Saturday October 19, 1743
Saturday morning at breakfast, an elf in livery entered the room escorting Lord Dagworth-Granger. He looked rather smug as he poured himself a cup of tea from the sideboard and filled a plate with breakfast food. Seating himself at the table, Leonard said his good mornings and began his account.
“I met with Colum Mackenzie yesterday as you know. He had no idea that young Lord Fraser was a mage, he had been told James was a squib. When I explained what I knew and presented the documents, Colum grew very angry. He would like to meet with his nephew at the earliest opportunity.”
Before Leonard finished speaking, Jamie was shaking his head.
At Arcturus’ raised eyebrow Jamie elaborated.
“I dinna trust him. When Claire was arrested and put on trial for witchcraft, Colum did’na inform me or try to defend Claire. He was angry that I had married a Sassenach. He saw the trial as an easy way to get rid of her without dirtying his own hands. If Claire had been burnt as a witch Colum would have tried to marry me off to a Mackenzie girl, so I could become regent for Hamish.”
“You will have to meet with Colum at some point, in order to gain his aid.” Isabeau pointed out.
Jamie paused for a moment. “Aye. But not at Leoch. Colum can come here where Claire is surrounded by her family, and safe.” Arcturus and Isabeau both smiled, though neither said anything.
Jamie paused again in thought, then continued in a formal manner... “Lord Dagworth-Granger, if you would also be so kind as to inform Colum that the first words out of his mouth had better be an apology to my wife followed by an apology to me, I would be most grateful.”
Leonard looked uncomfortable. The trial would go much easier with Colum’s assistance and Colum was a proud man. To carry that message would most likely cause Colum to withdraw his support. Leonard looked at Arcturus pleadingly.
Arcturus cleared his throat. “James, if I may offer a word of advice?” Jamie nodded.
“I understand your anger. That being said, don’t begin the conversation with a demand for an apology. You of all people know what a proud man your uncle is.” He continued when Jamie began to object...
“Don’t misunderstand me, he deserves censure and a strong rebuke for putting Claire through the terror of a witch trial. I simply feel that he will take it better if such censure comes from me.”
Jamie looked skeptical at that, so Arcturus continued.
“Remember, Claire is a member of House Black, which outranks House Mackenzie by quite a bit. If you will allow me to address the matter with Colum, I am certain you will get your apologies, without the danger of Colum refusing to help bring Dougal before the Wizengamot.”
Jamie thought about that for a minute. “Alright. I can see your point. I would ask that any meeting I have with Colum include your presence at least Lord Black. I dinna trust myself to keep my temper if I’m alone with him.”
“I think that is a most sensible course of action young man.” Leonard said a little patronizingly.
“I can join you as well Jamie, if you like?” Sirius offered. Jamie nodded gratefully.
“Do I have to be present?” Claire asked suddenly.
“Do you want to be?” Jamie responded.
“I don’t particularly. If Sirius and cousin Arcturus are there, you’ll be protected. I’m rather angry with Colum myself. I did everything I could to ease his pain and he repays me by leaving me to be killed. I don’t know that it’s a good idea for both of us to be in the room and angry with Colum.” Claire turned to Arcturus. “Although, if you think it necessary cousin I will attend.”
“Oh, I can’t imagine that it would be, do you my love?” Isabeau put in. “After all, Lord Mackenzie will most likely stay to a meal. Any apologies can be made to Claire then, in front of all her family.”
A slow smile curved Arcturus’ lips. “Of course my heart. A brilliant idea. Be sure to invite Cassiopeia and Cygnus as well. I’m sure they will want to reassure Colum that Claire has suffered no lasting harm.”
Isabeau began to laugh. “What a wicked, wicked man you are my love. I shall do just that.”
The rest of the party looked confused. Of course it was Hermione that asked the question. “What are we missing? What is the significance of inviting Cassie and Cygnus?”
“Mr. Mackenzie had quite a crush on Cassie’s mother when they were younger. If his father hadn’t insisted on Letitia, Colum would have offered for Andromeda instead. Given that Cassie has taken you on as an apprentice, he will have to apologize to her as well. Since my dear niece is the exact likeness of her mother and has the full expression of the Black temper, the fireworks should be quite entertaining.”
Jamie began to chuckle. “Aye. Seeing my Uncle discomfited will go a ways to ease my anger.”
“Then that is how we shall proceed. Now then. The next step is planning for the next session of the Wizengamot. I would like to call for an emergency session, in two weeks on Lá na Marbh. Most sitting members will still be available as the regular session ends on October 30th.”
“Lá na Marbh is November 1st. You all would know that as the Feast of All Saints.” Sirius remarked.
