Perversion of Purity
Year 3: The Looming of Shadows
Chapter 22: New Weapons
Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction based on the Harry Potter universe. All recognizable characters, plots, and settings are the exclusive property of J.K Rowling. I make no claim to ownership.
Acknowledgements: Thank you to my editor Athena, as well as my other betas 3CP, Luq707, Regress, and Thanos for their incredible work on this story.
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December 13, 1939
Spires of smoke curled skyward, twisting and writhing like a great, grey snake. The fortunate choked far below whilst the less lucky were swept away by rushing water as the once snow-capped mountain burned around them.
Nestled at the mountain’s foot was a large valley that led to towering stone walls and an ancient castle. The valley was now pockmarked, the dead and dying strewn across scorched rock like a light coat of snow.
Some still fought, but the battle was all but won. A crowd of red-robed figures rushed towards Gellert, who held the Death Stick aloft, looking past his foes and to where Durmstrang’s stone walls were beginning to crumble.
Multi-coloured lights flashed, but they were absorbed by his silver shield. Those that got through he batted back towards their casters while pulling the rock up from underneath their feet, swallowing them in a massive stone jaw.
A few brave men stood atop what remained of the defensive wall, raining curses down on Gellert and his men.
“The castle’s ours!” someone shouted from nearby.
“Shall we bring the walls down, my lord?” another man asked.
“You shall not,” said Gellert. “Our battle does not end tonight. We will take the school, but nearby ministries will respond. The walls are salvageable and I would see them remain so for when resistance arrives.”
Gellert raised the Death Stick. Thunder boomed. A bolt of lightning tumbled, splitting into a dozen smaller blasts and knocking the defenders from their perches.
They stepped through an opening and inside the main castle. Some of their men had breached it already, but most lay in heaps upon the floor. Fighting in here was harder; the castle’s narrow hallways and tight corners favoured the defenders.
Not that it mattered. Fools tried stopping him, but every last one of them died. Slashes of his wand reduced men to ashes whilst sharp jabs blasted them to pieces in sprays of blood and gore. No one could stand against him, and before he knew it, he stepped inside the main hall for the first time since before that fateful day his experiment saw him expelled.
Seven long tables stretched horizontally across the hall, one behind the other like rows of classroom desks. Between him and them were a line of knights made from ice, their swords gleaming as they rose.
Emerald Fiendfyre poured from Gellert’s wand and reduced the knights to puddles of water that shimmered in dim torchlight, surrounded by deep scorch marks on the grey stone floor.
“So, you have come.”
A shadow rose from the black, throne-like chair. Torches on the wall just behind him cast his stern face in sharp relief. Those steel grey eyes watched him as they had years ago, now framed by leathery skin and thinning hair of the same colour.
Gellert gave a mocking bow. “Highmaster.”
“They call you the most dangerous wizard alive now.”
His head remained bowed. “Yield me the castle and you need not find out why.”
Shevchenko scowled down the hall. “I do not fear you.”
Gellert smiled. “I would expect no less.” The smile faltered. “You will not yield, then?” The Highmaster shook his head. “We need not do this,” Gellert said again. “I do not yearn for your death.”
“Your tongue will not help you. I remember it well from your time here, and you should remember it never worked on me.” His scowl deepened. “You would also do better convincing your enemies you want no fight if you didn’t walk around with that wand so proudly on display.”
Frustration gnawed at him. “If you know I have the wand, you know fighting me is fruitless. Why throw away your life so needlessly?”
Shevchenko smiled for the first time — a cold, chilling smile. “You have not changed. You yearned for power even as a boy but never understood how it should be wielded. Every new discovery made you invincible in your own mind, yet each time you were wrong.”
“No, you make the same mistake now that you made then. You think the wand will be enough. You believe the foolish folktales that it cannot lose. You believe magic would give so much without exacting a price.”
Something cold coiled beneath his ribs, but Gellert kept his face impassive. “It is you who is mistaken. You see me as the boy from decades ago but ignore the man who stands before you. You presume to know more all because of age and memories of a boy long gone.”
“I presume nothing. The wand is not infallible. It has lost before and it will lose again. There is more to might than magic. You will learn that, Grindelwald, and it will be a final reminder of your mistakes.”
The cold beneath his ribs melted, consumed by angry flames. “Not today,” he said, slashing his wand towards the old man and sending a gout of emerald Fiendfyre straight at him.
Ilyn Shevchenko never flinched. His eyes remained forward even as the flames drew near. Right before they took him, he spoke a final word; the last sound he would ever make, for he never screamed once the fire reached him.
“Why Durmstrang?” Harry asked. “You could have attacked anywhere and you chose Durmstrang?”
“The war had begun and Europe was crumbling both on the muggle and magical side. Things would only grow worse and I knew the war would be long. Controlling magical education in Europe was important. It could make the difference between the brightest young wands fighting for me, or fighting against me.”
“You were worried the ministry would come after you there. Did they?”
