‘Wow that is dark, I cannot see my hand in front of my face’ complained Ron.
Suddenly a golden glow surrounded them, faint but enough for them to be able to see who’s next them.
‘Nice Autumn, up you come to the front, lead the way’
With that Autumn led the way through the dark dunk tunnel before stopping short at a dead end.
She glided her hands over the surface of the wall, pushing and probing until there was a faint ‘click’ and as section of the wall swung open.
As they stepped through they found themselves in a large room with stairs leading up at the far end.
Coming down those stairs were eight goblins, dressed in black armour. Each worked with gold and silver filigree, no two the same.
‘Now that’s just unlucky’ quipped Ignotus as he stepped to the fore.
Reaching behind his head to grasped the staves in each hand and faced the goblins, who, upon seeing the group, had started to spread out.
‘They’ve got wands! Exclaimed Hermione, ‘Goblins are not allowed to have wands, it’s part of the treaty’
‘Well give me a moment and I’ll go and chastise them’ replied Ignotus his ever present grin flashing wider.
Harry took out his want and stepped up besides Ignotus, the others quickly followed suit except Professor McGonagall who, whilst hold her wand had not ventured forward.
Ignotus swept out his arms to stop the others ‘Stay here, I’ll handle this’
‘There are eight of them’ Harry pointed, out exasperated by this man. A man who claimed to know Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall intimately and that grin, as if there was a joke only he got going on all the time.
‘You think I should let them go get some more?’ Ignotus queried
Harry was a taken about, that appeared to be the first serious thing Ignotus had said since they’d met.
‘Stop wasting time Ignotus, go deal with them and we can get on’
Ignotus gave a small bow and stepped out into the room. As he did, he brought together the two staves and they become one staff which he begun to twirl.
‘I wouldn’t mind seeing him lose, just to wipe that grin off his face’ grumbled Nicola
‘Forget it’ replied Professor McGonagall
‘Is he that good?’ Harry asked
‘Just watch’ was all the Professor would say
Ignotus walked slowly towards the Goblins, his swirling staff weaving a shield of magic, which started out blue, then green, then red, the orange, the colours switching from one to another.
‘The colours Professor, is that some special kind of defensive magic?’
‘No’ the Professor replied with a nostalgic sigh ‘he can never decide what colour he likes best, now hush, you’ll do well to pay attention’
The goblins flung curses towards Ignotus all of which bounced off his shield as he continued to walk towards them.
Suddenly Ignotus broke into a run, his hands twisted, making the one staff into two staves again. Then he was dancing, there was no other way to describe it. He pirouetted, his body spinning on one toe as both starves spat curses, taking out the first two Goblins, with a high kick and twist he spun over, then rolled, then dipped, then jumped and somersaulted, all the while his starves spat curses at the Goblins.
And then it was over, Ignotus stood before the stairs, the eight goblins lay around him, unmoving.
‘A bit rusty Ignotus?
‘Just a bit Hagrid, just a bit’
Ignotus flashed him a grin then basked in the praise of the girls as they crowded round.
The boys hung back a bit, awed by the display of wand craft they had just seen.
‘Ok lets form up, I’ll take the lead Hagrid you follow behind, the boys, Minerva and Autumn in the middle, Hermione can you bring up the rear with Nicola.
‘Oh I suppose we are at the back because were girls, is that it. Hermione said angrily
‘Well let me tell you...’
Ignotus held up his hand, instantly cutting off Hermione before she got into full flow.
‘Cutie, next to me you two are the strongest magic users we have’ then with a look towards Harry he continued ‘at the moment. If the enemy get past me, Hagrid can offer the best defence with that armour of his, giving the Minerva and the boys time to use their magic. I need your strength to guard our rear.’
Finally unable to restrain his annoyance at having to explain himself ‘really Minerva are all the students at that school of yours incapable of following orders without argument.’
‘Most are Ignotus, but these, well, where do I begin’ Professor McGonagall said.
