The Dark Lord
The battle went as expected, though their forces took massive loss, it was of little importance. There was plenty more where they came from and the purpose of this battle was not victory. The Dark Lord came with the other dragon-boned sorcerers, dropping onto the ground as a portion of their forces fled from the hungry dire wolf. The knights charged, engaging the alchemists and sorcerers of the alliance. Alchemy and spells filled the air, magic polluted the skies as it took more forms than could be counted.
The Dark Lord hid within the confines of an invisibility cloak. Quite a rare thing, this one was obtained thru...certain means in the London market. Truthfully it had no place on the battlefield, the risk of being hit by a stray spell both friend and foe rose dramatically. A protection spell beneath it ensured this risk was decreased, but the real challenge would come at evading the dire wolf. He was on alert, this Fenrir, he noticed the presence of the Dark Lord, but could not see the sorcerer. Concealing the sight, it seemed as though Avalon was too preoccupied to notice, but a snarl from the wolf heightened all senses.
The wolf pounced, Avalon sway from the corner of her eye her companion be shoved away by an unseen force. She swung around and saw the wolf back on his feet, growling at seemingly nothing. Something was wrong and she knew it--Fenrir was a beast of great sensory ability, he would not have such hostility at an empty space. Someone or something was there, but was unseen. Avalon reached to her back and drew Caliburn, holding it out as she narrowed in on Fenrir’s target. She charged, swinging her sword to the air she could not hear if anyone moved, seeing as the battle raged on, but the ground did not lie. A person’s footprints disrupted where they previously stood. An assassin? An assassin who used a form of invisibility to hid themselves--cowardice.
“If you have been sent to kill me, face me honorably as a warrior, I deserve to die as such!” Fenrir charged and Avalon followed, swinging at the space just before him.
Caliburn caught itself on a cloak and took the rest, pulling the cloak and a loud pop followed. Apparation. Avalon felt a hand grab her arm and pull her back into that hole--this time she did not have the chance to hold her breath. This jump thru distance and space did not go as smoothly as the first, seeing as she had not gone willingly she succumb to the unfortunate pain of splinching. Her ear-bursting cry of agony was intensified by her anger of being ripped away from the battle by the actions of another. Though pieces of her side were missing and she was bleeding heavily it did not stop her from getting to her feet, though with great strain and protest, she held Caliburn to the Dark One who dared to kidnap her.
Avalon recognized the mask, but could not pull the memory of how passed the pain she felt. Heat escaped from her body from the wound and she grew increasingly colder with each moment. How much longer she could keep on her feet was decreasing rapidly. Fenrir was not beside her, Godric could not help her and Helga could not heal her--if she jumped thru the apparation cloud created by their arrival...there might be the chance. That chance was a window closing quickly, Avalon’s hands shook as she gripped Caliburn’s handle, their strength sucked away by the wound to her side.
“Wait! You are wounded!” The Dark One expressed with obvious concern in tone.
Avalon swung her sword, but the tight space was not accounted for and the metal caught on the stone wall and slipped from her hand. The alchemist, left go of her wound, hoping to unite her hands and transmutate, but found releasing the pressure was a mistake. Her remaining energy and strength she had went with the blood, legs crumbled under her, vision faded to black and sound became a distant echo until all consciousness was gone.
The Dark Lord finished cleaning and wrapping the feverish alchemist’s wounds more than an hour ago. She had lost much blood and had the Lord not known a decent amount of healing magic and possessed a well-stocked storage of potions, they both would be in trouble. This did not go as planned: a stun spell was meant to render the alchemist unconscious and be apparated without incident. Such was not the case, the spell had no effect on her and the Dark Lord suspected the goblin-craft sword she wielded had a part to play in this. It was good the alchemist lost consciousness by the other result, it was possible to treat her as such and without the risk of being bashed by the edge-less sword.
She was healing well, not only because of spells and potions, but by her own body. It was inhuman. What else was there to be expected of the Anexus? They were not ordinary humans that was certain, but to believe them to be other than human seemed to be a fairy tale even for those in the magical world. A couple hours went by, the solitude the Dark Lord possessed was helpful in times like these, when the prying eyes of those who would question actions like these could enter at any moment. This solitude was good for these types of events and for the peace, however short to be found.
