Harry Potter found himself standing at a tall, iron gate. The vines growing among the bars spoke of the years it had been since that gate stood open to visitors, and also told him what he already knew. Unlike old Potter Manor, this place had had no house elves waiting for his return.
For the return of Lord Potter.
He walked slowly to the gate, seeing the proud crest of the Potter family worked into the metal. Here goes nothing, he thought. Placing his hand against the crest, he saw the Potter ring glow briefly. Without prompting, the words came to his mind.
"I stand at the center of all things. Grant me the strength to hold my burdens."
The crest glowed to match his ring, and then parted as the gate opened. Despite appearances, Harry heard no whine of fatigued metal, no grinding of rusted hinges. He took a step forward.
Before him was a hilltop, covered in tall grass. There were no trees on the hill, though Harry thought he could see several large trees beyond. The grounds seemed to be overgrown, as he had expected, but the growth had an odd sort of pattern. Perhaps after this meeting, he would have time to think on that.
The path was nothing more than an old track through the grasses, but it led directly to the hill. It was a pleasant few minutes, and Harry took the time to center himself. Despite the argument of that morning, despite almost coming to blows with his uncle, Harry found himself calm.
Never having to go back to Privet Drive certainly helped with that. He had not expected to feel joy as the blood wards around the home collapsed. Not his home, certainly - he had never been at home there. But Harry's grin as he had felt the wards collapse had almost escalated the situation, and he had not wanted that. He owed the Dursleys for their treatment of him over the past fifteen years, but that would have to wait for another day.
At the base of the hill, there was a small stone pillar. The stonework appeared to be ancient, as if this small marker had stood for a thousand years. And perhaps it had. But there was no moss, no evidence of neglect, no decay. It was pristine, having been preserved as only magic could.
The top of the pillar had an archway etched into its surface. Three stones on the left, another three on the right, and in the center a larger stone with the Potter crest. Again, Harry placed the ring on the crest, and again he spoke words that came to him.
"Ego lapisque angularis" I am the Keystone.
As if a curtain had been parted, the glamours dissipated, and the manor house was revealed. It was obviously smaller than Potter Manor, which did not surprise Harry in the slightest. Potter Manor, and the acres and acres surrounding it, was the seat of what had been a large and powerful family. This, on the other hand, was a citadel. It was a fallback position intended to be absolutely secret and impenetrable in its security.
Once the manor was visible, Harry found that he could see the wards, the gentle dome of magic surrounding the hilltop. And now he understood why the letter had warned him to come alone. Any witch or wizard not of his blood who crossed those wards would be attacked.
"Dobby." With a soft pop, Harry heard the house elf appear at his side. "Can you tell if the manor is empty?"
Dobby disappeared for a moment, then returned. "Master Harry, there is no one else in the house, sir. No Witches, no Wizards, no Elves, nothing. But one room I could not search, sir."
Harry nodded. That was what the letter had told him to expect. "Good work, Dobby. Thank you. Go back to the manor and wait for me." He began walking forward before Dobby could respond.
The great doors opened before him as he approached. Harry Potter entered the manor, and found himself in a well appointed entrance hall. On the floor, he saw the Potter Crest, larger and more colorful than even the one at Potter Manor. A grand staircase rose to his left, and on the landing above him he saw a tapestry hanging, facing the door.
In front of him stood two great oaken doors, and he found himself drawn toward them. This had to be the meeting room the letter had mentioned. Perhaps now he would have some answers.
As he stepped forward, his eyes fell on the tapestry, and his breath caught.
The tapestry depicted a fierce battle. Wreathed in fire, three great beasts waged war. On his right was a serpent with seven heads. On his left stood… honestly, he had never seen a beast like this. It had the body of a lion, one paw raised in attack. But the lion's head was flanked by that of a raven and a snake. Harry's eyes lingered on the snake's head for a moment, and he saw that it was not a viper's head but a smaller, almost kinder snake. In the back of his mind, he thought of the healers and mediwitches he had met, like Madam Pomfrey, and the symbol he often saw on their offices - a staff with serpents.
Harry noticed that the lion's body and its head were two different colors, suggesting that they were two different beasts. One lion carrying another (and his allies) into battle.
Behind the lion was a lioness, reared back on its hind legs. Its paws moved in an intricate pattern, one Harry recognized as the wand motion for Protego Maxima, a powerful shield charm.
