Chapter 15 : The Grand Trine
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Arthur was sipping tea and seemed as if he knew where Kingsley was going but Ginny and Harry both sat back, ready for the story.
Marilyn Blossom was the third daughter of a wizard farmer who had assembled a sizable farm in the southern hill country. His cultivatable fields wrapped around several of those southern hills making farming more difficult and his rock walls uniquely tall. To farmer Blossom's great joy, his hills were covered in English Oak. England had been importing lumber since the 1400s because the great native forests were mostly cleared. Thus, farmer Blossom's oak commanded a good price by the waggon load in London. The profit potential was exciting. He commenced cutting and sawing with the enthusiastic rigor of those who see riches on the near horizon.
Farmer Blossom's last child, his third daughter Marilyn, was born into lumber wealth and a unique magical talent. Her talent wasn't recognized because at first it only seemed that little Marilyn was habitually late. As a child she was always the last of the three sisters to arrive – to meals, to bed, to anywhere. As she flowered into a very pretty but petulant and spoiled young woman, her tardiness bloomed into delays that made her parents worry she'd gone missing. There was something wrong with Marylin and time. No one could quite put their wand on it. It seemed unique among magical maladies, even St. Mungos had no advice.
The “problem with Marilyn,” as it was spoken of in the Blossom household, was resolved by accident. She and her eldest sister Elamora were getting ready to return home from an outing to a local market. This had been so much fun for Marilyn she was disinclined to leave. There was much more she wanted to see. When Elamora insisted they were due home in an hour and there was thus no time to tarry further, Marilyn was nonplussed.
“Of course we do!” She did something with a coin Elamora had never seen and disappeared.
Elamora was more than a little worried by her youngest sister's abrupt disappearance but she didn't panic, kept her head and sat on a nearby wall to see what would happen. Her poise was rewarded. Marilyn walked from a line of market stalls they'd not visited toward the spot from which she'd departed. When asked where she'd gone, her reply did nothing but deepen the mystery.
“I gave us extra time, why didn't you come? There's a baby lamb for sale three stalls down, can we buy it?”
Kingsley re-heated his tea with his wand and sipped twice before continuing. “After a lot of questions and experiments, the family discovered that Marilyn began charming the coin Elamora saw when she was just a toddler, long before her eleventh birthday. She said she found it by the pond where they picnicked in the summer, that it was magic, and she wished on it when she didn't want to get out of bed, go to bed, come in from outdoors, or to delay anything she didn't care to do.”
Arthur finished while Kingsley returned to his tea. “It is impossible to know if there was magic in the silver coin before Marilyn found it, but the best theory the Unspeakables have is that as her magic permeated the coin it became a time-reversing amulet. The charm wasn't an invented incantation; she didn't say “Tempus Revertere;” or anything like that. She didn't say anything at all. The incantation wasn't words. It was her innate desire to stay, to procrastinate, made potent by her magic.”
Ginny looked at Harry, her look said they knew about this, it was fly-by-mind, thought as incantation. “Her thoughts were the spell.”
“The desire too.” Harry mused.
All gestured agreement, Ginny with a typically casual wave of her hand, Kingsley with a nod, and Arthur with his smile.
Kingsley continued the story, “When her sisters married and moved away, then after her parents died, she became the princess of a greatly reduced estate with the same un-farmable hills less all the English Oak gone for furniture in London.”
“One day it occurred to Marilyn Blossom that instead of using her magical gift to postpone washing the dishes, she could magic something that would give people a few hours and her the gallons it would taked to live like a princess again.”
Harry asked Kingsley to confirmed his guess, “And that was the Time Turner, right?”
“Yes, that was the Time Turner. She sold them expensively because each took repeated charming. We don't know how she made them but we think it's reasonable that they work in terms of hours because Marilyn Blossom was literally proving that time is galleons. The less time she spent on each, the more she could sell. Her fortunes revived but she was nowhere as rich as she would have liked to be before the trouble started and a lot of angry witches and wizards forced the Ministry to step in.”
Both Harry and Ginny looked puzzled but it was Ginny who got their question down to a word, “Trouble?”
Arthur laughed, “Well, what would Mundungas do with a Time Turner?'
Ginny imitated the sneak thief, “Couldn'a been me gove'na, I'm'a Royal Oak wi' me mates, ask the barman.”
Arthur laughed at his daughter's imitation, “Brilliant, and yes, exactly. There were enough who saw a Time Turner as a burglar tool to have witches and wizards ready to roust out the Minister of Magic if something wasn't done. So, it took years, but when the shouting was over, the Aurors collected all the time turners. Marilyn Blossom was never satisfied with the Ministry's attempts at recompense for banning her invention. Nonetheless, she died well cared for and to the minute before they closed her coffin she wore her precious silver coin on a silver chain.”
Harry caught the qualifier. “Till the moment before? That's the Grand Trine?”
“Right, that's the Grand Trine. We've never understood the name's significance, what it means, why she chose it. We think it may have to do with making time turners. 'Grand,' she could have used to describe 'many,' 'large,' impressive.' But 'Trine' is 'triple' or 'three fold,' so we've no idea. The only thing we're certain of is that it's a powerful magical object with tremendous historical significance.”
Harry was thinking aloud, “Well, there's the trine in astronomy, maybe it has to do with when they're made or something.”
Kingsley had no answer, “Whatever it is, the main point is: it was there, and now it's gone.”
“And we'd very much like it back in the Department of Mysteries,” added Arthur.
Ginny got to the point, “Could it take you back 60 days, 90, 120? Reliably I mean, so you could be when you planned to be at will?”
Arthur retrieved a file from cabinet near his desk and began by passing around a picture, a magical photograph of a drawing on an ancient-looking and moth-eaten parchment. “This picture of the Grand Trine was drawn 400 years ago, probably when it was brought into the Ministry. The list below the drawing reports it “Frees a day with every turn.” The Department of Mysteries reports the coin itself is real and ancient. It's a new silver penny issued when Charlemagne changed the coinage 1200 years ago. We're worried it's become the center-piece of a valuable Muggle coin collection so locked away we'll never see it again.”
Harry was looking slightly askance at Kingsley, why was he putting off the main point? It couldn't be good news, “So, you're thinking this makes Fransworth's problem our problem?”
Kingsley wasn't certain, “Yes, it could. No one has seen it since the morning before your fight at the Department of Mysteries. We know it was there, it was checked on the morning rounds.”
Ginny took an ironic tone, “Where was it? We weren't paying much attention to the displays.”
Arthur checked a sheet of parchment in the folder he held, “On a plinth of its own, to the right, inside of the door to the Hall of Prophesy.”
Ginny shrugged, “Never saw it.”
Thinking of the room Harry remembered, “What happened to the Death Eater who fell into the time jar? You know, the one whose head kept cycling through its ages.”
Kingsley remembered, “That was Jugson. He was dead by the time anyone could attended to him. We were busy with the live ones in the Death Chamber.”
“So, we have to consider it, don't we? Harry was recognizing that Farnsworth's case was back on their lap. “There's no way to ignore that we don't know where it is. And . . . it's the only theory we've got.”
Kingsley might have wanted to dissuade him from that conclusion, but he couldn't, “We know it can do what it seems your suspect does. Anyway, I can't think of how else to do it. But, if it's your mystery trader, we absolutely need the Grand Trine back before he attracts any more Muggle attention. We definitely don't want the Muggle authorities to get their hands on it. The Grand Trine is no Quidditch trinket. I think MI6 might want to prioritize Farnsworth's problem.”
Harry had the inkling of an idea, “I suppose we could try to figure how it could be done, that might give us some clue to the where and how.”
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