Lord Voldemort's grip on wizarding Britain tightens. Even Hogwarts is no longer safe as Death Eaters turn it into a battlefield. [Sequel to "The Path Chosen."]
The Dark Arts offer everything and nothing at all...
Knowledge, but no wisdom...
Power without purity...
Insight devout of truths...
Harry Potter stared the shimmering, purple outer ward surrounding Malfoy Manor, trying to decipher what kind of spells it contained. At the first sight it looked like the magical barrier was simply composed of three ordinary detection wards tied together, but he was convinced that Malfoys would employ a bit more nasty defences than that, and so he continued his careful scrutinisation.
Then he saw it – a small black spiral flickered in sight amongst the amethyst strands of magic that made up the huge dome surrounding the grounds. It was visible only for the briefest of moments, but it was more than enough for the young wizard. So, Harry thought. They have linked a minor Pain Curse into the detection wards. It was no problem, however. Now as he knew what kind of wards he was dealing with, bypassing them would be ridiculously easy, especially because they were all wall-type.
As everybody knew, there were two kinds of wards; walls and emanations. Emanations were wards that affected something within them, like anti-Apparation wards or Muggle-repellent wards. Walls on the other hand were wards that affected something crossing the boundary, like spell-reflecting wards or detection wards. Usually physically touching the boundary was required to trip these kind of wards, but sometimes Apparating through them would be enough activate them too, which was the reason why Harry hadn't simply Apparated to the other side. Some risks weren't just worth taking.
He walked right next to the purple wall of magic, and drew his wand. Four flashes of light later the component wards were jammed for aminute or so, or at least that was what Harry hoped for. With so little time spent at examining the ward he couldn't be hundred percent sure that he had got all spells in it right. Harry took adeep breath and walked through the ward. Nothing happened.
The young wizard smiled slightly behind his black mask. He had managed to pass the first ward without being detected. Of course, it was only aminor ward and he was sure he wouldn't be as lucky when he reached the main ward. Of that he would probably just have to blast his way through, which was not exactly what you would call a silent affair. Pretty much on the contrary, really.
Harry slowly walked the ten yards to the stonewall that circled the manor. The wall was around eight feet high, give or take a few inches. Harry jumped upwards, his hands reaching the top of the wall and he threw himself to the other side, landing near silently into the dark garden.
A quiet snap was the only warning he got before what he assumed was awerewolf lunged at him from the bushes, large amounts of drool dripping from its open mouth filled with sharp teeth. The drops of tainted saliva glittered in the moonlight like falling stars as they fell from the part-human's huge maw. It reached Harry in a second, its deadly jaws searching for the wizard’s throat.
Harry had barely any time to react before the grey-furred werewolf slammed onto him, its large front pawns blasting onto his chest with the force of a sledgehammer. The young wizard fell backwards, smashing onto the damp ground, driven by the weight of the unnatural beast. His left hand rose just in time to stop his throat from being torn apart by the snapping jaws. The wolf-beast’s yellow teeth sunk into the spellsilver prosthesis and its sharp claws ripped Harry's black robe and scratched the armour below as it tried futilely to gouge his insides out.
It was not a full-moon's time, that was for sure. Harry could see the gleaming half-moon hanging on the starry sky, and so he really wondered how the werewolf could have assumed his or her animalistic form. It shouldn’t have been possible, but apparently it was. He could see the evidence before his own eyes, and there was no arguing with cold facts.
The prosthetic hand felt no pain no matter how deep the wicked teeth sunk and the werewolf’s gouging claws were unable to pierce Harry’s fine dragonhide armour. He waved his wand slightly, creating a dome of silence around the immediate area. No sound could pass the invisible and almost intangible barrier. A heartbeat later Harry’s wand tip came into contact with the beast’s belly. “Everbero!” the young Dark wizard shouted, pushing the maximum amount of magic into the Bludgeoning Hex.
The spell hit the werewolf with a such force that it easily shattered the wolf-beast's ribcage, crushing its lungs and heart in the process and blasted the poor creature over ten yards straight upwards. Drops of sticky blood rained on Harry and he hoped that they wouldn't carry the affliction.
Before the critically wounded beast had even hit the ground again, another werewolf appeared out of the blue and, unsurprisingly, tried to sink its teeth into Harry. This time the young wizard was ready and the werewolf never managed to reach him, instead slamming against an invisible shield, its sharp nails sliding alongside the magical barrier as it tried futilely to reach its prey.
Then the shield vanished and a single jab of Harry's wand sent a purple Severing Ribbon towards the rapacious wolf-beast, who easily sidestepped it. The wizard's next curse exploded the earth beneath the werewolf, blasting the beast high into the air, causing third degree burns and breaking one or two of its legs.
Even more werewolves begun to arrive, probably alerted by by the flashes of light, and Harry whirled his wand in an elaborate loop before slashing it downwards. A transparent purple dome surrounded him in asplit second. It was the full-dome version of Contego Charm – a very useful spell in a situation like this.
