Note: This chapter was betaed by MasterQwertster.

Chapter 2

A Visit at Gringotts

29 July 1991, 4 Private Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey

The very next morning Alexandra woke up early. Today was when she was going to get her school supplies at a place named Diagon Alley. She had managed to extract at least that from Aunt Petunia, as well as the instructions on how to get there. Her descriptions were full of holes and were probably obsolete, as more than twenty years had passed since she had gone to the magical alley. It's a start, at least.

Alexandra idly wondered how children like her mother, who had had no magical parents, managed to go to this place. Was a teacher dispatched to give them the instructions? But if so, why hadn't someone been sent to her place? She might have had a wizard and a witch as parents, but she knew next to nothing concerning the magical world. There were so many questions and no answers that sprang to her mind. No optimistic ones at least. At least she had a precise list of supplies to get, which had been sent to her on a second parchment with the official letter admitting her to Hogwarts.

HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY

Uniform:

First-year students will require:

1. Three sets of plain work robes (black)

2. One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear

3. One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)

4. One winter cloak (black, silver fastenings)

Please note that all pupils' clothes should carry name tags.

Set Books:

All students should have a copy of each of the following:

The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1) by Miranda Goshawk

A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot

Magical Theory by Adalbert Waffling

A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration by Emeric Switch

One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore

Magical Drafts and Potions by Arsenius Jigger

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander

The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection by Quentin Trimble

Other Equipment:

1 wand

1 cauldron (pewter, standard size 2)

1 set glass or crystal phials

1 telescope

1 set brass scales

Students may also bring an owl OR a cat OR a toad.

PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT FIRST-YEARS ARE NOT ALLOWED THEIR OWN BROOMSTICKS.

Had Petunia not involuntarily vouched for the existence of a magical world, Alexandria would have treated the list as a bad joke. Toads, cauldrons, and wands...really? Having not been introduced to the magical world before, she would certainly have to buy an owl. She had not been able to reply to Hogwarts' first letter as there had been no mention of how to reply by the "normal" post. So either she had to find a magical post service to send her answer, or she had to buy a post owl. Simple right? Although why this magical school had not thought of this was not very encouraging.

Seeing how it was early, Alexandra had nothing to do but get prepared and wait for the Dursleys to wake up. She went to the bathroom, deserted at this early hour, washed herself off, then got dressed in a pair of dark blue jeans and a blue sleeveless shirt, and her only pair of shoes. She then amused herself by levitating some of her pens and pencils for a few minutes, changing their colours regularly to make it a more difficult challenge.

Loud noises informed her the Dursleys had woken up, and she stopped her magical activities. Even after the letter, she doubted Vernon and Petunia would be appreciative of any of her activities challenging their conception of 'normal'. With her uncle and aunt no longer sleeping, Alexandra decided to go down and make breakfast.

The meal itself on this day was a cold and silent moment. Neither Dudley nor Vernon nor Petunia was speaking. Aunt Petunia because of the conversation yesterday, Uncle Vernon because of the fact that he would be driving his 'freak' of a niece to get supplies for her 'freakish school' today, and Dudley because he was too busy eating what should have been enough to feed a family of ten persons for a week. She ate her breakfast silently. This day, no need to anger the Dursleys when they were already incredibly tense.

Uncle Vernon looked up from his morning newspaper. His face was a light violet and darkening, but what had happened yesterday had taught him to control his anger and he didn't shout this time. It was an admirable show of restraint, for him at least.

"So this place I need to take you..." Vernon began, trailing off as his face somehow managed to both grimace and glare at the same time.

"The Leaky Cauldron," Alexandra told him, and Vernon grunted.

"Right, will I need to come back and pick you up?"

"No." She answered. She had no intention to come back to the Dursley's house with a trunk full of magical books and devices. With her luck, her uncle would lock all her supplies in a cupboard until September 1st, which was out of the question.

"Good." Vernon grunted again with the unspoken message that he hadn't had the motivation or desire to go back to get her at all, then went back to reading his morning news. Alexandra rolled her eyes. Sometimes, her uncle was so predictable it wasn't even funny.

