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An Old and New World
by Lens of Sanity

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Chapter Thirty One: It's Oh So Quiet

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Bellatrix Black was awake, but refused to open her eyes, instead savouring the warm fuzzy feeling and sensations on her skin. She was happy. And that fact kind of amazed her. She didn't really remember feeling properly happy since, maybe ever, long before Azkaban at any rate. Harry's body moved a little as he woke and Bella buried herself deeper, holding onto the warm feeling for as long as possible.

They'd played a bunch of games last night, the kinds of things Dolahov was always so fond of when she'd been ordered to his rooms by the Dark Lord, but somehow it was far more fun when it was with Harry. And now that she thought about it, Harry never seemed to order her to do things either. They got to kill people occasionally, and she had to ask nicely before being allowed to torture anyone, but Harry never ordered her to do anything she wouldn't have enjoyed doing anyway.

Hmm. Bellatrix didn't know how she should feel about that.

"What you thinking about dear Bella?" he asked softly, callused fingertips barely touching her, slowly brushing their way down the curve of her hip.

"I miss Yellow," she answered, her body trembling.

"Yeah, me too," Harry agreed with a low whisper in her ear, nose inhaling the older woman's scent. "It's not the same around here without her."

"When is she coming back?" asked Bellatrix, the only person who took him at his word when he said Luna was still alive.

"I have no idea. I don't even have any logical reason for believing the way I do." Harry noticed goosebumps, and that Bella was staunchly holding her eyes tight shut. "It just doesn't feel very Luna-ish, for her to die taking out an enemy for revenge. And well, if the Time‑Turner were going to kill her, there would have been an explosion and a body—not a portal and an Eldritch Abomination."

Harry would swear the noise his companion was making would be best described as purring.

"So you'll bring her back soon?" Bella asked breathily.

"Flighty is taking up too much of my concentration," Harry told her with a small sigh. "It'll have to wait until I have more free time."

"I hope it's soon," Bella said after a small gasp. She finally eased open her big purple eyes and completely ignored the interior of Harry's room on Caerbannog, flipping round and focusing instead on her favourite shade of green.

"You look happy," Harry said with surprise.

She was. Amazingly enough she was.

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Harry and Bellatrix didn't begin making their way back to Hogwarts until early afternoon. And when they did arrive there were hundreds of people milling around. All irrelevant. Bypassing the stockade had never been particularly difficult for a small force. The battle lines and sentries were defending against large numbers, and preventing a mass exodus of escapees fleeing the castle's protection. This was probably because the siege's primary purpose was to act as guard while the curse breakers painstakingly tore down the thousand year old wards.

They had been at it for six months, and as far as Harry knew, were hardly closer to completing the task.

"How come you are always so frisky after a rebirth ritual Bella?" Harry asked after a while, remembering yesterday afternoon, last night, and most of this morning. "I mean, you are quite adamant to get your way, especially yesterday."

Absently trouncing four sentries before Harry even got off a spell, Bella thought about it, and replied plainly, "I do not like it when you're dead."

Dual Bengal tigers burning brilliantly scattered a small swarm of Dementors, and the two made their way closer to the destination. With what happened to Voldemort recently the Death Eaters would be lax in their efforts to stop them, so Harry and Bella didn't even bother hiding the infiltration.

Most of the Goblin Army was on the far side of the castle, so they wouldn't be a problem needing to be dealt with, and because of this relative ease Harry and his friend would be back in Hogwarts School not an hour later. Unfortunately during the trip Harry ran into someone unexpected...

"Wait, I know you!" he said in the middle of another impromptu duel. Negligently palming back a blistering yellow-orange hex he finished, "You're that Digby guy. Daphne's squeeze right?"

"It's Diggory!" The Death Eater screamed in fury and outrage.

"Right yeah, Diggory. Colin Diggory."

"Cedric you bastard. I HATE YOU! Avada Kedavra!"

Harry simply nodded and allowed one of his neon blue pixie defenders intercept the green light. Looking around Harry took in the fact that Bella had finished destroying the other members of the patrol, leaving the former Ravenclaw to fight alone.

Harry casually rolled his shoulder to avoid a screeched Cruciatus Curse. "I didn't know you joined the Death Eaters Col-Cedric. Does Daph know about it? I know her family are Neutrals."

"AAaaargh!" The guy screamed hatefully, sending a long string of pretty impressive curses into Harry's shield, Imprimis Patrocinor. "She left me. Your fault, everything bad that happens is always your fault!"

