Chapter 1: The Mists of Avalon

Sirius was dead, to begin with. All Harry's hopes and dreams for some semblance of a future had collapsed in the last week with the death of his godfather. The words Dumbledore had given him provided no solace.

Harry realized for the first time that he was going to die. The prophecy basically guaranteed it. He didn't know enough to stop Voldemort. Dumbledore wasn't teaching him anything. The one specialized lesson he'd had—occlumency—had failed spectacularly for want of a proper teacher. Voldemort was going to win. If he were younger he'd break down and cry, but he was a veteran now. Harry was numb.

While Ron and Hermione talked quietly with Neville, Luna, and Ginny, Harry stared out the window of the Hogwarts Express, absent-mindedly watching the countryside slip by. It was sunny and warm outside, but to Harry it felt cloying and stuffy inside. They were going home. He was returning to the bleeding Dursleys. It was sure to be a banner summer there, considering how well it went before he left last year. Harry sighed.

His mood didn't improve when the trolley lady dropped by. Harry got, but barely touched, his slice of treacle tart. He didn't fancy the pre-packaged ones, much preferring the fresh-made ones. He took a bite and sighed again, looking at the pudding. It tasted processed. Without a word, he stood and carried the tart into the corridor. He moved to the front of the carriage, where he knew the wash room had a bin.

Exiting the loo, he nearly knocked over a classmate. She was his height, with mousy brown hair, brilliant blue eyes, and a pale complexion. She hadn't changed out of her Hufflepuff robes yet. He recognized her instantly, but he didn't really know her, though they'd shared classes. He was far better acquainted with her housemates Susan Bones and Hannah Abbott. She was Megan Jones, and she was blocking his path.

"Can I speak to you a moment?" she asked. She had a breathy, sing-song accent, common to the Welsh people.

"Erm… OK," Harry agreed, surprised.

"This way," she said, walking back toward his compartment. She didn't elaborate, so he followed. She opened the door to the compartment next to Harry's, and held it open for him. Inside was an older witch, who looked similar to Megan. To his surprise, he knew her. Megan closed the door behind them. "This is my sister, Hestia."

"Yes," Harry said, surprised. "I remember you. You're part of the Order."

"Yep," she agreed. Her accent was almost identical to Megan's. "I am part of the Order of the Phoenix. I'd like to talk to you about that." She motioned for him to sit. Harry sat opposite her, and Megan joined him.

"So, how long am I to be at my Aunt and Uncles' this time?" he asked, resigned.

"You're not to go there at all," she replied, shocking Harry.

"Am I to go straight to Grimmauld Place?" he asked.

"Harry," she said, reaching across and taking his hand. "I just want to say I was quite sorry to hear about Sirius. I know he meant a great deal to you."

"Thanks," Harry said genuinely. "I miss him."

"There's some administrative business I need to take care of first," Hestia said. She pulled out her wand and waved it around him. Glowing red spots appeared around his body. "That makes things easier."

"What?" Harry asked.

"The red dots are tracking charms," she replied. "If you'd had blue dots, those would've been listening charms, but you don't have. You actually did me a favour earlier when you destroyed Dumbledore's office."

"What? Why?" Harry was shaken.

"All those whirring silver instruments that puffed smoke?" she reminded him.

"Yeah?" he acknowledged.

"Those were tracking devices keyed to your blood," Hestia explained, as she began dispelling the tracking charms. "They tracked your location far better than any tracking spell, and couldn't be removed. They also reported the state of the wards at the Dursleys. Now that they're destroyed, Dumbledore had to revert to using the charms. He's also doubled the guard on the Dursleys' house."

"So the headmaster put tracking charms on me?" Harry asked, not quite surprised.

"Yep," Hestia replied. "But I'm taking them off. It's important."

"Why?" Harry asked, not really understanding what was going on.

"Well, we don't want him to know where you'll be," Hestia replied, as though it were obvious.

"We don't?" Harry asked, confused. "Why not?"

"Do you want to spend another summer at the Dursleys?" Megan asked.

"No," Harry allowed.

"Do you want to learn about your family?" Megan asked.

"Yes," Harry said, then looked questioningly at Hestia. "But, you're in the Order…"

"I'm in the Order to keep an eye on you," she revealed. "Megan's been keeping an eye on you at school." That shocked Harry to the core. His discomfort grew into alarm.

"You're… you're not Death Eaters, are you?" he asked. "Show me your arms!" He had his wand out quickly, pointing it at Hestia.

"Relax, Harry," Megan said as Hestia raised her arms in surrender. "We're not Death Eaters. She pulled up her own sleeve, revealing a clear arm. Hestia, after putting her wand down, did likewise.

"We are actually pledged to search for you, and look after you," Hestia said. "When Dumbledore put you and your parents under the Fidelius in 1981, we were worried because we'd lost track of you. When your parents died and Dumbledore absconded with you we lost track of you again, and we spent years trying to track you down. We knew how old you'd be, and Megan was recruited to attend Hogwarts so that she'd be near you…"

"I tried to get into Gryffindor, but the damned hat stuck me in Hufflepuff," Megan revealed, brushing her hair out of her face behind her ear.

"If you don't work for Professor Dumbledore, and you aren't Death Eaters, who do you work for?" Harry asked.

