Shadow of the Snake Chapter 3

Disclaimer : I do not own Harry nor anything else I may have used.

Author's notes : So if you guys read my author's notes in the last chapter, you would know that my exams just ended. So right now, I don't really have anything going on for a good two months until my finals start. I can't just study the whole way through and from how well I think I did on my preliminary exams, I can forgo revision for another week or two.

Alright, before the story starts, I'm going to deal with some stuff.

I really appreciated the reviews you all gave. Many of them were so long too, two or three paragraphs long. Really, that was awesome. I really appreciate the time and effort you all put in to writing the reviews to give me advice. Seriously, I can't thank you enough. You guys gave me so much advice and that really meant so much to me, Thank You! I have noted a mistake Many of you have pointed out and that is the fact that I have the habit of having two characters speaking in a single paragraph. I realize how that could be a problem, and might be confusing and troublesome to read. I will try my best to rectify my habit from now on.

Next, will Harry be moving in to his properties. That will depend on my mood when I'm writing that particular portion, which I don't think will be coming until another two or three chapters. I will be focusing on the machinations behind the scenes during Hogwarts. Where Harry will be building the foundation of his inner circle. But back to the question. I can have Harry go back to the orphanage. It would be rather boring but simpler for the readers and myself to write.

Will there be any pairings? Definitely. Though I won't be including much romance into the story. C'mon people, this story is being written by a 16 year old male teen (Me!). Don't expect too many hugs and mushy fluff. However, I have a general idea for Harry's dating scene. I intend to make him a playboy of sorts. Where he will be dating and of course shagging many girls. But that won't happen until at least 5th or 6th year. Any less and it will just be weird.

Will he be friends with Ron and the other Gryffindors. Okay, this is a rather tough decision for me. I want to let Harry be respected by all the students, eventually. It's not going to happen instantaneously of course. It will be a gradual process. Harry will start by... well I'm not going to spoil you. So this is how I imagine it will be like during the Goblet of Fire arc. When Harry the fourth champion is called out, the entire school will be cheering for him. By then, he will be the most respected and acknowledged student. Again, it will be a gradual process. Each year, Harry will be developing his reputation and fame. So that during the GoF arc, it will seem believable.

Why does Harry hate muggles so much even though he wasn't mistreated by them? Tom riddle was not mistreated very badly by muggles either, and look how he turned out. The whole point of Harry's character is that he is so frighteningly similar to Tom that he has the potential to follow down his path. With an unhealthy interest in the dark arts and ritualistic magic (thank you Joe Lawyer), Harry will grow up to be similar to Voldemort, but unlike him, he will not be taking on the world alone. But taking on the world with loyal servants behind him.

Why does Harry have such an extensive vocabulary? Really? He does? I was speaking like that when I was ten too. It's not really anything out of the world. I could hold back on the large, superfluous and bombastic words he could use, but that would just limit my writing capability.

Do I have something in mind for all the money he has? Yes. Am I going to tell you right now and spoil you? Nope.

The pace of the story is too slow? That's how I want it to be. I don't like stories where the author just rushes through an entire Hogwarts year within one or two chapters, yet emphasizes on Harry's summer for an entire chapter. His life at Hogwarts is the main attraction! And I'm not going to just write about some shallow and materialistic story that barely scratches the surface of Harry's Hogwarts years. No! I want my story to be complex, with underhand deals and political machinations.

Alright, that's about it for now. Again, if you have any questions feel free to ask by reviewing or messaging me. I will try my best to answer them in the next chapter or replying directly. Sorry for the long Author's notes. Thank you and please, enjoy!

Harry stood within Gringotts with a slight smirk on his face. Not only did he find out that he had inherited his parent's vault, which contained over 32 million galleons and had a liquified value of 63 million galleons; He also discovered that he had received an opportunity to ascend into Lordship after fulfillment of the conditions set by his grandfather.

His father didn't become Lord Potter as well. He should have received the four NEWTs required but perhaps the polygamy condition didn't sit too well with his mother.

