Chapter 7 : 7- Marietta’s Mission
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7- Marietta’s Mission
Marietta’s pale hand was trembling. She had spent the entirety of the previous night preparing her plan yet doubt still bubbled in her mind and visions of her own downfall were swirling around in her head arguing that she should spend more time preparing. But time was of the essence. Who knew what Umbridge was subjecting Marietta’s mother to and, if the rumours about what Cecilia had done to her captive were true, the Auror needed medical attention sooner rather than later.
The deathly unnerving silence of the corridor leading to the Minister’s office was worse than any sound but still Marietta pressed on, forcing herself to calm down when the door to Mosby’s office came into view. A tall, cloaked, black-toned skeletal figure hovered on either side of the door. Although the Dementors possessed no eyes, Marietta could feel their attention focusing on her as she approached, the deathly rattle that was their breathing piercing her ears. She had been wrong; she immediately missed the cold silence.
Marietta knocked rapidly on the door, desperately trying to ignore the suffocating effect of being so close to the two Dementors; the pleas of her mother echoing faintly in her ear, Lucy Barnes’ threat of “Whatever pain you feel, whatever loss you suffer, you earned it” ringing in her head and the confidence in her plan dwindling by the second. The door swung open and Marietta nearly fell into the room in an attempt to escape the creatures.
When the door closed by itself behind her, she found Mosby Elfrin standing tall at his office’s ornate fireplace with a raised hand to indicate the new arrival to be quiet while the figure of John Nolan blazed before him.
Mosby was dressed in what Marietta thought were a pair of very regal looking robes; shining black with twirls of grey and specs of gold weaved into the fabric though his clothes were the only regal thing about him. The colour of his face was almost the same shade of light grey as the patterns on his robes and his cold eyes were bloodshot with heavy black bags beneath them. Even the dark rugged stubble he once wore had overgrown into a short messy beard. Although Marietta didn’t want to think about the reason behind her Minister’s shabby look, she did have a hunch. Ever since the recruitment of the Dementors, Mosby had spent every moment outside of his office alongside with at least one of them; whether for protection or to show off his position with the beings Marietta did not know but the thought of constantly being in their presence after her ten second encounter made her feel even more uneasy around the Minister.
For once, Nolan appeared to be the healthy one. Although his dark red hair and naturally pale complexion were being washed out by the fiery image, he looked well fed and alert.
“… and I’ve received word that Cade and his army have all arrived in Denmark. I suspect that, now Meng has the information he needs, they will meet to discuss the plan and arrange numbers sometime tomorrow.” Nolan said before spotting Marietta over Mosby’s shoulder. “Ah, and here’s the reason for that now.” Nolan said with a small bow to Marietta.
“Good.” Mosby said flatly, not taking notice of Marietta but for the remaining raised hand that held her silence. “Good, and you gave Cade the order not to intervene with the fight against the Germans?”
“I did, the Minister there will make quite sure that they are well hidden.” Nolan answered.
“Very well then,” Mosby said in a rushed though satisfactory tone of voice. “I shall leave you to get back to Akrahn and Kristain.”
Nolan looked a Mosby uncertainly. “Yes, about Akrahn…”
“If you tell me he’s been asking to relocate here one more time…” Mosby growled.
“That’s the thing,” Nolan said. “He stopped asking for transport to London ever since you told us of Potter’s survival. He’s now asking for permission to assist Cecilia in her attack against Paris when the time comes.”
Mosby let off a small growl. “If I had a dead enemy for every man who wanted in on Potter’s death, the war would be over tomorrow. Tell Akrahn that if he keeps up the level of work he’s been performing as of late, that I’ll give strict orders that Potter must be kept alive until he gets there.”
Marietta knew for a fact that the Minister would give no such order but Nolan gave a nod of his head nonetheless before the flames died out and his figure vanished.
“Edgecombe.” Mosby grunted as he swooped over to sit at his desk.
“Minister,” Marietta started tentatively. “Forgive me but, I was wandering, is it true that Cecilia captured the American Auror leaking information?”
Mosby eyes looked up at her, unblinking. “It is. Why?”
“Well,” Marietta started, desperately trying to remain calm under Mosby’s cold gaze. “I was wandering if you would allow me to see if I can get any information out of him about the defensive enchantments around the American Ministry.”
Mosby continued to stare at her, his expression unchanged. “Edgecombe, do you think that I haven’t had my best interrogators try that very thing? Even in the… condition Cecilia had left him in, he still remained silent when tortured.”
