OOOOOO Saturday, Slytherin Common Room OOOOOO
It was the day that most Slytherins were waiting for. Everyone was in the common room waiting to be let into the dueling arena to determine who this year's Princes were. Everyone would watch the battles with the first years starting off and ending with the seventh years the next day.
The upper years wished they could be going first, but understood why the younger years went first. First and second years usually didn't know that many spells that could be used in a duel, so their duels were usually the quickest. Not to mention that those years' Princes didn't hold that much power and was used so that most of the upper years didn't have to bother themselves with the more annoying kids.
The third and fourth years were more interesting. They knew more spells and started having the beginnings of a dueling form. This was the moment were most of the talented ones would be mentored by an upper year they impressed. Even if they never become a Prince, the connections that form usually helped after Hogwarts'.
The fifth years and above are the more interesting, and bloody, of the battles. These years had the spells, experience, and thirst for the Prince position. It wasn't just because it was O.W.L. and N.E.W.T. year, it also opened doors afterwards. The longer one held onto the position, the better one looked for leadership positions. Many past Princes were fast tracked as department heads, team leaders, or future business opportunities.
The guys may be excited, but the girls were more so. If they were able to hold the title of Princess, they were more likely to get noticed as potential wives by the guys in their year, or their older brothers and cousins who were unmarried. Not to mention the chance to get a mastery in a field that interested them. Their families might want them to marry, but being crowned a Princess and holding the position for at least three months gave them a little more lea-way. They could study and most likely go into private practice while still honoring their family by making a good match.
Everyone was brought out of their thoughts and revisions when the dueling room was opened. The first years walked in first, followed by the second years to line up before the dueling pits. Everyone else followed in by year, walking to the corresponding stands for each year. Silence greeted the Slytherins, even though they could tell that there was an audience that they couldn't see.
"Welcome to the Snake Pits." Severus walked out of the shadows, causing some of the students to jump in surprise. "In this room, you will duel to see if you are worthy to be called a Prince or Princess for your year. Do not mess this up, for this can help set the tone for the year." Severus looked at all of them.
He could see the nerves of the first and second years written plainly on their faces. The third and fourth years were better at hiding their nerves, but not their excitement at the chance of showing off. The fifth, sixth, and seventh years were the ones to perfect their masks, although if Severus looking closely, he could see what they were feeling. Their eyes always gave them away, not to mention those who thought they were hiding their emotions but failing spectacularly.
"The rules are simple. I will assign two of you to one of the dueling pits you see before you. You will duel each other until you are either knocked out, incapacitated, or I call your match. You will NOT do any spells that will seriously maim or kill you opponent. If I even think you are about to do something so stupid, I will stop the match. You do not want to know what will happen if I have to stop a match because you are incompetent enough to try and bring attention to this." The look he gave everyone, not just the first years, made the message stick in all their minds.
"After I declare a winner, both will see the Healer. You will not ask who they are or where they work. You will not argue with them or make their job difficult. Am I clear?" There were many 'Yes, sir.' answering him. With one last look around the room, Severus continued. "The winner, after cleared by the Healer, will go against another winner. This will continue until we have a Prince and Princess for the year. The first and second years will start before we break for lunch. Third and fourth years will start after we return from lunch.
"Tomorrow, fifth thru seventh years will duel. If anyone of you want to pull out now, say so now." Silence greeted him. He was secretly glad at this, but didn't let it show. "With that said, if I believe that you are unable to continue dueling, no matter what you say, I will prevent you from continuing. I am not going to explain to the Headmaster, or your guardians, why you're at St. Mungo's." The serious look he gave everyone showed that he wasn't joking.
"Second years, please sit on the bench on the right. First years come forward in two lines, one male and the other females. You will write your name on a slip of paper and put it in the corresponding cauldron. Once that is done, I will call six names. Those six will be split into three dueling rings and the others will sit on the bench to the left.
"When I say 'Begin' you will start your duel, and when I say 'Stop', you will stop. If you even try casting anything afterwards, I will stop you and count the duel against you. You have been warned, so do not test me. Now come forward. We have a lot of duels to get through." Everyone did what Professor Snape ordered, and they were soon waiting for the first duels to start.
With a flick of his wand, Professor Snape revealed a board that had different brackets. With another flick, two names came from the first cauldron and flew over to the first bracket. This happened again with the second cauldron before two more came out of the first.
