Chapter 13 : Egyptian Demon
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Elsa Yaxley - Rachel Leigh Cook
Evander Yaxley - Sean Bean
Marisol Yaxley - Kate Winslet
Damon Yaxley - Chad Michael Murray
Damon Avery - Marc Blucas
The Egyptian - Oded Fehr
(chapter image by Jeanie @ TDA)
Sobs tore through her as her screams echoed off the stone walls of her prison. She pounded her fists against the metal of the door, yelled until her voice was hoarse and all she could do was sink to the floor and cry.
Sweltering heat rose up around her, engulfing her as an inky darkness swallowed her. Blinking through the sweat that dripped into her eyes, the night’s events returned to her though the haze of her clouded mind. She remembered the shady men descending upon them, remembered Damon pushing her away from him and telling her to run. She remembered the scorching air burning her lungs as she fled, the way her body protested and whined, the nagging voice that sounded remarkably like Sirius declaring her a coward. Above the stench of her own sweat, she remembered the smell of the cloth as it was placed over her face, and the useless struggle she had put up against whomever was attacking her.
Fear ate away at her as she tugged on the shackle around her ankle. The chain rattled but it made no difference. She was not about to escape. Tears prickled at her eyes, her throat constricted as she tried to remain calm. Except the horror of it all played over in her mind, the way her head hurt when she woke and the otherworldly darkness that settled around her, made certain that she wouldn’t find any comfort.
She blamed it on shock, the dull sense of mind that she had possessed in the first few hours of her captivity. It wasn’t until the fear had wormed its way through her body, shaking away the shock and forcing her to come to blows with the fact that she was very much alone.
“Damon,” she whispered into the eerie silence of her cell. “Where are you?”
Scratching lines into the stone of the walls, she counted the days. It had been two since she had last seen Damon; two since she had last known he was alive. She could count the number of times she had treated him nicely on one hand; could remember every mean thing she had ever spoken to him and hated herself more for never giving him the chance he deserved.
“He’s not dead,” she whispered almost manically to herself.
It had been two days since she had seen anyone. Exhausted beyond measure, on the brink of dehydration, Elsa found the only think keeping her remotely sane was the broken pipe that dripped somewhat clean water into her prison at irregular intervals and the knowledge that she was not alone.
Late into the night or perhaps it was morning, a light – the first she had seen since she had woken up in the blasted dark – blazed to life on the other side of her cell door, illuminating a tiny crack along the floor. She had shied away from it, her eyes burning from the sight of it. It had taken the better part of an hour for her eyes to adjust to the darkness upon her arrival that the light, even on the other side of the door, made her eyes water.
She hadn’t seen anyone, but she had watched a shadow move across the floor, had listened to the distinct sound of footsteps on stone as it crossed the room.
She scurried over to the leaking pipe and gulped down what little she could, allowing the cool liquid to quench her unforgiving thirst. Her body hurt. Demanded attention. Curled up in the corner she had deemed fit for sleeping, she nestled in against the wall and returned to her meticulous scratching.
On the third day, Elsa was startled from her sleep. Unable to do much else than stare at the blinding light that filled her prison, she whimpered and shielded her eyes against the glare. Someone grabbed her and hoisted her to her feet which immediately gave way. Weak from starvation and dehydration, she looked to her captor for some sense of sympathy. All she found in his dark face was disgust.
Her shackle removed, she was dragged from the room. Her eyes burned and watered as they attempted to adjust to the blaring bright lights the flickered into existence as they walked. She tried to follow where they were going, but her mind wouldn’t make sense of it. They passed so many doors and made so many turns that by the time she was dropped in front of a table, she was well and truly lost.
None of it mattered as her eyes fell on the table set with an unimaginable amount of food. Her mouth watered, her stomach growled, she found an ounce of strength to grab at a roll only to have it swatted from her hand by her burly guard.
“Let her eat,” came a voice from the opposite side of the room.
