Hour 22: 4 PM
Previously in Harry Potter 24:
At Hogwarts: Harry and Ron run into Daphne and Tracey, they decide to go destroy the diadem…
At the Burrow: Molly and Ginny decide to send a warning message to Harry and Ron via Ron's owl, Pigwidgeon…
Bellatrix meets up with Harry and Ron near the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets
She explains what happened to Hermione, and as evidence of her changed ways, she presents Hufflepuff's cup to Harry
Voldemort was concerned about what Hermione had told him about his horcruxes, he heads to the R of R to check on the diadem
Hermione heads to the boys' dorm in Gryffindor tower, hoping to get Harry's map and invisibility cloak, but neither are there
Harry leads the group with him into the Chamber of Secrets
The Twenty-second Hour: 4 PM - 5 PM, Saturday, October 19, 1996
Chamber of Secrets
Harry led the group into the Chamber. Ron had been there before and was unfazed by the sight of the basilisk carcass. Daphne and Tracey shrieked when they saw the large dark body.
Daphne turned to Harry as she spoke, "So it really was true, what people were saying. You did face a basilisk here."
Harry raised an eyebrow, "Who was saying that?"
"People, students," said Tracey who couldn't take her eyes off the giant reptile. "Almost everyone was talking about it. Saying how you and Granger figured out what was happening to students, and that Guilderoy Lockhart was so frightened by what he saw down here he went round the twist."
Ron laughed heartily at that.
"What's so funny?" demanded Tracey who turned to glare at the red head.
"Lockhart and the rumours," explained Ron as he managed to control his laughter. "He grabbed my wand, which was being held together by Spell-O-Tape, and when he tried to obliviate both Harry and me the wand backfired and he obliviated himself."
Even Bellatrix managed to laugh at that comment, but she continued to stare at the deceased creature. She then turned to Harry as she eyed him closely, "I'm actually quite impressed, and you managed this how long ago?"
"Three years ago, at the end of our second year," jumped in Ron.
Harry just nodded in agreement.
"Well, we have something we need to do here," stated Harry. "It would be easier if we had a table to work on," he added.
Bellatrix moved slowly as she withdrew her wand.
Ron turned and pointed his wand at the dark haired woman. "Don't try anything!" he snapped.
Bellatrix sneered at him, "If I was going to 'try anything' I would have already done it. I was just going to conjure a table for Potter, if that would meet with your approval."
Harry gave his approval with a nod, but the two Slytherin students were still wary and they each drew their wands and pointed them at the older witch. Bellatrix turned slightly so that she was not casting her spell towards anyone who was with them in the chamber, and with a quick flick of her wrist a small table appeared. She had cast it silently, which startled the girls, but Harry decided he needed to keep a closer eye on this woman for if she could cast silently he wouldn't know what kind of spell she was using if she tried something on them.
Bellatrix stepped up to the basilisk and leaned against its thick dark hide to watch what Harry was going to do. Harry then placed Hufflepuff's cup on the table and then he carefully pulled out another item wrapped in a thick cloth. He then produced a jewelled diadem and placed it near the cup. He then pulled out another bag from his satchel and carefully removed a large fang. Bellatrix opened her eyes wide as she realised what Harry had in his possession.
"Aren't you worried about getting hurt by the basilisk venom from those fangs?" she asked, "they can kill someone almost instantly."
Harry gave her a wry smile, "Yeah, I already know how painful it is."
The three women stared at him wide eyed.
"Apparently the cure I received may have given me life long immunity from what Hermione told me after she researched the whole thing."
Daphne was nearly hysterical as she realised what Harry had said. She pointed at the large snake like body as she spoke to him, "You mean that thing actually bit you?"
"In the arm," said Harry ignoring the concern in her voice. "I still have a scar on my right forearm from the event."
"How did you survive that?" asked an incredulous Bellatrix, "not that I doubt you because you are obviously here and this bugger is quite dead. Or is that just part of your mystique? The killing curse doesn't work on you, the deadliest venom in the world doesn't affect you. No wonder the Dark Lord is so fixated on you."
