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History In The Making

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September 27, 1992, 10:30 AM, Ancient Runes Classroom, Hogwarts Castle

Adam Clarke

Today was the day.

September the twenty seventh had arrived, and the castle was still buzzing with excitement about the upcoming tournament. The arrival of the other schools had been a week ago, and the anticipation had become stronger than ever.

As I shifted in my seat, my mind was consumed by thoughts of the tournament. The images of grand battles and magical duels danced in my head, distracting me from the lesson unfolding before me.

Professor Bathsheda Babbling, our Ancient Runes instructor, was in the midst of discussing the intricacies of a particularly complex runic word. Her voice, though clear and engaging, seemed distant to my ears as my thoughts continued to drift towards more exciting topics. It was only when her gaze settled squarely on me, and she directed a question my way, that I snapped back to reality.

"Mr. Black, I believe you can answer this question for us. Can you tell the class the significance of the Ehwaz rune in this particular runic sequence?" Professor Babbling said, not looking as put off as I would have expected her to be. I supposed with all the excitement, she couldn't blame the students overmuch for not focusing very well.

The amused glances of my classmates, their expressions a mix of anticipation and expectation, were impossible to ignore. It was as if they sensed my momentary lapse and were ready to relish in my potential embarrassment.

"Watch him get this wrong."

Irked, I took a steadying breath, pushing my thoughts on the tournament aside and focusing on the rune before me.

"Uh, well, yes, Professor." I said, stalling to get my thoughts in order. A moment later, it came to me. "The Ehwaz rune, meaning horse, symbolizes a partnership or a cooperative journey. It's often associated with two forces coming together to achieve a common goal, like a horse and its rider becoming more than the sum of their parts."

Professor Babbling blinked in surprise before a smile came onto her face. She nodded, pleased. "Very good, Mr. Black. That's absolutely correct. Five points to Ravenclaw."

"The Ehwaz rune indeed signifies cooperation. Now, what else could it signify? Mr. Leicester." She turned her attention to the boy who'd been anticipating my failure the most. "Care to give it a try?"

"Erm… That is…"

I shook my head as the boy was mocked by the very same people he'd enlisted to make fun of me. Kids would always be kids, I supposed.

As the Ancient Runes lesson continued, my thoughts couldn't help but circle back to the tournament. The official start was less than a week away now, and the excitement was mounting. My mind wandered to the challenges that lay ahead.

Despite myself, I imagined myself standing in the midst of the dueling arena, wand at the ready, robes billowing with each swift movement. The crowd's fervent cheers and gasps of astonishment filled my ears as I squared off against formidable opponents from the other schools. Each duel would be a test of not only magical skill but also courage and quick thinking.

Call me crazy. I thought to myself as Professor Babbling assigned us homework and sent us on our way. I hurriedly made it out of there, not even bothering to acknowledge anyone around, so consumed I was by my thoughts. But I'm actually looking forward to this.

For all the horror, the pain and negativity that Grindelwald had brought me, his Symphony of Blood had been fun. Fending for myself in an inhospitable environment while contending with dozens of other wizards— it had been a harrowing experience, but an enjoyable one nonetheless.

Or, was that the Stockholm Syndrome talking? I shook my head.

Though my two situations were very different, I imagined the excitement would be much the same, though I was not sure if the students from the other schools would be up to the challenge.

Is it arrogant of me to think like that? I mused for a moment before shaking my head. I've fought adult wizards and Seventh Years to a standstill.

Granted, those very same Seventh Years had been under the Imperius and weren't exactly trained to fight me with anything particularly effective. If they had been lobbing Killing Curses every which way, we all would have probably died. As for the adults during both the Symphony of Blood and the summer attack, they hadn't expected me to fight back so effectively, to say nothing of the sheer chaos in that situation.

Still, I'd beaten them then, and that had to count for something. Moreover, I had not been idle during my time with Sirius. I had been practicing diligently, doing my best to improve my defensive charms and dueling techniques.

Judging from the looks on the students' faces, I could tell, however, that the competition promised to be fierce. That wasn't even mentioning the foreign students here. The thought of facing off against different kinds of magic users filled me with excitement once more.

What kind of tricks did they have up their sleeves?

