Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing
Chapter 5: Demons of Light
"I can't believe you!" Misty shouted, "You're such a jerk!"
"Hey, it's not my fault what I said was true!" Ron shouted back.
Harry and Tim glanced at each other, feeling helpless as their two friends argued outside the entrance to the Great Hall. Hours earlier, after Charms class, Ron had made fun of Hermione, an act which apparently had the girl locked in a bathroom crying.
"You mocked her and said she didn't have any friends! And all she did was try to help you with a stupid charm!" Misty shrieked.
"She's a bossy know-it-all who nobody likes or wants to be friends with!" Ron roared.
The argument came to a screeching halt as the sharp sound of a slap echoed through the hall. Ron blinked away tears as he rubbed the throbbing red mark on the side of his face.
"I'm her friend!" Misty shouted before storming off in the direction of the stairs.
Harry and Tim watched Misty leave with shocked faces. They slowly turned to look at Ron, who was glaring after her.
"What are you two looking at?" he demanded as he turned to look at the two boys. Before they could answer, he turned and stomped into the Great Hall. Harry and Tim looked at each other again, before sighing and following the red head.
Ron had cooled down a bit as they ate at the Halloween Feast. Numerous plates of food covered the tables and Jack-O-Lanterns hovered overhead. The three boys sat in silence as they ate, an awkward feeling in the air.
Suddenly, the doors to the Hall were thrown open and Professor Quirell rushed in.
"Trolls!" he screamed as ran towards the faculty table, "Trolls in the castle!"
He stumbled to a halt, looking at Dumbledore, who was staring at him with wide eyes.
"Thought you'd want to know," he said breathlessly, before promptly fainting.
Pandemonium quickly swept through the Hall as the students began screaming in panic. Harry wasn't sure what exactly a troll was, but he had heard enough fairy tales about them to know they were bad news.
Dumbledore rose to his feet, preparing to quite the students when a loud roar cut through the air.
A mass of brown fur was hurled through the doorway before hitting the floor with a massive thud. As it rolled to a stop, Harry saw that it was the grizzly bear, Charlie. He groaned and shook his head as the students near him rushed away, seeking shelter by the walls.
As Charlie picked himself up, a large creature lumbered in. The creature was humanoid in shape, with grey, rocky-looking skin. Its head was bald and seemed small compared to the rest of its 12 foot tall body. It had large ears, a prominent nose and beady, yellow eyes. It had a large pot belly and overly long, muscular arms, like those of a gorilla. Its feet resembled those of an elephant, with hard, flat soles.
It roared at Charlie in challenge, before it was sent reeling forward as it was struck from behind. As it whirled around, Harry could see Hagrid hanging from the troll's back, his arm wrapped around its neck. With a muffled roar, it grabbed Hagrid's arms and broke his hold, before flipping him over and slamming him against the floor, cracking it.
The troll stood back up, only to be tackled by Charlie, sending them both tumbling across the floor. The troll shoved Charlie off of him, but Charlie rounded on it and slashed the troll across the face with his claws. The troll held its now bleeding face, screaming in pain. Charlie took the opportunity to knock it to the ground again. Holding the troll down with his paws, Charlie opened his mouth and drove his teeth into the troll's neck. The troll gurgled with pain, before there was a wet, ripping noise and the troll stopped moving.
Breathing heavily, Charlie backed away from the now dead troll. He turned around, spitting out the troll's blood and flesh as he did so. Hagrid groaned as he slowly picked himself off the ground.
"Headmaster," Charlie said in a low voice, "We have a problem."
The next few minutes were spent organizing and escorting the students out of the Great Hall, leading them to their individual houses. Ron's brother Percy lead the Gryffindors quickly up the staircase to the Tower. The sound of troll roars and things being destroyed echoing through the castle helped move the students quickly along. Some of the girls in Harry's class were sobbing with fear. The sound made Harry realize something and a cold chill swept through his body.
"Misty and Hermione!" Harry whispered harshly to the others, his face full of fear.
"What?" Ron asked.
"They're still in the girl's bathroom! They don't know about the trolls!" he explained.
"Oh God," Tim whispered, "We have to find them!"
"Do you know where they are?" Ron asked.
"Fourth floor. That's what Misty said," Harry answered.
"Let's go!" Tim whispered, the others nodding in agreement.
