Chapter Twenty-Four: Upheaval
Albus was deeply troubled the Sunday night after the scuffle in Diagon Alley at the events happening behind the scenes at the Ministry. James Potter was now on hot coals regarding the training of any and all Aurors recruited after he was elected Head. Fudge had threatened that if the Aurors continued to showcase themselves as incompetent in handling the threat presented by the Dark Heir and his followers, then the Minister would have no choice but to replace him with a more competent Head. He had no doubt that the elected Head would be even more of a hindrance to the war effort than what he could think. When he had been on the Wizengamot, he had followed the skills and careers of any promising Auror who proved themselves to be a valuable advantage for the severely understaffed Auror department and very few were capable of handling the threat by Voldemort, the Dark Heir and their followers. There was only a few he could think who would be strong enough to shoulder the demand of the position.
Kingsley was an experienced dueler as well as a member of the Order of the Phoenix. John Dawlish was a young brilliant student during his time at Hogwarts but somewhat inept in the field. Williamson, a strong and tactical duelist, was more concerned with the affairs of the Ministry but not as a politician. No, Rufus Scrimgeour was the politician in the Auror department and the one the most probable to replace James as the Head. The only man that Albus could hope would be nominated from outside the Order would have to be Gawain Robards who was a man who Albus knew was dedicated to protecting the world and who could play the political field when needed. The only problem was Scrimgeour was higher in seniority.
Then there was the matter of the rumors a friend of Tiberius Ogden had heard. It seems the Minister had been notified of his brief encounter with the King of the Blood Elves and was moving to place Albus on the hot coals along with James.
He knew it had been foolish of him to meet the King in the Ministry but he knew that Blood Elves were a rather secluded race that kept among themselves and in Romania. Perhaps it would have been more prudent in sending Fawkes with a note requesting for a meeting but it had been fortunate that his meeting with Amelia Bones would have him coming upon the Elven sovereign leaving the Ministry.
Albus' musings were interrupted when Severus Snape appeared in a billow of ash as he stepped out from the fireplace. The man scowled at his clothes, Vanishing the ash with a few flicks of his wand.
"Severus," the Headmaster greeted as he leaned back his chair, his blue eyes studying the Potions Master, noting he was much paler than usual. Sweat glimmered on the man's forehead, a sure sign that the meeting Severus had just been to had been more demanding than previous ones.
"The Dark Lord was not pleased at the performance of his Death Eaters on Saturday. The Dark Heir was severely tortured in front of the rest of the Death Eaters, some even going as far as to use the Unforgivables. Even Pettigrew was allowed to cast the Cruciatus Curse on him." Severus took a seat in the chair, his long fingered hands gripping the rests tightly. "There won't be any attacks until the Dark Heir has recovered from his session as the Dark Lord has forbidden him receiving any help from a Healer as punishment."
Albus closed his eyes briefly, wondering how Harry Potter could handle such treatment at Tom Riddle's hands. Memories of the small, thin boy drifted across his mind's eye, the almond-shaped green eyes peeking from under his black bangs. He could only hope that the young boy would begin to doubt his place at Tom's side. "Do you suspect any permanent damage?"
"No. The curses weren't allowed to stay on his person for more than ten seconds, but you can agree that the act itself, especially Pettigrew's was meant to be a stunning and humiliating blow to the boy who believes himself higher in superiority than the rest of the Death Eaters, including the Inner Circle." Severus' lip curled. "A characteristic inherited from his father no doubt."
"Severus, now is not the time for your grudges against James," the headmaster chastised as he got up from the high backed chair and moved to the window overlooking the mountains to the north. "Do you think you can get close to the boy?"
"Not at this time, no. Bellatrix hovers over him continuously. There have been rumors that she sees Potter as her son as her husband is currently in Azkaban with her brother in law." Snape tapped the armrest of his chair. "Despite the Dark Heir's condition, there has been movement in the Dark Lord's quarters, signs of an attack in place. It hasn't stopped despite the Dark Lord's orders that there would be no further attacks without the Dark Heir. At this point, I'm assuming this attack wasn't meant to be led by Potter."
Albus' brow crinkled in thought, his eyes unfocusing. "It must not be an attack on a city or town, then. Perhaps, Tom is going to lead this attack himself or give it to a more trusted follower, who I can guess will be Bellatrix. Could be anything; a specific house, a specific target, places chosen not to instill fear but to serve a purpose."
