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Nightblaze could feel the power of the moon coursing through his blood, making him run swifter and stronger than ever before. He raced almost neck and neck with Moon Fire, the fleet stallion managing somehow to stay one stride ahead of the young unicorn, despite carrying Hermione. The moonpath rang with the sound of their hoofbeats and those of their companions, but Moon Fire and Nightblaze's hooves rang like silver bells chiming. As they raced upon the silvery path, the black unicorn felt an almost mystical connection with his goddess, he could feel Her presence like never before. He drank the wind and breathed in Her essence, the moonlight touched his midnight hide and turned it slightly silver, as well as making his horn gleam.

He knew he was going to face the most powerful dark wizard in all of Europe, and perhaps the world, but he was strangely not as afraid as he thought he should have been. Selene gives me courage in dark places, Severus had told him once, and now the unicorn knew exactly what he meant. Selene's presence flowed over and about him and filled him with heart and courage beyond anything he had ever known. Fear not, my beloved child, for I am with you. Always.

Nightblaze put back his ears and ran on, following his guardian to the end of the trail, glancing back occasionally to see how the others were faring. They were many lengths behind, their mortal strength taxed trying to keep up with the two Selenians. All save the gray stallion with one wall eye, that Nightblaze knew was Moody. He ran a full length behind, sturdy and with a grave purpose. Nightblaze could see, with his unicorn eyes, that yet another god had given Moody strength, and the gray stallion drew upon it effortlessly. Moon Fire, the unicorn neighed. Does Moody worship the Lady too?

The ebony stallion swung his head to the side. No. He respects the Lady, but his heart is more warlike and he serves Odin as the AllFather's Chosen. Do not underestimate Moody, young one. He is a great companion, a war wizard beyond compare, and we are lucky to have him. He will even the odds considerably in our favor.

Nightblaze had no doubt that was so, he had a deep respect for the old warrior. Moody had fought beside his parents in the First Wizard War, and now he would fight in the last one as well. May the blessing of Odin go with you, my friend.

It felt as though they ran for an eternity, but in reality they only spent some twenty minutes upon the secret way, and then Moon Fire's crescent blazed, and the way was Opened once more. The dark stallion and black unicorn stepped free of the moonpath first, followed by Moody and then the rest of the Order who had been called by Albus and Severus.

They emerged into Sherwood Forest, some ten feet before the border of the Riddle estate. No sooner had the last transformed sorcerer stepped upon the forest floor, then a thunder of hooves was heard, and Amicus and his herd, minus the foals and a single mare, appeared.

Well met again, my brother! The Lead Stallion greeted Moon Fire, coming over to touch noses with him.

The other horses blinked and whickered in astonishment, for they knew that a unicorn normally never addressed a non-unicorn as a member of his herd.

I thank you for coming, Amicus. And your mares as well.

We could do no less. For years we have avoided combat with the evil that has stalked us and slain us, but now is not the time to hide. Now is the time to fight, and fight we shall! Amicus trumpeted, and was echoed by his mares and Nightblaze. The unicorn stallion turned and whickered at the others, greeting them as well.

McGonagall sprang to the ground and shifted back, and then she waved her wand at the group of shapechanged wizards and Transfigured them back to their original forms. The moon rode high in the sky, full and round, and its light shone down upon them in loving benediction.

Only Severus and Harry remained in their Animagus forms. The herd of unicorns, one stallion and four mares, Silken Wind had stayed behind with the foals, milled about the wizards gracefully. They were waiting for Moon Fire to lead them onto the manor grounds. This close to the border, unicorns and midnight stallion could feel the dark wards prickling across their skin like thorns coated in rancid oil. Some of the wizards, especially McGonagall, Moody, and Remus, could feel it too.

