I I I
Albus Dumbledore, in his multicolored, genial, grandfatherly self, wandered through the Ministry of Magic stopping and chatting with people, visiting desk after desk as he made his rounds.
This was quite reassuring to the Ministry people, who'd heard more than a few disturbing rumors and reports concerning the Headmaster. So to see him back in his pleasant, peaceful form was very reassuring to people.
It was also a lie.
Harry Potter under polyjuice to look like the Headmaster (they had captured plenty of his hairs on various raids to his office) and wearing some of his brightest outfits (they'd also captured plenty of his clothes) was doing the rounds using legilimency to determine what people expected of the kindly old Headmaster and do that in his social interactions, inquiring about the healths of people he'd never heard of, and referring to past experiences he knew nothing about, but the people he was talking to expected of the Headmaster.
Under this genial screen, and with the actual Headmaster unavailable, so unable to refute him, Harry was visiting any number of offices of the Ministry and quietly steamrolling through a rather large agenda.
Amelia Bones had suggested something that just HAD to be done!!
Under a feudal system settlements could have their own rights and privileges in the same way that nobles and clergy did. These were called City Rights, as any town that got them immediately became known as a city, although size did not appear to make any difference, as the smallest of these cities had only 40 people living there. NOT forty thousand, but four times ten, as in less than fifty, residents.
Amelia Bones had suggested granting autonomy to Godric's Hollow by allowing them to apply for those city rights, as they included the right to self-police, which meant removing them from the Ministry's detection net so they could get away with more. The downside was they were on their own. They couldn't count on any support or help from the Ministry in case of disaster or attack. However, that was fine by Harry. The Ministry did more harm than good.
Then, in order to tweak Dumbledore's nose, Amelia went ahead and gave the town official approval on her authority as Head of Magical Law Enforcement. This was good, but not impenetrable. It could be overruled, either by higher Ministry officials or Amelia's replacement (whoever that turned out to be) so long as they trumped up a charge.
So Harry was visiting the Ministry disguised as Dumbledore, using the old man's political power and influence to sew this up from every department, getting approval from every Ministry official worth the name, and throwing the considerable might of Dumbledore's political muscle behind not only that, but going the extra step to granting the town a medieval charter as a free and independent city, meaning it was a government on its own, declared by the bumbling Ministry to be no longer subject to their legal authority.
That put it very much out of Dumbledore's reach, and exempt the place from the authority of aurors, obliviators, underage magic detection, or any other enforcement arm short of a direct order by the Queen. It also enabled the town to keep their own police force made up of whatever they wanted it to be, and provide justice for all crimes short of high treason.
It also meant the town had the right to govern its own trade, so any Ministry granted monopolies didn't mean squat inside of the town borders. And if that didn't lead to an explosion of new business and creativity, Harry didn't know what would. Freedom always meant an explosion of invention, and NONE of the Ministry's stupidly restrictive laws applied there anymore.
So they could keep dragons, use magic carpets, buy or sell printing presses or enchant muggle artifacts if they wished. And yes, you didn't have to pay a fee to keep pets or register your cauldron bottom thickness.
Amelia was very happy to have her ancestral estate already moved there and under those new freedoms, and was moving post-haste to help get the pots of plant protection going swiftly, so the town would have its own industry.
Harry had already installed Frank and Alice Longbottom as the town sheriff and head of their school, respectively. Amelia would be mayor. They'd already worked it out so administrative details would be handled by a Town Council, NOT any part of the Ministry. As obligations and other rules are plainly set out in the original charter, and Amelia was trying to be generous in order to save them from Dumbledore, they had quite a bit of leeway. Indeed, they were essentially an independent city state in the heart of England. Legally, the Ministry surrendered all power over them.
Among their many privileges, the city of Godric's Hollow was allowed to make their own laws governing itself. Among the first they passed (after the basic working set required to run any society) was that possessing a dark mark within the town boundaries was an automatic death sentence.
About the only downside to this arrangement was they had to provide all their own infrastructure, their own floo network and so on. But that was actually a benefit in many ways, as doing their own they could be sure it would be more secure.
The ability to run their own floo control node and merely interface that with the regular British system meant when they put restrictions on who could go where by floo, no Death Eater, toady, stooge or sympathizer in the Ministry could simply undo it! Those controls weren't on their end!
