and Buck were in Vin’s cave bedroom planning the trip up to Vin’s
Valleys while the House Elves were packing the Muggle contents of Vin’s
wagon into the tent for the trip up to his valleys, they had brought it
into the Mission caves for that reason instead of just packing it
straight into the wagon, they wanted as little as possible taking up
space in the wagon on the trip not wanting anything to tumble down onto
Vin and injure him again. Being away from the town’s people they
could talk freely about Magic while they waited on Ezra to return, the
Gambler was busy retrieving all of his own possessions from the supply
“How’s Lovett taking the end result of the Goblins divvying up of the treasure and stores of the different towns?” Buck asked Chris quietly as they marked the map with the least bumpy route not wanting Vin’s broken bones to stressed all of them thankful Vin’s Muggle possessions had already been confined to the size of the wagon and he had the tent to contain it all on the trip. They were also thankful for having a way to shift Ezra’s things the man was a pack rat, his room at the saloon had been full of clothing and the things he had collected for his comfort.
“Most of the food and winter stores from the other towns are being kept in the Mission caves until they decide on their next move, they are in the process of planning a scouting trip to see if anything of the other towns survived everything is clearly marked separated and itemised by the Goblin who had oversight during the sorting and storage, only the money and other valuables were put into the bank. Lovett’s not taking that at all well but the one thing you have to admit about the Goblins is that their account books are always meticulous so the greedy bastard doesn’t have a leg to stand on as the bankers from the other towns formally put the contents of their town’s banks into his with an account opened for each owner and he had to sign for it, trying to take it now would be embezzlement and the man is too scared too actually commit a crime like that when it can be tracked back to him.” Chris said disgusted.
“Yeah!” snorted Buck. “Stirring up a Witch hunt so he could sneak the money and pretend it never existed is more his style than outright embezzlement of money accounted for and easily tracked. I had no idea Goblin Hoard Magic could tell if a dead person had living heirs, makes sense I suppose kids are a persons legacy they live on in the children of their blood so valuable to the bloodlines so hoard in their own way. Even so it was just heartbreaking seeing all the money, things and kids left behind in the sorting because the Magic said they had no one left to inherit them. At least the towns saw sense when a meeting was called to discuss how to split it between the towns. All the spare money and valuables were to be split evenly between the towns to be used to rebuild the towns but a good potion of the unclaimed furniture and enough of the spare livestock would go to the Orphanage Josiah is starting up in the Mission to care for the kids left behind as Orphans. Josiah talked a good talk and once he pointed it out they realised there were at least twenty kid without parents and at least fifteen of them hadn‘t any living relatives at all according to the Goblins. I’m glad he‘s returned to his old plan of turning the Mission caves into an Orphanage now he has the water running again, he has been sort of kicked out of his preacher job it looks like so now he's got the time for it at least.”
“He sent the telegram the moment the line was fixed telling the Nuns about the Mission Caves working again and about the kids, it’s a good thing Ezra’s such a con artist and convinced the town he could fix the telegraph lines if they were only cut. Repairing stuff like that with Magic when we can hide it has made getting the town working again a lot simpler and faster. At least the Orphanage will solve the problem of the kids who haven’t got parents left or any relatives elsewhere to take them, Josiah now has a viable place for them to live, once the nuns turn up to tend the kids the hard part’s done, with living space and carers taken care offor the most part then all he needed is furniture and food for the kids which is where the spare furniture and livestock come into the picture.” Chris said a little relieved Josiah had the kids care well in hand so it wasn't a problem he had to think much about.
“Josiah has a lot of sense but we best remind him he may get hit by the bias as well and if that happens he’ll have to leave the Nuns in charge for the most part and be content with a more hands off oversight of the Orphanage he's building or the kids could suffer grreatly beacuse of it.” Buck said with a grimace.
“He’ll hate it, as he will be regulated to weekly or monthly visits but we’ve seen hints it’s started already.” Chris said angrily. “One thing I do know Lovett won’t be getting complete charge of the orphan kids money if I have anything to do with it.”
“I agree!” Buck said, “Those kids might not be Magical but we did save them so they are our responsibility as they don’t have anyone else. Junior’s playing it cagy but I have a feeling he and Ez are already planning on setting up a Wizard Enclave over the Convergence up in the mountains and we're all seem to be taking it for granted that’s were we’ll be going as well when we’ve been talking about forming a double Enclave half Wizard, half Siphoning Mage to survive the Winter and given the trust they have for Junior because he’s Court any Enclave he makes is almost guaranteed a Gringotts if there’s room.”
“That would be fine for the Wizard side of the Enclave but the Muggle Mages will need access to a Muggle bank as well.” Chris said with a frown.
