Chapter 26 : 25- The International Confederation of Wizards
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“No, Neville enough is enough!” Harry barked out in frustration.
“Just listen to me.” Neville was pacing up and down Harry’s office. “Gawain and Williamson were good friends. They were outlaws together throughout the last war.”
“Neville, he admitted to committing euthanasia in front of both me and Phillipa. I know it’s hard for you because he trained you-”
“The outlawed Aurors during that time,” Neville continued, ignoring Harry. “Made a pact not to be afraid to kill one another quickly if they were ever subject to any unpleasant curses that would cause them permanent agony that-”
“And how well do you think that argument would stand in front of the Wizangamot? It doesn’t excuse the fact that he willingly killed an Auror and resisted arrest.” Neville didn’t reply though Harry could hardly fail to notice the frustration and anger that was plastered on his face.
“I know the situation with Gawain and Williamson is shocking, but we can’t allow it to distract us from the real threat. I’ve told all of you this, we need this conference to be a success and get as much info and help as possible against these foreign Wizards Selwyn’s recruiting. And if the Death Eaters do find a way to this meeting, it could mean disaster on a global scale, so I need all of you on form. Including you, mate.” Neville looked up at Harry, still silent. “Please remind the others of that.” Neville didn’t respond though Harry knew he had listened to him.
“The Minister’s ready when you are, Harry.” Ron called out from behind the cream coloured door to Harry’s office. Harry indicated Neville to follow and after saying “Alright, let’s go” to the rest of the Aurors, who were all being retaken through the process by Terry, he began following Susan and Anthony towards the Department of Magical Transportation.
“You sure you don’t want me to go.” Ron asked as he ran to Harry’s side.
“I’ve told you, I need to leave at least a few Aurors here to keep things in order and keep an ear out for the Malfoys and the Death Eaters and you’re the one who’s in charge when I’m not here.” Though Ron still didn’t look any more convinced.
“You think they’re still alive then?” Ron asked as they waited for the lift to arrive. Something seem to turn in Harry’s stomach and, once again and stronger than Harry had experienced in the past number of days, the forceful, tingling feeling in his head took control and spoke, more with Harry’s natural voice this time as opposed to the mechanical forced tone he had used before.
“I know they are.” Ron eyed him and Harry wandered whether Hermione had told him about the Life Debt.
“Just make sure you keep your mirror on you.” Ron said.
“You too and let me know if Marietta says anything more about this deal.” Harry replied trying to casually rub his head and regain control and he watched as the golden doors of the lifts closed between himself and Ron, who looked even less convinced about Marietta then he did about not accompanying Harry.
When Harry and the rest of the Aurors reached the department, they found Kingsley waiting for them, two Law Enforcer guards on either side of him, their wands drawn.
“I think you two can be relieved now.” Kingsley said to the Enforcers and when he was sure they were out of ear shot he said flatly to Harry “Kory’s orders because, as we all know, I can’t look after myself very well.” Harry smiled as Lucy’s deputy led the group of Aurors to the large room of Portkeys, Lucy herself still taking time to recover from Marietta’s Imperious Curse.
Mere minutes later, Harry and his large group of Aurors were in a huge plain brown room that reminded Harry of a stripped out version of the Hogwarts Great Hall. The room was empty apart from a large round wooden table with what looked like more than a hundred chairs surrounding it, a metal name card in front of each seat each embedded with the flag of the country the Witch or Wizard represented.
Beams of the morning light burst through tiny holes in the roof and walls of the room as well as the single long window that stretched the entire length of the wall.
“Ah, there you are.” Hermione said turning to see the large group before her. Harry smiled at her and after ordering the Aurors to get into their groups and guard their designated areas, he beckoned her towards him. “The other Ministers should be here soon so I hope you’re ready.” And sure enough, after she settled into her own seat and began pulling out numerous numbers of parchment, one by one the Ministers arrived.