Lifting his left foot to avoid one of Tam's favourites—a low cast Organ Liquefier—Harry raised an eyebrow. "Everything bad that happens in your life is my fault? How'd you come to that conclusion? Before today I don't think I've ever even met you."

Bella giggled as a baby pander was introduced to another of the Ravenclaw's Cruciatus' and the boy went on casting, screaming with rage and hatred, and disjointedly explaining his life. The guy was kind of a prick. He blamed Harry for not being chosen Hogwarts Triwizard Champion back in fourth year, and started flinging AKs like they were candy when Harry explained how Angelina was chosen because she was better, by an impartial Magical Goblet.

The girl he had his eye on and almost caught, Cho Chang, was most famous for Harry's sleeping with her in the Prefects' Bathroom, and having put a Sonorous on the door. After which she wasn't all that interested in Digby anymore.

The boy's on again off again relationship with Daphne Greengrass eventually fell through because of the Slytherin's unconsciously comparing his every act and decision to Harry. When he'd quite reasonably pointed out that he maybe should get a different girlfriend, Digby's casting had taken a few turns darker.

Harry started getting bored of the angst-fest around the time the guy began expositing his failed career with the Ministry of Magic, and being made scapegoat for a number of Harry's moves in the Wizengamot. He'd eventually been recruited into the Death Eaters not long after the Ministry had fallen, mostly due to promises he'd one day get the opportunity to face Harry in battle and kill him.

Harry noticed dark rings spreading around the boy's bloodshot eyes. "Maybe you should take it easy on the Dark Arts there Colin mate. You're looking on the ragged edge."

"AND YOU CAN NEVER REMEMBER MY NAME!"

There was a wordless yell of outrage and Harry noticed the pooling crimson of Dragonfyre, so decided to end it. Three flicks of his holly wand and the man was bound, disarmed, and unconscious.

"Well that was interesting," Harry idly commented.

"He was a pretty good caster," Bellatrix agreed, getting to her feet and throwing away the apple she'd been munching.

"Come on let's go. I could use a late lunch."

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Seated at her favourite desk in the Hogwarts Library—the one which looked over the grounds and in the distance showed the Forbidden Forest—Hermione scribbled notes across a huge piece of parchment. She'd come to a startling realisation and was putting her thoughts to paper, as this was usually a good method of organising ideas.

The library was pretty busy, given that the students, their families, the Aurors and former Ministry people, their families, and all of the refugee Muggleborn, were all taking residence in the castle for the duration of this war. Hogwarts was filled with people, but surprisingly enough it did not feel as though it were bursting at the seams.

Apparently Godric Griffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Helga Hufflepuff had thought something like this might happen, and fortified the structure appropriately. Well, Hermione knew from history class that Hogwarts had never fallen to an invading army, so the Founders must have done their work well.

Regardless, the library was unusually busy due mostly to boredom on the inhabitants' part.

She hadn't seen Tam for a couple of days, save for a brief conversation during the latest rebirth ritual, so Hermione was understandably a little antsy—her hair was even reclaiming some of its former bushiness!—which was why she was working so hard scratching out her ideas. Kind of a distraction to keep her mind occupied.

The ostentatious redhead in question sat herself across the table, and Hermione began to feel a stirring of anticipation, which of course she sternly kept from showing on her face.

"What are you working on Hermione?" The heart stoppingly gorgeous woman asked breezily.

"I've noticed something about Harry. There are some similarities in how he is going about fighting this war," Hermione told her girlfriend without looking up. "I am simply putting my thoughts to parchment to see whether or not it's just my imagination."

"Hmm?" Tam asked with wonderfully worrisome glint in her eye.

"Think about all the successes Harry has had against Voldemort. The first time Harry killed him in the Hangleton Graveyard—a wandlessly summoned gravestone to the back of the head, used as a distraction so he could activate escape via portkey.

"The second time was at Malfoy Manor using a Killing Curse. The whole thing with the transfigured hippogriff. He was attempting to keep Fleur Delacour from dying.

"Harry forced the Magical Community to admit Voldemort was alive again during the summer between fourth and fifth year, and he did that by setting up a mock duel with Albus. But if you remember, his real motivation was to stop the Ministry throwing him back into Azkaban for sedition?"

Tam's look had faded slightly into genuine interest at this thought process. "Go on..."

"Next there was the Department of Mysteries Battle where pre-Time Travel Luna hit Voldemort with another Killing Curse. Only Harry was not there to fight the Dark Lord at all, he was actually there to free Bellatrix from Voldemort's control and get her onto his side.

