Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter...
Author's Note: I've finally got to some action. I hope everyone enjoys this! Please review, I like to know what you think.
Chapter Six: Dark Lady Falls
Katherine's dark eyes flitted up briefly as two men and a boy entered the Great Hall silently. The one she knew to be Harry Potter walked with his head held high and his emotions controlled. She met his eyes and began to use her powers to enter his mind. She needed eye contact, initially, but once she had his mind she had him. The green eyes were limitless and as she entered. Suddenly she stopped as she hit a barrier, a wall that prevented further penetration. She tightened her jaw and pushed harder. He seemed to notice her struggle, as the corner of his mouth twitched at her well hidden anger. Yes, she knew he saw her anger.
But she wasn't deterred; she had to get to him, even if she had to do it through someone else. She looked at the man beside Harry. Ron had told her his name was Sage. Sage's blue eyes were locked before him, not even glancing in her direction as she stared at him. She knew he would
look up eventually, they always did. It was a sixth sense deeply ingrained in humans. They felt it when they were being watched.
The three had reached the head table and sat down. She furrowed her brow a fraction and focused on Sage. Harry leaned forward, looking only in front of him, and blocked her view of his friend. Her heart began to beat rapidly. Does he know? No, it's impossible. Somehow, she knew that Harry had, at least, a basic idea of what she was trying to do.
Katherine looked away at last, focusing instead on her food. If she stared at the newcomers for too long someone may notice. Like that Granger girl, she thought with a sneer. She hated Hermione Granger. It was hard, knowing that she could have control over almost any man alive,
but that she would go mad if she even dared to enter another woman's brain. She wanted to huff and push her seat back in her anger, but she knew she wouldn't allow herself to.
It was at that moment she chanced a glance at the three again. Harry and Sage continued to stare resolutely in front of them but the boy, Kip, was looking right at her. She wasted no time in invading his mind. She flipped around in his mind and hooked a strong arm of power into the
pain center of his brain. She looked away. Now that she was connected to him she would always be. There was no way that she knew of for anyone to break that link. She smiled delightedly as she squeezed on his pain center. Her power moved around in his brain, giving him other reactions. If Harry Potter wanted to resist her power than that was just fine, but he would pay with the lives of those he held dear. She sent another shock of pain to Kip and smiled as she saw him exit the Hall. Harry didn't glance over his shoulder at her and she relaxed. Maybe he didn't know that much at all...
Sage didn't turn away from the window when Harry let Dumbledore in several minutes later. His hands, still held in tight fists at his sides, were trembling with emotion.
"Albus," Harry began, his voice harsh with his own anger, "you need to get us alone with Katherine Weasley."
Dumbledore blinked benignly, obviously thinking the conversation was going to be about Kip. "I don't believe I understand why, Mr. Potter?"
Harry smiled in a spiteful sort of way. "You wouldn't would you, professor."
"Listen, it's simple." Sage turned, his voice ragged and unyielding."She has control over Ron, complete control over him in fact. She may have control over others to a slightly lesser degree. Kip's discomfort in the Great Hall... that was her, she attacked him."
Dumbledore's eyes were wide with surprise, but also guarded, as though he were reluctant to agree.
"Albus," Harry began again, schooling his voice and features to seem gentler than he felt at the moment. "We dealt with someone with this power before, we know how to handle it, we know what it looks like. If it isn't true, if it's all just some strange coincidence, then what we do will not harm her in anyway. But if it is true we have to stop her before she hurts anyone else.
"We don't know the extent of the damage yet, but Ron may be too far gone to save after this. And there is no way of telling who or how many other's she may have under her control."
Sage took several steps toward them, controlling his own features into determination instead of anger. "All we need you to do is get us alone with her and keep Ron away. He will try to get to us when she calls him. And she will call him, if she feels threatened."
Dumbledore stood thunderstruck and stared at them. Finally he nodded, swallowing past a lump in his throat. He jumped when someone knocked on the door and Harry answered it silently.
