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, prejudice reaches out ...
It was over two weeks before Tabitha ventured into any visits during her Dreamwalks again. Instead, she practiced moving through the Tower. She was interested to discover that she had no difficulties getting onto any of the boys' floors while she was in that state. By the end of the second week, she felt comfortable enough to try looking into others' dreams again.
She went to Marge and Meg again, but they were in a dreamless state when she passed by. She tried some of the other girls on her floor, but the most they were dreaming about was shopping the next morning. Every third Saturday from October to May, merchants from Newton, a wizarding town a few miles away, set up shop in the great hall and some of the major corridors. After a moment's hesitation, Tabitha headed down to 206.
She had been drawn to Harry Dorff's room more than once, although she couldn't say why. Tonight, even though it was 12:30, he was still up, playing poker in one of the study rooms. Tabitha went on down to the common rooms.
These were deserted. Tabitha had never tried to leave the Tower area, but tonight, she decided to try. Just before she made the exit, two boys came running through the door.
Literally, through the door. Tabitha realized they were Eagle students, and they were also Dreamwalking.
"Have we lost him?" one said.
"We better have, 'cause if we get caught here, we're in a LOT of trouble."
"Guess what; you're in a lot of trouble," Tabitha stated. The Ysgol Houses had two common rooms, one for House members only, the other for studying or meeting with friends. These two were certainly in the wrong room.
The two Indians looked at Tabitha in shock. "Look at that!" the second boy said. "I didn't know they could walk at night!"
"It's a rare gift, but obviously not unheard of," Tabitha said. "Now, this is a private common room. Please leave, and I won't turn you in."
"But we'll get caught!" the first boy complained.
"Then you needn't worry," a deep voice joined in. "You're both already caught."
"Master. . . ." the second boy started, but then gave up.
"You two, apologize to the young lady and return to camp. We shall discuss your punishment with the Chief tomorrow."
"We're sorry we intruded," the second boy said sincerely.
"We didn't mean . . . I mean, this wasn't part of the plan. Sorry."
The adult, a short, muscular middle-aged black man, watched the two youths leave. Then he turned to Tabitha. "I am called Johnson the Dreamwalker."
"I'm called Tabitha Spellman." She cocked her head to the left. "You're the Australian shaman, right?"
"Correct, although there are other terms for it where I come from. I was not aware any of the students here had this gift, or at least have had it awakened."
"It started a few weeks ago."
"And you informed no one?"
When nothing more was said, Johnson said, "I shall talk with you in the afternoon. Shall we meet in the griffin room at Two?"
The students were allowed to shop starting by the class. The First years, of course, went last. Tabitha bought some small gifts for her friends -- she'd send them to their homes for Christmas. She only needed some basic supplies for herself. She sometimes wondered if her near-perfect eating habits were really a matter of taste or if her father had somehow built that into her along with a wide-ranging of knowledge rivaling any of her teachers.
She met with Marge, Meg, and Cindie to buy lunch from some of the vendors. They had eaten wizarding 'fast food' in October (sausages, apple and pear fritters, etc.) This time, they ate Muggle -- Marge and Meg were over-whelmed by pizza and chocolate malteds (the Ysgol was liberal, but did NOT allow soda).
The vendors and sales people started packing up at 1:30, and so Tabitha had no difficulty in finding her way to the griffin room, over near the Blue Tower. She was surprised that only Johnson the Dreamwalker was present.
Master J put Tabitha through a difficult thirty minute verbal exam on the subject of Dreamwalking. To his considerable surprise, she knew all the answers. He had heard of her, of course, and had heard about the encyclopedic knowledge she had been supplied with. Actually seeing it in action was quite remarkable.
For ten minutes, J seemed to study the girl, who merely looked back at him. Finally, she asked, "Are you trying to use Legilimency on me?"
"Yes, I am. I don't seem to be making much progress, however, which is very surprising. There are few people I cannot get at least some images from. May I try a more straight-forward attack?"
J cast the spell twice, with no results. He gathered his power, and cast the spell a third and final time.
This time, he got results. Words poured into J's mind. A seemingly endless flow of words, coming so fast he couldn't really understand them.
The stream was closed off, and J fell out of his chair. "Did you like my mind, sir?" Tabitha asked rather coldly. "Remember, most of what's in my memory is merely information. One set of information I've been looking very hard for since I woke up are ways of defending my mind. I will never be defenseless again."
