I'm back! Sorry for the wait, work is work and mine takes me away from civilization occasionally.
Please read the note at the end of the chapter.
"Oh how unoriginal." Rahkesh muttered as Voldemort's spell flew at Namach, who sidestepped it.
"A bit useless too, vampires from his time, they were trained to deal with worse pain than that." A voice said from the shadows. Rahkesh, Moody, and Regulus the fox turned around. Both Rahkesh and Moody had their wands out already but they had drawn other weapons – knives and tasers – as well. Lightning crackled briefly near the ground and a strange glow lit the air around Moody. Then they both stilled when they recognized the Akren signal – it was four werewolves. A slightly apologetic feeling zipped across following the signal, followed by a brief feeling of peace, and everyone relaxed a bit. Regulus looked up to the two humans, Moody gave him a quick sign with his hand, these weren't enemies. Daniel smiled at Rahkesh and nodded, he was standing behind the shoulder of a grey-haired extremely well-muscled woman who wasn't much taller than Molly Weasely. Rahkesh glanced at the other two, both males, one standing behind Daniel the other behind the woman's other shoulder. Rahkesh checked the air around her magically and caught the aura of an alpha werewolf.
Rahkesh and Moody gave their names magically, silently, the female werewolf replied with her name, Relora, and the names of the other two males, Maxwell and Geoff.
"We felt the destructive magics, figured we should stop by and see what was happening, Lord Hadrian is a…ally, after all." Relora said with a slight grimace at calling a vampire an ally.
"Same here" Moody grunted. "Didn't know Voldemort knew how to do that."
While Namach stepped aside for another cruciatus curse the vampires behind him formed into groups. A dozen of them formed a circle and began a spell Rahkesh couldn't hear and didn't recognize, a red glow began to form around them. Cyala detached from the vampires followed by four others from her clan. Rahkesh recognized Daray's parents, Elara and Sabien Ateres, from Daray's descriptions. Elara was a super-model beautiful red head while Sabien was a huge black vampire built like a bulldozer. Sabien was even taller than Namach and twice as broad in the shoulders with not the slightest wisp of hair. He looked like he ought to be a professional wrestler.
A chill sank into Rahkesh mind, and he blocked it out while readying himself, Dementors, in huge numbers. Voldemort's high pitched laugh made him wince. The dark lord glanced back at the swarms drifting down from around the clouds and laughed again as the vampires looked up.
The vampires had also spotted the Dementors. They seemed to be feeling the effects even worse than Rahkesh was, he could see some of what he assumed were the younger ones, gasping and shivering. Then they began casting patronuses. Clouds of silvery creatures, most of them fully corporeal, charged at the black mass at the edge of the field.
"Avis Patronis!" Namach barked, followed by Cyala doing the same spell. Patroni birds flew in flocks from their wands, big Simurgs glittering with white, gold, and silvery jewels from Namach, nearly a dozen. The simurg patroni hit the Dementors clawing and screaming audibly. From Cyala came a score or so of lyras, silver and gold winged leopards. They were reinforced in a few seconds by smaller flocks of patroni from other vampires, winged dear, runespores, lions, several bats, eagles, falcons, sleipnirs, flamingos, Tasmanian devils, kangaroos, ostriches, hydras, and even a herd of minotaurs.
Voldemort glared as his Dementors were rounded up into a tight group, patroni on all sides, and then attacked viciously. Once the patroni had them secured four new patroni were added, and these ones were different. These patorni were glowing with gold light. A simurg from Namach and a lyra from Cyala, followed by a bat and an eagle. The gold patroni hit the Dementors, and the Dementors began to scream. Horrible agonized sounds that quickly forced Rahkesh to turn off his hearing bloodmagics. He didn't know what that stage of the patronus spell was, but given that Cyala's bloodmagics were glowing on her skin in spider-silk thin gold runes he guessed it was an advanced form of the spell involving bloodmagic.
Red curses and green killing curses flew across the battlefield in a wave of light. The vampires dodged the killing curses and reflected whatever the red ones were back at the death eaters.
The broom brigade swooped down from above, having regrouped. They flew straight down at the vampires firing off curses as fast as they could. Vampires on the ground ducked and dodged or created shields. Some of them began returning fire with broom snapping spells and skull crushing curses.
The red glow surrounding the twelve vampires began to rise into the air, then a thirteenth vampire began creating waves of fire and the spell took shape, morphing into a whirling cyclone of flames that spun off towards the death eaters. The air became heated and the roar of the inferno blocked out all other sounds as it rolled towards the scattering death eaters, turning the sky a brilliant orange. It fed on magic, pulling in the magic and the bodies of anything close enough to it, great whips of flames lashing out towards running black robed death eaters, curling around and pulling them back into it, dragging their magic out and using it to spawn smaller fire storms. Rahkesh had never seen anything like it, spinning tornadoes of fiery death that ate magic and flesh, yet not harming the rubble strewn across the field. They swirled around, growing as they consumed, leaving only bits of ashes floating in the air and the sizzling agony screaming across his telepathic senses from the magic that had been wrenched from the souls of dying. Soon half a dozen of the spinning fire cyclones were whirling around behind the death eaters.