The pack of magical beasts quickly encircled him, their yellow eyes staring at him hungrily. The two wounded werewolves were quickly back on their feet, their wounds healing unnaturally fast. Werewolves were notorious for their unrivalled regenerative abilities for a good reason. Only silver would leave any lasting damage, all other not instantly killing wounds would regenerate in seconds. Of course that didn’t make them unbeatable, one merely had to maim them bit more than was ordinarily needed...or just get the silver weaponry. It really was a pity that conjured or Transfigured silver wouldn’t suffice as it lacked the magical properties of the real thing.
Harry pondered his options. There were seven werewolves... Most likely too many for him to take at the same time without getting bitten at least once, and in this particular case one bite was far more than enough. They also were much faster than him and so fleeing wasn't really an option unless he Apparated, which on the other hand would instantly trigger some of the wards. While hiding behind his shield charm was quite appealing at the moment, it wasn't truly an intelligent decision as some Death Eater could easily walk on him at any second...and then his mission would be screwed beyond repair.
Deciding that playing time served no purpose, he dropped the shield and exploded into motion. Werewolves lunged at him with furious snarls. Fist of them got a full blast of the Disintegrating Hex and subsequently exploded into a cloud of fine dust. Harry dived under the snapping jaws, doing a somersault on the wet ground. He was instantly on his feet again, spinning on the spot and sending a large tongue of purple fire at the three nearest assailants. Two of the werewolves were instantly torched while one managed to avoid the almost liquid looking fire. And as the purple flames touched the ground the moist, dark green grass was quickly combusted while all plantlife around the burnt spot blackened and withered away unnaturally quickly. Such was the life-sapping power of the Darker cousin of ordinary Bluebell Fire.
Diving into his left, Harry avoided a furious lunge of a red-furred beast. As he rolled on the damp ground, he discarded his wand and drew his katana from its sheath, slashing it at the nearest werewolf. The razor-sharp blade cut deep, but surprisingly little blood flowed. Harry suspected it was because of their tremendously accelerated healing factor.
Jumping back to his feet, the young wizard slashed wildly around with his curved blade in an attempt to keep the beasts away from him. A single bite would mean him joining their ranks at the next full-moon, and that was certainly not a destiny he wanted. Releasing a furious yell, he charged at the nearest werewolf, cutting it half with a single sweep of his heavily enchanted sword. These lunacy suffering wolf-beasts weren’t nearly as agile as normal wolves. Perhaps it was because they were humans for most of the time and thus simply lacked the experience of fighting as wolves.
His sword danced wildly; Hacking, thrusting and slashing. One good thrust rammed his blade right down an unfortunate beast's throat, the bloody tip of his sword protruding out of its back. The creature collapsed and Harry quickly yanked his sword back with a disgusting, wet sound, before spinning and cutting a wide circle around him to discourage the other dog-like creatures from coming too close. The spinning motion sent dozens tiny droplets of scarlet liquid arching through the air. The minuscule drops of bloods glittered like exquisite rubies as they fell downwards.
The young wizard didn’t really have any experience in fighting against a group of dog-like creatures, but he was good at improvisation. His boot connected with the snout of an overeager werewolf, sending the beast trailing backwards. Unfortunately the kick didn't deal any significant damage, but at least it kept the mangy mongrel away from him for a second, giving him enough time to send other werewolf's head rolling on the ground with a downward sweep of his curved blade. As Harry had never studied the physiology of canines, he didn't really know the exact places of their critical organs, but decapitation was always a sure way to go...except with hydras and Dementors. Hydras had the most interesting habit of growing two heads for each severed one, and Dementors just were pretty much unable to die – the only known way for permanently destroying one being starvation, which took months.
After ten bloody seconds Harry was the only one left standing in the dark garden. He breathed heavily as he dropped to one knee and leaned towards the sword he stuck on the ground, resting his forehead against the cool pommel. After a few seconds he lifted his gaze and refocused on the bloodied, twitching carcasses of the werewolves. Three of them were already rabidly healing, while the rest looked properly dead, discounting the very slight twitching, but Harry assumed that was...natural.
He picked his wand from where he had dropped it moments before. Seven seconds and three Killing Curses took permanently care of the werewolf threat. Curiously enough, the beasts didn’t turn into humans now as they were truly and utterly dead. Literature said that they should... Perhaps they weren’t really werewolves at all, Harry reasoned.But what were they then? Some freaky mutant dogs?
He flicked his wand casually, conjuring stream of icy water from his wand tip to drench the small fires around him. Then he cast an elementary Scourgify Charm, washing the many bloodstains off his sleek, curved sword, after which he sheathed the again shiny blade.
Harry moved silently through to dark garden, his footsteps making no sound on the soft ground. His black clothing blended nicely into the shadows and only the most observant could have spotted him. Of course if he had really wanted to sneak around he wouldn't have wore pure black vesture because it was simply too dark colour; it made him visible as a blacker spot against the dark background. It wasn't like he was easy to spot, but some shade of dark brown or green would have worked noticeably better.
In less than a minute the young wizard reached the large four story building that was Malfoy Manor without any further problems, only to realise that his real problems had just begun.
