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Chapter Twenty Eight “Move!” Remus Lupin shouted to James and Potter had ducked just as a spell went zinging over his shoulder. “Towards the woods!” James yelled to all of the members near him. “Draw them away from the house.” “Get them towards the lake too!” Sliverton was gesturing towards the water. James didn’t stop to ask why. Atticus knew his grounds well. Four of the group peeled off and engaged with the DeathEaters nearby, fading backwards towards the water as they did. The air actually had a peculiar smell to it because of all the wands being discharged and the resulting spells. Brilliant flashes of red, blue and occasionally green could be seen. James, Sirius, Lupin, Moody and March all ran towards the wood, pausing on their way to try and stun some of the figures sprinting through the night in hoods and robes. “Megan for God’s sake don’t!” Sirius was screaming but she was too far away to hear him. In the months since her memory had been wiped, Megan had reasoned that she must be a fighter. After all, she must do something in the Order and she knew she was an excellent duelist. She also had an almost preternatural speed when she was running. So, when the fighting had begun in earnest she had run swiftly into the center of the Death Eaters, firing spells and dodging curses as she ran moving deftly towards the forest. Immediately five had peeled off to chase her, and Sirius had distinctly heard a shrill voiced woman shouting to those around her that this time she wouldn’t get away. He screamed again for Megan and began to fight his way towards her but the Death Eaters seemed to be everywhere. The enormous figure of March crashed into him as she was taken down and he fell to the ground, losing sight of Megan entirely. He knew the voice that had screamed at Megan. It was his cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange. Megan was in terrible trouble. :::::::::::: Down by the lake Diggle, who was almost entirely useless in a duel was firing stunning spells like mad but basically only the ground was in danger from him. The Prewett brothers were with him but Vance had been cursed as they lured the DeathEaters and was now just an unconcsious heap in the distance. Gideon Prewett shouted to his brother Fabian and Fabian moved around to cover Diggle with some shielding spells. The Prewett’s were both hard fighters and had a great deal of skill. “Why did we need to be down here?” Fabian yelled as he rolled out of the way of green curse that went sizzling into the water behind him. Before Gideon could answer in any way the surface of the water broke and rearing at least thirty feet into the sky was a long necked creature sreeching so loudly that ground beneath their feet shook. “Gadzukes! Sliverton has a sea serpent as a pet?” Gideon had been momentairly disarmed, manually engaged his opponent and landed a vicious punch to the man’s nose as he yelled. He grabbed his wand from the ground again. “What good will that….” The air split again with the monstorous shrieks of the creature from the lake as it surveyed those beneath it, then it’s head bobbed down immediately, plucked a DeathEater from the ground, shook it and sent the man flying far off into the trees. “That could be useful.” Gideon said as the huge head descended again, the DeathEaters were now trying to flee. They had managed to draw at least eight with them and their panicked yells were actually rather cheering to hear. “Does it know not to eat us?” Diggle was quivering with fear. “We can only hope.” Fabian dived to the ground as the head came bobbing down again and to his relief, he saw that the serpent did in fact seem to know what it was about. ::::::::::::: Sliverton had gone sprinting into the woods, shouting for Daisy and within seconds the ground had shaken around him. He shouted up to the hybrid dragon, “Daisy! The people in hoods aren’t friends they’re here to kill us. GET THEM!” Daisy was the size of a small elephant and the ground trembled as she went loping towards the house to do her master’s bidding. Sliverton looked around the wood, wondering what he should do next off to left and saw flashing spells through the trees. Someone was over there fighting, he took off at a dead run, dodging through the trees with practiced ease. :::::::::::: “Go now! We’ve got you covered!” Frank Longbottom yelled to Lily and Sophie. Lily could see that Alice’s eyes were desperate as she shot spells madly and dodged several. In the second that their eyes met Lily understood that Alice was counting on her. “Make a break for it!” Lily yelled and throwing her arms over her head to shield her from the flying glass Lily ran as fast as she could towards the stairs. Sophie was less than a foot behind her, in a similar position. Up