Chapter 11 : Hindrance
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“Hey, Fred!” Lee yelled “I thought we were supposed to blow them to pieces, not the other way round!” though this was in no way the time for jokes, Hannah couldn’t help but admire Lee’s audacity.
A sudden pain of tearing flesh ran across Hannah’s arm. Gasping, she rolled up her ripped sleeve to reveal a crescent shaped wound. She grimaced; and with her wand she cleared the blood. But before she could continue the healing process, Hannah found herself leaping backward to dodge yet another curse from one of the masked fighters. The death eater became distracted and Hannah seized her chance.
“Vulnera-” From the corner of her eye, Hannah caught sight of Romilda. The girl’s eyes were glazed over in shock. The Death Eater has raised his wand and was preparing to strike.
“Incarcerous!” Hannah spun around and a snake of rope grew from her wand, binding the Death Eater’s arms to his side. The spell merely angered the fighter, but the seconds it took for him to untangle himself allowed Romilda to regain her guard.
“Expulso!” Evidently the Death Eater had resorted to what he did best: simply exploding anything that got in his way. A window smashed and several paintings burst into flames. Over the screams, Hannah heard the pounding of her heart grow faster.
The Death Eater struck again but an advancing suit of armour took the blow instead and collapsed to the floor. Hannah poised to strike back at the cloaked fighter but before she could Fred sprinted past, a second Death Eater in his wake. Fortunately they stumbled on a dismembered metal arm. Groping around for something to hold onto, the Death Eater slipped again and grabbed the robes of his fellow comrade, causing the robes and mask to fall and reveal his face.
The strong jaw, greased hair and pockmarked face meant nothing to Hannah, but to Romilda, Rookwood’s face was the bringer of her worst memories. All battle seemed to slow around her and sound became muted. Hannah’s exhausting efforts to ward Rookwood off, and his aggravatingly effortless retaliation, went completely unnoticed. Romilda had frozen on the spot.
She only came back to her senses a second before hitting the ground.
Pain. A crack. All went black.
The resonance of Hannah’s scream shocked even herself. Running over to Romilda, she tried to block out the Death Eaters mocking laugh as she sank to her knees beside the fallen. Hannah’s worst fears evaporated. Romilda was still breathing.
“Romilda? Romilda, can you get up?” Hannah whispered. Slowly, scratched, bruised and covered in dirt, Romilda raised herself so she was on all fours. She groaned in agony.
“No”. Another groan. “My leg”.
Hannah looked down and saw Romilda’s leg was completely stiff. Paralysed. Hannah raised her wand to try and fix it.
“I don’t think I should allow you to do that”.
Towering over the pair of them was Rookwood, smiling menacingly, baring his yellow teeth. Hannah found she was not the only one with their wand raised.
Out of nowhere, came a swarm of rocks each as big as Hannah’s hand that slammed into the death eater, knocking his wand out of his grasp and sending him crashing into a stone pillar. The death eater slid down it slowly and collapsed, unconscious.
Terry stood strong with his hands in fists, the look of determination still on his face. Hannah looked at him, unable to put her gratitude into words.
“Terry…” Romilda gasped, but he cut her off, his eyes only on her for a millisecond.
“Hannah. Keep her safe.”
“I will.” Hannah replied. She meant it.
And with that Terry re-joined the battle, sending a stunning spell after yet another enemy fighter.
About ten metres away, Fred found himself duelling two masked fighters at once.
“Furnuculus!” he yelled, but for about the one hundredth time, the Death Eater just flicked the spell away and the second one closed in, leaving Fred no time to think.
Fred did not mean to scream, but he did not expect it to hurt quite so much. It seemed to go on for hours, his whole body burning, ready to explode. Then, miraculously, the pain ceased. Fred, breathing heavily, opened his eyes. There, in front of him, were both Death Eaters, doing what he could only describe as the Can-can. He couldn’t help himself, he had to laugh.
Wiping the tears of joy from his eyes he saw his brother and wondered why he ever doubted the man.
“Percy my friend, I’ve never felt better”.
“Good to hear it, and you’d better watch out, the spell will wear off any second.”
“Can you get up now?”
Hannah stood and held out a hand for Romilda, now able to move her leg perfectly.
“I think so” Romilda took Hannah’s hand and, pulling together all her strength, got to her feet.
Hannah looked around. Thankfully, things had taken a turn for the better. Harry, Ron, Hermione and Percy had arrived and two death eaters lay defeated.
Somehow Hannah knew the moment wouldn’t last.
Rookwood stood alone and vengeful in the middle of the square, completely unnoticed by the others. There was nothing she could do. Before Hannah could even think, what seemed like the whole earth exploded and all she could do was watch in horror.
Bodies scattered. It was almost impossible to differentiate rubble from human. Fire roared like a fearful beast consuming everything in its path. Screams, shouts, smashes and crashes filled Hannah’s ears. As the storm cloud came her way, with it followed shards of rock and glass that ripped her face and arms. Hannah wished for a miracle. Somehow, she thought, let them be alright.
Oblivion ended, and in the middle of the crater was a body. Dead.
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