"I can't tell you here," Hestia stated firmly. She raised her wand. "I swear on my magic that it is not my intent to hurt you now, or in the future, or to allow you to be hurt by others, and that I am working in what I believe is your best interest at this time. So mote it be." She finished the magical oath and waved her wand, which released a shower of yellow sparks. "Does that satisfy you for now?"

"I suppose," Harry said warily.

"Harry," Megan pressed. "We really are very much on your side; probably the only people in Britain who are."

"What about Ron and Hermione and Neville and Luna and Ginny?" Harry asked.

"I wouldn't trust the Weasleys any farther than I could throw them," Megan admitted. "They're not bad people, but they look out for themselves first, and others second. Don't you remember how Ron abandoned you during the Triwizard Tournament? As for Hermione, she certainly cares for you, and I'm quite certain you can count her as a friend, but she's still got a lot to learn about authority and the abuse of it. Neville's a decent bloke, I'll admit, but he's not your best mate, is he? And Luna, strange as she is, seems to be independent enough to be trustworthy, but you've only just begun your friendship with her. Her loyalties don't yet lie with you, or at least, not exclusively."

"So… um… What's the plan?" Harry asked, looking between the two women.

"First, we need to get your things," Hestia said.

"OK," Harry said, standing.

"Wait!" Megan said. "We can't let anyone see you leaving with your trunk."

"Go back to your compartment," Hestia instructed. "Wait until the train gets to King's Cross. Delay. Be the last one to leave the compartment. We'll come get you and portkey to our destination from the train."

"Where are we going?" Harry asked.

"I can't say here," Hestia chided. "Once we get where we're going, I'll explain everything."

"OK," Harry agreed. "I'll go back and wait for you." Without another word, he exited the compartment, and rejoined his friends.

"Where've you been?" Ron asked.

"Loo," Harry replied, taking his seat. A thought occurred to him. "Can I get your addresses?" he asked.

"You already know where we live," Ron rebuffed. "What'd'ya need our address for?"

"Well, I don't need your address," Harry allowed. "But Hermione, Neville, and Luna, I've no idea. I might want to write them over the summer, even if you're not allowed to write back." Without a word, Hermione pulled out a scrap of parchment and wrote down her address. She then passed it to Luna, who passed it on to Neville, who handed it to Harry. He read:

Hermione Granger

2 Holmesdale Road

Richmond, England TW9 3JZ

0181 815 9945

Luna Lovegood

Thomas' Tower

Ottery St. Catchpole, Devon

Neville Longbottom

Long Hall

St. Ives, Cambridgeshire

"Brilliant," he said. "Thanks guys."

"The headmaster didn't say anything to me about not writing you this summer," Hermione said. "So you'd better write, because I will be."

"Don't worry," Harry agreed with a smile. "I will."

"It's good to see you smiling again, Harry," Luna observed dreamily. "The wrackspurts that were around your head earlier are all gone."

"Erm…" Harry mumbled. "Sure. Thanks, Luna."

"So when are you coming to visit us, Harry?" Ginny asked, hopefully.

"I'm not sure," Harry replied. "Dumbledore didn't say much one way or the other."

"I hope you come soon," Ginny revealed. "I want you to teach me some seeker moves. I'm hoping to take your job when you graduate."

"That won't be for two more years," Harry chuckled.

"Exactly," Ginny smiled. "I need to start practising now!" Harry pocketed the slip of parchment and relaxed. The six friends continued to gossip and make small talk for another hour before the train pulled in to Platform 9¾. Harry, sitting next to the window, helped everyone else get their luggage down. They left the compartment one by one. Ginny, across from him, was the last one in the compartment. Harry helped her with her trunk, and watched her leave, pretending to fumble with Hedwig's cage.

Once she was gone, Harry pulled down his own trunk, then sat and glanced out the window, spotting Mad Eye Moody, Remus, and Tonks on the platform. Harry pulled down the shade on the window, obscuring the compartment. The door clicked open, revealing Megan and Hestia.

"Ready?" Hestia asked. Harry stood and nodded. She pointed her wand at his trunk and shrunk it. "Put your trunk in your pocket and get the cage. Then grab on." She pulled out a piece of rope. Harry and Megan each grabbed an end, and Hestia tapped her wand to the rope. Harry felt the hook in his navel as the portkey pulled him.

His feet hit the ground moments later in an alley between a wall and a large building. They were standing between two rather dirty skips. It was very noisy.

"Come along," she said.

"Where are we?" Harry asked.

"London City Airport," Hestia replied. "Our plane's waiting."

"Why're we taking a plane?" Harry asked. "Wouldn't it be faster to portkey?"

"We can't portkey where we're going, and I'd like to avoid the international floo terminal, as that'll tip them off," Hestia explained.

"Tip who off?" Harry asked.

"Dumbledore and the Order," Hestia told him.

"Oh," Harry said, dumbly. They passed the edge of the building and Harry saw a small business jet with an RAF roundel sitting alone on the tarmac in front of them. They appeared to be heading towards it.

They were greeted at the base of the stairs by a flight attendant wearing a military uniform.

"Welcome aboard, sir," she said with the same Welsh accent that the Jones sisters had. "Please take a seat, and we can depart." Harry smiled at her, and boarded the plane. It was surprisingly roomy.

"Expansion charms," Hestia said as he looked around. "This plane's got quite a few tricks up its' sleeve."

"Oh?" Harry asked.

