Chapter 23: The First Battle of Hogwarts
A scene unlike any other met my eyes and it cut me off mid-sentence.
First, a tyrant of noise hit me like a brick wall. Feet thundered like hundreds of horses running from a pack of wolves. Screams ripped the air and bangs and smashes sounded as banisters and staircases were blasted apart.
Next, the sight. Different coloured jets of light flew from the wands of the battling people. Teachers and masked people in black hoods, danced around, dodging each other’s curses and firing them back as they duelled. The castle was being ripped apart by the spells and I yelled as I was forced to jump out of the way of a falling statue.
‘Snape – get – out – of – here!’ Professor McGonagall was duelling a blonde Death Eater whose mask had fallen off. She yelled for me to leave through gritted teeth as she fired spells from her wand every word she said. I wanted to help but I knew that I couldn’t. I’d never make it out alive. I might even get in the way.
I moved to get away from the scene but I stopped as I saw the face of the Death Eater she was duelling. He looked vaguely familiar… like I’d seen him somewhere before… but I couldn’t put his face to a name.
Professor Quirrel was battling a tall wizard whose hair was a brown colour. His mask was still on but his voice was unforgettable. He seemed to be screeching insults at the Professor with whom he was in the midst of duelling.
‘I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you and all your muggle loving students!’ he shrieked.
Professor Quirrel ignored him and turned his head to me, still expertly, blocking spells and sending some back. ‘Snape! What are you still doing here? GO!’
As if something snapped inside of me, I was filled with terror and the urge to run. I sprinted away and down the Grand Staircase where I saw Prefects herding students out the front doors into the grounds. The students’ cries were louder here and as I took the steps two at a time, I saw older students helping their younger siblings to get out. The younger children clung to their elders and cried in fright. Hold on… that’s how old I am and I’m not crying. Geez.
I crashed into someone as I ran down the steps and stumbled, nearly sending myself and the other person down the steps. I was on my back on the steps with a searing pain in my spine but by default, I apologised profusely. I looked up into the person’s face but instead of seeing facial features, I saw a Death Eater’s mask. My stomach flipped in terror and I scrambled backwards to get out of reach even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to get outside a spell’s range in this corridor.
The Death Eater raised his wand and started to speak a spell but froze in mid-motion and then fell absurdly forwards on his face, stiff as a board.
Fabian Goff, the seventh year I had met in the Great Hall the other night, stood behind, grinning at me. His face was handsome in his glee and excitement.
‘Thanks mate!’ He spoke with an unmistakeable Australian accent. ‘You just helped me take down my first Death Eater!’
‘No problem,’ I wheezed. I was still slightly winded from the fall and my back ached horribly.
Another Death Eater moved in to take the other’s place and Fabian and the other man moved away as they battled.
I noticed that almost all of the Seventh years were fighting and I swelled with pride as I saw that some Slytherins were still amongst the fighting Hogwarts students. Slytherin isn’t so bad after all.
Still sitting with my back up against the wall, I surveyed the scene some more until a particularly fierce battle moved into my field of vision.
Professor Slughorn and Professor Flitwick were duelling a tall, menacing looking witch. Her hair was out of control and curly. It was as black as the most starless night imaginable. Her eyes were blacker than her hair and shadowed with lack of sleep and dark eye-shadow. The two Professors were making her angry as they duelled her and her face was screwed up in rage. She was terrifying.
My eyes were roaming to the next battling couple when a voice made my head snap around to watch the triple duel I had been eyeing.
‘How did you escape?’ Professor Slughorn rumbled as he fired spells at her every which way.
‘Oh I don’t feel the need to spill my darkest secrets to you, Slughorn.’ She blocked all of the oncoming hexes in her stride, spinning and slicing as she dodged and blocked and fired and dodged again. ‘Say, how is the Pyramid anyway, Flitwick?’
‘Pyramid? I’m sure I don’t know what you mean!’ Flitwick squeaked.
‘’Oh I think you do! Flamell’s Pyramid? Ring a bell?’ The lady shot a particularly nasty spell at the tiny Professor but he blocked it easily with a small flick of his wand.
‘Oh I don’t feel the need to spill my darkest secrets to you either, Miss Lestrange,’ he piped.
I gasped as I realised who they were fighting. Bellatrix Lestrange was on the loose.
Bellatrix was momentarily disarmed by the confidence of his words and in this moment she was distracted. Slughorn used this advantage to move around to her other side and send a jinx flying at her back. She fell forward onto the ground but as she began to scramble back up, they were on her, moments away from firing spells at the same time and finishing her off.