Spells were flying everywhere now, most of the visible ones from the death eaters. The often invisible ones from the vampires could only be felt. Death eaters collapsed with their intestines sliding out while eyeballs melted out of sockets and limbs exploded.
Nearby one vampire went down with a scream, a stake standing out of his chest, the point sticking out his back. Whoever had used that staking spell had excellent aim. If the stake was removed immediately and the wound healed he would live. Two vampires jumped to the rescue just as death eaters pounced at the fallen vampires. The attacking vampires acted at once; one grabbing their fallen comrade while the other raised both hands, neither with a wand, and began tying knots with a piece of string, his fingers a blur. The death eaters collapsed seconds before they finished whatever spell they had been attempting, and flopped down as the fourth knot was tied, and bean to convulse like fish out of water on the sixth. By the eighth knot they were dead. Rahkesh sighed enviously, how he wanted to learn thread magic!
Voldemort was creating more spells, holding two of the flaming tornados at bay with one hand, while trying to rip the patroni away from his suffering Dementors with the other. The patroni were beginning to falter under the lashes of black magic zipping around them, and when Voldemort stepped it up a bit the weaker patroni were engulfed with black clouds and vanished. The stronger ones rushed forward but the Dementors were already taking off.
Looking around the rubble-strewn battlefield Rahkesh caught sight of Namach sending out unrecognizable spells that first froze the death eaters they hit, and then shattered them into tiny pieces, seven or eight going down with each spell. He was watching Voldemort, waiting for the next big attack.
The fire cyclones were gaining power from those they killed and now were ripping into the fliers. Buffeting them about with heated waves of air and sucking them and their magic in. The vampires on the ground were now hurling fireballs upwards, and every broomtail that flamed was quickly located and caught by the fire cyclones. They seemed to feel out the flaming broomsticks and fire tentacles reaching out from the center of the vortexes in long waves picked out the flaming brooms and their riders.
Down below the twelve vampires who had created the fire cyclones were wrapped in an impenetrable red haze. Rahkesh realized that they were helpless against outside attacks, too concentrated on their six fire cyclones. Other vampires moved in to stop all the spells headed for them. Some began using thread magic to create shields around their immobile unaware comrades while others deflected curses.
Rahkesh turned back to Cyala and watched as she closed her eyes and shivered, and began to transform. Enormous black wings with a red shine to them arched out from her back while her eyes snapped open to reveal a glowing bright red. Claws sprung from her hands and feet.
"Figures." Moody said, "that that one would be a dark angel."
"It is fitting." Rahkesh agreed.
As her transformation completed Cyala snapped out a commands, and her clothing began to change, turning into a swirling mass of magic before settling into armor. Black metal armor decorated with gold that, for all it appeared immovable and skin-tight, did not hinder her as she bent around to check each of the weapons that had appeared.
The Ateres crest, a dark red and silver dark angel in a ring of gold fire with a diamond and gold star above and a ruby blood drop below, a sword to one side and a razor whip to the other appeared on her armor. One crest on both shoulders, another larger one across her back, crests her boots and on the sheaths of her weapons. Satisfied that all her weapons were in order Cyala tapped her throat, and each arm guard with one glowing finger. Long tendrils of bloodmetal appeared, black metal with red and gold sparks in it. The bloodmetal wrapped itself into blood runes, connected like a necklace around her neck, and sank into the armguards. Briefly the bloodmetal glowed then went dark. Enlarged slitting nostrils flared and flames billowed out. Cyala arched her back and raised her wings.
Dark flames burst into being around her body, covering her wings and body. The fire leaped out from her wingtips a good three meters and trailed off her back like a tail or long whip. She leaped skyward with an unearthly roar and flew at the death eaters, the fire extending until her physical body was invisible beneath a layer of flames. Fire shot from her mouth and hands, setting light to the young vampires fleeing before her. Her wings beat across their heads, incinerating their skulls wherever it touched.
Behind her the other four of her clan were also transforming, also into dark angels. Sabien and Elara took to the air in massive bursts of flame and leaped into the fire cyclones, sailing upwards on the heated air, to attack the death eaters on broomsticks. The other two followed Cyala into the death eater army and went after the young vampires. Since the vampires and humans and Dementors didn't mingle much it was easy to pick out a crowd of young terrified vampires and drop into the center of the group, then to unfold their enormous fire encased wings and roast them all. Vampire flesh burned much more readily than human flesh did.
