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Jeremiah Bell
Jeremiah Bell

Dumbledore's Army And The Year Of Darkness Pdf Download [BEST]

Chapter 27: The Lightning-Struck Tower Once back under the starry sky, Harry heaved Dumbledore on to the topof the nearest boulder and then to his feet. Sodden and shivering,Dumbledore's weight still upon him, Harry con- centrated harder than he hadever done upon his destination: Hogsmeade. Closing his eyes, grippingDumbledore's arm as tightly as he could, he stepped forwards into thatfeeling of horrible compression. He knew it had worked before he opened his eyes: the smell of salt, thesea breeze had gone. He and Dumbledore were shivering and dripping in themiddle of the dark High Street in Hogsmeade. For one horrible momentHarry's imagination showed him more Inferi creeping towards him aroundthe sides of shops, but he blinked and saw that noth-ing was stirring; all wasstill, the darkness complete but for a few streetlamps and lit upper windows. 'We did it, Professor!' Harry whispered with difficulty; he suddenlyrealised that he had a searing stitch in his chest. 'We did it! We got theHorcrux!' Dumbledore staggered against him. For a moment, Harry thought that hisinexpert Apparition had thrown Dumbledore off-balance; then he saw hisface, paler and damper than ever in the distant light of a streetlamp. 'Sir, are you all right?' 'I've been better,' said Dumbledore weakly, though the corners of hismouth twitched. That potion ... was no health drink ..." And to Harry's horror, Dumbledore sank on to the ground. 'Sir - it's OK, sir, you're going to be all right, don't worry -' He looked around desperately for help, but there was nobody to be seenand all he could think was that he must somehow get Dumbledore quickly tothe hospital wing. 'We need to get you up to the school, sir ... Madam Pomfrey ...' 'No,' said Dumbledore. 'It is ... Professor Snape whom I need ... but I donot think ... I can walk very far just yet ...' 'Right - sir, listen - I'm going to knock on a door, find a place you can stay- then I can run and get Madam -' 'Severus,' said Dumbledore clearly. 'I need Severus ...' 'All right then, Snape - but I'm going to have to leave you for a moment soI can -' Before Harry could make a move, however, he heard run- ning footsteps.His heart leapt: somebody had seen, somebody knew they needed help - andlooking around he saw Madam Rosmerta scurrying down the dark streettowards them on high-heeled, fluffy slippers, wearing a silk dressing-gownembroidered with dragons. 'I saw you Apparate as I was pulling my bedroom curtains! Thankgoodness, thank goodness, I couldn't think what to - but what's wrong withAlbus?' She came to a halt, panting, and stared down, wide-eyed, at Dumbledore. 'He's hurt,' said Harry. 'Madam Rosmerta, can he come into the ThreeBroomsticks while I go up to the school and get help for him?' 'You can't go up there alone! Don't you realise - haven't you seen -?' 'If you help me support him,' said Harry, not listening to her, 'I think wecan get him inside -' 'What has happened?' asked Dumbledore. 'Rosmerta, what's wrong?' The - the Dark Mark, Albus.' And she pointed into the sky, in the direction of Hogwarts. Dread floodedHarry at the sound of the words ... he turned and looked. There it was, hanging in the sky above the school: the blaz- ing greenskull with a serpent tongue, the mark Death Eaters left behind whenever theyhad entered a building ... wherever they had murdered ... 'When did it appear?' asked Dumbledore, and his hand clenched painfullyupon Harry's shoulder as he struggled to his feet. 'Must have been minutes ago, it wasn't there when I put the cat out, butwhen I got upstairs -' 'We need to return to the castle at once,' said Dumbledore. 'Rosmerta,' andthough he staggered a little, he seemed wholly in command of the situation,'we need transport - brooms -' 'I've got a couple behind the bar,' she said, looking very frightened. 'ShallI run and fetch -?' 'No, Harry can do it.' Harry raised his wand at once. 'Accio Rosmerta's brooms.' A second later they heard a loud bang as the front door of the pub burstopen; two brooms had shot out into the street and were racing each other toHarry's side, where they stopped dead, quivering slightly, at waist height. 'Rosmerta, please send a message to the Ministry,' said Dumbledore, as hemounted the broom nearest him. 'It might be that nobody within Hogwartshas yet realised anything is wrong ... Harry, put on your Invisibility Cloak.' Harry pulled his Cloak out of his pocket and threw it over himself beforemounting his broom; Madam Rosmerta was already tottering back towardsher pub as Harry and Dumble-dore kicked off from the ground and rose upinto the air. As they sped towards the castle, Harry glanced sideways atDumbledore, ready to grab him should he fall, but the sight of the DarkMark seemed to have acted upon Dumbledore like a stimulant: he was bentlow over his broom, his eyes fixed upon the Mark, his long silver hair andbeard flying behind him in the night air. And Harry, too, looked ahead at theskull, and fear swelled inside him like a venomous bubble, compressing hislungs, driving all other discomfort from his mind ... How long had they been away? Had Ron, Hermione and Ginny's luck runout by now? Was it one of them who had caused the Mark to be set over theschool, or was it Neville, or Luna, or some other member of the DA? And ifit was ... he was the one who had told them to patrol the corridors, he hadasked them to leave the safety of their beds ... would he be responsible,again, for the death of a friend? As they flew over the dark, twisting lane down which they had walkedearlier, Harry heard, over the whistling of the night air in his ears,Dumbledore muttering in some strange language again. He thought heunderstood why as he felt his broom shudder for a moment when they flewover the bound-ary wall into the grounds: Dumbledore was undoing theenchantments he himself had set around the castle, so that they could enter atspeed. The Dark Mark was glittering directly above the Astronomy Tower,the highest of the castle. Did that mean the death had occurred there? Dumbledore had already crossed the crenellated ramparts and wasdismounting; Harry landed next to him seconds later and looked around. The ramparts were deserted. The door to the spiral staircase that led backinto the castle was closed. There was no sign of a struggle, of a fight to thedeath, of a body. 'What does it mean?' Harry asked Dumbledore, looking up at the greenskull with its serpent's tongue glinting evilly above them. 'Is it the realMark? Has someone definitely been - Professor?' In the dim green glow from the Mark Harry saw Dumble-dore clutching athis chest with his blackened hand. 'Go and wake Severus,' said Dumbledore faintly but clearly. Tell himwhat has happened and bring him to me. Do noth- ing else, speak to nobodyelse and do not remove your Cloak. I shall wait here.' 'But -' 'You swore to obey me, Harry - go!' Harry hurried over to the door leading to the spiral stair-case, but his handhad only just closed upon the iron ring of the door when he heard runningfootsteps on the other side. He looked round at Dumbledore, who gestured tohim to retreat. Harry backed away, drawing his wand as he did so. The door burst open and somebody erupted through it and shouted:'Expelliarmus!' Harry's body became instantly rigid and immobile, and he felt himself fallback against the Tower wall, propped like an unsteady statue, unable tomove or speak. He could not understand how it had happened - Expelliarmuswas not a Freezing Charm - Then, by the light of the Mark, he saw Dumbledore's wand flying in anarc over the edge of the ramparts and under-stood ... Dumbledore hadwordlessly immobilised Harry, and the second he had taken to perform thespell had cost him the chance of defending himself. Standing against the ramparts, very white in the face, Dumbledore stillshowed no sign of panic or distress. He merely looked across at his disarmerand said, 'Good evening, Draco.' Malfoy stepped forwards, glancing around quickly to check that he andDumbledore were alone. His eyes fell upon the second broom. 'Who else is here?' 'A question 1 might ask you. Or are you acting alone?' Harry saw Malfoy's pale eyes shift back to Dumbledore in the greenishglare of the Mark. 'No,' he said. 'I've got back-up. There are Death Eaters here in your schooltonight.' 'Well, well,' said Dumbledore, as though Malfoy was show- ing him anambitious homework project. 'Very good indeed. You found a way to letthem in, did you?' 'Yeah,' said Malfoy, who was panting. 'Right under your nose and younever realised!' 'Ingenious,' said Dumbledore. 'Yet ... forgive me ... where are they now?You seem unsupported.' They met some of your guard. They're having a fight down below. Theywon't be long ... I came on ahead. I - I've got a job to do.' 'Well, then, you must get on and do it, my dear boy,' said Dumbledoresoftly. There was silence. Harry stood imprisoned within his own invisible,paralysed body, staring at the two of them, his ears straining to hear soundsof the Death Eaters' distant fight, and in front of him, Draco Malfoy didnothing but stare at Albus Dumbledore who, incredibly, smiled. 'Draco, Draco, you are not a killer.' 'How do you know?' said Malfoy at once. He seemed to realise how childish the words had sounded; Harry saw himflush in the Mark's greenish light. 'You don't know what I'm capable of,' said Malfoy more forcefully, 'youdon't know what I've done!' 'Oh, yes, I do,' said Dumbledore mildly. 'You almost killed Katie Bell andRonald Weasley. You have been trying, with increasing desperation, to killme all year. Forgive me, Draco, but they have been feeble attempts ... sofeeble, to be honest, that I wonder whether your heart has been really in it...' 'It has been in it!' said Malfoy vehemently. 'I've been work- ing on it allyear, and tonight -' Somewhere in the depths of the castle below Harry heard a muffled yell.Malfoy stiffened and glanced over his shoulder. 'Somebody is putting up a good fight,' said Dumbledore conversationally.'But you were saying ... yes, you have man-aged to introduce Death Eatersinto my school which, I admit, I thought impossible ... how did you do it?' But Malfoy said nothing: he was still listening to whatever was happeningbelow and seemed almost as paralysed as Harry was. 'Perhaps you ought to get on with the job alone,' suggested Dumbledore.'What if your back-up has been thwarted by my guard? As you have perhapsrealised, there are members of the Order of the Phoenix here tonight, too.And after all, you don't really need help ... I have no wand at the moment ... Icannot defend myself.' Malfoy merely stared at him. 'I see,' said Dumbledore kindly, when Malfoy neither moved nor spoke. 'You are afraid to act until they join you.' 