The three boys quickly glanced at Percy to make sure he wasn't looking, before darting off. They rushed through the castle, the sound of pitched combat echoing through the halls. After a few minutes, they came to the corridor where the girls bathroom was located…just in time to see two trolls rumble inside, breaking the door frame as they did so.
"Oh no," Harry whispered as Hermione's scream cut through the air. The boys rushed in after the trolls, wands drawn.
The trolls had their backs to the doorway, both looking up at a corner of the bathroom ceiling. There, a strange, fairy-like creature was perched. It was a girl, with white hair, black eye and blue skin. She had pointed teeth and claws and was held aloft by buzzing, insectoid wings.
The creature darted forward, scratching one of the troll's faces. The troll cried out in pain, and swung blindly, destroying the stalls, where Harry saw Hermione was hiding. The fairy ducked below the troll's wild swing before leaping on its chest and sinking her teeth into its neck.
The troll groaned in pain as the fairy flittered away. The troll suddenly seemed uneasy on its feet. Holding its wound with its hand, the troll let out a low groan before it toppled forward, destroying the sinks and spraying water all over the room.
The fairy floated down to the floor and looked over at the boys. It was then that Harry noticed it was wearing a school uniform with Gryffindor colors, along with a familiar pair of black and orange socks.
"Misty?" Harry asked, looking at her with a confused expression.
"Harry?" she asked, her black eyes going wide with surprise, slowly she turned to look over at the other boys "Ron?"
"Sheeda," Ron whispered, his face going ghostly white as his body shook with fear.
A loud roar caught all their attentions as the other troll swung at Misty with the club it carried. She was caught completely off guard and the club struck her hard, sending her slamming into the wall of bathroom, leaving a large crater in it.
"Misty!" Hermione shouted in horror.
Hermione's voice snapped Harry back to reality and before he knew what he was doing, he sprung into action. He hopped up onto one of the sinks before leaping off it and grabbing the troll's shoulders. Before it knew what was happening, Harry had climbed up on to the troll's shoulders and wrapped his legs around its neck.
Now that he was there though, Harry was unsure what to do. The troll began to attempt to shake him off, shaking its head from side to side. At that point, Harry decided to take a move from his Uncle Vernon's playbook and struck the troll hard on the ear. The troll roared in pain and it reached for Harry.
Harry managed to duck out of the way of the hand, but lost his grip as a result. Lashing out desperately, he grabbed the troll's nose, accidentally sticking his wand up its nose. The troll groaned with discomfort before grabbing the now dangling Harry between its fingers.
The others watched in horror as the troll swung at Harry, who managed to pull himself up and avoid the blow.
"Help!" he screamed, as the troll pulled back for another swing.
Ron pointed his wand at the troll, and froze desperately thinking of something to do. Only one think came to mind as he adjusted his aim, now pointing his wand at the troll's club. Hermione seemed to read his mind, as he could see her out of the corner of his eye making motions with her fingers while mouthing "swish and flick."
"Wingardium Leviosa!" he called as he twirled his wand.
As the troll swung at Harry, its club suddenly broke from its grip. The troll stared at its now empty hand, clearly confused. Glancing up, it saw its club floating above its head. With a flick, Ron ended the spell, and the club dropped out of the air, directly on the troll's head. The troll stumbled around for a bit, before it fell flat on its face, taking up the space not occupied by the other.
As soon as the troll had fallen, Hermione rushed from her hiding place to where Misty lay.
"Misty!" she cried, helping her friend up from the wall. Misty moaned in pain, and looked at Hermione with a dazed expression.
"Hermione?" she asked, sounding confused.
"Get away from her!" Ron shouted, pulling Hermione away, "Don't you know what she is?"
"Yes," she replied, her voice harsh and her eyes hard, "She's my friend, and yours too."
This seemed to stop Ron in his tracks, leading him to just stand and stare at Hermione. In the meantime, Harry moved past Ron to where Hermione and Misty were.
"Here, let me help," he said as he put Misty's arm over his shoulder, while Hermione did the same with her other arm.
"You got her?" Harry asked.
"Yeah," Hermione said as they both lifted her.
"You going to stand there all night, Ron?" Harry asked as they carried Misty past her.
"Guys," Tim said as he backed away from the door, "We got another problem."
