Based on a true story as recounted by Zoë @SnitchesWitch
Justice for Melinda. Part Nine.
The Curse Breaker
Weasley’s oldest brother looked just like what I imagined a Curse Breaker would look. The long hair tied back in a ponytail, the fang earring, the tanned skin, the scars on the side of his face…Even his clothes made him look ready to go out on an adventure. Which was strange, considering we were meeting him in his office in Gringotts.
“This better be important,” he said, as soon as we walked into the office.
“Hi, Ron, how are you? It’s good to see you,” muttered Weasley, slumping down in one of the two chairs and grabbing a bowl of sweets from the table. I took the other chair.
“Thank you for meeting us, Mr Weasley.”
“Bill. It’s not a problem, I’m always happy to help anyone who can put up with this git for more than a few minutes.”
“Oy,” replied Weasley, his mouth already filled with sweets.
“So how can I help you, miss Bones,” he said, with a charming smile.
“Ushan, please,” I said with a smile, trying to ignore Weasley’s snort next to me. “I am in charge of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force, and your brother is helping us investigate a series of attacks and the murder of an Auror and one of our agents.”
“I’m very sorry to hear that. I’ll be happy to help in any way I can.”
“We believe the attackers are after the Sand of Time. Our research indicates the Sand was originally found by Goblins and sold to the Ministry.”
He tensed a little, but kept the smile. “That was long before my time. And Gringotts doesn’t work with the Sand any more. I believe it was all sold to the Ministry decades ago to make Time-Turners.”
“That is my understanding as well. But the reason we are here is because your brother believes you might be able to tell us more about the Sand. We need to understand why this group wants it so badly.”
“I’m not sure how much help I can be, unfortunately.”
“Codswallop. I can tell when you’re lying Bill. What do you know?”
With an annoyed look, Bill Weasley grabbed his wand. With a complex series of movements I had never seen before, he silenced the room. All the while scowling at his younger brother.
“You can’t just come in here and start asking questions like that,” he said, as he put the wand away. “Are you trying to get me fired?”
“So there is something then,” Weasley said with a grin. Then he turned to me. “Told you.”
“Tell me what you know, and then I’ll decide whether I’ll put my arse on the line to help a little tosser like you.”
The story so far
Weasley looked at me and gave me a nod. I supposed I would be doing the talking. Hoping we could trust Bill Weasley with some of our not-quite-lawful actions, I told him what we knew.
I told him what Thompson had said. And what had happened to Melinda. I told him who we believed the mysterious figures were. His expression kept changing as he took the information in. Some things made him seem confused. At other times he nodded as if what I said made perfect sense. I had no idea what was going through his brain. But more and more he looked like he was willing to help.
When I was finished he was quiet for a few long minutes. I could hear Weasley chewing next to me. I sat there waiting, hoping to finally get some answers. And trying hard not to jinx the glutton sitting beside me. At least until I got some answers from his brother.
“What I’m going to tell you is confidential,” Bill Weasley finally said. “If you use this information you better come up with a credible explanation of how you got it that doesn’t involve me. You drag me into this, Ronald, and you’ll spend the rest of your days trying to find your way out of Gringott’s subbasement.”
“You can’t do anything to me or Mum will have your hide,” Weasley said, propping his feet on his brothers’ desk.
“No one will know,” I said, and used a Stinging Jinx on Weasley’s legs.
The Sand of Time
“I think I like you,” said Bill Weasley, when he was finished laughing. “Alright, so the Sand of Time comes from Egypt. Ancient Egyptians were incredibly creative in their use of magic. Although they didn’t have the means to meddle with time in a controlled manner. Not like modern wizards did with Time-Turners.”
“So what can the Sand do?”
“I did a lot of research on the Sand when I was first sent to work in Egypt. There are some rituals that use the Sand. Very Dark magic. I don’t know of anyone who tried them, of course. All I know came from researching ancient texts.”
“What were the rituals for?” I asked.
“They were used to bring back those who were at the very brink of death. From what we know, the ritual required two people. The recipient and the sacrifice. They put the Sand in a special potion and gave it to them both. Then a spell would make the Sand spread throughout their bodies. The third part or the ritual would absorb the sacrifice’s time, or life force, and give it to the witch or wizard who was dying. In simple terms, the Sand was used for one person to absorb the life out of another.”
“That is horrible,” Weasley mumbled. “Why would they do that?”
“They didn’t use those rituals often. And they were generally reserved for very powerful, very important wizarding figures.”
“Do you think they might be trying to recreate those rituals now?” I asked, horrified at the idea.
A dark transformation
“I’m not sure there is enough information for anyone to try it, most of the details were lost centuries ago. But it is possible. Or perhaps they want to try something similar. There are no more known uses of the Sand, at least none I ever heard of. So if Ron is right and those creatures are, in fact, former Death Eaters…They could be trying to go back to what they were. And who knows how the Calamity might affect all this.”
“If the Sand can do that…they will do anything they can to get their hands on it.”
“That might be why Harry was trying to bring it to Gringotts,” Bill said. “There’s no safer place.”
“Harry knew all of this?” Weasley asked, the tips of his ears turning as red as his hair.
“I don’t know how much he knew, but he was the one that contacted us about the transport.”
“That bloody liar.”
“It’s his job, Ron. And as far as I know, the Sand is still at the Ministry, under his watch. But there’s one other thing you need to figure out.”
“What’s that?” I asked, leaning forward. It felt we were finally making progress.
“All four Death Eaters were Kissed. And from what you said you saw of the attack, they don’t really look human any more. So what is happening to them?”
“Do you think they are degrading or dying in some way and want to use the Sand to save themselves?”
“It’s the only thing that makes sense. But what’s important is the way they are changing. Think of the way you described them to me. The robes, the way they looked, as if they were made of darkness. I think they are transforming.”
The importance of friends, family and contacts
“I can’t answer that for you, I don’t know enough. You need an expert. Them being Death Eaters wasn’t the only thing they had in common. They were Kissed, all four of them. You need to talk to someone who knows more about Dementors. Who knows what happens to those who are Kissed, when they are not kept in Stasis at the Ministry.”
“Any bright ideas on who to ask?”
“Don’t be such a prat, Ronald. I’m trying to help you. I’m risking my career here.”
“Sorry, you’re right,” Weasley said. Then cleared his thought and tried again. “Do you know anyone who might help us on that?”
“There’s only one person I would recommend speaking to. And there is no way you two are getting to him without some serious help. I don’t think even Harry can set this up for you if he wanted to. You are going to have to ask your wife for help.”
I heard Weasley gulp as he sat up straight in his chair.
“Please tell me you’re not doing this behind her back, Ron.”
“She’s busy. I haven’t had a chance to talk to her yet.”
“She is the Minister for Magic. And you’re working at the Ministry again. What’s wrong with you? If she finds out from someone else…You need to tell her right now, Ronald.”
“I will, I’m just waiting for the right time.”
“The time is now. Not just because she’s your wife. She’s also the only person who can set up a meeting with Newt Scamander.”