|Synopsis||Siobhan goes to Knockturn to pick up her order. She has been betrayed.|
|Date||January 26, 1996|
|Watch For||Shadow being creepy, mostly. But also Ed.|
|Logger||The Bad Wolf|
Friday evening sees a familiar blonde witch appearing in Diagon Alley, accompanied by the subtle 'pop' of Apparition. The streets are bustling with life - the populace enjoying their first taste of freedom after the work week's end. The sights, the sounds, the smells … they're all comforting and familiar. It makes Siobhan feel even sillier for her dread earlier in the evening. She weaves her way through the busy, noisy crowd with all the experience of someone who's spent the majority of their life in this place. Ducking down a side-street, she spies a young couple being a little over-zealous in their affection up against the alley wall and it makes her smile. Her fingertips stray to her own lips, the ghost of the parting kiss from her own lover still lingers there and her smile widens, pace quickening - she has someone to get home to.
A few more twists and turns and she's in the decidedly quieter south end of Knockturn Alley. There are some faces here that she knows and she offers each a smile or a soft word of greeting. It's been a while since she's had time to come down here, but these shopkeepers and tradesmen have known her since she was a child. She has no fear of them. One more left turn puts her right in front of Game of Thorns, and she pushes through the front door with a tinkling of the little bell. "Hullo, Mau." It comes out 'Mo', but Maurice LeChance recognizes both voice and greeting.
He returns the greeting with his usual smile, but it's strained, like he's forcing the cheer this evening. He bends down and hauls up a stack of packages wrapped in brown paper to set on the counter. "Everythin' in your order, Belle." His voice - though he uses the nickname he'd given her in childhood - is just as strained as his smile. Siobhan frowns, head tilting. "You alright?" There's genuine concern and the last of her unease is shoved aside to deal with this new development. But he waves away her concern. "Just been a bit under the uh, the weather. Been a bug going around." Accepting that excuse - she's no reason to think Mau would lie to her, after all - she drops about fifteen Galleons on the counter and moves to collect her things. Maurice tries to protest that she's paid far too much, but she won't hear of it. And as she collects the packages and turns to step out of the shop, it's surely her imagination that his expression is one of the terrible weight of guilt.
Shadow, researcher, torturer and all around hatchet-man for the Dark Lord, is in Knockturn Alley today. Like everything else he does, there are a couple reasons for this. Firstly, he needs to get a few more ingredients for a potion he's working on. Secondly, he wants to do a little reconnoitering, checking out Knockturn for information and just the general pulse. Thirdly, and a bit… strangely, he's conducting an experiment. It has nothing to do with anything else but the way people react.
Shadow is dressed up as a woman. Using the advanced glamours and voice changing spells, Shadow appears to the world as a middle-aged witch, dressed for an afternoon out in sensible, dark blue robes. Her hair is a dirty brown and shoulder length, and she is fairly curvy. Everyone who looks thinks she looks almost like someone they know. They'd probably be right, since he's stolen inspiration from various witches he's seen and … given hospitality. Whatever the case, he's in Knockturn, and he's walking up to a store. A good portion of the facial features he's wearing look a little like the shopkeeper here, for some reason. He opens the door to Game of Thorns and enters. "Mister LeChance," speaks a soft alto voice. "I see you have the item I requested." However, the witch isn't looking at Maurice's wares. She's looking straight at Sio.
As the little bell above the door sounds its tinkling melody to announce another customer, old Maurice looks like a man just sentenced to die. "It's ri - ri - right … " His voice has gone hoarse and he can't finish the sentence for shaking. Maurice LeChance is a good man, but he's certainly not a brave one. "I'm sorry," he manages to whisper roughly, but then he's gone. The door to the back room of the shop is closed, locked, bolted and probably spelled too. He may be Judas, tonight, but he won't give the kiss.
Unnerved by the strange reaction of her long-time friend, Siobhan turns to see just who it is that's causing all this fuss … and freezes. It's not in the hodgepodge of faces or voices or even in the creepy stare. It's in the cloak of death and dark magic that seems to ooze from that middle-aged woman. Siobhan slowly sets her stack of packages on a nearby shelf and turns back to face the intruder with nothing but pure, hot, livid hatred in her usually warm brown eyes. "I suppose you mean me." There's something feral about her loose stance and posture, like a wolf raising its hackles to a rival. Her wrist is tapped sharply against her hip and her tiny willow wand drops into her hand. "What do you want?"
"Many things, my dear," Shadow begins, internally cursing the choice of mask. 'Little old lady' just doesn't do as good of a job in the intimidation department. At least, not when you're used to the looming kind instead of the feisty, scrapping and clawing kind. "Today, however, I have exactly what I want." He nods, stepping forward, watching LeChance's reaction. "Come with me, my dear." He'll try polite first. It probably won't work, but at least he'll try.
That beginning makes Siobhan's stomach clench and roll with revulsion. Nothing good comes from a statement like that. Not with this man. The faux-polite request actually makes Siobhan laugh aloud. He can't possibly be serious. Reaching immediately to her left, she grips the side of a particularly tall free-standing shelf, heavily laden with large potted plants and flowers of the tropical variety. "Not a chance in hell," she growls and throws all her weight into tipping that shelf in his direction. But unlike those more heroic figures of her age, she doesn't wait around to see if it hits. Ducking further left, she makes a run for it, slamming into the front door so hard that it cracks back against the wall behind it and she stumbles to roll out into the cobblestone street - momentarily stunned by the wind being knocked from her chest.
