That's right, everyone! I talked about it and here it is, the fourth book in the Guardian of Azkaban series, telling the story of Esdras Demnin in his fourth and final year at Hogwarts as a seventh year student. For those of you not familiar with my work, I request that you read the first three Guardian of Azkaban stories. They will give you all the background you need. While you're there, review it, too.
Remember, like the HP books themselves, if you start in the middle, you're going to be confused about a few things. And as always, I offer my standard warnings. Text in italics is in Azkabaaner, the native language of Dementors and I don't own HP.
All that said, I proudly present to you…
The Guardian of Azkaban
Book 4: Crown of the King
Chapter 1 – Correspondence
Katie Bell smiled softly as she sat down at her desk with her stationary. She sat in front of the blank parchment thoughtfully, quill in hand, organizing her thoughts. It had been over a month since the end of the school year, and Katie had been faithfully sending letters to her boyfriend, even though the replies had been few and far between. The object of her affections was Esdras Demnin, the only Dementor enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The three hundred fifteen year old Dementor was granted this distinction by way of the fact that he was an animagus, capable of taking human form.
Their relationship had started in their fourth year, when Esdras had been assigned to covertly protect Harry Potter when Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban prison. He had gone undercover as a student and the two became close. After the initial shock of his true nature had worn off, the pair started dating and the rest was history. Nearly three years later, the pair had survived trials as varied as a five man Triwizard Tournament, an Azkaban prison break, rogue Dementors, a hidden Death Eater Defense professor, and the horrors of Dolores Umbridge. And still the pair held fast, joined at the soul by ancient Azkaban magic, a blessing which allowed Katie ultimate protection from his terrible powers.
Currently, Katie had no earthly idea where Esdras was. The rise of the Dark Lord Voldemort and the growth of his sphere of influence had already started affecting Azkaban, and what affected Azkaban, affected Esdras. This was because Esdras was both a powerful rear admiral in the Azkaban Guard and the rightful king of Azkaban. He would be true king were it not for the Treaty of Edinburgh, the treaty between mortals and Dementors that had stripped the royal house of its power and established the current restrictions on the cloaked kind. Still, his royal heritage did make him the most powerful Dementor alive.
And that was why he was currently traveling, engaging in a diplomatic mission in an attempt to strengthen his position and organize followers against Voldemort's cause. With Voldemort now out in the open and mortals waged in a pitched war, the separatist factions of Azkaban were even more vocal. Voldemort was actively pursuing those on the island and abroad who were unhappy with the Treaty of Edinburgh, convincing them that he alone could restore Azkaban to its former glory. Now Esdras was doing his best, going around the world to the many Dementor settlements that made up the former commonwealth, attempting to staunch rebellions as they formed.
The last letter she had received from Esdras had been almost a fortnight ago and was postmarked Alcatraz in the United States. It was written in a tired hand, and outlined the travels he had undertaken. The poor Dementor had already visited the Dementor settlements on Madagascar, New Zealand, Iwo Jima, Midway, Easter Island, and Atlantis. He had written a cheerful enough note, but reading between the lines, Katie could tell that things were not going well. So once again, she put quill to parchment and poured her heart out so to cheer her love up.
15 July, 1996
I am sad that you have been unable to write me for some time now, but as I have told you in my last few letters, you need only write me when you have the time. I understand how busy you are and I hope your travels are going well and that many Dementors are listening to you. You are doing the right thing, and if this helps protect Azkaban, I can survive not seeing you for a little while longer. I just ask that you take pictures during your travels. I want to see the places you've visited, too.
I thought I'd update you on what's been going on around here. You'll be pleased to know that my parents took me to the Ministry the other day. That's right; I took and passed my Apparation Exam. It was actually quite easy. I just imagined you were where they wanted me to go. I didn't splinch at all. So now you don't have to Side Along Apparate with me any more. Well, less often, anyway. It's more fun being close to you, I think.
We went to Diagon Alley afterwards and I got a chance to see Fred and George's new store. It is amazing! They're pulling in an incredible amount of money and are doing very well for themselves. They asked me how you are, and I told them what you're doing. And Esdras, they did the nicest thing. The next day, in the post, they sent me a little plush Dementor with a fleecy cloak. I don't know where they found it, but it's the softest thing ever. I sleep with it every night and think of you.
Veras Maul was by the other day to check on us and make sure that everyone is doing well. His infantry division is still guarding the house and they're so nice. They helped dad put up a shed in the backyard a few days ago and it looks very nice. One of the ensigns brought some Azkaban green mint seedlings for the garden. We don't know if they'll get enough shade to grow, but we hope they'll take.
Well, I'm sorry this letter is so short, but mom is calling me and telling me I have to set the table for dinner. As always, I send you my heart with this letter, and as you know, you already hold my soul. Please write back as soon as you can, and if you can come by, that would be even better. I love you with everything I am.
The mortal smiled and took the letter over to her dresser where she sprayed the parchment with her perfume. She then put it into an envelope and addressed it. She would ask one of the Dementors on guard for a high priority mail vulture after dinner.
Katie sighed slightly as she pulled out another piece of stationary and tapped her quill to it. What should have normally been a joyful event, Harry's birthday party, had been rather tainted by the news that Mr. Weasley had brought home about Death Eaters and renegade Dementors. This was not what Esdras needed to hear, not when preparing for an important meeting with the commander of the Aleutian Dementor base.
