Rated for language. Rita gets to writin', Dumbledore looks stupid, Draco makes threats, Voldy is upset, Harry gets his ass kicked, Dobby gets promoted Hermione kisses some boo boos, Harry talks to...
“HARRY POTTER MAKES DUMBLEDORE LOOK EXTREMELY FOOLISH!
It has come to the attention of this intrepid reporter of fact…writes Rita Skeeter, special correspondent to The Daily Prophet, that Hogwarts is missing more than sixty of it’s students on the very first day of term.
On September the first, many interesting and disquieting events occurred within moments of each other. Events, which give pause to this fearless seeker of truth. The first being, that Draco Malfoy, son of generous pureblood wizard, Lucius Malfoy, (currently being sought for escaping from Azkaban where he was placed following his arrest at the hands of Harry Potter) was beaten severely while on the Hogwarts Express. This delightful and friendly member of the press can report that Severus Snape, Malfoy’s head of house, was heard to object, that the assailant, one Jacob Appleby, a muggleborne first year, was never apprehended or punished for the horrible and unprovoked assault on Mister Malfoy. In fact, Appleby never arrived at Hogwarts at all, and is considered to be at large. Instead, due perhaps to deliberate intervention, he was allowed to escape from the train at Hogsmeade station. Has Headmaster Dumbledore now begun engaging youthful assassins to further his own agenda? Be warned, while Appleby seems small, he is well trained in the killing arts that muggles call ‘Carroty’. If you see him, please lock yourself into your homes or businesses and contact the Aurors immediately! (For information on the muggle martial arts, see page 15. For a sketch of Appleby, see page 1; underfold. For indications that Dumbledore is an uprising dark lord, see page 10.)
A second and equally unnerving occurrence took place just after the first year students arrived in the Great Hall of Hogwarts Castle for their sorting. The sorting hat, that venerable arbiter of selection, has, instead of its usual doom-saying, provided some true entertainment, and shocked the teaching staff to insensibility, by singing a song unlike any to have ever been heard in the hallowed halls of learning which is Hogwarts school. In effect, the hat has decided to stop warning us of the return of enemies from without and within, and told us it no longer cares. In fact, one of its last lines stated clearly, that it was going to be leaving Britain entirely, for California, in the colonies! (For the actual words, see page 3)
Immediately following the sorting, Harry Potter’s snowy owl, Hegling, appeared, in the company of four disreputable looking eagle owls.
One has to ask what kind of morals is Potter teaching this poor bird that she would be cavorting with such clearly unsavory types?
To illustrate this fearless seeker of truth’s point, Hedbug, obviously led astray by one or more of her feathery paramours, attacked Headmaster Dumbledore, dropping a weighted envelope, clearly designed to disrupt his dinner.
It did. The envelope flew in a graceful arc from this hussy of the air, to the gravy boat in front of Dumbledore, splashing hot gravy all over his opulent and rather effeminate robes. From there, Dumbledore appeared to have a fit of the apoplexy. In his tantrum, he drew his wand, apparently to destroy the offending Hejwood, but an apparently unintentional intervention by Deputy headmistress Minerva McGonagall, spoilt his aim. Could McGonagall be in league with the winged sprayer of gravy? (For indications that Minerva McGonagall may be involved in the illicit corruption of post owls, see page 6)
Upon reading the contents of that envelope, Dumbledore screamed in rage, terrifying his students, raced from the room and was not seen again that evening. (For indications of Dumbledore’s impending insanity, see page 11.)
In a related incident, Dumbledore was fined 1,000 Galleons for illegally entering the Ministers office and attempting to assault an invited guest.
Dumbledore was not available for comment.
Has Dumbledore finally lost his mind? As this intrepid and attractive seeker of knowledge has mentioned many times before, Dumbledore’s decisions over the past few years have been nothing less than disastrous, from his placing half-giant Rubeus Hagrid, in the position to teach students, to his placing our boy-hero Harry Potter, in harms way by allowing him to participate, if not actually entering him, in the Triwizard tournament of two years ago. (see: Dumbledore’s Insanity; Page 11.)
Harry Potter was also not available for comment. What’s more, The-Boy-Who-Lived and recently recognized, ‘Chosen One’, seems to have vanished from this Earth entirely. Has Dumbledore finally done something…unforgivable? Dumbledore’s past use of the Imperius curse, as described on the eighth of July this year, tells this lovely and quite fashionable member of the fourth estate, that he is more than willing to use methods that are both extreme and illegal, to attain his goals.
It appears that Albus Dumbledore’s star is sinking and he is willing to do anything at all to regain the influence he once had…
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore was far past furious. He was so angry he was unintelligible! He should have expected something like this, but he thought his threat to Euwings had been enough. Clearly, it had not.
Slapping the paper down on his ornate desk, he stormed over to his floo, threw a pinch in powder in and bellowed: “Severus!”
Severus Snape woke to the sound of the headmaster screaming his name.
He obliviated the young muggle girl he’d ‘enjoyed’ the night before, cast a prophylaxis, and healed the child’s injuries before activated a portkey to send her back to the wood near her village. He climbed from his bed, thinking: ~Hopefully the little bint will be eaten by wolves before she's found!~
Fully aware that his delay would infuriate Dumbledore even more, he took his time.
Kneeling on the special pad before the fireplace he answered: “Yes, Headmaster?”
“Have some of your marked students find, beat, and rape Mayble Euwings!” Dumbledore snarled, before abruptly closing he connection.
Even as jaded a man as Snape was startled at Dumbledore’s order. An accomplished rapist, he had no difficulty in violating even someone as young as Euwings, but he wondered why Dumbledore would order such a vile action. He also knew the Dark Lord would enjoy hearing of it.
Calling his younger Death Eaters to his office, he gave them their instructions and sent them on their way. He made plans for that evening to inform his master of Dumbledore’s order.
Fawkes waited until Dumbledore had departed for breakfast, before snatching up the sorting hat and vanishing in a ball of flame.
At breakfast, Harry noticed that Fawkes was with Luna, outrageously playing the part of a poor, starving waif, and being thoroughly coddled by the eccentric blond and her tablemates. Dobby appeared at his elbow, and reported that the sorting hat was in his office, waiting to speak with him. With a raised eyebrow, Harry rose and asked Hermione, Remus, Tonks and Mackenzie to join him there.
The hat reported the morning’s actions to Harry adding Dumbledore’s last words. “And he said: “Have some of your marked students find, beat, and rape Mayble Euwings!” We must warn her!”
“Don’t worry. Mister Euwings has already sent her to Beauxbatons. Dumbledore can’t touch her there.”
The hat literally sagged in relief.
“What about after the school year, Harry?” Hermione asked.
“Hermione, by that time, this will be all over. One way or another.”
Grunnings LLC. Greater Whinging, Surrey:
Vernon could see Mr. Grunning was not a happy man.
