When would be the best point in time for an over-powered Harry to return to his past? Right before the First Task! In this chapter, Harry finishes his discussion with Professor 'Moody', takes a g...
"Is there something else, lad?" Moody asked. "If it's not about Miss Granger, I might be able to help."
"There is, and it's not about Hermione," Harry said, now ready to launch his tall tale. "Have you ever had a magical vision?"
"Like a prophecy or something?"
"No, sir, more like a vision quest."
"No, I can't say that I have," Moody admitted.
"I have, at least three times. Twice when I confronted Riddle, and once two weeks ago."
"Can you tell me about them, or are they too personal?"
"I really shouldn't trust anyone, but I do need to talk with someone," Harry said. "Hermione doesn't have the experience, and I doubt Sirius could help, even if I could reach him. And I can't get a hold of Remus Lupin."
"And you've explained why you don't feel you can trust Dumbledore," Moody concluded. "If you want, I can swear not to tell Dumbledore or the Ministry about this."
"Alright," Harry said, and Moody swore the Oath.
"When I was being held by Professor Quirrell, there was just a moment when it seemed like I wasn't in my body," Harry started, looking into the distance. "I was in a dark cavern, and I couldn't go back. There was a path to the left, and it was filled with dark red flames and some sort of pulsing black light. I knew that if I went down that path, I would crush Voldemort, but that I would be lost. I knew there was a path to the right, but I couldn't really see it. I refused to go to the left, and I came back into myself when Voldemort made himself known."
"Go on," Moody urged.
"In the Chamber of Secrets, right after Riddle told me that Ginny would die, I was back in the cavern. The left path was the same, except there was a strong wind trying to pull me in. It was so strong, I couldn't get to the path on the right, which was pure white, with phoenix song coming from it. And then the vision disappeared."
Moody looked enthralled.
"Then, two weeks ago, I learned two things," Harry said, looking at Moody.
"And they were?"
"First, that the Triwizard Tournament was canceled back in 1726, because the Goblet had been interfered with. That means this one could have been canceled and restarted. Well, I was off to complain to the Headmaster, and I overheard him asking Hagrid about the arrangements for the dragons. And there I was, back in the cavern, and this time I was able to take the right path."
"And where did it take you?"
"Well. . . . I'm not sure. However, whatever was there told me that had I gone down the other path, I would have destroyed Voldemort and taken his place as the most powerful Dark Wizard in almost two thousand years." Harry looked at Moody. "Do you know there's a Prophecy about Voldemort and me?"
The fake Moody swallowed hard. He knew his Master wanted that Prophecy. "I do, but I have no idea what it's about." He just knew that it was about the Potter and/or the Longbottom boy, which is why he and the Lestranges had been torturing the Longbottoms when they had been caught. "Do you know it? When did you learn it?"
"My father told Sirius, and Sirius decided that he had to tell me, even though the Headmaster had forbidden him to. It said that I had the power to destroy Voldemort, but that I couldn't until I decided my path. That if I chose Darkness, I would indeed be the Dark Lord who enslaved the world, which explains why Dumbledore doesn't trust me, although I still think he went about things in a very odd way. Since I didn't go Dark, however, I am now the Champion of Hogwarts."
"That's what I asked the Phoenix Song in my vision," Harry agreed. "I was told that it had nothing to do with being a Triwizard Champion. It seems, well, I suppose you know that it's not a big deal to be descended from Helga Hufflepuff."
"About ten percent of the older families are," Moody agreed. "Dumbledore, old Barty Crouch, Sprout, and McGonagall are, too."
"However, I am the senior Heir of Gryffindor."
"I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at that," Moody agreed.
"And when Voldemort killed the last direct heir of Ravenclaw, my mother became the closest blood heir who was magical, as she was the closest descendent through a Squib line."
Moody looked really surprised at that. "Interesting," he allowed.
"Now, when Voldemort Marked me, he accidentally imbued me with some of his magic," Harry said.
"Like Parseltongue," Moody agreed.
