Sequel to Mudblood Mistress III. I recommend you read the previous books to know what's up
The rating had been bumped to M. Language, suggestive content, violence, etc.
It was established that certain very suspect things that had been collected by her for witchcraft were found among her things and that she recognized them as hers, and that she had possessed them. These were: two umbilical cords of infants found in her purse; cloth stained by blood which seemed to be menstrual blood in a leather sack with a seed and slightly burned incense grains; a mirror and a small knife wrapped in a piece of linen; the seed of a plant wrapped in muslin; a piece of dried break which is called "tinhol"; a number of written formulas and pieces of linen. Since it was established that for these reasons there was a great suspicion that this Beatrice was a witch and used spells, my lord bishop asked her why she possessed these items.
Hermione turned to the next page of the large tome. She was nearing the end of the twenty-page confession of a fourteenth century Muggle-born named Beatrice during an inquisition in southern France.
"I had the cords of the male children of my daughters and I kept them because a Jewish woman, since baptized, had told me that if I carried them with me and I had a legal suit, I would not lose. This is why I took these from my grandchildren and kept them. I never had the occasion to verify their efficacy.
"These clothes stained with blood are from the menstrual blood of my daughter Philippa and because this baptized Jew had told me that if I kept some of her first blood and that I gave it to her husband or to another man to drink he would never be interested in another woman…
"I did not put these clothes with the incense grains in order to cast a spell. It was by chance. My daughter had a headache this year and someone told me that incense mixed with other things cures this illness. This is why some of the grains remained in my possession in this bag. I did not have any intention to do anything with them.
"Neither the mirror, the wrapped knife, nor the pieces of linen cloth, were intended for magic or a spell.
"As for the seed wrapped in muslin, it is a seed of a plant called the bugle. It was given to me by a pilgrim who said that it was efficacious against epilepsy. Since my grandson, the son of my daughter, Condors, suffers from it this year, I wanted to use it. But my daughter said that she had taken him to the church of Saint-Paul and that he had been cured of this illness, and that she did not want me to do anything to her son for his illness. Thus I did not use it."
In light of the fact that she had plainly confessed to in matters of heresy and witchcraft both about herself and others living or dead, that she had greatly repented having committed this and that she wanted to return to union with the Church and the Catholic faith; that she had asked absolution and was also ready to do the penance that my lord the bishop judged good to impose on her for the above listed acts; for these reasons my lord bishop, having received from her the abjuration of heresy and the promise under oath according to the formula of the Church, gave her absolution of the sentences which she had incurred for the crimes of heresy and witchcraft, if she had fully confessed and repented of which had preceded.
And the Sunday assigned to the above-named Beatrice, she appeared in the cemetery of Saint-Jean-Martyr of Pamiers and was given the sentence by my lords the bishop and the inquisitor which reads as follows, "Know all ye, etc." See this sentence in the books of sentences of the Inquisition.
Hermione rummaged through her table of books to find the right one. She searched for "Know all ye," and found it quickly.
Beatrice was sentenced to death on the walls of Carcassonne, but, because she repented for being born with an extraordinary gift, the sentence was commuted to wearing a yellow cross for the rest of her life – a mark of a heretic.
The worst part was that Beatrice was obviously never fully aware of what exactly she was. A Muggle-born in the middle ages that flew under everybody's radar – she never received any formal education on magic. She was never shown what she was capable of. The previous twenty pages were full of her accounts of incredibly gullibility, or a deep longing to fit in. She believed anything anyone told her about faith or mysticism, and was talked into carnal activities by what seemed like the whole village, priests included. One man told her that she would not become pregnant if she wore a bit of herb wrapped in cloth around her neck when they did the deed. She never saw the herb, nor did he allow her to keep it, for fear that she lay with another man without fear of pregnancy. No doubt the herb was probably just some clumped up grass.
This was a story of a woman abandoned by her peers and left to the claws of cruel, ignorant and pejorative Muggles. Her family probably wanted to keep her powers quiet. Her own daughter told her to stay far away from her family. It was no wonder that she latched onto anything that made her feel like she belonged.
And she was burned for it. Perhaps not literally – though that was a close call. No, those Muggles marked for as a heretic for the rest of her life. A pariah. Forever.
Hermione blinked and looked up. It was incredible how the rest of the library just melted away when she read. Hermione appreciated the Hogwarts Library, but it was nothing compared to even the smallest library in Watford. Hogwarts may have books on all sorts of magic, but it was constricted by size and educational necessity. History of Magic class didn't cover the Inquisition. It barely covered Goblin rebellions in any satisfactory way.
