Hey friends and fans! Kairomaru is bringing you another chapter of Harry Potter and the Artificer Legacy! Time moves on, as it does, and the world at large continues to slowly try to once more integrate the Magical and Non-Magical back together. In some places this is working well enough, in others…not as well. Harry continues to work on the Artifact House, but even a prodigious Artificer needs to take a break every now and then, right? Meanwhile, those that have been planning for a long time have to adjust a bit to ensure that their own plans can continue when the time is right.

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Chapter 68 – Core, Friends, and Stirrings

The rhythmic sound of metal tapping on stone filled the air within the large hole that Harry Potter had dug on his family's ancestral lands. The Artificer was working to create a stable base around his cube of Orichalcum, from which the powerful material would connect to every other part of the house through the foundation that he'd made.

"Just a bit more…" Harry lightly tapped on the small, square stone that was pressed against the bottom of the Orichalcum with his smallest hammer. The magic of his tool would fuse the stone to the foundation once he had it aligned exactly as he wanted it. "There we are." Harry smiled as he activated the small hammer's effect on the final hit and the square stone fused together with the foundation as well as the identical square stone beside it. "Good morning, Sirius." He called out, looking upwards towards the top of the hole.

"Morning, Harry." Sirius chuckled at his godson, stepping onto the magical ladder and letting it shorten its length to take him to the bottom of the hole. "Still hard at work, as always." He ribbed Harry playfully.

Harry rolled his eyes good-naturedly at his godfather. "Don't you and Marlie have a wedding to plan?" He shot back with a grin.

"We're making progress." Sirius beamed happily, making Harry happy as well. "You seem to be making quite a bit of progress as well." He eyed the cube of Orichalcum pointedly.

"Took a good while to get the Transmutation Circle right, but the Dwarves provided the pure base metal ingots, so it worked on the first try, thankfully." Harry patted the cube fondly, making sure not to pour any of his mana into it lest he link with the magical metal and experience the powerful synesthesia again. "Now it's going to become the core of my Artifact House."

"I see." Sirius understood the significance of using pure Orichalcum for Artifice at the very least. It was one of the most complex, powerful, and rare Alchemical Metals in the world. Making it was ridiculously difficult to begin with, and actually using it as material would surely lead to a powerful completed item. "Just aiming to leave the other Artificers slack jawed, eh?" He chuckled and Harry joined him with a smile.

Harry calmed his chuckles and tapped his foot on the stone foundation to draw Sirius's attention to the base that he was constructing. "Once the stonework is done on this base, I'll have to carve the proper runes into each block and then connect them through the foundation into the rest of the house. Thankfully, since it'll all be one large singular item, I shouldn't need to use circuit lines for it."

"You won't?" Sirius had picked up a little bit of Artifice knowledge over the years he'd been taking care of Harry. "That sounds like you've just gotten a lot better at making Artifacts."

"Maybe a little." Harry shrugged as he thought about it. His Rune Safe had required circuit lines, even though it was so small, but it hadn't been his intention to even make an Artifact back then. He'd quite literally done it by accident. 'I guess I have improved over the years.' Harry mused to himself for a moment. He wouldn't let his progress go to his head though. He could always improve and try to understand more, grow his base of knowledge, and refine his techniques.

Sirius shook his head at his prodigious godson. 'Always keeping himself humble… James, Lily, you'd both be so proud of your son.' He briefly reminisced of the old days before returning to the present. "I wanted to see how things were going on the building."

"And…" Harry eyed his godfather knowingly. He'd gotten fairly good at reading Sirius's expressions over time.

"I don't know if anything will come of it…" Sirius reached into his own Storage Cloak and pulled out the morning copy of the Daily Prophet. "Page three." He handed the newspaper to Harry.

Harry took the paper and opened it; his green eyes quickly found the article that Sirius wanted him to look at.

Ragnok preparing Gringotts for Rebellion?

Amid a notable change to the operations and services provided by Gringotts Wizarding Bank, including some significant increases in certain fees, many Witches and Wizards are feeling as if their banking has become far more onerous than it has been in previous years.

