CHAPTER 5: Poggle, George & The Dragon

The Library of Lost Wands,

Epic Potterverse Fanfiction set in 1919

by Antonia Sara Zenkevitch,

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The next day began in a subdued mood, but as The Eagle chugged out of Paris at 4 o’clock the grey dawn drew its first rays of hope in copper rimmed clouds. George was not dead. He had been attacked just yards from where Lindsay had been sitting, on the other side of the wood panelling of her cabin. Perhaps it was the person she had heard outside her door while listening in on Arnie Singh and his colleague discussing muggle peace agreements with the enigmatic Minister Moon. She’d assumed, from a pale reflection in her window, the scent of pipe smoke and sense of the sinister, that it had been Ebonine Filtch listening nearby in the shadows. But the attack on George had happened later, when everyone’s attention had been on the fate of a small dog, Bulstrode had been screaming for vengeance and Lindsay had been working out what to do with the strange parcel George had entrusted her with.

Only paces away the wizard had apparently been silently disarmed, stunned, obliviated and body-bound without seeming to have had time to put up a defence. His wand was still in his pocket. The whole thing appeared to be a crime born of panic, opportunism or angry vendetta rather than a cold, calculated assault she’d expect from her bone-pipe smoking chief culprit.

Lindsay woke and dressed early and quickly, feeling in her skirt pocket for the bezoar the wise and puzzling Eremite Borage had sent her. She clutched it as if the poisoning cure was a talisman. Yet it was hard to be gloomy. The first glow of morning was beautiful; the rythmn of the train on the tracks mixing with far off footsteps, creeks and children’s playful laughter. The rays shining through gold and lilac lined clouds defiantly illuminated every corner. The air smelled of baking and earth after the rain. A phoenix carved in the cherrywood panelling seemed to bask in the sunrise. As she watched it a strange sense of excitement enveloped her. Odd, she thought, as the bronze haired image of a smiling Percy Fleamont skipped briefly into her mind.

She left her cabin and walked restlessly to the end of Wildsmith carriage. Opening a window in the vestibule, she watched the last stars disappear behind brush strokes of sun. Pale gold fields were speckled with late poppies and bordered by the fleecy streaks of clematis her mother called ‘old man’s beard’ at this time of year. She could think more clearly here where the only sounds were birdsong and distant breakfast preparations.

Her thoughts returned to the events of last night. She pondered the connection between George, Bulstrode’s destroyed wand, Seamus and the unknown Sophie. She wondered how much her the loss of her twin and all the other missing seers related to all that had happened in the past few hours.

George’s injuries may suggest a frenzied assault, but it was possible the attacker had planned it all; from the distraction outside to sending George on a mission to deliver the mangled wand to Lindsay’s cabin. Could someone do all this just so they could ambush George in a long, lightless corridor? It was possible. The young attendant would be unlikely to use the lumos charm, because casting any light from his wand would draw attention to himself and his secret task. If that were the case George’s assailant would surely have to be someone able to manipulate and mislead others while gaining their trust. Why would anyone hurt the boy though? He had seemed to Lindsay a kind and thoughtful soul. Despite this, his enigmatic announcements in the early hours about her vanished brother had made her very uneasy.

If she was honest, there was an irrational part of her that was angry at George for being attacked. She had no idea how much of last night he’d remember after being subjected to the obliviate curse. An equally frustrated part of her felt betrayed that he should know something about her beloved twin that she did not.

She heard clattering behind her and turned to see a small head popping out of an even smaller service hatch in the next carriage. A tiny house elf wearing a starched white tablecloth was clambering out, her ears poking out of holes of a shapeless bright blue wool thing on her head bearing the legend Poggle’s Tea Cosy in bold yellow letters. Her hands were full of clean towels and bandages, her saucer-like, periwinkle eyes full of concern. For a split second Lindsay caught the elf’s gaze and saw a glimpse of what was worrying her. In that moment she saw George sprawled in the dark, his limbs at unnatural angles. A swinging door and retreating footsteps were the only signs of anyone else being there. It seemed this elf may have been the first on the scene.