“Have you tried not torturing him?” Marietta asked before she could stop herself. If the look Mosby had given her before was cold, she was surprised his glower didn’t freeze her where she stood. “Give me some time with him.” She pleaded before Mosby could press into her previous response. “After all of your goons, he might be willing to make a deal with someone who doesn’t curse him every other second.”
“The man’s an Auror.” Mosby stated coldly. “He won’t break so easily.”
“He won’t if we don’t try.” Marietta replied. “And like you said, he’s an Auror. If his reaction to someone who wants to help him doesn’t get the better of him, his instinct to survive will.”
Mosby considered this, she could tell, for his dark eyes had narrowed at her. “At worst we have a dead Auror but at best, Minister,” Marietta pressed with as much praise in the last word as she could muster. “We could create a Portkey that could take us within the American Ministry of Magic itself.”
Mosby’s sore looking eyes scanned her long and hard before he answered “Your work in the Transport Department is not to be disrupted and our Portkey needs and Floo Network connections still take priority.”
“Of course, Minister.” Marietta answered, her heart racing so fast she was shocked that Mosby could not hear the thumping.
“I’ll send word down to his guards to expect you.” He said with a finality to his voice that Marietta didn’t dare ignore.
“Thank you, Minister.” She said with a small bow before turning to leave.
Marietta ran back down the corridor, fearful that the Dementors would shake her newfound confidence further and headed straight for the golden lifts before slamming her thumb on the button that would take her to the Atrium.
When the lift came clamouring to a halt, Marietta stepped out and found herself in the shimmering emerald Atrium of the Ministry. Although minor repairs had been done to the Ministry since Selwyn’s invasion, the walls still possessed large cracks and holes and the ceiling had huge chunks missing revealing the grey concrete beneath its surface.
Taking her usual seat at the fountain’s edge near the kart where a number of workers were seeing to their breakfast, she pulled out from the inside of her robes a slim file, pretended to read it and waited.
Nearly ten minutes later, Marietta spotted him. Greggory Goyle trundled out of one of the lifts and surveyed the Atrium, clearly looking for her. She daren’t look directly at him just yet but continued to watch him through her peripherals. Once he spotted her, he walked over to one of the wooden benches that had survived the battle and watched her.
Marietta took in a deep breath and went for it. She lifted her head from the file and looked around surreptitiously before looking back down again. Then, a few seconds later, looked around at her surroundings with the same result.
Goyle had spotted this, she noticed, for he was now leaning forwards in his eagerness to see what she would do next. Again and again for a good five minutes did Marietta continue to sit there and occasionally look around.
Okay, enough is enough, she thought before finally allowing her eyes to fully fall on Goyle. She sprang up from the fountain edge and stowed away the file before marching over to him. Goyle clearly hadn’t expected this for he sat bolt upright again and looked away from her.
“There you are.” Marietta said in a slightly desperate tone. “I must admit, you are a hard one to spot.” This couldn’t be less true. Goyle alone out of all of the Azkaban prisoners now working for them had somehow increased his weight during his imprisonment so that his body was a near perfect sphere. Goyle didn’t seem to see it that way though and took the compliment by looking down his small pointed nose at Marietta.
“It’s all about how you hold yourself and when to maintain eye contact.” Goyle boasted in his hoarse voice. “You-Know-Who himself taught me that.” Marietta had never doubted anything more in her life.
“Wow.” She murmured under her breath just loud enough for Goyle to hear. “So maybe you can help me.”
Goyle gave her an ugly grin revealing just how many teeth he had lost. “And why should I help you? You’re a dirty traitor.”
“Because Umbridge is in trouble.” She replied in a hushed whisper. Goyle’s grin vanished at once and his beady eyes were wide. “Look, I can’t say much here but meet me in my office in five minutes and I’ll explain everything. And talk to no one.” She added.
“Wait,” Goyle said, his eyes narrowed now. “Why would you want to help Umbridge?”
“Because,” Marietta said in her most fearful voice. “She’s the only one keeping Mosby off my scent, you know that. If she does go down, I’m then at risk but she won’t believe me if I tell her. You however, if you help her and stop what’s about to happen I’m sure she’ll be ever so grateful.” Goyle contemplated this. Marietta knew all too well now that Mosby was far from suspecting her for what Harry Potter had learned when he broke into the Ministry but Goyle on the other hand…
“Fine.” Goyle whispered. “Five minutes.”
