Disclaimer; J. K. Rowling owns everything.
Author's Notes. The first two words are canon, after that who knows what you will get.
I am aware that October 31st 1994 was a Monday; so adopting JKR's methodology I am going to make it a Friday. (Tee Hee!)
"You Must be Joking!"
"Harry Potter!" the headmaster called, he had looked bemused for a few seconds and then his eyes had lit up, after he had read the fourth piece of parchment to be emitted by the 'Goblet of Fire'.
The pair of them being too young for the competition, Harry and Hermione weren't the least bit interested in what was going on in the hall and they were having an almost telepathic, whispered conversation.
"Harry Potter!" the egotistical headmaster called again with increased volume, he now looked upset, evidently not everybody in the Great Hall was hanging on his every word.
Hermione heard the interruption and at a normal volume said, "Harry the headmaster is calling you!"
Looking somewhat puzzled he stood and asked, "Can I help you . . . headmaster?"
Correctly thinking that the young man was looking confused, Dumbledore said, "Your name has come out of the 'Goblet of Fire' therefore you must compete in the 'Tri-wizard Tournament'; would you please go through the door at the back of the stage where, together with the other three champions, you will receive further instructions."
The students, had quickly realised that everything was not exactly as it should be, so the hall had become completely silent.
Dumbledore was about to discover that Harry's confusion wasn't quite what he had been expecting.
Harry thought for a few seconds and turning to Hermione in a normal voice, which still carried throughout the still silent Hall, said, "I didn't put my name into that ridiculous goblet and I wouldn't consider putting my name into the tatty old thing even if I was old enough to compete in the headmasters pointless tournament . . . so what should I do?"
It was still so quiet that everybody in the hall could hear the conversation quite clearly; she replied, "Well you didn't enter and you don't want to join in their silly games, so tell the Headmaster so."
He turned to face the stage and said. "No thank you . . . sir. I did not put my name into the antiquated Goblet and I do not want to be in your puerile tournament . . ."
Ludo Bagman interrupted, "It is a binding magical contract, and therefore if you do not compete then you will lose your magic."
"You must be joking!" Harry and Hermione exclaimed at the same time, she had leaped to her feet at Bagman's statement, she carried on, "Everything I have ever read about 'Magical Contracts' has made it quite clear that a person has to voluntarily enter into one for it to be valid . . . what's so different about this one?"
The Headmaster wasn't used to being on the back foot, and now he seemed to be getting annoyed. "The rules of the Tri-wizard Tournament are quite clear, in that, if your name comes out of the goblet then you must take part in the competition or you will lose your magic."
Harry was looking into Hermione's eyes and this time the silence seemed to stretch for hours, it was actually about a minute and a half, before Harry turned back to the stage and said, "Good . . . I have been thinking about getting away from this madhouse for some time; every year something happens to put my life in danger; first year the whiskered old fool employed Voldemort to teach Defence against Voldemort; he tried to kill me at least twice and Hermione as well. Second year we had a sixty plus foot basilisk wandering around the school trying to kill everyone . . . the supposed greatest wizard of the age couldn't figure out what it was, so Hermione, a second year did and nearly died trying to get that information to me. Again the so called defence teacher tried to kill us when Ron and I dragged him out of his office to come with us to save Ron's sister who had been taken by Voldemort to the Chamber of Secrets . . . I finished up going on, on my own and had to kill the basilisk and 'Voldemort' again, to save Ginny and you didn't even have the decency to say thank you . . . did you . . . sir.
"Third year was really a fun time, where do I start . . . My MAGICAL godfather, Sirius Black, who has never had a trial neither has he ever been charged with any crime; escaped from the Azkaban hell hole, where he had been flung and left to rot, because it no doubt it suited the chief Warlock, who, as we all know was Dumbledore. Thank goodness we had a good defence teacher, Remus Lupin managed to teach me the Patronus Charm before Snape, the headmaster's, not so tame, pet Death Eater, managed to get him fired. I lost count of how many Dementors tried to kill me, they were sent to the school, by the Minister, supposedly to keep me safe from my godfather who had escaped from Azkaban to keep me safe from Peter Pettigrew. Pettigrew was the Secret Keeper for my parents Fidelius Charm and between him and Snape the pair of Death Eaters sold out my parents to Voldemort, treachery is about the only thing that pair of slime-balls is good at.
"Now this year Hairy Mac Whiskers is wanting to set me up in one of his ludicrous games where the opposition get three free shots at killing me . . . However whenever I hint at anything I might want, his hairiness says 'but I'm your magical guardian and you must do as I say.'
"Just who made you my magical guardian . . . sir?
"I thought that that was the job of my godfather who is alive, well, and as I said, has never ever had any charges levelled against him. So as I said in the beginning, 'good' . . . if I lose my magic I can't stay in this . . . magical nuthouse and that just has to be good in my book."
The headmaster had gone grey; Harry Potter had said a lot of things to a room full of over three hundred people, including newspaper reporters from all over Europe and the Ministry. A lot of it was things the whiskered old fool didn't want the general populace to be made aware of, or even to remember what had happened went without saying.
As the pair sat back down most of the senior Gryffindor students who were near to Harry and Hermione formed a quick huddle and then about a dozen of them stood and left the hall along with the rebellious pair.
Confusion seemed to be in charge of the top table until Professor McGonagall snapped them out of it and chased the relevant people into the anteroom to deal with the three proper champions. Following this she called Padma Patil, Susan Bones and Daphne Greengrass to the front of the hall and with the prefects leading the first year's, she sent everyone else to their respective common rooms.
She moved down to the three girls she had called forward and she first asked all three if they had heard everything the headmaster, Hermione Granger and most especially Harry Potter had said. The girls had, Daphne even told her that one of the senior Slytherin prefects had cast a silencing charm on Malfoy, to shut him up, so that they could hear Harry's obviously truthful pronouncements. Then she asked the three girls if they agreed with Mister Potter's conclusion? All three girls had heard everything and completely agreed with the pair and when asked they also quickly decided that they would very much like to help Harry; to that end the three agreed to come to the professor's office, wearing their best day robes, just before seven thirty the following morning.
Subsequently having requested confidentiality for their morning meeting she sent the three girls to their houses; having told them that they should tell anyone who enquired that the deputy headmistress simply wished to know if the students had generally heard and agreed with Mr Potter's stand.
After what was for Ron only a minor argument with Hermione, it revolved around Harry cheating to get his name into the goblet, not putting his name in as well and then showing himself to be a coward by refusing to compete. Ron had then skulked off to bed, and about twenty minutes later their Head of House arrived in the Gryffindor common room.
She had approached the pair, unseen by them, just as Harry asked Hermione to be his girlfriend; when she agreed and they had shared a somewhat chaste first kiss the professor moved into their line of sight. She bent down close to them and said, "Firstly congratulations, however that was not why I came here to see you. Will you both please come to my office, in your best robes, at seven thirty in the morning?" They both agreed and she continued, "I suggest that Mr Potter goes to bed now because if he is up I imagine that the headmaster will want to give him the third degree."
Harry said goodnight, gave Hermione a quick kiss then immediately went up to his bed and after a few more words with Hermione the Deputy Headmistress left the Gryffindor common room and Hermione also went to her bed.
Hogwarts newest couple arrived at the transfiguration professor's office at precisely seven thirty and having knocked on her door, were invited in; mostly hiding their surprise they joined the three students already in the room and sat with them in front of her desk.
After the normal ritual greetings the professor waved her hand and there was toast, bacon, various biscuits and assorted drinks on her desk; she said, "If you are hungry please help yourselves. Now to our business; I believe that, if Mr Potter were to still here, in less than a half an hour matters are likely to be taken out of our hands by the headmaster, so please just listen and when I say leave please just go.
