Disclaimer: See Chapter One
A/N: I continue to be humbled by the amount of interest in my little story and am grateful for all the reviews, critiques, insights, and suggestions. Keep them coming! : )
S/N: Okay so I feel I need to preface this chapter, it has been pared down substantially from its original draft. This chapter begins with a quick look into the Dumbledore family history (according to me that is). A quick look into what makes Albus tick and why he is doing the things he is doing. I say a quick look because there was over 9,000 words just on the Dumbledore family back story alone, so I cut it down by a fourth.
After being warned by my lovely wife that the chapter was too heavy with anecdote and not enough substance I had to drastically alter how I wanted to present the Dumbledore history. So instead of the full story in one go, I have broken it up into pieces that will be told over the next few chapters.
I know many of my readers love the action scenes but I have to put in the why's and wherefore's for the story to make sense. I realize that Dumbledore seems one dimensional right now but bare with me and by the time his story is revealed you'll understand what motivates him much better.
And with that I hope you enjoy this next thrilling installment of Passageways!
Dumbledore sat in his luxurious Wizengamot office of the Head Warlock, but the posh surroundings did nothing to soothe the headache that was molesting him at the moment. He sat heavily back in his large leather chair rubbing his temples in frustration. 'How did it go so wrong?!' He thought wearily.
Magicals he knew were an emotionally driven people for the most part, and he knew that he needed to strike, as it were, while the iron was hot to get his bill passed. He believed, and rightly so that the recent attacks would stir enough outrage within the community that he would easily be able to sway the Wizengamot's opinion into his court.
On the surface the bill appealed to every faction, a little bit for the purists and the darker families, a little bit for the light side families and nothing that would upset the neutrals and grays. That was how he crafted it to appear at least. Underneath however was legislation that would give him and his specially selected panel unprecedented judicial powers.
It was a necessary evil, for the greater good of the wizarding world he needed to reign in the chaos an unpredictability of the people, the muggleborn and their proponents to be more precise. Oh, he had nothing against the muggleborn where it came to their blood purity, quite the contrary. But they brought dangerous ideas into the wizarding world and that's what concerned him, and he was after all a traditionalist at heart.
His one hundred and thirty-five years of life had shown him more times than he cared to remember what idealistic muggleborns could do to upset the heritage and time honored traditions of Wizarding Britain. If a people had no heritage to cling to they were like a rudderless ship being tossed to and fro by whatever wind was prevailing at the time, until the ship was sunk or dashed against the rocks, and he could not allow this to happen.
The muggleborn were needed though. The pureblood population was breeding themselves into extinction. With so much inbreeding amongst the old families more and more squibs were being born, and others were lucky if they were able to produce one viable magical child at all. A culture could not sustain itself with these kinds of numbers.
So the muggleborns were a necessary evil. What he could not allow to happen was for the outsiders to corrupt a way of life that had existed for over a thousand years. And unfortunately every few decades or so an event would come along that inspired the muggleborn to challenge the status quo.
In his own lifetime he had witnessed near twenty of these uprisings. Fortunately each uprising was put down and the status quo was restored. But every incident caused more pure magical blood to be spilled, thinning out a populace that could not afford to be thinned.
The first Muggleborn uprising occurred in 1771, Dumbledore recalled from his history lessons. He slowly stood from his chair and looked out the large magical window. It depicted a quaint English countryside with rolling hills a small babbling brook and off to the left was a grove of old growth English Oak trees.
Three years earlier in 1768, a charismatic American half-blood wizard by the name of Benjamin Franklin had been in London to speak to the Muggle parliament on behalf of the American colonies seeking redress for something or another. But he had also spent time in Diagon Alley and some of the surrounding magical communities. The muggleborns were fascinated with his talk about equality in representation, and that all men shared a common destiny and therefore had an equal say in how that destiny was forged.
Three years later on October 25, 1771, after several attempts to get the Wizengamot to address their grievances without success, three hundred muggleborn witches and wizards threw up barricades and defensive positions directly in front of Gringots bank to keep patrons from entering the bank to do business. Their goal was to force the Wizengamot to pass new legislation giving muggleborns a voice within the government and be given equal status as magical citizens.
Unfortunately for the defenders, they did not realize that the blockade not only kept the witches and wizards from entering the bank to withdraw money, but it also kept these same witches and wizards from making payments to the Goblins for loans, or investments. This hurt the banks profit making capability, which was unacceptable to the Goblins.
