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HP stories following Canon including OotP >> Harry Potter and the Goblin Rebellion, Ch. 2 by dedalusdiggle

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Chapter 2 – The Yetis

Harry turned from the window and heard the front door slam. Dudley was complaining loudly about being exhausted from evening chores and famished from his diet. The stomping could be heard proceeding to the kitchen, followed by the opening of the refrigerator, Dudley’s groan “Only diet drinks!” and his mother’s comforting him over his hardships. Harry was bemused at the fact that Dudley’s chores that evening would have been the lightest day Harry had had at the Dursleys in the previous ten years, excepting of course times when Harry was locked in his room. Nonetheless Harry thought it best to keep Dudley at least somewhat sympathetic toward him, so Harry hurriedly got out his summer homework on History of Magic so he could be seen to be suffering mentally, if not physically. A book the size of old-time ledgers ought to help. He purposely left the door open so Dudley could see work being done.

Professor Binns had assigned a ten-parchment essay on the underlying causes of the various goblin revolts over the years. He had explained in his year-end assignment memo that it seemed that his lectures had not been well understood (“Well, duh,” thought Harry “Who could listen to them – except Hermione!?”) and that it may be useful as there had been renewed restiveness among the goblins of late. Harry got out a roll of parchment and labeled it, then started into his assigned readings. He was surprised to find that unlike the lectures, the book was actually quite a good read. He began to regret having leaned so heavily on Hermione and her notes to get him through exams.

Unlike Professor Binns’s classes, the text was not just a recitation of the names and events, but looked at the reasons that the various participants were motivated to do as they did. Harry started to draw connections and recognize patterns in the numerous rebellions. It seemed that the very nature of the magical world led to an inherent tension between humans and goblins. Goblins were similarly powerful to wizards, though with differences in strengths and weaknesses of magical ability, and very industrious, but they had inherent characteristics distinct from humans that provided a basis both for profitable interactions and conflicts.

Two controlling facts shape goblins’ entire existence: goblins are tribal to the point of being magically bound to their families, called hullabaloos, and goblins cannot tolerate sunlight. Both facts predispose them to settled life in moderate to large groups, since before they learned to build homes and other shelters, they had to spend daytimes in caves or deep forest. During these times, they would not forage, lest they be exposed to sunlight due to shifts in the winds or coming upon a clearing. Winter was particularly hard, for while the sunlight was much weaker and nights were longer in the northern latitudes, there was no protection in most of the forests since the leaves had fallen. It was critical then not to be caught away from the home in the winter. Thus they were compelled by their vulnerability to stash away large stores for the winter. This also placed limitations on the size of hullabaloos, until they adopted a lifestyle of commerce with the wizarding world which allowed a more dependable access to supplies.

Before commerce, however, the goblins had been dependent on caves for dwelling. As caves became scarce, they learned to dig new artificial caves and to support them with timbers. It was discovered that in digging they would often come across valuable deposits, thus giving rise to the goblin mining industry. Since the mines became active worksites instead of homes, they realized that they needed an aboveground cave for living space. Goblin mythology has it that a clever goblin named Gudderbal adapted the practice of using crossbeams formerly used to shore up mineshafts to support roofs and walls aboveground in large multilayered dwellings that combined storage and living space for the goblin tribes. The legends always note his cleverness with a mix of gratitude and repulsion, since inventiveness is a generally disfavored trait amongst goblins, and yet they have a grudging admiration for the odd goblin heroes who displayed this trait, in the same way that the Chinese have nurtured their legends of the ‘woman-warriors.’ To this day, his name is intoned mockingly by the goblins as they play their favorite game of rolling rounded rocks from one end of a hall at groups of staves stood on end at the other end, but only if the rock has entirely missed the staves, and instead rolled down the drain sluice on each side (a characteristic of cave-dwelling goblins, due to the moistness underground, but carried on stylistically even for above-ground goblin homes).