"Right . . . I happen to know the truth behind most of last evening's diatribe, so I am in complete agreement with what the pair of you were saying yesterday evening.
"I do not know what the headmaster and the others are concocting but I also believe that you are correct in thinking that whatever it is, it will probably be detrimental to Mr Potter's well-being.
"To that end I have arranged a meeting for this morning in Gringotts and for the benefit of the Gryffindor couple I will tell you all why specifically the other three young ladies are here.
"Like Harry, Miss Bones is also an orphan; her guardian is her aunt Amelia Bones, who, as you quite possibly know, is the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, in our Ministry; she was here yesterday evening.
"Miss Patil's father is an unspeakable in the Department of Mysteries and so we do not speak of him; as an aside, I don't even know if the people employed in that department even have job titles.
"Miss Greengrass' father is a very highly regarded magical solicitor and also a senior member of the Wizengamot. All three will be waiting for you when you arrive in Gringotts.
"Mr Potter . . . Harry, last evening you rightly complained that every year, for no apparent reason, various people seemed to simply dream of a hoop and see if you can jump through it; they dictate your life. Well this is my attempt to redress that imbalance and . . . The headmaster has just left his office, you must each catch hold of this and one of you should touch it with a wand."
The five of them caught hold of the placemat the Deputy Headmistress handed them and Harry touched it with his wand; with another wave of her hand the detritus of the students' breakfast disappeared and the five chairs moved back to their places against the wall.
A scant minute later Dumbledore knocked once and entered the transfiguration professor's office; he had obviously hurried from his office to hers.
Looking somewhat disappointed at finding only Minerva, he snapped, "Shall we go to the Gryffindor common room and talk to Mr Potter?"
"When you knock on a door, it would be polite to await acknowledgement, certainly before entering a ladies office." Minerva came back at him very sharply; they had had words the previous evening about his high handed attitude with regard to everyone but mainly Harry Potter.
The pair of them left for the Gryffindor tower where, needless to say, the headmaster's quest ground to an abrupt halt.
When the portkey delivered the quintet to the Bank's Apparation point in Gringotts the five students were met by three adults and two goblin guards; the five were immediately moved into a small shielded room where Madame Bones and Mr Patil started checking each of them in turn for tracking charms.
Three of the girls had none; however Hermione had two on her clothing and an additional 'illegal' tracking charm on her wand. None of these were cancelled, instead Mr Patil moved them to a rune covered six inch square tablet, and Hermione's charms were joined by two from each piece of Harry's clothing and another 'illegal' one from his wand. As soon as the party was back in the Apparation area Mr Patil banished the rune covered tablet and before answering any questions the party started moving deep into the goblin bank's tunnels and were admitted to Ragnok's office. Whilst they were walking through the tunnels Amelia informed the students that Ragnok was the Director of the bank and the current leader of the whole Goblin nation . . . so . . . the goblins must be certain that something of major importance was happening.
(Ashok Patil, Padma's father, later explained to them all that two of the charms had also been portkey targets; they had all been banished to a holding cell which was deep under the Department of Mysteries; magic didn't work in the cell and the only way to leave was to be brought out by one of the two authorised Unspeakables.)
As soon as they were all settled in Ragnok's office the Goblin Chief took charge of proceedings, "The first thing we should attempt to do is to remove Mr Potter from headmaster Dumbledore's control." He slid an ornate box across his desk towards Harry and continued, "These are the Potter family rings; if the Head of House ring accepts you as the head of House Potter, you immediately become emancipated in the magical world and your title would become 'Harry Duke of Powys'. This was bestowed on your ancestor by the King of Mercia in 893 ad; it was after the battle of Buttington; ergo in the magical world you would require no guardian.
"Your status in the non-magical world would remain unchanged; however it is not customary for magical people born of magical parents to have guardians in the non-magical world, unless their parents specify such a thing in their 'will'.
"I believe that most everybody in this room thinks that it would be a good idea for you to try on the ring, however the decision is entirely yours to make."
Turning to Hermione Harry asked, "What do you think?"
She smiled at him and said, "On the surface it seems to be a very good idea, can I ask a few questions?"
With a crooked smile he replied, "Of course you can; if we are not permitted to seek clarification then I for one will be suspicious of peoples motives, they might be more benign than Dumbledore's, but it will be as well to know where we stand."
She smiled at him again and then said, "This is a question, I suppose, for all of the adults in the room.
"Ignoring the headmaster's machinations as much as possible, what are the advantages, to Harry, of him doing this?"
Ragnok had put forward the idea so he took it upon himself to answer first, "I will first say that there doesn't appear to be any real 'down side' to this for Mr Potter.
"At this time it is almost impossible to ignore Dumbledore's part in Mr Potter's life, indeed in all of our lives. However, if he succeeds in wearing the Potter family ring and he becomes emancipated as Lord Potter, this will automatically remove all restrictions on his parents 'Wills' and we can possibly find out why Dumbledore had them sealed in the first place. At this time Dumbledore is so deeply entrenched in most aspects of the British wizarding world government also controlling the Wizengamot that I can think of no other way of you succeeding in achieving this step.
"It will also release the Potter vaults to your control and close down all existing third party access to them. This will then allow you to instigate a full accounting of all transactions within the accounts since they were last under the control of the Potter family . . . that is thirteen years ago.
"As a side issue, over the thirteen years since your parents death Dumbledore is the only person who has accessed the vaults and he has withdrawn over fifteen and a half million galleons. If it were calculated at normal rates the interest on this money would be over ten million galleons; even without interest being added when this stolen money is reclaimed, the Dumbledore family will be in debt to the Potters for over a thousand years. We know where he has squirreled away over fourteen millions of this money the goblins consider to be stolen and there is a prohibition on it until Lord Potter decides just what he wants done about it, whatever, the Dumbledore family would be penniless.
"The next main thing as I see it is that it will instantly remove the Potter held Wizengamot votes from Dumbledore's control; Binns is the history teacher in the school because he has been persuaded not to teach any useful history."
Padma and Hermione looked particularly scandalised, the other two girls looked fairly unsurprised, almost as if they expected things to be this way; however Ragnok carried on; "The Wizengamot was founded in 921 ad, at the same time as the Ministry for Magic, by what were then called the six hundred founding families . . . one hundred and thirty five seats each for Wales, Scotland and Ireland, that is the whole of Ireland. Five seats were assigned to the Ministry and one each for the families of the leaders of the national councils; Myrddin, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin; Britain, Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England respectively. This left one hundred and eighty five seats for the English families; each seat carried one vote; the distribution was deliberately arranged to prevent any one country asserting nationalistic control. Also England had the larger total population, although the other three by virtue of their higher percentage of magical citizens, resulted in the magical population of each of the four being roughly the same. It must also be said that the holder of the Myrddin vote or any two of the Hogwarts founders votes have the absolute right of veto of any proposal within the Wizengamot.
"Currently if all of those holding at least one vote were seated in the Wizengamot there would only be sixty seven persons present and in accordance with the original charter there are no restrictions as to gender, race or blood status. Despite what the blood purists would have us believe, the only restriction is that the incumbent should be magical.
"Three hundred and one votes must be present in the chamber to form a quorum, including those controlled by Lord Potter there are currently two hundred and forty three votes in this room, we are fifty eight votes short of complete control of the chamber. I think that you can understand why blood purists, like Dumbledore, Malfoy, Fudge and his lackey Umbridge do not want this taught in the school, it goes against what they believe in . . . blood purity . . . it became an issue because socially ambitious families wanted to usurp the authority of these old families.
