Disclaimer: Neither the story or the characters belong to me, they are the property of J.K. Rowling and Parvati-Blossom. I am just a humble translator who wanted to share this amazing story with all of you.
Warning: This story contains strong language and images. We are dealing with the dark side here! Please keep that in mind.
A/N: This is the last chapter. Parvati mentioned she is working on an epilogue, which she has been for some time. But she is extremely busy, so there is no tentative date. If she ever publishes it, I promise you I will translate it as soon as I am physically capable. In the meantime, she does know English, so feel free to look her up and send her plenty of reviews. I am sure she would like to know how many people enjoyed her story and would like her to continue.
For me, it has been a wonderful experience to revisit this story, one of the first I ever read many years ago when she first published it on a different website, and I am very thankful that she allowed me to translate it and be a part of it.
And now, I give you the last chapter of River Styx.
Fortress of the Dark Order
June 22nd, 2005
Hermione found it odd when the elves informed her that neither of the Dark Lords where in the Fortress as she woke up from her nap. It was an unusual situation as, since the attack they suffered in February, they had tried to alternate their absences for better security. She was also alarmed by the fact that it had not been a programmed absence, but she guessed it was nothing risky… probably a political meeting.
Thus, she settled on continuing with her routine. She fed the twins and played with them until they were exhausted and needed another nap. After, she took a book she had left unfinished the day before on elemental magic and practiced for some time as she needed to work on her element after months of not having access to it because of her pregnancy. Once done with such activities she looked at the time and was alarmed as, if it had been a typical meeting, they would not have taken longer than two hours and it had been three since she woke up. Besides, Voldemort had never missed her appointment with Kathleen. He was always there to visit the twins at six o'clock despite any obstacles.
She called the elves and questioned them on the location of their masters but none of them gave up any information even when Hermione ordered them starting to panic. She had to take a calming draught that one of the elves provided her to control her thoughts and focus. She decided to go to her husband's study and search it for clues on his location or occupation before she resorted to the emergency plans they had set. She used a disillusionment charm to avoid being detected by the death eaters, who thought her dead, but could not avoid Nagini who was sliding through the hallways and whose sense of smell could not be deceived by such charm.
The snake stopped in front of her and started hissing insistently. Hermione guessed she was reprimanding her for not being with her children, so she chose to ignore her and continued her walk. But the reptile did not stop and surrounded her legs with her tail in such way that she almost made her fall as she completely immobilized her. She sighed slightly frustrated for being returned to her quarters and forced to rethink her plan, but, contrary to her expectations, Nagini led her in the opposite direction, to the main entrance.
Once she caught her attention the snake freed her and Hermione understood she needed to discretely follow her. They crossed the entire fortress until they reached the grounds and then went to the area that she immediately recognized as the usually assigned for death eater apparitions. With wand in hand, as the situation was worrisome enough and it was turning dangerous with the risk of kidnapping, she got closer.
At first she did not understand what her eyes were seeing. She saw three bodies, two lying there and the other one on their knees next to them, the back toward her. There was blood on the floor, on the robes… and the smell pervaded the area. She was paralyzed until she saw Nagini getting close to the individual and lovingly surrounded them, trying her best not to hurt them.
It was Harry. She ran toward him, kneeling by his side, and turned his face to examine him. He had several wounds, possibly all over his body, but the worst was his look… lost, disengaged. The green in his eyes had even turned so dark that it was almost black. As much as she shook him and even slapped him, he did not react. Then, Hermione lowered her eyes and discovered the reason behind his absence.
The face was not recognizable, completely burned. His red eyes, the same shade as the blood all over his body, was what allowed her to identify him. His body seemed dislocated, shred. Hermione had never seen wounds like that. They seemed the product of an explosion or extreme radiation…
Incapable of continuing her inspection she turned to see the other body and screamed when she noticed it was a girl. Her maternal instinct made her immediately inspect her body and was calmed when she noticed she was alive and not at risk. She was wounded, but not severely… She was just unconscious. She was vaguely familiar, but she could not…
They had gone to rescue Sheila.
She took a deep breath and projected. Harry needed her rational and calm. She called the elves to have them transported and get their wounds treated, but they were only able to take Sheila as Harry's magic was holding onto Voldemort, practically as a shield that did not allow the use of any magic on them. Both Nagini and Hermione had tried to convince him to stop, but neither was able to break the heir out of his shock. To add to her fear, Hermione realized that his magic was trying to heal Voldemort instead of focusing on his own wounds. Useless. The Dark Lord was dead and Harry was putting himself at risk, diminishing his magical reserves that he would need for his own recovery.
She shook him, screamed, cried… but nothing could get him out of his reverie. Magic was not working on him. He seemed immune, undisturbed by everything around him. However, Nagini embraced him in such way that Hermione feared she would suffocate him, and after a moment of suspense, she bit him. By instinct, and because she had her wand on her hand, Hermione cast a cutting curse toward her to separate her from Filldeserp, which she proceeded to do. Unable to understand why the snake had bitten her master she hugged her husband and he gave in to her arms… asleep.
She understood that Nagini must have a kind of sleeping poison which she had used to numb Harry's magic, which had stopped acting as soon as he fell unconscious. The elves were then able to take care of their masters and lead them to the healers they had called to help.
Surprisingly, instead of taking her usual place on the beds of her masters while the healers tried to do their work under her piercing stare, Nagini placed herself for the first time on Hermione's shoulder and they remained together, perhaps mutually comforting each other in shared silence. And Hermione knew that it was not with threat why Nagini showed her venomous fangs… Nagini was crying in her hissing.
Lord Voldemort had fallen.
Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix
June 23, 2005
She had been sleeping very peacefully in that opening that she loved between Neville's chest and shoulders, with the auror's arm on her back, covering her from the rest of the world. She had dreamed of an empty beach, except for the two of them, where they could relax and fly… But Albus Dumbledore's bright patronus had woken them up, insisting they needed to get to headquarters immediately. Both Neville's and Ginny's professions, and the tension caused by the war, had trained them to wake up and react quickly, but she wished she was less responsible so she could enjoy the pleasure of being together for longer…
But that was an impossible parallel world. In less than fifteen minutes they were in their respective seats in the general meeting room. Nobody present knew the reason of the call, but, as usual, they waited patiently until everyone was there and Dumbledore made his entrance. The old wizard entered unusually accompanied by Lucas de Santos and Francisco Garcia. Both had a terrible look that made obvious the fact they had participated in some combat. The Order watched them with caution while they took their seats as they were the same men who had deserted the fight only months before. Everyone knew they had done it because of the girl, Cecilia, but many still held a grudge. The light needed them and they had ran to the East.
Albus stood at the head of the table and wished everyone a good morning at the same time as his serious expression silenced any lingering whisper.
"This morning Lucas and Francisco returned to England and got in contact with me to inform us of urgent news that will affect the fate of our magical community. Yesterday, the earth elementals in China and our Spanish aurors fought against Voldemort and Filldeserp over Cecilia, Lucas' daughter as you must all remember."
Ginny took notice of the significant absence of the girl and of Javier Martinez as the Hogwarts headmaster took a dramatic pause.
"Yesterday afternoon, Lord Voldemort was killed by Filldeserp during their escape."
For what seemed like a minute nobody moved or spoke. They looked at each other, flabbergasted, not knowing how to react. Those were news they had been wishing to listen for decades, and at the same time, now that they heard them, there was no possible immediate celebration. In one sentence, the evil had been destroyed and increased.
"Filldeserp? Does this mean that rumors of a separation are true?" Shacklebolt said, the first to recover a rational voice.
"It is possible," Dumbledore glanced at Lucas before continuing. "Lucas does not know how intentional or premeditated the kill was, or if it was an accident. It happened in the midst of a magical explosion which cause and nature neither Lucas nor Francisco can determine, and none of the surviving earth elementals wishes to explain, perhaps they cannot."
"But… are they sure Voldemort is dead? Could it not be a trick to deceive us and…?" Moody questioned.
"I saw it with my own eyes," Lucas assured them. "If he could survive that… he truly is immortal. Magic attacked only him at a determined moment… Francisco and I survived by mere luck, some ruins protected us and we were able to escape, but Voldemort only got closer and was completely exposed. It is impossible he resisted. He fell inert to the ground and Filldeserp then broke out of his trance or whatever it was. He disapparated with him and with… Sheila."
