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Artemis Trane sat in front of his fire as he contemplated what he had just seen. He had witnessed his granddaughter’s dreams and they terrified him. The trouble would come from within the castle, he was sure of that. He wanted to make sure that the girl stayed alive and unharmed, but something was standing in his way. Who or whatever it was intended to harm the child and he would not allow any harm to come to his granddaughter.

He remembered the days before he had been recruited by the Dark Lord. The days of his life had been happy ones with no clue of what was coming. He had loved his daughter intensely and had vowed to allow nothing to harm her. Then Voldemort had promised him power.

Power had always escaped him before that day. He had always seemed to be second best to all others. Many times he had been shamed in front of his daughter by other wizards and the hate had festered in him. He praised Merlin that she was young and had not understood the trials that he had gone through, the struggles that he had endured. Then suddenly, power was within his grasp, the path to it easy. He forgot all that was good and took the dark path before him.

He remembered the night that he had joined Lord Voldemort and others to visit the home of James and Lily Potter. Although he had not entered the home he knew exactly what was going to happen. The Dark Lord had come to eliminate those who stood against him. Artemis was no stranger to dealing death, he had done it many times, but somehow this time was different. He knew that that couple had a small son and he refused to harm a child. He waited outside and heard the sounds that emanated from the home. The baleful green light that flashed repeatedly through the windows gave testimony to the Unforgiveable Curse that Voldemort was employing.

When they departed the scene there was a difference in their party. Voldemort was gone, he had simply vanished. His followers scattered like leaves in the wind and Artemis had fled the scene as well. The Aurors had scoured the countryside searching for the followers of Voldemort. Defeated, he had gone home to his young wife and child.

When she discovered what he had done his wife forced him from their home and out of the life of his daughter. She refused to allow him to be anywhere near or to influence their child. The duel had been furious and she had managed to defeat him. Both had left the battle injured and angry. He had never forgiven her for forcing him to leave his home and she had never forgotten what he had done.

When the Dark Lord returned many years later Artemis had rejoiced, his life had purpose again. He watched as his master gathered forces to strike at Harry Potter and those who protected him. The first days of the war had been incredible. They had been unstoppable and the Wizarding world had trembled as they overran community after community. Then the Ministry of Magic had fallen to them and they knew that they had been victorious. All that remained was Harry Potter and his pitiful band of supporters.

The battle that nearly destroyed Hogwarts had been brutal. Many of Voldemort’s followers had perished in the fight. Artemis himself had seen many deaths on both sides, but he had no memory of the final part of the battle. He had lain unconscious while others died.

Now he had been hidden for many years, only occasionally venturing into towns and cities. The chance of discovery was too great. He preferred to visit at night when he could move with a lesser chance of being seen. Not that many would recognize him. He had aged over the years and the hard life that he lived had shrunken his body. The once fine robes that he had worn with pride were tattered and filthy. He had everything he needed in this cave.

He had once dreamed of returning to his family, but those dreams had faded over the years. Now his only chance was his granddaughter, perhaps she would accept him. He doubted that anyone in her family had ever spoken of him to her. As he thought about the life and love that he had lost emotion overcame him and he burst into tears.

While the old man cried about the shattered life that he lived another life was beginning to change. Beatrice Campbell now spent much of her time secluded in her room. Isabelle, the house elf, avoided the room of her young mistress. Beatrice had become cruel to the house elf that had served her since birth. She seemed to delight in causing pain to the servant. The elf ventured to the room only when she had no choice.

Beatrice sat in the center of her bed as she contemplated the fate of her sister. Maureen was facing years in prison after attempting to kill Elizabeth and there was little hope that the court would not convict her. Once that happened, she probably would never see her sister again.

Beatrice looked around the devastated room that she had once kept so neat. The walls were blackened from repeated blasts from her wand. Filthy clothing was strewn on the floor and the contents of drawers were scattered around the room. The once beautiful mirror that had once graced her dresser was shattered, the pieces lying around it. Her parents had once attempted to maintain the room, but had finally surrendered to her will.

They were actually quite alarmed about the transformation that their younger child had undergone. She rarely wore a true smile, it was more of a tragic parody of one. They hoped that they would someday find an answer to the puzzle that she now represented.

Beatrice looked up sharply as Isabelle warily entered the room.

“Miss Beatrice, your parents wanted me to let you know that dinner is ready. They request that you join them.”

“You may tell my parents that I will be down momentarily.”

