Heinrich Grindelwald and the Tide of Darkness
Jean Gregorovitch, whose real name was Hermione Jean Granger, was smart. Time and time again he wondered just what she had told the hat to get sorted into Gryffindor, instead of Ravenclaw. Probably it was because she was book-smart, and not actually witty. She had no trouble memorizing things. She could recite books by heart with little trouble. She couldn't, however, connect things. The lack of food in spring was not connected to the increased revolts of the peasants in autumn or to the revolution in winter. She could easily tell the numbers of soldiers that fought off the revolutionaries, but she could not understand why they had fought, unless it had been written on the book.
Still, her mind suited him just fine like it was. It was with both of their brains working together, that some breakthroughs were made on the entire situation. The problem was that either they believed Voldemort to still be alive, or they didn't. The best bet was considering him alive and in wait, and because of that, they had to plan. The problem was what to plan for. The first step was Gellert: they needed a way out of his wing, and after that they would need a way out of Dumbledore's grasp. Finally, they would need a way out of Voldemort himself.
Without knowing what the others were planning however, it became extremely difficult to come up with something worth looking at. The only thing they had come up with had been contingencies like putting up safe-houses and portkeys, but they were too young for both of them. They had no political clout, and the few cards they held would certainly help them get into America, but they probably would stop there. Without something important to keep the American government protecting them, eventually it would be up to them.
The plan was actually simple in the end: remain under the wing of Gellert at least until the end of Durmstrang, and then hope the man had either died because of old age or deliver a notice to Dumbledore stating how the man was free to move around. While the two old crooks would fight each other again, they'd move to America at the same moment, unleashing the barrage of information earned against the. Best case scenario, Gellert killed Dumbledore and was then killed by the Americans.
Worst case scenario, Gellert and Dumbledore actually worked together and brought down the rest of the world. Still, the optimal case would be either Gellert or Dumbledore weakened and the American government on their toes. It would be better than nothing.
That brought forth the problem of finding a spot to train in. Hogwarts had the room of requirements, but Durmstrang didn't have anything that flashy after all. Sure, they could train in the room where people experimented on spells' effects, but it was always packed. Furthermore Heinrich wasn't intentioned to let anyone else see the repertoire of spells he usually practiced on: questions were bound to pop up on why he knew spells usually seen on a battlefield of centuries before.
They could use the plains, but they were too wide and open. They could ask the headmaster, but the man would probably wish to see for himself their training or even warn Gellert of it. What they needed, in the end, was a room nobody else used.
"What about using the invisibility cloak to hide in the spell casting room after curfew?"
Jean hazarded one day in a low whisper, sitting next to him during the Mythological Creatures lesson. The professor in question was a truly old looking man, with a giant and deformed hunch on its back who barely held his head up thanks to a wooden walking stick. His hair was practically non-existent, except for small locks that sprouted somehow from different spot of his balding head and descended all the way till the floor.
The man's name was Osvald, and he was apparently the oldest professor around Durmstrang, having at least one hundred and thirty-two years of active service, and having started at twenty-two, it made him one hundred and fifty-four years old. Some students claimed he had taken a sip of the Elixir of life one day, or that he drank unicorn's blood at night. Whatever the reason was, the professor was old, cranky and half-deaf, but he lived on and was currently explaining Nundus.
This made it the perfect moment to speak about what to do concerning their training. Especially considering Heinrich had already faced a Nundu once: sure, he had Heather with him, but he had still fought one of those and survived. He winced at the memory of the fight: at the speed those curse had flown, he highly doubted he'd ever be ready to fight the real deal. Voldemort as a possessive shade was probably not even half as a powerful as the real deal. It led to the problem of how truly strong both Gellert and Dumbledore were.
It wouldn't do however to mope before even having tried something.
"Weren't you the one against breaking laws?" Heinrich retorted quietly, "And what if someone comes by and hears us?"
