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Chapter 10 : 10- The Veteran’s Vendetta
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They were trapped. “Turn around and tell me who you are.” The gruff Italian voice repeated more firmly. Harry closed his eyes, he had no choice. Whether he gave into the Imperius Curse’s demands or fought against it, they’d know.
“Piss off, I’m trying to enjoy the flight!” Harry mentally shouted at the voice and the blissful feeling he had experienced mere moments ago vanished along with the demanding voice.
Well, Harry thought as he felt the curse’s effects lift, that may have gotten their attention. But, although they now knew he, and most probably Enzo too for that matter, were wizards, they did not truly know of their identities thanks to their disguises. But what would Marianti and his friend do now? Start a fight on the plane? No, that would risk their own lives far too greatly.
But Harry’s answer came in the form of a crumpled piece of paper being thrown at him from nowhere and landing on the empty seat next to him. Opening it up, he saw a short note written in Lawrence’s handwriting.
Suit boy’s tapping his ring.
He’s communicating with the others, Harry realized as his heart accelerated in its beats. He glanced around the plane hoping that an idea might jump out at him. But, amongst the oblivious Muggles who had settled in for their flight by reading, dozing in their seats or else taking advantage of the on-flight entertainment, none did. They were stuck, doomed to face whatever obstacles Marianti had in store for them head on when it suited him, probably when they landed. Harry closed his eyes trying to picture their capture. If they were to stand a chance, they would have to not be afraid to make the first move. Maybe take out Marianti and his partner when the rest of the Muggles had left before moving on to the others.
Harry continued to plan for the rest of the flight all while trying to keep his senses focussed on Marianti so as not to get blind-sighted. But it appeared that the Gold Hound was doing exactly the same; waiting for Harry to make the first move or maybe to try and escape with the disguised companion who sat away from him.
The announcement for their landing rang out and Harry felt his heart turn heavy as the whirring sound of the craft’s wheels screeched out as they eventually hit the ground.
Take your time, Harry thought as the plane came to a halt. Wait until you’re alone with them. But when the overly giddy stewardess opened the doors for the Muggles to pour out, Marianti and his long coated partner were quick to leave amongst the first of them.
Enzo looked back at Harry when they passed him. Harry raised his hand on his armrest to indicate him to stay put.
Harry looked out of the window and, as the Muggle crowd headed towards the airport, six cloaked people walked slowly towards the plane, Marianti and his partner waiting for them.
“Excuse me, sirs.” The stewardess said politely to Harry and Enzo. “Is there a problem?” But before either of them could answer, Lawrence threw of Harry’s cloak, his wand pointed at her face.
“Obliviate! He cried and she stumbled back as though pushed by an invisible hand.
“Oh,” She said, flustered. “I’m so sorry, gentlemen. I’ll just go and…” But she had already started leaving for the front of the plane.
“Damn it, now what?” Lawrence cursed as he peered through the window.
“We don’t have much choice.” Harry said, deep in thought.
“Harry,” Lawrence said approaching him, Harry’s cloak still in hand. “Take the cloak and get out of here. Find Boyson, stop the Confederation attack and end this.”
Harry stared at both him and Enzo. “I’m not leaving either of you.” He said defiantly. “Now put the cloak back on. The longer they don’t know who we are, the better.”
Lawrence looked like he was about to retort, when the temperature suddenly rose dramatically as the noise from the plane’s engine died completely. Harry looked back out to see all eight of their hunters pointing their wands at the plane. “Flagrante Curses.” Harry murmured. “They’re getting tired of waiting for us.” Harry pushed back Lawrence’s cloak covered hand and nodded. Begrudgingly, Lawrence nodded back and with a final nod to Enzo, he put the cloak back on and vanished.
“Great, another layer. That’s what I need.” Lawrence’s voice joked and Harry smiled despite himself. The heat was beginning to get too much and he felt sweat begin to trickle down his forehead and chest despite the Thermal Charm on his shirt and jacket.
The skin around his nostrils burning as he breathed in the hot air, Harry led the way towards the open exit, Enzo right beside him. Both of their wands drawn.
