During the train ride before third year Harry has a close encounter with a dementor that causes him to absorb the soul fragment within him, granting both knowledge and power. Features Harry with a ...
I I I
Dumbledore got raised from the dead to find a world up in arms against him.
Children stood immobile, frozen in shock, staring mutely and unseeing in the halls of Hogwarts, newspapers either dropped at their feet or dangling from the tips of their fingers, forgotten, as they processed what they'd read. Already the floo was alight with frantic parents storming Hogwarts to rescue their children from him, and angry aurors were swarming all over the place.
It had been some while since the last revelation of this magnitude. In fact, it was Tom, wasn't it? The one to cause the last such disruption.
With a thought to the wards he controlled, Albus put the school into lockdown - nobody got out, although he continued to let people arrive. It was easier to deal with them here than anywhere, after all.
It all happened in an instant, for the intention was to catch people unawares before they could react. Suddenly every surface inside the castle got sticky: chairs, tables, walls and floors... all of the furniture and surfaces of the castle suddenly grabbed hold of whatever was touching them and would not let go. At the same time an eerie magical silence encompassed those halls preventing speech, shouts of warning or cries of alarm, but particularly spellcasting by the majority of those caught within the castle. Doors and windows slammed shut and would not open for any reason, to any person.
Then the countless suits of armor that stood vigil in every hall, continually overlooked as they were always there and just assumed to be part of the decorations of the castle, there only to grant ambiance, went into motion. Untouched by the stickiness and uncaring of the silence, they caught most people, parents, aurors and students completely off guard as none of them had ever seen those suits move before.
Before that surprise wore off, those mobile war machines, guardians of the castle responding to Albus Dumbledore's will, had captured and subdued the vast majority of everyone there. Doors would open for them, and the sticky charms did not touch them. They could go anywhere, and there was no way to hide from them as the castle itself guided them to their prey.
Caught, immobilized and without ability to cast spells, parents and aurors waited helpless while the suits of armor collected them. Those few able to silently spell cast and whose hands had not been caught touching some bit of wall or bedframe were able to free their feet and resist the onslaught, but those were few and easily overcome by superior numbers, pressed in on every side by mobile, spell-resistant suits of armor, while gargoyles emerged from shadows to swoop on them from above.
The resistance was over within minutes.
To Albus, they were simply rioters, a nuisance, pests at best. Insects under his feet to be herded for The Greater Good. And they had dared to come disrupt the peaceful operations of his castle?
People had died for less.
No one, but simply no one, challenged him at the seat of his power!Hogwarts was too ancient and too well protected for that.
After his control of the castle was secure people arriving by floo simply fell into a trap, caught by the sticky floors as they tumbled out of fireplaces and silent as well. They became easy prey for the suits of armor waiting nearby to capture them.
Once that was taken care of, a slight review of the warning alarms discerned what caused this ruckus, and Albus sent the House Elves about gathering every issue of that newspaper, not just within this castle but wherever they could find them. Unfortunately for him, due to his bad luck, while many of the elves would find and collect a paper or two from outside the castle, they ran afoul of wards recently raised by newly paranoid individuals and very few of the elves that left the castle to collect newspapers returned.
That done, and part of the problem addressed, he gave mental orders to the suits of armor and they began moving people about. He had them gather the aurors together first. In fact, it was fortunate he had so many of them, that made the rest of this cleanup easier.
Crawling out of the cauldron that Snape had raised him in, Dumbledore once more left that secret chamber and made his way up to the Great Hall where the aurors had been forcefully gathered, Snape trotting obediently along at his heels like a greasy puppy, neither one affected by the sticky charms. Doors opened before them, and they made their way swiftly through the crowds to see the catch of aurors brought together.
"Obliviate!" Albus waved his wand and smiled, the magically imposed silence having lifted in this one room. He loved that spell, and had never once failed at performing it since mastering the Elder Wand. Smiling, he told the aurors, "A great crisis has come upon us. It seems that an organization of nere-do-wells has afflicted the magical population, treating today's issue of the Daily Prophet with a potion that on contact causes madness, delusions and frenzy. People no longer trust even those of us who are most trustworthy. But fear not! They can be cured!"
