Chapter 28 : The Fight for the Eye
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‘You’ve got to take us to the Eye! We’ve got no choice!’
‘It’s too dangerous!’ exclaimed Flamel in response. ‘They will apprehend us for sure – the Death Eaters will be waiting there!’
‘Better there than here! We’ve got to at least try! You’ve got to take us to the Eye! Please!’
Flamel tore himself away from Harry. Ron was clutching on to Hermione whose worried face watched Flamel as he opened one of the cupboards beneath the mirror. He threw a basket of threads and yarn behind him, the contents spilling out on to the floor. Harry could see the mass of figures getting closer.
‘Here! Take a hold of this!’
Clutched firmly in Flamel’s hand was a broken teapot, a few of its blue tiles missing from its center.
‘A portkey – quickly now! It’ll take you straight to the Eye!’
The door of Flamel’s home burst open with a bang, the sound of the pouring rain filling the entire room in a split second. Pointing the Elder Wand instinctively at the open door, Harry nearly shot off a Stunning spell, the words on the tip of his tongue. Once Harry had registered who was standing at the threshold, he was thankful that he had not uttered the incantation.
‘Harry! It’s us!’ came the voice of Arthur Weasley as he stepped inside slowly.
Following close behind was Mrs. Weasley whose concerned expression shone through her determination to conceal it. George and Percy followed in her wake with Kingsley Shackelbolt, Dedalus Diggle, Fabian Prewett, Hestia Jones, Doreen Vance and Aberforth pulling up the rear. He shut the door quickly behind him, his hair and beard dripping wet from the downpour.
‘Went as quick as I could,’ panted Aberforth gruffly.
‘Are you three alright?’ asked Mrs. Weasley, her voice rising above the rest who had begun throwing many questions at Harry, Ron and Hermione.
‘We’re fine Mum!’ answered Ron earnestly, trying his best to sound strong.
‘Nicolas Flamel? Is that... you?’ asked Dedalus Diggle hesitantly.
Flamel nodded slowly, retreating back in to the shadows beside the fireplace. After Aberforth had closed the door, the small room was nearly taken up fully by the abundance of Order members who had arrived.
‘But how did you escape?’ piped up Doreen Vance. ‘The last I read, you were in Azkaban!’
‘Aberforth – you never said anything about Nicolas Flamel being here!’ spoke Fabian Prewett skeptically.
‘Never mind that now!’ interrupted Harry. ‘The important thing is that we retrieve the Eye. We’re going to need everyone’s help – Kingsley... where’s Gawain?’
‘Still at the Auror Office – in a meeting with Mosteban. Seems as if someone had impersonated him at the Ministry,’ replied Kingsley with an undertone of deeper understanding. ‘Many reported to have seen the apparent impersonator roaming the Office. I sent him a message of our whereabouts regardless.’
Hestia Jones’ eyes widened as Kingsley finished.
‘Did you – no... you couldn’t have –’
‘It doesn’t matter right now!’ interrupted Harry as Hestia Jones and the other Order members began to come to the true realization of what had occured. ‘Look – the Eye of the Posterus is real! And the Death Eaters are after it! We need to leave now before they get to it!’
‘I beg to differ – it does matter right now!’ piped up Fabian Prewett. ‘What have you three – four done?’ he continued, eyeing Aberforth who cleared his throat.
‘And why would we need the Eye? No offence Mr. Flamel, but some dodgy little stone that may or may not exist is not of vital importance right now!’
Flamel did not move a muscle, merely closing his eyes as he viewed the Order’s ignorance.
‘This might be hard to grasp,’ began Hermione after no response came from Flamel, ‘but the Eye is much more powerful than any one of us could have ever suspected. If the Death Eaters gain control of it tonight...’ Hermione sighed, looking towards Harry, still unbelieving of what they had learned, ‘then Lord Voldemort will return again.’
‘We’re not all on that again!’ responded Fabian Prewett frustratingly.
‘Hey! Back off, Fabian,’ interrupted Percy.
‘Hermione – Voldemort is dead. Harry himself killed him. I helped bury his body!’ said Kingsley in his deep voice.
‘But the Eye! The Eye has a power – well not so much the Eye individually... but when adjoined with the Philosopher’s Stone–’
‘That’s enough!’ interrupted Hestia Jones. ‘I’m sorry but now is not the time for the fantastical! We must hear proper cause for obtaining the Eye before we set out in doing so!’
‘And even though we always considered you innocent as Albus Dumbledore surely would,’ prolonged Dedalus Diggle as he indicated Flamel, ‘the fact that you are here amongst us instead of in Azkaban... well that is extraordinarily troubling to say the least!’
‘Exactly. Whatever the reason is, if we are caught in the company of him then we – the Order – is done for!’ added Kingsley Shackelbolt.
As Harry watched the ensuing conversation, he hit a boiling point. Aberforth – from all the way across the room – seemed to notice Harry’s impending rage. His face sunk from one of annoyance to worry in half a second.
‘WHEN WILL YOU ALL LEARN TO JUST LISTEN TO ME! TO TRUST US?!’ Harry bellowed at the top of his lungs.
‘Perhaps when you fill us in on what exactly the four of you are –’
‘LIKE YOU’D GIVE ME A CHANCE!’ cut off Harry. ‘LOOK – Look... Flamel is innocent. He is. He was going to be killed tonight so we got him out. We need to get the Eye of the Posterus... right now. Are you going to help us or not?’