Buck snorted, “Leave all that to the Goblins Chris, the Purebloods don’t really know all the things Goblins do while running a bank like Gringotts, for instance think about how the Muggleborn’s pay for their schooling when they don’t have Gallons, sure the Goblins convert Muggle money to Wizard money for a fee but has anyone ever contemplated the true implications of that because let me tell you Chris to do that the Goblins have to have dealings with Muggle’s outside of what they let the Purebloods know about or that conversion doesn‘t work, can you see the Goblin‘s just handing over Gallons for what to them is worthless paper without having a way to trade that worthless paper they end up collecting for something they want from the Muggle world?” Buck asked with a snort.
Chris frowned at that because when it was pointed out it was obvious that the Goblins had to have their own dealings with Muggle’s, “Honestly Buck I never really thought about it, my mothers family the Draken paid for all the Wizard stuff I needed out of my mother’s dowry and it was all in Gallons, my father never got it as he was a Muggle and she had eloped with him against her parents wishes. She was real lucky the Draken family has a policy of not disinheriting their kids because after that stunt most Wizard families would have disinherited her, instead her family just rolled her dowry into a trust for any Magical kids she had to pay for their schooling. My father never knew about that as he thought she was disinherited for marrying him. He didn’t know the money that paid for my Magical schooling had been the dowry her parent’s had set aside for her marriage. He really only paid for anything Muggle I needed, so the two sides of my life never really met until I married Sarah, even then it was easy enough after we started homesteading I purchased the supplies I needed to make wands with Gallon’s and operated from a workshop at the back of the barn plus being this far west a lot of my wand customers were happy enough to pay for their new wand in Muggle money and the Gallons some of them paid me in I simply used to purchase new wand making supplies. I converted the remainder of my mother’s dowry to Muggle money to purchase the starting stock for the horses we started breeding, it worked out well both ways as both our Ranch and the Wand making business were making a profit. I was thinking of converting some of the money we were bringing back from Mexico into Gallons and start saving for Adam’s Magical education seeing he started doing accidental Magic a few weeks before we went.” Chris said sadly.
“Yeah, turning the barn cat blue sure did prove Adam was as Magical as his Pa!” laughed Buck sadly remembering that, they’d had a frustrating time trying to turn that darn cat back to the colour it was suppose to be, Adam might have had his mother‘s more even temper but for the most part but that just meant he let the annoyance build up over time until he exploded and when he finally did he’d been pure Larabee for stubbornness and the way that blue colour resisted their efforts showed just how annoyed that little boy had been with that cat when he let loose.
“Yeah, I talked it all over with Sarah, first year is always the big hit to a parents bank vault as you start from scratchm thankfully I didn’t have to worry about the biggest expense which was buying him a wand as I intended to make Adam his wand.” Chris said with a sad sigh.
“I know a wand is a big expense for a family they average between three and four gallons a wand depending on the core, it’s no wonder most of the Muggleborn families baulk at that point. Hell Chris you can see their eyes pop in horror at the price, forty-five to sixty dollars for a piece of wood with a piece of animal inside, that‘s big money when most Muggle families don‘t even make five dollars a week.” chuckled Buck. “I was real lucky my Ma had some Wizard money hidden to cover my first years expenses which makes me think my Pa might have been a Wizard seeing she had that money tucked away, it was the only reason I had been able to go. I knew damn well Ma couldn’t afford a second year at Salem as that purse of Wizard money she had barely covered first year between the school fee‘s and equipment, as it was Ma and I had to scrounge through the second hand junk shops at Salem to find some of it within our budget and then Ma and the rest of the working girls at the cathouse spent a month making me my school robes instead of buying them to save money so as soon as school ended that year I had a talk with the Goblins and got a loan for the rest of my schooling.” sighed Buck, that was another reason he was saving money when he could afford it, if he got married any children would probably be Wizards or Witches and he‘s have to pay for their schooling, seven years of Magical schooling wasn’t cheap and he‘s have to pay it for every Magical child he had which was why he was living on his Muggle pay and saving the gallon a week Auror pay for that hoped for day playing Uncle Buck to Adam had shown him he really wanted kids one day so he was planning ahead for when it happened, now that he had finally met Inez the odds of any of their kids being Magical had risen as she was a Witch as well.
As for the vault back East, Buck also had such a vault as he was the senior Auror of the Western Reaches and did draw pay for that as he did still do that job no matter what Muggle occupation he also pursued, not that he could easily access that vault without the hassle of Jump Apparating to Salem using the Way Station markers for jump points so he was letting it build up as a nest egg for when he settled down. The Auror Force for the Western Reaches wasn’t big and paid very little compared to what the Eastern Auror were paid, the Western Auror Force were considered a part time job as their mandate was to only interfere if a Magical crime was discovered or if they were called in by a Wizard or Witch in a Auror capacity because of this as even as Senior Auror Buck only received one gallon a week for all his trouble which was a pittance compared to the two gallon a week base Auror pay and three gallon Senor pay an Auror received in a Eastern Enclave.