But, to be extra safe (it was that kind of town) they also warded their floos on the receiving end, so there was a double defense against unauthorized intrusion. And better still for security if they could somehow mark town residents as having unrestricted floo travel access, and allow in no one else.
He could have stopped there, but didn't.
in the four hundred homes Harry expected to build at Godric's Hollow, even if he achieved an average occupancy rate of five per home (two parents and three kids, a little above the norm), that would still take only two thousand of the magical populace out of the rest of the British total.
Given a magical birthrate of something on the order of one witch or wizard per thousand normal people, the magical society of Great Britain ought to have a population of around sixty thousand. But in actual fact, due to deaths and emigrations due to their recent wars, actual numbers were something on the order of thirty to forty thousand magical people living there. So Harry Potter's two thousand estimate for people protected in Godric's Hollow was an insignificant chunk of the total. And truthfully those numbers assumed a great deal more children than really existed. Pie in the sky estimates aside, actual occupancy would be closer to one thousand than two.
Protecting one or two thousand while leaving thirty or forty vulnerable to attack was not good coverage. Also filling up to capacity right at the start left his town very little room for growth later on down the road.
So because he already had far more applicants for worthwhile magical people wanting to move to Godric's Hollow than he had space to keep them, Harry adopted the 'do not keep all your eggs in one basket' philosophy, and, rather than make the town any larger, simply applied as Dumbledore for five more licenses for such towns to be applied for on Harry's behalf, then approved.
Better still, this could all be accomplished via a minor amendment to what the Geezergamot had already granted him, under that neat little permission to "buy up some land around my parents' old house" Harry had never actually said WHICH HOUSE! So 'Dumbledore' kindly got it applied to many of them.
The Potters had very obligingly lived in several mixed magical/muggle villages during the time they'd been fighting vulturewart. All of them very much like the muggle side of Godric's Hollow: quiet little holes in the country that young people moved out of and the world by and large had forgotten.
Places that would never be missed if they disappeared off the maps.
Thus they got Ravenshire, Rowena's Glen, Huffle Hollow, Puffville and Gryffin Harbor, the only seacoast town. The muggles had the coasts pretty sewn up with their own settlements, so it was a bit of work to find a spot inhospitable enough they'd never miss it, and could be cleared out for a town, yet had a small community his parents had lived in. Without dwarven stonemasons and magic, Harry didn't even think they could have adapted the one they found.
He felt no need to venerate Slytherin, as the pureblood elitists were already doing enough of that. And this alleviated another problem Harry had been having in that there was more than one tribe of dwarves in Britain, and the other clan heads had begun to contact him, essentially asking, "When is it our turn?" Apparently the outcast dwarves all wanted homes, were willing to work for them, and liked the deal he'd offered the first clan he'd contacted.
Now he had deals he could make with them, offering more mines in Sweden, Norway, and this time one in Scotland, in exchange for their building the new magical villages for him, all pretty much patterned after the first one as far as the building philosophy and security were concerned.
He didn't think he could order them to be made the same artistically, as each clan of dwarves had their own style of decorations and would be mightily offended if he'd so much as tried to tell them to emulate another. The first clan he'd dealt with, the one to build Godric's Hollow into its present form, had done an admirable job with their style of decorating, very Celtic in a way that the rest of the world had lost as far as knowledge of the Celts, and he was rather looking forward to what the other clans would come up with.
But in the meantime he made sure they had all of the same City Rights and privileges that he was arranging for his first fortress town.
In a way it was excellent even beyond his original designs to have more than one such fortified settlement, as the way war worked no one attacking force could afford to entirely turn its attention to one without turning its back on the others. So the mere presence of extra towns assured a greater measure of safety. And with the speed of magical transport, actual physical distance between the settlements was almost irrelevant for this support to apply.
Just to make certain all angles were covered, Harry was signing them up for every right a city might conceivably possess, including especially the right to construct defensive fortifications - because just about every Ministry toady could take one look at his villas and claim he'd already broken the limit.
In the magical world, just like the Middle Ages, the right of a settlement to build a defensive wall was a privilege, usually granted by the so-called "right of crenelation," and now that Harry thought about it that might be a very good idea. City walls had existed for a reason, and that reason was pretty much the same one he was facing now: gangs of armed thugs roaming the countryside in search of easy pickings, vandalism and loot.
