Chapter 1

The Summer holidays had at least been a little quieter this year.

David had spent time with his friend Lee Nuffield teaching him basic magic; and Lee, having left school, had accepted a position teaching sports and coaching Latin in Rowan House school for squibs and muggle relatives. A gate had been built between Hogwarts and Rowan House, going through cupboard doors and a bit more formal and easier to pass through than the old punishment cupboard under the stairs that came through into Myrtle's Loo. David was to teach one period a week until he became a full time member of staff and would be glad both of a full sized door and of not using the place he had once thought the most frightening thing in the world.

Since fighting Voldemort few things really could be called frightening by comparison.

The legacy of evil still remained though Voldemort had been dead for more than three years; and David had also gone with the New Marauders and Draco and Harry to Obscura Alley to investigate 66b.

It was owned by a Mordecai Filch; and on asking Argus Filch about him, that worthy hawked and spat and admitted that the fellow was his cousin but would they mind not mentioning the dirty little creep in his presence. Argus dragged out the punishment records for the time Mordecai was at Hogwarts to demonstrate the offences at which he had been caught, mostly involving little girls, and the one he had been expelled for at the age of fifteen was jinxing and stripping for 'unnatural concourse' a first year.

Armed with this information, the two young Aurors and their confederates went poking around with more zeal – and plenty of caution; and Lynx Black-Weasley, who was not supposed to be there, found the secret back way into the walled garden which opened directly onto Ravenscourt Park, right out of Wizarding space, through a gate just like the barrier at platform nine-and-three-quarters.

With this knowledge, after cuffing Lynx strategically on general principles, Draco and Harry planned to raid the place.

Lynx however – and friends – pointed out that rescuing the kids in there first might be a good idea in case he used them as hostages; and talked very fast – she and Senagra being the smallest – to be allowed to wriggle in through the cellar windows and apparate out the two children they had seen.

Hawke said

"No deal" and called in Beloc to do it instead.

A house elf was even smaller and more skilled at apparating; so the Junior Marauders could scarcely complain.

They did get praised though for good work.

Neither child, a girl of eight and a boy of seven, had any magical talent; in fact they were orphans who had got lost in the system. They had not been interfered with; the boy, Shawn Wensum, said they had been told that they were now slaves. He seemed quite on the ball and fascinated by the wizarding world; and the decision was made to place him in the Hogwarts orphanage and educate him in Rowan House when he was old enough. The girl was busy trying to deny the very existence of magic, and Draco duly modified her memory and took her to a police station explaining that he had found her wandering.

Then the aurors stormed the place.

It was as well that they had removed the children; Filch pulled a lever that collapsed the lower floor on the basement where they had been kept, evidently believing that if no captives were found he could not be prosecuted. Unfortunately for him the children had already been found AND he kept extensive and careful records of his muggle trafficking. And in his records was a letter from Malcolm Baddock – the letter Lionel Dell had seen that had started official interest in 66b – suggesting the use of Romanian orphans to sell as slaves.

Malcolm Baddock was to get an official warning from the Ministry for that; but there was no proof he actually dealt in slaves himself.

Many people would soon be embarrassed by the records of slaves they had bought however.

Draco and Harry were going to be busy for a long time.

For those who considered themselves part of the extended Snape family it was a matter of relief when Dione Parnassus safely birthed her daughter of rape in August; she was staying with them until the event was over so Krait might be her midwife. Krait suggested facetiously calling the baby Antigone, but Dione settled for Ismenia, sister of Antigone in classical literature but a name not unusual in the wizarding world.

"Besides, it's backwards" said Severus "The creep was by way of being a stepfather not …..all right, ceasing to be pedantic and moving in the general direction of away now" as Krait gave him a look.

"I like you being pedantic, sir" said Dione. "It's one of those points of certainty in a rather muddled life like mine is."