"Why am I telling you all of this . . . currently the Potters hold ninety six votes and by proxy they can also vote the sixty seven Black votes . . . by stuffing Lord Potter's godfather, the innocent Lord Sirius Black into Azkaban without a trial and usurping Duke Potter's Guardianship . . . Dumbledore acquired proxy to those one hundred and sixty three votes in the Wizengamot. If Harry becomes Lord Potter, it is him alone who gets to decide if there even will be a proxy for these votes; he is entitled to vote them himself.
"From my point of view there is only one more thing . . . as the Head of a Most Ancient and Most Noble House, there are various ways in which Duke Harry will be entitled to take Miss Granger under his patronage and become her magical guardian, thereby providing her with safety from Dumbledore who is her current magical guardian."
Looking at the three adults he concluded by asking, "Have I missed anything?"
There was relative silence for a couple of minutes whilst the adults considered what had been said . . . Hermione and Harry spent the time gazing into each other's eyes . . . eventually Adrian Greengrass said, "There is nothing, of current relevance, that I can think of."
The other two agreed with him.
The pair ended their eye contact and Harry said, "The Dark Lord Dumbledore strikes again . . . let me try on the ring."
He opened the box and asked, "What are all of these?"
A message appeared on Ragnok's desk, he read it and said, "Matters have become slightly more urgent, I have just been informed that Dumbledore is attempting to call an extraordinary meeting of the Wizengamot, at the moment we do not know why, I suggest that you try the large ring at the top of the box. If it accepts you, it will stall him, he and his normal group of supporters will not have a quorum . . . the ring goes on the middle finger of your right hand; your other question will be answered later. Dumbledore personally only has one vote, there are about one hundred and ten votes held by people who will at best owl him asking what he wants the meeting for, another sixty odd votes are held by people who will firstly ask him what he wants a meeting for and then ignore him on principle."
Harry removed the relevant ring from the box . . . it felt warm in his hand . . . he put it onto the required finger and it shrank to fit . . . his whole hand glowed then he clutched his head and said, "One ring to rule them all" . . . and then he passed out.
Hermione grabbed him for support and the other three girls moved quickly to help her.
"What is the matter with him?" Daphne asked, with a note of panic.
"And what is this 'one ring to rule them all' about." Susan added.
"One ring to rule them all, is from a brilliant muggle story called 'the Lord of the Rings', however why Harry said it . . . is beyond me." Hermione didn't like not knowing things.
Having asked Ragnok for and the whole group having received permission to use their wand's, Ashok Patil, Padma's father had been casting diagnostic spells on Harry and answered the other question, "I do not believe that there is anything, that is urgently, wrong with him as such; his life to this point should have included all of the information both ancestral and social to support him in his new position as a Most Ancient and Most Noble House family head. The ring obviously accepted him because it shrank and glowed and will now be supplying a lot of the essential, missing information; he is not unconscious as such . . . he is to all intents and purposes . . . almost asleep."
However Daphne was far from being a happy bunny, "So this is another thing to hang Dumbledore for . . . the head of the minor House of Bee keepers, having usurped guardianship of the Scion of the Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter; then, for his own nefarious reasons he failed to educate him in the rights and history of his family . . . the last time I read of this happening it earned the perpetrator a trip through the veil of death."
Amelia Bones tried to be the voice of reason, "It might still do, but, if at this time we tried to confront Dumbledore directly we would most probably lose, we currently have sufficient evidence to send him to Azkaban, however, at the moment he has almost institutionalized support throughout the wizarding world . . . I imagine that it will take some time to erode that blind support and then we can strike. Although Harry's revelations during the Feast in Hogwarts last night are in all of the International newspapers and this morning's Daily Prophet, the revealed information will do Dumbledore's reputation no good at all."
Harry had been moved from his chair to a sofa that had been provided by the goblins and he was lying with his head on Hermione's lap surrounded by the other three girls who had also moved their chairs.
Ragnok said, "Duke Potter has reduced our need to rush through things; however there is one item of major importance we can be doing whilst the Duke Potter (at this point Harry's eyes opened although he didn't change his position,) is not fully with us, if this magical contract with that goblet actually exists, then whatever else, the Lord Potter needs to be freed from it. He can compete in the competition if he believes it to be politically expedient; however he should not be compelled to compete on penalty of forfeiting his magic."
At this point the unspeakable offered some very useful information, "The 'Goblet of Fire' is normally stored in the Department of Mysteries and we have a comprehensive collection of information relating to its magic; it should not create a magical bond to anyone who has not personally written and placed their name in it. There again it should only dispense three names, so the fact that it gave out four names makes it almost certain that it has been seriously compromised. The only way to be absolutely certain that the magic tying the competitors to the goblet is dissipated is to destroy the current goblet.
"Before anyone asks, actually destroying the goblet is a relatively simple matter, at a pinch, a blasting curse will do the job; however if any one of us was to just walk into Hogwarts and blast the Goblet, there would be a few questions asked . . . to say the least. The current Goblet needs to be banished to the magma chamber under Vesuvius; this is not such an unusual thing to do as you might think. Subsequently a replica Goblet, with a fully functioning set of benign charms, should be put in its place, preferably with as few people as possible being aware of the exchange.
"It will also mean that the other three Champions will be free from their binding magical contracts, which in this day and age can only be a good thing; I wonder if they had been told that their magic would be tied to the goblet if they entered the tournament?"
He smiled, "For reasons best known to the Department of Mysteries, as of this morning, we just happen to have, in our storage area, two perfect replica Goblets without any charms. As of eight o'clock this morning a team has been working on one of them, currently two of our people are applying a functioning set of charms to one of them. The corrected Goblet will be ready by this evening and sometime between two and four tomorrow morning I will go to Hogwarts and exchange the goblets, at the same time destroying the existing one
"I would like to invite the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement to come with me."
Madame Bones smiled and nodded.
Hermione had been staring into Harry's eyes again and she said, "Either Madame Bones, or someone she trusts implicitly in this affair, should go to Hogwarts, ostensibly to talk to Professor McGonagall; she can be trusted, after all she did get us here; the location of the goblet and any charms protecting it, can be ascertained prior to tonight's commando raid."
Adrian Greengrass asked, "Should we wait for Lord Potter to come round and clear it with him?"
The bushy haired book witch blushed and replied, "I already have."
Adrian blustered, "But he hasn't said a word."
The other three witches had huge smiles and giggling Daphne said, "Daaad! The Gryffindor golden couple talk with their eyes . . . they don't need words."
The four adults looked dumbfounded at this statement as the three witches moved back in front of Ragnok's desk; Hermione and Harry stayed on the sofa.
Amelia Bones had thought for a few moments and sent off a messenger spell, she told them that it was to call one of her trusted aurors.
Reluctantly Harry sat up and asked, "So how do I protect Hermione? And what's with all of these other rings?"
Daphne's father had regained his composure and said, "As you have already been told, you having taken up your family's major title, you are now emancipated and are therefore entitled to become the guardian of anyone in the wizarding world who needs one. Currently Dumbledore is Miss Granger's magical guardian and I would be very surprised, even if he were to be asked very nicely, he would simply release her to your guardianship. From what we are learning of his actions, he is more likely to try to use his guardianship of her to continue exerting some control over you. So, to release her, you would have to appear before the Wizengamot and ask them to transfer her guardianship to you; from what has been said you have a very good case, however at the moment we are trying to stymie the headmaster in his efforts to call a meeting and he would be in control if one were to take place. So . . ."
His daughter interrupted him, looking at the pair, who were holding hands on the sofa, she asked, "Have you two kissed properly yet? I mean kissed like you are trying to tell each other just how much you mean to each other." The pair had turned bright red and they were each shaking their head; Daphne continued, "I thought not, if you kiss each other like you really mean it, you are so close that I think you will form a soul bond and that will bypass all of this other complicated stuff my father is babbling on about."
