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Published: 09/21/2004
Updated: 01/14/2005
Words: 139,369
Chapters: 38
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Harry Potter and the Goblin Rebellion


Story Summary:
Year 6 - The goblins are threatening rebellion: Now that Fudge acknowledges Voldemort's return, he is pushing wartime policies, which oppress the goblins. Voldemort is seeking the secret in an ancient Egyptian magical site. Harry is being drawn into these two seemingly-unrelated developments. At the same time, he must train students in the schoolwide DA, while the burden of the Prophecy is filling him with visions, which cause Harry to pull back from his friends. But love has a way of arising whether it is welcome or not. For Harry, the course to resolution is never smooth, but if Harry can thwart Voldemort's plot, he can gain access to the secret which could enable him to use the 'Power the Dark Lord knows not.'

Chapter 27

Chapter Summary:
Harry, Ginny and Ron make plans for the DA to conduct a large practice battle while they wait for Hermione to send them a Braille translation key. When the key arrives, they decipher the message of the gumwrappers, but it still makes no sense to them. Harry asks Dumbledore for help, and learns what he wants to know, but finds they are at a dead end.

Chapter 27 - goblinsweresoldtombbug

As Harry, Ginny and Ron left the owlery, Harry said "That'll take a couple of days. No sense in lurking about the library when we have such a good lead. Let's head to the gym - there's just enough time for a good workout before dinner."

The others agreed, and they stopped by the dorm to pick up their gym bags. As they were exercising, Ron said to Harry, "Y'know, Harry, in the DA we're learning a lot about facing off against one or a few people and trading spells, but if there's a battle, especially if we have to defend Hogwarts, it won't be like that at all."

"Well, I reckon not," Harry agreed, "there was some of that at the Ministry of Magic, but it was mostly it broke into a lot of individual battles."

"If there's a big attack," said Ginny, "we'll have to be using much bigger groups to fight if we hope to have a chance of standing our ground, or better yet, we may have numbers or position on our side and be able to coordinate our spells effectively."

"Okay, it sounds like you have something in mind," asked Harry, as he laid down on a bench for a lift.

Ron spoke haltingly as he reverse-curled a dumbbell, "Yeah, several of us got talking while you were working with people on their Patronus Charm. We thought we could stage a battle: divide into teams, try to capture something, and then hold it against the other team, something like that."

"That'd be cool, wouldn't it?" said Harry, taking the barbell from the rack and lowering it to his chest.

"We thought it would be fun and great training, too," said Ginny through her sit-ups.

"Were you thinking of staging several battles with different groups, or one big battle?" asked Harry, as he bench-pressed a barbell.

"We batted that around, and the consensus came that smaller battles would turn into so many one-on-one spars. To learn how to coordinate the massed firepower of full teams, we thought one big battle would be better," replied Ron.

"You talked about this with Hermione, didn't you?"

"Of course she was in on it. Why?" said Ron, with a hint of defensiveness.

"Calm down: I'm not saying everything has to be cleared with her. It's just that she would have commented on other occasions where wizards had to fight as assembled armies. We could look over the books and study the strategies they used."

Ginny laughed. "Ah, that's the old Harry Potter we know - when in doubt, run to the library."

"Oi!" exclaimed Harry, snapping at her thigh with his workout towel.

"Eww, Harry, you splattered me. That thing's soaking wet," complained Ginny.

"Yeah, well that's about the only way there'll ever be any sweat on you in the gym."

Ginny charged at him and they caught each other at their shoulders and started pushing, laughing as they did. Gradually Harry got the upper hand and pushed her back toward the wall. He got closer as he pushed and Ginny got a look on her face that was mixed fright and hopefulness. Harry could hear and feel her quickened breaths and felt a thrill deep inside; even his death visions were being pushed aside. Then Harry saw Ginny glance past his shoulder to where Ron was. Suddenly she dropped down and rolled out to the side, leaving Harry falling against the wall. Ginny swung a leg out along the wall and kicked outward, knocking Harry's legs out from under him.

"There's more to a fight than brute strength, Potter," she said triumphantly, "Speed and cunning trump power."

Harry rolled to a sitting position and took a second to assess both of their reactions. Then he smiled and said quietly, "Let's not forget heart."

