The centaur's hooves drummed against the grass in a full gallop. It veered to the side abruptly at Pyrrha's second thought, bolting for the gamekeeper's cabin that sat at the forest's edge. No smoke rose from its chimney and no light flickered in its windows, but Pyrrha had to be certain. She glanced back at the shivering black cloud of feathers and beaks; it marred the sky above the distant Black Lake, the crows' throaty cries carrying soundly over its glassy surface.
The black-maned centaur trampled through a pumpkin patch, pulpy orange guts splattering the ground as it reared to a halt at Hagrid's front door, which Pyrrha promptly blasted off its hinges with a bang. The hut's rustic interior was layered with dust—as she'd hoped, Hagrid was gone, presumably until the next term. She sent the door flying back into place with a swish. The centaur turned and resumed its mad dash for Hogwarts' doors, cradling the unconscious wolf in its arms like a large, furry child.
Morrigan's crows were over the center of the lake now; they and the lake slid out of view behind the castle as the centaur angled for the tremendous oaken double doors, which stood imposingly over a low set of wide, paved stone steps. Pyrrha brandished her wand, aim jostled by the centaur's movements; her spell struck the doors, and they shifted, groaning lightly as they swung inward with all the speed of a flobberworm.
The air swelled with harsh squawks and cackles. Pyrrha's head snapped up; the murderous cloud soared over Hogwarts, flowing around towers and spires while they cawed as if even an instant of silence was death. They plunged into a dive as one, a many-throated entity of dreadful purpose, their unnatural yellow eyes gleaming with hunger. Pyrrha's wand flitted in a blur; a silvery spell blossomed, radiating outward across the grounds and over the doors until it encapsulated the grand entrance, surface swirling like a soap bubble.
As the centaur clattered up the stone steps the crows dashed themselves violently against the barrier, heedless of harm to their decayed bodies. The stench of rot oppressed the air like a foul blanket. The crows screamed like the possessed creatures they were, tearing at the spell with beak and claw, blotting out the sky with their numbers as the centaur bore Pyrrha and the wolf through the castle doors.
Pyrrha dismounted and directed her wand at the doors, and they responded, creaking as they pulled back inch by inch. Through the shrinking gap, Pyrrha saw a humanoid body in the midst of the bloodthirsty flock. It was dead; rotting, grey-green skin clung to an emaciated frame, barely covered in tattered remnants of clothing. Missing patches of flesh exposed yellow bones and raw, decomposing muscle and sinew. A swollen grey tongue lolled grotesquely out of an open throat; the thing's lower jaw was gone. Empty, shriveled eye sockets glowed from within, a sinister yellow light.
Morrigan raised a withered arm, brandishing a long, knotted staff of dark wood. Pyrrha's charm around the grand doorway dissolved into nothing. The gap between doors was a mere foot; from her wand Pyrrha spun an intricate web across the entrance that clung from wall to wall. Crows poured through the gap in a writhing tide of filth, and they were snared in the web, flapping and biting helplessly against the sticky strands. The doors were inches apart; Morrigan threw her degraded head back, putrid tongue swaying, and unleashed a piercing wail like the manifold lamentations of humanity's untold departed souls—cut off as the doors boomed shut.
The ululation resonated in Pyrrha's head after the entrance closed, and her body was scraped by thousands of icy needles, her heart threatened to burst from her ribs; the cry was a reckoning of Pyrrha's most wicked thoughts as her forgotten grave begged for fulfillment; it was the howl of the wind as she plummeted through a yawning void to sink into the indifferent arms of oblivion. Pyrrha's vision flickered as she fought the curse, and the world tilted under her; she drew her mind together with a tremendous effort, purging all thought and feeling until the echoing faded, leaving behind only blank serenity. The curse's suffocating pressure slipped away from her like a severed noose.
Gasping for air, Pyrrha flicked her wrist, sending great wooden beams crashing down across the doors. She could feel a tingle in the atmosphere as they fell, calling the defenses of Hogwarts into action. She staggered back, and her body flooded with relief as she spun her wand at the conjured web, wrapping it snugly around the captured crows. They twitched and struggled silently in the dense cocoon in a final, feeble protest as Pyrrha incinerated them with a spout of fire.
