Introduction to Death Eaters
“Ugh, this smells horrible!” Willow pinched her nose as she stirred the pestle.
“Well, maybe this will teach you not to be eager to earn brownie points next time.” Giles said from across the room, where he was flipping through some of his old school text books.
“What is that stuff?” Buffy said, nodding at the sludge Willow was mixing.
“That is jarvey-repellent.” Giles said, double checking his notes. If his notes were correct, they would easily be able to assemble some murtlap traps tonight.
“I bet jarvey isn’t the only thing repelled by that.” Buffy scrunched up her nose, as she went back to punching the workout bag.
“Well, no, actually it is a rather common repellent. However, it is also an attractant to gribles. I think it would be best if we could trap those currently behind the theater, before someone gets bitten.”
“I thought you said gribles weren’t the major problem; that it was the evil mojo behind the gribles.” Giles was astounded. Evidently, Buffy actually paid attention to his lectures on occasion.
“Well, they aren’t evil, but they do bite.” He offered.
“Still, shouldn’t we be going after the bad mojo first?”
“The trouble is finding the ‘bad mojo’.” Giles grimaced at the slang. He wondered what some of his professors would think about their specialty being termed bad mojo. “At least the gribles are something we can do something about tonight.”
“Wait, bad mojo? Is Ethan Rayne back in town?” Willow scowled. Ethan was what gave magic a bad name.
“Nope, different mojo.” Buffy replied in between jabs.
“Different mojo? What do you mean different mojo?”
With a resigned sigh, Giles closed his book. “There are many different types of magic, cultures if you will.” Giles began the lecturing he’d been expecting all evening. “For example, you and your friend Tara practice Wiccan magic. Ethan practices chaos magic. The ‘mojo’ we are looking for comes from wand magic.”
“Wand magic? Oooh! I get it!” Willow squealed, pounding the pestle a bit harder than necessary. “Oops.” She winced as the mortar skidded across the table, threatening to tip over.
“Get what?” Buffy took a water break, finding it hard to pay attention to the conversation and work out at the same time.
“People in the yearbook were waving little sticks in the pictures. You all had magic wands! You went to magic school, didn’t you?”
“Yes, I did.” Giles slipped his glasses off to rub his tired eyes.
“Cool. Do all watchers go to magic school? Are we dealing with another watcher gone bad?” Willow began jumping to conclusions.
“As a matter of fact, most watchers do not go to magic school.” Giles frowned. “Although, that is probably a good thing. The Watcher’s Council has enough problems, without getting involved in wizarding politics.”
“Your brother.” Buffy commented with a frown.
“Your brother, mister grumpy; he was in the pictures too. He’s a wizard.”
“Yes he is.”
“So when you said this may be a ‘Vinny says to pay up’ kind of trouble, did that mean that your brother was in trouble with a wizard Vinny?”
“I don’t think I referred to anyone as Vinny.” Giles looked at his slayer in a new light. One of these days he would learn not to underestimate her intelligence. “But yes, I fear he is in trouble with a wizard.”
“So we find the wizard, get him to leave your brother alone, send him back to England, and we all live happily ever after?” Willow asked.
“I wish it were that easy.” Giles muttered.
“Why isn’t it?” Buffy settled into the chair across the table from her watcher.
“I don’t even know how to start that explanation.” Giles frowned.
“Well, you better come up with some explanation because it sounds like this is going to get hellmouthy ugly if we don’t do something about it.” Buffy passed the ceramic dish back to Willow, who went back to her crushing, only much more quietly in order to hear what Giles had to say.
“I suppose you have a point.” Giles stood up. “I’ll be right back.”
The girls watched Giles go back to his office and turn on the little electric teapot set.
“Uh oh.” Willow grimaced. “It looks like we’re dealing with a ‘two cups of tea’ problem.”
“Uh oh is right.” Buffy agreed.
Giles came back a minute later carrying a mug of luke warm tea and a newspaper. “European culture is much older than American culture. Likewise, European wizarding culture is much older than the American counterpart. While most witches and wizards in this country operate independently or in small covens, in England, we have a complete wizarding government.”
Giles settled back into his chair, taking a sip of tea to delay the inevitable trip down memory lane. “The wizarding government has had its share of ups and downs. The most recent down time was in the 1970s. An evil wizard, who chose to go by the name Lord Voldemort, assembled a small army to try and take out non-wizards. His army went by the name death eaters.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Buffy laughed. “Death eaters? That’s got to be one of the dumbest minion armies we’ve heard of yet. I mean, how can someone eat death, and wouldn’t it be all eew?”
