Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Shadows Rising

Chapter Five: Dishonour Amongst the Thieves

by Random_Shinobi 0 reviews

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."]

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Fantasy - Characters: Harry,Tonks - Published: 2007-09-23 - Updated: 2007-09-23 - 6312 words

Lords of the Dark Trilogy, Book II: Shadows Rising
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."]

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 Five: Dishonour Amongst the Thieves

Forgotten loyalties and shattered agendas,
Cultivated weakness and broken dreams,
Are the essence of the land cloaked in twilight,
Where nothing can be seen in black and white.

"Somebody has betrayed the Cabal," Harry snarled furiously, slamming his fist violently against the table with a loud thud, the spellsilver prosthesis leaving a noticeable dent in the dark wood. "There is no other way that they could have found the Manor! It was proably the best hidden magical dwelling in the whole fucking country!"

Amaterasu sighed tiredly and massaged her temple with her finger tips. "I have to agree with you this time," she said slowly, her tone subdued. "Did you notice that we were the only Cabal members present during the raid? Not even Damien was present, and he usually spends most of his time there! But I just don't get it... Why would any of them betray us to Aurors? It makes no sense. Besides, wouldn't the act of betrayal break the magical contract we all signed and..."

Harry waved his wand casually, causing blue flames to emerge in the fireplace, burning happily on the cold stone without any sort of fuel. "Perhaps we have a little Death Eater snake amongst us," he said with an audible scorn. "And, Ama, don't trust blood-contracts too much; even as strong and unyielding as they they are, they can be circumvented. And you know it would be so Voldemort’s style -pitting his opposition against each other. He would absolutely love this!"

"I don't think so." Harry's eyes snapped towards the elf, who had just spoken. "All of them have good reasons to hate Voldemort. None of the Cabal would serve him willingly. This either means that the Dark Lord has somehow managed to extract information from some Cabal member, indicating that you are at least one member short, or that someone has come into conclusion that betraying the location of the Manor would somehow help in the war against Lord Voldemort."

Harry snorted unamused. "How could this possibly help against the damned Dark lord? Anyway, there is no way I'm gonna trust any of them after this anymore. Hell, Neither you nor I know even half of them by their true names!"

"But do you think that we four alone are capable of raiding the Malfoy Manor?" Sirius asked with an unnaturally weak voice for him."Especially when we have no knowledge about its defences. It's abloody fortress!"

Harry sighed. The contact had accidentally gotten squashed during the fight against the silver-masked brat, and then it had turned out that the vampire had had the time to rob the body after all, denying them of any possible documents he may have carried on his person. For some time Harry had thought about going after the lying, bloodsucking bitch, but eventually abandoned the idea because he had no idea from where to even begin the search. He couldn't even use magic to find her as all long-ranged tracking spells required either her full name, sample of her body or some item she had recently possessed...

"I think I can get one capable witch to join our assault," he said slowly. "That will have to be enough."

"Who?" both Sirius and Ama asked simultaneously, while Iason just watched him in silence.


:You failed,: hissed Lord Voldemort furiously in the ancient language of serpents as he stood up from his dark throne. :And not only that. Both Warrington and Pritchard failed to return.: The Dark Lord's blood-red eyes were glinting maliciously in the darkness of the throne room, lighted only by a score of torches burning with neon-green fire.

The short, black-robed figure stood unflinchingly before the enraged Dark Lord. :And I'm sorry, but he was far more powerful than Iwas led to believe. His duelling stance and execution is flawless… The style he uses is some form of Liechtenauer style, very different from what we usually face.His accuracy and coordination is near perfect and his general speed is highly impressive. He even has strong mental shields capable of stopping my intrusions. Plus he's very strong magically for someone of his age. Once he reaches his full power – probably within couple years – he’s going to be magnificent.:

:Excuses,: Voldemort hissed angrily.:Nothing but weak, pathetic excuses. How do you think you can defeat Dumbledore when you can’t even kill the last Potter?:

:I am more powerful than the brat..., my Lord,: the boy said, adding the honorific nearly as an afterthought. It served only to infuriate the greatest Dark Lord in the century even more, but the younger wizard seemed not to notice. :He just managed to surprise me with a frenzied barrage of Dark magic and that Mugglish sword swinging. Besides, I will have my...sisters with me when I face the old coot.:

:SILENCE!: bellowed Lord Voldemort. :I have had enough of you. Go back to the Malfoy Manor, and tell the others to be ready when I call for you.:

The Death Eater bowed. :As you wish, milord.:

Voldemort sat back to his dark throne and watched the leaving figure. The Potter boy was quickly proofing be a more powerful enemy than he had previously thought... And his servant had been right, given enough time the boy would be magnificent. Perhaps simply killing him would be a wrong decision despite the Prophecy? At least it would be aterrible waste of talent and power. Besides in less than a day, if everything goes well, the brat's all efforts will be in vain anyway.