"Exactly. That made me a magical heir to Slytherin. And even if Voldemort's spirit is still around, his actual body was destroyed the night he murdered my parents. Even if he somehow regains a body, he won't be a blood heir to Slytherin. I am now the senior heir of Slytherin. So, I'm the senior heir of three of the four Founders, and a blood heir to the fourth." Harry smiled grimly. "Hogwarts has adopted me. If I confront Voldemort in the castle, or even on the grounds, I can't lose." Harry grinned, "That also gives you a clue on how I was able to 'spank' Snape, sort of." Harry sent out a mental apology to the castle, which actually answered him. Harry was not exaggerating his power for the most part, or his connections to Hogwarts, just the connections between his power and his connection to Hogwarts.
Harry nodded. "When I killed the basilisk, it also broke Slytherin's magic on the Chamber of Secrets. That in turn wiped away most of the bitter, older memories that Slytherin left in Hogwarts. He was actually the most pro-Muggle-born of the Founders, although he was pushing for a more complete severing with the Muggle world, much like we have today, except for kidnapping the Muggle-born and raising them as . . . . what was the term Hermione used?" Harry looked at Moody. "The Muggle Ottoman Empire took Christian boys and raised them to be their shock troops in the wars against Christian Europe."
"I have to say I don't know that one, Potter," Moody admitted.
"Anyway, you get the idea," Harry said. "You kidnap the Muggle- born around the age of three or so and raise them to loath the Muggle world and use the wizards as your main guards against Muggles and the witches to breed with them and as extra consorts for the leadership. If any of the wizards die, you haven't lost any of your own. If they survive, they've earned a place in the magical community."
"Sounds like Slytherin, except for that last part," Moody agreed.
Harry shrugged. "Well, that doesn't matter. I just need to learn how to use my connections with Hogwarts, and hope it strengthens my magic along the way."
Barty Crouch the Younger considered his problems after Harry left. Like most True Believers, he had little difficulty in believes 'truths' which contradicted each other. Being told that his Master was a Half-Blood did not bother him all that much. Being told about Slytherin didn't bother him at all.
No, what concerned him was the need to tell all this information to his Master, hopefully without being punished.
The next day was not part of a normal Hogsmeade weekend. However, acknowledging that some students might have been caught unprepared for the Ball, students could apply to go into town. Ron really wanted to, of course, and Luna had confessed to Ginny, who told Harry, that she had forgotten that she had nothing to wear. She accepted Harry's promise that he owed her an incredible karmic debt and allowed him to take her shopping.
Therefore, Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Luna, Dean, and Lavender went into Hogsmeade (Dean to help Ron, Lavender to help Luna, and Ginny to keep an eye on all four of them). They trooped into Gladrags, where Harry established his authority by his manner, his scar, and a hefty line of credit. Despite Lavender's pouting, no one else was really interested in spending a great deal of time on general clothes shopping. Ron was quickly outfitted in robes much like Harry, Dean, and Justin would be wearing, the upper part cut much like a dinner jacket, which then flowed into formal robes.
Despite Ron's pleadings (after all, Harry's dress robes were a very dark green), he was not allowed a burnt orange set of robes, let alone the Cannon orange ensemble. Since Luna knew that Marietta would be in a pastel green robe, Ron was outfitted in black, with hints of pastel green trim that even Ron had to admit looked good. Luna, meanwhile, was outfitted in a deep maroon set of robes that showed off the rather incredible legs of the just- turned fourteen year old. She would have to come back for a final fitting, but then most of the girls at the castle would be in town the Saturday and Sunday before Christmas to have their outfits adjusted, even if bought elsewhere.
Ron went off to the post office, clutching his bank draft for the rest of the three hundred Galleons Harry was loaning him. Dean went off to look for art supplies. Ginny and Lavender stayed to help Luna decide on the details of her robes. All agreed to meet in the Three Broomsticks in an hour, where Harry would buy everyone lunch.
"And where are we off to?" Hermione asked.
"Right here," Harry said, bowing Hermione into a store simply called 'Gerrymander's'. She had never been inside before, but had casually wondered what kind of store it was. Hermione's eyes went wide when she saw that the store was filled with gemstones.
"Ah, Mister Potter," a small man said, smiling widely. "So glad to meet you at last." He shook Harry's hand and then Hermione's.
"What. . . ?" Hermione managed to get out.
"I think you'll be wearing a very remarkably beautiful blue gown," Harry said.
