Chapter 26 : A brief lesson in Semantics
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DISCLAIMER: DO YOU THINK JKR OR WARNER BROTHERS WOULD SUE ME IF I FORGOT TO ADD A DISCLAIMER? DON’T YOU THINK THEY HAVE ENOUGH MONEY ALREADY?
A BRIEF LESSON IN SEMANTICS
It had taken Harry longer than he had expected to evade Hermione and Ron after dinner. Ron had taken it upon himself to act as if he were the teacher, handing out punishments to any Slytherin he passed, a fact Harry had continually reminded Ron of was that he really didn’t have authority to take points or hand out detentions, even if he was subbing for the week.
The only good thing was that Hermione was against it as well and soon she and Ron delved into a screaming contest at the base of the stairwell. Which was good for Harry since he slipped away without either of them noticing until he was well out of sight.
Currently Harry was sitting on the edge of the roof nearest to the astronomy tower, not really sure if this was the point of the vague ‘roof’ that was written in the note.
“Good Evening, Mr. Potter,” the calculating voice of Shaylee announced as she appeared to his right, not even a small pop had announced her arrival.
Harry turned towards her trying to mask his small jump; from her smirk he wasn’t successful. “Hey.”
“Hay is for horses, or so the saying goes, Mr. Potter,” Shaylee said shaking her hair out. “However, you humans or non-humans as the case may be have lost any and all real manners centuries ago.”
“Yes, because demanding the appearance of someone with no explanation or advance notice, or semblance of a please, is the epitome of good manners,” Harry said sarcastically. “What is so important that I am summoned like some lowly peasant?”
“Would that make me a queen in that simile?” Shaylee asked humorously.
“Only in your own mind,” Harry said crossing his arms.
“We shall discuss what we have come to discuss when the others arrive, they are dreadfully slow, almost at a death crawl really,” Shaylee said leaning casually against the ledge dusting off the small piece of lint she found on her black leggings.
“I’ve found death to be quick and sudden, so I don’t think that quite works describing their pace,” Harry said observing the eldest vampire of the Vampire Council as he wondered to himself how he got into situations like this.
“In human terms, yes, in immortal terms, no, however that would be a debate of semantics and not the reason we have come tonight, perhaps another time,” she said looking over her other garments, “Have you ever noticed that lint seems to be especially attracted to black? A lint repelling spell would be appreciated, but your human companions in this world never develop anything truly useful, especially wizards, only 15 new spells and potions are created a year.” She said frowning.
“Really?” Harry said frowning himself, “That’s not very high at all.”
“No, it’s really not, wizards are content, not really seeing a need to expand and create,” Dartanian said as he appeared a few feet away. “However, Shaylee, I don’t believe we are here to discuss your displeasure in Wizards’ creativity.”
“Perhaps not, on the other hand, it would be a far more interesting conversation then the one we are here to have,” Shaylee said in a bored manner.
“That is in the eye of the beholder, I find it interesting,” LaLaine chimed in appearing near Shaylee.
“Yet another segue into a debate on semantics,” Harry said rolling his eyes, “Conversing with you is likely to bring on a headache.”
“To true,” Shaylee said lifting herself effortlessly onto the ledge behind her and crossing her legs, “I find myself consuming quite a bit of headache remedies after extended conversations with my counterparts.”
A sudden pop and a startled scream attracted Harry’s attention, however, no one appeared where he had thought the origin of the scream had started.
Shaylee sighed in an annoyed fashion, “Looks like Germ-y missed the roof…”
“Give him some latitude Shay,” Dar said in a placating tone, “He’s young, he’ll learn.”
“Oh yes, I shouldn’t be too hard on the boy, after all, it’s such a small roof, it’s practically impossible to accurately land on,” Shaylee said sarcastically. “One would be hard-pressed to find him responsible for his incompetence, completely unaccountable for it.”
Dar rolled his eyes before looking towards Harry, “Jeremiah, is only 500, the Guardians of the Covens decided some fresh blood was necessary, they petitioned Shay—The Council,” he frowned slightly after his slight slip, “to try Jeremiah as a replacement for Patrick, before deciding whether or not to resurrect Patrick.”
“Resurrect him?” Harry asked uncertainly.
“Indeed, Shaylee has the knowledge of how to bring him back, it unfortunately happens every couple hundred years,” LaLaine said looking over the ledge, “ I don’t think he’s going to work out though, he didn’t re-transform when he missed… there’s a Jeremy sized indentation in the ground down there and he looks to be in quite some pain.”
