The Battle of the Castle Walpurgis
The force of the crystal’s destruction caused a collapse of the tower. As the building came down numerous members of the council were crushed instantly, others found death by the fall and a handful had their wits about them and apparated away. The remains of the tower were unstable and were quickly losing strength, but despite this danger Avalon held onto the leg of an unconscious Godric.
“Bloody Hel! Heights! Why must it always be heights!” She barely saw him in time as he slid closer to the edge of a closing section of floor.
She dove to him, driving a dagger into a solid piece of flooring and grabbing the wizard’s with her free hand. Now they were both in an immobile position as she had no chance of transmutating either to safety. Rowena and Salazar managed to apparate away in time, while Fenrir headed for the way they entered and hopefully would not be inclined to return to ‘help’.
Avalon’s strength to hold them both was beginning to falter, “Godric! You blundering idiot wake up!”
Leave it to this man to be smacked in the head by a renegade torch and be knocked out. His eyes fluttered open and upon realizing his situation, Godric struggled to find something to latch onto.
“Easy there! We are in a bit of a situation!” Avalon exhaled trying to solidify her grip with his added movement.
Godric joked in poor timing, “Think you may get over your fear of heights after this?”
“Keep it up and I may ‘accidentally’ drop you.” Avalon huffed feeling the dagger coming loose.
The wizard chuckled nervously, “Good to know if we die you’d’ve gained a sense of humor from me.”
Avalon rolled her eyes, seeing the charging forces below collide, “By the Tree.” She felt another stone loosen around the dagger, “We are not going to die I...just need a moment to figure out how we are going to get out of this.”
“Oh please take your t--” Avalon’s hand let go and the wizard fell.
Avalon jumped, diving toward him as he flailed about like a fish out of water. She was faster, heavier with her armor and smacked mid-air with Godric, causing them both to spiral into a different direction. She managed to lock arms with him and concentrated: Destination, Determination and Deliberation. They vanished in a loud crack, appearing again Avalon on top and Godric beneath her as they slammed into the ground. Both needed a moment to recover from having the air knocked out of them.
“T-here--” Avalon coughed, “Told--you we-d-be-alright--”
Saying that took much more effort than she planned as she removed herself from Godric and crouched over her knees trying to breathe properly.
“Since when--can you--apparate?”
The alchemist rolled over onto her back and breathed in heavily, “Long story--another time--”
Godric was the first to recover, he offered a hand to Avalon and pulled her to her feet, realizing they were where Salazar had first apparated them inside, not to far was a very surprised Helga. Handing off the treatment of an injured to the Volva, she ran to the two checking for wounds.
“What’re yer doin’ -er?” She circled around them and saw the blood, a tint darker than the normal red of Avalon’s hair.
A few seconds and the injury and pain were gone, it was nothing more than a quick patch, but it would have to do for now.
“We need you in the front.” Avalon ordered firmly, talking as though it was to her subordinates habitually, “Salazar, Rowena, and Fenrir are missing, if they are injured they need healing.”
Helga nodded, “The Volva has things managed -er. When do we leave?”
Godric held both their arms, “Now.”
In another crack they were back in the lab, a pale imitation of its previous organization. The shock wave from above seemed to have affected the lower parts of the castle quite a bit.
“Oh Godric!” Avalon tossed his wand into his hands, “Try not to lose it again.”
They left thru the familiar door, heading opposite direction of where they had gone to reach the tower. None of them would remain near the tower, they would go most likely to where the council gathered to dispose of or outrun the enemy. Avalon hoped they had no been captured again and that was unlikely, but the explosion had distorted her senses and it was by chance she had seen Godric before he went over the edge.
Godric watched Avalon looked out every window, grabbing every glance she could of the battlefield, knowing she desired to be on the front lines. She was not the type to go after leaders or create ambushes and though she understood the logic to eliminating command, but it gave her no comfort. Her clan fights what is in front of them, they care not for abstract concepts of moral because they gained their motivations by duty to their cause. Duty to them is stronger than any alliance and their will to carry it out to the last child. Soon...they will be able to do more than fight for their duty, they will be able to protect it as teachers of the next generation.
