Lord Voldemort's grip on wizarding Britain tightens. Even Hogwarts is no longer safe as Death Eaters turn it into a battlefield. [Sequel to "The Path Chosen."]
By: Random Shinobi
Summary: Lord Voldemort's grip on wizarding Britain tightens. Even Hogwarts is no longer safe as Death Eaters turn it into a battlefield. [Sequel to "The Path Chosen."]
Author's Notes: My beta seems to have vanished and so this chapter is unbetaed. I hope my grammar isn't too terrible. Anyway, sorry about the long wait.
Disclaimer: If you recognize it, then it might well belong to J.K.R or to some of her affiliates. Or to some random people out there. I only claim my OCs and plot.
Chapter Two: Scions of Old Families
One may think that the Light should triumph over the Shadow...
One may say that the Dark Lord is evil...
But the truth is, that there is no arguing with the tip of a wand...
As war doesn't decide who is right. Only, who is left.
It was raining.
The skies were not crying gently; it was a true downpour. And as an evidence of his luck, it had started exactly at the moment he had stepped outside the castle. Harry could hardly see ten yards front of him. Normally he would have detested such weather, but now the young wizard didn't really care about it as it fit well to his depressed mood. Besides, the simple Impervious Charm he had woven around himself quarantined that his clothes stayed dry no matter how hard the skies would be pouring.
He really had fucked up now. It was only be a matter of hours before the British law enforcement - both magical and Muggle - would start hunting him. It would be a real wonder if they weren't able to gather enough evidence to throw him into a small, cold and very damp cell in some random prison for the rest of his natural- and unnatural life. Perhaps he should have thought that before killing the three junior Death Eaters - two of them with the Killing Curse, no less, but he had been bit pissed off at the moment... Actually he still was.
What really annoyed him was not that he would soon be a fugitive wizard, but what those low-grade Death Eaters had done. They had delivered eight students into the Dark Lord's less than gentle hands. Harry knew he would have to act fast if he hoped to save them, because the incompetent Ministry most certainly wouldn't be able to help them in the slightest. They never were.
For many years now, the Dark Lord had been steadily gaining more and more power, followers, influence and money. The corrupt Ministry had been unable to stop or even truly slow this progress - this downwards spiral. The Ministry of Magic was falling back little by little on all fronts, the acclaimed Order of the Phoenix was gradually being wiped out and most other vigilantes were doing no better. It certainly seemed that it was only a matter of a few short months until Voldemort would be ready to start his endgame and ultimately take control of the Ministry. It would happen slowly, silently and discretely, discarding a few political assassinations. It would not take long before Auror Corps would be disbanded. Of course, some of them would refuse to lay down their wands, but then the roles would be reversed and the ex-Aurors would find themselves being the hunted 'terrorists'.
Hopefully the Cabal could stop that from ever happening, though. While the Cabal's primary target was the damned Dark Lord himself, the plan B was to simply assassinate a few of Voldemort's key players in the Ministry of Magic, and thus buying more time. After all, the war was fought more with words within the brightly lit halls of the Ministry Headquarters than with wands in shady alleys of magical Britain.
Voldemort wasn't stupid - he wasn't a simple terrorist that many thought he was. He had to know that he couldn't conquer Britain simply by exerting raw power. But unfortunately the Dark Lord doesn't have to overthrow the Ministry to take over the British Isles, no. He would just have to gain control of it, which was far easier. Harry knew that the Dark Lord was far too close of achieving his goals already. Even before the blasted war those who supported his cause had wielded lots of power in the Ministry, and now after he had spread so much terror, only rare persons had the gall to oppose him any longer. Voldemort just needed to do something to scatter or quiet his last steadfast opposition in the Ministry before he would be ready to do the aforementioned coup.
It was actually very interesting that the Dark Lord had gained so much support in the general populace. Most of his supporters were of those who supported the pureblood dogma. Harry snorted. Voldemort himself hardly classified as a pureblood or even as a true believer in the purity of blood. The Dark Lord didn't really care about blood purity at all, he merely acted so to attract more supporters. And Harry had to grudgingly admit, it was working all too well. The Dark Lord had acquired a strong base of supporters, possibly even as much as ten percent of the whole population.