"You mean, to persist even when things look hopeless?" said Ginny even more quietly to Harry.

Harry looked into her eyes. "Many a battle's been won by the sheer refusal to be defeated."

"I'll keep that in mind."

Harry saw Ron approaching. He hopped up and extended his hand to help Ginny up.

"So you're okay with having a training battle like that?" Ron asked Harry.

"Oh, sure, besides good training, it'll be great motivation to master all the spells we'll be allowed to use," answered Harry. "The biggest concern I have is injuries. It could get dangerous, all those kids out there in the heat of battle firing spells at each other. I guess we'll need to get approvals and make sure that Madam Pomfrey is ready for it," said Harry, "and I think Hermione and I had better stay out and act as referees - or rescuers. Maybe Madam Hooch would help us out on that, too, this is rather like a sporting match."

The workout passed quickly as they developed plans. They thought Spring Break would be the best time to do it, since there would be no classes or quidditch, there would be time to recover from injuries, and the fifth and seventh years preparing for OWLs and NEWTs would be desperate for a diversion by then. They called it Spring Skirmish. It was decided that they would divide up by the already established teams of the DA, which would serve as platoons, with each team leader acting as the lieutenant in command of each platoon.

When Harry asked about who would lead each side, Ron stammered a bit and admitted that he had hoped to lead one side. "I can picture it now, like directing an enormous combination of wizard chess and quidditch. It'd be awesome."

"Well, I don't think anyone would dispute that you're qualified, Ron," said Harry, "How about you, Ginny, are you interested in leading a side?"

"Not against him - he may be a lunkhead, but he knows strategy. Why don't you write to the other original DAs - see who's interested?"

"Oh, that reminds me, what about Fred and George? Do you think they would close their shop to do this? Maybe Lee could cover or maybe one of them could get away and leave the other," said Harry.

"Well, let's owl everyone and see what they all say. The owls won't be busy during the break, so it won't hurt to write lots of letters - probably do 'em some good," said Ron.

Over dinner they mentioned their idea to their mother and father and the rest of the staff and students who were there. There was general enthusiasm for the idea, along with some healthy concern over injuries. Plans to avoid major injuries and heal minor ones were discussed. Even Snape was supportive and offered his assistance.

Harry looked at Ron and Professor McGonagall before saying, "Well, Professor Snape, certainly extra observers and rescuers for the injured would be welcome. But after what happened with our last DA project, I would really appreciate Malfoy being occupied at the time."

Snape paused, measuring the reply. "He has previously visited his parents during the break, but if he remains at the school, appropriate measures can be arranged so that we do not have any such interference. Certainly all of Slytherin House is anxious not to lose points as occurred on Halloween."

Hagrid suggested that the goal be to capture and hold the paddock behind his hut, with the two forces starting on opposite sides. In addition to Madam Hooch and Snape, Professors McGonagall, Sinistra, Flitwick, Vector, Sprout and Weasley offered to serve as additional referees, so Harry could concentrate more on coaching and Hermione could concentrate on countercursing people. Mrs. Weasley offered her assistance to Madam Pomfrey, in case it should be needed, and the offer was accepted.

Hermione responded to their Braille request in a day and a half. Hedwig brought the message in at breakfast and accepted a couple of sausages before flying up to the owlery. Hermione sent a Braille translation key. She also sent a parchment obviously written in Braille, or at least in Braille-pattern dots. After breakfast they took the letter back to the Gryffindor common room to translate it from Braille.

She had written: "You gits - if you are going to owl me a letter write me more than that. Anyway, I find that all of the patterns we thought might be letters are actually numbers. Since the odd dot of each combination was through a letter, I think that is the key. Tell me what you get. See you in a few days."

Since the wrappers were in Hermione's dorm, Ginny ran up to get them. The boys waited until they heard her step out of the room onto the stairs and then stepped on the bottom step, causing it to transform into a long spiral sliding board. Ginny laughed as she came whizzing down.

"Very funny, you two, but I might have lost some of the wrappers. Help me count. Harry, how many were there?"

"Erm, 22, I think," said Harry. He rolled his eyes upward as he did some counting. "Hm, if Hermione's right that there's a number for each letter, that would make sense, since that's the number of letters in Droobles Best Blowing Gum."

