Owing to this research, backgammon software has been developed that is capable of beating world-class human players see TD-Gammon for an example. Sure enough, they saw Quirrell pass by mumbling to himself. Worlds Hardest Bat Game. Gwen the Magic Nanny. After the opening, backgammon players frequently rely on some established general strategies, combining and switching among them to adapt to the changing conditions of a game. The beautiful bird's eyes flashed with a magical glow, as she attuned herself to her new master's magic, and flew off with a soft hoot. Red Hot Chili Peppers v1.

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With a satisfied hiss, she slithered up his body and sunk into his skin, appearing as a tattoo that coiled around his shoulders and right arm. He slowly descended down the stairs, reveling in what would soon be a great deal of newfound freedom for both he and his familiar.

Upon reaching the kitchen, he addressed his uncle; "I've received my Hogwarts letter and need to go to Diagon Alley today. Uncle Vernon pulled up to Charing Cross Road, and with a wordless wave of dismissal, Harry let himself out of the car.

He grinned widely and absorbed his first glimpse of Magical London. What appeared to be a broken down shop front to muggles was actually a cheery, brightly lit pub filled to the brim with wizards and witches. This; was the Leaky Cauldron — the most commonly used entrance to Diagon Alley. Opening the door of the pub, Harry carefully brushed his hair over his forehead, ensuring that his scar was covered. Keeping his head down, he headed straight to the back of the pub, out into the chilly courtyard, and managed to catch someone tapping on the back wall with a wand.

As the other wizard walked through, he waited a few seconds, then swiftly darted through the magically moved bricks just in time, and turned to watch the bricks rapidly shift back into place. In his head he heard Aiolos say, "You ssshould head to their bank firssst", and nodded in agreement.

As he made his way to Gringotts, he managed to keep his face neutral, not wanting to look out of place. But on the inside, as only he and Aiolos could tell, he was jubilant and gleeful at the thought of being back amongst his he made his way into the bank, he almost stopped dead in surprise at the sight of the Goblin warrior guards.

They walked down many halls for several minutes and eventually stopped in front of two enormous gold doors. The doors were ornately decorated, with embossed designs and symbols, and the seal of Gringotts prominently featured in the middle. A pair of fierce looking, armored, spear-wielding Goblins stood in front of the doors.

The Goblin teller walked forward as the guards pulled their weapons away, knocked then stepped back. Thirty seconds later a voice called out "Enter! They walked in to the enormous office where a Goblin, presumably Ragnok, sat behind a magnificent desk. The goblin moved forward and spoke to Ragnok in a strange language Aiolos called Gobbledygook and then left. You, however, do not have your vault key, and are very clearly unaware of the will left to you by your parents.

Both of these things should have been bestowed upon you by your magical guardian" said the Goblin, eyes narrowing slightly in suspicion. Harry's mind was a blur as he processed the information that was just revealed to him. Thoughts racing, and emotions at an all-time high, he grinned.

What do I need to do for the blood test? Harry took the dagger, and very lightly pricked his finger over the parchment. He let three drops fall, slowly, and blinked in surprise as the cut sealed itself. Son of Lily Potter nee Evans: January 30, October 31, Ragnok looked at the parchment, nodded his head and waved his hand. A burnished wooden box appeared upon his desk with a small bundle of documents.

Ragnok open the box, revealing a red, velvet cushioned interior, and turned it towards Harry. Nestled within their own specific indents were two keys and a signet first key looked old, and seemed to be the typical iron skeleton key.

The second key was similar to the first key, but was a larger, shimmering gold with a ruby on the end of the key's ring. Finally, Harry took in the signet ring, his eyes widened in shock. It was a large, masterfully worked gold and ruby piece, featuring a wide gold band with inlaid ruby vines on the shoulders.

Nestled within the vines on the left was a phoenix with unfurled wings, and similarly, on the right, a griffin on its hind legs, with a sword clasped in its front talons. The center stone was a shimmering ruby, cut in the old European style with a 'P' carved into the topmost facet of the gem, and then filled with gold filigree.

Harry's eyes shone with delight as he studied the details of the ring, recognizing the mythical beasts from a book he'd read at the library. Ragnok spoke, "The smaller key is to your trust vault, the gold key with the ruby is for the Potter Family Vault, and the Potter Family signet ring is to be worn by the House's Lord, which in this case is you, Harry.

Traditionally, signet rings are worn on an individual's non-dominant hand, on the smallest finger. The ring flashed and resized to fit him. I, James Ignotus Potter and I, Lily Evans Potter being of sound mind and body declare this to be our final will and testament, all others being void.

Harry if you're hearing this we have not survived to see your second birthday. Voldemort has finally found and killed us. Make no mistake; he is a murderer and an evil man. Voldemort has come after us for a specific reason; one both your mum and I think is worthless. There was a prophecy made before you were born, that gave Voldemort the idea that you would be the cause of his eventual death.

Voldemort was only given a part of the prophecy by one of his followers, but never heard the full version, and he has become obsessed with killing you. We have left Potter Manor and gone into hiding at our family's cottage in Godric's Hollow, in order to ensure that the Manor is left in one piece for you. Godric's Hollow is hidden under the Fidelius Charm, and we've used one of my friends, Peter Pettigrew, as the secret keeper. If it turns out we're dead, he's the one who betrayed us to Voldemort.

