Chapter 24 - The Battle of Parkinson House
It was nearly sunset on a perfect day, clear and cool on this last day of winter, the air held the promise of spring. Parkinson House had been ritually cleaned, the children unusually reserved and solemn for the occasion, even the Ostara egg hunt seemed subdued. But a close look at the three dozen children showed happy faces as they cavorted amongst the symbols of birth, the eggs, and the symbols of fertility, the cute little white bunnies all over the front lawn. Pansy, Bella, Eliza and Rita walked among the children smiling and "oohing" and "ahing" as each child located another treasure. The sun dipped below the western mountains.
This pastoral scene was watched by malevolent eyes as Miles Bletchley, now the favorite "son" of the Dark Lady, stood just outside the wards with the rest of the inner circle. Across the street and down half a block five figures, heavily cloaked against the failing daylight, waited.
"I'm sensing complex wards around the place, but nothing too powerful. A few blasting hexes on the charging runes ought to take them out.
"Remember, you only have to grab one or two of the little ones and the rest will cave in. Kill one or two of the lil' bastards and that'll really get their attention, then we kin have our fun with Miss "Pug-nose" Parkinson and the other bints, and a few of the girls and boys for those of us with the inclination."
Several of the disillusioned men laughed salaciously at that. The cloaked figures watched impassively.
Theodore Nott the Third was the only one to recommend caution.
"Parkinson will be easy enough, but I hear tell of a druid priest and a vestal virgin on the premises. Neither one of them should be taken lightly. If you see the priest, AK his arse."
A chorus of desultory "yeah, yeahs'"told Theo that he'd lost whatever respect the men had once had for him.
"Fine, don't listen to me; get your fool heads blown off."
Bletchley spoke up, "Theo's right. Don't assume anything." He turned his attention to the curse breaker he'd recruited. "Well?"
"Found them," the man said,"clever arrangement, five anchor stones, roughly in a circle. Five interlocking lay-lines, each one forming a focal point from four other stones."
He crouched down low to inspect the short post with the inscribed symbols of power and protection.
"We'll have to take out three simultaneously to get past them."
Bletchley sent two other men to the nearest two ward anchors. When he saw the blurry air where the disillusioned men stood coincided with two of the other rune-stones he dropped his concealment spell, raised a hand high, then brought it down quickly.
Three blasting hexes destroyed the wards around the house and property and ten black robed men rushed onto the lawn, each one grabbing a struggling child as he converged on the stunned women.
Pansy was the first to regain her composure.
"What do you want here Bletchley?"
"Oh, you remember me, do you?"
"Yeah, you were on the quidditch team, full of yourself then as now. What do you want with us?"
"We're gonna make an example here!"
"By attacking defenseless women and children?"
"Yeah, about that, regrettable that is, but no one will turn down the patronage of the Benevolent Sons of the Serpent after this."
Rita smiled and spoke over her shoulder, "Did you get that, sweetheart?"
"That I did darlin', that I did." Commander Pierce stepped out of the doorway in his maroon auror's robe.
Miles Bletchley looked perplexed.
"I don't care how many aurors you got here, Parkinson, anyone tries anything and this lil' one gets it."
Rita looked over the statement, duly recorded by the Verbatim Quill , quickly folded the missive into a paper airplane then let it streak off into the sky.
"That should make the evening edition!" she said smugly.
"What are you on about, bitch? You just killed this little girl!"
Saying that he threw the child down and shouted "Avada Kedavra!" The girl was bathed in a green glow, and Bletchley turned his wand and his steely gaze toward Rita.
"You could kill a child so easily?"
"Nuthin' to it!"
"Well," she said, with flint in her voice, "that makes this easier then."
Rita flicked her ever-present poison green quill in Bletchley's direction. The pen entered his skull just above and between his eyes and only stopped as the nib protruded from the back of his head.
Bletchley only had time to blink before he fell, face first, to the ground.
The rest of the attacking force was momentarily stunned.
"The pen is mightier than the wand!" Rita spat contemptuously.
One of the black-robed attackers screamed "Kill em' all!"
Three of the five watchers from across the street streaked toward the manor house, bloodless faces a mask of hunger, lips curled back to expose their fangs.
The squad of aurors and Gregory Goyle un-disillusioned themselves and brought heavy crossbows to bear on the attacking vampires. Luckily, for the defenders, the vampires were hampered by drugs and the imperius curse - and the fact that they had been starved to the point of insanity.
Two of the vampires fell, multiple crossbow bolts in their chests. The third, a feral female had been hit by several wooden bolts as well, but none through the heart. She reached Greg and tore at the veins in his neck, feeding greedily as the aurors tried in vain to pull her off.
Eliza Shakespeare was there before anyone could see her - she pulled the feeding vampire's head back by the hair and offered the starving vampiress the inside of her own arm, which was taken greedily.
"See to his wounds!" she shouted to the stunned aurors, "I'll take care of this one!"
Eliza fought her way into the vampiress's mind through the sharing of blood and the battle for dominance began. When it was over one of them would be in control of the other.
When the attacker screamed "Kill them all!" Pierce grabbed Rita by her collar and pulled her into the mansion, Pansy dove behind the short garden wall and Bella seemed to disappear. She was, in fact, moving with the preternatural speed of her kind. Within five seconds three of the attackers had their heads twisted completely backwards on their shoulders, accompanied by a sickening crack, crack, crunch as bones in the spine popped out of place. Still running she morphed into her white wolf form and was immediately joined by her grey wolf mate. They tore into the remaining attackers tooth and claw.
