Like Myranya, I use 'single-quotes' for telepathic communication.
The Ministry was still trying to interfere at Hogwarts to stop the disquiet-causing opinion that Voldemort had again returned after Harry Potter had apparently killed him in a wand-fight in 2008. But a force of Death Eaters taking over Azkaban had changed matters. The allowed news release in the Daily Prophet about this did not mention Voldemort, but that did not stop unofficial routes of news-spreading. At Hogwarts Dumbledore called all teachers and students to the Quidditch arena for a meeting to try to quieten inflamed tensions.
Some of the Azkaban Dementors in emergency quarters at Dumbledore's mansion in England heard of this meeting and went to it, for many of them found British weather uncomfortably warm and tiring long-term and wanted to go back to duty; school staff and suchlike who were willing to let themselves be carefully mentally 'fed on' within limits as an emergency measure were no good substitute long-term for their jobs as prison guards that they had been trained to do; they were mentally very different from untrained wild Dementors wandering the Arctic tundras preying where they would. They went to Hogwarts; they were expected. The meeting had been warned, and were nervous, and some drew wands, but accepted it. The people there endured the cold feeling and the bad old memories coming back; but these memories were overlaid by new mental images, sent slowly in simple terms that most there could understand. It was of growing anger and 'Fudge lied. Voldemort is back. Voldemort holds Azkaban. We not work under Voldemort again; he lied last time, he cruel to us. We want Azkaban back and us back to our jobs. If enough Aurors sent, Voldemort not take Azkaban. Fudge very incompetent. Hermione Granger innocent, Charles Weasley innocent, but Fudge sent them to Azkaban.' and suchlike.
People, deciphering this, started to discuss. "Dementors don't lie!" a student's visiting father shouted who had been an Auror and had served at Azkaban, "They're right! Fudge didn't send enough men to defend 'cos that'd've shown that something was badly wrong! I never thought I'd be supporting Dementors! Like the Dementors say: Fudge out! Fudge out! Fudge out! Fudge out! I'm with you, if you go to take Azkaban back! You'll need men with you to chase the Death Eaters' Patronuses away. And we aren't obeying any more Ministry orders saying to sack teachers!". Many others agreed.
The Ministry quickly found what was happening and sent a representative to issue reassurances and warnings. He Apparated to Hogsmeade, bringing a broomstick with him, mounted it, and flew in to the meeting. The noise stopped to hear what he had to say, but it was the usual platitudes and threats, and he refused to stop for audience queries, and heckling started, and soon from humans and Dementors alike restarted the baying chorus "Fudge out! Fudge out! Fudge out!" People came in from Hogsmeade and joined in. The Ministry man complained about bad-mannered treatment and threatened forthcoming prosecutions, and left. The students and staff went back to their classes.
Fudge sent a message - by a delivery man, not an owl - sacking and replacing Dumbledore. Dumbledore sent a message back: "I stay here. 600 Dementors are refugees in my family mansion because you are an incompetent coward scared to admit that Voldemort may be back again! Harry Potter's scar keeping on hurting is enough evidence! And there's plenty more evidence. They want back to duty, and that means get Voldemort out of Azkaban! before he uses it as a base to take over everywhere, and Voldemort puts all us in Azkaban, with Death Eaters as guards Cruciatus'ing us for information or mere sadism. If we strike quick, the Death Eater prisoners who he freed will still be weak from effects of imprisonment. Delay, and they'll get their full strength back. Voldemort's certainly got a supply of wands for them."
The Ministry sent a strong force of trusted Aurors to Hogwarts to arrest Dumbledore and all other known speakers at that meeting, and to chase the Dementors away. The Aurors arrived, and were expected; instead of a quick take-out operation there was a mutual-wandpoint confrontation and angry arguing. Dawlish, leading those Aurors, suddenly said "I've done enough of the Ministry's dirty work hiding the truth. I'm with you. OK, that makes me a mutineer, and if so, I go to Azkaban, either as a prisoner or as a man in a recapture army!"
Others agreed. Most of his Aurors declared for Dumbledore, and soon the rest did. Fudge gambled his last few cards on sending a second larger force of Aurors, stripping as many as possible from other duties, but on arrival they went over also.
"Looks like you've lost your support base." Kingsley Shacklebolt said to Fudge in the Ministry, "Let's see what the staff here say about who they'll obey." Fudge swore violently, left, and locked himself in his office. An hour later Kingsley went to investigate, opened Fudge's office door after a noisy battle of spells, and found Fudge slumped over his desk sobbing and praying. Kingsley called two security men and ordered them: "Nervous breakdown. Take his wand, search him, put him in a holding cell. If he isn't sane by this time tomorrow, he goes to St.Mungo's. For now I'm in charge, and elections as soon as this crisis is over."
Over the next day at Hogwarts they sorted out who was suitable of the many who offered to go to the battle, and many came in from the wizarding communities of Britain and around. The Weasleys and Harry Potter Apparated in from their refuge in Egypt. Dementors can fly unaided, but the rest needed flying kit. There were plenty of broomsticks, and Shacklebolt temporarily cancelled the law against flying-carpets. Hermione stayed in human form for most of the flight, for she was needed to translate fluent Dementor mind-talk into English; in recent months she had learned to become an Animagus. They found who had good knowledge about the internal layout of Azkaban. The Dementors, able to read minds, weeded out the under-age and under-skilled and any who had undeclared leanings towards Dark magic; those had to stay behind; this examination was uncomfortable but had to be endured, as they could not risk taking "fifth-columnists" with them,. The other humans all applied the Disillusion concealing charm and collected supplies and kit, still feeling somewhat unreal that Dementors were on their side and with them.
