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PW&GCBC, Ch 1, Part C (last part of chapter) - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
PW&GCBC, Ch 1, Part C (last part of chapter)




‘For most of its existence, the (imperial, that is, union) Wizengamot and its predecessors at Winchester (formerly, at Avebury), at Falkland, at Machynlleth (formerly, at Caerleon), and at Tara of the Kings, included the Lords Spiritual, ex officio, as members. The Moot is in this as in many regards different to its Muggle counterpart at Westminster and that parliament’s predecessors, in that its members have always tended to represent certain interests without regard to geographical constituencies, and no Reform Acts have been felt desirable. Hogwarts School has always had its own members; the University did and now does again; there are members elected by St Mungo’s Hospital, by the various Guilds and Livery Companies, and so on. This was not changed, but was, rather, reaffirmed as well as judiciously reformed, in the post-insurrection Settlement.


‘It is with that Settlement that, rather to the shock of many, Wizard-born and Muggle-born alike, that the Lords Spiritual reappeared on the benches of the Moot.


‘There had been brief periods in the past when all or most of the clergy had been non-jurors in one or another sense, or had withdrawn from the arena wholly: the Peverel – Peverell – Peverill Rebellions, beginning with that of the third William Peverel of Bolsover Castle (the first William Peverel was a half-Saxon bastard of William the Bastard’s – or, “the Conqueror’s” – getting), were one such instance, as were the Gaunt-Swynford-Beaufort feud, the resultant York – Lancaster Wizarding War, and the Whig – Jacobite Blood Struggle, for more on which, see these notes on the Statute of Secrecy 1692.


‘The Whig – Jacobite Blood Struggle, as an extension of yet another feud within the ruling house, itself caused horrific political upheaval in the Moot, and it was in effect a Rump Wizengamot that sat from 1692 until 1807, when, with the death of Henry 9th and 1st of the House of Stuart, a number of secular members accepted George 4th (“and 1st”) as his tanist and were reconciled to the Hanoverian Succession. (It has been said that this factor alone, with or without the absence of the clerical estate, was what left the American Wizards independent whether they wished to be or not. As is well known, the Statute of Secrecy, by its mere existence, long stifled the rationalisation of Wizarding borders and governments, which even now do not comport with Muggle bounds and political reality on the ground.)


‘It was, however, the Statute of Secrecy as such that occasioned the removal of the Lords Spiritual from the Moot, just as it was the Statute of Secrecy that led to the closing of Domdaniel (although its organisational continuity was preserved by the self-perpetuation of the Fellows of Paracelsus as a body corporate) and very nearly put paid to Hogwarts School as well. The clergy, to a Wizard, refused to accept the Statute of Secrecy, on the grounds that it amounted to a capitulation to the “pureblood” extremist faction and was, moreover, an unconscionable abandonment of mutual discourse, aid, and charity as regarded our Muggle neighbours. As a body, they left the Moot, and, as a body, the rump of the Moot declared them as having been deprived of membership in perpetuity.


‘It came as a shock to even the most historically-learned Wizards and Witches when, hard upon the Great Victory, and immediately upon the new constitutional settlement’s being adopted, the Great Ledger was seen to update itself and summonsing owls were magically despatched with letters patent of election to Wizards whose very existence was largely unknown to the Wizarding World, or to Wizards who were, if they were known, accounted as being of little importance. The shock was redoubled when, at the next sitting, some 102 Wizards appeared at the bar of the Moot in response, and revealed themselves as the long-absent Lords Spiritual of the main religious bodies of Great Britain and Ireland, ranging from the Bishop of Salisbury (and Wizarding Archbishop of Wessex and Primate of All Britain) to the Chief Rabbi. In addition to those who were Muggle clergy, the Wizarding clerics and prelates included Wizards who passed amongst Muggles as farm labourers, physicians, gardeners, dons, solicitors, a Tory MP, writers, journalists, Writers to the Signet, barristers, farmers, fishermen, gentlemen of leisure – amazingly, a few yet remain in the Muggle world – trades union leaders, Naval officers, Army officers, one retired member of the England cricket side and official of the MCC, shopkeepers, bankers, butchers, two Other Ranks, a dispensing chemist, a thatcher, a plumber, and several hereditary peers. All had, in keeping with the traditions of the Cunning Men, lived and made their way amongst and amidst the Muggles, aiding them on the sly and helping to protect them from the worst of the past half-century’s Wizarding disasters and upheavals.