Still there was that damned line of 'And either must die by the hand of the other, for neither can life while the other survives'. It would succest that there would be a duel to death, but the rest of it made no sense whatsoever – Obviously both himself and the boy were very much alive. It was even possible that the Prophecy had alredy been fulfilled. He had been vanquished once after all, and the Potter brat had killed him, reducing him to wraith that wasn't exactly living. Voldemort sighed dejectedly. Killing the boy would remove this uncertainty and the remains of an embarrassing misstep...

But perhaps Potter could be converted to my side, the Dark Lord wondered idly, closing his eyes in concentration. But with what?The Potter brat has money, power and prestige and so bribing was unfortunately out of the question... And he seriously doubted that simple death threats or blackmail would work in this case. So, what would work then?

The Dark Lord drummed his long, spidery fingers softly against the polished wooden armrests as he contemplated his newest dilemma. Seduction was the time honed method, and he did have a few suitable, young and unmarried witches for the job, but somehow that didn't sound too good either, despite the fact that Potter was a hormonal teen wizard. For one, it would take a huge amount of planning for the attempt to not look like exactly what it was. Secondly, he had no idea where the boy was at the moment...

Then he realised it. The Potter boy used Dark magic – the true soul tainting Dark Arts, not that useless crap that the Ministry just classified as such. And he was a capable Occlumens to boot... Yes, asimple nudge into the right direction was all that was needed. Potter would play directly into his hand...

The Dark Lord chuckled faintly, his red eyes glinting in the dark. He now knew exactly what do. And it would be just all too easy...

She can take care of him.


Daniel Evans watched from a shady corner of the Dark Lord’s throne room as the short wizard hurried out of the room. At first Daniel had thought that the young, black clothed wizard was his nephew as Harry was the only Parselmouth he knew other than the Dark Lord himself. Upon deeper inspection it become apparent that this wasn't the case. Harry was at least a half feet taller than the other wizard, and he seriously doubted that his nephew would ever serve the Dark Lord.

So that meant that this boy had to be one of them. It seemed that things were happening just like the old witch had claimed. His face remained impassive even when inside he was reveling in elation. The Dark lord's days were numbered and his reign of terror was nearing its end. His revenge was at hand... Or his demise, if the witch and rest of the Cabal had lied to him which could easily be the case.

But anyway, it was all good. Daniel was growing tired of all the bloodshed. He had let the thirst for vengeance corrupt him to the core, consuming him utterly, until nothing but a single purpose remained – Revenge. Sometimes he regretted he hadn't chosen death, instead choosing to deal death, to become a remorseless killer to fulfill his ambition. Blood of countless people tainted his hands, but he really didn't care except for the fact that his family would be ashamed of him if he would ever meet them in the afterlife.

Oh, how he missed them. His parents... His favourite sister...

He still had nightmares of the day when Death Eaters had barged into his home in an attempt to teach a lesson to his sister, Lily, who had fortunately been somewhere else with that Potter at the moment. He had been forced to watch as they raped his mother multiple times and tortured his father until he couldn't scream any longer, before killing them both by beheading.

He had been soaked in his parents' blood, watching helplessly as their dead bodies fell on the floor. At that moment he had snapped, killing one Death Eater with his bare hands, cracking her neck like a dry twig with a strength he hadn't even known to posses. Of course the rest of the Death Eaters had quickly subdued him, but at least he had managed to kick another one to his family jewels.

Daniel closed his eyes, focusing to his Occlumency, clearing the distracting thoughts from his mind. He couldn't afford any distractions now as he was so close of his goal.

He sighed. It was time to speak with a certain very annoying wizard.