Harry wasn't sure how to respond to what Bellatrix had said, so he just turned back to his current mission. He picked up one of the fangs and quickly slammed it into the cup before it could speak to him. There was an ear piercing screech and a black liquid leaked from the cup which glowed bright yellow for a moment.
"One down and one to go," muttered Harry. As he raised the fang one more time an image of a beautiful woman came into being above the diadem. Then Harry recognised it as Hermione.
"You can't do this Harry, the Diadem is precious, it is full of all of the knowledge of Rowena Ravenclaw, the smartest and wisest of the four founders. You can receive all of this knowledge just by wearing the diadem!" the ethereal voice stated as Harry looked up at the visage of his best friend.
Harry's right arm wavered for a moment. The girls gasped and Bellatrix stood up straight at the sight of the apparition before Harry.
"I don't think so!" screamed Harry as he slammed his hand down and the diadem shattered under the weight of his fist and the point of the sharp fang hitting the centre of the thin piece of jewellery. This time a black mist emitted from the object, in addition to a pool of black liquid having appeared on the table once again.
The group stood silently as they watched the mist dissipate.
At that time a person leaving the Room of Requirement stumbled as he stepped into the hallway. He cursed the floor as he regained his balance and continued to make his way quickly to the second floor girl's bathroom.
Harry looked at the blackened table and then he looked to his gawking audience.
"Two more down," he stated, "so let's go see if we can find Ginny. We haven't seen her since this morning."
Hermione was frustrated that she had not been able to procure either one of Potter's special belongings as they both would have proven useful in her finding her target and incapacitating him. She had decided that she should make her way down to the Chamber of Secrets so as to meet up with Potter and Weasley as they had originally planned to go there to deal with the horcrux which they had acquired.
As she was leaving the portrait hole she heard a fluttering sound and she looked up to see Ron's owl Pigwidgeon. Immediately she was concerned about why the ridiculous bird was there flapping wildly.
"Probably it's just too stupid to find Ron," she thought. Then she wondered why would Ron's owl be here acting so upset. Deciding not to wait to find out she quickly drew her wand and blasted the tiny owl with a reducto curse. There was a slight screech from the unsuspecting creature followed by a shower of feathers. Hermione looked around the mess that fluttered to the floor and noticed that there was a message attached to a small talon that lay in the midst of the feathers. She quickly picked it up and read the message.
Hermione was now enraged to read a message to Ron from Ginny. "How did that botch survive?" she hissed. "Next time I won't be so kind."
She then incinerated the message and banished the remains of the unfortunate bird. Once the evidence of her violent indiscretion was removed she started to make her way back down to the second floor to try and catch up with Harry and Ron.
When she had made it down to the second floor she was making her way towards the bathroom that had long been haunted by Moaning Myrtle when she passed several male students walking the other direction They did not recognise her with her new look and new wardrobe. The boys took notice of a very attractive witch who they had not noticed around the castle previously. When Hermione heard the wolf whistles from the boys, she turned and smiled at them and blew them each a kiss. Then she turned to make her way back towards the girls' bathroom.
Hogwarts, Empty Classroom
The group that had accompanied Harry to the Chamber of Secrets had already made their way back up to Moaning Myrtles's bathroom. As they were heading down the hall, Bellatrix suddenly felt anxious about their heading towards the Gryffindor Common Room. Noticing an open door to an empty classroom she quickly grabbed Harry by an arm and pulled him into the room. The others in the group immediately ran into the room as well and they all pulled their wands on Bellatrix.
The former right hand lieutenant for the Dark Lord found herself once again under the sights of multiple wands. She rolled her eyes at the reaction as she began to explain her reasons for dragging them into the room.
"Close the door," she commanded to Daphne.
The sixth year Slytherin girl reluctantly did as she was commanded. Bellatrix cast a silencing charm and a locking charm on the door.
"What is this all about?" demanded Ron.
Bellatrix shifted uneasily from foot to foot as she searched for the right words to say. With all of the eyes on her she let out a sigh and then she spoke to them, "You don't want to go to your dorms trying to find Weasley's little sister."