They set off: Hogwarts staff and older students, Hogsmeads residents, Aurors, students' relatives, Dementors, all together, out to sea, and then towards Azkaban at wave-skimming height. The waves were low, but above the fair-weather cumulus clouds dense ominous mares'-tails clouds were coming in from the northwest, and behind them a thickening solid white. At last Azkaban showed distant and small on the sea-horizon ahead, and the great risk that need not have happened if Fudge had seen sense and sent enough defenders in time.
They approached. To many, Azkaban was a remote fear suddenly shockingly made real, but they had to face it. As one force went to the boat dock, which was open, men started to shake their heads at mental difficulties: "Grrr! Why does my brain keep obsessing about punishment? That and about not guarding doors, what's that to do with it? Get out of my head!", and suchlike, and they realized that Azkaban has several defences.
"It means: 'Use the punishment block back entrance, it's unguarded.'." someone realized and said to Kingsley, and he passed it on. Someone pointed to the place, and many obeyed, and some landed unnoticed. A few Alohomora's got the door open, and they started to enter. They were in Azkaban, and not in the best part of it. They advanced quickly at first, but defenders came quickly, and a wild room-to-room battle started.
Seagulls get into the prison's main entrance area often enough, looking for rubbish to scavenge or to shelter from gales. The defending Death Eaters near the main entrance had too much to do to notice one more gull fly in from a ventilation hole as if to escape from a pursuing skua, before they were called away to the threat in the punishment area, trusting on static defences and magic shielding. When the stampede was safely away, Hermione transformed back to human in a quiet recess, Stunned two stray defenders, and opened the main doors with a few spells. The rest of the attack force landed there and swarmed in. Finally the defenders realized that something was wrong, and started to shoot spells at likely attack routes from upper-floor windows and parapets. Inside the battle advanced steadily. As was hoped, many of the Death Eaters were recently-released long-term prisoners and still weak from it. Some doors becase of existing magic opened easily to Aurors including to Harry, but not to others, including to Death Eaters. Harry and four others rushed into an office through such a door and Stunned five Death Eaters and put restraints on them and took their wands. There was a sudden wave of urgent-feeling mental impulse that they could not easily decipher, and a Dementor rushed in, snatched the captured wands, and left in a hurry; they later found why.
Battle edded about inside, making steady progress in the nearest cell block and in the guards' quarters, and men fell on both sides. Harry destroyed at least twenty Patronuses fired by defenders, whether they were intended as messengers or as against the Dementors who were eager to get their home and place of employment back; many of them had been born and raised there. After a time progress was quicker, and it became clear that the Death Eaters' defence had become disorderly.
At the back entrance, Kingsley recognized Voldemort's face, and resistance centering about him. He shot spells at him; but mind images cluttered the attack force's brains: 'Yaxley' and 'Polyjuice Potion'. A Dementor had mind-seen the truth. Now Kingsley knew who he was fighting, he quickly overpowered the pseudo-Voldemort; and later bound in a cell his face reverted to Yaxley's. "Still not caught the swine." Kingsley said. But, seeing their apparent leader fall, the other Death Eaters who were there fled, and others with them.
At the main entrance, Dementors kept getting in front of humans among the attacking force. Harry and others objected to using others as shields; but he found why. Ten Death Eaters attacked from an unnoticed side entry, volley-firing the feared Avada Kedavra. But the feared green fire-jets all hit Dementors and caused no effect: Dementors are not killed that easily. Harry and others fired from behind their unexpected shelters, and those Death Eaters fell, and others fled.
In the back area, images of punishment again filled the attackers' minds, and this time specific images of it. Most wanted rid of the distraction, but one recognized things in the images, and decoded: "Punishment Room 3! Something serious has happened there!". They ran there, on the way finding few enemy except surrenderers and dead and wounded, and in the room found heavy destruction and a chaotic shambles. Thirteen humans and seven Dementors lay dead or inert among broken equipment and strewn pieces of blasted-apart restraint gear and bits of stone blasted out of walls. In the room's records area there had been a fire of the type caused by Cruciatus hitting wood. One of the bodies was Voldemort, vacant-eyed and not moving.
'Soul-sucked. Enough mind remains to say: that is certainly Voldemort' came images sent to their minds.
One of the men who had seemed to be dead moved and stood, painfully, and spoke. "I am Partington, an Auror. I was here when Voldemort came. We'd called the Ministry for help but they sent only a handful of extra men. The Death Eaters captured me and two others alive. All the others of us are dead. None fled. The Death Eaters Cruciatus'ed us for hours for information. They were doing it to us when you came near. Then they put us in cells. A Dementor ran in when they weren't looking and let us out and gave us wands. We fought. The Dementors that had stayed here declared against Voldemort .Voldemort and his men had been mistreating the Dementors, firing Patronuses at them when they had no way to run away, and other spells. We stopped the Death Eaters from making Patronuses, and destroyed what they did make. Voldemort's Patronus was a black snake, didn't move fast except for whipping about and lashing out, snakes don't. Avada Kedavra doesn't kill Dementors. Big battle, two of us three were killed. Voldemort got panicky, in his last desperate effort he found a spell that did kill Dementors, he killed 7 of them, but the effort of firing it drained him so badly that one of the Dementors, it was Dementor Az764, managed to grab Voldemort and soul-suck him, and kept at it although four Cruciatuses hit him; that did hurt him, I saw him flinch, and I felt some of the pain mind-passed on, perhaps not as much as in a man; and the distress from 7 of his mates getting killed: something which they are not used to like humans in wartime are. The other Death Eaters ran away."
"What happened to the prisoners who were here when he came?"