Looking up, they saw no less than three trolls standing in the doorway, apparently attracted by the sound of the battle. They growled down at the kids, who quaked in response.
"Get behind me," Tim said quickly, not taking his eyes off the trolls, who glared down at him.
"What?" Ron asked, snapping out of his daze.
"Get behind me!" he roared, before he dove out of the way as one of the trolls swung its club at him.
Tim scrambled to his feet as the others crowded behind him. Holding his hands out in front of him, Tim closed his eyes, focusing on the words Dumbledore had said to him during their weeks of training.
'You're magic is raw, Mr. Hunter. Untamed. You must concentrate to use it, bend it to your will. Though your wand is needed for precise spell work, your magic can still be used without it for broader effects. All you need is the will to control it. Simply focus on what you want done and will it to be done. This will not be easy, Tim, and using your magic this will certainly expend a lot of energy," Dumbledore's voice echoed in his head, "But I see in you the will needed to perform this feat. I have faith that you can do this.'
Magical energy began to spark with power as his face scrunched up with concentration. A single thought echoed through his head as he brought his power to bear.
'' he thought as his hands continued to glow with power. Then, his eyes snapped open, now glowing.
"GO AWAY!!!!" he shouted, just as one of the trolls swung its club at him.
There was a low hum as a bright flash lit up the bathroom. This was followed by the loud sound of an explosion. When the light faded, the others saw that entire wall of the bathroom had been destroyed, along with the wall across the hall, having collapsed onto the trolls after the blast knocked them into it. Tim panted heavily, before he swayed on his feet and fell to the ground, unconscious.
"Tim!" the other three called out in surprise and shock.
"Ron, can you carry him?" Harry asked.
Ron nodded before heaving Tim onto his back.
"Merlin's beard," Ron whispered in awe, looking at the destruction as they left the destroyed bathroom, "Never really knew what having a magic core a hundred times larger than normal meant until right now."
"Stop gawking, Ronald," Hermione chastised, as she and Harry began to carry Misty away, "We have to get them to safety!"
"Right," Ron agreed as he adjusted his grip on Tim before hurrying after his friends.
They rushed through the darkened halls of the castle, attempting to remain as stealthy as they could.
"How do we get to the Tower from here?" Harry asked, feeling hopelessly lost.
"This way!" Ron said, rushing ahead of the group and around a corner. Seconds later, he came running back around the corner, screaming at the top of his lungs.
"WRONG WAY!!!" he shouted, as he ran past him. The thunderous sound of running trolls was all it took to get Harry and Hermione to follow suit, almost dragging Misty as they ran screaming down the hall.
As the three ran around another corner, they almost ran straight into two more trolls. The large creatures turned slowly to look at them, before growling as they prepared to attack. Turning back, they saw no less then four trolls rumbling after them.
"We're trapped!" Ron moaned as he and the other slowly inched their way into a corner, the trolls closing in around them.
One of the trolls stepped forward, and raised its club above its head, roaring as it brought it down. The children screamed in fright as they huddled together, desperately shielding their heads.
"Azorath Metrion Zinthos!" a voice called out. Suddenly, a dome of black energy surrounded them, the troll's club clinking off the side as if it were tank armor.
Then, the dome faded away as a large pool of shadows appeared between the kids and the trolls. Slowly, forms rose out of the shadow, before Harry recognized them as Raven, Wanda, Daimon, Sebastian, and Gemma.
Raven had her hands, with auras of black energy surrounding them, stretched above her head and from his angle, Harry could just make out that her eyes were glowing white. Wanda had her hair done back in a ponytail and her hands and eyes glowed red with power. Daimon had his shirt off and Harry could feel heat radiating from him. Sebastian eyes were completely black and Harry saw a large sack hanging from his waist. Finally, Gemma wore a pair of holsters on her hips, each holding an ornate looking handgun.
"Stay behind us," Raven said, glancing over her shoulder at the kids.
"Yeah," Daimon agreed, turning to face them, revealing the pentacle he had tattooed on his chest, "We'll show you how it's done."
Gemma reached for her holsters and pulled out her guns, holding them parallel to her head. In the torchlight, Harry could make out the words Michael and Gabriel written along the sides of the barrels.
"You ready, boys?" she asked, cocking the guns and eyeing the trolls.