Chris sighed, “After the fire I didn’t want to leave that sale money in a Muggle bank as most of them aren’t safe and I couldn’t just carry that amount of money around as it would be asking to be robbed so I jump apparated back East and converted most of it to Gallons and put it into my vault back there for safe storage. Hired gun also usually paid well so the contents of that vault have been growing since then.” he admitted sheepishly.
Buck snorted, that he could well believe Chris’s gunman rep had been more than notorious these last few years, his only saving grace was that he did at least tend to pick which side he hired onto because even in his rage and grief Chris did have some morals and didn’t just kill indiscriminatingly even if he could be a vicious son-of-a-bitch when angered even killing where he could have easily just wounded, Buck admitted readily that was a fine line and one Chris occasionally strayed over but not far enough over to become one of the true hired killers littering the West who only asked what the pay was and who he had to kill, everyone Chris killed had at least been attempting to hurt him or others, most of the time they were trying to kill him. Buck himself had also gone that route for a time but never got the rep as he wasn’t that fast a gun or as ruthless as Chris but it did pay well he’d added quite a few gallons to his vault that way the last few years, the going rate for a gunman was five dollars a day so he had been able to make two gallons a week sometimes three if he was lucky that was double his Auror pay and that wasn‘t even top rate of pay, a Fast gun like Chris could easy ask for and get twenty dollars a day easy often much more depending on the job and they weren’t picky or burdened by any pesky morals.
Chris suddenly interrupted his train of thought pointing out a bumpy section of the route they were working on. “This section where we’ll turn up into the valleys themselves will be a problem I’m thinking. Vin did you ever use a wagon to get to your place?”
Vin glared at the map. “I ain’t travelling that in a wagon, because ya right my Valleys ain‘t got a wagon trail Cowboy, I’s only ever used a horse and mule at most!”
Buck‘s heart dropped imagining the agony the younger man would be in, “Damn Junior, you’ll be shaken to bits and your bones won’t stay in place if we go that way, if we can’t find another way in we’ll have to petrify you for that section to keep your bones in place.” Buck said with a real worried frown, they’d already vetoed cutting across Chris‘s place for the same reason even if it would be shorter as it would be rough going without a trail, instead they were going the long way using the trail the lower mountain homesteads like old Mac used to and from town, that trail while longer and rough was at least already broken to wagon travel but they had forgotten this section was all untravelled by wagon as until Vin set up there that Valley system of Vin’s was raw untouched land even the trail Vin usually went there by would be minimal at best if he never used a wagon to bring in his supplies. Until this minute they hadn’t quite realised just what Junior being a Wizard meant for his daily living, outside of Muggle sight the younger man hadn’t any strong need to use a wagon to cart stuff up there, easier for him to shrink it all and carry it by mule or saddlebag. Hell, given Junior was Elven enough to use the big Ley Lines for travel it wouldn’t surprise Buck if they found out Junior had slipped in and out of the Valleys using the Silver tunnels and bypassed the rough travel altogether if he had Peso and the mule packed to the brim.
“Hate that spell, Bucklin! Ez had to use it before you lot turned up at the ice house, would rather I just switch to the flying chair and Ez and me fly up to the house that section is all out of Muggle sight behind the Muggle Repellars, then you and Cowboy can bring the wagon to the Valleys the rest of the way without having to be careful about shaking my bones loose again.” the younger Wizard grumbled.
The older Wizards exchanged a look but finally nodded. “Lovely, if that’s true it’s a good thing you won’t be in it then.“ Chris said with a shake of his head. “Might be an idea for you and Ezra to switch to the chair once we are out of town and the Muggle’s and just use the pathways to get to your place, it would be easier on your bones than travelling in the wagon all the way, plus without you in the wagon we can travel faster the rest of the route which would cut the trip time down a lot.”
Vin snorted calming down, “Best not, Ez is gonna have to scry the area before ya go after the Sorcerers iften he uses up his energy opening and closing the moonstone gates that job will get delayed again we‘s put that off to long as it is. I can take the bumpy ride in my wagon until we hit the turn for my valleys ain’t as if we won’t be using a lot of cushioning charms to make smoother ride. Then once behind the Muggle Repellars I’ll switch to the chair and Ez and me will fly up leaving ya to cut a wagon trail to my door with ya wands.”
