Chapter Two – Magic Power and Life Power

A normal life, as a small part of the big picture. Isn't that enough for you?

"No, it's not."

You want more?

"Yes."

How much more?

"Until there's nothing left."

...

An abrupt voice snapped Daphne out of her rehearsed ritual. "Talking to yourself again, Greengrass?"

Daphne clicked her tongue. What torture not to have a room to herself since summer. She rose from the table and the mirror in which she had been looking at herself, grabbed her bag, and turned to face her roommates.

Pansy was once again giving her that typical look that always tempted Daphne to make her the subject of her next experiment. Behind Pansy were Millicent and Tracey, Pansy's two lapdogs. Millicent and Pansy had known each other all their lives and Tracey, as a half-blood, had quickly learned who to kiss at the feet of in order to survive in Slytherin. Daphne had nothing but contempt for such an attitude.

Without giving them another glance, she walked past the three girls.

"Where are you going?" asked Pansy.

"None of your business," Daphne said in a sing-song tone.

"You watch yourself, Greengrass, before –"

Daphne made a motion with her wand, causing the heavy wooden door to their dormitory to fall shut behind her. She could hear her roommates calling and knocking, but they would never manage to open the door again without help, pathetic witches that they were.

Daphne's legs carried her down to the almost deserted common room. This was not only due to the late hour, most of the Slytherins had also gone home for the Christmas holidays. Much to Daphne's regret, however, not all of them had.

Well, there was no point in moping around, as tempting as the idea was. But there were more exciting things to do on this post-Christmas night. Much, much more exciting things.

Her encounter with Potter, Harry, the night before had taken her by surprise. She had no trouble admitting that to herself. The boy amazed her. The boy who had taken down the most powerful Dark Lord in history, and yet acted like a Muggle-born. Even though he admittedly learned the spells in class extremely quickly. Despite his obvious lack of education, he was undoubtedly one of the best with a wand in their year – far better than most of their pretentious classmates from oh-so-exalted pureblood families. He was also the youngest Quidditch player in at least a century and, if the rumours were true, had defeated a troll on Halloween. And now she had also learned that he had an Invisibility Cloak.

Surely he could be useful to her...

These thoughts ran through Daphne's mind as she walked through the common room, her heels clicking loudly on the stone floor. One or two heads looked up, but Daphne ignored them as well.

Through the portal, she stepped into the dungeon. She rounded three more corners before, hidden in the darkness of a shadowy corridor, she transformed into her crow form. And from one moment to the next, Daphne's whole world changed, like a sudden eclipse on a far too sunny day.

Full of joy, Daphne pushed herself off the ground, feeling the air glide through her feathers, letting it carry her, and enjoying the complete control that only came from flying herself. Never again would she sit on a broom, such a thing was a pitiful imitation of much loftier skills.

Daphne's vision also changed in her crow form. She could see more clearly, not only light and shadow, but the magic within the walls of Hogwarts. Ancient, vibrating magic, nurtured by countless generations of young witches and wizards who had lived, argued, and laughed here. There were also the auras of ghosts and house-elves who roamed the castle, but Daphne gave them a wide berth, as well as two prefects who patrolled the corridors.

Daphne flew through the castle, over paintings, armour, and cobwebs. Fortunately, there was no sign of Filch's cat. Although Daphne tried to keep an eye on her surroundings, the bloody animal was far too good at suppressing her aura and had already tried to hunt her down several times. How anyone had ever allowed this dangerous creature into a castle full of children was beyond Daphne's comprehension.

Eventually – Daphne was already very close to the library – she noticed another aura. As if from nowhere, it suddenly appeared in the classroom where they had made their agreement the night before. No doubt Harry's wondrous cloak had once again suppressed his aura. Now, however, it glowed with life, like a fire in the darkness.

He grinned at her. "This is just as amazing as the first time. And I just noticed that you have the same eyes as a crow as you do as a human. They're just as golden and unique."

Daphne couldn't help herself. She returned his grin.

"Well then, welcome to your first lesson, Sir Harry."


"Well then, welcome to your first lesson, Sir Harry."

Harry jumped up, wand in his hand. He couldn't wait to get started. "Okay, let's begin!"

Daphne shook her head. "I told you, the way I've become an Animaga doesn't require a wand. You'd better put it away before you poke your eye out. Or worse, mine."

