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Chapter 23 : Devotion
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I don't wanna stray from the hallowed ground
I'll turn temptation down
I'm asking you to take me to safety this time
Devotion - Hurts
Generally, Araminta enjoyed working with the apprentices. The only downside of working here was that one found oneself quite removed from the rest of the Auror department, and so could miss out on news.
This might have happened to Araminta mid-week, if Gawain Robards, one of the apprentices, hadn’t been sent on an errand to the Auror office and brought the news back to the training room with him.
“Evan Rosier’s dead!”
“What?” came the chorus from most of the room.
“Rosier’s dead! They were attacking a house in Manchester, Moody and a few others headed up to capture them. They’ve brought in Crispin Travers and Mulciber but Rosier wasn’t having any of it. He took a huge chunk out of Moody’s nose, Moody’s bleeding all over the place but says he’s not getting it checked out until he knows Travers and Mulciber have been properly taken care of-”
Scrimgeour sighed, irritated.
“The fool. I’ll have to go up and help out, and send him off to St. Mungo’s as well. Dawlish, hold the fort.”
If things hadn’t been so exciting, Araminta might have scorned at Scrimgeour’s choice of deputy. As it was, she was too busy trying to find out what had happened to worry about such trifles. Her main point of interest was, of course, her brother-in-law’s fate.
“Moody’s been tracking Rosier for a while,” Robards said, clearly thriving on the attention. “He detected that he was in Manchester with a couple of others, and on top of that someone tipped the MLE off earlier about a disturbance. Moody took his whole team up, and they managed to bring in both Travers and Mulciber. Rosier’s duelling was vicious, apparently; he was throwing Killing Curses about all over the place. Moody had no choice but to use his extended powers.”
Araminta shuddered slightly. Under normal circumstances, the Aurors weren’t allowed to kill Death Eaters, or use any of the Unforgiveable Curses for that matter. The Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Bartemius Crouch, had removed that restriction in the wake of the Dark Lord’s rise to power. The policy didn’t quite sit right with her, though here it seemed to have saved Moody’s life.
“Crouch and Prewett are interrogating Travers and Mulciber right now,” Robards finished.
“Does he mean Gideon?” Araminta asked Arieda quietly, as Robards was flooded with questions by the others, Aurors and apprentices alike.
“Yeah. Gideon’s on Moody’s team, remember? Fabian’s out on patrols this week.”
“Do you think that’s ... wise?”
“Gideon’s one of the best interrogators in the Auror office. At least, he was. My parents work in Muggle Law Enforcement, you see. Louisa learned their tactics, and Gideon in turn picked it all up from her. He had the ideal temperament when he first started out, you know. So laid-back, never used to rise to anything ... it’s the kind of attitude you need when you’re trying to get answers out of Death Eaters whose only form of defence is to antagonise the questioner. That’s why Marlene wasn’t an interrogator; she was always more hot-headed than Gideon.”
“But Travers was one of the ones at Marlene’s parents’ house ... he was the one who killed Sandrine ... do you really think Gideon is the best person to be interrogating him?”
“Crouch is there too,” Arieda pointed out.
“Well, yes, but Crouch seems a little...”
“Unhinged? Yeah, I agree with you. I don’t like these sweeping powers he’s handing out to all and sundry. He seems too determined to capture Death Eaters, you know? But Gideon will be fine. The pain’s not so raw now. Plus, he’s sorted things out with you, which will have helped. He’s a big champion of due process, he’ll behave himself.”
Araminta felt sick at the thought of what Crouch might do to her if he found out about her role as a spy. Moody might be as anti-Dark magic as it was possible to be, but he at least was capable of recognising redemption – and listening to Dumbledore. Crouch, however, seemed devoted to hunting down Death Eaters, to the point where he had become blinded by his hatred of Dark magic, and she often wondered whether he was really the best choice to be the Head of the MLE. In peacetime, he probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to grow so powerful; checks and balances seemed to go out of the window in times of conflict.
Her thoughts then turned to Travers. Her first reaction to the news of his capture had been sheer joy. She had been trying so hard to evade him over the past few weeks, both out of fear over what he might have said to her, and fear that she might not have been able to contain herself. Whenever she’d so much as thought of him, she’d been reminded of the callous, carefree way he’d turned his wand on Sandrine McKinnon. He may have been gentler to her than Casimir was, but when it came to Muggleborns and blood traitors he was exactly like his brother, and it utterly sickened her.