Yes, his HOUSES were defended against that sort of thing, but it meant ever so much more to layer one strong defense over another, and the villas could be merely a fallback position; the "Yes, you've broken through my town wall, now your house to house fighting is going to be pure misery" approach.
Because, really, the farther away you could keep an enemy the less harm he could do to you. And the more stages he had to get through to hurt you, the longer and more effort it took him, and the more possibilities you had to deal out hurt and damage in return as he sought to get through to you.
A dog might find a porcupine the tastiest thing on Earth, but that didn't mean they got to eat them often. The pain of obtaining wasn't worth it.
The same thing applied here. And if you tore open the porcupine's quills only to find a badger revealed underneath, then got through that amazingly thick hide to open it up and find a lion springing out at you... well, the meal wasn't worth the effort spent getting it, whatever the flavor was.
What they wanted was commonly styled 'defense in depth', and it got called that for a reason, namely in that it served like an onion: there were multiple levels of barricades and obstacles to be overcome before your enemy could have any expectation of getting through. Each layer he got through only gave him access to the next layer beyond. And, since you wanted to be firing on him as he made this approach, he paid in blood for every step of ground. So that in the end he either decided that it wasn't worth it or ran out of blood to spill. He either lost his will or his life trying, while hopefully you lost none.
Having nearly impregnable family villas was a good step, but it was still only one stage to be passed through.
So Harry decided he would fortify their towns too and sent that instruction off to his dwarven allies, as they were willing to begin construction even as he was still using Dumbledore's revered image to secure the rights.
On being given the command to put up city walls the dwarven engineers made their evaluations and decided on having concentric rings, high and circular in the Medieval style to avoid nasty things like infantry rushes.
Werewolves and zombies were not sophisticated warriors. If they couldn't charge it and overbear it in a rush they largely couldn't do anything about it.
And the late medieval style excelled at stopping infantry rushes like that.
When it came right down to it, the more things you had defending you the less an enemy was likely to even try an attack. Yes, church bells could drive off dementors, but they couldn't pass through solid walls either. So should the wards be somehow broken and bells destroyed, they'd still have to pass through the gate, and keeping that shut was always a good idea during siege.
Giants too, could be hopped up on potions to overpower your stone guardians. But scrambling over a big stone wall would at least slow them down and give your defenders a few moments while they were doing that during which their movements would be hindered and awkward - and if they were vulnerable at any time, that was it.
Tall, high, really obvious crosses could be built directly into the walls just by using different colored blocks of stone during the construction, and once those had been blessed by a priest for good measure, no vampires would even be able to tolerate coming within sight of the place.
And werewolves had the same difficulty with really tall, thick walls that any wolf did. Namely, to them it was an impassible barrier unless someone else opened up a pathway through for them. This was fortunate, as werewolves were notoriously resistant to defensive magic when in their wolf form.
No, a town wall was an excellent thing to add to their overall defenses.
There were plenty of good examples on how to do this, centuries of good and bad experiences on record to tell what worked and what didn't, as well as what worked well against some kinds of things yet poorly against others. The art and science of laying siege to a fortification, as well as building new ones to resist the latest methods of destroying them, had been growing and accumulating data since the time of ancient Rome. Some times had been so turbulent that you simply didn't build a town without putting a wall around it.
So a tremendous body of lore had been collected. However, all of that got more or less abandoned with the development of cannon. The high but thin medieval walls shattered easily so they quickly got lower and thicker until you had fortifications moved entirely underground, developing into the bunker. Then people developed bunker busters to break even those.
As the power of high explosives continued to improve, muggles used fewer and fewer permanent fortifications of any kind until, overall, they used none.
Muggle warfare was weighted rather heavily toward offensive holding the advantage at present. But it wasn't always so, and could easily surprise people by how quickly that equation could change with just a few different rules. For example, defense had once been considered to have by far the advantage, and it was the advent of high explosives that changed that.
But, with magic, they had a defense against those no muggle could dream of. Harry could simply set down unobtrusive spells that would cause any high explosive compounds coming within a mile of Godric's Hollow to explode spontaneously, just on the odd chance Tom would reach back to his muggle roots in attacking the place. No bombs or exploding artillery shells for him!