the stairs they ran as quickly as humanly possible but the staircase curved and Lily could see that the DeathEaters were in fact headed for the nursery. What in the world did they want with the babies? How did they even know where the nursery was? :::::::::::: Severus Snape walked into his new lab with a bunch of dried thornfog in his hand. He had to work on yet another potion and this time it was an itching potion. It sounded tame enough but Snape knew that Voldemort wanted a potion so potent that it would cause the person who drank it to itch so severely they would literally begin tearing their own skin off. Rodolphus Lestrange stood in is laboratory, looking through the potions. “What are you doing?” Snape asked icily. “Searching your potions Snape, what does it look like?” Rodo was the husband of Bellatrix. Ever since the huge raid on the catacombs they had all worked in tiny outposts, never sure where their master was for any length of time. Snape wasn’t even sure of the names of any most of the members any longer, everything was so closely guarded. Searches were frequent too. He’d had a close call just a month ago when Death Eaters had crashed into his lodgings and searched the place. “Let me know if you find anything interesting.” Snape had sneered and thrown himself back into bed, secure in the knowledge that the compartment he had created behind the mirror was undetectable to the human eye and only someone highly trained in the Dark Arts would have seen the tiny hex mark that showed it’s location. It was the size of thimble because he would expand and reduce it everytime he needed in and out. Still, they had only missed his closing the area by ten minutes and if he could have still felt any true emotion he probably would have felt fear. In the lab Snape simply answered, “Take your time, try any of the brews.” And smiled at Rodolphus. “Shut up Severus.” Rodo said but absently as he looked through the ingredients. He was just as devoted to Voldemort as Bellatrix was but Snape knew that he wouldn’t even known if he came across anything intersting in the lab. “Where’s your charming wife?” He asked sarcastically. “On the raid you fool.” Rodolphus had gotten some powder on his hands and was trying to dust it off. Snape watched with interest because it was Versilium powder, the key ingredient in truth potions. Any contact with the skin and it was possible that someone might speak only the truth. “Raid?” He kept his voice intentionally casual. “At Sliverton’s Estate in the North. Almost their entire group will be there.” Rodo seemed to have no idea that he was saying far, far more than he should. “I should join them.” Snape said, “That sounds like an interesting time.” He walked casually out of the room and then ran quickly to the trees. He apparated to in front of the Ollivander’s wandshop and speaking the password quickly walked in. Ollivander was the only person he could pass messages through, he was not part of the Order and he knew nothing of Death Eaters but he did know Dumbledore. “Get to Hogwarts now, tell Dumbledore that there’s a raid on the Sliverton estate.” The strange wandshop owner had simply stared and nodded. Outside, he apparated as quickly as he could to the outside of the gates of the fortress-like enclosure, he’d have to move through the woods from there. :::::::::::::::: Lily found speed in her legs she hadn’t known she possessed, she was leaving Sophie far behind. She could see two of the Death Eaters rounding the railing up above, near the nursery and the third directly behind them. Her lungs felt as if flames were ripping through them, she was breathing that rapidly. God no, please. Please let Harry be safe, I’ll do anything. Lily wanted to cry but dared not, it might slow her down. :::::::::::: Boxen stood in the center of the room, her tiny little back straight as an arrow when the first two DeathEaters slammed into the room she raised one hand and shouted: “Boxen will protect!” A massive blast hit the two men in the chest, knocking them flying over the railing and down through the air to the entrance hall below with a sickening crash of broken bones and bodies. But Boxen was old now and the effort tired her, when the third figure appeared she raised her hand but nothing happened, her power had ebbed for the moment. ::::::::::::: Lily saw a flash of green light just as she began sprinting down the landing to the nursery and a scream nearly wrenched itself from her throat. She sprang into the room and saw a Death Eater turning over the cribs with every ounce of energy she had in her, she screamed, “Stupefy!” But the man ducked, turned and charged her. Without thinking Lily shouted out the first curse they had all learned in dueling and disarmed him. He barreled into her with enough force to shove her back out