Chapter 2 : Chapter 2: Escape!
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The sound of approaching footsteps brought Grindelwald back to the present with a jolt. One of the four guards who presided over his imprisonment was approaching. Dumbledore had been certain to make sure that his former friend would never escape. Grindelwald smiled bitterly to himself. Dumbledore would surely have appreciated the irony, were he not dead.
Gellert learnt the news from the occasional papers the four guards gave him, and the seldom visits from his former friend. He'd felt a small pang at Albus's death, but nothing more. That friendship was far in the past, but he did not hate Albus, more he had always grudgingly respected him. The guard sauntered into view, a paper tucked in the crock of his elbow.
"Mind if I borrow that, Blagoy?" Gellert croaked in German. He rarely spoke, so his voice was horse and gravelly from lack of use. Blagoy looked at him, and tossed the paper his way wordlessly, a grim expression on his face. Gellert looked at him curiously, before he turned his attention to the headline. His eyes widened in horror as he read the headline:
'Gregorovitch murdered - Dark mark spotted' Fear fluttered in Gellert's chest. It had finally happened. Voldemort was searching for the Elder Wand. If he had already found Gregorovitch, then Gellert knew he was next. He threw the paper aside and leapt to the bars of his cell.
"Blagoy, when did this happen?" he asked desperately. The guard looked at him, supervised by the intensity that blazed in Gellert's silver eyes.
"Months ago," he said absently. "They say the Dark Lord is travelling again," he added carelessly. "Why you ask?" the guard spoke slowly. Grindelwald inwardly cursed. Fool! Voldemort would be coming. Soon. If he was abroad, it could be any moment. Albus had guarded him with morons, they would be no use now. He had to get out, something was coming he could sense it.
As the fear in his chest rose, a familiar, yet almost forgotten sensation seemed to build up inside him. Magic coursed through Gellert's veins, and his hands shown with golden and red sparks. He grasped the bars of his cell and concentrated with all his might. Blagoy looked at him, panicking.
"Gellert, what is it? Stop, now!" he began to draw his wand, but it was far too late. There was a flash off red light, and the bars of the cell were ripped from the stone, smashing into Blagoy and leaving him crumpled against the wall opposite. Grindelwald acted quickly; the other guards had heard the commotion and were already racing up the stars. He leapt forward and relieved Blagoy's body of his wand, and turned to face the other three guards. He needed one alive for the plan he was now forming in his head. The first guard, who was lighter and fitter than the others, rounded the spiralling staircase first.
"STUPEFY!" roared Grindelwald, the red bolt of light blasting from Blagoy's wand and hit the guard directly in the chest before he could even raise his wand. The next two guards were more prepared, however, and Grindelwald was forced to parry numerous stunning charms before he saw an opening.
"Imperio!" he cried. The right hand guard adopted a strangely empty expression, before he obeyed Grindelwald's will and cursed his partner into oblivion. He turned to the dark wizard before him and grinned stupidly.
"Avada Kedavra." Grindelwald spat coldly, dispatching the remaining guard with a flick of Blagoy's wand. Knowing he had maybe half an hour at most, Grindelwald strode forward, transfiguring the bodies of the three dead guards into a chair, a torch and a chunk of stone respectively. He then turned his attention to the stunned guard at his feet. This one was essential to his plan.
"Incarcerous" he murmured, and watched satisfied as thin, snakelike cords bound the guard in place.
He then continued down the stairs, and walked into the main hallway of the fortress. He stopped at the far wall. Dumbledore may have been a genius, but from the brief conversations the pair had shared since Gellert's imprisonment, Grindelwald knew he had not discovered the place he was going.
He raised Blagoy's wand and, with several slashing movements, outlined the symbol of the deathly hallows onto the wall, emblazoned on the stone in fiery writing. The symbol burned brightly for a moment, before the wall dissolved and Grindelwald stepped into his private quarters.
As he had suspected, the room was untouched. Of course it was, he had charmed the place so that only he could enter. The wall would only recognise his magic.
He walked quickly to the draw beside his bed, unlocking it with a brief flick of his wand.
There, lying on a velvet cushion, exactly as he had left it when he had stolen the Elder Wand from Gregorovitch so many years before, lay Gellert's first wand, the one he had used throughout his Durmstrang years.
