Harry strode purposefully to the bookcase and performed the magic that opened the broom cupboard door. He looked at the wide selection of brooms and decided on the Nimbus 2000. At least he knew the 2000's feel and abilities, having owned one previously. As he mounted the broom, Harry thought about going back to get one of the invisibility cloaks but he decided against it. He determined to use a disillusioning charm like Moody had used on him on his first trip to Grimmauld Place. Harry searched his memory library, found the right 'book' and quickly reviewed the disillusioning charm.
He took out his wand and performed the incantation and tapped his wand on his own head. The effect was familiar and immediate. Starting at the crown of his head, it felt as if something cold and wet was running down over his body. Looking down, Harry saw that his body was once again chameleon-like in its ability to blend with the surroundings. As Harry mounted the Nimbus 2000 he realized that the charm went only as far as his body. The broom remained very much visible. Harry recalled Fred and George Weasley's 'headless' hats and made a mental note to ask them about that particular bit of magic so he could extend the effective field of his invisibility charms beyond the charmed object. That, Harry concluded, would be a decided advantage right now. Nevertheless, he had already determined his destination on this foray from the office and had decided there was almost zero chance of encountering anyone.
With that thought in mind, Harry mounted the broom. The Nimbus seemed almost as anxious as Harry to get into the air. With very little urging or effort the broom shot out the back of the broom cupboard and into the bright sunlight. The feeling was almost overwhelming to Harry. As the morning air rushed by, Harry's cares and tensions seemed to melt away. He was free! He pushed his feet tightly into the racing broom's stirrups and tightened his knees around the seat cushioning charm on the broom handle and did a high-speed barrel roll. His insides soared in exultation. He kept to the castle's roofline, matching the colour of the Nimbus to the colour of the roofing tiles. He decided that even if someone were to be looking in his direction, he would be very difficult to see. Harry skirted the perimeter of the castle, dropping away from the roofline only when he was at his closest point to the place he had deemed to go. He dropped down to a stretch of privet and flew quickly away from the castle. With the speeding broom inches above the ground and only his disillusioned head and chest extending above the low bushes, he made his way quickly toward the tall stone and iron gate of the cemetery he had passed on his way to the castle the evening ("Was it really just yesterday?") of Dumbledore's funeral. Harry was more than curious about the cemetery because during his trip to the forest he had noticed something very odd. Where there was the glitter of both new and old magic scattered around the entire Hogwarts grounds, the cemetery was conspicuous due to the absence of any trace of magic. Harry landed near the ancient iron gateway's arch and stowed the Nimbus behind some nearby bushes.
Forged in the cemetery gateway's great arch was "De Mortis Nil Nisi Bono." The Latin inscription forcefully reminded Harry of the motto painted in faded letters in the great hall inside the castle "Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus." Harry stared at the inscription and wondered where Draco Malfoy was and what he was doing. Harry felt a small pang of compassion for Malfoy considering the conditions Voldemort had put on Malfoy's service: kill Dumbledore or have your family killed. Once again a feeling of purpose and direction filled Harry. Voldemort must be defeated before he tore apart more lives; even pathetic lives like the Malfoys.
Harry's temporary reverie was interrupted by movement inside the cemetery grounds. He was shocked. He had never had any inclination to come here himself and he had never known any of his classmates to go into the cemetery. Yet there was definitely someone or something moving. Harry froze. He knew he was nearly invisible, as his body had taken on the look of the stone support he had backed into when he saw the movement. Even though it was a bright sunny morning, the trees dotting the cemetery interior and growing through the iron fence standards moved in the breeze, giving the ground a dappled, undulating appearance. Harry strained to see what was moving. He no longer felt the complete security that Hogwarts grounds had once given him; too many things had happened lately to shake that confidence. As he watched closely, he was sure he saw the pearly-silver visage of a ghost through the gaps in the bushes and trees. Harry was long since disposed of his childhood fear of ghosts, having dealt with Hogwarts house ghosts for the past six years. He knew, that like Sir Nicholas and Moaning Myrtle, ghosts couldn't touch anything, so he wasn't in any physical danger. He determined a cautious course because ghosts could have agendas of their own and a voice in the back of his mind was saying, "Be careful."
