Chapter 1: Archive One
The story of Lord Baron Potter-Black, as he preferred to be addressed, is well known to all wizarding folk, but the official version of the events presents an indistinct portrait of the man. Harry Potter was initially known as The Boy Who Lived, then the Vanquisher of Voldemort and Order of Merlin First Class Recipient, gaining his other, more formal titles later on after the beginning of what is generally regarded as The Second Magical Renaissance. We know of these acts and actions due to the historical record. But not all records were made public until now.
This book presents the true record of how Lord Pretanoi accomplished his famous deeds, as well as presenting a private look at the most private public individual the magical world has ever known. Through research in the voluminous archives of the Potter-Black library including diaries, letters and pensieve memories we are now able to recreate in full the most celebrated events in all of Wizarding Britain.
Harry Potter sat in a large study at a massive desk, dimly illuminated by three wall sconces that struggled to pervade the gloom of not only the room but of his thoughts. A quill, ink and parchment lay upon the desk, and several times he took the quill, dipped it in ink and appeared ready to write something but stopped each time, laying the quill down beside the parchment. He sat still for quite some time until a voice pulled him out of his reverie.
"Is Master Harry wanting dinner? Kreacher can make a stew, he can. Tasty stew. Filling stew, Kreacher makes it, he does."
"What? Uh, sure. Thanks. That'd be great. No onions this time, please."
As the house elf bowed and scraped and made his exit Harry once again picked up his quill. This time, though, his thoughts began to come more easily.
I know this was Sirius' house and he left it to me but I hate it almost as much as he did. I can't get Mrs. Black off the wall or to stop screaming, it's so bloody dark in here no matter how much I try to fix it and I'm just so alone in here. I'm alone anyway. Hermione and Ron are off for the weekend, hoping that a little time at a bed and breakfast can help put them back together but I don't think there's really any hope in that. They're both too changed.
We've all changed since the battle. It's been almost three years and I feel like it was just yesterday. Everybody seems to be moving on with their lives even though things are still in chaos. When Voldemort finally died for real it buggered up so much that is isn't even funny. The Ministry's a wreck, even with Kingsley as Minister, because so many Ministry employees were lost or disappeared before Voldemort took over, and those that stayed were loyal to him for the most part, except the scared ones or the ones fighting from the inside like Arthur Weasley.
The Weasleys. I really wish I could go over to the Burrow and have Molly take care of me some days, I really do, but with how things ended between Ginny and me I don't think that's the best idea. We both knew it wasn't working. Merlin, she went to break up with me when I wanted to tell her it wasn't working, but somehow we both ended up shouting at each other. Ron surprised the hell out of me by actually not taking sides. He's been a good mate even if he was trying to patch things up with Hermione and work at the shop with George.
"Your stew, Master Harry." Kreacher put an earthenware bowl and a slightly bent spoon on the table. "Kreacher minded the onions, he did. No nasty onions for Master Harry."
"Thanks." Harry sat the quill down and picked up the spoon, but before he took a spoonful he realized that Kreacher hadn't left yet. "Uh, what is it, Kreacher?"
"Tomorrow morning is the meeting with the Goblins, it is. Master Harry said to remind him, he did. Must remember to shave, Kreacher remembers. Master Harry's good robe is ready. Kreacher is prepared, he is."
"Right, thanks, Kreacher. I'll remember." He watched the elf bow and scrape away and wondered how much longer he could last in Grimmauld place with just a dotty old house elf for company. He took a bite of the stew and made a face; too much salt. He sat down the spoon and picked up the quill.
Kreacher reminded me of the meeting with the Goblins at Gringotts tomorrow, so at least I'll get out of the house. He also reminded me to shave, which I think was his little way of telling me that I've done nothing but hang about the place, reading the Prophet, forgetting to shower or shave and try to ignore the fact that the moment I go out in public I'm swarmed by people. They mean well, thanking me and trying to give me gifts, but the damned press always shows up and then it's a bloody nightmare. It was almost as bad when I tried to be an Auror. What a joke. They didn't really want me to be a real Auror but to be a poster boy, a recruiting tool to tell everyone that the good guys won and the bad guys lost and look at Potter here, he's proof, blah blah blah. I doubt they would have ever let me do anything except stand next to people in photos and shake hands with some dignitary from Lower Somewhereistan. Then there was the Quidditch teams, every single one of them sent me a contract. I knew it would be the same thing, the celebrity Quidditch player (funny, I know, they're all celebrities) but they wouldn't be signing me because of my skills, just my fame. Even when I signed with Chudley, mostly to make Ron happy, it was a fiasco. I'll never get those two years back. At least this meeting with the goblins is something new even though everyone in Britain is wondering what will happen. I'm one of the first meetings, if not the first. The article in the Prophet has everyone on pins and needles, so at least my fame has one advantage, I'll find out what the bloody hell is going on.
