Hogwarts One Half
Chapter Twenty-Two

Gringotts by Dawn's Light

by Lionheart

I O I O I

Once Nodoka had identified the talisman in her hand she'd dared not wait another minute. The ruckus that occurred with the destruction of his favorite dark arts shop would shake up her brother's little world and cause him to examine many things.

One of the things she did NOT want him thinking about was who had access to the Malfoy family vaults - something a quick review of his Dark Arts supplies could cause him to do.

He was the current Head of Family, and as such he could block her out if he wanted to. He'd already cut off her access as far as withdrawing money, and had done so long ago when she'd first begun her flight. She desperately hoped he had not reconsidered that since her return and blocked off her access entirely.

He may well have, but he couldn't have if she wanted to use this key. Because that's what she remembered this was, the blue stone triangle, a secure access key to the highest and most impenetrable sub-vault in the Malfoy treasure warren. There were three, a green one, a black one, and this blue one. The other two had been left in that lock for simply ages so they couldn't get lost, too. But she couldn't get in there to use this one if her brother had cut off her access so she couldn't get in the main door.

Unfortunately, he had. When she asked a goblin at the main desk to be taken down, he snidely informed her that she was no longer allowed to enter her family vaults, and bid her good night. A suitable bribe had gotten her in the bank doors after hours, but nothing could get her into a vault to which she had no access. So she found herself on the bank steps at quarter til five in the morning when a thought occurred to her.

Half an hour later, Nodoka stood back within the main halls of the bank, her groggy daughter by her side, and oddly enough, the girl Kodachi she'd been sleeping with by hers, just as groggy having been caught during the middle of a night's sleep.

Family vaults were blood-coded. Family heads could grant access to spouses or deny it to relatives they desired to block out, but the default was that a direct blood connection got a descendant in, and Nodoka beamed when the goblins agreed to let Ranko and her 'guests' enter the vault. Lucius had not yet thought to restrict the access of her daughter!

Of course, as a minor she couldn't remove much. Ranko's allowance of galleons would not even be worth carrying out, considering how wealthy her mother was. Nor could she remove anything restricted to adults, which left out most of the more interesting or potentially valuable artifacts listed on the register that magically kept track of the vault's contents.

But the ultra-secret sub-vault did not have its contents listed on any register. That would just have been too dangerous! Therefore, no restrictions applied!

Nodoka could hardly sit still during the cart ride down to the lowest levels, her excitement growing through each passing second until she practically threw her slow-moving, sleepy child at the door lock once they'd arrived. Using her key, newly-issued by well-bribed bank goblins, Ranko opened the vault door and Nodoka snagged the two children, dragging them inside.

The treasure piles were vastly depleted from when last she'd seen them. Funding a Dark Lord, especially one with Voldemort's tastes, was ridiculously expensive, and naturally that burden fell upon the wealthy families who supported him. Sheer idiocy to risk your life and spend your fortune working for a power-mad sadist like that one, but his recruitment slogan had sounded very flattering to the old pureblood families. One might even think Voldemort hated the purebloods, the way his war kept killing them. They died on his side and against it, often with fortunes broken long before their lives were, and now they numbered too few to sustain a viable breeding pool. Only fourteen families remained.

Oops, except that number included many lines that had met their ends at Azkaban, when she'd gone through killing Death Eaters like the LeStranges. Even among those families that remained free many had followed her brother's ridiculously stupid lead and had only one child. They'd been so busy fighting for their beloved dark lord they forgot to have more. Draco was her brother's only acknowledged child, and the lines of Crabbe, Goyle and Nott were similarly restricted. She couldn't imagine anyone wanting to marry their daughters to the Crabbe and Goyle children she'd seen, no matter their heritage, and another season of war would clip the last few heirs off of too many families for blood purity to be any issue at all in the future. The ancient lines would all have ended in a generation or two.

It was sadly inevitable at this point.

If no more purebloods died and they all bred like Molly Weasley, they could perhaps draw things back from the brink this time, but the damage had already been done and she did not expect a miracle such as that. They were doomed. The future was for halfbloods.

