November 19th, 2023.
As the autumn crickets sing their harmonious tunes, into the dead of day, there is a ghoulish atmosphere in the halls of the Ministry of Magic. After five months of silence, we can finally reveal the concomitant result of the trials that have been taking place. Facing the jury these past months has been Judy Dorchester, in an ironic twist. She, alongside her comrades, was interrogated by newly appointed Chief Warlock Bugulus Warble, but was for a long time unwilling to cooperate. However, after much trepidation, the truth was revealed and she, alongside her goons, pleaded guilty, forcing them into life at Azkaban.
It is hard to believe how this all began and how long ago. It was roughly three years gone that the infamous trial of imminent villain Helena Arlet, a student at our northern academy took place. This trial was the point at which the regime of Judy Dorchester truly began, starting with the installation of Zimelda Zemeckis, who at the time was the Vice-Chancellor, later discovered as an Ex-Death Eater.
Like all good magic folk, we held a great deal of trust in Dorchester, who aside from Minister Finnish Picklebottom and his under-secretary, was hailed as one of our finest generational witches. This is alarming, as her intentions all along were highly deceiving. Following an unprecedented revelation by the Wizengamot today we discovered that if successful in framing Hannah Jane Fischer, the current Headmistress of the institution, and her deputy Oreyn Fox, for a collaboration of false crimes, Judy Dorchester would have instigated a militaristic reform at the castle, with herself at the helm.
Her original plans did not come into fruition however. She had dispatched Zemeckis whose beguiling reputation did not serve her well at the castle, as Hannah Fischer was quick to question her motives. In some frantic confrontation, we learned that Hannah revealed her full knowledge of Zimelda’s past, which caused the dark witch to retaliate with a curse that later drained the Headmistress of all her vitality, in fact almost killing her. Some weeks later, Zemeckis was forced out of the castle, though instead of seeking refuge in the UK, fled east with her son Thibault.
The question then begs: how DID she takeover? All was told: With Fischer incapacitated and ‘missing’ (later discovered to have been locked up in her office drained of all vitality) and Fox in search of renegade Zemeckis (who was found in Germany) for the cure, Dorchester’s window opened. She arrived during the castles traditional ‘Hearty Valentines Party’, with a bandwagon of vulgar enthusiasts, all believed to have been hired by Dorchester herself to the disillusion of the board of governors. Within days, several changes materialised.
Her enthusiasts, or ‘goons’ as unlovingly dubbed by the student body, tormented and harassed students day to day, before going a step further and reopening the Prison Tower of the castle (not used since the 1990s), leaving innocent students inside to fester in filth and desolation. Their methods were unsanitary, and unjustified, as though ‘an almighty time turner had been used to transport them back to the medieval days’ said one source.
“The reform was going to nurture the abilities of all students” said Dorchester, to High Judge Warble, a respectable wizard, noted for his work in foreign diplomacy, and his trademark moustache. “That does not give you the right to undermine the Minister and his under-secretary” he replied, seeming unimpressed. “They had no qualms!” replied Dorchester. “That is because both were under the influence of the imperius curse!” retorted Draco Romanov, arithmancy professor and ex-Auror, who stood in attendance to most of the trials. Alas, this outburst rippled a revolt in the Wizengamot, who demanded to know more about how this happened.
The real question is why? Why did she want Hogwarts. “There is an entity” warned Dorchester, who could barely say the words, “The Umbra.” She then went into some cryptic detail about a shadow organisation of dark witches and wizards, that was formed in the quake of the dark lords demise, one we only ever speculated to exist, now cemented in truth. “Who heads this group?” Asked Warble, through the cold air of the court. “I have said too much” she conceded.
The Umbra allegedly act as a national network of criminals, that once included Eponina Hawthorne and, speculatively, the Dark Wizard. Zemeckis and Dorchester also fell under this umbrella. Dorchester, in her accumulated power, was going to make an army out of the students of Hogwarts, possibly in an attempt to overthrow this ‘Umbra’ and take all the power herself. Although when asked if this group intends to re-enact the past two wars, she shook her head stating that they ‘Are a corporation, a business almost.’ Even Judy was unaware of their true intention, just that they are extremely powerful and ‘all over the country’.
Zimelda Zemeckis was given separate trials, though her own outcome was far more fortunate in spite of her deeply troubling past. Warble stated that, “This woman has mystique, I’ll give her that. We declared her guilty, but she has been spared Azkaban this time, due to her aiding in the rebellion against this despicable scheme. We have also acquired invaluable information from her that will prove useful in determining just who can be trusted in the Ministry. She will perform community service, and will be closely watched by the aurors from now on.”
“It is rather obvious that there is a lot going on under the skin of the Ministry” he added, “And there will have to be gigantic overhaul, to purify this nastiness.” I asked about Minister Picklebottom’s resigning, and if a new Minister had yet been elected. “Myself and Wendy D’Marra have managed office since his resignation and will continue to do so till an appropriate figure is elected for that position. He leaves behind quite the legacy, one nobody has yet been willing to takeover”.
With all great stories, comes greater lessons, and the parents of the students will, no doubt, have their reservations. But what holds true is the sentiment of Hogwarts – a sentiment willingly shared by a student, Felina Tulbridge, echoing the words of her headmistress in the end of year feast, that ‘they are the beating heart of Hogwarts’.
Stay tuned for our next edition, as we will be unearthing the secrets of the Dark Wizard and the Hag of Crowscreep, and the mysterious Heart of Four rumours that have been flying around our communities these last five to six months.
-Sidgeon Quilt, Daily Prophet