Chapter 7 : |Chapter 5| A Drop of Veritaserum
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“It says: ‘a Gypsy is a common name for a witch with exceptional magical powers. Gypsies are said to have exceptionally long life-spans. They can be easily identified as they do not need wands to use magic. There are no known Gypsy Clans within the ministry at this time. Most superstitions say that Gypsies are evil and will bring you bad luck. During the witch-hunts in the 1800’s, it was the Gypsies who gave the magical community away to the muggles. They were stubborn and proud and refused to hide who/what they were. This caused a war between normal witches and the Gypsies and-"
“-We already know about the Gypsy wars, Hermione,” Ron said. “We aren’t that stupid. Skip to the good part already!”
“What are you talking about, Ron?” Harry asked. His ignorance of the magical world, caused from being raised by muggles, was showing through again. “What does any of this have to do with Voldemort wanting to find-”
“-You’ll see, Harry, just listen!” Ron nodded eagerly at Hermione to continue. Hermione just rolled her eyes, tracing her finger down a few paragraphs. She continued reading:
’At the end of the Gypsy Wars, the ministry banned them and they began to form what they called clans. They chose their leader over 300 years ago and it is said that the 2nd descendant of their 1st leader will have to take up the leadership role when she passes into the next realm.’
“Wait, what does it mean, the 2nd descendant of their 1st leader?” Ron asked, cutting Hermione off again.
“It means, Ron, that her granddaughter has the rights to be their next leader, and not her daughter,” Hermione snapped. “Any other questions before I attempt to finish reading this page?” Both of the boys shook their heads. “Anyways, next it says that:
‘Because of their long lives, a Gypsy Clans leadership positions skip a generation so that the next leader can begin her training at a younger age. It is said that their leaders often poses extraordinarily supernatural talents and abilities. They can be telepathic mind readers, have natural healing abilities without needing the aid of medicinal herbs, can accurately see into the future at will, and some can even control the weather and other forces of nature; although that particular talent is extremely rare. If a Gypsy studies and harnesses her special gift, eventually in time, she will master it.’
Hermione stopped reading and they all considered what they had just read about. At last, McGonagall said, “well, if the rumor is true, then that would explain why Voldemort is trying to enlist the Gypsy Clan.”
Ron furrowed his brow, trying to figure out how she had arrived at that conclusion. “How so, professor?”
“Well, if this leader of theirs is over 300 years old, then she must be getting ready to die. which would mean that her daughters’ daughter is about to take over the clan,” McGonagall explained. “The new girl will be inexperienced and vulnerable, so if Voldemort can get to her and control her, he will eventually control the entire clan.”
“Which would not be good!” Hermione exclaimed. “I’ve read about them before and Gypsies are extremely powerful. I for one wouldn’t want to have to face one in a battle!”
Right you are, as always, Miss. Granger,” McGonagall complimented.
“Well, I for one am not afraid of no girl,” Ron said enthusiastically. In a flash, Hermione whipped out her wand and aimed it at him. Ron yelped in fear.
“You were saying?” Hermione stated.
“Well, that is, except for you dear,” Ron laughed nervously. “Now could you please aim that thing somewhere else!”
Hermione glared at him before lowering her wand. “You should fear them Ronald,” she said threateningly. “They are exceptional thinkers and they can move extremely fast! They don’t need wands to use magic, so it’s difficult to predict what their next move is going to be. And if you’re battling one that can read minds, you might as well not even try. If Voldemort gains control of an entire Gypsy Clan…” Hermione trailed off, shaking her head.
“Why would the Gypsies want to join Voldemort in the 1st place?” Ron asked.
“Probably because then they could come out of hiding,” answered McGonagall. “Voldemort would offer them certain freedoms that the Ministry has been denying them for years. It’s the same story as always with the Ministry, they’re all prejudice cowards who put restrictions on anyone who may have the power to overrule them.”
Hermione shook her head in disgust. “You know, maybe if they didn’t have to stay hidden all the time, and if Rufus would just allow the Gypsies back into society, maybe, just maybe, we wouldn’t even have this problem. But do you think he’s going to do that? Hell no he isn’t! Which means that now we have to try to find them before he does!”
Ron smiled at Hermione. She was so passionate about equal rights and he loved watching her get all worked-up about it. She noticed him smiling and frowned at him. “It’s not funny Ronald!” she exclaimed.
“No, I know it’s not,” he said quickly. “That’s not why I was smiling anyways.”
“Good,” Hermione said shortly.
“So you really didn’t know then?” Harry asked McGonagall again.
“I can assure you Harry,” she confirmed, “that I have had no idea of whatsoever of Voldemort’s current planning’s. He’s getting more difficult to figure out these days.”
“That’s because he knows we’re on to him,” Harry assured her.