In their early years of human contact, the goblins would go foraging amongst humans to take things – food and other goods – that they needed or wanted. This seemed fair to the goblins, as they often found that their mushroom farms and beehives (larvae being a favorite food) were disturbed by humans during the daylight hours. Muggles, not knowing about goblins except by legend, did not realize they were infringing on other beings’ crops: to their thinking the mushrooms and honey were simply in the woods for the first taker. When muggles would find that their farms had been disturbed during the night, they of course became angry and greatly frustrated. Generally the muggles feared the night and only feared it more for the disappearance of their property.

Nonetheless the muggles found ways to resist the removal of their property. During harvest season, groups of muggles would patrol the farms around the villages to scare off any intruders. As the adults were generally very tired from their hard work during the daylight, the patrols would mostly be undertaken by children, teens and younger adults. They would carve lanterns out of large turnips, rutabagas and other large carveable vegetables to help them make their way in the dark. They would carve scary faces into them in hopes of scaring off whatever creature was causing the mischief. This was actually counterproductive as the lanterns were quite attractive to the goblins, who would steal those lanterns left unattended for use in their caves. The muggle youngsters also found that these patrols presented a delightful opportunity for dancing, mischief, and liaisons with members of the opposite sex. So fond did the muggles speak of each year’s harvest time patrols that the tradition was carried on even after the goblins reached an accommodation through the wizard community which allayed the need for the patrols. The term ‘raising a hullabaloo’ persisted amongst muggles as a term for revelry.

However, before the patrols lost their practical aspect, they would often lead to skirmishes between goblin hullabaloos and the muggles. It would have been a terrible mismatch, given the goblins’ magical ability, except that their magic cannot work against someone, even a muggle, when the being is defending his or her own family, home and other property. Self-defense is a powerful countercharm, working unconsciously and without other magical ability, and particularly effective against the race of goblins. (This works in goblins’ favor, as well, when they are defending their homes, so long as they are not exposed to poisonous sunlight). They even lost their invisibility to muggles when the muggles were defending home and family. So when goblins were caught trying to take muggle things, they were often killed or badly injured.

The reaction of many of the goblins’ tribal princes (called glamdrings) was to seek the extermination of the muggles. Occasionally one or another hullabaloo would attempt to wipe out villages of muggles, which led to many muggle reports of sightings of goblins, and even more goblin deaths. The goblins sought the assistance of the wizards, many of whom were sympathetic to the idea of exterminating the muggles. However, many other wizards, and a fair number of goblins, realized that the things that the goblins wanted were by and large grown or made by humans, and particularly muggles, so killing them off would be counter-productive. Wiser sorcerers also realized that the fertility of the full-blooded wizards was quite low (they being heavily inbred), and they too would soon die out if their numbers were not replenished both by intermarriage with muggles and by spontaneous magical talent emerging (Harry thought of his own mother and his friend Hermione, both muggle-born witches). A respectable number of wizards even said it was just wrong to kill off the muggles for convenience, but they were dismissed by the rest as woolly-headed.

After the death of the more obdurate goblins and wizards, a new arrangement emerged. It evolved at first from the business relations between the goblin miners and the wizards who sought the gems and minerals mined. The goblins would avoid muggles and earn their way in various trades and businesses with the wizards. The wizards would acquire the things that goblin society needed from the muggles by trading with them. So the goblins settled into a life of living in their tribes in special ‘goblin-quarters’ in or near wizard settlements or communities – depending on doing various businesses that the wizards were not so good at. Besides mining, for which the goblins were particularly suited by their short stature and love of darkness, these businesses were usually those requiring mathematics and logic, for which goblins had a special knack, apparently ingrained as tribal custom. These businesses included banking, gambling, accounting, and insurance. They hired wizards when they had tasks requiring creativity, since the very strict goblin tribal system strongly disfavored creativity and spontaneity. Besides giving up raids on muggles, the goblins also gave up land-ownership, except within all-wizarding communities, and wand-use rights, both of these considered by the wizards to be necessary to avoid muggle confrontation.