"I don't know where she's been these past years but her skills have grown and she has personally taught Potter everything she knows. She went even as far as getting him foreign trainers whom she kidnapped from other countries. As to their bodies, I can guess she has gotten rid of them."
Albus turned to look at the younger man. "Trained you say? Do you know what trainers she got for him, their mastery subjects?"
"It was a wide variety from what I've been able to gather, a fraction of what we have seen so far. In fact, I'm surprised that the Dark Heir was forced to retreat against an opponent like that Blood Elf."
"I have seen a memory as presented by Kingsley and from what I have seen I think the Dark Heir severely underestimated Anthanasius which lead to his defeat. I'm afraid it's a mistake he will not do again the next time they meet," Albus confessed. He had been expecting a warrior of such skill but was severely disappointed with the performance of the wizard who had arrived.
Severus looked at the old man in mild confusion. "He forced the Dark Heir to retreat, something that Potter hasn't done with his Auror forces."
"Yes, the Dark Heir was forced to retreat but I'm afraid it was through sheer dumb luck as Minerva loves to say." Albus retook his seat behind the Headmaster's desk, steepling his fingers. "I haven't studied the memory in excruciating detail as I haven't had the time but I did notice that the warrior was somewhat uncomfortable with wielding a wand and a sword at the same time. Kingsley did not notice it as he was too busying dueling at the time." Albus motioned to where his Pensieve was, the silvery surface glowing softly. Snape stood up and walked over to it, dipping his head into the gaseous surface.
As Severus viewed the memory, Albus quickly went through the fighting stances Anthanasius had taken. The boy, for Albus suspected it was a child into his late teens, knew a small variety of dueling spells which he had used quite effectively. Though he had incapacitated a few Death Eaters with his wand, he had used the sword with more skill and familiarity, suggesting Anthanasius was not well accustomed to dueling with a wand. There was also the question about his magical powers as quite a few spells had been unnaturally strong and precise for one so young.
A few minutes later, Severus stood up, his fingers rhythmically clenching and unclenching without conscious thought. "Why would the Blood Elf King send a young and untested warrior here? Unless he doesn't care that we may have to send his rogue soldier back in a black bag?"
"I don't believe that's the case, Severus. The King was quite adamant in the fact that the warrior he was sending was one of their best, experienced in fighting. However, the memory suggests the boy to be quite adept at using a blade, not a wand, though when forced to go on instinct he switches back to the wand."
"But why would he be using wand if he is better at the sword?"
"I do not know, Severus. The more I find about this Anthanasius, the more I am curious of him. A fact that concerns me is the boy is human as the King did tell me this, not an Elf. The Elves as you know, are Elementals and are trained extensively in how to use them. Why a human child would be taught with a sword and in the Elven way has me infinitely curious. The only reasons that are probable is the boy is half elf, an orphan taken in by the Elves, or one simply granted to the training."
"Do you believe the boy is an Elemental?"
"Perhaps, but if he is, he is not using his full set of skills as there were no signs of him using Elemental powers during the battle." Albus took the memory back out of the Pensieve and stored back into its respective vial. "We will just have to see what this boy warrior does in the next battle. You will keep me informed on what Voldemort plans with this new attack."
"The details are not forthcoming as easily as before as Voldemort seems to suspect of a spy in the ranks. I will – have to do something about those Gryffindors, Dumbledore. They are terrorizing my students." Severus changed track as the floo turned a bright green.
"Albus, I – oh, you're busy. Perhaps I should floo later?"
Snape eyed the old man in the fire grate, recognizing the face of Tiberius Ogden. "Do not mind me. I am just leaving. Albus, I will talk to you later regarding the Gryffindor."
"Of course, Severus. I have some tomorrow if you wish to continue. Don't forget to pick up the Pensieve for you weekly lessons." The Potions Master gave a nod at the former Wizengamot member before leaving through the door. "What news do you bring, old friend?"
"Not good news, I'm afraid. Amelia has flooed me that Cornelius convened an emergency session of the School Board and the Wizengamot. Tomorrow, you will receive notification that you are on probation after they learned you met with the Blood Elf King outside your jurisdiction as Headmaster. They won't even listen of a probable student exchange program."
"Cornelius is afraid of me. I know Lucius and Dolores are whispering in his ear that I wish to take over the Ministry. Is there more?"
"One more Decree has been passed; Number Twenty-Eight I believe. The details are sketchy but it will affect the staff at Hogwarts."