They spread them out and figured out the number that corresponded to each one. When they finally wrote down the letters in order, they read "goblinsweresoldtombbug."

"Oh, good," said Ron, "Now that's all cleared up. Let's go establish world peace!"

"Ron, it meant something to Mrs. Longbottom," said Ginny, "she made a point of giving Harry exactly the same number of wrappers as there were letters and to mark them all to give the proper order."

"And Ron, while she clearly isn't all there, I am certain she had some sense in giving me the wrappers - you had to see her look."

"Fine, we'll take it seriously - may as well over break. So what do we know from this?" relented Ron.

"Okay, it could say 'goblins were sold tomb bug.' Or 'goblins we resold tomb bug.' Either makes some sort of sense," said Ginny.

"Or it could say 'Go blin swer es old tom bb ug'," said Ron.

"Ron, if you aren't going to take this seriously, why don't you just owl Hermione with what we have and let her work on it," said Ginny.

"I'll just do that."

After Ron went upstairs to write to Hermione, Harry said "You know, there're two things that we can look into that are pretty sure to help if there's anything here. It's clear that any sensible division of these letters refers to goblins and to a 'tomb bug,' and it would have had to have been something Mrs. Longbottom was working on before she lost her mind. How else could she have found out about anything worth telling?"

"Good thinking, Harry. But how do we start on those?"

"Let's go up to Ron and my room - you get him to ask Hermione about what 'tomb bug' might mean, and I'll use my mirror to talk to Dumbledore about Mrs. Longbottom - since she was in the first Order, he may have a good idea what she was up to before the Death Eaters got to her.

Up in the dorm, behind the closed curtains of his four-poster, Ron had gotten a good start on a letter to Hermione. When Ginny and Harry came into the room, Ron pulled the curtains. Ginny poked her head inside to tell him to put the additional question in there about 'tomb bug.' As soon as she did, however, he yelled at her and pushed her head out of the curtain.

"Ron, what's wrong with you? It's just me; you've got your clothes on, as if that really mattered!" yelled back Ginny.

"Can't a guy have privacy anyplace," said Ron.

Ginny got a sing-song voice. "Ickle Ronny doesn't want us to see what he's writing to Hermione. He must be writing a lo-o-o-ove note and dotting the 'i's with little hearts. O-o-o-ooh!"

"Shut up, Ginny, or I'll tell Harry some of the things you used to do with his picture."

"Ron, shut up, he's right here!" hissed Ginny.

"Aah, hit you where it hurts, didn't I?" cooed Ron.

"Ron, that was a long time ago," said Ginny.

"Then it doesn't matter if I tell him, right" said Ron, "Hey, Harry, guess what Gin..."

"SHUT UP, Ron. If you want, I'll write my own letter to Hermione - how much do you want me to put in it?"

The room was silent for a few seconds.

"Truce," said Ron.

"Truce," said Ginny, "just ask Hermione what the phrase 'tomb bug' might refer to. And we'd best be quiet now, Ron; Harry's calling Dumbledore."

Harry got out the mirror, hopped onto his bed, and pulled the curtains shut, in case the Weasleys started to squabble again. He had a sunken feeling in his chest over it - not that he found it unfortunate, since he knew they teased with love for each other. Rather it was the knowledge that as well-accepted as he was by the Weasleys, he would never know such sibling intimacy as that. Suddenly he felt very lonely indeed. He noticed that Sirius was not in his portrait frame and wondered where he had gotten off to. He held up the mirror and called to Professor Dumbledore, who soon appeared.

"Well, Harry, this is a pleasant surprise. We were just at breakfast an hour ago. You don't usually call me so soon. Is something up with your scar?"

"No, Professor, we're just working on a mystery and thought you might be able to help - if you have the time." Harry then described all the circumstances of his receiving the wrappers and what their investigation had led them to.