The blockade came to a bloody end two weeks later as a wizard force of five hundred wands, and a goblin horde of two hundred axes, fell upon the muggleborn defenders from two sides in a coordinated attack. It was a massacre.
The muggleborns were cut down without mercy. The fortunate ones were those felled by a wand. The goblins took pleasure in hacking off limbs first, before finally taking an opponent's head. The three hundred rebels were divided up. One hundred and fifty were given to the goblins that placed the one hundred and fifty heads on pikes and placed them up and down on both side of the large stair case that lead up to the Gringots main entrance. A warning to all those who would dare to try and block the flow of commerce.
The Ministry hung the remaining bodies from lampposts along the cobblestone street of Diagon alley for a week. It was a message to any other muggleborns who had similar thoughts of challenging the ministry.
Dumbledore shook his head as he knew that it was not the last time the muggleborns would attempt to assert their "rights". With the success of the Americans in claiming their independence not only from Muggle Britain but from Magical Britain as well, it gave them hope that their day would so come.
The next attempted uprising began in 1809 and ended in February 1811 with the imprisonment and or execution of over fifteen hundred muggleborns. On the heels of the French Revolution, and Napoleon's bid for world domination, the British muggleborns saw an opportunity once more to fight for change within the wizarding world.
Dumbledore remembered the stories his grandfather and father told him about the short lived rebellion. It was when the Dumbledore name first came to prominence in wizarding Britain and the first time a Dumbledore was given a Hereditary seat in the Wizengamot for "services" to the government.
It seemed that the rebels had learned from their past mistakes and had courted some members of the Wizengamot for support this time around. They had swayed the powerful house of Eveningshade from the Hereditary Houses to support their cause and also the Founding House of Granger as a sponsor.
House Eveningshade could easily convince a near majority of the Hereditary Houses to vote as a single bloc, and with the Ancient and Noble House of Granger as a sponsor from the Founding Houses' new legislation was almost a given.
The traditionalists were in a panic and were forced to take action against House Granger and House Eveningshade as well as a few other houses within the Hereditary and Common seats. Because of its reputation as an eye for an eye family, drastic measures needed to be taken to assure success against House Eveningshade.
It was a closely guarded secret amongst a handful of old families, a sworn oath of silence made by all the heads of the thirteen involved houses. Dumbledore threw back a glass of amber liquid that burned its way soothingly down his throat as he was reminded of his own family's part in this. They weren't alone in the conspiracy though several prominent families were involved and some notorious families as well.
With the loss of their Wizengamot backers the muggleborns were forced to take up their wands again in violent protest. They had sent envoy's to the magical revolutionaries in France for support. But they were still trying to put their own magical government back together; they could not spare more than a few advisors.
One of those advisors had been Jacques François du Malfoy. He had been a major in Napoleons' Magical Calvary and had been instrumental in taking several fortifications of the Royal French Wizarding Constabulary. He was known to be a brilliant tactician and ruthless in battle. The muggleborn rebels hoped that with such an experienced soldier he would be able to train their relatively small numbers into a lethal guerrilla fighting force.
However, it was betrayal that ended the rebellion in the second month of 1811. Major Malfoy had conspired with Ministry spies to set an ambush for the muggleborn rebels in exchange for citizenship, lands, title, and a seat in the Wizengamot.
In a "warded" training ground in Denge forest, south of Canterbury, while the rebels were sleeping off a long day of exhaustive training. A ministry force of six hundred witches and wizards silently entered the encampment. And began to stun and bind the muggleborn rebels in their tents.
Leading the ministry lead forces was a Dumbledore family friend, Wilhelm Grindelwald, a German pureblood who had recently moved his family to England. He had served as a commander in the German version of their elite Hitwizard Corp. He now lead his own division of English shock troop wizards.
There was little resistance as all fifteen hundred and sixty-two rebels were subdued. However seeing as how the rebel numbers were more than double his numbers he executed fourteen hundred of then and buried them in a mass grave deep within the Denge forest. It had been the worst case of the slaughter of magicals in Wizarding history up to that point.
The remaining one hundred and sixty-two rebels were brought back for public trial. They were all tried by a hostile court and convicted of treason, the leaders were summarily executed, twenty in all. The remainder spent the rest of their lives in Azkaban. That is, all but one, to show that they were merciful, one seventeen year old boy that was the youngest of the rebels was spared.