The main ward guarding the large building itself was far stronger than the ward surrounding the manor grounds. To Harry's enchanted sight it appeared as a multicoloured wall, shining so brightly that he almost had to avert his gaze. There was no fucking way that he could slip through it without being noticed, of that he was sure. The young wizard couldn't even begin to tell what kind of component wards made it up, but the sheer complexity of the ward made it clear that it had at least a few dozens of constituent spells. There was simply no way of him jamming or dispelling it – at least not without proper curse-breaking equipment, access to comprehensive magical library and a few days of time – and so he would have to resort to much more cruder and louder tactics.
This is going to need a shit-load of power, Harry thought with amental frown. This ward was far stronger than any other ward he had ever seen. Even Hogwarts' mighty wards didn't glow with this intensity, but that was probably only because something like half of the component wards were kept deactivated because they were supposedly too dangerous. Nothing less than the full power is not going to do. He sighed and dropped his Occlumency barriers, the elaborate mental constructions fading away in seconds.
Then he begun concentrating on his many bad and painful memories like Kheiron's death, his parent's deaths, him getting beaten by the Dark Lord's favourite bitch... All this just to bring out enough hatred and fury to fully release his magic. Oh, and it was working perhaps even too well. His breathing grew heavy, and a stream of fiery sparks was bursting out of his wand tip. As he called on his full power, his aura expanded slightly outwards and thus become visible to his enchanted sight as a faint halo around him, reaching a half inch from his skin, and interestingly enough it had changed from the last time he had seen it. A year ago it had been a soft golden nimbus, but now although it seemed much more solid, it was noticeably darker with avisible red hue, making it look somewhat alike copper.
Harry didn't even start to ponder what had brought the change, instead he lifted his wand and begun uttering a chant, causing twisting strands of white light to coil around his wand. Seven times he repeated the same long string of unintelligent words, his wand glowing brighter with every repeat, before whispering the final incantation and causing a jet of pure white light burst out his wand tip and hit the glowing ward.
With a loud bubbling hiss, the main ward was partially ripped apart, ayards-wide circular hole appearing on it. Booming alarms went off all around the manor, but Harry paid no attention to this and casually stepped through the gap that quickly re-sewed itself.
He rewove his Occlumency walls which proved to to surprisingly difficult this time and lifted his wand again. There was a flash greenish-yellow light due the Disintegrating Hex and the wall in front of him crumbled silently into a pile fine dust.
Harry walked into the Malfoy Manor, dirtying the shiny parquet with his muddy boots. I hope they don't mind that I didn't knock, Harry thought with a small, wry smile behind his black mask. Oh well... I'm fairly sure that they will mind what I'm going to do next.
Now he would have to summon his friends to join the party. Or perhaps 'to crash the party' would be a better acronym for this particular case.
While most wards couldn't stop Pyromagi, phoenixes, house-elves or a few other things with their own, specialised forms of Apparation from casually blasting through them, they most certainly were able to do nasty things to the unwanted visitors once they were actually inside.
Generally speaking, most wards guarding private dwellings were designed so that if anyone or anything not keyed to the wards was able to penetrate them, they would strike the intruders the moment they re-materialised inside. This was mostly to stop people from sending their house-elves to steal stuff, spy enemy strongholds or assassinate foes.
Luckily there were ways around this, say, for example the Circle of Nondetection that Harry was about to inscribe on the wooden floor. It would allow those who were able to Apparate through wards to do so without fearing detection and immediate retribution.
The Circle of Nondetection was a fairly simple runic construction; containing only nine glyphs and one big circle. But as things were as they were, Harry didn't have the time to draw even that simple Circle manually and so he had to opt for a more hazardous way of creating the needed runes.
He yanked the cork off the vial with his teeth and poured its sticky contents on the floor. After tossing the empty container over his shoulder, Harry pointed his wand towards the red puddle and muttered,“Mobili Liquidus.” In a span of a few seconds the blood formed itself into the form of the wanted runic circle.
Generally runes were inscribed without any magical help as most spells tended to leave light magical residues that might or might not react badly with the runes. It was the same reason why no magic was used in the art of potion brewing. Substituting magic in the place a little manual work, while faster and perhaps even easier, carried significant risks and thus was usually simply not worth it. Harry had tested this particular Circle earlier, yes, but the circumstances were not exactly similar; this place had different wards and distinguished ambient magic. Kheiron had always said that magic was ascience, but Harry had to disagree – magic was an art; unexplainable and unforeseeable.
Harry crossed his fingers as he pressed the wand tip against the charge-rune and channelled a small trickle of magic into it. Slowly the rune lit up, and soon the whole Circle was glowing with a faint purplish light. The young wizard exhaled loudly in relief as he saw that the Circle had activated without any problems at all.
He reached for his pocket an took out small dagger. After tapping it with his wand he threw it downwards, the blade embedding itself on the middle of the runic circle. It was an ordinary, although interestingly shaped, disposable Apparation-marker, which can be bought from nearly every shop that sells magical trinkets for a few galleons. They weren't widely used however as they didn't really have too many practical applications in an ordinary life.
“You are all safe now,” Dumbledore said softly to the three escaped students sitting on their beds in the hospital wing. “They cannot harm you anymore. And after today no one can enter or exit this castle without my explicit permission. And so you can rest assuredly, you are all totally safe.”
