Beta by - Karou WindStalker(12-20-13)
Snow Point Academy of Magic
Chapter 1: Who I Am - Smile Empty Soul
The library had been no different than usual that morning, not unless you counted one frustrated and frantic 4th year trying to ensure his continued survival. As far as Harry was concerned the first task had been a fluke, and the second task had just been another incident of his absurd luck showing through once more. Harry knew without a doubt however that his luck was going to run out someday, and it could just as easily be in that maze tomorrow as ten years from now.
If there was one thing Harry didn't want to do, it was die - let alone die in another one of Dumbledore's damn schemes. Oh don't get him wrong, he knew Dumbledore hadn't put his name in that goblet, but he also knew that the old bastard would quite happily look the other way if the situation would work with his plans.
That was how it had been for the last three years, and he saw no reason for Dumbledore to change his tune now. As much as he loved this castle and considered it his home, it had fast become a dangerous prison, a prison he needed to escape if he wanted to live to seventeen, let alone old age. Harry smiled humorlessly at the book on the table...living, could he even really say that he was 'living'? Surviving maybe, but not living. What did it even mean to live?
He doubted he would ever know the answer.
While Harry poured over a spell book and contemplated his rather grim prospects in life, another was watching him and listening to his thoughts. Hogwarts was indeed alive as many over the years had speculated, but her mind was nothing like a human's. The ancient castle could be said to have more in common with a tree then a human as far as her mind went.
That's not to say she wasn't aware of those who lived within her walls, she most certainly was. They were her children and she would protect them to the best of her abilities until not even two stones of her walls rested upon each other. But her thoughts were slow, spanning decades, not moments, and rarely could a single soul rouse her enough to gain her singular attention. This child though, this child had...
She had seen him that first year when he fought the foul beast that had been allowed within her walls. Though she hated to acknowledge it, the child was right. If he wished to live he would have to go elsewhere. Hours passed while Harry studied and Hogwarts contemplated a way to protect this one child from threats she was prevented from sealing outside her walls. Everyone in the castle felt a strange sense of sadness leeched into their minds as the Castle finally made her decision, though few recognized it for what it was, thinking it only the cloudy weather making them feel morose.
High in Ravenclaw tower however, a blond and blue-eyed third year curled up under her blankets, tears leaking from her eyes. She knew where the sadness came from. She may not have know exactly what brought the castle to such a feeling, but she knew that something was going to happen, and when something happened there was usually one particular Gryffindor at the center.
When Hogwarts finally acted there were no dramatics, no spells of great power enacted. When you were as old as Hogwarts was you knew how to start a landslide with the tiniest pebble. And so a single book vanished from the shelves of the library and found its way into Harry's trunk, buried deep under all his things and not to be discovered until two weeks into the summer. Hogwarts contemplated her work for a long moment, if she had been human she would have smiled. Yes, her little lion could do it. He would slip his leash, and become a force to be reckoned with.
X X X
July 1st summer after 4th year
Harry could honestly say that this was not his worst summer to date. That title was still held by the summer of second year. So far everyone was ignoring him, he may be starving, but that was hardly a new development. No one was screaming at him, or demanding he do every single little chore that Petunia could possibly come up with. So, all in all, not to shabby.
However, that didn't change the fact that he was bored out of his mind. He rolled over, glaring at the books stacked up on his desk. At this point he had reread all of them, twice. Hermione would be so please, but he hadn't talked to her all summer.
Hedwig would return with unopened letters if he sent her out. About a week into the summer he had received an answer to this situation when Fawkes had arrived with a note from Dumbledore telling him that for his and his friends' safety he would be blocking all mail either way so no owls could be tracked. That announcement had been accompanied by a fair bit of snarling and snapped pencils on Harry's part.
Only one thing had made the weeks of isolation even vaguely bearably. Moony and Padfoot had decided to circumvent Dumbledore's 'no training Harry in anything remotely useful rule', unspoken though it may be, and had sent letters to him all summer after third year along with one very special potion.
Harry smirked and looked down at his hand and began to concentrate hard, watching as deep blue-gray fur slowly started to sprout, even as his fingers morphed into wicked claws. He stopped after a few moments breathing a little hard but pleased none the less, it had only taken a minute.
Where a human hand had once been there was now a furred paw, tipped with black claws. Hermione would blow a gasket if she knew the Marauders were teaching him how to be an animagus, but Harry would weather her wrath for this any day. He had managed to transform completely once already at the end of the year, but it had taken nearly an hour to change and almost three to change back.
This had been celebrated with a bottle of fire whiskey in the shrieking shack with both of the Marauders. Harry had been a little put out to realize that Sirius hadn't left the country like everyone thought. They had both laughed at that, pointing out that that's the whole reason no one would think to look for him in Britain. When he had voiced concern over how long it took him to change Sirius had been quick to point out that he was already ahead of the marauders when they had learned how to do this. After only one year he had managed the complete transformation, the only thing that would make it go faster was practice.