As the spectre drew closer, Harry relaxed. He recognized the ghost as the Fat Friar, Hufflepuff's house ghost. He had rarely spoken to the Fat Friar; and indeed he had never spoken to either of the other house's ghosts. Harry thought he would wait until the Fat Friar was gone and then he would continue his perusal of the cemetery. This plan changed immediately when, as the specter drifted somewhat distractedly through one of the rock columns supporting the iron fence, he stopped and looked directly at him. The expression on the ghost's face changed from one of concentration to the round-faced smile that the Fat Friar usually wore. Without hesitation the ghost glided purposefully toward where Harry was standing. The Fat Friar stopped directly in front of Harry and began in a jovial lilt, "Well met my fine young Gryffindor; what brings you to the realm of the departed?"
"Well," thought Harry, "that puts an end to the question of whether ghosts are fooled by disillusionment charms." Harry suddenly realized that he didn't actually know this ghost's name; indeed, he didn't know the name of the "Grey Lady" or the "Bloody Baron" either.
Having lost any semblance of secrecy, Harry addressed the ghost, "Friar, I have been attending school here at Hogwarts for the past six years and I felt it was time to come and pay my respect to those who have passed before."
The ghost paused and considered Harry carefully. Gone was his banal smile; in its place was a look of shrewd appraisal. "You are Harry Potter!" and without waiting for a response, the Fat Friar plowed on, "Well met indeed! I have sought a word with you ever since the great kindness you did for Hufflepuff House. If you are here to pay respect there is someone you should meet. I would be honored to make the introductions."
"Who is a ghost going to introduce me to in a graveyard?" thought Harry. He recalled Sir Nicholas' death-day party and shuddered a bit. "There might be other ghosts and I did come here to investigate." "Thank you," said Harry as he made his way around the tangle of bushes and bracken that had overgrown the pathway through the entrance gate. "Apparently," thought Harry, "there aren't many visitors here."
The Fat Friar had drifted back through the iron fence and was waiting for Harry as he came through the gate. "Just down this path and your presence will be known," said the ghost in an expectant voice.
Harry followed obediently as the Friar led him down the path to a set of ancient stone benches surrounding a crystal-clear reflection pool. Here the Fat Friar floated to a stop and motioned for Harry to sit down on one of the stone benches. Harry did as he was directed, all the while wondering if the crumbling stone would disintegrate and pitch him headlong into the pool. As Harry sat down, the Fat Friar put a silvery finger to his lips and indicated that Harry was to remain silent. Harry nodded his understanding. The cemetery was very still. The only sounds that could be heard were the soft rustle of leaves in the breeze, an occasional bird twitter, and the soft tinkle of the slow-moving stream as it replenished the reflection pool.
Harry was jarred from his reverie and introspection by a sudden pronouncement from the Fat Friar, "Ogram! 'Tis Friar Eshua. I have come to thee with a mortal seeking. Do thee us the honor of speaking with thee?"
Harry waited breathlessly. He searched his memory for the word Ogram. Harry could not recall a single reference to a creature or a being called an Ogram, so he concluded it must be a name. As Harry waited and nothing happened, he thought the Friar would call out again. Turning to face the Friar, Harry noticed that the ghost's eyes were closed tightly and he gave no indication of calling out a second time.
Harry chose the patient course and he had no more than made that conscious decision than the area around the stone benches began to grow brighter. The glow seemed to emanate from the very air itself. Harry watched in amazement as the light coalesced and became, what Harry could only describe as the most beautiful being he had ever seen. It looked like a human but it radiated such immense power that Harry didn't think he could endure its presence.
Friar Eshua broke Harry's focus when he began, "Ogram, well met. I thank thee for thy speedy appearance. I have here a mortal who has done our ilk a great service."
Harry listened in amazement. When had he done a service to either ghosts or this marvelous being?
The Friar continued, "The power of the Dark One is stretching across the land. His evil influence is manifest in the dark deeds of those who list to obey his promptings. This young man has run afoul of the Dark One's influence and his evil followers. Indeed this mortal's own parents were taken from this mortal coil because of the evil one's dark promises of everlasting life. When this young man had to face the Dark One's followers he showed courage beyond the human norm. Harry Potter brought back the earthly remains of Cedric Diggory, a good young man from my school House. Master Diggory was killed by the evil perpetrated on mankind by the Dark One's enticings. Harry Potter has come here of his own volition, seeking to pay his respect to those who have gone before. Ogram, I beg thy indulgence and thy wisdom. I present thee Harry Potter."
Harry was dumbfounded. He had never considered that his actions would be noticed by ghosts or their community, but this seemed to be a one-off opportunity. Harry recalled the words of one of his primary school teachers long before he had come to Hogwarts, "Knowledge is the light that shows us our path in life. Seek learning at every opportunity and the light of knowledge will lead you safely into your own future."
