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 Ravenclaw/Gryffind...
Saturday, May 31, 1997
The day Gryffindor played Ravenclaw for the Quidditch Cup dawned stormily, but cleared up as the morning progressed. All the Gryffindors and most of the Hufflepuffs were waving Gryffindor pennants and signs. So were a few Slytherins, for once. No one outside of the House seemed to be rooting for Ravenclaw, other than Zach Smith (who had recently started dating Marietta Edgecombe) and only about a third of the Ravenclaw students seemed very enthusiastic for their own team. Still, not even Luna or the other Ravenclaws dating Gryffindors wore anything but their House colors or sat anywhere but in the Ravenclaw sections.
Harry didn't like the strange gleam he saw in Cho's eye when they shook hands.
The Ravenclaws looked even more off than usual as the game got started. While not crisp in formation, all of the Ravenclaws were still normally excellent individual flyers. Today, they seemed hesitant on their brooms, and seemed to be maneuvering for some sort of positioning other than for any Quidditch play that Harry knew about.
The Ravenclaw flyers didn't even seem to mind when Ginny scored less than two minutes into the match. Even their keeper, although seemingly more alert, seemed distracted.
Harry's eyes grew wide as an idea popped into his head. He quickly flew high above the Gryffindor hoops, and let his mental shields drop. Then he extended his mind in a light probe he had just been taught and brushed against Cho's mind.
There was no doubt about it, Cho was being possessed by Bellatrix Lestrange.
Harry scanned the crowd. His mind touched Tabitha's.
Tabitha jumped slightly at the touch, but acknowledged Harry's information. While Harry kept an eye on the players and reestablished his mental shields, Tabitha whispered to Dumbledore, and then to Snape, Tom, Lloyd, Tobias, Flitwick, Sprout, and Remus, and then over to Henry and Tudor who had made the trip to see Harry play. Remus had also made his way over to Professor McGonagall while Tobias talked to Vector and Sinistra. McGonagall stopped Dennis Creevy's play-by-play as she slowly stood up and whispered into his ear. Dennis nodded, but said nothing as he turned back to the magical megaphone.
Meanwhile, Snape and Dumbledore had used their own Legilimency to test the seven Ravenclaws. They decided that all except perhaps the keeper were under some form of possession
Twelve of the adults stood, and six stunned the Ravenclaws in unison. The other six cushioned their fall. Dennis made the announcement of what had happened and why, and as the crowd's reaction changed from surprise and shock towards anger and panic, the security people and aurors stepped in and directed the crowd out of the stands, aided by the faculty other than Dumbledore, Snape, Tabitha, and Tom. They, Madam Pomfrey, and Lloyd headed down to the field. Harry was already taking the Gryffindor team, and the shocked Ravenclaw keeper, back to the changing rooms.
"Imperius?" Madam Pomfrey asked.
"Unlikely," Snape stated.
"Search them," Tom said. "Look for anything crystal, especially any with an orange tinge. Try not to directly touch it."
"Then how. . . ." Tabitha started, but she quieted down when she saw Tom patting down one of the beaters.
It quickly became apparent that each had a small crystal pendant, all slightly tinted an opaque orange. Henry and Tudor glanced at each other. Tudor ran off the field, while Henry said, "We need to check on that keeper, just in case." He then took off on a run.
Harry steered George Runnell, the Fifth year Ravenclaw keeper (who was dating a Fourth year Clique member and chaser) into the Gryffindor boys' changing area. "You don't mind, do you Runnell?"
"No," the boy answered easily. "What happened? What did Creevy mean by possessed?"
"Yeah," Will Lloyd, the Gryffindor security prefect and keeper asked. "What's it all about?"
Harry smiled and looked at his two Fourth year beaters, Paul Robinson and Jason Prince. "Boys, you trust me, right?"
"Great!" Harry said jovially. "Grab an arm and pin Runnell up against the wall."
Both boys blinked, but then did as they were told. "What?" George cried out as they shoved him against the wall.
