Harry Potter and Septanic Dueling
(part 1 of 3 in the Septanic Saga)
Chapter 46: Val de Mort (part III) – The Cat!
The elderly looking person that occupied the high tower looming over the decrepit old castle opened his door to the veranda. Wading through the thin layer of snow, he went straight to the railing. He was looking for something that he already knew was there. His wrinkled face wrinkled some more as he squinted his electric purple eyes at the edge of the horizon.
Three little spots.
He sighed, letting out a steam of hot breath that condensed quickly in the frigid temperature of the oriental Siberia. He hated when his fears came to life – he hated having to know what was about to happen. He looked out for a second more than he had to, before he turned ad headed back inside.
' What must happen, must happen." He thought grimly. " I can't change the future – no matter what. I can't change destiny.
He gently closed the door. He didn't go away from the window. He wanted to wait till it all started.
Someone who would have said that Harry was shocked, would have been making an understatement. His vision of the world was literally turned upside down when Hermione had said that she had killed someone.
Hermione was, to Harry's knowledge, one of the least violent people on the planet. She dealt with her anger differently that most people that Harry knew. She preferred to walk away from confrontations. The only time Harry remembered her doing different was when, in their third year, Draco had enraged her to a degree that she felt it was necessary to hit him. She did hit Draco in the train ride this year – but could hardly call that a violent act – she gave him plenty of warning and she could have done worse.
Harry knew – he would have had.
Hermione did have outbursts involving Ron, but they had all been shouting matches and of them resulted in her walking away — pouting — and Ron yelling after her or in the worst case, Ron getting hit on the head for a rogue comment.
All in all Hermione was not a girl that was violent. Not to the extent that Harry considered out of the ordinary. She was in the opposite end of the scale. So when a girl like that claims to have killed someone, it seems like this world isn't the same as the one minutes earlier. ' It's always the quite ones.' – Harry remembered Hermione herself telling him that told him
"When did this happen?" He asked in a low voice.
Harry sat there, not knowing what to do or how to react. His hands felt clammy and cold. He could feel his toes curling. He could feel lots of parts of his body suddenly. It was almost as if his mind wanted to delve deeper inside of himself so he could avoid looking at Hermione and what she had done.
He tried to think about it logically, but the images of Hermione killing someone came to his mind. They were enhanced more and more with the images of people getting killed he had in his mind. Harry tried to think – but nothing came to his mind other than images of Hermione killing someone. He shook his head to get rid of them – only to get more vivid.
A stray thought proved to be his salvation of somewhat. Maybe it was a 'deatheater' – he thought to himself. It made perfect sense. Being the kind of girl that Hermione was, he was sure, she would be sad about killing anyone – even a killer. It was the perfect reason. It was the most likely reason. It was the perfect excuse.
Harry asked Hermione, " They didn't hurt you, right?" His voice was very low. Hermione would have had missed it – if she wasn't so close - it was almost as if he wanted her not to hear it – like he was afraid of the answer.
Hermione lifted her head from his shoulder and looked up at him. The confusion in her eyes was surprising to Harry, though what he was expecting was unknown even to him. " They?" she asked, " Who are you talking about?" Her eyebrows shot up a bit.
No sooner had she said it, it made sense to her. Harry started to open his mouth, but she raced ahead. " I wasn't attacked by deatheaters, Harry. In transfiguration - I killed a cat."
Harry could just blink at her in a state of surprise, frustration, anger and relief. " A Cat!" He said loudly. " But but…" He sputtered; " you just said… you killed someone. As in a person."
" Well," Hermione said as if she wanted to move onto something more important and what Harry asked was of little consequence. " I meant a cat."
Harry wanted to scream at Hermione for getting him worried and thinking the worst because of that mistake. But in the end he just mumbled out a soft, " Oh...How did it happen?"
Hermione put her head on his shoulder again. " You know when in transfiguration we make something come alive – have you thought about what we do?" Harry didn't say anything – he was still recovering from the previous shock. " We give life to something inanimate, Harry – which till now, I haven't really thought about. But today… Today I did. It's nice to consider, how wonderful it is to do what we do, but then when you think about the pain the failed attempts make the creature go through... you have to wonder if it can lives up to that." Hermione cuddled up closer to Harry and he in turn started to rub her shoulder. " It's even worse when you think what happens you turn the living into inanimate."
" Hermione," He said softly, " Don't you think you're being a little…" Harry did not say what he was going to say – Hermione looked up to him questioningly. His mind started to search for possible alternatives to what he wanted to say and when found one he did.
But before that Hermione managed to ask – almost threateningly, " I'm being what, Harry?"
Harry gulped and almost didn't say, " Melodramatic."
Her eyebrows arched and he rushed to explain himself only to put in his foot in his mouth when he said, " I mean, it's nothing new."
The glare and the expression on Hermione's face made Harry suddenly go on the defensive to what he had said. He forgot about how she had misled him by the choice of the word, " Someone." He thanked his luck that she did not get as upset with him as Hermione surely would have had done if Ron had been the one to suggest what he had.
" Let me explain…" He tried again. " I meant, we kill animals all the time in class and not to mention for food… If we don't how're we to know what to do when…"
" I know where you're headed Harry," Hermione interrupted as her facial expression softened. She got up and looked away from him, but stood where she had. " – but the thing is, you weren't the one that killed the cat. I was. You didn't see the mind of an innocent creature slowly disappear right in front of you. It wasn't a nice death they get at the slaughterhouse Harry – it was a horrible way to go. It's not like the killing for food – they have laws to make sure that they don't suffer. I saw the cat suffer in my mind. I felt it."