Wendy Malfoy produced her twin girls within a few days of Dione's daughter and called them in honour of the founders of the two houses as yet ungraced by Malfoys; though Wendy had drawn a line at Helga as a name after Helga Hufflepuff and went instead for the softer, East Anglian pronunciation of the Saxon name as Helya. Rowena after Rowena Ravenclaw needed no massaging.

Sirius Black, as well as chasing up the properties he owned, had been tracing those members of his family that had been disowned for, as he put it, being nice; the Hitchens family he had already resumed contact with after the arrival at Hogwarts of Leonard, to whom he was now, in the holidays, Uncle Sirius; Andromeda, who married Ted Tonks he had never lost touch with, nor his Uncle Alphard who had given him money when he left the family; Phineas, who supported Muggle Rights, had changed his name to Lenoir and his granddaughter and her step sister were at Hogwarts and already called Sirius 'Padfoot' quite cheerfully being luminaries of the MSHG. Marius the squib had taken a little longer; though one of his sons had been to Hogwarts, admittedly in Hufflepuff but undoubtedly a wizard, who had married a witch. Their squib son had married a Hogwarts dropout however and Castor and Pollux their twin sons were in the book due to come in when they were old enough; and before them another of Marius' grandsons, a boy called Jordan Christie.

Lucius had loaned Sirius his muggle chauffeur – Dudley Dursley with a shiny new driving licence and smart uniform – and Dudley had met, and was now seeing Marius' untalented but pretty granddaughter Valerie, who was at least a sensitive and was rather inclined to be impressed by someone who had stood against Voldemort although he was a muggle. She had not found a girl like the one who had birthed Dudley's son a surprise – she had been through muggle school – and thought little Harry adorable when she met him.

They were engaged before long!

Word came too of a further romance; one that had been building for some time.

Krait knew, because Abigail Greengrasse had cried on her shoulder about it, that the girl had fallen in love with the gruff but kindly Alastor Moody, known to most of the wizarding world as 'Mad-eye' for the enchanted artificial eye he wore to replace the one lost to dark magic, only one of his many wounds. Alastor had tried to help Abigail by attempting – fruitlessly – to reconcile her parents to how the girl had been used by Voldemort through no fault of her own and that was why she had an illegitimate child. Any idiot, as Krait said, could see he had lost his own battle with constant vigilance and mistrust and had become smitten with Abigail; and because he loved her tried to walk away from her. As he cited his wounds as one good reason not to tie any woman to him, Abigail had come up with an idea that she discussed with her sister and the marauders, asking questions about blood magic. She had asked Moody to visit her at school to discuss her options, having been given permission by Dumbledore to spend her last holidays there. She and Emmeline had gathered together certain potions; and as Alastor Moody greeted her, she took him by surprise with a Stupefy spell, and when the angry auror came to it was to find that he had a new leg – still rather feminine – and Abigail was pale, one legged, and swigging skelegrow and flesh replenishing potions with a tourniquet and a scared but determined sister in attendance.

"She loves you enough to do blood magic you stubborn old curmudgeon; you might at least give her a kiss" said Emmeline.

Alastor had been horrified, shocked, admiring, overcome and moved all in equal measure; it had been a long time since he had cried, but now he did.

Dumbledore was duly fetched and he performed various spells that improved the chances of Abigail's blood sacrifice working properly; though she had probably done enough. Alastor's missing leg could not be re-grown since it was the result of a cursed wound; but a replacement given with love and sacrifice negated all curse. And it would become his own soon enough, matching the other as it joined properly. Dumbledore just speeded it up a little. Abigail would be in severe pain over night, but the choice of potions she had made were essentially correct. He moved them both to the sick bay where Abigail was scolded by Madam Pomfrey for being as bad as Abraxus Malfoy.

"Not quite" said Abigail through a haze of pain killer "At least I didn't have to wait for Alastor to die."