Historically, whenever activity at Gringotts becomes tense or difficult, it has often been a sign of impending hardship with the Goblin Nation. Such as the Rebellion of 1752, wherein over six-hundred Wizards and Witches perished when attempts at peaceful resolution failed.

"Well that's just great…" Harry let out a long sigh, not even bothering to read the rest of the article. "Voldemort is finally gone, but the mess with the Statute of Secrecy falling is still ongoing and now the Goblins might be about to start another rebellion." He had really hoped that after Voldemort, he and his family would be able to live peacefully.

-Saskatchewan ~ Hidden Location-

Hidden among the various lakes and rivers of the central Canadian province was a magical location that had been protected by the native tribes since long before the first European visited the location in the late 1600's. To many (Magical or Non-Magical) that may have stumbled upon the area had it not been protected, it would look like much of the natural landscape around it with only a few signs giving away that several manmade things had been added to the location. Totems stood out the most, but other things like stones (both large and small) had also been placed in specific areas.

A woman and a man looked over the area with approval seeing that it was now complete.

"You incorporate the forest into your Magic. I find that very interesting." The woman commented to the man. She had semi-long brunette hair and a healthy complexion. Her green eyes were sharp as she looked over each part of the area again.

"Not just the forest; but the rivers, the lakes, the sky, and the earth." The man replied with a small smile. He was from a long line of tribal peoples that had called this land home for centuries beyond any European knowing about the continent. His dark eyes held both wisdom and pride in his aged face, wrinkles on his skin showing his advanced age, even by Magical standards. He was a Shaman of his people, and after they'd gone into hiding from the encroaching Europeans centuries back, his people had eventually entered talks with representatives from several other groups from around the world to work on a large plan that had taken a very, very long time to complete.

"Astounding." The Witch praised the tribal Magic before her eyes and was slightly disappointed that she'd not get to see it in action when the time came. Unfortunately, she had her own place to be and her own site to enact powerful Magic upon when the specified day dawned. "I'll be happy to let the others know that your land is ready and your preparations have been completed."

"Thank you." The old Shaman nodded to the younger woman. "Until the day comes, our people must maintain the totems and the lines so that nothing goes wrong." Everything needed to stay as it was for now.

-October ~ Hogsmeade Village-

"Hello, all." Harry grinned as he stood at the entrance of Hogsmeade where the carriages dropped the students off during the weekend visits to the village.

"Harry!" Luna beamed as she bounded out of the carriage and gave him a hug.

Harry returned the hug with a laugh, squeezing Luna tightly for a moment. "How've you been, Luna?" He asked the slightly younger girl as they separated.

"Good enough." Luna chirped happily.

"I'm glad." Harry grinned, not much tended to bother Luna at all.

"Harry," Hermione squeezed him in a tight hug, which Harry returned, before stepping back. "Aside from the Statute of Secrecy falling, I'm glad that the other long-term problem is finally gone." She didn't want to say 'Voldemort' knowing that several people were still terrified of the late Dark Lord. He'd clawed his way back to life once, by most witches and wizards' reckoning, and many were fearful that he'd do it again after having been put to death.

"Yeah, I'm grateful for that." Harry gave her a lopsided smile. He also hoped that the bastard was well and truly gone this time.

"Hi, Harry!" Padma and Mandy both greeted him with smiles and laughter, wrapping him up in a double hug, one of them on each of his sides.

"Hello Mandy, hello Padma." Harry chuckled, unable to return their hugs since his arms were pinned to his sides.

"What should we do first?" Luna asked, bouncing in place a bit from her excitement.

"How about a quick stroll through the shops?" Harry offered, happily taking Luna's hand as the group headed down the main street of the only All-Wizard Village in Britain.

"I do need to pick up a new cauldron from Ceridwen's Cauldrons." Padma mentioned with a sheepish smile.

Harry cocked an eyebrow at the Indian Witch. "Oh? What's this? Padma messed up a potion that badly?" He teased his friend jokingly.

"I was trying something new; you prat." Padma lightly swatted his shoulder with a roll of her eyes. "I was fairly certain that I had my measurements for all the ingredients correct, but something went wrong and the side of my cauldron practically dissolved. That made such a mess…" She sighed remembering having to clean her failed potion up from the table and floor.