Severus Snape stiffened slightly when something cold and hard was pressed against the back of his head, burrowing into his black hair, which really wasn't nearly as greasy as most people assumed. He slowly moved his right hand towards the concealed wand-holster, hoping that the small movement would remain undetected by his assailant... It he got his wand, it would only take a few seconds from him to totally annihilate this intruder.

But apparently he didn't have such luck. "Unless want me to splatter your brains on the walls, I really suggest you stop that," somebody whispered into his ear, and he complied grudgingly, lowering his arms on his sides and abandoned his attempt to reach for his wand for a moment. Snape could tell that the speaker was amused, and that if something annoyed him to a no end. He hated when he wasn't in the control of the situation, and now he was completely under the man's mercy. His mind was working overtime for some way for him to escape this perilous situation unharmed, but as always, his face displayed nothing of his inner turmoil. "I came here to have apolite conversation with you and now you are already reaching for your magic wand. How indecorous of you," the voice continued, acquiring nearly a singsong quality.

Finally he recognized the thrice-damned voice; it belonged to the Muggle world's counterpart of Bellatrix Lestrange. While Muggles were generally weak and inconsequential, this one most certainly wasn't; he was far more dangerous than your ordinary wizard. Severus knew that the man had more than earned his nickname 'Slayer' and unlike other Death Eaters, most of his victims hadn't been defenseless Muggles.

"What do you want now, Evans?" Snape snarled. He knew that he was in a deep shit now, but it was not in his nature to grovel, at least not to a dirty Muggle. "Remember that you own your life to me – twice in fact. Without the portkey I gave you the arrogant Potter brat would have killed you and not to mention you would be dead for over a decade if I hadn't intervened your...conversation with the Dark Lord."

"Ah, that may be as it is, but remember that as a magicless Muggle, life-debts mean less than nothing to me," Daniel said casually. His voice was still amused, Snape noted with a mental frown, but now it held a hard edge it had previously lacked. "They most certainly do not bind me in the way they bind your kind, Severus. Not that those useless things truly bind even your kind. Besides, I wouldn't have met the Dark Lord in the first place if you hadn't told the thrice damned Prophecy to him. And of course there is still the matter of my parents and my dear sister..."

"Do you think I wanted her to die," Snape snapped, his annoyance finally making it's way to his pale face. Slayer's words had just touched a touchy subject for him, and he Snape didn't like it at all. "She was one of the few muggleborns I ever respected."

"Yeah, yeah. Anyway, I didn't come here to poke at old wounds," Daniel said casually, too casually. Snape was sure the man wasn't really so flippant about the deaths of his relatives as he would like the world to think. If anything, those wounds were still open.

Suddenly the large Muggle firearm withdrew from the back of his head as Slayer lowered the weapon so that it pointed harmlessly towards the dirty floor. "Do you know that the Dark Lord is going to personally lead an attack to Hogwarts?"

"What?" exclaimed Snape sharply. That bit of information had caught him unaware and it showed even with all his Occlumency training.

Daniel smiled. "He hasn't called you into every Inner Circle meetings he has been keeping. He doesn't trust you fully anymore, or perhaps he fears that the old Headmaster could penetrate your Occlumency. Anyway, his plan is already set in motion."

"How do you know all these things?" Snape demanded coldly even as dread filled him. "You are not part of the Dark Lord's Inner Circle. And assuming that you are right, why are you even telling me this?"

The younger man laughed softly. "I keep my ears and eyes open. You should do the same if you are intending to be a good spy for the meddling old man and his foolish Order."

Snape's eyes widened slightly at the mention of the Order of the Phoenix, and he made his decision in a split second, his hand reaching his wand in a heartbeat, and whipping it out from its holster nearly nearly faster than an eye could follow. He couldn't allow Daniel Evans to leave this room alive if the man knew that he was a spy for Dumbledore. After all, he valued his own life much more than the other man's...or anyone else's for that matter.

His wand flashed through a complicated patter, magic bursting out of the wand tip in wild torrents, while Slayer's hand rose and his body shifted into a better firing position, his index finger pressing against the trigger.

The crude and pathetic Muggle weapon spat death with three deafening bangs, but the bullets aimed at the wizard's heart ricocheted madly from a Bullet-Repelling Ward that had just surrounded Snape a split second before, one of the rebounding projectiles grazing Daniel and drawing a thin red line across his cheek.

Severus smiled nastily. Now that he was immune to Evan's Muggle tricks, he could destroy the arrogant man in leisure and show him exactly why wizards were far superior to Muggles. Or that was what he thought before Evans proved him wrong...