“Sounds like a plan,” laughed Buck amused at the resigned look Chris was now giving that section of the map. “Cheer up Big Dog, at least we won’t have to break our backs doing it the Muggle way.”
The three of them looked up when Ezra finally walked into the room carrying just two carpet bags, he was also carrying a robe made of grey wool, Vin recognised it being made from some of the light weight blankets he bought cheaply at the Everything Store, he sighed at how the yellow stripes from around the edge of the blanket had been used for decoration that just screamed confederate in origin.
“Why's I not surprised they picked the grey ones for me?“ Vin said dryly, he should have expected it both Vin and Ezra had been thought to have been Confederate Soldiers during the Muggle War more than once and in many ways it was easier to let Muggle’s think what they pleased, that Muggle War between the States had swept the entire country and you stood out more if you weren‘t in it at their ages.
“Be thankful the Everything Store didn’t not have any of the red Artillery blankets as I am sure they would have chosen them to make the first a robe out of. Mathias Rayne has also been supplied with a similar tunic robe made from the thinner navy blue with red stripe of the Union Calvary as he is not travelling in the near future.” chuckled Ezra. “Mrs. Pennyworth is in the process of making a heaver over robe out of the thicker grey blankets without the yellow stripe to wear over this when outside deeming this robe to thin for outdoor use by itself. The Goblins have been very interested in watching her make them but seem to be more interested in the sewing machine than getting new clothes for themselves. While they do intend to purchase some of the remaining blankets from the store it isn’t to replace their ragged clothing but to use as blankets not wanting to depend on even your charity.”
“Sounds about right those little critters are plumb independent, looks like they’s picking and choosing their priorities, the clothes are ragged but still serviceable so ain’t a got a rush on replacing but they’s borrowing the bedding so it has to come straight after paying for their food in their eyes. I’s guessing they‘s probably getting ready to head out and start looking for a place for a Horde Cavern again, there's too many Muggle around ’em and it must be making ’em damn uncomfortable as they trust Muggle’s less than they trust Wizards. It sounds like they’s planning on building new travel supplies and gear so they can get away fast as possible.”
Buck had been frowning a the two carpet bags, “Didn‘t you find the rest of your things Ez? I’ll come help you look as soon as we finish marking the best route.”
Ezra snorted amused, “Really Mr. Wilmington, have you not yet assimilated the implications of the fact I am a Wizard and a Born Wizard at that. I spent as much time in the Enclaves while growing up as I did traipsing around the Muggle world with Mother. Expansion spells are lovely things and I learnt quickly to appreciate their beauty and convenience when living a life on the move. I can not believe you expected me to have been living completely Muggle and not make use of them when moving. Additionally my travel bags are not of flimsy Muggle construction later converted to Magic which would limit the durability and effectiveness of the spells. I constructed these bags from entirely Magical materials as both my Charms and Runes projects for my NEWTS and have never regretted the cost in both time and money it took to construct them, especially as I then proceeded to Patent my rune and charm matrix work and still get a small but steady return on the use of the design by numerous trunk makers as it has become the base work of what is called Wizard bags. I really only needed one multi-compartment bag but decided it would look better to the Muggle’s if I carried the feather top and bed linen in a separate bag during my travels, they might be a bit dense but it is best to make cover stories for Magic use within believable boundaries,” he said dryly. “I found by simply supplying the separate bag to carry it in, my blasé explanation that the feather top compressed down until it fits in the carpet bag is actually believed.”
Chris laughed, “Most Wizards wouldn’t even think of that. I’ve heard of Wizard Bags, the trunk makers had a fit when the patent came out as up to then no one had worked out how to make a fully stable soft sided bag not only take maximum expansion charms but be multi-compartment which as you know is a different type of Dimensional spell as it makes it use the same space more than once that had been trunk domain up to then as it needed to be solid to keep the spell matrix stable?”
Ezra smirked obviously pleased with himself, “Wizard Trunks while having a greater capacity due to their more solid construction and ability to incorporate the dimensional spell are not really convenient to carry by horse or stage, necessity is after all the mother of invention. The patents are actually only now starting to be worth more than a few gallon a year as it has taken this long for the trunk makers to realise the benefit of paying for use of the patents and sell different types of Wizard bags as well as trunks and chests.“
“I take it Maude don‘t know about those Wizard Bag patents?” Vin said dryly looking at the Gambler with a knowing smirk.