"McGonagall was going spare trying to keep the castle in order when the Statute of Secrecy fell." Mandy spoke up next, wanting to let Harry know what had been going on around Hogwarts since he'd graduated early. "To be fair, we were all confused and maybe a little scared about that."

"That's understandable." Harry nodded in agreement with her. "The Statute has been in place since the late 1600's…"

"1689 was when it was first signed by the ICW, but it didn't go into full effect until 1692." Hermione clarified with a little grin on her lips.

"Thank you, Hermione." Harry played along with her 'know-it-all' joke, a smirk on his face. "So, a lot of Witches and Wizards would be surprised or outright terrified of the idea of the Magical and Non-Magical mixing together again."

"I'm sure that some places are having a much harder time with it than others." Luna mentioned with a thoughtful look on her face. The somewhat spacey blonde always did seem to have a knack for picking up on certain things.

-Tennessee, United States-

A crowd had gathered in town, two sides were shouting and yelling at each other with vitriol. Flags of a questionable nature were being proudly displayed by one side of the large group while the other half loudly shouted condemnations at them for such brazen and disgusting displays.

"Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God!" One man read aloud into a megaphone to be heard over the shouting. But he wasn't the only one reading scripture and using it as a justification for his abhorrent actions.

Another man, also with a megaphone, read another passage. "And he burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with necromancers! He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger!"

"There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord! And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you!" A woman read (almost screamed) into her megaphone at the crowd of people.

On the other side of the crowd came the recriminations.

"Stop being racist!" One woman yelled at the scripture-quoting, flag-bearing group.

"You're disgusting!" A man shouted loudly at them.

"It's 1995, not 1950!" A younger man hollered at one of the flag-wavers that proudly displayed the emblem of a hate group.

This shouting and gathering of people had naturally attracted the attention of the local authorities. Police cars drove onto the scene with lights flashing and sirens blaring. The tires of the county sheriff's car nearly squealed as he braked and put his car into park. Throwing open the door, the mustached man got out of his vehicle and put his hat on.

"What the hell is this?" The sheriff questioned one of the police officers that was nearby. He'd responded to a call about a protest that looked to be turning into a riot; and while it did look like that, he needed to know what was going on.

"Two groups got into an argument about the Magical people and…well I'm sure you can tell which side escalated the situation, Sam." The police officer answered, the two having known each other and worked together for almost a decade now.

Sam sighed heavily and pinched the bridge of his nose for a second. "I don't need this shit in my town. Alan, get a perimeter set up." This wasn't the first argument or protest that had broken out in the United States since the reveal of the Magical among them; but Sam was hoping that he wouldn't have to personally deal with one in his normally quiet jurisdiction.

"Already done." Alan confirmed after speaking into his radio for a moment. "You ready to try and keep this from becoming a full-on riot, Sam?

"Do we have a choice?" Sam asked rhetorically, both law enforcement officers moved forward (along with almost a dozen others) and began to move between the two groups, keeping them apart so that violence didn't break out.

"You shall not permit a sorceress to live!" One man bellowed into a megaphone while standing on top of a truck.

"Roy! What the hell are you doing?!" Sam yelled up at the man. Roy was known as a bit of a racist in their town, but Sam had always believed the man was just a talker; he never expected the other man to be part of something like this.

"Spreading the good word, sheriff! There's no law against that!" Roy replied as the screaming, yelling, and shouting was starting to quiet down with the presence of law enforcement.

"Then could you tell me why on God's green Earth does that banner behind you say: 'The New Salem Witch Trials'?" Sam demanded, motioning with his head at the banner behind Roy.

"We're doing the Lord's work, Sam!" Roy retorted, getting cheers from the group of people around him.

"Oh be quiet, you young fools!" A voice spoke up loudly. People turned to the source to find an elderly man walking forward with a disgusted look on his face. The most outstanding thing about the man was that he didn't have anything on him that could've amplified his voice to such a degree. That is, until people began to notice that the old man had a wand in a holster on his hip.