Harry got up and stood next to her. Drawing her close, he held her and patted her tangled lump of hair. He did not see it, but she was crying. He did however realise the source of her troubled mind was not the morality of killing the animals for food or in magic. It was bothering her because she felt that she killed the cat and it's the loss of life – be it a cat – which was something that she had not come to terms with. Her being a lover of cats made it only harder. Harry did not know why, but he felt that she really had not been the one to kill – but felt guilty about it. Like he had about Cedric. Knowing deep down that you weren't responsible did not help to alleviate the mind – nothing lessened the horrors of a violent death witnessed.
He was more used to it than most others, having lived through what he had. The death of his parents, Cedric and the rotting corpses of Morocco – as few as they had been, there were some. He had come to realise that in the coming years he would have to adjust to others being taken away from him – he did not like it or want it – but he expected it. His only zealous hope was that no one he knew be taken from him. He didn't want Hermione to die… not Alicia, Ron or Sirius or anyone, but he knew that it was a possibility and he had come to accept it. He had to keep repeating it to himself – hoping that maybe he'd believe it himself if he thought it enough.
Hermione, despite telling Harry that she could be killed by the deatheaters for being a muggleborn- a few days ago somehow hadn't accepted the fact that she might have to see others die around her. It was one thing to think it and an entirely different matter to accept it.
Harry wished that he had not interrupted her when he had – he might have convinced her through something in the story that she was not at fault. He wanted to help her get some relief… even if it was knowing that someone did not blame her. " If you want we can talk…" He started, but Hermione's dam broke before he could finish.
" In transfiguration class today," she blew her nose on Harry's shirt like it was a handkerchief before continuing, " I finally managed to get the ProTem spell working today... I had to turn a chair into a cat – took me twice to do it. The spell lets you feel the lets you feel the emotions inside the subject. When you're there, you can then manipulate them. It was all pink and vivid blue at first and quite beautiful…" Her voice trailed off.
It appeared to Harry that Hermione wanted to say more, but had trailed off because she found it too difficult to give details. He knew the feeling – so overwhelming that he couldn't stop when started. Hermione it seemed did not have the same problem, but a different similar one. Though she could start, she found it terribly difficult to go into detail. The need to say it was still there and it only frustrated her that she could not. As traumatic as it all had been for her, Harry for a short moment could not help but feel elated that he'd be able to animagi soon. He knew it was wrong to see the silver lining in Hermione's dark clouds, but he was young and like any other boy his age he was allowed a to behave like them.
To his credit, he reprimanded himself as soon he realised what he was doing. Hermione started again and he paid close attention – wanting to redeem himself in his own mind.
" Magic inside even the simplest of the minds…" but stopped. She took a few moments of brake before starting without any prompt from Harry. " Then the colours changed and I could feel the…" she started to shake.
Harry felt helpless not knowing what to do. He felt like an idiot. When Hermione started again, he felt a bit better. He knew he had to listen and it was something he could do.
" I felt it all. The pain I caused when my transfiguration was less than perfect. When I … when I failed to do the transfiguration, and … and when the professor turned it back I felt … saw…" Words failed her again.
Hermione gave up all attempts to hold back from crying. Harry had very little in the way of experience regarding how to comfort someone, so he did clumsily what he thought he should and hoped that he was right. It took a while before she stopped whimpering into his shoulder after a while, and when she had she seemed to want to divert Harry's attention.
" Look what I've done." She said, glaring at the wetspot she had caused in Harry's shirt from crying.
Harry wave his hands dismissively. " It's okay." – he wanted to make sure she was alright and could careless about the way his shirt was.
" I can just zap you into something else if you want..." Hermione said. " I think." She added as an afterthought.
" Don't worry about that." Harry's eyebrows knitted together in concern. " Are you feeling better?"
" No." Hermione let out a sigh and pulled back from him. " But I'll get over it. Let's do some more practice."
Harry agreed to do it, but he registered a concern in his mind that Hermione did not look as okay with the situation as she was trying desperately to convey. She did however look slightly better off than he had found himself inside her mind. Hermione changed the scenery back to the Ali Pasha's classroom, and had to hold onto Harry to help him not feel as sick as before. When he was ready she dragged Harry off to his corner and quickly moved onto hers. It was almost as if she wanted to get started so she could think about something else.
Hermione had taken Harry's advice about not focusing on where she was going to hit – but she over did it – as she did with any good advice. Her eyes moved too much and she paid not enough attention to Harry. He did not show any mercy and made her pay dearly for it. After three minutes, she was beginning to feel the tension in her muscles. It felt like that – it could have been an eternity. Just barely making it off the ground she said, " Was it necessary to hit me that hard?"
" No." He admitted, but he kept smiling. " But Voldemort would have had done far worse."
" What?" Harry challenged her to say something.
" Nothing." Hermione wanted to do a witty comeback, but there were none to be found. She would get him back for. She made a promise to herself. Hermione took a stance again, hands up in front of her. When she lined up with Harry's face, she noticed Harry was scratching the ground with his toe to get rid of some kind of imperfection in the floor. Hermione knew that Harry did it often – something she suspected was a product of the Dursley's making him do house work and repeatedly telling him it's not done right.
She lined up calmly her hand to Harry's face, ready to strike when Harry was ready, but then she was struck with the most intense urge – and she didn't fight it. She was filled with unknown energy and the tenseness that she had felt before, started to go away. She pounced on Harry, landing right on top of him and the shock knocked him to the ground. She had landed around Harry's midsection, so when he fell, she gripped onto his sides with her thy, and got ready to punch him.
Hermione thought that she had taken him by surprise. She expected Harry to behave like he had the other times too, but Harry had learned to be a bit more vigilant. If only a little. He caught her fist just as she was about to hit him and rolled sideways – ending up with Harry right on top of her. One arm trapped beneath her and other in his hand, she felt very exposed – very vulerable. She knew it would have been useless to try and throw him off. Harry was holding her in a way that prevented her from using any part of herself as leverage to throw him off.