"The first duels are Blaise Zabini vs. Gregory Goyle, Pansy Parkinson vs. Millicent Bulstrode, and Harry Potter vs. Vincent Crabbe. The rest of you take a seat while the others step into the active dueling rings." Three of the rings were illuminated, showing that the protective barriers were active to ensure no stray spells hit the audience. All six of them stepped into the rings while the rest of their year mates went to the left bench to watch.
"There are marks on the floor that will be your starting point. Go there now. You will bow to each other and raise your wands in front of your face when you are ready." All six of them found their marks and bowed toward their opponents, some more gracefully than others. A hush fell over the arena before Professor Snape barked a 'Begin!'.
00000 Blaise vs. Gregory 00000
Blaise fired off a stunner and a body bind toward his opponent hoping to end it quickly and without showing his hand. He was sure that Malfoy would make it to the finals and Blaise was hoping not to give any indication that he knew stronger spells, or magically tire himself out.
But it seemed that Gregory wasn't as dimwitted as he thought when he dogged the body bind and fired his own stunner to intercept the one coming towards himself. Gregory fired off more stunners, trying to overwhelm Blaise.
Gregory knew that he wasn't the smartest or fastest Slytherin, his father may not have taught him many spells, but he was taught how to overwhelm someone with the limited spells he did learn. Ever since he was young, it was drummed into his head to be the guard dog to the Malfoy heir, and he wasn't about to fail. He may not be named a Prince, but if he made a good showing, then people would think twice about messing with him. And if they were worried about messing with him, then they wouldn't mess with Draco, despite his big mouth.
Gregory fired off three more stunners and a tripping jinx, hoping it would surprise Blaise and end the duel. Unfortunately for him, Blaise fired off a spell that caused two of his stunners to come back towards him. Gregory was so surprised that he almost didn't dodge in time. Blaise wasn't as lucky. The tripping hex made him go into the remaining stunner.
"Goyle, stop. You are the winner of this round." Gregory stood back up while Professor Snape revived Blaise. He sent both of them to be looked over while he watched the other duels still going on.
00000 Pansy vs. Millicent 00000
Millicent fired off a stunner towards Pansy followed by a stinging hex. Pansy yelped in pain when dodging the stunner caused her to step into the stinging hex that got her ankle. She started hoping in pain and didn't notice the body bind heading towards her until it was almost too late. Pansy jumped out of the way and was able to fire off her own stinging hex.
Millicent easily dodged the hex and fired another two stunners, hoping to get Pansy before she could get up. One missed and Pansy was able to roll out of the way and get to her feet. Millicent scowled at this, causing Pansy to smirk.
"You should give up now, we both know I'm going to win. If you give up, I'll remember it when I become this year's Princess." Millicent answered with some stunners, stinging hexes, and even a color changing charm the caused Pansy's hair to turn bright orange. Pansy didn't notice it until Millicent spoke.
"Orange looks terrible with your complexion Parkinson." That's when Pansy noticed her hair and let out a scream in surprise.
"My hair! You'll lit…Ow!" Pansy fell to the ground when the body bind took effect.
"Bulstrode, stop. You are the winner this round." Professor Snape cancelled the spells on Pansy and sent both of them to be checked over. It seemed that they were the last ones to finish their duels.
00000 Vincent vs. Harry 00000
Vincent was the first to fire, thinking that Harry wouldn't know anything, and he could get an easy win. Even he knew that out of his year mates, he and Gregory were the weakest in their year. They needed to make a good showing to continue protecting Draco, no matter how difficult he was making it. If Draco didn't have his father's protection and the alliances of the Goyle and Crabbe families, Draco would have been hexed by know. Vincent was brought out of his thoughts when Harry sent a volley of fast-moving stinging hexes.
Harry was dogging the spells Vincent was throwing at him. He could tell that they were mostly stunners and leg lockers from the colors. Even though Vincent had good spell fire, the spells themselves seemed to be moving slowly. When Harry saw an opening, he started firing off stinging hexes as fast as he could that they almost blurred together. Harry even managed to slip some stunners that were masked by stinging hexes. It seemed that Vincent was only able to dodge some of the stinging hexes before one clipped him, causing Vincent to fall into one of the hidden stunners, knocking him out.
