â€˜The Apprentice and the Necromancerâ€™ by JunoMagic
A New Threat And an Old Agenda
FAMILY OF FIVE DEAD!
Edinburgh. A family of Muggle-born wizards, the parents along with their three children, were killed in their beds during the night of Saturday, November 27.
The deaths of herbalist Thomas Richardson (37) and his wife Sorcha (36), a stay-at-home-witch, along with their three children, Ian (9), Peter (6) and Jenny (4), were discovered by friends of the family who arrived at the Edinburgh family home for an afternoon of Quidditch playing on Sunday.
When the Richardsons did not react to doorbells and floo-calls, aurors were alerted and decided to Apparate directly into the house in order to determine if an accident had occurred. Inside the house nothing pointed towards any unusual occurrence or a fight, but when the aurors entered the main bedroom, they found the parents lying dead in their bed. Upon entering the children’s rooms, the aurors were faced with exactly the same scene: the three children had been killed in their beds as well.
“They looked as if they were sleeping,” said Harry Potter, auror-in-training, who was first on the scene. The young manâ€”famous for his defeat of the dark wizard Voldemort in 1998â€”was visibly shaken when he told our correspondent that there are no clues at all as to what happened, but that it can be assumed that the infamous Unforgivable curse “Avada Kedavra” was used to kill the family.
“We can only assume that the tragedy was caused by followers of Voldemort, so-called Death Eaters, who are still on the loose and seeking revenge even more than a year after the Dark Lord’s defeat,” stated the head of the Office of Aurors, Gawain Robards, yesterday. “We urge all Muggle-born wizards and witches to be extremely alert for any suspicious activities and not to hesitate to floo-call the Office of Aurors.”
The story continues with interviews of colleagues of Thomas Richardson and background information on the killing curse on page 5.
The Daily Prophet of Monday, November 29, 1999, dropped from Hermione’s hands and fell to the floor.
Annoyed at the disturbance of his lunch routine (which consisted mainly in keeping a keen eye out for pranks among the student body) Snape turned towards Hermione with a scowl that faded to a look of concern as he took in her pallor and her shaking hands. He picked up the paper and quickly scanned the front-page.
â€˜Damn,” Snape muttered and glanced at the empty seat where Headmistress McGonagall was suspiciously absent today.
He considered the Order meeting last summer, when he had heard the first report about disappearing Death Eaters. He’d had a bad feeling about the situation even then: how likely was it for aurors and Order members to lose track of five confirmed Death Eaters in three countries at the same time? Ever since then, the leads the Order and the Ministry had been following in order to apprehend members of Voldemort’s organization that still were at large had been thinning out. Since the beginning of October there had been no useful information about any of those criminals at all. And now this.
The bad feeling in his stomach intensified to the point of nausea.
Regrouping, that’s what they have been doing, the analytical part of his mind lectured coolly. At some point last summer, someone has started to pick up the remains of Voldemort’s organization. Someone who is powerful and cunning enough to make Death Eaters virtually disappear from under the noses of our aurors, the Sorcerers’ Secret Service and the Order. Now the new organization is firmly established and they have decided to send a message.
â€˜Damn,â€™ he repeated, swearing in a soft voice.
The signal couldn’t possibly be any clearer. Killing people in their beds, not even sparing the children. The ruthlessness of the execution was chilling, the agenda of whoever was behind this all too easy to perceive: eliminate Muggle-born wizards and intimidate the Purebloods.
He looked back at the article, trying to connect faces with the names. The parents had been a bit younger than he was, but they had probably been at Hogwarts together for a couple of years. He couldn’t place the name of the man, but he thought he remember the name of a Sorcha Friskin. A Hufflepuff, if he wasn’t mistaken. Brown hair and green eyes. A round face.
No more. And their eldest had been almost old enough to come to Hogwarts.
â€˜Damn,â€™ he whispered once more, before he met the eyes of his apprentice and had to bite his tongue not to repeat himself for a fourth time.
Hermioneâ€”after she’d saved his damn life yet again, there was really no use in persisting to call her â€˜Miss Grangerâ€™ within the sheltered confines of his mindâ€”looked thoroughly shaken. No, worse: she was shaking.
â€˜Heâ€”â€™ He cleared his throat. â€˜Miss Granger, are you feeling quite all right?â€™
Of course she was not, that much was easy to see. He frowned irritably at her. â€˜Do you need an Invigoration Draught? Or some Pepper-Up-Potion?â€™
She blinked at him.
She shook herself. â€˜Iâ€”I’m sorry, Professor. Iâ€”that articleâ€”the poor childrenâ€¦â€™ She trailed off helplessly, giving a strange, stiff shrug. â€˜Iâ€”I think I need to be aâ€“ alone for a bit. If you will excuse me, sir?â€™
â€˜Very well. Don’tâ€”â€™
He shook his head. There was really no reason to admonish Hermione about punctuality. She’d never been late for an appointment in her life.
â€˜Nothing. Iâ€”I will see you later, then.â€™
She only nodded, before she awkwardly turned around and slowly shuffled to the door that led out of the Great Hall from the dais of the High Table.
He felt his frown deepen. Something was wrong about the way Hermione held herself, so stiffly, and about the way she moved, so carefully. As if she was not only shook up by the news, but in considerable pain. Was she keeping something from him? He should probably consult Poppyâ€¦