I love you son and leave everything your mom and I own to you. Stay safe and prank as many people as you can. Hardwin my beautiful green eyed baby, I love you and wish I could be there to see you grow up. You're already doing magic; there's nothing accidental about it, talking and walking, and I'm pretty sure you already understand more than any other one year old.

I have no doubt that you will be able to beat Voldemort. Study hard and learn all you can, but don't forget to live your life and enjoy the things that come with it. I love you, and I am proud of you no matter what. Hardwin sat silently, looking perfectly composed except for the tears running down his face. Ragnok allowed him time to let everything sink in. Harry managed to stutter out a 'wow', receiving a chuckle from Ragnok. You are allowed to take books and weapons out of the Potter Family Vault but you are not allowed to take any money out until you are fifteen.

They arrived at the Potter Vault after an incredibly exhilarating cart ride for Hardwin. He and Ragnok exited the cart and walked down the shaft to the entrance which, to Hardwin's surprise, was guarded by a real live dragon.

A Chinese Fireball, according to Ragnok. Take your key and lay it flat in your palm then press it against the entrance to open it," said the goblin as Hardwin looked at the entrance in awe. Spanning the entire three meters of the door was the Potter coat of arms. It featured a large red and gold kite shield separated into four quadrants.

In the top left quadrant there was a phoenix with its wings spread, and the bottom right quadrant there was a griffin standing on its hind legs with a long sword clasped in its right forepaw.

The other two quadrants of the shield featured alternating red and gold diagonal stripes. Above the shield was a painted scroll that read 'The Most Ancient and Noble House of Potter' and below the shield there was another, larger scroll with the family motto, 'Fortune Favors the Bold'.

As the vault opened, Hardwin's jaw dropped at the massive cavern filled with gold, books, weapons, artifacts, rare ingredients and other strange items that greeted his eyes. It would have taken him days of exploring to go through each and every item left to him by his family.

The first thing Hardwin did was find a trunk. After which he immediately rushed around the vault, and began filling it with books on the wizarding world, etiquette, Hogwarts-A History, charms, defensive and offensive magic, transfiguration, potions, runes, and a book on his family's history. Ragnok, seeing exactly how much had been tossed into the trunk, waved his hand - shrinking it and putting a featherweight charm on it.

Now, there's a pair of letters here, and they seem to be addressed specifically to you. Hardwin walked over and saw two envelopes; both with his name on them. One of them bore a scrawled out 'To be opened after Hardwin James Potter's fifteenth birthday. Harry, startled, looked up at Ragnok, blinking rapidly. W-w-w-what's a marriage contract and why do I have one? It may explain your parents' motives. I know you're probably very confused right now, but I did have my reasons for agreeing to this.

Evelyn Warren was a classmate and very good friend of mine from Slytherin House, and was a 'pure-blood' — one of the tolerable ones, at the very least. The Warrens, while in good standing, are not a very affluent family and are a few generations younger than most of the original families. Her parents had set up a marriage contract between her and the heir to the Greengrass family, Xavier Greengrass.

The Greengrasses, like the Warrens, are a pureblood family; but are one of the original 28 magical families in Britain. They are a rich and powerful family, almost as influential as the Potters, who were descendants of the Peverells of old. While both Xavier and Evelyn were in Slytherin, even your father, an ardent Gryffindor, got along with them. The rivalry between the Houses is ridiculous; don't buy into it unless you're on the Quidditch pitch.

When the War came, they and their families remained neutral. However, as they were both remarkably talented individuals, they received a great deal of pressure from both Dumbledore and Voldemort's supporters.

In order to allay this pressure and suspicion from either side, they asked us for this contract, to subtly prove their allegiance to the Light, while still maintaining their neutrality. Since Eve and I were good friends, and your father and Xavier had known one another since childhood; we agreed.

All four of us have just signed this, and are about to go into hiding, so we're not sure when this will be revealed to you. Even though you're both just toddlers, you already seem to get along when you're together. Knowing Evelyn as well as I do, I'm confident the pair of you will have a strong and healthy relationship. Pushing the contract from his mind, he continued looking and found his father's old school trunk.

It was a large, handsome creation made of black dragon hide with gold finishings, with three compartments that could be magically expanded to fit as much as the user needed. At the bottom of one, there was a book on something called 'Animagi', along with some handwritten notes. Hardwin swiftly transferred all of the contents of the previous trunk into his father's old trunk, which, to him, seemed like the better option.

They then left the family vault to visit his trust vault. Hardwin gathered a sizeable amount of gold that Ragnok said would buy him the best and put it in a bottomless, weightless money bag. After exchanging pleasantries with Ragnok, and thanking him for his help and assistance, Hardwin left Gringotts, and stepped out into the bustling, busy street. Looking down at his extensive shopping list, he decided that he might as well get the tedious bit out of the way.

Upon opening the door, he was greeted by a jam-packed interior, filled with young students, some his age, some older. He quietly moved around the store, picking up all the required textbooks, and tried his luck at finding a text on parseltongue, but found no mention except for a book titled 'The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts'.

He went on to get his quills, ink, parchment, cauldron, and potion ingredients at several other stores in the Alley. Though he already had a familiar, Hardwin also had his heart set on another pet; an owl. After a heated internal debate with Aiolos, which resulted in Aiolos promising that she'd not devour the owl, he made his way over to Eeylops Owl Emporium to purchase a bird.