"He freed and armed the sane Death Eaters, killed the completely insane ones and the alcoholic and the wife-killer. Lucky that Charles Weasley got away with the Dementors that left, and Hermione Granger earlier."
"Yes, he came out of Floo in the Weasley's house in Egypt in a Dementor's cloak, scared them, they thought he was a Dementor at first."
"Atten-shun!" said Kingsley in a magically amplified voice, "Search the whole place for any still hiding about, find somewhere to lock up prisoners safe - first go in all cells and shower-rooms and corridors etc and accio for contraband and wand-making materials and weapons and suchlike, and check for spells left on things: Voldemort's bunch likely brought plenty in or raided stores." By then the two entering forces had met each other, and soon the whole prison complex was theirs and all Death Eaters were captured or fled or dead, and Azkaban was safely retaken. But the return home was to be delayed. Outside, the mares'-tails clouds had passed over and behind them the sky had milked over deeper and deeper and turned to grey, and the wind was acting restless. A wave splashed onto the landing platform outside the main entrance.
One man, a Hogsmeade resident, broomstick flew up and away westwards, going thankfully home. Harry saw him leave - and a Dementor chasing him. The man aimed his wand backwards and called "Expecto pa..." - in bluff or in hope, as he had not learned that spell. Harry on his Firebolt was faster, and soon overtook him.
"Thanks!" said the man, "That mind-sucking thing's trying to stop me leaving, some official double-talk, making images in my head about a storm. Tell it I'm not on the prisoner list, since you're an Auror now."
"It's not double talk, it's truth." Harry said, "They've been here long enough to read the weather and the sea, and the Muggle shipping weather forecast agrees. You'd never reach land before that storm comes, you'd be blown out of the sky." The man went back with Harry.
They hurriedly went around in Azkaban's work boats pointing wands down into the sea, accio'ing for bodies before crabs and dogfish became too interested, or sea currents carried them away. They passed where groups of small buoys showed that the place's previous Aurors had been netting and setting lobster pots to get extra food and as a change from prison routine. He frantically accio'ed the fishing gear into the boat. Nothing Muggle came in sight, and no planes flew over. It was easy to think that they were in some sort of Other-realm, and not anywhere where he could take broomstick and fly to Hogwarts or London. One recovered body was longer than a man, thin-limbed, dirty-looking, and without a proper face. Easy to know what it was. Ron, to Harry's surprise and annoyance, Wingardium Leviosa'ed it in the air above the boat with its head down. Harry protested at the disrespect; but Ron said "Getting the water out of his lungs", and let it go back into the boat lying on its back. Ron, unconcerned about what it was, stripped back the soaked ragged black cloak, and put his mouth over its mouth to make an air seal; it was a wide stretch, and, following training, Ron felt in vain for nostrils to pinch. After that he breathed into its lungs as usual, then pulled off and let the air out, several times. "Ye gods that's a risk, with one of those!" Harry said. After a while the body started moving, sat up, blew more water out of its lungs, and started its usual rattling breathing. He saw that the rattling came from a horizontal membrane across the back of the evil-looking round sucking mouth, like an attempt at growing a human-type palate to split a primitive mouth into definitive mouth and nose. Over the next twenty minutes the rain started, and the wind blew up screamingly to over 70 miles an hour, and the waves got up; they got back into the boat dock and slammed its sea-door shut behind him with a few minutes to spare. "No going out! Secure all loose gear!" Kingsley commanded, and the Dementors echoed it, and two of them collected their casualty from the boat dock.
They settled down to a storm-siege, such as many remote lighthousemen well know of; many official visits to Azkaban have lasted longer than expected because of weather. The gale blew the tops off waves as high as rows of terrace houses, filling the air with spray which mixed with spray from waves breaking higher than the island and the prison, and with rain. The gale screamed as it eddied round edges of rocks and corners of buildings. The gulls and gannets flew far away or sheltered inside buildings. The people were thankful that they were in a solid building on a hard-rock island and not in a fishing boat in that weather. The storm also caused much damage on the coasts of the North Sea.
The food supply had to be checked. Three only of the liberating force had brought packed lunches, but fortunately Azkaban's four house-elves had their usual magic to multiply food if necessary and to stop it from deteriorating in store. They knew how to cook good food for the place's Aurors, not only prisoners' rations. The accio'ed fishing gear proved to contain fish and shellfish, which added to the variety of food. They went around and looked for sleeping space in the Aurors' quarters and the nearest cells; air-warming spells and cushioning charms made those cells much more comfortable. The sea thundered against the rock and the walls; the walls quivered slightly. Breaking waves threw stones over the island. Between meals they used their time cleaning and searching inside. All vermin were as found accioed to wand-tip and transferred to a bag, and later thrown out of the main entrance to blow away downwind to the fish. The dead were gathered and identified. Rooms were found to lay the dead out, and a preserve spell stopped deterioration.
On one search Hermione found a greenhouse, windows magically strengthened, magically heated, used for growing potion ingredient plants, including Gillyweed for when men had to go underwater to mend or recover things, or wanted to dive for shellfish. Outside as seen through its windows the sea and the gale were as furious as ever. She reflected that at sea this sort of weather meant things far more important than wind wrecking some soft comfortable city man's umbrella and he has to leave it in the next litterbin found and get wet.
Hermione and Charlie Weasley described how they were arrested: Hermione in Leeds in England whe she was entrapped into a situation where she had to use Avada Kedavra to defend herself and a friend of hers; Charlie on false charges when he ventured from safe Egypt to Romania to attend to a dragon which had got injured in a fight; in both cases Fudge in person was all the court personnel at the "trial", doing anything to suppress the opinion that Voldemort may still be active.