“Of course not, the Goblins had gotten Mother’s measure long since and Father was not exactly slow, he knew once he died Mother would ransack his personal vault of anything she could sell and as a Muggleborn who married a Pureblood he couldn’t stop that for the most part as Mother outranked him and became Guardian of all I inherited in that vault when he died as it wasn‘t blood bound like a Pureblood family vault.“ snorted Ezra. “Luckily unbeknown to Mother, Magical children of Muggleborn’s have certain rights under the older pureblood laws Gringotts follows. It seems back in Antiquity while a Muggleborn Witch or Wizard is just that a Muggleborn, if the children of a Muggleborn are Magical even if the other parent was a Muggle they are classed as a First generation Wizardborn, the beginning of a new Pureblood line as the Magic had bred true. Father did quite a bit of Legal research during the pregnancy and within hours of my birth had me tested and declared a First Generation Wizardborn of the Standish bloodline and opened a Pureblood Vault with one Gallon start-up for me on those grounds. After that he legally made me the half owner of all his present and future potion patents, my half of the profit on the patents to be paid straight into my new Standish Pureblood Family Vault a vault bound to my bloodline, a vault mother not only didn‘t know existed but would never be able to access even if she did find out about it as she was a Pureblood Morgan not a Pureblood Standish as she hadn‘t bound herself to the Standish line forsaking her Morgan inheritance. The Goblins told me it existed and turned over the key and the contents to my exclusive control when I turned Seventeen, as for that vault only I was considered an Orphan as their was no other Pureblood Standish than myself. That meant I could legally take control of the Standish vault at that age but my Fathers personal vault which was not blood bound was still under Mother’s control until I was Twenty-five. As you may guess, I immediately saw the possibilities, a vault of my own Mother didn’t know existed, my own Patents profit is of course paid into that vault so has always been hidden from Mother.” laughed Ezra.
Chris frowned, “Your mother is a Pureblood wouldn’t her bloodline take ascendance like with my Mother, I’m a Draken under Wizard inheritance law, I’d have to go to the bother of applying to the present Patriarch of the Draken line for permission to legally Branch my family from Draken under the Larabee name becoming Larabee of Draken to be able to use the name Larabee as a Pureblood Family name on parchment, I’ve never bothered so all my Wizard parchment has me down as Christopher Draken even Adam was listed as Adam Draken in the Wizarding Enclaves birth register.”
Ezra smirked gleefully, “I’m a double line, Standish of Standish, First Generation Wizardborn of the Muggleborn Patrick Standish‘s Bloodline, if I’d had sibling each of them could also have been the start of a new Purblood line under the rules, in addition to that I am a Morgan as Mother is of the Morgan line which in the scheme of things isn’t that spectacular as they are an illegitimate unclaimed offshoot of the Malfoi line of France, my Maternal relatives would have been better off acknowledging their Matriarchal start and creating a true Morgan bloodline therefore relegating the illegitimate Paternal line to where it should be as merely an adjunct to their own line.” Ezra said with a disgusted snort. “Still it did mean I am a Morgan through Mother as my Maternal Relatives didn’t dare disinherit Mother or myself as Mother can be quite vindictive. Now I am Standish of Morgan start of a Morgan Branch line, when I turned twenty-five I had a delightful conversation with the present Morgan Patriarch and unbeknownst to Mother we came to the eventual agreement that my line shall be made a Branch of Morgan instead of an offshoot which pleased us both as it gave me an even greater degree of freedom as a Branch line Patriarch is no longer under the main lines control and to the Morgan’s it meant my bloodline was effectively removed to the bottom of the inheritance ladder something they desperately wanted and even ended up paying me to do.” Ezra said with a smirk.
Buck frowned, “They paid you to do what you wanted to do?” he asked in confusion.
“Of Course, why should I have made it easy for them but then they had no idea it was what I actually wanted when I agreed to that meeting. To this day they believe they forced me to accept the Branching of Standish from Morgan, they are obsessed with the Morgan name and inheritance and believed making me Branch a dreadful thing to do to any Morgan as it lost me my position on the Morgan inheritance tree, I merely made them pay what they considered such a lowering of my inheritance position was worth.” he said sweetly.
Vin chuckled, “How much they pay ya, Ez?”
Ezra looked a little disgruntled, “Not as much as I hoped as I was only tenth in line to inherit being from a female line but enough considering the Morgan’s aren’t that rich these days as they lost quite a bit of their Enclave Assets to Muggle cannons during the War and have had to practically empty the vaults to rebuild it. Mother will never admit it but even though the Morgan’s did not physically dabble in ‘Trade’ they did invest heavy in the buildings rented to such people so with their destruction were almost destitute by the time the War ended due to the destruction of the shops and housing they rented out which supplied the bulk of their income. As they were still rebuilding I was kind enough to let them pay it off in increments, two hundred and fifty gallons immediately and fifty gallons a year for the next twenty-five years, it is a cursed contract of course so they can’t renege on the deal and stop the payments, all up by the time they finish the payments Branching Standish will have cost Morgan fifteen hundred gallons.”