Instead of fleeing Slayer charged forwards with a sword, that seemed to appear out of the blue, slashing through air in a blur. Snape's eyes widened slightly due the surprising attack, but he was too experienced duelist to freeze in combat, and so he still managed to refract his wand hand in time to avoid it being cut off, instead the shining blade went straight through his wand, cutting it in half. Asecond later a swift kick exploded into his belly, blasting the wind out of him and sending him stumbling backwards. Snape crumbled onto the floor, hitting his head painfully against the floor boards.

"Why do you wizards always have this stupid superiority complex. It's getting really annoy–" Daniels words were cut short as golden ropes appeared out nowhere and tightened around his body in asplit second, snapping his legs together so that he lost his balance and fell on the floor in a very undignified manner.

Snape rose back to his feet, his fingers clutching the remaining half of his broken wand tightly. "Didn't think I could cast spells with this, did you, you filthy Muggle?" he hissed through his clenched teeth, waving the damaged wand slightly. Severus' gaze skimmed slowly over the longsword laying on the floor. It was too close to the bound Muggle for him to be comfortable, but it couldn't be helped as he wasn't stupid enough to actually touch or cast a spell on heavily enchanted objects unless he absolutely had to, for such foolish actions could all too easily have severe consequences. Many magical items, especially weapons, were charmed so that only their rightful owners could use them and Snape didn't intend to experience what kind of nasty tricks that blade had, especially considering that the rumours said that the sword was enchanted by no one else than the Dark Lord himself.

"Well... I have never seen anyone do it before and I admit that I actually thought it as an impossible feat," the bound man said nonchalantly from the floor, showing absolutely no fear even he was completely at his mercy. "But the first times with everything."

Snape's dark eyes bored into the man's green domes and he lashed out with Legilimency. Series of images and fragments of though flooded into his mind through the mental connection he had just established, but what he saw didn't make any sense... He saw snippets of completely ordinary Muggle life; no trace of memories of witnessing magic, no memories of Death Eaters, nor could he find a single indication of any unlawful deeds. It took him nearly a minute to realize that everything he saw was a finely fabricated lie. His eyes narrowed, and he applied more force into his mental probe in an attempt to dig deeper. Soon he could sense the real memories beneath the multiple layers of facade, but before he reached them, he was forcefully evicted from the Muggle's mind.

Severus recovered quickly from the violent mental push as he had pretty much expected it, and tried Legilimency again. This time he encountered an impenetrable wall that denied his access to Daniels mind. Apparently the Muggle didn't bother with the finer points of Occlumency now that he was known to be an Occlumens. The black-haired wizard sighed indefeated manner and cursed in his mind.Unless he was willing to invest hours to break the man's mental shields, he would have to do this the old-fashioned way. "Now, tell me why you think I'm a spy for the Order?"

"Are you saying that you are not?" Evans asked, arching his eyebrow. Then the man cocked his head and quickly added, "Oh, Dumbledore would be highly disappointed with you."

"It seem that you are not going to cooperate," Snape said slowly, and took a vial of clear liquid from a pocked of his flowing, dark robes. "But in the end it doesn't matter. I assume you know this particular serum?"

"Bu-huu. I'm soo-o afraid. Mummy, come and hug me, and save me from this very evil man. Oh wait, she cannot, she's dead because of you."

Snape ignored the Muggle's insane rant, and neared the man to give him astrong dose of Veritaserum. Just as he reached Daniel, the golden ropes binding him vanished. Snape blinked and watched as Daniel's small smile grew into a wicked grin. It was one of the few times Severus ever felt fear.

In the span of a few seconds, Daniel kicked the wizard's feet from below him, snatched the remains of a wand from his fingers, and blasted Snape's face hard on the cold stone, bending his hand behind his back into a lock.

"Listen to me, Severus. I will say this only once, so you better listen carefully. When a few of the students the Death Eaters have recently captured will return to Hogwarts later today, you must kill them all. Poison them with the deadliest stuff you have. Kill them with the Killing Curse. I don't really care what you do as long as they turn dead. They must die for the Dark Lord to die. Kill. Them. All. Show no mercy, for your students are already dead."

With those words, he picked up the sword from the floor and vanished back to the shadows, leaving Snape to ponder the meaning of the almost feverishly spoken words.