"Periwinkle," Hermione agreed, still somewhat in a daze.
"I thought you might want some accents," Harry said.
"You . . . you're going to be buying me . . . jewelry?" Hermione asked, stunned.
"Buy or lease, we have the finest selection in Britain," Gerrymander stated. "Not a magical or Muggle shop can compete with us." He smiled. "Mister Potter sent a note suggesting clip- on earrings, although we can enchant them to stay attached, a necklace, and a bracelet. I have numerous options, if you would care to come into the display room. The room can be enchanted for natural light or any other lighting."
"We need lots of facets," Harry said. "The ambient light will be very indirect as we make our entrance, and if she doesn't mind, I want Hermione to sparkle, and I want the jewels to as well, and without magical enhancement."
Hermione flushed slightly, and followed the little man into the display room.
"Do you want contrast or compliments?" the little man asked. "Diamonds will give you the most sparkle, of course." He looked at Hermione. "What sort of neckline will you be wearing, my dear?"
Hermione shyly traced the discrete scooped neckline, and described the shoulders and sleeves, which left most of her arms bare.
Gerrymander nodded and said, "If you agree with Mister Potter that you want to make an impression, may I suggest one of these two necklaces?" He pulled a box from under a table and opened in atop the display counter.
Hermione and Harry drew in great breaths. The centerpiece of the first necklace was a star sapphire, about three quarters of an inch across. Except for the clasp, the rest of the necklace appeared to be all stones -- blue diamond, blue quartz, blue topaz, clear diamond, sapphire, repeated in sequence. The second's centerpiece was a ruby-cut blue topaz, slightly larger than the star sapphire, and the rest of the wide necklace was made up of over two hundred small blue and white diamonds. Harry and Hermione both pointed to the second to try first.
For the bracelet, Hermione selected one with three large baguette-cut and three smaller brilliant-cut blue topazes, and three dozen small diamonds. Hermione retreated to a washroom to transfigure her blouse into the approximate shape of her gown. That done, she decided to take the second necklace and the bracelet, and on matching blue topaz earrings, which each had a small diamond chip accent.
"You are leasing these," Hermione hissed.
Harry whispered back that he could buy them if she wanted them.
"I don't care! I shudder to thing what these must cost!" she whispered back.
"Is there a problem?" Gerrymander asked.
"None at all," Harry said.
"The security goblins from Gringotts will be delivering a number of family jewels for the Ball," Gerrymander said. "From the bank, private vaults, and from here. These should arrive at Hogwarts at between One-thirty and Three o'clock Christmas Day. A house elf will collect them after the Ball and return them to the goblins. Is this satisfactory?"
Harry and Hermione nodded, and left. "Do I want to know how much this is costing?" Hermione asked.
"If they are lost or stolen, a whole lot," Harry said. "If not, one percent of the full retail price, which is about a third of what he would normally charge, but I agreed he could display a small copy of my coat of arms." Harry pointed, and Hermione saw that one large window was actually partially made up of small stain glass panels, all representing coats of arms.
"There's my family's," Harry said, pointing. "I agreed he could keep showing that, as it's been on display for three hundred years, and he'll be putting my personal one up today or tomorrow, I bet."
"Thank you, Harry," Hermione said, kissing his cheek.
"You're very welcome," Harry replied. "Let's get some warm butterbeer."
The next day, Harry took Hermione to the Room of Requirement. They sat on a sofa for a few minutes, and finally Hermione said, "What's wrong?"
"Do you know how wizarding Britain works?" Harry finally asked.
"Not really," she admitted. Harry knew how difficult that was for Hermione to admit. "There aren't any books on it at all."
"Wouldn't you call that strange?" Harry asked.
"I'm starting to wonder if it isn't criminal," Hermione answered. "So, tell me."
"Let's start with the Wizengamot," Harry said. "The Wizengamot, the political and legislative body of the British Ministry as well as the court of appeal, is primarily an oligarchy. There are fifty seats and when a member dies or is kicked out, the new member is selected by the others of the group or subgroup that person represented. Five seats are reserved for the Minister, the Head of Magical Law Enforcement, and three of the Department Heads chosen by the Minister. Since it takes a vote of thirty to dismiss a Minister, that gives any incumbent a fair advantage."
