It's not going to last long, though.
Sorry about the delay. Poking around in the heads of murderous cultists can upset the schedule. :blech: I could only take so much Manson family and Jonestown, though, so I'll let what's in the brain already perk around and see if Mathilde will do her thing now.
Table of Contents and Summary So Far
When Uncle Harry came in from guard duty to talk to Professor Longbottom at dinner, there was a burst of deafening applause. Honoria Higgs pushed her way up to the high table and asked if she could interview him about the raid. He said he'd have to decline, since the investigation was still going on. He looked a little dazed at the confrontation. Before going out onto the grounds to patrol, he took Teddy aside and said that he'd told the press that they'd been acting on an anonymous tip, as Greyback had quite enough reasons to dislike Teddy.
"But they were there?" Teddy asked.
"Exactly where you guessed," Uncle Harry confirmed. "I wish we'd got Greyback, but we got a good lot of them."
Teddy went to bed feeling good and useful, and somewhat pleased at having a secret hand in it all. When he drifted off, he found himself on Tirza's ship again. She had gone off to the island, but Holt, for some reason, had stayed aboard this time, up in the crow's nest. Teddy tried to talk to him, but he was too far away.
He overslept and was late getting into the Great Hall for breakfast. At first he didn't realize anything was wrong. It was a little quiet, maybe, especially after yesterday, but it was a Tuesday morning, nothing particular happening. No reason for a great commotion.
He didn't notice anything was wrong until he sat down across from Ruthless, whose face was pale and set, and beside Victoire, who was shaking her head at the Daily Prophet.
"What is it?" he asked.
"This isn't what happened," Victoire said. "It can't be what happened. It's Uncle Harry and Uncle Ron!"
"It's what happened," Ruthless said coldly. "But that doesn't mean it's the truth."
Teddy looked between them. "What is it?" he asked again.
Victoire handed him the paper, which was open to the center. A long article in small type appeared there, headed by an editor's note.
MINISTRY PERSECUTION OF WEREWOLVES
by Mathilde Dubois
The Daily Prophet received this communication late yesterday, via owl post. After much discussion, it was deemed newsworthy, though its sentiments are not representative of our editorial staff.
Teddy frowned. Across from him, Ruthless snorted. "Discussion," she said, obviously realizing that he'd read the editor's note. "More like trying to figure out how well their houses were guarded."
Teddy looked back down and continued to read.
The first known British werewolf, one Russell Marley, was captured in 1535 and sent to Azkaban, though he had committed no crime. Whilst there, he was deprived of moonlight, and died of injuries sustained by a violent, delayed transformation. Perhaps they knew no better then, they thought the transformation could be averted by denial of the catalyst. They've since learned better. St. Mungo's now provides a dismal hole in the ceiling of a London ward, where werewolves can change while bound to the walls or beds in heavy iron chains. The Werewolf Registry kindly places its two-meter square cages aboveground, in a rubbish-strewn alley.
Great progress overall, I'm sure.
Meanwhile, in the forests of Eastern Europe, a colony of lycanthropes has grown in more natural surroundings. Among the tree shadows and brooks and rivers, we have lived at peace with our neighbors, taken care of our own, and celebrated our lives, as every sentient creature has the right to do.
I can hear the outcry in Britain already. Werewolves! Murderous beasts! Unnatural creatures!
I will take a moment to point out that, until the interference of your Ministry, we caused such deep trouble for our hosts that they were entirely unaware of our existence.
Yes, that's right. No ravening packs, no stolen children... at least not until ours were stolen.
Let me tell you of our vicious life.
In the morning, we awoke to the fresh open air. We hunted and foraged for food in nature's bounty. We worked together to build shelter and educate ourselves in magic, as those of us who were exiled by our illness before school age were denied any sort of formal education. I was lucky--I had nearly completed my education at Beauxbatons when I took the opportunity to join this group, and my education, particularly in magical modes of transportation, has been my contribution. And how poor it seems in comparison to what I've learned about living as I was intended to live! A charm that aids in Apparating is an amusing toy, but it can't be eaten.
Once our study was past, we socialized with one another, grooming each other, keeping each other warm in the cold. We were free of any political nonsense, free of any need we couldn't fulfill for one another--except for the need for freedom from persecution.