The entire runway was clear apart from the eight people looking up at them as they walked down the steps. “So, what brings you to Norway, Mr…” Marianti squinted at Harry with his dark eyes. “Oh, that’s right, I never got your name.” The tone in Marianti’s voice changed threateningly as he said the last part of the sentence.
“Dudley,” Harry said defiantly as he reached the ground, though he kept his guard up, waiting for the first move or opportunity. “Vernon Dudley. Me and my associate are here looking at a property at Staden Trollkarl. And what, may I ask, is the meaning of this reception?” Marianti smiled as he surveyed every inch of Harry’s face while the rest of his following kept their eyes on Harry and Enzo’s wands.
“Well Mr… Dudley, me and my associates would just like to escort you back to the Ministry to answer a few questions. And I must add, it is unadvised that you lie to Ministry officials.” He wasn’t being fooled. Somehow, he knew Harry was lying. “Now,” Marianti continued in a manner that made Harry grip his wand tightly, ready at a moment’s notice. “I ask again, who are you?”
Flashes of light flew everywhere. Marianti was the first to fall followed by the rest of his group who barely put up a fight against the surprise Apparition assault. As they fell, Harry and Enzo lowered their wands and saw their saviours standing behind the unconscious and the dead. There were ten of them. Three women and seven men, their wands all raised.
“That is a question I’d very much like to know too.” Said a squat, balding man whose thick and scraggly black beard came down past his waist and whose jet black eyes scanned Harry and Enzo.
Eventually, Dagfinn Boyson walked slowly up to Harry, his wand at the ready as he stared curiously into Harry’s eyes. Harry allowed him to draw closer and, getting on his tip-toes, Dagfinn used his wand to brush the long blond hair off of Harry’s forehead to reveal the lightning bolt shaped scar, though Dagfinn showed no sign of a smile. “You fool.” He growled before allowing Harry’s hair to fall back into place. “Come, ve must leave now.”
Lawrence threw off the cloak at this and the new arrivals all gasped as they aimed their wands. “Wait!” Harry cried. “He’s with us.” Dagfinn was the only one who didn’t look surprised at Lawrence’s appearance but instead considered him for a moment.
“It’s good to know you had valuable backup. Now come, ve have much to discuss and little time to get back.” And Dagfinn held out his hand for Harry to accept while Enzo and Lawrence held on to two others. As the crack of the group’s Disapparition echoing throughout the empty runway left Harry’s ears, he found himself and the others in the middle of a thick wood.
“This vay.” Dagfinn commanded and he began to lead them through trees that were so close to one another it blocked out most of the sunlight giving the soil beneath them the appearance of black sludge. After a while, Dagfinn raised his wand upwards and sent two sparks, one white and one red, into the air. A signal about their arrival, Harry thought.
Harry began to attempt to get some sort of information out of Dagfinn about where they were going, but a single glance from him told Harry that he refused to talk where they might be so easily overheard.
After a few more minutes walking in silence, they found themselves in front of a tall dark blue building that had an unpleasant look with its blacked out windows and spiked top. The building shape reminded Harry of a wedding cake in the way it looked. Block on top of bigger block on top of a bigger bottom block that itself was at least three times as wide as the British Ministry building.
“Velcome to the Norvegian Ministry.” Dagfinn announced as he opened the large mahogany front doors. Harry followed Dagfinn inside, the rest of his company behind him.
The entrance hall was larger than any Harry had ever seen before though this was probably due to the fact that it was completely empty except for a large number of portraits decorating the wall and a group of about forty people that contained a combination of men, women and children. At once, a tall, jet blacked hair man with thinly muscular arms, a large curved nose and thick bushy eyebrows broke away from the group and ran to meet them.
“Dagfinn! Vat happened? Who-?” Viktor Krum asked staring at Harry inquisitively. Dagfinn looked back at Harry and chuckled.
“You may be rid of your disguise now. You are amongst friends.”
Harry had completely forgotten that he and Enzo still had not returned their appearance back to normal. He smiled back at Dagfinn and a few minutes and a number of charms later, he and Enzo were completely themselves again. Viktor stared at Harry, wide eyed.
“Vat… Vat are you doing here?”
“Ve can discuss that after ve have had something to eat.” Dagfinn announced, not looking at any of them as he pulled off his traveling cloak. “I smell that you and Perty vere able to find some good food.”