Heck, no firearms for that matter. He could set spells to detonate gunpowder at any distance he cared to.
Remove high explosives from the equation and it became a whole different ball game. Once more defense had the advantage. The best Voldy could do would be to drop non-exploding shells, against which there were plenty of centuries of developing methods of defense.
And that wasn't too much of a worry for Harry. They could have the dwarves build their walls uncommonly thick and sturdy, then magnify that with magic. But, just to stay several steps ahead of the opposition, they also saw the benefit of including outerworks of the later sorts made for defense against cannon, sheltering the inner walls against direct fire; because while neither Tom nor Dumbledore had any cannon, Tom did frequently use giants, which could pitch rocks better than any of the ancient black powder field pieces.
After that, they went to town, quite literally.
Having a town wall meant gatehouses. Gatehouses meant gates that could be closed in the face of an open assault (or, for general precaution, at night). It also gave them a perfect spot to have checkpoints inspecting any visitors arriving overland, making sure they were not under compulsion and had no Dark Marks. A few guards at each entrance armed with Probity Probes and glasses that functioned like Moody's magical eye, backed up by large guardian statues, made for a fairly tight security checkpoint.
Hogwarts had enchantments for preventing anyone from flying or climbing over the walls while they were activated. Employ those on the town walls and people had to arrive either by land or floo, and funneling agents through those checkpoints would be hard enough that, while the dark powers could probably come up with ways eventually to sneak in a few agents, it would be hard enough that massive overpowering assaults on the houses within would be impossible while the town walls were still defended.
It didn't have to be perfect to make all the individual families much safer and greatly complicate the life of anyone trying to launch a direct attack on one.
With checkpoints like that, naturally any invader would prefer to arrive by floo, skipping around those nasty town walls entirely. And that could be made to play right into your hands.
Harry's devious friends specially enchanted all of the fireplaces in town, charming the fires to burn to ash any vampire attempting to pass through them, and to mortally burn any hag. Both of those had to prey upon human life in order to survive, so if they had rights to live then humans didn't. You couldn't treat something that had to eat you to live as an equal. Either you treated them like vermin and wiped them out, or they devoured you. There was no equality that could be had in that kind of relationship.
Harry and company preferred that humanity survived. And, while they were at it, put in charms to burn to death any marked Death Eaters attempting to use the town's floo system.
Yes, they could defend against that. But the first couple of times they would not know they had to, and it would come as an unpleasant surprise, killing at least a few of them. Because who carried their wand out while flooing? Only those who wanted to lose it to all of the spinning and tumbling, that's who.
That, plus those other traps and tricks over the town's private floo system and very few people would want to challenge it, as that would not be the easy way in. Then again, the whole point of this was for there not to be any easy way in, for the Dark supporters, at least. But thanks to selective magic, it ought to be easy as pie for Light residents to come as go as they liked.
Still, if they couldn't enter using your floo network, fly overhead or easily cheat or fool your gate checkpoints, sooner or later they'd try attacking the walls directly, trying to bring them down to create their own entrance. And if they wanted to try siege, wizards were perfectly capable of banishing large rocks over great distances with the force of a cannonball. For that matter, the giants Harry expected to serve the enemy could heave boulders greater and farther with as much destructive force as a medieval siege cannon.
But there were fully developed ways to defend against medieval cannon. You simply build up a berm of earth in front of your walls to prevent direct fire. The ancient cannons of those days had to fire in a more or less straight line to do any real damage, just like a baseball pitcher throws balls, and dirt was the best bullet-stop ever invented. It could absorb just about anything they tried to throw at it. It would be like trying to shoot through a hill.
In short, inside you had your wall, then a large empty space, then a ridge of earth surrounding your town. The trouble there was that you then had to prevent your enemy from occupying that man-made hill and simply putting his cannon up there. But that, too, had been dealt with in vast, elaborate designs of intricate outerworks that came to be known as star forts.
These forts developed complex shapes that allowed defensive batteries of cannon to command interlocking fields of fire. Forward batteries commanded the slopes which defended walls deeper in the complex from direct fire. The defending cannon were not simply intended to deal with attempts to storm the walls, but to actively challenge attacking cannon, and deny them approach close enough to the fort to engage in direct fire against the vulnerable walls. Moats and fortified islands had all been involved.