"You're one of them!" Roy pointed at the old man accusingly.

"I very much am." The old man showed no fear as he glared at Roy. "Salem Witch Trials…" He turned and spat on the ground. "The people that held those 'trials' didn't give a single damn about Magic or faith! It was class warfare, plain and simple! They didn't even capture many actual Witches! Their targets were always those that they wanted out of the way!"

"How would you know?!" One of the flagbearers shouted back at the old Wizard.

"How do I know?" The elderly Wizard narrowed his eyes on the other man. "My grandmother lived to be one-hundred-seventy-three, and I'm one-hundred-forty-six! She was there! I heard the stories directly from her while growing up!"

That got quite a lot of murmuring and muttering going among the gathered crowd.

"And as for your little witch-burning pole over there." The old Wizard pointed at the wooden pole with a large amount of wood piled around the base. "The so-called Witches in Salem were hanged, not burned, you nitwits."

"Fuck you, you freak!" One of the men standing near Roy pulled out a pistol from the holster on his hip.

"Drop the weapon!" Sam and Alan both had their pistols drawn in a second, aiming at the armed man. The rest of the police officers quickly started ushering people away as the situation got dangerous. Many screams and cries of panic were heard as people fled.

The flag-bearing man didn't keep his gun pointed at the old Wizard for long, not after seeing five guns aimed at him in response. He dropped the weapon to the ground.

"Kick it over here, nice and easy." Sam instructed the man, still keeping his weapon trained on the previously armed man. When the man complied, Sam placed his foot on the pistol that had been kicked over to him. "Officer Wood, arrest this man." He instructed Alan.

Alan moved over to the man, instructing him to drop his flag and keep his hands where the officer could see them. Once he was cuffed, Alan began the Miranda Rights. "You're under arrest for assault with a deadly weapon; you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can, and will, be used against you in the court of law. You have the right to an attorney, if you cannot afford one, then one will be provided to you."

The situation was far from over as the instigators were being detained and questioned, but at least no one had gotten injured in this particular incident, unlike some others that had taken place within the country.

-Akhmim ~ Egypt-

Bright red lightning sparked as materials changed their very existence under the intense Magical power being produced. The stone within the large Transmutation circle quickly broke down, only to reform into the desired shape that the Alchemist wanted. When the light faded away, a small stone house was left in the place of all the raw material that had been there previously.

Novus moved into the circle and shrank the stone house down to the size of a cinder block. Picking it up, the ancient homunculus carried it out of the Transmutation Circle and placed it with a large group of other, identical, shrunken houses. "That brings the total to one-thousand-three-hundred-six, Master."

"Thank you, Novus." Zosimos knew he had a long way to go still. He'd been able to secure enough food to feed the people of his homeland for a little over a year already. Now he had turned his attention to making housing for anyone displaced by the Change that he knew was coming. The population had grown so vastly in the last few centuries, if destruction was bad enough, many people would be left without shelter, which was assuredly a death sentence in many parts of Egypt.

"Will we be continuing the food transmutation later today, Master?" One of his other homunculi asked with a short bow.

"I'll continue with that task once I've gotten more housing done." Zosimos informed the homunculus. "If possible, I'd like to be able to give enough food to the surrounding lands to prevent them from attempting to take Egypt's food by force."

"Yes, Master." The homunculus nodded and left the room just as another large amount of stone was levitated into the large area where the creator of Alchemy was working.

'I will save as many as possible. We can only move forward together, not separated.' Zosimos thought to himself as he activated the Transmutation Circle again and watched the base material breakdown and then reform into the same stone house that he'd designed to hand out en masse to those that needed them. With Magic, he could make each and every one of them comfortable and livable for those that would be hit the hardest by what was coming.

According to his various homunculi spies throughout the world, they had less than a year before the Change would happen.

-Narag Fenuln-

Harry had marveled at the progress the Erdunn Dwarves had made on building up their own mountain to turn into a Mountain Hall for themselves. When he'd arrived via Portkey (once more reminding himself to make something better when he had the time) he could only crane his neck upwards to stare at how high the peak was now.