Interview with Professor Snickfang, Gringotts Historian and Professor of Non-Wizarding History, Hogwarts. Taken from A History of Magical Post-War Britain, Chelsey Saxet author. Professor Snickfang was interviewed by the author. Reprinted with permission by Red Hippogriff Publishing, London.
Chelsey Saxet: Professor, I'd like to hear a goblin perspective on The Great Redistribution.
Professor Snickfang: Ah, yes. One of the most contentious times between goblin and wizard but the only one that did not result in bloodshed.
CS: What were the causes?
PS: After the second great wizarding war, the one that finally dealt with Voldemort and the blood-purity movement, so much of the wizarding world was in chaos, and that extended to all aspects, even those not covered by the Ministry.
CS: Areas controlled by Gringotts?
PS: Yes. The Ministry had ceded administration of their legal affairs, not to mention their banking, to the goblins by the time of Voldemort's fall. Inheritances, distribution of funds, some weddings and the occasional divorce, but mostly the financial aspects. [Laugh]
CS: What's funny about that, Professor?
PS: Everything is financial! They never grasped that initially, but the goblins did. Wizards and witches went about their lives seeing goblins as little more than emancipated servants, doing their financial work so that they could go about their business and not have to worry, because goblins care for nothing more than money.
CS: That's an ancient, old way of thinking. Nobody thinks like that anymore.
PS: Yes, but remember, I was there. I was just a minor administrative secretary on an account or two, but for the most part I saw it all happen. I lived through it. [He stands and walks over to the window and opens it.] I apologize. My lungs aren't what they used to be and fresh air does them good. Now, where were we?
CS: Everything is financial.
PS: Precisely, my dear. The noble houses control the Wizangamot. The Wizangamot helps rule the Ministry. The Ministry sets laws and taxes. People follow those laws, make their living and purchase goods and services. You see, don't you?
CS: No, I'm afraid I don't. All the gold comes through Gringotts, but that's how it always was. I don't see the need for The Great Redistribution.
PS: Ah, but you will. After the second wizarding war so many lives were lost, so many families had rescinded their citizenship and left for greener pastures, as the Muggle saying goes. The Ministry decreed that known Death Eaters were Enemies of the State, which forfeited their holdings, not limited to Wizangamot seats. It did not matter if they were a working member of the Wizangamot or if their seat was held by proxy, it was forfeited. A great many Ministry file was lost or destroyed under Voldemort's puppet rule. Entire wings of documents, gone! [He waved his hands frantically above his head.] Gone! All those deemed to be undesirable had their entire files destroyed. When the Ministry tried to put itself back together it was, to be honest, a bloody mess. Sometimes literally, they found a file clerk quite...
CS: I'm sure there were some grisly tales, Professor. I don't think this is the appropriate time...
PS: Do forgive me. [Cough.] I am a goblin, you know. Can't help myself, even at my age. Now then. Imagine the scene. The Ministry files are in chaos. A simple will reading in the Ministry offices can turn into a six month ordeal, trying to find the appropriate descendants. Specifically the descendants of the noble houses. Remember what I said earlier? The noble houses control the Wizangamot. By the end of the second wizarding war almost sixty percent of the noble house votes were held by proxy, and with the fall of Voldemort those..is it not clear?
CS: There was no way of knowing who belonged to the noble houses, potentially. But don't the noble houses keep good records?
PS: Most do, yes, most do. But goblins keep better records. Goblins keep blood records.
CS: Blood records?
PS: Blood records. Goblins have a magic of our own, not as powerful or flashy as wizards, but we have magic. We have delved deep into the magic of the blood, and by using that magic we can determine not only who should be the head of the noble house but if there are any connections, any unknowns. Many a wizard has come to inherit what he thinks is his fortune only to find that the blood tells a different story, that there is an heir with a stronger connection. [Cackling laugh.] Finding out dear old Daddy played around on Mummy with that witch in Leicester can come as quite a shock, my dear.