“Yes, but for us to have not known anything about this, is ridiculous!” McGonagall exclaimed. “This is a rather major bit of information and we just-so-happened to overlook it? This is no coincidence! I really wish that I could pinpoint exactly how Voldemort always seems to know what we’re up to when we can’t even seem to figure out what he’s up to! Somewhere along the lines, we’re being either spied on, lied to, or both and I can‘t stand not knowing who is behind it all!!”
“Don’t worry professor,” Hermione said. “Whoever it is, I’m sure you’ll catch them sooner or later.”
At that moment Saleena walked into the living room, and the conversation subsided. “Sorry if I’m interrupting anything,” she said. “I can leave now and come back later if you’d like.”
“No, that’s quite alright,” McGonagall asserted. “The three of the were just leaving. We can pick up this conversation later.” Harry nodded in agreement and got up off the couch to leave. Ron and Hermione followed. “I’ll contact you three again once I’ve have finished here. I need to speak with you all before you leave again.” Harry nodded again and the trio left to go upstairs to Ron’s room and wait.
“Please have a seat, Saleena” Minerva said in a business-like manner. Saleena took the chair directly across from her. Minerva pulled a small bottle out from the pocket of her robes and popped the cork off of if it. She handed it across to Saleena who reluctantly reached out and took it from her. “Please use this sparingly as it is all I have left for right now. A single drop will suffice as this should not take very long.”
Saleena silently did as she was told and only used a drop of the Veritaserum. It tingled he tongue as she swallowed it. She then handed the bottle back to McGonagall and waited.
I only have a few questions for you,” McGonagall began. “The first is this; are you a spy?”
“No,” Saleena answered. “I told you yesterday that I am not.”
“And I also told you that I needed to be one-hundred percent sure,” she reminded her. “Moving on then, do you currently, or have you ever worked for the Dark Lord?”
“NO,” Saleena practically yelled.
“Do you agree with any of his teachings?”
“And what about Lucius Malfoy?” she asked. “He is a Death Eater after all. Are you working for him?”
“No,” Saleena assured her. “Lucius and I’s relationship has always been strictly business. I take care of their son whenever he gets sick, that’s all. Draco on the other hand, I am very fond of. He is my favorite patient, but only because I have worked with him since he was a baby.” She knew then that the Veritaserum was working on her because she never would have said that to Minerva McGonagall otherwise.
“So then, if we have a private meeting, you won’t go back and tell Lucius anything tat we discuss?”
“No. I’ve told you, I’m not a spy!”
“So then,” Minerva continued. “You can keep a secret?”
“Yes,” Saleena said fiercely. ‘Seeing how as I’m already keeping the biggest secret of my entire life from the rest of the world,’ she added, thinking only to herself.
Minerva nodded in approval. “Well then I guess I only need to know one more thing from you, Miss. Saleena. Why exactly do you wish to join the Order of the Phoenix?”
“That’s easy,” Saleena smiled. “Because I want to help win this war in whatever way I can! I hate Voldemort for all of the evil things he has done, all the innocent lives he has taken, the pain he has caused everyone! He must be stopped. I feel that I can use my abilities to really help the Order and benefit in whatever way I can.”
Minerva could not have been more pleased with Saleena’s answer. “Well that settles it then,“ she said. “Congratulations Saleena, you’re in!”
“Wait - what? You mean, that’s it? That was easy!” And she simply could not believe that it was that easy. “After all the time I spent fretting over this meeting, that was all you wanted to know?”
“Yes,” McGonagall answered. “That is, unless there is something else that you would like for me to know. Anything you’d like to share?” Saleena bit her lower lip, hesitating for a moment, then shook her head no. “Then it’s settled that! Now that I know for a fact that you’re not in league with Voldemort, I can trust you.”
“Thank you,” Saleena said sincerely.
McGonagall nodded. “Well then, I suppose now would be a great time to bring you up to speed with what’s been going on recently. Nobody else in the Order knows this yet because I have just learned it for myself from Harry. He, Ron and Hermione have just informed me that Voldemort is intending to induct an entire clan of Gypsies into his army. Now,” she went on, taking no heed to the now distressed look in Saleena’s eyes. “There are several Do you happen to know anything about Gypsies?”
Saleena gulped. There it was, the topic she had most wanted to avoid. “Do I ever,” she unwillingly answered.
“As do I,” McGonagall continued, paying no attention to Saleena’s reluctance. “Apparently there is a Gypsy Clan around here and their leader is about to die. From what I have gathered thus far, Voldemort is after their next-in-line. I guess he figures that if he can get to her, he can eventually get to the entire clan. Would you happen to know anything about this?”
Saleena groaned as she felt the Veritaserum begin to take over again. She couldn’t stop herself from answering with a “Yes.”
