Harry Crow

What will happen when a goblin-raised Harry arrives at Hogwarts. A Harry who has received training, already knows the prophecy and has no scar. With the backing of the goblin nation and Hogwarts herself. Complete.



77. Marvelous Marauders

When Hermione spied who had arrived with Bill that Saturday morning there was no stopping her, she was out of her seat and rushing to greet their unexpected visitor. Their friends had all seen this behaviour before but for the rest of the school, seeing a witch hug a goblin and refer to them as 'father' was absolutely shocking.

"It's good to see you too, my daughter. Are you four recovered?"

"Yes father, Moody worked us to exhaustion but there was no other damage."

"Moody is a warrior, used to working with and training other warriors. In hindsight, it was a mistake to leave your extra training in his hands. That is one of the issues we need to discuss today."

The four friends left with Barchoke and Bill, making their way up to the room Hogwarts provided. This time there were two large sofas facing each other, the room understanding that they needed to talk first."

The goblin got the cart rolling. "I spoke with Augusta and Amelia, both very much liked the idea of the students who couldn't afford Hogwarts next year receiving sponsorship. Both were very much against those sponsorships interfering with the Potter Scholarship program that is currently running so successfully. I suggested sponsorship from the Lily Potter foundation and they agreed. What conditions would you like to set with these sponsorships?"

"As few as possible." Harry knew that controlling the purse strings gave them power over those who were granted the award, it was a power he didn't want hanging over the recipients' heads.

"We expect all the students to do their best, and any Hogwarts punishment of an agreed upon severity sees their sponsorship getting reviewed. I don't want to have anything to do with setting the level of severity, and certainly won't have any input into the review procedure. How about Augusta, you and Draco's mum on the panel? That keeps everything separate from the scholarships yet still has a fair balance."

If you counted Barchoke and Narcissa Malfoy as the opposite ends of the spectrum then the panel was reasonably fair. Bill though could sense there was really more going on here than was being said.

"Harry, why are you pushing this so hard?"

"Edmund Parkinson barred his daughter from the Parkinson family for her own protection, that's not something the Prophet just surmised. That left Pansy without a name but Draco immediately claimed her. The Malfoys though won't have the gold to send Pansy to Hogwarts for the remainder of her years here. With this scheme up and running, it gives Draco the option of accepting a sponsorship for Pansy, or borrowing the gold from Elspeth Parkinson. The four of us already know what Draco will choose."

Neville quickly agreed. "He would choose the sponsorship, rather than be beholden to his mate's former family. While Draco knows why Edmund did what he had to, accepting Parkinson gold to put Pansy through Hogwarts would be adding insult to injury."

This left Hermione comically shaking her head. "Pure bloods and goblins, one day I might figure out which set of politics is crazier."

Her mate joked right back at her. "Oh, and having a head of the country who's not really the head but everyone still bows to isn't crazy? The muggles have a queen who rules over the country, but can't say anything unless her government tells her to. Now that's just plain crazy."

Padma and Neville were waiting on the punchline, when it never came they had to agree with Harry on this one. Barchoke got the meeting back on track.

"After Amelia and the Longbottoms had calmed down somewhat, all admitted the problem with Moody should have been foreseen. He trained Amelia, Alice and Frank so they were well aware of his methods. I can't really have my Assistant Ambassador spending four days a week at Hogwarts so Amelia is going to provide a Senior Auror starting next Wednesday. He's actually going to come tomorrow and watch your session with the four boys, give him some kind of idea what level to pitch your training at."

Harry knew what he was about to say would be controversial but still felt he needed to mention it. "If we're serious about taking down Voldemort then Master Auror Moody has knowledge we really need. I don't think any of us can dispute that, it's just his methods of imparting that knowledge we object to."

His mate was learning not to charge blazing into an argument before checking her facts, Hermione held her temper as she questioned what Harry was proposing. "Just what are you suggesting? I really don't think he's going to change the way he teaches, and I'm certainly not prepared to be worked into the ground every time he feels the need to prove a point. I know he was right, just as I know I'll probably do the exact same thing again when you're in danger. Having me practically dying on my feet as a form of punishment isn't going to change that."

After having said her piece, Hermione then gave them some information she hadn't mentioned before. "From the slight depression Tonks and I were standing in, neither of us would have been able to provide covering fire for the last half of your charge, we were too low down for our curses to pass over the warriors and still hit the death eaters."

