Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Black Vengeance

Of Healers, Traitors and New Allies

by maidros 2 reviews

Emmeline gets results of Longbottoms' tests, Voldemort meets his inner circle, Susan learns of Dumbledore's warning to the DMLE and Harry meets his new allies.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure - Characters: Bellatrix, Dumbledore, Harry, Hermione, Rodolphus Lestrange, Snape, Theodore Nott, Other - Published: 2007-07-27 - Updated: 2007-07-28 - 2948 words

Black Vengeance - 13

Of Healers, Traitors and New Allies

(Author's Note: Thanks to one of the reviewers pointing out to me that the timeline of events is unclear. I would like to emphasise that the events of three chapters (Black Vengeance 11-13 (or 12-14, if you include the prologue)) are contemporaneous in that they are all events that occur on the same day. The actual times of the occurrence of said events can be deduced from the mention of the time of the day in the story. If there is anything unclear, I hope my readers will remark it.

As usual, all criticism is welcome.)

---(Beginning of the Chapter)---

It is strange how much half an hour can change a person. Emmeline Vance, not half an hour ago was a Healer with few worries other than finishing the Ministry ordered verification of the stocks, and routine examinations of her patients. She had vague feeling that she had forgotten to do something - something important, but for the life of her, she could not remember what it was. Struggling over it uselessly was not Emmeline's nature, so she turned her attention to other matters. An attendant of St. Mungo's interrupted her work, "The results of tests you ordered, Healer Vance".

"Thank you, Rosythe. Please put them on the table. I will take a look at them soon."

The attendant did as she was bidden, and retreated from the room. Emmeline rose from her task, picked up the file on Frank Longbottom, and began thumbing through the results. After a mass of identification and other inconsequential details which she skimmed, she came to the actual injuries. The very first sentence sent a twinge of uneasiness through her, for it read `Untreated minor haemorrhaging in the brain due to external trauma'

Emmeline's mouth fell open. Untreated! What the hell was Miriam doing? She angrily shook herself out of her contemplation, forcing herself to read further. There was a mass of medical detail about the actual haemorrhage, but as she continued, her next shock came at the beginning of the next paragraph. `Long term exposure to confundus magic - spells or potions.'

Emmeline frowned - this was becoming worse. Confundus charms and potions were heavily regulated by the Ministry, used only in very special cases against violent or suicidal patients, whose behaviour could lead to injury or destruction. Long term usage against a patient was liable to be punished by at least loss of licence to practice. Was Miriam in her sense or senses? But it was the next diagnosis which made her question her own eyes and sanity `Acute and massive loss of memory due to an attempted alteration of memory.

Memory charm! But who would want to use a memory charm on Frank Longbottom? Did the Lestranges attempt to wipe the Longbottoms' memory of the crime? But, as Vance recalled, the Lestranges were attempting to find information regarding He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Memory charms were extremely tricky spells - very few people could perform them accurately, and in any case, it was almost impossible to remove memories of deeply imprinted events like torture sessions without damaging other memories. Bellatrix Lestrange was a very accomplished Dark witch - she would have known of this. It was most unusual that she would have countenanced usage of a memory damaging spell, when she was trying to extract a particular bit of information. But it was the final paragraph that sent shivers along Emmeline's spine, `Undamaged memories seem functional.'

"Gracious!", murmured Emmeline. She had, thanks to the methods of the Death Eaters and the Ministry in the previous war, seen plenty of cases of cruciatus induced brain damage. Although she had never heard of anyone losing all memories from exposure to the cruciatus curse, it was not out of bounds of possibility that someone should lose their sanity under the terrible pain. But what characterised cruciatus and other stress related maladies was the lockdown of the brain, or part of it at least, as a defensive reaction to the pain or other stress. It was not the memories themselves that were damaged, but access to those memories. And yet here was the fateful sentence which emphasised that the existing memories were functional. Her lips set in a grim line, she considered the implications of the report. If the results recorded were accurate, then the damage suffered by Frank Longbottom was not related to the cruciatus curse at all. It was related to a memory charm. But why would Miriam lie about it?

Distractedly, she put down the file on Frank Longbottom and picked up the file on Alice Longbottom. The results were similar except that there was no reference to any haemorrhaging or external trauma. It could only mean one thing - the Longbottoms were never tortured into insanity. The implications of it were terrifying. Almost unconsciously, she glanced around the room to see if she was alone. A cold sweat covered her brow.

---(Scene Break)---

Voldemort was surveying the sadly decimated remains of the once proud inner circle of his Death Eaters. It was the first meeting with his entire inner circle since the fiasco at the Department of Mysteries. The circle was a gross exaggeration since there were only six people around the table which should have hosted a dozen. Perhaps the only saving grace was that in his losses, he had not counted any of his commanders. All the three `captains' of his fighting squadrons were there - Bellatrix Lestrange, Gallienus Yaxley and Antonin Dolohov. At the bottom of the table sat the chief financier, now that Lucius Malfoy was gone. Aloysius Parkinson was a man whose wealth probably rivalled Lucius Malfoy's - which was probably why Lucius had decided that a matrimonial alliance between Pansy and Draco was worthwhile, despite the fact that Parkinsons were `lesser purebloods'. On his left, sat Augustus Rookwood. Even fifteen years after his arrest and dismissal, most of his contacts in the Ministry remained intact - he was a source of information which the Dark Lord found invaluable. Completing the group was Severus Snape, supposedly his main spy in the Order of the Phoenix.

