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Nearly an hour later a group of miserable seventh years sat in Ludwig Portman’s classroom while the wizard talked about the likely penalties for the use of the Unforgivable Curses. Elizabeth groaned inwardly as she filled more of the parchment in front of her with notes, which actually were things that she was very aware of, and then looked up at the scratching of chalk against the board as the former Auror continued his drone.

“Is he ever going to stop?” Beatrice hissed to her friends.

Elizabeth shrugged as she continued to write and looked up gratefully when the bells in the tower announced that the class was over. They rose after putting away their things and were nearly to the door when the wizard made an unwelcome announcement.

“There will be an exam tomorrow over what we have discussed. Be prepared to discuss the Unforgivable Curses, their effects on their victims and the penalties that you will face if you use the curses.”

Hurrying to escape, Elizabeth and her friends rushed out into the corridor where Lily suddenly leaned against the wall and began to shake. Their eyes wide with alarm, Elizabeth and Beatrice rushed to the side of their friend to find her not in distress at all but rather laughing nearly hysterically.

“What are you so on about?” Elizabeth asked once Lily seemed to have recovered enough to answer her question.

“He was wrong about something.”

“So what else is new?” Beatrice asked.

“There aren’t three Unforgivable Curses, there are four.”

“Four? What is the fourth Unforgivable Curse?” Elizabeth asked although she thought that she already knew what her friend was about to say.

Ludwigicus Portmanicus!

The girls and the students around them broke into raucous laughter as they walked down the corridor towards their next class. Elizabeth shook her head in response to her friend’s statement and then laughed as what her friend had said replayed itself in her mind.

“As if no one knows what will happen to you if you use one of them without being sanctioned to by the Aurors or the Ministry,” Lily groused. “There’s only one punishment for that offense and he knows that. It’s one of the few things that will get you a ticket straight to Azkaban.”

“Don’t remind me,” Elizabeth answered, “I know that one only too well. Thank Merlin that your dad stepped forward to testify for me and told the Wizengamot that he had given me permission to use them when I faced Alecto.”

“You don’t talk much about that day, Elizabeth,” Beatrice added.

“I’ve been trying to forget it but can’t.”

They arrived at the point where they would separate and Elizabeth hurried to the class that she would teach while her friends walked to their own class. When she arrived in the Transfiguration classroom she found it in chaos and Professor McGonagall nowhere to be seen. She swept into the room and found children hurrying to their seats as the older student made her presence known. Elizabeth arrived at the front of the room and then turned to the now thoroughly cowed class before her. A piece of parchment lying on the desk told her that the professor was in a meeting and would miss the second year class. Elizabeth drew her wand and then looked at the debris that covered the floor of the room before putting her wand away.

“You all shall take part in a simple transfiguration,” she announced. “You will not need your wands for it but instead shall do this as a Muggle child would.”

The puzzled students looked at her quizzically as she stood before them and then she roared her demand.

“CLEAN UP THIS MESS AND I MEAN RIGHT NOW!”

The incensed seventh year settled back onto her chair while she watched the students set the room to right before finally returning to their seats to find two sheets of parchment waiting for them. They looked up at the teaching assistant who continued to survey them critically and knew that her ire had not yet been settled.

“You shall find some parchment for your use at your desk. Instead of discussing the reading assignment you shall all use your quills to answer the questions that I have placed upon the board. It will probably take most of the class and a great deal of the parchment to complete this task. Should you finish early I shall be most interested in seeing what you have written. If it is unsatisfactory I shall have you do it again, because I would not want you to get a poor mark on this page. You shall use the second sheet to write a letter of apology to Professor McGonagall concerning your conduct in her absence. You may begin!”

As the younger students set about their tasks, Elizabeth opened the text that she had just been using to read the assignment that she had been given by Portman. She really didn’t see the need for the class as nothing that she was unfamiliar with had been presented. The former Auror seemed to be simply filling a class that could have been better served by something that they could actually use. The students in the class were quite aware of the punishments that they could face if they broke wizarding law and didn’t relish the idea.

A hand rose into the air to summon her attention and she glanced up to see a boy from Ravenclaw looking at her anxiously.

“Yes, Michael?”

“May I use the lavatory please?”

“Certainly, but see to it that you return here directly.”