Hermione nodded her understanding.
"Fifteen seats are reserved for the heads of the so-called Original First Families. also called the Ancient and Most Noble Families, the one hundred and twenty-three families which founded the English Wizengamot back in 924. Dumbledore and I would be examples, although I'm not eligible until I'm seventeen. Right now, there are only sixty-three people left eligible, because of intermarriage. I am eligible in at least four different ways, for example."
Hermione again nodded.
"Some of those family heads will never be really considered for seats, of course," Harry went on. "For example, Mister Weasley's great uncle is head of the Weasley family, and lives in a small cottage and barely interacts with his family, let alone anyone else." Seeing there were no pressing questions yet, Harry continued, "Other families were added to the Original First Families. Some were heads of Welsh, Scots, and Irish families which had formed their own councils, some were wealthy families brought in over the first three centuries. Actually, since Gryffindor founded both the English and Welsh Councils, I'm eligible that way as well."
Hermione nodded that she was following.
"Right now, there are ninety-six heads of these other families, who are eligible for a further fifteen seats, and those are the so-called Ancient and Noble Families. Now add in the Most Noble Family heads. So, we have fifteen seats drawn from sixty-three people, and a further fifteen drawn from a hundred and fifty-nine. The other fifteen are appointed by the Wizengamot as a whole. Right now, fourteen of the fifteen more-or-less open seats are drawn from the two groups of First Families, either the Heads of the House or other notable members, as are two of the five Ministry members. One reason Fudge is so politically insecure is that he's the first Minister in Britain not drawn from those families."
"I never realized that it was that restrictive," Hermione said, aghast.
Harry nodded. "And you know a lot of the heirs, because of the attrition of families during Voldemort's rising. Just in our Year at Hogwarts, Susan Bones, Neville, and myself are three heirs of the Original First Families; while Kevin Entwhistle is the younger son of an heir and Millicent Bulstrode would be an heir if the five remaining males in her family die without magical children. Malfoy and Goyle are the eldest sons of Heirs to their Ancient and Noble Families."
Hermione frowned. "What about Susan's aunt. . . ?"
"The daughter of the last male heir of the Bones line would inherit before the sister," Harry pointed out.
"Oh, of course." Another idea occurred to Hermione. "And what about Sirius?"
"Sirius is head of the Black line, an Ancient and Noble Family, but not Original. If he dies without magical children and without restoring a cousin of his who was officially banished from the family, Andromeda Tonks, then the eligibility dies out with Narcissa Malfoy and her other sister, as Draco is eligible already. The entire group of First Families would then appoint a new family, or more likely an additional branch of a Founding Family, to the group. It was decided back in 1803 that the two groups would not be allowed to drop below the current numbers. If an Ancient and Noble Family, say the Malfoys, were promoted, then they become a Most Noble Family. If a new family were added to the second group, they'd be known just as a Noble Family. If Sirius does restore her mother, then if Tonks has children, they will all inherit the eligibility."
"So what counts is magic, not legitimacy?" Hermione asked.
"If there are any legitimate, magical heirs, the illegitimate don't count," Harry said with a shrug. "Just like if there are any magical male heirs they can find, women don't count. They do allow for magic skipping one generation, at the discretion of the head of the family, or if it will prevent a line from dying out, but after that, Squibs don't count for Wizengamot membership. In addition, there are two types of marriage, and the children of a magical bonding would come ahead of children from a legal consort."
"So Voldemort could have entered some sort of power legitimately?" Hermione asked.
"I suppose, but the Gaunts hadn't won a seat in hundreds of years. Remember, Riddle was likely the illegitimate son of the last heiress, Merope Gaunt, and a Muggle she'd seduced with a love potion. It would have taken Riddle decades of hard work to restore his name to one worth being considered for the Wizengamot, not to mention needing at least some form of fortune. If there was any evidence of the marriage, then Riddle would have taken possession of the Riddle fortune after he killed them instead of squatting there like he likely is now."
Hermione decided to ignore Voldemort. "I take it from what you said at Gerrymander's that you have a fortune."
"Well, yes. And do you know all about magical taxes?"
"No," Hermione huffed. "Again, I couldn't find any printed information."