"It's strange that the other six flyers were possessed, and you weren't," Harry said conversationally. "Now I'm sure it's very possible that Voldemort left you out, so that the team's flying didn't seem even more out of place than it did, but you didn't do your usual decent job. I mean, come on, we scored three goals in less than seven minutes!"
"I swear, Potter! I had nothing to do with it!"
"But what do you know about what happened?" Harry demanded.
"Well . . . it might have been those necklaces that Marietta gave us, I suppose."
"She gave us each a necklace last night. She said they would bring us good luck, but something about it seemed . . . creepy."
"And you didn't think to mention it to anyone? I mean, after all, things have been so normal these past few months."
George shrugged. "When has anything been normal around here?"
"Good point. Where's the necklace?"
Harry started to reach for it, and then stopped himself.
"Good thing you stopped yourself," Tudor said from the doorway. "I would have hated to have had to petrified you."
"Take off the robe, son," Henry said. "Don't make any sudden moves."
"You sound like an American cop show," Harry teased.
"Smart ass," Henry said with a smile. He and Tudor came into the changing room. "The crystal channeled Death Eaters into the other players. Was Edgecombe wearing one when she gave you the necklaces?"
"Not that I saw, but I could have missed it."
"Was Zach Smith with her?" Harry asked.
"No, we were in the common room."
"We'll still have to take you in for questioning," Henry said. He gave Harry a dirty look as the young man snickered at him. "Great, now you have me talking in cliches."
"Well, Harry would be about the only one here who knows that," Tudor said as he frisked George Runnell.
"Where are the three of you taking him?" Harry asked. "Down to the station."
"Three of us?" Henry asked. Tudor looked up.
"That druid, Cadfael ap whatever, was right behind you," Harry said, puzzled. "I didn't see him leave, though. I thought he was with you."
"Well, never mind that now," Tudor said through clenched teeth. "You boys go ahead and change. Get back to the castle as soon as you can. Go as a group. We'll tell the girls to go with you. Okay?"
"Yes, sir," Harry said.
"What the hell just happened?" Will demanded once the two hit wizards left.
Harry explained what little he could.
Somehow, he was not too surprised to learn that all the Clique members denied knowing anything about the plot, and that Marietta couldn't be found; neither could Zach Smith. The Ravenclaw team would be questioned further, however.
The students were in something of an uproar all Saturday evening and Sunday. However, Sunday evening the Examiners showed up. O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s would start the next day, while the regular exams were scheduled to start the following Monday.
Even for Harry, thoughts of the war and trouble at the school receded at least slightly.
The same was not true of Tudor Myrddin, Henry Dorff, Tobias Jones, Tabitha Spellman, Tom Lawrence, Lloyd Trowbridge, or Albus Dumbledore. The seven of them met in Dumbledore's office Sunday afternoon.
"We have no way of knowing if Edgecombe disappeared on her own or was taken by Voldemort's people, assuming she wasn't working for them, or if she was captured by the Hidden," Tobias pointed out. "Smith was seen portkeying from just off the grounds by three different people. As for Edgecombe, how would we find out if the Hidden have her?"
"We can always ask," Tabitha said.
"What?" Tobias spat, "do you think the Hidden will just say, 'oh, yes, we have her, you may have her back'?"
"Of course not," Tudor agreed. "They will, however, confirm whether or not they have the young woman."
"Student," Dumbledore stated.
"Young woman, over the age of seventeen," Henry pointed out.
"That hardly matters!" Dumbledore nearly shouted, standing up. His eyes gleamed and power radiated off him.
"Neat trick," Tobias said.
"You do it well," Tabitha agreed.
"We've all seen better," Tudor added.
Dumbledore's aura flared, and he nearly lost his temper. The magic flashed much brighter, and the air actually crackled.
"Ah," Lloyd said in a subdued voice, "now that was real."
"Just who do the six of you think you are?" Dumbledore demanded in a quiet, dangerous hiss. "A student may have been abducted. Yes, that student may have gone over to the Enemy, she may even be of age, but that does not change my responsibilities towards her until it is proven." He glared at the three teachers. "The same is true of the three of you."
