Chapter 29 : 28- The Militia, The Order and The Army
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WAR ON THE CONFEDERATION!
After a meeting of the International Confederation of Wizards earlier today, it was officially announced that what remained of Dark Wizarding organizations across the globe were joining forces against the Confederation led by notorious Death Eater, Edmund Selwyn.
“This is a threat the scale of which we have never experienced.” Said Professor Minerva McGonagall (Order of Merlin First Class, Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and Stand-in Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards) shortly after the meeting had ended. “Many of us have lived through the horrors of a reign under Dark Wizards and still sleep uneasily because of it. However, we now have the full support of many of the Confederation members who are all preparing themselves for the worst.”
Even before the meeting had ended, the army Selwyn created had already hijacked the well-known Egyptian Magical-Trading ship, the Mekti-Dommen (for more information see pages 3-4) and had performed a mass breakout of the infamous Scandinavian prison, Nurmangard (pages 5-7) which ultimately led to the capture of the Dark Wizard leader, Akrahn Colby by the hand of Head Auror Harry Potter.
However, despite the Headmistress’s reassuring statement, many Ministers including Alice Mulvenna of Italy, Aabid Jabaar of Iran, Jai Taha of India and Fumiki Takara of Japan have refused to comment on their own contributions to the efforts against the new threat.
And the question that many deem yet to be answered satisfactorily is ‘What is our own Ministry doing to protect its Wizarding residence against this new alliance?’
The four day old Daily Prophet lay on Harry’s desk as he sat there in his best dress-robes. The funeral of Albert had drained him emotionally. Not that he wouldn’t have been drained anyway.
With the threat of Selwyn’s army on the horizon, the Wizarding community had been thrown into hysteria with people panic-buying and demanding that the Ministry do more to protect its citizens. Reports were already coming in of Wizards and Witches already going into hiding.
“They’re scared, Harry.” Hermione had told him when they were discussing the situation. “Most of them remember what happened last time and think it’s a repeat.”
This would have been a good reason but over the past few days since the Nurmangard breakout, nothing even hinting at Dark Wizard activity had happened. No deaths, no mysterious disappearances, not even so much as a robbery had been that appeared suspicious had been reported to the Ministry and the Aurors were running out of leads on any Death Eater. Clearly Edmund Selwyn had learned a thing or two from watching his old master during the last war; remain hidden within the shadows and prepare while the fear spreads like a cancer among the population.
The only reason the Auror Office was as empty as it was was that Ron had led a team of their Aurors to America to hunt down Ambrose’s forces and, if needed, engage the army now travelling on the Mekti-Dommen. According to Akrahn, the ship was expected to arrive in North Wildwood just south of Philadelphia any day now to meet up with Ambrose’s forces.
Akrahn had also mentioned that the ship would be picking up more groups of restless Dark Wizards that Marius and Selwyn knew of and had contacted along the way. However, no other Ministry had any knowledge of any known fugitives being contacted and the only person who knew of the exact pickup locations was Selwyn himself. This piece of information did not do much to raise the spirits of the Confederation.
It was Harry’s original plan was to go to America himself, not just to join the fight against Marius and Ambrose but to also keep an eye on Ron, who had volunteered to head the group immediately after Emily’s funeral and Harry was sure that the previous proceedings had only fuelled his desire for action. Unfortunately, Harry had been ordered by Kingsley to remain in the country to continue the hunt for Selwyn and Lestrange with his remaining Aurors and the newly regrouped All-Blood Militia.
Kingsley had taken the news of the regrouping of the Ex-Aurors exceedingly well and had even temporarily allowed them to work alongside the current Aurors. Harry suspected that it was due to the fact that Kingsley had worked with members of the group in the past and trusted them to a certain degree. Harry, however, with the exception of Dawlish whom he had worked with for the past nine years, couldn’t help but feel slightly intimidated by the group Gawain had assembled as most of them acted in the way Harry was told a lot of Aurors used to be like before Kingsley and Kaman took over; snide, malicious and just downright unpleasant in some cases.
Caitlyn Tyrus, a muscular woman with short blond hair and whose custom made short-sleeved robes allowed her to show off her burly, heavily scarred arms, in particular had made several sarcastic remarks to Harry’s choice of Chief Aurors. Another was Lukas Savage, a podgy, red haired Wizard who Harry was sure had taken to drink after resigning and who had made it quite clear that the Unforgivable Curses should have been made legal long ago to the Aurors.
