Ummm… If I'm not careful this authors note will just end up being a repeat of the last one. *grins sheepishly*
There is nothing I can really say to make this better, is there? So all I will say is thank you to everyone who has remained with me, I am in awe at your Patience. I really hope that this chapter lives up to your expectations. It might be a bit strange in places, I've recently been reading a lot of werewolf fiction and I think that its come through in my writing.
Thank you again!
PS Would it be really cheeky of me to ask for feedback?
Dark Side of the Moon
Although out on the open grounds it was still light, day not yet faded, under the trees it was already night. The tress branches twined together overhead, forming a canopy that prevented the last of the sunlight from filtering through. Small noises drifted through the still air beneath the trees: scatterings and rustlings and twitterings- the nocturnal creatures preparing for their day. It was cooler underneath the trees than it was in the open and Harry shivered as he moved forward on silent feet, weaving between the crowded trunks.
To Harry, everything seemed thrown into sharp relief, images somehow clearer now in the darkness than they appeared in the bright of day. All five of his senses were flooded with information, so much so that it would have been overwhelming for a normal person. Harry felt a shiver of unease at that thought, but he pushed it aside. He could worry about his humanity- or lack thereof – later. Now, he needed to find his friends.
Harry paused by a particularly large tree trunk, its old grey bark riddled with moss, and listened; opening his ears wide to the slightest sound. It was unnerving to be here, in these woods, so close to the moonrise and the tearing agony of the Change it brought, with his senses already shifting in preparation for that transformation. Always before, by the time he was this far along, he would have travelled through the tunnel beneath the Whomping Willow and would have locked himself in the Shrieking Shack, whose barren, destroyed interior was hardly a feast for the senses.
But here… Harry inhaled deeply through his nostrils, the richness and variety of the scents and smells her received in response nearly overwhelming. The sweet, sickly smell of the decaying leaves underfoot, the enticing scent of the small, warm bodies of Prey, the high, light scent of a Unicorns passing…
Harry shivered as something deep inside him seemed to rumble in satisfaction, satisfaction at being here, in this wild forest, instead of being shut up, enclosed, trapped in a wooden box with the moon rising outside. iHome/i it seemed to whisper. Harry took a deep breath and pushed the opposing feelings – it seemed as if his feelings were always divided now- of unease and comfort/satisfaction firmly away. He scented the air, and detected the familiar, loved scent of his
friends. But he could also smell the stench of fear on their scents, and the smell of strangers surrounding them. Harry felt a low growl rumble up through his chest and let it, his nostrils full of the stench of those who had dared to take his friends. iPrey/i the Wolf whispered. iPrey/i he agreed, and flowed forward, deeper into the darkness of the forest.
The pull of the moon was stronger now, and though it was not yet risen, the shivering it raised along Harry's spine was a warning, a warning that he wilfully ignored in favour of his friends. The soft, barely felt breeze shifted slightly, bringing with it the smell of ashes and burning wood. He stilled instantly, then sank close to the ground, his movements commanded by instinct. He began moving towards the origin of that smell, freezing and sinking close to the ground whenever his preternaturally sharp ears caught a suspicious sound. Harry dimly registered – with the small part of him not focused on the hunt – that his movements were too graceful, too sinuous, to be human. A human was not made to prowl so close to the ground as he did, as if muscles that man are not supposed to posses moved under his skin.
But he wouldn't think of that.
Through the trees, Harry caught sight of the flickering red light of a fire and he stilled instantly, settling down close to the ground, his body pressing against the cool, damp earth. His eyes half closed as he watched the scene in front of him to avoid ruining his night vision. He was far enough away that a number of trees obscured his view of the clearing, but the fire provided a perfect back-drop for the activity. It was huge. The flames danced, rising and falling, but never dieing completely. They were a brilliant, almost unnatural red, and their light cast a ruddy glow over the clearing, making it appear as if the trees and ground and figures were drenched in blood. A flurry of sparks rose from the fire as a branch shifted, a brilliant purple darkening to black the higher they rose.
Harry presses himself closer to the ground, eyes narrowed, watching as darkened figures moved back and forth before the fire, silhouetted against the flames. He had to clench his teeth and dig his fingers into the ground as he saw his friends, drenched in the blood-glow of the red fire. Their arms were pulled back, and a huge burly Death Eater stood behind each of them, gripping their upper arms in a vice holds. Hermione's face was a twisted rictus of fear, her hair wilder than ever, one shoulder of her robe torn in a long, ragged strip, exposing her shoulder as she twisted ineffectually in her captors grip. Ron hung limply in the other Death Eater's hold, seemingly unable to support himself, though he would try stubbornly and repeatedly to get his feet under him. Shudders occasionally racked his body and his face was deathly white and strained, pain and fear telling their own tale. Abruptly, Harry realised what must have happened to him and felt his own body shudder in empathy.
Cautiously, Harry lifted his head and flared his nostrils, scenting the cool air. The stench of his friends fear was overwhelming, even covered as it was by the smell
of the magical fire, and Harry dug his fingers even deeper into the ground as fierce, burning anger and white hot rage at the ones who would do this to his
friends flooded his soul. All except for one tiny, deep, darkened piece of him that was excited by the smell of his friends fear.
