Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Black Vengeance - 1

Of Dangers, Strangers and Grangers

by maidros 9 reviews

Nott's recruitment efforts, and a little danger all round.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure - Characters: Bellatrix, Cho, Crabbe, Draco, Goyle, Harry, Hermione, Neville, Theodore Nott - Published: 2007-02-03 - Updated: 2007-02-03 - 2526 words

Black Vengeance - 4

Of Dangers, Strangers, and Grangers

(Author's note: I want to thank JBern for his gracious permission to use a modification of his idea (the incinerating curse), which I have used in the chapter. Those interested in the original can look up his story `To Fight the Coming Darkness', which is certainly very novel and fast paced.)

On the very night Nott delivered the warnings, Harry had warned Prof. McGonagall about the possible dangers to the Grangers, Longbottoms, and Mme. Bones. After that, he had tipped off Susan Bones and Neville Longbottom about the dangers to their families. Susan was also told about the plans for the DA over summer and asked to discreetly recruit from Hufflepuff anyone who might be interested. . The next day, Harry had met Cho and told her that he would be willing to meet her mother after the end of the term on any day she was free. By this time, Cho, having heard half a dozen versions of the battle in the Department of Mysteries, had mellowed down and was rather regretful about what he had suffered. She was considerably gentler towards him, and had graciously apologised for Marietta's betrayal. She had also tried to ask him about the events of the Department of Mysteries, but Harry was reluctant to speak much, partly out of caution, and partly because the events were too raw in his mind. However, while the reconciliation between the two was by no means thorough, they had parted on reasonably good terms. Harry had also asked Cho to quietly recruit from Ravenclaw anyone interested in continuing with the DA over summer, and the pretty Ravenclaw seeker had eagerly accepted the assignment. Harry seemed all set for the last DA meeting.

While Harry was arranging for new recruits from Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw via his intermediaries and recruiting actively in Gryffindor, Nott and Greengrass were quietly sounding out the feelings of their house mates in Slytherin. Since Nott's options were foreclosed among his own dorm mates, he had begun to work on the sixth years. He had managed to convince Terrence Higgs to join, while the rest of the sixth year boys were totally non-committal. Daphne was having a bit of mixed luck; she was very successful among year her own year mates, whilst completely unsuccessful amongst the sixth years. Tracey Davis had joined as Daphne had foreseen, and somewhat to her surprise, even Millicent Bulstrode had agreed to join. However, Electra had refused, much to Daphne's astonishment, while Andromachne had indicated that her plans included travelling over summer, and consequently, she would join the DA only the coming year.

Nott was seated at his table in the Common Room, working out how he might persuade the reluctant Vaisey without alarming Malfoy, when Draco and his two goons appeared, heading straight for Nott.

"Well, Nott, it is time we had a chat. We need to determine your stance", remarked Draco.

Nott's eyebrows rose at that, "My stance on what, Malfoy?"

"Your loyalty to the Dark Lord. We want you to help us serve him."

Nott internally groaned - Malfoy had not an iota of subtlety. He wondered about Malfoy's timing - was this a mere preemptive stroke against any possible loss of influence to Nott, or had the little devil had a premonition of what Nott was planning. Over the years, Malfoy had become too used to intimidating his way through any opposition. Deciding to be conciliatory for the moment, he merely returned, "Interesting. Tell me more, Malfoy."

"The Dark Lord is short of skilled manpower for the moment, especially after the misfortune in the Ministry. He has asked me to get all students with skill into his ranks. Think of the glory!"

"Yeah, that's right", thought Nott. "The same wonderful fate that befell my father - why do some people never learn", reflected Nott bleakly. Aloud however, he spoke, "Well, Draco, we still have two years of Hogwarts left. Time enough to get into his ranks. No hurry for now."

"Sorry, Nott, you have got to decide now. Time for you to show a bit of loyalty to our Cause. You've got to work against the mudbloods and muggles. If you refuse - well, we need not discuss that yet."

"Now, now, Malfoy - calm down", Nott said soothingly. He did not want to draw his wand, if for no other reason than the fact he was not sure he could win. Nott was a schemer, not a fighter, and he took Draco's duelling abilities seriously. "The old coot will know almost everything we do here, and I don't want to do something stupid and get expelled."

