Title: Wisdom From The Dark 20

Author: Jyrnn

Spoilers: All four books. Wait, can't say that now can I? Okay, PS, CS, PoA, and GoF. I'll probably pilfer whatever bits I can from The Order of The Phoenix. Incidently some of it can fit. Thank you J. K Rowling. Well except the part about Sirius.

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter nor any of its characters. They are the sole intellectual property of J. K. Rowling and Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. I gain no monetary reward for this exercise and do not intend any copyright infringement.

Summery: A child has suffered enough, an intruder encounters unexpected resistance, and the careless words of Voldemort have the most unexpected results. Harry Potter is about to take a stand.

*...* Direct thoughts

Chapter 22: Turmoil, Thy Name is Harry

His hands were clenched tight into fists and his lower jaw ground audibly against the top of his mouth. Beyond the swish of his robs as he paced, no sound filled his solitary cell. Not that he was in prison, no in fact he free to go anywhere: provided he wasn't seen. For not the first time since that fateful night when he decided to attempt to take the life of that wretched half-blood, Gavin Falstaff questioned his own actions. The Medi-wizards had managed to mend the fractures in his spine but could do little to erase the mare upon his countenance. The friction the boy had caused by literally riding Falstaff's face at speeds exceeding thirty miles per hour down the banister had been excruciatingly painful. A large rend had split wide open the cheek of what was once a handsome face. Splinters of wood from that muggle's foolish newel had penetrated the feeble protection of the Deatheater's mask and opened a gash that, so the Medi- wizard claimed, would never naturally heal. He was blemished, impugned, and ruined by the boy-child. His career was over, that much was certain. Gavin's contempt, though, could not dispel his chronic nightmares of the disembodied head shrieking out of the darkness.

A knock disturbed his thoughts as one of the ubiquitous peons that served the Dark Lord poked his head hesitantly into Falstaff's antechamber. The unimportant man was afraid. That was as it should be for Falstaff had been prone to visiting fits of violence upon intruders to his rooms. His moods were the terror of his household as of late. All but the most trusted of servants had been dispatched and those that remain were bound to Falstaff's will.

"What." Falstaff's query was not so much a question as it was a command. The servant, a plain man of average features and a reflexively downward glance held forth a rolled up scroll on a platter. He coughed discretely and bent low to one knee in deference to Falstaff. Irritably Falstaff covered the intervening distance in three long strides and snatched the document from atop the tray. The servant had stretched a quick bow and was gone before the second syllable of "Be gone" was uttered. The seal, like always, was a simple, stylized V. The Master enjoyed such simple mark to adorn his messages. The "V" obviously was for the Name-which-must-not-be-spoken but could also cover a broader range of abstractions. Victory was a popular choice, as was vindication and vow. With agitated haste Falstaff broke the seal and scanned the brief contents of his Master's message.

"I arrive from Wales soon. Assemble all my servants and prepare for my coming."

Quickly Falstaff cast the paper upon the floor and stepped back as the missive erupted in lethal green fire. Intercepting a letter from the Master was no simple task. It was even dangerious if it was to you that it had been addressed. * Soon, not much of a timeframe to work with. I need to think. *

Idly he traced the contours and points of the shooting star-like scar that puckered from the left top of his lip tracing almost back to his ear. Cosmetic Transfiguration was out for now. He couldn't even dream about going to St. Mungo's fixed without fear of being found out. No, his face was too widely know with all the accusations flying through the media. It was is the face that bothered him most. His deformity irked him more than being hunted and being forced to bow to authorities he would likely have ruled had he stilled his hand. His life's work was wasted. He'd remembered happier days, days full of joy and idleness. His ambition had been modest then: a decent salary for a decent life.