She sighed and stood from her desk, pacing about the room. Her eyes finally fell on her plush Dementor and she picked it up, hugging her fleecy friend tight. Katie had long thought that she had outgrown stuffed animals; her beloved plush Hippogriff was long since stored away in the attic of the house. These days, however, it seemed that she was unable to sleep without the black cloaked toy firmly in her embrace.
Giving it a kiss on its cloaked forehead before taking it back to her desk, Katie sat down and again picked up the quill. Esdras would want to hear happy news, news that would keep him optimistic during the meetings and negotiations he was plowing through to keep his people whole. She inked her quill, and began to write.
31 July, 1996
I have to admit that you missed the most interesting evening I've had in a while. Fred and George had sent me an invitation to Harry's birthday party. Their reasoning was, naturally, the more the merrier, and that any excuse for a party was an excuse for a big party. Not that I'm complaining, it was certainly an enjoyable evening.
You might be surprised to know that I ran into an old friend of ours there, Fleur Delacour. These days she's engaged to Bill Weasley and if ever a more sickeningly love struck couple, I have yet to see them. They even put us to shame, my dear. But, that is beside the point. I wish you could have seen her reaction when I walked in the door. I don't know if she was afraid that you would be behind me or if I would tell Bill about how she was fawning all over you during the Triwizard Tournament. But, she and I talked and, apart from her incredible arrogance, she is a rather nice girl. She asked where you were and how you are doing and I told her most of the truth. She wishes you luck, as does everyone here at home.
But you were missed especially during Fred and George's grand fireworks display. The pair virtually begged me to go back home and bring back a Dementor with me who would let a firework strike them to produce the great fireball. I did no such thing, of course, but the fireworks show was still one to behold.
Anyway, I won't keep you any longer. I wish you luck with the Aleutian Dementors. I pray they are wise enough to follow you. I send you all my love.
The letter was written with a shaky hand and was written on a mere scrap of parchment. It hadn't even been sent by vulture, it had been hand delivered by a member of the Eighth Infantry to Esdras himself. It was the only distraction that interrupted the very important meeting between Rear Admiral Demnin and Vice Admiral Valahal, the commander of the Cyprus Regional Dementor Settlement and Operations Base.
Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix
11 August, 1996
We're safe, so don't worry. Aaron made it to Bellmont in the middle of the night and managed to get mom, dad, and me out of the house before the Death Eaters made their strike. We saw them approaching from the air, but they didn't see us. They must have had five divisions of Dementors at their command. Professor Lupin has been nice enough to allow us to stay at Order Headquarters until a more permanent solution can be found. Again, don't worry, we're safe. I love you.
Katie sat in a surprisingly comfortable room in 12 Grimmauld Place, the room she now considered to be hers. Between last year's initial cleanup effort by the Weasleys, the recent work put in by her old teacher, and the continuing work from her and her parents, the place looked almost livable. She looked out the window and sighed, the weather had been mist and fog for so long that she couldn't remember it having been anything else. The last letter from Esdras had explained it as Dementors openly defying the Treaty of Edinburgh by breeding, something they were not permitted to do without applying for permission.
She sighed and flopped back on her bed, hugging her plushy Dementor tight to her chest. The last letter that Esdras sent was openly desperate. He no longer made any pretense of hoping for a peaceful resolution for his people. The whispered discussions that she would occasionally overhear between members of the Eighth Infantry told of division after division defecting and leaving Azkaban, only to reappear under the command of one of Voldemort's lieutenants. Katie was forced to consider a very real possibility that she had desperately wanted to deny. Esdras' actions were coming to naught; his nation would face civil war.
Katie wished there was better news on the mortal front for her to report, but sadly that was not the case. Just the other day, as the Order of the Phoenix was getting ready for a meeting, she ran into Albus Dumbledore. She had been shocked to see that his right hand and arm was now withered and black. He expertly dodged all her questions about it, but that made Katie feel even more concerned about the entire situation. Dumbledore had obviously sensed this and assured her that everything would be explained when the time was right, preferably once Esdras was there so he would only have to tell the story once.
She sat down at her desk and pulled out the final sheet of stationary from the box. Esdras had been stuck on Azkaban now for the last week. This would most likely be the last letter able to reach him before they boarded the Hogwarts Express together in two days time. Katie sighed and put quill to parchment for the last time, and words of encouragement poured forth.
Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix
30 August, 1996
I know that you haven't had the time to write in nearly two weeks, but don't fear because the long summer is almost over and we will be together again soon. However, I thought that I would send you one last letter. Hopefully this will find you before you return to Hogwarts for the school year. I was so glad when you wrote to tell me that you would be returning. Mom and I were only too happy to go to Diagon Alley and get your school supplies for you. And before you start worrying, Veras and five of his officers went with us; all were dressed in riot cloaks. We were quite a sight walking down Diagon with those six in tow.
Your last letter worried me, and I beg you, my love, do not give up. You have done so much this summer to keep your people together. You have proven yourself to be a good and true king. I know that I am only a citizen of Azkaban by nature of our shared soul, but still I am proud that you are royalty. Despite any songs I may sing to the contrary on the Quidditch pitch, you alone are my king.
I eagerly await your in person reply to this letter when I see you at the station. You won't be able to miss me; I'll be the only one in a black cloak squeezing the life out of a plush Dementor. So please hurry, I'd rather have a real Dementor in my arms. See you soon.