She watched as the boy rose and then hurried from the room while the distracted other members of her class returned to their business. A few minutes later the class was disturbed again by his return and she quickly settled them down to continue with what they were doing. Elizabeth glanced at the clock on the wall and noticed that they had only a few minutes remaining. She rose and then stepped back to the lectern before speaking.

“I shall expect both parchments at the beginning of class tomorrow. Failure to produce either of them shall result in an immediate poor mark as well as detention for three nights.”

The bells in the tower announced the end of the class and she watched as they hurried to gather their things before vanishing through the now open door. As they hurried from her presence, Minerva McGonagall entered the room from the door that led to the still present rain forest. Elizabeth turned to her and then cocked her head as she realized that she had just been tested.

“You were watching the entire time, weren’t you?”

“It is my prerogative as your mentor, Elizabeth. You handled that situation extremely well and I was pleased with your performance.”

“You deliberately allowed them to destroy the room?”

“They did seem to have a lot of fun doing it. You cannot imagine the surprise on their faces when I told them what I wanted them to do.”

“You planned all of this?”

“It is another trick that I learned from Professor Dumbledore when he stood where you now stand. He did the very same thing to me when I was learning to be a professor. But he didn’t have the wonderful rainforest that I had to relax in. That really is an extraordinary accomplishment that you created in there, until it decides to rain.”

“Well, it is a rainforest!”

Elizabeth paused as she felt it coming before it happened and she moved away from her mentor as the attack hit her. Her defenses, thrown up at the last moment, held and she was able to shove her tormentor away momentarily before he assaulted her again.

‘No, Elizabeth, I won’t be as easy to defeat as my predecessors. The dark Lord has demanded that I drive you out of your mind and that is what I intend to do, right here in front of these young students and Professor McGonagall!’

Frantic with fear at this determined assault, which was much more powerful than any before it, Elizabeth bolstered her defenses while Minerva McGonagall and the first years watched in horror as she fought for her sanity. She struck back with all that she possessed and was pleased to feel his attack weaken as she mounted her own offense against his protective layers. The young witch fought him to hold the attack back while opening a breach in her defenses that she wanted him to find. He managed to slide into the weak area and then, as the door behind his growing assault closed, realized that he had walked into a trap. All around his presence thousands of mirrored walls reflected his image and no matter where he looked all that he could see was what she wanted him to.

‘Congratulations! You’ve made it farther than any before you and now you get to play in this wonderful place that I have prepared for you. None of your magic will work here because, since you’re in my mind only my desires work. What you have to do is find the way out of here, now, there are many ways to leave this place but only one is pleasant and will get you where you want to go. I hope that you are going to have fun here, because I certainly intend to!’

He sat at the chair in the presence of the Dark Lord and Marcus Beales-Armstrong was pleased that this Legilimens had been able to breach the defenses of his eldest daughter. That pleasure faded as the face of the man became strained and his master realized that the man was in jeopardy of defeat. The girl had prepared something more in readiness for this attack and now it had snared a victim.

He walked through the mirrored labyrinth, his mental assaults now pummeling him personally. Elizabeth Blackwell-Potter had found a way to redirect his attacks back to their origin and he ceased the punishing blows that he was delivering to his own mind. A long shimmering corridor stretched before him and he hurried down it, only to stop when a large gaping hole appeared in the floor of the pathway before him. Growling his frustration he turned around to find the path that he had taken now blocked. Fearing what would happen if he assaulted her mind again he drew his wand from his robes and suddenly heard her voice.

‘Ah, ah, ah, are you sure that you want to do that? You’re forgetting that you are playing in my realm now! You might cast a spell, but will it work? And if it does work, will it work here or in the place where your physical presence is? I certainly wouldn’t want to be in the place where your body is when you cast the curse that you are intending to. But please do, perhaps you can take that filth that is my father out of this world. Maybe he will be standing or sitting right in the path of the curse and get burned to ashes or maybe he will simply draw his own wand and use one of the Unforgivable Curses on you.’

“Damn you, Blackwell,” he screamed as he suddenly drew his wand, much to the horror of those in the room with his body. “Avada Kedavra!

