry remarked as he saw that the line stretched on for quite a while.
“Won’t it.” Sirius nodded as he sighed.
Exiting out of the shop they came through, both wizards were back in the busy cobblestoned street of Carkitt Market. Behind them walked out a few house-elves who wouldn’t let up until they permitted for them to come with and carry all their shopping supplies.
“So,” Harry began, “I am still curious to know, did the Ministry really allow the existence of that slave market?”
“Yep.” Sirius simply stated.
“But- but how?”
“It is just the way that the wizarding world operates-- the subjection of other magical creatures for the benefits of the wizarding-kind. Where do you think your magical ingredients come from whether that be minotaur horns, pixie dust, thunderbird feather, or those wand cores like phoenix feathers, dragon heartstrings, and unicorn hairs? What about clothing material like Acromantula silk, Dragonhide, and Wampus cat fur?”
“I thought, you know, hunting or... asking nicely.” Harry replied as he went red in the face at his own idiotic response.
“Maybe in the past we might have hunted for our own magical ingredients, but now they are all grown in farms where magical creatures and beings are breeded for wizarding use.”
Feeling sick to his stomach Harry asked “So those farms and greenhouses I am being gifted by Narcissa are slaughterhouses for magical creatures and beings?”
“Yes.” Sirius answered back with a deep resonate sigh.
“Wait,” Harry said, as he thought back to what the older wizard said to him, “Didn’t you say that my family owns some farms and greenhouses?”
“Well you should know that Light families only raise magical beasts, not magical beings. Your family is well known for their Griffin and Golden Snidget farms.”
That was a big relief for Harry, the only comfort he found in that was it was basically magical animals and everyone had farms of cows, sheep, and chicken. He wondered if that was exactly what his ancestors argued to themselves, that they were not subjecting thinking beings but only animals.
“Now are you going to release these fairies or are you going to keep them in there forever.” Sirius asked as he pointed towards him.
“Ooh,” Harry said as he remembered the fairies he bought from the man. Looking down at his hands were three beautiful gilded cages that contained three equally adorable tiny fairies.
Opening up the latch, the doors swung open to the slight hot air breezing past. “Sorry I totally forgot. You’re free.” Harry announced to the tiny creatures as he put on the warmest smile he could. They must have thought it was a trap by the evil wizard as they didn’t move an inch from their spots inside the cage.
“Come on,” he said, “I promise I won’t hurt you.”
Staring up at him, one fairy was brave enough to take the first step then when nothing happened, she took another until she was out the cage and flapping her wings outside. Once the other two saw that one of them made it out safely, they also followed and stepped out of their cages.
“You’re free,” Harry repeated, waving them off into the distance, “Go out there and live free.”
“What’s the point?” one fairy asked. “We will just be recaptured again, especially in this crowded wizarding area.”
“Not with that thinking will we ever be free.” another fairy argues, to which Harry picked up was the one who was brave enough to step forth first.
“I just want to go back to the grove.” the other fairy cried out.
“Okay, okay,” Harry said, stopping the little incessant chatter right there. “What if, I set you free outside of some forest, huh?” Harry asked, as he got to know that fairies lived in forested areas.
“That wouldn’t really help us at all Sir.” the plucky fairy stated.
“We are disconnected from the hidden groves.” the gloomy fairy answered this time.
Breaking out into tears, the fragile one cried out, “We will never get to see our sisters again!”
Having nothing to say, Harry let the fairies play out their grief and lose, he really had no idea what else he could do for them.
Hesitantly asking them that exact question, Harry queried, “What can I do then for you?”
Speaking up for the first, Sirius voiced, “They have no choice but to stick with you or else they risk being recaptured since now they do not have the full backing of their kind any longer.”
Turning to face his godfather, Harry grilled, “Why are they disconnected from their hidden grove?”
“We were cut off because we were captured and our sisters safety can not be jeopardized by slaver wizards following the bond between us and our grove.” the tiny gloomy fairy answered him in a matter of tone voice.
“Ooh,” Harry simply replied. Taking a deep breath he faced the tiny magical creatures and asked, “If you do not mind then you are always welcomed to my godfather’s home and mine’s as well.”
“Thanks, I guess.” goth fairy shrugged out in response.
Once again breaking into tears, the plucky fairy tried to comfort her sister and muttered to her, “Don’t worry Fluttershy, the nice wizard will let us live with him.”
“Yea,” Harry tried to console the fragile fairy, “You will have a lot of fun, Fluttershy, and we are just about to go to my birthday party.”
Turning back to face the other two fairies, Harry asked, “Since we will be living with each other, can I get to know your names. I already know Fluttershy.”
“The name’s Twistyweb,” the goth fairy answered back, “And she is Bravegrass.”
“Nice to meet you wizard,” Bravegrass greeted, “And what is your name?”
“Harry Potter,” Harry answered, “And this is my godfather, Sirius.”
“Harry Potter?” Bravegrass repeated, “As in Harry Potter who defeated the Dark Lord Voldemort?”
“Yep, that is me,” Harry replied, “In the flesh and all.”
“Wow.” Fluttershy said, speaking up for the first time without breaking into tears.