Moraine Hesterber stood up from her comfortable, red armchair and turned her gaze towards the only door into the room. "Come in," she said loudly before anyone had even knocked. "No need to hide behind my door, Miss Prince, Misters Solis and Harper."

The door opened with a piercing creak and three masked magicians stepped inside. The golden-masked wizard was the first to speak, "As you well know, Night Eyes, you shouldn't call us by our real names. It's both stupid and irresponsible."

Moraine snorted. "The Dark Lord's power will be broken once again in less than a day. His own ambition will be his undoing... I have foreseen it."

The crimson-masked witch next to him spoke the next, "Dragon is still right, you know. Even if all this will be over soon, you are still taking unnecessary risks. Our 'crimes' won't disapper just because the Dark Lord died."

"It doesn't matter even if someone hears our names as the other content of this conversation is much more critical. Besides, in the countless possible futures I have seen, someone has never been spying on us right now."

"Yes, your abilities are well known and respected. You are probably the most talented British Seer since the famous Cassandra Trelawney herself," said the purple-masked wizard with a tired sigh. "But I still think this plan sets my...Salamander to unnecessary danger. And we never even told her or Dark Knight... What we did to him isunacceptable and unforgivable... Salamander is really going to hate me for this."

"It's too late to chance plans now, Firebird, for they are already in motion," the other wizard in the room said softly, placing his hand gently on the wizards shoulder. "Trying to stop them now would lead to a catastrophe. Besides, our job is no less hazardous. Just focus on our mission."

"I know..." the purple-masked wizard said quietly. "You are right. We have to do this, but it doesn't mean I have to like it at all."

"So... Are we going or not?" Moraine asked, taking her dark blue mask from the table next to her and putting it on. She was getting slightly impatient. After years of hard work and careful planning, she was starting to get agitated now as the plan neared its fruition.

"Of course," the other witch said, and took a small coin from her pocket. "This is a portkey, as you have probably already guessed...or foreseen."

Everyone pressed a finger onto the silver coin, after which the crimson-masked witch tapped it with her mahogany wand. The coin emitted a flash of blue light, and then Moraine felt a tuck on her navel as the porkey transported her and her companions to other side of the country.

The three Cabal members were now standing in the middle of an ancient forest that was cloaked in unnerving silence. The only sound they could hear was the faint whisper of thousands upon thousands of leaves shaking in the light autumn breeze.

The tall trees around her seemed to reach high into the heavens. Their heavy branches and innumerable amount of deep-green leaves blocked the sky, cloaking the forest floor in perpetual twilight. Rare were the places where the golden rays of the setting sun were free to reach the ground. On those few spots grew beautiful flowers in colours of blood-red, spotless white and vibrant yellow.

Around them were five other dark shapes standing amongst the huge tree trunks Their faces were concealed by similar but differently coloured masks and every single one of them wore combat-robes.

For the first time ever in the history of the Cabal of the Chimaera the whole Cabal was preparing to wage war. Tonight the Cabal would finally come into open. Tonight blood would flow freely. Tonight the outcome of the war would be decided.

Then one of the dark shapes – the one with a brown mask – spoke in soft tenor. "To Hogwarts then, shall we? I wouldn't want to risk the sunlight for too long."


Nymphadora Tonks slammed the heavy door shut behind her with a loud thud, followed by the clicking sounds of three locks closing and the faint hiss of wards resealing. Tonks took her time to deadlock the door and put a few security charms on it as she wasn't planning to go anywhere this evening. Because of her Metamorphmagus abilities she could still partake in nightlife unlike most other Aurors who could hardly leave their homes alone of fear of being recognisedand assassinated, but even she had to stick to Muggle places and Muggles were quickly proving to be pretty boring. Besides, she didn't like the fact that she had to restrain from using magic and lie about nearly everything.

Her small home in Sutton – in Rosehill to be more exact – was very well warded and locked, just like most Auror's. Cowardly Death Eaters would like nothing more than to pick them one at the time, and so good defences were necessary for survival. Actually many of her comrades lived together for extra protection. For an example, to best of her knowledge, eleven Aurors lived in the Falkhorn family manor, and the seven married of them had brought their families with them, bringing the body count to nearly forty. She, however, valued her privacy, and as a relatively low profile target wasn't in any great danger outside her job assignments.