"What had brought that particular memory to mind? Why just now?" wondered Harry.
As if in answer to his unasked question, Ogram ("The Ogram," Harry wondered) turned to face Harry and began speaking. His voice was a mellow rumbling bass that seemed to penetrate Harry to the centre. Despite the overawing presence and the penetrating voice, Harry found he had no fear of Ogram. Indeed Ogram's voice was very comforting and spoke peace at a very deep level. Harry focused on the words behind the peaceful feeling, not wanting to miss anything.
"Harry Potter, thank you for your reverence of the dead. Many humans and wizards alike fear the dead. Many show no reverence to those who bear a holy image in their very countenance. Some even defile that image by unspeakable acts on their own bodies and the bodies of those who have passed on." With this pronouncement Ogram fell silent.
Harry considered for a moment how to respond. His thoughts were drawn to those he knew who had died; his parents, Sirius, Emaline Vance, Madame Bones, Cedric Diggory, Myrtle, Dumbledore, and so many others, all those faceless and nameless people who had fought Voldemort and had paid with their lives. A wave of sadness coursed through Harry for all those whose lives had been shortened or who had been caused pain by Voldemort's lust for power and immortality.
Harry was brought back to present as Ogram continued, "It is good to meet one yet alive who has the heart to be concerned for those who have passed on. Humans build their lives on those who have gone before. Respect is owed to those who sacrificed so much that today may be. Mortals are, in part, a compilation of all those forerunners. That compilation is completed by all those they meet and learn from day-to-day. Respect is owed but few take thought to pay that respect."
As Harry took in Ogram's words, thoughts raced through his mind, "Why did I take the risk to bring back Cedric's body? Why did I have sympathy for Myrtle when others avoided her? Why did I attend Sir Nicholas' death-day party when it turned out so completely dreadful for a mortal? Why did I forge such an immediate connection with those shades that had filed from Voldemort's wand during our duel? Why have I always felt such a connection, an obligation, to those who have passed-on?"
Ogram's voice interrupted the questions that edged through Harry's mind, "I do not, in the norm, make myself known to mortals, but you, Harry Potter, you have come to my attention before. Many of my charge's shades have spoken to me of you. I am tasked with the protection of those remains that lie within the bounds of this dedicated cemetery. There are some who would try to defile the bodies that have been sacredly entombed here. Anyone with such intents will find me standing ready with power to protect the sanctity of this place." Ogram fell silent and watched Harry closely.
At Ogram's first mention of those who would defile the bodies of the dead, Harry's thoughts were drawn to his encounter with the Inferi in Voldemort's cave just a scant week before. Harry remembered his feelings of revulsion and fear when he had realized what was under the black lake water. Now, in the presence of Ogram, Harry wondered at his earlier feeling of fear. He recalled Dumbledore's appraisal that Voldemort was afraid of both the dark and the dead. As Harry looked at Ogram, he was moved, not with fear, but with a desire to understand more of what this intriguing being had to teach him. Motivated by a desire to learn, Harry dived in, "Ogram, if you would pardon my familiar manner and brashness, I wonder if I might ask you a few questions?" Harry prepared himself for the answer, whatever Ogram's direction might be.
Ogram didn't respond immediately. He looked at Harry as if appraising him through and through. Harry didn't shrink from the visual inspection but patiently bore the penetrating look with his own look of humble curiosity. Harry used the moment to more fully observe Ogram. It seemed to Harry that either Ogram's bright visage had diminished or his capacity to bear the brilliance had increased. It was impossible to determine the colour of Ogram's hair, clothing, or skin, as he appeared to be made of bright white light. He wore a loose robe that reminded Harry of depictions he had seen of Roman senators. The similarity extended down to Orgam's brilliantly white, sandaled feet.
Ogram completed his searching appraisal of Harry, and without dropping his gaze, he began, "I discern what has reached my ears about Harry Potter is true. You are what you appear to be. You may ask your questions."
Harry wondered at the phrase "You are what you appear to be" but put it aside for the questions pressing his mind. "Might as well bang the question right out," thought Harry. "Ogram, I can see the sprinkling and concentration of magic on the entire Hogwarts grounds, but here in this cemetery there is not a glimmer nor a trace of magic. I was drawn here because this spot is conspicuous due to its lack of magic signature. Could you help me understand why?"
Ogram smiled. The action calmed Harry more than the Draught of Peace.
