A/N: A lot of things happen in this chapter. I'm sorry if it seems confusing and if my writing sucks. Please bear with me; I'll work longer on the next chapter. The twentieth chapter is the last one, but it'll be split into two parts. I'll post the first one in the next few days and the second… definitely before June. I hope the chapter is worth the wait. If not, please don't be too rude while reviewing…
Never Let a Son of Hades Play with the Sword of Gryffindor
Excerpt from the Book of Myths and Legends of the Ancient World
[…ruled by demons. Demons were vicious creatures that had the ability to possess people. Initially powerless, demons learned magic by possessing wizards, the art of combat by possessing warriors… When an Archdemon would get out of his prison in Limbo, he would possess a human and proceed to attempt the Rising – a special demonic ritual. The Rising requires two children of a god or goddess of death and takes place at any temple dedicated to a god. The ritual opens a gate to Tartarus, for that is where all demons dwell, and Limbo, where all Archdemons were imprisoned by Thor…]
Nico and Percy were surprised, to say the least.
They had teleported out of Dumbledore's office and found themselves standing in front of a grand house with silver patterns decorating the walls.
'This is Grimmauld Place?' Percy asked.
'Tonks,' said Harry, 'this isn't-'
'The hell?' Tonks said. 'I didn't aim here, did I? What's this place?' She closed her eyes for a few seconds. 'There's an apparition block here. Wands out!'
The wizards did as they were told. Nico's and Percy's swords appeared in their hands. They were surrounded by an empty garden, and nothing happened for a while.
Then the chaos came.
Out of nowhere a fierce hurricane appeared and everybody was in the air. Nico couldn't see anybody and almost dropped his sword. He tried to shadow travel to the ground and failed. Suddenly, a large black figure with horns shot at him. Not without effort, he slashed at the monster with his weapon. He heard an ear-slamming roar as the monster disappeared. Then followed the loud, clear words: 'Avada Kedavra!' and Nico slammed hard into the ground into a bush of roses.
Roses. He cursed.
Ignoring the thorns imbedded in his skin and the dizziness from the fall, Nico sat up and looked around. With a fleeting sense of horror he noticed Tonks lying dead on the ground. Percy was up, his arms held tight by two ugly creatures Nico had never seen before. Harry and Hermione were unconscious, swinging by hoods of their cloaks on the large sharp teeth of an abnormally large tiger. Ron stood surrounded by large black spiders; he was shaking and seemed to be on the verge of crying. Voldemort and a hooded person stood in front of Nico, who was suddenly very aware of a moist, hot breath against the back of his neck.
Voldemort was smiling, which didn't look pretty.
'Powerful thing,' said he, fingering a purple glowing sphere in his hand. He looked straight into Nico's eyes and said, 'You, boy, are coming with me.'
Fred turned out to be quite good at apparition.
As he, Luna, Neville and Cho left the library, Cho volunteered to go speak to the Headmaster about what they'd discovered. In a few seconds, they received a Patronus in the form of a phoenix, and Dumbledore's voice told them: 'Nico, Percy, Harry, Ron and Hermione are all at Grimmauld Place. Find the Horcrux in the house. A locket with an S on it. Destroy it.' The message left them more than a little confused. They waited for Cho but she didn't return.
'She's probably going to stay here,' said Neville.
Luna nodded, but she was frowning.
'Let's get out of here quickly. I don't feel safe in the castle anymore.'
Neville suggested they find McGonnagal, so she could apparate them to Grimmauld Place, but Fred was quite sure of his abilities. He prepared to apparate them, despite Neville and Luna's vigorous protests. He tried to remember all he'd learnt about it and –
'See!' said Fred. The three of them were standing right in front of the door to number 12. 'Nobody got splinted. Why do I get such distrust?'
'Er, you're missing an eyebrow, Fred,' said Neville, making sure his own eyebrows were intact.
'Oh,' said Fred. 'Small incident. Doesn't matter.'
Fred made house number 12 appear, and Neville watched in awe as the large grey building appeared in front of them. Great protecting charms, he thought to himself. Luna didn't react.
They entered the house, moving slowly and quietly through the corridor.
'Don't want to wake the paintings,' said Fred.
Mad-Eye moody, along with Remus Lupin and (to Neville's shock) Sirius Black were suddenly blocking their way.
'It's all right,' said Fred. 'It's all right. They're safe. We have something important to say.'
'What's your youngest brother most scared of?' asked Moody, walking up to Fred and pointing his wand at his throat.
'Spiders,' said Fred, rolling his eyes.
Moody relaxed and motioned to the open door beside him. They walked into a living room, where Fred was ambushed by a strong hug from his mother.
'Fred! What are you doing here? How are you? Are you hurt? Who attacked you? What happened at the school? My Goodness… I was so worried.'
