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Chapter Fifteen
Domus Corvus Corax

The students looked around the room they had entered in awe.  Even Harry was surprised, and he knew what to expect.  The fireplace they had exited was in an enormous entrance hall.  To their right was a set of enormous white marble doors in an elven style, which reached up to the top of the twenty foot high ceiling.  The ceiling itself was pure white marble, matching well with the doors, and had carvings around the edges.  The walls were a deep mahogany, decorated with assorted tapestries and paintings, mostly elven in origin, but some obviously art from different magical cultures.  The floor, like the ceiling and doors, was of a white marble, this time flecked with grey, giving it more character.  The enormous hall had little furniture, only the occasional table with a strategically placed lamp here and there.  The fireplace they had come out of was enormous, eight foot high and ten foot across.  The mantelpiece was made of a deep ebony, decorated in ivory trimmings, delicately carved to make the cream colour stand out against the black.  Above the fireplace was a large picture frame that appeared to be empty, but Harry was looking at it with a small smile on his face, and what looked like anticipation glittering in his eyes.  Opposite the wall with the fireplace was a gigantic mirror, strategically placed the make the room look twice the size it actually was.  To the left of the fireplace was a vast staircase of black onyx, which filled the centre of the room and grew narrower nearer the top, where it split in two directions, each leading to a balcony on either side of the room, from which many corridors split off.  On the ground floor, doors could be seen leading off from the main hall, obviously leading to more corridors.  The whole area was illuminated by several glowing crystals floating near the ceiling.  Although they didn't seem to be giving off a very bright light, what they did emit spread around the hall, giving it an ethereal look.

“ Bloody hell!”

“ I agree.”

“ Language, Ron.  This is…wow!”

“ Yeah, wow.”

“ Do you like it?”

Everyone looked at Harry, quickly nodding their heads.  He had a proud look on his face and was looking around the hall in approval.  

“ I'm glad you like it.”

“ Harry, what is this place?” Hermione asked him.

Harry didn't answer, he simply gestured to the large picture frame behind them.  They all turned around and looked at the blank canvas in confusion.  By way of an explanation, Harry waved his hand, muttering, “ Proles Corvus Corax,” and stood back to wait.  After a second or two the canvas began to shift, and colours started to swirl from the centre outwards.  A few minutes later they had arranged themselves into a portrait of a young girl and a little boy.  They were both dressed in fine robes of silk, of an old fashioned style.  The boy looked to be about two years old, and had messy black hair and crystal blue eyes.  The woman was tall and had long flowing hair, and eyes of the same blue as the boy.  Underneath the painting was a small inscription reading Gallatea et Glenadade Ravenclaw, par infinitas.  The four time travellers and Minh looked at the painting in growing comprehension.  Eustace merely looked confused.  Finally, Hermione turned to Harry for an explanation.

“ Harry?  Is that…?”

“ `Tea?  Yeah.”

“ Wow.  So, tell us, where is this place?”

“ This is Domus Corvus Corax, otherwise known as Raven House.”

“ It's beautiful!  Who does it belong to?  We can't come trespassing…”

“ We're not trespassing, it's mine.”

The three older friends just gawped at Harry.  He merely laughed at them, waving off their shock.  He was amused at the number of times he had managed to surprise them in a matter of a few minutes.

“ Trust me, you don't want to know.  I'll tell you all about it another time.  Now, how about a tour?  We have time before we have to go to Hogwarts, as the feast doesn't start for another hour.”

The rest nodded dumbly and followed Harry down the nearest corridor.  After a few minutes they reached a staircase that headed downstairs.  The tunnel got darker the deeper they went.  Eventually they reached the dungeons, and Harry headed off at a tangent until he stopped before a darker piece of wall, on which he placed his hand.

“ Nutrimens.”

The wall slid open, revealing a large kitchen, as large as the one at Hogwarts, and had enough space to cook a meal for a thousand people easily.  Much the Hermione's relief there were no house elves scurrying around.  After a brief look around, they moved on to another section of wall, on which Harry once again pressed his hand.

“ Vinum.”

This time they were faced with an enormous wine cellar.  Bottles of all descriptions and from all years were piled from floor to ceiling.  Harry smiled at the sight before pulling the rest behind him, stopping them from sneaking a few bottled with them.  The next stop was accompanied by a whisper of, “ Carcer.”  A long corridor was revealed, barred cells lining each side.  The rest of the group looked at Harry a little uneasily.

“ Harry, why do you have cells in your dungeon?  Did it come like this?”

“ I designed the place myself, Gin.  Cells are always useful, for example if we need somewhere to keep Grindelwald's followers before they can be turned over to the Ministry.”

“ What about the hand on the wall thing?  What's that all about?”

“ Ron, the house is mine.  I designed it and had it built.  You know how paranoid I can get.  Do you think I wouldn't include a security system?  In order to get into the room I have to place my hand on the right part of the wall and say the Latin name of the room.  My handprint and magical signature are checked, as well as my voice.  If any of the three don't fit, you can't get in.  The only places anyone can get in without me are the corridors and the front doors.   The front doors have their own wards, so no one will be able to get past them anyway.”