“Are you adding new wards?” Hermione asked quickly, lifting her gaze from the floor, but still clutching her pink blanked tightly against her chest. Headmaster looked curiously at his ever inquisitive student and then flashed a fond smile at her. It was good to see that her recent sufferings hadn't broken her down mentally.
He had been extraordinary pleased when he had heard that three of his students had somehow managed to escape from the Dark Lord's clutches. Of course, he had checked them all for the Imperius Curse and other foul means of mind- and behaviour control, but all had luckily proved to be unnecessary; no traces of mind magic could be found. He had also checked for all kinds of time-triggered spells, but found nothing.
“Actually no, Ms. Granger. The Minister and I spoke earlier today and decided to activate the normally dormant wards around Hogwarts.”
“Um... Professor. Why were the wards shut down in the first place?” athird year Ravenclaw girl asked. Her petite body was still trembling lightly, and she had to hold the mug of steaming tea with her both hands to avoid spilling it. Albus watched at her worriedly. Unlike Ms. Granger and Mr. Harkiss, she was still in shock, but hopefully agood night's sleep would be enough to remedy that.
“Because they will rip apart, burn to cinders and then expel with lethal force everything and anything that dares to come closer that three yards from the castle walls,” Headmaster said gravely and this time there was no customary twinkle in his blue eyes. “They are simply too dangerous to keep up for the most of the time. Not to mention that they completely separate Hogwards from rest of the world. No post-owls will be able to enter or exit the castle, Floos and portkeys will stop working and even House-elves will lose their ability Apparate inside the school.”
“Oh,” exclaimed the Ravenclaw witch, Sereille Higgs, meekly, but the second year Hufflepuff wizard was much more vocal. “Does that mean that all Hogsmeade weekends and Quidditch matches are cancelled?”
“I'm afraid so, Mr. Harkiss,” Dumbledore said softly. “Now, Ibid you all goodnight. If you need anything just call Madam Pomfrey.”
With those words the Headmaster walked out of the large room and closed the door behind him, casting a complicated locking charm just in case. Albus didn't see the young boy turning towards the two older girls, his sour expression instantly disappearing in favour of awicked smile.
“So, should we take our trusted Headmaster's sage advice and call for Ms. Pomfrey,” the boy said looking at the two girls. “After all, we do need someone to...participate in our ritual.”
Hermione chuckled quietly in response. “The more, the merrier.”
“I'm all for action,” said the third person in the room. Her voice was firm and her confident posture was a polar opposite of what it had been just a few seconds ago. She snapped her fingers and a wand appeared onto her waiting hand. “Our Lord is waiting. We better get started.”
A few seconds after the Apparation-marker hit the floor, Sirius, Tonks and Ama appeared with a flash of swirling flames. Iason popped into existence shortly after the three others.
“So, you couldn't make it here undetected,” Amaterasu said as she listened the screaming sirens. She was wearing her standard pure white combat attire, which was perhaps not the most stealthy outfit, but at least it made it very easy to distinguish her from black-clad Death Eaters. “Now we have to fight against everybody inside.”
“I would like to see you going through the wards undetected,” stated Harry calmly. “They were too fucking complicated to penetrate without blasting a hole through them, and had they been just a little stronger, I wouldn't have managed even that.”
“I know, I'm just teasing you. No offence meant.”
“Would just stop your bloody banter,” Tonks snapped. “We are in the middle of a fucking Death Eater base if you didn't notice.”
The female Auror wasn't wearing her customary Auror robes as this was far from an official mission, instead she wore white like Amaterasu. In fact she wore the younger witch's old battle-robes and dragonhide armour. Ama was naturally bit smaller than Tonks and thus her Metamorphmagus abilities had come very handy in squeezing her into the tight armour vest. It was still a very tight fit, but then again, they always were.
Sirius on the other hand was dressed in Kheiron's old combat-robes. He didn't have any dragonhide on him, but as Kheiron had probably put every defensive spell he knew on the gold-trimmed, black satin robes it shouldn't be too big problem. Sirius didn't, however, wear Kheiron's neon-green Cabal-mask, saying that he was already a wanted man by all sides and he wouldn't have to hide his identity. Harry thought that it merely looked too much like a Death Eater mask for him to be entirely comfortable.
“Yeah. We better get going,” The young wizard consented. “Good luck, Ama, Sirius. You know what to do. Iason, don't screw up; we want to get out of here too, and probably pretty fast at that. Tonks, lets go.”
With those words, Harry promptly turned and sprinted towards a large double door on the other side of the hallway. He could hear Tonk's footsteps behind him.
The young wizard knew he should hurry. Time was essence now. If they were stupid enough to allow Death Eaters to form any organized defence, they would lose. Badly.
He blasted the large doors open with a single wave of his wand and stepped into the room behind, Tonks following a few steps behind him. The room was empty of people, but there was still many things that caught Harry's attention. Primarily the many exquisite pieces of wizarding art; beautiful animated sculptures and breath-taking paintings.
