A Sixth Year Story: Voldemort's Return brings in the International Confederation and a team from the North American Wizarding Confederation to take control.
The first 21 chapters are the American backstory, covering 1968 though Harry's placement at the Dursleys'. For those not interested in such a story, consider yourselves warned.
Thursday, July 4, 1968
Hugh FitzWilliam smiled benignly as he walked into the Great Hall of the Ysgol, the oldest wizarding school in the Americas, dating back to 1524. He had turned 120 shortly before, and had finished presiding over his twenty-fifth year as headmaster just under two weeks before. He was happy with his life, the school, and life around him.
Soon after the Spanish Muggles started colonizing the Americas, the period of Muggle European history known as the Reformation broke out. Muggles across Europe fought each other over differing versions of religion. This also created an even greater climate of hatred towards the Magical community, and by the early 1600s the two communities were segregated more completely than ever before, which remains true at the turn of the Millennium.
There had been nine powerful magical communities in Britain in 1500. Now there are only Diagon Village in England, now fully part of London and called merely Diagon Alley, and Hogsmeade in Scotland. The other two English towns and one of the Scots were destroyed in the 1500s, the remaining Scots town was destroyed in 1748.
The three Welsh towns, with some emigration from others in the Welsh, English and Scots Magical population, moved themselves to America between 1500-1650 (its start slightly predating the Reformation), to what today is the 'backwoods' of Maine and Quebec, nearly a hundred years before Muggles started to settle in the nearby areas. Some of the people just wanted to get away from the growing climate of persecution. Some wanted to at least partially disassociate themselves from the general magical community as well. These groups brought many allies from the remaining Celtic enclaves, some which had been hidden away for centuries in Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Brittany, and Cornwall, or in come cases in the Pyrenees and Alps, hidden away in places for nearly 1500 years -- places some now abandoned, while a few very secret places kept just caretaker populations. These Old Believers and the general magical population set up a series of communities which no Muggle can now locate. Today there are nine thriving towns, numerous agricultural villages, many farms, and the Ysgol (the oldest and most prestigious school of witchcraft and wizardry in the Americas) in the general area of northern Maine and southern Quebec.
An even larger mass migration of many magical families from Europe followed between 1672 and 1815. A few took their place within the general framework of Muggle society, a few hid themselves away from Muggles and the Maine-Quebec groups throughout the Appalachians. A slightly larger group found their homes in the Original Settlement. Most of the latter joined the Religion and, along with many of the stricter Old Believers, settled in the Rockies, which some Old Believers had explored in the early 1600s. The magical population of the North American Magical Confederation is, percentage-wise, the highest against the surrounding Muggle population in the world (more than four times the European average), and most of the magical population is well-hidden even from outside magical observation. There are two communities in the Rockies that are nearly small magical cities, with dozens of fair-sized towns, including the magical capital in western Ontario.
A little more than two-thirds of that Original wizarding area, and nearly half of the total American and Canadian Magical population, belong to the Old Believers, who base themselves in part on the Welsh Magical culture as it was when it led the migration and in part on the remaining true remnants of the Old Religion, Druidism. In the Confederation's 2000 census, there were 331,119 'Europeans' (although that term contains people of every ethnic group on Earth), 219,879 Old Believers (not including an estimated 102,600 'Hidden' who refuse to participate in most Governmental activities), and 9,783 Native Americans. If an Outsider were allowed to visit any of the stricter Old Believer settlements of any kind (which is almost impossible), it would be easy to believe that they were back in the late 1500s in many respects, and in pre-Roman Gaul or Britain in some others.
At the age of eleven, nearly all Old Believer children are still sent to the Ysgol or one of the three exclusive Old Believer schools (the largest of which, with an estimated 6,000 students, is said to be located in the Yukon, while the other two are in central Ontario and northern Montana), but after taking the WT's (the American version of O.W.L.s), they have to decide if they wish to stay and receive both advanced training and Muggle studies (American schools other than the exclusive Old Believer ones teach you how to blend into Muggle society at some point, if only with a one term or one year course). The children of Old Believers who stay the extra two years at other schools (including the Ysgol) must prove they genuinely wish to come back before being allowed to come and stay for good. After the age of 21, it's almost impossible for those who have left the strict settlements to come back, even to visit, other than to one special area, and then only by prior arrangement (even if they have not also left the relgion).
Few outsiders have married into any of the stricter Old Believers sects, especially during the 20th century. The requirement of fluent Welsh, not just in everyday life but for magical use, and 16th century living conditions and sanitation facilities make it unattractive to most outsiders. The 'Open' Old Believers are the most liberal group, and the largest sect other than the Hidden, with 49,116 members in 2000, and they may be found everywhere from the oldest Old Believer families living in the private areas of the Old Believers to Muggle-borns living nearly Muggle lives.
There are now five even larger areas of Old Believer settlement in North America, but the Original area in Maine and Quebec remains the spiritual home. Nearly all Old Believers, other than about half of the somewhat secular and liberal Open Believers, are either farmers, crafts people, or raise livestock (especially guard griffins in Maine and Quebec, while many in the wilds of the Rockies raise dragons and wyverns for dragon hides and potion ingredients).