"The Ministry seeks control of Hogwarts through Dolores," Albus murmured, his suspicion confirmed. "There isn't much I can do without risking the safety of the students. Alas, it may seem my time here at the school will come to end unless the ancient laws come into effect."
"Albus, you know there hasn't been a Sentinel since the death of Helga Hufflepuff. After her death, the Sentinel Council faded away into obscurity. That and a Founder's Heir must return and prove their heritage. Not even Voldemort himself is an Heir as he cannot access the secrets within Hogwarts even though he has tried many times. You won't be even to find the Royal Heir to take back the magical throne," Tiberius said, his head sticking out of the fire more. "Albus, Hogwarts will be lost unless Cornelius is confronted with evidence of Voldemort's return."
"He is hiding and he won't reveal himself until he has too. The Dark Heir will do everything in his stead." The headmaster sighed. "The only thing we can do is wait for him to reveal himself."
"By then, it may be too late."
"We have no choice."
When the students arrived in the Great Hall for breakfast on Monday, the first thing they saw was the new Decree on the doors. Shyamal pushed himself to the front, eyes moving over the black letters.
Educational Decree Number Twenty Eight
All teachers and staff will be interviewed by the Hogwarts High Inquisitor twice a year to determine if their lessons and skills are up to a level worthy of teaching at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Any found to be lacking will be placed on probation and if such professors are unable to improve, they shall be dismissed and replaced.
Hogwarts High Inquisitor
"They've added another Decree?" Hermione asked, stepping up right beside Shyamal.
"Looks like they want to ferret out the teachers who support Dumbledore or who can undermine the authority of the Ministry." Shyamal pushed his way into the Hall, heading for the Gryffindor table. As they passed the other students, they heard the main topic was the new Decree. There were even a few students betting who would be replaced by Dolores, with Trelawney at the top.
"This coupled with the other one will be difficult. I was studying the wording of Number Twenty Seven and basically the other professors have lost all control of the school and classes. If they step one word out of their subject, they are in direct violation. The students have no other choice but to go to Umbridge and we know who she favors." Hermione slid into a seat across from Shyamal. "Right now, most if not all the powers are held by Umbridge."
"Something is going to happen." Shyamal poured some pumpkin juice into his goblet. "She's taking advantage of the battle in Diagon Alley somehow." Overhead, the ceiling was hidden as the owls came into the Great Hall to deliver the morning mail. Among them was the bright form of Hedwig, holding the newspaper in her claws as well as another letter.
He removed the two, offering Hedwig a drink of his pumpkin juice before slipping the letter into his pocket. Opening the Daily Prophet, Shyamal's eyes widened at the front page, his eyes drawn to the moving black and white picture on the front, watching King Shahriar presiding over the House of Lords in the Crystal Hall.
Elven King denies alliance with the Ministry, claims warrior gone rogue
By Harriet Turnstone
In a surprising twist, the Blood Elf Kingdom and the Romanian Ministry has denied all ties with the British Ministry, stating that when approached with an alliance between the three foreign powers, the British Prime Minister threatened them with charges of unauthorized attempts to interfere in national matters. After a lengthy conference, the two foreign dignitaries left with no treaty in place.
"There was no promise between the Blood Elf Kingdom and the British Ministry at this time. As the rest of the continent knows, the Elven Armies are currently engaged in a war with the Giants living in the Carpathian Mountains and we have no forces to spare," King Shahriar Siofra stated in a letter sent to the Daily Prophet office. "If there had been an alliance, the public would have been assured that the Elven Kingdom would have sent forces to secure the livelihoods of the British citizens regardless of the situation at the front line to honor the agreement between the three powers. I was quite surprised when the British Prime Minister did not heed the warning of his own Head Auror."
The Romanian Minister has said much the same thing, even going as far as to provide the memory of the meeting to our reporters. . .
"That's a check right here," Cosmas said into Shyamal's ear, reading over his brother's shoulder. "Puts the spotlight back on Fudge."
"I don't know if that's the right move." Shyamal bit his lip. 'It's turned into a game of he-said-she-said now."
"I don't know, really. I mean, look, the Romanian Minister is willing to provide the Daily Prophet a memory of the events. I can bet you that Fudge isn't willing to do that. They even go as far as to say that Potter was right and the Minister was an idiot in not listening to him. It gives him more credence than what the Daily Prophet has been saying the whole semester."
Hermione flipped her newspaper in half. "Do you really think the Daily Prophet is going to report that truthfully? It's under the control of Fudge. I'm surprised that the Daily Prophet even printed this."