Harry was bursting with energy as he looked at the members of the Order staring back up at him, his chest rising and falling as if he had just run a marathon. They considered him for a moment which annoyed Harry as he knew time was of the most pressing importance in this matter. He looked at everyone quickly, scanning their faces for any hint of what they were thinking.
‘Yes of course we’ll help, Harry,’ replied Mrs. Weasley. She half-turned, knowing her statement was being met with non-verbal hesitation and disagreement. ‘But after we get the Eye and make sure that Mr. Flamel is safe and far away from danger... the Order is going to need a more complete, full explanation. Is that agreed upon, dear?’
‘Of course Mrs. Weasley,’ replied Harry, relieved. ‘Perhaps Mr. Flamel can give you the explanation he gave the three of –’
Suddenly, jets of black smoke flew through the house, sending many of the golden objects crashing to the floor off of their shelves. Bits of wood and brick flew through the house, some of it hitting Aberforth in the back of the head and knocking him over. The fireplace was extinguished as Harry fell to the ground, following the rest of the Order in doing so. The wet rain stung his face as yet another jet of smoke billowed through the house.
‘It’s the Death Eaters!’ Harry heard Nicolas Flamel whisper. Turning his head slightly, Harry was shocked to see that Flamel was mere inches away from his own face. ‘You need to get out of here!’
Another crash accompanied by a brief burst of red light engulfed the tiny room, a scream from Mrs. Weasley making Harry jump. The door was kicked in with a bang, a jet of light carrying it across the room until it crashed in to the wall beside Harry.
‘Go! It’s time is almost up!’ Flamel whispered again, pointing in the direction of the teapot portkey that lay innocently on the floor a few feet away.
Harry nodded bravely, crawling over to the teapot as quickly as he could. He kept his head down as a barrage of spells came crashing in to the house from all around him.
‘Stupefy!’ Harry heard an unknown voice growl.
He felt something fly by his head, noticing that Fabian Prewett had crashed in to the mirror at the far side of the room a single, loud second later.
‘HARRY! OVER HERE!’
Turning his head quickly, Harry saw Ron and Hermione hiding behind an overturned armchair. Another jet of black smoke flew between Harry and his friends. Crashing noises, jets of sparks in different colours and what seemed like a dozen yelling voices came from somewhere behind him. Harry paid no attention, focusing solely on the broken teapot that lay on the floor.
‘READY?’ Harry beckoned to his friends over the chaos.
The look in Ron and Hermione’s eyes told Harry all that he needed to know. With a desperate leap, Harry’s outstretched hand landed on the broken teapot at the very same time as Ron and Hermione did. A collapsing shelf was the last thing that Harry registered. Many golden objects began falling to the ground yet Harry never saw them get there; the room and the deafening loudness of the chaos disappeared as Harry was tugged by his navel and out of the battle.
The moment Harry had landed on ground once again, he reached for his wand immediately, pushing himself up off the grass the moment that his wand was in his grasp. Here, the rain was merely spitting, the stars shining brightly in the dark sky. Clouds were moving over the moon, bringing an unforgiving gloom to the area.
‘How’d they get to us so quickly!’ exclaimed Hermione.
‘Shhh! I don’t know, but if they are here, you can’t give away our location! Do you see anyone?’ whispered Harry as he handed Ron and Hermione their wands from behind his back, not daring to take his eyes off the rolling landscape.
‘It looks like... we’re alone, Harry,’ confirmed Hermione after a moment.
Harry lowered his wand slightly as he continued to scan the area for any Death Eater presence. The sound of running water met Harry’s ears as his senses adjusted to the new environment. Turning slowly, a great mount attracted his vision.
‘That must be Chrome Hill!’ Ron said, noticing the mountain of earth just before Harry had.
Rocks penetrated through the mossy grass so that the mountain itself looked like a great fossilized creature, too big for the ground to contain it. Behind it, Harry could faintly see the endless landscape continue all the way to the horizon, trees, rocks and streams characterizing the area. Staring upwards from the mountain’s base, Harry knew it must be hundreds of meters high.
‘Flamel said the lake would now be visible at the base,’ forwarded Harry with urgency.
Knowing that the Death Eaters could show up at any minute and remembering the danger that the Weasleys and the rest of the Order were in right now, Harry wanted nothing more than to retrieve the Eye as quickly as possible.
‘I-I don’t see it anywhere, mate,’ pointed out Ron as he looked up and down the mountain.
‘Keep looking – let’s check around the other side,’ replied Harry, not letting his urgency frustrate him.
The trio began walking around the massive hill, a cool summer wind brushing by their faces as they started off. For a moment no one spoke as the thought of what was occurring at Nicolas Flamel’s home occupied their minds.
‘About what Flamel said back at the house...’ began Ron darkly as he continued to scan Chrome Hill’s base.
‘You heard it just as I did, Ron,’ Harry replied positively. ‘Just gives us all the more reason to find the Eye before... they do. The question is... do you think the Death Eaters know of its...er... hidden power?’ Hermione was quick to answer, being careful to watch her step as she walked over a rocky ridge.
‘Well, we do know that even Flamel himself was unaware of its power until recently – two years or so ago, before Dumbledore died. That would have been the most recent time possible that Flamel would have had all three stones in his possession all at once! It’s not a storied, well-known magical connection by any stretch of the imagination! So it’s not inconceivable that the Death Eaters are only after it for its ability to look in to time itself!’
‘Let’s hope that’s all they are after it for...’ muttered Ron.
‘They must have some sort of plan,’ Harry pondered now that he had a second to reflect upon it. ‘Risking their entire forces over the Eye... spying on Flamel and its location for months... they must have something terrible planned that goes beyond just looking in to the future.’ Harry reminisced about last year, remembering Voldemort’s laughing portrait vow his return. ‘They must know its power – it’s why they stole the Philosopher’s Stone in the first place.’
