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He walked through a yet another dark corridor while his wand gave only minimal light, definitely not enough to guide his way or provide comfort. It had been a grave mistake to come here, he knew that now, but the alternative would have been to refuse his directions and then face the wizard that he feared the most.

Now he was beginning to wonder if he shouldn’t have feared the witch more.

A short burst of girlish laughter to his right caught his attention and he turned his head to see another spider web filled corridor in front of him. A door at the end of it was closing, the light that it provided vanishing with every inch that the barrier concealed. He started to turn towards it and then wondered what lay ahead in the corridor that he had been following. The return of his gaze to the corridor that he had been using revealed that the path ahead of him was now closed and there was no chance of retracing his steps backwards for that way was also sealed to him. Clearly he was being herded towards the path that his opponent in this dangerous game of hide and seek wanted him to travel.

“Don’t you want to continue our little game of catch me if you can?”

The voice of the witch, suddenly far closer than he had expected, made him spin in that direction and his eyes opened wide as he saw what lay before him. Instead of a narrow corridor, he now stood in the center of a circular room that was lined with eight doors.He turned back the direction that he was very certain that he had come from to see only the room.

“You aren’t any better at this game than he was! You wanted to come here and now you act like you don’t want to play anymore. This rather disappoints me because I thought that you were ready to face me; you even said that you were, and now you stand there like a frightened first year. Pick a door, I’m behind one of them, or perhaps none of them, or maybe even all of them!”

“I’m not afraid of you, Blackwell!”

Really, that is odd because your actions here tell me quite the opposite. You came here, into my mind, to learn what you could and now I guess that you’re ready for your lesson. I should warn you that, as I am the daughter of the one that you serve, I am quite adept at dealing with those who try to intrude. I should also tell you that the lesson that you are about to learn is not going to be a pleasant one, in fact I am quite afraid that you are going to leave this setting in a condition quite like that of Zacharias. You won’t get your mind out of here in one piece.”

His eyes widened with fear as what the witch said resonated in his mind. He remembered clearly the fate of the Legilimens that had experienced the misfortune of losing to Blackwell. The poor git hadn’t even understood the very real danger that he faced as the Dementor moved to deliver its kiss. He had simply sat in the corner watching it approach and had offered no resistance to the foul thing that had come for his soul.


The command, spoken with authority that reminded him of that of his master, spurred him to walk towards a door and then grasp the handle before turning it and then watching as the door swung open. He stepped through the door and then gasped as he was suddenly falling downward towards spikes that projected upwards from the floor of the chamber. Peter Havershaw screamed out loud as he watched the objects that would kill him rush towards him. He managed to turn over in mid-air to look up at the door that was now closing.

The wizard felt the impact, rather than saw it, and then watched in horrified fascination as the spikes slowly burst up through his chest in a spray of gore. Strangely, he didn’t die but instead he lay there staring at the things that had emerged from him in the same way that a plant emerges from the ground. He managed to turn his head and saw a door to his left that was opening slowly to reveal a figure that walked towards him slowly and with lurching steps.

A scream erupted from his throat as he realized who he was seeing as the figure approached and he tried to withdraw from its presence. But the thing which had once been Peter Havershaw continued its advance as rotted and wasted lungs took a slow and terrible pattern of breathing. He could see the terrible wounds left by the stakes that had gone through him and his only possibility of action was to observe the fall of putrid flesh from the bones that were becoming exposed. He screamed again as the thing that was his future leaned down to stand over that which was his present.

“Youuu did thissss!” the thing hissed at him through lips that were splitting and shedding flesh as it spoke.

The impaled wizard, as the terrible thing leaned over him, knew that his mind would not stand up to this horrific assault and attempted to break the connection between his mind and that of the girl. He cried hopeless tears as he found that his escape route was blocked, he could not retreat from the mind of Elizabeth Blackwell until she allowed him to.

“Damn you, Blackwell!”