Rahkesh eyed the dark angels as they fished through the enemies, turning attacking vampires to piles of ash. Okay, so maybe there was a reason why Daray's demon form hadn't been considered too odd. The dark angel animagus must be transmitted through Cyala's bloodline…though it was doubtful that her creator had had it. She must have found a way to pass it on by blood, some form of bloodmagic, though Rahkesh had never heard of anything so advanced. It should be impossible, what worked for one did not work for all, the form should have been rejected by anyone else's body…perhaps it was contained through Cyala's existence. Exposure to the magics of their creator allowing the others to keep the form until it became part of them.
The battle shifted again, and death eaters and vampires were suddenly running towards the little group, hurling spells at each other. The werewolves leaped out of the way and ducked down behind some large pieces of marble that had once been a column in the entrance hall. Moody dropped and rolled down beside them while Regulus jumped down in between the splintered remains of a section of ceiling.
Rahkesh turned searched for Nagini, the massive serpent was still stuck where she'd landed, hissing and twisting.
Spells flew past his head, Rahkesh ducked, a sudden explosion flattened him to the ground and he heard the zing of bits of metal around him. Grenades?
The fight was fully around him now, and the space between him and Nagini would be impossible to cover. The air was heating up and growing bright behind his eyelids, Rahkesh opened his eyes and rolled over.
One of the fire cyclones was spinning towards him; he flipped around and looked back at Nagini just as the first waves of fire lashed between them.
"Rahkesh!" Moody barked, Rahkesh dove for the open space behind the marble column. Nagini would have to wait.
"Damn it, I just want that damn snake." He grouched, "then we can get out of here." A dark angel swooped over head and Maxwell gasped and bit into his fist to keep from screaming as a wave of fire burned his shoe off, and charred part of his foot.
"Once there's a break -" An abrupt silence stopped Moody mid-reply. The werewolves, minus Maxwell, leaped on top of the fallen marble column and the two humans and fox followed.
Inferi, and army of them, was marching around the few remaining trees at the edge of the former manor lawn and up the hill towards them.
Voldemort took a brief head count of his inferi then turned triumphantly towards the vampires, who had regrouped. The handful controlling the fire tornados and their guards reeled back their spells until the firestorms lifted from the ground and spun in the air behind the vampires, effectively shielding their backs. The vampires had drawn back, falling behind their leaders, leaving Hadrian Master of London, Tristan Namach, and a handful of others in front. Where they had left Rahkesh picked out a few dead vampires on the ground. With the magics sustaining them gone along with their lives they were easy to spot – they were rotting unnaturally fast, disappearing as the bodies literally crumbled in dust. So this battle would not be without vampire casualties. Then Rahkesh remembered hearing Cyala and Namach discussing having to kill off a few of the radicals to get the vampires together and cooperating. So perhaps these ones had been killed off by the ancients under the cover of the battle?
From within the packed vampires howls began to sound. Howls of a sort Rahkesh had never heard and given the puzzeled looks from the werewolves they couldn't identify them either. Probably canine the howls sounded like the mix of a wolf and a roaring lion, but there was something in them that reminded Rahkesh sharply of demons.
"Ah, of course, Hellhounds." Moody grunted approvingly. "Every city master has a few and they protect their pack bloodlines as life-or-death family secrets; Lord Hadrian has bred his own bloodline of them for centuries."
"This isn't what it seems, "Relora warned, "There's some trick here, there's something odd about those vampires."
Rahkesh glanced upwards as an odd scent caught his nostrils. There were dark angels above, a dozen of them. The scent would be the charred bodies of the remnants of Voldemort's now demolished air force dripping from their claws. The Ateres family was not one of the huge vampire bloodlines, the dozen dark angels was probably the whole of the Ateres force in Europe, minus any too young to transform yet.
"I am not without mercy." Voldemort called out across the rubble and bodies. "There is still time to surrender."
The inferi were at the top of the hill, arrayed out behind Voldemort and his death eaters and Dementors…though there seemed to be rather less of the Dementors than there had been. Could they be destroyed? Rahkesh wondered. He hadn't been watching the Dementors that closely, had those bloodmagic-fueled patroni somehow destroyed some of them?
The vampires behind Namach vanished into wisps of air, illusions. A wild war cry came from amongst the death eaters as scores of vampires appeared from thin air sending out a vast cloud of killing curses.
"Told you." Relora muttered.
Voldemort screamed in rage as almost all of his remaining death eaters died in seconds, not fast enough to find cover in time. The vampires rotated as one towards the inferi, weapons coated with magical fire appeared in their hands. The inferi charged. The vampires waited for the inferi to come to them, then moved in with amazing speed, wielding their weapons with smooth deadly efficiency. The magical flames followed the weapons through the animated corpses, burning them to ash and shattering the magics upon them.
A thunderous crashing and crackling turned Voldemort's attention back to the ancient vampire facing him across the field.
Namach's hands were out, moving in slow motions, bloodmagic sparked over his arms and face in delicate gold lines and a glow began to build around him. It was not a bright glow, but a dark one. Drinking in light and giving off none, but for his shining eyes. The ground shuddered and bucked and rippled and from beneath their feet came the sounds of breaking rock and grinding and tearing, groans from the depths of the earth as masses of soil and rock twitched.
