(1939-11-08) An Unintentional Rescue
Details for An Unintentional Rescue
Summary: Four wizards are accidentally abducted to become rescuers to the Durmstrang hostages.
Date: 8 November, 1939
Location: Durmstrang Institute
Plot: For the Greater Good
Related: Escape from Durmstrang

The sensation of the world spinning and whizzing — as if one were being pulled through it by some point just behind the navel — passes slowly. The darkness and damp cold do nothing to help soothe the queasy feeling. What happened? Moments before, it was a perfectly normal day. Nothing extraordinary was going on. The post had just arrived….

The post. There was that strange, unmarked package in the plain wrapping. It looked a bit weathered, the wrapper crinkled and warped it often looks after a long or arduous owl-flight. But it hardly seemed like anything to be concerned about. There was just the most fleeting glimpse of the book inside: For the Greater Good, by Gellert Grindelwald. Then, the world turned inside out, and soon there was just darkness, and a cold stone floor under the hands and feet.

Hugh rolls to his feet, perhaps a little unsteadily, but his wand is out, and scanning around. "Portkey…."

With an almost beastial roar, Cyril blinks into existense, hitting the ground with a thud. A few moments pass before the big man can get himself to his feet, ignoring his surroundings and staring down whatever he can find. That means Hugh.

Hugh's wand moves to cover Cyril, and he calls out, "Auror!" Although the big mans disorientation suggests he's another victim, rather than the author of the problem.

Gilbert stumbles a few steps as he pops into existance then crouches down, holding still while he gets his bearing and lets his eyes adjust to the darkness.

Cyril continues to stare Hugh down, tilting his head incredulously as he has a wand pointed at him, barking, "Put that down, you idiot, or I'll have your job." He growls a bit under his breath and is beginning to have a look around when Gilbert pops in.

Hugh turns, not at the threat, but at the sound of stumbling. Again, the wand is tracking the form, whilst it becomes clear what's happening.

Shelley is used to being a little disoriented, to having lost track of where she is, or what she was going, or how she bloody well got there. So as she finds herself crouched on the floor sometime after Hugh's own arrival, she stays right where she is a moment, glancing around the room and spotting only dim forms in the poor light.

Alright. This doesn't feel the same as one of her episodes. This is something completely different. She reaches into her robes to withdraw her wand, though it isn't leveled at any of the forms just yet as she climbs to her feet. "Auror Shelley Prewett. Identify yourselves."

A soft clicking sound penetrates the darkness, and for a brief moment, there is a bit more light. It's just enough to make out the other people in the room, as well as the collection of furniture, boxes, chests, bits of wood, and various other items stacked up, leaning against walls, or otherwise stored in the chamber. With all of the obstacles, it is nearly impossible to get a sense for just how large the room is before the light vanishes to the distinctive sound of a door latching.

"This is really starting to piss me off," Cyril remarks, his eyes still struggling to make sense of anything. He rubs at them hurriedly and continues to just be a fairly unhappy individual at this point in time.

Hugh calls out, "Lumos Maxima!", and makes a flicking gesture upwards with his wand as he does.

A ball of light, about the size of a quaffle, appears at the end of Hugh's wand. It is rather blinding at first, but the effect wanes as the globe detaches from the wand and floats upward to the ceiling illuminating the storeroom and all of its contents — include the four wizards and their four copies of For the Greater Good. But that's not all. There is also a fifth person; a pixie-faced young woman with golden-blonde hair, her large eyes squinting at the light as she tries to shield then with her hand.

Gilbert unfolds from his crouch, grabbing his copy of the book as he goes. Blinking his eyes quickly to clear them of the spots created by the sudden appearance of the light ball he looks around from person to person. "Well, this is quite the motley crew. Two Auror, judging by your warnings; Cyril Malfoy, the black sheep of the Malfoy family; and…"

Gilbert's eyes move to the pixie-faced woman and he smiles in a friendly sort of way as he asks, "And you. Who, pray tell, do we have the pleasure of meeting today?"

Shelley shields her eyes for a moment with one hand, looking around the room as her vision slowly adjusts. "Carruthers," she remarks with some surprise - and as much as she ever would, she looks happy to see him. Whatever mess they're in, it's good to have another Auror here as backup. She spots another book on the floor near Cyril's feet, and one in Gilbert's hand, prompting a small frown. "Portkeys, was it?" But why? It was obvious what she and Hugh had in common - but what of the others? A Malfoy, some fop, and a girl?

Her eyes go towards the door that had briefly opened - and she makes her way towards that.