The tapestry kept moving and changing, as he watched - just like a wizarding portrait. One of the snake's heads leapt forward and struck the lion on its paw, only to wither and die immediately. The other six heads backed away slightly, though Harry could tell that they would take any opportunity to strike.
It did not escape Harry's notice that the serpent had six sets of red eyes, glowing with hatred and greed for power. When he noticed that the Lion creature had three sets of bright green eyes, the meaning of the tapestry became clear. He could not figure out the grey eyes of the lioness, however.
Oh Merlin, he thought, staring at the image. It's us.
Harry felt the parchment in his pocket vibrate, and he saw that he was standing at the center of the Potter crest. Taking out the parchment, he read the words again, hearing Ragnok's voice in his mind.
Congratulations again on assuming your majority. I know that your days are full and your time valuable, but do not hesitate to inform me if the Goblin Nation can be of any assistance to you in the weeks to come.
Your accounts manager, Foecleaver, has notified me of a matter that demands your immediate attention. Once you have taken possession of Potter Manor, hold the enclosed key in your hand and stand on the Potter Crest in the entrance hall. Speak the words "Ego lapisque angularis" and you will be transported via portkey to your family's most secure holding. The property, known only as Keystone Manor, will withstand any assault, and its location is hidden from anyone not of the Potter family.
Bring this letter with you. Stand on the crest in the entrance hall. This will open the council chamber. It is vital , for now, that you take nothing from that room that you did not bring, save knowledge. The room has seven doors - you will be able to exit only through the door from whence you entered.
This portkey will be active for seven minutes, beginning at the noon hour on the 5th of July, 1995. It is vital that you activate it at that time, and that you attend the meeting to follow at Keystone Manor.
Your allies wish to meet you, at long last. They will stand with you in the battles to come. As will I.
Good hunting, Lord Potter.
His Highness, Director Ragnok of Clan Ragnok
Harry folded the letter again, as the oaken doors opened before him. Setting aside his nerves, he strode forward.
The Council Chamber, as the letter had said, was a well lit room with seven doors. Above six of them, Harry saw the Potter Crest, though only four seemed to be giving off a soft glow, as if they had been activated somehow. The seventh had the Potter Crest alongside a circular crest Harry had never seen before. It featured a raven displayed, clutching a gleaming sword in one talon and a powerful-looking wand in the other. The scroll work below the raven was written in a language Harry could not decipher.
In the centre of the room sat a round table, ringed by seven chairs. Only the one in front of the double crest was occupied. As Harry entered, the man stood, and Harry gasped to himself.
He wore a black tunic with silver buttons, almost a military uniform. On his chest were the dual crests. At his waist, on a leather belt, was a short sword. His hands were clasped lightly behind him. Harry could see that the man stood taller than he did, and was more heavily muscled. But for all that, it was him. His black hair, his green eyes, his scar.
The man was Harry Potter, just as he was. Then it clicked. Oh. Right, my allies.
Harry chuckled to himself, as he stood beside his own place at the table. "Director Ragnok said I would be meeting my allies today." Now he grinned, and watched as the man's face lit up at the goblin's name. "I just didn't expect it to be you lot."
Now the man chuckled in turn. "My father does have a flair for the dramatic, I suppose." He saw Harry's look, and nodded. "It is comforting, after all these years, to put faces to the voices."
Harry nodded. It had been years before he realized that the voices in his head had spoken with his own voice. At least, some of them.
A door to his left opened, admitting a young woman. Her eyes immediately surveyed the room, almost tactically, and Harry realized that she was targeting - looking for threats, exits, and so on. As her eyes swept toward him, Harry saw the same green eyes that looked at him from the mirror every morning. Her dark hair was tied in a loose knot, revealing her scar. Her robes were fitting for a young lord or lady, and seemed brand new - as if she had purchased them that morning. The Potter crest was visible, just as it was on his own robes.
She came to the realization at the same time he did. It was striking to see yourself as a woman, and equally so to see yourself as a man.
Harry smiled at her, trying to put her at ease. "You must be Rose, then?"
She nodded, saying nothing. Harry saw the tension in her, how her wand hand (the left, he noted) was kept easily at her side, ready for use if necessary.
"Oh my God," a woman said, but it was not Rose who spoke. Turning to the right, Harry saw another woman entering the chamber.
