Dumbledore began his incantation; power flowing through an exponential growth while the chant progressed. The weighty, approving gaze of the familiar, one that chose him, felt heavy on his back. It still was a marvel; that such a creature had chosen him. Him! Its presence was the last piece, the final thaum pushing him along the path to violence. Things had gone too far, he’d studied far too long, hoped too much – and what had Gellert done? Madness. Pure, self-absorbed madness. Wars had been fought before, the Great War had stunned wizardkind like nothing ever had. But this war was even greater; terrifying in its animosity.

The phoenix chirred at him, a chiding noise that encouraged him all the same. Where the creature had come from, Dumbledore had no clue. No one knew from where the powerful creatures hailed; the small amounts of interaction they’d shared so far gave him suspicions that lack of knowledge was purely intentional. The birds were near-human intelligence, if more in tune with their baser needs; it was a blessing their nature was so Light-based, else they’d have been a true Terror. A fire-wielding being that teleported through all barriers, lifted immense burdens, and possessed reflexes beyond a nundu?

He smiled at the encouragement, before returning to his preparations – a two minute rest between the descant and following kyrie designed for that very purpose. Red hair, long and luxuriant tied itself in a shorter style, one flick of his wand neatly dressing his facial hair into the ancient Viking braids. Runes carved into the rings surrounding each braided strand ensured they would not fly into his face during battle. A common tactic enjoined soldiers to crop their hair short: not he. For such a foe, he would go to war in the style he’d studied.

Completely. Or not at all.

“Fawkes, I’ve never heard of the muggles with such weapons.” Dumbledore checked his notes, making sure the timing would be right. They’d ventured into battle again and again, but hard training brought easy fighting. “They are advancing far faster than they once did, some of their work is nearly – magical.”

The avian moved into Dumbledore’s sight. Blood-red feathers, a deeper crimson than his own auburn hair rose in a crest. Bright, intelligent eyes studied his own, before the phoenix sang a note, agreeing.

“Godric always said they would be clever. But then he was just repeating what Rowena told him.” Another voice spoke up, this time in words all could understand. “What’s been done – is a true Evil. Creation used to Destroy. He is growing more powerful every hour, Albus. He must be stopped.”

Dumbledore glanced at the Sorting Hat. Its old fabric looked far older than the youthful appearance of the phoenix, and yet it had existed long before the other’s brim was a mere plant. “I swear it. I will stop him.”

The hat eased down on its brim. “I know you will, boy. As I did for Godric, so I’ll do for you.” A fierce cry echoed through the room, at once softer than a baby’s sigh, yet louder than a thunder crack. Fawkes rose, beating its wings. Fierce eyes glared, reminding him.

Quickly, Dumbledore resumed the chant. He’d almost missed the fourth stanza, the final cadence. A last minute adjustment, and he donned the battle robes. Anger began to fill his soul secondary benefits of the chant, not the puerile, faded imitation Dark Wizards prattled about. This was true Righteous anger; Rage. Fury. Wrath. All of the words embracing a small part of the emotion, some miniscule aspect without completing the entire sensation – Anger at Gellert’s betrayal, rage at the noble causes prostituted into loathsome practice, an all-encompassing fury at the man he’d once considered a brother, forcing the world to war.

Raising a hand, he caught Fawkes' talons, slight pain of their points lost in his rage. Had he beheld a mirror, he would have seen a startling image: a man with powerful build, geared for battle in combat robes, a monstrous bird of prey swooping low over one shoulder. But it wouldn’t have been the battle-torn clothing, or even the sword belted to his side, but the sheer power radiating from the two. At that moment, reality itself bent to their will, and the world shifted.

[Juno Beach, France]

The combination of Phoenix Fire and the innate strength he bore rendered the simple Apparation into an explosive entry worthy of legend. In return, the battlefield rocked his senses with the sounds of explosions – where had the Muggles learned to encapsulate Exploding Hexes in mere canisters of metal? The science behind mundane means boggled the mind – he’d think of that later. When the red haze lifted, and the urge to disembowel every opposing force subsided.

A hex, violet hued and trickling sparks of ultra-marine hurtled past his head. Dumbledore felt the Sorting Hat shift its weight, tilting his own head to one side, just keeping a fraction of an inch between it and the hex. Throbbing power, necromantic motifs drilling through the lower registers, filled the ether. Faint moans, audible to even the Muggles, resonated on a spine-tingling level. In response, he fired a Blasting Drill, siege magic designed against fortifications, ignoring how the caster vanished in a multi-colored flash.

