The Return of the Elves

Chapter Five: Delayed Satisfaction; Answers Forthcoming

Snape opened the door, revealing the circular office belonging to the Headmaster, but it was not as empty as they thought it would be. They believed this meeting was for the three of them only, and they looked at the many Order members talking amongst themselves or standing on their own in Mad-Eye Moody’s case. When they continued to the front of the office, they were curious to see Haldir and Legolas standing on either side of Dumbledore’s chair, silently observing the people and their surroundings.

The trio made their way up to Dumbledore’s desk while the occupants of the room quietly watched them. They felt like they were walking in a courtroom where Dumbledore was the Judge, and the rest were the Jury waiting to give their final judgement. It was scary, and they didn’t know why.

They reached the desk, and Dumbledore smiled at them. ‘Good afternoon,’ he greeted them while they shifted uneasily.

‘You wanted to see us, sir?’ Harry asked him.

‘That I did, Harry. As you have not done so yet, let me formally introduce you to Masters Legolas and Haldir,’ he said, gesturing to the Elves, and they nodded their heads in greeting to them.

Legolas locked his eyes with Hermione for a moment before looking away, and she shook herself out of the dazed feeling his gaze caused. She looked at Dumbledore intently with no intention of becoming lost in Legolas’ eyes again.

‘What is it you want us for?’ Hermione asked curiously.

‘There are many reasons why I have called the three of you and the members of the Order here today. It is mainly due to rising matters concerning Lord Voldemort,’ Dumbledore told the room, and a collective wave of shudders and gasps circulated the room from the occupants who were still afraid of the name. Dumbledore looked around at everyone before looking at Harry. ‘I believe it is time to tell you everything rather than snippets of information. We kept information from you for reasons which, I thought, would keep you safe. In these dark times, I believe no matter what we say, you will always be in danger,’ Dumbledore told him.

Harry glared at him. ‘It’s about bloody time!’ He shouted causing Hermione to gasp, amongst others, at his daring to speak to the Headmaster with such disrespect. Ron clapped a hand to his friend’s shoulder to calm him.

Dumbledore looked at him sadly. ‘I am not surprised by your anger, nor am I going to punish you for it for I rightly deserve everything you throw at me. I was a fool for keeping valuable information from you. There are things which could have spared you the pain and grief you did not need to suffer through. I will not apologise because I believe such a thing would not be enough, nor do I think I deserve any forgiveness you would offer to me. All I can guarantee is you will know everything about Voldemort, the actions of the Order, and anything else you wish to know,’ Dumbledore finished, and the occupants of the room spoke in hushed whispers regarding this revelation.

Harry, for his part, was a little taken aback at the sincerity in which Dumbledore talked to him. Harry felt relief knowing he could ask anything he wanted without worrying about someone saying he was better off knowing, or they couldn’t disclose certain information to him. Harry felt relieved, but also scared. All the questions he wanted to ask flew from his mind, leaving him unable to find an answer to what Dumbledore offered him. He just nodded in response, receiving a nod in return along with a small smile, and a twinkle in the eyes.

‘Is this wise, Albus?’ Moody asked from his corner where he had remained silent. He pushed off the wall as all eyes turned to him. ‘What if he asks us questions we cannot answer, or are hesitant to answer because it may be worse for him to know rather than beneficial?’ he asked in his gruff voice.

Harry turned, glaring at him while Dumbledore answered, ‘He will know everything whether it is beneficial or not. Harry deserves, more than any of us, to know what is going on outside Hogwarts’ borders while he is, thankfully, safe inside them. He can then prepare better for the inevitable war which could strike us at any point,′ he explained firmly, and Moody nodded reluctantly, leaning back up against the wall with a frown upon his brow.

Harry glanced at the Elves for a moment before looking at Dumbledore. ‘So, what’s going on?’ he asked curiously.

Dumbledore opened his mouth to answer, but McGonagall entered the room, interrupting him. ‘I apologise for interrupting,’ she said, closing the door, and making her way further into the chamber.

‘No apologies needed, Minerva. You are just in time, in fact. I was about to relay to Mr Potter, Miss Granger, and Mr Weasley of our plans for this year, and I will also communicate Voldemort’s recent actions,’ he told her while shudders circled the room once again at the name Dumbledore was trying to get them all to speak themselves with no fear.

‘Very well, please continue,’ McGonagall answered, somewhat bitterly, and Harry could only assume she was one of the many against him knowing everything. It took everything in him not to turn and glare at her.