By no means did ever think he'd rise as far as he did, in fact if it wasn't for Lucius he would never have risen above the rank of clerk at all. A scant three years ago he'd been a drone in the Goblin Liaison Office, that was until he'd met Lucius. Lucius taught him not to settle for mere scraps. It was because of the Malfoy's recommendation that Gavin had been able to join the Minister's staff. The distinguished wizard had expressed an interest in him, had seen his potential. He'd meant well, of that Falstaff was certain. There was no way Malfoy could have known Gavin's promotion would estrange him from his fiancé. * Great man, Lucius Malfoy. I owe him so much * He had been reluctant to report his benefactor's suspiciously slow return from the train assault but gratitude could only extend so far. The master's will was tantamount to personal feelings. That was creed of a Deatheater that wished to live in service of Voldemort. Quite suddenly he was jarred out of his musing by the feeling of warm dampness on his cheek and hand. During his tangential thoughts he reopened the wound with his rubbing. The blood dripped freely down from his chin and stained the front of his robe.

*No, there is no way Cecilia would take me back now. I'm am far too disgraced and disfigured to return into her good graces. * Brooded the once respected pureblood. Thoughts of his once betrothed tore him out of his funk. The raw pain at, what he perceived to be a betrayal, filled his veins with ice water. He shut his eyes and centered himself. * The Dark Lord provides all I need. I should not dwell on she-who-betrayed-me. Imagine if I had tainted myself with that mudblood loving bitch. No matter* With that Falstaff dismissed his pain with the indifferent persona he had grown alarming adept at summoning. * The boy though, he could... nay will be a problem. Lucius just doesn't understand. He didn't see the fierceness I did, he didn't fall victim to the boy's wrath. I did. I know. Most importantly I remember it. No, the boy is a power in the making. The Master would be best served by a successful, preemptive strike. But how...." Mused the jilted lover. * No matter, I must prepare for His coming.*


The pathway from the Labyrinth was an immense arch-like bridge that extended over the large subterranean lake that Oblanskov simply called "the pool." Despite the diminutive title, the waters extended into the darkness all around Harry and it seemed impossible to plumb their depths. The gentle sound of dripping water was welcome after the deathly stillness of the maze that had led Harry this far. In the distance, between the erratic drops that echoed across the cavernous expanse, the constant yet muted roar of some subterranean cataract filled the silence. Nestled high among the stalactites tracing a haphazard line of light above the arch were crystal beacons of yellow light. The amount of light they projected was intense and it pained Harry to look directly at them but did little, from their perch, to illuminate anything but the merest surface of the pool.

Oblanskov continued his orientation. "Fire is strictly regulated because of the random bursts of natural gas that can sometimes drift through the less secure tunnels. We have monitors for that sort of situation, but the administration has long since erred on the side caution. So we rely," Oblanskov stated as he gestured vaguely upward with a wince, "On less volatile sources of light. Warmth is hardly an issue since the tunnels maintain an naturally comfortable temperature on their own."

"Why the fur clothing then, for the school wardrobe?" queried Harry as he remembered the winter garb of the Durmstrang students last year.

"We have found that, though we funnel sunlight from the surface through a vast network of mirrors, it is less potent in the winter. To avoid depression and widespread mania in the student body, and the faculty as well, weekly excursions topside are scheduled. It is cold enough in the summer at that height. The winters, obviously, are worse here."

"Ah. Were is here, exactly. I mean, I know we are heading to Durmstrang, but where in Bulgaria are we?" asked Harry. He'd been curious of Durmstrang's geographical location since Karkaroff's evasiveness at the Yule Ball. * Come to think of it, I wouldn't know the route to Hogwarts if it hadn't be for the Weasley's flying Ford Anglia.*

"We are, more or less, five hundred feet and descending beneath the Balkan Mountain range. Approximately two hundred miles east from Sofia as the owl flies. Ah but I am thinking you are not here for geography." At this Oblanskov stopped and peered back at his new student. "Enough of the pleasantries, what real questions do you have Mr. Potter? What are you here to learn?"

Harry let out a dry chuckle in response, not really appropriate for one so young. But then, when had Harry ever truly been young? In the dim light he merely stared out with eyes hidden in the shadow caused by his tilted head. "Be at ease, Headmaster. I do not look learn the Dark Arts. I am here to learn only what I need to defend myself."

Oblanskov let out a breath he hadn't realized he had been holding. It was always the concern when transfer students arrived so suddenly on campus. The circumstances of Potter's exile had been explained in detail by his lawyers, but there was always doubts with such a dramatic enrollment. Content, for the moment, with his charge's answer the elder man simply nodded and returned to his forward progress down the stone bridge.