Dumbledore took a moment to observe the field, using the rage, pounding through every nerve, to burn the battlefield into his mind. A long stretch of water, filled with more ships than many Pure-bloods believed possible expanded to the horizon at his back. In the other direction, barriers of earth twisted across the tortured landscape, convulsions wringing protection from the largest source imaginable – the earth. The heat intensified in his gullet, when he saw Grindlewald’s forces, the Magier Krieger Unglaublich, on the eastern flank; their shielding bore his distinctive markings, raw power and efficient channeling. Their minions lurched forwards in waves, inferi, soul-less, mindless dead, animated for their bidding. Nearer, he could see Muggles opening fire with their strange wands, yet each burst of flame held the potential to kill even a Wizard. Nearer still two members of the Sorcier Magnifique, French volunteers, did what they could, defending what seemed to be an entrenched Canadian division. Not enough.

Fury burned hotter in his heart. Dumbledore gestured, drying out the ground by his feet, granting solid footing. It took concentration, but he forced himself to turn to the magicals before turning his attention to the enemy. “You two, are you hurt?”

One of the men, slightly better dressed than the other, spun about face, wand spitting a curse. His eyes grew wide as it rebounded harmlessly from Dumbledore’s wand-tip – spell-swatting incorporated multiple disciplines, saved for the Dueling Arena except by consummate masters. “Anglais? Vous êtes ici pour aider?”

He made the mental twist, chafing at the time loss. “Oui, je suis le professeur Dumbledore. Où est l'action?!" The other man laughed. It rang bitter, empty. “Maintenant, ils envoient des professeurs d'école. Rentrez chez vous et préparez-vous à apprendre l'allemand.”

Translation failed to remove the rancorous fear. Dumbledore fought down a sarcastic response. There would be no information from these men. But there were mages on the battlefield, betraying centuries of Secrecy – that would stop.

“Then follow me. I will not stop until Berlin.” Technically, he’d stop when Grindlewald finally came out and faced him. But that held too many variables.

Leaving the two weary magicals behind, Dumbledore stepped forwards. Transfiguring firm footing took no thought at all, a negligent wave towards his intended path, and a further warding gesture, keeping away inferi. Then, he set to work.

Waves of magic pulsed. Dumbledore used those motions, sending Light with them. The power grew, feeding off his intent, until it became a nigh-unstopping force. He lifted his eyes to Grindlewald’s men. They saw him, the spells sent his way proved that; but they did not move. They had been well-trained.

Dumbledore stalked onward, bursts of energy detonating on every side. Curses flew at him, dispelled harmlessly against debris that flashed into place. Each piece of destroyed material shivered under his regard, becoming something – more. Something aggressive, hints of animalistic intent mixed with the latent fear only the intangible could instill. Parts of a Muggle vehicle blasted into pieces reformed into a mountain of metal teeth and claws, sent leaping into the inferi. Fallen trees twisted into nonsensical limbs, stones rolled into piles of ambulating barriers. Exploding hexes damaged several, destroying more – but their loss meant nothing. Broken material was still more material – and reformed into more things.

No, not things. Dumbledore corrected himself. Mere objects couldn’t bring the sense of horror he wanted. Creating imitations of living creatures would be easier, both in power and intellect. But creating something unknown, using imagination to deliberately mock the viewer’s sense of reality – that took genius. Something else Grindlewald had twisted.

A host of fallen saplings rose around Dumbledore. He didn’t spare them a glance, as they shifted color, becoming steel-gray, ten splitting off and shredding into hundreds of razor-sharp knives. Wings grew, and the blades flashed overhead. Counter-transfigurations rose against him, clumsy animations built on formulaic derivatives. He disintegrated them in a burst of concentration, seizing their power and obliterating it with his mind.

Discipline; Gellert’s handiwork. Crossbows had destroyed the old chevaliers, disciplined mobs against an older era. But Alchemy took that discipline, and elevated it to art.

At a flick of his wand, the earth obeyed his summons. Mud, thick and deep dried, chunks of the earth ripping themselves free to be flung at the Magier Krieger Unglaublich. Their shields changed from full-powered clarity to cloudy-strains. Silently, Dumbledore cast the Anti-Apparition jinx, layering it under a dozen charms designed to confuse and debilitate. The lines of earth, defending the german troops began to move, filling in the trenches built to protect, but granting death. In another lifetime he’d shy from such a thing, but the Muggles had squandered the many chances he’d offered them, by not participating.

Necromantic magic, a kind forbidden for centuries, shot at him, repelled by the flame-shield bursting into existence. He’d loved fire as a child, could watch it burn for hours. Growing up, there had been a myriad uses, studying it in the blood of dragons with his old Mentor.

More hostile transfiguration attempts failed to seize control, discoloring the ground beneath his feet. Losing patience, Dumbledore conducted a Permanent Transfiguration, altering the earthen barriers from smooth walls into long spikes digging inwards – the shields failed a moment later, inferi collapsing as their creators died.

“Gellert!” Fawkes' inferno-like power swelled his voice, making it thunder. His wandarm drew back, then whipped forwards; pure force blew through a new platoon of inferi, sending their body parts flying. Their controllers, far behind in yet another defensive formation rained spellfire on him, magic repelled by the sheer force of his anger. “Face me, coward! I’ll destroy every bunker, every soldier you hide behind! Gellert! Gellert! Gellert!”

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