"Really? You'd think they wanted to keep the Muggle-raised ignorant." Hermione glared, so Harry went on. "Well, I'll let you research on how the Ministry was put under the Duchy of Lancaster in 1663, and the deal which allows all magical land to be subject to no governmental taxation if you really want to. Essentially, we pay very little in taxes. There are no death duties, for example, and we pay a one Knut per Galleon VAT on magical items, and three Knuts per Galleon on non-magical items sold through magical shops."
"That's . . . that's almost nothing!" Hermione exclaimed.
Harry nodded. "And, since magical land ownership falls under a special trust of the Duchy of Lancaster, we don't pay any Crown taxes on most of it. We do have to pay for any utilities, but even in the cities most magical people don't bother with electricity. We do have to pay for water and the drains, but we mostly use a system that looks like gas lighting and heat, but which is magical, and both cheap to install and free to run. The Americans have a system that imitates panel lighting and which can run electrical appliances with an adaptor. The Pure-Bloods here are fighting its import."
"That figures," Hermione said.
"In addition, anything like income taxes on Muggle income, Muggle VAT, licenses, et cetera are dealt with on a sliding scale that makes magical accountants swoon, since they get a five percent commission. Basically, people pay upfront, and if they fill out the right forms, the Crown or local authority keeps between ten and thirty-three percent depending on which tax we're talking about, the Ministry gets between a fifth and a third, and they get the rest back."
"Really?" Hermione said, amazed.
Harry nodded. "If your parents gather up all their tax records and put the house and business in your name, I could give it all to the Potter Trust accountants at Gringotts. They'll get a fair amount of your parents' tax money back, less any commission, going back to the date of your Hogwart's letter. If most of their income is from the practice, which you would then own, they'd probably get about forty percent of the money back, although they'd technically be your dependents and employees."
"I'll be sure to tell them all of that," Hermione said, jotting herself a note.
"So, we pay very little in taxation, especially compared to Muggle Britain. For most other types of wealth, we can set up special trusts, so we have to pay almost nothing on certain types of income, including no taxes on most magical income. I still can't draw on it, of course, but last year the Potter Trust brought in over twenty-seven million pounds income from the Muggle world, net. It had to pay out under half a million pounds in taxes and accounting fees. The Trust had to pay less than ten thousand Galleons in fees and taxes on the magical income of just over two million Galleons. Most of it was just reinvested."
"I don't feel quite so bad about leasing the necklace," Hermione said.
"Hermione, I still have over two hundred thousand Galleons in my current account and it refills to the original amount every January until I turn seventeen. Don't worry, I don't see myself spending anywhere near two hundred thousand Galleons before the New Year, no matter how much I want to spoil you."
"I'll try not to worry," she said.
"As for the Ministry, the people there answer to the Minister, who has to answer to the Wizengamot and to the Queen."
"The Queen knows about us?" Hermione demanded.
"Yes, and she has more authority over us these days than she does over the Muggle Government, but less contact. Most of the Anglo- Saxon, Scots, Danish, and Norman kings had wizards as advisors, the most infamous being the ancestor of the Malfoys, who betrayed William II -- hence 'Bad Faith' for a family name. Elizabeth Woodville and Anne Boleyn each attended Hogwarts for five years and four years respectively -- Slytherins, unsurprisingly. With a witch for a mother and another for a paternal great- grandmother, it's hardly surprising that Elizabeth I had magical powers, although considering the times, she had to keep them hidden." Harry smiled. "Nicholas Flamel told me he trained her in Legilimency himself."
"But. . . ." Hermione protested, "but isn't he dead?"
Harry shook his head. "He did destroy the Stone, but he and his wife are living out normal wizarding lifetimes, up in the Yukon. Anyway, Mary Queen of Scots attended Beauxbatons for three years, and her great-grandson, Charles II, had magical powers, although he was trained by tutors, mostly during his exile. His intrigues with the magical world helped with his Restoration in 1660. The Minister of Magic is appointed by the Wizengamot, but he reports to both the Wizengamot and to the Crown, and he can really be dismissed by either -- technically the Minister of Magic is the Royal Wizard, or Witch as the case may be. I can assure you, Her Majesty knows a lot more about the wizarding world than the Prime Minister does. A fair number of the Royals have had magical powers, although no monarch since Charles II."