Harry was beginning to feel thankful that he had met Aurors like Moody, Tonks and Kingsley before any of the others to influence his career choice.
The Prophet lay beneath a thin sapphire coloured book entitled ‘The Debts of the Saviour and the Saved by Ebert Rogloin’. The book had been left for him on his desk, the mark of Hermione whenever she wanted him to know something, but despite having scoured the book for information on the Life Debt, it was full of nothing but theories and speculations.
According to the Rogloin, the strength of the debt could depend on a number of things including the relationship between the two people involved, the way in which the would-be victim had been saved and what was asked from the saviour in return. Although Harry disregarded the book when he realised it ended with the phrase ‘...However, all of this is merely assumption from what few so called ‘Life-Debts’ have been officially recorded and can’t, at this point in time, be proven factual.’
Harry placed his head in his hands as a headache began to pang out within his skull. On his desk in front of him lay multiple sheets of parchment, each showing various reports and intelligence. Though Harry had more pressing matters on his mind. Marietta had told the Aurors that before they could move on to the next stage of the exchange, she wanted the Death Eaters that were to be traded residing within the Ministry.
Naturally, there was uncertainty from figures such as Kingsley, Kory, most of the Militia and numerous Aurors, but they had kept their faith in Harry so far and it appeared they weren’t about to let up on him. Although this did not do much to lift Harry’s spirits. If anything, it made the decision even harder and he had been battling with himself about it since Marietta had given the instruction as he was sure that Marietta was just playing for time. Nevertheless, Narcissa Malfoy’s unsettled Life Debt had won out yet again and just the other day, the Death Eaters and Umbridge were moved into the Ministry and were currently kept in separate guarded cells.
Deep down, he had begun to feel doubtful about the exchange and the question ‘Would Kaman have done the same thing?’ kept popping into his mind. But the thought of Malfoy’s child kept forcing its way into Harry’s head and it was this that also appeared to settle the conscience of those who would otherwise be against the deal.
There was a loud knock at the door and Kingsley entered the office. He too was dressed in an incredibly smart suit-like dress-robe that put Harry in mind of the American Minister’s choice of clothing for the Confederation meeting. He had bags under his eyes and seemed uncharacteristically weary.
“I have brought the Muggle Prime Minister up to date with everything.” He said as he took a seat. “And I’ve just heard from Minister Hiltrude. He says he wants to keep all of his Aurors at hand in case the German Ministry comes into threat though he’ll let us know at the first sign of anything suspicious.”
“How kind of him.” Harry said bitterly in frustration. The German Ministry had now joined the long list of Ministries unwilling to send their own Aurors to America for a combination of reasons. So far only Britain, Scandinavia, France, Egypt, Russia and Spain out of the forty Ministries involved in the Confederation had agreed to send their own Aurors to assist the Americans. “He does realise we can’t afford to let any Ministry fall into the hands of the largest organization of Dark Wizards we’ve ever encountered.”
“I have tried, Harry.” Kingsley said massaging his forehead. “But it was on the report that the Mekti-Dommen was going around picking up more factions and many are convinced that their Ministry will be the target for the next attack. They want to keep as many of their Aurors as possible close at hand if that army shows up.”
Kingsley looked down at the unread papers on the desk. “Marietta said anything more about the switch?” Harry shook his head.
“She said Selwyn would give the next instruction, though she doesn’t know how or when.” Kingsley looked consolingly at Harry.
“I don’t suppose we’ve heard anything from Minister Tor.” Harry asked trying to change the subject though Kingsley then took his turn and shook his head.
“They’ve heard nothing from their insider. They’re beginning to think he’s been found out and killed. Neither have we heard anything on Cecilia Lox.” Kingsley added before Harry could ask. Harry had hoped that her Amethyst Orb induced retreat would have separated her from her allies and therefor make her easier to capture, but this did not appear to be the case.
He tried thinking of something else to ask, something else that he might not know or overlooked that would help them make the next move. But Kingsley, being the reliable man that he was, had told Harry everything he knew.
“I’ve been contacted by most of the Order lately.” Kingsley said, staring at the old paper on Harry’s desk. “You know, Dedalus, Hestia, Sturgis, Abeforth, the old crowd. They’ve all offered their assistance should we need it.” Harry nodded, though his thoughts were mainly on Cecilia Lox. Kingsley’s eyes flicked back to Harry and he was now eyeing him curiously, as though wandering his reaction to what he had to say next.