Dumbledore smiled in thanks before turning back to the trio. ‘I think it would be better for the three of you to ask any questions you want to know and my companions and I will answer. How does that sound to you?’ he asked, looking at them in turn.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione nodded, each thinking of what questions to ask first. Ron, surprisingly, was the first to speak, ‘What is the plan for this year you mentioned?’ he asked curiously.

Dumbledore steepled his hands, looking at them over the top of his half-moon spectacles with wise, twinkling eyes. ‘Before I answer your question, I would like to know something,’ he said, and the three of them nodded. ‘When you formed the DA last year, was this because the information needed to pass your exams was kept from you? And you needed to teach yourselves the necessary spells and information to pass your exams?’ he asked.

‘Yes. Umbridge didn’t teach us the magical aspects of Defence Against the Dark Arts, and we were also taught very little theory. To be honest, she usually told us about her degrees and the new laws she set for Hogwarts. Or she would place us in detention for so much as whispering,’ Hermione answered bitterly, remembering the horrible toad-like woman who taught them the year prior, and the treatment she bestowed on them.

‘I must apologise for all you suffered last year, but it is thankfully in the past. It will not, under any circumstances, be happening again anytime soon. Not while I am the Headmaster of this school,’ Dumbledore said with absolute seriousness, and the trio thanked Merlin he was their Headmaster. The wise old man smiled, looking at the three of them before addressing Hermione directly, ‘Thank you for your honest answer, Miss Granger,’ he said with a smile to her which she returned instantly. ‘Well, I have spoken amongst the various members of the Order and the Professors about it, and we have agreed we wish for you to start the DA back up this year, and follow on to next year. I believe many of your classmates will be quite jubilant in discovering it will start back up once more. I want you three to lead it like you did last year,’ Dumbledore concluded with a smile.

Harry, Hermione, and Ron exchanged surprised, but excited glances. ‘It was only Harry and Hermione who led the DA last year, Professor. I only helped with demonstrations,’ Ron informed him.

Dumbledore raised his eyebrows, smiling at the redhead. ‘Well, this will need to change. I want all three of you leading it this year. I must stress all houses from the fourth year up can attend if they so wish it,’ Dumbledore told them to the shock and dismay of the three.

‘But that means-’ Ron started, but Hermione cut him off.

‘You cannot be serious, Professor! The Slytherin’s have most likely allied themselves with Voldemort! They would tell him of what we are doing!’ she shouted at him, her eyes widened in anger and disbelief.

‘That is a serious accusation, Miss Granger,’ came the deep, silky voice of Snape who stepped forward. Hermione turned to him with narrowed eyes while he looked down his pointed nose at her. ‘If you have no proof, I suggest holding your tongue or thinking first before speaking in the future,’ he warned her.

Hermione’s eyes narrowed a little more before she took a deep breath, and calmed herself down. ‘I’m sorry, sir,’ she whispered.

‘I trust it will not happen again,’ he told her sternly before turning to Dumbledore. ‘Please continue, Headmaster,’ he said, walking back to stand next to Fawkes’ perch near the window.

‘Thank you, Severus. Professor Snape is correct in what he said, Miss Granger. You must be careful when uttering such things. There may be spies listening in,’ he told her, looking at her over his spectacles with serious eyes. He smiled then, addressing the three of them, ‘On a lighter note, I will now explain the plan for this year,’ he informed them, and the trio became more intent, as they wanted to know what was going to be happening to aid the coming war.

‘Excuse my butting in, but considering we are all included in the plans for this year, should we answer as a whole rather than by just you, sir?’ Remus asked from his perch on a table near the door.

Dumbledore smiled. ‘Yes, I think it would be best. We can do this after I have explained what is going to be happening and what the plan is,’ he told the werewolf.

Remus nodded. ‘Of course,’ he answered, smiling at the Headmaster.

Dumbledore nodded back at him, before looking back at the trio. ‘We have informed you of the DA coming back into action. Though, I failed to mention I will be stationing Order members to help you. They will teach you strategies and spells they have learned, and they will teach you fighting techniques used by Auror’s. Alastor has also agreed to show you things the Chekov Garde have learned if I am not mistaken,’ he told them with a smile, and Hermione’s eyes widened.

‘You have not been misinformed, Albus,’ Moody stated. Dumbledore nodded to him.

‘The Chekov Garde?’ Hermione asked in awe, staring at Dumbledore in disbelief.

‘Who are they?’ Ron asked, wondering why Hermione was so excited and shocked at the same time.