CS: The Great Redistribution.
PS: Now you have it. Where all was chaos the goblins did what they naturally do, find a profitable answer. If vault upon vault is stagnant due to a dispute regarding ownership no gold goes in or out. Gringotts makes no profit. This would not do, so the Head Goblin called upon the Minister for Magic and proposed a...service. At no charge.
CS: Did anyone know how much things would change?
PS: My dear, I doubt anyone, even the most skilled seer, could have predicted how things unfolded.
Harry handed his wand to the goblin outside of Gringotts, watched as the goblin snaked a gnarled finger over his wand, nodded and handed the wand back. He watched the goblin tick off the box next to his name on a parchment and realized his suspicion the night before was correct; he was the first one on the list. As the doors creaked open Harry rubbed his hand across his newly-shaven face as if to verify that he had taken away two weeks worth of whiskers and took a deep breath. He'd made his peace, and restitution to the Goblins regarding the "incident' as they called it, but goblins still made him nervous. It was the first time he'd set foot in Gringotts since helping tear seemingly half the place down on the back of a dragon.
Instead of the usual long aisle with counters along the sides and a central counter at the end a table sat across the aisle; seated there were three goblins, a wizard and a witch; the goblins sat in the middle with the wizard on the left end and the witch on the right. Not knowing what else to do Harry walked forward and stood in front of the goblin in the center.
"Name." The goblin looked up at him, unimpressed.
The goblin looked over to his coworker on the right and gave him a look that said it was going to be a very long day. He turned back to Harry. "Full name."
"Oh. Harry James Potter."
"What?" Harry looked over to the wizard who quickly pointed down to the witch. In very clipped and official tones the witch told Harry that blood was needed to activate the magic the goblins used, but only a drop or two, less than a shaving accident. That comment caused Harry to involuntarily reach up to make sure the spot he nicked on his chin had stopped bleeding.
The goblin next to the wizard unrolled a sheet of parchment and nodded to the wizard who then took out a very small needle and a thin, short vial. The wizard looked at Harry. "Won't take but a mo and I'll heal you up good as new right after."
Harry went over to the wizard who he noticed was wearing Healer's robes, gave him his left and and shortly thereafter felt a very small prick in his ringfinger. The wizard handed the vial to the goblin who then dabbed the blood on the parchment and said some words while waving his finger over the parchment, causing the blood to glow softly with a light shade of green. When the glow changed to red he handed the parchment to the goblin in the center.
"Mr. Potter, are you prepared?"
"No." Harry shook his head. "To be honest you didn't tell me a thing about what was happening. What's going on, exactly?"
The witch at the end leaned forward and gave the goblin in the center an irritated look. "I told you, you need to explain first."
As the goblin muttered something about uneducated wizards he shuffled the papers about and then focused on Harry. "Apologies, Mr. Potter. We are conducting blood record retrieval for all witches and wizards, free of charge. Healer Twicken will draw the blood, Artglark will administer the blood to the parchment and begin the trace while I will reveal the results. Splenkshank will distribute new vault keys if required and Mrs. York will distribute the proper Ministry forms if needed. Have I answered your questions, Mr. Potter? We are on a schedule. Questions?"
"Just one. What's your name?"
"Tailslip. I am the Auditor of Accounts. If there are no more such questions I will proceed."
The goblin looked down at the parchment and then sat back. He looked over to Splenkshank and motioned for him to look over the parchment and when the goblin nodded they both looked at Harry with a different eye. Before they were indifferent and somewhat condescending, but now?
Tailslip cleared his throat. "Harry James Potter. By right of blood and inheritance, and as you have reached majority, you are the primary heir and invested with the title Lord of House Potter. By will and blood you are also the head of the House of Black, but as you are not a direct descendant of the house your title will be Baron of House Black. You now directly control all holdings, properties and contracts to those houses. Congratulations, Lord Baron Potter-Black."
"I'm a Lord what?" Harry looked at the goblin incredulously. "Really? You're telling me I'm a Lord Baron?"
"I'm afraid not, Lord-Baron, you're actually more than that." Tailslip tapped his long, bony finger on the parchment. "Blood records do not lie. Lord-Baron..."
"Stop calling me that!" Harry shook his head. "Just Harry. Mr. Potter if you insist."
