The library was quiet, small lamps at each table glowing gently forming little halo's around studying students' heads. Hermione stared out at the window stretching languidly, wincing at the pain in her shoulders. The light was fading but she could still make out the thick snowflakes, falling heavily and coating the grounds in white. She had been searching for hours and the snow had not let up in all that time. It was one of the things she loved most of all about Hogwarts, the seasons so drastically different that winter always felt as it should, all crisp air and the world leaden with snow.
With a sigh she turned back to her table, staring at the piles of book and countless scrolls of notes she had managed to amass, all of them utterly useless. She had trawled through the library's index and found no reference to a Wizard named Arden; whoever he had been, he hadn't written any books. She'd had to broaden her search which had led to dead ends and countless information; myths, legends and theories that neither enlightened nor lead her to anything remotely helpful.
She had considered asking Malfoy to help in the search, but the Slytherin seemed to have disappeared and she was certain that the answer would be a huge resounding no. He had looked petrified. She could of course empathise, the who experience hadn't exactly been a walk in the park and, unlike her adventures with Harry and Ron, there had been no way out. There had always been a way out, always. No matter how dire their situations had become she had always been assured in the knowledge that there would be something; something she had read, or that Harry could do, or unbelievably, something that Ron had accidently stumbled across. In the darkness though, in the depths of that strange bowl, there had been nothing, only pain.
Hermione gently tapped her fingers against the wooden desk, making sure she still had control over them, a sigh of relief left her when the fingers moved as they were told. Harry and Ron had been worried when they'd seen her return and sat her shaking form down by the common room fire. Hermione had all but ripped herself away from them, drawing herself as far from the fire as possible. She could still feel the bite of it on her skin, the burn of it in her lungs and when she closed her eyes the glare of it was branded on her vision. Of course, Harry and Ron had inevitably arrived at the conclusion that Malfoy had orchestrated some terrible prank and Harry had jumped to restrain Ron who had been dead set on vengeance. The fact that her friend had jumped so quickly to her defence had made her a little happy, warmth glowing in her stomach at the fact that Ron cared for her so much.
She had decided, against her much better judgement, not to tell them anything, waving off her unusual behaviour with the rather poor explanation of feeling sick. It sat uncomfortably, lying to them, but something inside of her wanted this to be hers and only hers. Something precious, if only precious to Mina; a woman who she hardly knew but felt inextricably linked to in a way that she couldn't explain.
Hermione glanced down at the large leather-bound book in front of her, it was one of the last few that she had left to search and she wasn't holding out much hope. Magical Mumblings; words and their magical lineage. It was a long shot, an afterthought, but the way Arden had spat mudblood at Mina had felt; new, unheard of and the crowd had reacted to it like tasting something different, something unsure.
Sighing she opened the book to 'M' and quickly searched through, scanning the lists, Mudblood was there, the passage about it short compared to the rest, Hermione hunched over it and began to read.
'Mudblood - The exact origins of this foul word cannot be traced; however, many have concluded that utterances of it began in the 15th century.
Hermione grinned in triumph, the 15th century, that narrowed down the search somewhat. Magic, like anything, was an extensive subject with more written about it than could ever realistically be read, searching through its history had been an impossible task, but this felt promising. Excitement flickered in her stomach as she carried on reading.
Tensions between magic users and muggles were high at the time, leading to war and prevalent slaughter on both sides.
The term, although largely classed as an insult or swear word, is still uttered to this day by the most extremist magic users to refer to witches and wizards of muggle descent (Muggle - born).
This, however, was not its original meaning. Witches and wizards were classed as 'Mudbloods" if they were deemed to be interacting pleasantly with muggles. Mud came from the belief that muggles lived in squalor, and so were filthy. Blood referred to the belief at the time; that magic resided in blood. Contradicting views can be found in the ancient writings of Claudius Medinas - The Soul of Magic and the more recent; Ursal Blobmash's - The Mental Process' of Magic.
Hermione pondered the information for a moment, pulling out a book from the pile in front of her and gazing at the title. Creations through the ages: Magic or Muggle? Hermione flipped it open, flicking forward to the 15th century.
