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."]
A small glass pebble fell through Harry's fingers, igniting midair and growing into fist-sized ball that burned with the intensity rivalling that of the sun.
The young wizard watched in silence as the bright orb zoomed through the air like a falling star, gaining more speed with every feet it travelled. After nearly ten seconds of free fall, a faint flash of pale blue light almost hidden by the orb's brilliance, told him that the sphere hit the wards surrounding the Hogwarts Castle.
In a flash of blinding white the globe shattered and a huge explosion followed, a sea of liquid, white flames bursting forth. The whole landscape was suddenly bathed in painfully bright light, the loud roar scaring wildlife miles away. It seemed like the sun had decided to rise in the middle of a night. A midnight dawn...
Then it was over and the ocean of light begun fading, shadows gaining more ground by each passing moment. The immensely strong wards protecting the school had been ripped apart like they were nothing and a whole wing of the castle had suddenly ceased to exist.
Harry was still recovering from the earsplitting boom and retina burning flash of light when a blast of searing air hit him and nearly dropped him off his expensive racing broom. The next twenty seconds were chaotic as the young wizard was forced to do some pretty fancy aerial acrobatics to avoid the thousands of different sized stones arching through the air.
The huge explosion had blasted tonnes of earth and stone high into the air and it was now raining back in a deadly cascade of heavy rubble, destroying everything below that might have survived the gargantuan magic-devouring explosion.
Harry landed on the smoking ruins of Hogwarts' rarely used east-wing. His enchanted sight told him that the ruins were now completely non-magical – not even a tiniest spark of magic had survived within the blast-radius. Such was the dreaded power of a Globe of Thanathos.
Looking up Harry could see the wards slowly resewing themselves. He assumed it would only take a few measly minutes before the arcane construction would be whole again.
Harry smiled. There was no escape for anyone...
A pitched battle raged in Gryffindor common room.
The gigantic explosion had woken up everyone barely a few minutes before a small army of Death Eaters had charged in. Luckily Gryffindors had been expecting trouble and thus were already gathered in the common room when the Dark Lord's servants came in wands blazing.
This was not to say they had been ready for it – not by a long shot. Nothing could have ever prepared them for it.
Ronald Bilius Weasley was thankful for the explosion that had woken up everyone as he was sure that it would have been a slaughter otherwise. Even now Gryffindors were taking heavy casualties, but at least Death Eaters didn't seem to be winning – they were slowly being forced back towards the circular doorway they had came from. It was simply because there were at least four students for every Death Eater. Gryffindors were winning due sheer numbers, if taking many times more casualties than the enemy could be called as 'winning'.
A blazing bolt of scarlet light was deflected at his direction, leaving Ron only a split second to get away from its path. He twisted his torso, his pajamas billowing out and the fiery spell burning two smoking holes into the yellow and green fabric, coming within ahair’s breadth of hitting him as it flew past. The redheaded wizard almost sighed in relief until he saw the spell hitting a girl behind him. She had no time to even scream as her small form erupted in a geyser of scorched flesh and burning blood, a spray steaming droplets tainting Ron's robe and scalding his skin. The girl's lifeless body hit the floor a second later.
Deadly streaks of light were traded with insane speed, most of them getting deflected into random directions, the few hitting true usually ended in pained yells and spurts of warm blood. It was pure chaos. No complicated tactics were employed by either side. It was pure, close-ranged wizard versus wizard brutality, devout of any real battle plans.
He had been wanting to fight for the Order for years now, but only today did he understand why his parents had never allowed him. There was nothing glorious or honorable to be found in the heat of a battle, just pain, fear and death. It was something chaotic, bloodthirsty and utterly unpredictable. War was just one gigantic meat grinder thirsting for more fools to feed it. And now he was in the middle of one...
The disgusting mixture of ozone, sulfur and blood filled his nostrils as some Death Eater set another Gryffindor aflame. The unfortunate victim – a second year boy – screamed shrilly and begun thrashing around, spreading the flames. A stream of cold water shot out of his wand and drenched the fire, the badly burned wizard slumping onto the floor, still alive but in a great pain.
Suddenly he saw a flash of light in his left. His wand moved with a speed borne of years of duelling practice and a streak of blue light was deflected with asimple Shield Charm. Ron pointed his wand towards the nearest white-masked wizard. “Stupefy!”