"Mr. Potter..." Tailslip's tone had taken on a soothing quality. "...our records indicate that you are, forgive my impertinence my Lord, you are Lord Pretanoi." With that statement Tailslip and the other two goblins arose from their seats and bowed low to Harry.
"Ok, great. Thanks. So I'm Lord Pretanoi." Harry smiled weakly at the Healer and the Ministry employee, both of them as confused as he was. "What's that?" While the goblins murmured 'he doesn't know' amongst themselves Harry stepped forward and picked up the parchment. The blood had turned into writing, forming what looked to Harry like the Black family tree at Grimmauld, as he could see the Potter name on one side, the Black name to the right and above the both of them was Pretanoi. As he studied that name he saw spidery-thin lines begin to form underneath with other names displaying in much smaller writing. He shook his head and looked over to the goblins. "So who's Lord Pretanoi?"
"My lord..." Tailslip bowed again before returning to look at Harry. "...Lord Pretanoi is the title bestowed by the ancient Greek magicians to the seneschal of ancient Britain, a title even older than the Muggle monarchy. By rights Lord Pretanoi is the right hand of the King and, in his absence, the ruler of Britain."
"Right. I'm in charge of everything. Perfect." Harry shook his head. "Ok, so who's the king? We need to get him back here so I don't have to go through any more of this...this stuff. It's bad enough I'm Lord Duke..."
"Lord Baron." Tailslip nodded his head in respect. "But I'm afraid we cannot acquiesce to your request regarding the king, as he has not been seen in this land since before Merlin. The King Above the Sea left this land and the legends state that he will not return until the world is ready to be remade by his design. All the Lord Pretanoi's ruled in his absence and were treated as kings. Their line was missing for centuries, lost to the mists of time and destroyed archives, and it was only in the preparation for this reckoning of magical bloodlines that we began the great record undertaking. My Lord Pretanoi, Gringotts reached out to all goblin institutions worldwide and we amassed the largest genealogical archive in history." He took a breath. "We expected some intriguing results, but we never imagined this!"
Harry stood there in shock. Finally, after a few seconds a word stuck in his head. Seneschal. "What does seneschal mean? You said Lord Pretanoi was seneschal."
"Ah, yes. Seneschal is a title for the office that is responsible for a noble house, second only to the head of the house. They oversee all aspects in the absence of the ruler."
"So that means..." Harry took off his glasses. "Merlin's pants!"
"Merlin's pants are in vault 3, but I do not see why that is important here." Tailslip blinked rapidly. "What that means, Lord Pretanoi, is that the Wizangamot, the Ministry and even Gringotts are at your disposal. What is your first command, my Lord?"
Lead Article of The Daily Prophet, 9 June, 2001
GOBLIN BLOOD RECORDS FIND LORD PRETANOI!
BRITAIN HAS A SENESCHAL ONCE AGAIN!
WIZANGAMOT, MINISTRY IN UPROAR!
In a shocking turn of events the recent review of blood records, commonly called the Great Redistribution, has discovered that Britain once again has a seneschal, Lord Pretanoi. The Gringotts representative would not divulge the name of the person, only stating that discussions were underway with the Wizangamot and the Ministry for Magic. A press conference has been scheduled for next Friday at 10, taking place of the weekly Minister's address.
The discovery of Lord Pretanoi, combined with the redistribution of noble houses and subsequent Wizangamot seats has thrown magical Britain into chaos. Ministry offices closed early on Friday to determine courses of action and the current Wizangamot entered into emergency closed session. The new Wizangamot members are scheduled to be installed on Friday, after the Lord Pretanoi conference.
The Daily Prophet will be there to record the accounts for posterity. Wizarding wireless press credentials have been issued to multiple agencies worldwide, as interest in Lord Pretanoi and the upheaval in the governance of magical Britain has reached fever pitch, igniting talk of ancient agreements.
For betting odds on Lord Pretanoi's identity see page 4B
For betting odds on the identity of Wizangamot members see page 4F
Harry sat at a conference table in one of the smaller Gringotts conference rooms. He had been offered the Head Goblin's office but declined, sending the goblins away muttering about his generosity and how he had shown Goblin Nation much honor. The room itself wasn't much, a few tapestries on the wall depicting centaurs on the hunt and a table that could seat twenty, but outside of the wall sconces there was little to break up the feeling that he was encased in a stone tomb. And to Harry it felt like a tomb. Before he was bound forever by the fact that he was The Boy Who Lived and the one who got rid of Voldemort, but things were rapidly spinning out of control.