onto the landing. She felt the railing pressing into her back and knew that behind her there was a three story drop as the man threw his weight against her again. She was going to tip over and fall…there was nothing she could do. “Wingardium Leviosa!” Sophie shouted desperately, completetly unsure as to whether or not the levitation spell would work on a person versus an object. A spell hit Lily just as she began to flip over the edge and she immediately floated up. Sophie Burns discharged her next spell almost directly between the man’s eyes, “Stupefy!” She shouted as his fell to the floor, she kicked him in the leg and said, “And stay that way you piece of…” “Sophie! Get me down, Harry and Neville!” Lily spoke desperately, now clinging to the railing so that she did not float to the ceiling. Sophie quickly grounded her and they tore into the nursery. Boxen’s little body lay unconscious on the ground in the middle of the floor, but the babies were nowhere to be seen. Lily’s horrible distracted mind wondered if elves had immunity to the killing curses. “Oh my god Lily, where are they?” Sophie gasped by her side. “Shhhh…what’s that?” Lily said here a tiny little voice shouting. “Truffles hide! Hide babies! Grrr!” Lily flung open the door to the small cupboard in the corner of the room, and there, behind some blankets with Truffles trying to leap in her face were Neville and Harry, both magically having been lulled to sleep by Boxen. As the little bear continued to say, “Hide! Hide Babies!” Lily burst into tears and reached for her son as Alice Longbottom tore into the room. Both women sat sobbing on the floor, rocking their sleeping babies. As Sophie stood, unsure what to do. “Pick him up.” Lily said through her tears to Sophie. “Who?” “The bear, pick him up.” She was so relieved she couldn’t think straight. “You’re kidding me?” Sophie said but dutifully scooped the little bear up and held him. Outside they could hear the fight raging. “Up into the attic, we’ve got to hide.” Lily said and they were off, the portraits on the walls shouting directions to them as they ran through the mansion. ::::::::::::::: Meg was moving lithely through the trees, darting this way and that, stopping only to aim spells from time to time. She’d knocked out three of them in her mad rush but two were still after her. She stooped and shot at the fourth but the spell glanced away and to her horror, the trees had ended and she was near a cliff that sloped down with jagged rocks protruding. “Trapped again, little seer.” Said a woman’s voice, hardly even out of breath from the run. Seer? Megan wondered but it was a desperate situation, there was no way to descend the cliff behind her. “We can finish our game now.” Bellatrix laughed. I know that laugh, Megan’s frantic mind searched for how as Bellatrix raised her wand and the man just behind her did too. Maybe it would be quick, she thought miserably as she shot out a spell the woman easily deflected. Bellatrix motioned to her companion to keep his wand down, “The little seer and I have unfinished business.” She trilled madly. Oh God, she’s mad, thought Megan. Her shielding spell just barely held as the woman let loose a jet of red light at her and screamed “Crucio.” Megan was driven back several feet and she could feel the earth starting to crumble under her feet. Either way she turned, she was going to die. “Petrificus Totalus.” Sliverton’s voice rang out as he stunned the man easily in the neck and burst out behind them. Bellatrix wheeled on him, and began to shout “Avada….” As Megan stupified her from behind. “Lord Atticus, you’re like the bad penny, you just keep turning up.” Megan said but she was shaking. “Thank God for that, by the way.” “What should we do with them?” Atticus was not out of breath, Lily’s potions had helped him tremendously. “I suppose that pushing them over the cliff is out of the question?” “Yes, I’m sure it is. Let’s bind them to a tree and get back to the house.” In the distance they could still hear the sounds of battle. “Fine, you grab the woman, I’ll grab this lug.” Sliverton dragged the man easily over to a tree and then helped Megan as she struggled with the tall woman. They propped them both up against the trunk and Sliverton bound them. “Throw their wands over the cliff.” But Megan was pulling the hood off the woman and staring at her strong face, with black hair hanging around it. She looked a bit like Sirius. :::::::::::: Lupin was down and James had no idea if he was alive or dead, they were all trapped in the clearing right before the trees began. Sirius was fighting like hell to his right and Moody had managed to fight off two at once. What the hell were they going to do? James’ mind thought quickly but they had been cut off in their dash towards the trees. They were blocked