Although Harry had never personally met many of the other Ministers, from sight he recognised the Egyptian Minister, Narmer Tor; a tall, thin, tanned Wizard with eyes that matched in colour with the large golden robes he wore and who was holding a long twin-snake-headed golden staff for the occasion, strands of his long black hair draped across his face. However, despite his grand clothing, Harry noticed that he seemed very uneasy to take part in the meeting and detected the forcefulness in the smile he gave to Kingsley as he shook his hand.
The American Minister, Abraham Blackburn was next to arrive. He was a portly, middle-aged man with short blond hair, a tufty of stubble spread across his face like a golden bush and dressed in what looked like a Muggle suit, though the tails of the black blazer were so long they brushed across the floor as he walked. Three tough looking men surrounded him, all eyeing the newcomers as they arrived.
Next was Alice Mulvenna, the Minister for Magic of Italy; a young Witch compared to the other Ministers, her skin like porcelain and her long dark-brown hair and chocolate coloured eyes clashing magnificently with her silver-white robes.
Harry then saw Dagfinn Boyson, the witness to the Scandinavian Minister’s murder and who, it seemed, had been promoted to the position himself, alongside the French Minister, Avril Bernardine; a powerfully built woman with short curly brown hair and muscular cheekbones who surveyed everyone intently with her lime green eyes. Harry remembered hearing about her in her days as an Auror and she did not fail to meet Harry’s expectations as he noticed her eye the Egyptian Minister’s staff suspiciously, as though she too could sense it was more than just a mere ornament.
As the rest of the Ministers continued to pour in, Harry noticed that many of them had brought fellow representatives of their Ministry as well as Aurors and even a number of translators and Harry was surprised to see Gabrielle Delacour accompanying Minister Bernardine.
Harry had not seen the sister of Fleur Weasley in some time and it appeared that Gabrielle had finally overtaken her sister in terms of looks; her long silvery-blond hair, beautifully smooth pale face and round sapphire eyes drawing the attention of many of the male attendances.
“’Arry! I knew you would be ‘ere!” She cried as she embraced him into a hug.
“I wish I could say the same.” Harry laughed. “What are you doing here? I didn’t know you worked for the French Ministry.”
“I only recently became ze Minister’s P.A, zough after ze breakout at Enfer Vann, Minister Bernardine has begun to trust me with more important azzignments.”
“Yes, I ‘ave.” Minister Bernardine interrupted in a surprisingly deep voice, holding out a hand to Harry. As she did so, Harry noticed a single scar across the knuckle of the hand she offered. “Monsieur Potter, I ‘ave heard much about you from young Gabrielle.”
Harry laughed and noticed that Gabrielle was turning slightly red as the French Minister said this. “Young, talented, bright, exactly what I look for in my staff.” Bernardine continued but she, along with the rest of the bustle, was interrupted by the loud booming voice of Kingsley.
“As I think we are almost all here, shall we take a seat?” The Ministers obeyed and began to take their assigned seats, their fellow Ministry associates sitting next to them while their Auror guards continued to stand around them. Naomi and Phillipa joined the other Aurors, standing directly behind Kingsley while Harry and Hermione sat on either side of him.
“I am afraid that our Supreme Mugwump will be running a little late, though she should be here shortly.”
Many of the wizards and witches glanced at one another and the short Indian Minister asked in a high pitched tone “What do you mean ‘she’? What happened to Aaron Kirke?”
“I’m afraid, Minister Taha, that Kirke was injured in the Quidditch attack and is still in Saint Mungo’s. Though I am told he will make a full recovery, I had to find a substitute for today’s meeting.”
“I thought there had to be a vote within the Confederation if there was to be a change of Supreme Mug-”
“Time was of the essence, Alice.” Kingsley interrupted and the Italian Minister sank in her seat as Kingsley continued. “People were dying. I have lost two of my Head of Departments in the past week and countless others in the past day alone. We needed this meeting to take place and, as we all know, to do so we need a Supreme Mugwump to head the meeting and as Aaron was a member of the British Ministry, I took it upon myself to find a stand in.”
