Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter and all the characters. The plot for this calm before the storm chapter is mine though.
A/N: Apologies for the delay, the muses do not cooperate as willingly as I would have liked.
I'll be using this story as my entry to the QLFC Round 6 under the Caerphilly Catapults against the Ballycastle Bats.
The theme is lesser used genres and I used Horror which perfectly fits into the story. I'll be using the following prompts:
(Opening sentence) Time was running out
For the competition judge, the tale continues after Sophie Dearborn escapes from nearly being killed by Sven of the Frost Wyrms.
A whole ton to thanks to you, my patient readers and of course, my beta readers, frustratedstudent and thosedarndursleys. Also would like to thank HP Lovecraft for helping me conjured this up.
Without further delay, I bring to you FoV's chapter 6.
Chapter 6: Banshee wails
Time was running out for Sophie even before she knew it, while running through different parts of London and apparating towards various parts of England. She unfortunately never realized that the Shadow teams had gained ground on her with every moment she wasted to conceal her next destination.
With her last portkey used up, Sophie decided to gamble with her last ace up her sleeve to escape.
A moment later, she finds herself at the cliffs of Dover, one of the nearest points to pop into France itself. She takes a moment to catch her breath from all the travelling she did.
"I'm all alone now. And the actual Sven almost killed me today." She whispers to herself, while the winds batter her now-messy hair. She can only stare at the sea in bewilderment because a day before, she believes herself to be part of the best Auror squad in generations.
Her wounds, cuts and deep gashes are temporarily stymied by her sealing charms, while she hopes her presence and trail is masked by the traffic at Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.
With the pumping adrenalin in her veins almost depleted, she decides to jumps headfirst into the unforgiving waves with a crafty idea in her head.
"Somewhere safe, dad." She voices out to no one, as she apparates into Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, Calvados, located in Normandy.
As a young girl, she read her father's journal that told her of the time enjoyed being in that part of France in the summer. He had loved it so much that he had converted one of the German bunkers there into a summer house, where he could take time to recover, protected by the Fidelus charm. Luckily for her, Caradoc left the location in a magically sealed letter before he died in the first war.
The Furies' Shadow Team two arrives at the same cliffs in Dover a few minutes after and the team leader growls, "She might be currently invisible with a series of traps. Do the magical scans now!"
The five, assigned as scryers for the mission, search around for any hint or clue to where Sophie might be located. Three of their number, assigned as oracles, start to contact their apparition, floo and portkey travel moles. The leader takes a moment to glance at his team and his second in command whispers in a feminine tone, "Focus and assess then strike, Frosty's first lesson, Shadow blade two."
"How could I forget Shadow twelve? I almost died from that first lesson," the team leader mentions in his musings, seeing the crashing waves below. He takes a deep breath and analyzes the dossier on Sophie Dearborn and her skills, including her Magical Output Estimations for Warlocks Scale or MEOWS.
According to her records, she rates a solid eight in the MEOWS, up there with Alastor Moody and Antonin Dolohov. She also aced her apparition during her license exam and can do a near silent pop during her first attempt and efforts to go to apparition points equal the distance from Southampton to Manchester. Her attempts beyond that range would come out like the standard bang.
As for her family history, she travelled the world with her squib aunt and was rather good at being under the radar until her time in the Auror Corps. Her muggle passport reads like a travel magazine, but she spent most of her summers in France, in the later years before arriving for the Auror exams.
A moment later, he reaches an epiphany.
"Hey you muppets!" he shouts, catching the attention of the five doing a magical search and points towards the crashing waves below. "Scryers, do a quick magical residue scan down there."
He quick changes his attention to the ones contacting the transportations moles, "And oracles, are there any recent arrivals in France via apparating?"
Behind him, one of the five scryers shouts, "Confirmed, apparition residue two meters above the waters."
Not turning his attention to the source of information he receives, the leader looks to the youngest of the oracles nods to him and says, "According to their monitoring, only one apparition attempt to France could be found in their recent records that matches the possible times and start point during the chase. After tracing the location, they found that it ends at Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, Shadow blade two."
"Known mostly as the venue for SWORD beach during the Normandy landings in World War 2. I've always wanted to go there." The leader muses for a moment, his love of mundane history apparent, then continues.
"We have three hours to prepare for this chase. She will be there in a hideout and, in all honesty, no shape for another escape. After all, Sven almost single handedly made her sing with the choir invisible tonight. We meet there on site by the beach by then."