The ground trembled once more, then with a wrenching noise loud enough to make the watchers cover their ears it ripped open. A gaping wound split in the ground, running in a circle until Namach was left standing on a pillar of rock in the center of a dark abyss. Pieces of rubble and broken stones fell away into the darkness, and there was no sound of them hitting anything.
The vampire looked upwards, and the dark angels dove. It was then that what they carried in their claws, concealed against the black sky, became visible, Dementors. Or, rather, dead Dementors, hanging limply and dripping bits of rotting flesh.
The dark angels released the remains, flinging them into the chasm surrounding the ancient. Then they spread their wings until the fire from one wingtip touch the fire from the next, and followed the bodies into the darkness, briefly lighting the crumbling earth and rock walls on their way down, until they too vanished.
The vampires working their way through the inferi turned again, and performed a synchronized spell, banishing the bodies of the death eaters and burning remains of the inferi they had killed so far, a few hundred to the ground at Namach's feet. Where the bodies seemed to coalesce into one great mass of rotting dead flesh. Then they returned to the remaining inferi. Now instead of attacking they spread out in four lines. The lines split sending half of the vampires to the left and half to the right of the inferi army. More vampires raced around behind the inferi to block any retreat.
From deep within the gorge surrounding Namach a silvery glow began to form, wafting upwards like bits of mist. Souls and dementor magic. The magic used to keep the souls bound to the Dementors, dead magic. The inferi at the ancient's feet began to twitch as bits of the floating dead magic touched them.
Namach beckoned to the souls now drifting about and they came to him, at his direction losing all form and becoming clouds of soul magic, floating down to cover the inferi.
Now dark red magic began to rise from the ground, followed by gouts of flame signaling the returning dark angels. The red magic twisted itself into long whip like tendrils and wrapped around Namach and the silvery mass of souls and inferi. The ancient vampire raised his hands and pulled out a knife, with which he began to activate specific bloodmagics with careful cuts along his arms and palms. Finally he tossed the knife aside. The bloodmagic he had called glowed gold. A great wave of black magic billowed out around him, concealing him from sight, it spread outwards to mix with the red magic.
The pillar of earth the ancient was standing on began to glow, soon the glow turned to fire, flames eating their way out of the soil. The dark angels were inside the earth, Rahkesh could see their forms rippling about like shadows in water under the dirt.
Soon their flames exploded upwards, enveloping the ancient vampire, inferi, the souls pulled from the dead Dementors, the dementor magic and whatever magics he was working.
"Child," Namach spoke from within the fireball, not bothering to yell, his smooth dark voice carrying well enough to be heard perfectly above the sounds of battle, "I invented the inferi."
A wave of black magic blasted out through the walls fire. The explosive force behind it sending flames flying in all directions, Rahkesh and his companions threw themselves to the ground as the waves of fire flew across the ground just above their heads. Looking up Rahkesh saw the black magic sweeping across the battlefield towards the inferi army.
It didn't strike them so much as go through them, and the inferi dropped like dead leaves in a storm as it passed, bits of magic leaving each of them, adding to the black wave. In seconds the entire inferi army, which would have taken months to build, thousands of animated corpses, had fallen.
Then the dark angels roared up out of the earth, following the wave of dead magic, the fire enveloping them burning away the remains of the inferi.
Namach pulled the earth back together, sending the remaining death eaters, some of the vampires and Rahkesh and the werewolves to the ground as the earth shook.
"Very clever vampire, very clever. But I'm not finished yet." Voldemort shouted. He didn't sound nearly so confident anymore, Rahkesh noticed. "Voldemort raised his wand and a wave of blue shot upwards. From back where the inferi had come from howls rose. Rahkesh knew these howls, werewolves. Perhaps a few hundred of them, their voices joining to become almost painfully loud.
The vampires had begun moving back up the slope towards the center of the rubble. At the sound of the howling some of them started laughing. The howls grew closer, and in seconds the werewolves appeared, charging up the hill. The vampires parted ranks and the ones controlling the fire tornados hurled them forward.
Following the fire came the Hellhounds. Only a few score strong, but fearsome nonetheless. The vampires gathered, some of them sitting down on the rubble, to watch. Apparently unconcerned by this latest threat.
Rahkesh had never seen Hellhounds, their thick guard hairs were glowing red hot and a metallic shine to them. They also looked very sharp, and they were big, much bigger than any werewolf. Not creatures he'd want to get into a fight with.
"Your mansion crushed, your minions dead, and my werewolves on the hunt. Your Hellhounds won't last long, why waste your lives? Surrender and we can come to an agreement." Voldemort called out.
The vampires started laughing. All of them. Finally Lord Hadrian stopped and stepped forward.