Growling, which sounds very strange from the witch he's disguised as, Shadow tries to move out of the way. He does — well, mostly. A pot falls on to him, catching the edge of the shelf on its way down, and breaking. Little bits of the ceramic fly everywhere and a small piece of shrapnel flies at his shoulder. Because of the glamour, it doesn't appear to harm the dress, but it cuts his skin. He swears profusely in several ancient languages, and pushes through the door to step out into the street. All pretense gone, he lifts his fingers to his lips to whistle once sharply.
Waiting for that whistle, three cloaked figures float closer, dark magic pouring from behind their cloaks. A thick mist follows them.
Shadow conjures his patronus with a hissed, "Expecto Patronum." He sets the ram to patrolling around himself, keeping a distance between himself and Siobhan.
Once she can gasp a breath into her lungs, Siobhan is back on her feet, but even that small loss of time is too much. The three cloaked figures floating closer seem to seep any warmth out of the winter night - any warmth and any hope. The closer they come, the harder it is to breath. Flashes of grotesquely mutilated corpses lit by moonlight cloud her vision and the sound of a five-year old girl sobbing and screaming her name flood her senses, leaving her blind and deaf and staggering under the weight of the deaths she could do nothing but witness. But one such scene - watching the Dark Lord make his followers 'fall in line' - gives her a lifeline to cling to. Potions-stained hands are the key - to remembering that she's free from that prison now, and to the thousands of happy memories she possesses. Straightening, she can see again, but the monsters are so close now. She can feel them sucking at her sunshine, feeding on it as if their ambrosia. Bouncing from one foot to the other - always on the balls, always ready to jump or duck - she looks frantically for an escape route, letting the Dementors push her slowly back toward Shadow and his ram. Finding none that is a sure enough thing, she takes a deep breath as if resigning herself to her inevitable fate. Shadow might see the signs of her giving up an unwinnable fight.
He'd be wrong.
Whipping her torso counter-clockwise, she uses the momentum from the motion to slam her fist toward her attacker's nose. That's a happy damn thought, right there. Jethro would be proud. Letting the motion keep her spinning, she snaps her own tiny wand toward the Dementors and casts her own Expecto Patronum. Instead of staying to defend her, though, the hyena - is Ed larger than usual? - simply barrels through the line of closing Dementors like a cannonball and whips off to the north. It's enough - just enough. Tucking her arms to her sides and wincing as she does - that tumble out the door might have cracked a rib, it seems - Siobhan aims for that small hole in the line of monsters… and runs like hell.
Shadow reaches up, clutching at his nose. The blood dribbles down, only appearing as it passes the range of the glamour. If he were any less enraged, he'd probably note the flaw in the spell and try to find a way to fix it. However, all his magic, power and rage is focused on one fairly dainty young witch who thinks she can elude him. The patronus is a surprise, but when it doesn't stay to drive off the Dementors, he has a moment of brief panic before he solidifies his resolve. They've got to move. He casts an Episkey to stanch the flow of blood, and fairly chases down the street, screaming at the top of his lungs in the strange voice. "Stop! Thief!" Not that it matters, but it might give him a slight advantage if anyone else were to stumble on to the scene. The Dementors follow him at a far enough distance to prevent him from collapsing under their terror. Seeing that, he dismisses his ram for the moment and focus his energy on reaching her before she gets anywhere more populated.
When he spots Siobhan, he begins to throw curses her way. Aiming intentionally high and wide, he casts an Avada Kedavra to prevent her from moving that direction (or at least to highly discourage it). Then, he inhales, funnels all his rage, and casts a Crucio directly at her. He knows that one will bring her to heel.
Siobhan's managed to survive one flash of green light before - but only barely, and only with a lot of help. This time it's not that spell, but the more deadly variety that whizzes past her head. Like any sane person, she leaps in the opposite direction, almost to a 'T' type of intersection onto an alley that would - after about four blocks straight shot - lead her back out to a populated part of Diagon. It is, however, just before she can make that turn that his Crucio hits. Being that it has the unfortunate timing of slamming into her back just as she leaps over an over-turned cart, the force of the spell and the sudden wash of agony have her slamming into the brick wall ahead so hard that the bone beneath the apple of her cheek audibly cracks. Collapsing in a heap at the base of the wall, there is nothing in her world but pain; unending, indescribable, mind-shattering pain. It's like an endless wash of sickly yellow blades that burn with every slice from the inside out, attacking everything - even down to her dim and shrunken sun. There is no room in her mind for thought, no room in the body for action. All she can do is scream. And scream and scream and scream.
Energized by watching her fall, Shadow rushes over toward the screams. He runs past the cart, catching his other arm on the cart. He moves to her side and petrifies her before she can do much more. With his prize secured, he slams a portkey down on her, sending her off like a package of goods sent home from the shops. Having accomplished what he came for, he steps further into the alley, removes the glamour, examines his wounds, and walks out into Diagon Alley before apparating back to Riddle's House.
Interitus is Latin for destruction, removal, annihilation, dissolution, extinction and death.