The silent hall absorbed Pyrrha's panting. She endeavored to slow her speeding heart, savoring each lungful of air like it was her last as adrenaline and fear trickled out of her. At length her breathing evened, and she turned to her companions. The centaur stood like a statue, still holding the unconscious wolf. Evidently, the Imperius Curse had suppressed the centaur's mind enough to protect him from Morrigan's spell. He knelt and gently laid the wolf down on the stone floor. The wolf's chest still rose and fell peacefully.
Ashlin stood where she hadn't a moment ago. "Well!" she said. "You cut it rather close there, didn't you? I told you, you should've flown. That was a disaster."
Pyrrha knew it. Not only had she escaped by the skin of her teeth, she had put everyone at Hogwarts at unnecessary risk by not arriving ahead of Morrigan. If some early riser had happened to be out on the grounds, or in the Entrance Hall, they would have been overwhelmed by Morrigan's cursed wail.
Ashlin scoffed. "Don't pretend to care about anyone but yourself. You're already pondering how one might emulate that curse." She tilted her head thoughtfully. "It does seem quite useful."
Faint clacking of a woman's shoes on stone sounded from the top of the marble staircase opposite the doors. A familiar golden-haired witch descended the stairs with increasing urgency, her delighted smile faltering in favor of a horrified expression.
Pyrrha's heart sank. It was Daisy, her dearest and only friend. Her mind flashed back to the forgotten letter from a few days past; Daisy had applied to, and been accepted for, the position of Potions Professor at Hogwarts, a job she'd coveted for years. Pyrrha had brought Morrigan straight to her. The burn seared her skull, a poisonous feeling in her stomach. She wouldn't let it end the same way.
"Pyrrha!" Daisy said, hardly sparing the others a glance as she ran the last dozen steps. "My God—what happened to you? Your head!" She tilted Pyrrha by the chin, scanning the burn with wide brown eyes.
Pyrrha snapped herself out of her thoughts. "We'll have time for discussion later. I need your help."
"Anything," Daisy said at once, still examining the burn critically. She drew her wand and raised it to the scar, murmuring—
"No! Stop her!" Ashlin said. Fire spilled into Pyrrha, dripping down from her skull into her body. She jerked back with a sharp intake of breath.
Daisy yelped, lifting her wand away. "I—I hadn't even cast—are you alright? I'm so sorry!"
"I'm fine, just—just don't try that again," Pyrrha said, rubbing the area around the burn. The scorching pain was fading lifetimes slower than it had manifested. "Listen to me. The witch that did this—Morrigan—she's here, outside Hogwarts. She's after my blood."
Daisy's eyes widened further. "You couldn't . . . ?"
Pyrrha shook her head bitterly, disgust and guilt writhing in her chest. "I tried. I failed . . . I . . ." I couldn't save Ash. She tried to speak the words, but they stuck in her throat.
"You certainly did fail. Miserably," Ashlin added in a low voice. The cursed burn throbbed. "What good is your life if you can't protect what makes it worth living?" The source of Ashlin's virulent tone shifted as she vanished, becoming a cold whisper at Pyrrha's neck. "You're a waste."
Pyrrha stared blankly at the space Ashlin had occupied for a moment, then turned to face a worried Daisy. "I need you to round up everyone in the castle; Hogwarts needs to be locked down entirely. No outside communication. If the Ministry gets wind of what's happening here, it'll complicate things, and likely cost lives that could otherwise be spared."
Daisy nodded, looking alarmed. "I'll call an emergency staff meeting. What do I do when they get there?"
Pyrrha thought for a moment. "If you think you can, incapacitate them somehow. No—forget that. Stall them until I arrive. I'll be right behind you."
Daisy nodded again, mouth set in a determined line. She turned on her heel and climbed the stairs, casting out with her wand as she went. Several silvery-white wolverines sprang forth, clawed feet treading empty air as they ascended the stairs, splitting up down each end of the corridor above.
Pyrrha turned and strode to the centaur, who remained motionless beside the dozing wolf. She directed her wand at the centaur's expressionless face; a tide of foreign thoughts, feelings, and images washed over her. She found the problematic memories and reshaped them, artfully brushing away their encounter in the forest and the events that followed. Pyrrha forged more suitable memories in her imagination, sowing sensory details supplemented by the connection to the centaur's mind. She impressed the crafted recollections upon the centaur until they became the ingrained truth, the only past that had ever been. The centaur blinked.
Pyrrha released her mental grip on the Imperius Curse as she knelt to assess the wolf, stowing her wand quickly. "Wouldn't you say, Crath?" she said, using the name gleaned from the centaur's mind.