She followed the sound of the man’s voice until she found herself staring into the handsome face of a man she had never met before. He was well groomed, she could tell by the way he stood, the choice of his robes, and the way in which he walked across the room and took a seat at the head of the table.
“Sit,” he instructed, motioning towards a chair near him.
Uncertain, Elsa sat next to the man and hesitantly reached for a roll again. This time she waited to see if she would be scolded for taking the food before she bit into it. She filled her plate and forced herself to remember her manners rather than ravenously shovelling down the food like a wild animal. She ate and drank until she had her fill and leaned back in her chair. All the while the man watched her.
“Where is Damon?” Elsa demanded, feeling more herself than she had in days.
“He is being held in another part of the house,” he replied.
“Why are we here?”
“You will find out soon enough.” At her queer look, he continued, “you were not meant to suffer such treatment. My men were instructed to treat you with the dignity a lady deserves. You will be escorted to a room after you are finished.”
“I want to see Damon!”
“All in good time,” he said with a light and airy laugh, “for now, consider yourself my guest.”
“I demand to see him, now!”
“You are more than welcome to return to the dungeons if you would prefer?”
The very last thing she wanted was to be sent back to her tiny cell with its sand-like walls and blinding darkness. Shaking her head, she crossed her arms over her chest and stood. She would play his game for now, but she would find Damon. Nothing was going to deter her from finding him, from rescuing him. She could only imagine what he was going through. If the man’s men had been ordered to treat her with respect and no such instructions were given for Damon’s treatment, she knew he was far worse off then she was.
She’d been led through the halls of the large home, up a set of stairs and down a corridor lined with long tapestries and portraits of people she knew nothing about. Where they among the wealthiest families in Egypt? The man certainly had a large enough home to make her believe that he had an extensive vault of gold. Enough, she was certain, to buy the authorities discretion.
Dread sank deeper within her. No one was ever going to find them.
At the end of the corridor, one of her guards opened the door and shoved her roughly into the small room. A window too high to reach allowed for sunlight to seep in, illuminating the darkness and casting eerie shadows across the floor. A tiny bed, bolted to the floor, sat against one wall. A single door led into an even smaller bathroom.
Uncertain what was worse, she walked to the tall window and tried to pull herself up. Nothing meant more to Elsa than finding out exactly where she was. If she could see out the window then maybe she would be able to devise some brilliant plan of escape and rescue Damon.
But it was futile.
There was no way to reach the window. No way to see out into the world around them. Not a single plan formed in her head. Her brain felt as dusty as the room she now resided in. Although Elsa was determined not to allow despair to settle in on her, the more she learned, the more hopeless that situation seemed.
“They’re coming,” Elsa muttered and turned her attention back to the room.
A thin layer of dust coated the floor, but she noted that the bed had been freshly made with clean sheets. Clean pink towels had been neatly hung in her bathroom. And she had all the toiletries she could possibly need. The only thing missing from the room was a wardrobe.
Settling in, in the corner under the window, Elsa began to scratch three lines into the wall. It was a tedious task, but it helped keep her mind focused on the here and now. It helped keep her from falling into the darkness that was her despair.
Blinking away the fog that had settled in on him, Damon found himself in a dark, damp dungeon. How long had he been there? His head throbbed as he carefully moved to sit up. Uncertain of how he had ended up there, he mentally took stock of his surroundings. Although the room was dark, a sliver of light inched into the room from beneath a door. A chill settled in around him, as he pulled himself up onto his feet and began aimlessly searching his cell with his hands.
His mind thrummed with unanswered questions, the most worrisome of which: where was Elsa? He had searched the whole of his four by four cell and found no evidence that she had ever been there. No scrap of clothing, no hidden message scratched into the wall. Nothing. Had she managed to escape his captors? He hoped so.