A scarlet bolt of light light shot out from his wand tip and hit the Death Eater into his side but not before the Dark wizard had managed to kill one seventh-year in a flash of green light.
“Rennervate,” someone spoke calmly.
The counterspell struck the man even before he hit the floor and a second later Ron dropped onto the floor, a horizontal arc of purple fire travelling over him. Some other students weren't as quick as him: the spell cut two Gryffindors down in high-pitched screams and explosions of boiled blood. The burning corpses hit the floor a few heartbeats later with soft thuds, looks of horror and pain forever imprinted on their young faces.
The youngest Weasley male almost threw up at the gruesome sight, but quickly steeled himself and looked at his new opponent who was currently batting away aflurry of curses aimed at her by his fellow Gryffindors. He assumed that the Death Eater was a twenty-something witch but he couldn't be sure because of the skull-like mask that concealed her face. Then the Dark witch stopped deflecting spells, instead sidestepping them with almost snake-like grace. Her wand moved in a complicated manner, signifying that she was casting a silent spell.
The silvery shield swirled into existence just in time to deflect a pulsating jet of yellow light towards the ceiling. The shield trembled at the impact and dimmed noticeably. Ron knew it wouldn't withstand another one, but luckily for him the spell never came.
Neville, Seamus and Parvati were shooting all manner of jinxes, hexes and curses at the witch, who was forced to bring up a purple shield that neatly absorbed the relentless barrage of low-level spells.
At this point the Death Eater he had Stunned for a second was on his feet again pointing, a flick of his wand sending banisher at Neville, who was thrown off his feet. The blonde boy hit the wall behind him head-first, his skull shattering at the impact with aloud crunch, painting the wall with vivid red. Ron's wand moved quickly as he turned towards the man but it wasn't really necessary as a Reducto shot by a teary-eyed third-year witch exploded the Dark wizard's head into red and grey splatter.
The moment of victory was broken as the small girl and two of her friends were incinerated by ablast of swirling green flames and one sixth-year standing next to them was badly burned too as he had been a bit slow with his shield. Shrilly yells of pain, terror and anger followed.
“Lacero!” Ron yelled, pointing his wand at the witch hiding behind the purple barrier, but the shield easily absorbed the lethal Cutting Curse. As the number of Death Eater were quickly falling, more and more Gryffindors threw their magical weight against the shield, the effect was starting to show: the barrier fluctuated grew smaller inch by inch.
The spell that finally punctuated the white-masked witch's shield and blasted directly into her stomach was a solitary hazel bolt of twisting light that came from the above, shot by a seventh-year wizard standing in the stairs leading to boy's dorms. The Death Eater fell on the floor with an agonized yell and her high-pitched screaming quickly turned into pained sobs as her whole body began quickly turning into shapeless goo, starting from her toes and fingertips. In a few short seconds even her sobs died away and nothing more than a large puddle of reddish liquid staining the thick carpet remained of her. Now Ron could actually taste the bile in his mouth.
He stood up and pointed his wand at one of the few Death Eaters remaining and was about to cast a Blasting Curse when something warm, wet and sticky hit his right arm just below shoulder. He turned his head slightly and saw that a part of his arm was covered in smelly, yellowish jelly...and that his sleeve was smoking lightly, dark wisps slowly curling upwards. He could almost swear that he heard some faint hissing sounds.
Then the sticky acid ate through the thin fabric of his robe and he felt a terrible burning sensation on his skin. He reflexively tried to swipe the yellowish liquid off with his left hand, but only succeeded in tainting his fingers with the flesh-eating substance. Ron screamed in panic and pain as his arm and fingers melted in front of his eyes, his shrilly yells easily concealing the hissing and bubbling noises emitted by the horrible acid burning into his flesh. He trashed on the floor, desperately trying to clean the magical acid off him by scratching the liquid covered body parts against the wooden floorboards. It didn't work.
Ron was released from his torment by a purple severing ribbon aimed at the back of his head. His broken body joined the seventeen dead Gryffindors lying on the floor. Six more would die before the Death Eaters were forced to retreat... The rest would bear scars, both mental and physical, for the rest of their lives. War had finally reached them and none of the students remained untouched.