Mother... what a strange and alien term. Considering he didn't even know his parents until yesterday, he was not used to the familiar terms. Harry briefly wondered if his parents would approve of his current maneuvers, attempting an alliance with the Malfoy, Greengrass, Davis and Zabini houses.

Harry internally grinned. He was close to accomplishing one of the conditions already, if he could finalize the alliance and create new family ties. He needed to find out which families had an old family alliance with the House of Potter and renew them in order to fulfill said condition.

"Mr. Potter," Harry turned to Torak who raised a crooked finger and beckoned him to follow. "Come with me, I will be personally handling the most noble and ancient House of Potter's affairs."

Harry raised an eyebrow "Rather presumptuous, Head goblin Torak. Considering I have not even mentioned such a thing yet."

The goblin gave a rather forced smile "No, of course not, Mr. Potter. However, like I brought up earlier, all matters regarding the founding families' vaults and estates are officially dealt by the Head Goblin. You could request for a replacement, but I sincerely advise not to. The replacement would not have any experience in managing the assets of a founding house. I beseech you to place your faith in me."

Harry frowned mentally. That was merely the polite way of saying 'You can't get rid of me. Even if you did, you wouldn't have any one as capable as me to manage your assets.' "I understand. I will trust you. For now."

The goblin bowed "That is all I will ask from you, Mr. Potter, your confidence in my abilities."

Harry gave a brusque nod "Lead the way, Head Goblin Torak."

The goblin nodded and turned back to continue walking. "We'll be heading to my office. We can get more privacy there than anywhere else in the entire bank." Harry gave a soft hum at that.

Other goblins were stealing glances at them. The ones who knew that the Head Goblin dealt with the founding families' assets personally realized that the boy who was following him must have been from said families. They grinned at the prospect of more gold placed in their pockets.

When they reached Torak's office, Harry was greeted by a rich mahogany door, with a bronze plaque that read Head Goblin Torak, Restricted Area. The door swung inwards automatically as Torak approached it and closed itself when they were in the office.

Within, was a splendor of gold and silver. The office was a large room, its walls decorated with weaponry of all sorts. A jewel encrusted work table was placed at the back of the room along with a large chair of pure gold and red velvet cushions. On the opposite side of the throne-like chair was a smaller wooden chair, with equally soft velvet cushions.

After Harry and Torak took their respective seats, the goblin snapped a finger and a cabinet opened. A file flew out from within and floated to the waiting hands of Torak. The goblin fished out a piece of paper and slid it over to Harry.

"This is the list of old family ties the House of Potter has created that has been officially recorded by Gringotts. After your grandfather died, the ties created by the deceased Lord are rendered inactive and thus any commitments from allied Houses holds no responsibility. However, because your father was not able to meet the requirements of achieving lordship, the current number of alliances the most noble and ancient House of Potter is holding is zero." Torak said.

Harry quickly scanned through the paper. There were many legal rubbish that was compulsory to add, however Harry skipped over the parts he did not need and jumped straight to the names.

Founding House of Longbottom (ceased in 1979)

Founding House of Bones (ceased in 1979)

Founding House of Black (ceased in 1725)

Founding House of Greengrass (ceased in 1864)

Founding House of Ravenclaw (ceased in 1921)

Fouding House of Hufflepuff (ceased in 1979)

Noble House of Abbott (ceased in 1979)

Noble House of Lovegood (ceased in 1979)

Noble House of MacDougal (ceased in 1979)

The list went on and on, and had perhaps more than a hundred names of Houses. Many of them ceased in 1979, presumably the year his grandfather had passed away. Harry couldn't help but notice that many, around two fifths of the family ties ceased in 1979. Which meant that his grandfather, Charlus Potter, was a very influential man before his demise.

The Noble House of Malfoy was never mentioned in the list, nor was the house of Davis and Zabini. Harry smirked. If he could receive a formal tie of alliance from them, then half of a condition would be fulfilled already.

Aside from that, based on the number of founding and noble families his family was previously allied to, the House of Potter must have been a very influential superpower before the near annihilation of the Potters. If he could renew all of them, hell, even half of them, the House of Potter would be a force to be reckoned with. He would be a force to be reckoned with.