“You know” He said eventually. “You and I both know of another group of Wizards and Witches who would be more than willing to fight for you.” Harry stared at his desk. He didn’t even need to ask who Kingsley was talking about. “I think you underestimate your friends, Harry.”
There was a knock at the door and one of Kingsley’s secretaries pocked her head around the door.
“Minister, Professor McGonagall is here to see you.”
“Thank you, Maggie.” Kingsley said getting to his feet. “I think it’s noble that you wish to keep your friends out of harm’s way. I respect and admire you more than you could know and I think you are the perfect choice to Head the Aurors but, I must say, you have always had a habit of pushing those who are close to you away when they are so willing to help and could do so effectively.” Harry didn’t reply. “Just think about it.” Kingsley added and indicating the old Prophet on Harry’s desk, said “Selwyn’s got his army, Harry, now you need yours.” And with that, Kingsley left the office.
When Kingsley closed the door, Harry pulled out his D.A galleon. The time he had used it to contact Neville during Rowle’s capture had been the first instance in a long time since he had used it last. He knew that every member of Dumbledore’s Army had kept their galleons and that, should the call come, they would all rush to Harry’s aid.
“Sickle for your thoughts, Harry?” Harry turned to see Sirius sitting back down in his portrait.
“Ginny still worried about me running off again?” Harry asked, grinning.
“No, but I did hear her mention that you’ve been unnaturally quiet since you got back from Scandinavia.” Sirius replied, peering at him. “What’s up? It’s not like you to let a little thing like being captured get to you.” Harry smiled slightly but did not answer. The information he had given Akrahn in exchange for details on Selwyn’s plans had been one of the many subjects buzzing around his head for the past few days.
“It’s nothing, Sirius.” Harry said as reassuringly as possible and, standing up, said “If anyone asks for me tell them I’m in the Training Hall.” Sirius lazily raised a hand in understanding, though he still did not look comforted.
As Harry crossed the office, he passed many of the Aurors, also still in their best dress robes, that had not gone to America. All of them were all trying to find something helpful or informative in a document only occasionally talking to one another about either Albert’s funeral, the Nurmengard breakout or the recruitment of the All-Blood Malitia; though the latter was discussed in hushed whispers for fear of being overheard.
The Auror’s Training Hall was a large, brightly lit pale room full of facilities to help Aurors practice spell-work and spaces for target and duelling practice which, given the lack of things to do lately, was surprisingly full.
Harry saw Naomi alongside Fay Dunbar at the target practice ranch. As he approached, Naomi blasted the head of her moving target off with a Stunning spell and Harry noticed the same had been done to the others around it.
“That’s eight in a row.” Fay counted and Harry could tell she was impressed. Naomi smiled but didn’t say anything. As many people had commented, she, like Harry, had been uncharacteristically quiet. Although she had not talked to Harry about it, he knew that Naomi had kept her promise and hadn’t told anyone about his Unbreakable Vow with Akrahn.
“I’m just going to take a break.” Naomi said, leaving Fay to take her place. As the target dummies picked up their heads to prepare themselves for their next ordeal with Fay, Naomi strolled to the bench at the far end of the hall and briefly caught Harry’s eye before quickly looking away again. This had been the most amount of eye contact Harry had had with Naomi since he had asked her to be the Bonder for the Vow. Though he had hoped Naomi would have handled being the Bonder slightly better, he knew he could not avoid talking about it any longer and followed her to the bench and sat down next to her.
“Please tell me you’re here to give me an assignment.” She said desperately.
Harry smiled and said “Please, if there was an assignment going spare, I’d ditch the office stuff and go myself.” Naomi gave another small smile. “What’s wrong, Naomi?” Harry asked. He thought it best to just come out straight with it. “I know I put you on the spot a bit back in the Scandinavian Ministry, but-”
“It’s not that.” She cut in. She then looked around at the surrounding Aurors focusing on practicing their spell-work. Naomi drew her wand and Harry instantly recognised the non-verbal Muffliato Charm she performed. When she was done she turned to face Harry squarely in the face. “What did you tell Akrahn? What are the Deathly Hallows?”
“Ah,” Harry said in realisation. “That’s a bit of a touchy subject.”