“How do you bring him back? Isn’t he dead?” Harry asked pushing down the thought of any hope of perhaps being able to bring someone else back.
“Old magick, using Crystals, making copies of our souls in which our true souls seek out when they are released from their bodily restraints,” Shaylee said boredly, “A magick your kind has long lost. One just needs to find a body for the soul to occupy.”
Harry nodded to himself knowing he couldn’t replicate the process for his own use, “And where do you get this body?”
“Magical reconstruction,” West said appearing to the right of Dar, “Using the ashes of his old body, Shaylee uses different plants, oils, and magical salves—that she refuses to share the name of, and basically re-grows his body over the course of two weeks, all I know is Mercurial Waters are some how involved.”
“Welcome West, did you get lost? Or are you really as slow as molasses on a winter day?” Shaylee said scowling slightly at West, either for how slow he was or for his explanation Harry couldn’t tell. “Well,” she continued on not allowing West to respond, “Perhaps we can get on with why we’ve come?”
“Shouldn’t we wait for Jeremiah?” LaLaine asked pensively.
“If he was inept enough to miss such a large target he deserves to miss the conversation,” Shaylee said hotly, “Now Mr. Potter, we are here to discuss this horrible position you and my counterparts have gotten us into.”
“Er… what position?” Harry frowned to himself.
“ The world summit, of course,” Shaylee said crossing her arms, “We are in a position of how we are to react to one another at the summit. It could very well decide the course of the future and the role we play.”
“You plan on attending?” Harry frowned thinking of the bloodshed of that encounter.
“Of course, it is written in the ‘Pact of Merlin’ that all official World summits are to be open to all members of the Magical Community. And as allies of yours we are magically bound to attend in support of our alliance.” Dar said frowning, “Are you not schooled in the ways of the old? Have the magical laws of the wizarding society changed that drastically?”
“I really wouldn’t know, I’m not interested in politics,” Harry said uncaring, however, the wary looks he received made him slightly worried.
“Mr. Potter, you are aware of some politics, correct?” LaLaine asked cautiously.
“Only that most, if not all, politicians are liars and cheaters, and are only out for themselves,” Harry said shrugging.
“We meant of the process, not the people,” Shay said looking interested for the first time since she landed on the roof.
“Well I know the basic concept, well at least the muggle British legal system, I learned about it in Primary school, and the news, how different can the magical one be?” Harry said frowning slightly at the abashed looks he received in response.
“Mr. Potter perhaps you should sit,” West said looking just like Hermione right before she would break into a large lecture on how mistaken Harry was on a subject. Fortuitously, Shay, had as little want of a lecture on the legal system as Harry did.
“West, I neither have the desire or need to sit here wasting time on the intricacies of the magical legal system, a brief overview of what he should expect will suffice,” Shay said jumping from the ledge and magically propelling herself within meters of where Harry was standing.
“Harry, and I call you that because this formality everyone is using is starting to bore me,” Shay said sighing to herself, “As you know your government… well with your allegiance to the Americans perhaps I should clarify, the British Government of the Magical Community, is to hold a World Summit in two days time—“
“Two days? I thought they were still in talks about it, it wasn’t in the Prophet,” Harry asked in a confused tone.
“Yes, two days, the Wizards wish to limit those they’ve labeled as ‘Magical Creatures’ in attending, contrary to their wishes Merlin, Hectate, Morgan le Fay, and Freyja foresaw the trickery of future generations and set precautions for such events, we are alerted as soon as the Summit is set, and we ‘creatures’ have quicker ways of travel than the mere humans,” Shay looked rather smug which made Harry believe her.
“Merlin had help?” Harry asked unable to picture the greatest wizard needing help, no history book ever mentioned him requiring help that he’s come across, and his wizard card didn’t attribute anything to teamwork.
