Slytherin game #8 (from Carobelle’s perspective)
It was raining. Again.
I was glad I’d had my hair treated over the break so that it was frizz-resistant. Some of the girls from the other houses had hair that looked like they’d stuck a fork in an electrical socket, except for the fact that Hogwarts didn’t have electrical sockets. Hogwarts did have forks. Of course, it was hard to picture some of the Hufflepuff girls without a fork in their hand. Hufflepuff girls apparently have to eat constantly to maintain their badger-ish figures.
I wondered why Rodney had been pursued by the vampires, and I had not. I was thin enough to be a vampire, wasn’t I? He reasoned that Madam Opeiri must be the jealous type and not want competition from a pretty girl vampire.
Rodney is so smart.
Having just left bossy Midge (the ghost house-elf that we think belonged to Salazar Slytherin) down in the lower area, demanding food, we hung out in the abandoned classroom above the dumb waiter, and thought about all that had happened recently. We needed more memory potion to jog Rick the Squid’s memory, but figured it would cost about 20 galleons, and that was a lot of money, even for me and Alastor.
Roy was still home with “narolepsy”, which sounded a whole lot like post vampire bite fainting spells, and also prevented us from figuring out why Duncan remembered seeing him in the grabber’s hut. Was he working with the grabbers? We needed more blood to open the Slytherin door down in the secret area. Lots more blood. Who knew chickens had so little blood in them? Midge the house-elf wanted food, but she couldn’t cook it, and we didn’t want to have to cook it for her.
Rodney suggested that Midge might track us down, and embarrass us in our classes if we don’t get her food. That would be terrible. She needs her own house elf, but they are super scared of her because, apparently, house elves can’t become ghosts.
Tale wondered what time it was.
We went to another classroom with windows to see what time it was. It looked like late afternoon, though it was hard to tell because rainy and grey looks the same any time of day.
Rodney suggested that we use Alastor’s briefcase to carry the food. We could put it in a different compartment than the dead chicken.
As we walked to the kitchens, we determined that none of us knew anything about ghosts. Would one of the castle ghosts tell us something? We agreed to not ask Peeves. I suggested if we could figure out how to banish ghosts we could deal with Peeves and Midge.
I wondered if they should try to get the cards back from Marcus, since that was a good way to get blood. That didn’t have anything to do with getting food for Midge or preventing her from bothering us, but I really wanted to figure out the door. Can you imagine how cool it would be to find Slytherin’s secrets, and maybe even that lab where you could make fame potions all day long, never have to go to class with that mean Professor Snape, and be the most popular girl ever.
We got to the kitchens through the pear-tickling method; thank goodness Cordelia figured that out from her Hufflepuff friend. We’ve talked about it and decided that having friends in other houses isn’t social suicide if it’s clear that you use them as your minions and spies.
When we got into the kitchen, things seemed to have settled down. When we walk in, things go quiet. The house elves look uncertain, unsure what trouble we might bring this time. Rodney goes in to get food. The house elves move out of our way. We put the food in the briefcase.
As Alastor opens up the briefcase, he finds some blue stones and old matches. He tries again. He finds year 6 transfiguration notes. Finds an old wooden yo-yo. It works like a real yo-yo. So cool. Alastor puts it in his coat pocket.
We return to the classroom with the dumb waiter.
Cordelia and Alastor go down. Tale, Rodney, and me wait upstairs.
Alastor gives us the yo-yo to play with. I show Tale and Rodney how it works. Rodney questions whether it’s kind of a muggle thing. Rodney teases me about knowing how to use a muggle thing until I feel like a super dork and put it away.
Rodney and me congratulate ourselves on not going down, assuming the others are now the ones at risk to do household chores for Midge.
Alastor and Cordelia get to the bottom. Midge is nowhere to be seen. Alastor finds the food and lays it out on the counter. They climb back into the dumb waiter. On the way, they notice there is maybe a millimeter of standing water like someone had mopped recently, or like something strange was happening. Cordelia plans to explore. Cordelia follows the water. It’s all over the kitchen floor. It’s not moving. Is it out in the hallway also, yes? They keep following. There is standing water everywhere. It’s about the same amount as in the kitchen.
