The End of a Voyage
Queenie, having returned to the entry chamber with her two disillusioned elves, left the entry chamber, thinking to herself: Only 45 minutes from when Mr. Zelos first told me about Lady Caro’s difficulty—“All in all a good day’s work.”
Looking around to be certain no one else was watching, Queenie removed the disillusionment charm from Mr. Zelos and Lady Caro.
“Although I would prefer to have you at our cabin in Scotland, Jacob is right,” said Queenie. “Given what we must do, it is better to not draw attention to ourselves through your absence. The longer no one here realizes that MaSA Mowbray has sold you to me, the better it will be for us all. Just do your work as you are ordered.”
“Zelos does, Mistress Queenie Kowalski,” said Mr. Zelos.
“Oh no, you and Lady Caro must call me Mistress Queenie until we are finished here and have left for Scotland,” said Queenie. “No one must know I am married.”
“Caro and Zelos does, Mistress Queenie,” said Lady Caro.
“And gather up the things you want to take with you and bring them to Jacob’s apartment when you can do so without being observed,” said Queenie. “And, if there is any trouble, go to Jacob’s apartment. Tell him and he will tell me. Don’t come to me, just leave.”
“Zelos does, Mistress Queenie.”
“Caro does, Mistress Queenie.”
Queenie finished the work she had for the day and waited. This would be Elizabeth’s last visit although Maitland was counting on two more before he would grab her children when she took them home at the end of the school year after their exams.
Elizabeth would come by her desk for a little conversation and a pastry for Calvin—just pleasant conversation—never any questions—never anything to alarm Maitland who always stood nearby. This, Queenie had arranged simply by being friendly where Elizabeth had no friends among witches and wizards. An explanation of what she would do for her and suggesting that she stop by before and after her session with Maitland, followed by obliviating all but the desire to stop by also helped to insure she would.
She switched to Maitland’s mind to understand what he might have planned for Elizabeth this afternoon, for this afternoon would be different. She did not expect anything different and she saw that in his smug arrogance he was confident that his tracking potions would alert him to any unauthorized travel or movement on Elizabeth’s part. He was pleased with his ability to monitor her from a distance without alarming her and causing her to act precipitously; he was content to have her watched through his maps. She kept to a predictable routine. Queenie smiled along with him, knowing that his efforts were for naught.
The morning dragged on slowly. Queenie, having completed her work for the day, busied herself bringing coffee and socializing with the other clerks. An hour before the lunch hour arrived, she disillusioned herself and went to the canteen where she waited for Maitland to arrive. He liked to eat before the canteen began to fill up with office workers off for lunch. He would review his morning’s work to see if he needed to alter his afternoon plans. He was thorough and meticulous.
Queenie had made good use of his officious habits; she could read his mind as if she were reading a list of things to do. Today, even without Legilimency, Queenie could see the air of self satisfaction he exhibited. But what she needed and found was to know that he planned nothing for the next hour and no exceptions to his normal afternoon routine after that.
Back in her apartment, she looked through the empty cabinets and dressers. She had, weeks ago, removed to their cabin in Scotland everything that she would not need for this day. She had removed, to Jacob’s apartment, all her clothing and sundries that she would need for the next few days. She did not sleep here anymore.
Dressed in the clothing appropriate for Mahalia Anderson, she would wait until the very last moment to take the polyjuice potion. She gathered everything, the polyjuice potion, the pensieve of Elizabeth’s memories, the package of clothes for her and Calvin, her copy of the Daily News, the two padlock portkeys that would allow her to enter and leave Ilvermorny, and the one portkey that would take her to England. She apparated to Jacob who waited for her.
Jacob took her clothing and watched silently as she took the polyjuice potion and rearranged her diadem under Mahalia’s hair.
“Be quick,” said Jacob. “Be safe.”
She kissed him, took from him the package of clothes for Elizabeth, disillusioned herself, and apparated to Elizabeth’s laundry. She verified that she would be unobserved and made herself visible again.
“Good afternoon, Mrs. Anderson,” said Elizabeth. “Do you have wash for me?”
