Chapter 23 - Setting up the Board
"Millie, please don't do this."
"Gregory Goyle I'll thank you to not ask me again!"
Pansy knew Greg was in trouble; Millie only used his full name in order to cow him. Funny thing though, he was not cowering, rather he was standing his ground.
"I'm thinkin' of our sprogs, anything happens to me you'll do all right, but if, if anything happens t' you. . ." Greg choked, "or the baby. . ."
Pansy's head snapped up.
Millicent groaned in frustration.
"So much f' keepin' it under wraps, huh?"
Greg looked confused for amoment, then lowered his head and said, "uh, oops?"
"Millicent Veronica Bulstrode!"Pansy growled.
The big girl looked sheepish,"Yes Mummy Pansy."
The small brunette glared, "Don't you "Mummy Pansy" me, Millie, how long have you known?"
"We ain't exactly sure, Panz, I'm just a little late."
"By about five weeks," Greg mumbled.
Pansy swirled her wand in the air in front of Millicent's abdomen, which proceeded to glow light blue.
"Congratulations, you two, it's aboy. And you are going to keep an eye on the other sprogs while they're safe at Hogwarts, y'know, keep em' out of mischief."
Millicent stood wide-eyed and gaping at her intractable partner.
"Fine," she said, and huffed out of the room.
"Nice little slip of the lip there Greg."
Goyle looked a little smug, "I knew you'd get her to see reason if I let it slip that we were in a family way."
"Why you sneaky little, no, make that big snake!"
"Musta been a reason to put me in Slytherin, eh?"
A dozen thestral-drawn carriages waited for their passengers for the Hogwarts field trip that afternoon. The plan was to deliver the students to the school, then return with golems of appropriate size after the sun went down that evening. Headmistress McGonagall was thrilled to have the children. She and her staff, along with a handful of trusted sixth and seventh year students had made a project of transfiguring the small clay dolls and charming them to look and act like primary age children. A stroke of genius from Ravenclaw's own Luna Lovegood allowed each golem to look exactly like whichever child they touched - so when Marty McClellan shook hands with his simulacrum it took on his features, right down to the clothes he wore.
The dreamy blonde Ravenclaw made it a point to inspect each golem as it left the great hall on its way to the carriages.
The headmistress allowed Luna her little quirks, and Flitwick grinned as his favorite student inspected each creation as it left the hall.
"You look perfect," she'd say, then plant a friendly kiss on the doll's forehead.
As the last of the small figures strolled very convincingly to a carriage Luna casually raised her wand and sang"Immobilus!"
The "golem" growled, very much like a small, angry wolf.
Millie ran out to him.
"Odie?" She snatched him up in aMillicent-sized hug, "what do you think you're doing?"
Seeing Millie had him well in hand Luna removed the immobilizing spell.
Little Odin was furious, "Mum and Da need me, they are Pack, Mummy Pansy and Uncle Greg, and Auntie Rita, they're Pack too. We have to help them!"
"We are helping them, little wolf."
Millie and Odie looked surprised at Luna, who continued in her dreamy voice, "We're helping them by keeping all their children safe, so they can defend your home from those who would harm you."
"How'd you know I waz a wolf?"
Millie laughed, "Auntie Luna sees things that most people miss."
"Kin y'see Mum and Da?"
"I can see they love you very much, and I can see that they need you to watch over the rest of the pack. Ican see them very proud of you for staying and protecting your brothers and sisters."
Odin nodded gravely and Millie knew she could put him down.
"Now go fetch your golem, I think your friend is a little confused." Luna said with a kind smile.
"Oh no, Ali!"
The littlest werewolf ran back into the great hall where Alison was having a rather one sided conversation with his simulacrum, but not minding because Odie's golem was agreeing with everything she said.
Remus and Bella had just finished placing the ward stones around the manor house.
"Do you have the charging rune in place, Bella dear?"
"Yes, dahling, a nice bit of work that."
"I got the idea from Bill Weasley," he said with a grin, "that man knows his way around wards and runes."
The wards were charged by drawing magic from anyone who was not either a resident or an invited guest of Parkinson House. That would leave an attacker weaker from the get go. An overt attack on the property would actually strengthen the wards. The more intense the curse, the stronger the wards would become.
Portkey and apparation would only be allowed in and out from specific locations. Attempting to apparate to and from anywhere else would result in a lethal case of splinching.
"We'll rest during the day; the wards will alert us if someone crosses the outer perimeter."
"You don't fool me you old wolf, you just want an excuse to spend all day in bed with me."
"Bella, dear, your daybed is acoffin."
"Have you seen it lately?"
His eyebrows rose at this.
"It's amazing what a few enlarging charms can do for a small space." She said as she sashayed back toward the manor.