In late afternoon that day Percy Weasley looked out of the main entrance at the weather, shivering at having to go between two guarding Dementors. Above the screech of the gale and the battering of huge waves he heard, deeper and more ominous, the boat dock gate thumping about in its frame. A waterfront breach could flood all the lower levels. He called for several of the belt-and-rope prisoner tethers, and they were brought. He put one on, and it automatically locked. He asked three men to hold its end; it had a spell to make it lengthen or shorten at the will of whoever held the end of its rope. So secured, he ventured out onto the rocks outside the walls, on all fours. Often he had to lie down and hold on desperately as a wave washed over him. A wave washed him about, and left him on a small rock in sight of the boat dock gate. As troughs of waves passed, he cast Reparo and Colloportus as hard as he could at the gate. The thumping stopped. He let himself be pulled back to shore, heavily battered by being thrown against rocks, coiled his tether round and round his waist, and tucked its end in. The boat dock gate was safe; someone would have to Alohomora it afterwards.
But water still rose in the basement. Someone reported that drainage shutoff valves had been damaged in the fighting, and blamed seawater coming in the sewage outfall, whose outside sluice was not seating properly when men tried to shut it. Percy was exhausted; Harry volunteered. By now he was keeping his wand properly in a strong holster. He put on one of the prisoner tethers, calling it a safety line. Again, some men held the line, and he struggled out across the rock in the surf - further this time, to get in sight of the sewage sluice. It was a mighty effort. Waves washed and threw him about, often hard against rocks. They saw him hold onto a rock nearly out of sight, and whenever a wave trough passed beams of light of various colors from his wand directed at the gate - including green at the end. The water stopped coming in, and stayed stopped. He shot red sparks up to say that he was ready to be pulled in, but weakly through weariness; but something felt him think it. As he struggled back in to the entrance landing platform, sometimes being pulled when floating, he was too weary to think much when he saw that now two Dementors were holding his safety line. Oh well, their quarters were one of the areas at risk of the flooding. He got onto land, feeling as battered as if he had been systematically efficiently pulped by a squad of old-type unmechanized waterfront dockers. Someone waved a wand at him, mending seven broken ribs. Dawlish approached; as with some police types, interrogation manner sometimes got into his ordinary speech, particularly since he had seen the green beams. Harry answered, too tired and in pain to object or complain, between out-of-breath panting:
"I got there - - that sluice is a flap gate -- couldn't shut for #@%$ big limpets all over its seating - - Scourgify [a cleaning spell] didn't shift them, Waddiwasi didn't shift them - - Expelliarmus didn't shift them - - underwater maintenance - - proper spell for marine fouling organisms? - - not Evanesco, that might vanish the gate also - - I couldn't hold on there much longer - - had to be the big one -- I'd only cast it once before, when I thought I killed him - - limpets died and let go, sea washed them away - - not an area spell, had to cast it 5 times 'fore the seating was clear - - it nearly killed me, I'm not - - Voldemort throwing that spell about casually - - sluice shut, its catches operated, thank God - - sorry, I thought law said if Unforgivable on people, nothing about on shellfish - - I know, sledgehammer to crack a nut - - " on all fours struggling for breath until someone helped him to stand.
'OK, OK, innocent, and he stopped our quarters from flooding.' sharp sent mental images intruded on his weary thinking.
"All right, all right, leave him, get him to a bed." said Dawlish resignedly. They got on with what cleaning and tidying and prisoner-processing could be done inside, and the storm continued.
In the morning the sea was as furious as before. After breakfast Kingsley assigned duties. Someone watching from an upper-level porthole saw long dayglo orange objects floating in the sea upwind, and said so. Hermione, who was in earshot, changed to seagull, flew down to the main entrance, decided "not in this gale", changed back, and passed the message on. By now the dayglo-orange objects were nearer, and someone guessed what they were. Such things from the Muggle world should not have been let in sight of Azkaban, but the fighting had temporarily upset the defences enough for the gale and the sea to force the objects through. Further out what what may have been a large boat was being thrown about like a toy by the waves.
Harry called to Ron and George Weasley and Neville Longbottom, who were with him. By now they had grown into men. Harry handed the prisoner-tethers round them. Neville recognized them and refused at "making me look like a prisoner in that thing". Harry ordered "It's a dangerous rescue, put your safety line on."; Neville obeyed. Someone chose in a hurry and cast spells on them: Bubblehead to avoid drowning; the spell usually cast on boats to make them move; anti-seasickness. They set off, straight out to sea, not caring what species of being held the lines' ends, as long as someone or something strong enough did. People on land cast repelling spells at them, pushing them away from land towards the orange objects; the waves threw them about like a ballista throwing stones, all ways up. The Bubbleheads kept their eyes dry. They accio'ed each other and the objects sometimes if they strayed too far. They reached the objects, after struggling about in the waves held onto them, and thought hard 'Pull us in!'; someone or something mind-heard and obeyed and they were pulled into land, and they rode waves throwing them onshore - and with them eight Muggle trawlermen floating in dayglo orange sea-survival suits.
Their boat had been seen to hit an offshore rock. Thankfully, all eight of its men had come ashore. They stood and staggered in, wondering where on Earth they were. A few quick spells made a nearby big cell warm and its floor comfortably elastic soft. Hermione added a drying cupboard for wet clothes; it already had a toilet and a shower. They were led there, and were thankful at the rescue. Luckily for their peace of mind, being Muggles, they could not see the Dementors; they guessed that they were in some sort of top-secret Government installation. When shut in, they undressed and warmed and dried themselves and their clothes. Hermione brought their dinners in, not using the hatch in the door: fried fish, French fries, some vegetables, house-elf-magic replicates of the three packed lunches. Kingsley realized that again it was the dilemma: secrecy versus saving lives, and the Muggle "traditions of the sea", and realized that a modify-memory spell would be needed some time. The sea washed the trawler nearer to shore, and Harry and another ventured out again and accio'ed what they could of loose objects in the trawler, to salvage what kit and personal possessions they could for its crew; the items flew onto the front platform and in the entrance, and were moved into a spare big cell to dry out. Life went on.