These thoughts lasted for all of ten seconds until a sudden collision sent me reeling. I found myself face to face with a somewhat disheveled-looking wizard, his armful of scrolls tumbling to the ground in a whirl of parchment.

"My apologies, Mr. Black!" The man spoke, his tone devoid of the exaggerated charm I had come to associate with him. His gaze, a sharp blue that hinted at a depth beyond the surface, bore into mine.

Regaining my composure quickly, I bent to assist him, gathering his scattered scrolls while avoiding direct eye contact.

"I'm terribly sorry, Professor Lockhart." I admitted quickly, my cheeks coloring with mild embarrassment. "I should have been more careful."

Lockhart's response was less theatrical than expected. He nodded, his demeanor far more composed than the flamboyant public persona he often portrayed. "Accidents happen. Thank you for your assistance."

"No, no. It was my fault." I said. As I handed him one of the ornate scrolls, Professor Lockhart shook his head.

"No, it was my own mistake." Lockhart said with a wry smile. "I have been so consumed with preparations for the tournament that I have been forgetting myself and my surroundings. And, as I always like to say—"

"Be mindful." I said, quoting a line from the book he'd assigned to us. "Lest you find yourself in an untenable position."

"That is correct, Mr. Black." Lockhart beamed, showing pearly white teeth.

"Speaking of the tournament, sir…" I threw a look at the ornate scroll again, only for Lockhart to shake his head.

"Afraid I can't share any information with any of my students, just yet." He said. "But suffice it to say that my lessons to you all will be shifting somewhat to be of use to any of you who are partaking in the tournament."

"I see."

Lockhart smirked, then. "I will say this: it's not merely about victory, young man. It's also about asserting your presence and influence."

And there it is. I thought. I nodded, affecting a look of appreciation on my face. "Thank you, Professor Lockhart. I'll take that to heart."

With a nod of acknowledgment, Lockhart gathered his scrolls and turned away, leaving me with a sense of unease.

The encounter had been far from what I had anticipated.

Lockhart, compared by all to folk heroes, had revealed a more calculating and enigmatic side over the course of the past few weeks.

As I watched him disappear behind a corner, a haunting thought crept into my mind— one which had plagued me since I'd first laid eyes on Lockhart's surprisingly well-written and informative Defense Against The Dark Arts textbook.

How had he deviated so starkly from the bumbling, inconsequential figure I had come to know from the books?

My very presence had shattered the canon timeline of the Harry Potter universe, that much I knew. However, had I also somehow changed the past in a way? Had my arrival sent ripples both forward and backward, thus changing Gilderoy's competence at magic?

Was there an intricate design at play, one that cast a shadow over the very fabric of reality?

No, that didn't make sense. Accounting for the changes I'd observed, both minute and significant, Lockhart was still a ridiculous outlier. The difference in competence was as evident as night and day. Plus, if he'd been so good at magic the entire time, stories like the one Guffries told me wouldn't have happened.

Lockhart wouldn't need to steal other people's glory and pretend to have done their deeds for the recognition of the masses— he would have simply done everything himself.

Unless he enjoys causing people that sort of pain? Or maybe, it's possible Guffries is lying…

I shook my head. Whatever it was, something just didn't add up here. Maybe Gilderoy had undergone some traumatic event as a result of Grindelwald's actions, and changed as a consequence?

My memories of Lockhart's ineptitude and reckless memory charms, which had once been a source of amusement, now instilled a sense of dread.

Divine Sunderer… The words came back to me, and suddenly the brightly lit corridor felt as dark as the Abyss beyond the realm of the living.

I shook the thoughts away. Focus, Clarke. Focus on what you can control.

"Adam." I heard a voice call out from behind.

Startled, I turned to face Cho Chang, my body language unconsciously avoiding eye contact.

"What do you want, Chang?" I muttered, my tone tinged with apprehension.

Cho, however, didn't seem to notice my unease. She greeted me with a warm smile, her attention seemingly fixed on some distant point beyond my shoulder. "I was wondering if you've seen Marietta. She mentioned something about exploring the castle's hidden passages, but left the class too quickly for me to follow."

I sighed inwardly, my frustration mounting. Children just couldn't read someone's mood, sometimes.