Her father was muttering about Daphne reading too many romance novels.
"We are shy." Hermione whispered, the couple's mutual blush had not diminished.
Auror Tonks had just returned from the break room with a cup of tea when a message popped onto her desk, after she had read it she went and showed it to her supervisor, Senior Auror Shacklebolt; he read it and said, "Carry on Auror."
The note had read;
Auror Tonks, I am currently in Gringotts Bank and require your services, inform only your supervisor of your whereabouts.
- Amelia Bones.
In and of itself the note was not that unusual.
Meanwhile, Albus Dumbledore was not having a good day, yesterday evening he had all but lost Harry Potter and he needed some new rules put in place to keep the young man under his control. He was panicking, unusually he was suppressing the thought that he should really write the rules before calling any large scale meeting.
To that end he was trying to call a meeting of the Wizengamot, so he had come to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement looking for Amelia Bones' help forming a quorum, it appeared that she was not in the building; just because it was Saturday what gave her the right to have the day off.
By luck, as he was returning through the Auror office when he saw a message appear on a young Aurors desk she had shown it to her supervisor who it seemed had told her to follow it up. Messages like this one were only used by a very few people and his current target, Amelia Bones, was one of them.
On the spur of the moment he decided to follow the Auror and find out where her superior had hidden herself.
Totally unaware of the machinations of 'Dumbledore the demented', Tonks put on her cloak then went to the Auror Department's secure apparition point and disappeared.
The self-proclaimed leader of the light decided that as days went this one wasn't going to make it to his top ten favourite listing.
Upon her arrival at the bank she was met by a young female goblin who introduced herself as Senior Shield Maiden Rakaia, who very politely, asked Tonks to follow her; on their way through the maze of tunnels the pair had a friendly chat about nothing of any importance. Anyway now Tonks was aware that young female goblins had as much trouble finding bra's to fit them properly as did most human girls; being a metamorphmagus Tonks just altered her shape to fit the bra she wanted to wear.
Whilst Amelia created a screen in front of the sofa, the door to the office opened admitting two young females, one was an auror; the other, from her mode of dress, was a goblin shield maiden; she was rather pretty. The young auror turned from closing the door as there was a sudden flare of light from behind the screen, which, for some reason, Amelia immediately removed.
The light expanded encompassing the three younger females and seemed to draw them towards Harry and Hermione.
As they each placed a hand on the kissing couple an unholy scream exploded from Harry's forehead and a smoky image of Voldemort dispersed as it floated away; another a burst of magical energy came from him, having split into five parts it sped away, one part went through the floor towards the vaults.
A bright glow encompassed the five and when it died down the others could see that they were all clad in very fine, ornate robes; Harry's scar had nearly disappeared and although he looked a bit pale apparently he was otherwise fine.
Looking very concerned Hermione asked him, "How are you feeling?"
Once again giving her a cheeky smile he said, "Well I thought that you were going to blow the top of my head off when you kissed me, it was wonderful and I feel . . . great . . . apart from my eyes they seem to have gone funny." He took off his glasses and blinked a couple of times, then continued, "I can see perfectly without them and you are looking totally amazing."
Blushing at the complement, Hermione cast a spell on his glasses which caused the lenses to become plain glass, handing them back to him she said, "For the moment it might be just as well if most people didn't know that you could see perfectly without these." He smiled at her as he put them back on.
The Goblin chief was smiling as he looked at a newly arrived document, he interrupted the canoodling couple saying, "This document has just arrived, it says and please note the names; Duke Harry James Gryffindor Potter and Duchess Hermione Jane Ravenclaw Potter (nee Granger) have formed a soul bond and have at the same time bound in friendship and devotion, the other three young females who are here.
"For all your information, in the Ministry there is a book called 'The Book of the Bound', it is generally believed that this book lists all soul bonded couples and your names appearing in the book grants you all of the privileges of a bonded couple. Although this is correct it is not the whole story; there is an old Druid bonding ceremony and the vast majority of the names appearing in the Ministry's book are those of couples joined by this ceremony. There is a book of souls which lists the couple's soul bonded by higher magic . . . for some reason it is locked away in a cupboard in the Department of Mysteries, it isn't as if the pure blood bigots would like to destroy it.
"The document I just received is produced by the goblin register of human magical events book three 'Bondings'; for your information and for clarity I will quote the ladies full names:
"Duchess Hermione Jane Ravenclaw Potter, scion of the mundane House of Granger; the Ravenclaw title has passed to you through your mother. Despite the protestations of the pureblood usurpers, the oldest titles will, by magic, pass down through females and the non-magical to a worthy successor.
"Next and I am sure that this one is simply to cheer up the Malfoy family; Lady Daphne Ophelia Slytherin Greengrass, scion of the House of Greengrass, once again the Slytherin appellation is through your mother's side of the family. Lord Potter is the only other who could possibly lay claim to the Slytherin title, and that would be by conquest.
"Lady Susan Amelia Hufflepuff Bones, scion of the House of Bones, the Hufflepuff is from your father's family, although he never knew of it; your aunt Amelia is now the Dowager of House Hufflepuff.
"The Lady Padma Shakti Patil, scion of the House of Patil, this is from your mother and she does know of the Shakti title; for those of us who do not know such things, Shakti is the Hindu spirit of divine energy. You will have to explain to your twin that she will need to settle down before she will also become a Shakti.
"This has also been brought to my attention; Auror Nymphadora Vega Myrddin Tonks, scion of the House of Tonks, he does not know it but the Myrddin title has come through your father's family; in case any of you have any doubt Myrddin is in fact Merlin and Auror Tonks can spell it any way she chooses to.
"The young Goblin is Senior Shield Maiden Rakaia Falkata of Gringotts, my youngest daughter; we goblins do not have the same heredity rules as you humans. Both mother's and father's pass on their estates through their individual children's perceived merit; all titles must be earned.
"Madame Bones, would it be in order for me to assign my daughter to the protection detail of these five young people? I believe that the titles they hold will be of great importance to your society; if not the whole of the magical world."
Amelia smirked, "I must admit that the thought of them being a very tempting target had crossed my mind; maybe I should ask the aurors for a volunteer to join their protection detail." She was now grinning.
Tonks glared at her boss, "If it convenient for you, I would like to volunteer for that job." The young Senior Auror was perfectly happy with what had just happened; even though Amelia and Ragnok were laughing at her.
It was quiet for a couple of minutes as everyone digested what they had been told, eventually Ragnok said, "There is no longer any hurry, in a manner of speaking Dumbledore is well and truly stymied, it hasn't occurred for quite a while but I must admit to being surprised at what has just happened here. So we have primarily two things we need to do and it doesn't really matter which order we do them in; we need to hear the Potter 'Wills'. Also we should visit the Founding vaults; these are the vaults of the five families who in 878 ad, after the victory of Alfred the Great over the Danes, together with the goblin elders, founded Gringotts bank; four of them are the grandfathers of the Hogwarts founders"
There was a pause before Daphne said, "We have all been given a great deal of information which has a whole shed load of implications for us personally and also for the magical world in general. If we go to the vaults first, I don't know about you lot but it might help me to put it all into some kind of perspective; we can come back and listen to the 'Wills' afterwards . . . and I'm starting to get really hungry."
First Harry asked Hermione if she would like the Potter wedding ring, she readily agreed and she asked him if he should give one of the other rings to each of the other three girls who were bound in friendship and devotion. Ragnok told them all that the other nine rings were consort rings which would make any of the other girls who accepted one a consort and as this would be making them pretty much the same as a wife, The main difference was that they would continue the line they had recently acquired title too and not the Potter line, they should at least take a little time considering the matter before proceeding.