As soon as he walked into the store, a beautiful snowy owl flew up and landed on his shoulder, cooing softly. Hardwin grinned, "I'll take her. Heading out of the store he saw the entrance to Knockturn Alley — and, being the curious boy that he was — decided to have a look around. The beautiful bird's eyes flashed with a magical glow, as she attuned herself to her new master's magic, and flew off with a soft hoot.

Eyes narrowed at the disrespect, and the use of the word 'Boy' that his dear Uncle Vernon had been so fond of, Hardwin moved his hair to show his scar and willed his signet ring to show.

He slowly raised his gaze and made eye contact with the woman. The shop owner's eyes popped in surprise, and she hastened to correct her mistake. Would you like any charms placed on the garments? Hardwin consented to be measured and while that was going on he replied, "What charms do you offer?

Madam Twilfit ran him a quick list of charms, and he gave it a few seconds of thought before replying "Growing charms on the boots and slacks, and heating charms on the cloaks, Madam. I'll stop back in an hour. As he exited the shop, Aiolos reappeared out of his skin and coiled around his shoulders and arm. I think I'll check there. He approached the store's front door, and made his way inside. Do you have a book section? The man behind the counter did not seem at all shocked to see a boy with a snake enter the shop.

Borgin as he swiftly walked Harry to the back room. Harry looked through the books and found two that seemed to change in front of his eyes. The writing went from squiggles to words in seconds. They were both very old looking, almost as if they would fall apart at the slightest touch. Hardwin, to his pleasant surprise, noted that both the tomes were written by Salazar Slytherin himself. Obviously, Henry Borgin wouldn't know this, as the writing simply looked like squiggles and odd symbols, clearly disguised by an enchantment spoken in Parseltongue.

Borgin asked with a raised brow. Harry nodded in reply before looking at Mr. Borgin with a questioning look. Borgin, detecting the unasked question, said in reply; "A hundred galleons for the pair, and, if you'd take my advice, milord, it would be best for you to avoid speaking parseltongue around others.

It tends to give most of our folk the wrong impression. Hardwin took the books and laid out galleons saying, "Thanks for the advice. Now, I'm looking into getting my wand; is Ollivander's the only place to get wands? Hardwin walked into the Wandcrafters and was greeted by a grandfatherly man who introduced himself simply as Hephaestus. Looking around, Hardwin saw hundreds upon hundreds of wooden blocks, a myriad of objects in jars, several rare and precious jewels and metals, and other magical substances that he didn't even know how to begin describing.

Hardwin moved to introduce himself, still with Aiolos coiled around him. I was merely making observation that most magical folk, even those that frequent this Alley, go to Ollivander's," Hephaestus said in a calm and easy tone. Hardwin schooled himself and softened his gaze "I apologize. Your comment about that night simply sat poorly with me.

Hephaestus nodded in acceptance and said "Well, you came here looking for a wand. Let's get you started. First-things-first, I'll need to take some measurements. While his arm was being measured, Hardwin asked, "Out of curiosity, are there any notable clients who come to your shop? Hephaestus mused for a few seconds, "Hmm, a few of the older magical families, most notably the Greengrasses.

At the mention of the Greengrass family, his thoughts turned to his bride-to-be, which dried out his mouth rather quickly, as he tried to gulp. Potter, I'll need you to run your hand over the tiny wood samples I have here on the table" at this, he gestured to the slivers of wood he had set in rows. Most of the wood slivers gave off no feeling at all.

Some felt icy cold, some felt chaotic and hostile, a few gave him pleasant, bright feelings, but none of the warmth that Hephaestus mentioned, so he continued as requested. As he reached the final three samples, the second and third last samples gave him the most warmth he had ever felt in his life. It was a pleasant warmth, not unbearably hot, but just comforting, almost like the sun was smiling upon his palm. He looked at the last sample, reluctantly placing his palm upon it; but was promptly rewarded with a shock.

He quickly went back to the other two samples, and picked them both up. One sliver was a stark white, almost like ivory, and the other was a rich brownish red.

He picked them up again, reveling in the warmth laid upon his hands. The white is wood from a Holly tree and the other is wood from a Dogwood tree. Those woods are a very odd, very intriguing combination when combined.

Dogwood tends to make for very playful, mischievous wands, capable of some very visually appealing spellwork, but are excellent for finesse and charm work. On the other hand, Holly wands are uniquely suited to protection, defense and combat magic's of all sorts; however, they tend to be very stubborn and can fluctuate in power depending upon the wand core. Hardwin walked over with an amused sigh, and began to run hands over the tops. He heard distantly, "It is okay to have more than one core as well.

Multiple cores with multiple woods tend to make for some very interesting and powerful wands". By the end of the process, Hardwin felt warmth from a shimmering red and gold feather and a string of red tissue.

Is it your familiar? A hissing from the snake was heard. Laughing, Hardwin said, "She thanks you for the compliment. Her name is Aiolos, and yes, she is my familiar. At this, Hephaestus cracked a grin. Just makes me want to ask you even more, if you'd allow me to take some venom from her to add to your wand cores. Hephaestus motioned for Aiolos to open her mouth, which she did.

He raised his wand and swirled it around one of her fangs, holding a tiny crystal phial right beneath the fang's tip. He slowly coaxed several drops of venom out before cutting off the flow of magic and stoppering the phial. Your wand will be an interesting one, Hardwin, but I'll make sure it is one to be proud of, even with all the complicated ingredients.

I'll need some time to prepare the ingredients, but if you wish to wait, you may. I'll head over there, and then I'll come back.