Water may be leaking from around the closed squid door (the door to the room with the pool that’s closest to that squid she can talk to). Can they see through it? Is there a water level line? They determine that the modified door is no longer air tight. Some water is leaking through. They can’t make out how much water is on the other side of the door.
Cordelia attempts to re-transfigure the door, but isn’t able to change it.
Alastor and Cordelia head back up.
We ask if they got stuck doing chores.
Cordelia explains about the water leaking out from under the door.
Tale asks if Cordelia’s friend Rick the squid had any information that might help us know why the water was sloshing around up and out of the pool on the other side.
I figured something big had come up out of the pool to slosh all that water out. Creepy, right?
Tale wondered if ghosts care about water.
We wondered if Midge would feel compelled to clean the mess? Would that make her mad?
Cordelia noted that the door was still locked. She’d tried to re-transfigure it. They left the food on the counter, so maybe that will make Midge happy at least, and keep her from bothering us.
Rodney thought we ought to move on and get back to our rooms so we could do our homework. Nerd. Who wouldn’t rather investigate a weird door (squid door or blood door) rather than do homework? If he wasn’t so smart and cute, he would be hopeless.
Cordelia agreed that we could go back, but it was clear that she wanted to come back and look into this more.
Rodney suggested that I find some way to get my homework done with blood magic since I’m so good at it, and always looking for shortcuts. I glared at him, but then decided that even though he was teasing, maybe it wasn’t a bad idea. I asked Alastor if they still had the blood magic book. They did. Maybe reading one book wouldn’t kill me.
As we walked back, we thought about other stuff that had been going on lately.
Should we tell on Duncan for being squib-ified? Rodney thought we ought to tell the truth, and maybe tell Professor Flitwick since he’s the head of Duncan’s house. We could explain that Duncan’s in trouble and we’re trying to mentor him, but he needs more help than we can give him, and maybe the teachers could help him?
Alastor and I looked at each other, and rolled our eyes. You never talk to teachers. Doesn’t everyone get that, yet? The teachers are jerks. Tale must have been thinking the same thing.
So that left Cordelia and Rodney, who decided to talk to Flitwick before charms class.
Charms was our first class Monday after breakfast.
Rodney told Flitwick that Duncan’s having a lot of trouble with magic. He could barely get sparks out of his wand. We’re trying to help him (meaning he and Cordelia since they were the only ones there), catch him up. He needs help.
Flitwick thought Duncan just had some kind of confidence problem.
Rodney explained that it was serious. A “squib” thing! He asked Flitwick not to tell anyone, but wondered if maybe Flitwick could help him find some place where he can “go” so he’s not embarrassed.
Flitwick kicked them out of his office after that.
I explained to Cordelia that charms are hard because you have to use your wand. I asked her how it went with Flitwick?
Cordelia explained that Flitwick doesn’t care.
Big surprise, there. I tried to explain to her that none of the professors cared about anything, except to make fun of students.
Today, in charms, we learned a flame freezing charm. It causes a flame to stop producing heat, but still want it to produce light. It’s good if you drop something in a fire and don’t want it to burn.
I fail spectacularly at practicing the stupid charm, and cause fire to shoot everywhere. I covers my hair protectively with my hands. Alastor casts shield on us. Cordelia and Rodney succeed in freezing the flames so they aren’t hot.
Flora Carrow fails to dodge and her hair does catch fire. It smells horrible.
She has the nerve to turns around try to make fun of me like it’s my fault her hideous hair is even more hideous now. I respond with a withering stare (practiced facial expression #19), and equally snide comment: “Strong words from a girl whose hair is on fire”.
Everyone laughs at Flora’s pathetic attempt to try to make fun of me. She clearly doesn’t understand that you can’t make fun of someone more popular than you.