After his meeting with the goblins and the discovery of his new titles he had been given a goblin advisor, a wizened, bent-over ancient goblin named Kreekle. They had gone over his inheritance not only from the Potters and the Blacks but also what he stood to claim as Lord Pretanoi and it was staggering. Where before Harry had a rather comfortable life with his two years of Quidditch salary, not to mention the vaults that his parents and Sirius had left him, by claiming the titles of Lord and Baron he now had access to the full range of their vaults. Apparently he had only been using a tenth of what he could have, and even with that he had been living quite well.
Quite well financially, that is. He had descended into the life of a self-imposed recluse, spending his time doing what he felt like he should have been doing years ago, studying. He was loath to tell Hermione that she was right all those years ago, that seeking knowledge was its own reward, but it was true. There were times when he was up in the attic at Grimmauld, working on an item that he would surreptitiously send to George and Ron Weasley for Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes under the name of Christopher Marks. It gave him a small thrill to know that last Christmas' best seller, the variable speed training Snitch that would adjust to the player's speed, was his idea.
Now, though, he sat at the table, waiting on what Kreekle said would be the traditional houses that served Lord Pretanoi. Apparently there were five houses, each of them created by one Lord Pretanoi or the other in honor of their service to the realm or something like that.
"Lord Pretanoi, if you are ready?" Kreekle stood at the door.
"Stop it. Harry, please."
"I'm afraid I cannot do that, my lord." Kreekle shook his head but smiled at him. "Only members of your immediate family or household retinue are allowed to address you so familiarly."
"Really? Great. Wonderful." Harry picked up his wand, pointed it briefly at Kreekle and then sat it down on the table. "Kreekle, you are now the Official Goblin Advisor to...me. Call me Harry, please."
After the shock wore off Kreekle bowed low. "I am honored and not worthy of the title."
"Good." Harry leaned back in his chair. "So what's happening now?"
"I will present three heads of the Noble Council."
"Three? I thought there were five."
"Ah, yes." Kreekle nodded. "There are five, the houses of The Sword, The Shield, The Head, The Heart and The Purse,but only three were filled by blood contracts. Two of those houses are invested in you, my lord, as the houses of Potter and Black are Noble Council houses. It will be your decision as to who you invest that power now, my...Harry. It is your prerogative as Lord Pretanoi."
Harry sighed. "Fine. Let's get this show on the road."
"Very well." Kreekle left and then after a few moments appeared before Harry, blocking the door so the person outside could not be seen. "I present the Shield, Lord Longbottom."
"Neville?" Harry leaned forward and stifled a laugh as a very confused Neville Longbottom, in bright green formal robes with an intricate braid of gold around the neck walked forward.
"Harry? You're Lord Pretanoi?
"That was pretty much my reaction." Harry walked over and shook Neville's hand. "Mate, you have no idea how glad I am to see you. This has been..."
"Mental. This is all mental, Harry." Neville shook his head in disbelief. "I mean, I always knew Gran called us a 'noble house' and all that but I thought it was just, you know, Gran being Gran."
"Well, have a seat, Mr. Shield. I think Kreekle's ready for another one."
The goblin stood at the door, once again as before hiding the person behind him. "I present The Heart, Lady Durovernum."
A nervous Hannah Abbot walked into the room, resplendent in a pale green robe. "Harry? Neville? What's going on?" She looked nervously at Neville, as they had dated for a while after Hogwarts and had been on and off again for the last year. "So who is..."
"Him, not me. I'm The Shield." Neville pointed at Harry. "What's Durovernum?"
"An old name for Canterbury, apparently." She walked over to Harry and gave him a kiss on the cheek. "It's been ages since you stopped into the Leaky, Harry. How are you?"
"Gobsmacked doesn't even begin to cover it, Hannah." Harry motioned to a chair. "I mean...yeah. Not even close."
Once again a sound at the door signaled a new arrival. Kreekle cleared his throat. "I present the Sword, Lord Occidamus."
A very befuddled Arthur Weasley walked through the door wearing a black robe with blood-red crimson accents. "Harry?"
"Mr. Weasley?" Harry felt his breath fall away for a moment. "You're The Sword?"