"I think I'm the wizard who was appointed to start cleaning up the mess here in Britain that wouldn't have gotten nearly this bad if you and people like you had cleaned up your own act," Tudor calmly responded. "Since you didn't want the responsibility of running things, try not to interfere too much with those of us stuck with the job. I also think we're the ones that pointed out you were making a fundamental mistake back in 1981 in dealing with Harry, one that you've compounded many times since then."
He turned to Tobias. "And Tabitha is right. We need to ask the Hidden. They're a very arrogant bunch; if they have her, they'll say so and spit in our eye, or try to."
He turned to Tabitha and then to Dumbledore. "Tabitha and I have to be the ones to go. My question only is, could Harry go as well?"
"Why?" Tobias demanded.
"So Harry is a Key!" Tom exclaimed.
"The Hidden believe he is," Tudor said.
"A Key to what?" Dumbledore and Tobias both demanded.
"Some of the Hidden are very close to the sources of Higher Magic," Tudor explained. "Not many, maybe as few as a couple of dozen, maybe as many as a few hundred out of the many tens of thousands of the total Hidden. The rest support the Centers, as they would be called in English. They support them materially, and give them the political muscle they need as well. It does tend to make the whole bunch rather surly and arrogant at times. That's where some of them get that bigoted idea of the scouring from."
"You mean some really do hope to exterminate all humans from Europe?" Tobias asked, shocked.
"No," Tabitha said, "they believe the peoples of Europe will do that to themselves. There was a lot of rejoicing amongst the Hidden during the Second Grindelwald War, or the Muggle Second World War if you prefer."
"Anyway, the Centers are very powerful. Most have always been located in Europe, near secret circles that have never been polluted. The rest are at the newer circles in America."
"Unlike the greatest of them," Dumbledore added, unable to stay out.
"Exactly. Stonehenge was in many ways the greatest," Tom acknowledged. "It fell in a battle between the ancestors of the Hidden and the Druids. The Hidden were shocked that such a place of power could fall, and the druids were shocked at the damage they had done when they realized the power centered there. The two sides came together and reached the compromise that has kept them together for over twenty-seven hundred years."
"Over time, nearly all their beliefs have bled into one another," Tudor added. "The difference is, the Hidden know their leaders have access to special powers. The Centers are the Hidden Elite."
"And Cadfael has just become a Center, here at the small ring of power near Hogwarts they reactivated," Tabitha said.
"And that means what? And what is a Key?" Tobias demanded. He had never liked the Old Believers as a group, and the Hidden even less. This discussion was doing nothing to lessen his distaste.
"It means Cadfael will be able to access even more power, and direct it towards Harry," Tabitha said.
"But Cadfael is not part of Harry's group," Tobias protested.
"The Heart of magic is life, the Key to the Heart is love," Dumbledore stated. "I had heard that over a century ago, and never knew what it meant before." He looked into Myrddin's face. "The Heart of Magic. That's what the Hidden claim to have access to. Harry's power is the power of love."
"Exactly," Myrddin said. "I wish we had known this back in '81. If we had brought him up in a loving household, Harry probably would have had enough power to destroy Voldemort in their confrontation over the Philosopher's Stone, since Voldemort was in such a weakened state, instead of just destroying the host he was sharing."
Dumbledore crumpled. "Then I was even more wrong than I thought. I placed Harry in a situation where he got abuse instead of love. It almost crippled him. As strong, as tempered, as it made him in a few ways, it also made him exceedingly fragile."
Tom smiled. "Well, that's why history isn't a science, no matter what some of my Muggle colleagues wish to believe. We can't reset a condition and rerun the experiment. We all made choices back in '81, now we have to deal with those consequences."
"True," Dumbledore admitted. He turned to Tudor. "How can Cadfael channel power into Harry?"
"I don't know. I do know that the circle was reactivated at the equinox."
"I think perhaps you two, and Harry, if he is willing, should pay a visit to our . . . associates," Dumbledore said.
Tuesday, June 2, 1997?
"I'm a what?" Harry demanded.
