"WAAAAAA it's over!" wailed Alyx.
Bob glanced up from his keyboard and frowned. "What are you complaining about now? You get a couple weeks of no editing."
"But the story is over!" wailed Alyx again.
"The story is over, but the tale isn't. There's still a lot to do and Harry hasn't gotten laid yet!"
"Damn straight! I want to get laid!" Harry yelled from the first row in the theater.
Bob shot him a glare and Harry cringed back. He knew not to annoy the author or he might end up writing a scene where Harry gets caught publicly masturbating with a sock puppet and a bowl of creamed corn.
"But what am I supposed to do until you start handing me new chapters," Alyx moaned.
Bob turned back to her. "Have you sharpened all your saw blades and drill bits? Fine tuned your laser cutter and refilled your gas cylinders for your torch?" he asked.
"I've done all that, plus I've warmed up all my branding irons. I've even brushed out all the knots from the llamas!" she exclaimed. "And the wax is simmering wonderfully."
"Well you're just going to have to find yourself something to do. I'm busy working on the next book," Bob said with a sigh, then he turned back to his computer.
"Are you done yet?" Alyx asked hopefully after a minute.
"No," Bob said with a sigh.
"Are you done yet?" Alyx asked hopefully after another minute.
"No," Bob repeated with a greater sigh.
"Are you done yet?" Alyx asked hopefully after another minute.
Bob reached down with one hand and pulled a plunger out of a drawer. With a practiced toss it hit Alyx in the face, covering her mouth. She started tugging frantically on it and glaring at Bob.
He looked at the audience and shrugged. "I knew there was a reason for using super glue on that thing. Enjoy the last chapter folks, I'm off to write part two."
As the curtain closed on this story, Alyx was last seen making obscene finger gestures and mocking Bob with her Queen Victoria sock puppet.
As the superior magical species on the planet, we have the divine right to cultivate the lesser magical breeds for our purposes. But divine right also implies divine responsibility, meaning that we must work to ensure species like dragons, unicorns, and even house elves, survive and thrive so that they are always there for our use.
Excerpt from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them by Newt Scamander. Published 1927.
Balmoral Castle, June 22nd...
May knelt in the grass next to Narth and she gently laid the two large pieces of metal along his front right leg. Alice Wagner bound it tightly using heavy, padded rope to immobilize the leg. Narth moaned softly and Hermione scrambled to pour more pain potion into his mouth. Hermione and May had returned to the castle to help with the dragons shortly after Harry had left for his meeting.
May had brought Hermione back with her because she knew a spell that could tell if a bone was broken. Hermione was learning healer spells from Doctor Sheppard, who wasn't trained as a healer, but had managed to study and pick up a lot of the spells on his own.
Narth was far too big to take to the doctor's office for an x-ray. Besides, the x-ray machine they leased was far to small to x-ray a dragon. Hermione was genuinely concerned about Narth. He had helped her learn to fly without being terrified, and he had so many interesting memories of early Britain. He might not be her bonded dragon, but he was her friend and her friend was hurt.
For May, she was still tired, but feeling better. A shower and a change of clothing left her feeling more human and able to return to the castle to help the dragons. Having the tent to sleep in was nice, but all her clothes were still back in Campbeltown.
Most of the injuries from the battle at Balmoral were the result of dragons crashing into the ground. Narth was the worst injured since he crashed into a parked car and managed to pick up a number of puncture wounds on top of a broken right foreleg and a wrenched wing joint.
Alice leaned back after tying off the wrap. "There, May. It's bound as best as we can do."
May leaned back and sighed in relief. Hermione's spells had confirmed the break. Between the three of them, they were able to set the bone and Hermione used a spell to immobilize the leg long enough for them to put the splint in place. Now that it was bound, all they could do is wait and periodically check it. Narth would be wearing the splint for at least six weeks.
She wasn't happy with their efforts, but it was better than it had been. It wouldn't surprise her to discover that Narth would always have problems and some pain from that leg.
Hagrid was studying and applying to the dragons any healing spells he could find, but the bone mending spells never worked on them and he was afraid to try skelegrow on one.
"You're going to be fine, Narth. I'm sorry we'll have to let your leg heal naturally," May said.
The Welsh Green turned his large head to look at May. His eyes slowly twirled with streaks of yellow and black. It was, according to Harry, the closest color mix the dragons had to show unhappiness. "Thank you, Weyrhealer. You and your helpers have a very gentle touch." Narth said. He knew that had his injury happened just a year ago, it would have resulted in his death. Any injury that resulted in loss of movement would have meant the wizards would have been able to catch him and as a wild dragon he would have been killed out of hand.
May stood and pat the large dragon. "We'll do what we can to make you as comfortable as possible."
"I know you will," replied Narth. "You honor me with your caring."