Damian and Hala slipped into their seats, immediately filling up their plates with food. "What's up?" Cosmas handed them the newspaper, watching as the two read the paper together.
"It can explain why Fudge passed Educational Decree Number Twenty Seven yesterday. They don't want any of the students discussing events happening outside in these halls." Cosmas stirred his porridge. "I mean, with the new Decree today, Umbridge can basically make her own staff here at Hogwarts under her control."
"Do you really think she'd get rid of McGonagall?" Hala asked, wide eyed.
"Possibly, everyone knows that she's a loyal Dumbledore supporter. Professor Evans is also on her list as she's the wife of James Potter. There's Hagrid who's a half-giant which doesn't fit into her views. Shoot, I think the only staff member that's probably safe is Filch." Hermione counted off on her fingers as Ron entered the hall. Shyamal gave a brief wave, catching Ron's attention before turning back to the conversation. Hermione went back to the article finishing it on page four.
"She's also got the power to appoint new professors if Dumbledore can't find any replacements," Hala added, swirling her food around on her plate. She handed Ron his own plate, the boy quickly filling it up with vast amounts of food.
"Knowing her," Shyamal said darkly, "She'll pass another Decree to get that power. Hogwarts, in her view, is practically under her control."
Any further talk was interrupted when Hermione gasped, her eyes going wide as they flew over an article on the top of the second page. "Dumbledore's on probation."
"What?" The Suhas opened their own copy, immediately opening it up to the page. Right there, in large letters as if it were the first page, were the words 'Dumbledore placed on probation for code violation.'
"What happened?" Hala asked Damian. Shyamal's mood darkened almost immediately, knowing what could only be the cause for the violation.
"It says here that sources in the Ministry placed Dumbledore in close vicinity with the Blood Elf King before the two later disappeared for a limited amount of time. The Ministry has no idea what the reasons for the meeting between the two were though there are rumors of Dumbledore requesting the King's help in a hostile takeover of the Ministry." Hermione huffed in disgust after summarizing the article. "One more violation and Dumbledore will be removed."
Cosmas tilted his head to Shyamal, Hermione and Ron. "I'll give you two guesses but you're only going to need one to figure out who would probably be elected to take the position of Headmistress."
The group traded glances. Ron swallowed his mouthful, not noticing that Hermione sent him a small smile. "What do you think Hogwarts will do?"
Shyamal grinned wickedly. "She's probably going to wait before releasing her punishment on Umbridge. I mean, she's the brain behind the castle's movement."
"Do you think she's going to have a go at Umbridge today? I mean, the thing with the Hourglasses was cool but there must be more she can do to make that hag's life miserable," Cosmas pointed out.
Ron's eyes glazed over as ideas began to pop into his mind. "Do you think –" Cosmas and Ron began trading ideas between each other, the next one becoming more far-fetched than the last. As the two talked with Damian and Hala throwing in snippets, Shyamal pulled out the letter and silently opened it, his eyes quickly reading over the neat handwriting of Owain in his native language.
Meet me at the paddocks tonight. We have much to discuss.
Crumbling the parchment in his hand, Shyamal stuffed the ball into his pocket, noting to burn it later at the earliest possible time.
"What do you think Hogwarts is going to do, Shyamal?" Ron asked, adding more food to his plate even though he had already polished off two plates.
Shyamal thought it over. "I would say shifting the door around to her office. I can't really see her huffing and puffing up and down seven flights of stairs to search for her office."
"Nah, I'm thinking Hogwarts would teleport the whole office outside directly into Black Lake," Cosmas said, spearing a baked potato onto his fork. "After all, she is probably an amphibious creature."
That night, Shyamal was at the paddock, leading Isocrates from his stall to give him his weekly brushing.
"It's happened, Shyamal. The Council has called us back to the Kingdom," Owain said softly from his usual spot in the trees.
"We did expect it. The situation here is getting more hostile." Shyamal tied Isocrates to the paddock railing, patting the horse on its rump as he passed. "When will you be leaving?"
"By tomorrow as the letter stated. Though we've been trained to be hidden, the Council doesn't want to run the risk of us being seen since they stated that there is only one rogue Elf in these parts. If someone was to catch sight of us then the British Ministry will write that the Blood Elf Kingdom cannot keep track of their own people which would lead to very bad press for our people."
