A/N: Harry Potter, or any other elements associated with the Harry Potter universe do not belong to me, they belong to JK Rowling and to a lesser extent, Warner Bros, EA etc.
Summary: for centuries those two families have ruled the wizarding world, politically and economically. Now, as troubled times arise, will the wizarding world look to them for leadership, or will the new currents and ideas change wizarding society?
Book One: Old Ways
Chapter I Status Quo
Albus Dumbledore made his way up the stairs of the House of Lords, his mind considering the implication of today's session. Deep within the folds of his robe laid the resolution he hoped would change their society for the better. For the thousandth time since he received it from a nervous looking messenger of the House of Commons he considered the chamber. Several people waved their hellos, some going as far as trying a 'Good morning Albus!', but none received the customary warm reply and inquiry to their health.
The Novus Veneficus were sure to support him, since their representatives had put forth the resolution in the first place, but sadly their presence would not provide the Chairman with much support, due to their small numbers. No, it was the Aliquanta Albus placed his faith in. Many of their numbers were calm, collected individuals, with none of the disdain of Muggle-borns that the Nobilitas sported. Although for the bill to pass, it would require that some Nobilitas abstain, or vote in favour. His mind mused on the intricacies of convincing even one of the conservative Lords to support him, not to speak of the dozens that would be required. His thoughts were interrupted, however, by his arrival at the majestic doors of the chamber. An Auror snapped to attention and opened the door for the Chairman.
Chairman Albus Dumbledore struck his gavel, calling the House of Lords to order. Not a Lord by birth, he had ascended to the position due to the reforms that swept the wizarding world after his defeat of the Dark Lord Grindelwald. To say that he was the most popular Chairman of the House would be a mild exaggeration. Still the 200 crème de la crème of the wizarding society settled down, the noise in the chamber diminishing.
'Lords of the realm, I have in front of me the resolution proposed by the Novus Veneficus, validated by the House of Commons in yesterday's session,' said Dumbledore, his voice magically carrying across the room, to reach even the obscure back ranks of the newer lordships, created in the 1700s. 'I draw to your attention that the resolution has passed with a 70 majority in the House of Commons and I recommend you to consider validating it. With no further addition, I shall read the resolution,
'The Wizarding World can no longer stand anchored in the past, while evolution speeds past it. Our political system is antiquated and unfair. Muggle-borns have the right to study in our schools, the right to work in our businesses, but their political representation is restricted to the House of Commons. Due to this unfair treatment we propose the following:
I. The House of Lords is to be extended by an additional 50 seats, seats which carry the full powers of a Lord of the House.
II. The 50 seats mentioned above are to be elected and not traditionally transmissible down from father to son
III. The 50 seats would carry the title of Observers and serve to balance off the Lords' traditional powers…'
At this point Dumbledore's voice could no longer be heard above the murmur of the house, so he banged his gavel several times, calling for order. With a disappointed grandfatherly look towards the Nobilitas that caused the racket he continued…
'IV. The 50 seats shall be reserved exclusively for the Muggle-borns of our society, in order to ensure equal and fair representation
V. The term served by each Observer shall be of 20 years, with a possibility of extension to another 20 years at the end of the term
VI. The 50 Observers are to be elected by the House of Commons
'That is the resolution brought forward by the House of Commons. Anyone wishing to speak in favour of the act?' asked Dumbledore 'The chair recognizes Lord Richard Potter.' An elder man, who still showed signs of his once black hair stood up from his seat on the far left of the chamber and went to the speaker dais.
'Fellow Lords, Honoured Chair, I beg you to see past the bigotry our society has descended into and allow your better sides to prevail. Muggle-borns' voices go unheard in this chambers,' started Lord Potter, only to be interrupted by a Lord from the right.
'…Not quite unheard Lord Potter; they have you to champion their cause'
'That is enough, Lord Lestrange, your time will come to put forward your points. Now it is Lord Potter's time to speak,' said Dumbledore, glaring at the core group of Lestranges, Malfoy and Black.
'…I merely strive for equality Lord Lestrange. It is as if we bar our doors against them, and refuse to admit their existence. That is unacceptable in a modern society. This legislation must be made to pass,' finished Lord Potter, with a prolonged gaze at the Aliquanta.