Time flew on, and before too long Alexandra found herself being driven through the streets of London by her disgruntled uncle. The man was holding onto the steering wheel tightly, his face still coloured a pale purple, the wheel creaking slightly in his hands. Alexandra paid very little attention to her uncle as she looked out the window, seeing book shops, music stores, cinemas, bars, and schools slide by before her eyes, but nowhere in sight was a shop which was magical in nature. Just ordinary streets full of ordinary people. Could there really be hundreds of wizards near them? Were there really shops that sold wands, cauldrons and broomsticks?

If the Dursleys had had a sense of humour, which they definitely did not, she might have thought all of this was just one big awful joke. As it was, even if the news she received yesterday were unbelievable, she couldn't help but believe it. A chance to escape Little Whinging and her 'family' for good? She was almost giddy with the possibilities.

Hogwarts. She wondered what her new school looked like, what she would learn there. She also wanted to know who had had the idea to name a school that. Hogwarts, frankly, was a ridiculous name. She also wondered if she was behind in the magical curriculum as she had had no contact with this new world before this week.

She had only started using magic consciously at the age of eight when she had used it to destroy the cupboard under the stairs beyond repair. (Vernon had not dared to hire a firm to repair it for fear someone called the authorities.) She supposed she would be at a disadvantage against children who knew that magic was the real deal and not an "abnormality" to be punished at all costs. She would need a lot of time and training, she was sure, to compensate for this. While she was lost in her thoughts, the car progressively decreased its speed and then slowed to a stop. The somewhat grunt of her uncle's "Get out!" was the confirmation she had. Indeed, they had arrived.

Alexandra nodded slowly to acknowledge her uncle's groan, then unstrapped her seat belt, opened the car door, and stepped out. "Thank you, Uncle Vernon", she said politely, in case she needed the assistance of her uncle one more time. Not likely, but not impossible. Her uncle emitted something between a groan and a grunt again, and the moment she had closed the door he raced away at full speed, no doubt in a hurry to put the maximum of distance between him and the 'freaks'.

She took a moment to observe her surroundings in the street she was standing. While she had imagined the entrance of Diagon Alley as a bright and shining place where magic ruled supreme, the reality appeared really disappointing. The street was as normal as the dozens she had passed in her uncle's car to come here and the dozens she frequented near the Dursleys house. As for the Leaky Cauldron, far from a palace or a monument the size of a supermarket, it appeared to be a tiny, dirty pub looking from the outside, which seemed to have seen better days. The other persons down the street didn't even glance at it. It's like they didn't even see it. Which was probably the case, she mused.

Before entering the Leaky Cauldron, she took a moment in a backside alley to change the colour of her hair and her eyes from their black and bright green to a brown and blue. She might be paranoid, but she didn't know anything at all about the magical world and the place her parents lived in it. A bit of prudence was suggestable, and she could always change back to her real appearance if she needed it.

Entering the pub, Alexandra noted that for an entrance to the wizarding world, it was not a very clean or engaging place. Instead, it looked dark, filthy, and almost deserted. Perhaps it was the fact it was early for a Monday, but it looked like there was no more than half a dozen patrons, all of them having a shabby and shady look. Old men and old women were all drinking tiny glasses of unknown beverages and half of them smoking pipes. As the instructions of her aunt somewhat stopped there, she approached the bald man standing at the bar who likely was the owner. She noticed the small noise of conversations had died down as she entered the pub.

"Excuse me, Sir?" she said in her best engaging voice.

"Hogwarts, miss?" said the old man, opening a mouth which had lost quite a few teeth.

"Yes, Sir. I need to go shopping to Diagon Alley and..."

"Not a problem, my dear." said the bartender. "You're not the first to ask and you won't be the last. But, but please, don't call me Sir. I'm Tom, owner of the Leaky Cauldron. You don't have your parents with you?"

Before she had the time to formulate an excuse she heard a client speaking behind her in a loud and drunken voice "Another Muggle-born to enter our world! What a disgrace!" The man abruptly stopped when Tom threw him a threatening glare.

