Moving On

22 Goblins, dragons and wizards, Oh My!

(Monday, February 4, 2002)

The goblins in the conference room remained still and quiet as Harry and Ragnok discussed the situation. Ragnok was trying to understand just why Harry was making this stance about the dragon.

"Now, Harry," spoke Ragnok, his tone becoming terse, but his teeth not showing, indicating that he was not truly becoming angry, "I thought you understood the arrangement perfectly well. Can you please review for me, and for the goblin nation, just what it is that you have done? Yes, I know, I have heard the story, or at least parts of it. So, if you would explain it all, one more time."

Harry sighed, and regained his composure. He had been at this meeting for quite some time and he felt as though he was getting no where with Ragnok. "Very well," he began, "I researched what I would need to get control of a dragon. I was able to get access to the writings of Myrddin Emrys, more commonly referred to as Merlin."

Ragnok interrupted him as he was now taking notes with a quill and a piece of parchment. "And this you did at a muggle educational institution?"

"Yes," replied Harry, "Pembroke College, at Oxford." Harry paused as he realised that the goblins probably did not care about Oxford or Cambridge or any other such muggle university. "It was from what I learned there that I began my quest."

Ragnok looked up at Harry momentarily as he again asked for clarification, "And that was when you hunted down a griffon, a thunderbird and then a chimera?"

"I did have to kill the griffon," commented Harry. "I do believe that the Australian Ministry of Magic was thankful for that as it was terrorising people in the area. But for the thunderbird, all I had to do was to obtain a tail feather from the beast. Then from the chimera, I had to obtain venom from the snake, while the beast was still alive."

One of the other goblins spoke up, as his explanation of the facts being relayed before him seemed too incredible. "You want us to believe that you actually faced a thunderbird and a chimera, that you acquired those objects and yet you still live?"

The glare from Ragnok towards the young goblin was enough to cause the young and impertinent creature to tumble off of his chair. Harry worked to stifle the laughter that tried to force its way out upon watching the scene in front of him.

Ragnok snarled at the goblin. "Lord Potter here," he stopped speaking as Harry interrupted him.

"I am not a Lord yet, your highness," inserted Harry apologetically.

"An oversight which I am sure you will soon rectify," answered Ragnok, who then turned his ire back towards the now very embarrassed goblin. "The soon to be Lord Potter, is the one who defeated the self proclaimed Lord Voldemort, he is one of our richest customers, and his bravery seems to know no bounds. Do not dare to question the veracity of his adventures."

Harry looked away from the now chastised young goblin. Then he continued reviewing his tale. "Yes, I did face down a thunderbird and a chimera, and I still feel quite alive. After we obtained the final ingredient for what I thought would complete the necessary steps to control a dragon, I went to the Carpathian Mountains in the southwestern part of the Ukraine, where I was soundly whipped by a young Ironbelly. Upon returning to review my studies of Merlin's writings I actually was able to speak with the fabled wizard. Then I learned that I needed to obtain Ascalon, the famed lance of Saint George who is reputed to have slain a dragon back in the 4th century. Locating this particular item was not so easy, and I ended up searching around the world before I finally was able to take possession of it. Then, with Ascalon in hand, I confronted an entire clan of Ukrainian Ironbellies, and even a Hungarian Horntail. One of the young dragons, Saevus by name, agreed to accompany me on my return to England."

The young goblin sneered, "Dragons do not agree to do anything with humans or wizards, unless they are enchanted."

Ragnok raised one eyebrow slightly and a guard from the back side of the room silently stepped forward and with a simple swing of the staff of his halberd, the impertinent young goblin was sprawled on the floor.

Harry ignored the display of discipline in front of him, knowing full well that goblin customs required such harsh treatment of the young goblin for what amounted to rebelliousness. There remained a period of silence in the room as Ragnok finished scribing his notes onto the parchment. When the quill stopped moving he looked up at Harry expectantly.

"Perhaps," offered Harry, "it would be best to continue this discussion at Potter Manor, at your convenience of course."