"I . . . what?" Crath blinked and shook his head, dazed. "My thoughts were with the stars. Repeat your question."
"I said, I would imagine your people will forgive you under the circumstances, yes? It was within your own interests to help me, after all. We couldn't have escaped without each other."
"Ah . . . it could be so. We needed one another, as you say." Crath scowled at the stone floor. "But I shouldn't have abandoned them as I have. I'm needed out there."
"You're not," Pyrrha said, stroking the wolf's soft head. "There's nothing you or anyone can do about Morrigan right now. With luck, your herd will lay low and be overlooked."
The wolf's breathing quickened. It opened its silvery eyes and bolted upright, fur bristling as it swung its head around and back, taking in the castle. A growl rumbled in its throat and passed between bared fangs as its gaze fell on Crath.
"Please, be calm," Pyrrha said softly, still kneeling. "I brought you here; it was the only safe place. The evil witch is outside." She glanced at Crath, who had edged back, looking uneasy. "The centaur—Crath—he helped us escape. He won't hurt you."
The wolf fell silent and stared steadily at Crath, jaws slightly parted. It sat perfectly still, coiled like a spring. After a tense minute, it huffed and snapped its jaws together with an audible clack, turning away dismissively. It padded over to Pyrrha and sniffed at her, wet nose tickling as its tongue licked once at her unscarred cheek.
Pyrrha smiled, reaching out with a tentative hand. She ran her fingers gently through the pale fur at the wolf's neck. "How are you feeling? Better?"
The wolf yipped quietly and sat before her, allowing the contact with dignified indifference.
Pyrrha let her hand fall. "We'll be here a while, I'm afraid. I'll need to call you something. May I give you a name?"
The wolf huffed hot breath and gave a halfhearted yip, as if to say, if you must.
Pyrrha stood. Her mind began whirring with options, sorted and considered, dismissed and reconsidered. It had to be something strong, no longer than two syllables. Her brain skipped through half-remembered histories. A human name, for such a noble animal? No. Mythological stories had always been an interest of Pyrrha's. A name from legend suited the wolf, she decided. His striking silver-white coat shined like burnished snow, and it drew her thoughts to the Norse tales, the myth of—
"Hati." The wolf that follows the moon. "How's that?"
The wolf—Hati—grunted impatiently. Whatever.
"Very well." Pyrrha turned to Crath, who watched her with an odd expression. "Yes?" she said expectantly.
"It is . . . unusual to witness the moonborn behave so amiably," he said, shifting uneasily as his voice called Hati's attention back to him. "My herd has attempted to communicate with them over the years, but you appear to have surpassed our progress in a single day."
Pyrrha hummed. "We've more pertinent matters to discuss. You heard what I said about securing the castle, correct?"
"I did . . . and I don't see why we should hide this from your Ministry," Crath said, eyes narrowed.
"I do. It's not up for discussion." Pyrrha drew her wand and walked toward the doors, the thick barriers of enchanted wood that stood between her and death.
Crath's nostrils flared as Pyrrha passed. "They may be able to help. You cannot know that they would fail."
Pyrrha stopped opposite the doors and ran her free hand down the smooth oak. It was warm to the touch, and myriad enchantments tickled at her fingers like electrified blades of grass. "You presume to know the Ministry's capabilites better than a witch?" she said.
"Or stunning lack thereof," Ashlin said.
Crath made an irritated noise. "Clearly you're more knowledgeable than I about this situation—or you act that way, at the least."
"Then don't argue." Pyrrha glanced back and conjured a wide black curtain with a twirl of the wrist; it stretched across the hall between her and Crath, hanging unsupported in the air.
"What are you contriving back there?" came Crath's suspicious voice. Soft clopping echoed off the walls.
"Hati! Make certain our friend Crath stays on that side of the curtain, if you please," Pyrrha called out. Hati barked eagerly in affirmative, and the clopping stopped abruptly.
She turned back to the door and stepped away, raised her wand, and made a careful, complex series of movements. The familiar pulling sensation in her chest was like brushing elbows with death; the skin on her neck prickled as her blood welled from her wand, drifting in the air in a macabre red cloud. At another gesture the blood swirled, gliding forward peacefully. As the cloud approached the beam set across the doors, a sharp sizzling noise cut the air, followed by a burst of light. The blood hissed as it burned, becoming pungent black smoke that billowed up and away from the doors. A sickly sweet smell tainted the air.