In comparison, only five Dead Eaters had met their fate during the battle, but among these was certain Miriam Enderro, Bellatrix's protege...and a sadist to rival her late mistress.
Some would consider it as a victory.
The Gryffindor students didn't.
Harry Potter could hear series of loud footsteps nearing his position. The young wizard quickly regarded his surroundings, searching for something that could give him advantage in the shortly upcoming fight. He found nothing. The corridor, poorly lit by a score of magical torches attached high on the walls, stretched away towards a sharp corner about seven yards from him.
The running footsteps become even louder, indicating that they were just behind the corner. His blood-red eyes almost glowed in the darkness as he kept fingering the grip of his curved sword in anticipation, before drawing the magnificent blade from its plain scabbard with a barely audible hiss of metal sliding against metal. Harry's heart raced, his breathing was unnecessarily sharp due the Dark Arts induced blood-lust that filled his mind.
A large group Death Eaters came in a rush: a confused flood of guttural shouting voices and dark robes, attracted by the huge explosion that had shaken the whole Hogwarts castle. Harry scooped his body into alow crouch and raised his wand to his shoulder level, before slashing it horizontally, black magic singing pleasurably in his blood.
The first three of them went down in a storm of grasping limbs and severed body parts, blocking the hallway for a second and almost tripping those behind them, a deadly arc of purple fire briefly illuminating the corridor and hurling boiled blood and small bits of partially scorched flesh across the walls and floor. Their agonized screams, while only lasting for less than a second, were terrible. In a normal situation Harry might have even felt sorry for them, but now he just laughed at their pain, his sinister chuckles rivaling those of the Dark Lord's in their chilliness.
The remaining Death Eaters quickly sent a barrage of low-to-mid-level Dark curses and hexes at Harry, who gracefully dropped onto the floor, letting the phosphorescent light blossoms zoom over him. The lethal spells hammered against the walls all around him, detonating with loud bangs and filling the air with stone dust and fiery sparks of magic. Quickly rolling on the dirty floor he avoided a streak of scarlet light that, instead of making a walnut-sized hole onto the young sorcerer's body, ripped up a few floorboards with a thunderous boom, showering the dimly-lit corridor with burning shrapnel.
Then Harry was already back on his feet, a lightning fast swing of his curved sword deftly batting a brilliant ray of hazel light towards the ceiling and a jab of his holly wand accompanied by a muttered incantation sent ablazing bolt of green fire capering through his eyesight, an amorphous strand of purple and blue left hanging nebulously in its wake. The insane, gleeful smirk formed on Harry's lips and the oily wisps of dark smoke that were slowly curving upwards from his wand tip were visible aftereffects of yet another pleasurable echo of Dark magic surging through the young wizard.
The one unlucky enough to be the precipitant of the high-end Combustion Curse apparently didn't know of the spell's potent shield-breaking capabilities as he tried to block it with a purple barrier instead of simply dodging it. Harry watched gleefully as the deadly curse tore through the barely average Contego shield, shattering it like a fragile piece of coloured glass, and instantly torched the bastard. The man went down in ablinding flash of neon-green fire, nothing but a black bones and acloud of grey ash hitting the floor a second later. The man died so fast he didn't have even time to scream which was something Harry considered as a pity. The superheated air expanded with a great force, the blast searing air billowing the young wizard's robes, almost making him to reel backwards, and filled the dark hallway with thick clouds of suffocating smoke and a terrible burning stench.
He fluidly sidestepped the vibrant-yellow beam of a Flesh Ripping Curse sent by the nearest Death Eater only to step directly into the path of a Lung Collapsing Curse cast by another masked spellcaster. The pulsating bolt of blue light slammed into his stomach with the force of a sledgehammer, sending Harry to stagger backwards and tearing a few small, glittering scales off his dark-green dragonhide armour.
A burning pain surged through his chest and he suddenly found it almost impossible to breathe, a coppery tang of blood filling his mouth. Still, despite all this, he managed to non-verbally bring up a silvery shield to deflect two roaring curses back to their respective casters before the spells would have ripped him apart.