“Poggle’s coming, Master Georgie” the tiny creature squeaked, twisting a stray strand of wool behind her left ear as she pushed through a nearby door. Quick as a shadow, Lindsay followed, allowing her intuition to guide her. When she slipped into the room she just had time to see the unconscious form of George on the bed before being shooed away by the startled Poggle.  Fanning Lindsay back towards the door with a towel while shaking from toes to tea cosy, the elf declared “Master George is not well and must regain his strength, Mistress, if you please.” .

“I just want to see if he is recovering. “, whispered Lindsay to the quivering, indignant elf. My name is Lindsay O’Brian, what’s yours? “

“My name is Poggle, Mistress Lindsay. Please Mistress Lindsay, Master is not well and must rest.”

“I’m pleased to meet you, Poggle. Please don’t worry, I won’t wake him. I’ll just sit here a while.”

The little elf looked away, pulling the blue tea cosy down over her ears, muttering and humming under her breath. Lindsay perched on a small stool in the corner of the cabin while Poggle bathed George’s forehead. The attendant’s sleeping quarters were compact and neat with fresh white linen on a small bed. An unusual clock hung above a chest of draws and a scarred desk. The clock had many hour hands, each inscribed with a cabin number and carriage. There was writing round the circumference of the timepiece showing what each cabin’s inhabitants were doing. The choices included hungry, eating, in bed, in lounge car and in mortal peril. According to the direction of most of the hour-hands, the majority of passengers seemed to be in bed at present. Two cabin occupants were in the corridors and someone in cabin 19 of Fancourt Carriage was needing assistance. 

Looking at the unconscious figure in front of her Lindsay knew it would be another attendant who came to the aid of the passenger in cabin 19. She guessed each attendant on the train must have a similar clock. It would explain their uncanny ability to know what each passenger wanted before the passenger themselves knew. How else could they do their impossible job? She looked for her own cabin; No.8 Wildsmith on the clock-face and found her hour hand was pointing to a segment marked visiting. She tried to memorise the cabin numbers in the hope of finding out who was where but something on the desk caught her attention. A green and silver snake was circling the cover of a book; The Dangerous Secret; a warning in time by Phineas Nigellus Black. She recognised the author as being a past headmaster of Hogwarts and a Slytherin.

Then Poggle spoke in hushed words that seemed to echo. “He doesn’t wake up. When he wakes he doesn’t remember.”

“I’m so sorry this happened.” Lindsay offered, but the elf seemed not to hear.

“I have been his Poggle since he was a boy and I was a small elf.”

Lindsay lent forward, wanting to comfort Poggle, but the elf moved closer to George, stretching out thin, agile arms; shielding him. Feeling for the right words Lindsay settled on “I am sorry this happened to your friend.”

“Mistress must not say I am a friend of Master!”

“I meant no offence, Poggle, I can see you care for Master George” Lindsay ventured, but the elf spoke over her, her voice shrill with feeling:

“I was always told; Poggle, Master George is not your friend, he is a wizard, you are a house elf.”

“Did Master George say that to you?” asked Lindsay

“House elves serve wizards. It has always been this way. Master Augustus says.” Poggle’s voice softened as she added, “Maybe Mistress Lindsay was bought up by muggles and does not know the proper way.”

“I think there is more than one wizarding way,” answered Lindsay, trying to hide her feelings as her gaze slid sideways towards the book decorated with the Slytherin crest.

“Master George is the only son of an old wizarding family” said Poggle, her chest puffing up with pride.

“Is Master Augustus his father?” asked Lindsay, then noticing Poggle flinch, she continued “and have your family served his for long? I don’t know much about elf customs.”