Chris frowned, “Maude doesn’t know about this?” he demanded incredulously.
“Why should she?’ asked Ezra in confusion. “There was no need for her to be informed and as I said she can be vindictive so I doubt the Morgan’s would have been brave enough to tell her until she actually needed to know. When I made the deal Maude had no need to be informed then either as I was of age having reached my full Wizard Majority of twenty-five so could make my own legal decisions without the need of having my Mother present as would have been needed before then and in addition only I am Branched, Mother remained ninth in line to inherit Morgan even after the deal was done, which in turn ensured that if she ever does decide to have more children as unlikely as that actually occurring at this stage of her life, is still a possibility as she is a Witch and her bearing years are longer, their Morgan inheritance is still completely intact, so you can see it had nothing to do with Maude as only I and any of my descendents are effected by the Branching.”
“So ya got two vaults and Maude only knows about the one that use to be ya Pa’s and thinks she cleared it of all the sellable valuables before ya came of age?” Vin summed it up.
Ezra chuckled, “Exactly while Mother knows the vault she knows about is still getting the royalty money for use of Father’s potions, she never knew the full extent of those Royalty payments as Father put half his Royalties in my name as Standish of Standish the day I was born so Mother only ever had knowledge of the payments that remained attached to Father‘s personal vault, then of course part of the Royalties going into that vault she did know about were earmarked to cover my Magical Education and the Goblins would not let her touch that, the remainder she routinely cleared until my twenty-fifth year which is why I didn’t dare use that vault for much of anything until after my Wizard Majority as until then Mother had full access to that vault. It is sadly only those who are Muggleborn or Pureblood Orphans who have full emancipation at seventeen.” snorted Ezra knowing well why most Wizards and Witches choose to marry young, a consummated wedding contract was an easy way to remove yourself from stifling parental control before the Majority. Ezra himself had never been tempted to get rid of Maude by the easy route of accepting one of the many marriage proposals he received each year by budding Potion Masters after the Standish Potion legacy as they would have all tried to bind him and his legacy to their own line. Ezra wasn’t about to bind himself and his bloodline to such an unequal contract even if he had been in Love with any of them, dealing with his Mother until his Majority was much more preferable, Wizards did not divorce easily as it was a Magical contract not easily broken.
“But the Standish vault had been getting money from the day ya was born and Branching money started after Maude lost access so what ya been doing with it?” Vin asked interested.
“The Standish vault I have been investing much of it is long term and possibly foolish ventures others are Muggle investments which are only just starting to give a dividend as they were also long term. As for the Branching money yes it did indeed go into the personal vault I inherited from Father as I had no wish for the Morgan’s to know my being Standish of Standish. That money has been used to further my educations, I used the first two hundred and fifty gallons to pay for the set up of my Potion Mastery Apprenticeship, even doing it by correspondence I still needed to purchase my books and equipment in addition I also needed to pay the Potion Master who is overseeing my training. The yearly payments since then has mainly been used to cover my ongoing expenses such as purchasing the ingredients I need to brew the needed potions for my training although I can usually recoup some of that expensive back by letting my Potion Master sell the successful brewing’s in his store.” Without a Owl of his own that was quite annoying to arrange as he had to ship the bottles of completed potions by Muggle stage to a Magical Way Station that was in both worlds where it could be transferred to Owl Post, he had to set up it all up with his account manager at Gringotts to pay for the Owl Post leg of the journey, he had paid for a small book of parchment payment slips with the Gringotts seal each slip valid for the payment of the owl leg of the journey, another thing he was out of as getting more required a trip to Gringotts as you actually had to pay the money for the entire book up front. It was a long drawn out process to get the bottles to his Potion Master unfortunately it was the only way he had been able to not only work on the completion of his Mastery but recoup come of his ingredient outlay as his Master then sold the potion for him and deposited the payment at Gringotts with a list of ingredients for his next brewing assignment. His Goblin account manager then purchased the new ingredients for the next brewing assignment and shipped them back to him by stage using the same Way Station. “I have also needed to retain gallons to cover my expenses when I have to visit a Wizarding Enclave to do practical examinations, all of which is quite expensive as unlike a normal Apprentice I have to pay for the accommodation and exams myself as I do not live and work for my Master paying for such things with my labour until I gain my Mastery.”
“Which is why most people don‘t do a Mastery that way it’s a lot more expensive so usually only done by the rich.” Buck said wisely.