He was meeting with Tudor, Henry, Tabitha, and Tom, along with Hermione and Luna.
"A Key, Harry," Tabitha explained. "Wizards of great power and greater heart, around whom events center themselves."
"People keep saying that I have a lot of love and such stuff. I don't love any more than the rest of you!"
"Harry," Hermione said, "you've seen The Wizard of Oz, haven't you?"
"Once, at Mrs. Figg's," Harry admitted.
"Then remember what the wizard said to the Tin Man."
Harry looked confused.
"Something like, the size of your heart isn't judged so much as to how much you love, but how much you are loved by others," Luna said. "You do care for people more than most others, you do inspire love and affection more than others, and you have the knack of channeling that love into magical power."
"She's right, Harry," Tom said. "You have a great compassion, although you don't always have a great deal of empathy unless you stop and think about it. You have charisma, and you inspire love and affection."
Harry was about to object, when Hermione said, "And don't bring up Malfoy or Professor Snape or someone else who dislikes you as a counter argument. If I ever found anyone universally loved, I would hope I had the fortitude to distrust them anyway."
"Very good, Hermione," Tudor said. "Now, Harry, would you accompany Tabitha and myself into the Forbidden Forest? Hermione, Luna, Henry, and Tom will wait here and monitor."
"If they have Marietta, would they have . . . harmed her?" Luna asked anxiously.
"Probably not," Tom answered. "If they have her, I wouldn't place a bet on her living past the solstice, though, if she allied herself with Voldemort."
"Ah," said a druid the trio didn't know. "We were wondering when you would show up. And you brought the . . . Mister Potter."
"Yes," Tudor growled, "we brought the Key." The trio enjoyed the look of dismay on the druid's face.
"Come, Mercher, you didn't really think we'd be able to fool the Hogwarts group, did you?" Cadfael asked, approaching the group from out of the forest shadows. "Tabitha knows almost as much about us as a full druid would, Tom soaks up information like a sponge, Tudor is now the leader of the Myrddin, and Dumbledore is, well, Dumbledore."
"I really wish people would tell me when they're using me," Harry complained.
"We have not used you, Harry," Cadfael swore. "When you are fighting for your life, we will give you the power you need to destroy the Dark Lord, should you need more than even your group can provide. That is all. Beyond that, our motives are what we have said. We intend to see the True Faith planted back in Europe. We wish to reactivate eight more minor circles, like the one here. Even if the Hidden must remain hidden and the Strict must stay strict, it is time for the Open Believers and moderates to bring the Faith back home."
"And just how did you fully reopen the power of the circle?" Tudor demanded.
"You know very well how," Cadfael said.
"I don't," Harry reminded them all.
"Our dragons, that is our guards, captured a murderer," Cadfael said simply. "Remember, there are ways wizards may determine guilt without error or torture."
Harry was puzzled. "What would you want with a murder. . . . You killed him?"
"We sacrificed him, yes," Cadfael agree. "Michael Corner. We managed to capture another errant moth as she tried to escape."
"Marietta?" Harry demanded.
"Yes. We were literally seconds away from capturing Smith. He, with another, has already lured a young run-away Muggle for the dementors. Should we catch him, we will execute him as well."
"And are you sacrificing Marietta at the solstice?" Tudor demanded.
"We are considering it," Cadfael replied mildly. "She has practiced dark magic, she has allied herself to the Dark Lord, she has whored herself to his followers, she has planned murder, and she is of age. On the other hand. . . ."
"She hasn't actually accomplished quite enough to earn the death penalty," Tabitha pointed out.
"It's a fine line," Cadfael admitted.
"May we please have her?" Harry asked politely.
"Is the boy serious?" Mercher asked, incredulous.
"Would you stand before the Key and deny him a reasonable request?" Cadfael asked. "In a few years, when this young man has grown into his full powers, he will be the most powerful wizard since the great Myrddin, although not as widely talented as some others, keys or not, have been. Add in the power of the community spell and, well, I at least am willing to negotiate with his friends."
"Very well, I won't object," Mercher grumbled.
"What do you want?" Tudor asked.