“Just so. Although most Wixen are Catholic not all are. We use the Celtic names for Wizengamot sessions in order to differentiate between political practice and religious practice.”
“Is that enough time to prepare the charges?” Leonard asked
“Should you call for a session before Jamie can safely use his magic?” Claire didn’t know what would be expected of Jamie, but she didn’t want him going into a trial at a disadvantage of any kind.
Sirius agreed with Claire.
“Uncle, I know you are anxious to move matters forward, but it might actually be better to wait until the regular session in January. It will give James a chance to learn Occlumency and given that he’ll probably hear things that will anger him...”
Arcturus sighed heavily. “Yes yes, Sirius. I see your point. Alright then, we’ll wait for the regular session. But I want you to start Occlumency lessons today then.”
Sirius nodded. “We can begin right after breakfast if that’s alright with everyone?”
“All four of us?” Claire asked
“Yes.” Jamie replied. “As your cousin explained to me yesterday, Occlumency is the art of protecting your thoughts from magical attack. You need that more than anyone, with yer glass face.” He kissed her hand to take the sting from his words.
Claire laughed self-consciously. “I see your point.” Turning to Sirius she asked… “Will that really help? I don’t want to put anyone in danger, but Jamie is right. I’m terrible at subterfuge.”
“I don’t know if it will help your facial expressions, but it certainly won’t hurt.”
“Alright then. I’ll try anything that will help keep us safe.”
“Splendid. While you five are working on that, Leonard and I will work on a schedule for Political lessons. Bella, could you work on an overall daily schedule? If we don’t impose some sort of order right at the start things could get missed. There is a great deal of material to cover after all.”
Breakfast finished quite pleasantly, with little conversation as everyone applied themselves to their food. Fleamont entered just as they were rising from the table. He bowed to the company and Isabeau smiled at him.
“Good morning Fleamont. How is Phemie this morning?”
“Tired of being pregnant so she tells me.”
“When is she due?” Claire wanted to know.
“Just before Christmas. Although the midwife says it could be Christmas. First babies are often late I’m told.”
Claire nodded. “Yes, they are.”
“Well. I shall be in my study working on the schedule.” Isabeau shooed everyone out of the room so the elves could clear the table.
Sirius led the other four to the library. It was large enough and calm enough for Occlumency. Everyone found a seat and he began.
“Occlumency has two parts to it. The first is organizing your mind. You’ll find that once you do, your memory is better and you have an easier time controlling your emotions. The second part is about building mental defenses to prevent a Legilimens from entering your mind without your permission.”
“What!? Like mind reading?”
“Yes Claire, exactly like mind reading. It’s illegal to do so without permission, but in my experience those with criminal intent don’t care whether something is legal or not.”
“Ok, so what do we do?” Hermione broke in. They could discuss the philosophical implications later. Right now she wanted to be doing something constructive.
“Right. So the first step is to center yourself. They called it meditation in the 70’s but really it’s just sitting still. Then you need to construct a mental image that will help you organize your thoughts and memories. I use a library, but however you like to organize is fine. It could be filing cabinets or a garden or a pantry, or anything that says ‘organized’ to you personally.”
“Neville used a greenhouse he told me.” Hermione remarked.
“I can see that. Neville loves plants.” Harry said.
“So the most important thing is that everyone needs to concentrate, so no talking.” Sirius cautioned.
“Once you have the image in your mind, begin going through your memories and filing them away in your storage system. You can either begin with your earliest memory or your most recent memory. It doesn’t matter either way.
You’ll probably have a random thought pop up periodically, one thing reminds you of something else. That’s ok. You don’t have to go in chronological order, just file the memories in a way that makes sense to you.
This part will take several days. The older you are, the more memories you have and the longer it takes. I’ll stop you when it’s time for lunch, it’s not helpful to go longer than a few hours a day. I’ll stay in the room to monitor everyone. Any questions?”
All four shook their heads. Sirius’ explanation had been thorough.
“Alright then. Go ahead and start whenever you’re ready.”
For the next four hours there was no sound in the room except breathing and the occasional turn of a page in the book Sirius was reading.
At lunch Harry asked a question.
“Why didn’t you use Legilimancy on us?”
“Why would I? You haven’t even organized your memories yet, much less built defenses. I won’t be checking in for awhile. Once you think you have all the memories sorted I’ll do a quick check to establish a baseline for each of you and then probably check in once a week to test your defenses.”
“Oh.” Harry didn’t say anything else but looked a little disgruntled.
“Why do you ask?” Sirius was suspicious.
“Ummm… no reason.” Harry said lamely.
“Pull the other one. Why?” That suspicion was stronger now, but Sirius wanted Harry to say it without being led.