The goblins remained motionless as they awaited Ragnok's response. "Perhaps that would be best, we can adjourn until then, and we should meet in three days time."

Harry acknowledged the offer with a slight nod of his head. Ragnok then spoke again, "If it would not be too much of an imposition, my friend, perhaps the rudeness of young Irontooth may be overlooked and he might be permitted to join our group."

Harry gave his usual lopsided smile as he replied, "Of course, that would be fine."

Ragnok smiled in return. "I expect that my son will be on much better behaviour in the future," he explained.

Harry ended the meeting with the customary goblin pleasantries and then he began to head down the halls and out of the bank. He noted a particularly large troll standing on guard near one of the entrances to a passageway that lead to the lower vaults. He thought to himself that trolls seem like such ignorant brutes, how could they possibly be useful as some sort of guard for an institution such as Gringotts.

(Tuesday, February 5, 2002)

Potter Manor

Daphne Greengrass was waiting for her sister to arrive via the floo. While she and Harry had been back in England for over a week, this was the first time that Astoria and Draco would be able to come and visit. Daphne knew Harry was outside spending time with Saevus as she could hear their conversation in her head. The link that had begun when they were in the Ukraine had continued to develop, even if Harry wasn't holding Ascalon. So she knew that Harry was still outside trying to explain again to Saevus what to expect when the goblins would be coming by in a couple of days, and she sent him a quick thought to remind him that her sister and Draco would be here shortly.

Astoria stepped through the floo and was quickly followed by her fiancé. Daphne greeted her little sister with a kiss on the cheek and a warm hug. Draco was then greeted with a hug as well. As Daphne was about to ask them if they would like some tea, Draco's eyes went wide as he looked out the large window behind Daphne. Astoria noted his reaction and she too turned and looked out onto the large garden behind the house as they saw a large white dragon was swooping down behind Harry. Astoria screamed in fear for Harry, and Draco started to cast a patronus to call for help from the Aurors. Daphne heard Draco calling out "Expecto Patronum" as she turned to look at what they were screaming at.

Harry heard Astoria's scream through his connection with Daphne, as did Saevus. Saevus could sense that Harry was worried about something happening in the manor, so he alit behind Harry as he shot of a breath of flame into the air as a sign of power to scare off whomever might be threatening Merlin-son's companion. Harry was now running towards the house, wondering what could be happening. He quickly made the decision not to apparate so as not to risk injury to himself.

"Draco!" screamed Daphne, "What do you think you're doing?"

Draco was stunned by the immediate reaction of Daphne. "Calling for Aurors to come help, Potter's being attacked by a dragon for Merlin's sake!"

Astoria meanwhile was covering her eyes with her hands.

"Cancel that immediately!" demanded Daphne. "Harry is not being attacked and the Aurors will never get through the wards here no matter how hard they try!"

Draco looked back and saw Harry running to the door with his wand in his hand. The dragon was now flying behind him. Daphne called out, "It's okay Harry, everything is fine in here. These two just panicked when they saw Saevus."

Harry pulled up from his sprint and turned to speak to Saevus, and reassured his dragon friend that everything was okay.

Daphne turned back to her sister and her fiancé. "And just what was that all about? You two both know Harry was trying to get a dragon for the goblins. What did you think was actually happening?"

Draco meanwhile had recalled his patronus and was wiping his brow with his forearm. "Well, Stori screamed, and the dragon landed behind Harry and I just got worried."

Daphne scoffed at him. "You're an Auror, you're not supposed to panic. I thought you were trained how to quickly evaluate a situation. I didn't think you were such a girl!"

Draco sneered at her words. "Excuse me for wanting to help a friend!"

Astoria now walked over to Draco and hid her head in his shoulder, as she muttered, "I'm sorry Daph, it was my fault, I screamed, I set off Dray."

Draco gently encircled her with his arms as he tried to comfort his fiancé.

Harry was now walking into the room to see the group hug as Daphne had stepped up to comfort her sister. "Hey, what's happening in here?"

Daphne let go of her sister and turned to Harry, "I already told you they overreacted to the sight of Saevus out there in the garden."