Those in the room scattered as the wand rose to strike and only the slowest among them was affected by the magical attack that struck him. The wizard collapsed as the green light enveloped him and those that had survived watched as he turned to strike once again.

The girl had been right there, right in front of him and then she was gone, only to reappear off to his left. She giggled manically as he turned to strike once again and then she vanished as the second curse lashed out from the wand held by his physical fingers. This strike had a much more profound effect as two members of the inner circle of the Dark Lord were obliterated along with a portion of the wall near them. A sudden cracking noise alerted those within the room that severe structural damage had been done to the room. Nearly instantly, the wall began to collapse and the ceiling above it started to follow it to the ground.

Reducto!” he screamed as the girl appeared in another place. Robed figures scattered as the wand belched forth more death dealing energy and a wizard who felt secure enough to raise his own wand to retaliate took the attack full force. He vaporized as the energy ripped through him and only his burned shoes remained to betray where he had been.

‘You are doing so poorly at this! All of these attacks and no damage done to me at all! Surely you aren’t one of his best because my first year students can do much better than you are doing. I’m right here, hit me if you can!’

The wand swung once again to release a torrent of energy directly at Marcus Beales-Armstrong, who was shoved aside by a wizard that was promptly disintegrated.

Elizabeth, seeing through his eyes what he was seeing, released him at the last moment as several wands rose to strike at him in unison. An instant later he evaporated under the concentrated assault leaving an empty chair that was coated with odorous remains of what had been a person. The charred wand that he had dropped fell to the ground where it came to rest in the shadows of the remnants of his robes.

Elizabeth rallied and opened her eyes for a moment before closing them again and lashing out at the mind of her father. Marcus Beales-Armstrong, still off balance from what had just happened, was an easy target for the girl. He staggered under her determined assault as she punched through the feeble defenses that were in place. The wizard clutched his head and screamed loudly as the feeling of fingers running through his mind threatened to drive him mad.

‘Marcus Beales-Armstrong! You made a mistake once again when you sent another to do the job that you should have done! I imagine that he is now a smoking mass on the floor of the room that you are in and I apologize for the four followers that he obliterated. I saw it all, Marcus Beales-Armstrong, I saw all of you as you scrambled for cover like rats scrambling to escape a sinking ship! How does it feel? Knowing that I can strike as easily as you can and knowing that there is nothing that you can do about it! It hurts, doesn’t it? I’ll leave you with a gift, but I will be back and you can count on something much worse next time!’

The ripping sensation that followed when Elizabeth broke the connection threw the wizard to his knees as incredible nausea struck him in waves. He knelt there for a very long time and finally rose to feel a terrible pain in his forehead. A nearby mirror reflected what his followers had already seen and his eyes widened as he beheld the second part of his child’s gift to him. A single word burned into his forehead betrayed what Elizabeth knew of him.

MURDERER!

He roared his anger as his fists rose into the air before lashing out to destroy the mirror. Shattered glass, now unable to display what its master had ordered before, scattered across the floor of the chamber and Marcus Beales-Armstrong could only stand in the center of the destroyed magical scrying device. His chest heaved while he stared down at the frame which had once held a mirror several centuries old and then he screamed his rage while the others within the room scattered as swiftly as the shards of glass had done. His anger spent and replaced by a growing weakness, the dark figure stood alone in a chamber which was now devastated.

Elizabeth opened her eyes once again to find the first years and professor looking at her strangely.

“Mrs. Blackwell-Potter, are you okay?” Professor McGonagall asked.

“More than okay, Professor McGonagall, I just gave them something to think about before they try something like that again. I struck at the head of the snake and left him with a gift.”

She smiled at the older woman and the children still gathered around her before the first years hurried to their seats and the lesson ahead of them.

Marcus Beales-Armstrong settled onto the chair that he had been shoved from in the frantic attempt to save his life. The girl had managed to do something that he had feared, she had managed once again to enter his mind and gain information. This was especially bothersome because it meant that she may have detected the presence of him. He was the best hope that they had within the walls of Hogwarts, he was the only one who had a chance of striking against her within the castle and if she knew that he was there she would waste no time in dealing with the threat.

It had all come to this, their grand plans were now in tatters and now only one person within the castle had a chance of helping them salvage their aspirations. He rose and then walked across the chamber to disappear in a swirling of mists.

