Hogwarts Founders left behind a secret that could bring about the end of the school. Ever wondered where the Hogwarts castle's magic came from? The gravity of what the Founders had done will finally be revealed. Merlin had no idea just how far they went.
Welcome to Book 2 of The NOOM. If you didn't read Book 1 yet, you should get on it or you will get a bunch of spoilers. I tried to keep Chapter 1 spoiler-free so you can get a feel for what's coming but starting from Chapter 2, I'm not holding them back anymore.
We're in Prisoner of Azkaban timeline. Merlin, Jack, and Elsa are now in their second year while Harry, Ron and Hermione are in their third year.
The idea of Cursed Vaults comes from the game Hogwarts Mystery but I'm using it loosely, spinning it my own way. I dare say, my Vaults are cooler but I might be biased. How about you tell me?
Surprise, I don't own the characters or the world of Harry Potter, or Hogwarts Mystery game, or BBC Merlin, or Rise of the Guardians, or Frozen.
Chapter 1: Do you accept?
What was this mystical magic of the moon that no werewolf could resist its call? The half-orb lazily sat among floating white puffs on a canvas of deep blue sky. Remus found his eyes drawn to it against his wish. He had only a few days left of feeling normal. The closer to the full moon, the sicker he would feel, until the day of when the painful transformation would take place - his inescapable curse, lycanthropy.
He closed the curtain to hide the reminder of his condition from view and noticed a new hole in it. He had moths. Perfect. At least pests were getting fed around here. He pulled out his wand, and with a quick spell, sew the hole. Like everything he owned, the curtain was now marked with the insignia of his shabby life.
A knock on the door startled him. He was not expecting guests. His father was his only family but Remus insisted to visit him, ashamed to admit to what conditions he lived in. From the few friends he ever made, only one was alive and currently in Azkaban prison. Did he owe someone money? They were not in luck today.
Albus Dumbledore stood on the other side of the door and smiled at him kindly.
"Remus Lupin, it's been years."
The old wizard invited himself in and pat shocked Remus on the back.
They had not seen each other since the Order of the Phoenix was disbanded after Voldemort's fall. Aside from the few friends he made at Hogwarts, Dumbledore was the only person who ever treated him with respect, who ever gave him a chance.
Remus invited him to sit at the beat-up sofa and tried to not think about the state of his sitting room. His humble house was barely a step-up from a shack, his furniture was falling apart and he didn't look impressive either.
He wished he could prove that he was able to make something of himself, that the chance Dumbledore gave him to attend Hogwarts was not in vain, but fate wasn't easy on him. Dumbledore was unique. All other wizards shunned his kind. There was no place for werewolves in the wizarding world.
After a quick catch-up small talk, Dumbledore got to the point of his visit.
"I'm here to offer you a job."
"Really? That is actually good timing since I am currently looking."
He tried to not sound too desperate but in the meantime, his stomach growled to remind him that his food cupboard was empty. He hoped Dumbledore did not hear that. It was difficult to keep a job when he had to keep excusing himself due to his condition all the while trying to keep it a secret.
"What position is it?"
He wondered if Filch finally retired and Hogwarts needed a new Caretaker. He would accept any job, really, and the prospect of working for Dumbledore sounded great. The old wizard knew about his secret so he wouldn't have to lie. For a chance to have a steady job, he'd scrub toilets like a Muggle if he had to.
Dumbledore linked his hands in his lap. "I need a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher."
Remus leaned back in his seat. To say that this offer was unexpected was an understatement.
"Are you sure I'm qualified? I've never been a teacher before."
"If I recall correctly, you used to regularly tutor Peter Pettigrew and you were an excellent student yourself."
Remus grew sad at the mention of his fallen friend.
"You'd take a risk to hire someone like me to teach at your school?"
If parents found out that a werewolf taught their children, they would be outraged. What about fellow teachers? Would they want to live and work alongside him?
Dumbledore smiled at him kindly, not a note of the prejudice everyone else held. "I took a chance on you before and it paid off. I need staff who I can trust. I can trust you, can't I?"
"Of course," Remus blurted.
"Do you accept?"
Remus wanted to accept, he wanted to make Dumbledore proud and prove that a werewolf could peacefully coexist in the wizarding world, but the risk was too great.