This news upset her best friend. "Why didn't you say so to Mad-Eye? That sounds like good tactical reasoning to me - something he was always shouting at us about."

"Sorry, Padma, it might have prevented what happened the other day but it just sounded like an excuse to me. We all know I was going to charge along with Harry so I accepted the criticism, it's Moody's idea of punishment that I have a problem with."

Harry had his arm round Hermione as he offered a compromise to the group. "What if we had a lesson from Master Auror Moody once a month, with Auror Tonks in the room with us. Would that be something we could give a try?"

The steadying influence of the quartet offered his opinion. "We know Tonks will look out for us, she'll certainly curb Moody's more fanatical tendencies. I like the idea but could we treat it a month at a time? let's have another lesson at the end of January and see how that goes before mentioning February."

Neville's idea found agreement amongst the group. They were in effect only committing themselves to one more lesson, and Tonks would be there with them. They certainly trusted her far more than they did Mad-Eye.

Barchoke had one more bit of news for them before heading off to meet with Augusta, they wanted the sponsorship deal launched as quickly as possible. Despite not imposing major conditions to the sponsorship, any parents of students that qualified would know this life-changing finance could just as easily be withdrawn. They wouldn't be slow in passing that information on to their children currently inside the castle. That should help ease the tension currently felt in Hogwarts as some students didn't know if they would be returning to the castle come September.

The goblin's smile told everyone what he had to say was good news. "The Director really couldn't be more pleased with the way things unfolded that night. Pictures of wizards, witches and warriors fighting side by side against a common foe has electrified The Nation. The squad commander's memory of the event makes for compulsive viewing, that our side survived unscathed while our enemies were crushed could see songs written about that battle. There will be awards presented by a very grateful Nation to all those goblins, and Friends of The Nation who took part that night."

"I would like to do something for the warriors who protected Hermione…"

"Already done, son. I sent the squad two kegs of the finest grog I could find for looking after our girl. You might actually find yourself seeing another girl soon. This news has generated a flood of applications from goblins wishing to come and work in Britain, Goldskin was one of them."

"Sapphire's coming home?"

"It certainly looks that way. I think you'll have a visitor over the summer, she loved her time in Kingussie last year…"

Hermione was as excited about that news as her mate. "She's welcome anytime. We all know our holidays abroad this summer are dependant on the Granger and Black babies but, with the new pool going in at the house, we can still have a lot of fun there."

Barchoke didn't think he could be prouder of his daughter, then she would say or do something to prove him wrong. Master Pitslay had her comments from Hogwarts all over Gringotts, pleasing The Director no end. Now she was proposing to swim in the same pool as a goblin and treating the event as nothing special, was it any wonder their nation had taken this witch to their hearts.

With that settled, the goblin left to see Augusta and allow them to get on with their lesson.


Sunday's lesson saw them being joined by their potential new tutor, Senior Auror Shacklebolt. All four thought he was a colourful character, that colour appeared to be emphasised more by the fact his skin was as black as Hermione's familiar. The rich colour and ethnic design of his robes were obviously African in origin, as was the brimless hat that was perched on his head. His earring had Neville once more thinking it would be cool to have the same done, Bill Weasley had one too. The auror's voice was deep but warm and friendly, there was no dramatic entrance from Shacklebolt.

While Kingsley was amazed at the room they would be training in, he was astonished at what these students could accomplish. The four older boys would easily ace their O.W.L.'s this summer yet still got their arses handed to them by the four younger students he was now going to train.

The Director had told him exactly why Mad-Eye was no longer teaching these four and, just by observing them during the lesson, Kingsley knew Madam Bones was spot-on. They reminded him of aurors who had been partners for years, appearing to know what the others were going to do in any given situation and also trusting them implicitly. This was something that should certainly be nurtured and encouraged, not ripped apart to establish a command structure they didn't seem to need.

He had been in the chamber when they'd shown Tonk's memory of that fight against the basilisk, that had impressed the hell out of him. Kingsley knew he could have hand-picked any three aurors and, dropping them into the same situation, they would have struggled to do as well as these four teens against that giant creature. That they weren't even teens at the time just made the entire incident all the more remarkable. Training these four was something that was going to be a challenge, it was a challenge Kingsley was looking forward to.


Crows Marauders were enjoying their duelling challenge, they were in teams of four and using everything they had learned so far to try and defeat their opponents. They had established the four top teams on the night when Harry called a halt and had them sit.