Narth suddenly turned to look skyward. "The Weyr comes!" he announced with a trumpeted bellow. It was only his bound leg that prevented the large dragon from knocking May and Hermione over.
Almost instantly, all of the dragons in the Weyr appeared overhead. An alarm at the castle rang at the sight of so many dragons. Harry made a gesture and the individual wings peeled off and came in to land in neat groups.
May, Hermione and Alice stepped out from under the tarp they had erected over Narth and watched silently, wondering why Harry had brought the entire Weyr back to Balmoral Castle.
Once all of the wings had landed, Harry lightly stepped down from Chekiath and he approached Hagrid. The pair walked over to the spot where Ranglieth still lay. Harry placed his hand against the dragon and bowed his head for a minute.
From around the back of the castle, several large trucks moved towards the cluster of riders and their dragons. They stopped a few dozen yards away and soldiers poured out of the back of them, quickly falling into formation.
Meanwhile, Hagrid gently lifted the front of Ranglieth and Harry stepped into the space to place something on the ground, then he canceled the shrinking spell on the object and watched as it grew in size. It was a twenty foot long pole, the thickness of a telephone pole. They repeated the process in the back, placing another pole just in front of Ranglieth's rear legs. Heavy ropes were tied to both ends of the poles. Harry and Hagrid stretched out the ropes so that the dragons would be able to easily grab them without interfering with another dragon.
With that done, Harry finally noticed the soldiers, and the Queen standing respectfully nearby, surrounded by her security detail.
Harry walked over towards the Queen and sketched a polite bow. "Your Majesty, with your permission, we'd like to attend to our friend."
"A moment, Weyrleader," the Queen murmured, then she glanced over to the assembled soldiers and nodded to the officer in charge. A young captain barked an order of attention and the soldiers stiffened in place. "You may proceed now," she said to Harry.
Harry nodded and he turned to Chekiath. "All right, Cheki. Let's do this."
Chekiath trumpeted and then strode forward until he could pick up the rope in his front paws, then he reared back on his hind legs. He was joined by Momnarth, Norendrath and Selanth, who copied his movements. All four dragons poised on their hind legs, wings spreading out and their muscles bunched tightly. Chekiath trumpeted again and the four dragons sprang aloft as one.
Harry and the assembled riders bowed their heads in respect and the dragons began a low keening. Just as the four dragons leapt skyward a pair of bagpipers began to play 'Amazing Grace'. The four dragons hovered for a few brief seconds about ten feet off the ground with Ranglieth suspended between them, then they jumped Between. Harry was puzzled by their maneuver but there was no time to figure it out.
When the four dragons reappeared, Ranglieth and the poles were gone. Chekiath and the other three dragons came to a landing close to Harry and the Queen. The dragons and the riders stood respectful and unmoving, while the pipes played out their song.
As soon as the pipes ended, the Queen watched in surprise as the riders turned to their dragons for comfort. Even Harry leaned against Chekiath, who joined the others in keening for the dead dragon. This, more than any single thing she had heard or seen in regards to the dragons, drove home the point of just how unique and how strong the bond was between rider and dragon.
Harry knew the Queen was nearby, so he straightened and gave his dragon one final pat. "Duty calls, Cheki," he sent.
"I know. Talk to the Lady Holder. I can be as strong as you," replied Chekiath.
Harry turned to the Queen. "Ma'am, thank you for allowing us to send Ranglieth on."
The Queen held up a hand. "Nonsense. He died protecting our subjects and our person. It is only fitting that we were here to see this and to honor him and his Weyr. The Prime Minister's office called this morning saying you would be here to do this and it was important that we attend. Your dragon died protecting us and we shall always remember that."
"We are honored you could be here, Ma'am," Harry said softly, "With your permission, we'll withdraw now."
The Queen nodded hesitantly. She looked as though she wanted to say something, then she changed her mind.
Harry turned to Chekiath. "Let's get them mounted, Cheki. It's time to go home."
Chekiath turned towards Spath and Harry could hear Chekiath giving orders for the wings to get aloft. He marveled over the fact that his dragon was giving more and more orders to dragons far older than he was.
Spath and Momnarth still held considerable authority among the dragons, but one fact was certain. The Weyrleader's dragon was exerting his own authority now.
He climbed up into his position, then he pumped his fist twice and the bonded pairs leapt into the air. The Queen stood and watched as the riders went Between, then she turned and walked back towards the castle. There was much still to do, and there were others who needed to be recognized for their part in yesterday's action.
The Burrow, Ottery St. Catchpole, June 23rd...
Molly Weasley rolled out of bed very unhappy. Arthur had come home late at night from his job before, but he always called to let her know he would be late. Until yesterday.
By late afternoon on the twenty second, the Wizarding Wireless Network was reporting strange activity at the Ministry building, then it fell silent.
She got on the floo and called Sarah Diggory and they spoke for a while, but neither woman had any clue what was happening. Finally, around six in the evening, both women found themselves violently ejected from the floo when it too ceased to operate.