Bella looked up from a clean kill and saw a man level his wand at Remus. She knew she couldn't get to either the wizard or Remus in time but she could throw herself between the attacker and her mate.
Green light enveloped her and the white wolf glowed emerald for a moment - then fell to the ground.
The wizard shouted in triumph just before he fell, the grey wolf's jaws locked on his throat.
Two attackers were randomly firing curses until one realized that every child he'd hit had simply gotten back up again.
"Avada Kedavra!" the man screamed desperately. He watched a little boy fall, then get up again, blinking.
Nearly invisible, Blaise Zabini and Mitzi watched from the other side of the street. The Dark Lady had lost six of the fist echelon in less than a minute.
"Mitsi, summon them."
"Yes, my Lady."
She placed her pendant over the tattoo on her left breast and pressed. The surviving Sons felt their tattoos burn and each screamed "Portus!" while clutching their own pendants.
Theodore shrieked "Anti-portkey ward, get out however you can!"
He was just about to apparate when he saw one of his fellows do just that. The man splinched so badly it reminded Theodore of the time he'd seen the inner workings of a slaughterhouse.
"Don't apparate! Run!"
Blaise took careful aim and transfigured Theodore into the only form that seemed appropriate, a yellow snake.
The transfigured Theo had the presence of mind to slither quickly in the direction of the road. Blaise disillusioned the snake, picked it up, and calmly walked away from the carnage.
"We need at least one alive!"Pierce shouted to the wolf.
He may as well have been talking to the air.
His mate was dead.
He was going to kill, and kill, and kill until he was spent, and then he was going to die. Kill and die. Nothing else mattered.
He slowly advanced on the remaining two wizards who had dropped their wands, hands raised in surrender.
Remus didn't care, they were his prey.
That voice, that scent, he turned to look at Bella in her human form, gloriously naked and pale in the fading twilight.
Remus transformed and stood, also naked, in utter disbelief.
"You were dead!"
Bella gathered him into her arms and said, "I'm already dead, you know that."
Rita and Pansy brought the embracing couple their robes, and then stepped away, letting them comfort each other.
Commander Pierce leveled his wand at Eliza and her opponent, still struggling for control on the blood soaked lawn.
"In accordance with the decree for the regulation of dark creatures I arrest you for attacking Her Majesty's Department of Magical Law Enforcement officers.
Eliza didn't look up from her charge.
"No, you don't. This vampire was a mere child, recently turned, when a British mage bound her will with potions and tortured her to insanity."
"That may be, madam, but I have my duty."
"Commander," Rita said, softly,"Randy. This is not going to end well if you don't lighten up."
Pierce looked back at the struggling women on the lawn, then at Rita.
"What can I do?"
Rita smiled, "Let the fairer sex work this one out, eh?" She called over her shoulder, "Bella?"
Bella and Remus joined Eliza and her squirming companion, enfolding them both in a tight embrace.
A field medic had closed Goyle's wounds and poured vial after vial of blood replenishing potion down his throat.
Pierce asked, "Is he going to make it?"
The medic shrugged, "He's got afifty-fifty chance, lost a lot of blood y'know."
"Will he be a vampire too?"
"Don't think so, the vamp has to share its blood with the victim for that to happen. She wasn't in a mood to share."
"If he makes it I'm going to deputize him. The DMLE takes care of its own."
"What if he doesn't, sir?"
"Auror funeral, full honors."
Blaise and Mitsy returned to the London flat. They had barely gotten out of Gringott's in one piece - the ministry had frozen all of BSOtS's corporate assets, Blaise was able to transfer all the liquid assets from the Zabini vault to that of Mitsy Rolfe. For a twenty percent cut of the transaction the head teller had allowed the Dark Lady and her companion to use the only secure apparation point out of Gringott's. Asquad of auror's burst into the room and fired a cocktail of deadly curses afraction of a second too late.
What they did accomplish was the complete destruction of the apparation point, making it impossible to trace the Dark Lady's destination.
Glen Kercheck and Joshua Bush were not having a good day. It had started out so well. The stimulating send off by the Dark Lady herself, the anticipation of the hours of revelry to come- both men had taken endurance potions just before apparating to Hogsmeade.
Then it had all gone pear shaped.
An old auror sat across the table from them looking cold and sharp as flint.
"The "Benevolent" Sons of the Serpent are finished. It's all over the Wizarding Wireless - how you were just a gang of murderers, rapists and extortionists. That alone will get you twenty years in Azkaban. If that protean charm is classified as a dark mark you won't have to worry about Azkaban. It'll be the veil for the likes of you."
"Ain't you supposed to offer us leniency if we cooperate?"
"Depends. Are you cooperating?"
Both men nodded their heads vigorously.
Author's note: I've re-written the battle scene twice since the first draft two weeks ago, trying to get the pieces to fit and not leave out any important characters.
If you want to know why the wards are so effective just place five dots in a roughly circular pattern on a sheet of paper, then draw a straight line from each of the dots to the other four, don't miss any connections. It should be obvious.
I like the character that Greg has become in this story - his fate actually rests on the flip of a coin. Iflipped the coin and can tell you that heads means he makes it, tails he doesn't.
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