That's right, she had said that, Harry thought. With slight regret, he put his wand away again. He liked the feel of the wand in his hand and was reluctant to give it up.

"Let's sit down," Daphne said, sitting cross-legged on the floor.

Harry did the same. They were about the same height, so they could look each other straight in the eye.

"I promised you that I would share my knowledge with you," Daphne continued. "But know that my approach to becoming an Animaga was not the traditional one used by most witches and wizards. I doubt, for example, that Professor McGonagall chose the same path. I am not yet an expert on the magic behind it either, but it worked for me. What I'm saying is that anything you do after this is at your own risk. Do you understand me?"

Harry nodded. "Yes, I think I do."

Daphne gave him a deep look as if she doubted that, but finally she nodded as well. She brushed her black hair from her face. "Well, what I used to achieve my transformation was blood magic. What do you know about that, Harry?"

"I don't think I've ever heard or read anything about it..."

"That's what I thought. It's not something you'd read about in school books. Simply put, blood magic uses a different source of power from the normal spells – which are the spells we learn at Hogwarts. Those spells use what is called magic power, whereas blood magic uses life power. The two, magic power and life power, are independent of each other. For example, ghosts can exist without life power and only through magic power, whereas for Muggles it is the other way round. But the two powers also influence each other. Thus, by means of blood magic, the life power in beings can be harnessed, be it your own life power or that of other beings. This life power can be transferred, for example, through pain or blood, hence the name. You can then use this life power for certain spells, especially rituals and the like, or you can use it to strengthen spells created by magic power."

Harry felt a shiver run down his spine. Daphne's words fascinated and shocked him in equal measures. That sensation intensified even more as Daphne continued.

"When using pain, the distinction between your own pain and someone else's is very important. Your own pain can only be used effectively if you know the currents of magic in your own body. Starting from your heart, along the bloodstream throughout your body."

"Magic starts in the heart?" asked Harry. "But where does the magic come from there?"

"That is one of the old questions of magic, and one we will probably never know the definitive answer to. But most nowadays suspect that magic comes from the Spirit Within, our soul, or whatever you want to call it."

"Soul?"

"Yes. And that is also the link to your Animagus transformation. A person's Animagus form is an expression of their Spirit Within. Therefore, in order to find your Animagus form and later be able to willingly transform into it, it is necessary to understand your Spirit Within. There are a variety of ways to do this – meditations, potions, rituals – but the one I have used is the same as harnessing your own pain for spells."

"And what about someone else's pain?"

Daphne shook her head slightly. "Not helpful in finding it. Besides, someone else's pain is a double-edged sword. It is both easier and harder to use the life power thus released. Easier because, for most people at least, the pain of others is easier to bear than their own. Harder because you need a channel for the pain to yourself. Air can serve as a medium, of course, but that is very inefficient. Efficiency can, however, be increased by certain runes or metals. Or by the flesh of certain magical creatures, but I haven't read that much about that."

Harry felt another shiver run down his spine. Part of him just couldn't shake the feeling that what he was doing was wrong. But another part of him – the astonished child that Hagrid's revelation had resurrected this summer – was riveted by Daphne's words.

"And you taught yourself all this?" he asked.

"I had plenty of time to read the books in my family's library. And I didn't have a wand to use, so I tried other things." Daphne shrugged her shoulders.

He hadn't had a wand either, Harry pondered. Did that mean he could have used magic then, too, had he known all that? The thought made Harry dizzy.

"Is blood magic more powerful than normal magic then?" he asked in a whisper, not knowing why he was whispering. It was the middle of the night and they both were the only living creatures for miles around.

"I wouldn't say that," Daphne said. "In fact, many would disagree. Using magic power is clearly easier and strengthening spells is often not even necessary. Using life power is often much more inefficient, and in many manifestations it is forbidden by the Ministry. It is also very difficult to find the Spirit Within. Only very few make it. Many give up beforehand, because they run the risk of being confronted with the ugly sides of themselves that they may not want to see. Either way, it is a very long and challenging process. For me, however, it has been easy."

Daphne's voice sounded very serious as she said this. Obviously she wasn't joking.

"How modest you are," Harry remarked.

Daphne's head snapped around to face him, her eyes flashing with anger. Her expression relaxed, however, when she noticed his grin. Man, she could be scary.