Standing before him was none other than Ron and Katherine, with Hermione and Remus behind them, somewhat apprehensively. Ron had his arm around Katherine's shoulders and was smiling brightly. Katherine herself sported a small, meek looking smile. Harry smiled tightly and gestured them inside. As Katherine and Ron entered Harry shot a look at Albus. He nodded and moved forward.
"Mr. Weasley, may I speak with you a moment in the hall?" he asked quickly, taking Ron's arm and leading him away.
"Of course, is anything wrong professor?" they heard Ron reply as Dumbledore led him quickly around a corner. Katherine was standing just inside the room and was watching Harry intently. Harry's smile disappeared and he turned to Hermione and Remus.
"Don't enter this room no matter what you hear from the inside, and keep Ron out at all costs," he said firmly. As they nodded, Katherine rushed toward the door, eyes wide. Harry slammed it before her and locked it with a wave of his hand, keeping her inside.
"What's the meaning of this?" she said, dropping the meek persona and holding her head impossibly high.
Sage and Harry said nothing, but began to circle her. She moved unconsciously to the center of the room as they circled. Sage kept his eyes slightly lowered, not allowing her to enter his mind. She bared her teeth at them. Harry removed the long black wand from where it lay dormant at his side. He said nothing, just sliced it though the air. At the movement, all the furniture in the room slid to the walls and out of the way, scraping across the stone floors.
Harry focused his wand and pointed it at Katherine. He muttered something, inaudible. Then said out loud, "Let's see what you're made of."
As the two of them watched Katherine's skin began to melt away and dissolve. In its place blackness remained, a fog, but thicker, like oil or molasses. It rotated around its center, like the storms of Jupiter or the wind of a tornado. Slowly her entire body disappeared into the blackness. They watched in silence as her transformation took place. Harry replaced the wand at his side and clenched his fists.
Suddenly more of the black fog became visible. Great arms shot off in different directions. One arm in particular made Harry squeeze his eyes shut a moment to control his anger. It led into Kip's room, where her power continued to attack the boy. There were other arms too; some close to the other's some far away. But one in particular was thicker then the others. Harry knew whom that arm connected too... Ron.
Both Harry and Sage squared their shoulders' and moved to one of the black arms. Harry moved to the one leading to Kip, Sage to one at random. They left the one connected to Ron alone, that one would need them both to sever.
Harry moved his hand out toward the black arm and a familiar silver mist swirled and solidified around it. It moved to encircle the arm, like a giant snake of silver it wrapped itself around the appendage. Harry knew that Sage's magic was mimicking his on the other side of the blackness but he could not see him. Harry focused on his magic, and like the giant snake it appeared to be, it began to tighten until it constricted the arm painfully. Harry's face screwed up in concentration
and he squeezed tighter. A high pitched cry broke the silence of the room; it was coming from what remained of Katherine. The arm dissolved with a snap under the silver energy and it disappeared. Harry's magic hung in the air for a moment longer, shimmering, before disappearing
too. Harry smiled, turned to the next arm, and began the process again.
Sage was doing something on the other side of the room that was very similar; his purple magic cracked and snapped in its very electrified way and attacked each arm. Instead of coiling around an arm as Harry's magic had, Sage's magic slipped through and broke it apart. It wasn't as efficient, it wasted magic, but it got the job done and Sage smiled in satisfaction.
It was with another shriek that the black mass in the center of the room sent out three new arms. One sped quickly toward Sage and the other two toward Harry. Sage held out his hand and caught the arm with his magic. The pressure was immense and it pushed him back until he was pushed up against the wall.
Harry caught one of the arms with his magic but the other caught his left knee. With a grown he fell to the ground. He rolled onto his back, holding the second arm at bay with his magic and pulled out his long black wand from his belt, looking at the arm attached to his leg. He held his wand tightly in his fist, like it was a dagger instead of a wand. He sliced downward and speared the offending appendage, trapping it against the floor. It wiggled as it tried to loosen the wand that pinned it and escape, but the wand wouldn't budge. Harry stood, panting slightly and looked down at his knee - it was torn and bleeding.