The alchemist stopped, the pain on her face at seeing her clan fight without her now more apparent than before. Helga, being in the middle of her and Godric placed a comforting hand on her arm as Avalon watched the battle out a window, clenching her teeth she turned away, resolute in her decision to follow the guidance of her fellow leaders. The Dark Lord must fall and this war must end. She walked past Godric, instructing him to not move and for Helga to keep right next to him. Creating a distance, Avalon stepped into an open area and clapped her hands together, slamming them into the ground she disrupted the ground and created a staircase to the floor above.
Surprised sorcerers sounded, poking around the openings their curious heads were removed by Avalon’s transmutated sword. Godric and Helga followed, the three ran thru different hallways battling and thinning the herd of Dark Ones as they searched the massive castle. It was a maze and they felt as though they were running in circles and thru this manner there is no hope of finding the others quickly.
“Could you locate them if you were given time?” Helga whispered peaking from an ajar door in a room they had slipped into to form a new plan.
Godric removed a map Salazar had drawn from beneath his cloak and laid it out on the floor.
Avalon shook her head, “My clan can sense magic, but I cannot locate specific people.”
Godric found about where they were and thought their next plan should involve taking the throne room. Helga disagreed, going to such an open place with only three was suicide and Rowena was the master caster at defensive spells, the best Helga and Godric could cast would not last long enough. If Rowena, Salazar, and Fenrir were still alive--Avalon’s mind clicked.
“Fenrir.” Avalon realized, “He is my familiar, he can always locate me within a certain range.”
Godric looked up from the parchment, “Like a whistle? Or by scent?”
Avalon stepped back, “There is too much of...everything for him to find me quickly, but if I create, in a sense, a beacon then he can find us.”
“Beacon, what sort of beacon?” Godric did not like the distant Avalon was creating.
“We have company!” Helga leaped back from the door, throwing up a barrier to lock it down, keeping beside Godric and Avalon.
The wizard looked and noticed a door to the left, originally hidden behind a bookshelf. There was no time to wonder why it was there, where it led to, only that it was away from here. They went for door, closing it behind and pulling the bookshelf on its hinge to conceal once again. It was pitch-black, light sealed away and consumed by darkness where its only chance to return was the tips of Helga’s and Godric’s wands.
Avalon squinted, her eyes adjusting to the unexpected glow that revealed the stairs below.
“You sorcerers have a spell for everything.” The alchemist sighed with relief, if there was anything she hated more than heights, it was being unable to see.
They kept to the top stairs for a time, contemplating the decision to descend into the darkness. There was no way to know what was down here, no way to escape if the worst was to come. Avalon went first, against protest. What else were they to do? Stand here and wait for the enemy to break thru the doors, or go to what maybe an escape? Despite Godric and Helga being sorcerers, they felt it too: something foul; something corrupted. Because they were sorcerers Avalon alone knew what this feeling was: unnatural, uncontrolled, raw, dark magic.
Rowena ran with Salazar, pulled from the confusion by Fenrir as the tower collapsed. Spells flew passed them, hitting walls and ceilings as they fled down the hall. It all happened in a matter of seconds, just before their capture, Salazar had disappeared the surprise of which resulted in their imprisonment. They were held hostage, their wands taken and then led into the tower they sought to enter and destroy. Avalon was on the ground, Rowena noticed right away their alchemist had been injured at the sight of crimson on the black marble floor. The feeling had her sickly, but not enough to have her unable to function.
Fenrir was thrown across the room and the sound he made had Rowena’s heart ache. She watch the witch, identified as the Dark Lord, speak to Avalon with an irritable familiarity. The alchemist stood, wobbly from the impact of her fall and to the Enchantress surprise, she was remarkably calm in the face of the Dark Lord. There was familiarity in Avalon’s body language, but she did not meet the eyes of the Dark Lord, no, she was analyzing the room around her and before long kept much of her attention of Rowena herself. Her eyes were flaking between brown and gold, Avalon was either trying to control, or promote the use of the Old Blood, neither the Enchantress could tell.
The Dark Lord spoke to Avalon, her words like a sliver of silk thread, embedding themselves in the alchemist’s mind. Rowena knew what she was doing: she was bewitching Avalon! Her words underlying with a skillful enchantment that was cast without a wand and had this dark witch be viewed as far more dangerous than originally believed. Rowena did the only thing she could without a wand: she shouted, called for the alchemist to ignore her words. Avalon needed to be distracted, to have her mind put elsewhere otherwise she would--Rowena muttered a counter-charm, early enough in the Dark Lord’s enchantment that it nullified its effect.