"Let's just even the odds some more," Sebastian said, reaching for the bag on his waist and pulled it out. He quickly untied the bag and dumped it out, sending its contents scattering across the floor. It wasn't until the contents rolled to a stop that Harry saw that they were bones.
As the bones came to a stop, Sebastian held his hand in the air and began reciting words Harry didn't recognize. A white aura surrounded his hand and the bones, before the bones began to roll towards each other and began to form a skeleton. The skeleton was able to stand, despite having no discernable way of doing so. After a majority of the skeleton had been built, the skull rolled to its feet. As the skeleton leaned down and picked it up, Harry noticed that it had horns growing out of its head. The skeleton placed the skull on its neck, and secured it with an audible snap.
The skeleton slowly turned around before kneeling in front of Sebastian. As it did so, it became engulfed in black and red flames. When the flames subsided, the figure now possessed muscle and skin over its bones. The creature was clearly male, with blue skin, pointed ears and toned muscles. It had small horns on its head, and its hands and bare feet were clawed. It wore a black vest with black pants, and wore small, hoop earrings in its ears.
"What is thy bidding, my master?" he asked in a deep voice.
"We need your help battling the trolls," Sebastian explained.
The creature looked over its shoulder at the trolls, who were looking hesitantly at the group. The creature stood up before turning to face the trolls.
"It shall be done," it stated, solemnly.
"Always a pleasure to see you, Blue," Daimon stated. As he did, the pentacle on his chest began to glow, before his body suddenly burst into flame. The flames subsided, revealing that Daimon had changed. His skin was now blood red and his hair pitch black. His eyes glowed bright red and his mouth seemed to glow with an unseen flame. His hands were now clawed and small horns grew from his forehead.
"Don't get in my way, half-breed" Blue growled, before rushing forward at one of the trolls.
"Like I said," Daimon said with a grin, as he rushed forward as well, "Always a pleasure."
The two rushed towards the stunned trolls, both running low to the ground. Daimon cut in front of Blue, moving to strike at one of the creatures. The troll moved to block him, but Daimon cut short and jumped, spiraling over the trolls head.
The troll watched with confusion as Daimon spiraled over its head. This meant that it couldn't react in time when Blue drove his fist into the troll's stomach. The troll groaned in pain as the very air seemed to ripple with the force of the blow. The punch sent the troll tumbling across the ground, rolling to a stop a few feet away
Blue walked over to where the troll lay. As he did, he clapped his hands together, causing fire to form between his palms. He slowly pulled his hands apart, a line of fire forming in the air between them. After the length reached four feet, he grabbed the line of flame. The flames solidified and formed into a trident of gold metal.
Blue twirled the trident around as the troll picked itself up. The troll roared and threw a backhand at Blue, but he quickly rolled beneath it. As he rolled to his feet, Blue brought the trident to bear, stabbing the troll in the stomach. The troll's scream of pain combined with Blue's grunt of effort as he lifted the skewered troll into the air. With a roar, he slammed the troll onto the floor behind him.
With a tug, Blue pulled the trident out of the troll. He quickly twirled it around before driving it into the troll's neck. The troll gurgled in pain before its head rolled to the side and it stopped moving. Blue ripped the trident out of the troll's neck, before examining the blood running down its points with a growl of satisfaction.
After Daimon had leaped over the troll, he quickly turned around and rushed at another trolls back. Leaping into the air, he landed on the back of the troll's head, causing it to lurch forward. He bounced up and grabbed the troll's head with his hands. He quickly swung down and drove his knees into the trolls face. The monster cried out in pain and stumbled backwards, while Daimon flipped away and landed gracefully on his feet.
In a blink of an eye, Daimon had burst forward while slamming his hands together and creating a trident in the same way Blue had. He twirled it around expertly before leaping to the air and spinning around, slamming the side of the trident across the troll's head. The troll stumbled in pain as Daimon landed, quickly ducking down and sweeping the troll's massive legs with his trident. As the troll fell through the air, Daimon planted the trident in the ground before using it as leverage to boot the troll in the stomach with both feet, sending the monster tumbling away.
Daimon rushed forward and stabbed the trident into the ground, before bending it backwards and using it like a pole vault, launching him towards the troll. As the creature stood, Daimon corkscrewed through the air, before he drove his feet into the troll's chest again, followed by the loud sound of bones cracking. Daimon leaped off the troll's chest and landed as it fell to the ground. Daimon grinned in satisfaction as he brushed off his hands.