“I think you’ve missed the point.” Giles muttered, while secretly agreeing with his slayer. At the time, he had told his bunk mates that it was a ridiculous name, but that hadn’t stopped any of them from joining.
“And what’s that? They waved some sticks at other people and came up with a cheesy gang name. No wait, let me guess, these death eaters dressed up in black robes and masks and went around scaring other wizards, too.”
“That is so Scream 2.” Buffy rolled her eyes.
“They also killed many of the people I went to school with.”
“Oh.” Suddenly the idea of death eaters wasn’t so funny.
“Yes, well, it was a war. Many people were killed or damaged.” Giles’ jaw clenched, remembering the stories coming out of St. Mungo’s during the war. The psychological scars of curses used by both sides would haunt his entire generation. “For awhile it looked quite hopeless for the side of light. Then, in a bizarre accident, Lord Voldemort somehow caught the ricochet of a curse he had aimed at a baby. The curse killed him, and the wizarding world could once again return to what passes for normal there.”
“So, if the war’s over, why are you telling us this?”
“Because, even if Lord Voldemort is dead, which I somehow doubt, there is still an army of death eaters out there, looking for a leader.”
“So you think these death eater wizards are coming after your brother?” Willow gulped.
“Or do you think your brother is one of these death eaters, and the cops are coming after him?” Buffy asked, not quite so willing to give Severus the benefit of the doubt having met the man.
“Honestly, I don’t know.” Giles took another sip of tea. “But, I do know this, there is a wizard in Sunnydale, and wizards are able to kill with their magic. I don’t want you taking any unnecessary risks, especially if you see this.” He slid the newspaper across the table to his slayer.
“Is that some sort of cloud animal?” Buffy frowned.
“Watch.” Giles shrugged, watching his tea mug instead of his slayer.
Slowly the wisps of clouds coalesced into a skull and a thin line flowed from the mouth of the skull. “What’s that?”
“That is a skull and snake.” Giles answered, not even glancing at the picture. Buffy rolled her eyes in her “well, duh” gesture. “It is also the calling card of the death eaters. They would put that up over their murder sites, to taunt the wizarding population.”
“That’s just weird.” Buffy watched as the time loop on the photo froze, the clouds dispersed, and the loop began all over again.
“Yes, well, if evidence of Severus being in Sunnydale gets out, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see that on our skyline.”
Willow gulped nervously. “So, hey, taking out the gribles doesn’t seem so bad now. Who’s up for some jarvey-repellent?”
“Well, boys, did you enjoy your trip to the beach yesterday?” Sir Bradford graciously recognized the two boys at the breakfast table.
“It was splendid.” Rupert smiled. “They really have done a marvelous job expanding the boardwalk around the pier.”
“Oh, is that where Nana took you?”
“Yes. There’s a lovely view of the ocean just beyond the pier.”
“I don’t recall you looking at the ocean so much as at the fisherman’s daughters.” Severus smirked.
Rupert glared at Severus. “At least I didn’t squeal when the fishermen brought up the eel nets.”
“That’s hardly my fault. I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so … splashy.”
“As interesting as the fishery must have been,” Sir Bradford coughed discreetly trying to ignore the glare he got from his wife, “I’m sure you must have other ideas for where you would like to visit on the island.”
The boys shared a nervous glance. They had already spent three days on St. Urics, and had pretty much experienced all the small isle had to offer, short of visiting the private Watcher’s Council retreat. However, neither of the boys was in any hurry to pay a visit with the Travers or any of the other distinguished families of the Watcher’s Council.
“Actually, Bradford, I believe I saw a notice up at the Watcher’s Club for a ball, chaperoned of course.” Cassandra smiled at the boys, willfully ignoring their looks of distaste. “It would do the boys some good to socialize with some of the other families here.”
“Why Cassandra, that sounds like an excellent suggestion.” Sir Bradford smiled. His boys could only benefit from associating more with the other families. After all, missing the Sherborne experience, Rupert was already working with a disadvantage compared to the other future watchers.