He did not hear Harry final statement which had been muttered softly below the young Wizard's breath. "So I can get what is owed to me." And they continued on.


Percy Weasley sat at his mothers new kitchen table. Harry's enforced windfall had left the Burrow in a much changed state. There was no talk of moving since the rural house hat long been a fixture to the Weasley family. Yet that did not mean Molly and Arthur Weasley had been resistant to renovation. A decade of living just above the poverty line had removed most of the polish from the Weasley ancestral home. This was changing. New, yet tasteful, furniture had been the first change, then new fixtures and a new roof. Finally a couple of specialists had been brought in to finalize the structural charms. All and all the Burrow had never seemed so refreshing. Not that Percy would notice. What time he had not devoted to repairing his relationship Penelope was directed solely towards the large tome that lay open before him.

After Harry's flight from England and his subsequent resignation, Percy had endeavored to learn everything there was to know about the edicts on Exile. Surprisingly, in a occurrence of practically usually not seen in the bureaucracy of Magical Britain, the particulars on exile were found in separate volume of the criminal code. Everything there was to know about the sentence and its formal application appeared in the dusty book that Percy had been studying obsessively. He'd manage to narrow down the particulars of Harry's problem in the past few hours.

With focus that would be enviable to even the strictest Ravenclaw, Percy had poured over the text. * Exile is both a legal sentence and a charm. * Summarized Percy to himself. * The power imbued into a magistrate's final ruling begins the Expatrius Curse which finalizes the moment the banished party leaves the borders of the country. The curse can only be relaxed on the date decided by the convening committee, usually the anniversary of the exile date. From that point on any lawful citizen of Britain is screened from contact with the outcast via the office of Magical Law wherein lies an artifact whose sole purpose is to track any victims of the Expatrius Curse. Direct contact with the exiled party, excepting his local counsel, is an offense against the state as it demonstrates an act of contempt to the courts ruling and is punished in any way decided appropriate to the presiding magistrate.*

"What a bloody mess" Percy Weasley breathed has he surfaced from his study.

"Language Percy!" reprimanded his mother as she shoved a plate of eggs in front of him. Blinking owlishly at the scolding, Percy meekly apologized. Away from the world of legal jargon, Percy was surprised to find himself no longer alone in the kitchen. He'd gotten home around two in the morning after hitting Hogsmeade with Penny and had resolved to spend a few moments more at what he had taken to calling "The Problem." That had been five hours ago and it was, much to Percy's surprise, breakfast time. His father sat at the head of the table with his face hidden behind yesterday's Prophet. Knowing the only response he would receive from his frazzled parent would be a grunt, Percy contented himself to shovel into his mouth the meal his mother had set down.

Arthur Weasley, as Percy very well knew, had been tied up in the many hearings that had been called after news of Fudge's actions had been made public. After the first three days the Minister had all but formally resigned and he now only held the office in trust for the Ministry's chosen successor. There was no easy answer since the allegations of corruption had further splintered whatever unity was forged after Harry's trial. The pure-blood factions had closed ranks and together they had enough power to veto any name put forward. The radicals and liberals did much the same as well with any of the traditionalist's choices. It persisted for the past week and the deadlock was beginning to grow ugly. The Daily Prophet had taken to publishing an extra issues every other day just to get all the news into the public arena.

Between bites of egg and sausage Percy pondered his next course of action. * I really need to head out to Diagon Alley to make sure the Twins haven't blasted if the map yet. But first......* After draining a glass of juice with a relieved sigh, Percy ran up the stairs to get a couple of hours of rest, pausing only to stomp loudly outside Ron's bedroom door.

End 22.

Author Notes:
Alright. Another one down and I'm done my exams so I'll have substantially more time to devout to my writing. In case your interested I drew inspiration for the Ministry's deadlock from a massive public sector strike happening in my own province. But I digress. Next chapter well be, and I really promise, devoted to the setting of Durmstrang itself. I hope I won't disappoint.
Oh and I've opted not to post a big list of reviewers anyone and will, in the future, respond to a few of the questions raised in the reviews I receive. The list has become too impersonal and too unmanageable. Any feedback is greatly appreciated and I consider all of you suggestions. Your support makes me want to write more.