As two of the three remaining Death Eaters were forced to deal with their own rebounding curses, Harry swung his left arm, sending the curved sword spinning through the air. The heavily enchanted blade went straight through the Death Eaters' shields like they hadn't even been there and asplit second later it cut a white-masked head cleanly off its shoulders.
Bright-red blood fountained freely from the split arteries, staining everything around the decapitated witch with scarlet and the severed head arched through the air, the female Death Eater's long blond hair fanning behind. The headless corpse crumpled silently into a black heap on the floor and the severed head hit the parquet a second later, rolling a few feet on the bloodstained floorboards before stopping so that her face was facing Harry. Her lifeless eyes seemed to be staring him accusingly through the skull-like mask's eye holes.
The silver sword glanced a wall and chipped of a few pieces of grey stone, before rebounding and clattering loudly to the parquet behind the Death Eaters, leaving large cuts on the dark floorboards, and the brunette witch next to the victim of decapitation almost panicked as she was suddenly coated with the warm life-blood of her comrade. She was still wiping the sticky liquid from her terror-filled eyes and loudly muttering 'Oh God... Oh, merciful God' when a scarlet Reducto slammed directly into her upper chest and violently interrupted the repetitive speech, blasting a hole larger than Harry's fist through her thorax and showering the hallway behind her with crimson. The air was now saturated with the sickening stench of blood that quickly overpowered the earlier sulphuric smell.
Now as the other witch was down too, there was just one enemy left but unfortunately he seemed to be the most competent of the bunch. And to make things worse, Harry was quickly slowing down, his vision clouding with an alarming rate due the lack of oxygen. The pain was severe and he felt like he could collapse at any moment, his legs becoming wobblier with every passing moment.
Then the remaining Death Eater hissed something that Harry couldn't quite hear while slashing his wand vertically, the action unleashing a long-tailed jet of azure fire at the young wizard with a weird crackling-hiss. And Harry, having no time to bring up a good enough shield, simply sidestepped the high-powered spell. This turned out to be a very bad decision when the white-masked man's wand made the tiniest of flicks, causing the fiery filament to explode with a tremendous force just as it was passing Harry.
A large part of the hallway was suddenly enveloped in swirling blue flames, and an ear-splitting boom echoed through the empty corridors. Harry was promptly hurled against the hard, stone wall with a bone-shattering force and only the handful of protective spells he had cast on himself before coming here kept him from being immolated or ripped apart by the magical explosion. After the painful crash he crumbled onto the floor like a rag-doll, his dark clothes and hair were smouldering a little and the white, black mask he wore was now scorched and covered in an intricate web of hairline fractures.
Harry was in great pain and a few agonized hisses escaped his bloodied lips as he lied on the scorched floor. He was badly burned and he had hit the wall shoulder first, the sharp waves of pain telling that his his wand arm was very badly broken. His lungs hurt worse than ever and he was seeing everything in doubles. He closed his eyes, trying to refocus and clear his vision. It was very hard, especially because he was quickly running out of oxygen.
A few wasted seconds later he reopened his emerald eyes and lifted his head from the bloodstained floor only to hazily see the Death Eater standing victoriously a few feet in front of him, a wand levelled at his face, a continuous stream of angry red sparks escaping the wand tip. Harry experienced a brief moment of fecal lucidity, his pupils dilating in dread and cold sweat running down his back as his gaze fixated on the offending wand, and if he had any breath left he would have cursed profoundly. In the Muggle way, mind you – not magically.
The man's words were cut off by a bloody sword tip protruding out of his chest, crimson slowly trickling from the wound and running downwards the blade. The Death Eater looked at the silver brand and the red dripping from its tip for a few seconds in a stunned silence before falling to the floor in a heap, the collapsing body missing Harry by a few inches.
The warm blood oozing from the hole pooled on the floor and the expanding threads of crimson soon reached Harry's prone form, quickly soaking through his dark robes. The young wizard spat a few drops of blood off his mouth and slowly rolled so that he was lying on his back, completely dismissing the fact that the action led him into another puddle of sticky blood. His wand slipped from his broken fingers, rolling a few feet on the floor before stopping.