Harry’s words were met without opposition. It was as if both Hermione and Ron had only speculated on the Death Eaters’ own ignorance of the Eye’s true power so that they themselves could feel better about the situation.
‘Regardless,’ Harry said firmly, breaking the dark silence, ‘we’ve walked around to both sides of this mountain and I don’t see any lake! Are you sure Flamel said that it would appear? There’s no special place we need to be to see it because the enchantments have worn off over the past months, right?’
‘That’s what he said!’
‘Maybe it’s not time yet, Ron,’ reasoned Hermione.
‘Well it better bloody be time soon!’ shot back Ron. ‘Maybe we should go back to Flamel’s house? We could be of help if the Death Eaters have taken it over!’
‘No! We’ve got to stay here!’
Harry felt guilty as he shot down Ron’s request, knowing that two of his brothers and his parents had been left in the house swarming with Death Eaters. He knew he was right however; they had to press on even amidst the danger the Order could be in.
‘I guess we’ve got to wait then,’ said Hermione coming to the only possible conclusion.
Ron sat down beside Hermione as they continued to scan the enormous mountain for any sign of the lake that Flamel had magically conjured. Harry did not join his friends, standing beside them while he focused on the mass in front of them. None of them spoke for minutes as the cool wind made them shiver. Harry felt goose bumps up and down his arm at the touch of the delicate wind.
‘Harry,’ began Hermione slowly. ‘I don’t think that the lake is – hold on a minute!’ Hermione struggled to her feet, walking forwards a few paces, her arm outstretched.
‘Hermione...’ Harry said slowly, walking towards her and adjusting his glasses. The sight was amazing. ‘That’s it!’
Slowly, a clear, sparkling lake materialized out of nothingness. It grew larger and larger until it surrounded the entire base of Chrome Hill, only stopping once the water level had risen up the base of it. Some of the rock ridges were now covered with water, the mountain itself considerably less larger than how it appeared before.
Harry broke in to a jog. With Ron and Hermione just behind him, Harry quickened his rate until he arrived at the water’s edge, immediately taking off his shoes and tossing them aside.
‘Ron – look here,’ panted Hermione.
Muttering something under her breath, she conjured a Bubble-Head charm over Ron, doing the same to Harry after she had completed her own.
‘You ready?’ asked Harry, taking one last look at his surroundings. He knew that the lake would be visible to anyone in the area for the time being and was anxious to dive in.
‘Let’s do this,’ said Ron resolutely.
With nods of their heads, Harry, Ron and Hermione dove in to the lake. Once submerged, Harry was in awe of the water’s clearness that matched its surface. The temperature was surprisingly warm, catching Harry off guard. He signaled to Ron and Hermione to follow him as he swam deeper and deeper in to the lakes’ depths. Rocky ridges and the mossy grass filled the shallow base, dropping off in to deeper sections every so often. As he dove deeper there was no sign of the cavern that Flamel had spoken of. Within seconds however, Harry felt a tug on his arm. Turning around, he saw Ron indicating a different direction before swimming off after Hermione.
It took only a few more strides before Harry saw it. A great cave with a tiny light coming from its center was straight ahead of him. Astonished, Harry swam quickly towards it, heading straight for the light as Ron and Hermione were. Harry was kicking desperately, reaching forward at the cave that held the Eye of the Posterus. It was right in front of him – feet away was the object that they needed to retrieve.
To his astonishment, Harry noticed that the light coming from the cave’s entrance was actually a torch that somehow, was still ignited underwater. The hard surface from the cave brushed by Harry’s feet as he struggled to stand on it. He clutched at the sides of the cave to pull him closer, but as he did so, he felt one of the most oddest sensations he had ever felt.
His entire body felt as if it was being sucked out of the lake, a great pressure surrounding him. Looking to his left quickly, Harry saw Ron’s strained face as he fought the suction, trying to clutch on to the cave to pull him back out. However, Hermione had been the first to reach the cave and had been unable to fight it; she now stood innocently on the rocky ground of the cave’s entrance, waving to both Harry and Ron. Harry resisted the suction, allowing himself to be brought closer to Hermione. In only a couple of seconds, Harry felt the touch of water leave him, feeling as dry as ever a moment later. He realized that Hermione was no longer wearing her Bubble-Head charm.
‘It’s alright Harry!’ she said, prompting Harry to discard his own Bubble-Head charm.
Harry found it miraculous that he was able to breathe in deeply as he looked on at the lake just inches away from where he stood. He reached out to touch the wall of water, pulling his finger back as he felt the suction begin to move him back out of the cave.
‘C’mon Ron!’ pleaded Harry.
‘Some things never change,’ muttered Hermione while crossing her arms.
After a few more seconds of struggle, Ron finally ceded, allowing himself to be gently placed on the rocky entrance. He too stood beside Harry and Hermione, eyeing their removal of their Bubble-Head charms with the utmost curiosity.
‘Let me assist you!’
Hermione removed the charm from around his head. For a brief moment, Ron looked panicked but his fearfulness washed away with the realization that they were somehow out of the lake in which they had dived in to.
‘Brilliant,’ said Harry as he looked towards the wall of lake water from which he had been sucked out of.
The wavy, translucent wall of water was transfixed upon by Ron who was seemingly not understanding of its magical properties. Though impressed, Harry did not have the patience to admire Flamel’s wand work at this moment in time. He set off down the narrow, rocky passageway, illuminating his wand tip after only a few steps.
