BOOK SEVEN AND THREE QUARTERS

THE DAILY PROPHET

A Prophecy: In a time of great danger a friend shall be lost. A romance that was lost shall be renewed.

The time is the future. Ginny is outside the Burrow. She is attending a wedding, she is looking across the garden at her and Harry's children. Among them, an 18 year old girl, with dark hair and dark eyes. There are also two boys, ages 14 and 12; and a girl, age 14 they all have red hair. She smiled at Harry, he smiled back. As she crossed the garden, she thought back to the year of the war. Thinking back, she couldn't have guessed what was coming, but the good and the bad still affected her nearly twenty years later.

Ginny's Memory

The time is February, it is the year that Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger would have been attending their seventh and final year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But, the last time they were seen was during Headmaster Dumbledore's funeral last June.

There were rumors about them being kidnapped by Death Eaters, and rumors about them being involved in attacks on suspected Death Eaters. But anybody who was talking, didn't know for sure, and if anyone did know, they weren't talking. The Weasleys had filed a missing person report on Ron and Harry and the Grangers had filed reports on Hermione with both the Ministry of Magic and the muggle police. Then, right before Halloween, an article in a muggle newspaper reported that the Mr. and Mrs. Granger had both disappeared. A report in the Daily Prophet quoted an unnamed source in the Ministry that, while the matter was being investigated, there was little hope since they couldn't find three underage students. The Daily Prophet went on to criticize Minister Fudge and call for his removal.

November and December were the worst, it seemed that every day there was an attack. One day there would be a report of a murder, the next day, a suspected Death Eater's body would be apparted into the Ministry or into St Mungo's Hospital. Soon, a pattern was noticed, every single Death Eater had their Dark Mark magically changed into a lion's head.

At Hogwarts, the rumors were just as widespread as they were in the rest of the magical world. However, the students had learned early in the year not to ask a teacher. Gryffindor was fined 30 points by Professor Flitwick when a second year asked about an attack and Draco Malfoy lost 50 points for Slythein when he asked Headmistress McGonagall. But, an attack story in the December 19th edition of the Daily Prophet got everyone talking.

PRIVET DRIVE ATTACKED

Late last night, a party of ten Death Eaters, led by Narcissa Malfoy, attacked the childhood home of Harry Potter. There was severe property damage on the block. The home of the Durleys had the back portion of its second floor destroyed by a powerful exploding spell. Five of the Dursley's muggle neighbors were tortured with both cutting and Cruciatus curses for information on Harry Potter's whereabouts. Two died and the others were taken to St Mungo's for treatment, two in critical condition one with minor injuries.

An attempt to break into #4 Privet Dr. was prevented by the arrival of five aurors dressed in full armor. Several of the Death Eaters were struck down and the rest disapparated from the scene. The identities of the aurors could not be determined as they were masked.

Mrs. Figg, the only magical eyewitness to the attack was reported to have stated that three of the masked aurors were wizards and two were witches. These individuals are assumed to be very powerful and potentially dangerous. If anyone in the magical community sees them you are warned not to approach and to report the incident to the Ministry.

Nothing happened the next day but everyone knew something was coming. Too many people were involved in the Privet Dr. attack. As owls delivered copies of the Daily Prophet to students on December 22 everyone saw the response.

NARCISSA MALFOY DEAD

Yesterday afternoon, the bodies of Narcissa Malfoy, wife of the prominent Lucius Malfoy, and three other unidentified Death Eaters were apparrated into the reception room of St Mungo's Hospital. The causes of death were under investigation, a St Mungo's representative stated the hospital cannot comment further at this time.

All four had their Dark Mark converted to lion heads.

An owl sent to request a statement from Mr. Malfoy was apparated into Daily Prophet offices without its wings. Ashes assumed to be the Daily Prophet letter were found in the owl's mouth.

The editor of the Daily Prophet has filed a complaint with the Ministry against Mr. Malfoy for the incident.

There was a special evening edition reporting another attack.

MALFOY MANSION DESTROYED

Rita Skeeter, a Daily Prophet reporter embedded with an auror patrol in the area of the Malfoy estate reported that an explosion was heard at about 6PM this evening.

The patrol commander ordered a search for the cause. Within minutes a report from the site of the mansion reported the discovery of a crater approximately 35 meters across and 5 meters deep.