Cyril turns those golden eyes of his to rest on the suspicious extra member of their little rag-tag group and casts her a none-too-friendly look, one side of his nose curling upward as he regards her.

Valda blinks rapidly as her eyes adjust to the sudden light. "Aurors? Oh, thanks Merlin," she says in a thick, Slavic-sounding accent. She nods toward Hugh, brushing a few strands of that blonde hair from her face. "Then you are Mister Vorthington, yes?" Her eyes shift to Shelley, "And Madam Merrythought? But…where is Dumbledore? He…he is coming, yes?"

Hugh says briskly, "Shelley. Check the door. I assume we're locked in." Valda gets a look, "No. No, I'm not Worthington. I'm Carruthers." His eyes narrow a touch, "Why. Were you expecting particular people to appear by Portkey?" His tone is light. Casual. And Shelley would probably note it slipping into interrogation mode.

Shelley gives Hugh a look. Because really - she wouldn't check the door without his instruction. She checks the door for any visible signs of runes before she'd dare reach out - and try to open it.

She expects it to be locked as well, however.

Cyril sucks at his teeth and grumbles idly as he begins to look around as the girl seems essentially harmless. He tucks his hands into his pockets, moving to kick at one of the chests that's laying around.

"We are not locked in," Valda assures them calmly. "I am just coming through the door. I am coming for you, but you are wrong people. I am expecting Albus Dumbledore, Galatea Merrythought, Gordon Vorthington, and Leon Vilkins." She nibbles at her lip worriedly. "But you are four…all with books. Why are you having the books? Where are you getting them?"

Hugh's eyes narrow, "We're at Durmstrang? Who sent the portkeys, child?"

"Durmstrang?" Cyril murmurs to himself as Gilbert speaking before he looks over to see that yes, she is, in fact a Durmstrang student. They never were much for fashion. Cyril crooks an eyebrow and turns to face the girl, his curiosity piqued.

Gilbert tilts his head a bit as he holds up his book, "This? It came in the post." Then he walks a little closer to the girl, frowning at her slightly as he takes in her mode of dress, "But you have yet to introduce herself. And I see you are wearing a Dumstrang uniform. Have the portkeys transported us to Norway?" Since his questions are asked at about the same time as Hugh he stops for a moment, before turning to the Auror. "And a child she does seem to be. So maybe a little more of a delicate touch is in order? instead of frightening her by treating her like a criminal when we do not know what is happening yet?"

Shelley peers through the door which, indeed, is not locked - then looks back to Hugh. "Just a hallway," she informs him quietly. "Empty, but lined with other doors. We're at the end of the hall." As Gilbert chastises Hugh, she adds in a dry tone, "I don't think he is treating her 'like a criminal.' Just a witness. And you've yet to identify yourself, sir."

Valda nods to the men. "No yes. This is Durmstrang. But…you did not know? The message did not appear…." She sighs, frowning. "Of course it did not, because you are not who we are sending for." She quiets for a moment, watching cautiously as there seems to be some tension within the ranks of the visitors.

Hugh shoots Gilbert a look of… amusement. And then gets a pipe out of his pocket, and shoves it in the corner of his mouth, so far unlit. He speaks out of the other side of his mouth. Quite a skill. Occasionally his left hand comes up to stabilise or remove the pipe, to help with gesticulation. "Yes. Durmstrang. And… perhaps you might wish to take us to the originator of the messages, child? Oh… sorry, child's not very polite to call you, is it? Do you have a name, also?"

Gilbert arches an eyebrow at Shelley's response then smiles as Hugh seems to take his suggestion to heart. Standing up a little straighter he bows to Shelley, one hand at the waist and the other sticking straight up and back, "Gilbert Sullivan, scholar and thespian, at your service." As he straightens back up he asks, "And perhaps we should all share introductions before we move on?"

"Somebody pulls me out of my house during tea and I'm not going to treat them kindly, Sullivan," Cyril remarks coldly to Gilbert, rolling his eyes. He continues to stand with his hands in the pockets of his jacket, still looking positively out of place amongst the rest of the boy scouts.

Valda nods to Hugh, focusing her attention on him, as he seems to be assuming authority, and did identify himself as an Auror. "No yes. I take you to him." She wavers a moment before acquiescing to his other inquiry. "I am Valda Rozenblats." She watches the four for a moment after introducing herself, as if gauging their reactions. But then she moves toward the door, whispering, "Come. We must be quiet. If you are seen, it will be bad."