This woman, unlike Rose, had short red hair and grey eyes. She was taller than he was, but only somewhat. He saw some of the same tension in her that he had seen in Rose, but it was overwhelmed when she locked eyes with him. She gasped, putting a hand to her mouth, and began weeping.
The chair in front of her slid back, of its own accord, and she collapsed into it. He could see her shaking with emotion, the tears flowing freely.
"I'm so sorry, Harry, I'm so sorry…" she sobbed.
Harry's eyes looked to the man with the double crests, who shook his head gently. His lips moved, but with no sound. In a moment, they said.
"The ceiling collapsed, Harry…" she was saying, haltingly, between sobs. "When he died, the blast collapsed the ceiling… It should have been me Harry…"
Harry's eyes went to her scar, the same as his own, and he understood. Wondering if the link still worked, he met the other man's eyes and thought A twin?
The double crested man's nod confirmed it - even here, even in this place, their connection remained. Meet Marigold Lily Potter.
Before he could say anything else, a fifth door opened. "Oh what the hell," a man was heard to say.
Harry had sort of expected another version of himself to enter, and he was not disappointed. This one carried himself in the composed manner of a Lord, with robes finer than his own and accented with a gold Potter crest. His hair was longer, and he too kept it tied back. His scar was visible as well, but Harry could see that it had a glamour to appear less distinct than his own. Harry's eyes caught a glimpse of the boy's right hand, and saw a silver ring. The heir's ring.
Behind the new arrival, a taller wizard entered. His hair was a dead giveaway, as were his eyes. The red-haired girl gasped as she saw them, for they matched her eyes almost exactly. Harry's attention, meanwhile, was drawn to the gold Lord's ring on the man's hand. The same ring Harry now wore. The same ring that he saw on Rose and Marigold's hands as well. The double crested man may have had the same ring, except that his dueling gloves would keep it hidden.
Of course he would have to come. Only Lord or Lady Potter could open the way to Keystone Manor. Lord James Potter looked around the room, the shock on his face evident.
"What the hell is going on here?" He asked.
The double crested man bowed slightly. "All will be explained, fa… Lord Potter. Please be seated, all of you."
Heir Potter took his seat, with his father taking the empty seat between his son and Rose. Harry sat as well, between the girls. An empty seat remained between the Marigold and the double crested man. Once they were seated, he spoke.
"Thank you for coming. I know that we've all spoken over the years, through our special connection, but I thought it was time for us to meet. When I took my place as Lord Potter, my father informed me of this citadel, and its connection across worlds. He told me of the prophecy." James' face went a little pale at the mention of a prophecy. "He told me of both prophecies. And he bade me gather a war council."
Heir Potter looked unconvinced. "Your father…?"
The double crested man turned. "Perhaps I have gotten ahead of myself. My name is Harry Spellforged, adopted son of His Highness Director Ragnok of Clan Ragnok, proud leader of the Goblin Nation. I was born Harry James Potter, son of James and Lily Potter." He drew his sword and held it over the table, looking at each of them. "Tom Riddle, the coward known as Lord Voldemort, has returned. All of you were there, all of you stood in the graveyard as he declared war on us. And each of us stood with you, as you will remember."
"Each of you has fought your own Voldemort, in your own worlds. Each of you knows that your ministry will not consent to open conflict, preferring the status quo. I find this unacceptable."
"I say that a blood feud exists between us. I, for one, will not rest until he is dead and gone. We will not forgive him. We will not seek to calm his hate. We will give no quarter, nor will we allow him time to maneuver. We will not give aid or sanctuary to his allies." Spellforged looked at them all, once more, his gaze lingering on James. "Lord Potter, four of us stand here because in our worlds, Voldemort murdered both of our parents. In Marigold's case," he nodded to the red-haired girl, "He took her twin brother as well." James' look of horror was unmistakable.
Harry recognized the Goblin influence in his counterpart, the phrasing, the barely restrained anger. They said one should never mess with a goblin - and Harry Spellforged was a goblin, in every way that mattered. The venom in his words echoed what he felt, what they all felt.
"No," he continued. "This will not stand. Today, I vow - we will make war. A war that we, each of us, will win. The honor of our house demands nothing less."
A/N: Edited 25 November 2018 to add Section Divisions and clean format.