The issue of parents apparently forgotten due to the interruption of the rude wizard who vaguely looked like a mummy, Tom then led her through the bar to a small courtyard where there was nothing but a few weeds.

With a move that seemed to be almost automatic, the old man got out his wand from his robe and tapped a brick of the wall three times with the point.

"Stand back, miss." He whispered.

The brick he had touched quivered – it wriggled – in the middle, a small hole appeared – it grew wider and wider – a second later they were facing an archway large enough for up to three people to pass through together. It was an entrance onto a crowded street which appeared to be very long and weirdly tortuous.

"Welcome," said Tom, "to Diagon Alley."

He gently smiled at Alexandra's evident amazement. She thanked the barman, and then stepped through the archway. Alexandra looked rapidly behind her and saw the entrance shrink instantly back into solid wall. Wow, that was impressive.

The sun shone brightly on a stack of cauldrons outside the nearest building. Cauldrons – All Sizes – Copper, Brass, Pewter, Silver, Self-Stirring, and Collapsible said the sign over the shop.

There was a cauldron on her shopping list, but as she had no wizarding money at the present time, it would have to wait. She had no idea what "Galleons", "Sickles" and "Knuts" were on the price signs, but she was ready to bet the shops she saw didn't accept the pounds she was used to.

Not that the lack of money forbade her to look. In every direction the magical shops were spread in a manner which was borderline chaotic. Some buildings looked structurally strange, as if only magic was the only thing that stopped a fall of their roof or one of their floors. On the positive side, the alley was certainly not boring. While she attracted her fair share of disapproving stares by being one of the rare persons not wearing a robe, or clothes that were perhaps fashionable in the seventeenth century, the shops and the peculiar winding street was spectacular. The atmosphere was full of different smells, noises and colours. Magic was everywhere; in the windows and the signs of the shops, in the air, in the inhabitants, and in the people doing their shopping.

Somehow, she wished she had more eyes and senses to see everything. Fascinating ingredients like dragon's or manticore's blood were on display in the apothecary's showcase. A lot of hooting came from a great shop with a sign saying 'Eeylops Owl Emporium – Tawny, Screech, Barn, Brown and Snowy'. A salesman of a newspaper was shouting in one corner selling something called the Daily Prophet. One shop had several kids of her own age and younger who pressed their faces against the windows to admire what looked to be racing brooms.

"Look," Alexandra heard one of them say, "the new Nimbus Two Thousand – the fastest broom ever –". The prices here looked to have a lot of zeros, though. There were also shops selling robes and different sorts of hats and clothes. Some shops sold telescopes and strange silver instruments. Alexandra had no clue what their purpose was. A potions supply shop window had a display stacked with disgusting things like barrels of bat spleens and eels' eyes. Bookshops displayed towering piles of magical books, quills and rolls of parchment, globes of the different planets of the Solar System, potion bottles…

Then she arrived at her first destination; Gringotts, the wizarding bank. It was impossible to miss, the bank was massive. It kind of stood out from the small disorganised shops she had just passed on her way. Its colour was snowy-white, and at least ten times the size of the biggest shop she had seen so far. Apparently, being a banker paid very well. That or the nature of the bankers was the reason. Standing beside its burnished bronze doors, wearing uniforms of scarlet and gold, the creatures were clearly not human. One wizard muttering over some financial dispute was overheard saying "Bloody goblins…" Cool. Now she had a name for them.

As she walked up the white stone steps towards the entrance of the bank, she was able to study the goblin guards more precisely. The goblins were about a head shorter than Alexandra. Most of them had a swarthy face and a pointed beard. Alexandra noticed the goblins had all very long fingers and feet. Oh, and some of them had spears and swords, which looked extremely well maintained and extremely dangerous. They bowed as she walked inside. Now she was facing a second pair of doors, silver this time, with words engraved upon them:

Enter, stranger, but take heed

Of what awaits the sin of greed,

For those who take, but do not earn,

Must pay most dearly in their turn,

So if you seek beneath our floors

A treasure that was never yours,

Thief, you have been warned, beware

Of finding more than treasure there.