"Stupid choice, Nott", said Malfoy drawing his wand. Nott leapt back from his chair, drawing his own wand at the same time. "Densaugeo", came Malfoy's voice.

"Aegis", snarled Nott, and the jet of red light from Malfoy's wand impacted against a bronze shield conjured by Nott and deflected away. However, Nott had forgotten one thing - Malfoy's bodyguards. Crabbe grabbed Nott from behind, while Goyle swung his fist at Nott's head. Nott twisted away, but the fist caught him a glancing blow on the ear. Pain exploded on the side of his head, and distantly he heard Malfoy's voice, "Petrificus totalus". Nott's muscles went stiff as a board, and Crabbe flung him to the floor contemptuously. Goyle kicked him hard in the chest, and Nott felt the ribs crack. Malfoy kicked him again in the face and blood poured from Nott's mouth and nose. "Just remember - if you betray or reject our Lord, this treatment will feel like a gentle massage." With that, Malfoy and his thugs had disappeared.

Fifteen minutes later, Tracey found a nearly unconscious Nott in a pool of blood and performed the counter curse. She then sent one of the lower year girls to fetch Snape and Pomfrey, and a few minutes later, Nott had been escorted to the hospital wing by her Head of House and the school Healer.

The night before the last day of the term was one that would alter the course of the war. After the intolerably hot preceding weeks, the showers that had begun earlier in the evening were turning into a violent, merciless, and tempestuous summer storm. This particular fury of a gale, which had originally brought some relief from the burning wrath of the sun, had long since gone past providing solace and was bringing in a different, but equally unendurable, misery. Blustery winds, screaming like untamed beasts in a cage, lashed the Cornish coast from across the sea, forcing people to shield their faces and eyes, and the rain pounded against the windows with elemental fury, rattling the shutters. The incessant staccato hammering on the doors and the chimney pots was nerve wracking, and visibility was down to less than a dozen yards. A terrible night it was - a night when, within the heart of civilisation, the weather Gods ruled the world, reminding humans the limitations of their power. Humans might tame the most savage lands, force the most barren and rocky soil to yield some means of sustenance, but here the Gods seemed intent on reading a lesson to human arrogance. Strong and powerful as the human hand and will were, they were still being forced to bend before powers beyond their comprehension, much less control.

While the bulk of the remainder of the county had bowed to the inevitable, and was peacefully in bed, rather momentous events were afoot in a Georgian manor. In a rather large and well furnished room of this mansion, two wizards wizards were playing a game of cards. The first one was a thin, nervous looking man of around fifty, with sandy hair and a soft, hesitant voice, dressed in aristocratic looking black robes, marked with the insignia of his House, and was sipping his crimson coloured drink in one hand, while picking up cards with the other. The other man, elderly and tall, was dressed in royal blue robes and seemed to have perpetually assumed a bored, indifferent expression. His dark, greasy hair, streaked with grey, was swept back from his high forehead, and he was dealing himself and his companion cards from the deck.

"It is a good thing we don't have to go out tonight", murmured the thin man. "Not that we do have had much to do in the last few months."

"Would you rather be out with those young fools, murdering and raping the hapless? I thought we were above all that", sneered his companion.

"Oh! We certainly are above, although not all our murderous rapists are young", grimaced the thin man. "Our old friends, Lucius or Walden, would have found some more convenient way to warm their bodies on such a night", he spat bitterly.

His companion was about to respond when a sharp knock sounded on the door. The two men exchanged glances, and the thin wizard spoke, "Enter."

A tall witch appeared in the doorway, and waved her wand twice swiftly, creating a privacy ward, and a silencing charm. She spoke, "The Dark Lord has just ordered Marcus to take a gang of four rookies to the home of Potter's mudblood. He has also ordered Yaxley, Wormtail and Greyback to lead a group against the Longbottoms, while he himself is leading a bunch against Amelia."

The two men glanced at each other. "What can we do?"

"I hope Potter has acted on the warnings we sent him. I think we should go and help the mudblood's parents. This might be just the thing necessary to get in Potter's good books."

There was a moment's silence, absolute and pregnant. They were all calculating the effect it would have. If this were done, the break with the Dark Lord would be absolute and only a matter of days away - none could lie directly to the Dark Lord, and get away with it. But would their actions be sufficient? What if Potter rejected their offer?