His magic was bound and he was sent into the muggle world. No one in the wizarding world ever knew what happened to George Spencer Churchill after his banishment. But if Albus remembered correctly a man with that same last name became the muggle Prime Minister during the Great War. It was probably a coincidence.
Albus turned his head toward the door of his office, startled out of his thoughts. "Enter!"
"Forgive the interruption sir." A young sandy haired man in his twenties stated as he stood in the doorway.
"What is it Argus?" Albus asked his secretary with a severe look. He did not like being interrupted when he was thinking.
Argus tugged at the collar of his shirt and nervously cleared his throat. "I-I apologize sir, but I thought you might want to be informed…t-that there was a murder. At the L-leaky Cauldron…a Ministry official was killed sir." He hastened.
Albus quirked an eyebrow. "Who?"
"Aaaa…Marjory Dunkell, head of the Wizengamot Historical Records Department." Argus replied looking down at the name on his clip board.
"Interesting." Dumbledore stroked his beard. "Do the Aurors have a motive behind the attack?"
"Not that I know of sir. They are still investigating the scene sir." The young man replied.
"Who is leading the investigation?" Albus asked.
Checking the parchment on his clip board once again. "That would be Auror captain Alastor Moody sir."
Albus nodded his head. "I'm sure Captain Moody's investigation will be thorough. Have his report forwarded to me once it clears Director Crouch's desk."
"Of course sir." Argus replied jotting down a note for himself.
Albus walked back to his desk and sat once more in his large leather chair. "And Argus, cancel the rest of my appointments for the day, I have a lot of paperwork to get through this afternoon."
"Yes sir, uh…sir? What about your five o'clock with Minister Bagnold?" Argus asked cautiously.
Albus sighed heavily and pinched the bridge of his nose. He really did not want to speak to the old harpy but he needed to keep her focused on his agenda. "Very well, give me a reminder twenty minutes before the meeting." He sighed.
"Very good sir." Argus replied and then turned quickly and exited the office.
Alastor Moody escorted Dorea Potter, Bellatrix, and Harry from the crime scene and out into the hallway. Dorea took one last look at the room where her good friend had been murdered. It was hard to put into words what she was feeling, there was of course sadness, shock, a bit of guilt and regret but one emotion was increasingly making its way closer and closer to the surface and it could simply be described as…extremely pissed off!
"Alastor, as soon as you know anything about who may have done this, I want to be the first one you contact! Do you understand?!" Dorea whispered in a low and deadly tone.
"Dorea, you know I can't share information about an open investigation, it could damage the case." Moody explained apologetically.
Dorea stepped right into Moody's personal space, her impressive 5'10" frame going toe to toe with the war veteran, her face mere inches from the Auror captain's. In a dangerously sweet voice that caused chills to run down not only Moody's spine but Harry's and Bella's as well.
"My dear boy…" She began with a sugary sweet voice. Her right hand warmly cupped his cheek, her thumb caressing the bristly skin tenderly; her eyes however were ice cold and held the promise of a thousand painful ways to die. "…you will inform me of your findings the moment you have them. And then you will give me twenty-four hours of unrestricted freedom to pursue and apprehend those responsible. And then and only then will I turn them over to you. Agreed?" She held his eyes with hers and nodded her head; his head began to slowly nod as if he dared not to do anything else.
"Then we have an accord." Dorea stated authoritatively.
Alastor took a staggering step back and shook his head to try and clear it. "If it were anybody else Dorea…" He left it there, shaking his head again.
Dorea smiled cheekily at him. "Come children." The Lady Potter then made her way down the stairs with her two charges.
They entered the main hall of the pub and made their way toward the back door to the entrance to Diagon Alley, unaware of interested eyes following the group. "Auntie, so are you really going to turn over whoever did this to your friend back over to the Aurors?" Bellatrix asked incredulously.
"I never stated what condition they'd be in dear." Dorea smirked as they walked down the alley.
"Harry you mentioned that there were several journals and family history books in the Eveningshade vault correct?"
"Yes grandmother, why?" Harry asked.
"I think it behooves us to gather up as many facts on the family as possible, especially from the 18th and 19th centuries. What about the Eveningshade Family Grimoire?" Dorea asked.
"I have it auntie." Bella replied. "It's in my trunk at Black Hills."
