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Inheritance

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Unto Peregrine Merriweather, Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, does Lord Harry Potter send greetings.

Sir, it is my intention to assume the long-vacant seat on the Wizengamot which has long been held by the Potter family. I hereby appoint myself to that position, and look forward to attending the next session of the Wizengamot as a member of that august body.

With thanks for your time and service,

Harry James Potter

Lord Potter-Black

 


 

The Wizengamot chamber was full of conversation and chatter. The session had yet to formally start, but all the various members were starting to take their seats on the tiered benches around the central debating floor. The rumour that Harry Potter would be joining them was one of the main topics of discussion, with the conservative faction taking the time to express their dismay that this person, little more than a child, would presume to have a right to sit amongst them, and the progressives simply curious to see what his plans might be.

News of the outcomes of Harry's most recent visit to Gringotts had, of course, spread through the families of the seven Houses affected, but they were trying very hard to keep it from spreading further. That they had been so easily targeted in such an attack was something of a mark of shame for them, and since they would have their revenge soon enough, no need to share the information any further than was absolutely necessary.

Lucius Malfoy, in particular, was sitting on the front bench and quietly stewing in his anger. He had escaped any time in Azkaban, mostly by testifying against every person whose name he could remember, and his late defection during the Battle of Hogwarts. But now, to have Potter, the boy who had caused him so much trouble over the years, to cut off his access to the vault that was his by every right, and then to show his face not just in public, but in the Wizengamot, was a step too far.

 

The heavy doors swung open, and the buzz of conversation briefly stopped. Harry Potter, in his plum-coloured Wizengamot robes, stepped into the chamber. The decoration on his robes, especially the embroidery, was somewhat less subtle than those around him. Where the usual fashion was to have the silver embroidered W as a relatively small affair on the left chest, just enough to fulfill the formal requirements, Potter had gone for something approximately three times the size, surrounded by filigree containing the joined sigils of Houses Potter and Black. He carried a small leather briefcase, filled with many sheets of parchment, also embossed with that combined sigil.

He glanced around for a moment, and seeing that the Chief Warlock's seat was thus far unoccupied, he stepped over to where Neville Longbottom was sitting, in his own brand new Wizengamot robes, and smiled at his friend, whispering something to him quietly. Neville had gone for a much more understated look, and instead of waiting until the chamber was nearly full to make a grand entrance, had quietly slipped in about half an hour previous.

Unfortunately, one flow-on effect from Harry's late, dramatic arrival is that all of the good seats (being those on the lower benches, right next to the debating floor) were taken, and he had to climb all the way up to the back row, on the narrow steps in between benches. He would get a good view, at least, but it might get harder to make his voice heard from up here.

As he settled onto his place on the benches, the doors of the chamber opened again, and the Chief Warlock, along with several assistants, lackeys, and hangers-on, stepped into the chamber, and immediately took his place at the podium-equipped seat reserved for him.

 

"I hereby call to order this session of the Honourable and Potent Council of Wizards in Wizengamot Assembled in the name of the Minister of Magic." As he began the formal proclamation of the start of the session, the room quieted again, apart from the usual background hum of people not actually stopping their conversations. "The Council recognises two new members today. First, Neville Longbottom, as de facto Lord Longbottom, has assumed the seat previously occupied by Algernon Longbottom. Secondly, Harry Potter, as Lord Potter-Black, has assumed the long-fallow Potter seat on the Wizengamot. We wish them both well in their new responsibilities and exhort wise caution in all things." This was delivered in something just above a bored monotone, the sound of begrudgingly accepted formalities.

Harry could feel all eyes on him as his introductions were made. He had been planning some big speech at this point, establishing his intentions for his time on the Wizengamot, had even started writing it with Hermione's help, but older and more politically experienced voices had prevailed, and instead he sat quietly, just watching the proceedings for now.

After a pause for the hubbub of conversation about the announcement to die down, the Chief Warlock continued, "Our first order of business is the proposed amendments to the legal definitions surrounding certain classes of Dark Artefacts, as set out in the Dangerous Items Act of 1836. I call on the bill's sponsor, Lucius, Lord Malfoy, to speak on the matter."

Lucius Malfoy stood up, and bowed to the wizard seated at his podium. "My lord Chief Warlock, Witches and Wizards of the Wizengamot, for many years now, the stigma against certain types of magic has been an unfair burden on wizarding society, especially on those older families whose ancestral homes are filled with heirlooms and artefacts of generations past, now deemed to be of the wrong kind of magic. Some have called us callous, dangerous, immoral, simply for wishing to hold onto that which is rightfully ours. This bill would resolve this matter, in a way which I think we can all agree is quite fair."

One of the wizards on Harry's side of the chamber got to his feet, bowing to the Chief Warlock. "My friends, one thing we must remember in all of this is that, with no comment on the qualities of the individuals and families who might possess such items, we still have a great number of items which pose a real danger."

"There is no danger, surely. They're kept securely away in places not generally accessible, and thus unlikely to endanger anyone who wasn't trespassing. Unless you were making insinuations about some of the oldest and most respected families? Why should long-treasured family heirlooms be forfeit, simply because of the magic they were once imbued with?"

 

Harry couldn't keep silent any longer. He shot to his feet, marching down the stairs to the debating floor. "Mister Malfoy, I think we all know why you want this. Your house is just brimming with dark magic, that you've managed to hide. I'm sure your vault at Gringotts is the same, hmm?" He grinned as he stepped towards the much taller wizard.

