Hello! Two pieces of news. Firstly, Albus Potter and the Descent of Dismiusa, Book 4, will begin its uploads sometime next month. I will upload the first chapter, maybe the second, and maybe the third, in two or three week intervals, until I feel sure I can safely, stress-free-ly upload one a week. Secondly, while you wait, I've decided to upload a preview of the first chapter of Book 4. I hope you enjoy!

-Cody


CHAPTER ONE

SEAS OF SAND

O

A firm hand wound its way around the long locks of her carefully styled hair; she sighed and leaned into the touch. It was part of the plan—it had to be done—but still, she dreaded how long it would be before that hand curled itself in her hair again.

"Slade didn't make any mistakes, did he?" she breathed against his chest.

"Caradoc Slade is the Senior Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic," said her husband soothingly. "He's in the loop. He knows everyone, and he knows what's going on. That's what makes Slade such a valuable asset to the Sandblood cause."

"He's a wizard. And he's not under the Marionette's Medicine. Are we sure we can trust him?"

"We have to conserve our supplies of MM. And if Palmer Viller trusts Slade, then I trust Slade."

"But Viller is just waiting for his opportunity to stab Slade in the back," said the wife. "Don't you think Slade would have figured that out by now?"

"Viller will have compensated for it," said the husband. "In fact, I think Malseth's death may have been fortunate, all things considered."

"How so?"

"Malseth was brilliant, but Viller is craftier. Malseth had a hard time convincing Slade that we weren't going to gun him down once we got what we wanted from him. But Viller was always clever with him. Now that Malseth is gone, Slade answers to someone he trusts even more than he trusted Malseth." His hand relieved itself from her hair and slid its way down her chest. "I must admit… I was quite nervous about the future of the cause when Malseth expired. But Viller has taken up the mantle with more aggression than Malseth ever brought, and this plan of ours is going to get us the recognition Malseth lost us. Are you ready to be our bait to land a big fish?"

"I am," replied the woman. "As long as you promise to rescue me."

"We know, through Slade, the precise location of the area you will be taken for questioning if you are captured," said the man. "All we have to do is make sure they capture you. Then you bust out, using Marsilia Scadjair's personal secret weapon to kill Gerald Stenet. Then we arrive and whisk you away, back to freedom, leaving the Head of the Auror Office dead and the denizens of the magical world in utter shock. We'll only be apart for a short time. It might even be as short as a single day before they question you."

"Whatever the duration, you will have to make up the time to me."

"Of course I will. You know how I love you. But for now, let us focus on the plan; you are to be captured tomorrow morning, after all. You have Scadjair's weapon?"

The woman held up her hand, showing her husband her fingernails, which were painted a deep red-violet. The nails were sharp and pointed. "I suck on the nails, and the poisonous nail polish will react with my saliva to become active again; one scratch of my claws and the Head of the Auror Office keels over dead in five seconds."

"Then that's all you need. Of course, the dazzling good looks can't hurt your chances of drawing him close enough to strike."

The couple kissed, long enough to last the short time they would be apart.

"Time to get me captured," said the wife, grinning widely.

O

There was nothing but sand. He was flying high, miles above the ground, but still, sand was all he could see in every direction. Seas of sand were covering everything.

He looked down. It was important—necessary—that he find something which was not sand. It had to be done immediately, as fast as possible, and his eyes raked the ground desperately; lives were hanging in the balance.

A small speck of stone caught his eye. What was it? It was square, short and not very wide, but it wasn't sand, so he flew towards it, speeding towards the ground; he had to find out what this was. Could this stone slab be of any help?

But as he flew towards the rock, something strange happened. The seas of sand grew darker; clouds formed overhead, and it started to rain, but it was raining sand. Gusts of wind blew towards the stone, and the sea of sand below him started to swirl like a whirlpool, sucking him in.

He turned around; this was bad, he couldn't go down there. But the whirlpool was dragging him down, out of the sky, and soon he was pulled below the crashing waves and disappeared below the surface, swallowed by the seas of sand.

Albus sat up in bed, panting heavily and patting himself to make sure he was all there and not covered in sand. What a nightmare… He'd never had one like that before. The memory stood fresh in his mind: his hand disappearing below the tide of sand. What did it mean? That is, if it actually meant anything. It could have been just a dream.

But it didn't feel that way.

Glancing around, he discovered that his father was now standing in the doorway, looking in.

"Are you all right?" asked Harry. "You were making sounds in here."

"Just a bad dream," replied Albus.

"Ah. Reliving a terrible memory?"

"It's not a memory," said Albus, rubbing his eyes.

"Well, let me or your mother know if it continues."

"Sorry to concern you."

"I was coming in here to wake you up anyway," said Harry. "I want you to see something really great as it's happening. Do you want to come with the Auror Office to see us question one of the Sandbloods' top commanders?"

"You got someone?" exclaimed Albus, sitting up so fast in his bed that he almost ended up standing.

"We've captured Coral Envix," said Harry with a grin. "It was almost too easy to get her; we'd heard a leaked Sandblood trail telling us exactly where she would be. We're taking her in to a secure location for questioning; Geri Stenet himself is going to help us get information out of her. This is going to be really exciting to watch; I wondered if you and James and Lily would like to come and see."

"I'd love to see," said Albus, leaping out of bed and running to his dresser to extract the day's clothes. "Thanks for offering!"

"No problem. I wouldn't want you to miss this; I think it'll be fascinating for you three to see how the Auror Office works."

"How far up the ladder was Coral Envix again?" asked James, poking his head into the room.

"She is currently fifth in command of the Sandblood regime… or, she was, until we captured her," answered Harry. "So she definitely knows a lot. We've known about her for a while; she was on the wanted list of the Ministry even before this all started. It's weird to see her finally in custody. Her fingernails are even redder and pointier in person."

"Now we've got her," said James, pumping a fist. "And she's not getting away."

"Definitely not," said Harry, smiling. "Let's go find out what she knows."


The rest of the first chapter will be coming some time before July arrives. Hope to see you all there!