Several then reacted, finally understanding and accepting the news. Voldemort had been defeated by his own side. Some began crying and others to question, but Ginny remained full of uncertainty. In another context, the victory of Harry Potter would have meant joy and exaltation. Even now, if Ginny allowed herself to dream, she could imagine that Harry had not betrayed them but had worn the heir and dark wizard's costume to gain Voldemort's trust and kill him from the inside, and they would now return to be a normal magical community, free of death.
But she was not stupid. If Filldeserp had intentionally killed Voldemort, it meant that the young Dark Lord was more powerful and was planning of taking charge of the war… which were still not good news for the Order. It was a relief not having to keep watch over another Dark Lord, but… if Filldeserp had won against Voldemort and had done so by exhibiting some extraordinary magic, could they really be comforted? Because of Hermione's dead, Filldeserp must be seeking revenge… Voldemort was perhaps only the first step.
No, as much as she made the effort, Ginny could not feel happy. She saw the smiles, the hugs, the tears… and she felt detached, at a distance. It was not the reality. She looked at Lucas and saw despair in his eyes. His partner had died and he had lost his daughter, perhaps forever… and the Order celebrated in front of him. Within the ecstasy they were already planning new ambushes, with the fortress as the preferred target, to take advantage of the Darkness' moment of weakness… they could balance the strengths in the battle, the Darkness did not have all the cards anymore. They had to cause a fracture within the death eaters, using the press as the spark. Not everyone would accept Filldeserp as their Lord now…
It was too disturbing. Ginny could not take it. She left the room and locked herself in the kitchen. She sat down and began crying, not knowing why. She was exhausted, perhaps there were too many emotions or she was so hurt by her inability to feel like a regular human being.
Neville entered and embraced her. Ginny tried to stand up as she felt Nev was always the one comforting her… and always in the kitchen. But he told her to cry, that it was alright to cry death, especially for her who fought so much for life. Neville, with his kind heart, held her silently at a moment in which any other would have suspected treason.
They remained there for a long time, apart from the rest. He told her the rest of the Order had started a celebration meal and had communicated the newspapers about Voldemort to have it out on that day's edition.
Ginny, in the meantime, tried to understand his own reaction. The happiness had perhaps been so odd that she was incapable of feeling it. Or, as Neville had pointed out, as a healer she was incapable of celebrating death. But she should be able to feel some satisfaction of the little light, the hope, the renewal of strength to fight that seemed to have invaded the Order. It was the opportunity they needed to inspire the magical community to overcome their fears and to rebel.
Voldemort, who had killed members of her family and destroyed her closest friendships, had been destroyed! And she was crying?
…And if it had been an accident? And if Filldeserp was at that moment crying like she was, but alone, and perhaps full of hatred and darkness? He had lost his wife, his child, and his father in five months…
Was she sorry for him? Or was she sorry for the fate of the magical community?
Yes, she was sorry for Filldeserp. She had seen him, for only a few minutes, with Hermione in February and, despite everything he had done, she could not hate him. He had been sweet with her, and had even let them go, them, his enemies, who had been ready to kill his partner. He was human.
At one point Shacklebolt entered the kitchen and asked for their presence in the meeting. He announced they were planning an attack for that same evening, to take advantage of the moment of weakness, and that they needed the information they could provide.
When they returned to their seats, Ginny found out that the destination was St. Mungo's, her workplace. For year it had been under the unofficial control of the death eaters, who openly benefitted of the service despite being well-known criminals, and the Order had resolved to recover the building as it was strategically beneficial. They could deny health services to everyone with a death mark and ensure their own services after an attack. The problem was that the recovery had to be violent and without a warning, which meant, with patients inside.
"Shouldn't we take into account the possible innocent victims we will cause if we attack this way?" Ginny immediately argued.
The Order dismissed the possibility. They were too excited to consider it. They would triumph, they would restore the law to the magical world.
If there were victims, they had to accept them for the well of the community… or so they hinted.
Incapable of stopping it or of not participating by not providing the information they needed as she was a loyal member of the Order of the Phoenix just like everyone else in her family, she had resigned to the paradox of life and death.
Once she made her logistical support, Albus asked her to attend to Lucas as he was not sure he had received enough medical attention. He led her to the kitchen, where she felt more comfortable, away from the planning, and she began to examine him.
His eyes were red and with bags. He probably had not slept and had been crying. The severe wounds had been treated with emergency spells, so Ginny was just in charge of finishing the job. From what she could tell, it truly had been luck what kept him alive.
"Darkness had reached us all," De Santos said when she mentioned it.
"I am sorry about Javier… and Cecilia," Ginny said after some silence.
"Lucas clenched his fists and closed his eyes. His bottom lip was shaking and Ginny had to hold back her instinct to take a step back. The Spanish seemed ready to hit something.
"Cecilia… it's been some time since I thought of her with that name," Lucas laughed with bitterness. "She refused to be called that, she even attacked us… we had to give in and start treating her like Sheila. I guess I had gotten used to it… but… I never got her back. I had to accept what was for the dark and live with it… She lived asking for him, and she barely spoke to me. And now she got what she wanted."
Ginny did not interrupt him. She was surprised he was opening up to her, whom he had rarely spoken, but she was used to her patients talking to her. It was another way of healing. Neville was sure they felt her compassion and that encouraged them to talk.
"I've lost her. I've failed her again, to her and Sara. I couldn't save her, I couldn't free her… the elementals refuse to help me now. They say their bond is deeper than they thought… that they can't do anything for me anymore, and they can't take part in this war either."
She felt sorry for him. He was a desperate man, frustrated, with an unfinished mission in his life, but without any hope. He had forgotten about her and was talking for the sake of talking, because he needed to release his load. He needed to feel like someone, to be held, to be restrained.
"The only way I have to free her from him is to kill him," he chuckled. "I have to kill to bring back life, do you get it? I can do it, Merlin knows I hate him enough not to do it… but now, with what I've seen, can I? That amount of magic, at the service of a monster… and even if I can kill him…
And abyss was what his eyes were showing. Ginny embraced herself, as she shivered from sudden cold.
"Could I get Sheila back… or Cecilia? Her original memories are lost forever, unless I agree to her losing her sanity. She is loyal to him… she won't forgive me if I kill him. I even thought of erasing her memories of Filldeserp and rebuild… well, build, another past for us…" he frowned, tormented. "Then I realized I had been defeated because I was willing to be like him, like Filldeserp."
Ginny lowered her eyes. Everyone was dark and light, she wanted to say, but the auror continued.
"It would be another way to destroy Sheila's mind, already susceptible from so many abuses… so I should just resign myself and let her be happy with him, right?" he spat with sarcasm. "With that monster, who ruins everything he touches? No. I will take my revenge and I will kill him. Even if it costs me my daughter… I will kill him."
She had to believe him. Lucas was staring at her with a conviction set on disdain and horror. Few times had Ginny been witness of such an intense testimony and promise that silenced her and numbed her completely. She remembered the ghost of Tom Riddle in the Chamber of Secrets when he had possessed her and taken her there, and had sworn, when she was about to lose consciousness, that he would kill Harry Potter and everything would be her fault, for being such a naïve and coward girl. She could almost distinguish that same red glow in Lucas' eyes.
Everyone had the potential to be Lord Voldemort… it was their actions, their choices, what led their paths. Ginny knew then that she was not willing to close her eyes to injustice, to the possibility of people suffering. She did not want to be Voldemort. She was not willing to give in to darkness for the greater good.
Even if it meant betrayal,she was choosing life, choosing to protect innocence. In the same choice, light and darkness.
She had to contact the Unspeakable.
Fortress of the Dark Order
June 23, 2005
The prophecy fulfilled: Voldemort ends at the hands of Filldeserp
Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts and main leader of the resistance against the dark forces, has revealed the news of the death of the feared Dark Lord. According to professor Dumbledore's sources, yesterday afternoon the Dark Lords attempted to ambush the shelter of a few Spanish aurors in China who were attempting to form an alliance with some eastern magical users.
During the assault, in which more than a dozen people perished, the Dark Lords battled against each other for the supremacy of power in the Dark Arts. Such episode destroyed their location and only a few witnesses were able to find shelter. They assure to have witnessed the death of Lord Voldemort, leader of the death eaters for more than three decades, at the hands of Filldeserp, his heir, previously known as Harry Potter, who had been chosen by a well-known prophecy given by Sybill Trelawney in 1979 to defeat Voldemort. His dead occurred around six in the afternoon, product of a powerful charm of unknown black magic.