"Politics; the bane of the human existence," Shyamal muttered. The silence stretched between them as Shyamal began to groom Isocrates' growing winter coat.
"Politics is also determined by what the media prints. I believe you saw our parting gift this morning?"
Shyamal almost whipped his head around before catching himself. "That article was you?"
He could hear Owain's grin as he spoke. "Theron and Samaria were able to sneak into the office of the Daily Prophet and shift the articles around on the press machine before letting them print. I believe Theron said that the article was set to be printed on page nine. They decided otherwise." Owain gave a chuckle. "They should learn not to leave the office so underguarded. They don't know who could waltz in and play around with their printing machines."
"I can't believe you did that! The office is located in Diagon Alley."
"Despite the battle a few days ago, security there is minimal if you wish to stretch the truth a bit." Owain shifted, his dark cloak rippling in the shadows as he gathered his thoughts. "There has been something that's troubling me, Shyamal. Concerning the battle you had with the Dark Heir."
"What about it?"
"You haven't trained yourself with a sword and a wand. You're not comfortable with two weapons, something that may cost you your life, Shyamal, if you are not careful." Owain saw the young teen tense for a second before relaxing.
"I went through training with Miroslav for four years, Owain. I can fight."
"Fighting with a wand is one thing and fighting with a sword and a wand at the same time is another more complex thing. We taught you how to use Elven magic and how to manipulate the Elemental magic around you, how to harness it within your body. However, your magic, wizard magic, is something different, one that you haven't used for a long while, Shyamal. That one is more natural to you and one that you will use on instinct."
"I was using – I," Shyamal started to say before stopping. Thinking back over the battle, he realized he had been using wizard magic, firing spells and hexes with his wand rather than with using Elven magic. "What are you saying, Owain?"
"Don't go into battle next time until you've trained with using wizard magic and built up your stamina and spell repertoire. The training with Miroslav can only go so far before it will fail you in battle. You can't rely on your sword as wizard magic has a much greater reach than your arm. The Dark Heir also has a larger repertoire from what we have seen; he'll out hex you when you give him a chance." Owain shifted again. "You might also want to rethink this business about Anthanasius. You have to be here at Hogwarts. What will happen when a call comes and you are in class?"
Shyamal froze. He hadn't thought about that. He had completely forgotten that he would be in classes a significant portion of the weekdays, stuck in the classrooms under the attention of various professors. "I'll figure out a way."
"Shyamal, you are in over your head. You're doing too much at one time; protecting your siblings, watching Edward, monitoring Umbridge, befriending the two Gryffindors, battling the Dark Heir. It's too much for you and you know it."
"I can't just leave like this, Owain."
"And what then, when everything falls around you? You can disappear back into the woodlands of the Elf Kingdom, Shyamal. People may know you are hiding there but they will not be able to enter without our permission."
Shyamal looked out over the grounds, seeing the lengthening shadows. "I don't know why I want to stay here, Owain, but something is telling me to stay here and fight."
Owain closed his eyes. "Shyamal."
"I have to be here. We have to be here." The teen looked at the Elf. "Go back. I'll try to send Hedwig when I can to keep you updated."
"Fine." Owain gave in, knowing he wouldn't be able to change Shyamal's mind. "We're leaving some supplies in the Shack in the west corner of the living room, under the planks. It's enough for a while."
"I hope it's not fingas."
"It is," Shyamal groaned. "I know it's disgusting but it will nourish you if you have to hide." Owain clapped a hand on Shyamal's shoulders. "Take care of yourself and your siblings. Akane would be very upset if you fell."
"Then I won't. I wouldn't want her coming after me in the underworld only to kill me again." They traded smiles before Owain blended into the shadows.
On Thursday, the bell rang, signaling the end of class.
Edward Potter closed his book with a snap and after shoving it into his bag, he headed down for dinner. Wanting to separate himself from the rest of the chatting Gryffindors, Edward eased away silently to the statue of Ikaika the Obscure and entered the passage after whispering the password. He swiftly moved down the stairs, his head bowed as his mind slipped back into unwanted thoughts.
Two days after the incident with Snape, Edward had eaten with his mother in her quarters, keeping with their routine of meeting once a week. Many times, he had wanted to ask her questions regarding the tense relationship she had with James when they were younger. The only thing keeping him from asking was the confirmation that his mother had in fact hated James back then and the possibility that his dad was doing something to keep his mum with him.
But his parents loved each other, right?
