A Sixth Year Story: Voldemort's Return brings in the International Confederation and a team from the North American Wizarding Confederation to take control. In this chapter, Tabby makes friends, a...
"May I sit with you?"
"Are you sure you want to? You can sit with the OBs, you know." The two cousins were the only two seated at a table for six in the large study area, where they were waiting for everyone to be weighed, measured, and have their eyes tested.
"I will, if you prefer, Margaret," Tabitha said a little sadly.
"Don't be silly," Meg said. "Sit down, Tabby."
"Meg. . . ."
"Marge, Tabby is my friend. Maybe the OBs will be our friends, too. Maybe the nigger will be. . . ."
"That's a VERY bad word," Tabitha corrected gently.
"Worse than 'Mudblood'."
Megan's tanned face paled and her hand flew to her mouth. "Oh, my! I didn't know!"
"Since Kizzy is a Full-Blood from Canada, I don't know if she'd prefer being called 'Negro' or 'black,' but I know you should NEVER use that word."
"If you say so," Marge said. "You do know some OBs don't like associating with, well, everyone else."
"I don't think many of that sort go here, although I'm sure there are exceptions," Tabitha replied. "I certainly don't think they'd be in the Greens. They'd more likely be Reds or Oranges, where they can try to out-snoot some of the snootier Pure-Bloods and Old Colonials."
Marge glowered a little, but Meg intervened, "Come on, you know she's right."
Marge sighed, "I know."
Efa Gwener walked over. She looked Tabitha in the eye and asked in Welsh, "Do you really know what you were saying, or are you a parrot?"
Tabitha replied in the same language. "I know the language very well. And I know the customs well enough to worship with Lightening or Thunder, or even in Secret. However, I intend to be Open for now."
Efa chewed her upper lip a bit, then nodded and switched to English. "And these are your friends?"
"They are. Margaret and Megan, and of course this is Efa." The three girls nodded.
"Did you know your room mate at all before this?" Margaret asked.
Efa winced. "No. I'm sure our differences would look insignificant to non-believers, but we both come from small groups that split some three hundred and fifty years ago. The Ysgol is about the only place we associate."
"Still, you probably have more in common than you would with the rest of us," Tabitha pointed out.
"True," Efa admitted. "It would be hard adjusting to someone from Muggle culture."
"Well, we only have one Muggle-born," Tabitha pointed out. "Just think how odd this must appear to her! All the others would have been raised in a mixed environment, and while either magical or Muggle culture could have prevailed, they would have at least have some basic understanding of us."
"Toronto doesn't have a separate magical quarter, and neither does Brooklyn, so they might have been raised in a mostly Muggle household."
"I never even heard of Brooklyn," Efa admitted.
"It was a separate city until it was incorporated into New York City," Tabitha said. "The magical quarters in New York City are in different boroughs."
"Oh. Okay," Efa said, willing to believe this apparently well-informed girl.
"So," Marge said, "are you going to sit?"
Efa smiled. "No, I'm being waved over by my cousin, who was sorted into the Oranges. Talk with you later."
"Hi, can we sit here?"
The three girls looked up and saw two of the boys from their House. Megan looked at her cousin, and Tabitha decided to defer to her as well, feeling she had pushed her luck far enough for that day. Marge shrugged. "Alright. You're . . . Henry and James?"
"That's right. James Mitchell, but everyone calls me Jim."
"I'm Margaret Banks, and everyone but Megan and Tabitha calls me Margaret."
Jim smiled and sat next to Megan. "That's Henry, my roomie," he said with a jab of his thumb. "He doesn't seem to say much."
"Who can, with you around?" Henry Dorff said, sitting next to Tabitha.
"You're from the Montana dragon ranches, right?" Margaret asked Henry.
"That's right, well, dragons, wyverns, and griffins."
"And your mother is a Muggle, and you live in northern California, right?" she asked Jim.
"Right. There's actually a whole valley of us, living a mixed life. There's a group of Spanish Pure-Bloods and another area of Indians a bit further into the mountains."