Meanwhile, Sophie can barely catch her breath as she arrived by the beach. The sea breeze did its best to help but the adrenalin no longer flows through her veins. All that is left of her is the strain and the haggard walking, pushing her way through the door and into this little German bunker.
She closes her eyes and whispers, "Thank Merlin I'm alive." She summons one of the spare medical kits her aunt kept here and begin to patch herself up.
"How in the bloody nine hells did they get to all the safe houses, even the ones Harry made?" She ponders on this question for the hour she efficiently ties bandages to her wounds, drinks blood replenishers and applies healing creams to the deep cuts.
The question lingers in her mind and gnaws at her after patching herself up. Just as she is about to close her eyes to sleep on the sofa chair facing the wall, an epiphany hits the forefront of her mind, 'Ginny knew everything. Harry would have trusted her with everything in his life. Every aspect of her husband's life because she earned her stripes through the Siege of Hogwarts'
A sudden chill creeps up her spine, as she realizes the gravity of the answer to her question. The Finance manager of Potter Corp, Junior Undersecretary to an ailing Kingsley Shacklebolt and Quidditch star Ginerva Weasley-Potter are the three leaders of the Furies, three of the most powerful people in Wizarding Europe if not the world.
Sophie realizes that given their powers and abilities, there would be no place on earth where she can hide.
The thought sobers her for a while before realizing that she is hiding under the most powerful stealth charm ever created.
The strain of her body urges her to sleep. She obliges it after running for her life, thinking for once, that she is absolutely safe.
Oh how wrong she really is.
She finds herself inside a vivid dream, wearing only a thin flowing white gown and walking in a dirt path in the middle of the night. The only source of light is the waning half crescent moon, giving the entire forest a sinister feeling. The gnarled trees on either side of the path shake and change shape with every step she takes, beckoning her to come closer away from the path to 'play'.
Her heart tugs softly at first to steer herself off the path and her mind pleads her to agree. With each minute she walks further, the tugs become desperate pulls and the pleas turns to inconsolable begging for her to turn back.
But how could she? Her feet and legs continue to walk forward, like a puppet, whose movements are subject to the whims of the puppeteer.
She hears the word "Come" which sounds like oddly like her long deceased aunt, whenever she bakes chocolate chip cookies for her. She remembers this, because in her childhood years, the only thing that can draw her out of hiding or playing is those freshly baked cookies from her aunt.
Her walk becomes a run, which turns to a sprint. She rushes with all of her being focused on the solitary cloak and hooded figure at the end of the dirt path, which reveals a clearing in the middle of the unforgiving forest.
Her body stops at the figure ahead of her and it turns to face her. Removing its cloak, it reveals a skull with maggots feasting on the insides of its head and laughs in otherworldly malice. Its entire attention focuses on her with glowing blood red orbs for eyes. The traditional scythe appears on its outstretched bony left hand and it calmly walks towards her. The wind around them is neither hot nor cold, flowing nor stale. The only thing that can describe the feeling is the wrongness of it all, like an ant facing down the very gods and forces that help shaped creation and destruction.
"I am the Omega. I am neither here nor there. I simply am." It says to her in many voices and noises all at the same time.
Sophie recoils in absolute horror as the reaper gets closer and closer, preparing for a swing. Her body does not move a single inch, accepting its fate.
She blinks and finds the cold blade of the scythe resting on her neck, almost nicking the soft, supple and vulnerable skin and veins. The features of the dead reaper change to a woman with midnight black hair, ghostly pale skin and stormy red eyes all focused on her.
"Sophie Dearborn, I presume?" The reaper inquires and leans her head to the left a little, as if to curiously anticipate a response.
"Yes I am, Goddess Morrigan, Will I fall in battle today and not avenge the wrong that has been done to my comrades?" Sophie confirms and replies with a question of her own.
The bravado Sophie displays seems to please the reaper a little, but not enough to remove the ice cold vorpal scythe blade on her neck.
"That is up to whatever you do next." Morrigan replies curtly, leaving only deafening silence in between them.
When the silence becomes unbearable, Sophie tries to speak but finds herself cut off by the Morrigan once more. "It's not your time to join my realm, child unless you decide to quit. Its time to LEAVE!"
Sophie hears the banshee's wail and maniacal laughter and awakens abruptly, only to hear the sounds of her ward scheme and the Fidelus charm collapsing around her.