At first the identity of his form had been something of a mystery, but Moony had pulled through and after a few days of research they had a name. Apparently he was a Maltese, or Blue Tiger. Harry had wanted to strangle someone when he learned that he had once again gone and done something no one had managed since Merlin.
The great tigers, although known to muggles, were in fact magical. Looking to a muggle like a blue-gray tiger with darker gray stripes, but they didn't quite look the same to those with magic. The dark gray wings for one thing weren't visible to them, but otherwise they did in general look like a tiger, but with long pointed ears, and deep blue-gray fur with smoky gray strips.
On his face and chest however, the markings were far from normal looking, and looked more like swirling tribal tattoos than anything else.
Snorting at the memory of Sirius's rather garbled letter on the subject he focused on changing his hand back. Little did Harry know, but the notice-me-not charm on the book hidden in his trunk had chosen that moment to fail. Though the book itself would remain undiscovered until the next day.
X X X
The fading sunlight glinted off the window, throwing the cracked sill into sharp relief as Harry contemplated his life, and so far nothing he remembered could give him a sufficient reason to turn away from the course that had presented itself to him. He looked down at the book laying open on the bed before him. Page 217.
Harry closed his eyes and sighed. Did he really want to do it? Did he really want to throw it all away? Somehow he doubted he would ever be able to come home again if he did this, but would there be a home to come back to if he didn't? Looking back down at the pages he read the passage once more.
Snow Point Academy of Magic
Snow Point Academy is located on an island somewhere in the Drake passage, between Antarctica and South America. The rough seas and weather aid the magics of the island in hiding its presence. It is shaped roughly like an elongated diamond with the points facing east and west. Snow Point Academy was founded roughly 800 years ago in 1200AD by a Scottish witch named Endellion. Endellion left her home land of Scotland and founded the remote school after having a vision of the future and deciding such a school was necessary. Snow Point Academy is different from other schools in that it accepts no one under the age of 15 and all magical beings regardless of species are welcome.
Most humans are however hesitant to send their children to Snow Point due to its cut throat culture. A culture which has never failed to turn out the best and brightest magicians no matter their species, as well as kill at least one third of students before the five year curriculum is over.
Snow Point is also known to not differentiate between, what is in modern times, considered light and dark magic, including classes such as Necromancy and Elemental Magic, both of which have been outlawed for over 500 years in Europe. Even then one cannot simply enroll in Snow Point.
All prospective students arrive at Ushuaia, Argentina - the southern most city in the world - on September 10th, it is here they will receive a compass that will always point to the school. Their task is to make it to the school alive in two days. A journey thought to be some 300 miles through mountains and across the ocean. These distances can however only be speculated on as the exact location of the school is unknown.
Due to the limited information about the trial to reach Snow Point little is known about what happens when one reaches the school,and what happens when you fail, but it is know from one unsubstantiated report that if at the end of two days a prospective student has failed to reach the island the compass will vanish leaving them to attempt a return trip on their own.
Few have survived to try a second time.
Not for the first time Harry wondered how this book had found its way into his trunk. He may not have believed in Destiny, but he believed in coincidences even less. Because this was his answer, the spell Voldemort had used to bring himself back to life had to be some kind of necromancy, and something else had kept the bastard alive that night he had nearly been destroyed.
What better way to learn how to put the monster down for good then necromancy? Even if that didn't work he could always ask the teacher for advice on making sure people you killed stayed dead.
But he had to wonder, was this one of Dumbledore's plots? No, he decided, the old fool would never let him learn something as 'dark' as necromancy, let alone go so far from his control. This was someone else, but in the end who had left the book didn't really matter, this was his chance and he was going to take it.
X X X
British wizards, Harry decided were over rated, vastly overrated. If Dumbledore had honestly thought that his new guards would escape his notice then the old man really was going senile. Apparently the he had forgotten Harry had an invisibility cloak, and absolutely no hesitation in using it.
Pocketing his wand he glanced out the window, picking out the foot prints in the grass where his watcher stood. With a smirk he stepped out of immediate view before throwing the shimmering cloak over his shoulders and heading downstairs. He paused for a moment glancing into the living room at Dudley, sitting in front of the TV. The whale was bigger than ever, taking up nearly the entire couch on his own.
With a disgusted shake of his head he continued on, heading for the back door. Although the invisibility cloak was good and all, the watcher would still see the door being opened by nothing. So he would be taking the back door and sneaking into the neighboring yard before heading out to the street and down the road to summon the Night Bus.