"Yep," Hestia nodded before taking a seat. "For one, the engines are jets, but they don't use fuel. They have runes that conjure fire, and that's what moves the engines. At least, that's how it was explained to me. It gives them unlimited range. There's the expansion charms, obviously. Let's see…"

"Magical communication suite," the flight attendant added, appearing behind them.

"Right," Hestia allowed.

"Also, we have magically expanded cargo storage with feather-light runes," the flight attendant continued. "Magical control equipment instead of cables or fly-by-wire, magically strengthened skin, sound dampening runes, and magical navigation equipment. It means we can fly fifty percent faster than a standard Hawker Dominie, more safely, with more cargo, and with less work for the pilots."

"Wow," Harry said, looking around.

"Anyway," the flight attendant said. "Welcome aboard the Royal Flight. My name is Sergeant Downes, and I'll be your flight attendant today. Flight time to destination is one hour twenty-five minutes. If you'll buckle your seatbelts I'll describe the safety features of this Hawker-Avalon Dominie C.1 aircraft. There are two exits…"

Harry listened politely, not expecting the plane to crash. He wondered where exactly he was going. It was interesting that this was part of the Royal Air Force—the Royal Flight at that—plus it was magical, which astounded him. It meant the RAF knew about magic. Harry supposed that it made sense. The Minister for Magic did meet with the Prime Minister, after all.

When Sgt. Downes finished, she sat down in a jump seat at the front of the aircraft. While she'd been talking, the plane had started to roll. Moments after she'd taken her seat, the engines throttled up and the plane surged down the runway. Harry watched out the window as the plane lifted into the air. As they pulled away from the ground, Harry could make out the Tower of London passing just north of them. As the plane increased its height and turned slightly south, he could make out the place he'd just left: King's Cross Station.

"So, I assume you've quite a few questions," Hestia said. "We're safe now, so you can go ahead and ask them."

"Where are we going?" Harry asked first.

"Avalon," Hestia said. "It's where Megan and I are from."

"What? You mean like the King Arthur, Knights of the Round Table, Excalibur kind of Avalon?" Harry asked, incredulous.

"That was about fifteen hundred years ago, but yeah," Hestia allowed.

"This aeroplane is going to take us to Avalon?" Harry persisted.

"Yes, Harry," Hestia said solidly. "Avalon is a real kingdom. The island of Avalon is located about a hundred sixty kilometres west south-west of Land's End. Our closest neighbour are the Scilly Islands, about a hundred fifteen kilometres away."

"But…" Harry sputtered. "I thought Avalon was in Somerset. I mean, I thought…"

"You thought what Avalon wanted British magicals to think," Hestia explained. "This is going to be a bit of a history lesson, so buckle up.

"The Island of Avalon was discovered by magical seafarers from England in prehistoric times," Hestia began. "Like Ireland, it was never occupied by Romans. Though known to muggles, Avalon was deemed unimportant enough and too remote to invade. Over time, both magical and muggle trade was established with Ireland and France, but primarily with Britain. Avalon was on such good relations with its primary trading partner, Dumnonia, that the two were merged.

"From 480, the Kingdom of Avalon comprised of the Island of Avalon and Dumnonia, which is now known as the counties of Devon and Cornwall," Hestia continued. "Most of the magicals lived in Avalon, while the muggles lived in Dumnonia. There was quite a bit of overlap, however. It's one of the reasons that so many magicals live in Devon today. Avalon's ownership of Dumnonia was slowly reduced by war over the course of a century. It was fully lost to the kings of Wessex by 825, leaving only the Island of Avalon unconquered.

"In 830, Avalon fully withdrew from the non-magical world, sequestering itself under a Fidelius charm; one of the first ever done. They did this because the kingdom was still in turmoil following the loss of Dumnonia, and they felt they were in no place to defend themselves should the Saxons or Vikings arrive on their shores. This charm was broken in 1125, but by then, stout wards of unprecedented strength protected Avalon from both Muggles and Magicals, and no one living outside of Avalon remembered the Kingdom existed. We did little to help them remember.

"For centuries Avalon existed apart. The kingdom rejoined the world in 1350, when King Hector travelled to Britain and met with King Edward III. King Hector wanted to establish trade, as Avalon had developed large farms and production centres, and could benefit from selling things to the English. Hector did not, however, reveal the existence of Avalon to the Wizard's Council in Britain, and the English monarchs continued to hide it from the Ministry of Magic when that replaced the Wizard's Council. This was done at the request of the Avalonian monarchs. Avalon chooses to abide by the statute of secrecy by sequestering itself from the non-magical world, rather than attempting to hide magic from the few muggles on the islands."

"That's… Wow," Harry stammered. "I can't believe Avalon's been hidden for so long."

"Today," Hestia explained. "Avalon is a fully modern place. We're far more advanced than Magical Britain. We have electricity and motors. We use magic, but in harmony with technology. Magical tech is one of our key exports. That, and food."

"Food?" Harry asked.

"Avalon provides around fifty percent of Magical Britain's food," Hestia said. "We disguise ourselves as Welsh, Irish, or French traders as necessary. Most of the Avalonian fleet uses the Manx flag as a flag of convenience, with the blessing of the British monarch."

"So, is this a big place?" Harry asked.

"About 26,000 square kilometres," Hestia shrugged. "The closest country in size is Rwanda in Africa, but if you're looking closer to home, think a bit bigger than Wales."

"You sound Welsh," Harry observed.

"Well, we're descended from ancient Britons, just like the Welsh, and they were our closest allies before Dumnonia was lost," Hestia agreed. "I think we feel something of a kinship with them."