‘If nothing else, the Wizarding World may congratulate itself upon the strength of its charms and spells. As is true of the appearance that Hogwarts presents to passing Muggles, the churches and cathedrals of Wizard-dom are thought even by the most perceptive Muggles – such poets as Wordsworth, such painters as Turner – to be mere ruin’d choirs where late the sweet birds sang. Fountains, Rievaulx, Cambuskenneth, Tintern, Kirkham, Killone, Lindores, and a thousand others, reveal themselves only to Wizarding eyes in their continued and undiminished splendour, in the same way as in which Dunfermline and Linlithgow, Wallingford and Corfe, are reserved to the wonder and awe of the Wizarding Court….’


Harry’s first weeks after the Victory had, Percy reflected, been febrile, let alone hectic.  With the rest of the Order and the DA, he’d been conscripted into rebuilding their world, called by writ to the Moot and given what amounted to a battlefield commission as an Auror (mere NEWTS and mere training could come later, and had done, as well as a Domdaniel MMA), and chivvied from pillar to post.  It had been Harry who had participated with Kingsley in the Great Clean-Out and the interrogations, who had broken to Dean Thomas (and to Seamus, who would not leave Dean’s side) the truth of Dean’s parentage and the murder of Dean’s father by Death Eaters.  In the years since, he and Ron had overseen the transformation of the Aurors into a true armed force of unsurpassed loyalty to the Crown and people, arranging with Hermione for the rump of the old DMLE to take on the role of a truly professional police force, even as Harry and Ron had transcended both responsibilities.  The hereditaries and the Lords Spiritual sat in the Moot with the rest of the now elected members, but might adjourn into their own Grand Committee, as a sort of upper house, and this was, everyone discreetly refused to admit, a coup of Kingsley’s, appearing to grant the old guard Hedgers a sop whilst actually assuring that Harry – sole heir to the ancient families of Black and Potter alike – could never get shed of serving, as he would have done had he been under the unrelished necessity of standing for election.  In addition, of course, given the sympathies of the Lords Spiritual, no possible combination of Hedgers, hereditary and elected both, could ever command a majority for passage of anything darkly stupid.


Naturally, it had also fallen to Harry to negotiate a new concordat with the Goblins (and the other Magical Beings as well, to be sure).  Harry was no diplomat – far from it – yet this had not told against him: rather to the contrary, in fact.  For the first week after the victory, those in the know had lain awake of nights, dreading a new Goblin Rising, and one in which the Goblins had some claim of right.  Yet in the end, things had resolved themselves rather better than anyone had had the right to expect.  Harry had apologised for the deceptions to which he had been driven, but made clear to the Goblins the exigencies that had done the driving, and sketched out briefly what the consequences of Tom Riddle’s victory should have been to the Goblins and all other non-human beings.  And with all the bluff honesty of a Gryffindor – and his Slytherin side well to the fore – Harry had found an acceptable formula that allowed both sides to save face.  He had pointed out that few Wizards were capable of wandless magic, which all Goblins naturally commanded, but ‘if the Brotherhood lot want to use crutches when they can run, that’s their lookout’, he supposed, and in any case, that was an internal matter for the Goblins to decide.  He then went on to note that Griphook, to whom he had always been unfailingly respectful, had been acting more as a member of the Brotherhood of Goblins than as a loyal servant of Gringotts and Goblindom when the crisis came, and, well….  The result had been something all sides could wear: a Gringotts representative on the Moot and at the Treasury, Moot seats for directly-elected Goblins if the Goblins so chose (and similar arrangements for other Magical Beings, which all but assured that the Goblins would not so choose), a Wizarding seat on the Gringotts board, at Deputy Director level, and a general amnesty on all sides that united in blaming rogue elements of the Brotherhood for the late tensions.