"Why did you come here, instead of any of the western schools?" Tabitha asked to two of them.
"Dad came here. He's from New Amsterdam, you know, the magical village inside in New York, but decided to go west," Jim answered.
"The California School is too liberal for my family, and I haven't taken to dragons as much as my family would like," Henry admitted.
Seeing the confused look on her friends faces, Tabitha explained, "The smaller schools in Rockies really specialize in Care of Dragons and similar animals."
"Right. They decided I needed a good general education, so they sent me here, although they're all hoping I decide I love dragons after all."
"Better you than me, pal!" Jim said. "I saw a wyvern once, and THAT was enough to convince me that dragon ranching was not for me!"
Tabitha looked up and saw Cindie looking around, confused. Her room mate, Maria, was at a table of Spanish-speakers, so even though there was one seat left, the girl was hesitating to sit down. Tabitha waved her over.
"Hi," Cindie said shyly. She was a slightly plain and pudgy girl. The others greeted her, and she sat.
"So," Margaret asked, "how strange do you find all this?"
"It's . . . well, strange. I mean, no one in my family is magical as best my mom could tell. There's just the two of us."
"My father was a stock car driver, and was killed a few years ago. Mom owns a little motel."
All the others looked at Tabitha. "Well, you all know what a hotel is, right?" They did. "And you all know about the automobile and how the roads link the towns and cities, of course. So, motels are small hotels for motorists between the towns. Motor hotel."
The group decided that made sense.
"You know an awful lot without remembering anything," Cindie said.
"Oh, I know an amazing amount," Tabitha agreed, "but I know nothing about myself."
"Is it . . . awful?" Marge asked.
"It was at first, and it's still pretty confusing. It's still . . . strange. But now I'm building a life."
At that point, Tabitha was called away. The five students looked at each other. "She's . . . different," Cindie said. "Nice, but different."
"She's weird, but I guess anyone would be after what happened to her," Jim added.
"She talks like my great-Aunt," Margaret observed.
"I like her," Megan said firmly.
"I like her, too," Margaret answered back. "Honest! But she does talk like Aunt Marilyn."
"Her Aunt Marilyn is a transfiguration and runes researcher," Megan told the others.
"Well, she does sound more like a grown-up," Cindie said.
"We either like her or ignore her," Henry said. "I can't think how I'd feel in her place."
"Me neither," Megan agreed. "And like I said, I like her."
"Me, too," Henry added.
"Everything about this place is weird," Cindie said thoughtfully. She shrugged, "Why not her, too?"
Margaret also shrugged. If Meg liked Tabby, she would go along. The girl was weird, but at least it seemed like a nice weird.
Tabitha rather enjoyed the first nine weeks of the fall term. She got along well with the girls in her year. She was especially close to Meg, and fairly close to Marge, Cindie, and Anna. The twelve older girls (all Fourth and Sixth years) on the floor pretty much ignored all the First years, although the two Old Believers (Sixth years Catrin Fychan and Efa Lloyd) made sure to keep an eye on Tabitha as well as Efa Gwener and Modlen Rhisiart.
The boys in her House year also pretty much ignored her, although again the Old Believers (Lloyd Adda, Awstin Mihangel, Dewi Puw, and Ofydd Pwy) made certain they were friendly with her in passing. Henry Dorff was the only boy who went out of his way to be with her.
Outside her House year, no one seemed to pay her much attention. A few of the snootier girls (mostly Reds and Oranges) made certain she saw them ignore her, and that was as far as it went. Most of the Old Believers either went out of their way to be friendly to her, while the rest at least seemed neutral. Other than a few dirty looks and snickers directed at her, she was left alone by most of the other students.
Her classes were going very well. When it came to knowledge and theory, she was of course at the top of her class. In terms of her practical work in Charms and Transfiguration, however, she was average at best, and she wasn't a very good flyer.