"Auror Shelley Prewett, as I'd stated," Shelley answers, with her wand still held in her right hand, pointed at the floor. At the prospect of walking through the halls of the school, however, she grudgingly slips it away. Even with the strange circumstances, it still isn't enough to make her walk through the halls of a school with her wand drawn. "Why would it be bad? What is going on, precisely?"

Hugh gives a terse nod, and slips his wand away too. "Auror Hugh Carruthers. And yes. You'd best lead the way Miss Rozenblats." The pronunciation is good… if it's a German Jewish name, which given the first name is actually unlikely. "Take us to your leader."

"Cyril Malfoy," remarks the big man, hugging his jacket tight around himself and wearily dragging himself along behind them, hoping that none of them are looking as he checks to make sure that his 1911 is still safely tucked into its holster nustled inside of his coat.

Gilbert stuffs his hands in his pockets and starts to amble behind the rest of the group, "Well, I have to admit I have never had the opportunity to visit the Durmstang Institute. This should be an educational soujorn. So Miss Rozenblat, what brings us here, even if we have accidentally replaced the august personages that aparently were originally expected?"

Valda gives Hugh an awkward smirk. "He is not my leader. He is one of yours. He is Armando Dippet. He made for you portkeys. Or he made for Dumbledore and others. So that you…they…could come to rescue us." She pauses at the door to explain further. "The Army of Truth is here. If they will see you, they will attack…maybe kill you. We must be secret."

"They can try," Cyril mumbles under his breath, still looking around warily as he follows behind the young woman. Looking around at the rest of them, he says, "You guys sure do talk a lot for people she told to shut up earlier."

"I prefer to know what I'm stepping into, Malfoy," Shelley answers dryly. "Lead the way, Miss," she adds, gesturing towards the door, then looking towards Hugh. "I'll take the rear?" she offers softly.

Hugh gives a little nod, and moves to the door, to let the girl go through, "We'll bear it in mind. And yes. It'll be lovely to see the Headmaster again." Shelley gets a call of, "Point."

Gilbert rolls his eyes behind Cyrus' back and completely ignores what the man says. Well, almost completely. He does lower his voice controlling its modulation so it can be heard by the people near him and not much further, "What can you tell us about what has been happening since the Triwizard tournament, Miss Rozenblat? Any information could improve our chances of helping out."

"It would be best if we weren't speaking out in the halls," Shelley cautions Gilbert - falling back to the rear of their little formation while Hugh takes the lead.

Cyril grins as he slips past Shelley, saying, "You just want to watch me walk, don't you, Auror?" He scratches at his nose and comes to a stop behind Hugh, hands slipping out of his pockets and feeling altogether suspicious of this whoe situation.

"I will let Professor Dippet explain," Valda whispers as they enter the hall. "I will go ahead. It will not seem strange to see me, but then I can warn you if anyone comes." She moves to the front of the group, heading down the hall to guide them through the castle.

The interior of Durmstrang Institute is much starker than that of Hogwarts. The lack of endless rows of portraits is probably a good thing. But it does leave the place feeling far less welcoming. The edges of everything are sharper and more rigid. Even the torches seem a burn a little dimmer, in spite of the blazing flames.

Moving through this fortress, one can get a sense for why Durmstrang graduates turn out so hard and pragmatic. Anyone that every took a Defence Against the Dark Arts class from Galatea Merrythought knows well how demanding she can be, and thanks the stars that she was such a passionate teacher to temper her inner taskmaster.

Perhaps it's something about the contrasts with Hogwarts that throws off the party's quiet steps. The echoes move differently in this place…as do the shadows, as Gilbert learns when he inadvertently casts one far ahead of the group, ruining Valda's insistence to a pair of sturdy German wizards that she is alone. To make matters worse, in an effort to backtrack and get the group hidden, Shelley starts to back right into a corridor into which another pair of patrolling guards is walking. "Genau dort zu stoppen!" One of them shouts as they draw their wands.

Gilbert might not be the best spell caster out there but he does have a quick mind on him and knows his limitations. Instead of going for anything fancy he decides the best possible thing to do is take the guard that's on the defensive out before he can even come into play so he draws his wand and points it at him with a loud, "Garrulus!" A bright, neon blue flash of light flies from the tip of his wand and hits the guard square in the mouth. And that's about it. Nothing else seems to happen…

Hugh sees the reaction. "Oh hell…" he says, his pipe dropping into his left hand, as he clears his wand in a smooth sweep from his inner jacket wandpocket. "STUPEFY!!" It's a beautiful snap shot. Fast. Classical formation of the spell. Accurate. It hits the guard as the latter is saying, "Stu…", and the German just crumples where he stands, wand clattering away.