Remus started to tremble, for not only did he feel the pull of the moon, and the urge to shift forms, but also the evil miasma of Voldemort's dark god, Set the Destroyer. It was Set who had created the werewolf curse, twisting and perverting the noble wolf form into something hideous and monstrous, using the moonlight as a trigger for irony, since the first werewolf, a wizard named Romulus Lupus, was Selene's servant, and Set loved turning something sacred, like moonlight, into something to be dreaded and feared. It was his revenge upon his sister, Isis, for giving birth to Horus, whose light drove him from the world back in ancient Egypt.

Set's influence hung over the entire estate like a cloak of darkness, and it had slowly begun to seep into the forest. Remus felt the dark urging in his mind, whispering and compelling him to transform despite the Wolfsbane he had taken just before leaving his house. It is the full moon, the night of the Change, the night of destruction and slaughter most bloody. Let loose your Beast, Lupin. Set free the animal within and join your pack brothers in a hunt without end, where you may slay all who oppose you. Change, Son of Darkness, and taste the power of the were!

Remus shook his head, but he could feel his control splintering as the tempting seductive voice in his mind called to the beast within, drawing it forth despite the potion. He opened his mouth to call to Sirius to help him, but what emerged was a low howl as the werewolf persona expressed its dominance.

Sirius jerked and stared at his best friend in horror. "Remus, what the bloody hell?"

Black, did he take his Wolfsbane? Moon Fire sent, snorting as he smelled the aggressive pheromones Remus was giving off. It made him want to lash out at the werewolf, his protective instincts seeing Lupin as a threat.

"Yes, Snape, he did! I was with him when he purchased it from St. Mungos. He drank it right before we left." Sirius replied. "I don't understand . . .why is he like this?"

Moon Fire was wondering that himself, until he recalled that Set's influence might be more powerful than even the Wolfsbane. Set had been the one to invent the werewolf curse, after all.

As if to confirm his suspicions, Amicus whinnied, Moon Fire, he is being turned due to the influence of the God of Chaos, can you not feel the darkness gathering? The Slayer of Unicorns has summoned the demons of the underworld and perhaps an avatar of his dark god also.

Remus was now shivering violently as the curse began to activate, and it was then that Moon Fire remembered that Selene had given him the ability to compel others when necessary. And right now it had never been more necessary. He gave a sharp whistle. Lupin! Remus Lupin, look at me! he ordered. He put enough emphasis behind the command to make the werewolf look at him.

When Remus met his gaze, Moon Fire sent swiftly, Lupin, you worship the Bright Lady, do you not?

"Yes . . .Once I did . . .until I became . . .this . . ." Each word the werewolf spoke came out gritty and sharp, as he fought to retain his humanity.

Look at me then, and think upon the Lady. She is the shield against the darkness, and She is always with you. Call to her, Lupin. Call upon Her for aid and keep looking at me.

"She won't answer me . . .I haven't prayed to Her in years . . ."

She has not forgotten . . .you are Her lost child . . .Trust me . . .

As soon as Lupin began to call upon Selene, Severus slipped into his mind and blocked out all the influence of Set's dark aura, setting a mindshield in place, and then compelling Remus to ignore the voice in his mind and the burning in his blood. Lupin fought him at first, unable to help himself, for the curse was strong, but eventually Severus' iron will, laced with Selene's power, overcame the curse and sent it back to sleep.

Remus felt Selene's presence wrap about him like a warm heated cloak, and heard Her in his mind for the first time in decades. My son, I have always been beside you, but you lost the ability to see Me. I have never abandoned you, and I never will.

The werewolf blinked, his eyes tearing. "I . . .She told me that I'm . . .still her son . . ." he whispered, his voice now trembling with awe and relief. "All this time . . ."

Don' t waste time in regretting what happened, Lupin. Just accept Her back. Moon Fire advised.

Remus nodded, and it was then he realized that he was no longer feeling the effects of the werewolf curse. "How did you . . .?"

I used what Selene gave me. Come, it is time to confront the beast in his lair, and may Selene guide us and guard us, Moon Fire said, half-rearing. Then he cantered through the trees and onto the lawn of Riddle Manor.