"Brother Potter, good to see you again." Drad welcomed Harry to the Dwarven Mine and now Mountain Hall.

"Good to see you again, Drad." Harry returned the greeting as the two clasped each other's wrist and shook. "It seems that Erdunn has come far since last I visited."

"Indeed." Drad looked proudly up at the new mountain they'd made themselves from the rock they'd dug from their ever-expanding mine. "You're here at the King's request, right?"

"Yes, he mentioned something about the 'enemy' making moves?" Harry walked side-by-side with Drad as they passed through the large gates of stone and iron that were guarded by a full group of armored and armed Dwarf warriors.

Drad nodded to Harry with a stony expression. "The damn Goblins that took Dwarven caverns from us and were the cause of our people being shoved to the fringes of society."

"I did see an article speculating that the Goblins may be plotting rebellion." Harry spoke up with a grimace. "I'd hoped it wouldn't be true though."

"Goblins would never miss an opportunity like the one presented by the chaos of the Statute of Secrecy falling." Drad snorted as they walked through stone halls depicting ancient Dwarven battles on the walls. With their own Mountain Hall, the Erdunn Dwarves could finally lay their history into stone once more, instead of keeping it on paper and in tomes, or passing it down orally through the generations.

The two of them reached a set of doors made of a metal that Harry couldn't quite identify, though it shone with a luster unmatched by any mundane metal. The guards opened the doors for them as if the metal weighed far less than it should. Drad entered and Harry followed a step behind, as was proper for a sworn brother when meeting the King for any official reason.

Had this been a personal call, then Harry and Drad would've met Drasurd in an informal area like a smithy or an office. They could've walked in as if they were entering their own home and offered a friendly greeting to the king. But as it was, some traditions had to be observed.

The room they entered had a high ceiling that was held up by large columns of stone. The guards posted at specific places along the walls would defend their king to their last breaths and assured that any sign of hostility would be met with appropriate force. All of the stone in the room was inlaid with Dwarven-made metals that Harry would've loved to learn how to make if possible. But as he was not an Erdunn Dwarf, the secrets would remain secret. The intricate designs on the floor and walls caught the eye, and Harry would've enjoyed trying to figure out what Dwarven Runes had been hidden within them by the craftsmen that had constructed this room.

It was the throne that Drasurd sat upon that was easily the most impressive thing in the large room though. Made of stone and at least two metals that Harry still couldn't identify, it was also decorated with gemstones in intricate patterns that quite obviously held a deep meaning to the Dwarves. Harry had the knowledge to know that the decoration wasn't there just because; as Dwarves had no care for such displays. No, each and every one of those gemstones held mana that existed for a purpose, most likely to protect the one that sat upon it and make it easier for the king to preside over his Mountain Hall.

"My King, I've guided Brother Potter to meet with you as ordered." Drad bowed to his father.

"Thank you, Prince Drad." Drasurd nodded to his son, his long and thick beard swaying slightly from the motion. "Brother Potter." The king greeted Harry.

"Sworn Brother of the Erdunn Dwarves, Harry Potter, greets King Drasurd." Harry bowed his head to the Dwarven King.

"Raise your head, Brother Potter; you are among friends and allies here." Drasurd spoke and Harry straightened up. "I am glad to see you again, Harry." He spoke less formally, now that tradition had been satisfied.

"You as well, Drasurd." Harry smiled back at the Dwarf. "You mentioned that the 'enemy' is moving; Drad tells me that means the Goblins."

"Yes, the greedy bastards that laid claim to Dwarven caverns with the help of the Wizards and Witches of the day." Drasurd rumbled out, clearly recalling the time so long ago. "They're actions are to be expected now. However…" He paused for a moment and Harry could tell this was unusual just from the worried look on Drasurd's face. "Now that the Statute has fallen, I don't believe this next rebellion will be limited to just the Witches and Wizards of Britain."

Harry took a second to think about Drasurd's words before his eyes widened. "You think they'll attack the Non-Magical too?!" He barely kept his voice from rising too high. The guards within the throne room didn't need much reason to act in defense of their king.