Unfortunately, this division of responsibilities led to friction. Because the goblins lived separately, generally dealing only with the few wizards they traded with, wizard society was suspicious of them, with terrible rumors of their habits being spread. The wizard political leaders would exploit this, fanning the flames of suspicion and promising to impose greater and greater restrictions on the goblins. When the politicians had achieved their position, they had to show at least some ‘progress’ on ‘the goblin question’ and so they would carry through with restrictions with the excuse of needing to prevent conflict between goblins and humans, but usually they were designed just as much to give the politician an opportunity to plunder goblin wealth.

The goblins very naturally resented the restrictions. This was especially so among those hullabaloos that failed to teach their young, called goblets, the historical reasons for the valid restrictions. In their turn, it was also very easy when the goblins were objecting to new and undeserved restrictions to include objections to the age-old restrictions needed for mutual peace and safety. So there had been a long history of peaceful commerce, during which more or less gradually imposed oppression of the goblins would mount, followed by eruptions of violence from the goblins – the goblin rebellions. These had often affected the muggle population, and the wizards had to use memory charms to cover up the death and destruction by making them appear to be natural disasters. Peace was restored when goblin restrictions were restored to only those based in the need to avoid goblin-muggle conflicts.

Harry found this all immensely fascinating. He wished that Professor Binns could bring all this history to life this way. Then Harry chuckled to himself: how could Professor Binns, as a ghost, bring anything to life!? Harry continued reading and making notes until after 2 a.m., when he heard a pecking at his window. He opened it and let Hedwig in. He stroked her head and gave her a scratch, and then removed the parchment attached to her leg. She hooted and returned to her open cage and Harry gave her fresh water. He could see from the blood on her bill and talons that she had already eaten fast food (but not fast enough to escape Hedwig’s talons). Harry unrolled the parchment and read Dumbledore’s message.

“Harry, I could not be more pleased with your new-found resolve and apparently a better living arrangement. I can assure you that I and every person who works with me will be doing our utmost to fit you for the challenges which you quite rightly have concluded are inevitable. I cannot say what the successful resolution of these challenges will require, but there are a number of things you can be doing at present to be best prepared. Complete all your homework now and study all the charms, hexes, curses, countercharms and spells of all types that you can. Do not practice them with your wand yet – we are making arrangements for later this summer to allow you to practice with experienced wizards. You can, of course, practice the wand movements using an ordinary stick. Practice your occlumency, particularly clearing your mind of negative emotions. I am strongly of the opinion that positive emotions occlude your mind to Voldemort, so work on giving up anger, resentment, jealousy, fear, spite, depression and all other negative emotions. Soon you’ll be as chipper as the Creeveys, I’m certain. You also should make yourself as physically fit as you can: work on endurance, strength, flexibility and reflexes. Long distance running and swimming are excellent, along with weight-lifting for strength, stretching exercises such as yoga for flexibility, and some sort of sport for reflexes, such as fencing or anything that has aspects of a duel and makes you think fast, even while in pain. I hope you know I would do anything I could to save you from pain. Alas, my best efforts heretofore have been spectacularly unavailing, even counterproductive, in that regard. But be reassured in this, that for all your considerable talents, perhaps your greatest strength has been to come through so much adversity with a positive attitude. This bodes well. By the way, I am sending Tonks to collect the broken mirror that Sirius gave you. I found its mate amongst his things and could tell from the image that you still had the other, though it was broken. I can well imagine the circumstances. Nonetheless, it can be repaired, and it will allow us to communicate face-to-face at any time without the danger which appeared over the course of this past year. Personally I shall be very glad to not avoid you any longer – it was as hard on me as you. Signed, Albus Dumbledore.”

“Well, good,” thought Harry, “Now I have a plan. I have my books I can study. With the door closed I can practice the proper pronunciations, movements and focus, using a fake wand to avoid inadvertent magic. There are plenty of streets to go running on, and there are enough other runners around Little Whinging that a teenager running for exercise would attract no negative attention. The community recreation center at the park has a pool and a weight room. That just leaves a dueling-type sport to build reflexes. Now what can be done? Hmm. I’ve got it - I’ll talk to Uncle Vernon and Dudley about it tomorrow morning. Dudley will be thrilled.”