"Yes well, my Hellhounds know what they're doing. The guards you killed were not actual guards. And, since you mentioned it, about my manor, it is in fine condition." The master vampire flicked his fingers over his face, arms, palms and chest, activating bloodmagic runes. His fists then slowly began to close as they did a glow spread from his feet across the battlefield. Spider-silk thin lines wavering over and through and under the rubble of his once fine manor. Then he closed his eyes, drew a deep breath, let it out, and unclenched his fists.
The pieces of trash and debris across the ground, meters thick, began to right themselves, rebuilding the entire manor from the ground up in less than a minute, leaving it standing, perfect, clean, untouched. Even the grass was fine, not crushed or dirty.
Voldemort's shock showed clear on his face, then he collected himself and screamed order at his remaining death eaters.
"Relora, you realize the opportunity here?" Rahkesh asked cautiously, after moving to Moody's other side, away from her. For a moment the female alpha frowned at him, and then she nodded abruptly. Maxwell, his foot healed by Daniel, rejoined the group and they all pulled potions from inside their robes and drank them. Moody cast a silencing spell as the werewolves dropped to the ground and began to transform. Soon four large werewolves took off at a run for the packed vampires, slowing down as they approached and going to sit near Lord Hadrian, who looked at them in surprise. Relora gave the werewolf version of a laugh, then she and her three companions chased off after the Hellhounds.
"Werewolves and vampires working together, never thought I'd see it." Moody muttered,
"Well it only took the world's most powerful psycho to get them to do it." Rahkesh said.
With the werewolves out of the way Rahkesh began to search for Nagini. The snake had clearly freed herself from the metal spike she'd been impaled on upon landing long before Hadrian had fixed his manor. But the blood on the ground was very fresh, she'd only just gotten away.
Seeing his werewolves were not winning against the Hellhounds, despite their overwhelming numbers, and that any who got past the hounds were promptly hit with spells from the vampires, Voldemort called on his last back up plan.
Rahkesh heard the hissing, even across the distance separating them and the noise of the Hounds and Werewolves. He was summoning, in parseltongue.
"Oh crap, not good."
Basilisks, their portkeys activated by the parselmagic summoning, appeared beside and behind the Voldemort, four of them. African Basilisks, his Parselmagic informed him when he sought it out.
Abruptly his mind was filled with a rush of information, flinging itself past his memory in such a way that Rahkesh was sure he'd forget it at once, but it would be available in the archive contained within the Parselmagic. There were four varieties of African Basilisk; the pygmy Basilisk, the Desert Basilisk, the Black Rainforest Basilisk (not to be confused with the Green Rainforest Basilisk subspecies in South America), and the Grasslands Blue Basilisk (named for the color of its eyes and eggs). These were all Blues, the smallest of which was much larger than Rahkesh's snake form, despite his form being from the second largest of all the world's Basilisk varieties (Asian Reds). Well the Blues were third largest, at birth. And clearly all of these were a few hundred years old, but not too old. His magics suddenly informed him to check for the telltale flame-like markings around the eyes and nostrils and at the edges of the belly scales. The four Blues had the eyes, but not the other two. None of them was more than five hundred then. But almost there.
"Rahkesh?" Moody asked, "what are they?" Regulus, sitting on the post of a solid black iron gate in a black iron fence that ran around the orchard, looked up at him. Rahkesh snapped out of the haze the abrupt flood of information had caused.
"All Basilisks can kill with their eyes, and their venoms aren't that different, except for the pygmies and the largest of all the varieties. There are three known species of Basilisks, and then four subspecies within each. These are African Blues, all under five hundred years of age, but probably more than four hundred years old. Crest shape appears to be identical" he added, glancing at their heads "possibly siblings."
"Your Basilisk form?" Moody asked.
"No good, my subspecies is much larger than theirs is at birth, but I'm younger, you take human years, convert to snake years, and I'm still younger. I'm smaller than any of them, though not by a whole lot. On size and weight alone I could take one but only if I knew how to fight in my snake form, and I don't." And he wasn't going to dare to rely on his parselmagic to instruct him while he fought.
Voldemort obviously thought he'd pulled out the card that would win the battle. Even a Master Vampire would find a Basilisk to be a bit of a challenge. He drew back and levitated himself to watch, his remaining death eaters put up shields and began casting spells at the vampires, trying to force them to concentrate on them until the Basilisk got closer.
Where was Nagini? Surely a snake that big and injured couldn't hide so well, but the decorative bushes, now alive and fixed, were thick and deep. But she could not have moved very fast, and the bushes were very thick, they would have hurt against her wound. Sygra?
The vampires had plans of their own. A group of them broke off from the rest and moved, following one of the Basilisk that was racing around them trying to get behind the vampires. Moving quickly they intercepted it and attacked. A barrage of bright spells at its eyes, followed by spells to punch holes through its protective outer scales to the softer thin layer of skin below.