Every Sunday, she joined the other Old Believers in greeting the sunrise and saying farewell to the sun at sunset, and had also joined the equinox celebration. Since all of the ceremonies before November 1 were open to all (many more students converted to the Old Belief than dropped away from it), a number of the First year Greens joined her when possible. In short, Tabitha fit in.
The faculty was very pleased with her and pleased with themselves that they had allowed her to attend when she was likely a year too young. Few ten year olds would be able to just keep up with the practicals, let alone stand above the middle of the class.
Friday, November 1, 1968
Tabitha's eyes flew open, and she was suddenly awake. She knew she had to go into the seventh compartment of her empty twelve-compartment trunk, and that she had to do it now.
She opened the seventh compartment, which like all the compartments led into a magical space, 12x12x9 feet. She climbed the ladder down, letting the lid drop behind her. As soon as it shut, the chamber was infused with a soft light. When her foot touched the floor, she heard a voice.
"My beautiful daughter. Now is a special time, a mystical night. It is also time I tell you a few things. First, I am sorry for what I have done to you. I am sure you none-the-less hate me for having done it, and you are right to do so. I did it because besides being a powerful and wealthy wizard, I am a greedy and ambitious one as well."
"I am greedy, because when I fell in love with your mother, I swept her off her feet instead of leaving her be. She was a Squib, almost powerful enough to pass for a Marginal, but in the end not close enough. When she was banished to the Outside, I helped her. I managed to father you, when again I should have left things alone."
"I am ambitious, and therefore did not move out of my position in the lines of power, in my Sect or within the Druids, to be with your mother and you. I know you suffer. I hope it is not unbearable."
"You were born on the Twenty-first of June, 1958, and are a Cancer. I'm sorry I cannot give you enough data to do a full horoscope. Your mother had an accident, and called to me. We arranged your life for you before she died. Yes, your mother loved you, but she agreed to allow me my career, at least for a while. However, on your fiftieth birthday, all will be revealed to you, and if you wish to exact vengeance then, I will accept it. Should I die before that, you shall be informed then instead. In the other eleven chambers, you will find hidden panels, which will allow you to access even more money and some other objects, should you need them. They will reveal themselves, two rooms at a time, on your birthday and thereafter."
"You might be wondering, for you are a very bright child, how many more secrets are there? Just one, which I shall come to in a moment. Your ancestry is True Believer. How then, you might wonder, should you pick a mate, should you fall in love with one. Do not worry, just do not choose a Hidden True Believer born before 1954 or after 1960. Those born in between are safe enough."
"Now, the last secret. Your mother had one real power. She was a natural Dreamwalker, and she had already awakened that ability in you. Access your memories, and if you need to, read the three books on the subject which are now in the first chamber. I have arranged a nice library for you there, with books most school children could not access. The spell which limited your ability will be lifted once you next awaken."
"Farewell, beautiful child. Happy voyages in life."
Tabitha knelt on the floor, and cried.
Tabitha woke up just in time to dress, run into the bathroom, and make the morning ceremony. These ceremonies were secret. Some portions were closed to most or even all the students, no matter what their ancestry. Druids-in-training stayed for more of the ceremonies, but she could only apply for that status later.
Tabitha's eyes were burning from all the smoke -- oak leaves and pine essence incense were heavily used in the ceremonies. She sat on a rock just outside the clearing where the Old Believers had constructed a monolithic stone circle back in 1515. The students from the school had been portkeyed the few miles to the circle before dawn.
"Are you alright?" Tudor Myrddin asked her, handing her a glass of cold cider.
"I didn't sleep that well last night."
"You say that like you usually don't have problems like that."
"I don't, well, not since the first week I woke up."
"I was afraid I would wake up without my memories again," she said softly.
She shrugged. "That's alright." She looked up at Tudor. "I don't know why, but I thought you'd in training to be a Druid."
"I actually did the first five years of training. That allows me to lead all the basic ceremonies."
"Then what are you going to do?"