The large group sat in a circle on pillows and cushions on the floor as they tucked into their meal of a hot bowl of vegetable stew. It had been served by a short round man with a scruff of blond at the centre point of his head that Harry assumed to be Perty. Dagfinn hushed down the others that were talking excitedly about Harry around them.
“Everything shall be answered in due course!” Dagfinn bellowed as he indicated towards Harry. “Now then, vhy don’t you start vith vat exactly happened at your Ministry.” Harry nodded before setting about explaining the events at Azkaban, the battle at the Ministry, the death of the Supreme Mugwump, his Ministry break in and, finally, their flight over. Harry came close to explaining the peace treaty Mosby was making with the Ministries outside of the Confederation, though a glance around at the uneasy faces of their company made him think that was a topic better left to a privet conversation.
Dagfinn looked distraught. “Then things are vorse then I thought.” He said, his half eaten stew sitting in front of him.
“Also, they’ve activated some sort of protocol. Operation Fang and Flame. No idea what it is though.” Harry said, remembering the message Mosby had failed to hide from him.
“Fang and Flame,” Dagfinn contemplated. “No, I have not heard of this either.
Harry felt down heartened. “Well, whatever it is, I fear it’s got something to do with either the American Ministry or the Romanian Ministry. I heard that they’re both being targeted while I was in the British Ministry.” He explained, remembering the details Marietta had unwillingly shared with him.
“Romania? That is unsettling.” Dagfinn said. “Both the numbers and the skill of their Aurors are questionable at best. And vat of the Mugvump? Have they figured out its capabilities?” Harry shook his head.
“I don’t know but the next Confederation meeting will be happening here and Mosby intends to trap all the Ministers.”
Dagfinn nodded sadly. “Yes, I know.”
“You knew? How?” Lawrence said almost chocking on a carrot.
“Let me explain my part.” Dagfinn said and he took a large intake of breath.
“On the eve of your Ministry’s invasion, just as ve received vord of your downfall, Marius Yvault broke into our own Ministry. How, I don’t know but he was able to release Akrahn Colby and Imperious my Head of Magical Law Enforcement and several Aurors before Apparating directly into my office.” Harry gazed at Dagfinn. So Marius has an Amethyst Orb now too or had he borrowed someone else’s.
“After being outnumbered, outmatched and threatened to surrender, I had no choice but dive out of my own office vindow. I used a Cushioning Charm to land safely and ran straight to those I knew vould trust me.”
He then began indicating those that sat around them and pointed to a sallow elderly witch with long dark brown hair and bright amber eyes that Harry wouldn’t have been shocked to see glow in the dark. “Agneta here and I trained as Aurors together and it vas her who took me in and helped me contact more people.” Agneta’s expression did not change though she bowed her head to Harry.
“Viktor, who you know of course, vas von of the first to arrive and he came up vith the idea of hiding here. It’s just a good thing the Durmstrang term is over or I’d never be able to get hold of him.” Viktor smiled at Dagfinn and Harry remembered the Daily Prophet article five years previous announcing Krum’s retirement from Quidditch and his recruitment as Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher at Durmstrang.
“And this,” Dagfinn continued placing an arm around the thin, pale man next to him. “Is the man you three owe your rescue to, Denril Orlond. He used to work as one of the Minister’s Support staff and agreed to be our spy. He vas the von who told me of the Confederation meeting and ven he heard that vizards from England had been spotted entering the country and had had a capture ordered on them he contacted us and some of us went to collect you and others went to collect him and his family. We thought it unsafe to leave him vere he vas after passing on such valuable information.”
Harry and Lawrence looked Denril directly in the eye. He had black bags under them and his boney left hand was clenched around the woman’s next to him. He had risked it all to save Harry even when he hadn’t known of his identity. “Thank you.” Harry said and Lawrence repeated the thanks.
Dagfinn looked to Enzo expecting the same and scowled at his lack of appreciation for Denril.
“He doesn’t speak English, Dagfinn.” Lawrence said, noticing the dissatisfaction. “Italian only I think.” But before Lawrence could pull the little blank book out they used to translate, Dagfinn turned to Enzo.