Joshuah Grunning sat, absolutely silent, behind his desk, holding Vernon in his angry gaze. Behind him, a large picture window overlooked the huge production floor that had made Grunnings what it was.
Joshuah began to speak.
“Look at this place, Dursley. I built this company from the ground up. Do you know I started as a tool runner in a factory in Manchester? I had dreams. I had a vision. I had no money. Without the help of four exceptional young men, who gave me the money to found this company, there would be no Grunnings. That money is the reason there is a company, but it’s not the reason we have achieved so much. Our successes are entirely because of our employees, Dursley. I have always treated my employees as family and I’ve always trusted them to do the right thing.” Then, he looked directly into Vernon’s eyes.
“You have betrayed that trust, Dursley.” Vernon thought just then, that Joshuah looked a great deal like that solicitor he’d met in Spain. The thought terrified him! “You have betrayed this company, and you’ve betrayed me. And to be betrayed like that, by one of my family, makes me more than furious.”
Vernon gulped in abject terror. He’d heard rumours of the ‘shady people’ Grunning had been involved with as a lad, and people like that tended to know how to ‘dispose of problems’. He’d always thought they were just rumours, but now, he wasn’t so sure.
Grunning went on.
“You are being investigated for embezzlement, insurance fraud, tax fraud, tax evasion and illegal banking. Other charges against you are child neglect, and abuse…and worse. Frankly, for that alone, I’d prefer to beat you to death and dump your body in the sea. Child abusers, and molesters, have no place in my company, to say nothing of a directorship. At the very least, I should let the IRT people have you.”
“Mister Grunning…” He whinged. “I’ve brought in a sizable profit to this company. I have devoted my whole life to…”
“Seven hundred, thirty two thousand pounds more or less.” Grunning interrupted in a growl. “That’s what you’ve stolen from me, Dursley. Seven hundred and thirty two thousand pounds. I cannot abide a thief, no matter what profit he brings to this company.
In my opinion, some time in prison would do you a world of good, but you have someone your side. Someone who should, by all rights, hate you with a passion. Instead, simply because your wife is his aunt, he has arranged to help you. Just so you know, Dursley, Lord Gryffindor is a lot more forgiving than I am. He’s asked me to keep you on.”
“He…he did?” Vernon was staggered. The freak had asked Joshuah to keep him on? He knew the freak had arranged for his repatriation, but not this! He began to think hard. ~Maybe I can turn this to my advantage! The freak is a lord, hmmm? Well, I have the little bastard cowed. I’ll just beat him a little, maybe a little more than usual… Maybe I’ll have some…fun…with him… Yes, that will do nicely!~
Vernon was so intent on making his plans of financial domination he almost missed Joshuah’s next announcement.
“Yes he did. I agreed. It took a great deal of convincing on his part, but I agree. However, there will be some changes. First, you will be moving to the mailroom. Assistant clerk. Your attitude toward those you do not consider your superiors, has always been abrasive in the extreme. You’ll suck up to me, and to the board, but you insult, degrade and harass those you feel are beneath you. I’ve spoken to you on that matter several times before. Now, you’re moving to the bottom. Everyone here…will be your superior.”
“But…but….but, who will be…?” Vernon couldn’t understand. How could they possibly get on without him?
“Albert Kaililaou will be the new director of sales. He’s as good a salesman as you are and a lot easier to get along with."
Vernon nearly passed out with shock. ~Kaililaou? That fat, banana-eating, Samoan? In MY job?~ (1)
Over the next hour, Joshuah laid down the law, telling Vernon he had a new schedule. He’d be working the midnight shift. Mostly cleaning up the mess other people made! He would report to work a half hour early and would clean up his own station after the end of the shift. His breaks would be closely monitored, and his performance evaluated on a weekly basis. Worse, he would also pay back the moneys he’d stolen, whatever the government didn’t return from his seized accounts, that is, at a rate of two hundred pounds per month.
He was about to refuse entirely, when Joshuah added: “Your other option is a prison cell.”
In short, he was buggered, and he knew it.
Late that afternoon, Albus Dumbledore descended to the dungeon levels of the castle.
“Severus.” He called as he entered the potion’s classroom.
“Headmaster.” Snape returned.
“I have not seen any report of Miss Euwings in the hospital wing. Why, pray tell, have I not?”
“Mayble Euwings is not in the castle.”
“What!?!” Dumbledore snarled.
“She did not return to Hogwarts at the start of term.”
“We shall see about that!” Dumbledore stormed off.
Minerva was at her desk when a genially twinkling Albus Dumbledore entered her office.
“Minerva, we seem to be missing yet another student. Mayble Euwings.”
“Miss Euwings is currently attending Beauxbatons Academy of Magicks, Albus. She transferred in July.”
“Beauxbatons?” Dumbledore was astounded that anyone would dare to defy him like that. It was time to take matters into his own hands. He spun through the door and slammed it shut behind him.
Minerva smiled grimly. She swiftly wrote out a note and called softly: “Dobby?”
Instantly the Jedi-clad House-elf was beside her.
“Professor Kittycat calls for Dobby?” He asked.
“Yes, Dobby. Would you take this to Mister Potter, please?”
“Dobby would be most happy to do so.” With that, he popped away again.
In his office, Dumbledore tossed some floo powder into the flames and called out: “The Daily Prophet!” before flinging himself into the fireplace.
To his shock, he found himself in a small alley with a fireplace. Next to the floo, were a table and cupboard with a series of pigeonholes for messages. That was all. A placard on the table, read:
“Due to terrorist threats to the staff and family members
of this newspaper, all access to the Daily Prophet will take
place here, or via owl. Please deposit your request or tip
into the appropriate box.”
One of the cubbies was labeled: ‘Rita Skeeter’.
Security wards were in place that not even he could overcome. Howling in rage, Albus flooed back to his office, then to The Leaky Cauldron. He’d show them who they were playing with!
Ignoring Tom, Dumbledore stormed through the inn and out the back. A sweep of his wand and the archway formed. Once through the arch, he stalked up the street to…
He stopped. Where was he going? The Daily Prophet, he knew, but where was it? He stood there in the middle of the street, casting about for the place, and garnering not a few inquisitive eyes. Angrily, he realized that someone, most likely Potter, had placed The Prophet under Fidelus! ~No matter.~ He thought. ~I shall simply go to his home and kill his…~ He stopped. He could no longer recall where Euwings lived! Dumbledore finally understood that he’d been outthought once again…and by a mere boy! Potter had covered not only The Prophet’s building, but Euwings’ home and likely the homes of all the employees as well! Dumbledore was boiling! He could do nothing, and that made him even more furious! Mutters, curios looks and pointing fingers attracted his attention to those around him. Once he realized he had an audience…and as Skeeter had implied, he looked extremely foolish! He gathered up what dignity he had left, and returned to The Leaky, where he flooed back to his office.
