Chapter 6: The Third Horcrux
The elves, because Winky had helped too, had done good work. When Harry, Ron and Hermione arrived early the following day at Grimmauld Place, the house was spotlessly clean. The portrait of Sirius’ mother had been removed, wound and stocked in the attic. Their own things were respectively in their cupboards, the beds were prepared and clean. The photos of Harry’s parents were on the bedside table that Harry had fetched from Godric’s Hollow. These attentions touched Harry very much.
“We are in our home” burst out Ron happily.
“Where is your room, Dobby ?”, Harry asked.
“‘Dobby has chosen his room in the attic, Mr Potter.”
The three friends followed the elf to his “room”. The attic was separated by the load-bearing walls the same way as the other floors underneath but with an alley from one end to the other. Each room had only three walls, and no door. Dobby had cleared a small corner in the first room to place a childbed he had found in the attic. The roof was very low. At the further end of the room Harry had to kneel down to be able to move.
“Very well, Dobby”, Harry said. “But in the attic it’s very hot in summer, and very cold in winter. We’ll improve your room, today, Dobby.”, then to Ron and Hermione, he went on: “We’ll do some kind of do-it-yourself work. We’ll install here a partition with a door, to turn it into a room apart. We’ll go to London in a D.I.Y shop and buy some wallpaper, insulation polystyrene plates for the walls and roof (which let see the tiles and beams), wooden boards for the partition, angle brackets to maintain it, and I would like to change this small skylight window into a double-glazing one… and … I think I’ll open an account in a Muggle bank and put there a small reserve of Muggle money. Well, we’ll go first to Gringotts”.
“Dobby,” said Harry to the elf, “we’ll go to London, during that time, you’ll try to clean your room, put all the other things in the other rooms of the attic, I mean except your bed, of course, OK ?”.
That evening, when the three friends went down to take their first dinner in their ‘home’, (Mrs Weasley had given them, on their departure, a great basket of provisions) Dobby’s room was unrecognisable. It looked like a doll’s room. The wallpaper, that Harry had chosen in a shade of light green and blue, reflected the sunset rays and flooded the room in a soothing light. The evening air that came through the brand new window refreshed the whole room with its summer flowered perfume. Hermione had found others pieces of furniture from a child-chamber to complete Dobby’s room: two small chairs, a small low table, a child rocking chair to relax, and a small cupboard. She had also found, bed sheets and blankets, all clean, as they had been kept in their protective covers. Dobby thought he was dreaming !
“Oh, thank you Mr Potter, Miss Granger and Mr Weasley !” said the elf with watering eyes.
“I am glad that you like your room. We’ll do the same for Winky in the attic above Ron’s room at The Burrow. OK ?”
After dinner, Ron relaxed in his armchair.
“Woouuawh ! We are really quiet in our home, just the three of us !”
“Ya !”, Harry replied absent-mindedly. He was checking and re-reading the various things and parchments he had found in the drawer of the Godric’s Hollow table. Then he stood up and went to have a look at the genealogical tree of the « Noble and Most Ancient House of Black ».
Ron paid no attention at all to the genealogical tree, he closed his eyes, and relaxed in his armchair, with his hands behind his head.
Hermione read her Daily Prophet of the day.
“What’s so interesting in that family tree of the Blacks ?” asked Ron, exasperated, and still keeping his eyes closed.
“I’m wondering whether R.A.B. was not simply Regulus Black ? He might have a second Christian name with an «A»,” replied Harry from the drapes of the embroidered genealogical tree.
In a jump, Hermione and Ron rushed to Harry…
“Here the name of Regulus bears no second Christian name”, said Hermione who first found the place of Regulus on the embroidered tree.
“I see here that they had a grandfather of the name Arcturus”, said Harry. “But I remember that Sirius told me about an uncle of his whom he liked best and who left him at his death a nice fortune. That uncle must be here on that burnt spot, and … er …what was his name ?”
“Alphard”, said Ron. “Dad liked very much that cousin Alphard, he often spoke about him.”
“Yes, Alphard ! Suppose that R.A.B. is Regulus Arcturus Black, or Regulus Alphard Black. That sounds perfectly well, and moreover he was a Death Eater in close contact with Voldemort ! Where could he have hidden the locket ?”
“The glass-fronted cabinets we’ve cleaned !” burst out Hermione after a moment of reflection.
But the cabinets were empty when they went to check.
“It was Mundungus who stole them all ! To whom could he have sold it ?” said Harry, looking really desperate.
“There might be a chance that the Black family’s elf, I mean Kreacher, had picked it up and hidden it in his ‘den’ !’, said Hermione, suddenly happy at remembering this detail, which had just flashed back in her mind.
