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, the team is assembled,...
Thursday, December 26, 1979
"May we sit with you and have a drink?" a voice asked.
Tudor looked up, and wondered who the two strangers might be. The two young men standing there were nothing special to look at. They in fact looked like the run-of-the-mill wizards anyone would expect around the Capitol. They were average height, long in the body and short in the leg, with black hair and blue eyes. Both were a bit above average in muscle mass, the younger one was a bit huskier than the other. They could be brothers or distant cousins.
"Do I know you?"
"You should know me," the older one said. Tudor frowned in thought. "Quidditch," the man hinted.
"You were a Blue chaser, two years ahead of me, right?" The man nodded. "Trowbridge?"
"Maurice Trowbridge. This is my brother, Lloyd. And yes, we're part of the Trowbridge clan, although a very obscure branch." The Trowbridges were one of the most prominent of the magical English families what had crossed with the Old Believers. They were now entrenched everywhere from the Hidden to Old Colonials.
Tudor gestured and Maurice sat. Lloyd asked his brother, "Butterbeer?"
"Warm," the man agreed.
"Can I get you a refill?" Tudor shook his head. Lloyd came back with a large tankard of warm butterbeer for his brother and a bottle of Scottish stout for himself.
"What can I do for you?"
"You know, you aurors and hit-wizards aren't as clever as you like to think," Maurice said.
"In what way?"
"You've left a parchment trail all over. If it wasn't for the fact that a number of people agree with your goals, there'd be a big stink about your last mission."
"I've been on leave for over a year," Tudor stated.
"But still on full-pay, with the Intelligence Department paying you and your surviving team-member." Tudor scowled at them.
"You do that well," Lloyd said. "Seriously, the only things wizards are good at keeping quiet about are our existence and some family secrets. Not to mention that the attacks on your teams made the fringe media in Britain, so it was never totally secret."
"What was it in?"
"A new scandal sheet called The Quibbler. I'll loan you some copies, if you want."
"Thank you. Now, who are you and what do you want?"
"I'm a sersiant," Maurice answered. Sersiants were the basic Confederation security force. "What do I and some of my friends want? We want in on the fight in Britain."
In part to give himself time to think, he turned to Lloyd. "Are you a sersiant, too?"
"No, I'm studying at the Vieux Carre and a Muggle university in New Orleans."
"Really?" Tudor had fire-talked with Henry that morning. "Do you know Tom Lawrence?"
"He's my housemate, why?"
Tudor stared at him. "When did you leave New Orleans?"
"Early yesterday evening."
"Where were you Christmas Eve?"
"I was at a Muggle party, why?"
"I think he's saying your friend was recruited," Maurice pointed out, "and he thinks Lawrence told you about it."
"If that's what you think, you're wrong. Want to give me a truth potion?"
"Maybe later." He turned back to Maurice. "Who exactly is 'we'?"
"Us, and twenty-two others. Sixteen of us are sersiants, and we want a chance to serve."
"And the others?"
"Seven wives," Maurice admitted. "I know, that's dangerous. All seven are skilled witches, and would provide a strong base."
"Some," Lloyd answered. "The only people who should know where the wives are located besides the husbands would be perhaps you, myself, and the girls."
"Three safe houses. One for the sersiants, one for the women and children, and a third one. I'd be in the third one. I'd be doing things like the shopping for all three. The girls would take turns showing up, one each day. Their husbands would rotate through as well."
"Ah. And why you?"
The young man smiled. "Because unlike most of this lot -- wizard-born the lot of them, although two of the women have some experience in the Muggle world -- I can function in the British Muggle world."
"For whatever reason, I've always been fascinated by Muggle culture in general, and British Muggle culture in particular. I have Muggle degrees in modern European history and British literature, and I'll have my Master's in May, unless you accept us and we leave sooner. I spent the summer of 1977 in Melbourne, Australia -- my parents didn't want me visiting Britain under the circumstances and I didn't have the money to send myself until the next year. I spent the last two summers in Muggle Britain. I never even entered the magical world for so much as a butterbeer. I even took Muggle transportation."
"As you'll discover when you do the background checks, my little brother is a fairly average wizard in some respects, just a bit above average in power. He does have one special ability that I really wish I had, though."
"A talent for wandless magic," Lloyd said. "I can do most spells at at least a low-level, without a wand, and that includes apparation."
"Really. That's what I've been working on at the Vieux Carre. My transfiguration is almost the equal of what I can do with a wand, but the dueling is weak."
"Not that you're all that great to begin with," he brother added.
Lloyd ignored that. He turned to Tudor. "Are you interested?"
"I am," Tudor admitted. "I hope you thought to bring a list? You know we'll have to look into this very carefully."
"We know," Maurice agreed. He handed Tudor a list of names. The brothers finished their drinks and left.
Sersiants were not as well-trained fighters as aurors or hit-wizards, but they were trained. Any sersiant who worked above the basic levels would probably be the equal or superior in training to most of the Death Eaters.