Gemma quickly brought her weapons to bear against one of the trolls. The monster stumbled backwards in pain, holding its arms up to protect itself as the projectiles drilled into its skin. Gemma took the opportunity to rush the troll, firing rapidly as she ran. As she got close to it, Gemma dropped into a slide, still firing. She continued to fire as she slid between the troll's legs. She turned so she faced the troll's back, pumping lead into the trolls back as she slowed to a stop.
As she slid to a stop, Gemma pushed a button on the side of the guns. A spinning noise was emitted from the barrels as they extended as if empty. Different colored energies flashed within the barrels, changing every few seconds. When it flashed a deep red, she pushed the button again, and the guns collapsed back into their normal position.
As the troll turned around to face her, its wounds oozing blood as she pointed her guns at the troll's head. She pulled the triggers and the barrels began to glow orange. A second later, a bright burst of energy shot from the guns and struck the troll in the face, exploding into a fire ball. The troll fell backwards, its head aflame, landing with a loud thud as Gemma twirled her guns with a flourish.
As one of the trolls rushed forward, Sebastian stepped forward, his hands surrounded by white auras. As the troll lifted its club to attack, Sebastian stepped forward and thrust his hands forward, causing the troll to go flying back as if struck by some invisible force. The blast had knocked the troll through a wall and Sebastian quickly followed it.
As he stepped through the hole, the troll picked up a piece of stone debris and chucked it at Sebastian. Acting quickly, Sebastian held up his hand, the white aura surrounding it. The same aura quickly surrounded the brick, stopping it in midair. Sebastian then made a thrusting motion, sending the brick flying back at the troll. The stone hit the troll square between the eyes, knocking the beast onto its back.
The troll slowly pulled itself to its feet, holding its head and glaring at him. What it saw was Sebastian with his hands held above his head, his eyes black and his eyes glowing white. Then, more pieces of rubble began to glow white as they rose into the air, floating around Sebastian.
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" he cried, pointing his hands in front of him. The bricks shot forward, striking the troll like a flying avalanche. The beast could do nothing but scream in fear as it was buried. When the dust settled, all that could be see of the troll were its hands and feet sticking out from beneath the pile.
Wanda cracked her knuckles as she approached one of the trolls. As it swung its club at her, she tossed a hex bolt at it. As soon as the bolt came into contact with the club, it disintegrated, leaving only a cloud of dust. The troll looked at its hand in confusion, trying to figure out what had happened. As it did, Wanda shot another hex bolt at the ground beneath the troll's feet. The floor opened up, and the troll fell through, landing with a loud thud.
Walking up to the hole, Wanda peered down through it. The troll lay on its back, groaning in pain. Slowly, it began to sit up, growling at Wanda as it did so. In response, Wanda threw another hex bolt at its feet. Yet again, the floor opened up beneath the troll and it fell screaming to the next floor. Wanda cringed as the creature fell flat on its face and lay there, unmoving.
Raven blocked one the troll's swings with a shield made from black energy. When the troll moved to swing again, Raven thrust her hand out. The black energy formed a claw, much like that of a predatory bird. The claw shot out and wrapped itself around the troll's chest, before slamming it into a wall. Pulling back her arm back, she made a fist causing the energy claw to form one as well. Throwing her fist forward, the claw slammed into the trolls face, slamming its head through the wall.
As the troll stumbled from the blow, the claw grabbed it by its neck and slammed it into the wall across the hall. The attack caused the troll to reel back into the middle of the hall. As it did, Raven brought her hand together in front of her chest. As she did so, an orb of the black energy formed, growing bigger as she concentrated on it.
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" she called, before holding her hand out in front of her, causing a beam of black energy to shoot out. The blast struck the troll in the chest and sent it flying down the hall. It struck the wall at the end of the hall hard before bursting through it. This sent the creature flying out of the castle, with the troll falling out of sight as it let out a deep cry, followed by a distant thud.
She turned around, breathing a little heavily, before she walked over to where the kids were huddled together.
"You guys okay?" she asked, a slight smile on her face.
Harry, Ron and Hermione nodded, though they were still looked frightened.
"All right, we got to get you guys back to the tower," she said as the others approached.