The next mid-morning, an Auror on lookout felt a mind-image 'Someone up in the air.' He looked and saw nothing then, but a bit later through driving rain he saw something being pushed all ways by wind eddies but managing to keep something of a course; below, the sea was nothing that any open boat could live in. The flying object came lower, missed the top of the prison, whipped round-and-down into its lee, found a well-sheltered place near sea level, and landed. Someone came out of a nearly door and called. The arrival was a man in motorcycle-type waterproofs including helmet, with a broomstick, and a big backpack. A large bubblehead enclosed the helmet.
"It's Viktor Krum!" the other man said, surprised, and then to him: "Best come in here. This is the Punishment Block entrance, sorry, but far too much wind for you to fly round to the main entrance. I'll show you through. I'm Newton, I'm a Hogwarts student's cousin.".
"My usual clothes are in my pack. Ministry sent me to see what's happened here, reckoned that all my Quidditch made me about the only flyer good enough to get through this weather. This Azkaban business is enough already without a storm shutting you lot in here. Don't pop my bubblehead, it's special, an oxygen bubblehead, got pure oxygen in. I can't make another, a man there made it for me. I needed it for altitude: I had to fly over 5 miles up to get above this weather, and up there the air's #%$ thin and as cold as Antarctica.".
Newton led Krum through. They stopped among the spectacular wreck and smashing in Punishment Room 3, and Newton told him what had happened in there, and the end of Voldemort.
"Well, that's over at last," Krum said, "until the next wizarding baby gets dumped in a Muggle orphanage and later gets bullied and uses his magic to retaliate, and the Ministry leaves him there instead of moving him to a decent loving wizarding home as soon as the underage-magic detector picks him up, and the school ignores his requests not to be sent home for his summer holidays. I still remember all too well that time, Barty Crouch junior pretending to be Moody Imperius'ing me to do his dirty work to so Voldemort could get hold of Harry Potter that time to get a proper body again.".
They thankfully left the place and went along passages to the front, and Krum got a badly-needed meal and a chance to get warm and dry. Krum could not stay to greet his Quidditch fans, but had to put his waterproofs on again, go back through to where he came in, and take off, leeward away from the island, and then straight up, and was soon lost in the driving rain and the racing low cloud. By now all inside cleaning and searching had been done. Routine continued.
Early next morning routine was interrupted by a panic stampede of Dementors from Cell Block 3. There is about only one sort of thing that can make them that afraid, and it came after them: this time it was a shadowy black form like a big running wolf. Harry and others went to see what was happening. "Not from any of us that I know what his Patronus is!" Harry explained, and Evanesco'ed the wolf-shape, and said "Show me who sent it. I'll guard you." Harry and some of the Dementors started back where they had run from. Two more black wolf-shapes came, and one jumped at his throat, but he destroyed it, and then the other, and a succession more that came against them as they entered the cell block. A Dementor reached a hand out of its cloak and pointed at a cell. An image of a face was sent into Harry's mind: "'Fenrir Greyback!" he realized. Where he had got a wand from was less relevant right then than getting it off him. Harry by then was tiredly accustomed to having to work with those creatures, and sympathized with Azkaban human staff who had to do it all the time. Harry held a piece of broken wood over the cell's spyhole, and a Cruciatus set the piece of wood on fire and melted the spyhole much wider open. Harry got ready for a duel, and after a three-minute fight that started with Alohomora versus Colloportus and escalated to stronger spells got the cell door open. A face-to-face duel started: Harry dodged an Avada Kedavra, which made spall damage on a stone wall and a flying splinter cut his left forearm; Harry's replying stun spell was blocked; he jumped over a Cruciatus, which made more stone splinters fly, and before he landed he Stunned Fenrir, and again to make sure, in case of pretence. He jumped forwards and grabbed Fenrir's wand, and secured him with a binding spell.
The wand's wood casing looked rough and in one place Harry saw damage by a small sea wood-boring crustacean called a gribble (biological name Limnoria). "Driftwood and what?" he said, "Ollivander'll know better than me, if I ever get back to the mainland. Might be unicorn hair: where did he get it from?"
'Says: he found the hair, made the wand. That is all.'
"Perhaps, Death Eaters coming and going left it about on purpose, or someone went near a unicorn and a shed tail or mane hair got on him and then he came here.".
They moved Fenrir to a cell that they knew was clear of illegal items, and searched him thoroughly again. A search of his, er, anatomical openings, found personal oddments in a waterproof wrapping - including two rolled-up unicorn hairs. Such dirty jobs come to security men sometimes.
When they got back to the rest, Hermione said "The Dementors said that once about 1820 a Ministry man kept visiting on a Thestral, refused to be advised, and when he was here it sometimes shed mane and tail hairs which sometimes got in the cells, and wands got made in secret. The regime had got liberal and the Ministry was in one of its "no Dementors" phases. The first wand, split lengthwise to get the magical core in, had to be tied back together, but, given one wand working, in the rest the casing was Reparo'ed back together, and that new wand worked better, and they used it to Reparo the first wand's casing. Prisoners, given easier mental conditions, started teaching each other illegal magic and suchlike, "in dummy" rather than using magic: all too easy even without wands or books: similar happens in Muggle prisons, whence the nickname "crime universities" for Muggle prisons. News got back to the mainland about this, and prison became much less discouragement for criminals, and the magical crime rate soared. A prisoner revolt started: magic from the illicit wands opens cell doors, grab wands off human guards (that is why Aurors aren't allowed now to have wands routinely in the cell blocks), but not an escape, as the guards called up enough backup just in time: the relief force apparated carrying broomsticks just outside the no-apparate zone, then flew in. 94 prisoners died in the cleanup, and the Ministry quietly went back to using Dementors.".