There was a guy standing across the table from her. He was somewhere between a man and a boy. He could easily fit into the upper years of Hogwarts, for all she could tell. She made out some sort of nametag on his shirt. It said Jake. He was smiling at her. "I couldn't help noticing your kit. Porter's your favorite?"
Hermione glanced at her black and gold jersey. "I guess. To be honest, I haven't watched them for a few years so I can't really say who's my favorite."
"I go to school up in the hinterlands of Scotland. There's no television up there."
He winced. "A shame. So why buy a new shirt?"
She shrugged. "It was a bribe."
He laughed. "From whom?"
"My parents," Hermione murmured, looking back at Beatrice's confession. "We didn't leave on the best terms last year."
Jake nodded. A moment of silence went by. He surveyed the giant stack of books on the table. "I'd ask you if there's anything you need, but you seem all set." He picked one up and looked at the title. "The Inquisition? Are you working on a school project?"
"Nope," she said. "Personal study."
He nodded again, followed by the same silence.
"We don't get many people our age in here during the summers. At least, not many who stay as long as you have."
Hermione glanced up. "As long as me?"
"Well, I've seen you a lot this summer. And today, you came in this morning, and I didn't see you leave for lunch, and now you are still here when I'm about to get off work."
"It's fascinating reading."
"You're quite determined."
"I've been told so."
Another gap of silence. But he didn't leave. Hermione was wondering when he would. If he would. Hermione had readings to do. And then she had to get home before her parents got angry with her.
"Hey, you want to go grab some dinner with me?"
She looked up and blinked. "Dinner?"
"Yeah. I know this place down the street."
"I'm not hungry…" she said slowly. Not that she wasn't flattered, but… this was not what she had in mind for the evening.
"You've been here for hours," he smiled. "Get some food so you can digest all of this," he waved at the piles of books.
"Come on, dinner on me. A date on a nice summer evening, what more could you ask?"
"I…" Hermione grasped desperately for an excuse. "I – I have a boyfriend," she stammered.
He didn't look convinced. "Do you?"
She hesitated. "Yes…"
"You don't seem very sure about it."
"I do," she said more confidently.
"What's his name?" he grinned.
"And where is this mister Draco? Why isn't he here with you?"
"He went to the World Cup."
Jake raised his eyebrows. "He didn't take you?"
"He went with his family. And a family friend."
"Family friend? How close?"
"Close enough," Hermione huffed. "Besides, she's my friend too…"
Jake raised his eyebrows. "She? He took another girl but not you?"
Hermione tried to shrug it off. "That's not the point."
"Sure it is. The World Cup was last month. Is he still off with her?"
"No, the World Cup is still going on…" Hermione trailed off. Muggle World Cup. Shit.
"The World Cup was in July," he shook his head. "Brazil won on penalties. If he's not back yet, I'm sure a little dinner with me won't cause too much trouble."
Hermione screwed up her face. He seemed nice and all… but it would never work out. For so many reasons. So she threw in her trump card.
I-I. ⌡. Γ┐
Hermione walked a few blocks from the library. The sun was almost set and light was fading fast. And she was actually fairly hungry. She didn't want to walk all the way home. She could catch the bus… but that still entailed a fair bit of walking.
Draco had told her of a quicker wizarding transportation vehicle. The Knight Bus.
She turned off onto a less populated street and peered both ways. Draco said the Muggles wouldn't notice, but, well, he was prone to hyperbole at times. All clear. Hermione stuck her wand hand in the air and waved.
Nothing happened for a moment. Then there was a shriek and a bang. A purple triple-decker bus erupted out of thin air and screeched to a halt in front of her. The door popped open. Hermione stood there dumbfounded.
A skinny guy was leaning against a pole inside examining a paper. After a second, he tuned to her. "You coming on, girlie?"
Hermione shook herself into motion and climbed aboard. "Uh, I'm not quite sure how this works…"
The conductor shut his paper with a slap and stood taller. "A newbie! Hear that, Ern?"
A diabolical laugh emanated from behind the steering wheel.
"Here," the guy said, pulling Hermione fully inside and sitting her down at the front. "I'm Stan. Ern drives this automobus. All you gotta do is tell us were you going and we'll be there in a jif. Well, yew gotta pay a few sickles, yeah, but nothing beats the service of our Knight Bus."
"Okay," Hermione said, taking a look around. The bus wasn't very full. The few passengers that were on board were near the back and she couldn't make them out. "You can take me to Cassio Road. Watford."
"Oi, yew 'ear that, Ern?" Stan shouted way too loud.
Another bout of laughter drifted back. There was a hiss and the bus shot forward. Hermione was thrown back into her seat, but Stan just wrapped himself around his pole and leered at her. "That's gonna be eight sickles."