In the face of such proven love, Alastor had given in; and he married Abigail quietly and they were to move into a house in the Orme Court neighbourhood, since he felt a more settled life was necessary for a wife. He readily agreed to take Abigail's son as his own, and also Salazar's half-elven half sister Rose as a daughter.

Abigail announced proudly to Krait later that she was expecting in May of the next year.

"Quick work" murmured Krait "Not that I can talk; and I wish you the best!"

There were new ones to take down Diagon Alley of course; Lydia Snape was starting this year, and her cousin, Julia Malfoy, daughter of the vet, Vladimir Malfoy. Helga Von Strang was also a ward of the Snapes; and Stoyan Krumm was very much under David's protection. The marauders had two children they considered their own responsibilities; Uschi Heinz, sister of Karl, whom they had protected; and Cressida Blunt whose mother Wendy employed, whose plight they had come upon the previous year. Leo Black-Weasley was Lynx's little brother, whom she glumly introduced as 'a pain' but was plainly very fond of; and another sister of Kinat's, Arjeela was also starting. David felt too some responsibility towards Chad Fenwick, brother of Fenella, whom she had never met; and awaited with some interest – and not a little trepidation – the meeting with Amadeo Hero Lockhart. There would too, he knew, be another of Colin Weasley's siblings; Theo was at least, he thought, the youngest; another granddaughter of Madam Spikenard, and –as if one wasn't bad enough – another Baddock. Of course he might be a horse of a different kettle of fish, as Krait mixed her metaphors to put it, as Romulus had been so different to his brother Mordred. But then again he might not.

Diagon Alley was much as usual; noisy and confused with harassed parents.

There was only one muggle-born this year; a boy called Stuart Markham, but he knew the score since his cousin Kyle had just left Hogwarts with six good NEWTs and a good record as a Gryffindor Prefect. David had liked him and was glad to meet Stuart and his family since his older brother was transferring to Rowan House and his younger brother would start there in a year's time. Stuart seemed as serious as his cousin who, according to classmate Ian Kell had to be a Gryffindor because he was too clever to be a Huffer and too nice to be a Ravenclaw. Stuart's brother Blair seemed to be as happy to be going to Rowan House as he might be anywhere, but glad that the untalented siblings of muggle born should have their rights seen to. David thought him a bit stuffy; but it took all sorts. He knew another child due to start Rowan House, young Imogen Tuthill, less resentful of Ross and Freya's place in Hogwarts to have a chance to learn about what they were doing.

The places available in Rowan House had been extended to accept Goblins not yet proven talented enough for Hogwarts and also as day students for London dwelling goblins. Numbers were to start small; but would grow no doubt, especially with the choice of muggle and wizarding qualifications available, higher level students of OWLs or even NEWTs to travel by gate if need be for extra classes at Hogwarts. It would be very flexible at first; there were so many imponderables as yet, and there was no guarantee that it would even work out.

David was confident that it would work.

There was a brief bit of excitement in Diagon Alley caused by the marauders when they found a House Elf being badly treated by his mistress; she had the elf piled high with packages and was jinxing him painfully for being slow. Abraxus stripped off a sock and wrapped it in the shop paper that had been round a purchase made for young Uschi, and ran after the witch.

"Your elf I believe dropped this" he said politely.

She let fly a stinging hex at the elf and thrust the parcel at him. He gave Abraxus a resentful look; and Abraxus winked.

"Open it" he mouthed.

The elf did so.

"Mistress has given Diccy a sock!" he said, his ears going up and a grin spreading across his face. "Diccy is free; Mistress can carry her own baggage!" whereupon he dropped the lot unceremoniously all over the ground.

The witch rounded on Abraxus shrieking and letting fly with jinx after jinx; which Abraxus met with folded arms, wordlessly wandlessly deflecting them before they even emerged from her wand. She finally took in the glowing scar and his imperturbable scorn and faltered.

"Trouble, Abrax?" Lucius Malfoy's voice sounded.