Most of the pictures in the book were completely foreign to her, magical objects and artefacts that she'd never come across before, but she faltered when she saw the image of a carving, light filling up the gaps and changing colour. Hermione's heart began to race in her chest and a small, satisfied smirk spread across her face. She was getting closer to an answer, she could feel it.
Hermione read the name aloud, 'Memoria Luxareo.'
Memoria Luxareo - From the Latin Memoriae for memory, Lux for light and Appareo to appear. They are carved images of memories that can only be revealed by extreme emotions, such as love, hate, sadness and joy, that manifest themselves as a bright light. Once the light is absorbed into the images, the Memoria Luxareo will reveal its secrets.
Hermione paused as someone shrieked just outside the window, she turned and watched a group of older students run across the grounds hurling snowballs at one another. The burst of white that erupted as one hit someone's shoulder sent her reeling back to the room with the emerald pillars, reminding her of the way the tiny snowflakes had burst into glistening light as she'd touched them. Slowly she turned back to the book in front of her.
The Memoria Luxareo was created to keep things that should remain hidden a secret. Not much is known of the origins of the Memoria Luxareo, however many of the carvings that survive to this day have been dated back to the 1400s.
The idea of the Memoria Luxareo was said to have come from the writings of the great Wizard and Emperor Qin Shi Huang, though the actual origins of the carvings remain a mystery.
In some circles, it is believed that the Memoria Luxareo found its resurgence during the 14th Century. It is rumoured that witches and wizards of the time believed that Qin had hidden a great weapon and the search began to find it. The weapon itself was never actually found, and wards have since been placed around the sight of Qin Shi Huang's Memoria Luxareo to distil any emotional connection any unsuspecting muggle may have with it. The Terracotta army now makes a worthy tourist attraction for both muggle and magic users alike.
Despite the failure to find the secret weapon of Qin Shi Huang, the practice of using the Memoria Luxareo to send secret messages and keep magical artefacts safe is thought to have become common practice. An excerpt taken from a diary written by Arden Masarvas provides possible evidence to support this.
Hermione nearly squealed when she saw his name written in the book, finally, she had a reference to someone from the memory she had experienced. Tucking her hair behind her ears, she lowered her head and carried on reading.
By the light, that's what they call it. By the light, all secrets are revealed. The Memoria works better than any of us ever expected or believed. By the light, my success is revealed.
Arden Masarvas created the first Memoria Luxareo, that could only be opened with two people present, sharing matching emotions. Some of the notes taken from Arden's collection suggest that the Memoria Luxareo dates even further back than Qin Shi Huang's era, evidence of the carvings being found all over the world. It is hard to say whether these findings were, in fact, accurate as the magic has faded and the secrets they hid have long since been lost.
Hermione's mouth dropped open as she gazed at the pictures flying across the page and landing gracefully next to the text. Carvings from Egypt, Rome, Greece, all over the world. Some of the pictures were of famous historical sights and artefacts that Hermione herself had visited. She smiled to herself, shaking her head slowly in disbelief; no matter how much she knew about magic it always surprised her. Determined to find out more, she concentrated on Arden's name, chewing her bottom lip in thought for a moment.
"If he created that, then that must mean…" She mumbled it to herself as she sorted through the piles of books, checking each title till her fingers wrapped around the one she was after.
"Famous names in magic." She opened the book flipping through the names until she found him. A shiver ran down her spine as she recognised the man who was gazing up at her. He was older, much older; his brown hair long and grey, the goatee had grown to a full beard that reached down and brushed his robe covered chest. The eyes though were the same and Hermione swore she could still see the hurt within them, the malice.
Arden Masarvas - Renowned Wizard from the end of the 14th century. He opened his home 'Masarvas Manor' (later renamed Arden in honour of his bravery) to all witches and wizards as a sanctuary during a time of great turmoil and uncertainty in the magical world. First to create the Memoria Luxareo that could only be opened by two people sharing the same emotion. His creation was used by Witches and Wizards of the time to pass messages and keep secrets, until the process eventually died out, due to simpler and less time-consuming ideas being brought forward.
In early life, he fought many battles and was active in the rescuing of many Magic users who had been captured by muggles. His views towards muggles were never healthy and did not change, however, around that time most views towards muggles were less than favourable.