Ignotus nodded and glared at the young witches and wizards, ‘to as I say, when I say and you may come out of this alive. What is it now boy?’
Ron had timidly raised his hand
‘Well, I was wondering, you said outside not to use magic as it would trigger the defences and alarms, why haven’t they gone off now?’
Ignotus looked up, trying to picture what was happening on the floors above them
‘First and foremost this castle is a school of witchcraft and wizardry, the alarms would be sounded all day and night.’ Explained Hermione, keen to redeem herself
Ignotus nodded, ‘good point, ok let’s go. We’ll move quickly, try to be in and out without the whole castle knowing’
Ignotus still looked up, his face blank as his mind searched
‘I sense only a few’ he muttered ‘20 or so, no more. ‘Why so few?’
Turning towards Nicole ‘how many would you say attacked your Academy doll face’
With a stamp of her foot, ‘My name is Nicola, and there was at least a hundred’
Completely unaware of her annoyance ‘so where are they now?’ he mused
‘OK, to our advantage, let’s go’
With that Ignotus led the group upstairs and into the main hall.
With a look at Nicola
Nicola closed her eyes and turned her face left to right slowly
‘That way’ she pointed upwards ‘two stories up and over to the left’
Without a word, Ignotus led the group up the main flight of stairs to a landing which stretched out to his left and right, a gallery really with doors leading off, and stairs at each corner.
Ignotus went left and stopped at the base of the stairs.
Hagrid, Minerva, Autumn, lads you stay here, Doll face and Cutie with me.
Without waiting for their indignant retorts, Ignotus bounded up the stairs forcing the girls to scramble after him.
‘WAIT!’ yelled Draco
Everyone froze where they stood.
Draco moved up ahead of Ignotus and spoke an incantation and swished his wand.
The way ahead suddenly was barred by streams of black and above them a web of black waiting to ensnare them.
Ignotus looked questioningly at Professor McGonagall
‘Draco here has had some dark magic training’ was all she said by way of explanation.
‘Excellent’ said Ignotus ‘Lead the way’
With that he indicated for Draco to take the lead, who first removed the trap with another wave of his wand.
Reaching the top of the stair they had uncovered no further traps.
‘Odd that the Eye would be so lightly guarded’ mused Ignotus, more to himself then to the others.
Ahead of them stood a wooded door, stout but with magical locks or guards that Draco could detect it was a simple matter of
And the door was unlocked.
Ignotus twisted the handle and pushed open the door slowly, expecting something to be waiting, guarding the Eye.
Nothing, nothing was there. The Eye stood on a pedestal in the middle of a circular room waiting to be claimed.
‘To easy, to easy’ mumbled Ignotus, ‘has to be a trap, has to be.
OK, Draco check the Eye for any magical traps, then let’s be off’
Draco closed his eyes and ran his hand over the Eye, detecting nothing.
He picked up the Eye and handed it to Nicola
‘OK let’s go rejoin the others’
A quick dash back down the stairs, they met up with the others.
‘This is to easy Minerva, keep a look out for a trap’ Ignotus called ahead
‘I think we have found it Ig’ called back the Professor.
Ignotus found the group, wands drawn behind Hagrid, who had as axe in each hand, facing a whole load of dark wizards and witches advancing down the length of the balconies.
‘OK now we’re talking, Hagrid you clear the way, Central Staircase, main entrance, across the courtyard and out the main gate. I’ll be behind you, Ron, Harry take the right, Draco, Nicola the left, Hermione, Autumn the rear, George and Minerva the centre.’
With a cry of ‘just like old times Hagrid’ they moved.
Hagrid charge forward, his natural immunity to magic, thanks to the giant within him, combined with the goblin made armour made Hagrid the perfect shield going forward.
Behind, Ignotus flowed; his twin starves firing curses right and left.
Hagrid made the main stairs easily; all before him were cast aside.
The main body dealt with the rest, leaving Hermione and Autumn bringing up the rear.