Arthur walked over to the table and shook everyone's hand. "Apparently we're here to meet Lord Pretanoi. It was a shock when I did my blood thing at Gringotts, a very large shock. Apparently Occidamus is a title that translated means 'we slay.' Now I know how my name originated, finally." He chuckled. "So when does Lord Pretanoi get here? And which house are you, The Shield?"
"Nope, that's me." Neville smiled. "Good to see you again, Mr. Weasley. Hannah's The Heart and something else, what's your title, Han?"
Hannah blushed slightly at the name he used to call her. "Durovernum. I'm Lady Durovernum. How are you, Mr. Weasley? Sorry we ran out of bangers and mash the other day, Tom forgot to order enough."
"Yes, well, I don't think that will be a problem for you any more, my dear." Arthur smiled. "So Harry..."
Kreekle closed the door and stood in front of Harry. "Lord Pretanoi, if it pleases you we should begin."
Arthur stumbled slightly, causing Neville and Harry to have to reach out and support him. "Lord...Harry...oh my word."
After everyone was seated Kreekle brought out official looking parchment, along with five seals. Each seal held the image of its office, a sword, a shield, a head, a heart and a coinpurse. "Lord Pretanoi will invest each of you with your office by his word and magic shortly, but before that the other two houses must be appointed. Harry, for The Head, traditionally held by House Black, you may choose any magical person, regardless of their status."
It was an easy decision for Harry; after all, hadn't she been the brains for most of his life? "I choose Hermione Jean Granger."
"Very well." Kreekle snapped his fingers and in a rush of air and a small amount of blue smoke a figure appeared in the middle of the room. A figure with gardening gloves, her hair pulled back and wearing dirty clothing.
Hermione Granger stood up and brandished a gardening trowel at the goblin. "What in Merlin's name is going on here! I'll report you to the Aurors, you can't just pull someone out of their garden!" She then looked over to the table to see a laughing Harry Potter. "Harry! What...I..." She stamped her foot slightly. "Harry Potter, what have you done now!"
"I'm making you Lady Granger, unless you want to pick another name." Harry ignored Neville's chuckle. "Um, remember the Gringotts thing where you had to go and give them some blood?"
She rolled her eyes. "Of course, Harry. I did it yesterday. I'm not related to anyone, I'm just a Muggleborn witch." She narrowed her gaze. "Why are you...hello Mr. Weasley, Neville, Hannah. Can you explain...wait a second. Did you just say you were making me Lady Granger?"
"Mmm-hmm." Harry nodded, trying to keep a straight face. "One of the perks of being Lord Pretanoi. You're The Head."
"The what? That sounds dirty, Harry." She waved him off before he could comment. "Yes, I know it's a Muggle movie. Explain."
It took thirty minutes, documentation from Kreekle and corroboration from another goblin before it finally sunk in for Hermione. Her best friend, Harry Potter, was now the ruler of magical Britain. Not only that, she was a member of his noble council, now a Lady, and a member of the Wizangamot.
"I have one request." She shook a gardening glove at him. "You're telling Ron."
Harry tried to get an idea of where she and Ron stood but couldn't infer anything from her tone. "Are you two..."
She sighed and smiled weakly at Arthur. "No, I'm afraid we aren't a we anymore. I'm sorry, Arthur. I know Molly..."
"She wants the two of you to be happy, whether that is with each other or someone else." Arthur patted her on the shoulder. "How's he taking it?"
"Fine." She turned to Harry. "Ron was the one who said it wasn't working anymore and that we really are just good friends after all."
A cough interrupted them. Kreekle steepled his long fingers together. "Pardon me, my lord, pardon me, Harry, but we still have one seat to fill. The Purse. Traditionally The Purse is held by one that is capable of dealing with all financial matters in your stead. It is a seat that liaisons with any and all financial institutions, be they in Britain or anywhere else in the world. With the importance of this seat I strongly urge you to seek someone you trust above all other qualities."
Harry sat back and contemplated what Kreekle had said. He didn't know too many people that he would trust with such a role, and the one person he did trust above everything with decisions like that he'd just made Lady Granger. He thought about choosing Kreekle, to cement his ties with the goblins, but wasn't sure how that would be taken by the larger wizarding community. After a moment, though, he realized that the selection was not just something like hiring a new employee, it was a precedent setting moment, and if he was Lord Pretanoi, by Merlin, he was going to use that power. "If I may, Kreekle, I'd like to talk it over with Lady Granger."