"Here," Daimon said, reaching down towards Misty, "I'll take her,"
Hermione nodded quietly and shifted her friend over to Daimon, who picked her up, bridal-style.
"Blue, can you take Tim?" Sebastian asked.
"Yes, master," the demon responded, before bending down and picking Tim up.
"Come on, Harry," Raven said, helping him to his feet.
The older students lead the children through the castle, the sound of battles fading away. They reached the changing staircase and began leading them up to the tower. Suddenly an echoing roar came from one of the doorways as a group of trolls came barreling into the stairwell. Raven eyes widened in horror before she turned to the others.
"Daimon! You and Blue get the kids to the Tower, we'll hold them back!" she ordered. Daimon nodded before turning to the kids.
"Come on, stay close," he said as he turned and ran up one of the moving staircases.
They quickly bounded up the stairs, Harry breathing heavily from all the running he had been doing. His head whipped around when a loud roar came from behind them, closer then Harry felt comfortable with. Turning around, he saw yet another pair of trolls emerged from a door behind them. Daimon noticed as well, fear showing on his face.
"Run!" he shouted as he rushed up the stairs, Hermione and Ron right on his tail. Harry, who had been bringing up the rear scrambled up the stairs, Blue running in front of him. Harry made the mistake of looking back, and saw the two trolls rushing after them, their eyes full of rage, and droll spraying from their open mouths. It was at this point, that he tripped on the stairs.
The world seemed to move in slow motion, as he fell to his knees. He hissed in pain as he banged his shin against the hard stone. The roar of the trolls behind him quickly made him forget about his pain and he began to scramble frantically up the stairs. But he wasn't quick enough.
The troll brought its club down on the stairs, right near Harry. The force knocked Harry to the side, into the banister. He groaned in pain as the troll roared in fury, lifting its club above its head again.
Harry screamed in terror, holding his hands in front of him in a desperate attempt to protect himself. Suddenly, he felt someone grab the back of his cloak and haul him upwards. Before he knew it, Harry was sailing through the air, flying across the room to another one of the staircases. He hit the stone steps with a thud and a grunt of pain. He rolled down a few steps and smashed into the railing, causing his shoulder to scream in pain.
"Get up and run, boy!" he heard Blue yell at him, Harry's pain filled head deducing that he was the one who threw him. As Harry slowly rose to his hands and knees, he felt the staircase move below him. Looking up, he saw the staircase was shifting, swinging around until it connected to a lower landing. One which the other member of the troll pair was standing on.
"Bugger," Harry whispered to himself in a frightened voice.
The troll roared in fury as Harry screamed and started to scramble up the stairs, the sound of the troll thundering up the stairs behind him.
"Run Harry!" he heard a voice yell, possibly Hermione's. Scrambling to his feet as he reached the landing he rushed through the doorway into a hall, the troll still charging after him.
As he ran through the doorway, a feeling of exhilaration rushed through him as he realized that this was the hallway that led to Gryffindor tower. Now all he had to do was outrun the troll and-
Harry felt his heart sink as he rounded the corner. There, standing in front of the Fat Lady's portrait was another troll. The monster was banging on the Lady's picture, trying to break through as the portrait screamed in terror. Then, giving a sniff of the air, the troll turned, its hate filled eyes meeting with Harry's frightened ones.
Harry screamed before turning and sprinting back the way he came. Just as he turned the corner, the other troll burst through the doorway, sending debris flying everywhere. Harry stumbled backwards with a yell, before he quickly crawled backwards into a corner. Harry trembled in fear, as he held up his arms in a futile attempt to defend himself.
One of the trolls let out a roar of furry as it raised its club to squash Harry. Right before it swung however, it stopped, its ear twitching. Looking to its side, it only had enough time to widen its eyes in surprises before a figure slammed into its head. The troll screamed in pain as the figure clawed its face. The cries turned into gurgles, a sound that Harry feared would haunt his dreams. The troll fell backwards, crashing to the floor with a loud thud, the figure standing on its chest triumphantly. As the figure glanced back, Harry recognized who it was. The scarecrow.
He grinned back at Harry and the troll (Harry wasn't sure which) contorting itself in a way that looked highly uncomfortable. His fingers had extended into wicked looking claws, which dripped with a mixture of paint and blood. The troll looked anxious, trying to decide whether to attack the scarecrow or flee from him. The scarecrow didn't give it the opportunity to decide.