Not that she didn't intend to go down kicking and screaming. Nodoka found blood purity to be one of the very few issues she could agree with her brother about. They were important and they were valuable. But that didn't mean she couldn't see the writing on the wall. Their time was over, and thinking about the ingrained idiocy the Pureblooded families displayed following dark lords like this one, a new thought penetrated her head thinking that perhaps their vanishing could be a good thing.

Voldemort, and others like him, had risen to power raising a very tattered battle flag, 'for the sake of the purebloods!' And like morons they had come flocking to him. Perhaps the only thing they had done, breeding true all this long time, was magnify their own idiocy. Certainly the old lines weren't any more powerful than other witches or wizards, no matter what they'd like to think. She'd personally observed that.

Come to think of it, the only purebloods she respected from her generation, aside from the cousins she loved like sisters, had all turned against the ancient pact of breeding true. Sirius had not asked her line or lineage, and she'd been going under an assumed Japanese name he'd thought at the time was her real one. The Potters, Bones, Prewetts and Weasleys had all gone against Voldemort, and only Arthur Weasley had married another pureblood.

Perhaps Cologne's way was best? They had thousands more wizards in China, and not only because there were more people in China. The percentage of magic people to non was much higher. So high in fact that the Far East often had more wizards to a province than the West did in all of Europe.

Nodoka got shaken out of her thoughts by arriving at the super secure gate to the most heavily protected vault in her family treasure warren. At hand height was a circle cut into three parts, each bearing a triangular depression. Three sided stones of green and black lay flat in two of those. The third was in her hand.

She placed it, and as she did so the vault verified her blood, and that of her daughter. The stone and metal doors slide aside, revealing a shallow chamber, mostly empty. Only a few things merited this level of protection. One was a skull composed of green crystal, another a lyre (she didn't know why that was in here), and a few other trinkets secured here for their value, their power, or sufficient illegality to destroy the Malfoy family if they got discovered possessing them.

Of all those categories, two boxes stood out as exceptional. One bore Ravenclaw's crest, one Hufflepuff's. Taking the later and opening it, Nodoka saw within the medallion matching the cup she still carried on her person, resting on velvet that had depressions for both. Her ancestors had always been ambitious, and plotted ahead many years. They had stolen Hufflepuff's medallion, intending to get the cup as well.

Now she had both. There was even a note within the box, with a date, stating that when it came and went the Statute of Limitations on the Medallion's theft was past. It was almost a hundred years ago.

Legally now, that medallion of Hufflepuff belonged to whomever found it. But, since they'd lost part of the key to this vault, the Malfoy family hadn't been able to open it to reclaim the artifact and register it as theirs. And since no record of anything in this vault existed, it belonged to anyone who came forward with it. No Malfoy claim officially existed.

Closing the box, then taking the one with Ravenclaw's crest on it, and finally emptying the whole shallow super-secret chamber into secure bags, Nodoka urged her sleepy children out of the tiny vault, reclaiming the blue stone triangle and closing the door as she did so, leading them back out the warren to a one-way exit in the rear. The goblins would not be expecting their party out the front anyway, she'd always left anonymously in the past.

Behind her, the vault's main register noted only that the secure sub-vault had been opened. It did not say by who, or if anything had been removed, only that it had opened, and when. As no such notation had appeared in over a hundred years, Nodoka could be forgiven for not knowing it would happen, or that Lucius would be reading that entry the next day.

I O I O I

By special request, approved by McGonagall at the end of last week, the first and second years of the Allied Houses went to Cologne's History class in one body, straight from their combined Defense lesson.

This served two functions; namely to keep them all together so they didn't spill the secret of Nodoka's lesson too early, and also to provide Cologne with an audience for her own suitably massive lesson.

"Greetings, class." The woman checked the time on an elegant, mechanical watch she wore on one wrist. "We have two hours of class time to fill, and due to an unusual circumstance, I have two years each of three Houses. We could do a normal lesson. But I feel something special is in order."

Walking over to Harry, the former aged Amazon placed one delicately formed hand on his shoulder to highlight the shy boy so he couldn't hide. "Mister Harry Potter has graciously granted us the opportunity of witnessing Harry's memory of the night of Voldemort's attack."