Isabelle bowed to her mistress and quietly left the room. She didn’t see the expression on the girl’s face as the wreckage of her room caught her attention. Beatrice drew her wand and cast a spell that she had heard her father cast many times before. Instantly her room began reassembling itself and within a minute the room was whole and clean again. Everything was in its’ place and she gazed at it with satisfaction. She had made up her mind, she knew what she wanted. The girl left the room and raced down to the dinner table.

Arthur and Mary Campbell looked up as their child walked into the room. They were stunned to see her wearing clean clothing and a smile. She walked to the table and sat down at her customary place. Both of the looked at the other with surprise on their faces as the watched their daughter. She sat quietly as dinner was served.

“Mother, Father, when can we visit Maureen?”

“We had planned to visit her tomorrow. Would you like to accompany us? She would love to see you.”

“Yes, Mother, I would like to accompany you and Father.”

“Beatrice,” her father said. “I’m certain that your sister will be thrilled to see you.”

Beatrice nodded in agreement and began to eat quietly while her parents wondered what had come over their child. The dinner passed without disturbance and they were soon leaving the table for the house elves to clean. The girl walked with her parents as they walked to the sitting room. She sat down in a chair and finally asked a question that had been on her mind.

“Father, will I be going back to school anytime soon. I really miss some of my friends.”

“I thought we might send you to Beauxbatons Academy of Magic after the holiday vacation ends.”

“But I do not want to go to Beauxbatons, I want to go to Hogwarts. My friends are at Hogwarts and I want to be with them.”

“I am not certain that Hogwarts is the best choice at this time. The Blackwell girl attends school there and I do not wish to have more problems.”

“But, Father, I promise that I will stay far away from her. We’re not even in the same school house.”

“You attend some of the same classes. You would both be in the same classrooms at the same time. The potential for an argument is something that I cannot allow. I have had one daughter expelled from that school, I do not wish to have another leave school the same way.”

“But I would stay away from her, I promise!

“I will think about it, but I will make no promises right now.”

“Thank you, Father. I love you so much.”

She got up from her seat and threw her arms around her parent. Then she rushed to her other parent and gave her a hug as well.

“I love you both,” she announced to her parents. “I promise that if you let me return to Hogwarts there will be no problems. I will stay as far away from Elizabeth Blackwell as possible. I am going up to my room to relax.”

She turned and breezed out of the room. Neither parent saw the derisive smile on her face as she walked down the hallway.

“All that I have to do is behave for a while. I will be back in Hogwarts in no time at all. Then it is just a matter of becoming friends with Elizabeth again. Once I have her trust, I will teach her a lesson that she will never forget!”

She hurried up the stairs and down the hall to her room. Her parents would be impressed by the difference in the appearance of her room. She would be as good as gold while around them. As far as Isabelle was concerned, well she would have to be deceived as well. It would not do to have the elf inform her parents of the ulterior motives of the girl she served.

“It will just take a little time to get what I want. I am coming back Elizabeth and you shall pay for all that you have done to my family.”

She flopped back onto her bed and lay there looking up at the ceiling of her room. Tears filled her eyes as she realized that tomorrow she would probably see her sister for the last time before the trial. After the trial was over she would probably never see Maureen again. It was likely that Maureen would serve the rest of her life in Azkaban. She lay on the bed and cried herself to sleep.

The next morning she lay there as the sun began shining into her room. The night had been filled with dreams of laughter and tears. She remembered the fun times with her sister and also fighting with her. She remembered having to put up with bullying from her sister and the other members of Slytherin House, especially after she and Elizabeth had become friends. Then she remembered the beating that Maureen had inflicted upon her after everyone heard that she was friends with a Gryffindor. Scorpius Malfoy had been the most outspoken critic of the friendship and had egged her sister on during the attack. Malfoy seemed to relish the pain that had been dealt to her and always seemed to be around when anything happened.

“Miss Beatrice, are you awake?” Isabelle’s voice queried. “Your parents wished me to wake you in time for breakfast before you departed to see Miss Maureen.”

Beatrice rolled over to see the elf standing at the door. Isabelle had not approached the girl in weeks unless directly ordered. She actually feared her mistress after the girl had hurt her on several occasions.

As a house elf she was used to hard work and sometimes severe criticism, but abuse was something that she had never before encountered. She had served the Campbell family for decades, since long before even Master Arthur was born and had never been abused. The girls had been favorites of hers until the trouble had begun.