"Oh indeed!!?" angrily said Mafalda Hopkirk, who was there, "I used up time chasing Harry Potter about small peccadillos, and officials had been hiding that sort of major security breach! Nothing in the records in the Ministry about it!; the records say that the 94 died over several weeks in a disease epidemic, absolute 100% quarantine, nobody allowed in and no word allowed out for two months: it sounded odd to us: now I know! And the unexpected effects of that Dementor fraternizing with Hermione when she was a prisoner here. Looks I need to use up my time asking this lot about all that they remember, from way back, to find what else people have covered up! And Hermione Granger to translate. It looks like I'll be stuck here quite a time, interviewing every Dementor on Azkaban, unless there's an easier way."
Something woke Harry in the small hours, and, trying to get sleepy again, he walked to the main entrance. Something seemed to be missing - the noise. He looked out, by habit bracing himself against the gale, and found that the gale had stopped at last, after jailing them in for six days. Above outside, patches of stars showed that at last the clouds were tattering and clearing. He tried to feel happy at that but could not: easy to guess why: he realized that it was no great suffering to endure for about a week what the prisoners endure for years, to help to keep law-abiding people safe. He went back to bed and to sleep.
They ventured outside again. A group levitated the trawler wreck enough to move it, and let it sink out of the way in a deep hollow near shore. The front landing platform was covered in seaweed and stones, which had to be cleared away. A group went out on the rocks and Alohomora'ed the boat dock gate. Small waves lapped at the shore. Harry went out in a boat at slack tide, with a prisoner tether as safety line, and dived, with a Bubblehead rather than gillyweed, as it was to examine the sewage sluice. He manually cleared away more marine fouling organisms from the sluice and its fittings; fish turned up to eat the flesh inside scraped-off barnacles. He cast Reparo to repair any damage caused by his efforts during the storm.
Meanwhile Kingsley ordered the rest to search the whole island outside the walls, accio'ing or otherwise collecting all driftwood, to stop a repeat of the Fenrir incident. They found driftwood strewn everywhere by the storm, and other things.
Harry and others went onto the side of the island outside the walls. He felt something pull at his mind. He saw a Dementor pointing at something and making what call-attention voice noises it could. "Now what's that thing want?" he thought, somewhat annoyedly; time was when the only thing to do with a Dementor was to send a Patronus after it; but doing that was not wise on Azkaban. He yet again tried to ignore the cold feeling and surfacing of bad old memories, and its rattling breath, and went to see what it was pointing at. There he found a heavily-built dead white man with many bone fractures, and pieces of a splintered broomstick, on rough rocks among old seabird nests. It was face up. "Edward Crabbe, Vincent Crabbe's father." he said. "Death Eater. He wasn't in the fight. No loyalty to Voldemort in him, likely he chickened out, hid somewhere, and out of thuggishness thought he could fly away in that storm when we weren't looking, but a wind eddy threw him hard against rock.", and turned to find someone to help him carry the body. The Dementor picked up the body's feet. "Looks like I'm going to have to get used to working with these creatures." Harry thought, and picked up Edward Crabbe's shoulders, and they carried the body, with some stumbling on rocks, back to the main entrance.
A Dementor interrupted again. It floated towards Harry. He felt mental noises about 'illegal sharp weapon found' and 'unexpected grave found, we thought all graves were on the list'. Makeshift sharp weapons are a perennial hazard in Muggle prisons also. Harry resisted the usual dislike, realized "What did I expect to find on Azkaban!?", and followed it to a place where Dementors had been looking for a new burial site for dead prisoners.
Harry took over the digging, using a Fodio spell, and uncovered more of the skeleton. The Dementor showed him a spearhead made of a sort of stone which could not have been got locally, as it was flint, and Azkaban is the top of a high isolated mountain of hard somewhat-metamorphosed Ordovician volcanic rocks sticking up through the area's submerged Jurassic. More careful Fodio'ing uncovered the rest of the skeleton, and what looked like the bones of a deer's right foreleg, and a length of crude drystone wall with a right-angle bend at one end. Some of the skeleton's right ribs were broken in two places each. A look on the far side of the wall showed a trampled earth floor and signs of a hearth. "Looks like he was rammed by something big, likely with horns. And part of a deer. His jaw hasn't got a chin, and those huge eyebrow ridges. Thick bones he's got. What have they kept here in the past?! Any idea how long's he's been dead? A real right heavy. What was he? Small troll? That wall's much too crude to be wizards' work.".
A seagull flew down and landed and changed into Hermione. "My parents have a contact where I could get a piece of this bone radiocarbon dated." she said.
"Never mind." said Kingsley Shacklebolt, scrambling over rocks towards them, "I've a spell for it.", trying to ignore three Dementors who were watching. He arrived and waved his wand and said a spell. "That can't be right." he muttered, and tried again twice. "Either my magic's gone wrong with all these about," he said, "or he and the deer died about 40,000 BC!"
"It's nothing in the magical beings books." Hermione said, "It's a Homo neanderthalensis. The lost old European race of men, adapted to the colds of the Ice Age and to armadas of huge icebergs in the Atlantic making the sea cold messing up the weather making it vary wildly from year to year. The Gulf Stream went straight from Florida to Portugal, never came anywhere near us."