"Knock knock!" A rough voice shouts outside her door which implodes along with the walls on the side of the door.
Sophie grabs her wand and flings her entire body above the sofa chair to hide behind it
If she took a peek at the dust cloud in front of her, she could have seen their phalanx formation done to perfection like a muggle SWAT shield in urban combat.
"Keep mobile!" She demands to her own battered body, as she watches her sofa shrink when one of the attackers muttered "Reducio."
Taking a diving roll to the left, she flings three overpowered piercing hexes at her attackers who just casually stand there as the shield takes the damage like children hammering their firsts at a marble wall.
"Snugging Snorkacks slashes slices and skewers." She whispers, tapping the floor thrice. All of these happen as spellfire rocks the magically reinforced granite counter she hides in.
Sophie smirks once she is done with the command phrase and shouts, "Eat this!"
A soft blue glow appears in nearly every object in the house and swarms the attackers. The assortment of knives, spikes and swords as well as chairs, coffee tables and tea cups rush towards the group.
"Keep the clutter busy. We'll take her down." The leader said, pulling the woman codenamed shadow twelve towards him and runs towards Sophie's location.
While the eight behind them keeps the flying objects occupied, the leader shakes his head at their inefficiency. "I'll keep her distracted. Disable her in stealth, Kyrie." He whispers to his companion, the usage of her name enough to voice out his orders to be careful and precise.
"You too, Perseus." Kyrie replies and disappears from sight.
"Sacer Ignis!" Perseus casts and a roaring lion of fiendfyre comes to life, engulfing the oncoming broadswords headed his way. He dodges a nasty grey variant of the cutting curse and evades two piercing hexes aimed at his crotch, while keeping his attention on his lion.
A moment later, the granite counter explodes and a three headed water hydra keeps the flame at bay from Sophie.
Sophie then decides to up the ante by banishing the sharpened granite disks nearby towards Perseus.
He takes out another wand and simply casts a powerful blast of kinetic force into the projectiles. "Child's play. I'll show you real magic, Barbie!"
Perseus conjures a hurricane force wind into his lion which grows further and further and turns into a fiery chimera. The water conjurations do not even last after half a second. A quick moment later, he changes tactics and focuses the wind and debris down her way instead.
With cursed fire on her right side, and the wind forcing her to the kitchen wall behind her, Sophie decides to run left, only to be pinned to the wall by a lance on her right shoulder. A left hook comes out of thin air to her chin and savages her senses violently once it connected.
Perseus dispels the cursed flame and wind then pins her other shoulder with a conjured thick arrow.
Sophie looks in horror as the magic of her home's command phrase disappears and all the attacking items drop down to the floor.
"Merlin, I'm going to die like Harry, Cho and Nigel now." She tells herself, her eyes exude defiance but her heart and mind decide to resign to her fate.
A woman appears in front of her and she can see her attacker has one silvery grey eye and the other hazel. Her auburn hair is in a ponytail and a few scars line her cheeks. The frame of her attacker appears to be like a person who either works out or practices martial arts for fun.
"An honor to meet Sophie Dearborn, Potter's Raiders second in command. I am Kyrie Ericson. I only tell my name to those who are about to die." She whispers to Sophie's left ear, while holding the auror's hair roughly away from hers.
"That's enough, Shadow Twelve." Perseus commands and Kyrie goes behind her leader. He removes his hood and shows someone who resembles an older and colder Ron Weasley.
As the leader of these Shadows walks calmly towards Sophie, her heart beats faster, anticipation and resignation mingling in her very bones.
I'm going to die.
I'm going to die horribly.
I'll be seeing you dad and Harry. Sorry, I failed.
Once her thoughts finish, she looks into the eyes for Perseus and whispers, "Tell me your name, to know my killer."
"I am Perseus Prewitt, mistakenly believed to be a squib." Perseus replies, pointing his wand at Sophie's forehead, the killing curse on the tip of his lips.
A blood curdling scream comes from behind him and Sophie looks towards the source.
She sees abnormally large ravens with sickly green magic glowing from the tips of their fingers flocking and attacking the Shadow team in her house. Before she passes out from blood loss, she sees two figures, a man with a cloaked grim reaper, like the one in her recent nightmare.
"Goddess Morrigan, save me." She prays to no one in particular. After her plea, everything around her becomes dark and empty once more.