"We just have to be quiet." Jean whispered back. "We could start with…"
"As fascinating as it sounds." A voice hissed behind them, bringing them both to turn around and stare at Elmo, "If all you want to do is kiss around, might I suggest you go in the abandoned greenhouse? It's near the corridor to the bridge that leads to the seventh year students' castle. Nobody goes there at all last I checked." He smiled and winked, "Ah, l'amore…"
"Ehm…" Heinrich coughed, "Yes…I…Think…Yes."
Jean for her side was practically blushing at the implication.
"I suggest transfiguring some chairs and a table though," the plumb boy added. "It would be just like Lilly and the Tramp you know, that Disney movie?"
"It's Lady and the Tramp." Heinrich whispered back quickly, hoping to change the argument.
"Darn. It must have been changed in the translation of the cartoon. In Italian the female dog is called Lilli…just assumed the name was the same in English."
"The bitch…a female dog is called a bitch." Jean found her center few seconds later, as Elmo raised an eyebrow at the girl correcting him. Heinrich kept silent, seeing how the Italian boy was furrowing his brows in concentration, before nodding.
"Understood." He had probably held his tongue for some reason, but he knew better than to ask. Still this did kind of show that they couldn't just whisper around without being heard at all.
"Why are you here Elmo?" Heinrich suddenly asked, "You weren't in Mythological creatures before."
"Oh, I was actually waiting for a chance to talk with you Heinrich. Found you entering, had free period, came by and saw you hush talking to your girlfriend. Didn't want to interrupt," the boy shrugged, explaining with inarticulate sentences his reasoning, "We have our first battle tomorrow. I wanted to know if you'd rather be at the oars or casting."
"Well," Heinrich began, glad that he had a way to change the embarrassing argument with something easier to speak of. "It's the same for me really."
"You won't mind if I take the oars then, right?" Elmo added carefully, "I'd rather not make a fool of myself on the first bout."
Heinrich shrugged slightly. "It's the same. How hard can it be?"
Those, unfortunately, were the famous last words.
*The next day*
The oars were dropped into the water at the same time, as the students assigned to them began to move the Karvi out of its docks and into the water of the sea-lake. Their captain, Alonso, was sending curses up in the air as they saw who their enemy was. The caravel came out from the docks of the middle years, and it looked so small from where they stood that it didn't seem such an impossible battle at all.
As the sails of the enemy caravel billowed and it began to move closer fast, really fast, Heinrich realized he had been wistfully thinking stupid things. The caravel was bigger than their Karvi by a really long shot. Even though they had the benefit of having their cannons mounted forward, meaning they could fire while pursuing or nearing the ship, it all accounted to nothing if the enemy's range was enough to merely fire from their own broadside.
"Voga!" Elmo yelled as his arms moved to push the oar, their ship sailing through the lake as fast as it could humanly go. The chorus of 'Voga' soon substituted the tension felt, as if they were going for a Kamikaze-run, none seemed intentioned in steering their course. The air flew straight against his face as the ship moved up and down, his feet firmly planted on the wooden surface of the vessel. A rope was circling his waist, tying him to the mast so that he would not fall down from the increased speed.
The enemy caravel steered to the right, displaying its broadside and the gleaming in the sunlight cannons, Heinrich gulped down in fear, keeping hold of his nervousness as he sincerely hoped they wouldn't be charging in blindly.
"RIGHT OARS DOWN!" Alonso roared, and as the oarsmen moved to obey, the Karvi jerked to the right itself, abruptly changing direction as the pull of the momentum brought Heinrich to let out a startled cry. He nearly was flung in mid-air, but his hands grasped on the bulwark of the ship near him and he let out a startled breath of relief. He hadn't really understood what it meant to be on a Viking ship, renowned for their maneuverability. Actually, he had just thought up until then that the word itself meant little to nothing. It meant everything, as the roaring cannons of the caravel fired.
The Flipendo spells charged from within the cannons' mouths hit the water behind them repeatedly as their captain screamed once more.
"OARS UP, DOUBLE TIME!" The right side moved up its oars, before starting once more to row at twice the speed of before, if such a thing was possible. They were moving towards the back of the caravel itself, which was the soundest strategy available considering how their only point of strength was the different allocation of their cannons. The enemy caravel quickly began to stir to the side, its masts doing their job at redirecting the wind.