“They made an attempt, but it was half-hearted. They had already accepted defeat by the time I claimed Durmstrang.”
“Where even is it? I don’t remember that coming up in the memories.”
“In northern Norway. None of the powerful ministries were close enough to strike.”
“What was that spell you used to blast people off the wall? It looked like you summoned lightning.”
“You saw correctly.”
“How long until I can learn that?”
“No time at all if you were determined enough. Not with the time turner.”
Harry’s pulse quickened. “Isn’t that really advanced magic?”
“Aren’t you a wizard with endless potential?” Harry had no answer. “I will teach you the spell during our first night of duelling instruction.”
He grinned. This was the sort of magic he needed. No more schoolyard jinxes; things like this and Ignis Potentia were what he needed now.
February 14, 1994
The Great Hall
The usual Valentine’s Day decorations were up, hanging on the walls in all their lurid glory. Between the bright pink surrounding him on all sides and the dazzling sunlight streaming down from the ceiling far above, Harry found himself blinking against the light as he took a seat beside Pansy at the Slytherin table.
“Happy Valentine’s Day!” She beamed, pulling a long package from beneath the table and offering it, practically vibrating with excitement.
Harry was suddenly very grateful to Draco for pointing out that Valentine’s Day was coming fast and to Cassie and Diana for helping him choose the silver bracelet he passed over to Pansy.
She squealed once it had been opened, throwing her arms around his neck. He blushed. If anyone doesn’t know we’re dating yet, they’ll know now. Figures. Add it to the list.
Rumours had followed him everywhere he went. The worst of them came from that blasted article. Some of the meeker first years leapt out of his way when he came down corridors. Not that the first years were the only ones affected. He had overheard several Hufflepuffs in his year discussing how the dementors had fought for Voldemort and how this meant Harry was his heir by right of conquest or some nonsense.
The older students had no fear for him, but some of the brasher Gryffindors had begun causing trouble. More than a few Tripping Jinxes and their like had struck him from behind. At least most of them have stopped after seeing what I did to Prichard. That had earned him detention with Professor McGonagall, but it had been worth it.
Now everyone seemed to know he was dating Pansy and no one would shut up about it. It was growing more than a little bit vexing when he couldn’t get a break from it all. What was their problem, anyway? Harry failed to see why his love life should interest them more than their own.
“We should head down to the dungeons,” Draco said a bit stiffly.
Harry grimaced. “Yeah. I don’t think Snape could resist mocking us if we were late.”
“Us?” Pansy asked.
“Probably just me,” he admitted with a sigh. “He likes doing that.”
They made it into the Entrance Hall and down the staircase leading into the dungeons before the first purple spell flew past Harry’s head. Icy fury seeped through his veins. That was a Lacero Curse.
He batted away the next spell and fired a volley towards where they had come from. Adrenaline coursed through him as he remembered the times Black had ambushed him in the dungeons.
Ignis Potentia came to his tongue but died there when he saw it was not Black attacking him, but a pair of Gryffindor sixth years. I probably shouldn’t incinerate Prichard’s friends. They’re annoying, but not worth it.
One of them staggered out of the way, caught off guard by Draco’s Stunner. Harry was too. It was a fourth-year spell and he’d never really seen Draco duel before, not outside of the old mock duels they used to have.
Harry’s wordless Banishing Hex caught the boy as he staggered and tossed him down the corridor. The other was firing spells at Draco. Theodore had his wand out now, but Draco was defending himself well.
A string of spells flowed from Harry’s wand. The boy tried fighting for a moment, but he had fallen before long and the corridor was still again.
“Bloody hell,” snarled Theodore, who had just bound the boy Harry sent down the corridor with a Banishing Hex. “Good reaction, Harry.”
“You were amazing!” Pansy cooed.
He paid them no mind, instead studying Draco, who held his gaze. The pair exchanged nods before walking down the corridor and towards Snape’s classroom.
First helping me with Pansy, now this. Merlin, he really is growing up fast.
February 17, 1994
An Abandoned Classroom
Harry closely scrutinized his creations — a pair of chairs conjured from air for him and Astoria. They were crude and not the most comfortable things in the world, but he nodded. If he was transfiguring them from something that had already existed, he would have been harder on himself. Conjuring from air was a different matter altogether, and he was happy with how far he’d come.
Astoria gasped behind him. “How did you do that?”
He smiled back at her. “I’ve been practicing Transfiguration a lot this year. It’s been the magic I’ve focused most on.” Other than combat magic.
“That’s amazing! You did that silently, too.”
“You’ll get there. Just think how far you’ve come already.”
Now it was her turn to smile. It really was remarkable. Since she had learned and practiced controlling the flow of magic and limiting it to only what was needed, she had grown in leaps and bounds. She still lacked finesse in things like Transfiguration, but her Charms work was coming along nicely.
She’ll be better than her sister if we keep this up. Daphne might be brilliant, but she never was great with a wand.
“Are we down here to avoid my sister?”
