A/N: I know the old version is one of my better fan fictions but it (like almost all things I write) left me unsatisfied so this is my attempt to fix that.
"Headmistress Weasley," A deep silky voice said from the door of her office at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry startlingly the over 200 year old woman into clutching firmly at her chest just over her rapidly beating heart before turning angrily towards the door intending on yelling at whichever of the students or staff of her school had dared to come into office uninvited. She stopped with the reprimand still on the tip of her tongue staring at the being across the desk from her.
He was tall by her estimation around 6'2" with long wavy black hair and molten silver eyes staring at her impassively ignoring her glare as if it was beneath his notice. It wasn't his looks though that made her pause though he was easily the most beautiful man she had ever seen, it was his stance. The way he stood screamed a dark power and confidence that was obviously not human and scared her more then she was willing to admit even to herself. She could easily feel the tightly coiled, controlled power radiating from him like the dark warmth of a second sun nearly scorching her sense even as they recoiled from the man.
Suddenly he cleared his throat and gave her a pointed stare making the elderly woman blush like a school girl caught staring at the teacher she had a crush on something that hadn't happened since her husband died nearly fifty years ago. "Yes, How may I help you?" she asked her aging voice hesitant as she tried to pretend she hadn't been staring at the man.
"I am Stefan Valrayven, the Ward Master you sent me a letter asking that I check on the Wards around this … school." The silver eyes flickered around disdainfully as if their owner doubted the validity of that.
"Oh yes, Severus recommended you when I asked who he thought I should get and when I did my research I found you were the best out there. Would it be possible for you to look at them and if necessary fix them please?"
"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't possible, Headmistress. I assume you know the prices charged for Ward Crafting, yes?" That midnight-silk voice asked indifferently. About as hundred years ago the Ministry decided that the prices for Ward Crafting was too high and varied too much from one Crafter to the next and for Britain at least imposed a price for all the different Wards at the time and amended them each time a Ward was invented. Ironically the prices were instituted just before the Wards around the Ministry were up for consideration of re-Casting.
"Yes, Lord Valrayven, Do I need to take you somewhere special for you to get started?" the elderly Headmistress asked her voice carefully kept brisk to hide her annoyance though from the amused look she saw cross his eyes she knew she had failed.
"No, Miss Weasley, I can check them from here. If they need maintenance though I will need to get into the Heart Room."
"I'm sorry, I don't actually know where that is." She replied hesitantly trying to mask her confusion, 'What the hell is a Heart Room?' she thought furiously fingers already itching to find a book that would answer her question.
Almost as if answering her question the man spoke, "A Heart Room is an empty room usually in the exact center of a building that is blank of all adornments except those needed to anchor whatever Wards are on the building. It's required to be in the Heart Room to add or alter any portion of the Wards, though Hogwart's Heart has never been found so past Headmasters used a weakness in the original Wards to plant their own over the top of them which suppressed the older, stronger Wards. They sacrificed strength for control something that has never failed to annoy any serious Ward-Crafter. I should tell you though that I do not work with inferior Wards and I can find the Heart Room regardless of the blood magic's hiding it so you may have less control over the Wards then you are used to."
Headmistress Weasley stared at him consideringly as her near genius level mind batted the idea back and forth trying to decide between the two options. If she wanted to keep her control of the Wards she would have to get another Crafter though everyone in the business acknowledged that this one's work was the best and his Wards had never been breached in his long career. On the other hand with the new Dark Lord rising and threatening her school she really couldn't afford to be stingy with the security of her school. In the end her decision was easy, "Very well, with this new Dark Lord I can't really sacrifice power for a little more control over the Wards. I must ask you however what did you mean by 'the blood magic's hiding it?'"
"This entire school is covered in the signs of powerful runic blood magic. Don't tell me you haven't noticed, I saw almost a hundred on the walk up here alone."