Poggle nodded to herself, looking behind her at the fitful figure of George whose head was bandaged, eyes closed in troubled sleep. She patted George’s knee as she continued in a tone of devotion, ” I am Master George’s Poggle. I will always be. It is not allowed for us to be friends. Master George’s father would not allow it. He told Master George. My grandpa told me. An elf’s place is to serve wizarding kind. It is the law.”

“Do you normally work on the train with George?”

“I followed him when he came to work on the Eagle. He said I didn’t need to, that it might be dangerous, but I did not know if the house elves here would take care of him.”

A thought was occurring to Lindsay; “Did Master George knit you that tea cosy, Poggle?”

“Master gave it to his Poggle when he went away. He said my head was turning the same colour as my eyes. He knitted this for my head and said it could be a tea cosy if I liked and a hat whenever I wanted. But I told him a house elf cannot have clothes. I wouldn’t be his Poggle anymore.”

Lindsay sat on the wobbly stool by George’s bed and looked at the thing on Poggle’s head. The holes on either side fit around the elf’s ears too snuggly to have been made for a teapot’s handle and spout. She, Seamus and their cousin Syd had not grown up in a house with elves doing their bidding as many wizarding families did, particularly those some liked to call ‘purebloods’. Yet she was aware generations of elves served some wizard families. Her only real connect with elves had been those who worked in Hogwarts, each of whom were industrious and rarely seen. Hufflepuffs like Seamus knew them best. He used to boast that, as their common room was near the school’s great kitchens, hopeful Hufflepuffs would sneak in for a treat. They found the elves only too happy to cater for midnight feasts and pre-dawn quidditch practice snacks. She knew that elves never wore proper clothes. An elf given clothes by their master or mistress was a free elf. Elves had been taught over who knew how long to fear this, seeing it as dismissal and disgrace. Lindsay suddenly found she did not know what to say.

Poggle began to sing, clicking her fingers so that the fresh bandages hovered by her ear, quietly unravelling and arranging themselves as she tended to his injured arm and rib.”We elves have magic of our own, oh yes, and my master knows.” Poggle chanted to herself.

“I can believe that!”

Turning her piercing blue gaze onto the witch before her, Poggle asked  “Who hurt my Master Georgie?”

“I don’t know, yet. I am going to try to find out. Is there anything you can tell me that may help?”

“How do you know Master?” answered Poggle, her voice still spiked with suspicion.

“I don’t know him well, but I like him” Lindsay answered truthfully,  then, trusting her instincts, she took a leap of faith and silently mouthed “He gave me the wand to hide.”

“The wand with the dragon heart” Poggle stated in wonder, her huge eyes welling with tears, her fingers twisting the blue yarn near her ears.

Lindsay cast a muffliato charm so no one else could hear them. She then told Poggle some of what she knew. After hearing and trusting the witch’s account the elf sighed and settled herself down on the bottom of the bed ready to tell her tale.

“Bulstrode killed my aunty, five years ago. She was a good elf, always followed wizarding law. Master George saw her do it. He is Mistress Bustrode’s cousin.”

“That’s awful, Poggle, did you or George report it?”

“Aunty was Mistress Bulstrode’s elf.” Poggle wept, and Lindsay understood. As far as international wizarding law was concerned, Bulstrode had done nothing illegal in killing Poggle’s aunt. Her stomach turned over in disgust. For a moment the two sat in silence, listening the whistling rise and fall of George’s breath as the clock whirred in the corner. Lindsay noticed that most of the hour hands were now pointing to in the corridors or at breakfast. Any enemies on the train were probably presently focused on filling their bellies. Poggle rested one hand tenderly on George’s cheek as the witch beside her took her other hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.

“When the dog, Rosa, took Mistress Bulstrode’s wand and Mistress Dorethia asked Master George to hide it” continued the elf.  “Master George bought it to me. He said he does not trust his cousin and wanted to see what spells it had cast, but it was too broken. Elves are not allowed to carry wands. It is against wizarding law. When Master got his wand for Hogwarts he made Poggle a pretend one, but the Mistress was not happy and burnt it.”