As his partner drops, the guard struck by Gilbert's Babbling Curse shouts…something. It might be simply Norwegian or one of the other languages spoken her. But it sounds more like gibberish.

There was a reason Shelley cautioned Gilbert against talking in the halls - and this is it. They're spotted, and then the cause starts. Being at the rear and defending the rest of their column, Shelley gestures once with wand, letting out a firm but quiet, "Deflecto." If they can handle this quickly and quietly enough - they might not have the whole school on alert.

Seeing as stuff seems to be "popping off", as it were, Cyril's hand moves to slide the nickel-plated Colt 1911 out of his shoulder holster. Unfortunately, the guards get the drop and he and Shelley. Throwing himself into the wall, Cyril narrowly avoid the incoming stun and move to raise his firearm towards one of the guards.

Gilbert takes some long striding steps towards the Babbling Guard. As he walks he changes his wand from his right hand to his left then throws a punch as soon as he's close enough to the guard. Regretfully, most of Gilbert's fighting experience comes from the stage. And being used to barely coming in contact with his opponents he misses by a hair's breadth, which would have looked great on stage but does nothing for him now…

Why change a winning formula, that's one thing that Hugh seems to have learned. He ducks to one side, leaving the 'winged' guard to the others for now, and instead turning to give covering fire to his partner. "STUPIFY!" Because nothing says, 'Looking after your partner' as letting them draw attention so you can stunner someone in the side of the head. Fortunately it works, and another guard goes sprawling.

The Babbled guard side steps Gilbert's dramatic attack, and even pauses for a half-second to stare at the actor in bewilderment. But he quickly recovers, backpedalling as he attempts to wordlessly counter the curse upon him. But to no avail. There is a slight pop of sparks from his wand, which do little more than tickle his nose.

With only two guards left that are any real threat, Shelley aims her spell at one of them. "Stupefy," she calls quietly, the spell lancing out at the man, who manages to throw himself out of the way of the spell - even as the other goes down. "Damn," she mutters quietly.

Deciding that a gunshot probably isn't the best idea for a "stealth" operation, Cyril moves back to pick up one of the discarded wands and plucks it up, turning to hastily shout, "Stupefy!" However, the Malfoy man is off his mark.

Valda falls back into a practiced duelling stance, unleashing her own Stunning Spell at the Babbled guard. The spell strikes a glancing blow, but he shrugs it off immediately, leaving him still quite conscious.

After evading Shelley's spell, the nimble guard whips his wand at her, "Stupefy!" The light zips through the air, striking Shelley square in the chest and knocking her to the ground, stunned.

Gilbert sees Shelley falling out of the corner of his eye at about the same time Babbling Guard shows indications of running. Leaving the chore of stopping the guard to those better equiped for it than him he turns a points his wand at Shelley, "Rennervate." A cherry red beam of light leave his wand and melts into Shelley, cancelling out the effects of the stunner that just hit her.

Hugh whirls on the Babbling guard as he tries to escape, and unleashes another expertly aimed Stunner, dropping the man to the stone floor.

Valda focuses on that guard's partner as he begins to stir, rousing from being stunned earlier. "Stupefy!" A flash of light, and the man slumps back to the floor, once again unconscious.

As Gilbert casts the reviving spell on Shelley, she lets out a quiet groan, and opens her eyes - looking around in disorientation. For the moment, at least, she doesn't seem to recognize anyone. Surely she just needs a moment to get back to her senses.

"Stupefy!" Cyril shouts again, before once more missing with the traitorous, unloyal wand. He grumbles and throws it down to the ground, once again raising his pistol and pointing it in the direction of the fleeing man's back.

As Cyril's spell whizzes toward the Army of Truth guard, the man ducks out of the way, and makes a break for it, seconds away from disappearing from sight.

"Sudi!" Valda curses in her native tongue. "They will know that we are here soon. We must hurry!"

At this point, renowned duelist Cyril Malfoy is fed up with his inability to cast a simple spell and pulls the trigger on his reliable piece of Muggle technology, sending a 45 round downrange and into the back of the head of the escaping guard. Once that's all said and done, the gun is lowered, the safety is clicked back into place, and it's slid back into its holster.

The guard crumples to the floor, leaving behind a spray of red along the stone wall to match the pool growing where he lays.

Valda stares at Cyril. It isn't exactly shock on her face, but there is something haunting in her eyes. She looks him up and down appraisingly, then slowly nods. "We have to go."

