The Heir of the Founders, the Heir of Merlin, needs to set the future straight -- by going back to 1971. In this chapter, the Order's next letter.
Sarum was the first to see what was beside the body, shouting, "Hey, there's a note!"
The four approached the note cautiously, lest it be hexed in any way. To their surprise, it wasn't, and later study showed that not only was there no magic on the note, neither were there any traces of the writer. Sending it on to a Muggle forensics lab told them nothing, other than the fact that the paper was moderately high-grade and common in the stationary section of almost any large shop in Britain which sold such supplies, while the ink was equally unremarkable.
You are all noted for being clever. If you are as intelligent as you are clever, you will not worry too much about how four evil students lost their magic or how Rookwood lost his life. We are Hogwarts. The last magical blood heir of Slytherin, Tom Marvolo Riddle (Voldemort, in case you folks haven't been paying attention) has been magically disinherited. All of Hogwarts, all of the Founders' magic still in existence, now answers to nothing Dark, nor will we tolerate anything Dark to act upon that Darkness upon our grounds. We are Hogwarts, and our Order helps watch over Britain.
If you were as wise as you are clever, you would seek out the other Unspeakable who bears the Dark Mark (there is at least one other besides Rookwood), and be more worried about that person's and Rookwood's infiltration of you than you are the loss of Rookwood or the loss of magic in for Dark students.
If you need a stronger hint, stick around. We warn you, you will not like it.
PS The second page has a list of the Unspeakables we are fairly certain do not have the Mark. Rookwood burned out his own mind rather than allow us to take the information. These others, who may be on your list of candidates, are also free as best we know.
"Wands out, so we can stun one of us if necessary?" Florida Fawlty-Forbisher suggested, no longer looking as foolish as she often did.
The other three nodded, and Leighton Lancaster gently pushed the top sheet off of the bottom with the butt of his wand, so that they could all tell he wasn't doing any magic. Each was relieved to see all four of their names were on the list, along with twenty-three others.
There were always 60 Unspeakables in Britain. When one died, the remaining members decided on the replacement. Harry had known about Rookwood, and had also known that the only two additional Unspeakables who bore the Mark in his original time period had been recruited after Dumbledore's death. Therefore, when he had seen in Rookwood's mind, just before the Unspeakable's suicide, that there was at least one other, he knew it could be none of the Unspeakables he had known who were already active. Nor was it any of these four. Which of the other 32 remaining Unspeakables it was, however, he could not be certain.
"I do believe our mission here is best . . . suspended for the moment," Smith-Smythe suggested.
The other three agreed. They had a meeting to arrange with twenty-three of their fellows. Unfortunately, none of the senior Unspeakables from 1971 had survived until Harry grew to know the members of the Department in 1998 and beyond, so all twenty-seven cleared members were at best in the middle-ranks of the department.
"Good morning, Mister Potter."
"Good morning, Headmaster," Harry answered. "Aren't we being formal this lovely morning," Harry teased.
"I would hope you would not be offended by the fact that I have been verifying what parts of your story I am able to," Dumbledore said.
"Of course not."
"So, you are the de facto Heir of Merlin and in some fashion, to all Four Founders," Dumbledore had to admit. "And I mean that in the legal sense, not just the magical sense, which I did not doubt."
"Which means you know that despite being physically just eleven, I have the right to fire and appoint nearly anyone I wish to the Board of Governors, and may occupy at least two or three of them myself once I turn seventeen, or ignore the Board altogether when I turn seventeen and run Hogwarts myself, if the other heirs don't come forward," Harry said with a smile. "And unlike most other of the world's Ministries, ours has always claimed it is the successor of Merlin, in part because of his reputation throughout the entire magical world, which has always allowed our Ministry to claim to be 'first among equals', and in part because Merlin had no blood heirs, and the last declared magical heir was Gryffindor."
"Until now," Dumbledore said.
"Until now, if I declare it officially," Harry agreed with a wide grin.
"And those other three vaults?" Dumbledore almost pleaded for the information.
"Maybe some other time," Harry said standing. "Right now, there are four frightened Unspeakables on their way here. I have just enough time to leave before they get to the base of the your stairs." Harry started for the door.
"Four?" Dumbledore frowned. "Where is the fifth?"