'Thank you Lord Potter. Are you open for questions?' asked Dumbledore-at an affirmative response turning towards the chamber- 'any wish to question Lord Potter?' Several hands went up, including Lord Lestrange's. Wishing to get more sordid opposition out of the way first-'The chair recognizes Lord Lestrange'
'Lord Potter, talk of equality and fairness is high minded, but is contradicted by restricting the 50 seats to Muggle-borns? That is discriminating against other parts of our society. Merlin knows, there are purebloods without lordships, half-bloods aplenty. Can you call your position fair if you exclude them the right to election?' said Lord Lestranges under applause from both the middle and the right.
'I feel as they do not need representation-my fellow pureblooded lords speak for the people in their realms. Muggle-borns have no one to speak for them,' replied Lord Potter. Murmurs began to hear themselves once again, Dumbledore having to resort to using his gavel.
'Thank you Lord Potter, you may stand down. Anyone wishing to speak against this resolution?' asked Dumbledore. Pre arranged speaking orders within the Nobilitas led to only one hand going up. 'The chair recognizes Lord Malfoy.'
The blonde man in his middle age strode towards the platform in complete silence. Once there he looked around, cast a sigh and proceeded to speak.
'Fellow Lords, what Lord Lestrange has said is perfectly valid. Reserving the 50 seats for Mud- Muggle-borns, is only turning discrimination half circle. If we do that, we no longer discriminate against their kind, but discriminate against purebloods and half-bloods. I ask this of you, what is next? Should we exempt them from taxation? Perhaps reduce the grades they need to obtain in order to get into our schools? Give them welfare because they do not properly integrate into a world so foreign from their own? What Lord Potter is proposing is discrimination against proper wizards. I will not stand for it, and I urge you all to do the same.' With that being said Lord Malfoy turned his gaze towards the Aliquanta sitting in the middle, seeing many approving glances and respectful nods. The Novus Veneficus on the left, were however seething with outrage at the statement.
'Will Lord Malfoy entertain any questions?' asked Dumbledore, staring at his group of supporters.
'No I shall not' said Abraxas, causing the left to double their efforts of burning him alive with their eyes. In fact, Abraxas kept a hand on his wand, hidden in the folds of his Parliamentary robes, since duels on the House floor had occurred in the past on sensitive issues.
'Very well, Lord Malfoy, you may step down.'
'I move to vote on the resolution,' Lord Black stated, his cold eyes moving slowly across the chamber in search of support.
'Lord Black, perhaps we should hear some more points before we make up our mind.' suggested Dumbledore.
'I second that,' said Lord Malfoy, now returned to his chair.
'Very well, all in favour of allowing the creation of 50 seats?' asked Dumbledore. A measly number of Lords stood up, the 10 of the Novus Veneficus, supported by only 5 of the more radical Aliquanta.
'All against?' asked a grief stricken Dumbledore. At that the entire body of 130 Nobilitas, supported by 40 Aliquanta stood up.
'Any abstentions?' The 25 Aliquanta members that usually abstained or were bought for votes stood up to declare their neutrality. Dumbledore, although the words brought sour feelings to him, was forced to announce the outcome.
'The resolution to create 50 additional seats has failed by a margin of 170 to 15, with 40 abstentions,' said Dumbledore, 'now onto the topic of this year's budget for the Auror corps…'
Holding in his rage, Lord Abraxas Malfoy quickly descended the steps of the Wizarding Parliament, his black and silver robes fluttering around him, his cane beating an elegant rhythm on the white marble steps. An equally furious wizard, one who went by Lord Cygnus Black in session, struggled to keep up with the taller man's strides, his anger far more obvious in his behaviour then the aloof air the Malfoy patriarch displayed.
'Abraxas! Wait up in Merlin's name!' said Cygnus, who had retorted to screaming after his friend.
'Forgive me, Cygnus, I was merely venting off some of the anger I was subject to in that hall.' said Abraxas 'If our ancestors, that built this hall, would have been present at today's session, they would destroy it rather than let it be subject to such barbarism.'
'Quite, the Muggles have meddled in everything' said Cygnus 'But, as the session is over, and we will not be subject to listen to the mutterings of the Half-Blood for another month, I believe a slight celebration is in order. What do you say you come over to Ravensden and share a bottle of Odgen's?'
'That would prove calming to my nerves at this moment, thank you. After you.' said Abraxas.