There was an outburst of muttering until the American Minister said “So, who is the replacement?” There was a faint ‘pop’ as a tall, thin woman that Harry knew all too well appeared in the room.
“Professor Minerva McGonagall” Kingsley announced as McGonagall pocketed her Portkey.
“I apologise for being late, I had a meeting with the Hogwarts governors about our caretaker that unfortunately overran.” She said to the room in general, which had now silenced at the sight of her. A trick that she often used in her classes, Harry remembered. “Have we registered?” McGonagall asked as she took her seat beside Hermione.
The register felt like it took a life time and Harry was sure that a few of the older members of the meeting were unable to help themselves in the temptation to rest their eyes.
“That’s everyone, Minister.” Hermione said ticking off the last name.
“Thank you, Hermione.” Kingsley replied and Minister Taha seemed to jump awake at Kingsley’s loud voice, some of his long silver beard tangled in his mouth.
“Well then,” McGonagall said as the rest of the room came-to. “I hope we all know why we are all here today. But the fact that Dark Wizards world-wide might be uniting against us is an issue that we must resolve.” Although the room remained silent, Harry was sure a chill had merged into the atmosphere as McGonagall said this. “Now, from what I have been informed, the Ministries of Great Britain, Scandinavia, France, America and Egypt have details and in-depth information on this subject. Harry, would you mind starting us off?”
Harry nodded and from the inside of his robes, pulled out his Pensieve. After placing a strand of memory in the Pensieve, he taped it with his wand and sent it to the centre of the large table.
“These Witches and Wizards have attempted to reform the Death Eaters.” Harry announced and the figures of all those Harry had seen working with Selwyn floated out of the Pensieve.
The next half an hour of was spent explaining both the aims and crimes of the group that were all shown visually with the Pensieve. Every man and woman watched in horror as they witnessed Kaman’s murder, the Quidditch explosion, the aftermath of the Ministry break-in and the fight that had broken out at Harry’s home.
Harry finally stopped talking, allowing the other members to finish their notes and for the translators to finish whispering to their superiors but once this had subsided he could feel the fear and anguish that had now gripped those around him.
“Thank you, Harry.” McGonagall said consolingly as he sat back down. “Next, I think we should hear the information Scandinavia has to offer us. Minister Boyson, if you would please.” Dagfinn nodded and he too drew a memory with his wand and allowed it to soar into the Pensieve.
A tall, elderly man with a crooked nose and shoulder length straight black hair that hung around the sides and back of his bald, liver spotted head floated out of the Pensieve.
“For those of you who don’t know, this is Akrahn Colby, he vas Grindelvald’s second in command ven he vas powerful. From vat ve have gained from the interrogations of those ve caught at the Ministry, ve can now confirm that he is now leading what few of the old followers are left and has recruited a number of new members to their cause.” As Dagfinn went on to name some of the other followers and go into their details, their figures floated out of the Pensieve to join Akrahn and Harry could see, hanging around each of their necks, the small symbol of the Deathly Hallows and he was sure that Hermione was focusing on it too.
“Akrahn is a man of action.” Dagfinn went on after he had finished reciting the brutal crimes of Kristain. “If our source is correct, Selvyn didn’t even know of the attack on our Ministry. He hates vaiting for orders; during the var against Grindelvald, he personally vas responsible for the deaths of many on both sides as a result of acting before thinking and he’s been lingering underground for many years now. Ven you varned me of a possible second attack, I shuddered to think vat lengths he would go to this time.” Dagfinn finished and the figures in the Pensieve dissolved back into the basin.
“Thank you Minister Boyson. Minister Bernardine, what information do you have for us?” McGonagall asked and Bernardine began to speak while she too drew out a memory.
“Many prisoners escaped Enfer Vann and we zink those who have joined Selwyn, ‘ave done so because of zis man.” And from the Pensieve, a thin, pale man with dirty, unkempt, brown hair that hung around his face like a frame around an emotionless picture and dressed in dark-brown hooded robes, a number of knives strapped around his waist, came into view.