Like all wizards who had had a pureblood upbringing, Harry highly valued art, but even still he got some twisted pleasure from banishing the priceless sculptures against the walls and hearing them to shatter into tiny pieces. The second wave of his wand set the multiple paintings decorating the walls aflame, the Malfoy ancestors pictured in them screaming in pain and outrage. The Potter scion knew that this kind of wanton destruction was beyond childish, but nevertheless, he was determined to cause as much collateral damage as possible. Malfoys deserved nothing less.
Suddenly he heard a terrible racked from his left, as if somebody had blasted a door from its hinges, which was actually exactly what happened. Harry spun on the spot, his wand moving in blur and a purple shield sprung up in front of him. Less than a second later a twisting beam of midnight blue light impacted against the shield with a loud hissing sound and was promptly absorbed, leaving only a few errants sparks dangling into the air.
Harry was about to return fire when something soft but heavy hit him to his side and he was slammed on the floor. Before he even hit the shiny parquet a twisting bolt of green light passed a few feet above him, going through his shield like it wasn't even there. Harry nearly gulped at the sight. That had been all too close for his tastes. If it weren't for the female Auror now sprawled over his body, he would have joined the angel choir...which was a very bad thing considering that he couldn't sing to save his life.
He opened his mouth to thank her and to comment about her throwing herself at him, but then he noticed two other Killing Curses zooming towards them and decided that those two were a far more pressing concern. He flourished his wand, quickly Transfiguring a floorboard into a large pillar of marble to intercept the two Unforgivable Curses.
The sickly green bolts of profane magic exploded harmlessly against the tall piece of white stone. Next to him, the young Auror was already back on her feet, albeit still in a crouched position, her wand pointed towards the chunk of marble. She waved the wand once and the sizeable pillar was ripped off the floor and shot towards their enemies with a mighty bang like an overtly large cannonball.
The chunk of white stone never managed to reach its target, instead exploding into a fine dust mid-air by the courtesy of a quick Disintegrating Hex.
A handful of deadly curses and nasty charms were exchanged through the concealing cloud of white dust, but as the duellers couldn't properly see each others, the spells either missed or were easily deflected. As the stone dust cleared, Harry and Tonks could finally see exactly who they were fighting against.
On the other side of the ruined room stood Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange – two of the Dark Lord's best duellists. The Head of the 'highly esteemed' Malfoy Family was clearly enraged, which came as no surprise considering that they were currently assaulting and wrecking his ancestral home. The Dark witch, on the other hand, wore her customary, if slightly insane, smirk and looked like she was greatly enjoying herself.
Next to him, Harry could hear Tonks' breathing quickening considerably as she too recognized the two Inner Circle Death Eaters, and he wasn't feeling all too confident himself either. Bellatrix was still nearly a bogeyman equivalent amongst the British law enforcement because of her actions before the Dark Lord's temporary fall, and even Harry could still vividly remember his own defeat at her hands two months previously. Before Voldemort's defeat fifteen years ago, her list of confirmed kills had included seven Aurors, three Enforcers and even one Hit-Wizard, and who knows what she has done, or rather who she has done during all these years she had been hiding.
“I have heard you have been a very naughty boy lately, my darling Harriekins,” said Bellatrix with an insane smile plastered on her pale face. “Our last chit-chat was so rudely interrupted and I couldn't even play with you. I think I you are in a need of some old-fashioned...spanking.” She turned towards Tonks, and apparently recognised her too despite the white mask and all. “And same goes for you, dearest baby-cousin.”
This was bad, Harry knew. Finding Lucius Malfoy this quick was definitely a stroke of luck, but getting Bellatrix as a package deal was alittle less encouraging. She was apparently even more bonkers than last time, but then again, losing one's husband couldn't be good for mental health, and Bellatrix hadn't been too sane to begin with. If rumours were to believed she had tortured and almost killed three muggleborn firsties during her seventh-year just because she could. The only thing that had kept her from being expelled and carted into Azkaban, the rumour said, was that there simply wasn't enough evidence as the victims had been partially Obliviated.
“Oh. Shut your mouth, bitch!” snarled Tonks furiously. Apparently she really didn't take well to be called anything else than 'Tonks'. With that name of hers, she must have got her share of name-calling... Or perhaps she simply hated Bellatrix for some reason. It certainly wouldn't be surprising with her associations and kill-count. “Paralyso!”
The toxic green Paralysing Curse shot out from her wand, and the battle begun anew.
It happened in an instant. The fire came without warning, burning with the intensity of midday's sun, and the woman was consumed in the briefest of moments. The enemy witch was hardly more than charred bones when she hit the floor.
The gust of superheated air and smoke hit Sirius and Ama a split second later, causing them to stagger a few steps backwards. The small stack of paper on the large wooden worktable caught fire and the large window exploded outwards into a shower glass shards with a terrible crack.
“Holy shit!” Sirius exclaimed loudly, hardly noticing that he had spoken aloud. Then he breathed in, and nearly emptied his bowels on the spot; the stench of burning flesh was almost overpowering. It took him a few seconds to recover form the disgusting smell after which he turned towards his ally. Amaterasu had dispatched that Death Eater almost effortlessly. No wand waving or any incantations had been necessary. The young witch had merely watched the other woman for a second and turned her into a living torch. It was terrifying.