“Snape. Well… he, um… did it differently.” Harry looked down.
Hermione noticed and paused in her conversation with Claire to ask, “What’s going on?”
“Harry was just telling me about his Occlumency lessons with Snape.”
Hermione got a disgusted look on her face. “Those weren’t lessons, they were more assault.”
“What did he do Harry?” Sirius sounded calm...on the outside.
“Well, he would just...tell me to shield my mind and then cast Legilimens on me. It kind of hurt.”
Sirius started to say something… paused, tried again and then abruptly got up from the table and swiftly left the room.
Isabeau looked at Arcturus and he nodded, got up and followed Sirius. “He isn’t upset with you Hadrian. Please understand that. Your description just brought up some very unpleasant memories for Sirius. His mother taught him Occlumency using a similar method to the one you describe.” Isabeau wanted to ease the look of devastation on Harry’s face. “Occlumency should never be taught using that method. It’s a violation of your mind.”
“Violation is one word for it.” Hermione hated that Snape had done it and Harry never told anyone. She only knew because he kept having nightmares about it. From Harry’s description it sounded like rape of the mind to her.
“Hadrian. Look at me please.” Isabeau wasn’t about to let him feel guilty over this. When the young man raised his eyes to her she continued.
“You did not ask for this to be done to you and you also had no control over this Snape person. Any guilt or embarrassment you feel is misplaced. The only one at fault is the person who violated your mind, and the Headmaster who instructed you to receive lessons from him. I cannot believe that he was ignorant of the teacher’s behavior.” Hermione was nodding before she finished.
“See. It’s not just me that thinks so Harry. You need to stop taking the blame for what other people do. It isn’t healthy. If we were in our own time I’d suggest you see a therapist. I’d see one too if I could.”
“Therapist? You mean a psychiatrist?” Claire asked.
“Yes. I know that mental health was largely ignored in the 40’s but by the 90’s it was understood that sometimes you needed a doctor for your body and sometimes for your mind and neither one was something to be ashamed of.”
“I see. You are speaking of a mind healer?” Isabeau asked.
“Do you have such a thing?” Hermione was surprised.
“Yes. Sirius has been seeing one for almost a year now. It took him a long time to admit that he needed to. At first he would only speak to me, and then Arcturus. Eventually he agreed to speak with a professional mind healer. Tiberius comes once a week now. He comes on Mondays actually, which is why you haven’t met him yet. We didn’t meet you until Tuesday.”
“Wow. It hasn’t even been a week yet. That’s...kind of amazing when I think about all the changes of this week.” Hermione was trying to get Harry to smile. He still hadn’t said anything since Sirius walked out.
“Harry.” Sirius had come back in the room. He crossed to Harry’s chair. Kneeling down, he caught his godson’s eye. “I’m sorry Pup.” Harry looked at him incredulously.
“You’re sorry? What for? You didn’t do anything.”
“I didn’t protect you. Snape should have never done that to you. No one should ever do that to you. It’s abuse.” Sirius held up a hand. “Before you tell me it’s alright, NO it isn’t. It’s mind rape. It’s against the law. It is now and still is in the future. He should have gone to Azkaban. The only reason he got away with it is because no one bothered to teach you kids your rights.”
Sirius shook his head. “The longer I stay here and the more I learn about your generation’s experiences compared to mine the angrier I get. If I hadn’t already been trying to make changes I’d certainly be on board with the idea now.”
He stood up. “Harry, I’d like to talk to you privately this evening. In the meantime, let’s put this topic aside and finish our lunch.
“What’s on the schedule for this afternoon Uncle?”
“It’s been a very busy week. I thought perhaps we could go riding after lunch? Most of your tutors will be here on Monday and Isabeau has a tentative schedule that we can go over this evening. For today though, some relaxation seems to be in order.”
“Riding? Horses?” Jamie asked excitedly.
“Yes, or Abraxans or brooms. Whichever strikes your fancy.”
Claire started to giggle. “You actually ride brooms? Like real brooms?” Sirius and Hermione both smiled widely. Harry smiled slightly too.
“Yes. Harry is amazing on a broom. I don’t like heights, so I’ll stay on the ground. I love horses. I used to ride all the time before Hogwarts. I rather miss it.”
“Well then. Riding it is. Fleamont, would you be able to visit tomorrow afternoon? We still need to view Hadrian’s memory of his conversation with Azreal, and Leonard doesn’t plan to return until Monday.”
“I have no other engagements, I will be able to visit. Would three o-clock do?”
“Certainly. It will give us enough time to view the memory and discuss it, while allowing you to return to Euphemia for the evening meal.”
The company finished their meal and slowly conversation resumed although Harry was quiet for the rest of the meal.