And Tudor would have sixteen of them, if they could all be trusted, plus Lloyd and the wives. Forty-two volunteers in total might actually make a serious difference in the war, for there were thought to be less than a hundred active Death Eaters. In a war on terror, though, you needed to out-man and out-gun the terrorists.
Tudor smiled. It might just work.
Wednesday, January 2, 1980
"By Epona! We should track down the leaks and rip them a new set of h'rmph!" Tabitha quieted Henry by stuffing a tollhouse cookie in his mouth.
"Lloyd is perfectly trust-worthy, and I was going to ask if there was any way to bring him in," she said to Tudor. "The question is, are the others reliable?" The three were sitting in Tabitha's kitchen.
"Strangely enough, yes," he answered. "None have any history of Dark magic in their families or close contact with any suspect persons. They're all fully-qualified. All the men are from Old-Believer or Colonial families, most a mixture of both, as are four of their wives. Two of the wives are from what are really Muggle families -- all their grandparents are Squibs or Muggles. The other one is from Viet Nam -- there were a number of magical Buddhist families that have moved to southern California over the last forty years apparently.
"I don't know any of them," Henry complained.
Tudor sat back and recalled the information he needed. "Maurice Lloyd, born in the magical village of Carantouan" (this was a wizarding town along the Pennsylvania/New York border, slightly east of where Cindie and Emily were from), "in 1949. Blue dragon, Quidditch chaser. Seven WTs, including an E in Defense. Five N.E.W.T.s, , with an A in Defense. Played professional Quidditch for two years, a reserve chaser for the Ontario Generals, and then he entered service as a sersiant. He has an excellent record. In addition, one of their great great great grandmothers was my great great great-aunt. They are of the River sect, and while some of their relatives are somewhat sharp merchants, that's the worst that has ever been said of anyone in their family."
"As for Lloyd, he was a White dragon. He scored twelve WTs, with an E in Defense. Much stronger in theory than in practice in everything. All seven N.E.W.T.s, again with an E in Defense." He looked back at his friends. "Very capable wizards, but nothing extraordinary."
"Really?" Tabitha asked.
"So you know?"
"Lloyd Trowbridge has a real knack for wandless magic, including apparation. In fact, he has an amazing knack for apparation. While he can't cross anti-apparation barriers, he can apparate within them."
"Without splinching?" Areas under anti-apparation spells were infamous for causing accidents when students tried to apparate within the areas, as many students found out at places like Hogwarts and the Ysgol.
"Hasn't lost a hair. In fact, he's done some work testing wards. He's so good, he can find any cracks in the wards and go through them."
"That's supposed to be a myth!" Henry protested.
"I thought so, too, but I've been told he's not the first to have the ability. It is pretty rare, though. It's estimated that maybe a dozen people have the ability, and probably some don't know it. It also means he can also . . . hesitate the apparation."
"What does that mean?"
"That means when he disapparates, he doesn't have to immediate appear someplace else. That's how he can search out the chinks in the system," Tabitha stated.
"Exactly. So if we take him, we don't have to worry about his getting caught and tortured for information."
"So you trust this bunch?"
Tudor handed Henry a stack of parchment. "Here's what we have on everyone so far. You two go over the information and tell me what you think. They all went to California, the Ysgol, or the Colorado School."
"My family all went there, except for me," Henry admitted.
"Maurice and two of the other sersiants are the oldest, Lloyd is the youngest. If we go with it, Lloyd will be going to Britain in February. He's finished his studies at the Vieux Carre and only has two independent studies left for his Muggle University degree. We'll set him up with money and a cover story. He'll be setting up three places for his people. I don't know if he'll have much if any contact with your team; we might have him set up places for all of us. I will certainly limit the others to their own group."
"Like I said, we can trust Lloyd," Tabitha stated firmly. "The rest, well, I'll look over the folders if you really want me to."
"Why wouldn't he . . . oh. Right. The need to know," Henry said. He looked at Tudor. "It's up to you."
Tudor took the parchments back. "Well done. I will tell you that Lloyd will be traveling as a Muggle. Not even a wand." He looked at Tabitha. "You'll be ready to leave by June First?"
"Yes, sir," she said. "Whomever finds us a house, make certain we have room for a potions lab. I'll be bringing a lot of ingredients."
"I'll arrange for a line of credit," Tudor said. He turned to Henry. "I'll need to see you on the Seventh."
"Right." All three shook hands.
Tuesday, February 27, 1980
"The worst thing about Britain is learning who to drive on the bloody left side of the road," Lloyd Trowbridge muttered to himself as he drove through the rain. "The second worst thing is the weather."
It had taken him just a few days to find two of the residences he was put in charge of finding. "Like going to the mattresses," he grumbled as he nearly wrecked yet again, avoiding a pothole by turning the wrong way. He needed seven apartments for the wives, some of whom had children. He had managed to find a small building that was just being completed on the High Street of a small neighborhood of what had been a village until it had been swallowed up by Greater London in the late 1960s. The ground floor and basement were already leased, but the eight apartments on the higher floors hadn't been until he had taken the lot the previous morning.