At that point, owls or visiting were the only options available to her and she didn't want to leave the Burrow in case Arthur came home.
She threw on a housecoat and shuffled from the bedroom, heading to the kitchen.
She paused at the bottom of the stairs and looked at her twins in surprise. Both of them were asleep in the chairs and looked like they had been up most of the night.
She walked over to one of them. "Fred," she said, shaking him slightly. His eyes sprang open and he immediately stood up.
"Oi! Fred!" George said. "We nodded off!"
Fred opened his eyes. "Dad home?" he asked.
George glanced at Molly, who shook her head.
"Have you been sitting here waiting for your father?" she asked.
Both boys nodded. "Something bad happened yesterday, mum. George and I thought you'd rest easier if we waited up for dad."
She smiled weakly. "Well, hopefully he'll be here for breakfast. Be good boys and fetch in some eggs from the hen house."
Fred nodded. "Sure, mum. We'll to that now."
She walked into the kitchen and absently noted Errol sitting on the back of a chair with an undelivered note still attached. With a trembling hand, she untied the note she had sent to Percy and placed it on the table, then she sat down.
The twins came in from outside with the eggs. Both of them were shocked to see their mum sitting and staring at the rolled up note. Molly Weasley was a very strong woman, but the pillar from which her strength came was her husband.
All around Britain, families were missing loved ones who worked for the Ministry. Life had changed and none of them understood how or why just yet. The Weasleys were lucky. Many families had lost loved ones in the tunnels of Gringotts and it would still be days before anyone would know about it. Others, like the Weasleys, would discover their missing family members had been arrested.
Gringault, June 24th...
A honor guard preceded the Prime Minister and his entourage. They had driven to the Leaky Cauldron and gone straight to Gringotts, where they caught a plushly appointed mining car for their trip down to the goblin city.
Inside the enclosed cabin of the car there was no sensation of motion like the wizards experienced in the open cars they used to travel to the vaults. Prime Minister Major was impressed. The car was obviously designed to carry only very special people. It was richly decorated with inlaid gold leaf and sparkling gems. The cushions were of a silk like none he had ever felt before.
Once they arrived, a goblin ceremonial guard bearing Ragnok's personal seal formed up around them and led them to the central plaza where they would meet with Ragnok. Just as they approached the plaza, Chekiath appeared overhead with Harry. The large dragon glided effortlessly overhead towards the plaza, then landed.
It had been originally intended that Harry would accompany the humans down from Gringotts, but Harry said he would come with his dragon. He pointed out that while he was Weyrleader, it wouldn't do to exclude the dragons. Chekiath, as his bonded dragon, was the representative of all the dragons on Earth.
Harry wanted to include several other dragons, but eventually decided that Chekiath and Polenth, who was also attending, would suffice.
The inclusion of the dragons meant the meeting would be held in the plaza, rather than inside the palace. A bulk of the buildings in Gringault had no roofs, as it never rained and the temperature never changed. Dragons finding places on rooftops to perch would have been problematic.
Harry slid down from his spot on Chekiath and nodded cordially to Ragnok, who stood waiting for the others just entering the plaza. He turned to Polenth,
"How are your injured, Polenth?"
"Healing well, thanks to the Weyrling Master. He arranged with the goblin potioneers to make the proper potions for our needs," Polenth said.
Harry smiled. "Good. You and your clan performed very well and I am proud of you and them. Please tell them I am thankful for their efforts and we share in their grief for those who were killed."
Polenth seemed to stand a bit taller and his chest puffed outwards. His eyes streaked with green and blue and they twirled slowly. Harry's praise caught him off guard and he could feel the astonishment and pride his dragons had for him and the Weyrleader's words.
"The others come, Harry," Chekiath warned.
Harry turned his attention away from Polenth in time to see John Major step up to Ragnok with Lord Mills. Mills had acted as intermediary between the British government and the goblins and he would perform that function today, as well.
"Lord Ragnok, if I may, this is Prime Minister John Major," James said.
Major stepped forward and extended his hand. "It is an honor to meet with you, Lord Ragnok. On behalf of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, you have our deepest thanks in helping us bring this conflict to a swift and successful resolution. The Queen has also commanded me to convey her personal thanks for your restraint. We understand you had it within your power to destroy the wizarding economy. We are grateful that you did not."
Ragnok shook a human hand for the second time in his life and he grinned slightly. "It was felt that you would be putting the Ministry of Magic to rights. To recall the galleons would have disrupted that effort."
Ragnok gestured to the seats that were nearby and they moved to sit. Once they were seated and served drinks, Ragnok looked at Major. "You asked for this meeting, Prime Minister. May I know why?"