Nightblaze followed and then Amicus and the mares, and Dumbledore called, "Wands at the ready, and may fortune favor the foolish."

The Order followed their leader and just as the last of them had crossed over, the wards began sending an alarm towards their master . . .until Shacklebolt silenced them with a flick of his wand.

But it was too late.

The alarm had gone out and Voldemort responded quickly to the invasion of his estate by sending out a full company of his undead wraiths and Bellatrix, Avery, Mulciber, and Goyle to investigate and destroy whatever unfortunate soul had dared to disturb the Most Magnificent Lord Voldemort.

The Order and the unicorns were first aware of the threat when they heard the sharp flap of wings and high pitched maniacal laughter from up above. All of them looked upward and saw a huge winged shadow pass over the moon, then dive down towards them. There was a figure clinging to the misshapen back of the undead wyvern, and Hermione gasped in horror as she recognized Bellatrix, her dark hair flying crazily all over, an insane light in her eyes. She tugged upon the tattered reins and the spectral wyvern screeched and dove.

"Hello, Mudblood! We meet again!" the dark witch cackled. "Only this time . . .you're gonna die, just like your pathetic parents! Hecate burn me, but you are going to pay for what you did to me, Mudblood bitch!" Then she pointed her arm at Hermione and went to launch a curse at her.

Hermione, ready your lance! trumpeted Moon Fire, rearing up on his hind legs and striking out at the wyvern, his crescent blazing white hot. The wyvern, unable to withstand the holy light pouring from the Moon Lady's Mark, swerved aside, causing Bellatrix to nearly fall, ruining both her aim and breaking her concentration.

"You stupid bloody beast!" she cried, yanking at the wyvern's head. She turned her head to spit at Hermione and it was then that the girl saw the red fire in her eyes and the elongated canines. "Fear me, girl! For I am Hecate's avatar, and the Dark Lady has granted me Her power! What power have you, baby girl?"

"This!" Hermione cried, all of her fury with the perverted evil witch surging up from deep inside of her. She nudged Moon Fire with her heels and the stallion reared up and jumped forward upon his hind legs, lashing out with his front hooves in a war stallion maneuver.

The stallion struck the wyvern's side hard, knocking it almost from the air as it skimmed over the ground.

Then, in a maneuver so precise and yet so spontaneous, Hermione brought the Silver Lance about and struck, its blessed tip skewering the evil witch right through the chest, impaling her like the quintain dummy upon its tip. Bellatrix was lifted from the wyvern's back, and hung suspended in mid-air for the briefest of minutes, screaming hideously.

Then the light went out of her eyes, for even with Hecate's favor, Bellatrix could not survive the power of the Silver Lance, created in a time long before to slay demons and banish them back to the underworld.

"That was for my parents!" Hermione shouted, couching the lance. She stared down at the dead witch and felt an icy coldness inside. She regretted the fact that she had to kill, but not the fact that Bellatrix, mistress of the Cruciatus, was no more.

Moon Fire shrieked a battle cry as the spectral wyvern turned and struck at them. Hermione, beware the wyvern!

The black stallion spun on his hocks, barely avoiding the great bulbous stinger as it darted towards them.

It struck the ground where they had been and the wyvern screamed in rage.

Hermione set her lance again, and clapped her boots into Moon Fire. "Moon Fire, go!"

The stallion charged, whistling a battle cry.

Suddenly, two white shapes thundered up from the opposite direction, and the wyvern screamed as the two unicorn horns and the Silver Lance pierced its spectral form, sending streamers of celestial fire into the undead flesh, burning and poisoning the creature.

The wyvern's head whipped about, teeth bared, nearly slicing open Amicus. But it was in its death throes, and the unicorn stallion kicked hard with his front hooves, smashing the wyvern in the snout.

His mate, Sirocco, pulled her horn free and slammed it back into the beast's side, releasing some black sludge and causing the wyvern to spasm hard before it died.