Eventually they had finished eating their lunch and then, whilst they were on their way down to the vaults Rakaia told the younger ones that this was probably the first time in five hundred years Ragnok had been to visit the vaults.
Hermione had never been on the switch back ride to visit any vault before and all of the way down to the deepest vaults she clung to Harry, when the trolley eventually slowed down Padma said, "I didn't think that you would be afraid of a ride like that Hermione?"
Smiling happily the new Lady Potter said, "I wasn't afraid . . . it was just too good an excuse for cuddling Harry to pass up."
When they had stopped Harry helped Hermione and the other giggling girls out of the trolley, they all seemed to be convinced that it was essential to kiss him on the cheek in thanks, this included Tonks and Rakaia.
A goblin handler was moving one of the security dragons so that they could get to the oldest vaults, however, Harry could understand that the dragon was grumbling about something, so leading Hermione forward, in parseltongue he asked, "What ails you, most noble dragon?"
Through their connection, which had strengthened since their bonding, Hermione could understand what was being said, even the dragon as it replied, "It is many years young one, since anybody has spoken kindly to any dragon and I have now sent word to all other dragons that there is once again a speaker in the world; what are you called, I am called Zapata."
Harry answered, "I am called Harry Potter and my bonded is called Hermione."
"We dragons were promised, many turns ago, that if we were to help guard the Founders Vaults we would be permitted to exercise regularly . . . I can hardly remember what sunlight looks like. I can easily transport myself outside, however I must have permission and the goblins must guarantee the safety of the vaults whilst I am away."
Within Hogwarts Hermione was well known for perusing minority causes and sentient rights, this was something the goblins were about to discover; turning to the goblin leader with what could be described as murder in her eyes, she asked, "Who is responsible for the welfare of the dragons? We have just been informed that the dragons were promised regular exercise in the sunlight and Zapata this Hungarian horntail has just told us that it cannot even remember what the sun looks like . . . who has neglected their duty?"
In the back of her mind she could hear Harry translating what she was saying into parseltongue for the dragon.
Ragnok looked upset and said, "I do not doubt the truth of this, however I have no knowledge of the ancient promise as it seems to be lost, however I will take steps to ensure that it is honoured from now on."
Harry had translated Ragnok's statement to the dragon and it thanked them and after declaring them both to be friends of the dragons, Zapata went one way and the group went the other.
Before them was a circular area about one hundred feet across, set in it at regular intervals were ten large vault doors.
The first door on the right had a green shield with a red Welsh dragon on it, the name Myrddin was written under the dragon and at the bottom there was a golden heraldic rose. Without being told Tonks moved forward and placed her right hand on the rose, after a few seconds this caused the huge vault doors to open.
As would prove to be the case with the other four founders vaults it was full of mountains of galleons and all kinds of other treasure, several racks of books along with two staves, one appeared to be for a male and the other for a female; she picked up the female staff, it bonded to her and placed a ring with Merlin's dragon on the middle finger of her right hand. The group spent several minutes reading the titles of the books, the only one she took with her was called 'The Thoughts and Magic of Myrddin Emrys', it was generally decided that, for the time being, the other books were safer where they were.
It was about this time that Amelia realised that, even with her new assignment, from now on, Tonks wouldn't exactly be working for her.
By the time the party reached the sixth vault between them they had five books and six staves . . . there had been two staves in the Ravenclaw vault; Hermione had chosen the one which had belonged to Rowena Ravenclaw, whereas Padma had the Grey Lady's staff, also by choice. Also both of them had money bags tied to the Ravenclaw vault, when Hermione realised that Padma would not have one she asked her vault and it provided one for her.
Daphne did the same for Rakaia whilst they were in the Slytherin vault; goblins do not use wands or staves.
The door of the sixth vault displayed the Hogwarts coat of arms and wondering what they would find; Harry placed his hand on the golden rose beneath it causing the door to open.
There were about five hundred old books, enormous piles of money and precious objects, Daphne asked, "What is the annual income from all of this money?"
Ragnok's answer was somewhat more complete than one might of expected from someone like the headmaster, "The total of the student fees paid into the Hogwarts operating account is currently about three hundred and eighty thousand galleons a year; currently this vault generates an income of slightly over seven hundred thousand galleons a year.
"The current Hogwarts administration cannot access this vault; entrance has been denied to them since they moved away from the 'Founders Charter' by installing a 'Board of Governors'. If you wish we can discuss this in more detail when we are back in my office."
Hermione said "I have found a book called, 'The Founding of Hogwarts," I think that we should take it with us." So she did.
Padma added, "I have found a scroll entitled, 'The Charter of Hogwarts School', this is definitely coming with us, and it will cause chaos." She had read it quickly and made several copies, leaving the original behind she took the copies with her.
The final four vaults belonged to the bank, and had not been accessed in hundreds of years.
A short time later the party returned to Ragnok's office.
It was now time for them to hear the Potters 'Will's'.
Once more sitting behind his desk, in his official voice, Ragnok said, "The Potters are a 'Most Ancient and Most Noble wizarding family' and as is to be expected the structure of the Potters 'Wills' reflects this; if I was to read them out in their entirety it would take between four and five hours for each of them. When we are finished, Lord Potter will be provided with a certified complete copy of both of them.
"As has been the custom amongst the Ancient Noble Houses, for the last five or six hundred years, they each have summary sheets attached and he will also receive copies of these. It is not a rule although it is quite common that each of your parents have attached personal letters to you, with their 'Will's'; you shall of course receive these.
"A lot of what I am going to be telling you should be taught in Hogwarts, but as I explained to you earlier, Binns was employed to ensure that these things were not taught to people the pureblood bigots would prefer to be kept in the dark. Also by the way, over the years the headmaster has removed many books from the library to what he calls his personal library, as heirs of the founders families a simple instruction to the castle will move all of these books back to their proper location in the library and the Librarian will not be permitted to impose unwarranted access restrictions on them. Or for that matter any of the other books; this will result in about half of the currently restricted section of the library moving back into the general library. There is a section of your society that considers any information that throws a bad light on their pureblood ideals to be subversive, subsequently they classify it as 'Dark' and remove it from general circulation. Similarly, any spells the generally magically weak pure bloods find to be too difficult to cast, are also being reclassified this way, this you should also put an end to.
"Your parents 'Wills" are essentially the same so in this case it is not really important; however the traditional rules are such that if both parents are killed in the same confrontation the 'Will' of the Head of House is dominant.
"Be it known that Peter Pettigrew is the secret keeper of our Fidelius Charm; although we led everyone else to believe that it was Harry's godfather Sirius Orion Black, Dumbledore knows this and we have to trust him with ensuring Harry's welfare. He has been acting strangely lately so I hope that we are correct in our choices."
Several people were already steaming, however Ragnok continued, "As you are the only person remaining alive who has a claim on your parents' estate and so you will receive the following:
1 - Cash and investment shares of a value in excess of seven hundred million galleons. There is a note here to tell you your current financial position; after all salaries, maintenance costs and taxes your net income is some five and a quarter million Galleons per year.
As a 'by the way,' for the holders of the founders vaults, the annual income to those is some one million four hundred and fifty thousand galleons; or over twenty four thousand galleons a week. The goblin chief pushed five large self-updating ledgers towards them.
2 – Three high security vaults, one of which contains the above mentioned funds, the other two are Heirloom Vaults; Ragnok slid two more, thick inventory books over his desk.