The Ministry of Magic has confirmed this information through the registry of Wizards and Witches, established in 2000 for the detection of life energy from every person in the British Isles. This registry has not failed since then and has given the community the possibility to discover hidden attacks and fake deaths.
The magical community can rest better today. One of its main terrorists is no longer among us. Albus Dumbledore, however, insists in the need to remain alert and continue fighting against the darkness that threatens our peace.
The article from the Daily Prophet disintegrated on Filldeserp's hands together with every glass still standing in the room. The elves cried and hurried to fix them, but they would break again. Nagini put some pressure in one of his arms to calm him down and bring him back.
He had recovered consciousness an hour before. He refused to speak about what happened, not caring about Hermione's stubbornness. He was told several healers had been needed to stabilize his health and despite it all, he remained weak and held in bed by Nagini and his wife. They had forbidden him to use his magic, as according to the healers it had been severely affected and would need months to recover. From what they could guess, he had absorbed the magic of some other user and because of its foreign nature his body rejected it.
He would not satisfy their curiosity, but Filldeserp knew that the foreign magic was Voldemort's. In some way, during the clash, the elemental magic that occurred as product of the connection between Sheila and him had extirpated the magic of the Dark Lord and he had assimilated a large portion of it. Due to Filldeserp having darker magic, Voldemort's magic had been more attracted to him than Sheila, which had led him into magical collapse because of the excess. Until he learned to handle it, if that was possible, he would be like a five year old with accidental and very temperamental magic.
Just what he needed. After the discovery a very hesitant Hermione had given him the Prophet that had just arrived. Had she never heard of the saying 'do not add more fuel to the fire'? Because the Prophet had been a large container of gasoline.
So, that damned Albus Dumbledore was trying to use the occasion to reverse the war situation. A duel between Voldemort and him… with survivors? Was there something more unlikely? Arguing that he had intentionally killed his father, merely for power, was the perfect ambush. He did not want to imagine how the death eaters would react to the news… and he was confined to a room with a snake who would not leave him lift a finger.
"Calm down Harry. Calm down or you will lose control of the magic!"
He tried to take a deep breath, but blood was boiling in his veins. That old man deserved to die by his hands, he swore it.
A house elf fell to the floor while screaming and convulsing in pain. His death was such a grotesque spectacle that he did not even need to move any muscle that Nagini was stopping. He only wanted to unleash his anger on someone and the elf turned out to be the perfect victim…
"Thank you for the breakfast, Harry, but you didn't have to," the snake mocked him.
While Nagini was eating Hermione was in charge of holding him and calm him down. He did not understand how, but the snake and his wife had a very unusual agreement against him. She tried to convince him to relax by sharing the events, but Harry refused again. He knew both females were trying to help him and deserved to know the truth of the events, but it was too recent. She would not understand it. Even when he woke up, he had not believed it.
Sheila was alive and healthy in the next room. Hermione had told him the girl had not left his side through the night so it had been necessary to medicate her to separate her from him by force. They had asked him if he wanted to see her, but he considered that the day before had been exhausting enough to disrupt his rest. He had wanted to see his children, but once they discovered the instability of his magic, he chose to protect them by abstaining from them.
Hermione had informed Anthony and Austen of the situation, who had in turn notified Phinehas and other prominent figures among his allies. But his wife refused to let them into the room until he had finished breakfast and taken all of his medications.
He really felt like a five year old child.
He had to follow their rules. He felt better afterwards, although not strong enough to get out of bed, to his frustration. He would have wanted to kill the reporter from the Prophet himself, but he had to assign the mission to one of the death eaters who was still loyal to him. With luck, there would be one left.
Anthony and Phinehas entered together. They had absolutely different moods. The death eater was quiet and agitated while the vampire was jubilant and his gestures were calm and measured, as if Voldemort's death had been orchestrated from long before by them and it did not mean a change in strategy. He insisted they did not have to worry, that it was a new age for the Darkness…
Filldeserp would have hated to lose control in front of his subjects, but he thanked Hermione mentally for her insistence on the medicines, which had calmed his magic. The glass around him shook slightly, but it was quickly stabilized.
Anthony did not bring praising like Phinehas. The death eaters had felt the disturbance in their dark marks the day before, for which they had traveled to the Fortress the night before to investigate. Even if Hermione tried to make sure the healers had no contact with the outside world and made them swear they would not reveal anything of what they had discovered, one of the elves was found by a death eater grieving for its master. Rumors had spread and the Prophet had fallen like a slap to their faces.
Anthony was sure that the situation could be contained as long as Filldeserp appeared imposing enough.
"It doesn't matter if the Dark Lord was killed intentionally or not, milord. You must use the news in your favor," the death eater said as soon as he noticed his Lord's hesitation. "This is the opportunity we have been waiting to get rid of the death eaters disloyal to the Cause, too focused on themselves to serve properly to the Dark… This can be the test that unifies us for the pure Cause!"
"There is only one small problem with your plan, Anthony," Hermione was not able to resist the passionate speech and interrupted him. "Harry is in no condition to lead. The healers have given him the strongest potions they were able to make, and even so…"
"If the death eaters suspect weakness, milord, or if the Order itself were to find out…" He shut up, suddenly overwhelmed by an idea. "Will the barriers in the Fortress hold now that the Dark Lord is gone?"
"I hold a certain portion of Lord Voldemort's magic… enough for the barriers to remain for some time. But as soon as I assimilate the magic, the protections will lose one of its keystones… then they will not be reliable," he paused and tried to think of the best way to solve future problems. "The death eaters will inevitably be suspicious if I do not show myself before them, and the rumor will rapidly spread throughout England… the Order will want to take advantage of the moment, but, what will they attack first?"
"The fortress," Goldstein mentioned. "They have to attack directly or they take the risk to lose the power of a surprise attack. If they do it soon, they won't give us time to organize all the death eaters…"
"We must leave this place," Hermione urged them. "Let's go to Godric's Hollow."
"No. If I leave the fortress, everything will be lost. It is of the most importance to keep our image, to keep the trust of those who might still be loyal…"
"They can't see you! Any perception they might have of you is already ruined. You must recover at a safe location and then you can…"
"By then we would have lost control over our main forces in the Ministry, in St. Mungo's, and even at Hogwarts," Anthony countered.
"There is a solution," Phinehas suddenly proclaimed. "There is a way for Filldeserp to quickly recover his strength… complete recovery could take a month, but it would work to immediately take care of appearances." The vampire's dark eyes stared at Filldeserp in victory and satisfaction. "I offer you my blood, Lord Filldeserp, so Darkness may reign again under our prosperous stars."
Harry had to admire its brilliance. He probably had the answer before he even entered the room and had allowed the discussion to develop to exploit the atmosphere. A vampire rarely offered its powerful blood to mere mortals as it was considered a dishonor. Besides, he had called for that which united them, Darkness, and the honor of the pact was at play as well. If Filldeserp refused, he would not only be refusing the help of an ally, but also of magic's progeny… he would sin of pride."
He had never drank vampire blood, but it was said that it was one of the strongest healing substances in the universe. Nevertheless, he could not help but be wary. The last time he had been at the mercy of count Phinehas he had violated his mental protections and had incapacitated him for a significant amount of time, only to amplify his proposal.
The vampire openly smiled and extended his arms to make another inspiring argument, but he was stopped by the abrupt intrusion of Cailean Austen. He was extraordinarily not as calm as Filldeserp expected him, but extremely agitated and gasping, probably from the effort of running to reach them.
"You are late, Austen," Filldeserp pointed out. "Have you not woken up on time?"
"The Order…" He said as he tried to catch his breath. "The Order will attack St. Mungo's tonight."
"And how have you reached this insane conclusion?" Anthony spat.
"Ginny Weasley looked for me at the Department of Mysteries to inform me. She does not want innocent lives to perish, so she asks us to evacuate or ensure the patients protection."
"Ginny? Ginny said that?" Hermione asked with disbelief. "She would never betray the Order…"
"It must be a trap… to have us distracted at St. Mungo's while they attack the Fortress. It's obvious," Anthony pointed out.
"Do you think I'm an idiot?" Austen replied. "I asked her to swear it on her magic and that, to her knowledge, there was not another attack planned. She did, without even resisting. She was truly desperate for the patients."
"At this rhythm we will have more allies in the Order than outside," Filldeserp commented with irony. "It is logical… it is her workplace, and she wants to protect her people. And she is a Weasley, so she is impulsive. At what time will the attack take place?"
"At eight. As soon as visiting hours are over."