“Palla!” Shay said in disgust, “Wizarding culture, cutting out people in history merely because it doesn’t fit their ideals.” She glared at West for a minute daring him almost to disagree, he knew better. “Excuse my language, but yes, He had help. His panel of adjudicators, Hecate; Morgan Le Fay, and Freyja were instrumental with many of his accomplishments. Merlin had the talent but he wasn’t all powerful as your society portrays him. Morgan le Fay was just and good until she was tricked and fell into dark magic that caused her to become insane, I’m sure you’ve heard of some of her deeds. Hecate was the logical one, always off to the side, and was able to see things clearly, until she was drawn by power and convinced the muggles she was a goddess. And finally, Freyja was Merlin’s love, she had the brains, she wrote all of the treaties. She wrote the pact of Merlin. Freyja was pulled into Germany in the 14th century and was taken by some wizard or another, Merlin searched for her until the day he died.”
“However, this is not what we were discussing,” Shay said composing herself, “In two days time the Summit will be held at the British Ministry in the Wizenmagot.”
“You as a holder of a seat are required to attend, possibly, some of your classmates will as well if they are the heirs of a seat, though they are not required too, and for them it shall be quite boring since heirs are not really permitted to speak unless their House seat holder allows them to, and it’s a rarity for that to occur.” Dar said frowning, “And, you will see that most if not all those who attend are males of a family, there is an obscure rule that woman must hand over their seat to a male heir if one is available.”
“That doesn’t seem right,” Harry said pensively already seeing Hermione forming a new club to protest such bigotry in the political system.
“It is the way it has been since the start of the wizarding world, and until the wizarding world changes, it will stay that way,” LaLaine said in a passing tone, “We were lucky, we found someone to lead us that doesn’t conform to male standards.” She smiled at Shaylee, as did Dar although his was more of a smirk than the respectful smile LaLaine held.
“She doesn’t conform to any standard, not even her own,” Dar said laughing, “So will we be acknowledging your presence at the summit?”
They all looked expectantly at Harry, “Er…”
“Look, we have three choices, we act as though we’ve never met before, and keep our alliance a secret; We act friendly and announce our alliance and deal with those who would oppose it; We act as enemies and draw out your aggressors.” Shay said pulling out a nail file and drawing it slowly against her long painted fingernails.
Harry frowned, “Listen, I’m not really a ‘planner’ I usually fly by the seat of my pants, so whatever you want to do is fine by me.”
The Council members seemed unsteady with this announcement looking uncertainly around at each other, seemingly unsure how to respond before starting a rousing debate over the pros and cons of each option. Shay never looking up from her nails showed no reaction, and continued to allow her counterparts to argue.
After what felt like an hour, and the Council had come to an unsteady stance, Dar was for the subterfuge angle, West was for the ignoring him angle, while LaLaine held strong to announce their alliance. Harry could see why the council was so large, without Ren, Markus, and Patrick (or Jeremy whom was filling in) they couldn’t seem to make a unanimous decision, and Shay didn’t seem likely to care one way or the other. Or at least that was the impression she gave, however, she too had seemed to have enough of their arguing.
“How about none of the above,” Shay said holding her left hand out in front of her inspecting her nails.
“Shay we are not backing out of our alliance!” Dar said seeming to grow with frustration; he seemed to be building up steam to argue with her.
“I wasn’t suggesting we do,” She said giving him a cold look, “Harry,” she looked towards him as she set down her file and crossed her legs, “I think it will be in your best interest if we do not announce to the wizarding world or anyone that believes they control your actions, that we have an alliance. However, I feel it would be prudent to allow everyone to know that we have met before and are cordial with one another in order to make those in charge of the wizarding world uneasy in their actions against the ‘magical creatures’. As you will see the first thing those who ‘rule’ will do is to try and enforce new laws against those they fear. Usually those are Vampires, werewolves, centaurs, goblins, and so on…”
Shay frowned, “Those who follow the Council have nothing to fear, we make our laws and take care of our own, however, werewolves don’t have a government, they tend to roam in packs and depending on their pack leader either fade into the background or try and take what they believe to be theirs. They’ll be the first targets, in the last war they were rounded up and put into prison camps… I believe your Mr. Dumbledore eventually overturned the law but it was several months later. And there are already talks amongst the goblins of rebellion, they have no say in the government, and they’ll be restricted even more so if the government gets a say so, and I will tell you this Harry, the goblins will not tolerate interference in their society, or invasion of Gringotts.”
“They think highly of you,” Dar said frowning, “we checked into your standings with the magical community. No one really had anything bad to say about you. If those in attendance see you on a friendly term with Shay… and the rest of the council, it will go a long way into alliances with them.”