"So is Camelot real?" Harry wanted to know.

"It's the capital of Avalon," Megan interjected.

"Are you from there?" Harry asked.

"No," Megan said. "We're from Port Arthur."

"The Jones' have something of a seafaring tradition," Hestia said, as though that explained things.

"OK," Harry said, unsure of himself.

"Port Arthur's the second largest city in Avalon, and the largest port," Megan explained, seeing Harry was lost. "Camelot's the biggest city, with about forty thousand people…"

"Forty thousand?!" Harry asked, shocked. "How many people are there in this country?"

"About a hundred fifty… hundred sixty thousand, if you count the elves and goblins," Hestia said. "Most people do."

"There are a hundred sixty thousand magical people in Avalon?" Harry could hardly believe it. "There are only fifteen thousand magicals in Britain."

"Well," Hestia demurred. "I mean, there are only about ninety-five thousand magical humans in Avalon. There are about five thousand non-magicals: muggles and squibs. Plus about five thousand high elves and fifty thousand house elves. Give or take a few."

"Jesus," Harry swore. "So Camelot's got forty thousand… How many does Port…"

"Arthur," Megan finished. "About twenty thousand. Not too shabby."

"Pen Rhionydd, a city on the north-west coast, has about ten thousand people," Hestia continued. "Otterthorpe, on the north-east coast has five thousand people. Astolat, on the south coast, has five thousand too. The smallest city is Corbenic on Sarras Island, with about three thousand people. Then there are dozens of small villages and hundreds of farms throughout the kingdom."

"So there are high elf farmers?" Harry asked, astonished.

"I don't think so," Hestia said thoughtfully. "Most of the kingdom's high elves live in the Broceliande Forest to the west, though some live in Camelot and have trades." There was a brief lull in the conversation as Harry thought about his next question.

"So can you tell me what group you're with, now?" Harry asked.

"I'm with MI6," Hestia replied.

"Like James Bond?" Harry laughed.

"No, not like James Bond," Hestia huffed. "He was the British MI6, now the Secret Intelligence Service. I'm in the Avalonian Ministry of Defence's Directorate of Military Intelligence, Section 6, Intelligence, colloquially known as MI6. We retained the name from the Second World War, while the Brits changed theirs."

"Do you work there too?" Harry asked Megan.

"Not quite," Megan replied. "I mean, they paid for Hogwarts, and I get a little spending money from them, but…"

"She's like a contractor," Hestia clarified. "She's sort of off book. If I wasn't six, they wouldn't've asked her to help out."

"What's it like in Avalon?" Harry asked next.

"It's quite like Muggle Britain, actually," Hestia replied. "We don't wear robes. We drive cars, take buses and trains and aeroplanes. We have ships. There's city government, county government, national government. We have the usual government ministries. We have telephones and television and wireless. There're restaurants and pubs. We do have brooms and carpets that fly, and a floo network, and portkeys… But just as many if not more people drive or bike or take public transit."

"So it's not like Magical Britain at all?"

"I mean," Hestia hesitated. "There's magic, obviously. But if you're talking about ministry corruption, or odd department names, quills and parchment, and generally odd stuff, then no."

"Do they play quidditch?" Harry asked.

"Yes," Hestia replied. "But football and rugby are just as popular. The Camelot teams tend to dominate at quidditch and football, but the Port Arthur Knights have taken the Avalon Rugby Cup three years running. The Jones' tend to be rugby fans."

"I can see why," Harry allowed.

They were interrupted by Sgt. Downes with beverage service. Afterwards, Harry looked out the window sipping his Coke as Land's End slipped by. Goodbye England, he thought.


"Ginny," came the familiar voice from behind her. She turned. "Where's Harry?" Remus asked.

"He's right… behind me," she trailed off as she turned around and looked back at the carriage she'd just departed from. The throng of people was thinning out, and it was obvious there was no Harry. "Did you guys see Harry get off the train?" she asked Ron and Hermione.

"No," Ron said. "He was behind you, wasn't he?"

"Yeah," Ginny replied. "He helped me get my trunk down."

"Can you see him, Mad Eye?" Remus asked Moody.

"He's not on the train," Moody said, scanning the carriages with his magic eye.

"Did you see what happened to him?" Tonks asked, looking around, while Remus started casting revealing charms and other charms that Ron and Hermione couldn't identify.

"Nah," Moody drawled. "I was scannin' the crowd for threats."

"He could be bloody anywhere," Tonks sighed.

"What happened to him?" Hermione asked.

"I dunno," Moody replied. "We best be tellin' Dumbledore, though." Just then, Molly arrived.

"Where's Harry?" she asked, then she saw their faces. "Did something happen to him?"

"We're not sure, Molly," Remus replied. "We didn't see him get off the train, but he's not on it now."

"Maybe he's using his invisibility cloak?" Ron suggested.

"Mad Eye should be able to see through that," Tonks said.

"Not Potter's, I can't," Moody revealed.

"But, I thought…" Tonks began.

"Not here," Moody replied. "'Sides, we gotta be tellin' Dumbledore 'bout this. He's either gone or doesn't wanna be found. Any luck Lupin?"

"I'm not getting anything from the tracking charms," Remus replied.

"What tracking charms?" Hermione asked, perturbed.