Hermione dug into her pocket and deposited the desired sum in his outstretched hand. Stan counted it carefully and threw it in a bucket up front. He opened up his paper with a snap and stood there, swaying from his pole.
The paper showed a twinkling black and white picture. It was a whitish skull against black. It took her a few seconds to recognize the night sky. The skull also had a snake slithering from its mouth. Hermione's heart caught. She had a vision of Tom for a moment.
The title of the article was SCENES OF TERROR AT THE QUIDDITCH WORLD CUP.
Stan lowered the paper to cough into his elbow and saw her staring. "Haven't seen it yet, have you?"
Hermione shook her head, transfixed by the glittering skull. "What happened? Is everyone okay?"
Stan shrugged. "Skeeter makes it out to be more'n it is. I heard a few Muggles got themselves tossed in the air, see? Here, take a look." He shoved the paper into her hands.
SCENES OF TERROR AT THE QUIDDITCH WORLD CUP by Rita Skeeter
On what should have been a wondrous night for all of the Irish fans who came out for this glorious event (see page three for a full match report), a dismal display of security blighted the celebrations. The campsite, which housed many hundreds of fans from across the globe, was attacked in the deep of night by masked men. Many tents were reduced to ashes and multiple witnesses report scenes of panic as the Ministry attempted, in vain, to contain the incident.
A series of Ministry blunders left the culprits on the loose. There were reports of up to fifty dark wizards joining in the terrible revel, at the expense of the general public. Wizards from as far as Zanzibar attempted to flee, but, due to the Ministry's security measures, there were anti-apparition wards in place all around the campsite. People were herded into the nearby forest in the dozens.
Here is where our reports split from those issued by the ministry. My faithful contributors testify that once in the forest, some never came back out. The Dark Mark was cast above the forest (see picture). No one needs to be told what that means.
There were sightings of bodies being moved between the trees, but the ministry denies everything. One official issued a statement from the edge of the woods saying that no one had been hurt, but nothing more. How can this be trusted? Eyewitnesses spotted the Dark Mark more than half an hour before this statement was issued. Why the delay? Why leave the public in a state of panic?
Unless there is more to the story than we are being told. I, for one, would like to know the truth.
"Not much innit, eh?" Stan said, pulling a strip of gum from his pocket and chomping down.
"It's not very clear on what exactly happened," Hermione bit her lip, turning the page. "Was anyone hurt?"
Stan shrugged. "Don't seem like it."
The bus shuddered and came to an abrupt stop. Hermione was flung against the railing in front of her.
That laughter echoed from the front cabin.
"Cassio Road," Stan chewed his gum. "Pleasure having your company, miss. Call anytime."
Hermione returned his paper and thanked him before stepping off the bus. An instant later, it was gone. She walked the last block home under the streetlights. Hermione was met with the angry face of Helen the moment she walked through the door.
"There's an owl in the kitchen, Hermione. An owl. In my kitchen."
Hermione suppressed a grin. "Who's it for?"
Helen pushed a letter into her hand with a scowl. "I want it out."
Hermione recognized the script. She rushed into the kitchen and saw Draco's tawny owl. She gave the bird a loving scratch on the head and ripped open the letter.
I'm sorry I couldn't bring you to the World Cup. Father couldn't get any more tickets. Somehow ALL of the Weasleys showed up in the top box, so you can blame them. I mean, seriously, HOW? And they brought POTTER. I don't care what Father says, Fudge is in Dumbledore's back pocket.
Anyway, it was great, but I wish you were here. Mother says you must come over before the semester begins, and I agree. We were going to do our shopping at Diagon Alley this weekend. Would you like to meet there? You can bring your trunk and stay at the Manor and leave from here.
See you soon,
Hermione sprung to the doorway. "Dad, can you drop my off at Diagon Alley on Saturday? I can meet some friends and stay with them until we're off to Hogwarts."
Her father looked to Helen, who shrugged. "Sure, dear. Just make sure your packed and ready to go on time."
Hermione was back at the table before he finished, grabbing a pen and paper.
I'll be there.
Are you all right? I heard about what happened at the World Cup. Were you there? Did anyone get hurt? What really happened? The article wasn't very in-depth.
I'll have to thank Ronald some way for taking up all the seats. I've got a few ideas, but I'm sure you can think some up as well.
Consider this a teaser/prologue as I'm going to hold off on posting the next chapter until I have everything in line (about a month is my guess, I'm aiming for September 16th).
This book should be the peak of romance/teen drama of the series. More on the drama side, though, really. Hermione's relationships are seeping into her life and will influence the story a lot more this year, but I hold to my |NOT A ROMANCE| stance. Pairings = Do Not Exist.
Beatrice was a real person and the excerpts are quoted from a translation. Medieval history... Hermione is kind of a nerd, am I right?