While he was trying to gasp some breath his eyes locked onto the corpse right next to him. The bastard most certainly hadn't expected a simple Summoning Charm. Harry snorted amusedly, and then coughed painfully as the motion hurt like hell. Luckily he knew the charm inside out and could cast it both silently and without any wand movements... Even his broken arm sandwiched between the floor and his chest hadn't been an obstacle.
The world kept spinning around him and his ears were still ringing from the explosion. And even his impressive Occlumency skills and the Dark magic burning brightly within him couldn't do much more than to dim the all-encompassing pain that threatened to engulf him in its black abyss. His lungs felt like they were on fire, his skin was one big first and second degree burn and almost every bone in his wand arm was broken by the impact, continuously sending jolts of piercing pain into his brains.
The young wizard lifted his wand shakily from the scorched floor with his still working left hand. Fighting the dizzying waves of pain Harry pointed the wooden stick at his chest. Harry's attempts to say the incantation failed, but fortunately he was very proficient with silent casting and the spells he needed to cast. And so the soft blue light associated with healing charms soon filled the hallway despite the fact that his arm shook almost violently for most of the process.
It took him about aminute to fix his partially collapsed lungs so that they worked properly. He spent the next few moments just to revel in the ability to breathe again, hungrily taking sweet gulps of air. Despite the thick smoke permeating the atmosphere, the air had never tasted better. It was almost a bliss. Healing the burns was a very simple and fast affair as Harry just had to cast a certain Anti-Burn Charm less than ten times in a row to cover all damaged tissue. Repairing the shattered arm was the fastest job, taking only a few measly seconds, but Harry knew he would have completely regrow the bones later after such a hasty and imperfect fix. He simply didn't have the time to heal them properly as the process would take at least twenty minutes, possibly even hours, depending solely on how badly the bones had fractured.
He rose shakily back on his wobbly feet, unconsciously dusting his dirtied outfit with his free hand. Even if the pain had mostly faded away, he still felt nauseated, disoriented and disgustingly weak. He could taste blood and bile mixing in his mouth. Harry flexed his newly repaired hand, and there was a series of small pops as the joints fell on their proper places. He slowly moved his arm as if he was checking his motion range. His muscles ached like he had run a marathon and and the newly repaired arm was stiff, aching and very sore.
Harry leaned against the wall and took off his pitch-black Cabal-mask. The young wizard closed his eyes and massaged his temples, doing slow circular motions with his fingertips. He had hit his head against the stonewall pretty hard and he could tell that he had a severe headache coming soon.
Harry put the damaged mask back on and took a few steps towards the nearest Death Eater body, yanking his enchanted sword off the corpse's back and cleaning it with a single sweep of his wand accompanied by a flash of pinkish light and bubbles. His slitted red eyes skimmed over the sleek, razor-sharp blade for a few moments, before focusing on a small, circular symbol engraved on the blade just below the hilt – the Rising Phoenix of the Noble House of Potter.
Harry almost laughed at the delicious irony. Despite the fact that Potters had always been aLight-sided family, they had never been what you would call good. The only thing Potters had common with phoenixes were the sharp talons to cut down their enemies – there was no trace of soothing tears or emboldening song to be found when you looked at the history of Potter family. And Harry himself wasn't even a Light wizard...
Looking the holly wand in his hand, the young wizard briefly wondered if he had enough strength left. He had taken a Magic-Replenishing Elixir – his second dose today – right after he had exited the Malfoy Manor, but he doubted it would last very far, and even if it would, Harry knew the side effects of taking the second dose would start kicking in in afew hours by which time he should be as far away from here as possible. This evening Harry had first had a prolonged duel with astrong Dark Wizard, then there had been that damned Auror raid, after which he had spent lots of his power to break the Malfoy's wards and finally even more fighting against against the Dark Lord's favourite lieutenant – Bellatrix Lestrange. He was drained and he had aDark Lord to be taken down and so he couldn't waste the any of his remaining magic against the army of Death Eaters and other assorted critters. Harry sighed. He would have to rely on his sword against the common thrash. Hopefully doing so wouldn't get his ass kicked even worse than it had already been...
Putting his wand back to its concealed holster attached on the underside of his right forearm, Harry lifted the curved sword two-handedly and made a few testing swings with it. His right arm felt a bit weak and his whole body lacked speed and grace... The young wizard frowned. Things weren't looking too good at all.