Grinning, glad to feel the thrill of this kind of power even though he avoided circumstances like this as much as he could, Albus seized all the aurors with a magical compulsion to follow his orders, then released them from their bonds. "Come! Follow me."
To his great surprise many of the aurors shot spells at his back as he turned to lead them all to the nearest floo; which quickly led to afight among them as aurors turned on each other, some in his defense, others trying to attack him. Quickly he reactivated the wards concerning the attackers and the spell resistant suits of armor put down the rebellion quickly.
Still, that issue troubled Dumbledore greatly, as that meant he had failed not only with the Obliviate, but also the follow up compulsion as well. It had been decades since he had flubbed any spell so badly. There was only the remotest possibility of him having the least degree of trouble on such familiar spells, but to have the bad luck to have failed on two of them in short order?
That troubled him greatly.
Suspecting something, he was not a great genius for nothing, Dumbledore quickly scanned himself. When he found what he did, he quickly turned and, in a rage, cast a Crucio on Severus, holding it for several minutes until the man had gone quite mad.
Then, having worked out his rage, he Obliviated all memory of that experience and told Snape curtly, "You failed to check for residuals, my friend. Not only did some enemy slay me, they also injected malaclaw venom into my body."
Curled up on the floor trembling and weak as his body spasmed from the aftereffects of exposure to the Cruciatus, Snape could only simper weakly that he was sorry.
Sighing, Dumbledore dismissed the man from his concerns and summoned a bottle of the antidote from his office, only to have the wards report that it smashed on the inside entrance to his tower, the door having failed to open.
Cursing himself for having forgotten his luck, Dumbledore stormed up to his tower himself to fetch a bottle personally, slipping on two banana peels before he'd even left the Great Hall, cracking his head each time, and running into countless faces he'd rather not see on his way there.
Finally getting to his office he yanked open a drawer, in the process jostling it and getting several bottles caught in the mechanism and smashed, their precious contents dribbling out, mingled with other fluids and ruined. Forcing himself to move more calmly, he selected a vial of antidote, uncapped it and was about to drink when something occurred to him.
Setting it back down, he cast several diagnostic charms and found to his horror that this vial had gone bad, turning from an antidote to a lethal poison. Checking over the remaining contents of the drawer, he found that to be the case with all of his vials of the antidote.
Although there was one bottle mislabeled as antidote that instead contained a potion that violently reacted with malaclaw venom, and would have caused an explosion tearing his body to shreds had he drunk it.
He hadn't even noticed the switch on the first pass, only growing suspicious on finding that one bottle did not react to his spell detecting spoiled goods. The potion within that bottle had been perfectly fine, not spoiled at all, just lethal in combination with malaclaw venom. And he never would've known if he'd not checked a little further, suspicious one antidote had survived when his luck had been bad enough to ruin all the rest.
The recent destruction of his office had destroyed most of the equipment there, and he was still not done moving back in, but he still had private labs inside the tower that remained untouched and he had always made sure to keep those cabinets well stocked. Going there, he found an experiment he had been working on had reacted negatively to his activation of the wards locking down the castle, and the resultant explosion had caused afireball that spewed out corrosives and ruined the place more thoroughly than if a giant had picked up the room of delicate glassware and shaken it vigorously.
Still, he was far too old and canny to be entirely out of options. Standing still, Albus cast several medical charms upon himself, ranging from well known to obscure, to both diminish the effects of the poison and reduce its duration. Then, having done what he could with a wand, he very carefully went back to his office, over to another cabinet where he kept another drawer full of less restricted potions. Not as good as full cures, yet still something.
There was a small stack of books lying on top of this, left there haphazardly when he'd been reorganizing his office from the recent fire, and they slipped backwards off the top of the cabinet and fell out the window behind it as he stumbled and bumped the case. Biting back a curse for not having replaced the missing glass from that window as yet, Albus focused on the task at hand and cast several security wards and unbreakable charms on the bottles in the drawer before he cautiously opened it.
As he'd thought, several of the bottles had gone bad, some visibly shaking as the materials inside them had become volatile and would have exploded in his face had his charms not made that impossible.