Draco let go of Astoria and looked at Harry and Daphne, "And when did you tell him that?"

Daphne winced slightly at the question. But Harry comforted her with a hand on her shoulder, "When I was outside, I could hear everything she heard." Harry's eyes sparkled as he looked between Draco and Astoria. "What? Don't you two have that kind of connection? You mean you don't hear each other's thoughts?" Harry's smile was as big as Daphne had ever seen.

Draco frowned as he looked at Harry. "No, we don't." Draco looked to Daphne, searching for a reaction from her, but seeing none, he looked back at Harry. "So, you found yourself a dragon." The blonde young man looked past Harry now at the large white reptile sitting in the garden behind the manor.

Harry briefly looked over his shoulder and then turned back to face his friend. He ran his hand through his messy long black hair as he answered, "Well, yeah, I did. He is a little protective of me and Daphne, so don't go getting him all riled up."

Draco frowned slightly, "I think we noticed."

Daphne spoke up to change the topic of conversation. "So, now that you are both here, and the emergency is dealt with, we can all have a seat, Flopsy can get as all some tea, and you two can tell us the 'big news' you said you had to share."

The four all sat down in the lounge as Flopsy brought out tea for everyone. Harry and Daphne waited expectantly for the young couple who had joined them to speak. Draco nudged Astoria slightly who blushed in response. She took Draco's hand in hers and then turned to face Daphne with a big smile.

"We've set a date!" she exclaimed.

Harry's expression was one of confusion, and Daphne's was one of surprise. "You mean for the wedding?" she asked.

"Of course," snapped Astoria, trying not to lose her excitement to her sister's apparent displeasure. Harry's eyes widened as he finally caught up with where this conversation was heading.

"We've set a date for the end of April," continued Astoria. "Mum and Dad are excited, and we thought that Harry would be done with his adventures by then."

Daphne could easily feel her sister's excitement over the plans. She stood up and pulled Astoria into a hug. "Oh, Stori, I am so happy for you," she said as she had tears welling up in her eyes.

Meanwhile, Harry raised an eyebrow at Draco and then stood up and walked over and shook his former rival's hand. "So, were you guys getting worried about the clauses in the contract?" asked Harry as he was trying to figure out the reasons behind their moving up the date. Harry received a slap on the arm from Daphne as she silently communicated to him she felt he had just asked a rather rude question.

Draco shook his head, "No, we just thought it was the right thing to do." A smile slowly formed on his face as he noticed Harry's reaction to being slapped.

Astoria was now standing and holding Draco to her side with an arm around his waist. This action made Draco feel more comfortable and more confident in responding to Harry. "Actually," he went on to explain, "over the past year we have fallen in love. No wise cracks from you Potter. So, regardless of the contract hanging over our heads, we decided we wanted to make this official as soon as possible, but we wanted to make sure you two were done with Harry's latest adventure."

"Well, mate," replied Harry, "congratulation, we are both really happy for you." Harry leaned over and gave Astoria a quick kiss on her cheek. "Congratulations, to both of you."

Astoria turned to face Draco, and kissed him quickly, "I told you they would be excited for us."

They all sat down again, and Draco began to ask more about their travel to the Ukraine and their meeting with the dragons. Harry let Daphne tell her version of what happened, as he enjoyed hearing the story as well. When she had finished telling of all the dragons they had encountered, Draco shook his head and smiled.

"You always seem to find a way to do things in the extreme," he said to Harry, shaking his head with mirth. "And this all can still be blamed on Riddle. He created a monster when he marked you. I am sure no one had any idea that the actions of that Halloween night would result in making one of the most feared wizards ever to walk the face of the earth. Good thing for our world you didn't go dark," he added with a smile.

"Feared?" questioned Harry. "Who fears me? And why?" Harry was dumbfounded by Draco's statement.

Astoria answered for her fiancé, "Let's just review your past then. You defeated a dark lord as a toddler. You come to Hogwarts without knowing anything about your heritage, and in your first year alone you kill a troll, rescue a damsel in distress and then you face off again with the same dark lord and kill his host body."