Old Believer children only account for about a third of the 900 - 1000 students attending the Ysgol (most of them from Open families). The Ysgol had been founded by a group of scholars who had, for the most part, been educated at Hogwarts, and for many years the only contact the Old Believers maintained with Europe was with Hogwarts. Even in the twentieth century, the Ysgol maintained as close links with Hogwarts as it did with the smaller, less prestigious schools in North America. They therefore followed the same curriculum and had a similar House structure, named the Orange, Green, Blue (corresponding to Gryffindor), Red (Slytherin), White (Ravenclaw) and Brown (Hufflepuff) dragons.
Only three of the teaching staff were still present this summer, to supervise twelve students who were not going home -- something of a record. Usually there were three or four dozen students staying over all or part of the summer. "Good morning!" the Headmaster called out in greeting. "It's nice to see we're all here before our charges." He frowned. "Strange that we're all here this early."
Before anyone could say anything, Willie McCrae, the head groundskeeper came into the Great Hall, looking very worried. "Headmaster? We have a real problem. I think you should all come."
FitzWilliam and the three teachers looked at each other, and then followed McCrae out the main hall to the portico. There, on the top near the steps, lay what at first appeared to be a large bundle of blankets and three large trunks. "What is it? And how did it all get here?" FitzWilliam demanded.
McCrae pulled down three of the blankets. "It's a child!" FitzWilliam exclaimed.
Marcus Williams, both the junior of the School's three Charms instructors and the junior instructor present, took another edge of the blanket and lifted it, then dropped it in a hurry. "Actually, it's a girl."
"There was a note, sir," McCrae told the Headmaster, handing a large thick Muggle-manila envelope to him.
"Williams, go get Weiss." Rebecca Weis was the nurse/healer staying that July. FitzWilliam checked the envelope carefully for possible traps, and then opened it.
Amanda Keys, one of the Herbology instructors, demanded, "Well, what does it say? It can't demand total secrecy with the girl arriving like this!"
My Dear Headmaster:
You shall never know who I am if I have done my work correctly. This is my daughter; she is magical and comes from magical families. As far as I know, there are no Muggles in her background. She is more than sufficiently magical to start school in September.
I have provided her with more than enough money. All three trunks are twelve chamber trunks. The keys have been stuck to the inside of the envelope. The trunk marked with a '1' contains the money. Tuition, private room, and board for a full year, including summers, is 750 Galleons. Each chamber has 1200 Galleons, which should take care of clothes, supplies, books, etc. with some money left over each year to save for her future. Each chamber also contains 52 small sacks for an allowance, progressively increasing as she matures. I appoint the Headmaster and the Heads of the Blue, White, and Green Houses as my daughter's legal and financial guardians until June 21, 1979, which is when the last chamber is to be opened. And yes, her birthday is June 21.
Trunk #3 is empty. Since she will have no other home, I wanted her to have some place to store anything she wishes. Trunk #2 has ten empty chambers, the second has clothes and other items for her current use. The first chamber is empty except for her wand.
The wand is untraceable for all practical purposes. My daughter, who shall go under the name of Tabitha Stephanie Spellman, is also as untraceable as I have been able to make her. She does not appear in any magical registry. That I have been able to bring her here, in this condition and with these effects, should prove at least her partial magical heritage. The fact that I cannot provide a complete heritage, other than my word, makes me hope that she is not sorted to the Red Dragons.
My daughter will not be able to help you. I have replaced her personal memories with some rather large blocks of information, ie Muggle and Magical history, and a number of languages in addition to English. If I have done all the charms correctly, not even the Sorting Hat should be able to find a coherent personal memory. I hope no one is stupid or irresponsible enough to try and reverse these charms.
Tabitha should be awakened by 8:00 am July 5. Directions are on page 3.
"There is of course no signature," FitzWilliam told the group, now augmented by Williams and Weiss. "The second page has an inventory of the items and monies in the trunks. The third has the awakening instructions." He turned to the Infirmarian and handed her the third page. "What do you think?"
"I think we should get her to the Infirmary."
At 3:00, a small group met in the Infirmary office. Besides FitzWilliam, the rest of the staff was present -- Williams, Keys, Weiss, George Stratis (one of the Muggle Studies teachers), Drew Loveland (one of the Transfiguration teachers), and one of the Librarians, Courtney Carey, plus three people from the North American Confederacy. These last three were not introduced by name, which meant they were from Intelligence.
"Miss Weiss, perhaps you should start."
"Assuming her birthday really is June Twenty-first, Miss Spellman is either a slightly under-grown eleven year old, or slightly taller and more mature than average ten year old. From her teeth I'm guessing the latter, but I won't swear to it. Although thin, she seems well-nourished if small-boned and in very good physical condition. She has naturally very fair skin, but has a heavy tan on her legs, arms, back, and face. I do not think she could get that tanned very quickly. She must have spent the last few months, or longer, in warm weather. Beyond that, there's little I can tell you until we wake her up, since her clothes are Muggle and the magical accessories common and untraceable."
FitzWilliam turned to one of the Ministry men. "Well?"