"We will have enough time to call for the inner circle and arrange the defense. Anthony is right, this is the ideal occasion to test the death eater's loyalty." He took a deep breath and prayed to Darkness to bless his following decision. "I accept your offer, Count Phinehas."
"I am pleased by your resolution, Lord Filldeserp. However, I must point out that the blood will not bring you back for tonight's fight, it is too soon. You will need daily doses for at least a week to recover to that stage… For today you will only have the appearance you need for the meeting."
"How can I expect my men to respect me when they realize I am not accompanying them to St. Mungo's?" He asked, furious by the count's manipulations.
"You must insinuate that it is an insignificant attack, which does not need for your presence… because you have allie who are capable and devout, unlike Lord Voldemort's." Phinehas showed an evil smile, showing his white fangs. "The Henkel clan and its associates will defend St. Mungo's with the death eaters because Filldeserp is the Lord they were waiting for. And vampires support their own."
The Order of the Phoenix arrived at St. Mungo's after some infiltration work and they centralized their positions, not finding anything out of the ordinary. Ginny, who had been working her shift at the time, was confused by the lack of movement from Filldeserp's subjects. No patient had been evacuated. No one suspicious had been seen while she patrolled the hallways. When the time for the attack and for their plain to kidnap the death eaters who led the institution arrived, however, a group of aurors held their offensive and sealed the entrances and exits to the building, as if the roles had been reversed. Alastor Moody wanted to inform the aurors that it was a secret mission of the Order, but even so the aurors were planning on apprehending them and stopping the light's victory.
Kingsley Shacklebolt was the first to resign himself to the events and to switch from defensive to offensive spells, with which he quickly defeated one of his ministry's coworkers. But when he got closer to confirm he had not caused any lethal damage, he discovered he had been a death eater by the dark mark on his arm.
All costumes then came off and the Order of the Phoenix recognized that they were not only fighting death eaters, but also vampires, who had taken advantage of the sunset to appear and completely destroy the Order's plans, which could not ask for reinforcements from the Ministry due to the extra-official nature of the attack.
The Order was able to escape, but the damage was done. The allies of the Dark had received the message.
Fortress of the Dark Order
June 30, 2005
After the declaration of loyalty by the Henkel clan several other vampire clans followed their example. Even outside of England vampire attacks intensified as a show of trust and enthusiasm for the spread of Darkness. They took as tradition to draw the dark mark with blood on the buildings they attacked and they joined in on death eater operations.
Always encouraged by the eternal rivalry between the races, lycanthropes did not take long in showing their devotion, even clans that had been previously peaceful and almost neutral in the war.
The magical community had entered a state of panic. Contrary to the first articles in the Daily Prophet, whose main reporter soon disappeared, Lord Voldemort's death was no longer a sign of hope, but a milestone for the integration of magical creatures and dark wizards. Nobody would leave their houses at night as dementors frequented the streets, hunting for any unsuspecting individuals. It was even rumored that a group of banshee had isolated a magical town up north.
And all those creatures claimed Filldeserp as their Lord.
The Ministry of Magic in the meantime planned different ways to neutralize their enemies' disruption without results. Lack of trust between partners devastated any initiative. During one of the first dementor attacks they had sent a group of aurors to eliminate the threat. Each one of them lost their souls when they were surprised by a massive group of these. Since then aurors rarely answered requests of help from civilians, fearing ambushes. Vampire and werewolf extermination was ordered on sight which also led to civilian prosecution in which many innocents had been wrongly accused… and murdered.
When the press questioned the operation led by Albus Dumbledore against St. Mungo's and he accused the assembly of directors of the institution of being death eaters, a search was facilitated by the Ministry with no results. Each one of the people with administrative or important duties was free of the dark mark. As consequence, the Ministry sued Albus Dumbledore for damages and perjury to the organization, with temporary suspension of his rank in the Wizengamot, and the Prophet constantly debated the sanity of the Hogwarts headmaster.
If they had ordered the investigation two days before, the Ministry would have apprehended several important death eaters. However, Filldeserp had decided to eradicate the dark mark from those whose loyalty had been proven. The bond of servitude remained, but without a physical manifestation. It had been a necessary mark during Voldemort's era; but now it was time for change.
For those who insulted him and openly rebelled during the first general meetings he held after Voldemort's death, there was only torture and punishments. Several ended permanently residing in the dungeons of the fortress while others learned to respect the new order. But to none of them, nor to anyone whom he suspected of any hidden resentment, did Filldeserp release from the mark as an obvious symbol of their eternal connection to the fallen Dark Lord.
Filldeserp had particularly enjoyed tormenting Bellatrix Lestrange and had rejoiced in the opportunity of torturing her with the knowledge that her beloved Voldemort had been weak in comparison to him. The death eater had been prepared to duel against him for the honor of her fallen Lord, but Filldeserp had openly laughed at her and had reduced her to screams in seconds in front of a room full of death eaters.
He had enjoyed the moment in such way he was almost able to forget the bitter taste in his mouth while he discredited Lord Voldemort's memory to endure fear and servitude.
"Ready for your morning's favorite drink?"
Harry gave Phinehas a sharp look. The vampire was seating next to him in the dining room given that Hermione had been called by one of the elves to tend to a crying Keiran. In his hand there was a glass with a red substance that he gave Filldeserp.
The vampire blood proved to be highly effective. The same day of the attack to St. Mungo's he was able to organize the inner circle and plan the defense, as if nothing was wrong. Of course, he had to reduce as much as possible the use of his magic as his control was still unstable. As the week went by, his body began familiarizing with the substance to a point in which he feared addiction. He tried to abandon it on Monday, but when Phinehas placed it near him it was impossible to resist.
From what he could observe, the longer he drank the blood the slower the process was to assimilate Voldemort's magic. The vampire blood healed his wounds and tried to create a state of stability and calmness, while the magic demanded change and adaptation. They were two opposite movements, but it was evident that he could not quickly recover without the blood and he had accepted the slight disadvantage of his inconsistent magic.
He decided to appear indifferent to the glass and ignored it for the moment while he finished his breakfast. The orange juice, however, could not compare to the taste of blood. This one was paradisiac; so intense that the first time he had tasted it he had remember that unrestrained pleasure that Phinehas had exposed him to in November, when they shared the human meal. He suspected the vampire brought him more blood every day, but the glass was always the same size. He had assigned Hermione the task to investigate the secondary effects the blood could have on him, but she had not found anything dangerous. Perhaps it was only a sinister pleasure for the count.
"I have heard that the Kunz clan has joined your forces, Filldeserp. It is not necessary for me to warn you of the treacherous nature of those dirty…"
"I appreciate your warning, Phinehas, but I think your judgment is infected by the history that divides you. Perhaps this is the moment for a truce between clans, would you not agree?" He suggested, amused by the vampire's disgusted expression. "It must be a sign that the Darkness wants us as close as brothers, even among old foes."
"The Darkness knows we cannot forget the grave crimes committed against us by the Kunz. It will not demand a friendship."
"And you can forget what the magical community has done to you?"
"It is not about forgetting… but correcting. With your help, wizards will never consider themselves above any magical creature, much less vampires. And today, with the aggressiveness we can execute, with the terror we can induce… it is a form of revenge and reparation." Phinehas held Filldeserp's arm, stopping him from eating his toast. "You know well that Voldemort promised much and never had the intention to deliver anything. Creatures were just a means to an end, to power, nothing more. I trust you, my people trust you, all of these creatures who have defended you this week… you are the Dark Lord we need, the one chosen by Darkness so our injustices are healed and for us to be freed with Her. Do not disappoint us, Filldeserp."
Harry was able to sense the threat and hope contained in the vampire's speech. He abandoned his breakfast and recognized Phinehas as what he was: a political ally who deserved his appreciation and consideration, as his people were putting themselves at risk for him. Without the creatures, possibly all his hold on power would have been reduced and Dumbledore would have managed to corner him. All of his ambitions would have been constrained by the fluctuating loyalty of the death eaters who would not have believed in him.
"I do not pretend to do it, count Phinehas." The vampire watched him with analytical eyes and chuckled.
"Let us not deceive each other. Your mortal body cannot withstand the amount of magic it absorbed. The moment you try to assimilate it, it will destroy you. You survive because of my blood, which stops its advance. This is not the Lord we need now, fighting against his own body. The only way you will survive and be able to lead this war is by accepting my proposal."
"I very much appreciate my mortality, count Phinehas. I am sorry to have to refuse you."
The vampire stood up, livid. Filldeserp had never seen him so angry.
