Chapter 30 : Chapter 30: The Spoils of War
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Something wasn’t right, Gellert thought. He didn’t know what it was, but for whatever reason, unease was fluttering in his stomach. He’d learnt over the years that his instincts were nearly always right-he had a sixth sense for danger.
Almost subconsciously, he drew his wand, gently twiddling it among his fingers. He stood up suddenly. He was going to check on his guards, ask if they’d seen anything suspicious. He strode out of his study and along the empty corridor.
This wasn’t unusual-he’d made it very clear that this wing of the house, the one at the rear and to the left, was his, and was to be left alone unless your presence was requested.
As he walked towards the front of the house, he passed Hans Blitz, who had brought in a report from Nurmengard regarding the German ministry the night before and had gotten rather drunk with Valko, ending with him spending the night on the floor. At least everybody’s not dead, Gellert thought to himself, grinning at the thought. He was confident that his wards, even without Malfoy’s, would hold up to anyone but the strongest, most experienced curse breaker.
He was, however, glad he’d never said this to anyone when he reached the balcony. Carrow, his guard, was nowhere to be seen, and creeping across the immaculately pruned lawn (how did it stay like that anyway?) was, without doubt, the Order of the Phoenix. Shaking his head, trying to remove all thoughts of grass, he raised his wand.
“CONFRINGO!” he yelled, and a bolt of orange light burst from his wand. There was a yell from the group (Gellert was too far away to hear what was said) and the blasting curse was deflected, flying harmlessly away into the air. A reductor curse shattered part of the roof a few feet away from the balcony. Gellert flourished his wand quickly, shooting off two killing curses. To his disappointment, neither shot was rewarded with a faint scream of pain that Gellert associated with making a kill. Several more reductor curses rocketed towards him. He managed to block the main body of them, but several crashed into the house, destroying the foundations of the balcony.
Sensing danger once again, Gellert leapt backwards, just as the entire structure collapsed, tearing away from the rest of the house and tumbling to the ground, where it smashed into hundreds of pieces. Gellert raced through the house, bellowing orders.
“WE’RE UNDER ATTACK!” he screamed. “Man the boundaries, protect every inch of this house with your lives!” Valko Dragonov appeared, already leading a small group of snatchers who’d been rescued from Azkaban. Hans Blitz came running past the other way, accompanied by four German wizards from Nurmengard.
“Grindelwald!” came a voice. It was Dolohov.
“What is it?” Gellert said quickly.
“The guards on the front door have disappeared,” he explained quickly. “Somehow, the Aurors or the Order got somebody in here.”
“Find Yaxley and conduct a full search of the house,” Gellert ordered. “If you don’t find anything, report back to me in the Entrance hall. I need you on the front line, friend.”
“You have my wand,” said Dolohov firmly, before sprinting off down the corridor the opposite way to where Gellert was headed. Charging down the stairs, he ran into Fenrir Greyback and several of his werewolf comrades.
“With me,” he ordered briskly. Fenrir gave a bark of agreement and followed Gellert down the stairs at a strange, loping run almost like a dog. Then again, Gellert reasoned, they were werewolves. The fight seemed to have reached the front door, although the charms Gellert had placed on it were holding-for now. Reductor curses were tearing holes in the walls of the manor, and a thick dust was beginning to float on the air. The entire building seemed to be shaking as each volley of spells struck it’s ancient walls. “We have to hold the line,” he growled to Fenrir. The werewolf nodded.
“You lot!” he barked at his comrades, who turned to him instantly. “Arrange yourself for war! Take as many as you can with you, the wizard scum!” he roared. The other werewolves, including Sulfr, who’d lead Gellert to Greyback’s hideout, hurried to arrange themselves into a sort of semi-circle, protecting the hallway. Gellert tensed up-he could tell the front of the house couldn’t take much more. Spells were rattling off the front door, the solid timber was shaking.
And then it happened.
The door collapsed, it’s hinges snapping. It seemed to happen in slow motion, as it tumbled to the ground. Red jets of light zipped into the room, and Gellert parried them with unmatched skill. Green jets began to fly back, but it was obvious that the defenders were far outnumbered. Gellert knew support was too far away now-he was in trouble. The group of snatchers lead by Valko were supporting from the landing above the entrance hallway, but they too were being forced back by the suffocating numbers of the Order. Gellert hadn’t expected this so soon, so quick and so violent. They were trying to finish him with one swift blow.
Harry found himself engaged in a furious duel with a white haired werewolf, who seemed intent on ripping his throat out. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Ron battling Scabior the snatcher, a cold snarl on his face. Rolf Scamander was looking increasingly terrified as he fought off the vicious attacks of Fenrir Greyback, while Ray and Daisy duelled Dawlish, the traitorous Auror.
“Everte Statum!” Harry yelled. The jinx finally shattered the werewolf’s defences, and he was thrown, pirouetting through the air, into a wall, before landing on the floor with a sickening thud in a crumpled heap. Harry span around just in time to see Rolf Scamander fly through the air, blood pouring from his nose. It seemed Greyback had lost his temper and swiped at the naturalist, hitting him with his unnatural lupine strength. Greyback then bounded towards Rolf, but before Harry could stop him, he was blasted aside by Dean Thomas with a nicely placed knockback jinx.
“Harry!” Ron yelled, and Harry instinctively threw himself to the floor, just in time to avoid a killing curse, which struck Scabior in the chest. He dropped to the ground instantly.
“Well that was lucky,” he commented as Ron heaved him to his feet. “Remind me to thank Hermione.”
