Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. I merely love J.K Rowling's characters.

Dawn Crux, sequel to Ice Crux, is finally up! If you haven't read the prequel, I recommend you read it because I'm not sure whether I did a very good job of explaining what happened. Anyway, I do hope you enjoy and that you will give this fic a chance.

Summary of Ice Crux:

A new regime. A darker era. A stronger generation. The Boy-Who-Lived did not exist. Voldemort attained the final victory, and thus, gained limitless power. As a feared authoritarian figure, he rules both the wizarding world and Hogwarts in the shadows, killing without restriction. Anyone declared to be treacherous is condemned to death. When a talented Harry Potter, brimming with impressive potential, arrives at Hogwarts, he attracts the unwanted attention of the Dark Lord. Following a magnificent duel, Harry is blackmailed into becoming Lord Voldemort's apprentice. Forced to confront his fate, Harry attempts to tread the dangerous waters of a Pureblood hierarchy. A tale weaved around jealousy, fate, victory, hatred, love, angst, and above all, ambition.

Summary of Dawn Crux:

As Voldemort's traitor apprentice, Harry finally escaped his guardian's torture and into freedom. Picked up by Tom Riddle, he discovers the true meaning of being a Horcrux and the consequences of freeing Dumbledore and Grindelwald. Voldemort's established society is brought crumbling down as the two powerful wizards reunite...and even Harry is unable to stop it. Sequel to Ice Crux.

Ice Crux

Little rays of sunshine trickled through the charmingly sparkling windows and into the room, chasing the last of the dimness away.

Tucked securely into a corner of the room was a simple bed, on which lay a curled form draped warmly in clean white sheets. For the first time in eight hours, the figure stirred, roused from his slumber.

The very second Harry Potter's eyelids fluttered open, he wished they hadn't; groundswells of excruciating pain surged up his body, his ankle in particular. A moan of distress escaped from his throat. The throbbing in his head turned into heavy pounding as the memories came flooding back.

Voldemort. Lord Voldemort, his past guardian and mentor, had nearly tortured him into insanity. Perhaps it had been inevitable; perhaps it had all been heading straight towards that conclusion from the very start, given that Harry was bound to trap himself in a tight corner sooner or later.

Three years ago, Voldemort had attained ultimate victory and vanquished Dumbledore's Order of the Phoenix, ruling both the British nation and Hogwarts School in the shadows while appointing the Inner Circle Death Eaters the topmost stations in the Ministry; securing Lucius Malfoy as the Minister for Magic.

They became the pillars of wizarding society, establishing a darker era and breeding a stronger generation. New, harsher laws were launched and anyone declared to be treacherous was condemned to death.

Nearly one year ago, Harry Potter, an eleven year old child who had grown up under the Dursleys and wholly unaware of magic, was taken by Professor Snape to Hogwarts to face Voldemort's new regime.

The school had been infested with crawling Death Eaters under the undeserved titles of professors, Dark Arts had been mandatory, 'punishment' had been another word for Cruciatus Curses, and to make things worse, Harry had been sorted into the unwelcoming snake lair.

He soon learnt from Madam Pomfrey and Professor McGonagall that his parents, despite being magical, had been murdered by Lord Voldemort… as well as the long, twisted history regarding his dad, James Potter. After personally witnessing the torture and death of Ollivander at the Dark Lord's hands, the new information only served to fuel his hatred towards the powerful wizard.

Life in Slytherin and under the tight restrictions of Headmistress Carrow hadn't been easy… but at least he didn't have the Dark Lord himself to deal with, at the time. However, his aptitude towards magic coupled with his tendency to make an impression – whether good or bad – caused him to wander into the eyes of Professor Snape.

Unknown to Harry at the time, Snape and Bellatrix had been given strict orders by Voldemort at the beginning of the year to seek out potential candidates for the status as the Dark Lord's apprentice. When Snape offered him private duelling lessons, Harry jumped at the rare opportunity, entirely unaware of the professor's intricate schemes.