on both sides by the remaining DeathEaters who seemed to be raining spells down on them. It seemed hopeless. An ear piercing growl rang through the night and Daisy leapt into the middle of the group blocking them from the trees. She lost no time snapping a DeathEater up into her mouth and James was both horrified and relieved to hear the sound of bones snapping like brittle twigs as the man howled. Daisy was felling them like mown wheat, her spiked tail piercing through the torso of one man as he writhed about. “Retreat, get out of here!” Someone screamed and although James knew he should try and stop them, he followed his first impulse and began running for the house with everything he was worth. ::::::::::::: The DeathEaters were trying to run back into the woods and Sirius took the opportunity to run in the direction he had seen Megan sprinting. Move with lightning speed Sirius followed the burnt patches on trees and the prone bodies of DeathEaters. As he bolted up a path he slammed directly into Sliverton, knocking him down. Megan was right behind him and Sirius threw his arms around her. “Megan, what were you thinking?” Sirius panted as he held her. Sliverton picked himself up off the forest floor and without pause, ran towards his home. “I’m fine Sirius. I was just trying to draw their fire.” Megan was nearly smothered in her fiancee’s embrace. Sirius groaned miserably as Megan allowed him to hold her for a moment longer. “Sirius, we’ve got to get to the house.” “Just a moment.” Sirius was still trying to collect himself. “They’re retreating anyway.” “But there could be people hurt.” Megan said but knew that Sirius could not bring himself to release her. “Sirius?” “Hmm?” He thought his heart was going to explode. “Why did that woman call me ‘seer’?” Megan asked as she remembered once more the insane laughter of the dark haired woman. “Let’s get back to the house.” Sirius said by way of an answer. Somewhere, in the pocket she had made in her mind, something still survived. :::::::::::::::: The Sliverton portraits were very helpful to James as they shouted to him Lily’s location. As he flung open the attic door he was shocked to find his own wife, with her wand pointed inches from his face. “Lily? Is everyone okay?” James was shaking all over from the fear. “Yes, I think so. Although I think there may be some trouble with Boxen.” Lily was so relieved to see her husband that she nearly dropped on the spot. “Oh God, thank you.” James said and gathered his family close to him. Minutes later, Frank Longbottom ran into the room and hurled himself at his wife and child with equal gratitude. ::::::::::::: It was over, the biggest attack they had ever sustained and miraculously, no one was badly hurt. Dumbledore stood and surveyed the damage and blessed Aregus Sliverton for his many safeguards. He’d found Severus Snape outside the gates, trying to fight off a pack of boarhounds, rather the worse for wear. Dumbledore had used a taming spell on the dogs and sent Severus back immediately. He’d been so thoroughly mauled there would be no question that he had tried to join in the fight. “I can’t believe Boxen wasn’t killed.” Sliverton said with tremendous relief. “Elves have very old magic within them. She was protected by that, the curse is designed for humans and therefore only stunned her badly.” Dumbledore answered as he sighed with relief. “Well, if you’ll excuse me, I have to try and go get pieces of some DeathEater off of Daisy’s tail.” Sliverton walked out the front door to his immense pet who was waving her tail from side to side. “You did well Daisy. Now hold still.” Sliverton grimaced as he saw his pet. “Maybe you should go and bathe in the lake Daisy.” :::::::::::: “It isn’t uncommon.” Moody was saying to the exhausted group, now back at headquarters although many had left for home. “Many wizards trained in combat carry more than one wand, in case of emergencies.” The DeathEaters who hadn’t been killed in the raid had once again managed to escape. As the spells wore off they had simply cut their bonds and fled through the forest and outside the fortress. Lupin was still feeling a bit fuzzy headed from being so thoroughly stunned. “God that was a powerful hex, lucky as hell they weren’t try to kill me though.” “Not all of them can manage the unforgivable curses you know.” Moody said as he sniffed a crumpet suspiciously and then bit into it. “It’s a wonder you never married, Moody.” Sophie Burns said the side of her face pressed to the table. She was utterly exhausted. “You’re such a chipper conversationalist.” Lupin laughed and smiled at Sophie and she returned the grin but romance was far from her mind. They had important things to do. That night, Voldemort’s fury knew no bounds.

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