Chapter 23 : The Dawning of a New Era
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Jeremy Kingsley was in a tight situation. Dolores Umbridge, being part of the Wizengamot, had immediately issued the warrant for Potter’s arrest. It had taken him all of his considerable influence to keep it quiet for the moment. As breach of security on this matter was severe enough to be considered an act of treason, there were only seven wizards who knew of this very grave situation: Minister Sherry Diggory, himself, Dolores Umbridge, Ministry Police officers Henry Vane and Jefferson McClain, Obliviator Specialist Fernando Llewellyn and Prime Secretary Percy Weasley.
Seven individuals. This was teetering on the edge of a full-scale disaster. No one, and no one was allowed to divulge this information. Until the facts were clear, this murder investigation was to remain top secret. Dolores Umbridge was the stupid hag to have mentioned informing the remaining ten members of the Wizengamot and even the Minister of Muggle Relations: Scotland Heyman, who would then in turn obviously allow the scandal to be spread to his side business: The Daily Prophet. Politicians: he didn’t trust them, not one bit. Right now, the seven who knew of these latest developments were all present in the Minister’s office, the sixth floor above ground in the Ministry of Magic. Everyone was extremely tense, that owl had left almost an hour ago.
“This is an outrage!” Umbridge declared. “A murderer in the Ministry! If only Cornelius heard of this, I daresay, never before have I seen such bad decision making, a troublemaker the first time I saw him- that Potter! We should have sent our top Aurors for him! What if he just runs away?”
Sherry Diggory scowled. Mr. Llewellyn cleared his throat. “And pray tell, Dolores, who would you send to stop him? He is the commander of our Elite.”
“So are you telling me he is above the law?”
“Absolutely NOT!” Sherry Diggory declared. “But don’t make presumptions as yet, Dolores. We cannot be certain from this evidence alone-“ she pointed at the frozen television screen- “if that person is really Mr. Potter.” She took a deep breath, calming her nerves. Diggory had to admit that the camcorder footage was quite incriminating. “Discretion is the better part of valour. If I know him as I think I do, he will answer the summons and explain himself. We have faith in him, right, Jeremy?” Jeremy Kingsley nodded but said nothing, just merely stared at the blurry image on the screen. Mrs. Diggory pulled Percy aside to have a private word.
“Percy," she hesitated for a moment. “I want Warshire and DeFontaine inside of this room, preferably in invisibility cloaks. Do not tell them the details, all right?”
“No. That is not prudent,” advised Kingsley. His peculiar “Far Seeing” ability gave him a quick insight to what was happening downstairs. Sherry froze, looking at him strangely. Kingsley always had this “Knowing” expression on his face that she found quite disturbing. “Their loyalty lies with Potter. If there is a need for security, we’ll need unbiased wizards to handle this situation. However, getting security is the least of our concerns right now.”
“And why is that?” Diggory questioned.
“Potter is already here, and is not in a good mood. He is walking through the main hall as we speak. And…” Kingsley paused, closing his eyes for a brief second, recalling his pre-emptive memory.
“And what?” Sherry Diggory ventured.
“Dolores, I advise you to be careful what you say. Or better yet, don’t say anything at all,” he added. “Other than that, everything should be fine.”
Harry stormed into the Ministry of magic, the receptionist not even getting a chance to ask him where he was heading. Rebecca shadowed him, hastily trying to keep up. As he walked through the inner corridors, an Auror who had accompanied him during the London excursion, Joseph Ulfalusi, greeted him.
“Commander,” he said respectfully. “Glad you’re back.”
“Ulfalusi,” Harry nodded in return.
“I wanted to let you know I applied for a transfer into your division. I’m currently in the second tier of the Elite training program. You’ll give a good word to Kingsley for me, eh?” Joseph said cordially.
“I will,” Harry said. “You’re sure about wanting to join the S.T.A.R division?” he asked. All these Aurors knew the type of danger his teammates get into, why would they want to join?
“Yes, sir!” Joseph said immediately. “Who wouldn’t want to? My comrades have also applied, so the competition is high-“
“Er- okay…” Harry said, trying to get back to matters at hand. He had no time for idle chitchat. “I have some business right now, I’ll look out for your results.”
“Thank you. Once again, good to have you back, commander. Lestrange,” he nodded at her in acknowledgement, and walked off. Harry watched him go, then shook his head in amusement.
“Told you,” Rebecca said knowingly as they went towards the inner elevator. “ These guys here really respect you now, that day in London has the whole Ministry fired up. Expect some serious ass kissing in the next couple of weeks-“ she said grimly. Harry said nothing. They entered the elevator, and the doors closed behind them.
“Good evening, welcome to the ministry of magic. Please state your destination floor,” said the building’s soft female voice.
Nerves began to gnaw at him all of a sudden, his stomach feeling queasy as he stared at the blank metal doors, watching his diffused reflection in the shiny metal. All he saw was the bulky outline of a hooded figure, and a glinting piece of metal against his chest. Standing on his right, Rebecca Lestrange’s reflection was smaller; the female proportions of her slim figure a direct contrast to the two heavy layers of cloaks he wore. The first thought that came to his mind as he looked at the reflection was that of one of a Lord with his Lady at his side-
“Harry?” Rebecca said, bringing him out of his thoughts. “You okay?”
“Yeah.” Harry cleared his throat. “Minister of Magic’s office, level six.”
“Please state your name and clearance code for direct access.” Harry was getting more irritated by the second. He didn’t know why, but this voice was beginning to annoy him.
“S.T.A.R. Elite Commander Potter, Class 2 clearance. Code 5-5-6-7-9-3,” he rattled off automatically, nerves twisting in his stomach even more.
“Good Evening, Commander. Access granted.”
“Can we get this elevator moving now?” he asked irritably, running his hands through his hair.
“Harry, it’s going to be okay, trust me. I’m your alibi, I’ll prove to them that it wasn’t you,” Rebecca said, putting her hand on his elbow. Harry said nothing, but glanced once at her. He was glad she came along. Without him consciously knowing it, her support did make him feel better.
“I guess. Er… thanks for coming, Rebecca,” he admitted. She smiled, but did not respond. The elevator ride came to a smooth halt, and Harry exited unto the top floor. The main lobby to the Minister’s office was empty except for the two guards at the door to Mrs. Diggory’s office.
“Commander,” one of them greeted. “This is a surprise. How fares it?”