Hugh moves to help Shelley to her feet, fetching her wand for her as he approaches.

Gilbert arches an eyebrow at Cyril but the only thing he says is, "Nice shootin' Tex." in a very Texan accent before moving on to follow Valda.

Shelley still seems rather disoriented - and the shot from the gun reverberating down stone halls doesn't seem to help. She climbs back to her feet, wand gripped tightly in her hand. Hugh approaches the shaken Auror, speaking to her quietly for a few moments, and getting a nod in response. After a moment more to take a few deep breaths, she's ready to join the group again - mostly. "We should move. Yeah?"

Valda nods vehemently, beckoning the adults to follow her quickly. Stealth is sacrificed in the name of speed, though she leads them through the least populated parts of the castle to reach their destination. After climbing a long spiral staircase, they reach a tower residence, not unlike the professors' private quarters at Hogwarts. But this room is guarded by a man and a woman, who are quickly stunned into submission with a surprise attack.

Inside, the room is well furnished and comfortable — hardly what one could consider a prison cell. Rising from a high-backed chair is a tall, narrow man known to generations of Hogwarts alumni as former Headmaster Armando Dippet. The ancient wizard adjusts his spectacles, looking his rescuers over with a critical eye. "Where is Albus? Valda, what is the meaning of this?"

"Headmaster Dippet," Shelley greets the man politely. Nevermind that Dumbledore has the title now - officially. The walk to the tower seems to have done much to restore her composure - for the moment at least. "Your portkeys went astray. This is what you got instead." She introduces everyone quickly - identifying both herself and Hugh as Aurors. "How can we help you, sir? Are the three students alright?"

Gilbert is, for once, quiet. Letting Shelley do the talking he spends his time examening the room, as well as dragging the two ex-guards into the room and tying them up with the curtains' sashes in preparation for when the stunners ultimately wear off.

As Hugh and Cyril keep guard on the door, Valda steps up toward Dippet, nodding in agreement. "She says truth, Professor. They all did appear in store room, and they have your books. I do not know why."

Dippet nods slowly, looking over each in turn. "Shelley Prewett…Cyril Malfoy…Hugh Carruthers…Gilbert Sullivan." No matter how feeble he might seem at times, apparently Dippet's mind is as sharp as it ever was. "How unusual. But clearly you have done well to get this far. Is the Army aware of your presence?" As he speaks, he goes to a desk drawer, fetching out a folded parchment.

"Unfortunately, yes sir," Shelley answers. "We have to believe that they are. We encountered some on our way here. They were subdued - but not quietly." She shifts on her feet - eager to get the chit-chat overwith and find out what the Headmaster had tried to summon his successor for.

Guards finally tied and gagged Gilbert stands to face the former Headmaster with a smile. "It is nice to see they have at least been treating you appropriately to your station, Headmaster. Is it safe to assume that the students that were kept as… guests along with you are also in good health?"

Dippet making a musing sound, which rumbles deeply in his throat. "I see. Then we must act quickly. You asked about the students. They are…mostly alright. I fear that young Mr. Carrow has fallen prey to the radical philosophies of Grindelwald. Bringing him home will be a challenge." Leaning on a cane, he steps toward Hugh, offering forward the parchment in his hand. "This map will show you where to find the children, and where to meet with us. Do not trust Gareth. He will betray you to the Army of Truth. But they will need protection, as they have been deprived of their wands, just as I have."

Valda chimes in, explaining, "Professor Dippet will need protection also. We are fighting for him, to reach the last portkey."

"Sir - we have the wands from the men we stunned…" Shelley offers - withdrawing one she retrieved from the men now tied to the curtains, and gesturing for Gilbert to offer over any he'd retrieved as well. "So you don't need to be completely unarmed. We'll get you back to safety," she assures.

Gilbert graciously hands over the three wands he's been carrying in his pocket, giving Dippet his choice of wands. "We definitely want to do this as quick as possible. One of the guards had to be dispatched with a Muggle weapon. So not only will his death probably be a problem them manner of his death will most assuredly compound the anger it will cause." He takes the now tied guards and pushes them under the Headmaster's bed, making it unlikely that they will be casually discovered.

Dippet nods, reaching for one of the offered wands, a ten-inch beech. "Ah, very good. But again I say, do not arm Gareth Carrow. The boy is not well. Stun him if you must," he instructs Hugh and Cyril. "The others will understand."