"If there are Blood Magic's sealing the room, how do you plan on getting in?" she asked doubt coloring her tone not believing that there really was Blood Magic on the school her pride refusing to admit there was something she hadn't noticed about Her school that someone who had never been there before had noticed in the twenty minute walk up to her office no matter how competent her seemed to be about Wards.
"I am a Runic Master, Headmistress I can get through any Runic Casting I wish to." He said shortly annoying at the arrogant pride he could feel practically rolling off the brown-eyed woman across from him and ignoring the questions that she spat out at high speeds upon hearing that statement as he turned his concentration to activating his powerful Rune Magic.
As he concentrated his eyes bled silver until the whole eye seemed to be covered in molten silver and his sight shifted until the long streams of Runes that made up any spell twirled through his Sight before he turned his attention to the Wards ignoring the various Compulsion and other such Wards practically drowning the room he was standing in though they seemed to be directed at him they were in no way powerful enough to even make him sneeze let alone do something he didn't want to.
He frowned at the streams of muddy brown Runes that composed the Wards of the Headmasters judging them quickly by their shoddy workmanship to have been done by someone who read a book and suddenly thought that they were an expert. They were weak and had so many holes in them it was a wonder no one had broken into them before.
Then again with the quality of Curse Breakers in this century quickly going downhill it wasn't really that surprising that most thought these to be strong. He snorted at that thought and flexed his magic briefly breaking the Wards and scattering the dirty magic's that had made them to the Four Winds hoping it would be cleansed before it fell back into one of the ley lines. Ignoring her indignant sputter at the seemingly absentminded shattering of the Wards and the contempt he seemed to hold them he turned his attention to the original Wards and smiled happily now these were worth working on!
"Truly amazing; these Wards are some of the strongest I've seen in years, and to be so strong after more then a thousand years they must be… yes they are truly innovative for their time." He said finding the connection the Wards had to the node the castle was standing on, thoroughly confusing the elderly Headmistress with his cryptic mutterings. "Ha! I thought so, the Wards were built by a Valrayven probably my Grandfather; I'll have to ask him later. Ah, and there is the Heart Room, ironic having it in the Great Hall no one would think to look there seeing as any visitor in the castle can just walk right in. people were probably searching for hidden rooms in the dungeons or towers. Must have been Slytherin's idea maybe Ravenclaw's.
Ignoring the woman across the desk from him the young looking man turned without warning and seemed to glide out the door heading for the Great Hall, leaving the elderly woman to hobble along in his wake trying to catch up with him and muttering obscenities about young people and rudeness not quite under her breath.
The walk down the stairs was long and amusing for at least one of the two as the younger looking one concentrated on the Wards he was observing trying his best to stifle his sniggers as he listened to the increasingly angry mutters of the woman that fell further and further behind as he made his way quickly down the stairs.
Stepping into the Great Hall he walked to the center and bent down his hands trailing over the stones under his feet looking for the right one. When he found it he studied it closely for long enough that the Headmistress had finally entered the Great Hall and walked up behind him still muttering threats in what she obviously thought was a quiet tone.
Finished with his study the young looking man stood back a few feet and motion curtly for the Headmistress to get behind him before raising his hand pure black fire dancing around his fingers and leaving trails as he traced a long series of Runes. After about five minutes of this a feat that reluctantly impressed the Headmistress as she didn't even know it was possible to draw Runes like that let alone that many and at the power she could feel rolling off the sequence, though she didn't know that the sequence was purely for show since she was in the room, Stefan as he was called now could have opened it easily merely by dropping a few drops of blood on the Runes cleverly disguised on the stone.
Once he finished the sequence he quickly drew his hand back and traced a circle surrounding it before poking it right in the center of the Runes causing them to flare slightly and sink into the stones at his feet as he sat on a nearby table to wait ignoring the protests of the increasingly annoying woman and glancing up at the banners hanging from the beams of the ceiling above him.