Draco interrupted and continued, "Then as a second year, you kill a bloody sixty foot long basilisk, rescue another damsel in distress, whom you would later go on to reclaim that life debt when you killed her defending your lovely girlfriend, and then you go and defeat the dark lord in his second attempt to come back to life. By the time you were 13 you already were up 3-0 against the most feared wizard in over a generation."

Daphne smiled, and joined in, "Then you go and rescue a doomed hippogriff and your godfather while chasing off a mere 100 dementors when you were a third year. And then you added to your legend in our fourth year by outflying a dragon, rescuing more damsels in distress from the bottom of the Black Lake, and then you win the Tri-Wizard tournament after surviving another battle with Voldemort."

Draco picked up the history, "And then in fifth year you managed to survive the torture of the pink toad, and again you face off with the dark wanker, as you have called him, and survive while leading a band of five other students who capture several Death Eaters in the process. And then in our sixth year, you must have been a slouch, as you had no direct confrontation with Riddle, but then you go on the run for what would have been your final year at Hogwarts, and you find a way to defeat him, including leading the Battle of Hogwarts."

Then Astoria continued the tale, "And then there is this past year with even more adventures, culminating in your bringing home a pet dragon. So, any wizard or witch in their right mind would be smart to fear you, or at least fear getting on your bad side."

Harry protested, "But I always had help along the way, and Saevus is not a pet."

"Of course you had help," agreed Draco, "anyone worth their salt has help in accomplishing things. That doesn't take away from your foolish Gryffindor bravery and saving people thing that you have excelled at for the past ten years or so."

Harry was speechless in response to Draco's assertion.

Then Draco continued with a serious tone, "On that note, mate, I would be honoured to have you as my best man when I take the lovely Astoria as my wife."

(Thursday, February 7, 2002)

Ragnok was flanked by several goblins as they stepped through the floo and into the lounge at Potter Manor. The goblins who had accompanied their leader were not used to being in the world of the humans, spending most of their time away from the scornful eyes of wizards and witches and as such they had no real idea what to think of the home of the most famous wizard to be befriended by their nation. Harry greeted them all with a respectful bow.

"Welcome to my home, Ragnok," stated Harry, "you honour me with your presence."

"You honour me and my kin with welcoming us into your home," replied the goblin with a bow. "Now, down to business. We are not here on holiday."

"Very well, Ragnok, you are direct and to the point as always. Why don't we all come and have a seat over here near the garden window," Harry continued, making it a statement and not a question.

There was a row of benches near the large windows overlooking the yard out back. As the goblins climbed onto the seats, Harry retrieved a long cloth covered item and held it up in front of Ragnok. Slowly he removed the green velvet material from the lance and he held it up so all of the goblins could see.

"I present to you Ascalon, the lance of St. George the Dragon Slayer, the staff of Myrddin Emrys." Harry waited silently as the goblins inspected it closely with their eyes.

"Most impressive," sneered Irontooth, whose demeanour had not seemed to improve in the slightest to Harry, "but you already told us you had acquired this trinket."

Harry calmed himself as he heard Daphne's voice in his mind reminding him to remain civil. "While I must agree with you, Irontooth," spoke Harry in as serious a tone as possible to mask his intended sarcasm, "the detailed craftsmanship is most impressive, but the unseen beauty is the power which it conveys to its rightful wielder, which is currently…me."

Irontooth picked up on the sarcasm and glared slightly back at Harry. Ragnok stifled a goblin laugh as he was enjoying Harry's response to his belligerent son.

Harry continued, "And this power allows me to communicate, or speak with, the dragons."

Irontooth scoffed at Harry's claim. "Speaking to a mindless beast, that would seem to be a waste."

Harry did not respond with anger, but with a smile. "A mindless beast you say? But you would use one as a guard for your most valued customers?"

Irontooth snarled his response, "Even humans use dogs to guard their property."

"And goblins use trolls to guard their bank," quipped Harry.