"And why is that?" asked Harry as he placed a hand on Ron's shoulder to steady him as he could he feel his friend's ire starting to grow.
"She isn't there," she said simply.
"And how would you know that?" spat Ron.
"Because, she and your friend, Granger, were captured earlier, today. We grabbed them in Hogsmeade and brought them to Malfoy Manor to the Dark Lord," she said plainly.
Tracey and Daphne gasped at this news.
Ron shouted, "You're lying, I know you are, we just saw Hermione a little while ago!"
Bellatrix raised an eyebrow at the hotheaded youth. "Oh you did? Well, tell me then, had she changed in anyway since you last saw her? Her personality? Her clothes? Last I knew she had left after taking some of my clothes."
"What do you mean she left?" asked Harry.
"She was allowed to leave, she was probably brought back here by one of the Death Eaters," she explained. "I can tell you don't believe me. But you haven't heard everything." The witch was clearly uncomfortable with what she was about to say to them.
"None of you knew me as a student, obviously. Yes, I came from an old pure-blood family that looked down upon muggle-borns and even half-bloods. Yes, I was a Slytherin, and I always had an interest in the Dark Arts. But it wasn't until I was forced into a loveless marriage and dragged before the Dark Lord that I became the witch that gained all of the fame and notoriety for my violence, skill and cruelty. The Dark Lord did that to me when he placed a dark amulet around my neck. It causes quite a drastic change in someone's personality, particularly if they do not have well trained occlumency shields. Earlier today when we brought Weasley and Granger to the Dark Lord, he surprised us all when he removed the amulet from around my neck, where it lay hidden under my skin for nearly twenty years. Then he placed the amulet on your friend Granger."
"But why would he do that?" asked a doubtful Harry.
"He figured that I had served him so faithfully for so long that even without the amulet I would still lovingly follow him and his twisted ideas," answered Bella. "But more importantly he wanted to turn one of your friends against you, Potter. Granger's first job was to kill the Weasley girl."
Ron screamed and went to cast a stunner at the woman in front of him. Tracey was standing nearby and knocked his arm down and the curse missed Bella and blasted a desk at her side. Tracey embraced him to hold him back.
Harry yelled at Ron to stand down. Then he turned back to Bellatrix. "Why should we trust you, of all people?"
"I just gave you the cup," she explained calmly. "You've seen your friend, briefly at least. Did you not notice any changes in her? She is here to help the Dark Lord capture you, Potter. His goal is your death before this day is over."
Second Floor Hallway
Hermione was making her way towards the 2nd floor girls bathroom. She did not pay any attention to a particular classroom with a closed door which was magically silenced, so she had no idea she had just walked past the people she was trying to find.
Bellatrix could tell that they were still not believing her.
"Fine, lets head up to your dorm then," said Bellatrix resigned to the lack of trust that they all showed her. "See if you can find her there."
The room erupted in shouts and accusations as the four students weren't sure what to believe of the information that the woman in front of them had just shared with them.
Chamber of Secrets
The Lord Voldemort made his way down to the Chamber of Secretes. While he was sure that there would be no one in the castle who would in any way interfere with his travels he did not want to draw attention to himself just yet so he had cast a notice-me-not charm on himself.
He made his way to the 2nd floor girl's bathroom and then down the stairs to the passage way. His first concern was finding the pile of rubble. It was clear that someone had caused a cave in and then had removed some of the rocks so that people could crawl through to the other side. This would not do at all, so he blasted away the debris and pounded the rocks and rubble into sand. He banished any remaining large pieces of rock so that he could easily walk through the halls. Upon arriving at the large door he hissed in parseltongue and the snake locks slid out of the way and the door slowly swung open.
The tall man with the snake like features strode confidently into the Chamber of Secrets. He had heard that it had been opened by the Weasley girl who had been slain earlier this very day by his special lioness, and he had heard rumours of what might have occurred down here. With a wave of his hand the chamber was filled with an eerie light from magical torches that now were lit all around the large room. In the middle of the room he saw the motionless corpse of his basilisk, the very same basilisk that he had freed and controlled all of those years ago. The basilisk that had taken the life of that incredibly irritating student Myrtle. The basilisk that had lead to that oaf of a half giant being expelled from the school because of the rumour that all of the problems that year were caused by his pet acromantula. 'Who the bloody hell has a pet acromantula?' wondered the Dark Lord as he thought back to that year in school. 'That's just completely strange,' he thought.