With gritted teeth, I forced a polite response. "I haven't seen her, Cho. Sorry."

My gaze remained fixated on the floor, hoping she would take the hint and depart, leaving me to my contemplations.

She didn't.

"Oh, well." She said, shrugging for a moment before she fixed her gaze on me, a sly smile spreading on her face. "So, are you headed to the entrance hall? To enter the tournament?"

I sent her a look and nodded. "Actually, I am."

Cho's question about the tournament brought a slight relaxation to my tense shoulders. I glanced at her, our steps falling into a rhythm as we strolled through the echoing halls of the castle. Her curiosity was genuine, and for a moment, it allowed me to shift my focus away from my own introspection.

"I've been considering it for a while." I replied, my tone softening.

Cho's curiosity seemed genuine as she probed further. "But why do you want to join, Adam? You never seemed interested in that sort of thing before."

I pondered her question for a moment.

It was still relatively new, but an urge had awakened within me. The more battles I found myself in, the more I craved them. My desire to pit myself against the most powerful wizards and witches I could find, to test my skills and knowledge in the crucible of competition, to put my mind, magic and soul on the line.

It all held a potent allure from which I could not look away.

"Adam?"

Finally, I answered. "I think it's a chance to challenge myself, to see how far I can go, you know? Plus, it sounds like it'll be a lot of fun."

Cho nodded, seemingly satisfied with my response. "I get it. It does sound like an adventure."

I nodded, smiling a little. Even if Cho didn't quite perceive the depth of my desires, she understood them on some level, at least.

As Cho and I reached the entrance hall, a hushed atmosphere enveloped the space. A large crowd of students from all of the competing schools was already gathered, their faces a mixture of anticipation and curiosity.

At the forefront, Coordinator Griffiths stood before the immense wall, flanked by two less-than-imposing figures from the Ministry of Magic. The students whispered among themselves, their voices barely audible amidst the tension that hung in the air.

I turned to Cho, a sense of eagerness building within me. "You think the announcement has been made yet?"

"Not yet." Mira Goshawk popped out of the crowd, her eyes full of anticipation."But it's about to happen any moment now."

I nodded, my heart racing as I absorbed the collective energy of the students around me. The League of Nine Tourney was about to be revealed, and the thrill of the unknown was palpable.

The minutes ticked by, each second pregnant with expectation. The murmurs in the hall continued, growing in intensity as the moment approached. Coordinator Griffiths stood at the center of it all, her expression set into a knowing smirk.

We were barely holding ourselves back, and she knew it.

The anticipation in the entrance hall reached its peak as the bell chimed, the sound echoing through the grand space. All eyes turned toward Coordinator Griffiths, who stood before the immense stone wall, her wand raised in readiness. With a graceful flick, she conjured a large, blank tournament poster on the wall, a canvas waiting to be filled with the names of eager participants.

In front of the poster, a sturdy lectern appeared, its surface gleaming with an air of official importance.

Coordinator Griffiths raised a hand to hush the gathered students, the authority in her demeanor silencing the excited murmurs that had begun to ripple through the crowd. Her voice carried clear and strong as she addressed the assembly.

"Listen carefully, everyone." She began, her eyes scanning the expectant faces. "I am pleased to announce the commencement of the League of Nine Tourney. However, before you rush forward, please heed these instructions."

She gestured toward the tournament poster and the lectern. "There will be two categories in the tournament. The first is for those aged eleven to fourteen years old, and the second for those aged fifteen to seventeen years old."

A murmur of discontent followed her words, and I was among them. There was no point to me being a part of this if I was simply fighting against children.

Before I could voice my displeasure, a young student from Mahoutokoro, dressed in a resplendent golden robe, stepped forward and made himself known.

In a voice tinged with frustration, the boy spoke up. "Forgive me, honored coordinator, but I was led to believe that we were to be slated to do battle with those of the highest skill. Limiting the categories to age defeats that purpose, would it not?"

Murmurs of agreement and sympathy from the surrounding students hinted that he was not alone in his dissatisfaction.

Coordinator Griffiths, however, maintained her composure. With a calm demeanor, she addressed his concerns.