“ You really did think this through, didn't you?”

“ Of course I did, `Mione.  I'm used to doing my best to survive, after all.”

Harry quickly moved on before the more serious questions started.  He didn't want to say too much in front of Eustace, as he was the only one who didn't know about the time travelling.  Harry didn't like keeping it a secret, but if he told him anything it could jeapardise his very existence.  He couldn't take a chance like that.  The next place, the last in the dungeons, was a potions lab that would make Snape green with envy.  After the tour of the dungeons was complete, the group was led back up a different staircase that nevertheless let out in the main entrance.  As they were walking around, Harry started to tell them about the building.

“ This place took nearly 50 years to build and has over 300 rooms.  The dungeons you have just seen are only a small part of the overall house.  Well, I say house, but it's really a castle.  It's about the same size as Hogwarts, and is situated in its own grounds.  The dungeons, as you have seen, are home to the potions lab, kitchen, wine cellar and prison.  The ground floor has the entrance hall, a ball room, which you will see next and like the entrance hall takes up two stories, and a large physical training centre with a weapons room.  Off the training centre we have a duelling practice room.  Both are warded to prevent damage, no matter what the spell used.  We also have the portkey and apparition room, which is also heavily warded.  Off the first floor we have the library, which is a whole tower in its own right.  It also houses the infirmary, which is three times the size of the one at Hogwarts, and the music room.  The five floors above that are the living quarters.  There are 200 bedrooms, each with en suite bathrooms and sitting rooms.  The tower opposite is level upon level of round rooms.  The top is used for astronomy.  There is a floor for family portraits and one for trophies.  There are also a few others that aren't interesting.”

The rest of the group was looking at Harry as if he'd grown another head.  It was Eustace that brought them out of their stupor by asking about something Harry had said.

“ Harry?  I thought you said you designed this place yourself.”

“ I did.”

“ But you said it took nearly 50 years to build.  That would be impossible if you're only 16.”

The time travellers looked at each other nervously before nodding to each other one by one.  Hermione cleared her throat and began an abridged version of what had happened, leaving out anything that could change the future if Eustace knew about it.

“ Eustace, there's something we should really tell you…”

“ What?”

“ Promise not to freak out?”

“ Sure.”

“ Well, we're not from around here…”

“ I gathered that.  Where are you from?”

“ 1995.”

“ What?  I don't understand.”

“ We're actually from the future.  I gave Harry a magic amulet for his fifteenth birthday, and it turned out to be something called the Amulet of Time.  It takes people through time when they hold it and say a spell.  It only works once a year and you get taken to a random time every time you use it.  The first trip is the furthest, and you get nearer your own time every time you use it.  This is our second destination.  We spent all of the last year in the time of the Hogwarts founders.”

Eustace had stopped walking and was looking at them blankly.  He shook his head a few times as if to clear it before staring back at them, a skeptical look in his eyes.

“ That's a nice story, but I'm not sure I believe you…”

“ You will in a moment,” Harry said as he led them into the ball room.  It was as opulent as the entrance hall, with high windows lined with plush dark blue curtains.  The floor was highly polished redwood, with images of dancing wizards and witches engraved in it.  A stage was set up at the far end with a beautiful grand piano upon it.  Crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, glittering in the light from the windows.  Harry led them through without stopping, heading for a door in the right hand corner of the room.  When they went through it they found themselves in a large round room with a spiral staircase going straight up the middle.

“ This it the East Tower, and as you can see, we are in the Trophy Room.  I'll take you up a level and you can have a look at the Portrait Room.”

They all went up the staircase in single file until they reached the next room, the walls of which were lined in paintings of various people.  Harry didn't even stop to look around, but headed straight for the back where a large picture hung on the wall.  It was a copy of the photo taken on the steps of Hogwarts with the whole school, including the teachers, founders and Lolide.  It had been copied onto canvas with oils.  The people could be seen a lot better, as the image was bigger, and they were all waving at the assembled group.  Harry made sure he had Eustace's attention and started pointing out faces.

“ There you can see Lady Ravenclaw, Lady Hufflepuff and Lord Gryffindor.  In this row you can see a first year by the name of Samuel Peeves, I believe you know him.  And here on this row we have Gallatea Ravenclaw…”

“ She's the girl in the entrance hall.”

“…yes, she was my girlfriend, the one who had my son.  I told you they were dead and I couldn't be with them.  This is why.  If you look closely, you can see the four of us, standing next to some friends of ours, Ardwick de Mimsy-Porpington and Christabel Binns.  Yes, Binns as in our History of Magic teacher.  In our time, Binns is a ghost, and he still teaches the subject.  If you think he's boring now, you should hear him when he's dead.  But I digress.  As you can see, we were there in the time of the founders.  Do you believe us now?”

“ I guess…but what about Minh?  She didn't seem surprised when you told me.”