Harry went to bed, clearing his mind of negative thoughts, and slept very soundly. He had accepted his lot in life, so far as he understood it, and had a plan to deal with it. Come what may, he was going to give it his best shot.

In the morning, Harry brought up his idea over breakfast.

“Uncle Vernon, Dudley, I’d like to practice boxing with Dudley.”

Dudley got a very eager, and not a little wicked, grin on his face. “Great by me, Harry.”

Uncle Vernon was not so sure. “Now why would you want to do that? Dudley must outweigh you at least 2 to 1, and he’s been lifting weights and training all year. His body may not move fast, but his fists do, and they’re half as big as your head. Even with a sparring helmet on, a good punch from him is going to hurt a lot, maybe injure you.”

“I understand, Uncle Vernon, and I want to take that risk. You know I have certain challenges coming up. I have to practice as hard as I can dodging whatever’s thrown at me and recovering quickly from whatever I don’t dodge. I can’t practice my, uh, school activities, but boxing’s the nearest approximation to what I may face that I can think of.”

“Fair enough, if you’re sure, and you seem to be,” continued Uncle Vernon, “but I don’t want to take any chances on making your friends upset with Dudley. Some of them seemed a little unstable.” (Harry agreed to himself that they could be volatile) “Still it would be good for Dudley to get some ring time in during the summer, so how about this: you and Dudley can box only when I’m with you. We can go to the rec. center 3 times per week before dinner. I’ll referee – I used to do some boxing m’self,” Uncle Vernon said with a touch of pride, “but I never was as good as Dudley here.”

So it was decided – Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings, they would go to the Rec. Center and box. The rest of Harry’s days would be filled with studies, practice and exercise. They decided that since it was a Wednesday, they would go ahead and start the sparring that very evening. Harry could check out spare gloves from the Rec. Center; Dudley had his own pair, as well as several sparring helmets. When he went to the Rec. Center for morning exercise, he bought a protective mouthpiece.

Rarely has such an apparent mismatch been set. Harry was no longer as scrawny as he had been, but he was still short, light and wiry. Dudley on the other hand, was six inches taller and built like a rhino. The Rec. Center manager tried to put a stop to it before they had even started, but Harry convinced him that it was his own idea. Uncle Vernon showed Harry a number of defenses: blocks, feints, dodging, etc. He showed Harry how to hold his gloves for safety, how to jab so that his arm would protect the side of his head, how to throw an uppercut and roundhouse and still maintain defense. He also explained the rules for sparring matches. Then the sparring began.

At first, the two teens circled each other, Dudley making the occasional punch, Harry dodging. Soon Harry got the knack of counter-jabbing after a fist was thrown at him. This did little but embolden Dudley, who started using combinations. Time and again Harry got caught by the third punch of a combination after dodging or deflecting the first two. Dudley’s training was really showing. After the first three minute round Harry realized that he was getting puffy above his left eye, despite his helmet, and his ribs and forearms were getting sore. In the second round Harry attempted to back away from Dudley’s combinations, and this worked some of the time, but sometimes he was backed against the ropes. His lip got cut, as well as the cheek under his right eye. He noticed several bruises on his arms from blocking punches and on his chest from not blocking them.

The sparring went on like that for several more rounds. Harry was getting better at dodging and blocking, but he was still getting tagged often enough and began to get a bit woozy. In the seventh round, Dudley unleashed a furious combination ending with a roundhouse to the side of Harry’s head, which spun him around off his feet and landed him on the ropes, gazing starry-eyed at a woman with pink hair. All of a sudden he heard the woman’s voice.

“Harry, what are they …!? HIRSUTE! HIRSUTE!.”

Harry shook his head to recover and realized that he was seeing Tonks with a horrified look as she cast spells on both Dudley and Uncle Vernon. He saw the odd gray spells erupt from her wand and strike his cousin and uncle, causing them to erupt in long whitish-blond hair all over their bodies, so thick they could neither move nor speak. Harry waved his arms to stop her, unable to speak around his mouth protector.