There, he began to throw a tantrum that would make Harry’s anger of the previous spring, seem like a mild disagreement. His silvery trinkets were destroyed, his honors demolished. Furniture was smashed, priceless books were torn apart and expensive clothing shredded. Even his pensieve ended up on the floor, broken and empty. Beloved memories, schemes, and plots of nearly a hundred years…all gone, in a fit of pique.
The house elves watching him, were beside themselves with joy! The portraits were, without exception, utterly appalled! Even Armando Dippet, one of the most easygoing headmasters in history, was shocked speechless.
He snatched Gryffindor’s sword, from its glass case thinking to use it to chop his antique desk in to kindling, but when the blade broke on the first blow, he stopped. There, on the side of the blade, where the name GODRIC GRYFFINDOR should have been, the engraved letters read HARRY POTTER instead!
An apoplectic scream and Albus Dumbledore’s world turned black.
A house elf popped in, and taking hold of the aging headmaster, popped him to hospital wing and the gentle ministrations of Madam Pomfrey.
Others entered the office and began to set things to rights. The sword was clearly an elf-made copy, but they repaired it all the same and returned it to its place in the corner. Books, clothing and furniture were restored as well. The pensieve was repaired, but its memories were lost for all time.
By the time they were done, the office was pristine.
Pleased with their efforts, the elves returned to the kitchens to prepare the evening’s meal.
When Poppy reported Dumbledore’s condition to Minerva, the Deputy Headmistress feigned concern, checked up on Dumbledore personally, and then returned to her office to write another status report to Harry. As before, Dobby took it away.
Harry read both notices at the same time and asked Dobby what he knew.
When the little elf described what had happened in the headmaster’s office, Harry laughed so hard he literally fell over. Snickering, he picked himself and his chair, from the floor, rubbed the bump on back of his head, and then posted the notices on the message board in his office for the occasional pick-me-up. He didn’t want the other students to see this just yet, because it would bring them unnecessary worry. When this is all over he could publish it, or not. He also asked Dobby to place a copy of the memory to his pensieve.
When he’d gotten back to the flat the shark-like solicitor had provided, Vernon received another rude shock. He learned that the flat…the entire building for that matter, belonged to the freak, through his parents! He was going to have to pay money to the freak! Vernon nearly had a heart attack. Despite Petunia’s best efforts to calm him, he railed and raged up a storm, until the building manager had come up and threatened to have him arrested for disturbing the peace.
Vernon knew he was over the proverbial barrel. Worse, he knew exactly who had put him there. Somehow…somehow the freak had engineered this whole thing…just to make him look bad!
He was ready to tell the lot of them to go straight to hell, when the shark-like lady came to the door. She smiled in that frightening way, and told him again, in no uncertain terms, that their only other choice of dwelling, had bars on the doors.
Draco watched as the Chinese Head Girl approached the Great Hall. He pushed himself from his place of concealment and barred her path. Her wand dropped unseen into her hand. Quite invisible, Dobby waited beside the armor once belonging to Uric the Incontinent.
“My father asked me to deliver a message…Chang!” He sneered. Somehow, the sneer wasn’t as intimidating as he would like. That his arse had been handed to him by an ickle firsty, might have had something to do with that.
Or at lest that was the rumour to be found throughout the castle.
“And what would that message be…Malfoy?” She returned the sneer with interest. Draco was unsettled, but he had his orders.
“Those who dare to defy the dark lord…or his lieutenants, end up dead! Along with their families!”
“Understood.” Cho smirked, unsettling him even further. “Now you take this message back to your father…Death Eater.”
Cho smirked nastily. She’d already convinced her family to move to a safer location. Suddenly Draco wasn’t as sure of his position as he’d been before. She began to speak in what was hardly more than a soft growl.
“There are over a hundred million Chang’s in the world…thirty six thousand right here in Britain alone. We are all related. I’ve already spread the word. If something happens to me, or my family, they will be coming for you…personally. They may take out Voldemort too, but the Malfoy line will end…as if it never was.” She whispered the last five words.
It was an extremely frightened Draco Malfoy who delivered that message to his father.
Within hours, Lucius knelt at his master’s feet, begging his forbearance. Voldemort was astonished and enraged that anyone would dare to show such disrespect to one of his servants. He would have loved nothing more than to find this ‘Chang’ bint, and torture and her entire family, to death, but just then he had more important things on his mind. The Ministry was not nearly as terrified if him as he would like! The loyalists there, and on the Wizengamot had been arrested and sent to an unplottable prison, and those less supportive had been sacked. He dearly wished to visit his rage upon those who defied him, most especially that bitch, Amelia Bones.
“Lucius, this can wait. I will want you to take the ministry when Bones is dead, so don’t do anything stupid. When you are Minister, you may dispose of Chang and her family as you see fit. However, we must eliminate Bones first. Since she is too well protected in her office, well attended whenever she goes out and as Blakesley and Ogilvie discovered, there is a new kind of lethal ward surrounding her home, we shall have to kill her at the ministry. Where does she go on a regular basis?”
Lucius thought for a few moments. There was no place that blood-traitor bitch went that she wasn’t in the presence of at least four guards…except the loo, but even them she took Hammer with her. She even had them around her when she ate…
When - she - ate!
“Master, she tends to eat in the tearoom, with the other drones.”
“Does she now? Well then, we shall have to make her last meal a fitting one. Select several of my servants and train them in synchronous portkey use. I want you to locate the places Bones sits most frequently, and be able to create the portkeys to take them there at the same time.”
“As you wish, Master.”
“Arthur?” Molly called. Arthur looked up from his dinner and saw the worry in his wife’s eyes. ~Oh bother! Here it comes!~ He thought.
“What’s wrong, Molly?”
“Arthur, I just got our monthly notice notice from Gringotts. We have more than fifteen hundred Galleons in our vault that shouldn’t be there! What’s more, I tried calling the twins to see if they had deposited it, only to find their floo has been disconnected and no forwarding has been given!”
“Well, I forgot about the gold, but I know about the twins.”
“Arthur!” Molly Weasley knew something was up and she knew Arthur was involved up to his eyeballs! She balled up her fists and braced them on her ample hips. “What have you done?”
“Molly, the gold is the tuition from Hogwarts. It’s been returned to us because Ron and Ginny are not attending this year.”
“Whatever do you mean…not attending?” She gaped, then her eyes shot to that scandalous article in The Prophet. “You mean it’s true?”
“Yes. I do.”
“Arthur!” She screeched, causing him to wince. “How could you? You know how important an education is! Poor Ron! Poor Ginny! What kind of future will they have without an education?” Molly was waving her arms all about as she ranted. “They’ll have to work in a used goods shop! They’ll have to push a cart down Knockturn Alley! How could you take their schooling…you will just send the gold right back to the school and find those two wherever they are and return them to the castle where they belong!”