"First of all, you impudent child, this is not how debates are done in the Wizengamot, personal attacks are neither permitted nor seemly. Secondly, you will address me as Lord Malfoy. Thirdly, the contents of my house and vault are none of your concern. The Wizengamot has cleared me of any of the crimes of which you seem to think me guilty."

Harry opened his briefcase, talking even as he looked away from Malfoy to find one of the documents inside. "First of all," he imitated, "if personal attacks are not permitted then I'll thank you not to call me an impudent child. Secondly, you will address me as Lord Malfoy, Lucius. Thirdly, the contents of your house and vault are very much my concern." He finally found the parchment he was looking for, which he handed to Malfoy.

Lucius read it. His fealty oath to the Dark Lord. The legal citations of wizarding inheritance and such oaths. His face went pale. After a moment's pause, he threw the page to the ground, and stepped on it. "If you think this disrespect will be tolerated, Potter, then you have a lot to learn."

 

Turning to the Chief Warlock and ignoring Malfoy, Harry said, "My lord, as the inheritor of the Malfoy estates and titles, I revoke the assignment of the seat currently occupied by Lucius Malfoy." He stepped over, and placed another sheet of parchment on the podium, bearing confirmation of his inheritance of the seat.

He turned back to Malfoy, briefly frozen on the spot. "Now then, Mister Malfoy. It's my understanding that, when the Wizengamot is in session, the chamber is forbidden to everyone but those who hold seats on the Council, yes?" He glanced at the Chief Warlock. "I believe the rules on it are rather strict, in fact."

Snapping out of his shock suddenly, Malfoy stepped towards Harry. "I see. And tell me, who is to take my place on the Council, hm? Are we to see another one of your little friends here, insulting the assembly with their behaviour? Perhaps Miss Granger, with her Muggle blood, would suit your tastes?" He glanced around at his supporters, who seemed to find the ridiculousness of such a suggestion rather amusing.

"Oh, she will be joining us in the Wizengamot, yes, but not for your seat. Out of respect for your views on the nature of magical blood," Harry gave a deep, sarcastic bow, "I will of course be filling your seat with the head of an old and respectable wizarding family." A pause, for effect. "Arthur Weasley. I believe you're familiar with him?"

"Weasley?! He's little better than a Muggle!"

"Perhaps. But when you are standing in this hallowed chamber, to which you no longer have any right, I would thank you not to insult my friends. As he once told you, we have very different ideas of what disgraces the name of wizard." Harry turned to walk away, back to his seat.

 

"My lord Chief Warlock!" A wizard Harry didn't recognise, who had been sitting next to Lucius, had shot to his feet. "I call for the immediate expulsion of Mister Potter, who is clearly just here just to cause chaos."

"Lord Potter-Black, I believe the right of reply is yours." The Chief Warlock sat back, rubbing at his temples quietly.

Harry looked his accuser over, noting that Lucius Malfoy had yet to actually withdraw from the room. "Well, sir, I must say I'm being rather unfairly misjudged. I have no interest in chaos, I am simply asserting certain rights which are mine, with the goal of ensuring a peaceful and fair world."

"Yes yes, very high-minded, and I'm sure you believe yourself. But that doesn't excuse this ridiculous behaviour. If you have any respect for our traditions, you'll leave before we have you thrown out." The wizard looked to the Chief Warlock for support.

Harry straightened up, staring straight at the wizard. "Your name, sir?"

"Alexander Macnair."

A dangerous grin appeared on Harry's face. "Ah, a relative of the late Walden Macnair?"

A nod. "My father. I inherited the estate after his passing."

"Hmm." Harry shook his head. "I'm afraid that, by that point, the estate was no longer legally your father's to give. That is to say, he had given it already." He looked through his briefcase again, finding a sheet of parchment much like the one he had given to Malfoy, and this time gave it to Macnair. Then, he turned back to the Chief Warlock. "My lord Chief Warlock, I had hoped to leave this for a little while longer, but it seems my presence is too greatly resented by a certain faction here for any inaction."

As he stepped up to the podium, he placed another sheet of parchment in front of the Chief Warlock. "These are the seats legally under my control, and the assignments I wish to make for them, effective immediately. I request a short recess, so that those who are no longer part of this Council may be removed from the chamber, and the new members brought in."

Reading over the list, the Chief Warlock's eyes went wide. " You control all these seats?"

"Yes, sir." He placed another sheet of parchment next to the first. "The records of transfer, notarised by the Head Goblin of Gringotts himself."

He sighed. "Very well." A finger traced the list as he went through the long array of seats. "All representatives claiming allegiance to Houses Malfoy, Mulciber, Macnair, Carrow, Avery, Crabbe, and Goyle, I am afraid I must inform you that your positions here have been revoked. There will be a one hour pause in this session of the Wizengamot."

As the Chief Warlock rose, and quickly made to leave the chamber, the assembled Council erupted in outraged yelling. Given the amount by which he was outnumbered by people he had just seriously insulted, Harry followed quickly behind.

 

Outside the chamber, and down a side corridor, Harry leant against a wall, running his hands through his hair. He really had planned to leave all of the big dramatic moves until at least his second session, but seeing Malfoy so smugly self-satisfied with the laws he could get into the Council, he had just gotten so angry, and then one thing had led to another, and now he'd laid half his cards on the table all at once.

Oh well. He'd have to put the call out, he needed reinforcements, and he needed them now.