After a bit of research during which Hermione shone, they decided to base their town plans on the ancient defenses of Palmanova, one of the most fortified cities of this type they could find plans of, with multiple nested defensive works each of them able to stand on its own if necessary.
That tiny town was a fortress in the shape of an eighteen-pointed star, using all the latest military innovations of the 16th century. Streets were laid out in a radial pattern within polygonal fortifications and extensive outer earthworks. In between the points of the star, ramparts protruded so that the points could defend each other. A moat surrounded the town, and three large, guarded gates allowed entry. Although, because the purebloods could read history books and town maps too, they changed the design at Godric's Hollow to enlarge the area slightly, and changed the location of the gates and interior layouts of other important security features.
The invention of high explosives made plunging shots damaging enough to be viable. And as explosives grew more powerful, fortifications mattered less and less until they largely died out altogether. But again, if any explosives detonated before coming within a mile of your walls that shouldn't concern you, so these walls ought to do just fine.
However, the problem with those later designs was they presumed a great many men and a large number of cannon actively defending them. And Harry did not have a great many men willing or able to fight. If he did, he wouldn't need to fort up like a turtle and wait for the enemy to come to him. He could go out there and take the war to them and see how they liked being on the receiving end, with their homes and families being destroyed for once.
But, "If wishes were fishes then beggars would eat." He didn't have the men, so he had to build forts, and to man those forts he needed more men.
Actually, what he really needed was combatants, not necessarily men. So, if he were to whip up, say, a few thousand terra cotta soldiers and a couple hundred animated cannon to handle the actual fighting, he could use his limited supply of wizards as scouts and commanders, and that he had about enough for. Oh, they couldn't be actual cannon, not if he planned to be around (and since he was his side's top fighter, he had to at least consider using himself as a mobile reserve) as his fey powers would destroy them. But the dear things could be giant arms lobbing stones and work just as well.
Inwardly, Harry smirked. He could do this. And what was better was this was far from the only thing he'd be doing using Dumbledore's beloved face and form. Already he had a petition he was ramming through, signed by nearly two hundred witches and wizards, for making the word "mudblood" taboo, along with the incantations for all of the Unforgivable curses.
Right after that was a proposal to set aside a small island for the Potter Family Memorial Werewolf Reserve where lycanthropes could be portkeyed on the full moon so they would not be a danger to anyone.
And that could be used to clarify the Ministry's werewolf policies nicely: you accept a reusable, non-removable portkey collar that automatically kicks in every full moon to remove you from where you can endanger anyone, and you are acknowledged as a 'tame' werewolf and get much closer to human rights.
If not, you are a feral werewolf, and not only do the full spectrum of anti-werewolf laws apply to you, aurors are authorized and instructed to shoot to kill on sight any lycanthrope spotted transformed outside the reserve.
You are either helping to provide a solution, or you are part of the problem.
A few minutes after those projects got completed, Harry would go before the Geezergamot as Dumbledore and publicly request all Dumbledore's proxy holdings and guardianships be revoked. Then he'd demand that investigations be launched into certain longstanding crimes - all of which Dumbledore was behind, and had previously been blocking investigations into.
Then, if THAT didn't destroy the old man's reputation, as that tangle got unraveled and clan after clan found out just to what extent he'd been robbing from them, he'd start to get truly weird.
At the end of a long day of politicking, Harry returned to his villa in Godric's Hollow, dropping the Dumbledore disguise and starting to remove the hideous robes when he saw Hermione and Luna waiting for him, both eager to hear his report of how the day went.
After an accurate summary, he shook his head, declaring, "You know, it's both amazing and dismaying how many people are bought into the myth that their government is all-powerful, benign and all-loving, and will take care of all of your problems for you. Mostly it belongs to people like Dumbledore!"
Hermione cocked her head at him. "Magicals aren't the only people who think that of their government, Harry. It's not a failing unique to wizard-kind. Most people feel that because that's what most governments tell their subjects. They cry about how giving your problems to the government is the only way to solve them, even though most of those were problems the government actually created in the first place; not unlike Dumbledore, actually, just on a massive, worldwide scale. People like Percy never have enough authority or power to suit their ambitions. So they're always out for more."
I I I
The best way to destroy entrenched political power is to get the one holding it to destroy himself. And thanks to the power of Polyjuice, you can help!