‘Follow me!’ he called over his shoulder.
Soon, the rocky passageway opened up in to a great, high chamber. Pausing for a moment, Harry looked at its make-up; large rocks stuck out at random angles, pieces of grass and dirt occasionally dressing the tops. The entire chamber was dark, apart from one, single greenish glow that emitted from the center of the chamber. Harry had to squint to properly look at the source of the green glow.
‘There it is, mate!’ pointed out Ron, his face illuminated with green on one side and with the dark shadows of the chamber on the other. ‘There’s the Eye!’
Harry smiled ever so slightly, jumping down off of the sloping, rocky passageway and on to a rock that was sticking out of the ground.
‘The chamber itself seems to be on top of the mountain – or at least the side of it!’ pointed out Hermione as she noticed the same rocky, grassy terrain that occupied the base of Chrome Hill.
Harry barely heard Hermione; his eyes were fixated on the greenish glow. As he got nearer, he could make out the roundness of the stone. It was as big as a peach – perfectly round and symmetrical. However, it being almost too perfect in shape made it look unnatural. Its glow was pulsating as Harry finally arrived at its resting place. He turned to his friends who looked on with excitement.
‘Take it Harry!’ prompted Ron.
Harry bent down to pick it up, seizing it in his hand. It was much lighter than Harry expected; he held it up in front of his face to get a better look at it. Swirling green strands seemed to be swimming inside, barely detectable to the naked eye.
‘Alright – now that we’ve got it, let’s get out of here. We’ve got to make sure everyone’s alright and once they are, Flamel’s safety becomes our biggest priority,’ instructed Harry as he stuffed the Eye of the Posterus in to his pocket, not wanting to gloat while unfinished business loomed large.
‘I hope everyone’s OK,’ muttered Hermione worriedly as the trio turned to head back towards the cave’s entrance.
A slow rumble caused Harry to momentarily pause. It was distant enough to disregard yet loud enough to notice. Then, as Harry jumped from one flat rock to a shorter, narrower one, a stream of cool water fell on his shoulder. Looking upwards, Harry saw that fifty feet above him, a small, narrow stream of water was falling from the cave’s ceiling.
‘Blimey – looks like this place sprung a leak!’ joked Ron as he noticed his friend.
Just as Ron finished his sentence, another, slightly larger rumble shook the cave ever so slightly.
‘What’s that?’ asked Hermione. Neither Harry nor Ron chose to respond.
‘Let’s just get out of here,’ said Harry calmly, clutching on to the Eye that was placed firmly in his pocket.
Ron opened his mouth to speak, but another, even larger stream of water completely encased him, drowning out his speech. He was knocked sideways off the rock, catching himself on another and regaining his balance just in time.
‘RON! You alright?’
‘Yeah! Yeah I’m fine. I think you’re right though Harry – I think it’s best if we just –’
A third, cave-shaking rumble nearly dropped Harry to the ground. Then, like a series of dominoes, streams of water burst in through the roof all around them, one after another. Bits of rock and earth fell to the rocky ground as the water cascaded down.
‘THE CAVE IS COLLAPSING!’ yelled Ron desperately.
‘MOVE – NOW!’
Sprays and streams of cool water and earth crashed all around them. Harry did not even pause to look up at the cave’s heights to see it disintegrating; he was focused on his friends in front of him as they navigated the eroding landscape. Foaming crashes of water continuously engulfed the cave in more and more frequency. The threatening rumbles increased to the point where the smaller, individual ones morphed in to one, sustained thunder.
‘HARRY – WATCH OUT!’
Out of the corner of his eye, Harry caught sight of a stream of water and rock heading straight for him. He leapt forward, his knees scraping hard on a jagged rock as he escaped the falling threat. Harry’s glasses had been knocked askew, much of the falling water obscuring his vision. He stumbled to his feet as Ron guided him.
The entire cave seemed to be vibrating as Harry, Ron and Hermione finally climbed back up to the entrance. Ron gave Hermione a helping lift as she climbed back up on to the narrow passageway, Harry and Ron following quickly, leaving the collapsing chamber behind. Water was pouring in from every conceivable angle as most of the rocky ceiling had fallen. As they tore down the passageway, small bits of quivering rock fell all around them while one of the torches was extinguished by a stream of water that had burst through the rock above its flame.
In a flash, Hermione conjured three Bubble-Head charms. Without hesitation, the trio proceeded through the watery, translucent barrier, feeling the familiar weightless sensation of the deep water surround them in an instant. The water had lost much of its clearness as they feverishly swam through the now murky, cloudy depths to the surface.
Harry had no idea how close he was to the surface. The dark water offered little visibility; Hermione and Ron were barely decipherable through it. He kicked hard, his hand clutching the Eye in his pocket.
To his left, the water began to bubble. Harry, Ron and Hermione all stopped their race to the surface as a dark mass began to appear within the bubbles. They turned to swim in the opposite direction but two more dark masses appeared inside the bubbling water. More and more dark figures appeared all around them until a jet of light enlightened them to their new reality.
Red jets silently flew by them from all different directions. Harry scrambled, kicking downwards as hard as he could to escape their encirclement. Sparks of red and green barely shone through the cloudy water as the spells jettisoned at different heights and angles. A stunning spell flew by Harry and Ron as they dove deeper into the lake, Hermione just in front of them. As Harry looked down in front of him, Hermione flew by him so quickly that he barely registered what happened. Her momentum and swiftness went against everything Harry knew about the properties of water. The unnatural speed worried Harry as he looked upwards, seeing that a mass of dark figures held another figure that was kicking ferociously.