They realized. Before men learned to farm, men had to hunt for a living, and were so few that there were not enough wizarding types to cohere into an organized magical community, and no magic hid Azkaban, but only stormy width of sea, and anyone could go there and leave, if the weather allowed. There was no magic establishment there, and no prison, only a rough rock hilltop, and the seabirds, and what vegetation could survive spray and wave-wash and continual bombardment with seabird droppings. And before that - so different. So much water was locked up in the great icecaps that the North Sea bed was land that men could walk on, much of it grazing for herds of animals. Primitive hunters saw Azkaban Hill from afar, a landmark in the endless flat tundra, much higher above the now-submerged land than it now is above the sea. They climbed it to get a high point to look for prey: mammoth, bison, deer. Azkaban was no secret fear then, but thankfully useful. It was a source of stones to build fish-traps in streams and rivers. It was a flood-refuge in the spring when the great river Ems, flowing north out of what is now Germany, melted its ice in the south but was still ice-dammed in the colder north and flooded the plain. It was a place of defence when the white barren-ground wolves of the area, or grey timber-wolves roaming from the pine and birch forests to the south, sought easy kills, or the great thick-furred snow lion Panthera leo spelaea prowled about; but sometimes these or other wild predators denned and raised cubs among rocks around the base of the hill. It was a place up in the wind away from the summer tundra mosquito and fly curse: a grazing animal could easily lose more blood in mosquito bites than it could make from the protein in its food. In their dryland walking they needed and had names for many places that nowadays only trawlermen now need to speak of day-to-day. House-martins nested on the cliffs and helped to keep the flies down. On the hill the tribe often slept the night, away from insects, in drystone huts roofed with animal hides, and cooked the flesh of wild animals, or of freshwater fish and water birds caught in swamps in valleys such as the Silver Pit where the Wash River flows down from the highland, on a fire of wood washed down a river from forests far to the south. And one of them was killed by a charging prey animal and men carried him up onto Azkaban Hill where he had often spied for game, and buried him there, and with him his hunting spear, and a deer foreleg as food for his soul on its long journey to the next world. Perhaps, as has been custom in some places, before he died they told him messages to pass to their friends and relatives who had gone before. Far different then was Azkaban. It was one of their many camp sites in their wanderings across what some call `Doggerland', that is, the bed of the North Sea when it was dry long ago. Most of the Doggerland place names used nowadays by geologists for features in their sonar surveys derive from deep-sea fishermen's terms, but there are others: "Shotton River" for a river with many tributaries that long ago drained the southeast part of the Dogger Bank hill area into the east end of the Outer Silver Pit lake; "Flamborough Head Disturbance" for a strip of raised hard-bottomed ground which was an eastward extension of the Yorkshire Wolds planed off by sea erosion.
Likely he knew the westward path to get his flint spearhead: no wizardry-hidden wizardry-propelled boat for them, or animal to ride, or flying-kit, but on foot: load up with sun-dried meat and animal hides and anything else barterable that the land could provide, including tools for the flint-miners: shed red-deer antlers (if one is cut down to the shaft and the first tine, it becomes a useful one-pointed pickaxe for digging in chalk); shoulder blades from big animals as shovels. They went west across the tundra, leaving Azkaban to sink below the horizon, fording streams and rivers many fathoms below where ships now sail, knowing their route by the sun, until another landmark rose in the west: the high chalk cliff of Flamborough Head standing high above flat land which now is seabed. Then across hillier higher land with more landmarks to find one of the places in the Yorkshire Wolds where flint was mined and shaped. There they bartered for flint tools and weapons, and went home. Nothing changed, except with the seasons; there were warm years and cold years; ice held the north; the warm lands were so far away south that no news of them came, except that south winds were sometimes warm; nothing seemed likely to change. Their language, and their names for the places, are not known after so long; but after these events someone wrote this:
The winter snow lies deep and long,
and gales from northern ice blow strong.
The herds flee south from blizzard blast,
but the woolly rhinos through it last,
sweep snow with horn to find some grass
and wait: they know the cold will pass.
The thaw makes mud, and the paths are bad;
for the land to dry we are sorely glad.
In the Silver Pit the Wash flows fast:
take care when hook or net you cast.
If to Father of Rivers to go you dare,
that place of gods, for praise or prayer,
the Dogger Bank's highest windy top,
keep reverence in your mind, or stop.
The gorge of Markham's Hole is deep:
to well-known paths be sure to keep
if seek you game gone there to feed
in sheltered warm of woods and reed.
The Shotton River from holy height
to marsh by Great Lake flows with might
where water-birds and fish abound -
be wary where too soft the ground.
Before the biting tundra flies
can fill the air, we go: that's wise.
From Azkaban to Flamborough Head
is ten days' march, if the group's well led,
from lone rock hill to the highland's edge
and lair of beast beneath a ledge;
the path is rough and starts to wind,
but at last to a place where flint is mined
in holes in hills where the land is steep
and weapons and tools they sell and keep,
to slay the beasts well-fleshed or furred;
we swop what news we've found or heard.
"We've brought good things, not only talk:
to turn to picks to dig the chalk
of red-deer antlers load we've full;
great shoulder-blades of aurochs bull
in swamp-wood in the Sole Pit slain
in long cold fight in wind and rain,
to shovel chalk in work below
to find the flints; these we bestow,
and deer we killed in woods nearby,
so we good tools from you can buy."
We trade, and go, and leave the hills,
with plenty tools to work our skills,
then back to where the Ems flows wide
through eastern lowland plains we stride.