3 – Title to a total of twelve properties, four of which are in the British Isles; the others are in places generally thought to be good for holidays. The properties are being looked after by some eighty five house-elves and for your information, all Potter house-elves have an open offer of freedom any time they would like it and they are all paid. (At this Hermione was smiling, not that she had really stopped smiling since she had put on her Potter wedding ring.) This entailed them receiving a portable file box with details of each of the properties.
4 – The details are irrelevant now, however there is a list of fourteen families to be consulted by Lord Sirius Orion Black with reference to your upbringing; there is a bold addition that the family Dursley of Little Whinging, Surrey, are to have nothing to do with your upbringing. I should add that the four magical families represented here are all on the list of suitable foster families."
Amelia was no longer just steaming, she could now be officially described as livid, she interrupted, "Did the arrogant old fool believe that we would not react if we ever found out what he has done? And I would like a certified copy of that 'Will' to organise the freedom of Lord Sirius Black . . . apart from anything else."
Harry was needless to say steaming as well and through clenched teeth he said, "You will have your copy of the 'Will'."
With no thought of placating the Director of Magical Law Enforcement or anyone else, Ragnok carried on, "From what we have ascertained of Dumbledore's dealings, we can be fairly certain that he had no intention of anyone else ever finding out what he was up to with regard to the 'House of Potter' estate.
"What has happened today has come about because one of his trusted workers, namely Minerva McGonagall, has defied him and sent Harry Potter here with the support of these four young ladies and you three adults. The transfiguration Professor has been highly suspicious of Dumbledore's actions with regard to Lord Potter since the night he ignored her observations of the Dursley family completely and left baby Harry on their doorstep.
"However Friday evening it seems that he pushed his luck just a little bit too far and hopefully we can make him pay for it.
"Because we went to the vaults first it has negated a lot that I would have needed to explain to you, there is only one item left that needs to be explained at this time . . . I shall read it as it is written.
5 – Because of the status of our family and the titles we have acquired from extinct families you may still only have one wife, (preferably from a soul bond,) however at her discretion you may have up to nine consorts, (these are like wives, however, their offspring are heirs to a secondary family.)" Harry already had the Potter family ring box.
Daphne giggled and when they all looked at her she smiled and said, "The heirs of the Merlin family would hardly be secondary to anybody."
Padma added, "For that matter, the heirs to the Founders families will be in much the same position."
They were all smiling and Susan looking at her Aunt said, "I would like to request of the Lady Potter, a consort ring to the House Potter."
Amelia nodded and Susan turned to Hermione who, before Susan could ask, said, "It appears that the Fates or Higher Magic or some such thing are colluding to bring us together, I have never heard or read about anything like this, however, I believe that it would be foolish for me to object to any of you five becoming Harry's consorts; if that is what you want.
"Is there a book or can one of you please explain to Harry and I, exactly what it is we have agreed to."
Ashok Patil was the only one who made any attempt to answer her, "We are in a very shady area, and in this case it is not that people do not wish you to know or to tell you . . . it is simply that nobody really knows the answers. There are about twenty five thousand magical family units in Great Britain and I would be extremely surprised if there were as many as five with proper soul bonds and they don't seem to write books about their bond. To me it was amazing that Daphne should tell the pair of you to kiss, if she had asked I would have told her that she was being ridiculous, yet here we are.
"However you are not even talking about soul bonds as such; I would have to agree with you, what you are being confronted with seems to be some higher magical power organizing something like a coven around the pair of you . . . I am sorry that I can't be of more help.
"Ragnok, you said something earlier, can you help them?"
Looking disappointed he answered, "Relative to humans Goblins live a long time, I am over seven hundred years old, which, even for a goblin, is a good age.
"In my youth something similar to this happened and I can only vaguely remember what and why it happened and none of the details.
"The people that call themselves dark are always pretty much the same; however in a somewhat different way the powers that called themselves light became almost as dire, with the Ministry sitting in the middle generally pandering to whoever paid them the most.
"The Potters were involved at that time as well; a group was formed that took upon itself the task of cleaning up the corrupt magical society . . . more than that I cannot remember."
Smirking Hermione said, "Another fine mess you have dragged us into Harry."
Harry was smiling at her as Daphne asked, "Is it always like this around you two?"
With a grin Harry said, "No it's not . . . it's usually worse . . . at least today nobody has tried to kill me . . . yet."
Looking at Harry, Hermione said, "Obviously the sensible thing to do would be to hang around together for a bit to get to know each other better, but we don't seem to have that option; Madame Bones has told us that if we tried to take on Dumbledore at the moment, to say the least it would be messy; so we must go back to school with him still there."
Harry added, "He either does or soon will know that something is up, quite probably he doesn't know exactly what it is but I don't think it will take him too long to at least try to find out."
Padma asked, "Father, Daphne has been telling me that Snape regularly uses legilimency to scan all of the students to find out what they are doing, is there any way we can block his access to our minds. Also, although she is not certain she believes that the headmaster does pretty much the same thing when he is trying to find information. Apart from anything else, if we return to Hogwarts and one or both of them read in our minds what we have done today, they will know any plans we make for the future and we will be kind of wasting our time and Snape will give all of us detention all year."
"That cannot be allowed to happen." Ragnok had not spoken for a while but he did now, "Neither Auror Tonks nor my daughter is in school and the Founders Heirs can banish either of them from the school . . . permanently. Currently they are unaware of it but, the governors, if they even choose to remain as such, have become an advisory body . . . what you need to decide is just how quickly you want to reorganise the school; the Goblin Nation will of course assist in any way it can." Ragnok gave each of the seven a weightless, bottomless bag's as a gift from the Goblin Nation; cheekily he told them that they would need them to move all of the books and things they had acquired.
Amelia pondered, "Most of the old family rings protect against mind attacks, some of them will aggressively defend against such things if provoked; might I test Harry and Hermione, please?"
The couple gave her their permission and smiling she continued, "I just tried a gentle scan and it was completely blocked whilst I was firmly pushed out, I believe that I wouldn't like the result of trying an aggressive assault, the other rings should do pretty much the same thing."
It was Susan who brought them all back to the thing she thought was most important, she didn't realise it but the five other girls agreed with her, "Should we seven move to another room and allow you four to come up with some kind of a policy for the school?"
It was soon agreed that it was a good idea and Rakaia led them to a very comfortable small sitting room.
The adult group decided to start by reviewing the all-important school charter, it was surprisingly concise:
'The Charter of Hogwarts School'
It being Beltane in this year of our Lord 952 ad the heads of the families Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Slytherin and Ravenclaw agree to open a school in the castle known as Hogwarts, it being jointly owned by the families Hufflepuff and Gryffindor.
The two main purposes of the school are:
To bring those not born of magical families and their families, into our magical world,
so that they might marry into our world thereby strengthening our magic.
To teach those children not born of magic, to use their magic safely.
All costs for this enterprise will be carried by the trust established by we four founders.
Children from families open to the perpetuation of magic will be charged fees at the school's estimated cost for a non-magical student.
Those children from families glorifying their Pure Blood are not permitted entrance to the school.
Children from mixed families will be charged at the school's discretion.
Signed - Salazar Slytherin. - Helga Hufflepuff. - Godric Gryffindor. - Rowena Ravenclaw.
Addendum: Disputes arising from contested pureblood attitude are to be settled in the judgement room attached to the deputy head teacher's office suit.
Padma's father said, "I thought that my daughter might be exaggerating when she said that this would cause chaos, she may well have underestimated the reaction. This quite bluntly says that the four founders of Hogwarts School believed that blood purity is wrong and it is signed by Salazar Slytherin himself, the original must remain locked away securely.
Simply from the school's charter, it didn't appear that a low profile approach was going to be feasible; so they started discussing options.