She broke down into tears all of a sudden; Fred and Remus proceeded to calm her.
Moody looked at Neville and Luna (glared, rather) and asked,
'What is this important thing you wanted to say?'
'We need to talk to Nico,' said Luna. 'Professor Dumbledore said he was here.'
Lupin and Moody exchanged glances. Sirius's frown deepened.
'Tonks went to get them a few minutes ago,' he said. 'Still not here. We've tried contacting Tonks to no avail.'
'Where are they then?' said Mrs Weasley suddenly. 'My God, has… has something happened to them?' She was on the verge of hysterics.
Luna came up to her and put a hand on her shoulder.
'It's all right,' said she, 'calm down. We'd know if they were dead. We'll find them, don't worry.'
Mrs Weasley stopped crying. There was something quite peaceful in Luna's grey eyes.
'Well, how do we find them?' said Remus, running a hand through his hair.
'We've tried a locating spell just before you arrived,' said Moody, 'but it didn't work.'
'You just need stronger magic,' said Luna. 'It's hard to explain, but try to understand and don't ask questions. Neville and Fred aren't quite human. Neville is a son of a goddess of magic.' She turned to him. 'I'll tell you how to do an advanced tracking spell. Even if Voldemort is using Hecate's Orb to keep Nico and the others prisoner, your magic should be able to break whatever spells he's cast.'
'I'll – I'll try,' said Neville, nervous.
'Dumbledore told us that there's a Horcrux here, in Grimmauld place.' Everybody, even Mad Eye winced. 'It's in the form of a locket. With an S on it. Remember we saw it when we were cleaning the house? Did you throw it away?'
Moody cursed, Lupin froze, and only Sirius remained unaffected. He said,
'I think it might still be here. Come,' he said to Lupin. 'Kreacher!'
'I'll come with you,' said Fred. 'I'm seventeen, an adult and I am right now officially leaving Hogwarts. I want to help the Order; don't try to stop me.'
Dumbledore stood over the cold dead bodies of Cornelius Fudge and Dolores Umbridge. A student, Cho Chang lay on the floor, unconscious; the ancient laws forbade demons to kill children. This particular demon that had long possessed Dumbledore was Grihwandlar, but preferred to be called Lar. That's how he presented himself to Severus Snape, who had come into the old wizard's office, just when he was casting a Patronus.
'My name is Lar,' said "Dumbledore". 'I need this wizard's body for a while. If you go away and keep your mouth shut, I might leave you alive after all this.'
Severus didn't move. His mind was working furiously. He used his Occlumency skills to warn the other teachers; help would come soon. He needed to stay alive.
'So you're Voldemort's new friend?' he asked.
'You could say that. No, you couldn't say that.' The demon laughed manically, making Dumbledore look like a madman. 'His new friend that you are thinking about is my master. Right about now, they should be rising the Gates.' Another crazy laugh.
Then the demon lunged at Snape.
'Avada Kedavra!' Snape shouted and jumped out of the way. All the spell seemed to do was give the demon a small cut.
Another lung at him, and Snape thought, for sure, he was going to die. Then Dumbledore froze and fell on the floor, as if all of his strength had left him.
Snape looked around and noticed a red-haired man through the window dressed all in green, sitting on the air, cross-legged. He smiled and appeared in the room.
'Loki.' He raised his hand as if in greeting. Snape was too shocked to move. 'You probably don't want people to blame you for all this. So…' He waved his hand right in front of Snape's eyes and the latter lost consciousness.
Loki's smile widened.
'The real show should begin soon, indeed,' he said wistfully and teleported away.
'You, boy, are coming with me.'
After Voldemort's words, as if on cue, a group of people appeared in the garden. Ron recognised Mad Eye, Kingston, Neville and Luna. Using the distraction of the enemies he grabbed his wand from the ground claws and shot several spells towards the spiders. Nico and Percy didn't waste time, as well. In a few seconds, thanks to their effort and Mad-Eye's help, most of the monster's were dazed; Ron, meanwhile, used a spell to return Hermione and Harry to consciousness.
Voldemort shouted and raised the Orb high. A storm appeared and lightning shot from the sky.
'Dammit!' Nico summoned his sword and began to battle a monster. 'Where's Thalia when we need her?'
However, Zeus was, obviously in a good mood today; the lightning stroke neither the demigods, nor the wizards. All of Voldemort's monsters were shocked by the lightning. The hooded figure behind Voldemort disappeared; much to the latter's shock. The Dark Wizard didn't panic, however. Although he was one on one with seven wizards and two demigods, he cast another spell with the Orb and everybody was thrown away from him by about a mile.
With difficulty, they stood up and watched Voldemort's silhouette (which now resembled a Dementor with red eyes) charge towards them through the air. Nico, his sword in his hand, was preparing an attack, which his father himself had once taught him. Then…
He was in a completely other place.