Pyrrha whisked away the smoke and fumes with a spell, disappointed, but unsurprised. After learning what she could from feeling the door's magical underpinnings, she'd anticipated her spell would likely be repelled, but hoped that the esoteric nature of blood spells would be enough to circumvent the castle's defenses. The blood sanction was the strongest protective enchantment she knew. It had been worth the attempt, at least.
She frowned to herself as she stared up at the vaulted ceiling without seeing. Someone, likely one of the four founders of Hogwarts, had enchanted the castle entrance against manipulation by blood magic. The existence of such protection in the ancient fortress was interesting new information, if unsurprising; it was evidence that the practice of blood-fueled spellcasting stretched further back in history than her accumulated knowledge could corroborate.
"It could've been added later," Ashlin said. "Could've been yesterday. That flimsy twit Bellecote, I bet. He's always had it out for you."
"He's not so talented," Pyrrha murmured. "In any case, I felt the enchantment; it was . . . deep in the bones of the castle. Cast during the founding, or shortly after. I'm certain." She rubbed at the dull ache in her heart, withdrew a Blood-Replenishing Potion from her pouch and sipped it, suppressing a grimace at the bitter taste as she replaced the brew.
As an afterthought, Pyrrha charmed the suits of armor flanking the doorway, and they clanked to life, stomping around to place themselves in front of the entrance facing inward. They would attempt to stop anyone inside from leaving the castle. Pyrrha turned back, vanishing the curtain as she left the lofty doors behind.
Crath stood with his arms crossed as he fixed Pyrrha with a mistrustful glare, pointedly ignoring Hati. Hati crouched between them at an angle to Crath. His tail wagged slightly as he stared intently at the centaur, as if hoping Crath would attempt to charge past him.
"Thank you, Hati," Pyrrha said, striding by them to the grand staircase. "Let's go. I'll introduce you to my friend Daisy."
Hati barked and padded after Pyrrha, claws clicking against the stone. Pyrrha admired the way Hati's pale coat shined even in the dim torchlight as they climbed the steps to the first floor. She stayed precisely in the middle, where she couldn't see the ground below over either side of the railings. Crath's voice paused their ascent.
"And what am I to do? I cannot scale the stairs," he said.
"I suppose I'll know where to find you, then, should that be necessary," Pyrrha said without turning around, and she and Hati resumed their way up.
Fatigue sunk its heavy claws into Pyrrha as they traversed the corridors. She hadn't slept or eaten in nearly twenty-four hours, most of which had been spent running and fighting for her life. Her mind lingered on the soft bed that awaited her in her old room in the Slytherin dormitory.
"Keep what little wit you can gather about you. You've still got the professors to deal with," Ashlin said from Pyrrha's side.
The stone halls echoed with Pyrrha's footfalls as she passed a statue of a rearing unicorn with a missing horn—the broken-off end of which had been crudely affixed to the unicorn's underside with spellotape—and turned into another corridor. Hati prowled beside her, luminous eyes staring a silent challenge at the residents of the many paintings that hung from the walls. He growled at the portrait of a pale witch with a black cat in her lap; the cat hissed and leapt away, vanishing behind the witch's ornate wooden chair.
Near the end of the corridor, there were doors on each side. Pyrrha knew one of them to be the staff room. Hati growled as they passed the tapestry of Pradesh the Stoic—it tore from the wall and draped itself over Pyrrha's head.
She inhaled a lungful of dust as she drew her wand in an instant, heart set to a frantic pace. She shredded the tapestry to ribbons with a spell, sidestepping at the same time; she shifted the cloud of fibers into a buzzing swarm of hornets and aimed her wand down the hall. It stood empty.
Something invisible cackled in the air ahead. "Even firsties don't scare that easy! Who's this, then? Not a teacher, certainly not. Too much jumpy, not enough grumpy!" A small man appeared floating above, wearing an unnaturally wide grin and a garish, multicolored outfit complete with a jester hat, bells and all.
"Bloody Peeves!" Pyrrha said, heart thumping as she let her wand fall with a huff. The swarm of hornets changed back into a mess of shredded wool that settled to the floor.