“Perhaps you should instead be damning Marcus Beales-Armstrong, and for many reasons,” Elizabeth’s voice responded from the thing over him. “Without him, I would not exist for I would never have been born. Without him, you would not be here preparing to meet what I have planned for you. Without him, there would have been no need for any of this and yet you continue to offer allegiance to him. He has destroyed many innocent lives, including that of my younger sister, and now all that serve him shall suffer the same fate as the one that you shall experience!”

The thing that had been him reached down to shove its hands into the center of his chest and he could feel it tearing his internal organs apart. Incredible pain filled his being and he threw his head back to scream once again as his mind began to shut down forever. Scream after scream of agony echoed through the room and then he fell limply backwards to become a motionless heap on the floor of the chamber that the Dark Lord occupied.

The incredulous group had watched as a supremely confident Legilimens, who had boasted that he would be able to bring the girl to her knees, had been reduced to a limp shell. The last of the echoes of his final screams faded only to be overwhelmed by the scream of the curse that would end what remained of his life.

“Avada Kedavra!”

The green light faded, leaving only a shell where a living being had been a moment before while Marcus Beales-Armstrong walked away. The wizard which had ended the suffering of the Legilimens nodded to two younger wizards and then watched as the body was removed from the chamber. Havershaw had lasted a bit more than an hour and all of that in pain as the girl battered him with her thoughts. News of this development would spread among the remaining Legilimens within their ranks and it would not be long before they started to slip away to try to vanish into obscurity. The girl was far more dangerous than any had imagined.

“How is this possible, Master?”

The wizard that had fathered the girl turned and then looked at the man who had spoken.

“I made a grave error when I ordered the deaths of Victoria and her grandparents. It gave Elizabeth something to rally around, something to fight for and now we have no choice but to destroy her, which is unfortunate. She shall never come to our way of thought.”

“We have lost many, and others shall attempt to leave our camp, Master. The girl has allied with the Aurors and every attempt that we make to enter her mind gives them information. Havershaw knew much and now I fear that she knows what he did. We need to withdraw; America is far enough away that she will not be able to reach us. We can gather forces there, where we are unknown, and regain strength until we are ready to strike again.”

“Withdraw? You mean retreat, don’t you? That is something that I shall never do, run like a beaten cur does with its tail between its legs. We rally here! We gather all that we can to strike against her. Any that are caught fleeing shall serve as examples to others who would do the same.”

“Yes, Master.”

The lesser wizard watched as the hooded figure before him vanished slowly in a cloud of mist before turning to relay his master’s orders. Death would come in a terrible way for any who attempted to surrender or escape. They would allow no more of their number to be taken by the Aurors and the orders to that effect were widely spread. If the possibility of capture arose, those surrendering were to be killed instead of accepting arrest and releasing the information that they held.

The message was passed swiftly and soon those rallied around the Dark Lord were busy trying to recruit the disaffected and unsavory members of the Wizarding World.

Elizabeth sat in the comfort of the Gryffindor Common Room while she recovered from the assault. She had eliminated another of the Legilimens allied to her father and was certain that she had caused no small amount of alarm in the process. The sound of footsteps alerted her to a presence and she turned to see Kim walking towards her with a Transfiguration book in her hand. The small girl settled down next to her and then opened her book to the section on Principal Exceptions to Gamp’s Law.

“What does this mean, Elizabeth?”

Elizabeth took a deep breath and then explained it as simply as she could to the girl.

“Basically, you cannot transfigure a being that can think with the intent to cause harm. For example, if you got mad at someone and transfigured them because of it, you would be breaking the law. That’s why the teachers and Prefects cannot use it for punishment. We might accidently hurt someone if we did and that would be a terrible violation of their rights as a living and thinking being.”

“What happens if you break that law?”

“You have to go before the Wizengamot and maybe, if you’re convicted, to Azkaban.”

The eyes of the child widened as the older girl spoke.

“I’m never going to break that law!”

“Good,” Elizabeth responded as she ruffled the hair of the child, “you wouldn’t look good sitting in Azkaban.”