“Fine,” Harry grumbled, eyeing them as he walked forward. To his surprise, the same man who welcomed him put his arm out, blocking his passage. Harry paused, looking at this obstruction incredulously. For reasons unknown, that gesture got him very angry.
“Weapons, please,” the guard said cordially, not seeing his teammate’s aghast expression. Harry looked directly into the guard’s face, his eyes narrowing dangerously.
“What did you say?” Harry asked, his temper rising almost to boiling point. He turned to face the man directly. “Let me pass,” he ordered, his tone deadly soft.
The other guard hastily stepped across and took his mate a bit to the side. “Ho ho- don’t mind him commander, he’s just playing. Kind of a running joke around here…” he said in a hasty apology. “Please-“ he indicated to the door further ahead. ”Go ahead.”
“B-b-but,” the other man stammered as Harry and Rebecca walked past. He got an elbow in his ribs to keep quiet and had to stow away any sort of comeback. “Hey! What the hell?” he complained as soon as the two members of the Elite entered the office and were out of earshot.
“Are you crazy?” his comrade hissed. “You don’t want to get on his bad side, believe me.”
“Oh… and why not? I’m not afraid of him!”
“Can’t you see what’s happening? The way things are going, it’ll be better if we remained in his good graces. You never know what may happen in the future.”
“You’re delusional,” his mate said angrily.
“Whatever. Let’s just say you owe me one…”
“Good evening Commander, Agent Lestrange.” Mrs. Diggory said in a practiced, even tone. “Please, have a seat.”
“Madame Minister,” Harry responded. Rebecca muttered a soft ‘good evening’, and both of them took seats in front of the Minister’s desk. Harry surveyed everyone in the room, his eyes resting for a moment on Dolores Umbridge, who had on the same repulsive sweet smile he hated when they were in detention. “You!” he hissed. “What are you doing here?” Harry demanded.
“And good evening to you as well, Harry,” Umbridge replied in a tone reserved for pre-teenagers. “I trust that you will be hem hem- accommodating us by answering the few questions we have for you?”
“You have some nerve,” Harry uttered, tensing his right hand, which still bore faint lines of his scarring he received a few years back.
“Commander, please, the matters at hand,” Mrs Diggory intruded. “Without further ado, I would like to show you a video recording taken from a young man living on number 15, Privet Drive. Only afterwards, will we ask questions.”
“It was caught on tape?” Rebecca blurted.
“Yes. Our obliviator on duty, Mr. Llewlyn here, has already dealt with the boy’s memory. However, after we have finished viewing the footage, only then I will explain in detail the Ministry’s procedure in such an occurrence. Your mere presence here reassures us that you have nothing to hide, and for that alone, I am relieved. Harry, I want to stress that we are on your side, but this is something we must do.” Mrs Diggory pressed the “play” button on the video player. The television flickered twice, and then the footage began to roll. First, it was focused on a bike stunt that another young man was attempting. Suddenly, there was a scream coming from off-screen. The camera swung to the left, and then dipped, ducking low as the boy apparently hid behind a parked car, filming from behind cover of the vehicle’s bonnet.
A young man was standing in the driveway opposite, his wand was pointed high at the bulky figure, nearly four storeys in the sky. He was laughing raucously as Vernon Dursley screamed and pleaded for his life. There was another person in the picture; Dudley Dursley was trapped within the family vehicle. He pounded against the glass, but it was obvious he could not get the vehicle to let him out. Some indecipherable words came out of the assailants as Vernon rose higher and higher into the sky, his limbs flailing wildly in protest. Without much more theatrics, the young wizard released the levitation spell, and Vernon Dursley fell to his death with a sickening thud, a pool of blood rapidly spreading from his smashed face. Dudley began to rock the car violently, trying to escape, his screams muted inside of the vehicle. The stranger pointed his wand menacingly at him, but only threaten the trapped boy. With a nudge of his foot to make sure his victim was dead, the unknown wizard turned to walk out to the road, inadvertently giving the camera a good look at his face.
Rebecca gasped audibly. There was no mistaking it. That was Harry’s face. A moment later, there was a swirl of robes, and the murderer was gone. Sherry stopped the video, and the whirring noise of the muggle device rewinding was the only sound that could be heard for a very tense few seconds.
Harry was utterly stupefied. Who would go through all these lengths to frame him for a murder? And without even realizing it, he knew that it had something to do with Rodulphus Lestrange. He felt it deep down. Once again, an oppressive surge of guilt welled up inside, because he knew that night at King’s Crown, he had Lestrange at his mercy, yet he let him live. If only-
“Commander, your thoughts?” Madame Diggory probed after the ominous silence.
“That is not me. I did not kill Vernon Dursley- I swear!” Harry said clearly. There was a definite feeling of those words slicing the tension in two, but an air of uneasiness and doubt settled on the nine present like a heavy mist. Harry had to give it to Rodulphus for being a worthy adversary. The Dark Arts, the tool of the enemy, created doubt and inner strife into their victims. Inside, Harry cursed. His opponent was beating him at every turn, so he knew he was dealing with a master. He swore to himself that he will find the culprit behind this.
“We believe you Harry. Thank you for putting aside our doubts, but for the record, I’ll need to check your wand. Percy, Please ask Gemmeil for Mr. Potter’s wand-“
“Here,” Harry took it out, and offered it. There was another uneasy silence and Umbridge’s eyes widened in amazement.
“He-he brought his wand inside of here? What if he did kill him? He could have killed us all!” She shrieked in accusation. Harry laid his wand down carefully on the minister’s desk, and looked at her, his eyes boring into hers.
And, I daresay, you would be the first, Professor Umbridge… Harry thought, all of his animosity focused on her beady little eyes.
Umbridge paled. “Did- you…did you hear...He threatened me! I heard him! He threatened to kill me!”
Everybody else looked at her as if she went mad. “Dolores, Potter hasn’t said a word. Are you ill?” Kingsley asked. There were murmurs of concern from the others as well, but Umbridge shook her head in horror, staring at Harry as if he were a monster. Her face turned even paler and she took a frightful step back.
“I think she isn’t feeling well, sir. Maybe she needs attention?” Harry offered, not even looking at Umbridge. Rebecca fidgeted in the seat next to him, watching Harry closely. How could he be so…so…nonchalant about this? They had footage of him killing his uncle!