He picked the wand up, enjoying the tingling sensation as the wand was reunited with it's owner. he pocketed Blagoy's wand, and moved across the room to his potions cupboard, retrieving a small vial labelled "Polyjuice."
It took Gellert mere moments to return to the tower where he had been imprisoned for so long. He knelt down beside the bound guard and murmured "Enervate, Imperio." The man's eyes flickered and then switched to a dreamy, drowsy expression as fell under the curse.
"Here, drink this," smiled Gellert, pushing the vial of polyjuice with one of his own hairs into the guard's now freed hands. He noisily slurped the potion obediently, and in seconds, Gellert was standing next to a perfect image of himself. As quickly as possible, they switched robes. With a flick of his wand, Gellert directed the guard into his former cell, and sat him down.
Then, he pointed his wand at the man's head, and cast a powerful memory charm, so that when he arrived the Dark Lord would be unable to use legilimency to realise that the man was not Grindelwald. Voldemort, Grindelwald reasoned, was not quite as brilliant as himself or Albus had been, even if Albus had fallen in the war. He would assume that the second Grindelwald was just an accomplished Occlumens.
Grindelwald could sense him approaching; the very air seemed to fear him. With another flick of his wand, he repaired the damaged cell bars, then cast a disillusionment charm on himself, rendering him totally invisible. He stepped back into the shadows, and waited.
As it turned out, Gellert did not have to wait long. As he watched, a smoky, black vapour seemed to pour through the tiny window in Grindelwald's cell.
There he stood, mere feet away from Grindelwald; Lord Voldemort, his pale, spider like hands clasped around a long, bone white yew wand. So he did not have the Elder wand yet. Grindelwald channelled his instructions to his cursed puppet, who smiled at Voldemort.
"So, you have come. I thought you would...one day. But your journey was pointless. I never had it." Fury lined Voldemort's face.
"You lie!" he spat, his eerie voice echoing through the prison. "CRUCIO!" he howled, and the guard writhed in pain, silently. Voldemort withdrew the curse, and knelt down next to the pathetic figure. "If you do not tell me, then I shall force it out! Legilimens!" Voldemort whispered, his voice breathed malice. Grindelwald smiled. He didn't know he had been outwitted, and so easily. 'You may be more powerful, Voldemort, but I will always have more brains' he thought, satisfied. He heard his puppet repeat these thoughts in the cell, and grinned at the scream of rage that Voldemort howled. "CRUCIO" Voldemort bellowed again, causing the guard-Grindelwald to crumple to the floor again.
The guard-Grindelwald struggled to his feet, on the orders of the real Gellert. But then Voldemort's expression changed, a flash of annoyance flitted across his face. Gellert acted on this.
"Kill me then!" the decoy cried " You will not win, you cannot win! The wand will never ever be yours!" roared the decoy triumphantly, before Voldemort, his temper snapping, blasted the guard-Grindelwald with the killing curse, before disappearing through the window in the same way he had entered, muttering furiously about "the boy, it must be the boy!"
Grindelwald waited for a few moments, then breathed a sigh of relief, mingled with triumph. He had done what Albus had failed, he had survived Voldemort's wrath. A sudden thought struck him- Albus had held the Elder Wand when he died, he had seen the photograph in the paper. Surely, Voldemort, being no fool himself, would realise the connection.
Grindelwald cursed. If he was to do as he intended, and return to power, a level of power that would rival Voldemort, then he needed to retain the Elder Wand. He had to return to England, but it was too far to apparate.
And then, were could he go? His aunt Bathilda was dead, by Voldemort's order, he had guessed when the guards brought him the news only days ago. Still, her house in Godric's hollow was still there, and that was were Dumbledore had lived. Maybe some clues could be found there.
Now, however, he needed a broom. He strode down the stairs, returning to his private quarters, and retrieved an ancient Silver Arrow racing broomstick from his cupboard.
Finally, after over fifty years of imprisonment, Gellert was free. But it would take time for him to return to England, and even longer to relocate the Elder Wand. it was likely to be a difficult task, particularly if Voldemort got there first. As confident as he was in his own abilities, Gellert did not relish a duel with the snake like lord.
As he flew silently from Nurmengard, he remembered his slogan. 'For the Greater Good.' That was why Gellert needed the Elder Wand. Voldemort was even more extreme then he, and even Gellert, a dark wizard himself, realised he had to be stopped.
He flattened himself against the broom and sped off into the freezing night. Time was short.
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