The small girl grinned at her older friend and then leaned over to hug Elizabeth before rising and then hurrying back to her dorm. Elizabeth watched her leave and briefly thought back to Victoria doing the same thing the term before. A tear ran down her cheek and she angrily wiped it away as she thought about how her younger sibling had perished. The wizard that had fathered them both had killed Victoria and her grandparents and now wanted to do the same to his older child.

The closing door to the dorm that Kim occupied told Elizabeth that the little girl was back in her room and the seventh year relaxed on the couch. She had no sooner reclined on the furniture when Tiger appeared from nowhere to jump up onto the couch next to her. He settled next to his owner while she ran her fingers through his thick coat and then scratched the top of his head.

“No more beginnings of the term for us, Tiger, this is the last one. That is, unless I get to become a professor here.”

The purring of the cat told the girl that all was well and she was just starting to drift off to sleep when Lily and Beatrice walked into the room.

“Would you look at that, Lily! There she is, taking up the whole couch!”

“Yeah, Beatrice, when there is a perfectly good bed for her up in the dorm.”

Elizabeth opened her eyes and shot both of her friends a murderous glare to which they giggled in response. She rose from her position as they sat down in chairs, although Tiger refused to be dislodged from his place. The girl that held him continued stroking his fur and he relaxed against her.

“I never knew how much work Professor Grims’ assignment was going to be,” Beatrice gasped. “I’ve been down in the library most of the time that we don’t have class and still have almost nothing that I can use.”

“Same here,” Lily added, “this may be the assignment that finishes me.”

“Merlin’s Beard!” Elizabeth responded. “You may have gone to a library, but did you go to the right one?”

“Elizabeth, there is only one library here at Hogwarts, you know that,” Beatrice answered.

“Oh, there is more than one and we have all been to it.”

“Where is it?” Elizabeth’s friends asked in chorus.

“It’s in the one place that no one wants to go here at Hogwarts.”

“Elizabeth, will you please quit being so mysterious and tell us,” Lily finally responded as she grew frustrated. “Where is this wonderful library?”

“The Isolation Tower,” their friend answered only to watch the faces of Lily and Beatrice turn pale.

“Not there, anywhere but there,” Lily whined. “That place is scary even in the daytime.”

“How do you think that I have everything that I have found already,” Elizabeth told her friend as she held up several pieces of parchment. “There are books there that they don’t even have in the Restricted Area.”

“You do remember what happened the last time that you read a book from there, don’t you, Elizabeth?”

The blonde looked at her friend with near exasperation before answering.

“All of the books that Koeppler wrote are gone. He can’t come back anyway, I destroyed him. But there are a lot of books that we can use for this project and I for one don’t want to face Professor Grims without something to show him at the end of the term. We all heard what happened to the seventh years last term that didn’t do a good job on this.”

“Yeah, they barely passed their N.E.W.T.S.,” Beatrice whispered.

“Then we all know where we need to go to get what we need.”

“Yeah,” her friends answered as one.

“It’s settled then, we go there tomorrow during the time that we would normally be in his class.”

“It’s still scary,” Lily whispered.

“Don’t worry about it, Lily; I haven’t seen over a dozen Inferi during the time that I have been in there, alone.”

“Inferi?” Beatrice asked as she brightened. “If that’s so, I could examine them for my volume.”

“I was kidding.”

“Darn,” the girl answered as she pretended to pout, “An Inferi would have made a great addition to my work.”

The girls giggled as they rose to walk to the dorm to prepare for bed. Elizabeth carried a sleeping Tiger with her and laid him carefully on her bed before she changed clothes and then slipped under the covers. Tiger soon was up next to her face in his favored sleeping position and they fell asleep thinking about what they might discover in the Isolation Tower.

The castle slipped into near silence and none noticed the figure that slipped carefully between shadows. Even Peeves and the ghosts were unaware of the movement and the person responsible for the slight bit of noise was able to get to the place that they needed.

“Master, the girl is gathering strength with each passing day. It will soon be impossible for any save the most powerful to deal with her.”

“And are her friends also untouchable?”

“They stay in close proximity to her. Even alone, they represent a force to be reckoned with and I am not certain that we have the forces necessary to take even one of them.”