A streeler had also found its way inside of that case, and its corrosive slime had ruined everything else. He spitefully flung that animal out the window in full knowledge the snail-like creature would have its shell shattered below.
Sitting down in his chair to think over the issue, Dumbledore tumbled over backwards as a minor fault in the wood chose that moment to break and spill him on the floor, where a bookcase also mysteriously failed and fell on him, crushing both his legs after burying him under a pile of books.
Cursing and struggling, it was half an hour before he was able to wandlessly levitate the heavy piece of furniture off of him, as things kept going wrong as he tried. Finally able to reclaim the wand that had skittered out of reach as he'd fallen, Dumbledore fixed both his broken legs, and the arm and ribs that had been broken in the subsequent struggling, with quick and efficient medical charms, instantly restoring them to function.
At last a house elf responded to his repeated calls, and brought him a potion out of the medical wing. It was a general purpose antitoxin, not nearly what he needed at all, but all of Snape's own stores of malaclaw antidote had also mysteriously gone bad.
Dumbledore had no doubt that his luck was bad enough all of that antidote in England had mysteriously developed flaws, or would if he went after them.
Finally he had to content himself with consuming a dozen bezoars and the general purpose antitoxin. That caused the cloud to lift enough that he was able to obtain a dose of aging potion. While not his first choice, the magical age it caused would to some extent consume the remaining duration of that terrible venom and reduce its effects substantially.
To counter the rest, Dumbledore drank a vial of Liquid Luck whose own good fortune had been sufficient to preserve it when all else in his office had gone bad. He hadn't dared reach for it until after taking other measures, however, as the conflict between luck, both good and bad, could have caused nearly anything to happen if both had remained at full force when combined.
Thus fortified, Dumbledore left the office to go muster his troops, casting all of the Obliviates and compulsions over again and checking each person down the line as he did so. Once reassured that this had gone well and luck was no longer totally against him, Dumbledore led his aurors to the Ministry where he again used their own wards to lock down the building and subdue those inside, interrupting the vote of the Wizengamot that would've removed him, and using his aurors to help him subdue the Ministry Obliviators.
Dumbledore then converted them as he'd done the aurors sent to Hogwarts, along with a new supply of aurors found at the locked down Ministry, and sent the trained corps of Ministry employees out to correct the Prophet Problem.
Ministry Obliviators were accustomed to cleaning up after large scale events. Although their normal work was done erasing the minds of muggles, they could do the same to witches and wizards without trouble. He told them the same story he'd given to the converted aurors, then let them get to it and erase the magical world's memory of that newspaper. He sent along aurors to stamp out any resistance to their memory modifying efforts, but also to collect and destroy any of those newspapers they encountered.
They started working on those already inside the Ministry building, then went off to Hogwarts. From there, they would spread out to cover the rest of the magical world. Dumbledore himself stayed behind and personally did the work correcting the minds of the members of the Wizengamot, then made doubly sure of his work as he did so.
Dumbledore had so much POWER to throw at his problems that barely athing could hurt him much, or for long. Of course that had limits, particularly in this case where the scope and scale were so broad that not even the most thorough efforts could clean it all up.
Even the best magical compulsion clouds the mind and prevents thinking on the part of the person compulsed. People who aren't thinking don't do their best work, particularly on large or complex problems, and this was both.
Dumbledore's remedy would solve a lot of problems and save him a great deal of effort, but due to the nature of the compulsion he'd laid to get most of the work done there would be inevitable errors and bad patches in his fix.
A handful of aurors among those gathering newspapers chanced to glance at the headline and fell prey to another magical compulsion, this one to read that paper yet again. Some of those would continue dazedly about their work of protecting the men and women Obliviating the memories of that paper out of the minds of others, even while fighting an internal battle with their own compulsions the whole while.
A few would break free of Dumbledore's hold and, after seeing other aurors objecting and getting subdued, Obliviated and recompulsed, slipped away quietly, only pretended to help, or otherwise threw wrenches in the gears.
They were only a handful, but it was a few.
One young auror, who'd recovered yet seen the problem as yet another of her fellows got subdued and recompulsed after a memory wipe, made it her business to simply tell her compulsed companions, "This home has already been done," and the not-thinking squad moved on over and over again.