"Normally, as you all know, we would play the duels out to a finish tonight. We've had a request though, a request we're now going to put to you. There has been an apprehensive atmosphere developing throughout the castle ever since we all returned from the Christmas holidays. It's hoped we can perhaps lift that spirit, and also help satisfy some curiosity about what we do here every week. The proposition is that the semi-finals, and then the two winners, fight it out in front of the school on Friday night. What do you think?"

The questions came thick and fast, and all were answered. The fights would be in this room, with the terrain similar to what they were used to dealing with. All the usual rules would apply, and the first years would be given the same offer tomorrow night. The clincher though was when Sirius mentioned that the four trainers from Crow's Marauders would be taking on the quartet of fifth year trainers from the other marauders. Who would want to miss that?

Harry though had a final warning for the four teams who had just agreed to compete in front of the entire school.

"I expect everyone to do their best on Friday, what I don't want is the fact that there will be an audience watching to affect how you behave. We've done this often enough to know that three of the teams must lose, and the winners will be gracious to their opponents."

All quickly agreed to that, boasting usually saw you getting your arse kicked the following week. The teams were constantly shuffled to stop any rivalries developing, and any one team dominating. The four teams that would be competing on Friday all knew they had a chance, it was no accident they were evenly matched.

News like that was never going to be kept quiet, by breakfast time the entire castle knew about it. Since each house had at least three second years involved, with the first years being determined tonight, all were looking forward to Friday. Any pressure the older students tried to put on their young housemates was instantly rebuffed, there was no house honour at stake here since the teams were all mixed.

Roger though was taking a bit of good-natured ribbing at the Ravenclaw table.

"Aren't you worried that the whole school is going to see you getting your arse kicked?"

"Oh, I'd hate to be in your shoes..."

He wasn't bothered in the slightest. "Can I just point out that these four defeated a basilisk, and kicked Voldemort's arse - again. Then there's the fact that my extra training, and the experience gained from fighting against four Orders of Merlin, First Class, holders, should stand me in excellent stead for my defence practical exams in May. IF we get beaten on Friday it won't be the first time, nor the last, but we're learning more and more all the time. I'm actually more worried about our marauders. Imagine having to perform with the whole school watching - when you're still in first year. Now that is pressure."

The first year Ravenclaws very quickly confirmed they were looking forward to it. Their friends always shouted encouragement every time they fought anyway, they were learning to tune that out and concentrate on what they needed to do.


Dinner that Friday certainly saw an improved atmosphere inside the castle, the school was buzzing with excitement. Augusta had actually invited Amelia to dinner, and of course to see the fights. The Director of Magical Law Enforcement was looking forward to watching the young students perform, she was also looking forward to seeing Susan work with them. Apart from the two clubs' staff sponsors, the students would actually be running the entire event tonight.

It was two other students though who caught Minerva's eye. There were some members of staff who thought she'd lost her mind by giving Fred and George Weasley prefect badges, Minerva was certainly enjoying proving them wrong on all counts. The twins were idolised by her first year lions and school discipline had never been better.

She would also freely admit Cedric and Roger enjoyed the same status in their own houses, and were doing just as good a job. The difference was though that neither of them came with the previous baggage that the Weasley twins did. Ever since they started taking potions lessons from Master Pitslay both had turned over a new leaf, and blasted through their potions O.W.L.'s with Outstandings - a whole year early too.

Minerva had seen them work with Crow's Marauders last year, she was really looking forward to what was going to happen tonight. The entire school was in for a treat and appeared to know that. The atmosphere inside the hall was similar to that before a quidditch match, except there were no house rivalries to spoil anyone's enjoyment. Their house might not win but they wouldn't be beaten either.


The room opened to a large space in the middle, surrounded on every side by spectator grandstands. There were seats set aside for each year's marauders at opposite ends of the open space and that's where the teams who would be competing headed, along with their tutors and staff sponsor. As the first years were opening the event, Crow's Marauders got to sit and watch the first bout before they would need to get ready.

When their lesson got to the semi-final stage, each pair of tutors would take responsibility for one of the four teams. They would carry out the safety checks, while discussing tactics, before the fight. Afterwards, win or lose, they would sit and go over what worked, and what went wrong.

Harry watched as Cedric and Morag got their team of four ready to compete, delighted to see Natalie in the team. They would be facing off against a team mentored by George and Draco, a daunting prospect.