“Percy please escort her downstairs. I’ll inform you later Dolores on the results of this investigation, so please, I think you need a pick-me-up potion; Percy, check second floor.” Percy took Umbridge by the elbow and guided her out the door, Umbridge mumbling words to the tune of “Don’t let him…He’ll do us all in…” as she allowed herself to be taken away. Sherry Diggory watched her leave warily, and when the door closed behind her, she took up Harry’s wand.
”Priori Incantetem!”she commanded, and to everyone’s horror, the paperweight on her table began to slowly rise off the surface. Harry’s heart skipped a beat as everyone watched the small replica of Madame Maxine’s carriage float nearly a foot off the tabletop. This, the proof that the last spell he used was the Levitation Charm was damning evidence.
“Wait! I know what everyone is thinking!” Rebecca said immediately, “But you have to believe him, I was there the whole time! Harry couldn’t have possibly killed his uncle!”
“Rebecca-“ Harry began.
“Do not tell untruths. You left your home for approximately half an hour during the time of this recording. You were not there the whole time, Agent Lestrange,” Diggory said icily. “We had twenty four hour security at your home as the Commander was in a vulnerable state. We do not take matters of security for Ministry personnel lightly. Explain yourself, Potter,” Diggory commanded.
“Look at the tape again. I think I saw a clue that would lead us to the true murderer,” Harry said, his brain working furiously. He could be in serious trouble…
“Do not dodge the question, Potter, we have –“ Diggory continued.
“The evidence is very damning, I know. But before you accuse me of this murder, I think we should look at the cassette again. Er- when the murderer threatens Dudley in the car.” Sherry said nothing, but played over the tape once again, quickly fast forwarding to that particular instant. Harry leaned forward in his chair, staring at the screen. “It zoomed into focus on them at a peculiar point…wait- look! There it is! On his left ring finger- that is my proof.” Sherry paused it, and all present looked a bit more carefully. It was not exactly a complete pardon, but the fact that there was a very dominant wedding band on his left ring finger was good sign. “Obviously our man was married, and forgot to take off his ring. Now we can narrow down our search – instead of groping in the dark for this impersonator.”
“Potter, you will stay out of this one. I will conduct the investigations personally,“ Kingsley said calmly. “It is ministry procedure for Aurors not to get involved in cases where the deceased is their family. You will not, and I repeat- not get involved. Do I make myself clear?” Kingsley asked. Harry was about to argue, but Rebecca put her hand on his forearm in a warning gesture. Harry let out a breath to calm himself down, and nodded.
“Harry, are you okay?” Sherry asked him, genuinely concerned.
Sherry Diggory waited for more, but apparently, none was forthcoming. She frowned. Her conscious began to gnaw at her incessantly now. Was it worth it? Was vengeance worth this? Her eyes found his, and she was saddened to see that no sorrow lingered there. Inside, she felt her heart breaking for him, but on the outside, her Ministry persona was as professional as ever. There will be tragic losses in this war. But her ultimate objective depended on this man. She needed Harry, and if he was the one doomed to bear the cross, so be it.
“Commander, I am very pleased with your contribution to our long term objectives, and never doubted you from the start. I apologize for the, er…’wording’ of the post, but it seems that Dolores insisted she pen it herself. Your reputation and actions are irrefutable. Please, do not let this be a main cause of worry. We will apprehend the culprit swiftly, and bring him to justice.”
“What about my cousin?” Harry asked. Sherry shuffled a bit uneasily.
“Well, unfortunately we cannot alter such vivid and emotional memories right away, tricky business, the delicate nature of this horrible act, but we have made sure that the muggle authorities are treating it as a suicide. Your cousin’s basic needs will be taken care of, but right now, we cannot do anything about his emotional situation. In maybe a few years , we could attempt again to modify his thoughts, make the pain more tolerable to bear, we’ll find a way.”
Harry cursed under his breath. As if Dudley needed something so horrible to hate Harry more. Harry balled his fist, both his uncle and aunt dead by the hands of Death Eaters. Instinctively, he knew it had to be Lestrange. The fact that he used a Levitation spell to kill Uncle Vernon and Solidus using a Levitation spell at approximately the same time was the uncanny work of intuitive mastery of the Dark Arts. It fitted the mould, unconceivable coincidences; so obscure and so random, yet when tied together, almost cost him his freedom. Such incredible bad luck would have turned out to be a huge disaster if he hadn’t noticed the tiny glint of gold on his hand. If he didn’t see that, this was going to be the biggest scandal the Wizarding world has seen in a very long time. Tomorrow’s Prophet might have had a headline like this:
That would have been the best article on him yet.
“Very well. See to it that he is comfortable,” Harry said offhandedly, and Rebecca eyed him, an incredulous look on her face. To her surprise, none of the prominent wizards here found his words rude, or arrogant in any way. It was almost as if they expected him to say something like that. “If necessary, contact me if I could assist in any way, Madame Minister. If that’s all, I’ll be leaving,” Harry said, and got up. Without another word, he spun away and headed to the exit, his wand jumping out of Diggory’s hand and zooming into his.
“Wait, Potter!” Sherry asked. “Will you be in attendance this weekend?” she invited.
“Er- I guess,” Harry said at the door. “Kingsley, Llewellyn, Officers, Madame Minister,” he nodded. “Good evening to you all,” he said in farewell. “Rebecca?” he enquired. She got up, and followed him out the door. Without even knowing it, Kingsley let out a pent up breath. He had told that stupid hag to keep quiet! What in the world was she thinking?
“Llewllyn, grade two obliviation on Umbridge. Short-term modification of six hours, and immediate Ministry dismissal. When she comes to, tell the Librarian she’ll have a new employee come the morning. Nothing is to escape these walls, understood?”
“Right away, sir.”
“Good. You two, I’m assigning you to monitor the Dursley boy, round the clock. The muggle police are not to have the slightest inkling that something is amiss. Alternate fourteen hour shifts, the both of you. “
“Aye. Leave it to us.”
Kingsley nodded, watching the three men leave. He looked to his Commander-in-Chief. “We’ve got to be careful. More precisely, you’ve got to be very, very careful. If he finds out what you did to him at Lionheart…”
“I know. Do we have, er- is there anyone, well you know, if something happens and we need somebody to bring him in...” He face paled. “Anyone at all?”
“No. Maybe Dumbledore...but for now, we don’t have anyone capable of forcefully apprehending Potter. For now, he is winning the war for us. Hopefully, we can keep it that way.” Kingsley said. “Even though he has the potential to turn, I trust him to be a generally good person. Let us not dwell on what the future may hold.”