“Good afternoon, Mrs. Wohlfort,” said Queenie. “No, no clothes to wash. Please sit down; I have some very bad news.”
“My children; has something happened to my children?” she asked not realizing that Mahalia had used her married name.
“No, your children are fine,” said Queenie, handing her the newspaper as she sat down.
Elizabeth saw a picture of her husband on the front page. She went pale as she read the article beneath the picture:
Three days ago, William Wohlfort, a former engineer at Westinghouse in Lester, Pennsylvania booked passage on a freighter bound for Buenos Aires. Two days ago at 10:15pm William took a 20 pound dumbbell and a revolver from his trunk; walked to the ship’s rail and without a word climbed over and stepped into the dark. Two other passengers and one crewman witnessed Mr. Wohlfort’s suicide and heard first the sound of the gun firing and then the splash of his body.
The crewman quickly threw a marker buoy overboard and ran to inform the helmsman. Even with the quick reaction of the crewman, it still took over an hour for the ship to return to the marker buoy. There was no sign of Mr. Wohlfort’s body.
A search of Mr. Wohlfort’s cabin reveled the following suicide note:
I have a memory of being happy once. No, not a memory, just a feeling that once I had a family and I was happy. I know that I once loved my work. I don’t any more. There seems no purpose to it. I have no past; I have no future; I have no purpose—no joy. The saddest part is that there is no one to miss me when I am gone; although, I feel there should be.
Queenie was deep in Elizabeth’s mind and when the shock and sorrow began to turn to hate and rage, Queenie bound her to her chair so she could not apparate and said, “Your William is safe. This story is a ruse for the benefit of Maitland and the MACUSA. I have met you many times before. I will now restore your memories of those meetings so that you will know. Then I will release you.”
Queenie took the pensieve from her shoulder bag and returned Elizabeth’s memories to her.
“You explained everything to me and the children last Saturday when we visited Ilvermorny,” said Elizabeth. “But I remembered nothing until now.”
“I had to tell you so that you would understand what I was doing,” said Queenie. “I had to remove your memory of much of what we discussed because you were being questioned under veritas serum.”
“You did the same for George and Annie,” said Elizabeth.
“Yes, I did,” said Queenie. “Removing short term memories is easy and safe; not like trying to remove long established memories of intense emotion—very difficult—very dangerous.”
“But why did you put me through such torture?” asked Elizabeth.
“I could have restored your memories first and explained about the ruse to deceive the MACUSA,” said Queenie. “But I—we—thought that you should feel the evil that was done to you; experience the sorrow, the hatred, the rage that you would have felt had the MACUSA succeeded. It was the only way, we thought, that you would fully appreciate the danger.
“But we must go now. Your children will be waiting by the pine.
“Change into the clothes I have brought for you and Calvin. Maitland put a tracking potion on your clothing. Take nothing but your wand. That cannot be tracked; it will on its own repel the tracking potion.”
When Elizabeth and Calvin were dressed, Queenie took a padlock portkey out of her shoulder bag and they portkeyed to the mountain top overlooking Ilvermorny. They then portkeyed to the solitary pine to find George and Annie waiting.
George was about to question when Queenie said, “No questions now. I will explain everything when you are safe in England.”
With that they all hooked their fingers into the shackle of the padlock and portkeyed to the mountain top overlooking Ilvermorny. Taking another portkey from her bag, made for this occasion, they portkeyed to the living room of their father’s house in England.
“Dad!” exclaimed Annie. “You’re alive. Mommy said you were killed.”
“Yes, I’m alive,” said William. “A very able wizard protected me.”
“You’re father and mother will explain,” said Queenie. “But first I must restore your memories and get a snip of your mother’s hair.”
Once Queenie had restored the memories of George and Annie and gained a snip of Elizabeth’s hair, she portkeyed out and left it to William to tell them of their new name and explain all that had happened to him.
Again in Elizabeth’s laundry room, Queenie sent a message to Jacob: All Royers are safe with Amos. See you in half an hour after I have finished the laundry.
