Manuel gazed out over the silently arrayed men and women before him as they gathered together in the center of the locked down house. Easily Manuel picked out his Daggers, Wolves, and Shadows out from the fifty-three Guards making it a total of seventy-one people in the room; that left him with the lower numbers in this battle as roughly sixty-one of his men hadn't been in residence when they had gone into lockdown. Yet those seventy-one present were the best in the business, he had personally had a hand in training many of them, but over the past few nights they had come across something not even these warriors could handle without more knowledge of what they were up against. They were facing magic.
Alain Clearwater had made a big mistake when he had dared work with other clans to go against the Darkovs, that alone had been enough to make Manuel want to completely destroy the man and leave him hanging onto the dredges of society like a sniveling worm, but to bring magic into the mix in an underhanded bid to completely wipe out the Darkov clan-Alain had just signed his own death warrant, and almost that of his family as well. The only things that were keeping him from decreeing the complete wipeout of the Clearwater family was Harry's friendship with the daughter and the fact that Faye Clearwater had went against her husband to come warn him about the converging clans. Faye was currently submitting peacefully to being detained by the Darkov Clan and had willingly handed her wand over to Trevor upon arrival.
Manuel's eyes skimmed around the corners of the room where Trevor, Nara, Vasile, and Bill stood in the shadows as they continued to hold up the hasty set of wards the four of them had constructed about the house. Already he could tell that it was taking a toll on them, sweat beading upon their foreheads; they had been holding the wards in shifts since that morning, but had been reduced to shoring them up together as their strength waned. None of them would last much longer, Manuel was certain they had only lasted this long out of sheer stubbornness and defiance against giving in.
"We've seen some pretty strange shit," Manuel spoke suddenly, bluntly, and all attention turned to him, "but I think today has won the prize by becoming the Halloween fairytale from Hell and I think you deserve the truth of what's going on. Bluntly put, magic is real. There is a whole secret world out there full of Witches and Wizards who are able to do magic. We even have a few here among us, and hopefully more to come and turn the tide of this battle in our favor."
Most of the Daggers, Shadows, Wolves, and Guards arrayed around the room shifted silently as they tried to let the news sink in. Thankfully it wasn't all that hard for most of them to grasp the truth of Manuel's words after what they had seen earlier that evening when beams of light had began to shoot from random locations to pick off the Guards. They had lost one of their number to a flash of green light and another was currently in a coma-like state thanks to a curse Trevor called Cruciatus. Manuel's fist clenched tight as he remembered Neil's vacant stare and twitching body. Alain would pay, he would see to it personally. Manuel glanced at Vasil and Nara again. He hoped Harry and Blaise were alright, that Alain hadn't thought to send a hit out on them while they were at Hogwarts and their bodyguards recalled.
The more Manuel thought about it, the more his blood ran cold and he wanted to send the Dagger and Wolf back to the school. But he also needed them here, here where the battle would rage the hottest and they were the least defensible against magic attacks. Severus would be watching out for them too, Manuel had come to respect the man as he had gotten to know the Professor and was considering seeing if he would take up commission as a Shadow; Severus would make an excellent spy. Yes, Harry and Blaise would be fine as long as Severus was there to watch over them.
"What are we going to do then?"
"Will out bullets have any effect against these witches and wizards?"
"How many do we have on our side?"
The questions came from various places around the room and Manuel decided to answer the last two first.
"Bullets will kill them," Manuel stated with certainty, glad he and Trevor had discussed this very thing the year the kids had started Hogwarts, "though if the person is strong enough and has enough warning they can put up a shield of some sort to stop them. Right now we have three wizards and a witch on our side, but they are using all their energy to shield the house so that the witches and wizards can't get in to us. Hopefully more will come to our aid soon."
If possible the room went even quieter and Manuel didn't even pretend to misunderstand the question. They wanted to know who among them was a wizard or witch. Surreptitiously Manuel glanced at the four again and received nods in return; they would stand by their earlier decision and reveal themselves.
"Bill, Nara, Vasile, and Trevor." Manuel pronounced each name clearly, enjoying the looks of shock the last name in particular caused.