She clicked her tongue. "Modesty is for fools. I am proud of what I have achieved. Which doesn't mean I'm satisfied with it, though."

"You want more?"

"Yes."

"How much more?"

Daphne's face hardened. She looked away from him. "I have goals, Potter. And –"

"Harry."

"What?"

"Call me Harry."

Daphne looked at him, and her golden eyes seemed to him deep, like the water of a fountain reflecting the rays of the sun, yet at the same time wild like a raging torrent.

"I have goals in my life, Harry. And for that I study. That's why I've been reading my parents' books ever since I could read. And try out what's in them. Every night I fly to the Restricted Section and try to expand my knowledge. And when I'm not reading, I'm training magic in abandoned classrooms like this one."

"Why?" asked Harry. He leaned forward so as not to miss any of Daphne's words.

"That, Harry, is a knowledge you have not yet earned," Daphne said, dashing his hopes. "I've told you far too much already anyway. Just know this: I will help you find your Animagus form as best I can, as that was our agreement yesterday. I will tell you what I know and we will meet again when you are ready. So it is up to you. I will not slacken in my own efforts just to teach you how to swim."

"I never asked you to!" said Harry a little more impulsively than he had intended. In a calmer voice, he continued, "I will do my part."

"Good, then let's get started."

With that, Daphne pulled out her black wand. She pointed it at her hand and a bleeding cut appeared, just as it had the night before. She raised her hand and moved it through the air.

"Do you see my blood, Harry?"

Harry nodded, his heart pounding.

"I can feel it running down my skin. I can feel it oozing from the wound. I can feel it coursing through my veins, from my heart through my entire body. And I feel the magic within me." Daphne looked to him. "I want you to cut your hand now too. Try to feel your inner magic."

Harry lifted his wand and pointed it at his hand. Then he stopped. "Um, how do I do it?"

"What?"

"How do I cut my hand?"

"I forgot. They haven't taught that at Hogwarts yet. Well, I don't have the leisure or the time to teach you cutting spells on top of that – but please, please practice this on other objects first before you try it on yourself. I would hate to be responsible for the Boy Who Lived losing his hand. And if I hurt you, it will not have the same effect. Wait."

Daphne rummaged in her bag before pulling out a golden knife, like the ones they used when they ate in the Great Hall.

"Here, take this."

Harry took the knife from her and pointed it at his hand. He was no stranger to violence, but until now it had always been done to him by others – his aunt and uncle, Dudley, Marge's bulldogs, his classmates at primary school. He had never hurt himself.

He felt Daphne's intense gaze on him and knew he could not hesitate any longer. He took one last deep breath before cutting his skin with the knife. Even though he didn't cut deeply, blood immediately flowed from the wound.

Harry closed his eyes and tried to concentrate on the blood running down his skin. He could feel it running down his hand and had to fight the urge to wipe it away. He felt the throbbing pain emanating from the wound, unpleasant but far from unbearable. He tried to imagine the blood coursing through his veins and finally pouring out of the wound. He –

"That's enough."

Harry opened his eyes. Daphne was sitting in front of him, resting her chin on her hands and giving him a bored look.

Harry was irritated by this. "I was about to –"

"No, you weren't," she interrupted him again. "You could have sat here all night and still made no progress whatsoever. Trust me, I went through the same."

Daphne rummaged in her bag again. This time she pulled out a glass vial containing a bluish liquid. She uncorked the vial and held it over his hand. "May I?"

Harry just grunted.

Daphne then began to pour some of the liquid onto his hand. Where the liquid met his skin it began to foam. Harry felt a strange tingling sensation as he watched in amazement as the wound closed.

"Where did you get this, Daphne?" he asked.

"From my parents," she said as she corked the vial again.

"Do they support you in what you do?"

Daphne laughed up, but her laugh was without joy or warmth. Harry thought it was a sad sound.

"I'm sure they don't. If they knew all the things I've done and stolen from them, they'd probably take me out of Hogwarts on the spot."

Harry would have liked to know more about Daphne's family, but her tone made it all too clear that it probably wouldn't be a worthwhile endeavour. Still, he couldn't deny it ... he was interested to know what kind of circumstances a pureblood like Daphne had grown up in. That she had stolen from her family was surprising, to say the least. He himself had stolen very rarely, at night when the hunger had simply become too great, and even then it could be argued that he had only taken what was his right.