Sharp intakes of breath filled the room.

Having expected the roomful of gasps, Cologne merely smiled. "Since that will take but a few moments, we will be filling in the remainder of our time with analysis and debate of that event, what might have caused it, and some supplementary viewing."

It was with fearful respect that the combined class entered the penseive this time, and when they emerged it was with fearful sympathy that they regarded Harry and Kodachi. Kodachi, for her part, feared that sympathy might be entirely undeserved on her part, but hoped it was. Her... sigh... her *true* parents, Lily and James Potter, had been wonderful people.

She wanted to live up to their example. With perhaps less dying involved, and more defeating of the enemy.

Had to be practical about these things, after all.

Tragedies might sound nice when they are happening to other people, but when they occurred to you they universally sucked.

But Cologne didn't allow them to wallow in pity for the Potter Twins for long, quickly rushing ahead to the next memory, one Albus had kept in his pensive collection, and that they had seen and stolen a copy of when they'd borrowed that device from him - one showing Snape's part in selling out that family.

The horror of that class was unspeakable as they witnessed first Snape listening at the door to hear the prophecy that eventually targeted Harry's parents to the Dark Lord, but along with that Cologne showed a memory Dumbledore had wheedled out of Snape himself of actually giving the prophecy in person to the Dark Lord - and demanding Lily Potter as his sex slave in return.

The students of that class were FURIOUS!!

Here was a man who'd abused them and treated them unfairly, and whom none of them particularly liked, who'd gotten away with murder at the school, and who it turned out had gotten away with what was, if not literal murder, then the next best thing - targeting the Potter family for death, pointing them out as targets to the Dark Lord.

Cologne was concealing a smile under a sober expression as she walked to the front of her class. "Dumbledore would like to tell us that Snape is a changed man. However can any of you tell me a moment when Snape acted with remorse for those past deeds?"

There came nothing but silent fuming in anger as her response.

Cologne's smile could not be fully concealed. It ghosted across her face as she sat down. "There have a great many holy men defined the process of turning from evil to good. They call it repentance, and there are distinct stages of it just like there are distinct steps to a pregnancy or falling in love. The human spirit doesn't change overnight. It is a process. So here it is, in short: The person must first recognize that what they have done is wrong. Have any of you seen or witnessed Snape doing anything that might be considered denouncing the pureblood beliefs that led him to follow Voldemort in the first place?"

There came a vast silence from the room.

The Amazon folded her hands on the desk before her. "Next, the holy men teach us, the people who is trying to overcome past deeds will feel remorse for them. They will regret them as a necessary part of changing the person who they are from a being who would do and embrace those deeds to one who finds them abhorrent. Has Snape, to any of your knowledge, shown any degree of regret for his actions as a Death Eater?"

You could have heard crickets chirping in that classroom.

Cologne nodded calmly over her folded hands. "Some might try to weasel around and say he is feeling regret, just not showing it. But that claim gets trumped by the next stage, that is to confess your crimes. It is part of the healing process. In fact a very influential man by the name of Jesus Christ once summarized this whole process by this statement, 'By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sinsbehold, he will confess them and forsake them.' Which brings us to the next very important and critical part, a man who is leaving past crimes behind will STOP DOING THEM!! For example, to quit smoking you stop putting tobacco in your mouth and lightning it. To quit drinking you stop consuming alcohol. And to put past acts of murder behind you really requires that you stop advocating the philosophy that required you to commit those murders in the first place."

The class was now simmering with anger at her words.

Cologne nodded regally. "Finally, to achieve true repentance and forgiveness of your crimes, it is beneficial to the extreme to correct your past actions to the highest degree possible. That means if you stole, return the stolen property or at least the value of it to the person or business you stole from. If you lied, tell the truth about your actions. Part of what makes both murder and rape such serious crimes is that there is no way to fully restore what was lost or damaged. You cannot return a girl's virginity to her by feeling remorse. Nor can you restore a dead victim to life. Both those crimes are so serious because what was done cannot be undone, and so the burden of remorse must be that much higher."