Cygnus disapparated shortly, with Abraxas following him shortly after a last glance at the large edifice. What has become of our society? Half-Bloods trying to push legislation to facilitate the admittance of Mudbloods into political position, less and less respect granted to blood purity. With one last glance at the inscription on the façade above the entrance Our Blood is Our Heritage the Malfoy patriarch shook his head sadly and followed his friend to the Black Manor.
Cygnus appeared shortly at the front gate of the imposing Manor that had housed the Black family for generations. Although styles came and went, the Manor's new wings fit in perfectly with one another, creating a harmonious symmetry. The large double door was opened by a house elf and Cygnus saw his wife Druella waiting for him.
Druella was a wise woman, and throughout their 20 years of marriage had picked up on the moods of her husband. She kissed him shortly on the lips and did not inquire of the meeting that had surely not gone well from the look on Cygnus's face.
'Good afternoon dear. Abraxas and I shall retire to the library for a glass,' said Cygnus.
'Certainly dear,' said Druella. She knew her husband would find the time to tell her whatever happened, after he and his best friend vented their frustrations in private. Interrupting her musings, a crack signalled the appearance of said friend.
'Druella, I am sorry to kidnap your husband after he was gone the entire morning,' said Abraxas, leaning down to kiss Druella's outstretched hand.
'Nonsense, the two of you look like you need to wind down after this morning's events. He is far better of in your company then mine for the time being,' said Druella.
'Although, you will have to make it up by coming for dinner sometime this week.'
'It would be my pleasure. Shall we say on Wednesday?'
'Perfect, I shall see you and Lucius then,' said Druella before retiring and leaving the two men to their Firewhiskey and rants about the direction their world was going.
The same thing did not poison the life of the three other occupants of the manor. Up in one of the private salons upstairs, three very beautiful and yet completely different witches sat discussing school, shopping, boys and other interests for girls their age. The eldest of the three, in her last year at Hogwarts, Bellatrix Black, with her raven black hair and temperament that had given her parents more trouble than they ever bargained for, was currently discussing a gown with her youngest sister, Narcissa. For although Andromeda was closer to her age, being a Sixth Year, Bella had always felt closer to her youngest sister, currently in her Fifth Year at Hogwarts.
Narcissa, for whom many hearts cried for back at Hogwarts, due to her aristocratic figure and her platinum blonde hair, that framed her perfect face with elegant lips and blue eyes, was slowly growing to be the most envied witch in Hogwarts, not only in her year, but also by Sixth and Seventh years as well. However, few that mustered the courage to ask Narcissa out on a Hogsmeade date, or tried to flirt with her on the way to class were given any consideration at all. Unlike Bellatrix, who scared people off, and was found duelling Gryffindors far more often than some of her male colleagues, Narcissa was the epitome of the other side of the Black family, ignoring all whom she deigned below her.
And last, but definitely not least, Andromeda. The middle sister was just as beautiful as the others, with brown hair, but lacked in many other aspects qualities that Cygnus considered essential for a proper Black. She had no hatred for Mudbloods, and was found speaking to Hupplepuffs just as often as she fraternized with Gryffindors. Bellatrix swore that Andromeda would be the death of her father one day, but due to Narcissa's pleas had restrained from bringing the matter to her father's attention.
The girls' carefree universe was interrupted by the arrival of their mother. At 40, she could still turn heads, much like she did when she was in Hogwarts.
'Girls, I have certain news for you and I expect you to listen to me fully until you bombard me with your questions,' said Druella. Bellatrix made a move to speak, but a stern gaze from her mother made her close her open mouth.
'Now, that we have got that out of the way… Your father and Mr. Malfoy are downstairs discussing important business. I presume they will take quite a while, if I where to guess by the look on their faces. I suggest we go to Diagon Alley, catch a spot of lunch and maybe do some shopping,' said Druella. Of course Bellatrix moved to speak immediately. 'Yes Bella?' sighed her mother.
'Mother, could I get the dress I showed you last time? I want to wear it to the Lestranges' ball on Sunday,' asked the eldest.
'Mother, I don't want to go to the Lestranges' ball! I do not like them,' said Andromeda. Out of all of them, only Narcissa remained composed, looking ahead calmly and smiling discreetly.
'Of course you do not like them, they are proper wizards. You would rather spend your time with some lowly mudbloods,' snapped Bellatrix.
'Girls please do not start fighting now; there are enough angry people in this house as it is,' said Druella. 'Bella, of course you can have whichever dress you like, although I can not quite recall which one it was, so you will have to show me.' At this Bella's face twisted from her usual angry one to one of pure happiness.
