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Old July 27th, 2011, 3:36 pm
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The Godfather
 
Join Date: 02nd August 2007
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Age: 50
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Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era PART II

Chapter 8 – Rash Acts

A massive, square stone counter sat at the center of the main reception floor of Azkaban prison. There were four broad passageways that radiated outward from the central desk in the four cardinal directions. Small cross corridors connected the main hallways at various points from the outer wall down to the main desk. When the mysterious wizards breached the north entrance, the defenders centered their resistance at the central desk, blocking cross passageway as they could. The influx of enemies was wearing them down. The dark wizards had managed to open one of the small passageways and gained access to the eastern corridor as well. Still, they held out. The fighting was vicious and no quarter was asked, or given.

The first indication that Harry had that there was a limit to the enemy’s forces was that no one was watching the landing where they had made their first penetration of the fortress’ walls. The tenor of the external battle made their approach less contested than he’d expected. The four aurors alit on the landing and peered down the wide hallway. Harry led the way, his back brushing the wall on the right. James followed close behind his father, pressing him, the need to get into the action making him anxious. Ron led Suttles down the left wall. The two pairs of aurors made their way silently, wands drawn, ready for anything.

Thick, gray smoke hung in the air, punctuated by flashes red and green light from the center of the floor, the sounds of curses hissing. Every so often, a wayward spell will pass them in the air, having missed its target. Other times, the grunts and yells of people could be heard where the spells hadn’t missed. They came to the opening of a cross passage, and Harry nodded to Ron with a knowing look. Ron pursed his lips and nodded back. He waved at Suttles and the pair turned down the passageway, looking to take the wizards in the eastern passage from the rear. Harry waited, counting to thirty and then continued his movement towards the sounds of battle.

James gripped his wand tightly, his heart raced in anticipation. For the umpteenth time, he bumped into his father, as Harry stopped and assessed the happenings down the corridor. Harry gave a withering glance at his son and held the tip of his wand to his lips, telling James to take his time. After a moment, Harry turned and continued his slow movement down the hall. The smoke began to dissipate and Harry bent his knees, proceeding forward in a crouch. James followed his father’s movements and inched forward.
The counter was now in sight. There were barricades thrown across the passageway, consisting of broken office furniture, massive rocks from the shattered walls and in some places, bodies of the attackers and defenders, including some of the mystical creatures that formed part of the defenses. Thus far, no one had seen them. There was a line of attackers behind the makeshift wall, sending curses towards whoever was holding them off behind the desk.

James’ eyes grew wide, his mouth drawn tight in a grimace. This was their chance. What were they waiting for? He stood and started walking forward, his arm held out. Harry made a lunge to grab at his son. He shouted in a barely heard whisper.

“James, what are you doing?” James eluded his grasp and continued on. Harry followed and then raised his wand.

“Stupefy!” James first spell struck a rather large man in the back, sending him careening forward into the wall. Before he hit the floor, James turned and aimed at the next witch in line. Harry sent a stun spell at another wizard. Father and son managed to take down a good half dozen of the dark wizards before they were noticed. There were still a good fifteen or so, still active and ten of them turned and began hurling curses at the two. The harsh green essence of a killing curse flew outward and Harry shoved James to the side roughly, just before the spell struck the younger Potter. Harry’s reaction was instinctive, he rolled to the floor and pointed his wand.

“Reducto!” A shattering explosion echoed in the hall, having stuck the heavy stone ceiling. Tons of rock and granite fell atop the wizards at the barricade and the shockwave blew back, funneled by the confines of the corridor. Harry was knocked off his feet and fell to the ground. A crack appeared in the ceiling continued growing, radiating down the corridor. Harry struggled to rise, the air having been forced from his chest by the explosion. Suddenly, the weakened roof gave way and Harry heard another explosion, and then, darkness.

***
Molinero sat in front a massive oak desk while the old woman was ensconced in a plush, high backed chair behind it. She’d led them into the frozen temple and high into the catacombs behind the main chamber. They entered a room that startled him in its incongruity. It was a well appointed office. The room had high ceilings with an immaculate crystal chandelier hanging from the center. The walls were lined with intricately carved bookcases interspersed with large framed oil paintings on the walls. The paintings were covered with black shrouds, hiding their portraits from his sight. There were no windows, although the main fixture of one of the side walls was a massive stone fire place with a sculpted mantle and another painting above it.