“If Akrahn was willing to trade in the location of Marius and the rest of his own men, it must be important to him and I’m sure he’ll act on it the first chance he gets.”
“I’m sure he will.” Harry said in agreement. “But even if he does get a chance to act on it, which considering where he’s being held prisoner seems pretty unlikely, he would not succeed. It is nothing for you to worry about, Naomi, you have my word.” Though she continued to look intently at Harry.
“I still feel uneasy. If he’s so sure Selwyn will win in the end, why betray him? Surely he knows if Selwyn finds out that he gave away information, he’d kill him.”
“I thought that too at first, but I think Akrahn’s a bit more intelligent than to allow that to happen.” Harry explained. “No doubt Akrahn knows or has something that Selwyn doesn’t know of yet he could use to bargain with.”
“Like the Deathly Hallows?” Naomi pressed and Harry sighed.
“Trust me Naomi, you’re better off not knowing.” Naomi’s eyes narrowed but before she could make a retort Harry cut across her. “Do you really think for one moment that I would give Akrahn information that he could act on? Akrahn is in the most secure place he could be with no friends on either side at the moment.” Naomi remained silent as the two stared at each other. “I would never allow someone like Akrahn to gain any sort of power and you know that.” Naomi nodded and Harry knew she would not ask him again. For now at least.
Naomi looked around at the surrounding Aurors practicing spells and duelling one another. “Do you think we’re ready?” She asked.
“You mean in case that army that keeps getting bigger and bigger decides to come to London?” Harry asked sarcastically and Naomi nodded trying to suppress a small grin. “Yeah, why not?” And Harry returned her smile before she began shaking her head.
“I’m being serious,” She replied as she forced away the rest of her smile. “I read the report from yours and Lance’s interrogation with Akrahn. From the figures he gave us by the time they reach America they could have hundreds at their command. So even if you include the Enforcers we’re still vastly outnumbered, or at least until the Confederation decide to send reinforcements and that’s if we’re right on their numbers.” Naomi kept looking around at the rest of the Aurors, no longer smiling.
“Naomi, you need to understand that, even if they made their way to our doorstep, the Ministry’s defences and workers are comprised of more than just Aurors and Enforcers.” Harry explained comfortingly.
“Yes but how many of them can actually fight?” Naomi replied. “How many would you genuinely trust in a scenario like that?”
“More than you would think.” Harry eventually replied and Naomi slowly looked back at him, her eyes wide and, Harry noticed, somewhat hopeful. That’s when he realised. “You’ve been talking to Kingsley, haven’t you?”
Naomi sighed heavily. “I’m sorry,” She said. “But Dumbledore’s Army, Harry. We’ve already got one outsider group working with us, why not add another that’s famous for finishing off the Death Eater’s reign the first time around?” She asked, quietly. “Charlie’s told me loads about what you taught that group and I think they could be real assets.”
“Is that all Charlie’s been telling you?” Harry said, raising an eyebrow.
“I said I’m being serious!” Naomi retorted so loudly Harry feared her charm might not hide her voice though her face flushed with colour. “We need help Harry, just accept it.”
Harry looked away from her and he too began surveying the training Aurors. They were all skilled fighters, some of the best in the world Kaman used to say, but Harry had to admit to himself that they wouldn’t be able to hold out indefinitely if the worst did in fact happen.
“Harry?” But Harry was staring at Susan and Anthony duelling one another, neither of them willing to back down despite the fact it was just practice.
“I need... I need to think about it…” Harry said, standing up. Without another word he left the Training Hall and, as the door shut behind him, the sounds of spell-work subsided.
He stood at the doorway for some time, lost in his thoughts. He had made a mental pact with himself just a few days ago that he couldn’t allow anyone else to die for him and now two of his most respected colleagues and friends were asking him to put together a group of Wizards and Witches that had more than earned their peace. They needed the numbers, he knew, though Harry doubted that the extra thirty or so remaining members of the organization would define the outcome of any conflict. Although the view of having such well-known hero’s fighting alongside the Ministry would be a huge morale booster, said an unpleasantly business-like voice in Harry’s head that reminded him depressingly of Rufus Scrimgeour.
“Ah, Harry, there you are.” Said Lawrence from around the corner of the corridor, a thin blue file in hand. “The Trackers need you to sign off on some extra Glass Viewers they want to place within Gringotts Bank.”