A flap in the door lifted and a plate – if you could call it that – of food had gently been thrust into the room by a tiny hand. His first thought was to stop her, this woman who was feeding him, and interrogate her. He needed answers. He needed to know Elsa was safe. His own safety matter little if she was no longer in any danger.
Snatching the scrap of food of the plate, a tiny bit of parchment fluttered to the floor landing on his feet; picking it up, he settled into a corner and began to eat. How was he supposed to read in this infernal darkness? There was no way he would make out any words and he was without his wand. Hoping the woman had devised some clever way of allowing him to read in the pitch black room, he unrolled the note. There, written in a glowing blue ink, was his deepest fear.
Elsa was not safe.
She was far from safe. The letter, written in an elegant scrawl, had informed him that she had been moved a few hours earlier to another room where she would, until further notice, remain. She had been fed and given a proper room, but she was within the same building. If he wanted to save her, he would have to do everything he was told.
Nothing else mattered to him than her safety. If he was told to fly to the moon to retrieve an elusive rare rock, he would find some way to do so. He’d journey to the end of the world and return again if it meant her safe return. She may never have understood how much she mattered to him, but he knew, and soon enough, he hoped, she would too.
Minutes seemed to pass in hours, and hours in weeks. There was no way for him to tell what time of day it was or how long he had been there. The only thing keeping him from losing his sanity was Elsa. She was there, probably fretting over his whereabouts. He reminded himself that his captivity would only make him stronger.
In the cold darkness he vowed he would never allow anything to ever happen to the woman he loved.
It seemed an eternity had passed before the door to his cell swung open. The siloutte of a man stood in the doorway. He looked like a menacing demon watching his captive with glowing red eyes. Damon was certain the eyes were a trick of the light, there was no way he actually had red eyes. It was impossible. Justify it as he would, Damon knew that it didn’t really matter.
“Move,” the demon growled at him, hoisting him to his feet and dragging him into the hall.
Trying to follow where he was going became impossible. His mind spun as he was taken down one corridor, through another, up a set of stairs and down two more, through another long corridor only to stop in front of a large glass patio door. A large veranda sprawled the length of the building, flowers sprouted from baskets hung from the railing, and the tinkle of water from a fountain reached Damon’s ears as he was pushed out the door.
Seated at a round stone table was a man he didn’t know. He motioned for him to sit, though he offered him none of the drink contained within the sweating glass jug. Suddenly parched, Damon did as he was told. This was the first time he had seen the man who had kidnapped Elsa and himself. He was not about to let the moment pass. He had questions, and he wanted them answered.
“Let Elsa go,” Damon demanded no longer concerned with his own safety. “She’s of no use to you.”
“There you are wrong, she has many uses,” the man answered, a sinister look in his dark eyes. “Consider her my insurance policy. If you fail in the task I give you, she dies. If you succeed, she lives. If you take your time in completing the task, she suffers. The longer you draw this out, the worse off she will be when you complete your task.”
Paling in the unbelievable heat, Damon listened intently. He would not allow any harm to come to Elsa. There was no way he was going to sit back and let some mad man do whatever he pleased to the woman he loved. If there was a task to be done, he would do it. He didn’t care who he pissed off in the mean time. Elsa was his only concern.
“What is it you would have me do?”
“Your brother is a thief; he has stolen something of great value to me. You will steal it back and return it to me. If you fail to complete your end of this bargain, she will die. If you deny this task, she will die. If you go to your brother, she dies. If the Dark Lord should learn of this meeting and show up here, she will be found in a pool of her own blood. The only way to save her, as I said, is to do as you are told.”
Nodding, Damon looked away from the man who was going to bring about the death of the girl he loved. How was he supposed to steal back an item the Dark Lord had instructed be stolen in the first place? Defying the Dark Lord was madness. Stealing from his was certain death. If he failed to return Elsa would die. Closing his eyes, he thought hard on the situation.
Screams ripped through the air.
Flying from his seat, Damon searched the area to find where they had come from.
The crack of a whip echoed off the stone.