The woman then inhaled deeply and stood up, hands on her desk, declaring, "So, on examination of Snape's actions, can any of you bear witness that he has done any of these things? With regard to ANY of his crimes done in the past?"

She faced a class full of angry scowls and shaken heads.

The Amazon matriarch nodded soberly. "Albus Dumbledore believes in second chances. However, pretending that someone has changed is no substitute for actual change. Snape goes about actively preaching the pureblood propaganda that caused him to become a murderer and rapist many times over. He has never shown the slightest degree of remorse over his actions, and more to the point, he continues to this day to commit harm to the type of people that philosophy tells him to harm. He abuses children who do not buy into his belief that purebloods are fit to rule, and he aggrandizes those who adhere to his little cult of racial supremists. In summary, he does everything possible, and more than any reasonable person would allow, to support those beliefs Albus would say he has recanted from."

"In short," The Amazon declared to the hard and stony faces of those angry children, "He is still behaving very much the same as when he was a Death Eater. One might even say he is acting now exactly as he did back then. His only constraint seems to be there is no war going on to conceal more acts of rape and murder. But everything short of that, he does."

Cologne stepped around to the front of her desk on the way to her penseive to show more memories of the events of the last war, stating casually as she went, "More to the point, Snape has been raising up a new generation of Death Eaters, children he has taught to believe in the propaganda that caused the last war, and who are willing to do as he has shown them - hurt the people that philosophy tells them to hurt. If those people are allowed to do as he has taught them we will have another war on our hands. Since the new generation of Death Eaters is already preparing to attack us, it would be best if you children considered how you are going to fight back."

I O I O I

On a high mountain hillside overlooking a disturbing and ominous magical school, there was a rumbling, followed by an explosion of ground, revealing a young man, who demanded, "Where is F.. Furinkan High S.. school?! Oink! Squee!"

The fact that it was raining at Durmstrang Institute was not a good fortune for Ryoga, who promptly got lost again, saving himself from the students who had witnessed his change and were curious about it.

Dark Arts students were taught to dissect magical creatures alive in order to find out how they worked.

I O I O I

A lot of people that aren't Good and have nothing to do with Good think that Good is stupid. But then, most enemies in times of war try to make up nasty things to say about the opposite party, and Good and Evil were most definitely at war. So if you came across someone of that opinion, that Good was stupid, well, if they weren't Evil they'd at least been talking recently to someone who was, and listened to their propaganda.

Evil, on the other hand, was self-destructive, and in order to be self-destructive you've got to blunt a person's awareness of natural consequences (like the fact that stabbing each other in the back leads to a general decline in cooperation). So to achieve that Evil did tend to gradually degrade everything about a person, including their intellect.

The central blindness to most evil people was this thought: "I can dish it out and not receive it." Or, to put it another way, "I can cause all the harm I want and never be harmed in return."

This was a lie, but a very attractive one, and no one ever said Evil made recruits by being honest. That whole 'The wages of sin is death' deal tended to put them off if they weren't lied to and told they would get away with it. Ultimately, this was also why so many evil people were anti-religion, because they didn't like the idea of Hell, a torment they could not get out of, bribe, fool, or escape that would ultimately come back to punish them for all of their misdeeds in life. People only did evil deeds thinking they'd get away with them. It rather took the fun out of doing them to know you'd eventually pay for it.

Good people didn't mind the idea of Heaven and eternal rewards, so in general saw nothing wrong with the concept of religion. They found it a comfort, not a burden.

So most people who say they don't like religion really mean they don't like the concept of not getting away with stuff.

Draco could presently preach a sermon about not getting away with stuff.

His father had been doing everything he could to get his son some staff support, a person who'd act as his father's agent to see to it that his pampered son continued to be treated as a perfumed prince and groomed to be one of the elites. However, all the really good ones had already been taken, and Draco had managed to offend so many of their clients that they really couldn't look after him and sponsor their own pet students at the same time. It was also a testament to how much the Malfoy's reputation fell off outside of Britain that no one would be willing to drop their previous projects to take over looking after his son.

So the best Lucius was able to do was to get a certain low ranking member of the staff to look in on Draco from time to time.