“She’s bloody brilliant,” Ron agreed, catching a snatcher in the face with a stinging hex before binding him with Encarceorus. Grindelwald, despite being well into the battle early on, was nowhere to be seen. Michael Corner and Terry Boot ran past, their faces locked in determination as they pursed Alecto Carrow, who looked rather terrified. Harry hit a second werewolf in the chest with an impediment jinx, watching with satisfaction as he flew across the room. A burst of green light flashed over their heads, destroying a section of the wall behind them.
“We should move!” Harry shouted as he shot back a stunner at the offending Consecrat fighter, who blocked it and then was forced into battle by Seamus, who was wreaking havoc with his fire spells.
“Agreed!” Ron said, dropping Travers with a well-placed body bind. They tore across the room, shooting off spells whenever they had a clear shot, but still no sign of Grindelwald. Most of the Order had dispersed throughout the house, searching for the elusive wizard.
And that was when the entire place started to come down on their heads.
So! Thought Grindelwald as he blasted aside a young woman, a girl who looked barely out of her school years, without concern for the life he had just cut out. They thought they could just roll up here and, with one swift movement, destroy everything he’d worked for. If they thought that, then they didn’t know Gellert Grindelwald. He burst into his study. As expected, Valko, Hans, Dolohov and Sabine were in there. He and his other leaders had discussed this-if they were overwhelmed, they would leave.
“Go,” said Gellert curtly, tapping a sheet of parchment with his wand. It glowed blue-now a portkey. “I will follow.” The others, knowing better than to argue with their furious looking leader, each placed a hand to the glowing parchment and, in seconds, disappeared, portkeyed safely to Nurmengard. Gellert raised his wand-if they were going to win, then he would not allow them the Manor as spoils of war.
“CONFRINGO MAXIMA!” he bellowed. There was a colossal blast of energy, with Gellert protected by a shining shield of his own magic. The room was quickly consumed by the rapidly expanding ball of light, destroying everything in it’s path. The entire earth seemed to be shaking with the force of the spell.
But something-no, someone was resisting it’s power. And they were doing a good job-Gellert couldn’t push the spell any further. With a roar of frustration, he let the spell go, grabbing a readymade portkey to Nurmengard before the spell imploded and killed him. He was furious with himself-due to his carelessness, and his lack of foresight, he’d lost his only foothold on English soil. Now, it would take a lot of careful planning to retrieve the wand and gain the power he’d lost.
“Valko!” he bellowed, and his right hand man slunk to his side.
“Yes my lord?” he said, cowering slightly, knowing full well the extent of Grindelwald’s rage. Various Death Eaters who hadn’t been captured were returning now, by Portkeys they’d made as a precaution.
“We have little time,” Gellert growled. “We have to make our move now. Perform the coup.”
“What the hell is that?!” Ron yelped as the glowing ball of white light charged towards them, seeming intent on destroying them.
“Whatever it is, it’ll kill us!” Harry yelled back over the tremendous roar the spell was creating as they ran out the front door with the others. The spell kept coming, by now the entire house was consumed, gone from view. Harry was panicking, how the hell were they supposed to stop it? “Protego Maxima!” he shouted desperately, and felt that strange surge of power coursing through him.
His shield charm ballooned up, creating a shimmering, golden shield that met the roaring white light head on. There was a screech, like fingernails on a blackboard, and the all-consuming light was halted. Harry could feel it draining his power, his energy-he couldn’t hold on for long. Ron added his own shield charm to Harry’s, and together they fought it, pushing it back. Neville joined in, as did George and Charlie Weasley, and finally, the spell was beaten, crashing in on itself, revealing the damage it had done. Malfoy Manor had been destroyed; barely anything remained of the magnificent house.
“Lucius is going to be pissed,” Ron said, looking rather pleased at the thought. A sudden bang, like a gunshot, shattered the silence that had fallen over the group. Harry spun around, and saw Ray Lescott fall with a bloodied shoulder. Dawlish was still fighting. With a deft flick of his wand, the former Auror disarmed Daisy Richman, before blasting her into a tree with a knockback jinx. Harry drew his wand and started towards them, but Gawain got there first.
“Stupefy!” he roared, slashing his wand ferociously. Dawlish blocked it, but was staggered. He shot back a stinging hex, which Robards deflected with a lightning fast shield charm. “Expelliarmus!” Robards snapped, trying to break his former friend’s defence. But Dawlish was ready for it. He blocked it and countered quickly.
“Everte Statum!” he shouted, and Gawain took the hit, whirling through the air. The crowd were transfixed, nobody interfered with the duel.
“Flipendo!” Robards bellowed just before he hit the ground. Somehow, the knockback jinx was on target, sweeping away Dawlish’s legs and causing him to land hard on his face. Scowling, they both scrambled to their feet, Dawlish just a second faster.
“Avada Kedavra!” he yelled, his voice full of hate and anger. Robards flung himself to the right, managing to avoid the jet of green light, which hit a tree, causing it to burst into flames.
“Avada Kedavra!” Gawain yelled, and his aim was true. Dawlish was hit in the chest by the spell, and he collapsed backwards, dead. Gawain was panting heavily, his eyes blazing. “I’m getting too old for this,” he grumbled, stowing his wand back in his robes.
“Alright people,” called Kingsley, taking charge. “I want a head count, then search and salvage, off we go.” He turned to Harry. “Good work on whatever that spell was, very impressive,” he said, looking quite proud. “We owe you one.” Privately, Harry felt he was owed a lot more than one, but he let it slide.
“We’re missing a few,” said Gawain suddenly.
“Where’s Padma?” cried out Parvati Patil. Harry’s heart sank.
“Leanne?” yelped Katie Bell.
“Begin the search,” said Gawain grimly. Harry sighed. It was going to be another long and painful day.
“Begin the search,” said Gawain grimly. Harry sighed. It was going to be a long and painful day.
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