Harry walked forwards the muddy lane leading to the sole, out-and-out wizarding village of whole Britain. His expensive, chupacabra-leather boots sunk deep into the wet muck, releasing squashing sounds with every step he took.
Chupacabras were a very rare breed of gargoyles. They weren't as tough or strong as normal gargoyles, but they stunk far worse and had strange, hypnotic eyes. Their mere gaze nauseated and paralysed all but the most iron-willed individuals. Once their victims were paralysed, chupacabras used their hollow canines to drink the blood of their prey in leisure, usually leaving their victims alive.
Harry walked past the large greenhouses surrounding the road towards Hogsmeade. The Hogwarts' outer wards extended only a few hundred yards from the castle and he would soon cross the invisible boundary, allowing him to Apparate away.
Suddenly he heard a sound from behind...
Sirius Black watched from bushes as Harry walked out of the Hogwarts castle. The scion of Black family was in his Animagus-form, as he couldn't really move in public places in his real form. He was a wanted 'criminal' after all.
The heavy rain drummed against his black fur and he was already soaking wet, but Sirius didn't care. It was the second time he had seen his godson in fourteen, long years. When he had read an article on Prophet saying that Harry Potter had been nowhere to be seen for five years, he had escaped from the Wizarding Prison of Azkaban and started his search for the sole remaining member of the prestigious Potter family. Needless to say, he hadn't been very successful. Like all who had searched for Harry, he failed miserably. But now when Harry had suddenly resurfaced and arrived to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, ha had immediately sought him and once he had seen him, he had started to wait for a chance to meet him alone.
Suddenly, without any apparent reason, Harry made a sharp turn and walked behind one of the many greenhouses. Sirius quickly followed and when he turned from behind the corner, he saw that his godson had turned towards him, a wand tightly clasped in his gloved hand.
"Why are you following me?" the younger wizard asked, his wand firmly pointed at Sirius' chest. Harry was nearly snarling and was obviously very incensed about something.
Sirius looked at Harry for a few seconds before assuming his human form. He saw Harry's eyes widen in recognition, a few agitated sparks spurting out of his wand tip. The young wizard quickly assumed the standard Auror duelling stance.
"I'm not here to fight you, Harry," Sirius said hastily, lifting his hands defensively in front of him. "I'm not a Death Eater."
"Really?" Harry asked, his voice managing to carry a huge amount of blatant disbelief. "What makes you think that I believe anything you say?"
"Harry, while it is my fault your parents died, I didn't betray them."
"Oh, it was Pettigrew then," the boy said sarcastically, taking a few steps forwards. "Pity that you killed him and the world shall never know the truth about noble Sirius Black."
"Harry, I..." Sirius trailed off as he realised that the rain went through Harry instead of hitting him. Illusion! his mind screamed.
Before he managed to do anything, he felt a sharp, cold blade pressing softly against his neck. "Move and die, Death Eater," a cold voice whispered into his ear. "Don't think I have mercy for the likes of you." The 'Harry' in front of him smiled sneeringly and then flickered away, leaving only few multicoloured sparks behind.
Sirius took a deep breath. This conversation really wasn't going as it should. "Harry, it really was Peter," he said with a desperate edge on his voice. "We switched. He was the Secret Keeper, not me."
The next second he was slammed through the glass wall next to him into the greenhouse three. The razor-sharp glass shards ripped his already tattered robes and cut into his flesh, drawing small amounts of blood. He hit the ground, howling in pain as he landed onto the bed of shattered glass. Hundreds of incredibly sharp edges and dagger-like points sunk into his back, and it hurt like a hell. Sirius yelled in pain and rolled to his left, barely avoiding the black knife that sunk into ground next to him.
"Draw your wand," his godson snarled, hatred oozing from every word. Sirius winced. Each word filled with loathing struck him like a sharp blade. "Or do you want to die like a honourless dog you are?"
Sirius could see Harry's faint outline in the heavy rain as the rain bend around an invisible shape. His godson was obviously under some sort of Disillusioment Charm. Sirius drew his wand hesitantly with his bloodied fingers. He didn't want to hurt his godson.