Arthur Weasley was long used to being bullied by his wife into doing exactly as he wanted, but now, he had to tell her what he’d done…what he’d allowed to happen…and why. He’d dreaded this day. Today was the day he had to take her firmly in hand, and force her to obey him. While the idea of using this power, made him ill, he knew it was the only thing he could do. Harry and the kids were depending on him!
“Molly!” He barked out her name, putting his magic behind the command. The magic in their bonding responded and halted her tirade.
Just like that, she stopped, and looked at him in surprise. Arthur had never used their marriage bond’s magic to quell her.
“Molly.” He gentled his tone. “The kids, Fred, George, Ron and Ginny are all with Harry. He is training them to fight Death Eaters.”
“My babies!?!” Arthur knew she was building up to an explosion. House magic or no, she could still make his life difficult. He headed off that explosion by adding: “I understand what they are doing, and as head of House Weasley, I have given my approval, so mote it be!”
Molly lost the strength in her legs and flumped into a chair. Arthur pulled a bottle of Old Ogden’s, from the side bar and poured some into his tea, then pushed the tea across the table to her.
“Arthur?” She whimpered.
“I’m sorry, Molly. It’s necessary.”
“Molly, you know what Dumbledore has done to us. You know that he’s done nothing to prepare Harry to face Voldemort. What’s worse, he’s actively prevented any of us from preparing ourselves for the war we all know is coming.”
“But they’re children!”
“Molly, do you remember what Ron told us in Algernon’s office? “Mum, we’ve been fighting this war since I was eleven. Ginny was almost the first casualty.” He’s right. It was Dumbledore who began this thing, by allowing Voldemort to be created, or perhaps even creating him himself. According to Dumbledore’s plan, Harry is supposed to remain entirely untrained.”
“Untrained? But how will he fight against He-who-shall-no…” Molly faltered at her husband’s stern glare.
“Say his name, Molly.”
“I can’t Arthur. You know why.”
“Then call him Riddle. Call him Voldy. Call him Moldyshorts if you have to, but stop calling him by the ridiculous series of hyphens! He’s a mad dog…nothing more!!”
“He’s the most feared dark lord we’ve ever known.”
“And yet, we fought him. Yes, we lost people, and likely we’ll lose more, but we fought him. He can be fought.”
“Harry has a plan which is both simple and brilliant. He’s been setting it up since July and now, he’s taken his volunteers and begun their training.”
“What is that plan?”
“I can’t tell you. I’m sworn to secrecy. However I can tell you, the kids will be involved. There’s nothing for it. We can provide support, but they will carry the war…not us.”
“Molly, Harry has sworn his fortune, his magic and his life, to destroying this monster. Amelia has sworn her support, Graswold has sworn his assistance. The French have loaned us more than a hundred Aurors, they are all helping us to eliminate a terrible scourge. Can we do any less?”
“Harry has sworn to me that no matter what it takes, he will destroy Voldemort. But this time, he will be gone for good. Dumbledore would have him walk up the garden path, unarmed and unprepared, and allow Voldemort to kill him, in hopes he will be destroyed as well.”
“That’s ridiculous! That’s the kind of plan a four year old would come up with!”
“Precisely. I believe Dumbledore has gotten too long in the tooth. His mind isn’t what it used to be. At least I hope that’s what the problem is…”
“What are you not saying, Arthur.”
“Molly, I’ve been looking deeply into Dumbledore’s actions over the past fifty years, and what I’ve seen is rather horrifying. If Dumbledore is not well into his dotage, then he’s become what he’s always railed against. He’s become a dark lord.”
“No!” Molly was horrified. Dumbledore as a dark lord would well be the end of them all.
“I didn’t want to see it either, but the evidence is there, if one cared to find it. Think. How any of the order have died, and how many of them died after seventy-six?”
“I don’t understand.”
“Molly, Severus Snape became a member of the order in seventy-six. As Harry pointed out: “Have you ever noticed that the people Snape doesn’t like, tend to end up dead?”
“You mean…?” Molly was horrified, and furious and heartbroken all at the same time. Fabian and Gideon had both died in seventy-seven. Snape had never liked them and they’d barely tolerated him, and then only because Dumbledore had insisted…
She grew pale.
“Molly, once one accepts the dark mark, there is no turning back. Dumbledore knew Snape was a Death Eater…an active and avid Death Eater. He also knew Peter was an active Death Eater. He knew this a full four years before Voldemort attacked the Potters. In fact, Harry has provided some very compelling evidence that Voldemort had been carefully manipulated into attacking them.”
“Mmmhmm.” Arthur nodded. “There’s more. You recall the events of Hogwarts, Ginny being possessed by Riddle’s memory, Ron helping Harry rescue the stone, Hermione, with Harry, throughout everything. The day after we went to see Algie, Ginny brought me an old black diary with some holes burnt into it. I recognized that book. It was the one Harry had returned from the chamber. I understand he gave it to Malfoy in order to trick him into freeing that crazy elf..” His voice died off as he pondered. “How Dumbledore got it again, I’ll ever know…”
“What about it?” Molly wanted to know.
“Ah yes. Sorry.” Arthur flushed at the woolgathering. “Well, Ginny brought it to me and told me Dumbledore had given it to her the day after, proclaiming it to be the absolute proof of Harry’s undying love for her. It turned out there were several compulsions on it, to force her to forsake all other friends, effectively bind herself to Harry, and report everything he did to Dumbledore.”
Molly grabbed the tea before her, and gulped it down in one go. He refilled her cup with Old Ogdens.
“I took it to the DoM, and Algie went over it. He told me it had traces of very dark magic lingering, but the magic was for the most part dissipated. He took it to a ritual chamber and performed a cleansing ritual on it. We still don’t know exactly what it was, but we suspect it was some sort of soul magicks.”
“No!” Molly yelped. She felt faint, and swigged the firewhiskey.
“Yes. It’s been cleaned, now and it’s just an old diary with some holes burnt in. Molly, Dumbledore gave that obscenity to our daughter. It’s likely he knows what it was, but he’d never tell us. He never tells us anything…not even things we truly need to know. He refused to tell us the prophesy that almost cost me my life, did cost Bode his, and sent Sturgis to Azkaban. The poor man hasn’t recovered yet. That’s why I will back Harry. He’s willing to put himself into harms way for people who, quite honestly, don’t deserve it, but he is not going to go in with blinders on. Harry is a smart lad, and really, he’s far more the leader than Dumbledore ever was.”
Molly was angry, now. She stood and announced: “I’m going to give that man a piece of my mind, I am!”
Arthur jumped up and gripped her sleeve firmly. “And expose Harry to him again? Expose our children? No Molly Weasley, you - will - not! What you will do instead, is support your children, in whatever manner you can. You will send them Christmas gifts and the like and you will allow Harry and his people, to train themselves to fight this maniac. And when he’s done, you will celebrate the end of this fear.”