After the crystal was destroyed and the tower fell Rowena was certain she would have been crushed had Fenrir not pulled her by her cloak from harm. Salazar called for them, using his wand to hold debris from the door he did so until the two passed safety under before dropping it. In another hall, cut off from the tower; separated from the others they did not have time to dwell and sought a place to hide temporarily.
“Did you see my brother?” Salazar gasped, locking the door before pressing his back against it and sliding to the ground.
Rowena shook her head, “Everything came down too fast, I do not even have my--”
Salazar pulled it from his robes.
“--Wand.” She finished, as she walked over and sat on the floor next to the wizard.
“He got away, they both did.” Rowena tried to assure.
“I hope so, for all our sake.” The thin man huffed, watching the Dire Wolf lie down panting, “I trust at least Anexus is still alive, the wolf would show if she was not.”
They two dressed any wounds they found visible and Rowena inspected Fenrir for injury and mended a broken leg of his. It was not much, but it would have to do for now. Fenrir whined, resting his head on Rowena’s lap--he missed Avalon.
“What now?” The witch asked, looking around the room.
“They will be looking for us there is no doubt about that, but they will also be distracted by the hell going on below now that their barrier is gone. We can use that to avoid a majority of them while we try to locate the others.”
Salazar stood up, walking across the room he tapped his wand on a seemingly vacant wall. After three taps the the wall sunk in and slid back revealing a set of stairs that led down. There were numerous passages and secret hideaways throughout the castle and Salazar managed to discover many of them, but with such a vast castle it would be impossible for him to find them all alone. This one led to a patch behind the kitchen, if they slipped thru the kitchen, another servant’s path could have them behind the council’s walls. Another cut across and down a flight of stairs to the third floor and a different passage behind a painting would have them descend into the depths of the castle where all manner of dark magic was housed. That magic could be used to cause another explosion which could devastate the castle, more reasonably with them not in the proximity.
With the light from their wands lighting the way they descended into the shadows, “I was not aware the Dark Lord and Anexus were acquainted with another.”
Rowena knew where he was going, “Avalon would never betray us.”
“Of her own accord I would believe that, but the Dark Lord’s power lies in her ability to manipulate people. She is very skilled in making people ‘want’ to follow her, having them believe it is of their own accord when in fact she has already embedded her will in them.”
The power Salazar speaks of if terrifying indeed, the ability to bewitch people with a few words or even in some cases a single glance. Rowena herself has the reputation of being able to bewitch people simply with her beauty, but the actual magic of that is her own skill in manipulation by enchantment. She can make a target forget where they were, how they arrived in and out of a place and in certain instances forget people they met entirely. It was not an enchantment she used often and certainly not to the range Salazar claims this woman can project. If the Dark Lord is able to manipulate and control so many sorcerers, the world would bow before her. Salazar was right, she could not be trusted to stand trail: her target was Avalon, that was certain as Avalon was the leader of the Anexus having the alchemists at her back would guarantee victory...forever. The Anexus are unlike sorcerers, they are more vulnerable to spells on a psychological level as their practices and magic are on a physical level.
Rowna quickened her steps, “We have to find the others.”
Avalon kept to the front, Helga behind her with Godric in the back, their wands providing sufficient light to allow the alchemist to at least see the stairs. The deeper they went the more uncomfortable Avalon felt, to a point where the feeling of something disturbing had her stop.
“What is wrong?” Helga touched Avalon’s chain mail that covered her bicep as the alchemist recoiled, covering her mouth and nose.
Godric turned around, thinking perhaps Avalon had sensed someone coming.
“Quiet.” Avalon placed her hand against the stair walls and shut her eyes, listening, following the magic embedded in every stone that build this castle.
The magic flowed all throughout the castle, but its starting and ending point was in a mass beneath the surface. Magic was absorbed by this castle, the surrounding area, people, and all creatures that expelled magic had their excess seeped into this mass. Avalon followed the magic, but did not join in union with this ‘pool’ of magic. She broke free circling around the cavern to search for enemies...or an exist. Seeing magic in a raw form without manipulation was a rare sight and Avalon was certain this was influenced by the Dark Ones. As she went towards ground level, she found there was a green-tinted pool of a most-unnatural aura. Surrounding this pool were stone pillars, carved in an unrecognizable pattern, they possessed ruins Avalon also could not identify.