“Agreed,” Sherry said, watching the still image of Harry Potter looking down the length of his wand at the muggle trapped within the car. It bore a frightening similarity to their present predicament. Right now the ministry was in no position to bargain.
The birds were chirping merrily, singing welcoming songs to the new blossoms of spring. In Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a lone magus was scouring through the School Portfolio and Ministry Portfolio of a deceptively talented wizard. What he needed was focus. At six minutes to eight, there was a knock on the door. The white haired wizard looked up from behind the desk, and smiled grimly. He was early. That was a good sign. “Enter.”
“Mr. Ravenclaw? You asked for me?” Ron Weasley asked.
“Sorry to bother you on such a beautiful Saturday morning, but it is important. Today you begin your training,” Randalf said calmly.
“Training?” Ron’s ears perked up. “Really? What are we going to do?” he said enthusiastically.
“I will train you in the art of Sansferi. Do you know what that is?” Randalf asked, getting up from behind his desk.
“No…” Ron murmured, idly fingering his wand. “Is it a type of spell?”
“Not exactly,” Randalf smiled grimly, “But it obviously uses magic, but, only certain types of magic, and it is never a constant “practiced’ technique. It varies from person to person, a constantly evolving skill for everyone who studies its methodologies; so naturally, we will be working together in your training. You have information that I will need , and I have information that you will need.” He conjured chalk, and began to write on the board. “I have borrowed this class for the time being, but we will not be learning “Defence Against the Dark Arts”. Sansferi , to put it simply, is the art of finding the weak points of your opponent, and use it to defeat him, no matter the difference in skill level.”
“It’s aggressive magic then,” Ron said, instantly drawn in.
“Yes an no. The main emphasis is on strategy, and plotting. I will warn you, Mr. Weasley. I will teach you techniques that I admit are deeply rooted in the Dark arts, but however, these spells are used in conjunction with others to produce a decisive wining strategy, and not to be used indiscriminately. I trust you have the right sensibility to know when it is appropriate, correct?”
“Very good. Well, the first aspect of Sansferi is believing in your strengths. Tell me the first thing that comes to mind. What is it you are good at-“
“Chess!” Ron answered immediately.
“Exactly. I have heard you beat Dumbledore’s board when you were only eleven. Quite a feat, I must add. Each piece has a significant importance, some more than others. You know how the pieces move, and what are their weakness and strengths, and what ultimately what you will sacrifice in order to achieve the goal. We will use that aspect in your training. The second aspect is knowing the enemy’s weaknesses.” There was a muted silence, and Ravenclaw pointedly did not look at Ron. Ron felt the struggle building within, but did not back down.
“I know his weaknesses.”
“Very good. And the third aspect is where the Dark Arts may come in- exploiting his weaknesses. Now, please read this parchment. If you think that it is an unjust request, I will not teach you, but I implore you, do this for those that you care about.”
Ron approached the desk warily, and unfurled the scroll Ravenclaw handed over to him.
I understand that the mission I embark on is not for selfish desires; neither fame nor glory. The Sansferi Dueling technique would be taught to no other until I have completed my mission, and only then can I pass down the knowledge of these techniques. From master to apprentice, there can be no more than two individuals who know of the practices of the Noble house of Raphael De Rossi Ravenclaw. On this day, I swear to ultimately use these skills only when the lives of many outweigh the life of one, and I will not stop until victory is mine.
By signing this, I declare that though I may fall on the battlefield, I will not rest until Justice is met.
“Once the heart is pure, and the reasons noble, this technique ensures victory, Ronald. You need not sign this contract as yet. I am just letting you know that once the basics are in, I will train you to be a very powerful magi. The signing of this agreement will be your final test. It means dedicating your life so that one day, you will take another as I have done - to be your student. It is not easy, I warn you, the burden of keeping this ancient art alive,” he added, taking back the scroll. “But a certain binding must be done before I may begin. If in due course you do not grasp these hidden arts, this spell will erase all memory of your teachings.” Ravenclaw tapped his wand on the scroll, then tapped it on each of Ron’s shoulders. After it was done, Ron felt a strange feeling of his ears blocking up with a low pressure, then was gone. “So, shall we?”
Ron gulped. “Oh, er...I guess.”
“Excellent! Draw your wand,” Randalf said majestically. “I am going to evaluate how much you know, and henceforth, how much potential you have.” He drew his own wand from inside his robes, waving it once in a sweeping gesture. The furniture of the classroom immediately vanished. “Well? Come at me with all you got. En garde!”
Hermione was in Professor Dumbledore’s office also training, but in completely different type of session altogether. What she was trying to do was to penetrate Dumbledore’s mental defences. Compared to how easily she could go into Harry’s head, Dumbledore was impossible to break down.
“I can’t!” She said in defeat after her head began pounding with the effort. She was weary, mentally and physically. “I don’t know how you do it Professor- this is too much!”
“I understand, Hermione. Why I am pushing you so hard is because Solidus would also do everything in his ability to keep a body, including attack you. Harry is quite formidable, and any sort of lapse in control on his part could be fatal for you. What I have come to realize however, that the very core of his magic is Defense Against the Dark Arts. His repertoire of magic is limited, but what he does know he applies expertly, giving him a very large advantage in a duel. Attacking someone’s mind is basically a Dark Art, however we may try to cover it up.”
“But Harry allows me into his thoughts, he trusts me!”
“I know he does. But unfortunately, I doubt it would be so easy.” Dumbledore sat down, and steeped his fingers under his nose, peering at her over the half moon glasses, that he had to admit, made no sense wearing ever since he was resurrected to a younger self nearly two years ago. “However, as I said before, the fact that you two are romantically involved is both an advantage and disadvantage. I do not wish to insinuate such sordid conversations, but it cannot be helped. Do you know what Siren’s Curse is?”
“I read about it in passing, but as to how it works, no, I do not know the exact fundamentals...” Hermione said grudgingly.
“The Sirens innate magical ability is rooted in the forbidden branch of L’amore de homme, or to roughly translate, the Lust of Man. A man’s sexual needs is quite a dominant force in the nature of things, and all magic targeting that aspect of human sexuality was outlawed many years ago. To cover their magical ability, the forerunners of the “Sirens” as we know them now hid their enchantments in their song and dance, generating pleasure for men while filling their pockets with their gold. Over time, gold no longer was as precious to them, so they wanted more. It evolved into capturing the undivided attention of their patrons, then to their bodies, then to their love, and finally, now, to their soul.”