“Marius Yvault, a Wizard whom I myself captured over twelve years ago. Shortly after he was expelled from Beauxbatons for Imperiousing fellow students, he went on ze run and became an assassin for ‘ire. After a while, he started blackmailing his clients and impressing ozers like ‘im and began to attain a militia of his own. Thankfully, he was stopped before too much damage was done, but now zat he ‘as broken free along with over a hundred others and ‘as joined forces with those whom are equally as ominous,” She looked from Harry to Dagfinn. “I strongly advise caution when engaging ‘im and zat we work to recapture or kill ‘im immediately.”
“I take it he uses more than his wand in combat.” The American Minister said in a thick New York accent, studying the knives around the waist of the man.
“It iz a signature of his.” Bernardine explained and she raised the back of her right hand to reveal the scar Harry had noticed earlier. “A cut or stab wound with a knife zat ‘as been coated in Bloodroot Poison. He usually poisons people he wants to get information out of in exchange for ze antidote, alzough he is no stranger to ze Unforgivable Curses. I ‘ad to provide my Aurors wiz ze antidote just in case zey come into contact wiz ‘im.” Gabrielle then pulled a large sheet of parchment from a her case, taped it with her wand and duplicates flew out of the original and landed in front of each Minister and accomplice. “Zis is a list of those who escaped Enfer Vann and who we believe ‘ave joined ze Death Eaters.”
Harry skimmed through the long list of names, a small mug shot next to each name glaring menacingly at him.
“Thank you, Miss Delacour, Minister Berardine.” McGonagall said, placing the list in the inside pocket of her robes. “Minister Blackburn.” She indicated towards the American Minister.
“Thank you, Professor.” He said, straightening his tar black tie. “Well most of what I have to say is good news actually.” And he seemed to take in a deep breath as though he had been keeping a surprise for them all. “Carlyle Ambrose, for those of you who don’t know, was a huge pro-pure blood supporter and has, on many occasions, run for Minister for Magic in the United States. Thankfully, he has never even come close to succeeding though he did rally a fair amount of support during his campaigns. Anyway, about six months ago, we noticed an increase in the number of crimes being committed by Wizards and Witches we suspected to be in league with Ambrose, though we never had concrete proof to trace it back to him. So my Aurors decided to breach Ambrose’s inner circle and learn what he was really up to.”
Around the table it was obvious that only a handful of the attendees gave indication to know who Carlyle Ambrose was compared to those who knew about Akrahn or Marius. Harry even saw Gavriil Milan, the Russian Minister, mouth the word ‘who’ to his colleague.
“Two days ago,” Blackburn continued. “We found Carlyle Ambrose dead along with many of those we knew to be his most trustworthy supporters. From what we can tell, it seems that Ambrose was the victim of a mutiny led by his daughter, Arable Ambrose.” And, like the Ministers and Harry before him, Abraham placed a memory into the Pensieve and a short, slim witch floated out of it, her light-brown hair and long blood-red robes blowing in a wind Harry could not feel. Her face, unlike Marius’, was full of emotion. Anger, hatred and bloodlust sparkled in her eyes in a way that reminded Harry of Rabastan Lestrange. A deadly look coating what would have otherwise been an attractive face.
“Unfortunately,” Abraham continued, “The Auror who had gone undercover must have been thought to be one of Carlyle’s most faithful as he was found amongst the others. However, from the later reports we received before the mutiny, he was in constant contact with Edmund Selwyn. Apparently, at first, he was very interested in what Selwyn was offering but got cold feet after realising what Selwyn was asking him to do. It seemed that, despite his hunger to be Minister, he wasn’t ready to openly oppose the Ministry.”
At this, the short muscular man sitting next to the American Minister gave a small laugh and muttered “Smart move” under his breath in an unmistakable Texan accent and the two Aurors behind him gave off a smile that made even Harry feel uncomfortable.