"Then I came up with the idea to learn Legilimency, and use the Horcrux-Mindlink connection against Voldemort. But Harry didn't go for it, instead using Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce, and a twenty hour session of sex with Luna. I suppose that could be counted as an outlier, but maybe Harry only did it because the sex sounded fun..."

Hermione trailed off in thought, and Tam prompted, "Keep going, I am interested in where this is heading."

"Oh, yes of course," said Hermione, startled back to reality. Looking down at the parchment she was reminded of her place in the narrative. "Harry's next move against the Dark Lord was to achieve peace with the Vampire Clans. But if you'll remember what we really did was take Caerbannog for its maiden voyage, and Harry was blatantly only going through with it as a thinly veiled excuse to spend time with Fleur.

"Defeating the Jabberwock and destroying the City of the Dead using an Atomic Bomb was probably the next success. Even if I doubt I'll ever be one hundred percent comfortable with what happened. Anyway, that whole plan was a by-product of Harry's desire to retrieve Petunia Dursley so she could help revive Lily.

"And earlier this year our forces, the French Aurors, and Harry's vampire allies, soundly defeated not only a Death Eater Army, but Fenrir Greyback and the packs under his command..."

Tam interrupted with a hint of dawning realisation. "And you are saying Harry's main goal had been to prevent Draco Malfoy's marriage, with the Time‑Turner thing being mostly an accident."

"Yes," she agreed. "And the whole Daemon Raising plan—"

"Which turned out not to be a Daemon!"

"You were trying to raise one!" insisted Hermione. "You do not get a pass just because it didn't turn out like you believed it would." Tam looked mutinous but didn't contradict her. "That plan was for the Daemon's Magic-Negation Field to prevent the Sword Horcrux from portkeying away at the last instant. Instead Voldemort made a huge explosion so it worked anyway, but whatever.

Nevertheless... In the Daemon plan, Harry's primary goal was revenge against Godric for killing—" Hermione looked around to make sure Harry wasn't around, before mouthing 'Hedwig.' Tam nodded, it was not a good idea to mention the owl anywhere Harry might overhear.

"And the Blood Protection Guardian?" asked the redhead after a while.

Hermione frowned. "I am not sure. Perhaps this is the first time Harry has intentionally made a move against Voldemort. Or perhaps all of this is simply my imagination."

"I do not know—" Tam mused. "It seems a pretty big coincidence."

"So you think I'm correct?" Hermione asked surprised.

"Harry is accidently defeating Voldemort?" Tam laughed. "Yes, that sounds surprisingly reasonable."

Deciding to go back to the original reason she'd sought out her girlfriend, Tam brushed her strong supple hand against Hermione's—

—and let out a horrendous yelp of pain.

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The instant her palm touched the back of Hermione's hand Tam shrieked in agony, like a localised Cruciatus to the right hand. Snatching it back she looked and saw atrocious burns on her hand, Hermione's eyes going wide at the sight. Reaching over the brunette instinctively grabbed her wrist for a better look and the unspeakable pain—scorching flames and burning—wracked the limb.

Tam snatched the appendage back, her right hand turning to ash. Quick thinking had Tam's wand out, gripped in her left and pointing at the opposite limb. "Lacero!" the duellist Cutting Curse separated her right at the elbow, and not a moment later the severed limb tumbled to dust.

"What?" Hermione asked in shock.

Tam hastily cauterised the bleeding and took a step away from her girlfriend, amorous thoughts long forgotten. "J-just. Do not touch me okay."

"You are affected by the Blood Guardian." Hermione voiced the obvious realisation. Then came to an even more horrible implication, and a wide eyed question. "But how are we supposed to... y'know? Stuff."

Recently amputated arm on the back burner, Tam raised an eyebrow. "Stuff?" she smiled. "Is that all I am to you? A means to an end. Fit only for your personal enjoyment of stuff?"

"Of course not. It's just that it's been three days!" Hermione said, incriminating herself further.

"I have just cut off my own arm!" Tam exploded, secretly enjoying the blushing girl's reaction. "Have a little empathy Selfish Sally."

"What's going on over here?" Harry asked, walking into the library side by side with Bellatrix. "We were about to get some lunch. You'll never guess who we ran into."

"Hermione's touch burns me..." Tam began. "I keep forgetting that the Dark Lord and I share the same magical signature, so the Blood Protection thing affects me too."