Founding Houses had a vast amount of wealth and influence he could certainly use. Wealthy Noble families are assets most valuable as well. Though they might not possess the financial gauntlet founding families held, their wealth was still significantly large.

Another piece of paper was slid towards him from Torak. "This is the list of betrothal contracts that has been signed by either your grandfather or one of your ancestors."

Harry had a slight panic attack. He didn't really consider it a possibility, but to have so many marriage contracts was insane. Harry was eleven years old, he shouldn't be considering or choosing marriage partners. Not now!

No...wait, calm down. A marriage between two Houses is one of the best ways to secure an alliance. Depending on the chosen partners, he could amass a great deal of authoritative power.

Harry scanned the paper, recognizing none of the names until he spotted the Greengrass name. Success! A betrothal contract with one of the founding families, not to mention their pretty heiress Daphne. This was a colossal discovery. An engagement with a member from one of the founding families would ensure him their aid and loyalty to a certain extent.

Harry exited Gringotts hastily. It was already the late afternoons and sunlight was quickly burning. Before he left he wanted to purchase one more item. When he looked at the parchment with the necessary equipment written on it again, he noticed a line saying that a student may bring an own or a toad or a cat.

Now, he wasn't really that interested in a cat or a toad. He was looking more towards an owl, or at least another avian variety. He had spotted a pet store of some sort when he was shopping previously.

Harry turned a corner and saw what he was looking for, a rather small shop with the sign Magical Menagerie. The last time he'd passed by the place, it was rather crowded by other first year students. It was almost empty by the time Harry arrived.

The small shop was very cramped and noisy, with every inch of wall covered by cages. There were all sorts of animals, either in cages or transparent cases. Cats hissed silently in their little corner of the shop while the combined croaking of the numerous toads and frogs echoed throughout the store.

Not interested in felines nor amphibians, Harry maneuvered his way through the packed little shop, gracefully avoiding the many empty cages. His feet carefully stepped on the few empty spaces that led to the avian section. There were no owls here, unfortunately. However, the shop was still crowded with birds of all sorts.

The parrots and crows squawked noisily as Harry approached, and even the ravens flew around messily in their cages. Harry scrunched his nose in distaste. He had no interest in loud, disheveled birds that looked like they would fly away the moment they had a chance.

Harry quickly browsed over the selection, without any expectations until he noticed them. Two ravens. Their feathers black as night and beady eyes the color of crimson blood. They were quiet, absolutely silent in fact. They stood still, their necks tilting slightly every once in awhile. They were of the same size as the other ravens, but something about them exuded a magical aura.

"Human ... hvíslar visku og dauða. Við erum spámenn dauða. Slepptu okkur og vera verðlaunaður með hollustu okkar. Ganga í burtu og vera að eilífu hafnað." The ravens' gaze intensified. Though they were not physically speaking, Harry knew they were somehow communicating with him and he could somehow understand them as well. (1)

Harry reached forward, and unlocked the cage. The shopkeeper who was preoccupied with someone else at the time saw what Harry was doing and yelled at him to stop. But he was too late as Harry had already lifted the lock and opened the cage door.

However, to the shopkeeper's surprise, not only did the ravens not fly away immediately, they calmly stretched their wings before walking to the cage's door and landed calmly on Harry's outstretched forearm.

Harry turned to the shopkeeper "How much?"

The shopkeeper, still stunned at the raven's passive behavior dumbly replied "How much what"

Narrowing his eyes, Harry snapped "For them!"

That was when the shopkeeper realized he had a profitable sale that could be made. He took on a thinking pose, "How about a 100 galleons. Each."

"I beg to differ." Harry interjected, looking at the crudely written sign that said "3 Galleons" above the cage the ravens were in.

Following his gaze, the shopkeeper frowned "Well, the economy is bad. Prices go up. 100 galleons or I ain't selling nothin'."

Harry had to prevent himself from practicing his wandless magic on the shopkeeper. He was about to retort and perhaps threaten to get his way, when the ravens' eyes glowed red.

This time, Harry was sure the ravens were somehow communicating with the shopkeeper. He could feel... some sort of a distortion in the air.