"That is my concern." Drasurd confirmed with a nod. "With the Statute now broken, and the Non-Magical and Magical once more mixing; the Goblins have no reason, nor any fear of international backlash from the ICW, to keep their aggression limited to just Wizards and Witches."

"Damn it…" Harry ran his hand through his hair. "The Aurors are already stretched thin as it is." He knew that very well thanks to Tonks. Harry enjoyed letting her vent while rubbing her shoulders or giving her a foot rub after her shifts; and she always had something to tell him about the shortage of staff ever since the Statute had fallen.

"We have been preparing, Harry." Drasurd informed Harry with a strong voice. "Armor, shield, weapons, and warriors; the Dwarves of Erdunn will not be lacking in meeting this aggression from our long-time enemies!" The king's voice was like the rumbling of a mountain. "We will fight them as we have been long unable to do, and this time we will take back the caverns that were stolen from us!"

"I'm in the process of building my own home at the moment, Drasurd." Harry informed the Dwarf King. "I'm afraid I cannot join a campaign against the Goblins right away."

"Worry not, Harry, we will not be the aggressors in this coming fight. They will strike first, as they always do, and we will be ready to respond in kind." Drasurd assured the Artificer. "We Dwarves get along quite well with humans, be they Magical or not, and we will defend them if they stand by our sides."

"That is reassuring, Drasurd." Harry smiled at the king. "I'll pass on your warning to the Aurors through my Nym. She's earned a good deal of respect and credibility after helping defeat Voldemort's demon. Her words won't fall on deaf ears."

"Excellent." Drasurd seemed slightly relieved. "It will be good to fight side-by-side with our ancient allies once more. We will not be overrun by the Goblins ever again!" He declared strongly, his sheer presence seeming to swell within the throne room.

"As a Sworn Brother of Erdunn, you can count on my help when the day comes, King Drasurd." Harry promised the Dwarf King.

He knew that the Goblins didn't treat anyone but their own kind well, and even that was based solely on their clan affiliation and the hierarchy they had within said clan. The lowest level members were treated better than non-Goblins, but that was about it; at least, according to what Harry had read about Goblins and their culture at any rate. Books could be misleading though, so Harry took the information with a grain of salt.

"We'll be glad to have you by our sides in the coming times, Brother Potter." Drasurd nodded his thanks to Harry.

After a moment of silence the feeling within the throne room noticeably changed as Drasurd stood up from his throne.

"Father?" Drad spoke with a small grin hidden by his thick beard.

Drasurd chuckled lightly as he walked over to Harry and Drad. "Now, Harry, tell me about this house of yours!" The jovial tone let Harry know that the formal part of the visit was over now.

"Well… I might be doing something that others would consider crazy again." Harry waved the thought off as if it didn't matter.

"Hah!" Drad laughed and lightly (by Dwarf standards) patted Harry's shoulder. "You wouldn't be Harry if ya didn't do that!"

Drasurd laughed along with his son. "Now you've got my interest, Harry!"

Harry would spend a while at Narag Fenuln that day in the company of his sworn brothers and friends. Returning home with a smile would make everyone at Wood End Cottage smile as well. Harry, for all his prodigious talent and accomplishments, was still a teenager; all of his family wanted to see him smiling more.

Tonks was able to take the warning from Drasurd and make sure it would get to Amelia Bones thanks to Hedwig, but the Auror wouldn't leave Harry's side that night. It had been far too long since she'd gotten to see Harry fully relaxed just by having a good day.

-End Chapter-

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One thing after another…

Harry can't seem to catch a break.

Thankfully he has family, friends, and good allies!

Getting to spend time with his Hogwarts friends at Hogsmeade lets Harry be 'normal' for the most part.

The rest of the world continues to move though. The people working around the world to bring about a great change are getting closer and closer to completing their works.

Zosimos is doing his damnedest to prepare enough food and shelter to save as many people as he can before the time comes.

As the Artifact House comes together, will Harry have enough time to finish it before the Goblins make their move?

Keep reading to find out!

Current Mana Levels

Harry – 33,594

Tonks – 26,578

Penelope – 21,086

Fleur – 21,762

Until I get your reviews, later!