But apparently the younger wizard did want to hurt him. "Infurnacio!"
He barely managed to bring up a shield before the ravenous flames consumed everything around him. Before the flames had even truly died, a thin red streak left Harry's wand and blasted easily through his shield charm. The spell connected with Sirius' stomach and he instantly lost his consciousness, his body slumping onto the scorched ground.
Harry watched the unconscious body with an unreadable expression on his young face. He had already stood there for over a minute, doing nothing but taking deep, steady breaths to calm himself down, completely ignoring the cool wind he felt on his face and the heavy rain that fell from the dark sky. He could hardly believe this. It denied logic that a high-ranking Death Eater would come after him alone after what he had done to his uncle.
They should know that unless they come in groups they have no chance of victory without taking him completely by surprise. But then, it was not like Harry complained. If the enemy was dumb, then let it be. At least now there was one Death Eater less to be concerned about.
The special Stunning spell he had used on Black was an ingenious hex created by Professor Flitwick, a thrice decorated duelling champion of Britain. It was a fairly recent innovation, only a few months old. The tiny Professor had chosen to teach it during a Duelling Club meeting last spring. Harry had learned the spell from Ginny who was a member of the said club. The spell was highly useful for a single reason, which was that unlike other spells with a very high spell-penetration, it was not life threatening, and so it could be used in situations in which one didn't want to kill his or her opponent. Generally speaking spell-penetrative spells tended to do very, very nasty things - like rip your soul off or turn your innards into a puddle of bloody goo that slowly streams out of your orifices. It was only natural considering the huge amount of magic pushed into these spells.
Harry briefly wondered simple letting the bastard bleed to death. The glass shards had cut deep and the man would die in minutes. It would be a fitting death for a traitor like him. Honourless coward deserves nothing but a honourless death. But as Sirius Black was rumoured to be high in Voldemort's favour, he was bound to know some valuable information.
Grudgingly he knelt next to the bloodied Animagus and began weaving his healing magic around the man he thought had caused the deaths of his parents, hating every moment of it.
They circled each other in the empty chamber. Dozens of Muggle light pulps lighted the large circular room. Their blades were only blurs in the air. The swords clanged against each other so fast that the sound was nearly continuous. Every time the enchanted blades met, they released a few fiery sparks of magic.
Amaterasu knew she was an idiot to have agreed to this spar, but how in the Nine Hells could she have imagined that he wanted a spar with real swords. And not only that; he seemed to be hell-bent on drawing some blood - in this particular case, her blood! Or at least it seriously looked like it...
She swayed to her right, barely avoiding Harry's blindingly fast thrust. A second later her blade descended just in time to block her opponent's under strike.
He was apparently not fazed of her swift block as he took one step diagonally to her right, his katana riding upwards her blade.
Amaterasu quickly batted Harry's blade away, spinning on the spot and unleashing a crooked strike aimed at her opponent's torso.
Harry's slightly curved blade sliced through air, releasing a soft whistling sound. He effortlessly parried every strike she aimed at him. And that if something, really annoyed Amaterasu. The younger boy wasn't even truly trying and still he easily dominated the match.
It was unfair, really. She was five years older and had started practising swordsmanship since she had been small. By all accounts she should have been significantly better than him. But the boy was highly skilled and unnaturally fast. So fast that she suspected that he had some body enchantments constantly activate, which was stupid considering the dangers involved in such practices.
Then their swords were again slammed together, the sharp edges meeting each other with a loud clang, causing a few fiery sparks to travel a few inches in the air before burning themselves out.
A good blade's razor-edge was so hard that upon hitting an equally hard or harder object, such as another sword's edge, chipping become a definite risk. Thus blocking an oncoming blow blade-to-blade was generally avoided and evasive body manoeuvres were preferred over blade contact by most styles, but if such was not done, the side or the back of the blade was used for defence, rather than the precious edge. But unlike most other sword styles, the modern European wizarding style used lots of blocks with the blade. This was simply because of the superiority of new blades compared to earlier ones. Modern goblin metallurgy accompanied with the metal enchanting spells invented by famous Godric Gryffindor himself, made the wizarding blades strong enough to cut through solid steel. Not to mention that most swords were enchanted to penetrate magical barriers as well.