Of course, now she would have to try to avoid him here. She wasn’t sure where the interrogations took place, though she was certain that it wasn’t up on Level Two – at least, not the area of Level Two that she worked in. But she didn’t know whether she could trust him – or indeed herself –not to blow her cover if they were to run into each other.
She wondered how Gideon was coping with interrogating him. Arieda had seemed confident that he would be fine, but she was still worried. He seemed so hell-bent on avenging Louisa and Marlene’s deaths, that she wondered whether his rationality would be heard over the top of the cries for vengeance, which often seemed to be the only thing that drove him on.
It wasn’t healthy. And it worried her.
Gideon was having a fabulous time.
This had always been the best part of being an Auror. Yes, the duelling was exhilarating, and the thrill of the chase was always rewarding, but there was nothing he liked more than winding up a Death Eater who couldn’t respond.
“It’s quite simple, Travers,” he said lazily, propping his dragon-hide boots up on the table in between him and the Death Eater. Crouch looked disapprovingly at him, but he ignored it. “We’re not leaving until we get some answers, and I’m sure that even murderous slimeballs like you need sleep and food every now and again. And I’m more than willing to stay here for as long as it takes, because if I’m here past nine this evening, then the Ministry will pay for my dinner, and if I’m here until past midnight then I get tomorrow off.”
Crouch’s disapproving glare grew more intense.
“Not to mention, we make notes of how well behaved our Dark wizards are in the interrogation process. If you behave well here, you might have half a chance of getting out of Azkaban in the next sixty years. But if you decide to be a nuisance, we’ll have you banged up until the end of eternity. You’ve got nothing to lose by talking, because we’ve already got a lifetime of evidence against you, but you can help yourself a little bit. Not to mention, you’ll be rid of me much earlier that way, and I can’t imagine that prolonged exposure to me is too desirable.”
Travers’ lip curled, but he remained silent. Gideon could tell that he was getting pissed off, though, which satisfied him.
“So, let’s try this again. Were you at the house of Mr and Mrs McKinnon on the twenty-sixth of July this year?”
“Those filthy blood traitors got what they deserved-”
“I’m inclined to take that as a yes.” He watched as the Quick Quotes quill scribbled down everything that they were saying, having struggled to keep up with his monologue.
“And you’re even worse, with that filthy Muggle wife of yours-”
“Indeed I am, although at least our sproglets would have had the right number of digits. But you did your best to take care of that one, didn’t you?”
He was tempted to add to Travers that his next target was his widowed sister-in-law, whose pedigree was undoubtedly far better than Louisa’s, but he restrained himself. Regardless of the fact that Travers’ next destination would be Azkaban regardless of what he said here, advising him that Araminta was anything other than Voldemort’s woman was a bad idea. Not to mention that he didn’t fancy having that comment recorded in the Ministry’s archives.
There was also the added issue that Crouch would have her strung up by her ankles quicker than he could say ‘Quidditch’.
“Were you there for that one, too?” he added, turning his own attention back to his deceased wife. “If you weren’t, you missed a cracking social event. Hogsmeade’s a fantastic venue for it, you know.”
He wasn’t quite sure how he could be so blasé about Louisa’s death when only months before he hadn’t been able to so much as think of her without getting depressed. He enjoyed watching a tic develop in Travers’ neck, and seeing the fascinating array of colours that his face was experimenting with.
“Your brother was there, wasn’t he?” he continued. “I seem to remember, he was one of the idiotic ones who took his mask off. Then again, at least he isn’t a coward. Or wasn’t, should I say? I hear you’re the last of the lot now? The last of a legacy, eh?”
Perhaps it was cruel, to poke fun at Travers’ losses. But then, it was no secret that he had never liked his brother, and after all he’d done it was the least he deserved.
“I bet you did that, didn’t you?” Travers snarled, looking angry.
“Nope, not me. I’d love to take the credit for that, but sadly, I can’t. Not that it matters much either way; he’s out of the way now.”
Travers scowled, but then clutched his left wrist with his right. Gideon’s eyes followed the action.
“Your master calling for you, is he?” he said coolly.
