Sixth Year!PostOOtp Its Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts and he has to make some hard decisions in order to survive. But will these decisions help him or make him weaker? Martial arts, dueling, anima...
Author name: Ham
Summary: Harry is back in Privet Drive just a few days after the happenings in the Department of Mysteries. He is struggling to cope with his loss and the immense burden placed on him. He suddenly finds it very hard to go on - To find a reason to live. Will his task break his spirit? After all he is just a sixteen year old...
He knows that he must fight. Knows that he has to win at all costs. But he knows that if he even is to have a slim chance of defeating Voldemort he will need to make some hard decisions. Decisions that would hurt him and those close to him.
But will Harry be able to take the hard road back when he finally realizes that his decisions only made him weaker? That they took away his only reason to live. His only reason to fight.
DISCLAIMER: Yeah, yeah, all J. k. Rowling's. But I can play with the characters, can't I?
It was a large, forbidding fortress. The black stone it was built with almost felt like it was infused with evil. Or perhaps that was just the result of the unspeakable acts that had been practiced inside through the centuries.
Green and silver flags flew from three large towers, and right from the centre of the castle, rose the fourth and largest tower.
The structure on top of this tower was such that even the most hardened man couldn't help but shiver.
It was a sculpture of two gigantic Basilisks, sitting back to back. They were made of the finest silver and the craftsmanship was so detailed that most people felt that they were real at the first, terrified glance. From afar they certainly did look alive. Their eyes - two cold emeralds, looked at the surrounding area, seeing all that passed.
The area surrounding the fortress was some of the most wild and untamed places on the planet. It looked as if no one had set foot on it for centuries, which might very well be true. Forest, deep, dark forest, surrounded the fortress from all four sides. It was barely kept out by the high, impenetrable stone walls that formed the boundaries of the castle.
The forest stretched as far as the eye could see. Parts of it were shrouded with mist. It was, without doubt, inhabited by all kinds of dark creatures.
The most chilling thing about the place was its silence. It was as if Death himself was passing by and all creatures were hiding in fear so that they would not be noticed by him.
The silence was shattered by a soft crack, as a man suddenly appeared outside the heavy gates.
He quickly walked up towards the gates and was stopped by three large mountain trolls. Each of the trolls was well above twelve feet tall and they fingered their clubs menacingly as they looked at the man.
He, in turn, looked at them impatiently from beneath his hooded cloak and lifted his sleeve up over his arm showing them an ugly black tattoo of a skull with a snake coming out of its mouth.
The trolls looked disappointed as they opened the heavy gates for the man to pass.
He ignored them and brushed past, walking quickly to the second set of gates. The same process was repeated here, and once the man was let through he quickened his pace. It would not do to be late. The news he carried put him in enough danger as it was.
He was blind to the beauty of his surroundings as he hurried past.
The interior of the castle was very lavish and one could spend hours looking at the exquisite silk tapestries and the beautiful paintings. Thick, luxurious carpets lined the floors of the rooms and the furniture was stunning in its craftsmanship.
It was everything, beautiful, luxurious, awe inspiring. One thing it wasn't, was welcoming.
It was almost like the castle was a beautiful, frigid woman, cold and inaccessible, and very unwelcoming.
The man could feel the chilling cold as he neared the room and he shuddered. It got worse and worse until he finally reached the doors and pushed his way inside.
He waited for a second before his eyes adjusted to the dark room. It was a large throne room, and the only light around was coming from a couple of torches which were burning with a deep blue flame that threw a sickly shadow over everything. A large group of hooded figures stood silently in a corner, their eyes on the man sitting on the large stone throne in the centre of the room.
"Ah! Come in, Nott, I was expecting you. What news do you bring?"
Nott looked at the tall, pale form sitting on the throne and shuddered. The darkness prevented him from seeing all but the cold, merciless red eyes that looked at him impatiently.
The room was icy cold, no doubt caused by the Dementors that stood around the throne. The Dementors did not seem to bother the Dark Lord. In fact they appeared to be almost frightened of him.
Nott walked forward, fell to his knees and bending his head down kissed the hem of his master's robes.
"How did the negotiations go?" The Dark Lord asked. He seemed impatient to be kept waiting.
"M-my L-L-Lord..." Nott stammered. "I...they... I c-couldn't talk to him."
There was complete silence as this statement was digested. Nott felt the red eyes bore into his very soul.
"Do you mean to tell me that you did not meet with the leader of the Giants?" Voldemort said softly.
Nott was not fooled by the quiet tone. He knew that he was going to be punished, very severely.
"I tried, my Lord, but Dumbledore sent that fool Hagrid again to them. The leader wouldn't even meet with me," Nott said shaking with fear at his fate.
"And you came back?" The Dark Lord said in a dangerous whisper. "You could not get him to talk to you so you came back to me empty handed?"
"My Lord, I tried to talk to them, I tried to get the others to pass on your offer, but they didn't accept it. I don't know what Hagrid said to them, but they wouldn't even listen to me. I tried again but they got hostile and I barely made it out of there alive."
"So you ran away and came back? I sent you there on my behalf and you ran away like a coward?" The Dark Lord screamed in anger.
Nott shrunk away from his master's wrath.
"What did you think your fate should be, Nott?" Voldemort asked softly.
Nott trembled violently. "Forgive me, my Lord. Give me one more chance."
Nott screamed as the curse hit him. His whole body was exploding with pain.
"Forgiveness? No, Nott, I shall not forgive you. You have failed me again. It seems like my Death Eaters can do nothing right anymore."
The other Death Eaters shivered at their master's words.
"I send my best Death Eaters to the Ministry on a simple task and they let a bunch of fifth year students outwit them. Months of planning, months of effort, all wasted. The prophecy was destroyed. Then, to add insult to injury, all of them manage to get captured and thrown in Azkaban," Lord Voldemort said as he finally lifted the curse from Nott.
"It seems that you have forgotten that there is a price for failure, Nott. Maybe I will have to remind all of you what the price is."
"No, My Lord, please, have mercy on me. Anything but that," Nott whimpered clutching the Dark Lord's feet and kissing them as he begged for mercy.
"You should have thought of that before you disgraced me, Nott," the voice said softly. "Now, I am waiting for your offering."
Nott shakily took out a dagger and a handkerchief from his robes and wrapped the handkerchief around his index finger of his left hand. He trembled violently as he thought about what he was about to do. He brought the dagger up swiftly.
Lord Voldemort watched with a cruel smile as the dagger connected with flesh. He savored the painful scream from the figure at his feet.
Nott nearly passed out from the shock and the pain. He shakily wrapped the finger in the handkerchief. Bile was rising in his throat and he wanted to throw up. He knew it would be fatal to do so. He bowed his head and offered the handkerchief to his master.
"Is that all you offer to your master?" Voldemort asked coldly.
"M-m-master?" Nott said in terror. "Please master... no more..."
"I will not ask again, Nott," Voldemort said quietly.
The Death Eaters all trembled in fear as they saw the wretched Nott tie his wrist in the bloody handkerchief.
A moment later there was a louder scream and the horrible sound of something falling to the ground. Nott was unable to take the pain this time and slumped down into unconsciousness.
The Dark Lord looked at the figure lying on the floor in distaste.
"Take him and throw him to the Manticores," he said softly, his voice devoid of emotion. "And let this be a lesson to all of you. This is the price of failure."