Suddenly, Harry felt his wrist tighten. A black rope was tugging him upwards, the rope curling around his arm like a snake. Desperately, Harry reached for the Elder Wand that was safely held in his inside pocket, but his slow ascent made it hard for him to retrieve it. Ron pulled out his own wand sending a well-aimed severing spell at the ropes that broke immediately. Harry grasped for the Elder Wand, pointing it towards the dark figures above.
‘Stupefy!’ he muttered inside his protective bubble.
One after another, Harry and Ron sent spells skyward. They soared through the water, temporarily lighting it up before the water around them turned murky once more. As Harry paused, he realized that the dark figures were beginning to disperse, disappearing from his cloudy view. As he opened his mouth to continue the fight, something interrupted him.
A narrow beam of incandescent light shot between them. It vanished in a matter of seconds, but its appearance caused Harry to cling tightly to the Eye of the Posterus. From behind, Harry felt a push. He looked around, seeing that nothing was there but as he did so, another, more violent push drove him upwards. Ron looked as confused as Harry felt. Then, as if he was being shot out of a cannon, Harry and Ron were both blasted upwards by a tremendous amount of pressure. Faster and faster they rose through the water, tearing through its murkiness as they shot towards the surface. Harry could not even see Ron as he helplessly clung to his wand and the Eye in his pocket, white bubbles encompassing everything that Harry could see.
He felt the sensation of the cool water leave him as he flew out of the lake in to the night’s air once again. Rising higher out of the water, Harry felt his momentum slow. He began to fall as he struggled to regain his bearings.
The impact from falling on the wet grass from feet above knocked the wind out of Harry. A small, foot-sized rock lay beside his head as he lay still. Then, Harry felt a great strength roughly gather him up as he blinked rapidly, noticing that one of the lenses of his glasses had cracked.
‘Mr. Potter! Didn’t your parents ever teach you that it was rude to show up to parties or other similar engagements late?’ came the voice of Rabastan Lestrange which awoke Harry out of his temporary daze. ‘Oh, but that’s right. They probably never had a chance to reason with you in the matter of proper etiquette...’
A few sneers and jeers came from somewhere nearby. As Harry’s eyes grew accustomed to the dark landscape around the lake’s edge, he was shocked to see that a group of around thirty Death Eaters were holding not only Ron and Hermione, but Aberforth, Nicolas Flamel, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Percy, George and the rest of the Order members who had met Aberforth’s request. At the far side of the semi-encirclement of Death Eaters were two more faces that Harry knew. Being detained by masked Death Eaters stood a battered Draco Malfoy and Professor Trelawney. If it was not for her left eye that fluttered in and out of consciousness every few moments, Harry would have thought she was dead, her bony, narrow figure nearly making Harry sick with sorrow.
‘You thought that you could run and play, didn’t you?’ came the deep voice of Rodolphous from beside his brother. ‘Escape... is... futile.’
‘Yes, good on you for escaping Azkaban as you did,’ said Rabastan in his usual sing-songy yet menacing sort of voice, ‘but I’d like to give you one piece of information for future rescue operations – if you wish to remain hidden, I think it’s best to avoid travelling to the house of the person who you had just rescued. Might give away your location – yet that is just me.’
More chuckles from the group of Death Eaters followed. Harry scanned the faces of the captured. He felt as if he was about to vomit as he saw Mrs. Weasley struggle, the masked Death Eater holding her tightly around her neck.
‘Give us the Eye now, Potter!’ overrode Avery ferociously, stepping forward to where Rabastan and Rodolphous stood. ‘Give it to us now and watch as the Dark Lord returns!’
The words of Avery made Harry feel Ron and Hermione tense up behind him – he did not have to look back to them. Their deepest fears were realized. The Death Eaters did indeed have the knowledge of the Eye as Harry had feared they did.
‘You let my friends go... and then I’ll give it to you,’ managed Harry who was standing mere feet away from the Lestrange brothers and Avery.
‘You... you really feel as if you’re able to make demands?’ asked the grizzled voice of Yaxley.
‘Seems as if tact and intelligence was something your parents never had the opportunity to teach either,’ muttered Rabastan.
Harry once again looked around at all those who had tried to help him. Aberforth stood motionless, eyeing Harry quietly and helplessly from his detained position. It was only now that Harry noticed that a pile of wands lay beside the Carrows, Mulciber and Auburn.
‘Don’t give it to him, Harry!’ managed Hermione. ‘Don’t do –’
‘Silencio,’ muttered Rabastan in a carefree manner. ‘I do apologize Harry! You seemed to have turned out better than I thought, considering your most unfortunate circumstances – this one here has had her parents throughout her entire worthless, insignificant life! Yet she still appears to have not grasped the foundational manners many of us take for granted! Yet... oh yes... well, her parents were Muggles of course... can’t count on Mudbloods to raise a proper witch. Nor a flobberworm...’
Rodolphous’ moonlighted face remained resolute as the group of Death Eaters once again sneered at Rabastan’s verbiage. Harry did not know of any way out of this predicament. All he could think of doing was to delay the inevitable, biding himself time in order to think of something to do.
‘You let them go! Let them go and... I’ll spare you your lives!’ roared Harry over the sneers that quickly went quiet. Rabastan brushed by his brother, his face matching his brother’s seriousness.
‘Potter... I do recall defeating you one on one before you even had the chance to take a breath,’ he said threateningly.
‘A lot has changed since then,’ answered Harry, referring to the moment inside the Ministry when Rabastan had sent him crashing through an office door.