Marietta gave him a wide smile that made her feel nauseous before turning on her heels and making her way up to her office.
“Congratulations all of you!” Marietta called to the workers fiddling away at the line of desks that led to the door of her office. “You’ve just earned an extra half hour break this morning.”
While the majority of her staff looked please, a few wore concerned looks on their faces. “Um, Miss Edgecombe,” A weedy looking man said, his arm raised like a schoolchild in class. “We’ve only just started.”
“I have an important meeting in my office and the attendees would prefer not to risk being overheard. So, you can either take the generous extra time off or I can deafen you all, your choice.” The Wizards and Witches looked around at each other before they all began to rise from the seats. “And remember, silence is key.” Marietta added as her workers began to make their way out. “We’re at war with a very cunning enemy.” That much at least was true.
Once she entered the hansom room that was the Head’s Office, she knew the most difficult part of her mission had begun; the waiting.
She would now have to endure at least five minutes of waiting for Goyle to arrive hoping against hope that he spoke of their conversation to no one, least of all Umbridge herself. Everything now rested on Goyle’s eagerness to impress his superior and reclaim the Death Eater like status he had failed to achieve during the last war.
She whiled the time away by obsessively checking and re-checking the supplies she would soon be using or else by pacing up and down the room, her eyes darting to the clock that hung on the light blue wall.
Five minutes passed. Well of course an oaf of that size would be late, it’s perfectly possible that the lifts need more time to haul up that kind of weight.
Six minutes passed. Marietta checked and re-checked the clock on the wall and compared it to the time on her watch as if the bewitched devise could be wrong.
Seven minutes passed. Marietta gave into temptation. Rushing over to her desk, she opened the bottom drawer and pulled out a large brown bottle labelled Foxling’s Buzz Beater Brandy that, like the majority of everything else in her office, had once belonged to her old boss. She uncorked it, took a large swig straight from the bottle and allowed the drink to burn through her body before taking a second mouthful.
Eight Minutes passed. Her heart was thumping so hard that Marietta could feel it pulsating in her throat, her brain rushing to show her every possible outcome of failure. She had just begun to imagine how long it would take Goyle to get from the Atrium to Umbridge’s office to here when…
Thud. Thud. Thud.
Exactly nine minutes later the loud thumps bellowed from her door. Marietta was quick to react and waved her wand to open the door. Goyle trundled in, his eyes fixed on Marietta.
“So what’s this all about then?” He ordered.
“The parchment on my desk,” Marietta said as she made her way to close the enchanted door behind Goyle by hand. “It came to me by mistake from one of the Leaders on the Council.”
As expected, Goyle then made his way to snatch up the single piece of parchment lying on her desk but the moment he outstretched a thick arm to grab it, Marietta drew her wand.
“Stupify!” The jet of red light collided with the back of Goyle’s head making him crumple forward and fall onto her desk. There was a loud crash as Goyle’s full weight fell onto the desk, breaking it into two halves and leaving Goyle himself to fall unceremoniously to the splinter strewn floor.
Marietta wasted no time and pelted towards the unconscious man and took his wand from the pocket of his robes. Searching him further she found a small satchel full of silver sickles, a couple of now broken quills and a small stack of parchment paper; a number of which were written on in a child-like writing. For a split second, Marietta felt a small pang of pity for the man until she realised that the writing was Goyle’s latest reports on her.
Pocketing the money and the notes, Marietta than pulled out a small empty picture frame and knelt down to Goyle’s side. She placed the frame into Goyle’s chubby fist and murmured “Patrificus Totalus.” Immediately, Goyle’s legs snapped together and his arms became frozen by his side, the empty frame now held firmly in his unwilling grip.
Taking a deep breath, Marietta then pointed her wand at the frame and said “Portus.” The frame glowed a brilliant blue as it became a Portkey timed to leave in fifteen minutes. Plenty of time, Marietta tried to convince herself as she got up and left the office, leaving the door locked behind her.
Rarely had her work brought her to the Auror Office yet she never remembered the journey there taking so long. It was as though the golden lifts knew of her plan and were eager to sabotage her by choosing this moment to take their time. Eventually though, she made it although at first glance she thought she had ended up in the wrong office.
Upon their taking the Ministry, those who had been selected to work for Mosby in the Auror Office had made quick work of making the space their own but what they did paled in comparison to what Harry Potter had done with his explosive potion. No more than half a dozen desks had survived the attack with the rest of them comprising the ash that was still scattered across the floor of the office. Large scorch marks now decorated the walls where wanted posters once hung and the only door that hadn’t been blasted into black splinters was the door to Head’s Office. Clearly, despite his best efforts, Cade Bowton had been thwarted in his attempts to get inside.