"None at all, thank you Uncle Lucius" said Abraxus "Just an old baggage who dropped her other baggage. She has no manners, but the lower orders rarely do of course."

"Quite" said Lucius. "Get yourself out of here madam; before I report you for assault."

She muttered and started to gather her packages as best she might.

"Neat" said a small boy's voice "To trick her into freeing that poor elf – I say you are WELL cool!"

Abraxus turned.

The boy had long, golden curls, huge blue eyes with long smoky lashes and only his male attire marked him as a boy so pretty was he.

"Crumbs!" said Abraxus "What makes me think you might be the notorious Amadeo Hero Lockhart?"

"Notorious?" the boy brightened "That's way better than famous! Have you actually heard of me then, a big boy like you?"

"Your cousin Precious – or Pris as she prefers – has been sounding off about the spoilt mummy's darling spoiling her life by coming to school" said Abraxus dryly.

"I say! I'll have to apologise to her for getting that impression – though as she's only seen me with mummy I guess it's not really difficult to understand. I love mummy but she's a bit…you know. I say, Pris isn't a prig is she?"

"Not last time I noticed" said Abraxus "Last time I saw her I threatened her with lines for illegal jinxing blatantly in the train corridor only I couldn't be bothered to read them over the holidays."

"EXCELLENT!" said Amadeo, eyes gleaming "I really plan to set out to enjoy myself at school away from mummy, I shall be able to get as dirty as I like and slide down banisters and try spells that aren't quite nice!"

"Heh, you'll do" said Abraxus. "Let me introduce you to Lynx and her brother who's now starting too…."

"Diccy will come" said the house elf gaily "Diccy will work as a free elf at Hogwarts with famous Dobby and help the NICE boys. Who is Diccy talking to?"

"I'm Abraxus Malfoy, that is my twin Hawke over there. This small horror is Amadeo Lockhart – crumbs what a moniker, we'll have to find you a nickname – and we'll be glad to have you at Hogwarts, or if you like my mum sponsors a team of freelance elves who hire out."

"Diccy will come and serve Mr Abraxus and Mr Hawke because he is his twin and do jobs for Mr Amadeo" said Diccy firmly.

"Diccy will also learn to talk like a free person" said Abraxus. "Talk to Sirri and Beloc. C'mon then, let's get you some cool gear to wear."


David stood at the platform as was his custom, with Lionel Dell; and some of Dell's friends milled around.

"I heard Severus had a long chat with you about Blood Magic" said David.

"Yes, it was half way between a severe ticking off and telling me how to handle it" said Dell. "The latter was scarier than the first."

"It's scary" said David "I think he was a little concerned that you had rushed into it."

"He said, if I hadn't done it for the purest of motives – to help Ross, and to involve others purely to spread the risk, my soul might have been in danger" said Dell soberly. "He stared into my eyes while he asked my reasons; was that legilimensy?"

"Yes; he doesn't use it lightly, but for that he had to look into your soul" said David. "I told him I believed you acted from the purest of motives; and he said that he believed me, but he had to check there was nothing in there that had been damaged."

"Thanks for vouching for me Fraser."

"You're welcome; I've always liked you, even when I haven't liked some of the things you were doing and saying. One day you'll be a great wizard and your group will back you. But it's not something to be generally encouraged. We only did it for Harry."

"Yes, so er, Severus said; he said we were to swear ourselves to silence unless we felt truly that someone else ought to be blooded in. He didn't say we couldn't blood anyone else in; and – and I've made up my quarrels with my cousin Gregory; and I'd like him in. He'll be at Rowan House. Grigs is all right. Fraser, are we going to have the Hat declare if people should be in Rowan alongside the other houses?"

David was startled.

"I don't think it had been discussed…the idea was that those who appeared in the book came to Hogwarts and….. well in the currently still uncertain political climate we weren't planning on taking at Hogwarts every goblin who could use magic, only the best, to build up positive public opinion you see. It's unfair of course, but for the greater long term gain for goblins, it seemed best. Otherwise we'll end up perhaps with Hufflepuff full of adequate goblins who may not be as….reasonable as the ones we already have."