The secretary for the steward, the guy who made sure that they had enough food, water, spare quills and potions supplies, who made certain that teachers had any materials they'd ordered, and who looked after the castle in general was ordinarily quite a busy fellow, having all of the duties and none of the prestige of the actual steward because the man who held the position made the secretary do all of his work while he went off to enjoy his rank and title as school officer in charge of domestic affairs of the castle.

It was a low ranking job because if anyone lacked anything you were the one to blame. But this secretary was the only person Lucius had been able to bride to look in on his son. The secretary to the steward was not ordinarily a job that got bribes, those went to the actual steward who'd then order his secretary to get the work done. But the actual steward was already sponsoring several promising young lads, many of whom had been involved in the Draco abuse, and hadn't cared for the conflict of interest.

So the secretary was looking in on him, although what he could do was limited because his boss was protecting several of the boys who were in on the abuse of him. Yes, it was a conflict of interest, however the money had been enticing, and if it came right down to it should the steward notice and object to what his secretary was doing, he'd drop Draco like a truckload of dead rats.

But until then the money was nice, although to maintain it he'd have to help with a gentle hand that did not give away he was actually helping the boy - which meant his help was of limited use.

But there was no reason to tell Lucius of that. It might stop the flow of galleons.

"Have you seen Mister Malfoy?" the secretary inquired of some seventh year students.

"Yes sir, I saw him roll down the stairs passed me wearing a garbage can."

Saying nothing against the insufferable smirks on the faces of the students, because he couldn't really do anything about them and wasn't about to offend any of their patrons by trying, the secretary meekly turned to begin walking down the long staircase, muttering, "He could have prevented this if he wasn't incompetent."

At the bottom of the steps he found a group of third year girls dipping Draco in glue and rolling him in stinging nettles.

Knowing who was backing those girls, the secretary took a seat on the steps and elected to wait until they were finished.

I O I O I

That night Ranko led her friends down to the basement of her mom's tower, opening a secret door by tracing an arithmatical symbol on a blank section of wall. That rolled back to be replaced by an astrological diagram and a date. In two seconds Ranko had filled in the missing stars, which was good because that door only allowed five for the attempt. That panel rolled back and revealed a massive wooden gate with a face-shaped doorknocker. When the group had stepped over the threshold and been fully sealed in by the doors closing behind them the face moved its mouth, but for the first second only the sound of horses clip clopping came out, then it said words. "Whoa there!"

Ranko waited in silence a second as more horse's hoofbeats sounded, then the gateway asked again. "Who goes there?"

Smirking, she replied, "It is I, Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon of the castle of Camelot. King of the Britons, defeater of the Saxons, sovereign of all England."

"Pull the other one." The knocker snorted.

"I am. And this is my trusty servant Patsy. We have ridden the length and breadth of the land in search of knights who would join me at my court at Camelot. I must speak with your lord and master." Ranko silently shushed those of her friends who wanted to speak up during this exchange.

"What, ridden on a horse?" The brass face demanded.

"Yes." The redhead returned.

"You're using coconuts!"

"What?"

"You've got two empty halves of coconuts and you're banging em together!" The knocker accused.

"So? We have ridden since the snows of winter covered this land, through the kingdom of Mercea, through..." Ranko spoke until she got cut off.

All of a sudden the floor melted beneath them and they sank into the stones, passing down through the massive slabs of enchanted granite to a small antechamber, where Ranko at last told those who'd accompanied her what was going on, "Mom's got a triple code protection on her new labs, because twice now Dumbledore has walked in on her, catching her doing something she'd rather he didn't know about. That last gate had a 'Complete the Quote' password. Mom's got a couple of hundred ones loaded. But you'd have to be pretty well versed in muggle culture to get any of them, and she favors Monty Python because that's even more incomprehensible to most wizards than standard muggle films are."

"Oh!" At last those girls began to see.

Ranko whispered a code to one face-shaped knob out of seven, and an unremarkable wall opened instead of the metal gate they'd been facing. They passed through that and found their Defense teacher there waiting for them, while Cologne came in another entrance on the other side leading the Patils.