Harry's eyes lit up in glee, glittering with unfettered amusement. "Meaning that you two can't—" He made a shameless scissoring motion with his fingers, causing Hermione to blush further. "It's karma paying you both back for mocking me. Maybe you can get some rubber gloves or something. Or if you want me to do the honours?"

"Not a chance in hell Harry." His brother growled in an attempt to remain dignified. Turning to Bellatrix she asked, "Would you mind helping me with some healing? This kind of thing is a little out Poppy Pomfrey's league."

Bella blinked a few times before working out what the redhead was talking about. "Yes okay, although I have not done it in years."

"You will be fine. It is relatively simple after all."

"Where are you going?" asked Hermione.

"To fix my arm," replied Tam.

The older and younger woman left the library side by side and Harry turned to his friend. "Lunch?"

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It took so much bloody longer than it ought. Tam spent over an hour in her house-elf cleaned room, there was nothing to be found. She'd eventually broken into Hermione's room and cast about with a long series of Detection Charms before she found a sole red hair, more than a foot long, stuck to the inside of one of Hermione's coat pockets. How it got there was anybody's guess.

She and Bellatrix had then skulked around the wardlines for an unfortunately time-consuming search, eventually attacking one of the curse breaker teams. Tam took a Goblin Battleaxe to her stump, shearing off even more of the limb in a jagged blood-splattering of gore. Nevertheless they had managed to capture a marked Death Eater, and proceeded to drag her back to the castle.

After all of that Tam couldn't track down any of the potion—which aboard Caebannog was lying around all over the place—and she'd been forced to go begging Snape for some of his private store, and that had been mortifying.

Still, they were now in the Room of Requirement and Bella was going over the process in her head. The polyjuice potion from Snape was now charged, and the female Death Eater now looked the splitting double of Tamsyn Riddle, only with both limbs instead of a right arm which ended far above the elbow.

"Please, don't hurt me. I'll tell you everything I know." The tone of pleading in the redheaded prisoner's voice was not something Tam would ever be caught using in a million years.

"For goodness sake, be quite," Tam told the woman in annoyance. "We do not care what you know or do not know."

"Why are prisoners always so whiny?" Bellatrix asked idly. "It is like they cannot wrap their heads around the fact I am torturing them for no other reason than it's fun."

Tam shrugged. "Avada Kedavra!"

There was an emerald bolt of light and the Death Eater's eyes went glassy in death. The great thing about polyjuice was that while it did not work on the dead, someone killed while under the effects retained the altered shape as their body decayed naturally.

Bellatrix separated the corpse's arm at the right shoulder and proceeded to take a few measurements, attempting to get the join as accurate as possible. "Have you taken a Numbing Draught?"

"No, but it is fine, do it anyway."

Dark Arts healing processes were always like this—kind of gross and equal parts horrifying.

Fifteen minutes later Tam didn't have so much as a scar, and after a good night's sleep her magic will have brought it up to the same strength as the rest of her body. Flawless.

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Sat at the Griffindor table with Hermione, Harry was enjoying a detailed academic conversation with his oldest friend, snacking lightly on one of his signature Carrot-Hellfire Sauce lunches. She was getting into the details of how a binding spell she'd been taught recently was originally spellcrafted. It was kind of complex and even Harry was having a hard time following some of the rune conversion minutiae. She assured him was of vast importance.

After a time they were joined by a distinctive scent; spring rainfall and rose petals. "Good afternoon oh Floor Del-ah-Core. How have you been this fine summer's day?"

With a shudder at the horrible mangling of her name the woman spoke. "Please, never call me 'zat again. You know how I feel about nicknames."

"How about Phlegm De-La-Crème..." Harry trailed off. "That actually sounded like a relish, albeit not a particularly appetising one."

Looking a little green the woman simply shook her head and took some food.

"How about a deal?" he said after a while. "Fight me. If you win I'll stop giving you stupid nicknames."

"And in the unlikely event 'zat you win?" Fleur asked in interest.

"You have to dye your—"

"Non!" she interrupted. "I am not going to dye my hair red not matter how many times you suggest it."

"Come on, your hair is perfect. Such a light platinum shade would hold the colour really well."

"I am not changing my hair."

"If you were a redhead you'd easily make it into the top three best looking women in the castle," Harry told her seriously. "Top five people if both Luna and I were in the running."

"You think there are three women more physically attractive than me in 'zis castle?" she asked, astounded at such audacity. "Who?"