"Potter, stop. You win this round." Even though they didn't talk to each other, Harry thought they made a good showing. Professor Snape revived Vincent and sent them to the Healer while Pansy and Millicent were still firing spells at each other.
The first stage of duels done, and everyone was cleared by the Healer. Professor Snape stood in front of them once again ready to call the next duels, although everyone could tell who would be up next. Compared to the other years, the first and second years were the smallest class.
Severus looked at the first years with a thoughtful look before flicking his wand again. The last two names came out of both cauldrons and went onto the board.
"Our next duels will be Theodore Nott vs. Draconis Malfoy, Daphne Greengrass vs. Tracy Davis, and Harry Potter vs. Gregory Goyle. After these duels, the winners will duel to become the Prince and Princess of the first years. Go to the pits, and same rules apply." The six first years did as directed and went to the starting markers within the dueling rings.
Severus studied the pairs and wished Draco was against someone else for his first duel. Draco was over-confident and was in real danger of losing because of it. The whining he would have to listen to if that happened was headache inducing. But Severus knew that it could also be good for Draco. He wasn't making that many friends or alliances, and was annoying most of the upper years with his bragging and show boating. With one last sweep of the dueling pits, Severus started the duels.
OOOOO Draco vs. Theo OOOOO
"Give up now, Nott." Theo answered with a body bind and two stunners.
"How about for once you stop yapping, Malfoy. This is skill, not what your family name can do for you." Theo fired off some more spells at Draco who managed to dodge or block annoyingly enough.
"You'll see what my family name and skill will do." Draco said red faced from anger and exertion. Draco finally was able to fire off a leg locking and tripping jinx while dodging another stinging hex. Draco smirked when the tripping jinx got Theo and was about to gloat, but had to dodge the spell Theo managed to fire off.
Theo silently cursed before using the spell Blaise taught himself and Harry. Theo made it seem like a bunch of snakes were being hurled at Draco, who seemed to fall for the illusions. Theo managed to get to his feet. Unfortunately, Draco seemed to realize that there weren't any snakes and scowled at Theo who smirked.
As one, they both fired off stunners at each other. The first stunners missed, but the follow up hit, causing Theo to fall unconscious.
"Malfoy, stop. You've won this round." Severus almost ground out in frustration. Draco would be a difficult little terror if he won this. Reviving Theo, he sent them both to the Healer. Severus turned back to the other duels taking place. At least they seemed to be having some fun, although it looked like he was going to be talking to Tracy's and Daphne's guardians about their spells.
OOOOO Daphne vs. Tracy OOOOO
"This is going to be fun." Tracy said with a grin and a twirl of her wand. Snapping her wand in front of her, a flurry of razor-sharp petals went toward Daphne. Daphne smirked before releasing an icy wind that stopped the petals and temporarily blinded Tracy while covering her in frost. The spell ended and Daphne sent some ice-shards towards Tracy.
Even though Tracy couldn't see the incoming shards, she could hear the light noise they made from hitting each other. Throwing herself to the side, Tracy avoided most of the shards and sent vines to wrap around Daphne.
"It seems that you've learned a few things, Tracy. To bad I'm aiming for the top." Daphne used a low powered severing charm they learned in Herbology that cut the vines to pieces without cutting herself. Tracy was waiting for the next move with a happy grin.
Daphne was the first to move by firing of stunners before icing over the ground to make Tracy slip. Tracy did slip, but she was able to fire off a Tickling Hex and another set of vines. Daphne dodged both attacks with a grace that surprised those watching, and Tracy as well, while firing off more stunners. Tracy was unable to get her balance and fell hard when one of the stunners hit her.
"Greengrass, stop. You've won this round." Severus revived Tracy and got rid of the ice and blood from the dueling pit. Both went to the Healer without complaint, being the first duelers to actually need to be looked over. Severus almost snorted while watching the final duel of the round.
OOOOO Gregory vs. Harry OOOOO
Harry and Gregory stood assessing each other. Gregory was glad that he managed to make it into the second round, and was hoping to get another win. He wouldn't win against Draco, but he'll make a good showing of it.
Harry moved first with stunners and stingers, copying Vincent's previous plan. But unlike Vincent's spells, Harry's spells were fast and caused Gregory some difficulty. He couldn't dodge or block them all and it was only luck that none of the stunners got him.