"Just because humans are not able to speak with trolls and communicate with them properly does not mean that they are mindless brutes," retorted Irontooth.

"My point exactly!" replied Harry with a big smile. Ragnok actually laughed out loud.

"Well played, my young wizard friend," congratulated Ragnok. "Wizards have long viewed trolls as mindless creatures, and it appears you are about to convince us that our views on dragons has been wrong."

"My lord Ragnok," answered Harry, "you are most wise and astute. For through my knowledge of Parseltongue and through my possession of Ascalon, I can converse with the dragons as easily as you and I are speaking right now. Perhaps it may be that no goblin has ever been conversant in the language of snakes and reptiles that has prevented your noble race from truly being able to communicate with these magnificent creatures, and there have been few humans who have ever been able to do it. Merlin was one. And now I have that ability. Which is, I believe, the reason why the dragons have named me 'Merlin-son'. They have only had stories of humans who could speak with them before now."

Irontooth was glaring at Harry through half lidded eyes. Harry noted this reaction and he continued. "While I was in the Ukraine, I met with many dragons. One of whom was named Biruitor. He is a very old dragon. In fact, he is the very dragon that was set free because of my actions several years ago."

The goblins began to murmur as Harry revealed this information to them.

"Biruitor was older than any other dragon I met. In fact, I do believe that he has lived longer than he would have if he had never been captive in your bank."

Ragnok interrupted Harry with a question. "How would living as a guard in our bank allow him to live longer?"

"Dragons are magical creatures," Harry explained, "but their magic is aided by the materials that are around them. In the wild they can be strong and fierce and powerful, especially so if their magic is being augmented by things that are around them. Dragons' magic is augmented particularly well in the presence of certain materials."

Ragnok nodded as he began to understand where Harry was going with this. Irontooth, meanwhile, was becoming more intrigued. "What kinds of materials?" asked the usually irritable goblin.

"Thank you for asking, Irontooth," grinned Harry. "The answer should be obvious when you consider that a dragon that was barely fed and kept in a dungeon like cave for many decades lived so long. Precious metals and gems. Gold, silver, diamonds, rubies. The sort of things that are found in great abundance in the vaults of Gringotts, particularly in the lower vaults, the most secure vaults, where you had Biruitor acting as your special guard."

Irontooth's jaw gaped momentarily. Ragnok frowned as his suspicions were correct.

"So, Harry," interjected the goblin leader, "just what is your point with this history lesson for us about dragons?"

"Ah yes, to the point," smiled Harry. "You asked me to provide you with a dragon as payment for your loss of Biruitor, your former guard. I have found a dragon who might be considered a volunteer. Except that volunteers would do their work without pay or expectation for any sort of reward. Saevus, the dragon who has accompanied me back to England, has agreed in principle to serving as your guardian dragon, but with certain conditions."

Irontooth spoke out again. "A dragon making demands of us?"

Ragnok turned and glared at his son. "Remember the old saying my son."

"And what saying is that?" asked his son.

"Dragons are not to be taken lightly, or angered, for you are tasty and you go well with spiced gravy," replied Ragnok with a toothy grin. Then the goblin leader turned back to Harry, "If you would be so kind as to elaborate on Saevus' requests, then we can continue with this meeting."

Harry smiled in return. "Saevus requests are few, but they are all important to him. One, he is opposed to any sort of chains or manacles being placed on his body. Two, he requests that several times per year, perhaps once per season, he be given a few days to fly free, to strengthen his wings, to hunt wild game."

One of the other goblins spoke up, "But how would we know he would come back?"

"Because dragons keep their word," answered Harry. "He is demeanour would be much more pleasant if you were to allow him such privileges. Obviously, we would need to arrange for a safe place for him to hunt and to fly."

Ragnok raised an eyebrow as he considered the requests that had been enumerated so far and the fact that Harry had stated that he had a dragon in his yard. "Excuse me, Mr. Potter, but does not your own Ministry of Magic have laws forbidding the keeping of dragons or raising them, at least without a special permit? Do you have such a permit?"