There was no Voldemort, no Harry, and no Percy. He was in abandoned village, it seemed to him. It was dark, but his eyes were used to it.
'Hi,' a voice said behind him.
Nico recognised it. He turned around calmly and saw Aeron standing in front of him with a scythe in his hand.
'Did you bring me here?' asked Nico.
'Dammit, why?! I need to help my friends!'
'Don't worry about them. They'll be fine.' He pointed to a ruined house. 'There's a Horcrux there. We have to go destroy it. I'd do it myself, but I'm drained right now. And Voldemort, along with his accomplice are planning to start the Rising quite soon. We need to kill Voldemort before he does this.'
'How do you know this?'
Aeron shook his head.
'Later. Just trust me. Come on.'
They entered the house. Nico lit a fire and they moved through the ruined corridors. Aeron stopped and looked around, his eyes turned a little red.
'There it is, I think,' said he. 'The ring.'
'That's it. I saw it back in Hogwarts. But… I'm tired as well. We need to find another way to destroy it.'
'Can't the Styx sword do it?' asked Aeron.
'My father's could. Mine will break if I use it this way. Return me to that place, Aeron. I need to help them.'
'You don't need to,' said Aeron, his eyes widening. 'They're here already.'
An explosion could be heard outside. Aeron out of the house and Nico followed close after, feeling exhausted from what was happening. He was sure there was much less excitement in Tartarus right now.
It was the last straw. After chasing the house-elf through the whole house, casting spells and cursing, Sirius couldn't take it anymore.
'Please, Kreacher! We need that locket. Regulus wanted you to destroy it. You failed. We won't.'
Kreacher stopped running and looked straight at Sirius.
'Never, ever-ever had the master said… please before…'
Fred took the chance to grab the locket out of the house-elf's hand. Kreacher didn't notice.
'Destroy it,' he said. 'DESTROY IT. Master Sirius must promise to destroy, destroy, destroy it!'
Remus kneeled down and tried to calm the house elf.
'How will we destroy it?' asked Fred.
'My parents kept a lot of Dark Artefacts. Amongst them was a phial full of a special type of Hellfire. That can destroy the Horcrux.'
'Hellfire?' Fred asked. 'Do you… know where it is?'
'No. We'll have to ask dearest mother.'
Nico saw only four people: Voldemort, Harry, Percy and Neville. Neville was holding a large sword in his hand.
'Gryffindor's sword,' muttered Aeron, looking at Neville.
Voldemort glanced at the son of Hel and his eyes widened,
Meanwhile, Voldemort's snake struck at Nico, aiming for the ring he held in his hand. Nico bound the snake with its shadow, but the binds broke not long after. Something was happening to him. Nico felt angry. Very angry. Why was this happening? What the hell was going on? Why were things so confusing? He needed to rest. He needed to sleep. In a quiet, peaceful place. When could he go to the Underworld again? He couldn't see his surroundings anymore. He saw his father's throne room. Hades stood alongside Persephone and they both were looking straight at Nico, their eyes filled with worry.
'Nico,' said his father. 'Nico, don't. Careful…'
A wave of dark energy surrounded Nico's body. Nico could see Voldemort and the others again. He glimpsed Aeron smiling and then he disappeared. Voldemort focused his attention on Nico and shot a ray of red flames from the Orb towards the son of Hades. Nico raised his sword and, by the gods, it broke. Nico felt indifferent. Only when Voldemort's snake shot at him again, he instinctively jumped out of the way and shot a wave of dark energy towards the snake. His attack was pitiful. Why was he suddenly so weak? What had happened to him?
'Nico!' shouted Neville. He threw Gryffindor's sword to Nico. Voldemort kept Harry and Percy busy now, with more attacks from the Orb. Nico caught the sword of Gryffindor and suddenly felt energetic, as if he'd just drank a whole can of Coke.
He closed his eyes and felt two fangs bite into his ankle. He didn't move, reciting the Ancient Greek words. Then he opened his eyes, which were glowing red, raised Gryffindor's sword, which had turned black, and cut off the serpent's head. Voldemort screamed. Nico did the same to the ring. Everybody froze.
A few seconds passed and Voldemort disappeared.
Nico had thought it was over, at least for a while. Well, he was wrong. Gryffindor's sword had begun to twitch in his hands and then broke in half.
'What are you doing, Nico?' asked Percy.
'I don't know! Be careful, something-'
Before he could finish the ground beneath Nico and the others shattered and everyone fell down into the darkness.
Voldemort appeared in the Malfoy manor, feeling weak. He moaned quietly when he felt another one of his Horcruxes being destroyed. The locket. The locket. How the hell had they found the locket?!
Next chapter: The Rising