Kim sat quietly in her seat while Elizabeth helped her with the transfiguration that she needed to accomplish. The small girl watched with fascination as the older student changed a thread spool into a very convincing mushroom. Then it became a thread spool once again and the girl raised her own wand to cast the very spell that she had just heard. Instantly a mushroom stood on the desk before Kim and she smiled with delight at what she had accomplished. A few moments later, the spool once again stood on the desk before the child. Elizabeth moved on to the next struggling student and watched as the boy managed what Kim was now able to do over and over again.

The bells began to ring and spools reappeared to vanish into the supply chest before students hurried to file out to make their way to their next class. Both professor and teaching assistant watched them leave and smiled at what had been accomplished during the class period. Those that had entered the school uncertain about their abilities were gaining confidence and Elizabeth remembered well when she had been among their number.

Minerva McGonagall watched as Kim turned to wave happily at the seventh year who had taken her under her wing before returning to the conversation that she had been having with another first year girl. The professor smiled and then looked at her student before speaking.

“I remember when that would have been you.”

“Scary, isn’t it?”

“I never had any doubt that you could succeed. Now get to class yourself before you end up with detention and lose points for Gryffindor.”

Elizabeth hurried to leave the room and then make her way to the place where she would meet her friends. They had plans to hurry through a Potions assignment before using the remaining time to work on the task for Professor Grims.

Professor Tindwell looked up at the trio of seventh years as they entered his third year class to begin work at their cauldrons. The disturbance was minimal and soon all three were settled down to preparing the assigned potion. Occasionally one of the third years would turn briefly to try to watch the older students but a stern glare from the Head girl or one of her deputies was more than enough to make them return to task.

As the third years walked to their own cauldrons to prepare a much simpler and far less dangerous potion than Elizabeth and her friends were, Professor Tindwell paused at their cauldrons to examine the progress that they were making.

“Excellent job, ladies, but do make certain that it has the correct consistency or it will sour and become unusable.”

Beatrice watched with fascination as her potion turned from a brilliant magenta to a pale blue as she added chopped roots of Asphodel. She backed away to avoid breathing the momentarily poisonous vapors that were escaping and then returned to her work as soon as the blue smoke vanished. None of them looked up as Benjamin Randolph stepped into the room to walk to his own cauldron where he planned to finish his own work on the same potion that the girls were laboring over.

Elizabeth squeaked with surprise as her potion bubbled up dangerously and then immediately collapsed in on itself to reveal a crystal clear potion that the professor immediately warned her away from.

“Excellent job, Elizabeth, this potion is correct and highly lethal. The spell that I use to decant this shall place it into flasks as it will cause immediate death if touched. You may leave as soon as you are ready.”

Elizabeth watched as the potion in her cauldron was decanted into the waiting flasks and then the cauldron cleaned without her having to do anything. Lily and Beatrice were soon doing the same and it was not long before the girls were walking towards the Isolation Tower and the library that waited for them.

“That didn’t take long,” Beatrice noted.

“He said it would only take about fifteen minutes to add the final ingredients and for it to be ready,” Lily responded while they waited for Elizabeth to open the door that they needed. She looked at her friend and then asked something that had puzzled her.

“Elizabeth, how is it that you can open the door to the Isolation Tower? I thought that only professors could.”

“I’m a teaching assistant and I need to do research. So, Professor Leeds gave me the privilege of being able to do this.”

The trio of girls stepped into the darkened rooms and they were rewarded with the torches lighting as they proceeded towards the library. The door to the room opened easily and they hurried to the table to begin the chore before them once again. The table was soon loaded with books and they hurried to copy what was needed to assist with the assignment before them. All knew that the many weeks before the end of the term would fly by before they knew it and none of them wanted to have to worry about working on the volume that they had to produce while also preparing for the N.E.W.T.S that they had to face.

He arrived at the door to the Isolation Tower a short time later and found it locked to him. This frustrated him as he knew that his quarry was behind the barrier. Elizabeth and her friends had to die, it was commanded by the Dark Lord, and he intended to be the one who earned the rewards promised to whoever among the faithful achieved that goal.

Finally convinced that he was not going to get past the door he turned and walked away through one of the many corridors of Hogwarts.
 

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