The thought that he could actually fail was enough to reignite the bonfire of anger and fury within him. I will not fail, Harry raged in the sanctity of his mind. I will kill them all! Every single one of them! I must have my revenge!
The sword felt suddenly featherlight in his hands and magic seared through his veins in far greater torrents than it had just a second ago, called forth by his primal anger.
Little did he know that he was like a candle thrown into flames – burning brightly ... but so briefly.
Professor Filius Flitwick ran towards the Ravenclaw common room as fast as his short legs could carry, his loud footsteps echoing in the dark hallways. He had just got a warning from Albus: Voldemort has entered the castle. It was terrible news and he just had to see his Ravenclaws were alright...
Suddenly he saw a familiar dark shape morphing out of the dark shadows. He stopped, instantly wary.
“Minerva?” he asked softly, his hand reaching towards his wand holster attached on his belt, just in case.
When the dark blot turned towards him and a few rays of light hit her face, it became clear that the creature wasn't the Transfiguration mistress any longer but something else – an Inferius. There was a large hole in her chest and Filius could actually see through her, dark blood still trickling from the wound. She begun moving towards him, her gait unnaturally jerky, and three other Inferi came around the corner, one of them missing his head.
The former Duelling Champion lifted his wand when the four undead creatures charged at him. The magically animated corpses released loud gurgling sounds from their throats, like some depraved war-cry. “I'm sorry,” he whispered softly before the pale-blue ray of a Levistus Charm left his wand tip and hit what had once been Minerva McGonagal, turning the Inferius into a rigid statue of ice in a blink of eye. The frozen body fell backwards and shattered against the floorboards, scattering the slowly melting remains around the dimly-lit corridor.
A second later a flash of yellow light accompanied by a howling gust of wind that billowed that Filius' navy-blue robes and hurled the wiggling mass of living dead nearly five yards backward with a great speed before they hit the stonewall. Series of loud cracks echoed through the corridor as flesh and bone met the unforgiving stone, staining the wall with blood and ichor, the broken remains hitting the floor in a heap.
He lowered his wand that was still spitting random cadmium yellow sparks and watched the twitching bodies in blatant disgust. The Inferi were still trying to crawl towards him, still driven by their master's commands and their unholy lust for flesh of the living despite their broken forms. The Wizarding zombies just weren't making any real process as almost every bone in their bodies had been broken by the impact.
Then his abhorrence turned into sadness and anger as he remembered that these undead monsters had, just a few moments ago, been living witches and wizards with their own hopes and dreams, before their lives had been so cruelly cut down...and then made into mere mockeries of their former selves... Into things that existed only to serve their cruel master and to defy the natural order. It was the worst kind of magic know to the Wizarding race that had created these abominations – Necromancy, the soul-magic. It was the only kind of magic that was universally forbidden in the whole magical world because the cost of such unnatural magic was always paid in lives and blood. And mere often than not, it was the innocent who did the paying.
The Inferi were all wearing tattered, scarlet Auror-robes that made it more than clear who they had been. Filius closed his eyes for a second, a glistering tear falling to his cheek. He lifted his wand again, his face uncharacteristically grim, and trained the wooden stick towards the undead abominations. “Infurnacio!”
The temperature soared to uncomfortable heights as bright flames shot out of his wand tip, forming a huge column of searing fire that enveloped the crawling Inferi. The white-hot flames coiled around the red-clothed shapes, reducing them into ashes in mere seconds. Filius was forced to lift his left arm to shield his face when the strong gale of scalding air and smoke hit him.
The Charms professor lowered his wand and watched the slowly falling ashes, a thin rope of thick, white smoke curling upwards from his wand tip. He shook his head and sighed loudly. Destroying dead bodies was not something he enjoyed doing, but only total destruction of the cursed vessel was enough to end the vile magic animating them.
Suddenly cold arms wrapped around him from behind and dull teeth sunk into his lower neck. Filius tried to move his wand arm but another pair of strong hands grappled hold of it, the inhumanly strong fingers sinking into his flesh. There is more of them! his mind screamed and adrenaline flooded into his veins, taking away the pain and shock. He now cursed the fact that he had granted his undivided attention to the few Inferi in front of him, letting the rest of them to sneak on him.