He paused for a moment, lost in thought, and then turned back to Hephaestus with a thoughtful look on his face. Hephaestus stared at Hardwin for a long moment as if studying him and simply replied, "Yes, I'll wait until you get back. Upon noticing him, Madam Twilfit smiled and said, "Your order is ready, my Lord. That will be galleons. Hardwin handed over the galleons plus an extra ten galleons as gratuity.

Nodding his thanks, Hardwin pulled out his trunk, which held the rest of his supplies, tapped it to un-shrink it and added his clothes to it, re-shrinking it as he left the store. He walked back to Hephaestus' shop, and entered, Aiolos reappearing on his shoulders as he walked through the doors. Potter, welcome back", said the wandmaker. He turned on his heel and walked to the back room of the shop, with Hardwin in tow.

Hardwin took a seat, out of the wandmaker's way, but still in a position to watch the crafting of his wand. Hephaestus laid out all the materials that would be used to craft Hardwin's wand on a work table, and turned to explain the meaning of the woods to his customer. Fortunately for you, your serpent's venom should provide stability between the two cores; and will fuse the heartstring and the feather, binding them together with yours and Aiolos' magic.

Obviously, any eleven-year-old would be excited at the prospect of a powerful tool of any sort in their hands. Still, Hephaestus continued on; "This, with the two woods, despite their very unique temperaments and characteristics should make for a singularly magnificent and uniquely powerful wand. Your wand won't be able to be won by force, and will be capable of some of the most dazzling spellwork ever wrought by one of my creations. Dogwood wands tend to have a flair for the dramatic, and holly wands tend to seek owners meant for great things.

With the combined properties of the woods and cores, your wand will be excellently suited to charm work, wards, glamour's, enchantments and spellwork requiring a great deal of finesse. Additionally, your wand will take to combat and defensive magic's easier than most others, all in all, I expect this will be one of my finest, but most difficult works. With the explanation out of the way, Hephaestus turned to the workbench and began his craft.

Hephaestus' first step was to fuse the cores of Hardwin's wand. He donned a pair of dragon hide work gloves and opened the jar containing the griffin heartstring.

As he withdrew the heartstring, he simultaneously opened the container of the phoenix tail feather, and brought the two substances together. With nimble fingers, and the whispered words of some unknown spell, he wound the griffin heartstring around the phoenix tail feather carefully but swiftly.

He gently laid the two combined substances on a piece of cloth, and carefully unstopped the phial of Aiolos' venom. He resumed his whispering, as he poured the venom out along the feather-heartstring, which absorbed the venom with a bright flash of red magic. What used to be a wet mess of venom, heartstring and feather, had fused together to become a feather with a shaft the same black color of Aiolos' venom, and interwoven gold and red barbs, barbules and barbicels, altogether creating a very strange, gold, red and black piece of beauty.

Having fused the cores, Hephaestus carefully wrapped the newly created Phoenix-Griffin-Cobra feather in the silken cloth, and turned his attention to the wood. The next part of the process was what astounded Hardwin. Hephaestus took the two blocks of wood, Holly and Dogwood, and laid them side by side. He swiftly removed the feather from its silk casing and placed it on top of the block of Holly, and then placed the block of Dogwood on top of the feather, creating an odd wooden sandwich.

Hephaestus then drew his own wand and tapped the blocks three times each. A flare of magical light erupted, and the woods slowly began to fuse together with the feather between them. As the woods merged, Hephaestus began to compress and mold them with his hands, almost as if the woods had become soft.

Slowly but surely, he shaped and caressed and tweaked until, in his hands, he held a long, slender object. Hephaestus gazed down at his work with a smile. The combination of materials had truly resulted in a beautiful piece. The Holly had become the main wood of the wand, resulting in an eleven inch long, tapered, brilliant white wand, with the reddish brown swirls of dogwood creating a vine-like pattern that ran from the base of the wand, to the tip, all the way around.

The red vines were ever so faintly outlined in black, which pointed to the influence of Aiolos' venom on the wand. Hephaestus turned and held his hands out, the wand carefully laid across his palms.

Hardwin, mouth dry in awe, stepped forward shakily and picked up the wand by the base. The second he did, he felt a blazing warmth rush through his system, as his magic forged a connection with the masterfully crafted wand in his hands.

He gave it an experimental wave, and a stream of flames and sparks elegantly wafted from the tip. Stunned, Hardwin looked down at the wand in his hand, then back up at Hephaestus, multiple times. He opened his mouth to say something, anything, but no words came out. Hephaestus chuckled, reading his newest customer's thoughts. Now that'll be galleons. Hardwin handed the man a bag of coins filled with galleons, "Thank you for letting me watch, sir.

With that, Hardwin left the shop and exited Knockturn alley. He looked down at his ring and shrugged.

Seconds later he vanished as the portkey whisked him away. Hardwin tumbled across a red and white marble floor. Hardwin shook his head rapidly to jolt his brain back into a wakeful state, and slowly began to regain his bearings. As he gazed around, jaw slack, he realized he was sitting in an entrance hall that was as large as the Dursleys' entire ground floor. The hall had two massive oak doors that presumably opened up to the inside of the manor.

In the middle of the hall, on floor, was the Potter family crest done in gold, about 10 feet in diameter. The rest of the hall was done in a deep scarlet red marble with ivory white veins. The creature was thin, but looked healthy, with long floppy ears, and tennis ball sized green eyes, and wore nothing but a red toga with the Potter crest on it.