He had seen their wedding photos and in each one, his parents had seemed happy and young, just like any young couple should be. Yet afterward, he had gone back and noticed that Lily Potter's smile seemed forced in some of them, the camera catching a quick expression of sadness in them.
Did that mean that she didn't want to get married?
Edward moved down the stairs faster and not seeing where he was going, crashed into another student coming up the stairs from below. He landed roughly against the opposite wall, his hand flashing out to stop himself from tumbling down the steps. Getting up stiffly, Edward noticed the student he had crashed into was a Slytherin. He barely stopped himself from drawing out his wand and hexing the boy who was now glaring at him.
"Watch where you are going or do you think that you are the only one to use the secret passages?" The boy muttered as he climbed back to his feet. He straightened his robes, picking up his own scattered books with a flick of his wand.
"Sorry, didn't see you coming up at all," Edward said slowly, trying not to let his anger rule. Years of habit were hard to break, especially if the main target of his bullying had been Slytherins who found themselves alone. As the student warily made his way past Edward, it was then the Boy Who Lived noticed something about the Slytherin. "Aren't you the muggleborn who was sorted in the Snake House?" Edward asked, bringing the Slytherin to a stop. During his Sorting, there had been an outcry of disbelief when the Slytherin whose name Edward didn't remember had been Sorted into the House of the Snakes. The other students had been shocked into silence when that had happened as usually the muggleborns were sorted into Hufflepuff.
The boy's glare intensified, the temperature around the two dropping into temperatures below zero. "What business is it of yours? You're a Gryffindor and I'm a Slytherin. Usually that's enough for you to start hexing."
Edward's jaw clenched, his hand twitching. "I just find myself curious, is all. Usually, all of the muggleborns are Sorted into one of the other three houses."
"It never occurred to you that perhaps one can be ambitious without being evil?" The boy moved to continue up the stairs.
"Before now, no." The Slytherin stopped again, turning back to look at Edward with a blank expression. "I grew up with a father who looked down on Slytherins and I guess from hearing all the stories, my view of the world was biased. If I ever picked on you, I'm sorry," Edward said sincerely if somewhat haltingly.
"Only a Gryffindor could be so noble as to apologize to his enemy. I would have suspected nothing less." The Slytherin gave Edward once last look before disappearing into the stairwell.
Edward sighed. At least he had tried to be nice with a Slytherin. Perhaps not the outcome he had hoped for but trying was better than doing nothing. The thought made him feel better, something that he hadn't felt in a long time.
He moved downstairs, coming out onto the third floor and down the moving flight of stairs. The Great Hall was already filling up with hungry students. He took a seat at his usual place, on the very edge of the table near his mother who seemed to talking quietly with Sirius. She caught his eye before giving a small nod.
The house elves had made shepherd pie with a beef stew that had his mouth watering as he served himself. There were bowls of mashed potatoes, buttered corn, cornbread, and peas and carrots. As he took a bite of his pie, he pulled out a book from his satchel. It was a book on Legilimency and Occlumency with various ways of protecting and invading one's mind. Before, he had seen the lessons with Snape as a curse, seeing it only as a way for the Potions professor to insult him more than ever before. Now, he was sorely regretting the fact that he had forced Snape's hand in giving up on him.
He would have gone to Professor Dumbledore to teach him but Edward had noticed that the professor seemed to be putting some distance between himself and Edward. Not wanting to be rejected by someone he saw as a mentor, Edward dropped that line of help. His mum was out of the question as well as he didn't want to put Snape on the spot as well as his mum finding out that he had invaded Snape's privacy. He didn't feel up to a lecture right now even though it was deserved. Sirius he could go to but then again, he was already teaching Edward extra spells that the rest of the student population wouldn't know until their seventh year and in some cases never unless they joined the Aurors. Plus he couldn't be sure that Sirius even knew what Occlumency and Legilimency was. That and the probability Sirius would pound Snape's head into the ground if he ever found out that Snape had been somewhat abusive during his lessons.
At that moment, noises from the doors had Edward looking up.
Leading the group was Cosmas and Damian who both were wearing tight skirts and shirts, showing off their stomachs. Clear strappy heels were on their feet, their hair slicked up with glittery gel. As they walked closer, Edward could see that makeup covered their face, looking as if it had been professionally done. All in all, the Suha twins looked as if they were cross dressing.
The Gryffindor girls closest to the Suhas began giggling, setting off the rest of the hall.
"What's the score now?" Dean Thomas asked, leaning toward Lee Jordan.