After six months of private tutelage, Snape had deemed Harry ready for an upcoming duelling competition, which was to be held in the Great Hall with the entire school, including Voldemort himself, watching.

The duelling system wasn't fair; trapping the first year competitors at a severe disadvantage. Shockingly, Harry managed to fight his way through the first years, second year, third year and fourth year; finally suffering a shameful defeat when confronting the ice queen of Slytherin, Daphne Greengrass, who eventually became the victor. Regardless of his failure to claim final victory, Harry once again captured the interest of Lord Voldemort and, to his annoyance, found himself under tight scrutiny.

During the closing of the duelling competitions, Daphne Greengrass was announced to be the official apprentice of the Dark Lord. But unexpectedly, in the following week, Harry was invited into Voldemort's office, where he was submitted to an outrageous proposal of apprenticeship.
Naturally, he refused, with as much politeness as he could possibly summon, unfortunately, one could not simply say 'no' to Lord Voldemort and get away without consequence. Voldemort presented Harry with a string of blackmails, threatening him with the prospect of his death and the death of his friends.

That was how Harry found himself removed from Hogwarts and living in a manor and studying under Voldemort's iron hand. As reluctant as he was to admit it, the Dark Lord's harsh teaching styles worked wonders, allowing him to perform in his full potential.

It seemed Voldemort wished the best of teachers for his apprentices; for he organised for Snape and Bellatrix to be temporarily separated from Hogwarts in order to provide the top tutors for Harry and Daphne.

During Harry's first night at the manor, Voldemort brought down a series of events that changed Harry's life forever… by killing the Dursleys after forcing them to sign a paper locking a transfer of custody, thus gaining guardianship as well as apprenticeship over Harry.

Harry would be lying if he said he had not been swayed by the carefully weaved explanations on the nonexistence of darkness and light… Voldemort's manners influenced him, resulting in Harry willingly flinging about dark curses… however, it had not changed Harry's true nature.

During his time with Voldemort, Harry had acquainted himself with a youthful portrait in his bedroom who introduced himself as Tom Riddle. With Tom Riddle being the closest thing to a friend Harry had, he eventually came to see the sixteen year old as one.

The older Slytherin was arrogant but ingenious, apparently having achieved standards in magic Harry had never imagined for himself.

With Riddle's witty sarcasm and charisma, Harry was soon drawn in, informing the portrait of many of his personal problems and in return, Tom Riddle told Harry his hatred of Lord Voldemort.

Never being one to let down his friends, Harry gladly lent Tom Riddle a few drops of his blood when he was asked. "In all honesty, the Dark Lord cold-bloodedly entombed me here for decades, subjecting me to a life of compliance and servitude. I can feast my eyes on the world through my many frames, but never sense or touch anything. If you were me, Harry, would you not want the chance of freedom?" Riddle had said, stressing that a few drops of blood would free him entirely from his frame.

From then on, Tom had been able to wander free as he wished, but he had always made certain to return to his portrait, as to avoid suspicion from the Dark Lord.

It wasn't until the night of Harry's initiation that he found out he spoke Parseltongue, a piece of news that completely caught Voldemort off guard. But even that piece of news hadn't saved Harry when the next morning came.

At first, everything had progressed as usual; Harry and Daphne had made the Animagus Revelare Draft, a drink that would allow them to obtain their Animagus forms for a certain period of time, with Professor Snape, and nothing had been out of place. He had stored the completed potion in his robe pocket after casting a protection charm over it.

Later in the day, however, he learnt from Tom Riddle that Professor McGonagall had been arrested for treason, and that was where everything spirited downhill…

He had been beside himself, getting more frantic each minute as Tom listed the possible things that could happen to the Gryffindor Head. After a lengthy persuasion, Riddle finally agreed to apparate Harry to Nurmengard, where McGonagall was evidently imprisoned.