"Is it dead?" Hermione asked, grimacing as she pulled her lance free. To her surprise, the black blood did not mar the lance's surface. But the stench was enough to turn her stomach.

Amicus whickered an affirmative. Then he and Sirocco turned to engage yet another undead foe, their horns able to weaken and kill the undead, who were anathema to the goddess as the giver of life and magic.

Bellatrix and her wyvern mount had only been the vanguard of the attack. Behind her poured a river of spectral warriors, some mounted upon ghostly steeds, wearing the armor and bearing the weapons they had in life when they fell, others gliding along upon the cold wind of death. Their black auras swirled and danced about them, bringing with it the chill of the grave and the fear of the damned.

The Aurors, unprepared to face undead opponents, were nearly caught flatfooted. Only the unicorns, born to fight those called untimely from death, did not freeze or run. They alone stood fast, heads lowered and horns gleaming with a silvery radiance that swept over their allies, freeing them a little from the chilling aura.

In among them were the Death Eaters Voldemort had sent—Mulciber, Avery, and Goyle. They had been sworn long ago to the dark, and the undead aura did not affect them.

Dumbledore moved then, summoning up a spell similar to Euphoria Draft and casting it over his fellow witches and wizards. The spell's golden light shimmered over the Order of the Phoenix and enabled them to start fighting back against their undead opponents. Dumbledore himself took out ten with a Blasting Curse, the force of the magic ripping into the spectral warriors like a tornado and shredding their semi-corporeal bodies into wisps of mist.

Nightblaze charged into the fray, his pearlescent horn blazing with silvery light, skewering enemies left and right, leaving them broken and dying the final death beneath his silver hooves. He was filled with the need to destroy the undead, an instinctual need that was an integral part of being a unicorn, for undead are anathema to them. For the first time he felt Nemesis' touch, and he allowed himself to be consumed, becoming Vengeance upon four legs, terrible to behold.

Behind him, the Order split, each wizard or witch confronting some of the enemy. McGonagall moved to deflect a curse shot from Avery's wand at Amelia Bones, coming to stand opposite the Death Eater, a hard look in her eyes. Minerva had not fought in decades, but once she had been a great duelist and she showed that talent now, easily overmatching Avery. "You always were a poor student, boy. Too overconfident and sloppy. Now it shall cost you."

Avery opened his mouth to sneer at her, but whatever he meant to say never left his lips because he became a rock with a flick of Minerva's wand.

"Dumb as a box of rocks too," sniffed the Transfiguration Mistress. Then she fired off a Burning Hex at a wraith gliding towards her.

"That's telling him, Minerva!" Amelia chuckled, before joining the Scottish witch in destroying the spectral warriors.

A few feet away, dragontamer Charlie Weasley dueled Mulciber, his face set in a grimace of loathing. The Death Eater was a tough opponent, well versed in combat, but he forgot that Charlie dealt with the most deadly and unpredictable creatures on earth, and got careless. Charlie seized the moment, and ended Mulciber's reign of terror with a single precise Electrocution Curse.

Some of the wraith warriors had ghostly dogs with them, war mastiffs with demonic green or red eyes and fangs that dripped venom, they attacked anything living that moved, and the Weasleys were faced with a pack of them, baying with unearthly hatred. Arthur, Molly, and Bill started casting Shield Spells and other spells of heat and light, which seemed to keep the hounds at bay, long enough for Shacklebolt and Amelia to assist them with stronger spells of destruction.

Nearby, Moody attacked Goyle with a Blistering Hex, a spell that caused oozing painful sores to erupt all over one's body, and Goyle's face puffed up and he barely see out of his eyes and his hands swelled to the size of oven mitts and he dropped his wand because it was too painful to hold. The Death Eater whimpered as he looked at the old Auror, whose magical and mundane eye shown cold and grim, without mercy. "Please . . .please spare me . . ."

Moody spat on the ground. "Bah! Spare you . . .like you spared the lives of innocent Muggles and children . . .why would you expect mercy from me?"