The shopkeeper's eyes glazed over and dilated, signaling the lost of conscious comprehension of his actions or speech. "Alriiightt. 3 gaalleeons for e-each." The shopkeeper slurred

Harry widened his eyes and glanced at the ravens on his fore arm, whose eyes were still glowing and staring straight at the shop keeper.

Reaching into his pouch he smoothly retrieved 6 galleons and placed them in the shopkeeper's extended hand before he quickly left.

When he exited the pet shop, one of the ravens swiftly flew up slightly before landing on his shoulder before the other flew towards the other shoulder. So now he had two ravens perched upon both his shoulders.

Harry recalled a book he had read two years back, about Norse mythology. He pondered for a moment before glancing at both the ravens. "Huginn and Muninn. That shall be your names." They were almost identical visually, curved beak, wicked talons. However, there were a few discerning feature that separated them.

The one known as Huginn had sharper feather tips, it was slightly longer from head to tail and it had a sharper beak. The raven now identified as Muninn had a longer wingspan, longer and sharper talons, and also had a slight purple sheen to its sleek black feathers.

The two ravens opened their beaks slightly and a thin black trail of wisp and smoke drifted into Harry's ears. "Approved... Master."

The Knight Bus stopped infront of St. Margaret's Orphanage instantaneously from maximum acceleration. As Harry stepped out, Huginn and Muninn still perched on his shoulders, he briefly wondered about the non-existent inertia. Even more so when the triple decker bus accelerated in an instant to maximum speed and sped off.

Harry turned to face the metallic fence of the orphanage and its open gates. His home for the last 8 years. He did not have many exciting memories of the place. The only thing worth mentioning was when he magically pushed the boy... what was his name? John or something? No, Joshua. When he pushed Joshua through the window and killed him.

Of course he did not intend to murder the boy. It was only the second storey and Harry had only wanted to injure Joshua or at most cripple him. Unfortunately, the boy had fallen out of the window at an oblique angle, landing on his neck and broke it, causing instant death.

Did he want to murder Joshua? No, and it was honestly an accident. Was he glad that the boy was now dead? It didn't really matter anyway or another to him. Did he regret the decision to throw him out of the window? No.

When Harry knocked on the door, a 6 or 7 year old boy opened it for him. "Harry! You're back!" The child joyfully exclaimed before throwing himself onto Harry's leg.

Three days ago, Harry's first reaction to such an act would be to kick him off. But after everything he did yesterday, he did not want to waste the effort he had put in. It had taken him an entire day, but he managed to gain the trust and 'friendship' of around half of the children here. Most of them were the young ones, whose innocence and naivety made them easy to fool.

The ones who were a year or two younger than him as well as the ones older than him were still wary. They had not forgotten what Harry had done to Joshua back then. But they would abandon their futile attempts at resisting his offer of friendship soon enough.

It was easy. Offering the younger ones candy and volunteering to play with them earned Harry their trust and 'right' to play with them.

Of course, Harry had no reason to deal with their immaturity and chaotic childishness. It was merely practice before he went to Hogwarts. Granted, the Hogwarts students was older, and more mature than these preadolescent boys and girls. However, it would only take that slightest bit more effort to charm even them.

"Alright Mike. C'mon get up, ya little ball of fur." Harry playfully added while roughing up the boy's hair.

The boy giggled before releasing Harry's leg. "You said you would play with us yesterday! Harry promised!" Mike pointed an accusing finger at Harry, grinning brightly.

Harry chuckled "Alright, fine. Let me go put my things and we can play alright?" 'Fuck off... this is why I hate kids.' He mentally thought.

Mike brightened up considerably before shouting "Yay! Hey guys, Harry's gonna play w' us." The other children who were lounging around the corridor cheered.

Harry decided to quickly proceed into his room before they start to swarm him. Giving a sigh of frustration, he tossed the briefcase on to the bed and prompted Huginn and Muninn to get off him by shrugging his shoulders. The ravens did so and landed on his desk without making a single sound.

Even after the two minute bus ride home, Harry had still not figured out what the ravens were exactly. They had sat perfectly still and unmoving on his shoulders, throughout the journey home. Nobody seemed to notice them, not even the children when Harry first entered the Orphanage.