He returned his attention to the first arm, as it struggled against his magical hold. Harry concentrated and the silver magic surrounded the arm and destroyed it in one blast of energy. Harry moved back to the second arm, pinned to the stone floor. His magic attacked it suddenly,
angry that he had allowed himself to be injured. The silver mist tore destructively at the arm of black fog, and it disappeared with another shriek from Katherine.
Hermione looked at Remus as Harry slammed the door, locking Katherine inside with Sage and himself. She was glad Harry knew what to do, but afraid. What if something happens to him? I don't know if I can take that again... The look in Remus' eyes said the same.
A loud yell sounded from the direction Albus and Ron had taken. Ron came barreling around the corner, his eyes glazed and unfocused. He was yelling and his wand was held tightly in his hand. Albus came around the corner after him and fired a stupefy at his back. It hit and he staggered. His head lolled to one side as he passed out but his body continued to move toward them.
"Stop him at any cost!" Albus yelled from down the hall and Remus pushed forward.
Despite appearances Remus was more than a little strong. His werewolf blood gave him strength enough to tackle someone athletic like Harry, or Sage. Ron was a push over. While taller than Remus, Ron was still paper light and weak, and because of his height his balance was poor.
Remus pushed Ron back and pinned him against the wall, effectively keeping him from the door. Suddenly black smoke or smog filtered into the air and materialized into arms that stretched right through the walls of the room Katherine was in. One arm shot out to Ron and circled his head in a tight hold. It covered his features and his eyes and Ron growled and pushed against Remus.
Another, thinner arm of black led to Dumbledore. It was thin, nothing compared to the large blackness connected to Ron. It connected to Dumbledore's temple, and as it became visible he shuddered and his eyes rolled back into his head. As he began to collapse Hermione caught him
with a quick charm and he floated gently to the ground where he lay unconscious. She looked back at Remus and the struggling Ron. She didn't know what to do. Remus looked back at her and seemed to convey the same confusion.
With a gasp Dumbledore woke and sat up. He breathed deeply and moved his hand to his temple where the black arm had moments before connected him to Katherine. It was gone now; it evaporated with a suddenness that drew Hermione's attention to the door.
Harry limped forward a little so that he didn't have to stretch his magic far. They were down to nearly half a dozen arms and Katherine seemed to be losing power with each severed limb. Harry catalogued this information with the rest, realizing that Lorna had obviously been in a lot more control of her power. He thought it might have to do with how scattered Katherine's power was. She had spread it thin through so many individuals that it left a lot of room for error.
Sage made brief eye contact with him as he severed another arm. Harry smiled back grimly and sent his magic out. At the rate they were going, it would all be over very soon.
Severus Snape had had just about enough surprises as he could stand in such a short space of time. As he rounded a corner he stopped and sighed in frustration. He hated not having any idea what was going on.
The headmaster sat on the ground before him, looking quite startled. Just up the hall Remus held Ron Weasley against the wall as the man struggled blindly with some strange black power connected to him. Hermione Grange stood near them watching the headmaster.
Snape strode quickly to Dumbledore's side and helped the old man to his feet. Dumbledore swayed for a moment before righting himself. Together, they moved down the hall and stood before the door that led to Harry, Sage and Kip's rooms. Snape looked over his shoulder at Ron.
Blood was running from the man's mouth. He had most likely bitten his own tongue. The potions master looked away. He focused on the door and listened intently to the sounds within.
Together Harry and Sage moved to the last black appendage. Harry closed his eyes for a moment and said a quick prayer for his once friend. He had little doubt that this would ruin what was left of Ron's mind, but he held to hope.
He extended his hands at the same time Sage did, eyes once again focused on the arm. It squirmed as they gathered their magic around it. Harry's mist and Sage's electricity fused together and snapped and cracked a blinding white. They applied a great amount of pressure to the arm and, as they did, Katherine did something desperate. She ripped the arm back, trying to pull the power back to her before it was severed.
Harry had only a moment to react. He grabbed the arm with his hands. He flinched as he felt it burn and cut his skin. Sage almost lost control of his magic but together they continued to cut at the arm.