Maureen had always been pleasant to her and even treated her with kindness. The same had been true with Beatrice until her sister had been taken to jail. Now the younger girl was a person to be feared. Her moods changed frequently and the young girl reminded the elf of Bellatrix Lestrange on many levels.

“Tell my parents that I will be down directly, Isabelle.”

“Yes, Mistress Beatrice.”

The elf vanished in a puff of smoke as she disapparated. It was dangerous to walk down the stairs with Beatrice above her. She had been shoved down the stairs several times.

Beatrice dressed slowly and then wandered down to the dining room. Her parents were sitting quietly at the table as breakfast was served. They looked up as their child entered the room and smiled at her in greeting. She returned the greeting as she sat down at her place.

“What time will we leave to see Maureen?”

“We will leave as soon as we are finished with breakfast. We have to take the final portion of the trip by bus. They do not allow people to apparate into the jail.”

Beatrice nodded her agreement and concentrated on the breakfast before her. As she ate, she wondered what the inside of the jail looked like. She wondered about the conditions that her sister had been living in. She shuddered as she imagined her sister living in a filthy cell with rats for company. The girl had heard that prisoners were served only moldy bread and water to eat. It wasn’t as if she believed all of the rumors that she had heard, but they still bothered her.

When breakfast finally ended, the family rose from the table and donned their coats. They stepped out of the home, leaving the elves to clean while they were gone. Beatrice gripped her father’s arm as her mother did the same on the other side. Suddenly, they vanished with a pop as they disapparated to their destination. They appeared moments later at the station for the bus that they would take to the jail. The driver regarded them curiously when they told him where they were going as they boarded the vehicle.

The trio sat quietly on the bus as it transported them towards the building that housed the entrance to the Ministry. Beatrice could see the Muggles as they went about their daily business. She was somewhat fascinated by the way that they hurried about in their mundane lives. What she knew about Muggles was extremely limited, but she had heard that some people thought that the Muggles were not so unlike themselves. She settled back in her seat and looked out the window as the bus covered the distance. It abruptly came to a halt outside a large, stately building.

She followed the lead of her parents as they rose and then got off of the bus. They walked to a small, red building that was mostly covered in glass. The three of them crowded into the small space and it seemed to stretch as they did so. She was amazed as it began to sink into the ground after her father deposited some small metal discs into slots in a black box that hung on the wall.

Moments later they were standing in the center of a busy corridor as witches and wizards of all descriptions hurried here and there. Person after person appeared in gouts of green flames as they materialized from the floo network. Beatrice realized that she was standing in the Ministry of Magic. She started as her mother gripped her arm and they began to walk toward the lifts that would take them to the place where Maureen was being held before trial.

Once on the lift they traveled several floors down and sideways to reach the floor that they needed. She looked around and saw several officers and Aurors in the corridors as they tended to their business. Finally they arrived at the Office of Magical Law Enforcement and stood before a desk where a stern looking woman surveyed them.

“What is your business here?”

“We have come to see Maureen Campbell. We’re her family.”

“Wands, please,” the woman said as she extended her hand.

“Mother, what does she want with our wands?” Beatrice asked as she reluctantly pulled her wand from her cloak.

“We are not allowed to take them with us when we see Maureen. If we do not leave them here they will not permit us to go to the visiting room.”

Beatrice handed her wand to the woman as her parents did the same. She realized as they stepped forward that they had to walk through a shimmering cloud that filled the doorway. It was obvious that it was in place to detect any magical items that they had on their person. She knew that it also would detect any enchantments they might have upon them.

When they emerged from the other side they were standing in a small room. It had only one door and a table with chairs was the only furnishing. A glowing ball hung from the ceiling directly over the table. Beatrice heard her father mutter with disgust as he observed it.

“A scrying ball, it will watch and listen to everything that we say or do in this room. Nothing will be private here.”

They sat down on the chairs that surrounded the table on three sides and looked up as the door opened in the wall and an officer stepped into the room.

“You will be permitted an hour to visit, only minimal physical touching will be permitted. The room is being monitored at all times, and anything suspicious will bring an end to the visit. Do you understand these terms?”

The family quietly nodded and finally the officer turned and walked out through the door. Maureen walked through the door and took her place at the table. The group watched as the officer turned and left the room. The family immediately embraced as soon as they were left alone. Beatrice felt the warm tears as they raced down her cheeks.

“Are they treating you okay?” Beatrice asked quickly.

“They treat us quite well, actually. The food is really quite good and my room is comfortable.”