On Sunday, as we sat down to share our modest meal together, a force of armed wizards, led by the British Ministry and Auror Harry Potter (rather far out of his jurisdiction) invaded our sanctuary, gathered up several of our members, and stole orphaned children we cared for and sent them to be raised by strangers. This last is a deep blow, as lycanthropic women can't bear children of their own, due to the violence of the monthly transformations--these lost children were the only ones we might have nurtured. By what right does the British Ministry choose who may raise children, and how, particularly among those not even subject to its laws?
That, of course, is the argument. The British Ministry complains that we have given sanction to Fenrir Greyback, who made the mistake of allying himself with the rebellion in your civil war ten years ago. For this crime, he was sent to your brutal prison, Azkaban, where he was kept in a small cage, even during his transformations. He bore no Dark Mark, simply fought on the losing side of a war. Let no one imagine that his lycanthropy wasn't a factor in the decision to imprison him. The Malfoy family, which was far more deeply involved, which provided a haven to the rebellion's leader, is presently enjoying a comfortable holiday, financed by an untouched treasure in Gringotts. Their children have remained with them. Fenrir Greyback, who simply chose not to live under laws that mistreated him, was imprisoned for life.
And why would he subject himself to your laws? Laws that bind us in iron, laws that deny our rights, laws that declare us "dark creatures"--and this is for those misguided lycanthropes who dutifully play along. If you believe I am wrong, I ask you to watch what happens to a Hogwarts staff member called Vivian Waters. She is a werewolf. She's concealed this fact. By the laws of the country to which she claims loyalty, she will be dismissed, unless someone makes special political dispensations for her, and that will only be because she has friends in high places. What is different about her between yesterday and now? Only what I have just told you. Even a werewolf like Remus Lupin, who fought side by side with Albus Dumbledore, was relegated to abject poverty, stripped of what property he managed to acquire, and if he had survived the battle he was forced into, would have been expected to continue barbaric registration procedures, and would be unable to hold the position for which he had trained.
Teddy stopped reading. The paper was shaking, and one of his fingers had shredded the corner. He could hear his blood pounding in his head. Nothing she'd said was untrue--except, he suspected, the part about no children having been stolen, and he was reasonably sure that Neil Overby would have something to say about that, though, to be fair, he hadn't disappeared anywhere near their camp--but the idea that she was using Dad to slur Uncle Harry and support Greyback's pack was... was...
"Teddy?" Ruthless said. "Are you--"
He shook his head. Beside him, Victoire put one warm hand on his wrist. He looked up at the high table. Vivian wasn't there. And he didn't think he was the only person in the room looking for her.
He gulped down a few breaths, and turned back to the vile article:
The representatives of this enlightened world of yours stepped arrogantly into a foreign land, using personal connections to gain permission from their lapdogs. They brutally stripped our brothers and sisters from us, gathering our children, screaming, from the only homes they knew. The last I saw of the child I was raising--a bright, beautiful girl with eyes the soft blue of a midsummer day--she was kicking and screaming as an ill-bred red-headed Auror Apparated away with her.
They tried to stop any of us from escaping by putting Apparition barriers up before they invaded, but, as I said, I have a talent with magical transportation. I was able to break through them. I suggest you all remember this.
You cannot expect to steal our children without consequence, to imprison our family without retaliation. Justice will come. We will carry it, but your Aurors are the ones who brought it on you.
Slowly, Teddy put the newspaper down. The threat of vengeance attacks, even the implication that she'd developed a way to get through Apparition barriers, seemed unimportant posturing. He'd make sure that Uncle Harry knew how she'd done it, so he could protect his family and Granny, but it was still his father's name, there in the midst of that bile that was caught in his mind.
The picture she'd painted of children frolicking at ongoing picnic denied everything that Teddy knew, everything anyone knew, but it was fresh and new, and of course bringing up the Malfoys had been a good trick.
He looked back at the high table. Honoria Higgs was trying to get Professor Longbottom to talk to her. He looked very irritated. He was trying to get out. Teddy guessed he meant to go to Vivian. Hagrid was already gone.
Teddy stood up slowly, ignoring Victoire and Ruthless. He set the paper down and went to the high table. He could hear Honoria now.
"...true that she's a werewolf? Was it Greyback who did that damage to her face?"
Teddy tapped her shoulder. "Honoria?"
She turned--giving Professor Longbottom a chance to escape--and said, "What?"
"On the train in September, you said you wanted an interview. Do you still want one?"