"As proud as he was, incapable of accepting human limitations," he spat. "I did not want to reach this point, but I see you continue being as stubborn and irrational. For the sake of Darkness, I have to do it."
Phinehas stretched his arm and took the flask from the table. Filldeserp watched him quietly, unwilling to appear vulnerable in front of the vampire who dared to extort him. He had consumed blood for almost a week. It had to be enough to progressively and safely assimilate Voldemort's magic. It did not have to destroy him. The magic was as dark as his own. Phinehas was wrong.
"I hope you will change your mind, Lord Filldeserp."
Perhaps they were not as good partners after all.
The adrenaline of the challenge lasted until noon. He had not felt fatigue, nor had his magic gone overboard. But when he had wanted to have lunch, he felt intense nausea which stopped him from eating anything. Hermione had been worried, but he excused himself by arguing his anxiety over a situation that took place the night before with some werewolves who were exterminated. His wife did not believe a word, but did not insist. She was used to the lies: Harry had not even confessed yet the circumstances of Voldemort's death and he insisted on keeping her ignorant of war affairs.
It was true that she had not been particularly interested about it before, but now it was different, she explained. It was no longer Voldemort's war. It was Harry now who was completely involved and carried the weight of all responsibility. She wanted to be his support.
He just wanted to protect her from the madness.
As such, he had gone to his bedroom claiming he needed some rest. In actuality, he just wanted to analyze the foreign magic in his body and discover to what extent Phinehas could be right. Until that day he had not had the time to dedicate himself to such task. He had been focused on dealing with all the reports and problems that developed, and that he could not share or discuss with Voldemort.
He also had not faced the personal impact of the loss of his mentor. He had to, as accumulating emotions was not beneficial for his health and he knew it, but he was not ready yet to go through such experience. He wanted to focus on his act, on his costume, on the Lord Filldeserp who had wanted to kill his father to have absolute dominion of the magical community and the death eaters. He could not let himself fall.
He calmed himself through Occlumency and meditation with his magical core. He found the current of black magic that belonged to him, embracing the elemental core from where he could reach his fire and its different levels of potential. Joined to his own magic like a cape was Voldemort's magic, of the same dark tone. It seemed like a parasite as it waved at the same pulse as his magic, almost intertwined with it.
He had never attempted a process similar to assimilating magic, but he had done the opposite: dispersing. When he finally had access to elemental magic they had joined in a dangerous manner which made difficult the independent use of each energy. He focused and he first coordinated with his magic, rejoicing in the pure sensation that penetrated his body. He then tried to feel through it Voldemort's magic, understand how they interacted… and discovered that, instead of combining, they were battling. They were destroying and debilitating each other.
Harry put aside magic current to seek a more objective perspective of his magical core. There was no way to understand it, not even with all the advanced magical theory he had read in his life. Both magic were dark, they should understand and cooperate with each other. However… they were as water to oil.
He had to isolate them. It was the only way. He could then research how to handle Voldemort's magic or even expel it from his body, perhaps place it in an object, but Phinehas had been right. That could have adverse effects in his own magic, and in his body and life. That was why every time he tried to use too much magic it went out of control. When he used his current, Voldemort's magic grew stronger and attacked his core, breaking the balance.
With his elemental magic, which appeared to be the only one intact, he attempted to seal the communication channels, but the magic opposed. In fact, it attacked him, which took him by surprise. He tried to defend himself, but he had never been in a situation like it. He was the owner of his core, his magic answered to him, stubbornly or not. It never attacked him, because he was its origin, its vessel.
A sharp pain made him come out of his thoughts and regain conscience of his own body. He immediately knew he was bleeding, profusely. He heard Hermione's screams from a distance, as he was dizzy and overwhelmed by pain. He spat blood and screamed.
Magic was truly trying to destroy him.
He did not fall unconscious, but he could not clearly register the movements in the room. At first it was only Hermione giving instructions to the elves. Then he felt more pain when a pair of hands started to examine his body, especially in his chest. He drank several potions and he even suspected one of them was vampire blood by its taste.
With time the pain disappeared and he was able to open his eyes. Hermione was the only one in the room with Kathleen in her arms. She was not facing him but he could guess from her movements and her whispers that she was singing to her to get her to sleep. He felt guilty. He should be there for them, but he had to also lead the war. Hermione should be enjoying her maternity and not helping her husband at any chance he decided to bleed. He wanted to cry in frustration, because normalcy had really slipped through his fingers that full-moon night in June.
He was going to die. It was a certainty that suddenly reached his mind like a flash of lighting. There was no way to join the magic. For the time being, their fight would be measured, but soon they would destroy each other. He was so open to his magic that it immediately affected his body. He had probably perforated a lung or something when Voldemort's magic had attacked him. Phinehas had told him so; vampire's blood was stopping it, but not fixing the problem. He could not use powerful dark magic. He was a useless Dark Lord.
"He is awake!" Hermione yelled as soon as she turned and noticed his green eyes on her. She put Kathleen down on a crib and ran to his side to hug him.
She had not been singing, she had been crying.
She told him that, as he had guessed, one of his lungs had collapsed. They could not figure out how, but the healer had tried their best to fix it and Phinehas had given some of his blood to accelerate the process as they feared a relapse. In truth, the vampire had probably guessed what he had tried to do and how much he needed the blood.
And as she told him everything, Hermione was holding back her tears and pretending to be fine and strong. She wanted to appear tolerant toward her husband's actions, but it was inevitable that he had crossed a line.
He kissed her to calm her down, but it became the detonator.
"I try, and try… but I feel you farther away from me. Out of my reach," Hermione yelled. "I can't help you anymore. I don't know what you're thinking, what you're feeling, what you're doing. You have that lost look, sometimes insane, that scares me."
He wanted to calm her with loving words, but he failed again.
"See? You only try to push me aside. We're supposed to be a marriage, a couple, we have to share and overcome all challenges together… but you haven't even told me why you don't want to see Sheila."
He tried to repress the impulse. He could not. Thinking about Sheila made him, unavoidably, think about Him. He felt overwhelmed.
He was going to die.
"Because if it weren't for her, Voldemort wouldn't have died," he blurted out and Hermione stopped her complains, astonished. "Right now, I see her and I hate her because she destroyed everything. So many plans, so much waiting, resisting… just so that a girl makes me fulfill that stupid prophecy." He laughed. He laughed until he felt empty. He did not want to feel the pain, he did not want to remember. "The power Voldemort knows not was elemental magic, the most powerful…"
He remembered his body. His look before he cast the Avada Kedavra.
"And I have to pretend it did not affect me. That it was in my calculations to kill him. As if I hadn't done the impossible to void the prophecy! And now it turns out that I took advantage of these years to surpass my master and take his place… I have to insult him, because he is now my enemy. Dead, he is now my enemy!"
The terrible demand of fulfilling his dreams. The legacy that as heir he should accept with pride, but that now he seemed magically incapable of obtaining. He depended of a vampire to survive; of the same vampire that Voldemort had hated because he knew he only wanted to take his heir from him.
And destiny, which stubbornly wanted him. He had freed himself from Gryffindor's curse only to lose in its place his mentor, as if it was some universal balance or the mocking of death. They had deprived him of his magic, his main weapon in that decisive moment of war. Darkness itself, the cause for which he fought, had turned against him.
Years of work to end as the same helpless teenager he had been at Hogwarts, a puppet of people and forces stronger than him.
He finally cried in front of Hermione. He growled and destroyed the entire room to release his anger, his sorrow… and she watched him, at first afraid and then with compassion. She was witness of his pain and even if she did not understand most of the things he blurted out, she was there for him as many times before, holding him and accepting his darkness as quickly as she had accepted his light.
Filldeserp had the feeling he would be defeated but he would not fall before destroying everyone beforehand. Because only from the ashes could he and the world be reborn.
Fortress of the Dark Order
July 8th, 2005
"We have waited for this moment for years. We have postponed it again and again because we were not ready. We were not ready to receive our mission and carry it against all adversity."
He watched his inner circle, feeling their determination reflected in their gestures. He took a deep breath. He had to be the leader they needed, the one they had demanded him to be. Only he could take the war to its final consequences, but he needed their support to believe he would reach the objective. He needed to feed of the faith and courage of his closer allies because inside of him there was only an abyss.
"The Darkness united us from the beginning as the new generation, its favorite children, to be witnesses of the nonsense of this world. We believe in the disequilibrium of the forces of the universe. Pure magic must withstand, and for that the light, the Whiteness, cannot rule any longer. We need to bring the era of the Darkness, of Black Magic, as only then wizards and creatures will recognize our truth and grow stronger. But every Dark Lord who has been tasked with this has failed. Why?"