She sidestepped a top-strike, which was a vertical strike dealt to the opponent's upper openings, in this case, her head. As the blade whistled past her ear, she thrust her own blade forwards, aimed on Harry's torso.
The young wizard didn't even bother dodging her strike, instead swatting the blade away from him with his freaky silver hand. It happened nearly faster than her eyes could follow; the artificial hand leaving the handle of his katana and striking the side of her sword with a gong-like sound, guiding her thrust past him and sending the blade vibrating in her hands.
The next second, Amaterasu was forced to dive under Harry's stroke that had suddenly turned into horizontal, decapitating attack. The gleaming blade went over her head, nearly cutting off the large bum of blond hair on what she always tied her nearly waist length hair before a fight. She went past her opponent, somersaulting on the hard stone floor.
She was instantly back on her feet again, spinning on the spot to face her opponent once more. Harry was standing lazily a few yards from her, the tip of his sword touching the floor. The enchanted blade had sunk a few millimetres into the stone. He cocked his head lightly, a small smile appearing into his lips. Then the wizard lifted his blade again and attacked, moving in a blur.
Muggles had already discarded swords as obsolete weapons. To them they were simply remnants of more civilised era. Swords were mostly useless to them because they lacked the ability to Apparate; they couldn't eliminate the distance between them and their enemies in a split second like the magical folk could. As all competent wizards and witches were able to cast shields strong enough to deflect most spells and all non-magical things thrown at them, need for more powerful weapons had arose.
For thousands of years various bladed weapons had been the answer, and they still were. Of course, recent decades had seen the rise of enchanted firearms, which were undoubtedly the greatest tools for killing, barring Muggle weapons of mass-destruction. Luckily they were not widely used. The reason for that was undoubtedly that if one wanted them to have a similar spell-penetration as enchanted swords enjoyed, each bullet would have to be enchanted separately and that was a very tedious and magic draining work. Each bullet would require a hour or so of careful enchanting and nearly as much magic as an ordinary wizard produced in a day.
They danced in the empty chamber, circling each other, their blades jabbing and slashing. Amaterasu was fairly sure that she would tire before her opponent and so came into a conclusion that she should put all her strength into single attack and hope for the best... Not exactly the best strategy, but it was the only way she could see herself winning.
But before she could do anything her opponent's sword rose and came down with a terrible speed. As the katana swung downwards, Harry's elbow joint drastically extended at the last moment, popping the sword into right place and angle for a superb penetration. This motion caused his grip to twist slightly, and she knew from experience that it felt like wringing a towel. The motion itself caused the blade to impact its target with a sharp force, and it was used to break the initial resistance, which in this instance was her sword. It was a perfectly executed 'ten uchi' strike.
Amaterasu's eyes widened as Harry's katana cut through her sword, which she had lifted in defence. From there, he fluidly continued along the motion, his arms following through with the stroke, dragging the sword against its target. Because the curved edge slices rather than chops this 'dragging' allowed the maximum damage, and so it was usually incorporated into the cutting technique. If Harry hadn't turned the blade on last instant so that it impacted with its side on her shoulder, she would have lost her right hand.
At full speed and if properly finished, the swing would have appeared to be full stroke, the katana passing through the targeted object seemingly without resistance. Generally the 'ten uchi' was used to break the initial resistance supplied by bones and muscles. The follow through would continue the slicing motion, through whatever else it would encounter, until the blade eventually exited the body, due a combination of the motion and its curved shape. 'Ten uchi' was something they had picked up from Japanese swordsmanship.
As Harry's blade harmlessly slid off Ama's shoulder, she watched the hilt on her hands with obvious amazement. The severed blade clattered against the stone floor, bringing her off her thoughts. She turned her gaze from the hilt to the young man in front of her. His arrogant smirk annoyed her and she reacted accordingly.
A few fiery sparks of magic hovering in the air between for a split second was only warning Harry got. Turned out that he wasn't fast enough.
A split second later, swirling flames appeared from nowhere and the air was suddenly superheated, causing it to expand with a great force. Harry was slammed backwards, hitting the floor ass-first. If he hadn't been wearing his full combat attire he would have gotten severe burns all over his body and probably broken his coccyx. Amaterasu had taken only a few steps backwards. Most of the blast of searing air had been directed at Harry and she had been ready for the shock wave.