Major put his tea down on a table that appeared next to his chair. "My lord," he said, then he gestured to a man sitting to his right, "you know most of the people here, but this is Sir William O'Hearny, a distant cousin of Her Majesty and the new Deputy Minister of Magic. The position will be the highest position within the new Ministry and the Queen has commanded that it will always be held by a normal person, rather than a wizard.
"His task is to reshape the face of British Wizardry. His goal is to arrange it so that one day a goblin can shop in Diagon Alley and be welcomed there by the wizards and the merchants."
Ragnok blinked in surprise. "You're serious?" he exclaimed.
Major glanced over at O'Hearny and he nodded to him.
"We're very serious," O'Hearny said firmly. "My cousin is disgusted at the attitude that the wizards have been displaying and she wants it changed. We have a lot of work to do to get there, my lord, but I am convinced we can do this. The Weyrleader has, time and time again, championed the cause of his dragons as people. If we can agree to that concept, then surely we can agree that all of the sapient species are people too, no matter their form?"
Ragnok nodded slowly, then he turned to Harry. "And your position, Weyrleader?"
Harry looked down thoughtfully for a moment. "I have told Prime Minister Major that he only need ask and we'll help where we can. My goal is to establish the Weyrs and dragons such that they are a welcomed and productive member of this planet. Reconstructing the wizard society isn't the sole task of the Weyr, but we will help when and where we can.
"I have also made it known to our house elves that any elf seeking refuge can find it among the dragons. The elves may be restricted by their bondage, but that doesn't mean they have to live a life of pain and misery. I am concerned about the other races that have been cultivated for the benefit of wizards without regard to their welfare. The one thing you will be able to count on, now and for all time, Lord Ragnok, is that the dragons will always fight for the rights of a people to be a people."
Chekiath and Polenth thrummed in approval at Harry's words and Ragnok nodded slowly.
"I admit that I am surprised and pleased to hear such words. But actions speak louder than words and both the Weyr and the muggles have fought beside us in defense of the horde. That is something the wizards have never done."
Ragnok turned and pinned O'Hearny with a glare. "We will aid you in your endeavors as much as we can, and perhaps in time we can erase centuries of suspicion and distrust."
Harry leaned back in his chair and relaxed, while Major brought up the subject of an ambassador and more formal relations between the two groups. As far as Harry was concerned, he had made his point. The Weyr would help, but rebuilding wizarding society wasn't a Weyr priority. More importantly, however, he had made it clear that the Weyr would be the champion of those races that couldn't easily speak for themselves.
CID Interrogation Room #1, June 25th...
Cornelius Fudge was a broken man. He had spent the last four days in this cell with no one to talk to or tell him what was happening. He wanted to explain to his captors that he wasn't responsible for his actions, that he was under the Imperious curse, but they didn't seem to care enough to come talk to him. What good was an alibi if there was no one around to hear it?
The room he was in was all white, with a small cot and toilet. Bright florescent lighting added to the cold sterile feeling the room had. The door was only barely visible as a thin seam in the wall. Cornelius was unaware of the video camera hidden in the lighting fixture that recorded every comment of his and every move.
His spoken comments about his alibi had been recorded.
He had vague memories of several men bursting into his office and before he could pull his wand they pulled him to the ground. A rifle butt convinced him it was time to take a nap, When he awoke, he'd found himself on the cot in this room, wearing an ugly gray jump suit. His wand and emergency portkey had been taken from him.
Meals had been served via a slot in the door, but he never saw who delivered them. Whoever was holding him had strict orders not to socialize with him. The only words he had heard were the commands to pass the empty tray back through the slot in the door.
The door suddenly opened and he screamed in surprise and fright, then he backed away from the door and the two men standing there. A guard quickly stepped into the cell and grabbed his wrist. In fluid motions, which he had done countless times, he handcuffed Fudge, then knelt and shackled his ankles.
"You can't do this to me! I'm the Minister of Magic!" he protested.
The guard grabbed him by an arm and pulled him from the room, ignoring his protests. Both guards were under orders not to talk to the prisoner except to issue commands.
It was only a short walk down a corridor that was painted in the same sterile white, but Cornelius noted he had passed a half dozen doors labeled with names of prominent Ministry section heads. He was beginning to fear that the entire Ministry might be locked up somewhere in this hallway.
He was led into a room with a table, some chairs and a large mirror against one wall. Not knowing what else to do, he sat down at the table and waited to see what would happen.
About five minutes later, a tall man entered room carrying a leather briefcase. Cornelius didn't recognize him. The man was very distinguished looking, with gray hair at his temples. He was impeccably dressed in a muggle suit that had been hand tailored to fit. He sat and opened his briefcase, then he removed a file folder. He opened the folder and started to examine the papers for a moment.
"Cornelius Fudge, elected to the position of Minister of Magic in 1986 when former Minister Bagnold resigned. Before that, you were a Senior Undersecretary under Bagnold, having worked your way up the ranks, first through the Department of International Cooperation and then the Obliviation squad. Graduated from Hogwarts in 1964, you were a minor employee until your older brother was killed in a Death Eater attack in 1972 at which point you assumed control of the Fudge family."