The ones missing in this august company included the chief of research, Andronicus Nott - the man, while not a particularly powerful wizard, was a veritable fount of knowledge of arcane arts, both Dark and otherwise. Many of the spells and skills the Dark Lord prized had come from the ingenious brain of the elder Nott. Also missing from the gathering were his chief financier and political face, Lucius Malfoy, Walden MacNair, the man who negotiated with and controlled the giants, and the principal procurer of dark artefacts, Antipatros Jugson. Of course, two others had been missing from the time before his first fall - Evan Rosier and Regulus Black.

For the first time, Voldemort realised how desperately short of skilled manpower he was - If called to battle, he could field barely a score of capable and competent Death Eaters, with another four dozen rookies. True, his squadrons of Dementors, giants, and werewolves were still more or less undamaged, but he really lacked even the manpower to have capable people lead the giants and werewolves. Not for the first time did he curse bitterly Malfoy's stupidity - the idiot had been given the simple task of retrieving a prophecy from a child, but not only had he failed spectacularly, but also ended up getting half a dozen of his better Death Eaters captured. He shrugged, and roused himself from his black reverie, speaking, "Well, Bella, what do you think of our latest recruits?"

Bellatrix shrugged, "It is a little too early to say, my Lord. Young Malfoy and Adrian Pucey have some potential. The others may, in time, become fighters of some use."

Voldemort leant back in his chair, "Has it been discovered what happened to Flint and his team at the mudblood's home?"

It was Snape who answered him, "My Lord, the mudblood's parents were protected by some unknown allies."

Voldemort scowled, fixing Severus with an intense stare "I have heard as much, fool! Has that old coot discovered who they were?"

Severus answered with his head bowed, "No, my Lord. But he has discovered who they were not. The three were not either Aurors, nor from the Order. It does not appear they were from the Ministry either."

Voldemort replied musingly, "I see. That does not leave a whole lot of people. They had to know when Marcus and his idiots would be there. Whoever it was was more than capable of fighting off Marcus' team. While Marcus was not the sharpest, his team should have been able to fend itself against any intervention by riffraff. Are you suggesting that it was some of our own people who have betrayed us, Severus?"

Snape replied evasively, "I would not know, my Lord. But it is possible."

Voldemort considered Snape coldly, before continuing, "What other news have you, Severus?"

"I have managed to discover where an Order member lives, my Lord."

"Who is it? And where?", came the question from Yaxley.

"Emmeline Vance. She is the Order's main contact in St. Mungo's." He gave out the details of the place where Emmeline Vance lived.

"How did you find this information?", questioned Voldemort, suspicious that Dumbledore would have allowed this information to be known to Severus.

"At the Department of Mysteries, many of the Order suffered injuries. Dumbledore did not want the Ministry to know the extent of the injuries suffered by the Order members. So he has had Emmeline Vance treat the injured quietly at her home. I had to deliver a bunch of potions she needed to her place. Thus I found out."

"How dangerous is she, Severus?", queried Dolohov.

"She has only the basic training the Order gave all its members. As far as I know, she has no other formal training."

Voldemort smiled, "Very well done, Severus! You shall be rewarded for this." He looked around, and saw Bella's face shining with eagerness, anticipation and hope. "Would you like to take care of this, Bella?"

"I would be honoured, my Lord", she bowed. Inwardly, she was thinking furiously. Much about this did not make sense. Even if Severus had delivered the potions, he should have been obliviated afterwards to prevent exactly this contingency. The old coot was not exactly lax about security, and this was very uncharacteristic of him. What was the codger up to? She wondered what little plots were going on that she did not know about - well, she would have a chance to find out tonight, if everything went according to her plan, she thought grimly.

"Whom will you take with you?"

"Well, my Lord, my husband for one. He would be the ideal person to handle any wards there. Travers should be a good backup fighter. And a couple of those I am training would be of use as well. This will be a good test for the new blood we are inducting."

"Excellent, Bella. I will meet you tomorrow."

"Does your Lordship wish me to interrogate her?"

"Not really, Bella. See if you can glean anything from her if you can take her alive, but do not endanger anyone on that account. She is not all that important."

"Yes, my Lord", bowed Bellatrix, as she left the room to make preparations for the coming night.

---(Scene Break)---

Auror David Greenberry was waiting for Susan Bones and Katie Bell in the Ministry cafeteria. He smiled at the entrance of the Hufflepuff girl, "Good afternoon, Ms. Bones. I trust you are well?"

Susan sat down and introduced Katie to the auror. Over lunch, they spoke of small and inconsequential matters, with the good auror joining the ranks of those who condoled the death of Mme. Bones. After lunch, they began speaking of more important matters. Susan did not beat about the bush; straightaway, she asked him about the threat classification.