"Good, I think you two need to start learning all you can about the Eveningshade Family Magic. I have a feeling you may need every advantage you can get…and soon." Harry and Bella looked at each other and grimaced, not because of the learning but because of the reason they had to learn.
Harry squeezed Bella's hand reassuringly and she smiled warmly back at her husband with determination in her eyes. It still made her giddy inside to realize how much this young man had changed her life and in the most wonderful of ways. At the beginning of the school year she had been faced with the very real possibility of being forced into a loveless marriage, bound body and mind to a bastard.
But now, she had found love, yes it had been fast but it didn't make it any less real or lasting and she knew that he loved her too, otherwise the ancient magic wouldn't have bound them together in the manner it did. Her ability to open and read from the Eveningshade Grimoire was testament to their magical union, for only an Eveningshade could open and read from the book.
The trio entered Gringotts and Harry and Bella allowed their signet rings to appear, identifying them as Lord and Lady Eveningshade. Twenty minutes later the trios were perusing the many tomes in the Eveningshade vault.
Harry had collected about two dozen personal journals of the various heads of house and had been shrinking them down and placing them in a shoulder bag. Bella and Dorea were looking through the family historical records. The Eveningshade much like the Blacks and many of the old families had a family historian that kept a record of all events surrounding the family.
Dorea surmised that they might get a better picture of what was going on with the family in the early 1800's through these books. Historical records of a family usually contained information on inter-family relations, alliances, contracts, treaties, and political standings of the family. It also would include information on enemies, blood feuds, and intelligence on anyone that the family saw as a potential threat to them.
She was pleased when she found the historical records of the last Eveningshades before they vanished. The records covered the years from 1810 to 1817, when the Eveningshade family disappeared completely from Wizarding Britain.
Bella was inspecting a large alcove toward the back of the vault; it was dimly lit with a few torches which cast shadows that seemed to dance on the walls. Bella got the feeling of darkness as she approached the room. It wasn't threatening or hostile, but almost…welcoming...calling to her. Bella frowned thinking she must be imagining things.
In the room which was much larger than it appeared, she found dozens of shelves cut into the rock wall of the room. Her eyes still trying to adjust to the lower light in this particular section of the vault, widened in amazement as the rock shelves were stuffed with stone tablets and papyrus scrolls.
"Harry! Aunt Dorea!" Bella called out to her companions. Harry bolted to where she was worried that something was wrong. Dorea also hurried but with more dignity than what Harry was displaying.
Harry arrived at the alcove and had to squint his eyes to see Bella about fifteen feet into the room. Harry grabbed a torch that had been hanging by the entrance and made his way into the dusty room. Dorea had followed behind him with a torch of her own, curious as to what her niece had discovered.
"Everything alright?" Harry asked his wife. Harry gave a shiver, suddenly noticing how much colder he was and how much darker this room felt than the rest of the vault.
"Take a look at these shelves or rather what's on them." Bella stated, and went to reach for a tablet; a soft green hue began to surround the tablet the closer her hand came to it.
"No! Don't touch!" Dorea exclaimed grabbing Bella's hand before she could touch the tablet that she was staring at.
Bella shook her head as if in a trance. "That was bloody stupid of me!" Bella chastised herself, breathing heavily. "Anything that feels as…off as this does should not be handled without knowing what it is."
Harry smirked cheekily at Bella who swatted the back of his head. "Who are you to judge?! 'Mister jumping down a bloody hole chasing after a basilisk!'" Harry had the good sense to look apologetic as Bella gave him a victorious smirk of her own.
Dorea leaned forward with her torch to get a better look at the stone tablet; there was no glow this time. Dorea scrunched her face in thought. The tablet had curious runes or glyphs of some kind, but they were not Egyptian, Persian, or Mesopotamian, that she could tell.
"Do you know what they are Auntie?" Bella asked watching her great aunt concentrating on the stone tablets.
"I-I'm not entirely sure…" She began as she searched the tablet for a familiar glyph that could give her clue to the tablets origin. Where ever these relics were from they were dark, she could feel it the moment she stepped into the room. The magic was dark…not necessarily evil, but definitely dark and…powerful.
Then she saw something…a familiar glyph…no two familiar glyphs. She gasped as she realized what she was looking at. She stood with her torch in hand and looked around the room. It was deceptively large it was only eight feet wide but it recessed back into the rock about another fifty feet.
With her torch in front of her she slowly walked the length of the room, looking left and then right, only pausing when something caught her eye. She realized that the further back she went the older the tablets became and more rudimentary the engravings and carvings were.
