1995-05-12: The Strings of the Puppet Master Cut

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Dumbledore_icon.gif Voldemort_icon.gif

Scene Title The Strings of the Puppet Master Cut
Synopsis Like many of the others in the rescue team, Dumbledore is faced with a memory - and the Dark Lord himself
Location Neverworld
Date May 12, 1995
Watch For The Stylish Exit
Logger Looney

The Order and miscellenous had gathered in Moody's Office, around the glowing Wrackspurt device. The plan was proposed that they ought to go rescue the children, moving as a force in case the Dark Mark shown earlier had more revelence than anyone first thought. One of the members figured out the incantation to the device, and, tapping their wand against it, with a murmur of 'Wrackspurtis, Revealia!', the green glowing orb inside the hoop of silver that made up the Wrackspurt detector seemed to fill an invisible orb, before, with the sound of exploding glass, energy washed over them… and then they were elsewhere. An inky black void that had substance beneath their feet - although no ground was visible - covered with a rolling green fog. Little flickers of green lightning in the distance sometimes took the shape of vague people, or places, but something else was noticed - the rescuers had been split up by the spell. And around them, colour other than black and green began to flow into the landscape…

Being altogether more clever than most living wizards, Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts, etc. etc. etc. had kept his wand ready throughout the whole process, peering into the gloom around him. "Someone is fond of the color green," he remarks to himself as his initial passive sensing of the area around him with various high-level spells they don't teach at his school are used. And since he's alone and not expecting company, one can forgive an old man for muttering to himself as he methodically crosses off theories as each spell is spoken or simply made to happen nonverbally. The fact the others aren't with him doesn't worry him for the moment. He doesn't pick idiots for the Order. Not even their betrayer could be said to be one. With cautious steps, he begins to make his way through the green fog, pacing himself, looking 'round constantly, expecting… something. But… not that. Blu eyes widen, conflicting emotions rippling across his lined face as he whispers a name.

"Gellert."

Being the clever sort, Dumbledore may be able to tell that where he was was a spot between worlds - a land of memory, of time and dream. A space between the present and the past. But there was a mark, a distinct tinge of energy that belonged to someone whom Dumbledore was very familiar with, oozing over the land, wrestling control of the shifting dreams and images to their own power. Voldemort. But this place could be distracting in far different ways.

Out of the green mist comes colour, and that colour forms a shape, the mist forming the figure of Grindelwald. There was a curious cant of the man's head as he looks across towards Dumbledore, expression a bit terse. All about them, walls form, furniture springs out of nothing… a home. They were inside of a home. Dumbledore's old house. Like Gellert, other forms appear. Ariana - hugging herself and seated upon a chair, as an angry figure steps out of the mists. Aberforth. "She's in no shape, absolutely no shape for this, Albus! Absolutely no shape for the mad scheme of yours and Gellerts!"

Dumbledore had guessed already that things were amiss due to Grindelwald's youthful appearance, so unlike the last time he saw the man, visiting him in Azkaban many years later from the scene that's trying to form around him. As the home in Godric's Hollow resolves into something more like solidity, it's got a decidedly late-Victorian look to it, no surprise considering the time when poor Ariana…

Shaking off the thought, the old wizard frowns as he realizes just who is in control of this landscape. "Drawing it from my own mind, mm?" he murmurs to himself, not truly expecting Tom Riddle's current incarnation to make a personal appearance. Tom never knew of any of this, of course, and in fact, only a pitiful handful of still-living witches or wizards ever knew of his relationship to the other people in the room. And he does the unexpected, he nods to his angry brother's shade. "You were right, Aberforth," he says quietly, with the wisdom of his age weighing down his voice. "She never was, and your brother was a fool in more ways than one." He moves through the scene to his sister's chair, kneeling in front of it and peering into her face. "I'm so sorry, Ariana," he says softly, tears welling up in his blue eyes.