"WANDS FORWARD!" Alonso yelled out loud, "HIT THEM WITH ALL YOU'VE GOT MEN!" With his left hand holding for dear life on the bulwark, and his right hand forward with his wand that was just then sparkling from its tip, he gritted his teeth as yelled out loud.
"Flipendo!" Jets of orange mixed with purplish-red, the charged version of the spell, launched themselves forward. Many came quite a bit short, but the charged ones went further ahead and hit the back of the ship, whose parchments were now turning from white to a dark green shade. The color would then morph to yellowish and finally to bright red, before giving away the side of the ship. If the parchment ended up morphing to black, then the ones near it would start changing color too to signify the leak and the inevitable sinking of the ship.
The cannons of the Karvi did their job better, turning a few parchments to a healthy yellow on the back of the ship, while the caravel steered to the right again, trying to once more broadside them. All that it took was probably only one hit from the enemy to sink them, and that was why there was a tense nervousness aboard the Viking vessel.
"OARS TO THE LEFT UP!" Alonso yelled a command that was probably similar to bringing down the right oars, because the next moment a sharp pull of the right side brought them to stir to the left, avoiding a second barrage from the caravel and bringing them once more behind the enemy ship.
"FIRE!" The chorus of shots came from forward this time around, as some of the students aboard the caravel had probably countered the ship's only way of winning by placing themselves as a rearguard of sorts. Alonso's Protego spell came up in a flash, shielding him as he took steps backwards, ending up behind the mast. In doing so, however, the Flipendo spells flew straight downwards from the bulwarks of the caravel, smashing against the frontline oarsmen and fighters and taking them out.
As soon as the oars were dropped the Karvi came to an abrupt halt, flinging forward the middle oarsmen who grunted in pain from the oars' backslash. Heinrich was fast in taking point in front of Elmo, and as his Protego shield flared up it sparked for every Flipendo that struck against it. The caravel jerked to the side, abruptly lowering one of its back anchors and literally steering on the spot in order to give its broadside finally on the Karvi.
"AIM!" The roar of the twenty-four armed students on the enemy ship came with a deafening cry as their Viking vessel was soon flank to flank with the enemy caravel. The caravel had no need for oars, having no less than three masts to hold its sails billowing because of the wind. His wand was in his hand, sparkling slightly because of the pressure. The timing of the shield this time had to be precise: if it wasn't he'd just waste it and be taken down by all of them.
"SHIELDS UP!" Their captain bellowed at the same time as the enemy's ship one yelled the command to open fire. Alonso was apparently standing behind their mast, probably because the captain's death meant the end of the battle.
The cannons of the caravel roared one after the other, the mighty strength of the rune-enhanced artillery jettisoning water from the surface of the lake upwards all around them, as more hits impacted against their only mast. The slips of parchment on it turned a sickly green, before it morphed into a bright red as their ships was suddenly jerked to a near halt. The oars broke from the impact of the sudden halt and were left in disarray by the students who scampered to the side where the enemy caravel was still firing upon them.
The caravel too stopped its movement, and soon a battle of attrition between the two sides began. Spells of purple red and orange met shields just as few were sent back, the lack of numbers showcasing itself when the twenty-four students of the other side of the caravel moved to the opposite side to bring forth reinforcements. Forty-eight wands were non-stop casting at them from the bulwarks, the sails, the ropes. The fact that a few were downed by them who were only a bit more than a dozen
"Protego!" Heinrich yelled. His shield was flaming a light yellow color as the Flipendo spells rebounded back. His wand sparked stronger as his heart began to pump faster, blood rushing up to his ears as he swiped his wand back and forth for the Protego again and again.
"Protego! Protego! Protego!" He roared as the number of spells flung in his direction increased with the diminishing number of allies aboard the Karvi. Few seconds later, and he and Elmo were the only two aboard the ship not yet hit and flung unconscious or out of the ship, barring their captain who was most cowardly standing behind the mast.