To Harry's smirking smile, she closed her eyes instinctively – though without any logical reason. Then she "saw" a violent flash of red, orange and white from behind her closed eyes. Something that resembled a very bright white coloured light exploding in front of Harry. She knew she hadn't done that on purpose, so she assumed that her plane was helping her. She knew this gave her an advantage as it was equivalent to having a wand – and Harry not having one. So she had decided that it was the plane that was helping her – instead of her mind doing it.
Though once she got over her initial surprise she too advantage of Harry's surprise and literally threw Harry off her – he hit the mat a few meters from where he was. He looked up at her dazed and confused – to see Hermione's grinning face looking over him.
He tried to shake off the surprise, and to get rid of the spots that he was seeing. They went away quickly enough. The spots – not the surprises. He had mistakenly thought that inside Hermione's mind the physics were similar to that of the AstralPlane. He ignored somehow the fact that inside Hermione's mind he could feel sick and get hurt – unlike the astral plane – where it just hurt. With magical things. Harry sat up quickly. He rubbed his head and tried to make the world stop spinning. " You cheated." He said indignantly. " You used your power over this place."
" Not really." Hermione said in her most innocent girl voice. " I'm just giving the experience as how it would have had turned out if Voldemort had a wand and you didn't."
Harry could not help but smile at the way Hermione had turned his words around to sting him. " That's sneaky." Harry said sounding more happy than angry. " Good."
As they continued their sparring, Hermione used more and more "magic" to manipulate herself and the objects around her to cause damage to Harry. The intensity of their sparring kept increasing with each round and it was rapidly approaching a fever pitch that neither seem to be aware of. Harry, hyped up on adrenaline, was becoming more and more reckless as time wore on.
Hermione attacked again. She used her predictable but dependable attack of white explosion to temporarily blind Harry and when he started to back away, she moved behind him. She knew she only had a little time before Harry would realise what she was trying to do, so she worked fast and wound her arm around his neck. As soon as she had done that Harry stopped trying to feel his way to where Hermione was. He tried to forcibly remove her hand. Hermione was waiting for that. She used her right leg and applied pressure on his back – in another words, knee him there. This combined with the hold around his neck, caused him to lose balance. Harry toppled over with Hermione under him, but since he had his back to her, he didn't have an advantage. He tried to roll away from her, but she just held onto him harder. As soon as Harry realised that was not going to work, he decided that he would put as much of his weight on her as he possibly could – hoping pain would make her grip less.
It didn't work. Hermione had planned out everything and Harry was still getting used to Hermione having such an advantage over him. She seemed even physically stronger – which was not the case in real life. Unless Hermione somehow got hold of a strength boosting potion.
As soon as he had done it, Hermione made them rise up in the air several meters. The 'woosh' sound and the fact that there was no air for him to feel against his skin as they were elevated, made it seem to Harry that the room fell a few metres.
" You can't win Harry." The taunt in her voice was not even vaguely disguised and Harry could feel that she was enjoying having him at her mercy. " Give up?"
Harry said squirming, " No."
" Good." She said, deliberately loosening her grip a little, " I wouldn't want the fight to stop yet."
She had set up a trap for Harry. Harry by that time had calmed down enough to realise what it was, but he had no choice but to take it. Her hand was making it hard to breathe. Though he certainly was not calm enough to remember that he didn't need to breath – like he had found out when he first talked to her.
He tried to roll away like he suspected that she was expecting him to, but Hermione didn't do as he expected. She didn't try to grab him for a better hold, but she waited until Harry was halfway through the roll and was facing the sidewall before throwing Harry towards that incoming wall. Unknown to Harry she had been making the wall come towards them all the while she let him roll. The wall and Harry hit each other with a bone crunching thud. Hermione tried to stop the wall from moving any further, but she had lost control of the moving wall, and Harry's body slammed into the other wall and blood, spit and a scream escaped his mouth on impact.
From across the other side of the expanse a man with beady red eyes looked to the distant decrepit castle. His eyes were not red normally, but the toll in pain, magic, and sleeplessness had made it that way. The castle had been shrouded in so much old-magic that it took him a week to find it. The scale of difficulty in locating the castle only becomes clear when one considers that it had taken the man only a day to find all the hidden giant tribes all over the globe. The castle had been harder to find even when he knew the approximate location of oriental Siberia.
" There is it." He said to a slightly taller but younger man.
" That's the mystical Aragorn?" said the young man, disappointment evident in the voice. " I though it would be..."
" Bigger?" finished the older man. A nod was given to confirm what he already knew to be the child's thought – a child compared to him. " Size isn't important in magic, Jonkins's." He said, almost like he was a father teaching his son the basics of mathematics. His voice had an unusual patience in his voice. " Power is." The boy looked up to the older man with reverence. His eyes grew big and bright with respect and he only grew more happy when his mentor said, " Jonkins, you remind me of me, in school. So eager to learn."
" Thank you, master." The boy looked giddy with happiness. " That's the best complement anyone has ever given to me." The older man looked up to the sky, and thought, ' So very much like me... ,' before deciding that he needed to do something. He took out both his hands from his pockets. The sunlight bouncing off the silver hand made his figure looked distinctive. He turned to his "troops" – twenty masked men and women dressed in black cloaks and except one, they'd all be getting their first taste of murder.
He cleared his throat, and all of them stopped talking. " Our master wants us to go in there and retrieve a stone called, 'Tundra.' I do not know why he wants it but the master wants it."
He paused for a second. All the deatheaters, before him, knew what to say. " What master wants he takes."
" That he does. That he does." He said clapping on Jonkins's shoulder. " There're several obstacles in getting into the building. First and least of which is the magical barrier around it. Now, I'll find out how good your teachers were at Dumbstrung. Tell me, how do we get around that?"
There was no answer.
" Well, it seems your initiators left something out in your training. I'll teach you. I need a volunteer…" He looked around for one, several of them stepped forward, but Wormtail decided against them all, choosing to ask Jonkins instead. " Want to help?"