“And what are their chances? They could die!” She wailed.
“Yes, they could. I can’t promise we won’t lose any or all of them, but if Voldemort wins, we will all lose. You’ve already been marked for death. So have I. We’ve been fervent Dumbledore supporters before this, and now…well, I really don’t think the Death Eaters are going to give us any chances to renounce our positions. If our kids can’t destroy him, then you and I will be seeing them soon enough. Harry has promised he will do his utmost to prepare them for this. He has to face Voldemort, all they have to do is keep the Death Eaters busy until he does. Give them this chance. Harry’s plan is a good one, but it requires absolute security.”
“What about us?” She asked in quiet fear. “Are we safe here?”
“We’re as safe as anyone else. Harry asked permission to upgrade the wards here, and provide us emergency portkeys to his training base. He insisted, actually. I gave him that permission. He’s grown hard, but you can still see the love in his eyes. He considers us his family and he’d do anything to protect his family. He knows that Peter knows where we live, but the new wards will kill him if he tries to enter.”
“Molly, Dumbledore is wrong. War is a terrible and unthinkable thing, and that’s why it is a thing to be avoided. But when it is necessary, it must be fought fully, and without remorse. If you are going to fight, you must fight to win. You must destroy your enemy’s ability to wage war. That, unfortunately means soldiers must die. Dumbledore has managed to perpetuate this war for his own benefit, and that is the most horrible thing of all.”
Time followed as time does, and Harry’s hope, and Mackenzie’s prediction came true. As the days and weeks passed, his crew began to rally. The exercise grew harder day-by-day, but the students began to join together to ensure none of them was left behind. By the second week in September, they were singing Jodies while running.
On the tenth of September, Albus Dumbledore stood before the International Confederation of Wizards in Geneva. They’d just rejected his petition of reinstatement, claiming he had too much on his plate. In the visitors gallery Carolyn Chapman smirked at Dumbledore’s reaction to that specific turn of phrase.
The Wizengamot had rejected a similar petition only days before.
Dumbledore was firmly convinced that his wayward weapon was somehow involved in his recent humiliations, but couldn’t fathom a guess as to how.
He left the chamber in defeat.
The next morning the headlines read:
“DUMBLEDORE REJECTED BY ICW.
Dear readers, writes the lovely and talented, Rita Skeeter, special correspondent to the Daily Prophet. It has come to this intrepid reporter’s attention that Albus Dumbledore, former chief of the Wizengamot, and former Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, had submitted a petition to be reinstated to that august body, after having been forcibly removed from both posts, for his part in the illegal control, of more than two dozen orphans’ vaults, including that of Lord Potter.
He filed a similar petition in Britain to regain his absolute control over the Wizengamot.
Thankfully, both petitions were soundly rejected.
According to what this tireless seeker of truth, has been told by a source close to Gringotts Bank, Dumbledore had been helping himself to the funds of more than twenty five orphans, without their consent, or that of their heirs, as several of them are dead, and until recently, had been using their positions and gold for his own aggrandizement. (See page 13 for details of Dumbledore’s perfidy.)”
Given the condition he’d been in on the second, for the sake of his continued good health, Poppy decided to burn his copy of the prophet that morning…before he saw it. Another day like that could quite well kill the old man.
It wasn’t necessary. Dumbledore didn’t bother to get out of bed that morning.
On the morning of the twelfth, after their meditation training, Harry introduced another form of training.
“Today!” He announced. “We will begin hand-to-hand combat training!”
Not so much as a breath of air escaped the group, but he could almost hear their thoughts, saying: ~What?~
He answered anyway.
“Hand to hand combat is one of the best ways to train your body for flexibility, agility and durability. It requires strength, speed and control. Each of those traits will come in very handy while learning the lightsaber.”
He called Mackenzie up. Both handed their lightsabers to Hermione and faced off.
The battle was swift and brutal, with punches, sweeps, blocks and kicks, and ended up with Harry flat on the mat, bruised heavily and bleeding from the mouth and nose.
The students were shocked speechless.
Hermione had to hold herself rigidly back from rushing to her lover’s side. A gentle hand on her shoulder told her that Judith was there. She smiled tearfully at her mother and the relaxed.
He rolled up, groaning in pain, to rest on his bum, while Healer Jacoby hurried forward to heal his broken nose, and other injuries, and clean him up. Jacoby was also horrified. He’d never before seen the kind of damage an unarmed, but well-trained human could do to another.
Mackenzie took over.
“Tonks and I will be your primary instructors, with Remus and Harry assisting. Nothing you are going to learn in the next few months is going to be as rigorous as what you’ve just seen. As it was, Harry landed some very painful blows on me!” He stripped off his tunic to show them the livid marks he wore. “My experience is the only thing that allowed me to win. He’s got the induced training from Master Yoda, but I have twenty years of practice.”
With a sigh of long-suffering, Healer Jacoby treated him as well. Judith was smirking as more than a few of the girls were positively drooling, and even Jacoby was impressed.
Tonks took that opportunity to speak. “My experience is in wizarding combat, but as an Auror, I am also well qualified in several martial arts. I prefer Judo, and Aikido, to the flashier Tae Kwon Do and Karate. We have agreed to begin with Judo, because so many of the arts are sorta based on it.
Now, the first thing we are going to do is teach you lot, how to fall.”
“What do you mean, fall?” Asked Ernie Macmillan. “To fall is to fall!”
“How about to fall without getting hurt?” Tonks teased.
Ernie had nothing to say. Everyone there had fallen before and it was nothing like fun.
“All right, Fall in!” Tonks called out.
Instantly the students formed themselves on the mats. Tonks spoke again. “As I said, the first thing we will be learning is how to fall…"
That night, Harry and his eight lieutenants remained in the training room, sparring with their lightsabers under his watchful eye, for their usual four hours. He carefully noted each person’s progress and seeing as how Dobby had thoroughly learned the third form, he called the little elf to the front. Using a color-change charm, he replaced the green tabs on Dobby’s shoulders with the blue of Ataru, and announced his friend’s advancement to the fourth form. Dobby blushed darkly and the rest of them applauded. Hermione, Luna and Mackenzie would be advancing to Makashi within the next week or so, Remus and Tonks were already there and Neville and Susan weren’t far behind.
Hermione joined him in bed and after chastising him for getting himself beaten up, began to ‘kiss his boo-boo’s better’, and quite unknowingly, they managed to give Voldemort a screaming headache.
The dark lord found he was growing quite fond of the headache potion that Severus provided.
Harry woke in a pensive mood. Hermione kissed him soundly before rolling out of their bed and off to the loo.
Returning she dressed and then addressed his disquiet.
“What’s up?” She asked.