The rescue mission progressed smoothly. And Harry also managed to set free two additional prisoners; the first was Albus Dumbledore – who had supposedly been killed by Lord Voldemort – and second was Grindelwald.

Through the years in Nurmengard prison and through the sheer, engulfing frustration Dumbledore experienced, the friendship between Grindelwald and Dumbledore had been reignited. And Harry had freed both of them, with Tom Riddle's assistance.

Knowing the Dark Lord would not suspect his involvement due to his obvious inability to apparate not to mention breaking through Voldemort's own wards, Harry allowed Tom to apparate both of them back to the manor… where Tom melted unnoticed into his portrait and Harry was greeted by the brunt of his guardian's wrath.

"Coming back was not your cleverest idea, Harry," Voldemort had hissed. "But then…you did not know your actions will be found." Found. Discovered. Exposed. And by Daphne Greengrass, no less.

"I won, and I imprisoned Dumbledore in Nurmengard as a trophy, a constant reminder of the completion of my ambitions…" There had been a deadly silence. "However, I have only enjoyed three years of triumph; even you must know how painful it is for the work you dedicated your entire life to to be ruined all in one hour by a disobedient little boy."

"You have unknowingly destroyed everything I had attained. I offered you success and a place by my side as an apprentice, and this is how you rewarded me. What do you think, Harry, I will do to you? I only wish to be compensated for my loss, but it seems that the request is beyond your abilities. All that is left for me to do is to repay you."

Voldemort had promised, "In a single syllable, your skin will feel like it is being feasted upon by a thousand wasps, stabbed by countless knives, stripped from your flesh, burned by an endless fire. You will writhe on the ground, howling for forgiveness, but you will receive none. The Dark Lord does not forgive nor forget."

And that was what Harry got. He, having never faced any penances dealt by Voldemort before, realised that no pain he ever experienced before matched what the Dark Lord doled out. Snape, despite all his sarcasm, had made an attempt to lessen Harry's punishment; "Regardless of the happenings, Potter is useful to some extent –" to which Voldemort ignored.

As the end of the torture session neared, Harry could not find the energy within him to even crawl on to his knees. But he had been conscious enough for the last bullets of emotional pain. In an effort to discover how Harry had managed to free Dumbledore, Voldemort had cast Legilimency on him… and had immediately found out about Tom Riddle.

If it was even possible, Voldemort's anger had shot further up the scale when he realised Riddle's freedom.
"Riddle, Tom Riddle," the Dark Lord had snarled. "I may as well have guessed. The little…" He whirled to face Harry. "You have been tricked. Foolish boy, you do not even know your little friend's true identity. I will give you a clue: the last name of my father was Riddle."

Coldness had gripped Harry's heart. Riddle. This couldn't be possible. "He is related to you," Harry had whispered.

A chilling smile had snaked across Voldemort's lips. "Tom Riddle was my past and my present. Not only do we share the same blood, but we are one. I am Tom Marvolo Riddle, and he is me. Do you not understand how he can break down the wards that even the great Albus Dumbledore cannot? Do you not know how he managed to deceive the wards around this manor? Only I know how to control these wards."

It was horrifying how effortlessly the truth could shatter someone. Even through the haze of pain, the truth glimmered very clearly to Harry. He had been used by Tom Riddle, a monster he had considered a friend, in a plot aimed to overthrow Lord Voldemort through the release of both Dumbledore and Grindelwald.

The only thing that appeared to puzzle Voldemort was how Harry's blood had managed to free his past self when in theory, only his blood had the capacity.

Bearing several broken ribs, bleeding wounds, a broken ankle, and misery, Harry was carried by Professor Snape into the dungeons where he was settled for the night. It seemed Voldemort was planning on experimenting with him in the morning – determined to learn the secrets behind Harry's blood and Parseltongue. Harry knew he would be killed if he survived the experiment.