There was a blood red carpet on the wooden floor. The carpet seemed new, yet based on the intricate gold threadwork layered inside it, Molinero could tell it was older than he was. The old woman had removed her cloak and hung it on a coat tree near the door. Molinero fought down a gasp, as her appearance completely surprised him. She was short and frumpy, shaped like a fat pear. She wore patched and quilted housecoat in various shades of black and gray with a gray headscarf wrapped around her spindly white and gray hair. Her face was worn, and punctuated by a long, hooked nose that had a large, hairy mole at its tip. It was all he could do to not stare at the mole. She looked like a monochrome babushka, only uglier. She seemed to notice his discomfort, but said nothing. She shuffled around the desk and sat down in her seat with an audible sigh. She clapped her shriveled hands together and a hidden door opened in one of the bookcases. The pathetic figure of a house elf came from the opening, balancing a large silver tray precariously in her small hands. The house elf looked like a miniature version of the old woman, though her gait and demeanor was that of a creature that has lost all hope. She wore a tee shirt that came down to her knees. It was once red, but had faded over time. Molinero could barely make out lettering across the front, but could not distinguish what it said.

The house elf set the tray on top of the desk and quickly placed a cup and saucer of fine white china in front of the two wizards. Deftly, the house elf poured tea from a silver urn and then turned to leave.

“Putzfrau!” The crone’s voice made Molinero jump in his seat, striking like lightning. The house elf’s torn and tattered ears seemed to droop even more. Slowly, the pathetic little figure turned to face her mistress.

“What have you forgotten?” The old woman glared at the house elf, her hand resting on the desk, her stumpy fingers beating a staccato on the polished oak surface.

Decades of servitude taught Putzfrau to hold her tongue. She hadn’t forgotten anything. Her mistress wanted something, but as of yet, house elves could not read minds.

“Where are my strawberry scones? I always have strawberry scones with my tea.” Putzfrau nodded in acceptance. Her mistress hadn’t had scones since last year. Recently, she’d been taking cheesecake with her tea, but the elderly elf dared not mention it.

“Of course, mistress, Putzfrau is a horrible elf.” Putzfrau pounded her chest with her fist, hoping the punishment was enough. Of course, it never was. The woman reached down and grasped one of the elf’s ears and twisted, hard.

“Never mind now, I’ll do without, but don’t you forget my scones next time!” With a kick, she sent the house elf flying towards her bookcase entrance. The door closed behind the elf, leaving Molinero alone with the strange woman.

The woman turned in her seat and sipped at her tea. Her eyes were still red, but not as glaring as they’d been when she met him outside. They were more bloodshot, with just the haze of a glow in them. She stared at him and it seemed as if he could see her thoughts dancing behind the redness of her eyes. She set her cup down on the saucer and placed her hands on the desk.

“So tell me, Herr Muller, how did dear Tom Riddle meet his end?” She studied him and raised a finger in warning. “Tell me everything. I will know if you are lying.”

Molinero barely stopped himself from correcting her about his name. She was Gudrun Burwitz, after all. One rarely corrected one of the world’s greatest dark witches (especially if no one had heard of her before). He sipped his tea to compose himself and then started speaking.

“Tom Riddle was arrogant. He thought he’d figured out how to beat death. He was wrong…”

***

The explosion raised a thick pall of smoke and debris throughout the room. Ron choked back the dust and wiped the front of his robes. He’d been surprised to see the violence emanate from the other passageway. He and Katherine weren’t in position. When Harry had signaled him to take the side passage, Ron thought he’d seen Harry tap the top of his head, which was laid out the prearranged course of action they were to take. When Ron and Katherine were in position, Ron was to send a sparkler spell to the center of the passageway to allow he and Harry coordinate their attack. Ron guessed that perhaps Harry had been spotted before Ron was in position. Still, the results were messy and probably a lot bloodier than they needed to be.

The room was silent. Whatever caused Harry to act, the end result was that the remaining dark wizards were down. Most were not breathing, the compression of the blast and the weight of tons of rock and stone crushing their bones. Ron inched forward, studiously stepping over debris and body parts, making his way to the counter. He turned to Suttles.

“Start looking through the rubble. See if any of them are alive. We need prisoners.” The slightly built young woman nodded. Ron could see the uncertainty in her eyes as she glanced towards the corridor that Harry and James were supposed to come down.

Ron followed her gaze and started making his way there, looking around for any sign of Harry. His journey was interrupted by the sound of coughing. He saw a head pop up from behind the counter. A short man, barely two thirds Ron’s height made his way around the counter and held up his hand in greeting. He was covered in powdery white dust, his reddish brown hair covered in layers of it. He had a cut across the bottom of one eye and he looked like he hadn’t slept in a month. He had a broad, muscular chest with a slight thickening around his midsection, a testament to middle age. He coughed heavily and smiled at Ron.