‘Has it now?’ asked Rabastan playfully, not accepting Harry’s validity. ‘I’d love to see you prove that! Beat me – and I’ll let your friends go!’
‘You beat me... and I’ll give you this!’ Harry said, reaching in to his pocket and holding out the green-glowing Eye of the Posterus above him.
Many of the Death Eaters moved forward like rabid dogs being teased with meat.
‘Rabastan! That is unnecessary! Give us the Eye Potter or I’ll kill your friends right in front of you without even thinking twice about it!’ roared Yaxley, taking out his wand and pointing it at Ron as he spoke. Harry seized up, stepping towards Yaxley intently.
‘STOP!’ roared Harry. ‘Just take it! Here – take it! Just don’t hurt my friends!’
‘That’s a reasonable lad,’ said Rodolphous darkly.
With a flick of his wand, the Eye of the Posterus shot out of Harry’s hand, carefully gliding towards Rabastan’s own outstretched one. Every Death Eater except for Rabastan watched the glowing, circular stone fall neatly in to Rodolphous’ hand, a small triumphant grin creeping on to his face as he held it.
‘We’ve got it! The Eye of the Posterus is finally ours!’
Harry saw Flamel look down at his feet as the Death Eaters cheered, Rodolphous handing Rabastan the green stone victoriously.
‘Let’s kill them! Kill them all!’ shrieked Alecto Carrow.
‘Start with the Mudblood!’ said Alecto’s brother Amycus threateningly as the Death Eaters began to retrieve their wands.
‘Now, now Amycus – Potter and his friends will surely cease to be in minutes, have no worry of that,’ said a focused Rabastan calmly. ‘Perhaps even less time than that! You see... as storied as Potter’s legacy is, he truly is a rather ordinary wizard. I must be the one to show him what real... unprecedented power is – because my hatred for you Potter goes beyond anything you could imagine. Lucky as you were, you managed to send my Lord towards Death’s gates which ironically is the same place I intend to send you momentarily. But he returned. And he will again. When I’m finished with you... I will let you watch your friends die... right in front of you. Until each and every one lay dead in the dust by my hand. And it will be at that moment when you beg me to kill you... but I won’t do it! That’s too simple! As you lay dying, you will witness Lord Voldemort’s triumphant return and it will be he who will finally oblige your request. And you will know... deep down in your heart... that you have failed. That we have won.’
Rabastan drew his black wand from his pocket in a flash. Many of the Death Eaters moved back a few paces, Rodolphous being the last of which to do so as he, Avery and Yaxley looked on somewhat disapprovingly. Rabastan licked his lips in excitement as he squared off with Harry. Harry smirked to himself as he put his hand to his chest, reaching to grasp the Elder Wand and all its powers. However, he realized a daunting truth; he was no longer wearing the jacket that contained the Elder Wand. He had not even realized it. Turning, he could see his jacket laying at the lake’s edge behind a group of masked Death Eaters. It must have fallen off after he was shot out of the lake.
‘Leaving before we begin?’ asked Rabastan enticingly as Harry turned to retrieve his jacket.
Rabastan sent up a wall of sparks blocking Harry’s path. Trying to walk around the barrier proved futile as the skin scorching heat followed him in every direction he turned. Harry gulped, his stomach sinking as he realized he would have to do without the Elder Wand.
Reaching in to his pant pocket, Harry examined his own wand. He knew that without the power of the Elder Wand he would be no match for Rabastan; surely he would be defeated. As Harry watched Rabastan pace back and forth he knew that they could have all been dead by now, but playing in to Rabastan’s thirst to duel the Boy Who Lived had bought them some time. What for was another question that Harry did not hold the answer to.
Harry and Rabastan’s spells met head on. Harry focused as hard as he could but no matter how hard he tried, Rabastan’s spell inched closer and closer until it him in square in his chest, sending Harry flying backwards.
‘You see Potter? Do you see how truly worthless you really are?’ Rabastan was unhinged with anger, his hair a mess as he chastised Harry.
Harry pushed himself back to his feet, his own face contorted with focus. Without warning, he silently sent a stunning spell of his own at Rabastan who just barely dodged it. Rabastan looked behind him, shocked that Harry had sent a non-verbal curse at him so accurately.
‘Yeah,’ said Harry defiantly, pointing his wand at Rabastan’s shocked face.
Rabastan shook off his surprise, resuming his angered focus by shooting off his own set of non-verbal stunning spells as aggressively as ever.
Harry conjured up a protective charm which blocked the three spells. Before the protective charm vanished, Harry fell to the ground to minimize his angle, sending a well-aimed stunning spell at Rabastan.
The dark cloaked Rabastan jumped over Harry’s spell in one swoop. Harry rolled out of the way of a Cruciactus Curse, rising to his feet and retaliating with yet another stunning spell that narrowly missed Rabastan.
‘Avis!’ uttered Harry.
A flock of small, twittering birds flew out of Harry’s wand directly at Rabastan. Harry ran to his left, knowing his opponent’s vision was obstructed.
‘Expelliarmus!’ he said quietly, not wanting to give away his position.
Miraculously, Rabastan was able to dismiss Harry’s spell, a flaming serpent burning through Harry’ flock of birds with a puff of smoke.
Rabastan’s face emerged from the smoke, his eyes looking all the more frightening as he emerged as centered as ever. Three balls of flaming sparks flew out of Rabastan’s wand tip, heading straight for Harry from all different heights and directions.