"My fine young mortal," began Ogram, "you are very observant about the presence what you call magic. There are many types of power in the vast universe. You know of several of these types of power. You have seen the energy sources of the non-magical humans, you have observed the power controlled by wizards and you may have seen the control of power by non-humans. Each creature is endowed with a power, a spark of life, and each finds ways to more fully protect and preserve themselves and those they hold dear. As I look through your soul, I detect that there is deep conflict within you. You contain and control a deep division. Your control over yourself will be tested but can allow you to learn much. You have the ability to manipulate a bit of the power that exists around us. Magic is a tiny fraction of the power in the universe. There is an overarching power that encompasses and surpasses all others. I am tasked to protect my charges by that power. You are not yet ready to be taught of that power. It is one of the Four Great Questions. Further explanations will come as you learn and experience more. Both questions and answers lie in your future. When the student is ready the teacher will appear. This much I will tell you, no magic can be used to violate the bodies interred in this dedicated place. That is what you perceive as a "lack" of magic here.
As Ogram fell silent, Harry's mind raced, "A power separate from but greater than magic!" Harry yearned to learn more but Ogram's words and tone made it clear that this was not the time for more questions. He queued his thoughts, decided to be patient and took what he thought was the next logical step. "Ogram, thank you for teaching me these things. May I look around and pay my respects?"
"Indeed you may Master Potter. Respect and reverence are highly prized here. If you have questions or need assistance, speak my name," replied Ogram.
Harry watched as the brilliant light seemed to gather into Ogram until, once again, it was impossible to look directly at him. As suddenly and silently as Ogram had appeared he disappeared. Harry felt as if he had gone blind. He looked around in the dappled sunlight and concluded that his eyes had adjusted to Ogram's brilliance and without that brilliance to light the path, it seemed as dark as Voldemort's cave. Harry found he was standing, and although he had no conscious recollection of rising from the stone bench. He surmised he must have stood at Ogram's appearance. Slowly regaining his ability to see in the "normal" light, he attempted to take a few steps along the stone path that meandered through the cemetery, but found he was completely dusted out. As his strength failed him, he fell to the ground with his head thrust uncomfortably in the weedy overgrowth lining the path. Unable to rise, he pushed himself to his hands and knees and rested. As his strength slowly returned, he raised his head and was startled to see a series of four small, rough-hewn grave markers just scant inches from his nose. Equally startling was the fact that the birth and death date on each stone were identical as was the last name...Greyback. The only difference was the four first names, Volfram, LuPine, Canisth, and Bob. Harry noted the dates indicated that the Greybacks had only been about three months old at the time of their deaths. He wondered vaguely if these were relatives of Fenrir Greyback and what had caused their deaths at such an early age. All four had died nearly fifty years ago and he made a mental note to ask Hagrid if he knew the story of babies buried in Hogwarts' cemetery.
Eventually he felt strong enough to stand, and although he was still a bit unsteady on shaky legs, he resumed a cautious walk through the cemetery. Surnames leapt out at him: Podmore, Prewett, Bones, de Mimsy Porpington, but the one that stood out most clearly to Harry was an ornate stone carved with an elaborate coat-of-arms and bearing the name of Myrtle Longbottom. By the date on the stone, Harry was sure that this was "Moaning" Myrtle's grave. Harry looked closely at the headstone and found it contained an inscription as well as a brief genealogy of Myrtle's family. Harry was surprised to see the surname of Potter as Myrtle's maternal great grandfather. "Are Myrtle and I related?" wondered Harry. "That might explain my affinity for her."
As Harry contemplated the marker a sudden breeze rustled the trees around him, bringing him back to his sense of the present. He looked around and seemed almost surprised to find himself in a cemetery. Regaining himself, he finished his examination of the grounds. He noted that in the oldest part of the cemetery many of the names and dates had been obliterated by time. He was startled to see that the few he could read pre-dated the founding of Hogwarts. "If that were true," thought Harry, "then the castle was built here after the cemetery was in use." Were these earliest graves of muggles or magical folk?" The thought gave Harry pause, "More questions for another day."
As Harry made his way back between the headstones toward the entrance gate, he recalled dodging spells in the Little Hangleton cemetery as he had faced Lord Voldemort and his followers. "I guess that one cemetery looks a lot like all the others." Harry had just formed the thought when Ogram's words came forcefully back to his mind, "... magic is not effective here in this dedicated place..." "But then, why had Voldemort been able to use magic in a cemetery?" The thought plagued Harry's mind. "Do I dare ask Ogram?" wondered Harry. His desire for understanding overcame his apprehension of calling Ogram. Retracing his steps to the reflection pool, in a quiet voice he uttered one word, "Ogram."