Daphne had been watching him intently during his train of thought, but said nothing in response. Instead, she handed him the vial, which was still almost full.

"I suggest you continue practising in your spare time," she said. "When you manage to feel your inner magic, you can contact me. Then we can continue the search for your Animagus form. Don't send me your snow owl, send me one of the school owls. It's better if no one knows what we're doing here."

"Believe it or not, that's what I thought," Harry replied.

Daphne nodded. "Good, so you're not a complete idiot. In fact, for a Gryffindor, you're not too bad."

"Daphne?"

"Hmm?"

"For a Slytherin, you're not so bad yourself."

Daphne raised an eyebrow before a smile curled around her lips. It was the second time Harry had seen her smile, after the night before.

"You have no idea what you've gotten yourself into, Harry."


It was a few hours later that Harry was lying in his bed. Ron's snoring filled the dormitory, but Harry couldn't sleep. His mind kept circling back to the previous events in the classroom and Daphne's words.

"You could have sat here all night and still made no progress whatsoever. Trust me, I went through the same."

Still, it had annoyed him that she had ended the test so quickly. Maybe he would have succeeded in the end, after all, a new spell didn't work right away on the first or second try either. Still, so far he had mastered every spell they learned in class at some point.

Knowing that he wouldn't be able to sleep in his current state anyway, Harry sat up. He fumbled for the golden knife Daphne had given him, which now lay on his bedside table. It was dark in the dormitory, but Harry didn't need to see. With great precision, he brought the knife to his hand and pressed it into his skin. There was a cutting sound and Harry could feel his blood rushing again.

Concentrate, he told himself.

He closed his eyes and tried to focus fully on the feeling of the pain and the blood on his skin.

Spirit Within. Spirit Within. I have to find my Spirit Within.

However, Harry felt no magic and no sign of any Spirit Within. Instead, the feeling of pain in his hand was already beginning to fade. And there was no new blood coming out either.

Harry pressed the knife again, right into the wound. He sucked in his breath in pain. His heart was pounding in his chest and his ears were ringing. If Ron saw him now, he would undoubtedly ask him unpleasant questions, but his friend was asleep, snoring without a care in the world.

Harry continued to press with the knife. He could feel more and more blood running down his hand, leaving a warm, tingling, sickening sensation. He clenched his hand into a fist, thinking hard.

Come on. Come on. Blood from the wound. Blood in my veins. Inner magic. Spirit Within. Come on.

Minutes passed as Harry tried relentlessly to find the feeling Daphne had spoken of. But it was hopeless. The wound was tingling, the blood was sticky and Harry's heart was pounding with exhaustion, as if he had run a race. Yet he was as far from his Spirit Within as he was from a compliment from their Potions Master.

Harry had to admit that maybe this wouldn't be as quick as learning to fly or learning a new spell in class. In any case, it didn't seem to be something he could accomplish that night.

Frustrated, he put the knife back on the bedside table before reaching for the vial standing next to it. He uncorked the vial and began to drip some of the liquid inside onto his hand. And like before with Daphne, the wound was healed completely after only a few seconds, as Harry could not see, but feel. Only the dried blood on his skin still testified to his failed experiment.

Harry let himself fall back into bed. Although he had come to terms with not becoming an Animagus that night, the events of the day still made him uneasy. They were, in a way, a reflection of everything he had experienced since he had learned that he was a wizard and that the whole world was very different from what he had previously imagined. Every day he learned something new, but he knew that there was still much, very much, that he did not know.

But it also bothered him that so many people knew so much more than he did. He didn't even mean Daphne, who clearly knew a lot more than he did. No, what really bothered Harry was that everyone, witch or wizard, young or old, seemed to know him. And his parents. Everyone seemed to have an opinion about him, and expectations that he had to live up to in their eyes. In this new world he had fallen into, he was a hero for a deed he could not remember, whereas all those years before he had been a nobody.

Yes, he was better off than ever before and he was more than happy that his life had taken this new direction ... but still ... who was he? Who did he want to be? What was his life meant to be? And how could he make sure that his parents had not died for him in vain?

With a deep sigh, Harry rolled over onto his side.

It was the same questions as every night, and like every night, he couldn't answer them. All he knew was that he had a hell of a lot to learn. The best thing would be to start learning a cutting spell first thing in the morning, so he wouldn't have to use that stupid knife anymore...