Harry and Bella followed a few steps behind Dorea with their torches in hand, as she made her way to the far end of the tunnel like room. When Dorea came to the end of the tunnel she turned around and looked curiously at her grandson.
"Harry…" She began slowly. Harry looked at his grandmother, the powerhouse Lady Potter and a feared daughter of House Black and was shocked to see a hint of fear in her eyes.
"…how old is the Eveningshade family?"
"Well, I'm not sure exactly. The journal that Bella and I took from the vault on our first visit made an inference that the Eveningshade bloodline has been around for a very very long time. But I don't know how much of that is true or not. I know several purebloods who claim they can trace their ancestry past Merlin, but I always figured it was all unfounded bragging. Why?" Harry replied.
"T-those stone tablets, the ones at the entrance to this room, the ones that Bella was looking at. They are nearly four thousand years old!" She exclaimed.
"Sorry auntie." Bella grimaced.
"They are written in ancient Sumerian, Harry. That language has been dead for thousands of years." Dorea told him. "And the ones back here are even older! I have no idea how much older, I don't understand a single scratch on them, but we could be talking several more thousands of years!"
"Isn't it possible that the Eveningshades just came across them somehow? It doesn't mean the Eveningshades created them."
"It could have been possible, except for the fact that it seems to react only to Eveningshade magic." She replied.
"How do you know that?" Harry questioned, not really believing what he was being told.
"When Bella's hand neared the tablet, it began to glow green. When I neared it, it did nothing. Now, Bella and I have the same blood and magic except for one difference…" Dorea was explaining.
"I now have Eveningshade blood as well!" Bella finished. She slowly lifted her hand over a nearby tablet without touching it and once again a soft green hue began to engulf the tablet. Bella removed her hand and the light faded. Dorea then put her hand over the tablet and again nothing happened.
"Without touching the tablet Harry, place your hand above it." Dorea instructed. Harry hesitantly moved his right hand over the stone tablet and the green hue returned and engulfed the entire stone. It began to gently rise from its place on the shelf. Dorea grabbed Harry's hand and pulled it away and the tablet gently lowered itself and the green hue faded.
"Believe me now?" Dorea asked. All Harry could do was nod.
"Do you know what's written on the tablets?" Bella asked Dorea as she looked at the strange carvings.
"These here, I haven't a clue. The one you were looking at and a few others near it, I believe so." She replied.
"What do they say grandmother?" Harry asked curiously.
"It describes a summoning incantation." She replied.
"What like an Accio, or something?" He asked. Bella palmed her face and shook her head in amusement.
"Not that kind of summoning love." Bella chuckled musically kissing his cheek.
Harry gave a sheepish look to his grandmother and Bella. "It's an incantation Harry, to summon a demon if I'm not mistaken. But I don't know what kind." Dorea explained.
"In any case it is something we definitely do not want to be fooling around with. Demons are crafty and extremely dangerous, and once they've been summoned they are damned near impossible to control. The Greek and Egyptian mages were infamous for summoning demons to aid them in battle. It almost never turned out well for them.
Egypt at one time used to be an oasis of lush vegetation and healing waters, forests of Cedar trees and mighty rivers and lakes covered the region. That was until an Egyptian Pharaoh demanded of his High Priest to summon a demon that would be the Pharaohs personal body guard. He figured with a demon at his command no enemy would dare challenge him. To make a long story short, demons do not take kindly to be bound to humans.
The priest, who was an arch mage, was successful in summoning the demon and binding it to the Pharaoh. However the priest only commanded it to protect the Pharaoh and not his kingdom. The demon unleashed the fires of hell upon the once fertile kingdom leaving desolation in its wake. The Pharaoh, seeing his kingdom laid to waste, did the only honorable thing he could think of and killed himself and thus releasing the demon and returning it to wherever it came from."
"Whoa! I get it, demons are bad…very bad." Harry shook his head.
"Right, I think we should head back to the surface. I have a few more stops I want to make before we head back to Black Hills." Dorea explained. The trio exited the "Sumerian" wing as Harry dubbed it and re-entered the main vault.
"Anything else you might want Harry?" Dorea asked.
"Yeah!" Harry gave an excited shout as he lifted an onyx black leather battle robe off a trunk. In a word it was cool! Harry slipped his arms through the sleeves and rolled his shoulders and tugged on the lapel. It fit him like a glove the black duster like cloak appeared to be made from dragon skin but he could not tell from what kind of dragon.