Gregory returned fire, trying to get some breathing room. He never realized how fast Harry was, and it was slightly throwing him off. But it was starting to be fun while they exchanged spells and trying to outsmart each other. Gregory got a lucky shot in and tripped Harry up. He thought he had Harry before he was taken by surprise.
Harry managed to fire off one of the spells Tombs taught him and wrapped Gregory in linen, which caused him to drop his wand in surprise while trying to keep his balance.
"Potter, stop. You've won this round." Severus once again reversed the spell against Gregory. He was thankful that he knew the reversal spell, it would be embarrassing for a professor to ask a first year how to reverse something.
"Go see the Healer. The finals will begin in ten minutes." Both nodded before doing off to the Healer, passing Tracy and Daphne on their way out. Severus moved over to the bench that held the rest of the first years and waited. When Gregory and Harry came over a minute later, he started to speak.
"The final duels will be Daphne Greengrass vs. Millicent Bulstrode and Harry Potter vs. Draconis Malfoy. There will be a ten-minute intermission before the final duels." Everyone nodded in understanding. "For those that didn't make it into the finals, be proud of the showing you put forth. You made sure that the victories were hard won." Everyone puffed up, although everyone could see that Draco was mentally strutting for making it into the finals.
"For those in the finals, don't get to overconfident just yet. This final duel will see if you are crowned the Prince or Princess of your year. Yes, be proud, but do not let it go to your head. You may win this duel, but next month you might not be so lucky.
"Now, rest until I call for the final duels. And remember, you are still being watched, so don't embarrass yourselves." Severus left them and went up to the audience seats that were hidden from the students. He had to wonder how much money was lost with bets while walking to the audience room.
Looking around, Severus could see money exchanging hands, while others discussed what they saw. One of the occupants finally noticed him and waved him over to her and the group she was lording over.
"Professor Snape, it's good to see you again. If the first years are anything to go by, there'll be a lot of interesting duels." Jasmin Gore, a member of the Gorestone cadet branch, said with a smirk. Jasmin Gore was a 29-year-old widow who just came out after her year of grief, although most agreed that she didn't have much to grieve for.
Lord Alton Gore was 59, an avid gambler, drinker, and meaner than doxies. Rumor has it that Jasmin was promised to Alton to elevate her family, no matter that Jasmin herself wasn't interested in the marriage. She still went through with it because she was loyal to her family, only to have her family ruined both financially and politically. Her father, mad with rage, challenged Alton to a duel to the death, and lost. Her brother on the other hand drank himself to death, ending her former family line.
Trapped in a marriage she didn't want, she waited until she fulfilled her marriage contract of providing two sons. After her third pregnancy, a set of twins, her husband was suddenly facing duels for secrets he thought long buried.
Alton Gore may have been a great duelist once, but age and indulgences decreased his skill and he was killed by the thirteenth duel. And since Alton was Lord Gore, Jasmin took over the family with the secrets she found out about them.
It's said that those that didn't fall in line were either turned over to Aurors or met an angry wand. When some members went to Lord Gorestone, he left them with no delusions that the Gores were one more indiscretion away from getting kicked out. Jasmin Gore had his approval and support. Severus had a feeling she was just getting started.
"I agree that the duels are interesting, Lady Gore, although there are a lot of heirs this year, so maybe not so surprising."
"True. We'll see who'll come out on top." She looked out the viewing window. Severus followed her gaze and saw Harry had her attention. "Speaking of heirs, Heir Potter made a surprising showing. If he is doing so well in the dueling pit, one has to wonder how he's fairing in the snake pit." Those around them shifted in interest. Severus mentally cursed. Everyone had an interest in Harry Potter and Severus wasn't foolish to think all of them were good.
"He is making inroads to several families, not all within the Slytherin House. It seems his stay with his 'relatives' didn't do any lasting damage."
"Interesting." The look in her eyes were sharp and contemplative before she turned them onto the Potions Master before her. "Before I forget, I would like a meeting some time in the next month."
"Last time I checked, none of your children are anywhere near the age of Hogwarts."
"Yes, you won't have to worry about them just yet, but this is a possible business venture. I'll be asking Mistress Sprout as well before I leave today." There were those giving Jasmin confused expressions, but Severus understood. Many forgot that Sprout held a Mastery in Herbology. And since Jasmin used her mastery title instead of calling her professor, she was thinking about a business proposition that didn't necessarily include Hogwarts. Severus nodded in understanding. Jasmin gave him a pleased look, like he passed some test of hers. Excusing himself, Severus worked the room before returning to the first years. Thankfully, nobody did anything stupid while he was away. Hopefully, that would mean everyone will have the some sense for the rest of the year.