A few spells nicked him in the shoulder, but he kept his shield up. As long as he didn't fall and the charged spells didn't fling him unconscious, he would not fall there. His wand was scalding to the touch, as if a small sun had decided to make its nest within its wooden form. He gritted his teeth as he conjured the shield once more. He heard the spell-storm of Flipendo hit it like rain against a window. Sparks flew in the air where they hit showering in golden and crimson sparks the side of the bulwarks.
"Flipendo!" Elmo yelled from behind him. The jet of purplish-red parted from his wand and reached the upper levels of the caravel, taking down an enemy. The barrage apparently stopped there for a second, maybe enough for Heinrich to catch his breath, if he lowered his shield. Yet he could not in good conscience do so: he half suspected it to be a trick to catch him off-guard.
The judge of the battle suddenly made his presence known in that moment. He was the Seamanship's course instructor, a portly man with a small goatee and a pair of small thin and trimmed mustaches. He was currently floating near the area on a flying carpet: apparently the laws on their prohibition didn't matter in Durmstrang. The man had raven hair and brown eyes, and as he lowered himself down for a moment to look at the downed opponent on the caravel, he chuckled.
"Mister Luzzato! Excellent shot: you actually downed their captain with it! Your team wins." The judge commented clapping his hands, as Heinrich blinked like Elmo did.
They had won?
"Well done Elmo! I knew you had it in you! All went according to the plan of course!" Their captain said, coming out from its hiding spot behind the mast, chuckling nervously. Heinrich raised an eyebrow at their captain, but said nothing else. What was there to say? That their 'captain' had displayed an excellent plan called tactical retreat? That they had won because of pure luck? Doing that was going to land him nowhere but on the boy's enemy list, and he had enough enemies on his own list to know when to avoid adding a fourth year to it.
He should have laughed at that actually: he had three heroes, three monsters, three extremely powerful wizards on his enemy list that he completely disregarded stuff that another his age would have fought for. Elmo was keeping quiet probably because of the golden badge: it wouldn't do to disrespect their captain. He could talk, but he chose not to.
"Return to your docks then!" The judge pointed out, as he flew away from the scene on his flying carpet. Alonso took a deep sigh, before starting to wake up the rest of the crew. The words 'Enervate' were at his lips as soon as their captain began his work.
All in all, Seamanship wasn't that bad, if one barred the risk of being assaulted by over a dozen of spells at the same time, of course.
The door of his office creaked open timidly. He was currently busy on a particular batch of dreamless sleep potion and because of the delicacy required while treating certain ingredients he could not turn around to see who was entering. Considering his wards however, the number of persons permitted to enter were scarce. Out of all of them, the fact that they had yet to talk while he was busy working on a potion meant that the number was even lower.
Since Slughorn was not in the castle last he had checked it could truly be only him or Dumbledore. He stirred counter-clockwise once more, before finally speaking.
"I am busy at the moment." He spoke carefully, "It can wait."
He heard a slightly rustling of feet, and then a hesitant voice spoke after a few more seconds of dreadful silence.
"Madam Potter." He muttered, his heart clenching as his eyes narrowed on the potion, distaste probably clear on his tongue. "I am occupied." Silence descended once more in the room. He was starting to hope the woman had taken the cue and left, and he had merely not heard the door creak to a close considering the blood rushing to his head, but when Lily Potter asked again, he knew he hadn't been that lucky.
"You're making a dreamless potion, right?" The tone was hesitant, as those red strands of hair came into his view. She had probably moved closer to the potion cauldron itself. He sighed as he knew there was no way to prevent the argument.
"Are you going to accuse me of having brought Harry over to Voldemort's side?" He asked with barely kept contempt. "If you are, you can leave."
"I wasn't going to." Lily fretfully said, before looking at his hands moving to get the flobberworm essence. "You're adding flobberworm now?" She asked, curious as always.
"A pinch now, one later, and its effects will be quicker to take hold." He replied in his usual teacher voice. "As fascinating as it would be to speak of potions with you, Madam Potter, please tell me what brought you here then."
She recoiled as if visibly struck, before queasily saying.
"I wanted to talk Sev, only talk. No need to get all grumpy!"
"And I am currently busy, Madam Potter." He replied immediately.
