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"A bit... or more," said Dumbledore. "You heard Voldemort, what he particularly wanted from Horace was an opinion on what would happen to the wizard who created more than one Horcrux, what would happen to the wizard so determined to evade death that he would be prepared to murder many times, rip his soul repeatedly, so as to store it in many, separately concealed Horcruxc. No book would have given him that information. As far as I know — as far, I am sure, as Voldemort knew — no wizard had ever done more than tear his soul in two."

"But you won't help her son," said Harry. "She gave me her life, but you won't give me a memory."

"I am not proud . . ." he whispered through his fingers. "I am ashamed of what — of what that memory shows. ... I think I may have done great damage that day. ..."

Harry hesitated, looking into the blue eyes that had turned green in the reflected light of the basin.

'But he healed all right, didn't he? Back on his feet in no time.'


Harry pulled his Cloak out of his pocket and threw it over himself before mounting his broom; Madam Rosmerta was already tottering back towards her pub as Harry and Dumble-dore kicked off from the ground and rose up into the air. As they sped towards the castle, Harry glanced sideways at Dumbledore, ready to grab him should he fall, but the sight of the Dark Mark seemed to have acted upon Dumbledore like a stimulant: he was bent low over his broom, his eyes fixed upon the Mark, his long silver hair and beard flying behind him in the night air. And Harry, too, looked ahead at the skull, and fear swelled inside him like a venomous bubble, compressing his lungs, driving all other discomfort from his mind ...

'You filthy hypocrite! What about you and Lavender, thrash-ing around like a pair of eels all over the place?' demanded Ginny.

The run-up to this crucial match had all the usual features: members of rival Houses attempting to intimidate opposing teams in the corridors; unpleasant chants about individual players being rehearsed loudly as they passed; the team members themselves either swaggering around enjoying all the attention or else dashing into bathrooms between classes to throw up. Somehow, the game had become inextricably linked in Harry's mind with success or failure in his plans for Ginny. He could not help feeling that if they won by more than three hundred points, the scenes of euphoria and a nice loud after-match party might be just as good as a hearty swig of Felix Felicis.

"Magic always leaves traces," said Dumbledore, as the boat hit the bank with a gentle bump, "sometimes very distinctive traces. I taught Tom Riddle. I know his style."

'All right then, Snape - but I'm going to have to leave you for a moment so I can -'


"So the things in the water won't do anything to us if we cross in Voldemort's boat?"

"Well," said Slughorn, not looking at Riddle, but fiddling with the ribbon on top of his box of crystallized pineapple, "well, it can't hurt to give you an overview, of course. Just so that you understand t he term. A Horcrux is the word used for an object in which a per-son has concealed part of their soul."

The careless way in which Voldemort regarded this Horcrux seemed most ominous to me. It suggested that he must have made — or had been planning to make — more Horcruxes, so that the loss of his first would not be so detrimental. I did not wish to be-lieve it, but nothing else seemed to make sense. Then you told me, two years later, that on the night that Volde-mort returned to his body, he made a most illuminating and alarm-ing statement to his Death Eaters. ‘I who have gone further than anybody along the path that leads to immortality.’ That was what you told me he said. 'Further than anybody!' And I thought I knew what that meant, though the Death Eaters did not. He was referring to his Horcruxes, Horcruxes in the plural, Harry, which I don’t believe any other wizard has ever had. Yet it fitted: Lord Voldomort has seemed to grow less human with the passing years, and the transformation he had undergone seemed to me to be only explainable if his soul was mutilated beyond the realms of what we might call 'usual evil' . . ."

"Yes indeed," said Dumbledore, and he raised his blackened, burned-looking hand. "The ring, Harry. Marvolo's ring. And a ter-rible curse there was upon it too. Had it not been — forgive me the lack of seemly modesty — for my own prodigious skill, and for Professor Snape's timely action when I returned to Hogwarts, des-perately injured, I might not have lived to tell the tale. However, a withered hand does not seem an unreasonable exchange for a sev-enth of Voldemort's soul. The ring is no longer a Horcrux."

"Oh, I doubt that it would work like that," said Dumbledore easily. "Lord Voldemort would not want to kill the person who reached this island." Harry couldn't believe it. Was this more of Dumbledore's insane determination to see good in everyone?


"Couldn't — ?"


"So, when the prophecy says that I'll have 'power the Dark Lord knows not,' it just means — love?" asked Harry, feeling a little let down.


But Harry was not paying much attention. He had just noticed where they were standing: there on the right was the tapestry of dancing trolls and, on the left, that smoothly impenetrable stretch of stone wall that concealed -


"Well, as you now know, for many years I have made it my business to discover as much as I can about Voldemort's past life. I have traveled widely, visiting those places he once knew. I stumbled across the ring hidden in the ruin of the Gaunt’s house. It seem that once Voldemort had succeeded in sealing a piece of his soul in side it, he did not want to wear it anymore. He hid it, protected by many powerful enchantments, in the shack where his ancestors had once lived (Morfin having been carted off to Azkaban, of course), never guessing that I might one day take the trouble to visit the ruin, or that I might be keeping an eye open for traces of magical concealment.,

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"That would be a complete waste of potion," said Hermione flatly, putting down the copy of Spellmans Syllabary she had just taken out of her bag. "Luck can only get you so far, Harry. The situation with Slughorn was different; you always had the ability to persuade him, you just needed to tweak the circumstances a bit. Luck isn't enough to get you through a powerful enchantment, though. Don't go wasting the rest of that potion! You'll need all the luck you can get if Dumbledore takes you along with him ..." She dropped her voice to a whisper.;