The birds noticed him staring at them. "Yes, master?"

Slightly taken aback, Harry calmed himself and considered his next question. "W-What are you?"

The two ravens glanced at each other before turning back to Harry "We are ravens." One of them replied, albeit with a slight condescension.

Narrowing his eyes, Harry glared at them slightly "I can see that."

Huginn chuckled, or what seemed like chuckling to Harry. "Of course you can. I am not questioning your powers of observation. I'm merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a raven what it is."

Harry shook his head "No, you're not just ravens. You're something more. A sentient life form that has taken the form of a raven, not by choice but by chance. So let me ask you again, what are you?"

Muninn took a step forward "Astute observation, master. Praise worthy I might add. However, we did not take the form of a raven, we are ravens. However, we are merely more unique than the average bird."

"But on this most auspicious nights, permit me then, in lieu of the more commonplace soubriquet to suggest the identity of this avian persona." Huginn took a step forward, standing beside Muninn.

"In view, omens of death and an unfortunate paradigm. Cast vicariously by the vicissitudes of fate. Would you believe then, thus is our destiny to follow the wind to wherever it takes us."

"I'm not getting an answer from you, am I?"

"Not yet, master, not yet. But until then, know that we belong to you. We are Huginn and Muninn... For now."

It had taken a couple of hours, but Harry had placated the almost hostile playfulness of the children. At the end of the session, he had swayed over a quarter of the other half who had rejected his offer for friendship yesterday. Numerous times, Harry questioned himself if the results were that important as he tried very hard not to send another impudent child out the window.

Finally, he had finished before excusing himself to his room. Harry opened the briefcase, and looked over the books he had purchased. He did not mind going through the numerous spell books nor did he object to reading his first year's course books. But he felt it prudent, to familiarize himself with the ambiguous politics of the wizarding world.

He already had a firm grasp of human- well, muggle, politics. If Harry had not been discovered by Hogwarts, he would have gone on to politics and become an entrepreneur. He knew that to succeed in an enterprise, one needed to have a working understanding of everything that had the possibility of earning large amounts of revenue. And the political podium was an interesting challenge he would have tackled if not for magic.

Harry fished out the copy of Pure Blood Culture & Traditions as well as Wizengamot & You. He started to read the former with a renewed focus. He had forgotten how long it had been since he was interested in something. It was delightful to have that fire in him relit, to have a clear objective to work towards.

Within the book, was a list of families and a brief explanation on their history and background. The Malfoys, he found out, was a supposedly dark House. Every Lord Malfoy that has ever been was a clear advocate of the dark. Every one had dabbled in dark magic, and curious enough, every one had been a highly acknowledged ministry official. Except, of course, the rare few whose competence was questionable. Whereas the Longbottoms, one of the founding families, was an inherently light house. Almost all Lord Longbottoms were light wizards.

It had taken Harry awhile to find out what dark and light really meant, but within the books there were brief descriptions.

Dark wizards are primarily termed 'dark' due to their practice of the Dark arts. Known dark magic includes the use of the three Unforgivable curses, using dark magic, creating and brewing dark potions, using dark objects, as well as habitual usage of forbidden magic such as necromancy or conjuration of dark creatures.

On the other hand, light wizards are the opposite of Dark wizards. Not practicing the dark arts and consorting with dark beings are prerequisites of being light. The term practically includes any wizard who has never used a dark spell, so it can be rather vague at times. Even if a supposed light wizard kills an individual with non-dark spells, he could still be addressed as a light wizard. As long as the dark arts is not applied for said murder, then the murderer is not a dark wizard. Of course, murder charges would still apply and execution via dementor's kiss would be imminent.

It was baffling to Harry that such a disparity existed merely on the basis whether one practiced the dark arts or not. According to the book, which seemed neutral towards the entire dark/light conundrum, there were many spells and rituals that leaned more towards healing and recovery.

Yet, due to the Ministry's biases towards these practices, which mostly required uniquely human ingredients to be concluded, they were banned and outlaw. Thus, some of these dark arts have been lost in time, forever forsaken due to its morbid requirements.