The dark-skinned student shifted enough to pull out a notebook from his jean pocket. Flipping through the pages, he marked something before answering. "Fred and George are in the lead by three points with this latest trick." Despite the laughter, the two were walking without a care in the world, going as far as to sway their hips.
Edward shook his head before turning back down to his food.
"It's 130-90 to Ravenclaw," Lee Jordan announced to the screaming crowd. All of the students had assembled in the Quidditch stands for Saturday's game, the second one of the season and last game of the term. "Roger Davis does seem to be in control of his team – oh, and Tracey London is knocked of her broom thanks to some fine work of the Ravenclaw beaters." The Slytherin jeered as Madam Pomfrey headed out onto the field to check the fallen Hufflepuff chaser.
"It looks like Ravenclaw will be a tough team to beat this year," Ron said, eyeing the game.
"The Hufflepuffs are still affected by the loss of Cedric Diggory. I mean, most knew he would have been captain last year if the Tournament hadn't been held. He personally trained most of the current team, especially their seeker." Hermione breathed into her mitts. "It's abnormally cold today.
"Well, he needs to catch that Snitch. The Ravenclaws almost have enough points to win the game even the 'Puffs get it."
"It should be over soon. The Hufflepuffs are wearing themselves out as they are overextending their bodies' limit." Shyamal pointed to the Hufflepuff captain who was yelling at his Beaters. "I wouldn't be surprised if there are high emotions after this game."
"I don't know why they take it like if it's the end of their life. I mean, Quidditch is just a game in the end."
The Suha twins and Ron turned around to look at Hermione in horror. "Just a game? It's a way of life, 'Mione," Ron answered solemnly. Hala started giggling, setting everyone off.
Even Hermione started chuckling lightly, shaking her head. "I don't think I will ever understand their odd fascination."
"And that's the end of the game, folks. Cho Chang catches the Snitch. 310 to 130 to Ravenclaw. With the current standings, it seems Ravenclaw and Gryffindor have a good chance of meeting each other in the final game," Lee Jordan announced, forcing their attention back to the pitch. The yellow clad Hufflepuff members flew down dejectedly while streaks of blue convened on a smiling Cho Chang, the Snitch grasped tightly in her fist.
The students began leaving the pitch, the major chatter over the performances of the two Houses. "I can't believe the Hufflepuffs. What were they thinking? It's obvious none of them are mentally fit to play the game."
"The Hufflepuffs are sure to be out of the running."
"What's the next game?"
"Gryffindor versus Hufflepuff; I'm placing my bet on the lions."
"Nah, I think it's the Slytherin and the Gryffindor teams."
"I'm betting it's going to be Gryffindor and Ravenclaw."
Shyamal breathed in a lungful of mountain air as they exited the pitch, feeling a little of the tension in his shoulders leaving him. Cosmas and Damian veered off to talk with a couple of other students in their dorm. Hala was ahead of them, singing an Elvish tune.
"We should head to the Castellum today. I want to get a head start on the new Map," Hermione whispered softly to the two boys. "I think I got a plan figured out how to put the Map on a smaller surface."
"It's Saturday, we should be relaxing." Ron stretched, smiling at Hermione who flushed lightly but quickly recovered.
"We should go today. Most everyone will be distracted by the game results. Tomorrow they'll be bored enough to notice that we're missing."
Ron groaned. "Fine, fine, but we need to be back by dinner."
The brown haired teen slapped his hand on his red head companion. "We won't make you miss it. Come on. We need to get the stuff before the Common Room fills up."
The three of them slipped up to their rooms to gather their things. As they headed out the portrait hole, Shyamal whispered Hala where they were going who nodded.
"The first thing we should do is figure out a way how to set up the Map," Shyamal said, eyes raking over their notes. "We need the Map to be able to identify specific targets, separate certain groups, track who's a danger, etc. It also needs to be small enough to handle, unlike the old one."
"I was thinking of doing it like this." Hermione placed a few thin pieces of parchment in front of her and she scribbled a few things on them in her normal handwriting. She then placed on them on a thin but large piece of parchment. With a spell Shyamal had never heard of, she had somehow fused the smaller pieces to the larger piece. Pointing her wand at one, she whispered, "Reducio." Shyamal and Ron watched in awe as the smaller piece shrunk without affecting the larger piece. The parchment kept getting thinner and thinner until it was as wide as a few millimeters.