"Him?" Harry said darting out the door. "He was a Death Eater."
"Are you alright, Harry?" Remus asked. The four First year Gryffindor boys were good friends, but they had quickly split into two pairs of best friends -- James and Sirius, Harry and Remus.
Harry shrugged, and Remus frowned. His parents were a pleasant, average, magical couple. His father's various ancestors were only magical for between three and five generations, while his mother had been Muggle-born. They ran a small shop in a village -- the only shop in the village, in fact. 'Lupin's -- Post Office and Stores' sold mostly to Muggles, and had a special 'back room' for the few magical families nearby.
Remus had been bitten in part because his father had helped kill a truly nasty werewolf from the area. The werewolf's mentor, who went under the name Fenrir Greyback, had bitten Remus in retaliation. Remus had been kept partially sequestered from nearly everyone since he had been bitten six years before.
Because of all this, Remus was a very well-read lad, both by disposition and by circumstance (there was little else for him to do at home but read and tend the family greenhouse). He therefore had no experience in social settings, and tended to be shy. He had been very glad to meet someone like Harry, even if his knowledge of Remus' curse had been disconcerting, to say the least.
Sirius and James were much like Pure-bloods liked to pretend all Pure-blood children should be -- amazingly bright and boisterous, and (usually unintentionally) condescending to their social inferiors. Remus was amazed at how easily the pair did magic compared to everyone (other than Harry) in their classes. If it hadn't been for the fact that the Muggle-born Evans and the Half- blood Snape and himself often came so close (and always outdid the other Pure-bloods), Remus might have wondered more often if the propaganda wasn't true if he didn't room with the pair of them.
Sirius and James spent a fair amount of time in the common room, having fun and socializing. Only Remus and Harry knew that for at least an hour every day, the pair was in their dorm, reading and practicing magic like crazy. Their brilliance was not a sham, but the ease of magic they had in the classroom and in the common room was in part due to that hard practice done out of sight.
Harry was on a different level altogether. James and Sirius were convinced that Harry was doing much the same as they were, but during the time in the morning when they were all asleep and Harry (who seemed to only sleep four or five hours a night) was awake. Remus, who often slept poorly because of the Curse, believed that Harry was so powerful because he could not yet imagine his limits.
Remus said nothing, in part out of pure friendship, and because Remus realized that sooner or later, Sirius and James could figure out his secret. They would then (drawing from his limited experience and his parents' fears) either put up a fuss or blackmail him. Having Harry as his friend would likely protect him from the former and help keep the payments low on the latter.
Remus still wondered if Harry might not betray him or blackmail him as well. After a month, however, he had decided that Harry would never betray him unless he had done something particularly vile to Harry first.
"Are you ready to do some flying?" Harry asked.
Remus nodded. "I don't think I'd want to be a Quidditch player or broom racer, but flying is more fun than I expected."
"I just wish First years could try out for Quidditch," Harry complained, not for the first time. "I think I could make Seeker, and James would have at least a shot at Chaser."
"Sirius is the most Quidditch-mad of the three of you," Remus said. "You don't think he could do it?"
"Sirius is a Beater, through-and-through," Harry answered. "He has the flying skills, but he needs to be a bit older and put on some muscle before he can out-beat the older students."
"Good point," Remus agreed, ignoring the four Unspeakables rushing past them.
Sunday, October 17, 1971
Harry paid the yelling girl at the entrance to the common room no mind as he read the old edition of Dark Lords Through the Ages. That was a mistake, as Lily Evans bent down next to Harry's left ear and screamed, "POTTER!"
"Arrrgh!" Harry screamed in turn as he fell out of his chair, to the collective giggles and chortles of many in the room. "What the bloody Merlin are you screeching about?" Harry frowned. "And since when do you call me 'Potter', Lily?" Harry added in a pout.
"Do you know what your no-good, immature, pranking arse of a brother and his clone did to me?"
Harry looked at Lily. "At a guess, they somehow turned your red- hair hot pink, except for your eyebrows, which are acidic green, and your eyelashes which are . . . some sort of. . . ."
"Okay. Why scream in my ear about it?" Harry asked, curious.