In the dungeons alone with freezing blasts of wind from the tiny window, Harry had chanced upon a miracle, after finding the flask of Animagus Revelare Draft. He had drunk it in hopes that his Animagus would form would be small enough to allow him to escape through the window. It had worked.

He had no idea whether he was an eagle, a hawk, a falcon, a kite, a vulture or something entirely different; all he knew was that he had to squeeze through the little window and obtain his freedom. Stretching his wings, Harry had realised with horror that his left wing drenched in blood. It appeared the injuries remained with him even when he had transformed into a bird.

Praying the damage wasn't heavy enough to influence his flight, Harry had successfully hovered with a few flaps. His balance hadn't been exceedingly bad, even with the left wing dangling slightly. Cramming himself into the gap of the window was harder, and for a moment, Harry had feared he was stuck; trapped between freedom and the prison. But with one violent twist, he was free. He was free.

The wards had proved to be little of a challenge, not recognising Animagus from an ordinary bird. Nonetheless, with a body painted in heavy injuries, Harry tired quickly. He barely managed to make it into a secluded forest before his wing gave way and he collided head-first with the ground.

And the next thing Harry knew, he was here, recalling what had happened to him. He was rather comfortable, he supposed, compared to the agony of the night before.
Regrettably, all sane thoughts were wiped clean from his mind when the bedroom door opened…
To reveal Tom Marvolo Riddle.

Ignoring the stabs of pain, Harry pulled himself abruptly from the lying position into a sitting one. "Tom – Voldemort!" he hissed, readying himself for a duel.

Tom maintained his cool composure, drawling lazily, "You do not appear to have your wand on you, but if for some reason I am wrong, please allow me to set down your potions first before you lunge at me; they have taken a rather lengthy period to brew."

"Poisons, you mean," Harry sneered, glaring fiercely at the older Slytherin.

"Tell me, Harry, why would I poison you when I went through the trouble of saving your delicate, little life?" Tom said lightly. "Lie down before your ribs split again. I assure you I do not wish to go through the long and bothersome process of mending them for a second time."

Harry continued to glower defiantly at Tom, ignoring his comment about lying down. "You two-faced, silver-tongued creep."

Tom tutted disapprovingly. "I'm not sure that is a polite way to address your saviour; I revived you, although perhaps I ought to have left you to die as Lord Voldemort did."

"You are Voldemort, you cur!" Harry growled. "I'll kill you."

"I'd like to see you try," Tom answered stonily. "However, I am not truly Lord Voldemort; just as he is not truly me… thus you cannot fault me for his actions."

"You should've let me die. I'd rather have died than seen your face," Harry spat.

"And yet you once called me handsome."

"You act like your arrogance is a virtue. Maybe if you tried eating your own face you could be beautiful on the inside too," he retorted.

"Somehow," Tom began slowly, "I do not see you talking to Lord Voldemort so rudely. Do try and remember we share more or less the same soul."

"Let me go," Harry said. "You've no right to keep me here."

"If you feel that you are strong enough to make it out of this house, then by all means, try."

"Fine!" Harry snapped acidly. He swung his legs over the side of the bed and leaned onto the post for support, closing his eyes to the hurt that erupted in his ankle. Remarkably, his legs were steady enough to hold most of his weight.

Driven by a new determination to prove himself, Harry limped past Tom and across the room, stopping to hang on to the door knob and to catch his breath.

"Enough!" Tom finally said sharply. "You will stay whether you like it or not, even if I have to bind you to the bed."

Harry grasped the door knob firmly and pulled as hard as he could, but to his frustration, it remained close. "Blasted door!"

"When your stupidity outmatches another's by a mile, the cleverest thing to do would be to listen to them," Tom said. "Wingardium Levisosa."

As soon as Harry was dumped unceremoniously back on the bed, invisible ropes tightened around his middle, strapping him to the furniture.

Tom snapped his fingers and a potion flew into his hands. "You will either drink this voluntarily or I will pour it down your throat. I am sure you can figure for yourself which one will be more unpleasant."