Tonks was actually very proud of the wards and the other charms woven around her small apartment. She had done most of the spellwork by herself, receiving only small assistance from Kingsley and Mad-Eye in putting up the main ward. It wasn't like she wouldn't have had the money to hire professionals to do the job for her (as the Ministry paid very well), but you can never know on whose side those hired professionals truly were – they might intentionally sabotage the wards or leave holes to be exploited. For someone in her chosen field, it was simply a smaller risk to do the warding by yourself.

"You know, Nymphadora, that you shouldn't forget to ward the bathroom window."

The young Auror reacted blindingly fast. She instantly spun on the spot,her hand flickering and a wand appearing only to be pointed at the black-robed and -masked man casually sitting on her new brown leather couch before the intruder had reached even the half-way of his sentance. Her reaction had been almost reflexive, a visible testament to her extensive Auror training, and she had barely stopped herself from releasing a Stunner or worse at the intruder. She could almost see Moody nodding at her approvingly.

"That window is warded," she remarked coldly, her currently brown eyes narrowing threateningly. "And what the hell are you doing here, Harry?"

The wizard snorted. "The window was warded and enchanted, yes, but worse than the others. It took me less than ten minutes to create a temporal hole on the main ward, dispel the four different Alerting Charms and the standard Strengthening Charm and force my way in."

"But we are on the fourth floor and the bathroom windows is too small for an adult human to pass," she tried to protest, but her arguments sounded pathetically weak even to her own ears. In Muggle world those points might be valid, but not with magic-wielding witches and wizards.

"So?" came the amused voice of Dark Knight just like she had half expected. After a small chuckle, the boy lifted his gloved hand and slowly removed the black mask he wore, revealing his angular pale face, vibrantly green eyes and the famous lightning-bolt shaped curse-scar."Now, would please stop pointing me with that wand." Despite the words, his voice was clearly amused, not annoyed as one would expect those words to be spoken. "It's pretty impolite."

"Someone could say that breaking and entering is impolite," she snapped back heatedly and her wand didn't move an inch, staying steadily pointed between the boy's eyes. "And not to mention illegal!" she added for an extra measure after a second or so, when her words failed to have any effect on the teen.

He just watched her impassively with that annoying little smirk of his, making her want to strangle the cocky boy until the infuriating grin wore off. Her fingers flexed unknowingly.

The silence stretched for a few seconds more, until Tonks sighed and finally lowered her maple wand, letting her hand fall into her side so that the wand pointed towards a colourful Persian carpet. "Anyway, what are you doing here?"

The wizard cocked his head slightly. "Ah! Perhaps I came here to ask for your apology for the earlier Auror raid to my home?"

Now it was her time to snort amusedly. She re-pocketed her wand and sat down opposite the boy, crossing her arms on her laps. "That building had very illegal wards, not to mention the whole manor was build without any permissions whatsoever. Everybody thought it was amajor Death Eater base." Her lips turned into a faint smile."Besides, you are on the list of wanted wizards and witches anyway. Or at least Dark Knight is. His list of crimes include six first-class murders, burglary, impersonating Ministry personnel, larceny, two counts of resisting arrest, quite a few counts of assaulting Ministry personnel, possessing and using an A-class restricted substance without a license, three counts of trespassing Ministry restricted area, Merlin knows how many counts of using Ministry restricted magic and dozen or so counts of attempted murder. And also, if they knew you were not of the age yet, they would charge you with something like a hundred counts of underage sorcery. Congrats, that's about ten lifetimes worth of offenses. Pretty much second only to the infamous Bellatrix Lestrange and the Dark Lord himself. About the real you they have not yet..." She trailed off and her smile vanished as quickly as it had appeared. "What exactly happened in Hogwarts?"

"Some junior Death Eaters decided it would be a good idea to kidnap students for the Dark Lord," answered Harry gravely. "I intercepted them, but it was too late. They had already portkeyed all captives away. Well, I'm fairly sure you know the rest."

"You really killed them?" She asked, surprising herself on how impassive and neutral she sounded. Her voice wasn't truly accusive, merely curious and slightly resigned.

Harry just looked her calmly and she could see no hint of regret in his startlingly green eyes. "They tried to kill me first. I didn't start the damn fight."

"But you most certainly finished it," Tonks said slowly and rubbed her temple, closing her eyes for a few seconds. She could sense aheadache coming. "You shouldn't have killed them."