Alexandra gulped. If she had had any ideas of stealing something here, then these ideas were forgotten right now. She didn't want to imagine what the goblins did to thieves who had failed to heed the warning. Not something pleasant she was ready to bet.

A pair of goblins bowed to her through the silver doors and she entered in a vast hall entirely built in marble. About a hundred more goblins were sitting on high stools behind a long counter, scribbling in large ledgers, weighing coins on brass scales, examining precious stones through eyeglasses. About the same number of goblins, but these ones fiercer and more dangerous mounted guard in the corners and the backside, all armed like they were ready to go to battle at any moment. There were too many doors to count leading off the hall, and yet more goblins were showing people in and out of these. Seeing apparently there was no waiting line or any kind of order like in a normal establishment, she walked towards the stools that stood empty.

"Good morning," said Alexandra to a free goblin, therefore bringing the goblin's attention to her. Alexandra had not the height to reach the top of the counter, so the goblin had to tilt his head down quite a way to see her. "I was told that my parents owned a vault I can withdraw gold from."

According to Aunt Petunia, her mother had once confided in her that Alexandra's father's family, the Potters, were old family money. She didn't know how much this assertion was worth, knowing her aunt, but it had given her the idea to directly go to the bank. Else she would have to hope for Hogwarts to give her a small tuition to buy her supplies.

"You have your key, miss?"

"No, I don't."

The goblin peered down at her with an ugly sneer on its face. Of course, it had been sneering before it even looked at Alexandra, so she just had to hope a sneering expression wasn't too bad, as she was far from a specialist in goblin behaviour.

"Name?"

"Alexandra Potter."

This time she saw she had completely gotten the goblin's attention. Far from sneering anymore, the goblin was outright smiling, like she had said a joke or something funny. The goblin paused, made a sign and then hopped off the stool.

"Follow me, Miss Potter."

Alexandra followed the goblin through one of the many doors. This one leading to a long hallway, noticing with a growing unease the fact the sign the first goblin had made had rallied eight goblins from the warriors present in the hall, who all looked at her with a particularly hungry look that in her mind didn't presage anything good. They passed along dozens of closed doors, each one holding golden plaques with names on them. Gorvuk. Morroar. Krevjaw.

As these were clearly not human names, (not that she had any idea of the names in the Wizarding world) she assumed it was the offices of various important goblins. Soon enough, they reached a door with the word Grimjawengraved on the plaque. The goblin knocked, once, whispered what looked like "Another one!" to whoever was inside then opened fully the door and gestured for Alexandra to enter.

The room she was led into was not large, and vaguely circular. Large bookcases were holding the majority of the places along the wall. They were full of large books, tomes, scrolls of parchment and a monumental quantity of paperwork. In the centre of the room was a red desk made out of a wood so crimson it looked like blood. Sitting behind that desk was a goblin that looked quite a bit taller, older and more dangerous than the other ones Alexandra had seen so far. He had a small goatee, and was really smiling in what Alexandra recognized as a bloodthirsty manner. The fact the eight goblin guards were waiting at the door with gleeful expressions was not good.

The old goblin took one look at Alexandra then reached behind his desk to grip an odd-looking parchment and a particularly sharp dagger with symbols which looked like runes Alexandra had seen once in a documentary at the television.

"Cut your finger and place your blood on the paper." The goblin in front of her ordered. Alexandra raised an eyebrow, but she realized she had little choice. The goblins behind her looked ready to impale her with their spears, and she had no weapon to fight them. Picking up the dagger and slicing her finger open without flinching, she held the wound over the parchment and let her blood land onto the parchment. Quasi-instantly her complete name, Alexandra Victoria Potter, appeared on the paper. Then the name of her parents. Lilian Marie Evans and James Charlus Potter. Then others and...

"That's enough." grunted the goblin who had apparently read the results at the same time she had.

He nodded, once, and looked in direction of the door.

"You can leave us; I'll call you if you are required." He gestured for the other goblins, who all seemed disappointed, for some reason, to leave the room.

The armoured goblins bowed once to the goblin in front of them, before leaving the office.