"Well, you seem far from defenseless at the moment. There still is one major problem."
"I have to be registered. However, European, Confederation, and Old Believer regulations only cover adult Dreamwalkers. I do not wish to be banned for six years."
"But you wish to join the Open Believers," J pointed out.
"The Open Believers, and most Old Believer sects for that matter, have an agreement that allows for cross-training," Tabitha retorted. "Just because it's usually the Eagle students studying at the Ysgol or with druids doesn't mean I couldn't be trained, or at least supervised, in Dreamwalking by you." She smiled. "And yes, I do realize how you trapped me into asking for training."
"Trapped, child? I would prefer 'led'. Now, the restrictions on you would be. . . ."
Tabitha interrupted him and rattled off what would have been three pages of print in most books
"Very good, child. You do know what it means, yes?"
"I do now." Seeing the look on the teacher's face, Tabitha explained, "I know all this information, but I don't know I know it until I need it. Once I need it, I can understand it."
"I think I can understand what you mean. I must inform your Headmaster, you know."
"I know, sir. Will you be here next summer?"
"I shall. I believe you shall be as well."
"That's right. Perhaps I can formally learn then."
"I see no reason why you cannot," Johnson acknowledged. "I shall inquire, the chief shaman will likely be sympathetic."
Tabitha stood and bowed to Master J, in the manner she knew the Eagles would have. Johnson returned the bow.
Sunday, December 22, 1968
Tabitha, Gwen, and four other Old Believers walked into the elevator at the base of the Green Tower, but Tabitha and Gwen were the only two to get off on the fifth residential floor. They were the only two Old Believers on the floor staying over the holidays. Each morning, from the Twenty-first through the Twenty-fifth, the Old Believers would gather to greet the sunrise, marking the passage of the winter solstice. Starting the night of the Twenty-fifth, they would start a celebration which would end the night of January Sixth.
Now they had to go change out of their pure white robes before going to breakfast. When Tabitha rejoined the Prefect, Emily Tyne, a Fourth year Pure-Blood from an old Colonial family asked, "I take it the sun came up?"
"It was difficult to tell, since it is very cloudy, but we have faith that it did," Gwen retorted.
A yawning Sixth year Muggle-born named Christine Ayers joined them. Like Emily, Christine had a private room, and they were the only students staying beside Tabitha and Gwen. Other than the prefects, who were usually required to stay if even one of their charges stayed, about 90% of the students went home for the three week break. This holiday, all the Green girls staying just happened to be on the same floor.
That afternoon, Tabitha was in one of the study rooms, first practicing her levitation and then her transfiguration. When she looked up, she saw Emily Tyne was looking through the open glass wall that separated the room from the corridor. "Yes?"
"May I come in?"
Tabitha gestured her in. Tyne just looked at her. Finally, Tabitha said, "You don't like me, do you?"
"That's the problem; I do, but I don't like Old Believers, for a start."
"You don't like Old Believers, or you were raised to dislike Old Believers?"
"Some of both, I guess," she admitted. "Do you really buy into all that stuff?"
"I'm not so sure about the reincarnation parts," Tabitha admitted, "In fact, if it is true, I'm not sure I'd want to know. But it's a good life style, it makes me part of a community, and I enjoy the ceremonies."
"Even though your father was likely an Old Believer? Even though he did this to you?"
"You're probably right, of course, but he also could have been a Pure-Blood or Old Colonial who hired some Old Believer to do the same thing to me. You have to admit, some Pure-Bloods are as vain as any of Old Believers. I've heard the whispers from the Red Dragons. Grindelwald helped to cause two Muggle world wars, hoping to reduce the number of Muggles and enslave the rest, while attacking Muggle-born and Mixed-bloods. There's supposed to be a number of Pure-Blood groups dedicated to Pure-Blood supremacy."
Emily's jaw dropped. "Are you sure you're eleven?"
Tabitha shrugged. "I have several encyclopedias in my head; how should I talk?"
"Well, you're right. Some of the Reds were talking about pranking you somehow. Just thought you should know."
"I'll tell Gwen and Tudor."
"Thank you again. You won't get in trouble, will you?"