Amaterasu inhaled deeply. She could easily smell the sulphuric scent in the air brought by her usage of her fire summoning powers. A small smile found its way onto her red lips as she watched the teen sitting stupidly on the floor. At least she got her pride back even if she had lost the actual duel.
"You had to do that?" Harry asked as he rose back to his feet. "My day has already been more than bad enough."
"Had to do that?" she repeated incredulously, her fingers tightening around the handle of her now broken sword. She was suddenly itching to draw her wand and hex the annoying brat. "You nearly killed me, you bloody idiot!"
"You don't have a single scratch, Ama. If I had really wanted to kill you, you certainly wouldn't be standing there."
"Cocky bastard," she mumbled under her breath. Amaterasu was almost sure that Harry heard every word, but it did stop her; after all this, he deserved to get a piece of her mind. "Anyway, what the hell is wrong with you today? You just walked here moody as ever and demanded a friendly spar. You should be at Hogwarts, remember?"
Harry's whole posture deflated slightly and his small, smug smile vanished. "Err... Things got bit complicated."
She sighed. "You are not saying that you screwed up...as usual?"
"Well, not exactly," he said sheepishly, scratching the back of his neck with his left hand. "I got the sphere all right, but then there was another Death Eater attack. I killed couple of them, but at least one managed to escape with a bunch of hostages."
Now it was Harry's time to sigh. "With a little gentle coaxing I managed to extract the Inner Circle member behind the attack; Lucius Malfoy, the head of the Ancient and Most Pure House of Malfoy."
Amaterasu could hear sarcasm in the green-eyed wizard's voice. She was sure that 'inbred' would have been a better word for their House title. As a pureblood witch knowledgeable in the wizarding customs, history and genealogy, she knew that it was good to pay some thought to the bloodline of the one you were going to marry, but Malfoys and a few other older pureblood families went far too far with that; marrying only into families with no discernible Muggle ancestry. It was sheer insanity. It certainly seemed like they had decided on a long term plan to eradicate themselves out. After a small pause, she spoke. "Are you planning to go after him?"
"Him, not really," he said and met her gaze. "But I cannot leave the hostages to their deaths. I own her that much."
Sirius' grey eyes snapped open as he suddenly awoke from the magic-induced slumber. He tried to move but found out that he was tightly bound to a heavy, metal chair with copper chains. While copper was weak metal, Sirius had no false ideas that he could force his way out. Copper was the best magical conduit of metals after gold and silver, and so was easier to enchant than most metals that actually inhibited magic, and if they had chosen that metal for these shackles it meant that they had to be heavily enchanted. The chair, however was dull black, and so he assumed it was probably lead covered steel. Lead was the most anti-magical substance know to wizarding kind - so anti-magical in fact, that ordinary lead-bullets could sometimes penetrate shields cast by magically weak witches and wizards.
In front of him - standing on a huge table - was a small robed figure. Blinking furiously he managed to clear his vision. To his amazement the figure turned out to be an old house-elf. Although a weirdly dressed one. Even the elf's expression was baffling. Instead of normal house-elf looks; slightly fearful faces or huge smiles, this elf had a small sinister smile, which nearly made Sirius to expect to see a glimmer of sharp teeth any moment now. Which was very stupid, really, considering that house-elves had human-like teeth.
"So, you are an evil Death Eater?"
Sirius looked at the elf with blatant disbelief for a some time before he managed to form a reply, "Err... no."
"Damn," the elf cursed, before shrugging in a defeated manner. "I have always wanted to torture someone who is actually guilty. Oh, well... Innocents will have to do...just like before."
Sirius was utterly speechless. His mouth was hanging open stupidly and he was seriously starting to consider that he was hallucinating. He couldn't believe that a house-elf would say anything like that. Besides he felt numb and pretty sick, so he could easily be under some weird potions that made him see elves from the Hell.