They had gotten hold of him and only his extensive combat experience kept him from succumbing to terror. He kicked the feet from under the Inferius directly behind him, and the three combatants fell on the floor in a tangled heap. He couldn't breathe because of the immense pressure applied by the encircling arms, and he felt warm blood trickling downwards his chest and back from the large bite wound at the base of his neck. A sharp crack echoed in the dark hallways and he screamed in both panic and pain. The bones in his right forearm had just been snapped and the wand slipped from his limp fingers.
Once the worst of the debilitating pain had subsided, his left hand reached towards his spare wand hidden in a pocked sewed inside his blue robes. He never managed to reach it as yet another pair of hands had took hold of his head, a sharp twist snapping his neck.
Flitwick's body went limp on their hands and the Inferi begun their feast, their teeth and nails tearing into the tiny wizard's flesh.
Wet tearing sounds, loud muches and gulps filled the dark hallway alongside with occasional yells and thuds as the creatures fought of some particularly tasty bit.
Lord Voldemort leaned against a wall, taking small sips from from the crystal wineglass in his pale hand as he watched as his small army of Inferi ate the former Duelling Master alive. It was a strangely rewarding thing to see, although he didn't know the exact reason for it.
He moved his wrist faintly, making the dark red liquid spin in the crystal glass. It was almost of the colour of blood, but that was about the only positive thing he could say about it; it tasted a bit bitter and tannin. He had found the wine from a cabinet in McGonagal's office, and while it was vintage wine, it meant nothing if it wasn't of a good vintage.
Then his musings were rudely interrupted as he heard the sounds of quick footsteps and so he downed his wineglass in a single gulp. He let the crystal container fall from his fingers and it shattered against the floorboards with a loud crash, spraying sharp glass shards across the floor alongside with the last few drops of the red wine.
The Dark Lord briefly wondered who could it be. Was it some surviving teacher or Auror? An errant student? Perhaps even one or two of his Death Eaters? Or possibly even the one who had blasted a hole through the walls and wards not five minutes ago.
A glowing ball of light came across the corner before suddenly halting, hovering midair. Voldemort instantly recognised the charm – it was a product of an interesting scrying spell. The ancient Egyptian charm created a magical eye that could move around and scout for the caster. There were even quite a few Dark spells that could be cast through it. He remembered how useful the spell had been in killing MacKinnons a few years before his momentary defeat...
Voldemort snapped his spidery fingers and the Inferi instantly stopped their gory feast, their heads snapping at him. Blood stained their hands and faces and heir eyes burned with the same unnatural shade of red as his. “Go that way,” the Dark Lord said and casually pointed towards the glowing ball. “Kill everyone you can find.”
The living dead scampered into motion and abandoned the small, mostly eaten corpse, quickly passing the standing Dark Lord and causing his black robes to flutter sightly. Immediately after the Inferi went around the corner, Voldemort could hear booming explosions, bone-crushing crashes and sizzling sounds of of something boiling, and from the stench he could say that it was one of his Inferi.
Voldemort flicked his wand slightly and the 'Third Eye' exploded into a shower blue sparks that burned themselves out before hitting the floor.
The animated corpses were destroyed in less than four seconds. From the flurry of spells that had so quickly decimated his Inferi, Voldemort surmised a few things. Firstly, there was at least four wizards and witches. Secondly, they weren't afraid of using the Dark Arts. Thirdly, there was at least one Pyromagus there.
Voldemort smiled wickedly. It had to be Kheiron's crew, he knew. The Dark Lord almost absently tapped his silver ring once with his wand, knowing that it would alert a few of his Inner Circle.
It was good that they had crawled out of their hiding holes and came here. Now he could kill them too and his victory would be perfect.
Disillusioned Harry Potter sprinted through the Hogwarts' dark corridors, moving without any true destination in mind. He had no real idea where Voldemort could be and so he had just decided to follow the screams. Now, if he could just find some pained screams... This prolonged silence was very unbecoming of a bloody Death Eater raid.
Then he heard explosions and yells in the distance, the sounds getting distorted by the maze-like web of spiraling stairs and long hallways. He surmised they came from Gryffindor tower and quickly begun moving into that direction.