"Never mind," Moody replied. "We'd best be going. Molly, take your children home. Tonks, take Hermione ta her parents 'n the station proper. Remus, you're comin' ta Hogwarts wi' me." Given their assignments, the other Order members scurried off. Moody nodded to Remus and they both disapparated with a pop.


"We've begun our descent into Camelot," Sgt. Downes said. "If you could please ensure that your seatbelts are properly fastened. We'll be landing in just a few minutes. The time in Avalon is four seventeen in the afternoon." With that, she returned to her seat, and strapped in herself, then lifted a phone to call the cockpit.

Harry checked his seatbelt quickly, then looked out the window. He'd been distracted by the conversation he'd been having with Megan. To avoid information overload, they'd talked about Hogwarts. Harry had corrected some misinformation Megan had gotten about what he'd been up to the first five years. The basilisk had been new information to her.

Below Harry was surprised to see verdant green meadows, rolling hills, and emerald forests dotted with small hamlets and larger towns. Looking forward he could see part of a city with a river flowing through it. Roads and streams criss-crossed the land, and as they descended, he could make out cars and boats. He even saw a train with smoke rising from the steam engine at the front.

Shortly, the aircraft touched down. Harry had never flown in an aircraft before, and had found the experience both remarkable and less exciting than he would've thought. The aircraft taxied to an empty spot of tarmac and came to a halt. Harry unbuckled his seatbelt and stood when the others did. Sgt. Downes opened the door.

Harry followed Hestia past Sgt. Downes and into the sunlight. He blinked briefly as his eyes adjusted to the light. At the foot of the stairs was an elderly man in a business suit standing near the back of an antique black limousine. Another identical car was idling behind it. Hestia walked up to the gentleman and bowed her head formally. Megan passed them and went to the second car.

"Harry," Hestia said. "I'd like you to meet your great uncle, Prince Charlus, Count Potter." Though perhaps as old, the man looked nothing like Dumbldore. He stood tall, nearly two meters, and had quite a large frame. He had dark grey hair and piercing grey eyes looking out from a ruddy complexion. His dark brown three-piece tweed suit was perfectly understated.

"A pleasure to meet you Harry," Charlus said kindly, while nod-bowing. He spoke in the same English accent Harry heard on the BBC when Vernon let him watch. He extended his hand. Harry, at a loss, took it. Charlus' voice was deep, but pleasant, and his expression softened as they shook.

"You're my great uncle?" he asked, confused.

"That's right," Charlus confirmed. "Fleamont was my brother."

"But…" Harry stammered. "I thought my family was all dead."

"Your parents and your grandparents are," Charlus confirmed. "I withdrew from British society in 1979 when your grandparents died. My wife, Dorea, had died the year previous, and there was nothing keeping me in Britain. Your parents elected to remain in Britain to help fight Voldemort, and I agreed to come here to help run the place in their absence." Hestia opened the back door of the saloon. "Shall we?" Harry entered first and scooted across the seat. Charlus followed. Hestia closed the door and sat in the front seat. Harry was surprised that the cars' drivers were sat on the left, instead of on the right like in Britain. "I've had a bit of trouble tracking you down," Charlus continued. "Albus hid you well, and Hestia couldn't get you out before now." Then something clicked.

"You're a prince," Harry stated as the car started driving. Harry was paying no attention to the scenery outside.

"Yes," Charlus allowed.

"And you came here when my grandparents died to run the country," Harry continued.

"That's right," Charlus agreed.

"Does that mean my grandfather was the king?" Harry asked.

"Yes, Harry," Charlus nodded. "And so was your father. Your parents came here in 1979 for their coronation, and then left again."

"So am I a king?" Harry finished his train of thought.

"Yes, you've been King of Avalon since October 31, 1981," Charlus informed him. "But, in Avalon, the king must be at least sixteen to rule. Until your birthday, I will continue to rule in your stead, as I have since your elevation, as regent."

"OK," Harry said, at a loss.

"I will, of course, keep you informed as to what's going on," Charlus said. "I'll also be asking your advice, as I hope you will ask mine come August."

"Everything's changing for me, isn't it?" Harry asked.

"I'm afraid so," Charlus nodded. "We didn't want to have to tell you quite so quickly," he explained. "Unfortunately, Albus was a little too good at keeping us away from you."

"He knows about Avalon?" Harry asked.

"No," Charlus told him. "The only magical British national who knew about Avalon was Sirius Black. He came here in 1979 with your parents and watched the coronation."

"He never said a word to me about it," Harry said.

"He couldn't," Charlus replied. "He swore an unbreakable vow never to reveal the secret of Avalon. He could only talk about it to people who already knew. He and Hestia had several conversations about it this past year. Unfortunately, she couldn't divulge the secret to you until after his death as you were in school. Her approaching you on the train was his idea, and it worked flawlessly."

"He was always looking out for me," Harry whispered to himself, and looked out the window. They were driving through city streets, and it could've been any city in Britain, except they were driving on the wrong side of the road. He saw people on the streets going about their daily lives. He spotted a wand or two, but generally, it looked decidedly muggle. "Where are we going?"

"The Castle of Camelot," Charlus explained. "It is both the primary residence of the Monarch, as well as the seat of Parliament and the location of the Royal Court."

"Will I be told about all that?" Harry asked. "I mean, like a class, or a book, or something?"

"It will be part of your formal training," Charlus allowed. "Unfortunately, you won't be having much of a summer holiday, I'm afraid. Besides you becoming ruler of an admittedly small country; your education at Hogwarts was deficient from an Avalonian point of view."