“Harry,” called Tonks, “Your aunt said I could find you here, but I had no idea they took you here to beat you!”

Harry spit out his mouth protector. “Tonks, this isn’t a beating. Well, I guess it sort of is, but they were doing me a favor – I’m training for reflexes – ooh, and pain. Couldn’t you have asked first or something? Did anyone see that?”

Obviously the manager had, as he had stared dumbfounded for a few seconds and had just then grabbed the phone. Tonks cast as gentle a memory charm on him as would do the job and knocked him out so they could sort out the situation. Dudley and Uncle Vernon came staggering over moaning and roaring like the yetis they looked like.

“Tonks, you’ve got to undo the spell.”

“Right, Harry, sorry about this. DEPILIATE! DEPILIATE!” said Tonks and a red-and-white striped spell for each of them shot from her wand, causing the hair to fall out. However, it was not just the magically grown hair: ALL of their hair fell out, leaving them balder from head to toe than they had been the day they were born.

“Oh, oh,” said Tonks, “I think I overdid it.”

“Potter-r-r!” shouted Uncle Vernon, “MAKE HER STOP!”

“Yeah, Tonks, this may work in an arrest, but firing spells without thinking like this is making a mess of things,” Harry said, trying to suppress the laughter that was rising as he saw his uncle and cousin, both bald as billiard balls, standing in the mounds of cast-off blond hair.

Tonks quickly eliminated the hair and then thought a few seconds before coming up with the right spell to make an appropriate amount of hair grow on each of them where it belonged. Their beards and the hair on their heads was thick and shaggy, but not overly long. Vernon felt on top of his head, where he had previously been quite thin, and Dudley felt his face, where he had previously never had more than a bit of fuzz, and both said together, “Cool – will it last?”

Tonks laughed and said “Well, yeah, sure. I can just do a quick charm to keep it growing at the right rate. I’m really sorry – it looked to me like you were tearing Harry apart.”

Vernon grimaced “I suppose it might have but did you not notice the protective gear – do you think we’d have put that on him to cuff him about?”

“Good point,” said Tonks. “My supervisor says I’m too impulsive, and I guess I’ve proved it. Blast, I’ll be filling out reports on this half the night. Can I make it up to you?”

“Hrmf!” said Uncle Vernon, not too happy with the situation, but realizing there was probably no harm done. “Well, the hair up top helps. Just make sure that ALL of Potter’s friends know that he’s going to be boxing with his cousin and he’s not being abused!”

“Well, I can tell them about this, what’ya call it – boxing? Where are the boxes? They’ll still insist on hearing from him every few days. Oh, that reminds me – Harry, I came over to get that broken mirror Dumbledore wanted to fix.”

“It’s back at the house. I think we’re about done now. I don’t think I could take any more tonight. Can you wait while we shower and then we’ll walk back together?” asked Harry.

“Sure - can I come and watch?” said Tonks with a giggle “You two are becoming quite the handsome young men.” Then, winking at Dudley, she said “Love those muscles.”

Both Harry and Dudley turned bright red, and Tonks cackled at their embarrassment. Uncle Vernon suggested it would be better for her to wait out front. Before long the three had emerged from the locker room and met with Tonks and they all began the few blocks walk to Privet Drive.

“So what’s this boxing all about?” said Tonks, “My dad’s a muggle and I don’t remember him doing it or watching it.”

“Um, well, it’s kind of like a duel,” explained Harry, “except that we try to hit each other with our fists and to avoid being hit. It’s actually turning out to be pretty good training, since I have to watch out for two fists at the same time.” Harry felt the sore spots on his face and added with a grin “At least I think you’ve only got two fists, Dudley.”

Dudley grinned back. Despite how it had ended, he had very much enjoyed being invited to throw punches at his cousin. He was clearly relishing the chance it gave him to burn off his frustration at being saddled with all the chores.


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