"I'm going to try to be an auror, and maybe try to go on to hit-wizard." He looked up. "It's almost noon. We'll be eating soon." He held out his hand and walked with Tabitha to the feast with his hand on her shoulder.
That night, Tabitha showered off as much of the smoke as she could and crawled into her bed at 9:45. She fell into a deep, restful sleep.
Tabitha sat up in her bed, and saw that it was 11:20. She felt awake, and then she noticed both that she was seeing herself asleep, and yet didn't feel asleep. "I'm dream walking!" Her voice sounded hollow, and she realized it was because only she could hear it -- there was no reflection of her voice in the room.
She stood up and went to the door, then hesitated. She touched the door, and felt her hand stop. A little more pressure, and her hand stayed on the door. She closed her eyes and tried again, and felt her hand slowly push through the door. In an instant, she was in the corridor. After a moment's more thought, she went into Marge and Meg's room. She saw the faint sliver glow that showed both girls were dreaming.
Meg was dreaming of a meadow, with flowers and birds. Tabitha smiled, and went over to sample Marge's dream.
Marge was yelling and crying. "Why! Why won't you play with me any more? Why do you like Tabby more than me?"
A group of girls had surrounded Marge, all pointing at her and laughing. The only one she recognized was Meg. Tabby willed them all away, and knelt next to Marge. "Come on, Marge, you know Meg would never hurt you or laugh at you, or leave you for that matter."
"Of course she would!" Marge spat. "You're new, you're interesting, you're smart and pretty!"
"But Meg has been your best friend since you were both babies. You're going to stay best friends. And I like you both, so I would never want to hurt either of you by making you fight."
"Really. There's a lot for all of us to be afraid of here, but you're not being friends with Meg isn't one of them."
"You're right," Marge said. The dream started to become fuzzy.
"That's right. Sleep, nice and peacefully." Tabitha withdrew from the dream.
'I'll have to watch that,' Tabitha thought, as she went back into the hall. She decided to walk around the rectangle of hallways and then go back to sleep herself. As few steps, however, showed a light under the prefect's door. Tabitha decided to take a look.
Gwen Lloyd was sitting with the other two Sixth year Green OB's, talking about the day's ceremonies. Tabitha listened in for about five minutes, when one said, "Did you see Tudor today? Fussing over that little bastard we have?"
Tabitha was so shocked at the venom in the girl's voice, she stood rooted to the spot, although she really wanted to flee the room.
"Look," Gwen said, "yes, the girl's probably illegitimate, but that's hardly her fault. And she's a nice enough kid, in fact almost the nicest one of the bunch. That's saying a lot, considering the horrors we had last year."
"Two stuck-up Pure-Bloods, a Wop, a Spic, a Nigger, a Mudblood, and a bastard?" the first girl said. "Not much of an improvement, if you ask me."
Gwen and the second girl glared at her. "I have to say, you're a walking endorsement for True Believer compassion, Mabli," the second girl said.
"We should be exclusive," Mabli argued.
"Then why didn't you join the Hidden last year?" Gwen demanded. Those who joined the Hidden Believers or most of the more remote Old Believer settlements, left school after their Fifth year. The boys would then begin apprenticeships, while the girls would work in the communal halls until they married.
"Because my parents refused me permission. But my application is in!" She switched to the Old Welsh dialect of the Hidden. "I shall be amongst the Chosen! If not in this life, then in the next." She got up and walked out the door.
"I'm glad we're in private rooms this year," the second girl said. "I couldn't stand living with her any more."
"I don't blame you! Imagine, picking on poor Tabitha, and those others. What a bigot!"
"She's a town girl, no matter what her pretensions. Maybe she'll enjoy slopping hogs and hippogriffs and shoveling manure. Some people do, and some people don't mind it. I always hated both. And I hate cod boats and all the rest of it."
"What will you do then? Go Muggle?"
"Hardly. I really want those N.E.W.T.s in Potions and Herbology. I hope I can get a job with one of the commercial potion makers." As the conversation turned to more every day matters, Tabitha decided she should go into deeper sleep.