The clock clicked and whizzed, filling the gaps in conversation like a fourth person in the room. Poggle looked at her hand joined with a witches. A witch who wanted to know who had hurt her Master George.

“We house elves have magic of our own. Once, Master Georgie fell out of the high tree and his wand was hidden in the branches. I found it, Mistress Lindsay. I heard it calling to me. When I was carrying it back to Master George I could feel the story of the unicorn whose tail gave his wand its core. Master Georgie knows we elves have magic.”

“So, he asked you to tell him about Bulstrode’s wand?”

“The core is the heartstring of the dragon called Dordrax. Part of Dordrax still lives in the wand and she is angry. Her heartstring was not given. She was hunted by Mistress Bulstrode’s ancestors who stole her eggs to lure her into a trap. They had the wand made, binding Dordrax up in elm. Master George says elm is a tree of life and death. The wand was handed down the generations, never choosing any witch or wizard who has claimed it.  Dordrax has been a prisoner, her will taken away from her.  In the hands of Bulstrode the wand has killed creatures like my aunt. Creatures and muggles. But the dragon wanted to be free. Dordrax called out until the dog Rosa heard and freed her.”

“What happened then, Poggle?”

” I heard Mistress Bulstrode calling for her wand and I was afraid. Sorry Master Georgie, but I was afraid. I let my master down.”

“I very much doubt that.”

“We heard Rosa barking and Mistress Dorethia crying. Mistress Cordelia and Master Fizzy were arguing with her. Master George took the wand and asked me to wake Mistress Quirrel. When I came back, he was gone. I found him lying in the dark, alone.”

“He is safe now” Lindsay said reassuringly. “And the wand’s safe too, for now” she added, as much to soothe herself. “George is as lucky as a vial of Felix Felicis to have you.”

“If I had taken the wand to you he would not have been alone in the dark” the elf replied, twisting her small hands in her lap. “But it is forbidden for us to carry wands or to learn their magic.”

None of this is your fault, Poggle. George obviously trusts you, with good reason. I don’t think he wanted to put you at risk.”

“It was all for nothing!” Poggle cried miserably, pulling her hand free from Lindsay’s grasp before wrapping both arms around herself and rocking on the spot. But the witch was speaking to her in soft tones that reminded her of the lullabies she would sing Master George when he was little.

“It was for something, Poggle. Dordrax is now free of Bulstrode, and her story is remembered by you. The chewed up wand can do no more harm. It is hidden somewhere few can find and may well still hold evidence. We will find a way to punish that terrible witch for her unspeakable crimes.”

Poggle stopped rocking. She sat hunched over, her breathing uneven. Lindsay could tell she was crying.

“Poggle,” she said, very gently, “what was your aunt’s name?”

Poggle looked up, startled by the question. After a moment she said in a voice that sounded like the working of a charm “Her name was Epi Bulstrodelf”

Lindsay, feeling a tug of electricity in the air, answered “Where shall we take the memory of your Aunt Epi and of dragon Dordrax?”

“To the Keeper of Lost Wands.” the elf intoned.

Lindsay had never heard of the Keeper of Lost Wands but in the pit of her stomach she felt the occamy uncoil. It was as if in that moment she had become the occamy pensieve with the memories of centuries within her waiting to fly. It felt like the bird was within her, the parcel of lace, elm and dragon heartstring held within her beak.

The spell was broken by a knock at the door, followed by a gust of air as Cordelia, Fizzy, and Percy burst into the room followed by Amos Quirrel and an attendant Lindsay didn’t recognise. Everything happened at once, though it seemed like slow motion as the book with the Slytherin crest blew off the desk and a sheet of all to familiar writing fluttered out from the pages. It was Seamus’ writing; it seemed her brother had written to George. She wanted to look but Amos was cheerfully, firmly ushering them all out of the room.

“Breakfast, breakfast my dears! Merlin’s beard, you don’t want to miss the delicious spread we’ve laid out for you. George is in good hands, good hands.”