All attention focused on Ranko's mother and this remarkable room.

Nodoka stood in the midst of a large chamber that looked surprisingly like a modern lab. In it were hundreds of rats in neat racks of cages, a little less than a hundred of the creatures were hairless, and if you looked closely you could see the Dark Marks on their bodies. On other shelves toads were sitting on chicken eggs.

The duchess began to speak before they got too engrossed in her things. "Good evening, dears. I'll skip right to the point, because I know you all have places you'd rather be this fine night, and friends you ought to be making among the other students."

She cleared her throat. "Today, I'd like to share a bit of what I've learned of our enemy."

"Moldyshorts or the real danger to us?" Cologne queried.

"Just Moldyshorts, I'm afraid." Nodoka demurred. "I was rather hoping just to hide from the others, and this is the snake currently infesting our present hidey-hole. So I'd thought I'd do a touch of research on how to remove him, so it was safer for us to hide here."

"And what have you learned?" the teenage matriarch prompted.

"Moldyshorts has quite a sophisticated charm combination going with his Dark Mark. For one thing he can sense them, and their location. I don't think he can be fooled, either, not by the protections against magical detection the average turncoat is likely to have. So running from him once you'd decided to serve him is likely to be fatal, meaning secrets he shares with his allies are likely to remain secret. Plus, Moldyshorts is never going to be deceived by using Polyjuice or shape shifters. No one impersonating a Death Eater is going to have a proper mark, and he'll be able to tell right away they are an impostor. Even more interesting, Moldy seems to have a unique identity to each mark, so he'll not only know where his people are, and when, but who. Just that information alone is going to help him coordinate attacks better, as he'll know who's been lost in battles - or is being lost in losing battles, so he can withdraw troops or send reinforcements if he can afford them. The mark also dies with the one who is wearing it, so standard aurors could almost never get an opportunity to study them, having to deal with prisoners a certain way, and no access to active marks from corpses."

She got several nods of comprehension, and went on to explain further.

"Old Moldy can use the mark to send a call out to his forces to summon them for instructions, individually or in groups as he chooses to select, and another caveat is that anyone who is wearing one of these would find it very difficult indeed to raise a wand to hurt their master - a feedback loop occurs if that happens and would hurt a great deal. Oh, this is a very clever charm indeed. But that's not all, those marked have a much reduced sense of the marks on their own, making infiltration virtually impossible on any level, as they can detect each other at short range. It also warns Moldy and other mark-bearers if the Imperius Curse is used on one of them. It doesn't stop an Imperius, nothing so far can stop it, but it warns Moldy and other Dead Munchies when it has been applied on one of them so they can take measures to neutralize any damage done by the one controlled by it. Then there is the fact that these marks are virtually impossible to remove from a magical viewpoint. I had to use muggle surgical methods to transfer them to my lab rats. Nevertheless, Old Moldy made a couple of mistakes, and they are going to cost him."

Nodoka took off her glasses and closed her clipboard, walking on high heels over to a metal filing cabinet set on the tiled floor to put down her recent notes, before turning and reaching into her lab coat pocket. "For one thing, it was that mark more than anything that defeated him in the last war. When he was reduced to a bodiless wraith, all of his followers knew of his supposed death and panicked, going from a position of conquering army to fleeing stragglers that were childishly easy for the virtually defeated Ministry to round up. I say childishly simple because that is about the level of competence the Ministry displayed, and still it worked to gather most of them - all those they didn't pardon, that is."

The noblewoman walked over to an array of rat cages, turning one animal about so the mark was visible on its shaved side. "I though that it might be a good idea to use that again as a weapon again him, but first I had to learn how these marks worked, and do to that I had to study them. Only, the regulations for handling of prisoners forbade spell research and would have stopped me from performing live experiments just as they've done to Ministry aurors - and I've already mentioned that the marks die with those wearing them, so live testing was the only way to perform experiments on these marks at all. So I had to get access to those who wore them, under a different pretense than spell research, and that is why I thought up getting memories as my reason."