Old Ragnok might privately continue to resent Wizards generally and Harry especially, and sympathise with the Brotherhood’s aims and views, but in public, at least, his conduct, and that of the Goblin nation, was irreproachable.  No one, after all, argued with the Master of the Hallows.  The Resurrection Stone was said to be lost, and the Elder Wand to sleep in the folded hands of Albus Dumbledore in the White Tomb, but those who had eyes to see and ears to hear had also wit to realise that, if the Sword of Gryffindor had the power to appear where it listed, how much more did the Hallows.  And never before – not when Albus himself had held the Cloak in care and wielded the Wand of Doom – never had the Hallows been united under one Master who was, as well, the heir of the Brothers Peverell.  Percy, like most of the upper echelons of the magical world, human and nonhuman alike, had more than a suspicion that all three of the Hallows, whether Harry liked it or not, would appear in Harry’s hand and on his person when needed, as much as Godric’s blade would jump to the hand of any true Gryffindor who was in want of it.


Thus, hither and thither dividing the swift mind, did the husband of faithful Penelope call upon his cunning.  Save that, Percy rather glumly reflected, he was decidedly not the crafty Odysseus Laertides, beloved of Athena, of cunning mind.  For what after all had he done in the war and after?  He had spurned his family for nothing worth, for mere place and preferment, and his repentance had come very late.  Too late, for Fred, at least, and for his own relations with Fred.  He had then spent months on end trying to make himself into a twin-simulacrum for George, an inferior facsimile of Fred: until, one day, in the shop, George had hugged him, rib-crackingly, with tears in his eyes and his voice, and thanked him even as he broke it to him that he needed Percy to be Percy, and that it was time that he and George both accepted Fred’s death and moved on.


No, Percy mused, Penelope’s husband he might now be, but cunning Odysseus he was not.  And it was simply ludicrous that the faceless handful who had drawn him into this wilderness of mirrors should have named him –


‘Agent Ithaca.’


Percy whirled ’round, wand in hand.  His interlocutor did not so much as react.


‘And you are?’  Percy had long since given over trying to distinguish the mysterious ones who had claimed his loyalty.  That this person, voice and body unidentifiable, was one of his new masters, was not in doubt: Harry and Bill had themselves warded his office and his house, and no one save the presumed Unspeakables for whom he was risking it at the sharp end, could have had a hope of appearing here unremarked.


‘Today?  You may call me “Argos”, Agent Ithaca.  Have you anything to report?’


‘As I have reported,’ said Percy, with some asperity, ‘I have not.  Cauldrons continue to be imported and passed for sale and distribution, or consigned to ministerial departments or to Gringotts, that pass or exceed all standards.  Yes, including the thickness of the bottoms, before you throw that up.’  Percy had never told anyone the roots of his obsession regarding cauldron safety standards.  Even Penny knew only that his boggart was Snape, berating him and threatening his prefect’s status, over a Potions mishap; he had never elaborated that the cause, in his boggart-vision, was a faulty cauldron.  ‘They meet all standards.  The cauldron-bottoms are magically inert and harmless, and, if anything, above standard for strength and thickness.  The sides –’


‘I believe we may dispense with the side, Ithaca.  As to the cauldron-bottoms, I am in a position to tell you that we have intercepted a suspect shipment and verified the composition.  It is not something the Ministry would think to look for.  Between two thin plates of lesser metal, which ones depending on grade, the bottoms are made of solid gold.  Alchemical gold, I may add.’


‘G- what?  But why?  Why would anyone smuggle alchemical gold into this country, in these quantities?’


‘That’s rather your task to find out, Ithaca.  I cannot say you’ve done impressively well in carrying out that task.’