"No, they don't know I overheard. I do agree that Pure-Bloods, which include most Old Believers and us Old Colonials, should run the wizarding world. That's different than saying everyone else should be totally disen . . . dis en. . . ."
"Especially not killed!"
"You know something," Tabitha stated.
"Is one of the European Pure-Blood groups building a following here?"
"There are rumors," Emily confirmed. "You probably don't know that Red exchange student from Hogwarts."
"I know who he is. He's a Sixth year . . . Marcus Malfoy?"
"Exactly. His father is the British Ambassador to the Confederation. So, stay away from him. He's going to try and lure you into a trap."
"Christmas Eve, after dinner. I don't want you hurt if they get carried away."
"I'll be careful. Thank you."
Monday, December 23
Dream Tabitha jogged through the Red dragon dungeon. She finally found the right room, and slipped into the large, private chamber. The room was twice the size of her room, and furnished in European luxury -- tapestries on two of the walls and a canopy bed.
Poking her head through the bed curtains, she saw Malfoy, who wasn't dreaming. She sat and waited.
When he finally started to dream, she joined him.
It wasn't easy pushing his dreams towards the right set of memories without revealing herself, but once Malfoy was properly prodded they flowed easily.
Malfoy actually knew fairly little about the would-be Dark Wizard his father was getting involved with over the previous few years. It was someone the older Malfoy had known at school, and who was now calling himself Lord Voldemort. Voldemort was taking a page from Grindelwald, but was apparently going to try to take over the wizarding world and then destroy the Muggles, unlike Grindelwald, who had tried to sow the seeds which would lead the Muggles to at least partially annihilate themselves. Tabitha extracted the information on the ambush against her, realizing with great surprise that it had been planned as a real attack rather than an extreme prank, and directed Malfoy back to his original dream of watching small boys on broomsticks.
After the morning services, Tabitha sat down and wrote out what she had found out. She was justified in her Dreamwalking into Malfoy's mind only because of Tyne's warning, and even then it was open to some interpretation. She also didn't know if anyone other than Johnson the Dreamwalker or the Headmaster knew about her ability, or if the Headmaster would want a visiting faculty member of the Eagles to know about a problem at the Ysgol. She therefore had no alternative but write to the Headmaster and hope he had time to read it.
Tabitha wished all the information she had been given had some sort of searchable index attached with it. It took her longer to figure out a way to call the Headmaster's attention to the letter than it did to write the letter in the first place. Still, she was finished well before lunch, and she dropped the letter off at the main office.
Tabitha was relieved when FitzWilliam took her and Tudor aside after the sunrise service on the Twenty-fourth. Outright bullying was harshly punished at the Ysgol, the current Head of the Red Dragons was an Old Believer instead of a Pure-Blood or Old Colonial, and a number of the faculty members were curious as to how many students would allow themselves to be involved with the planned attack. Tabitha's information showed 15 students in on the general prank, and six who were in on the fact that they were going to try and make the result look like a death caused by a prank gone too far by accident.
As she knew she would, the one First year Red girl who was staying over invited Tabitha to the Red open common area for tea and cookies. Tabitha rolled her eyes at the girl's poor acting. There was only one thing Tabitha needed answered, so she asked, just as they walked into large area where six corridors and two stairs came together, which was where the trap was supposed to be sprung, "Where's your wand, Petunia?"
Petunia Marsh smiled nastily. "Why? I don't need it at the moment," she said. Malfoy would use her wand to kill Tabitha, while the others merely cast minor curses. The hope was her death would be put down to an over-done prank. If the Killing Curse was discovered, it would be obvious that Marsh could not have done it.
Screaming, the other Pure-Bloods launched their attack. Tabitha triggered the portkey the Headmaster had given her, and found herself in the study room on her floor nearest to Emily's room. Emily, Gwen, and Christine were waiting for her, and Emily grabbed Tabitha in a tearful embrace.
"I'm sorry; I'm so sorry! I didn't know!" Emily sobbed repeatedly.
Tabitha looked pleadingly at the two other girls. Christine held Gwen back, and said softly, "Let her get it out of her system, Spellman." It had come to a shock to all three when the Headmaster had filled them in earlier.
Gwen took a deep breath, but Christine turned on her. "You hush, too! Pure-Bloods, Old Colonials, Old Believers, bah! Bigots, the lot of you, taken as a whole. And don't either of you look at me like that, even if it doesn't apply to either of you, you both know it's true. Mabli Sior, for example. is as big an OB bigot as any of those Pure-Bloods."