Immediately he knew what was going on. Fighting back tears, he turned to face the man who had had Elsa whipped. Fury flowed like white hot rage through his veins as he closed his fingers into tight fists.
The whip cracked again followed by her pain filled scream.
“Stop this!” Damon demanded. “I’ll do what you ask.”
A house elf appeared out of nowhere and was instructed to stop the lashing their female captive was enduring. With a pop the house elf was gone as quickly as he had arrived.
The man pulled a small stone like orb from his robe pocket and placed it on the table. “This will return you to London; it will also bring you back here once you have acquired the object your brother stole. For every hour you do not return she will pay the price for your tardiness.”
Grabbing the portkey, Damon held it in his hands and felt the annoying, yet familiar pull at his navel. Moments later, he stood next to the Leaky Cauldron. He hated leaving Elsa behind, but this was the only way he knew to save her. He would do whatever he had to. His captor said nothing about contacting her family. If he was lucky, Evander Yaxley would have a better plan. If he was lucky his brother and father would be with Dominic and his father. If he was lucky, he’d return in time to stop Elsa from being harmed any further.
He floo'd from the Leaky Cauldron, ignoring the odd looks he received from the patrons, to Elsa’s family home. Tumbling out of the fireplace, Damon lay on the floor exhausted. Spurred on only by the knowledge that the longer he took the more Elsa would suffer, he pulled himself up off the floor with only one task in mind: find Evander Yaxley.
Running through the empty house, Damon found only a weeping Marisol sitting frantically pulling at her tissue. There was no sign of his best friend or Evander.
“Where is Evander?” Damon demanded.
Startled, Marisol looked up at the young boy she had deemed perfect for her daughter. Now angry, she stood and walked towards him. With one quick slap, she collapsed on the floor, her sobs renewed by his appearance without Elsa.
“Where is she? Where is my daughter?”
“Marisol, if I don’t find Evander I won’t be able to save her. Please, where is he?”
“With your father and brother looking for you and Elsa.” She managed.
Pacing, Damon tried to figure out what to do. If Gareth and his father showed up, Elsa would die. But without them, he was certain there wouldn’t be much left of the girl he loved. How had they managed to get into so much trouble? Their trip was meant to solidify their relationship not ruin it. If they made it out of this alive she would hate him for the rest of their natural lives. She meant the world to him, and he had allowed her to be hurt.
He watched Marisol stand and walk over to a desk where she quickly wrote out a message for her husband. She instructed their house elf to deliver it as quickly as possible. They were left in the parlour alone and worried. He could see it in the way she sat: her back as straight as a plank of wood, her eyes red and puffy, and the tissue she held soaked with tears. While he was content to let the grieving mother sit wishing there was something she could do, he could not.
Angrily he walked the room. It was taking too long. The longer Evander took at arriving home, the worse off Elsa would be when they returned. If she was dead...his thoughts grew morbid. He was not willing to accept that his failure would lead to her death. Panic soon settled in as the minutes turned into hours.
What was taking that damn house elf so long? He fumed.
He’d bitten through his nails and begun to pick at the cushion of the sofa. It was such an ungodly hideous floral design. The more he thought about what was happening to Elsa, the more agitated he became. Unable to sit for long periods of time, he paced until Marisol shouted at him.
When Evander and Dominic arrived several hours after Damon had arrived, he stood and looked at the Yaxley men. Dominic, he knew had a temper to be reckoned with. He could see the fury in his friend’s eyes the moment they stepped into the room. With his wand drawn, Dominic crossed the room in four strides. Pointing his wand at his friend’s neck, Dominic seethed.
“Where is she?” He growled.
“I don’t know,” Damon said honestly and watched cold hatred flash behind his friend’s eyes.
“Dominic,” Evander chided, putting his hand on his son’s shoulder. “Tell me everything.”