"Because . . .because you're an Auror . . .you are bound by a code . . ."

"Not anymore. I'm retired and free to follow my own way . . .the Way of the Warrior Mage . . .which grants mercy to a deserving foe. You're neither."

Goyle's eyes widened and he began to grope for his wand. "You are a follower of the Old Ways."

"Aye, I am the Chosen of One Eye Himself," Moody declared proudly, and his magical eye flashed.

"Then I am doomed."

"You are," Moody nodded and then he glared at Goyle with his magical eye, which could do much more than see through illusions. A red beam flashed briefly, and Goyle began to wither before his eyes, until he was no more than a dried husk that was blown away by the wind.

Moon Fire and Hermione charged at the pack of wraith mastiffs surrounding the Weasleys, scattering them with lance and hooves. Moon Fire pulled up and turned about, pawing the ground. Many more undead poured from the manor in a seemingly unending stream, more than the band of Aurors and unicorns could handle, even with the blessings of Selene.

Moon Fire tossed his head uneasily. Where did this army come from? We are being overwhelmed by sheer numbers. The dead do not thirst or hunger or grow tired. There must be a portal around here somewhere that needs shutting. I must find it. He swung his head about and sent to his rider, Hermione, dismount. I need to get inside the manor and close a magical gateway, it's how these wraiths are being summoned. Hopefully, I can also confront the one who opened the gates as well.

You mean, You-Know-Who? She thought back at him.

Moon Fire nodded. Precisely. Go and ride Amicus and stick close to Midnight Wind. Selene's Blessing be upon you, child.

Hermione slid obediently from his back, and then she threw her arms about him and hugged him. "Be careful! I don't want to be an orphan twice."

Moon Fire nuzzled her. If I can, I shall return.

She released him, undid the saddle, and he galloped away, rushing around and leaping over the massed undead, the crescent upon his brow forging a path through them. Selene watch over you, Severus. She wiped a tear from her eye, then turned to Amicus and asked if she might ride.

Of course, little one, the stallion neighed, though Hermione didn't understand him. He presented his side and she quickly fastened the saddle and mounted. Amicus took her off to the left, Nightblaze and the rest of his herd battled.

Nightblaze looked up, his horn glistening, and saw that Hermione was no longer upon Moon Fire. He whickered in alarm. Where's Moon Fire?

Gone to hunt the Dark Beast in his lair, youngling. Amicus answered. Selene guides him. Now, to business, midnight colt! He spun about on his hocks and charged into the long gray line of undead, his horn and the Silver Lance spearing two wraiths at a single pass.

Nightblaze snorted, he was worried about Moon Fire, but knew he could not go haring off after his guardian. Besides, there were plenty of foes to fight here. He leaped forward, head lowered, Nemesis' battle song wailing in his head.

Everyone was occupied with keeping the spectral warriors at bay, and so it was that no one noticed Dumbledore slip away from the battlefield and head towards the manor.



Voldemort was gazing into a Seer Globe, trying to see if his Death Eaters and spectral warriors had subdued the prisoner yet. But what he saw instead made him scream in fury and throw the globe across the room, where it shattered in a million pieces.

"Something wrong, my Lord?" Lucius asked calmly, though he quivered inwardly, for Voldemort's little temper tantrums often involved torturing those nearest him.

Voldemort released a stream of swear words that would have made a sailor blush, before snarling, "Damn right there's something wrong! We've got Aurors knocking on our back door, Lucius! Aurors and bloody unicorns! Set's bloody balls! I want them dealt with, Lucius! Now! Take the rest of the brethren and whoever else you need, but kill every last one of them. Or I'll serve you up on a platter to the Giant King!"

"At once, my Lord!" Lucius got to his feet, and began to gather the rest of the Death Eaters, and tell King Hargest and his bodyguard it was time to stomp a few Auror heads.