"So, do you wanna answer my questions or shall we start with the torture immediately?" The elf asked and snapped his fingers, a sharp and spiky device appearing onto his hands with a sharp pop. "You should be grateful that we healed you instead of letting you to leak your worthless life-blood onto some pile of dirt."
"Err..." Sirius answered 'intelligently'.
"Not going to speak, eh..." the tiny elf said with a small, knowing smile on his lips. "I have seen your kind before. In the end most of them tell everything they know and even something they don't... Not everyone, but then again, its not like I even care if you tell me anything at all." Whit an another snap of his fingers, the spiky tips of the metallic device he held in his hand started to glow red. The elf brought the device near his shoulder and Sirius could feel the heat it radiated against his skin.
"I'm not a Death Eater," Sirius said frantically as the heated device neared his cheek. "I know nothing of Voldemort's plans!"
The elf paused for second and then the torturing device retreated slightly, causing Sirius to release the breath he had been holding. "So, you can say his name?" the house-elf said quietly, his tone holding not a small amount of astonishment. "It's interesting that many wizards can speak Mermish, but hardly any of them can say 'Voldemort', instead saying something stupid like 'You-Know-Who'. It's such an easy word, you know. Voldemort. Voldemort. Voldemort."
Sirius was now sure that the elf in front of him had totally lost it. His next words only added further evidence. "Hey, do you think that if you say 'Voldemort' thrice in front of an mirror he appears behind you and kills you with the Killing Curse?"
"I-I don't think so," Sirius answered carefully. He knew he would have to be careful not to piss off this insane elf. Nobody could ever tell what unhinged people were capable of, and Sirius didn't really want to know it either. Especially not when he was tied to a chair
"Isn't ironic that a house-elf is torturing humans?" the elf suddenly asked. "What does it feel like to be at house-elf's mercy and not the other way around like you are used to?"
Sirius blinked, but then his Marauder instincts kicked in and his mouth worked before consulting his brains. "Refreshing?" His mind was hazy and the elf was highly confusing. He hasn't asked a single important question! For some reason Sirius had a weird feeling that the house-elf never would.
"Really?" the elf asked brightly, smiling widely. "You are nicer than most of my clients... Perhaps I might even let you live in the end."
Suddenly Sirius caught on what the elf was doing. It was an ages old wizarding method to extract information from prisoners who practised Occlumency. By ample usage of Mind-Numbing Potions and by constantly changing topic and attitude the questioner kept the questioned unbalanced, unable to raise good mental defences or even detect the questioner's use of subtle Legilimency. In some ways it was better than Veritaserum. At least the Mind-Numbing Solutions weren't A-class restricted substances like Veritaserum.
As he was from a rich pureblood family, he was supposed to be an Occlumens. His captors apparently didn't know that he had run from his home before he would have been trained in the Mind Arts. And if the elf was a Legilimens...
"I'm not an Occlumens," Sirius said quickly and the elf's pose immediately stiffened for a second. "Let me tell you my story. You will know if I lie, right?"
"I can tell that you are either a very poor Occlumens or a very good one." the elf said conversationally, while casually throwing the torturing device over his shoulder. Sirius' eyes followed the metallic device as it arched through the air, before vanishing behind the large stone table. It hit the stone floor with a loud clang. "I have no way of knowing which you are."
"What? I have never studied Occlumency. How could I have mental barriers?"
"Ha! You don't seem to have any mental barriers and this is where the problem lies. I have no way to tell whether what I see is true or just a perfect illusion of being defenceless."
"But... How can I prove I'm not a Death Eater then?"
The elf smiled wickedly. "Don't worry about that. I must merely hammer your head for I while, until I am completely sure that you lack mental barriers and then we can have a little chit-chat."
"Hammer?" Sirius repeated blankly. "You are really going to torture me?"
"For a supposed genius you are pretty stupid, human. I was obviously speaking metaphorically," said the small elf as he drew a short, red wand from inside his black robes. A second later the wand was pointed between Sirius' eyes, and the elf casually said, "Legilimens," a small smile etched on his thin lips.
Images flashed through Sirius' vision faster than he could comprehend them and he felt like his head was about to explode. He screamed for the top oh his lungs and his body was shaking wildly. If he hadn't been bound to the chair, he would have slumped onto the floor in a heap.