And the three friends, full of hope ran to the cupboard behind the kitchen where the boiler was, and where Kreacher had fitted out his ‘den’. It was a true hovel. A jumble of assorted rags and smelly old blankets were piled on the floor. In a far corner glinted small objects and coins that Harry guessed Kreacher had saved, magpie-like, from Sirius’s purge of the house. With the long chimney tongs Hermione withdrew everything that was in the cupboard and displayed the lot on the floor. There was everything: Kreacher’s blankets, mostly all the ornaments from the glass cabinets, frames for photos, pipes, jewellery cases, medals of the Order of Merlin, rings, the photo of Bellatrix, … but Salazar Slytherin’s locket wasn’t there.
Disappointed, Harry asked Dobby:
‘Could you please, put all theses ornaments in the drawers below the glass-fronted cabinets, as we don’t know exactly, perhaps one of these things is the one we should have looked for. Not the photo, you throw away the photo. As for the blankets, you throw them away or wash them and keep them in the attic, just as you like’.
When Dobby took up the blankets to fold them, something glittering fell onto the floor.
“Wait a minute, Dobby,” said Harry, and he bent down to pick it up. “Woouuawh ! we’ve got it. Hermione, Ron, we’ve got it !”, Harry cried out because his friends had already left the kitchen. “We’ll go to our living room,” Harry proposed, and the three friends went up to their living room, closely followed by Dobby with a tray and three cups of hot tisane.
“It’s definitely the locket that I’ve seen in the Pensieve”, Harry said.
It was in heavy gold with a tiny snake worked in relief in the form of an S on the front face.
“We’ve all tried to open it but we couldn’t. Do you remember ?” Harry went on.
They passed the locket from one hand to another to examine it under every angle.
“It’s very finely worked. So fine. Such a tiny snake, yet we could see its scales glitter. It must have been made by the Goblins. Only the Goblin-made objects could reach such perfection. If you have examined auntie Muriel’s Tiara, it’s of an incredible keenness”, Ron said while passing the locked to Hermione.
“We must now think over about how we can destroy it”, said Harry.
“First, we should get for each of us, a pair of gloves, thick ones, in double layer of dragon skin, if possible”, Hermione suggested.
“Yes. You are thinking of Dumbledore’s wounded hand ?” asked Harry, “and that makes me think that each of us should have a Bezoar, and we should keep it permanently in our pocket. I think that if I had had a Bezoar that night, perhaps I could have saved Dumbledore, or at least slowed down the effect of the poison”, Harry added sadly.
“That is a very good idea” said Hermione. “I’ll note down on a book every time we find out what we need, and so when we go to Diagon Alley we will not forget anything” added Hermione, placing the locket on the table, and standing up to go and fetch a note book.
The letter ‘S’ of the locket, under the flickering light of the candles in the living room, seemed like alive, an idea flashed in Harry’s head. He jumped up.
“Come here, you two, and stand behind me”. He drew out his wand and kept it ready in his hand. Then he scrutinized the locket, and spoke in Parseltongue, the snake language:
“Open up !”
And the locket opened up as if by magic. A wisp of dark smoke rose from the opened locket, on which Harry pointed his wand crying stately in a sharp voice:
“Avada Kedavra !”
A green flash shot out from Harry’s wand and stroke right in the middle of the smoke wisp, which broke into thousands of pieces then it disappeared in thin air.
“I think that you’ve just destroyed the third Horcrux”, said Hermione.
“Yes, I hope so”, replied Harry.
That night, again, Harry saw in his dreams, mysterious objects that he could not quite reach, though Dumbledore helpfully offered Harry a rope that turned into snakes the moment he began to climb … He woke up in the middle of the night and lay awake thinking about the significance of that nightmare he had seen again and again.
Little by little, the life of the three friends at Grimmauld Place got itself organized. Hermione had drawn up a very strict timetable: which time for the training of new spells, which other for reading. Each one had a book to read, to dissect what was interesting and important in it, then to discuss together.
As for Dobby, he received an order from Harry, he was to learn how to write perfectly the word ‘WULFRIC’ in capitals. As the next meeting of the Order drew closer, and Harry would have to give to each member of the Order the new name on a piece of parchment so as to allow them to come to the re-christened Head Quarters. Harry feared that people might guess by a bad handwriting that Dobby was the Secret Keeper. Dobby applied himself to the task with all his good will.
It was the last meeting of the Order before the opening term of Hogwarts, and it still took place at Hogwarts. The meeting was cheerful and animated because Bill and Lupin were back.
As no member felt himself to be up to the task to present himself as candidate to the post of Leader, the Assembly decided that they would elect a coordinator and that all decisions of the Order would be taken after debate and vote. By the end of the meeting, Aberforth Dumbledore was elected Coordinator.
Harry distributed to every member of the Order a specially folded piece of parchment in which Dobby had beautifully written the word ‘WULFRIC’. Harry warned that the parchment would destroy itself two seconds after opening (which was a piece of magic performed by Dobby).
Fleur had officially been cleared of by the Ministry, she had received piles of individual letters of congratulations and thanks from everywhere, and even wonderful wedding presents from unknown people.
Before the beginning of terms at Hogwarts, as Harry had promised, the three friends had had time to convert the attic at The Burrow into a room for Winky as nice and cosy as the one of Dobby .
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