The place's earlier Aurors knew the area's underwater geography well from much Gillyweed-assisted diving, and the Dementors had mind-read this, and some of them had passed it to Hermione, who later made maps and drawings of it. Likely often a prehistoric hunting group had come back across the tundra, tired, and laden with meat from a big kill, and was faced with the long steep rock climb up Azkaban Hill before they could settle for the night.
As 33,000 years passed, Homo sapiens took over from Homo neanderthalensis. Things started to change. The great northern ice melted further back each summer. Tundra turned to pine-and-birch forest. Old men boated where they had walked dryshod when young. The icecaps melted, and the sea rose, and Azkaban became an island, and the sea drove men away. Time passed. Farming came, and men became numerous enough for there to be enough wizards and witches to organize and to attract persecution by Muggles. They needed a remote safe place to keep their records and kit, and to organize, and to teach their children. They chose Azkaban, as spells were not strong enough yet to completely guard an area on land - as Muggle map-making advanced, a hole in the geography was easier to notice, and places where wind and/or flowing water behaved oddly and surveying geometry acted wrong; then the shielded magic place could be attacked by that great fear, an army guided by a man born as a wizarding type but trained not in magic but in the area's religion. Such a man could not cast many if any spells, but could all too often destroy existing defensive spells, and the priests' army broke in, and the place was burnt and all found there killed or arrested. But Azkaban was out away at sea and safe. Often a group of witches and wizards thought wrongly that together they could defeat and overpower the Muggle world; such people had to be locked away, and Azkaban was the place for it.
Time passed. Wizards and witches found better spells to defend areas long-term on land, more suitable than Azkaban. Gradually the prison part of Azkaban took over the whole, and the school was moved to places here and there on the mainlands.
Time passed. A Viking leader called Hoggvi (an Old Norse shipboard nickname meaning "he who slays") and his fleet's men took over an old Pictish fort on a lakeside hill on Scotland, and repaired it and renamed it Hoggvar-virki, "Hoggvi's [defensive] work". A nearby native village included a smithy; Hoggvi ordered the smith to work for the Viking garrison, and his men renamed the place Hoggvar-smija, "Hoggvi's smithy". The fort's name changed via Hoggewarke to Hogwarts as time passed and the fort became derelict, until the Four Wizards came and magically enclosed Hogwarts and Hogsmeade.
Getting the prison working again took time. Partington became acting Azkaban Head Auror, and some others had to stay as his new staff. Hermione stayed for some time to translate until the new men could understand fluent Dementor mind-sending language. As she was now officially known to the Azkaban staff, she openly brought a big consignment of Muggle ballpoint pens as more convenient than quills for the Dementors to write with, when they needed to record events or ask for supplies from the mainland. A full report on these events had to be written. There was much to repair or replace. The recapture army had flown in, so they could fly home, as they had not lost flying-gear in the battle; but incoming heavy supplies, and dead bodies to be sent to their relatives for funeral, and the eight trawlermen, needed a boat to take them out of Azkaban's anti-Apparating shield area or to the mainland, and that had to wait a day for the sea to run down. As soon as the sea was safe for boats, new prisoners started to come in: captured Death Eaters, a man who had been making a living by using Accio to steal property ftom Muggles, and (as expected for some time) Mundungus Fletcher (with court order that he was to be made to keep himself presentable and clean and to be made to competently do steady full-time work while he was there; no alcohol or tobacco is ever supplied there), and Dolores Umbridge. The Muggle trawlermen, brought to the mainland, were memory-modified to make them think that a lifeboat from a mainland port had rescued them. Reporters from wizarding newspapers turned up in their own boats at the front entrance; so did two men chasing up that earth-shakingly important subject, the current status of a rat-like unmagical animal called the Azkaban Grass Vole Microtus azkabanensis; both were curtly turned away for obvious security reasons. One incoming boatload was large, and included non-flying witnesses for trials of captured Death Eaters who were judged too risky in current circumstances to be brought to the Ministry of Magic to be tried; luckily the cells that Hermione had made warm and soft-floored were still so; they gave their evidence and were taken back to the mainland the next day.
Soon after, there were new, fair, elections, and Kingsley Shacklebolt won and became the new Minister of Magic.
The next summer, as was more often with the global warming, was incineratingly hot, and the land became brown. In the heat of Britain's mainland the remaining resident Dementors' scabs and sores and smell came back despite Hermione's potion, and they over time went back to Azkaban and duty, and a few to the Arctic tundra where they lived naturally. Even Hermione's companion realized the inevitable and returned to Azkaban to duty, perhaps realizing in the end that both would be better off with a companion of the same species, but Hermione visited him sometimes. Soon after, Hermione married Ron Weasley, and their children were fully normal human and wizarding. Hermione's companion found a partner of his own species, and they bred - and a surprise. the child looked Dementor normal like his parents - except that his left eye was developed and emergent and worked.
Harry Potter was left with an ordeal that he should not have been subjected to. His old mind-link with Voldemort stayed active, but fed him only endless weary dreams of powerlessness, inability, vain search for emotions, and inertness, varied from time to time with a dream of being soul-sucked, or of being in prison in Azkaban; and his scar ached. He had to keep at his work through this.
Five months later this dream was interrupted by a short burst of a hard mechanical rattle, and a sharp pain in his chest. He started awake, wondered what spell it had been, thought otherwise, remembered the noise from Muggle movies and news, looked for blood and bullet holes, did not find them, and comforted Ginny when she asked what was wrong. Someone had smuggled a magicless and thus likely-to-be-undetected weapon onto and off Azkaban, and had put an end to Voldemort's helpless suffering not with Avada Kedavra or other killing spell but with that common Muggle close-quarters disposer-of, a submachine gun. Next night Harry dreamed of playing Quidditch, and he had no more pain thereafter from his scar.