The Professor gazed fondly upon her family. "Don't get me wrong, that trip of mine to Azkaban served the Light in many ways. We did get ahold of priceless memories, and that is truly going to help us to study our enemy's methods and defeat them. Now there are far fewer Death Monkeys in the world as well. But this mark was the real key. In the end, to recover one for study, I found myself separating a stretch of skin around the mark so it hung loose like a flap, and grafting it to my experimental animal while it was still attached by one end to the original owner. Only after that graft was completed did I sever the last stretch of tissue linking it to the original Dead Tweeter. I believe because it was linked at all times to a living creature and no magic was involved did the transfer work. Although I had to go back with magic cures so the rats did not reject those skin grafts until the dark marks had worked through onto their own bodies. Only then could I begin to research the spells in them."

The redhaired woman stepped smartly away from the rat cages and faced her audience. "The triumph of all of this is, having gone this far into deciphering those spells he built into his marks I can now construct a device that can detect Dark Marks as easily as Moldyshorts can. I have already tested this, tracking Snape and other free Dung Eaters across the world. Also it has been registering my transplanted Marks as if they were the original owners. And of course, my detector can get all of that same information Moldy does and be just as hard to hide from. We'll know who he has, and where they are at any given point in time. Better yet, I can hook that up to a set of omnioculars to record everything. When a raid happens, we'll know who was there doing it, and if we're sharp we can have someone watching the set to alert us to attacks as they occur - and that's assuming that we can't just attack him in his lair, as we'll know where it is from Dead Munchies who accumulate there. About the only drawback is to get the full information requires a setup that isn't remotely portable."

Nodoka gestured to a large machine that looked like it belonged in an old science fiction movie and continued, "Obviously, I can remove the marks, though I prefer to transfer them to lab rats so that I can preserve them for study, and perhaps later as a distraction. After all, he'll want to track down any of his followers who are so traitorous so as to not appear when he returns and calls them. I can place transfigured rats all over the place so he'll think they're former followers in hiding. Finding and destroying my decoys divides his forces, and allows the opportunity to lay a few traps as an additional bonus. There is also the fact that the very thing Voldemort created the Dark Mark to protect himself against, infiltration, can now be done by shoving a rat in your pocket and impersonating the Dead Munchie whose mark I've put on it. The location sense inherent in them isn't so precise at close ranges, and they'll never tell the difference between a mark on your arm or on an animal in your pocket. From what I've found in the relevant memories, the Dead Monkeys rely so much on the mark to tell them of any impersonators that other anti-infiltration methods are ignored. About the only real danger is if Moldyshorts should hold any skinny dipping parties for his followers and you can't excuse yourself in time."

That earned a round of giggles.

"Oh, I'm sorry. It would still be terribly dangerous, mostly because of Moldy's mind reading skills and his regular treatment of actual followers borders on the insane. However, personal Dark Mark detectors could be constructed very easily at this point, providing a vital bit of warning before you are under attack, and reducing Old Moldy's attempts to use infiltrators or spies of his own. Their side can still use innocent people whom they've had slapped with an Imperius Curse, of course. But thanks to his efforts we can now detect that spell as well as he can, and though we won't have everyone wearing their own personal mark warning others "My will is not my own", we can set up wards on locations, or carry a device to tell you if others have been so subverted, or cast spells to determine if it has happened - as very few will be able to afford having their own Imperius Revealer to carry on their person."

"Which reminds me," Nodoka walked over to a table bearing several objects. "I have some valuable equipment for all of you."

I O I O I

Author's Notes:

Tom Riddle was a genius once, and he was a child when radio was just becoming common in the muggle world. The ability to command and control large, disparate forces through radio was an amazing achievement, and the crowning difference between modern armies and ancient ones. Forces that had large long distance communication networks succeeded even against significantly larger forces that did not.

So the way I picture him creating in that mark was a reflection of that - a magic radio that can't be lost because it's tattooed right onto your body, and we've already seen him using it that way to summon his inner circle to his side.

Of course, he's evil, so slavery and control on top of that, snuck in as extras, but he did get a small group of people to defeat and totally humiliate the much larger Ministry forces. So communication could have been a big contributor to that, and he was raised in the muggle world right when that was becoming a big deal.