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In the days since Monique LeBlanc had awakened back in her room with a horrible headache, she had not slept except for fitful snatches of unconsciousness. Her dreams, if they could be called that, had been populated by visions that would have driven most insane, but she already questioned her sanity. Thoughts of what had occurred in the chamber nearly consumed her mind and she doubted whether she would ever think normally again.

It was clear to her what the person that she had met wanted her to do and what the consequences for failure would be. In the end, whether she was successful or not, someone would die and the only question was who it would be. She despised the Blackwell girl, but wondered if she could truly bring herself to attack the child. She could not afford to refuse to carry through with her pledge, because she knew that she would be the one to pay the price.


The Blackwell girl was the key to her retribution and the plans of her benefactor. All that she needed to do was get close to the girl again and gather the nerve to strike. The timing had to be perfect and the method without evidence that would point back to her. She knew that the students from Hogwarts would be coming down to the village for one of their outings soon and that would be an opportune chance. They would be swarming all over the village and it might be possible to strike without one of the girl’s friends noticing it. All that was necessary was a period of waiting and a moment of chance.


‘Yes,’ she thought to herself, ‘I can do zis. I can put an end to Elizabeth Blackwell and carry out ze plan. I can bring an end to zis torment zat I am enduring.’


She sat down at the table in her room and looked again through the window at the school that stood atop the mountain. The lake shimmered in the sunlight and she could see several boats bobbing on the water. It was this vision that gave her a sudden inspiration, the girl might be accessible if she was on the lake in one of the boats. A simple curse at the right time would end it all for the girl and fulfill the agreement that she had made. She rose from the table and hurried out of her room to make her way to the shore of the lake.


As she walked towards the lake, her mind swam with the thoughts of what she was about to do. She felt conflict as she considered what she was contemplating. If she was successful a child would die and, if she failed then her own life would be in jeopardy. The forest was dense, but she stood on the shore of the lake an hour after leaving the room that she was staying in. She scanned the boats from her vantage point, but could not make out faces. It was impossible to determine which child was Elizabeth Blackwell, if any of the children that she could see was the one that she sought.


She was about to turn away when she recognized Lily Potter in one of the boats as the girl shouted across the water to her cousin who was in another boat. She strained her eyes to try to make out the features of the girl who occupied the boat with Rose Weasley, she was blonde but was it Elizabeth? She stepped closer to the lake as she drew her wand and the girl in the boat became clearer, but then stopped as she realized that it was Beatrice Campbell.


As she turned away with disappointment her attention was drawn by a voice yelling and she saw the girl on the shore as Albus Potter ran towards her. As she watched, the girl shrieked and fled from the boy as he waved something in his hand. Her heart pounded with excitement as she noticed that the girl would, if she maintained her course, run across a small overhang that stood above the surface of the lake in an area that was prohibited for swimming. Many had drowned in that area and some of the bodies had never been recovered, rumors of something foul dwelling in the waters were common and believed by many. This might be the moment that she had hoped for.


Elizabeth was running full speed from her boyfriend and the frog that he was waving in his hand as he pursued her. She squealed gleefully as she attempted to outpace the much stronger, but heavier, boy and was making progress in the effort. Her friends were cheering her on as she began to open the distance between Albus and herself, but she knew that sooner or later he would catch her. She could faintly see someone standing in the trees, but paid them no mind, she was enjoying the chase.


Monique LeBlanc lost the struggle that she was having with her conscience and pointed her wand at the overhang that the girl was just beginning to traverse. She waited until Elizabeth was nearly halfway across the precipice and then, after taking a deep breath, cast the spell at the earth below the feet of the charging girl.


“Expulso!”


Elizabeth was nearly across the overhang when the earth below her feet suddenly erupted and began to tumble into the dark waters of the lake below it. She caught a brief clear glimpse of the person who was ending her life and saw Professor LeBlanc as the woman turned and fled. A moment later, the cold dark water of the lake swallowed her as she vanished under the surface. Terror gripped the girl in the seconds of realization that she had left to her.