But his thoughts quickly returned to the present as he walked up to his secret weapon that he had planned to unleash on the mud-blood students. But it lay dead in front of him. He stepped closer to inspect the body. The hide was intact, which was not surprising as it has more innate magical resistance than even dragon hide. He came to the head and noticed that the eyes had been gouged open, although he could not immediately determine what had caused such an injury to the great beast. It was clear that whomever had done that knew the first step in fighting such a creature as it would render its deadly or even paralysing gaze completely ineffective. Upon closer inspection he peered into the immense but gaping mouth. There was dried black blood that had seeped out from an obvious stab wound into the roof of the poor beast's mouth. Undoubtedly the killing blow considered the Dark Lord. But what disturbed him most was the fangs. Or more correctly, the absence of the cruel reptile's venomous teeth.
Shock was an emotion that the Dark Lord rarely, if ever, felt. Anger was a much more common emotion, but this anger grew steadily and quickly turned into rage.
The screams of anguish and fury that were released at that moment caused the very castle to shake.
As the echoes of the Dark Lord's displeasure with what he had found died down, he noted a slight movement behind him and to his right. Voldemort turned and faced the area where he saw the movement in the shadows. Then he called out and cast a spell with his wand in the general direction of where he had seen the disturbance. A small rodent flew threw the air and landed at his feet. With another slash of his wand the rat transformed into a full grown fat and balding man.
"Wormtail," sneered the Dark Lord, "so good of you to join me. Hold out your arm."
As the left arm was offered Voldemort pressed his wand tip into the centre of the dark mark. Wormtail struggled as his arm was gripped with pain from the effects of the curse sending out a summons to all who bore the same magical tattoo.
"We shall go and meet our friends as they begin to arrive at the entrance to this esteemed institution," said the Dark Lord. "I will have vengeance!"
Professor McGonagall had called for a meeting of the faculty as soon as the wards had fallen, but in the chaos of the events of the day and with many of the students being outside of the building it was hard to get everyone together. Filius Flitwick had just recounted his story of running into the Dark Lord in the entrance hall and his being cast unceremoniously up towards the ceiling and how he had grabbed onto a chandelier to save himself from serious injury or even death from such a fall. The scream from deep within the castle had been heard by all. The professors had now been informed of the demise of the headmaster.
"The students are all at risk," exclaimed Pomona Sprout. "We need to get them safely into their dorms!"
Snape sneered at the whining remarks. "The Dark Lord will not attack all students, I do believe that his personal views on blood supremacy would make it clear that most of those in my house would not face his wrath."
Flitwick and many of the other professors simply stared at the former potions professor for the crassness of his comments.
"It is true," he said without any emotion. "It is clear that the Dark Lord has a specific agenda, and it would seem that this would involve the capture of the brat, Potter."
"If He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is here, where are his followers?" asked Professor Sinestra.
All eyes were on Snape now as he seemed to have more knowledge of the evil wizard who had apparently entered their school, attacked and killed the headmaster and now as seeking out the Boy-Who-Lived. "They shall be here shortly, I would imagine," he replied calmly.
Professor Vector voiced her concerns, "Then what would you have us do?"
"Do what you can to protect the students, but I fear it may be too late," he said sombrely. "This will be a bloody day before it is over," he added. "But creating a panic among the students could possibly make things even worse. Those dunderheads would only get in the way."
2nd Floor Classroom
Harry was trying to figure out what to do and then he cursed and hit himself in his forehead. Before anyone else cold ask what he was so mad about he reached into his pocket and pulled out a parchment. As he started to unfold it Ron exclaimed, "Oh, yeah, the map!"
Tracey and Daphne simultaneously asked "What map?"
Bellatrix raised a curious eyebrow as Harry continued to unfold the parchment. Once unfolded it was clearly just a large blank parchment.
"That's no map," said Daphne.