The coat fell to his ankles slightly flaring out from the waist. Harry found many pockets and places that looked like sheathes for knives or additional wands. All though it looked heavy it felt light on his shoulders. He lifted the leather cowl over his head and Dorea noted that his face was immediately obscured in darkness, a charm no doubt.
Harry removed the cowl from his head and smiled at his grandmother. "What do you think?"
"Very nice, Harry. It appears to be made from the hide of a Norwegian Ridgeback, a very magic resistant hide. It should offer you protection from most minor spells and hexes." She replied.
"There's one here that looks like it was made for a woman." Harry replied finding another cloak.
"You should give that to Bella." Dorea told her grandson.
"Give me what?" Bella asked walking toward them.
Harry turned toward her and his eyes suddenly glazed over and his mouth hung open. Bella had shed her robe and had apparently found an article of clothing she liked. Bella had on a black leather corset that showed off her curves in a very pleasing manner and displayed her magnificent breast in spectacular fashion.
"Mouth Harry! Potter's do not drool." Dorea told her grandson, trying hard to stifle a laugh. Harry closed his mouth with an audible pop.
"What do you think?!" Bella asked spinning around.
"I think what Harry is trying to say dear, is that it looks quite…flattering on you." Dorea replied with a half smile.
"That's not the best thing about it though! Look at this!" Bella reached for the sides of her breasts. Whatever Harry thought she was going to do was not what followed. She grabbed at something where the boning went up the sides of her breasts and pulled out two slim shiny daggers and stepped back into a combat stand.
"Is it wrong for me to think that that is the sexiest thing I have ever seen?!" Harry mumbled to himself but the acoustics in the room carried his comment to the two women in the room. Bella winked saucily at him.
"Young men and their hormones!" Dorea muttered rolling her eyes.
"Oh! I've got these as well!" Bella replaced the daggers in the corset and as hard as Harry looked he could not tell where they had gone to, there was no obvious signs of them. But then again his attention kept being distracted by the perfect porcelain globes that sat so beautifully atop the tight article of clothing.
"Harry! Eyes down. You can ogle me later." Bella smirked at seeing Harry blush an impressive shade of red.
Harry looked down to see Bella hitching up her dark green dress exposing her knee high high heeled boots and just a glimpse of a nicely toned thigh.
"Damn! I'm sorry, my mind was just ummm…wandering a bit." Harry explained lamely. Dorea smacked him on the back of the head.
"Focus, Harry." Dorea arched a manicured eyebrow.
Bella then reached down to the neck of her boot and withdrew another double-edged knife; this one appeared to be of pure silver.
"Damn that's hot!" Harry muttered again. Dorea huffed in mild annoyance.
"I hope James isn't driven by his hormones when he gets to your age!" Dorea sighed. She noticed Harry was about to tell her something about her son but she quickly held up a warning hand.
"Stop right there young man, I'd rather be ignorant of that particular piece of information for the time being." Harry and Bella laughed heartily at the proper lady.
The trio soon returned to the foyer of the bank. Harry had put on the cloak he had found in the vault as had Bella with the one he found for her. Dorea explained that they were battle robes and would offer them better protection than their other cloaks. Bella had added two more daggers to her collection which brought the number up to eight she had on her.
Dorea had explained to Harry that all children from House Black are trained in fencing from an early age. Bella, as with her dueling skills, excelled with bladed weapons, including a passion for dirks and daggers. She further explained that most wizards and witches believed that muggle weapons were beneath them and could not possibly be of any use against a wizard with a wand.
The Blacks however took a more practical approach and to the wizarding world a radical one. They believed nothing was off the table when defending oneself or their family. They would use fair means or fouls, magical or muggle means, whatever it took to win. And since most magical wouldn't expect a muggle weapon it was easy to surprise them with it.
Harry saw the sense of it and had chosen two Eveningshade daggers as well. One was in his right boot, and the other up the left sleeve of his cloak. As they made their way down the steps of Gringotts Dorea stepped between Harry and Bella and spoke to them in a low tone without looking at them.
"Don't turn around and keep walking toward the apothecary." Without waiting for the expected question, Dorea answered them.