She continued to explore, forgetting for a moment she was not actually there, she jolted when seeing a group of Dark Ones and Antares among them. The Dark Lord spoke to her remaining council members, instructing five of them to join the battle above and for the three most senior to wait back here with her.
“My Lord, are we to trust them to gain victory against the enemy?” Said one of the men whose mask was cracked.
Antares shook her head, “It is unlikely, however I am not to deny them the deaths they deserve for failing me. Argus’s--or should I say Salazar Slytherin’s infiltration is something they should have detected long before he entered our ranks.”
Another clenched his fists, “That snake will pay for his deceit--”
“There is no need to be rash.” The Dark Lord rose her hand to calm him, “The Slytherin boy may not ally himself to us, but he is nonetheless an exceptional wizard and the Heir of Slytherin House. To dispose of him would be a waste of a strong Pureblood line, besides, I suspect he will realize on his own soon enough.”
“Realize my Lord?” The third, a woman asked.
Antares smiled, “Who the true enemies of the magical world are, but it is not the Slytherin boy I seek this day...”
The Dark Lord turned around, Avalon felt as though she was being looked at, that she was seen and that filled her with fear. The witch smiled and Avalon fled, returning to her own body as Helga violently shook her.
“-lon! Avalon!” Helga hit at the alchemist and her consciousness return, “Avalon! Run!”
The alchemist saw the shadows moved of their own accord, lunging out and revealing themselves, ghastly skeletons with and iron grip. They were shaped like humans covered in dark hooded cloaks, their skin was grey and looked as a rotting corpse, but these were no act of necromancy. Avalon swing her arms out, rapidly transmutating the walls to smash the creatures into the opposing wall, but with every one she managed to hit two more appeared, grabbing at her. Godric and Helga shot out spells, but there was hardly an effect and any that hit the creatures had their attention pulled from the alchemist to them. Avalon snatched the cloak of one and yanked it back, punching it in the face, she found it was much more durable and much stronger than she thought.
“Godric--!” Avalon yelled as one managed to push her down, its thin, bony fingers holding her neck and an arm as she was able to see its face...the lack there of.
All the happiness, all the warmth and comfort of her life was being pulled away, replaced with every dreaded memory Avalon had ever experienced. She heard cries, her own cries as Sid’s body was found, as she lifted the blanket to see her father’s body; watching Falcon fall from the platform. The alchemist felt more than grief, more than sadness, everything was replaced by the despair of loss and for that infinite moment she wanted nothing more than to die. Godric and Helga could not get close to Avalon, the amount of these creatures that flew in such a small space nearly obscured all sight of her and all they could do was create a shield to protect themselves.
Avalon’s mind dove deeper and deeper into her despair remembering the pain she suffered from losing what she held dear. She began to fear losing what she now possess: her family, her friends; Antares’s words of believing the fantasies of fools was causing the seed of doubt to sprout once again. Godric and Helga’s voices called out, but she could not see them their voices grow more and more distant. This...could not be the end...could it? Her eye lids grew heavier, her strength and resolve--the will to go on was nearly vanquished. Avalon was desperate to see his face, to see Godric, the light of his smile, but as the creatures swarmed, all she could see was fear. Not that face, never that face--Avalon refused to have her best friend wear such an expression. It was not a happy thought, not something that could be taken by these creatures it was a desire, a will that would not be overcome by the darkness in her life. Avalon shut her eyes. She began to draw in magic, any magic no matter if it was natural or otherwise. Her strength returned and she pulled her arm free.
“Godric!” Avalon caught his eyes, “You must--! Kill her! Kill the Dark Lord!”
Her hands clapped together, the lightning of alchemy illuminated the stairs and transformed what she touched into what she desired--their destruction. The stairs collapsed beneath her, as she fell, taking many of the creatures with her, she creating a wall between her and the sorcerers, protecting Godric and Helga from harm.
Godric dropped the shield as the wall went up, crushing a series of the humanoid creatures. She ran to Avalon as she fell out of sight, only to have stone in his face. He slammed his fist against the stone shouting Avalon’s name on the top of his lungs. Nothing. Helga clasped her hands over her mouth in shock, dropping onto the stairs as tears went down her face. Avalon could not be--she could not be killed so easily!