He then turned his attention at Alexandra.

"You seem to be the real one, this time. I have been waiting you a long time, Heiress Potter."

Seeing Alexandra look completely lost, the old goblin sighed.

"Miss Potter, you have not been the first person to pass the gates of Gringotts and pretend to be the Heiress of House Potter. Several persons have tried to grab what remained of your family's fortune. Some of them were even men. The Ministry of Magic also tried once to grab the contents of your vaults to reimburse their debts. A great deal of forged wills and other fake treaties were sent to Gringotts, forcing us in the last decade to use harsher measures. The impostors have almost ceased to come to Gringotts since we put the punishments into effect."

She nodded at that piece of news, which explained how belligerent the goblins had behaved towards her. They had believed she was just another impostor.

"Although I must say it was not wise to disguise yourself like this, Heiress Potter. If Goblok had seen you as you are, he would have been a bit less zealous to come to me in such a manner."

With a shock, Alexandra realized the appearance she had used to enter Diagon Alley was gone. She was again presenting her real appearance to the world.

Of course the goblins had magic to see through disguises. Stupid of her to presume they had not.

"Now that it is said..." said the goblin opening different ledgers rapidly. "I must talk to you about important affairs. As accountant of the Potter family, I was charged to keep and make prosper the fortune of the Ancient House of Potter. It is my greatest displeasure to inform you that I've failed in that regard."

Seeing by his look, the goblin didn't appear to have made this admission lightly. He looked like if someone had just torn out his teeth one by one. Slowly.

"Why Accountant Grimjaw?" said simply Alexandra.

The goblin watched her with a surprised expression.

"Heiress Potter," he began slowly. "How much do you know about the political situation in Magical England?"

"I was told that magic existed yesterday," replied bitterly Alexandra.

Grimjaw, as she appeared to have guessed accurately the name of the old goblin, sighed once more, apparently having his suspicions confirmed.

"I have not the time for a complete history lesson of the last decades, Heiress Potter. If you want one, buy a book in the nearby libraries. They will be biased, as the books of your species always are, but they will explain a good part of what you must know. Even if we had a full day before us, with your current lack of knowledge, the explanations would take far longer than that. I will give you only the basics, then the account affairs will take priority."

Alexandra Potter listened with all her attention now. Seeing she was agreeing with him, Grimjaw continued.

"From 1978 to 1981, Magical Britain was in a state of civil war. While we the Goblins of Gringotts stayed neutral, hundreds of wizards and other magical races died in the futile butchery you humans are so known for. On the one side there was the Ministry of Magic and various militias. On the other side was the Dark Lord Voldemort, his supporters the Death Eaters and other magical races, supporters of blood purity." Grimjaw grimaced. "By October 1981, this side had almost won. Thousands were dead, and your Ministry was openly considering surrender. Until the day of Halloween, when the Dark Lord tried to kill the Longbottom family. While this dark wizard killed Alice and Frank Longbottom without effort, the moment he turned his wand on their son Neville, the spell he cast backfired and he disappeared without a trace. All his supporters fled, dispersed or surrendered shortly after. Since then, Neville Longbottom was celebrated by your whole Ministry and the rest of the wizarding population as the Boy-Who-Lived, the saviour of Magical England."

Alexandra was stunned at that news. Did her manager account just tell her a war had just been fought and won by a fluke? In the British Isles? Grimjaw seemed delighted by her expression, but then turned sombre.

"Unfortunately for your family, the events turned rather bad after that. Your father, Lord James Potter, was a good friend of Lord Frank Longbottom. In the aftermath of the attack, James Potter was openly accused of being a spy in service of the Dark Lord and to have revealed to him the place where the Longbottom family was hidden. He managed to flee for a short period, but your mother and yourself were attacked by a mob in your house at Godric's Hollow on November 5 1981. Your mother was murdered that night, although she managed to save you before the end."

"Is my father dead?" Alexandra asked coldly. Inside, she was boiling with anger. Her father had abandoned her mother and herself to die! What was the coward thinking?

"No, Heiress Potter. He was arrested after a bloody fight on November 9 1981 and sent to Azkaban prison to serve a life sentence. He is still imprisoned there as we speak."