As she struggled for life she understood that soon it would be too late, she was going to die and there was little that she could do to change that fact. Her wand lay safely on the blanket that she had been sitting on while she talked to Albus and was no help to her.  The dark, cold water gagged her as it poured down her throat and she panicked as she made one last struggle to survive. She had one moment more before her mind went blank and she knew no more.


Albus watched in horror as the earth beneath his girlfriend’s feet exploded and then collapsed into waters of the lake, dragging Elizabeth with it. In an instant she had vanished under the surface of the water and he was diving in after her as the witnesses in the boat screamed in horror. The boy dove deep in an effort to find the girl who had vanished but the muddy water was making the search futile. He continued to try to locate the girl that he loved but finally, his lungs close to bursting from the exertion, he rose back to the surface. The boats that had been bobbing on the surface of the lake were now surrounding the area of the search as other students dove out of them and into the water to assist in the hunt for their missing friend.

Maureen Campbell, who had not been in one of the boats, drew her wand and cast a spell at the water.


“Accio Elizabeth!”


Hopeful eyes gazed at the surface of the lake, but their hopes were dashed as the girl didn’t appear. Frantically Maureen cast the spell once again, but the results were the same. More people began to arrive at the scene of the incident as the news spread about the disaster. Among those on the shore was Professor McGonagall who stood, tears flowing down her cheeks, as she sobbed.


Finally, the Merpeople arrived and began to dive under the surface in an effort to locate the girl who, as people were beginning to accept, was more than likely dead. Hours passed as the search continued and finally the search ended, without Elizabeth being found. Slowly the professors began to herd the distraught students back to the castle, but Albus, Rose, Lily, James and Beatrice remained behind as they gathered their belongings as well as Elizabeth's. Tears flowed freely as they sought to comfort each other as they began to make their way back to Hogwarts, Albus stopped for a moment to look at the surface of the lake and utter five words that broke his heart and those of the people around him.


“Goodbye Elizabeth, I love you!”


Monique LeBlanc was sitting in her room as she gazed out at the activity on the lake and then as the students began to walk back to the castle. She had done it! The girl was gone and no one had any clue about what had happened. She looked away from the window and picked up the mirror to gaze into its surface.


“Show me ze way!”


A moment later she was standing in the chamber that she had left the night before. The dark figure stepped out of the shadows and advanced on the woman who stood before it.


“You have news?”


“It is over! Ze girl is dead!”


“You are sure of this?”


“She was swallowed by ze waters of ze lake. She fell into the Mouth of Darkness, no one who goes zere returns, even ze Merfolk avoid it. Elizabeth Blackwell shall be no more trouble to you.”


“You have done well and shall be rewarded. I need you to return to Hogwarts and learn all that you can. You need to pretend that you are overwrought by the news that is already circulating Hogsmeade. I need you back in the castle at your post and it is an opportune chance to achieve this.”


“As you wish, Master.”


Moments later, the woman vanished leaving the figure behind. It strode across the chamber to gaze into the mirror that now showed the surface of the lake and a few boats that were still involved in a futile search. There was still no sign of the body of the girl and many were beginning to believe that whatever dwelled in that dark part of the lake had consumed her. Finally, even those boats turned back and headed to the shore as the last few stubborn searchers surrendered to the obvious.


“Soon, Artemis Trane, you shall meet the same fate as the girl. Soon you shall pay for abandoning and betraying the Dark Lord.”


Hogwarts was a somber castle as word was spread to those who didn’t know what had transpired down at the lake. Tears were flowing freely even among those who hadn’t called Elizabeth a friend and none had any harsh remarks to make. Immediately the word went out that all students and staff were to assemble in the Great Hall for a very important announcement. The professors stood in front of the High Table as the students filed in and made their way to the waiting benches at the tables. They watched as the close friends of the girl staggered in and quietly walked to their customary seats but left the space that the girl had always occupied vacant. The faces of the children were streaked with tears and Lily Potter looked like she was ready to collapse. Minerva McGonagall left her place and walked to the girl, Lily threw her arms around the professor and sobbed violently as the woman guided her to her seat.