Then, not giving those gathered a chance to ask any more questions, Manuel went to outline the decided plan of attack.
"We'll arrange into groups of three and slip out the lower access doors of the mansion. These will be Fart missions: silent and deadly. I want you to slip in and out of the enemy lines, leaving no warning that you were there but for the corpses left to nurture the ground with their blood. A few sniper teams will-"
An out of place noise was the only warning they had before a group of five people suddenly appeared out of thin air into the supposedly secure house. A few yells were let out, guns and knives were drawn as well as a handful of wands, and things would have turned badly if Trevor hadn't let a loud bang out of his wand-in hindsight not such a good idea as all the guns in the room were suddenly pointed at him-as he called for a halt.
"STAND DOWN!" Trevor's order carried enough force that every obeyed despite the fact that the Guards had suddenly been sure that the enemy wizards had managed to break in.
"Nice reception you arranged here, Trevor," one of the wizards gave a humorless grin as he slid his wand away, pointedly eyeing a few of the guns still pointed at him.
"Arnold." Trevor nodded in greeting before turning to each of the others in turn, "Melinda. Andromeda. Gawain. Fabian."
Bill started at the last name, his gaze having fallen upon the final man in the group. A man that he had grown up hearing bedtime stories about and seen many times in pictures, albeit with a lot fewer scars.
"Uncle Fabian?" The question managed to choke its way out of Bill's mouth into the uneasy silence, drawing quick glances between the two from all over the room.
"Hello nephew," Fabian dipped his head slightly in acknowledgement, his voice carrying lowly through the charged atmosphere.
"But-" Bill wasn't able to get anything else out in his shock and nearly lost his hold on the section of the ward he was shoring up.
"We'll talk later," Fabian's intense eyes scanned the room, seemingly unconcerned about the number of guns still pointed at him as well, "I owe you that much at least, but I'll have your promise not to say a word to the rest of the family."
Reluctantly Bill gave his word in the form of a curt nod, feeling confused and even slightly betrayed as he turned back to face Manuel as the Mafia King regained order in the room and began to outline the rest of the plan, making spur of the moment changes to accommodate the additional witches and wizards into the scheme of things. Right now there was a battle to face, but Bill swore that he would come out of this unscathed if for no other reason than to confront his supposedly deceased uncle after everything was finished.
~~ ~~ ~*~
Manuel moved slowly along the edge of the house, his sights set on the tree line a few hundred yards away where he knew the enemy had bunkered down. They had taken advantage of the tree cover, but that wouldn't help them all that much in the end for these grounds were Manuel's playground and he had his home to defend. Already his mind was cataloging the damage he could see to his house and the surrounding grounds from the dim light of the moon and it caused his blood to boil even more. How dare they come here and invade his sanctuary, the sanctuary of his men! Reaching the point where they could no longer follow along the safety of the house walls, Manuel turned and motioned with his hands to his two companions and gave a nod to let Fabian know that it was time for him to do his part.
A softly muttered word over him as he stretched out to crawl across the ground was the only warning Manuel had before the feeling of cold slime running all down his body hit him. With a shiver Manuel kept himself from reacting or crying out. It was a good thing Fabian had warned him of the disturbing sensation earlier or the wizard would have found himself eating a mouthful of hot lead as Manuel would have lashed out instinctively upon feeling the unusual sensation. Moments later a tap upon his leg, a pre-agreed upon signal, let Manuel know that they were all under the cloaking charm and he began to move forward like a snake in the grass, a small lead-line coming from off his belt running between the three of them to keep them from getting separated.
~~ ~~ ~*~
Manuel and the wizard, the one named Fabian, moved with a grace through the night that made me feel awkward and clumsy. I am nothing more than a simple Guard, though in the Darkov clan there is nothing simple about being a Guard, and yet here I find myself accompanying Manuel. This is a position for a Dagger or Wolf, or even a Shadow or a host of Guards, but they have all been given other important duties. This should be Trevor's place, but Manuel forced him to stay behind because he was exhausted from using magic to shield us in some way; not that Trevor didn't vehemently protest this decision until the one called Arnold knocked him out with magic. I am Manuel's sole backup this evening for I do not trust the wizard, can't trust him after what I have seen this evening.