“We have to get down there!” Godric put his hand to the wall then held his wand tip as a bright hot light began cutting thru the stone.
Minutes later the stone slab dropped, slipping down the broken stairs into the darkness below. It was deep, but a faint light shone at the bottom, but there was no sign of Avalon. Godric looked at the depth and kicked a stone into it, hearing, after a time, the clatter of the rock hitting the ground. Ten seconds can be a long time, but diving into such a hole blinding was not something they could do and Helga’s voice of reason was all that prevented Godric from doing just that.
The wizard went first, clearing the hole, he held his hand to Helga and helped her over the distance. They continued down, with great care and caution they did not let their guard down for a moment. Ten minutes passed and the two found the end of their stairs and came found an entrance where a faint green glow illuminated the cavern they walked to. Voices had them drop behind a bolder, but as the size of the cavern distorted sound they knew not where the voices came from or who they belonged to. Godric looked over the bolder, seeing the origin of the green glow was a pool of green water, though he labels it as water, its characteristics made him think else wise and to keep away.
“What now?” Helga whispered as Godric returned to the coverage.
“Find my brother, Rowena and Fenrir and then deal with the Dark Lord.” The wizard answered, drawing out his sword as quietly as possible.
Godric hesitated for a moment, but shook his head, “She will have to find us.” He said with the confidence the alchemist was alive and well.
They crept between concealing boulders, moving so not to draw attention and from observation there were two sorcerers by the pool, two more by a different series of stairs and now three that came down the same stairs they emerged from. Helga looked up, hoping to pinpoint where Avalon may have fallen, but there were no openings in the cave ceiling. The witch looked over an edge and saw an unmasked witch walk toward the two nearest to the pool. She tapped Godric, not breaking eye contact with the sorcerers and got his attention.
“That is her.” She growled lowly holding up his wand.
Helga pushed him back, “Its too far, you may miss and then we will both be in trouble.”
Godric nodded, going back he saw the two stationed at the opposing staircase were now missing. Two explanations: someone had disposed of them, or they were somewhere else. If it was the better, that would mean either of their missing companions could now be here.
Gryffindor pointed his wand, “Two are missing. If we can get over there and find out if it was by their own doing or another’s we may find the others.”
Helga looked down and saw a tiny black snake slither near her and she opened her mouth to scream, but had it quickly clamped over by Godric’s hand. It was one of Salazar’s familiars, meaning his elder brother was nearby. Godric leaned in and lifted the snake into his hand speaking where they were, that Avalon was missing and the Dark Lord was here. Minutes later the snake returned, slithering into the dirt and creating words with its movements.
Wait there we will come to you.
Helga and Godric smiled to each other: at least two of them were alive. Nerve-wracking minutes of wait and Salazar and Rowena appeared from beneath an invisibility cloak.
“Nicked this from one of the ones we took down earlier.” Salazar said at a whisper, setting the cloak on the ground.
“We had to leave Fenrir behind, he would have brought too much attention.” Rowena explained, answering Godric’s next question, but prompting her own, “Where is Avalon?”
Godric’s expression changed, “We were ambushed and...”
Rowena and Salazar were quiet recalling the sudden growling Fenrir had done while they were on the stairs.
“Dead?” Salazar asked on behalf of the witch.
“I know you are there.” Echoed Antare’s voice with soothing melody, “Why do you not join me in the light?”
The four froze, not moving to determine whether or not she knew exactly where they were. Antares walked away from the bodies of two of her guards, motioning to her others, open and concealed to search for their guests. It was difficult to determine who caused their deaths as Salazar and Avalon were skilled in eliminating people without leaving signs of injury. However, based on the earlier noise from the western part of the cavern, she doubted Avalon would keep to the shadows as this. There is no honor in killing a person from the back, she is always the type to look into the eyes of her opponent for the sake of respect and pride.
Antares drew her wand, keeping close to the pool as she shot out bursts of light to different parts of the underground. Fenrir kept away from the light, desiring to keep away from the pool as his senses were distorted being near it. He could not locate the others, could not separate their magic from natural magic and even natural magic was unbalanced and without order. The Dire Wolf knew the rest of the clan would also suffer as he, though wolves possess far superior senses than humans, the Anexus were close enough to nature they were above the average human. But here...here the unsettling feeling of this dark magic would delude the most powerful of senses..and will.