Hermione turned to him in disbelief. ‘Your Father works at the Ministry, and he has never told you about the Chekov Garde?’ she asked, and Ron shook his head in confusion. ‘They are only the highest-ranking officers in the Ministry’s forces. They are so powerful one could take out fifty Death Eaters alone and in minutes. They fight with hand-to-hand combat weapons along with their wands. Their arms are imbued with magical stones allowing them to have abilities beyond normal humans, such as heightened speed and reflexes,’ she explained, her eyes wide and twinkling with the gleam she always got in them whenever she got the chance to tell someone something of her vast knowledge.

‘Whoa,’ Harry and Ron said in unison.

Hermione snapped out of her teaching mode and looked at them. ‘You listened to me?’ she asked in surprise.

‘Of course, we heard! We always listen to you, even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes,’ Ron informed her. Hermione smiled at him, and he turned bright red, looking down in embarrassment.

Hermione, not paying attention to the embarrassment Ron was suffering, turned back to Dumbledore. ‘When are they going to teach us?’ she asked, her excitement and love of learning growing.

Dumbledore chuckled at her enthusiasm. ‘We will explain shortly, once I have continued my explanation,’ he told her causing her to look a little put out, but she nodded upon knowing she would still find out nonetheless.

‘May I add something in also?’ came Haldir’s soft, silky voice, and all eyes turned to him.

‘Please do. Your opinions and ideas are always welcome,’ Dumbledore told him.

Haldir nodded his head. ‘Legolas and I are rather intrigued by this DA you are speaking of, and desire to know more about it. If it is agreeable with the three of you, we will teach you extra techniques upon our duties as your Professors,’ he told them.

‘That would be awesome,’ Ron put in cheerfully.

Haldir was a little taken back by his use of words while Legolas spoke, ‘After careful consideration, we have agreed it would be in your best interest to learn the real reason why we are here and not with our kin. You must be most intrigued by this, and we have agreed to explain after Albus has spoken,’ he informed them much to the curiosity and interest of the trio.

‘That is reasonable. I think it is safe to assume we would all like to know your story,’ McGonagall said, looking at them with interest.

Legolas looked at her, tilting his head. ‘Then it is settled,’ he told her, and she nodded while the other occupants whispered in hushed tones amongst themselves until Dumbledore quieted them.

‘Very well, all will be explained in time. Now, back to the issue at hand. On top of the DA and regular classes you will be attending, I have also seen fit to start a training regime for all those of fourth year and above. This will be voluntary, though. During this time, the students who place their names down will have many choices in what type of training they wish to receive. While other lessons will not be voluntary,’ Dumbledore explained.

‘For example,’ Legolas said, making all eyes turn to him again. ‘I will be teaching Archery along with Haldir. Along with the extra lessons in how to efficiently use daggers, which is recommended as an addition. But, it is not a need to know. It is a difficult profession to learn and even harder to master to use to one’s advantage,’ he explained.

Hermione looked at him. ‘So, if I was to choose Archery as the profession I want to learn, I wouldn’t necessarily learn how to use daggers, but I will be recommended to do so?’ she asked him.

Legolas looked at her. ‘That is correct. The reason I recommend it is because there may be a time when you are amid fighting, and you may need to perform hand-to-hand combat if a foe closes the distance between you and him. It is not difficult, but highly inefficient to use Archery if such a thing were to happen. There is also your wand, and you must always use it when needed,’ he told her.

‘Why would we need to learn how to use weapons? We’ll be up against wizards and witches who will use wands,’ Ron put in, looking from the Elves to the Headmaster in confusion.

‘The Dark Lord’s forces train in many aspects, Mr Weasley,’ Snape answered, and the trio looked at him. ‘Using weapons is part of the training the Death Eaters learn, and they use them on a regular basis. As I will explain more on later, the Dark Lord has recruited many to his side. Some of which are not of a magical background, and they will be using weapons. It would be in your best interest to choose a profession of your particular capability, and use it to your advantage,’ he explained, looking at Ron intently causing the redhead to become rather uncomfortable.

‘Right... sir,’ Ron said, turning away from Snape’s piercing black eyes.

Dumbledore sighed. ‘Professor Snape is correct, Mr Weasley. There is no telling what Voldemort has in-store for us, and we must train as much as we can before it is too late. It is the reason for this training regime, and I assume you now have the gist of what I am referring to?’ he asked them.

