Well here it is, my second completed Fic. Thanks to Jelsemium for challenging me to write it.
I really tried to come up with a title that was appropriate and this is it. There are a couple of Star Wars Books by Timothy Zahn with similar titles Spectre of the Past and Vision of the Future, it was not my intention to borrow those titles or any other titles of fics or books. The title just came to me and once I realized it was taken I tried to think of another that would work, but this is the most appropriate I could think of. When you read the fic you'll see why. So as always to give credit where credit is do, thanks to George Lucas and Timothy Zahn I also want to thank DADAGinny and Gwyn for their help on the makeup and clothing parts. (It's definitely not one of my strong suits). I also want to thank DADAGinny for allowing me to bounce ideas off her and her patience with me during the writing of this.
Thanks to my wonderful Pre-Beta Kelleypen and to my wonderful Beta Bring and Fly for their help.
This is a one shot story written as a result of Jelsemium's Halloween Challenge, it turned out longer than planned, but the plot bunny was persistent. This story is a H/G, R/H, N/L fluff/adventure with a G rating. I hope you enjoy it.
Hermione glanced through the Hogsmeade Herald Halloween Edition. The story of the day was about how the old Worthington Estate over the last two years had been experiencing an increase in other worldly activity. The History of the Manor told how it was built over an old platinum mine. Earl Samuel Lawrence Worthington used it to found his business in the mid 1500s, Worthington Wizarding Commonwealth an import/export business. The mining was done primarily by lower classed humans, goblins, dwarves, and house elves.
Hermione crunched the paper angrily. She was furious, but it piqued her interest a bit more.
"Lord Worthington was a powerful, dark wizard who enslaved others into doing the labor so that his business could operate. He had a dedicated group of sorcerer vassals he called the Black Tempest. They in turn employed a group of warrior mages called the Shadow Walkers. None at the time could stand against his empire. Over the next 50 years the wealth and power of Lord Worthington the Wicked grew. He was even rumored to have invested vast sums of money into a line of Quidditch gear, which included a cutting edge design of a broom called the Wind Lance that would revolutionize the industry. The design was "pure genius" as the stories go, and the plans were locked away in a heavily warded vault at his estate house.
"Hmm," Hermione thought to herself. "I wonder what's so special about it?"
"Then, at the turn of the century things began to change. A handful of members of the Black Tempest began to covet his power, and they set things in motion to bring him down from the inside. They embezzled what they could safely manage, and they formed their own alliance which they named the Crimson Talon. They planted the seeds of rebellion amongst the workers and began to funnel company funds into their own investments. The lynchpin would be to steal the secret design of the Wind Lance."
Hermione chewed on a loose strand of her hair absently.
"Lord Worthington was informed of the coup by a member of the Talons who turned against his own in hopes of being escalated by his former Lord. The informant was summarily executed for his treachery. Lord Worthington began to create numerous magical traps at the estate to counter any intruders that might seek to attack him. His paranoia began to slowly drive him mad and his empire began to crumble. More and more Tempest members began to join the Talon and Lord Worthington seeing his demise approaching began to set retributive traps of magic all around. These powerful acts of ingenuity were structured to take out multitudes of traitors, and some within his inner sanctum were designed to take he and his attackers out. The final straw which led to his demise occurred around 1612 when his goblin slaves revolted against him. The Talon used the rebellion as a cover to deliver the final blow and steal the Wind Lance. This onslaught resulted in the destruction of the Black Tempest, The Crimson Talon, The Shadow Walkers, and Earl Worthington. The intense force of the magical battle and the powerful traps was enough to cause the destruction of half of the sprawling manor and to cause a collapse of the mines.
Hermione twirled another loose strand of hair around her finger and leaned into the paper a bit.
"The intact portion of the manor still stands today and over the centuries multiple hauntings were reported. The hauntings still continue presently, though at the turn of the 19th century the activity died down markedly only to increase again in the 1940s then die off again in the 1950s. Then in the 1960s the activity once again increased but died off yet again in the 1980s. Only within the last couple of years has the activity increased yet again. No one has had the courage to investigate Worthington Manor, so it to this day remains active and is now referred to as the most haunted place in Hogsmeade."
Hermione sighed after reading the article, thinking that it was an interesting bit of history, though one quite blood-stained. She laid the Herald down on the table in the great hall.
"Ooo, you read it too!" a voice said from behind her, startling her. Hermione turned to see Luna grinning broadly.
"Luna! You scared me," she exclaimed.