'Andromeda you do not have any choice, you must go, and perhaps some time in proper circles will do you some good. What about you Narcissa darling? Is there anything you want for the ball?'
'I am sure something will catch my fancy mother,' answered Narcissa.
'Anything you desire, dearest,' said Druella 'Now I shall leave you girls to get ready. We will meet in the entrance hall in 1 hour.' Having finished her business, Druella glided out of the room thinking about her middle daughter. She caused her much anguish sometimes, and there were whispers that she hung around the wrong crowds at school. She trusted in Bellatrix to keep her in line, but that girl was sometimes too brutal with those she despised. Sure Bellatrix was Black to the grave, proud, Slytherin, magically powerful, but she had a tendency of acting without thinking from time to time. A very Gryffindor trait, Druella thought, one that brought her eldest daughter nothing but trouble. Now, Narcissa was the epitome of perfection. She had her faults, Druella did not doubt it, but she somehow managed to disguise them under an aloof smile and a clear face. She had heard rumours about her too, how she considered everybody beneath her, and did not have a single Hogsmeade date. Druella knew her daughter better than anyone. Behind the cool façade was a shy girl that was afraid to get hurt. Not physically hurt of course, as Bellatrix would personally maim and torture anyone who touched a single strand of her little sister's hair, but emotionally hurt. She was there when Bellatrix had broken up with her first boyfriend, and although he ended up regretting it, and not being able to sit down for a month, Bellatrix was very sad for quite some time. The marvels of teenage romance... 'These girls are going to make me go grey before my time…'
At the preset time Narcissa descended the stairs slowly, wearing simple silver robes that contrasted pleasantly with her blonde hair, and joined her elegantly dressed mother at the bottom stairs. Approximately five minutes later, a running Bellatrix appeared in black robes, hurrying to finish her make-up. Her mother frowned but let it pass for now. Bella never managed to be right on time as Narcissa. When Andromeda appeared, Druella's mild annoyance turned into a migraine.
'Pardon me Andromeda, but what is it you are wearing?' asked Druella.
'Just jeans and a t-shirt, it's too warm for robes,' answered Andromeda, doing her best not too look up at her mother.
'And I presume you missed your second year charms, when they taught you how to do cooling charms,' snapped Druella, her nose curling upwards at her daughter's attire.
'It's not that mother, it's just that…'
'… just what, exactly, Andromeda? Do you want half of wizarding Britain gossiping about how a Black was spotted wearing Muggle clothing on Diagon Alley?' said Druella.
'No, I wanted to meet some friends later' said Andromeda, in a whiny tone.
'And you have to wear rags to meet your friends?' asked Druella, her temper rising.
'She wants to meet some of her Mudblood friends mother,' said Bellatrix, adding her venom to the conversation.
'I told you to stop calling them that!' screamed Andromeda, Bella's comment driving her over the edge 'They're people too!'
'Ladies, this is neither the time nor the place for such a discussion. Andromeda I am sorry but you cannot come dressed like this. If you change your mind, after you change in proper robes you can meet us there,' said Druella 'Bella, Cissy, let's go!'
Druella Disapparated first, followed by Narcissa, and then lastly Bellatrix, after a hateful glance at her middle sister. Underage Apparition was one of the few remaining Pureblood privileges, with Pureblood children being allowed to Apparate after proving they were able and taking the exam. The law had been under assault by the House of Commons for some time, but the House of Lords was unyielding. Even blood traitors such as the Potters did not want their apparition privileges removed from their children.
Diagon Alley was its usual bustle as every day, with witches and wizards hurrying about their business. Well, perhaps it was slightly more crowded. Due to the proximity of the Hogwarts start date, hundreds of parents were out to purchase what their children needed. All the commotion served as a cold remainder to Bella and Narcissa that school was only two weeks away. Bella was glad since she could be with Rodolphus again, but Narcissa was less than pleased. She never did like Hogwarts as much as her two older sisters.
Although already packed with people, wizards and witches moved out of the way of the Black women, some bowing slightly, while others removed their hats. The three Blacks of course responded to no one.
After Bellatrix's insistent remarks, the first stop was Selene's Magical Wrappings, where Druella made good on her promise to buy Bella the robe she wanted to wear for the Lestranges' ball.