His death eaters had been convinced that he would murder Voldemort sooner or later and that was why they had been predisposed to believe the story of his passing. Filldeserp still believed he could have reached his goals without having to remove his mentor. But the Judges had decided that the new world could not exist with Voldemort… and even then, his magic continued in him. With the same destructive character as always.
"Because they believed that revolution was only possible through death, rebellion, and destruction. And then what? Hatred. Lost rights, more discrimination. Today we are living it: the persecution, the endless cycle of vengeance and blood. How can we stop? We carry the stigma of the previous era."
They had been part of that era. They still were. A last step, that is what they needed, to be free from the chains.
"To clean history, we need to annihilate it. Like a phoenix, we need to cross the threshold of death to achieve new life, a new way to fulfill our mission and live with Darkness. Only by destroying the established structures can we build them as we wish."
He could feel their shock. Even in his own ears the speech leaned on the disturbing and uncertain, but it was the only way. The only way to put an end to the war.
"Only if we sink the Ministry and leave it utterly destroyed can we be cleaned from the stigma. It will be our last attack as the Dark Order. The last time that a Dark Mark will shine on the skies. And the last time you will be Death Eaters."
The last time he would be Lord Filldeserp, heir to Lord Voldemort.
"After the storm, comes the calm. And there we will be, to infiltrate and shape the world. It will take patience and time. We might have to overcome some suspicions, distrust… but there will not be a dark mark to accuse you. As free citizens, you will be able to do what you were always destined to be… The politicians and leaders that will balance this universe."
He would have liked to expand and describe how he imagined the future, but the ideal, peaceful image could erase their battle instincts, and he still needed them as warriors. There was blood left to be spilled.
"Filldeserp and Voldemort will be shadows of the past. But for that, I have to die," he smiled dramatically. "I will be the spark for the end, and in it I will lie. On me you will build the base of our magical community."
Standing he paused to observe the expressions of his inner circle. They were looking at him with horror and disbelief, obviously mixed with fear for his apparent insanity and, at the same time, admiration. They believed in the value of sacrifice.
"Can I trust in you to join me in a new attack, my followers? And above all, can I trust that you will continue with my legacy… my friends?"
Anthony, always aware to the atmosphere his Lord created, vanished the assembly table and his chair to kneel himself before Filldeserp. One by one everyone present joined his example and together formed a circle of promise and energy.
Filldeserp had set all resources under his command since the week before to design the finishing hit. He already had a chosen date for the attack, especially for the symbolic meaning that he was sure Dumbledore would appreciate. Birth and death. Were they not just perspectives?
He shared the knowledge with his circle and assigned the tasks they needed to execute and to guarantee no breaks in his plans or a leak in the information. They would meet every morning to work on the strategy level by level. They had enough time to make it perfect, and everyone was convinced of the need of the end.
When he ended the meeting, the death eater stayed behind. He waited until the last of his partners had left to express his discontent and Filldeserp was silently thankful for his discretion and understanding. He tried to focus his attention on him as it was the least he could do in exchange.
"Milord, I know that I am no one to question your methods. But I wish to, if you allow me, express my opinion, my… discontent with your decision."
He asked him to continue, although he knew well what his complain would be. He wanted to hear it, because nobody else would. He wanted to hear that he was not another pawn for an end, that he was human and that someone considered him as such in that nest of snakes.
"Have you informed Hermione of this?"
He wished he could raise an incredulous eyebrow as it had to be a rhetorical question. Goldstein knew that Hermione would never agree with his death. But it was necessary. It was inevitable.
He wanted to at least give it meaning.
"No, and I forbid you to do so."
Anthony gritted his teeth in a way that, for the first time since he met him, Harry was able to see in his face an expression of rebellion, of someone willing to go against the orders of his Lord. However, he could not. All the information in that meeting was protected by a vow of confidentiality, as usual.
"Your death is not necessary, milord. There has to be another way. You can't abandon us like this… you can't abandon them like this." Anthony's lower lip trembled. He was about to cross the line. "You are a coward, milord."
Filldeserp chuckled. The death eater only grew angrier and, without performing the traditional bow, walked to the door.
"Stop," he ordered him and, despite it all, Goldstein obeyed, but without turning around. "I have asked you to take care of my children, not me, Anthony, and I trust you will respect your vow. I have one more request to make, this time, as a friend."
Anthony turned around and watched him calmly. His eyes were afflicted, resigned.
"Take my family to Germany on the thirtieth."
The death eater lowered his head and nodded. Silence took over and he left him, in a room that reeked of sorrow.
British Ministry of Magic
July 30th, 2005
Savage had always hated the night shift. In the first place, the conflict stopped him from having a normal routine with his family as he had to put in many extra hours due to the dangerous time. Second, patrolling the hallways of an empty Ministry was slightly scary. Some of his partners preferred to sleep during their shifts, but Savage took his job seriously. The Department of Magical Law Enforcement had too many loses in the last few months and he had to be a quality auror and defend the Ministry.
He had been an auror for ten years. He had survived not only the first years after Voldemort's resurrection, but also the beginning of the true violence once Harry Potter betrayed them. In those years he felt as if the magical community had deteriorated into a never ending spiral. He had witnessed the deaths of several of his partners and had saved multiple lives. There were days when he woke up full of regret. Days when he wanted to quit and disappear with his family. But there were days when he held onto his wand with certainty. He had been born to be an auror.
There were three aurors assigned to each level for the night protection. That night he had been assigned to the Atrium, one of the sectors of highest security in the Ministry. At night, access was blocked through the floo network and it was only possible to enter through the phone booths, which meant his attention only had to be focused on that area. However, as he was afraid to fall victim of sleep if he remained seating or standing in the same place, he usually checked the area where the fireplaces where locate and, to entertain himself, he practiced new spells with imaginary rivals.
That night was no exception.
He had walked far enough from his night partner to not alarm him when he heard the impact of the spells; although his partners were aware of his habit anyway and they did not usually worry. He had decided to learn the Flagrant curse as he had always had trouble with it. The sting caused by the object protected by the curse lasted only until first contact, when it was supposed to last much longer. He guessed it was a question of focus and practice, which he set himself to do.
After some fifteen minutes of training and no results, his exasperation was interrupted by the sound of one of the booths being activated. Surprised by the occurrence, as nobody would want to enter the Ministry at night, he walked to the area carefully.
There was a man standing at the door of the booth. From what he could tell, he was waiting to be checked in, as any Ministry worker knew they had to do. He probably had forgotten to send some paperwork for his boss, which was not unusual. He lowered his wand slightly and six meters away, he asked the man to identify himself.
The man smiled with courtesy.
"Do you not recognize me, auror?"
The man extended his arms with eloquence, as if with that movement Savage would discover his identity. At least the auror was able to tell that the man did not have a wand in his hands. Ready, the auror took a couple of steps forward until the features of the unknown man were distinguishable.
The first thing that caught his attention was a very unattractive mark on his cheek, most likely the product of a curse. He then looked at his forehead, clearly visible, where he could see a lighting-bolt shaped scar. With sudden realization he prepared a spell to apprehend the most feared and wanted wizard in England, but he made the mistake of looking at his green eyes.
He forgot that in front of him was Filldeserp. His eyes could not see anything and he was sure he had never heard the booth. Nobody had come in. He turned around and started walking to the area with the fireplaces to continue his training.
No, he had to kill his two shift partners as quietly as possible and then go home to his wife and children. It was undoubtedly the most logical thing to do.
Filldeserp gave him a last pitiful and disgusted look as he vanished in the hallway. The Ministry had not improved in the slightness the competence of its personnel. He had been able to quickly deceive the auror with an illusion and dominate him as he pleased.
Anyway. He would not have to tolerate such inept enemies for much longer.
With the speed and dexterity needed, he dismantled the Ministry's anti-apparition barrier, which fell without raising any alarms. He enjoyed for a moment the adrenaline and the preliminary taste of glory before he called for his death eaters through the dark mark.
As it felt the multitude of apparitions, the rest of the Ministry's protections immediately notified the auror's office, which quickly spread the alarm to each associated address and to the Order of the Phoenix. Filldeserp did not worry; they had calculated it. The death eaters skillfully spread throughout the building to hold for the counterattack.
Yes. Every capable wizard and witch had to be present for his death.