“Ah. Mi scusi, Enzo.” Dagfinn said and Lawrence looked up sharply before slowly tucking the small book back into his jacket. Enzo smiled broadly at Dagfinn as he continued to explain in Italian what Denril had done.
After being introduced to the rest of the group and a third thanks to Denril, the assembly began to disperse around the hall to let their dinner settle and relax leaving Harry, Dagfinn, Viktor, Lawrence, Enzo and Agneta left in the centre of the hall.
“…And you say he saw through your disguises?”
“Yeh, it was dead strange.” Lawrence said. “No matter what Harry said, he somehow knew he was lying.”
Dagfinn ran his fingers through his long beard. “I have heard of this Marianti…” He pondered when Enzo’s head bolted to look at him at the Gold Hound’s name.
After nearly ten minutes of Enzo talking in Italian, Dagfinn then nodded his head in understanding. “Vell there you go then.” He said before turning to Lawrence. “Apparently, Marianti has a very special knack for picking out lies. Something to do with picking out movements in facial muscles. Anyvay, it is vat earned him his position as a Gold Hound and vhy the Italian Ministry have trouble vith sending in undercover operatives to spy on the group.”
Enzo’s hand clenched into a fist as Dagfinn translated.
Harry found himself only half listening. The movements of the hundreds of portraits that surrounded them made him felt uneasy and on edge.
“They are the previous Ministers of the Norvegian Ministry.” Dagfinn explained after noticing Harry gaze around the hall. “The whole place vas abandoned ven the United Scandinavian Ministry vas formed.” He then leaned in, a more serious look on his face. “The old Svedish Ministry is vhere the Confederation meeting vill take place.” Harry nodded.
“Okay, do you know when?”
Dagfinn shook his head. “I have von more spy left in the Ministry. I am hoping he can find out but ve take it in turns to scout out the area just in case.” He then dropped the volume of his voice slightly as he continued. “They are recruiting. Aurors have started disappearing and are being replaced vith people who share Grindelvald’s beliefs of Vizarding rule, people who opposed the Scandinavian union and Pure Blood supremacists. All of them being promised vat they vant in exchange for joining their army. Marius and Akrahn’s army. It is bad enough that the whole Vizarding population is now on lockdown.
“Tyreece Molden, my old Head of Magical Law, claims it is for the community’s safety but ve know better. Even getting vord out to other countries is near impossible and I have no doubt that the stunt you pulled getting here vill have irked them into stopping Muggle transport as vell.” He was breathing heavily now but Harry knew there was one more piece of information he needed.
“There’s something else too, Dagfinn.” Harry said mimicking Dagfinn’s volume. “Mosby is offering peace treaties with the Ministries outside of the Confederation.”
Dagfinn suddenly looked sickly pale. “That, I did not know.” He said softly. He sighed as he began stroking his long black beard again. Viktor looked angry and leaned in to join the discussion.
“Ve should strike. Infiltrate the Ministry and take it the vay they did us.” Dagfinn gave him a stern look.
“Fool.” He growled. “Did you not listen to Harry’s story? He broke into his own Ministry and vat did he do? Did he strike Mosby down in vengeance? No, he vas smart. He rescued his friends and got useful information about their plans. He did not start a fight in a building full of powerful enemies. Besides, no doubt Mosby has varned Marius and Akrahn that there could be more break-ins if they are not careful.”
Viktor looked slightly down-heartened as his suggestion was shot down and he slumped back into his original position. Dagfinn gave a small chuckle as he glanced at Krum.
“He does not truly know vat it is like.” Dagfinn said quietly to Harry. “None of them do apart from me and Agneta. Vat it is like to be at var.” He then looked up at Harry as though he had just said something highly interesting. “Tell me, how many scars did you get during the last var?” He asked. Harry had not expected this question, though obliged all the same.
“If you include this one,” He said as he rubbed his forehead. “Three in total.”
Dagfinn’s eyebrows raised as Harry showed him the faded scarred writing on his right hand. “I received this one when people thought I was lying about Voldemort’s return and this one,” He pulled down the neck of his shirt to reveal the Slytherin Locket shaped scar on his chest. “When a Cursed locket tried attaching itself to me.” Dagfinn nodded with the air of a man who was impressed.