I decide to keep an eye out on what matters to Flora, with the hope of making sure she’s unhappy at some point in the future when she least expects it.
Though the days drag on, nothing seems to happen with Duncan. Rodney admits to Duncan that he told Flitwick. Duncan is worried other Ravenclaws will find out.
By Easter holiday, the attempts by the magic police to interview kids about Duncan’s disappearance have fallen off. Tale completely escapes being interviewed.
Mr. Dimes and his partner have both decreased the frequency of their appearance.
Alastor keeps Mr. Dimes’ bribe broom, but does not ride it outside.
Other than having to go to classes, it’s a great year to be a Slytherin. We have a ridiculous number of house points. For the sixth year in a row, it’s clear we’re going to get the cup.
Cordelia goes back to investigate the squid door.
She realizes that she doesn’t know the unlocking charm, and goes back for Rodney. Rodney and Cordelia go together. I wish him luck with potential housework from Midge.
Rodney unlocks the door!
They open the door. There is more water on the ground on the other side.
The pool was calm before, but now has some motion to it, rippling, etc. The floor is cut-stone.
Cordelia goes swimming in the pool. She had a swimsuit on under her robes! Rodney waits for her to be back. She’s gone a surprisingly long time without coming back up for air.
Rodney studies the pool. It looks like water is spilling out over the edges. He thinks maybe sand bags would help.
Cordelia follows the dark passage.
She comes back after about a minute of investigation.
Cordelia is clearly a good swimmer.
They go to the other side of the door. To try to transfigure it from the other side, to seal it better. They see a faint glow coming. Uh oh. Midge is back.
“Hi, Midge. We’re here to swim.”
Midge looks confused.
Rodney asks Midge how she’s doing.
Rodney is able to re-transfigure the door, and also re-locks it.
Midge is still confused. “You should not be swimming.”
Rodney asks why not.
Midge walks away through the wall.
Rodney and Cordelia head back.
We talk about our plans for the long Easter weekend, and for the upcoming two-week spring break.
Alastor invites Rodney to spend the holidays with him.
I decide to write my dad and see if we can have a party over at our house (the Nott estate) one night during spring break for all of us that are in town. I figure he’ll go for it because he wants Theodore (my little brother) to meet boys from Hogwarts that are a year older, and can help Theodore get settled next year.
But, in the meantime, I receive an invitation to go on a 2-week shopping expedition on the continent with some popular 2nd year Slytherin girls! So cool. Rachel Ethem herself invites me.
So, I have to explain to the others that we’ll do the party in the summer.
Rodney is really mad at me. He won’t even help me with my homework for awhile after that, so I have to ask Alastor who does help me, until Rodney must have told him not to, but Cordelia helps me after that.
It feels terrible knowing that Rodney is mad at me. He’s like one of my best friends.
But still, shopping with older and more popular girls? He has to understand that it’s for all of our good if I make sure I’m super popular. And, won’t that make him like me more anyway? The whole point of being popular is that people will like you.
Even Rodney. Especially Rodney.
After Easter weekend, the rain is still constant, but it’s nicer because it’s kind of a warm spring rain, rather than a cold winter rain. That’s what I’ve been reduced to. Comparing the quality of rain like daddy talks about the quality of various wines. I’m becoming a regular rain connoisseur. At least the humidity is good for my complexion.
Everyone’s talking about spring break plans. The Slytherins are clearly are more likely than the other classes to use the breaks for networking events, like the popular girls shopping trip.
Spring break is finally here!
It’s super fun. I’m the only first year included. It’s me and a bunch of only slightly older girls pretending to be adults while our governess’ take us around Europe. There’s a rumor that my father has been dating. I emphasize that Josephine Yaxley is pure blood, and that daddy needs a new social hostess.
Most of the talk is about what older girls are doing, i.e the third years and older. There’s always someone cooler and older to want to emulate.