Firstly, just call me Hardwin, none of this Master business. We's kept everything the same! I is serving Master James and Master Charlus, and now you. Mistress Lily never let us call her mistress either, you's just like her, makin' us bad elves. Flustered, and not wanting to be called 'master', Hardwin searched his brain for a solution to the obvious problem of his new status in the house.

I really don't want to be anybody's master. With a push of magic, Nips moved the large oaken doors, which opened with a deep bass creak. The doors led to a beautiful and warmly lit foyer, with a sitting room on either side. One; more formally decorated, for entertaining guests, and a second, with a cozier feel, for family. The first floor of the manor, apart from the entrance hall, foyer and sitting rooms, contained a cavernous kitchen, with a room for the family to eat, a library that started on the first floor, and stretched all the way up to the second floor, an ornately decorated dining room, a full-sized ball room, a study and a large atrium that opened to the land at the back of the property.

The plot of land at the back of the manor was several acres across. There was a pool made to look like a lake, a full-sized Quidditch pitch, stables, and a 50 acre forest that held trails for the horses. Those trails, and the horses themselves, were under the care of another elf, Dips. Hardwin and Nips re-entered the Manor, and ascended to the second floor.

The stairs led to a cozy looking sitting room. One door opened up to a small hallway which led to the master bedroom, which was furnished with cherry wood flooring and furniture.

A king sized bed was the focus of the room, pushed against a wall. Keeping in theme with the rest of the house, the bed had scarlet covers and curtains, with the curtains tied back with thick golden tasseled ropes. The rest of the room was just as ornate; above the headboard of the bed was the Potter family crest and motto done in gold. The room was decorated with crystal lamps, two intricately carved bookcases, and a marble fireplace with a cherry wood mantle. Off to the side, a set of double doors opened into a dressing room with two closets still stuffed full of his parents' clothing.

Further into this room, a final door opened up to the master bath which housed a large pool-like tub, and a simply massive shower. The countertops and appliances were all done in black marble with gold fixtures and crystal faucets. Aside from the master bedroom, the second floor held four bedrooms for family, and the second floor of the library. The third floor had a gym, a dueling pit with weapons lining the wall, and above the master bedroom, a nursery that looked like baby Hardwin had only just left yesterday.

The nursery had stairs connecting it to the master bedroom directly. There were also two guest bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. Finally, they descended to the basement; featuring a fully stocked potions lab, an entertainment room with a billiards table, several shelves of board games and card games, and a well-stocked, fully furnished wet-bar. The basement also housed two guest rooms and the elves living quarters.

The Manor tour took nearly 5 hours of in-depth exploration, and by the time Nips and Hardwin finished, he was completely worn out. Dinner was lovingly and masterfully cooked by Mips, the official cook of the Potter family. Mips had whipped up a simple, but wonderfully nutritious affair. Hardwin retired to his chambers and fell into a deep sleep, shortly after eating. Hardwin woke up and took a minute to realize he was no longer in the hell known as number 4, Privet Drive.

He broke out into a huge smile as he took in the sunshine streaming in through the windows, the soft, plush covers of his new bed, and the general sense of relaxation and peace that came with having his own space, his own place, his own property. He heard a low hooting noise, and noticed Hedwig perched upon a tall, golden owl-post near the window of the room. He waved and smiled in greeting, before deciding freshen himself up.

After a standard morning routine, Hardwin dressed and walked down to the kitchen for breakfast. Mips had organised a wonderful breakfast spread, and had laid out an array of dishes on the table, by the time Hardwin had arrived. Eggs done in multiple styles, bacon, sausage, toast, French toast, pancakes, waffles, fresh milk and orange juice, and plate upon plate of freshly cut fruit. Hardwin sat down and thanked Mips in a quiet, subdued tone. At this, Mips walked away, muttering "sir looks too skinny, Mips will fix.

Hardwin chuckled, shook his head and smiled. He ate his fill of the wonderful spread, and after nearly 2 hours of gorging, Hardwin felt stuffed for the first time he could remember. He went to the library next and found some books on letter etiquette, marriage contracts, and a diary written by the former Potter family heads. He headed to the study, planning on writing a letter. Harry read the book on letter etiquette in under a half hour then practiced writing with the quill for an hour.

After several drafts, and more than a few scratched out attempts at clean, legible, respectful writing that appropriately conveyed his message, he ended up with a finished product that read:. I have recently been reintroduced to the wizarding world after an absence of ten years. I had been living with my aunt and uncle but am currently at Potter Manor.

I found out about the contract when I visited my vault. I would like to meet with you and your family before school starts. As the Greengrass family was sitting down to eat a white snowy owl none of them had ever seen before swooped down and stuck its leg out to Lord Greengrass. The owl, now relieved of her duty, flew over to the eldest daughter and perched on the girl's shoulder, rubbing her head against the girl's cheek.

The girl giggled and gave the owl some bacon. Three gasps echoed in stereo as the three females in the room reacted simultaneously, as everyone there knew about the contract. Evelyn Greengrass shot up from her chair, raced over and snatched the letter from her husband's hand.

Daphne, now petting the owl on her shoulder, spoke quietly, almost to herself, "I wonder why he hasn't met with us before now? And it says that he's just been reintroduced to wizarding society. This way it leaves time for you two to become better acquainted before school. Daphne, sweetheart, you need to be prepared to meet someone completely different from everything you've heard. I'm not sure how far Petunia would take her hatred of magic.