Meanwhile, Moon Fire had made it to the manor and shifted back to Severus, managing to slip in through a broken window and following the stench of corruption and brimstone through the silent hallways.

HPSSHPSSHP

The first the Order knew of the coming of yet another foe was when the earth shook and trembled, and they were knocked to the ground. "What was that?" Arthur cried. "An earthquake?"

Molly gave a desperate laugh. "Don't be ridiculous, Arthur! There are no earthquakes here!" She was scratched and bleeding from a dozen small wounds, but she still had a fierce look in her eyes. Until she lifted them to see five gigantic shapes loom up from the opposite side of the manor house and shamble towards them, their footsteps like thunder. "Dear sweet Merlin! Giants!"

For a single moment, all of the Order froze. Giants had once been among their most deadly foes, strong and with an innate ability to repel magic, most spells bounced right off their thick pebbly gray hide. Each giant was armed with a large spiked club or a mace.

Bill paled. "What do we do?"

Moody scowled. "We have two choices. Run like hell or form up and try and think up a plan."

"I vote for running like hell," Charlie quipped. "Maybe we could lead them into a bog."

Moody looked thoughtful. "You just may have something there, boy."

"Stunning a giant's no good, their skin's too tough to penetrate," Sirius mused.

"Their biggest advantage is being able to squash us flat," Molly said. "But . . .what if we took away that advantage?"

"Molly, explain."

Molly did, as quickly as she could, while Remus and Sirius set wards to keep the undead off their backs.

The unicorns and Nightblaze and Hermione had gathered in a circle just beyond the Order, ready to fight off any more specters or Death Eaters.

"All right, you all know what you have to do?" Amelia queried. "Good, then let's do it!" She pointed to Bill and Charlie, who were the youngest of her strike force. "William, Charles, you're the bait. Get moving! Arthur, Black, Lupin, start creating the sinkhole. Shacklebolt, Minerva, let's summon up some mist and turf. Molly, stand ready with your spells. Where the blue blazes is Albus? Never here when you need him! Ah, to hell with him! On the count of three, start casting."

All of them obeyed the Head of the Auror Department.

Bill and Charlie ran across the field, waving their arms and shooting Stunning spells, which though didn't stop the giants, stung them like hornets, making them roar with rage and pain. Catching sight of the two annoying little humans, King Hargest and his guards barreled straight towards them.

Bill and Charlie held their ground, hard though it was, and screamed various taunts at them, some in their own tongue, as Charlie had picked up a bit of Giantspeak in his travels.

The enraged giants came on, and the two brothers turned to run, sprinting across the field and around the misty patch of earth, which was so large that they had to go quite close to the forest in order to bypass it.

Bill shot a glance over his shoulder. "Look, Charlie! It's working! They're buying it."

"Sure they are, Billy!" his brother grinned savagely. "Cernunnos' Horns, but giants are so stupid they'd walk off a cliff if you made them mad enough."

Suddenly something big and gray leaped out of the trees and slammed into Bill, knocking him to the ground.

Before he could cry out or bring his wand to bear, the beast was tearing into the side of his face, as he had managed to bring up a hand to protect his throat. "Help!" he screamed.

Charlie stared in horror."Billy!" A large werewolf was on top of his brother, trying to rip Bill's throat out, and the savage growls intermingled with Bill's screams.

Answering howls echoed back through the trees, and Charlie snapped out of the shock that had paralyzed him. "No! Get off him!" he screamed. Then he chanted a spell known only to the worshippers of the Forest Lord.

The oak tree came to life, branches rustling angrily, and it bent down and snatched up the werewolf, crushing it against its trunk. The werewolf shrieked in agony as it was torn apart by the angry oak and its blood watered the ground.

Charlie rushed forward and knelt by his brother. "Bill, oh no, Forest Lord have mercy . . ." Bill's face was ruined, the werewolf's bite had ripped open his cheek to the bone and his eye was almost gone. "Hold on, Billy. You're going to be all right." He hugged his brother to him, shaking, and prayed that Bill would live, and not be infected by the werewolf. He began to chant a Blood Halt charm. Above him, the ancient oak stood guard, and deeper into the forest, other trees began to stir, awakened by Jack o' the Greenwood at Selene's command.