0000000 Headmistress' Office 0000000
Doris and Tiffany sat next to each other while going over the financials for the school. With two sets of eyes, they were able to make since of what Dumbledore did. To say both women were frustrated was an understatement. It seems like the former Headmaster would drop classes and then divert the money meant for the professors for those classes into his yearly pay. Not only that, but he never paid Binns, or his descendants, for his teaching since the Hogwarts' charter didn't recognize ghost as Professors. Truthfully, vampires were the only dead being that could teach here and that was only with a vow not to hurt or feed off the students.
That's not to mention the Professors that were getting paid. Minerva and Severus were severely underpaid. Minerva held three positions and held tenor, but was only getting paid for being a professor and a Head of House. Severus, while not receiving tenor, wasn't receiving his full pay as well. He was getting paid for being a professor and Head of House, which should have gone to Septima since she was here longer, but wasn't being paid for stocking the Hospital Wing or being a secondary Medi-Wizard when the situation called for it.
That didn't even account for raises that most of the teachers were owed. The back pay was going to be a nightmare. She had to figure out if the professors would be willing to accept them through a payment plan over the next five to seven years. It was the only way to not bankrupt the school.
"Do you think we can recover the money Dumbledore misappropriated, Doris? Or will he have to be charged as well for us to have any claim?"
"Thankfully, Dippit made Dumbledore sign the Headmaster Agreement before handing over the reins. We're able to get the money owed to us. Not only that, but his severance is voided and up to ten years of Headmaster pay if we can prove he's acted unlawful and malicious towards the school or its' students." Doris said with a smirk.
"And considering he's already been charged with assisting a rape and unlawful imprisonment that wouldn't be hard to prove. Add in mishandling of funds, and we'll be able to recover the money. Or what we can with all the fines he's facing."
"Oh, we'll get the money back. It may not be all at once, but we'll be able to recover it."
"How, Doris? I doubt anyone is going to hire him on the off chance he survives his time in Azkaban." Tiffany's confusion was plain to see.
"True, but you forget that he still gets royalties for his research and books. He may be discredited as a person, but not as a researcher. His works will still be used, and the books he's written are used in many fields from dragon handlers to alchemists. We just have to write the board to approve of the punishment, then send it off to the goblins to execute." Tiffany let out a sigh of relief. At least one thing was taken care of.
"What about revenue for the next couple of years? Even with the more students coming in the next three years, the tuition alone cannot sustain the school. Not to mention the new classes we're introducing. It'll eat up the funds faster."
"True, Tiffany, but I have a plan for that. First is to sell some of the plants grown in Herbology. Most is used in Potions, but the rest either goes bad or just sits around. There are apothecaries, herbalists, and Potion Masters that are interested in our overflow. It won't be much, but it's a start that will cover a good portion of the Herbology budget.
"Next is the Quidditch games. We can increase the seating for guest and sell tickets. We can also rent out some booths to the local businesses to sell to our visitors and to the students as well." Doris handed Tiffany a folder showing her plans for possible revenue. Tiffany looked through everything and was visibly impressed.
"You're also going to rent it out?" Tiffany was surprised by this.
"Hopefully, if my plan works out. I'll be going to the broom companies with a plan to start a junior Quidditch league with our pitch. They get to show off their brooms and we can sell tickets for the games and rent booths. It'll be good, and hopefully bring in a lot of interest if advertised correctly."
"I'm sure many parents will be interested, not to mention the Quidditch enthusiast that don't make it on the house teams. I'm sure many would join the 13-16 age bracket to improve their chances of getting a spot the following year."
"Yes, and the 10-12 age bracket will be good for the younger years as well. We haven't had a first year compete in a century and the second years are almost the same. This can get their confidence up for when they want to try out for the team." Tiffany nodded her head while turning the page.
"You plan to start farming as well?"
"Yes. Hagrid already grows the pumpkins for Samhain and the pumpkin juice for the year that's kept in status. Not to mention we have open fields that can be used. We just need a couple of greenhouses and we can start next summer. If we can get some of the sixth and seventh years who are interested in some extra money over the summer, we can have everything set up for the year. This way we save money for the year, and we can sell the overflow to Hogsmead."