Voldemort had thought of that, and all the spells bounced off as wards flared up around the snake. It shook itself, hissed, and struck, the vampires scattered. One of them wasn't fast enough and was speared on a fang that went right through his chest.
"Must be a ward stone." Moody said.
"A stone, usually a gem, with wards on it that don't activate on the stone but instead on whatever surrounds it. The snakes must have swallowed ward stones. Clever of him." The old auror grunted. "And a problem for us."
"Oh I don't think so, not really." Rahkesh said, waiting while Sygra tried to pinpoint Nagini so he could use a directed summoning spell. If he didn't know exactly where she was when he cast it she'd probably be able to snap it. "Just watch."
The dozen dark angels were attacking now. Circling the Basilisk the vampires had attacked, raking it with their poisoned claws. Their claws slipped past the wards and one of them finally managed to rake its claws into an eye, causing the Basilisk to scream. Their flames couldn't hurt it directly, but the extreme heat had probably begun to cause blistering under the scales. Grasslands Blues could withstand fire, but only to a certain point, when it got too hot their thick scales couldn't block out all the heat.
Looking back to the other vampires Rahkesh saw that they were moving, spreading out, leave Namach in the center. The ancient had his knife again and with tiny flicks of it activated an extensive set of bloodmagic runes. A very extensive set, the glowing from them was painfully bright. The ancient dropped his walls and let his power free, the vampires moved farther away, those closest visibly stumbling. Regulus yelped in surprise as the ancient's magic swept over them, thick enough to choke on and raging like a stormy sea. The danger was almost enough to force the calmest to terror and panic. Yet at the same time the vampiric side sent out a dark seductive aura that was difficult to ignore. It was a heady combination, immense raging power and terror enough to send an untrained mind into shock mixed with a seductive pull that had the nearer vampires trembling. Rahkesh struggled frantically to block it out, beside him Moody was shaking his head like a wet dog. Finally the auror shuddered and growled, then straightened and blinked. Rahkesh gritted his teeth against the onslaught and wished he had a nice small discrete animagus – an animal wouldn't be quite so affected.
"I had rather hoped to see Namach's animagus form, I have a bet with a friend on what it is." Rahkesh said when he had his voice back under his conscious control. He could feel the power collecting in Namach, and the air was getting charged to the point he was surprised it wasn't physically harmful.
"Is that what he's doing?" Moody asked.
"Yes. Bloodmagic sorcerers of his capabilities usually find it necessary to contain their animagus with bloodmagic. Others do it because their forms are too powerful and too uncontrollable. Another year or two and I may have to do the same, because of how out of control mine are."
Daray was absolutely certain that the ancient was one of the death dragons, guardians of hell, the devils body guards. They had many names in many cultures and were very rare. If they existed at all. Legend said they had been there at the destruction of Atlantis, eating the survivors, and had, myth had it, created the Sahara desert by burning away the land. Supposedly. Rahkesh had checked up on them when Daray had made his claim, and had found that there had never been a reliable recorded sighting or fossil finding, ever. Of course, his own guess was almost as far-fetched as Daray's, but at least the creature he had guessed was known to have existed at all. Rahkesh was betting on an Ice Dragon, probably, but not certainly, extinct since the end of the last Ice Age.
Daray was quite sure his guess was right, though he hadn't explained how he knew. But Rahkesh knew for sure that he was right. He had known since the ancient had called upon his animagus to force Rahkesh's thunderbird to back down and stop taking over Rahkesh's mind. The ice and cold and fury and fire and reptilian scales and wings and immense power he had felt then could only belong to one known creature.
Nagini, he had to find Nagini. Sygra, smell her. Sygra uncoiled from his neck and shoulders and stretched out, forked tongue flickering.
Ahead and to the right, about a dozen lengths. Sygra hissed to him. Rahkesh translated snake distances – they measured by their own body length, into paces and moved forward to a position behind a rather large sweat smelling shrub. I have her, behind the row of lilies…wait I've lost her again. Sygra paused, smelling the air again. Rahkesh moved back and bent low, removing the trunk in his earring and got out a tiny phial with just a few phoenix tears in it. These were the tears of a phoenix living near Akren, cried when its chick had been killed by a griffin. Rahkesh had been following the griffin hoping to get a feather or two, and had summoned the tears. He'd also gotten the griffin feathers, a good day for him but not for the phoenix. He tucked the phial into a pocket after showing it to Moody, and put the trunk away. He might need it to deal with killing the horcrux.
Namach began to change. White light flared around him until it was too bright to see him. Waves of silver and gold magic sprung up and wrapped themselves around him, long tendrils curling like whips. From inside the magic a horrible roar blasted, making everyone flinch away. Then the air turned so cold Rahkesh could see his breath.