"We are being followed. I noticed the man in the Leaky Cauldron when we met with Moody. He then followed us to Gringotts; I assumed it was just a coincidence since it is a common place to go. However, he was seated in the lobby when we came up from the vault. He has been following us at a distance since we left the bank." Dorea spoke but her face gave no indication that she was alarmed or worried she appeared as if nothing were the matter.
"What do you want us to do?" Harry asked, gripping his wand in his pocket.
"Nothing yet. He may not be alone; we'll need to flush out anyone else who might be with him. We're going to split up; I want you and Bella to go into the apothecary, I will go to Scivenshafts across the street. When you get inside look for anyone who all of a sudden is hurrying toward your location and I will do the same toward mine.
If they enter the store and you feel threatened at all…take them down. But don't KILL them. They may be the ones responsible for Marjory's death, and they are probably looking for the books she hid at the Leaky Cauldron. We need to find out what they know and who they are working for."
Harry and Bella each gave a slight nod of understanding and prepared themselves mentally. "Okay children!" Dorea said just a bit above her normal voice so that the pursuers could hear her. "Go and replenish your potions supplies. I'll be in Scivenshafts. Meet back here in…oh about thirty minutes okay?" Dorea stated clearly.
Harry and Bella waved goodbye to Dorea and entered the apothecary, they immediately went to the window and looked out into the street, sure enough they saw two men quick step toward the apothecary directed by a third man, who was now signaling to two other men to head toward Scrivenshafts. The third man directing the group joined up with the two who were going after Dorea.
"What do we do Harry?" Bella asked, her wand was out but hidden within the sleeve of her cloak.
"Let them make the first move." Harry stated. He looked around the shop and noticed that there were about half a dozen people shopping. "Let's move toward the counter, we can jump behind it if things go pear shaped." He stated as he and Bella moved swiftly to the merchant counter.
"What about the other people in the shop?" Bella asked, spotting a young girl of about four years old holding the hand of her mother.
"Hopefully they'll have the good sense to get out if trouble starts." He replied with shrug.
"I don't like it Harry. We need another plan, there are children in here." Bella replied tersely.
"If we go outside love, it will make it more difficult to contain them." Harry countered.
Bella growled in her throat and looked around the store quickly. Seeing an option she quickly cast a bubblehead charm on Harry and then herself. Then with two quick flicks of her wrist two flasks of some liquid flew off the shelves and collided with each other in mid air.
The collision of the two flasks exploded into a large cloud of noxious fumes that quickly dispersed throughout the store. Patrons and employees all made mad dashes for the door and the fresh air outside.
Bella grabbed Harry's hand and drug him behind the merchant counter. The two men who had been ordered to follow them had been a mere few feet from the door when Bella's distraction happened. They watched as the people ran out, looking closely for the two teens. It was several seconds when they realized that the two they were looking for had not exited with the rest.
Harry and Bella waited for the two men to enter, the fumes were now dissipating as the particles drifted up and out. Slowly the door swung open, Harry peaked over the counter but could see no one enter.
"Bella." Harry whispered. "I think they're disillusioned."
"Bollocks!" Was her whispered reply.
Harry heard the floor boards creaking from two different directions, and realized the two men had separated and were searching the store in a methodic pattern. It was only a matter of time before they reached the counter. But with the two men disillusioned it would be hard to spot them. And they couldn't just pop up and cast a homenum revelio charm without completely exposing themselves. There had to be a solution he just needed to think of it.
Dorea had just entered Scrivenshafts and peered back through their window. She immediately recognized the man that had been following them in the middle of the street. She witnessed as he waved two burly looking men toward the Apothecary and then to two others motioning to the shop she had just entered with him following.
Dorea narrowed her eyes at the coming three men. "Let's play, shall we." She whispered to herself. She quickly cast a proximity ward on her hand bag. Anyone who came within five feet of her hand bag would trigger the ward causing the bag to vibrate slightly thus alerting her to someone nearby.
She made her way slowly, seemingly without a care in the world, through the store, winding her way through the various displays. She stopped briefly and pulled out a compact case and opened it up and used the mirror to check her makeup like any lady would. But her motivation was not to check that her lipstick still looked fresh but to use the mirror to locate the three soon to be educated men that you do not mess with the Lady Potter.
She noticed one of the men, a short balding man who perspired way too much standing by the door as a guard she supposed. Another man, this one tall and lanky, with a hooked nose, and a slight slouch was off to her left near the imported quills. The third man, and apparently the leader of the group, was about twelve feet to her right and back, near the merchant counter.