Of course, he knew that the Pyromagus powers were short ranged and drained huge amounts of raw magic. He also knew that they would have burned themselves too if it weren't for the protective spells on their clothing. He knew that killing in second wasn't anything too special. But still, it was simply terrifying to watch.
Perhaps it was because the young woman hadn't hesitated even a fraction of asecond. She killed the Death Eater calmly and purposefully, like she hadn't been a human being. Does Harry kill just as effortlessly, Sirius wondered with growing dread. All evidence did point to that direction. Gods, what has been done to these children?
Someone had armed them to the teeth, trained them to be merciless killing machines and indoctrinated them to believe that all Death Eaters should be summarily executed. But why?
Then an Eviscerating Hex interrupted his dejected musings. Sirius casually sidestepped the lethal hex and returned fire with a Cutting Curse, which the Death Eater rebounded towards Amaterasu with a simple flick of his wand.
The white-clad witch spun away from the curse, the buzzing jet of angry red light missing her by inches, and lifted her own wand. “Prurico!”
The auburn ray of Dark magic left her wand tip and zoomed towards the Death Eater, who easily deflected the Skin Shrivelling Curse towards the ceiling.
At the next moment the Dark Wizard had to throw himself on the floor to avoid Sirius' Heart-Stopping Curse, that tore through the Shield Charm with almost absurd ease. Because of his bad position the Death Eater was now unable to dodge spells and would have gotten himself either Stunned or killed, if it weren't for one of his comrades Apparating behind the two intruders.
Narcissa Malfoy appeared with a distinct crack and instantly waved her wand horizontally, a whip of orange flame bursting out of the wand tip.
Amaterasu dropped herself into a low crouch and the fiery whip passed over her, burning a few errant strands of blond hair and travelled towards Sirius, who quickly conjured a pale blue shield to intercept the deadly spell. The coil of searing fire whipped against the shield, producing a burst of orange and blue sparks and loud sizzling noises, but otherwise doing nothing. Despite the fact that she had lost her advantage, Narcissa's face remained impassive, and a simple wrist movement sent the whip lashing towards prone Cabal member.
Liquid silver shot out Ama's wand, forming a shiny, two-feet-long double-edged blade. The young witch swung her wand-sword towards the nearing rope of fire, causing it to coil around the silvery blade. She lifted her other hand towards the Lady Malfoy and summoned her Talent.
Apparently the older witch was informed of her hereditary powers as she quickly cancelled the flame whip and cast the same frost-shield spell that Sirius' had used just a moment before.
She was a bit too slow, however, and the the magical flames came into existence a split second before the shield. Even if her robes had rudimentary enchantments against heat, she screamed shrilly as the flash of searing fire washed over her. While she took very little actual damage from the flames, even minor burns could be very painful.
Amaterasu lifted her gleaming sword, knowing that it would go straight trough the pale blue shield, but before she could make the older witch ahead shorter, she got interrupted by a salvo of bullets.
A figure dressed completely in black dragonhide armour, expect for his skull-like Death Eater mask, and carrying a Muggle sub-machine gun, had stepped from the door behind Narcissa Malfoy. Amaterasu hadn't been able to do anything before the man had emptied a clip at her; aprocess, which took less than two seconds.
A sharp pain pulsated through her chest and stomach, and her legs couldn't carry her anymore. She slumped silently onto the floor, her wand slipping from her suddenly limp fingers. The wand hit the floor and the silver blade instantly broke up into fine silver powder, which seemed to dissipate into the air.
Sirius Black released his blue shield and was about blast his blood purist of a cousin with an ingenious Limb Twisting Hex, but the other Death Eater in the room had already recovered and pointed his wand at him, screaming, “Avada Kedavra!”
The Black scion quickly levitated a large wooden chair to interrupt the Killing Curse. The heavy chair blocked the worst Unforgivable quite nicely, but then the Death Eater banished it towards him. He dodged frantically, and the chair rocketed by him, missing his head by a hair's breadth, the gust of wind billowing his locks of black hair. While he was still moving, he waved his wand briefly and shot his own banisher at the other wizard.
The Death Eater wasn't fast enough in bringing up a shield and the charm connected, propelling him backwards into the sturdy wall. Hit hit the wooden panels with a loud crack, and then slumped against the wall in a heap.
Sirius wondered whether he had semi-accidentally killed the man or not, but quickly decided that it didn't matter at the moment as the other wizard was definitely out of the fight. Besides, he had more important things to consider than the survival of one stupid DE, like his own survival or Amaterasu's survival...or quite a few other things.
He turned and saw Amaterasu falling towards the floor. Perhaps it was because of the rush of adrenaline or perhaps it was simply because it was so dramatic moment, but what ever the reason was, he saw everything in slow motion and felt everything in utter clarity. In the distance he could hear loud explosions and yells. The sulphuric smell of something burning mixed with the sickening stench of blood in his nostrils. Cold sweat ran down his back. He saw Amaterasu's body arch backwards almost artistically, her knees bending so that she crumbled onto the floor, while tiny drops of blood and small pieces of broken silvery-blue dragonscales filled the air in front of her.