Harry pursed his lips tightly, and raised his eyebrows boldly. No way was he ever going to obey Tom like a sick puppy.

"I suppose you choose the latter," Tom remarked in an indifferent tone. "All the more fun for me." His cold fingers gripped Harry's chin powerfully and prised his jaws forcefully open in a none-too-gentle hold while he used his other hand to uncork the potion and empty the whole dose in Harry's mouth.

Eyes stinging, Harry spluttered and choked on the liquid. "You!" he gasped. "You can't treat me like some animal!" The foul, acrid taste was still clinging on his tongue.

"Ready for the next potion?" Tom asked, reaching for Harry's jaws again.

"I'll drink it myself!" Harry said hastily. "But you have to tell me what it is."

"The first potion you drank was a simple Calming Draught," Tom said. "This one is a darker version of Skele-Gro; harder to brew, less pain for the drinker and regrows the bones in a notably faster time."

When Harry had hesitantly downed the second potion, Tom instantly produced three other bottles. "Pain Relief Potion, Essence of Dittany and Strengthening Solution."

Harry made a protesting sound at the back of his throat. "This can't possibly be healthy, drinking so many various potions at once."

"Oh, I won't harm you, Harry," Tom drawled mockingly. "Not when we are such good friends."

"Who left me at Voldemort's mercy if not you?" Harry demanded. "You slinked back to your precious portrait and waited for a chance to escape."

"Drink your potions, Harry," Tom said dismissively, "and we will talk about this over breakfast."


Somehow, a part of Harry was gratified to see the breakfast tray being carried to the bed where he could slump back against the soft pillows and savour the splendid tastes. There were so many delicious dishes on the tray: bacon, eggs, waffles, cinnamon rolls and strawberry tarts.

To his displeasure, Tom placed a giant bowl of grey, gooey porridge in front of him and smirked. "Your stomach cannot properly digest normal food yet."

Harry stared as Tom sat down on the other side of the bed with the laden tray and breakfasted on a strawberry tart. He was suddenly reminded of Voldemort. "I'm not eating this," he said.

Tom raised a sardonic eyebrow. "It seems that the luxurious life with the Dark Lord has refined your tastes, however, I will not provide you anything else. You will either eat or starve."

Gloomily, Harry picked up the spoon swirled the gruel with it. It looked disgusting, like something a pig would eat. It chased the last of his appetite away.

"You seem to require encouragement," Tom observed. "I suppose you are curious about how Voldemort and I, being the same person, can exist at the same time." Harry's ears perked up at the words. "Eat your porridge and I will tell you."

Harry looked down at the sickening slop in aversion, but a hunger for information drove him to swallow his first mouthful. It didn't taste as awful as he thought it would.

"Have you ever heard of Horcruxes?" Tom said. "It is the darkest of the Dark Arts, born from magic so dangerous that many dark wizards never dared to touch it, so exotic that few have heard of it. It is made through the darkest of all acts – murder." Eyes widening comically, Harry forgot to continue eating.

"Horcruxes, a magical item created through the murder of another human, can ensure one's immortality. They are immune to all spells but one and almost all matters. If a Horcrux is destroyed, its owner would be no different from other mortals, and Lord Voldemort wished to avoid that," Tom said. "He made six. Or so he thought. There was a seventh Horcrux, made purely by accident, a seventh Horcrux he is still unaware of."

"What is it?" Harry asked.

"We will get to that later," Tom said dispassionately. "If you put two and two together, you will realise I am one of Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes."

"The portrait!" Harry exclaimed.

"Clever boy. However, I am not a mere Horcrux anymore, or rather, I changed shape; from a portrait into a live being. With my own body, I am no longer his to control, no longer his to command, but because I contain a shard of his soul he cannot destroy me unless he wishes to destroy a piece of himself."

"You are immune from Voldemort," Harry said.

