A/N: Trying to get a jump on this weeks update. Hope you're all enjoying this story.
Chapter 134: A Friendly Interrogation
Euphegenia Dunmeyer, Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, arrived just as she had promised on the stepped of Poppy House, just after two in the afternoon, and was greeted by the Pairywhethers. They watch the street, people coming and going, and the ever growing crowds that seem to stop and stare but move on as soon as they were noticed.
"Welcome," Severus said and showed her into the drawing room. "This is Gloria, my fiancée," he added knowing that the two woman had not been formally introduced to one another.
"It is a pleasure," Euphegenia said and smiled as Gloria stood to shake her hand. "Quite the morning you had, I understand. I've done my own digging."
"Oh yes, it wasn't at all what we had expected," Gloria said. "Would you like some tea?" She offered as they sat.
"Please," Dunmeyer said and after serval other pleasantries about their home, their reputations and the hopes for their future felicity, she got right down to the true business of why she'd come. "I hate to dredge up such things but I'm going to need you to be thorough. I'm sure I'll get Dumbledore's side of things when he's finished with whatever the Order has him up to, but for now, I need you to tell me of your time with Hannibal."
"You know of the Order?" Gloria asked.
"My dear, I am in the Order," Euphegenia answered.
"She is to be trusted," Severus said with a nod. "Go on."
As Gloria began her tale Severus stood and paced the length of the room nervously, never interrupting as he relived the events of that fate filled night in his laboratory when she had first told him the whole of her ordeal. He never ventured far from the woman he loved and at last, after a long winded and detailed telling, Gloria removed the engagement ring to show the string of gold that made up her horcrux.
"It doesn't look so terrible," Euphegenia spoke at last.
"They are meant to be inconspicuous so as to be protected. A ring. A tie clip. A penny. But I assure you, they hold more dark power then most objects created in this world," Gloria explained and removed the ring.
All at once the colour faded from her entire person. "This is what happens when you remove a piece of your soul," she spoke breathlessly as Euphegenia gasped and jumped, and Severus rushed to Gloria's side.
"Darling please," he begged her to return the ring to her finger.
"I will recover," she said when it was done.
"He did this to you? Hannibal did this?" Euphegenia asked as she regained some of her composure but the shock was still very visible on her face.
"Yes, it was a gradual bit of spell work that he'd been trying to understand for some time. I was extremely weak. I'd been working to cure the incurable and by using unforgivable curses to cause the inflictions on myself, I was destroying everything about me. I was pushed to within inches of my life and then he brought me this blood magic, I believed him. He said it was theoretical at best but then he enacted it and my soul was ripped from my body and placed in the gold ring. It is not a pleasant ordeal, and I am not yet sure how to restore my soul, but this is how Voldemort could live for ever."
"And you had no idea what it was?" She asked.
"Not until it was done and he was certain his task was completed. Later I was told that Riddle had come across the ancient whisperings of such dark magic but had not pieced it together to enact the magic. Hannibal was tasked with figuring it out and as he successfully made mine, he took the knowledge to Riddle and that was when he started going by the name of Lord Voldemort."
"Were you ever in his presence?" Euphegenia asked.
"Only when they used my magical discoveries against me. The dark mark is a blood sigil that was developed to cleanse the body of disease and curse residue by using the blood of a relative to purify. He marked me with the dark mark, a sigil I'd perfected and that he bastardized. This is made of his blood and a way for him to be with all of us, and us with him, to summon those working for him or to keep track of his prisoners," She explained and rolled up her sleeve,
"You are a brilliant witch Miss Pairywhether. Terrifying, but brilliant, and I can see why you would have been very attractive to men like Carthridge and Riddle," Euphegenia said awkwardly.
"I don't do it anymore. Rarely do I use magic of any kind because it is so tainted for me now. My place has been in the kitchen for many years, but times, once again, are changing," Gloria said and smiled at Severus though there was sadness within it.
"And now you will fight for the Order?" Euphegenia asked.
"No, not so much fight as keep my husbands house," Gloria giggled. "I'll leave the warring to them, if I can help it. My wand was destroyed years ago. My magic is now residual and consists of mixing ingredients to make potions. Severus performs any magic that is needed. I can help in other ways, non-magical way, and I prefer this to that. I have tried not to participate in anything that may draw attention to myself. I do brew potions from time to time with Severus, but I do not create them, nor do I study the magic I once was forced into."