Peeves flipped upside down and crossed his arms. "Not bloody, no. That's the Baron, scaredy-cat." He cleared his throat loudly, and said in his most annoying poetry voice:
"She's jumping at shadows, the poor, addled witch,
crazed eyes on the lookout for tapestry's twitch,
she cursed it to bits with a shriek at high pitch,
furniture beware of this barking mad bitch!"
Pyrrha scowled as Peeves threw his head back in a bout of obnoxious laughter. "Make yourself scarce," she said, "or we'll find out together whether poltergeists can be made to feel pain. I've plenty of ideas." The sincerity in her voice appeared to dissuade Peeves from persevering, choosing instead to yowl like a cat and zoom backward to disappear through a wall. Hati barked indignantly after him.
With a sigh, Pyrrha waved her wand over the shredded tapestry, restoring it to its previous condition. She hung it in its place, raising an eyebrow at Pradesh's excessively dramatic posing and flexing before traversing the rest of the way down the hall to the staff room door. She threw the door open without ceremony and stepped inside with her wand raised, Hati on her heels.
A dozen dozing professors lay in a row along the lengthy table in the center of the room. They were bound at the wrists and ankles by thick, knotted ropes. All residents of the portraits that adorned the walls were similarly snared, with the addition of blindfolds, earmuffs, and gags. Daisy sprung up from her chair, wringing her hands. From behind her, the squirming, grunting likeness of an old warlock toppled from his stool and fell out of frame with a thump that rattled the shelves of vials around him.
It was all so neatly done; Pyrrha was both impressed and amused at Daisy's prudence. "Well done . . . did you already have a contingency plan to incapacitate the staff, by chance?"
"No, of course not," Daisy said unnecessarily, coloring a bit. "It wasn't that hard, anyway, I just called them a few at a time, stunned them one by one as they entered. Nothing complicated." She looked over at her handiwork anxiously. "What're you going to do with them?"
Pyrrha clasped her arms behind her and ambled around the table in thoughtful silence, eyes on her mismatched boots, occasionally glancing up at the prone forms of the staff as she considered her options. The Headmaster was among them, a bony old man, bald and hook-nosed. Even unconscious, his expression was perpetually sour. Daisy had often likened his appearance to a vulture. Pyrrha couldn't disagree.
"I need them out of the way for a while," Pyrrha said. "Perhaps I'll petrify them. Have you got Mandrake Restorative Draught handy?"
Daisy was kneeling by Hati, who regarded her suspiciously, but appeared to tolerate her. He tentatively sniffed at the hand she offered. "No," she said without looking up, "but I've got a few cauldrons of Living Death brewing for my sixth years. That should work, right? How long will you be here?"
"That's a better idea. Dose them with Living Death," Pyrrha said. "I'll be gone before September first, which gives me nine days at most."
"Alright, brilliant—now are you ready to tell me what the hell is going on?" Daisy withdrew her hand from Hati's head as his chest rumbled with a low growl.
"Hati! Don't growl at Daisy. She's a friend; if you trust me, you can trust her." Pyrrha gave a satisfied nod as Hati's rumbling subsided. "Soon. The house elves will follow your instructions, yes?"
Daisy stood and twined her fingers uncomfortably. "I dunno . . . I was only officially appointed a couple weeks ago. Figured I'd give it a month before I started throwing my weight around."
Pyrrha nodded as she completed another circuit around the table. "They'll listen. Tell them they're not to venture beyond their quarters or the kitchens at any time, for any reason, unless you permit otherwise. Tell them to block all attempted house elf apparitions coming in from outside. Add anything else you can think of in that vein. While you do that, I'll modify their memories—" Pyrrha nodded at the professors "—and cut off the Floo connections. I'll await you in the library while you give them the draught."
"Sounds like a plan," Daisy said, still wringing her hands. "A really stupid plan that'll get me fired at best—or more likely, tossed into Azkaban. You don't have to say it!" she added as Pyrrha opened her mouth. "I know you've got good reasons for this madness. I trust you. That doesn't mean I'm not panicking a little inside."
"It'll be alright, Daisy," Pyrrha said, attempting to sound soothing. "I'll make certain nobody has any reason to suspect you. Thank you for trusting me. And really," she added, "you must know I'd break you out of Azkaban in an instant."
Daisy smiled uneasily. "Thanks, but if it's all the same to you, I'd rather not live as an outlaw. It's nice to know you care, though."