"But ..", began the nervous man.

"But nothing!", snapped the witch. "We decided on leaving the Dark Lord more than three months ago. We have computed the odds a hundred times. Nothing is going to change there. We have to take a gamble, I suppose. This is probably the best chance. Potter's stock is high, and from what Daphne reports, he is honourable and loyal. Come along, you two."

"Do you know where the mudblood's home is?", asked the elderly man.

"Yes, I gathered that much from Marcus before he left. Hurry up, we have less than half an hour before Marcus gets his thugs together and apparates to the place."

Marcus Flint was not the usual happy and carefree young man tonight. While the riffraff that constituted his command might put their predilection for pleasure ahead of their safety, the troll-like Slytherin had no such tendencies. He cursed the Dark Lord for choosing such a night for a raid. While it might be ideal for the Dark Lord to assault wizard homes on such a night, it made no sense to attack a muggle household on a rainy night, when they could not torch the building from outside and pick off any who tried to flee. He would have to lead his men inside, and this always posed a risk. However, he had his instructions, and as soon as the men under his command were assembled, he barked out orders, and the whole group apparated to their target.

The group, though raw and ill-trained, behaved with a semblance of discipline. One Death Eater stood outside to prevent anyone escaping and to warn his colleagues inside of any external interference, and while Flint himself and two of his companions burst in through the front door, the remaining man smashed his way in through the back door of the Granger home. It was at this point that Flint's plan began to go horribly wrong - first, he felt a massive anti-apparition and anti-portkey shield cover him and his companions. Next, instead of meeting a pair of panic-stricken muggles, a tall witch in emerald green robes and a mask, casually fingering her wand greeted Flint and his two comrades.

"Good evening, Marcus", she smiled grotesquely."

For a moment, the three Death Eaters were stunned at the sight. Giving them no time to recover, the witch sent a flame cutter spell at the Death Eater to the left of Flint, slicing cleanly through his arm just above the elbow, sending him whimpering to the ground, while wordlessly tossing the coffee table into the path of Flint's killing curse. The third Death sent a blasting curse at the table which had shielded the witch, shattering it, but their enemy was one step ahead of them. She banished the splintered pieces of furniture at Flint, forcing him to dodge out of the way, while she herself gracefully avoided the other Death Eater's cutting hex.

"Cold outside, isn't it? Here, let me help you warm your blood!" With that, the witch sent an incinerating curse at Flint's remaining companion, which smashed through his shield and turned him into an incandescent ball of fire, reducing him to a crisp in a matter of seconds. Flint tried to extinguish the flame with a jet of water from his wand, but it was useless. The Death Eater was already roasted, and the smell of burning flesh pervaded the room.

"Oh, dear!", mocked the witch. "Wittle baby, Mawhcus! You need bettaw help."

"Avada Kedavra!", roared Flint, his eyes mad with fear and anger. The witch languidly conjured a marble block in its path, which took the curse and burst into pieces. "Kiddies should not use unfowgivables", she laughed. Turning more serious, she spat, "Let us finish this now." With that, she sent a powerful banishing charm, flinging Marcus Flint across the room like a rag doll. Flint felt his bones crack from the impact against the wall, and saw coloured lights erupt in front of his eyes, and as he desperately struggled to rise, he heard, "Avada Kedavra!". There was a blinding flash of green light, a rushing sound, and Marcus Flint fell, dead before he hit the ground.

The witch turned round, and saw her two companions, the thin wizard, and the elderly one appear, and at the same time, the door leading up the stairs opened, ushering in two scared muggles.

"Well?", spoke the tall witch sharply to her colleagues.

"The other two are dead", returned the elderly man. "I took care of the one outside, and our colleague has accounted for the one who came in through the back door."

She nodded, and addressed the muggles, "Don't worry, you should be safe now. The Ministry will be here any minute, and they can take care of this mess, so we must leave. Good luck!"

Dr. Granger cried, "Wait! Who are you three and what are you doing here?"

The three exchanged glances and the elderly man answered, "For lack of a better term, we might say we are prospective allies of your daughter, and we were saving your lives. Goodnight!" With that, all three disappeared with soft pops, leaving two very puzzled muggles behind.
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