Jacob’s relief was palpable. He thought to himself: Beloved, if you are in my mind now, you need to leave so you can focus on the mission. I will have coco for you when you are my Queenie again.
Queenie saw his thoughts and left Jacob’s mind to focus on finishing Elizabeth's cleaning, and restoring and packaging all the original clothes for return to the residents and hotel. She packed all of Elizabeth’s and Calvin’s clothes also, and set them aside for later. She would be back to put the MACUSA in motion. Now, it was time for coco.
“It’s so good to be back,” said Queenie taking the coco from Jacob and setting it on the table. “Back with you, back in your arms.”
“No, Jacob,” she said. “Do not worry. I know that Maitland has one of his obliviators watching Elizabeth’s movements on a tracking map. I have set Elizabeth’s dress to move about her laundry room. I have done the same for Calvin’s shirt and trousers which were also being tracked. There will be no unnatural stillness to alert Maitland.”
“I do not like just waiting,” said Jacob. “I wish there was more I could do to back you up.”
“But you have done so much,” said Queenie. “Every step I have taken after I first preserved William’s memories was your ‘recipe.’ “
“I know,” said Jacob. “Go now. Change and go inform Elizabeth’s manager and go to Ilvermorny; finish the transfer and come back to me before you put Maitland into motion.”
“I know,” said Queenie. “You don’t need to tell me. And yes, I will leave your mind as I leave you; I will maintain my focus.”
Jacob was silent as she changed into a copy of Elizabeth’s clothes and prepared the polyjuice to become Elizabeth. She could see his thoughts as he reviewed in detail the next steps she would take. She arranged her hair to completely conceal her diadem. Then, she was gone; back in Elizabeth’s laundry room.
Queenie, now appearing as Elizabeth informed the manager of the Hotel Bellaclaire that she would be leaving his employ and all laundry was ready for the hotel maids to pick up. The sudden unexpected departure was made somewhat less onerous when she said that he could keep her last pay. Of course, the mild use of the imperious curse helped him to find her offer quite acceptable and her command, to not go to the laundry or speak of her leaving for another hour, quite normal.
Only fifteen minutes had past since she had become Elizabeth. Quickly, Queenie walked into the lady’s room, disillusioned herself and portkeyed into Ilvermorny. Still disillusioned, she sought out the Headmaster.
The students were still meandering into the dining hall, although most were already seated. As the last students who had chosen to eat lunch were seated, the Headmaster gave the signal for the house elves who were gathered with their carts to begin serving.
Queenie removed the disillusionment spell and walked up to the Headmaster.
“Headmaster Lewis, I wish to speak with you privately,” said Queenie. “I must inform you of what I have done. I also have a few very important requests to make.”
“I think I can guess, Mrs. Wohlfort,” said the Headmaster. “I did not see George and Annie come for lunch. You have taken them, haven’t you?”
“I have,” said Queenie, breathing heavily. “My husband is dead, actually dead. They botched William’s obliviation. Maitland is as incompetent as he is arrogant!”
Taking a pause to catch her breadth she handed a copy of the newspaper to Headmaster Lewis. “I would ask that you not speak of this. I expect that Maitland or one of his flunkies will visit you in the near future. He must soon realize that I have gone. They keep a close watch on me. Just confirm that George and Annie are not here. Let him wonder. I must get them safely away before Maitland realizes that he can no longer coerce my cooperation.
“I have two favors to ask. First, I would like to gather George and Annie’s clothes and things, and I would very much like to get a copy of their end of term exams so that I can properly test them and know where they stand. I took them before exams so that Maitland would think that he still had time to act—time to grab them. I am sure he will come for them as soon as he realizes that William is actually dead.”
“I will see to getting you the exams, myself,” said Headmaster Lewis as he summoned a house elf to take Mrs. Wohlfort to gather her children’s possessions.
When Queenie had shrunk the children’s things and put them in her shoulder bag, she returned to meet with Headmaster Lewis.
“I wish you well, Mrs. Wohlfort,” said the Headmaster. “When you are settled, please write and let me know how you are doing and how George and Annie are doing.”
