Thanks to my beta Kalena, who also co-authored the prologue, and Charlie B., beta and Britpicker.

Schola Obscura

Prologue

April 8th, 2003. Room 242, Ministry of Magic. Auror Division Internal Audit 947 B2, Subject Auror Level 2 Brian Maverick.

A bit nervous, Harry looked around the table. He had never even been present at an official inquiry before, and his instructions were on cards in front of him. At least he hadn't had to memorise anything. "Examiner, Auror Level One Harry Potter. Supervising is Auror Level 4 Gawain Robards, Division Head."

At a nod from his supervisor, he passed his hand over the Eye Of Horus, a floating orb that recorded all sense data including the participants' magical signatures, and it floated on to the Division Head before circling to Maverick.

"Let us begin. Auror Maverick, tell us about your investigation of Alfonso Parejo."

"The Auror Division was alerted to the movements of Alfonso Parejo by Madam Sophronia Lejeune, the recording secretary employed by the Wizengamot. She was uncertain as to his qualifications to be a member of that body, worried that Wizengamot members did not seem to be concerned, and requested that we look into the facts. His life history as we could discover it is recorded in detail in Report 77763, submitted March 2, 2003."

Harry nodded. "Thank you. Please give us a very brief summary of that report."

"In short, weird things happened to those with whom Parejo came into contact, and Parejo always ended up reaping huge benefits from the circumstances. Due to a series of bizarre and apparently casual events, Parejo had become wealthy and obtained a position in the Wizengamot, in spite of the fact that no one knew who he was or where he had come from."

This wasn't so bad, Harry thought. "And you were one of the Aurors assigned to his case, were you not?"

"Yes. I was assigned, along with Auror Nicole Hamblin, to keep Parejo under vigilance."

Harry sighed inwardly with boredom: he already knew all this! "So... Tell me what happened in the night of March 21, 2003."

"Parejo entered the 'Sloops & Galleons' pub, in Hogsmeade, and I followed him. When he was distracted, reading the Daily Prophet, I..." Maverick hesitated and glanced at Robards, who nodded for him to proceed. "I managed to drip a few drops of Veritaserum into his glass. He didn't notice it, and emptied the glass in one gulp. I sat at his table and interrogated him."

"What did Parejo tell you?"

"Parejo told me he had used powers of inducement to get people to do what he wanted. His technique was so good that the bewitched people didn't realise they were doing something against their own will. It was a spell similar to the Imperius Curse, but subtler... Then I asked him how he had learned such a spell. It was horrible... Parejo confessed he had learned everything he knew in a place called 'Schola Obscura', and started convulsing in pain, as if under Cruciatus. He eventually dropped dead on the ground."

This time Harry sighed loudly. "You are aware that giving Veritaserum to a person against whom there was no charge or evidence constitutes a violation of our Guideline 136, aren't you?"

"Yes. I agree to accept any penalties that may stem from it."

TBC