A flicker, a twitch runs through the memory, and Grindelwald gains a rather cruel expression on his face. "Your brother is a fool in more ways than one, still." he says, glancing towards Aberforth. "You were held back, Albus. Always have been, always were. These both… you could have been so much /more/ than you are now. So /much/ more." says the shade.

It was then Ariana's turn to move, Aberforth's simmering rage deliberately held back by the puppetmaster, reserving that shade to simply glare towards the wise old wizard. Ariana looks up towards Albus, and smiles prettily, before saying, "You murdered me, big brother. I could be alive, if it wasn't for you."
He never could remember who'd thrown that fatal spell that killed her. Or maybe he didn't want to remember. The tears run down his cheek and he nods. "Even if I didn't cast the spell itself, it was my fault. I could have stopped all of this from happening." He lifts his aged hands from his bony knees and looks at the withering palms, once so full of life and vitality, now stealing away due to the effects of Time, something even wizards shouldn't mess with. Lesson to you, Tom. "You have no idea how I wished I could have done things differently. I even considered petitioning the Ministry for a Time Turner, but of course, no one would have approved it for such a selfish reason." He looks over his shoulder to Gellert. "I don't blame you," he says, rubbing his hands on the knees of his robes as he gets to his feet. "You were taught things, and I was young and foolish and so full of myself. Fortunately, I got better." Sniffling once and dabbing his eyes under his half-moon glasses, he straightens up to his feet. "I may never forgive myself for allowing this to happen, but it's not your place to cudgel me with my own memories." He doesn't speak to any of the three shades, but to the thin air.

The face of Grindelwald lifts again, a certain coldness in the eyes of the man. Aberforth vanishes - he was there one moment, and then gone the next. Ariana remains, however, swinging her legs against the chair. But that wasn't a kind gaze that the girl has, settling her eyes upon Dumbledore. Grindelwald speaks, then. But it wasn't the voice that Dumbledore remembered - instead, the more sibiliant tone of Tom Riddle. "…you can't hurt me here. Your spells? Pointless. So don't even try… this is /my/ world, Dumbledore. /My/ rules." 'Grindelwald' says, squaring his jaw. "If I wish to cudgel you with your own memories - I will, because I /can/ here. These people, these emotions that you are feeling these are your weaknesses, you know."

Grindlewald advances upon Dumbledore at that, lowering his tone as if sharing a secret. "The rest of your friends that came here… they're dead or trapped in my world. You killed your sister - and you killed them."

"Always blaming others for your own misdeeds, Tom," Dumbledore says, standing almost serenely now that he's had his moment of weakness, wallowing in the past, in the pain that he doesn't let even close friends such as McGonagall be aware of. "This place is of your creation, not mine. And I am sorry for you, Tom. I'm sorry I wasn't more proactive in trying to help you, to keep you from this path you are continually walking. Sorry that you will not listen to reason. Sorry that you feel that the only thing that gives you joy is hurting or killing others, causing grief and chaos all around you during your quest for immortality. I'm sorry for the circumstances that led you to be who you are today. But there is still a chance to change, even now, even after all you've done. I know you don't care for the respect of the wizarding world, but it's a far greater thing than their fear." And without a further word spoken, he lifts a hand, where a pretty purple and gold butterfly, rather magnificent in color, alights on his fingertips. "As for beating me up with my memories of the past, I'm afraid there is no power on this earth great enough to do worse to me on that account than I've done to myself already. I could teach a whole term's worth on self-flagellation at Hogwarts if there ever was a need." And he looks at the butterfly, delighting in its fine shade, how its wings move back and forth, how delicate it is.
'Grindlewald' turns his attention towards Ariana, Voldemort caught with the sudden desire to 'kill' the image, let it rot away in front of Dumbledore - but another look at the serene man before him leads him to think that would be a waste of time. The masquerade was dropped then, in an instant - the lovely Victorian home cracks and shatters, the colourful shards falling to the ground to disappear. The green mist rises, eating away the once-lovely floors. And Grindlewald changes, the nose melting away and the handsome, impish features of the blond man slipping to the smooth, pale ones of Voldemort. There was a cautious, pensive look on his face - Dumbledore was a man that frightened him, and, although he viciously pressed the emotional attack when he felt he had the upper hand… that upper hand wasn't looking so certain now. He trusted in the fact that, as what amounted to a phantom, he couldn't be harmed in return. He thought. Regardless, the butterfly was looked upon with a contemptous look, and a short scoff of derision.