The man shrugged. He hadn't given his name, and while FitzWilliam knew it, he wasn't about to use it. "There are no registered witches this could be. Even all the possible Muggle-born are accounted for, although she might be registered someplace else. We double-checked for glamours and the like of course, but there don't seem to be any."
"She MUST be registered SOME where," Keys protested.
"No," the Man from the Ministry mused, "there are always semi-deserted Pacific islands and such places where you can be born and NOT get registered, even today. I can tell you this, though. Her mother was not a North American Confederation witch. If she's a native of the Confederation on both sides, her mother was a Muggle or a Squib."
"My guess is a Squib," Williams said. "The writing looked very masculine, suggesting it was written by at least a powerful and wealthy wizard, rather than witch. His emphasis on her non-Muggle roots might have been mere distraction, but I rather think it points to a Squib mother and an old-line, maybe even Old Believer, father who can't acknowledge a child with a Squib."
"Most sects do have rather strict guidelines about that," one of the Ministry men agreed unnecessarily.
"The large amount of gold suggests an old family of some kind, and if the memory spells really were done well, that suggests an old family as well. I've noticed that many raised in even partial Muggle environments, not to mention Muggle-borns, are very uncomfortable using memory spells," Loveland pointed out.
"True," FitzWilliam had to agree.
The third Ministry man spoke up, addressing the eldest Ministry man. "I know it's illegal to use as an investigatory tool, but why not try the Sorting Hat now? It can at least tell us if she's a real witch and talented enough, and has developed adequate power, to attend the school. And, if you and the Headmaster agree, it might be able to tell us something about her."
"She would also have to be sorted, if she's admitted," Keys pointed out.
"Very well." The Headmaster clapped, and an elf appeared.
"Headmaster desires something?"
"Please fetch us the Sorting Hat from my office." The elf bowed, and in less than ten seconds had returned with the Hat. He handed the Hat to the Headmaster, bowed again, and disappeared.
Less than half the age of the Hogwarts Hat it had been basically copied from, the Hat spoke in a slightly friendlier voice. "A little early, are we not?"
Yes, we are," the Headmaster agreed. "We have a situation. To be precise, we have a foundling, with a written claim that her personal memories have been replaced. We need to know, at the least, if she is magical and of current development to come to school -- there is some question as to her exact age. If she is ready for school, then of course she must be sorted. Any additional information would be most welcome."
"H'mmm, very well."
The head of the hospital bed was raised and the Hat placed on the girl's head. "Difficult . . . very difficult, considering her magical coma. Let me study this problem for a while. Come back in an hour."
The group reassembled in a little under an hour, but the Hat ignored them until the full hour was up. "Well, this is a pretty mess. Who ever did this was very powerful, very thorough, and very very lucky. I could find no real coherent useful personal memories. Plenty of memories of things like Muggle television shows, reading Muggle and magical children's books and school books, and a few what might be called personalized impersonal memories: Christmas trees; lots of memories of beaches. There is no hint of any memory of any personal name for her or her parents."
"From the construction of the memory fragments, I would say she lived in the Muggle world with her mother, although with a good knowledge of the magical world. From the fragments of her early life that remain, I would guess her mother was a Squib or something near it. The only memories that weren't affected were very fuzzy ones from infancy. She grew up near a tropical or semi-tropical beach or beaches. She went to a Muggle school, but again all the personal names have been erased. I can say that all the children looked like they were of European descent, but that people in the town included some Hispanics and Negroes."
"Florida, or southern California," one Ministry man murmured.
"There was also an earlier memory, from when she was around three I would guess, of a ride, or perhaps two, in an aeroplane. I can tell you no more about her ancestry." 'Because I'm not allowed to tell you how I can tell who people are,' the Hat thought. 'If you knew the two families involved, you would know the scandal would rock the North American Hidden Old Believer communities.'
The Hat went on. "The new memories are fairly well assimilated -- this child will not have to study very hard, as she already has a greater knowledge of the Muggle and magical world than all of you together. While I do think she has just turned ten, she will turn out to be very powerful. She is currently at the average power level for new students. I think it best that she start now. Her standing as an average-powered witch will keep her ego in check. She is very brilliant. Even without these knowledge blocks, she would have likely stood near the top of her class academically. She is brave, but that is not her primary characteristic. She is ambitious, but that is not her primary characteristic either, and considering her ambiguous ancestry, she should no more be a Red dragon than a Blue. I would like to wait and judge her in a day or two, to decide between White, Green, and Orange."
"Very well," FitzWilliam agreed.
"I recommend you wake her up, and be prepared to have some one here to talk with her at all times for a few days. She will be very frightened at first. She was either uncertain what was happening to her while the charms were applied, or she understood and was terrified by the prospect. The memories are gone, but the fear remains."
"That's reasonable," Weiss agreed. "If we ever do find out who did this, I hope you throw him over to Europe for prison. He would deserve some time with those dementors."
"Please leave me here to observe," the Hat concluded. "You might consider having some students spend time with her, if the ones here this summer are suitable." The Hat went back to looking like an old hat.
"A few are," FitzWilliam stated. He moved the Hat to a nearby stand.
When they woke the girl up, she woke up screaming in terror.