It was a peaceful summer day in New Forest just outside of Southampton. The sun shone on the bright green leaves of trees. A breeze whispered across the dry stalks of grass, making it look like a shining amber ocean.
A group of four kids, barely into their teens, suddenly tromped through a path in the fallen leaves. Birds fluttered out of the way of the rambunctious friends. The leader, a dark-haired boy named Harry, turned back to his friends and called again.
"We need to reach the campsite soon!"
"It's barely past midday," Hermione huffed, shifting her backpack to a more comfortable position on her shoulders. "We've got enough time."
"Sorry, I'm just really excited to finally have the chance to go camping!" Harry said.
Ron, a lanky, bright ginger-haired boy, rolled his eyes. His sister, Ginny, however, was more amused by the bickering between Harry and Hermione than anything.
"You guys are loud enough to scare off every living thing in this forest," Ginny snorted.
The bickering duo barely spared her a glance before going back to their 'argument'. Ginny simply chuckled good-naturedly.
"Harry, I hope you know where you're going," Hermione said, rather worried about how the dark haired boy seemed to be just dashing about randomly.
He paused for a moment before looking back to Hermione sheepishly, "I promise I do. It's…" Harry took a moment to pull out a wrinkled map from his pack, then gestured vaguely to his right. "It should be over there just a little ways."
Hermione raised an eyebrow, not completely sure if she should believe him. But, sure enough, in another thirty minutes, they had arrived in a small clearing.
"This is it," Harry said, standing proudly at the edge with a wide grin on his face.
"Finally!" Ron pushed past Harry, dropping his bags on the ground and flopping over into a patch of grass. "I'm exhausted."
"It wasn't that long of a walk," Ginny scoffed, poking her brother with the toe of her shoe as she walked past him to set her own things down.
"I'll start setting camp up, feel free to help," Hermione said, unzipping her bag and sifting through it.
Just as she was beginning to take out the tent, Ginny heard the snapping of twigs just beyond the clearing. That was the only warning they had before the quartet heard a succession of voices shouting, "Expelliarmus!" Immediately, all of their wands shot from each of their pockets. They only had a moment to be surprised before the voices rang out again, "Incarcerous!" Moments later, the group found themselves bound tightly by conjured ropes.
There was a moment of silence before their assailants revealed themselves. Out from the treeline stepped four people, presumably male from their previous shouting, dressed in black robes and wearing stylized black metal masks that gave away nothing of their features. The four men walked around the struggling teens, amused at their feeble attempt to escape.
"Well," started one of the men, moving to take a closer look at Harry, "would you look at that! Dumbledore's miracle children, bound and defenceless."
"It would seem, Malfoy," One of the men said, turned to one of the others in the back. "Your boy was right, for once. He might be useful yet."
Harry felt his stomach drop, maybe it wasn't such a good idea to confront the man after the chamber incident. Then again, he couldn't bring himself to really regret it, at least Dobby was safe.
Taking no notice of Harry's inner turmoil, the Malfoy Head sighed. "Let's just get this over with," he said, raising his wand, which gained a sickly green tint as he pointed it towards Harry.
He had just opened his mouth to recite the incantation when one of the other men suddenly yelled, "Wait!"
While you couldn't see anything past his mask, everyone in the clearing could feel the annoyance emanating from Malfoy.
"What is it now?" He asked, barely repressing a snarl.
The other, now a little nervous, started once more, "I've been reading through my family grimoire recently and I've found a spell that I've been dying to test."
"And what, exactly, is this spell supposed to do?"
"I'm not completely sure, but from what I read, it causes intense pain and almost always results in death."
The lead man narrowed his eyes in thought, then turned back to the teens. "Why don't we try it? If it doesn't work, we can always just finish them off."
Hermione tried vainly to reach her wand that had landed on the ground just a few feet from her. Ginny shared a look with Ron and Harry, each kid hoping that one of the others had a plan. But they were all trapped just the same. The man that had suggested the spell had started to teach the others, distracting them. The quartet on the ground tried in vain to use what little time they had to get free. In the end, it wasn't enough. The men had finished learning the spell and begun surrounding them. They all stared wide-eyed, adrenaline racing through their veins. Each of them struggled even harder to get out of their bindings, but there wasn't anything they could do, the ropes were too tight. They were trapped.
Together, the men shouted, "Anima Reflexum e terra vestra!"
A flash of white light surrounded the kids, blinding them all. Harry shut his eyes, waiting for it to be over. He wasn't disappointed as, moments later, he was overtaken by blinding pain. Soon, he felt himself falling backward, his mind racing as he struggled to process what was happening. Then he hit the ground and all went black.