"She is," Gwen admitted.
"So, Spellman, do you know why Malfoy wanted to kill you?"
She shrugged. "By strict Pure-Blood labels, I'm an illegitimate half-blood OB with no family. There's apparently some Pure-Blood would-be Dark Wizard, calling himself Voldemort, trying to bring the remnants of Grindelwald's followers together back in Britain. The North American Confederation, and the OB's in particular, stand against the Pure-Blood propaganda, in part by allowing all magical people into the Open Believers and in part by standing for an older magic than the Pure-Bloods. My 'accidental' death would bring my story out. Since I'm supposedly of OB ancestry, I guess they hoped there would be a scandal. It would also be an attack on the Old Believers at their most liberal point -- letting me, at best a half-blood, certainly of muddied ancestry, even attend this school and join the faith."
Gwen made them all cocoa, and they sat up until a little after 10:00, when the Headmaster himself came to see them.
"Mister Malfoy and his five primary co-conspirators have been expelled. Ambassador Malfoy has been ordered home. He is taking his son, and perhaps the other five boys, although they will NOT be allowed into Hogwarts. The other fifteen have been put on Final Probation for at least the next calendar year, except for Miss Marsh, who will be on Final Probation for two years." That meant they would be expelled for any discipline infraction, and could be expelled for mediocre or poor academic performance.
"Wow," Emily said softly. She was impressed. The Malfoys were one of the richest Pure-Blooded families in western Europe, and certainly in the top-half socially as well.
"Miss Tyne, despite the perception among some parts of the magical community, the Old Believers in general do not run everything in the Confederation. However, the Tuatha and the Council of Druids and the Old Believers do have four of the six permanent members of the twelve person Leadership Council, and currently hold three of the other seats as well. We protect our own, and you, Miss Spellman, are a child of the Confederation and a member of our Fellowship. Had it been you, Miss Ayers, targeted by this group, or had a group of Old Believer children planned this attack on you, Miss Tyne, they would have been dealt with in a similar matter, although it might have taken a bit longer to organize."
"Yes, sir," Emily said.
"Now, children, enjoy the Yule."
"Have you been looking forward to Christmas?" Christine asked as she joined the two Old Believers to greet the sunrise. Many non-believers joined in on Christmas Day.
"I guess. We get so many present opportunities . . . are they fun?"
"Are they fun?"
"Well, I don't remember any of the earlier ones."
Christine and Gwen exchanged looks. "Let us know what you think," Gwen said with a smile.
The original Colonial families had had a wide variety of winter gift-giving traditions. Many in New England did not celebrate the holiday at all until well in the 19h century; some still did not. Others celebrated on St. Nicholas Day, others 12th Night, a few New Year's Day. Most now exchanged gifts on Christmas. Old Believers originally gave gifts anytime between the winter solstice and 12th Night. They now generally opened gifts Christmas Day and 12th Night.
At the Ysgol, a tradition had arisen in the early 17th century. Friends most often exchanged small silver tokens with the names of both parties. These represented promises of hospitality, back when the Old Believer settlements were spreading all over North America, and it was possible you might be far from home and in need of a place to sleep. By 1968, these tokens had become charms, and even the most macho, wealthy, snobbish Pure-Blood felt proud of receiving the charms, usually in the form of a tiny silver book, which opened. You gave them for Christmas. On 12th Night, if you had not already given the giver a token on Christmas you either returned the token or a token in the form of a piece of parchment.
Tabitha rode up the elevator, and turned the corner to her room. She was shocked to see an over-stuffed stocking hanging on her door. While presents were exchanged under the tree in the Great Hall after breakfast, the tokens were exchanged this way.
She poured the tokens onto her desk, and was shocked to count 102 tokens, including one from each of the 36 members of the faculty and staff, and from Johnson the Dreamwalker, the Chief Shaman of the Eagles, and Adda Lloyd, the senior member of the Tuatha, who had come to talk to her class. All eight of the girls in her House year and the other twelve girls on her floor, plus Henry Dorff and four of the other boys in her House year had also sent tokens, as had Tudor. She was shocked and pleased. She had felt she had been taking a chance sending out 24 tokens. She would have to order 78 tokens the next day.