Harry forced the nausea that welled up at the back of his throat away as he began moving softly, carefully, pushing back the self-loathing that threatened to choke him. Later, he told himself. Worry about what you're becoming later. Now, concentrate.
Carefully, Harry moved, hardly noticing the elegant, sinuous, and utterly inhuman motion with which he did so. Physical changes seemed somehow less important now. His eyes darted about, piercing the darkness as he circled the clearing. The patrolling Death Eaters were holes of deeper blackness against the darkness of the forest night. But his predator ears could hear the pulsing, rushing of their hot blood through their veins, and as any predator, he could smell their warm, living flesh. Harry trembled, feeling his humanity slip away piece by piece. The outer ring of Death Eaters was spread thin, easily avoided, but the inner ring was denser, and made up of older, more experienced wizards.
Harry paused where he was blended in with a low lying bush, barely a metre away from a black-robed Death Eater, as reason swam up from the depths of his moon fevered brain. 'Even if you do manage to get past these Death Eaters, how in hell do you think you're going to get Ron and Hermione free?' He hesitated – and in that moment's hesitation, everything went to hell.
Marcus Anthron was a younger child, having several older siblings, of an old pure-blood family. As such, he stood to inherit little from his parents when the old geezers finally croaked- little more, most likely, than a barely adequate trust fund to live on. But he was a pure blooded wizard of several generations, and therefore most eligible to join his Lord's elite force. Indeed, his dissatisfaction with his lot in life had made him an ideal candidate, and when an old family friend had approached him with the idea he had leapt at the chance. So far, the only negative consequence of his choice he had found was the discovery that one of his elder brothers was already in service to his Lord.
That, and the fact that until he had proven himself to his master he was stuck with boring assignments. Idly, Anthron glanced down – and froze. Primitive terror washed through him at the sight of two glowing green eyes gleaming at him trough the undergrowth. So might his ancestors have frozen, caught in the stare of a hunting wolf.
Hen he had snapped free of his paralysis and was plunging his hand into his robes, grabbing at his wand, and the creature was moving and he was shouting some spell – he wasn't sure what – and then; Hell blew wide open.
Harry was moving even before the Death Eater had finished articulating his spell, easily avoiding whatever curse it was. But the flash of light that accompanied it, blazing through the night, was blinding to his dilated eyes. Harry cursed softly, slipping away from the frantic Death Eater, blinking his throbbing eyes furiously to try and clear them.
The sound of a spell rushing through the air warned him and he threw himself to one side out of its passage. There was a cracking, popping sound and Harry yelped in pain as a glob of burning sap landed on the back of his neck, roasting his flesh. Vision clearing, Harry could see where the curse he had dodged had hit a tree, the bark and wood of the trunk bulging outwards. The heat from the curse had boiled the sap instantly. Harry shuddered as he imagined what that curse would have done to his flesh.
There were more Death Eaters coming, hurrying towards the commotion. Harry could hear the shouts, see the bobs of the lights of ilumos./i/Gritting his teeth, he forced himself to move, ignoring the way the burnt skin at the back of his neck pulled painfully.
There was another shout and he leapt away from the Death Eater who had spotted him, running. But this time he was not quite quick enough to dodge the curse and it caught him on his left leg. He went down, snarling and cursing, and managed to fight past the iimpedimenta/i fording himself to continue running, but the slight delay was costly and they were upon him.
He went down in a whirl of fists and teeth and kicks, the Wolf screaming at being cornered by his enemies and he had fastened his teeth into the neck of one of his captors before he realised what he was doing, the metallic taste of blood filling his mouth, and he let go, horrified. But that moment of hesitation had been enough for his enemies to gain the advantage, and he was far outnumbered.
In the end, it took three full grown Death Eaters to bear his slim, young body to the ground.
Harry continued to struggle, unable to just submit – and that stubborn part of his nature came from both the Wolf and the Human. He surged upwards again, fighting against the hands that held him, but then stars exploded behind his eyes, his head ringing from the harsh blow as he let out a cry of pain and sagged, dazed.
He was dimly aware when rough hands dragged him up, pushing and pulling at him to stumble forwards in the direction they steered him. Harry felt the pain in his head spike every time he was shoved by his uncaring captors. After what seemed like an age, they left the shelter of the trees, stepping out into the clearing where the remaining Death Eaters gathered to watch the show.
Harry felt as if the light from the fire was shooting hot spikes of pain through his eyes to the back of his skull and he closed them, moaning softly in pain. A hard shove between his shoulder blades made him stumble and almost fall, forcing him to open his eyes once more. He caught a glimpse of Ron and Hermione's horror stricken faces before he was pushed quickly passed them and thrown violently to the ground.
He landed awkwardly, knocking his breath out of himself and sending another lance of pain through his brain. Slowly, he looked up, already knowing what he would see. Seated on a throne hewn from rock, red flames painting macabre pictures over his black robes, Lord Voldemort smiled down at him, his lipless mouth twisted upwards in pleased amusement, his red snake eyes and echo of the hell fire burning before him.
"Hello Harry," he said gently, and Harry felt a shiver run through him at the sound of the voice that echoed in his nightmares.
"We've been waiting for you."
Is it really wrong of me to leave you with a cliff hanger after not having updated for more than five months?