I make sure to buy presents for my friends, so they won’t be so mad that I got to go on the super cool trip. I find a ceramic squid for Cordelia, a Croatian qidditch team souvenir for Alastor, a firefly ring for Tale who wanted something magic, and a book about being good at magic for Rodney.
I buy clothes for myself.
Then, it’s all over and we are back on the train returning to school.
I wave to second year girls, and they nod in recognition. Mission accomplished.
Rumor is there are new students. This almost never happens mid-year.
Is this to replace the ones that squibbed out? We keep an eye out for Duncan. Is he gone?
Josh (the dorky little Gryffindor that follows Rodney around sometimes like a puppy) turns out to have a twin brother Jeremiah, who’s new. I say “twin” lightly because they could not be less alike. Jeremiah is really good-looking and charming. There was some fear that he might be a squib, but now he’s on his way to Hogwarts. That must have been really scary, but he doesn’t show any lack of confidence over it.
Roy comes back to school, cured of naro-lepsy.
We wonder if new students arriving mid-year could be the benefactors of the grabbers. The second new student is Edna Partridge.
Neither Edna nor Jeremiah have been sorted yet.
Cordelia looks for her Hufflepuff friend Agatha to see if she’s made any progress with that synthetic blood root, that might somehow help with the awful endless rain. At least I think that’s what it’s for.
She finds Agatha on the train; she’s already changed into robe. She offers to show Cordelia her “cuttings”.
Rodney and me go looking for the other new student Edna, but get kind of lost. Rodney said something really funny, like he does, and we were laughing about it, and forgot that we were looking for Edna.
Alastor figured that the new girl was probably sitting at the back since she didn’t know anyone yet. He and Cordelia decide to look there, and find her.
They introduce themselves, and confirm that she is the new girl.
Apparently, she was being homeschooled, but her mother doesn’t want to do it anymore, so decided to send her to a real school mid-year.
Cordelia and Alastor explain to her about the houses, and how Slytherin is the best, but each house has something good about it, so she shouldn’t worry.
Edna wants to be in a house with lots of friends, and Cordelia mentions that Hufflepuffs are generally particularly friendly.
Cordelia tries to remember if she’s ever heard the name Partridge before. Is this a magical bloodline? She’s never heard of a wizarding family by that name.
Edna claims that her mother is a witch and her father is a wizard, but only her mother went to Hogwarts and she doesn’t talk about it much, so her mother hasn’t even told her what house she was in.
The train is approaching the station. Alastor and Cordelia come back.
They explain what they learned, and we wonder if maybe Edna’s parents worked with grabbers to get her magicked up in time to join mid-year.
We look for Graham and Roy. We find them. Roy acts like he doesn’t even recognize us. Can you imagine a boy forgetting me? Jerk. He explains that narolepsy causes memory loss.
We wonder how he’ll manage classes if he’s forgotten a bunch of stuff, and offer to help him.
The new password for the Slytherin common room is “Celebrity”.
There is no sorting ceremony, in front of us, but as expected Roy returns to Slytherin, Edna is a Hufflepuff, and Jeremiah is a Gryffindor.
And Duncan does come back to the Ravenclaws. We thought maybe he would not come back.
There is a welcome back feast. We are all excited to be able to cast magic again, except probably Duncan who can’t.
Tale walks by the Professor’s table, and gives a card to Professor Snape. Weird, right?
She says she got him a card over break to tell him how excited she is about class. She really is amazingly good at potions.
We notice that in double-charms with Ravenclaw, Duncan appears to be getting extra help from Flitwick.
Rodney tells Roy that Cordelia is good with memory potions and could help him get his memory back. He does not seem to want to take a memory potion, which is odd.
The memory potion brings out memories. It doesn’t, as we understand it, actually counter magically-induced memory loss which takes arithmomancy.
We decide that it’s time to jog Roy’s memory, whether he wants it or not.
As we organize “Plan Poison Roy”, I realize something incredible. We have actually learned something from the Professors at Hogwarts. Thanks Professor Sinestra! We’ve learned how to slip someone a potion without their knowledge.