This time, McGonagall did notice her behavior. “Saleena, what is wrong with you? Why are you resisting the serum? Are you hiding something from me?”
“Yes,” she squeaked, again unwillingly, in a small, humiliated voice. “and I’d really rather not talk about this right now, please” she pleaded.
“Why, because right now you can’t lie to me?” Minerva deduced. “As a member of this Order, if you know anything in regards to our current situation, then you are obligated to share whatever it is you know! Now I demand you tell me everything that you know about all this this instant!”
Saleena buried her face in her hands, her long hair concealing her face from Minerva’s view. This was a very difficult topic for her. She growled in frustration. “What exactly do you want to know?”
“Has Voldemort really found the Gypsies?”
Saleena sighed. “Yes, he really has found them. And some of them have already agreed to join him, no matter what happens after their Clan Leader dies.”
“Well who is their next clan leader going to be?” Minerva wondered where Saleena got all of her information from, but she knew that the Veritaserum would be wearing off anytime now so she pressed Saleena for as much information as she could.
“They don’t know yet,” Saleena answered as vaguely as she could manage.
“So then if they don’t know yet, there is no way that Voldemort could know yet who she is,” McGonagall deduced. “Good! Then that means we’re safe for the moment. Who’s their Clan Leader now, do you know?”
“Yes, I know who she is,” Saleena said still giving vague answers.
“A name, Saleena. Do you know her name?”
Saleena gritted her teeth. “Yes, and it’s Carla,” she said, thankful that the truth potion did not make her reveal the last name.
“Hmm…” McGonagall pondered what she had just learned. “I wonder how much more time we have until this Carla dies.”
“Only about a month or two,” Saleena said softly, desperately wishing that she could just get up and run out of the room.
Minerva was shocked. She gaped at Saleena. She had been thinking out loud just then. Never did she expect to get an answer to that question. Now she was suspicious. “Saleena how on earth do you possibly know that?”
Saleena clapped a hand over her mouth to stop the answer from coming out. The only thing Minerva got was a muffled response. “Saleena take your hand away from your mouth and look at me!” Saleena did as she was told and when she looked up, McGonagall noticed that she had silently been crying. “I am sorry if this is hard for you, but for the sake of the Order, I need to know where you are getting all this information from? How do you know who their Clan Leader is and how long she has left to live?”
Saleena glared at McGonagall. In that moment, she hated her for forcing her to confess the biggest secret of her life. Hated the fact that there was nothing she could do now to hide it. She knew that the answer to this one little question would change her entire identity forever. “I know because Carla Blackwell is my grandmother. I am the one who is next in line to become the Gypsies new Clan Leader. It‘s me!”
“That’s not possible,” McGonagall gasped.
“Look, even if I was able to lie right now,” Saleena divulged. “Do you honestly believe that I would just make something like that up?”
“And here I was thinking that I could actually trust you!” McGonagall exclaimed. “But now how can I, knowing that you’re a Gypsy?”
“I am not a Gypsy,” Saleena retaliated. “Look, I’ve already told you, I gave that part of me up a long time ago. I left my mother to go and live with my father because I didn’t want anything to do with those stupid Gypsies. I practice non of their traditions and I don’t agree with any of their customs!”
“Yes but that still doesn’t make you not one of them, Saleena” McGonagall replied. “It’s in your blood and, try as you might, you cannot deny it, nor can you change it. You’re a Gypsy just as much as Draco is Lucius Malfoy’s son. No matter how many times he denies it, it will never change the fact that Lucius really is his father. The same applies with you,” she explained. “You may deny being one of them but the truth is, you completely are, and you always will be.”
“No, I’m not-”
McGonagall cut her off sharply. “Miss. Saleena, do you have a wand?”
“What? Yes, of coarse I have a wand!”
“Do you use it? And I mean really use it.”
Saleena put her head down in shame. She still couldn’t lie. “Yes, but only as a prop. It isn’t real.”
“I thought so.“ McGonagall nodded. “Now that my point has been proven, I rest my case. The only question left is; what do I do with you from here?”
“I-I don’t understand,” Saleena said slowly. “You-you’re still going to trust me?”
“Well you haven’t given me any reason not to now have you?” McGonagall said, raising an eyebrow. “Now tell me, exactly what is your gift?”
Saleena gave McGonagall a curious look. She wasn’t quite sure how to react to this. She had never told anyone her secret before and now, the first person she ever did, was seemingly okay with it? It didn’t make any sense to her at all. “W-what do you mean, my gift?”
“I may not be all that familiar with Gypsies but still, I am no fool,” Minerva declared. “I know that most Gypsies are gifted, and that the ones who are chosen to be their leader usually tend to be extraordinarily special. So what are your abilities?”