The group in the lounge had matters of no less importance to them, Harry said, "So what do you think, then?"
Sitting beside him on the loveseat in the corner Hermione and said, "That wasn't very helpful Harry, let me try. How many of you would like to be one of Harry's consorts?"
All five of them indicated that it was what they wanted, so she asked, "Harry and I believe that within our group we should all be equal, so does anyone have any idea how we should proceed from here?"
The five of them were looking thoughtful for over a minute then with a huge smile Susan said, "I think that we should take turns at kissing Harry and after we have kissed him, he should give us one of the rings then he should kiss of us again . . . a few times . . . or more."
The couple were watching the five and Daphne asked, "How do we decide who goes first?"
Rakaia said, "This is actually a very important question; it is a good thing that within the group we will all be equal and that Hermione should be the first amongst equals is also as it should be; however neither Gringotts nor the Ministry seems to see things the same way as we do, to them the order in which we join is important . . . Hermione and Harry should decide the order."
Looking resigned, Harry said, "I don't like doing things like this but I will give you my thoughts and then you can all decide what you want to do.
"First Padma, because she is the one of you, who, at this moment, doesn't have a vault full of money. Next should be Susan because she was the first one to ask and then for pretty obvious reasons Daphne. I don't think that the Lady Merlin will need a lot of status from me and just to be difficult Rakaia should tell us where she should be placed, thanks to Professor Binns I don't think that any of us are sufficiently conversant with goblin custom to avoid a goblin war" He was laughing as he said the last bit.
The smiling goblin shield maiden first told them that she had noticed some of them stumbling over her name, however she would be very happy if they simply called her Kia and she went on to say, "For myself I really don't mind where I go, I don't deserve to go first and knowing some of the old goblin fuddy-duddies I definitely shouldn't be last; maybe it would be best for me to be between Padma and Susan."
Hermione smiled, "It sounds reasonable enough to me Kia what does everyone else think?"
Kia's suggestion having been accepted the group went about unifying themselves.
Eventually things settled down and Daphne said, "We should have a name . . . call ourselves something; Harry's Harem seems a bit brash."
"Potter's Princesses." Susan said, dreamily.
Harry grimaced, "Leave the Potter out of it and call yourselves 'the Princesses', it obviously doesn't include me; why not something like Hogwarts Founders Cohort, HFC for short."
Hermione was smiling at him and with a big grin Daphne said, "That is actually quite clever, it is neither sexual nor exclusive, we can have members who are not consorts, although we could have a few more consorts."
He looked horrified, "I don't know about you lot but I am a virgin, before yesterday I had never even kissed a girl and so far today I have acquired what amounts to six wives . . . and now one of them is suggesting I might need some more."
Looking unhappy Kia said, "We are sorry my Lord, I believe that we are all virgins (the other five girls were nodding in agreement) so none of us really understand about these kind of things either, will you please forgive us? We will all have to learn about our relationship with each other . . . together."
However Daphne appeared to be really upset, "I'm sorry Harry. The only boys I have ever been near to are the motley collection currently in Slytherin and they all seem to think that more is better and I bet that none of them would think that we were all equal. My family is as old and as pure as most of the other twerps, including the Malfoys and my marks, as well as at least a dozen other girls, are better than any of the males in what is now my house. How deluded must they be to think that they are superior simply because they are male, they need some drastic attitude . . ."
The Lady Slytherin's rant was interrupted by the arrival of the four from Ragnok's office and Padma's father told them that he had received information from his office that in the Hall of Prophecies, there was a prophecy relating to Harry and the Dark Lord.
After Amelia had found that the other five girls had secure mental shields a general consensus was reached that Harry should go to the Department of Mysteries to listen to it, and being equal, the girls decided he wasn't going alone.
When the agreement was reached that they should go to the Ministry, Ragnok wished them luck and added that they would always be welcome back to consult with him.
Ashok had made a portkey which carried them directly from the room they had arrived in, in the Bank, directly into the Department of Mysteries, this way they had avoid being seen by unwanted people.
Two additional unspeakables accompanied the group through the department to the Hall of Prophecies and guided them to the relevant location.
Daphne, Padma and Hermione were peering closely at the prophecy orb, (they had been warned not to touch it,) Daphne asked, "Is there any method of checking that this is a genuine prophecy and not something concocted by Dumbledore?"
One of the unspeakable looked horrified at this thought, however the other one said, "It would not be too difficult for someone like the chief Warlock to make a generally passable imitation of an orb; however there is one thing it would be practically imposable for him to do.
"If Harry Potter claims and listens to this one it should immediately replace itself."
"If you want to hear the prophecy, we can take it to my office and listen to it." Ashok suggested.
Leaving the two extra unspeakables behind the others adjourned to Ashok's office; he took out a transcription quill and some parchment. Harry broke the orb and they all listened to the quasi prophecy whilst the quill recorded it.
All of them having listened to it they thought for a couple of minutes and Hermione said, "Are all prophecies like that because that was absolute rubbish; it has so many alternate possibilities that it is garbage; all that presupposes that it was not fulfilled when Harry acquired his scar."
There were general murmurs of agreement with Hermione's minor rant.
"However," Ashok cautioned them, "someone has told Voldemort at least some of it because in Godric's Hollow he appears to have been acting on at least part of it, and as far as I know they are all at least that ambiguous."
Tonks said, "I for one am getting hungry so let's go back to the Hall of Prophecies and see if that orb has replaced itself, and then we can go somewhere to eat, think and talk."
. . . The Prophecy had not replaced itself.
Amelia guided the other nine to the executive conference room in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement; she told them that it was one of the most secure rooms for talking, in the building.
She started, "Dinner in Hogwarts will start in just over an hour, so we can spend our time talking and eating or just talking . . . it is up to you?"
Harry said, "Well I for one am fairly hungry, and if we return to the school I don't see us being left in peace to eat very much; so I vote we eat and talk."
It did not take long for the others to agree with him, so Amelia sent off a messenger spell and a Hogwarts style banquet appeared on the table together with crockery and cutlery for each of them.
The group were well into their meal when Adrian Greengrass opened the discussion by telling them that because of their new status, and the implications of the newly revealed Hogwarts charter, it would be all but impossible for them to maintain a low profile.
Not being happy with the situation was quite normal for Harry Potter, he suggested that if they were going to be walking into a more than likely confrontation, they should go mob handed.
Kia said, "I can easily mobilise my platoon of twelve shield maidens; they would quite happily arrest Dumbledore, and anyone else who tried to give us any trouble."
With a smile, Amelia added, "It would not be out of the ordinary for me to travel with a dozen aurors."
With a somewhat feral smirk, Hermione added, "This could well be the ideal time to get rid of the compromised Goblet of Fire."
Grinning Ashok added, "I will not be difficult for me to arrange for a few Unspeakables to join us."
Daphne was giggling, "Does about forty, count as mob handed, Harry?" It had been a rhetorical question which was just as well, because she was kissing him quite seriously.
The next hour and a half was quite chaotic; a lot of information came pouring in to them, and after assessing it they changed their plans three times; finally a half an hour was spent marshalling their troops and laying out their plan.
Eventually it wasn't a mob that took the trip to Hogwarts, they were far too well organised for that appellation; apparently Dumbledore had spent ages spouting off, so they arrived just before dinner was to be put on the tables.
First to enter the Great Hall was Amelia with twelve aurors and four unspeakables; she said, "Headmaster Dumbledore, my Department has received information that led me to believe that the Goblet of Fire has been seriously compromised. Not being expert on such things myself, I consulted with the Department of Mysteries and they confirmed my suspicions; ergo I have brought four members of that Department with me to check the Goblet."