“We tried to live a quiet, peaceful life and we succeeded until Maitland and his gang of obliviators descended upon us and destroyed everything. I’m afraid it will be some time before I feel fit to write. I will keep us deep in hiding. I won’t be in contact with other witches and wizards. I do not know when it will be safe to emerge. I must stay away. I must give my children a chance.”
Queenie did not have to fake her feelings. The disgust she felt at Maitland’s actions and Picquery’s approval was made manifest in her expression.
“I do understand,” said the Headmaster, visibly alarmed by what he saw in Elizabeth’s face. “Perhaps better than you know. I am here if you need anything. You are not the first to suffer so. I know it will be hard, but try to not act precipitously; give yourself time to heal.”
“Precipitously!” retorted an animated Queenie loud enough to draw attention from some nearby students. “From the moment Maitland first revealed himself and his intentions I planned carefully, meticulously how I would recover our lives and bring William back to us. I actually looked forward to reliving his courtship of me, even as he learned about what had been done to him.
“Maitland destroyed everything. I was prepared to start over again with William; I never imagined that his obliviators would botch the job so badly as to leave enough residual memory in William that he would descend into such a deep despair and kill himself.
“Yes Headmaster, I will heal, but the hatred I feel will only grow. I will never allow this evil man a breath forgiveness.”
Thanking Headmaster Lewis for his offer and understanding, Queenie turned and walked away a few steps before she disillusioned herself and used the padlock portkey to portkey to the prominence overlooking Ilvermorny. A quick look back before she removed the disillusionment spell and she was back with Jacob.
Jacob said nothing. Queenie simply kissed him, and apparated to Elizabeth’s laundry room where she picked up the two suitcases with Elizabeth’s and Calvin’s clothes and portkeyed to the solitary pine on the Ilvermorny grounds.
She walked away from the pine toward the gardens of winding paths, streams and ponds, and secret vine covered alcoves. The azaleas were just coming into bloom. She thought that she would have to show Jacob after they were settled and she could do it without bring any unwanted attention down upon them. She disappeared all the clothing except for one of Elizabeth’s coats that had the tracking potion on it. She left it neatly folded on an old wooden bench beside a small waterfall and flowing stream. She then portkeyed to the overlook and took one last look at Ilvermorny before she portkeyed into Amos Royer’s living room.
Looking at Elizabeth’s astonished children, she said, “Polyjuice potion.”
“Are you Mahalia?” asked Elizabeth.
“I am and I am not,” said Queenie. “Everything is still in motion. It will be a few weeks before I and my husband settle in England. We will invite you over and reveal everything.”
“I never learned the name of the man who helped me,” said William. “Was he your husband?”
“No, he was someone else,” said Queenie. “Again, polyjuice potion. There are more than just me involved.”
Suddenly George interrupted, “Did you really make a portkey out of a gun? Can I see it?”
“It was the wizard who worked with your father who made the portkey out of a gun,” said Queenie. “He needed a portkey so that your father could portkey to the ship’s stern and not actually fall in the water. A gun fit with the suicide act that your father was putting on. And no, you may not see it.”
“But why did this wizard have to stay in the cabin with Dad?” asked Annie. “Why didn’t he just apparate into his cabin when Dad was ready to jump into the water?”
“The ship was in constant motion,” said Queenie. “It is always problematic to apparate to a place that is always changing position. It can be done with a special portkey, but that would require making a portkey destination of something in the cabin so that he would always go to that place no matter where it was. Doing so would be complicated. We wanted simple.
“And it gave him time to discuss our plans with your father. Mostly, he remained disillusioned while he was there so he would not have to continuously use the polyjuice potion.
“Which reminds me; I must be off before my current polyjuice session wears off. Your father can fill you in on all that was done. He knows everything. Just get used to your new names and stay away from the magical community. I will see you in a few weeks and we can meet with professor Dumbledore about your end of year exams and integrating Elizabeth Royer and her children into the magical community of England.”
Taking her leave, Queenie was back with Jacob waiting for the polyjuice potion to wear off.
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