Hardwin spent the rest of the week preparing for the upcoming meeting with his future family. He studied as much about wizarding etiquette and the social customs of the wizarding elite, as was humanly possible in the timespan he had.

He continued with his daily workouts that he started at the Dursleys and started reading up on some of the spells in his textbooks. When the blinding rays of the Friday morning sun broke through his window, Hardwin awoke. He was promptly attacked by a mess of feelings. He felt nervous, but prepared, calm, but jittery. Since he knew he had a few hours to get ready, as he was going to the Greengrass home at noon, he took his time in freshening up and dressing.

After his shower he contemplated his clothing options, wanting to impress his in-laws-to-be, while not coming off as rigid and overly formal.

He ultimately decided on formal black slacks, his dragon hide boots, a silk green shirt, and willed his signet ring to show. As he dressed, the tell-tale growls of an empty stomach hit him. He leisurely walked down to the kitchen, and was greeted by a piping hot plate of his favorites, as Mips had, by now, discerned. He sat down and invited Mips to join him for a few moments.

They were nice to us elves," Mips said before popping away. Hardwin got up and walked out to the back yard and called for Dips. He found Aiolos slithering around inside the wooden structure. He took out the portkey that came with the letter when he got to the entrance hall and hissed,"You ssshould sssink in to my ssskin. It may be more pleasssant for you" Hardwin waited for Aiolos to do so before saying, "Greengrass Estate. The first thing Hardwin noticed upon arrival was that he was still standing.

The next things he took in were the four people looking at him. The gentleman was easily 6 feet tall, had dark brown, almost black hair, and stormy gray eyes. He was imposing and from the looks of it, very strong. He introduced himself as Xavier Greengrass. The woman next to Xavier was, in Hardwin's eyes, incredibly beautiful. She stood about 5'5, had satin blond hair, bright blue eyes, a large bust, and introduced herself as Evelyn Greengrass.

Hardwin shook hands with Xavier and bent over to kiss Evelyn's hand. Evelyn then moved and put her hand on her eldest daughter's shoulder and said,. She had blond hair that was a bit darker than her mothers and magnificent icy blue eyes that looked to be a mixture of her parents.

She was, in a word, perfect, and Hardwin couldn't keep his eyes off her. He was no longer the skinny, malnourished boy from number 4 Privet Drive. He was now the spitting image of a young Noble Lord.

He had grown quiet a lot thanks to his recent exposure to magic, proper food, and exercising. He was now a bit taller than your average eleven year old, his brilliant emerald eyes showing bright with the contacts, his hair having been grown out was tamer and pulled back into a stylish tail, and you could see the hint of muscles behind his silk shirt.

Daphne's reply to Hardwin was to blush and say, "A pleasure to meet you also, Lord Potter. They took their seats, with Xavier and Evelyn at the heads of the small table, with Daphne and Astoria opposite Hardwin.

It was fairly obvious as to why. Beyond her good looks, while at Privet Drive, a girl like Daphne wouldn't be caught dead with him. As the first part of the meal was served Evelyn smiled, thinking of Lily, as Hardwin thanked the house elf serving him.

He looked down as he spoke, "Harry, has some bad memories attached to it for me. Evelyn, seeing Hardwin's downcast look, realized that she was right about Petunia holding a grudge, but decided to wait until the meal was over to ask and cast a pointed look to her husband.

Xavier got the message and started a new topic, "You said you had just been reintroduced to our world? I'm sure it's been a fascinating and slightly overwhelming time. He looked thoughtful before answering, "Well, I was really fascinated by wand crafting. I visited Hephaestus, in Knockturn Alley, for my wand, and he actually let me watch the whole process.

The Potter library has only a few potions related books, unfortunately. Her favorites were potions and charms also. She was a genius with charms," Evelyn told him. Xavier added, "I wouldn't be surprised if it was her who added the potion books to your family's library.

The Potters have, historically, been recognized for their talent in battle magic, transfiguration, and wards, with a couple rune and charm experts thrown in. Hardwin smiled brightly at hearing about his family, almost causing Daphne to swoon at how cute he looked.

He turned to her and asked, "Do you have any favorites so far? She smiled at him and said, "Herbology, runes, and potions in that order - although we won't get to study runes until third year at Hogwarts.

The meal was winding down so Evelyn asked the million dollar question, "Hardwin, love, could you tell us about your home life with your aunt?

He looked at her for almost two minutes as if looking into her soul and asked, "Are you sure you wanna know? He sighed, "Very well. Since you are my future family. But I would appreciate it if it wouldn't leave this room. At that moment, Dumbledore was out of his office and would not find out until it was too late.

I lived in a cupboard for most of my time there. I was often beaten and starved, especially if I did anything better than my cousin. I was basically forced to be their house elf. They told me that my parents died in a car crash because they were both drunk, and said that the crash was how I got my scar.

Until I started primary school, I thought my name was 'freak', only when my teacher called me 'Harry' did I find out it was not. Do I need to go on? Evelyn gave a quiet "No" before getting up and coming over to his side and hugging him. At first Hardwin stiffened, but relaxed when he remembered who was touching him.

Evelyn spoke after a minute, "Hardwin darling, you were only a child. You are not to blame for any of what happened to you, so don't you dare, for a single second, continue to think that way.