"I appreciate your enthusiasm and respectful tone." She said, acknowledging the boy. "And I understand that you may feel ready for the older category. However, we must ensure that the tournament is fair for all participants."

She paused for a moment, allowing her words to sink in before continuing. "Of course, we are willing to make exceptions. If any student under the age of fifteen believes they are ready for the older category, they may apply for consideration. To do so, you must prove your magical abilities or have a trusted member of your school's faculty vouch for you."

This addition to the rules seemed to mollify the young Mahoutokoro student. His expression shifted from frustration to determination as he considered the possibility. He exchanged a few words with his peers, and it was clear that the promise of a chance to prove themselves had rekindled their excitement.

"Will there be any more questions?" Coordinator Griffiths said before shaking her head at a boy in the back. I turned to see that it was Oliver Wood, Harry's Quidditch Captain. "And no, Wood. I haven't yet decided on the composition of the Hogwarts Quidditch team."

There was a small gale of laughter before Griffiths shook her head. "Line up, now, so we can take your name and category down. Make your decision wisely, students. This is history in the making."

"History, huh?" I shook my head but smiled as I got in line, seeing eager faces all around. "I suppose it is."

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Porpentina Goldstein

Weeks had passed since that pivotal first meeting with the President.

The man had made promises, and to Porpentina's surprise, he had kept his word, for the most part. Sitting in her new office, a testament to both her determination and the President's support, savoring a moment of quiet reflection.

The aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafted through the room, wrapping her in a comforting embrace. Porpentina moved away from her plush chair, giving a deep sigh. She cradled the warm porcelain cup in her hands, her fingers tapping lightly against it as she took in the view from the window.

She watched as the people bustled below, going about their lives in a city that seemed to pulse with energy. The streets may no longer have been as she remembered, but their occupants were always the same.

She took a sip of her coffee, savoring its rich, invigorating flavor. It was a moment of respite, a pause in the whirlwind of her new responsibilities.

Who would have thought I'd ever take this on, again? She thought to herself as she lowered the cup, staring at her own reflection in the window. Some would say I'm too old for this sort of thing, and yet…

Going through files may have been annoying and daunting at times, but the feeling of putting together the clues which solve a mystery always sent a thrill through her spine, even at her old age.

Yes, Tina decided. This was something she'd sorely missed.

Speaking of which… Turning away from the window, she cast her gaze upon her desk, where a stack of folders had been neatly arranged earlier, each one representing a puzzle waiting to be solved. However, to her surprise, there were far fewer folders than she had anticipated.

Her brow furrowed as she walked over to inspect the situation more closely.

With a sense of mild concern, she gathered the folders that remained and quickly realized that she wouldn't have much to do after an hour of work. This wouldn't do.

Was that all there was to it? She'd seen quite a few folders earlier, so how could this meager pile be the result? Was it an oversight? Porpentina's eyes narrowed as she contemplated the implications of this missing information.

Determined to get to the bottom of this, she left her office and headed towards the desk of her direct underling, Lewis Caboldie, a promising intern which Director Everhart had personally recommended. He was the same young man who'd attended the first meeting she'd had with the President.

Headstrong, eager to work but green as grass.

Porpentina's voice was calm but tinged with urgency as she inquired. "Why are there so few folders on my desk, Lewis? I seem to remember there being more."

Lewis, standing outside her office, hesitated for a moment before responding, "Madam Goldstein, those remaining cases were deemed unimportant. They were all No-Maj incidents, mostly minor disturbances and misunderstandings. The decision was made to prioritize more significant magical cases, ones that posed a more significant threat."

"The decision was made?" She said, tilting her head. "Made by whom?"

"Richardson, Ma'am." Lewis said, though the look of conflict on his face told her all she needed to know on the matter— office politics.

Porpentina's expression remained stern as she absorbed this explanation. She nodded, her decision clear.

"Retrieve the folders for those cases." She instructed firmly. "Every case, regardless of its nature, deserves our attention. We will not overlook any potential danger. That is the number one rule of our department. Is that clear?"

"Crystal." Lewis was already on his feet, ready to go. "By your leave?"

"Go on— and make sure to retrieve any other folders that have been thought to be unimportant as well. Understood?"

"Of course."