As Lindsay followed the curve of Amos Quirrel’s wildly gesticulating arms she saw something that made her breath catch in her throat. Her hour hand was now pointing towards Mortal Peril.

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CHAPTER 1: The Wyverns of King’s Cross Station

the eagle engine
‘the eagle engine’ digital collage and sketch on publisher by Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

The Library of Lost Wands

by Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

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Chapter 1; The Wyverns of King’s Cross Station

Above a sea of busy humanity, two dragons whirled watchfully in the sky, stretching their wings against the damp chill in the air above the station. They awaited the ticking clock. Soon they themselves would signal adventures to places hidden from the muggle world and known only to a few. King’s Cross stood against a pale pewter sky, wrought in iron, red bricks, glass, and defiance. Built to be the hub of a rusting empire, it had become a waiting room of lost worlds as people waking up from war and deathly epidemic, discovered renewed rhythms of life on the cusp of the new decade.

In the bustle outside, only a witch’s eyes could see the wyverns circling the great clock as it ticked towards seven. This witch was Lindsay Amata O’Brian, raven-haired, blue-eyed and slight like her beloved twin brother had been. Above her, the great clock chimed the hour and she quickened her pace. The wyverns were becoming restless, barbed tails swishing as a tiny belch of flames erupted into the autumn morning. It was almost time. She felt unfamiliar eyes and minds directed towards her. Working for the Department of Mysteries as Legilimens, she could read others’ thoughts and emotions and so did not trust easily. Stopping to buy hot chestnuts, she popped one into her mouth and smiled, tucking the bag into her pocket and checking her ticket. Just half an hour before the train would depart.

A stack of yesterday evening’s muggle newspapers fluttered in the morning drizzle. She grabbed a copy of ‘The Globe’, her quick eyes scanning the pages. There it was on page 14; news that British delegates were gathering shortly for the first council meeting of the League of Nations. She folded the paper, putting it in her carpet bag next to her copy of ‘The Daily Prophet’. This was a very different kind of publication. Delivered by owl and featuring photographs that moved. The front page featured a self-important looking man gesticulating grandly at the reader. The headline proclaimed “Ministry of Magic Meddling in Muggle Peace!” Unsurprisingly,  though the magical community had been forbidden from taking part in the Great War of the Muggles, thousands of wizards & witches had ignored the ban to protect their non-magic neighbours. Now it appeared ministry wizards were whispering in the ears of those at the peace negotiations.

There were other whispers too; troubling murmurs and prophecies of a wizarding war to come. It was her job, in seven short days, to get to the root of these predictions.  Like most true seers, she took visions of the future with a pinch of salt, believing the future, like the present, was capable of change. Completely accurate prophesies were comparatively rare, yet many predictions offered valuable and dangerous insights into possible tomorrows. Whenever prophecies came in clusters,  with seers forecasting similar patterns or events, the odds increased. Over the last seven years, registered seers had been disappearing and meeting with strange accidents. A fierce determination boiled inside her; one of those seers had been her twin, Seamus. He had always been better at divining the future. She had always been best at reading minds and emotions.

She took in a deep gulp of air and released it in a hot rush. Early on this autumn day, possibility scented the humming air around her. The station was awash with black hats and coats bobbing about like bubbles in polyjuice potion, lending a cloak of anonymity to tides of humans. Even the indignant hooting of owls went largely unnoticed as a steady stream of people slipped through a brick column between platforms 7 and 8 into a hidden world. She wore her grey cloche low, shielding her eyes from billows of steam while pulling the wide collar of her coat tight about her. Absently fingering the moonstone in rose gold that hung about her neck, she stepped forward. On October 16th, 1919 Lindsay O’Brien walked through the portal to platform 7 ½, King’s Cross Station carrying only her wand and a red, clanking carpet bag. Everything was about to change.