"I wonder . . ." Pyrrha winced as Ashlin's cruel voice vibrated through her head, accompanied by a pulse of pain. ". . . Will her trust be rewarded as mine was?"
Under the gloomy half-light of the library Pyrrha sat stiffly at her old spot in a secluded corner, and across from her, the crux of her regrets propped up its dead-eyed gaze with an elbow against the table. The slumped posture, the way she leaned and tilted her head, the way the little finger bent—it was every little detail revived, as if Ashlin had never died. She could be sat across their kitchen table, patiently listening to Pyrrha drone on about the most recent fascinating, meaningless subject to capture her interest. Devoid of love, the figment's masklike smile brought the illusion crashing down.
"We haven't had much time to chat, have we?" Ashlin let the rhetorical hang in the musty air for a moment as Hati's snoozing sounded from under the table. "Though neither of us is much inclined towards heart-to-hearts, I think."
Another glaring difference from the real Ashlin. As in most things, she'd been Pyrrha's social opposite, with no shortage of enthusiasm for the company of those drawn to her convivial nature. Scorching heat licked at Pyrrha's skull.
The specter sat up and placed its hands primly upon the table. "I am Ashlin," it said with finality.
Pyrrha's fingers were white against the arms of her chair. "You're Ashlin as—as I remember her . . . but that's only part of it. What are you, really?"
Pyrrha groaned as her blood boiled. Blistering heat bloomed from her scar and burned away everything but the agony it bore across her twitching body. She couldn't move, couldn't speak; she could only feel as her bones melted and her teeth crumbled to searing ash that rasped down her throat. The pain faded and resurged in waves like a receding ocean tide, and Pyrrha could dimly make out her sister's voice.
"I'm no specter. I'm quite real to you," Ashlin said, her voice like a thin wire carrying a current of lightning. "Like I said before; I'm the sister you deserve, reborn from a curse of guilt. There exists no countercurse; you'll never discover such a thing, let alone utilize it, because I won't allow it. You'll never do anything without my consent. Only death will free you from me."
"And . . . is that what you want?" Pyrrha sat back against her chair, rubbing at her head. The motion taxed her; her body was an aching husk, bereft of vitality. Sound and sight were dulled, as if she were wrapped snugly in a cloud. "You want me to die?"
Ashlin tisked. "Now, how much sense does that make? If I wanted you dead," she said, leaning forward, "I'd have tortured you into insanity in the woods and left you to Morrigan."
"Then what—what do you want?"
Icy blue eyes gleamed. "What else? Revenge."
"Revenge . . ." Pyrrha murmured, still somewhat in a daze. "Are you after Morrigan, or me?"
Ashlin's too-wide smile was answer enough. A chill rippled across Pyrrha's skin.
"Both of us, then," Pyrrha said quietly. "But you need me intact to kill Morrigan, of course."
"Oh, well done! Well done!" Ashlin clapped sarcastically. "I guess there's something of merit in that crispy little head of yours after all." She cocked her head, eyes rolling up. "I do believe I hear Daisy approaching. That's our discussion concluded, I suppose."
Pyrrha had wrapped her arms around herself at some point. Exhaustion crept into her bones as she rubbed at her shoulders, feeling as if she shared the table with a dementor. "What if I fail . . . fail to kill her?"
"You won't," Ashlin said flatly. "I'll make sure of it." It was a promise, and a threat.
"And if . . . when I succeed . . . ?" Pyrrha trailed off as Ashlin disappeared in a blink. The familiar, soft laughter in her head brought none of the warmth it should've. Instead, it traced frozen fingers of foreboding down her spine.
"I meant what I said. I don't want you to die," Ashlin said. "After all, if you die, I die as well . . . again. I want us to live . . . a long, long time."
Pyrrha barely registered Daisy's distressed voice. She leaned heavily on the arm of her chair, feeling as if the weight of the castle above was pressing her down. Her head lolled until warm, soft hands propped her up gently. Something whined as a pale blur leapt onto the table. Gold and silver filled her fuzzy vision.
"—hear me? Don't worry, okay, I'm going to—"
Pyrrha scoured her mind for memories as she drew her wand with a trembling hand. The slight length of wood was the heaviest thing she'd ever lifted; she brought it to her scarred temple and drew out a shimmering strand of memory, a blue-white stream of liquid thought that drifted gracefully after her wand tip as she held it outstretched.
"Morrigan," Pyrrha mumbled as the world faded into nothing.