Dell nodded.

"I see. That makes sense I guess, though it's a bit hard lines for the rest…still, they can take OWLs through Rowan and learn wand use; and that's the real bone of contention, isn't it, wand use?"

"It is. And goblins are just like everyone else which is to say that once allowed to own wands, nine out of ten are too lazy to either avail themselves of that or if they do too pursue training in their use. Humans are the same" he added dryly.

"Yes; Imogen Tuthill is somewhat satisfied to be peering into the world her brother and sister inhabit, but I shan't have any urge to blood her to bring up her talent" said Dell "She whines; and she'd only want it to say she's got it, she ain't a hard worker like Ross and Freya."

"People are people; I'm glad you've learned that" said David.

"Yes; it's quite straightforward when you finally get there" said Dell "Well it was finally for me, you knew all along…"

"Oh I think you made it pretty quickly really…. It took Lucius until he realised Tom Riddle had used and manipulated him. Some people never get it; or Tom Riddle would never have been Voldemort" said David. "He never felt remorse, even when Harry offered to help him to it….one sick puppy."

Dell shuddered.

"Good job HE never had a bloodgroup" he said. "Is that what Severus wanted to see, that I wouldn't become another Voldemort with as strong a power as you lot?"

"Partly I suspect" said David "It's a very heady feeling when everyone focuses and synchronises heartbeat and makes one of the team the focus of that; you feel like you could turn the whole world inside out on a whim if you wanted. That much power at your fingertips is scary but I could see it being addictive."

Dell nodded solemnly.

"Yes; I guess so" he said "We haven't done anything like that and if we do I should think it should be maintained for as short a time possible. Severus said he has been the focus and you feel briefly like a god; and that you have to be big enough to then step aside from that and give it up. He- he's a very special man, isn't he?"

"He is" said David. "And he tries so hard to pretend to be antisocial and cold. Less than he used to though, I assure you! But you see, Voldemort would never have had a bloodgroup – because group is the key word. It isn't about drawing on the others, it's about sharing, and that was something he would have hated to do. He could not accept that having a bit of Harry inside himself strengthened the bit of himself that was in Harry and was convinced that he was controlling Harry – largely because until Harry learned to block he could, because a more mature and experienced wizard is almost bound to be able to control a teenage kid, especially a scared and confused teenage kid. But Harry learned to control and use the images he was getting from Voldemort. It was more – and less – than a blood-joining; and I think you are old enough, responsible enough and intelligent enough to know what happened."

Quickly David sketched in the background of Voldemort's use of Horcruces; and how Harry was an accidental one, and how that had been to their advantage. Dell was horrified.

"You're right, he was one sick puppy!" he said in disgust. "And he didn't treat even his closest followers well…. I don't think I'm ever going to turn out like him!"

"No: if you were, Severus would probably have killed you" said David soberly. "No, I'm not joking: we don't need our kids going through what we went through. We – the closest in of us – don't see boggarts as anything but boggarts, their true form. There just ain't anything left to be so scary any more."

Dell whistled.

"Well, we're going to use it responsibly" he said.

"Then you'll be great allies; and you and I – or perhaps you and a marauder – should do a limited joining just for the connection" said David "A slit thumb; just to feel the blood-throb if there's trouble. I'll talk to the others about it."

"Thanks Fraser! Oh I say, there's Mary-Anne and she's on time and in the right uniform!"

David laughed.

"It IS a bit remarkable isn't it?" he said. "I wonder what of her kit she has forgotten?"

The children for Rowan House were to be coming on the train too to enable them to take part in the whole Hogwarts Express experience; it was only to happen at the beginning of a new year for them, however; other terms they would make their way back to their school by normal means of travel. The new year however, with new children, gave them the opportunity to make friends on the train in the wizarding world as well as in their own, more peripheral group. David reflected that using the hat might not be such a bad idea, so long as it was aware that they would have to be judiciously racist to start off with to avoid greater racism and prejudice later.