Soon the aurors and the Order of the Phoeniz apparated in the Ministry and the final battle began. Among beams of light of different colors, screams and running, each individual present fought for their beliefs and their lives, reduced to a state of survival.
The vampires entered dramatically, breaking almost every piece of glass in the Atrium. The aurors fell back and changed the style of their attacks to adapt them to the weaknesses of the creatures of the night. At some point the werewolves also joined and took great effort in destroying the entirety of the fourth floor.
Filldeserp observed everything between duels, but feeling himself a foreigner to the scene. He had ambitioned with Voldemort to possess the Ministry and now that it was at his feet he only felt indifferent. He destroyed the despotic and hypocritical statue in the Atrium, not feeling any amount of joy or excitement. When the dementors entered the Ministry, he felt no effect on his emotions. He was empty… and he did not care. He could easily resemble one of Death's creatures.
As he had such thoughts he observed one of the most spectacular duels of his life. Bellatrix Lestrange against Alastor Moody. Both possessed a brutal and undaunted style that allowed them to go all out, without any reservations, as they moved around desks and cubicles. After some time, Moody fell badly wounded by a series of spells, but when Bellatrix was ready to eliminate him, Neville Longbottom got in the way with a powerful shield and, taking advantage of the death eater's shock, he lethally injured her.
Filldeserp was then overwhelmed by another wave of relief and satisfaction at seeing the corpse of the most loyal follower of Lord Voldemort. Sirius had deserved a better avenger than him, his corrupted godson, and he was glad Neville was the one to put at ease his conscience. He had two other people to honor and he deserved the reward.
He walked away from the scene as he had no intention of fighting against Neville. The least he could do for Hermione was to avoid an open and deadly fight with their old friends, give her that peace so she did not feel as guilty for her husband's identity.
But he did not want to think more about her. That same afternoon they had said goodbye, as casually as he could, and he had sent her with their children, Sheila, and Anthony to Germany, where Phinehas had sworn they would be safe, under the excuse that the defenses of the fortress would soon collapse and it was better to be away from Britain for the well-being of the children. He had informed her he would lead an ambush that night, but nothing more. She could not know more.
During the day he had drank four flasks of blood, the dose suggested by the vampire to control his magic for the longest time and to control his troops without issues. Of course, it was an overdose that would have its secondary effects later on, but Filldeserp was counting on not being alive to experience them.
On the sixth floor, where the aurors were trying to reactivate the Ministry's barriers and create a block, he found Lucas De Santos. He had guessed the Spanish would be there. After all, he had no meaning in his life except taking revenge on him. He was able to easily separate him from his companions and lead him to a more ideal location for their fight.
After the first few minutes of the duel he noticed that De Santos' skills had considerably diminished. He had always been impulsive, with the quality of his curses subject to his temper, but he was now giving him a deplorable act. He imagined the death of Martinez and the loss of Sheila had disturbed him, they might have even affected him as much as Filldeserp hurt from the death of his mentor, but really… it was an insult. Five years before he had considered him a worthy rival!
Soon enough he cornered the Spanish and had him with his wand on his neck. Filldeserp stopped to examine him, perhaps trying to understand what had happened to the auror. His face was extremely thin, beyond the new wounds he had inflicted on him. He wondered if he might not be looking at his own reflection on a mirror. He felt some pity, although no regret, because of everything that man had to overcome. All for… what?
He wanted to give him one last chance. Perhaps because he now also had a daughter. Or merely because he was a narcissist and considered Lucas' miserable existence and extension of his.
"It is a pity that you will not see or talk to Sheila again, Lucas," he provoked him, trying to give his most evil smirk. "But it is inevitable, she has to stay with me… become a death eater."
The auror spat on his face. He had insulted him enough during the duel.
"Not if I can kill you," he replied. Filldeserp laughed.
"Even if you manage that, do you think Sheila will accept living with you, my killer?" He saw his frown, the bitter truth awoken in De Santos's eyes. "There is another way for you to be part of her life, De Santos. The question is… are you willing to leave behind your history, your sacrifices, your ideologies… for her? Are you willing to turn to the dark side for Cecilia, your little girl, and fight by my side and for my world?"
Lucas stared at him for a moment, almost opening his mouth with shock. He had never considered that possibility, if his surprise was anything to go by. He knew that Lucas did not have the will or the resolve. In his place, he would have considered and executed every alternative until he recovered his daughter. He now knew, as he was living it. The Spanish was conditioned by his morals, and he would never let go of his past.
He was not a worthy father for Sheila. He was not worthy of their respect.
"Rot in hell, you manipulative monster," the auror replied. "You are perverse, a sadist. Do you enjoy messing with other people's minds? Do you want to humiliate me? You will never let me be near Sheila, you're just playing with me. You want to destroy the last I have, my beliefs, my convictions. You won't."
"No, I won't. I'll just destroy you," he raised his wand. "Avada…"
But the object of the curse was vanished before he could complete it. Surprised by the circumstances, as he was sure Lucas was too weak to disapparate, he was barely able to avoid an attack from his back thanks to a quick Protego and his reflexes, and he then took a step back to have a better angle to maneuver.
"Good evening, Harry," Dumbledore said.
He finally found him. He had feared the old man would not honor him with his presence, but, considering the magnitude of the attack, the headmaster could not be absent. As it was traditional, he had chosen a horrendous purple robe with blue moons for the occasion.
"Good evening, professor Dumbledore," he mocked him with sarcasm. "It is a surprise to meet you here. Have you come to renew your apparition license? Or to practice forced apparition? Seriously, that was some advanced magic, I did not think you were capable of it anymore."
"Years weight on me, Harry, but I am still young enough to protect my own."
"But too old to defeat Dark Lords?"
"Perhaps. I prefer to leave that mission to you, Harry."
Filldeserp wished he could openly declare that such reply from Dumbledore had not even scratched any of his feelings, but truthfully, he had been on point. Reacting in an outburst, he threw a fireball in his direction that the professor predicted and stopped with a curtain of water.
"You're getting monotonous, Harry. Remember, the secret of success is on creativity."
Dumbledore decided to provide some teaching examples to his old student, reminding him of the importance of his surroundings during duels. As they were in the Department of Broomstick Regulation, which stored models brought in from smuggling, damage, or unusual origins, he utilized the broomsticks to cage in Filldeserp. He was about to use his element to break himself out when he noticed the tails of them becoming alive and entangled with each other, like ropes, which extended to the floor. The way they penetrated it, he guessed they were integrating like roots.
Albus created a prison made out of branches. In the dark inside, Filldeserp chose to cast a spell to the floor to make it tremble and break it, and softened his fall on the fifth floor with another charm. He resolved to accept the challenge of the old man and transfigured the ceiling of the section in which he calculated his opponent was located into a claw that trapped him and pulled him onto the same floor as Filldeserp in a single move.
Dumbledore was gasping for air for several seconds among the debris of what had been the claw, but as soon as he was able, he transformed the ruins into a grown hippogriff with splendid technique.
"I hope you have not forgotten your lessons on animated transfiguration, Harry."
The animal attacked Filldeserp with vehemence. He managed to avoid the impact by using the cabinets of the Department of International Magical Cooperation in between, but he was soon without a space to escape. The beast did not take long in throwing itself against him once more, but this time he held his wand as a sword and with a potent dark magic spell he decapitated the hippogriff, dyeing all the documents on the floor with its blood.
Ironically, at that moment, he was reminded of Buckbeak.
Dumbledore had taken advantage of his struggle with the hippogriff to reanimate himself and he was staring at the grotesque sight with a saddened expression.
"It was not necessary for you to kill him so coldly, Harry, he was only trying to capture you."
"Have you lost your priorities, old man? I have murdered thousands of people! And you're sorry for a stupid hippogriff?"
"I cannot justify any of the offenses you have done against your own soul, Harry, nor can I help but be saddened by the limits of your cruelty. After all, you were my student and my responsibility…"
"Your puppet, more like it."
"…and I am hurt to see who you have become. I fear it is necessary for me to stop this insanity, your insanity, with my own hands."
"Are you prepared to dirty your soul, Dumbledore?"
"No, Harry, I prefer justice to judge you."
"I will escape every prison I am placed in. I will kill each guard and witness. You will carry that in your conscience. You should let go of some of your morals and kill me now, Albus."
"You know I cannot do it… I refuse to be the one to turn you into a dementor."
Filldeserp was surprised of the reach of Dumbledore's knowledge. He had confirmed while at Lupin's home that the headmaster knew of the nature of the mark on his cheek, but he did not believe he was aware of the essence of it. Either way, it did not matter. None of his words mattered.