"Well, Harry, I may be able to move you a bit further along on both questions. Several ancient sun-worshipping cultures, most notably the Egyptians, believed that the scarab beetle represented the sun god, Ra. This is because the most noticeable species of the scarab family are the dung beetles. They are often seen rolling pellets of dung to their burrows to lay eggs in. The rolling of the pellets reminded the ancients of the movement of the sun across the sky, so they pictured the sun god as like a dung beetle rolling the sun each day. Also the emergence of the young scarabs from the buried balls of dung made the Egyptians think both of the sun's victory over night every morning when it comes over the horizon and of resurrection and victory over death. Despite their occupation, the scarabs are quite handsome insects and were very popular as themes for jewelry, especially since such jewelry had religious meaning as well. Of course, to place a representation of a god on or into a tomb - especially a god who represented both resurrection and something as apparently eternal and reliable as the sun - was a sort of prayer for immortality. Scarabs decorated many Egyptian burial sites, as well as religious structures and objects. Ancient Egyptian wizards, too, accepted the notion of the scarab as a representation of the divine. They were often used as charmed objects. Which brings us to Alice Longbottom.

"She was tracing the path of one particular scarab charm used for an Egyptian religious site. It happens to be the site Bill Weasley is at right now. He has already told me that he told you and your friends what the inscription at the site said. He left out that the key to opening the site is believed to be a carved scarab beetle charm. Since scarab beetles represented immortality in ancient times it is thought likely that the instructions or directions inside are an incantation or recipe for an immortality spell or potion. This is another of the projects that Voldemort has pursued in his quest for immortality. The goblins have controlled that site for quite some time, but no charm-breaker they have brought in has been able to open the structure. The goblins want Bill to crack the charms, but the greater concern for both the goblins and the Order is to keep Voldemort and any Death Eaters out. Alice Longbottom was following the trail of that particular scarab that opens the site. It was supposed to have been carried north and eventually to Alexandria, Egypt, from which Joseph of Arimathea was supposed to have embarked on his voyage to Britain with the Holy Grail."

"Dobby's hullabaloo!" said Harry.

"Ah, you were listening when Professor Flitwick was explaining things. Yes, the scarab was what Voldemort was seeking when Dobby's hullabaloo was exterminated."

"So, either the legends are untrue, or the hullabaloo took it someplace else," observed Harry.

"Yes, because if they had the scarab where they were killed, Voldemort would have it now, and he would already have raided and opened the site where Bill is."

"So Mrs. Longbottom's message confirms that she learned that the goblins actually got the scarab."

"Exactly, Harry, unless of course she is completely delusional, and one cannot be too certain with a woman in her condition."

"But when she handed me the wrappers, I could see such a glint of awareness and intelligence in her eyes - I really believe she knew what she was doing. Actually it was deeper than her eyes: it was in her mind."

"I thought so, Harry. I've seen the signs for some time that you have the makings of a legilemens. That is perhaps another talent you acquired from Voldemort - a more generally useful one than parseltongue. Professor Snape has been describing to me how your mind has grappled his, rather than just shielded. That's the sure sign of someone with the knack for legilemency. I had instructed him to try to develop that capacity without telling you. It both strengthens your defense and is of course a source of immensely useful information once you learn to control it. I believe you've been getting glimpses of his memories? Yes, he was showing you how to delve into another's mind. He is quite good, don't you think? It has been quite a sacrifice for him to allow you access to his mind. I hope you will never question his loyalty again."

"My mind understands, Professor, but sometimes it is hard to take to heart," said Harry, "So does that mean that Mrs. Longbottom did actually confirm that the goblins acquired the scarab?"

"Clearly she believes she did. That's all the legilemency can show - the state of her mind. My concern is that this may have been what the Death Eaters tortured her for and that they may have therefore learned this. She would have had no way of knowing what happened to Voldemort when he tried to kill you. That was Frank Longbottom's area of expertise. And they knew well enough that he would never have told her - too much of a security risk. In fact he did not even know. But she also had information they wanted - the location of the scarab. So they took turns torturing the two of them alternately - making each watch the other one being tortured till he or she passed out, then reviving that one to watch the other in turn be tortured until that other passed out; this went back and forth for days, until neither seemed to have had anything left in their minds at all - except maybe the confirmation of the presence in Britain of the scarab."

"Professor Flitwick said it was reputed to be in a Gringott's vault," said Harry.

"That is a distinct possibility. Gringott's and Hogwarts are two places that Voldemort has never had dependable access to. In your first year, he was able to guide Professor Quirrell to a break-in of one of Gringotts' vaults, but the security reacted immediately and he was barely able to escape after learning the philosopher's stone had been removed."