The result was as immediate as if Harry had cast a spell. Light began to gather, and at length, Ogram's brilliant countenance appeared full before Harry.
Ogram's expression calmed Harry's concerns. He bore a look that was neither angry nor frustrated; instead it was a look of peace and contentment. Ogram spoke once again in his rumbling voice, "Master Potter. You are in need of assistance?"
As he shielded his eyes against Ogram's brilliant visage, Harry screwed up his courage and asked, "I had a question about magic in a cemetery. I had occasion at the Little Hangleton cemetery to observe dark magic used to forcibly take bone from a grave. How can that be?"
Ogram bowed his head as if in reverent deference. His face held a look of infinite sadness. He hesitated and then began speaking, "Magic is not effective in this cemetery because it has been dedicated as a final resting place for those buried here. The dedication of this ground was performed by the same power that gives me charge to here protect. Alas, many cemeteries are merely graveyards in reality. Their grounds have not been hallowed by the proper authority and the bodies entombed therein have no protection. Many graveyards sprang up out of necessity and were added to for convenience. Those to whom the responsibility lay of assuring dedicated protection failed so to do. Bodies outside dedicated ground are called Scatterlings and are unprotected from evil intent. Undedicated graveyards offer no more protection to Scatterlings than placing the bodies alongside a roadway. If magic was used against an entombed body and no guardian appeared, you have witnessed a sure sign of an undedicated graveyard."
Harry's mind reeled, "If I had only known this earlier! I might have been able to stop Voldemort from acquiring Tom Riddle Sr.'s bones for the potion to restore him to a physical body." Harry suddenly had several more questions, "Can a cemetery be dedicated after it has been used or does it have to be dedicated before anyone is buried?"
"The authority to dedicate a cemetery is available only to those with the power so to do. A cemetery may be dedicated by that authority at any time, but the dedication will not undo any desecrations that have already taken place." Ogram finished and waited.
"Can remains be moved from an undedicated graveyard to a dedicated cemetery and then be protected?" asked Harry.
"Yes," replied Ogram, "any remains placed in dedicated ground, regardless of their age, will be watched over and protected."
Harry absorbed the words and then said, "Thank you. I have three more questions if you would be so indulgent. First, are all guardians called Ogram? Second, have any of Hogwarts Headmasters or Headmistresses, particularly Albus Dumbledore, talked with you? Lastly, can you direct me to one who has this power and authority to dedicate and protect burial ground?"
He held his breath. "Perhaps I've gone too far, asked too much," Harry thought. He watched Ogram for a clue and waited patiently for an answer.
Ogram once again inspected Harry with his piercing gaze, and at length he began, "Human curiosity is a trait that can lead to discovery, or disaster. I see the motivation behind your questions is pure. I will answer as I can. I am a guardian not a teacher. The time will come when you will be in the presence of a teacher, that path lies in your future. Your first two questions are easily answered. All guardians bear the title Ogram, and although we have our own names we do not divulge them to mortals. I have met several Hogwarts Headmasters and Headmistresses; Albus Dumbledore was among them. Friar Eshua introduced us shortly after Albus Dumbledore became headmaster. He asked no questions of me, indeed, the conversation you and I have had is the most extensive that I have ever had with a mortal. All others have seemed to suffer from either a decided lack of curiosity or a fear of asking questions. As to your final inquiry, you must seek out that authority on your own. Friar Eshua may be able to direct you on that quest. As a note, Master Potter, it is unfortunate that the one you asked me of, Albus Dumbledore, is entombed outside the boundaries of my entrusted agency. Alas, Albus Dumbledore's body is a Scatterling. I bid you farewell until next we meet."
With that pronouncement, the light once again gathered to Ogram and he silently disappeared. Harry found that as after the first interview with Ogram, he felt drained of energy, as weak and wobbly as a newborn lamb. Harry sat down on the stone bench and, as he rested, contemplated what he had learned. Harry saw several paths open up to him, several more things that must be done before his final confrontation with Voldemort. As Harry rested he looked around the cemetery. It seemed as if all the gloom and foreboding he had anticipated regarding this place was gone, replaced by a feeling of peaceful calm. He realized he was now alone. "The Fat Friar; no," Harry thought, "I'll never be able to call him that again now I actually know his name. Friar Eshua seems to have left the cemetery."