"This would take at least Third year charms and probably Fifth year finesse!" Lily claimed. "Do you think I should believe those two stooges could do that without your help?"
"Honestly, yes," Harry said. "Sirius is always too excitable, but they are both good researchers. When James wants to, he has quite the steady hand. In any event, I didn't do it."
"You promise, Harry?" Lily asked, calming down.
"Yes. Unless you do something to me, you don't have to worry about my pranking you," Harry said.
"Thank you," Lily said. "And I'm sorry I accused you and yelled in your ear."
Lily looked meek, unusual for her. "Can you cancel the spells?"
"Of course," Harry answered.
Lily looked at Harry, who looked back. After several seconds, Lily huffed and asked, "Would you PLEASE cancel the spells, Harry?"
"Of course," Harry said, saying the spell and waving his wand. Lily's auburn mane with red highlights appeared.
"Thank you," Lily said, stalking away and muttering about Potters in general.
"Are you sure you don't like her?" a Third year girl teased.
"I like her like a sister," Harry replied. The girl winced, knowing the only feelings less likely to lead to romance were revulsion and boredom.
Harry put off going back to his 'reading' (he had not only read the book in the future, but he and Hermione had done a new edition). Instead, Harry went back to eavesdropping on the Seventh year students, discussing magical politics.
Harry had not been surprised that none of the Death Eaters had turned themselves in, although he had hoped. He had been slightly surprised that none of those he had publicly exposed as being Death Eaters had been so much as brought in for questioning, at least according to Dumbledore, who was in a position to know. The only Death Eater exposed so far was a second mole in the Unspeakables -- and when she had been exposed the group had then stopped questioning the other members.
Harry was beginning to wonder if he had been brought to a slightly different universe than his own, one where the wizards were even more stupid and illogical than in his own. So far, checking as much as he could from Hogwarts, he could find no evidence to support that theory.
Harry smiled as he remembered the American historian he had seen once on a cable show in 2009, who had declaimed, "You can never underestimate the power of stupidity in setting the course of historical events." Harry felt he was in the middle of a prime example. He knew his presence had to have had some effect on Voldemort and his followers, but had no idea if his effects on wizarding Britain in general were good or bad.
At Hogwarts, things seemed a bit different at least. He knew that Bellatrix had not left Hogwarts early the last time, and that the departure of her and her three fellow future Death Eaters had sweetened the atmosphere in Slytherin. Eighteen of the Slytherins had actually joined the League, pointing out that ambition could be meritorious.
Harry had plenty of time to consider such things. The practical side of his classes were of course child's play, and the theoretical side was nearly as basic. Harry therefore was spending his time exercising and reading everything he could that was 'age-appropriate', magical and Muggle.
Harry was sad but not really surprised at how anti-Muggle wizarding literature and the related arts were. The Adventures of Martin Miggs, the Mad Muggle was only the tip of the iceberg. Everything, right down to 90% of the songs on the official WWN, were designed to remind the wizarding world that wizards were wonderful; Muggles were dangerous, duplicitous, and childish; and that other magical beings were irrelevant and should be subservient.
Harry wondered more and more if the British wizarding world was worth defending once Voldemort was gone.
Sunday, October 31, 1971
Albus Dumbledore worked hard. One thing he looked forward to was sleeping in on Sunday mornings. He would awaken at 7:30 and have a sweet breakfast in bed from 7:45-8:15.
Dumbledore was enjoying his third cup of dark hot chocolate when he heard a knock on his out chamber door. He sighed, and thought of the Poe poem. Albus sighed again and merely sent a bit of wandless magic to open the door.
A few seconds later, Filius Flitwick came in. Flitwick closed his eyes with a sigh for a moment, seeing the Headmaster in a stripped orange and violet nightgown and an open lime green dressing gown with dancing fiery red elephants. "Yes, Filius?"
"I thought you should know that there has been another letter sent out by the Order of Founders," Flitwick said.
Dumbledore frowned and looked around his bedroom.
"You would not have received one, Albus," Flitwick said gently.
"Why not?" Dumbledore asked, but he realized he already knew the answer as soon as he had asked the question.
"I would imagine that I was the only member of the teaching staff to get one, as I had a grandfather who was a goblin," Flitwick said. "Hagrid no doubt got one as well. No Pure-bloods, no Full- bloods, received this."