“You have not been mistreated have you?”

“No, Father, they have been civil.”

“Have you met with your barrister?”

“Yes,” she said a little sadly. “He has advised me to plead my guilt.”

“He did what?”

“He advised me to plead guilty. If I take my chances at trial it will likely mean a life sentence in Azkaban. If I plead guilty, I will be here in jail for possibly only ten years. At least I would still be young when I get out of jail. I could still have a family, get married and have children. I could be with all of you again. Ten years really is not that long, is it?”

“That would be your punishment?”

“There is one other thing. I will never be permitted to use magic again. If I do I would be sent immediately to Azkaban for life.”

The family sat in silence as they considered this alternative. They had been offered a chance to see her again. Beatrice looked at her sister and wondered what she would look like in a decade. Would she still be pretty? Or would she be aged? Would years in jail change her into someone else?

“What made you try to kill that girl?”

“I do not wish to discuss it.”

“You would spend ten years in jail for something that you do not wish to discuss.”

“Father, I cannot discuss it. I will not discuss it. The issue is settled.”

“Maureen,” her mother began. “Is there nothing that can prevent you from going to jail for years? Can we not fight these charges?”

“Mother, I admitted that I had done as they charge. I attempted to kill Elizabeth Blackwell. I used my wand to try to stupefy her while she was on her broom. Had I been successful, I would be on trial for murder and likely subject to the Dementor’s Kiss. I am guilty as they claim that I am.”

“Whatever possessed you to attempt to kill that girl? Did she do something to provoke you?”

“She caused Beatrice to leave Hogwarts,” Maureen said bluntly.

“You tried to kill her for that?”

“I was not thinking clearly. I was angry that a Gryffindor became friends with my sister.”

“But friendship between the houses is not forbidden,” her father said. “I had several friends that were from Gryffindor while I was at Hogwarts. Elizabeth is from a good pure-blood family. I have met them many times. Is there some other reason that you tried to harm that girl? There has to have been something else to provoke you. You are not like this.”

“I was not thinking clearly at the time. I am only grateful that the bee stung me and threw off my aim,” she said as tears ran down her face.

“When will your sentence begin?”

“I am to be transported to jail tonight. I have accepted the agreement with the court. They decided upon leniency because of my age. I only need you to sign the final papers because I am a minor. The barrister is waiting in the next room. If you refuse to sign I will be sent to Azkaban to await my trial.”

Arthur looked at his wife and nodded silently. A moment later the door opened in the wall and a tall, balding wizard in black robes entered with a sheaf of papers in his hand. He laid them on the table silently and then handed a quill to Arthur.

“This parchment, which your daughter has already signed contains her confession and agreement to the duration of the term to be served. This is an accommodation provided to her only because of her tender years. As I advised her, the alternative to this is life in Azkaban.”

Arthur looked at the paper before him and then took the quill. As tears dripped from his cheeks to moisten his beard he signed the paper. Maureen watched as her mother signed the paper below his signature.

“Very well, it is done then. She will be taken to a location to serve her term. If she is well behaved during her term she may earn early release. But I must impress upon you as I have her that she must never perform magic again during her life unless it is a life-threatening situation and it cannot be avoided. Should she ever perform unnecessary magic again she will immediately be sentenced to Azkaban.”

The barrister picked up the paper and silently left the room.  The family sat and talked quietly for the remainder of the time and finally an officer entered the room.

“Your time is over. She needs to be taken from here to the place where she will serve her sentence.”

“Will we be permitted to visit her there?”

“Yes, the Ministry will inform you where she has been taken. You need to say your farewells now. I will let you have a moment of privacy before I return.”

The family watched as the officer stepped out of the room and then gently embraced Maureen one at time. Beatrice looked into her sister’s eyes as they hugged.

“What do you want me to do?”

“Nothing but forgive Elizabeth, she did nothing wrong. I do not want you here beside me. Forgive her, please.”

Their good-byes said, the family watched as she walked to the door that had opened in the wall. Maureen turned to look over her shoulder, mouthed good-bye and then stepped through the mist before vanishing as the door closed.

The family looked at the door that Maureen had stepped through as it shrank to nothingness and then turned to step back through the cloud that had appeared behind them. Beatrice blinked back tears as she reclaimed her wand and followed her parents back to the area that they had entered the Ministry through. She knew that they would return to their home via floo powder and followed them to the portal that they had chosen.