She nodded at this information, not trusting herself to speak.

"It was the beginning of the end for your family by then," continued Grimjaw with bitterness. "You were the last Potter who could access your family fortune, but we could not find you, and even if we had, you were one year old and your parents did not leave any valid will in their name here or anywhere else I know. The Ministry of Magic and the former allies of your father rapidly divided between themselves the former possessions of your family."

"Not that your father hadn't made their task easier," added the account manager after a moment surprising her. "From the start of the war, Lord Potter had invested important sums of money to support a militia group named the Order of the Phoenix who fought against the Dark Lord. Your mother objected to this spending but..." The goblin gave the equivalent of a roll of shoulders at that.

"How much is left to me?"

"Not a lot, Heiress Potter." The goblin started to look at his ledgers again. "Apart from the ruins of Potter Manor in Wales, the ruins of your family house in Godric's Hollow and an old and decrepit house in London, you have no more lands to your name anymore."

"In currency, thanks to your mother's precautions, you have a total of 210 075 Galleons, 5 Sickles and 8 Knuts in your vaults."

Alexandra still was impressed. When she had been at the Dursleys, she had been told she was worth nothing at least twice a day!

"What are the basics in wizarding money and the conversion rate from Galleons to Pounds?" she asked in barely repressed excitement.

"One Galleon is seventeen Sickles and one Sickle is twenty-nine Knuts. One Galleon is roughly nineteen pounds, one Sickle is one pound and twelve pence, and one Knut is approximately four pence."

Alexandra found herself in utter ecstasy. If what Grimjaw said was true, she had in her vaults the next best thing to four million pounds in cash! That kind of money was a huge sum for someone like her. There was just no way she could have that much money on hand. It was too incredible to be true.

"There must be a catch." She observed. Grimjaw nodded, apparently satisfied his client was not stupid.

"Indeed Heiress Potter. As you're currently under-age, you will not be able to enter the Potter vault where the majority of your fortune is until you come of age or you are emancipated. To be blunt, the latter is not going to happen. Your family is currently seen as the worst traitors in the British Isles by a large margin. The chances of the Ministry of Magic granting you the right to access to your vault as a minor are currently null. And we, the goblins of Gringotts, are sworn to uphold the laws of the Ministry unless they have broken the treaty." His voice suggested he would not shed a tear when this event happened.

"So I won't be able to access the Potter vault until I'm eighteen?"

"Seventeen," the goblin corrected, and Alexandra looked at him curiously. "A witch becomes a magical adult in the wizarding world at seventeen."

"What will I be able to access then?"

"Your trust vault, which is vault 869. Currently there are 11 000 Galleons in it, with 1000 to be added every year the day of your birthday."

"Are there other things in the vaults or elsewhere that I own?"

"There are various heirlooms, books, precious gems, and some magical artefacts in the Potter vault. I will provide you a list in the week if you wish." As she nodded in approval, Grimjaw added "though their number has severely diminished in the few years your father was acting lord of this House. There are also a certain number of objects that went missing after the house at Godric's Hollow was torched, including a rare Pensieve and an Invisibility Cloak of great value. But in your trust vault, there is only money and a few school books. Very few of your family's other financial assets survived. You still own 5% of a joke shop named Zonko's, 4% of the license exploitation of the famous drink Butterbeer and 3% in a French clothes shop named Capes d'excellence which is located in France."

At her interrogating look, the goblin continued. "I can only make speculations, but I believe your parents put everything of value in their main vault, as it was the only one the Ministry and ourselves couldn't access due to the protections needing Potter blood to be deactivated. Your trust vault was only supposed to be pocket money, according to your mother's wishes."

Alexandra stayed silent longer this time, trying to absorb all this information.

"Are there anything more I should know?"

"Yes, I'm afraid so." This time the goblin sounded sincerely amused. "Your role in politics."

Alexandra emitted a sound between a groan and a lamentation.