“I have a job to do that’s going to be harder than anything I’ve ever had to do before.”
“I have to go to Azkaban."
“What!?!” She cried. “Why?”
“Hermione, Voldemort used the dementors in the last war. Amelia has informed me that he’s making overtures again. I’ve got to ensure they don’t join him this time.”
“Well…I can see that, I suppose….” She broke off, then added: “But why you, Harry? You know how they affect you.”
“How they used to affect me. I can shield myself from their effects now.”
“Still, why you?”
“Because nobody else can. It turns out dementors aren’t demons, as it’s long been thought. I’ve come across some of the memories Yoda gave me and based upon their similarity to the creatures in those memories, I believe they were, at one time from another dimension…another reality. That’s the reason they act like they do. It’s a basic life-function for them. They need to feed on psychic energy to survive, but the only viable source of that energy is humans. Other animals on Earth just don’t have enough. I have to go there and convince them to leave this plane entirely, before Voldemort convinces them to join him. It’s time to send them home.”
“Damn!” She swore. “I hate when you’re right!”
A few seconds passed before she asked: “When do you leave?”
“I’m thinking any time would be good.”
“Then let’s wait until tomorrow. Let me give you some happy memories for the trip.” She seductively cooed the last. Harry grinned and pulled her in for a deep kiss.
The morning alarm rang, and sighing, they gave each other one more kiss, before heading outside for their morning’s run.
Training that day consisted of more running and calisthenics. Since the whole group had gotten their running legs, so Harry had doubled the runs. Morning and afternoon, every other day. The students groused and moaned, but they turned to with a will and ran.
Meditation with Judith, continued and classes with the teachers Carolyn had provided, would begin soon. Tonks was going over the basics of falling again for those like Ron, who hadn’t caught it the first time or those like Neville, who wanted to make sure they had it right. Harry joined the group and they had a wonderful time kibitzing as each of them practiced falling without bumping themselves.
That night, after the students had retired for the night, and the security watches had been set, Harry sat in his office finishing the interminable parchment work that seemed to be the bane of every schoolmaster, even for a school as small as his. When he finally finished the forms, he sat back and pondered the next day’s mission.
This mission was as important as the defeat of Voldemort himself. While Harry detested the effects the creatures had, he really had no alternative.
He would go to Azkaban.
When he finally went to bed. He found Hermione waiting for him, and over the next few hours, she showed him how much she’d learned ‘under him’.
She guaranteed he would be able to cast a king-sized Patronus from inside a dementor if need be!
Harry was no slouch either and he left her panting in abandon as she reached climax after climax. It is fortunate they had permanent silencing wards around the master bedroom, or the rest of the students would have had something to smirk at for days!
Voldemort woke at two AM, from the first sound sleep he’d had in days, with a splitting head.
“Find her! Kill her!” Was all he could say, before he passed out.
None of the Death Eaters were present, and as his chambers were soundproofed, the guards outside remained blissfully ignorant of their master’s distemper.
The next morning, at breakfast, following his morning run, Harry announced his imminent departure. “I have to go to Azkaban. Until I return, Hermione is running the show. Of course, Remus, Tonks, and the Grangers will be here to help. I should be back in a few hours. Until then, you’ll be practicing what you’ve learned. .”
With that, Harry and Hermione left the castle. They headed to the edge of the wards, and once there, he kissed his lover good-bye, stepped through the wards and vanished silently.
Harry appeared in the alley behind The Leaky Cauldron, applied a glamour and headed through Diagon Alley toward Gringotts
On the steps, the goblins recognized him through his disguise, and thumped their spears in salute.
Harry returned their salute and entered the bank.
Behind him, a tall, slender man with a hooked nose and greasy hair, watched carefully from the apothecary as the goblins showed a human the unexpected honor. The master would want to know about this…and Dumbledore as well. All he had to do just then was wait. When the man left the bank, he’d look carefully at his face, and perhaps identify him.
Yes, the master would be most pleased.
Aware of Snape’s presence and interest, but not his intention, Harry let it slide. He notified the head of security as to the Death Eater’s presence, outside the bank, and then requested a word with Graswold.
He spoke to the Dak requesting any pertinent information on Azkaban and the Dementors, telling the old goblin what he intended to do on the island fortress. Graswold gave him the proper coordinates for apparation and an image to focus on, and Harry apparated from the bank.
Twenty-five minutes later, a silvery message dart reached the hidden Snape, instructing him to return to the castle, as there were students to teach.
Grinding his teeth, he complied.
The goblin watching the Death Eater, memorized every detail of his assignment for the retelling to his Ah-Dak-Bellicus, before returning to the bank.
He arrived on the landing dock…the only un-warded spot on the desolate island, instantly feeling the ‘wrongness’ about the island.
Harry transfigured a pile of rocks into a table and several chairs. He took one, and left the dementors to decide if they would do so as well.
One did. Or actually, one did through a proxy. The soulless wretch standing before him had once been called Stan Shunpike. Senior Undersecretary to the Minister, Rufus Scrimgeour, had had him kissed, for the same reason that he’d sent the lack-wit to Azkaban in the first place. ‘To be seen as doing something’. That Stan was as innocent as the rain made no difference in the slightest, to the power hungry politician. Though Harry didn’t know it, Amelia had immediately and quite publicly censured him, requiring him to pay reparations for Shunpike’s ‘death’. Scrimgeour thought he’d avoid the sizable forfeiture, because Stan’s parents had died in the first war. Bones quashed that idea, by insisting he send the forfeited gold to the newly established home for magical orphans, Harry had endowed. She also told him in no uncertain terms that if he did any such thing again, she would not only have his job, pureblood or not, but he would be visiting Azkaban himself…permanently!
Rufus was livid. He went so far as to petition the Wizengamot to intervene, only to find Augusta Longbottom distinctly hostile. As she was a distant cousin to Shunpike, she was not a bit moved by his pleas of near-destitution.
“What do you want, human?” The dementor spoke through Stan’s still-breathing corpse. You are in our realm. A foolish mistake at best.”
“Quite the contrary…” Harry said. “You cannot harm me, but I can destroy you. We can battle, but instead, I would ask that you treat with me.”
“What have you to say human?”
“You are not from this reality. Even I can see that. You should not be here. You were once people of another plane, but now, you exist only as the memories of what you once were. Your continued presence in this world is anathema to nature. It has corrupted this island and will, in time corrupt more and more until the entire Earth is overcome.”
“What you say is true. We have long dreamed for release into the beyond, and yet, we are bound here still.”
“More than a thousand of this world’s orbits in the gone, we came to this plane as explorers. We had devised methods to traverse the natural barriers between realities and in our arrogance, we presumed ourselves gods. We were fools. When we discovered the teeming life forces you call souls, we lost our control, and began to feed. We were voracious. We did not understand at the time that what we were feeding upon were in fact, intelligent creatures.”