Jonkins relied eagerly – almost glowing with pleasure. " Yes, Master."
Wormtail whispered, " Edo-Echo-Dominy-Pacts." And silverness of his hand seem to dull for a bit, but then a small burst of green enveloped the young charge. There was no pain and only a shivering feeling for the recipient. It was so without incident that Jonkins had to ask his master if that's all that was required of him.
" Not exactly." Wormtail went around until he was looking over Jonkins's shoulder and towards castle. " Can you see the green or red barrier?"
It took the young charge a few seconds to realise what his master was referring to. There was a thin light green coloured barrier that he could see now. It went right through some trees and rock. There was an opening though. " Yes. Yes... A green one."
" Good job!" Wormtail patted Jonkins on his back. " That's all for today."
He was going to say that there was a small opening that they could get through, but didn't thinking that his master knew best. " I'm Happy to be of service to ..." he started.
Jonkin never finished that sentence, for he was flung headfirst into the invisible green barrier from a curse originating from Wormtail's silver hand.
Mid flight Jonkins hit something and his body exploded into hundreds of small glowing red orbs. The shield became visible as the shockwave travelled from the point to there rest of the shield. The small opening became visible to those that were still looking at scene. Their mind stuck in horror and disgust. Most of the deatheater began to laugh at the demise of one of their own. And that made Wormtail happy. " AND that is why you never Volunteer for anything!" said the rat faced man. " Grab one of those red orb things – and go through the barrier."
The deatheaters behind him did as he told them, though most of them waited for someone else to go through the barrier first before they themselves went through it.
As he picked up one of the red orbs, Wormtail said to himself, " Sorry about that old chap, but you're just too much like me. I can't have you taking up my spot in the future."
Two young Agornian males rushed through cold and damp passages to reach the lair of their leader's chambers. They didn't wait to get permission to enter the room that had gold doorframes – quite a contrast to the rest of the dark, decrepit and damp castle. " Orkon," They yelled in a hurry.
A deep voice imbued with palpable power replied back, " South Window." The voice was wispy.
The taller of the two tripped over as the younger one tried in his impatience to beat the other to the south window. Recovering gracefully from the tripping, the taller male followed quickly behind. They arrived to find him waiting there for them – but looking out the window. The taller was about to begin when the younger one broke in. " They've breached the south perimeter." He said in rush.
" I know." Sighed the cloaked being they called, 'Orkon'. " Do you want to attack them – my impatient friend?"
" Yes." said the older one, grabbing the younger one by the shoulder and drawing him behind him.
The younger one couldn't take a hint that it was not appropriate for him to speak yet. " Did you have a vision." He asked naively.
" Blake!" Admonished the tall one. (A/N: Blake is pronounced : BLA-Key)
" It's okay Kaleka." said Orkon.
" It's not master." said Kaleka, who was the taller one. " He's too impatient. He's…"
" I am not offended by his actions. It is perfectly alright to speak to me as you speak between yourselves."
Blake came forward and asked his question again. " Did you have a vision, Orkon?"
Orkon laughed. " No." He said. " I saw them coming in the horizon."
The older of the two had been the only one of them who had see Orkon and talked to him. Kaleka had felt oddly rattled since he had seen the enemy breach the perimeter. He let his comrade tag along with him when he was coming to see the Orkon. He knew Orkon well, and even he was having trouble deciphering whether the statement he had made about seeing the enemy on the horizon was a sarcastic one. " Are they here for the jewel?" asked Kaleka softly.
" Same as always." Orkon Sounded tired. "– looking for a power that does not exist."
Blake cut in again. " A swift counter attack would get rid of them easy enough. I counted only twenty of them – One of us should be enough. I'll go."
Orkon started to laugh. " Do you share the same opinion as his Kaleka?" he asked and Kaleka took a look at Blake and then back again to Orkon. " No."
" No..." It sounded as though Blake was going to say that the taller one could come with him, before he realised what had been said. With his arms moving about wildly he said, " NO! Have you gone mad? There're coming to kill us and you just want to let them come and take all that they want? Don't tell me you're afraid of those puny little men."
Kaleka turned to the younger man. He was sharp in his rebuttal. " They are puny only through the long-glass (A/N: Telescope). You've not fought enough to know that not all of them are the same and these are very different." Kaleka seem to realise that his voice went higher than it was supposed to be – especially in the presence of Orkon. He bowed his head low, and continued softly. " Just take my word for it."
" Oh! Here we go again." said Blake rolling his eyes. " That damned feelings speech again!" He ripped of a bit of his cloak to show three rows small long marks on his breast. " I've killed seventeen of them with these hands and I certainly think I'm plenty experienced enough."
The taller one looked down at the ground and with his most solemn voice said, " I've killed far more than you comrade, but you don't see me needing to carve them into my body. I'd rather not remember any of them."
" It doesn't matter what you say," said the younger one doing his best to ignore the more experienced one. " the fact is that we're better than they are and we'll crush them. There's a reason why the grey lady from over the mountains handed us the Tundra Jewel. It's because we can keep it safe."
Kaleka didn't pay attention to Blake any more. He turned to Orkon." I've never questioned your wisdom before, Orkon, but these feeling those that come to me today – they excite me in the most oddest of ways. I must again ask you the wisdom of keeping the jewels. Why do we not just destroy the stone and let them forever not pose a danger to all those that can use it."
" Tell me how to do it, and I will." Orkon turned and faced them. " If a goddess could not do it – then who am I to do it? No, my squabbling friends, future's already been written and to try to rewrite it this late is very dangerous. Any small deviation could have a very disastrous result. It pains me as it is to know what is to come and do nothing to stop them. There's just far too many risks." He sighed. " There is a reason that tampering with time is forbidden."
He addressed Kaleka. " You will lead your people into battle. All of them."