The sixteen sersiants were even harder to house. Fortunately, one of them was bringing a house elf to help with the general housekeeping. He had managed to find a small sprawling farm house that with some magical work would just fit what was needed.
He now needed a house for himself and housing for two of the three teams of six. The third group would need an even larger house.
As he drove towards the next listing, he thought about meeting Dumbledore the previous Friday. He had never seen a wizard with so much presence. He had hoped they could make a difference. Now he thought they actually had a good chance to win.
Monday, June 3, 1980
"So what's this surprise?" Henry asked in a growl. He and his team were crammed into a small van, being driven through the outskirts of London at what he thought was a far too high rate of speed.
"Sorry, orders," Lloyd said with a grin. He felt he had finally gotten the hang of driving on the left over these last two and a half weeks. He managed to get on and off the roundabout without causing any crashes.
"Where are we?"
"It's a village called Whinging, believe it or not."
"Why wouldn't it be called Whinging?" Toby Jones demanded.
"It's British slang for whining or complaining. Across that little bridge is Little Whinging, a little tonier but it's just suburban sprawl. The shops are all over here." Lloyd drove through the streets to the train station and turned parallel to the tracks. At the outskirts, where the tracks went over an old canal, he pulled into the driveway of a large house.
"Big place," Henry muttered.
"You'll need it," Lloyd said with a grin. "Please note how secluded you are here. Old canal behind you, railway to the right. To the left, on the other side of the wall, is a cemetery, with the Methodist chapel beyond. The rectory is across the road from the chapel."
"What was the building we passed?" Henry demanded, jerking his thumb at the building across the road.
"I'm not sure of the British term, but it's where the local buses are cleaned and repaired. There was one resident I couldn't get rid of . . . hope you don't mind sharing with a rather dour ghost."
"Really?" Tom asked. "Of whom?"
"Victorian maid, impregnated and committed suicide. She's not very aware, of course." Few Muggle ghosts were.
"Any other surprises?" Henry demanded.
"Two, right now. Two more at the end of July. Come on in and meet the other two members of your team."
"What! I wasn't told. . . ."
"It was Dumbledore's idea, and Tudor approved it. Fuss at them, not at me!" The six recently arrived Americans stood in the entrance way and saw two smiling, very pregnant, tall young women.
"Alice Longbottom, Lily Potter, let me introduce Henry Dorff, the team leader, and Tabitha Spellman, Thomas Lawrence, Titus Wells, William Loomis, and Tobias Jones, better known as Harry, Tabby, Tom, Willie, and Toby. Titus, alas, is just plain Titus."
"What's the story?" Henry demanded.
"Mrs. Longbottom is an auror, and wife of an auror. They and the Potters are in the Order. As you can see, they are hardly ready for combat at the present time. They needed a place to hide out until a few months after the babies are born. . . ."
"Late July or early August, in both cases," Alice said proudly.
"Oh, Epona!" Henry said, he eyes raised to the heavens.
"The only people who know the location, outside of you lot and myself, are Dumbledore, Myrddin, Longbottom, and Potter," Lloyd went on. "Now, these two are VERY well-known by the opposition. Even though this is about the most Muggle of all places I could find, they should NOT leave the house. I've expanded part of the basement so that everyone can walk and practice dueling. It would be best, actually, if only Tom and Tabitha went into town. It would be best that no one else be thought to live here."
"It would be best if you stopped talking like that," Toby muttered.
Lloyd glared up at the bigger man. "And it might be best for you to remember who's going to be everything but feeding you, kid, and I'll probably end up doing some of that, too." He turned to Tabitha and Tom. "I'll be going with you into town tomorrow morning to set up a Muggle checking account, or as they would call it here, a current account. I'll also show you the stores. Your cover is simply that you're writers, working in England for two years. If anyone asks, after a few weeks just say your work is progressing. I'll be by at least once a week to see if you need other supplies. There are anti-apparation wards up all over, except for the back porch. Anyone apparating there will still set off some soft chimes set all over the house. Any questions? No? Great. I've got to get the van back to the rental place. I'll be by later."
Lloyd left them in the entrance hall. Tabitha turned to the women. "Have you been briefed on us?"
"Other than the fact you're American volunteers, no," Alice admitted.
"Your friends weren't any happier over this arrangement than we were, or you are," Lily said. "I'm sure you'd all be happier without us and we'd be happier someplace else. However, we're all stuck here together."
"When are you do? Around August First?" Tabitha asked.
"A few days after for me, actually," Lily answered. "We have made arrangements for the delivery."
"We can go into those details later," Alice stated. "We're going to be getting a lot of information and shifting though it. I under stand some of you will be working for us?"
"No," Tabitha answered sweetly, "Tom and I will be working with you." The two women glared at each other.
"I've been involved in this for five years. . . ."
"Great. Another six years and you'll match me. One of Voldemort's followers tried to have me killed Christmas, 1968. I've been researching this since. Tom and Henry have been helping since the very early Seventies. You've been living this, we've been observing this. We have different perspectives; we'll have different contributions to make."
"Let's get set up," Henry said.