"The Professor is not well either," Valda murmurs meekly, earning a perturbed frown and harumph from Dippet. "Even with a wand, he should not fight."

That makes two of them. "We'll take care of them." Shelley offers the spares over to Hugh and Cyril - keeping one for themselves incase anything untoward happen to their wands, and nods her head once, emphatically. "Alright. We should move. Straight to the Portkey, Professor? Or are we playing decoy?"

Gilbert takes the extra wand he's handed back and puts it into his coat pocket. When Valda says that the Headmaster is not well he frowns slightly but doesn't really say anything, trusting the older man to know what he is and isn't capable of. Instead he says, "Is Miss Rozenblat coming along with us as well?"

With the map in hand, and wands to spare, Hugh and Cyril depart with haste to retrieve the captive youngsters.

Valda nods to Gilbert, swallowing hard, her nervousness as plain as day. "I…I cannot stay here any longer time. I wish to defect to Great Britain."

"Our time will be spent gaining access to the portkey," Armando explains. "Which brings us to our next obstacle. The Portkey we must reach is one of the Portkeys Albus and I hid away when we first came to Durmstrang nearly two years. It was to be my avenue to escape, while the others made for the trophy. But when we first hid it, it was in an unused office. But since then, the office has come into use as a study…by Gellert Grindelwald. So perhaps you can see why I have had difficulty reaching it. His study is bound to be protected by powerful magic. I could never get near the study without drawing attention to myself, and even if I did, I have had no wand with which to overcome Grindelwald's protections."

"And as talented as Miss Rozenblats is, she is still a student," Dippet adds. "Besides, I would not wish her to take the risk alone."

"…oh," Shelley says in response to this bit of news. Grindelwald's study - no big deal. "And all this time he hasn't touched it? That's good at least." She shakes her head, glancing at Hugh and Cyril as they depart, then looking back to Dippet. "No point to delaying. Lead the way."

Gilbert covers his real reaction to this news with the skill natural to a practiced actor. Instead he follows along with the rest of the group but lets everyone know one hard to admit truth, "I need you all to be aware, I am horrible with spells. MY wand work is iffy at best, barely enough to have graduated. I really do hope there is nothing truly wrong with you, Dippet. I will do what I can to help but do not depend on my spell casting abilities."

"As far as I am aware, Grindelwald remains ignorant of the Portkey. We stowed it behind a loose stone in the wall. It should be safe, assuming you have had no reports of anyone from Durmstrang appearing inexplicably at Hogwarts with a pocketwatch in hand." Adjust his robes, Dippet moves to the door as Valda slips out into the stairwell to scout ahead. As determined as he his, Dippet moves slowly. Still, he's doing quite well for a three-hundred year old man.

Shelley glances towards Gilbert. This day just keeps on getting better and better. "Understood," she answers him. Looking towards Dippet she adds, "No, sir, I've heard no reports of anything like that." She gestures for the others to proceed her, while she attempts to guard their rear. She's going to have to trust the student to be skilled enough to take point - a distinctly unsettling notion.

Gilbert gives his purloined robes a last couple of tugs to get them into their proper place and his whole demeanor changes becoming haughtier and more arrogant. "I can, however, serve as an excellent cover. If we run into any other guards we're escorting Headmaster Dippet to see Grindelwald. Between myself and Miss Rozenblats we should be able to talk our way out of most encounters." With that he sets out behind Valda, walking along with no hesitation, his whole body language now firmly saying that he belongs here.

Valda takes pause to look Gilbert over, lifting her brow at him. "This…could vork. You are looking like Soldier of Truth." She takes a deep breath, and with obvious great reluctance, tugs at a chain around her neck, pulling it out from under her blouse. At the end of that chain dangles a silver pendant in the shape of the Eye of Truth.

The trek to the study is not without challenges. The castle seems to be on edge, but so far there is no sign that the Army of Truth is actively hunting for intruders. Still, every Soldier knows Armando Dippet on sight, and Gilbert's powers of persuasion are forced to come into play (and put to the test, as he speaks none of the languages commonly spoken in Durmstrang). But between his acting skills and Valda's apparent status as a Magijunde, the lie holds…for now.

At last the foursome stands before a simple, unassuming door in a remote corridor on the fourth floor of the castle. "This is it," Armando says, gesturing to the door. Then, quite suddenly, he trembles and his knees give out.

Valda is immediately at Dippet's side, propping him up. "Please," she begs them. "Ve must get inside. He is so veak now."

Shelley nods, stepping forward to study the door with obvious distrust. There is absolutely no chance they'll be able to simply open it - and walk in. It could not possibly be so simple. She begins checking it - first for runes.