As each team took to opposite ends of the open area, the room as usual came into play. The floor shifted to become a terrain that each team only had thirty seconds to form their tactics around before the fight would start.

Henrica had been explaining every move to their captivated audience, even the need for the duelling robes and protective headgear. The idea was to help the students learn how to fight, not to get them injured.

That each team of first years now stood there trying to adapt the plans they had made with their mentors to the new situation impressed those watching before a spell was cast. Their staff sponsor explaining that the room would alter the set-up differently for every fight, and they had no idea what they would be facing, was also an impressive piece of magic on Hogwarts part.

The arena had a scattering of large boulders and parts of walls here and there. When Henrica called 'fight', all eight students competing dived for cover before firing a spell. Trying a rush too far saw one of George/Draco's team hit with two of three spells fired right from the off. The accuracy needed to do that was not lost on the now captivated audience.

The second those teams stepped forward to compete they were on their own, this was to try and get them to think for themselves. Now having a numerical advantage saw Cedric/Morag's team take the initiative. Three members would be firing while the fourth made their way forward to the next piece of cover, they would then open up at a target and allow another member of the team freedom to move to a better position.

The trio knew if they didn't act soon they would be outflanked and then picked off. In a hastily planned move, one of them made a dash for another piece of cover. This move drew all four of their opponents wands, just as they'd hoped. The remaining two members of the team stood and took aim at those firing at the easier target, both hitting their mark. As the decoy's shield withstood four hits before succumbing, the teams were now locked at two apiece.

The crowd were now loving this. Yes the spells being cast weren't really powerful but they had never expected that from first years. The accuracy of those spells and the whole tactical side of the contest was enthralling. Considering their favourite games were quidditch and wizarding chess, seeing the tactical side of this battle was something the audience really appreciated.

Natalie found herself alone when her remaining teammate got hit on his protective headgear when trying to get a spell off of his own. She fought on bravely, managing to take out one of her foes before getting hit herself. Those hit during the fight knew to stay down until the contest was over, the arena once more becoming a flat floor was the signal for that - a signal that was greeted with tumultuous applause.

Amelia was sitting between Minerva and Augusta while trying to put what she'd just witnessed into context. "Now I understand why every one of those students stood ready that night. If this is what the first years are capable of, I can hardly wait to see the older students perform."

This had Augusta smiling at her old friend. "You know the best part, their mentors are now sitting down with them and going over every move they made. They'll be accentuating the positive while highlighting their mistakes, all in the hope of making sure those mistakes get less and less. They do this at the end of every lesson, and that's just how they're treating tonight."

As the second semi-final got underway, the first two teams from Crow's Marauders were getting prepared for their bout. Harry/Daphne's team were up against the one being mentored by Padma/Terry. Harry had Ginny in their team and she'd managed to control her blush anytime she was near him. It was soon back though when Harry asked who was the leader and the other three all looked at the redhead.

"Remember, your minds are your best weapons. Trying for too much from the off almost cost that last team the match, only their inexperience saw all four falling for that move - something that won't happen again if their tutors have anything to say about it. Just play to your strengths and keep doing the things that got you this far..."

The cheering indicated the second match was over, with the team being mentored by Roger and Hannah making it through. Harry was pleased to see there was little celebrating amongst the contestants, they helped each other off the floor and headed for their mentors to talk the fight over.

Sirius then came forward to address the crowd. "I don't know about anyone else sitting here, but I certainly couldn't fight like that when I was in first year." This was met with a roar of approval and applause for those who had just fought.

"Now, things are slightly different for the second years. They have an extra year of magical growth and training under their belts, therefore they are expected to dodge or shield more. Their arenas will usually have a lot less cover, making any that is there all the more valuable. Teams to your marks, your thirty seconds will start after the room reveals its form."

Occasionally, the room's form would dictate the tactics required, this was one such time. Apart from a few large boulders, a section of wall in the middle of the space dominated the fighting arena. When time was called, Padma/Terry's team all raced toward the wall. Ginny and one of their team headed left, while the other two broke right.

By the time the four reached the wall, they realised what the other team was up to and opened fire with everything they had. They managed to bring down one member before finding themselves outflanked. The wall that had seemed such an advantage beforehand was now a liability, their movement was severely restricted as they were stuck with it at their backs. The team of three were utilising whatever cover was available while they poured spells into the group with their backs against the wall.

Ginny's team eventually won but even then it was close, they had last man standing though which, under the rules they were fighting with, saw them through to the final.