Blake Kaleka exchanged glance. " You will fight. You will kill as many of them as you can, but do not kill Silverhand. He must survive."
Having been taught from birth that they were to keep the jewels from all those that seek it, the instruction of Orkon did not make sense. They had never been told to take prisoners. They looked back and forth at the name sliverhand before asking in unison : " Why?"
The old man put up his hand to stop them from hounding him for answers. " We were never meant to protect the stone from all evil as you've come to see it. We are here to keep it safe till a special evil comes to claim it. This is that evil. Now, GO!"
Kaleka turned to Blake to get him to "volunteer" to stay with the Orkon. Orkon was powerful, but he was also weak in his old age.
" Go with him." said Orkon. " I do not need protection."
Kaleka nodded and ran after Blake. If he had moved slower or with less noise, he might have had heard Orkon say, " May the goddess guide your 'ruh' to Alocar – for I've sent you to death."
(A/N: If it's not clear – 'ruh' is spirit and Alocar is heaven. 'RUH' come from Arabic. It means spirit. ;) )
Ekaterina sighed as she polished her silver dagger. When she was satisfied with the sheen on the metal she scraped it against her skin. It wasn't perfect enough. She started to polish the dagger again. The sound of urgent footsteps coming down the stairs set her hearts racing.
Two folds were the reason for the quickening – first she could literally smell Blake.
He had been the one to urge her to come to the meeting place early – but somehow forgot all about her. That had been four hours ago, and she could not care anymore that he was of noble blood and she the illegitimate daughter of a pauper. She was shining the dagger just for Blake – No one made her wait.
The second reason gave her an excuse to forget about killing her scaly fiend – Blake. She was sure that the castle perimeter was breached. She didn't know which one of them would go out to kill them, but she hoped it was her. She needed to get a tailbone to complete the skeleton model of the human body that she was working on.
As much as she did not want to do it for Blake, she stood up. He was royal and she had to do it. She convinced herself that Alina and Kaleka were the ones that she did it for.
The first thought that entered Ekaterina's mind upon seeing the three enter, was how good Alina and Kaleka looked together. Married for six years, those two lost themselves in each other often enough for the elderly to know to cover the eyes of the youngsters. Ekaterina and all the other girls of the castle wanted a love like Aliana had. Alina true to her name was a very beautiful and Kaleka was a brave and handsome man. They made the perfect match.
Blake was impatient and disorganised. Ekaterina was sure that he needed a woman to whip him into a productive member of the castle's resident. For a time she had been interested in Blake, but she grew tired of him. There would be too much objections from village elders about such a marriage. She was sure that Kaleka would not like it at all. Being of noblebirth didn't mean anything outside the castle. Everyone had to know his or her proper place in the hierarchy to live in the castle harmoniously. It had been a great big mess when she had been chosen to replace one of the older shadow raiders. A marriage was certainly out of the question – plus she didn't know how he felt about her.
" Why're we all here?" she asked Blake when he was within her reach.
" Intruders." Blake said the most obvious of things. She knew that is why they were there, but she had meant that why all four of them were there. It frustrated her that Blake knew this and chose to reply as he had.
" I know that! But why?" She waved her dagger in the air to intimidate him.
" Orkon…" Blake started to say, but didn't. He saw that Kaleka was getting ready to speak. " Kaleka's going to explain."
Ekaterina put away her dagger and looked to the perfect couple. " They better, or you're going to suffer."
" Orkon tells us this is the last time we fight." Started Kaleka. A small murmur went through the crowd of eight that were there – three males had joined them without making too much noise. " Know that we shall be victorious – win or loose. We may not live to see the fruits of our labour, but our children will and children of their children will. Go with the knowledge that you may not return – but draw strength from this. We WILL win. Are you ready for it?"
" We're!" The combined cry from all seven in that small room was an ache in his ears for Kaleka, but he was tolerant of it.
" Don't kill the man called 'Silver Hand'. It is the wish of Orkon." said Blake. No one questioned how they were to know who it was that was called – silverhand. They knew, they would know when the time came.
" Death or Victory!" Blake shouted.
" Death or Victory!"
Wormtail picked up one of the scattered glowing red orb closest to him and walk through the barrier. His master had thought to tell only him of what was to come. Shadow raiders. They group of Legendary fighters so terrifying that men have been rumoured to have had died by just looking them. There were stories that were of folklore and so utterly unbelievable, that Wormtail did not believe them. He was not particularly worried about facing the enemy for himself. His master's gift would keep him safe - he knew that, but he also knew that against his inexperienced comrades, the battle hardened Shadow Raiders would prove to be a great challenge.
He would not have been as confident as he had been without his silver hand – for it was the source of his power, status amongst the deatheaters and most importantly of all - his confidence. If he didn't have that, then he would have had distanced from the mission that he had been given.
Wormtail's compatriots had come to a stop behind a few rocks after they had entered the barrier. He made his way to best looking rock – occupied by a very short stocky fellow with shiny bald spot. He clapped on the man's shoulder and said, " lookout position."
The man hastily got off his rock, and made his way to a slanted rock formation that was just a few meters ahead. He laid down on it and with his hand, shaded his eyes from the sun.
There was a movement and Wormtail felt someone sit down next to him. He turned disdainfully to the man next to him – having already recognised him from the smell of Alcohol in his breath. This man was the only known deatheater to drink the muggle beverage. Wizards were not affected by alcohol like muggles were. It was nothing but sweet water to them. Butterbeer was far more intoxicating.
" You didn't have to kill him you know." said the man, scratching his beard. " I'm not stupid, Wormtail. I know there's a reason why it took you so long to find this place. Someone went to great lengths to protect this place. We're going to need every single one of them when the time comes."
" You could have had fooled me." Wormtail said laughing.
The other man didn't laugh, because he did not know why Wormtail had said what he had. " what?"