And with that, the boys fates were sealed. They tuned out their parents idle chit-chat as the adults casually remarked over their respective newspapers. After finishing his plate, and waiting a generous amount of time, Rupert finally spoke up. “Father, may I be excused?”
“Hmm?” His father glanced up from the paper, a frown on his face.
“May I be excused?”
“Just a moment here. Cass, have you by any chance read of a death in Yorkshire?”
Cassandra glanced up from the Daily Prophet. “No, is it someone I should know?”
“Well, no I don’t think so, but the circumstances are quite odd.” Reading from the news story, Sir Bradford continued “Constables arrived after a distressed call from a neighbor indicating a toxic gas cloud gathering over the house in question. Upon entering the residence, officers found the owner of the house dead, apparently petrified in a state of laughter.”
“Hmm, that is peculiar. Did they list a cause?”
“No, but this is a muggle publication. I was wondering if it appeared in your people’s news.”
“I don’t recall seeing anything to that effect.” Cassandra shared her husband’s frown. “You don’t suppose there’s a demonic origin to that?”
“Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a single cause. Several demons can cause toxic fumes, and anything from a basilisk to a nesting ahshu could cause petrification, but I don’t recall anything being capable of producing both reactions.”
“My, that is peculiar.” Cassandra was ready to turn her attention back to the Daily Prophet when there was a knock on the door.
“Sir, Mr. Travers is here. He says it’s an emergency.”
“I haven’t yet finished my coffee.” Sir Bradford frowned. “Darling, are you decent for company?”
Cassandra, having been brought up properly by Gran was already in a set of dress woolen robes. “But of course, darling.”
“Drats, I was so hoping to have a decent excuse.” Sir Bradford offered his wife a playful smile before turning back to the maid. “Please show Mr. Travers in.”
A few moments later, a very flustered Mr. Travers entered. “Have you read the paper?” He asked, waving his own copy of the Sunday edition. Realizing he was interrupting Sunday breakfast, he added a “Good morning Cassandra, boys.”
“I was just in the midst of it. What has caught you attention?”
“There was a death in Yorkshire.”
“Ah, we were just commenting on that.”
“What do you think did it?”
“Well, I can hardly make a guess. I just now read the article. There was hardly a detailed description.”
“Yes, well, it’s not an isolated incident.”
“Yes. Our contact at the Yard says that this is actually the third such suspicious death they’ve had in the past week. This just happens to be the only one that the press has found out about.”
“Third, you say? How peculiar. Were all of them in this manner- a toxic cloud and a petrified body?”
“More or less. There actually is nothing toxic about the cloud; it just appears to be rather green and irregularly shaped. The bodies have all been petrified, although one appeared to be tortured first.”
“Are you quite sure it’s the work of demons then?”
“What else could it be?”
Mr. Giles cast meaningful glance at his wife who simply shrugged. “The demons which cause petrifiction are generally not the kind that can produce toxic clouds, and neither are prone to torturing their victims- much too simple minded for that.” He said with a scholarly certitude.
“Then perhaps they are not working alone. Perhaps an evil warlock has summoned them.”
“Perhaps.” Sir Bradford sounded quite unconvinced.
“The board is voting on a course of action this afternoon. I expect you’ll be in attendance.”
“Course of action?”
“Well, yes, we must decide if we should recall the slayer to deal with this menace.”
“That is unthinkable. She is stationed in Mexico, and the portents say she must remain there for the eclipse.”
“The portents are unreliable at best. We have true proof of a demonic menace here.”
“There’s no proof of a demon.”
“There’s no proof that it’s not a demon, and there is proof that it its no poison known to man. This is an emergency, Bradford.”
“We shall see. What time is the meeting today?”
“Two.” Mr. Travers bit his tongue, seeing the dismissal for what it was.
“Then I shall see you then.”
“Of course.” Mr. Travers smiled bitterly. He took one step towards the door, then remembered his manners. “Have a lovely day, Mrs. Giles. I trust your boys will be attending the upcoming ball?”
“We were planning on it.”
“Ah splendid. My niece, well, more precisely, my wife’s sister’s daughter, Gwendolyn, will be there.”
“Our boys will look forward to meeting her.” Cassandra said in that cool Slytherin voice that was both polite and condescending at the same time.
“Right, good day.” Mr. Travers backed out of the dining room.
He had been gone less than a minute when Severus turned to Rupert. “I don’t suppose it’s too late to take Gran up on her offer to spend the hols in London?”