The man turned a page. "It was rumored that you took numerous bribes during your term in office, but until recently it was never proven. You were apparently blackmailed for a while and your principle controller was Lucius Malfoy, a marked Death Eater and wanted criminal. According to our records, you received more than twenty bribes over the years from Malfoy."
Fudge stared at the man in astonishment. "Lucius was never wanted for anything!" he said in protest.
The man looked up from his papers. "Oh, come now, Mr. Fudge. Malfoy was wanted for questioning in the murders of a number of people by Her Majesty's government. In fact, there was a warrant issued for him in 1978. We even had a few photographs that were taken of him committing one of those murders. Luckily for us, he never recognized the teller's camera at the bank."
"Muggles can't arrest wizards!" Fudge snapped, "Just who the hell are you, anyway?"
The man smiled thinly. "I am Sir William O'Hearny and I have been appointed by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second, to oversee the Ministry of Magic during this transition period. I'll also oversee the trial of you and your fellow conspirators. Considering your actions at Balmoral Castle, we'll be adding murder to the list of charges."
"Transition? Trial?" echoed Fudge weakly.
"Quite so. By Her Majesty's command, the existing Ministry of Magic has been disbanded and all of its employees have been detained. Some, like yourself, will be tried for treason, some will be questioned and eventually released. In the meantime, I am supposed to help guide the Ministry as it becomes a sub division of the Home Office. In short, Her Majesty has revoked your autonomy for your repeated violations of the treaties between the Crown and you Wizards. Additionally, Her Majesty is most upset about the rampant bias and oppression of the other intelligent magical species.
"She feels your treatment of Dragons, House Elves and the Goblins, to name a few, is appalling and since you seem disinclined to do anything about it, she will."
"But they are beasts!" exclaimed Fudge.
O'Hearny looked at the man coldly. "You will, of course, have an opportunity to present your defense at your trial for treason, Mr. Fudge. Just be thankful that we're more civilized than your society. We outlawed capital punishment years ago. On the other hand, we intend to offer you the use of your truth serum. I would caution you not to refuse, since doing so would cast doubt on any testimony you might give."
He paused and ignored Fudge's sickly pallor. He examined a few more papers, then he pulled out a legal pad and a pen.
"Now that we've gotten the pleasantries out of the way, I have a few questions which we'd like answered," O'Hearny said.
Fudge slumped back in his chair in defeat. The muggles were in control and it looked like he had no way out of this!
Kitchen Hall, Campbeltown Weyr, June 27th...
"You're leaving us?"
Minerva looked up from her tea to see Harry standing on the other side of the table looking down at her.
She motioned for him to sit and waited until he was in his chair before answering him. "This was never meant to be a permanent move for me, Harry," she said gently. "With Albus helping the government, my job is even more important now."
She sighed and ruefully shook her head. "I suppose I am the Headmistress now. While I didn't mind being the Deputy, I much preferred teaching and didn't aspire to the position."
"We'll miss you around the Weyr," Harry admitted. He greatly respected his former head of house and he wished she didn't have to leave.
She smiled at him. "I want you to promise me that you'll try to keep up with your studies. You have a powerful gift, Harry, and I would hate to see it wasted."
"I'll do my best, Professor," he replied. "But there's so much to learn."
She nodded. "Yes, there is, and come the new school year, Hogwarts will need to broaden our own horizons, so you won't be alone in that regard. You have the ability, Harry. I've watched you and I know you are a lot smarter than you credit yourself to be."
Harry nodded with flaming cheeks. Minerva would never tell him directly, but she long suspected that he was smarter than he appeared to be, but thanks to his upbringing, he tried to hide it.
Harry also knew Hogwarts would be forced to update the courses to include material taught around the country. The students might be wizards, but they would also have to pass the standardized tests from here on.
"We'll miss you too, Professor Tabbycat," announced Chekiath brightly. He enjoyed her company and often found himself talking to her when Harry was busy with Weyr business. Most dragons called her Harper, but Chekiath and a handful of other dragons thought of her as a personal friend and used a more familiar title than Harper.
Minerva blinked in surprise, then her smile broadened. "Thank you, Chekiath. Will you make sure to look after Harry for me? He's been quite a handful."
"That's because you have tiny hands. I don't have hands, but my paws are quite big. I'll always look after him. He is my rider," Chekiath replied confidently.
Minerva chuckled and shook her head. The literalness of the dragons always made her laugh.
"Professor," Harry said, "sometime in September I expect we'll stop by. Well, Luna and her search team will, at least. Hopefully by then the idea of being a Rider will be known to the British magical society. If you like, we could arrange for a day and help out in a Magical Creatures class while the dragons check for potential candidates."
