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MAGIC & TIME

Chapter 14

Somewhere in Time

Hermione landed with a thud. Still clutching the tracker tightly, she immediately surveyed her surroundings. It seemed that she had emerged from the time storm in the woods on the edge of a small village. She did not know what year it was or where exactly this village was, but by the looks of the thatched huts she could see, she guessed she was still in England sometime during the middle ages. There was no sign of Mrs. McGonagal and the children. She just hoped that they all ended up in the same place and time, otherwise it was going to be next to impossible for Mika to find them and return them all safely home.

 

Remembering Mika’s instructions, Hermione moved a little further back into the woods so as not to be seen, but so she could still keep an eye on the village where something seemed to be happening. A horse came galloping by, its rider wielding a sword. Several villagers were gathering in the centre of the town, torches in hand, armed with pitchforks and knives.

“If I didn’t know any better,” she muttered to herself, “I’d say they were getting ready for a witch hunt!” Just then she gasped as she caught sight of what they were all so excited about. The crowd parted to reveal one large figure and four smaller ones all bound together in the centre of the common. It was Mrs. McGonagal and the other students!

Hiding the tracker deep within her robes as best she could, Hermione decided to move in closer to try and hear what was being said. Carefully, she made her way around the outskirts, keeping to the shadows and watching where she put her feet. It took some time, but soon she was within earshot.

“I say we burn them now! We know they’re witches! Just look at how they are dressed!” one angry villager was shouting.

“They appeared out of the air in a flash of light! What more do you need to know?” another agreed.

“And I am the elder of this village and I say we wait for Sir Cyril. He has gone to fetch the Witchsmeller Pursuivant and then we shall be certain,” said the man on the horse.

Mrs. McGonagal gasped at what she was hearing. The Witchsmeller Pursuivant! They must be in the latter half of the 16th century when thousands of people were burned and hanged as witches whether they were or not. Mostly they were not, but a few real witches and wizards did suffer at the hands of these most superstitious of muggles. The children huddled around her, clearly frightened. They had every right to be. She was too.

***

Once in the TARDIS Mika lost no time. She slammed home the door control and shrugged off her robes, tossing them onto the chair in the corner. Freer to move quickly in her black jeans and purple silk ruffled top, the time lord set about frantically adjusting controls. It took some time but finally she managed to track down the exact location and time of the tracker device.

“1561,” she muttered aloud. “Not the best of times for witches! Oh I do hope they’re all right!” She reset the coordinates and activated the controls. The central column in the hexagonal control console began to rise and fall steadily, glowing with a bluish light as energy from the Eye of Harmony coursed through the crystals.

The time rotor stopped as Mika materialised the TARDIS. She activated the scanner to see what await her outside, but the screen showed only darkness and trees. It could be anywhere at any time. But the signal from the tracker was strong. She knew this was the right location and the right time.

Mika went into the interior of the TARDIS to change clothes again. If this was indeed 1561 then she would need to look as inconspicuous as possible. She found a blue dress and black velvet hooded cloak hoping that they would do the trick. Once changed, she went back to the control room where she picked up an object that looked much like a volt meter. It was in fact a hand held detection unit for locating the tracker device in close quarters. She set the audio to mute and headed out the door.

Once outside, Mika was glad she had the scanner unit to find her way for it was dark and all the trees seemed to look alike. Picking up the signal, she headed in that direction. Before long she came to a clearing in the forest where a small village had settled. Although the hour seemed late, the centre of the village seemed to be buzzing with activity.

“I have a bad feeling about this,” she said softly to herself. She was about to creep around stealthily for a closer look when out of the corner of her eye she spotted Hermione doing the same. Only the young witch couldn’t see the villager who had noticed and crept up behind her. Mika could only watch in horror as the man grabbed Hermione and dragged her struggling back to the other villagers.

“I’ve found another one!” the man cried out as he tossed Hermione to the centre with the other captives.

“Miss Granger!” yelped Mrs. McGonagal in surprise. “What…”

“See how the old one knows it! We are being invaded by witches!” one of the villagers with a very large pitchfork and machete cried out in anger and fear.

“I say we burn them now and not wait for the Witchsmeller!” shouted another.

The village elder held up his hands and tried to calm his fellow citizens. But it was clear from where Mika was standing that he was about to lose control of the situation. She had to act and quickly. It didn’t look good, but at least she had found them.

Finally the elder had calmed the mob down enough to order them to put the strangers into a fortified hut which served as the village prison. “There they can await their fate at the hands of the Witchsmeller Pursuivant,” he declared. Just then, as Hermione was shoved along with the others, the tracker device fell from beneath her robes and rolled to a stop at the machete man’s feet.

“What is this?” he exclaimed, clearly frightened. He went to pick it up and as he did so the lights on it pulsed as it relayed its signal. “What kind of magic is this?!” he shrieked. The others stared at the device and backed away in mortal terror.

“Destroy it! Destroy it!” they cried out.

“No!” screamed Hermione. Then she turned to Minerva. “Mrs. McGonagal, if they destroy that before Mika has a chance to find us, we’ll be stuck here for the rest of our lives!”

“Which won’t be for very long if that lot get their way,” Sarah added.

“If I can only reach my wand…” Minerva hissed.

But it was too late. The elder, sensing that he’d better do something or risk losing all control brought the heel of his heavy boot down upon the shiny globe silencing it forever. The witches all gasped as their only hope of rescue was destroyed.

“There, the talisman is destroyed. See how they are rendered powerless?” the elder hoped to sway the crowd. “Now, lock them in the gaol. They can do no harm for now.”

Convinced, at least for the moment, the villagers did what they were told. As the thick wooden bolt was put in place across the door locking them in darkness, they only hoped that Mika had been able to trace the signal in time.

 

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