High above King’s Cross, the wyverns circled. There before her in all its promise and glory was the Eagle; one of the engines that pulled trains and travellers between the most secretive magical communities of Europe. The whole train was designed and engineered by fellow Ravenclaw alumni Amos Quirrel and Belgian Beauxbatons alumni Jacques Marc Lumez. The two brilliant muggle train enthusiasts had created the feat of magical engineering now shining before Lindsay. Long, sleek lines stretched in shades of twilight and midnight blue. A bronze insignia of an eagle was emblazoned upon its flanks, the great bird’s wings shifting; ready for flight. Elegantly curved culverts graced the base of each carriage next to shining bronze wheels that looked like clocks. The Eagle always ran on time. Hundreds of rounded windows reminded Lindsay of enlarged portholes. Yet one compartment appeared to be more window than anything else, steel framing glass that seemed to subtly ripple. This, she knew, was the dining car, which the brochure had informed her was magically extended to offer a small dance floor and bar.

Not, thought Lindsay sternly to herself, that she would have time to spare for dancing, though something told her she was lying to herself.

Lindsay surveyed her fellow passengers from under her hat. There was the usual assortment of travellers. The train would be busy. During the recent muggle war,  St. Mungos Hospital had treated a fair few injuries caused by witches and wizards being mistaken for a missile or enemy craft and shot at. As a result, no-fly bans were imposed, with many still in place across the continent. Yet there were those who chose the Eagle for the sheer opulent joy of it. Ahead of her, she spotted bright-eyed, eager newlyweds seeking luxury and romance. There would be muggle born train enthusiasts reliving childhood holidays and explorers on quests to find rare magical beasts. There would also be those who may pretend to be these things to hide other, more secretive purposes.

She could see the usual smattering of recent graduates from various wizarding schools, setting out or returning from explorations. Some of the recent Hogwarts leavers preparing to sample the magical world were easily detected. Their parents waved packed lunches at them as if a couple of cauldron pasties could last the trip. The same parents cast protective spells on anything they could wave their wands at, reminding themselves of first journeys to Hogwarts and the infamous Sorting Hat, but this was not platform 9 3/4. Wizarding schools all had closely guarded secrets. Along with several magical communities, they used protective charms to stop visitors arriving by apparition, or use of unauthorised portkeys. The train offered a way to monitor who came and went. It allowed those with apparition sickness to travel and provided a way for the adventurous to meet like-minded people and discover new places, including those they did not yet know existed.

At the far end of the sleeper, near the engine, was a carriage for families. In the distance she saw a sombre looking group inch into it, the children flinching at an older wizard’s words. Lindsay briefly caught the eye a young girl in the group before she disappeared from view. All around her passengers bustled, while house elves wearing a livery of starched white table clothes carried heavily laden trays, rattling bags, and outraged owls. An Owlery carriage was located to the rear of the train. Three witches from the Department of Control of Magical Creatures were scanning up and down, issuing permits and probing for stowaways. Lindsay did not recognise them; the Department of Mysteries in which she worked operated by its own rules and rhythm, connecting with other departments only when needed. The official closest to her was barking orders at a small family in front of her. She could see beneath the surface of this witch’s mind, to twisted thoughts that belonged in the wizarding prison, Azkaban. A bony finger pointed upwards to an ominous sign suspended in mid-air. Silence fell as they all read.

By Order of The Department of Magical Transport & The Department of Control of Magical Creatures
 Please have your wand and ticket ready for registration prior to boarding the train. Wandless and underage passengers must be registered on a responsible witch or wizard’s wand.

All magical beasts and beings must also be registered before travel.

Prohibited or unregistered magical beasts and beings may be destroyed by order of the Ministry. Owners will be charged for this service. 

Wishing you a lovely journey!

 THE MINISTRY OF MAGIC

Please be aware that smuggling nifflers, dragons or other magical creature deemed dangerous to passengers or their property is a serious offense.