"I solemnly swear that I am up to no good," stated Harry as he tapped the parchment with his wand. Slowly a map of the Hogwarts Castle appeared on the map. On closer inspection they could see dots of feet moving around the castle with names next to them.
"Wicked!" exclaimed Tracey. "That looks so cool!"
"Well, that answers some questions about how Potter manages to not get caught when he is out after curfew," commented Daphne.
"Where ever did you get such a thing?" asked an astonished Bellatrix.
Harry looked up from the map and simply stated, "Your cousin, Sirius, for one. He and my father and a couple of their friends made this map when they were students."
Harry and Ron quickly found the area marked as Gryffindor Tower. There was no sign of Ginny Weasley there. As they scanned the map they could not find Ginny's name anywhere within the castle.
"See, I told you she's not here," states Bellatrix calmly.
"She could be out on the grounds somewhere," protested Ron.
Bellatrix merely shrugged in response.
Harry started looking around the map for other people. There was no one in the headmaster's office. Harry again searched the school for signs of the headmaster himself and he was also nowhere to be found. He did see that the faculty members were gathered in the faculty lounge. Then he saw that Hermione was in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom not far from where they were currently hiding.
Hogwarts, Main Entrance
The group of Death Eaters that had arrived at Hogwarts with the Dark Lord had gathered outside of the main entrance as they felt the summons from their master. Voldemort himself was heading directly towards the Great Hall where he would meet up with his followers. He also was expecting his teams who had been sent to Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley to respond to his summons. The Dark Lord would not admit it to anyone, but he was a little concerned that Potter had somehow learned about the horcruxes and there was evidence that he had found Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem. He reassured himself that at least Hufflepuff's Cup was safe. Besides the cup, he also had his familiar, Nagini, in whom he had successfully placed a horcrux.
Upon arriving at the entrance for the Great Hall he found his two dozen followers had gathered, but none of his men who had been sent to London. He then called forth Nagini and he gently stroked the large snake's head, feeling relieved that at least this familiar was still alive and well.
"The hour is upon us, my faithful," spoke the Dark Lord to his assembled troops. "We will soon be rid of the thorn in my side, the young Potter, then we will have control over the school. Do not fear the headmaster, for I have personally slain the old man, his body could not withstand my power. And now, I command the most powerful wand of all time, the Death Stick, the Elder Wand, taken from Dumbledore upon his defeat in battle! Neither Potter nor any other mere mortal wizard to witch can stand against me now!"
Cheers rang out from his collected followers. While the cheering continued he scanned his small crowd. He wondered why his lieutenant, Bellatrix, had not yet arrived. She should have recovered and awaken by now after the ordeal having the amulet stripped from her soul and body. He also was becoming irritated with the slowness in response to his call from his troops that were to be causing mayhem in Diagon Alley.
Voldemort put that thought out of his mind as he began to explain the next steps in his schemes.
He called out to the Lestrange brothers, "Bring me that oaf, the gamekeeper. He should be around here somewhere, check his hut and return him as my prisoner to the Great Hall. For some reason little Potter actually is friends with that half breed." He then looked to his snake and hissed to her. Then he announced to all of the Death Eaters, "There was a prophecy that actually suggested that Potter might be able to defeat me, however I have learned that there is another whom the prophesy might have referred to. To make sure everything goes according to my plans I will eliminate that potential threat immediately." He then spoke to his snake in Parseltongue, "Find the Longbottom heir, Neville Longbottom. He needs to be eliminated as soon as possible."
Then Voldemort addressed his followers again, "Potter will come to me, even if it is just to try and save the half giant. Now, let us take our place in the Great Hall. And if any of Potter's friends show up to try and help, there is only one thing to remember. Kill them all!"
As he was about to open the doors to the Great Hall, an exotic appearing young woman in a black/purple bustier with a flowing grey skirt walked up to the Dark Lord. Bowing before him she kissed the hem of his robe as she then looked up at him and pleaded, "Master, can't I help?" she pleaded.
Voldemort picked her up with his hand placed under her chin. He leaned forward and kissed her forehead.
"Of course, my lioness, of course," he said softly.