"Oh?" Harry asked, turning back.

"Prior to attending Hogwarts, you learned maths, science, English, history, geography…" Charlus explained, trailing off. "At Hogwarts, you learned charms, transfiguration, potions… Had you attended school in Avalon, those would've been blended together from the start. You are educated to the level we would expect a twelve-year-old to be at with what we call mundane knowledge, while magically, your formal education would put you squarely with the fourteen-year-olds, except for runes and arithmancy, both of which are required subjects here. We've arranged private tutors to assist you in catching up. It is entirely up to you as to whether you continue your education past the A-levels—it looks good for you to do so—however, Avalon requires you to have passed the A-levels."

"Wow," Harry sighed. "I feel quite stupid now."

"Ignorance is not stupidity," Charlus chided. "Never conflate the two. Your lack of education was not your fault. Simply put forth the effort required with your tutors, and you'll be fine." He patted Harry's arm in a comforting manner. "Regardless, I can begin your education of your new country now, if you like?"

"Sure," Harry agreed readily.

"Avalon is a constitutional monarchy with a written constitution," Charlus instructed. "The legislature is a one hundred seat Parliament, and it is filled through universal suffrage, including all elves, goblins residing outside of Gringotts, and muggle subjects. We use nationwide proportional representation, meaning unlike in Britain, there are no local seats. Instead, the political parties supply a ranked list of candidates, and the voters select the party of their choice. The percentage of votes for each party then becomes the number of seats they are allocated, which are then filled off the parties ranked lists.

"Members of Parliament serve for no more than four years, but may serve less if the government deadlocks and the Parliament is dissolved on the order of the monarch," Charlus intoned. "No person may serve as an MP in consecutive terms, though after a gap, a person may serve again as an MP.

"There are five major political parties in Avalon: the Conservatives (Tories), the Co-Operatives, the Liberals (Whigs), Labour, and the Greens," Charlus continued. "Most governments in the past one hundred fifty years have been majority Liberal, with significant stints where the Liberals led a Liberal-Labour coalition. Conservatives have led the government for less than forty years in the past one hundred fifty years, and the Co-Operatives (the newest party) and the Greens have never led a government.

"You, as the monarch, are head of state and commander in chief of the armed forces," Charlus said, switching gears slightly. "You appoint the justices of the Royal Court, order Parliamentary elections and the dissolution of Parliament, and invite the Prime Minister to take his post.

"The Prime Minister is the chief executive, and responsible for running the government," Charlus said. "The executive is divided into several ministries: Culture, Defence, Education, Environment, Foreign, Health and Social Services, Justice, Trade, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Treasury.

"The Royal Court is the supreme judicial body, comprised of three lord justices," Charlus informed him. "By tradition two of the lord justices are members of the nobility who are not also executives of counties, while one is a commoner who is elevated to a knighthood. The lord justices serve for life."

"The counties?" Harry asked.

"Avalon is divided into four counties," Charlus told him. "The County of Brittia includes Camelot and the west. The County of Annwn includes Port Arthur and the middle of the nation east of Camelot. The County of Celliwig includes Pen Rhionydd, Otterthorpe, and the north-east. The County of Sarras includes Astolat and the south, including Sarras Island. Before Dumnonia was lost, there were four more counties: Exeter, Cameliard, Potter, and Glastonbury. We still have counts for those, despite those counts being landless. The other landless nobles are the Earls of West Wales and Dumnonia, and the Duke of Cornwall."

"You're the Count Potter, you said," Harry reminded him.

"Yes," Charlus allowed. "The Potters were counts long before they were kings. The family retained the title, and has traditionally bestowed it on second sons. It's a kind of consolation prize. It's rather meaningless for us, as we're already princes, and thus in the nobility already."

"Are there many nobles?" Harry asked.

"Not so many," Charlus replied. "Aside from the landless nobles, and the landed counts, there are the Earls of Lyonesse and Camelot, and the Duke of Avalon."

"What do they do?" Harry asked.

"Not much," Charlus chuckled. "They have no formal responsibilities. For a time, they oversaw their fiefs, but in modern times, the fiefs—other than the counties—have fallen into disuse. Traditionally, they serve in the military, as do the other nobles, though they all are also fairly important businessmen and civic leaders.

"The four landed counts, on the other hand, act as chief executives of the counties," Charlus explained. "The counties also have a twenty-person elected county council to legislate, and a county court to provide justice. Your man in the county is the Royal Sheriff, who monitors the count for the king and acts as the senior law enforcement official in the county. The county court consists of one justice, always a commoner. The county seat is always the largest city in the county."

Harry sat for a while, thinking. He looked out the window again. There was so much to take in, it seemed overwhelming.

"What's expected of me?" Harry asked, turning back.

"Initially, you must have a coronation," Charlus explained. "Then there's the assumption of responsibility on your birthday. Thereafter, you'll be receiving a brief every morning, updating you on important matters. As I said, you call Parliament into session, invite the Prime Minister to sit, and appoint Royal Justices. You also dissolve Parliament if they deadlock, and order Parliamentary elections. Those tasks take up very little time. Your other task is commander-in-chief of the armed forces."

"So there's nothing for me to do?" Harry asked.