Dumbledore cleared his throat. Even he, an experienced wizard, felt highly uneasy talking so candidly to his student. But for some reason, he knew that facing the Boy Who Lived in a direct confrontation (even though it was not in the physical sense) would only complicate matters for Hermione, and she would likely fail. She was not good enough to forcefully rip out Solidus’ essence, and even if she did there was a high probability she may inadvertently kill Harry. He waved his wand, and a slight dusty book dropped unto his desk, moaning seductively in pleasurable pain.
“Please, read this book about the curse. It will give you some insight to the intricacies tied between the body and soul.”
“All right, I’ll read it as soon as I get back.”
“Oh, and Miss Granger, a hint, there is always more than one way to skin a cat. If you need more explanation, please confer with Madame Pompfrey. It would be best if you asked her questions, it would not be proper for me to discuss it with you.”
Hermione took the book, bade the Professor good day, and exited out the door. On her descent down the spiral staircase, she looked at the cover of the book. At first, she did not believe it. Underneath a bold title written in Greek symbols was beautifully painted artwork of a couple in the throes of sexual passion, the woman’s legs wrapped around the man’s lower body. Slightly blushing, she shoved the book in her bag, and made her way to the dormitories. When she reached inside the confines of the girls’
seventh year bedrooms, she took out the book and began to read. After pouring through almost nine chapters discussing many different types of Love potions, spells, enchantments, hexes, charms, aphrodisiacs and wistful romantic theories, she finally reached the chapter labeled “Forbidden Curses” and under that, “Siren’s Curse.”
‘It is known during the climax of sexual release, a man’s soul is most vulnerable. In that moment of ecstasy, it was believed that Sirens found it is possible to delve in and “Possess him completely,” which in a literal sense, is to rip his soul out of his body, further enhancing their own beauty and youthful appearance. As we know, a wizard’s most valuable possession is his soul. Due to the fact that the passing away of the body is not final to those gifted enough to prolong Life after Death, the importance of keeping one’s soul far outweighs the value of their Life. Sirens have mastered the art of defeating even the most powerful magi by simply seducing them, and are henceforth regarded as the most dangerous witches alive. Their mere voice drives a sane man to stupor, and their touch alone means instant seduction. Notoriously greedy, Sirens prefer victims with a high capability for magic, and in return for their soul, will keep their captive in a state of constant euphoria for at least twenty-four hours in continuous sexual intercourse before viciously sucking out their soul. For more information, please refer to The Seductive Dark Arts by Nora Leslie-Willow.
Hermione finished reading the chapter, and placed a bookmark to keep the page. Siren’s curse did give her a vague idea, but to do what she thought she may have to do bordered on delving deep into the Dark Arts. Hermione thought hard about what Dumbledore said.
There is always more than one way to skin a cat.
Trying her best to come up with a plan, she drifted off into a troubled afternoon sleep.
“Can’t fucking stand it…” mumbled a low voice. The owner of the voice was sitting in his luxurious study, reading the reports from the S.T.A.R. logbook. He wasn’t supposed to have access to this, but he did not fear the others, or being removed from his position. He made a duplicate, and was now pouring through the relatively new pages of the Auror Division’s Specialists unit.
“What are you ‘arping about now?” Fleur Delacour said, bringing him the Bourbon he requested on an elegant serving tray made out of pure crystal. She placed it down on the low coffee table in front of them, and then made herself comfortable on the love seat, curling up next to Draco Malfoy. “Iz somesing wrong?”
Draco allowed her to pull at his growing beard, teasingly running a finger down the centre of his chin. He glanced down at her, this woman who had somehow found a way into his life, and surprisingly, gave him a sense of balance. He was destined to become the strongest. But, by reading these reports, the only thing he felt was shame.
“Defeated. Defeated, defeated! I hate this! Every time my name is mentioned in this book, it always is followed by ‘was defeated’! Am I fucking weakling?” Draco snapped at himself, throwing down the log book unto the ground. He stretched forward to take his drink, making Fleur sit up momentarily. “Defeated at the hands of Order, then defeated by Potter, then defeated by Mulciber, now Macnair- it’s fucking embarrassing! Potter waves his wand and wipes out a dragon- while I look like a complete moron!”
“Draco, I heard you were quite brave, you rescued miss Hermy-one! You’re a hero!’
“All I seem to be is his fucking sidekick! ‘Draco do this, Draco do that.’ Fuck him! I am part of the E.L.I.T.E. too!”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself my luv, you’ll always be my hero,” Fleur said, kissing him sweetly on his lips. Draco calmed down immediately, and smiled down at her. He looked into her eyes, and, as if seeing her for the first time, a light dawned in his eyes.
“Do you love me?” he asked suddenly. Fleur looked at him strangely. She took a few seconds, but she did answer him honestly.
“ I do.”
“Do you trust me?” Draco asked her now, staring into those gorgeous eyes. She nodded, her eyes searching his as well.
“Yes, Draco, I trust you with my life.”
Deliberating for a few seconds, Draco smiled, not one of genuine happiness, but closer to a smile of triumphant; finding the piece to a puzzle he was trying to solve. This woman somehow complimented his persona, making him stronger, more in control. His every need she could fulfil, and her information gathering ability was par none. And to top it off, he grew more addicted to her every time they were apart. Without further ado, he got up from the sofa, his future materializing right before his eyes. Fleur Delacour was necessary. So was his younger sister, but she was not yet of age. Both were the final pieces of his initial puzzle, but for completely different reasons. This was the moment.
Taking her hand in his, he concentrated hard, and a small cupboard in his room opened, and a tiny box came zooming through the corridors and hallways, descending the wide curved staircase and darting around the extravagant furnishings to zoom into his waiting palm. This was right. He needed to do this. Opening the little box, he pulled out an exquisite diamond ring. Fleur’s eyes widened in anticipation, was he really…?
Draco Malfoy bowed down to one knee. Fleur began to cry tears of happiness. Little did she know that the young man of eighteen years was embarking on a quest. A quest for greatness.
“Fleur, will you become my wife?”
His head was bowed, and he did not look at her in her eye. He stared resolutely at the ground, feeling that this was what he needed to do to become complete. This was the advantage Potter had over him.