Again the applause was thunderous, and again there was a lot on display to earn that applause. Their movement, rate of casting and accuracy of those same spells was unbelievable for second years. Amelia couldn't think when the future of their community had ever looked brighter. Here were children from all four houses working together to overcome problems they had been set. That this was a voluntary club, a voluntary club with a one hundred percent attendance from their targeted students, just made this all the more remarkable.

She watched as Susan and Neville got their team ready to compete, and then cheered as loud as anyone when their team won.

Henrica then stepped forward and once more restored order. "Our first years are just as excited as you after watching that last match, they are now all thinking that will be them this time next year and can't wait."

Calling the two teams competing in the final to their marks, she started the thirty second countdown as the room revealed its form. The final was cheered from the first spell cast right up until the last, and the entire school were on their feet by then.

The winning team received slabs of Honeydukes finest chocolate and no one missed that, after a quick chat with their mentors, the chocolate was shared around as the sixteen looked forward to the second year final.

That the team Susan, along with Neville, had been mentoring won their final saw Amelia shouting like a first year whose house had just won the Quidditch Cup. She was immensely proud of her niece and could easily see the confidence she was gaining from this. Susan had told her the aim was they would have a marauders club of their own this September and Amelia wholeheartedly approved of that. She was now thinking the marauders clubs were playing an even more pivotal role in making Hogwarts a school to be proud of than the Potter Scholarships.

It would be fair to say that the next match was the one they had all been waiting on. This in no way diminished their appreciation or enjoyment of what had gone before, it was just the audience expected this fight to be in a different league.

Having witnessed Harry fight in the pit against four opponents, Amelia already knew he was in a league all off his own. It would be the other three the focus of her attention would be on tonight.

As usual, it was Fred and George who came up with a plan. Since neither Cedric or Roger had anything better, the decided to give it a try. Their arena, as expected, had very little cover. When Sirius called 'fight', all four cast the starburst charm. They had their eyes tightly closed as they cast, on opening them a few seconds later they saw - nothing. That wasn't quite true. They could see the arena, and also that the duelling shield had turned opaque for a few seconds to protect the spectators, it was just their opponents who were nowhere in sight.

"Aw shit, it's hard enough to fight these four when we can see them. Any more 'bright' ideas?" That Roger had slipped into sarcasm mode told the other three he was worried. As they all felt the same it really wasn't necessary to decipher his mood.

Cedric cast aquamenti and began spraying water everywhere, the other three soon followed his lead. Water sprayed off a disillusioned figure and the spells were soon raining down on a now wet Padma. She was shielding and dodging the spells from Fred and George while Cedric and Roger prepared themselves for the intervention of the other three. They didn't have long to wait.

Neville and Hermione had gotten so close to both Weasleys that their was no time for them to react to their stunners, other than to fall unconscious on the wet floor. Harry had engaged Cedric and Roger, stopping them from interfering in the takedown of the twins. The pair of prefects were now outnumbered when the other three switched their attention in their direction.

Ravenclaw may have just watched Roger being handed his arse, all though were honest enough to admit they couldn't have done any better - or even as well. His defences were awesome but, after Cedric fell, the outcome was inevitable. The quartet of third years were relentless and moved as one, their accuracy, speed of casting and sheer power behind those spells appeared easily N.E.W.T. level. The team of prefects never really had a chance.

All four were revived and realised the noise wasn't anything to do with lingering spell damage, the spectators were cheering like mad. The teams shook hands and Harry had a quiet word. "Thanks guys, seeing that should discourage any disgruntled students who were thinking about having a go at us."

"Does anyone else feel we've just been used like duelling dummies?"

"That's because you are a dummy, I told you that idea wouldn't work."

"My idea? It was you who came up with it..."

The twins felt a hand settle on each of their shoulders. "Don't worry about it, guys. The Halloween of their second year, they took down Moony and me. You're in good company. Speaking of which, he's going to take over from Henrica as your staff sponsor at the end of the month. I don't want her overdoing it. She wants to teach as long as possible but there aren't usually spells flying about in her history class."

All would be sorry to see her stop but they understood Sirius' reasoning behind it, Remus was also a very capable understudy.

Fred now had a gleam in his eye. "We now have both sets of marauders with an original marauder as a staff sponsor...cool."