Harry snorted loudly, and she could sense his growing annoyance and impatience. "Tonks, they were Death Eaters, and they had just send a few of their fellow students to their deaths. Do you honestly think that they didn't deserve to die?"

That was a good question, she had to admit. Death Eaters were an egotistic bunch of racists, murderers and rapists. When Azkaban had still existed, the Ministry would have just chucked those kidnappers there for a decade or so, which for most was essentially death by torture. What Harry had done to them was at least quick, even if bit more messy. Still, laws should be upheld, right? But lately she had seen even Aurors to casually break laws in the fight against the Dark Lord and his followers... Hell, she had done so herself too. But there was no way she was going to admit that to the boy, and at least she hadn't actually killed anyone. "Well, no, but it's not your place to judge and execute them!"

"Then whose it is?" Harry asked without missing a beat, his voice growing in its intensity with every word he uttered. "The corrupt Ministry's which is dominated by blood fanatics? Or perhaps Wizengamot's, where 'justice' can be bought with enough galleons? I'm sure that even the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and possibly even Auror Corps have a few Death Eaters amongst their ranks. You know what happened after Voldemort's fell last time. Imperiused, my ass...”

They stared each other for a few moments, neither of them saying anything. Then the young wizard spoke again. "Anyway, I came to ask for your help in a certain interesting escapade. I'm in the belief that Aurors have for long wanted to raid the Malfoy Manor, but have been unable to do so because of some stupid laws and widespread corruption of the Ministry. So, would you be interested in visiting Malfoys and their white-masked pals?"

"You are suggesting an illegal raid to a supposed Death Eater base? Why?" The boy was right in that she and her fellow Aurors had for a long time wanted to raid Malfoys but they had never got the permission for it. Besides, even if they somehow got the damned permission, Malfoys would undoubtedly be forewarned so that they could hide anything illegal before Aurors arrived.

"They hold the hostages there... Or at least Lucius knows where they are,” Harry said softly, and a wand appeared into his hand. "Now, are you with us or am I forced to Obliviate you out of this conversation?"

There was another long silence, which was eventually broken by Tonks. "I'm in." If this boy had broken into Gringotts, he should be able break into the Malfoy Manor too...and everybody with any shred of intelligence knew that Malfoys were Death Eaters of the worst sort – they were true believers! They honestly believed they were superior to anyone with even a hint of Muggle in their blood.

"Good... We will strike tonight."


Amelia Bones was sitting in his office with two of her senior Aurors. She lowered her cup of steaming tea to her desk and turned her scrutinising gaze towards the two wizards. "So, it was not a Death Eater base?"

"No," said Auror Commander Scrimegour promptly. "But it was still abase for some other unsavory underground group. We have already found dozens of illegal items, books and potions, and I can safely say that we have barely just scratched surface. Besides, my Aurors say that they fought against the famous Dark Knight."

"He's interesting," said Mad-Eye Moody, his electric blue eye spinning madly. He took a sip of his own bottle, his tea left forgotten an untasted on the table. "Even if he uses the Dark Arts I would like it very much to meet this young wizard," the hardened veteran added after screwing the cork tight and putting the small metal bottle back into a inner pocked of his red Auror robes.

"It's impossible to find him as we don't know his name or what he really looks like," interrupted Scrimegour sourly. "He always wears that black mask of his."

"Rufus, I wasn't saying that I wanted to capture him," Mad-Eye said with a wicked smile. "I say we let him roam unhindered. Why not let him kill as many Death Eater scumbgs as he can? And if he actually manages to survive this war, we can just silently drop all investigations. It is not like the public will demand his head."

"What if he starts killing civilians?" said Rufus angrily. "He should at least be brought under the Ministry's control."

Amelia cleared her throat loudly, silencing her office. "Any luck with Miss Solis or Sirius Black?" she asked after taking a sip of her green tea.

Suddenly the door was slammed open. Three wands rose in an instant, but no spell was cast. "Why do you barge in unannounced, Enforcer Thompson? This is starting to become a habit." Amelia could easily see Mr. Thompson was obviously very pleased about something. "From your look I assume that your news are, suprisingly enough, good this time."

"Yes, Ma'am. Three of the students that were kidnapped from Hogwarts have somehow managed to escape and are currently back in Hogwarts!"
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