Nodding, Damon began to pace again. How was he supposed to tell Evander Yaxley that the whole reason Elsa was in danger was because the Dark Lord had instructed his brother to steal a valuable object from the wrong sort of man? Shaking away his fear of Evander, he squared his shoulders and turned to face the men he considered family.
Slowly at first, he began to explain his situation. His eyes lingered on the clock above the mantle. He was running out of time. As his story came to an end, his words came in quick bursts. He needed them to hurry up and decide what they were going to do.
“She’ll be dead if we don’t hurry up,” Damon said finally, exasperated. “I won’t let him kill her. I swore I’d keep her safe. I will not break that promise!”
He pulled the portkey out of his pocket, not remembering when he put it there in the first place. Handing it to Evander, he knew the older man would know exactly what they would need to do. They could not confront the Dark Lord.
Turning to Dominic, Damon waited to see how his friend was going to react. He had known what Dominic was like as well as Elsa did. He’d seen the tell tale signs that there was something not quite right with him. For the first time in his life, he was grateful that Dominic was as crazy as he was. If Elsa was dead Dominic would unleash a rage the likes of which none of them had seen before. He could tell that much with the hate filled gaze his friend had settled on him.
Dominic may have frightened his sister on more than one occasion, but deep down he was still her brother, and brothers were meant to keep their sisters safe. Dominic was no exception to this. In fact, he took the role of ‘brother’ far more seriously than he ever let on. Of that Damon was certain.
“Dominic, let the Averys in and then floo and inform Crabbe and Goyle I will be needing their assistance,” Evander instructed before turning to face Damon again. “Rest for now. We will leave once everyone is ready.”
He wanted to argue. He wanted to yell at them that Elsa didn’t have the time for them to tarry any longer. He’d been taught to respect his elders, but for the first time in his life he wanted more than ever to tell the older man exactly what he thought of his stupid plan. She was going to die and it would be entirely his fault. Maybe he’d made a mistake coming to the Yaxleys for help. If she survived, she was going to hate them all.
Two hours passed before everyone was ready and Damon had a new wand. He wasn’t sure what they would be walking into, but he was certainly not going to allow Elsa’s captor to get what he wanted. While he was certain that the man would anticipate this line of attack, he didn’t care. He wanted Elsa back, and to hell with the consequences.
They used the portkey and arrived in the foyer of the grand mansion. The first thing he noticed was how empty the rooms were. There was no sign of anyone there. No screaming. No sobbing. No footsteps on the marble flooring. Nothing. Curiously glancing out onto the veranda, the stone table sat empty.
“You disappoint me, Avery,” came the silky voice of the man who had captured them. “I specifically remember instructing you not to bring your family into this.”
“I don’t give a damn what you want,” Damon seethed while his father held him back from attacking the man before they learned where Elsa was.
“A shame really, she was rather pretty.”
“If you hurt a hair on her head, so help me...”
“You’ll do what?” He taunted Damon.
With a snap of his fingers, two men dragged Elsa down the grand staircase, dropping her at Damon’s feet. Her clothes, what was left of them, were ripped to shreds and dangled precariously on her shoulders. Deep red cuts marred her skin. Each lashing tore the skin from her back, exposing bone in some places. Blood trickled from her back covering his hands and pooled on the floor. A soft sob, barely auditable, escaped her throat, and Damon breathed a sigh of relief.
She was alive!
“Take your sister home,” Evander instructed his son, who looked about ready to ignore the order from his father.
Dominic drew his wand and pointed it at the man who had ordered his sister’s torture. Before he could cast a spell, the man was gone. Seething, Dominic glared at the empty spot and turned to look at his father.
Carefully Evander picked his daughter up off the floor. Alive, but barely, he Apparated them home. She’d live, he was sure of that. With some medical attention she would, physically, be as good as new. While he wasn’t sure what her ordeal had done to her emotional and mental state, he knew that she was strong. She would pull through. And if she didn’t, the Egyptian man would rue the day that he messed with the Yaxley family.
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