"Is it here at Hogwarts?" asked Harry.

Dumbledore smiled. "It is a healthy mistrust on your part to question whether I have told you everything. But no, not to my knowledge, it is not here. My guess would be in the vault of the hullabaloo that was killed."

"Would that have remained unexamined all this time?" asked Harry.

"Yes, so long as not all members of the family, the hullabaloo, have been accounted for."

"Are you saying that whatever is in there belongs to Dobby?"

"IF he can prove that he is the sole survivor of that hullabaloo."

"What about Professor Flitwick?"

"Although he is related by blood, his mother left the hullabaloo to marry Fangorn Flitwick, so Professor Flitwick would only inherit when all members of the hullabaloo had been accounted for. And before you start getting suspicious, let me assure you that Filius Flitwick would never seek to harm Dobby to acquire an inheritance."

Harry laughed lightly. "I'm glad you said it, but I couldn't possibly harbor such suspicions of Professor Flitwick."

"Ah, but just as Professor Snape is trustworthy without being pleasant, you mustn't confuse a pleasant personality for trustworthiness. If you remember, Professor Lockhart was quite affable, if perhaps too unctuous. There's something else you should know. Another interpretation of the inscription would have the instructions be for something that can be enjoyed presently. If so, then it could not be instructions for immortality."

"How so, Professor?"

"Well, if you think about it immortality only shows itself as the years pass: anyone may be immortal until death proves otherwise. The words seem to indicate a power or quality of present value."

Harry nodded, "So if Voldemort is looking for immortality from it, but it is some other power, then it is a 'power the Dark Lord knows not,' correct?"


"Which would perhaps give someone - me, for instance, - the 'power to vanquish the Dark Lord?'"

"Very possibly."

"And Mrs. Longbottom was told of the Prophecy, just as my parents were?"


"And she knew that the boy with the lightning bolt scar was the one who needed that power."

"Her actions seem to confirm that."

"So that's what Mrs. Longbottom's message is all about. What do we do about it?" asked Harry.

"What would you suggest?" countered Dumbledore.

"We could try to prove Dobby's identity."

"With the tension between wizards and goblins at this time, they would not accept the coincidences which convince us of Dobby's origin," replied Dumbledore.

"So how could he convince them?"

"All I can think of would be a demonstration by him of character so goblinlike, so unelflike, that even they would not deny his identity. What that would be I cannot say," answered Dumbledore.

"And for now, the protections that are on the site are keeping the formula safe, aren't they? And so long as Voldemort is distracted in Egypt, we can build our strength here," said Harry, "May I tell my friends about all this?"

"Ron and Ginny Weasley have already heard it," said Dumbledore as Harry heard a rustling of his bed curtains, "and you may certainly tell Miss Granger. You may as well tell Professor and Mrs. Weasley - they know most of it already, and of course, since Bill is at the site, it concerns them intimately. But I believe it should go no farther than that."

"Thank you, Professor. I'll see you at lunch, I suppose."

"I think so, Harry. If nothing prevents me, I don't miss meals." And with that Dumbledore's face faded out.

"Alright, you two," called Harry, "how much did you hear?"

Both Ron and Ginny had naughty grins.

"Pretty much all of it," said Ginny. "What was that stuff about 'A Power the Dark Lord Knows Not'."

"Will you trust me if I say you are better off not knowing? I'd prefer not to lie to you."

"Well, if those are the choices, I think we'd both rather just accept that some things can't be told - but it sounds very ominous" said Ron, "So that's it then - mystery solved, let sleeping dogs lie, and we'll just forget about it."

"Even though it contains either the power to defeat Voldemort or the power to make him invulnerable?" added Ginny.

"Reckon so," said Harry, "got any other ideas?"

"Not right now, but I'm going to keep thinking about it," admitted Ginny, "I'll just owl Hermione about what we learned - in a very general way, of course. We can talk details when she gets here on Boxing Day. Ron, you can throw out the letter now."

"Um, no, that's okay, I'll, erm, take care of it later," said Ron.

"Aah," said Harry, "it's just a little about the message, and a lot about you two, eh?"

"Oh, shut up, Harry!"