“True but in return I get much more freedom than the normal Apprentice who in many ways is a slave to the Master until they complete the Mastery, being Patrick Standish’s son helped as well even having me do a Mastery this way is a feather in my Potion Master’s cap so something to boast about so he is being reasonably fair with me as having me listed as his Apprentice adds to his standing in the Guild. He is also wise enough to know that as my Father’s son the Potion Guild would actually listen to me if I did make complaints about his teaching especially as I am paying not working for the instruction.” Ezra said dryly.
“Damn Ez, how much room ya got in those two bags iften ya can fit all ya mastery books, cauldrons and brewing stuff in ‘em, along with all ya clothes and everything else ya own?” Vin said startled, knowing he‘d also have to have a place to carry the ingredients as well.
Ezra laughed, “As I said these bags have never been Muggle constructs from their very conception they were designed to be vessels to contain expansion spell Magic, a Muggle construct has many limitations the most unfortunate over the long term is that the spell will slowly degrade and unravel over time so must be reinforced regularly, a Muggle construct is also incapable of holding the spell matrix at maximum all attempts to do so have usually ended in the Muggle construct being shredded as it disintegrates under the stress, because of this a variation of the spell is used on all things Muggle, my bags were created from the start to hold the spells at maximum strength and have suffered little or no degradation to their spell integrity since construction in my last year of schooling, so while not as complex as Vin‘s tent or even as durable or roomy as a multi-compartment Wizard trunk utilising Wizard Space it still has the internal capacity between the two bags of at least four Muggle trunks yet they are both light and easy to carry on a horse. I could have fitted more by just making one large expanded space in each bag but was limited by the need to make it multi-compartment as travelling amongst Muggle’s did require a certain level of security concerning my Magical paraphernalia which I obtained by making them multi-compartment as I could then make the main compartment unexpanded so any Muggle who searched it would not find the impossibility of the inside being bigger than the outside although I did admittedly cheat there as well as the main compartment has an experimental stretching spell which is how the feather top can be squashed into one and a good selection of my clothing into the other to allay Muggle suspicious.”
Chris and Buck just shook their heads as it explained so much about the Gambler. They had always wondered how the man still travelled light while having more clothing and possessions than would fit in two bags, knowing the man was a Wizard certainly explained everything.
All four Wizards looked up startled when the tarp being used as a door was pushed aside and the Judge came in.
“Something up Judge?” Vin asked.
“Sorry to intrude Tanner but the Goblin Leader wanted me to approach you about using your Port Key chest back to Gringotts?”
“I ain‘t got no objection to ‘em sending for some supplies from their own people Judge, only real problem I’s seeing is it’s gonna come back to my tent so will be coming to my Valleys as I’s shifting up there soon as we finish planning and packing.”
The Judge chuckled, “Actually while they do intend to send for supplies as well they also intend to use it as transport by sending one or two Goblin’s back in it to report in person. I told them the distance was too great to send a Cored Magical that way and they then claimed they can shield their cores enough to make it work.”
“Sneaky little critters thinking that up, even iften they can shield their Cores to travel that distance it will be a bumpy and dangerous trip but even so probably a lot safer than using a ordinary Port Key over that distance the chest would give ‘em a lot of protection,” Vin said thoughtfully thinking on what he knew of the little critters. “They’s small and tough as hell and are mainly Earth Elementals although the ones with the mixed Dwarven/Goblin heritage are usually both Fire and Earth Elementals, so maybe their Cores are different to Humans and they can shield ‘em enough. I‘d say let ‘em use the chest Judge, their Magic is different to humans being Elemental, we can’t judge their limitations so have to take their word for what they can and can’t do, iften they say they can shield their cores and ride the chest back to New Orleans Gringotts I ain’t about to treat ‘em like children and tell no just because a human can’t do the same thing.”
“I told them they were crazy and offered to make a Port Key to the nearest Way Station but they insist I ask you anyway.” Orin admitted ruefully realising he had been pretty condescending. “You’re right I shouldn’t have tried to give them human limitations they have their own Magic and I should have taken their word on what they can and can’t do. I‘ll let them know you have agreed to them using the chest in such a fashion. Truthfully Tanner, I‘d be happier if they went the safer route and used the Way Stations to cover the distance in jumps not one straight trip.”
“Ain’t surprised they turned the Way Station Port Key down Judge, they’d be too dependent on Wizards going that route, my chest on the other hand goes straight to Gringotts New Orleans which ain‘t as dangerous in their minds.” frowned Vin knowing how the little critters think.
“He’s right about that Judge, they’d rather risk the Chest than depend on Wizards at each Way Station to make them a new Port Key for the next leg of the trip. If they have control over their Core to the extent they can shield it from the Port Key Magic enough that they don’t cause the fluctuations in the spell that usually happens over great distances all they would have to do is anchor themselves to the sides of the chest for the trip and hang on for the ride of their life, I can see why they think it’s the better option for them. There are a heck of a lot of Bigots in the Enclaves Judge, if I was a Goblin I wouldn‘t trust the Way Stations either.” Buck said with his own frown he’d worked with Goblins often enough to have seen that bigotry in action.