Dumbledore sighed again as he took the papers. The first page was filled with statistics, most drawn from studies put out by North American groups which opposed ancestry components in governments. As far as Dumbledore knew, their numbers were accurate, as they showed the breakdown of the membership of the British Ministry of Magic, and worse, showed the relative salaries. It was clear that no one not at least a minimal Full- blood could reach even a mid-grade position, other than with the aurors and hit wizards, and even there, there were none in the very top positions. It was also clear that no Pure-blood currently working for the Ministry had ever been hired at any of the five lowest pay scales, nor had any Full-blood been hired in the lowest three. For those with the same pay scales and years in grade, Pure-bloods averaged 18% higher salaries over average, Full-bloods 12%, despite the fact that the others usually had more total experience, because of their start in lower grades.
The next page again outlined the breakdown of how few Full-and- Pure-bloods there were, and then how their economic stranglehold was nearly as powerful as their political one.
Next came the actual letter.
In our last missive, we told all of the adults in magical Britain and Ireland who most of the known Death Eaters were. How many of them have been interrogated?
The Pure-blood Clique running the Ministry is protecting their own, even as the Death Eaters strive to destroy the Ministry.
Is this oxymoronic, or merely moronic?
Or is it treason?
The only Death Eater dealt with by the Government was an Unspeakable, and even she was caught only because our senior advisors had already caught and executed one other Marked Unspeakable/Death Eater and informed the Unspeakables there was at least one other in their ranks. They looked until they found one and apparently allowed her to commit suicide instead of questioning her correctly. If there was more than one, they chose not to look.
What does this tell us about the Death Eaters, their Master Tom Riddle/Voldemort, and the Government? It tells us that the Death Eaters and Government share the same basic common values. Both want those not of 'the best blood' to know their places. Both demand that beings who are not human or fully human who are both intelligent and magical have even fewer rights. One group controls all power and wants to keep you, the majority, disenfranchised from political, economical, and social power. The other group wants you dead or enslaved.
The choice your 'government' is giving you is fighting true evil and therefore tacitly accepting your own status of being an inferior or dying. They want you to fight to keep them in power, not because they care about you, but because the other side will treat you even worse than they do.
The solution is not for us to fight Riddle and his Death Eaters for you. We vow to end Riddle's life if we can, but will that really solve your problems, either with the Government oppression or with the Death Eaters who want to rule without even the minimal rules the Ministry follows?
Do NOT wait for us to solve your problems. You all have a wand, most of you know your magical neighbors. Band together, train together, plan together. Do not allow Voldemort and his bullies hurt you. If they attack, destroy them. The only one you would probably not be able to defeat is Riddle himself, who is a powerful sorcerer, who has also managed to enchant himself. You all know the three curses the Death Eaters will get away with using on you, but which the Ministry will punish you for using. Don't use those. If the Ministry tries to pass laws forbidding you to organize, forbidding you to protect yourselves and your families, then get rid of the Government as well.
The Founders will work hard to protect your children at Hogwarts from the remaining Pure-blood extremists there, and from the minor Pure-blood prejudices of some of the staff. The Order will eliminate any bearing the Dark Mark we come across.
YOU must decide what kind of magical world you want you and your family to live in. One dominated by a few old families, or one where merit may win out, at least in Government.
Some might worry that we are trying to provoke civil war, or at least civil disobedience. At this point, we do not recommend either. It is the Ministry who will determine everyone's next step, not us, not you, not even Tom Riddle. Will they put most of their efforts into capturing Riddle's Death Eaters, cutting off the flow of tribute which support him and his? Or will they put their investigators on to us? Or will they react by issuing new decrees, attempting to keep all of you in your 'proper place' -- under the thumb of the small faction of Pure-bloods?
Time will tell.
The Order of Founders
Dumbledore couldn't help himself. He sighed.
Voldemort silently burnt the copy of the letter which had been left for him. Part of him was outraged, but still, he realized the letter was correct. He had succeeded as much as he had because the Ministry was corrupt, incompetent, and filled with those who had some sympathy for his message if not the violence. The next move was up to the Ministry. He could only hope it would maintain its long record of doing the wrong thing.