"I'm not a juvenile wolf anymore. I fear the Shrieking Shack won't be enough to contain me this time. I can't take the chance that I'll hurt one of the students."
"You've surely heard of the Wolfsbane Potion?"
Of course, he had heard of that newest invention but he never got a chance to try it. It was difficult to brew and the ingredients were expensive. He could never afford this luxury.
Dumbledore smiled as if he had won the argument already. "You will have a fresh supply of the Potion every month. Everything will be taken care of."
This was tempting. The Potion was said to make a werewolf tame and completely harmless as well as the transformation less painful. How he wished he could live like that.
"If it helps your decision, you would get to teach James Potter's son."
This was an unfair bribe on top of all the others. How could he refuse the first real job offer he'd ever gotten which also came with the benefit of getting to know the son of his best friend? Dumbledore was making all his dreams come true. Could this really be happening?
Remus decided to trust Dumbledore's judgment. Everything was going to work out as long as they planned carefully.
Merlin's cozy library was his favorite place in the house but it became a bitter metaphor for his existence. Some days he felt like one of those ancient volumes, gathering dust, waiting to be read. Has it really been nearly a century since the last time he had invited anyone here?
He brushed those thoughts aside. He was not a forgotten volume crumbling to pieces. He was always ready to add a page to his book. Just like what he was doing today.
He got started immediately, feeling that he had prepared as much as he could for this.
He spread the ancient book in front of him and recited a series of incantations just like he practiced.
The result was quick.
The smells hit him first: livestock, freshly dug up dirt and some pleasant flowery scent. Two women were arguing over a hen. A group of laughing children ran by. Cows mooed somewhere in the distance. Then, he could see it clearly and it all felt so much more real than visiting memories.
Merlin took a good look around at the village bustling with life and inhaled deeply. He was intrigued by the pervasive flowery scent but didn't see anything that could be the source of it.
He stepped aside to make way for a donkey-pulled rickety cart and the grumpy old man who sat atop. As he watched the cart in wonder and tried to remember the man's name, he stepped into something squishy.
"Oh, no," he groaned, not needing to look to understand what just happened.
But he looked anyway. Yes. It was a massive pile of horse dung, complete with flies, which buzzed in outrage that he disturbed their meal.
He tried to wipe his shoe on a patch of grass and a little boy sitting on a wooden fence laughed at him.
Merlin looked behind himself and then back at the boy. He really was laughing at him.
"You can see me?" he asked in Old English.
"I have eyes, don't I?"
Merlin gasped. He did not expect this at all. He thought it was going to be like diving into a very rich memory but in memories, he was just a spectator who couldn't actually talk to anyone (or step into horse dung). This changed everything!
Maybe he could talk to her?
He abandoned his shoe-cleaning efforts and broke into a run.
There was a puff of smoke rising out of the chimney of a small hut made of rocks, mud, and straw. Even though the door was closed, he smelled that she was cooking that stew he loved. Could he taste it? Was that possible?
He slowly pulled the handle, trying to contain his excitement. If he could actually talk to her, hug her and have her talk back to him... He imagined it would be hard to leave.
The door opened with a creak, revealing his mother's silhouette in the dim space. The smell of stew was heavy in the air and his mouth salivated. She started turning towards him - she heard him, and could see him as that boy did - but as soon as his foot stepped inside the hut, everything went dark.
He did not just lose control over it. Not now!
Merlin spun around, refusing to believe that he failed. Everything was black - nothing to see, nothing to hear, or smell. He was completely alone in the darkness. And he was almost there. He almost spoke to her.
He screamed into nothingness and willed himself to get back to reality. Air rushed out of his nostrils as if he was a raging bull. He was so close this time, it really felt as if he was there, as if he went back in time.
The clock on the table confirmed that two hours had passed though it didn't feel that long when inside. He had to keep this discrepancy in mind.
While he was still frustrated that he didn't get to enter the hut, hug her or taste her stew, it was the most success he's had so far.
The runes of the ancient book glared back at him in defiance.
"I will crack you," he promised them. "I will learn this."
And he recited the long incantation to repeat the exercise.
A/N: How do you like Remus?
What was Merlin up to this summer? You'll find out soon.
Your early reviews will greatly help this story develop. Critique away.