 

A contingent of goblins moved forward. They were chatting in hushed tones with an accompanying wizard who was casting the charm, “Wingardium Leviosa” upon a selection of heavy trunks, floating them ahead of the group as they talked in intense undertones. Lindsay watched as the goblins were halted in their progress by one of the witches from the Department of Control and Regulation of Magical Creatures.

Speaking solely to the wizard, the ministry witch said, “Are these creatures yours?”

“No,” replied the wizard, then, upon noticing the witch’s raised brow, continued “we are travelling together.”

“You need to register any magical creatures you are taking before embarkation” the witch continued, probing each of the goblins, as a coil of measuring tape snaked around them. A quill and giant ledger danced in the air next to her left ear, taking down their particulars. “Name?” she barked.

“This is Gringlehop…”

“Not them,” she interrupted, her reedy lips pursed as her wand prodded one protesting goblin in the ribs “The Ministry requires your name.”

“My name is Fion Alba-Heinz” the wizard replied with a hard stare.

“And where are you travelling to?”

“Odessa, for business”

“Wand please” bayed the officious witch who, having finished probing the goblins, touched the end of her wand with his. “Alder and dragons heartstring, 12 ½ inches unyielding, carrying three goblins” stated the witch as her quill scratched furiously away above her left cheek.

“Actually,” Fion said, “I won’t be carrying anyone, Gringlehop, Inglehart and Grawgun each have two legs they are thankfully perfectly capable of using, you see.”

The three goblins laughed at this but the ministry official ignored the comment.  “Mr. Heinz, it is incumbent on me to read you the following”. She flourished the same scroll Lindsay had seen her use during the registration of magical cats and owls, and read aloud in an imperious voice

“This creature or creatures have been registered to your wand for the duration of your journey. Carrying them aboard ministry approved magical transportation makes you fully responsible for their every action whilst on-board. At no point during the journey can they be left unaccompanied, except in the crates provided. Please do not bring any hazardous magical creatures into the dining car. It may be necessary for you to re-register creatures at certain checkpoints, according to local laws. It may be necessary to destroy any creature that does not comply with these recommendations. You will be billed for this service. By bringing them onto the train you agree to these conditions.”

“Can my colleagues and I go now?” Fion Heinz said through clenched teeth.

“You may board the train now” she replied, waltzing off towards an attractive witch in her sixties wearing a mint green striped skirt and cradling a wriggling ball of fur. Lindsay was delighted to notice the dog grab the official’s wand, leap from the arms holding it and bolt across the station yapping merrily. Predictably, pandemonium followed. The fluff ball hid behind a pillar and started tearing into the wand with joy. Passengers jostled this way and that trying to dodge the sparks, blasts and bangs emitting from the mangled wand.  One or two confused passengers even drew their wands, ready for a dual. The ministry witch became preoccupied when a large man with a wobbling moustache blocked her path. The little Pomeranian scuttled away with its prize.

When Lindsay looked around, the goblin party had disappeared into the train. An elegant octogenarian, sporting a towering bun under an absurdly delicate lace hat, was being helped onto the train by two white-gloved attendants, six trunks and several crinolines floating in her wake. She haled the witch in mint stripes who was now chasing her Pomeranian down the platform. Lindsay thought she saw a tail wag beneath one of the elegant witch’s huge petticoats. The great witch and her skirts vanished from view.

Lindsay refocused on the emptying platform. There were the quiet souls here; whose air, like Lindsay’s, was of calm observation. Enigmas and assignments took them across borders known and unknown. They may camouflage themselves by blending in with the dragon hunters, vacationers, and engineering enthusiasts, or pose as honeymooners, or clerks, but they were here. Legilimens like herself reconnoitred information, aurorers; the world’s dark wizard catchers went about their tasks. Lindsay O’Brien knew those the aurorers were tailing were never far away. While she took in her fellow passengers, she was aware she too was being watched by both friend and foe.

Above her the wyverns called out, whistling and chuckling, their fire-belches mingling with the steam on the platform. The train would soon depart. Little did Lindsey know that this journey would change the course of wizarding history.

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