As the spectators left the room, the entire school knew the evening had been a great success. Even Flint understood the message this demonstration had just given out, there was now not a hope in hell of him being able to recruit anyone inside Hogwarts to extract retribution for what happened at New Year. That was a very powerful back-off everyone had just witnessed.


The Grand Hall in Gringotts was packed to capacity with people wanting to witness the awards ceremony. Only the first couple of rows were still waiting to be filled, and those seats were reserved for family.

They had brought Parvati and Luna with them from Hogwarts, meeting their families in an anteroom that also held the warriors and their families too. After his hugs from Emma, Smita and Alice, Harry made a point of approaching every warrior and thanking them for their assistance that night. All knew what was really being said and, while the warriors didn't think it was necessary, they appreciated the gesture.

Barchoke then arrived with a young female goblin who proceeded to attempt to hug all six of her friends at the same time. Seeing this for themselves meant more to the warriors than their Centurion's thanks, here was something worth fighting for. A young goblin being treated as an equal by her witch and wizard peers. That this was then followed by the Centurion's mate embracing Ambassador Barchoke and calling him father had them standing proud, proud that they had protected this extraordinary witch that night as she fought along side them.

All the families were soon lead away to fill those reserved seats at the front of the hall. The trio of friends had been unsure how to dress for this occasion, Harry was of course in his Centurion Dress Uniform. Barchoke had suggested their duelling robes, since they were receiving an award for bravery in battle. All four were required to wear their Orders of Merlin, First Class, and had them clearly displayed.

The entire group then followed The Director and his entourage into the Grand Hall, over a thousand people greeted them with applause and much banging of weapons on shields from the warrior guards.

Harry had asked that the warriors be the main focus of the ceremony so he followed them in, with Hermione on his arm and Neville, with Padma also on her mate's arm, right behind them.

The Director now addressed the audience. ""We are all here today to partake in a ceremony that hasn't been seen inside the London branch of Gringotts for generations. To be awarded for bravery in battle is a great honour, I want you to witness the squad commander's memory of this event and see for yourselves that these awards were truly earned.""

Harry's attention immediately switched to his family, they had no idea this was going to happen and he was worried about Emma's reaction to watching it. Dan was already holding her hand and Luna silently took her other one. Sapphire had Luna's spare hand and reached out for Parvati. In a matter of seconds, all of the family were joining hands - determined to face this ordeal together. They knew what they had faced inside Bones Manor but here they were going to witness what their children, siblings or best friends had to deal with.

Every goblin had weapons training and studied at least basic tactics on how best to use those weapons. All could immediately see the trouble their squad of warriors had portkeyed into. They were faced with a group of at least equal size, but the enemy had a longer reach and were behind cover - handing them a huge advantage that many warriors would perish in trying to overturn. Then, out of nowhere, a very powerful spell blasted the enemy's leader deep into the woods as a command rang out loud and clear into the night.

""Warriors to me, warriors to me.""

The roar that came from a thousand throats was a pure organic outcry of relief and joy as their Centurion led the charge while pouring spells into the enemy. That his mate and auror guard were mere seconds behind started to swing the battle back more in their favour. There was also a large out-swelling of pride as the warriors acted as one unit and swallowed both females up to offer them protection, neither witch let this manoeuvre affect the rate at which they continued to fire spells into the enemy ranks.

Harry cringed as the three killing curses were zooming toward him in the memory, this was accompanied by screams that were distinctly female and certainly human in origin. He knew there would be questions on that to be answered later.

The battle was still delicately balanced until spells started flying over the warriors' heads. Turning, the squad commander's memory showed Neville and Padma running as fast as they could while pouring spells into their foe, both now ran every morning and were easily outstripping the other members of their company as they charged to aid their friends.

The cheering reached a new level of intensity as all watching could now see the battle had just swung in their favour. When half their enemy then disappeared, it soon became a slaughter. The memory showed Centurion Crow jumping into the woods with his blades flashing before the group commander had to concentrate on his own fight.

His shield knocked the wand aside before his battleaxe sliced right through the arm and also the death eater's leg. The warrior spun around looking for more foes but the battle was already over. He shouted orders to establish a perimeter and the memory ended with the warriors cheering the four teenagers holding onto each other in the middle of the carnage.

The Director let the crowd go, he knew the spectators would need to get this out their systems before he could hope to proceed with the ceremony. The group awaiting their awards were standing in a column that stretched half-way back up the aisle, they were now the focus for all the cheering and jubilation.