"Harry! Stop that!" Hermione shook her head at him and then leaned forward so he could whisper to her. "What are you thinking, Harry?"
"A question, actually. Has my 'little friend' healed enough? That blade of Bellatrix's was cursed, you know. I thought we were going to have to bury him near Shell Cottage."
"Dobby? Harry, are you sure?" Hermione tried to hide the excitement in her voice. "The last time I spoke to Headmistress McGonagall she said he was doing well. Very well, actually. He was asking about you."
"Well he just woke up from a coma six months ago, his restrictions are lifted soon, right? The Healers said he could resume 'normal duties' and we both know what that means, he'll be at my side in a second. I think Kreacher is actually looking forward to it, he's tired of waiting on me. Plus he's old." He paused for a second. "Think, Hermione, I can do in a second what SPEW could never do, make people..."
"Do it." She nodded vigorously.
"Right." Harry straightened up and looked at Kreekle. "I can choose any magical being I wish, right?"
Kreekle nodded slowly. "Yes...yes, that is correct."
"Very well." Harry adjusted his glasses. "I choose the Dobby, house elf at Hogwarts, to be The Purse."
Kreekle's eyes went wide and a gasp escaped his lips. "Very well." He snapped his fingers and once again a rush of air and blue smoke filled the room, and shortly thereafter a very confused house elf stood in front of them.
"Harry Potter, sir! Dobby is happy to see you sir, Dobby is! Dobby is better now and the Healers say Dobby can be serving Harry Potter soon, sir!"
Harry leaned forward. "Dobby, how would you like to start right now?"
The elf clasped his hands together and jumped up and down, causing his large ears to wobble. "Dobby is very, very happy to start now, Harry Potter, sir! Dobby is a free elf and chooses to work for Master Harry!"
"No, Dobby, there's a little bit more to it than that."
Where it took a half hour or so to convince Hermione of her new position it took the better part of an hour for Dobby. After finding out that Harry is Lord Pretanoi Dobby fainted, and then fainted once again after hearing of his new position. There was a lot of wailing, clinging of pants legs and an overabundance of gratitude, but once Dobby had calmed down Kreekle informed the little house elf of the seriousness of the role he was granted. The change in Dobby was almost instantaneous. Instead of bouncing about he calmed down, took a seat at the table and immediately scheduled twenty-seven meetings with Gringotts to go over all the accounts.
After refreshments had been served and cleared Kreekle handed each of the noble council their seals, reached over to a large box that had been invisible before the seals had been handed out, took out a blue velvet bag. He leaned in, almost as far as Hermione had once done with a little beaded bag, retrieved a golden scepter and handed it to Harry.
"Now you must administer the oaths. The parchment is before you, my lord."
Harry looked down and saw an ancient-looking parchment with ornate writing. He adjusted his glasses and shifted the scepter to his left hand. He was about to say something when Arthur Weasley interrupted.
"Harry, I'm sorry, my boy, but I'm afraid I'm too old for this." He gestured around the room. "You need someone else for this role." He looked to Kreekle. "I'm assuming there are rules for this sort of thing?"
The goblin nodded. "Yes. There are." He turned to Harry. "My lord, any member of the house may be designated as the holder of the seat. Lord Occidamus will retain all rights, privileges and holdings, of course. Any member of the house you select will hold the title Viscount."
Hermione elbowed Harry. "No. No, Harry."
He smiled at her. "Oh yeah."
"Yes. Come on, Hermione. Think about it, this way you don't have to worry about him making a big deal out of things if he's involved. He's not like that anymore, right? It'll be fine."
Hermione looked over to Kreekle. "Does a Lady outrank a Viscount?"
Kreekle nodded. "Yes, Lady Granger."
She turned back to Harry. "Ok, then."
"Competitive much?" He shoved her playfully and then looked to Kreekle. "Very well. I choose Ronald Bilius Weasley as The Sword."
Once the puff of smoke dissipated a rather shocked Ron Weasley stood in front of them, clad in a Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes purple staff robe with a half-eaten roast beef sandwich in his hand.
"Bloody hell!" Ron looked around. "What's going on? Dad?"
Arthur smiled. "Harry will tell you, and I think you'll like it."