Percy Weasley, still languishing in his position as Junior Assistant to the Minister, was flabbergasted. As Junior Assistant, he was required to perform many menial tasks. One of these assignments was Scribe for the Wizengamot. Though the duty had never caused him to pace his broom-closet of an office before, today's vote had been particularly exciting. Left. Right. Left. Right. Percy turned at the wall on either side of his desk and continued his disturbed gait. Rufus Scrimgeour is absolutely crazy if he thinks he can pull this off, Percy thought. This was the new Marriage Law, put into effect just that morning by the vote of the full court of the Wizengamot.
For three years, there had been something of a crisis in the Wizarding Community. The Squib birth rate was on the rise. It had been slowly rising for some fifty years, and was now at an all time high of one in ten. One of every ten children born to a witch or wizard was a Squib. Percy understood the crisis. A Squib had no place in society, either wizarding society or the Muggle world. They were different from both, and unable to live in either satisfactorily. Raised around magic, most chose to live in the wizarding community, creating a drain on the Ministry's already plummeting resources. Without the abilities of those around them, they were unable to secure well-paying jobs to support themselves and their families.
Since its creation, the Ministry had survived on donations from wealthy supporters and a healthy account at Gringotts. Rebuilding since the fall of Voldemort, however, had drained much of that account, and many of the wealthy supporters were now in prison. Their inheritors were unlikely to support an organization that had incarcerated their loved ones. Many within the community were calling for an execution of all Squibs. There was a law from the early years of the Ministry, when it was still mired in superstition, which allowed for the death of all Squibs. The Ministry was facing a dilemma of instituting a tax for the first time in its history to support a population that wasn't legally allowed to exist.
In order to find the cause of the rise in Squib births, the Ministry had hired Augustus Pye, recently verified Healer and Muggle Doctor. Pye spent over a year and more than ten thousand Galleons studying all four blood types: Purebloods, Muggle-borns, Squibs, and Halfbloods (which was really a term used to describe a witch or wizard who didn't fit into any of the other types). Once his study was completed, Pye conferred with the Minister for nearly two months, resulting in the morning vote of the Wizengamot. There, Augustus had presented his findings. It had long been known that wizards, all wizards, had a larger frontal lobe of the brain than that of Muggles. Until Pye's research, however, no one knew why this was.
Pye explained the combination of Muggle science and magical methods he'd used on the various blood types to isolate the hormone responsible for the growth. He was calling this hormone Pisces. This hormone was apparently absent in the brains of Muggles. Squibs had it, but the hormone was missing a crucial piece, rendering it useless, and the Squib magicless. Oddly enough, the Halfbloods and Muggle-borns had the highest count of the hormone, while the Purebloods were carrying a weakened hormone. Pye explained that most Purebloods were merely one generation away from being Squibs.
He went on to show how years of inbreeding had weakened the genetic code of the Purebloods and years of refusing to add fresh blood into the mix was weakening the hormone's effectiveness. He stood in front of the Wizengamot, many of them the last remaining Purebloods, and proclaimed that the policy of blood marrying blood to produce blood had slowly caused the crisis the community now faced. There had been a great outcry at this, and then, the Minister stood.
"Members of the Wizengamot, you have been called here today to vote on a measure the Ministry is prepared to take in order to preserve the community." At these words, a silence fell, one so thick you could taste the tension. Rufus Scrimgeour, Minister of Magic, pulled a scroll from the inner reaches of his robes.
Unfurling the ivory parchment, he began to read, "Legislation number 62598: The Marriage Law. Effective August 1, all males of legal age will be required to submit a Marriage Contract, declaring their intent to marry the legal aged female of their choice. In order to combat the growing problem of rising Squib birth rates, no same-blood marriages will be permitted. All contracts must be submitted no later than August 31, for Ministry approval by Chief of Contracts, Augustus Pye. All unmarried witches and wizards are required to submit to a blood test at St. Mungo's no later than August 31. Should more than one Contract be issued for a single female, the Contracting males will be notified of the date and time for a Dispute Trial, in which all involved will be permitted to present their case to a court of seven. These seven will consist of elders of the Wizengamot and will vote at the end of each Trial to determine which of the Contracts shall be validated by the Minister, and which shall be rejected. Any persons not entered into a legal Contract by August 31 will have a suitable marriage arranged by the Ministry. Signed, Rufus Scrimgeour, Minister of Magic."
The silence continued. Many sat, dumbfounded by the Decree. The Minister continued.
"Healer Pye will review each Contract and the corresponding blood tests. If the marriage is likely to result in a Squib birth, it will be rejected."
Percy had diligently taken notes, positive that the law would never be approved. To his amazement, a majority vote verified the Decree into Law ten minutes later. The Minister scheduled an interview with the Prophet, and Percy had gone deep into the bowels of the Ministry to retrieve the Golden Book.
The Golden Book was over a thousand years old. Typically used by Minerva McGonagall in these times, a magical quill transcribed the name and family tree of each witch or wizard born in Britain. Percy opened the Book to the Weasley family tree. Tracing the golden words on the page, he thought of the legacy of love his family had shown throughout the years. It would be no more – marriages would be based on blood, not love. Percy despised it. He placed the Book in his desk drawer, and then enchanted the drawer to open only for him. He would present Pye with the Book. If he was to determine the suitability of the proposed marriages, combining wizarding genealogy and his magical blood tests would be the most accurate way to determine the validity of a Contract.
Percy was certain the Prophet would carry the details of the new law to the public the next morning. He sat in his comfortable chair and picked up the pale blue parchment that would be winging its way to every overage, unmarried wizard by week's end. Staring at the page, Percy realized that he, too, would be affected by this law. For several hours, he sat at his desk, mentally reviewing every female of his acquaintance.
At last, he came upon a name. A suitable girl, she would not trouble him for affection he couldn't give. Percy carried a secret, and he could trust this girl to keep it for him. If revealed, this secret could ruin him, his career and his family. Dipping his quill into a black inkbottle, he began to fill in the lines on his Contract.