Avalon stirred, her eyes gradually opened and vision cleared as she saw the stone, dark, ceiling of the room. She tried to imagine she was simply dreaming, but the pain in her side told her otherwise and it was then she remembered what occurred prior to losing consciousness. That was the worst thing to happen, to be at the mercy of the Dark Ones, to be prey to their bewitchment--had she been bewitched?
The alchemist, shot up, her body instantly rejecting the quick motion and retaliated as a response. She gripped her side, finding that it possessed a clean bandage and that she was also without the armor...and a shirt. Easing herself off the bed, Avalon used the bed posts to balance and made her way to the battle armor, displayed on a post with her sword carefully resting behind it. Someone had been taking great care of it and seemed to have either no fear, or trust Avalon would not use these weapons against her abductors.
Reaching to the display, Avalon grabbed her cleaned shirt and carefully pulled it over her, though having difficultly raising her arm on the same side of her wound. After a few minutes of struggling, Avalon inspected the room she resided in, something large, yet cozy, having numerous furs and a maintained fire. Two house elves entered, not by the door, but by apparation, with trays of tea, bread, meat, fruit and soup. The elves set the trays on the table in front of the fire, paying no mind to the guest in the master’s room. The first one went to the fire, to place a log much bigger than themselves--a snap of their fingers and a log floated in the air and set in the fire. The other, tugged on Avalon’s pant, pointing to the large doors on the opposite side of the room. Both were gone before any questions could be asked.
Avalon went to the large, double-doors, she tugged on the handle of one and opened it with caution. It was kept at an ajar at first, until the grey sky and the breeze had her understand it was the outside. Slowly the door was opened more and more until it was enough she could slip thru. The wind bit at her skin hard, but this cold was one she was used to, the winters of the islands had trained her well to accept and adapt to them. She was high in the air, on a patio with no way out expect back to where she came and over the ledge. Looking over, Avalon found that was a very long way down. The castle was massive, from where she was perhaps her entire village and even Moor could fit comfortably within. There were hundreds, thousands of people below; beasts, creatures she had never seen no doubt from lands not of this. Her vision saw the lands as far as the sky, the castle was embedded within a mountain, a small lake kept below, outside its walls, but easily within reach.
These were not lands she knew and she would not, so long as the barrier distorted the true land’s appearance there would be no finding this place. It was as Salazar reported, the Dark Ones were extremely powerful, extremely resourceful, and extremely dangerous. Avalon recalled the masked sorcerer who abducted her, who pulled her from the battlefield, from the midst of chaos, and as a result she succumb to splinching. She was warned of that danger, but all things considering, she seemed to have made it more or less alright--the Dark One who took her had the decency to heal her at least.
A presence was felt and Avalon turned to see a witch opening the door she came from wider, "Quite the view is it not?"
The alchemist was quiet, watching as the familiar face walked to her side and looked to out to the scenery. It was beautiful indeed. Avalon tensed up because she was in an unfamiliar place, surrounded by enemies who could easily overpower her, in the presence of a known Dark Witch part of the elite dragon-bone-masked sorcerers. The Chief of the Anexus knew she would best mind her manners, but could not help by wonder of the purpose of her being brought here--was she to be bewitched? To be turned against her own?
“Have no fear, the only thing that has been done to you has been to heal you.” The blonde, nearly white-haired woman with a young complexion said as she motioned to Avalon’s side, "You heal quickly."
A day more and Avalon would be completely healed, there would not even be scaring. Although the threat of infection would linger until then, it would be wise to watch and change the bandages soon.
“Where am I?” Avalon asked quietly, deciding to test the extent of her freedom.
“Castle Walpurgis.” The witch answered, finding Avalon’s shocked expression to be one of knowing the castle’s name. Her information was indeed sound, how this information came to be however, could only be from the inside.
The spy would be dealt with later.
“Why did you bring me here, Antares?” Avalon asked, steadying herself on the patio's edge.
Malfoy smiled kindly, “You remembered my name, I’m honored.”
Avalon felt exposed without Fenrir, lonely even. She wanted to go home, wanted to be beside those she could trust; to feel safe again because this was far from it. Still...she could not help the dangerous curiosity that has gotten her into both into trouble and led to greatness.
"I wanted to have a proper conversation with you. The world has been very demanding of us and this was the first chance I saw for us to have one." The witch said opening the door to invite the alchemist back within.
"Abducting the leader of the Anexus...quite a way to start a conversation." Avalon leaned back, keeping where she was.