Many parents had been so horrified by what they'd read they had not stuck around Hogwarts to stay and chat. Instead they'd grabbed their children and gotten out of there before the lockdowns began. Those people were most of them in transit, so missed by the Ministry squads of aurors and Obliviators making the rounds of all of the magical businesses and homes.
Also there were a number of other people, out discussing the news in parks and pubs, that were missed in this general sweep; and most of them were further horrified when they got home to discover whatever family or friends they'd left behind while out on those errands had somehow mysteriously forgotten everything about that most sensational news.
A handful of magical people even saw the Ministry squads coming and either hid or ran away. Some of those spread warnings, a few of which got received and believed in time. But also a number of newspapers got missed, and those who had fled the memory purges were often able to reinfect the minds of those who'd been Obliviated with the news they were suppressing.
Those who continued to raise a fuss after falling through the cracks the first time got caught up and Obliviated on return sweeps. So it was the quiet ones who remained aware of what was going on.
So, by and large, while the Ministry squads were able to quell the panic and restore much of the order that had been lost, they actually caused a panic of an entirely new sort among the pockets that remained.
People had just seen Ministry employees in a widescale suppression of the magical populace, and witnessed them erasing memories of a great scandal. That was enough to shatter their faith in magical government and make conspiracy theorists out of a lot of previously trusting folks.
Of course, in this case that was far from inaccurate. Conspiring to take over the government was exactly what Voldemort did, and he was not the only one. Lucius had been a master conspirator, practically in charge from the time he'd been let go. But Dumbledore did not need to conspire with anyone. That would require sharing power. No, he was enough all by himself to control things and pull strings. He had only puppets, not fellow conspirators.
Grindelwald had been one once, but... sigh. He'd had to destroy him. It was better for his plans to go it alone anyway. It was 'For The Greater Good.'
Still, this movement of those who had somehow escaped magical mind mods had given birth to a brand new class of paranoids as they saw and witnessed how easy it was for their government to simply make it as though something that huge hadn't even happened. And a level of fear and distrust set in that would lead to a partisan style movement not unlike the French Resistance as those who knew used carefully stored newspapers to waken a few fellows to the awful reality of their situation.
A small but significant sliver of the populace now regarded themselves as under the rule of a Dark Lord, and began wondering what to do about it.
Also, the British Ministry could do nothing about the international reaction to the news, or stop its spread there. And those other nations couldn't help noticing that Britain had an unusual silence on the whole affair after its very brief uproar. Nor did they suppose that, on looking into it, those Obliviators had been called up for no reason.
That they, and their auror escorts, had been called up by Dumbledore was a cause for alarm even among those who'd still trusted him.
Other nations even looked into the claim of a contact potion causing madness and found that it just was not so. Although they did discover the heavy taint of magic over every page and letter trying to convince people of the truth of its contents, a brief look over their files found that had been true of every issue of that notable English newspaper.
Legislation began to be drawn up at once prohibiting magical compulsions in any wizarding media of an ICW member state.
I I I
Dumbledore was most perturbed.
Even in spite of his tremendous success in reversing both his own horrible luck and the catastrophic combination of that awful revelation of his secret exploits that accompanied it, he still had major problems.
In the wake of an event like this one he always liked to print a retraction in the newspaper as part of the general cleanup. It helped everything be more thorough and complete, catching odd spots other efforts missed.
However, he had just been to the Daily Prophet offices. Apparently Ministry aurors had been there before him, going through in force right after getting their newspapers, trying to get more information and, he hoped, still trusting enough they might have been trying to confirm whether it was a hoax or not.
But the aurors that had battered down those doors had eventually been forced to employ curse breakers to penetrate his wards, and they had been in such a rush that the results had not been pretty.
The building was trashed, his careful wards destroyed by massive effort on the part of dozens of wizards, maybe even a hundred working in concert as they'd brought them down so fast.
The newspaper building was a shambles, but buildings were cheap, and he could repair or replace this one easily enough. No, somehow in all of the fighting, spell casting, investigating and general mayhem his printing press had been destroyed.
That was a major problem.