Harry and Ron nodded, but Hermione frowned. ‘I understand we will be getting training in physical aspects, but what about magical? Will there be extras classes for this as well?’ she asked in curiosity.

‘Yes, Miss Granger,’ McGonagall said, and the trio turned to her. ‘There will be lessons in all magical aspects. These classes will be higher levels than what you are learning now, so it will not be easy. These experiences will be challenging, even for you,’ she explained, and Hermione nodded in understanding.

Dumbledore smiled. ‘Now, that is settled, what else do you wish to know?’ he asked them.

‘What is going on with Voldemort?’ Harry asked him instantly.

Dumbledore sighed, looking him. ‘Voldemort’s forces are massing, and as we speak more are joining his side. Professor Snape knows the details of what creatures and others Voldemort is recruiting. Professor Snape, if you will,’ he said motioning for Snape to speak.

Snape nodded, looking at the trio, shocking them when his eyes and expression softened. ‘The Dark Lord’s forces are large, and they greatly outnumber our side. They are strong and are gathering for attacks they will make at various places. The Dark Lord wants to confuse us by attacking smaller communities such as Hogsmeade first. His goal is to take over the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts because he wants to take control of the Wizarding world and warp it to his liking,’ Snape explained, looking at their shocked expressions.

Harry shook his head, closing his eyes before looking back at Snape. ‘What allies does he have?’ he asked almost hesitantly.

Dumbledore held up a hand to stop Snape from answering, and Harry started to kick up a fuss before Dumbledore shushed him. ‘Before you jump to conclusions that I am not going to allow Professor Snape to explain, I suggest you all sit down before he does. This may come as quite a shock to you,’ he told him, and three plush armchairs appeared behind them, and they sat down. Dumbledore turned to Haldir and Legolas. ‘You may also want to sit. This may shock you both as well,’ he told them.

Haldir shook his head. ‘We prefer to stand,’ he said.

Dumbledore only nodded with a small sigh, before turning back to Snape. ‘Continue, Severus,’ he said.

Snape nodded. ‘Many have allied with the Dark Lord. As I tell you each one, I will give a short explanation to what they can do,’ he explained to them, and at their nod, he continued, ‘First off, there are the lower ranks which are the Death Eaters you all know, so you need little explanation for them. Fenrir Greyback is leading the werewolves, but I am not sure what they are doing, and for more information, you should speak to Lupin,’ he informed them.

Remus nodded. ‘The Werewolves are trying to find others and recruit them to You-Know-Who’s side. From what information I have managed to gather, there are also packs of wolves following the Werewolves, but I haven’t heard much else,’ Remus explained, and the trio nodded, turning back to Snape.

‘There are Vampires, and the Dark Lord is inventing a potion to make Magic useless against them. This means weapons will be necessary. A word of caution, Vampires are not merciful creatures and will not hesitate to kill you if the opportunity arises. Do not give them a chance. If you see one, kill it as quickly as you can,’ Snape warned, and the trio’s eyes widened, and they nodded.

‘Speaking of Vampires, we were lucky to recruit many to our side. Can I add if you see two Vampires fighting, leave them to fight? Do not try to help our allied Vampires. Only attempt to fight against the enemy Vampire if they succeed in killing our allied ones,’ Tonks told them from next to Remus where she was sitting listening, and they nodded in understanding.

Snape nodded in agreement. ‘Very true. Take heed of this information,’ he told them, and with a sigh, he continued, ‘There is also a group like the Death Eaters, but they are far more powerful. They are like the Chekov Garde and are called the Black Horadrim,’ he told them, causing Legolas and Haldir to stiffen at his words, but Snape didn’t seem to notice. ‘If you are unlucky enough to come face to face with a member of the Black Horadrim then run away as fast as you can from them and dodge their spells. If they cast the Cruciatus Curse on you, it can kill you,’ Snape warned them, and they looked back in fear.

Moody pushed away from the wall and spoke, ‘It would be in your best interest to let the Chekov Garde handle them while you take care of the regular Death Eaters. Whatever you do, don’t try to fight them. It will be a fruitless attempt and will be suicide to boot,’ he told them, and they nodded, still looking scared at the thought of knowing they will be around.