The scarecrow held up his hand before snapping his long fingers. As soon as he did, a loud noise came from the direction of his painting. It sounded to Harry like a great number of birds approaching. The sound grew louder and louder until a giant flock of crows flew out of the painting. They swarmed the troll, who flailed in pain and panic. In seconds, the troll had become completely engulfed by the black birds, appearing only as a shifting, black blob. Then just as suddenly as they had attacked, the birds scattered, revealing the troll had completely disappeared. As the crows continued to fly around, the scarecrow approached him, the crows seeming to flow around him.
He stalked over to where Harry sat, his walk loose and fluid, as if he didn't posses a skeleton. Harry tried to back away, but quickly realized he was still in a corner, and thus could do nothing but tremble as the scarecrow approached. As the scarecrow stood before him, Harry realized how tall he was, standing at least six and a half feet. The scarecrow leaned down, his face inches from Harry's and his knees even with his head, giving the scarecrow a spider-like appearance. The two stared at each other for a few silent moments, Harry shaking and the scarecrow smiling.
"Wh-Who are you?" Harry managed to ask after a few moments.
The scarecrow's smile seemed to grow even wider. Holding up a finger, he turned his head away. There was a zipping sound, and the scarecrow turned around, his mouth now unsown. He liked his burlap lips with a long black tongue and cleared his throat, before doing the last thing Harry expected.
He started to sing.
"There are few who'd deny at what I do I am the best, for my talents are renowned far and wide," he sang as he placed his hand to his chest in a show of pride.
"When it comes to surprises in the moonlit night, I excel without ever even trying," he stood up and spread his arm above his head, walking away from Harry.
"With the slightest little effort of my ghost-like charms, I have seen grown men give out a shriek," he turned around before walking back towards Harry.
"With a wave of my hand, and a well-placed moan, I have swept the very bravest from their feet!" he sang as he picked up Harry by the back of his shirt so he could look him in the eye, before unceremoniously dropping him.
"I'm a master of fright, and a demon on light, and I'll scare you right out of your pants," he bragged, poking Harry in the chest with one of his claws.
"To a guy in Kentucky, I'm Mister Unlucky, and I'm known throughout England and France," he sang, spreading his arms wide for additional effect.
"And since I am dead, I can take off my head, to recite Shakespearean quotations," he said, as he removed his head with a wet pop, holding it aloft with one hand and placing the other against his chest. He then quickly rolled it down his arm, and it automatically reconnected with his neck as it rolled over his shoulder.
"No animal or man, can scream like I can! With the fury of my recitations," he shouted as he got right in Harry's face, before standing upright, throwing his arms up and his head back in triumph.
"But it must be such a drag, to hear me boast and brag, though I've been called my own number one fan," he sang with a shrug.
"So without further ado, I'll just say howdy do, and that my name is the Straw Man," he said as he doffed his hat. Harry immediately wished he hadn't as beneath Straw Man's hat was a festering knot of worms and insects. Harry's gasp of surprise made the Straw Man stand up quickly and replace his hat, pulling it snuggly on his head.
"Pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr. Potter," Straw Man said. Harry noticed that Straw Man had a surprisingly smooth voice.
"You're…not going to kill me?" Harry asked, slightly confused.
"Quite the contrary. Last I checked, I believe I just saved you," Straw Man grinned.
"So why have you been scaring me these past few weeks?" Harry asked, crossing his arms.
"What part of "Master of Fright," didn't you understand?" he asked, leaning in close to Harry again. His breath smelt like hay.
"So you did it for the fun of it?" Harry demanded, his anger rising.
"Of course!" Straw Man replied, throwing his head back and laughing, before he turned back to Harry.
"Now, come along, it's time I ended this fight, and Raven would burn me alive if I let you out of my sight," he said as he picked Harry up and flung him over his shoulder.
"Wait, you know-AHHHH!!!" Harry was interrupted when Straw Man leaped back into his painting. The world became a swirling tunnel of color and shadow. The sight was so disorienting that Harry was forced to close his eyes, or he was afraid his head would explode.