" You said, you're not stupid." Explained Wormtail. " So I said, You could have had fooled me. Get it?"
The man did get it, but it was not amused. He was a man who could laugh at himself and if the timing had been right by Wormtail, he would have had laughed. " Whatever." He said, in a dismissive voice. " Did you hear what I said – no more killing till we have what we came here. You might like the new toy master has given you, but rest assured, he'll kill us both if we return empty handed."
Wormtail didn't say anything. He didn't like the man – nor did want him. When his master gave him the task of retrieving the jewel, he had also assigned that man to his group. Though Wormtail was the one in command, since he was the only one that knew what they were going to be up against. He would have had set the Kabal straight – but the look out yelled, " There're coming, they're coming..."
' Eight.' Wormtail thought.
" How many?" said the man next to Wormtail as he ran to the lookout.
" About ten to fifteen, I think..." The man's effort to squint to see better could be felt by all the other people there.
" Count the damned buggers." The sharp tone of Wormtail's voice was chilling. There was no more noise as the enemy approached ever closer.
The shorter man squinted more. " Eight sir," He shouted. " There's eight of them. Four of 'em on horses – or something like that."
" What're we going to do?" asked one of the younger recruits close to Wormtail.
" Let them come." Wormtail's response was met with stunned silence. Usually deatheaters just learned how to cast the unforgivable in training sessions and leaving themselves to attack was not a wise move. Not even the most inexperienced amongst them failed to see that.
One of them voiced the concern of others. Very valid argument, but Wormtail did not like it. The man who questioned his methods was none other than Kabal the Killer, the infamous mass murderer of thirteen Aurors the night before Voldemort's downfall. He was the only other person in the group that had killing experience, but Wormtail did not care for that. His orders were questioned and he did not like it.
" We're..." He said it tersely – the other man thinking that he had won the "argument" turned his back on Wormtail.
Kabal should have had known better than to do break the cardinal rule amongst the deatheaters - Never turn your back on your comrades. Wormtail took out his wand quickly and pointed it at the back of the man's head. He whispered, "Avada Kedavra," and the with burst of green life was extinguished out of the man. Kabal's lifeless body fell to the snow face down. Wormtail laughed maniacally. " Kabal," he said, " you talk too much. Just listen, next time."
Wormtail's ruthlessness was funny to the recruits when Jonkins had been eliminated, but somehow loosing the only other person that seemed to be a match for Wormtail put everything into persperctive. It drove home the fact that Wormtail would not hesitate – like their comrades to use them and then dispose of them after he needed them not. There was no guarantee that he was not going to kill them all after the battle to present the stone to the dark lord himself and take all the credit for it either. The new deatheaters now stood so that they could see the enemy, but made sure that they could see their leader too from the corner of their eyes. Many of them wondered how they had ended up there - between facing an unknown enemy and an enemy amongst their "friends". They would not forget the cardinal rule ever again.
Deatheaters looked on as four of the eight from the castle ran a short distance towards them, stopping a fair few metres from the castle – far enough to be still not seen clearly by them, but close enough to see that they were doing there. As deatheaters watched, the four who were previously on the horses did seemingly nothing but just stand there, while the other four spread out slightly in an arc. Kneeling down they started to chant! No one laughed at this, because they could feel the magic in the air and the viscosity seemed to just increase. Two of the deatheaters started to cough and gasp for air. Fortunately for the deatheaters' it was not an attack. Unfortunately it was the prelude to one.
The voices that had been distinct before seem to phase in and out of cohesion, until they did become one unified voice of equal pitch and frequency. And one of great power. The moment it happened, the magic that had filled the air before, disappeared and formed itself into a shimmering liquid wall with a "whoop" kind of noise. It stretched out the entire length of the snowy plane and looked very out of place in a place where their breath looks like steam from a hot kettle. The deep snow also made the wall look very unholy, almost evil. Ironic really, since deatheaters were the bad people.
On instinct, several of the deatheaters took a step back, but that turned out to be a mistake. The wall or the people behind the wall interpreted that the deatheaters were advancing towards it, and retaliated by sending out several spear sharp tendrils of the liquid at them. The flexible tendrils had no problems in impaling two of them in the chest and one other on the back of his head as he mad his way to the safety of Wormtail. Several others suffered minor injuries as they dove to avoid and the tendrils. The tendrils seem to spout smaller blades on the surface to maximize the damage, when they were neared a human.
One would have had expected the blood to splatter out of the wounds, when the tendrils came out the other side other bodies that they had impaled, but it did not. The deatheaters watched in horror as the tendrils started to soak up all the moisture from the body of the victims, leaving behind a husk of lifeless human flesh that disintegrated in seconds – leaving only the extremely dry bones.
The survivors all rallied behind Wormtail – who looked on totally unconcerned. The tendrils retracted, and the wall came closer to them. While the people behind him cowered, Wormtail saw the wall sprout more tendrils and speed towards him this time. He was totally unnerved by the situation. Two deatheaters on his right side died screaming in agony as the tendrils soaked up the moisture from their bodies – others had been spared the pain before because they died instantly when the liquid spear had attacked them. Two more of the deatheaters cowering behind rocks, were pierced right through the rocks – shattering it as they went through and showering them with the bits.
The one that was meant for Wormtail was caught in the mid air by him. Voldemort had told him what to do it if they make a wall (like that they had), but he 'forgot' to tell how much pain it would cause him. The liquid felt like hot magma to him and the silver in his hand started to fade as the enormous amount of magic that he was doing without a wand started to take it's toll. Wormtail had been told of a way to stop the liquid wall, but he really didn't know it. It was instinctual – something his master had woven into his silver hand.
Just when Wormtail started to fear that maybe his master had not done a good job of making his hand for him, the spell started to take affect. The shimmering blue and white watery tendril turned black in his hand, and the colour started to diffuse upwards through the tendril and into the wall structure.