“They are children! Are you suggesting that they are too much for our people to deal with?”

“The friends of Elizabeth Blackwell are more than children, my Lord. They are seventh year students and are highly formidable. I have seen them all in dueling practice and they would not be taken easily.”

“Are you suspected?”

“No. None are aware that I am allied to you.”

“Be certain that it remains that way.”

“I have every intention of that.”

“Do not strike until we are ready. It has taken much to place you there and I do not wish to squander a valuable resource.”

“It might be possible to strike when the girl is in the Isolation Tower. Elizabeth has been seen entering that place to use the resources in the library.”

“And is she alone at that time?”

“I have never seen her accompanied.”

“That represents an interesting possibility. If she were to have to deal with an assault by a Legilimens at the same time that we carry out a physical strike, she might be more easily overcome. Can you get some of our forces through the shield around the castle and then into the Isolation Tower?”

“It might be a worthy attempt.”

“Then make your way to the lower levels to the place where we have entered before. I shall have a strike team ready to join you. You shall be rewarded well should this plan succeed.”

“And if it does not succeed?”

“If you fail, do not live through it.”

The voice in the mind of the figure faded and a certain apprehension took its place. The Dark Lord, like Voldemort before him, did not tolerate incompetence and those who failed him often did not live long afterward. Shaking its hooded head, the figure moved through the shadows once more until it finally reached the weak spot that had been detected in the shield around the school. Five cloaked figures waited silently outside the barrier, only to be admitted by their fellow that stood inside the shield.

“We must move with all due haste! All that can be done must be. Avoid confrontation with anyone that we encounter, and that means no killing. A stunning would be hard enough to cover up, but a death would be impossible. Also be aware that we face the possibility of discovery by the portraits and the ghosts, if we are discovered we retreat back to here and escape through the barrier.”

“Retreat is not an option,” one of the figures announced, “if we are discovered then we shall die fighting.”

“No! I have worked too hard to insert myself here for it to be wasted on a failed attempt. The Dark Lord himself has told me to avoid open conflict, we retreat if discovered.”

There were a number of grumbles of dissent, but finally all nodded their agreement. They moved silently through the castle, somehow avoiding discovery, until they arrived at the door to the Isolation Tower. It opened easily and they slipped into the darkness to make their way to a suitable hiding place.

“She shall enter this library to study and shall be alone, for I have never seen anyone with her. At that time, I shall strike at her mind while you emerge to strike at her body. She cannot be permitted to live. Once the task is done, we shall move to the basement of this tower and make our escape from there. By the time anyone finds her body, Elizabeth Blackwell-Potter shall be dead and long past any form of help.”

“And if she is not alone?”

The leader turned to the figure that had spoken before speaking once again.

“None may leave here alive to reveal what has happened. No mercy is to be extended, for should we fail, the Dark Lord shall show us none and I would much rather face death here than at his hands. It would be a far less painful experience.”

The group separated to find concealment before managing to get some sleep before the morning came. Once it began, all knew that the fight would be a horrific one as the girl was renowned for her dueling abilities. She had bested more than one opponent at the same time and they all hoped that she had finally reached the end of her luck.

Elizabeth woke in the middle of the night, her senses tingling, something was wrong within the castle. She wasn’t certain what, but something was very wrong, and she rose from her bed to look out through the window of the dorm that she occupied. All looked as it should, nothing was out of place and the only sign of movement was Peeves as he floated about down in a courtyard, obviously preparing a surprise for someone.

She walked to the door of the dorm and then out onto the stairs to make her way to the first year dorm. Glancing in, she was relieved to see Kimberlee’s sleeping form under the covers and she stepped into the room to walk to the bed of the smaller child. The slow, soft breathing of the girl was evident and she bent to kiss the blonde curls on Kim’s head before speaking softly.

“I’ll never stop protecting you, not ever.”

She walked away from the bed, unaware that the blue eyes of the girl had opened and as the door closed behind the Head Girl who had vowed to protect her Kim whispered her response.

“Thank you.”

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