A second later, Harry felt as if he was falling, before they felt a jolt and heard a thud. Opening his eyes, Harry found himself in the Grand Hall. The normally vibrant hall was now completely abandoned, the remains of food still on the tables. A dead troll lay between two of the tables, near the door. Glancing up, Harry could see a multi-colored hole slowly closing in the ceiling above them.
"What are we doing here?" Harry asked as Straw Man put him down.
"The last of the trolls are coming here," the Straw Man explained.
"How do you know?" Harry questioned.
"On our way here, I possessed all the paintings in the castle, and more or less told them too," he said with a shrug.
"You what!?" Harry cried as the doors suddenly burst open and three trolls rushed in, snarling in fury.
"Only three?" Straw Man asked, sounding almost insulted, "Seems this will be easier then I thought."
Straw Man reached his hand into the air, as the cawing of a crow caught Harry's attention. A crow lazily floated down from the ceiling before landing in the Straw Man's hand. It was instantly enveloped in a black, ink-like substance, but offered no resistance. The ink grew and changed in shape, before it solidified again. Now, the Straw Man held a large scythe in his hand. The handle was pitch black, along with the blade. The blade was designed to look like a crow's beak, with the handle at the back of the blade was designed to resemble a bird's plumage.
Straw Man turned and smiled at Harry, "Now stay here, Mr. Potter, and don't blink."
Harry didn't blink, but he still felt like he missed it. One second, Straw Man was standing in front of him, the next he was across the hall. The three trolls had long gashes across their chests. They stood there, stock still for a few seconds before they all burst, their forms dissolving into puddles of ink.
With a flick of his wrist, the scythe changed back a crow, which cawed once and settled onto Straw Man's shoulder.
"Wow," Harry said as he walked over to Straw Man, "That was incredible,"
"I do what I can," Straw Man replied with a grin.
As Straw Man talked, Harry heard the sound of approaching footsteps and voices.
"Quickly, they went this way!" The voice of Professor McGonagall cried, as she rounded the corner, accompanied by Raven and Professor Dumbledore.
As soon as she entered, McGonagall slid to a stop, her eyes sweeping the room in shock before falling on Straw Man.
"Evening Professor," he greeted, tilting his hat, causing droplets of paint to flick off.
"Who in Merlin's name are you!?" she demanded.
"Well…" Straw Man began, and Harry realized he was going to sing again. He quickly elbowed Straw Man in the gut. It shut the scarecrow up, though Harry could tell he didn't actually knock the wind out of him.
"Straw Man!" Raven shouted as she approached him, "I told you, you were supposed to protect Harry!"
Straw Man looked at Harry with a blank expression, before turning back to her.
"I did," he stated, sounding confused.
"When I told you that, that didn't mean drag him into the middle of a war zone so you could see more action!" she seethed.
Straw Man scratched his head before shrugging.
"You never said I couldn't"
Raven threw her arms up in aggravation as Dumbledore cleared his throat.
"Yes, well, the important thing is that Harry is safe and sound after such a harrowing ordeal," Dumbledore stated.
"One he wouldn't have had to worry about if he had just followed instructions!" McGonagall pointed out, angrily.
"Someone had to save Hermione and Misty!" Harry defended.
"As noble as your intentions were, Harry, they were still rash, and put you and your friends in grave danger. But we will have to settle that matter another time. Right now, we have more pressing concerns. Raven?" Dumbledore turned towards the teenage girl.
"Yes, Professor?" she asked.
"Hogwarts has been attacked and I need to know why," he stated, his face hard and his eyes cold, "I need you to contact your father."
A/N: Wow, this must be some kind of record. Got this new chapter done in a week, and it's not exactly, wicked short either. As you can see, I spiced up the Halloween event a bit, and the repercussions are going to be large. This is defiantly where this story diverges from canon, and I have some more surprises in store for you guys. I'd love to hear comments about the character's fighting styles, as I came up with a lot of them from scratch, or based off of other ideas and characters.
Also, I finally formally introduce the scarecrow you've all been wondering about. He's an obscure Marvel character who I stumbled upon one night and thought really fit the theme of the story. Also for those not in the know, his song and dance number is based off of "Jack's Lament" from the Nightmare before Christmas, edited to better fit the situation. It's also where the chapter title comes from.
As for next chapter, Hellboy and the BPRD make their triumphant return, along with some new faces. If I'm lucky, I'll get this one done in a week too!
Until then, Later True Believers!