"They're kind of like windows I saw on a computer screen once. All I did was minimize without – reducing the – screen its- You don't even know what I'm talking about, do you?" Hermione said.
"No," Ron answered, his face still carrying the look of confusion Hermione had noticed. Shyamal just looked at her, eyes blinking slowly.
Hermione sighed, wondering if Hogwarts should change Muggle Studies to a permanent class and not an elective. "Its Muggle contraption that was invented a couple of decades ago. If we can do this like what I saw, then it would be possible to see floors 1 and 7 without seeing the other floors in the middle."
"But could we be able to see all the levels at once."
"They may be smaller than usual but I think it would be possible."
Shyamal propped his hand under his chin, gazing at Hermione's idea. "As for the targeted people, we could have them shine up a different color on the map; red lettering for enemies and a bright blue for allies. We could also turn a selective group invisible. We'd just have to be careful on layering all the charms carefully."
"Hogwarts, do you think we can weave the access wards for the school wards into the Map?" Shyamal asked.
"We could weave them together but you would only be able to see those who enter the school castle and not the grounds," came the disembodied voice of the school.
"Why won't be able to see them before? The wards of Hogwarts protect the grounds as well." Hermione remembered reading in Hogwarts: A History that the wards for the ancient school were extensive.
"The modern wards only protect the castle and the students to a certain point. They are controlled by the Ministry through the Headmaster who is now currently on probation. However, the ancient wards did cover the castle and the grounds."
Shyamal's senses paused. "Did? As in past tense? I thought the wards today were the same wards that the Founders' built in the last few years of the 10th century."
Hogwarts raised her head, her face serious. "That is not true, Shyamal. While it is fact that the school is protected by extensive wards surrounding the school castle, they are not the same wards that the Founders' built to protect the school castle and grounds in 992."
"What happened to those? Did they fall apart when the Founders' died?" Ron asked, his voice hitching slightly.
"No. They were destroyed in 1307 after three brilliant British Ravenclaws destroyed the central ward stone during the First War for Scottish Independence right before the Battle of Loudon Hill in an attempt to leave Hogwarts unprotected to the armies of Aymer de Valence," Hogwarts confessed, shocking the three students.
Spyridon- Sorry for that massive period with no updates. My muse for the story died while researching for certain countries' history and trying to find ways to mesh it all together into one coherent blanket of ancient history. I think I got the kinks worked out but now I have to actually write it. The next chapter will be full of the history behind Hogwarts and the Founders, which will ultimately set up the plot for the sequel. The First War of Scottish Independence, the Battle of Loudon Hill, and Aymer de Valence are real events and figure.
On this story, this chapter has been edited by ginnyweasley777. All mistakes still in the chapter belong to me. With this chapter, Phoenix Eclipse has become the longest fic I've written in regards to chapters. In words, PE became the longest word-wise a long time ago with over 125,000 words. I've added a hint in regard to who the Dark Heir is. If you still can't figure it out, then you will have to wait a long while before you get the next hint. The revised chapters for 1-12 have been added to the story. If you didn't know about that, then I would suggest reading chapters 5 (for greater clarification on the Chamber of Secrets events) and 7 (for more information on how the Potter siblings look like) if you don't want to read all the revised chapters.
In regards to real life, I'm back at college with one heavy class load so my time writing will drop to nil. And if that wasn't enough, I also took on the story "Harry Potter and the Four Realms" by Daphne Li. If you have never heard of her, check out my profile for the link to her story. Man, her story had to be one of the best ever written for the Wrong Boy Who Lived stories as well as one of the few who had a Harry/Ginny pairing. I'm working on CH11 which I have an idea for but can't seem to quite get it down in words. Killing Voldemort is easy, getting to the bloody point is difficult. After that, it should be all down hill from there.
On the news for the HP Rec Site, I moved it from its old location to the new location; link on my profile. Register so you can add your story recs to the site. Don't want spammers clogging it up. It would be great to see you there. I've also entered into the Smutty Claus fanfiction exchange for this Christmas.
All updates currently going on with me that you should know will be posted on my profile here, the HP Rec Site, and my fanfiction livejournal account if I have a good amount of news to update you on. I'll try to do that regularly once a week. Also on the HP Rec Site, I've posted links to all my HP stories, including the NC-17 version of the Good Auror as well as the NC-17 version of the Howling which contains some material that could clash with most people due to the nature of the theme.
Updates on stories will come every Monday at around 9pm Pacific Standard Time. If you don't get an alert, there will be no update that week.
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