Harry was sipping his dark, cured leaf tea, when his house-elf suddenly appeared out of thin air. "So, did you manage to gleam something important off him?" he asked casually from Iason as soon as the elf popped into existence on his table next to a silver plate filled with chocolate biscuits and meat and egg pastries.
The small elf studied him for a few seconds before answering, "He's not a Death Eater. His not even a Dark wizard like you."
"What!" the green eyed-wizard exclaimed, nearly dropping the nicely painted porcelain teacup he was holding. "But Kheiron said that he-"
"Then Master Lestrange was wrong," Iason cut in. "He was framed. He was not your family's Secret Keeper, nor did he kill those eleven Muggles. It was Peter Pettigrew. He's the Death Eater you want."
Harry blinked a few times as he digested the revelation. "That means that the Ministry threw an innocent man into Azkaban... Speaking of that, how did he manage to escape?"
"He's a dog Animagus. Dementors don't sense animals so well, and he simply walked through the bars, exited the castle without anybody noticing anything and swam to the coast. Once the anti-Apparation wards ended he simply Disapparated."
"He managed the Animagus transformation after ten years with an army of those damned soul-suckers?!" Harry said incredulously. He knew that Dementors were supposed to drain wizard of their powers, and so the fact that someone could transform after spending years with them was highly unusual. "That's impressive."
"Indeed it is most extraordinary," the elf agreed, his tone jovial. "Especially considering that he could have done all that years before. What a bloody idiot! Words can't even begin to describe..."
"Well, there is that... Yeah," Harry said with a small grin. "What are we going to do with him if he isn't a Death Eater?"
"I suggest you speak with him. He is your godfather after all."
Harry's startlingly green eyes bored into the house-elf's brown domes. "My godfather?"
"Yes, your godfather," the small elf confirmed. "I though you knew."
"I see...," Harry said softly. After a short silence, he continued with a much more harder voice, "So, do you know anything about this...Pettigrew."
Iason nodded slightly. "Well, yes. According Mr. Black, he lives in the Malfoy Manor."
This peaked Harry's interest. "Did you just say 'Malfoy Manor'?"
"Indeed. It appears that Mr. Black, has spend a considerable amount of time watching the manor in hopes of capturing Pettigrew."
Harry nearly laughed... At least something was happening his way today. It was good to see that Lady Luck hadn't completely abandoned him.
Sirius Black drummed his nails against the sturdy wooden table. The elf had vanished over a hour ago and left him alone in the dark, circular chamber. There was no door or any other way to exit. Sirius supposed it was a sensible security measure. One could only get in or out by Apparating and as he quickly realised, wards stopped all unauthorised Apparation attempts. At least he wasn't bound to the chair any more and could walk around the large room, but it wasn't much as the room was utterly uninteresting if one ignored the lack of doors and windows.
"Damn... This is boring," he muttered to himself.
"It is good that I arrived then, no?" A strong voice said behind the dog Animagus. Sirius turned quickly and saw his godson leaning casually against the wall, a few yards from him. Harry was wearing a black shirt and pants made of some jet-black material. Over his silky shirt he wore a very dark green - nearly black - dragonhide armour and black wrist-guards reaching up to his elbows. He had sturdy, black leather boots, fingerless gloves and strapped across his back, was an ornate black and gold scabbard. On the underside of the right hand's bracer was attached a short wand-holster. The young wizard had was a second wand-holster strapped on his left thigh. On the right thigh was a short black rod, which Sirius recognized as a stun-baton. All in all, his appearance spoke of wealth and less-than-legal shopping habits. Also Sirius couldn't help but wonder for what did Harry need all that stuff.
"This is yours, I assume," his godson said lifting a wand, which Sirius instantly identified as his own. "Catch," Harry said and a quick wrist movement sent the wand spinning through the air. "Twelve inches of ebony with a pegasus feather core," Harry stated to no-one in particular. "Supposedly very good with conjuration."
He caught the wand easily, quickly checked it and then pocketed it. "You believe me now?" he asked, looking intently at the green-eyed teen.
"Well, yeah..." the younger wizard replied. "Hmm... Tell me, would you be interested in assaulting the Malfoy Manor?"