In his old age, Arden became a Professor of Ancient Runes at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, which he referred to as 'a place of secrets.' He spent the rest of his days working there.
Hermione couldn't believe it; the passage was so short. Given that there was an extensive collection of books that detailed the appropriate colour and consistency of the most effective pond slime, she'd expected just a tad more information. She growled in frustration, resting her head in her hands. She realised, sighing heavily, that she would have to move on with her search, it being obvious that witches and wizards didn't seem to find the 14th century particularly exciting.
She picked up the last book in her pile; Magical objects, flicking through it until she found a passage on Pensieve's. The information was sparse and nothing she didn't already know, but a note at the bottom of the page made her pause. It was scribbled in looping letters and made her heart hammer in her chest.
Sensieve - rare relation to Pensieve, reference to it found in: Unusual and Dangerous Magical messages.
Hermione quickly leapt out of her chair, flitting through the index of books as quickly as her shaking fingers would allow her. Something told her that it was what she was looking for, that all the information she needed would be right in the book. She paused as she came to the card, lifting it up and sighing heavily. Restricted section was stamped in bold letters across the top. She resisted the urge to stamp her feet, gazing down forlornly at the words willing them to disappear.
"You alright, Hermione?" She whirled around to see Harry; his long hair sticking out at all angles, the remnants of snow on his jacket, his cheeks rosy from the cold. The sight made her grin. The whole Tri-wizard Tournament ordeal had meant that Harry had just been distracted, disappearing off into his own mind constantly, worry furrowing his brow. To see him smiling, enjoying himself, was a welcome sight that made her happy.
"Not really." She mumbled gazing down at the card. Harry moved forward, plucking the card from her fingers and reading it. Hermione chuckled as he held the card closer, cursing as his glasses steamed up in the warm.
"What's the problem?" He asked with a shrug, handing the card back and wiping his glasses on his jumper, only to have them steam up again when he put them back on his face.
"I'll never get a pass for this." She said sheepishly, placing the card back in its draw and shutting it away. She hoped Harry wouldn't ask any more questions; she didn't want to tell him, but she also didn't want to have to lie to him.
"So?" Harry said mischievously, a grin growing on his face, "You don't need one"
Hermione turned to him, her mouth dropping open in horror.
"I hope you're not thinking about breaking the rules, Harry Potter. You know how I feel about that." She said, half-heartedly waggling her finger in the air.
"Wouldn't dream of it, just… you know, a little bit of breaking and entering. A tiny bit of wandering around invisibly when we shouldn't be. That kind of thing." Harry whispered, waggling his eyebrows. Hermione thought about it, she'd never get the book otherwise and she really did want to see what information it contained. Considering what she'd experienced she felt it was worth it if only to know what she was dealing with.
"Fine." Harry grinned as she said it, flinging his arm around her shoulders.
"Now, how about a bit of lobbing snow at Ron? Don't tell him this, but he's kind of got me beat."
"Heard that." Ron came wandering towards them, his hair wet and a silly grin plastered across his face, and Hermione's heart stuttered a little in her chest.
"So, what's going on?"
"Hermione wants us to sneak into the restricted section late at night." Hermione's eyes bugged out of her head, her face flushing as she looked around quickly to check if anyone had heard.
"I do not, that was your idea." Harry began to chuckle, and Hermione hit him playfully on the arm.
"Alright then, count me in. Will be like the old days, better than fighting dragons ay?" Harry nodded in agreement with Ron, the smile on his face dropping considerably.
Hermione began to gather her things and follow the two boys out.
"How big is your invisibility cloak anyway, Harry?" Hermione snorted at the conspiratorial way Ron leant forward. She had to admit, it did feel like the old days, just the three of them against the world, the world back then being school and nothing else. Now it felt like other more important things were creeping in and she wasn't sure she was ready to handle it.
"I'm just thinking, you know since we've grown and all, it might not cover us all."
"It's a magical cloak, Ron. I think it will manage." Hermione dropped in haughtily.
Harry laughed as Ron stared at her dumbly for a second.
"Oh right, yeah." She grinned and linked arms with both of them, letting them lead her out of the library.