"Well Tam and Hermione have spots one and two obviously," he said simply. "And Tonks of course, if you've ever seen her base form. Then there are the Slytherin girls—" Fleur was glaring at him so he trailed off. "Regardless, I'm just saying if you were a redhead you'd probably move up the rankings a little."

"I am not dying my hair," Fleur said again, with a little nod for emphasis. "I will fight you to stop with 'ze foolish nicknames, but you must pick something else."

Hermione was silently watching this back and forth in amazed interest. Harry wasn't taking the piss, he really was trying to get the gorgeous French woman to change her appearance, and he seemed sincere in his pronouncement of Hermione's status. Moreover, she believed the barbs and ill-concealed anger were actually indications the two were flirting with one another in some bizarre fashion.

"I've got it!" Harry declared following a long moment's contemplation. "If I win you have to speak flawless English for the rest of the year."

Fleur scowled prettily.

The fight promised to be long and bloody.

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Dumbledore was looking fatigued as he entered the Come and Go Room. There was an extra tightness in his eyes showing how little restful sleep he must be getting. "How are you feeling Albus?" Hermione asked her mentor.

"Tired," he told her with a smile. "Hogwarts wards are wonderful things. Tremendous levels of redundancy and backups. However Voldemort's curse breakers are beginning to cause serious damage. I have just returned from installing a backup Physical Net they had managed to overcharge and crack."

"That is the ward which prevents physical objects from bypassing the protections," Hermione asked for confirmation. "Such as an old-style cannonball?"

"Correct. There were still five running smoothly, however it is my responsibility to keep them maintained," Dumbledore said with a sigh. "The castle has taken to regularly waking me in the middle of the night with yet more problems. I have been forced to use the Time‑Turner for sleep."

"Well I have some good news you may find interesting," she said, looking over at Harry and Fleur conducting warm up drills. "We confirmed Harry gifted three of us with the Blood Protection Guardian. Well four, but I hope little Sarah Potter will not be doing too much fighting."

"Things would indeed be dire if that were the case." The headmaster smiled. "May I ask who was fortunate enough to be blessed by Harry's magic, and how you can be so certain without testing against Voldemort?"

"Lily Potter obviously," Hermione began, then gestured to the platinum blonde. "Surprisingly enough Fleur Delacour is the second. And lastly there is myself. One, two, and three." She paused in thought. "We tested Tracy Davis on Harry's suggestion but there was no reaction."

"And as to the method of testing?"

Hermione grimaced at the irony. "Tam's magic is identical to Voldemort's. No spell she casts against the three of us will hold, and our blood and touch are anathema to her."

Dumbledore very carefully applied his mastery of Occlumency against displaying his emotions openly at these implications. "So you are saying Ms. Riddle cannot physically touch you?"

Hermione's eyes closed tight in dismay at the seemingly offhand question.

"You are exactly as bad as Harry."

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Fleur and Harry circled one another like a pair of apex predators, testing the air and their opponent's resolve. It was a game of dominance. In his peripheral vision Harry saw Hermione careful admiration of her girlfriend's new arm, Albus was a spectator, as was Tonks, Sirius, and the rest of the crew. Lily was holding both newborns and Bella was maintaining a Bunker Shield as redundant protection.

The two circled, neither wanting to be the one to make the first move.

"Aculeus!" Harry whispered playfully, attempting a Stinging Hex to the arse as his opening shot.

Fleur's blue eyes narrowed and her features became more avian. The woman began an intricate piece of spellwork, many syllables he could not discern. Harry allowed it, interested in where she was going, and a few moments later she released a full flaring of her Veela Thrall. An almighty tug crashing into him, adding its power to the charm she'd been building.

Next thing Harry saw was a wandless fireball approaching from her offhand, the girl was going with her primal strengths, she must have really wanted to win. Harry didn't bother to block, instead he wandlessly caught the flames, Fleur's magic feeling strangely familiar, then threw it into a tight orbit and sent it straight back to her, chased with a few minor hexes of his own.

She dealt with the attacks deftly but Harry was charging her, and a swift cutter across the back of her wand hand, dropped her weapon to the ground. The yelp of pain was nothing to the "Ooph" she released as a sadistic uppercut connected with her stomach, lifting Fleur's feet from the floor and dropping her to the ground.

Neither of them had agreed to standard duelling rules after all.

Harry found his legs swept backwards and the woman straddling him a moment later, raining blows to his face with a merciless fury. With one hand pinned he could barely deflect a fraction of the punches, so bare knuckles began splitting open cuts and offering a painful crunch as his nose exploded in a break.