“If the Chest is being sent back early in such a fashion I need to spend a few hours doing the Magical poison tests my Father invented and send the results along with the medical scans back to Vin’s Goblin Healer to see if he has any recommendations to help his present fragility.” Ezra said suddenly.
Buck frowned, “I thought the fact he’s growing Sidhe Wing Plates was enough to prove he was dosed with Life Blossom Honey?” he demanded.
Ezra sniffed, “I would prefer to have Medical proof in the form of the poison test for life fruit and a second opinion from a qualified Magical Healer of that diagnosis before feeding Vin something known to be as deadly as life fruit, we would be fools to take such a chance with Vin’s life on speculation Mr. Wilmington.”
“He’s right Buck we need to confirm our guesses are right before we actually feed him any of that damn stuff, do the tests and send it and any medical proofs to Vin’s Goblin Healer for a second opinion, if we find the honey when we raid that Viper nest we won’t feed it to him until we hear back from the Goblin Healer.” Chris said stopping the fight about to start up between the two men with that decision.
Vin frowned, “Ain‘t no need to insult snakes, Cowboy. They usually listen to reason and can be chatty as hell iften ya ain‘t annoyed ‘em to much before hand by stepping on ‘em or wrecking a nest.”
Ezra actually giggled at the flabbergasted look on the other two Wizards face at that comment. “Mr. Tanner is a Parcelmouth gentlemen he has a slight bias when it comes to such creatures as he can actually talk to them.”
Chris frowned, “I thought that gift was rare, only found in certain bloodlines and even then it often skipped generations as it went dormant as only the most powerful had it active, some of the families who tried to stop that became to inbred they kept the talent active even in the weaker members by reinforcing the talent on a genetic level but developed a lot of other problems including insanity from the inbreeding.“
“Not just that, many Wizard families also blocked that particular talent when it began to be viewed as a Dark talent due to the actions of a few Dark Wizards over the centuries.” the Judge said calmly.
Chris nodded slowly at that a deep frown marring his face obviously remembering something he didn’t like.
Vin nodded, “Cowboy, my Ma was Emilethe Slytherin as ya can guess it’s pretty much bred true in her family I don’t think Ma’s family did the inbreeding thing but I don’t know much about her family other than I’s got me a half Uncle named Salvador and I ain’t to let him near me as he’s the kind of Wizard a Unicorn would stomp.”
“Which as we said is a strong indication the man is not only a Dark Wizard but an unredeemable one as well, Unicorns can be very forgiving creatures being so pure while they are very picky about who they will let near them especially Humans who are often tainted with the baser emotions in most cases they merely keep such intrusions into their lands at a distance as they sense even the slightest good in a tainted Soul, for a Unicorn to actually attack means they are classifying that being as Demon Dark.” Ezra said dryly. “Although given you were only five your Mother may merely have been attempting to instil a warning a child so young would understand and remember.”
“Ma didn’t usually exaggerate but ya could be right Ma knew I learnt real early to follow the Lead Stallion’s and the rest of the Herd’s warnings of danger, so such a warning would be remembered and make me wary of the man even iften I forgot everything else.” Vin said with a frown realising he had to question Quisen on quite a few things, he was betting the old Ice Drake knew his family history having lived with them so long and he would certainly know about his Uncle Salvador seeing Quisen himself fled to his Ma and him to get away from his Uncle after his Grandpa died.
“Either way I’ll make note of the warning for future reference if your half Uncle ever shows up Tanner.” the Judge said with a frown, if he remembered rightly the Slytherin family was one of the older more famous British Wizarding families due to a ancestor being one of the creators of the Hogwarts the Premier European School their reputation tended to swing wildly as the members of the family often turned Dark but at the same time enough family members stayed Light to counter the impact of the Dark ones, they were mainly known for being Powerful Witches and Wizards with the gift of talking to snakes augmenting that power with Parcel Magic which was feared simply because it couldn‘t be countered easily due to incantations being in the Snake language something that couldn’t be learnt like of a Human language. Not that that they had to worry about Tanner his Mother died when he was five so he wouldn’t have had the family Parcel Magic training and even if he did have or eventually get that training for the gift the Sidhe Court had their own way of keeping their members from going dark. “Standish start those tests while I go talk to the Goblins and apologise for treating them like children who don’t know their own limitations.” Travis said dryly as he made his way out of the room to look for the glamoured Goblins, not looking forward to eating crow.