He turned his head slightly and saw a man standing in the doorway behind Cissy. He was dressed mostly in black, holding a Muggle firearm in his right hand. Dozens of smoking cartridges and a single empty clip hit the floor around him with soft clicking sounds.
Two Death Eaters came from behind the man dressed in black and charged forwards, their wands blazing, while the armoured figure begun casually reloading his barbaric weapon as if the murder he had just committed didn't mean anything.
Sirius sidestepped the first few curses before he didn't something he wasn't very proud of. In a spectacular show of conjuration, a wall appeared out of the thin air between him and the Death Eaters, protecting Sirius from the deadly barrage of spells. The wall of stone gave him the much needed time to retreat with his life still intact.
He could hear the wall crumbling down a split second after he exited the room.
Things weren't going all too well at all.
Daniel Evans watched as the three other Death Eaters sprinted out of the room to chase after the last Black.
The white-clad witch moaned softly on the floor, and her body was twitching slightly. So... She's still alive, Daniel mused in his mind and looked at her and the broken armour more carefully.Three layers of duelling-grade dragonhide, it seems... Sirius Black is on my hit-list, but this one isn't. On the other hand, she was not on his extremely short to-protect list either. Hmm... I wonder what should I do. It took him a few seconds to make up his mind.
Playing the role of a loyal Death Eater wasn't truly necessary anymore as tomorrow he would most likely be dead anyway, and if not, then he would just be hunted by about every side of this thrice-damned wizarding civil war. Probably even the Cabal would be after his blood. After all, after tonight he would only be a loose end for them instead of an useful asset. Hopefully he would at least get his revenge before his death...
He knelt next to the fallen witch and lifted the bloodstained white mask off her face, revealing a deathly pale face and azure eyes. Pained tears were slowly falling to her cheeks, and suddenly she coughed heavily, staining her lips in crimson. Her blonde hair was tied into a large bun, that currently served as a pillow of some sorts as her head rested on the hard floor. Daniel assumed that she was around twenty, give or take a few years.
Her silvery-blue dragonhide vest was mostly destroyed, but only two bullets had managed to penetrate it despite the fact that he had shot thirty rounds designated to penetrate armour at point-blank range. He whistled softly. The girl was lucky, she would most likely live – one of the bullets had went trough her guts, while the other had tore through a kidney. Of course, that is not to say that she couldn't die. It depended on the amount of internal damage she had taken... However, as the bullets were of armour piercing type and only nine millimetres in diameter, her chances should be pretty good.
He lifted the girl's head slightly with his left hand, while the other hand reached for his belt and took out a small glass phial. With apractised motion he popped the vial open with his thumb, and then proceeded to pour its contents into the witch's mouth not all too gently. Luckily she swallowed. Luckily for her, as Daniel didn't really care whether she lived or died, even if he would rather her not to die. Her death would merely be one name more in the already long list. He most certainly wouldn't lose his sleep over her.
“I don't know if you are coherent enough to understand me,” he told to the limp witch on his arms, “but in the case you are; the potion you just drunk was an Enchanted Blood Replenishing Potion. It should keep you alive for at least a half-hour, by which time Aurors are probably swarming this place already. I don't think they can resist any excuse to storm this place, and a full-scale magical battle will show in their sensors despite all the fancy wards woven around this damned place. Rest assuredly; they will come. Just lay down, and try not to move. It can only further aggravate your condition.”
He stood up. “Now, if you don't mind, or actually even if you do mind, I'm going take my leave. Say the Cabal hello for me, will you. Try not to die.”
With those words he walked away, a small smile on his lips. Things were going well. Harry was here and his team was in the process of being taken out. Now he would just have to see that nephew would make out alive...and give him the wand and necessary information.
His hand moved to his equipment belt and retrieved a wand... And not just any wand. It was eleven inches of holly with a phoenix feather core...
The brother wand to the Dark Lord's.
A few minutes earlier:
Iason watched as the the four magicians left the room, and drew his short, red wand. The he snapped his fingers and used a simple piece of house-elf magic. It wasn't truly even a spell, it was merely a pulse of magic. Other elves could sense from where it had originated and who had cast it. It was usually used to summon other house-elves in vicinity.
Not a second later, one house-elf wearing a pillowcase appeared with asoft pop. She had obviously came to investigate who exactly had sent the summon.
Her large brown eyes widened as she saw Iason. “Aaah! You is wearing clothes! What is a bad elf doing in the ancestral house of great Malfoys? You is a very, very bad elf to be here uninvited!”
The male elf sighed tiredly, and levelled his wand at the babbling female, whose mouth opened slightly as the wand was suddenly pointed between her eyes. Even after many decades of intentional mistreatment and outright abuse she had nothing but praise for her cruel and petty Masters. Pathetic. “Imperio.”
Truly, it was shameful to see exactly what kind of spineless idiots most of his kind were. He could understand why they served wizarding families, he himself did so too, although the family he served consisted of only one person. House-elves drew their magic from their surroundings and their Masters, and a life of servitude was far better than a life without magic, but one should not forget one's dignity and grovel in front of the Master.