She decided to move left and deal with this hook nosed man between the large book case that carried magical journals of every shape and size. She gracefully walked between the two large bookcases, the lanky man walked slowly behind her. Once out of sight of any other patrons, the man began to draw his wand.
Faster than he thought a lady of her age could move, she had spun and slapped his neck, no it wasn't a slap. A poke? His eyes suddenly became heavy and it took every ounce of concentration to look at the woman. She was smirking at him with what looked like a hatpin in her right hand.
"Not to worry dear. It's not you who I'm after, but your boss. But, I can't have you following me, now can I." She said sweetly.
They man looked at the woman in confusion. Was she getting taller? Wow she was a big woman! A giant she's a giant he screamed, but he heard nothing but a squeak.
Dorea reached down and picked up the tiny mouse that was once a man holding him in the palm of her hand. "My own little concoction, it is a modified polyjuice potion. It is introduced into the bloodstream. Much faster, and much longer lasting, and you only need a drop. The best part is that it's compatible with animals as well as humans.
Just imagine all the fun we are going to have together when I get you home. I bet you're the screaming type aren't you, I can always pick out a screamer." Dorea smirked as she placed the polyjuiced man into a small cage that she then put back into her purse.
She exited the row of bookcases looking as nothing in the world was the matter. She had a smile on her face and greeted people as she passed. Argyle Mansfred looked up from his position at the counter and narrowed his eyes at the high born lady that had just exited. He didn't know who she was but she had been at the cauldron and had talked to the Auror Moody.
He even allowed her and those two kids up to the room where they had done the other old lady in at. She might know the whereabouts of the books they were looking for. He hoped they were worth all the trouble. This was the first time in several years the brotherhood had been called upon to fulfill their obligation to the Thirteen.
He wasn't complaining, he got paid well for doing pretty much whatever he wanted, he just needed to be ready to respond at any moments notice, to do the Thirteen's bidding. Rodger had not yet exited from the bookcase, something wasn't right.
Argyle moved to the bookcase where his comrade had entered following the high born. He turned the corner and saw…nothing. There was no one there, no one at all. His friend couldn't have just vanished.
"The high born bitch must 'ave done sumin to him!" He cursed. "OUCH!" Argyle yelled as something like a bee sting pierced his neck. He spun around to see the high born smirking at him and sheathing what looked like a hatpin into a thin metallic container. The next thing he knew was that the world suddenly got much bigger.
Harry could hear the creaking getting closer and knew that their pursuers would find them. Harry silently looked for anything under the merchant counter that he could use to distract the men so that he and Bella could make a run for the door. He found a large tin of talcum powder and then suddenly had a thought.
"Bella…" He whispered as quietly as he could. "I have an idea." He quickly explained his plan and although Bella didn't like it much it was the best they could do at the moment.
"On three. One…two…three!" Harry jumped to his feet and in a wide sweeping arc he slung the talcum powder out into the store. Immediately following was Bella, who with her keen eyesight and lightening quick reflexes spotted the silhouetted bodies of their pursuers and stunned both before they could clear their lungs of the powder and utter a counter curse or shield.
"Incarcerus…Incarcerus!" Harry bound the two men while Bella cancelled their disillusionment spell.
"What do we do with them?" Harry asked, scratching the back of his head.
"Leave that to me." A welcome voice replied from behind them.
"Grandmother!" The two teens cried happily.
"You're okay?" Bella asked.
"I am. But we need to hurry. Mr. Hornsby, the owner, will be wanting his store back soon. Fortunately these two cast a confundus charm on the door and he has been walking in circles wondering why he can't find his shop." She chuckled.
Dorea reached into her bag and pulled out a long thin phial with a pearl top. She grabbed the pearl and pulled out a rather large needle. She stuck each man in the neck with the needle and stood back. Harry and Bella gasped as the two men quickly transformed into rats.
"Wicked!" The two teens exclaimed.
Dorea then removed a silver cage from her bag that contained three small mice and placed the two new ones in with their comrades.
"Well, I think that we have had enough excitement for one day. I suggest we head home." Dorea proclaimed. Besides we have guests to make arrangements for." She patted the side of her purse, with a sadistic smile.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed the chapter and feel inspired to leave a comment. The intrigue gets deeper now as there is more than one player involved with the Eveningshade and Muggleborn conspiracies. The web is spinning wider, and as with all webs there are intersecting lines that criss-cross.