Minerva nodded thoughtfully. "Yes, that might work. Tell Luna that I'll be expecting her to send an owl with the details of her visit." She had been briefed on the need to find new potential riders. The ones who had been taken last time were the most viable candidates, but there may be other potential riders at the school plus there would be the first years to check.
Harry nodded, then he stood. "You will always be welcome here, Professor."
Minerva nodded and looked away, unwilling to show one of her favorite students that her eyes were filled with tears.
CID Holding Cell, June 28th...
The door opened and the prisoner looked up, surprised. He hadn't really expected anyone would want to talk to him, so he was shocked to see Albus Dumbledore and a man he didn't know walk into the room.
"Arthur," Dumbledore said. "I am sorry that we inconvenienced you so. I only recently learned that you were being held."
Arthur blinked and looked at the man who was dressed in a muggle suit.
"I'm sorry that you've been held under these conditions for so long, but Albus only learned of your capture this morning. He has convinced me that holding you would be counter productive. He spoke of you in glowing terms, calling you and the late Miss Bones two of the most honest and hard working department managers in the Ministry."
Arthur stared at the man for a moment, then he turned to Albus with a questioning expression.
Albus smiled. "I'm afraid, old friend, that we are in for some rough times ahead and we could really use your help. You see, the Ministry attacked the goblins using the WDF."
"They did? I thought that was all just rumors."
"They weren't rumors," said the man in the muggle suit. "They attacked and were wiped out to a man. Dozens of old, pureblood families have lost their heirs. In some cases, the families have ceased to exist entirely."
That was one fact that the British Wizarding World knew and was still unable to comprehend. Nearly eight hundred and fifty of the finest wizards and witches were dead. Wizarding Britain was in a state of shock and thoroughly cowed by the events of the past week. Everyone knew someone that had been killed, in some cases they knew more than one.
Arthur looked over at the man again and Dumbledore decided to jump in. "Arthur, allow me to introduce you to Sir William O'Hearny, the new Deputy Minister of Magic. Sir William answers directly to the Prime Minister and the Crown."
He paused and looked a bit embarrassed. "You see, Arthur, the muggles have been working with the goblins. Our Ministry was about to plunge our country into a civil war. So the muggles and the goblins combined forces to deal them. The old Ministry is gone. The Wizengamot is a thing of the past. The Queen has disbanded the Wizengamot and is looking at revoking many noble titles. All the old laws have been put aside by royal decree. There's a new Ministry forming, with new laws, answerable to the Crown and the Prime Minister, and we could really use your help putting things back together."
Arthur looked between the two men and swallowed nervously. "Albus, you know I'm willing to help, but as much as I would like to pretend I know muggles, we both know I'm woefully ignorant of them."
"Well, Mister Weasley," O'Hearny said, "this is your chance to learn first hand from real people. Your people need you, sir, and so does your country. Will you help us?"
Arthur looked at O'Hearny for a long moment, then he nodded. "Can I at least tell my wife and family that I'm all right? Molly must be going insane by now."
O'Hearny smiled broadly. "You'll do better than that. In a few minutes, a guard will come in with your clothing. Get dressed and then let him take you down to one of our offices, where we'll take a photograph and fingerprint you for your Identification card. It'll take about an hour. During that time, you'll receive instructions on how to find the new entrance to the Ministry of Magic. Once that's done, you can go home to your wife and family. I am certain they are anxious to see you. Albus will contact you about returning to work and what we'll have you doing. In the meantime, take a day or two with your family."
O'Hearny stuck out his hand and Arthur glanced over to see Albus smiling encouragingly.
He reached out and took the offered hand. "Thank you, Minister," he said softly. He was greatly looking forward to going home. The last few days had been hellish on him and he was sure Molly was going insane and taking the kids along for the ride.
"I'll floo you tomorrow, Arthur," Albus said with a smile. The floo network was still down except for official use only.
The two men filed out of the room and a guard walked in with a neatly bound package containing his clothing.
"I'll be outside, sir. Get dressed and come out when you're ready," The guard said.
Arthur took the package with slightly trembling hands. "Thank you," he whispered. He couldn't believe it. He still had a job and he was going home!
Ministry of Magic, later that day, June 28th...
"Are you sure about this?" asked Croaker.
"Ambassador Zimmel told me so personally," replied Albus
"I suppose this was to be expected," O'Hearny offered. "We did take over the government. It's bound to make the other magical ministries nervous."
Germany's ambassador had informed Dumbledore that they were suspending diplomatic relations and he was being recalled for consultations. Zimmel admitted that his Ministry was more tightly bound to their government than the British had been and he personally expected to be back within a few days.
The world was watching the British nervously and there had been some calls for nations to use their own forces to come to the aid of the British wizards. Rumors abounded over how the WDF was destroyed and many nations wisely decided to step back and declare it to be an internal problem in Britain that they would stay out of.