Alastor and I chip in 2 galleons towards making more memory potion.
We discuss the need to make potions like restoration (healing) and anti-toxin ahead of time, so we have it on hand in case of emergencies.
Right after I give the 2 galleons towards potion making, Rachel approaches me about the unofficial pretty girls potions club, which is trying to make fame potion, and she asks me to contribute, which is great because clearly she recognizes that I’m pretty, but I’m running through my galleons pretty fast this week. I give Rachel another galleon.
Rodney and Alastor invite Roy to study with them. Cordelia and me bring in the butter beer, and everyone takes some and drinks it.
Roy goes into the memory potion trance.
When we ask him about grabbers, he gives this odd answer. Like almost out of a textbook, but a really warped textbook. “Grabbers are an underground society dedicated to helping those who should have magic.” Whoever taught him about grabbers, was sympathetic to them.
He confirms that his parents taught him about grabbers.
We ask him how to get in touch with grabbers if we knew people who deserved magic that we wanted to help out.
He explained that if you fit the profile, like the guy who come to his house said, that they’d help you.
The guy that came to his house took some of his hair, and his parents paid him a lot of money.
This happened when he was ten, so before the year started.
Roy – this Roy – doesn’t remember ever doing any magic.
This must be the real Roy, and the other Roy was a fake so they could sneak this Roy in once he was grab-ified. He’s got Duncan’s magic inside him.
He says the guy had a wide brimmed hat. Not a pointy one. He looked older.
Roy got his wand a week ago, before coming up to Hogwarts. When he first made sparks.
I figure that now that we’ve learned that he’s an abomination, we’ve solved both the mystery of Duncan’s magic and how to open the blood door, because this guy isn’t even a person. He’s a monster. A squib who worked with grabbers. We could feed him to the door.
Rodney works it out that the hair must have been for a polyjuice potion to create fake Roy. 1st and 2nd term Roy was the doppleganger. 3rd term Roy is the real (squib abomination) Roy.
We process the fact that all of our interactions with evil doppleganger Roy were therefore with someone in league with the grabbers, and maybe a powerful wizard. So, the grabbers already know that we’ve been investigating this. Scary.
We try to figure out what happened. Roy ran off on that 2nd trip into the forest, before the monsters showed up.
We only found the hut by accident. Roy never showed it to us.
I realize – hey, maybe that broken doll that we found outside the hut was the vessel required to move the magic from Duncan to Roy.
Alastor thinks he has the doll in his briefcase, and opens it up and pulls out the doll.
I think: wait a second, how do we know that any of us aren’t now the evil wizard doppleganger, who does know us well, come to finish us off? Alastor has a grabber-transfer doll. Maybe he’s about to attack us?
I cast Tarantallegra on Alastor.
He starts dancing.
Rodney casts shield on me. His first instinct was to protect me!
Alastor sets the doll down, and casts expelliarmus on me, causing me to drop my wand.
I admit that I over-reacted and apologize.
We decide that we need a special password / code phrase, so we can be sure that we’re us, and not the evil wizard doppleganger having replaced one of us.
After thinking about it, we decide it’s something unpredictable that a person couldn’t guess, even knowing a lot about us.
The question will be: What’s your favorite spell? The answer will be: Butter Beer.
This has all been pretty upsetting. Nothing is safe at Hogwarts. You don’t know if another kid is a kid, or somebody terrible.
We agree that Roy’s parents are to be blamed
They must have been ashamed to have a son whose a squib.
At Defense Against the Darker Arts on Friday, Roy sits near us. Graham is concerned about friend’s memory loss.
Later, at double potions with Gryffindor, Josh makes sure Jeremiah has met us all, particularly Rodney who is his hero.
Jeremiah is nice, and pretty charming, though we worry that maybe he’s a grab-ified squib.
He tells us what happened with his magic. It’s kind of embarrassing. Everyone thought he was a squib, but there he was on a rafting trip, and inner tube thing, and he went over into rapids, heading to rocks, thought he’d die, but just bounced up and floated, suddenly having found his “inner magic”.