The Dursleys are monsters, and are certainly going to regret their treatment of you if I have anything to say about it. Hardwin looked up to see Xavier looking livid and Daphne crying silently. Although he knew he shouldn't be, he was amazed that anybody cared. I'm sure that will brighten everyone's spirits — after, Daphne can show you around the estate. Daphne stood from the table, "let's start outside," she said to him.

He joined her at the door and together they walked outside. Daphne led Hardwin past a swimming pool, which she said her mother talked her father into adding, and to a large garden. Daphne stopped and turned to Hardwin. Taking his hand she looked deep into his eyes and said, "I'm sorry. Daphne, still holding his hand, gestured toward the garden, "my father and I have been working in this garden ever since I can remember. It's one of my favorite places to be. He smiled at her, and she continued.

Pointing to a few big buildings Hardwin recognized as greenhouses she said, "Most of my family's business comes from our Herbology work. We grow potions ingredients, regular herbs and spices, and dozens and dozens of forms of magical and non-magical plants, flowers, trees and shrubs, among other things. Each one of the greenhouses has a specific environment that caters to the plants in it.

The Greengrasses have always had an affinity for Herbology. One of the books says the first Potter to be a weapons smith learned from a High Elf before they disappeared. Daphne looked awed at this, "I knew the Potters were an old family," she exclaimed, "but not that old! After exploring the grounds a little more Daphne took Hardwin over to their stables to meet her horse. Daphne led Hardwin back into the house and proceeded to show him around.

Hardwin noticed it was laid out very similarly to Potter Manor but without the all of the muggle additions his mother had made. They came to a stop at Daphne's room. The room was a done in soothing blue tones and the furniture and floors were all made of mahogany. Most of her floor was covered in a huge creamy-golden colored rug; the bed had gold and blue satin sheets, and had drapes around the bed that were currently tied back.

On the bed lay a black and silver flecked kneazle kitten with a lion-like tail, white paws and a white mark on its head that looked almost like a crown.

Upon seeing Daphne the tiny cat stretched, letting out a cheerful meow. Daphne smiled brightly at the kitten walked over, and picked it up, "this, is Queen, mum and dad got her for me as a Hogwarts present," Daphne said, sitting down on a cream colored settee.

Hardwin walked over and scratched Queen behind the ears, soliciting a purr from the little kitten, "fitting name," he spoke as he sat down. They went back and forth asking and answering questions, getting to know each other over the span of an hour.

They quickly discovered that they had many things in common. Both of them preferred small groups of people over large groups, and they both enjoyed music. Hardwin, having heard some of the records his parents had kept, stated outright that wizarding music had nothing on muggle music. They then moved on to the topic of Hogwarts, with Hardwin asking the bulk of the questions.

I read about them in Hogwarts a History, but the book just said that there was one for each founder, and then talked about what the founders valued.

Daphne searched her mind for what little information she had on the subject "Well" she said, biting her lip in an oddly cute manner, as she searched her thoughts, "they keep the sorting methods a secret.

It's kind of like a rite of passage, so even our parents have to keep it a secret. Daddy once told me that a former headmaster said "we sort them when they're eleven because if we waited any longer, they'd all go to Slytherin.

It seems as though they sort you based on one trait, even though most people have a mixture! You'll find wizards do a lot of rather questionable things, all because of tradition.

I think I'd fit into any of them, but I guess Slytherin might be my destination. Dinner will be in the dining room. After a wonderful dinner that was full of laughter and more time spent on getting to know everyone, Hardwin said his goodbyes. Tomorrow he was coming back for a flying session. Hardwin spent the weeks before Hogwarts with either Daphne or her whole family. For Hardwin, it was probably the most enjoyable stretch of time in all of his young life.

As September neared, Daphne and Hardwin reviewed their textbooks for the upcoming year. In the final weeks of summer, the Greengrasses had taught Hardwin how to swim, play quidditch, and ride horses. Hardwin, in turn, showed them how to fly on his hippogriffs and play billiards. They would play mini quidditch games on his pitch and he showed them some of the magical creatures that he'd discovered in the Potter family's forest.

In the short few weeks, Hardwin and Daphne had become almost inseparable when together. They would talk, study, or just sit together quietly. Astoria had become like a little sister to Hardwin; he became incredibly protective of her in a short time. Daphne's parents treated him enormously better than his aunt and uncle ever did, and he hoped that if his parents were alive, they would be like Daphne's.

A few days before they were scheduled to leave for Hogwarts, Hardwin and Daphne were riding horses on some of the Potter trails. They came to stop at a meadow that was full of wildflowers and had a small stream running through it.

They dismounted and lay down in the grass next to each other. Hardwin propped himself up on his elbow and looked at Daphne for a minute before saying, "I need to tell you something Daph, a couple things actually. There was a prophecy made that said I would be able to defeat Voldemort. Daphne sat quietly for a minute before replying, "That means we're going to have to train then. And with that, Hardwin called on Aiolos. The serpent rose from her tattoo form and slithered out of Hardwin's sleeve, prompting Daphne to gasp in surprise.

Daphne nodded and said, "Nice to meet you too" as Aiolos slithered up her arm and on to her shoulders. Hardwin smiled and told Daphne. Remember, both my parents were in Slytherin. Hardwin arrived at the train station with Daphne's family at 10 o'clock. Daphne's parents had decided that it would be a good idea for their daughter and future son-in-law to have some time to get settled into a compartment before leaving, and didn't want to leave anything to the last minute. After they arrived at the station, Xavier brought their trunks on board and placed them in the luggage compartment for them.