He threw fire whips at Dumbledore, who avoided some and had to use shields and cabinets to protect himself from others. Some fire was able to burn the edge of his purple robes, which would have fallen apart if not for an efficient Aguamenti. In the middle of his offensive, Filldeserp decided to change his approach to the situation and directed the hipogriff's corpse at Dumbledore and destroyed it in front of him. He was not able avoid all the blood and was grossly stained by it. The Dark Lord did not stop there, but used the blood covering the professor as a thread that he used to try to strangle him.
"You will have to be stained by my blood, Albus, or blood will finish you."
Dumbledore, as his right arm was also affected by the threads of blood, could only point his wand down, which he used to his advantage. He broke the floor and, free from Filldeserp's hold, who had to deactivate the spell when he lost visual contact and concentration, descended to the next floor, in which vampires and werewolves fought against centaurs. The dark creatures, when they recognized Dumbledore, reorganized themselves in a way that they could contain the centaurs and fight against the newcomer.
The old man found himself in an unfavorable situation as even with his skills he could not dominate so many adversaries simultaneously. Filldeserp observed with delight the chaotic situation for a moment before he continued his advance toward his objective.
He descended to the fourth level as quietly as possible. Either way, he was in the sector dominated by the dark creatures, which only gave him a glance and a nod. He then continued his descent by breaking another floor.
The third floor held the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes and, in comparison to the crowd and movement of the floor before, it was a desert. Filldeserp walked through several doors looking for the main lobby from where he could access the elevators, as he knew that to properly reach the Auror Department, he had to be near this sector. This could also perhaps hold Dumbledore back for some time. He made another hole and went down to the second floor.
As it was predictable, the level was full of aurors and death eaters in battle. It was probably one of the better protected areas by the Ministry and more longed for by the death eaters. After all, the reports of their identities and evidence of recent crimes were kept there, and they had to be properly vanished before the attack was over.
Filldeserp decided to lighten the process and collaborate with the objective of his subjects. He focused his element and spread it throughout the office, especially in the areas with the cubicles where the documents were filed. But, when he tried to increase the flames to hurt the aurors, he felt a sharp pain on his chest and he coughed.
Confused, he watched the red substance on his hand. Voldemort's magic was no longer being contained by Phinehas' blood. He should have lasted longer, but it was undeniable that he had not balanced the strength of his attacks and had used large amounts of advanced and dark magic during his duels. He had believed himself immune.
He needed to hurry.
Nevertheless, as soon as he was about to leave his death eaters, his advance was stopped by the arrival of Albus Dumbledore to the office…
Through the door.
"How did you escape the werewolves and the vampires, Dumbledore?" Filldeserp exclaimed, not able to hold back his disbelief.
"I took the elevator," he answered with a shrug.
"Shield yourself, professor!" One of the aurors yelled as the death eaters' spells had intensified when they saw the leader of the light.
Filldeserp then knew what he had to do.
It was not difficult to detect who were the most inexperienced and young aurors. Against them he conjured a rain of poisoned daggers. Some death eaters rapidly interpreted his intention and collaborated, overwhelming their victims with spells from different directions. He then called for a dozen snakes and ordered them against Dumbledore, who was trying to defend the aurors at the same time he fought the death eaters.
A coughing fit overcame him and for a few seconds his eyesight was clouded; he was reaching his limit. At that rhythm, he would die before he reached his objective… and even before he killed Dumbledore.
The professor, at that moment, stunned and threw against a wall the three death eaters nearing on him and, with a dramatic gesture, he took off his purple robes. He used his garments as a shield, separating and protecting the aurors from the death eaters' spells, repelling them. Filldeserp guessed he had transfigured the cloth into something resistant to magical attacks, so he decided to use his element to reduce the garment to ashes, but the fire was absorbed by the defense, even if he increased the temperature and intensity.
"I warned you to be more creative, Harry."
With another wand movement, Dumbledore took on an offensive stance. The fabric-shield waved and suddenly took the shape of a dragon, with its scales shining from the fire accumulated. The robes had become dragon skin, one of the most resistant materials in nature, which could shield against both traditional magic and elemental fire…
"Careful!" Filldeserp was barely able to warn his death eaters before Dumbledore counterattacked.
The dragon skin flew above them, releasing the fire it had assimilated from the Dark Lord. As he was immune to his own fire, Filldeserp focused on protecting his closed ones with great cost to his own health.
He fell to the ground, slowly feeling how his own magic destroyed him and tried to heal him at the same time. He held onto reality, with stubbornness ignoring the exhaustion that wanted to submit him into unconsciousness. He heard the desperate screams of those death eaters who had not been able to escape the fire and were now being consumed by it, or at least severely wounded.
The aurors were paralyzed next to each other. He was surprised they were not taking the opportunity to capture the death eaters or even himself. However, he then felt two arms holding him and turning him around to examine him. It was Albus Dumbledore, who was looking at him with eyes full of sadness and pity. He must have ordered the rest to remain aside.
"Was it worth it, Harry?"
He spat blood on his face as an answer. He wanted to laugh sarcastically when he realized Lucas had done the same childish act to him not long before. But Dumbledore had no right to make such question. He had no right to underestimate and diminish his life… his death. It had been his path, his choice… that, as a cycle, would end the same day it had started.
He could not kill Dumbledore, but he would make sure he would complete the plan, to destroy that which he treasured.
With a last burst of adrenaline, he placed his hand on the right leg of the headmaster and incinerated it. On the other leg, with madness, he allowed himself a last detail. He traced with fire a lightning bolt. He rejoiced for a moment to the old man's expression of pain before he continued to the first floor through another hole on the ground. His death eaters would have to hold back the aurors, he could not entertain them anymore.
The first floor was devastated. There were only corpses of aurors and ministry workers on the hallways, all bleeding out. It had been a masterful job.
He walked as he could to the Minister's office. At the door, Phinehas was waiting for him, smiling and calm as usual. With a theatrical movement, he opened the door.
"You have taken some time, Lord Filldeserp," he smirked to the sharp glance from the wizard. "As you requested, I have acquired for you the most coveted office in the entire Ministry…"
Predictably, Phinehas had placed the body of the Minister on his chair to humor him.
"Welcome to the most underground location in the entire Ministry."
The ideal location for a magical explosion.
He gave himself a few minutes of shock as he imagined the pleasure with which Lord Voldemort would have entered and would have taken that same room. But he could only feel a bittersweet peace… for the freedom, for the consummation.
"While you are in direct contact with me, you will not be hurt," Filldeserp explained to Phinehas, giving him his back while he played with an elegant feather on the desk. "Make sure you wait long enough to destroy the building…then, dispose of him however you wish."
He looked at the clock and send the withdrawal call to all death eaters through the connection in the dark mark as they had established beforehand.
He extended a hand to Phinehas, who took it with pride. For the first time, he had postponed mockery and cruelty.
"Lord Voldemort would have been proud of you."
He gave out a deep sigh, letting out air and tension before he entered his magical core.
The magic of his mentor was completely destroying his magic, exhausted from its use and from the effort of trying to heal his body. He did not want to stop to observe the horrifying show. He entered his elemental magic without hesitation. Once he internalized with his own element, he accessed Sheila's element through his bond with her, which had been crystallized since June.
From the moment he had decided to attack the Ministry, he had practiced over and over to induce once more the connection they had shared that dreadful night in China and to learn to control the influx of magic. He had barely managed it, but domination of it was enough.
The same elemental phenomenon that had annihilated Voldemort would crush the British Ministry of Magic. The light would bring them to the shadows.
He let himself be overwhelmed by his instincts and released the power without fear, without compassion. Still in trance, he felt the pain in his body and heard the noise of the building starting to crumble.
He thought of Hermione and the children. Of how much pain he would cause them, the pain he was condemning them to, but, at the same time, of the curse he was releasing them of. He would have wanted to confess Hermione of his purpose and warn her of the future, but she would have wanted to be with him, she would have put herself at risk…
He alone was to die that night. He, with his curse… death followed everyone he loved. He, with his omen of disaster for the magical world.
He had been born on July 31st of 1980 not to bring hope to a dark era, but to increase it and devastate.
He would die on July 31st of 2005 not to destroy, but to create, to change, to provide a better future for his children.
Because he loved her… loved them.
It was the last prevailing thought of his consciousness, and at midnight, he watched the ceiling fall apart and felt happy.
He had fulfilled his fire destiny.
He was ready for the next great adventure.