“Yes! Oui! Yes yes! I will!” came her voice, shrilly with excitement. Draco did not find joy in knowing that she was to become his bride. He felt a sense of triumph in his finding the missing element that he needed to succeed. A cruel mockery of sorts, he did not bow to honour his fiancé; in his vision, he was being Knighted of his new status. Young and talented, these women he brought about him would be his lieutenants. Anne- the Siren, Jacqueline- the Torrentia Summoner, Fluer- the Seductress, and his younger sister, Kenna- the Enchantress…
These would be his first followers. He could amass armies with these talented witches at his side. Men will either join in his ambition, or perish at his hands. These women have proven they can assume control over any man they encounter. No one will be able to resist. Seeing his vision of the future becoming clearer by the second, he stood to his feet, smiling warmly at his new acquisition. He took her in a hug, her tears wet against the side of his face. His eyes glared red as the Infernus felt his confidence grow, his mission now starting to materialise in the right direction. Scooping his fiancé up in his arms, he carried her to the master bedroom upstairs, where he ravaged her with a passion he never felt before, almost on the verge of being barbaric in his ferocity. After they were exhausted form their rough lovemaking and Fleur was contentedly asleep in his arms, a voice spoke to him, almost as clear as if the Dark Lord Voldemort himself was whispering directly in his ear.
‘You are wrong, Master Malfoy. There has been one man who has encountered all of your five, and all of them have tried, each in their own peculiar way, to defeat him. One man, who has thwarted you since you can remember, has thrown aside all attempts of these women to bring him to his knees. You have missed a very important detail, my young apprentice. Harry Potter is more powerful than you think. You disappoint me, Master Malfoy. A Gryffindor taking the title of what is rightfully ours?
You will not be revered as a Dark Lord once he is alive. Do not fail me Draco… I have helped, you, I have shown you the way.’
And with that, Draco bolted awake, sweat running down his face. He took a few deep breaths to calm himself down. Reaching over his new fiance’s naked body, he turned the amp on to look at the miniature grandfather clock she used on her bedside table. It read 8:42. Getting out of bed, he donned his bedrobe, tying it around his waist. He washed his face in the neighbouring bathroom to eradicate that clammy feeling he got on his skin whenever Voldemort spoke to him. Drying his unblemished face, he returned into the bedroom and arrogantly squeezed Fleur’s exposed breast.
“Hmmm?” she said groggily, opening her eyes slightly. She almost screamed. With the light pouring out the bathroom behind him creating deep shadows on his face, she saw only two faint red pupils staring down at her, terrifying her so much that her heart nearly skipped a beat. Blinking a few times, she discarded it as only a part of her imagination.
“Wake up. We are going out tonight.”
Rebecca had to admit she was feeling excited. She couldn’t remember the last time she dressed up, or even felt like dressing up. But tonight was a good night as any to go all out. He said he would be here in a little while, and when two minutes past nine reached and he wasn’t here as yet she began to worry, even though he did say he was coming for around nine. At exactly six minutes and fourteen seconds past nine, there was a knock on her door. Composing herself and looking in the mirror one last time, she was satisfied that she had did her best and was tastefully appropriate for the occasion. Clearing her throat quietly to make sure she didn’t sound to obvious when she greeted him, she made her way out of her bedroom, down the hall, a left by the laundry area, a right by her study, through the kitchen/dining area, past her small lounge and opened the door. Her breath caught.
“Good night,” Harry said easily. “Er- ready?”
“Hi…um yes,” she said, a bit caught off guard. Harry’s outfit was not one she thought he would look good in, but to his credit, he fitted the mould perfectly. Dressed in a dashing suit, Rebecca knew that it was most probably handcrafted in the finest magi’s robes from Kurst’s in Bulgaria. Hanging in the crook of his arm, folded in two, was his father’s cloak, looking clean and in immaculate condition. “You look ...nice,” she commented, feeling like a silly little girl, which (she mused) she was feeling ever since he dropped her back home after the visit to the Ministry of magic. Four days and a half later, she somehow felt disappointed that he didn’t call, or write to her since. What was he doing all this while?
Harry smiled. She was absolutely gorgeous in a deep purple witches’ robe that complimented her dark hair and exotic deep blue eyes, almost on the verge of purple themselves. It hugged her curves and the wrap around her elbows was classy and made one’s mind wonder in curiosity to glimpse the fine expanse of her uncovered back. Inwardly, he sighed. He just didn’t want to be the focus of attention tonight. Now with Rebecca as his escort, it was inevitable that he would be smack dab in the center of it.
“You look, er…nice too. Come on, let’s get this over with,” he said, and Rebecca felt a bit disheartened. Obviously he wasn’t looking forward to this as she did. She locked the door behind her and both of them went into the small elevator on her apartment building. Inside the elevator Harry once again noticed their reflection, and dipped his eyes.
It’s a work outing. Don’t look at it too seriously… he told himself, finally getting the courage to look back the shiny surface of the elevator doors. Even though he ran that mantra through his head, he couldn’t deny that he was a man, and she was a beautiful woman. It was hard keeping his thoughts in line.
Lord Potter and Lady Lestrange…
No matter how hard the tried, the constant rumours kept dragging him back to think about the image of the reflection in the elevator a few days ago. That day, he was fully geared -and in a way, ready to duel for his life. Now he was dressed to go out and socialize, yet still he felt that tonight would also be a battle, a battle of yet another sort, yet a battle nonetheless.
As they stepped into the cool spring night, he thought to himself: What would be his challenge tonight?
“Where’s our transportation?” Rebecca asked, bewildered.
“I taxid here. But however, we’ll go in a more – well, efficient fashion. You ready?” Harry asked lazily.
“What, how? The apparation field-”
“Don’t mind that. I pulled some strings. Ah- exactly 9:15,” he mused, checking his watch. Right on time. “Here we go,” he said, and took her close, his hands resting lightly on her waist. She panicked, wanting to know what was he going to do, when the next thing she knew, they were on the bottom of a flight of wide steps leading to a classic art gallery. There were elegantly dressed wizards, mostly couples, heading up the steps, chatting and greeting other familiar faces as soft ballroom music floated down the smooth steps. Only a few heads turned at their sudden appearance, a couple so distracted with each other that they almost walked right into them. At the last possible second Harry stepped in closer to Rebecca and she took one step backwards as the couple walked steadily on. The man’s head was bent low, listening to his companion’s urgent whisperings , not even realizing that two people had just appeared out of nowhere right in their path. Rebecca found herself in very close proximity with Harry until he stepped away from her and began to ascend the steps. Regaining her composure she hastened up behind him, hissing in his ear.