“Thank you, Lance.” Abraham said to the man, who stayed quiet but still had a small smug smile on his face. “But, despite her father’s approach to Selwyn’s offer, it appears that Arable is all for taking power by force. She has started her own following with a combination of those who were amongst the lower rankings of her father’s organization and people she herself had gone out to recruit. We found poison in the bodies of the fallen, so we know she lost no one during the fight.”
“Do you know how Selwyn was contacting him?” Harry asked.
“We’re not certain but our spy told us that Carlyle had begun to keep a small book on him that appeared to have blank pages from what he saw. We suspect Selwyn might have placed a Protean Charm on a number of books to send messages, we’re guessing Arable is in possession of her father’s book now.” And while he went on to explain to the others the effects of the Protean Charm, Harry knew exactly what the charm did as it was the same Charm Hermione had placed on the D.A. Galleons in their fifth year.
“What now worries us is that we no longer know where Arable Ambrose and her loyalists are. Despite our best efforts, we can’t track them down.” Harry noticed that the man named Lance was no longer smiling.
“Thank you, Abraham. Now, Minister Tor, you said that you might have information regarding the subject. Narmer?”
But the Egyptian Minister kept his head in his hands, his translator doing the talking for him.
“The Minister apologises but the news he brings is both dire and an embarrassment to our Ministry.” The Minister then began muttering in Egyptian to his translator who interpreted for the others. “Originally, we were only to bring new that a band of infamous tomb-thieves known only as The Hunters had begun focussing more on recruiting.”
The translator gulped as he looked to his Minister for support. Receiving none, he continued. “As most of you know, the Egyptian Ministry prides itself on its trading thanks to our ship, the Mekti-Dommen. Last night we heard from our spy, that the guild had been ordered to steal the ship. By the time our Aurors arrived, we found most of the crew dead at the pier and the vessel… gone.” Every single person in the room stared at the translator, who was obviously getting nervous from the attention he was getting though he continued to translate what the Minister was saying.
“We, er, had no idea the Hunters had such contacts. We just assumed they were just a group of troublesome bandits.”
“A group of troublesome bandits that have run off with the biggest magical vessel in the world.” Abraham said, his temper obviously rising.
“How come we weren’t informed about this earlier?” Kingsley asked, his booming voice, though not understood by the foreign Minister, made Narmer Tor sink deeper into his hands.
“W-we sent a team of Aurors to try and retake the ship.” The translator spluttered. “Our spy was still on the Mekti-Dommen and he was able to send us a short message of their location but...” The translator’s voice seemed to leave as the entire room watched him, listening to every word.
“But?” Dagfinn growled loudly.
“Before our arrival here today, we received word that the mission was unsuccessful. The ship is too well magically protected. None of our Aurors returned.” And without another word being said, Harry could sense that the rest of the Confederation was thinking the same thing. This was how they would be transporting themselves now that Portkeys were no longer an option.
“Well at least we now know what we’re looking for.” Kingsley said, breaking the silence. “The Mekti-Dommen is a fast ship, but not as fast as a Portkey and I don’t believe it could have made it from Egypt to America overnight undetected.” He reassured the American Minister. “But if we can track the ship down, I think it wise to attack together.” There was a murmur of agreement from the surrounding Ministers when the Egyptian Minister finally showed his face and spoke to his translator.
“That is all well and good, Minister Shacklebolt, but there is still is still the matter of finding the ship. We haven’t heard from our spy since last night, so for all we know he could be...” The translator seemed to be at a loss for the word he was looking for. Mercifully, McGonagall spared him.
“Well, if the situation should arise that we cannot track the vessel before these Wizards join their forces together, we need to form a plan for if their army arises.”
Again, there was a buzz of agreement from the Ministers and representatives. “In that case, may I suggest that we arrange a system for reinforcements to arrive to assist the country that they decide to assault?”
