Breaking the Taboo

In the quiet, undisturbed forest, one figure was out of place. Blending with the dapples of sunlight that fell on the leaves, there was a bird. A white cockatoo with a pink crest and bright green eyes.

The cockatoo's eyes flashed excitedly. Her pink crest stood up straight and her feathers fluffed out. Then she puffed out her chest, opened her beak, and in a very clear voice said, "Voldemort."

The bird stood on the tree branch and cocked her head back and forth as though waiting for something.

She didn't have long to wait. A loud cracking sound split the air in the deep forest.

Three men appeared directly beneath where the cockatoo was perched. They glanced around in every direction, except up.

"There's no one here," said one of them. He was wearing a mahogany-brown cloak and appeared younger than his other two companions.

"Come out!" shouted a man in a dark blue cloak. "We know you're here! You can't hide forever!"

"And you'll get what's coming to you for using the Dark Lord's name," growled the last man, who was wearing a cloak of deepest red.

The cockatoo watched these happenings with great interest without being noticed herself.

Finally, the wizard in blue barked out a spell and his wand whipped around, pointing upwards directly at the bird. But before the three of them even had a chance to follow the direction the wand indicated, the cockatoo let out an ear-shattering shriek, and then gave a cackling laugh. It flew away into the trees.

The wizards all looked up, but they saw nothing more than the flash of white feathers.

Only moments later, many miles away, the same bird alighted in a tree, puffed out her chest, and chanted, "Voldemort!"

This call was immediately followed by another series of bangs. Four people appeared this time. It was a different group than the three men who were still peering around the forest in bewilderment. This new group of Death Eaters consisted of two men and two women.

Their immediate reaction was almost identical to that of the first group. The cockatoo looked immensely amused.

The cockatoo took off and vanished into the forest, cackling madly.

Once again, a few miles away but only seconds later, the same cockatoo recited the word that had become taboo. Four more Death Eaters appeared.

These little traps were placed so closely together than none of the wizards or witches had time to return and report their findings.

It was only coincidence that a woman with long black hair happened to look up and see the bird perched in the branch of a tree, its pink crest flared out. She raised her wand and blasted out a hex.

The cockatoo leapt out of the way, the spell barely grazing her feathered crest. A single pink feather fell to the ground.

The cockatoo zig-zagged out of the way of several more spells and finally escaped through the branches, leaving yet another group of Death Eaters staring after the bird with their jaws hanging open.

It wasn't until the next day that the cockatoo appeared again.

For the forth time, the bird recited the taboo of "Voldemort."

And for the fourth time death eaters appeared. It was the same three that had appeared during the first incident.

All three of them glanced around before finally looking up.

"Bloody hell! It's back!" hissed the man in the red cloak.

"I thought Vanessa hit it!" muttered the boy in brown.

The Death Eater dressed in blue raised his wand, but the cockatoo slipped out of sight yet again.

One hour later, a different part of the forest found a white bird sitting in a tree.

Its wings flapped up and down, and it squawked, "Voldemort."

It was barely a moment later when seven Death Eaters appeared in a circle around their target. Instantly, all of them shot out blasts from their wand.

This time, they hit it.

The white figure burst apart in a scattering of gears, wires, batteries, and plastic.

The Death Eaters flinched as the mechanical debris rained down on them.

"What is it?" asked the brown-cloaked boy as he picked up one of the batteries.

"I dunno," muttered one man from the second trap.

The dark-haired woman, Vanessa, surveyed the debris. "It's one of those muggle machines."

"You mean a mash-een has been tricking us all this time?" asked the boy.

Vanessa shook her head. "That bird yesterday was no muggle contraption."

"Then what does it mean?" growled the man in the red cloak. "And why would the person behind this use some muggle thing instead of transfiguring a real bird, or something like that?"

"It means," Vanessa said, sneering, "that the person behind this is just toying with us. They've tricked us once again. And they've predicted every move we've made. They knew that this time we wouldn't fall for it and that we'd expect the bird. So they gave us a fake one. I wonder if it's an ani…"

She was cut off by a piercing shriek. A white bird swooped low overhead, cackling loudly. Its pink crest was obvious to everyone below.

The bird was gone before the Death Eaters got out a shot.

Then the bird appeared once more.

The Death Eaters began shouting out spells, but they were so focused on hitting the bird that they didn't notice that this animal had a yellow crest.

The cockatoo let out a startled screech and narrowly avoided most of the curses, but one of them hit its tail, knocking some feathers loose.

As the Death Eaters continued their useless attacks on the bird, none of them saw a girl stepping out of the shadows of the forest.

White feathers on her arms slowly vanished beneath her skin. For a moment, her hair appeared to be in the form of a pink crest. But it too melted away to be replaced by normal hair tied beneath a pink bandana.

She stepped up noiselessly behind the nearest Death Eater and drew a slender reddish-colored wand. Without making a sound, she thought very clearly, Stupify.

The man collapsed onto his knees and then onto the forest floor. Because of the shrieks of the birds and the shouts of the other Death Eaters, none of them noticed their fallen companion.

The girl focused her green eyes on the next closest Death Eater.


"The bird isn't running away this time, hissed the blue-cloaked man as he aimed another shot at the wildly flapping bird.

A third Death Eater fell to the girl's wand.

This time the boy noticed. He heard the dull whumph of a falling body and turned to see three of his companions sprawled on the forest floor with the strange girl standing over them.

He gave a startled cry, making the three other Death Eaters turn.

The yellow-rested cockatoo dove down, throwing her wings in the faces of two of the Death Eaters, giving the girl time to stun the red-cloaked wizard.

Vanessa lashed out, sending the bird reeling away. She shot out a jet of light at the girl, but she dropped and rolled out of the way, sliding to her feet once again, behind the man in blue. She kicked his feet out form under him so that he fell with a cry. She knocked his wand out of his hand and then in a fluid movement, she dodged another series of spells.

The boy unleashed a spell of his own, but he missed widely.

As the blue-cloaked wizard scrambled to regain his wand, t the girl appeared behind him and thought Stupify.

Vanessa continued to blast out spells with a furious look on her face. The girl dodged every shot with extreme skill. With each step she took, she moved slightly closer to the Death Eater.

Then she dropped to the ground and spun, kicking her foot up and knocking Vanessa's wand out of her hand.

A moment later, Vanessa fell to the ground, stunned.

Only the boy was left.

He stood there, his wand clenched in front of him. He was shaking so much that the wand swayed back and forth in his fists.

The girl stood there with her wand lowered to her side, and they stared at each other.

Suddenly, the boy let out a frightened squeak and his wand let out a BANG.

The girl was out of the way in an instant, and suddenly she was right beside the boy. She gave a serene smile and said, "Stupify."

She stood there in the forest, surrounded by the seven stunned Death Eaters. She knelt beside the boy and said, "Obliviate."

She moved around to the other six Death Eaters, removing most, but not all, of their memories. They kept the memories of their families, friends, and school life, but forgot anything related to the dark arts and Voldemort.

Then the animagus girl sighed and stood up. Controlling which memories she erased was a tricky business.

She held out her arm and the yellow-crested Cockatoo alighted on her wrist.

"Thanks," she said, stroking the bird's back. "Good Work."

She turned to her fallen foes.

"Seven down."