The Auror department had learned a few years back what the Dark Marks were. It had often been suggested that a captured Death Eater could be used to take a team of Aurors to Voldemort himself, but often those talks had come to nothing. It was far too risky to transport even the most experienced Aurors to an unknown location, in unknown circumstances.
“Right, then.” Gideon got down to business – Travers wasn’t going to say any more, and he was getting tired of this rigmarole – though his feet remained propped up on the table. “Crispin Travers, you are hereby charged with numerous crimes against humanity, including the extensive use of all three Unforgiveable Curses, the persecution of Muggles and, more specifically your involvement in the deaths of the McKinnons, the Abbotts, the Fawcetts, the Derwents, the Cauldwells, Louisa Prewett, Mary MacDonald and my parents to boot. As such, you are sentenced to lifetime imprisonment in Azkaban. Get him out of my sight, boys.”
The burly Hit Wizards who were standing either side of the door to the interrogation room stepped forwards and seized Travers by the elbows, pulling him upright. They marched him out of the room and down the corridor, where Gideon knew that they would be joined by Dementors who would then take Travers to Azkaban. Hhe stayed in the interrogation room for as long as possible to avoid them, collecting up the parchment and quill from the table.
“Nice work, Prewett,” Crouch said briefly, before leaving. Gideon was glad for this; he didn’t quite see eye to eye with Crouch, whose presence often unnerved him. He was more than happy to be left alone to his thoughts.
Because Travers’ Dark Mark call had alarmed him. Voldemort would surely have found out by now that his Death Eaters had been captured, and there would be no reason for him to summon a captured Death Eater – unless he had summoned everyone.
Which meant that Araminta was once more being summoned to the lion’s den.
Araminta, however, wasn’t worried.
She was pissed off.
It was alright for the Dark Lord. He was his own employer, he could choose his own working hours.
Ministry employees, like her, couldn’t. She’d been home for barely ten minutes, and had just started to cook her dinner when her Mark burned. She tipped her food away, irritated, and conjured up her robes. She really wasn’t in the mood to face the Dark Lord, especially given that he was likely to be beyond angry.
And she was hungry.
She arrived at the house in Wimbourne with an irritated crack, and got a sense of satisfaction from seeing Bellatrix jump at her arrival.
The Dark Lord was, indeed, livid. To lose three Death Eaters in one day, especially three as powerful and feared as Rosier, Travers and Mulciber, was a devastating blow, and he was in a murderous mood.
“I want results!” he snapped at them. “I want the Prewetts. I want Black. I want Fenwick. I want Dearborn. I want the mudblood Platt. None of you are delivering! In the past four weeks, we’ve disposed of one Order member and her family. We’ve lost four people. This is not good enough.”
It was Avery who took the punishment. It was always Avery.
Araminta was relieved that the Dark Lord wouldn’t use her as the scapegoat, not in front of everyone else. It would undermine her authority within the ranks, and the Dark Lord was a big fan of making sure his minions knew where they stood. There was no chance that he would dare to undermine the authority of one of his best spies in front of mere foot soldiers.
But the ‘entertainment’ was short-lived.
Lucius Malfoy burst into the room. Araminta was surprised; she hadn’t realised that he hadn’t been present, and now wondered why that was.
“Malfoy.” The Dark Lord looked irritated as he raised the curse on a relieved Avery.
“The Order have found Mulciber’s place! They’re raiding it now, they’re taking all sorts-”
If the Dark Lord was livid before, he was now apoplectic with rage.
“Bellatrix! Take a team, ambush them. Take as many people as possible. The rest of you, get the hell out of here. We will reconvene here in two days’ time to assess the situation.”
He swept out of the room.
Araminta didn’t need telling twice. Knowing that she wouldn’t be chosen by Bellatrix, she Disapparated as quickly as she could, her stomach growling with approval.
Once home, she whipped up a hot meal, trying to keep her thoughts away from the Dark Lord and the Order. The Dark Lord was scary when he was angry, and nobody was safe from his wrath. And thinking of the Order – and more specifically, who was at Mulciber’s house – would only make her worry about Gideon and Arieda, who were most probably both partaking in the raid.
Instead, she mulled over the orders that the Dark Lord had given them. He very rarely planned meetings, instead opting to call them as and when he saw fit. She suspected he liked being deliberately awkward.
But he had specifically told them to return to the house in two nights’ time...
She smirked. She could do something with this information.
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