When the entire wall was black, people chanting started to scream – their body writhing in the thick snow covered ground. It was difficult for Wormtail to see, if the people were dead or still alive. But all that mattered little to him – since the wall had disappeared and the enemy halved. The cheer of his fellow deatheaters that had survived was a very pleasant sound to Wormtail. He carefully examined his hand and gave a sigh of relief, when he saw the silver colouring was returning.
Except where he had grabbed the tendril, it had turned flesh and blood there. You see the silver hand allowed Wormtail to cast simple spells without a wand, draining off a little of the silver as a price for the power to do so. The more powerful the spell the more the drain and casting a spell like the unforgivable without the wand would mean that he would loose his silver hand totally – leaving him a flesh and blood hand.
He was furious that a part of his hand would not get it's silverness back. " Just for this," he waved his hand frantically in the air yelling, " I'll rape your women and kill your children, then I'll burn your men – ALIVE – but not before I personally cut off …."
He didn't finish his sentence. He was furious, and he started to shoot curses instead of anything. A furious Wormtail was terribly bad shot – unable to hit the enemy well, and when he did anything other than the very powerful unforgivables, they were either dodged or absorbed like they didn't even exist by the enemy. Wormtail wondered what their skin was made of. He vowed to make a cloak out of their hides. Before Wormtail could tell the rest of his comrades to start using the unforgivables, the ground started to shake.
Snow that had gathered on the branches of trees nearby for days, fell and birds fled the almost inhospitable forest that surrounded the castle. Wormtail looked out at the cause of it and his jaw fell right open.
A golden circle had appeared parallel to the white snow before them and it was rising. When it was chest high, the circle swung on a horizontal axis to face the deatheaters. The golden lines of the circle were alluring and almost hypnotic. Three concentric circles made up the pattern, which had one straight line running through the middle vertically. The centre circle was small – no bigger than a human head. The second one was much bigger almost reaching the Wormtail's head from the ground.
The third line was an invisible one that people could see when they looked at the pattern. The way that symbols hang in mid air gave the feeling that there was another invisible one they were tact onto. The symbols moved and the lines in the pattern shimmered – something deep inside him told him to fear the circle.
" Back! Spread out!" He yelled at his people. His quick action had saved all but two. The circle had split along the vertical line, like two half moons, sending out a massive beam of golden energy which consumed almost anything on it's path. Snow, rocks and the trees – and the aforementioned two deatheaters. When the beam hit the snow it melted right through it and the ground shook from for the second time that day.
" Unforgivables." Wormtail yelled. " Kill them all. Kill those scaly bastards!
The battle went on into the evening, and in the end only three remained - Alina and Blake and Wormtail. The surviving side of good had lost their loves to the deatheaters. Wormtail was of the only death eater to survive, but he did not know how long he was going to stay alive if they had the power to summon another beast.
You see the battle had gone really badly for the deatheaters after Wormtail had yelled for the unforgivables to be used. The shadow raiders started to summon beast of demonic nature – things with three eyes and horn had to be demonic. His men were massacred, and the way they were savagely killed made Wormtail wonder how good the side of good could have been considering they were summoning up demonic beasts. The beasts were small in the beginning, but increasingly as time went on the good people summoned them in greater numbers and sizes.
Wormtail realising that the girls had the power to summon the beast from the circle, while the males seemed to control them tried to take out the girls. When he missed and hit one of the men, he was happy till he realised that carnage that followed was because of the dead controller. He was however unrepentant, when one of the summoned beasts took out one of the girls. He did get two birds with one stone but the price was that the creatures went on a rampage and massacred the all the deatheaters other than him.
The creatures fed on the dead bodies of the deatheaters – spattering blood and body parts as they ate. Loosing their friends and for Alina her love, they forgot totally about the fact that they were supposed to let the deatheaters take the stone or letting "Silver Hand" survive. Their loss had overwhelmed all other thoughts." I'm going to kill him," cried Alina . " I'll kill that bustard."
They didn't care what the Orkon had said about leaving Silverhand alive. " Not if I kill him first." said Blake as he wiped of the blood from the corner of his lips to tasted it. It was bitter and hot - just the way he was feeling. He wanted to kill the last remaining man and just go to sleep, hoping that he would wake up dead and with Ekaterina.
He had never told her how he had come to love and respect her. It made the loss greater. It was a very cruel joke that the world had played on him – he had intended to voice his love that day. " I heard something," Alina said suddenly. Blake looked out to the west and saw nothing suspicious. He was going to check in on another direction, when Alina broke into a run to where Kaleka had fallen. " There... it's Kaleka... he's alive..." She was yelling.
Something made him run after her and try to stop her. He knew he was seeing his the bruised and battered body of his friend rising up, but something was telling him not to believe it. Before he could catch up to her, he tripped on a dead mangled body of one of the creatures they had summoned – one which had half it's leg eaten by another then had summoned. As he quickly picked himself up, he saw a silver glint and then he saw Wormtail's grabbing Alina by the neck. Wormtail intended to use her as a shield.
There was a scar on Wormtail's face that looked to be the work of the baby Penogolar – three-eyed monster with six arms and a very bad temper. It stretched across his entire face diagonally and would make him look meaner than he really was capable of looking. There were some burn hair on the man too.
" This is a pretty woman you have here..." Wormtail said snidely. His hand was at the base of her throat and there was something glowing red in his hand. His other hand strongly held her slight frame to his, making sure to hold her hand to her sides. " She is pretty... very pretty...It'd be a shame for something unpleasant to happen..."
It sickened Wormtail to do what he was doing. Holding a humanoid creature with scales, dark yellow skin and pungent aroma was sickening. The argonian's were not humans. They were a humanoid species of mammals who resembled lizards. (A/N: Did you see it coming?)