Whereas light magic, though some contained the potential for lethality that surpassed some dark practices, were still termed Light. The only difference that lied between dark and light arts were the fundamental constituents which made it.

Dark spells, for example, required a malicious intent in order to call upon its magics. Not only is it necessary to have a clear objective in the mind, one needed to imagine the successful effects of the spell on to said target in order to perform the dark spell to its fullest potential.

Light spells, on the other hand, required no such focus. Most light spells had merely the two requirements : the ability to discharge said spell as well as the intent to make its effects successful.

It was very intriguing for Harry to read about such things. He was very fortunate to have received a book with a completely neutral standpoint as well. He had no doubt should he had chosen a book that was bias towards either the dark or light arts, he would have been severely uninformed.

He returned to the noble houses section and learned about the multiple Houses' sigils as well as their words, which were their mottos. For example, the sigil of the House of Malfoy is a green and black shield with a silver M and a dragon on both sides. Their words are : Sanctimonia Vincet Semper meaning Purity Always Conquers in latin.

The sigil of the House of Black was a shield with a skull adorning the top, a raised hand wielding a wand in the middle, and three crows at the bottom. Their words are : Toujours Pur meaning Always Pure in French.

He noticed the House of Potter's sigil : A golden Griffin with a lion on both sides on a shield of red and black. His House had two lines of words as well. That was because the patriarchal and matriarchal sides had two different mottos.

The first by the matriarchal side was : Familia, Officio, Fidei meaning Family, Duty, Honor in latin. While the second by the patriarchal side was much more aggressive : Ignis Et Sanguinem, Nostra Est Furor meaning Fire And Blood, Ours Is The Fury.

The most noble and ancient House of Potter had always been a light house, the book stated. Although, several times during the lordship of the rare few Lords of House Potter, brought it closer to the line that threaded between Light and Dark. Far too close for many on the Light side's comfort.

Although never have any Lords of House Potter actively supported any Dark Lords, but neither have they pledged allegiance to any Light Wizard of influence. Not a grey family per se, but held loyalties to none but itself. The stubbornness of each Lord Potter reminded Harry of himself, and his grandfather who had included the condition – swear loyalty to no one but yourself.

The various houses' words and sigils was something very interesting as well. Intrigued, Harry proceeded to memorize each of the Houses' words and sigil. Surely this will come in handy when he is standing amongst the Pureblood houses, where words of thinly veiled manipulations inebriate the mind and poison the heart.

He would have to thread lightly on the thin ice that was the clandestine manipulations and puppeteering of Pure Blood wizarding society. Behind every facade of aristocratic smiles and pleasantries, lies an eager hand holding a dagger with your name on it.

(1) whispers of wisdom and the dead. We are the prophets of death. Release us and be rewarded with our loyalty. Walk away and be forever denied.

Alright, and here's chapter 3. I know it's not as long as the previous two chapters but I wanted to save the train scene for the next chapter. This chapter is more of a FYI chapter, I'm basically answering questions, and clarifying any doubts you might have had.

I am still rather busy and despite my recent increased vigor in writing this story, I still have duties and responsibilities that I cannot forgo in favor of my hobby. I'd like to thank all those who had reviewed the last chapter again, I am so glad many of you liked it.

Next, Huginn and Muninn. Will they have a large part to play in this story? Honestly, I don't know yet. I am going to see the reader's reaction to them first before deciding what to do with them. They could be uncommon house pets Harry could have, or more worldly beings that could impart wisdom and advice to Harry who will have a much more significant role.

The marriage contracts. No, Harry is not going to go on a marrying spree and be married to twenty women in one night, and possess the libido of an adonis. Remember that many of the betrothal contracts are ancient and could have had male offsprings. So just to clarify, Harry is not going to be the husband of twenty different wives. Don't be ridiculous.

Once again, any advice and tips from you all will be really helpful. Please review if you have any questions or if you want to bite my head off for any mistakes I might have made (I deserve it!). Love it, Hate it, Review it.

Seriously, Review.

Well, if you don't, I know where you live. I know where you sleep. And your parents won't recognize you when I am done. (Evil Laughter)