"We have obtained all the useful information we are likely to get," Cadfael said. "We shall give you the girl, and a copy of the information. You shall not inform the Ministry or its functionaries and minions that we had her. She will not remember anything from the time she fled into the Forest to try and activate her portkey."
"Did you capture anyone at the portkey site?" Tudor demanded.
"Yes. We captured two bully-boys, both guilty of multiple murders. We shall not be turning them over. Alas, their portkeys were coded to them."
"You will turn all the information they revealed over to us," Tudor stated.
"Of course. After all, you are going to give us a copy of your intelligence files as well."
"But. . . ." Harry started to object.
"You can't save all those on the wrong side, Harry," Cadfael said. "You might also be interested in knowing that all of what is called the Clique and their boy friends, except for a girl called Su Li, had a good idea what was going to happen. Edgecombe merely picked up the necklaces from a dead drop in Hogsmeade."
"Then why allow themselves to be taken over?" Harry demanded.
"It was an experiment, to see if the spells could penetrate the Hogwarts defenses, wasn't it?" Tabitha demanded.
"Exactly. Which is why we allowed it to work."
"WHAT!" all three shouted.
"We would not have allowed them to actually send off any dangerous curses. We wanted to see if any of the seven, or the others, would run and where they would run to. So far, they haven't, so you may pick them up. They no doubt believe themselves safe because they had Smith and Edgecombe put them under a mild memory spell."
Tudor frowned. "That does beg the question of how that keeper managed to remember Edgecombe giving him the necklace."
"No, they were expecting to get caught. This was also a test of the memory spells. There are a number of phrases that would partially or completely free up the bespelled person. The boy remembered what he was meant to remember."
Seeing Harry looked a little confused, Cadfael went on, "It's not easy to set up, but it is easy to understand and maintain. If you are a spy, how do you prevent yourself from giving up information if captured? Well, if you willingly take a potion and allow yourself to be bespelled -- notice, this must be of your free will! -- then you are a passive spy. You do not know you are working for the 'other side' until someone on your side gives a password. One will allow you to be freed entirely of the spell. Another will allow you to report and then be put back under the spell. A third will allow you to report, but you must decide if you wish to go back under."
"Now there were eight girls, Third through Seventh years, involved in this, and five of their boy friends. We are not certain how many of them knew they were spying for Voldemort, other than Edgecombe and Smith, although as I said most had at least a very good idea. With the information we shall supply, you will break the spells, find out, and inform us."
"Very well," Tudor agreed.
"Go get the girl," Cadfael ordered. Mercher grumbled, but went.
"I thought I could trust you," Harry said to Cadfael.
"You can trust us to do what we believe is right for the world, Harry," Cadfael stated, "and we will not lie to you. We do not believe in total free will. Those with total free will most often end up on the same path as Tom Riddle did, although they rarely get so far along."
"So that gives you the right to use me?" Harry demanded.
"We haven't used you yet, Harry," Cadfael assured the young man yet again. "Our ends are identical, even if we disagree about means and paths. We agreed to help you access power, and will allow you to access more, should you need it. Just remember, you can still lose through miscalculation and stupidity."
"I still have to kill," Harry growled.
"If there were a way around it, I would tell you," Cadfael stated. "If anyone else destroys Voldemort's body, he will merely be disembodied again. If you had had access to more power, if you had been loved as a child, you would likely have destroyed Voldemort's spirit back at the end of your first year. That you couldn't is not your fault."
"I understand. Thank you."
"No, you do not," Cadfael said. "You have never yet set off to do harm to anyone, Harry, but you are partially responsible for the death of this Quirrell, and you destroyed the avatar of Tom Riddle, which wasn't fully human by any definition, but which was sentient. You have, in a very real sense, killed already. That you do not take the death even of a murderer like Voldemort lightly speaks well of you, but do not think this is something you are incapable of."
Harry certainly looked downcast and surprised by these ideas.
"Cheer up a little, and good luck to you, Harry Potter. May you found a House as wise and as powerful as the Myrddin." Cadfael smiled. "We Hidden need watching."