Marietta strode in and turned into the corridor of Interrogation Rooms. Two guards stood outside the door with the number five engraved on it. “Take an early lunch.” She said to the two men. They looked at each other before turning back to her but before either of them could begin, she answered “Because I don’t know you and because I don’t trust you. If you’re loyal to Mosby prove it by standing down and giving me the knowledge that no one is eavesdropping.” The two caught each other’s eye a second time before begrudgingly obeying and making their way to the main office.
Her heart racing, Marietta opened the door and waved her wand to light the candles on the walls. The combined sight and stench made her gag. Hanging in the air as though ropes were tied to each of his limbs, was an unconscious, deathly pale man; bald headed and stocky and covered in a copious amount of his own dried blood. His right knee looked as though it had exploded though it was clear that the injury had been treated just enough for it not to become infected. Raw burn marks were scattered across his stomach, chest and face to join the deep looking gashes while beneath the floating figure lay a fresh pool of vomit.
“Ee… Evanesco.” Marietta stuttered quietly, her wand pointed at the puddle. It vanished though the smell still hung in the air. Marietta then began using the same spell to siphon off the dried blood that smothered the Auror’s skin for all the good it did him. Once done, she then waved her wand in a perfect circle before slowly and carefully moving it downwards. The limp figure floated down to the ground though the moment his bare skin touched the cold stone floor, the man’s eyes flashed open. Immediately, he let off a bloodcurdling scream as though he were being tortured all over again.
Fearful of someone coming in to investigate, Marietta raised her wand and muttered “Silencio”. The man’s screams died though his mouth and eyes were still wide.
“Listen,” Marietta whispered in the most comforting voice she could conjure. “I’m getting you out of here. Understand me? I’m a friend.” The last three words rolled off of her tongue uncomfortably. How long had it been since she had last said that? The man stared wide-eyed at Marietta and it was clear to her that he didn’t believe a word as he began limply dragging himself away from his saviour. Marietta sighed in frustration. “Look, I’m sorry but it’s for you own good.” Marietta pointed her wand and, with a flash of red light, the man returned to his unconscious state.
Not daring to waste any more time, Marietta ran to his side and pulled out a large litre bottle full of muddy looking liquid from the enchanted inside pocket of her robes. She instinctively went to his head for the last ingredient of the stolen Polyjuice Potion but her heart sank at the sight of his baldness. His chest and back too were bare. Frantically, Marietta grabbed one of his fair coloured eyebrows, pointed her wand and murmured “Diffindo.” The severed hairs gave way into her forefinger and thumb and Marietta quickly sprinkled them into the potion. The potion promptly began turning into a dark shade of sapphire blue upon contact with the hairs.
Marietta then pulled out a thin quill, placed it into the hand of the unconscious Auror and tapped it with her wand. “Portus.” The quill glowed a bright blue before vanishing with a small pop with the Auror.
Mere seconds later there was another pop and Goyle appeared, still grasping his Portkey due to the Body-Bind Curse though clearly awake as his beady eyes darted wildly at his new surroundings.
“Sit up.” Marietta growled at Goyle, her wand pointed at his face. Against his will, the curse moved Goyle into an upright sitting position on the floor. Raising the large bottle of potion to his lips, Marietta placed her wand on his throat and whispered “Drink.”
Obediently, as the potion entered his barely open mouth, he drank and drank and drank, his breathing becoming rapid through his nose, until all of the potion had been drunk.
Seconds later, Goyle’s round stomach and paunchy face began shrinking as though he were a popped balloon and his dark hair receded back into his skull until he was the perfect twin of her rescued Auror. Once transformed, Marietta aimed her wand at Goyle and did the same slow circular motion with her wand but in reverse before raising it into the air. As though attached to invisible bindings, the altered Goyle rose into the air as his limbs, now free of the Body-Bind Curse, spread open until he was in the exact same position as the original prisoner. Marietta couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of him. “How does it feel to be hansom for a change?”
“You traitorous scum-” Goyle started but his new, American accent filled voice vanished with a flick of Marietta’s wand.
“Now, now, let’s not get too carried away just yet.” Marietta said with the first genuine smile she’d worn all week. “Now, let’s see.” Marietta slashed the air with her wand and the oversized robes that now covered all but Goyle’s head fell to the floor in ribbons until, like the Auror, he was left in nothing but his underwear.
