Chapter 1 : A Happy Memory
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Suddenly, a single crack shattered the silence. A man had appeared and now stood in the shadows beneath the shelter of the trees. He adjusted his cloak, pulling it closer to him against the cold night and pulled his small pointed hat tighter on his head. As he emerged from the darkness, the moon light shone on his silver beard and hair, and caught in his half-moon spectacles. Reaching the gravel road, he turned to face the small village that lay at the end of the path. It was cloaked in a thick, swirling fog, a magical fog, that gave the village a haunting appearance, standing out in the other wise crisp clear night.
Closing his eyes, Albus Dumbledore inhaled, deeply, straightening his back and pulling his wand out of his robes. Exhaling, he brought forward a memory from long, long ago. A memory of green eyes, of a sweet smile and of soft skin. A memory of laughter, happiness and love. His eyes flew open, showing within their intense blue, a raw emotion strong and powerful.
"Expecto Patronum," he whispered.
As he spoke the incantation with force and strength, light exploded from his wand, speeding towards the village in a wave. Reaching the village, the fog began to roll away, taking with it the moans and screeches of the dementors as they fled the light. The fog had cleared, leaving the village, allowing it's lights now to shine though the clear night, once again a warm and pleasant country sight.
The light turned and streamed back towards its creator, as it did it began to take a shape of a beautiful bird. Smiling, Dumbledore turned his back on the village and glaced down the road. A small light could be seen on the outskirts of a woodland a few miles away. That light was his destination. At that destination he knew there resided a small shabby hut, where certain members of the Order of the Phoenix could be found. He began to make his way down the road with his silver Patronus, a silent yet comforting companion, gliding by his side. As he walked, he thought of the information that he had received three days before concerning Lord Voldermort.
This news had caused him to divert many members of the Order of the Phoenix from they usual tasks and search for any data they could grasp on this unusual subject. It had also momentarily stopped his search his for the horcruxes, though he could honestly say the short brake from the task was not unwelcome. He glanced down, pulling his wand hand from his robes. His hand, illuminated by the light of the silver Phoenix, was black and shriveled, as though it was dead. Sighing, he pushed it back into his pocket, wincing at the pain that shot up his arm, as his skin grazed the fabric.
Yes, he thought, the chance to think of other things then death, especially his death and horcruxes was very welcome.
Dumbledore sighed, it wasn't that he was afraid of death, no not at all, he would welcome it when the time came. No, he was anxious, that his plan may fail. That he may be wrong about it all. It was so soon, his stupidity had sped up the process much too quickly.
He had reached the edge of the Forrest now, and turned to his right down a lane that led to the hut. As he neared the small house, his thoughts turned back to the reason he had called an urgent meeting in such a remote location.
Three days ago, Severus Snape had returned from a gathering with Lord Voldermort, with information of the most curious nature. In his hunger for power and control, Voldermort had sent Death Eaters to various places in the world. He told them to search for unknown powers, that may help him become more powerful, and, in turn help him kill Dumbledore and Harry Potter. He had sent them chasing Myths and Legends of such powers in other countries. All explorers had returned, unsuccessfully, save two that had journeyed to Australia. Thought dead, they were forgotten and Voldermert continued to build his army throughout Britain.
Three days ago Snape brought word that the Death Eaters had returned and not without news. They had discovered a remote area of bushland that was greatly feared by muggles and avoided by wizards. Digging deeper they discovered through a wizard from the Australia Ministry of Magic, that there had been many sightings of various magical creatures by muggles in the area, and in one instance a group of teenagers reported that they had been attacked by a giant tiger. During the attack many of them stained injuries. None serious, a few scratches and one bite. But on close examination by the Ministry, on many, many different occasions, no such creatures had been found. But it was noted that the bushland did show signs of have been affected by magic. The Ministry could not explain the strange situation as there was no wizarding folk in the area, accepting a half blood squib, that had shown no signs of being able to use magic of any kind. They had set up magical barriers, warding off the muggles and had not given the area a second thought since.
The Death Eaters travelled to the area, and reported that when they visited the bushland themselves, they could sense a extreme magical presence. This information had apparently greatly interested the Dark Lord. He set a small number of Death Eaters the task of finding more out about this mystery.
As Dumbledore began to close in on the hut, he turned to his silver companion and with a wave of his hand, the Patronus vanished. He continued on down the path, now making out shadows of people behind the closed curtains.
The small hut, which to unknowing eyes would appear abandoned, was surrounded by a low fence, that needed much repairing. The garden contained many small flower beds that were empty apart from a few hardy weeds and the lawn was over grown and brown from the harsh summer sun. The hut it's self was also neglected. The paint was peeling, many roof tiles need replacing and the guttering was rusting and beginning to fall down.
But the warm light seeping through the windows and the colours of the house still felt homely to Dumbledore on that cold night, as he made he way up the steps to the door. Reaching the door Dumbledore knocked, causing the sound of a chair scraping on the timber floor to come from within the house. Turning back to stare out over the fields covered in frost, Dumbledore's thoughts turned back to his Patronus memory, a happy memory firmly etched into his mind. He could still remember every curve in her face, her smile, every fleck of amber in those beautiful green eyes, her sweet, soft lips. A memory that brought a powerful joy to his heart, and yet still caused him pain.
"Dumbledore?" a voice brought him back to the present.
Wiping his eyes, he turned to see the familiar face of Remus Lupin.
"We're all ready Dumbledore." said Lupin
"Ah, Remus. Everyone here? Good, good, let's get it over with then." he said following him into the house.