"What's got you on the defensive Sev? I only want to know more about…"
"No." He cut her short. He hated doing this, but he had no choice. "What I know about Harry is what I discovered by taking my own time in looking after him. He was surprisingly keen on learning and studious, extremely polite to a fault, and the sheer fact that you just believed in what someone else told you without proof…that's what I dislike. You're doing it again, Lily. The only difference is that I was your friend and told you a single word…whereas this is your son we're talking about. See what the others want you to see then, I've got no time to waste on dunderheads or petty gossip queens." Then he sharply turned around and walked over to the asphodel roots. He had to chop them neatly in time, and he hoped for Lily to just leave before he turned back again.
When he turned back, Lily was still there, her eyes watery and her hands clasped together in front of her chest.
"I'm…I'm a horrible mother am I? I…I saw him there, that night, didn't I? You were walking along the corridor with him and he was looking at me, and his eyes were like mine and he…he told me, he told me there and then that I was his mother and I dismissed it, I know I shouldn't have but I did. I saw him and how he moved and how he looked so much like James and I dismissed it all because of a stupid curse, but there and then…there and then that night the curse was gone wasn't it? I just didn't think long enough…I…I ignored him and god only knows what he must have thought of me there and then and…and…"
He walked briskly over to the potion cauldron, lowering the flame with his wand as apparently he would need a bit more time to complete the potion than he had thought about. Bellatrix was in no order of importance near Lily's troubles, and if the madwoman couldn't sleep, then it would make her easier to overpower. He took out a handkerchief from one of his sleeves, handing it over to the woman who was apparently crying her heart out.
He wasn't going to lie to himself and say he wasn't uncomfortable about it. It wasn't as if this had never happened before. Lily was a strong woman, but like every strong persons even she had a point of breakage. He knew that better than anyone else, and knew that when she usually broke it wasn't over herself, but over someone else near her. He could count on the fingers of his hand the number of times she had cried for herself.
"Thanks." She whispered, as she took the handkerchief to wipe out her tears, "I'm…I'm sorry I..."
"He never questioned me," he began speaking slowly, not even realizing he was actually telling the woman something when he had promised himself he wouldn't, "He never asked why I was actually helping him out. He could have done so easily, any time, but he didn't. If…if he had, I wasn't sure of what I could tell him." He moved towards the drawer in his office desk, taking out a stack of papers, before grabbing a letter.
"Your sister wrote to me repeatedly, asking me to keep an eye out on him." He said quietly, "You know your sister always had a spiteful streak in her, yet she was willing to forget it all in favor of Harry. Just like a real mother would."
"But she told us how they treated him!" She yelled at him, not understanding as her eyes widened in shock. He knew this was going to come back and bite him, he knew it, and yet…yet he realized he just couldn't let someone go to the grave while being spat upon. Not when they should be honored, instead of insulted. Even Petunia wasn't meant to be dishonored in her grave.
"Then read these, and then tell me if what you saw is the same as what was written." He replied quietly, handing over the stack of papers and the letter. "They're all in order."
"Sev…she…but she and that husband of hers…they…" Lily babbled. She didn't understand yet, maybe she needed one final push.
"Tell me, Lily. When you have nowhere else to run to, when you have no-one else to believe in, what do you do when someone offers you a hand?" He spoke carefully. "When you think your parents have abandoned you, when you think everyone is ignoring you, when you think no-one is there to help you…when someone offers you a hand…do you refuse it? Or do you look upon the one who extends the hand as if he were a saint?" He smiled bitterly, "I know the answer to that question all too well, Lily. For being smart, you still apparently are human."
She cringed. She shook her head slowly as she grabbed the first letter of the stack. He knew all too well what was written on the first lines after all.
I'm sorry. It took me hours to come up with that starting line, so you'd better take it well understood? I know I was never kind to you in our youth, and I can understand if some of that resentment still lingers around. There is one thing, however, that I ask of you. Please, take care of Lily's son if I can't. Keep an eye on him. If you really want to hate someone, then I'm here and I'll understand, but not Harry. Please, not Harry.