“Isn’t it obvious?” Saleena asked. “I am gifted in medicine. I see things whereas other Healers do not. Mixing herbs to create antidotes has always came more naturally to me. I’m also pretty good at reading people and knowing what they want or need, even when they cannot express if for themselves. And I-” here, Saleena hesitated.
“Go on,” McGonagall urged.
Saleena swallowed past the lump in her throat and went on. “I-I can read people’s memories. Not their minds, but their memories. Whenever I touch someone, I can see whatever they’re remembering as if it were a memory of my own. It’s kinda like watching a movie. I could be a lot stronger at it than I am, but I never pursued my training for it as a girl.”
“If you haven’t spoken to your mother in so long,” McGonagall continued again with the questioning. “Then how do you know how soon it will be until your grandmother passes, and how do you know that some of the clan have already made their decision on who they want to follow?”
“Because I lied to you yesterday,” Saleena said simply. “My mother visited me for the first time in 30 years the very same night that I got Molly & Arthur’s call to come here and help them with Draco. Their timing seriously could not have been any better,” she chuckled.
“And what did your mother want?” McGonagall pressed.
Saleena sighed. “She wanted me to know what was going on with Carla and offer me my rightful place as their leader. She said that if I wanted to, I could go back with her and finish my training, harness my powers and master my abilities. I have no idea what on earth made her think I would ever say yes to such a preposterous request, but-”
“And what will happed if you don’t go back Saleena?”
“Well, mother said that the clan will have to elect a new leader and our family name will lose all of it’s power,” she answered. “But none of that matters to me.”
“Who do you think they would be most likely to chose as their new leader?”
“I think you already know the answer to that one,” Saleena mused.
“Voldemort,” McGonagall stated and Saleena nodded. “I was afraid of that,” she went on. “Then I guess that only leaves us with one way to stop him from getting the Gypsies to join him. Saleena, I think I have an idea as to what your first mission is going to be.”
“Oh, no you don’t!” Saleena shook her head fiercely. “Don’t think I don’t see where this is going! I won’t do it so don’t even bother asking!”
“How badly do you wish to be a part of the Order, Miss. Saleena?”
“More that anything, but-”
“Then it is time for you to do your part,” Minerva interrupted her. “Every single member of this Order have all had to make sacrifices and your no different. You said that you wanted to help make a difference in this war and help out wherever you can, well now’s your chance!”
“Yes, but you can’t ask me to do that!”
“I’m not asking you to, I’m telling you to,” McGonagall said with as much authority as she could muster. “Seeing how as you are the only one who has the power to put a stop to all of this, it is your responsibility to go back to your people and talk some sense into them. If the only way to do that is to become their leader, then so be it!”
“And then what?” Saleena shot. “Loose my job and become an outcast in society? I‘ve worked too hard throughout my life to get to where I‘m at just to throw it all away on a whim! Mother says that they might not even listen to me? And why should they after I walked out on them? If this is what it means to be in the Order, then I am sorry, but I‘m out. I will take no pert in this!”
“Miss. Saleena, calm down,” McGonagall said softly. “If it means that much to you, then I guess we can try to figure something else out.”
“Like what?” she sneered.
“I’m not sure at this moment,” Minerva sighed. “But I at least need you to do go to them and-”
“Minerva, I told you already I-”
“Will you just listen to me for a second!” Minerva hissed. Saleena snapped her mouth shut at. “All I want is for you to go to your mother and talk to her. Let her finish your training so that you can have full use of your skills. I’m sure you have abilities that you don’t even know you have yet, and later on down the road we may need your abilities. But they wont be any good to any of us if you do not know how to use them correctly. Go. Finish your training. An while your there, talk to them. Invite as many of them as you can to join us.”
“And split up the Clan?”
“It sounds to me like the Clan has already split,” McGonagall said. “It is unavoidable at this point, Saleena. Don’t you get it? That is what Voldemort does to people, he splits them up. Because he knows that divided, we are weak, but together we are strong! So, rather than you joining them, try to get them to join us. Does that work better for you?”
“I suppose,” Saleena sighed. “I can try my best, but I doubt that very many of them will listen to me. It‘ll be hard gaining their respect after being gone all this time.”
“You do whatever you have to do to get as many of them on our side as possible!” McGonagall ordered. “Even of only one of them listens to you, it will still be better than none, and that’ll be one less that Voldemort will hive on his side. Am I understood?”
“Yes ma’am,” Saleena said with a nod. “When do I leave?”
“Tomorrow,” McGonagall instructed at once. “If your grandmother is as sick as you say she is, then we haven’t got much time left.”
From the look in Saleena’s eyes. Minerva could tell that she wanted to object, however, she did not. Instead she nodded her head and asked if she could be excused to go get ready to leave and McGonagall gave her permission to do just that…
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