"With the Lord of your House currently in prison and his title voted invalid by the Wizengamot, you as Heiress and last member of your House will have to take a more active role in politics than a child of your age should have needed. As soon as you are 15 or you manage to achieve four OWLS in the Wizarding exams of your school, you will have to attend the Wizengamot and the other courts where your presence is required, as well as other key events. You could of course still delay attendance until your majority at 17, but you would have to choose someone as proxy, and the Wizengamot would have to accept it. For now, your Magical Guardian is acting as your proxy by default for the courts."

"And who is he?" Alexandra asked with the painful feeling she wasn't going to like the answer at all.

"Why, Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts."

"Has he the right to do this?" she asked.

"Sadly, yes. Usually, your Magical Guardian would be your father. He's not in any position to do it. Your mother would come next but she's dead. As there are no magical relatives bearing the name Potter, or close enough to be considered, your godfather and godmother would be the next best choices." Grimjaw then sighed. "Alas, your godfather Sirius Black officially broke his godfather vows the night your father was imprisoned. Your godmother, Alice Longbottom, is dead too. In that situation, the proxy would go to the Minister of Magic or the Chief Warlock, the latter being Albus Dumbledore himself."

"Is it not a conflict of interests?" she asked, reminded of Vernon Dursley ranting about some issues on the Parliament of London.

"In the Muggle world -" he stopped at her confused look "- our name for the non-magical world. In the Muggle world, perhaps. But the wizard laws are very different from there."

"I am so going to study this month," she whispered.

"Don't look so scared, Heiress Potter!" The goblin was outright grinning now. "Your parents left you no blood feuds, no betrothals, no marriage contracts..." He trailed off at the end.

"Apart from a dreadful reputation, you mean?" She replied sarcastically.

"Apart from that," agreed the goblin.

Grimjaw then reached into his desk, and pulled out a box, which looked like it had been made in gold. Opening the box, it revealed two rings. The box was then pushed across the desk so Alexandra could see them.

One was silver, while the other was gold, but apart from that they looked identical. Both had a dragon and a sword intertwined with a circle around them, and both pulsed light and magic so powerfully she could feel it only by looking

"Heiress Potter, the silver ring on your left is the Potter heiress ring. When you reach the age or seventeen or when you father dies, whichever comes first, it will change itself into a new ring. The ring in question will be unique, just like it is with every Lord and Lady of the Magical World. No one besides you can wear the ring; anyone else will die in a very painful agony if they try. Only your heirs and successors will ever be able to wear the ring. To claim officially your heritage has a Potter, you only have to put the ring on." Grimjaw explained, pushing the plain silver ring forward.

"And the gold one?" She asked, taking the warm silver ring in her hands.

"For your consort, lover your husband or whatever you call your future male partner. No one else but the man you chose will be able to do so."

"Why does it look like there are bloodstains on it?" She asked, noticing the detail.

"When the Wizengamot sent your father to Azkaban, he refused to leave the ring in another's possession, screaming no one would be Lord Potter but him," sighed the old goblin. "The Ministry's executioner removed three of his fingers and gave us back the ring as per the conventions. Under the circumstances," his voice turned predatory after that. "I didn't bother to clean it."

Now frankly ill-at ease, Alexandra placed the ring on her left middle-finger. She could rapidly feel a very small tingling and a small pulse. The ring glowed and then faded. She had been accepted as the Potter family heiress.

"I was expecting something more... spectacular," she remarked.

"That is only for your ascension as a lady, I'm afraid. Although, it is more painful as well."

"Very well," Alexandra sighed. She had had enough of news for the day. The rest could wait another week at worst, another year at best, another appointment anyway and a time she was more knowledgeable in the magical world.

"Unless there is something important left, I would like to see my trust vault for a withdrawal."

"You will need this," Grimjaw opened into another drawer and pulled out a small golden key, which he handed over to Alexandra. "This key will allow you to access your trust vault."

"Gurbrok!" He shouted what she could only assume was a name, and the door to the office opened up for another Goblin who looked like a younger version of him.

Alexandra turned back to Grimjaw. "Gurbrok will lead you to your vault. And Heiress Potter?"

"Yes, Account Manager?"