A dark wizard shouted, catching sight of Fenrir as the light of Antare’s spell illuminated the corner. The Dire Wolf lunged, tearing into his jugular and ripping out his vocal cords. More came. Just try and kill me. The wolf’s stance said as the blood of their comrade dripped from his fangs, dying the colors of his muzzle dark with its thickness. Fenrir growled, snapping those very fangs at the fearful sorcerers--Godric shot out a spell to the ceiling, causing stalactites to break and fall. Fenrir avoided them, running toward the enemy ending any that fell within his reach.
The four engaged in duels with numerous opponents, working their way closer and closer to the Dark Lord who stood quite causally by the pool. She was relaxed, pleased even as though all the pieces of her game were exactly where she wanted them to be. This ultimate game of chess, where one must be able to predict the moves of their opponent more than four times ahead was the greatest and only challenge left. All the games they have played until now were nothing more than stepping stones in this tournament and while Antares had climbed this later long before these young witches and wizards had, she possessed more power herself than they did individually. Together they are indeed strong, but nothing is eternal, all has an ‘end’. Friend. Depend. Legend. All natural things come to an end and it is because of this fact these people will fail.
The Dark One’s proved little match for the might of the four. Most were either defeated or pushed back, but to the Dark Lord their closure to her mattered little. Still, she thought to herself, it would be best to wrap things up here before too long. Antares lifted her wand, the liquid of the pool followed the motion spiraling around her until the command to go forward was given. Helga and Rowena had their feet swept from beneath them, throwing the two behind the wizards who managed to divert or withstand the force. What troublesome boys these two are--Antares rose her wand, the waters at their feet shot up as liquid ropes, wrapped themselves around each of the four.
A blur of shadow dove from the ceiling, the gleam of starlight from the drawn blade blinded people from knowing who. Lighting followed as the shadow hit the ground hard, crushing the earth and throwing up dust to obscure vision. Sparks flew as metals clashed within, sword to wand heard as sorcerers battled against the shade. The Dark Ones outside this cloud shot spells within, only to have daggers sunk into their chests if they were not attentive enough to deflect. Godric wore a cheek-to-cheek wide smile.
Without the call of her name the dust was swept away, revealing the bodies of numerous sorcerers with two women left standing. One was had seen far more damage than the other, her armor bore numerous claw incisions and missing pieces of chain mail. Her left arm was entirely bare of armor, in its place was blood, streaming from a trio of lacerations on her bicep. The black war paint which marked her face was nearly all gone, wiped or run off by the blood that came from her scalp. The left corner of her upper and lower mouth was opened and deep, more of a sting than a feeling of pain. The crest of the Anexus was ever present despite injury or damage, its colors as vibrant as the day it was placed upon her breast plate. Avalon cocked her head to the side, cracking her neck before she went ran forward, swinging a sword. She collided with Antares’s wand causing another spark of light then again and again swinging with all her strength to bring this woman down.
“My poor, gentle Avalon.” Antares vanished, shocking Avalon, “Look how hurt you have become. I ordered you not to be harmed, but I trust you would not go willingly.”
Fenrir came from nowhere, snapping his jaws around the liquid waters he broke them, freeing the others. Against the foulness of the waters he did not stop until all four were released and at that moment the wolf could not longer stand on his own. He dropped, the corrupted waters having entered his system and caused a sickness that disrupts the natural magic of his body. Avalon sensed this and stepped back, pivoting one-hundred and eighty degrees to run to Fenrir’s side. The waters rose up and created a barrier between their sides.
Antares’s voice came as though she spoke right into Avalon’s ear, “Have no fear, the waters will not harm your precious companion, but it does possess a slight...effect for the unwary.”
Avalon swung back meeting nothing.
Rowena ran forward, “Cover your ears!”
The remaining dark sorcerers continued their assault, Godric an Salazar deflected the spells as Helga ran to Fenrir’s side and Rowena prepared another shield. She yelled again for Avalon to ignore the witch’s words, but there is no circle, no transmutation for blocking sound and now there was no way for them to cast one on her. Avalon could not hear Rowena beyond the sound of rushing water, could not tune out the whispers of a witch she could not see. She felt cut off again, alone, and losing her sanity.