A massive dragon exploded out of the magic, rearing up above the battlefield. Rahkesh gasped in awe, and couldn't suppress a pleased grin, he'd been right. An Ice Dragon. A massive Ice Dragon with white, gold, and silver scales. Bigger than any dragon he'd ever seen, easily more than twice the size of his thunderbird, dwarfing the Basilisks. The massive white and gold head lifted higher than the mansion stood, high enough it would pass most buildings in London. The claws alone were easily the size of an elephant and when it spread its enormous wings the sky above the remains of the manor was completely covered from view. He'd never heard of any dragon ever getting that big. It shouldn't happen. But this dragon was as old as it vampiric form, and some dragon species did continue to grow throughout their lives. But still, the size alone was overwhelming, mind stopping.
The bright trails of magic dissipated, leaving on the dragon, so big it was hard to see all of it, in the dark it was shadowed, only its lower parts being illuminated by light from the firestorms and dark angels, casting flickering shadows of fire across its pearl white scales.
The air was icy cold and when the dragon's head lowered and snorts ice crystals and freezing air blasted out, visibly freezing the rubble beneath it.
"Don't see that every day." Moody said softly.
"Voldemort wasn't expecting that." Rahkesh chuckled, turning they both looked at the dark lord.
Voldemort stood still, head craning up to look and the monster standing in front of him, vampires scattered about its feet. He looked completely numb, in shock.
One of the Basilisks, suicidal or very brave, attacked. Shooting towards the dragon and striking at its leg, Namach roared, turned and caught the Basilisk by the back of its neck between his jaws. The Ice Dragon bit down hard and the snake screamed, bones snapped audibly and blood splashed across white scales. Lifting the thrashing snake nearly clear of the ground he breathed out a gale of freezing air through his nostrils, frosting its coils. He then snapped his head around and threw it at the other two, knocking them both flat. Though bigger than the one Rahkesh had fought in the Chamber of Secrets they were no match for the Ice Dragon. The dragon twisted, leaned down, and roared, and wave of white flame engulfing the nearest basilisk, freezing it solid. Whether it was dead or not Rahkehs couldn't tell, but like most living things Basilisks were mostly water, and surely it would have died from being frozen like that. Or maybe not, his parselmagic abruptly supplied the possibility that if it was only the scales that had frozen it might live.
The last of the werewolves turned and fled, the Hellhounds gave chase until a sharp whistle from Lord Hadrian called them back. The last Dementors and death eaters followed them, vanishing into the night and leaving the property as quickly as possible. The remaining two Basilisks turned and fled while the dark angels swarmed the injured one, ripping out its other eye and folding their flaming wings around it while raking their black claws through its scales.
Voldemort, mouth open and breathing shakily, stared at the dragon. It ignored him, lifting its head over him and sending out more white fire at the fleeing Basilisks, freezing another. A second wave of fire, this time black fire, turned the fourth one to ash. Two dead, two frozen and possibly dead.
There. Sygra spoke, Behind that tree
"Accio." Rahkesh murmured, keeping the spell as quiet as possible. He would have done it silently but Nagini had powers of her own. As it was he had to concentrate hard and put everything he had into the spell when he felt her try to fight it off. Finally the big snake came flying back across the ground to him. Rahkesh kept her low, out of sight.
Voldemort finally woke up, and vanished with a sharp snap, white flames hit the ground, Voldemort screamed as he apparated out, one arm frozen. The dragon, annoyed, lashed its tail, flattening the manor stables, and sending the vampire ducking as rubble flew through the air. Lord Hadrian rebuilt the stables at once, he probably wouldn't complain, Rahkesh decided. At least not until centuries had passed, too much chance of annoying Namach. Lord Hadrian might be a City Master, but the vampiric power structure didn't change much with age and he was under Namach complete control. Namach roared in fury at the wizard's escape, and everyone collapsed, hands over their ears. The sounds a dragon that large could produce were physically painful and Rahkesh felt tears spring to his eyes. The werewolves, with their hearing, must be in real pain and when he looked up half the Hellhounds appeared to have passed out. The others seemed to actually be crying and fleeing. Cyala waved her wings, and wave of fire swept across the Ice Dragon's face, making him blink and shake his head with a most undignified, and very pained, squawk. Namach looked around, suddenly appearing apologetic, remembering just how loud his roar was. The dragon shook its head and transformed. The ancient vampire suddenly standing before them again. He immediately called back the Hellhounds and began healing them.
"Bit disappointing." Namach muttered, over the absolute silence he was easy to hear. "I'd hoped for more of a fight, and some real Basilisks, not those little hatchlings."
Nagini arrived, knowing if he killed her here he'd attract too much attention Rahkesh grabbed her, and apparated to his cottage. Moody grabbed Regulus and followed.
Rahkesh hit the ground awkwardly, her righted his stumble and tossed Nagini down, hitting her with a stunner before she could attacked. Casting another stunner just to be sure he waited until the other two had appeared, and signaled them back. If Nagini dodged or threw it off he didn't want to hurt them accidentally. Sygra dropped off his neck and slithered back to Moody and Regulus, not wanting to get in the way.