“None of them battle scars.” He said. “All the fighting you’ve been through and no scars to show for any of it.”
“Not visible ones, no.” Harry said gravely and again, Dagfinn nodded before turning to Lawrence.
“You, however, have at least von story to tell, I see.” He said, indicating the large scar on Lawrence’s face. “Vat happened?”
“Undercover job,” Lawrence explained as he brushed the mark on his face with his fingertips. “I used to only work on undercover ops until this happened. My cover got blown and I was surrounded within minutes. Wouldn’t have gotten out of there if reinforcements hadn’t arrived in time.” Lawrence’s eyes seemed unfocussed as they watched the memory they’d lived through.
“What about you, Dagfinn?” Lawrence asked quickly when he came back to himself and Dagfinn gave another small chuckle as he began to roll up his sleeve.
“I’m afraid, I have not been so lucky as you, Harry.” And when Dagfinn stopped rolling his sleeve, Harry saw a huge gnarling scar, as though a shark had bitten through it, above his elbow that went halfway around his arm. “This vas my first von from ven Grindelvald tried to take Norvay.” Harry stared at the scar.
“You were involved with the war against Grindelwald?”
Dagfinn nodded. “Me and Agneta vere in our final year of Auror training ven the Ministry became desperate for fighters. The whole vorld vas in chaos, you can’t imagine. Grinelvald had Imperioused the German Fuhrer to cause var for the Muggles so that they might be weak ven he planned on turning on them. Grindelvald himself then declared var on the Confederation and I vas an arrogant and eager young man who vanted to prove himself in combat.” Agneta gave a small throaty laugh as he then gave Viktor a half glance. “I quickly learned better.” A small grin then crept onto his face as he looked at Harry and leaned in. “I vas there ven He fell.”
Harry’s eyes widened. “You were there when Dumbledore…?” Dgafinn nodded.
“I vas vith three others who had broken free of the fight going on to assist Dumbledore, though I can honestly say ve vere all useless. Standing aside, vatching. It vas both terrifying and yet exhilarating to see the two most powerful vizards of our time fight like that and ven Dumbledore dealt the final blow, vell, I can still remember the light headedness I felt.”
“What happened after Dumbledore won the dual?” Harry asked curiously. Could Dagfinn have seen...?
“Grindelvald vas laying barely conscious on the ground. Dumbledore approached him then they spoke for a short vhile. Then Dumbledore turned to pick up Grindelvald’s vand and he stowed it away vithin his robes. None of us denied him of it though, ve vere all too preoccupied vith binding the great Gellert Grindelvald.” Dagfinn’s face then turned grim. “And to think even he could not defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.”
There was a silence after he said this that seemed to make the temperature drop.
“I begged Olan, the Minister of this place at the time, to send forces to England and Minister Ivar after him the second time round. The thought of a man of equal power to Dumbledore taking control petrified me more than I can say but some members of the Confederation still had memories of the var vith Grindelvald and vere not eager to rush into another von and after your Minister’s constant reassurances that he had things under control,” He gave a small shrug. “Who could blame them for wanting to stay out of it? But ven rumours started that You Know Who vas in the country after he had von in Britain…” He gave a shudder. “I cannot tell you the amount of fear that vas flooding through the Ministries.”
He then slowly looked around the hall with its many portraits watching the group, some with pity on their faces. “And now here ve are again. Fighting against an enemy just as dangerous as the last.” As Dagfinn said this, the words from his first ever Defence Against the Dark Arts class with Severus Snape sank into memory.
“You cut off one head,” Harry said. “And two more grow back, each as clever as the last.”
Dagfinn clapped his hands together and pointed at Harry. “I could not have put it better myself. Yes, exactly like that. But what do ve do about the other heads ven we decapitate this one?” He asked and Harry got the feeling he was enjoying himself now.
“We face them as vigorously as we faced this one.” Harry answered, a smile creeping on his own face now. “Or,” He continued. “We make sure we cut off all the heads and kill the damned beast once and for all.”
Dagfinn gave a bark of a laugh. “Vould that ve could.” He said giving Harry a praising look. “Now let us return to business and see vat veapons this God-Son of yours gave you to behead this monster.”
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