As she watched the young man go, she let out a small sigh. She wasn't about to let anything slip through the cracks— not on her watch. With a renewed sense of purpose, Tina went back to her office, and waited.

Her cup was long-since drained when Lewis came back, a large stack of folders floating behind him. With a small flick, he set it on her desk, making sure not to mix it with any of the others. "Your folders, Ma'am."

Porpentina's fingers traced over the folders' edges for a few moments before she glanced up at him. "Thank you, Lewis. Were you given any trouble?"

"As a matter of fact." He said, shaking his head in mild, controlled annoyance. "Mr. Richardson was certainly not happy."

"I see." Tina said, a small smirk coming onto her face. "Well, pay him no mind. Mr. Richardson is more than welcome to discuss his objections with me directly."

With that matter settled, she gestured for Lewis to take a seat across from her desk. "Pick a folder and have at it."

And so, seconds rolled onto minutes, which then became hours. The two worked as diligently as they could, combing through report after report. Eventually, the young rookie began to look impatient. His fingers tapped rhythmically on the armrest of the chair, and he cleared his throat politely.

Porpentina looked up, meeting Lewis's expectant gaze. He finally voiced the question that had been lingering in the air. "Madam Goldstein, I'm curious. What's so important about No-Maj cases? Why are you so insistent on reviewing them personally? There obviously doesn't seem to be anything magically suspicious about these cases."

Porpentina leaned back in her chair, her expression thoughtful. She understood that her priorities might seem unconventional to some, but they more often than not got results.

"Lewis, No-Maj cases may appear insignificant on the surface, but they often reveal a broader pattern. Small disturbances can sometimes be the early warning signs of more significant problems." She said. "As Aurors, our duty is not just to maintain the peace within the magical community but to ensure harmony with the No-Maj world as well. Ignoring these cases can lead to larger conflicts down the road."

She paused for a moment, her gaze locked with Lewis'. "Furthermore, every No-Maj life matters just as much as any magical one. It's our responsibility to protect and serve them too, to prevent injustice and harm. As the President said, the ties between the MACUSA and the No-Maj government are tenuous. By overlooking these cases, we risk losing their trust and goodwill altogether."

"I see." He said, nodding in agreement. "Objectively, there is no reason that we should ignore any of these cases, because of their net benefit, even if they lead nowhere?"

"Indeed."

Porpentina handed Lewis one of the folders she had set aside as concerning, her gaze unwavering as she observed him closely. "Try this one, for example. What do you see?"

Lewis opened the folder and began to read through the report. "A series of unexplainable disappearances… Three children with no known families, vanishing without a trace, never heard from again. Doesn't seem to be particularly suspicious to me— not on the magical side, anyway."

Porpentina watched his expressions closely, waiting for the realization to dawn on him. She spoke softly but firmly. "Read it again, Lewis. Pay attention to the details."

He furrowed his brow and returned to the report, reading it more attentively this time. As he delved deeper into the case, his confusion transformed into astonishment mixed in with some mild dread.

"They're all born on the third day of March." He said aloud, a sense of realization coloring his words. "And they disappear on that same day. Three different kids born on the third of March…"

Porpentina nodded in affirmation. "Exactly. March third, the third day of the third month, three children— the number three is numerically significant in magical practices. It's often associated with powerful rituals and enchantments.

"These disappearances can't be mere coincidences, then." Lewis nodded. "There's a clear pattern."

"And yet." Porpentina said. "There's no true evidence of magical wrongdoing, is there?"

"No." And so the man deflated for a moment before pulling himself together, thinking deeply. "The magicals are employing the services of No-Majes?"

"Precisely."

"Then…"

Porpentina waited, smiling inwardly. This young man was certainly promising.

"We can…" He said, unsure of his own words for a few moments before he pushed forward. "We should investigate their last known locations, see if we can pick up their trail."

"That." Porpentina said with a nod, sending the man a smile. "Is the correct answer. Do you understand now?"

"I think so."

"In that case, I order you to go through the pile of cases you dismissed when we get back." Porpentina said, getting up.

"Get back?" He said, startled as he looked up at her. "From where?"

"Time for some field work, Mr. Caboldie." Porpentina smiled, feeling a rush of energy go through her. "Let's get to work."

This is what she lived for.

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