It was lightly snowing when three figures emerged from the Ministry of Magic and apparated away to Hogsmeade. It is late, but they had no choice but to wait until they had mingled enough, and congratulated all the recipient, before leaving. And it would have been seen as highly unusual if the Auror's in attendance had not done so with all the ministry members attending the function.
Stomping their way through the snow, the handsome redheaded man, Gideon Prewett yawns, "I swear these meetings need to be at an earlier time."
"Really?" Choked his big-nosed brother, Fabian Prewett. "When do you propose that a secret meeting occur? Shall we all convene in broad daylight at the Three Broomsticks? Or what about at Madam Puddifoot's Tea Shop?"
"Will the both of you, jus' shaddup!" Growled, the middle-aged Alastor Moody that had a new scar across his face. This one was a tiny one just under his eye that crept horizontally all the way across his cheek and into the air. "Can we not discuss such things out in public?!"
"Sorry, Moody," Both Fabian and Gideon Prewet said in unison. Even they really should know better. But it was also perfectly understandable to find them vastly irritated after their evening as they forcibly recalled the death of their friend and comrade in arms, Alphard Black.
Moody sighs and says, "I know that both of you are feeling incredibly bitter right now, and truthfully I feel no different. But we can't allow the loss of Alphard to cloud our minds at this time. We all have our own duties to fulfill and to keep. And we cannot all Alphard's sacrifice to go to waste. It is our turn to do our part."
Feeling a bit chastised, the Prewett brothers remain silent the rest of the trip even upon entering the smelly barn of Aberforth, the owner of the Hogs Head Inn. The door, as usual, is wrenched open at their knock. "You're late," snapped the bartender with a long, neatly trimmed gray hair. His piercing angry blue eyes can easily be seen hidden behind his spectacles. Apparently, the rumors of Aberforth being neater weren't a lie after all.
"Get your scrawny arses up there!" Aberforth crudely roared causing Gideon and Fabian to stile their laughter at the statement. They both would very much like to continue to drink at the Hogs Head Inn without being poisoned by the bartender.
Because that was the first rule when at a bar, never piss off your server, waiter, or bartender. Rude people tend to forget that these individuals have access to your food and drinks all prior to their serving it to the customer. A rather foolish mistake on their part to forget such a vital detail.
The three men hurry past Aberforth and make their way up the creaky stairs to the upstairs loft. Alastor Moody trailed behind the two Prewett brothers who cautiously entered the door. To their relief, they weren't the only ones late as Albus Dumbledore himself had yet to arrive.
To their surprise, they spot a new figure standing warily next to the Bones brothers. It was a younger looking witch in her early to mid-twenties. She looked vaguely familiar through, probably a fellow member of the Ministry of Magic. The stately looking young witch wore an emerald green shawl around her shoulders to contrast her formal-looking robes.
Alastor arches his brow at the Bones brothers as the two square-jawed brothers exchange glances. Finally, the younger of the two with lighter hair, Jacques Bones says, "Professor Dumbledore already approved her joining in."
"And might we warrant some introductions?" Alastor grumbled at the reply.
The elder Bones with dark brown hair gestures to the young witch at his side. Auror Edgar Bones says, "This is Emmaline Vance. She is a more recent member of the Ministry of Magic part of the new department called the Werewolf Integration Department. They keep track of those still in process of the cure, those who are starting it, and those are cured and are about to reenter the workforce.
Though surprisingly many have chosen to join the new law enforcement department the A.P.D. Apparently, most have the cured have a surprising talent for investigation and such, both men and women. They attribute it to always being on the run before and keeping an eye on their shoulder. A natural talented department that the first batch should be finished with initial training by March and be out in the open by then. The new department will really make things easier for us, Auror's as they will handle the smaller daily cases, the drunks, the pranksters, and so forth."
"I could see how that could be useful," Alastor nods his head in approval. "Naturally, Miss Vance is in a perfect position of trust and has access to the new members that will probably semi-report to her in the future if they are asked.'
The elderly wizard, Elphias Doge lets out a loud snort from his armchair. They all turn to see him wiping his nose and letting out a good sniff. They wrinkle their noses in disgust, but none dare say anything to the older Wizengamot member.
They all turn silent as they hear two sets of footsteps coming up the stairs. The door opens as the cheery form of Albus Dumbledore is seen first. His silver hair and beard gleam in the firelight as he says, "My apologies, I was tardy in picking up one more person." His childlike blue eyes twinkle from behind his half-moon spectacles as he moves aside to allow his guest up.
From behind him enters a rather short wizard with bandy legs. His long, straggly ginger hair clings to his face, while his brown eyes are bloodshot and baggy. He's got a five o'clock perpetual shadow and in desperate need of a bath as he solely smells of tobacco and whiskey. The present Auror's in the room all naturally recognize the thief as Mundungus Fletcher, a petty criminal who is a pain in their rears.
"What is the meaning of this, Professor Dumbledore?" Edgar Bones crisply asked.
"I'll explain in just a minute," Dumbledore explained as he motioned for Moody to shut the door. Before he can, they spot Aberforth standing in the doorway with his arms crossed. Tactfully deciding it was better to leave the door open, Moody merely casts Muffalito over the room.
If Dumbledore notices that his brother, Aberforth is shooting Mundungus sharp bloodthirsty glares, he pretends not to notice. Dumbledore looks at the room and says, "I am well aware that all of you are wary of Mundungus Fletcher given his reputation as a petty criminal.
But I trust him not to betray us and the reasons for it, I will not go into. However, that will have to suffice to calm your worries and hesitation." The Bones brothers reluctantly nod their heads in acceptance as do the rest of the Auror's.
"Mundungus will be our man in the shadows," Dumbledore further explained as he took his regular seat across from Elphias Doge. "He'll also be in charge of keeping an eye on the underworld so to speak."
"More like making sure not to be caught," Gideon muttered under his breath.
Dumbledore merely glances at Gideon, who glances sheepishly away but not looking the least bit repentant. "I'm sure you've already been introduced, but nevertheless this is Miss Emmaline Vance. She'll be joining us as a permanent member of the order as well."
"Hear, hear!" Elphias Doge said in celebratory fashion.
"Now then to the matters at hand," Dumbledore solemnly said. "Alphard Black's death has not only revealed many clues to the Auror's but a disturbing truth as well. Despite the manor being burned to death, there were remnants found of Inferi."
Those present automatically make the sign to ward off evil. Those that were assigned to the case knew about it, but those not like the Bones brothers seemed in appalled shock and horror. "But that's terribly evil magic!" Jacques Bones whispered in dismay.
"Yes, I know," Dumbledore softly answered.
"Just how many of the Inferi were there, Moody?" Edgar Bones asked. "You and the Prewett brothers were there."
"Enough to make me sick," Alastor croaked. "We've been keeping a stern eye on the muggles and our own. But there haven't been many found missing nor reported missing in such large numbers. We can only conclude that's probably muggle or wizard vagabonds. Individuals who won't be noticed if they simply disappeared off the face of the earth."
The stately looking witch, Emmaline Vance says, "Then this Dark Lord is creating the Inferius, or is it his followers?"
"No, it'd be him," Fabian quietly interrupted. "The creation of Inferius is something that not only requires a great deal of power but talent and skill. Not just any dark wizard can create an Inferi and for that many to be created. It could only be the work of one sole person." Emmaline Vance nods her head in thanks and remains silent without further answering.