She whimpered with her bottom lip stuck out in the hope that one of them would crack and let her go but the teachers remained stony faced and serious. It was unnerving.
‘Get out of the way! No one help me!’ A familiar, male, booming yell, echoed off the walls.
I barely had time to see who it was before the ground shook and a crack sounded above my head. I looked up frantically and tried to move out of the way but I didn’t get out in time. A huge amount of weight smashed my legs into the ground as a large fraction of banister from an upstairs stairwell fell and crushed me beneath its huge weight. Then all I knew was pain.
My heart raced and my legs felt like they were snapped in ten thousand different places and they probably were. They ached, they stung, they stabbed, they cramped; any type of pain you could imagine, that’s what I was experiencing.
I screamed out as the hurt threatened to engulf me and push me further into the marble floor. I yelled and howled but no one was listening and suddenly, everything went silent.
Dumbledore and Voldemort had made their way into the centre of the space and were circling each other menacingly, each waiting for the other to make the first move and attack.
‘Tell me, Dumbledore. Give me what I need and you shall be spared,’ Voldemort snarled.
‘I believe you have what you need, Tom.’ Tom? ‘I believe you have recovered Miss Lestrange from the dungeon. You have all the information you could possible need within her mind.’ Dumbledore’s voice was remarkably calm.
‘You know very well that she is brain washed and can’t remember any of that, Dumbledore.’
‘Yes, you do,’ Voldemort snapped.
‘Bellatrix Lestrange has information you need does she not?’
‘Not anymore,’ he growled, then losing his temper completely, ‘YOU WIPED HER MEMORIES AND YOU KNOW IT! TELL ME NOW AND EVERYONE HERE SHALL BE SPARED! KEEP THE INFORMATION, AND I WILL KILL EVERY LAST TEACHER AND STUDENT IN THIS ROOM!’
‘Don’t “Tom” me! Tell me what you know about Flamell’s Pyramid!’
The pain in my legs was becoming unbearable and I sobbed slightly under my breath and whimpered as tears ran down my face, obscuring my vision slightly. I gritted my teeth and listened.
‘Flamell has a pyramid?’ Dumbledore didn’t sound remotely surprised.
‘I know you are familiar, Dumbledore!’ Voldemort sounded impatient. Then his voice turned sweet and delicate in a sick, psycho kind of way. ‘But… perhaps people here would like to know… Should I tell them Dumbledore?’
Dumbledore remained silent.
Voldemort raised his voice to speak to the room at large now, though he kept his eyes locked on Dumbledore.
‘Nicholas Flamell built a Pyramid!’ he said loudly. ‘But it wasn’t just a pyramid! It was very powerful. It was, in fact, the centre of the world of magic!’
Mumbles of disbelief thundered around the room.
‘You sound disbelieving! It is the centre of all magic. It is the world’s balance of happiness and sadness, darkness and light. It controls every single core of every single wand made in our world,’ he called, his voice changing pitch slightly with glee. ‘You can see the appeal of controlling it. The Ruler of The Pyramid is virtually… indestructible,’ he whispered the last word menacingly and I felt the onlookers draw back in fear.
Blackness edged into my vision but I held onto curiosity and stayed conscious.
‘That’s all very well, Tom, but what would you do with all of that power?’ asked Dumbledore. ‘May I ask a few questions myself?’
Voldemort hardened his glare but didn’t say anything. It was Dumbledore’s turn.
‘It was discovered, earlier this evening, that our much loved Professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts, Professor Gibliry had been hit by a killing curse and had her throat cut for good measure. Do you know anything about that, Tom?’
‘She was simply in the way, Dumbledore! You of all people know what it’s like to have people stand in your way to power!’
Dumbledore paled. ‘I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.’
‘I came in through her office window and I was immediately discovered. She, stupid as she was, drew her wand and I drew mine. I came out on top. Simple.’ Dumbledore was silent. ‘Now as I was saying, I wish to be the next Ruler of the Pyramid! I need a code, a code to open it. Bellatrix was on her way back from retrieving it when she was captured and held at Hogwarts.’ There was a furious hiss from somewhere in the crowd. ‘However, her memories have been erased and she cannot remember the information. Dumbledore? This is your chance to tell me.’
Voldemort waited expectantly.
‘We’ll never tell you Voldemort!’ someone yelled from the gathering. Others joined in.
Dumbledore smiled at Voldemort having allowed his supporters to answer for him.
A look of pure rage crawled slowly onto Voldemort’s face as the people around yelled insults. Then, as quick as a flash of lightning, He slashed his wand through the air and the first spell of the epic battle was fired.