Katherine screamed, high pitched and deafening. The arm was severed and Harry and Sage were thrown back. Harry lay on his back and stared at the ceiling for a long moment in the silence.
He sat up; Sage had done the same on the other side of the room.
Katherine sat on the floor in the center of the room. She was completely naked; the swirling smoke had ripped off her immaculate robes. In her true form her skin was a pitch black that only greyed slightly in the palms of her hands and bottoms of her feet. Her hair and eyes were black and she was covered in vivid blue cuts. She bled a dark blue, almost purple, from the cuts and a puddle slowly formed around her.
She turned her hollow eyes to Harry.
"He will not be pleased," she said quietly. Her voice was scratchy and oppressively high pitched.
"No, he will not." Harry replied simply. She smiled humorlessly and closed her eyes. Death was all that awaited her now. Whether at the hands of the man before her, or the slow and painful slaughter incurred on those who failed the Dark Lord. Sage approached from behind her and
unsheathed his sword.
"May you find peace in oblivion." he said quietly as he swiftly ran the blade across her neck. She choked for a moment before slumping to the floor lifelessly.
Ron let out a loud scream as a similar scream echoed from behind the door. The black that surrounded his head pulled away with a suddenness that made Remus step back in shock. Ron fell to the ground slowly, slumped over in unconsciousness.
They looked from him to the door and stood in anticipation. It was silent now. It was an agonizing minute and a half before the door creaked open and Sage stood there, out of breath and trembling slightly from exertion. He pushed past them to Ron and knelt beside him, checking for a pulse.
Harry came out a moment later, equally out of breath but not trembling. His hands and left knee were bleeding profusely as he limped toward Sage.
"Well?" he asked after a long moment.
Sage had pried Ron's mouth open and was examining it with a tight expression. He sighed audibly, "I can't tell if he died when she ripped her power away, or when he bit off and swallowed his own tongue."
Hermione gasped loudly and Remus caught her shoulders as she nearly fell. Snape's eyes widened as he looked down at Ron, only now seeing the slightly blue hue to his lips under the glossy coating of blood.
Harry closed his eyes for a moment and turned. "I'm going to check on Kip."
Sage watched his friend's retreating form as Harry limped back into the room. As he did so the door swung open to give him a full view of Katherine. She was still lying on the floor. They hadn't moved her yet. He had to remember to make sure that Kip didn't see her.
Snape's gaze found Katherine as well and he moved slowly into the room, followed by the others. Sage stood behind them all, lost in memories, before he slowly began to speak.
"When Harry and I first arrived at the Hall of Bask we were kept separate from the other 'students'. It wasn't until six months after our initial acceptance that we met the first of the others. Lorna was a girl who appeared to be a little older than us. She was tall and thin with chin length blond hair and the deepest, darkest eyes I had ever seen." He sighed as he looked at the closed eyes of Katherine.
"Harry and her didn't get along at all, he wasn't susceptible to the power that she held over me. Harry compared it to a Veela, or something called the Imperius curse. You saw it, those great arms of black that connect her to those she seeks to control." he looked away from Katherine as Harry reentered the room and closed Kip's door soundlessly behind him.
"He's sleeping comfortably," he said to Sage. He looked at the others. "Katherine wasn't as experienced as Lorna. Lorna only controlled those close to her and concentrated on three or four powerful links at a time. When she wanted to control someone else, she would sever one of her other connections. More often than not those severed connections left the men connected to them brain dead." He looked at Sage and something passed between them. "Lorna hated that she couldn't break into my head." He looked at Snape and Dumbledore. "It was like when Voldemort tried to control me in the Ministry of Magic, it wasn't a clear or blank mind that can resist that kind of control, it was the emotional kind. I learned how to block her completely with my emotions."
"It drew us into hundreds of arguments. Lorna didn't have to make me argue in her favor, she just placed these overwhelming feelings of love for her in my heart. We nearly severed ties with each other after a good year of non-stop fighting. Nearly killing each other several times with our developing powers." Sage said gravely. He looked back at Harry, his expression apologetic, as though he thought no amount of apologizing would rectify the rift that had once existed.