The Hufflepuff Banners; another place nobody would look nobody had thought the Hufflepuff capable of any sort of defending even a century or two after the Founders had died, just because their Founder was a Healer and not a Fighter she was considered the substandard Founder though no one had known why in the modern world save his family.
Suddenly with a sharp crash and grinding stones the table he was sitting on slid across the stone floor as a large door opened up below it.
Jumping off the table and walking down the wide torch lit stairs Stefan made his way down to a large wooden door and examined it. "Hmm, I wonder where they got enough of these woods to make a door this size. Must have taken a fortune to get that much wood from both the Tree of Life and the Tree of Death. They must have had a lesser Rune Master work with them, I know my Grandfather isn't one but he had to have known a few over the centuries it will take me twenty minutes to get into this door without breaking any of these."
"You keep talking about your Grandfather as if he was still alive after more then a thousand years which is impossible, and why don't you just blast your way in? Wouldn't that be faster?" the Headmistress asked obnoxiously.
"Faster, yes. Better, no. It is never a good idea to just blast your way into a Heart Room even if that were possible with that many Wards on the door alone it is impossible to know what the consequences would be for disrupting the delicate Workings within any Heart Room let alone one that holds Wards of this power level; and my Grandfather is still alive. Didn't Severus tell you? My family is a Vampire Clan. Each Family has devoted the centuries they live to studying a form of Magic their Head finds passion in. With my Family it is Ward Crafting for instance while with the Snape's it has always been Potions." He said absently as he once again started drawing Runes in the Air this time the fire that trailed his fingers flared Blood Red as it trailed his fingers twisting itself into an even more complex pattern then before.
Once he finished drawing the circle and gently pushing the sequence at the door her once again stepped back staring at the door wondering if that would have been enough to gently force the door open. He had added a little of his own Blood subtly so she wouldn't notice otherwise he would have had to make a sequence that would take days just to open this door instead of the almost twenty minutes this one had taken him.
If he hadn't been as powerful as he was he would have collapsed halfway through; it was a damn good thing he had brought all his Wards pre-Cast in stasis with him he didn't have the time to spend months here drawing Wards and with this being the last Working he would do in this World before his Final Awakening on his birthday in two and a half weeks, he wanted this to be a testament to his skill with Wards that would stand for the rest of time.
As the ornate door swung slowly open creaking slightly as it's ancient hinges struggled to force the heavy door open enough for a reasonably sized wizard to enter the two standing in front of the opening watched one with increasing awe, the other with his usual indifference having seen more ornate rooms in his long lifetime though he had never seen the need to encrust the walls with as many jewels or as much gold as practically drowned these walls.
He did have to admit if only silently to himself that for the Ward-Crafter that had obviously worked within this room he or she had done admirable work and the jewels probably helped them raise and anchor the amount of power that permeated the entire room. Not everybody had his…. Advantages.
Walking into the room and looking around he quickly took note of the table with four chairs of to the side of the room and walking over to it smirked slightly at the sight of the Map showing the castle and it's grounds with all passages, taking quick note of the blinking dots holding the names of all persons and animals within the castle and grounds even within a portion of the Forest itself. Turning his attention to the only other object in the room he snorted slightly at how ornate the Founder's had felt the need to make everything as he took in the gold and jewel encrusted pedestal holding the only thing in the room that really interested him.
It was the Heart of Hogwarts herself a rather large egg shaped diamond pulsing with the power of all the Wards and Charms tied to it as a stream of light shot from the top of it directly into the stone of the castle.
"WHO DARES TO ENTER THE HEART ROOM OF HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY?" A feminine voice boomed through the chamber suddenly startling both it's occupants though one hid it better then the other having expected something like that.
"I am Lord Stefan Valrayven, Grandson of Lord Justyn Valrayven, Master Ward Crafter. I have been called by the current acting Headmistress Hermione Weasley to evaluate the condition of the Wards of this Building and fix any discrepancies."