"So far, eight nations have recalled their ambassadors for consultation. Others are taking a wait and see approach. Up until Zimmel spoke to me, I had considered using the list as a means to determine which government was being illegally controlled by the wizards but with France and Germany recalling their ambassadors I can't do that now. Zimmel assures me that his Minister answers to Chancellor Kohl directly."
"How does this affect us?" asked O'Hearny.
Dumbledore looked up from the paper he was reading. "Most international trade had been in chaos since Harry first impressed Chekiath. We need time to rebuild it and time to explore other opportunities that aren't related to dragon based products. So essentially, the economy is stagnating, but you already knew that.
"On a obvious front, what will some of these countries do? I think that most will watch and wait. It's the few extremist pureblood countries that worry me. They may opt to do something rash."
"Strengthening our access points might be a smart thing to do, at least for now," offered Croaker.
O'Hearny looked confused. "Eh?"
"Inter-country travel via magic is restricted, just as you restrict normal travel. Warding has been set up in such a manner that you can only arrive at an approved access point. There, your wand signature is registered and your entry is recorded by the Ministry of that country. Then you're free to continue on to your final destination," Albus said.
"It is possible to break through the wards, but that in itself would trigger an alarm and the process of breaking through them would be so violent you'd probably find yourself throwing up long after the aurors to track you down," Croaker added with a nasty smirk.
O'Hearny frowned, "Gentlemen, that is find and dandy, but there are literally hundreds of harbors, airports, and even the chunnel to consider."
Croaker chuckled. "No wizard government would seriously consider a normal method unless they were truly desperate."
Albus nodded with a smile, then a thought occurred to him. "Sir, if I may enquire, what has happened with all those people saved by the dragons?"
Sir William smirked. "We confiscated and wiped every recording device we found and most agreed to keep our secret. The rare person who refused was remanded into custody at her Majesty's pleasure. We are reluctant to use your memory wiping spells, but Her Majesty had decreed that any person unwilling to abide by our security concerns will have their memory modified to match the public story of a terrorist attack."
Dumbledore and Croaker nodded, then turned back to their desks.
O'Hearny turned to his computer to write up a note for Lord Kennewick's group about this foreign issue. It wasn't exactly his area of expertise, but someone had to know of the potential problems out there.
CID Holding Cell, June 30th...
The door to the cell opened and Rita looked up in fear. She had been held here against her will for days and the only time anyone talked to her was early on to find out her name and why she was going to the Ministry that day. Since then, her meals had been delivered in silence, except for calls to pass out the used tray. For a reporter, day upon day of silence was a nerve racking affair.
A man walked in wearing a muggle suit. He was followed by the strangest looking Auror she had ever seen. The auror wore the usual red robes, but he had a badge clearly pinned to his chest. Around his waist he wore a belt that contained a holster for his wand, as well as what appeared to be a muggle firearm.
"Ms Skeeter, my name is Sir William O'Hearny and I'm the new Deputy Minister of magic," O'Hearny said.
Skeeter looked shocked. "What happened to Fudge?" she demanded to know.
"Mr. Fudge has been arrested on multiple counts of high treason and is currently awaiting trial at Her Majesty's pleasure. Most of the Ministry has also been detained while we sort out the charges against them.
"Her Majesty has commanded that the Ministry of Magic be reformed under the auspices of the Home Office. Most of its laws have been put aside for review. Those that don't conflict with government policy will be passed along to Her Majesty for reinstatement."
"Ms. Skeeter, normally you would be released, but considering your reputation, I thought I might be a little proactive here. Your boss has been told the guidelines under which he is allowed to publish his paper, and he's been told that infractions of those guidelines will result in jail time for him and the reporters writing the articles in question. It is a new world out there, Ms. Skeeter and you will have to adapt to the fact that your reports will require more truth than hearsay."
Skeeter stared at the man in fear. He was a muggle and he was claiming that her world had been destroyed by muggles!
"What gives you the right to do this?" she asked in an uncharacteristically meek tone. She was seriously unnerved by the look of loathing she was getting from the man dressed as an auror. She didn't know him and she knew all of the aurors. To her mind, this was a sign that a lot more had changed than just the Ministry turn over.
"You are a British subject, madam. And because your government refused to deal with her Majesty's government, you fell behind the times far more than was allowable. The Queen has little civil authority in the world, but in yours, she is still the absolute monarch. When we learned of the crimes against the dragons, we also discovered the crimes your Ministry was routinely committing against us."
The auror coughed gently and Sir William took a deep breath. This woman reminded him of the worst of the reporters he had dealt with in the past and he really didn't want to deal with her any longer.
"Auror Johnson here will escort you to a nearby office where you will be given your personal effects and allowed to change back into your normal clothing. He will also provide you with a list of rules governing Animagi and what they can and cannot do. I strongly suggest you read the list thoroughly. Her Majesty's government takes a rather dim view of animagi and believes that anything that happens to you while in your other form is your own fault."