"But what about during the year? Professor Sprout won't be able to do it all herself during the school year."
"True, but between detentions and those that are interested in getting some pocket change for every week they help with those greenhouses, I'm sure Pomona and Hagrid will be able to handle it. I'm hoping that we eventually become self-sufficient enough that most of the food is grown here. If we're lucky, we'll be able to sell some of the excess." Tiffany nodded her head in understanding. With the proper greenhouses and enough crops, they could save thousands of galleons a year, and hopefully make some revenue. The Board of Governors would like that. Even if they didn't make a profit, saving money for other issues would have them agreeing at the first opportunity.
They talked some more about other cost savings and revenue opportunities. Tiffany thought that most of the ideas would be agreed by the Board, if not this year than in the next two, although some ideas would be too progressive for most of the traditionalist. But one could always hope that they would consider it later after seeing Doris' ideas succeed. Eventually, their discussion came to the guest that they were hosting.
"How are the Healers doing, Doris?" She let out a sigh while leaning back into her chair.
"There were some cases of medical issues being discovered that needing tending to as well as other cases that had me contacting Auror Shacklebolt for possible abuse. He said that they will get back to me before the Yule holiday, although with their workload that might not be possible."
"Those poor kids. What will happen to them if they can't go home for Yule? Didn't the curse breakers say they needed the school to be empty?"
"Exactly the issue I'm facing. Tiffany, if I allow them to go home with friends, the person or persons responsible might get to the child and cause harm, but we can't keep them here as usual for their safety. And we can't put off the work the curse breakers need to do fix the wards without causing a cascade failure.
"If they don't do it over the Yule holiday, then we'll have to wait until next year and the wards might be in worse shape than they are now. And that would cost us more time and money that we don't need to spend.
"We can't ask any of the professors to take the kids to any property they might own, nor could we put them up in an inn. The charter prevents us from doing that, nor do we have the funds considering we would have to do the same for any student who normally stays during the holidays."
"Doris, what about the students that usually stay because their parents or guardians work outside the country during the holidays? I remember that happening during my school years."
"Mine as well, Tiffany, and we have informed the parents about this. I have received confirmation that the students are staying with friends during the Yule holidays, thankfully. But that still leaves the current possible abuse cases and any more the Healers finds." Letting out a sigh, Doris pinched the bridge of her nose in frustration.
"I'm guessing Auror Shacklebolt wasn't able to find housing for children over the holidays?"
"No. For minors there has to be a guardian or approved family member watching over them. It's for the child's protection as well as the Auror watching them."
"How so?" Tiffany said in confusion. Doris winced before speaking.
"About four decades ago a minor accused an Auror of sexual assault because he once dated the minor's older sister and had broken up with her for another woman. Needless to say, the accusation ruined his career and love life."
"That's horrible!" Tiffany couldn't imagine anyone doing that to someone trying to protect them, no matter their previous history.
"Indeed. Even though he was cleared, most believed something happened and was quietly forced out. Not to mention the woman he was dating leaving because of the drama. Now whenever a minor needs protecting, they need a family member with them or godparent in a pinch."
"And since we don't know who is abusing the children, or if they're even being abused, that option isn't available to them. This seems like a mess either way we do this."
"Indeed. Hopefully, we'll find something between now and then." Tiffany nodded at this before changing the subject.
"The curse breakers have told me that they found the curse on the DADA position and broken it. They said it might be a year before it completely dissipates, but after that we might actually have a chance of keeping a DADA professor."
"Well, that's one good thing I've heard today. Now we only need to hope we can find someone after Lockhart's contract is done. I am not having that man here longer than necessary."
"Agreed. Doris, the list of books he wants next year is everything he's ever published, including the book he's releasing next year." Doris let out a groan at that.
"Please tell me he knows that not going to happen, Tiffany?"
"Of course. I let him know that he was going to choose from books written for teaching purposes and no more than four mandatory books are accepted. I also let him know that none of his books are approved and his lesson plans must be approved and followed. He was sad to know that his favorite color is not an approved lesson plan."
"For once I am hoping I'm not the Headmistress when he comes here. I have a feeling homicide will be in someone's future."
"Now, now, Doris, we can allow for the DADA curse to have one last hora before dissipating."