“Okay you worthless lowlife, listen up.” Marietta started, her voice shaking with excitement. “There is only one way your time here will end and that is with you giving up the location of my mother, understand?”
Goyle glowered menacingly at her. “I asked if you understand.” And with another wave of her wand, Marietta cried “Crucio!” Goyle screamed though no sound came out of his open mouth.
Again and again Marietta cursed him, Goyle’s restrained and shaking body flailing in a desperate attempt to escape the pain, until her train of torture was brought to a sudden halt at the sound of a knock on the door. Frustrated, Marietta ran to the door, swung it open and growled loudly “What?”
Dolores Umbridge stood at the door. Her ugly, toad like face was wearing the same wide smile that Azkaban had etched on to it and her grey robes draped around her. “Miss Edgecombe.” She greeted in sweet high voice that did not suit the figure.
Fear struck Marietta like a lightning bolt to the heart and all of a sudden her mouth had gone dry and the shaking in her hand had returned.
“The Minister informed me of your new project and I thought I would come down and see your progress for myself.” She opened the door a little wider and took a step closer through the doorway. It was clear that she regretted it for the smell of the room made her face contort. Marietta didn’t even try to make an attempt to stop her. Her limbs had frozen with fear and her mind had gone blank.
“So this is the Auror Cecilia caught.” Umbridge said, more to herself than to Marietta. “Funny, from what I heard he was in a much worse condition than this.”
Marietta looked up. Goyle’s head was hanging at his bare chest, his whole body shivering as though an electrical current was being sent through him.
“I… I fixed him up a bit, Dolores.” Marietta said, her voice going a little hoarse from her sudden dehydration. “To see if I can start to gain any form of trust.”
Umbridge turned on her heels to face Marietta. “And does he now trust you?” She pressed, tartly.
“Well, I’ve not been here long.” Marietta replied, trying to get her head straight again. “It might be a few days but, if I’m in consistently, maybe become the only person he sees… who knows?”
Umbridge looked from Marietta to the shivering Goyle and back again. “You mean a form of Stockholm Syndrome?”
“Yes, along those lines.” Marietta said, grasping at the idea desperately.
“And why did you stand down those guarding him?” Umbridge went on.
“We’ve already had one insider leak information,” Marietta answered, indicating the disguised Goyle. “I didn’t want to risk it happening again.”
Umbridge glowered at her. “Those men are there on the Minister’s orders.” She said in a loud, broad voice. “You have no right to dismiss or mistrust them, do you understand?” Marietta shook her head. “The guards will be replaced and will no longer take orders from you. And, since you seem so keen on this solitary confinement, you will deliver the prisoner’s food and drink every morning and evening while making quite sure your work is not interrupted, is that clear?”
Marietta’s heart was racing. Could it possibly be… “Yes, Dolores.”
“And it is ma’am, Miss or Madam Umbridge to you, girl.” Umbridge added as she stepped up to Marietta.
“Yes, Madam Umbridge.” Marietta reiterated.
Umbridge then took in one final look of the prisoner before finishing with “Good girl, now back to work.” And she left the room, slamming the door behind her.
Marietta couldn’t believe it. She darted over to the closed door and fell to her knees as she peered through the keyhole. The guards she had stood down had resumed their positions but Umbridge had in fact left. She’d done it. She’d gotten away with it and Umbridge didn’t know.
Marietta took in a large sharp breath. Her head felt light and her eyes were flooded with tears, though what they were tears of, Marietta could not tell. She pulled herself back up and looked up at Goyle. “Think about what I said.” She bellowed at him, a crazed smile growing on her face. “Merlin knows you’ve got plenty of time to.” And with that, she left the room.
After racing back to her Department, she nearly fell through the door to her office and rushed to bolt it shut again. There, lay unconscious beside her broken desk was the real American Auror.
“Reparo.” Marietta said wirily as she pointed her wand at the desk pieces. At once the two halves and all the tiny splinters sprang up and joined back together again as though Goyle had never even been near it.
The adrenalin wearing off and her lack of sleep catching up with her, Marietta felt her body begin to tire though she walked over to the Auror nonetheless. She grasped the quill she had used as a Portkey and put a second Portus Charm on the stationary. She knew she would have to come back and finish her day of work but Marietta knew that her objective was not yet done. Grasping the Portkey in both of their hands, there was a flash of blue and a small pop and the two vanished.
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