Harry ran a hand through his hair. “I’d rather not start a fight with her in the library. She hasn’t given you too much hell, has she?”
Astoria blushed. “We sort of haven’t been talking.”
“She got really upset the first day I sat with you guys in the Great Hall and we had a row. She’s left me alone since.”
“You haven’t been paying attention if you think she’s dropped it. If looks could kill, we’d be dead.”
“Sorry,” Astoria mumbled, looking down towards the floor.
“Don’t be. It’s not your fault she can’t get over her grudge. I’m sure she’ll grow up at some point.” Astoria nodded but looked unconvinced. “Cheer up, we’ll work on Charms tonight. I know you prefer those to Transfiguration.”
All tension fled her as Astoria looked up and beamed. It’s so easy, Harry thought, but the once familiar guilt inside his stomach was now completely absent.
February 27, 1994
An Abandoned Classroom
“Bloody hell, this is hard,” Fred said, glaring down at their ingredients and long list of notes.
“Come off it,” said George, “we knew turning someone into a canary wasn’t gonna be easy.”
Fred nodded. “We can always just work on the tongue enlargement treats we brainstormed last week. Those sound simpler.”
George clasped his chest. “Would that be like us, brother dear? Us, give up on a challenge?”
Fred sighed dramatically. “No, I guess not, Gred.”
A tapping came from the classroom window and both boys looked up. An owl hovered outside, looking in at them with large, round eyes.
They exchanged looks and let it in. “Blimey, it’s her owl again.”
They removed the scroll of parchment and the bird flew back out the open window as they unrolled it and began reading.
“She’s mental,” George said, shaking his head.
“Completely off her rocker,” Fred agreed.
“So what do we do?”
“Come off it, you know damn well what we do. We ignore her or send a rejection.”
“I never thought I’d see the day you turned something like this down. You were always the ruthless one.”
“There’s a difference between ruthless and cruel. I’m a prankster, not a murderer.”
“I’d love to say she doesn’t actually want us to murder him. Nothing on here looks that bad, but…”
Fred nodded. “Do we tell him?”
“I think we have to. The last thing I want is the crazy bitch figuring out how to do it on her own and succeeding. We’d be accomplices, at that point.” Fred opened his mouth, but George held up a hand. “Yes, I know that’s not how law works since she’s deceiving us, but I’d feel like it.”
“There’s some truth to that,” said Fred, removing the map and tapping it with his wand. “I solemnly swear that I’m up to no good.”
Lines of ink spread outwards like a complex spider web. What had been a normal bit of parchment moments earlier quickly became a detailed map of Hogwarts, marked with the names of everyone on the grounds — living or dead.
Or, almost everyone…
“It’s bloody weird that Lupin doesn’t show up on here.” They had noticed that pattern early in the year and had tested it one day in class whilst the professor stood right in front of them.
“Neither does Harrikins tonight,” Fred muttered, scanning the map at top speed.
“I don’t see him, either,” said George.
“Weird. We’ll have to find him another day, I guess.”
Meanwhile, in the Chamber of Secrets…
Harry walked back into the chamber’s main hall. Reading Slytherin’s journal was always surreal, but it had recently grown darker. Tensions were rising in the muggle community and fewer students were returning each year to Hogwarts. Slytherin had begun wondering whether muggleborns should be allowed at all if they chose to remain with their parents.
It is a quandary older than time, Slytherin had written. Let it never be said that I would deny any an opportunity. I favour ambition, not fortune. It is one thing to be born into prominence and maintain the status quo. It is another altogether to rise from obscurity and become something great.
I appreciate the struggle all muggleborns go through and do not wish to pile on so long as they respect the world they enter and understand it is not theirs to change. I would pose this same question, regardless of blood, if the roles were somehow reversed. It will anger many, but it is a question that must be asked:
What is crueller — denying children an opportunity and a world they never knew, or welcoming them in with open arms, knowing that you may be readying them for slaughter like they are common livestock?
Harry’s hatred burned, eating at his innards. He aimed his wand at the stone wall. “Sectumsempra!”
Deep gouges etched themselves upon the stones, each wide enough to fit his hand. Harry’s mouth fell open. Bloody hell, I should have tested that sooner.
The prose here might feel choppier than usual. I have been quite ill this week and this edit was, admittedly, a bit rushed.
Please read and review.
Thank you as always to my lovely Discord Editors, blood and Idefix, for their corrections/contributions on this chapter.
A heartfelt thank you is extended to my Mage-level patron, Cup, for her unwavering generosity.
PS: The next chapter will be posted next Saturday, March 18th, 2023. ALL DISCORD MEMBERS CAN READ THE NEXT FIVE CHAPTERS RIGHT NOW! THE NEXT TWENTY-TWO CHAPTERS CAN BE READ RIGHT NOW BY ANYONE WHO SIGNS UP TO MY PATREON PAGE! That is the entirety of Book 3, plus the first seventeen chapters of Book 4. Chapter 87 will be posted there tomorrow.
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