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I press my ear to the door, listening carefully. I can hear footsteps, but they are quiet and muffled, as though someone is trying to be stealthy; Vanessa.
I quickly spin around and face Ted, whose eyes are dark as he comprehends the danger. I put my fingers to my lips.
"WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT YOU DESERVE TO LIVE?" I bellow, screaming as loud as I can at him. He jumps. Oops, he wasn't expecting me to suddenly shout like that.
"FILTHY HALF-WOLF! WE ARE THE FIRE-EATERS, AND I AM GENERAL RAVEN BLACK, AND YOU WILL
TELL ME ABOUT THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX!" I feel a pang of sadness as I see fear flash across his face. Suddenly, his eyes flicker. He understands now. He knows I'm only doing this to make it sound
like I'm torturing him.
"I WILL MAKE YOU SUFFER PAIN UNLESS YOU TELL ME!"
Hopefully Vanessa is gone, but just in case, Ted will have to run with my plan. I point my wand at him, and he smiles. He dramatically throws himself to the floor, howling as though he was in pain. His screams fill the room. I feel a spike of sadness; the sound is almost ominous, even though I know he's acting. I slowly and quietly make my way to the door before pressing my ear to it. Ted is panting hard behind me. It's silent, so I risk opening the door.
Vanessa is standing there with a hand on her hip, smiling cruelly. "Well done, Raven, but I must demonstrate how to properly
confer pain onto a subject, seeing as he appears to have escaped from his chains. My question, sweet Raven, is how did he get out?" Her eyes twinkle maliciously at me. My heart skips. Please, no; oh Merlin, no.
Not him, please; anyone, even me, but not him.
Vanessa slowly pulls her wand out, pointing it at Ted.
I try my hardest to keep my face composed. I can't cry, not now. Ted's screaming is filling the room. He gasps with pain and rolls up into a ball. Vanessa repeats the spell and he howls, throwing himself against the wall. His face is dripping with sweat.
I feel as though I'm in a dream, but not a good one. I mean the kind of dreams where all you can do is stand there and stare in horror. The howling and screaming continues for what seems like forever. Vanessa casts the spell over and over. I feel myself numbing. The pain in my heart is beyond belief; I would give anything to make it stop. The world is moving in slow motion, and the only thing I can hear in my head is his agony.
I have to stop her; Merlin, if it's the last thing I do, I must
stop her. Ted is bleeding now - he's scratched his arms and face in despair. His eyes are glazing over and I know he'll lose his mind if he endures anymore. No, I'd rather die than watch her do this to him.
I snarl at her. She looks at me in surprise. My vision turns red and all I can see is my body crashing into hers, knocking her to the ground. My nails dig into her face, her neck, anything they can reach. Her hands wrap around my hair and she pulls, yanking me to her as she sinks her teeth into my shoulder.
I howl, and she forgets her wand, preoccupied with tearing me apart. She shoves me off of her, and I go flying across the room into a wall. She has gained extra strength from her anger. Her nails meet my forehead as beads of blood drip down my nose and eyebrows.
She picks me up by my dress and rotates, throwing me against the opposite stone wall. I feel several ribs crack and I gasp in pain. No, I'm stronger than this. I can't let her do this.
I get up and fly at her, wrapping my hands in her hair, turning her head to face the wall as I smash her face into it. Her nose cracks loudly, and her body goes limp as she falls unconscious.
I drop her and look up to see Ted staring in horror. "What?" I ask, confused. I double over in pain as agony tweaks through my chest. Broken ribs really do hurt. I was taught by Auxilry to endure pain, and I will endure it to save my Teddy.
"I trained to be an Auror, but I wasn't trained to deal with anything like that." Ted's voice is quiet, and I look up to see his face white. "Raven, you're bleeding…"
I stand up straight, swallowing my pain. "So are you, and yours is self-inflicted. What are you, a werewolf?" I try to make light of the situation by joking. Ted smiles slightly. He really did claw himself up from the agony of the Crucio curse.
"What do we do with her now?" Ted asked, his eyes staring at the limp Vanessa, leaning against the wall. There was blood from her broken nose flowing down her neck and breasts, ruining her new dress.
"Leave her. She'll awaken soon so we should move." I stare at her a moment. She hadn't fought back to kill me; had she wanted to kill me she would have morphed into a werewolf. But I suppose suspicion would have arisen if she had killed me. Why did she suddenly turn on me? One day she's one of my best friends; the next she aims to test my loyalty. Something isn't right. The gears in my head click into place…
"Teddy..." I growl in a warning voice, my eyes flicking from Vanessa to focus on the door.
"What?" he asks, his voice sounding shocked at my sudden change.
"We have to get out of here." I feel panic rising in my throat. Merlin, no - please, not her. Only one person has enough persuasion to turn my friends against me.
"Is there something wrong?" Ted asks. He's standing next to me now, looking at me intently.