‘The Dementors are also allied to the Dark Lord,’ Snape continued, ‘I don’t think I need to explain because I am sure you are aware of how foul they are,’ he said, and they nodded, their faces grim. Harry shuddered, remembering the effect the Dementors had on him. ‘There are also Giants, but thanks to Hagrid we also have Giants on our side so let them take care of them. Thankfully, also due to Hagrid, we have Aragog and the Acromantulas in our favour,’ Snape informed them, and Ron shuddered at the thought of spiders running free during the battle even if they were on their side. ‘Now, the last was most confusing. I discovered last night at a Death Eater meeting some have joined the Dark Lord while others are still scattered. It seems, as we first thought, Legolas and Haldir are not the only Wood-Elves still around and-’

‘What are you speaking of?’ Haldir asked him in shock, cutting him off while Legolas looked at him with wide eyes.

‘There are Wood-Elves allied to the Dark Lord. He is trying to gather them all to his side, but he has only successfully rallied a hundred or so, while there are hundreds more scattered throughout the world. It is unclear where they came from, but I am not mistaken,’ Snape finished.

Haldir and Legolas looked at each other in shock. ‘How is it possible?’ Haldir asked in bewilderment.

‘The Elves sailed to Valinor millennia ago. Are you sure of this?’ Legolas asked him.

Dumbledore turned to them. ‘Severus speaks the truth. I have people out searching for others to join our cause. I am hoping we reach them before Voldemort does,’ he answered.

They looked at each other again in shock and confusion. ‘What is going on?’ Haldir asked to no one.

Snape turned to them. ‘From what I recall they called themselves the Moriquendi Elves or the Dark Elves, but this is all I know. Apparently, it took little encouragement for them to join the Dark Lord,’ he explained.

Legolas turned to Haldir. 'What could this mean? What has become of Aman? As far as I was aware, we were the last two Elves still walking this world,′ he said to Haldir in Elvish, while the others looked on wondering what they were saying.

'There is nothing we can do about it for now. We can only wait to see if others join this side, and ask them for ourselves,′ Haldir answered to which Legolas nodded.

Snape glanced at them before looking at the others. ‘That is all the information I have to give,’ he said, and they all took on thoughtful expressions.

Dumbledore sighed. ‘Thank you, Severus,’ he said, nodding to Snape, before turning to Haldir and Legolas. ‘Now, if you wish to tell your story, then please do,’ he told them.

They nodded, still shaken at the knowledge there were more Elves out there like them and not knowing why or how. Although they were torn inside, their exterior was calm and collected, stepping forward to tell their story.

‘A long-time ago, we travelled to the far west to take the boat to Aman, the Undying Lands. It sailed without us as punishment for a crime we are still unaware of committing,’ Haldir started, looking around at everyone. ‘We were cursed, and our sentence was to be enshrouded in shadow and walk unnoticed by the world of Men who had no idea we even existed,’ he explained.

‘We suffered, wishing for nothing more than to fade, but due to our punishment, we could not. We have been walking this ever-changing world for millennia, without leaving the safety and seclusion of the forest. We were not interested in the advancing technology around us. The Valar finally let up on their punishment a week past, and we met Albus in the Forbidden Forest. It was the first time we had spoken to anyone other than each other since our punishment started. It was with curiosity we agreed to take on a proposition from Albus,’ Legolas explained, eyeing the trio, but his eyes lingered on Hermione a little longer than the other two.

‘What proposition?’ Hermione asked.

‘We would protect a young Mr Potter and his friends. However, we have a deal with Albus. If we wish to leave to fade then we are free to do so without argument,’ Legolas told her, glancing at Dumbledore who nodded in affirmation of this deal. ‘We also agreed to take on the position of Defence Professor’s while we remain here,’ he finished.

There was silence for a while after this until Hermione’s curiosity and thirst for knowledge got the better of her. She looked at the Elves questioningly. ‘By “fade” what do you mean?’ she asked them.

‘We would die,’ Haldir answered, and Hermione gasped, her eyes darting to Legolas.

Legolas almost smiled at her surprise. ‘We have lingered longer than we anticipated, and we are tired. I stand by what I said to Albus upon first meeting him, and if I do not find a reason to stay in this world I will leave and fade if I so wish it. I am weary and want to end my immortality,’ he explained to her, and she nodded sadly, looking away.

More silence followed this for a few minutes before Dumbledore cleared his throat. ‘I believe this is everything covered for the moment, and I suggest the three of you return to your classes. If I am not mistaken, I think you have Charms next,’ he told them with a smile, and the trio nodded, picking up their bags and shouldering them. The rest of the members of the Order also left to continue with what they were doing.

While the trio moved towards the door, Hermione looked back around, her eyes locking with Legolas’ once more. She turned back around, following Harry and Ron down the rotating staircase.

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