Carefully, Harry dove to avoid them. While on his knees, he sent a Disarming spell at Rabastan that connected, sending his wand up in to the dark sky. Instead of capitalizing on his opponent’s defenselessness, Harry suddenly had an idea. He looked around at the unsuspecting Death Eaters who were all staring at him and then down at his wand that he held. The gravity of the unbelievable situation hit him full on.
‘Stupefy! Stupefy! STUPEFY!’
Three consecutive spells connected with groups of the Death Eaters who were knocked back violently.
The entire set of wands that had been taken from the Order members and his friends all flew at him like a bolt of lightning.
‘Expelliarmus!’ Harry cried, disarming a Death Eater close-by who had retrieved his wand.
As many of the Death Eaters retrieved their wands they let go of those who they were holding. Harry tossed Aberforth and Kingsley their wands during this brief moment. Immediately, they both shot a Stunning spell over their shoulders behind them, sending the Death Eaters crashing in to a large rock that was sticking out of Chrome Hill’s base. Beside the rock, Harry saw Rabastan emerge, picking up his wand after he had tracked it down.
Rabastan’s spell was heading straight for him. He dodged it but just barely, falling awkwardly on his arm as he did so.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw Aberforth disarm a pair of Death Eaters, tossing Ron and Hermione their wands quickly. In turn, Ron connected with a Stunning spell of his own.
‘Here, Mum!’ he said, tossing Mrs. Weasley her wand after her Death Eater was blasted back by Ron.
Harry sent a Body-Bind jinx at Rabastan who was striding towards him but Rabastan dismissed it easily.
Once again, with a flick of his wand, Rabastan blocked Harry’s curse as he got closer. All of the Death Eaters had broken from their stance as they tried to subdue the Order’s rebellion. Rabastan was only paces away now.
Harry nearly dropped his wand at the excruciating pain that instantly enveloped his entire body. It felt as if a thousand knives were stabbing his body all over, writhing in pain as his muscles felt as if they were on fire. Harry screamed in pain, unable to focus on anything else but the pain.
Hermione had sent a Stunning spell at Rabastan that he casually deflected, but his focus had been taken off Harry long enough for the Cruciactus Curse to cease. Harry somehow managed to fire his own stunning spell that he was sure would hit Rabastan. However, Rabastan shielded himself with a protective charm without even looking in Harry’s direction.
‘Locomotor Mortis!’ exclaimed Rabastan.
Hermione’s legs seemed to seize up before she fell sideways to the hard ground, smacking her face off a jagged rock nearby.
‘Incarcerous!’ cried Ron.
Rabastan moved aside, letting the spell hit Harry’s legs which were instantly bound with thick, black ropes. Ron lowered his wand as he realized what he had done. Rabastan seized his opportunity, hitting Ron squarely in the chest with a Stunning spell that knocked him backwards.
Harry fought off the ropes as quickly as he could, tearing them off his body before painfully standing on his own two feet once again. He rose his wand arm but was taken aback at the scene in front of him.
Every member of the Order along with Nicolas Flamel had their backs together, forming a circle. They pointed their wands outwards at the ring of Death Eaters that encompassed their feeble circle, but as courageous as the sight was, Harry knew they were done for. The Order was outnumbered by at least four to one. Draco Malfoy stood powerlessly beside the members of the Order, looking out at Harry blankly. As Harry took in this grave sight, Rabastan pointed his own wand at Harry’s head. Hermione – her legs still tied together – lay beside Ron who was just now stirring, Avery and Mulciber pointing their wands at the two of them. There was just too many Death Eaters to fight off. Frustratingly, Harry lowered his own wand in defeat.
‘Drop it,’ instructed Avery firmly. Harry hesitantly obliged.
‘Valiant... spirited... yet, utterly pointless...’ panted Rabastan, trying his best to hide his winded disposition. ‘Now... do not take advantage of my generosity by prolonging me any further... Potter... which of your friends would you like to see die first?’
‘You’re not going to get away with this...’ muttered Harry defiantly.
Not even an eye was batted as the Weasleys, Aberforth and the rest of the Order stood fixated at their enemy, their wands held out resolutely. Feeling the familiar sinking sensation arise in his stomach, failure set in on Harry. Clenching his fist and gazing at his friends who he had failed, Harry felt like screaming, but could not find anything at all to say.
Tugging Harry roughly by the collar, Rabastan threw him forward towards Aberforth. Nearly falling to the ground at Rabastan’s unseen aggressiveness, Harry stumbled forward, Aberforth glancing down at him. Harry saw the slightest flutter of fear fly through Aberforth’s grey eyes as they met his own. Rabastan shoved aside the Death Eaters in the vicinity, holding out his own wand at Aberforth’s nose threateningly. Harry’s heart beat quickened as Rabastan cracked a grim smile. Somehow, Harry found himself frozen.
‘Avada Ked –’
Before Harry could even process what was happening, a loud popping noise interrupted Rabastan’s incantation. Nearly everyone turned to face the darkness. The sound of crunching footsteps filled the silent atmosphere at first before a large, hulking figure emerged from the shadows and in to the moonlight.
‘Get yer ruddy dogs away from Harry Potter!’
‘Hagrid!’ exclaimed Hermione, placing her hand over her mouth.
‘This is who comes to your defense?’ laughed Rabastan Lestrange darkly eliciting the same behaviour from the rest of the Death Eaters. ‘A bloody... half-giant?!’
‘Dull as usual I see,’ bellowed Hagrid, pointing his pink umbrella at the Death Eaters. ‘I’ve brought friends.’