Not liking how things were going Harry brought his feet under him, and bridged his hips in a snapping motion, adding as forceful a banisher as he could with his open hand. Fleur crashed into the opposite wall and brought her wand to bear, somehow having recaptured it, and unleashed a black-purple stabbing curse right on the heels of a Foe Hammer.

Okay, things were starting to get nasty.

Harry ignored the piercer as it was off-target anyway, and put as much power into an Imprimis as he could manage. The impact was enough to overpower the defence and throw him into a balsawood and fine china display. The room seemed to think it appropriate.

So that is how we're going about it eh?

He began the involved incantation for Norsefire, ducking and dodging his favourite avian's nasty little spell-string.

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A little over one hundred miles from the room in which Fleur and Harry were... fighting, flirting, attempting to kill one another, testing the other's boundaries, or perhaps simply wailing on one another because of some stupid bet, Lord Voldemort was tearing together a new body in a process of indescribable pain.

It was August third, a day with absolutely no celestial significance whatsoever, yet the method of his previous dispatching left the Dark Lord with an all-consuming feeling of foreboding, and he had therefore decided on one of the sub-optimal methods of rebirth.

He'd gone with a Necromantic Summoning as the method by which he could produce a powerful body comparable to the one he'd recently become accustomed, and so it quite predictable worked off the number six. Six of the Inner Circle, bleeding six Virgin girls, at each of the six points of a sexagram.

Pretty standard stuff for anyone involved in this kind of thing.

Unfortunately the Dark Lord was forced to craft the body using his will alone, until it was strong enough to begin applying his inherent magic to the task. This was not simple, and was taking a considerable degree of his intellect and concentration to do so.

A little over an hour after the process began Voldemort stood, and the Inner Circle members dropped to the floor, six severe cases of magical exhaustion. He waved one of the attendants over to check they'd survived, but his mind was far too occupied to bother finding out himself.

Severus had betrayed him. Again! And Voldemort moved the man up above Dumbledore in the 'people who need to be flayed alive' rankings. In fact, should the Dark Lord capture the traitor, he'd personally come up with some special method of expressing his displeasure, hopefully over the course of many, many years.

It was possible to keep a man alive for forty years while torturing him wasn't it?

Voldemort picked up his personal fifteen inches of the World Tree, the enchantments on it having been powerful enough to rip through the wards of an Ancient and Noble manor house. He moved over to another attendant, yanked up the left sleeve of his dark cloak, and pressed his magic into a summoning. Voldemort's anger stewed, while the remainder of his intellect focused on what had happened, and what his response was going to be.

When his Death Eaters assembled in two long ranks either side of his black granite throne—the obsidian one having long since been destroyed—the Dark Lord forced them to stand in silence for a long while. Eventually his hissed out the primary instruction.

"You are to kill Lily Potter at any cost. The one who succeeds in this task will be granted whatever they so desir—"

"My Lord." An interruption? All but unprecedented. Anyone foolish enough to interrupt him was begging for correction, and Voldemort began charging a Cruciatus Curse of staggering proportions.

The Dark Lord saw it was Rowena who cut him short, and allowed the coppery haired woman to finish, on the off chance he could be convinced to let the slight stand. Rowena said nothing, simply looked him in his red, silted eyes. The Founder was not attempting to stare her Master down, instead intimating a mistake without doing so aloud.

"You are correct of course," said Voldemort. There would have been a free for all, with Death Eaters getting in one another's way more than getting the job done. "Jugson?"

"Yes my Lord." The man instantly snapped to attention.

"What resources would you require to make certain of Lily Potter's death?"

Jugson thought about this query for an extended moment. "Give me Rowle, and three of the tested newcomers. Goyle and Crabbe work well together too—" Jugson trailed off. "Yes, seven fully kitted out would be more than enough. She's good, I faced her late in '78, but we'll get her. By your command my Lord."

A Death Eater erring on the side of caution rather than spewing false bravado? Voldemort noted with approval. "You may go."

The Dark Lord needed to end this soon. Harry Potter had somehow duplicated the effect which led to his first downfall, and the loss of the fool Quirinus. His enemies were doubtless draining her blood and force feeding Replenishing Potion right at this moment. Blood based weapons capable of destroying him? Had Voldemort not controlled himself the idea would cause a shudder.

Rowena must be kept safe at the Ministry from now on.

This war was coming to a head, one way or another.