Harry glanced back down the sidewalk glad to note that as far as he could tell his watcher hadn't caught on. Ducking into the bushes he pulled the cloak off and stuffed it into his backpack before stepping up to the edge of the road and holding out his wand. With a tremendous bang the violet triple-decker form of the Night Bus all but exploded into view. Harry winced and took a step back as the bus almost took his nose off, it had appeared far too close to the curb in Harry's opinion.
"'Ello! Welcome to da the nigh' bus! Transport for da stranded Witch er Wizard!" the bus driver yelled. Harry blinked, surprised to see that both the driver and his assistant were different than last year.
Oh well, better for him. Hopefully with his scar covered up, his hair temporary tamed with some hair gel, and contacts he would be unrecognizable enough. Shoving a handful of sickles at the man he simply snapped.
"Diagon Ally." The less he said the better his chances of going unremarked upon were. One white knuckle ride later and Harry was staggering into the leaky cauldron with a grimace on his face. Ignoring the curious looks of those in the bar he took a moment to regain his balance before he made his way to the back.
He grinned with relief when no clamor of excited talking erupted behind him, it would seem his disguise was working. Who would have thought smoothing down his hair and no glasses would make such an obvious difference. Even with the minor differences someone would look for his scar when they saw him, and not seeing it they would assume that he just looked a bit like Harry Potter, but wasn't the real thing.
Tapping out the sequence on the bricks he watched the entrance unfold in front of him, a faint smile of childish glee on his face.'That never gets old', he thought happily, taking in the alley and noting that there weren't nearly as many people as normal. Then again, it wasn't a bad idea in theory to take himself here when the alley was its busiest, for a normal person it would prevent him from being noticed as easily. For him the sea of red hair that normally accompanied him was a dead give away.
Heading into the alley Harry couldn't help but look around like a green firsty, no matter how often he came here, it never lost its wonder for him. Forcing himself to focus he told himself that there was no point in looking, he needed money first.
Gringotts was just as massive and overbearing as usual, the goblin guards scowling at him from the doors. He just nodded to them before moving on. Moving past as he did he missed the faint looks of surprise that flashed across the goblins faces.
Heading for a teller Harry handed over his key, the goblin took it wordlessly before frowning sharply, and giving him a vicious look. Harry looked at him in honest confusion, he knew goblins didn't like wizards, but that seemed to be a bit much.
Harry's eye narrowed, studying the key in the goblins hand for a moment, before cursing. He had an idea of what the problem was now. "Let me guess," he drawled, "Dumbledore gave me a fake key?" The goblin just barred his teeth in an evil grin. "Of course..." Harry muttered, annoyed as the teller signaled the guards. "Is there a way to prove I am indeed Harry Potter, and not some idiotic thief, that will not permanently injure or kill me?" The goblin raised an eyebrow, smirking.
"Yes, although failing the test will result in a most painful and gruesome death, do you still wish to take it?" The goblin looked like he was seriously hoping Harry would. Nothing like listening to stupid wizards scream in agony first thing in the morning Harry thought wryly.
"Yes, yes I would. What is required?" he asked, not breaking eye contact or letting his own smirk leave his face. The goblin eyed him speculatively for a moment before chuckling, Harry resisting the urge to wince at the sound.
"Follow me." He answered, grinning and signaling the guards once more. Harry almost laughed at the looks of disappointment on their faces as he followed the teller out of the main lobby and down a hallway. The gold lined halls were so massive you could have walked an elephant though them with no trouble.
A few minutes later they arrived at a large iron door, the goblin tapped it and loud ku-thunks echoed down the hall as the locks disengaged. With a tug the goblin hauled the door open and stepped aside gesturing for him to enter, he eyed the door for a moment before looking at the goblin.
"I do get to take the test, yeah? You're not just going to lock me in there until I starve or something are you?" The goblin actually snorted at the question.
"Of course not. Watching you fail the test will be much more amusing." At the answer Harry simply nodded.
"True enough," He agreed, stepping forward and entering the stone room, the goblin closing the door behind them. In the center of the room was a table with a stone spike, around a foot tall, in the middle. Tiny runes covered every inch of the spike. Harry eyed it wearily at the goblin walked up and tapped several runes.
"You need to prick the palm of your hand on the spike enough to draw blood, if you are indeed Harry Potter it will glow. If you are not it will glow, then begin slowly dissolving your flesh and turning your blood to acid." Harry eyed the spike for a moment before shrugging and stepping forward, it wasn't like blood or pain bothered him any.
The top of the spike was wickedly sharp and it didn't take much force to cut his hand on it, and he didn't bother trying to pull it away once he did so. He doubted he could budge it half a millimeter. A long moment passed, the goblin eagerly awaiting his painful demise, than the spike started to glow before going dark. Harry gave his hand an experimental tug and it came away easily.
"So, I'm not dead. Can we get to canceling the key that has apparently been stolen and get a new one made?" He asked politely. The goblin scowled, grumbling and waving at him dismissively.
