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Deep within the bowels of the Ministry of Magic resides the Department of Mysteries. The people who work in this area are called Unspeakables, since they cannot reveal what work is performed there. While very little is publicly known about the inner workings of this mysterious department or the mysterious people who work inside it, some things are known to a greater or lesser degree.
One of these things resides in a forgotten chamber in the Department of Mysteries. It was not always the case that this room would be neglected, since at one time impressive magic was performed there. In this chamber resides an artifact that was created by Merlin and only he knew the secret of its construction and operation. When the Ministry of Magic was founded, the object was moved to its present location and studied. Later another would come and study it. It would be he who finally unlocked the secrets of its full potential.
Many wonderful things were done by the artifact and this young wizard. Eventually great stone benches were added so other wizards could see the work and appreciate the power of it. Alas, eventually all good things must end, and the wizard soon devoted his energy and his life to another pursuit with his closest three friends. However, that story resides outside the bounds of this work.
As time passed, no other witch or wizard could call forth the power of the artifact and the knowledge of it was lost. Eventually even its purpose was forgotten. No one even knew how to call forth its magic. As the years rolled by like the never-ending waves of the ocean, the magical community forgot this lost secret until only legends remained, of which most contained very little truth. There was one legend which was whispered between the people who work in the Department of Mysteries. This legend spoke of the last wizard. It was said that he had imbued the artifact with the power to recognize and respond to his heirs. Most of the people who worked there scoffed at the rumors, but in the dark corners of the Department of Mysteries, quiet conversations kept the legend alive, even as the object of the legends languished in the neglected chamber.
So, quietly burdened by the layers of dust from so many years of neglect, the artifact laid hidden in its room of stone benches. The veil from which powerful work had been done deteriorated and became old and tattered. However, the magic of the artifact remained. All it needed for a rebirth was but a spark of power and the knowledge to make it work.
Unbeknownst to the small group of people who found themselves in the Department of Mysteries on that May night, they were about to see the rebirth. As they fought amongst the stone benches and hurled curse and hex to and fro, the excess magical energy being released was quietly being absorbed. Deep within its stone structure, the artifact could feel the magical aura of one who could use it. With this knowledge, it began to collect the excess magical energy, gradually building the power within it until it hummed in readiness. All that was required now was the knowledge to make it work.
This artifact was a sentient device, although it was not originally created that way. It reflected on its last master and saw that it was his bloodline in the room causing it to reawaken, as the legends foretold. Hoping, in its limited way, the artifact saw a chance to end its long dormant state and become useful again. It was confused when the bloodline left with out utilizing its magic, but it was happy to see that the new master would return shortly later. After its chance meeting with the bloodline, the artifact prepared itself to be utilized. While it waited for the new master's return, it reflected on the last master. He had been a powerful wizard who specialized in the basest form of magical energies. He could sense and see magical auras and had remarkable control over his own mind and magical energy. He was able to push his mind out and learned the secret to creating sentient devices. In truth, the artifact knew that its "mind" was created by the master and imprinted onto its original power. It was grateful, however, since it used its "mind" to greatly expand its ability to delve into the void it was created to explore.
The artifact was surprised when someone entered its arch and passed through its veil. It was ready, but without a controlling direction from the master, the artifact could only do what it was made to do and pass the person on into the void. The master quickly left the room after this event, and soon the rest of the witches and wizards left as well. Again the artifact was forgotten, but the person who was now lost in the void was not.