As they rushed the main entrance Hermione let out a cry of exultation, finally able to join the fight. Her wand spat curses, whilst Autumn used her wand very much like she was conducting an orchestra, punctuated with flashes of lightening. Each bolt turning its target into ash.
As they reached the main hall Hermione froze one of Autumn’s lightning bolts and threw her arms wide. The lighten bolt throw out branches of bright sliver, stretching across the stair case, blocking the way of the remaining Dark witches and wizards as the raced down the stairs.
The first three sought to tear through the curtain of sliver only to be burned to ashes; the others managed to stop and started incantations to dispel the barrier.
Hermione pushed with her arms and the barrier started to float up the stairs, breaking their concentration, their spells uncast as they scrambled amongst each other, trying to get up the stairs, away from approaching death.
‘Don’t get left behind Cutie’ called Ignotus,
Hermione looked behind and saw the main group leaving the castle through the main entrance.
‘Come on’ she yelled to Autumn
They ran to catch up with the group and as one they exploded into the courtyard.
Nicola and Draco were performing their own dance, always touching; they glided around each other, covering each other as well as the group.
Ron and Harry on the other hand, whilst just as effective were a little more brutish, yelling
‘On the right’ and ‘left, left, left’
As they pushed and jostled each other out of harm’s way.
In the middle George and the Professor calmly dispatched any threat they saw, mostly highlighted by Fred. His ghostly image floating above the battle calling down targets.
The Professor’s calm was one of experience and wisdom; George’s calm was of icy fury.
He saw all dark wizards and witches as the cause of his brother’s death and his bolts were sent with such force, even near missed took out the threat with an explosion of rock from the castle walls.
Up ahead ugly small dragon like birds suddenly took flight high up from the battlements.
‘Wyverns!’ Yelled Hagrid
Ignotus again showed his experience in battle, seemingly aware of everything that was occurring despite being in the middle of a pitch battle.
‘Draco, move to the centre and take out the Wyverns’ Mini take the left with Nicola. Hagrid the portcullis if you would’
Draco and the Professor smoothly changed places and Draco fired a black bolt from his wand and a Wyvern simply exploded.
‘Nice shot’ called Ignotus satisfied that Draco’s dark magic training was sufficient to take out the new threat.
Hagrid rushed forward, scattering any in his path to get to the portcullis.
With his prodigious strength he lifted the heavy metal gate high over his head so that he could manoeuvre himself through, then was able to hold it as the others fought their way across the courtyard and through the gate.
Ignotus took stock as he took out a Witch from high in one of the towers. This group of young folk impressed him immensely. From the centre Draco was exploding Wyverns from the sky and threats from high on the battlements were destroyed by George, The others working in their pairs as if they had been fighting together all their lives covering the flanks. He had the front, alongside Hagrid.
Hermione and Autumn, following up the rear continued to protect the group from being overrun. Autumn had switched her defence. Now, where she pointed roots shot up from the ground swirling and entangling a witch or wizard then pulling them slowing back under the soil. Hermione was using the lighten bolt spell, able to strike even those that thought they were hidden and protected behind Caskets and Barrels that were stacked along one wall.
Suddenly Autumn gave a cry and went down. A wizard being drawn into the soil had managed to cast one last curse, hitting the retreating girl squarely in the back.
Hermione spun around to see Autumn fall and sent a bolt with such anger the roots and wizard burst into a huge fireball.
Ignotus also saw Autumn fall
‘Harry, get Autumn, keep moving, don’t stop’
As Harry rushed to Autumn, Ignotus smoothly moved to the right alongside Ron to maintain the ring of defence that had been working so well.
Harry scooped up Autumn and nearly fell backwards, her lightness of weight taking him by surprise. As one, he and Hermione ran to catch up with the others as they rushed through the main gate. A loud crash sounded the decent of the portcullis behind them, cutting of pursuit for the moment as they moved quickly down the road, towards the waiting Dryad woods.