“Shay’s a bit of a legend in the magical community,” LaLaine laughed, “She helped establish the truce among wizards and goblins. And was the one to institute the talks of peace with Merlin, and the division of Muggle, Magical, and Magical Creatures. Not to mentions she’s scary…”
“I believe she’s referenced as Shaylee the Castrator, in several history tomes.” West smirked slightly before catching Shay’s eye and quickly dropped it.
“You castrate a few lowly, vile human males attempting to ravage children and you’re forever known as ‘The Castrator’,” Shay said crossing her arms.
“Well, you could be known for what you did to Jack the Ripper, when he mistakenly attacked you,” Dar said smiling.
“Well how dare he, I was not dressed like a street walker! Stupid mangy human, and the man called himself a doctor,” Shay said pouting.
“I believe we’ve gotten off topic,” Harry said frowning slightly at the conversation.
“Hrm, so we have,” Shay said frowning, “So, I can make sure that the councils’ box is situated next to the Potter Box… that is unless you planed on occupying the Black family box, if so I will be unable to arrange it, the Malfoy’s and the Bolstrode family’s have had those spaces for decades, they will not wish to move.”
“No, the Potter box will suffice,” Harry said unsure of what she was talking about, he would have to ask Hermione, or Ron, one of them would know.
“Fantastic, that way we can be seen conversing, you will need an heir, I would suggest sending a missive to the Goblins as soon as possible with whom you wish to instigate as your heir, it is not needed but recommended in case of your absence your heir can attend in your place for future Wizengamot meetings.”
“I thought the Wizengamot was only for wizarding trials,” Harry said uncertainly.
“The Wizengamot Judicial Court are elected members of the Wizengamot,” Dar said nodding slightly, “Most wizards don’t distinguish a difference between the two, the WJC is often referred to as just the Wizengamot, but there is a difference. The WJC are elected to a seat and can be either an heir or a seat holder, which is how Mr. Dumbledore received the Chief Warlock position, seeing as he is only an heir, his brother holds the seat. The WJC enforces the law as a Court, the Full Wizengamot is comprised of mainly the Oldest wizarding families, as the seats are passed down generation to generation, and they’re the ones whom make the laws. It’s a fine line, but there is a line. Only those whom care to learn the difference refer to the WJC as such.”
“Your family has been dormant for quite sometime, your parents never cared to get involved in Wizard Politics, or so the transcripts say,” Shay said looking out towards the Forbidden Forest, “According to documents your box hasn’t been active since the early 50’s, your Great Grandfather I believe. I took it upon myself to read up on the past hundred years, it’s nice to find out where the families of the Wizengamot lie on important matters, it’s easily established once you find out how they vote on certain bills presented.”
“And since you’ve yet to take over the reign of your family’s seat the box is inactive, and once a box is inactive it loses it’s position, with your permission I would like to move it next to the Councils, it will be a bold statement to the Magical Community if you choose to sit near us and not the Families of Old.” Shay said expectantly.
Harry frowned slightly, “I suppose I will need guidance, since it will be my first Wizengamot session. And I will like to distance myself from Malfoy and those WJC members, I’ve been tried by them.”
Shay smiled, an action Harry believed was a rarity for the Leader of the Council, “Wonderful, send off a letter immediately to the Goblins with the name of your heir, it is important to name one, it will show the members of the Wizengamot that they will need to take you seriously.”
Harry nodded, “Of course… wait, before you go, can you tell me where Dumbledore sits?”
“It is noted in the documents that he sits in the spectator stands if his brother is present, it is my understanding that they do not get along well, if his brother declines to attend, he sits in their box, which is located nearest the mermaid box, which is several rows below us.” Shay said frowning, “You believe he will see it as an insult that you are not adjoined to his box… Harry, if you wish to be taken seriously in the political world it is important to understand that you must be a driving force and not a hanger on to those in power, Dumbledore will understand this, he may even advise you to separate from him as well, although he may try and use you to sway the votes.”
Harry smiled, “Of that I have no doubt.” He turned to leave but paused, “Shay,” he said without turning around, “do not misunderstand my willingness to follow your lead, I am my own person and I will do as I please, whether it goes along with your wants is of no consequence to me.”
Harry frowned as he looked at his watch, it was a few minutes before his curfew, the only perk Harry had for taking over the Defense position was an hour increase of his curfew, and he was at least five minutes from the Gryffindor tower, he had been to the Owlery to send off a letter to Gringotts. After a quick shortcut through the passageway blocked by the painting of Ordiel the Shrew, Harry found himself face to face with Professor McGonagall.