“ I can explain that,” the young first year said, “ You see, I'm half elf.  You see that lady stood next to Lady Ravenclaw?  That's my Aunt Lolide.  She and my mother were good friends of Harry's when he was there.  They told me all about these four.”

“ I'm sorry, it's just a lot to take in.”

“ I know what you mean, but Eustace you can't tell anyone about this.  The only other person that knows is Dumbledore.  We also can't tell you anything about the future, as it could change time,” Hermione warned.

“ I understand.  Can you tell me about the past, though?”

“ Sure, but nothing that could endanger the future,” Ginny told him.

Eustace simply nodded and Harry smiled at him, giving him a one armed hug, before moving on with the tour.

“ Now, I can tell you some more about the origins of the house.  No doubt you three are wondering when I had it built,” Harry said, nodding towards Ron, Hermione and Ginny.  The three nodded back at him and waited for him to explain.

“ Remember the day in the summer when we went to Hogsmeade to stock up on all things Anglo-Saxon?”

Nods by the three time travellers, confused looks from Minh and Eustace.  Harry continued regardless.

“ When you were in the shop buying your weapons, I sneaked off.  You remember how five galleons was an absolute fortune?  Well, I had 45 galleons left.  I used 30 of them to build this place.  I went to a construction company in Hogsmeade and gave them the plans I had been working on for weeks.  The manager didn't think I would be able to pay for it, but I gave him the money up front.  The contract was to build the house to my design, and include all of the wards and security systems I required.  As you know, magical contracts cannot be broken, so I knew it would be built, even though I wasn't there to oversee it.  Lady Ravenclaw knew about it, though, and promised to keep an eye on it.  I asked her to have a portrait of Gallatea placed in the entrance hall for when I got here, hidden until I told the house its master had arrived.  I named the house after Gallatea, calling it Raven House.  I thought it was fitting.  I knew I loved her, and wanted something to remember her by.  As you can see, Glenadade was included in the portrait.  Lady Ravenclaw must have decided I would like it that way.”

“ Harry, what sort of wards do you have on this place?”

“ Ah, `Mione, ever the practical one.  I have the same wards as Hogwarts, only slightly more advanced.  As I said earlier, the doors only allow me to enter, by checking my voice, hand print and magical signature, each of which had to be recorded at the construction company.  I have anti-apparition wards except for a small space in the portkey room, which only allows people with approved magical signatures to apparate in or out.  The whole estate and grounds have protection wards and alarm systems.  The outskirts also have a series of booby traps.  The cells in the dungeons have anti-magic wards, so any prisoners can't use magic.  There are also over two thousand secret passages and shortcuts, none of which appear on the official schematics of the place.  They were all on a second set of plans that I ordered destroyed after the passages were built.  I'm the only one who knows where they are.  I spent months planning this place.  Trust me, I thought of everything.  It's even more secure than Hogwarts.”

“ Wow.”

“ You can say that again.”

Harry just smiled at his friends and led them back from the bedroom they had ended up in on their tour and headed for the library.  While he had been talking he had shown them most of the places of interest.  The last stop would be the portkey room.  When they stepped into the library tower, Hermione nearly hyperventilated.  The central staircase had a hole up the middle, so she could see to the top of the twelve story tower.  Each level was filled with thousands of books.

“ It's self updating,” Harry explained, “ There is a level for every century, and two at the top specifically for Dark Arts books.  If it's been written since we left, then it's in here.”

“ Wow!  Harry, can I come here again?”

“ Of course you can, `Mione.  I tell you what, you can take a few back with you to Hogwarts, provided they stay in my room at all times, and they're returned the next time we come here.”

“ Deal,” Hermione said before running off to choose as many books as she could carry, shrinking them as she picked them up.


Twenty minutes later, they were able to leave the library.  Harry then took them on a tour of the grounds, where he showed them a crypt he had had built.  It was as yet unused, but he assured them it would be used for future generations.  They made a circuit of the lake and the quidditch pitch, which was larger than the one at Hogwarts, before heading back into Domus Corvus Corax.  Heading back though the entrance hall, he levitated the Potters' bodies as he passed the fireplace, as well as their bags, and headed into the portkey room.  The others followed behind him as he made his way to a large cabinet labled `Hogwarts'.

“ I had this room added with a selection of portkeys to several places.  We cave cabinets full for Hogwarts, St Mungo's, Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade, and the Ministry of Magic.  There are also shelves with fewer numbers for a selection of important places around the world.  The far wall contains general portkeys that you just hold and tap with your finger, naming your destination.  As they are for general use, they're not as specific as the others.  You only end up within five miles of the desired destination.  We'll be taking one of the Hogwarts ones.  I'm not happy about travelling by portkey, but I have to overcome my fear sometime, and it's the only way of getting to Hogwarts I can think of.”

Holding out a smooth black stone in his hand, he waited until everyone was touching it.  He gave them each their bags, grabbed the two corpses, and waved his hand over the stone.  With a tugging behind their navels and a slight pop, the group found themselves in the Great Hall at Hogwarts.

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