Hugs and warm goodbyes were exchanged all around, which meant more to Hardwin than any of his newfound family knew. After they were settled, the pair sat together in a comfortable silence, which was happily interrupted by a childhood friend of Daphne's. Their compartment door burst open, revealing a pretty, jade-eyed brunette, around Daphne's size, who bounced in with a cheerful grin.

The girls talked about Greece for about fifteen minutes before the compartment door slid open again. Standing in the door was a tall boy of eleven who looked to be Italian. He had dark hair, eyes and skin. After the pleasantries were exchanged, Blaise sat down and spoke, "the train should be leaving soon.

The train ride was spent getting to know Blaise and Tracey. Blaise came from a pureblood family, but was raised by his mother, who'd had seven husbands, all of whom died mysteriously.

Blaise seemed a bit touchy on the subject. His mother though had raised him with all the grace and training given to other purebloods, and they also learned that his family was neutral during the war. Blaise seemed to be totally indifferent of status, having ventured into the muggle world with his mother, having occasionally experienced their prejudice. Tracey was a half-blood whose father was from a minor pureblood house. The Davis family had only been around for about years.

Her father, Marius Davis, owned a profitable wizard antiques shop in Knockturn Alley. Davis Antiques was at the entrance of the Alley so more people, even those strictly aligned with the 'Light", would stop there. The shop was opened by her great grandfather, and the Davis family was quite adept at curse breaking and were widely considered to be expert historians. Tracey's mother, Addison, was muggle-born and her father was a Baron in the muggle world.

Tracey's mother and Daphne's mother had been best friends since they met on the train to Hogwarts their first year. The train ride was spent playing exploding snap and poker. Hardwin knew how to play poker, as his uncle frequently watched it on the tele. He taught the other three how to play and they had a couple of friendly games.

They were interrupted once by a blond haired little boy with a pointed nose, who tried and failed to look older than he was by slicking back his hair.

On either side of him were two thuggish looking boys who just stood there silently. Hardwin tensed in his seat, which Daphne noticed, "Malfoy, why don't you try not acting like your arrogant death-eater of a father and ask nicely, and then maybe we'll consider answering," Daphne hissed out, "and while you're at it, lose the goons.

Malfoy reddened and was about to storm out when Hardwin spoke up, "Malfoy, before you act as though you own the world, you should learn a little something about your family," he pulled out an old, worn looking book and tossed it to the blonde boy before shutting the door on them.

I already read it, and that was just a copy. I'll show you the actual book later," Hardwin whispered to her. The boys left the compartment to change while the girls changed in the compartment. Apparently while the boys were out, a bossy, bushy-haired girl had come by looking for a toad. The train came to a stop and they were told to leave their belongings on the train. Hardwin turned to Hedwig, "Hey girl, do you want to be let out," he asked.

The owl nodded her head so Hardwin opened the window and her cage and let her out. All four departed the train and made their way over to a huge man named Hagrid, who called "Firs' years! Four to a boat! Once all the first years had been accounted for, and had boarded the tiny boats, they set off across the loch, towards the castle. As they rounded the bend of the massive loch, and got their first look at Hogwarts, they all gasped.

Hardwin was happy to be in a place that was so close to his parents' memories, and clasped Daphne's hand. Daphne just squeezed his hand, seeming to know what he needed. Hagrid led them to the entrance hall where they were met by professor McGonagall.

I am Professor McGonagall. You will be sorted into one of four houses; they are Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. While you are at Hogwarts, your house will be your family. Now wait here while I see if they're ready for you.

They saw Malfoy reading the book Hardwin gave him, a red-headed boy franticly trying to get dirt off his nose, and the bossy girl from before talking to a few frightened looking girls about something she read in Hogwarts, A History. Then, somebody screamed, and they all turned and saw four ghosts gliding into the room; two seemed to be arguing. Daphne whispered to Hardwin, "These four ghosts belong to each of the houses, my mum said they did this in her first year too.

Just then, Professor McGonagall came back into the room, "It's time. There was a high table at the far end of the hall, on a marble dais, where the professors sat. In front of the High table sat a stool with a hat on it, which, upon noticing the first years' entrance, promptly burst into song. Oh you may not think I'm pretty, But don't judge on what you see, I'll eat myself if you can find A smarter hat than me. There's nothing hidden in your head The Sorting Hat can't see, So try me on and I will tell you Where you ought to be.

You might belong in Gryffindor, Where dwell the brave at heart, Their daring, nerve, and chivalry Set Gryffindors apart;. You might belong in Hufflepuff, Where they are just and loyal, Those patient Hufflepuffs are true And unafraid of toil;. Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw, if you've a ready mind, Where those of wit and learning, Will always find their kind;.

Or perhaps in Slytherin You'll make your real friends, Those cunning folks use any means To achieve their ends. So put me on! And don't get in a flap! After the song professor McGonagall unrolled a parchment and began calling names. Hardwin watched as first Tracey, and then Daphne were both sorted into Slytherin. Hardwin saw Malfoy close the book given to him with a thoughtful look and take his turn at the stool, the hat shouted Slytherin about 30 seconds after being on his head.

As Hardwin came to the stool he turned and faced professor McGonagall and spoke loudly enough to be heard by most, "please call me Hardwin, ma'am. At the Slytherin table Daphne noticed the look of surprise come over Dumbledore when Hardwin announced his full name. She filed it away to tell him later.

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