"WELCOME, LORD VALRAYVEN IT HAS BEEN MANY YEARS SINCE I HAVE FELT THE PRESENCE OF ONE OF YOUR LINE WITHIN MY HALLS. ALMOST AS LONG AS IT HAS BEEN SINCE I HAVE BEEN AWAKE AND AWARE. WHO IS THIS HEADMISTRESS WEASLEY I WASN'T AWARE THAT THE FAMILY WEASLEY HAD MARRIED INTO ONE OF THE FOUR GREAT LINES." The gravely voice responded it's tone gaining a curious air on it's last question.
"As far as I have research it hasn't, my Lady." Stefan said respectfully.
"HOW IS IT THAT SHE IS HEADMISTRESS THEN? THE SCHOOL BYLAWS ARE CLEAR ONLY AN HEIR CAN RULE THIS CASTLE."
"I am afraid that soon after the Founders Four died the Ministry with the help of some minor pureblood lines looking for glory overthrew the Heirs and placed their own Head in it's spot. They used the weakness in the Wards from the deaths of so many Heirs at once to layer suppressor Wards over the top of you and replace the suppressed Wards with those under their own control." Stefan replied bowing his head, long hair flopping into his eyes as he thought back to the sorrow in his Grandfather's voice as he had told him that story. "I'm afraid that most of the lines have died out in this time leaving only one Heir that will soon leave this world."
"DEATH? BY OLD AGE OR TREACHERY?" She asked her anger starting to shake the foundations both of them ignoring the protests of the woman behind them shouting something about the Ministry only doing what was best to bring the world out of the Dark Ages and knowing what was best for the people.
Stefan shook his head quickly knowing the castle could sense it and simply replied with, "SangAstra." Causing the castle to make an understanding noise. SangAstra, or Blood Star, was Vampire societies word for the ritual all born Vampires undergo on their 200th birthday. It is the day they become adults in the eyes of society it also marks the day that their powers start growing with age. The ritual itself is designed to take the Vampire performing it the world in which their mate will be born if they do not already reside on it. If the mate was already born then they would be taken first to the world they are on, again assuming they are not already there, then to within one mile of their mate.
Being that close the Vampire could easily sense their mate on their own from there and make their way to them to start the courtship.
"VERY WELL I WILL BE TALKING WITH THE PEOPLE USING MY HALLS ABOUT THE CHANGES ABOUT TO HAPPEN TO THE SCHOOL THEN. DO YOU NEED MORE TIME TO ANALYZE THE WARDS AND CHARMS?" The sentient castle asked curiously having sensed him doing a form of magic she had never felt before while they were talking.
"No, my Lady, while we were talking I was using my Families Runic Sight to analyze them. They are still in good condition, but considering this will be my final job I was hoping you would allow me to use this as my Final Legacy work, my Lady." Stefan asked in a curious tone turning his eyes to the diamond once again as the center point of the castles intelligence.
"I WOULD LOVE NOTHING MORE, LORD VALRAYVEN. I MUST ASK IF YOU WOULD ALSO BE ABLE TO SEAL THIS ROOM FROM ALL INTRUSERS EXCEPT YOURSELF, IF YOU HAVE THE TIME BEFORE YOU LEAVE." The castle responded giving the impression she was bowing to him after she said his title. It only served to impress him more as he reached into his pocket and pulled outa shrunken sack. It was never a good idea to shrink the rune sequences themselves but you could get around that difficulty in carrying the cumbersome things around if you were clever enough to realize the ways around that.
Tracing a quick Rune over the leather sack and pushing it into the fabric Harry Potter, now know as Stefan Valrayven, pulled out the row of Runes carved delicately into Demon bone from the stores of his grandfather.
Placing the long sequences of carved bone carefully around the pedestal making sure that the beginning and end of the bone sequence were pressed firmly into opposite sides of the pedestal he stepped back checking his work thoroughly to make sure no mistakes were made before nodding and carefully stepping over the thin strips of bone until he was close enough to place the palms of his hands onto the diamond on the pedestal stopping briefly to stroke the diamond smiling at the sentience that lived there as a shield surrounded him the rune sequence and pedestal cutting them off from the Headmistress that now seemed to be having second thoughts about the stronger Wards.