As if on cue, numerous more popping noises sounded from all around them. As the sounds of apparations continued, a near-blinding burst of light knocked Death Eaters and Order members alike to the ground. Harry tried his best to look through it as quickly as he could, noticing that Gawain Robards, the Longbottoms, Professor McGonagall and Aurors Mosteban, Williamson, Dawlish, Richter, Blackburn and others began firing off curses at the large group of Death Eaters.
The noise was nearly deafening. The darkness was chaotic. Screams and yells disoriented Harry while Aurors, Order members and scattering Death Eaters confused him. All Harry could comprehend was his own position; he knew he was offering no help in his current situation. He had to find his wand.
Directly after getting to his feet, Harry had to duck as a Death Eater flew across his path and in to the lake. The jets of sparks being sent back and forth made the scene barely comprehensible. Running as fast as he could, Harry searched the ground for the place where he had dropped his wand.
‘I’VE GOT IT HERE, HARRY!’
Spinning around in a flash, Harry was thankful to see Ron and Hermione running for him. Ron handed him his dropped wand while Hermione offered him his jacket. His eyes widened as he retrieved the Elder Wand from his inside pocket.
The stunning curse seemed to weave its way around Mr. and Mrs. Weasley who were combating Avery and a masked Death Eater before landing on its mark. It connected, hitting the space in between Mulciber and Amycus Carrow, sending them flying skyward before they fell back to earth, splashing in to the lake at great impact.
‘GET BEHIND ME!’ Harry instructed loudly to his friends who covered his flanks as the trio marched forward.
In moments, Harry, Ron and Hermione aided George, Williamson, Aberforth and Blackburn in their duels. In turn, the combined forces of the Order and the Aurors gained the upper hand as the numbers evened.
‘EXPELLIARMUS!’ Harry shouted, sending Alecto Carrow flying in to Yaxley as he was battling Gawain Robards in a stalemate.
Gawain gave him a surprised, yet brief nod before reentering the fray. As he left, Harry noticed something behind one of the larger rocks; a bony, grayish-skinned leg stuck out from behind the rock, shaking slightly.
Harry took cover behind the rock as a Killing Curse flew over his head, Ron and Hermione following closely. Turning his head, Harry was taken aback by the closeness of what appeared to be a nearly dead Professor Trelawney. The yells and sounds of curses connecting and whizzing all over the place caused Harry to speak loudly in order to get her attention.
‘Professor? Professor Trelawney?! Are... you alright? Professor?!’
It was after Harry’s last desperate plea to gain his former Divination teacher’s attention that she stirred, Harry gently taking her extremely bony shoulders in to his hands. Her wide eyes seemed even wider than usual and she was not even wearing her spectacles to make them look like so; her face had been stripped of much of its flesh, making her eyes and all of her other features look bigger than normal. Her hair was thin and much of it seemed to have fallen out. She was breathing uncontrollably, gasping for air.
‘Yes Professor, it’s me,’ replied Harry warmly and slightly awkwardly. ‘We are going to get you out of here! You’re going to be safe with us. You hear me? Everything is going to be alright very soon.’
‘M-M-M-My stu-u-dents? Th-Th... Th-Thank... Th-Thank y-you!’
A small tear slid down Hermione’s cheek, but she wiped it immediately as she propped Trelawney’s head up carefully.
‘Just lie still!’ she managed through another fit of tears. Trelawney’s eyes closed dangerously.
A chunk of rock abruptly flew over Harry’s head, some of the debris brushing by Harry’s face. As Harry peered over the rock, another series of red sparks headed straight for them.
‘DUCK!’ instructed Harry.
It happened so clearly that Harry could have sworn that it occurred in slow motion. One of the Stunning spells made it over the rock that has been partially blasted away, hitting Professor Trelawney in the abdomen. She twisted in to a heap as she was blasted backwards by the force of the spell, her eyes rolling in to the back of her head.
Once the spells seemed to have stopped, Harry scattered over to the motionless Professor Trelawney. He turned her over; life had been drained out of her.
Pounding his fist in to the grass, Harry examined his fallen Professor for a sad moment before tearing his stare back to Ron and Hermione. They were face down in the grass, aiming spells at the few remaining Death Eaters who were still battling. As he got to his feet, a gasp of breath stopped him in his tracks.
Trelawney was gasping for air, her eyes wide in shock and her body shaking uncontrollably.
‘Professor! What’s wrong! How can I help! What can I do!’
Harry was met with no response other than Trelawney continuing to look straight up at the sky as she panted. Staring at his wand, Harry could not think of a charm that could help. However, as quickly as Harry had begun to think of a way to help, he stopped thinking just as quickly. Trelawney stopped panting; she turned her head towards Harry calmly, her eyes still wide, but a look of calm painted across her sickly composition.
‘H-Harry... you... m-must know... s-s-something...’ Trelawney struggled.
‘Know something? Like what, Professor?’ Harry asked, trying his best to console her. Trelawney closed her eyes, struggling to form the words she wished to speak.
‘There... there is a-another...’
Harry sat still, not knowing how to take the dying Trelawney’s words.
‘Professor... what do you mean? What prophecy?’
‘A-Another... prophecy... th-that y-you m-m-must know!’
‘What is it? If you can manage Professor, what is it?’ asked Harry kindly, taking Trelawney’s hand and squeezing tightly. His own heart was racing.
‘Be... careful... of... your friends,’ she wheezed. ‘The traitor... is in-in-integral...’
‘Traitor? What traitor?’
But Trelawney would never answer Harry. She opened her eyes wide, before her head fell back on to the grass. Harry thought that he could feel the life leave her as her hand went limp.
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