“Understandable. While I am from here, I have had the memories of many other races given to me. It is not at all simple to tell the one from the other. So I ask you. What would you do?”
“We would return to our own plane to join our fellows in the forever rest, but we cannot. We were bound to this place by the one you called Emrys. When that one discovered our ravages, he banished us to this island and erected walls of sheer power to keep us contained. The walls have grown weak over the cycles past, and we can leave for a short time, but our essences were tied to this place by a binding to…that!” The demon-inhabited corpse, pointed to the dark grey prison.
“As long as the anchor which holds us to this reality is left whole, we cannot return to our own plane.”
“Where is this anchor?”
“It is below the prison proper. Some hundred cubits below the surface, on the polar, sunside corner, is a large piece of what you call onyx.”
“Is it protected?” Harry asked.
“Not as such. The power that imbues the walls of the prison also includes the stone, but its safety lies more in its concealment.”
“Can it be excavated?”
“Not with magic, the power walls here prevent the use entirely, and few would dare to try otherwise.”
“That won’t be a problem. I have information I can make use of.” Through the force Harry had detected the unusual radioactive signature of the Barab ore, and pointed out a nearby node. “Can you or yours collect some of that ore on the leftmost outcropping? I can use it to create a device with which to unbury the stone with great speed.”
“We can. How much do you require?”
“Three tones…twenty-five manweights should be more than enough.”
“As you will, it shall be done.”
“If I free you, will you give me your pledge to leave this plane of existence entirely?”
“We shall. Most beings desire immortality, but once found it is not the treasure it was thought to be. Our peers are long gone; we may not even exist to memory. We are tired, and we wish to rest.”
“Very well. I shall return in less than two sevendays, to free you.”
“As you will.”
An hour later, the Dementors had delivered the ore to Harry. He packaged it up, and created a portkey to the castle. Bidding the Dementors good bye, he left the island… Shunpike still strongly on his mind.
Harry visited Amelia Bones. “Stan Shunpike was kissed.”
“Yes. I know. As soon as I heard, I hauled Rufus up here and tore strips out of his inbred hide!”
“Was he punished?”
“I couldn’t have him killed, if that’s what you mean. I did take nearly all his family’s estate in repartitions, and sent it to the orphanage. I also told him if he ever tries something like that again, I’d have his arse in Azkaban before he got back to his office.”
“Well, while not as good as it could be, it’ll serve. I suppose the Wizengamot fought you on punishing a pureblood?”
“Surprisingly, no. They’re still reeling from the announcement that Sirius had been innocent, and from our ‘restructuring’. Stan was a pureblood himself, and distantly related to the Longbottoms. Augusta was appalled that Rufus would have him kissed. She blocked every trick he tried in council, even going so far as to strip him of his seat, due to 'malfeasance'.”
“Hmmm. That’s actually a good thing. No member of the executive branch of any government should have a part of the legislative branch. I did some studying. According to the Wizengamot regulations, as set forth by the original council in 1293, No member of the ministry is supposed to be able to influence the council. I know you gave your seat over to Augusta when you took office.”
Harry considered something before he continued.
“Just as a matter of interest, why was Fudge able to sit in judgment at that farce he called a trial, last year? For that matter, how did he have a seat in the first place? The Fudge family isn’t nearly old enough to have a hereditary seat.”
“His family bought its seat just after the Great War…and I agree with you. Having a seat on the Wizengamot gives a sitting minister far too much power.”
“It’s a good thing he’s gone, then.”
“True, but I’m sure that’s not the only reason you came to see me Harry. Right now Dumbledore is spreading some not-so-subtle rumours about you going dark. He’s insisting that you’re isolating your self and your new dark minions, preparing for a rise to power.”
“Dark Minions!” Harry laughed. “I love it!”
“Harry, this isn’t funny!” Amelia scolded.
“No, it’s not. It’s ridiculous!” Harry returned angrily. “He doesn’t like the soup so he’s going to try to ruin the meal for everybody else. Typical Dumbledore!”
“Not your fault. Don’t worry though. The things I’ve set in motion have pretty much removed his power base. After I deal with Voldemort, I’m going after the unsuspected dark lord. By the time I’m done with him, Dumbledore will be happy to hide in a cell somewhere.”
Harry sipped at his tea.
“Speaking of cells, IN two weeks or so, I’m going to remove the dementors from Azkaban entirely. I’ve gotten their promise to return their own dimension when I free them.”
“Free them?” Amelia was staggered.
“Amelia, the place has been deserted since Voldemort released his followers and killed everyone else. More than that, is there really any need for that place? Honestly? I mean the conditions there are so bad, it was supposed to have been shut down more than a hundred years ago. No other magical government in the world incarcerates prisoners there. The cells are the size of doghouses, with one tiny window, not even big enough to keep the odors of the latrine away. Considering the effects of the dementors, even a short sentence there, is enough to completely destroy the prisoner, and even if he survives the term, he’s of no use to anybody, ever again. Look at Sturgis Podmore. Six months there and he still hasn’t recovered. That’s not rehabilitation or even punishment. It’s torture, pure and simple. How Sirius survived for twelve years, even as a dog, is beyond me.
“What do you mean…as a dog?”
“Crap! Oh well, I might as well tell you. Sirius was an unregistered animagus. So was my dad and the rat, Pettigrew. I even suspect my mother might have been one as well.”
Harry had a thought. “Animagus…” He whispered. He cast around himself with the force, and found what he suspected. “Yes! She’s perfect!”
“Rita Skeeter. She’s also an unregistered animagus. Her form is that of a large green beetle, with markings on her carapace that look like those horrid glasses she wears…” Harry twitched his finger and the fleeing insect floated in midair, her wings beating frantically. “Hello, Rita!”
“Rita?” Amelia asked, with a raised eyebrow.
“Rita, you can either transform on your own or Madam Bones can force it. I understand the forced method is rather…painful.”
The bug remained what it was.
“OK, if that’s how you want it. Madam Bones?”
Amelia nodded and drew her wand.
That was all it took. The beetle vanished and a distinctly rumpled Rita Skeeter appeared in its place. Her eyes fixed on Harry, or rather on Harry’s lightsaber, which he conveniently held on his lap. She’d seen what that thing could do in the council chambers, and had no desire to learn first hand what it felt like, thanks very much!
Amelia looked positively gleeful. Here, she finally understood how Rita had gotten all those wonderful ‘exclusives that had made her, her department, and the ministry in general look so incompetent for so many years. Harry could almost see her drawing elaborate and overcomplicated devices for ‘insect-torture-and-painful-elimination’ in her head.
“Sit!” Harry commanded. Rita sat.
“Madam Bones, will you defer any legal actions for the near future if I can convince Miss Skeeter it would be in her best interests to cooperate with us?”