"Sorry Hermione, I just read that and I remembered my father writing about it in the Quibbler. The old estate mines are rumored to be one of the few places in the world that Gelsemium grows. It's a night blooming form of jasmine…"
"That is an ingredient which, when mixed with a small amount of holy water and garlic and simmered for three hours, can be placed in an oak flask, cooled for ten hours and suspended by a leather strap to make a talisman called the Vizier's Amulet. This, when placed around the neck of a vampire, will permanently sate its hunger for blood," Hermione finished for Luna. "I read that in potions during my third year."
"What are you reading now, 'Mione?" Ron's voice said from nearby.
Hermione turned to see Ron and Harry approaching with Ginny close behind. The three were red-faced and sweating, carrying Quidditch gear.
"It's an article about the most haunted place in Hogsmeade," Luna answered.
Hermione winced inwardly as she saw grief reflected on Harry's face. She knew the idea of the most haunted place in Hogsmeade brought back memories of Sirius. The most haunted place used to be considered the Shrieking Shack. This was the place where Harry first found out that Sirius was his Godfather. Sirius had been dead a little over a year now, but they all still grieved at the loss. Hermione saw that Ginny too knew what was happening; she crept up behind Harry and laid her hand on his shoulder. Her touch seemed to comfort Harry, and the painful memory was chased away with Ginny's affectionate gesture.
"Can I see that?" asked Harry.
Hermione handed the paper to Harry, and he sat down at the table. A plate laden with fresh fruit appeared in front of Harry which he nibbled while reading. As he read the article, a thought filled his head; the dates were niggling at his mind--then it occurred to him many of the years of increased haunting he could associate with Dark Wizard activity. Dumbledore's battle with Grindelwald, the predecessor to Voldemort, was in the 40's and Voldemort's original rise to power was in the 60's and his fall was in the 80's. Now he was back again, and the activity increased once again. Could the old manor be his base of operations? Harry asked himself. It was at this point Harry decided that he would go and investigate the manor, but he couldn't lead his friends into danger again. He nearly lost them at the Ministry, and he would not take that chance again.
Now he just had to figure out how to elude his friends and the staff. That's it! he said to himself. Next Friday would be Halloween, and there was another ball planned. He would go to the ball, feign illness during it, and then he would say he was going to go back to his room to lie down. Then he would get his supplies and sneak out while everyone was at the ball. Harry hoped he could keep it from them, but his friends always seemed to know what he was thinking, so he had to endeavor to hide his thoughts more than usual.
He put the paper down and said to his friends. "Interesting story, another haunted place in Hogsmeade. I wonder how much of it is true?"
"The Herald has been in business for over a hundred years, and they have a pretty good reputation for truth," Hermione responded.
"People said that the shack was haunted too, and we all know how that turned out," said Ron.
"Well with all the atrocities Worthington the wicked committed it wouldn't surprise me if there were ghosts there. Many lives were lost from his reign, most of them, non-human," Hermione huffed.
"Calm down Hermione; it's ancient history, and there is nothing you can do to rescue them; they all died nearly 400 years ago," Ginny answered.
"I suppose you're right Ginny, but I don't have to be happy about it," Hermione responded.
"Harry will you hand me that story? I'd like to have a look too," Ron asked.
Ginny ran over and placed her hand across Ron's forehead. "Harry help me get him to Madame Pomfrey; he's very sick. He needs help," she teased.
"Ha ha, very funny Gin. I'm only curious about it, and I'm sure it's much more interesting than Hogwarts a History," Ron said, glancing towards Hermione with a lopsided grin.
Hermione rolled her eyes at his comment and started to respond in kind, but her thought was interrupted as Neville walked towards them. "Hello Neville," she grinned fondly.
"Hello everyone." Neville's eyes fell on Luna and a blush crept across his face. "Erm…L-Luna, can I t-talk with you a m-moment?" He stammered. "O-over there?" He gestured towards a corner, his hand shaking.
"Sure Neville," she said.
The two walked over to the corner, and Hermione and Ginny exchanged a knowing grin.
"What? What's so funny?" asked Ron.
"You are thick; aren't you dear brother? He's going to ask Luna to the ball." Ginny smacked him on the arm. An evil grin crossed her face, and she looked at Ron. "So Ron, who are you taking?" She smiled as she watched both he and Hermione turn a bit pink at the question.
Ron hadn't given it much thought, but after fourth year he knew who he was going to ask; he just hadn't done it yet, but being put on the spot like this, he had little choice.
"Actually…erm… I thought I'd ask… you Hermione. I-I mean, if you don't have a date yet," he finally said.
Ginny stood near Ron, and she could feel the heat from his cheeks as the blush sprang into being. Then she felt another d