"Are you prepared, Lady Hogwarts?" He asked formally knowing that whenever working with a sentient building no smart Ward Crafter started without first asking permission from the sentience then making sure said sentience was prepared. More then a few Ward Crafters had died in the backlash of an unprepared building exploding from the building not being prepared to accept the buildup of power.
After getting the okay, Stefan closed his eyes bringing himself into a state of concentration that would allow him to focus solely on what he was doing as he began to chant in a language long lost to mortal-kin, the language of Magic itself.
Seconds after he started chanting the bones at his feet started to glow in a bright light that seemed to change color from one second to the next as it traveled along the bone following the pattern he had laid it out in before connecting to the pedestal in front of him closing the circle and flaring even brighter as his voice seemed to rise in volume the feeling of power sending the Headmistress fleeing through the door to get away before she died from the sheer pressure. Running up the stairs into the Great Hall she was startled to find the room full of the staff and students staring out the window at the flaring Wards though none of them seemed to have noticed the hole in the floor even as they walked cautiously around it to get closer to the windows.
One of the teachers saw her and came running over, "Headmistress, the Wards are being breached!" he almost shouted worried for his own safety if this new Dark Lord was able to bring down the Wards around the building. It was common knowledge these days that he had betrayed the last Dark Lord the new one would want to make sure he didn't have the chance to do it again.
"No, Severus they are not being breached," she said calmly. "The Ward Master I hired is working on them."
"Ward master?" He asked, "Did you get the Valrayven Lord to come in and look at the Headmistress?"
"Yes, he's down in the Heart Room now." She said carefully avoiding mentioning the fact of the castle sentience.
"Well if anyone was able to find a room no one else was it would be one of the Valrayven considering the Warding was their work in the first place. Where is it?" he asked curiously.
"It's -" she started to say before her throat seized up and she started coughing trying to get air into her lungs. Once she was able to breathe again she tried to gesture to the hole in the floor but found that her arms wouldn't move like she wanted them to instead just going numb until she stopped trying to tell Severus where it was. "How curious, it appears I can't tell anyone where it is." She said outwardly calm as she thought about the implications of that. Her thoughts turned quickly to rage as she realized if she couldn't tell anyone where it was there was nothing she could do to stop the castle taking control back from the Ministry.
They watched for what seemed hours as the Wards overhead pulsed periodically. With each pulse the power of the Ward seemed to triple until the point it was attracting attention from the rest of the British Wizards who apparated to the pulsing power that had been disturbing them only to stop and stare. Finally the Wards gave a final pulse before settling down the only indication they were still there being the shimmer still visible in the air around the castle.
The Headmistress spun around as Stefan walked up the staircase from the Heart Room, which closed behind him a great grinding of stones that strangely no one seemed to be able to hear but her. As soon as it finished grinding closed the Hufflepuff table once again moved over the top of it and it shimmered and disappeared just as the knowledge of it's location disappeared from her mind.
"It is done, 'Headmistress.' This will stand as my greatest Work ever in this World and it will stand for a very, very long time. Have a good day, and good luck getting on the good side of Lady Hogwarts." Stefan said with a small private smile just before he disappeared as a spell passed through the air where he had been standing. Behind him the Minister of Magic Percival Ignatius Weasley lowered his Wand a frown crossing his strict face as he wondered how he could get that man under his control. Having the ability to cast Wards as powerful as the ones around this castle was far too dangerous in the hands of someone outside of Ministry control.
A/N: Well I hope you enjoyed it I don't know when I will update either of my stories again this chapter took awhile to write and took a bit out of me so I will probably be reading for awhile for motivation purposes…. Yeah let's go with that… couldn't be because I like to read more. Nope, surely not.