"True. Have the curse breakers said anything else?"
"The wards haven't been properly charged in some time. They'll do that over the summer since it must be done in stages. There is also the fact that some of the previous Headmasters/mistresses have added things that are negating some primary wards and protections. Here is a list and a projection of when they can correct it. Some of it can be done now while most of it will have to be fixed during the summer before the wards are charged.
"There are also some detection wards that have been turned off, it's the last three pages, and they want to know which ones to reactivate and which ones to leave alone. I wasn't able to look at it the list, but they said some can be activated now while most need to be done over the Yule holiday or the summer." Doris nodded her head while putting the list aside for the moment.
"I'll look at this later and get back to them. The Regulation Team has done preliminary scouting with the help of the centaurs." Tiffany looked surprised at this and Doris couldn't blame her. "I know, but it seems that they are the main reasons why the acromantula hasn't taken over the entire forest. The centaurs are happy to have the colony taken care of and only wish for some of the acromantula silk as payment for their help."
"What is their next step?"
"The Regulation Team are going to set up a netting ward over the weekend to prevent them from moving as much. It will reduce their hunting grounds and protect the other creatures in the forest for the time being. After that, the Regulation Team will be able to figure out how many acromantula are out there and ask silk farmers if they are able to take the acromantula."
"How will the centaurs help in this?"
"The netting ward is set up by pre-prepared ward crystals that only need to be dug a meter into the ground to activate. The centaurs will do two corners while the Regulation Team does the other two corners. Once they are in place, Mr. Swain will activate the ward."
"What happens if there are acromantula outside of the activated ward?"
"They will unfortunately be killed since only small game will be able to get through the ward. The centaurs are willing to do this in line with Mr. Swain's team. The acromantula will be harvested, with 60% of the profits going to the Ministry."
"I hate to say this, but if we destroy the entire colony, we could have a huge windfall for the Hogwarts' coffers."
"True, Tiffany, but it would be even more dangerous. Burning the forest and then hunting any stragglers is the safest way to go about it, but that would mean losing a good portion of the forest and its denizens, not to mention revenue from Potion Masters, Herbalists, Wand Makers and more.
"On the other hand, if the Regulation Team hunts down the acromantula, they can only do so many before they are over-run. And even if the centaurs help, the possibility of success is small without at least 40 more high skilled hunters.
"The best, and safest, way is to talk to this Aragog and have him understand the situation. And since he's prevented his offspring from attacking the school, it's possible this might work." Doris and Tiffany both shake their heads at this. If Aragog doesn't agree to relocation, then the forest will become a battle ground. The students would have to be on lockdown at best and sent home at worse. They did not need the hysterics if that happened.
Both women came out of their thoughts and continued their conversations and paperwork. The letters to the School Board and Gringotts taking up most of the meeting.
OOOOOOO Sirius Black, St. Mungo's OOOOOOO
Sirius Black was in his hospital room alone at the moment. It was one of the few times nobody was sitting with him, a nurse wasn't checking vitals, or is Mind Healer walking him through his emotions. He almost didn't know what to do with himself.
He already wrote into his journal for the day, and Remus already got his signature on some documents. Letting out a sigh, Sirius couldn't help his mind from wondering over his recent freedom.
Even though he wasn't in a cell, he couldn't help but feel like he was in another prison. Yes, he got three good meals a day, plus snacks, hot showers, and visitors, but that didn't change the fact that he couldn't leave the floor without someone escorting him, let alone the building. Sirius also could only have St. Mungo's approved clothes to insure nobody snuck in anything dangerous. The clothes may be warm and clean, but they were not his style at all. Sirius really wished he could recover at home.
Well, not at home, but with Remus until he found a home that didn't make him want to torch the place on instinct. Remus may be remodeling Grimmauld Place, but Sirius highly doubted that he could live in that place. All the times his mother punished him for not being the 'perfect Black heir' and his father's disinterest in his safety or happiness made him run away at the earliest opportunity. Happy memories were few and far between. His only regret is that he didn't drag Regulus with him. If he did, Sirius didn't doubt his little brother would still be alive. Now he was the last male Black still alive.
That brought his thoughts to Harry. He was still considered a Black, even though he's a Potter, and would be able to carry on the Black name through any kids he had. Sirius scoffed at the idea. He would be happy if the Black name died with him without dragging Harry into his family drama. Harry has already been through so much, and much of it could be attributed to him not doing is duty as godfather. A duty Sirius felt like he was failing even now.