Gilbert turns around and takes a guards at ease stance in front of the door, blocking a good chunk of everything that's happening behind him from the casual glance. Out of the corner of his mouth he mutters, "Please do show some urgency, Miss Prewett. This will not fool anyone for more than a second or two if they come directly upon us."

"Yes, because I'm standing in the hallway for fun," Shelley mutters, without stopping in her studying of the door. She sees nothing wrong with it but - well - being paranoid never hurts. "Impervius flammas," Shelley murmurs to herself, before reaching out to touch the door. She half expects chaos to break out when she tries this…

Gilbert continues to watch the hallway. He also motions for Valda to come stand next to him once Dippet seems to be in better shape, "Come stand next to me Miss Rozenblats. Two of us will provide better cover than one."

Dippet's weakened condition doesn't seem to be improving much. His breathing is laboured, and he continues to rely on Valda's assistance to stand. Still, the two of them manage to come nearer to Gilbert, if only to get them out of the middle of the corridor.

The moment Shelley's fingertip touches the door, there is a bright flash and a loud cracking sound as the entire door courses with lightning! The electricity leaps to Shelley's hand, sending a powerful jolt through her. It is painful, and thankfully her Impervius Charm protects her from the worst of its heat, but her muscles and thrown into a frenzy, refusing to cooperate with her while they try to recover from the shock.

Shelley ends up on her rump, breathing heavily and staring at the door. She has to close her eyes for a few moments, desperately keeping her thoughts together as she spasms run through her body. "…Ow," she finally offers quietly after unclenching her teeth. "Forget this," she adds with a mutters, pushing herself back to her feet. "Open sesame."

Gilbert looks behind himself when he hears the zap and the fall. He takes the risk to turn around and help Shelley to her feet before turning back to 'stand guard'.

The Door-Breaking Spell is neither subtle nor quiet. When used properly, it can rip a door clean off its hinges, or reduce it to splinters. Shelley's charm slams into the door with booming force, and it shakes violently, even leaving a dent in the wood where it begins to splinter. But as the spell disperses over the door's surface, it becomes clear that there are protections in place to resist such magic.

Valda winces visibly, looking both ways down the corridor. "Somebody will be hearing that," she warns.

"Great. Fabulous. I am loving this door," Shelley mutters. But if that didn't work - and the door'll shock you if you touch it - what're the odds that a little 'alohomora' would work? "Open sesame," she repeats with determination, gesturing with her wand again.

As Shelley pummels the door with a second barrage, to no avail, shouts can be heard beginning to echoing through the castle corridors. "They are coming!" Valda says, so helpfully.

Gilbert turns to Varda and urgently asks, "How do you say, "They went that way!" Maybe I can redirect the incoming forces…" His complete focus is on Valda right now, since he needs to get the words and the accent right the first time around to have any chance for this to work…

"I noticed, thank you," Shelley mutters. "Get Dippet out of sight," she adds towards Varda urgently. At least the jitters are gone - though she still feels strangely sore all over. "Open sesame!" she repeats forcefully. Hopefully it works - and she can take a moment to look like they got what they wanted, and fled.

Valda blinks disbelievingly at Gilbert for a moment, but with a cough and a nod from Dippet, she plays along. "Say them: Sie gingen auf diese Weise!" She repeats it for him one more time to be sure, then does her best to tuck Dippet and herself into the slight alcove by the door, using her own body to shield him from any effects of Shelley's spell.

That spell slams once more into the door, this time sending several cracks through the wood, and loosening the hinges. The door still remains, but even now, one can make out glimpses of the study beyond.

Gilbert runs his cheekbone along the wall of the castle, tearing the skin open with a wince. As the blood starts dripping out he stumbles into the main hallway and move on to intercept the oncoming guards. Once he meets then he points at the closest, plausible hallway leading away from the study and says in the groggy voice someone just recovering from a stunner would use, "Sie gingen auf diese Weise!" then braces himself against the wall as if trying to catch his breath.

Shelley glances briefly at Gilbert as he hurries to head them off. Her attention returns to the stubborn door, taking a deep breath before raising her wand one more time. "Open sesame." This time the force behind her words blows the door off its hinges, and litters the room with toothpicks and a few more substantial pieces of wood. "Gotcha," she says with satisfaction, before looking for somewhere to take cover herself - and see if Gilbert can redirect the Army of Truth's soldiers.