'Bella dear, are you sure this is the robe you want?' asked Druella, her eyes taking in the robes Bellatrix was wearing.
'Quite sure mother, black with silver lining, my two favourite colours,' said Bellatrix, looking at the mirror which nodded her acceptance.
'It does complement her form well mother,' said Narcissa.
'Very well, Selene we shall take it. I will have a house elf come and collect it later on in the day.'
'Certainly Lady Black,' said the shopkeeper, who then proceeded to help Bellatrix take the robe of.
Narcissa and Druella waited patiently for Bella to put her other robe back on, and then proceeded to head for lunch atCafé d'Allée.
Meanwhile, back at Ravensden…
A house elf had brought a bottle of Odgen's finest and then left the two wizards alone to their sorrows... The room they were in reflected the dark mood of its occupants. Black Mahogany flooring and the same essence wood panelling, together with silver satin curtains and imposing baroque furnishings created a surreal landscape, that screamed luxury and opulence, but darkness tinted and permeated from every corner.
'What would you make of today's session Cygnus?' asked Abraxas.
'A complete and utter cacophony! If the Novus Veneficus believes it can upturn legislation which has stood since the creation of our government, our world has gone to shambles,' said Cygnus regretfully.
'Truth be told, I do not have much fate in our government nowadays. You have read the news. Richard Potter is to stand in election for their thrice damned party! If the Novus Veneficus were to control the ministry our society is damned,' said Abraxas.
'What is the House of Commons but a place for the plebs to assemble and bicker amongst themselves of price changes and taxes. They are nothing Abraxas, nothing. They will nominate Richard Potter for Minister of Magic, approve him with an overwhelming majority, and pass the bill to the House of Lords, after which we will strike it down,' replied Cygnus.
'And then what? Will they ever nominate someone from our Party?' said Abraxas
'They will not, but we shall strike a deal. You know the Aliquanta benefit the most from this current standoff between the Nobilitas and Novus Veneficus,' said Cygnus.
'One of us must change this world for the better,' said Cygnus. 'The Republic no longer functions properly.'
'Civil war would be worse than the state we are in. Yes we are more powerful, since we do not take into consideration Ministry regulations concerning Magic. Our children are more powerful since they practice magic at an earlier age, and use it more often, strengthening their magical powers. But one pureblood life is worth a thousand mudbloods. And by that advantage they beat us. They can throw away their lives recklessly; the loss of one pureblood puts an entire family at risk.'
'I do not see the way,' said Cygnus.
'Nor do I old friend. I shall continue to preserve our powers financially and politically, but change is coming. I can only hope it favours us.'
'It will, we might suffer, several old lines might be extinguished, but we shall triumph in the end.'
'I shall go now, I have taken too much of your time already,' said Abraxas after a glance at the clock.
'Nonsense, do you not want to stay for dinner?' asked Cygnus.
'I am coming for dinner the day after tomorrow. I need to sample the cuisine at my own manor too,' said Abraxas, who then proceeded to shake Cygnus' hand and left for the front door. A quick nod to his friend 'Do transmit my regards to Druella will you?'
'Of course,' said Cygnus, while Abraxas turned and Disapparated. Only now did he notice that they had spent the entire afternoon and the better part of the evening discussing politics. He joined his wife in the dinning room for a short dinner and then proceeded to bed.
'Is all in order dear?' asked Druella, trying do discern what had soured her husband's mood.
'Blood traitors tried to pass legislation to extend the House of Lords by fifty seats, to allow prominent mudbloods to serve on it,' replied Cygnus.
'That is preposterous. I hope it was voted down,' exclaimed Druella.
'It was, by a fairly large margin too, almost all the Aliquanta sided with us,' said Cygnus. 'No more of this dear, I spent enough time with Abraxas dealing about it. How was your day?'
'The usual, dealing with the girls. However, that Andromeda…' The two enjoyed a quiet companionship, sharing their problems and giving advice when needed.
The same could not be said of the Malfoy patriarch. No one was waiting for him to welcome him home. Since Hesperia had died, the imposing Manor was empty. Lucius had cared for his mother deeply, and her death had led to a rift between father and son. Nowadays Lucius spend precious time at the Manor, preferring the London townhouse. With a sigh Abraxas headed upstairs, took off his robe laying it on a chair for the house elves to arrange, and headed for bed. Tomorrow he would have to send a letter to Lucius about the Blacks' invitation to dinner.