“Why do you fight with those who will betray you the moment they learn how powerful you and your clan truly are?” The witch’s voice came closer than far away, as though she was in numerous places at the same time.
Avalon clenched her sword until her hand shook, “They will never betray me. They are nothing like you and your kind!”
“My kind?” Antares asked with curiosity, “We are all sorcerers my dear alchemist, all of us possess light and darkness within.”
The voice moved, “It is simply a matter of which side we choose to embrace.”
Avalon swung behind.
“Which magic we choose to use.” The whisper came from within the Anexus’s mind.
Avalon watched carefully for where the witch could appear, “And you can be trusted? Believed? You who has corrupted magic, who seeks to immortalize yourself; tipping the scales of the Great Balance--!”
“Oh Avalon, if I am tipping the scales it is to correct them.” Antares appeared in front of the pool, “How many sorcerers of your light are there compared to how many of the dark there were until I came? How can you speak of balance if you do not allow the dark to balance the light?”
“If one of your nephews became a dark wizard, would you strike him down?”
A rush of water swung at the attacker, throwing her from her feet drowning her for moments as the force kept her pinned to the ground. The corruption entered her body, the unnatural magic weighted her down, distorted her senses causing a most unexpected and unwanted reaction. The waters lessened, revealing a drenched and cold alchemist at the mercy of the Dark Lord. Avalon coughed, spitting out the waters as she gasped for breath and struggled to stand. Antares admired the younger woman’s will, as her own body rejected her movements, slowed her reactions and lowered her power it nonetheless obeyed the strength of the will.
The dark witch knew she would need to wear down the alchemist, to cause her resolution to doubt again, for her to see once again the complexity of their situation. Neither are right, but neither are wrong also, it is a matter of which victor shall determine what is right and what is wrong. Antares knows well the Anexus are those who are on the boundary of light and dark, the guardians of their Great Balance who must also balance themselves. It is not an easy feat, as they too have a defined ideology of what is right and what is wrong. Even now, the Anexus, Avalon; they are not fighting the existence and use of dark magic as the others do, but rather the people who abuse the magic.
Antares said this aloud and was without a response from the Anexus. The Dark Lord knew she was right and Avalon’s silence was all the confirmation she needed. The alchemist clenched the ground, feeling the weight of how much magic she was absorbing and without Caliburn it could not be stopped in her condition. The witch walked closer, as Avalon returned to her feet, she grasped the handle of Excalibur, but did not draw it. It was too dangerous to draw it not, to use it while she was already drawing too much magic to keep herself stable. The brown of her eyes battled to keep their color, restraining the characteristic of the Ferre from revealing itself.
The Dark Lord noticed Avalon’s restraint, “See? You refuse to draw your blade against me because you know I am right--”
“No.” Avalon growled, her voice deep and echoed being nothing as she had spoken before, “I do not draw it because if I do...” She straightened, “They may be harmed.”
Antares rose a brow, “You would rather die than harm those not your kin? You would sacrifice yourself for them, leaving behind your clan, your family, to have them betrayed by the very ones you protect?”
The alchemist grabbed the transmutated sword and held it firmly, “Godric, Helga, Rowena...even Salazar...they are as much apart of my family as those whose blood I share.”
She ran, colliding with Antare’s wand. The witch had enough, she snapped the blade, but Avalon used that to her advantage. Her leg kicked up, meeting the broken piece of blade, sending it down towards the Dark Lord’s face. Avalon was thrown back, but did not lose her footing and was only sent sliding across the ground. Blood dropped from the Dark Lord’s face, the blade having created a clean slice on her cheek the size of a person’s palm. Antares wiped the blood, inspecting it and smiling as it was the first time she had seen her own blood in quite sometime and Avalon was of course the first to dare draw it.
“Avalon...” She frowned, “You would be wise to not be so trusting of those close to you, they are the ones to stab you in the back.”
The alchemist’s confidence at her mark was broken as pain in her body pulsed and dropped her to her knees.
Avalon’s limbs locked in place, green ruins snaked up her body wrapping around her, immobilizing them in place. Antares stood above her now, but she knelt to meet Avalon’s eyes, her hand cupping the alchemist’s cheek in a warm, mothering comfort that was once thought forgotten. In the midst of battle Avalon’s mind went entirely away from what was before her and instead was locked only with Malfoy. What passed thru her mind was not the Dark Lord, not the Dark One’s, not the war, but that Antares reminded her of her mother. This was the same treatment Elene gave her sons, the same eyes of care and compassion given when a mother is comforting a child.