Due to his own laws, Dumbledore couldn't get another press as they were illegal to buy, sell, give or trade. Nor did he have the time, knowledge or skills to create one. The press he'd used was also a very special one, imprinting spells on every sheet, and that was not a feature one could just buy. The man who'd made this one for him had died long ago, fighting on the side of Voldemort actually. But his memory of how to create such a special press had been erased long before that by Dumbledore.
He'd secured his own press long before slapping down those now inconvenient laws intended to restrict others from acquiring any. Now he couldn't even hire a person to make him a replacement as that got covered by the 'cannot be traded' part of the laws. And compliance on this was monitored as closely as underage magic. If he used underhanded means to replace his press, the Ministry would know. He'd made sure of that himself to prevent others from doing the very schemes he considered now.
It had always been in his best interests before to make breaking that law impossible, or nearly so. Only now he found himself running afoul of those same ultra-enforced regulations!
He'd thought himself so clever, nicely sewing up all of the little loopholes and methods that might be used to deceive the law or get around enforcement. But he hadn't considered the Lovegoods, and he hadn't considered this.
It was actually harder to break a small law like this one, and get away with it, than Obliviate the entire Wizengamot - something he couldn't permit himself to do too frequently as, like stealing cookies out of a jar, done too often the dropping level of their intellects would betray him no matter how stealthily the actual work was done. Just like an empty cookie jar bespoke childhood theft. And his intellect remaining while others' dropped would remain much like smears of chocolate on that child's face. The telltales would be too obvious to ignore.
So he could either dismantle some part of that set of laws, and the web of traps he'd laid to ensure enforcement, or go without a press himself. Both were completely unacceptable, as any loopholes he created would open up the possibility of someone else getting hold of a press at the same time. There were countless political opponents who had been seething over the Prophet's effectual monopoly, having recognized the propaganda value it gave him, and some of them were clever enough to recognize whatever loophole he opened to acquire a replacement and make use of it themselves.
Many, many more were clever enough to copycat those who did.
Pressure had been building on this for some time, other clans wanting their own newspapers. His opponents had been too canny to grant the Prophet a legal monopoly, it was perfectly legal for other presses and newspapers to exist. But he'd outmaneuvered them, shutting down all competitors to lock that niche down himself. Only now, like a boiler under pressure, the least hole opened up in that lockdown could release an explosion of others getting their own printing presses using whatever methods he did, as soon as he'd opened the laws enough to do so.
But how was he to print a paper without a printing press to do so? Not only that, but his special ink and type were also missing. He could tell those at least had been stolen, removed by some unknown party, as had those ink barrels been ruptured the ink spill over the floor would've been terrible, and none of the metal fragments strewn about the room were his special runic enhanced font - he'd tried summoning for the letters but nothing happened, and at least one among those many small pieces ought to have survived.
Trouble was, so many Ministry workers had already been over the place that between all those recently cast spells, and the explosion in the workplace, that he could not identify any usable wand signatures out of the mess. So anyone might have done it. He simply had no clues.
Albus stared closely at a hubcap, wondering where that part had come from on his printing press and pondering what could be done with a few repair spells, when the Liquid Luck potion he'd taken, whose duration had also been reduced by the aging potion he'd taken before it, chose that moment to run out and the building collapsed on top of him, squashing him like a bug and killing the man miserably over a painful few minutes.
Unfortunately for everyone honest, a standing order he'd given his phoenix required it to immediately reclaim his body and return it to Hogwarts should he die outside it. So Fawkes showed up and flamed out with his corpse, taking it to that secret room in the school dungeons where Snape, grudgingly and still spasming over the Cruciatus cast on him earlier, went about raising him from the dead yet again.
Unfortunately for Dumbledore, they'd run out of mandrake that very morning on the earlier raising of him from the dead. Thus a total restoration to his original state was no longer so easy. A plentiful supply of phoenix tears made it possible, but not guaranteed as it was possible to heal badly.
Indeed, Snape was spasming so much (his post-cruciatus potions had all been destroyed in an unlucky accident) that he got the ritual wrong three times.
I I I
Frankly, the trouble with starting out fighting directly against your Big Bad Boss Villain is that the moment you're done beating him the story is over.
And, well, I always thought those suits of armor ought to serve some purpose. As well as Hogwarts serving more than just informational purposes.