“Hey Ron, I thought you Aurors were trained to be delicate?” He took in the destruction as more of the guard aurors emerged from their positions and began to shore up the walls. “Subtle, Ron, very subtle approach you got there.”

Ron laughed. “Jimmy Peakes, as I live and breathe, how the heck did you end up at Azkaban?”

Jimmy was a couple of years behind Ron and Harry at Hogwarts. Despite his diminutive stature, he was an excellent beater and played Quidditch ferociously. He shrugged his shoulders.

“I couldn’t cut it with the Cannons, so I went into Magical Law Enforcement.” Jimmy smiled and looked around. “Seriously, you guys almost blew this place up. Was that the plan?”

Ron shook his head. “No, in fact, this took me by surprise. Harry was supposed to stun the wizards in the north passage, while I got the guys in the east passage.” Ron stared at the piles of rubble in the north passage. “Has anyone seen Harry or James?”

The silent reply sent a twinge of panic through Ron’s chest. He charged into the remains of the north passage and began furtively digging through the debris. Soon he was joined by the survivors of Azkaban’s guard force. A nameless wizard shouted after a moment.

“Over here!” Ron moved over and found the man standing over a figure with bright red Weasley hair. Ron reached down and pulled James from the floor and helped the young auror sit up.

Ron reached and felt along James’ neck and exhaled deeply as he found a pulse. “James, can you hear me?”

James shook his head to clear the cobwebs and looked up at is uncle. “Where’s Dad?”

Ron looked around hurriedly. Jimmy Peakes was across the passage, kneeling over another still figure.

“Harry’s here. He’s alive.” The room let out a collective sigh. Harry began to stir and sat up, holding his hand to his head. Slowly, he began to rise.

“Steady, Harry, you’ve got quite a gash on your head.” Jimmy gripped Harry’s arm to steady him. Harry nodded both a hello and thanks to his old friend.

“I’m okay.” Harry looked over to Ron and James. “You okay, James?”

“I’m okay, Dad.” James struggled to his feet and stood. Harry walked over to him and James held out his arms, expecting his father’s embrace. Instead, Harry placed his hand in the center of his son’s chest and pushed him against the wall.

“Good, because a lot of people died today because you didn’t listen.” Harry leaned close to his son, ignoring Ron’s restraining hand on his shoulder. “If you’re going to be an auror working for me, you’re going to obey orders. This isn’t some sort of wild west show, this is serious business. We’re not here for your amusement. The next time you go off kilter and try to Rambo your way into a fight, you will be finished. Do I make myself clear, Mr. Potter?”

James was visibly shaken, surprised and shocked at his father’s reaction. His first instinct was defiance, then, as the events of the previous few minutes started to sink in, his face lowered in shame.

“Yes sir. I understand.”

Harry released his grip and turned. “Status?”

A voice punctuated the tension in the air. A wizard in the far corner shouted. “We’ve got a prisoner over here.”

Harry and Ron moved over to an area near the main counter. Somewhere, someone had found a metal folding chair and sitting on it was one of the enemy wizards. His black robes were caked with rubble and dust and his silver death eater mask was cracked and broken on the floor below his feet. He had long platinum blonde hair and despite being a prisoner, he held his nose in the air in a sense of superiority and arrogance. He had cold gray eyes that blazed in defiance and he smiled without any warmth or humor.

Harry checked his surprise, not at the man’s presence but at the fact that his looks, his demeanor were of a man from thirty years in the past. The man studied Harry like a jungle cat stalking his prey.

“Well, well, Potter, you think you’ve gotten the best of me, but you haven’t won anything. Enjoy your victory while you can, because the Dark Lord will have you in the end.”

Harry straightened his shoulders and stared at man, his green eyes fixing the other’s gray orbs until the man finally looked away. Finally, Harry spoke.

“Well Lucius, no matter what your appearance, things never seem to change.” He motioned for one of the guards to paralyze the prisoner. “You still can’t beat me on your best day.” The guard led the younger Lucius Malfoy away towards an interrogation room. Harry turned to Jimmy Peakes, who was visibly shaken at seeing Malfoy.

“Harry, I’m telling you right now, that is not Lucius Malfoy. He’s in lockup. I know, I saw him, I visually verified his presence.”

“I don’t doubt you, Jimmy. Why don’t you bring your prisoner up to the interrogation room as well?” He turned to Ron and Katherine, noticeably ignoring James for the moment.

“It’s time to find out what the hell is going on.”


A/N: We're starting to get there, but not quite yet. Is the Dark Lord back? Is there someone else out there? Who knows? Wait, I do, and I'll start sharing with you if you leave me some freaking FEEDBACK!


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Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)

Last edited by USNAGator91; July 27th, 2011 at 3:41 pm.
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