"Do you think those words belonged to the same Petunia you met in America?" He asked after a few minutes had passed by. "I don't think so, and neither do you any longer."
"H…How? W…Why didn't you tell me before!? It's written here! Lily's son! You knew and you didn't…" Her words showed her hurt, and as her eyes locked accusingly into his, he knew he had to tread carefully.
"I did not read that line!" He exclaimed back, "The curse was still working, Lily! I skipped all the lines that hinted at him being your son! I didn't know about it until after it stopped working! So tell me, should I feel horrible for having had the truth written in front of me and not having seen it or what!?" He took a small breath, before whispering. "You're not a horrible mother, Lily. You couldn't know."
"T…Thank you Sev." She whispered, after a few minutes of silence in which she silently read once more her sister's letter. "I…I'll be visiting my sister soon then, I…I should have checked on her at least…"
He said nothing. He knew that Lily would find out the death of her sister eventually, but adding it together with these letters was his best bet in changing things. If only he could push the woman in the right direction, on the one to really put the blame on…
"If she was controlled by the Imperius," he spoke carefully, "Then Voldemort would never have moved her. He could have just as easily taken him during the summer vacation. There was no need to send her and her husband out of the country."
"What…what are you trying to say Sev?" Lily asked, her eyes the size of a doe's ones.
"What I'm trying to say, Lily…" He whispered back, "Is that I don't think the Dark Lord was the one who Imperius-ed Harry's parents to begin with."
She did not reply to him there and then. She just stood up and left quietly, closing the door behind her with a soft thud. He merely shook his head and returned to his work. He had given her enough to think about. Of course…he had lied. He had known from the start that Harry was Lily's son, but at the very least, with this, the woman wouldn't probably fault herself too much. He cursed his heart actually. He had done his best to let it shrivel up and die, but apparently he was just human.
That suited him just fine: better to be human, than a beast.
"Yer sure this is it?" He asked the tall woman who was apparently half a giant herself.
"Of course I'm sure." Maxime Olympe replied rolling her eyes, as she pointed her hands towards the sunken coast. "The sunken city of Ys is right here."
"Seem to be a bit empty." He replied nudging a bit of sand with the tip of his pink umbrella. How the hell Gellert had found his wand was a surprise, but apparently the old man knew what he was doing. Still, he kind of wondered why he had been chosen to end up here.
"Well, yes. It seems." Olympe muttered, "You can tell your employer what I told the other man: the French school of Beauxbatons has claims on the city of Ys, so if they do manage to find the entrance they indeed need to warn us. We are the ones who possess the key to the gates."
"Will do, ye think ye could tell me who the other guy is?" He asked, not letting his nervousness show.
"Why if it isn't Hagrid," A Voice smoothly said from behind him. He widened his eyes as he turned around, staring into the masked figure with a cloak covering its features. "I always wondered what happened to you…you're treating yourself not so well I see."
"And who the hell are you?" Hagrid asked, narrowing his eyes as he brought his umbrella forward.
The Voice chuckled. The cowl came down.
The mask was removed.
And a face showed itself behind the mask.
"It's been a while, hasn't it?"
White hair and dark eyes showed themselves behind the mask, wrinkles of old age on a shaved face. Hagrid looked at the man for a moment, narrowing his gaze before finally muttering a single word.
"Who are you?"
The Voice chuckled.
"An old man, Hagrid. An old man…"
And I get the hate from my readers by leaving it unknown for the moment. Well, now you know where Hagrid is at least. White hair and Dark eyes. Can't be Grindelwald or Voldemort…remember that since white hair is a sign of age it could pretty much have had different hair color in the wiki.
And yeah, Zhertvy means sacrifices!
PS: This is the Sixtieth chapter! Sixty chapters! I'll give you an omake for this!
The Voice chuckled. The cowl came down.
The mask was removed.
And a face showed itself behind the mask.
"It's been a while, hasn't it, old friend?"
And the Grey Mage nodded with a bright smile.
"Indeed! But we must do haste, the dark lord Sauron rises and we must stop him soon! Rally the races of men and elves, while I seek the help of the Tower of Saruman!"