"Something is very
wrong. Run, damn it, we need to go now.
" I grab his hand and pull, crashing through the door. I ignore the growing pain in my chest. All I can feel is the panic, the sheer panic.
"Raven, for Merlin's sake, tell me what the hell is wrong? I'm stuck here in the headquarters of Fire-Eaters, who want to kill me, and you won't even tell me why you're in a dead panic." Ted pulls away and glares at me. He's right; he deserves to know.
I take a deep breath.
"Auxilry is coming."
Several quiet seconds pass by between us. I can practically hear the seconds dropping like pins. Ted's face has lost all color.
I close my eyes. Think, Raven, think!
I need a plan, and I need one now. I open my eyes and take Ted's hand, dashing up the stairs to my room.
We burst through the door. Ted looks at me oddly, but I ignore him. There's no time for chatter now; this isn't a movie where people who are in jeopardy suddenly find time to wallow in their sadness over losing each other. If I stop to talk, we will
I grab a spare cloak out of my closet. It's barely long enough for Ted.
"Put this on."
Luckily for me, Ted is clever and understands that our lives are on the line. He buttons it up completely and covers his head with the hood as I grab a small bag.
The bag I grab is very tiny, but is gigantic on the inside. It's also two-way; the person on the other side can place things in it. We can't afford to use much magic on the run because it can be tracked.
"Okay, let's go. We need to find Nydia." Ted nods quietly as we dash down the stairwell. Just before emerging into the courtyard, we slow to a walk. I must appear inconspicuous.
"You're still bleeding, Raven," Ted whispers from behind me.
I race on anyways, earning a few glances, but not many more. The Fire-Eaters are used to seeing blood; they'll just assume that I had a rather feisty prisoner.
We hurry to the Priestess's Tower. Merlin please let Nydia be there. We enter the stairwell. The walls are lit with torches, which have been enchanted to glow blood red. The torches match the maroon carpet that graces the stairs. As we climb higher, we pass several priestesses, who all have on the same blood red dresses, their hair adorned with dead ivy.
We reach the top of the stairwell and I knock on the last door quietly before opening it.
Nydia is standing at the window. She is wearing a white dress which appears to have had blood splattered on it for decoration, giving it a burlesque look. Her dark hair hangs down in ringlets down her pale back. She turns around at my entrance and her face lights up. I close the door.
"Hello Raven," she says quietly before her eyes rest on Ted. Nydia is rather intelligent and good at piecing information together. Although she pretends to be stupid, I have no doubt that she knows exactly who she is looking at, despite the hood over his head.
"Is that…?" She smiles gently as she walks over to him and pushes the hood down.
"Blimey, Ted Lupin!" She is grinning now. Her eyes turn to me. "No wonder you're bleeding; did Vanessa give you a hard time?"
"How did you know about that?" I question her.
"I know everything that happens here." She smiles again. "You should go now. You can't be caught, or you'll both die." Nydia's face becomes grave.
"I know." I grab Ted's arm, pulling him away. Nydia nods to us in farewell as we rush down the stairwell.
"Do you have your wand?" I ask Ted, turning around to face him. The hood of his cloak has been pulled back over his head.
"Of course," he answers, before pulling it out and concealing it beneath his cloak. He thinks I'm worried about Vanessa awakening, but I'm not.
I squeeze my eyes shut as a voice whispers in my head. "Hello Raven. I'm quite surprised; you've gotten strong. Strong enough to use Occlumency to defy me. And who is that? Is that who I think it is? Found your Teddy, huh my sweet Raven?"
I try to push her out of my head, but I can feel her searching my memories... Ted holding me close, nuzzling his head into my neck... Ted smelling my hair... My arms wrapped tightly around him, my lips pressed to his.
"Go away!" I shout. Ted looks at me in bewilderment as I grab my hair.
Her voice returns. "Oh darling, painful subject for you, isn't it?"
Go away, go away, go away. I want her gone. Dead, even.
"He will die, Raven. You know he'll die. Prophecies always come true.
"It's not about him; the prophecy isn't about him. Get out of my head!" I'm tugging on my hair and Ted is staring intently at me.
"He will die at your hands Raven, don't you forget that. Don't forget what you are. I'll be back.
" Her voice fades, and I'm left standing there, tears mingling with the dried blood on my face. Ted stands there awkwardly.
"Well, well. Look who it is. I owe you a broken nose." A snarl comes from behind me. I turn around and see Vanessa, looking very bloody, a group of her dedicated Fire-Eater followers behind her.
"Get your wand ready," I whisper to Ted. He pulls it out and readies himself. Vanessa smiles darkly. This day is just peachy
"Kill them. Both of them." She orders, her teeth bared.
A/N: CLIFFHANGER!! I'm sorry guys, you'll just have to keep reading!
Coming Up in the next few chapters: What happens to Raven and Ted?
Stay reading to meet the newest character: Auxilry?!
Please Review! I really love reviews :) they make my day.