“Now, my dear, summon the other elves here,” he commanded the other elf, who instantly obeyed. The elf had given into the spell at once. There had been nothing that could truly be called a battle of wills that usually happened during the first few seconds of the spell. Iason's lips curved into an angry scowl. Spineless indeed... They were so subservient and weak-willed that they were inclined to obey almost anyone.
He didn't have to wait more than a few seconds before a series of soft pops heralded the appearance of four other house-elves. Confusion was etched on their faces as they watched their surroundings, but before any of them managed to say anything, Iason flourished his wand and whispered, “Dormion.”
There was a bright flash of silvery light, and the five Malfoy house-elves crumbled silently on the floor, clearly unconscious. Iason sighed. This was all too easy.
Five Stunners guaranteed that they wouldn't awaken for a few hours. Then Iason casually banished the comatose bodies into a corner, and cast an Ignis Fatuus to hide them.
As the spell formed a phosphorescent light spread over the prone forms, before slowly fading away and eventually disappearing entirely. Once the glow was gone it seemed that the house-elves had vanished too. In reality the heap of elves was still there, they were merely hidden by the Mirage Charm.
Then a single snap of his fingers Transfigured his robes into an identical pillowcase to what the other elves wore. Another piece of house-elf magic stored his wand into a pocked dimension from where he could summon it in a split second.
The old elf smiled fiendishly. It was time to start the second part of his mission. Hopefully the Death Eaters would turn out to be as stupid as their slaves. Somehow Iason had a inkling that they would...
Elise Strang, a sixth-year Ravenclaw prefect was doing her patrol round with her partner, who luckily for her happened to be her boyfriend of two years, Jonathan Frost, a seventh-year Hufflepuff prefect.
“Hey, Jon. Should we check that classroom there,” she whispered sultry into his ear and pointed towards the door in their left.”Who knows how many students might be hiding there...”
The tall boy looked at her, smiling brightly. “I don't see why not.”
As soon as they entered the dark classroom, she closed the door behind them and threw her arms around her boyfriend's neck, drawing him into a deep kiss.
“What's wrong?” she asked as Jon suddenly tensed and retreated from the kiss. He didn't answer, instead staring at something over her shoulder.
She swivelled on the spot, and her hazel eyes widened in surprise when she saw what her boyfriend had been looking. Nine cloaked and masked figures were inhabiting the other end of the classroom. They didn't seem to be Death Eaters, however, as their clothing and masks came in far more colours than just black and white. Most of the masked figures had their wands drawn and pointed towards her and Jon.
There was a moment of stunned silence before the brown-masked man, who was sitting lazily on a table, leaning against the wall, with an unsheathed sword on his laps spoke, “By all means, don't let us stop you. If you haven't already gotten rid of your pesky virginities, now is the perfect time for it, considering that you have probably stopped breathing by tomorrow morning.” The man's voice was deep and rich, and it seemed almost to reverberate in the silent room even after he had stopped speaking.
Despite the threatening situation, she blushed slightly at the masked man's comment. She had no idea what to say and she didn't dare to reach for her wand; even if she prided herself as a quick draw, she would probably be dead before the first spell left her wand. Besides, what the man had just said could be taken as a death threat... Her heart was hammering furiously and she felt her boyfriend's arms tighten protectively around her.
“Are you Death Eaters?” Jon asked, his voice wavering only a little. Elise noted that her boyfriend was hiding his fear far better than her, and she quickly reigned her own appearance and stature too. It was well known fact that predators sensed fear and seemed to almost revel in it, and she saw no reason why it wouldn't be true with wizards too “What do you want of us?”
“To tell the truth,” came the cultured voice of the golden-masked wizard. “Your being here is merely a small inconvenience, nothing that we planned or hoped for. But rest assured, we are not going to harm you. At least not permanently.” Then he turned to the crimson-masked witch standing next to him and whispered something in a foreign language, probably French, to the witch, who then answered shortly with the same language.
“Imperio,” the two masked magicians said suddenly in unison. The pair of Hogwarts prefects couldn't do anything before the will-sapping spells connected, and after that they just remained on their spots. All emotion was drained from their faces and they looked almost unnaturally passive.
“So-,” the man wearing an electric blue mask started, but the crimson-masked with cut in almost instantly, easily guessing what the perverted wizard was about to say. “No! We are not going to make them to have sex.”
“Oh,” the man said softly and deflated a little. “I just thought it would make a good forepla-”
“Bishop, shut up!”
“Hey, no need to get your pants on a twist, Gorgon,” replied Bishop indignantly, before adding under his breath, “A good roll in the hay would probably make even you less stuck up.”
A retribution followed instantly in the form of brown-mask's sword slamming flat first against the back of Bishop's head, sending the man reeling a few steps. The strike was not strong enough to cause any real damage, but it couldn't exactly be called gentle either.“Bishop, shut the fuck up before Dragon and Gorgon will kill you for pestering them and the rest of us will label you as a some kind of sexual deviant...and react accordingly.”
“Geez, you guys just can't take the joke...”