Hermione was trying to keep up with the flow of information -- not something she was used to having to do with Harry.
"Back to the Ministry, did you know that no Pure-Blood is ever hired at the lowest parts of the salary scale, and no one who isn't at least a Full-Blood is a sub-head of a Department or higher, other than a few of the aurors?"
"So the Ministry itself discriminates," Hermione said. "And I take it none of the Wizengamot are anything less than Full-Bloods either?"
"Forty-eight Pure-Bloods, two Full-Bloods," Harry said.
"So if you married, say, Luna or Ginny. . . ."
"Our children would have to marry someone of similar blood-status or 'purer' for their children to be considered Full-Bloods themselves, and the process would need two more generations before the children would be 'Pure-Bloods'." Harry grinned. "Of course, of the forty-eight Pure-Bloods on the Wizengamot, about ten just qualify themselves for that status, and another twenty- eight have at least one parent who just barely qualifies. And the blood terms only took on the current meanings in the late seventeen hundreds. The whole claptrap is really only a bit more than two hundred years old, meaning Dumbledore's grandparents were the first generation where it was commonly used. And, if they were to tell the truth, assuming they even know it, there are an awful lot of question marks about ancestry of anyone but the really rich and propertied even two hundred years ago."
"So it's mostly built on bogus ideas and bogus data," Hermione said.
"Exactly," Harry agreed.
"Leaving that aside, there's at least one more important thing you need to explain," Hermione said.
"And what's that?"
"How are you an heir to Merlin?"
"Well, that goes back to the other time stream," Harry said. "When I turned seventeen, I was asked to go to Gringotts. That's when I learned I was the Heir of Gryffindor. It turns out that the Founders also helped create the tunnel system, and they each had a vault, which will only open for those the recognize as heirs of some sort. I was quite surprised to see that all four accepted me."
"I can believe that," Hermione said.
"The governors were trying to close down Hogwarts. I stepped in and stopped them, essentially taking over the school for a bit. It turns out, all four Founders had secret chambers."
"Really? Then why all the fuss? Because of the basilisk?"
"In part because of the basilisk, and in part because Slytherin put the Chamber under something like the Fidelius when he left and outlived the other Founders," Harry answered. "I really have no idea how the entrance was built into Myrtle's bathroom, although I suspect that it was Hogwarts itself which did that. Anyway, its location was 'lost'. Ravenclaw's Chamber is now that annex of the Library I told you about. Dumbledore, Pince, and the four Heads of House know about that. Hufflepuff's was incorporated into the Hufflepuff Sett back in the fifteen hundreds."
"So it's true that the Hufflepuffs have tunnels all over Hogwarts?"
"Let's just say it's an exaggeration" Harry said.
"Did you ever wonder at how high the Divination and Gryffindor Towers are?"
"No," Hermione said, "not really."
"Gryffindor's 'room' is two stories in the Tower, which we ignore because of some very powerful charms," Harry said. "I could see them after I turned seventeen, and can again. In addition, tell me about the base of the Divination Tower."
Hermione frowned. "It's a solid base, built on an extension of bedrock that reaches through the dungeons and ground floor, providing a solid face on Hogwarts' most vulnerable point."
"That's what it looks like," Harry agreed. "It's actually Merlin's Sanctuary. He built it into the living rock, as they used to call it, and Hogwarts was built here in part because of the Sanctuary and in part because there is an ancient stone circle here. The stones of the circles, left in place, form some of the inner walls of the castle. The high altar is still in place, underneath the Headmaster's Office." Harry gestured at the Room of Requirement. "This room is a magical node, drawing power form both."
"And when I took over Hogwarts, I was allowed to be the first person to enter Merlin's Sanctuary since the death of Gryffindor," Harry said.
"None of this is in Hogwarts: A History," Hermione complained.
"I didn't write it, so don't blame me," Harry teased. Hermione frowned. Harry stood and said, "We have the first dancing lesson tomorrow night, but would you care to give me some private instruction now?"
Hermione's frown slowly twisted into a smile.
Yes, Harry tells 'Moody' all this because he wants to be kidnapped during the Third Task, not before.