"And the wand?" Euphegenia asked.
"Albus has the pieces, I believe," Gloria confessed.
"It is for the best," Severus said. "And I will not encourage her to do anything that may be frightening or that will bring up the bad memories."
"Yes, I agree with you. It has been too much trauma for one person to bear. But there must be a way to reverse the spell."
"You can destroy a horcrux, as far as I know, but no reversing it once it is made," Gloria said. "To keep ones soul, you must keep the horcrux ever close to live normally and it can be done, but it is ever present and I believe the reason Voldemort survived the attack and backfire on Harry."
"Destruction of the item means destroying a part of the person's soul," Severus added. "That can never be restored."
"That is the price of immortality," Gloria finished.
"Lord, Severus, how have you not told me this before?" Euphegenia asked.
"You correspond often?" Gloria asked and looked to him.
"Less now that I have Harry and have settled in Rosenshire but still frequent enough as an agent of the Order of the Phoenix. And I'm sorry Euphegenia, but this story was never mine to tell, or it wasn't and will not be until we are married," he confessed. "And even then, only with permission."
"I understand your reason in for keeping such a secret. Dumbledore knew everything, I'm assuming?" She asked.
"Yes, and for the reasons of safety and knowing Hannibal to be in hiding or in good graces with some very powerful people, it was imperative to keep my secret," Gloria explained.
"But the time is right now for him to pay for his crimes," Euphegenia stated passionately.
"The dark ones are falling all around us," Severus added. "The timing is right, unfortunately."
"You'll never be ride of this work, Severus," Euphegenia spoke with sympathy. "But you'll never be a secret weapon ever again."
"No indeed," Severus chuckled but there was distain in it.
"Must we stay for the trial?" Gloria asked after a long moment of silence. "I would rather not see Hannibal but if I must, I will go."
"A first hand account may be beneficial. His trial will not be like Malfoy's. His treachery was out in the open and an act of desperation. Hannibal is less easy to prove unless people see what you saw and felt while in his captivity."
"Dumbledore's pensieve can be brought forward as well as Rita Skeeter's memories," Gloria said.
"Then we will stay but as soon as it is over we will be leaving London," Severus vowed.
"I hear wonderful things of Rosenshire," Euphegenia changed the subject at the sight of the fatigue in Severus Snape.
"You are welcome to visit any time," he said.
"But you know I cannot be away from London for long. Someone from the Order must keep an eye on Millicent."
"You are the Chief Warlock, why shouldn't it be you?" Gloria asked.
"Because I am the Chief Warlock and a general of Dumbledore's Order. Many secrets abound and his eyes are everywhere but I can be questioned should my allegiance be seen as detrimental to upholding the law," she answered.
"Millicent has made her bed. Today was extremely damaging for her position," Severus commented.
"And you have the most ruthless reporter on you side. What did that cost?" She asked.
"Exclusive right to the wedding story," Gloria giggled.
"She will testify against Hannibal with Gloria. That in itself will cost her greatly. I feel we've gotten the better deal," Severus continued.
"True, but what of Harry in times such as these?" Euphegenia asked. "Do you trust her enough with him?"
"I just want to keep him out of the papers and so away from her cameras," Severus answered. "I believe him to be safe but I would prefer to have him away from London as well."
"Then he is here?" Euphegenia asked.
"He is with the Weasleys today and his very best little friends," Severus said. "We are all here, we couldn't leave him behind. But I am anxious to return."
"Soon, my love, very soon we will be able to go home," Gloria spoke to calm his nerves.
"Yes, and for a time there should be calm. As soon as Hannibal is put away," Euphegenia said as the arrival of the other guests were announced. "I best be off."
"Won't you stay to meet the members of the Order in the North?" Severus asked. "It should be a very large party tonight but we are all here."
"If you insist," She said pleasantly. "And I am sure there is much more intelligence to be handled if I stay."
"I'll send for the Weasleys if you'll entertain those returned to us," Severus spoke to Gloria.
"Go and write your letters," Gloria waved him away.
"Enjoy all of the London gossip," he said and fled.