Harry laughed as he answered, "No, I have no such permit. However, I am not keeping or raising a dragon. Saevus has come here on his own free will. He is a guest, not a pet. I am not violating any laws or regulations." Harry paused as he let his words sink in for a minute. "Now, where was I? Yes, three, he agrees to work for you for a total of 100 years, at which time negotiations would arrange for another dragon to replace him. Also, he would expect payment at the time he departed, a pre negotiated amount of gold and precious gems."

Irontooth spoke up hesitantly. "This dragon, Saevus, he expects us to just allow him to leave for days at a time, what would he have us do for protecting the vaults when he is gone?"

Harry held back a smirk from forming on his face. "What have you been doing to protect the vaults since Biruitor left? I am sure that Gringotts has measures in place for the safe keeping of all of the vaults. Also, if the dates of Saevus' holiday is kept secret and is varied, then this should not be a problem that would prove to be insurmountable."

Ragnok frowned for a moment and then he conferred with his associates in Gobbledygook. After a few moments of private conversation he turned back to address Harry. "I believe that we can reach an accord. Personally, I would like to meet this dragon, Saevus. If you would be so kind so as to arrange an introduction."

Harry smiled broadly, "Follow me," he said as he headed towards the garden.

(Monday, February 18, 2002)

Harry was pacing in Ragnok's office, waiting for the goblin to arrive. Daphne finally had enough of his worrying, "Really Harry, you need to sit down and relax. What could possibly go wrong? You're about to review all of your families' holdings, and take up your lordships. The goblins have been overseeing the investments for years, you know you are rich beyond measure. So why the pacing? Why the fuss?"

Harry sighed and then he began to explain his fears. "They will be doing a test, a ritual, to see if I have any outstanding debts to anyone else. What if I owe someone a life debt?"

Daphne snorted at his comment. "The Bo-Who-Lived, the Vanquisher-of-Voldemort, the guy with the saving people thing, he could possibly owe a life debt to someone? Who could you possibly owe a life-debt to?"

Harry grimaced as he thought about her question.

"Draco," said Harry confidently. "He came over and used the Elder Wand to heal me from my injuries."

"That doesn't count," answered Daphne. "He did not risk anything of himself when he did that, and besides, he already owed you for saving him from the fire in the Room of Requirement."

"His mother," answered Harry quickly. "She lied to Voldemort when I had survived the killing curse."

"I am pretty sure that isn't enough of a sacrifice to establish a life-debt," stated Daphne.

"I don't know, she must have known that if Riddle found out what she did he would have killed her then and there."

"But you defeated Riddle, and thereby saved all of Magical Britain, so the whole bloody country owes you a life debt. Or two," she rebutted.

Harry relaxed at her words as she rubbed circles on the back of his hand which seemed to help calm him down. After another few minutes Ragnok arrived followed closely by several goblins carrying various things. There was a rune covered bowl, several sheets of parchment as well as a couple of quills. Harry took a deep breath as he considered the stories he had heard of goblin blood rituals, and he was sure that this one would not be very different from the stories which he had heard. Harry knew the titles he had inherited, but he wanted to be sure that there was no outstanding debts he owed to anyone. The life-debt ritual was not too different from the inheritance ritual. It would require that he slice his hand, bleed into the rune covered chalice, wait for the goblins to perform their ritual, and then use the blood from the chalice to write on the magically enhanced parchment which would then spell out any debts he owed or that were conversely owed to him.

Ragnok held out the ritual dagger, "Are you ready, my friend?"

Harry grimaced slightly as he muttered, "As ready as I ever will be."

Ragnok then held out the ritual dagger, and Harry grasped it with his right hand. Slowly he drew the blade across the palm of his left hand, and as the blood began to flow, he let it drip into the chalice. The blood filled the chalice as it dripped into the stone cup. The runes along the outside of the cup started to glow as the level of blood in the container reached the level required to begin the ritual. Then the goblins began a soft chant as Ragnok held his hand over the chalice. The runes now began to glow brighter, and after several minutes of chanting, there was a sudden flash of emerald-green light from the chalice. Harry stepped back and instinctively dropped the dagger from his right hand due tot he sudden shock from the flash of light. Ragnok grinned, and Harry could have sworn that he heard a slight chuckle emanate from the goblin's tight lips.