Krait had further ambitions for education however and had confided them to the bloodgroup.

With the arrests of Mordecai Filch, and earlier of the brothers Grubbe who offered kidnap as a service, she was buying up the three properties at that end of Obscura Alley. 66b was larger on the inside than on the out, and that, she believed, would make a perfect day school for those not rich enough to attend Hogwarts or talented enough to be offered a scholarship; here goblins and indigent youngsters could attend and be given at least one square meal a day into the bargain. The back way in meant that youngsters from the other parts of London could come easily and without going past the rest of the Alley. There were large communities of goblins in other places, Nottingham having one of the larger concentrations; but that was for the future. Nottingham Goblins would just have to, for the time being, set up funds for their most talented to go to either Rowan House or Hogwarts. Perhaps it would stimulate other wealthy people – goblin or human – to set up their own day schools.

David meanwhile was glad of an opportunity to meet some of the new children; he asked new ones as they came up to him if they were for Rowan or Hogwarts, and so met Evadne Monk, a cousin of Tom in Hufflepuff; Carl Johnson, another Hogwarts cousin; Herbert Bones, a squib from an old and respected family and bubbling to have the opportunity of a wizarding education. Then there were the Clough twins, cheerful tough kids from Umbrous lane who were to be day boys because a tube season ticket was cheaper than the fees to board; and of course the Tuthill child. There were older ones too, transferring often from muggle schools, an older Clough, another squib, Simon Diggory, glad of a chance not to let his famous relative Cedric down, and overwhelmed to meet the successor winner of the Triwizard; and two Goblin girls from Nottingham, Cholaka gan Gorjak and Arjelan Gan Nork, who both walked tall and refused to be intimidated amongst so many wizards; an older Johnson and an older Monk, and another pair of twins, Shona and Mike Moorcroft who lived at the 'wrong' end of Diagon Alley and were the children of two non-talented siblings of former Hogwarts students, with identical grins on their very black faces. And of course 'Grigs' Havelock, who grinned to see his cousin and was dragged away by Mary-Anne and co.

There were the Hogwarts kids too, a selection of Weasleys; and the newest one, Theo, managed to trip over his cauldron and put his tooth through his lip. David did a surreptitious healing spell and told him to go and sit down before he caused himself of anyone else any more damage. Leo Black-Weasley and Amadeo Lockhart had managed somehow to collect Chad Fenwick who seemed a nice ordinary little boy with a bright-eyed eager look; so he was someone David would not have to worry about. Save, perhaps, in how many lines he ended up setting him as a prefect's punishment. Stoyan was with his sister and the Marauders installed their kin and their other charges firmly together in a carriage together with the three little boys. Jade Snape and Mei Chang were both likely to check them out too, as well as the Junior Marauders, they should not have any trouble.

Then the newest of Dell's group turned up, little Heather Burns, in new and proper school uniform eager to join her new friends, but scared too and hesitating, for the half dozen chavvy kids following her and catcalling, jeering at her for 'going posh' and having 'posh' friends.

"You always talk posh and make like yer better nor us but yore mum and dad ain't nuffin' special!" called one big girl.

"Cor, look at them weirdos!" said one small boy, pointing at Kinat and sisters "Them ones is strange, look at their long noses and big feet!"

"Yeah, you got weirdos at your posh school Heather?" said a girl who bore a resemblance to the boy.

"Whaddya talking abaht, Roof?" said a big, hard faced girl "You and Davy don' know nuffin! Shurrup, we gorr' enough crap from this stinky stuck up cow wivvout you talkin' shit!"

The boy cringed as though expecting a blow and the girl huddled in on herself..

"Heather" said David evenly "You ever head of people who join bands of bullies because it avoids them getting bullied?"