Alina tried to escape, but the short man seemed to be a lot stronger than he should be. She had tried to stump on his foot while she tried to get free, but stopped, when the man didn't make a single noise. " Don't you dare harm her, Human..." Blake's slitted eyes filled with rage. His hatred for wormtail was something very palpably similar to that of the darklord himself when he spoke of Harry. He had lost his friend and his love in one day, and he was not about to loose another friend.
" Don't threaten me, you ugly beast. I'm the one with the hostage!" he clamped harder onto Alina's throat.
" What do you want, silverhand?" Blake backed a bit away.
" Silverhand! Ahh.. So that's what you think my name is?"
Blake stopped moving and said, " We don't give a damn about who or what you are... just let her go."
Wormtail laughed. The girl stomped on his foot again, but it got no reaction from him. " Straight to business. I like that. The stone. I want the stone of Tundra."
" What is it?" Blake pleaded ignorance.
" You know damn well what it is. I want it."
Blake and Kaleka were the only ones ever told that they were supposed to hand the enemy the stone and when Alina saw Blake give in she feared that her husband's sacrifice would have been in vein. " Blake don't!..." she started, but Wormtail applied pressure to her throat.
" I can't..." Blake started, but Wormtail interrupted.
" You better get it to me, or else..." Wormtail's hand that held her arm to her side shifted so that he could move it up her abdomen and towards her breast. It might have been sick to smell them, but they had humanoid body and Wormtail guessed that a sexual threat might them more likely to respond.
" Stop!" Yelled someone other than Blake. Wormtail looked up to see a very old man in front of him. The man exuded power like a leaky faucet. Wormtail almost did as he was told, but came to his sense. He did however stop his hands going up the girl's body any more than it had. " Let her go" he said.
" No!" Wormtail looked irritated. " Don't you people know that I have the hostage. I'm the one that makes the demands. Not you!"
The elderly male asked very coolly, " What do you want?"
Wormtail lost patience. " What the hell would I come here for? Your women are ugly and they smell. Your castle is half destroyed and the other half looks terrible. Your library has not secret books. You have neither gold nor any good farmland. Think old man! What could I have had come here for?"
" You want the stone?"
" By Merlin! Took you people long enough to admit that you have it." Wormtail said being rather sarcastic.
" First the girl."
Wormtail laughed. " As if!"
" That's the deal. We lost too many people today and we don't want one more. We'll give you the stone, all you have to do is take it and run. But first, my daughter."
" I've lost "friends" too, but they don't matter. The stone first or no deal."
The old man and Wormtail looked into each other's eyes and an intense glance passed between them. " You win," said the old man, throwing the dark jewel to the snow. " Now, my daughter." Wormtail looked at the stone and the power coming off needed no authenticity check. It was the stone of Tundra.
" Are you going to kill me when I let her go?"
" Let me have my daughter." The old man refused to answer the question.
Wormtail made the girl bend down with him, while he picked up the jewel. Once it was in his pocket, he decided that he would kill the girl anyway. One less ugly creature out there. He was about to release the glowing energy that he had accumulated in his hand and held her as a hostage when the old man suddenly seem to phase out of existence, before reappearing only inches from him.
With a grip more powerful than a man of his age should have been capable of, he twisted and crushed Wormtail's fingers. Free from Wormtail, Alina watched as her father, Orkon, made Wormtail pay. Making the enemy howl in pain. She was going to try and help, but Blake held her back, almost as if he knew something that she did not. Her father started to cast spells on the man's sliver hand, draining it of the silver and making blood come out of Wormtail's eyes like they were tear drops.
When the hand has turned almost completely normal, Wormtail's old personality asserted itself – he started getting very afraid of what was coming. All he could think was that it was just the beginning and he was not far off. The old wizard phased in and out of existence, before he somehow made himself into a humanoid mass of energy and directed himself to Wormtail's silver hand.
" Suffer the pain that you've caused..."
Wormtail did not feel any pain. To the contrary, he felt more full of energy than a few moments before. It seemed that the man's plan had failed, and his master's gift had used to energy that was meant to kill him to revive him from the brink of pain and death. Looking down at his hand, he could see the silveriness returning to his limb and with it came his more assertive personality. Realising that he had to fall back since he was in no condition to fight anyone and he was lucky that the two survivors were in shock to react to him.
He was sure that in his weakened condition, he could not have fought them off. Wormtail picked up the red glowing orb from the ground and scrambled to where the barrier ended. He laughed to himself for getting away so efficiently.
But something went wrong when he tried to apparate. A Mass of energy appeared out of thin air and surrounded him. There was a brilliant white flash followed by a shock that felt as though he had been struck by lightning. He was struck sever more times, before his body disappeared with an agonisingly painful howl. As he apparated, Wormtail realised that the old man had succeeded – though he did not know what it was that the old man had done. He was not sure how or if he would tell him master of this. It would be a grave mistake to reveal to his master that his ability to do magic was somehow limited. It would mean that his usefulness coming to an end. Something – he could not let happen. He had much to do.
Request from me:
Please go and READ & REVIEW : Harry Potter and the Fall of Childhood. It is the best H/Hr fanfic I've ever read. It's actually saying that it's not H/Hr this book, but don't you believe the word that the author uses. "Thin overlay of H/Hr" is a blatant lie! I am totally in love with this fic. Go read it here : http://fanfiction.net/read.php?storyid=697946
Ben: You're still there.
Lateness: I've been focussing a lot on the website, and as such have had little time.
Cliffhanger : Sorry about that.
Reviews : Wow! Lots of them. Well here's the other part. I'm as yet not sure if this part has been through a beta of now. Jeremy did a great job of beta editing at first, but then I reedited them – and reedited those. I ruined a lot of his great work. So please don't say that he's not good. He's excellent. Scant few of my chapters have been through a beta. And even then, it's more than likely that my editing ruined them.