Rodney asks if anyone ever visited him and took some of his hair.
Jeremiah can tell this is an odd question, and looks at us suspiciously.
Professor Snape comes in. He is his usual self, defending us against the jerky Gryffindors, and picking on them to keep them in their place.
Rodney advises Josh & Jeremiah to lay low in this class. Jeremiah does well.
When we think about it, the Blitzen family is an older wizarding family. They are almost always Gryffindors, and haven’t had much money for years.
I note that we should probably assume anyone without money can’t be trusted, because it could be a sign that their parents used up their money paying off grabbers.
As we’re talking later, we wonder how did Roy trick the sorting hat when he was a fake first year. We know that the sorting hat is in Dumbledore’s office.
We finally get around to reading the Slytherin house history book that we got from Professor Sinestra last term. We’re looking for references to Midge, his house elves, his section of the castle, etc.
Cordelia does some research at the library about ghosts, and how ghosts are made. We consider asking the Bloody Baron about ghosts.
As we’re leaving potions class, we run into Duncan Inglebee.
He mentions something interesting. He was packaging up his wand to send it to be repaired (because Rodney snapped it in half before, to give him an excuse as to why his magic wasn’t working).
And, anyway, when he was packing up the wand, he noticed that it didn’t have a core in it at all.
The core must have been involved in the grabber process when they took most of his magic.
Did they take his real wand, and give him a fake core-less wand when he was grabbed?
Is Roy now using Duncan’s old wand?
Duncan explains that his wand was an old wand, inherited from great-uncle, and not on record with Olivander. It was a 10 inch black walnut wand with a neezle-whiskers core.
Is Roy using the same wand?
Duncan is still at squib level.
Cordelia suggests that we mend the broken fake wand, and then we could substitute it with Duncan’s real wand, if Roy has it.
Alastor successfully repairs it.
That afternoon, in History of Magic, we ask Professor Bins about house elves becoming ghosts. He says a ghost fears death and has some unfinished business, but that ghosts aren’t covered in detail in this class until 5th year.
At dinner, we find out that a couple of students who potentially needed help “catching up” are now in remedial classes in the evenings and weekends, including Roy, Enda, Jeremiah, and Duncan.
It’s going to be hard to catch Roy alone now to figure out about the wand.
We look at Roy’s wand, just a glimpse, in classes.
It’s a dark wood. 10 inches, but that’s the most common length of wand, and one of the most common colors.
We decide to try to switch the wands during potion class, and will have to wait for the next week.
Over the weekend, I practice switching wands, like picking the wrong one off the table “by accident”. Rodney keeps reading the Slytherin book.
Every time we would normally see Roy, Duncan, Edna, and Jeremiah, over the weekend, we are told they are in squib class.
We finally see Jeremiah on Sunday evening at dinner.
Jeremiah approaches. “Hey, Rodney, right? I want to thank you for being nice to my brother. I know he can be a little eager. Our parents thought I would be the magical one. “
Jeremiah tells us that he’s trying to convince the Gryffindors that we’re nice, and not jerks like most Gryffindors assume. At the remedial classes, he noticed that Edna, Duncan, and Roy all commented on how we’d tried to help them, and he knew we’d helped Josh, and they are all from different houses.
Jeremiah seems destined to be a popular kid. He’s nice, and confident.
We have double-potions on Tuesday, and decide to try the wand swap.
Professor Dumbledore is teaching. Snape is on a week holiday.
We decide to try for it.
Roy’s made friends with an older Slytherin, and he and Graham have been hanging out with them.
I approach Graham with a question about finding blood.
I can get a better look at Roy’s wand. It looks old. The wood is dry with a tiny bit of cracking. It could be Duncan’s wand.
Roy sees me pick up the wrong wand.
I try to play it off. Oops. Picked up the wrong one. Once I have it in my hand, I can see that the two wands are different enough looking that they are not identical. There’s nothing to do but give Roy back “his” wand.