"I suppose you mean Ruth Thomas there" said Heather "She could almost be nice before Sharon got her hooks in her. I guess that's her little brother."

"They see goblins" said David. "Shall we give them a chance?"

"All right" said Heather "What are you going to do?"

"I'M not going to do anything; you and your friends – Tuthills and co – are going to have an unseemly brawl while Lionel himself and you are going to grab those two and drag them through the barrier" said David "and THEN you tell them what's what and offer them Rowan House. They can go as day pupils so it won't cost much. If they won't listen, then I shall have to take them out and confund them. Game?"

Heather nodded willingly.

Dell's group were more than happy to mix it with the comprehensive school kids; they had been studying self defence at the MSHG and felt confident about brawls without wands!

David had only to leave it to the good offices of Lionel Dell to see the Thomas children settled on the train all right; or to fetch him!

He was slightly distracted by a small girl who came hesitantly around the brawl – which he would have to break up if the bullies weren't quickly routed – which they seemed to be being, horrified that posh kids could fight so hard – and approached him.

"Please, someone said I was to come here for the train for Rowan Tree School" she said. She was a tall skinny child for a first year – which by her childlike face she probably was – very pale with hair as pale as any Malfoy and with eyes like smoke.

"Rowan House, yes" said David "What's your name?"

"Anne Collins, sir."

"Any relation to Liatris Collins? She's already here."

The child shook her head.

"No sir. Only please, are there boys there too? My aunt wouldn't like that, she thinks it's a girls' school on account of the nuns and she thinks they'll teach me nice manners and good discipline."

David's eyes went flat and hard at the mention of nuns.

"This aunt of yours, she's your guardian?"

"Yes, my parents are dead. My aunt didn't want me in the first place so now I'm nearly eleven she thought boarding school was the best way to get rid of me. I didn't like it much when we visited, and I don't think Mr Petherick – that's my lawyer – liked it much either but maybe it was just 'cos I was scared that everyone seemed more cowed than mannerly, 'cos the kids here seem pretty jolly and I can't see any nunlings beating up nasty jeering types, is it the right school please?"

"It is now" said David taking a decision "Walk straight at that wall, don't hesitate or pause and when you get through ask for Lionel Dell and ask him to look after you, tell him you're for Rowan."

"All right" said Anne "I say, I think I'm having an adventure, which I never expected when I first got in the taxi!"

"Is your aunt at the station?"

Anne shook her head.

"Oh no, she had a guild meeting to go to or something, she's far too busy saving the souls of heathen children in other countries to have time for a real child, you know."

"Oh" said David "One of THOSE! Scram through the wall now my good kiddy!"

Anne duly scrammed with only a minor hesitation, and was soon lost to sight and safe from nuns.

Any of whose other charges might have potential swallowed in counter-ritual.

And how come those other two sensitives had not shown up?

David had an idea; he would ask them on the train.

It transpired, once the express was on its way that David's guess was right; the three children lived very close to an electrical sub station.

David had noticed when using ley lines to travel using geomancy that any that now passed though sub stations, power stations or even ran along power lines could be seriously disrupted; and it seemed too to disrupt other magic such as the Book of all potential students.

He would have to speak to Lucius about the possibility of setting up a ministry of electrical disruption to give warnings about travel disruption and make periodic trips to areas near sub stations to check out talented children. Those who moved would subsequently appear in the book, but if they lived there all their lives…. And who might know if constant exposure to electro-magnetism might not actually sap magical ability over time! It needed serious investigation!

And he would suggest Hermione Weasley be paid to do a study as she was not intending having any babies yet. With Arthur's support she should get a very efficient study done. David drafted a note to send by owl the moment he had time.

And he would have to confess to Professor Dumbledore that he had stolen three more children for the wizarding world and moreover planned to raid this Rowan Tree School to see if there were more.

Thank goodness for house elves; he could borrow Dobby, Winky and Diccy to go and spy!