"Yes yes! Follow me!" he spat. Harry followed, a faint smile on his face as he inspected the small gouge in his hand.
X X X
Walking out of the bank an hour later Harry had to sigh at the goblins never ending irritation with humans, but couldn't find it in himself to be angry at them. With the amount of shit they took from humans they had every right to be assholes. But he had his new key and a big bag of galleons.
Heading down the steps he made his way to the trunk shop, the scent of cedar and leather hitting him with an almost physical blow as he stepped inside. The unpolished wood floor squeaking under his shoes he glanced around, taking in the slightly dim interior and the vast collection of trunks on display. "Hello?" he called, his voice echoing into the back rooms. A loud thunk and a curse made him wince, and hope that whomever he had startled was alright.
"JUST A MOMENT!" the owner yelled, a few more thunks and curses later and a ruffled looking middle aged man appeared at the back door. "Ah yes! My apologies about the wait! My name is Theo Corwind. What can I help you with today?" he asked excitedly.
"Well, I'm planning on doing a lot of traveling soon and I once saw a trunk with multiple expanded compartments, and was wondering if you had something similar?" Harry asked. Theo frowned thoughtfully.
"Can you describe the compartments? How big were they and how many?"
"Um well there were seven as far as I know, and all but one seemed to be about room sized." The man stared at him shocked.
"Truly? It must have been an amazing piece of workmanship to hold six expanded compartments! I've only ever managed two before, I get to three and the whole thing decides to implode on me. Never quite figured out what the problem was. Harry nodded, throwing out his initial idea to get something like Moody's trunk.
"But you can do two compartments like that? How many normal sized one as well or would it just be the two?"
"No no! I can add up to 8 normal sized compartments along with the 2 room size, admittedly small rooms. Their about 10 square feet. Nothing grand but they certainly give you enough room for a small portable library, but don't think to try and live in them! I'v never been able to figure out air circulation to an expanded dimension, you would just suffocate.
"So books, clothes, things like that only. If you were willing to have only 4 trunk sized compartments and the two room sized ones however, I can put all sorts of secret compartments in it!" The man rapidly rattled off, Harry blinked checking another one of his idea's off, but the secret compartments sounded good.
"Okay, approximately how much would a custom trunk with 4 regular compartments, 2 rooms, and as many secrets compartments as can be reasonably added, cost?" Harry asked. Theo hummed to himself, looking speculative for a long moment before answering.
"Well that all depends on both the wood and the spell work you want. At the bare minimum you'd be looking at around 50 Galleons, and that's oak with all your basic anti-fire and water wards and regular key locks. For around 150 galleons I can use Cedar for all the interiors along with Iron wood for the frame, and all your basic spells along with a hodgepodge of anti theft charms and password encrypted locks." He finished happily. Harry blinked, that wasn't too bad actually.
"I'll take that second one, but can you add some decorations to it?" The man blinked apparently shocked that he was going to spend so much money.
"Um, er, yes! Of course! Inlays are quite simple when you have magic to help, but you still need to be able to draw." He added with a grin. Harry smiled, nodding.
"Right, can you do something with a snowy owl on the lid?" he asked, the man looked thoughtful then nodded.
"Yes, an owl shouldn't be difficult, a snowy you said?" He asked, whipping a note book out from seemingly nowhere and beginning to scribble. " And you want everything I mentioned before? The iron wood with cedar and all the spell work with the password locks yes?" At Harry's nod he added more frantic scribblings. "Its going to take about two weeks to make this, can you come back around the 18th?"
"Works for me," Harry agreed, the man nodded happily as Harry turned to leave.
"Oh, one more thing!" Harry made to turn back around when the man conked him on the head with his wand, making him feel like he'd just had water dumped on him. "Most wizards may be idiots but don't assume things, Mister Potter. I won't tattle on you, but do try a better disguise next time? Although I admit when I couldn't spot your scar I almost bought it." Harry winced as the man grinned and conjured a mirror, showing him that his once black hair was now a sandy brown. "The spell will wear off in about two hours." Harry sighed.
"Was it really that bad?" He asked ruefully. Theo laughed.
"Not so much as you'd think, unfortunately it is the problem people who would see through it Mr. Potter. Please be more careful in the future." Harry rolled his eyes, exasperated.
"Thanks, two weeks then?" The man nodded enthusiastically.
"Yes that should do it! And Mister Potter? I'd better not be able to recognize you when you come back! A word of advice on that. Although the magic detectors can pick up spells, potions are another matter entirely. Pick up a basic potions book and look up some color changing potions before you head home." Harry grumbled good naturally and darted out of the shop before he could be heckled anymore.
Theo watched the younger wizard until he had disappeared into Flourish and Blots. Heading back into his work room he surveyed the mass of woods and carving tools before grinning. Oh yes, he was going to have fun with this one.
X X X