Beatrice was confused, she had been ready for her sister to request revenge, not forgiveness. Maureen had been quite adamant in her request, Beatrice was to do nothing to Elizabeth. The young girl played it out in her mind and it confused her further. If Elizabeth was not at fault, then who was? She would have to find out and then make them pay.

She watched as the wide, busy corridor vanished before her in green flame. Neither she nor her family had a clue about what was transpiring in their home.

Miles, the ancient house elf that had served the Campbell family for generations, paced the floor of his small room. Unlike most house elves, he resented his servitude and the people that commanded him.

“Miles, do this. Miles, do that. Miles, clean up the mess that I made, I am too lazy to do it myself. Miles hates wizards and witches and what they have me do. This family is lazy, all of them are lazy. Miss Beatrice is the worst of them all. Sometimes Miles just wants to wring their necks in their sleep.”

He looked up as he heard the family appear in the fireplace. Soon enough he would hear the summons as he had for so many years. He remembered coming to serve the family centuries ago, when he had been young and willing. Age had turned him malicious and reluctant. Many times he contained the grumbling as he forced a smile while he faced his master. He looked down on Isabelle, his daughter, as she willingly served their family. She actually liked serving the family.

“Miles, come up here now, ” he heard the Master’s voice bellow.

The elf gritted his teeth and then walked up the stairs to face his master and the new task before him. He found the family removing their traveling cloaks in the sitting room and dropping them onto the floor. The family looked at him with annoyance clearly on their faces.

“Yes, Master Campbell,” he said while internally cursing. “What would Master have Miles do?”

“See to it that our traveling cloaks are properly cleaned this time. They were filthy and they reeked. I was ashamed to wear this out in public. Now do your job correctly or I will punish you most severely.”

“Yes, Master, Miles meant no disrespect.” The elf said as he gathered the cloaks that had been dropped onto the floor. “Miles will see to these immediately, yes, I will do just that.”

The elf vanished with the clothing in hand as the wizard watched him with fury. Miles reappeared in the laundry and set to work. The cloaks were a simple matter, dealing with the family was quite another.

“Things were much simpler in the old days, before Master Arthur and his family came. The old master was kind to Miles, the old master understood that Miles could be pushed too far. This master is foolish, he believes that he is better than I. He does not consider the fact that that Miles has forgotten more about magic than he will ever learn.”

The old elf finished with the cloaks and regarded them carefully. They were clean now, not that it mattered. The family was careless with their belongings, the girl especially. Her cloak would likely end up thrown on the floor of her chamber.

Miles looked back in the direction of the family’s quarters. He hated it here and wished that he could break the bond that held him here. Hogwarts was where he belonged, he had lived there may years ago when Master’s great-grandfather’s father had been a youth and had taken Miles along to serve him. Those had been happy years and he had hated leaving the school when the children had finally left the castle. He had never been allowed to return to the castle after that and it had pained him intensely.

But he often stole away to sneak into the school. The corridors were familiar to the elf, only the faces of the students and staff had changed. The people never realized that the elf was walking the halls that he longed for. Miles was very good at sneaking and poking into forbidden places. Many times even the castle house elves did not realize that he was among them.

Miles had seen what had transpired between his young mistresses and Elizabeth Blackwell. He knew that the girl was not at fault, but at the same time he felt sense of loyalty to Miss Maureen. The girl was the reason that Miss Maureen was to go away to prison. The old elf felt a pain in his heart as he thought about the child that he had watched grow from infancy sitting in prison. He hated the girl responsible for this, but did not know what to do.

He finally turned to walk to the kitchen where his daughter was already beginning to prepare for dinner. Isabelle was everything that he had once been, but she too was changing into what he had become. He had seen the gradual change in his child, especially in these last few weeks since Miss Beatrice had turned cruel. He knew the reason Miss Beatrice had changed and he feared what she could become. He had seen another young girl change like this and the thought terrified him. The other young girl had cost him his beloved son, Isabelle’s brother, Dobby.

The girl turned as her father entered the room. She had just finished preparing the oven to cook the meal on. A large roaster stood there prepared to contain the turkey that they had decided upon. The vegetables that would accompany the bird sat waiting for their inclusion in the pot.

“Father, you startled me. Have you come to help me with the meal?”

“Yes, child, I have come to see what I can do to help you.”

The elves were soon busy preparing the meal. As they worked, each had thoughts roaming their minds. Neither knew what the other was thinking, but both knew that now things would change. Just how they would change was yet to be seen.
 

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