“Professor, really I’m on my way to the Gryffindor tower, just running behind—”
“Mr. Potter we’ve been looking for you, the Headmaster wishes to speak with you,” McGonagall said.
Harry frowned to himself, “Am I in trouble, Professor?” Wondering what he could have done to warrant Dumbledore seeking him out.
“For once, Potter, no.”
“You make it sound like I’m always in trouble,” Harry said sardonically.
“Potter, if you can name a time you weren’t in trouble and visited the Headmaster’s office, I’ll apologize,” McGonagall said leading the way.
Harry smiled to himself as he realized he couldn’t think of one.
After a few minutes Harry found himself in Dumbledore’s office surrounded by several people. Dumbledore sat serenely behind his desk, his fingers clasped together as he observed Harry. Snape sat in the corner looking both bored and annoyed at Harry’s presence. McGonagall was sitting off to the side pouring herself and Tonks tea. While Madam Bones passed on the tea was munching on a biscuit observing Harry curiously.
“Not to sound rude,” Harry started after a few minutes of silence. Snape snorted slightly, which Harry ignored as he continued, “but, I have little time to sleep these days so if we could move along to why I’m here…”
“Why don’t you have time to sleep, Potter?” Snape inquired snarkily, a dark glare accompanying it.
“I’m composing lovely sonnets about you, professor,” Harry returned sarcastically, “they tend to take all night, I find it hard to come up with at least one nice thing to say about you.”
“Enough,” came Dumbledore’s serene yet firm tone intervening before a full out argument could erupt in front of Madam Bones whom looked shocked at the moment.
“Potter, we need to talk to you about your House seat,” McGonagall said in a business-like tone.
“Seats,” Harry corrected.
“Sorry?” Madam Bones asked confused.
“I own the Potter and Black seats,” Harry said shrugging, “What about them?”
“You own two house seats?” Madam Bones looked completely taken back, “Why were we not informed of this,” the last part was directed towards Dumbledore.
“We?” Harry asked before Dumbledore could answer, “Whose business is it of what I may or may not hold?”
“Harry we’re here to discuss with you the world summit and your attendance,” Dumbledore said.
“I’ve already rearranged my schedule to attend, I cancelled Quidditch practice, and my other responsibilities, I’ll be ready to go in two days,” Harry said nonchalantly.
“How do you know the summit’s date?” Growled Snape irritated, “Or for that matter, that you’ll be able to attend.”
“How I know is my business, not yours, and as a seat holder, there are obligations that I attend, and furthermore, provisions in the charter of Hogwarts stating you can not prevent me from attending,” Harry said glaring at Snape. He didn’t know for certain that there were any such provisions; however, Shaylee did say that others from school would most likely be attending, so he merely bluffed.
“I was informed you were unaware of the obligations and procedures expected of a seat holder, due to your… growing up in muggle society,” Madam Bones said unsurely.
“I know enough to get by,” said Harry frowning, “I’ve chosen where the Potter box will be, chosen an heir, and will be deciding between two of my choices to sit as a stand-in for me in the Black box.”
“Are you aware of what is expected of you Potter,” Snape said snarkily. “From your wardrobe I am positive you aren’t aware of the proper attire at all.”
Harry didn’t respond immediately, unsure of what type of clothing he was supposed to wear, “I thought to wear this,” Harry said sarcastically to avoid letting Snape see him at a disadvantage, “Is this not the proper attire then?”
“You look like a begger on the street corner, are you so inept at charms Potter that a simple reparo is above your magical abilities?” Snape said mockingly obviously directing the comment at the holes in the knees of his jeans.
Dumbledore cleared his throat, “Harry, I actually have been meaning to talk to you, have you burned through your trust fund? I’m sure I can help you out with some clothes that are intact.”
Harry turned his glare from Snape to Dumbledore, “I have more money than I know what to do with,” Harry snapped, “and these happen to be designer jeans. I paid for them to have holes in them.”
This pronouncement left the office in silence, “Well I’m sure they were cheap then, you were able to buy a bunch of pairs.” Madam Bones said after a few moments.
“Er, no, they were actually more expensive,” shrugged Harry.
“You paid more money, for less pants?” Dumbledore asked confused.
“Congratulations, Potter, you’ve reached a new height of stupidity,” Snape said snorting.
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