The giants, worked into an angry frenzy, charged right into the sinkhole trap the other Order members had created, and became entangled in the quicksand, sinking to their thighs in the muck. Eventually, they might have struggled out, but Molly and Amelia never gave them that chance.

Simultaneously, both witches cast their spells, then watched in glee as the giants were shrunk from their normal size down to the size of mere humans. Shacklebolt and Sirius cast Incarcerous charms and bound them fast, while Remus and Moody shrank the sinkhole around them. They didn't want to kill the brutish creatures, merely incapacitate them, because killing the Giant King, recognizable by his iron crown filled with precious stones, might cause another war. So they left them dangling in mucky hole, unable to move, their pride in tatters.

"Brilliant idea, Molly!" Moody said gruffly, clapping the witch on the back.

Molly blushed. "It was no more than I used to do to big bugs in my pantry, shrink 'em so I could squash them."

"Mum, come quick! Bill's hurt bad!"

Then she heard Charlie calling, and turned to run towards her sons.

"'Ware, Molly!" shouted Moody, as a green killing light streaked across the field.

The warrior knew he would not be in time to knock the stricken witch down and had only seconds to act.

He threw himself in front of the bolt, sacrificing himself for his comrade.

The Killing Curse hit him right in the chest, lifting him off his feet.

Then Alastor Moody crashed to the ground, lifeless.

"What? Moody!" Sirius cried.

"Such a pity," sneered Lucius, stepping out of the shadows and mist. "I meant to kill the blood traitor."

"You miserable cowardly—" Sirius began, lifting his wand.

He never finished his sentence, being forced to duck as Dolohov cast a Cutting Curse at him.

Nightblaze had started to run towards the group of Aurors, sensing that something was amiss, and neighed in horror as he saw Mad Eye fall.

NO!

Then the black unicorn saw Lucius, green sparks still spitting from his wand, step out of the shadows he had used to conceal himself.

MURDERER!

Nightblaze surged across the field, his hooves barely skimming the earth. He shot past the giants in a black blur, moving swifter than his namesake.

Lucius started to turn as he heard the approach of something behind him.

His ice blue eyes widened as he saw the enraged midnight unicorn coming at him, and he went to leap aside.

But his foot tangled in his cane and he staggered.

The last thing his eyes saw was a glittering horn and two furious obsidian eyes.

Then the horn slid into his chest and his heart stopped beating.

Nightblaze shrilled a battle cry as his horn pierced the wicked sorcerer. Murderer! Murderer! Lucius hit the ground with a thud, and the black unicorn's head was jerked downward.

Shaking his head, Nightblaze withdrew his horn, then he reared up and slammed Lucius' corpse with his hooves in a grief-stricken fury. Over and over he trampled the Dark Lord's right hand, until his rage was spent and he stood, flanks heaving, atop the remains, a triumphant midnight avenger.

Slowly the red mist left him, and he glanced about, noting the shocked eyes of the Aurors, and wondered dazedly how high the cost would be when the debt Voldemort owed was paid in full. For the Dark Lord had been conspicuously absent, and the black unicorn shivered, an ill wind was blowing across the battlefield, carrying destruction its wake, and he feared they would all be swept away.

Where are you, Voldemort? And where are Severus and Dumbledore?

Sorry for the delay in posting, but I had extra days at work plus various family functions over the weekend, like my niece's baby shower and Home Goods party to attend and also a cousin in a bad car acccident to visit in the hospital last night, so I couldn't finish my chapter till now.

Please review and the answer to Harry's question will be answered next chapter! I had to split the battle because there was too much going on for you to absorb in one chapter. Voldy is going down! But will Severus or Dumbledore follow him? Who says Severus should live?

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