The Goblet was on a shelf, in the centre of the wall facing the head table and after checking one of the unspeakable's whispered something to Amelia.
Madame Bones continued, "I have just been informed that it is currently behind a protective shield, will you please remove it?"
Dumbledore was extremely annoyed at what was happening here and now, things he didn't understand had been happening all day, so like a petulant child he said, "No!"
Looking him in the eyes Amelia said, "Arrest Dumbledore . . . he is being charged with reckless endangerment of children in his care and attempted line assignation of the Ancient and Noble House of Potter."
Then three things happened at the same time; Dumbledore stood and drew his wand; eight of the aurors moved forward to arrest him; and Harry Potter arrived with his Ladies and twelve, fully armed Goblin shield maidens.
The Headmaster was momentarily distracted by Harry's arrival with a large entourage and it was sufficient to allow the arresting officers to put magic inhibiting bands on his ankles, wrists and neck.
Amelia said to him, "Be warned, these inhibitors are not the regular Department of Magical Law Enforcement type; they are from the Department of Mysteries and if a Phoenix approaches within five yards of you the neck band will explode . . . thereby removing your head. I was surprised but these are very old, they were designed to restrain wizard who have Phoenix companions; Phoenix's attach themselves to powerful wizards or witches; the rumour that they only choose light wizards is a lie which started shortly after Fawkes adopted you.
"Your time is over, your actions have been looked at and you have been exposed.
"Professor McGonagall, where are Professors Snape and Moody?" Amelia knew the what and the why, she just didn't know the where.
The deputy headmistress stood, and said, "Snape, Karkaroff, the Durmstrang Headmaster and Professor Burbage, our Muggle Studies teacher all collapsed at about ten thirty this morning, clutching their left arm; they all have Voldemort's dark mark. I have no idea if the headmaster knew that Professor Burbage was a death eater, it seems a highly unusual occupation for one of them; he certainly knew that Snape and Karkaroff were death eaters . . . he was active at their trials.
"The teacher we all took to be Mad Eye Moody was in fact a death eater who everyone thought was dead, one Bartimus Crouch the younger; we found Moody locked in his trunk where he was being used to provide hair for Crouches Polyjuice Potion.
"When the four death eaters collapsed and died, Dumbledore locked the floo, the owlery, and the castle; and then he vanished all day; the lockdown cleared when Dumbledore returned, about ten minutes before you arrived."
After thinking for a couple of minutes Amelia went up onto the stage and turned to address the students, "Allow me to try to explain to you what has been happening today.
"Earlier today, Harry Potter disposed of the one who called himself Voldemort, and due to their binding themselves to him, through their dark marks, all of his death eaters have also died.
"Thanks to Professor McGonagall, Lord Potter today met with a group of people who actually knew what they were doing; they provided the facilities for the dark lord's demise. Our world has changed very quickly, and a lot of not very nice people have died; I should add that some of them were in very senior positions in our society; obviously, that is no longer the case.
"The Voldemort aligned families, have had ninety per cent of their assets confiscated; ten per cent will be retained by the Goblins, as their commission. Lord Potter will receive half of the remainder, and the rest will be transferred to the Ministry's account; this money will be used to rebuild the magical world. It is of interest that the goblins have volunteered to select the assets to be confiscated, they will start with the gold and move onto other things if there is not sufficient to cover their fines; the other things will be selected as to their stable resale value.
"Naturally any dark artefacts they find will be confiscated and destroyed; no compensation will be paid."
About half of the students sat at the Slytherin Table were looking horrified; they knew that their families were in serious trouble; the look wasn't totally confined to the Slytherin students.
Madam Bones continued, "I would now like to introduce some people who will be at the forefront of the changes to our world; Senior Auror Nymphadora Vega Myrddin Tonks Potter; the Duchess Hermione Jane Ravenclaw Potter; the Lady Daphne Ophelia Slytherin Greengrass Potter; the Lady Susan Amelia Hufflepuff Bones Potter; the Lady Padma Shakti Patil Potter; Senior Shield Maiden Rakaia Falkata Potter; and Duke Harry James Gryffindor Potter."
When Tonks had been introduced the stage the professors were sitting on lowered and another platform with an ornate table with seven chairs rose behind it; this was where the Hogwarts Founders Cohort moved to and sat. Harry was in the centre with Hermione on his left and Tonks on his right.
Amelia continued, "Dumbledore, I will give you one more chance, will you remove the shield from the Goblet of Fire?"
Dumbledore sat smirking, "None of you feeble cretins will be able to remove my powerful shield; you will have to remove these silly inhibitors and I will do it."
Hermione pointed her staff at the cup and said, "Analyse."
Black tendrils appeared holding a dark grey shield in place; Tonks pointed her staff at the shield and said, "Disperse."
There was a loud pop as the shielding disappeared, and Dumbledore screamed as the power from the ward flew back into him; he slumped over unconscious.
The unspeakables moved in on the goblet and after banishing it replaced it with its duplicate.
Amelia said, "I do not know if the other contestants had been told, but their magic had been bound to their competing in the tournament, that is no longer the case; they are however still their school's champion's; their magic is not tied to their competing."
When the fuss had eventually died down Daphne stood and said, "Firstly I wish to place a copy of Hogwarts Charter where everyone can see it."
She used her staff to move the shelf with the Goblet over to one side and attached a much expanded copy of the original school charter to the wall.
'The Charter of Hogwarts School'
It being Beltane, in this year of our Lord 952 ad the heads of the families Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Slytherin and Ravenclaw agree to open a school in the castle known as Hogwarts; it being jointly owned by the families Hufflepuff and Gryffindor.
The two main purposes of the school are:
To bring those not born of magical families and their families, into our magical world,
so that they might marry into our world thereby strengthening our magic.
To teach those children not born of magic, to use their magic safely.
All costs for this enterprise will be carried by the trust established by we four founders.
Children from families open to the perpetuation of magic will be charged fees at the school's estimated cost for a non-magical student.
Those children from families glorifying the Purity of their Blood are not permitted entrance to the school.
Children from mixed families will pay fees at the school's discretion.
Signed. - Salazar Slytherin. - Helga Hufflepuff. - Godric Gryffindor. - Rowena Ravenclaw.
Addendum: Disputes arising from contested pureblood attitude are to be settled in the judgement room attached to the deputy head teacher's office suit.
Tonks cast an impervious charm and a reflective shield over the Schools Charter.
There was silence whilst everybody read the charter and the Deputy Head said, "The judgement room has been closed by the school; Dumbledore tried to make it a store room and Hogwarts closed it to him."
Daphne continued, "That just goes to show that the school has more sense than its ex headmaster . . ."
Dumbledore was beginning to realise some of what had been going on today, and he interrupted her, "Only the school board can replace me, you skanky chit! You . . . Ahaaaeeee . . ." he had been silenced.
Harry had been whispering to Hermione and Tonks, so he stood up, "I think that we should all take a step back and consider the forthcoming changes.
"Have dinner whilst you consider the Charter, and then we can have a bit of a party; tomorrow, starting at lunch time we can all have a bit of a discussion about what the new charter means; so by Monday we should be ready to start implementing it."
In the main everybody who wasn't enamoured of the dark seemed to be fairly happy.
By the next Wednesday a quarter of the students had left, mostly voluntarily; the twenty or so (including Draco Malfoy) who tried to introduce violence into their argument had their magic stripped by the castle prior to their being deported. The now muggle's deportation landed them somewhere other than Scotland; over the next few days they all wished the Muggle Studies had been taught properly, and that they had taken it.
The Potters party attending the Wizengamot meeting the following Monday, convinced the rest of the wizarding world that the owl communications they had been receiving from the school were the new reality.