'I'm not afraid!' snarled Malfoy, though he still made no move to hurtDumbledore. 'It's you who should be scared!' 'But why? I don't think you will kill me, Draco. Killing is not nearly aseasy as the innocent believe ... so tell me, while we wait for your friends did you smuggle them in here? It seems to have taken you a long timeto work out how to do it.' Malfoy looked as though he was fighting down the urge to shout, or tovomit. He gulped and took several deep breaths, glaring at Dumbledore, hiswand pointing directly at the latter's heart. Then, as though he could not helphimself, he said, '1 had to mend that broken Vanishing Cabinet that no one'sused for years. The one Montague got lost in last year.' 'Aaaah.' Dumbledore's sigh was half a groan. He closed his eyes for a moment. That was clever ... there is a pair, I take it?' 'The other's in Borgin and Burkes,' said Malfoy, 'and they make a kind ofpassage between them. Montague told me that when he was stuck in theHogwarts one, he was trapped in limbo but sometimes he could hear whatwas going on at school, and sometimes what was going on in the shop, as ifthe Cabinet was travelling between them, but he couldn't make anyone hearhim ... in the end he managed to Apparate out, even though he'd neverpassed his test. He nearly died doing it. Everyone thought it was a reallygood story, but I was the only one who realised what it meant - even Borgindidn't know - 1 was the one who realised there could be a way into Hogwartsthrough the Cabinets if I fixed the broken one.' 'Very good,' murmured Dumbledore. 'So the Death Eaters were able topass from Borgin and Burkes into the school to help you ... a clever plan, avery clever plan ... and, as you say, right under my nose ...' 'Yeah,' said Malfoy who, bizarrely, seemed to draw courage and comfortfrom Dumbledore's praise. 'Yeah, it was!' 'But there were times,' Dumbledore went on, 'weren't there, when youwere not sure you would succeed in mending the Cabinet? And you resortedto crude and badly judged meas-ures such as sending me a cursed necklacethat was bound to reach the wrong hands ... poisoning mead there was onlythe slightest chance I might drink ...' 'Yeah, well, you still didn't realise who was behind that stuff, did you?'sneered Malfoy, as Dumbledore slid a little down the ramparts, the strengthin his legs apparently fading, and Harry struggled fruitlessly, mutely, againstthe enchantment binding him. 'As a matter of fact, I did,' said Dumbledore. 'I was sure it was you.' 'Why didn't you stop me, then?' Malfoy demanded. 'I tried, Draco. Professor Snape has been keeping watch over you on myorders -' 'He hasn't been doing your orders, he promised my mother -' 'Of course that is what he would tell you, Draco, but -' 'He's a double-agent, you stupid old man, he isn't working for you, youjust think he is!' 'We must agree to differ on that, Draco. It so happens that I trust ProfessorSnape -' 'Well, you're losing your grip, then!' sneered Malfoy. 'He's been offeringme plenty of help - wanting all the glory for himself - wanting a bit of theaction - "What are you doing? Did you do the necklace, that was stupid, itcould have blown everything -" But I haven't told him what I've been doingin the Room of Requirement, he's going to wake up tomorrow and it'll all beover and he won't be the Dark Lord's favourite any more, he'll be nothingcompared to me, nothing!' 'Very gratifying,' said Dumbledore mildly. 'We all like* appreciation forour own hard work, of course ... but you must have had an accomplice, allthe same ... someone in Hogsmeade, someone who was able to slip Katie the- the - aaaah Dumbledore closed his eyes again and nodded, as though he was about tofall asleep. '... of course ... Rosmerta. How long has she been under the ImperiusCurse?' 'Got there at last, have you?' Malfoy taunted. There was another yell from below, rather louder than the last. Malfoylooked nervously over his shoulder again, then back at Dumbledore, whowent on, 'So poor Rosmerta was forced to lurk in her own bathroom andpass that necklace to any Hogwarts student who entered the roomunaccompanied? And the poisoned mead ... well, naturally, Rosmerta wasable to poison it for you before she sent the bottle to Slughorn, believing thatit was to be my Christmas present ... yes, very neat ... very neat ... poor MrFilch would not, of course, think to check a bottle of Rosmerta's ... tell me,how have you been communicating with Rosmerta? I thought we had allmethods of communication in and out of the school monitored.' 'Enchanted coins,' said Malfoy, as though he was compelled to keeptalking, though his wand hand was shaking badly. 'I had one and she had theother and 1 could send her messages -' 'Isn't that the secret method of communication the group that calledthemselves Dumbledore's Army used last year?' asked Dumbledore. Hisvoice was light and conversational, but Harry saw him slip an inch lowerdown the wall as he said it. 'Yeah, I got the idea from them,' said Malfoy, with a twisted smile. 'I gotthe idea of poisoning the mead from the Mudblood Granger, as well, I heardher talking in the library about Filch not recognising potions ...' Hogsmeade, someone who was able to slip Katie the - the - aaaah Dumbledore closed his eyes again and nodded, as though he was about tofall asleep. '... of course ... Rosmerta. How long has she been under the


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