It didn't take him long to arrive on the scene, probably less than two minutes. As he peered around the corner, Harry could see four Death Eaters standing near the entrance to the Gryffindor common room. Two of them looked alittle worse to wear and they all seemed to be arguing loudly about something. Obviously they had fought against Gryffindors...and then gotten their sorry asses handled back to them.
The young wizard smiled while his eyes kept appraising the quartet. Then a slow smirk made it way onto Harry's lips; the Death Eaters were so occupied with their petty banter that they hadn't a Muggleborn's chance in a pureblood convention to notice him until it was already too late for them.
Harry sneaked towards them, staying near the walls and trying to make as little sound as possible. It wasn't really necessary as the Death Eaters' argument kept getting progressively louder by each passing second and they probably wouldn't have noticed Pamela Andersson jumping around them naked while jiggling her noticeable assets. Bloody idiots!
As soon as they were withing a sword's reach, he exploded into motion, the blade whistling through the air in a wide arc. The two nearest went down in a split second, before neither of them even realised what was happening, as asingle horizontal swing of Harry's curved blade cut their heads clean off their shoulders. Drops of vivid red filled the air as the Death Eaters' hearts pumped gallons of life-blood right out of their severed necks. The cut heads hit the floor with audible cracks and their aristocratic, fine-boned faces showing generations of careful breeding broke against the unforgiving stone.
One of the remaining Death Eaters reacted faster than Harry had expected any of them to, her wand rising towards the young wizard in a single angle perfect movement. “Defo-”
She never managed to finish the incantation as Harry imprinted his boot into a decapitated Death Eater's stomach and blasted the headless corpse into her. She quickly tosses the dead wizard away from her, the lifeless body falling onto the other decapitated corpse in a neat pile, but at this point Harry's upper cut separates her wand arm from the rest of her body, the said arm joining the pile of still warm flesh, trickling warm blood on the black robes.
Harry spun around, simultaneously swaying to his side to avoid a ribbon of blue light, and thrust his sword through the Death Eater's white mask, the tip protruding out of the back of the wizard's head. Warm blood poured from the wound and the man's body crumbled firstly on his knees before falling backwards, slowly sliding off the bloodied blade. Watching him fall was strangely satisfying to the young wizard but it only further fueled his fury and desire to see more blood spilled; only the Dark Lord's death could quench his thirst for vengeance.
He turned around to see the wounded witch trashing on the floor, her every heartbeat sending more blood gushing through her fingers that were clenched against the arm-stump. A sharp kick to the ribs sent the bitch rolling on the floor and her screams rose a few decibels. She was quickly silenced, however, as the sword lifted over Harry's shoulders descended in aflash of silver, carving a bloodied path through her torso, effortlessly splitting the flesh and severing her ribs.
Harry lowered his sword, blood dripping from the tip and pooling to the floor below. It had been far easier than he had expected. This however wasn't a testament to his skills, rather it told about Death Eaters' deficiencies. And in any case killing with sword just wasn't as nice as killing with the Dark Arts... It just lacked the exquisite feeling of magic rushing through your veins – the feeling of absolute power.
The young wizard licked his lips. He longed to use the Dark Arts but knew better than to waste his remaining reserves on already defeated foes. He sighed softly. It was better to concentrate on the matter at hand.
Harry sticked his sword tip into one of the severed heads littering on the floor, lifting it high into the air. Then he walked the few yards to the circular hole leading into Gryffindor tower where the scorched remains of the painting that had once guarded the entrance were scattered on the floor.
Almost as soon as the severed head crossed the edge of the doorway it was hit by two blazing red bolts, the head exploding into tiny bits with a loud splash and showering Harry in scarlet liquid. A second later a flurry of other spells hit the wall opposite the doorway, creating acacophony of different sounds and blasting stone shrapnel around.
The sword vibrated in his hands, but showed no signs of damage. Harry stood there for a few seconds before lowering the weapon and spitting a few drops of the Death Eater's blood off his mouth.
So, the Gryffindors are ready for intruders, he mused as he took a few steps, kneeling next to nearest corpse and swiped the blood off the blade with the wizard's black robes. Good for them. It doesn't help me any, though.
Harry sighed again. Where the fuck is the bastard?!