"Are you saying you would have accepted my request another way? We are at war with each other Avalon--I would trust your word, but could the same be said of your allies? Would you say all who follow you would remain obediently behind? Could you promise that no harm would come to me or my own from all others, when you yourself do not trust them to keep your sister-in-law and nephews safe?"
Avalon was in front of Antares in an instant; one hand held the witch's wielding arm to the door, the other curved around her neck. The alchemist's eyes burned golden, her fury and fear present at once as she thought only of Elene, Osmond and Eskil; their safety, their lives, their protection. The dark witch was caught off guard at this response, knowing of the strong ties towards family, but not of the violence that came with it. She had not meant offense, nor meant it as a threat, but based on Avalon's reaction it seems that no one knows. Almost no one.
Antares held her other hand up to show being unarmed. Avalon was not hurting her, the pressure on her throat was uncomfortable, but did allow for breath, but what took away her breath was the shift from brown to golden. That was not seen before, not coming from any Anexus and regardless of her injury Avalon reacted stronger than before.
"How?" Avalon growled, "How do you know that?"
Antares kept still, "The Weasley and Malfoy families have been friends for generations and her parents and mine were very close. After the heads of the Weasley family died of Dragon Pox their daughter came to live in my house, her name was Elene Weasley." Avalon loosened her grip, "Her and I grew up together...we were inseparable back then and even after all this time we keep in touch, though of course neither of us fully tell the other of what we have been up to."
The alchemist released her grip, feeling the pain return as her eyes reverted to their original color.
"She told me she fell in love with a man and that she was bearing his child. When I learned she was in Hafan I went to check on her, but then I saw you with her...I was able connected the dots after that." Antares led them to the fire place, she poured them both tea, but saw Avalon's reluctance and sipped hers first, that invited the alchemist to do the same.
Avalon was clearly tense, now she kept her eye on her sword, resting within arm's reach of her. The witch allowed this for a reason, she wanted Avalon to feel some manner of safety and security. Looking to the fire, she sipped the warmed tea, feeling its richness and energy refuel her after a intense day. Though it was with purpose, she hated going into a full-on-battle covertly and truth-be-told that was the first time she had ever used an invisibility cloak in such a way. It worked...though not as planned.
Antares gaze softened, "I heard your father, the previous chief, executed his own son for his relationship with Elene."
Avalon's eyes dropped to her lap. That was an unpleasant memory, one she would rather have forgotten.
"I cannot tell you have grateful I am for everything you have done for her. I know that was not easy...you would have had every right to blame her for your elder brother's death...the same could be said about your younger brother..." Antares understood the pain of loss, both because of this war and because of the world they live in, "Yet here you are, having not tried to kill me yet."
Avalon sighed with a light chuckle, "Do not tempt me."
Both found that to be funny, in a twisted sort of way.
Sincerely Antares spoke, "I want to know why, Avalon? You had been raised and taught to hate and despise my people from birth; have lost your entire family to us and yet...you fight alongside sorcerers, befriend them...accept them as family."
Avalon smiled. She knew the answer to that, the name that was the answer: Godric Gryffindor. He is the reason. He showed her that there was more to their people than the Betrayal of their ancestors. He was the reason Avalon gained the hope that there was more to life than senseless fighting, than pulling children into an adult's war. Yes, she had to fulfill the duties of the Anexus, they must protect the Great Balance and in order to do that, those who would intentionally disrupt it must bed eliminated.
"I have asked many questions and know a great deal about you, it is only fair that the same courtesy be extended." Antares set her cup down, "Ask whatever it is you like of me and I will answer the best I can."
"Why is it you sought to have this conversation?" The obvious question came first.
Antares answered truthfully: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Avalon is the leader of the Anexus and the Anexus have been the guardians of their Great Balance since magic passed to man. They are a powerful people and have seen the worst of sorcerers and muggles alike and yet they pay mind only to those who possess magic. Though muggle and magical worlds are different it is an unfortunate reality that they in fact exist in the same world, simply two sides of it: the seen and unseen. The seen world, the muggle world has grown as the unseen has kept away; grown at a pace and in a way that could threaten the lives of beasts and magically inclined alike. They have already caused havoc to those who sought peace and understanding, and for that, many have lost their lives; orphans grow up with hatred in their hearts and the balance of the world is being thrown out.