"I don't want to discourage you," Charlus replied. "The monarchy can be as much or as little as you make it. Your power is real in some cases, and is derived from influence in others. Unlike in Britain, where the monarch is supposed to be above politics, in Avalon, the monarch is allowed to be a political creature. You are allowed to advocate for the passage of laws. There is a mechanism whereby the monarch can call for a referendum of the people to pass new constitutional measures, and bypass Parliament.

"The House of Potter brought several innovations to the government of Avalon," Charlus commented. "Often far before their appearance elsewhere; including the Royal Court of Justice in 1308, the Parliament in 1335, a standing military in 1640, the Prime Minister's office in 1651, and the various government ministries starting in 1673. Through a series of relatively progressive rulers, the Potters have managed to remain popular in Avalon, despite being absent for several months each year to oversee their properties in Great Britain."

"What's in Britain?" Harry asked, curious.

"The Potters have holdings there in excess of five million acres," Charlus said. "While most of the Potter family holdings are in England, approximately one million acres are spread throughout Scotland and Wales. The majority of the Potters' English holdings are in Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset, a holdover from when Dumnonia was part of Avalon. The Potters have never sold or surrendered land, though the sovereignty passed from Avalon to Wessex, and thence to England. Additional small holdings are in London, Yorkshire, Hereford, Bristol, Dorset, and Kent.

"The Potters also hold the title Baron de Coleville in the peerage of England," Charlus informed him. "And have done since Robert de Coleville's daughter Margaret married Stephen Potter in 1414, with the title passing to their eldest son, John. This title, grants them the moniker of Noble, while their familial presence in England since before the Roman invasions grant them the moniker of Ancient. Their status as an ancient and noble family gives them a seat on the Wizengamot in Britain. They also have traditionally served the British Royal family as advisors regarding the magical world."

"So I'll get to go back to Britain, then?" Harry asked.

"Eventually," Charlus allowed. "You'll be fairly busy with your responsibilities here at first. You're not allowed to take up your Wizengamot seat until you turn eighteen anyway."

"I thought British wizards were considered adults at seventeen," Harry said.

"That's true," Charlus nodded. "But in order to sit on the Wizengamot, you must be done school, or at least, be old enough to be done Hogwarts."

"Oh," Harry said. "What was that about advising the British Royal family?"

"As a British noble, a wizard, and a fellow royal," Charlus began, "the British monarchy has looked on the Potters as a sounding board for ideas and actions for centuries. We have acted as something of a back channel for communication with the Wizengamot as well, bypassing the Minister for Magic. It is something I have continued since your grandparents' deaths. Although I haven't been able to consult with the Wizengamot, for obvious reasons, I have a good working relationship with Her Majesty, and have advised her on several matters."

"That's brilliant," Harry said, amazed.

"Welcome to your new home," Charlus said as the car pulled to a halt. The door opened and Harry stepped out into the courtyard of a magnificent castle. There was a small reception committee. Harry spent a few moments just drinking in the scene.

The walls were light grey, and towered above him. The interior of the castle was lined with massive matching grey stone buildings that were elegantly done in a Georgian style. Behind was the main gate. Directly opposite was a large building with a colonnade flanked by two more gates. Towers dotted the corners flying flags. There was another tower rising behind the building in front of him. A large number of cars were parked in the courtyard, including some military vehicles. Sentries in blue dress uniforms stood by doors and gates. They were fairly close to the colonnaded building.

"Harry," Charlus said, moving beside him. "Please allow me to introduce some people." He guided Harry over to the group. "This is James Morgan, the Prime Minister."

"Hello," Harry said politely. Harry offered his hand.

"Good afternoon, Your Majesty," Morgan replied, shaking his hand gently. He was old, but not as old as Charlus. Harry placed him at around sixty. "May I introduce my wife, Helen." He indicated a slightly younger woman standing next to him.

"It's nice to meet you," Harry said, again shaking hands.

"It's so good to have you here at last, Your Majesty," Helen replied, smiling.

"This is my son, who will be acting as your Private Secretary," Charlus informed him. "Thomas Potter." This Potter was, like the Prime Minister, about sixty years old. He had black hair liberally spotted with grey, with hazel eyes. He was thin and tall; taller than Charlus.

"Tom, please, Your Majesty," Tom replied. Harry shook his hand.

"OK, Tom," Harry replied. He turned to Charlus while still holding Tom's hand. "Is it OK if family members refer to me by name? This 'Your Majesty' business is going to get old fast."

"We've adopted the British custom of 'Your Majesty' upon first address and 'sir' subsequently," Charlus informed him.

"Can I change that?" Harry asked.

"It is your prerogative," Charlus informed him.

"Are there any other Potters here today?" Harry asked.

"My wife, Lizzy," Tom said, indicating the woman next to him, "and our children: David and Laurel. Oh, and David's wife, Anne." They each raised a hand as they were introduced. "Our youngest, Frank, as well as David and Anne's children are in school right now, but we'll introduce you to them later."

"I'd like it if you all, at least, could call me Harry," Harry said. "I don't stand on ceremony often."

"The reports we've gotten have indicated you're a man of action," Tom informed him.

"It probably won't mean anything to you, but Gryffindor's charge!" Harry said with a grin. He moved on to Lizzy. "It's nice to meet you, Lizzy," Harry said, taking her hand.

"Thank you for coming, Harry," Lizzy said. "It means quite a lot to us." Harry nodded and moved on.

"Hello, David," Harry said, shaking his hand. He had the traditional black Potter hair, with blue eyes. Harry placed him about thirty. He was shorter than his father, but had his reedy build.