"You really are pathetic, Dumbledore. I already have the respect of the wizard world… fear, and respect are no different! My name is known to /every/ wizard out there, and each one fears me. And that's why you won't be able to stop me - it took a freak accident with a strange little boy to do so the last time. And you /won't/ have that again."
"I'm afraid you're in error, Tom," Dumbledore says mildly, and at his most polite courteous tones. "Fear and respect aren't the same. Certainly, your abilities are respected in how deadly they are, but you cannot even imagine how they would shout your name from the mountaintops if you turned your abilities, your /mind/, to other things. Why, you could have been the most spoken-of wizard of all time, surpassing your great ancestor by leaps and bounds, I daresay. You could have done something like this." And without a further word, Dumbledore seizes control of the wispy stuff around him, and from his position in the mist and gloom, suddenly there is light, racing away from him, illuminating a sylvan scene of beauty, a veritable Garden of Eden, and yet there's still a serpent in it. Trees, shrubbery, flowers in a riot of colors, filigreed gazebos in the distance strung with wreaths and garlands, enough to make any moviemaker drool if they were struggling with how to envision Valinor itself, rather than the beautiful but still mundane Rivendell in the Tolkien books.

"But the thought would never even occur to you," he concludes sadly as he admires his handiwork.
This little argument was pointless, at least in Voldemort's eyes. Dumbledore was deluded, certainly, to the meanings of power, true power, and the contempt that Voldemort felt for that wasn't hidden at all. He was just about to open his mouth to spit something else at the wise headmaster. But then, Voldemort's control of 'his' world was wrenched away from him. There was a struggle, yes, a feeble 'tugging' at the control of the mist and gloom, trying to bring it down to something deeper, darker. Flashes of phantoms, of half-formed images of siblings and loved ones in a desperate attempt to break the control of the headmaster. But in the end, the phantom Tom lifts his hand up, shielding his eyes against the sudden beauty of the landscape. Features contorting with rage, he releases a loud, lingering scream - and then vanishes in a puff of green mist.

Tom was lying about the others being dead - if Dumbledore didn't know that already, he could likely sense, over the dreamscape, flashes of disapparations, and the spell signatures of 'Wrackspurtis Revealia!' the same spell that brought them there, could also bring them back. People were leaving the neverworld - and it likely wasn't Voldemort.

The old wizard looks around, his blue eyes questing for his compeers and his students, and his senses tell him all sorts of interesting things. He wouldn't fib about the soft sigh of relief as one of Riddle's lies is revealed with the feeling of others escaping the trap. Still, he's not surprised in the slightest when he feels a weight descend upon his shoulder with a soft cry that soothes an old man's worries and regrets and the smell of bird seed. "I was wondering when you'd show up," he says to Fawkes, the phoenix rubbing his head against Dumbledore's cheek affectionately and rustling his feathers. "Shall we?" Pulling an ancient wand from his pocket, Dumbledore draws a door and paints it in, much like a certain coyote has been known to do on canyon walls. It's a sweeping rendition of his office in Hogwarts, since it would startle people and be poor form to show up in the middle of the hospital wing… not to mention probably unwise to advertise a secret way into Hogwarts that can be used in spite of its usual formidable defenses. Putting his wand away, he steps through the painting with the scarlet and gold phoenix on his shoulder and then waves his hand to seal the entrance behind him. Leaving Fawkes on the golden perch in his office, he hurries off to see about the returnees.


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