“I want Elizabeth,” Lily wailed as she looked at the empty space.


Minerva McGonagall felt tears flowing down her own cheeks as the full weight of what had happened hit her. Elizabeth Blackwell was dead! The child that she had always had a soft spot for would never return to enchant her classroom with her impish personality. She quietly sat down in the seat that the child had always occupied and tried to will a part of the child to return so that it could dwell with her forever. But she was left with only the memories that had been created by the beautiful girl. A movement at the head of the room caught their attention and many of the students looked up to see Professor Leeds stepping up to the lectern. He surveyed the assembled students and staff with eyes filled with sorrow and pain before speaking.


“This is an assembly that I had hoped would never occur during my time as Headmaster of Hogwarts. We are here tonight in a castle that is filled with sadness because one of our own is no longer with us. We are here because a young and wonderful life has been cut short in a brutal fashion. We are here tonight because we are bidding farewell to a beautiful person with a magnificent spirit that touched all of us. She asked for nothing from many of us, but Elizabeth Blackwell gave to all of us. She was a champion for those who were oppressed, a friend to the friendless and a fierce opponent of those who did wrong.”


“Elizabeth died today in a terrible accident on the shores of the lake, but she would not want us to grieve. She would want us to remember her life with happiness, because that is how she lived her life. I knew her for a very short time and she touched my life in a way that I never could have imagined in that short time. I am quite certain that many of you could stand where I stand and relate for hours about how she impacted your life and I would welcome your memories.”


“I have already been in contact with the Ministry of Magic and they will notify Elizabeth’s family. I have no doubt that they will decide to hold her service here at Hogwarts because that is what she would have wanted,” he said as he paused to clear his throat while sobs echoed around the room. “There shall be no classes until further notice and I welcome any student or staff member who wishes to talk to come to my office. I cannot begin to ease your pain and anguish at this loss, but I finish with this. Elizabeth will always be a part of every one of us here tonight and will dwell in our memories and thoughts for a very long time. Remember her with laughter, remember her with smiles, but do remember her.”


He stepped away from the lectern as the students began to rise to leave the Great Hall. Lily allowed herself to be led up the stairs to the common room by her brothers and collapsed on the couch to gather Tiger into her arms. She buried her face in his fur as she was wracked with sobs and her shoulders shook. Tiger mewed softly as he snuggled against the girl and made no attempt to free himself.


“I can’t believe that she’s gone,” Rose said through sobs as Albus clutched her tightly in his arms. “She was just up here only a few hours ago laughing and joking.”


Beatrice sat stunned in a chair as the enormity of the situation registered in her mind. Her friend, her best friend who had ignored the ramifications of offering aid to a Slytherin was gone forever. Tears ran down her face as she thought back to that day in the Transfiguration classroom and the pretty blonde girl who had offered help without thought of reward. She remembered the help that Elizabeth had given to her sister, who surely would have spent years in jail had Elizabeth not spoken up for her. It wasn’t fair, Elizabeth should be standing in the room with them laughing and joking as she had always done. She and her father wouldn’t be living were it not for the interference of Elizabeth and the counter that she had used against Miles in the chamber below the school.


Minerva McGonagall sat in her own chamber as she looked at the picture of Elizabeth from the previous term, it felt like her heart was trying to burst out of her chest as the sorrow poured forth. She remembered the reluctance that she had felt about accepting Elizabeth at Hogwarts and the relief that she had felt when she met the child for the first time. The girl had proven to be a true asset to the school and a friend who the professor regarded as a soon to be equal. There was no doubt in the mind of the professor that the girl, had she lived, would have eventually risen to the post of Headmistress of the school or possibly a high post in the Ministry. Now that would never happen and the potential that the girl had shown was lost forever.