Greenberry nodded, "I am really sorry, Ms. Bones. It never occurred to me from the vagueness of the description that there might be a real threat"

"Vagueness! You were told that You-Know-Who would be attacking Mme. Bones, and you call it vague!", snarled Katie.

"But, but ..", stuttered Greenberry. "I was ..."

"Don't make excuses for your idiocy, Auror! You just never bothered to check the warnings you were given. Was it incompetence or did you want her out of the way as well?", Katie asked rhetorically.

"Now see here", spluttered Greenberry. "I was never told You-Know-Who had targeted Mme. Bones. All I was told of was a hypothetical threat."

Susan, who knew David Greenberry much better than Katie, placed her hand on the impulsive Gryffindor girl's arm, restraining her, "Why don't you tell us what you were told, David?"

David Greenberry rose to his feet, "I will do better than that, Ms. Bones. Come with me. I will show you my memory of what I was told. And I will take a wizard's oath that that was all I knew until the attack on your aunt."

Susan nodded thoughtfully, "Let us go into auntie's old office. I need to pick up her personal effects. You can show us your memory in her pensieve. Less chance of interruption."

Having obtained permission from Gawain Robards to retrieve Mme. Bones's personal effects, the three ventured into the old office of Amelia Bones. Susan grabbed her aunt's pensieve and Greenberry placed his memory in it. Another spell later, the two girls were watching David Greenberry's memory

David Greenberry was on the duty that day, and was seated in his chair, reading a report.

"Hello, David", came the cheerful voice of Albus Dumbledore from the fireplace.

David turned, seeing Dumbledore's face framed in the fire, returned, "Hello, Headmaster. Everything okay?"

"Everything is fine, my boy", answered Dumbledore twinkling. "I merely called to check if my students will have to testify at the trial of the Death Eaters captured."

"I am not aware of any notices issued to anyone, Professor. We are still making inquiries at the Ministry. We will send the summons in a couple of weeks or so."

"Excellent! It is just that Harry Potter is in danger - if you are calling him to the Ministry, I will have to make arrangements so that he can travel safely."

David's eyebrows went up at that, "Why is he in such danger, sir?"

"Voldemort has always singled him out since fifteen years, David. But then, we are all in danger. There are numerous rumours of people being targeted, now that Voldemort is back."

"Who is in danger? Any identifiable targets?"

"I keep hearing rumours, but I have nothing definite. According to them, Voldemort is considering the possibility of attacking the Minister himself. Another target is Rufus Scrimgoeur."

"But this is just hearsay, sir", protested Greenberry. "If you have any definite information ..."

"I have no specific information. My sources say Voldemort has many targets in mind. Tiberius Ogden, Amelia Bones, Griselda Marchbanks, among others. But none of these rumours can be confirmed, nor are they entirely reliable."

Greenberry sighed, "Would there be anything else, sir?"

"No, David. Have a nice day. Let me know when the summons are issued."

"I will, Professor. Good day!"

The memory blinked out of existence. Susan and Katie exchanged a sharp glance. McGonagall had been informed by Harry about the imminent threat to the Longbottom and the Bones families, yet the warning to the DMLE had been heavily watered down. Susan voiced aloud the question that was on the tips of the tongue of both the girls. "Was that all you heard?"

"That was all, Ms. Bones." He proceeded to swear a wizard's oath to the effect. Both girls thanked David and then left the Ministry.

---(Scene Break)---

Harry and Hermione descended from the train and made their way to the rendezvous they had arranged with Nott and Greengrass. They could probably have got away travelling by floo, but Harry was insistent on religiously avoiding all magical means of travel. It might be traced by the Ministry, and now with the Ministry eagerly courting Dumbledore, the last thing Harry wanted was to give them a new bargaining counter with Dumbledore - information about Harry's whereabouts. At the rendezvous, already awaiting him were three people. Two of them were the familiar figures of Theodore Nott and Daphne Greengrass, while the third was a small and slender middle aged woman, with honey blond hair and sapphire blue eyes. Nott smiled at the two Gryffindors, "Ah, there you are, Potter, Granger. Having a good summer?"

Harry shrugged in a non-committal fashion, while Hermione nodded. Daphne introduced the unknown personage. "Mum, this is Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. Harry, Hermione - this is my mother."

"Nice to meet you, Mrs. Greengrass", smiled Hermione, while Harry bowed with a muttered greeting.

"So where are we going", questioned Harry.

Mrs. Greengrass took a small lead pipe from her robes, and with a tap of her want enlarged it until it was around two feet long. This is a portkey that will take us to our destination. It is a few miles from here, and I think we would do well to take the portkey, rather than walk."

Harry felt the tug behind his navel as the portkey activated, and stumbled at his destination, as his feet slammed into the ground. He would have fallen if a man, who had evidently been waiting for them at their destination, not grabbed him by the arm and stabilised him.

"Thanks", muttered Harry as he looked up at the man who had prevented him from falling. Horrified comprehension came to him as he recognised the face - it was a face he had seen in the Daily Prophet the year before.

"Rodolphus Lestrange!", he gasped.

---(End of the Chapter)---
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