Sirius knew that his mental state wasn't the best, even before is stay in Dementor-land, but the thought that he might be a danger to Harry left him cold. Since starting his treatment a St. Mungo's, his emotions have been all over the place. Considering that he only felt misery and despair for a decade, the Healers explained that his emotions wouldn't be stable for months. The same could be said for his memories. The amount of times Remus had to remind him that Harry wasn't one anymore were too numerous to count, let alone having to be sedated because he became violent.
Sirius just got so confused and angry, with all these different memories and emotions that he couldn't help himself. He now knew why his Mind Healer wouldn't sign off on him being Harry's guardian. He already hit Remus once and felt terrible for it. The thought of hitting Harry would gut him. But the thought of Harry going to someone like Severus caused pains that were hard to explain.
Severus Snape was someone his parents would have wanted as a son. Even though he was in secondhand clothes and his hair looked like it never had a proper wash, he still had confidence that Sirius lacked. Confidence that he would do well in Slytherin. Confidence that he could be a great Potions Master. Sirius hated that and tried to squash that and everything else while excusing his behavior as fighting evil. The fact that Severus eventually joined the Death Eaters only justified his abuse. Healer Shafig helped him see that what he did to Severus, and some of the other Slytherins, was abuse and could have made some of them joint he Dark Lord.
Dumbledore didn't punish him when some of his pranks got out of hand and thinking about somebody doing that to Harry because he was a Slytherin made him sick. It made him feel like he was acting like his mother when she was screaming about muggleborns and blood traitors.
OOOOOOO Albus Dumbledore OOOOOOO
Albus Dumbledore was waiting in his cell to be transferred to Azkaban. He'll spend forty-one months in the medium security wing of Azkaban before spending the rest of his forty-three year sentence under house arrest. He was thankful that he still had his parent's home, for he was sure that Aberforth wouldn't allow him to stay in his. The thought of staying in that dingy bar sent a shiver up his spine. It may be close to Hogwarts, but Albus knew he and Aberforth had different ideas on what made comfy home. Not to mention Aberforth would make his life unpleasant even if he allowed him to stay there.
No, it was better that he was able to use the old house, no matter how many bad memories he had there. First his mother's death at the accidental hand of Ariana, and then Ariana's death afterwards.
Albus not knowing whose spell causing her unfortunate death haunted his dreams. Not to mention Gellert running before her body was even cold broke his heart and made him realize that Gellert didn't love him. Something that will be brought to the forefront of his mind thanks to the Dementors. A chill went down his spine. He had to pray that he survived the forty-one months with his mind intact.
The sound of footsteps brought Albus out of his thoughts. Standing up, Albus awaited his fate. He wasn't going to be like other prisoners that would kick and scream while being dragged to his new cell. He was going to walk out with dignity. And when this was all over and everything came to light, everyone will see that he did things for the Greater Good. Yes, some of the decisions were hard to make, but it insured that no one else had to make them. He'll be rewarded for everything in the end.
OOOOOOO Amelia Bones OOOOOOO
Amelia Bones sat in her office looking over the files recovered from Dumbledore's hidey hole. The information contained made her stomach role and wonder about the old man's mental facilities. Some of the crimes Dumbledore knew about were similar to some resent unsolved cases.
The only reason the deal with Dumbledore still stood was because Dumbledore vowed that he didn't know about any illegal activity, or even suspected it. That didn't make her feel any better. Knowing that some crimes wouldn't have happened if Dumbledore had done the right thing in the first place tried Amelia's restraint. If it wasn't for Allister dragging her out of the room, there would have been one less Dumbledore in the world.
Bringing her attention back to the papers in front of her, Amelia let out a sigh before pushing back from her desk. It was nearing midnight and spending another night away from home would not do anyone any good. She was snipping at already high strong and sleep deprived Aurors was a bad idea. After securing everything that needed to be, Amelia left her office and locked it down the first time since Sirius Black's trial.
Nodding at the Senior Auror that's in charge of the night shift, Amelia went to the appropriation point for employees and went home. A home cooked meal and some sleep in her home bed will allow her to think clearly about the entire situation. Like if waiting a week or two before adding to everyone's workload was a good idea or not. She really hated not having the man power needed for the situation.