“How did you do that? No one’s supposed to be able to get through,” she admonished.
“I pulled a few strings at the M.A.R.S. division, got myself a two minute opening. Come on,” he said offhandedly, not breaking stride. Rebecca frowned. Potter had the M.A.R.S. division breaking strict ministry rules for his convenience? What was going on here? She was about to question him again when they entered the main hall, the doorman looking up intently at them as Harry whispered their names. His eyes flickered once between the both of them in recognition and a wide grin broke out on his heavily lined face. Turning to face inwards, he lifted his hand towards the live band. They dipped their music and everybody turned towards the door to see what was the cause of this interruption.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, our guest of honour; Lord Potter, and his escort- the beautiful Lady Lestrange has arrived! Please, let the fun begin!” the doorman said robustly, making Harry’s insides squirm in embarrassment. There were a few flashes of camera lights, and many patrons began to whisper in urgent voices. Harry half-heartedly acknowledged the grandiose introduction and hastily dragged Rebecca away from the main entrance, finding it easier to disappear into the crowd by the cocktail bar.
“Well, well, well, if it isn’t Lord Potter. Moving on up are we?” came a voice behind him. “And with Miss Rebecca to boot.”
Harry calmly took a sip of his drink, letting the person stew a while before he responded. He turned slowly, watching Draco Malfoy directly in the eye. “Malfoy. Pleasant, as usual.”
“Lady Rebecca,” Draco smirked, bowing slightly. “It sounds so noble does it?” he said sarcastically.
“Malfoy, your charm is unparalleled,” she responded in a mock tone.
“Why thank you. Potter, as you’re here, I’d like you to be first to know,” Draco said smugly, drawing Fleur closer to his side. “I would like to officially introduce my new fiancé, Fleur Delacour.” Fleur beamed at Harry and Rebecca her beauty radiating even more magic than usual. The bartender suddenly dropped a glass behind the table, so dumbstruck that he was still pouring the wine all over his hand. Harry looked at the couple closely, looking for a sign of a trick. When he noticed the engagement ring on her finger, he looked back up at them, genuinely shocked.
“You’re serious.” It wasn’t a question.
“Now tell me, why would I lie about something like that?” Draco said, quite amused by Harry’s expression.
“Well, congratulations,” Harry said, instinctively offering his hand. Draco took it, and both men shook hands for the first time. There was a moment where time stood still, both men feeling each other’s strength by that otherwise routine gesture of camaraderie. A camera flashed at them, and the tension vanished, both of them abruptly letting go. Harry cleared his throat. “Well, this was a surprise.” Something about Draco was disturbing him….
“Yes. I think it is time I moved on to bigger, better things.”
“Oh?” Harry enquired.
“Just you wait, Potter, just you wait,” he smirked and gave a playful mock salute to Harry and Rebecca as he and his fiancé sauntered off. Harry frowned, what was that last about? What was going to happen?
“Pardon me m’lord, Madame Diggory wishes to have a word with you,” someone said on his left. He turned, and remembered the same man who tried to stop him from entering her office not even a few days earlier. Harry frowned again. Why was everyone addressing him as ‘lord’? It was irritating.
“I’ll come over in a bit,” Harry dismissed him, not wanting to be anyone’s lap dog.
“Yes, m’lord,” the man said as he bowed and backed away. Harry swore under his breath.
“Hey, is that Sol and Steven?” Rebecca remarked, looking across the hall. The two men were in conversation with each other, their respective wives chatting merrily, all of them laughing with drinks in their hands. Steven spotted them, and both men took their better halves to follow them across the ballroom floor. They came up to the cocktail bar and offered their hands, greeting Harry warmly.
“Spot on, Cap’n! Looking sharp!” Sol laughed, clapping him on his shoulder. Steven grinned in approval.
“Aye, both of you look like a good couple.” Before Harry could respond, Warshire introduced him to his wife. “Cindy, Harry Potter. Harry, my wife, Cinderella ,” he said grinning. Cindy took his hand and curtsied.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, m’lord.” Harry smiled but inwardly he was getting quite annoyed. Again that phrase!
“Er- thanks. Nice meeting you too,” Harry said a bit too edgily. Sol DeFontaine was on his other side, itching to introduce his wife as well.
“Sophia- Harry, Harry- Sophia. She’s American,” Sol added unnecessarily. Harry shook her offered hand.
“ ‘Tis my pleasure, m’lord.” She curtsied as well. Harry raised an eyebrow. “Right nice to meet royalty in these times. Sol told me a lot about you,” she said in a warm accent. “And who is your beautiful wife?” She asked kindly, looking at Rebecca.
“I’m not his wife, but my name is Rebecca,” she corrected.
“Pretty name to go along with the face. It nice seeing young people here to liven things up a little,” she winked at the both of them.
“Thank you, Sophia,” Rebecca said, trying not to laugh. Rebecca nudged Harry in his side.
“Yes, thank you,” Harry said, almost forgetting that she was addressing both of them. Harry excused himself to go into the washroom, and tried as covertly as possible to avoid more confrontations. After he had washed his hands, he felt a sudden wave of fatigue stepping over him.
“They adore you, you know,” his voice said from behind him. Harry looked up immediately, and in the mirror, was a reflection of himself, wearing his full Auror uniform and the Cloak of the Order of the Phoenix. “How easy it would be to have them fawn over you, do your bidding at your merest wish.” His reflection smiled back at him, coming closer so he could se his face. He looked only a few years older, but there was a huge scar that ran down his brow down to the muscle of his cheek.
“You aren’t real,” Harry said defiantly. “I can stop you.”
“How is that possible? I am you. You are me. Destiny cannot be denied.”
“You are not my destiny. I don’t know who you are. You’re just a shadow from days long past.” Harry said, not even daring to turn around.
“A shadow, am I?” the reflection laughed. “Could a shadow do this?” There was a flash of a blade, and all the stalls behind him broke along a ragged line. Harry froze, not believing his eyes, but still, he dared not turn around. His hands began to shake, and sweat began to pour down his face, his eyes dilating with the adrenaline rush preceding a battle.
“Oh, you wish to fight? That would be a lose-lose situation. I cannot defeat you, and you cannot defeat me. We are the same.”