An Anexus surely understands balance. That is why Antares sought Avalon, not only as an alchemist, but as a person who sees the necessity of balance in all things. As she fights the Dark Ones it is for peace and balance, it is not also the same that the Dark Ones also fight for? Avalon's clan has been greatly outnumbered for centuries, does having a light and dark to the sorcerers not also count as a balance? The alchemist saw the reasoning in this and from a certain point-of-view the dark witch would be seen as correct. However they had different points of view.
Avalon narrowed her vision, "Are you trying to recruit me and my people? To stand against my allies, my friends--"
"I want us to stand together, all of us." The woman shook her head, "Not against each other, but against the muggles, to right the wrongs they have committed; to correct the balance they have destroyed as forests are cut down for their cities; mountains hollowed out and crumbled for their metals; monuments of conquers, gods, and tombs rising to immortalize the slaughter they commit to be kings and emperors."
"The same could be said of your Dark Ones: forests are burned down, villages and lands scorched, innocent people murdered, children left to die or worse. I see no difference between you and the muggles." Avalon shot out, leaving a bad taste in the dark witch's mouth, "I have seen the twists of magic you and your people have done, to bend it in the manner it is not meant to. Killing people in ways that are cruel and barbaric; I have seen your Dark Ones corrupt magic; harm and enslave beasts unwilling."
Antares sipped her tea casually, "I cannot be held responsible for actions of those beyond my reach--"
"You are the Dark Lord! Act like the name people have come to fear and admire!" Avalon clenched the chair, her strength snapped the wood.
Antares kept quiet for a time. Was it that obvious? She had been careful not to allow the masses below to know of this, only those within the counsel were aware. The fact they believed the Dark Lord was a man was of no importance, power was power. As the granddaughter of the previous Dark Lord it was only sensible that her would inherit the the title and thrown. The Dark Lord was the one who was the ruler of Castle Walpurgis, what it was associated and attached to however...was a repeat of habits from the past that stuck. It was quite the legacy to live up to, one her husband desired to fulfill not her, but death is indiscriminate and took him from her before such could happen. He was her rock, her stability in holding the thrown without resistance, but many do not see the strength of Antares Malfoy and she had no desire to display before they were ready. That was how her grandfather was defeated--he was too proud of his power, of his ability and when he found the chance he did not hesitate to show it, this exposed him to have his power known and its weakness discovered. Antares would not make that same mistake, however, now that Avalon, her intended enemy, was aware of her identity there was a conflict of feelings.
"I seek to build a world were we no longer have to hid and cower in the shadows, to rule this world more just than muggles ever could." Antares looked to Avalon, knowing she was the only person from that side to understand this.
"Antares..." Avalon began painfully, "I was once told that my dreams were impossible in this time."
That was halfway true. It was possible to create that place, but the pain and suffering inflicted from generations of fighting would never heal overnight. It was a process, one that would have to continue long after they have departed from this world. It was time that was the enemy, time to build off the foundation they would leave behind.
"Time is not on our side, it is something we must overcome--and it can be! We alone, are the one's who will bring peace and stability to this chaotic world!" The witch said to the alchemist who bore a concerned look, "It is possible to overcome time, to overcome death itself. To achieve immortality, that is my desire because thru immortality I will have the time to control and spread my influence and rule across the world! You Avalon, you can possess this immortality as well, it is within our reach!"
Avalon shook her head, "It is not nature's way. You cannot ignore the laws of nature--to do that, to gain immortality do you have any idea the price that would be paid for it?"
"A price I will pay gladly--"
"You would not be the one paying it!" Avalon spat out furiously, feeling she was speaking to her father once again, "I have seen when one tries to extend their own life, it requires countless lives to sacrifice!"
"Thru the magic we have developed it will not. We are so close, so close, to being above those laws, to be hailed as gods where none could touch us." Antares stood, "With your help we will finally reach that end, to stand above the laws of nature, to bend it to our will. With that power no muggle will ever think to strike at us again, there will never again be a child of magical blood who will grow up alone, afraid, and unloved!"
"Antares..." Avalon said pulling at that painful memory, at feeling what was within her, fueling her human life force; something she could neither stand nor be without, "I'm telling you it is not possible, I have already seen when someone tries, the laws of nature are absolute...and any and all those who break them...are enemies of the Great Balance...and the Anexus."