A quartet of Soldiers meet Gilbert at the corridor intersection, one of them approaching and saying, "Bist du in Ordnung, mein Freund?" But Gilbert's convincing German urgency snaps the others to attention, and they hurry off in the indicated direction.

"I thought for sure you were about to send them our way." Hugh Carruthers's voice is heard before he steps into view from another corridor, trailed by a young woman with dark, curly hair, and a tall lanky young man. Behind them is Cyril, with a teenaged boy of smaller build slung over his shoulder, unconscious.

Gilbert chuckles once the soldiers are out of earshot. Just in time for Hugh to startle him so the chuckle really comes out as a half-chocked cough. "Goodness forbid. We are over this way and by the sound of it as I was leaving Ms. Prewett has managed to get the door open for us. Everything go well on your end?" As he speaks he starts to hurry back towards the study, knowing that the ruse with the guards will only keep them away from so long.

Valda helps Dippet into the study, eager to get to the Portkey as quickly as possible. Dippet clears his throat and instructs in a very professorial tone, "We must all be touching when we use the Portkey, to be certain that nobody is left behind. So be careful."

His words are nearly cut off by a sudden siren-like sound that blares from the study the moment Valda's foot crosses the threshold. An Intruder Charm. Of course.

The interior of the study is a treasure trove of Grindelwaldian lore. Numerous books lay open, baring points of research. A map of Europe lays across a central table, with various markers upon it, showing key points of interest. The walls are covered with hundreds of documents, newspaper clippings, photographs, and other miscellania, collected into groupings of relevant data.

Among the more noticeable groupings are a series of Muggle photographs depicting various men, under the heading "Die Sohne des Hermes". At the center of them is a photo of an older man, labelled "von Sebottendorff".

But most prominent among the wall-hangings is a series of what appear to be architectural designs for some sort of tall, tower-like structure. Written in elegant script in the top left corner of the largest of these plans is the word, "Nurmengard".

Shelley remains out of sight, and will only step out into view at the sound of familiar voices. "Good. We all made it, then?" That's quite a relief. "Haven't tried going in y-" And then Valda steps into the room, setting off the alarm. She exchanges a look with Hugh. "Well. Let's go," she says matter of factly. Looking around the study, she's tempted to take things. But… without any proof that Grindelwald does dark magic, and being on foreign soil… "Hrm. What role did Grindelwald play in keeping you here against your will?" she asks. That would be Hitwizard business, but since none of them are here…

Gilbert breaks out into a jog as soon as the alarm goes off. Seeing all the maps and diagrams in the room, and not really worrying much about things like jurisdiction he grabs what looks important to him; the pictures of Muggles and the designs for the tower-like structure. As he bustles around he asks, "Headmaster? Where's the portkey?"

Grindelwald, it seems, is a man prone to many precautionary measures. As Gilbert takes hold of the pictures and plans, he finds they resist. A Sticking Charm, no doubt.

Dippet gestures, lifting his cane just high enough to tap a particular stone in the wall, in a corner of the study. "There. Pull that stone out. The Portkey should be in a small crevice behind it. Come close, everyone. Remember, we must all be touching when the Portkey is touched."

Shelley studies the plans, turning in circles as she takes in the things on display. "If we had a bloody camera," she mutters to herself. Looking around the room to remember whatever she can - noting names and places in particular, and taking a look at the books he's studying. She has to remember this.

Gilbert doesn't struggle to get the pictures off the wall or try to charm them off. As soon as he realizes that they are stuck to the wall magically he moves over to the indicated stone in the wall and pulls it out. Then he looks around and seeing a pair of scissors on the desk uses them to pull out the pocketwatch and place it on the desk, making it easier for everyone to be able to touch it simultaneously, "Quickly now, those guards are mostly likely about to burst in in the next few seconds."

Dippet beckons everyone close to the desk, hovering his hand over the pocketwatch. "Join hands, or link arms. Stay in contact with one another. This is our only chance of escape. Anyone left behind will undoubtedly be at Grindelwald's mercy." He waits a few moments more, looking around to be certain that everyone is forming a human chain in some fashion or another. "Home," he whispers, and lets his hand fall upon the pocketwatch.

There is the sensation of a tugging, as if a hook were attached just behind the navel, pulling everyone through the narrow spaces of the world. The incredible rushing sensation is discombobulating, and fleeting.

Within moments, the hard stone floor is replaced with wet grass. A light rain falls, accompanied by a cold, Scottish wind. In the dim early evening light, one can clearly see the familiar, welcoming shape of Hogwarts Castle but a stone's throw away.

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