I flinch as the wizard draws his wand and points it towards Manuel, yet Manuel doesn't move or recoil as I find myself doing when the wand is turned upon me and it suddenly feels as if cold eggs have been broken over my body. Steeling myself despite my discomfort I grab onto the rope that ran between the three of us so that we don't get separated as we crawl through the grass towards the trees. I know that wizard is right in front of me, can sense how close his foot sometimes comes to my face as we crawl across the yard, but I still wish I could see him despite the fact that it would mean our enemies could also see us so that I could watch him for any funny business. At the very least I would feel a lot easier if I was the one behind Manuel with the wizard behind me so that my body would be between the two to act as a shield.
End Guard's POV
~~ ~~ ~*~
At the agreed upon time twelve groups of three people each started picking off Clearwater's men with silent efficiency, each person managing to get off at least one shot or spell before the enemy had time to react. Unfortunately this still left Manuel's men severely outnumbered because he hadn't wanted to pull the rest of his men away from the mansion and leave it undefended for the taking; Manuel had a sneaking suspicion that Alain had a group of men and wizards ready to invade the house the moment he made his own move against the besiegers and so had set up a healthy number of traps at the entrances and placed snipers up on the various roof tops. His guess proved accurate as shouts from somewhere behind him alerted him that the invaders had discovered at least one of the traps the hard way, but Manuel didn't have any time to gloat over this as gun and spell fire as suddenly flying through the air from all angles. Manuel's group was slowly and surely being surrounded, the only reason they hadn't been plugged full of bullets being one of Fabian's spells. Gravely Manuel looked at his two companions as he took a firmer grip on the gun in his one hand and unsheathed a knife with the other.
"Take down as many as you can."
~~ ~~ ~*~
"Take down as many as you can."
They were bold words Fabian thought, words that he himself lived by. This Manuel was a muggle he could respect. Eyes blazing with determination Fabian palmed his own knife. He didn't like being surrounded. The last time he had been surrounded like this had been years ago during Voldemort's reign of terror. It had taken eight of them to pull him and his brother down, five of whom had been in Voldemort's Inner Circle. The Inner Circle members had all made it away alive, albeit gravely wounded, but the other three attackers had died-taking his brother Gideon along with them. He himself had been left for dead and in those days no one on the light side stayed around on a battlefield long enough to look for survivors lest they join the dead themselves.
Somehow, miraculously, he had managed to crawl away before the Death Eaters returned to loot the dead and had lain unconscious in a hallow in the ground until he woke again long enough to crawl just a bit further away. Even to this day Fabian didn't know how long he had crawled, but eventually some muggles had found him and taken him to some sort of hospital. By the time he had been able to leave there Lily and James Potter were dead and Voldemort was said to be gone, vanquished by the year old Harry. In Fabian's mind there had been no point in returning to the wizarding world since his brother was dead and he hadn't bothered to let even his own family know he was alive. The only person he had ever kept in touch with after his reemergence into society had been Trevor Zabini, sheer coincidence allowing the two to meet after they had both turned their backs on the wizarding world and decided to live in the muggle one.
An odd grin suddenly crossed Fabian's lips despite the fact that they were surrounded and a quick glance at Manuel earned him a nod of confirmation. It seemed he would still be able to tell that nephew of his the truth of his survival after all. Rising up seemingly out of nowhere to surround those surrounding the three of them was a group of men, Manuel's missing Guards, with none other but Bill and the supposed to be unconscious Trevor leading them.
With the addition of the fifty or so new Guards to the seventy-one that had already been in the house at the moment of lockdown Alain Clearwater's following fractured and split off, unable to hold together without more solid ties than three rival clans deciding to take on a bigger enemy. Some members of the three clans managed to escape that night, but they all knew they were living on borrowed time. Manuel Darkov did not forget slights, and by joining together and rising up against him they had committed a most grievous crime against a very powerful man.