Ragnok eventually raised his battleaxe and there was silence once more. ""As our customs dictate, I must now ask everyone present if they would like to challenge any of these awards?""

The silence this time was total, a mark of respect to those about to be honoured here today. As Ragnok lowered his great axe, cheers once more rang out. Only when four centurions made their way forward with the awards did the celebrations halt, for now.

The warriors stepped forward in pairs to have The Director attach their awards to their tunics before splitting alternatively right or left. The four friends eventually found themselves wearing their new awards in the middle of the line of warriors, the twinkle in Ragnok's eye telling them he had more to say.

""The battle was ours that night because everyone played their part, that is why the decision was taken to make all these awards the same. I feel I must point out though that, not only are the four teenagers here the youngest ever recipients of this award, they are the only four people in history ever to hold this award along with their Orders of Merlin, First Class. Their intervention that night was the reason our victory was such a resounding one, and for that they have my, and The Nation's, gratitude""

This resulted in even louder cheering before Ragnok led them out to the real celebration, a massive party in honour of the twenty four heroes.

Harry found himself surrounded by witches and a female goblin, all who had tears in their eyes. He was relieved to see Emma wasn't upset but that relief was short-lived.

"Okay, I'm obviously missing something here. Why is everyone so upset with that memory?"

It was left to Smita to answer Emma's question. "Those green spells were the killing curse. You can't shield against it and, if it hits any part of your body, the curse lives up to its name - you're dead."

"Only one person has ever been hit with it and lived, he was only a baby at the time. Harry, we all saw that curse hit. How are you standing here?"

"It hit my shield, Luna. The curse shattered it, and nearly broke my arm, but that was all."

Emma was now fiercely hugging Harry, glad she didn't know that fact when she watched the memory. It was Barchoke who rescued his son. "We're here for a party, and to celebrate we're all still here and able to party. You have my assurance no death eaters will be crashing into this one."

As usual, it was Padma who summed the situation up rather well. "There are hardly enough death eaters left to pull a Christmas Cracker, I don't think they'll be crashing any parties again for a long time."

The image of that tent Voldemort had been living in appearing on the front page of the Prophet had totally destroyed what little credibility he had left amongst his pureblood supporters, not even the poorest of whom would ever consider a piece of canvas manufactured by muggles to be suitable accommodation.


The small accommodation block attached to the lighthouse was perfect for their needs. A few cleaning and repair charms soon had the place not only liveable but comfortable, an abundance of rabbits and a sea full of fish also ensured they wouldn't go hungry.

Their master's leg was recovering but he would be left with a limp until they could get their hands on a healer and the appropriate potions. Not everything was going so smoothly though, Bella's temper appeared to be growing to match her now expanding waistline.

"What was the point of escaping one island prison only to find ourselves virtually prisoners on another piece of rock? This wasn't what I had in mind when I agreed to leave Azkaban with you."

"Bella, this isn't a prison, it's our base of operations. From here we can plan how to make all those bastards pay for turning their backs on our master."

"What good is planning if we never do anything about it. This isn't a base, it's a hide-out. We're hiding here like those frightened rabbits you're so fond of cooking. We need to strike back, make the bastards fear us again. They won't do that with us stuck here in the middle of bloody nowhere, they'll just forget all about us because we don't matter anymore. Even the dragons now leave this bit of rock alone, it's not worth their time. If they're smart enough to figure out there's bugger all of any worth here - why can't you?"

Voldemort limped into the room, and the argument. "You are both correct. Augustuss hass provided uss with a fine base from which to launch our attackss. Bella, you too are correct, we must respond or all iss already lost. Our reaction must be big though, big, brutal and strike right at their heartss. Otherwise, we will be relegated to the roless of mere criminalss. That iss not something I am prepared to accept."

The mere mention of striking back was enough to placate Bella's mood, fear gripped Augustus though at his master's next words.

"Hogwartss traditionally holdss itss Hogsmeade weekendss around the time of Valentine'ss day, that will be our signal to strike."

"Master, forgive my interruption but they will be expecting us then."

"And that iss why we will strike. After all, it wouldn't do to disappoint them."

Augustus knew that further argument would be putting his own life in danger, their master had made his decision and nothing was going to change that. His mate though appeared ecstatic. Bella's hormones didn't have her craving unusual food in sickening combinations, that was far too tame for the former Mrs Lestrange. She wanted to see blood spilt - with preferably her being the one who was doing the spilling. It was now apparent she was soon going to get that opportunity.

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