“I did not want to use this method against you, but you gave me no choice.” The woman explained with remorse, “If I cannot convince you to follow me of your own volition, then I will make it that you do.”
Avalon struggled, but she could not risk letting her restraint of her body’s absorption of magic go out of control. She could not fight both, she did not possess the power to fight this magic, but the others did. Antares saw the strain the alchemist put on herself and told her of the little good it would do--this spell was devised specifically for alchemists, to restrain them, over-power their will with one equal to their own. It had many implications, but for the Dark Lord’s purpose, it was to restrain Avalon for now and prevent her from needlessly sacrificing her life for those who did not deserve the honor.
Though her enchantment was the bases of this spell, its development for alchemists specifically was devised by quite a genius of a dark witch. Her brilliance helped devise many spells and charms that have aided in the Dark One’s growth, to include the properties of this pool being enhanced. It is a Lazarus Pool, the answer to their immortality and vitality. Its ability to give life to those losing it by absorbing natural magic and that discharged by spells and as simple as the natural seeping of magic a sorcerer’s body has. All that magic is collected here--a cauldron of magic--condensed and imbued in the natural spring of this cave without harming anyone. By dipping in this pool, one’s life can be extended indefinitely and now with no true adverse side effects. Although its effect on alchemists is rather unknown it seems to be having a weighing effect on Avalon.
The barrier dropped, Antares walked as the waters sped around her as though she were a stone in a river when they returned to the pool. Godric, Rowena, Helga, and Salazar straightened into a line, their wands out in preparation to duel four on one. The Dark Lord saw there were none of her own left standing and commended the four on their achievements. Unfortunately for them, they possess no use as she has gained what she desired. Her wand rose with her hand, the dreaded sound from before came as the cloaked and hooded humanoid corpses descended from the darkness.
Rowena threw up another barrier, but the sheer number of the creatures pounding at the shield would not have it hold for very long. Helga poured her magic into Rowena, energizing her to hold out longer, Salazar and Godric took to the front readying themselves for when the shield fell. Their last stand. Avalon fought against her restraints, enough to see the barrage of creatures throw themselves against Rowena’s barrier. Hundreds...they would not be able to fight off hundreds of these monsters and she knew that. They would die, Antares would bid her time and eliminate them one by one until they all fell and the moral of their army would vanish leaving all of their comrades with only one option: surrender or die. Unless Avalon ordered them to turn on their comrades, the Anexus would all die fighting against the Dark One’s and even then the battle would not be won.
This...all of this...everything they had fought for; the struggle to gain their power, to forge alliances, if they fell this day then every witch and wizard in the world would kneel before Antares. If this Lazarus Pool was truly what the Dark Lord claimed it to be then she would go beyond the natural order and live forever. Nothing...no one would stop her and all the world would know darkness and hopelessness. No. Avalon said to herself that could not happen, not while she still drew breath, but in her current state while battling to maintain her human form. A tear dropped onto the ground. A silent prayer was sent to Yggdrasil, for her salvation; to her ancestor, for their forgiveness of her transgressions; to her clan, for giving her the honor of leading them.
Her right hand responded to command, the bracer given by Godric having protected it from the control of another. One hand is all she needed, one hand to connect to the other, one hand...to draw a sword. Antares paid no mind to Avalon now, her attention forward as she bid her time for the barrier to be breached. That was her first mistake.
Lightning raced towards the Dark Lord and the creatures, creating destroying the ground and scattering the forces for the time necessary. In a loud crack, Godric, Salazar, Rowena, Helga and Fenrir were gone. Antares hissed thru her teeth, turning around to see what magic had granted her enemies the chance to escape. Avalon remained fixed in her place, but her hand now placed on the ground as a trail of transmutation began and ended with it. However she moved, it would not be enough, but she already knew that. Antares began to associate Avalon’s self-sacrificing actions as foolishness rather than noble.
“Your faith in them is misplaced.” Antares sent the cloaked creatures to reinforce above ground.
Avalon turned her head to the witch, "Then we are both fools of our ideologies.”
Her eyes shifted to gold.