"I am. I also share the Dark Lord's Horcruxes, making me immortal from all but those that may destroy a Horcrux," Tom said. "It is complicated; a Horcrux sharing Horcruxes, but you do not need to understand."

"That's disgusting," Harry said. "You were created through murder."

"Do try and remember you are calling a human being 'disgusting'," Tom said, dryly.

"I think the word disgusting justifies the Horcrux containing Voldemort's soul perfectly," Harry hissed spitefully. "No wonder you are so similar to Voldemort."

"I am not an ordinary Horcrux; call me an advantageous combination between Horcrux and human if you wish. I can be destroyed through the same means as a Horcrux, but while objects are defenceless, I can effortlessly hold my own. I am also protected from the illnesses and ways that may kill a human, as long as Lord Voldemort's other Horcruxes are safe," Tom said.

"It's revolting. Do you know which innocent's death brought about your existence?" Harry said. "Creatures like you shouldn't even be allowed to live."

"Ouch. How hurtful can you be, Harry?" Tom asked evenly. "But that is rather a hypocritical comment, seeing as you are a Horcrux yourself."

Harry stopped dead, feeling goosebumps popping up his arms. He waited for the smug look to cross Tom's face as he told Harry how foolish he was to believe such a thing… but nothing of the sort reassured Harry.

"Surprised?" Tom smirked. "You are Lord Voldemort's seventh and final Horcrux, Harry; you have a piece of his soul inside you. Tell me exactly how appalling you find yourself."

Opening his dry mouth in search of suitable words, Harry found himself stunned into speechlessness. He was the result of a murder, he was a tool that kept Voldemort immortal, he was a spawn of the darkest magic; he was a Horcrux.

"Only the Dark Lord's blood has the capacity to free me from the portrait. Why do you think a few drops of your blood managed to achieve only what Lord Voldemort's could? Why do you think you were able to speak Parseltongue?"

"Whose- whose death?" Harry rasped softly.

"That is something you have no need to know," Tom said.

"Tell me! Whose death?"

"Do not say I did not warn you," Tom responded. "It was the death of Lily Evans, the death of your mother, which transformed you from a normal child into Voldemort's Horcrux."

"I'm the reason she died," Harry said quietly. "She died because of me."

"A touching conclusion, but she did not die because of you… Rather you became a Horcrux because of her."
Tom's eyes hardened as if daring Harry to argue. "It was purely an accident. The Dark Lord's soul, tattered from being split on so many accounts, let loose a small portion when he killed Lily Evans. Unknown to him, it attached itself to you, Harry Potter who were merely an infant at the time."

"How come you know when Voldemort himself didn't?" Harry breathed. It felt as though his whole world had collapsed upon him and caved him in.

"Horcruxes are sensitive towards the arrival of a new… brother or sister," Tom explained. "It comes to them as a tingling and then as excruciating agony. Being a portrait, I attained my human intelligence and was able to recognise the true cause of the sensation."

He smiled smugly. "Over close contact with you, the Dark Lord should have sensed a connection, a pull of magic. Luckily for us, the distance between the two of you, the lack of interaction between the two of you ensued that the mind link dulled enough to deceive him. You did not inherit Lord Voldemort's qualities until you had spent the majority of your time within a few metres to him."

"What do you mean?"

"The contact of you blood with me combined with the close contact with the Dark Lord awoke some of the connection. You began to speak Parseltongue," Tom said eerily. "More of the connection is waking; Harry, and soon your mind link will be at Lord Voldemort's disposal. You can only pray that he remains ignorant of it."

"Why? Why does a mind link matter so much?"

"The first reason being that a mind link provides an easy invasion of your mind; Voldemort will access it more smoothly than using Legilimency. The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by any invader. The mind is a complex and many-layered thing..."

"You mean that if he knows about it, then he'll be able to read my mind?"