“YOU’RE A FIGMENT OF MY IMAGINATION!” Harry screamed, his eyes blazing alive, glowing a pale blue in the mirror. As he did so, the reflection laughed, his eyes also glowing eerily.
“The ultimate power resides within you. This voice we both share, commands the Grim. To those who hear it, death awaits. The Animagus Black settled a score with the devil himself. Yes, he has crossed the barrier of the living, but a promise he has made on your father’s grave lives on. Even beyond this world- he will protect you. Do not deny destiny, neither do not forget who has gone before. I await the day when you accept your fate, for that day- you will know true power.”
After that, Harry blacked out, and only when someone began pounding on the door did he wake up from the bathroom floor.
“HEY, WHAT’S GOING ON IN THERE!“ came a muffled scream. “OPEN UP! DON’T LET ME HAVE TO USE MY WAND!”
“Hang on...” Harry slurred, groggily getting to his feet. With a wave of his wand and a murmuring of lips, all three doors began piecing themselves back together and was once again as good as knew. The cracks in the concrete doorframe where the blade had connected weren’t so easy to fix. Not having enough time to dwell on that, he quickly checked himself in the mirror for any thing out of the ordinary. Stepping to the door, he unlocked it and ducked his face as the other man hastily dashed into the stall.
“Aaaaahhh...” he groaned in relief as Harry made a quick exit. “Holding that up since half nine- damn, that cocktail is the shit!” he said aloud, but Harry was long gone. He made his way through the crowd when the Minister of Magic spotted him. Having made eye contact, he could try and evade her any more than he already had. She excused herself form her conversation with Frederick Smethwyck and made her way towards him.
“Commander,” she greeted.
“Madame Minister,” Harry nodded.
“Come with me, I have two urgent matters to discuss with you.” She took him by the crook of his elbow and made her way to a private tearoom off the main hall. Making sure no one saw them, she closed the door behind her and used the privacy charm.
”Muffliato! Harry, things are a bit hectic. I needed to speak to you, privately.”
“I’m listening,” Harry said with an air of slight indifference.
“It was wise of you not to bring Miss Granger to this function. After seeing firsthand what she could do, a lot of interest has been piqued in her abilities. Obviously, I would be ecstatic if she joined Lionheart’s healer division on graduation-“ Harry frowned- “No, wait- don’t get the wrong idea, I know that would not be prudent. Her Divine Summoning technique is very rare, and from the whisperings going around, a bounty has been placed for the highest bidder on her capture. Her excursion into London has put her even more in the spotlight. I just wanted you to know firsthand that I am on your side, and her safety is a priority on my agenda.”
“I’m glad you told me of this- it has been a serious problem for a while now… I have to find a way to always keep an eye on her, it’s getting ridiculous these past few years…“ Harry agreed, his anxiety stepping up a notch. Shit! He should have thought of that! Didn’t Rebecca say she was almost a ‘celebrity’ in the ministry? Everyone now knows who she is!
“And two- there has been some more tragic news I’m afraid. The two guards on surveillance of your cousin have been murdered a few hours ago, as well as Arabella Figg. Dudley Dursley is nowhere to be found- and the worst part is-“
“There’s more?” Harry said, his mind reeling. Mrs. Figg- murdered? Who would do such a thing?
“Yes- they were killed by muggle means, detonation of an explosive device. A bomb, Harry. A bomb! We have a serial killer on the loose- three wizards in one night. I’m just telling you to be careful. But for now, as Kingsley said, don’t get involved.” Harry shoved his hands in his pants pockets.
“Did you find out who killed my uncle?”
“Well, to a point, but we are still waiting confirmation. Until proven otherwise, I can safely say it was Rebecca’s brother: Rodulphus Lestrange.” Harry’s heart fell into his stomach. Not again. Even though he had already guessed it to be him, hearing his suspicion confirmed was even worse. This man was making his life a fucking nightmare!
“I want him dead, you hear me?” Harry growled, his face contorting in fury. Diggory paled as she saw the eerie glow in his eyes. She turned away immediately, not able to maintain eye contact with him for too long. What in the world?
“Who do you think we should send on this mission?” Diggory asked a bit hesitantly.
“We need someone who knows him to handle it-“ Harry said with determination. “Someone who knows him more intimately, our intelligence bureau can’t figure him out, neither can I,” Harry cursed again, not even caring he was talking to the most powerful figurehead in the Ministry.
“So, Agent Lestrange then?” Diggory offered. Harry thought a second, then shook his head in a firm denial.
“No. We need another Slytherin, another like him. Someone who also knows how his brain works. Send Malfoy, I believe he is capable to make sure Lestrange is brought to justice. Imprisonment won’t work on him. Malfoy’s mission is to be given Code black status- Assassination with no remains. We can’t risk any sort of Necromancy either, I wouldn’t put it past him.”
“Yes yes…Malfoy does seem to be eager to prove himself, doesn’t he? I’ll get on it right away, Potter,” Diggory said.
“Wait- Madame Minister- this is between the three of us- do not tell Malfoy I sent the request. Understood?” Harry stated. Sherry looked at him strangely, but did not object. She nodded, and left the room. Harry took a few minutes to regain his composure. Masking his features, he left the darkness of the private viewing room. Making his way back to the ballroom floor, he spotted Rebecca standing by herself, exactly where he left her almost twenty minutes ago. Her face brightened as she saw him approach.
“What took you so long?” she asked.
“Nothing- just a little problem came up that the Minister wanted dealt with,” he said casually. The ballroom floor was congested with couples Waltzing. Dismissing Lestrange as a dead man already, he smiled at her. “Lady Rebecca, may I have this dance?” he asked, bowing gallantly as he took her hand. She stepped into the circle of his arm, putting her fingers lightly on his shoulder. Without further ado, he swept her off her feet and seamlessly entered the fray. Even though he was laughing at her witty comments and completely enjoying the dance; there was one thing at the forefront of his mind.
If Malfoy should fail, he did not care what rules the Ministry had imposed on him, he will hunt down Lestrange and finish this once and for all, even if it took him the rest of his life.
Author's note: Whew! Long! This was pretty hard for me to write, because I had to show the transition of the main characters. Up till now, both young heroes were being controlled by the cards that were dealt, whereas now they're slowly, but surely becoming the players in this new movement of young and upcoming wizards. I hope it came across in a believable fashion. Thanks for your patience, it was along wait, but this chapter wasn't easy. Hope you I liked it, if not- I still would like you to review! Later!
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