"Try to remain alive, I would be very disappointed if I was forced to relinquish your fortune to the Ministry."

"I will not die," she told the old goblin, trying to feel braver than she really felt.

"Follow me." Gurbrok turned around and walked out rapidly to the left of the corridor without waiting to see if Alexandra would follow him. She was forced to run to catch up with the much shorter goblin. Soon, she was led out of the corridor, then into a hallway, then down another corridor, and at last, into another hall that was much different from the marble marvels she had seen so far. The hallway itself was carved in stone and led to a passageway which was narrow and lit with flaming torches.

In place there was what could only be a cart on a railway. The cart was old, small, unstable, and looked like it would be thrown off the tracks at the first incident. Given that the railway she could see in the light of the torches seemed to be twisting and do a lot of turns, it was hardly reassuring.

"Get inside of the cart," said Gurbrok. Alexandra marched to the cart and sat down. Gurbrok followed into the cart, standing at the front where he pulled a system of levers.

What followed was a nightmare of speed in the dark. The cart passed suddenly from immobility to an incredible acceleration. Then the speed increased even more, and Alexandra lost her lunch at that moment. The speed of the cart was so rapid her eyes weren't able to follow. They passed over a large thing that looked suspiciously like a very big dragon in the distance, but it was one of the only things she could make out. After what felt like an eternity, the cart finally decreased in speed and then stopped. Alexandra profited from the moment to vomit instantly the rest of her breakfast to the side of the cart, before following Gurbrok out of the cart. They had not far to go, and after two doors arrived at an ancient looking door carrying the number 689. Her trust vault.

"Key," Gurbrok held out his hand, and Alexandra put the key in it. Gurbrok was quick to unlock the vault. He did so by lifting a flap behind which the lock was hidden.

Once the key was inserted, there was a loud grinding noise which only came to a halt when loud 'clangs' were heard, before leaving green smoke billowing out at great speed. Even for her trust vault, the systems of security provided by Gringotts looked extremely efficient and if the smoke was any indication, extremely lethal. Gurbrok stepped aside, letting her see columns of gold Galleons, piles of silver Sickles and hundreds of bronze Knuts. Neatly organised, her trust vault was full of money. More money than she had ever had in her life. And it was only her trust vault.

On the other side of the room were a few books, and Alexandra marched towards them, only to be disappointed when these were revealed to be old magical tales told to children. Then again, what was valuable when she was young had certainly found its way to the familial vault.

The Dursleys couldn't have known about this or they'd certainly have tried to obtain it. These were her thoughts while putting the money in a bag. How often had they complained about how much Alexandra cost them to keep while they did only the minimum for her? How ironic that all the time there had been a small fortune belonging to her, buried deep in magical London.

"I'm done here now," she said softly, turning to Gurbrok after collecting what she figured was the equivalent of two hundred Galleons in money in a pouch. She looked back into the vault one last time as it closed, then got into the cart that would take her back to the entrance of Gringotts.

"Could we please go a bit slower for the return?" she asked to the goblin.

"One speed only for the carts," said Gurbrok in a satisfied tone and a nasty smile. She did not need to decipher the goblin's expression to know the little being was lying through his teeth. Goblins clearly loved seeing their clients vomit their previous meal.

One wild cart-ride later and she stood blinking in the sunlight outside Gringotts. Alexandra stood there, a bit pale for the moment as she had just lost her breakfast and her illusions in the underground of the bank.

On the one hand, she had just been given more money she'd had in her whole life. She suspected she had more money than the Dursleys had currently in their bank accounts. On the other hand, she had just been informed her family, or what remained of it, was the equivalent of Judas in the magical world. People were going to hate her for what her father did. Having had the experience of the Dursleys for ten years, she doubted the term 'innocent until proven guilty' was worth more in this world than it was valued in Privet Drive. It was going to be hell to make any friends or alliances.

"Let's try to survive, shall we?" Alexandra whispered. She once again modified her appearance to the common brown hair and blue eyes she had adopted hours ago to enter the magical world, and then she climbed down the stairs of Gringotts, eager to discover the mysteries of Diagon Alley.