“What numbers are we expecting them to employ?” The man named Lance asked, who seemed far more interested in the meeting now they were discussing warfare. “Now that Ambrose and his most trusted loyalists are dead, we think his daughter might have a following of around sixty to seventy.”
“Ve believe Akrahn to have a following of forty strong and growing daily if what we’ve learned from our interrogations is true.” Dagfinn responded.
“If Marius ‘as added any of ‘iz own followers to ze hundred and ten zat escaped from Enfer Fann, we could be looking at numbers of about one thirty to one forty.” Bernardine added.
“We know there to be fifty-eight Wizards and Witches aboard the Mekti-Dommen. However, we believe five of them to be members of the crew who have been Imperiused and, if he’s still alive, our spy.” The Egyptian translator interpreted for his Minister, who seemed a bit more relaxed now they had changed the subject.
“That equals out to about three hundred altogether.” Hermione clarified.
“Well that’s not too bad.” Abraham said to the room in general. “If each Ministry puts in about twenty Aurors each, we’d have an army of around eight hundred strong. We’d outnumber them just under three to one.”
“Well as appealing as that sounds, Abraham.” The Italian Minister said. “I’m afraid not all Ministries have the Aurors to spare and we don’t know how many more groups Selwyn might have employed. How do we know he hasn’t contacted Naldo Rosario and his Gold Hounds or that beast Meng Jour or Merlin knows who else to act against us? We need our Aurors to defend our own Ministries not to go around hunting down an enemy we still know little about.”
“Well we would have thought that if he had contacted Naldo Rosario, you would be the one to know, Minister.” Blackburn retorted with snide emphasis on the final word.
While snorts of laughter burst through some of those around the table, there was a murmur of agreement as to what Mulvenna had said that Harry did not like and was glad when McGonagall hushed the noise.
“As true as that is,” The Russian Minister blurted out when the rabble died down, rolling back the sleeves of his thick fur coat as he did so. “We must still take action offensively as well as defensively.”
“But how are we supposed to act offensively?” Minister Taha asked. “As useful as the information we have is, it still does not help us with their locations.”
“Precisely!” Alice Mulvenna hissed and for a moment, it looked as though she was about to stand but the wide-eyed glare the Russian Minister gave her as she said the word obviously made her think twice and she seemed to have to force herself to go on. “We are playing this game blindfolded at the moment and I will not risk the lives of my Aurors-”
But before Minister Mulvenna could continue, she was cut off by muffled voices coming from the direction of Dagfinn’s Aurors. They each draw their own Auror ID card each speaking in their respective language and glanced at each other in shock. Dagfinn too heard what the cards were reporting and stood up drawing his wand.
“It appears, ladies and gentlemen, that they have made their next move. Nurmengard prison is under attack. Please excuse me.” The entire room suddenly fell into anguish.
“Wait,” Harry said, rising from his chair and drawing his wand. “I'm coming with you.” And he walked over to the Scandinavian Minister, who was now taking his Portkey out of his pocket and tapping it with his wand, changing its destination.
“I think I’ll join you, Mister Potter.” Lance said, not even looking at his Minister. “Clark, Raidson, let’s go.” He said to the two Aurors behind him who joined him at once in rushing to Harry’s side. Many of other Auror guards joined Harry and Lance in accompanying Dagfinn though before Philippa or Naomi could include themselves in the task, Harry cut across them.
“No, I need you two to stay here with the Ministers, let Ron and the other Aurors know what’s happening. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” And with a nod of approval from Kingsley, Harry and the other Auror volunteers vanished.
AN: Firstly, I'd like to say thank you to all of you who have stuck with the story. It really means a lot that there are many of you who are enjoying the story.
Secondly, I'd like to ask if you could review this chapter as I had so much fun writing it (introducing all the new Ministers and planning out their characters... it's like heaven for me!) and I would love to hear your thoughts on it.
Thanks you so much again for the views and I really look forward to your reactions on the later chapters and the climax. :)
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