While the professor considered the lost child Harry Potter stood outside the home of the child as he prepared to give her family the news about her death. Tears were flowing down his cheeks as he remembered the girl who was his daughter’s best friend and his youngest son’s first love. Elizabeth had been a joy to be around and highly intelligent as well as talented. He reached up to wipe the tears from his eyes and face before knocking on the door in front of him. A moment later, a young house elf opened the door and stood there looking up at him with the same look of confusion that Dobby had often worn.


“How can Chloe help you sir?”


“I am Harry Potter, Head of the Office of the Aurors and I need to speak to your master and mistress.”


The eyes of the elf grew wide as his identity was revealed and nearly stumbled over herself as she ushered him into the house. She led him into a large foyer before stopping and speaking to him once again.


“If you would wait here, Mister Potter, I shall inform my Master and Mistress that you desire to speak to them.”


Harry nodded and then watched as the elf scurried away towards a door that obviously led to another room. He could hear the voice of the elf as she announced his presence and other voices as they responded to her. A moment later a tall man that Harry recognized from school entered the foyer followed by a woman that he also remembered from Hogwarts. He stepped forward and accepted the hand that the man offered in greeting.


“Harry, is it really you?”


“It is. How have you been, John and Victoria?”


“We’ve been well, but I doubt that the Head of the Aurors is here to pass idle conversation, what can we do for you?”


“I bring news that I had hoped never to have to deliver.”


“What is it, Harry? Is it Elizabeth?” Victoria broke in.


Harry felt the emotion well up within him and he looked with sad eyes at the people that he was about to tell that their daughter was dead. Victoria read the emotion in his eyes and began weeping as she brought her hand up to her mouth.


“What’s going on, Harry?” John said abruptly.


“There’s no easy way to tell you this, John. Elizabeth was killed in an accident on the shore of the lake. She fell into the Mouth of Darkness and we haven’t been able to find her despite an exhaustive search. I am so sorry about your loss, I can’t imagine what you’re feeling.”


“Elizabeth is dead?” Victoria said in a voice filled with anguish.


“I’m sorry, Victoria, I hated being the one to have to tell you, but you needed to be informed.”


“What happened, Harry?”


“Elizabeth was running along the shore and as the crossed the ledge above the Mouth it collapsed and she was dragged under. My son, Albus, dove in after her and many of the other student present tried to find her but failed. The Merpeople have been helping with the search as have many of the townspeople from Hogsmeade, but so far they haven’t found any sign of her.”


Harry watched as suddenly Victoria began to collapse and was close enough to help John catch her and ease her to a nearby chair. The woman wailed uncontrollably as the house elf that he had seen earlier rushed into the room with concern on her face.


“Chloe, I need you to go to Artemis and summon them here,” John said swiftly.


The elf nodded and then vanished with a loud POP, leaving the men to comfort the woman who was crying as though her heart would shatter. Victoria shrieked Elizabeth’s name several times as her husband handed her a glass of water and tried to calm her. An instant later Chloe returned as Artemis Trane and his wife apparated into the house. A swift glance at Harry and their distraught daughter told them that something was very wrong and they began to fear the worst.


“What has happened?” Artemis asked quickly.


“Elizabeth is dead!” Victoria shrieked.


Suddenly, the house was filled with the sounds of broken hearts as the adults and the elf cried. Harry stepped quietly to the door after excusing himself and left the devastated house behind him. He knew that he was needed at Hogwarts by his children and the investigation into this sad affair would be his top priority. He had seen the ledge many times and wondered how such a thick shelf of rock could have collapsed under the weight of the girl. Something did not feel right about this and he wanted to examine the remains of the ledge for himself.


As Harry disapparated, the figure in the hidden room laughed as the plan began to move forward. Soon enough revenge would be attained.
 

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