"You may sit down, Mr. Potter," commanded Ragnok. As Harry sat in the chair Ragnok again gave a command, "Now, pick up the quill."

Harry had to reach for the quill with his left hand to retrieve it from the far side of the table, and as he did so he noted that his hand was already healed from the laceration he had made into his palm. The quill itself seemed to pulse with energy as he picked it up. After transferring the quill to his right hand, Ragnok ordered him to dip the quill into the fluid int he chalice — and Harry noted that the fluid had changed from being blood red to being clear. The fluid in the chalice was quickly absorbed into the quill.

"Now, place the tip of the quill near the top of the parchment and sign your name," directed Ragnok.

Harry nodded silently and did as he was instructed. His name appeared in blood red strokes which seems to glow on the parchment.

"Now, place the tip of the quill on the middle of the parchment, do not let it lose contact with the document until I tell you it is safe to do so," warned Ragnok. Harry recalled that he had been advised that this part of the ritual was the most difficult as it would be painful to hold his hand in place while the magic used in the ritual extracted the needed information from his magical core.

Harry nodded once more and placed the quill as directed, and then he felt the pain sear through his arm. Ragnok noted that Harry's left eye twitched almost imperceptibly once, and after that there was no further sign that he was suffering any pain or discomfort. After five minutes there was a flash of emerald light from the chalice once more, and then Ragnok reached out and gently took the quill from Harry as he stated flatly, "It is complete, you may let go now."

Harry's hand slowly released its grip on the shaft of the quill as several words began to appear on the parchment. Ragnok narrowed his eyes as he considered Harry's reaction to the pain of the ritual. It was not uncommon for the strongest of men to cry out in pain or close their eyes and grit their teeth as the power to complete the transfer of information onto the parchment drained their magical core, even if it was only temporary. But this Harry Potter had impressed all of the goblins present as he withstood the demands of the test.

Finally Ragnok took the parchment and began to read, as the words had been written in Gobbledygook, and Harry had no recognition of the runic alphabet that was used.

"Well, Harry, you should be relieved to know that you owe no one any financial debts," stated Ragnok.

Harry acknowledged the comment with a slight nod. In the mean time, Daphne had now taken a seat next to him and grasped his right hand to show her support for him.

Ragnok continued to translate the findings of the ritual, "It seems that at one point you were owed a life debt from Draco Malfoy, but that has been fulfilled. How that was done is not stated in the runes. Hermione Granger, Ronald Weasley, Gabrielle Delacour and Fleur Delacour Weasley all owe you life debts according to the writing. There are several who owed you life debts, but those were considered paid in full at the time of their deaths. Specifically, those that did owe you a life debt were Ginevra Weasley, and Sirius Orion Black."

Harry was a little startled to hear about the life debts. Daphne leaned into his side to comfort him.

The goblin leader spoke up again, "This is most interesting, as I have never seen such a statement as this ever. In fact, I will have our scholars study the history of the runic sequences here as well as the history of this ritual, as I do not believe such a debt has ever been declared since before the time of Merlin."

Harry was puzzled by these words, but it was Daphne who managed to speak the question, "What is it that the runes are saying?" The concern in her voice was obvious to everyone in the room.

"Apparently the Ministry of Magic, Magical England itself, owes a debt to Harry Potter due to his defeat of the dark lord who named himself Lord Voldemort, more appropriately known as Tom Marvolo Riddle."

Harry was confused to hear all of this. Finally he looked at Ragnok as he voiced his questions. "What does it mean for Ron and Hermione to owe me a life debt? Or for Fleur and her sister for that matter?" He paused for a moment before he made his next statement. "Bloody hell, all of magical England owes me a debt. Bugger. What does that even mean?"

Ragnok grinned. "The goblin nation would be more than happy to represent you in the negotiations with the Ministry of Magic for just how that debt should be and will be settled."

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