"More than that," Tom said grimly. "Read it, control it, unhinge it. In the past it was often the Dark Lord's pleasure to invade the minds of his victims, creating visions designed to torture them into madness. Only after extracting the last exquisite ounce of agony, only when he had them literally begging for death would he finally –"

"Anything else?" Harry interrupted, not eager to hear the rest of the sentence.

"The second reason being that if he discovers a mind link, he will eventually draw the conclusion that you are a Horcrux. After that, the colony of Death Eaters will be hunting for you."

Harry shuddered. "There must be a way to prevent him from entering."

"There is always a way. My mind is fully protected from an assault by the Dark Lord," Tom said. "Occlumency."


Inside the great meeting room, the atmosphere was tense. Every cautious breath inhaled was an indication of bleakness.

Over fifty figures in black robes were kneeled on the floor, crafting an image of a dark sea. Fifty powerful Death Eaters, all of them members of the Inner Circle and each with an entire legion of lower-ranked followers to command, were pressed against the floor in a display of united obedience.

At the very front of the room, Dark Lord Voldemort stood forebodingly with his wand twirling between his pale fingers. His face was a blank mask, not betraying his true feelings or allowing even a droplet of emotion to leak past. "Rise, Lucius."

A figure close to the front reluctantly got up from his knees. Locks of platinum blonde hair fell out from under his hood. "My Lord…" he began oily, but the effect was ruined by the tinges of apprehension in his voice, "my Lord, Dumbledore has not yet been recovered… However, I have confidence that he soon will be. The old man is nothing against your power –"

"Can you promise me you will capture Dumbledore, Lucius? After all, you are only repeating what you said last time. I once told you; time is one luxury I do not have, and yet I have given you time. Ten hours have passed and Dumbledore along with Grindelwald and McGonagall are all still roaming free!"

Lucius cringed. "I… I cannot make promises, my Lord. Your Death Eaters are trying their best –"

"Their best is not enough," Voldemort hissed softly. "If I do not hear of anything regarding Dumbledore's whereabouts, you will be held responsible. Take that into consideration when you return to your search, Lucius."

The Dark Lord scanned the Inner Circle with disgust. "I confess myself disappointed by the lack of competence on your part. Dumbledore's continued existence combined with Grindelwald's means the continuance of my trouble. With the exception of a selected few, you fools have all been put on Dumbledore's trail…and yet you bring me nothing but bad news."

"Those of you who never fail to fail me will see the last days of their pathetic lives should they continue to fail me. Many of you present underestimate the power of Dumbledore and Grindelwald united. Against the odds, they have reunified – and if they are not stopped, our hard work will be erased. Bellatrix, come forward."

The sinister shape of the loyal female Death Eater moved lithely towards the Dark Lord and she came to a stop at a respectful distance, observing her master in a manner of adoration from under her hooded eyes.

"Have you brought any news of success, Bellatrix?"

"Yes, my Lord. Your orders have all been completed. The Ministry Death Eaters have added the finishing touches to ensue that news of Dumbledore's insincere death, and the recent escape will not seep into the wizarding society for the time being," she assured.

"Very good. Once the people hear of Dumbledore's return, the pillars of the wizarding world will crumple. It must not happen. I will punish those of you who have dissatisfied me accordingly after this meeting."

In a matter of seconds, the Dark Lord had swept out of the room with the intention of visiting Harry Potter. The secrets behind the brat's Parseltongue ability had to be investigated. The little traitor had to be kept alive for the time being.

As Lord Voldemort strode into the dungeons with a thick aura of dark magic behind him, he approached the cell which held Potter.

To his disbelief, the cell was empty of all by a pool of dried blood. Harry Potter had escaped. Voldemort's uncontrollable wrath lashed out at the roof and brought a part of it crumbling down. It whipped out of the room with unmatchable ferocity and shook the entire manor.

Before long, every Death Eater had been alerted that something had gone terribly wrong.

I welcome constructive criticism as well as positive feedback! Stay tuned for the next chapter (which will be much more exciting).