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1945

Book 1.5 of the Epithalamium Series

13 February 1945. The day Albus Dumbledore has dreaded for decades has come. To keep the Wizarding world free, he must destroy a man who once meant everything to him. Can he do it? And what price must he pay?

Books in the Epithalamium Series

Excerpt

1945

“We think he’s using a magical fortress under the Zeiss Optical factory—the one in Schandauer Strasse—as a headquarters,” said Fassbaender.

“It would make sense,” Aegeus Shacklebolt said. “It would be fairly easy for his men to come and go without attracting much notice.

“I concur,” said Albus. He waited while Fassbaender translated into German for Weiss, who passed the information on to Wronski in Polish.

Albus had arrived in Dresden two days earlier, after receiving intelligence that the beautiful Saxon city was Grindelwald’s likely location. It fit: the city was an active communications and rail centre, with several factories on its outskirts and enough military activity that the coming and going of Grindelwald’s foot soldiers would not be remarkable.

Moreover, thought Albus, the rich history, culture, and Baroque beauty of the city would have appealed to the Gellert he had known. All in all, it would make an ideal spot from which to birth a new world order.

The tiny, ad-hoc band of fighters that had joined Albus had been selected by leaders of several European wizarding governments from among their various elite law enforcement corps. It consisted of six fighters in addition to Albus: one English, one French, two German, one Polish, and one Czech. They were selected for their duelling skills, demonstrated judgement, and ability to keep cool under extreme stress. In addition, none of the group tended to be showy with their skills, and none was especially well known in the wizarding world. Except
Albus, of course.

He was uncomfortable at being the de-facto leader of the group—he was not a military strategist—but everyone present knew that it would ultimately be down to a duel between him and Grindelwald, and that meant he called the shots, for better or worse. The other fighters would be responsible for ensuring Albus got where he needed to go and that he would be relatively unmolested once he got there. He hadn’t thought much about getting back.

“I think we should watch the area for twenty-four hours,” Albus said. “Try to pinpoint how they’re getting in—assuming they’ve got anti-Apparition wards on the place.”

Once again, Fassbaender translated. Before translating for the Pole, Weiss said something back to Fassbaender in German, and Albus nodded.

“Weiss says she’s already sussed out the exterior of the place,” Albus told the Englishman and the French fighter, who didn’t speak German. “She’s seen what she thinks are Blackrobes coming and going from the entry that adjoins the pedestrian bridge.”

Weiss relayed the conversation to Wronski.

It was a highly inefficient method of communication, thought Albus, but Babel fish were extremely hard to come by, and they didn’t have the resources to keep them alive in the field, in any event. Thank Merlin Ježek spoke English and German, as none of the others had any Czech.

The group determined to keep another watch on the area for the evening and following day.

Twenty-four hours later, Shacklebolt, Fassbaender, Weiss, Wronski, and Delacroix were all dead, and Albus was waiting to become so.

It had gone well until the bombs started falling.

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