"Adssvadssrass Kedavssrass! Rahkesh shouted, as best as one could shout while hissing. The bright green spell leaped form his wand and Rahkesh poured everything he had into it. Every anger and hurt at Voldemort's hands, all the hate he could find.
Nagini went limp, dead, the horcrux exploded.
Inky black magic swallowed up the dead snake and exploded outwards, screaming. Human screaming without a throat. Rahkesh felt the air shiver and ducked as the dark grey swirl of soul blew about than spread away from its center, and burst into flame. Dark fire ate it away out of the air and with a sparkle of black magic the soul vanished and so did Nagini's remains. The screams lingered in the air and the earth shivered, then all went quiet.
The last quiver of the ground had knocked everyone off their feet. Rahkesh stood and sniffed the air which was at once chilly with a cold dead feel, and hot with the smell of death.
Then the pain hit.
Agony, agony everywhere, his entire world filled with pain. Magical pain, not physical, pain so deep that when he searched for the source it went beyond anything the cruciatus could inflict, to the center of his soul. Gasping Rahkesh jerked out of the magic that was dragged at his senses. Darkness rushed across his vision and Rahkesh choked, unable to breathe, feeling his lungs and heart spasm painfully. He collapsed to his knees and gritted his teeth against a scream, fighting away the pain. Magic, foreign magic, something that should not be there. His instincts screamed that something had to be done NOW. Rahkesh reached out for his occlumency and wrapped it around him, seeking out his memories to reaffirm who he was, calling on his own magic he pulled away from the unknown magics. A brief hiss of parseltongue, not his own, shot across his mind. Rahkesh released his magic, dropping it back to fill the void left when he'd drawn back from parts of his own mind, forming a solid wall and hurling the foreign magic out.
He was free. The pain was gone. Rahkesh uncorked the phial and drank a few drops of the phoenix tears, then put it away with shaking hands. He was gasping and shaking, distantly he could hear Moody calling his name and felt the magic of Regulus transforming. But he didn't answer, his mind was else where, realizing what he'd just learned.
Moody watched as Rahkesh steadied himself, the phoenix tears obviously helping against whatever had attacked him. Sygra shot forward and waited, looking up at Rahkesh and hissing, and getting no response. Regulus was back in human form and they both approached cautiously. Rahkesh looked okay, and Moody could sense no magical turmoil.
Then Rahkesh began to scream.
After a long life fighting the dark arts Moody had heard plenty of screaming, and he knew what he heard now was not pain, not physical pain. The magic, completely uncontrolled and frantic, sizzling in the air around them told him that this was a wrenching emotional pain. Regulus winced and covered his ears as Rahkesh's screams continued. Moody put up a silencing ward and waiting. Finally the screams turned to sobbing and the three, the snake and the two humans, could only watch in confusion Rahkesh broke down, sobbing and screaming in the grass.
"The horcrux?" Regulus asked softly.
"No, it's gone, completely." Moody replied.
Rahkesh was completely unaware of the two humans watching, with growing worry, or of Sygra beside him, hissing frantically. He was caught up in what had been revealed to him in the moments after the horcrux had been destroyed. He had found the last horcrux. There had been the cup, the ring, the book, Nagini, the locket, Voldemort, and one other.
He, Rahkesh, Harry Potter, was the last horcrux.
Now before everyone gets all upset about how cliché that is, Rahkesh being the last horcrux – I wrote that ending nearly a year ago, before I wrote the first chapter, so there. Let me remind you that this fic will be continuing beyond Voldemort, he isn't all that important, and because of that I try to make as much stuff completely original as possible. I think you'll like my ideas for the horcrux removal. (Actually I know you will).
The sequel will be coming very soon, no exact date but probably a week or less. No idea of a title…I'm thinking about holding a title contest after I post the second or third chapter, I'm drawing a complete blank.
Preview of next fic:
Professor Xanthius gets troublesome, Daray gets his demon issue taken care of, the elves finally make an appearance (we'll learn a bit about them, maybe more than a bit), horcrux destruction, Voldemort's removal, more training at Akren, a deeper look at a few of the fae species, Europe gets trashed and burned to the ground (not literally…maybe), Ally gets a boyfriend, Daray tortures Draco (possible rape), a few Akren students die, Veela hold an uprising, ending (probably) with…wait I can't tell you that. No promises, plans are subject to change without warning, no refunds.
A warning beforehand, we'll be taking a look at the vampires' darker side, probable mentions of coerced sex and gratuitous bloodletting and a look at what happens to some of those who make it into Akren, then can't handle it. Might make you wince, of course if you've read this far I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Depending on how far I get there might be some mentions of bestiality – demons and their prisoners. Nothing graphic but decidedly unpleasant. Hopefully the next fic will earn its rating (this one didn't), please let me know if I'm falling short of that goal.