Harry put a comforting hand on his friend's shoulder. "I wasn't about to throw away my only friend in that world for Lorna, so I confronted her. After quite a struggle and a lot of throwing power around, I figured out how to really fight her. She panicked, and like Katherine called Ron she called Sage."
He broke off then, and squeezed Sage's shoulder tightly for a moment in silent support. "I'll leave it at, we won. But it nearly cost both our lives. Sage almost lost his when Lorna's power was ripped away from him, and I almost lost mine to him."
They stood in silence for a while. "Why could she only control men?" Snape asked, breaking the silence.
"We aren't sure of much. We don't know why their powers work like that, only that they do. We also know that they are basically immortal, though we have no idea if they would die on their own eventually after a certain number of years. We only know that they definitely live longer then humans." Harry answered. He shook his head.
"I think I'm going to head to the hospital wing." he said after a long moment. His hands and knee where wrapped in white cloth but blood was starting to stain through. Harry moved toward the door and Sage followed silently. The other's stared at the black corpse at their feet, wondering how she had been in their midst for so long... unchecked and unchallenged.
Responses to reviews in alphabetical order:
Auntie C - I hope you enjoyed the "butt kickin'" in this chapter! For some reason when I read your review I heard it with a southern accent... I thought I should share that with you, I don't usually add accents in my mind to reviews, but the Auntie C reminded me of Auntie M from the Wizard of Oz and... well... Anyway! Thank you for reviewing and I hope you continue to enjoy!
ears91 - Yeah, she was a psycho... Sorry about killing Ron on you, I didn't mean too... It just kind of came out of my fingers and then I stared at it for a while wondering where it came from, but what the fingers dictate is what the fingers dictate I'm afraid. I don't like arguing with them, when I do, then nothing comes out of them at all (That's their retaliation). I hope you continue to like this just the same. Thanks for reviewing!
sabrina - Thank You!
Kaye - I'm sorry I had to kill Katherine... now your name isn't really a character anymore (well, it's a dead one). But her death has been planned since I first created her... I hope you don't mind too much. Thanks for the review and I hope you enjoyed this chapter.
kento - From Ronin Warriors? I loved that show when I was little... (okay, maybe I wasn't THAT little) I hope you liked seeing Katherine's powers. Thank you for reviewing.
Kyra2 - I hope you understand her interest in Kip now. Snape wasn't actually supposed to be in this chapter but I added him in just a little for you. Because of that he will probably have a bigger role, since I kept him in the loop. Thanks as always for reviewing and I hope you enjoyed this chapter!
Maxx77 - Thanks for reviewing as always! I hope I answered your questions about Lorna and I'm glad you weren't mad about the wait for the last chapter and I hope this one was worth it too.
OrionTheHunter - I hope this didn't take too long. Thank you for reviewing!
Otspock - I'm really glad you like this! It's a honor coming from someone with such good taste in stories (I'm a big fan of a lot of the ones in your favorites). I hope you continue to enjoy this. Cheers!
snifflers unite - Thank you for the wonderful compliments! I really enjoy stories when Harry finally gets the upper hand, but I know exactly what you mean about the back stories, that gets on my nerves. I'm glad I know that at least one person wont be mad at me for killing Ron. It actually wasn't planned that way... he was only supposed to lose his mind... (that's SO much better, I know) But this just kind of came out, so I left it. I hope you continue to enjoy this, thank you for reviewing!
star 67 - I'm sorry, I'm one of those people that start a chapter, then erase it and start it over, three or four times before I deem it worthy. That, by default, makes getting them out a longer affair then usual. I hope you didn't have to wait too long. Thank you for reviewing.
the lost pen - Thank you for the wonderful compliments. I am planning a companion story to this one about Harry and Sage's time in Keels but I'm not going to start it until this story is finished. I'm glad you're enjoying this! Cheers!
XoXMelJayXoX - I hope you didn't have to wait too long. Thank you for reviewing! Enjoy!