To her credit, Amelia agreed. It took several long minutes of contemplation, but she did…eventually…agree.
“Thank you.” Harry was amused. “Rita. I have a controlling interest in The Prophet. I’m the one who convinced Euwings to give you your job back, so you owe me, big time. I’m calling that note due. Now, because you’ve continued in your rather unscrupulous ways, I’m going to offer you a take it or leave it deal.”
Since Bones now knew that she was an unregistered animagus, Rita knew that if Harry wanted to, he could have Bones send her to prison in Ootsta, with anti-insect charms on every flat surface of her cell.
“First, you destroy that fucking quill, and I mean now. Second, while you’ll officially be working for The Prophet, every now and again, you’ll take assignments from me. Your first, and you can consider it a permanent assignment, is to do everything you can to discredit Albus toodamnmanynames Dumbledore. I’ll also contact Lovegood, and arrange for him to carry your articles. I have contacts with several of the news outlets on the continent as well, so you’ll not be lacking for a market.
You are to use rumour, innuendo, facts, half-truths, and hearsay, just like normal, but this time, but you will report them all as such. Don’t give him anything he can use against you legally. Until that last article he tolerated your sniping, because it amused him, but when you reported that he used the Imperius in Fudge, you made him look very, very bad. He stopped being amused and got angry. That’s why he forced Euwings to fire you. Any direct attacks and you’ll be at the top of his shit list. That’s not a good place to be. Without The Prophet behind you, you’ll have no protection. He has more contacts in the criminal world than Lucius Malfoy. His enemies have a tendency to end up ‘missing’, suffering ‘accidents’ or waking up in places like Azkaban. It would do neither of us any good for you to be there. While I can adapt, you probably won’t.
In return, when I have destroyed Voldemort, and eliminated Dumbly, I will give you the biggest exclusive of your entire life, including an eyewitness account of Voldemort’s destruction.
What’s more, I will give you not less than two interviews per year for the next three years…any subject you want with the following exceptions: My love life, my family, my current location and my training, as that has to remain secret. One last thing. When you do report the interviews et al, you will report them factually and in exactly the manner I instruct. You’ll find that with this…you won’t have to ‘embellish’ anything.
Now, do you agree, or do I turn you over to Amelia here. She looks extremely anxious to try out her new bug zapper!”
Rita was not a Slytherin for nothing. “Can I resell the interviews?”
“As long as you ensure they are reported in a fair and impartial manner.”
“And you will grant me amnesty?” She asked Amelia. Amelia had been an Auror for decades, and was not about to make such a stupid deal. However, she could and would compromise. “I shall grant you amnesty for your actions up to this date, provided there are no crimes that can be linked to your activities, and provided you register your form or forms with the ministry as soon as this entire thing is over with.”
Rita looked to be unconvinced. Harry’s next question was the kicker. “Madam Bones, what’s the standard punishment for an unregistered animagus?”
“A five hundred galleon fine and six months in Azkaban.”
“And if it can be proved that she has been working for or with a subversive agent who intends to destabilize and eventually overthrow the legitimate government of Magical Britain?” Harry shot a wink at Bones.
She caught it and played along.
“Any such person would be sent through the veil.”
Harry looked directly at Rita. She didn’t know about any subversive agent, but with what he and the mudblood did know about her, he could literally hang her!
Shoulders slumped, she said: “All right, damn you!”
“I want a magical oath to that effect, but first, you will burn that bloody quill!”
Lucius kept the six chosen Death Eaters at their task until he was convinced they would perform precisely as expected. In the middle of September, he arranged a demonstration for his master. A muggle they’d captured was held in a Petrificus Totalus, to prevent his escape. When they’d captured him, they didn’t know he was a freshly escaped murderer from HM Prison, Manchester, they just appeared and grabbed the first person they saw. That failure had cost three of their number their lives, before he was subdued, and incidentally, saved the life of the young lady he was stalking.
The young lady in question, got into her mini and drove off without having seen a thing.
He was surprisingly resistant to the Cruciatus, which shocked them all, including one of those who died at his hands.
The survivors of the encounter had a great deal to think about.
Voldemort wasn’t pleased at the loss of yet another three of his servants. He drove that lesson home to the remaining four with several rounds of the Cruciatus curse.
At Lucius’ order, the six chosen, left the room and less than a minute had returned, in perfect synchronization around their victim. They lifted their wands and cast the killing curse on the muggle, before vanishing once more. The whole operation, from appearance to departure, had taken just over four seconds.
“You have done well, my friend.” Voldemort applauded his lieutenant. The muggle’s body was portkeyed back to the place they’d found him in order to create greater fear. Rather it was the cause of celebration throughout the area. This particular murderer would kill no more.
“We shall have to use this tactic often. Imagine the terror we can create if we appear, kill and vanish within seconds.”
“When should we strike, my lord?”
“When indeed?” Voldemort mused. “I must think on this. It must be a time of great significance. One that will make the sheep fear me even more.” He looked up at his sycophants and snapped. “Leave me!”
The death Eaters bowed and departed.
“Tell your son I will have an assignment of great importance for him soon.”
“Yes, my lord.” Lucius left the room, thinking of the great honor the dark lord had paid his son. Narcissa would be so proud!
A/N: (1) Albert Kaililaou (Kah-ee-lee-lau-oo) was a buddy of mine on the flight deck of USS Constellation. He wasn’t the brightest star in the sky, but a truer friend would be hard to find. Though he referred to himself as a ‘fat banana-eating Samoan’, he wasn’t fat. Built like a fireplug but by no means, fat. One of the things I hated was that very few people would even bother to learn his name, calling him ‘Special-K’ instead.
In any case, Vernon No-neck, has no place calling anyone fat.
Ah-Dak-Bellicus: Lesser War Chief /Regimental Commander
While some may think four seconds is too brief a time to do much good, I can tell you, in a firefight, four seconds is an eternity. Most gunfights are over within five. At fifty years old, I can still start from the raised hand position, clear the leather, and put two in the ten ring at ten yards, in 1.6 seconds, and I am by no means the fastest shooter there is.
For another reference, just look how fast Obi Wan, Qui Gon and Darth Maul were moving in the fight sequences of Episode One.
According to Wookiepedia, Barab ore, is a slightly radioactive hexagonal crystalline metal found in noble ingots on the surface of Barab II. Here on Earth we have a slightly radioactive noble metal with a hexagonal crystalline structure called cobalt. For the purpose, of this story Barab is a close offshoot of Cobalt. K?
Ootsta (out stack) is the top of a basaltic up-thrust in the ocean off the Shetland islands. It’s about 160 feet tall and a half mile or so across. It has been called "the full stop at the end of Britain". That far north, it would be freezing all year long…especially for an insect.
By my scale of 1G=19.17£, 500G= 9585£ or (at the average RoE in the 90’s) US$17,253. A sizable chunk of change.