Harry accepted the file mechanically and signed on the pages that requested it. “Lawrence,” Harry began has he double checked he’d gotten them all. “Have we heard anything more from Lavender about the Aurors and Enforcers still in Saint Mungo’s?”
“Uh,” Lawrence squinted in concentration. “I think a few Enforcers returned to work the other day but last I heard the others were still in it for the long haul.”
“Right, thanks. I’ll get this to the Trackers.” Harry replied, disheartened.
Upon entering the Tracker’s Office, Harry felt another pang from his earlier confliction as he spotted Seamus sitting closest to him with Terry chatting animatingly to him.
“Seamus,” Harry called, waving the file that Lawrence had given him.
“Ah, Harry, brilliant. I’ll send the word to Avon that you’ve signed off on the measures.” He replied with a smile as he indicated where on the desk he could put the file.
“You alright boss?” Terry asked, clearly noticing the expression on Harry’s face.
“Yeah, thanks.” Harry lied, the argument raging in his head. Giving in to his thoughts, he pulled out from his Mokeskin Pouch his D.A Galleon and placed it on the desk in front of Seamus atop the file. “Look, guys, have either of you heard much from the others at all?” He asked.
The two stared at the coin before looking back at Harry. “Uh, a few. Why?” Seamus whispered so as to forbid his colleagues from overhearing.
“Hang on, are you… thinking of a little reunion by any chance?” Terry pressed, giving Harry a wink.
“I just…” Harry began, trying to think of how best to ask. “I just want to know if you think they’d actually want to. I know that they would if I asked,” Harry interrupted quickly before Seamus could respond. “But would they actually want to be involved in all of this?”
“Harry,” Seamus began as though he’d been asked something that was completely obvious. “You know I think you’re great and everything but you can be a blithering idiot sometimes. Of course they’d want to. I want to if you’re seriously thinking about it.”
“But they gave so much-”
“Look, I know you’re righteous and everything and you can debate with yourself until the Hippogriff’s come home, but don’t think you’re the only one who wants to keep up the fight for what we have now.” Seamus interrupted, an edge in his voice now.
Harry stared at him. “I’m… I’m sorry. I didn’t mean-”
“Harry, haven’t you ever wondered why me, Susan, Ernie and Anthony all joined the Aurors?” Terry asked in a surprised tone. “Because we don’t want to see everything we risked and lost last time to be in vain.”
“I know, Terry, I do.” Harry replied softly. “But this is asking civilians to fight for us.”
“Oh, is that what we are now? Civilians?” Seamus said, the edge in his tone sharpening. “Listen, I know I’m not some fancy ass Chief like Boot boy over here but I fought at the Battle of Hogwarts just the same and I know how to put up a fight.”
“Easy Finnigan,” Terry ordered and he placed one hand on Seamus’ shoulder and slapping the other against Seamus’ belly. “Swivel any more in that chair and you might risk burning off a pumpkin pasty.”
Clearly taking the jibe lightly, Seamus smirked as he continued “Look, I know the Auror’s aren’t exactly in tip top form right now with Ron and his crew away and over a dozen others in Saint Mungo’s so if you’re scheming what I think you’re scheming then I say go for it. Anybody who doesn’t want to come won’t, it’s as simple as that.”
“Harry, if it’s their abilities you’re worried about, then why not bring them over to train a bit?” Terry asked in response to Harry’s lack of conviction at Seamus’ statement.
“Yeah, Merlin knows you’ve got enough of your Aurors pondering around to help out.” Seamus added.
This seemed to lighten Harry’s stance on the matter. “We could use the Training Hall…” He said, imagining the scene. “I’d need to see how Kory feels about it though if we’re training them on Ministry premises.”
“Well you might not have to tell Kory at all.” Seamus replied slowly. “I mean, last I checked, when it came to fighting Dark Wizards, the Head of the Auror Office had the power to make snap decision without even the Minister’s knowledge if time was of the essence. And who knows when Selwyn’s army might find themselves at our doorstep.”
“He does have a point, Harry.” Terry said in a more serious tone to Seamus. “For all we know Selwyn might’ve taken Akrahn’s capture as a sign to change his plan. Even if it’s just means a few extra wands on our side, it can’t hurt.”
“I beg to differ.” Harry replied in a flat tone.
“Right then,” Seamus said brightly as he opened one side of his robes to reveal the D. A Galleon pinned inside. “Do I get the honour or do one of you two want it?”
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