"Ahhhhrooooo!" he laughed, chasing a giggling Bella back to the big house.
'When was the last time I giggled like a schoolgirl?' she laughed to herself.
"Too long!" she said aloud and smiled.
When they arrived, still laughing, in their room he was amazed at the four poster. He could see the white wooden sides with gold trim forming the bed itself; the top of the canopy was the equally enlarged coffin lid. Only a truly discerning eye could see the resemblance to a coffin.
"Well?" she asked, smirking.
"Well indeed," he said, and downed a large vial of blood replenishing potion.
"Hungry?" he asked.
"Famished!" she answered, "but not for food!"
She stepped out of her cloak and gown then ripped his vestments away with preternatural speed and strength.
He growled and they began to heat up the room with the ferocity of their coupling.
Pansy looked up from her books and smirked.
The sun had just set and Bella, Remus, Pansy and Greg sat at the large dining table, where golem children went through the motions of eating. Rita was in London entertaining Commander Pierce.
"We know the "Benevolent" Sons will visit us sometime between now and Ostara, I'm guessing before." Remus said.
"The Wizengamont meets on the equinox, that's when new members are vested. The BSers will want to make asubtle point about the dangers of not subscribing to their "benevolence.""
"Ah," Pansy smirked, "a moment of silence for our tragic victims. . ."
"We have a wonderful opportunity here," Bella interjected, "if we can let the Minister in on our little party."
The perimeter alarms sounded and Gregory touched his wand to the scrying glass on the table before them.
"It's Rita, and she has two men with her." He said.
"The tall fellow with the earring is our esteemed Minister of Magic. I don't know the other gentleman." Pansy offered.
"Out late tonight, Rita?"
"Tonight and every night, Pansy."
The group breathed a sigh of relief, the password had been given and the counter was correct.
Rita crinkled her nose as she introduced her guest, "This is Randy, excuse me, Commander Pierce, DMLE. And this, of course, is our own Minister of Magic, the Right Honorable Kingsley Shacklebolt, QCMP."
"We're honored, gentlemen."
Kingsley's deep voice rumbled, "The honor is mine, Ms. Parkinson. I understand that it was you and your house that transformed Ms. Skeeter here into the socially conscious crusader she's become."
Both women blushed, "I'm sure you exaggerate, Minister."
"No," Rita interjected, "I was abitch of the first order." Her eye's twinkled behind her subdued glasses,"Still am, but only to those who earn it!"
The room shared a laugh at that.
Kingsley noted, "Fine work on the wards there."
"That was Brother David's work."Pansy offered.
"Yes, Minister, and this is my wife Bellanca, formerly of the Daughters of Vesta."
The Minister's eyebrows arched high on his forehead, "I was going to garrison a squad of aurors here, but with you two in house it might be redundant. Both of your sects are known for their ferocity in battle."
"Oh minister," Remus said with asmile, "you don't know the half of it."
Having said that they shared alook, within seconds where two people had stood there were two very large, very intimidating wolves.
Pansy laughed at the gob-smacked expressions on their two visitors, she addressed the wolves.
"Why don't you two go upstairs and change back, we don't need to be flashing the Minister of Magic."
They picked up their fallen clothing in their muzzles and bounded up the stairs three at a time. Within moments they'd returned to the table.
Commander Pierce unrolled a legal parchment and set a verbatim quill to recording.
"Let's share what we know."
The next two hours were pivotal in the Shacklebolt administration's initiative against the "Benevolent Sons of the Serpent." Each member shared what they knew; Pierce let them know that he had a man, a trusted auror, in the ranks of the Benevolent Sons. Kingsley shared his observations on the political mechanizations of the "BSers."
By the end of the evening they had a plan.
By the vernal equinox the Benevolent Sons of the Serpent would be nothing but a bad taste in the mouths of magical Britain.
The sprog golems marched off to bed.
"I miss the noise." Pansy said, sadly.
"Yeah." Greg agreed.
"They'll be back soon, and most importantly, they're safe where they are."
The Dark Lady basked in the adoration of the newest recruits, one of whom was in daily contact with a high ranking officer in the DMLE. Miles Bletchley had outdone himself.
'Let's see, his tastes run to sadistic revels,' Blaise thought, 'I'm sure Parkinson house will be a good outlet for that.'
The young auror, Smythe, was almost too good to be true; he had the latest intelligence on Department of Magical Law Enforcement deployments and a day to day knowledge of the inner workings of the DMLE. He'd already been promoted to second echelon. Soon he'd be blooded, endure the veritaserum debrief and legilimens probe and, once cleared, be invited to the inner circle.
Of course, if he wasn't exactly who he appeared to be then the Dark Lady would personally gut him like a fish and set fire to his entrails while he was still alive to enjoy it.
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