The completeness of the destruction indicates that a very powerful spell was used. The exact cause is under investigation, although it may not be revealed due to a lack of evidence.

A Ministry official, speaking on the condition that her name not be revealed, states that it is assumed that this attack was in retaliation for the attack at Privet Dr. And goes on to say that Harry Potter is under suspicion. Mr. Potter, and two of his closest friends, Ronald Weasley, and Hermione Granger were last seen at the end of June and did not return to Hogwarts this September.

Percy Weasley, senior spokesman for the Minister of Magic, issued a statement that Mr. Fudge has ordered an investigation into the destruction and denounces in the strongest terms "…this terrorist attack on a prominent member of the magical community" The statement goes on to say that those responsible will be "brought to justice". When questioned, Mr. Weasley refused to comment on the disappearance of his brother, other than to say "I warned him many times that associating with Mr. Potter would lead to trouble. I wish he had taken my advice"

The regular edition of the Prophet for December 24th offered a story related to yesterday's events.

REPORTERS ATTACKED AT HOGWARTS

Two Daily Prophet reporters were severely hexed yesterday attempting to interview students regarding the events of last week. A reporter attempting to interview Draco Malfoy (17) was cursed by young master Malfoy, and in a separate incident another Prophet reported was cursed when she attempted to interview Miss Ginerva Weasley (16). Young master Malfoy's victim has not regained consciousness, Miss Weasley's victim was in a private room still trying to chase away bats as of this printing

The Office of the Headmistress has refused to discipline either student and has warned that reporters are to approach Miss Weasley or Mr. Malfoy at their own risk.

The editors of the Daily Prophet wish to denounce both attacks. For children of prominent families to behave in this manner is deplorable. We demand that compensation be paid to both reporters and that both families be fined.

For almost a week there were no Daily Prophet deliveries at all. The owl post continued, but there were no official statements from the Ministry. Rumor had it that the Ministry had been attacked by You-Know-Who, some students thought he was the new Minister of Magic. Finally, on December 30th, the Daily Prophet was delivered again. A small article caught most students' attention first as it concerned two of them.

ODD GOINGS ON AT HOGWARTS

What is going on between Ginerva Weasley and Draco Malfoy? In last week's paper, we reported that both students had hexed reporters attempting to learn more about the attacks of that week. On at least one occasion Miss Weasley and young master Malfoy were seen to be talking privately. Shortly after the incident in question, on December 27th, Miss Weasley removed her own hex from our reporter, then entered the main medical wing at Hogwarts and removed Mr. Malfoy's hex. Both reporters have resumed their duties.

Within hours of this Draco Malfoy disappeared from Hogwarts and has not been seen since.

The eyes of every student fell on Ginny for a moment. But the main headline was just too compelling to ignore.

MARTIAL LAW DECLARED

CORNELIUS FUDGE DEPOSED

In a surprising turn of events, there was an uprising of aurors December 27 it was joined by almost all aurors assigned to protect the Ministry. Minister Fudge has been removed from office, and a War Committee has been appointed to govern temporarily.

The Committee consists of three aurors, said to be from the Unspeakables Section and two teachers from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The identities of the teachers will not be published for their protection. The Committee will govern by decree until the current crisis is resolved.

See page 2 for a list of the decrees issued since the coup.

WAR DECREE #1

All publications are subject to review for content prior to release.

WAR DECREE #2

Security for St Mungo's Hospital will be taken over by aurors effective immediately. Auror injuries will have priority for treatment. Any treatment to a Death Eater must be authorized by an auror.

WAR DECREE #3

Security for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry will be taken over by aurors effective immediately. The Hogwarts members of the War Committee will command the security force. Hogwarts will be a sanctuary for the children of the Magical Community. Any person may be banned at any time for any reason at the sole discretion of the Committee. Anyone who violates Hogwarts security may be punished without trial, there is no appeal.

WAR DECREE #4

The Floo Network is suspended until further notice.

WAR DECREE #5

The Ministry advises against, but does not ban the use of Owl Post. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.

WAR DECREE #6

The Restriction Against Underage Magic is suspended until further notice

WAR DECREE #7

The Restriction Against the Use of Magic In the Presence of Muggles is suspended until further notice.

WAR DECREE #8

Former Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge will be held at a secret location for the duration of the current crisis.

The staff of the Daily Prophet wishes everyone luck in these troubled times. May the blessings of Merlin be with us all.