‘Now, see here –’


The occulted figure waved his protest aside.  ‘Sadly, we’ve no choice but to add to your tasks.  Perhaps this, at least, will not be beyond your capacities, such as they are.  There appears to be a group of Wizards – most or all of them, apparently, what were formerly called “purebloods” – who are interested in this gold.  No, we are reasonably certain that they are not the ones smuggling it in: they seem to be planning to despoil the spoilers.  You will be receiving – and you will be accepting – an invitation to join them.  They too seem to have learnt the merits of disguise, which is rather more than Riddle’s rabble ever managed to do.  They are rumoured to go by false names as well: ones drawn from the Matter of Britain.  You are not to waste time on their identities: you are to assist them in tracing the smugglers.  When they are ready to pounce, then and only then will you warn us.  In the interim, we will meet with you when it’s wanted: do not attempt to make contact with us.  I, or Sparta, or Pylos, will be in touch as needed.  I strongly advise you not to wonder even in your thoughts about Mycenæ or Crete: they’ve much more important things to do than hold your hand.’


And without so much as a civility, the Wizard who called himself ‘Agent Argos’ vanished.


Not far away, the group to whom Argos had referred – the ‘group of Wizards – most or all of them, apparently, what were formerly called “purebloods” – who are interested in this gold’ – was awaiting him.  They had not to wait long.  Within five minutes of leaving Percy, Draco Malfoy – the whilom ‘Argos’ – strolled negligently into the room, smirk firmly affixed, and seated himself at the round table.


‘Coventina.  Gwen.  My lords and gentlewizards.’


‘Well – “Sir Gareth”?’


Draco chuckled.  ‘He has his orders.  Or bait, if you prefer.  Send the ever-prefect-like Percy an owl, and we’ll have our “Sir Bors” here at this Table Round, with his bum sat in the rather broiling Siege Perilous at that, within the hour.  Frightfully easy to manipulate, Gryffindors.’


The senior members of the group, who were known within it as ‘Ambrose’ and ‘Aurelian’, simply looked at him without speaking, even as the lady called Coventina despatched a summons to Percy Weasley.  Malfoy blushed and ducked his head.  ‘He’ll be here.  End of report – sir.


‘Much better,’ said Aurelian.  ‘As you were, then.’


‘Although what the Fisher King will make of it all,’ said Malfoy, mutinously, ‘I don’t care to think.’


The youngest member of the group laughed.  ‘I’m sure Ambrose and Aurelian will manage him.’


‘Thank you, Galahad. That will suffice.’


A few miles away, Percy, his face white and set, was watching a dot on the skyline that was swiftly approaching and resolving itself into the form of an owl.

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7 comments or Leave a comment
eagles_rock From: eagles_rock Date: December 2nd, 2007 11:53 am (UTC) (Link)

'I'm Sparta!" "No, I'm Sparta!"

Fantastic - wheels within wheels indeed.

And hilarious - I had imagined purebloods in togas sniffing pixie dust off each other's bottoms before the commencement of Serious Rogering; Draco having been inducted by his dad, and Narcissa sorting out their togas before they leave the Manor of an evening. Molly and 'The Girls' arriving later to knit vibrators while Persian cats play at their feet.

But then I see you have Sensible Women involved. But no matter, it still looks terrific. I'm a Percy fan post-Hallows and you've made him a lovely modest bloke. I liked the Dean backstory too.

'You may call me Argos' is a great line.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: December 2nd, 2007 06:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes, well. Serious Women cure everything, I find.

Thank you. I cherish your faith in me.
From: tree_and_leaf Date: December 2nd, 2007 10:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Intriguing stuff. I'm afraid poor Percy may be in for a rather trying time.... I look forward to the next installment.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: December 2nd, 2007 10:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you.

And no sooner asked than answered.
From: tree_and_leaf Date: December 2nd, 2007 10:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you.

I am most greatly obliged.
themolesmother From: themolesmother Date: December 3rd, 2007 05:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mmm, intriguing. I eagerly await the next installment.

wemyss From: wemyss Date: December 3rd, 2007 05:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

Merci, ma belle.

7 comments or Leave a comment