"Hello, Harry," David replied. "I'll be acting as your Chamberlain."

"OK," Harry agreed. "What's that?"

"I'll be in charge of making sure that you have what you need, and things here are ready when you need them," David explained. "That's different than my father, who's your Secretary. He's like an adviser and counsellor. I'm like your mum, but without the discipline." Harry laughed.

"Hello, Anne," Harry greeted the beautiful woman. She was blonde with blue eyes, of average height and weight for a woman her age.

"Hello, Harry," Anne replied, shaking his hand. "Don't let him fool you, David's been working on that Chamberlain/Secretary bit for a week now." Harry chuckled.

"Hello Laurel," Harry said, greeting the young woman. Harry placed her in her early twenties with the Potter hair pulled back into a bun, and hazel eyes like her father.

"Hello Harry," she replied with a smile.

"What do you do?" he asked.

"I'm finishing up my masters in government administration," she replied.

"Following in the family's footsteps?" Harry mused.

"I'm trying," she agreed lightly. Harry grinned.

"I'll turn things over to Tom and David," Charlus said. "I have a meeting with James." Harry watched as Charlus and the Prime Minister and his wife wandered into a building off to the left.

"So, a bit of orientation, I think," Tom began. "This is the Parliamentary Courtyard of Camelot Castle. The massive structure in front of you is Parliament House, where the Parliament meets and the ministers have their offices. The buildings on the left and right house the offices of some of the executive ministries. The first on the left's the Prime Minister's official home and office. The one next to it is the Health and Social Services headquarters. Across the courtyard are the Trade ministry and Transportation and Infrastructure. Culture is to the left of the main gate, and Education is to the right. Through the gate to the left of Parliament House is the Royal Court Bailey. It houses the Royal Courthouse, the ministry headquarters for Justice and Environment. If you'd like to follow me through the gate on the right, I can take you to your quarters."

"We'll just scamper then," Anne said, indicating Laurel as well. "We'll see you later, Harry."

"Bye! It was nice meeting you," he said with a wave.

The three men passed through the medieval gate flanked by sentries. They entered another courtyard which contained three large buildings lining the walls. This courtyard was about a quarter the size of the Parliamentary Courtyard. Towers spiked the corners, and the one in the far corner on the left had a gate in it. Two of the three buildings had military guards.

"This is the King's Bailey. That's the Defence Ministry," Tom said, pointing to the building on the far wall. "That's the Treasury," he continued, pointing to the building on the left, which was the other building with a sentry. "The last building's the Foreign Office."

"Where will I be living?" Harry asked.

"Through this gate," Tom replied, as they approached the gated tower. They passed through, and entered a fourth courtyard. "This is your home, the Royal Courtyard." The courtyard was as big as the Parliamentary Courtyard. The buildings in this courtyard were white stone in a Rococo style, four stories tall. The courtyard itself was filled with a French garden the size of four football pitches. There was a fountain in the centre. Stone walks connected the gatehouse to the fountain and the buildings beyond.

"This is brilliant!" Harry exclaimed. "This castle is huge!"

"The inner wall encloses a space eight hundred metres by three hundred metres," Tom informed him. The outer wall, which you've yet to see, is set a further hundred metres beyond the inner wall. The total area of the castle is a kilometre by a half kilometre."

"What's in the outer bailey?" Harry asked, reaching deep into his brain for castle facts.

"Less important ministry offices," Tom replied. "Plus the garrison's barracks, and a large car park." They were heading for the main entrance of the centre building, making their way through the garden. Harry was surrounded by roses and other flowers he didn't know the names of, plus bushes and small trees.

"This must cost a bundle," Harry observed.

"Less than you'd think," David said, entering the conversation. "The castle itself is maintained by Potter elves, as are other Potter properties. They also grow all the food for the Potter family, meaning that the expense for sustaining the monarchy is far lower than other countries."

"We must have a lot of house elves," Harry said.

"Nine thousand eight hundred and fifteen," David replied. "The Potters have nearly one fifth of all house elves in Avalon."

"Christ," Harry swore. "I can't tell Hermione that! She'll kill me." Tom and David laughed.

"I think she'd find that we in Avalon treat our house elves as family members, and not as slaves, as is common in Britain," Tom told him.

"Do you both live here?" Harry asked.

"As members of your staff, yes," Tom replied. "Dad, David, and I all have apartments. We're in the north wing, over there." He pointed to the left. "Right now we all live there, however, when Laurel and Frank are old enough, they'll move out."

"How many staff members do I have?" Harry asked.

"About a hundred," Tom replied. "But you won't see most of them."

"Why not?" Harry asked.

"Because they're house elves," David laughed. "There are ten human staff, including us. There are two tutors, two drivers, the head gardener, the head chef, the master of the household, and the keeper of the privy purse."

They passed through the front doors and into a white marble paradise. Soaring ceilings, columns, graceful arches, stately bust, and brilliantly coloured paintings adorned the halls. There were mirrors and gold chandeliers. Crimson runners ran down the corridors. They showed Harry parlours, dining rooms, a magnificent library, his new office, and finally, his bedchamber. It was huge, about the size of 4 Privet Drive once you included the loo, the closets, and the dressing room. The bed was, appropriately, king sized, and finely carved, covered in a crimson duvet with gold trim. The walls were white, hung with massive paintings rich in reds and golds.

"I don't know what to say," Harry said.