Skeeter paled several shades. This was a major change from the old rules, which said that animagi were still protected in their animal form.
Sir William started to turn, then he stopped and looked at her. "Your editor wasn't a happy man, but he seemed like an intelligent fellow. Personally, I hope he's smart enough to see the trouble you've caused in the past and knows when to cut his losses. I have read some of your articles and nothing would give me more pleasure than to discover you no longer have a job, Ms. Skeeter."
Sir William turned and left the room, leaving her alone with Auror Johnson. "This way please," the man said flatly.
Numb and terrified, Rita Skeeter walked out into a whole new world.
Campbeltown Weyr, June 30th...
Harry sighed and opened his book to the first page. The last month had been a roller coaster of events and emotions and he felt drained by them. The Ministry of Magic was now under the firm control of Her Majesty's government and they had enough wizards working for them to ensure the wizards couldn't pull any tricks on them.
He was finally able to cross off item fifteen on his list. It was one of the first items that he had wrote down many months ago.
"Make Britain Safe for dragon kind," he said softly. "Check."
He made a check next to the entry. It had been the only entry which had been still open on that page. All of the others had been taken care of long ago.
"It's a start, Cheki," he said, then he flipped to the end of his list.
"It is a good start, Harry, and it wouldn't have happened without you."
"Entry six hundred and fourteen is to make the world safe for dragons?" he said, then he glanced over to Chekiath for his opinion.
"Maybe, but isn't that a lot to do with one line?" Chekiath asked.
Harry frowned. "It is a lot. How about we change it to something like 'make the world safe for dragons, one country at a time'?"
Chekiath turned his large head and his eyes whirled with green streaks, indicating his amusement. "That's a little more reasonable. And we won't be alone, you know. We'll have Maziang and Condron to help us and there will be other Weyrs beyond them. We also have our friends here."
Harry nodded and scribbled the entry into his book. With that done, he closed it and leaned back in his chair. They had accomplished so much, but there was more still to do. Campbeltown Weyr was secure and welcome in Britain. Now he just had to sell that idea to the other nations of the world.
He stood and walked over to where Cheki lay. The large dragon was already curled up and he grabbed a sheet that he kept handy, then he nestled down between Cheki's front paws. Tomorrow, the Weyr would begin their around the world tour and he could use the break.
"Goodnight, Cheki." he mumbled, already beginning to doze.
Cheki rumbled softly and curled his long neck protectively around Harry. "Sleep well, Harry," he replied.
The first year of the Weyr and the decade that followed were some of the most hectic, nail biting and rewarding years of this author's life. Never has so much changed in such a short a span of time. The rise of the Weyrs reshaped the world and the future of humanity, and it all started with a boy named Harry and Cheki, his dragon.
Excerpted from The Weyrs of Earth by Remus John Lupin, published 2040.
Author's Notes and Mockeries:
- As I write this final notes and mockeries, I find myself hampered by a lack of internet connection. Living in the wilds of North Idaho where Spring time is a weird mix of blizzards, freezing rains and warm sunny days, the power has been interrupted at the microwave relay station a few miles north of here, leaving us without net. I have exactly one page of reviews up in my browser and can't look at any others so this is going to be a tame set of notes.
- Several correctly pointed out that keeping dragons secret is going to be very difficult. That is very true, but there are already plans in the works to releasing the news about them to the public, and most likely sometime around the turn of the year they will become public knowledge. The government only needs to keep them secret for six to eight months longer. Unfortunately you won't see that part until Book two.
- Here you go, a whole book full of story and Harry still hasn't gotten laid. What's worse is his relationship with Hermione is at best very wishy washy. Again, I never intended that you'd see a resolution to this sad teen romance in this book. Book two folks, and it's going to be a roller coaster.
- Let me state this as succinctly as possible. THERE WILL BE NO MORE CANON CHARACTERS TAKEN TO THE WEYR. No Weasleys, no Neville. We will see canon characters from time to time, but none of them will be moved to the Weyr.
- Future Weyrs. Let me state right now that we'll see plenty of them. Some will make the transition from former Dragon Reserve to real Weyr and some won't. Unlike Pern which only had a handful of Weyrs, there are a lot of them on Earth, so we're only going to see a few main ones and the rest will be in passing. Please don't request Weyrs in your home country/state/island etc.
- The Dementor issue is just raising its ugly head and will have to be dealt with.
- And so we come to the end of the first part of this tale. When we first started it, it wasn't clear the scope of the tale and it was only when we were well into the story that we realized it would span several books at least. Alyx and I hope you enjoyed this part and hope you'll come back to read "On the Wings of Dragons".
If you're curious as to what its about, the very last section of this chapter gave you a VERY big clue.